"With the certitude of a true believer, Vellya Paapen had assured the twins that there was no such thing in the world as a black cat. He said that there were only black, cat-shaped holes in the universe."
-- Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

Sunday, March 17, 2013

What I Did on My Pretend Spring Break

One of the downsides of quitting teaching and becoming a full-time pretend-writer-person is that you no longer get a spring break.  Then again, one of the upsides of being a full-time pretend-writer-person is that you can technically take a spring break whenever you want, provided that it is spring-ish and you deserve a break.  Ish.  So, I decided to take a made-up spring break this week.

I'm sure that you are asking yourself, What does a full-time pretend-writer-person DO on a made-up spring break?!  Calm down, I'll tell you.

10 Highlights of My Not-At-All-Needed Break from My Leisurely Life of Pretending to Be a Writer:

** Impromptu visit from my friend Jessica and her baby girl.  Her baby was beautiful and awesome and not at all scared of my big bouncy dog.  Even though Jessica was REALLY just escaping from her in-laws for a half hour, I am still happy that she escaped to my house.  There were chocolate chip cookies and hugs and it was a joyous occasion.  I miss her.

** Learning that Grumpy Cat was in Austin.  I didn’t actually get to meet him, but just knowing he was nearby made me smile.  Which made him frown.

Grumpy Cat visited APA.  But he didn't enjoy it.

** My 10-year-old niece and 14-year-old nephew coming to stay with us for three days.  I gotta say, if you have to have children stay with you, 10-year-olds and 14-year-olds are the way to go.  They can't drive yet, so there is very little chance of them stealing your car, but they are old enough to clean themselves and feed themselves and dress themselves.  Plus, these particular 10-and-14-year-olds are sweet and funny and well-behaved and really cool.  I highly recommend them.  Our time together included games of dominoes and Peggle (<-- this game is SO addictive), a picnic at the Austin Zoo (where no one was attacked by a rooster, but it was close), and a walk around the UT campus (where my niece and I bought matching friendship bracelets).

They were fine, thanks for asking, frog.

** Accidentally setting a fire in my kitchen, which was mostly my husband’s fault.  When Mark was helping me bake chocolate chip cookies (I know, what a jerk, right? No, that’s not the bad part yet) he moved the tea kettle off the stove onto the counter to make room for the sheets of hot gooey cookies.  When he was done, he put the tea kettle back where it belongs on the stove.  (The NERVE of that guy!  No, no, that’s not it either.)  In doing the moving of the tea kettle, he neglected to realize that he had set it right on top of the yellow sticky note I’d been using to bookmark the ooey-gooey cookie recipe, which then adhered itself to the bottom of the kettle.  (NOW, you chastise him.)  So yeah, the next morning when I turned on the burner for tea, a yellow sticky note-sized fire erupted underneath my tea kettle.  No one was harmed, but there was much squealing. 

** Going downtown to see a SXSW show with my friend Emily who is nine-months pregnant.  Her friend Brian is the drummer for The Lone Bellow, a very cool little band out of Brooklyn.  So we took the metro from north Austin downtown to the show at The Stage on 6th Street.  Since no one had the forethought to run extra metro cars during SXSW, the train was already absolutely full when we squeezed on it.  And by squeezed, I mean SQUEEZED.  I'm pretty sure at least three strangers could feel Emily's baby kicking on the way downtown.  All turned out ok though.  There were no births on the metro or at the club or on the crowded spring break sidewalks.  And we had fun partying… very slowly.

I would have taken a photo of our crowded car,
but I couldn't move my arms.

** Getting to educate a Los Angelino on a few of the finer points of Austin.  I shared a table at Strange Brew this week with a nice boy who is addicted to buying shoes and cell phones and who carries a Scientology pamphlet around with him just so he can get people riled up.  He's only been in Austin for a few months and hasn't completely soaked up the culture yet.  I had to explain to him what Gospel Brunch is and when I mentioned The Salt Lick, he stared at me blankly.  I said, "It's a great bar-b-que place out in Driftwood."  And he said, "Like REAL bar-b-que?"  Sigh.  More educating followed.  But then I found out his grandparents are super-famous soap opera stars and suddenly I was the one with the blank look on my face, so I guess we are even.  Ish.

