A random practical joke.

I suppose people understand I'm a little off.  Today I convinced one of my co-workers to fold themselves up in a freight box and wait.

Then I went to the other side of the store, insisted that I borrow yet another associate from the other assistant manager, then promptly sent them to help unpack freight.

As soon as that person ducked out of sight, I dragged the other assistant from their task and made a beeline for the area with the empty-but-full freight box in it.  We stood around the corner, watching the second person opening boxes and working freight onto the counter.

Unfortunately, I was called away for some other mundane call, when I hear shrieking come from the side of the store I just left.

I love the holidays.


The Underground

Today I am headed with a very good friend of mine to the Houston Underground.

Wait.  Houston has an underground?

For those of you who don't know, Houston (HUGH-ston) is built on a vast swamp and even has a bayou running through the middle of it.  When you're at sea level, you don't have basements.

However, to accomodate the ever-growing populace, if you can't built up, I guess they figured they should build down. There is a small maze of eateries and shops which glitter alongside the scurrying sheeple, underneath the blaring horns and traffic lights.  You'd think that it would be akin to the Morlocks, where the shadiness dwells, but in all actuality, it is inhabited 9-5 by corporate yesmen and the likes which dwell the majority of their lives in cubicle world.

So today, the underground will be our playground.  Hope you have me on facebook.  I always post a lot of pics.  Like from the Chocolate Bar.


I just wanted to say, you wound up doing exactly what I suggested you to do.

Swallow that.


The White Tree

So...this year, we have a white Christmas tree.

The tree is white, because of the request of my sister, literally on her deathbed.  At first, I really didn't think this was a request that was lucid, but throughout her time with her friends, this was something that happened on occasion.  So...my mother went out and bought a white tree.

We put over 500 little lights on it.  The first go-around, my husband was asked to buy lights on the way home from work.  When he got home, he realized that the cord was GREEN, and too highly visible on a WHITE tree (fail).  But we went later on and got a white string, so everything was cool.  The kids lit it, put the garland on, and hung on the ornaments.

Every year, we buy the kids one ornament.  We started this tradition in the hopes that when the children were old enough to leave their nest, they would have a collection of ornaments to take with them to put on their own tree.  We got the girls bells this year, engraved with their names and the year.

So after the tree was pretty and lit and decorated, the kids and husband went to bed.  I thought about my sister, and how she would have enjoyed helping the girls, or merely watching them.  And I cried a little.  Somehow, it makes the holiday a little more lonely that she's not here.  I'm sure it won't be the last time.  That's okay, though.  On the up side, I my family may be small, but it's great.  And I have a few really good friends to share the holiday with.

It's the holidays.

Other than double-ordering an item for Christmas, the Yuletide holiday shopping is moving along smoothly.  In fact, it's the smoothest it's been.  Save for a few little hiccups, which are mostly inconsequential.

I have a little bit of a rant.  I was going to the The Cheesecake Factory this evening, and of course, for the holidays, parking is full.  We eyeball a couple moving through the crowd and point the little car towards it, hoping for a parking spot.  When we get there, another car is on the other side.  As they pull out, I think, "The hell with it, I have been sharking for parking for like fifteen minutes" and snipe the spot of the couple we'd been watching.

At this point, another little red car begins to protest loudly with it's horn.

Now, I'm in the car with my mom, my sister-in-law, and a good friend of mine.  "Really?"  I ask, exasperated.  All this time, I'm talking out loud about how I had been watching the couple, amongst agreements from the peanut gallery all around me.

Dude gets out of his car.

Now, several thoughts run through my head.  I'm wearing prescription shades which are dark, a sweatshirt with Death on the front, skully earrings and a skully bracelet (which...well, no one really knows it's Death on my shirt...).  And I'm thinking, "Do I look thuggish enough?"

The guy sees me, is taller than me, and immediately starts yelling at me.

I can't even remember what he said.  I was getting flustered.  "I walked them watching...". "What?  What are you saying?" "I *watched* them *walking*...."  And now, he's yelling more and I'm starting to get pissed.  Finally, I cut him off.

"I'm not moving."

"You mean after all this," he yells loudly, "you're stealing my parking spot?   You're not going to move?"

"No.  I'm not.  Call the cops.  I don't care.  I'm not moving."

I really thought this guy was going to hit me.  Then finally he walks back, stares at the back of my car, then slams into his, leaving.

Now, I'm concerned that I've pissed this guy off and he's going to come back and key my car or slash my tires.  I'm shaking, I'm furious, but all I can do is quote an old friend as the people around me are talking about this guy.

"What a douchebag."

I can't help it.  I get angry.  I mean, it's a fucking parking spot.  Really???  You got out of the car to try and intimidate a car full of women to move a car because you want the parking spot?  But I'm concerned, and if I'm concerned, I know that my mother is close to having an apoplexy.

And I can't convey to her that today is going to be a good day.  Damnit.

She begins to obsess as we're walking towards the restaurant.  And I'm mad, but I figure that whatever happens will happen and I won't be able to do jack shit.  Karma would get his ass.  So finally, I kind of cut my mom off (which I try not to do) and convey it in the only way I can get her to understand it.

"Mom, it's okay.  God will take care of it."

She finally lets it drop.  We have our meal, some WONDERFUL dessert (tiramisu and strawberry shortcake and yes, cheesecake), and leave.  When we get to the car....there is a HPD cop car a few car spots over, engine running, and cop sitting inside.

All I can do is laugh.  The Universe works as it should.


Any blessing is still a blessing.

When they prayed over my stepbrother, my stepmother paused, knowing my difference of opinion when it comes to religion.  Gently, she asked me if it was okay.

"Yeah.  Any blessing is a good blessing, no matter where it comes from."

And I stand by that remark.  Maybe it makes me a little nutty, but I sincerely believe that the good begets the good, and what goes around really goes around.  So I humbly accept the blessings of others.  Blessings for peace, to prosper, for love and light and joy.

I kinda get more fickle when it comes to the state of my immortal soul, but I digress.

Anyway, I lost my phone today.  What actually happened was I left in in the bathroom.  Perhaps 30-45 minutes after realizing this, I ask the loaner boss to borrow his phone, frantically calling my own.


"Hmm, yes?"

"Hey, um.  You found my phone."

"I picked it up on the counter in the bathroom."

"Can I have it back?"

"I've already left Party City and I'm on the other side of town.  I might be able to swing by there later in the week."

"Thank you so much.  I work here, so please leave it with any of the cashiers up front."

Riiiight.  That phone is a goner.

On a good note, within that hour, I called to have the phone shut off and flagged as stolen. (Try to use it now, assholes.)  A 500 dollar phone on the Sprint system becomes a worthless piece of junk.  You might be able to hustle someone into buying it for 50 bucks, but who'd want to risk it if it didn't work?

The only really hard blow to my heart was the pictures and stuff on there.  Mind you, most of the pictures no one is going to make any heads or tails out of, some of them are of people dancing around a bonfire.  Drummers.  No places, no names, nothing attached to it.  Nothing...ah, risque.  But there's some stuff on there that really HURT to lose.

Like the last few text messages between my sister and I before she go too ill to use her phone anymore.

Pictures of the last few hours of her life as they presented her with an honorary teaching degree in art by UTSA.  Within an hour of everyone dispersing from the ceremony, she quietly took a few short breaths, then breathed no more.  And we were all here for here like we were there for my kid brother.  Telling them both how much we loved them, how much we want them to be free of the darkness that plagued them, and we got to rub and pet them before they passed away quietly.

My loaner boss, the retired jewish gay special ops marine (who is deaf in one ear because he go shot in the face and the trajectory of the bullet coincided with his ear, you do the math) who could probably eat glass and piss napalm said something very sweet to me.  "Maybe you really just didn't need the phone because you didn't need the pictures of your sister like that.  You shouldn't remember her like that.  There was more to your sister than being sick.  Focus on the happy memories."

And really, that's what I think I'll do.  Those pictures were sad.  She could hardly move.  She barely opened her eyes.  Everything took tremendous effort for her. Having to explain the attachment on the phone brought me to tears.....tears I thought I had washed away a while ago.  But I realize that these injuries to the heart are like being impaled with stiletto. The damage is quick, sharp, deep and serious.  It either leaves you to bleed out on the floor, or the adrenaline spurs you into response.  However...the damage is done, so have a care that the blade doesn't move, the wound doesn't fester, and you don't bleed out entirely.

