It's been awhile since I've commented on the office. Since I've had some time off, I've decided to drop in and see how things are going. It is 9:15a.m. and the joint is jumpin'!
There was a line out the door a few minutes ago. Lots of people off from work today and walking in wearing their exercise/running attire.
I really meant to go running this morning but I think I had one too many glasses of wine last night at a b'day party. You see...
On Monday I ran into someone that I had not seen or talked to in awhile. Brian D. is one of those people that I can't remember how or when we met and our paths always cross at weird points. And we always pick up where we last left off. So I ran into him at Texas Art Supply on Monday and he invited me over last night for his b'day party.
I figured I'd have a cocktail and leave. Well, 2 hours later I was saying good-bye to all of my new best friends (for the evening). It was a fun evening. The guests were his neighbors (and me) and that is one fun neighborhood! Hence, I slept in a bit later today than I had planned.
It seems that everytime I go to FoWo (an abbreviation concocted by Mark P.) aka Ft. Worth, something will jog my memory. I guess if I still lived there and saw people on a regular basis, things wouldn't get pushed into the windmills of my mind.
My sister and brother-in-law met up with an high school mate of mine. Eugene lives in NYC and was in Ft. Worth to be the Musical Director for Annie...which jogged a memory.
I was first introduced to musical theatre at a very young age. The musical I saw was Hello Dolly! and I was hooked. (Explains quite a bit doesn't it?)
Sometime in the mid-to late 70's I went to see Godspell at Casa Mañana. It was the first time I saw Godspell and it was the only time I saw Scott Jarvis perform. Scott played the role of Jesus and did an excellent job.
I have seen many productions of Godspell over the years but I never saw Scott Jarvis again and until yesterday I knew almost nothing about him. And I still know almost nothing about him.
I Googled Scott Jarvis yesterday and his obituary was in my list of results. Scott was in the original cast of 1776 and was also in Sugar and Here's Where I Belong. He had some television credits.
Scott died in March 1990 from AIDS. He was 48 years old and had no survivors. He does have a panel on the AIDS Quilt.
Sometimes I wish information wasn't so readily available. This is what curiousity will get you...sad news.
From time to time, I let you know a bit about my past. Below is a story that was in the December 26 edition the Fort Worth Startlegram Star-Telegram.
However, before you read the story, let me give you some background and also explain how Str8 Up With A Twist fits into it.
My parents grew up in Fort Worth, Texas. Helen is my mother and Joe is my father and I actually call them Joe & Helen. It's confusing to people because most people don't call their parents by their first names but the reason I do it is a long story in itself and it isn't done to be disrepectful.
Anywho...Helen has a longtime friend named Virginia aka Virgie. They've known each other since childhood. Joe has a longtime friend named Joe P. They've known each other since at least their teenage years if not longer.
Helen married Joe and Virgie married Joe P. and to this day they are all still friends. This is definitely an example of how friendships CAN last a lifetime. So...when Str8 Up With A Twist was born, Helen & Joe asked Virgie & Joe P. to be Str8 Up With A Twist's Godparents and they said yes. So...I have known Virgie & Joe P. for as long as I can remember.
Virgie's mom had a small restaurant in a neighborhood in south Fort Worth. This family owned hole-in-the-wall has received accolades for its food. Friends and former co-workers of Str8 Up With A Twist have continuously thanked Str8 Up With A Twist for introducing them to Mi Cocinita.
For Virgie Martinez, like her mother before her, December always meant long days in the kitchen rolling tamales for the hundreds of customers who come to Mi Cocinita, their tiny backyard cafe behind a house in south Fort Worth.
For almost all of her 70 years, since she was a little girl helping her mother in the same kitchen, she swore that her own little girls would never have to work that way.
But two weeks ago, with dozens of orders yet unfilled for Christmas, she looked up tearfully at the youngest of her now-grown daughters, standing beside the hospital bed.
"Call all my customers," Martinez said.
"Cancel the orders. Tell them I can’t do it. Tell them I’m too sick to make tamales."
Daughter Adrena Martinez had taken time off from an oil company to see her mother. Another daughter, Cecelia, is a school clerk. A third, Jo Anne Nilo, is an office manager.
For a moment, Adrena didn’t know what to say.
