Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Annual Santa Picture (2008)

I'm a little late in getting these posted. I posted My Little One's picture, but here is the one of My Eldest with Santa:





Santa said to her: You got all dressed up for me?!

She demurely smiled and nodded.

Isn't she stunning? I'm so proud of her -- all the time.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Egocentric

"That's just your ego, trying to make sure it stays in charge. This is what your ego *does*. It keeps you feeling separate, keeps you with a sense of duality, tries to convince you that you're flawed and broken and alone instead of whole." ~Richard from Texas as written by Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love.

I'm reading (slowly) Eat, Pray, Love. (By the by, I highly recommend this book to any woman.)

It was first recommended to me by KB Dallas. Then, about six or eight months later, HRH KP recommended it.

I travelled to see RR in Seattle in August and finally, I bought it. For her. As a birthday gift.

We took a trip to see Tommy and along the way, I read it aloud as we drove. It was rather romantic and chickie, really. I'd never done anything like that before.

As a result of the little snippets of chapters we read, we resigned ourselves to buying mala beads. I bought RR some for her birthday to match the book. I hope she's using them prayerfully.

Anyway, the opening quote to this blog is resonating within my soul.
So much of this book is the Jackie inside me that is afraid to say out loud that which needs to be said aloud. I am indentifying too eerily with this book. I'm not usually moved by the written word, but this book is definitely stirring my emotions, inciting some sort of internal skirmish. I suppose that's why it's taking me so long to read it. I have to take it in small doses. Otherwise, I feel crazy. Feeling crazy is not a good feeling.

My ego is out of control. When I was in OA, my ego hated me. When I was in OA, my ego was tamed and knew it's place -- I controlled it; it didn't control me.

Now the ego is back. Bigger and badder than ever, it's back!

So now, me and my ego are battling. I will defeat it. I will be healthy again. I will keep my health for the rest of my life.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Nutcrackers and Such....


My Little One was snuggling with Santa.

She asked him for a Nutcracker. A red one.

The first time she saw a Nutcracker, she was terrified of it. (Kind of like her Santa picture from last year....)

Heading to El Paso tomorrow for my high school reunion. I'll fill you in all that business later!

Feliz Navidad!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Check out THIS Badass Popcorn Popper


Your eyes do not decieve you.


This is the best popcorn popper EVER! AND we still use it!


It came to our house as a result of The Accident. It's been a nice comfort mechanism for the family. It's so old it's cracked, is melted and sparks when you unplug it to stop it. Yeah -- there's no on/off switch on this baby. Nosireebob.


Melt a little butter. Sprinkle a little salt. VOILA! The best popcorn EVER!


Thursday, December 04, 2008

Weekly Word of the Weak: Sapiosexuality

Soooo..... I thought I would start posting some of my favorite words from time to time (not that you care). After all, I'm not sure that it has any entertainment value. But, I'm gonna do it anyway. Hopefully you'll play well with others -- might even a learn a thing or two.
Feel free to give me some of your favorite words, too.
What inspired my new blog "segment" was a post by The Provocateur* on a MySpace* bulletin, so I hope he won't mind if I start with the word most recently learned by me as taught by him. And if he were to ever read this (a girl can dream!), I hope he'll be more on the 'flattered' side of the fence rather than the 'offended/she stole something from me' side of the fence.
~~ SAPIOSEXUALITY ~~

A behavior of becoming attracted to or aroused by intelligence and its use.

(Good word, huh?)
*adult content

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Seredipity?


This picture was given to me recently by my mother. This is a picture of my dad in Japan. He's receiving a military award.

Mom found a bunch of old paperwork from Dad's military career and handed them off to me to clean out. Mostly the papers are medical records, his military record (on microfiche!), all of his pay stubs (yowza!) and various certificates. There was even a stash of his writings for school. Most of them are research papers (The History of Golf, a book report on The Explication of the Conversion of Jews...that kind of thing) and even a creative writing one! Go, Dad!

But the real reason I'm posting this picture is because it's very bizarro.

The man shaking my dad's hand looks like My Husband. This soldier could easily be his twin! It's almost like my destiny was defined when I was back in high school (which is when my dad took an unaccompanied tour to Japan). I showed the picture to my mother-in-law, My Eldest and My Husband and each of them agreed that the fair complected man closely resembles My Husband!

Creepy! Or... cool?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gearing up for Double D's on Tuesday

I've gone and done it...

I got my tickets to the 12/2 Duran Duran concert! WOOT!

I've been trolling the 'net looking for the set list so I can prepare with memorizing lyrics to songs I might have to belt out. No, I don't know ALL lyrics to ALL songs Duran Duran!

It's funny what seeing Duran Duran does to me! I get all giddy inside and feel like that lil girl that fell in love with them back in the day of "Is There Something I Should Know?" and "Hungry Like The Wolf".

Somewhere along the way I heard the B side of "Union of the Snake", which is "Secret Oktober". This song is so haunting, romantic, lingering....

Back then, I was in my formative years (a.k.a. a raging hormonal teenager) and flights of fantasies of meeting my Simon were running rampant. I hear Secret Oktober and still, after all these years, I imagine meeting him. Only I'm not quite as silly-giddy. I'm cool, calm, collected -- and this is any other day. (as IF!)

When "Seven and the Ragged Tiger" was released, I fell in love with the not-so-famous songs, especially "The Seventh Stranger". So poetic, so full of imagery that, honestly, I still ponder to this day. So full of vocabulary that I had to use the dictionary to learn.

Simon has this deep voice. I fantasize about him placing his lips on my ear and talking to me in a low, growly voice. You can especially hear what I'm talking about in songs like "Palomino" and "The Chauffer".


Palomino


What I would give just so he'd dance with me! Lawdy! That'd make momma muy happy!

Yeah, yeah. I hear all the time how gay they are. Whatev! My comeback is, "they're European". haha

They make great music. I'm not always crazy about some of the keyboard work that Nick throws in there, but it tends to grow on me. Overall though, what keeps me entraced are the often complex lyrics because are not your run-in-the-mill pop-charty bullsh*t. Don't get me wrong, I dig a lot of pop/dance music. But Duran Duran is still a cut above to me.

The show should be awesome, and I'm looking forward to spending some girlfriend time with a person whom I've known for over seven years, but this will be our first social outing together. She cuts my hair, but she's so much more than my hairstylist. She's become a friend and this should be a good time.

Gotta get back to YouTube and check out some stuff I've never seen.

Whoosh!

(Did your dirty mind think Double Ds were referring to my boobages? Gotchya!)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gratitude List

In no particular order...

My Eldest
My Little One
My First
My Husband
My Parents
My brothers & their families
My Inlaws -- all of them & their families
Family and Spiritual Tradition
Being Catholic
My Job
The ability to write
Sight
Forgiveness
Acceptance
Music
Wisdom gained through experience
Dancing
Wine
The beach
The rare long walks on the beach
Bodies of water
Friends: ALL of them...even acquaintences
Readers of my blog
Livers of life
Inspirational people
Solitude
Monsignor Don
Father Louis
Father Anthony
Birthdays
Living in the United States of America
Texas
Dallas Cowboys football
Texas Longhorns football
Convertibles
El Paso
Sunsets
Constellations
Risk taking
Breathing
Dallas Stars hockey
All the marvelous ways of my womanhood
All of the not-so-marvelous ways of my womanhood
Rain
Forget-Me-Nots
Doggies
Paper and pens
Answered and unanswered prayers
Art
Pedicures
Massages
My hair stylist
Duran Duran concerts
Godmotherhood
Motherhood
Travelling
Lipstick, eyeliner and mascara
Comfy yoga pants
A good fitting bra
Photographs, especially in matte finish taken with 35 mm
Pineapples
Cherry coca-cola
Peanut Butter Chocolate ice cream from Baskin Robbins
My KBs
My thirst to learn
Washington state
Northern Virginia
The possibility of getting a Wii for Christmas
Fireworks
A good read
Naps
The kids I teach in Confirmation
David Letterman's Top 10 Lists
Exercise
Card games
Kid's movies
Kisses from my children
Passionate kissing
Fingers playing with my hair
Unexpected laughter
Second and third and fourth chances
Words
The color red
Blues of all shades
Languages
Innuendo
Flirting
Therapy
A cathartic cry
Patience
Troops of any nation serving around the world for the greater good of humanity


....the are infinitely more things....




Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.
Happy Birthday, Daddy.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Music Minute: Superwoman (Alicia Keys)

Most of you who know me personally are familiar with my fondness of Wonder Woman. And, for the longest time, I thought I could be like that which she represented: fairness, seeking justice, independent, compassionate, strong, aware of her history, forward-thinking, being in any place at any time, being needed not just wanted on many, many levels.... My email address even as a form of the words "Wonder Woman".

