June 30, 2011

The Voice: The Morning After

We were happy in our house last night; Javier Colon won The Voice. Rachael and I got the chills listening to his duet with Stevie Nicks (Rachael has loved that song since she was a child) and I actually plan to buy the iTunes download.

Which brings me to my next point: Why are we such conspiracy freaks in the U.S.? And why do people get so carried away over trifles while the important stuff doesn't hold our attention?

1) "Dia outsold Javier on iTunes, so the results must have been rigged."

2) "Vicci or Beverly were robbed because America can't handle a lesbian winning The Voice."

3) "Justin Bieber's fangirls robbed the rightful winner."

I can just imagine if the vote had gone a different way...would people be complaining that America won't vote for a half Dominican/Half Puerto Rican?

Okay, so how about this as a scenario instead: More of those who voted by text, phone, or online, whose vote counts were never revealed, voted for Javier. Gee...that's what I did, and I'm not a Justin Bieber fangirl. Neither is Rachael, who also voted for Javier. My husband didn't vote, but his choice? Javier. I don't think anyone would accuse him of being a Justin Bieber fangirl.

I, for one, rarely like a cover better than an original rendition. One reason I stopped watching Glee is because it started to remind me of that PBS show Rachael used to watch of teenyboppers "running" a TV station and putting out "music videos" of popular music. While I wouldn't buy his cover of "Angel" or Dia's covers of "Losing My Religion" or "Heartless," I will likely buy whatever CD he produces with his new record company. Then again, I'll probably buy Dia's too, because I've no doubt she'll sign with a label as well.

But back to the haters...after reading some great pieces on EW today, I couldn't believe the vitriol being spewed in the comments. It's a fucking TV show, people! GET. A. FUCKING. LIFE.

@ew reports all four coaches have signed on for season two of The Voice. Here's hoping the network and/or producers don't get greedy and ruin the show. I guess one more season with these coaches would be nice, but after that, pick some new ones. At lunch Rachael suggested Usher and Jennifer Hudson...I came up with Gwen Stefani, Pat Monohan, Bruno Mars, and Carrie Underwood.


June 29, 2011

The Voice: Awesome in More Ways than One

Last night was the final competition round for The Voice, a show I started to watch after NBC promo'd it to hell and back using the gimmicky chair swivels. What can I say? Worked for me. Add to that Adam Levine, whom I've crushed on for years—and doesn't he just keep getting more and more gorgeous with age?—and Ceelo Green ("Crazy" and "Fuck You" are two of my favorite songs), and, obviously I'm there. Rachael came home from college after the first couple of episodes, and quickly became hooked. We now watch it together, faithfully, every week...usually joined by my husband, who sometimes watches it from his study as he's Working on Stuff. And this is why it's awesome...

Awesome #1: For those of you with decent relationships with your kids throughout the tough years, well, this won't make much sense to you, but for those who struggled...and I've recounted our struggles on both blogs...sitting down week after week and watching a TV show that we all enjoy is a relatively novel experience for us. I inherited negativity from my mom, and passed it along to my daughter, although she swears I'm the only one who calls other shows "stupid." We have a running gag in our house that whenever she deems a show or somebody on a show stupid, I say, "You are not allowed to say anything negative." That never happens on The Voice. All there is, in fact, is discussion during commercials, and though I'm not a Beverly fan, I feel the need to stick up for her because Rachael and her dad really don't like her. So the world doesn't need another Melissa Etheridge, okay, but I don't think the world needs a new Pat Benatar or Joan Jett either, nor does it need, in Dia and Xenia mashed up, another Nora Jones. What it does need, however, is the angelic voice of Javier, who shares certain qualities with Aaron Neville, but adds the sex of Seal and so much more. (That's not to say I didn't love Dia's renditions of "Heartless" and "Losing my Religion," or won't look forward to a slightly older Xenia when she learns to become comfortable in her own skin.)