Then she knew exactly what to say.
"Don’t worry, Mama," she said.
"We’ll make the tamales."
Two weeks and 600 dozen tamales later, three exhausted daughters wheezed to the finish line on Christmas Eve afternoon.
Most Christmases, Mi Cocinita runs on Virgie Martinez’s sheer will and energy. She cooks lunches and serves the customers who remember her late mother, Betty Mendez, honored by the Star-Telegram in the 1970s for the "Best Mexican Food in Fort Worth." This Christmas, Mi Cocinita ran on three daughters’ love.
It was about 1:30 p.m, on Christmas Eve when Adrena Martinez slapped down a foil-wrapped dozen tamales on the counter. She shuffled through the pages on a giant yellow legal pad, then drew a line through the final name on the last page.
"That’s the last order, right there," she said, as Cecelia wiped up masa in the kitchen and Jo Anne started running the tally. "That’s all the orders. Plus all the people who were on standby."
Mi Cocinita’s tamales are so popular that the family keeps a "standby list." "It took us all to do it," Adrena Martinez said.
"We don’t know how Mama ever did it. She has always said that she didn’t want us to work this hard. Now we know what she was talking about."
Across Bryan Avenue in a tiny parlor bedroom, a pale Virgie Martinez lay with the covers pulled up tight.
She usually shouts customers’ names happily as they walk down the driveway. But on this day, still recovering from a six-hour stomach operation, she could barely whisper.
"The girls did it," she said proudly. "They did it. And I didn’t ask them. They did it on their own."
But then she frowned.
"I don’t want to deprive them of their own lives this way," she said. "They took time off their jobs. And making tamales is hard work."
She held up her hands and frowned.
"Every one of those girls has such beautiful hands," she said. "Now, their hands look like mine."
A brother-in-law, Jesse Martinez, a Lockheed administrator and former Fort Worth school board vice president, was parking out front. He landed one of the last orders. "This is one of the great family businesses that mean so much to Fort Worth," he said.
Coming to Mi Cocinita, he said, is "like visiting somebody’s personal home."
"You have an honest, positive personality like Virgie who runs it, and a great husband and daughters. This restaurant is filled with their love."
So are the tamales.
Bud Kennedy's column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 817-390-7538
And just so you know, Helen & Joe received three dozen tamales and one dozen is sitting in my fridge here in Houston, Texas.
I've been a bit under the weather since the middle of the month. I thought I was on the upswing and this past Monday (Dec. 22) I could feel the relapse starting and it was beginning with a sore throat. By Tuesday night (Dec. 23) I knew this cold was going to kick my ass again and sure enough by Wednesday (Dec. 24) the cold was back.
The 272 mile drive from Houston to Ft. Worth seemed like 600 miles. All I wanted to do was take a nap. By the time I arrived in Ft. Worth I was worn out. The family was just thrilled that I walked in all snotty nose.
Anywho...one the things that I missed out on was Darlene Love sining Christmas on David Letterman on Tuesday's show. Darlene, if you're reading this, I REALLY tried to stay awake but the illness knocked me out.
So...for those of you who also missed it, here is the YouTube clip for your viewing pleasure. Darlene's rendition of the song is so good because is giving it her all which then inspires the backup singers and the orchestra. I hope that one day I can see her perform the song live! Enjoy.
My parents have a dog named Frex who just adores Calvin. Frex is a Cocker Spaniel who is much younger than Calvin.
My brother has three dogs: Max, Buddy & Fluffy. Max & Buddy pretty much leave Calvin alone but Fluffy just can't quit Calvin. Thanksgiving 2007, Calvin had enough and started a brawl under the dining room table.
So when you get five dogs together at Christmas, you can expect mayhem. However, a miracle happened this year! Lytha was able to get all five dogs to sit at the same time. Of course it helped that she had a tin of dog cookies in her hands.
...you can find a Starbucks open on Christmas Day and yes, there is a Santa Claus.
I'm writing this from the Martinez compound in Haltom City. I'm doing this on the Crackberry so there will be no photos, hyperlinks or anything embedded.
1. Merry Christmas to all! I saw a lady wearing a button the other day and it said, "It is OK to say 'Merry Christmas'". If you don't observe Christmas Day, then I hope you had a Merry/Mary Day!