I've kind of felt ooky about this lately. I've considered nixing my WW email address, and sort of shedding my affiliation with her. I don't feel very wonderous. I don't feel very fair or independent, or strong or aware of my destiny. I'm realizing more and more that I cannot be all things to all people at any given time of day. And in trying to do so, I've neglected myself and others to some degree. I guess you could say I went from one extreme swing of the pendulum to the other....

So before I act rashly, I figured I'd better sit still and listen. Let me tell you, to sit still is very difficult for me to do!

I'm concentrating lately on feeling empowered and becoming comfortable with the concepts of "courage" and "leadership". I don't remember if I've blogged about this recently or not, but in the last few years, more and more people are calling me "leader".

For years I've said, "I'm a sheep, not a shepherd".

That's changing. (In fact, I've been BOTH the sheep AND the shepheard -- just didn't know it!)

With eyes anew, I'm starting to see ways I'm a leader and taking note of my courageous actions. I have a long (longlongLONG) way to go, but I am starting. Dare I say? I'm on a roll.

I'm starting to feel more comfortable in my own courageous leader skin (complete with animal print!). I'm beginning to embrace the little ways I lead -- ways unspoken yet noticeable, gentle and unintended at times. Leadership is not just in the workplace. It's in friendship, in parenting, in my work as a teacher, even in my work as a student. It's in my Godmotherhood, my Goddaughterhood. (LOOK! I invented a new word! Call Webster - STAT!)

Leadership involves solitude at times. It involves making the hard choices; the choices that no one else is willing to make. It's being about the total good, and about being not liked at times.

Leadership is selfless.

Leadership - the GOOD kind - takes courage.

Courage is a toughie because what I consider courageous isn't necessarily what you consider courageous. We put courage in the context of ourselves. We tend to compartmentalize it in the subjectiveness of our own socialization. However, I think you and I could look at certain acts througout time and both of us agree that courage was present.

It's one thing to have the balls to jump out of an high-flying airplane, or to bungee jump over a gorge. It's quite another to admit to your parents (in a blog) that you were actually drag racing (because a cute boy asked you to) when you wrecked the car versus that (little white lie) the car was vandalized at the football game. (Hi mom! *cheezy grin*)

It also takes courage to take a military company to battle for the greater good of humanity, even if the greater of humanity doesn't see the good right away. It means accepting responsibility for your wrongs and slights, and being humble, modest, when people are singing your praises. It means setting boundaries - clear ones, unwavering ones.

But it does not mean rigidity. No. Courage needs to breathe.

Courage is selflessness.

Side not-related but related note: In my opinion, women are the most guilty of not realizing how truly courageous they are, and how often they lead. Women tend to apologize for a lot for silly things. They put themselves last so that others could have glory. I believe that most women, though, find themselves at some point in their 30's, 40's, 50's and become empowered, but not without leaving a leaving a wee bit of damage in her wake.

The presentation song at Mass today was "The Servant Song"

THE SERVANT SONG
by: Richard Gillard


1. Let me be your servant.
Let me be as Christ to you.
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant, too.

2. We are pilgrims on a journey.
We are brothers on the road.
We are here to help each other
Walk the mile and bear the load.

3. I will hold the Christ-light for you
In the night time of your fear.
I will hold my hand out to you;
Speak the peace you long to hear.

4. I will weep when you are weeping.
When you laugh, I'll laugh with you.
I will share your joy and sorrow
Till we've seen this journey through.

5. When we sing to God in heaven,
We shall find such harmony
Born of all we've known together
Of Christ's love and agony

+++++++++++++++++++++

'Tis a tricky thing to walk the line of being selfless and selfish, to lead or be lead, to act courageous or put on a mask. Indeed, it is.

The above song is quite a different message than the below song. Yet, they both convey a part of leadership and the kind of courage I am seeking.

+++++++++++++++++++++

I'm pretty sure "Superwoman" has been out a while....but I heard it on the AMA's earlier tonight and it moved me (two words: Queen Latifah!). I've heard it before, but I hadn't listened to it until tonight. Funny how that is...

Anyway, I think it's a good representation of some of the discernment I've been going through as of late.
Superwoman
Everywhere I'm turning
Nothing seems complete
I stand up and I'm searching
For the better part of me
I hang my head from sorrow
state of humanity
I wear it on my shoulders
Gotta find the strength in me
Cause I am a Superwoman
Yes I am
Yes she is
Even when I'm a mess
I still put on a vest
With an S on my chest
Oh yes
I'm a Superwoman
For all the mothers fighting
For better days to come
And all my women, all my women sitting here trying
To come home before the sun
And all my sisters
Coming together
Say yes I will
Yes I can
Cause I am a Superwoman
Yes I am
Yes she is
Even when I'm a mess
I still put on a vest
With an S on my chest
Oh yes
I'm a Superwoman
When I'm breaking down
And I can't be found
And I start to get weak
Cause no one knows
Me underneath these clothes
But I can fly
We can fly,
Oh
Cause I am a Superwoman
Yes I am
Yes she is
Even when I'm a mess
I still put on a vest
With an S on my chest
Oh yes
I'm a Superwoman

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's *Almost* A Losing Battle, But I'm Up For The Fight!

I'm boycotting things Made In China.

Wowee wow wow is this hard to do! But I'm determined!

Have you ever taken the time to read the tags on clothes, the stickers on every decoration, the printing on boxes?

I have this whole (possibly irrational) political reason behind my feelings. But my feelings cannot be denied. And I am responsible for how I behave. So, in (possibly rational) response to my (possibly irrational) feelings, I am electing to NOT buy products made in China. I'll support Bangladesh, Indonesia, Viet Nam, Mexico, El Salvador, Germany.....(for now, anyway). Oh! And I will support the good ole U S of A!

Hope you do, too!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No Truer Words Have Been Spoken:

[redacted]'s mom is a wise woman...

Sometimes having fun means sticking your dick in your pack pocket and pretending you have a vagina for a little while.

Hats off to Dan, and most especially, his mother. God love her!

Monday, November 17, 2008

If You Answer "Yes" to Three....

Are you a Compulsive Overeater?

1 .Do you eat when you're not hungry?
Um...YES. I hatehatehate the feeling of physical hunger pangs. I can't stand the feeling of an empty stomach.

2. Do you go on eating binges for no apparent reason?
Ummm...YES. But, we all know there IS a reason.

3. Do you have feelings of guilt and remorse after overeating?
Ohhh yeah.

4. Do you give too much time and thought to food?
If I gave less thought to food I could probably be Good Ruler of the Universe because all that brain energy would be utilized in a more efficient, productive capacity.

5. Do you look forward with pleasure and anticipation to the time when you can eat alone?
It's starting to turn into dread, truthfully. Bad, nasty habit that "eat alone" thing.

6. Do you plan these secret binges ahead of time?
This I can actually say "no" to, but it doesn't mean I don't secretly binge. I just don't plan it. But, I do keep food in places that are easily accessible.

7. Do you eat sensibly before others and make up for it alone?
I'm soooo guilty of this. What's weird is, I eat really well on vacations.

8. Is your weight affecting the way you live your life?
Absolutely yes. In ways I don't even realize, I'm sure.

9. Have you tried to diet for a week (or longer), only to fall short of your goal?
I gave up on "dieting" years and years ago, but I have tried prescription medication as well as the best medicine: exercise. I've also met with a nutritionist and attempted to participate in my company's wellness program.

10. Do you resent others telling you to "use a little willpower" to stop overeating?
No. I don't talk about it with people. The handful of people that know about my eating issues don't say this kind of thing to me. (Thank you.)

11. Despite evidence to the contrary, have you continued to assert that you can diet "on your own" whenever you wish?
I've continued to say I will return to meetings, or I will hit the gym, or I will keep such-and-such foods out of my house, but I nevereverEVER feel like I will be able to change my eating habits on my own. EVER. I will need help. ALWAYS.

12. Do you crave to eat at a definite time, day or night, other than mealtime?
I get bored very easily. I am up late at night. This combination = feast time = all the time.

13. Do you eat to escape from worries or trouble?
I don't "escape" from the worry/trouble, but I stuff the feelings down and make myself numb to the feelings. My feelings of being too full then extremely guilty overtake and numb any feelings of anxiety, sadness, elation -- the gamut of possible emotions -- that could be felt otherwise.

14. Have you ever been treated for obesity or a food-related condition?
Yes. I am actually considering hospitalization for sugar-withdrawals. I think the coming-off of flour and sugar will have serious physical and psychological withdrawals.

