Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I heard about a documentary called Blackfish about the killer whales at Seaworld and I purchased it on Amazon.  I watched the documentary and I was horrified of what these poor whales have to go through.  Some of the whales have been in captive for as long as 45 years!  Mainly the story follows a male killer whale named Tillikum, but it does mention several others throughout the film.

Tillikum the Whale:  Tillikum is responsible for two deaths and possibly a third.  One was a drifter that supposedly stayed after hours and swam with Tillikum without anyone knowing.  They found him dead, draped over Tillikum’s body the next morning and blamed his death on hypothermia.  The 2nd death was a head trainer at Sea World named Dawn.  She was killed by Tillikum and he wouldn’t let he body go.  Sea World blamed it on her ponytail being too long.  The 3rd death that he might have been responsible for was a trainer at his original place of residence, Sealand. It was at Sealand that his was abused and withheld food if he did not get a trick they were trying to get him to do correctly.  Then at night, they would lock him up in a small dark tank with two other whales all night and during the night the other two whales (female) were trying to show their social rank and would abuse him too.

They won’t release him, even though he has shown that he is not safe with humans, because his sperm is too valuable.  Tillikum has been the father of 21 calves while in captivity and is the grandfather to even more.  Tillikum is the largest orca currently alive in captivity and his dorsal fin is drooping because lack of use (the current in the ocean keeps non captive whales fins from drooping).  Since the death of the head trainer at Seaworld, Tillikum has been by himself in a tank with hardly any interaction with humans or other whales.

Former Seaworld Trainers:  There are several former Sea World Trainers who are interviewed for this film.  These are the people who loved on these poor whales and didn’t want to leave because they were afraid of who would take care of them or what would happen to them if they left them in someone else’s care.  They told horror stories (in the film and in the special features section) of the things that would go on at the parks.  These people risk their lives every day (before OSHA came along) to be in the water training the whales and they grew to love them.

Taking the young:  The Sea World trainers talked about how several young calves were taken from their mother and shipped to another park, they were said to be disrupting the show and that is why they were moved, but it was really because the other location needed a baby whale.  The trainers talked about how they witnessed the mothers grieving for their children.  How can someone just take a child away from their mother?  The calfs have a different language than the others and now have to acclimate themselves in a new environment and social structure.

Violence amongst whales:  These animals can’t get away from each other when they fight or get agitated.  These whales are huge and there are only so many gallons in their tanks that they can go to for refuge.  Think about it, when you and your sibling were fighting, chances are you had your own room, or if you didn’t you were told to get in separate parts of the house so you wouldn’t kill each other (or was that just me and my sister?!).  These animals do not have that option; they are stuck with each other. 

Or say that you were thrown in jail with people from other countries and everyone was fighting for some sort of hierarchy in the cell, none of you speak the same language so you attack each other.  That is what these animals are doing.  They are grating each other and drawing blood.   Poor Tillikum is huge and can’t get away.  I imagine him to be like a big kid in elementary school that has been bullied for so many years and he is fed up.  When he killed those people it might have started out as fun, but then it turned excited.  He was the person with the power then. (BTW, I do not know the inside of this animals head, obviously.  I am just trying to imagine why he would do that).  Plus with his background, he was bound to snap at some point (or multiple points in his case).  Plus, I don’t know that he realizes he is so big.  Dogs get on humans on the time and accidentally hurt them, without trying to.  Or maybe when he wouldn’t let her body go (or the random guy they found one morning) and was parading it, maybe he was just holding on to his prize.  Other animals hold on to their prize and parade it around.  You know?

Here are a few other animals that I found when I researched the subject further:

Corky the Whale:  When I was researching more on the subject, I found a bit about a whale named Corky at Sea World.  She is one of the whales that has been in captivity the longest (40+ years) and was taken from her natural habitat (opposed to being born in captivity).  I watched a piece on YouTube (see above) that originally aired on ABC Nightline that broke my heart and I will never again be able to get it out of my head.  They were talking about how Corky was taken as a baby from the wild and held in captivity.  They knew which set of whales was her pod and they taped them talking.  At the end of the 12 minute video, they played the recording for the whales and ALL the animals responded.  At one point poor Corky was SHAKING and trembling and she knew those were her people and she knew she was trapped there.  It’s like someone who has been taken for human trafficking 40 years ago and was played her families voices.  Do you think they would be a bit upset?  I think so!  Is that right?  Absolutely not.  When someone (or something in this case) is literally so upset that they start to shake and tremble, that is cruelty and whoever is doing it to them should be ashamed of themselves. 

