Monday, November 24, 2008

Back in Midland for Thanksgiving

I haven't posted much lately, just poodle speculation and such. Things have been good if busy here. David makes me get outside of my shell and shelter, so it's good. I've probably seen more movies in the past month than the past couple of years. Keith was down a couple of weekends ago and we saw Dame Edna, which was hilarious. And we've definitely been sampling a lot of new restaurants, and in fact went to Kenobi's today for some Asian food and it was delicious. Didn't have sushi...I guess that's such a mood thing for me, I'm not always up to it.

As stated above I'm headed to Midland for Thanksgiving. It's our major holiday, since being Church of Christy as a kid we didn't do Christmas (it was a Catholic Holiday, Christ's Mass, Jesus wasn't born on that date, the tree was idolatry, etc., etc.). And though we recovered from that business, we're not that big on Christmas even now, mostly still, as a matter of habit (and overindulgence on the first one we had post C of C, and my five years of retail service for the season).

We still do stuff for the kids, and I did throw that legendary Christmas Cookie and Zabaglione Semifreddo party (was it two years ago?) when I was the Christmas Magic Man. The theme of course: "Hard Candy Christmas" which was just to say, buck up, push on through and make yourself happy. Interestingly enough, it worked.

I can't even remember if it's two or three or more years ago that Figgie died as well, very close to Thanksgiving. He wasn't there at the table shuffling his sweet feet around for scraps (knowing anyhow that he'd get a plate later for himself). But now he's busy exploring the stars (more on that eventually) and also, ironically enough, without realizing it I posted that picture of him lobbying for a poodle close to the anniversary of his death.

We don't really have pets, we have family members who happen to be considered pets, and each of them are remembered in different ways.

YAY though, it's time for Thanksgiving, Nene's stuffing (continued by Mom's memory, thus Nene's presence at the table is also always). It's a very warm, fuzzy time for me, and I love it.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

First Pooch

Currently all my political energy is going toward following what type of doggie the Obama's will get. So far I glean from internet rumors and perhaps semi-factoids that there's talk of a Golden Doodle, which I find to be an excellent choice, they are so darn cute and in fact, I want one as well.

Perhaps a Standard Poodle would be in order? I'd definitely recommend one. Hypo-allergenic and smart enough to help run the country--what am I saying, to run the country, period.

An aside--I remember back when 9/11 first happened and everyone wondered what was going to become of the world, Figaro, our black standard poodle, was trotting about and by. I looked at him and said "Figaro, why can't you run the world?" because I know he'd have made it the best possible place for everyone to exist side by side. A good memory from a bad time.

So Barack Obama's words from his press conference today are the best:

"With respect to the dog, this is a major issue," he joked. "I think it's generated more interest on our Web site than just about anything."

"We have two criteria that have to be reconciled," he said. "One is that Malia is allergic, so it has to be hypoallergenic. There are a number of breeds that are hypoallergenic.

"On the other hand, our preference would be to get a shelter dog, but, obviously, a lot of shelter dogs are mutts like me. So whether we're going to be able to balance those two things I think is a pressing issue on the Obama household," he said.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Post Election Observations

Well I stayed up until 4:30 last night/this morning. I had to make sure nothing was going to sneak on the radar, so that when I woke up this morning (after what was, I guess, a nap) I could hit the NYT app on my iPhone and there it would remain, the headline: President Elect Barack Obama.

It's still sinking in. There is so much mess in this country that Bush and Co. have made, it is no easy task to clean, but for now, I just want to note some of the fun stuff, and the positives. (Also I'm quite sober now, that drinking is "historic" for me, it doesn't and won't happen often.)

--Obama including all of America in his acceptance speech, but not by saying "my fellow Americans" but by listing, black, white, gay, straight, disabled, not disabled. Inclusion is the magic that happened here.

--Minority turn out making a difference. That's America!

--My nephew Paladin calling me to share the news, he was apparently transfixed by the process, with me saying "I know baby but we can't talk about it because I don't want to jinx it!" (Yeah, I was one of those superstitious lots.)

--Biggest smile of the night on my face, the wide eyed innocence of Obama's daughters, Sasha and Malia (what beautiful names!) and especially the moment when he said "you have earned the puppy that's coming with us to the White House." I wonder what doggie will get to go? I'd say a standard poodle, but I'm biased that way. A rescued dog would be awesome, though. Or maybe Ted Kennedy will offer a Portugese Water Dog pup, those are also some beauties.

