Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Thangs 'bout Texas

Beaumont to El Paso: 742 miles. Beaumont to Chicago: 770 miles. El Paso is closer to California than to Dallas. World's first rodeo was in Pecos... July 4, 1883.

The Flagship Hotel in Galveston is the only hotel in North America built over water.

The Heisman Trophy was named after John William Heisman who was the first full time coach for Rice University in Houston.

Brazoria County has more species of birds than any other area in North America.

Aransas Wildlife Refuge is the winter home of North America's only remaining flock of whooping cranes.

Jalapeno jelly originated in Lake Jackson in 1978.

The worst natural disaster in U.S. history was in 1900 caused by a hurricane in which over 8000 lives were lost on Galveston Island.

The first word spoken from the moon, July 20, 1969, was "Houston.."

King Ranch is larger than Rhode Island.

Tropical Storm Claudette brought a U.S. rainfall record of 43" in 24 hours in and around Alvin in July 1979.

Texas is the only state to enter the U.S. by TREATY, instead of by annexation. (This allows the Texas flag to fly at the same height as the US flag.)

A Live Oak tree near Fulton is estimated to be 1500 years old.

Caddo Lake is the only natural lake in the state.

Dr Pepper was invented in Waco in 1885. There is no period after Dr in Dr Pepper.

Texas has had six capital cities:.
1. Washington-on-the-Brazos
2. Harrisburg
3. Galveston
4. Velasco
5. West Columbia
6. Austin The Capitol Dome in Austin is the only dome in the U.S. which is taller than the

Capitol Building in Washington D.C. (by 7 feet).

The name Texas comes from the Hasini Indian word "tejas" meaning friends.

Tejas is not Spanish for Texas.

The State animal is the Armadillo. (An interesting bit of trivia about the armadillo is they always have four babies! They have one egg which splits Into four and they either have four males or four females.

The first domed stadium in the U.S. was the Astrodome in Houston.

Monday, June 19, 2006


Yesterday was Father's Day as we all know.

It's such a bittersweet day for me. As I revel in the sweet melodic memories of watching My Two Princesses bond with Their Daddy, I can't shake the void of My Own Father.

I struggle daily knowing he's not here on Earth with me anymore. It's an especially hard struggle on days such as Thanksgiving - our family's favorite holiday. It was the only day of the year my parents, brother and I sat down together as a family for a meal. We were always in a hurry to eat so we can watch the Cowboys play.

I miss Daddy on his birthday. It even landed on Thanksgiving sometimes.

I miss Daddy on Veterans Day and Memorial Day. He was a 30 year career soldier in the Army. Damned fine one at that.

I miss Daddy every holiday with my children because I grieve the potential. I wish he could've seen me and My Husband get married. I wanted him to give me away and share the father-daughter dance. I grieve that he won't be around to see My Girls learn to ride a bike, get a crush on a boy, graduate high school, get married. He won't be here to be a great grandfather. He isn't here to share his lap and read a story to them.

He barely lived long enough to meet My Eldest. He will never meet My Little One.

I hate cancer.

Hi Daddy,

I feel you with me all the time. You say hello to me at all the important times and the not so important times because I find pennies and see red cardinals. We even found a little plastic toy soldier at the lake where your ashes melted into the waters where you fished. I know your spirit resides in My Girls....and we will forever be touched by you. But I really long to touch those rough hands so tan from golfing. I miss playing Hollywood Gin with you and hearing you say, "incisions, incisions". The days at the Saddle Bronc fryin' catfish and hushpuppies, singing old country songs with one of your buddies who is sitting on the old tractor pickin' guitar. Yeah. Sure miss you, Daddy.

Love you <---------this much----------->
~Juliette Bravo

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Freeing Waters that Bind

Now, I don't consider myself the "preachy type", and I generally am not "religious". I'm more "spiritual". But, I have to share how absolutely bonded I feel to my children in a unique way. You see, My Little One was baptized on Saturday. Three months to the day she was delivered, she was saved. With that event, a perfect body of water will constantly flow between My Girls and me.

We are a Roman Catholic family. So, when sharing stories about My Little One (or My Eldest) being baptized at this young infant stage of life, non-Catholics look at us funny. Yes, that "infant" baptism that non-Catholics don't understand, or take the time to understand. I can see the looks and read perfectly what they are thinking. "But has she made the personal choice? Do she really understand what's happening? Why can't she wait until she is older and can understand what salvation is?"

