Thursday, March 31, 2011

Caged Trees

I know why the caged tree sings.  (Wait, What?)  We've had to cage our trees.  Our wild-child Dooley started attacking our saucer magnolia tree; she goes after the branches and rips them off.  She then brings the branches into the house through the doggie door.  She's already almost stripped one tree in our backyard, and so I caged the magnolia tree to protect it from Dooley's attacks.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Marriage Matters

I have a cousin who is one year older than I am. Even though for two years his younger brother was my roommate in college, and even though we’re planning a vacation around his older sister and her family this spring, and even though I adore his mother- I do not know him very well. We don’t have an intimate relationship, but I keep up with him through the family network, and like all my family members I love him.  I haven’t spoken to him in a very long time, but I’ve been thinking about him all week…

My cousin, who served multiple tours in Iraq, met the "love of his life" a few years ago. My cousin and his great love had a hectic situation since both of them have (spectacular!) children from their previous marriages, and careers, and college classes...but in the craziness of life they found each other and made it work. I saw them this summer with their children, and my cousin was the happiest I’d ever seen him.

This winter we learned that his great love has incurable cancer. I don’t know all the details, but I know the doctors are measuring her life expectancy in months not years. She’s taking experimental treatments, and the whole family has hope!

My cousin and his great love must have decided what they wanted from the time they were given is to be married to each other. Last weekend they realized their dream, and had (according to my parents and brother) a beautiful wedding ceremony and reception. Their story reminds me of the power of marriage.

I want the same thing that my cousin wants; the point of the blog is to prove that we’re just like any other couple, and this is just another example. Although my cousin and his great love and I and my great love are living in different timelines (cancer is not kind) before our time runs out I want to be (legally) married to my great love too. I don’t want a domestic partnership. I don’t want a civil union. I want marriage. Marriage is a powerful thing. Why is that so hard for the world to understand?
Please send loving thoughts/prayers/energy to my cousin and his new wife.  Their situation reminds me that no one is promised tomorrow, but we have today.  We have to get the most out of this moment because that's all we are guaranteed.  I've been thinking about my cousin all week, and I'm so happy that today he has his beautiful wife and a chance to make the most out of each moment.  Their story inspires me to make life count more!

Monday, March 28, 2011

We've Got Grass!

The previous owners of our house had a love affair with Asian jasmine ground cover; they put that stuff in every possible location.  We finally got rid of the ground cover in the inner circle of our drive way, and I think it's really improved the curb appeal of our house.  I love our home!  Hooray for grass!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I want to know...

...Is it strange that while pulling weeds out of our Saint Augustine grass I felt inspired to stack some of my old lawn chairs to create yard art? I did.  It was fun.  I even called my husband out to take photos of me sitting with Trigger and Dooley in that front blue chair.  It was a masterpiece.


Today for lunch we had the following:
  • Grilled BBQ chicken, which was marinated in mesquite-lime sauce
  • Curry couscous
  • Mixed green salad with tomatoes, bell peppers and jalapeno BBQ ranch dressing
  • Grilled jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon
It was incredible!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Earth Saving Shoes: A Better Shoe

This past Christmas I was gifted a pair of Simple Shoes.  These are shoes that I would not have previously purchased on my own, but after a few months of road-testing this gift I will for sure purchase another pair of Simple Shoes.

These shoes are stylish and comfortable, but the best part is the story behind the shoes.  This shoe is equal to any of my other shoes in stylishness and wearability, but it's a superior product because of its gentle impact on the earth.

Can any of your shoes say this:

"Organic Cotton sneaker with certified organic cotton, no animal products or even animal byproducts were used on the shoes.  The sole of the shoe is biodegradable! The Eco-Pure additive makes the EVA and rubber biodegrade in 20 years in a landfill or compost heap. Water based glue is used to hold the shoe together, not petroleum based- just another way to reduce our dependence on petroleum, and it also means no nasty smelling glue for the people who put your shoes together. The foot form inserts are made of post consumer recycled paper, and the shoebox made of post-consumer recycled paper, soy based printing ink, natural latex and starch based glue." 

I encourage you to to road test a pair of Simple Shoes!   They are affordable, comfortable, and biodegradable. What's not to love?!

Colorado, I love you!

Have you heard the news from Colorado?  Senate Bill 172--sponsored by Denver Democrat Pat Steadman--would "authorize any 2 unmarried adults, regardless of gender, to enter into a civil union" that would ensure them eligibility for public assistance benefits, rights to visit one another in a correctional facility, and the ability to inherit property, among other rights.

This gets us one step closer to equal rights.  I'm very excited. 

