Sunday, September 21, 2014

Ordination & Birthday

Earlier this month I became an Ordained Minister. It's not a joke and I am legally permitted to perform weddings in the State of Texas! Dudeism is similar to Buddhism and Taoism in that it only promotes peace and simplicity in our lives. "Abide" and "Just Take It Easy" are the two very simple tenets of Dudeism.
My 35th Birthday came around this past Tuesday. I went to bed at like 2:30 in the morning, woke up at 4, took the most amazing woman in the world to the airport (she had a business trip to Vermont, but at least I got to see her on my birthday...awesome), went by to see Abby, then headed off to work. That evening we went to a Cajun restaurant, which is my own newly introduced tradition, went back to the house and then to sleep.

The next day I had to do some tests at the hospital, which was causing some serious stress. Pardon me for saying this, but Fine Needle Aspirations on or near bones is a bitch! Then there's the waiting on test results, which thankfully was only 48 hours. During that time, I realized that taking it easy and Abiding is often much tougher than not letting the stress get the best of you.

Miss Spectacular came back on Friday evening and my heart was racing when I saw her at the airport. It's really incredible when it hits you that you've found the one person on earth that makes you want to be the best you that you can be, beyond your children, of course. There's also that feeling when you can literally can't imagine life without that person. She was gone for only 4 days but it really seemed like an eternity! As much as I said that I'd never let it happen again, it did...I've fallen for her.

I'll let Pearl Jam tell the world how my test results came back. Adios y'all.

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Big Step

I've remained silent on here for quite some time for a couple of reasons. The first of which is time, in that I never seem to find enough. The second (and big one) is that I've been facing certain issues that silence was in my best interests. Sure, there's a certain level of writer's block, but that excuse can only last for so long.

Papers for divorce were filed back in November and served to the "Wife that Wears Combat Boots" on December 11th. It was also my daughter's birthday and the day that I underwent a total knee reconstruction to repair what cancer had destroyed. Anyway, after a period of inactivity, things started to "dance" late last month. As of June 27th, it's done and I am officially single again. Oh, less than 15% of all men in Texas win custody of their children and I am proud to be a member of that small minority!

Divorce is funny in that at first thought it's painful, but then it hit me that I'm definitely not the same person I was even a year ago. Truth be known, I'm relieved that it's over. The uncertainty is much worse than the process itself. As much as divorce hurts children, sometimes it really is better for them in that they've been able to see a rejuvenation and beneficial self-discovery.

Through this process, I've developed a very deep bond with the woman that I mentioned in my last posting. She is still the first and last person I talk to every day, the first person I call whenever I've succeeded or failed, and the only person I have ever truly been able to be myself around, as she has the ability to be and is the same way with me. It's funny that we can literally have entire conversations just by looking at each other and know each other better than anybody else. Another awesome thing is that THE KIDS ABSOLUTELY ADORE HER AND SHE ADORES THE KIDS! We're a "New and Improved Family" and there's a definite excitement from all of us. Believe me, there will definitely be more to come on that.

The "New and Improved Family" is active! Last month we went to a play at the Miller Outdoor Theatre, Blueberry picking in Hockley, a night of Classical Music at the University of St. Thomas, the George Bush Library in College Station, a trip to Galveston, and that's just to name a few things. At the end of the week we're taking the children to San Antonio to see the Alamo and Six Flags - Fiesta Texas, then tubing down the Guadalupe. Despite professional demands (in addition to selling specialty food, I am now the Production Manager at a bakery in West Houston), we have lots planned in the fall. Keeping the kids active and involved is our number 1 concern and it's a joy to do so.

The "New and Improved Family" on Father's Day
Something else that we've begun doing is Buddhist Meditation 4 nights a week. It seems to bring an inner-calm to all of us and allows for a closeness that is much needed. Following meditation, we all take turns discussing anything on our minds...good, bad, or ugly. There are only 2 rules: respect what the other person says (no matter how much you may or may not agree with them) and to remain quiet while the other person is speaking.

I'm going to sign off for now and look forward to the adventures ahead. Of course I will be more active on here, as I can discuss more of my new experiences without checking with legal counsel. Adios, y'all!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Second Time Around

As it is pretty obvious, this isn't my first time being a Houstonian. The first time was for a rather long time, about 10 years. This time has yet to be seen, but I've been noticing things during Round 2 that I never did before. Festivals abound almost every weekend, there's a strong Arts culture, a diverse cross section of people from literally every other place on Earth, and chances are good that you don't have to look very hard to find friendly conversation as you might find in a small town.

In running around the Metro area for work, it has given me the opportunity to discover THE BEST BURGER EVER (sorry Cherry Cricket) at Sparkle's Burgers on Leeland and Dowling. At Sparkle's, the most outrageously wonderful burger with fries and a Dr. Pepper sets you back about $8. Across the street is a spectacular taco shop called Brother's Tacos. My test of a taco shop isn't the tacos, it's the Torta al Pastor (Mexican sandwich with Roasted Pork). Brother's makes everything from the salsa to the bread for the torta and every single bit of it is excellent. All of that goodness will run you about $6 with a Mexican Coca Cola. As far as taco wagons, I have 2 that stand out, both on the north side, the Dancing Taco (Stuebner Airline and FM 1960) and La Faborita (Paradise Valley and FM 1960). The fajita taco at the Dancing Taco and lengua (beef tongue) at La Faborita are both magnificent creations.