--Carol Keaton Rylander Strahorn, or whatever her name is now, pretty much gushing about Obama; this is Texas folks, but wasn't totally in the tank for McCain as the numbers bear out. In fact, if you look county by county, there's a blue invasion from the South and West, with a creamy Austin Blue center, and I think Dallas was blue or close to it. That's not unusual, but if you pair it with the large Hispanic turnout, and see where that went, there could be a promising pattern.

--The picture that will inevitably be painted in the media of Bush hosting the Obama family at the White House, where the Obamas can really start measuring the drapes.

--I probably should have bought some stock in paper shredders last night. Anyone else wonder if the Repugs might be a little jittery on that front? They've had no oversight for so long, the blank check of the Bush executive branch is over!

--Oprah in the sea of people last night. Not because it's Oprah, but because in that setting, she was just one of the people, one vote. That's the beauty of Democracy. I thought it a potent reminder of the power of the people together, not just one.

--I thought McCain's speech was gracious, save for the touting of Sarah Palin, which perhaps was deemed necessary to keep some hope alive, but that's not exactly the brightest beacon on the horizon I'd think, but ask the masked avengers (giggle). If we talk about shattering the glass ceiling, can I be honest and say that Ms. Palin seemed to hold more positions that indicated a caulking effect on those cracks. Maverick!

--Uh, I got off track on the last question, McCain's speech was gracious, so my question there is where was that man during the campaign? Is that the McCain people say is the real one? Or is the overly plump Nosferatu bloodsucker the real one?

--The Clintons. Maybe they did their part without media attention, I don't know, but they never seemed to have much enthusiasm. They are not royalty, and nothing should ever be considered as an inheritance in the United States. Hillary is brilliant, but she didn't run a brilliant campaign. I don't know if they would have thought to make an H app for the iPhone.

--Speaking of...what do I get to replace the O app? I'm going to miss seeing that...or will they keep it updated with post election stuff?

--Talking to my Mom today...during the Bush administration, my Mom's been putting the flag stamp upside down as a small protest. She told me today she mailed the taxes and turned the flag right side up! I thought that was beautiful, you know, because it is patriotic to pay taxes and now we can be proud of a huge milestone in American history, and the end of a millstone around the neck of American history. So her act was small but beautiful protest, but now is no longer needed. She also put up the battery of flags outside the house.

Alright, undoubtedly I'll muse on this stuff later, but for now, I think we're going to do some celebrating. Maybe I'll buy some star spangled underwear.

Oh My God!

I think I'm going to be able to talk about this without jinxing it, particularly since I'll be up most of the night to make sure I'm not dreaming, and nothing shifty goes on.

Tonight we, the majority of Americans and the majority of the electoral college (whatever the hell that is), elected the first black president of the United States. I'm speechless, happy, tearful, and (to confess) was a little drunk earlier because it was the only way I could survive the night. I took a (large) shot of some pomegranate vodka when most stations called Pennsylvania (that was scaring me) and then another when they called Ohio, and then another when they called the race.

I never, never NEVER thought I would see this in my lifetime. I expected a woman to be elected, sometime in my life. I never, never NEVER thought I would see a black man in office. Why do I say this? Because I've seen racism from the ground up, in my life working with so many people during my laboring time who were so clearly, fully, completely racist. I think it's bigger than anyone realizes, except for those who've lived it (and I obviously haven't lived it, but I see it).

I did have an odd sense of hope when my Dad's Uncle, while my Mom and Dad were visiting him, called Obama the "n" word but, in the same breath (which could have been his last), hoped that he would live to vote for him. That amazed me and made me wonder...I guess I thought of it as the reverse Bradley effect (which, knowing what that means, illustrates how much time I've secretly given to this campaign, in my online research).

BUT (confession) I've been scared ever since that bitch Sarah Palin gave that fetid, nasty Republican Convention speech and everyone fawned over her. (Not everyone, but you get the gist.) Only has kept me sane (and tonight, liquor, but that's rare, and it was self medication, you can't believe how tightly wound I have been today, the bathroom is beyond spotless, ask David).