And to show my support and appreciation for the state I can't wait to plan our next ski trip in Colorado.  I feel foolish that we went skiing in Utah this year, a state that bans any legal recognition of same-sex couples.  We have a choice of where we spend our hard-earned dollars, and I want to spend them in states that are supportive of the rights of the minorities!  Of course, our home state of Texas isn't supportive of our rights, but we're here to change that...we're living our glorious gay days in Texas in hopes of changing our state... 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Death to the Dirt

Dooley is fearless.  She successfully killed this menacing bag of potting soil before it had a chance to attack us.  I feel so safe having a 16 pound attack dog patrolling our house and yard.   Beware inanimate objects of the world- Dooley will harm you before you harm us.


This is a news headline I don't like reading in 2011:

"Man Fired from LDS Church For Refusing to Give Up Gay Friends"

You can read it here.

The New Idyllic Family?

Have you seen a Brooks Brothers catalog lately?  Go find one. They are exceptional. The catalog is full of idyllic American families: the distinguished husband, the beautiful wife, and a son and daughter.  It's actually very fun to look at their family portrait-like photos in the catalogs.  I wonder if Brooks Brothers will ever project the idyllic American family that includes two distinguished husbands, no wife, a son and daughter?   If so, when?  This year? Ten years? Twenty years?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


We've been talking about visiting our family in Georgia for years, we've been planning this visit to Georgia for months, and now in less than two months we will be in Georgia.  My husband has traveled the world, but this will be my first time to leave the Americas.  I'm a reverse Christopher Columbus- I am excited about discovering the old world.  I'm really looking forward to experiencing life as my cousin Sarah and her crew know it, but now I'm starting to feel a little overwhelmed.  Our work and home schedule is booked pretty solid until we leave for the trip in May.  Yikes!  I love an adventure!

Open Letter

Dear Oprah,

You don't know me, but I know you and the vehicle that brings you into my home each day is ending.  This is it.  This is the final season of your show- the most influential television show in my life is ending in a few months.

I have to let you know that I do not approve of this second week of Oprah Winfrey Show repeats.  I need all new shows until the very end.  Finish strong, and I will miss you when you're gone.   



Boat Ride

My husband's father took us on a boat ride this weekend.  French bulldogs cannot really swim so I kept Dooley tethered to one of us- just in case- it was her first boat ride.  Trigger loves to lean out the side of the boat and smell the world.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


I received several emails and a few phone calls in response to last week's post: Defeated. My husband's mother emailed me from her Hawaii vacation.  My father called to tell me it's really simple and the next time we get the chance he will give me a lesson.  Beverly, with her subtle humor, asked if I checked to see if had gas and then she reminded me if I couldn't get the blower started, then a broom will also work to clear off the back porch! 

On Friday, when my husband returned home from his business trip he went out back and with two quick jerks he started the blower and cleaned the back porch.  (I watched him with both appreciative and jealous eyes.)  He then labeled the blower switch "on" and "off" appropriately. Tonight, on the eve of another business trip, we had a how-to-start-the-blower lesson on our back porch, which included a bonus lesson on how a carburetor works and why you need a choke.  The lesson could not have been more successful, because I started the blower all by my big self.  (Insert applause here.) I am, once again, a champion!  Thank you Honey! 

Honestly, I could feel my self-esteem improve when I started the blower. As ridiculous as that sounds.  It is true.

Last week, in desperation, I was thinking about using a blow drier to get rid of those leaves, but this week I'll be firing up the leaf blower every single night and clearing off the back porch. That leaf blower will not defeat me again.  Boo-ya.

Swinging Along

This is an action shot of Paxten (my brother's youngest daughter) swinging at the park on Saturday.  Paxten will be one year old this week. It's very enjoyable watching her personality emerge as she gets older.  Her newest accomplishment is that she is a walker.  I expect to be able to walk, but she doesn't expect to be able to walk, which means she's happy when it works out.  You can see the thrill in her eyes as she walks to her destination- some of her steps can still be unstable- but she's a happy walker.  It makes me excited to walk when I see how happy she is to walk.

(And Paxten's mom: Please don't study this photo- I forgot to put on a bib on her before I handed her watermelon and cantaloupe slices; while feeding herself she became a fruit juice mess...and I didn't change her before we walked to the park.  Sorry!)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I have my masters degree from one of the best business schools in the universe.  I am no genius, but I'm a smart person.  I'm confident in proclaiming: I'm no dummy, BUT, regardless of my intellectual capability, I can't start the freakin' gas blower, and it makes me furious. FURIOUS.  I am reduced to the mental capacity of a baboon when I attempt to fire up the blower.

My first challenge is that I can't ever remember what's the on or off position of the switch since it has a "o" and a "l" at each end.  Why isn't it labeled "on" or "off"?!  My second challenge is that I have no freakin' idea how to use the choke.  I just pull and push on the choke in between my yanks of the pullstart in hopes of finding the correct combo.