I grew up without religion. My parents were not church-goers, therefore we didn't practice any faith. My fuzzy memories are of occasionally going to Sunday school with neighborhood friends. No vacation Bible school. No church on the important days (Easter, get the idea). Rarely was there even a discussion about God. We didn't pray. Nope, not much about The Almighty actively engaged in my childhood home. We loved sleeping in (ahhh -- still do!) and football on Sundays (still do! Go Cowboys!).

It took me 30 years to become the Christian I am today. I was anti-Catholic when I moved to Dallas is 1997. I wasn't sure I believed in God. I wasn't sure there was A God. I used ignorant "rationale" such as it's organized religion, or I don't need to go to church to have a relationship with God or how can the Bible be the Word of God when it was written my humans?, or If in the beginning there was only Adam and Eve, how'd we get the rest of the whole world? I would be incestuous for Eve to have slept with her kids to populate the Earth.

After a long journey and revelations through significant events in my life, I joyously type the words: I received salvation this last Easter. Yes, I was baptized -- at the age of 35. Yet, in so many ways, I am still an infant in my faith journey. Do *I* understand my salvation? *I* didn't make the choice; Christ chose me. I am "older" and wish I understood more.

As My Girls grow into intelligent, critically thinking, active members of society, I expect them to question their faith. I expect them to fall away from the church. I expect them to dabble in other religions, perhaps even non-Christian faiths. Will I like it? No. Will I understand it? Yes. I am the living example of a fish flopping out of water. The freeing water.

In 2001, on St. Patrick's Day, My Eldest was baptized. She was the first infant to be baptized by full immersion at our parish. Easter, 2006, I was baptized by full immersion in our parish. June 10th, My Little One was baptized by full immersion at our parish. All of us in the same font that contains contant-flowing warm water in a life-size font shaped like a sarcophagus. We were all freed of the bondage of sin, and eternally bound by the same baptismal waters.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

ABCs of Me

ABC's of Me
*List stolen from another blogger who stole it from another blogger. Feel free to share...*

Accent – I don't really have one since I'm not "from" anywhere. I am known to talk Texan every once in a while..y'all. I do enjoy listening to accents of the world and learning how dialects are different regionally, etc.

Booze of Choice – Old Grand Dad & Coke (thanks Daddy); Long Island Iced Tea (ordered in authentic Long Island NY accent {see A}); all kinds of wines. My favorite wines currently are inexpensive and yummy: Llano Estacado Blush or Llano Reisling.

Chore I Hate – filling up the car with gas & laundry

Dog or Cat – Dogs. I am not a fan of cats.

Essential Electronics – Radio (with reception, please)

Favorite Perfume – Gio & White Shoulders I guess. I don't wear perfume often, but I've smelled many pretty ones that I'd like to try. Just don't know their names.

Gold or Silver? - Silver. Duh.

Hometown – This is always difficult to answer. The word "hometown" implies a place where one is born AND raised. Being an army brat, I cannot claim a "hometown". So, the complicated answer is: I am originally from Fairbanks, Alaska. I spent my formative years in El Paso, Texas. Currently I live in Big D. I love Texas.

Insomnia? – Mmm hmmm.

Job Title – What pays the bills is Accounts Payable Supervisor. I wear many other hats, though.
Kids? – Yes! Two beautiful daughters. My Eldest is 5 years, and My Little One is 3 months.

Living Arrangement – Currently renting a house. God willing, I (we) will be a homeowner(s) by the end of the summer.

Most-admired Trait – A trait I admire in others, or one that is admirable about me? How about an answer that covers both possible scenarios: loyalty in friendships.

Number Of Penguins In Your Bathtub - none, but there are some mermaids

Overnight Hospital Stays – Just 2 - 1 for each bambina

Phobia – spiders, especially ones that jump; and snakes. I get the willies just thinking about it.

Quote – Biblically: "Be still and know that I am God". Eleanor Roosevelt had two: "You must do the things you think you cannot do" and "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent". I am feeling very empowered now!

Religion – Roman Catholic as of Easter 2006!

Siblings – 3 half brothers

Time I Wake Up – 5:45 a.m., but I am a night owl. Morning should be against the law.

Unusual Talent/Skill – I don't think I have an unusual talent or skill~I kinda know a little about a lot.

Vegetable I Refuse to Eat – Broccoli. Ew. I almost refused to type it.

Worst Habit – Laziness and overeating.

