fill ‘er up

D_image10af4d015209388fad02470ad0dI haven’t been to San Antonio yet.  I will at least make a day of it soon.  Amy Dorsett, a reporter for Express-News in San Antonio, recently met with me over coffee at Mozart’s, an enormous cafe in Austin that roasts its own Jo, where she shared with me her list of things for me to do in SA.  We sat outside, shaded by an over-sized tree, worried we might be shat on.  We weren’t.  "That would so be my life," I said watching a white lump splat beside my pedicure.  I think that’s what everyone would say.  "Though I think it’s actually good luck if a bird messes with you like that.  Or at least gravity."  And I have been lucky.  I’ve also worked hard, but the luck has helped. 

The following day, I met with a Ed Ornelas, a photographer for E-N, who told me he was just going to shadow me for the day.  Drive around with me, run some errands.  Errands?  My typical day is spent showerless, sitting at my desk, speaking baby-talk to my dog, punctuating all this with a stab at writing.  Okay, those are my "writing days."  The rest are spent, exploring.  Sitting in cafes, certainly.  Grocery shopping.  I spend a lot of time in book stores and food markets.  "I can go with you to the market," Ed offers.  But I don’t want to go without The Suitor, who refuses to be photographed, declaring, "This isn’t about me.  It’s about you."   

"Well you’re not watching me work out," I told Ed, imagining what I’d look like with my hair pulled taught, bits of frizz pulling up, my face the color of fig jam.  Instead of watching me pump iron, he witnessed me break a sweat while pumping gas. 

20060509klein1"Oh God, are you really going to photograph this?"
"Why not?"
"I mean what does it say?"
"It says your car needed some gas."  I think too much.  Up until this point, I haven’t filled up a tank of gas since high school.  I explain this to him in a green tone as I slide my credit card into the gas dispenser, lifting the pump.  This is the embarrassing bit.  It’s a new car– "pre-owned," I tell him, "not used"–and I haven’t learned how to unlock this twisting feature on the gas tank.  It’s locked.  "Oh dear," I say, pump in one hand, twisting in the other, "this is more challenging than sex."  I cannot unlock the chastity belt
"Let me help you out," he says, "it will be our little secret."  He then fiddled with my hole and pulled the cap fresh off. 
"Thank you," I exhaled.  Then we climbed back into the car and plugged our way up a hill, slowly, behind a garbage truck.  "Now this is so my life," I said, "stuck behind a garbage truck.  Right here, in this moment."  And despite what any of our lives are, I think we all feel this way.  Or at least it’s easy to say we do.




  1. What a cute article!! Hopefully you'll be able to revive network television shows with your new one, who knows?

  2. I read the article in the EN and thought I'd come check your blog out. I am a blogger in San Antonio, but I blog about public relations and writing, versus my life. Welcome to Texas, and the Texas blogging community, as it is. If you ever come to San Antonio, drop me a line.

  3. Hello to you, from a fellow San Antonion. I was actually trying to catch up on some current local events this morning on (part of my morning routine) when I came upon this article @ your blog. Well curiosity killed the cat, and I'm the cat… here I am. I have to admit this is my first time (regarding blogs that is) & I'm hooked to yours already!!! Hope you love San Antonio as much as we do here and don't forget that WE LOVE OUR SPURS!!! OH I ALMOST FORGOT, for some great shopping stop by "La Cantera".

  4. Now I wonder if an outspoken, politically conservative Christian who also happens to be a black woman and doesn't write about sex could find such writing success? I doubt it, but I must say, Stephanie, I'm genuinely glad so many good things are happening for you.

  5. Welcome to Texas! Just found your blog through the E-N and can't read it fast enough!

  6. hi stephanie… i live in san antonio, and, like you, i also came here on an informed whim from the northeast. i know a lot about this city and its "connections" with Austin. perhaps you would like to share thoughts both openly on your site and otherwise more privately, because you seem like an interesting, highly sensual, woman, exploring the intricacies of life and the vicissitudes of nature, at the same time as being open to being under the covers of urban design, the poetics of music and culture, and the elegance of skin. michael

  7. Are you through with being excited? Or do you still get goosey every time you read another Klein article?

    Also, any chance of getting a sneak peak at the book tour locations?

