Friday, December 28, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Tonight, I spent 4 hours wrapping gifts. Wrapping the gifts is actually my favorite part of all the to-do's at Christmas. I enjoy matching the bows to the paper, the tissue to the bag...you get the idea. You usually won't find me using those cheap bows that you just peel the thingie off the back and stick it on the paper. Nope. I'd rather get the wire kind of ribbon and make bows, tie them around the box delicately and fluff it up. I like using different accessories instead of bows, too.
Another thing I did today is prepared three whole meals for my family. That just doesn't happen!
Breakfast: scrambled eggs, biscuits and bacon with orange juice
Lunch: pre-made pizzas that I bought from my cousin's granddaughter who had a fundraiser
Dinner: Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches (on Jewish rye!) and banana chips
Not glamorous, I know. But a good effort!
While I was wrapping gifts, I enjoyed a glass or two of Llano's Sweet Red. It's pretty much the only red wine I like. I prefer it chilled, but can drink it at room temperature, too. I ate cheezits too..... Here is a picture for ya:
So, as I raise my glass tonight, I'm toasting Y O U.
Merry Christmas Eve Eve.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
conjured this temptuous rage
created you a monster
broken by the rules of love
and fate has lead you through it
you do what you have to do
and fate has led you through it
you do what you have to do ...
and I have the sense to recognize that
I don't know how to let you go
every moment marked
with apparitions of your soul
I'm ever swiftly moving
trying to escape this desire
the yearning to be near you
I do what I have to do
the yearning to be near you
I do what I have to do
but I have the sense to recognize
that I don't know how
to let you go
I don't know how
to let you go
a glowing ember
deep within I'm shaken by the violence
of existing for only you
I know I can't be with you
I do what I have to do
I know I can't be with you
I do what I have to do
and I have sense to recognize but
I don't know how to let you go
I don't know how to let you go
I don't know how to let you go
Sunday, December 09, 2007
On a side note, related/not related. Related to the theme of Christmas but not the particular subject of the Santa picture...
My Husband and I attended his company Holiday party. Let me sum it like this: There's nothing more entertaining than to watch a Viet Namese band sing Feliz Navidad.
Thursday, December 06, 2007
Monday, December 03, 2007
Ever have one of those moments in life where you close your eyes and think, "This is a perfect moment. This is sheer perfection."? You know. The planets and the moon and stars are all aligned so that you may have this gift. And you revel in it. You dance in it. You're high-energy but suddenly time moves sooooo slowly, almost stops. You have heightened sensory awareness. Sounds, smells, feels, moods, are all burned onto your soul. And you look to the heavens, take in a deep breath and thank God for the abundance. THAT is the kind of night November 29th, 2007 was for me.
Back in February or so, My Husband's friend (who knows I love football) has season tickets to the Cowboys (I'm jealous), and he asked me to pick a game - any game - and he'd treat me to it. WOW! Later, when the schedule was released, he sent it to me and again invited me to pick a game. I review the list of games. Lots of good ones. Great rivalries like the Eagles and the Redskins (although the 'skins not so much anymore). The Jets were coming to town. Then....the shiny rock. New England!
Me: OMG -- New England is coming to town! I can GO SEE New England. I could see Tom Brady! LIVE! Yesssssss!
Myself: Keep looking. Don't let that dapper hunk o man distract you from other potential
I: Both of you shut up!
I keep perusing. Green Bay!
Me: OMG -- Green Bay is coming to town, too!! I can GO SEE Brett Favre. I can see the team which embodies NFL football! I can see a living legend in MY HOUSE!
Myself: OMG -- Favre. Brett. Brett Favre. No need to look anymore
I: Good idea. Let's go see Green Bay!
I tell My Husband's Friend that I'd like to see Green Bay. He thinks my rationale is silly, but I care not. You asked me to pick a game. THAT'S the game I want, baby.
