Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I Thought You Were A Red Sox Fan?

I stopped caring about sports for a good long while, a good while ago.

You'd think I was full of it, if you've been to my office (adorned with sports memorabilia now), talked to my family, friends and our fantasy football league, or my old friends and teammates during my years playing Texas high school football.

I vividly remember the day Jimmy Johnson "quit." I remember it so well, it's ridiculous. I was a bartender at a local sports bar, trying to get through college, and manager rushed out to raise the volume on the television. Coach Johnson said, "After our discussions, we mutually decided I would no longer be the head coach of the Dallas Cowboys."

For the few in the place at that hour, the news was devastating, akin to learning a head of state or religious leader had just been murdered. The air left the room, and all of the sudden we found ourselves reaching for the top shelved spirits en masse.

After all, the Dallas Cowboys had just won their second straight Super Bowl -- fourth overall -- nine weeks earlier. They were poised to win a third without a doubt.

Opening Day for the Texas Rangers was looming, but nobody seemed to care. For that particular sports bar, the Rangers season brought in much welcomed business, as it sat a few blocks from the old Arlington Ballpark. We wondered, however, if anyone was going to come out after what was sure to be a long, long period of mourning after this shocking news.

After that, the Cowboys did win a fifth Super Bowl, under the direction of what Jerry Jones referred to as, "Any one of 500 coaches," the incomparable, Barry Switzer. Switzer got a ring, but really, those Cowboys didn't need a coach. Barry left soon after, and the mess that followed are years most fans don't like to remember.

I sorta stopped caring about the Cowboys and sports for a while. I had enough of the drama and directed my attention to other matters in my life. I went from being able to handicap games and rattle of stats, to not knowing who was in the NFC title game.

I didn't, however, stop caring about baseball altogether. My wife and I would catch a summer game here and there. After all, we could sit in the outfield bleachers for $2, drink a cold beer and a hot dog.
Another memorable occasion my brother happened to be in town when Fernando Valenzuela pitched for the Orioles. He and I got to meet Valenzuela as a young man in Mexico, courtesy of my grandpa. Now, we got to see him pitch just before he retired for good.

In 1994 the Rangers built a gorgeous new park, and I was able to take my grandfather, brother and dad to very first exhibition game ever at the Ballpark in Arlington, home of the Texas Rangers. They hosted the Metropolitans of New York. My grandpa didn't like Arlington much, or the seats I was able to afford with my bar-tending tips. He really didn't understand what in God's name kept me living is this strange, strange city. The Rangers, he said, were no good. If there was any justice in my living here was simply this: I would get to see the Red Sox.

It's hard for me to be a passionate fan. I usually expect too much from players and teams. I have this fantasy that all professional athletes actually love what they do, but biographies like Agassi's confirm that a lot of players don't even like what they do, they just happen to be that gifted.

OK, for goodness sake, where is this going?

In 2001, at my brother's wedding, would mark the last time my grandfather recognized me. He has been suffering from Alzheimer's since then, being in the last if its stages now.

In the 2004 ALCS Game 4 between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, Dave Roberts was called in to pinch-run for Kevin Millar, who was just walked by Mariano "Mo" Rivera in the 9th. The Red Sox were down 0-3 in the series, and losing this ball game 4-3. The Red Sox were clinically dead. Roberts stole second, and with a single from Mueller, Roberts turned third and tied the game.

That single stolen base can be seen as the turning point in one of the most historic events in baseball history. The Red Sox swept the rest of the ALCS and the World Series, on the way to wining their first title in 86 years.

My grandpa didn't understand it anymore. His brain was long gone. But, something happened...changed.

That night, the night Dave Roberts stole second base, things changed for me. All of the sudden caring about sports --again -- seemed OK. All of the sudden it was fun handicapping games again and remembering those blessed stats.

That night I celebrated by myself, as the women in my life were long asleep. Texting was not what it is today, so there was no one but the tube to celebrate with. Since then, I indoctrinated all the women in my life in the ways of sports. And, in honor of my grandfather and my inheritance of the Red Sox, they became our team.

We have, however, always had love for the Rangers, our hometown team.

I cannot deny it was hard for me to totally love them during the Tom Hicks era. I know it's not fair to drag the team along with Hicks, but I so despised his business ways! Then, like Roberts stealing second, here come the saviors: Jon Daniels, Nolan Ryan, and Chuck Greenberg, along with a magnificent group of players, mostly considered "kids" by A-Roid.