** Seeing Shinyribs perform at Lucy's Fried Chicken.  "Diamond rings and petticoats, burlap bags and billy goats, creamy corn sausage and gravy..."  While I was there, the twelve year old boy next to me with long hair and goofy glasses somehow got a gig playing bass at the Continental Club and all the adults around him were congratulating him and telling him they'd never even played there.  "Time is a cigarette burning down off the paint of the jaw of a dying clown..."  At one point a sing-along of "If You Don't Know Me By Now" broke out which was pretty awesome.  "The sun is fallin' in the western sky, wrinkling the twinkle of his eye..." Then Kevin Russell jumped off stage during a keyboard solo and danced with a little boy and I got jealous. 

(All above lyrics are from the Song of Lime Juice & Despair by Shinyribs, although I am not sure if “paint” is correct.  It could be “pate” or “bane” or, with my skill at identifying song lyrics, it could also be, like, “fruit” .)

Shinyribs, in all their glory!

** Watching Jiro Dreams of Sushi.  Jiro Dreams of Sushi is a beautiful and inspiring documentary which will make you crave food that only exists 6,000 miles away.  Jiro, sushi master, dreams of sushi and during the day he makes his dreams come true.  I, the pretend-writer-person, dreamed last night that my cat Toby spoke to me, but this morning he didn’t say a word and I didn’t pressure him.

** Taking my pup on a hike and watching him swim without fear for the first time.  He’s not going to break any speed records.  Or endurance records.  Or distance records.  Or style records.  Or at-least-you-didn’t-fall-down records.  But I am proud of him anyway.  My boy is growing up!

Look at him go!  I'm a proud mama.

So there you have it-- the adventures of a full-time pretend-writer-person on her made-up-not-needed-at-all spring break.  Don’t be jealous.  But tomorrow I am TOTALLY getting back to my pretend work.  I promise.


  1. Hello, I've been doing some profile snooping and saw yours mentioned The Lost Boys as an interest!! Im a big fan too!! Could you please take a look at my blog (www.thelostboysconfessions.blogspot.com) and maybe even follow? Thanks heaps!
    Love EJ xx

    1. Hi EJ! Yes, I am a big fan of The Lost Boys. I was ten years old when the movie came out and I wore the VHS tape out watching it over and over. How did you discover the movie? I didn't know your generation was into the kind of vampires in The Lost Boys, but I am happy to hear you are a fan. :)

  2. Next time, you should go to an island for your pretend spring break!

    1. That sounds lovely too. Any particular island you recommend? :)

  3. I miss you too!! We had a great time not crying at Uno. Fun was had by all! Hope you are well rested and enjoy getting back to (sort of) work tomorrow! ;)

    1. Good luck to you tomorrow! Call me sometime and we will have a virtual, long-distance happy hour.

  4. I made the Highlights!!! I really appreciated the education! Next time I'll educate you on my friend L. Ron Hubbard ;) then we'll be even.

    1. You should watch The Master. And by should, I mean shouldn't.

  5. Hi Carrie :)
    Please could you post the lyrics of the Song of lime juice & despair ?
    I'm a big french fan of Kevin Russel, I play guitar and I'd like to play this one but my english language is too approximative for some words of the songs :$
    Thank you Carrie !!

    1. Hi Fan of Kevin Russell!
      I don't have a link to all of the lyrics, but I sent Kevin a message asking him to post them. Hopefully he will. :)

  6. Thank you Carie and sorry for the mistake on your name (Oops, it's not Carrie but Carie). I hope he will too !!
    Take care ;)