So.....fast foward to now. Four whole days have passed since I got to see Brett Favre and the Packers. I was starry-eyed and giddy. I couldn't concentrate at work. I bragged all day about it to everyone -- anyone who would listen, really. I posted it all over my myspace page and all. So obnoxious. Why? Because it became the Game of the Year! Ten and one versus ten and one in the NFC. It was the fight for home field advantage. It was two long-standing teams with rich football traditions, battling out the lead.
I listen to sports talk radio most of the day. This game was HUGE. The Dallas media was distributing all kinds of minutae about players, where they came from. Predictions galore being made, experts rendering opinion and all kinds of speculation. Most sports figures around here agreed that Dallas was a better team (and they are, and proved it!).
One thing that was discussed just once out of all the spewing sports stuff was the halftime show. THE halftime show was a sight to behold, especially if you are a fan of the Cowboys. If you have an appreciation of the 70's teams and the 90's dynasty, THIS halftime show was designed for YOU (me). The 1977 Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl team was being honored, as well as the 15th anneversary of the 1992 Super Bowl Cowboys team. So legends such as Bill Bates, Tony Hill, Roger Staubach, Tony Dorsett, Preston Pearson, Hollywood Henderson, Ed "Too Tall" Jones, Drew Pearson were there. Also were The Triplets: Troy Aikman (dreamy sigh), Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin, along with Jay Novacek, Nate Newton, Daryl "Moose" Johnston, Coach Joe Avezzano, among other greats. They all huddled in the middle of the field on the star with their hands in the air. It was so cool. I was surrounded by so much legendary greatness!! Life could not have gotten any better.
So, here are a couple of pictures from my night at the game. Cowboys won 37-27. Brett Favre, sadly, got injured and missed most of the game. Watching his face on the jumbo screen was sad because it was painfully obvious how much he was cringing by not being in The Game of The Year.
Sunday, December 02, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
As for my other Dad (Pop), he's making good progress. His short term memory is sticking better and better. He played a couple of hands of Canasta with his oldest daughter. He's ready for some real food. He's able to sit for about five minutes with his brace on before getting dizzy and needing to lay down again. Emotionally, he'll be extremely happy and the next breath, tearful and so sad. Physical therapy occurs regularly. Dr. Pepper is his drink of choice so his doctor gave him some in a sippy cup to try to stimulate the swallowing muscles again. We are hoping that he's able to again recieve the Eucharist starting this week. My Husband visited yesterday with the social worker who indicated there has been no timeframe on when Pop will be released, but Pop has expressed a desire to be released on a day pass for Christmas. He seems more determined to sit up for a longer time and gain strength. He gets daily visitors and I believe that's helping him gain strength emotionally and physically. The silly man has episodes of being inappropriate, of course. Recently he asked one of the CNAs if she was "gonna kiss my ass when I get outta here"? My mouth dropped, and I reminded him to be nice to the people that are helping him heal.
Anyway, I'm lighting vigil candles and birthday candles today.....
Make a wish!
Monday, November 26, 2007
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
There is but one pour left to fill my crystal tonight. I think I'll not feel regretful about it....about drinking a whole bottle of wine alone tonight.
I've earned it, after all.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Life is very heavy right now.
These days, there is a lot to do . The hours in the day are not enough. I know that there will come a day that the days will stretch their weary arms and slow down, sip soup then sleep; but those days are not today.
Today is rushed.
My mind works fast. I can multi-task with the best of 'em. I can keep up with lots of stimulation.
In midst of prepping children for their day, being breadwinner, commuting, shuffling papers, meals, juggling schedules and the daily hustle and bustle, sweet gifts are delivered to me. In unlikely, unexpected times, I am reminded of how very lucky I am. When these particular moments come, I put on the brakes and breathe.
Thank you to all of you who give me life, bestow gifts and remind me to slow down.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
POP UPDATE: Pop got his trachea tube removed and is flirting with nurses.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Thursday, November 08, 2007
Tuesday, November 06, 2007
I Noticed I Have A Lot of Short or One-Word Titles, So I'm Making This One Extra Long and Action-Packed
I added music to my blog! ~~~~>
Jewel's "Break Me". An appropriate song for my current stage o'life....
