"Should've Been A Cowboy"

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Blog Before I New What A Blog Was: War

The following is a letter I wrote before I new what a blog was. I felt I should post it.

March 23, 2003


 The past two evenings I have watched the movies, “Windtalkers” and “We Were Soldiers,” respectively. I myself have never experienced war; for I am only 22 years of age, and this is the first war I am of age to be a part of. Through these movies and others preceding I have gotten a glimpse of the horror of war. More so from the two movies I have cited. Before when I viewed a movie similar to “We Were Soldiers”, it was a fairy tale to me, another story for my entertainment pleasure. With recent events these movies are no longer stories to me. Through our ever changing society, our ever changing moral values, and the technology of today we have created depiction of war that are more real than we have ever experienced. So real that we get a sense of the tragedy war really is.

We grow up learning in school about war through books and documentary videos that are cold and lifeless. Presented as facts—numbers and names in a time that happened before us. Taught mostly by people who don’t know war any better than we do ourselves.

Now we are in war. I watch these movies and tremble at the thought that some of our fellow men and women are going through what I have seen in these movies. For what I have seen represents hell to me. War is of sin—the root of all evil. War is a place where nations of people come together to kill each other because they disagree. War is a place where nations of people comet together because of one leader’s greed for power or his/her vision of utopia. War is a place of failure. Failure to do what is just, right, and humane by our fellow man, failure to love.

Whether we agree or disagree with our fellow man it is our responsibility to love one another as ourselves. But alas, we are human. We constantly fall short of the glory of God. We lie. We cheat. We steel. We murder. We commit adultery. We go to war.

With this said I pray to God. God, forgive us as we have once again failed you. Please Lord, have mercy upon us. Watch over us as well as our enemies as we fight with one another defending against what we believe to be wrong, or as in our enemies’ case, a misguided leadership. I pray that decisions are made to keep casualties at a minimum. Console those who have already lost loved ones to war. As well as those who will. Lord neither you nor I wish the disease of war upon anyone. But by choices made by men in the mist of there sin, we have engulfed ourselves in it. May it end quickly, Lord. I pray this in your son’s holly and precious name, Jesus Christ. Amen

Friday, October 17, 2008

100,000 Miles

Yesterday on my way home from work my Toyota Corolla eclipsed the 100,000 mile mark. Normally this might not be a big deal to me. I've owned other cars that had over 100k miles and/or passed the mark while I was driving it. But this time it is different because I've owned the car since the beginning. The first time I got in the car to test drive it there were only 4 miles on the odometer. So this car is my "baby". Claudia thinks I'm a dork for taking the following pictures, and maybe I am, but I'm okay with that.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Birthday Present (28th Birday)

