Tuesday, August 31, 2010

when you come home...

b., c., and k., this is for the three of you.  the message is in the chorus.           http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1a6i9Ytr7mo

Monday, August 30, 2010

torn between three lovers...

it's a tossup for me, which of the three cities i like best.  is it austin, home of c. and c. and the dogs, live music capitol of the world? or is it new orleans, city of mystery and history, home of k. and k. and the  home of the infamous alice and oliver-- as hep as any cats i've ever seen. or might it be san francisco.  okay, b. and r. and their merry band of felines don't actually live in san fran, living instead in the slightly less than cool city of concord. it's odd to me but i've noticed many who don't actually live in san fran proper still list it as their city of residence on facebook and such.

first, let me consider austin.  the draws for me, outside it being the city that stole c. away from hearth and home, are many. it is the capitol of my lone star state, home of bluebonnets, longhorns, lone star and pearl, the world's best barbecue and the prettiest girls on planet earth. forget that texas is where i was born, where i married my loving bride and where i adopted b. as my own (at least in my heart) and where c. and k. were born. austin is unique. austin is weird. austin is awesome.

new orleans, aka the big easy, is home to the saints, the superdome, jackson square, bourbon street, jazz and the garden district.  the city whose siren call has tempted, first b. and j., and now k. and k. to sample it's many wonders, is a study in southern charm.  a haven for cockroaches the size of mice, of mice the size of rats, rats the size of nutria and mosquitos the size of... okay, enough of the texas-sizing of local varmints.  the big easy is-- easy on the eyes, easy on the mind, a balm to soothe a texan tortured by too much heat and a severe lack of moisture in the air. happiness is new orleans on my mind.

san francisco, california is home to the golden gate, china town, cable cars, pier 31, the forty-niners, the giants and earthquakes.  hills, hills and more hills the sides of some graced by the painted ladies. so much to see, so much to do, so much it's hard to choose what our next adventure might be.  not far away is concord, city of residence for b. and r. and the gang and jumping off point for frisco, the wine country and so much more. san francisco, ca is as smooth as a  chilled glass of  barefoot moscato.

given the distinct charms and temptations of the three, how could one be expected to choose a favorite.  as each is home to one of our chilluns, to choose one city over the others is akin to choosing one kid over the other-- impossible.   so i will choose not to choose.  my favorite du jour will be whichever of the three i happen to be visiting at the time.  beyond that, they will remain forever frozen in a three way tie, so sue me. aio  

Sunday, August 29, 2010

the sun'll come up...

on the five year anniversary of hurricane katrina, the networks have flooded the airwaves with images of a submerged, battered and beaten new orleans and gulf coast region taken in the days after the storm.

seeing those images again, the tension and uneasiness of those days leading up to katrina making landfall have resurfaced.

one might question why someone ensconced in the middle of the texas panhandle would have cause to worry about a storm 900 miles away.  ordinarily one might only have a general concern for people unknown. that concern expanded exponentially with loved ones living at the center of katrina's bulls eye.

the good thing about hurricanes is that the storm track can be monitored over days, even weeks coming up to landfall.  that's also the bad thing about hurricanes in that the storm track can be monitored giving time for  concern and unease to build as a storm's aim places loved ones in it's sights.

even here in little a-town we were touched in a major way by the beast that was katrina, having family living in the big easy then.  fortunately they had the opportunity, and good sense, to evacuate ahead of the storms' making landfall.  they were safe.

still the life they had spent years cultivating was changed.  though the second story apartment in the house on olga street was not flooded, the waters came up into the first floor structure and the roof was compromised by the wind allowing the flooding rains entry into what was "home" before the storm. "home" was no longer habitable.  the apartment on prytannia escaped major damage.

as the flood waters claimed the city and as they receded again the face of new orleans, outside bourbon street and the garden district, was the picture of devastation.  the vibe of the city took a hit.  as time passed,  thousands of those evacuated ahead of the storm, and after, didn't return.  it was not because they didn't want to but because in many cases the "home" left behind was no more.

time, circumstance and different opportunities eventually drew ours away from new orleans.  the lure was the same, the city was not.  secretly i celebrated having all gone from hurricane's way.