Awesome #2: The best singers actually made it to the finals...and presumably, the best will win. With the exception of the early years on American Idol, which I stopped watching years and years ago, many of the most talented finalists don't actually win. Between that problem and the interminable audition shows, of which more and more were tacked on as the show became a juggernaut, I found that by the time I stopped watching AI, it had become a parody of itself. I understand this season's episodes were an improvement, but that again, the most talented singer did not win. Contrast that with The Voice, which weeded out the ridiculous and through the coaching versus judging experts, we saw not only Xtina's boobage each and every week on display, but more importantly, the development of true talent...and that Adam Levine is a very smart Jewish boy who knows how to play a game.

Awesome #3: Most of the original song performances of last night showcased how shitty "A Moment Like This" really was. How many of you remember that as Kelly Clarkson's first single? It sucked big time; had she not had Clive Davis behind her (who tried and nearly derailed her career a few years later when she had the temerity to state the obvious), she might never have gone on to "Miss Independent," "Break Away," and "Since U Been Gone." None of the original songs last night are going to end up on my iPod, but they weren't treacle either.

Awesome #4: All the coaches with the exception of Christina Aguilera entertained me, and all have real knowledge of music, the history of music, and how, for the most part, to help their contestants shine. Whether it was Ceelo Green channeling Mad Max and King Kamahamaha in his duet last night with Vicci, Adam's one-liners, or Blake's wearing his fondness for Xenia and Dia on his sleeve, I loved to watch them. Yes, they didn't offer a lot of criticism on performance nights, but they weren't acting as judges on television. They were acting as coaches, and coaches do a lot of praising. When they showed the actual coaching sessions, you saw the coaching, the suggestions and changes, and the song choices, although I don't know, truly, how much input they had into those. The three male coaches charmed me; Christina Aguilera was a camera hog and it seemed to me, insecure about herself among her male counterparts. She also failed to initially choose a wide variety of finalists, which hurt her in the end. As for last night, how smart was Adam Levine that he chose a song sure to highlight Javier's abilities, even at the expense of his own? I love Levine, but he knows his limitations, and unlike Shelton, whose powerhouse of a voice drowned out Dia in their duet, he put his ego aside so that his finalist might win, even if voters were not supposed to consider the duets.

I'm sure there are more reasons why The Voice Is Awesome, but I need to read a book about a goblin now.


June 28, 2011

Separated at Birth

When I heard about the Rob Blagojevich conviction yesterday, the first thing that popped into my mind is how much he looks like Larry Bondurant, the character who married Carol Kester during the fourth season of The Bob Newhart Show. That reminded me of other separated at births, some of which I previously posted on my old blog. So as not to be mean to Dan Hill, I omitted his separated at birth.

"Floyd the Barber"
Richard Haydn
Dave Foley
Ken Burns
"Larry Bondurant"— although Will MacKenzie is who prompted today's blog, I cannot find a single photo of the actor online. Those of you who remember The Bob Newhart Show should recall the husband so obsessed with his "Red" that he won't let her out of his sight.
Rob Blagojevich
Edwin McCain
"Bobby Hill"


June 26, 2011

You've Got Mail

On Thursday my daughter and I went out to lunch, then stopped off at a local B&N before moving on. After being accosted by the Nook salesman, I realized how off-putting my own Nook selling must have been for many of the customers I hawked at. I did enjoy playing with the new B&W touchscreen Nook, but didn't like the salesman's getting a basic Kindle fact wrong in trying to contrast the two. All in all, not a great experience, and one that alerted me to the reality that I no longer enjoy visiting B&N. Since the Borders across the street—there first for years before B&N moved in on their territory with a boutique-like store that remains one of my least favorites—closed a couple of months ago, it's the only game in town, save the big Half Price Books nearby, and as much as I enjoy a bargain, the experiences are not the same.