2. I had a relapse of my cold. I thought I was on the upswing but when I awakened on Monday morning, I could tell it was coming back. Calvin and I drove to Ft Worth on Wednesday and driving 272 miles with a head cold made the drive feel like it was a 600 mile drive.
3. After our morning stroll, I went in search of a Starbucks and found one that was open. The SBUX @ Western Center Blvd and I-35W was quite the hopping place this morning.
4. I was feeling so bad on Tuesday evening I passed out on the couch before Darlene Love made her annual appearance on David Letterman to sing Christmas Baby Please Come Home. I'll have to catch the clip on YouTube.
5. If you're not on Facebook, I highly recommend you get an account. This has been the easiest way for me to keep up with friends and it has also been a good conduit for reconnecting with long-lost friends.
6. Through Facebook I found out that Eartha Kitt died today; the passing of another legend. Eartha Kitt died of colon cancer at the age of 81. Eartha Kitt is well known for recording Santa Baby. She also played the role of Catwoman on the Batman series. She was an accomplished actress and singer. At one point, she was pretty much sent into exile for questioning the Johnson Admininistration's handling of the Vietnam War.
I have two favorite Eartha Kitt moments and one story told to me. She was fabu in the frockumentary Unzipped. I saw her perform in Cinderella with Deborah "Don't Call Me Debbie" Gibson. Eartha Kitt was the Fairy Godmother and was flawless...especially when she purrrrrrrrred at the cat.
A friend saw Eartha Kitt do a show at The Mort in Dallas. He said she came out and started her opening song with the words, "I've been uptown and I've been downtown and I'm still around.". How appropriate. Rest in peace Eartha Kitt.
The other day I received a letter from T-Mobile thanking me for being in the top 5% of longtime customers. Some may say that I am a T Mobile customer because of the T. Actually, I was first an Aerial customer and somewhere along the way they got purchased by someone who was then purchased by T-Mobile.
So anywho...I read the letter and it said that I needed to register by 12/24/08 to get a Free Companion Flight. What I have to do is buy a ticket and then I get a companion ticket. I wonder how many friends will kiss up to me between now and February 2010. I put this task on my To Do List for 12/23/08.
So... tonight I get the mail and there is another letter from T Mobile and it says something about thank you on the envelope and I figure it is a reminder to register so I don't open it.
So... I decide to go to T Mobile's website and register for the airline ticket but I can't find the link that I need. So... I open the letter I received today and it has something stuck to it. I'm a bit perplexed because it looks like a credit card or something.
So... I look at it a bit closer and it is a pre-loaded $50 debit card! And once again they are thanking me for being in the top 5% of longtime customers. So... I think there has got to be a catch and I am trying to read the fine print but I can't find anything that says this is too good to be true.
So... I call the toll-free number to see if there really is $50 loaded onto the card and sure enough there is!!!! What's funny is that just this morning I thought, "Wouldn't it be nice to just get an extra fifty bucks to spend on Christmas presents or on myself?" Heck. If I had known something like this was going to happen I would have wished for an extra $1000 delivered by Hugh Jackman.
So... if anyone from T-Mobile is reading this, "THANK YOU!" It really was a nice surprise.
Can't you just see Heidi Klum dressed as an elf working at Macy's saying that? And it would be followed by, "Let's bring out the checklist."
So today was the annual pilgrimage to Petsmat on Shepherd @ Alabama for Calvin to visit with Santa. It was obvious to Santa that Calvin had been naughty because as Calvin saw Santa he tried to bolt for the door. Once we were inside the room with Santa, he tried to make another run for it.
I picked up Calvin and he was giving Santa a look that said, "I'm not so sure about this."
He finally agreed to sit on Santa's lap. Just as the photographer clicked the shutter he looked away. The second time she said, "That was good!" and Calvin leaped out of Santa's arms and ran for the door.
I told them that he is a bit camera shy. They asked me why and I told them that he had some bad experiences with the paparazzi. They laughed. I was serious...not really.
A friend of mine posted a status update on FaceBook on Tuesday.