in time new orleans and the gulf began to heal.  the ruin that remained after the storm was cleaned up, repaired or rebuilt.  the draw that remained grew stronger as healing progressed.

b. relocated to california.  he did his all to become one with the big easy.  he was saddened by his leaving and vowed to return.  when he moved to the big easy he immersed himself in the mystique of it all. the mystery that is new orleans still pulls at him, he's still missing the city. nevertheless, he has taken a page from past experience and is immersing himself in the different vibe that is wine country.  living smack dab in the middle of the napa/sonoma valley wine country, he is well on his way to becoming a certifiable wine snob.as he grew to love new orleans, he is finding himself liking san francisco.  vastly different, but still good.   

i find a certain irony in his trading tornado country for hurricane country and the latter for earthquake country.  perhaps he simply enjoys living in "the danger zone."

j., his now ex-, returned to "home" to little a-town for a time after katrina. l.j. soon followed her here.  the lure of "home" for her proved weaker than the call of life in the big easy for the two of them.  she and l.j. were drawn back to louisiana by a pull as strong as a mother's love.  again, they live in hurricane way.

k. brought k. moved here from mckinney for a time. we were blessed having family near us.  last year ennui and the pull that is the big easy drew the two of them to hurricane way.

hurricane season is traditionally july 1st- october 31st. from that "season" comes concern for me.  k. and k., j. and l.j. living in harm's way has boosted my hurricane watch interest.  when each new system forms off the coast of africa, my hurricane antennae go up and they stay up until i see the threat to the big easy and the gulf has passed. hurry up, november!

and they're singing- ala keith urban                                                 
someday baby//     you and i are gonna be the ones//    good luck's gonna shine//    someday baby//          you and i are gonna be the ones//    so hold on//    we're headed for a better life

to them all, i say-- in my heart of hearts, i truly hope it's so.

to all the hurricanes yet to form, i para a phrase borrowed by horace greely. "go east young storms, go east".  aio

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

the future is now...

the past year or so has given me a new appreciation for the continued pioneer spirit that was the foundation upon which our great country was built.  more specifically i'm referring to those i call my own.

the courage it takes to step outside one's established comfort zone cannot be under-estimated.  perhaps what i am referring to is not on the order of the pilgrims stepping foot onto the mayflower, but taking a huge step into the unknown, each has taken a leap of faith i'm not sure i'm capable of taking.

c., our middle son, not long after high school, made the move from little a-town to big a-town, choosing to pursue his dreams in the live music captiol of the world. he did so so against my better judgment and in spite of my fervent objections.  he had a plan and has persevered.  the demise of bands formed in a spirit of hope and a belief that given the right break success on a larger scale could be just one more bar gig away, has not deterred him. had it been me i might have given up, choosing to not put myself on the line again.  he is not me so he presses on with new ventures and a renewed hope that something great is going to happen. certainly he deserves some reward for all his labors toward that end.

c. has supported his dreams for years. in the process, she's worked at this and that, searching for just the right thing to make her own.  the pioneer spirit is alive and well in her. with courage, and faith in an idea, she has taken a step onto her personal mayflower in opening her store, "reclaim".  i admit to a good degree of concern when i first heard of her plan but it is an idea that has found it's time. that, and her beleif in self, is why the store is taking off for successful shores.

our oldest, having set up shop in the big easy, having settled into and adopted as his own the spirit that is new orleans, deserted the comfort of the known to follow r. to calfiornia.  it was a leap of faith to abandon the ease of the years there, to make that move with no job in hand, beforehand.  visiting with them this summer it was good to see that, like a chameleon, he has taken on wine country as a new skin.  to see he is settled into a new school and observe that he is accepted and respected for the work he is does a body good.

r., having finished her studies at sfai, is settling in to a second year of teaching a mchs.  she is overcoming the temerity that precludes success on many fronts. sharing what has been hard won for her earns my deepest admiration.  she is touching young lives, fostering in them a "can do" spirit and a confidence that will serve them well all their lives. turning off the alarm, throwing back the covers, planting feet on the floor every day deserves a medal for courage in the face of adversity, anytime.