As I told my daughter over lunch when she launched into Luddite mode about the death of retail (yes, she's only 19), the world changes, and we must change with it. I told her about Lee leaving his job as lead in the Music section because he didn't want to preside over its eventual dismantling. I told her that although I left to earn that abortive MLIS degree, I knew that every Nook I sold would eventually eliminate my job. I understood that the necessary cannibalization of B&N's brick and mortar stores through lower prices at B&N.com would eventually do the same. It just depressed the hell out of me to be in the thick of it.

Well, last night I had an epiphany of sorts. The three of us were watching You've Got Mail for the first time—I'd TiVo'd it probably two years ago—when I realized that what B&N did to locally-owned bookstores in the 90s, Amazon is now doing to super-bookstores like B&N.

Is that a bad thing? Well, last Thursday my daughter wanted two older books. They were available at Amazon and I planned to order them until she asked if we could get them at B&N so she could start one immediately. I did that whole text me if you have them thing...and never heard back. Meanwhile, I went ahead and ordered the books from Amazon, and they arrived Friday afternoon, a full day before we expected them. Now, you may not be able to browse at Amazon, or sit in a comfy chair...oh, wait...you can't do the latter at many local B&N's anymore either. The store I worked at never had the great chairs, and at some point the management removed all customer chairs save those in front of the window at tables near the magazines. Another local store removed most of their comfy chairs; the last three times I visited and wanted to sit and read awhile, there was no place to do so, leaving me feeling bait & switched: "You once invited me to spend the afternoon by providing a comfortable place to sit and read, and now, unless I go spend more money at your cafe, you'd really prefer that I leave."

I'm hoping this disaffection with visiting B&N ends, because as a life-long reader, spending time wandering around bookstores has been a favorite activity. Even throughout my two-years as a B&N bookseller I enjoyed visiting various stores throughout the country as a customer, although I forever straightened up display tables and put books away that others had left behind. But because actually buying at a B&N tends to be a costly experience, and because Amazon's prices tend to be lower (sometimes by a little...sometimes by a lot) than B&N.com's prices, I don't expect it to go away any time soon.


BTW, I did take exception to one scene in the movie. When Kathleen Kelly wanders into Fox's books and sits in the Kids section, a customer asks a salesman about a particular book, and he can't help her because he's simply an anonymous clerk who might well have been working at Home Depot. At least at our B&N, we had answers most of the time because those of us who worked there actually, you know, read. At least at our B&N, that woman would have been offered help and/or a recommendation by the time she landed in the Kids section.


June 20, 2011

New at H&H: Look Me in the Eye

Online today from me at Heroes & Heartbreakers: Look Me in the Eye When We Do That.

The idea came to me while reading a particular scene in Christine Warren's Black Magic Woman. Initially Macmillan sent me the book in advance of its release so I could write a Fresh Meat about it, but my timing was way off. Instead I wrote Reading Series in Order as a result of Warren's unusual method of incorporating her Fixed series into the longer, more mainstream The Others series by rewriting the original stories as longer books, then interspersing brand new books. The first release of The Others, for instance, which was published in 2006, is actually ninth in the series' reading order.

The scene that set me off was a love scene, and after developing the concept, I got approval to write a more expansive piece, which I did last week. It's probably going to be the last of its type for me for awhile so that I don't lock myself into a specific blogger mode over at H&H. Once you read it, I think you'll understand what I mean.

I say that with a caveat, though; if you don't regularly read my stuff, don't read this one or you may end up with the wrong idea about me. Truly...I'm not pervy.

As for me, I've got two PW books to review this week, so I'm off to Starbucks to read for awhile. Yesterday, btw, I tried out the new Starbucks card app on my Droid...OMG great is how I'd describe it.


June 16, 2011

Oddly Emotional Day

It wasn't until I saw a photo from a friend from my bookstore days, posted from the Dallas Mavericks celebratory parade that I actually considered watching from home. As season ticked holders (we buy a partial season with my husband's law firm), we were invited to the special party at American Airlines Center following the parade, but given crowds of 250,000 were expected along the parade route with many thousands crowding into the area surrounding the arena, we had no plans to attend. Frankly, for me, watching the game, the awards ceremony, then ESPN long into the night Sunday night, then listening to various radio hosts talk about the win, I thought I'd had enough of what I needed to move on. I'm glad I didn't.

