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Archive for the 'Friends' Category

Meet Kaxma & Weird Dreams

Monday, August 10th, 2009

My dear friend, Emily, has wanted to start her own blog.  So I fired up the old blog-making gears and got her all set up.  Please go & check her out at kaxma.com and welcome her to the world of blogging!

So last night I had the strangest dream that my brother got back together with his ex-girlfriend (my niece's mother) and they had another baby.  This little girl they - for reasons unknown to man - named I-n-Tai'.  I even saw it spelled out in my dream.  It was pronounced "n-tie" and I was livid, insisting that they could not burden this poor child with such a heinous name; especially not one with all of those punctuation marks in it!

"It has two dashes and an apostrophe!" I remember ranting to Baret.

At work today, I was outside having my after-lunch smoke when a co-worker came and told me that she had dreamed about me last night.  We're friendly but haven't hung out outside of work, though I think she's totally cool, so we both found it wild that she'd dreamed about me.  In the dream, she said I had quit and had written this long poem and sent it out to everone, stating at the end my decision to leave the job.  She said everyone was all shocked because no one knew I was quitting.  Wonder what the message is in that?

That's really all I had to say for the moment.  There is lots more in the news I want to comment on, believe me.  Finding the time to sit down and write is something else altogether.  Never fear, for I will - sometime this week, I promise!  Check back and I won't disappoint.

Prayers for Ashtyn

Monday, July 13th, 2009

These are the types of posts I hate to write.

In mid-June, my dear friend, Kalyn, came to me with heartbreaking news.  An almost golf-sized bump had appeared - and was causing pain - on her 8 year-old niece's left leg.  It was a Saturday, so - wasting no time - they brought her to the emergency room.

Hopeful, but not optimistic, the doctors informed them all that they did not like what they saw.  Further tests were ordered and before any of them knew it, Ashtyn, her father, Bennett, and her paternal grandmother were making a late night trip up to St. Jude Children's Hospital for an early morning check-in on June 24th.

However, it was not until July 1st, after more tests, scans, and eventually a biopsy, that the doctor's confirmed everyone's worst fears.  Ashtyn had a bone cancer known as osteosarcoma; a, sadly, common cancer in children.

Thought I had met her a few times before, the first time I actually got to spend some time with Ashtyn was for a couple of hours at my old job.  Kalyn, who was on maternity leave at the time, had stopped by the office so that everyone could see her new baby, Ryder.  Ashtyn was tagging along with her favorite aunt that day and only moments after meeting me, already I was her friend.  This must have been so, as she soon gifted me with the very serious charge of watching her "baby" - a little, infant doll that appeared to be about the same age as Ryder and that she told me she was "babysitting" for a friend - while she "took care of some things".

"I'll be right back," she informed me.  "I have already fed her but if you need to feed her again, just don't forget to burp her."

I promised her I would guard the little "baby" with my life, as she hurried off to run her "errands"; which consisted, mainly, of visiting a couple of nearby and empty cubicles - which magically became stores - and visiting with Mrs. Edna, a co-worker who was the "mother hen" of all of us young women that worked back in that area.  After taking care of her to-do list, Ashtyn returned and I handed her "baby" back to her.  She queried me as to if the infant has behaved and whether or not I had had to feed her.  Business now taken care of, she sat down to visit with me as if we were two women chatting over tea; all the while she held on to the doll who was - she told me - sleeping.

Besides that absolutely beautiful and wonderous imagination, I learned in short order that Ms. Ashtyn was not only whip-smart, but sweet, playful, charming, and strong-willed.  There was no hint of shyness or timidity in the young girl who marched right up to me - a veritable stranger though she knew me as her aunt's friend - and asked me to watch her baby doll for her.  There was certainly no un-surety or lack of self-confidence in this chipper child who I sat and had a conversation with as if she were much older than her years.  I remember smiling inwardly, too, at the edge of no-nonsense practicality and ability to lead that I saw in her and that all eldest children possess; myself included.  No doubt she was a fierce protector of her younger brother, Ethan; as much as his ally as she was his boss when she felt the need to set him straight.

She absolutely charmed me; only spending a couple of hours with this child will show you not only how warm-hearted and intelligent she is, but how very strong.  No doubt born with a headstrong will already coursing through her veins (I've met her aunt and can attest it is there in spades), this little girl has also had to learn how to be strong in the face of adversity; the kind no child should ever have to experience and all at the hands of a mother that is, the only kind way I can put it, unmentionable.