now to our baby, the divine miss k.  throughout her life she has shown a strength seeded in the troubles she faced early in life and stoked by a determination to not be bested by her brothers, or anyone else for that matter.  just when i thought i had all my flock out of hurricane way she, and hubby k., up and moved from little a-town to the big easy.  their ventures there have taken root and continue to put forth new shoots.

i'd like to say such leaps of faith are beyond my scope.  upon further consideration though, my roots are settled deep into the panhandle, but as i reflect back on the decision that brought me here i see it was something of a leap of faith for me. on a smaller scale perhaps, but still without it my life, and theirs, would likely be something totally different.

even in these trying times the founding spirit, the willingness to risk the unknown that brought those before us across the water, is alive.  the faith that propelled settlers from our eastern shores expanding ever westward to settle this country is kindled in the young.  that spirit is still there. for one to take that step onto his or her own personal mayflower requires a courage not all that unlike that shown by those pilgrims of yore.  our country and our future is in good hands. aio   

Monday, August 23, 2010

california vacation...

i just got back from a week in california visiting our oldest son in concord.  we spent friday and saturday night at a quaint b&b, the olallieberry inn in cambrian.  it was a relaxing time. on Saturday, we visited heart castle in the morning.  interesting tour of a beautiful old building.  WRH had more money than sense, if you ask me, as he spent some $6.5 million, in 1920's dollars, on this castle and had 6 other projects of the same scale going at the same time.

it was amusing to me thinking about this old country boy treading the same boards as the likes of clark gable, david niven and others. 

in the afternoon we drove a short way up the coast to see the elephant seals.  there was several to be seen hauled up on the beach, looking dead as a door-nail laying there in their inert obesity.  the only indication of life from any of them was when one or the other would use its' flippers to kick sand onto their backs. 

on sunday we were to go back to concord, this time choosing to take highway 1 along the coast.  when i woke that morning it was with a splitting head ache.  i was bothered by what i think was migraines in my teenage years.  the headaches in those days persisted through the day building until i vomited multiple times.  these "migraines" have been extremely rare in my adult years.  in fact i can't remember the last time i had one, until that sunday morning that is. 

 i woke early, knowing i had a headache as i sometimes do.  drifting in and out of sleep, i lay there thinking-- "man i really feel bad", my neck and head really hurt and after a bit i realized i was feeling nauseated.  b. got up to take a bath in the claw foot bath tub.  i could hear her in there splashing around having a good ole time  when it became quite evident to me that i was going to toss my cookies and not sometime, but right then.

not wanting to spoil her reverie in the tub by hurling into the porcelain pedestal at tub side, i opted to unload my guts into the nearest trash can.  so much for the delicious meal we had at "the pig" restaurant, there in cambria, the night before.  thank heavens for trash can liners. i managed to upchuck another time or three before we set out towards highway 1.

still not feeling well we made our way to perhaps the windiest, the up and down-ed-est road in the u. s. of a.! whether or not that contributed to my continued gastric unease i can't say.  i do know that more than once i had to ask our son, the driver, to find a pull out in a hurry.

the second, or was it the third pull over, i was bracing myself over the guard rail calling 'ralph' for all i was worth.  at last the retching stopped.  as i stood up, i retrieved my camera and took this picture.  the camera doesn't see through fog all that well.  what i saw was the ocean crashing into the shore at the bottom of the mountain. as i turned to go back to the car i saw that all inside had busted out laughing.  "what the heck is so funny," i asked.   "only you would be puking over the side rail one second and taking pictures in the next.  in my defense, the picture doesn't capture what i saw through the lens of my puke, teared eyes--- on second thought, maybe it does.  aio

Sunday, August 22, 2010


the names roxie and velma wended their way into our lives with the first show --chicago-- our b.and j. did at a.c.; in time they made their way to s.u.u. to further their broadway dreams.  not long after settling there they took in a feral kitten whose name would become roxie.  later on, another kitten was adopted into the fold.  she would be velma.

those of you who have feline family members well know the ease with which our feline friends become part and parcel of our lives.  so it was with roxie and velma.  they became the glue that held the two together.