It was mentioned in my last posting that I have a new gig. It's working alongside a person that I've known for about 20 years. There have been times that we've had it out with each other, times when we couldn't be separated, and even a stretch where we didn't communicate at all. She thankfully gave me a shot to re-connect. In the process, we've developed a truly spectacular friendship as well as an incredible working relationship. There's a mutual adoration between both the kids and her, which makes things that much better. Normally she's the first and last person I speak to every day.

Tonight is a short post and I'm sorry about that. Anyway, have a good night. Adios y'all!


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fall is coming!

This morning, before jumping onto the "Posting Page", I had to spend about 5 minutes or so just to clear out "Drafts". What seems to happen more often than not is that I'll begin writing on here, then whether it be due to having to take care of this or that, not liking what has been written, or a myriad of other reasons I end up jumping off of here and leaving it hang.

The Summer is over, and in about 4 days we will all welcome in another Season. My kids have started school down here and they really do seem to enjoy it. They claim that the food, the way things are taught, and their lives are better down here in Texas. To Luke, starting a new school is "old hat" as this is his 5th school since Kindergarten. He has attended new schools in Arizona, 2 in South Dakota (one twice), and 2 in the Klein School District. For Abby, she gets excited to head off every morning and even moreso when she has homework in the afternoons. My hope is that it continues for years to come.

Over the Summer, I faced a battle that was ultimately won. At the time of my last posting, I was aware that I had Cancer and was seeking continued testing among other things at MD Anderson Cancer Center here in Houston. The diagnosis was Bone Cancer in my left knee that additionally spread into my left hip. My surgery was on August 30th and it went off without a hitch. A very good friend of mine came in from out of town to be there beside me before and after the surgery, followed by some good times spent upon leaving the Hospital. Last week while having to get a couple of prescriptions at my local CVS, I had a few minutes to kill before it was ready and saw the US News and World Report with a big piece on the Nation's Best Hospitals. MD Anderson was rated as "the #1 Cancer Care Center in the Country", which there is no doubt in my mind, after having dealt with them as I did.

Another thing that happened over the Summer is that my little Ford Ranger died for good. As the picture of the kids shows, I found the ultimate small family vehicle, a Mercedes Benz SUV. It has power everything, leather, and is a real pleasure to drive. It also allows me to "blend in" somewhat better while driving the mean streets of River Oaks, West University, The Woodlands, and Kingwood. If you drive a pickup truck, particularly in River Oaks people automatically look at you like you either own a Lawn Care Company or work as a Pool Cleaner.

Lastly, I've begun a new venture to hopefully secure a bright future for the kids and I. A longtime friend has been working here in Texas as a Food Broker. A couple of weeks ago she contacted me to join her and I agreed. My main focus is working on the major Foodservice Markets in the Lone Star State (Houston, D/FW, Austin, San Antonio, and the Rio Grande Valley). The types of businesses I concentrate on is Country Clubs, Hotels, Resorts, and 5-Star Restaurants. Being that it's straight-commission, the hunger has to be there. That is, of course in addition to understanding the industry and the needs of the prospective client.

Well, I have to be on the road here in about 15 minutes to visit with a Chef. I'll continue to jump on here as time allows and may even post a thing or two in the process. My video selection is Cooder Graw and their song "Lifetime Stand", which is ultimately what we're all looking for after everything is said and done. Adios, y'all.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Another Summer Sunday

As a Summer rainstorm moves into Southeast Texas, I figured it would be a good time to jump on here and put a few words down on here. The kids have been staying incredibly busy since their arrival down here and they've been having a great time in the process.

Last week we went to Minute Maid Park to watch the Astros play the Angels. The Angels won, which made Abby happy. They're her favorite team and I think it stems from when my sister and I took the kids to Angels Stadium in Anaheim back several years ago over Easter. The seats were great and it rekindled an interest in baseball for Luke. Hopefully next year the Astros will play the Rockies down here, they did earlier this year but the timing didn't work. If not, a trip to Coors Field might possibly be in order. Oh my god, how dare I find another excuse to return to Denver?!

We've hit the Children's Museum of Houston, the Tomball Train Depot, San Jacinto Monument, Battleship Texas, Space Center Houston, and the Houston Heights to spend time with an old friend for the 4th of July Fireworks Downtown. Next week we'll try to catch a movie at the Drive In Picture Show out in Hockley.

The picture on the left was not an "oh how cute would it be if you did this pose." My intention was just to get a snapshot of the kids standing next to the cutout and Luke popped out a clean salute. Of course anything Luke does, Abby must follow suit. It's not one of those sibling rivalry type things, she thinks he's just that cool. Anybody who meets him shares the sentiment.

Both of the kids have shown an interest in the game of golf, so here coming up, I'll promote that by taking them out to the Driving Range and hopefully further spark that interest. Luke and I watched the movie Tin Cup together and although not the intention, it caused him to talk profusely about how cool the very thought of playing "Cow Pasture Pool" is.

Since arriving here in Houston I've begun to redevelop friendships and associations with some really good people. A friend of mine who goes back 25 years with me is my personal doctor's assistant and of course there's that friend in the Heights, just to name a couple of instances. That's in addition to making developing new friendships and relationships. Life is overall pretty good. Anyway, adios y'all.