Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In This Corner

I was thinking about it yesterday. I was looking at David and thinking about what kind of turbulent love life he's going to lead. The crushes, the cold shoulders, the love notes and the less than amicable partings. They all take you somewhere though.

I say that because we all have a journey to find ourselves. (No, not in that existential or emotional retreating phraseology.) Some of us know early on and are literally blessed with self knowledge. For me, it was coming to terms with who I am, what I want and who I need to surround myself with and put in my corner for the biggest fights of my life. I chased, I flirted, I teased and I begged but, each time a parting came, I discovered a bit more of who I was. I'd look back and wonder, "What the heck was I thinking?" I started to try to make myself happy and not believe my happiness was the water that overflowed from my filling the empty vessel belonging to someone else. You can't go blindly throwing everything you have into a relationship hoping it will yield the same force back. That is... unless you find your cornerman or cornerwoman.

I'm up looking at the clock thinking... 2 years ago today, I made an amazing acceptance. I found an amazing woman. Her heart is open, loving and tender but it's ready to put itself into harms way for a select few. She strives to do better for her family. Her worries of letting people down prods her to go above and beyond. She would give up her own happiness to make her son, her husband or any member her family happy. And... she's much much more.  I can't express everything that she is to me but there is no need to catch overflowing water when your vessel is also being filled. There is also no blindness when you see the active force of love coming back at you. I'm blessed to have found you, sweetheart, and you make me all that I can be.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Only Garth

I know that it looks like I'm starting to promote Las Vegas concerts. You may be partially right there. My wife is a huge fan of Garth Brooks. I'm a fan but never saw him live before. She's such a big fan that she woke me up, from a dead sleep, excited with the news that Brooks would start performing at the Wynn in Las Vegas at the end of last year. We couldn't afford the tickets early on and waited. Our tax return and the timing of our anniversary made tonight's performance a must.

She had the purchase of the tickets all worked out. She would wake up early, set up a few computers and two phones with the intention to get through and get tickets. The excitement faded after a few hours. The venue had just launched their anti-scalping policy which pretty much locked up their servers and phone lines. The phones were busy and the window applet that said she was 'in cue' would just time-out. Frustrated, she told me that she was done and was going to her mother's house to feed the dogs. When she returned, she tried again... and got through. The smile on her face when she came to tell me "Guess what?" had replaced the tears from earlier. We were to go with our friends Jennifer and Ryan (but that is a long story that, to protect the names of the innocent, must be saved for my memoirs -- due out July 26th 2041 via Simon & Schuster.)

Getting the tickets there was a breeze and they even had refreshments if the lines got bad. The solitary guitar sitting on its stand on the stage, viewed when walking into the Encore Theater, tells you right-away that it was going to be an intimate show. It was. As you may know, I'm first and foremost a fan of music history more than a particular artist. Brooks takes you along his personal history and I'm sure more than half of the audience went home to Google the likes of Merle Haggard, George Jones, James Taylor, Simon & Garfunkel, Gladys Knight And The Pips, George Strait, Reba McEntire and Chris LeDoux (among others.) He teased with renditions of those songs -- laying the basis for what would become his own sound. Personal, laugh-out-loud humorous and thoughtful, you get to see a side of Garth that few do. He didn't let fans down that wanted to hear his songs either... you might have thought that from the description. He ripped into several classics, tested himself with a few songs the audience threw at him and brought out his wife Trisha Yearwood for a duet and her own hit single before winding down the show himself.

