Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Checking in

Okay so here's the deal. I have photos I want to upload, photos from Vermont, fun photos, peaceful photos, photos I like. But Flickr and Picnik are not cooperating with me for some reason that takes skills beyond the set I possess to figure out. I just haven't been able to get here lately. It could be my worthless internet connection here at home. I've switched from AT&T to Comcast and still can't get a consistently strong connection. It could be that when I got home from Vermont, my house alarm key pad kept beep beep beeping every 20 seconds or two minutes or two hours, driving me into a mental frenzy until it was repaired by the nice repairman Monday morning. And guess what? My fridge died Saturday afternoon and I got to throw out about $300.00 worth of food from the freezer and fridge. That too was repaired on Monday. Did I mention that I've had this nasty cold that for two weeks now has been barely hanging on but hanging on enough to keep my head and chest full of enough stuff that keeps me coughing so much that today I coughed so hard that I had to run to the bathroom and throw up?

Details of nothing more than a hassle.

Earlier this evening I was sitting at a table on a patio along a busy Houston street. A heavy rain had come through shortly before but had calmed considerably. I was deep in discussion with a friend when I noticed a woman pushing her young child in a stroller. Her shirt was soaked, her jeans the dark blue of drenched. Pushing the stroller over a crack in the sidewalk and through the puddle that had gathered between, with her cell phone between her ear and her shoulder, for one moment she glanced at me, just a glance. I smiled. She rolled her eyes at the rain, returned the smile, walked on.

Details of nothing more than a hassle.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Weather report

August 19 016 August 19 028

Fifty-five degrees today; forty-five tonight. A big fire in the fireplace. Texas, this is not.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Saturday, August 16, 2008


August 16 003

This photo? It makes me laugh. It's where I had a manicure and pedicure a couple hours ago. My niece and my friend also had manicures and pedicures. The name of the place is d_partures Spa. Why the odd name? Do you notice anything in that photo, like perhaps the Continental logo on the tails of the several airplanes in the background? The salon is in Newark Liberty Airport. Once again, I tried to get to Burlington, Vermont, on an early flight out of Houston with a connect through Newark. Flight left Houston 45 minutes late. Connecting flight left Newark on time. Without me. Or my niece. Or my friend. As a matter of fact, we missed the flight after that as well.

Oh yes we did.

By the time we arrive, it will be 17 hours of travel-related displacement. But you know what? We've managed to have a really fun day today.


August 16 001

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Hello it's me

At night I lay in bed and travel. I close my eyes and rearrange the room, imagine I'm at Tall Oaks, tell myself the windows are on the other wall, the closet over there, and I keep my eyes closed until it is real. I go back, back to when I was with her, over her, listening for her. I go back further than that. I can go back to the nights I spent there for no reason other than they wanted me to do so. And then, once completely there in my imagination, I recall and pretend I’ve gone back to a time when I awoke to my father downstairs reading the morning paper, drinking his coffee, enjoying the quiet, back to enjoying that quiet with him, sharing the paper, my own cup of coffee. Hours pass like this. His robe is as completely red as the house is quiet. He’ll begin to make breakfast shortly, corned beef hash and poached eggs, Rye toast. He’ll ask me to bring my mother coffee as he pulls her breakfast-in-bed tray from the cabinet above the refrigerator. She’ll stir and crack an eye at me, only willing to open both fully when she sees the cup of coffee in my hand. Where’s the paper? she’ll groggily ask me. I’ll return with the sports section and then she’ll say Good Morning. And I stop there and carry the moment with me to sleep, a smile on my face, so good to see them again.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Cute and yummy, the words that describe my weekend

On the way to my family's cabin this weekend, Cheyenne and her strappingly handsome boyfriend, Isaac, could not for the life of them find a way to get comfortable on the back seat of my friend's Suburban. One would stretch out and the other would be uncomfortable and look miserable, or in Cheyenne's case, nervous. Then they'd switch. The only time they were in complete agreement is in the photo to the right, when we'd arrived and they were sitting right beside each other in the center of the seat, facing backwards and eagerly waiting to be let out of the car and into the wild.

August 08 007 August 08 008 August 08 009

I had plenty of photo opportunities over the weekend but right after snapping that photo on the right, my camera battery died and that was that. So, since I cannot share more photos with you, I'm going to tell you about something my friend brought into my life this weekend: Spicy Crackers. I seriously do not know how I've managed in my gastronomical life without their particular delight and yumminess. This recipe gives the lowly and bland saltine a swift kick in the back side and suddenly something out of this world happens to their taste and to my tastebuds. I'm going to share with you the recipe and then sometime very soon I want you to make these crackers and let me know what you think.


4 Sleeves fat-free crackers (I'm told that fat-free is key for this recipe as other crackers won't absorb the ingredients)
1 cup Canola oil
1 tsp. Garlic powder
1 - 4 tbsp. Red pepper flakes
1 pkg. Original Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix


Place crackers in four columns in a gallon Ziploc bag. In a small bowl mix oil, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and dressing mix. Combine well and drizzle over crackers. Close bag and turn several times to coat crackers. Continue to turn and lightly shake bag until mixture has been absorbed into crackers.