Waiting to be Broken
Monday, November 05, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
I have a high school friend who sent me this fabby website. I absconded this pic from that site and decided to forever enshrine it in my blog. There are several wonderful giggles on the site, however, this one not only made me laugh, but it also made me think.....
What a concept!
Grown-down Land. *wheels a-turnin'*
You'll have to read it to get the best concept description, but here's a fun display of it:
'Tis a bit naughty isn't it? It's funny, eye-catching. I love the vintage-ness of it. And the wink! THE WINK!
There is much more to be said and explored. Have fun!
Monday, October 29, 2007
My soul is compelled to go there.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Monday, October 22, 2007
For me, I'm glad.
It suits my mood. It suits my phase of life. It suits my general affect.
The temperature has dropped, too. We've been experiencing unusually high temperatures -- mostly in the high 80's and even the low 90's sometimes. In October! It is one of the things I love about Texas....unpredictable weather.
Yesterday, we had a 90 degree day. Today, we'll be lucky to get out of the 50's.
I'm wearing a powder blue sweater, and charcoal grey pants. It feels weird to wear closed-toe shoes.
I'd love to check into a hotel room, keep the room cold and dark and burrow into the plush, pillowy bed.
I'd surely be missed. And that's a good thing. :)
Rain rhymes with pain.
Pain equals growth.
No medicine, please.
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Monday, October 15, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
My requests today:
Please wear your seatbelts!
Go the speed limit!
Pray for my family -- lift them up to the Lord and pray for God's will.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
So, here's to milestones!
Saturday, October 06, 2007
My father was in the Army. We moved from time to time. We settled in West Texas....a dusty border town called El Paso. Fort Bliss to be exact.
When I was 21, my parents empty nested. That is the last time I lived in the same town as either of my parents. They moved to Hawaii for my dad's final station, and I stayed in El Paso to learn and live life on my own.
I planted deep roots in El Paso. Lots of firsts: boyfriend, job, marriage #1, checking account, credit card. Good friends, lifelong memories all sprinkled with the border culture. My tree is part Mexican (explains my love of tortillas con manzanilla y chile).
In the mid-90's, Dad retired. He and Mom planted their roots in West Central Texas. A town called San Angelo. Dad grew up there and died there. Mom stayed there after he passed away, but has original roots in Oklahoma and California. In (as we call it in Texan) Angelo, she sprouted a new life. I was not at all surprised to see her stay in Angelo even though my brother has his family in Georgia, and I have mine here in The Big Bad City.
With her amazing green thumb, she parted the dry desert-like Earth. She provided loving nourishment resulting in her new roots strengthening. Lo and behold, a tree was born with a mighty trunk of fortitude.
Mom's widowed life evolved into bowling on five leagues, frequenting a lil bar in town, and watching a heckuvalotta TV. She got a dog affectionately named Wild Z. Chihuahua. ("Z" for short.) I never worried about her surviving after my dad died. I imagined two scenarios. One: Mom would have to leave because she is no longer able to care for herself, and the practical reason to move would be for medical necessity (and she'd leave kicking and screaming the whole way!), or two: she'd die out there on that little slice of God's Earth to which she tenderly attends.
Ten years ago, I stretched my own roots from far West Texas to Northeast Texas, specifically the Dallas area. Corporate job, new friends, marriage #2 (there aren't any more of those to report. hahaha), two new saplings (kiddos), a mortgage, yadda yadda yadda. I feel solidly planted here, but admit to feeling very much like a leaf in the wind, fluttering in the wind and breezes, trusting it will take me on adventures.
Today, a new adventure.
Today, a new tree being planted....or rather, roots aspread.
Today, a new life for me.
Today, a new life for Mom.
Our family tree continues to be sinuously writhing through Texas.
Mom has made the decision to move to The Big Bad City. We've spent the last week getting her an apartment. It's just up the street from me. My husband and kids drove four or so hours last night to Angelo, spent all day today packing and loading a UHAUL, then drove back to Dallas. Drove Mom HOME. It was about a six hour trip. UHAUL, Mom's packed car, and my packed minivan convoying HOME. Together. All. Of. Us.