  8. I love your top in the photo. I enjoy reading your blogs as much as checking out your clothes!

  9. Three observations:

    1) Really like the photos.

    2) "… her blog readers made the transition with her — cursing the movers who arrived late, salivating over her discovery of whipped honey and holding their breath as the New Yorker got behind the wheel for the first time since high school." Pa-lease!! Jeesh.

    3) His last name is Beer? That's awesome.

  10. If only my days could be about food markets and writing instead of scrounging for money and dodging evil-spirited males.

    I'm working on the hard work part.

    I hope you realize how lucky you are.

  11. I have been reading your blog for about a year now and was so excited to hear of your moving to Texas, my home state, but now, I'm even more excited to see that you made it to my city newspaper!! I'm a San Antonio girl, born and raised. You have to come down to San Antonio soon. You just missed the big city party, Fiesta, but there's still much to see! If you want ideas for places to eat or things to see, let me know! I'll be glad to offer my suggestions!

  12. Congrats! Cute article :-)

    You're just making me miss Texas more and more- raised in Houston, now stuck in Southern California (yes, stuck!)

    You'll love San Antonio, too!

  13. I see you're still fashioning scarves into shirts. Nice to live in a climate that allows that. I agree with previous commenters: Austin looks good on you.

    Congrats on all your success and I hope it keeps on coming, because I love your writing and will devour anything with your name on it.

  14. You've had your car for a minute, and you're just now filling up? That's some damn good gas mileage. For real.

  15. My goodness, I had no idea how many of us San Antonians read your blog. I'm also an SA girl, born and raised and I've been reading your blog for about a year. I saw the article in the E-N this morning and, since it was very early, had to pause…I thought for a moment I was reading blogs online instead of the newspaper when I saw your name.
    Anyway, welcome to TX. Like everyone has said, you really have to come to San Antonio. It is a beautiful, wonderful city and I have worked at a bar/restaurant on the River for years and have rarely heard a negative word spoken of this city from any of the thousands of out-of-towners who come here.
    And yes, we love our Spurs!!

  16. San Antonio…location of my first car accident. Woohoo.
    Great city though, you'll love it!

  17. So you'll become Stephanie Beer? Or will you keep your last name?

  18. welcome to texas, stephanie!!! wish we'd had more rain this winter so the bluebonnets would be out….maybe next year. add me to the list of those telling you to visit san antonio. read the article in the E-N this morning and have spent hours now reading your blog…not a very productive day but certainly more pleasant than most. can't wait for DD to get home from school…typical teenager constantly moaning and groaning about how much she hates texas and wants to graduate and move to nyc…blah blah blah……she'll freak when she reads about you doing the opposite. love it!!!
    Now come visit us: just point that car south on I-35 for about 45 minutes or so…..

  19. I heart your life Stephanie–sounds fantastic–and I love the article and pics :)

  20. Wow Steph! Congratulations on your NBC deal! That’s great and I hope it takes off! It’s amazing how you started off—from blogging to becoming a well known writer and for NBC no less. There’s great things coming your way and I hope you enjoy every moment of it.

    There’s a lot to be said for doing what you absolutely love. It’s rare! I also think it’s admirable that you’re so open and honest about your life.

    I’ve seen some comments in here throughout the months I have been reading you that were nice, interesting, and well, some very insulting. You took everything with a grain of salt, and never showed a bit of anger. Yes, you do have a thick skin, but above all, you have a deeper knowledge of how the human brain works; how people react when someone makes it big.

    It’s so refreshing to see that your blogging really hit it big! Gives us little bloggers a bit of hope. And, was I reading this correctly?—–You met your fiancé through blogging? I didn’t know this!

    Anyway, good luck with everything. You must be so thrilled right now. My girlfriend and I will continue to read your blog and we’re waiting for that book release!


  21. One more question… When NBC comes out with your show, will it reveal the entire depth of what you went through? And…if you can tell this…who will be playing 'you'? Or is that a big secret?

