Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Legend Lucy!

My sixteenth birthday present was a Jack Russell Terrier puppy. The fall prior to my 16th birthday my lab, Ginger, had died of old age. She was a great dog, but she lived outside, and this time I wanted a dog small enough that she could live in our house. However, my dad was reared on a dairy farm and he considered dogs animals and animals belong outside. In one of our many schemes, my mother and I drove to Button Top Kennel in Whitesboro, Texas to "look" at some puppies. I still remember putting all the puppies in the lawn, which instantly revealed their personalities. I picked Lucy because she was fearless. When we got back home my dad pretended to be disappointed that we came home with a puppy, but soon my dad and my brother fell in love with her too, and Lucy has been a happy member of our family ever since. I went to college and she stayed with my parents.

My parents have been in Seattle these past 8 days, and Lucy has been staying with us. It's been so much fun to have her around. She is an old dog now. Her legs are stiff. She takes pills. But, she still has that fearless personality, and I really enjoy having her in my house again.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Canadian Geese via Texas

In our neighborhood there is a little pond. It is a private little pond with houses on two sides, an enormous bamboo wall on the third side, and a low fences on a small portion of the fourth side. This low fence offers outsiders a glimpse into the happenings of the private little pond and its houses. As I'm taking Trigger on his walks I always stop and take a peak over the low fence to see what's happening.

This spring I noticed two wild Canadian geese swimming around the pond. (I love geese, because they are beautiful and they mate for life- sometimes even two male geese mate for life.) The following month after I first spotted the geese I noticed a grey puff of a bird hanging beneath their feet. Over these past two months from over the low fence I've watched this gosling grow into a geese. I especially like how the parents always keep a focused eye on Trigger when we stop. I appreciate nature because it offers us a fast-forward version of life. They mated, layed an egg, hatched a gosling, raised a gosling, and now I'm sure he'll fly away in search of his mate to start the process all over again...

And life goes on.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Celebrating Memories

Friday was a day for celebrating memories.

Friday morning we attended the memorial service for our friend and classmate, and we all tried to celebrate his life and not focus too much on the injustice of his sudden death at age 28. (Twenty-eight years is not enough.) The best tribute came from the stories told by the honorary pallbearers. It was a laughter-through-tears (Shout-out: Steel Magnolias) moment.

Friday night we attended my 10-year high school reunion. It was a tremendous success. The event was held at the one of a kind Joe T. Garcia's; we ate Mexican food with access to an open bar on an open patio with lots of old friends and fun conversations. My husband, for the first time ever, is actually looking forward to the upcoming hometown reunion. I'm connecting with old friends, and he's making news friends- my two worlds merged.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Best Sympathy Card, EVER

Carlton Cards has created the best sympathy card in the world. I found this card in Target, and I appreciated the comforting words so much that I wanted to buy the entire stock. My husband said he wasn't excited about the idea of having a stack of sympathy cards at the house waiting for people to die so we could send them out. I agreed, but this is the BEST sympathy card ever written. Read this:

We are all creatures
of this great earth-
interconnected in ways
beyond understanding.
Take elephants,
So big.
So strong.
And yet,
when a member of the herd passes,
even elephants mourn.
They gather around,
extend their trunks,
and gently touch
the tusks
of their fallen friend.
It's their ritual.
It's how they heal.
And it's sad.
And it's beautiful.

So maybe
what we're trying to say
is that the world
doesn't expect you
to be fine with this.

Be how you need to be.
Mourn how you need to mourn.

And know that
you're thought of
with love.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


I love every moment I get to spend with my niece; I adore her. On Fathers' Day Presley, the most beautiful little girl in the world, got some close-up-lovin' from Martha Fauker, the most beautiful French Bulldog in the world.

We'll Always Have Our Memories...

Friday is my ten year high school reunion.