Yet perhaps the hardships that woman has put her children through; the pain that Ashtyn has, for a few years now, been old enough to experience and be truly affected by, was a somewhat twisted blessing in disguise.  For it is that very strength she has garnered from her broken, little heart - combined with the iron will and take-no-crap fighting spirit she was born with - that will see her through this nightmare she has found herself in.

Ashtyn is a born fighter; I believe this with all of my heart.  She has - if anyone does - the spirit, the tenacity, the wits, and courage to see herself through this dark time in her life; a life - I fully and wholeheartedly believe - will be long and rich.  This cancer is a bump in the road - maybe even a large pothole - and it is one she will have to go over or through to get past as it cannot be walked around; it is not, however, the end of the road for her.  Not by any means.

I know this little girl can win this fight; I know she can survive this battle with cancer and be all the stronger for her victory over it.  That does not mean she does not need your thoughts and your prayers, though.  As able a fighter as she is, no one should go into battle alone or without armor and weapons at the ready.  We can help pad her armor and sharpen her weapons with our prayers; our constant thoughts of her assure that she is not alone and we can ask for powerful angels to fight at her side.  I ask that you add Ashtyn to your nightly prayers and daily meditations, that you include her name on your church or religious community's prayer lists and ask others to do the same.  I pray that you, along with me, send your Love and Strength and Hope to this beautiful, sweet, young girl - send her Light to illuminate her way on the dark journey her soul is now traveling and and Peace to comfort her throughout the epic battle her body is now waging with itself.

Stay strong, sweet Ashtyn.  You are not alone and we know you will persevere!

Check back here periodically for updates on Ashtyn, filed under the category "Ashtyn's Fight".

A Much Needed Vacation

Sunday, May 17th, 2009

Destin, FL - View from our balcony

Recently, Baret and I were invited on a week-long vacation to Destin, Florida with his longtime and dearest friends, Ben and Jenn.

It was special for many reasons.  Mainly, living over an hour away from each other, we do not get to spend as much time with them as either of us would like.  This is especially painful for Baret; who feels he is missing out on seeing his godson - their oldest child, Elijah - growing up.  Baret is an important part of their lives and sometimes I feel like the big, bad girlfriend who came in and moved him away to the Big City - keeping him away from his loved ones back home in the small town he grew up in.

Such, naturally, was never my intention.  Yet the harried pace of day-to-day life does keep us away much more than either he or I are happy about - or are proud of.  We have the best of intentions for making more of an effort, but there always seems to be something going on - in our personal lives, with my medical condition, dealing with my family, or concerning work - that keeps us away.

I, personally, have always regretted that we were not closer to them; they are obviously wonderful people and I know how much they mean to Baret.

The three of them graduated high school together; where Ben and Jen were small town, high school sweethearts.  Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I find that so very neat.  Even after all these years - even more impressively - is how obvious it is that they are still very much in love and enamoured of one another.  That after nine years of marriage and two kids, their love is still as strong (or stronger) than ever.  In this crazy world, with so many distractions, aggravations, and the daily nuances of life, it is a testament to the idea of "true love" that they are still going strong.

In addition to going to high school together, Baret was also the Best Man in their May 2000 wedding and the godfather of their firstborn child and son.  When Baret and I get married in the next few years, Ben will be the Best Man and if we ever have a child, Ben will be it's godfather.

And so, with all of this in mind, it was especially poignant when they asked us to accompany them on their annual vacation; this year in sunny Destin, Florida.

We are currently enjoying ourselves in a beautiful, penthouse condo on the harbor.  It's four bedrooms, two master (one of which is ours!) with a bathroom nearly as big as my whole upstairs back home.  We spent yesterday at a water park - Big Kahuna - where Ben and Jen had reserved us all our own cabana (replete with cabana boy - Simeon - who brought us drinks, food, and alcohol as needed).  I rode the slides (my first time!) and had so much fun (even though the bottoms of my feet are so burnt they are breaking out in blisters).

We will be here for another week, so I'll have more to write about next time.  For now, I am off to put my bathing suit on so we can all go down to the pool and hot tub.  Tomorrow - if the weather permits - we are taking the boat out to Crab Island.

This, my friends, is a vacation!  (See the pics I've taken so far - mostly of the amazing condo we're staying in and the view of the harbor from it - on the Destin 2009 set over at my Flickr).

A review of Nashville: New Years in Nashville

Monday, January 5th, 2009

A dear friend moved to Nashville around a year and a half ago to attend Belmont University, where he is working on his masters degree in Music. After a trip home for the Christmas holiday, we – myself, my fiancé, and a friend – followed him back to Nashville to spend the week of New Year’s.