that was some twenty years ago now.  unlike human kind, feline loyalty never wanes. though j. and b. grew apart and eventually separated, the feline connection that is roxie and velma remains..

twenty years is along time, for our feline friends it can be forever.  and so it seems forever ago that roxie and then velma came into their lives as constant and loving companions. and by proxy, the girls came into our lives as well as feline grandchildren. 

it is with a deep sadness i receive the news that roxie's life has run the course. our time together over these last years has been rare. it was evident to me in our last visits that her age was catching up with her. her frame grew more frail, her coat less than lustrous, her eyes less bright.  contentment was to lay in the sun soaking up the rays, warming her aging bones. 

no words suffice to ease the pain of her passing.  forever the space that was her will be empty.  some small comfort might be gained from the remembering of roxie in better days, the days when she was queen of the realm and all those around her subjects.

so to j. and b. and velma i send my love. roxie had a good life and our lives are all better for her having been a part.  savor the memories she leaves and wish her god's speed.

to roxie-- so long old girl. it's been good to know ya'.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

it's a sad day for my hospital family.  when i got to work this morning i learned that the shift supervisor on    6-b, the neuro/oncology unit across the way from the rehab unit i work on, died last night. the staff members on 6-b, our hospital family and any who knew this vibrant and exceedingly bright young nurse and mother in her early 30's, are in shock.  she worked a 12 hour shift, 7a.m.--7p.m., yesterday-- friday.  she had recently had abdominal surgery but that was weeks ago. might that be the cause?  who knows?  she had not been feeling well since the surgery, but as i said, she worked her 12 hour shift on friday.    family found her down at some point during the night.  attempts to resuscitate her failed.

everyone is left questioning the why and the how of it, trying to wrap their minds around what should not be.  6-b is a sea of tears.  she was well loved by her peers on the unit, liked and respected by any who had the privilege to know her.  disbelief is the under-statement of the day. 

with time, the emptiness her family and friends are feeling may ease.  maybe. the injustice of losing one so young never will. aio

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

local golfer rising...

ryan palmer, the pro golfer from little-a town, doesn't know me from adam and that's okay.  it won't keep me from following his career, from hanging on his every stroke or wishing him only the best. his season started with a win in hawaii.  of late things have taken a turn-- and not for the better. he missed the cut in the last 11 tournaments he entered.  not good at all.  if anything, the agony of all that will be an ancient memory after this weekend. 

on saturday, ryan finished at the top of the leader board in a tie for first place with sean o'hair.  on sunday he slipped into second place. it was my great pleasure to see him battling the bridgestone course, and what had to be a major league case of nerves,in the end  conquering both to finish all alone in second place.  simply, impressive, a second place finish at the brdigestone 2010 earned him a very cool $840,000.00.  wowsers!

on another note. where did mr. used-to-be-all-that, aka tiger, finish?  tied for 78th place, his worst finish since turning pro, with a  payday of less than $40K. aaaaah--  do you think all the negative press of late has had any affect on his game.  i'm thinking, yes and just thinking about it...

i had to smile...

Monday, August 9, 2010

off we go into the wild blue yonder... climbing high, into the sky...

it is the lucky children who are issued at birth two sets of grandparents.  my post from yesterday was in reference to grandfathers. the subject of the post was my dad, their papaw.

my kids were blessed with the requisite two sets of living grandparents in their lives. they called their maternal grandfather--grandpa. to me he was mr. bill.  he too passed out of our lives much too soon.

grandpas come in all manner of shapes, sizes and persona.  mr.bill was a man of significant stature.  not that he was overly tall or large, it's just that his presence filled a room.

having said that, he was not unapproachable. i can see him sitting in his favorite chair, dressed down in a "wife-beater" and boxers, his arms across his generous belly, fingers of one hand entwined with those of the other, thumbs a-twiddle. sitting there, his lids at half mast, grand kids running fingers through his hair, he pretended to be completely unaware of being mauled, given away by a satisfied half-smile.

he flew with the army-air corps in the great war.  not so much in combat, he was asked instead to muscle wounded "birds" back for repair.  his great regret seemed to be that he missed, by a hair, flying with doolittle's bunch as they dropped the bombs that turned the tides of war in favor of the u.s.a. and the allied forces and against japan.