There were 120 students in my graduating class, and of that group probably 100 of us had lived in my town our entire lives, which creates an interesting dynamic, one I later learned was unique, because we grew up together. We were friends both in elementary and high school. Graduation from high school meant that we had spent the first 17/18 years of our lives together, and now we were moving on.

I am looking forward to catching up with old friends, because, over the past decade our lives have gone in 120 different directions, and while I don't interact with my former classmates on a daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly basis, I still value our history together and on Friday I want to check-in and make sure everyone is doing well.

Sadly, one of my former classmates passed away last night, which means I won't get to check-in with him and make sure he's doing well, but at least I still have the memories of our first 18 years together. I am sad for his family.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Open Letter

Dear Neighbor,

I am happy that you're building your dream house. One day I too hope to build the house of our dreams, and when I do I won't care what the neighbors say on their blog because it will be our dream house.

Now, can we talk about proportions? You're building a 4,000+ square foot house, but only two small bedrooms are on the second floor, and you have TWO two-car garages! In addition, you have a pool and a fountain and I'm sure you'll be adding some driveways, sidewalks, and porches. Did your architect design this house for this lot OR did you force this lot to hold your designed house? Do you think it's smart to build a house that covers 90% of your lot? I wish you went more up and less out- that's all I'm saying.

Warmest Regards,


The University of Texas - McCombs

You must read what this guy has to say: Click Here

He's so convincing.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Fathers' Day

We are the sons of great fathers.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

When Bradford Pears Attack

Did you know that a Bradford pear's life expectancy is approximately 30 years, which is ridiculous when you consider, for example, that a pecan tree can live for over 300 years. I know some people adore Bradford pear trees because of their "lollipop" shape and those lovely white flowers that appear in the spring time, and I also know that not everyone has enough room to plant a more substantial, longer living, tree. However, I have never been a fan of Bradford pear trees. They are beautiful, but the grow fast and die young; they are the Marilyn Monroe of the tree world. Whereas a pecan tree is the Paul Newman of the tree world; they get better with age and they give away food.

Our first house was a 1926 bungalow and it was surrounded by one beautiful elm and two pecan trees. They were at least as old as the house and one of my favorite things to do was to listen to them sway in a hurried wind. It was such a soothing sound.

Our current house is a 1980 dream house, and while I am grateful to have two beautiful live oaks and one massive cedar, I was not thrilled about the 29 year old Bradford pear sitting outside our kitchen window, because, as you know, I am not a fan.

During the storm last week the Bradford Pear lost limbs and banged up our roof and gutters, which was expected since nowadays the branches constantly split in the high winds. It was time to fight back and take down this dying tree before the whole thing landed in my kitchen sink. My husband, the engineer, worked all day carefully taking the tree down limb by limb, and I was on the ground holding ropes, dragging away the debris, and fetching water for my talented tree-trimming husband. It was satisfying to work really hard in the hot sun together.

And don't worry, in the fall after the first freeze we will plant a new tree. Life goes on...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Liquid Seaweed - It's Magic!

After Anni graduated from UT she moved to California to attend graduate school, and she gave me her desert rose and ivy. Five years later, I still have both plants. I am most proud of my ability to take care of the desert rose. It needs lots of sun, neglected watering, and my secret ingredient: liquid seaweed. My mother-in-law is a certified Master Gardener and she first told me about the benefits of using liquid seaweed as a fertilizer; it's organic and plants love it. Go to an organic nursery or order it off the internets (I can't find it at Home Depot or Lowe's) and feed your favorite plants every two weeks according to the directions on the liquid seaweed bottle and you'll be amazed at the results.

I find great satisfaction is making my part of the world as beautiful as possible.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Give the World One More Chance

Once I had a conversation about suicide with my father. I think I was in high school. I was trying to figure out then what I'm trying to figure out now: why would someone do that? At the end of the conversation my father, who normally ends conversations with lots of humor, became serious. My father made me promise to him that if I ever felt the need to take my own life, then I had to first shoot myself in the foot, and after my foot healed if I still reached the same conclusion, then I could go ahead and take my own life.