A World Series comes to Arlington, to the Yard so close to my house, it's uncanny.

Here we go again.

The Cowboys have broken my heart the last few seasons, especially this one.

But, I'm not the guy I used to be. I don't see it as I once did. I won't be retiring from sports, again.

Game One of the World Series will begin in about 17 hours in the San Francisco. The Texas Rangers will feature one of the greatest pitchers of this era, possible of all time, alongside a like-hurler they call, "The Freak".

My grandfather will no more know about this Fall Classic than the man in the moon.

It's OK, though. Grown men will cry this time, too. And, that includes me.

Oh, and those chants at Cowboys Stadium last night were, "Let's Go Rangers!"

Let's Go!, indeed.

"Here comes the 1-2! Swing and a miss!"

Can you believe it?

If there is justice in the Jock Kingdom, I suspect my grandfather is closer to the realm of Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle, than he is to ours.

Sleep well.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A.L.C.S. -- Can You Believe It!

This picture was taken on the day of Cliff Lee's first start as a Texas Ranger. The Orioles killed him and the Rangers that day. The picture even made this publication.



I knew something was right when I could not find any Rangers merchandise on sale or clearance the other day. Usually, in October, one can find pretty sweet deals on stuff, in preparation for next year.

And, I further knew something was right in October when the Red Sox Nation brotherhood sent mail raving the Rangers, especially since the foes blocking the way to the Fall Classic are the New York Yankees. Talks about a Rangers/Red Sox Opening Day in 2011 have subsided, substituted with cheers and praise from Beantown.

It is October, folks. And, not a word one about the Dallas Cowboys on the airwaves, save a mention about a roster move.

No more exhaustion from analyzing the Cowboys, and why they are 1-3.

No more predictions about the Mavericks and Stars.

This is the A.L.C.S. In Arlington. Less than 4 miles from my front door.


At the beginning of the football season, I had to make a flag decision. I fly two flags at my home, and usually upon the Rangers ending their season, I continue to fly my Red Sox flag, and add my Cowboys flag.

I re-read this, and the decision was easy. To storage went my Red Sox flag, and I kept the Rangers flag flying high and mighty. I also had the opportunity to meet Chuck Greenberg at an event hosted by Jamey Newberg, and he posed with my girls.

Chuck -- wow -- what a cool guy. We continually call him the hero, who saved Rangers baseball, but fans know he's not the only one. Mr. Ryan, thank you, too.

We are preparing to enjoy the A.L.C.S. against that hated Yankees. And, how much s-w-e-e-t-e-r [sic] can it be: WE HAVE HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE!

For baseball lovers, these Rangers are a phenomenal story. How can you not love it.

And, to the only faithful Rangers fan in El Paso, this is for you, brother.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

My Brother, Tom Hicks, and Jamey Newberg

I keep saying baseball is the official sport of the Najera Compound in Arlington, though it can be said it doesn't seem that way.

The tradition started started because of this man, but in my life the admiration for the beauty of the game took many years to bloom.

This year, at the beginning of Spring Training, I hung my Red Sox flag on the pole at the front of our house, as usual. It's a beginning. Spring is in the air, and you can almost hear the bats, smell the hot dogs, taste the cold beer.

Something is different at the pole area, though. Next to the Red Sox flag flies a Texas Rangers flag. I live less than five miles from the Texas Rangers ballpark, and could probably be a season ticket holder, if I really wanted.

I declare myself to be a Red Sox fan first and foremost, but I have become a certified Texas Rangers fan, too. Can that be possible? Sure, given what's been happening in Arlington of late.

First, ownership of the Texas Rangers took a turn for the worst. Tom Hicks, the man who also owns the Dallas Stars and half of the Liverpool FC, took the Rangers here. English futbol is no laughing matter. They are serious about their team. Hicks, like he seemingly has done with the Texas Rangers, loaded the Liverpool club with debt, and it now faces challenges it never did before a "Yank" owned the team.

So, in keeping with my disdain for overly greedy corporate overlords, I have been reading and reading about this bankruptcy -- by Tom Hicks -- to force a sale and walk, not only unscathed with the financial mess he created for his sports clubs, but also with a reported $80-$90 million. How do you like that for financial maneuvering?