Lolita the Whale:  Lolita is a captive whale at the Miami Seaquarium that was taken over 40 years ago.  She has lived in a substandard pin by herself for years ever since her compannion Hugo died by bashing his head against the concrete wall repeatedly.  60x80 feet 20 feet deep is the size of her pin and is the smallest tank in the USA that holds a captive whale and is actually an Illegal size tank based on the Animal Welfare Act.  She has been pregnant many times, but none of her children have survived.

Setting them free in the wild:  I understand that they can’t just be set free into the wild, because that would be cruel as well.  They do suggest natural habitats where they can block of a section of a cove for them to stay.  They can come and go as they please, without doing tricks

I am at a loss as to what to do.  Please watch the documentary on Netflix or purchase it from Amazon.  Share it with you friends; we have to do SOMETHING for these whales.  I admit, when I went to Seaworld a few years ago, I watched the whale show and I was amazed.  I really was!  As an adult it was fascinating, I can only imagine seeing it from a child’s perspective.  I get it, I really do.  However, these animals are not being given the respect that they deserve.  They should be with their families and not held in fish tanks for human entertainment.

BTW, I am not an animal rights activist.  I do however love animals and do not think they should be treated like this.  Animals, children and old people need to be stood up for, because it’s hard (or impossible in the whales case) for them to stand up for themselves.


p.s.  Be sure to watch the directors commentary in the special features section on the DVD!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Jabba's Late Night Feast

Jabba, Jabba, Jabba.  Shakin’ my head.  I love my sweet fur child, I really do.  He makes me laugh every day.  Yesterday I bought him a big bag of food, and not thinking; I left it by the front door and went to bed.


This morning I woke up to my alarm and not to Jabba.  For those of you who do not know Jabba, Jabba likes to make sure I am going to wake up to feed him.  Each morning my alarm goes off at 5:11 am, but Jabba starts to wake me up at 4:30 am (ish) ‘just to be sure’ I will wake up.  He sits on my back, he purrs REALLY loud, he does acrobatics in the bed and the entire bed shakes, or he bits my foot and/or puts his wet nose to my arm or foot.  EVERY MORNING!  This morning was different though, there was no purring or acrobatics, it was just an alarm.  I looked over at him to be sure he was ok, and he looked away quickly (afraid he was going to get in trouble I’m sure!).

I walked into the living room to get his food and he didn’t follow me.  Jabba usually wakes the neighborhood up with his meowing until I give him his food.  Today he just stood back and watched me.  I picked up the bag and noticed a hole in it…

At some point during the night, Jabba ate a hole out of the bag and had himself a feast!  I knew it was Jabba because 1.  I don’t have mice (eww!) and 2.  The bag was wet like he had been licking it!  My weird child.

Usually he gobbles up his food like he never has eaten, but I’m sure he was still so full from his late night treat that he didn’t care about the food in his bowl.  Well, except for the wet food, he LOVES wet food.

All I could do was laugh because he is too cute to get mad at, and well, it’s his food.  It’s not like he chewed a hole in my shoe or purse.  <--that :="" a="" dog="" don="" have="" i="" is="" o:p="" t="" why="">

Saturday, December 28, 2013

What Does the Fox Say?

Have you heard the annoying song, What does the fox say?  Well, youtube it and you are in for a treat!  LOL.  My nephews both love the song and Cole is a great singer! :)  Watch the video below to hear his rendition of the song.

At one point he stops singing to shove chocolate pie in his mouth, but after he eats it all, he starts singing again.  I especially love it when he 'howls' at the end.  Too cute! :)

Friday, December 27, 2013

It's Christmas Time!

Merry Christmas! How was your holiday? Mine was great!

I got off work on Monday at 3 pm and went home to shop. We had Christmas Eve and Christmas Day off so I was ready to start my mini vacation. I woke up on Tuesday morning to do some shopping and go to the post office. I thought the post office would be super busy, but it really wasn’t too bad.
Antlers and ugly holiday sweaters make Christmas Eve shopping fun!

I went to Pet’s Mart and Target to get some last minute gifts. <--procrastinator span="" style="mso-spacerun: yes;"> After shopping I went back to my house to hang out and get some cleaning done. At 2:30 pm I got dressed and went to my church to volunteer at the Christmas Eve Service. I handed out programs and candles to everyone and then went to sit down in a seat to watch the service. At the end of the service we all lit candles and sang Silent Night. It was super cool.

