These are the thoughts of a Texas transplant in West Michigan who makes his living as a newspaper reporter by evening, and a struggling novelist by day.

Friday, October 21, 2005

go 'stros

iwas absolutely thrilled to see the astros heading to the world series. i don't really follow baseball or any other sport for that matter, but i do have an affinity for a texas team sometimes. i've always sorta rooted for the astros from the sidelines. they've been pretty good these past few years.

i chat with eric and alan on the sports desk at night about sports (after reading or seeing headlines) and we get to chatting about something or other. so they know i rotted for the astros.

i was frustrated during the fifth game when they had it made and down t a couple of strikes and that three-run homer screwed them up.. i thought they'd lost their chance. but they proved me wrong and i actually got to listen to the game on a radio when eric was listening to it, like the old days before tv.

i dunno if there is a chance for them to win the world series or not, and i guess i don't care. i'm glad they're there. if they win, hell, i'll be jumping for joy. if they don't, hey, they made it all that way. and they bested the cardinals, randy's fave pro baseball team. that felt good.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


great news from home. dad's cancer marker is at 6.5. it has kept dropping since he first had a blood test when the chemo started. it was once at 700. the previous blood test showed a cancer marker of 48. so it dropped significantly. the doctor said he will give my dad two more weeks of chemo. he wants to get it down to a 2. after that, if the marker goes down to 2, he will stop the chemo and will get checkups every three months or so to make sure it doesn't come full force again.

dad really responded well to the chemo. i'm so glad. there was only a 10 percent chance that he'd respond to it. i always said someone has to make up that figure.

today i also called up my aunt patsy to give condolences. her demeanor surprised me some. she asked how we were doing and even asked about the weather up here. she did say she had bene with my uncle, holding his hand, when he died. she told him it was Ok to go. he took two breaths and he died. it was very touching. it was good she was with him during that time. the services are today and the funeral is thursday. he'l be buried in corpus. dawn and i sent a flower arrangement.

one last thing i have to mention. i spent more than four and a half hours at a planning commission meeting. i wanted what? i dunno. rage on someone. it was such a drag. i had to come back to the office and whip out a 12-inch story in less then 25 minutes. i sure hope i didn't screw up anything,since i had to write so quicky. i didn't even have a chance to think of anything, just write. i'm dreading my voice mail or e-mail.

Monday, October 17, 2005

my uncle is at rest

linda was once again the messenger of bad news. she called sunday night shortly after 11 to tell me my uncle gocha died. ihad hung up with mom shortly after 10 and she said he was doing very poorly, something about not living more than an hour (earlier that day) but he was still alive. he must have died between our phone call and 11. he heart finally gave up.

my uncle rene is taking it bad. he called and couldn't get it out that his brother was dead. he had to call again after he'd composed himself. my dad was very meditative sunday night. i guess he knew it was coming. mom was with him. it was a matter opf time for him. he was on no machine or feeding tube. he didnt' want it.

it feels odd knowing one of my uncles is dead. he is the first uncle (mom or dad's siblings) to die. the last death close to me was my grandma in 1980. the next time we visit texas he won't be there anymore.

i didn't really know my uncle too much. he lived in corpus and i lived at the ranch. we didn't interact too much. but the last five years or so, he and my dad talked quite a lot on the phone, as well as visits on occasion. it was hard the last few years because of his health, though. i am really glad he and my dad talked.

still, there are notable things about my uncle. i remember him with a pipe. he was the only uncle on my dad's side who smoked, at least with a pipe. it was a rare thing, but he had it. i always meant to ask where he picked that up. also he wore a hat common in the 1930s. it the kind of hat you see robert deniro wear every once in a while in movies or tv appearances. only one to wear that type of hat. usually his brothers wore caps or my uncle eli's old, battered hat.

one other thing that sticks in my head is my dad telling me that when he was a teenager, he and my uncle gocha went to a dance in premont together. i'm not sure who was playing and it must have been in the 1950s, probably late 1950s. i doubt if my dad will remember, but i do. it's a brotherly thing they did together. and i guess it's why my uncle's death is hard. losing a sibling is probably tough in a way losing a parent is not.

it's hard to explain and i don't want to sound like an insensitive idiot. the thing with siblings is they ae your peers. you played with them as children, fought with them, laughted with them, went to movies, concerts, parties, got drunk with them, talked about girls/gusys, grew up with them. they've always been there in your life. and to have that void where they once were is probably hard to deal with. something i'd rather not think about right now.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

three hours in cadillac

there we were - dawn, evie and me - on our wy to houghton lake when the shit hit the fan in cadillac. i was out in the back seat with te dog and when i wake up, i hear this odd, screeching sound from under the hood. it happened as dawn pulled off 131 into the city for gas. after a several stops, we went sent to person's, where we were told it was the main belt that runs the alternator, copmpressor and a whole lot of other shit under the hood. but the main problem was the a/c's compressor glutch broke and soon or later (more like waaay sooner) the belt would have snapped. without alternator power, the battery would have been kaput and we would have been stranded. luckuly dawn chose to gas up in cadillac, otherwise, we'd been stuck between there and houghton lake in the middle of nowhere.

so instead of arriving in houghton lake at 11 a.m., we got there after 2. we weren't cranky, despite the layover. the guy was cool enough and the problem got fixed. he just by-assed the compressor. evie now has no a/c. luckily winter is looming.

we had a great time with aunts lynda and nancy and grandma. we ate our brunch as a dunch. the woman chatted up ebay and monte and i talked chicks...the birds, that is, after i'd mentioned me covered the zeeland west/east game friday night.

some system came in and i had a horrible headache, so i was a bit out of it for a good portion of th time, but still, we enjoyed ourselves and didn't make it back until 10:45 last night. we were tired but full day.

friday night i did cover the zeeland game. it was homecoming and the stadium, which is very nice, was packed full of teens. very different than when i covered a similar game for the holland/holland christian football game. both games i covered were a first time meeting but not much hoopla was made of the holland game. i guess because holland isn't good at all. but west is making the playoffs and it was grand. i had a headache and wanted to get out as soon as possible. west kicked ass, as predicted, 48-14. i hope i don't have any more of thsese games to cover. i feel uncomfortable since i'm not a football fan.

today we went out to eat with krista and alan. krista had wanted to thank me and dawn for taking care of will. it was not a problem. will was great. anyway, good food and good people. lots of lost talk. that's not a surprise.

now, the weekend winds down. i need to do some writing today. one hour. one hour is not bad. usualy before i know it, 20 min. have elapsed and then 40 min. and then it's all done.