Thursday, December 1, 2011

And Then I Became a Wood Elf...

If the blame needs to be placed somewhere, put it on The Awesome Son.  He moved in with me while he was in his mid-teens, bringing with him something that stirred an overwhelming hunger inside me. The addiction began slowly, as most gripping ones do.  Before I knew it, almost all of my waking hours were spent running around the wilderness:  dodging rouge critters, looting mines and caves for treasure, finding portals to hellish realms.
 
The Elder Scrolls series.  If you are not familiar, approach it with my warning.  I’ve never been much into video gaming, but that all changed with the third installment in the series.  Morrowind.  Just go to urbandictionary.com and search the word.  You will find numerous definitions; most alluding to the fact that you will never again have any genuine social contact in your life.  You will spend your time with graphic adventurers and bandits, running with beastfolk (lizard and cat people), and encountering elf politicians & law enforcement officers. 
 
When the fourth game in the series, Oblivion, was released, I played it compulsively as well.  And with utter abandon.  One of my friends was at my house one day, watching me play the game as my character (an Orc brute) crushed enemies with a sword and an axe, generally destroying everyone or thing in his path.  My friend was mortified.  And here I was, laughing raucously and swearing at the characters and the creatures as my Orc annihilated them.  Not too characteristic of a peaceful, friendly guy in his early 40s. 
 
Skyrim, the fifth game in the series was released a couple of weekends ago.  The Awesome Son and I were beyond excited.  Anyone who plays the series was also probably foaming at the mouth before the date.  Since the game is a single-player one, my son and I cannot play at the same time.  But that is no matter.  He and I shared adventure stories from the previous two games. 
 
Both he and I took a vacation day on the release date of Skyrim.  I traveled to Louisiana to spend the weekend with him and the Fiancée.  He and I played all weekend, in shifts of two-hour turns in front of his huge TV screen (talking about total game immersion).
 
Our gaming style said a lot about our personal styles.
 
  • My son’s character of choice was a Nord, sorta like a Viking, big and brawny.  The son’s style?  Crushing enemies.  Running through dungeons and obliterating the undead, picking and choosing which chests and containers to check for treasure.  Running all over the landscape, slaughtering any hostile animal or human.  The Awesome Son is a gusto kinda guy.
  • My character was a Wood Elf, short and slight.  My style?  Sneaking past enemies.  Creeping through dungeons and picking off enemies with a bow, checking every container for treasure.  Cutting a wide berth around any aggressive being.  Harvesting ingredients for potions from flowers and plants.  The Queer is a slower moving kinda guy (as least in relation to my exuberant son).
 

The weekend flew past.  Finally Sunday morning, I was brought back to reality.  I received a message for My Extraordinary Nephew mentioning that I hadn’t posted to my blog in quite a while.
 
So here I am.  Back to reality for a while.  Resolved to only play Skyrim one hour a day.  Everything in moderation.  Even diversion.
 
On the drive back to Houston , I was alert.  Checking the roadside for sources of alchemical ingredients, watching the horizon for saber-toothed tigers, checking the skies for dragons.  I probably will have to push toward reality with a bit more might.

(P.S.  I've logged in almost 70 hours playing this game in less than a month now.   See you at the Asylum)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

"Once Upon A Time, George and Weezie Moved to a Deluxe Apartment in the Sky"


I woke this morning in time, barely.  7:55 AM.  As I threw back the covers and took my initial stand, The Man was already beckoning “CBS Sunday Morning is about to come on.”

The Man…oh, The Man.  How he’s changed my life in so many wonderfully expansive ways.  And one particular not-so-wonderfully-expansive way.  Re-introducing Cable TV into my world. 

It’d been years since I enjoyed Cable TV.  I haven’t watched much TV as an adult, mostly because I had pigged out on every 60s & 70s sitcom available in my youth.  You name it; I watched it. The Jeffersons, Gilligan’s Island, The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, I Dream of Jeannie, Bewitched, Good Times, The Facts of Life, Diff’rent Strokes, etc., etc., etc.  I can remember sitting on the floor with my back against my parent’s bed, door closed, watching One Day at a Time and smoking cigarettes. (My parents both smoked, so their bedroom smelled like a pool hall anyways.)

