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Thursday, August 30, 2007

I miss my friends

A few months ago when the move from Oklahoma was looming, I dragged my feet. I didn't want to do it. But then I got here, settled in -- well sort of -- and have really taken to the beach and Florida.

Flying in from Tallahassee last week back into the Tampa Bay area, made me realize that I really am beginning to think of this as "home." The blue/green waters of the Gulf and the bay looked beautiful, as did the white sand beaches of the barrier islands and the peninsula we call home. I realized that I was to the point I could identify many of the beaches from the air. Home.

I love the new job. We love being around our granddaughters and our son and daughter-in-law. We love all the opportunities to see sports of all kinds here.

But what we don't have are our friends. I miss my friends. We love you all. I missed giving Kevy a big hug on her birthday. I missed listening to Cheryl talk about Savannah, or talking politics with the Johns and Ben. We miss the Gridiron gang.

I guess in order to make this truly "home" we'll have to start venturing out of our comfort zone and making more friends. But for now, I'll have to settle for promises of visits -- soon. The good news is that it's gonna be cold in other parts of the country soon, so they'll come :)

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Caucus this

What do you have in common with Iowans? Or is it Iowians? You know, those folks who pretty much decide every four years who the next president is going to be, or at the very least who YOUR two choices for president will be. Yes, that Iowa .

According the latest U.S. Census Bureau reports, Iowa has 2.9 million residents, roughly about 1 percent of the U.S. population. They have 93,000 farms that grow corn, soybeans and hogs – lots of hogs. Almost half of all Iowa residents live in rural areas. Only 21 percent of Iowa residents have a college degree.

John Wayne, Herbert Hoover and Glenn Miller are all from the Hawkeye state. The nickname is a tribute to Native American leader Chief Black Hawk.

Almost 95 percent of Iowa residents list “white” as their race, and the median household income is $44,000 a year, near the bottom of the U.S. Census’ definition of “middle class” (20 percent of Americans who fall in the middle earning $40,000 - $95,000 a year.)

So what do you have in common with the people who play a big role in electing your president?

Maybe nothing. Maybe a lot. But still why do most Americans “follow their lead” when it comes to presidential candidates? That’s right if a candidate wins in Iowa or New Hampshire – they are likely to go on to win their party’s nomination. Heck, just look at what happened with John Kerry in 2003.

Clearly most people are tired of it. State legislatures are trampling over each other to see who can schedule an earlier primary. But then there’s those pesky “national” folks who are trying to ruin everyone’s fun.

The Democratic National Convention just smacked Florida Democrats for saying they are going to hold their primary on Jan. 29, the same day as South Carolina . The DNC says if Florida holds the election that day, their delegates won’t count. That’s right, they WON’T count toward the Democratic nomination. Never mind that Democrats, who haven’t controlled either house of the Florida Legislature for some time, had little to do with setting the primary. Never mind, that a major constitutional amendment is on the ballot that day, sure to bring more voters to the polls. It won’t count.

Why? Well, because those national folks like tradition. And, tradition says only folks who live on a farm, with no college degree, in the Midwest can make a bigger splash in the presidential election. It’s in the rules. (Now, don't go all nutty about that last bit. I have friends who live in Iowa, and I like farmers. My dad was a farmer.)

Me, I’ve decided I might just vote for whoever comes in third, fourth or maybe even last in Iowa ’s caucuses.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

When the sun goes down

So, I've been in a funk when it comes to blogging lately. So instead I'll share some sunset photos. Each day is different. Enjoy.

Unsavory Grace

When I first heard about the TNT show "Saving Grace," I was intrigued. I love Holly Hunter as an actress, and the show is set in Oklahoma City.

I'm watching, but it is getting more unbelievable and annoying. Okay, not that the premise of an angel appearing out of nowhere is believable neccessarily. But it's the show's portrayal of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City that's really disturbing.

The show is not filmed in OKC. That's clear to anyone who is from the area. And, then there's the fact that the show depicts Oklahomans in two ways: Well, first all Okies are hicks according to this show. And they are either 1. hard-drinking alcoholics with lots of baggage or 2. Pious church-going people with lots of baggage.

And, notice that OKC is also depicted as a cow town. Stockyards, yes, there are those in OKC. But heaven forbid some network actually admit there's an urban area in Oklahoma. That there's culture outside of the "Cowboy Hall of Fame." Yes, it's still called that on the show. I guess research isn't part of the script writer's job.

And though HH has always been one of my favorite actresses, I really don't want to see her have sex each and every show. Geez.

I had high hopes for this show. Not so much anymore.

Sunday, August 19, 2007


In 1972, I lived in Abernathy, Texas. I was 15, living in a sheltered environment. My life revolved around the 45s spinning on my turntable, school, church, family and friends. Vietnam was a part of our daily lives, but my life was far removed from the turmoil experienced by others across the country.

In Texas, you conformed. In my family, you conformed. I had no desire to burn flags or protest a war that some of my older cousins were fighting in -- it was just part of life. My biggest ambition in life was to write for the school paper and make it to the Friday night football game. Marcia Brady was my idol.

Yea. Pretty lame.

A world away in the Watts neighborhood of LA, they were "remembering" the Watts riots that had taken place seven years before.

Hubby and I recently went to the Beach Theatre's screening of Wattstax -- a documentary including footage of that concert. We laughed at the fashion that reminded us of outfits we used to have "back in the day." And, we listened to these folks. I wondered where they were, these people who lifted their fists and shouted along with a young Jesse Jackson, "I am somebody."

