Sunday, June 29, 2008


The festival lacked somewhat. Hard to make a series of "cause booths" festive. Nevertheless they were important, just few.

The crowd was so much younger. And though they wore clothes suggestive of world weariness and contempt for the norm, they still looked as though they'd spent a few hours on their hair.

The parties weren't materializing at the early hours we attended. Perhaps we were just early but we began to surmise that the in-fighting among the organizers and the limited budget was having a trickle down affect on the attenders. Those who had "been there, done that" for years were just not as evident. The young definitely prevailed.

The crew did a great job on our over-the-top-for-a-politician-but-why-not-for-Pride convertible. Those gathered to escort our candidate down the parade route numbered over 20 and the average age wasn't much over that as well. They screamed and portioned out the beads with relish.

I had a good time. I didn't have the best time I've ever had. At the end, I determined why.

I wasn't with the reason for my pride. Sure, I'm thrilled my candidate would rather the government stay out of the bedrooms. But, in many ways, I was working this parade, not experiencing it as I had in years gone by.

And my guys were in the crowd, not by my side. Oh, Roger was there and the best moment of the evening came as we made our way back to the cars. I was taking him to his and trying to maneuver traffic and simply reached for his hand.

"I'm proud to call you friend, my dear," I said. "No, I'm proud to call you family."

And with that we parted.

Others made their way to more parties and the kind of craziness that is usually associated with this parade. I went home and took a hot bath.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


Today in the area of town known as the Montrose, thousands will gather to visit, drink, eat and play. Some will learn facts about health and voting. Others will simply party until the nighttime festivities begin -- the Pride Parade.

Our little group of merry campaigners have been preparing for this event for quite a while. Beads were bought. Koozies designed and ordered. Stickers created. Before we roll this evening a convertible will be converted into a parade worth entry with lights, magnets, banners and more.

Last night, I experienced one of those pre-parade moments that I don't seek. Having not felt quite right in the stomach department, I canceled my plans for a night with the Latino GLBT crowd at a fundraiser and stayed at home until mid-evening when I was invited to an impromptu gathering at the Empire Cafe. Three couples laughed about movies and their changing lifestyles (kids, no kids, grown kids, etc.). And then the topic of the parade came up.

"Why would your candidate WANT to be in such a thing?" was the question.

I started to explain that the GLBT crowd were big supporters of her and she of their right for personal choice. I didn't get very far.

"I know we're supposed to love everyone, even the . . . " and then she began to lump my friends in with murderers and criminals and all manner of beings who she considered sinners.

I didn't want to debate. I knew that I was an outsider on this topic with this crowd. I didn't want the topic to come up. And then I chastised myself, "How can you say you'll walk in a Pride Parade and then stay silent?"

So I let it be known. I wasn't just walking because I'm a field director for a campaign. I was walking because I love my friends, because my friends make me proud.

Great ending here would be how with just a few sentences the conversation turned and grace abounded. The conversation didn't. Grace did. But that was simply because we had the grace to stop talking. Neither of us was going to change the other's mind.

Tonight I walk. I throw beads and hand out goodies and smile and wave and take it all in. And while I thought I was ready yesterday afternoon, I guess I needed just a little more prep before Pride could take on its annual meaning for me.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What A Road He's Traveled . . .

My brother-in-law's story is filled with twists and turns and his is not my story to tell but if you ever had the chance to hear it, you would be amazed.

What I can tell you is that I love who he is now and the couple my sister and he have become. When my sister was post-50, they married. She is a pharmacist who is counting the days until early retirement. He was working at a job that did little to stimulate him. He wondered about going back to school. She encouraged him. Now a couple of years down the road, he's teaching at the very school he attended. He's also making the news. Seems that someone from Tennessee putting clear liquid in Mason jars isn't always illegal. In fact, your gas mileage just might increase!

Check it out at (You'll need to scroll down until you see the You Tube screen. Click there.)

He's traveled a few miles and sometimes made wrong turns, but now he's making the trip with energy that's clean ... I'm very proud to call him family.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Sweet Scallops Are Just the Right Order

I'd been craving them for days. After work yesterday, I found them on sale. Plump, luscious, perfectly imperfect (because the truest circles are just plain wrong), the scallops were gently wrapped and handed over to me by the salesman who must have seen the appreciation and almost-lust-like look in my eyes. "Great price today!"

Awakened from my awe, I took the package, smiled widely and agreed.

I toured the store gathering other ingredients for the meal that I had been contemplating. At home, I tore into the bags of goodies like a child on her birthday, eager to lay hands on all the askded-for-and-of-course-got goodies.

Soon the cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and zucchini were roasting in the oven with a splash of balsamic, olive oil, and some rosemary for flavor. The couscous wouldn't take long but I wanted extra pine nuts so I toasted them. (Actually I toasted two batches because those suckers burn before you know it.) And in a saute pan, I placed onions and mushrooms. When they were tender, I removed them and crisped up some bacon. And finally in that same pan, I placed the scallops. Minutes later they were pretty much as I intended so I added in some wine, cherry tomatoes and the mushroom mixture.