After church we headed to my parents’ house for dinner and presents! We had BBQ and appetizers-so good! My little sister Tori lives in Wyoming and had a baby a few months ago named Kali Claire. I hadn’t met her yet so I got to hold her. She is 5 months old and super tiny; she is wearing 0-3 months clothes. I had bought her some 6 months clothes and 9 months clothes for Christmas that she could grow into. When she wants you to do something (like stand up and hold her) and you aren’t doing it, she gets a little attitude with you. It’s super cute though.

Per tradition we told the story of Jesus’ birth and then opened presents. When they asked me what I wanted for Christmas I really didn’t know what to tell them. If I need something, I will just buy it unless it’s expensive. I did need a vacuum so I asked for one of those, other than that it was just some cute stuff I saw that I would ‘like to have’, not that I ‘had to have’. A vacuum would be something my mother would say I had to have. :)

Afterwards we drank wine and hung outside by the fire pit. I got home around 11 pm, just in time to tuck a cute cat into bed to wait for Santa Paws to come visit.

(pic taken earlier in the day obviously)

The next morning we went to my Maw-Maw and Paw-Paw’s house for Christmas Day lunch. We had shrimp gumbo and ribs for lunch and it was super yummy! In the past few years we really haven’t had ‘traditional’ Christmas dinners, but I don’t mind because I like what we have had. :) We hung out over there until about 4 pm when we went to my Dad’s house to open presents.

I had already eaten so much at my grandparents house that I only ate chips and queso at my Dad’s (they had already eaten too). I got home around 9 pm and hung out with Jabba the rest of the night. He opened his presents and was very excited about his new turtle catnip toy (named turtle) and his treats! Jabba loves catnip flavored treats! As per my 3 presents rule, he got only three gifts. <--but anything="" anyway.="" bought="" doesn="" have="" he="" hence="" him="" i="" need="" really="" span="" t="" that="" the="" treats="" two="" would="">

That was my Christmas; I hope yours was great as well. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

2013 in Review

2013 was an interesting year to say the least. There were some ups and downs during the year, but I learned a lot about myself and where I want to go in life. I believe that everything happens for a reason and that God has a plan for me in my life. I know that I cannot always control what happens to me, but God is in control and he sees the big picture around the corner that I cannot see. I was able to travel twice, both times to places I have never been to before and both times by myself without knowing anyone. One of my goals in 2013 was to complete 5 bucket list items, but I completed 8 of them! Woo Hoo!!!!

I am hoping to complete at least 5 more in 2014; which ones should it be?

Here are some of the highlights of 2013 for your viewing pleasure. Click on the links to read about the things I did in 2013!

Volunteered at the 2013 Ironman Texas

Ran a marathon (Bucket List item)

Celebrated NYE in Dallas all dressed up with friends (technically 2012)

Saw the world premiere of the Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical

Met a rock star, Joey Kramer of Aerosmith

Went on the Warner Brothers Studio tour

Saw Hollywood Walk of Fame (Bucket List item)

Met Richard Simmons (Bucket List item)

Went with friends through a corn maze! Watch out for scarecrow blood!

Went on a pub crawl and wore a mustache! (Bucket List Item)

Went to Dixie’s Tupperware party and met Dixie herself!

Watched as my last sibling graduated high school

Celebrated my 31st birthday

Went on an overseas mission trip to Into Abba’s Arms in Kenya (Bucket List item)

Went on an African Safari at Masai Mara (Bucket List item)

Went to a Drive-in Movie with friends (Bucket List item)

Ran a 200 mile relay (Bucket List item)

Co-hosted a baby shower for a great friend

Looked back at the last 6 years of my favorite lime green, life saving family, Driving Jacks

Painted a masterpiece with my family

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Houston's First Celebration

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of going to Houston's First Baptist (my church) Celebration.  I bought two tickets and asked my Grandmother if she would like to come with me, she said yes!  I drove to Spring to pick her up, then we headed back to my side of town for dinner and the play. 

For the past 6 years Houston's First has had a Christmas play called Celebration.  I had never gone before, so I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  Let me tell you, it was amazing!  There was acrobatics, live animals, snow, music, lights, and more.  Spectacular!

I think the theme is changed each year, but this year it had a Christmas movie theme.  Famous Christmas movies like Elf, Polar Express, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Home Alone, etc were featured.  Kids and adults both were doing the musical numbers.  They said a total of 800 people were involved in making this production a success.  All in the name of telling the story of Jesus!  The more I get involved in Houston's First, the more I am beginning to love it.