The more I have read about the Hicks mess, the more I want to support the Texas Rangers in hopes that day soon ownership is transferred to the Greenberg-Ryan group.

There's also this fantastic online reporting venue, The Newberg Report, which is usually in my Blackberry before I hit the bathroom early in the morning. Jamey Newberg, an attorney by trade, writes and reports about our Texas Rangers brilliantly. Not only is the news the quickest through his site, but his writing style is fantastic. I met Mr. Newberg at a book signing last December, as he compiles his "best of" into book for sale after every season. Any serious Texas Rangers fan needs to be subscribed to The Newberg Report, for sure.

Last and not least, there is my brother. I took him to his first Rangers game shortly after I moved to Arlington from the homeland in 1992. In fact, we got to see Fernando Valenzuela, when he came to the old Arlington park with the Baltimore Orioles. That was his and my first encounter with professional baseball and secured his loyalty to the other Texas Team in the American League.

Short of switching gears to World Cup action, I have really enjoyed watching the Rangers live and on TV.

And, I really, really, really hope the team is taken from the greedy hands of Hicks.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Moms -- A Pretty Powerful Force

Mom's are usually not associated with the word force, necessarily. When you think of mom's you think of love, tenderness, safety -- words more in tune with what is a very special relationship as a human being.


Today, the word I thought about was power and force. Why? Let me tell you a little story...

So, I awoke early and headed to the office.

Yes, I work on days like Mother's Day and Christmas.

I stopped at the local grocery store to buy the paper, and that's when I had this thought.

Parked a few spaces from me, was a vintage Chevy Caprice. It was a poster car for what we want to refer as, "gangster car or cholo car" -- you get the idea. It was resting on hydraulics and mounted on superior, expensive wheels. The paint job screamed in metallic blue, and I could almost hear the base blaring, where it not empty of a driver. Limo grade tinting on the windows, and lots of chrome everywhere.

No stereotyping here...wow.

I ogled at the car for a minute, 'cause whatever it may inspire in people, it really is a remarkable makeover for a car that's not worth its weight in scrap metal otherwise. To invest thousands of dollars on a vehicle always amazes me, but alas.

So, I made my mental impressions and started for the front door of the store. In perfect unison, here comes a kid (I can say that now at my age), carrying a beautiful arrangement of white roses, complete with balloons and other items.

The kid was inked, but wearing his "Sunday's best". He was well groomed and showed no sign of anything other giddy anticipation of delivering happiness to his momma. I followed his path (visually) to the Caprice. He fired it up (optimal engine timing, by the way) and, yes, the base started to blare. He spent quite some time making sure the roses would not tip and the balloon would not pop. Then, he was off.

I walked in the store thinking of those two words -- power and force. For the sake of this story, let's assume said kid is up to no good, most of the time. One would be tempted to assume he's ready to attack on a moment's call, or maybe his business ventures are more on the dark side than not. We could assume the worse, or maybe he just likes low riders.

Whatever we judge him to be, on this morning, this kid was groomed, dressed well and ready to offer his momma the best of him, I'm sure. It wasn't 8 a.m. -- yet --, an hour foreign to kids his age, after a Saturday night. But, within minutes his momma would receive love in several forms from her son.

I felt ashamed, for one. I didn't prepare myself for my momma as well as he did. But, I had just called my momma minutes before this story, and woke her up. Wished her a happy Mother's Day for sure.

Momma's have this effect on their sons. The fiercest of men will be tamed by their mothers. I cant' recall in my lifetime any man who did not honor his mother, his lifestyle -- however dark or bright -- notwithstanding.

It was a good way to start Mother's Day. I am married to a wonderful momma. I have my momma, a sister-momma, a momma-in-law, several grandmoms, a sister-in-law momma and for those who know me personally, most of the women in my life are mommas.

Bravo, to this kid who took care of business today.

Happy Mother's Day, mums.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

8.11 Ounce Fight With 4:1 Odds

I learned several things on my recent excursion back to the homeland. Before I get deep into the subject at hand, let me point those things out for my own sanity.

1. Sometimes the best things are those we least plan.
2. McDonald's may not be the go-to place in the long West Texas drive, anymore.