The meal wasn't perfect -- should have seared the scallops better before focusing on the sauce -- but it was a pleasure.

Growing up in Greenfield and before shipping allowed you to get fresh California grapes and Florida oranges without having someone bring them back from vacation, we didn't see much seafood at Big John's (the grocery chain with the plastic giant holding two bags of products as the iconic statue that towers over the parking lot). If we wanted fish, Daddy and my brothers caught them in the river or a nearby pond. My mother loved shrimp and consequently Red Lobster in the city 45 minutes away. But she didn't like to peel them so we weren't always thrilled when Daddy got his hands on some frozen pink lovelies from Louisiana because it meant we had to remove the carcasses from both ours and hers.

Maybe the scarcity of the sea-bound delectibles (land-locked in Tennessee, remember?) became the allure for me. I don't know. But yesterday afternoon in the citified version of Big John's sans the parking lot guard, I practically giggled at the mere thought of the accessiblity of what I craved. Then as I lovingly cooked what I wanted and for me, I beamed.

Sometimes (and especially after a break up) taking yourself on a date is the best recipe.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Degrees of Normalcy on a Hot Houston Night

"If someone had told me 15 years ago that one warm summer night I'd be walking the dark roads of Houston for exercise while being vastly entertained by a gay man, I would have laughed long and hard," I told my longtime friend from Alabama as I drove home around 10 p.m. last night.

She agreed as we both laughed long and hard. But we weren't laughing at the oddity of the situation as we would have back in the days I lived in that also-warm-state. We laughed because these days, it seems perfectly normal.

Funny how "normal" changes with the years and the accumulation of experiences. Once that particular state of being meant being a married, church-going, 9 to 5 plus editing on the weekends kind of woman. Yesterday my current boss chuckled at the mere thought of me conforming to that role. "You just seem so irreverant for all that," she added shaking her head in disbelief.

But I was irreverant even then. I distinctly remember discussing several movies around the break table at the religious publishing house where I worked and one of my co-workers practically chastised me for watching "all that garbage" and asked why I would. I told her with no hesitation. "Because people like you always ask people like me about stuff like this. And I'm not going to take anyone else's opinion for what I should and should not like."

Guess I'm still living by that philosophy. I'm here to experience life. Sometimes that puts me in the shadows of the Texas Medical Center powerwalking in the dark. Sometimes that means I spend a Sunday afternoon dressed as a clown, face painting on a 100-ft party boat rented out for families who have survived cancer (as I did this past weekend). Sometimes I get to enjoy sitting across the table from a friend who enjoys my passion for sushi and substantive conversation. And sometimes it means carrying out a work-related task with one phone on one ear, my cell on the other and my boss in front of me as we as a staff laughingly wrestle with what should go in an email newsletter.

But always, I marvel. I marvel at the fact that I get to do this. I marvel that I am blessed with the kind of friends who will meet me at the last minute for supper, walk with me because it's time I got some exercise even if I don't seem to have time to do it, and laugh with me at where the road has already and will take me.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Thoughts Collide

I stopped at a red light on the feeder road to 610N this morning. To my right were three kids around 10 or 11 years of age. Each wore a helmet and a towel and were on bicycles, dutifully obeying the traffic laws and waiting for their turn to cross the congested street. They had goggles hanging from their handle bars. And looked cared for and protected.

I had just left morning TV where I saw two disturbing pieces of news. There was a man driving recklessly across the city trying to elude the police. Not 20 minutes earlier, he had been on the very interstate, these kids were about to ride under. The other saddening note was that George Carlin died.

My sister introduced me to Carlin when she told me about but wouldn't divulge the 7 words you cannot say on TV. I was about the age of the lead girl in this makeshift bicycle parade at the time. Later, when I could understand the depth of Carlin's humor I appreciated most that he was an intelligent comic. His word play was an amusement park of fun. I didn't always agree with what he said but I almost always laughed at how he said it.

The three children made me flash back to days in Greenfield when my brothers and I (my sister was older and wouldn't have wanted to be seen with us) would make our way to the city pool. We'd go by foot since it was only a block away. I hoped for a moment that these three would maintain the innocence we possessed in those days -- even if they were already navigating Houston streets. I hoped that they would know to cherish summer days and life.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Who Are You? And another thing . . .

This blog service offers an opportunity to see where folks are reading my blog. Kinda cool. But it doesn't tell me who you are. And that makes me kinda curious. For instance, who do I know in New York that would read this stuff? (If you're not comfortable leaving a comment, email me at

And another thing . . . if you've been reading over the last year . . . should I capture this adventure in a book format or not?

I've got an inquiring mind and I want to know.

Solo Once More

After four questions, I knew he wanted to start something.

Nine months have passed.

