My First Drink

The first time I can remember chugging a drink I was eight years old. I was in the third grade at All Saints Episcopal school in Fort Worth. Every Friday was Eucharist, and All Saints served real wine. To grade school children. I remember the first sip I had. It was way better than Coke. A Cola folks. The white stuff came later, Jeez. I’m not Drew Barrymore. Although she was my idol growing up… Maybe that was a sign.

During the advent season we did what a lot of other places do, we collected cans to donate to a local shelter.

My friend Leigh and I were selected to carry the cans to the chapel.

Upon arrival we noticed the advent wreath was on fire and had turned over and the chapel was going up in flames.

I turned to go get help but Leigh grabbed my arm.

“Wait! The wine,” she exclaimed and I instantly knew what she meant.

We ran over to where the sacrament was stored and took turns chugging the wine, probably half a bottle.

Then we went to get help.

We got our picture in the paper and a pizza party for our class.

My first memory of alcohol and all I can think about is two-fold, one, God was involved from the very beginning, and two, I was rewarded for drinking. Something that would become a theme in early adolescence.

El Cosmico

There is something a bit magical that happens in the west Texas desert after you pass Alpine headed to Marfa. The rough rogue highway that leads you to the tiny town of Marfa is somewhat mystical. Marfa, the small Texas town that artist have been flocking to for decades is a must see if you are traveling in west Texas.

I had the pleasure of traveling there last summer when I took a Design Build Adventure class in welding led by Captain Jack Sanders, or as I knew him Jay, back when we became acquainted in the seventh grade at All Saints school in Fort Worth.

Jay, or rather Jack, and I were friends through high school and then, as people do when you go off to college and there is no such thing as Facebook, we drifted and went our separate ways. I stayed in Fort Worth with many of our high school friends and attended Texas Christian University. Jack went on to Auburn, I think…

When I saw Jack again at our ten-year reunion he was nothing like I remembered. He had transformed from Jay to Jack, had a beard, and looked way more hippieish than I ever remembered him. He had gone to architecture school and if I recall right, and I may not, it seems he was teaching at the University of Texas.

When Facebook came around we became ‘friends’ and I was able to catch up on his life. It appeared he was married, had kids, and was doing a lot of cool things, like teaching camps on how to weld.

That’s cool. I thought. I’d love to do that, something so… not me. So when I saw a post about his camp in Marfa I signed up and headed west to the rugged beauty of Marfa.

The camp was being held at El Cosmico, the most mystical magical place I have ever been. Liz Lambert, who is credited for revamping South Congress in Austin in the late 1990’s, brought her renegade spirit to Marfa and El Cosmico was born. A campground where you can, camp, obviously, in your own tent, OR you can sleep in a teepee, a yurt, or one of many adorable little trailers that each come with their own distinct personality.

I had chosen to stay in the smallest trailer available, Pinky, the color lived up to its name. I unpacked, put on a robe {one that I ended up purchasing in the gift shop and wear daily}, unpacked my bags, and went to go meet Captain Jack for our intro to camp happy hour.

Jack walked us along the property explaining that when he had first arrived there was nothing but some rusty plans and a dream. A dream that Liz Lambert had and he created.

I looked around awe-struck that the boy I had met in the seventh grade was responsible for creating such an amazing space in the desert. It’s just so… Marfa. It’s Austin meets desert in the hippest of ways.

There are wood burning hot tubs where you can relax and look up at the most beautiful of night skies. And it’s fun to walk around the property and take in the beauty of west Texas and the design of Captain Jack and Liz, their collaboration just mesmerizing.

I spent more in the gift shop then I did on my trailer and I treasure everything I came home with. I cannot wait to go back. I had planned to go in September for the anual Trans Pecos festival held at El Cosmico where my friends in Golden Dawn Arkestra play every year, but life happens and I was unable to attend. It’s definitely a goal for next year, and I should start planning now as the campground usually books up by this time of the year…

So if you get the itch to head west, don’t miss this spot. You’ll thank me later.

Me too.

