Monday, September 28, 2009

I Pledge Allegiance

In my last post I mentioned Texas flag shower curtains. You may have sensed from my tone that I think they're maybe just a little over the top.

Well, my friends, "over the top" has just reached a whole new level.

(Yes, this is for real: I saw one for sale at Burlington Coat Factory.)

Believe it or not, overstock.com was actually sold out of Barack Obama shower curtains. I think I'm going to abandon my plans to open a Texas gift shop and start up an Obama memorabilia store instead. Because while our President may be a socialist, I am most certainly a capitalist.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Gift Ideas

It's never too early to be thinking about Christmas, and I know there are a few type-A people out there who like to have a common theme for all the presents they give, so I decided to provide some themed gift ideas.

Here in Texas, many people derive great pleasure in airing out their state patriotism in myriad ways. Texas-themed gift shops do a booming business. You would be astounded to learn of all the items you can find that are in the shape of Texas, printed with the Texas flag, embroidered with the state flower, or emblazoned with Davy Crockett's famous "You may all go to Hell, and I will go to Texas" quote. Sure, you have your typical miniature Texas flags, Texas-shaped Christmas ornaments, and "Don't Mess With Texas" bumper stickers, but you also have

Texas Toilet Brush Holder $24.95
Texas flag toilet brush holders

Texas Flag $109.95
Texas flag patio umbrellas
Texas Shaped Waffle Maker, 8-1/4 Inch
Texas-shaped waffle makers

Texas flag neck pillows

Oil-colored Texas-shaped soaps
Texas Flag Mailboxes
Texas flag mailboxes

Texas Star, silver $9.95
Texas drawer pulls

Texas flag electric plug plate $5.95Texas flag electric  plate  $5.95
Texas flag electric plates

Texas jalapeno cooker $29.95
Texas shaped jalapeno cookers

Texas flag neck ties

Texas-shaped tortilla chips

Texas flag guitar cases
Black Nylon Collar with black ribbon overlay with repeated TEXAS flag $12.00Red woven collar with repeated TEXAS icon  $12.00
Texas dog collars

Texas Flag Clock $34.95
Texas flag clocks
Texas Flag Tuxedo Set $41.95
Texas flag cufflink/tuxedo sets (sure wish I'd seen these before I got married!)

Small Texas Dinner Bell  $23.00
Texas dinner bells

Texas-shaped ceramic bake pans

Texas Throws
4'x5' Texas flag throws

Texas Armadillo Candle $5.95
Texas armadillo candles

Texas Flag Windsock $6.95
Texas flag windsocks

and a whole bunch of other stuff you'd probably have to see to believe. But many people here aren't satisfied with just a couple Texas knick-knacks (do a google image search on Texas shaped pools and you'll see what I mean). I've also seen Texas-themed kitchens and bathrooms
(complete with giant Texas flag shower curtains) and Texas-shaped cement patios.

If you're looking for smaller gifts, a quick search will reveal a plethora of Texas themed mugs, aprons, magnets, bumper stickers and keychains.

No need to thank me--I'm glad to help. Happy Shopping!

Monday, September 21, 2009

It Happens to Everyone. ...Right?

Today, I walked out of a class. Just stood up, grabbed my purse and backpack, and walked out.
This is a first for me. Sure, I've snuck out of classes early before, but this was different. And maybe I could have passed today's episode off as just that--slipping out unnoticed towards the end of lecture to attend an important appointment--except for three small details:
  1. I had no important appointment
  2. I left just 10 minutes after class started
  3. I was not unnoticed
Thankfully, my departure was somewhat discreet--I was sitting on the back row and walked out the back door, so few people saw me go. Unfortunately, one of those few people was my professor. And she actually stopped whatever it was she was saying, walked out the front door of the classroom, and called down the hall after me: "Miss Lindsay! Miss Lindsay!"

I don't make this stuff up.

Perhaps it stems from the fact that people have often assumed I'm at least four years younger than I actually am (in fifth grade I was mistaken for a first grader, as a 22-year-old missionary someone asked me if I was 17, and a few days ago on my birthday a coworker guessed I was turning 21. I can understand how this might be flattering once I'm over the age of thirty, but right now it just forces me to wonder if I come across as immature), but I really resent being patronized. The worst offenders are diminutives like "sweetie." I hate being called "sweetie" (though close friends or relatives or members of the geriatric population are generally exempt from this rule), especially when it's by fast food employees or people who are my age or younger. Equally distasteful to me is the use of "Miss/Mr. + first name" for anyone over the age of five (exceptions would be from children: I had an 11-year-old client who called me "Miss Lindsay," and that was fine because it was a gesture of respect). I realize I'm being nitpicky about frivolous things, and I also realize that Texas/southern culture is different, but I don't think it's too much to ask to be treated like an adult. And being chased after by a graduate professor hollering "Miss Lindsay" when I was well within my rights to leave her class made me feel like an oversized escapee from daycare.