At any rate, I did get hooked on CBS Sunday Morning.  It’s my kind of weekend morning news program; no pieces too incendiary to blow the Hell out of my mood on my (Christian-upbringing) pre-designated day of rest.  So I settled into one of the orange living room chairs to enjoy the show.

And my mood was blown to Hell.  At the top of each episode, Charles Osgood offers the “serious news.”  He could have kept it to himself today.  Washington fighting over the debt crisis (still) and tax reform.  A national sales tax?!  Really?!  Great, U.S. government, infringe on the method in which many states and municipalities fund their own governing bodies.  I was outraged.  I settled down rather quickly (I always do).

What followed was:
  • A wonderful story about a young woman, who started a school in Georgia.  The academy teaches refugee children who have settled with their families in this small rural town.  Heartwarming and inspiring.
  • A fascinating story on Clive Davis, and his influence and success in popular music.  I’m wild about music, so this story was especially enjoyable.
  • A thought-provoking, but characteristically-acerbic commentary by Nancy Giles.  This little rant focused on excessive bank fees. Of course, she mentioned my mortgage holder – the granddaddy of all evil financial institutions – Bank of America.  Again…look at me, outraged. 
  • A segment on some surfer.  Whee. 
  •  A piece on Martin Sheen.  Perfect for a Sunday Morning actor feature.  Martin Sheen is like a tepid oatmeal breakfast.  Filling, but not tasty.  (For my morning meal?  No oatmeal.  Over-hard eggs and grape-jellied toast, courtesy of The Man.)

The episode wrapped up with the customary nature scene:  this one from the Tennessee/North Carolina region.  Lots of beautiful fall foliage.  Gorgeous waterfalls.  Open fields with tall wheat-colored grass.  Elk and turkey grazing around.  Having recently chosen a vegetarian lifestyle, all I could think was “I hope that is a wildlife preserve, or someone is gonna slaughter those animals.”

Next up…Face the Nation.  This is the part where I rather go kill bandits and monsters in my computer game or go play the piano.  But I stuck it out.  Mainly because Michelle Bachmann and Rick Santorum were going to be featured.  The Man asked, “Can we turn this off?”

“Oh, no.  I want to hear what these two say…’Know your enemy,’ right?”

As I expected, they laid all the blame for the recent warfare directly at the feet of Obama.  Hmm.  Didn’t our government originally take a warrior’s stance when George W. Bush was in office?  Hmm.  I honestly did enjoy the foolish rhetoric of Michelle and Rick. 

Then Joel Osteen with the Lakewood Church came on.  I didn’t feel like hearing platitudes (well, actually I never do…), so The Man suggested a bio-piece on Benjamin Franklin.  It was engrossing, but an hour in, when the program hadn’t yet reached the American Revolution period, I asked The Man how long the show lasted.  Two hours?  Interesting show, but I couldn’t devote another hour of my precious time. 

So what’d I do instead?  Nap.

After an afternoon of vacuuming, practicing piano, going to my piano lesson and ironing this week’s clothes, I made the mistake of turning on the TV.  And promptly got dragged into a new show, “Once Upon A Time.”  Great…I already have a weakness for fairy tales (I’ve mentioned it before – yes, I’m gay).  I watched the whole damn show.  And it sucked!  Well, I mean that it sucked a whole hour from my life.  

I know that I’ll be sitting in front of our TV next Sunday at 7:00 PM. 

Shit.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

But what could I say...

I did say a few weeks back that I would try to post more often.  I didn't promise.  Who needs a promise from me?  I rarely say, "I promise...," anything.  That kind of sweeping statement can get a person in big trouble.  But I said I would try to check in on Sundays.

 So here we go (the best I can muster tonight).  Today, I...