Tomorrow, we unload the big orange truck. And it will be done. The Tree of Life lives on.
Everyone in my house is sleeping right now and I'm enjoying the quiet. I'm soaking in all of the goings-on, and trying to digest the events. Truthfully, it's overwhelming.
Y'know, this is a *big* move for Mom. I can't describe the magnitude. For a 68 year old fiercely independent woman, this is a concession almost. I wonder if she feels as if it's a surrender? I wonder if she feels defeated by aging? I wonder if she thinks about this the same way I do?
It's a big move for me, too. I have not been particularly close to Mom most of my life -- geographically or emotionally. I don't have that deep friendship with her that so many mothers and daughters have, although as she and I have both aged, we have fewer defenses and more commonalities. I'm trying to keep the "no expectations" rule in place, but I admit to feeling very nervous and worried. I worry that we'll have to endure a "boundaries" growing pain.
Metaphorically, trees symbolize strength, longevity and life-giving. They rarely know boundaries. Or do they? City trees do.
I am more hope-filled than fear-filled. My hope is that our roots are intertwined in harmony so that our family tree is always giving life to others around us, recieving life from those same others, and mostly creating longevity, strength, and a shady picnic spot accompanied by musical wind-played leaves to those who need it.
Photo credit: me. Taken on my wine-tasting trip to NY and PA on September 7, 2007.
Friday, October 05, 2007
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Monday, August 27, 2007
Hunter Green and Navy Blue.
Thin Red and Yellow stripes cut through the dark colors.
A matching headband.
Pressed white shirt with a peter pan collar.
New white shoes and white ruffly socks.
A backpack (re-used).
A Wonder Woman lunchbox in tow (re-used).
A young girl bravely goes into the home of the Fightin' Falcons.
Today, My Eldest started First Grade, where you "get your very own crossing guard". *chuckle* The things she gets excited about never cease to amaze me....
NO! I didn't cry. Almost I did, but I didn't. I refused to. I figure she's a big girl, so am I. We have to be big girls together in this thing called LIFE and grow up no matter how much we don't want to. *pout*
For the first time in her life, she got herself ready AND on time. I think now that the world is supposed to end, so be weary. You had warning.
Backpack firmly afixed to her shoulders and back, she kept bugging me as I was prepping for work: chop, chop, Mama. Are you ready yet? How about now? We're going to be late. Mama, c'mon!
(Somehow the roles had reversed. Yet another sign to the End of the World.)
I kept answering: I am! Almost! Not yet...I just have to fix my hair! No we aren't going to be late, silly girl. Are you excited, Love?
Smiles galore all morning and all along the drive to the school.
We listened to Jack Johnston (love him!)...the soundtrack to Curious George. On it is a song called, "We Will Be Friends" and it's about the first day of school. Very appropriate selection by her -- all on her own. No help from Mama.
So we get to school and I'm snapping photos of her in front of the school, in front of her locker then next to the sign on her classroom door that colorfully says "Welcome to First Grade". The teacher is frantic with parents and kids demanding her attention, so My Eldest and I sneak behind her and find My Eldest's desk.
My Eldest is totally stoked that you get your own locker and desks at this school, by the way.
Sitting cautiously, My Eldest looks around. She has one of those scared smiles on her face. And her already big, brown eyes are even bigger. They are screaming, WHAT THE HELL AM I DOING HERE?!
I take one picture. "Smile." I sweetly tell her. *snap*
I take a second picture. "Sugar, SMILE. A real smile, honey." She has a shit-eating grin on her face and her eyes are darting all around. It's very obvious she is nervous. And scared. And uncertain. And uncomfortable. And wondering how she got to this place called First Grade.
She tries her hardest to smile sincerely and I figure it's time for me to jet. So, I go around and hug and kiss her goodbye, then ask, "You going to be okay, Love?"
Gritting her teeth, averting my eyes and feigning a smile, she moves only her mouth and responds, "I think so".