Knowing I lost those pictures, broke me down.  I spent half an hour trying to recollect myself a work.  I was a mess.  Virtual or no, those were he last things my sister gave me, and they got lost.  So don't mind me if I seem to be having my heart ripped out and stomped on the floor by a complete stranger.

It's okay.  I still come out ahead.  This month will mark the anniversary of me getting shackled to someone for 15 years and no killing them (or somehow killing me).  Don't let anyone dissuade you, it's an amazing accomplishment in this day and age.  I have someone to pick on for the rest of their life, that carries heavy stuff, that cooks, that cleans, that brew.  Someone that wants to go camping with me across America and back again.  Someone who would help me build a cordwood house out in the middle of nowhere because he can.

So.....yeah, maybe he phone being lost was a blessing in disguise.  Just means somewhere, through someone, the universe is looking out for me, and I appreciate that.


I'm already gone.

I think that this has been the year of self-preservation.

I look back on the pagan calendar and I am thinking about my journey from the last Samhain.  It's been a long, dark road before me, wrought with perils.  I am sure that there is a lot about me fundamentally that hasn't changed, but I would have to say that there is a lot about me that's changed too.  I've made a lot of hard decisions in the past year, about the people I will keep in my life and the friendships I will let go.  It sucks, because people I call 'friends' have great aspects about them.  But I've come to the point where I'm realizing that even though I see the potential of a person, that doesn't really mean they will live up to that full potential, nor that they even care to.  I'm weeding out those people who do not enrich my life in any way, or people that seem to take from me and never give back.  One-sided, unhealthy relationships.  I am brushing away those that would speak kindly to my face, but bitch about me behind my back.  I am turning my back on those who offer nothing but their outstretched hand.  Those that never seem to care about me, because the world revolves around them.

Maybe that sounds a little selfish.  Maybe I deserve to be a little selfish.

Since the focus moved from my community (those I hang with) to my family (those I live with, save for a scant few tried and true friends), my family prospers.  My husband and I are doing really well and able to do more and more for our family.  I'm not driving in the middle of the night on rescue missions, I'm not trying to cut it close to life expenses versus bailing someone out of jail.  I'm not over-exerting myself outside of my household.  And things have never been better.

Some days I think about what I have lost, and I mourn the loss of people.  Of their potential.  But the greatest of that potential lies with me and my family.  Had I seen that sooner, well...

...would of, should of, could of.  It doesn't really matter.  This past week has been a bit of hell at work, but in the end, it's worth it.  Even if it's just me and the cat in the middle of the night.  We get past that short spell, and on with the living.  I got at least one of the two things I wanted most for my birthday this year.  The reasonable one was spending a nice, quiet evening at home with the family, celebrating my birthday.

The second one was the impossible, but it doesn't mean I couldn't wish it.  The second was I just wish my sister could have called me to wish me happy birthday.  I hope that she would be proud of me.


Liar, liar.

I remember taking the humanities at the community college, like sociology and psychology.  One of the things that Dr. Simones used to say is that people lie to themselves, even just a little.

And we get this.  Sometimes it's what our weight or size really is, just little white lies to the brain.  Others, they're a bit more severe, like we really didn't want something bad to happen after just wishing for it.  Or we didn't wish for it, it just happened.  Whatever we can tell ourselves in a whisper to keep ourselves in a comfort zone.  Looking in the mirror, we tend to be critical, but we also tend to talk ourselves up, saying things like we haven't gained that much weight, the creases at our eyes aren't so deep, we haven't really changed all that much from high school.  Right.

I realize that intermittently, I can affect people subtlety.  I don't necessarily get the credit for it, but I do influence people, and the funny part is that I don't intend it.  Like picking up the partiality to sterling silver flatware, or the desire for the garb and dress of the renfests.  From teaching to writing to my personal thoughts on hallucinogens to tending fish tanks.  I know there are places I had a hand in thoughts.  Deny it all you want, but someone in your life that you've loved, even if that love didn't last, has affected you in some way.  The seeds of conversation plant ideas which would flourish into something not entirely unlike a thought process that loved one had, or maybe it was set adrift to form a completely different viewpoint.  Either way, a few choice words were a catalyst for something.

I have an aversion to designer drugs, flowery patterns, and turquoise plaids.  But I have picked up an affinity for house music, antiques and small, random adventures.  I love pottery, textured fabrics and enjoy designer coffees and breads.  All of my tastes, styles and thoughts have been my own, yes, but also shaped by the world, no, the people around me.

To not give them credence is laughable.  Just because I don't like someone, I'm not honorless enough not to give credit where credit is due.  Perhaps I did not really care much for my mother-in-law, but she did make sure that I got my diploma and that I walked the year I almost didn't graduate.  Doesn't mean that I have to be  bosom buddies, but it would dishonor me not to admit where I came from, so to speak.

So surround yourself with people, but don't get lost amongst them.  The ones that you invest your precious time in will shape the kind of person you are.  You are your own person, honed by the love of your company. Pick with care who you spend your time with.  You can either be like crabs in a bucket, people clinging to you to drag you down, or you can fly with your flock, the winds uplifting you all.


Occupy Wall Street.... Occupy Your Life. Get in there and LIVE it.

I've been watching this in the news, touch and go, and getting ideas of what exactly it is.

No one seems to have any definitive claims as to entirely what 'Occupy Wallstreet' is.  Some have said it was a protest against capitalism in the form of corporate greed.  I've seen others say that it was a demand for a truer democracy.

Each person, whatever color, gender, sexual orientation, religion or creed....no person can seem to give a straight answer on exactly why they are there.

But they're mad as hell.

I can get that.  There is so much bullshit wrong in the world, I won't even start my own list.  I've listen to people bitch about unfair laws, unfair corporations, unfair, unfair, unfair.  But there are a few things that I have to say to this.

Firstly, standing around gets a bit of attention, but never really the kind of attention you want. "Yeah, I've been  standing on Wall Street for days now..." Okay, you look like a good guy to give a job to, don't you?  But I have to give them props.  They're trying to figure out what to do with whatever it is they're upset about.

Therapy might help.

But beyond the selfish outer shell of the movement, the rallying words of "we want", perhaps something more revolutionary would be "we act".  Let's fucking take this to the street then, shall we?  You know that there is registered sex offender lives on the corner, never coming out of his house.  Let's all get together instead of standing in a street with a volatile concoction of emotions and anger, and bust in on this bitch for some vigilante justice.  We will just hang him in his own tree in the front yard.  We will do what we believe is right to make this world a better place, be it through burning down the buildings of the corporations, or stringing up a guilty man in a indecency with a child charges.

Oh, wait.  Once that's done, you find out the guy was 18 at the time the crime was processed, sleeping with his 16 year old girlfriend.  And rumors and speculation led this mass mob to hang him.  When really, even though he was tried and found guilty by the letter of the law, that this perhaps wasn't quite the case it sounded like on paper.

Does the vigilante justice redeem itself just by saying they're sorry, they didn't know?  Hell no.  And when the masses are to blame, well, everyone misses the blame.

Instead, go to the source.

I have said this several times before, I'll say it again.  I am not the best when it comes to interpretation of the law.  I am no lawyer, I have never been to law school.  I'm taught the bare fundamentals in school, like everyone else, and set out into the sea of adulthood to find my own way.  I get that.  But no matter how long my ship gets to sail, the waters will always be grey.

If you don't like what's going on, change it.  But you can't change it from the roles of victim and exploited.  Get out.  Get up.  DO something.  Join the congress.  Join the PTA.  Join a community shelter.  Do service at the local church.  Help at the pet shelters.

Pay it Forward.

Nothing will change overnight, and all though self-understand and self-reflection is important, it cannot be all-consuming.  When you get your tentative grasp, hold on tightly and move forward as if it is the last thing you do on this earth.  Because any cause can be shunted to the side.  What you do about the things that trouble you is what will make the entire difference.

For those at the Occupy sites, I wish them happiness, peace, joy, and resolution.



Life is a dancefloor....

"Might as well let go, you can't take back what you've done..."

That's part of my problem.  For some reason, I'm literally hard-wired to obsess.  At least, that's what the shrink said by looking over the waves of my brain.  I suppose he got bored with me, or he's just kind of letting me do my own thing during October, because I'd told him it would be crazy-busy.

I've got to work on my birthday, which is a first in a while, but being the type of retail, I don't mind it.  At least that day I get to work early, so off early, which means dinner, possibly.  I don't really think too much about it.  Frankly, the only thing I want for my birthday, I can't have.  And that would be just to hear my sister call and wish me a happy birthday, as we were apt to do on our birthdays.  Just call and chat.