I can remember thinking it was weird that he really wanted me to promise such a foolish thing. I wasn't going to kill myself, but I agreed to his request. "Yes, dad, I promise to shoot myself in the foot first, and after my foot heals if I want I can shoot myself for real."

Today I see the wisdom in my father's logic, and I appreciate my father's advice more today than when it was first given.

The truth is that we all have our own inner demons. Life includes some painful, heart breaking very low moments. We've all been tired, sad, and lonely. Everyone's pain is the same; we've all suffered loss and disappointment. What my father was really telling me is to not exit earth when you're at a low point- if you're thinking about killing yourself it must be at a low point- and he knew that a bullet in the foot would sound an alarm and give your friends and family one more chance to pull you up out of the hole.

If you're ever at the lowest of low points and you're ready to quit life, then just give the world one more chance to remind you that low points cannot last forever and happiness is just down the road.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

In search of peace.

My Uncle's first significant boyfriend was Kendall. We enjoyed him so much and we called him "Aunt Kendall" as a term of endearment and to prove that we claimed him as ours. After a few years my Uncle and Aunt Kendall decided that they were better as friends than as partners. Both my Uncle and Aunt Kendall moved on and found new love, but they remained close friends. (They lived in the same neighborhood.) We remained connected to Aunt Kendall too. We would take a couples trip to L.A. every June with my Uncle & Tom, Aunt Kendall & his boyfriend to visit Del & Jason and all our other L.A. friends. This was the first year in many that we did not have a June L.A. couples trip planned.

Last month Aunt Kendall sent me an email and it said, simply: "Reminder that Aunt Kendall loves and misses you."

On Friday, Aunt Kendall hung himself with his belt in his bedroom closet. He did not leave a note.

I haven't be able to process this event fully. I am in shock. I am confused. I am sad. It is hard to accept that my worldly relationship with Aunt Kendall has ended. I won't see him any more. I won't get to hang out with him again. I won't get to hear his stories told in his Mississippi accent again. He is gone. Aunt Kendall is gone, and he left behind all his friends and family that loved him so much.

Reminder that we love and miss you too Aunt Kendall.

Terminal vs. Terminal

Since our email goes to our phones it's easy to reply at a rapid pace. On Friday my mother, brother, husband, and I had an active back and forth reply-all email exchange. After everyone harassed my mother for sending out a reply-all on where they ate lunch her zinger of a response was that she asked if anyone was working today, because it seemed like we were just playing on email. (This was her attempt at humor. (I know, I know...))

I was away from my desk, but when I saw the email come through I replied with an exact update of what I was doing; similar to her exact update on where they ate for lunch. I reported that I was at the Bloomberg terminal and my husband was in the air headed back to Dallas.

Fast forward to after five on Friday, and on the phone my mother starts asking me about the airport, yadda, yadda, yadda. I was confused. "Mom, I'm headed home from work and I'm not at the airport. My husband either uses long term parking or gets a car service." I told her over the phone. She then asked why was I at the airport today? Again, I didn't understand. I had forgotten about my frivolous reply earlier in the day. She then reminds me that I was at the Bloomberg terminal and Kevin was in the air. I started laughing.

You see folks, what we have here is a failure to communicate. I always assume that if I know something, then everyone else must know it too. Today, my mother knows that a Bloomberg terminal has nothing to do with an airport terminal.

It's nice to learn something new every day, don't you agree?

And, btw, both my mother and father recomend eating at La Cubanita for lunch!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My Darling Dooley

Tonight I was in the same room with Dooley for almost two hours, and it was fantastic! I was so excited that I came home and took pictures of my pictures of Dooley and me to post here.

