Category Archives: cathartic

click story


I have an old Mac laptop that seems to be running on last legs. I didn’t update the operating system like I should have (read: at all) and so this old 2005 machine is still running OSX Tiger. Knowing that it’s only a matter of time before it decides it just can’t bear to come to life even one more day, I’ve been transferring files to an external drive. In doing so, I ran across something I had posted at a blogging buddy’s place back in early 2010. I thought I had cross post it here but I can’t find it.  I thought it was worth sharing again so here it is.

To give a little context, this friend had a blog where occasionally she would have blog friends contribute what she called a “click” story… a personal story where the writer had learned some grand lesson.  Below is my contribution.
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Leslie asked me months ago if I would write a click story for her and I quickly said yes.  I feel bad for having put it off so long.  Sorry Les.  The thing I think that has disrupted my ability to do it is she inadvertently placed some heavy pressure on me by saying, “I’m sure you have so many stories to tell.”

Gulp.

Do I?  Ugh.  I couldn’t think of anything that would compare to the others that have been published here.

I began rifling through the mental files of stories I have where I learned a lesson… you know, trying to find one where I learned a really big lesson about myself or life  but none of them seemed to be so profound as to be earth shattering.

I thought of my trip down the aisle (the first time) and how my voice cracked and my eyes welled a little as I repeated the vows the preacher told me to say… a tear came not because I was happy but because I knew!… right then and there I realized with absolute certainty…

I was making the biggest mistake of my life. I realized that we humans sometimes make poor choices, we can’t blame anyone but ourselves and we have to live with the consequences.

I thought I could tell of the time during Marine Corps boot camp when my platoon was learning how to throw hand grenades.  A drill instructor and I were in a concrete bunker and he handed me a live grenade with the pin pulled.  He said, “recruit! You make sure you throw it over this wall like we taught you…

and far! You understan’ me!”

I stood there with a live grenade in my hand… explosions were going off from my fellow recruits lobbing theirs down range.  I looked at the grenade… my hands shaking.  I stared that DI in the eyes, then looked at it again as I heard in a deep, garbled, slow-motion sort of voice, “yewwwww ohhhhkayyyy reeecrewwwwt?”.  It seemed like lifetimes passed as I pondered my ability to heave that piece of metal over a seven foot wall of cinder blocks.

As I pulled my arm back just like they taught me, I was thinking my life has the potential to change or end right now.  In that moment I realized some events in life are deliberate, calculated actions. Other times a completely random, unexpected bit of happenstance careens life toward other places.

I also thought maybe I could tell of a lesson I learned from the time I got fired from a retail job I couldn’t stand.  While in the parking lot after leaving the store I immediately called my editor of my part-time freelance photo job.  I told her what happened, I told her I was desperate and that I was available to shoot anywhere, anytime, and anything.  She gave me work… lots of it. A few weeks into it, my younger brother invited me to a basketball game through company tickets with some co-workers of his.  One of them asked, “so what do you do?”  I got that roller coaster feeling in my stomach.  I hesitated a little in my response and I almost said, “uh… I’m in between jobs” when it occurred to me, “no. I have a job.”

I said confidently, “I’m a photographer with The Houston Chronicle.”

It felt good. It felt DAMN good and I realized we make our own destiny.  WE make things happen in our lives if we push ourselves towards them. And I survived working six and seven days a week until I found another job seven months later.

I could tell the story about Hurricane Ike blowing through town in 2008.  I could tell you how I saw thick, heavy branches from two different trees that missed my house and my vehicle by inches and my property came away relatively unscathed; yet neighbors had fences crash through windows and roofs blown off.  There was one person I met in my neighborhood who had lights on in just a few days but the house right next to him waited four weeks in the sweltering September weather of the Gulf Coast Plains of Texas.

From the hurricane, I realized sometimes shit happens that we have no control over.  God didn’t get angry.  Karma wasn’t reacting.  The Tao wasn’t balancing things out.  I didn’t come away unscathed because I said the right prayer the night before and the other guy didn’t.  Just sometimes… shit happens from no fault of our own or anyone.

And I thought about telling my story of when I went to see my brother and future sister in-law get baptized at their Baptist church.  Coincidentally it happened the Sunday after the planes crashed into the World  Trade Center buildings.  While in that church, watching what should have been a great day for my brother, I saw a preacher point his finger at his congregation and heard him yell… yes, yell at them “it’s because of you and you and YOU that this happened.  Because YOU ARE A SINNER!!! America has lost favor with God and He made those planes fly into those building because of you!”