I smile at her, kiss the top of her head and say, "you'll be fine. See you later, okay, baby?" And off I go without looking back.
I do hope she's made some friends today.....
Sunday, August 26, 2007
I met Charles at the office and we left within an hour of my arrival. We had to drive about 1.5 hours to Rockport, Texas.
We arrived at the tiny airport to find ourselves stepping over bodies sleeping, curled up and trying to rest. The people were out front, all around the back, and swarming the inside. Hurricane Dean caused some evacuations, so this day was a clear day which meant the crews return to their posts. The helicopter companies were making a killing that day!! It took all day long to get people back offshore.
The platform we were going to was what is referred to as "shut-in". That means it isn't currently working; no oil or gas is being produced. I was told that in the well file, there were only schematics and notes about why the well was shut-in, so our mission today was to take as many pictures as we could for the file. Between the new pictures and the notes, the operations folks could make decisions on how to proceed with getting the well up and running again, keeping in mind all of the regulatory considerations, the safety compliances, geographic and seismic data, etc.
Charles and I have the best conversations on our way down to Rockport. He lives in Louisiana and he was making light fun of people who don't know much about the energy industry and folks who don't know much about agriculture. We passed by some cotton fields and he said, "I just tell investors that's sugar cane. Hell, they don't know the difference." I quipped, "So, are those sugar cubes growing on those stalks?" Charles laughed and asked if he could use that line.
We get there and sign in. Ugh. Signing in gave me stress because they asked my weight. It makes sense, but how embarrassing. I was asked that not only once, but TWICE. Ugh.
I get briefed in Helicopters 101 and slip on a lifejacket, get buckled in and get some pictures taken. I was given the honor of riding up front with the pilot. On the return trip, I rode in the back (with a hottie 20-something who was a real gentleman).
The pilot gives me another crash course on helicopters, and we lift off. Very cool!! I felt my adrenaline rush and I found myself smiling, enjoying the adventure.
The bottom of the helicopter was see-through. I learned they call the front of the fuselage the "bubble". I understand why now. I was hypnotised by the scenery all around me.
We fly 53.3 miles to the platform. It's very windy, and the sea is a bit choppy. The further we fly out, the more clear and blue the water becomes. The pilot does a stellar job landing the heli on the helipad.
The helipad is nasty. It's covered in seagull crap. It smells rank. There is a rectangular opening where stairs lead downward. The helipad is about 100 feet from the surface of the ocean water. The stairs lead to a level that is 60 feet from the ocean's surface. Charles and Hottie head down the stairs without hesitation. Me, however, I look at that hole and there is no reailing to hold on to. I didn't want to sit in the shit. The pilot watched me then offered his hand to help me get started. (What a gent!) I take the first few steps holding his hand until I can grab hold of the railing that starts underneath the helipad. Once I get down those first few stairs, I'm home-free.
I start walking everywhere, taking pictures, soaking it all in. I snap pictures of the lifeboats, solar panels, gauges, a crane, shackles, a toolshed, and all kinds of other stuff. I ask a few questions here and there. The next level down is 10 feet from sea surface, then the lowest level is 6 feet above sea surface. Some waves were swallowing the 6 foot level this day.
I catch the pilot cat napping and snap a picture of him. I got the biggest giggle out of him because he wore his steel toe shoes without socks. Ew. I later learned that he is originally from British Columbia, and spent many years in Seattle. He most recently was flying helicopters fighting wildfires in Minnesota. He had been in Texas one week exactly, and he had been offshore as a passenger only a few times in that week. The excursion I took with him as our pilot was his FIRST one by himself! Glad I found that out later....
Just before takeoff, I pull out my cell phone. It's my wedding anniversary and I really wanted to share the moment with My Husband. I called him but got voicemail. In any case, we were on that platform together and it was fun!