X-rays – bitewings

Yummy Foods I Make – gringa enchiladas; homemade spaghetti sauce; queso

Zodiac Sign – Cusp Aquarius. Keep 'em guessin'!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


It has begun.
My Eldest has officially gone off the deep end with boys. Are girls that are five supposed to be so in-tune with boys? Is it possible that she is already boy cray-zee?
She talks about marrying one boy. They have plans to go on a "world tour" to Italy, Australia (and the exotic enchanted land of) Iowa. They were so convincing that at a parent-teacher conference, their teacher asked this boy's parents, "Are you guys going to Italy this summer and taking Jackie's Eldest with you?" Ha!
This Eldest Daughter of Mine goes to swimming lessons with two boys - we'll call them George and Matt (the aforementioned unknowing betrothed) - that were in her Montessori class. The three of us moms get together with or without our kids. So, I expect a certain level of interest by My Eldest in these two boys since they have been in school together for almost 2, 3 years now and have developed quite the social life between themselves. However, the interest is borderline frightening these days.....
After being dropped off at home from swimming lessons by George and his Mom, and George has left the building, My Eldest says, "Whatever am I going to do about my boyfriend?!" I'm not clear what occurred in her little brain to be so exasperated suddenly. Instead of trying to figure it out, I cut right to the chase.
I ask, "What boyfriend?"
She matter-of-factly states, "Matt and George".
I do the math and think to myself that's TWO boyfriends. "I didn't know you had a boyfriend" I reply in complete denial.
Her - "mm hmm" as she quickly departs my company and attends to her happy business slithering on the pergo around the living room in her blue and purple Speedo practicing the newly acquired swimming skill of gliding.
Both of these boys are fine suitors for My Eldest, so the issue isn't that she's hooking up with bad boys. It's the fact that she is so in-tune with romance, couplehood, marriage, yadda yadda yadda. I suppose this is preparation for what's to come later, but I'm not prepared for the preparation yet! Give me till 8 or 10 years old at least! Sheesh!
So innocent in the mind of a 5 year old. To a 35 year old, pure fright.
(Note to self: Quit projecting, Jackie.....quit projecting.)
I better go now so I can get the guns ready.

Monday, June 05, 2006



Remember that pimple I wrote about on My Eldest?

(deep breath)'s not a pimple.

(deep breath)
It's actually some weird dermatological phenomenon. The pediatrician hinted that there was a possibility of plastic surgery. Plastic surgery for a 5 year old just seemed so outer space!

My Eldest has a keen interest in medicine. I think it comes naturally to her since My Husband is an R.N., and I have a fairly extensive medical background (wannabe doctor who has failed to meet my potential). We have been blessed with a child who (thankfully) has the capacity to understand medical facts, and she uses them to assuage her fears - usually. But when you talk about surgery, that doesn't sit well with her. Or us.

Background: I was pretty pissed at the pediatrician. I called his office to get the name of a reputable dermatologist. I have a PPO - don't need that referral. The nurse encouraged me to bring in My Eldest so that the pediatrican can prescribe a cream or ointment since scheduling an appointment with a dermatologist is so hard. I hestitated, but okay, I have confidence in my daughter's pediatrician; I used to work for him. He's good.

This is how the visit went:

Dr. H.: Let's have a look.
My Eldest cocks her head accordingly. We relate the timeline of metamorphisis. Dr. H. listens intently, nodding and carefully touching the pea sized scab underneath My Eldest's right nostril.
His diagnosis: "I don't know what it is. You should see a dermatologist."

Me: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH What a F-ing waste of time and money!!! (not out loud) No idea? I ask out loud.

Dr. H.: Well I have only seen this once or twice in my life, but I *think* it's a spitz nevus (sp?). I don't know how it behaves, don't know how to treat it but sometimes they could lead to plastic surgery. It could continue to grow. Might have to have surgery to remove it.

Me: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH (not out loud) Okay, well then can you recommend a dermatologist? I ask out loud.

Dr. H. promptly gives me names and numbers of some dermatologists, and I pay my f-ing copay and get the hell out of there.

I call the dermatologist and make an appointment. The soonest is not for a month from the date of the call. A MONTH. So....let me get this child has to endure this tumor of a spit something thingie for the next month and I have to be okay with how all of this is turning out?!


Now - this is not a vanity issue. If My Eldest has a mole, or whatever on her face, that's something she will grow up with and as an adult, she can make the decision to do what she wants. My concern is that it will continue to grow and morph and the natural question is "what is the medical remifications of it?" We have to wait a month to find out.

In the meantime, My Eldest starts swimming lessons. Lo and behold the pimple that's not a pimple starts to dry out and clear up! After about 3 weeks, the scab falls off while she sleeps. It continues to diminish and of course, it's time for the dermatology appointment. We ain't got nothin. Nothin to show him. Dammit. I took pictures and considered taking them with me, but I know how obnoxious that would be.