I realized that my concept of God does not fit that mold.  I don’t believe in a God like that at all.  My God loves me unconditionally.  My God doesn’t control my actions or the actions of others.  My God gave me freewill and reason.  I realized I don’t believe in a devil or that a devil can make people fly planes into buildings.  I realized some people are just jerks and assholes and they do evil things.  And my God weeps when we do crappy things to each other.  That is when I realized there must be another way of thinking about the nature of God compared to what this guy was preaching and I took my first deliberate steps ever towards spiritual awareness and where I found myself on a road towards UU-ism, Buddhism and Deism.

I’ve read most, if not all, of the click stories here at Leslie’s place and they have been amazing, beautiful, heart-wrenching, glorious stories.  Wish my click story were as amazing as those.

Sorry, Les… I got nothin’.

another blog friend goes away


I’ve had a few blog friends just up and pull their blog down with no notice in the two and half years that I’ve had mine up.  It’s confusing and the event kinda lends itself to a feeling of loss or abandonment.  I don’t know…. maybe it’s silly to say that but…  Well, I don’t know.

I mean I haven’t met but only one of my blog friends (Kinsi we still need to get that beer next time your in town) in person but in time…

there can be a deep connection established.

I first got introduced to Colbie Caillat through my blog friend Bibliomom when Colbie’s song “Bubbly” was wildly popular and first getting airplay.  Everytime I  hear that song I immediately think of Bibliomom.

B-mom recently took down her blog although I don’t know why.  I’m gonna miss her here in the WordPress world.

This song reminds me of her, too.  I guess because Colbie is singing a little in the video… maybe because of some of the lyrics… maybe because it’s a sad song and I just feel like being sad right now.

Loved reading you and getting to know you, Wendy.

brother can you spare a dime?


Hello friendly blog peeps, peepettes and casual visitors.

Today’s post is asking for a HUGE favor.

If you look to the right… right next to the title of this post you’ll see a picture. If you click it, the link will take you to my page on the Lone Star Chapter of The National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s website.

I’m writing about this because I want to let you know I’m riding my bicycle half way across Texas in an effort to raise funds for researchers to find a cure for MS. I’m riding in the 2009 MS 150 Bike Tour from Houston to Austin. It’s about 160 miles or so over two days.

I’m do it for two reasons. One… believe it or not, I find it fun and of course, challenging. (i’ve ridden this ride before) Two… I know I am extremely lucky to be able to move my body on my own and so I feel an obligation to help.

I want to help researchers find a cure for folks who don’t move so well because of this disease.

I’m no scientist. I don’t know much about this disease or what it will take to end it. But I can pedal my bike and ask people to donate to my ride so the smart guys can figure a way to help those who are afflicted with this disease.

So I hope you will.

I hope you can spare ten bucks… or five bucks… or three or even one.

I know five bucks or even one doesn’t seem like a lot but it all adds up.

When I was in the Marine Corps I learned a saying from the grunts… “ounces make pounds.” I first heard it when my unit attached with some grunts for training and we were going on a 13 mile hike carrying all our gear on our back.

A few of the guys took us “non-hackers” aside and said, “ounces make pounds, Marine. Let me see your gear.” They proceeded to show us how stripping every tiny piece of non-essential crap added up to a lot of weight.

“Ounces make pounds” folks. I know times are tough. Hell, I barely have two nickels to rub together but if you could donate whatever you can…

well, every little bit adds up to a lot.

an absence


I haven’t been around here in a while…  I’ve been absent.

I’ve been reading a little and making a comment now and again but I haven’t written in more than a month… close to six weeks or so now.

I’ve wanted to though. I’ve had quite a few things pop in my head to write about but I feel like unless I write about what happened in November and get it off my chest I just can’t post anything else.

I mean, when i started this blog I thought it would just be me reading this. I had no idea people would stumble on this and take a look and that I would find myself in a little community of people I  feel close to.  It didn’t even occur to me that I would find a community of writers who I look forward to reading about… you know, reading about their lives and that they would want to know what’s happening with me.

I was also hoping that maybe some day, my daughter would find this and read about me and maybe learn a little about her dad that I didn’t tell her when she was young.