  • Woke up early, around 6 AM.  (Since I became a year older a couple of weeks back, I guess I'm officially old.  I can't even sleep late on the weekends.  Even on Sunday mornings, when the night before I've watched all of Saturday Night Live - if I can stay awake that late.  This week SNL was somewhat good, but Drake wowed me with "Headlines."
  • Played "Oblivion" a couple of hours.  (Oblivion is an RPG - role-playing game - set in a land that is much like Europe in Medieval times.  Oblivion is a chapter of a larger game series called "The Elder Scrolls."  The next chapter in the series comes out in November.  I know that I'll be spending that weekend back home in Louisiana, playing the new game with The Awesome Son.  He's already told me that.  And I listen to The Awesome Son.)
  • Watched CBS Sunday Morning.  (A couple of interesting new pieces to start a soothing "news" day.  It's not exactly Glenn Beck.  Oh, it's the antithesis.  Coldplay was featured.  Chris Martin is cool.)
  • Enjoyed the breakfast that The Man cooked.
  • Napped.
  • Practiced the piano.
  • Showered.
  • Went to my piano lesson.
  • Returned home.
  • Dined with friends to celebrate my, a friend's (who happens to share my special day), and The Man's birthdays.  
  • Ate tofu.  (I went vegetarian this past week - Let's see how that goes...)
  • Visited our local grocery store for this week's shopping.  (As we approached the store, The Awesome Son called.  [Good...The Man volunteered to go shop, and] I - score! - was able to just hang outside and chat with The Awesome Son, who laughed his head off at some of my antics.  Let's just say that I gave The Man a racy but odd birthday gift...it involved a hole in a gift bag.  Enough said.)
  • Arrived home
  • Let dogs out
  • Unloaded groceries.
  • Cleaned the litter box.
  • Corralled the dogs back into the house (because they were whooping, barking, and hollering at something in the trees, in the dark.  Hell, I couldn't see what it was.  And the dogs were nuts.  It took a couple of minutes to break their attention and get them inside.)
  • Ironed my shirt for my runway appearance at the office tomorrow.  (Music courtesy of Mr. Springsteen "The Wild, The Innocent, and The E-Street Shuffle."  Good Stuff!)
  • Put brown rice on to cook.  (It amazes me how the rice cooker knows how much longer the brown rice needs than the white rice.  I'm so easily stumped.)
Now, I'm sitting here typing.
Dang, my life sounds a bit dull.  That's o.k.  I'm having a good time.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Finally!

At last, it's raining in Houston!  I don't mean to be so excited about it, but it's been a long dry spell.  The last good rain that I can remember fell in late June.  We've had a couple of showers in the interim, but nothing like the past couple of days.  I even stood shirtless in the driveway last night, just to feel the cool wet drops on my skin.

Given my cafeteria view of religion, I'm left wondering who to thank for the rain:  I'm left with thanking God (my Christian beliefs), or thanking the Universe (my Buddhist beliefs) or thanking the Moon and the stars (my belief in Astrology).  OK...so it's a gumbo of beliefs, I'll agree.

If I followed my husband's beliefs as a chaos-theorist atheist, I would be left without being able to thank anyone.  You have to admit that it's kinda nice to just be grateful, period; without having to be caught up in thanking anything but nature.

Regardless, I say "Thank you, God," "Thank you, Universe," "Thank you, Moon and stars."

Thank you all for ending that damn drought.  Keep up the good work.






Saturday, October 1, 2011

Everything Changed


It hit me.  Right out of the blue.  The feeling.  The one after the ceremony, which lasted all of about 10 minutes (it actually seemed shorter). 

With our procured witness (one of a couple of Key West gents who were – after 41 years together – also in New York City to be married), we entered the chapel.  The justice started with a question: “Which one of you is Kenneth?”  And off we went.

“Do you take Jason…?  Breath.

“I will.”

“To be your lawfully wedded spouse, to…blah, blah, blah…”

I guess he was a bit excited.  After she was able to finish her question, he said “I do.”

I said my “I do” at the appropriate place.

“I now pronounce you…married.”  I had wondered how that would end.

