Sunday, August 17, 2008


So this week with our anniversary, it has caused me much reflection.  Quite a bit of it about my Mom.

Growing up, I was number three, behind a sister and brother in that order.  I think in many ways (if my memory doesn't fail me) that I was a surprise, being a boy I mean.  There aren't many photos of me as an infant and into toddler-dom, as being number three, my parents had tired of the camera thing.  I'm OK with that.  I used that as fuel to claim I was adopted to which I usually got a spanking cause my mouth would rattle on.

Any how, I digress.  Christina came along, then Bert, then Russell.  Now Christy and I were about 2 1/2 years apart and we loved being with my Mom.  In fact, I think that Christy and I grew up in every craft and fabric store in Henderson and Las Vegas.  We were always close, still are.  I can talk to her about anything that is going on in my life if I need to.  Back to the story.

So as a second son, I grew up pretty much as a Mama's boy, doing everything in my power to please her, and spending as much time with her as possible.  When I hit about 12 or 13, I started helping my Dad at his part time job as a night custodian for the school district, specifically at our elementary school.  I think the timing was great.  I had a wonderful solid relationship with Mom, and began building the same with Dad.  To this day, I count my parents among my best friends as well as my parents (never losing sight of that, even though we could vehemently disagree with each other on various topics).  

I remember homemade chocolate chip cookies and homemade bread.  "Tuffies", fried bread hot with melted butter.  I remember Christmas crafts and divinity flavored with Hawaiian punch concentrate.  I remember pumpkin rolls and homemade fudge.  I remember her creamed corn (now a staple at many of our holiday meals) and swiss steak with mushrooms, and beef stroganoff over rice.  I remember homemade shirts with zippers instead of buttons (think late 60's and early 70's).  I remember homemade ice cream and Family Home Evenings (which we groaned about participating in).  Sunburns so bad we would be sick and she would take care of us.  Mom kissing Dad and us kids telling them to get a room.  These are just a few that fill my heart right now.

With Mom's passing, I have felt a void.  Something that I didn't think would happen because I had prepared myself for her passing for about the last 12 to 18 months.  Even Princess has noticed.  I go through the motions, working hard, taking care of the house, spending quality time with Princess, but still there is a void, a selfish void, wanting my Mom here with me but without pain and suffering from Cancer.  I know that Heavenly Father's plan calls for us all to be born, to live (however long that may be), and to die.  I have a firm testimony of this.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that I am amazed at how much I miss Mom.  We used to talk two or three times per week, sometimes long, sometimes a quick "hello, I love you".  And I am grateful that we had those talks.

I have taken to writing her letters, describing the week's happenings, any good news, and also any frustrations that I may have been feeling.  It's has helped me tremendously.

I know the void will be with me for the rest of my life.  And I know that time will heal the pain that the void causes within my heart.  The letters are like "band-aids" over the wound, or salve for the wound.  They really are helping.

Also, I am homesick.  I love living here in Central Texas.  Princess and I have good friends, some that are family to us, great neighbors and a wonderful Church family, but, I miss seeing my family, holding them in my arms, and having a good laugh with each one of them.  I jokingly told Princess to play the Lotto and that if we won, we would move back to Vegas or closer to Vegas, so that we could go and spend long weekends with them.  Who knows, stranger things have happened (note, we do not play the lottery - well not that often, only if it is big numbers :-).

Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.  Jim

Saturday, August 16, 2008


This my friends has been a great week.  Monday I was in Beaumont for work, staying until Wednesday.  As it turned out, I got to come home on Tuesday, a whole day early.

Thursday at 10:10 AM, Princess and I celebrated 21 one years of wedded bliss.  We both took the day off.  We slept in, had a nice breakfast, then went and celebrated with a movie.  We saw the Mummy 3.  It was good, not as good as the others, but enjoyable and entertaining.  

After we came home from the movie, we just relaxed, or as our neighbor's daughter says "chillax".   For our anniversary dinner, we went to China in celebration of the Olympics.  Actually, we went to Cathay House for some scrumptious grub.  We came home, watched some TV and retired.  Quite a great way to spend time together.

Friday we went to Austin to purchase a gift for Princess.  She got this, which is in her signature green color.  I got this (which was supposed to be all black, but by the time we got it home and I opened it, I didn't care).  I also got some movies which was great.

Today we have been furniture shopping.  We need a new matress set for our bed (15 years on a set rated for 10 years is really getting your money's worth), and we want new furniture for the living room.  We'll see what our budget holds for us.