I've never really been one to get severe bouts of PMS. I'm not saying I'm not moody--because heaven knows I am--but my mood swings don't have a predictable cycle (if you are thinking, "your poor, poor husband," I completely agree with you). But today, I think my "girly hormone" levels were off the charts. And I'm going to blame PMS. Because I started to cry in class. I mean, seriously--how old am I?? Ten years ago, it wouldn't have been a big deal: I think I cried in my AP Chemistry class at least once a week. But I'd like to think I've come a long way since then. And while there are still some times when I can't control my emotions, 98 percent of the time I can. So when I felt my eyes gloss over with tears that refused to be blinked back, I did the only thing that made sense: I left.

"I'm very sorry; I have to go," I called over my shoulder to the professor as I walked briskly down the hall. The professor, I can only assume, returned to the classroom. I did not look back.

I had felt angry and humiliated in class, but by the time I got to my car, I felt like a fool. Still, staying in class would have resulted in a nose-sniffling, mascara-running disaster, so I couldn't regret my impulsive decision.

I should not have cried. The triggering experience was not remarkable or significant, I wasn't feeling physically fantastic but also wasn't feeling incapacitated, and I'm usually pretty good at keeping my cool. But for some reason, on this day, under these circumstances, I lost it. And as I drove home, alternating between laughing at my tears and shaking with an anger I didn't fully understand, I thought, "so this is what PMS is like."

I got home, wrote the professor a brief apologetic email, and started this post. Forgive the TMI and the personal-ness, but I think we all have days like this. And what could possibly be more therapeutic than sharing my ridiculousness with the world? So whether you're laughing with me, laughing at me, or just shaking your head, thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

And Wiser, Too

It was a good birthday.

We have two large bookcases in our living room, compliments of Jay’s parents (along with every other piece of furniture we own, save the couch and a small wooden chair from IKEA we put together ourselves). One of my goals, inspired by my own upbringing, has always been to have an extensive personal library. My parents have bookshelves in every bedroom, in the den, in the living room, and all of them are full to overflowing. We grew up with dozens of picture books and hundreds of chapter books. My parents have an impressive collection of religious and adult-level literature (I almost wrote “adult literature,” but realized that might give you the wrong idea about my parents!). I wouldn’t say that reading was “encouraged” in our home; it was expected. It’s just something we did.

My dream is to have the real-life equivalent of the library in Beauty and the Beast in my home. Every time I get to the part in the movie where the Beast tells Belle to open her eyes and she swoons at the sight of the shelves upon shelves of books complete with rolling ladders, a second story, and a winding staircase, I start falling for the Beast right along with her.

Back to my reality. We have a very modest book collection, but it’s growing steadily. I think books are the perfect gift: they provide hours of entertainment and enlightenment, and they look great on display. And I’m almost embarrassed to admit it, but few things give me greater pleasure than seeing my line of books slowly inching their way across the shelves. Especially when they’re esthetically pleasing. I try not to judge a book by its cover, I really do, but the classier-looking tomes are by far my favorites.

So Jay basically got me 2 gifts in 1 six times over when he gave me books for my birthday: I’ve loved reading them (especially during class, but don’t tell anyone), and they look fantastic on our shelf. I’ve fallen in love with Barnes and Noble’s classics collection: they’re very reasonably priced, and they're beautifully classy. The hard covers, the dust jackets, the spines with the detail of the front pictures, and the pages with that "unfinished" zigzag look all contribute to their irresistibility: I'm pretty sure I've found a new obsession. Here are three of the titles that now grace my bookshelf:

So even though I read Catching Fire (the sequel to the amazingly haunting Hunger Games) and The Lost Symbol (Dan Brown's rather anti-climactic new Robert Langdon installment) in a flurry of pages earlier this week, it's these other books Jay gave me that I'm most excited about. Yes, they're pretty, but it's more than that--the books themselves are beautiful. And to me, that's the definition of a classic: a beautiful book that people read voluntarily over the course of time (not to be confused with literary tripe written by authors like James Joyce, William Faulkner or Herman Melville that the AP English teacher ilk delights in heralding and shoving down the protesting throats of young students who then decide they hate "classics" and English in general when in reality all they needed was exposure to Twain or Austen or Dickens or Alcott or Montgomery, and just so I'm not misunderstood, the term "beautiful" can encompass books that are tragic and comedic, heartwrenching and exhilarating; it's all about the timelessness of well-developed characters and a well-written story, and lest you begin to think that my passion on this subject has overridden my abhorrence for run-on sentences and all errors grammatical, allow me to explain that I am merely employing a literary device I learned from Faulkner (namely that of using absolutely no periods whatsoever and introducing at least 10 unrelated ideas in every sentence) in Intruder in the Dust). I am excited to enrich and edify my mind as I read and revisit these classics (because, let's be honest with ourselves, Dan Brown is entertaining, but he's hardly enriching).

And so, to sum it all up in true chiasmic form, entertaining is good but enriching is better, my definition of "classic" would not be well-received in a university-level English course, I'm in love with B&N's classics collection, books are for reading and decorating, the Beauty and the Beast library will someday be in my house, I want lots of books and, last but not least, happy birthday to me.