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 for something called Synovial Sarcoma in my left knee. 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.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Personal Evolution

It has been quite a journey since my last posting back on Thanksgiving and more so of one since last August. There have been changes, some more drastic than others and some of the lessons learned were tougher than others, but I guess it's all part of the Human Experience and the coursework for a Master's Degree from the School of Hard Knocks.

The biggest change is that the Wife that Wears Combat Boots and I are no longer together. At this point, particulars are irrelevant as far as the when, what, where, who, and why's.  Details may come later, but they may not, it's hard to and pointless to speculate. Ultimately the past is irrevocably there and sometimes the past needs to be left in that place.


Houston Skyline from Memorial Park
Another substantial change is my relocation from the Upper Midwest back to Texas about a month ago. There's still some adjustment involved, but it was a good and necessary move. It was in the works for some time. The economy here is the best in the nation, the weather is better, family is here, and at least for now it's nice to be able to have access to everything that a major Metropolitan area has to offer.
Kids and I at IAH on Wednesday

Luke and Abby arrived a few days ago for the Summer and we're expecting to have a great time. There's lots to do down here in the Houston Metro like the Children's Museum, the San Jacinto Monument, Kemah Waterfront, swimming, the Galleria, and an endless array of restaurants from all over the world here. That's in addition to having their Dad, Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, and cousins around to give them profuse amounts of attention.


Thibodeaux and Rheagan taking a nap.
Thibodeaux is doing better than ever and has developed into an all-around amazing companion. His happy disposition and infectious personality always brings a smile to everybody's face. He sleeps next to me most nights and sometimes snores like an old man. Since moving down to Texas, Thibby has made a whole new group of friends. There are times when I take him to visit my grandmother who lives at an Assisted Living Facility and he entertains the residents there. His buddies are a German Shepherd named Rheagan, a Bassett Hound named Lorelei, and a Black Cat named Long Cat. Life is good for him.



Lance 2012
Back in December I chopped off 20 inches of hair and got rid of the beard. One morning I was at a Sinclair station up in Rapid City and was approached by a kid who was no more than 17 asking me if I had any herbal materials. My thought then was that if this kid thought that I had some, more than likely other people would, so an hour later I went to the Man Salon and made it right. People tend to take me somewhat more seriously now and I actually look my age. As part of the redevelopment of myself, a change to appearing slightly more mainstream was necessary. It took a little getting used to, but now it seems normal.

Another change is that I've joined a Buddhist Community. They hold Mindfulness teachings on the first and third Tuesday of the month and Guided Meditations every Sunday morning. A few of the things that my life lacked was balance, harmony, and peace. Although Buddhism isn't the cure all, it's an aid in finding all of those elements.

Lance 2013


A few of the things that haven't changed are my passions. The kids and Thibodeaux obviously are at the forefront of everything, but I still love food and drink, music, and traveling. Since leaving the Midwest I've begun to rediscover my talents with cooking, which were very much missed for a rather long time. Yeah I could throw something together, make it taste alright, and call it good. There was always one key ingredient that was missing in everything...my heart.

Lastly, today is Memorial Day and I think it's appropriate to stop and actually think about why exactly it's celebrated every year on the last Monday in May. If you feel that it involves New and Pre-Owned Automobiles or furniture, the economy needs stimulation and more power to you for doing so. On the other hand, there have been lots of good-hearted men and women who felt that they were doing the right thing, and in doing so they lost their lives. Even if you feel the necessity to go out and buy something, please stop for a second and float some good Karmic vibes their way. A couple of years ago I put a music video on here by the name of "Angel Flight" by Radney Foster and it feels appropriate to do so again. It also means a bit more now that I am once again a Texan no longer "living abroad".

Anyway, it's about time to get off of here and enjoy the Holiday Weekend. Now that things are slowly becoming routine again I am planning on being on here much more often than I have been over the past 10 months, but they won't be quite as long-winded as this Posting was. As always, adios y'all!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving I'm writing this from a hotel room in the Upper Midwest. The hotel staff here is awesome and I've become friends with a few of them. My family down in Texas is celebrating with a big extravagant meal down there and I'm super stoked to talk to them here in a few hours. This afternoon I'm cooking for the hotel staff and myself. We're doing homemade Turkey Burgers and Cranberry Corn Salsa on Sourdough Buns. Life could definitely be better, but on the same note it could be much worse too. I'm posting up a video that is very much applicable to the situation and circumstances today, "Love the One You're With" by Stephen Stills. The other one is "Agua Dulce" by Rusty Weir, and it was chosen because well, it's Rusty Weir and he is just simply cool. Happy Thanksgiving and adios y'all.