And guess what? That's it! And then you can open up that bag and dig in to the best crackers in the world. I admit that I haven't tasted all the crackers in the world, but I know that these are the best so don't argue with me. Trust me, you'll thank my friend for this.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Citius, Altius, Fortius

I'm wearing a white shirt with a patch over the heart. The patch is embroidered with red vertical stripes, and in blue the letters, USA, are embroidered across the stripes and the Olympic rings are above. Three stripes, one red, one white, and one blue, move across the shirt from my right shoulder to the bottom left. I've been called spirited and a cheerleader today. I've gotten comments about how unusually colorful I am, how much I rock, and one Wow, you're really into it. Yes, yes I am.

I'm a fan of the Olympics. I'm a fan of putting politics and differences aside for a brief time. I'm a fan of the competition, the stories, the fanfare and the athletes themselves, their determination and focus and vision. I'm a fan of the little guy and the big wins.

I'm not exactly sure where I got this but as with many things, I believe it to be something I absorbed from my father. He supported the U.S. Olympic Teams for years. With each Olympics, he would buy and give each of us some item of clothing emblazoned with the rings and the year and location. A t-shirt, a sweatshirt, a ball cap, something of the sort. So this year, yesterday in fact, I was off and running to do the same, which is what the shirt I'm wearing is all about.

This morning on the Today Show, Matt Lauer and Bob Costas were talking about the opening ceremonies and what I learned from their conversation was that there are 80 nations that have never won a medal at the Olympics and likely won't again this year. So for those athletes, being at the Olympics representing their country is achieving the highest goal, and the opening ceremony, for them, is their time on the medals podium, their moment, their gold medal. That's exactly the kind of story that puts goosebumps on my arms and makes me love the Olympics. That's what I'll be thinking when later tonight I'll be wearing my shirt and sitting in front of the TV watching the opening ceremonies, smiling from ear-to-ear and being touched, if not a bit overwhelmed, by the scene before me.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Taking pride out for a stroll

A week or so ago, Velvet tagged me with a meme that initially seemed simple enough. She wanted me to post six things I'm proud of. She thought I could complete the list in a short time and while these six things are the initial six that I wrote down, I've taken my time posting them because I wanted to think about exactly what made me feel that pride.

1. I am proud of my last name. When it comes to my parents, I feel that I drew the winning lottery ticket. I was adopted and I've never said that or written that without a good feeling about it, so this one is twofold. I have a certain pride for a woman you could argue I've met but never known, the woman who gave birth to me. What she did couldn't have been easy but she did it.

2. I'm proud that I was an integral part in raising my sister's children. I'm proud of the sacrifice I made years ago when I was called to do so. Ultimately that sacrifice enriched my life to degrees I couldn't have imagined.

3. I'm proud that my career continues to grow in the same company I've worked for 18 years. I'm proud that I am a Parnter in the company and that I work for a company and industry that I believe in.

4. I'm proud that I have a positive outlook in my life - and I'm proud of it because I worked for it. I see the silver lining, can see the best in someone or the positive in a situation. I am never without hope. Plenty of things can knock me down but I'll find the opportunity to grow and change while I'm down there and I always get back up a better person from my trials.

5. I'm proud of my friendships. Not a single one has been a walk in the park. I've worked hard for them, am very loyal to them, and my life is better for it.

6. Lastl but not least, I am proud of the lessons I've learned from my parents. I'm proud that I continue to apply them in my life and, in doing so, keep my parents and their many gifts and broad wisdom very close to me. They instilled much in me and for this one, I'm not only proud but also grateful.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Eighty degrees and rising

It's 80 degrees in my house this morning since something in my air conditioning system is not working. The repair man is here and he is walking upstairs and downstairs and fiddling with the vents then going outside, then coming back in and then going into the attic and them mumbling valve and then growling compressor. So, I'm posting these photos from Saturday, which involved watching Pretty Woman, an art opening and a street festival where I sweated buckets because it was a hundred degrees outside and more than once I wiped the sweat from my brow and wondered if this city will ever act on the fact that August is the absolute worst month to have any outdoor event. After I finish posting these photos, I'm going to take a cold shower and then I'm going to get out of here and hopefully into someplace cooler. Even if it means driving around in my car.

WhiteLinenNight 021 WhiteLinenNight 019 WhiteLinenNight 020 Two blonds SM WhiteLinenNight 018 Zydeco

Friday, August 01, 2008


On Page A4 of today's Houston Chronicle, a headline reads, Maybe there is gain without pain, after all. Above the headline a quote from a Salk Institute doctor, We have exercise in a pill. With no exercise, you can take a drug and chemically mimic it.

As I was writing the above, the story was featured on the morning news segment of the Today Show.

While I understand this could be extremely promising for those who are severely overweight and suffering subsequent serious health problems, there is much more of my mind that is simply baffled. It seems we have a pill for everything and that frightens me because I envision a society completely altered by chemicals designed to trick our brains, and I cannot help but wonder the price, the repercussions that will surely be down the road because I am believer in the saying, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Somewhere a price is paid, always.

Another saying, if it's worth having, it's work working for, is fitting as well. For if and when this study goes outside of mice and into people, and the drugs are pushed to market by pharmaceutical companies with profits in mind and without long-term testing, it will inevitably fall into the hands of those outside the target group and that's where the trouble will begin.

Remember Fen-Phen?