I have seen a lot of concerts. I don't review them often because the recorded medium and live arena are so different yet many just want to hear 'the hits' played just like on the album. That's not the way to judge a live performance. Of all the shows that I've seen, Garth Brooks' current low-key (a man and his guitar) set was quite possibly the best that I've ever seen. If you weren't a fan, you became one. If you were a fan, you got to know the man. And, I don't think that you can put a price tag on that.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Do You Want Another One? -- Happy Anniversary, Tulip

I figure that it's time to tell a dog story. This one takes us back to just about this moment a whole 365 days ago. It had been an interesting 4 months with our puggle puppy Bella. She was chewing on everything and excreting about anywhere she could. When we went to pick her up for David's birthday, Kerry and I discussed dog names and she said, "I've always wanted to call a dog Tulip." I told her that there was no way I would call a dog that. So, Twilight fan that she was... she had another name set aside. So when we put the puppy in the car, I asked David what he wanted to call her. He asked his mom what she thought was a good name... hence, Bella came into our home and vocabulary.

So it was now 4 months or so later and I'm sitting at work. My friend Corey came up to me out of the blue and asked, "Do you want another one?" Of course, my reaction is, "Another what?" So he goes on to explain that his wife has a bad habit of scanning the LIED Animal Shelter dog listings every night and she found another puggle. I didn't know what to think. If you asked me a year beforehand if I'd wanted even one dog, I'd have said that I didn't have the time, energy or room to devote to one. Now, I was entertaining the idea of a second dog. So, I told him that I'd check it out online and see if it was still there.

Kerry woke up when I got home early the next morning (as I usually do.) I was checking it out online and told her the story. We then both looked online and saw a very small photo. We talked about how another more mature dog could calm Bella down and keep her company when we weren't there. We decided that I'd go to the shelter the following morning and check out the dog just for kicks. I woke up early on March 5th and walked through the area looking at all the dogs. I didn't see this puggle anywhere and was heading back towards the car when I decided to ask someone.

When I asked about the dog, the man at the desk's eyes lit up. "You've come to check her out? She's such a sweetheart. We have no idea why she's been here this long. Here, let me get someone to show you where she is." She was there for well over a month (or about 3 if I remember right.) I guess, there is a viewing area and an area in back where dogs can go potty and sit in the sun a little... so I didn't see her. I used my cellphone and took a few photos of this shy little dog and sent them to Kerry. She quickly responded, "Get her! Get her now!" So, I didn't protest. We went to a little fenced-in grass area to see how she'd get along with me. She kind of kept to herself but was very calm. She would even hide behind the worker's leg. She'd been abandoned and that can't do well in the area of trust. "I'll take her," I said.

I sat there filling out the paperwork at LIED and it really hadn't hit me yet. The same man that called her a 'sweetheart' told me that because she'd been there so long, they'd let her go for... $25. Yes, that's right. After I got my jaw off the floor and handed him the money, he had me resume the paperwork. That's when he said, "You can wait to name her if you want and send the rest of the papers in later." If you know me by now, I don't do well with loose deadlines so I wanted it out of the way. That's when I remembered how Kerry really wanted a dog named Tulip. I started biting my nails. Was I going to break any manly oath that I'd made to myself to not name a dog after a flower and please my wife? You bet.

We were still a little concerned as to if she'd been fixed as she didn't have any scars or stitches but we'd later find out that she just healed really well. We hadn't told David and he was even more excited than before (as he'd been avoiding the little chew-monster Bella.) It was when I raised my voice at Bella, my heart first broke for Tulip. She peed right where she stood. Then she slowly went to the other side of the house. She thought I was upset with her and it worried me that this dog had to have gone through some really hard times. Never again! Never again without a home. Never again not knowing she belonged. I had to work later that night, but all I could think about was her adjusting to her new home. Kerry went shopping for a crate and extras on her way home from work.

So, this dog, that hops on our bed in the morning to snuggle near one of my legs, mini-howls when she's excited (usually around food) or licks me just because my hands are near her, has changed me more than I ever expected. We've always thought of Bella as Kerry's dog, as she follows her wherever she goes and snuggles up with her on the recliner at night. Sure, she's David's dog but emotionally, there is a bond there. And I have my own bond with Tulip. She makes me smile for some of the silliest reasons but she also has a piece of my heart that I will never get back. So, I'm thankful that one year ago today, a friend asked me, "Do you want another one?"