I can’t hold it in any longer. And not because I’m dying to tell about the time I was raped. I won’t name who did it. It doesn’t matter. I was raped when I was twenty-one. I told the guy no and he continued to force me to have sex with him. I worked at Blue Mesa and it was a fellow waiter.

Last March, I was drug into an Alley when I was on vacation in L.A. I was drunk. I was walking to get cigarettes in a nice part of L.A. I thought I was safe. It was about 5 p.m. I had my hair, as usual, in a messy bun on top of my head. Before I knew what was happening, I was drug in an Alley. My pants were ripped off, and someone I couldn’t really see that well, because I was screaming like hell and fighting, was trying to rape me. I clawed. I scraped. I got away. I ran. I ran to a gas station and was screaming and crying, and a complete wreck. A total fucking wreck.

No one would help me. The employees would not call the cops. I didn’t know what to do. I went back outside and continued to sob uncontrollably. Finally, a black guy on a bike with a thick gold chain rolled up next to me and ask to help me. I threw my arms around him and begged him to call the cops. I hugged him and told him over and over “thank you for helping me,”

He did.

The cops came.

I was taken to the police station in Encino Heights.

I filed charges.

The police officers were beyond kind. I was a mess. Still drunk.

The police officers gave me part of their dinner, a pizza, where I tried to eat a piece as I sobbed.

I was taken to get a rape kit done in L.A. while on vacation.

I told them this wasn’t necessary as the act was not completed because of my fight.

They did it anyway.

My best friend Jamie Glaviano came to the station and held my hand while I cried. While I sobbed. I was shaken. I didn’t understand how this happened.

The nurse who performed the test said IN THE AREA IN L.A.  I was in they got about 3 victims A NIGHT. A NIGHT FOLKS.

The detectives flew out to Fort Worth to help me try to identify my attacker. I couldn’t. I was trying to get away from someone who had attacked me from behind. I couldn’t tell if he was short or tall. I had a vague description… Mexican… I thought. Sorta thin. Average height, from the 30 seconds of hell I remembered. I wasn’t exactly focused on his face while trying to save my life.

I’m writing this because all of the “Me Too” stories have sparked something in me. I don’t want to say who raped me at Blue Mesa. It’s embarrassing.

I don’t know who my attacker was in L.A., but because it was a stranger, I would have pressed charges. I knew the guy at Blue Mesa well. It was awkward because I had had sex with a few of the waiters at Blue Mesa, but I did not willingly have sex with him. Who would have believed me? Some, yes. Some no. I wasn’t about to put myself in that situation.

All of this sparked a conversation last night at a meeting I was at. Matt Lauer was the “latest” and I spoke about my experiences. I said, what is crazy… is that for 15 years I worked in an industry where men grabbed my boobs, my ass, my pussy… And I thought nothing of it. I thought it “came with the territory” because I was a female.

Because I was a female… Think about that males. I thoughts I deserved to have my boobs, ass, and pussy grabbed, at conventions, because I was a female, and working, and therefore, had no power. Men would often say things like, “Add that to my bill.” Or… “Are you married?” And if I answered “Yes.” The next question would usually be “Are you happily married?”

This is what I learned… Men in Power are usually pigs. It doesn’t matter if you are at a bar, a propane convention, a news convention. Men in power think they have the control and women are conditioned to “shut up and take it.” That’s what I thought.

At the 2004 RNC {Republican National Convention} I met every famous news person you can think of. My job, amongst other things, was to show up at the crack of dawn and get on the convention floor and sit for 8-10 hours next to a photographer. We were second row behind AP {Associated Press}. My memories from that week are amazing. One of the best experiences of my life.

Al Franken was there. He was a total asshole. Wolf Blitzer and Larry King were beyond professional. Anderson Cooper was less well known. He wasn’t “out” and every female I knew wanted to make out with him. Tim Russert was my favorite and called me “little red” all week. Rudy Guliani was a close second. A total politician, and very very kind. Karl Rove, was an asshole. Laura Bush, southern sweet. I wished she was my aunt.