15. Does your eating behavior make you or others unhappy?
It definitely makes ME unhappy. It definitely makes my mother worry. Not sure about anyone else since, again, I don't discuss it with others.

My blog won't become one of those weight-loss journey blogs. While I find those real-life stories of struggles wonderful, and I'm thrilled for those who've achieved weight-loss success and posted about it, I just can't limit my blog. I've got way more to talk about! *laughing*

Anyway...

I have a friend from high school. She's been on a tear about losing weight and has to this day, lost 62 pounds. Earlier today she was talking about how different her hips feel and how ever crossing her arms is different. I totally get this! I obsess about how my arms feel on my body or how my legs rub together, or how my bra is making indentations in my back, accentuating or creating a roll of backfat (I hate how I look from behind!). She and I have joked how we have Reverse Body Dysmorphic Disorder (not sure if it's clinically valid or not, but I have it, dammit!). We look in the mirror and see lovely, thin, healthy self, instead of a fat, unhappy self. Today she revealed that she can look in the mirror and see her actual self in unison with the body image she thought she always had. Pretty inspirational!

I was in a 12-step program for my eating disorder back in the mid/late 90's and achieved a solid abstinence -- even lost a few pounds. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I am terrified to be healthy-thin, mostly because I can't handle the attention. I don't take compliments well. I'm not comfortable in my own skin EVER. I remember being happy but terrified when man would cat-call me. I think a lot of my food issues are man-centered, in the context of how I've handle interacting with men historically. No doubt it's affecting my relationship with my husband, too.

I'm horrible at setting boundaries for myself. I have a hard time saying 'no'. I am not practiced at being a self-advocate.

The older I get, the hard it becomes....all of it.

I tried to stay in the program after moving to Dallas but became extremely frustrated with getting lost while driving to find meetings. Then when the geography became familiar, I was frustrated by the energy and dynamic of people in the meetings. I would look at some people and wonder if they would save me if I asked them to be a sponsor, or others I would listen to and think, "I'm better than her/him". Additionally, since I was new to this area and didn't know many people, I broke my abstinence for social reasons. I would go out to eat and pick things on the menu I knew I shouldn't eat, but because I wanted to "fit in", I chose something else.

Skewed thinking...truly.

I really miss going to meetings and having abstinence. My mind was clearer. I had tons of energy. I slept well at night. I cried a lot. I have memories -- lived in the moment fully. I was free of the bondage of food. Of course, I was single then. I had the time and energy to attend five meetings a week, workout intensely with a mixed-martial arts (before it became chic) class three times a week. Now, I can't imagine trusting anyone to be my sponsor again. But, the feelings need to be felt and dealt (with), and the food issues have to be reigned.

How am I going to do this with a young family and all that I have going on??

The time is nearing.....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Bittersweet 'Tis the Taste

Today the news came...

Pop is moving out tomorrow.

I'm relieved.
Elated.

Sad.

Very, very sad.

I've cried about it all day.

Rationally, his relocation is the best for all of us. Truly, it is. He's wanted this day, and I think pretty much everyone else has, too.

But....

....it's still sad.

I'm sad for My Husband. I know part of him feels like he's failed his father. I know if he were a bachelor, he'd tend to his dad for the remainder of their lives. Through the experience of The Accident it is now revealed why My Husband has his R.N. but doesn't get paid money to practice. The care he provides his father is par excellence. I know there's a special place in Heaven for My Husband, The Loyal Son.

And I'm sad for my kids in a strange way. They do like having their grandfather there. The scooter and the bedrailing have become an ice cream shop, places to hang holiday decorations, a fun spot to sit and read or play school. Now they will have to do the same in a hospital setting.

Most of all, I'm sad for my father-in-law who has essentially given up his will to live and sleeps most of the day. While his body has the potential to walk again, his will does not mirror it. He has succumbed and surrendered. The quality of care and therapy he's receiving at our home is going to go away, and he'll have to be merely maintained until he dies. I worry that he won't last long in the new facility. That, too, is a bittersweet thought -- from his perspective, maybe. He's said he's ready to die. The quality of life he lives now pales in comparison to the vibrant independence he knew just over a year ago. Tragic, really.

I'm hopeful, too. I know it doesn't sound like it at this moment, but I am. The silver lining is radiant. The future a wee bit brighter. The load a trifle lighter.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Music Minute: I'm Amazed

I almost forgot that I liked this song!

I don't do much 'new music' especially by not-so-known up-and-coming bands*. There's a landaman, an IT guy and attorney at my office that all like to discuss this sort of thing (that almost sounded like the opening of a joke, huh? haha). When Starbucks was handing out free music Tuesday cards, I picked this one up and downloaded it on iTunes and quickly took a liking to it.

I gotta say, this song is making bob my head and tap my foot.

The song is entitled, "I'm Amazed" by My Morning Jacket - (or...My Morning Jackie. Whatever...)

*This band has probably been around since the 60's and I'm too busy flashing my "I'm Witty" smile that I don't see how truly out of touch I really am. So, hush! Keep your snickers to yourselves.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Hopey Changey for the Country First

Here's MY two cents on Election Day, and my State of the Union address (and thanks be to God that I was born in the U.S.A. where I can freely type this opinion without being persecuted by my government -- just my lil bitty readership):

Sure I have anxiety about today, but it's unfounded and irrational. My Xanax reminded me of that. (Thank you for that prescription, Doctor You Know Who You Are!)

Truly, deeply, absolutely, I am a part of the American Arrogance (I like to call it idealism) that believes that America ROCKS and will be just fine....FOREVER. The United States is not going to Hell in a handbasket because we'll have a black man or a one-foot-in-the-grave man as a president (which I might add is a different form of discrimination: age discrimination).

A President is a President. He is one man (or woman...) who cannot singularly create change, or singularly dominate the world, or singularly destroy the constructs by which this government was created. He (or she...) is surrounded by a checks and balances system works quite well, thankyouvermuch. Our democracy prevents a dictatorship, an oligarchy, an anarchy, or any of the extremist kinds of rule. He (or she...) has a Cabinet and Advisors. There's a Congress. There are laws. There are people. There's no way that Obama is going to save us all, and no way John McCain is going to slam dunk us into Hell. There just isn't.

Because there are Cabinet members and Advisors, should John McCain die and Sarah Palin take over as President, she won't fail. She will have lots and lots of smart people who are very savvy help her -- as ALL Presidents do! Just because she doesn't have an Ivy League pedigree, has a newborn and has an accent that, quite frankly, just about ANYONE can imitate, does not make her an idiot.

I'm sick of Obama's "Vote for Change" because change is freakin' inevitable. He isn't inventing the concept. He's not the creator of a brand new gadget that will miraculously elevate the country. OF COURSE, change will occur. For cry-sakes (yes I know that's now most people spell that but I just can't bring myself to spell it the other way), there's change EVERY election. Our country inherently WILL change by the very fact that it SHOULD change, *especially* every eight years. Even when a president is re-elected, change happens. Part of the beauty of the design of our democracy is that while a new person is elected, and has their own ideas on what they'd *like* to do, they can't do it on their own. It has to be in the context of the other bodies, cooperatively. However, the change must be accomplished within the design of democracy itself, which is constant, unwavering and perseverant. Thankfully, it breathes and expands, constricts, and it still fundamentally sound.

I am also beat down with the "Country First" motto because doesn't EVERY presidential candidate put the country first? Even over his (or her...) own family? The candidate - prior to ever being say, a judge or a school board member, a mayor or governor, a member of congress, President, you name it - is serving something bigger then themselves and their homelife. I equate it to the priesthood. The priest doesn't have a wife because The Church is his bride, and his flock is his family. And being a priest is not just presiding over community parish. A priest takes a GLOBAL vow. He serves in a different way, but he's still subject to a governing bodies. There's a reason the Roman Catholic Church has not split or fallen in 2000 years....

Above all is the shallowness and ignorance of us voters. We squander a privilege by our passion or lack thereof, based on sheer silliness. Shame on us for voting (or not voting) for a candidate merely because of their ethnic background, skin color, religious views, straight teeth, height, age, or from which state the candidate hails. Shame on us for voting for the 'pretty person'. We should use the cognitive skills gifted to us to make informed decisions. Do not vote in protest; just because you don't want a black man in office, or a woman Vice President is the worst reason to vote for a candidate! Don't allow the news bytes and the headlines and the pictures on MySpace, or Facebook, or CNN to teach you. Dig, people, DIG! Learn ALL sides of an issue. Learn ALL you can about a candidate. Don't just read about one because you like them best. Read about the other, too. Listen. Process information. Let it marinate. THEN, vote your beliefs, your convictions -- vote your heart. Lastly, I plead -- don't shove your issues down someone else's throat or judge them because their opinions don't align with yours. Embrace that difference and bridge the gap. And if you can't bridge the gap, at least show some respect.