We load back into the helicopter, and head to shore. The pilot circles around the platform a few times so that Charles can take some arials. That was pretty cool to feel the helicopter kind of sideways. The two of them chatted away and were men. The Hottie turned on his speaker and said, "hey y'all! Didjya forget there's a lady here?". I didn't mind the cussing, but I was verrrrrry flattered by Hottie's awareness and chivalry. *sigh* It's nice to know that some gentlemanliness exists in the younger generation....
We arrive back onshore, go to lunch and then Charles and I head back to the office. We get there right at 5:00 and said our goodbyes. I order a pizza, watch "Cash" and veg in the hotel that night.
I learned a lot and am very honored to have been given the chance to do this. I realize it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do it and not many people get to, so, thanks to that Ops Manager for allowing me to go! And thanks to all those special guys who treated me so nicely along the way.
Below are just a few pictures I took.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
A few years ago, we acquired some properties offshore. We've slowly built up our offshore portfolio. As a result, we have a few field offices in the Gulf of Mexico region. From Tuesday through Thursday, I flew to South Texas to train some new employees.
First day, the operations manager takes me to lunch. We B.S. about the company and swap some stories. Laugh.
Ops Mgr: So this is the first time you've EVER been allowed to travel to a field office??
Me: *nods yes*
Ops Mgr: *shakes head side to side and rolls his eyes*
Me: I did bring my boots though in case you were going to let me go out and see a well! *smile and giggle*
Ops Mgr: You did?! You've never even been on a field trip??
Me: Nope. Never.
We eat a little bit as it's quiet for a short time.
Ops Mgr: Do your boots have steel toes in 'em?
Me: *laughs* No! No...they don't. *laughs again*
We continue with our meal and just talk amongst each other. Once lunch is done, we drive back to the office so I can continue to train the new hires. About an hour later, the operations manger escorts one of the other company employees and introduces me to Charles.
Charles and I exchange handshakes and pleasantries.
Ops Mgr: Go to Academy tonight, Jackie. You're going offshore with Charles tomorrow.
Me: *holding back extreme glee* WHAT???!!!!
Ops Mgr: You need steel toes to be safety compliant. This is work related so you can expense them, too.
I'm smiling like a cheshire cat. I am doing all I can to contain my excitement and be cool.
Me: Well, COOL! How FUN! Thank you SO MUCH!!
We all go our separate ways and my mind begins to spin. Did I bring the right clothes? Tomorrow is my wedding anneversary....I hope I don't die.
As the day draws to a close, Ops Mgr invites me and Charles to his house to meet his wife and daughter. Charles and I oblige. Later we go eat at local joint that makes chicken fried steaks, pork chops, etc. I opt for salmon. Ops Mgr's wife gets a rock in her salad. And the waitress in a high-pitched mousy voice says (as she's walking away...), "Oh! I'm so sorry. Sorry 'bout that".
Charles, Ops Mgr and I discuss anything I might need to know about FLYING IN A HELICOPTER and the platform itself. Of course, safety is the first topic of conversation. Dinner wraps up and Charles and I drive to Academy to buy my steel toed shoes (which were kind of fashionable considering what they are... I mean, how fasionable can steel toes work shoes *be*??) I buy some socks because in my infitinite wisdom to pack boots in the first place, I had a hiccup in the brain and didn't bring socks. Duh.
Back at the hotel, I prep my overnight bag for "just in case".
Rewind: In the car on the way to Academy, I ask Charles, "is there anything I need to know about tomorrow?" He explains a few things, one being, that I should pack a very light overnight bag "just in case".
Me: Just in case what??
C: In case you have to stay overnight. It's unpredictable out there. Anything could happen. It's not likely, but it's still possible.
(play foreshadowing music here)
C: So gitchyer toothbrush and that kinda thang and you'll be jes fine.
Fast Forward (I always misspell forward. I always spell it foward instead of forward. Every time I have to backspace and retype it. Sheesh. I digress.) back to the hotel.
I've been given safety glasses, hardhat and now I have my shoes. I feel official.
I have a hard time sleeping because I'm so excited.
Part One is ending now. I'm sleepy. And hungry. And if I don't go to sleep now, I'll eat. And I don't want to eat.