3. Though I had stuck to dad's instruction of inspecting the vehicles used for travel all these years, the time I devi
ated from it, guess what? All of dad's warnings became reality.
4. If you wish a baby delivered i
n a specified window, call my wife and sister-in-law. They'll get 'ir done.

We had been toying with the idea of not traveling to meet Illianna -- our new niece -- until she made her showing. Because we live a round total of 1200 miles from the place of birth, risking a trip without a birth could pose a burden on a future rendezvous.

That said, Spring Break seemed perfect time to travel. Colder-than-usual weather would make the trip pleasant, in spite of how much Mrs. Commish loathes the land west of Abilene. And, Mrs. Commish and girls would be off of the week. The only one needing scheduling days off would be, yes, Yours Truly.

So, we took a chance. Tuesday last we headed out to El Paso hopeful, but nervous, that lil' Illianna would not make a showing.

Regarding point number three...

I didn't even lift the hood of the car upon take-off. I figured it had just been to the shop and things were OK. Well, the 600 mile trip was uneventful, mechanically. Nevertheless, on a short trip for cook-out supplies in El Paso, the A/C brought the temperature of our car to a rise. The "the-took-care-of-it" mechanics who changed my oil left the radiator cap loose. In the middle of one of the biggest sand storms in my personal memory, the car overheated and had to be stopped. I still have red marks from the sand hitting my back, as I held the hood firmly so the wind/sand blast would not blow it through the windshield. Dad's words swirled in my mind, as I was hoping there wasn't a tornado brewing, which would lift and hurl me on the 7th hole at Ascarate Golf Course nearby.

We landed in the Sun City about 14:00-ish, and family was ready, as they always are. I couldn't turn anywhere without someone handing me a cold lager, which hit the spot. Also, the Guevara-Portillo team made -- yes -- tamales, which were ready for our arrival. Oh boy, did those hit the spot. Wow!

Well, Monica, the mom in question (my lil' sister) was without any pain or so much as discomfort upon our arrival.

We couldn't have that non-sense.

So, Mrs. Commish (my wife), decided the thing to do was to make her walk, albeit a pleasant walk. It was suggested we go to Mesilla, New Mexico, as the town would afford a pleasant scenery, certainly plenty of time to walk, walk, walk.

Like good Mexicans, we loaded 17 people in two cars. We arrived in the quaint town and began the mission.

After walking and literally dragging her around for a couple of miles (Read: Aunt Tu literally pulled her by the arm), we decided it was enough. The drive back proved we might have been successful, as she felt "water" had come out. So, she got home, showered, put on fresh clothes and the water came coming.

22:00 hours on Wednesday, St. Patrick's Day 2010 -- Admission to hospital

14:05 hours on March 18, 2010, Ilianna is born, safely but not without a fight

All systems were OK with mom and baby. In the end, it was perfect. None of this was planned this way, ergo point number 1. We took a chance traveling, but Team Lizbeth-Idaly made sure that baby came.

And, in the end, it was about being with family. It felt very good.

Regarding point number two, McDonald's was a huge let-down on both stops. On the way there the wait was so bad, we got our order free. On the way back, they couldn't get our order right, and we literally wasted more than an hour.

The only redeeming factor about the McDonald stop is I got a figure of one of my favorite warriors, my man Yoda. As you all know, I'm sure, Yoda is the ultimate in Jedi-ness, even if he can't quite get proper English grammar right.

So, this adds another girl to the Najera grandchildren, making it 4:1 in our family. Four girls to my one nephew. In this picture, Ilianna was still in the womb, but not for long.

We couldn't be prouder.

Of course, what could be better than to the end the first day of Ilianna at home than a good game of cards with family. Can you guess who the sharks are at this table? I bet you can't. Looks can be deceiving.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Great Ideas Begin With a Cold Drink and LSD

**This story is an enjoyable account of how a Mexican man can really be trying too hard. If you read this and are NOT Mexican or of some Hispanic descent of the male variety, you may be perplexed. It is important you know this about Mexican men. 1. Most of us have a full-time job. 2. Most of us also have some sort of part-time job. 3. On top of that, many of us have "side businesses" going all the time. 4. Oh, and reason we're good boxers is not because we always win, but because we never quit. Now then...

The weather was been terrible in the Chicken Friend Nation (Dallas-Fort Worth) all February. I'm talking 10 inches of snow, and rain, rain, and more rain. We haven't seen the Sun much, and our energy bill is through the roof.