Merlin is FINALLY home. It is hard work being fancy.8:48pm - 2 Comments Timmy at 8:58pm December 16 is that fancy with a lower case or upper case F? Merlin at 8:44pm December 17 I just got it! Clever. I love it! (and it's lower case) M
Yesterday at work I was in a meeting and we were using the gallery space downstairs. One of the artists who is displaying his work came him and was followed by a distinguished looking lady. Rick said, "OH! That's Sissy."
He gets up and talks to her. She comes over and says her salutations. I asked her to repeat her name (because I thought I knew who it was) and she said, "Farenthold." I got all giddy and said, "Oh my gosh! I know who you are! What a pleasure."
After our meeting I walked over to her told once again how nice it was to meet someone who had definitely had a place in history. And in case you don't know who she is, here is a bio from NOWTexas:
Frances "Sissy" Farenthold, a Texas native, received her bachelor's degree from Vassar College, then a JD from the University of Texas Law School. In a student body of 800, she was one of only three women. After graduation, she worked as a field lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union from 1965 to 1967. She also served as the Nueces County legal aid director. Her work in both of these roles exposed her to a world of poverty and injustice that she had never known. Farenthold turned to politics.
She ran in several political races in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In 1968, she won a seat in the Texas House of Representatives representing Corpus Christi. She and Barbara Jordan were the only two women serving in the Legislature at the time. Farenthold was one of the so-called Dirty Thirty - the thirty House members who rebelled against a corrupt Speaker back in the early '70s. In fact, she sponsored a resolution calling for an internal investigation into the Speaker's shady financial dealings. Brave lady!
She was part of the organizing conference for the Texas Women's Political Caucus. In 1972, six women were elected to the Legislature, and the TWPC endorsed Farenthold as a gubernatorial candidate. Sissy lost, but TWPC remained active in politics and in 1973 hosted the first convention of the National Women's Political Caucus. At that meeting, Farenthold was elected chair of the national caucus.
Farenthold was also active in national politics. She served as a delegate to the 1972 Democratic National Convention in Miami and was nominated for Vice President of the United States. This was the first time a woman had ever been nominated and voted on for the position. She came in second, but her nomination proved that women were contenders for the top spots on the ticket.
From 1976 to 1980, Farenthold served as president of Wells College the first woman to be named so since its founding in 1868. While there, she founded the Public Leadership Education Network, a national consortium of women colleges that together offer opportunities for women to develop into public policy leadership roles.
In the 1980s, Farenthold continued to influence national politics. In 1984, she again served as a delegate to the national convention. In 1988, she was a delegate to the Platform Committee of the Democratic National Convention, and that year she received the Lyndon Baines Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award from the Texas Democratic Party in 1998.
Farenthold has also been active in international affairs. She has served as a human rights observer in Iraq, El Salvador, Honduras, South Korea, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Cuba, and the former Soviet Union.
Farenthold currently lives in Houston. She lobbies in both Austin and Washington for progressive and humanitarian causes. She also serves as board chair of the Rothko Chapel in Houston.
Later on, on of my much younger co-workers asked me who she was and I told her that I remember watching the 1972 Democratic Convention when she was nominated and was also George McGovern's running mate.
Folks, I met a legend today and that's how it is at work. You just never know who is going to walk in!
And p.s. no comments about Sissy meet sissy, OK? :-)
On Saturday I went to Kroger (not the Disco Kroger on Montrose) to make groceries. I needed to buy some chicken soup, cold medicine, tissues and anything else I thought I might need to get me through this period of illness (doesn't that sound dramatic?).
What I discovered is that the soup was on sale, 3/$5.00. It was quite the bargain. So I loaded up on soup and by the time I added that to the hand basket, I had well over 20 items...oh, the tortilla chips were also on sale so I had to load up on those and they wouldn't fit in the basket. Anywho...
Knowing that I have more than 15 items, I get into a full-service line because the Express Lane and the Scan-It-Yourself Lane have signs that state, 15 Items Or Less.
So I'm standing there with a full basket and bags of tortilla chips in the other hand. A manager of the store walks over to me and tells me to follow her. She is taking me to one of the Express Lanes. I tell her that I have more than 15 items and she says, "If it is all in the basket, you are fine." (...but it wasn't all in the basket.) So I follow her to an Express Lane that has a line but the Scan-It-Yourself Lane has a few open kiosks so I high-tail it over to one of those and proceed to scan my 22 items.