I started watching the parade from my computer, then moved to the TV within a half hour, and was about to enjoy about 3/4 of the in-arena festivities before needing to leave with Rachael. I did miss Mark Cuban's emotional speech, but I caught it on NBC DFW's website a few minutes ago.

I also found a video the Mavs organization put out earlier this afternoon; I've already shared it on Facebook and Twitter, but here I'll have it for posterity.

But back to the in-arena celebration...it really was great to listen to the coach, the players, and Mark Cuban share their happiness. I discovered Jason Kidd really hates public speaking and that Tyson Chandler, my newest sports crush, is a natural. I left before Peja Stojakovic had a chance to speak, but now that I've found an audio clip of his Q&A at the arena, I've been able to experience all of it.

So now that I've heard from all the players, the coach, the owner...and watched Dirk lead his team in an a cappella rendition of the chorus to We Are the Champions from the AAC's balcony...and experienced the joy of being a fan for a winning team, I'm happy, and for the most part, sated.

I don't need to be pumped up for a repeat next year—capturing lightning in a bottle is ephemeral by nature, and I'm fine with that. I'd actually like to leave it at that.


June 15, 2011

New at H&H: Interfering Relatives

Online today from me at Heroes & Heartbreakers: Interfering Relatives, which I kick off with a video clip from Auntie Mame, featuring Rosalind Russell as my favorite cinematic Interfering Relative Of All Time.

The idea came to me while recently trying—but ultimately giving up on—a soon to be released historical romance, in which an Interfering Relative played a strong role. But the book didn't compare with other, better romances with far more memorable Interfering Relatives, so I chose my two favorites—one from a contemporary series and another from a Trad Regency—and used them to open up a discussion on other Interfering Relative stand-outs. I'd love to know which fathers, mothers, aunts, uncles, siblings, or cousins you remember fondly for sticking their noses into the private lives of friends and relatives, so be sure add your two cents to the comments after you read my piece.


June 14, 2011

I'd Like to Say It Ain't So, But...

Sometimes I get weird intuitions. Mostly it's mother's intuition, which is generally dead-on, which makes it critical to listen do, but also more than a little creepy. Occasionally, though, it's about other things, and this weekend I had one of those "other" intuitive thoughts.

I've written a couple of times about Austin Art Glass, on SoCo in Austin as owned by artist Aaron Gross. Last October we picked up three new plates for our wall, including one to replace a broken piece, and I spent quite a bit of time talking to Aaron about whether or not he'd be able to stay in business given how slow it was for him last summer. He was less noncommittal than he'd been in September, giving me hope that because of his talent—and his prices— he was going to stick out the economic downturn.

Well, Saturday evening as we were driving home from dinner, I suddenly flashed on Austin Art Glass, pulled out my phone, and tried to access the website. I couldn't. When we came home, I went first thing to my desktop and went through all the Googled links I could find for both Aaron and his store. Lots of reviews and previous mentions of both...but nothing but a "Forbidden" message when going to austinartglass.com. I told my husband about it, and added that I felt like crying at the store's closing.

There's so much beauty in Aaron's art, and even with the economic downturn, people are spending all sorts of money on all sorts of things they don't need (iPads topping the list) and rarely consider the influence of beauty in their lives. I'm not immune to buying things I don't need, but when we drive down to Corpus Christi this summer to visit my m-i-l, I had every intention of stopping by Austin Art Glass to buy more lovely glass plates for our wall. I know there are other artists out there creating beautiful glass art, including James Hayes in Little Rock, but I'm taking the closing of his store very personally.


June 13, 2011

Good Day, Dallas!

