28 February 2013

No. 48 in No. 34

No. 48 - Call someone I haven't spoken to in a year

While I was in San Antonio last week (No. 34,  kind of) I had a few hours to kill. 

From Kindergarten midway through to Second grade I lived in San Antonio.  I had a best friend there that I hated to leave when we moved back to the Houston area.

This is where I was going to insert a picture of said friend,
 but I can't find the cute elementary age pictures.
The Junior High school pics are best left in the album, unshared.

And I was really, really mad that we had to move back to Houston. For the longest time, all the way through Elementary school and most likely all the way through Junior High (hard to say because Junior High was a wasteland of three years that I have wiped from my memory), I felt ripped off that I had to leave my best friend and my great neighborhood and my fun city of San Antonio.

So after the memorial service that was the reason I went to S.A. in the first place, I drove by my old house, through my old neighborhood and by my best friend's house. And on a whim I decided to call her to see if she was free to visit.

Home from 1960 to 1962

Thank you, Apple, for Contacts and iCloud because without them I would not have had her phone number.

The last time I spoke to this friend was about 16 years ago when she was pregnant with her fourth girl and I had just had my first girl. She needed a baby name and she really liked my daughter's, so she called to see if I would mind. I loved the idea of sharing the name.   My daughter had been due on my friend's birthdate and her upcoming daughter was due on MY birthdate, surely a sign that they should have the same name. And while neither one of them hit their due dates, they do have the same first name.

The adorable baby with the great name. 
Now she is as blonde as they get.

Anyway, I called and we chatted.  She was out the door to a soccer game; my youngest was at home about to play a soccer game herself. Friday night in Texas...but also a parallel in our lives.  So I didn't have long on the phone but it was so wonderful to hear her voice and amazing that after such a long time, her voice still sounds to me like it did in First Grade.  Ok, maybe a tiny bit more grown up, but basically the same. And we chatted easily as if we had spoken the week before.

On a roll, I caught up with another friend in S.A., a one time room mate of my brother's, and friend of mine.  I had not spoken to this person in easily 30 years. We had reconnected over Facebook after the death of my brother. We chatted for the entire time it took me to drive from San Antonio to Austin and it was an easy and fun conversation covering the past and present. And it was as if we had been speaking to each other all along over the years.

The uptake on this is: even if you have moved or moved on or just made a change in direction, the people that you really liked in the first place are probably people you will still really like. There was never any animosity between any of us, we just had separated over the years, lost touch, whatever. But with a couple of phone calls I felt like I had long lost friends back in my corner.
And everyone can use an extra friend or two.
At least, I think so.

So call someone. I didn't even set out to do this as part of my "things to do". It just came to me as something I wanted to do. I wasn't even thinking of No. 48 on the list. 

Caveat: If you haven't spoken to someone in years because there is a restraining order, or they were once your friend and then they went bat-shit crazy- DON'T call.
Some relationships are best left as they are....gone and forgotten.

No. 48 is done.

25 February 2013

Curiosity killed the cat?

Curiosity may kill the cat but it might also explain the dog....

Carlos should have his own blog.

But he doesn't. He has to share with me.

Ever since Carlos miraculously appeared in my dining room last year, I have wondered just what kind of dog he (mostly) is.

The vet says Shar-Pei and German Shepherd.

He certainly has the loose skin of a Shar-Pei around his head and sometimes he wrinkles around the hips when he is sitting down.
There are definitely wrinkles,

A little Botox might help.

A real Chinese Shar-Pei.   
I guess I see a resemblance to the real thing. 

And he is obviously smart so that could be the German Shepherd. He also has the black saddle markings of a German Shepherd.

Carlos- fortuitously color coordinated with our flooring.
He has a bit of a saddle.
Does that make him part German Shepherd, though? 

An official German Shepherd. 
I don't see much of Carlos in this dog.


He has a weird habit of body blocking me when he wants me to move somewhere. He doesn't just push me but he turns sideways and throws his whole body at the back of my legs. This is very effective when we are coming down the stairs. I think that is a herding instinct.

And the neighborhood where he came from has a predominance of pit bulls wandering the streets. I really don't see Shar-Peis OR German Shepherds in that area.  But he doesn't seem to have any pit bull characteristics.   (Thank goodness.)

Fortunately not seeing ANY resemblance here.

Ok, maybe a little resemblance here.

And then one night I was drifting off to sleep with David Letterman and Kevin Bacon chitchatting in the background. And Kevin Bacon had recently acquired a stray dog of questionable lineage. Did you know you can have your dog's DNA tested for a measly 60 bucks??   That's what I learned from Mr. Bacon that night.