So, yes, we'll have change. (Again, DUH - no brainer.) Yes, the U.S. will shove it's way to the front of the line like it does and be the Ruler, the Bully, the Best, the World Champs, the Valedictorian, the Beauty Queen. Yes, The World will continue it's love-hate relationship with us.

I recognize that today, America is like the drunk whore that everyone's pointing fingers at, snickering under their breaths wondering which guys are going to have their wicked ways with her before the night's said and done. America will wake up hungover, changed and still the center of attention.

But America will still be the shining jewel that everyone wants a piece of...not only because of our arrogance, but because the Rest of the World wants us there, puts us there, keeps us there, too. And we'll continue to share our wealth, our military, our humanity, our heartache. Because no matter what, America was founded on the betterment of all. All. ALL.

Friday, October 31, 2008

I am ZEN (and didn't know it!)

This is my HORRORscope on this Halloween:

You are often a lot like a master of Zen who doesn't say anything to their pupils for months, until the day the pupils begin not to believe anymore, and find themselves becoming indifferent to the whole thing. Then the Zen master pronounces one or two phrases that are so incredibly true that no one knows what to say! As for you, dear Aquarius, you could be that Zen master today.

Hmm...now let me just think of something wise to say before you lose interest....hmmmm

hmmm...still thinking.....

...............................................................

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Math

For someone who isn't very good at math and generally dislikes numbers, I realize I have a lot of them in my blog.

Just sayin'....

Weird.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Music Minute: Let It Rock

HOLY! FReAkiN! CoW! I lurve this song!

Sing it with me, People:
When I arrive
I, I bring the fire
Make you come alive


FIRE!

ALIVE!

YES!

Excuse me while I dance like a wild banshee...

**************************dance mode****************************

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sorrow for Gwynnethe

Gwennethe,

Just a quick note to say I'm ever sorry for your loss. Losing a parent, a father, is an abysmal void. I pray for you. For him. For your family. I pray that you all know the Comfort of God and the Peace of God.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your pain....I do hope I eased it some, and please know that I've carried the load somewhat for you for a spell (even if you couldn't tell).

Ever friends,

~J

Monday, October 20, 2008

Death

D-E-A-T-H has been dancing around me for about week or so now.

Last week, I learned of six deaths of people I know - either their family members or they were friends of friends (you know the kind of people that you've never met but you're affected anyway because the person whose relating the story to you is majorly affected).

And they were bizarre or unexpected deaths. One of them even made the national news. By searching the net, it appears to actually be an AP blurb in world news because it was a tragic event in Mexico.

All these stories have me really weirded out -- to the point where I'm borderline paranoid that death will unexpectedly befall me.

Last Friday, I left work with my desk in superneat order so that if I died someone would be able to know exactly what I was working on; and there were no random personal notes that someone would need to follow up on (I better check again, though).

Then I got to thinking: What will happen to my blog? All my internet subscriptions and email? No one has the passwords or logins to my sites. What does blogger do when someone dies? Do they clean out blogs after a set amount of time has elapsed of no logging in? Or does this become a part of cyberspaceliteraryjunk and stays forever and ever and ever?

Just thinkin'.....

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Out of Controlishness

My food's been really wild-ass. I am obsessing way too much. And acting on it. I look at myself in the mirror or in pictures and am mortified to be built like this these days. I have a roll around my mid-section. I'm up another size. I feel so grotesque.

I'm incredibly out of control with my emotions, too. Confused, confused, confused. I hate this. Really, I couldn't be more uncomfortable. I'm trying to acknowledge it and call it by name, but it's been so long since I've done that, that I'm out of practice. I know I'm failing at it because I'm still drowning myself in food.

Sometimes I truly wish I was an alcoholic or a gambler or something. At least you can stay away from those vices, those addictions.

I have stuffed down my feelings for a long time. My therapist tells me I'm angry. I don't consider myself an angry person. Then a friend of mine told me I have passive anger. I'm thinking there's some truth to that. So, I'm trying to find my angryself. I'm very afraid of that notion because certainly she can't be rational.

My husband says that women can't cry and be rational at the same time. I think I've proven to him that his belief is wrong. I wonder if angry people can be rational. I suspect the answer is 'no'. I don't want to be irrational. I certainly don't want to eat over it.

I need a safe place. A place where I can go and have my fit and get it out. Therapy helps a some. When I go there, often I leave feeling like I need to puke.

I have written letters to RR. She's seen the most honest and brutal parts, but even still, I am holding something back. I don't know *how* to be angry like that. I want to journal by doing some physical handwriting but I don't want anyone to read it, and I don't trust my environment. I want to write it out even if it's nonsense. I know journaling can be cathartic. I've actually sent journals to friends and asked them not to open the box -- to keep them for safe keeping. Then I retrieve them and destroy them. Journaling is such a crazy thing. Craziness can come out while journaling. I sometimes wonder if I were to die unexpectedly if my journals might make me famous. (But then I have a reality check. She slaps me in the face and reminds me how uninteresting I am, especially in today's world where it's so hard to carve out some uniqueness.)

It's times like this that I really ponder going back to twelve step meetings. I wish the meetings were at times more convenient to me (10 p.m.-ish). As it is, I miss so much of my kid's lives, that I can't bear the thought of going to another commitment and missing still more time from their lives. I do miss the meetings, though. My food was so good after a while. I practiced the tools of calling RR and letting her talk me through a binge. I used the tool of reading literature -- the same books that I recently pulled out of a drawer and stacked on my bedside table. I was working out then. I need to get back. But I have to have accountability. It's the way I'm wired. I'm not self-disciplined enough to do it alone.

I hate food. Loathe it. The more I try to resist it, the more I want to have it in my mouth. There's so much going on in my house and so much crappy food comes and goes through this house that I am feeling defeated. I hate food. Food clearly hates me, too. We are members of the Mutual Admiration Society. Sadly, there are far too many meetings....

It should be easy, right? It should be easy to grab an apple for breakfast (and eat it -- not just put it on my desk for show then throw it out a week later after it has rotted). It should suffice to eat only a salad for lunch. (That's what skinny girls do.) Seems easy. And what about dinner? There are actually people out there who skip dinner. Or, even better, FORGET to eat it! (wft?!) I wish I could go a day in my life and 'forget' to eat....

Writing tonight has helped me not go out to my kitchen and grab a funsize bag of m n m's. Thanks for reading....I need to go to sleep before I *do* find my way out there and eat.

Grrrrr... (<~~~ that's not my stomach growling, btw)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

It's Pretty Weird Inside My Head Today

I am not sure I could feel more jarbled.

One year ago today, my mother moved to Dallas. I am so glad she's here. You might recall that I was a little nervous about her coming and how we'd get along. I think it hurts her feelings that I felt that way, but it's not my intention to hurt her feelings (sorry Mom). I have to be honest with how I feel, and that means the risk of hurting others comes along like a bad hangover from cheap tequila. Anyway, she's here. I don't get to see her often enough. She put in her dues, though, let me tell you. She was driving here never realizing her life would change forever and she'd make some real sacrifices for me, my family. She became the primary caregiver for my mother in law and my kids while my husband pieced together the goings-on of his parents accident and I worked and did I don't know what...

This leads to the reminder of the OTHER anniversary: The Accident.

Yeah...that horrible, horrible day that has scarred all of us in one way or another. That event that persecuted some of us, freed others. That moment in time when we all were nose-to-nose with our own mortality. Nothing short of a miracle has occurred in the last year. My father in law is alive and doing reasonably well. My mother in law is 100% recovered and driving again. My mother's joined a bowling league. There is still chaos. There is loads and loads of frustration, exasperation, desperation. Piles of heavy emotional weight bear down on our shoulders in different ways. Each of us try immensely to bolster our own weight and lighten the load of others around us. We function, mostly. Thankfully, glimmers of hope have shone; smiles have been created and sustained, laughter has been echoed.

I was at church today and I was praying about the aforementioned. Mass starts. Old Testament reading. New Testament reading. Gospel reading.

Gospel
Mt 22:1-14 or 22:1-10

Jesus again in reply spoke to the chief priests and elders of the people in parables, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a kingwho gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: 'Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’ Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them.

The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, 'The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roadsand invite to the feast whomever you find.’

The servants went out into the streetsand gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests, he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment*. The king said to him, 'My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?' But he was reduced to silence.

Then the king said to his attendants, 'Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’

Many are invited, but few are chosen."