Last month I found myself calling her phone number, just to see if the voice mail was still there.  Nope.  I couldn't have checked it, so I wonder about the calls she never got to return sometimes.  It worries me, fascinates me, and humbles me, the realization of how completely her life just stopped.  Bill collectors and catalogs still frequent the mail.  I had to donate a lot of her clothes (when I got here, we were the same size....a few months past and I'm much smaller now....plus, well, we just aren' t into the same kind of style of dress....go figure), and she has art supplies here I have yet to go through.  So much stuff, so little time.  And well, there's other things.

She's got photographs of being out with people I've never seen before, to places I never knew she traveled to.  I am sure she loved her friends very much, but it was just another indicator about how very different our lives were.  Sometimes it makes me feel really alienated, like I never really knew her at all.  And in other moments, we we spoke and the exact same thoughts crossed our minds, I felt deeply we were cut from the same cloth.

And now....now all I have to analyze is what went on before, and soon enough, those memories will erode in their sharpness, and it scares me to forget them.

And then I think about my stepbrother, about how long he had to suffer with schizophrenia, and it makes me truly sad.  I mean, it emphasizes the fact that in all acutality, I lost both my sister and stepbrother a long time ago.  Estranged.  And the thing that makes it the most pointed is the fact that I have a hard time recounting the last time I saw them before their deaths.  In my stepbrother's instance, I think years have passed.  In the instance of my sister....I'd seen her a few weeks before, but before that particular visit?  I can't remember.

Gods help me, it's really been long enough I can't remember.

It still doesn't make me feel less of either of them, I love them all the more for having watched.  Having been blessed enough to be there.  Not entirely under the circumstances any of us would choose, but I got one gift I can't be ungrateful for.  I got to say goodbye, which is a lot more than some people ever get.

Just sometimes I feel really alone.


Of the moment

I can't say that every word I ever wrote was kind, but nor can I say that I meant every harshness I dealt.  And that can become the deadly beauty of writing.  A double-edged sword which can help you cut to the quick of things, but damaging and swift to others.

I remember that a friend of mine once left a diary behind in a move.  He was beside himself with horror that anyone might pick it up and read it, because he wrote freely in it, not withholding his emotion or timbre.  It caused him great anxiety for two days, whereas we safeguarded his words, never opening, and returned the books to him.  In passing, he mentioned writing things in a not-so-nice-way about people in them, and actually said he had done the same to me, 'writing in anger'.  He was easily enough able to retrieve the books and continue our friendship, although he admittedly wrote very ugly things in it about me.  I was able to nod to this, because I believed my friend had a right to his feelings in the heat of the moment.

I look at my words to him in recent times badly.  I know they were unkind.  I was angry and dealing with other things, but....he is firmly of the belief that people, depressed or having issues should be responsible for their actions and words......Oddly, even in anger, I had the strength to speak directly to him (or indirectly, writing to him) and I shamed for my behavior.  But what he writes, as long as I wasn't privy to it, does it make it justifiable?

I look at the double-standard as interesting.  I am not saying either of us is right or wrong, but in my observation, it looks like a duality exists.  Just as assuredly, if I know that something is illegal and willingly engage in the act, then I am chancing the probability of being caught.  Having to be responsible for engaging in the illegal act.  I will not cry about how unfair I think it is, or how the system is wrong.  I will not evangelize about my rights, the deterioration of 'the system', or make any other excuse about why I should not be arrested, tried and convicted.  When I speed in traffic, although I have faith in my driving capabilities, although I have never been in a car accident, if I accelerate above the speed limit, I know that there is a possibility that I can be stopped by law enforcement, ticketed, and possibly jailed.  So when I speed, I willingly break the posted law, the law I know about, so when I have to face the consequences, I will accept them as an adult.  I might bitch about the fact that I hate the process.  But I know the law, no matter how unfair it is to me, and anything else is just looking for an excuse.  At least, that's how I feel.

And yes, I speed sometimes.  Just not often.  Because frankly, I can't think of anything so important that I couldn't have left twenty minutes earlier for instead of trying to break the sound barrier. Granted,in  emergency instances...well, if you'd have known it was an emergency twenty minutes earlier, you'd already be long gone, wouldn't you?


the dream of a memory...

A man walked into my store today which struck a chord with me.  For all the things that I had to do, all the work that had to be done, I paused to look curiously at this man.

He closely resembled a man who crossed my path over thirteen years ago.  The anesthesiologist that took care of me when my first child was born.  I remember his thin and supple fingers, his calm, quiet tenor words speaking lowly.  The content, I can't remember.  It's the reassuring tone you use when you're dealing with someone you are afraid will spook at any sudden movements...kind of like a horse trainer, I suppose.  He was pale, thin, very tall, and had eyes the color of brilliant aquamarines.  They reflected the cold, crystalline blue and picked up grey from the matte steel materials which surrounded us in the procedures.

It's interesting to me how one face, one smell, one pattern or touch can bring to me a hundred flashbulb memories.  Some with complete clarity, some a little hazy from the faded photographs time leaves behind in the mind.

Don't know why it was so strongly remembering it, but it was a brilliant moment.


scotch and strings

Last night was a beautiful night.  Even though I had to work yesterday, I came home to a content husband.  We talked in the breezy, cool weather of the evening.and spoke of the String Theory and its relation to music and magic.

There are the things that we talk about when left to our own devices....

So....can you imagine that.....?  The universe made of subatomic particles which are all,, for all intents and purposes...just music....

Every moment we ahve, every place in time, through out time, back and forth in the multiverse.....the ForeverSong.

Which....does make happy about the name I gave it when I was so little.

But regardless, we spent hours last night, holding each other outside, singing to music and talking in the cool twilight.  Which is what love is, right? Spending that quality time.

Geez, I'm tired.


The Piano Bar

Friendship dictates the celebration of a friend's birthday.  This particular celebration found us at a place downtown called Pete's Dueling Piano Bar.  Us being my husband and mom accompanying me.

Having never been to a dueling piano bar (one of my sister's favorite places in San Antonio was Dirty Nelly's Irish Pub, which she said was quite a riot), I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, save two guys playing pianos.  I don't know that 'dueling' is really the proper word, at least for the instance of the evening, but you'd get a paper, write your request, slip it onto a grand piano one of the guys was sitting on, and if they knew it, they'd probably play it.  Order of operations dictates that if they played it, it got wadded up and tossed somewhere.  If they didn't know it, early in the evening, they'd let you know and they were keeping your money anyway.  For the more serious bar hoppers, the bigger your tip, the better chance you had of getting your song played.

Now, if this hasn't been established before, I will let you know now.  I can seriously drink.  I don't normally like to seriously drink, because drinking is supposed to be something that is relaxing and done in moderation.  As a kid, I would always try to press the limits.  As an adult, if I'm not driving, well....I try to behave myself in public now.  Anyway, knowing about what my bar tab runs now, I shudder to think how much money gets blown at this bar - soused people paying exceptional money for the alcohol in the first place, then tipping these guys twenty bucks to play a song, in some instances, not even in its entirety.  Decadent, but it was kind of fun just to laugh at some of these people.

There was a few memorable instances for the evening, especially since it is really kind of a sing-along type of environment.   "You don't have to call me darling" was promptly recognized by the group I was with, and after that specific string of words, the words "BITCH, SLUT, WHORE" were screamed from the group, much to both the surprise and delight of the the pianist. There was also some other song where the same three words were used, with the addition of YOU in front of them.  And some other song where the audience called out TO GET DRUNK, TO GET HIGH, TO GET LAID.  Some of the songs, I recognized.  Some of them I didn't.  But singing along was fun anyway.

But it might also give you an idea of exactly what kind of group I was hanging out with.  Good, bawdy people.

There were a few songs that were added to the set, two of which my husband called out on, that was accompanied by the waitresses dancing.  Of course, the request for The Time Warp, which gets everyone on their feet.

Now...let's go back to the fact that my mother went along.

The volume was loud enough to leave that kind of hollow, tinny sound ringing in my ears after we left.  My mother probably had a harder time understanding the men talking, because they spoke fast and were distorted slightly by the reverb from the microphones.  Sometimes I leaned back and explained a joke passed between them, and she laughed.  But generally, whether or not she could catch the joke, she found the whole thing amusing.  Especially when one of the guys used a flashlight for a 'spotlight' and heckled people in the audience (some white guy was referred to all evening as 'Pepe'...the pianist said that was his name for the evening, so he responded and joked with the pianist most of the evening).  My mother gets wasted on a thimble-full of booze, so she happily enjoyed the show with a soda.  We both agreed it was something really different, and kinda fun, and her biggest surprise was that going into a bar in Houston, there was no smoking inside.