Hi Little Fawn.  You out there reading this?   : )

Anyway…  so with my little blogging community of friends  and daughter in mind I feel compelled to write about what happened to me and The Deistette several weeks ago.

By the way, The Deistette is here, too.  Say hi Emilie.

Deistette:  hi everyone.

Deist: Sooooo…. what do you think, Emmie.  I guess we could start with a little synopsis and get everyone up to speed.

Deistette:  ok

Continue reading

reverting to childhood


I’ve been accused by more than a few people (blog peeps and local peeps alike) of being a 12 year old boy trapped inside a 40 year old body.

I’m sorry… I can’t help but laugh though when I play this game.  And I am NO gamer.  It’s just not my thing.  I have too much stuff to do over wasting time online playing games but THIS!…

I don’t even care if I die.  I just like pushing the up arrow to hear the sound. LOL!  Sorry… everyone’s got a little bit of 12 year old mentality inside though don’t ya think.

another wedding


My best friend… my closest, dearest very best friend got married recently. It was bitter sweet.

I have known her for almost 23 years. That fact alone is amazing to me.

I met her when she was 17… just a girl. She was a senior in high school and I, a freshman in college. She had come up to visit her brother who I knew through the music department and I was smitten at first sight.

Apparently she was, too. We were inseparable when she came to school the next fall. For three years we were together. At different times in those three years, we were in the band together although she was not a music major. We worked together although i was not a very good waiter. And we lived together for a year… neither one of us very good at compromise. Children playing house we were.

She transferred to Texas A&M and we kept a long distance relationship, talking of marriage and were making plans for the future. We mad God laugh. Continue reading

laughter is good medicine


I really needed this.  It’s been a pretty crappy couple of weeks. Thought I’d share in case anyone else needs a laugh. I received this list in an email and couldn’t stop laughing like…  a smoke alarm that has the sound stuck at 3:24 in the morning. : )  ok, that was lame. Read below for some priceless metaphors and similes.

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Every year, English teachers from across the USA can submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country. Here are last year’s winners:

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like Continue reading

a postscript to something more formal


p.s. – On a more personal note…You and I have an unusual anniversary coming up in a couple of weeks. The length of time that we’ve been apart will exceed the time we were together. I don’t know why that is such a milestone in my mind but it has affected me and made me sad the closer it comes.

So much can happen in five years. Complete and total transformation can happen in as little as five years. Definitely transformations have happened for me and L. … spiritually, emotionally and physically.

I feel quite in touch with The Divine, more so than ever in my life. I guess it’s been a couple of years now that L. and I can talk about memories of you and the kids without either one of us having our eyes well up or full blown crying. In fact, we sometimes laugh when remembering. I guess we have healed. And she is doing well and has grown up to be a rather brilliant and beautiful girl.

I wonder…

I wonder… if you ever think of me. I wonder if the kids think of me. And I wonder what you think of the relationship we had. For you, does our time together represent just a blink… a few seconds on the clock of an entire lifetime, a faint memory or was it meaningful. I often wonder what you think of what we had.

love always, me

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Continue reading

Photos – sunflowers


I’ve been meaning to keep posting these but as I looked at all the negs I found I kept thinking,

“meh, this one sucks”

“oh yeah, i remember taking these. yep, they suck, too.”

“Oooh… and this set of pics. hello… suuuuhhhh-ck.”

I heard or read someone say recently, “perfection is death. Perfection is death to art.”

So here are a couple that i never printed but always liked. Didn’t print ‘em because they were so flat. Very weak to no contrast. Probably something in the development and not the exposure I’m thinking. I had to really tweak the heck out of ‘em in photoshop to get them to turn out at all.

i remember taking pics of my ex-wife in this field. Not my daughter’s mommy but my second wife. She had on a sunflower dress and it was blowing with the wind just like the sunflowers in the field. Her hair was long and blonde and blew in her face. I hadn’t thought of that in some time.

For some reason I can’t find that roll of negs. Wish I could. Glad I found these though.

sunflower images ©2000 rjz

spirituality of a clean house


A few nights ago I had a couple of friends over. So in trying to keep one of my New Year’s wishes, they were coming over so we could revel in playing a little music together.

The place was lookin’ pretty bad. It seems as though my time is so carved up that I barely have enough to keep the place even presentable. But in about an hour and a half’s time, Continue reading