There were acrobatical numbers with people doing flips on a tight rope thing, then people hanging from the ceiling Circ del la (spelling?) style and doing flips.  It was awesome!  My favorite I think was the Elf movie and the musical number from Polar Express, Hot Chocolate.   How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman were hits too.  Oh and the kids from the Charlie Brown Christmas Story were so adorable!  OK, I can't choose a favorite.

Then there was a transition to the story of the birth of Christ.  The actors came from all over the sanctuary and angels were floating from the rafters (sky) above.  It was so magical!  There were live monkeys, a baby lion, a camel, and a zebra.  The story went from Jesus' birth to death to resurrection. The songs were wonderful!

Houston's First will be taking a break in 2015 in honor of the Sabbath (God rested on the 7th day), but they will be back in 2016!!  I cannot wait to go again.

Look who was mentioned in the program!  It's Into Abba's Arms, the children's home I went to in Kenya!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Trailer Park Christmas Musical

A few years ago for my Maw-Maw’s birthday, my aunt got her tickets to the Great American Trailer Park Musical. We all went and it was hysterical! The musical is based at a trailer park called Armadillo Acres in Florida. The characters and musical numbers are hilarious! One song has a lyric that goes ‘I’m going to make like a nail, and press-on’. Too funny.

Well, this year they had a Christmas version of the musical that was premiering so we had to go! There was a group of about 20 of us who were all attending. My Maw-Maw loves the regular musical so when my aunt decided to come down for a week, she bought tickets for them as well. The others in the group were all going out to eat, but instead of being with a huge group, we decided to go out by ourselves to spend some time with my aunt and Maw-Maw. My aunt lives in the Philadelphia area (she is the one with the vacation house in Honduras) and rarely gets Mexican food, so each time she is here we practically live at Mexican food restaurants. I don’t remember what restaurant we went to, but it was good! It was my sister Laura, my Aunt Tracy, my Maw-Maw and my step brother Brandon at the Mexican food place. We stayed there for a while just hanging out and telling stories. We are rarely ever anywhere together, so we made the most of it.

After dinner we headed to Stages Repertory Theater for the musical. I love Stages Theater, we always go there and it is great! The theaters are small and intimate; you never have to fight huge crowds like bigger theaters. They had lots of flamingos on the walls decorated in different ways. I couldn’t decide on my favorite! Ya’ll all know how much I love flamingos!!!!!!  The wall was on a curve so the pictures might be hard to see.

The Christmas edition of the play was hysterical! There were some new characters this time and the story line was cute. The end was kind of weird, it reminded me of the randomness of the last Indiana Jones-the one with the skull and aliens-and it didn’t really fit. I guess it’s a trailer park musical though, so it isn’t going to be exactly normal. LOL. I won’t spoil the end, but if you do/did see it, let me know what you think of the ending and if you think it was as random as I did.

Anyway, I highly recommend going to see the Great American Christmas Trailer Park musical. Stages Theater did a wonderful job on the props and cast (they always do). Go see it and let me know what you think.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Rockin’ and Roastin’

At work the other day Joey Kramer from Aerosmith was there talking about his new coffee, Rockin’ and Roastin’. I was on my floor when someone came by to say that he was upstairs taking pictures and signing autographs. My sister loves Aerosmith (especially Steven Tyler) so I called her on the way to the elevator and told her I was about to meet the drummer from Aerosmith…she was so jealous! When we got upstairs they were just finishing their meeting and were taking pictures. The coffee smelled so good! I am only an iced coffee drinker so I didn’t try any. I love the tag line of ‘Music to your Lips”

I asked for his autograph for my sister and he wrote this:

I also got a picture with him! He said that he didn’t smile in his picture because it’s bad for his image. Haha.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

SFA and Driving Jacks Visit

I am on the planning committee for the 2014 Driving Jacks 5K as the Race Director. I planned the 5K in 2012, but I was in Africa for the 2013 race. Back in October my friend Hector asked if I was going to plan it for 2014 and I was hesitant. The race is a lot of work and a big time commitment as the race director and I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be involved that heavily again. I said that if no one else wanted to be the race director, then I would as long as I had other alumni helping me. Luckily, there are 5 other alumni that are on the committee and a great chair of the Nacogdoches Driving Jacks committee (actual DJ members). The race was my idea back in 2012 so I want to see it continue each year. The way it is set up is that the DJ Alumni Committee plans the event and the Nac Committee help be our ‘feet on the street’ for things that we need done in Nacogdoches itself. We didn’t want the Nac Committee to have to do too much in terms of planning the race, we want them to focus on making Driving Jacks itself the best organization it can be.