Mom doesn't get out much.

But that was the evening.  And if you feel a bit bawdy and loud, maybe you and your chums will drop by Pete's Dueling Piano Bar.  It was a pretty nice night out.


Dances with Beavers

Back home from the trip to San Antonio.  It has been an amazing day.

The day started at about 5 am for me and after trying to leave the house at six and picking up a family friend, we adventured to San Antonio.  Of course, we had to stop at one of the places my sister always stopped at on the way to Houston...Buc-ee's.

If you haven't had the Buc-ee's experience, it is one of the largest, cleanest pit stops I have ever been to.  I've traveled a lot in my time, and when you've got to stop to get gas, use the bathroom, or buy something to eat, I've probably never seen any place as well-staffed or as clean as a Buc-ee's.  They can gouge you on prices for some of the items with their Beaver mascot logo, but really, if you've ever been in a seedy place where toilets became hover-seats (that is, you're afraid of catching something so you can't actually sit on a toilet seat to use the bathroom, which is a horrible incident in the making for women sometimes...), then you can appreciate the cleanliness of this place.

Anyway, as we stop there, I think of a good friend of my sister's and how she told stories of the Beaver Wars between my sister and herself.  They would buy the craziest things for one another as they stopped at this place, and stick stickers of the Beaver on each other's car.  Her birthday was at the beginning of the month, so to celebrate her birthday and that of my sister,  we got her a Beaver Backpack.

So,we get to Dick's Last Resort, a bar on the Riverwalk in San Antonio.  Since the Universe works as it should, it is apparently nestled gently under the hospital that my sister was diagnosed with cancer six years ago.  When we arrived, I carried my purse, a Beaver Bag with the Beaver Backpack in it, and a small recyclable bag that carried two urns of the remains of my sister.

This was not meant to be a sad occasion.  It was my sister's birthday, a celebration of her life and the opportunity to share the event with her friends.  And so it was.

Her friend was thrilled with the Beaver Backpack.  I presented her with the urn and charged her with spreading ashes at my sister's favorite places.  She was happy to do so, then in an effort to make sure that nothing happened to the urn (which I Saran wrapped and rubber-banded to make sure that she didn't spill out...), she proceeded to stuff the urn into the Backpack.

Okay, the thought had occurred to me when I purchased it, but I thought to myself it might be weird.  But here was her friend, trying to stuff the urn into the plushie Beaver Backpack.

"Suck it in!" my mom yells, encouraging my sister to 'fit' in the backpack.

The clown there sees us playing with the backpack (during the day, it's a mostly-harmless, attitude baring clown which makes balloon things and picks on people...at night, when there's no kids, the balloons turn obscene and the heckling begins..) and wants his picture with it.  At that point, I'm nervously trying to pull the backpack from the clown and gently explaining he has to be careful.  Finally, at some point, I tell him my sister  is in the backpack, and if he isn't careful, he'll spill her.  He clicks that I am in fact not kidding, and begins to stammer and apologize.

Leave it to me to stop a clown deadpan in the middle of trying to be funny.

Anyway, a good time is had by all, and I'll spare you some of the insults and banter that went on.  When we finished, we walked some down the river and found a small man-made waterfall.  They gathered around it tightly, to shield me from all the people across the river.  My sister's friend said a few words, reading from a book and directly quoting my sister.  When she was finished, I thanked them all for coming, then poured my sister into the water stealthily.

The Beaver Backpack still had the second urn, and for some reason, everyone wanted their picture 'with my sister'.  She would have probably found this funny, because everyone was sporting the backpack or cuddling the plushie.  As this was going on, one of my sister's other friends was looking down at the frothing water.

"Don't say a word," I laughed.  The ash had clung to the foam, making my sister a latte in the fountain.

The trip home was through the rain, but the rain itself wasn't a bad thing.  It was a blessing and a sign of hope for us here, where the water has been scarce.  The day was great, and full of laughter and love, with just a touch of sadness.

I love you sis, and I miss you dearly.  Happy birthday.


Love moves mountains. Real love moves bodies.

I really should write a book.  The fact of the matter is, I just can't make this shit up.

So, after acquiring two urns to take my sister to San Antonio, we make plans to go to one of her favorite haunts (no pun intended), a place called Dick's Last Resort.

Now...first let me tell you about Dick's.

All I can think of is the song "My Posse's on Broadway"....which has at one point or another also crossed my sister's mind.  It's this bar on the Riverwalk in San Antonio that is famous.  It's notorious for it's crabby staff, shavings on the floor, and the fact that crap can be literally thrown at you.  There's a clown there that makes obscene balloon, uh, things and if you're new to the bar, they make hats for you.

A long time ago, I traveled there with my friend Marc.  During the time, I think I was working at the tattoo parlour and the pottery shop.  We loaded up into Marc's blue corvette (which we actually tried to drown, by the way...it had probably three inches of water in the floor board, but that's another story) with the police lights on it and made the journey from Houston to San Antonio in slightly under two and a half hours.  Although it was a relatively short drive, I realize that when you're in fear of your life, time slows down.  I really didn't have anything to worry about, I was in good company with a mostly safe driver, but not used to traveling by three-digits...it can kind of throw off your nerves.

When we arrived, my sister was thrilled and took us to this bar on the Riverwalk.  The pine shavings on the floor kind of gave it a bit of a funny smell, but I imagine they were there to soak up all sorts of stray things.  It was a live music night, we drank beers with necks the size of those super-huge Mountain Dew bottles, and had various napkins and cups thrown at us.  At one point, fries flew above the din (french fries),  and my sister told the waiter that my friend and I had never been to Dick's.  So we were promptly given paper hats.  The waiter wrote (literally) on mine, "I'll fart for a quarter" and on Marc's, he wrote, "Hung like a (Sea)Horse".  After staggering to the bathroom a couple of times to stare at the pictures of bare-chested, glistening men on the walls of the stall, maybe you kind of get the idea of where we're headed tomorrow.  Maybe even an idea about how fun and mischievous my sister was.  How much I appreciated some of the silliness of us.  And, well... At least around noon, the crowd might be more sedate...

But back to the heart of my story.  In our last episode, I'd purchased two nice, yellow ceramic urns for the use of transportation of my sister.  The urns are just big enough to hold a bag of her remains.  Two urns, three bags.  Two for in and around San Antonio...one for the deep blue sea later on.

Now, I just said that the urns were big enough to hold a bag of remains each.  Literally.  I got them home and realized no matter how much I squished, pushed, rolled or prodded, there was no way I was going to be able to put those bags wholly into the urns.  Which means, yup, you guessed it.  I had to pour her into those urns.

Now I want you to think about this.  When someone's cremated, it's not just this fine silvery ash that gets thrown to the winds to travel the earth for all eternity.  It's not that pretty.  In fact, it's chunks of bone and ash, akin to maybe crunched up coral.  I think the weirdest part was finding the IV needle.

Yes.  Yes.  You guessed it.  My mother knew it had to be done too, so she was kind enough to set everything up.  When I got up after dinner, she'd cleared away the counter, set down paper towels, the freshly cleaned urns, a small metal funnel, and went to bed shortly thereafter, leaving me and my husband up alone.

Now it would really upset me to try to leave my mother to that task, and my husband is a man of great fortitude so he set his face with determination when I asked for his assistance.  We'd removed the bottom of the cremation box and analyzed the size of the baggies my sister was in before endeavouring on this.  Very carefully, we began to shake her from the bag into a funnel, swirl the funnel and let her kind of pour into it like an hourglass.

Like a coarse sand through an hourglass.

And all I can think of is a million things as I'm doing this.  Please don't let the funnel clog.  Slow down, she's making puffs of ash.  What if I breath that up my nose?  What if I sneeze?  Shit, was that needle left in her after they wheeled her away from the hospice?  That was a large chunk.  Why are we giggling?  Why are we teary-eyed? Did I seriously just get my sister up my nose?  If I throw away the bag or wash out the funnel I used, is it disrespectful?  Should I ever use that funnel again for anything?  It would certainly not be something I'd want to eat or drink anything out of.  And why the hell am I doing yet another ridiculous request of my sister's?  Gee, it kinda sounds like when we were kids and we threw tiny pebbles down the flat metal slide at the school playground.