Now I am curious by nature. My children and husband say I am downright nosy. They may be right.    But as soon as I heard about DNA testing the dog, I hopped on the internet and ordered me a kit.

There are kits for mixed breeds and specific purebreds.
 Although, if you have a purebred dog, why do you need to DNA test it?

Everything you need to DNA test your dog. Yay!

Because I need to know just what kind of purebred mutt I have.

We got the test and with just a little bit of struggle we got the DNA swab. It only took three of us. I'm pretty sure one of those swabs has my DNA on it,also.  That may be why the company wisely sent TWO swabs.

Do you get the feeling he KNOWS he isn't going to like this?

Just a little swab between the cheek and the gum.

Ok, maybe I did have to forcefully hold his muzzle.
And maybe my daughter did have him in a half-Nelson.
 But I promise no dogs or humans were harmed in this testing.

So in two to three weeks I should have my report. 

I just can't wait!

I am so curious.

UPDATE:  Click here for the results.

21 February 2013

No. 34: San Antonio!

No. 34: Go to San Antonio for fun

I'm headed to San Antonio this week.

I will not count this as completing No. 34, though.

I am going for a funeral. That is not fun.

But it won't be too awful. It just won't be a long enough trip.  I won't get to do all the things I want to do.

I will get to see my sweet friend, Liddy, and her family.

Liddy and Me, 1972. 41 years ago. Wow!
She hasn't aged at all. Me?? Maybe a tiny bit.

I will get to stay at my most favorite hotel in San Antonio, right on the riverwalk.

And I will see some old friends. Old in that I have known them a long time, not that they are considered old.

But my real plans for San Antonio would include museums:

The Witte

I want to see this treehouse.
I'm a kid at heart.

the McNay Art Museum.

Don't think I have ever been here- 
or don't remember if I have.

I love museums.

And I'd like to go to el Mercado


and to the Japanese Tea Garden which we always called the Sunken Garden when I was a kid.

This was one of my favorite places when I was little. 

And I'm sure there are other things I could come up with...that I just can't think of right now because I should be packing my bags to leave town.

(Like the rest of Brackenridge Park and the San Antonio Zoo and the Buckhorn Museum and even the Alamo.)

But until I can do my real No. 34, I will settle for some time here:

And here:

And unfortunately, here, at this pretty church:

And next time I go to San Antonio, I will go for fun. And you will hear all about it.

19 February 2013

Everyone's Doing This, Also

I hate this.   

Seems like everyone is doing this also, and I wish they wouldn't

Friday I will go to my fourth funeral in six months. 

The father of a very good friend passed away a year after having had a stroke.  

Two of those four funerals I went to were for the fathers of friends. One for a mom.  The other, of course, was for my brother, a father to no one. (At least no one that we know of....) 

I guess it's the thing to do at this age.  Parents are dying. Fortunately not MY parents, but everyone else's parents seem to be.

But it got me to thinking about my friends' parents.   

This dad is/was one of the few dads that I really remember from my high school years. He always had home improvement projects going on and I spent a lot of time at that house. He was a good, fun dad. 
Married for 64 years or something close to that and his wife, my friend's mom, was like a second mother to me. Even better than a real mother because she thought I could do no wrong.     

There are only two or three other fathers that I can even conjure up images of.   

Makes me wonder.   In 40 years will my kids' friends remember me? Will they remember my husband? 
I think I'll be remembered if only because I have taken many, many different kids to the beach and to Colorado on vacation for days and weeks at a time. 

Anyway, farewell to Dave. He'll be missed. 

And let's remember what our parents said about peer pressure. If everyone were jumping off a bridge, would you do it, too?  Of course not.

So let's not all go around dying. 

It's no fun for the rest of us.

18 February 2013

Everyone's Doing it

Celebrate! Everyone's doing it.


Two of my favorite inspirations for living life to the fullest had birthdays last week.

Diane is my short term inspiration.

Me and Diane dogsledding last year.

She just turned sixty.  She is my first friend to hit that magic number.

If I can get to sixty and have as much fun as she does getting there, then life will be good. 
As far as I can tell, Diane has never met a stranger, will talk to anyone, is always ready for a party and loves to travel.   She's my kind of friend.

Looking pretty fab for 60.  

For long term inspiration, there's my dad.

He turned NINETY!

If I can get to ninety and live life as large as he has, then things will be really good.

He's a lot like Diane.

As far as I can tell, he also has never met a stranger, will talk to anyone, is always ready for a party and loves to travel, too.