It might be seen as a frightening passage. I didn't understand why the one man who attended, dressed inappropriately, would be so harshly punished. Then, My Favorite Priest verbalized the message to me.

I melted.

Tears welled in my eyes.

This reading, my friends, is the same reading that called me to conversion. I heard the message of being invited to the Feast yet I had been to busy to acknowledge it...until that day. That day when it befell my ears three years ago. It fell in line with the week the JK asked me to be the Godmother to her firstborn baby by taping a sign to her very pregnant belly and waddling over to me. The sign said "Will you be my Godmommy?" I cried. Then I knew. I *knew*. I had been invited and THIS TIME, I would accept. I wasn't allowed to be JMK's Godmommy because at that time I wasn't Catholic. But, I am KK's Godmommy (thanks JK and MK).

So....here I am sitting in awe of the events of the day and it's not even 10 a.m. yet. So much of me wanted to bow my chest and walk proudly out into the glorious day bearing witness of survival, conversion, fortitude. Another part of me yearned to crawl under a rock, to isolate and just lay in the lap of God and be held.

I've had a great day. And I'm thankful for it. For all the pain, the strife, the growth. I am humbled and honored. I am hopeful for the future.

But, it's still weird inside my head today.

* represents someone unwilling to change/be converted

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Scenes from The State Fair of Texas

It's become a bit of birthday tradition that I take My Eldest to the State Fair of Texas since her birthday falls at the time while the Fair is fairing. This year, we were not able to go on her actual birthday because I was going out of town that day. My trip was not going to hinder our desires to get out there and enjoy some Fall sunshine.

I suspect the Texas State Fair is not unlike most state fairs, but I don't have anything to compare it to since I've never been to any other state's fair. I suspect most of them have kidways, midways, rides, stuffed animals, sand art, expensive beer and food, carnies, music from around the world, deep fried all-kinds-of-things (oreos, peanut butter and jelly sammiches, jellybellys, ice cream, etc.) It's gross, really. Gross. Throw in the funnel cakes, turkey legs (on steroids), cotton candy. This year we tried DOTS ice cream. It's amazingness in all gloryness enveloped in freezingness. Teeny tiny beeds of ice cream. Admittedly, I have a soft spot in my heart for a Fletcher's jalepeno corny dog. Two football games are played during the fair time: Grambling versus Prairie View and University of Texas, Austin versus University of Oklahoma Sooners. (If you're a Texas fan, you refer to it as the Texas/OU game; if you're an OU fan, you call it the OU/Texas game. So funny...)

There are three, what I would consider, hallmarks of The Great State Fair of Texas:
ONE: Big Tex
Yes, he's B I G!
Big Tex bellows out welcome greetings (Howdy Boys and Girls! Welcome to the State Faiiiiiir of Texas). He occasionally throws in a few advertisements of booth vendors or sponsors. His shirt has a "DICKIES" the size of Delaware on it for goodness sakes! Sadly, he's gone yellow (or as we say 'round these parts: yella). His shirt was changed this year. I think it washes him out, but what do I know?
(What I love about this picture is that I've captured my three hallmarks in one photo!)

TWO: The Cotton Bowl
In Texas, Cotton IS King.
No picture needed of the Cotton Bowl (yes THAT Cotton Bowl. It's on the fairgrounds, silly!), but suffice it to say that the over 92K folks that showed up during to the newly renovated Cotton Bowl during Texas/OU weekend's Red River Shoot Out (one of the most revered rivalries in all college football) is evidence that the Cotton Bowl is a staple of this area, the Fair and the schools. My Eldest couldn't help but throw up the hook 'em horns as we walked by the Cotton Bowl, though:



THREE: The Texas Star
The Ride of a Lifetime
Okay. Here's where I get weird.
I LOVE this ferris wheel. Actually, I love how big it is, that it says in those sparkling, alluring twinkles "TEXAS STAR". It's giant! GiNORMous! Captivating. I've taken several photos of it.
Yet, oddly, I've never ridden it.
Don't get me wrong -- I *want* to ride it. I will. Someday.
For now, I'll just live in awe and dream of being in union with it....
Look at it! Isn't she amazing? *sighs dreamily*


Y'all gotta come some time....
Whoosh!












Tuesday, October 07, 2008

An American Girl Turns Eight

Tomorrow My Eldest turns eight.

Tomorrow I am flying out of town for a work conference.

Tomorrow I will wake up extra early and go buy some donuts, stack them in a pyramid, plug in eight candles, light them, wake her and then sing her "Happy Birthday" before I leave for work.

Today, she was out of school.


Today, I took the day off.


Today, we celebrated her birthday in a most girlie way.

Today, we went to the American Girl Bistro and Boutique and it was really more special that I expected, truthfully. My Eldest loves reading but hasn't really latched on to this particular set of books that explore the lives of girls in different periods of U.S. history.





My plan was to take her to lunch at the bistro -- and we did that -- lots of good food and fun (except for the overly tired, missing-her-nap Little One, who cried and cried and cried for a spell but quickly quit when I warned her I would take her home if she didn't quit crying). My Mom, Little One, myself and Birthday Girl feasted on chicken satay, spinach & artichoke dip and pretzels dipped in queso or honey mustard sauce until the main entrees were served. Mini hot dogs, mini cheesburgers, turkey cobb salad and a panini were our main courses. We filled our bellies then headed to the downscalator to the boutique to shop.



My Eldest hasn't been much "into" dolls. She has Barbies and Polly Pockets. She's recieved some nice dolls from 'round the world. The LP's sent her a doll from Peru and she took a liking to it for a time. This year, the LP's sent her (the very coolest!) reversible doll from St. Lucia. Anyway, I wasn't sure if she'd like that my surprise for her birthday was to buy her an American Girl doll.....

Well, let me tell you, she was surprised AND "into" it!

She ended up picking Elizabeth Cole from the year 1774 -- during the American Revolution era. She even bought -with her OWN money- a box of earrings for Elizabeth. I threw in a halloween mermaid costume for the doll.

I love you, ladybug.

xo
P.S. Could there be ANY.MORE.PINK. in this experience?!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Heroic Words

Today at work, I was told something amazing, and I just had to share it.

There's a friend of mine, he works in my employer's SAP support group. We've collaborated on some projects in the past but don't get the chance to interact professionally or personally much anymore (sadly).

Admittedly at first, I thought he was pretty cocky. And we had a major mishap on an IRS tax reporting function one year, partly his fault, partly mine. Once I discovered this mastermind flubbed up my process (that's how I saw it at the time), I was decidedly angry at him and did NOT want to be his friend OR co-worker!

Now, a few years later, some hours together on other IRS-related projects, we have a mutual admiration for each other. I truly respect him at work. I also adore him on a personal level.

When I call him for help, I tell him he's my hero of the day.

Today, I needed a quick fix from him and several voices began to intermingle with him on speaker phone. He hung up without saying good-bye as I was thanking him. He sounded really irritated. Put out. Annoyed.

Later, I send him an instant message apologizing for irritating him and he asked me about it. He cleared up that he indeed was not irritated and we talked through it briefly. At the end, he said:

You know I would move the stars for you.

WOW.

Now THOSE are words only a true hero would utter. Thanks RH. *muah!*

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Dawn Has Come

'...death is not a fire extinguished, but the lamp being put out for the dawn has come...'

Isn't that so comforting?

I've struggled most of my life with the notion of death. I grew up fearing it. I didn't understand it. I didn't want to experience it in any way, shape or form -- I didn't want to die, my parents certainly couldn't die, my brother, my friends, anyone that I clung to for survival and love were not allowed to die!

I remember when my grandparents died. When Daddy Lem (my dad's dad) died, there was an open casket. I was asked to go view the body. I freaked OUT! No way! Ain't no way Jackie's going up to see a dead body. I was about, ohh, fourteen, maybe. I bawled and bawled at the funeral. I wasn't even close to Daddy Lem, in fact, rarely saw him. But it was my first loss ever, my first experience at someone related to me that died.

Fast forward about seven years when Grandma B. died. (Yes, we actually called her Grandma B.) Again, I didn't see her much because of our military lifestyle, but I was closer to her than I ever was my grandfather. I was again asked if I wanted to view the body. I cringed at the very thought, but I *made* myself experience it. I touched her crossed, cold hands even. She looked peaceful, but not the woman that I grew up knowing. The cancer caused her to lose so much weight. She never wore makeup that I recall. Anyway, I grea up a little bit that day and learned a few things about death -- and life.

When my father passed away, I learned an important lesson through that experience, which I credit to my husband. I learned that death is a PART OF LIFE. Totally new concept to me, but I embraced it. I do still struggle with the notion of death, but through my faith and of course the wisdom of age, I am way more comfortable when people die, accepting my own fate, etc.