In the midst of that miserable weather, which we're not used to, about the only positive thing is the real snowmen the kids got to build, the snow fights, and even the sledding down the few hills around here.

The world heard about our weather. No news there.

What did create some news in my world is a decision a family member made on the whim, as they say.

Now, this may incur -- on my behalf -- some Man Law penalties, that I'm sorta selling out a man in my family. But, he's what I call, "small market," as he's not an online person, and surely will NEVER read this.

Also, he and I had enough laughs that day (after some fine lagers and many four-letter expletives) that this serves a one of those memories...

The temperature was in the low 30s. It was about 7 p.m., on a Monday. Mrs. Commish had an event at school she organized, so I usually do what I can to support her by attending, setting things up, etc. The call came in as we had finished setting up.

"I'm stuck in the mud. Can you come help me get out?"

In Mexican man terms that really means, "I did something really, really stupid. My wife is yelling at me through the door, and I'm running out of beer."

So, I left the school, jogged back to the house, got in my truck, stopped to get a fresh supply of cool lagers and headed to the crime scene.

Let me quarterback this for you...

Their house used to be our house. Dad and I built a chain link fence on the east side of the house, which we were very proud of. It -- the house -- sits on a corner, and the garage doors are on the east, too, instead of the front like most homes.

My Mexican cohort had done the following:

In a fury of rage, after an argument about dinner -- probably --, he decided he needed a reprieve from the home front, and the perfect excuse was to deliver a generator he had sold to a guy. The generator is/was one of the bigger types, i.e., heavy as hell to handle. The generator was placed inside a storage shed (I proudly built), which sits towards the back middle of the backyard. To his defense, it is a jog from the shed to the driveway, but a much easier jog to negotiate than what he actually did.

After the dinner which, caused this alarmed state of euphoria to begin with, he had a couple "soothing drinks" to ease the moment. And, in that soothing he thought, "Why not just drive my truck all way to the shed in reverse? I can load the generator much easier that way."

Well, soothing or not, he forgot the soil in this area is painfully deceiving. And, at the time of this incident, miserably moist and soft.

The drive in reverse to the shed was no problem, though he had to turn the front tires in an awkward angle to get real close to the generator. Feeling proud, accomplished and much better, he started loading the generator.

It was getting dark and colder. There was even a slight drizzle.

The front tires, turned almost all the way, began to sink.

It didn't' matter that his is a diesel, 3/4 ton Ford. It didn't especially matter that it went in fine. The truck was officially stuck in that backyard mud, and sinking by the minute.

Remember the movie, My Cousin Vinny? Marisa Tomei kept talking about positraction (LSD, but not the drug, rather limited slip differential) rear ends? By the way, I don't think anyone can quite describe LSDs quite like she did.

His truck did not have LSD. He attempted to place some boards under the one tire that would spin but no success.

Mud was everywhere, and when I did see the situation, I began to wonder what damage this backyard mud derby would have on the sprinkler system.

His blood pressure had risen. His soothing became altered rage. His outlook was desperate.

Just then, I arrived, still dressed in business rags, but with my Dodge 4x4 (the official Dallas Cowboys truck of the Najera Family as you can see to the left).

Mexican engineering requires two things: 1. Cold beer. 2. Lots of pointless argument about the plan.

The complexity of the thing was that the truck was facing in an angle which was not conducive to a straight pull. If we tied a chain the way it was, we ran the risk of pulling the Ford straight into the north wall of the house. Really bad move.

So, we made a serious but much less dangerous decision.

I could pull the truck straight from the street. A small problem, though, kept pestering our plan. There's the matter of the fence dad and I so proudly built. We decided fences could be re-built, but trucks did not belong stuck in the mud in backyards.

Ten minutes later, the fence was down and the truck was pulled out almost effortlessly by my truck, which I was proud of. With nearly 200K miles, I wasn't sure it had that kind of torque left.

Once we tied the fence back to the posts with rope -- literally -- , we sat to enjoy a second cold lager and recap the evenings events. Needless to say, the man did not get his generator that night.

We decided that next time a great idea like this comes along, for safety, we might want to consult each other, just in case.

The sprinkler system? We shall soon find out...

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Birthday Wishes for Our Guardian

The truth is, we don't really know when he was born, or where he was born. We defaulted to the last day of February, so we'd never forget. According to his first physical at the vet's office, we calculated his birth "around this time".