Twenty one reasons I love Princess
1) Because of who she is
2) Christ like love
3) Talents
4) Smile
5) Beauty
6) Charm
7) Style
8) Love of God
9) Humility
10) Cooking (anyone who has dined around our table knows this to be true)
11) Crafts
12) Shopping
13) Love - she exudes it
14) Worker
15) Mother - she dotes on everyone
16) Reminds me of my Mother (in a good way)
17) Great Laugh
18) Sense of Humor
19) Patient
20) I'm the luckiest Man in the World
21) She picked me - I definitely married up!

Love you Princess - Happy 21 - Jim

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Friendly Skies 2

I'm home now.  Got here yesterday, leave tomorrow!  Ahhhh!  The life of an executive - NOT!  

So, Princess picked me up from the airport around 7:00 PM yesterday, we went to HEB, then to Taco Bueno (delicious dinner - she slaved all day to make), then home to do laundry, get caught up - you know the drill.

OK, I arrived at Newark, with my three bags in hand, the one I gate checked (thank goodness, the underclothes and toiletries travelled with me), my backpack - never ever check this, and my trusty Duffel.  While selecting my seat, the computer prompted me asking if I would like to give up my seat for a later flight home for $300.  Of course, I said no.  Then I realized that the flights would be super booked, and saw this when I chose my seat.  After my previous experience checking a bag, you would think I would not trust them for any of my baggage, but I threw caution to the wind, checked BOTH my bags (with a promise from the agent that they would both arrive) and proceeded to security.

At security, the barely English speaking man, looked at my ID, looked at my boarding pass and announced "You are elite, that line over there".  I looked over my shoulder to see a long line, and looked back to see a short line.  I said "That's OK, I'll just go here", to which he promptly said "No".   I told him I didn't mind, and he told me no again.  So being top tier elite with my airline translated into "go stand in long line", to which I did.

Long story short, I was upgraded to first class, had a lovely cold plate with cheese, fruit, cold cuts, and crackers.   Arriving in Waco, greeted by Princess with a huge hug and kisses (I know, a little too much info), we proceeded to the great big baggage carousel.  I told her I was hosed if my bags didn't come, not enough clean underclothes for the coming week (I KNOW, TMI).  Any hoo, my bags, yes both of them, were second and third off the carousel!!  Yeah!  My faith in air travel is restored!

Again dear readers, when you have lost luggage, don't get mad, don't scream, rant, rave, yell, etc., ask for CASH for new clothes!!!  It'll make you and everybody else feel better.


Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Friendly Skies

For the most part, many of you know that I travel for work. I travel by car and by airplane, never by boat. As such, I am very familiar with the "311" of the travel industry, and much to other peoples chagrin (can you beat that), I try to share this knowledge with others to be helpful.

Sunday I travelled to Little Rock, AR, not returning until this coming Saturday (I know, poor Princess), so I packed my roll-a-board bag and found I needed more space. I got out my trusty little duffle bag and packed it out too. Arriving at the airport early, I checked in, got my boarding pass, and after discussing that as a platinum elite member, I could carry three bags on board, I made the most hideous mistake...I CHECKED MY TRUSTY DUFFLE BAG! Now why are you shouting Jim? Because, the airline lost it.

Arriving in Little Rock, I traversed the airport to the baggage carousel, where I found no duffle bag waiting for me. I went back to the ticket counter, filled out the form to file for a lost bag, and left the airport. Before leaving, I was told to call this 1-800 number in an hour to see if the bag would be on the next flight. So I drove around Little Rock looking for something to eat and to pass the time away. NADA! ZIP! All I could find were fast food places - BLECH!!! I settled on a convenience store, bought some nuts, water and a root beer. Then I called the number - no luck, bag still gone. Then the airline realized that I am an elite member, transferred me to the "elite" desk where I was attended too. Oh yes Mr. XXXXX, you will have your bag tonight. It will be delivered to the tiny remote town two hours away. HAH! I Say, HAH! Again!

I ended up buying a pair of pants, shirt, and socks at the local Wally's world to get me by (I was not showing up in my shorts and polo shirt I travelled in. Worked the day away (la la la la ), only to return to Little Rock, encounter a not so friendly person on the 1-800 number, who then told me to go out and shop some more - spend up to $250! Yep, I did, with Wally's world and KOHL's, I got in about $200 that the airline will reimburse to me.

This morning, while checking in for my flight to the east coast, gues what awaited me??? MY TRUSTY DUFFLE BAG! It found it's way to me. So I packed all my dirty clothes into it, put the new stuff in my roll-a-board, checked the duffle bag to NJ, and when I arrived here in NJ, there it was on the carousel - my duffle - so now I have clothes galore, some old, some new. I have learned one important thing from this trip. Don't get mad and yell when they lose your bag, ask for money to buy new clothes - it worked for me.