Feeling plenty rowdy, proud, and loud this morning after last night's win over Miami, making the Dallas Mavericks the NBA Champions by a margin of 4-2. As with the entire series, this one was a nail biter. Early on...and for the first time in the finals...Nowitzki found it hard to score points, but he came alive in the second half, initially with some tremendous defensive plays, then by sinking some beautiful shots. Jason Terry was terrific—I've always been a fan of the Mav's sixth man, even when he was Nick van Exel back in the day— and Tyson Chandler throughout this series against the Heat was an unsung hero.

My only gripe? NBA Commissioner David Stern mispronounced Dirk Nowitzki's name while awarding him the Finals' MVP. Really...really? OTOH, Mark Cuban stayed mum throughout the post-season, showing some real maturity.

Here's what I love best about this win:

  • Vindication over the Heat after the humiliation of 2006
  • An NBA Championship win not by a team of stars, but by a team of players ably led by a star who stuck by his team during the lean years
  • Proof that an NBA team can win without thuggery or poor sportsmanship, but instead through stalwart determination and a will to win.



June 12, 2011

Updating My Travel Map

I've seen [just] 11% if the world. How about you?


Bill Maher Brilliant This Week

I just finished showing my husband @BillMaher and @janemarielynch reenacting the cyber exchange between Congressman Anthony Weiner and a blackjack dealer in Vegas. If you've not seen The Weinerlogues as read by Mahaer and Lynch, you've missed something brilliant.

That wasn't all that caught my eye when I finally got the chance this afternoon to watch Friday night's episode of Real Time. Although I'm a fan of The Voice, I loved it when Maher fretted that all of TV will soon become CSI: Vampire Idol, "where forensics experts solve murders committed by sexy vampires singing show tunes in front of Steven Tyler."

But what caused me to laugh hardest during New Rules was when Maher, reflecting on Anthony Weiner's cyber sex life, puzzled about what teens get out of cyberjacking when they're not listening to "their hippipty hop records." I wish I could post a video clip, but can't...if you'd like to watch this week's New Rules, click here and link to New Rules Bill Maher, All Hand and No Weiner on Kick! Making Politics Fun.


June 9, 2011

Historical Romance Hiatus

Yesterday I tried to read an upcoming historical romance release. I gave up fairly early on, realizing that unless such books are written by specific authors, I've totally lost interest in reading them. Last night at dinner I told my husband and he was shocked. Historical romance occupied a good deal of my life for several years to the exclusion of other reading, and though I slowly began adding other genres of books to my reading repertoire, the idea of [mostly] going on a Historical Romance Hiatus for the foreseeable future is for me a Big Deal.

I still plan to read a select group of releases from authors like Mary Balogh—who wrote a DIK historical last year—and Anne Stuart, who wrote another, but for now, unless an author passes the DIK litmus test, I'm going to pass. Wow...I really said it.

That Mary Balogh is one of these authors kinda surprises me as for years I was in the I only read her trads camp. Then came A Secret Affair, which blew me away, all the more so because it was the end of a series I'd never begun. The Secret Mistress, which comes out early this summer, is actually a prequel to More than a Mistress and No Man's Mistress, and I've never read those either, but look forward to it regardless. As for the Anne Stuart, I can't wait to read the fourth full-length House of Rohan book. I don't expect her to top Breathless, but after having enjoyed the entire series to date...and because she's, well, awesome...I'm hoping for a good one.

Speaking of which, I won't be doing a Fresh Meat on Shameless because I've already declared Anne Stuart to be awesome on H&H, but will probably write about it here, openly declaring my fealty to her altar of awesome-ality.

June 5, 2011

TomTom Go 2435 TM

TomTom Go 2435 TM

Read my attempt at installing and using this special Lifetime Map Updates TomTom at Amazon Vine.

P.S. It wasn't fun.


June 3, 2011

Hey, A-hole, Say It with a "V," Not a "W"!