Ok, maybe the traveling part is a stretch.  I do remember him abandoning me in a panic at a train station in San Luis Potosi, Mexico when I was 19.  We were buying return tickets to go back to the States and he was sure the train was going to leave before we had gotten through the ticket line. After a great deal of fidgeting on his part, Dad finally thrust money into my hands and said "Here. Get the tickets. If the train leaves, you'll be able to figure out what to do." And then he ran back to the waiting train, leaving me to buy tickets on my own.

San Luis Potosi ,Mexico: photo here

But he has traveled and enjoyed it and passed that love on to me, along with the conviction that no matter what, I can figure out what to do in a pinch.

Me and my dad. I look so much like him it's
 like I'm seeing my future. 

And even at ninety, he was still up for a party.

Everyone loves opening presents!

Happy Birthday.

Here's to getting older. It sure beats the alternative.

14 February 2013

Off path- again

Off the beaten path, again....

Nothing to do with my list but then maybe the whole impetus for my list.

Last week for the first time in five months I rode my horse. His name is Picasso. He's a paint, of course.

 Picasso- the view from above.
Beautiful mane, isn't it?

My fall was a shambles (see why here) and once the holidays roll around, I'm toast. In our family we have a Thanksgiving birthday, mine two weeks later, Christmas 11 days later, New Years, another birthday two weeks after that and then ANOTHER birthday 13 days later. Nothing beyond the minimum happens between November 27 and January 26 in this house.

So my horse has been ignored. Fortunately he has a barn mama that loves on him daily.

Fabulous, amazing barn mama. She treats my horse
as if he is hers. Which is very, very good.

But the horse is what got me to realizing that age has nothing to do with anything.

I had ridden some when I was little but my "mean" parents never believed me when I said I HAD to have a horse. So, of course, I got my girls riding as soon as I could. Watching them ride eventually led to my taking riding lessons again.

When I was 49 I learned how to jump a horse for the very first time.
It was like flying.  Total freedom from gravity.
And it was something I never in a million years imagined I would be able to do.

The only picture I have of me going over a jump.
Not so great form, not much of a jump. 
But the first time was exhilarating.

For my 50th birthday I got a new saddle and 11 days later on Christmas my husband gave me and the girls a horse. Well, he said "Go find a horse for us".  He thought (hoped) this would be a long, drawn out process. Imagine his surprise when we found a horse and had it in our hands by January 26th.

The first time we met. A bit chubby and
WHAT happened to his tail?

Since then the girls have taken up soccer but I have continued to ride. Weekly for the most part. The summers have gotten a bit hot for me but otherwise I have been pretty faithful.

Last spring I realized that no matter how much I worked with him, my horse was never going to be the horse to jump.  He's sweet. He's bombproof. He's a doll. I love him dearly. But he isn't built for lots of jumping.  If he jumps, he needs a chiropractor.

Bombproof. While I was taking this picture, a tree fell.
All the other horses ran like chickens with their heads cut off.
This horse never raised his head.

This realization made me VERY sad.

So I had been separating with him a bit thinking he needs a new home maybe. But he's a pet to me at this point, too.  The thought of selling him/ giving him away makes me cry.

And then after 5 months of not riding I realized the real reason I need to keep this horse.

He keeps me in shape.
He keeps me sane.
He is my gym and my therapy all rolled into one.
And he makes me realize I can do anything.

I knew this. But I had forgotten.

So, in a round about way, thanks to Picasso, I have this blog.  When I was 49 and realized I could learn to jump, I also realized I could probably do anything I set my mind to.

And I realized if, at 49 or 50,  I could learn how to jump and learn how to give a horse meds and learn about worming and thrush and tacking up and bit sizes and the difference between all the saddles and pads and boots- then what else could I learn?

So I made myself a promise that every year I would learn something new. Or try something new.
Stretch myself a bit.

Since then:
I've taken surfing lessons.
Bought a house in another state and learned a lot about long distance remodeling.
Learned a new computer system and new programs.
Become gainfully employed after 20 years of not getting a paycheck.
Driving in the snow-I can handle it.
Driving in the mountains-LOVE it.
Driving in the snow in the mountains- learned to avoid it as much as possible.
Puppy training. A lesson learned, forgotten, and re-learned.
Teenagers.  That's a work in process but I am trying to learn how to deal.

And there's so much more out there that I don't know about. Yet.

What have you learned or done that you never thought you would?

Yes, after 5 months of not riding, I was incredibly sore the next day. And even more sore the day after. 
But I'm headed back to the arena for more. More sanity. More exercise.  

My barn is Sunrise Equestrian Center.  Shangri-La for horses.

13 February 2013

Happy VD

Happy, happy Valentine's Day

Wishing everyone a wonderful Valentine's day filled with


and hogs

 and flowers

Peonies. My most favoritest flower ever.

and whatever else melts your butter.

