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.