I did keep an eye on the whereabouts of the manager because if another customer decided to go all Whitney Houston On Crack on me for having more than 15 items, I was going to blame it on the manager.
Yesterday was the 9th Annual Running of the Santa Speedo Run. The high temperature in Boston was 32 degrees Fahrenheit. OY! According to Boston.com it looks like a good time was had by all. Here are some photos from yesterday's run (from Boston.com).
It doesn't get very cold here in Houston during December. However, this morning when I was walking The Calvinator it was 33 degrees Fahrenheit. Uh...that is cold regardless of where you live. It got me to thinking...how cold is too cold to run in Speedo?
To view photos from 2007, click here. For 2006, click here and for 2005, click here.
If anybody reading this is going to run on Saturday, be sure to post a comment about how much fun you had!
It was very cold today and it was very wet. I could feel the temperature dropping and around 5:00p.m. I was outside taking care of a task at work and it started to sleet; nothing major I tell ya.
Then as I was leaving around 6:00p.m. there were actually big snow flakes. The snow continued to fall until around 9:00p.m. or so. The Calvinator was loving being out in the chilly weather. I on the other looked like Nanook Of The North. You see...
I think I'm coming down with a cold.
Tonight I heard someone say, "I moved to Houston to get away from the snow. The only crystals I want to see are salt crystals around the rim of my Margarita glass."
So here are some photos of the shotgun houses at Project Row Houses. I tried to do some artsy photos from inside The Cal Mobile. Also, when I was out with The Calvinator I took some photos of some big snow flake decorations.
I have lived in Houston for 16 years and have only seen it snow a few times. However, I have never seen it snow before the Winter Solstice.
Weather What's up with the weather in Houston? Yesterday morning I went running with runnerOne. It was bordering on the point of running shirtless. Who knew that it could border on balmy on the ninth day of December?
However, by evening time the temperature had made a considerable drop and it became jacket weather...and it continued to drop.
The Calvinator was L-O-V-I-N-G it! Cold weather. High winds. He had a bit of lilt to his walk.
Gas Prices I was so excited I almost did a cartwheel on the corner of Leeland and Dowling. You see...
I paid $1.45 a gallon for gas! I remember back in June when gas was at the $4.00 mark. I'm not sure if the price any more so I'm gonna enjoy it while I can.
Have You Ever Wondered... how a car wreck happens? You see...
Yesterday morning I was driving down Memorial Drive heading toward downtown. Traffic normally goes about 50 m.p.h. which is why I love Memorial Drive! It's sort of like a mini-crosstown expressway. Anywho...
So traffic comes to a standstill and in the middle lane are two cars that obviously had hit. There is debris in the right lane (the lane I'm in) so I'm sorta having to swerve to avoid the debris).
I travel a few more yards and there is a car that has its trunk smashed into the back seat. The force of the impact must have REALLY catapulted that car. OY!
Art For Sale Back in the late '90s I purchased a piece of art from a gallery in New Orleans. I've never had it matted and framed and I'd actually forgotten about it. I'm thinking of selling it but I don't know if I should do it on ebay, Craigslist, or try to find an art dealer? Any advice?
I did a bit of research and other serigraphs of this piece are retailing for about to three times what I paid for it. Just don't know what to do.
Wanna Go For A Run? So yesterday morning when I was running, I decided I need to run another marathon. runnerOne suggested that I try to get into NYC Marathon.
So I'm thinking I'll put my name in the lottery and if I don't get selected (again), I can do San Antonio which would 1 or 2 weeks later. Anybody want to join me? Just askin'.
Christmas Carol I *heart* this song and I can't wait for Darlene Love to make her annual appearance on Letterman (she didn't do it last year because of the strike). I like U2's version of the song but I LOVE her rendition. Enjoy!
Monday was World AIDS Day. It was the 20th Anniversary of World AIDS Day. World AIDS Day/Houston decided to make it a week long observance. One of the events was a candlelight vigil that was held on Monday evening in Tranquility Park in downtown Houston.