And of course, the heart of me is so sad.  This is the last physical remains of my sister.  This is the last time and last form I will ever touch my sister, and it is nothing like her.  There is nothing left of her after this is gone.

So all this sadness, all this craziness, through giggling fits and sobs, it's more than I can bear and more than I can express.  It's kind of the mystery of Love.  So many things that you have a hard time ever explaining it.  But for my husband to unblinkingly be so supportive, to help me in this insane task, to laugh with me and hold me when I cry....I just love him so much.  I don't know that he thought it would be this crazy being attached to me for so long.  But, I suppose 'at least it ain't dull'.

Well, we commit the ashes to the Riverwalk tomorrow.  And another portion into the hands of a very good friend of hers for out and around San Antonio.  Whatever makes my sister happy.

After pouring her into the urns and realizing that they are more for aesthetics as opposed to functional, I was worried she spilled.  So there are two urns of human remains, both Saran-wrapped and rubber-banded, sitting on the counter, awaiting journeys to San Antonio tomorrow.

Maybe after that, we can stop at Papa Jim's.


last touches

A friend of mine posted an article on the power of touch.

Everything reminds me of my sister right now, and that's no exception.  But let me start with the day.

Since I've been back in Houston, very few of the friends that I had when I was here have surfaced in my life.  There are a couple of people I love like family, and consider them family, who have come to see me before and after the events of April, and few else.  Today, I was blessed enough to touch base with an old friend.

Like I said, very few people have made any efforts to say, "Hey...stop right there.  I want to see you."  Now, I know that life gets pretty hectic and I'm sure that a lot of them are just busy.  Face it, we grow up, we build careers or have kids, and really, the time left over we are either spending it with our spouses or trying to find spouses.  And those that aren't doing either of those things, are just trying to find themselves.

Anyway, I laughed all morning and got a small token of affection that will go on my wall.  But it makes me realize a lot of things with people that we take for granted.

But to back up, today I was spending time out and about with my husband.  Other than the scheduled visit, we really were just kind of wandering around.  I went into an antique shop I haunt on occasion, and I don't generally drag my husband.  But we were out there and I happened upon a very nice sugar pot with a lid.  Which...of course, reminded me of the fact that Saturday, we are going to spread some of my sister's ashes at the Riverwalk, and I need something to carry it in.

I wouldn't call my religious beliefs conventional.  I'm wandering around this store (the husband broke off to go to about other business for a moment), and I'm talking very quietly under my breath.  I'm asking my sister to help me find something to carry her remains in, because I don't think that carting her around in a ziploc bag is very dignified.  Shortly after, my husband comes trailing along behind me, wandering in my quiet wake through jutting tables littered with antiques, used items, and just plain 'ole junk.

I pause momentarily, looking around.  I see tins that have Spiderman and Star Wars on them.  While my sister loved both, I mulled this is probably not quite appropriate...but I felt compelled to the little hall with these items.  Shaking it off, I made a lap through the booths and came back.  My husband was standing in that spot.  He asks, "What are you looking for?"

So somehow, I wind up explaining about needing urns.  And I tell him that I'm nuts, because I just randomly talk to my sister as if she's there, right beside me.  Maybe I have blown a gasket, but I swear sometimes she really is just hanging out.  And for some reason I had felt compelled to stop in the spot he was standing in.  Then I explained the little tin boxes, and the appropriateness of them because of the fact she loved both Spiderman and Star Wars...but I couldn't see carrying her in a tin lunchbox.

My husband kind of smirked and said, "Look behind you."

On the shelf were two little yellow urns, a matched set, which was fairly inexpensive.  I picked them up, amazed.

"I felt like I needed to stop here too.  When you're doing that kind of thing, you should tell me."

People talk enough to themselves, if someone hears me, they think I'm crazy enough as it is.  Telling people I'm having a one-sided conversation with my dead sister is sure to raise some eyebrows.

But there they were, a mellow yellow color (something she might have picked, but I would never....), side by side and ready to be taken to the counter.  So now I have something to cart her to San Antonio in...

However, back to the article.

One of the most wonderful experiences I had with my sister in her final days was just sitting next to her.  She was watching TV and I'd just gotten off work.  I came over to her, gave her a hug, rubbed my hands across her head and sat in the chair next to her, just rubbing her arm and leg.

"Why are you rubbing me?" she breathed quietly.

"Because I love you," I answered simply.  "I know you're sick, and people don't like touching or being around sick people a lot.  You've been sick for a long time, so it's probably been a long time since anyone's just touched you.....do you want me to stop?"

"No," she said.  "No, it's okay.  Thank you."

And I sat there, rubbing her arm and her leg for a while, just watching TV with her.

That was a precious moment.  That was also the turning point.  I think at that point, she realized exactly how sick she was, because she asked me that night to call for my stepmother and dad to come soon.  I don't know what made her decide it, but once she fixed on it, it was decided.  I called, and with wrangling, the call was Thursday and my father arrived Sunday.  Monday, while I was at work, my sister was admitted into the hospice.  Understating, it was a hard time.

So after acquiring these urns, for the very first time, I unscrewed the box containing my sister's remains in the idea that I was going to put them in the urns, or at the very least, put the divided bags into the urns.

I didn't realize how heavy the remains would be.  The only texture I can compare it to is if you had dealt with pearlite, or perhaps gravel that was made of crushed shell.  I had expected fine powder ash, not this other material that I pulled from the box.

Like a physical blow, standing there with these bags in my hands, it comes to me: this is the last physical remnants of my sister, whom I loved.  This is the last traces of my sister on the earth, other than bric-a-brac and photos that will lose their meanings and their names.  The room lurched a bit, so I laid the bags back down.  I'll try again maybe Friday night.  I know it has to be done, but it is a hard process.  One that I think I must do in parts, both figuratively and literally.

But for all the hardship and heartache, I am blessed, I truly believe.  My sister and stepbrother both came into this world, surrounded by the friends and family that loved them most.  Everyone was there to greet them into life.  And when they made their passage beyond the veil, they were surrounded by friends and family who loved them, said their goodbyes, and prayed for easy passage.  Not everyone is lucky enough to say goodbye.  Or to be able to say the things they feel they need.  But in the end, when you get to it, nothing really matters except the most basic, base feelings.

"I love you.  I'm gonna miss you.  I will think of you always."


stupid parents

Okay, I figured out the one thing that I really don't like about my job.

Being that it's Halloween, I was asked to decorate a fixture for the store with ye old Halloween decorations.  Some of them are bloody, mangled, and gruesome.  So for all the stuff that I'd set up, parents would bring in their little kids.  The kids would cry because they were scared, but the worst part was that their parents would yell at them for being afraid...or they would purposefully use these images to frighten their small children.

Several times I wanted to yell at the parents.  Really, it was the least I wanted to do to them.

What I really wanted to do was beath the holy snot out of them.


around the corner

Yes, Halloween is just around the corner.  So, to have other holidays off, I give up Samhain for a while.  We pick and choose what we can live with.

But with that kind of spiritual and superstitious stigma that is attached to that particular time of year, tons of ghost-hunting reality shows, documentaries, and horror movies come out to heighten our tensions and awareness, giving us the Quickening of the heart, the things which have driven us to survive.

One of the worst words in the world is 'supernatural'.  I hate that word.  To me, calling something supernatural is to attach to it something that gives it a means beyond the natural order of things.  I have to disagree with it entirely.  If these things happen in which we cannot explain, it does not mean it is beyond nature, just at the moment perhaps beyond our ability to explain it.  I think that people who are quickly dismissive or try to over-analyze (oh, the lighting on the film is radio signals from a tower, electrical discharge from remote power lines, etc.) with far-fetching rationalization.

Oh well.  Whatever you believe, start sharpening your senses.  That mystical time of year is sneaking up.


No word for that.

Sometimes it takes a miscommunication to become a sharp rock in my shoe, reminding me just exactly how wide the cultural gap is between my mother and I.  Often times, there are words in the English language that do not exsist in her native tongue, and well, she has a hard time understanding what I do sometimes.  In my bright idea to try and communicate to my mother about what it is that I do.....I happened upon a magnet on my fridge at about the same time my mother was crossing in front of it.  The conversation went something like this.

"Hey, mom.  You know how we've been talking about the ...uh, weird things that I do."

Four foot asian woman: "Hmm."

"Well, see this magnet?  See the lady in the black?  What is she called in Thai?"

"Who'n," she answers promptly in her sing-song language.  Emphasis on the H, o is drawn out, and drawls into an N.