And with those words, everything changed.

It was weird.  I hadn’t expected those feelings.

We walked out of the lower Manhattan courthouse.  He had a huge smile on his face.  I’m certain I did too.  We walked to the park across the street and sat on a bench in the shade.  I called my son, my sister, my dad and my best friend.  He called his dad and his brothers.

On the subway ride back to Brooklyn where we were staying, I looked at my new husband and examined my feelings.  And they were familiar. 

I had been married, long ago.  To my then-best friend.  And I had loved it.  I tell people all the time, “If I had been straight, she and I would still be married.”  I know it in my heart.  But…I’m not hetero. 

A wife didn’t fit me.  A husband does.  Regardless of what other people feel or believe. 

I love being married.  I love having a husband.

I’ll keep him.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Happily Ever After? Oh Yeah.


My favorite stories in my early childhood began with the words “Once upon a time…” and ended with “…and they lived happily ever after.”  Beautiful princesses, courageous boys, and kind granddaughters could be introduced in the beginning of a tale to be set upon by hardship and sorrow, or encounter hunger, trolls or daunting adventures, or face danger and death.  I read and re-read all of the fairy tales that I could get a hold of.  (Love for fairy tales; omen of things to come?  Probably…)

My favorite fairy tale goes something like this:

“Once upon a time in a small village, there lived an honorable but peculiar young man.  The youth was part of a large family (who loved him dearly), but he was like no other of his kin.  The young man possessed a magic window with a golden frame and a clear pane of glass.  The window showed him the wide world far from his home.  He longed to have adventures, to see that world, and mostly, to find a place where he knew that other people would welcome him and his odd manner.

One day he waved good-bye to his family and set off with his magic window across the forest to the great city. The city was full of people hurrying about, who did not make much notice of him.  He felt alone and wondered if he should return to his family.

However, he encountered beautiful queens, sparkling fairies, rough-and-tumble lumber-janes and friendly bears.  These kind beings made him welcomed in the city, and he grew to love the city and his new friends.  He also did meet vicious queens, tired fairies, grouchy lumber-janes and grumpy bears.  Mostly, his new friends were able to protect him from the unkind beings.  Until, one day the youth was confident in his new city to defend himself.

He met some nice princes and some not so nice princes, some fair, some foul, but none could capture his heart.  The young man began to feel as if he would spend the reminder of his years alone.
On a warm day in early summer, the honorable young man looked into his magic window.  He had grown tired of all of the princes who seemed to always dishearten him, the ones unable to slay dragons, and the unkind ones, and the untrustworthy ones.  However that one day when he looked into his magic window, he saw a tall, fair prince.  Under leather and denim armor, he appeared strong and brave.  He was standing in front of a steed with a radiant smile on his face.  The young man knew that he had to meet the handsome prince.
 So he did, and they lived happily ever after.”

Kinda anticlimactic?  Not at all.

Ok, so this story was not my favorite fairy tale from my childhood.  How many fairy tales would have a young man searching for a prince?  About… none.  This story is certainly a fairy tale, the fairy tale of my life.  Which isn’t anticlimactic in the least.  It’s kinda exciting. 

It’s almost unbelievable to me that I found this prince of mine.  And to have everything fall together so easily.  I’m getting married this upcoming Wednesday for the second time in my life, but the first time to man.  And the fact that it is legal for me to marry my perfect man is a fairy tale in itself.


 “…and they lived happily ever after” may sound like the end of the tale; I know it’s just a break in the story.  I’m looking forward to the next chapter.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Where the Hell Have I Been??


I've been off the radar these past few weeks.  Just been quiet.  At least here.
 
Anyone who knows me in the world outside of this site would say:  “Jason?”  “Quiet?”  And then laugh uncontrollably.  (I would laugh with them.  I realize what a goofy chatterbox I can be.)  Oh, I’ve been my usual outgoing self:  clowning around to break heavy atmosphere, initiating conversations from little of nothing, offering advice when asked, calming stress-out friends with examples from my own crazy life.