The photographer I was FORCED TO SIT NEXT TO for a week grabbed my crotch on the convention floor. Yes, on the floor. I could not move. We were packed in that “room” which happened to be Madison Square Gardens. I told my boss. Who was female. She rolled her eyes and said, “that asshole.”

That was it. I honestly, didn’t think much about it until all this “Me too” crap came up. Because I didn’t consider that a violation. Which is… crazy. When I count how many times I was raped, it is one. That night, after work, at Blue Mesa.

When I count how many times I was attacked violently, it is one. That night. In L.A. It wasn’t rape, but it was scary as hell and I’ll never ever ever forget it.

When I think about how many times as a woman, I’ve been sexually harassed… I could not even begin to count.

Isn’t that sad? That’s sad. I live in a country where I have been conditioned “as a female” to shut up and take it. Because… “it happens to everyone.” And it does. To every female I know.

Enough is Enough.

Where does one draw the line? It’s a slippery slope. If you are a man, you should not touch a woman who does not want to be touched. Period. If you do, you sir… are a pig. An asshole. And you should be scared about what is happening, because if you committed a crime, you should be punished. Women should not have to accept this behavior.

Now I know I don’t have to.

Amen sisters.

Together we are strong. We are not alone. And we will be heard.

 

My 60 Days without Alcohol

I decided on August 24th that alcohol and I were no longer friends. It had done a number on myself and my relationships, and when someone said, “You, can’t stop drinking! That will never happen!” It pissed me off. I’m stubborn and hate being told I can’t do something. I can do anything I want to damnit! So I quit.

60 days later, I’m not going to tell  you it’s been easy. It hasn’t. I was using alcohol to not deal with a myriad of problems going on in my life. Some I created, some I didn’t. Most of them I had absolutely no control over, and my drinking had become daily.

Almost without thinking I would pop open a bottle. This use to occur when I got off of work, but then I quit working in October of 2016, so I had an abundance of time to do whatever I wanted. And apparently I wanted to drink.

Sunday brunch drinking turned into Monday day drinking. Why not? It’s not like I had anywhere to be. And since I was divorced, I had a week at a time to myself. Before I knew it I was drinking all the time. Sometimes I didn’t even really want to, but I’d think, meh, it’s there, why not?

Here’s another thing about me… well a couple of things. One, I’m an only child, and two, I’m never wrong. Or so I thought.

Everyone always comments how nice and sweet I am. That is… until you piss me off. I’ve been told by some of my best friends, who pissed me off, that my tongue is ruthless and cuts to the bone. This was a quality I knew I had and frankly, I liked it. Especially since I was never wrong. I felt like since I was speaking my truth, I could say anything I wanted. This fueled with lots and lots of drinking was a deadly combination. I alienated many a friend. My two best friends said they no longer recognized who I was as I drank more and thought more highly of myself than I ever had.

I thought I was invincible.

Turns out, I don’t possess that super hero quality. I only discovered this after losing my best friends and gaining legal issues. Hello DWI. I spiraled quickly in late 2016 and the first 8 months of 2017. Until that one person made the comment that changed everything. Telling me I couldn’t quit.

The hardest thing that has happened since quitting has been facing my fears without any numbing substance. I have many fears. Most are about things I can’t control and the unknown. I worry and worry, and worry about things that may or may not happen, and that fear was paralyzing.

I was also in a very unhealthy co-dependant relationship that I told myself I had to be in, because I could not face the fear of being alone. Not drinking allowed me to see just how destructive that relationship was, and I ended it.

And it was freeing. Absolutely freeing. I love being free. I forgot somewhere along the way that when I’m free, I’m happy. What a sobering slap in the face. Now, 63 days  in, I’m happier than I’ve been in over 20 years. Yep. 20 freaking years. That’s a long ass time.