"Cool.  Okay.  What about the lady in pink."

My mom blinks.  "What is she?"

"Well, she does the same stuff the lady in the black does, but she does GOOD stuff..."

"There's not a word for that."

Damn.  Fail.



I think I pissed off one of my sister's friends.

That's not to say that I don't piss a lot of people off daily, it's just that really, the last thing I want to do is get into any type of tussle with my sister's friends.  She wouldn't really like that.  She was a peacemaker.

But the problem with being a wordsmith is that sometimes, you create fine works of art, and other times, people are like, "WTF is that?"  Guess I had a moment which involved the latter.  Someone thought I was dissing their mother.

Now, really, I am mostly beyond that kind of grade school childishness (not totally...I mean, I think that there's at least a person or two who I'd probably tell the officer my foot slipped and I hit the gas instead of the break when I saw them crossing the road), but the mention of the person was moot.  I was referring to the obstacle and trying to emphasize the way my sister overcame it.  The obstacle happened to be a person.

Now, I wasn't disparaging, all I did was state what I believed to be fact.  Hell, what my sister told me was fact.  But after some talking, I think we got this stuff straightened out.

But the long and short of it is that in life, sometimes we are Teachers.  Sometimes we are Students, and sometimes, unfortunately, we are the Cat's Paw of Fate and just an incident in the long strings of A Really Bad Day.

SO...that being said, try not to hold grudges.  Both the good AND the bad make us who we are.



The gist of the stories regarding changlings is that children are stolen away by the faeries and replaced with faerie creatures which look like the children, but really are nothing like the children at all.

Some days, I really feel that way.

It's been over three months since my stepbrother and sister passed away and I really have written much of anything.  It's not from lack of desire, but there are some things I don't think people can ever really find the words for.  And until then, as I spend time with my mother, my sister's smiling face beams at me from various pictures throughout the house.

I am finally reunited with my family after four months of solitude.  I find great comfort in them.  My family is my husband and two children, but our unit now includes my best friend (to my delight, deciding to return to our old stomping grounds with me) and my mother (who, after five years of taking care of my terminal sister, decided she did not want to live alone).  It's a little crowded, but I think that everything will work itself out.

Over the course of time, it has been rough.  For one reason or another, I've chosen to stop talking to 'friends' of mine.  I think that I finally just come to the realization that in my friendships, I give too easily and too much - I worry too much and I wear my heart on my sleeve.  I got to the point where I'm just tired of getting stepped on, stomped on, lied to and treated like I'm stupid.  So.....I think that my focus is now just going to be on my family.  So if you feel a little neglected, can't help that much - just know that I'm trying to do what's best for me.

After the insurance change, I've had some other complications arise.  I have an appointment with a new surgeon tomorrow, and we'll see what's going on there.  I'm scared, but then again, why shouldn't I be?  I'd rather pick and choose what I'm going to have my complications in old age from as opposed to have them just happen to me.  But we'll see.  I still have time to make the decisions.


Out of my mind.....Will I return? I guess I can keep you posted.

Yeah, I haven't been posting.  But that's all right, my blog always seriously lacked consistancy in posting.
I've just gone through a lot of hell in the past few months.  Don't take it personal.

It's funny, because I believe in divinity, I believe in what logical people refer to as 'meaningful coincidence'.  Which is to say that they believe something happens 'coincidentally', and the human mind has to rationalize it to have meaning in order to accept it.

That's kind of stupid.  Doesn't something have to MEAN something to understand it?

In any case, those who believe in a higher power, be it God, or Divine Providence, or what have you, generally believe things happen for a reason beyond what we may be able to see or comprehend at the time.

Me?  Yup, I am a believer.  I've had too many experiences NOT to believe in something working beyond my understanding. 

Anyway, today I went to go fill some perscriptions because I saw the doc.  I told him I wanted to be taken off of the medication he put me on, because I did not like the way it was emotionally numbing.  So after I pick up the prescription, I realize that I didn't get 2-30 day bottles.  I got 3-30 day bottles of one kind, another lesser dose 30 day bottle, and one 30 day bottle of the second he has me on.

Okay, maybe the universe is telling me to stay on the meds.

But the thing of it is that I know that it has radically altered my personality.  And my intuition.  I can't describe it too much here, but the people that know me, some of them worry.  And the ones that don't, I suppose maybe to them, I was kind of weird anyway.

Problem is that beyond the medication, and even with it, I just have this overwhelming feeling of being lost.  This is kind of taking it's toll on my boss at the moment, because frankly, I forget a LOT of things.  I don't think it's sleep deprivation anymore.  That was kind of fixed with one of the scripts.  And my lack of memory went on before everything went down.  But right now, I'm a total scatterbrain all the time.  And I can't seem to begin to pull myself back together.  I gather one pile of rags, and then I've dropped another pile somewhere else.  And that's all I am.  A pile of rags, split at the seams, just kind of muddling along.  I can't seem to talk about anything that's happened.  It takes a great amount of self-control and effort for words to come out, when they come out at all.  The meds have helped some, but it is still choking.

And in the effort to try an wean me off these meds, I only took half today.  Which made me effectively a basket case.  Maybe I wasn't ready.  Maybe I've just pushed myself too long too hard.  Makes me think of the link, love.  "Never not broken."  I've always felt that way.  Never not broken.  But somehow, in the pile of shatters, I'd like to be in peace, even in pieces.

I have no idea where I would be without my husband at this time.  It's amazing.  I got to fall in love all over again.  Twice.  This year.  With him.  How many people get to say that?  How many people get to say that at all?  How many people ever fall in love and have that love totally reciprocated?  I am amazingly blessed and fortunate.  A lot of bad shit has happened this year, and where my friends could find no perch in my insanity or awkwardness, my husband sheltered me.  Where people I called my friends looked at my meltdown in disgust at my lack of self-control, my husband still stood patiently, waiting for me to run myself out like a wounded deer, then gathered me up and carried me.  And even in my most vulnerable places, where some stood like vultures before me, even when only the thoughts of him could strengthen me as we stay this time apart, stregthen me they did.  He is an amazing man.

Even in this new job....the same type of job I had before, I realize now that I just really don't care.  Maybe it IS just me that is the problem.  And you know what they say...

...if you don't like where you are, it's time to move on.

I think I will like where I'm living.  I think it's time to do something different for a living.  Because I work to live, I don't live to work.

So if you read this, think of me.  Light a candle of hope.  If you have anger at me, let my pain quiet your anger.  Because surely, I suffer.  Right now it would just be nice to have a little peace and quiet.  Even in pieces.


No Reprise....

April was a helluva month.

I quit one job to get another.  Both decent paying jobs, and jobs which were seven hours apart in distance.  I moved from where I was living back to my hometown, shacked up with my mother and sister (who had terminal cancer and was on house hospice), and settled in to await the arrival of my family so we could start our lives over again in our old stomping grounds.

How does the saying go?  The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men?

So, the last week of work was SUPPOSED to be an easy week.  I won't go into the gory details, but my stepbrother (who I grew up with, who might as well have been blood), was in a horrible accident and died in the first month of April.  Holy shit, Batman.  Trust me, it wasn't something any family should go through.

So I'm kinda shakey, get back to my hometown, and my sister gets really, really sick.  She goes into the hospice and eight days later, she passes quietly after almost six years fighting cancer.

What the hell?

So somehow, in less than a month, I go from being a middle kid to an only child.  I can't even begin to tell you how I feel about it.  And I certainly won't say much here.  But right now, it has come to the point that no matter how good a job I landed, well, I am living day-to-day.  I think those guys were kind of scared that I would just up and quit....but really, there were several reasons we came home.  At the top of the list was me spending time with my sister before she passed.  But really, I'm still in shock.  PTSD, I suppose.  I expected that I would have more time with her, to spend with her and be around her.  Again, intent and outcome rarely coincide, and now I am dealing with a double-loss of loved ones.

I don't question my mortality.  Someday, every one of us is going to die.  It's just part of nature.  What I have a hard time wrapping my brain around is the fact that on September 17th, there's not going to be any phone calls to make.  The fact that on my birthday, the only blood that's going to wind up calling me is probably my dad and my mom (maybe my redhead).  I can't imagine the holidays without my sister, who still in her absence in my life, called and sent things. Texted.  And now I'm posting messages on someone's 'wall' that will never get read, writing letters that will never be heard.  I've got artwork or pictures of artwork that will never be explained, their meanings.