So in the recent absence of posts, I can only say that I’ve been busy.

But as my mom would have said, “Well…that’s a good-enough excuse, Jason.  If you’re looking for one.”

Part of writing this blog is a responsibility to readers, regardless of who decides to visit: the responsibility to be there, to be there often, and to be there dependably.  The way a friend should.
 
Reading other blogs, I can get insight to the authors’ minds and can find commonality with the readers who leave comments.  Browsing through the comments often gives me a feeling of community, even while I’m sitting at the computer with only the dogs lying on the floor beside my chair.
 
A few times, I have left comments on the blogs I read.  A couple of times, people have visited my blog from links from those comments and have shared their thoughts and feelings with me on what I've written.  Each time someone takes the time to write, I feel more connected to the community.  Sometimes friendships grow from the dialogue.
 
The relationships formed over the web can have the greatest impact on your life.  It’s true.  Good example from my own life?  I met The Man on-line, five years ago.

All of this being said, I will try to post more frequently:  no promises, no challenges to myself, no backing down.  I will also try to write more from the heart and less from the head.  God help us.  I’m not sure what will come out. Regardless, it'll be sincere.  Should you like to check in, look for posts each Sunday; that would be your best bet.
 
I know do have a tendency to ramble on.  Kinda rude, huh?  We’re all busy here.  I’ll try to keep it brief when I can.  I don’t want to chew your ear off.  I can beat a subject to death; The Man and The Awesome Son call me on that all the time.  Feel free to do the same.  My feelings rarely get hurt; I’m hard as nails most days.

I’m not sure who is reading my blog out there.  For those who are, Thanks!  For those who are just showing up, look around a bit:  sometimes I pull off a pretty o.k. post.
 
To all of you…I hope to become better friends in the future.

Take care,
Jason            

Monday, August 8, 2011

Hey...It's My Castle...

It’s bone dry in Houston with no end in sight.
 
I was outside watering our front yard oak this evening.  The Man and I had seen quite a few trees in our neighborhood dropping large limbs onto lawns, and worse, onto roofs.  I like our shady tree a lot and don’t want to see it turn on us out of neglect.

Seeing that outdoor maintenance and yard work is my responsibility (The Man does most all of the indoor work: cleaning, cooking, laundry), I am the one to face the brutal Texas heat.  This year I have been exceptionally lazy with it.  The lawn gets no moisture outside of the monthly shower; therefore, the grass is a lovely shade of taupe.  Our dogs have thoroughly trampled any semblance of greenery in the back yard.  It seems as if most of my neighbors are taking the same course, letting the weeds grow in hopes that those will at least protect the topsoil.  But fighting an uphill battle, the brown lawns and the casualties of the flower beds show that we’ve all given up the war on the drought.

A nice surprise that greeting me this evening?  The soil is separating from the foundation of our house, in some sections as much as three or four inches.  It’s like the ground is saying to the structure, “I'm outta here!”  Our house had started its own complaining; doors that suddenly refuse to shut, bathroom tiles that decide they want nothing to do with one another, new cracks in the drywall smiling malevolently down at us from the corners of rooms.

Our little cookie-cutter house in decidedly greener times

The whole situation just got me thinking.  If you let the foundation of your life drift: your beliefs, your friends, your family, your fun, your livelihood, you might get a rude shock.  Suddenly your home, your base, your world may completely come apart.

Life in south Texas has its challenges – drought, hurricanes, fire ants.  We don’t have the challenges of other locales – tornados, earthquakes, blizzards.  Everyone has their own environmental demon to face.  The Man and I will get some soaker hoses this coming weekend to help secure the clay-based terra to the base of our dwelling.   However humble, our house is our home.  We are a bit crazy in love with our little fortress. 


