Thursday, January 24, 2008

Texans Define Chili and Lunch w/ Kay

Two items today. So settle down for a longish one (as if that's anything new).

TEXANS DEFINE CHILI (apparently for the rest of us)
Now, as a Texas transplant, I will forever be on the outside of a few things. As soon as you say you've moved here from somewhere else, you get that knowing look and some version of "Oh. You're not from here." It can be annoying. It can also excuse me from some obvious faux pas I have committed.

The latest was to admit in front of two apparent native Texans that I make very good "chili". Mind you, I did this with full knowledge that most Texans define chili as this meat-laden, tomato-based stew with a base of cumin and other spices. It rarely has beans. As I was informed by one of the chefs at my local gigantic and overly huge grocery store (with a headset microphone to share my humiliation with anyone within a 1 mile radius), in Texas there's chili and then there's beans. I get this. And I don't care what you call it. When I make chili, people come running. And many of those people are native Texans. I have made converts to my chili from Boston to Austin. You can call it beans. I don't care. It's still chili. It doesn't have meat because I perfected the recipe when I was "po". Meat was a luxury I didn't have back then. It doesn't have some meat substitute because in my world? If you're gonna have meat, have MEAT. If you're not going to have meat, don't dress up some soy product and call it something with some pithy meat-like name.

The ribbing I received from these native Texans was good natured and sweet. But there was an underlying smugness about it that rubbed me the wrong way. Being a San Fran native, raised in New England by south westerners, I know all too well how regional biases work. So when I meet this smug kind of "I've lived here all my life and you are a transient interloper", I get it. But I also have to repress the urge to toss out some of my own smugness that centers around the portability and flexibility that I see in my own life of having moved around and lived in many different regions of the east coast and the southwest. There is a certain sadness I feel for some people who have never stepped out of their tiny little self-imposed geographical radius. Not all of them. But the ones who meet outsiders with disdain and/or fear. Those I feel sorry for.

Anyway, the exchange was interesting and strange enough for me to post about here. Texans are a prouder than usual bunch. And I'm hip to that. But as a girl who has lived in San Fran, San Jose, CT, MA, NY, NC and TX, I feel my more rounded "American" pride trumps their limited one-state pride. (insert image of me sticking my tongue out here)

And I forgive them. And that chef is still totally adorable and cute.

Last night, I was online at a rather odd time. As I was about to walk away, an IM window popped up from my friend who is on the road with - of all things - the Hannah Montana/Mylie Cyrus 'Best of Both Worlds' tour. Normally, I wouldn't even know what that was. But having kids who watch WAY too much Disney channel, I am all too familiar with the singer, her show and the tour. But also, she is one of the few child performers that I actually respect. The girl has pipes. I don't praise singers lightly. I am hugely judgemental when it comes to vocalists. She's got the goods.

My friend Kay is a rocker from my Boston days. She was in a rockin' band called Letters To Cleo. My band Rag Iron opened up for them at least once. Possibly twice. Can't recall. She played Mary in Boston Rock Opera's production of Jesus Christ Superstar in the most successful line up done by that theater group. I was Simeon Zealots in that production. We were in a few other BRO shows together, too. She is a doll. She is a very generous and gracious performer. She befriended all of us in that group and we all adore her (unless there is someone out there that has some dark and terrible tale of which I am unaware).

Kay married her guitarist, USAMike. I married my drummer. I think you're all familiar with how mine went. But back in the day, we got our families together a few times and got all gooby over how cute her daughter was with Pokemon Boy (her girl is 1 yr older than Pokemon Boy). Her son was born a year before Lil' Bro. So we entered motherhood together which was fun.

Her family moved out to L.A. to pursue music out there. I am so happy that they have both made a living from music. She is a singer/songwriter and music manager. He is a guitarist and producer. They are fabulous and I live a music life vicariously through them.

Kay has been writing stuff for Disney for a while. That 'My Friends Tigger & Pooh' show was her pitch to Disney. And that's her singing the title song and incidental music. A few months ago, she told me she's been pumping out songs for Disney. Specifically a song for a Care Bears movie and some stuff for Hannah Montana. I teased her about it but man, that's the way to do it. If you're gonna be a song machine, be the song machine for Disney!

About 3 months ago, she was tapped to go on tour with Hannah Montana as a backing vocalist. She (and the rest of the band & dancers) are heavily featured in the whole show. She has been having a blast. I am so freaking proud of her success (as if I had anything to do with it!).

The tour took her to San Antonio and Dallas but not Austin. Until last night! (Yes, long winded account but I'm finally to the part where it involves me). So the Hannah Montana tour got extended and they added an Austin show. Which means she was here for today with nothing to do but listen to my silly stories.

We met up at her hotel and had lunch there. I regaled her with stories of my Boston trip. I told her about the BRO party she missed and how we had all toasted her. I sent her love from all of the people there and gave her messages from a specific few. I made her laugh and practically scream with a few of my stories. We caught up. I got her up to date on the whole stupid divorce thing. We caught up on our respective kids. We talked about her wonderful hubby. It was just AWESOME. Just totally a couple of girls chatting and laughing. And in some cases, I made her laugh so hard, she literally doubled over and stomped her feet. It's a gift.

She took me out back and gave me a tour of the tour bus. I have never been on a real life tour bus and it was so cool. Yes I'm a fan and a geek. I wanted to stow away. If I were childless, I might have tried it. There were some compartments in the back I might have fit in with a little effort. HA!
It was SUCH a blast. It was just another refreshing confirmation from God that he has surrounded me with the most wonderful and far reaching group of friends and family.

So there you go folks. Six degrees of separation puts you only 3 people away from Mylie Cyrus. Chew on THAT.

Oh and Kay - I got home and told Pokemon Boy that I had lunch with you. He thought I said that we were GOING to have lunch with you. He got ALL excited that he was going to see you. When I explained that it had already happened, he said, "Tell her to go back in time and make it DINNER!" I asked, "You mean so you can go, too?" "Yes," he answered, indignantly. So yah, I should have pulled him from school and brought him. But then, you would have missed those stories you liked the best!

And for the rest of my blog friends, I put a few more pictures on my last two posts. Didn't have them ready when I published them. Enjoy!


Wanda said...

How exciting...!!

And about that chili...I would love a bowl of yours!!

LOL :)

Jane said...

Well, first of all, you know how I'm dying to sample some of that chili!!

Looks like you had a blast with Kay!

Kristen said...

I LOVE that picture of you and Kay, you gorgeous babe! ;-)

Beck said...

I'm going to have to tell my 8 year old that you were on Hannah Montana's tour bus. SHE WILL CRY.

And how fun is it to work on music for kids' shows? That's an awesome gig!

Moanna said...

That's a great pic of you in the green top. And who knew someone makes chili without beans?? And they call that chili?? HA

ellesappelle said...

"I've lived here all my life and you are a transient interloper" - I love that.