  22. I've been behind a two-legged garbage truck. Left all his crap over a year ago. At least he took the flies. And flew. You have no idea how much I love your writing and how happy I am for your success. This New Yorkette never stopped reading your blog. And really, I'm also always stuck behind a real garbage truck.

  23. Loved the article. You look wonderful. I think Bobette was right and you have that glow…

  24. I'm lovin' it (in a completely non-McDonald's kind of way). ;-) As a native Texan, current Angeleno and long-time reader, I couldn't be happier for these developments in your life, nor more excited to read about your Austin adventures. It makes me homesick in a ridiculous way, meanwhile making me proud that while you're gaining new fans in Texas, I've been around for the long haul. :) Silly, I know.

    All my best to you and Phil, and I very much hope to have the chance to buy you a Mexican Martini (which I hope you've discovered) when I return to Austin in a few years. :) In the meantime, be well and enjoy!

  25. Aaahh. So THIS is how you expand your blog audience. All I have to do is get a big-city reporter to write about me. But then I'm gonna need a book deal…and a TV show…and another book deal…aah the hell with it.

  26. I am keeping my name, as loverly as his is. I was born a Klein. People forget that, I think. I was born a Klein. Why would I change it? "Because I want my children to share my last name," woman say. I was one of those women, once. Then, after all that I've been through… well, fuck that noise. I'm a Klein. Always. You change enough during marriage, compromising, growing. The name stays. So does my "K" embroidered chair.

  27. Steph-

    I check your site when I have the time. Unbelievable! Its nice to find something fantastic to read once in awhile. Keep up the good work!
    -Your Iowa Admirer

  28. Figures you bought a Beemer or a Benz.


  29. Hi Stephanie, Hope Texas is going great, I just wondered after reading the article attached to this post, will you be visiting the UK at all on a book tour??

  30. yay, stephanie!!! did you see Kristin Armstrong (lance's ex) on Oprah today….she was talking about the some of the same things…well, she didn't say "fuck that noise" but maybe she wanted to.
    and yes, Klein is a lovely name. the town I grew up in in Ohio had a wonderful downtown department store called Klein's (wistful shopping memories)….god, this makes me sound old, it was back in the days before everything was owned by Macy's and Dillard's and one or two other conglomerates…

  31. Im guessing that you purchased either a VW or a Volvo. And kudos to you, on the keeping of the last name, although I agree; the Suitors is very cool. The glimpse of the engagement ring was nice in the picture, Stephanie, am I correct in recalling that it was your mothers? And may we see a closer picture of it sometime?

  32. "Fill my hole" seemed too obvious. "Fill 'er up," better.

    I WILL be in the UK for book tour. I'll also be in Elle UK magazine (so look for that). I adore London, and really all I want to bring back is an umbrella with the umberjack (ah, union jack) on it. Lofty goals, I know. Love being in a foreign country where I mostly know the language, so England is swell for that.

  33. Ha, the though of being followed around for the day? Hmmm, I'd either bore him to death or be such a dork he'd wonder how I have any friends at all;)

    Great article, though!

  34. Hey, texanita: are you by chance from Newark, OH? I remember getting my ears pierced at Klein's in downtown Newark. Don't remember if there was one Klein's or many.

  35. Welcome to Texas, Stephanie! I've been enjoying your blog since I read about it in the NY Times and was pleased to see that you made it to Austin. I read the E-N article this week and agreed with most of it, though I think Greek Tragedy is much more inventive and better written than anything that happens on reality TV. Just remember that grackles drop on the just and the unjust, but they're city birds, so you can find respite if you go further into the Hill Country.

    Mick in Boerne

  36. Great news to hear you will be over here in London at some point – if you need any help checking out the local sights/sites (what can i say i'm an archshetect) i'd love to paint the town with you. I hate being one of the squillions who religiously check up on you but i am and have been since reading about you in the Independent a couple of years ago. You are my elevenses and sometimes even my afternoon tea – be proud!
    Email me!

  37. That's one fantastic article — I religiously read your blog and am so happy for you, your new life and all your success! Much deserved.

  38. I can't imagine not having pumped gas or driven in that long. Of course, I can't imagine having lived in New York either ; )

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