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Thank You, Puerto Rico

“My name is Alfred.”  Odd.  The Puerto Rican gentleman introducing himself at baggage claim as we wearily stumbled up to the carousel after the four-hour flight.  The driver.  I expected Alberto, Alejandro or Augustus.  I guess I was being a bigot.  Shame on me.  Waiting for our bags, The Redhead was clapping and whooping, happy to be free from the States for a while.  The rest of us (The Brunette, The Dude, The Man and me) were unexcitedly hovering to snag the luggage.  Locals ambled by, making eye contact and smiling.  Weird.  One lady cruised by carrying a lap-dog to the aww’s of The Redhead and The Brunette.  The woman made a beeline to my friends, allowing the two to pet the pup.  Downright strange.  Never in Houston.  I started loving Puerto Rico at that moment, even before I dived in.

Alfred led us to the van.  We five climbed in.  First stop, the local mainland-based grocery store to stock up on provisions.  Along the way, we passed one-story plain square dwellings with peeling paint and cracking stucco walls, saw roadside carts overflowing with fresh local fruit, and became incorporated into snakes of traffic that attempted to, but never quite, held to lanes.  At the shopping center, The Man, The Redhead, The Brunette, The Dude and I all filed into the store, to the apprehensive warning of The Dude.  “At this moment, this man has all our stuff!”

I laughed.  “C’mon, buddy.”  Although Alfred was a bit above it all, I thought him trustworthy.
 
We grabbed the staples:  cookies, cheese, chips, coffee, three bottles of wine, three bottles of rum.  We were good to go.

When we arrived at the condo building, we elevatored to the sixth floor.  Alfred saw us inside, was tipped and, faster than you could say “boo,” disappeared.  Ok…  We immediately made our way to the balcony.  Perfect.  Palms, pool, sand, beach, bay.  We waited there for a few minutes as a storm quickly moved across the aqua vastness, dumped rain (dissipating before running ashore) and produced a welcome in the form of a bright rainbow.  We dispersed to our respective rooms to unpack, change into swimwear and head for the beach.


The Redhead and the Man relaxed on lounges and read.  The Brunette, The Dude and I swam in the warm clear water.  All the while worked by the push and pull of the waves, the world back home kept a firm grip on me.  After a couple of hours of sun, we headed up to the suite to plan next steps over our principal drink for the trip:  piña coladas (That damn song from the 70s followed me the rest of the vacation).

We trekked over to the main building of the resort - a hotel - to grab a taxi, discarding Alfred in the hopes of hiring a more personable, less smug driver.  We did.  A handsome young native named José.

Demerit for José?  Dropping up at a marginal restaurant that he suggested.  We all laughed because Alfred had recommended the same restaurant.  Kickback?  Maybe.

Plusses for José?  He had spent time in the States for service in the armed forces, so he got most of our stupid pop references, and he also laughed with us at our skewed senses of humor, especially when The Dude overshared about an interest back home, a woman possessing some abnormal physical features.  In addition, José played salsa music for us on the stereo as we rode, painting pictures of weekend festivals in the small towns and people dancing in the streets.
   
Before saying good night, we asked José for advice on one thing to check out while we were on the island (two outings seemed an overwhelming proposition for the lazy lot of us).  His suggestion? Old San Juan.  The original historic district of the city.  We made plans for him to pick us up the following afternoon.

Riding through the emerald hills, then the flat stretches clogged with vehicles, and finally along the freeways slipping through the heartbreak of decaying housing projects and the skyscrapers of the tourist district (and still work and worries from Texas keeping me distracted), we arrived at the original sector of the island capital.  The quarter was unsurprisingly charming and loaded with tourists.  We arrived a bit late, around 5 PM, and almost all of the shops were closing.  We did a bit of souvenir shopping, then headed to another restaurant at José’s suggestion.  Racies (translated from Spanish – “Roots”).  Delicious.  Though I experienced a bit of discomfort, due to my overly PC nature, at the displays of the various races of the island and their contributions to its culture:  the Natives with arts and crafts; the Spaniards with religion and the Spanish language; and slightly prejudiced in my view, Africans with their spirit as “indefatigable workers,” At any rate, I ordered mofongo, a local dish served with a choice of various seafood or meat (beef, in my case, I am Texan) over a base of fried and mashed plantains.  My serving was mouth-watering and completely satisfying.


