Category Archives: Houston

till living doesn’t feel like giving up


About twice a month, sometimes three or four times a month I have to travel to different municipal or state agencies to file things for clients of my company. And now and again I’ll go see a few of clients during the month.

As a result I see quite a bit of the city as I drive around. Probably not nearly as much as some outside sales people but more than your average guy stuck in an office.

So last week I was on my way back from the State Comptroller’s Office and I saw a guy on a corner holding a sign. There are so many people doing this. Unbelievable how many. And it’s sad that in our country people have had to resort to this to stay alive.

But for some I wonder if it really is their last option. I mean there’s a a young guy (mid to late 20’s) near my office who claims on his sign to be a Marine Corps veteran. I don’t know, maybe he is. There is a couple that looks to be in their mid-50’s who wheel their down syndrome daughter out to the side of the road with them asking for money. There is one woman I remember seeing who put on such a display of despair as motorists drove by I felt embarrassed for her because it seemed so fake.

Maybe I’m just too jaded or I don’t know… wary. But these three examples of people begging for subsistence seems like an act. And so last week, when I saw yet another guy, holding a sign, I didn’t think much of it but the light turned red and I had a chance to…

well to pay a little more attention.

I don’t know. Something about his posture. Something about him just made me think twice give in. So I rolled down my window and gave him a few dollars. When he came up to me I said, “hang in there brother. Hang in there.” He said, “I’m trying. I’m giving it all to God. God bless you young man. Thank you so much.”

In our exchange he seemed ashamed and I couldn’t tell if it was sweat or tears that lined his cheeks but I was moved.

I don’t know what his story is. I don’t know if he really is out of work, is mentally disturbed, a scam artist, an artist artist, or Jesus come down to judge us but this song by a local singer/songwrier was playing on my CD player as I sat at the red light and it made the whole scene… the whole interaction so much more real.  And I felt sorry for him. And I prayed a little prayer for him. And I had tears in my eyes, perhaps not only for him but myself as well.  I am thankful for grace of God, my good fortune and own determination that I am not in his place.

Music by Sara Van Buskirk
Find more of Sara’s music here

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wherein the Deist and Deistette praise God OR….


W E ‘ R E   F A R M E R S !!

So during the four weeks when I was doing the demolition and reconstruction of our kitchen (see post below) I decided since I was in a building kind of mood I would construct a little raised garden bed.  “Little” is the key word here.  It’s only two and a half feet by five and a half feet.

It’s really cool though.  I can hardly believe it. (click the thumbnails to see bigger pics)

Emmie and I have talked about doing one since… well since before we even met.  For a little more than a decade I’ve had the notion of living off the land, raising a few chickens and goats and having a garden that could sustain my family.  Keep in mind I know nothing about country living or farming and ranching but like I said for years I’ve had the desire to do this. I even bought my own little piece of Texas about nine years ago with the hopes of doing it some day.

Emmie told me when we first met online that she has had the dream of being able to have her own vegetable garden for years as well.

Well, she ain’t much but here it is.

Our little plot of earth that will soon release her bounty.  🙂  And with God’s good grace and laws of physics He has set in place (and hopefully despite my complete lack of knowledge) we will have at least some fresh veggies from our own garden.

We started by planting seeds back in February.  That may have been a bit early but like I said we don’t really know what we’re doing.  Continue reading

children trying to do what they can for Haiti


Vodpod videos no longer available.

Pretty good stuff.  Above is video of some local elementary school students trying to raise relief funds for Haiti.  I imagine there are kids all over the country setting up lemonade stands trying to do what they can.  What they raised isn’t much but like I learned in the Marine Corps… “ounces make pounds.”

Get on witcha bad self kids.  Sell that lemonade.

new fangled machinery


So a few months ago, The Deistette and I had the AC die at the house. What a nightmare. I don’t know how people lived here in Houston before air conditioning.

Well, we had a guy come out and he said the fan motor was dead. I was really hoping it would be something easy because I barely had the 60 bucks for the service call.

He said he could replace it for 750 bucks. 😐 I felt my butt pucker.

But…
(of course there’s a but)
But… although the fan motor would be new, more than likely as old as the entire unit was (26 years old) it was just a matter of time (a short amount of time) before other stuff on the unit would die. A relay here, a switch there, a thinga-ma-bob here, a whutzit there. He said when stuff started breaking down it would probably cost another good 700 or 800 bucks. Again my butt puckered. Had I been in prison I’d be the belle of the ball!

He said for just a little more money I could get a brand new unit. Well, like I said I barely had the 60 bucks for the service call so I told him I’d have to wait.

My mom got wind of my predicament (thanks to my brother) and so she came to the rescue. She doesn’t really have the money but she said she’d get by.

Mumma is awesome! Thanks be to Mumma!, she who is most awesome!  A pic of Mumma from a post last year.

We got our AC replaced, did a happy dance, sent her thank you card and let her know The Little Man would be happy not have heat rash anymore.

So fast forward to last night.

The service tech from the AC company came by unexpectedly and said he came by to replace a vent on the unit. I asked him about the heater and where the pilot light was on the new unit. We had wanted to turn on the heater once or twice lately but hadn’t been able to.