It was my first time ever visiting Nashville and I was absolutely charmed with the city, which my fiancé and I decided looked – downtown – like a bright, clean, nice-smelling New Orleans’s French Quarter.

On the afternoon of New Year’s Eve, my friend took us to a purple-bricked building that titled itself World Famous Tootsies Orchid Lounge on Broadway. Wall-to-wall, nearly floor to ceiling, was stacked with yellowing and cracked framed photographs of all the faces that had graced Tootsies’s little stage. From insanely famous to only known to a few, there had to be literally thousands of star-studded boots that had tapped to a tune on those wooden stage floorboards!

There was a live band playing, with (sexy) singer and guitarist Jake Maurer. Onstage as well was a pretty blonde fiddler; as good as she was cute – the devil likely would’ve met his match against this girl!. Jake’s MySpace page lists a fiddler bandmate as Kari Nelson – hopefully we’ll see more of her in the future. In all honesty, we were packed nearly like sardines in that little bar, but everyone was having a wonderful time and the music was just top-notch.

It eventually got too crowded, so we moved next door to a larger yet less-packed bar called The Second Fiddle. This place had the largest, most interesting collection of old radio receivers I have ever seen. The walls were lined with shelves holding these relics of the original always-available music. I honestly didn’t even know that many types of old and antique radios existed!

We had a great time there before heading home to enjoy a private party at home to ring in the new year.

On our last day in Nashville, our friend took us to The Red Door Saloon, where we stayed until dark and I got to experience “real life” shuffleboard (to date, I’d only ever played it on the Wii). The bar had a great atmosphere, friendly patrons, and a very hip look overall.

I’d recommend visiting all of the few places we dropped in on during our stay in Nashville. Though most of our time was spent at home, catching up with old friends, I hope to return to Nashville next year and see some more of its sites and attractions.

The city, overall, is simply lovely; there is just no other way to describe it. It is clean, well laid-out, and most of the buildings fit a similar architectural-style; giving it all a very attractive and pleasantly uniform appearance. Vanderbilt University is nestled neatly within the city, its charming, collegiate facade not at all contrasting with the more modern structures in its vicinity.

Everything is just so carefully done to flatter its neighbors and enhance the overall beauty of the city. Coming from the dirty, random claptrap that is most Louisiana cities, it was a pleasant surprise. In fact, when driving by a two-story home near Vanderbilt – obviously housing some college students – it seemed so shockingly out of place to see dozens of beer bottles strewn along the front porch and tossed carelessly about the yard that we all reflected on just how incongruous it seemed in the otherwise tidy city.

I will definitely be returning to Nashville someday, and with plans to see and do more. Our time there was very special – made even moreso by our dear friend and host, who took special pains to make sure we at least saw the important hotspots and experienced some of Nashville’s lesser-known treats (such as Gigi’s Cupcakes and Cinco de Mayo, our friend’s favorite Mexican eatery).

I would recommend a trip to Nashville to anyone. The hilly countryside, the charming city, and the chance of bumping into a celebrity in little, downtown honkytonks will make a memorable trip for anyone.

My Friends

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

I have said it here before, but it bears repeating:

I have amazing friends.

Normally this statement prefaces some tale of a wild, fun night we've all had out, or a particularly engaging evening we've all shared right here at home, or maybe even a random act of awesome cool- and kindness one or more of them have performed.

This time, however, there is no other reason for my mentioning it other than I felt it should be acknowledged.

You see, I don't see my friends as often as I used to. All of us have busier lives and more responsibilities; it's harder to stay in touch and even harder to get together. Adding to that is the fact that a good number of my dear friends have moved out of state.

They come down to visit sometimes, but it always seems we have already-made family plans or one of is us deathly ill and we miss the short window they're in town. We all try to stay in touch online - through emails, MySpace, Facebook, and the like...yet even that, in the fast-paced whirlwind that is our adults lives - falls by the wayside eventually.

Such is life. The wonderful thing about the people I am blessed to call "friend" however is that time and distance will never dim our connection. I could not talk to one of them for over a year, and they could walk through the door and it would be as it always has - hugs and insane amounts of side-splitting laughter.

So, even though I don't stay in touch as often as I should, or get around to seeing them as often as I'd like, I just wanted to say - I love each & every one of you that is part of my life, that I am blessed to call you my "friend".

Too Young for Skimpy Clothes!

