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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Refugee Camp

So this past Friday, I received a call from my good good good friend, John. John and I have been friends since my sophomore (his freshman) year of college. In fact, we were such good friends, that he thought that I just might like hanging out with his dorm roommate, DJ. As in DJ, my wonderful, perfect, now late husband. So needless to say, John has been with me through thick and thin. We were skiing buddies, study buddies, party buddies, church buddies, dinner buddies, volleyball buddies, biking buddies, singing buddies, he was a groomsman in my wedding, and I was an honored guest at his recent wedding...well, you get the picture. We're tight. We even made up our own language and hand gestures that only he and I understand.

ANYWAY, a month after John married his most lovely wife, Kara, they moved to Australia so that John could finish up his research for his thesis and Kara could start hers. And after a year or so of work, they made their way back to the U.S. so that John could defend his dissertation, inteview for jobs, and get started on his professional career.

So John took on a job as a professor of Urban Planning. I was very excited for him because not only was this what he's worked for for the past 10 years of his life, but he took his job about 6 hours away from where I live. 6 hours is still a bit of a drive, but it's WAY closer than Australia, so chances are that we were going to get to visit each other relatively frequently.

So on Friday, when John called me so that we could chat, we both got giddy with the anticipation of getting to visit with each other. "I'm not sure when we'll be able to drive to Houston...Kara and I just got here 2 weeks ago and we're still trying to settle in and I just started teaching last week." But we both agreed that a visit was long over due and we promised each other that either I would visit him and Kara or they would visit me before the year was over.

That was until this past Saturday morning. I was leisurly lying in bed...watching a movie...cuddling...generally not wanting to leave my bed for the rest of the day, when I get a phone call. I looked at the caller ID - John's name was on it. Now granted, I love love love my friend, John, but I was in no mood to talk to him. Besides, I had just talked to him the day before, and our phone call had ended sort of abruptly then (his landlord had stopped by and he needed to talk to her) so I figured that he was just calling to finish our conversation. I didn't answer my phone and noted to myself that I would give him a call later in the day, after some breakfast and a shower. But he kept calling and calling and calling until after the 4th call from him, I decided that I would answer my phone. This is how our conversation went:

me: "Hello?"

John: "Hey, Merry Widow! Remember how I said that Kara and I wanted to come and visit you sometime soon?"

me: "Yeah."

John: "Well, do you mind if we come over today? We have nothing to do this weekend."

me: "Are you kidding? You're totally welcome any time!"

John: "Oh good. We'll leave from here in an hour. Oh, by the way, we'll be bringing lots of stuff with us...they're making us evacuate the city."

me: "Huh? Evacuate?"

John: "Yeah. Apparentlly there's some hurricane on its way. So we figured this was a good chance to come visit you in Houston."

me: "But you don't even have a car yet. How are you gonna get here?"

John: "I'm at the car rental place right now. We just rented the LAST car in all of New Orleans...."

That's right...John took his job as a professor at the University of New Orleans. He and Kara were just settling into their home on St. Charles Avenue, located in the Garden District of New Orleans, about 3 blocks from the French Quarter.

So right now, I'm housing 2 New Orleans refugees. My mother-in-law/father-in-law (who live about 5 minutes away from me) took in 4 other New Orleans friends plus one cat. And a family friend (who lives down the street from the in-laws) took in 10 people, 2 dogs, and 3 cats.

And now it looks like H-Town is gonna open up the Astrodome for all of the Superdome refugees.

New Orleans is our fun and crazy neighbor - only a 5-6 hour drive from Houston (depending on where you live.) I'm sure that most people here have some sort of tie to the Big Easy. Needless to say, we've all been glued to the TV, trying to get any information that we can about the homes and lives of all of our friends. So far, it looks like my refugees have lost EVERYTHING.

Please keep them, and the rest of the victims in your prayers.