Last night the Dallas Mavericks had one of their infuriatingly thrilling games. They did what they've done so many times this post-season—come from behind in the last moments of a game to score a major, tremendous, splendiforous upset. This is what it's like, folks, to be a Dallas Mavericks fan. For the most part it's "always a bridesmaid, never a bride." This year, though, it might actually be different.

What's so annoying as a fan, though, and I don't think I'm being too sensitive, is that the Mavs are like the Rodney Dangerfield of basketball; they don't get no respect in the press. How much of that has to do with the antics of Mavs owner Mark Cuban? Who knows. All this fan knows is that the focus is almost always on the other team, even when the Mavs win the game, as they did last night. The post-game press conference on ESPN featured the Mavs head coach for a minute or so, but they covered the coach for the Heat for at least three times as long. I notice stuff like that.

The most egregious offense, though, is that to this day members of the press do not know how to pronounce the name of Dirk Nowitzki...the "w" is pronounced as a "v," and just last night, they did it again. The man was NBA MVP the last time we played the Heat in the finals, for god's sake. Get it right!

This year's post-season presents a Mavs team that finally, in their old age, (I think they are the oldest NBA team), has become aggressive in its pursuit of the win. They are in no way the thugs that many other NBA teams are, and I cannot imagine anyone on the Mavs behaving as Odam and Bynam did during game four of the series with the Lakers. But they've "manned up," so to speak, and most remarkable has been the change of Dirk Nowitzki himself.

I've spent at least five years defending him against my husband's tirades. The DH has a point...to a limit...but he's never given Dirk his due, which means he has refused until now to add a "Mr." in front of the man's name, as he does with Mr. Chauncey Billups or Mr. Dwyane Wade. He finally agrees, now that Dirk has grown a pair, that Dirk may actually lead his team to victory. I think he's finally prepared to alter his "mister" stance because of Dirk's clutch play this post-season.

I mentioned earlier that I've got a bridesmaid's mentality when it comes to post-season play and the Mavs. I have very low expectations because I've seen them throw it all away before. Which means that I've been constantly, pleasantly surprised so far this post-season. I'm glad to go to games or watch them on TV, without overly high expectations because, even though this is likely the last year they can win before needing to start over, even though they seem on track to finally pull it out this year and not choke at the last minute, I don't expect them to actually win. But it sure would be sweet.


June 1, 2011

New at H&H: Me Again...on Pr0n This Time

In my first entry for today, I mentioned dashing off a quick piece in response to a tweet from Megan yesterday. It's just been posted online at Heroes & Heartbreakers.

I wrote about so-called Lady Pr0n in response to an article on a website for an NBC affiliate in Utah. Historical context always matters, and given that when I ran AAR we went through a similar controversy way back in 1999 that led to an article in Salon.com, I wanted to add my two cents, in an updated way.

As always, I'd love some feedback on H&H after you read my piece. Even though I had a fabulous, confidence-inspiring birthday yesterday, the lack of comments to my H&H articles, let alone the usual dead-silence here, feeds my insecurities. I can't help it; I need lots and lots of validation!


New at H&H: A Makeover of a Different Kind

I think that subconsciously, watching Will Farrell's hilarious appearance on Conan O'Brien's show in early May gave me the idea for my new article at Heroes & Heartbreakers. It reminded me of a joke I heard back in the day. The joke kicks off the article. Feel free to watch the clip below in its entirety, but it's between 1:20 and 1:55 minutes in that it all started to gel in my head.

Putting a piece out there of on a topic such as this (you'll see when you read it) was not something I took lightly. I mentioned last week that I had a blast writing it, but that it took a lot of effort on my part to get to and maintain just the right tone...to write about a delicate matter and keep it light so as to be funny yet not be prurient, and to be revelatory enough while not exposing myself too much in the text. Hopefully I succeeded.

Because of the subject matter's delicacy, I feel a little squirmy knowing that people will actually read the article. On the other hand, I'm kinda proud of myself for tackling the topic in a funny way. Did I succeed? Please let me know by posting a comment at H&H after you read it.