The City of Houston Health Department coordinated the event in conjunction with Montrose Counseling Center. Mayor Bill White and other city officials spoke at the event. The Gay Mens Chorus of Houston sang. Two of the speakers were the face of AIDS. One person was a female who was infected by her husband. Through the years she has had some issues to reconcile. The thing that struck me most about her was her attitude. She said that she doesn't live with HIV; HIV lives with her.
Another speaker was a male who by all counts should be dead. Because of the intervention of someone, he is alive today. It was through the care of the staff at Legacy that he is able to stand in front of people and tell his story.
It was a chilly evening in Houston and Monday night events are always difficult to draw a crowd. It was a good turnout but I wish there had been more people.
The week ended last night at Zilkha Hall/Hobby Center. Illuminations Project was an evening of performers using their talents to bring awareness to AIDS. The line up was as diverse as Houston.
Planet Funk, Hope Stone, The Houston Ballet, Sara Sjolander, ShyAnne, Houston Metropolitan Dance Company, Flyboys of Flag Troupe Houston were just a few of the performers.
The Gill Family did a montage of songs from You're A Good Man Charlie Brown. It took me a moment to figure out what was going on and then I realized that they were all playing a character from the show. However, the person who have played Snoopy had passed away and they were doing the songs in his honor.
That performance brought tears to my eyes. You see...
When I was a senior in high school, our Spring musical was You're A Good Man Charlie Brown. It is a very small cast and because of all of the rehearsals we became very close. I haven't kept up with the other cast members but I could relate to the emptiness that the performers were relaying in their production.
ShyAnne did a song that I will never be able to listen to again without thinking of last night. ShyAnne performed Hurt by Christina Aguilera (click here to view Hurt). There were two male dancers from The Houston Metropolitan Dance Company who performed while she sang. One of them was wearing a shirt that a very big red ribbon on it. That dance number changed the whole context of the song for me and now when I listen to it I will always think of last night.
It reminds me of something that happened back in 1992.
There was a dedication of panels for The AIDS Memorial Quilt. The dedication took place on the lawn of Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth. Someone sang The Dance by Garth Brooks and it forever changed the meaning of the song for me. I remember someone was in the crowd and start to cry out loud and sob. That was sixteen years ago and in my mind it is almost like it happened yesterday.
So today I've sort of been in one of those moods of missing people.
On a brighter note, Legacy received Illuminations Project Award for its service and commitment to fighting AIDS. Congratulations to the staff for the recognition.
So today I went to Subway on Memorial Drive before I went home to walk The Calvinator. The only reason I was at Subway was because a co-worker of mine wanted me get her a sandwich.
So while I'm waiting to place the order Holly Jolly Christmas is playing over the sound system. However, there is some other noise. At the cash register is a female customer who is arguing with the cashier/sandwich maker. I'm not sure what she was upset about but the employee wasn't buying into the customer is always right theory. She was arguing with the customer. All of this is happening while Burl Ives is singing in the background. To add to this, the other two employees are listening and are not doing any work!
So the lady pays, gets her soft drink cup and Burl Ives continues to sing, "Have a holly jolly Christmas. It's the best time of the year..."
The customer comes back from around the corner and starts up again with the employee who starts up with her again. OY!
The customer finally leaves and Burl Ives finishes singing and I finally get my order.
I walk outside and I can hear the lady b!tching but I can't see her. She is in her car a few cars over from me and is telling some potential customers about what went wrong. If she was going to get any sympathy from me, she just lost it.
On my way back to the office, I thought how odd it was that Holly Jolly Christmas was playing while all of that was going on at Subway.
Today is World AIDS Day. Last year I had several posts about people I have known who have died of AIDS.
World AIDS Day was started in 1988. Here it is 2008 and there isn't a cure. There is a whole generation of people who have died. There is a whole generation of people who don't know what it's like to have a friend die from AIDS.
The World AIDS Day Houston committee has gathered information about events happening not only today but throughout the week. Our goal was to educate people and to create awareness. Please take a moment to visit the website. Hopefully you will be able to attend an event. At a minimum, take a remember to those who have died.
The views expressed on this blog are my thoughts and opinions and are not associated with any agency, association or corporation. I do reserve the right to delete or edit comments made by visitors. Some of the photos are taken by me. However, some of the photos that you see have been found on other websites. When it is possible I will give give credit for those photos. Some information found on this blog is from other sources and they will be acknowledged.