Last month, for my birthday, Claudia took me on a surprise trip to The Crossings just North of Austin. Well, the trip wasn't so much of a surprise, but the destination was. On my birthday, a Saturday, we took off driving South on I-35 from Fort Worth. The led me to believe that we were going to either Austin or San Antonio. On our way to the final destination we stopped in Waco to eat lunch with my friend, practically a brother, DJ. He wanted to know where we were going, but all I could tell him was "I don't know, it was my birthday surprise." Claudia wouldn't even let him in on the secret. I guess she thought he might tell me.
After lunch we continued South on I-35 towards Austin/San Antonio. I had asked Claudia if I could drive because I started to feel a little car-sick in the passenger's seat. She didn't mind because she could give me directions just as easy as she could drive it herself. I think it was a good idea anyway because it allowed her to read the directions without driving at the same time. (She worries me when she multi-tasks in the car) Our final destination, The Crossings, was near Round Rock. The Crossings is a resort where people can simply relax. It is an all inclusive stay so that you don't have to leave their peaceful environment to go get food. As cool as it was to eat there I wish the food was a bit better and a little less healthy. While we were there we went on a hike, a couple of walks, played Disney Trivia on our suites porch as the sun set, and relaxed. Oh, and we took pictures all along the way. (You can see them at the end of the blog)
Sunday after checking out of the resort we headed to where we plan on getting married, Chapel Dulcinea, in Austin. It was about 30 minutes away, and when we were five minutes away from the Chapel Claudia realized she left her phone in the room and we had to turn around and go back to the resort. She was freaking out and felt bad that we had driven for half an hour and had to turn around and go back, but I took it all in stride. While we were back at the resort Claudia and I decided to eat one last meal there, but we both kinda wished we hadn't since it was the worst one of the weekend. But it kept us from starving.
Finally we made it to the chapel. We arrived right as a bride and her mom did for a wedding that was about to start. The mom asked if we were there for the wedding, I wanted to ask if we looked like we were dressed for one, and I told her no. She then asked if I would carry a radio and a CD to the chapel for them so that she would have music to walk down the trail to, and I told her that I would. It was strange to me, but I commend her for her boldness. We didn't want to disturb the wedding so we walked to the reception hall to have a look around. On our way to the reception hall we came across a family of deer! It was totally unexpected and I shot a few good pictures of the deer. When the wedding was finished we scoped out the chapel and took pictures of it. We really like it. It is small and most will have to stand for our wedding, but it won't take long and the view over looking the hills is beautiful.

Now it is time for pictures. Click on a picture to enlarge it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Proposal

On August 9th I made the decision to follow through on a bold statement that I made to Claudia on our third date eight months prior. That statement was, "I'm going to marry you." I know, that is a crazy statement to make on a third date. I didn't know it was possible to be so sure so early. For the longest time I felt that I should wait two years before ever proposing to a woman. But on August 9th I placed on order for an engagement ring and I received the ring on August 12th. For the next three days I pondered when and where I would pop "the question." I finally decided I would do it on the upcoming Sunday. I wanted to take Claudia hiking on an area trail and propose with the beauty of nature around us. I wanted it all to be a surprise and I didn't tell Claudia that I wanted to go hiking. When she told me that she had accepted an invite for both of us to go to a gathering at a friend's house to celebrate an Indian holiday I was a tad discouraged.

The celebration was in the early afternoon and we were there only a few hours. After leaving the two of us went home to clean the apartment. On the way home Claudia told me she wanted to have a romantic evening after cleaning the apartment, and that she would make chocolate covered strawberries that we could eat while drinking wine in the candle light. At that moment I decided that I could ride this wave and propose to Claudia during our romantic evening. She was planning her own proposal and didn't even know it!

When we got home I told here that I would clean the bedroom and the kitchen, but before I do that I needed go to the gas station to fill my car up with gasoline. That was a lie because I actually went to the grocery store to buy a single rose and some black ribbon that I would use to tie the ring to the rose; just as the Phantom did in Phantom of the Opera, Claudia's favorite musical. When I got back from the store I used a piece of wood from the trunk of my car, which was left over from a shelf that I made for the armoire the previous day, to hide the rose from Claudia as I snuck it into the bedroom. While Claudia was cleaning the living room I pulled the ring from its hiding place, HER jewelry box, tied it to the rose, and hid it under the bed. After cleaning the bedroom and making the bed I proceeded to light candles, turn off the lights, grab the strawberries, two glasses, and a bottle of wine from the kitchen. I set up everything on the dresser and placed the rose, with the ring tied to it, on a pillow in the center of the bed.

Once Claudia was done cleaning show followed me to the bedroom and jumped onto the bed. While jumping she twisted in midair so that she would land on her back. After landing on the bed she proceeds to roll over the rose! As I'm standing there looking at her with a giant grin on my face I could tell she was wondering why I too didn't jump on the bed to lay beside her. That's when I pointed out the rose on the bed. She quickly picked it up, and while lying on her back, looked at it and smelt it. Now I'm standing at the foot of the bed chuckling at how unobservant Claudia can be at times. Okay, most of the time. She wanted to know why I was laughing. All I could tell her was, "You're so cute!" "Why?" She asked. I told her to look at the rose and two seconds later she says, "SHUT-UP!" Then I got up on the bed, and while on my hands and knees, just a foot from her face, I asked her if she would marry me. With tears in her eyes she said yes.

