Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Texas Pride

I bet you thought this post would be about the Texas Rangers, but it's not!  Anywho, on to the real reason I'm writing - sometimes it's frustrating to live in a state that has a reputation for being very conservative and being full of evangelical Christians, when I'm neither of those things.  Whenever articles that mention Texas are shared on major sites (reddit, for example), I read plenty of comments about what people think of us hicks down here in the state that wishes it was its own country.  I'd just like to point out that we're not all gay-hating, creationism-spouting, evolution-denying, Muslim-fearing, pro-life, gun-toting, Bible-thumping, pro-war citizens like some of the rest of the country (and world) like to believe.  Granted, some Texans are all of those things, but there are quite a few of us that are none of those things.  I wish our state would turn away from these stereotypes and start to show a more progressive front.  I know that a lot of our reputation was understandably earned since we had George Bush and Rick Perry as the faces of Texas over the past 15 years, but it's time to move past that.  My hope is that Bill White will become the next Governor of Texas and start pushing us towards a less embarrassing direction.  However, if that doesn't happen, it can start on a smaller scale.

Recently I was shopping on the Human Rights Campaign's website, and found a couple of shirts that I fell in love with.  Here's the first:

That shirt is just hilariously awesome and I immediately wanted to buy it.  Before I could add it to my cart, though, I started worrying about what people would think when they saw me wearing it.  In Texas, it seems to be easier to be loud and proud about being a homophobe, than be vocal about being a homosexual (or ally, as my husband and I are).  The frustrating thing is that this perception is perpetuated when people like me worry about others' opinions when wearing a shirt like this (well, maybe not so far as perpetuating it, but certainly not refuting it).  It's a freaking shirt, for goodness' sakes!  In other words, I'm part of the reason we Texans are stereotyped the way we are, if I don't do anything to change it.  I told Meezy about my dilemma and he didn't skip a beat. "I'd wear it."  Damn, I love that guy.  So, the shirt went in the cart and you can consider it on its way!  Watch out, Texas.

The second shirt I fell in love with was this: 

With the Colbert/Stewart rally coming up in Washington, D.C., I was hoping for a way to show I was from Texas, while also giving a quick glimpse into my beliefs.  I am a supporter of equal rights in Texas, and I shouldn't be embarrassed about saying so.  Unfortunately the shirt won't arrive in time to wear to the rally, but I'll make sure it's put to good use whenever it does arrive.

I am proud to be a Texan, but not because of its infamous reputation.  There are times I have wished I lived on one of the coasts, where people tend to be more open-minded and accepting of those different from themselves.  I always remind myself that there are lots of people in Texas like me, but some of them are just currently afraid to say so.  The longer I stick it out, and the more I speak up, the more the open minded folks will start to show themselves.  I would love to be proud of Texas because of its equal rights stance.  I just hope I'm around long enough to see that day come.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Running Update

As I've mentioned previously, I'm training to run the White Rock Half Marathon in December.  By training, I mean that I have a training plan that I'm supposed to be following, but I can't find the time to do everything I'm supposed to!  The plan called for running a 5K last weekend, which I did, but there's quite a few assignments that I haven't done.  The schedule for last week looked like this:

Monday - Stretch and Strengthen
Tuesday - 4 mile run
Wednesday - 2 mile run or cross-training
Thursday - 4 mile run
Friday - Rest or easy run
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - 5K run

And here's what I actually did that week:

Monday - 1 hour of softball and 2 mile run
Tuesday -1.5 hours of tennis
Wednesday - 1 hour of football and 2 mile run
Thursday - 1 hour of football
Friday - Rest
Saturday -5K run
Sunday - 4 hours of tennis

So, as you can see, I'm failing on getting the long runs in.  It's really hard to find the motivation to do them when I have sports scheduled four to five nights out of the week.  I'm doing really active things almost every day, but they're not contributing to getting me ready to run 13 miles.  Luckily, my softball and tennis seasons are almost over, so I should have about 4 weeks to really focus on training on those days.  I'll still have two nights of football, but that's alright.  I need to just make sure I do long runs on the days that I have time to run at all.  I'm hoping to tackle a 7 mile run this weekend, so we'll see how that goes!   