It makes my blood pressure roar when I try to start the gas blower.  ROAR!  I want to take it and beat it against the concrete until it starts.  I want to take it and toss it into the alley and hope it gets run over by a truck.  But most of all I want it to start for me like it always starts for my husband.  I feel so defeated.  The porch will have to stay messy until my husband returns from his business trip.  I give up.  Damn you gas blower!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Glee Boys

Did you watch tonight's Glee?!  I started watching this show last fall because of the Britney Spears episode, and now I can't stop watching it!  The Blaine and Kurt storyline is especially endearing to me.  It's magical to see people like you on television (gay guys).  It's also incredible to see the world through their eyes.  It makes me think: what would life have been like if I was out and dating boys instead of girls in high school?  What if I'd had the freedom to be myself at a younger age?  I have no regrets; I'm just curious.  I like "what if" analysis.

 Life for gay guys is getting better with each generation, which is a very good thing.

Sittin' Pretty

Who's a pretty, pretty princess?  Dooley!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Lady Gaga

Our Bikram yoga studio canceled last night's 5:00 PM (public) class because Lady Gaga is in town and she wanted a private yoga class during that time.  I am not complaining because I really enjoy Lady Gaga's music and  individually she has done more to champion gay rights these past two years than any other hetero.   In fact, I am 30-year-old "Little Monster," which means if Lady Gaga wants to practice yoga on my dinning room table, then I'll happily heat our house to 105 degrees with 40% humidity.  

But I'm writing this post because I started thinking about Lady Gaga's power.  Our studio canceled their 5:00 PM class last night because she's in town and she wanted to take a private class; how many individuals have the power to do that?  It's significant. She's only 24 years old!  Only current A-list celebrities and U.S.A. Presidents could wield that much power. 

My dream for Lady Gaga is that in 30 years (when she's 54) she'll roll in to town the night before her sold out show and still have enough power to cause our studio to cancel class to serve her needs.  I really do wish this for her.    Thank you Lady Gaga for sticking up for the minority's rights! 

Itsy Bitsy Snake

If you look closely you'll see a small grass snake in the shape of the letter "J" in the middle of the above photo.  I didn't want to get any closer to take a picture. They are small harmless little snakes, but when I do yard work and one of these wiggles around me I jump and squeal like a young girl.  My reaction is uncontrollable.

My brother's dog, Cady, killed one last April in our back yard, but I feel guilty for using Cady to hunt those harmless little snakes just because they make me scream when they slither.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Face Time Surgery

This is a photo of our kitchen table post-surgery.  Dooley's belly was reacting to the dissolvable stitches left there from her hysterectomy.  My husband took her back to the vet on Friday- they said to keep an eye on it and come back on Monday if it looks worse?!  On Sunday the two spots on her belly created puss.  We were worried about our baby girl.  We had my husband's father who is also a surgeon look at her belly via the iPhone's FaceTime.  He said the two stitches had to come out in order for her spots to heal.  I held the iPhone and played the part of the camera man.  My husband (he played the part of Dr. McSteamy) held Dooley  while he followed his father's instructions: cut, squeeze, pull, clean.  It was like we were orbiting the earth and my husband's father was NASA calling out directions remotely.  In less than ten minutes the two stitches were out, the puss was removed, and our baby girl is on the road to recovery.

I was very proud of my husband and his father; they make a great team, and it was easy for the two of them to work together remotely.  My husband and his father speak their own language that does not include many words; it was very similar to when we go sailing together- I am the foreigner that cannot speak their word-less language, but it's fun to watch.


Who's a pretty, pretty girl?  Dooley found a nice spot sit and relax last night- she is sitting in my grandfather's lap.  What's interesting about my grandfather is that children and dogs adore him- they always have.  I think it's because dogs and children can feel the beautiful spirit of my grandfather.

Stir Fry-Licious

This is a picture of my father's delicious sweet and sour chicken stir-fry.  Sweet and sour chicken and grilled chicken fajitas are his two signature dishes.  In celebration of my husband's birthday, we dined on sweet and sour chicken stir fry with my parents, my aunt, and my grandparents.  My mother made her ridiculously delicious cream cheese pie for dessert.  It was a great meal.  We always love hanging out with the family.

Little White Flowers

I wish you could see this with your own eyes.  The Bradford Pear tree in my parents back yard is nothing but glorious little white blooms.  It's amazing.  I love the sudden and spectacular blooming that occurs in early spring. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Alabaster Easter Eggs

My husband gets excited over Apple products.  I get excited over Williams-Sonoma products.  Their alabaster Easter eggs are beautiful!  My mom and dad host Thanksgiving/Christmas, my brother and his wife host Christmas Eve/Fourth of July, and we host Easter lunch, which means I'm always looking for fun items to help make Easter lunch festive.  When I come home with a purchase my husband always asks questions like: "How much did you pay for that?" and "Really?" but when he saw the alabaster Easter eggs he said to me: "That's very you."