We are set to be married on March 26, 2009 in Austin, TX. It will be a small wedding of close friends and family and will be held at Chapel Dulcinea.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Two Plus Years Of Statements Filed

Some people shred them, some people never open them, and some people file them away. What am I talking about? Account statements. I keep every statement for every account that I have ever had. For the longest time I was good about filing each statement away in its folder, right behind the one I received the previous month. I did this for six years. Then, all of a sudden, I quit. For the past two and a half years I've been tossing my statements in a pile. The pile started on a table and then got moved to a desk and finally got so big it ended up on the floor. For several months I've been telling myself that I need to sort and file my statements, but having to sort, put in order, and then file two years of statements of some 15 accounts can take a lot of time. Last night I broke down and did it. I sorted, put in order, and filed all my statements for all of my various accounts; bank accounts, investments, insurance, loans, credit cards, electricity, water, cell phone, cable, and internet. Total time spent filing, four hours. I feel a lot better now that all my statements are filed away in their appropriate file cabinet, and my bedroom floor is a lot cleaner; and I plan on keeping that way.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

A Few Firsts

I started to write this post on May 28th and never got around to finishing it. That is until today. Prior to May 24, 2008 I had never been to Ikea, P.F. Changs, a Rough Rider's baseball game, had a pedicure, or waxed my back, but now I can say I have.

I wanted to build with Habitat Memorial Day weekend, but due to the holiday they didn't schedule any houses to be worked on. So my Saturday was pretty open and Claudia knew just what to fill it with...Ikea. I must say that I had been curious as to what people loved so much about Ikea, but not enough to make a stop without reason. We arrived at Ikea, 35 miles from Claudia's casa, around noon and walked out around 2pm. I must admit that I find the layout and overall concept of Ikea to be pretty cool. I can see why it is so popular. It has quality merchandise at reasonable prices. All the furniture they sell needs to be assembled which allows them to maximize their shipments and store more of their merchandise in their warehouse, and thus allows them to keep their prices very competitive. I didn't have a need to go to Ikea so all I ended up buying were 10 hangers and six boxes of Anna's Swedish Cookies, which are awesome!

Sunday morning we went to the nail salon that Claudia prefers to get our pedicures. When I sat down in the automated massage/pedicure chair I looked across the way and saw my friend Jessica who live in Fort Worth, but goes to church with me in Dallas. It totally caught me off guard. I couldn't keep my pedicure a secret anymore, for I had been spotted by a friend who would gladly tell many of our friends where I had been. The pedicure experience was fun. I sat in a massage chair for an hour while a woman massaged my calves and feet with hot stones, and cleaned up my toe nails. For the record I did not have my nails painted or a clear coat put on them. I simply had them trimmed and buffed, and my cuticles cleaned up.

After Claudia and I were done with our pedicures we went downtown to eat lunch at P.F. Changs prior to this I had never eaten at P.F. Changs. In 2004 I walked into a P.F. Changs in North Dallas and sat at the bar. I intended to order food, but after being ignored for 15 minutes I walked out and made a decision not to go back. Despite this Claudia insisted that I give them another chance. I must say that I enjoyed our lunch and the service was awesome.

The following weekend Claudia went to a beauty supply store and purchased a waxing kit to wax my back. I've never liked my back hair. Shaving it just causes it to feel like shark skin when rubbed against the direction of the hair growth, and I don't care much for that. So I was open to waxing it. I must say that I was pleased with the results of my back waxing, three days later. While my back was being waxed I wasn't a fan of it. I basically had 45 large band-aids ripped off my back; which caused it to be irritated for a couple of days, and covered with a bunch of red bumps. Only later did I find out from a gay friend that we should have put talcum powder on my back prior to waxing. This causes the wax not to stick to the skin as much which causes the irritation. Only a gay man would know this. I really should consult a gay man prior to any future cosmetic procedures.