Stopping drinking has taught me to look my fears straight on, and walk through them alone. I am no longer afraid. There are still problems and issues, but I’ve learned to not sweat the things I cannot control. And to not tell myself it would be horrible if ‘this’ or ‘that’ happens, because frankly, I don’t know. Maybe it would suck, maybe it wouldn’t. I won’t find out unless that said event actually occurs. I’ve learned in the last 63 days that the reality is often not what I thought it would be. Not at all. And I’ve realized I’m a pretty bad ass bitch. And I’m okay with that.

I don’t know if I’ll repair the relationships I’ve ruined, but I’m okay with that too. I’ve made it a year without the two people I cherished most in this world as far as friends go, and I’ve survived. Of course I miss them, but if they can’t forgive me that’s okay too. I’ve made some new kick ass friends and life goes on.

My outlook to the future is bright. It’s almost downright blinding. And I cannot wait to see what the next year brings. Challenges, ups, downs, life… I’ll take it. And I’ll survive. And I’ll be just fine. 

Win it Wednesday’s are Back!

Yes, every Wednesday until Christmas {which is only 8 weeks away, eek!} the Blue Sparrow blog will be giving away something amazing each week. This week, I am giving away a piece from Kendra Scott! Yes, that’s right, Kendra Scott! Jewel tones are huge this season, and who doesn’t love a little KS bling, am I right? So let’s get this season started off right with an amazing giveaway worth $110. That’s right. $110 smackers, for FREE. Just follow the rules below.

To Win you must…

  1. Leave a comment below telling me why you love Kendra Scott.
  2. Share this blog post on your Facebook page.
  3. Tag a friend who loves Kendra as much as you do.

Good Luck! Winner will be drawn next Wednesday, November 1st. You must have done all three things in order to be entered to win.

And here they are… The must have Darci stackable ring set in a size 7.

kendra-scott-darci-stackable-ring-set-in-jewel-tones_00_default_sm.jpg

To shop Kendra Scott, click here.

And if you live in Fort Worth check out the new Clearfork location. The store is gorgeous and the staff, lead by Emily Bailey, is amazing! They {or the University location} can take care of all your Christmas shopping needs. One stop shopping? Yes please!

Now, share to win!!!

And be sure to check back weekly to find out what the giveaway will be. I’ve got some amazing stuff to give out. Everything from an REI gift card to one of my favorite items from The Woodhouse Day Spa. Target and American Express gift cards and gift bundles from Young Living and Rodan + Fields. Prizes range from $25 to $400. And I can ship them anywhere in the world you may be, so keep checking in. I look forward to sharing great stories and great gifts.

 

xo,

The Blue Sparrow Blog

EDIT: Allison Edmonds was the winner. Congratulations Allison! I hope you enjoy your bling!

Excuse Me?

The one thing I cannot stand {being the stubborn person I am} is someone having the audacity to tell me I can’t do something. Excuse me? I can do whatever the hell I want too, and I will. Try me.

So when someone said to me that they doubted I could quit drinking, naturally, their reverse psychology worked. I was all, um… Of course I could, I just choose not too. I like alcohol, I don’t need it.

See, when I was 18 months old, I told my mother I wasn’t going to suck my fingers or use my blanket anymore.

I took my blanket and threw it in the trash can. We lived in Houston at the time. My mom ran and got the blanket out of the trash knowing her sweet {haha} baby girl would surely be wanting it soon.

That night I went to bed without my blanket. My mom watched me sleep. She said I would take the two fingers I sucked and hold them down by my side. Then my lips would start making the sucking motion in my sleep and my fingers would make their way to my lips. She said every time they so much as touched my lips I’d jerk my entire arm back down to my side.

I never sucked my fingers again, and I never ask for my blanket. Which killed my mom, who still has the blanket to this day.

So bring it on. I’ve decided to take all the money I normally spend on alcohol and going out and I’m going to use it to travel with, because I love to see the world. And I can see a lot more of it if I’m not spending $12/drink.

World… here I come.

And to the person who said that to me, just watch me.

Eight days in I feel great. The satisfaction alone of knowing I am proving someone wrong is worth it all by itself, and yes, there are other benefits. I’ll keep you posted on the journey.

xo

Design. Build. Adventure. 