I think the harder part is trying to figure out what to do with, ah, my sister.  Who wanted to be cremated.  The poor dear, the further along she went, the more the morphine muddled her mind, so often times she changed exactly what she wanted done with her remains.

One of the things she mentioned was being poured into the Guadalupe at the Riverwalk in San Antonio.

Now, let's think about this.  I don't know how many of you people have ever had to deal with remains, but the first problem is that there are BITS.  Now, you probably really don't want to go poking around in the bits, being that they're probably bone or tooth.  However, when you are releasing remains, you have to consider that wherever you're 'setting someone free', if it's on land, there's a high probability of not everything just melding into the scene of wherever you're wanting to pour them out.  BITS, I say.

Second problem - cremation means people have been cooked to the hundredth degree to be reduced to ash.  Guess what?  Ash floats.  Which means that if you're pouring someone into a body of water, don't think everything is just going to sink and be hunky-dory-peachy-keen.  Your beloved is going to coat the entire surface of whatever water you pour them in, and if you're lucky, the water is rushing and will wash them mostly out of sight.

Third problem - I don't have a criminal record.  I would HATE to have that status change because I've dumped a body in the Riverwalk waterway.  Call me paranoid.  I can just see that exchange.

Officer - "Ma'am, you just pour something into the river?"

Me - "Um, no?"

Officer - "Ma'am, the container is in your hands.  What did you pour into the river?"

Me - "Uh, a body?"

Officer - "A body?"

Me - "Well, yes."

Officer - "........."

Me - "You see, it was my sister's final wish....she used to live in San Antonio...."

Officer - "Ma'am....I think you're going to have to come with me.  Would you place your hands behind your back please?"

Yeah, that would be my luck.  SO.....I will pick my sister up Wednesday and put her on a shelf until I figure out exactly what to do with her.  Don't get me wrong, I'm writing about it, but it's not really something I am thinking about lightly.  I don't want to mail her to anyone to dump, because I can't imagine trying to explain the postage, and NOT explaining it would probably land me in jail or something ("Ma'am....a cadaver dog scented on your box.....could we ask you what is inside?"), and frankly, I just want something more personal.

So....short of trying to creep through the little Riverwalk valley at four AM during a weekday, I'm actually working on that problem on top of the pile of paperwork left behind.  Apparently my sister thoughtfully told my mother I was able to take care of it all.  What she didn't leave was concise instruction, so some of this I'm just winging.  I've never had to wrap up anyone's final wishes, so we'll see what happens.

Until then, no matter how flaky I sound, I really love my sister.  And I really miss her. 


Moving Along.....

My trip from Abilene to Houston was pretty restless.  I was in Houston already in mind, but still straggling along behind in Abilene.  I made friends there.  I lost friends there.  I was elevated in some areas of my light and torn down in others.  It was the closing of the chapter, and unfortunately, I feel like some of those characters will choose not to appear anywhere further down the story.  As they choose, I suppose.

But the journey to Houston was not without event.  I started GeoCaching again, so I've had some quiet time to myself.  It's fun with the kids join and it's a family affair....but other times, it's just you and a message in a bottle, so to speak.  I've got a travel tag I need to drop.

Change is inevitable.  Change is good.  Sometimes it hits us on so many levels, it's hard to process.  I realize that through all this, the infighting and the tragedy of  recent, that there is much of me that has become a changed person.  Maybe good, maybe bad, but changed nonetheless.  I did not so much come to conclusions about other people and their behaviors, but my own, my own thoughts and responses.  What I would endure and what was beyond my enduring.  It was both disheartening and inspiring at the same time.

I will swear that before my sister declared she was going on Hospice and before my brother died, the three days leading to the event, I was not the normal laid-back person I have a tendency to be.  I was psychotic, easily wounded, and lashing out over imagined slights.  I really think that I had an emotional meltdown.  The first one was on the first friend I made when I came to Abilene.  The whole response to that event was basically, "You're horrible.  Grow up.  Get a life.  Shame on you. WE are behaving like civilized adults, you're just too stupid and petty to do that.  So get over yourself.  Our opinions are educated and perfect."  That's pretty much it in a nutshell.

What they didn't realize was that within a few days of not talking, all that emotional tornado, my father calls me and lets me know my sister is going on house hospice.

The second event, which is about a month, almost 2 from it, is that in a horrible accident, my father had to shoot my schizophrenic brother during a violent episode.  I won't go into too much of that here, save that it was self defense.  However, days before, I'd been thinking about my brother.  I had a blowout with my live-in best friend, so instead of being ugly, I went to my room.  Three days later, as I am actually making something for my brother (carebear pillow cases...he loved care bears....), he is shot, the wound so bad that it was fatal to him.  It was bizarre because I brought the pillow cases, having just finished them, with me up to the ER.

SO.......I can admit that I acted an ass.  I don't care how logical a person is, I would tell them I don't believe in coincidence. So if I acted badly, I'd apologize for some of it.  Some.

But....I had an epiphany over the whole ordeal.  My thought was this.....as a person acting out of character, especially someone who's supposed to be a beloved friend, like family, how do you just thumb your nose at their behavior and roll on?  Generally, when shit is weird and going on with a friend, I try to find out what's going on so I can be there for my friend.  I figure that's what the best of friends do.  Why suddenly was I booted because I did not behave in a way that was endearing 24-7.

It makes me think of a wise redhead.  "If you can't take me at my/ worst, you don't deserve me at my best."  I think I'll take that route.

And onto the new life in Houston.


On the move. Again.

Sometimes the Universe likes to pull jokes that I guess only the Universe likes to laugh at.

This time, well, I'm headed back to Houston.

Now, I've been gone for years, but sometimes, I always have a way of heading back home.  This particular revelation came after an unwitting blowup amongst friends.  I know I didn't behave in the best manner, but damn, it's funny how I can put up with other people wearing their ass on their shoulders, but in the one time that my brain goes into total meltdown and I wear the asshat, somehow, I'm taken to task, people attempt to shame me, and forget that I was ever a good friend.


Anywho, I have been known to 'sense' things before they happen.  So I will chalk it up to that.  Because upon hindsight, really, I wasn't behaving my normal self, was in a rather bitchy/whiny/pissy way, and within a day after total meltdown, I get this call from my dad that my sister has decided to go on home hospice.

Okay, kids, that really puts things into perspective.

Firstly, I can handle arrogance.  Self-righteousness is another thing.  When people's behaviors contradict their normal patterns, I get concerned.  Sometimes I get blasted, but it doesn't make me less concerned.  Sometimes it makes me hysterical.  But no matter how much of an asshole someone's been, my friends aren't usually assholes, so when they wind up acting like assholes, generally something's wrong and I do what I can to find out and either fix it, or help them through it.  Unfortunately, I don't think I ever got the benefit of the doubt.  But after thinking on it for a while, I realize that if I cannot be given any kind of grace, particularly in light that I give so much, that really, I can probably do without those 'friends'.

But when I found out my sister was not well, it made me homesick.  For years, we lived separate lives, our own paths taking us elsewhere.  But as a curtain call looms, it beckons me home.  I want to spend more quality time.  And being as most of our family is from around that area, after nights of long talks, my husband and I decided that it would be best we go home.

I never thought about the kind of reception that idea would inspire.  All sorts of tail wagging and wiggles came out of the idea, and I didn't realize how much we were missed, or how much we were missing out on.  So...as scared as I am to quit the job I've carried for the past six years, I'm taking a deep breath and another great leap.  Hopefully, for the better.  I leave behind a few good friends, but I come home to a lot too.  And I also come home in better shape than I left, so that's always a good start.


In Honor of Brighid

Far away from highland mist
Covered in early morning dawn
Like the ringing of your anvil
Through the years beyond
In candlelight, in eternal flame
The memory of your name
With offerings made from the heart
For reasons still the same
Goddess, Mother, Saint
Healer, Smith and Sage
Honored by your daughters now
Regardless of their age
We ask you keep our fires lit -
Warm and happy homes.
And of my poem, O, Great Poetess!
It's humbly for you - don't look at it too critical.

Snow Day

This sucks.

I woke up ready to go to work.  Believe it or not, doing what I do, I'm constantly trying to do a mental check of all the things I have to do.  And when things get clogged and backlogged, it makes me worry.  A lot.

I complain a lot about my job, but I try hard at it.  I don't like not knowing, and I don't like not making it.  But if it weren't for the stupid snow...well, this is the second time I've called in in two years.  And I'm really, really annoyed by it.

So I'm working frantically to clear off the stairs and my roommate is making snow-angels in her nightclothes and biker boots.  At least she had enough presence of mind to throw on a coat and shades.