A couple of summers ago, my girls were desperate to have a dog. It was the kind of desperation, which made me feel like a bad father. That other kids had dogs, and we were somehow depriving them of such a joy.

There were several reasons we had held back on finding a canine addition to mia famiglia...

1. We were still mourning the loss of Joey, who left our house one day never to be seen again. He took with him Jazmin, our younger Blue Heeler, who we're sure was snatched up by someone out there. Joey, however, was an older dog, sick and tired. I'm sure he didn't make it. We couldn't bear the thought of another dog for a while.

2. Once we got used to not having to worry about pets, it was hard getting back in that state of mind.

3. The kind of dog "we" (I used that word loosely, as it was more like "they") wanted was, shall we say, not inexpensive, certainly if we found one via a breeder or the like. The ladies wanted something furry and small for inside the house.

Up until that point, I had only had large dogs. Small dogs gave me a headache. I couldn't stand their usual high energy, ceaseless barking and biting, and attitude. I was not at all excited about having some little yappy dog give me an attitude when I came home from work. However, the tender looks of defeat I got from my girls made me give in.

So, the search began.

By the way, the thought of walking a small dog of any variety (because as much as the girls said they would do it, I knew better) around my barrio did not inspire pleasant thoughts. I'm not necessarily known as a man's man, but I do have a sports and semi-man's man reputation to up hold.

I was not going to get a Poodle. End of that story.

I was not going to get a Chihuahua, either. End of that story part deux. I don't care how funny the movie was.

I did like the Shih Tzu-esque variety. Something that looked like a walking mop.

Preliminary searches brought about many pictures that made all the ladies ooh and aah. We had found our breed. Then came the surprising revelation that these gorgeous creatures came with a tag of between $300 and $500, depending on sex and breeder. I was able to sweet-talk a lady to $250, but I wasn't sure it was my charm that got that price, rather than a not-so-healthy dog.

The search went on for 3 good months. My girls printed generic Shih Tzu pictures and glued them to their school folders. The pressure was mounting.

I was one step away from driving to the lady and the $250 Tzu, when I happened to see an offer of desperation on Craigslist. It read something like this...

"Need caring family to adopt Shih Tzu puppy. Have seven children, and getting another dog was a mistake -- for the dog. My kids are going to kill him one day. He doesn't get any sleep. And, the pit bull he has to call "roomie" scares the heck out of him. Just reimburse me vet fees."

So, I e-mailed the person to get more details. After talking, I had a good feeling about this. That and I kept looking at the picture he posted online, and the poor little fella looked so scared. We agreed to meet and I would pay him $100 for vet fees in exchange for the Shih Tzu they called, Emilio. Wish I still had the picture on Craigslist.

The day of the meeting, I called him to make sure we were still on, as the meeting place was not close to home.

No answer.

The good thing was, we had not told the girls yet. It was going to be a surprise, or at least we hoped it would be.

In fact, he did not answer for two more days. I had lost hope. I was sure he and The Brady Bunch in Dallas had decided to keep Emilio.

On day three, and almost -- again -- too late, he called. I was already talking to the $250 Tzu owner, again.

He said he had a nasty accident at work, nearly cutting his entire hand off. Wow! Good reason to be incognito.

The deal was still on, and actually reduced fees to $80 for the drive to Dallas.

Idaly and I went to pick him up. We had no clue what to expect. We met Mr. Almost-No-Hand, and the exchange was brief and fast.

Emilio was as he looked in the picture, white with brown patches and "totally adorable," as Idaly called him. He rode on Idaly's lap, shaking but not barking.

We immediately took him to the girls, who were with Aunt Tu. At the sight of the little Shih Tzu, they were soooooo surprised.

Still no barking.

And, actually, after he sniffed around for a bit, he curled up under a chair and fell asleep. That's what he did for two days -- sleep. Poor fella.

A re-naming was in order, and Snowball is what the girls called him right away. He rarely barks. He sleeps all night without incident in his kennel. And as long as we stick to a schedule, he has very few accidents inside.

And, he's totally devoted to me (of course, I feed him, walk him, et al. Why wouldn't he be devoted to me?)

He's my buddy.