A Perfect Birthday

I mostly adhered to my daughter's "you shall not work on your birthday" edict yesterday, but after following one of Megan's tweets, I felt compelled to dash off a quick article that may go online today...and if so, may kick my article originally scheduled for today into some time next week. But I had fun writing it, it was quick and off-the-cuff, and I didn't edit myself to death.

My husband and I put ourselves on an austerity program a few years ago that precluded big celebrations and big expressions of affection, but this year we've been able to ease up. Because yesterday's birthday was a biggie, I actually looked forward to it. I knew this year would not be a repeat of last year's self-imposed pity party because...ta-da...a birthday card and check arrived from my mom last week, along with a birthday card and check for my husband, whose birthday was two weeks ago, and an anniversary card (our anniversary is in March) and check. Do I think my mom remembers just how big a birthday it was for me? Probably not, but to have had it remembered for the first time in three years is good enough for me at this point.

When I picked up Rachael after lunch yesterday, she couldn't wait to give me her gift. The card brought me to tears. After all our struggles, to be at this place in our relationship with one another is something neither of us takes for granted. As I told a close friend yesterday, in our immediate family we treat each other with respect and love, but don't allow anyone to either sit in their shit or be full of it.

Mostly, though, we laugh and talk, run errands, go to movies, and watch Bravo marathons. This morning talk was all about The Boy, who will be coming to visit late this month. Anyway, after the card came the gift, a lovely purple/blue glass bird made by a gifted glass artist who graduated from Hendrix College in 1998. Which means she bought it not over the weekend or last week...she bought it before coming home for the summer. It was thoughtful...obviously I adore purple, and I've transferred my love of glass to both Harold and Rachael...and lovely. After putting the card away, we put the bird on my bedside table. And then she took me to Starbucks for a drink. When we came home, she did my makeup, and noted that this fabulous new eye concealer from Mahya I've been using on my eyelids made a tremendous difference. (Truly, if you have discolored, dark, or red lids, this product is frigging amazing. Because my lids are so discolored, for a couple of years I've been unable to wear most of my beautiful BE shadows unless they are pretty light. This concealer makes it possible for me to pull out some of my favorite darker colors, and to wear them without looking like a raccoon.)

Later in the afternoon a beautiful display of hydrangeas and mini-calla lilies arrived from my family. More thoughtfulness as I am the Queen of the Hydrangea. When Harold got home, he gave me his gift. His card also brought me to tears. And the gift (depicted on the right)...extravagant and over-the-top on any other birthday than this one, but perfect—for me, and our lifestyle—for every day. Silly, silly man...I think he actually thought I was disappointed he didn't buy my dream bracelet (seen to the left), which would have been the perfect gift if I lived a different life. If I actually owned it, though, I think I'd probably gaze adoringly at it on a daily basis, but only wear it three or four times a year.

So ends the conspicuous consumption portion of my blog entry. <g>

Then it was time for dinner at Fearing's. Dean Fearing, along with Stephan Pyles and Robert Del Grande, invented Southwestern Cuisine, and for years Fearing ran the restaurant at The Mansion, a boutique hotel here in Dallas. A couple of years ago he opened his own restaurant in the Ritz Carleton, and though it isn't as highly acclaimed as Pyles' is, the food is more accessible, and more Texan in its exuberance and abundance. Dinner was spectacular, the birthday cake the best damn restaurant birthday cake you can fathom, and when I got home and checked my twitter feed, there was a response from @fearingsdallas about my foursquare tweet, sent in the car on the way to the restaurant.

To top it off, there was a birthday message from my mom, who called while we were at dinner, and though it's a very easy thing to post a Facebook birthday message, the number of family and friends who bothered to take the time really warmed my heart. And since I didn't know until this morning that the Mavs lost game one of the NBA Finals (our game is #3, on Sunday), the entire day went off without a sour note.