Monday, October 18, 2010

I'll Sleep When I'm Dead

Apparently that's my motto because I certainly didn't get enough sleep this weekend!  On Friday, Meezy and I, along with some friends who had come in from out of town, headed out to Arlington to support our friend, Michael Hix.  He was having his CD release show at the Arlington Music Hall.  He put on a great performance, just as he always does!  We got stuck in the traffic leaving the Rangers game after the show, so we just decided to head home instead of going out.  We stayed up until about 2:30am, though, reminiscing about funny stories from college.  Normally that's no big deal on a Friday night, but I had to be up at 6:15 the next morning for the Komen Race for the Cure.  Nothing like running 3 miles on less than 4 hours of sleep!  My sister Jo and my bff Jenn were running it with me, so that made it much more enjoyable.

After the race, Jo and I met up with the huge group of family and friends of Dianne Horton who were walking in her memory.  It's barely been a month since Dianne's passing, so I know this was an emotional event for them.  It was so nice to see them all there, celebrating her memory, while raising awareness and funds for breast cancer research.  They carried signs and wore ribbons and buttons to honor their loved one.   

Husband and daughters of the late Dianne Horton

Later that day, my family headed to La Grange in Deep Ellum to attend the benefit the Horton family was hosting in Dianne's honor.  They raised money through a $10 entrance fee that covered food and entertainment, and then sold raffle tickets for various prizes like Komen swag, a massage, Mavs tickets, etc.  Overall they raised more than $900 for Susan G Komen!  It was a great success and everyone there had a wonderful time.  My niece, Livi, wore a special shirt to commemorate the occasion.  I hope its message is true!

"When I grow up, there's gonna be a cure"

We ended up going to Black Finn in Addison later that night, which meant another late bedtime.  On Sunday, I had a tennis match at 10am and another at 1:30pm.  The second one ended up going to three sets, which brought the total time played to 4 hours for both matches.  Under that sun, that was quite draining!  After that, I came home and tried to steal a nap during the Cowboys game.  That was only mildly successful, and then it was up and at 'em again to meet Michael Hix and his girlfriend for dinner at Matito's.  

My weekend was really a lot of fun, and I wouldn't have traded any of those activities for sleep, but that doesn't change the fact that I've got a raging headache and droopy eyelids today!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Let Me Catch My Breath!

I'm quite exhausted after this weekend's activities, but I had a great couple of days.  I love living in the DFW area, because there is never a shortage of fun things to do.  On Friday night, we hung out with our friends, Jonathan and Rose.  Jonathan's dad owns Boi Na Braza, the Brazilian steakhouse, so we went there and stuffed our bellies full of delicious food.  After that, we headed over to Verizon Theater to watch Joel McHale perform.  McHale is the guy who hosts The Soup on E! and also stars in Community.  I love his work on both of those shows, so I was very excited to see him do some stand-up.  He gave a great performance, as expected, and we left the theater wishing he had done an encore!

 The iphone4 camera doesn't do so well in dark settings

Saturday morning we were up bright and early to make our way to Fair Park to watch Texas Tech and Baylor play in the Cotton Bowl.  We went with my sister Jo, (a Baylor alumna), and her hubby Trey, and sat on the Baylor side.  There were very few red shirts on our side of the field, but that was okay!  We cheered loudly, nonetheless, much to the dismay of the attendees near us.  At halftime, we went out of the stadium to spend a few minutes at the Texas State Fair.  I satisfied my Dippin' Dots craving, (how long can they call it the ice cream of the future?) and the guys tried out "Donkey Tails" (not sure who came up with that name, but I salute them).  A donkey tail is a beef sausage filled with cheese, wrapped in a tortilla, then deep fried and covered in chili.  Yeah.  After that, we headed back into the stadium to catch the rest of the game.  Did I mention the sun was ridonkulous?  We all got sunburns on the left sides of our faces, arms, and legs.  Gotta love getting a farmer's tan in October.  Meezy and I stuck around as long as we could, but we had to leave in the fourth quarter since we had tickets to the Rangers playoff game.  We listened to the end of the football game on the radio and were happy to hear that the Red Raiders came up with the win!

       Wreck 'em Tech!

Sisterly Rivalry
Our drive to the Ballpark in Arlington wasn't as bad as we thought it would be.  Parking?  That was another story.  We drove around for at least 15 minutes and found every lot to have a "Full" sign on it.  Cripes!  We finally found an open lot, way out in BFE, for $10.  Whatevs.  I mapped the distance from our car to the ballpark, to make sure we could find our way back, and it was 1.2 miles.  Gotta love paying $10 to park, just to walk more than a mile to get to your destination!  It was rapidly approaching the start of the game, so Meezy and I found a guy with a rickshaw for hire to take us to the game.  Best idea we had all day!  We cruised on by all the walkers and got dropped off right at the entrance.  We got in the ballpark, sprinted up seven flights of stairs, and arrived at our seats just in time.  They were up in the 3rd level, on the first base side, which I thought would be a really bad view of the field.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out I was wrong!  They were actually really nice seats, and the best part was that they were in the shade!  Thank jeebus.  I don't think I could've handled another 3 hours in the hot sun.  My parents were sitting with us, and we all had an awesome time cheering on the Rangers.  It was sad that they ended up losing, but I'm so glad we went to that game.  I had definitely never seen the Rangers in the ALDS before, and who knows when I'll be able to see them there again!  The atmosphere was really electric, and the excitement in the crowd was so contagious.  