I'll take that as a compliment.  Thank you Honey.  I am a tower of multicolored beautiful stone eggs- what more could a man want in life?

iPad 2

When Dooley woke us up at 2:30 AM on Friday morning my husband went online to order the new Apple iPad 2; however, when he learned his web-ordered iPad 2, with free over-night shipping, would not ship for a few days he went and stood in line for a few hours outside the Apple store.  He has the new iPad in his hands right now...he is so excited...I think the iPad 2 might get more of his attention this weekend than I will get. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Drone Attacks

My 31 year-old husband was a kid again when he received the AR Drone as a birthday gift from his parents.  It really was fun to receive a toy as a present.  The directions suggested that you practice indoors first before you take it outside.  I had fun watching my husband practice flying the quadcopter around the house.  In retrospect I realize that having a quadcopter zooming around our house should have sounded cautionary alarms in my head, but it didn't.  I thought it was fun.  And of course it's all fun and games until someone gets my husband lost control while he was practicing and the quadcopter torpedoed into one of my favorite things- a free standing grand staircase my parents gave me when I was going through a rough patch in life.  The staircase has tremendous sentimental value to me.

Of all the cool things my husband could have broken in our house (I have lots of cool things in our house) this was the one item that had to be repaired/replaced!  My husband knew this, and once he determined that he couldn't fix the staircase he went online and bought me another one.  Since it cost him money I don't think my husband will ever lose control of quadcopter again!

Mumford and Sons

I discovered Mumford and Sons at the Grammys, and after the show I quickly went on to iTunes and downloaded their work.  We've been listening to their stuff for about a month now and we love it.  Go online and listen to The Cave and Winter Winds.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

AR Drone

My husband's parents know their son too well.  For his birthday they gave him the AR Drone, which is a quadcopter that you can control with your iPhone/iPad application.  The AR Drone has a video camera on-board that streams to your iPhone/iPad, which makes controlling it so much fun.  I wasn't expecting to be impressed with this device; over the years my husband has received many gifts that celebrate his inner geek, but this is the first one that has ignited my inner geek.  Go to their website and watch the video. How cool is that?

Duck Hunt

While we were at the lake Dooley wanted to chase the ducks.  I think it was the first time she'd ever noticed the ducks and she couldn't stop barking at them through the back windows.  Most French bulldogs cannot swim, which means Dooley does not get to run around the lake and chase ducks, but she doesn't know that and she really wants to run around the lake and chase ducks...

Happy Birthday

Last night we celebrated my husband's and my husband's father's birthday at the lake.  My husband's family makes "Granny's Chocolate Cake" for birthday celebrations and it's the most delicious sheet cake in the world.  It has a rich fudge-like icing that is flavored with Mexican vanilla.  I always thought it was just a recipe called "Granny's Chocolate Cake," but I learned last night that it is the chocolate cake that his Granny always made, which is why they call it "Granny's Chocolate Cake."

Pie Starter and Natchez Crepe Myrtles

This weekend we planted two more Natchez Crepe Myrtles in front of the house and one "Pawnee" pecan tree in the front yard.  Natchez Crepe Myrtles bloom white- and my goal is to only plant things that bloom white in the front yard.  The pecan tree will live for a hundred years and produce food!  My husband's mother calls it a pie starter.  I picked out the Pawnee pecan tree because I like the word Pawnee.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Old Leather Shoe

I walked into the bedroom and found Dooley sitting suspiciously close to a pair of my black leather shoes.  She stayed put, not moving, and followed me with her eyes the whole time I was in the room; it was as if she was waiting for me to leave the room so she could start/continue chewing on my shoes!  Our baby girl is a chewer. For the sake of our wooden furniture, I have to keep her continuously supplied with chew-toys and bones.

Of course, we are enjoying every bit of her puppy-hood.  She'll be nine months old in a few weeks...she's growing up fast.


My husband is at a business conference in Las Vegas and he emailed me this photo late last night with the subject line: "My Winnings."  Good job Honey!  At least they didn't take all your money.

Boy or Girl or Healthy

We received a form letter in the mail last week from Texas Center from Reproductive Health, and this is the most interesting sentence in the letter: "The Texas Center for Reproductive Health is expanding its services and is one of only a few reproductive centers in the nation to offer gender selection technology designed to increase the likelihood of conceiving a child of a particular gender."

Wow.  The future is here.  I had no idea this technology exists in today's world.  We've researched surrogacy and it cost anywhere from $75,000 to $100,000 for us to have a baby, and even with that hefty price tag I don't think I care about the gender of the baby.  I just want it to be healthy! It seems like it would be more important to have a test that could guarantee the baby will be healthy....maybe that technology already exists in today's world too?