Saturday, June 25, 2005

Straight - but not Narrow 

Tonight I went out to the Atlanta Gay Pride Festival at Piedmont Park in lovely downtown Atlanta, GA. "Joan! We thought you were straight?" you might ask and I would respond, "I may be straight - but I'm not narrow!"

I have a large group of gay and lesbian friends and at least 1 gay family member. I don't normally go around identifying my friends and family by their sexuality, but for the sake of clarity, I'm doing so tonight.

This year the Pride committee really outdid themselves and got the Indigo Girls to play on the first night of the Pride weekend. Not only that, they got Michelle Malone and Doria Roberts to play as well! There was also a spoken word duo that called themselves "The Athens Boys Choir," and "The Heidi Hensley Band."

All of the performances were great, but I must admit to really enjoying it when "the Girls" (as they are affectionately called) came out. I think the best song was when they did "Kid Fears" with Trina, from the band 3FiveHuman, singing the part that is sung by Michael Stipe on the album.

Below are just some of the pictures I took. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did taking them!


It wouldn't be a IG show without calling everyone on stage for a rousing rendition of "Closer to Fine!"  Posted by Hello

Michelle came out and sang with the Girls on "Chickenman/Bitterroot"  Posted by Hello

Yep! It's the Indigo Girls! Amy on the left and Emily on the right.  Posted by Hello

Michelle Malone is an amazing guitarist and all around musician.  Posted by Hello

Doria Roberts is a very talented person who likes to do funky things with her hair! Posted by Hello

Monday, June 20, 2005

Shelby was not impressed with my throwing a scrunchy to get her to do something other than walk around aimlessly.  Posted by Hello

This is Shelby Cat's tail probably the only time I've caught it not moving! LOL! Posted by Hello

This is my baby! Fred is about 17 years old. She and I have been through a lot together. She must never die.  Posted by Hello

Saturday, June 18, 2005

I've been a bad, bad blogger! 

Technically, it's been 2 weeks since I've made a real post. That's a heckuva long time! I don't think I've gone that long before! I got sick shortly after my last real post (the one before the poem) and it's been all I can do to get up, go to work and come home and collapse in the evening until just recently. Also, for me, if I feel like crap, I don't feel like I have crap to say, ya know?

Another bad after effect of being sick is that my house gets hideously dirty. Things stay where I drop them. Dishes don't get done. I'm going through the "emergency only" underwear. The cats are boycotting the litter box - yeah - it's THAT bad.

GUESS WHAT I'M DOING TODAY? Yep, trying to clean up before someone comes by to "condemn" my home.

The upside of this is that I have some good new music to listen to. I picked up Coldplay's "X & Y" cd and The Foo Fighter's "In Your Honor" cd. Soon my neighbors will know them as well as I do since nothing motivates me to move better than loud music!

Well, that's enough rambling from me. I need to get up and get moving so I can have this done before I got to work on Monday!

I hope your weekend is going wonderfully, whatever you may be doing!

OH! Random thought out of nowhere...why is it that the spellcheck on Blogspot doesn't recognize the word "blog" or "blogger?"


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Ode to the Man in my Future 

In the dark and silent night
I send you my thoughts
I picture your eyes in my mind
And I begin to spill
My innermost feelings

The rain of my fear
Trickles slowly down my face
But your eyes – and thus your soul
Reassure that you mean me no harm
I inhale, and then slowly exhale

I imagine my ear listening
To the drumbeat of your heart
I lick my lips and taste
The saltiness of your skin
Though you are not here – I feel you

In my mind’s eye, you are scared of the light
Reluctant to come forward and
Be recognized for your heart has been broken
And is quite battle weary but you crave
The gentle comfort that I have to offer

Look into my eyes – and thus my soul
And know that what I say and what I do
Comes from a place that is precious and pure
And never will I treat you with utter disdain
Nor cast you aside without explanation

I will open my heart to the man that you are
Not the man that you were or
The man that you will be
Because I love you today more than words can say
And I will love you even more tomorrow

Come out of the dark and meet me half way
I know that you’re out there – there’s no need to hide
Our future is waiting and time is so golden
I reach out my hand and patiently wait
For the feel of your hand clasping firmly ‘round mine

Sunday, June 05, 2005


I got a phone call last night at about 10pm from Andi while I was at the movie. At about 1am I got the message that she left for me. (I'm not sure why the delay happened) In the message she just said, "I've got something to ask you and something to tell you, so call me when you get this message." Knowing that Andi goes to bed early, I figured I would call her in the morning, however her message left me with a feeling of foreboding.