 A great experience for Rangers fans

   Rays vs. Rangers, ALDS Game 3

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Shit Just Got Real

I've been dreading this post for a while.  I've been experiencing some things over the past couple of months that have really given me pause.  There are times I've been in my car and a sad song came on and I've just started sobbing.  I've been fortunate enough to avoid the reality of mortality for the majority of my life.  The last funeral I went to was for Meezy's grandfather, almost four years ago, and I didn't know him well.  Before that, it was my Opa's funeral, nine years ago this month.  Obviously that experience was hard, but it was so long ago, so I've forgotten what it was like.  Apart from those two events, I've been able to live in this suspended reality, where bad things don't happen to the people I love and I don't have to face death.

Over the past few years, the mothers of two of my best friends (who were bridesmaids in my wedding) were diagnosed with breast cancer.  It was a scary and painful time, but they both eventually beat it.  I started participating in Komen events and wearing their names on my back when I ran, to honor their successful fight.  At those races, I would see thousands of people with the names of their loved ones on their backs, who weren't so fortunate.  It wasn't me though; it wasn't anyone I knew.  Everyone I knew won their battle.  Breast cancer wasn't so scary, because the people I knew were batting a thousand against it.   

Then came Dianne's diagnosis last year.  It was Stage IV and had spread to other organs.  This was the mother to 3 of my life-long friends, and a great friend to my parents for many, many years.  And her outlook was bleak.  She fought back with radiation and chemo, but they were no match for the lesions in her brain.  She eventually succumb to the disease's effects on September 11, 2010, after a 10-month fight.

Throughout the majority of the time after her diagnosis, I still lived in a fantasy land.  I still held out hope that the treatments were working.  I just kept thinking that it shouldn't be happening to her and her family, therefore it wouldn't.  She would be cured, just like my friends' moms.  The possibility that Dianne might actually die from this first sunk in when I received a phone call from my sister Jo after one of my softball games in August.  She informed me that the treatments weren't working, and they would probably just look to making her pain-free for the time she had left.  I hung up the phone and lost it.  This wasn't really happening, was it?  In September, when Dianne lost consciousness and started seizing at home, I couldn't hold my shit together.  It was only a matter of hours before she eventually passed.  Just a day after that was when my mom and I had planned on staying with Dianne for a few hours so the rest of the family could go to church.  I couldn't grasp that.  It was like, on Friday, I will see her in two days.  On Saturday, no, not anymore.  She's gone.  Those three girls had lost their mom and Hank had lost his partner.  How do I reconcile that?

This isn't a "woe is me" post.  I'm not trying to garner sympathy or take away from the suffering her family members must be going through.  I didn't lose my mom.  I didn't lose my life partner.  I'm just trying to come to terms with why things like this happen, and how the universe decides whose number is up.  There's a part of me that cries because I'm sad for the family.  There's a part of me that cries because I feel almost guilty that I still have my mom around and they don't.  There's a part of me that cries because life is too short.  There's a part of me that cries because cancer is so indiscriminate.  There's a part of me that cries because I'm scared.

The memorial service today was beautiful.  It truly was a celebration of the wonderful life Dianne led, and the amazing legacy she leaves behind.  I cried a lot, but as my sister Jo told me, that's okay.  It's okay to be sad.  On the way to the service, I looked at the pictures my sister Jill had sent me, of her latest sonogram.  She found out today that her newest addition will be a girl.  The irony wasn't lost on me that in the same day I was celebrating life, I was also commiserating death.  As much as I wanted to curl up and avoid the cruel world after Dianne's passing, Jill's pregnancy reminded me that I can't.  I can't celebrate and appreciate life, without acknowledging its finiteness.  I can't remove myself from future experiences because I'm too scared something bad will happen.  If I do, I'll end up missing out on the good things.  Rest in peace, Dianne.  I'll be proud to wear your name on my back at the next Komen race.