So, I went up to Nac two weekends before Thanksgiving to do some stuff with the 5K route and a have a meeting with the new Driving Jacks President and Vice President. I left my house early that morning and made the drive to Nacogdoches. My plan was to run the route and do some other 5K stuff, but I didn’t end up making it to run the route (that came a few weekends later). Plus, I didn’t really want to have a meeting with the new Prez and VP all sweaty!

I spent my time shopping for new SFA gear (I got two new shirts!) and going around Nacogdoches to see what changes there were. This sign was at B&N and I thought it was hilarious! I didn’t get it though.

After the meeting with the new Prez and VP I was going to head home since it was getting late. I really wanted to meet some of the members of Driving Jacks at operations, so I stayed until they came in to volunteer. I was in the office with a DJ officer and a new member and they were asking me questions about the first night and the first semester. He asked me if I remembered what the first car was and I told him it was a Dodge Magnum. I asked if they had ever seen the pictures of the first night, but they hadn’t so I showed him all of my DJ pictures of that semester from my phone.

I went to hang out with the other members that were starting to congregate in the commons area. I was watching how they do the refresher now and it is super cool. The refresher is when they ask questions about DJ operations and how to respond. Instead of random slips of paper, they post the questions on the back of playing cards. <--they also="" are="" back="" compared="" day="" did="" fancy="" first="" how="" in="" it="" lol="" mode="" p="" semester="" survival="" that="" the="" to="" we="" were="">

One of the officers that was working that night introduced me to everyone. I told them who I was and that we are planning a 5K fundraiser again this year for them. Then I asked if they wanted to see pictures (they did), and I showed them the pics and told lots of funny/sad/sweet memories that I had. It was honestly my favorite time to ever go back to SFA as an alumni. I don’t know if it was because I was by myself and not in a group, but they asked me lots of questions and actually talked to me. Each time I had gone up there before I had always been in a group of people or with my friends so they never really asked us questions. I loved that I actually got to speak with them that weekend! Love me some DJ.

Afterwards I went to my car and was driving out when I saw the Austin building lit up in purple. So pretty! Please excuse the bad camera phone picture; it is much prettier in real life. The building is lit up for SFA’s 90th anniversary.

I posted on FB about being at Nac to talk to the members about the early beginnings of Driving Jacks and tagged some people from that first semester. Old alumni were posting stories and pictures, it was great. Like I said, it was my favorite time to go up there ever!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Bowling with the Boys

A few weeks ago my sister and I took my nephews bowling at Main Event in the Woodlands. We weren’t
too sure if Cole’s 2.5 year old attention span would be able to actually bowl, but we wanted to try it out.

We got there right when it opened and the place was pretty much empty besides a few birthday parties that were setting up. We started at one lane, but the bumpers on one side would not come up so we had to switch lanes. I would say that the bumpers were for the boys only, but both my sister and I both suck at bowling too so they were for us too!

At one point Cole’s ball made its way to two lanes over so I rushed to get it before it started down the aisle. However, the lane was so slick with oil that I fell and busted my booty. It was very embarrassing! One of the employees came over to see if I was hurt and I said “just my pride”. Luckily, the place was pretty much empty so I was able to not go hide in the bathroom the rest of the time. I hurt for DAYS afterwards. I think I hurt my back. Not good. LOL.

Cole got the impression that he needed to get a new bowling ball each time he bowled, so we kept having to bring him back to the lane. He was also impatient about waiting his turn to bowl. He didn’t understand that everyone got two chances and that he had to wait for all of us to bowl.

Laura told me how they don’t ever go out to eat anymore because Cole doesn’t sit still in restaurants (he’s a busy kid). I suggested that they bring play-doh to the restaurant to keep him still for a bit. She loved the idea and now brings play-doh everywhere. Hence, when he didn’t want to sit still anymore, I brought out the play-doh for him to play with. After he started playing with it, he didn’t want to bowl anymore-he was done!

After Cole got sick of play-doh he wanted to walk around so I took him to the play area. Laura and Hunter played the rest of the game for us. Hunter actually was winning when we left to go ‘play’ the games. I wasn’t about to buy a bunch of game tokens for Cole so he pretty much just pushed buttons and drove the cars/boats/motorcycles or ‘shot’ the guns. He didn’t know the difference.

It was a fun time, I am glad I got to spend some time with my favorite two boys!