And the snow just makes it hellatiously bright.

I live in northeast Texas, and although from time to time, we get some snow, this is, in fact, TEXAS.  It isn't supposed to snow in Texas.  It's either hot and dry or hot and humid, there's not much in between.  So...just add snow, and everyone turns into a moron.

Now, northerns laugh at us for having problems with so little snow.....but it's not really the amount of snow we get as opposed to lack of education in dealing with the snow.  We don't even sell chains for tires here, I don't think.  Most people don't plug in their cars (unless it's a hybrid).  And we certainly don't deal with snow very often.  So when someone gets stuck (like me) and can't make it into work (like me), sometimes they figure that their car is really having problems with being stuck because they think it's bogged down (like me).  Then someone smarter or more experienced than them (like my husband) can point out that it's not bogged down (what I thought), it's lack of traction (what he said) that's keeping the car from moving (doh).

Again....lack of experience.  Only problem is that it can get you killed or injured.  So be careful.
I'm gonna curl up and read.  I've read this series through a few times.  I like it.  It's kinda like pulp detective novels meets sci-fi magic.  It's an easy read for me, I chew through fiction, particularly in genres I like, quick - 1 paperback can get eaten in 4-5 hours. But then again, it's gotta be a good, easy read.


The Amazonian

Yup. There's ads here.

It's okay though, right?

I figure, with Amazon, it would make it easier to share cool finds.  And I'm all about cool finds.  There is an amazing resource through the internet, and frankly, I know a lot of people that just don't have the savvy of navigating it.

But it's okay.  It gives me the ability to share it with you.  Which, I'm gonna be honest, you clicking it might throw a few cents (and I stress the word CENTS...not dollars, CENTS) into an account that helps my countless, crafty addictions, but is that so bad?  I might be able to buy a candybar online at the end of the year. Somehow, I find that terribly amusing.

So, as a test, I'm going to share an interesting thing with you.

One of my favorite movies was done at the onset of the century, and I don't mean 2000.  It's a black and white movie which took several years to re-piece back together.  I thought it was innovative for it's time.  It sends a beautiful message.  You can see it's influence in other works of art later, especially music videos, like "Under Pressure" and "Express Yourself" (let me show MY age now...heh.).

The first time I got to see it was in Junior High from THE COOLEST English teacher I ever had, Mrs. Stengler.  Mrs. Stengler was a quirky lady. She was a older widow, living alone, and brought her Nintendo to school with her for us to help her through trickier aspects of games.  She had the most wonderful sense of humor.  I remember her very fondly.

Here is is in Blu Ray, but sometimes you can get it in regular DvD format cheaper.  The problem with it is that either way, it's kind of harder to come by UNLESS you get it off the internet.  Most places you get movies don't really carry it.  Then again, old black and whites aren't really in style for a lot of people.  It's sad...all that cinematic history....

Well...either way, I gotta run. Thanks for putting up with some of this.



So, I really did take the time to read this book recently.

Which is cool. It's been a while since I read something just for the pleasure of it. My schedule doesn't allot me a lot of time, and when I have time, recently, all I really want to do is sleep. But after someone mentioned to me that this book actually spurred them to go all the way to Savannah, Georgia...well, I wanted to see.

Now the book is beautiful. The descriptions are whole and have an otherworldliness about them, even as mostly 'nonfiction' as the writer says it is. Funny part is, I actually saw it as charming and pleasant reading, but...for me, not wholly shocking. Just a very pretty picture of things through someone else's eyes.

I say this, because I start recounting tales of my adventures throughout my life. I can't say it was on such a grand scale when money is concerned, but the richness and fullness of the characters...I see that in day-to-day life. In fact, my world is filled with interesting characters, and some people look at my ease and delight in people as a bit eccentric sometimes, I think. But it's the sheer enjoyment I have of people.

In the professional realm, sometimes I wonder what my peers think of me. Some know me a little better than just within the limitations of my job, and they do not say too much about what or who I am. That suits me fine, as long as that doesn't become a strange topic of conversation. However, watching their interactions, their idiosyncrasies, and manner fills me with fascination. As an old friend used to say, "Your stories got stories." Yup. I'd have to say so.

Anyway, interesting read if you're into the sociological aspects of southern gentry. Don't look for a point. It doesn't really have a point, not as far as stories go. It is just kind of a 'time in the life of..' book. It has characters which are described vividly. And even if you're into stories with very specific points and that idea doesn't appeal to you, it's a well-written book for a casual read.



Maybe I am foolish, and blind, and sentimental.

A friend said to me that I hadn't really changed much since high school. I find that alarming. Tried as they may to coax me this was a good thing, a wonderful thing, I still have my doubts. The reason? They said that of all the people they knew, that I understood myself, what I was, who I was, better than most people they know.

I somehow doubt that.

In the past few years, I've lost at least two people that I've loved a lot over the years. It sucks for me, because I when I can say that I'm close to someone, I invest a lot in them emotionally. Maybe I delight in their growth and change. But frankly, a concurrent theme is "You don't understand me, you never did and you never will".

So it makes me second-guess myself, which is really bad, I think, if I come across with self-knowledge.

Well, let me strike that. Second-guessing isn't all that bad. It's the self-doubt that I think is the killer.

But it depresses me. I means to me that no matter how long I know someone, or how deeply I love them, it is a constant reminder that we are separate, we know nothing, and understand no one. Maybe in my arrogance I thought that I might. I don't think I'll make that mistake again. I will never try to guess someone's positioning. They don't like it and apparently I don't know it.

Another wonderfully ugly thing - more than once I have been accused of having some moralistic high horse. As if whatever standards I have are too high or too unreasonable. Perhaps it is because there is a lot of things I am accepting of, as long as *I* am not the perpetrator. Adultery? I can forgive. Lies? Makes me unhappy, but I can forgive. Theft? Forgiven. Doesn't mean I forget. Doesn't mean that just because you do it, it gives me the liberty to do so as well. If you break the law and you go to jail, even if I'm complaining at bailing you out, that doesn't mean that I judge you for it. I'm probably just bitching about the inconvenience of having to go get you. However you landed in there isn't really for me to judge. The law is the law, black and white, and although I don't agree with every law, I follow them and understand that anyone else can be inclined to break them. So what?

But I digress.

What does that leave me with? Being totally inept at understanding people? Or without understanding of myself? Or both?


The Gay Bar

Okay, so I'm getting older. Going out doesn't have the same kind of fun as it used to. Generally, it's kinda lame. People are out there sharking for a hook-up, or they're getting well past their limitations on alcohol. So why bother?

But every now and then, I get talked into it. Tonight was one of those nights.

Now, given the choice, I love going to the gay bars. Gay bars are more fun. Honestly. And I've got a lot of straight friends that don't get that. But let me explain.

If you go to a 'straight' bar, you deal with a lot of bullshit going in. You get open hostility from members of the same sex, or you are immediately estimated/devalued/examined like a piece of meat or trophy. They're very snotty, judgmental, and frankly, most of the time, they're just really assholes to who they brought, and even less cordial to strangers.

Firstly, the only thing you really have to worry about OUTSIDE of a gay bar is the narrow-minded assholes who like to harass and beat up gay people. When you take that out of the equation, very rarely (from any of the gay bars *I* went to) do you ever hear about people fighting outside in the parking lot. The 'worst' thing that I ever got out in a parking lot by a gay man or lesbian woman was someone bumming a ride to somewhere. You don't hear about 'gay' gang fights, or lesbian serial killers stalking parking lots.

What most people don't understand is that when you go to a 'gay' bar, it's not just gays and lesbians. It's pre-op, it's post-op, trans-gender, cross-dressing, hermaphrodites, metrosexual, bisexual, straight...WHATEVER. They fly their colors, they show their pride, but really, it's not about their sexual orientation or their bodies, it's about tolerance and acceptance. Having respect for differences. And I don't really bat an eye. I can sit down across from a man in a beaded gown and falsies and be okay with that. Hell, I have no problem telling 'her' that 'she' looks amazing tonight. So the hell what? I become the minority, but I'm still greeted by passer-bys with cheer and smiles. They find out I'm straight, and it really makes no difference in the way I'm treated, which is generally very amicably.

I don't need a degree in psychology to know that people need acceptance and love. WHO we love in this day in age is the least of our problems. At least it's a little more love to go around. So given the choice to go out to the 'hot new club downtown' or a 'Cheers-atmopshere gay bar'? Gay bar, hands down, every time.