like many vets of the "great war" he held much of the horrors he saw close to his vest. yet he revealed  just enough to keep his grands gathered about his feet, begging for one more story.

he served our country, long after wars end, as an air force academy liaison to local high schools.   he was a loving man of exceeding generosity, taken from us way too soon. 

perhaps heaven needed help getting the wounded "birds" home to safety. aio

Sunday, August 8, 2010

if only...

reading the "outdoors" column, in the sports section of the agn this morning, mdw was recalling how his love of the outdoors, and fishing in particular, was fostered by his papaw.  a papaw, by any other name, be it granpa, pawpaw, pops, or any of the other various names for grandfather,  remains a singular figure in the life of grandchildren as they grow.

the column has me missing my dad, feeling a bit wistful and thinking of the time we might have spent with my kids, 2 boys and a girl, enjoying the wilds of the t-bar ranch, if only their papaw had lived to a ripe old age. 

as that was not to be, the time for them spent in the outdoors was limited to the time at camp with the scouts and campfire.  as enjoyable as that time might have been it cannot possibly replace time spent with papaw.

one of my favorite pictures is one i took on a fishing "trip" with their papaw to one of the stock tanks on the ranch.  b. was probably 12.,  c. was maybe 2, k. still a babe in arms.  when i close my eyes i am there, in the moment.  the time is about 4 p.m. on a late summer afternoon.  the heat smothers the tank, the air is still.  my dad and the boys are standing in the scant shade of a huge willow tree.  the water is calm. all are quiet. the only movement, the only sound is that of the dragon flies zipping here and there, at once coming to rest on the fishing lines as they angle into the water. it is a picture of--peace.

in a sense i feel robbed-- for myself, for my kids and for my dad-- for their papaw.  robbed indeed-- of all the special papaw moments that could have been, if only...  aio   

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

little bark, smaller bite..

slogging my way through a 4 miler today, i took notice of two young boys playing on their front stoop.  i've seen them out there before.  one might guess they are without adult supervision, but i don't know that to be true. likely mom was just behind the screen door with an eagle eye out for an sweaty, lecherous old men with a taste for young ones.

the older one might be 4, the younger about 2 or 3 i would guess.  today they were playing with a small puppy about 4 inches tall at the shoulder and maybe 10 weeks old. 

i didn't pay much attention, that is until i had already passed the house.  of a sudden, there was a gush of juvenile barking.  i turned to see as this little pup come charging off the porch in rush of puppy bravado.

a tiny puppy, all bowed up and protective of his pint sized friends.

i had to smile.  

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

with apologies to jimmy buffet...

harrowing a bit of his song, "come monday"......

heading out to san franciso
to see the kids for a week or so...

come sunday, it'll be alright! (woohoooo.. the first of 11 days off the work.)

come monday, it'll be alright. (packing our bags for the trip to san francisco)

come tuesday, it'll be alright
come tuesday i'll be holding you tight
i've spent long, lonely days
now i'm on my way
cause i just want to be by your side

excitement is building here at soap box central.  come this time next tuesday we should be winging our way to san fran for fun and sun in the california wine country. better than that,we get to see bob and robyn and shelly and david for the first time since 4th of july weekend in'09.

yes, it'll be quite a summer
rental cars and west bound planes
for now we're off on vacation
R and R's not that hard to explain

yea, 'cause i love you so
it's the reason i just let you go

come tuesday, it'll be alright
come tuesday, i'll be holding you tight
i've spent long, lonely days
with my head in a haze
and i just want to be by your side.

t-minus 7 and counting....


Sunday, August 1, 2010

the many faces of blogdom...

not having an idea for a post this afternoon, i've been taking a random tour of blogger's myriad offerings.  it seems that for every interest one might imagine, there is a lame blog to match it.

rather cheeky coming from this lame blogger whose only hits come from the same finite  number of lost souls who waste time perusing the drivel contained herein.

i suppose that ranks me right up there with the rest of the saps in the world who can find no better way to waste a sunday afternoon, leaving me in the best of sketchy company. aio