Tonight, my husband and I attended a funeral of a wise beauty of a woman that my husband met through a former employer. When he met her, she had already been diagnosed and fighting Cancer. They rode together on the train occasionally and later, he learned she went to our same church. During these rides, and during their time together at work, they shared quite a bit about their belief in God, among many things. They had a neat friendship it seems.

One day, she asked my husband to be a part of her funeral arrangements and he humbly accepted. He was a reader tonight and he did great. He looked so handsome in his suit (haven't seen him in that in a while!). His hands were cold before he went up there to read.

The priest said some lovely, lovely words about her and her life. The opening phrase to tonight's blog are the words the are forever emblazened on my soul.

Thank you KT for your gifts to me in our short time together. And I will see you by dawn's early light...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Bridging Gaps

Yeah....

I'm at THAT age.

The middle part.

Yes, I'm only 37, and to most, that seems young for much-maligned "middle age", but do the math. Double 37 and you have 74. I'll be lucky to see 74 because genetically speaking, The Cancer is pretty much my mode of death in my 60's. Hell, I might even be a "late bloomer" in the "middle aged" phase of life.

I'm awakening. Slowly.

And, when I peer through the squint, and manage to make out the images through the foggy, sleepy-eyed me, I can see a figure. The figure is Potential Jackie. She's smiling. There's levity as evidenced by her very countenance. She's finished school. Her kids are happy. She's present in moments. I see her dancing, a full, white, long skirt flowing in the wind; her long hair wrapped around her shoulders and neck spinning with arms outstretched.

Over here, I'm standing. I'm Stuck Jackie. Split fifteen different ways. On the inside looking out. Passive. Heavy with emotional, spiritual and physical weight. Even sad but very, very aware of the goings-on and ruminations of my soul. I am sitting in black, indian-style, head bowed in prayer, sometimes even looking away.

There's my beloved body of water between Stuck Jackie and Potential Jackie. I love the water. As I always say, it frees me. The water frees me. But now, it's between the Me-s. I can swim it. I can boat it. I could float it. I could build a bridge.

Building a bridge requires a lot of activity, planning, hard work, struggle.

I think I'll start doing that.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Mystery Girls Club

Remember, when as little kids, we'd make clubs? And they were exclusive clubs! "No boys allowed", or "Girls Only", or "Future Farmers of America". In church today, My Eldest shared a club story with me.

My Eldest created a club with two of her friends last school year called the Mystery Girls Club. No boys were allowed, and this club had a clear mission: to solve mysteries. This is the first I've heard of said club. (I wonder how much of this conversation occurred because My Eldest didn't want to participate in Mass.)

Eldest: Remember friend 1 and friend 2? Well, we formed a club called the Mystery Girl's Club and we had to solve mysteries. Well, not real ones, but pretend ones. And we had, like, 2000 clues to figure out this mystery.

Me: Wow! That's cool. And that's a lot of clues. Surely you figured it out. Tell me what it was all about...

Eldest: *sigh* Well, we never did figure it out. *looks away disappointed and embarrassed*

Me: *smiling assuringly as only a mother can do* What?! What do you mean you didn't figure it out?? You made it up AND you had TWO THOUSAND CLUES! How could you not figure it out? *smile*

Eldest: Well it wasn't a real mystery, mama! And besides, most shows on TV only have three clues. Y'know, like Blues Clues, or Scooby Doo. All they need is three clues to figure out their mystery. Maybe I should get my own show and we'll call it "The Mystery Girls Club Show".

Me: Sure, babe. You do that. *goes back to listening at church*

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Innocence Is Not Lost

Tonight, My Eldest and her Brownies troop participated in a recuitment night at her former school. (I've kept her in that troop, even though she's at a new school.)

My Eldest was given a speaking part of sorts. The girls do a flag ceremony, where the U.S. flag is brought in by the troop and ultimately saluted. Then, the people in attendance recite the Pledge of Allegiance in unison with the troop. My Eldest was given the task of directing her troop to stand at attention, directing them to march the flag to the front of the room, posting the colors and prompting the salute. She was most proud of being assigned this task, and make me proud after watching her do it.

While standing at the back row of the cafeteria, watching the girls and pledging my allegiance to America, I gulped down a few tears. I realized that despite the horror of September Eleveth, and all the panic that it caused initially, here are these beautiful you girls who are so innocent and pure. Here we are, collectively in a room, peoples of all walks of life, races with various storied backgrounds, saying how much we love this country. And no terrorist, foreign or domestic, will take that away from us. No evil will usurp the innocence of the moment I witness and shared tonight.

Monday, September 08, 2008

This One's For Zig

I've never met him, but it might be kinda cool.

We are members of the Mutal Admiration Society, reading each other's blogs and exchanging an e-mail or two here and there.

His name is Zig and he made fun of my Jason Mraz music. He said it needed a little red dot bouncing over the words while we sing along. *chuckle*

So I asked Mr. Zig Zag Man to suggest a song and he came up with Kid Rock's "All Summer Long".

Enjoy, goof and friend!

Theme O' The Weekend: VICTORY

I am having a *great* weekend!! Victory is indeed mine this weekend....


It's opening season for NFL football. My Cowboys spanked the Brownies (awww KB Canada *pet*pet*) today and my fantasy football team won by a commanding 60+ points.



Also, last night, I went on the funnest date in a long time!! Dallas, like most metropolitan cities, has some very unique places to go. I don't know many of them. haha. Anyway, there's a very groovy place in downtown Dallas called Victory Park, and that's where I watched the UT Longhorns v. UT El Paso Miners play football on Saturday night.

I knew there was a very good chance that this date would NOT happen. My husband is usually in bed and asleep between 9-10 p.m. He *hates* going downtown. He does NOT like crowds whatsoever. If there's any kind of traffic or parking issues, he's gripey to the point where the whole night can be ruined. However, miracle of miracles happened and he was on board with going! (We're in that 'trying' phase of the marriage...and this was his effort. Thanks, love!)

Now, when I left to go on this date, it was about 8:30 p.m. The kids were just about ready for bed and we grabbed our lawn chairs, a couple of waters and headed out the door. Grandma put the kiddos to sleep (yay for grandmas!). We were yawning in the car, and frankly, I was wondering if even *I* would last the night.

As we neared downtown, I perked up.

As we searched for the right parking lot, we saw lights that I can only liken to Time's Square (even thought I've never been there...hush!). I became electrified when I saw those flashy, glittery lights.

As we walked closer and closer to the giant TV screen and plaza area, I was completely jazzed and could not be smiling any bigger.

I don't know what it is about downtown Dallas at night, but I have a love affair with him. I absolutely love it here. The skyline and architecture just astound me. And being in the pulse of the city definitely brought my barely-breathing heart some life!


Officially called AT&T Plaza, this is a plaza where one can view games, movies, concerts on a 1500 foot HD TV that hangs from the entrance over the American Airlines Center (where the Dallas Stars and Dallas Mavericks play). It's flanked by TWO MORE *moving* screens, one is dedicated solely to digital art. Here's a visual:



Pretty cool lookin', right?

Well, you should see this place at night! (Hey! Wait! You can! See below.) Anyway, colorful lights, bars and restaurants pumping, people strolling. This particular night, I went to watch the UT/UTEP game (Longhorns won!). The weather was perfect. 'Twas a setting of worlds colliding (sports bar/being at the actual game). The crowd wasn't as crazy as being at the football game and it was not as crowded as I expected it to be; and it was a lot like being at a sports bar outside -- on a much larger scale. When touchdowns are scored or penalties are called, there's still that uproar of voices objecting or rooting.


A sea of burnt orange with the occasional splash of UTEP blue was the scene. The sounds of the city were drowned by the sounds of the game. About the second quarter, we hear the thumping of drums in the distance. It grows louder and nearer. We start to hear the cling-clang of tamborines. Then we hear voices of men singing. Turns out the Hare Krishnas were recruiting that night. A whole gaggle of them paraded around the plaza, trying to propogate their faith. The security guards walkie-talkied and the fans watching football stole glances and made fun of the marching, but overall, they weren't disruptive enough to violate any laws or offend anyone. There was almost a collective yawn after the initial curiosity was answered with the "Hare Krishna" signs. I chalked it up to half time entertainment -- just a lil early.


I was so excited about this venue and my date that I immediately came home to search the 'net and subscribe to e-mails of future events there. Turns out I missed all the summer movies. Boo! BUT...there will be more fun things to do.


And I will go.