I ended up pulling an all-nighter since "Children of a Lesser God" came on at 1:30, and then my nephew was online, and then G was online. I finished up some stuff and was finally laying down at about 7:30am. I remembered that I needed to call Andi back, and knowing that Andi gets up early, I called her.

She explained that her Mom was looking through the paper and came across an obituary for Tom, the man I worked with when I was a teenager. When Andi said this, I was instantly heart-broken and started crying. Andi knew I was going to be sad, but she didn't bargain for the amount of emotion that I was showing her.

I explained through a lot of tears that although Tom and I don't talk frequently, he's one of THE most important people in my life. He's my "Other Dad."

When I was growing up in Granbury,TX, a small town of 5000 southwest of Fort Worth, I was a "Square Brat." My Mom worked at the Hood County News that was located on the town square, and after school I would go up to her work and hang out around the square until she got off work. I visited several of the businesses almost daily, and that included Polar Bear Ashburn's Ice Cream and Deli, owned by Tom. When I was old enough to work there, I applied to work at Ashburn's, and despite the fact that I was a "Square Brat," Tom hired me anyway.

During the early part of my life, my Dad and I didn't get along - AT ALL. I loved him fiercely, but I didn't like him much at all. So, when I went to work for Tom and felt what it was like to have a positive male role model, it bonded me to Tom. We shared a very special relationship and that's when I became his "Other Daughter," and he became my "Other Dad."

Tom taught me so much - not only about how to scoop ice cream or make a Ruben Sandwich, but about life. Two of the most important lessons he taught me was to not make excuses and when you screw up, you can be forgiven and given a second chance.

That second lesson was a scary one to learn, but I'll never forget it. I was given the responsibility of closing up and locking up for the day several days during the week. I walked in the next day after closing up and I could tell by the stern look on his face that something was seriously wrong with Tom. He called me back in the office and explained that I had failed to lock the front door the night before, and he had come in to the regular coffee guys already in the store and sipping on coffee they had brewed themselves. I felt for sure that I was fired after that, and I'm sure it seriously crossed Tom's mind to fire me, but he gave me another chance, and eventually he ended up promoting me to assistant manager.

Since I was in marching band on Friday nights, I always had to close on Saturday nights. I didn't mind a bit though because Saturday nights were "Pickin'" nights. I would push all the tables back away from the back wall of the store, and about 7:30, anyone who played anything - from spoons to Electric Guitar - could show up to play good old fashioned Blue Grass and Country music. Tom and his banjo led the proceedings and everyone got a turn for a solo if they wanted it. I would be behind the counter brewing coffee, scooping ice cream and dancing and singing along until I heard the first few notes of "Goodnight, Irene" which was my signal to turn out the overhead lights.

After I graduated from high school, I went off to college and other things while I still lived in Texas, but I always tried to make it back to Granbury on Saturday nights to see Tom when I could. We often couldn't talk much, but he would see me, wink and smile at me and when the song was over, come over and hug me tightly.

Last summer I visited Texas and was able to visit Tom. He no longer runs Ashburn's, having moved on to a very successful durable medical equipment business. I was able to get him all to myself as we went and got some bar-b-que for lunch. We hadn't seen each other in years, but it only took us a few minutes to feel relaxed with each other again. We sat across the table from each other and shared some things that made both of our eyes wet at times, and we probably hugged 3 or 4 times before he had to get back to work. It was one of those special and golden times that stays in the memory bank forever.

After I hung up the phone with Andi, I cried my eyes out for a while. I called G and he listened to me cry until he was able to get me to agree to get some sleep. I woke up several times and finally got out of bed and tried to find Tom's obituary online. I couldn't find it in the Granbury or the Ft. Worth paper. Should I try calling Tom's cell phone? Should I try calling Tom's wife? Tom had gone to the same church in Granbury for well over 25 years. I looked on the church website and there was no mention of Tom.

G called to check up on me and asked me if I had contacted anyone about Tom. I sheepishly replied that I was afraid to call anyone because if it was true that Tom had died, it would make it real. I knew that was totally illogical, but I couldn't help feeling that way.

Finally, I called Andi's Mom and reluctantly asked her about the obituary. It turns out it wasn't MY Tom! It was another Tom who happened to own a yogurt shop. I am so sorry for the other Tom's family, but I'M SO GLAD IT'S NOT MY OTHER DAD! HE'S STILL ALIVE!!! Needless to say, I'm elated, but exhausted!

I think this is a very good lesson of how important it is to let people know how much you love them and care about them NOW. We never know what tomorrow may bring. If "my" Tom had passed away, I feel very certain that he would have known how much he means to me and how much I love him. However, I have been blessed with another chance to tell him!

TOM: I love you and I appreciate you so much. Thank you for being my "Other Dad" and allowing me the privilege of being your "Other Daughter!"


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