Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I appreciate that Texas keeps things interesting. Having just missed the hottest summer on record, I moved here in time for a year of snow days, tornado, West Nile Virus, softball-sized hail, and now earthquakes. It's like playing apocalypse bingo. I didn't actually feel the 3.0 quake last night, nor did I notice the 3.1 and 3.4 quakes that happened in a span of four minutes last September. But I did take note when the radio reported that Dallas had never registered earthquakes like this before 2008. Who's to say, really, but it would seem to be a result of injection wells in the area designed to dispose of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing. I wasn't worried about locusts coming, until I realized we can bring these things on ourselves.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


The thing about places that only get snow once or twice a year, is that it isn't worth investing in the equipment to swiftly remove that occasional snow. So, when we wake to white on everything, Dustin decides he isn't going to fool with the ice rink the streets have become, and we take a snow day. It's a snow morning, if we're being honest: by lunch there is only a thin lace of snow sunk into the lawn and just enough snow left on the car to have a five-snowball snowball fight before driving pristine streets to Uncle Uber's for sandwiches.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Texan Oscar Nominees

Today I clicked on the headline Texan Oscar Nominees. This is not news because it turns out the Lone Star State is lousy with Academy Award contenders. Just the opposite, in fact. My local NPR station, who posted the piece on their Art and Seek page, counts just two in the major categories. They haven't taken a fine-tooth comb to the minor categories yet, so there may be more. We, the public, are even invited to scour the list ourselves. I love that we are keeping track of this, especially when it is something we are apparently not that good at (no disrespect to Wes Anderson and Tommy Lee Jones). And I love that we care enough about our standing to mention it, but not enough to work very hard at boosting it up, and then we mention that, too.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Worms, Roxanne, Worms!

It rains in Texas. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. And in Dallas, where the sidewalk squares ram and butt and knock at angles, it's good puddle country. Which is what I am focused on while taking my evening walk. It is impossible at night to tell how deep any pool may be, and I step gently in the dark, though my galoshes cover up to my knees. And then on dry land I notice, at my feet, the longest worm I have ever seen. Longer than a strand of spaghetti. It is a shoelace of a worm. It is a worm to make you believe worms eat other worms and grow the length of their meal. It is a worm to make you wonder if might be true, after all, that one worm cut in half becomes two worms, because this worm could be quartered and and still be surprisingly long for worms. It is skinny and segmented and still pulsing its way to somewhere when I telescope my folding umbrella to measure its length. Translated to the measuring tape at home, it is nineteen inches worth of worm. I call to tell my mother what I saw in the rain, and she tells me of an even longer worm she once saw, a worm you could wear like a belt.

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Wiffenpoofs Stop Here

Dustin likes to watch the weather map, the pixels sweeping in rainbow hooks as storms go by. This was not his hobby in gray drizzle of Seattle, but in Texas there are thunderstorms and hailstorms and tornadoes blowing through. We're at one end of tornado alley, and Dustin notes there is a pattern to the winds, that the nastiness that skirts past Dallas seems to him neighboring Dentin right in the face.

I had been told by a neighbor who works in a fancy hotel that the same thing happens to music, that tours have their own trade winds, and we get all the good stuff because they always blow through Dallas. This made sense to me, but I had not experienced it until the Wiffenpoofs winter tour stopped in Colorado and then Dallas on its way next to New Orleans. While other places I've been start the morning with a surf report or a fish report or even a farm report, KERA broadcasts a segment called Art and Seek, a brief rundown of cultural events in the city. Which is how this Monday we learned over breakfast that our fair city would be treated to the melodies and comic stylings of the nation's premiere college a cappella group.

If you weren't impressed at "Wiffenpoofs," there may be little more to say that would convey how singularly delightful it is to sit on the folding chairs of the Jewish Community Center and listen to fourteen very talented (and somewhat nerdy) Yale seniors do a skit about a spelling bee. I think it's quite possible you would have to be there to understand what it's like the first time they all remove the white glove from their right hand and begin to snap. But I trust you can imagine, in all its glory, the perfection of "Midnight Train to Georgia" performed complete with three de-jacketed men in their white shirts and white vests, synchnoized in their back-up dancing, pulling the same imaginary cord with their white gloved hands and back-up singing "whoo-whoo!"

*it won't have the flirty old man who sat in the folding chair next to me, but otherwise, a good facsimile of the experience can be found here. note: we didn't have Big Bird.