The nights and mornings have been unusually cool down here on the Gulf Coast Plains for those of us who grew up here and have thinned-out blood. For me 50 degrees was feeling pretty cold.

The guy looked at me like I was some kind of moron and said you don’t have a pilot light. He could see the look of confusion quite easily that I was trying to hide. He said, “well, you see this is a brand new unit. It has electronic ignition that fires up the gas for the heat exchanger.”

I felt like those old timers who say stuff like, “What! Whatdya mean you can put a card in this machine and get money out. It’s called a what?… an ATM?”

Or…

“What? Put paper in this machine and it will send a copy all the way across town? What’s this thing called?… a Fax machine?”

Yeah… in my head I was actually thinking, “What the hell are you talking about! It doesn’t have a pilot light?!? Electronic ignition!”

What the hell will they think of next.

[Deist heads out to lunch and thinks to himself, the next thing you know they’ll be talking about cars that run on water or engines that run on perpetual motion and magnets. ]

Santa’s home to be underwater


I listen to AM talk radio every now and then and one thing I’ve noticed about the very conservative hosts is that when it comes to the environment… namely, global warming, they all claim it’s a scam, a fear tactic, and one guy here in Houston who has the afternoon drive time slot on one of the stations calls it, “silly.”

They say Al Gore made his “little movie” touting global warming but didn’t use real science in his claims. They’ll say the weather is cyclical and that a degree or two of variance is ridiculous to get alarmed over.

I don’t know man… I just don’t see how they can say things like that when you see stuff like in the video below. I can’t remember where I heard or saw this… maybe it was Al Gore’s movie, that global warming won’t mean the earth will get hot. Global warming will cause us to get cold.

I guess we’ll know for certain if the North Pole actually disappears during the summer one year, The Great Conveyor Belt just stops and things get a little chilly.

Tell me what you think. I think we’re screwed.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I think Jesus built my UU church


Yep… I said it. I believe with all my heart that Jesus built my UU church. And it’s in this place that Jesus built where I’ve been able to learn about sacrificial love, compassion for all living things and helping those weaker than me.

And a couple of weeks ago I told The Little Man I believed Jesus built our church as we were pulling into the parking lot.

I should back-track a little before going any further in why I think this. I mean it must seem odd for The Deist, especially one of a UU persuasion to be making such statements.

A few weeks ago The Little Man (for new visitors here, The Little Man is my wife’s son… my stepson) and The Deistette were going to check out another church… a Methodist church and so I felt obligated to tell him a little about what he might see there. So Emmie and I naturally began with Jesus. We told him there are some people who believe in a man named Jesus and that they believe he is God.

And he said, “well, what about the real God? Do they believe in God?”

“Well, yes… but they believe Jesus was His son and is God also.”

He couldn’t quite grasp the concept. I have to be honest it perplexes me, too.

So we told him that Continue reading

a little coincedence today


Well, I guess the time, let alone the seconds, don’t show on the date stamp of this post but on my computer the time was:

12:34pm and 56 seconds.  The date…  July 8, 2009

Pretty cool huh.

Get it?

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

Ok, i’m a dork.

it wasn’t her time


The Deistette gave me a pretty bad scare about a week ago… a really big scare.

She almost died.

She has high blood pressure and on occasion her heart gets extremely elevated. She has meds for both but doesn’t take them on a regular basis for one, because she doesn’t have health insurance anymore and to get refills would cost money we don’t have.  And two… her blood pressure stays relatively ok half the time. So she takes them when she thinks she really needs them to bring either her BP or heart rate down should it get pretty high that day because she monitors her blood pressure and heart rate at least twice, if not three times a day.

Well, we were in a rush, we were hungry and trying to remember stuff to bring with us for errands to run later.  So she forgot about having taken her blood pressure medicine three hours earlier and after checking her heart rate, took the heart med that lowers it.  Not a good thing to do.

About an hour later Continue reading

a birthday present for Little Fawn


I kinda glazed over the fact that Little Fawn had a birthday a couple of days ago. And it was a big one… at least in Mexican culture it’s a big one: 15.

My baby girl turned 15 on Tuesday. God, I can remember so vividly the day she was born. I’ll have to write about that one later. I had talked with a few friends and even my mom about throwing a big party for her… a quinceanera. But it just wasn’t in the cards.

It’s a pretty big deal when a Mexican girl turns 15. Not having really been raised as a Mexican I couldn’t tell you what that is but apparently it involves dressing the birthday girl in the gaudiest, trashiest dress one can find. Google quinceanera and you’ll see more examples.

Quinceanera Dresses Continue reading

some relaxation for a change


The Deistette has been hounding me for the longest time to go to the arboretum here in town and I finally conceded. She loves doing things like this and I was constantly resisting.

Turns out I should have done this a long time ago. For one, it makes her happy. And secondly, it was pretty nice to just get away from the house and our part of town for a little walk about.

deistette-photo-bug Here are some pics from the hour or so that we spent there.

This is one of Emmie using my camera. Sorry it’s a little dark but I didn’t change the settings on my little point and shoot before taking this one. It’s the first time she’s held a camera that wasn’t a point and shoot in her hands. She doesn’t know much about the basics of photography but she got a couple of pretty cool shots.

Here are two she got that were really nice. Continue reading