So, wherever you came from, Snowball (candidly named No-balls by my male friends after his snipping surgery), happy bday pal.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

2010. A Day Late

I do realize I'm way more than a day late in posting for the year, and I really wish I had a great, worthy excuse for the few fans I managed to accumulate -- I don't.

Call it lazy.

Call it borderline mid-life crisis.

Call it overworked.

Call it overwhelmed.

The truth is, sometime between Labor Day 2009 and Super Bowl XLIV, I felt totally worn out.

In fact, I probably owe an apology to my family and close friends, who have asked, "What is wrong with you?" Nothing specific, at least that I'm aware of. As one of my birthday wishes from a high school friend states, "Hope you have a blessed year."

I not only had a blessed year, but also am blessed for what I have everyday.

The grind and the pressures can get to you, if you let them.

I've been meaning to re-fire my blog for those who do visit, and today I learned of a really funny story, which inspired me to start writin'. That and one of our local bars announced on their marquee, "Failure is the condiment which gives success its flavor."

Not that I feel I've failed. But, as I get older (a good friend warned me) I do feel like I haven't been all I can be -- especially to my girls.

Anyhow, some funny stuff:

Besides recently getting married, and besides traveling the world as a flight attendant, a cousin of ours relates a tale involving a generic Q-tip, four ear flushes and eargasms. I still haven't gotten the skinny on eargasms, but I'm sure it involves the sensation felt upon using said instrument, das Q-tip, in the ear canal, though if you came from a family like mine, they ALL said NOT to use Q-tips for the specific reason I'm about to describe.

She, our very funny and loving cousin said, "Last PM I was enjoying a 'generic Q-tip'. When I pulled it out of my ear, the cotton was gone! I sent my husband to the drug store in freezing rain (we are in NYC) for some tweezers (another wonderful, but terribly dangerous instrument for the ear canal -- author's note), and we tried for an hour to reach the cotton but nothing! Today I went to my doctor, and he flushed my ear four times until it came out finally! During a recession, don't use generic Q-tips."

The story is much more funnier [sic] for those of us who know her, the ever-faithful Cowboys fan, former Yankees fan, and soon-to-be Red Sox fan by marriage. The visual of her and Mr. K using tweezers to find the missing cotton in her ear canal alone had me rolling. And because she laughed the whole thing off (compared to my probable hysteria), I said to myself, "It's time to put that on paper, er, virtual paper."

Wonderful dates:

One of my favorite dates during the year is the Daddy Daughter Dance. This was our third time, and I was very honored my girls still want me as their date.

This one was organized and given by the City of Arlington, and they did a wonderful job. We actually have a second one coming up, as these dances have become very popular in our area with good reason. The girls looked beautiful and certainly made me look way better than I really should look. Because it is our third time, and because they are older now, the night was a lot more fun. The first time we went, I spent my time worried and sweating, making sure I never lost sight of them amongst the 1500 or so who usually attend. This time they pointed out things to me and knew exactly what to do. As long as I live I will never forget these nights with my girls.

I also met this guy at the Slant 45 kick off celebration at our school. As a member of the Dad's Club I got to be a part of this great project, which is also part of the overall Super Bowl XLV celebration.

Daryl "Moose" Johnston was part of the great three-time Super Bowl champion Cowboys squad, and was in fact sporting one of those rings on this occasion. Those dads in the room made sure our children knew who he was.

He and several A.I.S.D. V.I.P.'s were in attendance.

And speaking of exciting stuff, Mrs. Commish has really, really done well with her new gig. I think something she told me a long time ago is finally coming to fruition. Back when I met her and did my best to convince her to marry me, she would often say, "I wanted to be a social worker and work with kids, but I realized I might get too involved and want to bring them all home with me."

Well, she hasn't brought any kids home, yet. However, she has started a couple of new programs at school as their family representative, and the people who attend these programs have really, really, really thanked her for being there. She's also received a lot of praise from the school's faculty and administration. You should see the Christmas and Valentine's gifts she has received from grateful parents, faculty, students and administration.

Her success, as she turned her life in a different direction from a 15-year career as an interior designer, has really inspired me.

And, of course, we anxiously await the birth of Najera grandchild #5. We do k now it's a girl, and she is due to make her showing in March.

So, there's a couple of examples of wonderful things going on in my life. I still owe my football fantasy league a closing statement of Season VII, which I will soon post.

I hope to post regularly and will advise when I do.