***Editor's Note***
Big thank you to everyone who has emailed/posted comments as to how they can help my friends. Your kindness is overwhelming. We ask that you instead send your help/prayers/positive thoughts to the victims stuck in the Astrodome, and other shelters throughout the nation. Thanks again.

posted by The Merry Widow at 2:30 PM | 9 comments

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Sex & The Lone Star State

Random guy: "I don't know if you know this, but you have a beautiful smile. I had to come over here just to tell you that."

Me: "Thanks."

Random guy: "Can I buy you a drink?"

Me: "No thanks. I'm good."

Random guy: "But I just told you that you had a beautiful smile."

Me: "Do you tell your wife that she has a beautiful smile too?"

Random guy: "What makes you think I have a wife?"

Me: "The fact that you're still wearing your wedding ring."

Random guy: "Oh yeah...that...."

I thought this sort of stuff only happened on TV. So when someone decides to make my life into a TV show, I want Salma Hayek to play me. Christina Applegate can be cast as my smart, funny, raunchy best friend. Sarah Jessica Parker can be an extra. The show will be called, "Just because I'm sitting here at the bar, without a man next to me, doesn't mean that I want to go home with you. Oh, and see that guy across the way watching us? He is my boyfriend and he'll kick your ass the minute I ask him to. So go away now." Either that, or it will be called, "Guys are Stupid." I don't know...I can't decide right now. The theme song will be "How We Do" by The Game. Either that or "Total Eclipse of the Heart" by Bonnie Tyler. Again, I can't decide.

posted by The Merry Widow at 9:46 PM | 16 comments

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

That was my intention with him. I figured that the longer I went without seeing him, the faster I would get over my crush on him. So when Batman's sidekick* called me 3 weeks ago and asked me if I wanted to go to the local bar, I said no. I knew that this bar was his bar and I knew that chances were high that I would see him there if I went. But she twisted and pulled and tugged at my arm until I caved in and agreed to go with her. And who am I kidding? Of course I wanted to run into him.

Forget the fact that he called me while I was in NYC. Forget the fact that he called me while I was in Colorado. I couldn't see him and I was having way too much fun without him. Out of sight, out of mind.

But then I came back. And life returned to normal. I was working late, getting back into my exercise routine, catching up on blogs, and maintaining a tranquil status quo. That is, until 2 weeks ago.

My SS friend** calls me and asks if I want to go to a CD release party with her. The guy releasing the CD is a mutual friend, so of course I happily accept the invitation. So I put on my best skank-ho, rapper-groupie attire (the CD is of the hip hop genre - so I wasn't about to show up dressed as Scientist Merry Widow...I had to change into bootylicious Merry Widow,) I meet a friend at the pub for a few pre-show drinks, and then we both head out to the party, primed for a night of socializing, laughing, and dancing. And you know what? He never even crossed my mind that night. Out of sight, out of mind...that is until we finally showed up at the party.

We pulled into the parking lot, right next to his car. "Shit." I whisper under my breath. "What's wrong?" my friend asks. "Oh nothing. That's his car. He's here." "Did you guys have a fight or something?" "No, nothing like that...I just don't want to see him. I'm trying to get over my crush and...well...out of sight, out of mind, you know?" "Do you wanna leave?" "No, no...I'll be fine. I'm here to see other people anyway. Good times will be had," I proclaim as I grab one of my 8 million new purses and get out of the car.

We walk in and right away I hear him calling out my name, "MERRY WIDOW!!! I was just asking J if you were gonna show up. Where have you been?" "You know where I've been. I was on vacation." "I know, but didn't you get back like a week ago? Why haven't you called?" "I don't know...I've been busy at work." This was the truth. I had a presentation to give the week following my return from NYC/Colorado and I had been staying at work late to get it done and perfect it. At that just that moment, I spot another friend of mine, so I excuse myself to go and say hi. Later on, Batman's sidekick pulls me aside and whispers, "You know, he's been watching you all night." "Like stalking me?" I jokingly ask. "That's just my luck...I always get the psycho ones." "No! You know what I mean, he's just keeping an eye on you." I let a small smile form on my face, but inside I was jumping up and down, doing flips and cartwheels and squeeling with joy. "That's cool." I casually comment. But I knew that no matter how hard I tried not to physically see him, no matter how much he was out of sight, he had now entered my mind, found a big, relaxing, reclining chair, and made himself comfortable right smack dab in the middle of my restless brain.