Thursday, April 15th, 2004

Tuesday has become our unofficial "Chicken & Beer Night". Right after work we go on over to Buffalo Wild Wings and indulge in $0.30 wings and Happy Hour beer (two for one). Every friend we've brought with us so far falls in love with the Buffalo. These wings are good - the secret's in the sauce.

It ended up being just Baret and I this particular Tuesday, and we were having a jolly 'ole time guessing at the quiz game on the screen, giggling at other patrons, and discussing life, love, and the difference b/tw a nympho and "regularly-sexed" gal. It was about this time that I noticed a family come in - I assume they were a family even though it was hard to tell who was with who. A mother and a father, one teenage boy and three teenage girls - it appeared to be a birthday gathering as one girl opened a gift or two. I about fell out of my chair when I saw this group - these girls were dressed so skimpy and trashy I couldn't believe a decent parent would let them out of the house like that.

One girl, in particular, had on shorts so short you could almost see the curve of her ass - and a short, tight belly-bearing shirt. Granted she had on a jacket, but that doesn't take away from the fact that she was half-dressed and it was about 39 degrees outside. Wtf? The other two were clad in tight jeans and very low-cut and sleeveless shirts. They were dressed like young, albeit slutty, women - but even under all of the make-up and fancy costume jewelry it was evident that they were likely only 14 or 15 years of age.

I like to think if I had children, I'd be a cool parent. I'd be strict, but I'd want my child to express themselves - and I hope that I would allow some freedom in their choice of dress. But I don't think I'd be very okay with my child wanting to express themselves as some little slut. I know that even if I didn't allow them to buy or wear clothes like that and they wanted to, they'd just sneak off to their friends' houses and change there. But still. These girls, with all of their caked on make-up and barely-there clothes were completely inappropriate. And I'm not puritan by any means - but these are kids. It just didn't seem right and I had to wonder about the parents that would let their children wear such clothes.

Well, the house is officially dry and, so far, not smelly. Let's hope it stays that way.

Oh yeah - and added a new category - "techie" - thought I'd give myself a space to share the silliest, wackiest and dumbest things I get to hear working as an i.t. tech day-to-day. As I hear 'em, I'll add 'em. Yes, they all really happened.

I've got to start my day, but I hope everyone has a pleasant one. The Moon is in Pisces, and that always denotes a good time.

I Bitch, Therefore I Am

Monday, February 16th, 2004

This weekend I was playing a half-ass game of Taboo with my sister. The word was "Daydream" and I was trying to come up with ways to have her guess it without saying the "taboo" words.

"I do this a lot," I told her. As I opened my mouth to say another sentence, unsure if she even knew of my penchant for constant daydreaming, she says, "Bitch?"

"What?!" I asked, a bit taken aback.

She was laughing as she tried to explain her meaning, "Well, on your blogger, you know - you bitch a lot about what pisses you off..."

She's right, you know. I do bitch a lot on here. But wouldn't it be boring if I didn't? Since I've never had someone point it out to me quite like that before, I suppose I saw it otherwise. But to me, what good is a voice and a vehicle to display it (the Internet in this instance) if you don't use it? If there's something I don't like, I'm going to tell the world about it. No one may care what I have to say, but at least I've said it. I never was one for biting my tongue, though - I'm of the mindset that, in most instances, you shouldn't. But, still, good guess, Amb.

Also this weekend, I was reminded of a funny story I thought I'd share to fill up some space on this Monday post.

A few years ago, my best friend, Brandon, and I had gone to eat at a small Chinese buffet restaurant here in Baton Rouge one Saturday. It was lunchtime, and being the drinker that I am, I decided to have a cold one with my lo mein. Used to being carded because of my stature, I handed my driver's license over to the young Oriental waitress as I requested a Coors Light. She appeared then to be very confused. She took it from me, then glanced from the license in her hand and back to me with a puzzled look. Finally, with a friendly smile, she said, "Oh...., okay - you very pretty" and handed it back to me. She then walked off. I gave Brand a questioning look and he said, "I don't think she had any idea why you handed that to her."

She didn't. This woman thought I just handed her my license to show her my picture! I joked that I was going to come back in the next week and hand her a signed 8x10 headshot of myself. It's not surprising that the place is no longer in business.

Also, this article seems to point in the direction of "your supposed reasons for going to war (the "war on terrorism") seem to have BACKFIRED, Dubya". Iraq is likely now, because of the American invasion, a hotbed of terrorist activity. Way to go U.S.A. - we have one helluva administration, don't we?

With that, the bitch is out for now.