Hearts from my blog to you.

Love, me

(did I get this right?)

11 February 2013

No. 56: Watch Forrest Gump

No. 56: Watch Forrest Gump

Run, Forrest, run.

Now I get it.

While I was in Colorado last week (original posts here and here) I watched Forrest Gump.  This movie came out in 1994 which explains why I never saw it. I was too busy having babies and trying to corral them.

This is a movie everyone references.

This is a movie that everyone says "You must watch."

I just never had. So I grabbed a copy off the $8.00 shelf at Target and took it with me to Colorado.

While my girls were cruising F Street in town on Saturday night, I plopped on the sofa to watch.

F Street in the daylight. More fun at night, apparently.

But not without a little trepidation. It is hard to watch something that has such a high reputation. What if I didn't like it?  And.  And.  And my girls said as they sashayed out the door  "O! That's a great movie. It's so sad."

WHAT?  Sad?? No one ever mentioned sad before. I don't want to watch "sad".

But I persevered.

And O! I am so glad I did.

I won't rehash the movie as I am the only one who has never seen it. Or WAS the only one.

But I will say for someone in my age range it is a trip down memory lane.

I saw John F. Kennedy two days before he was shot in Dallas. We lived in San Antonio and my parents sprung me and my brothers from school to see the Presidential motorcade. Two days later he was dead. Even though I was only 7, the image of the older kids crying as we walked home from school on that Friday sticks with me.

San Antonio  Nov. 21, 1963

My oldest brother had a low draft number. He joined the reserves. My other brother was luckier. His number was high. No Viet Nam vets at our house.

The segregation aspect was largely under my radar as a kid. I do remember traveling from Houston to San Antonio and seeing signs "Colored in back". I did wonder why all the black people had to eat in the screened in area in back of the road side diner while we got to sit in the Air Conditioning.

Revisionist history? 
Almost impossible to find a photo of these signs although they were EVERYWHERE in the South. 
If we don't have photos does that mean it didn't happen?

Watergate was definitely on my radar, though.  It was the topic of conversation at Robert E. Lee High School. It was the topic of conversation at dinner. It was THE topic of conversation. One dear family member who shall remain nameless swore Richard Nixon did nothing wrong. 

Richard Milhous Nixon

And AIDS.  O, AIDS.  I could do without AIDS.  I worked at a lovely restaurant in the late 70s, early 80s. It was a very new restaurant on the banks of Buffalo Bayou in Houston. The owner at the time and most of the staff were gay men.  One of my very, very favorite waiters was one of the first people to die in Houston with AIDS. No one knew what it was. And then everyone did.

I then went on to work in the travel industry. My bosses were two of the loveliest gay men you could ever meet. They held wonderful parties with the best food and plenty to drink and many, many friends. And then there weren't so many friends. And then there were only the straight friends. And then they were gone.
 Boss Bob

Boss David

And it was very,very sad.

So thank you, Forrest Gump, for taking me on a trip down memory lane. And yes, even though it was sad, it was a GREAT movie.

And thank you Chris for mentioning on FB that Forrest Gump was on and: "then did the kiss of death for doing something later, turned on best movie ever- Forrest Gump".  Aha! No. 56 was born.

07 February 2013

Number 50: Make a snow person

Number 50: Make a snow person

I went to Colorado and here is what I didn't do:

I didn't make the bed (until we left)

I didn't wash the dishes (until we left)

I didn't ski. At all. And that was Number 12 and it will just have to wait until another time.

I am not in this picture. No one I know is in this picture. 
But if I had skied, this is where I would have been.

And from the looks of the picture below, maybe I didn't brush my hair.

Here is what I did do:

I slept. It was wonderful. I have been suffering from sleep deprivation recently.

I shopped with my girls which is always fun and always leaves my pocketbook lighter.
(Yay, YOLO.  Our most favorite store.)

YOLO in Salida, Co. Check it out.


I built a snow person! There wasn't much snow but I managed.

I googled how to build one for some expert advice and thanks to YouTube I had some very helpful info.

The snow was dry so I had to improvise. Fortunately I had a hose handy.

I got to use my Snow Family accessory kit.

But the weather was fabulous. Fifty degrees and sunny made snow person making comfy.

There wasn't a blizzard. I just forgot to contain my hair.

 Hair contained, sweatshirt gone.

Pretty gorgeous backdrop, don't you think?

 Me and my new friend.


And she turned out really cute, if I do say so myself.

So Number 50 done.  Number 12 will have to wait, possibly until next year.

A good weekend.

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