A struggle that I was not a part of -- desegration touched my life only slightly. I didn't know about this other struggle and I somehow feel guilty and impotent at the same time. I feel guilty that I lived in my sheltered world and knew very little of the world outside of my own neighborhood -- or even across our small town in the area of town known as "the Flats" where many of the black people in town lived. I feel impotent in that there's been no turning point for the Hispanic community -- I'm not talking about the new immigrants to this country, legal or illegal. I'm talking about the Hispanic Americans, be they "Mexican" or whatever whose families/ancestors settled in this country centuries ago among the Irish, French, Germans, British. I'm talking about the ones who centuries later were still considered outsiders by those "American" people in the community.

I remember instances of understanding we were different than the Bradys. We spoke Spanish occasionally in our home -- my parents strongly encouraged us to speak English at all times so that we wouldn't have an "accent." When I was in first grade, I remember helping another Spanish-speaking student with something the teacher was saying. I repeated it in Spanish to the student. I was "caught" and sent to the office and paddled by the principal. I fluently spoke TWO languages and was punished for it.

We were the same as our neighbors, yet different.

I remember a high school girl across the street from our house. Marla. Marla was white, caucasian, etc. Our upbringing was very similar. Our fathers provided for their families through farming, yet moved the family to town for better opportunties for the kids. We cheered for the same team every Friday night. We loved the Cowboys and Tom Landry. We listened to the same music, and caught Cardinals games on the radio. We attended the Baptist Church. We ate Hamburger Helper during the week and roast or fried chicken every Sunday.

I know all that because that's Texas. It's what you did. We were all the same.

Yet, Marla NEVER spoke to me. Not when we walked down the sidewalk in the same direction. Not at school. I was Mexican -- or so I was told where I grew up. Never mind that Mexican means "citizen of Mexico." I've never been to Mexico. I don't know anyone who lives there. I never even knew what "Cinco de Mayo" was until I was older and lived in Okinawa, Japan and met a U.S. Marine Corps Colonel who just happened to BE FROM and a citizen of Mexico.

The only talk about civil rights that I ever remember at my home was the year my elementary school in Floydada, Texas was desegregated. The original plan was to move children from Duncan to the black school. I remember my parents were upset because the kids who were being moved were the "non-white" Hispanic kids. That changed and the black school was closed and all the students were eventually brought into all the schools. I didn't understand it.

A few years ago, I asked my mother about the "colored " and "white only" signs and how they affected Hispanics before the Civil rights era. She didn't and wouldn't talk about it. I know that not all hotels or restaurants welcomed my parents. But we don't talk about it.

That's why I've really taken to heart lately the journey that the Black community has gone through. I think in many ways, the Hispanic community still lags behind. Those of us whose ancestors came to this country along centuries ago, still havent' found a way to accept our differences, and still haven't found a way to find our equal place in the history and the future of this country.

More to ponder as I continue on this journey.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Times they are a changin'

Time has a way of slipping away. I know I've said that before on this blog, but sometimes it overwhelms you. For example; many readers of this this blog will remember the little redhead grandson of our college newspaper's advisor who terrorized people during a homecoming parade by throwing -- like a missile -- the free keychains we were using for promotion. That "little kid" will be a sophomore at Mizzou this year -- journalism. Go figure. Feel time slipping under you like sand, yet?

My oldest grandchild entered first grade this week. He's reading and wearing "Heelys" and just being a boy. Our granddaughter will start kindergarten this week. Wow. Wasn't it just yesterday they were babies. Time flies. Here's a few pics of the kiddos.

Friday, August 10, 2007


I survived my first week back in the workforce. I did fairly well, considering that I had to get accustomed to wearing shoes again. They have this silly rule against flip flops.
And, I did something that I haven't done in more than two months -- drive. Most people don't know that I simply HATE driving. If I ever win the lottery, to heck with the maid: I'm hiring a driver.
Since I wasn't working and hubby's been hanging out with me a lot too, I simply became a passenger.
This week I got a crash course in Florida driving. Drivers here -- other than a few of us law-abiding (well mostly) regular drivers fit into several categories: Lost Tourist, Super fast SUV or German-car driving ASS, leisurely driving Beach junkies who can't see out their rear-view mirror for the boards or kids or both, and Old Farts.
Now, ya'll know that I'm in the membership recruitment list for AARP already, but I'm talking really old -- you know the kind who forget which is the brake versus the gas pedal. They come at you from everywhere as you are driving down the road. Watch out in parking lots -- it's probably like dodging bullets at the OK Corral.
And, it's not even winter yet.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Catch up

Baseball -- Yeah, Barry Bonds. Asterisk, my ass.

New Job -- Love, love, love the new job. Great people, awesome issues. Feel like I'm "making a difference," to be cliche

Beach -- I have NOT been to the beach since Monday morning. That sucks.

Football -- How about them Cowboys? I can't wait to go see a real life NFL game without driving 4 hours to get there, though, so I'll likely become a Bucs fan -- when they aren't playing the Chiefs or the Cowboys, of course.

Hubby's Job -- New one on the horizon. More on that later, let me just say -- you've heard of the company. Fingers crossed!

House update -- We found THE house. Needs a little updating, but for here, the price is actually great. Has a great separate house, we would convert into an awesome guest space, and a green house to feed hubby's habit of growing things. And, it actually HAS a yard, which many houses here don't have. Now, we have to negotiate, etc. About 10 driving minutes from the beach is the only "downfall." But about $100,000 cheaper than the small cottages we've been looking at here on the island.

Turtles -- We're still looking out for the nests on the beach. Recent report is that the 36 they've found so far is about it. Last year there were 106 nests. That's definitely a problem.

Talk to ya'll later.