Victory is MINE. Muahahahahahahahaha!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Guitars and Catfish

One of my favorite and, sadly, most impressionable memories of my daddy is from my adult life. And, when I reflect on the memories like the one I'm about to share, I am especially longing for MORE TIME with him. I find myself grieving The Potential. You know what I mean. The kind of pre-emptive grief. The kind where, as an individual, you become severely ill at a fairly young age and most of your sadness about dying or being in a state of dimished incapacitation evolves around such potentials as "I won't live long enough to seem my grandchildren", or "He won't get to walk her down the aisle or dance the father-daughter dance at the reception". You know. THOSE.

Now that he's gone, I've realized how few memories I have of him. Sadder even still that I have even fewer of he and I *together*.

One of the few I have, I treasure. Thankfully it's because I was able to witness him in his element, and that in of itself, brought me joy.

My father loved golf, playing cards, Old Grand Dad mixed with Coca-Cola, and fishing. In his retirement, he spent a lot of time running a trot line. I guess that's a lazy-way-of-fishing.

Anyway, Daddy would clean the fish and share it with the patrons and his friends at this bar in San Angelo called The Saddle Bronc. In the back of the bar, there was an open area where he and his buddies would deep fry catfish and hushpuppies. During those times, a buddy of his would be pickin' the guitar and they'd all sing old country songs. We'd all sit around eating Bud-caught catfish, singing and laughing. I was in my mid-twenties then....

When he'd stop cooking, he'd find a spot to sit, have a drink in his hand and nibble on the catfish. If a song was being sung that he didn't know the words to, he'd have his eyes closed with a little smile on his face. His foot would tap to the beat, legs crossed. And then, once in a rare while, I'd steal a glance from him that bore a twinkle in his eye meant for no one else but me.

I see it now. I do. And it makes me weep. I grieve that my children will not know the twinkle from his eyes meant for only each of them. And they won't have their Papa to dance with at their weddings. My Daughters will not get to see Papa fry catfish and sing old country tunes.

....The Potential.

Monday, September 01, 2008

I'm Yours - Jason Mraz

A blithe tune that allows me a moment to frollick in the sunshine of a special someone...


Well you done done me and you bet I felt it
I tried to be chill but you're so hot that I melted
I fell right through the cracks
and now I'm trying to get back
Before the cool done run out
I'll be giving it my bestest
Nothing's going to stop me but divine intervention
I reckon its again my turn to win some or learn some

I won't hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait, I'm yours

Well open up your mind and see like me
Open up your plans and damn you're free
Look into your heart and you'll find love love love
Listen to the music of the moment people dance and sing, we're just one big family.
It's your God-forsaken right to be loved love loved love love

So I won't hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait I'm sure
There's no need to complicate
Our time is short
This is our fate, I'm yours

I've been spending way too long checking my tongue in the mirror
And bending over backwards just to try to see it clearer
But my breath fogged up the glass
And so I drew a new face and I laughed
I guess what I'm saying is there ain't no better reason
To rid yourself of vanity and just go with the seasons
It's what we aim to do
Our name is our virtue

I won't hesitate no more, no more
It cannot wait I'm sure
There's no need to complicate
Our time is short
This is our fate, I'm yours

Well no no, well open up your mind and see like me
Open up your plans and damn you're free
Look into your heart and you'll find love love love love
Listen to the music of the moment come and dance with meah, la one big family ([2nd time:] ah, la happy family)
It's your God-forsaken right to be loved love love love

I won't hesitate no more
Oh no more no more no more
It's your God-forsaken right to be loved, I'm sure
Theres no need to complicate
Our time is short
This is our fate, I'm yours

No I won't hesitate no more, no more
This cannot wait I'm sure
There's no need to complicate
Our time is short
This is our fate, I'm yours, I'm yours

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Maybe I'm Just Not Swedish Enough...or Dallas Enough

I ventured to IKEA in Frisco this weekend. It was my first time EVER at an IKEA store (gasp! SCANDAL!)


Can I just say this: IKEA is Swedish for HELL.


Oh.

My.

Gawwwwd this place is crazy out of control madness!


When this IKEA was built here, people took the day off work to freakin' go. Me...*yawn*. It's just another store in the retail-rich, people-rich, wealthy-rich meteroplex. I had heard people ooh and ahhh over furniture purchased there and it didn't mean a whole heckuva lot to me, really. *stretch* Big whoop.


I think it's been about two years since it opened and it's STILL crazy out of control madness!


I had planned to blog about how horrific my experience was, but I haven't the energy. I'm *still* exhausted from my TWO trips (yes, one. two. TWO!) there yesterday.


My Little One should be thankful....after all, she got a new bed out of this ordeal.


Now, if I could get her to sleep in it!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

BAH! Who Needed Those Kitchen Sinks Anyway??

The water heater at my house went kaplooie on Sunday morning. Luckily the water heater closet is in our garage so the water didn't damage the interior of my home.

A technician that is affiliated with the home owner's warranty could not come until Monday. Fine. I understand that. No biggie. It's summer in Texas. A cold shower feels like a day at the pool to us. Cold shower day number one.

Later Sunday afternoon, the kitchen drains start backing up while dishes were being hand washed. Letting out the dishwater didn't help. The Man of the House took a plunger to those rascilly sinks and well, gunk (cool word, huh?) came out and water came up, but the drains were still illin'.

The technician can look at that, TOO, while he's "visiting" on Monday. Eating out dinner day number one.

Monday arrives.

The $55 service charge that was supposed to cover this whirlwind of maintenance has somehow inflated to the flabbergasting amount of approximately $300. Water heater is going to cost EXTRA due to coding compliance upgrades, AND it won't be installed until Wednesday. Cold shower days number two and three.

The Technician runs "his" snake down the drain about ten or eleven feet (there's a whole sexual innuendo there that I'll just skim and leave). His diagnosis: there's a broken pipe and you should NOT use your kitchen sinks until it's repaired. On Wednesday -- when he comes to install the new water heater -- he'll bring a camera to slide down the drain (kinky!) and come up with a game plan (role playing!). Eating out days number two and three.

Wednesday arrives.

Water heater is a beauty! We love it. Admire it. Are in awe of it. We have hot water again. Everyone take a steaming hot shower! Wheeee! Let's use up all the hot water and leave Jackie to take a cold shower. Wheeeee! (That didn't really happen but it almost did! Really!)

I get The Call from The Man of the House. Supposedly the camera confirms an alleged iron pipe that has possibly rusted and it just might, perhaps be broke-icated. And supposedly said Tecnician can set up some sort of wickedcool contraption that attaches to the drains under our sink, and somehow -- mysteriously -- runs into our attic and then into the sewer system and we are back in action.

(???WTF???) That's why HE is The Technician with the capital T. He has skillz and knowledge that no one else in our house does.

OR...***deep breath***

Option number two: Break through the floor of our dining room which is connected to the kitchen (it's a shared space), dig through the foundation and into the Earth, hunting for the broken iron pipe, rip it from its home, uproot it from its family, THEN throw in a replacement pipe that we'll all ogle and ahh once we get the pipe buried (another sexual innuendo), pat the dirt on top of it, somehow fix the foundation of my house and get new flooring for the dining area.

Yes, I *DO* see the bright side to all this drama! I'm sure you see it, too. Let's all say it together, shall we? "NEW FLOORING". Yayyyyyyyyyy!

Yeah -- NOT how I wanted new flooring.

And, yeah -- NOT covered by the home owners warranty OR the home owners insurance. NOT GOOD. Momma can't afford that kinda action!!

So now the special contraption doohickey thingamajiggy with the attic and the sewer is sounding so quite adventurous and more do-able. It also sounds like a bandaid to a problem that really needs major surgery. And this kind of surgery, my friend, is not cosmetic and elective.

I'm superstressedout as a result of this home ownership event. This kind of thing and I don't get along well. It's like when I have a new car and suddenly something in the engine goes wrong and I have to replace a part, I don't like that. I lose faith in the credibility and dependability of my car. I want a new one. I want a new house, now. I don't like this.

Who needs those kitchen sinks anyways? Let's just have sandwiches every night.

Or, do the dishes in the bathtub.

Or, get new floors......

Or.....

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

P.P.S. - St. Monica's Feast Day Today

Monica is my baptismal and confirmation name. Today is the day that she is celebrated by the RC community (also in Lutheran and Anglican faiths) .

She is the patron saint of mothers and wives, chosen as such because her husband was pagan and cruel; and her son, Augustine went from being a non-believer to one of 'fathers' of the Roman Catholic Church. She prayed for him daily, cultivating the virtue of patience (as it states on Wikipedia).