For the 4th of July holiday Claudia and I went to watch the Rough Rider's baseball game and their fireworks show afterwards. In 2002 I went on a tour of the park prior to its opening and in 2007 I attended a game that was rained out. The tickets are fairly priced and there isn't a bad seat in the stadium due to its small size. We bought the only available seats a couple days before the game, which happened to be the lawn in the outfield. I'm happy to report that I not only was I able to watch the game, but I got to watch the Rough Riders win.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Her Familia

Two weeks ago Claudia and I hopped into my car and drove to Del Rio, Texas to visit her family. On Friday we drove half of the way and spent the night in San Marcos. Our night ended up being free since Claudia killed a roach in our room, and no we didn't stay in the Roach Motel. We actually stayed at a decent hotel. Even a nice place can have a roach now and again. Saturday we continued our trip to Del Rio and arrived at around 11:00 AM. This gave us plenty of time to visit a large part of her large family.

Our first stop was at her Aunt Rosie (aka "Chayo"). We spent some time with her and her Uncle Jack (A white man who paved the way for me a long time ago). Next we stopped by her cousin Dale's (a man who carries a gun for a living) and I had the chance to meet "the girls" (Dale's daughters: Ashley, Leigh and Brook). After that we stopped by Sara's house (Claudia's mom's boss, and someone they consider family) and I got the meet all her animals. This included a small poodle, a 100 pound dog (that looked more like a small bear), two donkeys, three sheep, and a dwarf steer. One of the donkeys tried eat my shirt and the bear...I mean 100 pound dog tried to bite my neck as I stood-up from a chair; All-in-all good times. Afterwards we went by her Aunt Olga's (aka "Ma" because she helped raise Claudia) & Tio Ricardo's house. Her Uncle Joe was there and her cousin Joe's kids, Natalia and Alonso. Her cousin Sofia was working that evening so we went by her work to visit for a few minutes. That night her cousin Dale had a cookout and invited us to party with him for a while.

The next day we played a practical joke on her cousin Sofia at work. Sofia works at a gas station and I walked up to the counter with flavored condoms and baby oil. She about flipped out! After that we went to the lake with two of her girls (Leigh and Brook). Following our trip to the lake we stopped by Letty and her husband's house. Letty is like a second mom to Claudia. She can't speak English so Claudia and her mom translated for the two of us. Letty asked me lots of questions. Her first one was "Well, do you love her?" Claudia says she is a bit bold and loves her lots; even the language barrier couldn't hide that. Next we went to the Plaza for gorditas at the Cinco de Mayo celebration. The food was very good and very fattening. Just as we were headed off to bed her cousin James (another gun carrier), and wife Julissa, called to let us know he was 2 blocks away from her mom's house and were going to drop in to meet me. So we stayed up and talked to him for a bit.

On Monday we met two more cousins, Joe (aka "Jojo"), and Sofia's daughter Mireyah. It was sort of a lazy day for us. We sat around and did nothing for most of the day. That evening we went to watch Ashley play softball and hung out with the Dixon's some more. We stopped by their house after the game and her cousins all played a little game of "hide Mom's keys"....Brook and Claudia made it seem like I had taken them when they were the ones up to no good. Claudia says it was because I wouldn't help her while her mom searched her for the keys.

We woke up early the next morning and headed home, but not before she made me stopped in San Marcos for some fun outlet mall shopping. I must admit it was a good stop because I too bought new clothes. Our day ended around 10 pm because of a softball game I had that night, and we were back to our regular schedules the next morning.

Every time we visited a part of her family they would tell me how the rest of the family is crazy. I think the whole family, excluding her mom, is crazy but in a wild and fun way. Claudia says I fit right in :).