We go to the dermatologist. What a joke. Note to self: never make an appointment with a specialist who is affiliated with a teaching hospital or medical school. I don't see the doctor; I see the resident whipping boy, Jason. Jason was a hottie soon-to-be doc that has made this excruciating ordeal just a little better for me. He was ginger with My Eldest. My Eldest methodically and matter of factly explains to *this* doctor the timeline of metamorphisis. It is obvious that my daughter and I share the same taste in men. Jason takes a look and validates us. We bat our eyes and look cute. Then the real dermatologist comes in. Get this: he's got a prescription ready and diagnoses "bullous impetigo" that is a manifestion of the staph or strep germ and typically is found in a carrier.

Do you know this doctor had the GALL to take a PERSONAL phone call from his cell phone IN THE MIDDLE OF SPEAKING TO ME about my daughters condition? He physically left the room and poor Jason stood there uncomfortably nodding and smiling at us, and eventually offers a sticker to My Eldest. I am wondering how the presciption was ready with him actually getting history from me, not viewing the area on My Eldest's lip or speaking to Jason for any length of time. Sloppy and scary.

So, the real dermatologist re-enters the room, dictates how to administer the medication and curtly answers my questions. He's too busy for us. We are but mere drivel in his mind. Disturbing is that the way he says to administer the cream isn't what is stated on his presciption. Wonder how all the other patients are doing on their mis-labeled presciptions and have nasty consequences to their various skin conditions. What a joke. Managed care is the bane of my existence.

In the end, I got my answers after a little push & shove with the real doctor, have an inaccurate prescription, and somehow find comfort in the fact that My Eldest will not need plastic surgery and she can affirmatively with authority state that she has bullous impetigo. Morever, I am comforted by the fact that Jason is a hottie soon-to-be doctor who will seemingly have a better rapport with his patient base.

Thanks Chlorine.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I want to be a black woman. There are just some things about them that I identify with, that I think I possess. It's like I was a black woman in a former life, or there's one trapped inside this caucasian skin trying to break free. For example, their curves are more accepted by all races. Black women with juicy thighs, big tits and a little junk in da trunk - long fake nails on their hands AND feet. Yeah, that stuff appeals to my unleashed ebony self.
Black men like a little meat with their potatoes if you know what I'm sayin'. I'm a curvy woman. But I'm white. Black men have hit on me back in the day, but I was always too "fat" for white men - even in my "skinny" days. (I think I'll be a black man in a later life, too.)
Black women dress snazzy. They can wear outrageous fashion, or better yet, be ethnic. As a white woman, if I dress "ethnically", I'm copying someone else because whites have no ethnicity. The Nigerian families at church wear their traditional Nigerian garb to Mass and I'm like a moth the flame. I can't keep my eyes off of them! Their stunning dark skin, those wonderful head wraps that match with the gowns they wear. Exquisite! And, to boot, THE MEN MATCH! They are also wearing the shimmery, laced, embroidered material that is the man-twin to the wife! And he feels no shame in wearing a "dress" and matching his wife. It's a wonderful cultural testament that does not exist in the white "culture".
I was embarrassed last year to ask another friend at work who is black about her undergarments., but I just couldn't help myself; I had to ask! You see, she was wearing a sheer white shirt. I wondered if she had to wear a black bra or a white bra, because does she have to consider the skin color or the bra being exposed? Or does she wear a shade of "nude" that's designed for black skin? I didn't know. She giggled at me. She is very patient with me and my "black" questions.
Another black-woman-ish attribute that I admire is their dancing. They are out there - wherever - unabashedly feeling the beat and movin' to the music. I have yet to see a black woman who can't dance. And they can make up moves like nobody's business. Now, don't get me wrong, I can break it down with the best of them, but my white a** ain't lookin' nearly as hot as the sistas. Damn! I wish I was a black woman!
I am proud to announce, that I am an official sista. Apparently there is a difference between sista and sistah. I'm not sure what it is (anyone care to explain it, feel free!), but a black friend at work dubbed me an "official sista -- without the h", he said. Is that good? This friend from work, he used to sit next to me. We talked a lot of NFL, Dallas Cowboys, etc. I said, "I just love me some Tony Dorsett", and he about fell out of his chair. After that is when I became said sista -- without the h. Guess it took guts for me to say it like that. :)
Lucious full lips, big booties, curvy thighs, attitude, confidence, fashion, weaves, words like sista -- yeah, for one day at least, I wish I was a black woman.

~Peace (two thumps with my right hand over my heart as Pointer and Tall Man make the letter V)