I didn't think I'd be feeling this good tonight. And, to mirror Michelle Obama's words, which I understood back when she said them, and though not for the first time, I am proud of my country. It's definitely one of the best prouds ever!

Even better because from what I hear and read, President Elect Barack Obama has not been elected with much relation to his status as the "black man," but because he was the best man, the best person for the job. Because he was steadfast and amazing, and God (that's not in vain) the man gives speeches I don't just hear, but feel (did you hear his acceptance speech, again, my God!), and I think when the world looks on him they will be stymied, STYMIED that we did this, we put a different face on the world map, one that reflects the best of who we can and should be. It's no longer just a long line up of white men! Now it's the America I want!

It's just amazing. And I'm sober now. And I've definitely had a lot of tears.

More later!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Year Ago Today

The first anniversary has arrived. Hard to believe, but, indeed one year ago today I was on the road and headed to Los Angeles for what I thought was going to be the new life there. As it's about 10:42 AM right now, I don't think I was even in El Paso at this time last year. If I'm totally honest, I have to confess that as I left Midland behind and made it past more state borders than I've ever driven in my life, I wondered if I was doing the right thing. But I needed to see if the feelings were going to be there, when I took the Lincoln exit, turning at the Tasty Goody shopping center and down Vernon Ave, and further on when I walked to the ocean and felt the salt air on my face. It was supposed to be transformational, but as I confessed a few sentences ago, for that whole drive and amidst teary eyed sentiment, I wondered often about that place LA and in tandem wondered about "Austin."

And one year later, having escaped the inverse of expectation, the chill of body, mind and heart, here I am in Austin, where in the past (almost) two months I already feel more at home than I ever did in the Golden State. (Note to self: Florida is the sunshine state.)

Now how about that for drama? I've probably logged over 10,000 miles, easily, in my year-long quest to figure out what I wanted and where I wanted it. Now I think I know where I want it, and I finally have some ideas about what I want, I just need to solidify them, steel my spinal cord, and go. Funny, for so long it was Go West, when East was the better West. ;)

Last year was also bustling with post-Halloween thoughts, at least on the first of November. Those goings on are well documented close to the beginning of this blog, when it was titled "Le Soleil est Pres de Moi," or the sun is near me, if I've translated loosely albeit correctly. There was the contest, the kids, the home spun carnival as created by my Mom's magic realism. The loading and the leave. Wistful much, Gabriel?

This year I spent Halloween away from the kids and my family, yet somehow closer to their hearts. They went as sideshow freaks, and my sister sent pics, I'll have to post them later. But I was here in Austin, where David and I decided to take in the 11:15 PM showing of Whatever Happened to Baby Jane at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar. While the theater wasn't packed, there were a good number of people there to appreciate the film. Also, PWK productions (headed by P. Kellach Waddle, a local bassist) presented new compositions and some film favorites by Mr. Waddle. He strives to bring "classical" music to unique locations and broaden the appeal, so it was great. Plus you can eat while you are watching the movie, and it doesn't really detract from the experience as I thought it might. I had a yummy root beer float, though I was done with it before the movie started.

We definitely enjoyed the movie, as did the appreciative audience, which I suspect would have been bigger on any other night, after all Baby Jane is not exactly a Halloween type movie, but plays beyond that genre. Still, it was great fun, and we didn't get home until about 3:30, the movie and music having finished at 2:45 or so, and the Garmin having directed me badly such that I wound up caught in post-club downtown Austin traffic, both pedestrian and vehicular.

That's how the weekend started, as we moved into November. A contrast of time and space for sure. I just returned to edit this post and add the finish, so, this time last year I was probably about to go to bed after a long drive from Midland to Phoenix, AZ (a place I'm not terribly fond of, preferring Tucson). The next day would find me in Los Angeles with a chill in the air and the beginning of a chill in me, despite a few warm people in my life, and they know who they are, and the others who added to the chill well, they know who they are. But, blame it on that lucky old sun, I guess, he hid too much.

In contrast, as I mentioned, today we had Sunday lunch outside, after a Universitarian outing (I'll have to blog about that later), and it was a beautiful day, warm with just a perfect cool breeze to keep it comfortable. I love the little bit of blue in a red state that I'm in.