St. Monica icon

Intercessionary Prayer to St. Monica:
Exemplary Mother of the great Augustine, you perseveringly pursued your wayward son not with wild threats but with prayerful cries to heaven. Intercede for all mothers in our day so that they may learn to draw their children to God. Teach them how to remain close to their children, even the prodigal sons and daughters who have sadly gone astray.

Amen

P.S.

Happy Birthday to my Godmother.

I wish I had a picture handy that I could share with you. She's amazing. And she's woven into my spirit and soul like no other human will ever be, ever can be.

Can't Stop Lovin' You!

Sometimes, this song just says it.....

(a la Sammy) Van Halen's Can't Stop Lovin' You....

There's a time and place for everything,
For everyone.
We can push with all our might,
But nothin's gonna come.
Oh no, nothin's gonna change.
And if I asked you not to try,
Oh could you let be?
I wanna hold you and say
We can throw this all away
Tell me you won't go,
.....you won't go....
Do you have to hear me say...

I can't stop lovin' you
And no matter what you say or do
You know my heart is true oh
I can't stop lovin' you

You can change your friends,
Your place in life.
You can change your mind.
We can change the things we say
And do anytime.
Oh no, but I think you'll find
that when you look inside your heart
Oh baby, I'll be there!
Hold on!
I'm holding on!
Baby, just come on, come on, come on
I just wanna hear you say...

I can't stop lovin' you
And no matter what you say or do
You know my heart is true oh
I can't stop lovin' you

Oh, I'm so twisted and tied,
And all I remember
Was how hard we tried
Only to surrender...
And when it's over,
I know how it's gonna be.
True love will never die.
No, not fade away...

I can't stop lovin' you
And no matter what you say or do
You know my heart is true oh
I can't stop lovin' you
And I know what I got to do
Hey ray, what you said is true <~~ Okay that 'Hey ray' part is kinda dumb...
I can't stop lovin' you, oh
Oh, I can't stop lovin' you

Monday, August 25, 2008

It's Not So Bad Being In Second

Look who started second grade today! Doesn't she look lovely?

Butterflies in her belly, she walked up the stairs through the elementary masses to greet her second grade year. She was happy, sad, nervous, excited, cautious. It's her fourth school since she was three years old: Montessori till Kindergarten, Kinder at the church, First Grade at the Magnet School and now, she's gone Ivy League at the new school.

She woke up at 5 a.m. Even made her own lunch! She put granola on her peanut butter and jelly sandwich. *laughing* She was ready by 6:30(ish) and we had an hour yet before leaving to school. My Little One must've been excited too, because she was up early as well and just HAD to be dressed like her sister! HAD to have a backpack, too. HAD to go to the school as well!

This school is only a few blocks from the house, so me and My Little One escorted My Eldest to school. (It was so nice to walk her to school. I am looking forward to doing that every day. I'm so thankful I have an employer who is flexible!) We saw a lizard crossing the alley and encouraged it to find it's mommy and daddy and not play in the street again. It scurried like an obedient, good lil lizard.

There were lots of good and funny and sweet observations of the morning. Mostly, I think she's going to be very happy at this school.

Beep! Beep!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Apples In August

Did you miss me?


I went to see a super-sexy, very intelligent, deeply philosophical, soul-searching, life-giving friend of mine who I will simply refer to as "R". She turned a milestone age that rhymes with 'sporty', so I went to celebrate her glory. I haven't seen her in more than ten years. She allowed me to share her personal space, meet her inner circle, bond with her family, and generally spoiled me while there (thank you, R!).



We walked and walked and walked and talked and talked and talked. She says she is exhausting, but it wasn't R that exhausted me. I think it was those shots of Washington Apples (yummy), the crown and cokes, the Frenatis and the staying up way too late that exhausted me. Mt. Rainer was out quite a bit. "WOW" is all I can say about Rainier. If you've been there, you know what mean; if you haven't, you need to experience it. WOW.


The coolish weather was a nice break from the Texas heat. I had to giggle at those Pacific Northwesterners complaining about their humidity and their heat. It was a good 20 degrees cooler there. It's all about context, I know.... Still I am giggling.

Titlow Beach was our first stop after dropping off my things at home. It's a rocky beach where I collected rocks of character for My Sweet Eldest. There's some story about the world's largest octopus being found there near Narrows Bridge. We watched the sun setting and did lots of laughing while the tide snuck up and nearly trapped us near the boulders. Cold water makes for sharp minds! Later that evening, we indulged in delicious desserts at The Ram, overlooking a setting sun on the water. R has a lovely family. Truly.

Day next, we ventured three hours south to Long Beach (the world's longest beach!) . We rode mopeds on the beach....got stuck in the sand...got unstuck in the sand. (KP is probably still laughing at the thought of my fat a** zipping around in a yellow helmet and yellow moped in a slow-paced beachside town of Long Beach. Shoosh, KP!) Floating in the overcast skies were kites and seagulls. Decorating the packed gray sand were jellyfish, more seagulls and beachcombers.

Picturesque.
Romantic.

I even got to meet The Legendary T (R's male best friend) -- park ranger, painter, historian, policeman, preservationist, surfer with a gaggle of kids (thanks for letting me crash your world, too, T!). The next day, R and I shopped and ate all around Long Beach, then drove to Astoria, Oregon and saw T's art LIVE in a gallery there. I need to save my pennies and make a purchase someday.... Before leaving T's place, I snapped some pictures of fruits begging attention from their trees found in his back yard -- one was a (real) Washington apple - half green, half red and small, poking it's bottom out from 'neath the nurturing leaves.


There's nothing like youth, especially the innocence of young men. Being my age, and married, with a shaky self-image, having 22-year-old boys serenade you and your friend because it's your friend's birthday is definitely a sweet memory (can we say 'vicarious'? lol) . We played pool with them, then watched them strive to be famous music artists in the alley of the bar. I'll never forget the lip-pierced J and curly-headed pre-law student R sing their hearts out passionately. And that station wagon. Ohhhh the station wagon.

R and I attended Mass on Sunday night (before the bar and before yummy Italian dinner served by a very sexy waiter), and I was humbled by streaming tears. At All Saints, I witnessed something I'd never seen before. The bread was unleavened bread that after it was transubstantiated, the priest tore into tiny pieces. Actual breaking of bread. Very cool! Eventually, he had to sneak to the back and bring out the circular hosts that I'm used to seeing. The music was kind of jazzy instead of solemn like in my home church. The congragation even goes out to dinner together after Mass on Sunday nights. Love that sense of community....

Monday was supposed to be 'Seattle Day', but R ended up having to work for a few hours, so I kept my hungover butt in the bed. I had the best fun later that evening going to downtown Tacoma....walking and talking (duh) with R, plus seeing the world-famous Chihuly glass. The U-Dub @ Tacoma campus, Union Station and the general area down there was nice. There's a little marina there, too. How the water frees my spirit and comforts me, even if it's in the middle of the city hustle-bustle.




Tuesday was homecoming, but my flight wasn't till the afternoon, so I had R take me to the train station at Sumner, where I commuted with Workers of The Daily Grind to downtown Seattle. Again, I walked and walked, trekked UPHILL and UPHILL and UP THE DAMNED HILL. Holy cow! I had no idea how many hills were in downtown Seattle! Yes, I went to Pike's Place Marketplace, saw the famous fish throwers, the 'roided up flowers, the colorful and succulently inviting fruits and vegetables, the 3D puzzles and quaint eateries of international food. Flowering baskets hung all around, rainbow-colored umbrellas lined the rooftops, so much sensory stimulation! The first Starbucks ever established is at Pike's Place, so of course, I ventured in and made a purchase.

Before getting to Pike's Place, I trekked UP THE HILLS to St. James Cathedral. I walked through lower-income housing, over a major highway, through construction and past a hospital to find the glorious glass over the doors larger-than-life speak to me: I am the branches, you are the vine. Tears poured out of my eyes look up at Jesus's outstretched, welcoming hands. I made the sign of the cross, said 'thank you for getting me here' (with a little help from my husband!) , then marveled at the doors. I snapped my pictures of the Station that iconifies St. Veronica (a special interest of mine), lit some candles, then headed toward the Space Needle.

I missed my kids. A lot. After the third day, I would cry and cry without even being able to fake it while talking to them. I knew I'd miss them...but to that degree I was not expecting. I was missed. I've heard about it several times every day since. I am so blessed. Blessed to have kids that want me around, blessed to have such a wonderful friend in R, blessed to have a husband who cringed and let me go despite his discomfort with me going.

Indeed, I am a blessed woman. Thanks be to God.
P.S. Yes, *I* took all these pictures, as well as the ones in the previous three entries....so behave! I'll send the feds after you and charge you interest on previously owed money if you claim them as your own!