And since then, it's been impossible to get him out of mind...he's been in my sight every night since.

Footnotes:
*obvious alias
**another cryptic codename

posted by The Merry Widow at 9:11 PM | 15 comments

Monday, August 08, 2005

Is this the beginning of the end? Or the end of the beginning?

I am now officially 29 years of age. It's the last year of my 20's, so I better make it a good one. So I started it off with a bang (and a few margaritas) and went out for dinner and drinks with a few good friends. The usual good time was had, but what I what I was really looking forward to was my annual "It's The Merry Widow's Birthday so let's take her on her annual birthday vacation" trip. It's been a tradition for my parents and me to go to Vegas for my birthday every year. I've spent every single birthday there since my 21st birthday. (Thanks, Daddy and Mommy!) But this year we decided that we needed a change. And I decided that I wanted to spend the beginning of my last year of my 20's in The Big Apple. And yeah, I had the best time of my life, I bought 8 million new purses, and I even got to eat breakfast at Tiffany's on 5th Avenue. OK, so maybe I just snuck a bite of my bagel that I had shoved into my new Coach purse while I was in Tiffany's, but still, a bagel is a breakfast food, so I think it counts. Anyway, I totally totally love NYC and now want to move there and have like 10 million of its babies. But I digress...

I am now officially 29 years of age. It's the last year of my 20's, so I better make it a good one. So after my trip to NYC, I flew out to the beautiful state of Colorado (hey, Big Heavy!) and went up to Breckenridge (10,000 feet above sea level) for a wedding. I had forgotten how high altitude affects one's ability to consume copious amounts of alcohol, so after 2 beers, I was pretty much toast. And anyone who knows me in real life knows that I can usually drink like a fish. But the good news was that no one can drink much at 10,000 feet above sea level, so I wasn't the only person doing the robot while the Polish band played the 8 millionth polka wedding song during the reception. But I digress...

I am now officially 29 years of age. It's the last year of my 20's, so I better make it a good one. Maybe it's time that I did something about spreading my husband's ashes. Before he died, he decided that he did not want to spend eternity in Texas. (Good man, he was...that's why I married him.) So we both decided that the best way to arrange his transport would be to cremate him so that I could easily move him to Colorado (where we met and got married) and I could spread his ashes there. Well, 2 and a half years later, I still hadn't done it. I thought of a million excuses as to why I couldn't do it: work, money, conflicting schedules with my in-laws, I had to wash my hair...you know, the usual.

But alas, I figured that if I was really gonna make this last year of my 20's count, then I really needed to finally close the DJ chapter and get myself (and my parents, and his parents, and his brother) all out to Colorado so that we could finally put him to rest.

So we did. While I was in Colorado, my parents, my in-laws, and my brother-in-law all met up with me and we drove to an undisclosed location in the mountains of Colorado. We did some hiking, found a beautiful spot at the edge of a small cliff that overlooked a lot of the 14,000 foot rocky mountains and spread his ashes. My father-in-law made a small cedar cross to stake into the ground, my mother-in-law brought lots of beautiful flowers to lay by the cross, my dad brought some of DJ's favorite chocolate for us to enjoy, and my mom brought the hugs and kleenex. My father-in-law read a passage from the bible (Psalm 31, I believe) and my mother-in-law read a small prayer. My dad spread the ashes as I looked out into the mountains, absorbing the beauty of it all, and breathing the fresh rocky mountain air. And I thought to myself, I am officially 29. This is the last year of my 20's and DJ would want me to make it a good one. So far, so good.

posted by The Merry Widow at 1:08 AM | 22 comments

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Patience, Young Grasshopper

Can't a girl go on vacation to NYC and not post anything while she's there??? Sheesh!

posted by The Merry Widow at 12:08 PM | 16 comments
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