After the unimaginative fare of the grill the night before and the delicious food from the restaurant in Old San Juan, we did gather that cooking most of our meals in the condo would be most time-practical for the remainder of the stay.  On the way back to the resort, we asked José to stop by the grocery.  We shopped a bit more sensibly this time:  bacon, steaks, broccoli, potatoes, sweetrolls.
 
Arriving at the suite, The Brunette and I decided on an expedition up the coast.  We walked past the hotel grounds with the teeming vacationers, continued up the beach passing jetskis and motorboats, and happily happened along a beautiful lagoon with a cloud-topped mountain framing the background.  We crossed the chilly waist-deep water, coming upon a local woman out walking her dog.  We smiled greetings and attempted (unsuccessfully) to pet the skittish pup.  And without my noticing, my outside world fell away.


For the rest of our time there, I focused on Mad-Libs with my friends in the evening, pool and surf during the day, and waking in the morning to stunning views of the clouded peaks of the rainforest.

On our final day, The Man and I body-surfed together, alone.  I said to him the things that I say when we are by ourselves.  Those marshmallow words.

One of the best parts of the trip?  José became a real person while running us around.  He shared about his wife, his daughters, his family in Boston and New Jersey, his compromise to live near his wife’s family in a village near the resort instead of enjoying the more modern-day conveniences of San Juan, where he was raised.  He also shared with us his decision as a young man to stay on the island, giving up the opportunity to study in Tennessee on a baseball scholarship.  His sacrifice made for love.  Less than a year following his choice to stay, the relationship fell apart:  his sweetheart gone and the offer of a free education passed.  Poor guy was still kicking himself.

We had a bit of extra time the morning of the flight back to Houston.  José offered to take us along the coast, where the locals gather to enjoy the beach.  As we weaved through the lush foliage skirting the road, the beach would suddenly appear, revealing the brown islanders adorning the turquoise waters.  We went through small settlements dividing the way, where people gathered around food stands that radiated delectable aromas.  We passed a large civic park where throngs of children romped and ran around colorful structures.  José said that he would stop at any point where we would like to take pictures.  None of us asked.  Maybe we did not want to take this special part of the island away from the citizens.  The trip along the seaside was José’s gift to us.

As we approached the airport, the world back home started encroaching again.  But not in a bad way.  I was looking forward to seeing our pets and home.  I was ready to return to work with my batteries recharged.  I would face Houston with fresh eyes and appreciate my hometown a bit more (at least until she frustrated me again with some minor infraction).

Standing at the curb of the airport sidewalk, our Puerto Rican friend gave each of us a solid handshake and a warm look in the eye.  It had been a wonderful trip to an island where time attempts to stall, but the progress of the States speeds in.  The most important thing I learned?  The beauty of Puerto Rico is in its beaches, its rainforests, its architecture, and its music.  But essentially, the splendor is in its everyday beautiful people.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

RETREAT! Surrender. charge?

Rough weekend.  Crashed after an especially stressful work week.  

Saturday mid-morning, read up on tragedy in Norway.  Horrific news.  Soon after, take a nap (bad idea), just to have an exhausting daymare that The Man had to talk me out of.


 
Spent 14 hours in bed, Sunday night/morning/afternoon.  Finally dragged myself from the bedroom and into the house.  Flipped on some 70s tunes for background sounds while cleaning the kitchen.  “Dream Weaver” “Billy, Don’t Be a Hero” “Angel in Your Arms” “If You Leave Me Now.” Feeling stronger.

Headed to dinner with friends.  Listening to Elton John’s Tumbleweed Connection.  Ate Mexican food with the pals with whom I will share a Puerto Rico jaunt in a couple of days.  Feeling even stronger.

Home.  Ironed shirt for work.  More 70s music.
 
Typing this.  New Order “Leave Me Alone”  Ready for tomorrow?  Ok. 

Goodnight.

"Leave Me Alone"  New Order