If you think about it, good friends are miracles. Think of all the people you encounter in your life- you meet so many people, but only a few become really good quality lasting friends. It's nice to have a good friend. I feel like I have many. Life is good.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

A Loaded Question

This weekend at the shooting range a high school kid was our main attendant (?) I don't really know what to call him, but he was to a shooting range what a caddy is to a golf course. He had a ton of knowledge about any and all things gun related, and it was obvious he enjoyed his job. We actually didn't require much attention from our attendant, because my friends are impressive when it comes to shooting clay pigeons with their shot guns. I am not. I struggled with Nintendo's Duck Hunt growing up, and I didn't even try to compete with the guys this weekend. So this kid left us alone for most of the morning- until we brought out the grease gun.

In between rounds we made small talk. We learned that he wanted to go to the military after high school, which I think is a perfect fit, because I want a guy that loves guns to defend our country.

At one point the two of us had this exchange:

"Why do you carry a loaded handgun?" I asked because all morning I'd noticed the gun tucked into the back of his jeans.

"It's in case I have to shoot someone..." he replied, paused, and then continued "...in case a black person shows up."

He said those words, and then looked at me with a smile. My brain was frozen. I kept replaying his comment in my mind, because I was so shocked at his words I assumed he must had said something else?! After my mind confirmed that he did in fact make a joke, in 2009, about shooting a black person I became extremely annoyed and disappointed.

I wanted to ask him what he'd do if a gay guy showed up? Would he shoot me too? I wanted to educate him on the ignorance of his statement. I wanted to, but I didn't. We were at his shooting range. He had a loaded hand gun, and nothing I said would do anything to wipe away such stupidity. I just looked at him without a smile until he looked away, and then I walked away.

I can't stop thinking about my question and his answer. I was shocked when I read The Help and how they treated their black maids in 1963, but this is 2009. This is a high school kid. He was born in the mid-1990's. He's never lived in a time when this was acceptable. We have a black president. We have a black supreme court justice. We have Tiger, Beyonce, and Oprah. I am so disappointed that, clearly, cultural racism still exist in my beloved Texas. I am disappointed and annoyed.

My only hope is that he did not use the forbidden "n" word, which means small town Texas is at least headed out of the darkness. He knew enough to say "black person" instead of the "n" word.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dolly at Arkey Blue's Silver Dollar Bar

I love Dolly. I was excited to see her at Arkey Blue's Silver Dollar Bar in Bandera, Texas.

Bachelor Party at the Ranch

One of my great friends, Clint, is getting married this summer to Julie, and to celebrate the occasion thirteen of his friends spent the weekend at a guest ranch outside Bandera, Texas. It was a fantastic male-bonding weekend; it's always amuzing to me how straight guys hang out when they leave the girlfriends and wives behind. I was the only gay guy in the group and it was, as it should be in a perfect world, no big deal at all.

We met up in Austin and consolidated trucks for the road trip to the ranch. We stopped in Luckenbach, Texas, we went to many honky-tonk bars at night, shot guns in the morning, hung out by the pool, played an epic water volleyball game, ate lots of meat and Tex-Mex food, and drank lots of cold frosty beverages.

I enjoyed hanging out with all the guys, and I was especially thankful to have quality time with Clint and Ted, because I love those guys and we don't hang out enough.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Mushrooms Are Beautiful too

Chris and Julia live in Australia and vacation in New Zealand. They took these photos on their last vacation and it caused me to say for the first time in my life: "Those mushrooms are pretty!" In Texas our mushrooms are white and brown, but these look like something Walt Disney would create. It's important to find beauty in life.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sending Love and Peace

PARIS, France (CNN) -- The jet carrying 228 people from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, that disappeared overnight as it entered an area of strong turbulence probably crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, the CEO of Air France said Monday.

I must pause. And send love and peace to the families of passengers and crew on the jet that crashed last night somewhere over the sea. My husband gets on a jet, weekly, for work and the thought of crashing jets makes me very sad. This reminds me to enjoy every moment of my life, because you never know...

I love you honey.