After having the same conversation four times, we both knew it was time to end it.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


The pandas in China are in jeopardy. A woman from the U.S. traveled there to do what she could for these precious creatures who are now homeless as a result of the devastating earthquake there. When asked why, she responded, "Endangered means we have time. Extinction is forever."

The quote struck me and made me wonder what else is endangered and what is already extinct?

Courtesy on the roadways?
Compassion for those who obviously will never be able to appreciate or express appreciation for what you might do for them?
Belief in the church or faith system you grew up with?
The idea that a middle-aged woman who is beginning to sag but unwilling to nag might actually find a man to appreciate all that she does offer?
Customer service?
Low prices on gas . . . and with the floods in Iowa, anything made with what will be a scarce commodity -- corn?
Me ever finding my way back to a size 6 again?
You fill in the blank ____________________________

Saint and Sanctuary

Someone told me last week they were about to curl up with their favorite author in the room they most enjoyed in their home. I said, "your saint and your sanctuary -- makes sense to me."

Made me consider who my saint is and where sanctuary is these days for me. At least twice of late, I've said aloud how at peace I felt on my couch, in my space, surrounded by my things with nothing truly going on except me reading the paper or watching the news. As for my saint, I don't have a go-to author that soothes and/or scintilates, but this weekend I was reminded that I do hold certain writers/thinkers with heavy loads of respect.

I will miss Tim Russert. I liked his everyman persona. I liked that I could imagine myself seeing him in an airport and actually smiling and thanking him for his succinct, simple approach to explaining politics. I liked that he loved his family, his background, his future. I mourn that his future was not as long as anyone would have thought. November will not be the same without his insight into the election process. I didn't know the man, but I will miss him.

Perhaps he wasn't a saint, but I know I found sanctuary in his explanations of how things work.

Courtesy Foul

I've recently discovered that in some softball leagues, rules exist to hurry the progress along. For instance, when batters approach home plate they already have one ball and one strike. Thus, when they foul and then foul again, they get one more chance for a hit or a ball or otherwise they are out. The last foul allowed is the "courtesy foul."

Last Friday night, I gave the team a courtesy foul. The first experience with them was horrid. I've described that at length already. The second experience I spent simply keeping score and enjoying the non-pressurized role of athletic supporter. I enjoyed the people enough that I even offered my home for a party post-game last Friday.

Then the coach called. Seemed they were once again in need of females and I qualify. I immediately said, "Not if it means I play second. It's right field for me."

He suggested catcher. And that positioning gave us both a home run. I lost the ability to throw the ball exactly where I wanted sometime before the end of the first game and certainly in the second, but I did little to humiliate myself. In fact, I simply walked, ran the bases and stayed out of trouble. As a result of my playing what I called the WB position (warm body) and some excellent play on the part of my teammates we won both games.

The party food was a hit as well!

Makes me wonder what else I need to give a courtesy foul to. How many people have I called out of my life who need one more chance at bat? How many experiences have I written off without digging a little deeper for the fortitude I need to perhaps not succeed but at least redeem a situation?

Speakers are constantly using sports metaphors to explain the ways of the world and humanity. Guess now I see why.

Monday, June 09, 2008

For Adults Only

One of my latest visitors declared my new space "all grown up." Today I had a conversation that wasn't easy but needed to be had and I walked away feeling very much the adult.

Strange isn't? No matter how many lines inch their way around my eyes or how many colors are needed to hold back the gray, I continue to question how I got the mature role.

Aren't I still 16 and secretly scoffing and rolling my eyes? Or at least in my 20s, full of passion and promise? Certainly, I just made it to my 30s when being clueless seemed somehow correct.

No, here I am -- 46 and happy to still be learning what playing house is all about.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

I Took the Long Cut

So when you get directions online and you don't put in the correct address and you don't notice this fact until after you've made the (what-you-know-later-is-the-wrong) turn then you could add 30 more minutes to a trip that was already supposed to be a late arrival but winds up getting you to your hotel room after midnight.

Not that I would know anything about that . . .

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Stuff and Stories

I'm slightly embarrassed by how much I'm loving having my things around me once again.

I don't consider myself that much of materialistic person. Yet here I am . . . making my bed each day and saying a prayer of gratitude that I'm back on a mattress and box springs . . . putzing in the kitchen and smiling because I have just the right dish to present the food on with a certain flair . . . staging rooms (the house is for sale) with items I've collected from trips and remembering the people and places that are connected to the thing.

Guess as long as I have the stories, I won't feel too bad. Can't wait to add more.

Makes Me Wonder What I'm Feeding My Gut

I love me some good writing. Today I was reading Maureen Dowd's editorial on Scott McClellan's new book. She said:

". . . our president is a one-man refutation of Malcom Gladwell's best-seller Blink, about the value of trusting your gut.

"Every gut instinct he had was wildly off the mark and hideously damaging to all concerned.

"It seems that if you trust your gut without ever feeding your gut any facts or news or contrary opinions, if you keep your gut on a steady diet of grandiosity, ignorance, sycophants, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, those snap decisions can be ruinous."