I’ve heard there are three ways you can create new brain cells. One is to learn something new. I forgot the other two…

Anyway.

For years I had seen a friend from middle school’s post on his company, Design Build Adventure, and I had always been intrigued.

Here is an example…


I mean… aren’t you intrigued?

I signed up and packed my bags for the high desert of West Texas.

I can’t weld, but I was so excited to learn, and Captain Jack and his crew, Will and Parker, were excellent teachers.

The workshop consisted of consulting with two local artist, Nick and Maryam, who generously have donated part of their land to a playground. It’s called Eastside Playground and you must check it out when traveling through Marfa.

Nick and Maryam wanted a sign for the entrance and a table with benches for kids and parents to sit, play, and gather on.

We had two days to design, build, and make it happen.

The collaboration of the group was magical. Mystical. An experience I’ll never forget.

This is what we made.

Photo credit above to the amazing Nick Terry.

We also made this welcoming sign.


I left with a great sense of satisfaction, although I’m not exactly sure how I contributed other than a willingness to learn and an abundance of enthusiasm for the project.

Thank you Jack and your team, your amazing wife and kiddos, Terry and Maryam, and all who signed up for the class for making this an experience I’ll never forget!

Check out more about Design Build Adventure at http://www.designbuildadventure.com

Letting Go

I wanted to title this post “burying the past” but I thought “letting go” sounded more positive. 

In a way though, I had to bury the past to let go. Metaphorically speaking. I had to come to terms with fact that life as I knew it was over. It was gone, it wasn’t coming back, no matter how much I wished, or prayed, or slept, every time I woke up the world was still completely different. And there was nothing I could do about it. Not a thing. 

The only thing I could do was pause. For a long time. 

Pause. Process. Cry. Repeat. 

After months and months of digesting everything that was happening, it was like I’d come up for air, and as soon as I felt myself catching my breath I was drug back under into the murky abyss. 

Dismal. For months. 

After deciding to take control back, I got angry. 

Angry at the people I thought loved and cared about me. 

But that fire stoked a passion I was missing. One I had and needed back. 

And now I’m ready. Ready to let go, ready to move forward, ready to love life, pursue passions with new outlooks. Ready to live authenticity and just be me. 

I can’t believe it took me this long, but here is to never looking back. 

Bring.It.On. 

This candle was in a small shop I came across and is called “letting go of the past” so as cheesy as it is, I bought it, burned it, and blew it out. 


Bye Felicia. 

Skid Row

When you hit the bottom… You fly to San Diego to see your Unicorn Twin, who promptly tells you she has purchased tickets for us to go to LaLa land the next day. 

My jaw drops because, when I think of LA I think of tan, thin, horrible people who have all gathered in one spot to try to out ego each other. 

“It’s gonna be awesome!!!!” Unicorn twin screams as I shake my head no. 

“We’ll be back Sunday. Monday at the latest.” She nods yes. 

We head to the beach. Which naturally turns into an all night bond fire followed by, hey, it’s 6 am, Let’s go to Lucy’s! (Surf bar) 

At 10:00 the twin realizes we have to leave. 

“How are we getting there?” I inquire as I try to throw things into a smaller suit case. 

“Ummmm…. we’re taking the bus.”

Now, the only buses I have ever taken are in Aspen or Vail, so I think, meh, no big deal. 

We arrive, get our tickets and board. It wasn’t exactly like Vail or Aspen, but I’m pretty good at making friends. Even with walls, so I knew we’d be fine. 

We laugh and talk and drink Gin and Juice that the lovely gentleman next to us shared with us, listened to Easy E, and rapped for two hours. 

When we are about to arrive, I ask where our stop is. 

Unicorn trim mutters something about Downtown, she thinks third street. 

The Gentleman next to me goes, “Shit darlin! You didn’t know where you are going?” 

The look on my face clearly indicates a strong No. 

“You going to Skid Row!” He bellows. 

Twin says something along the lines of “Oh shit, really?!” 

Everyone around us begins laughing. And twin says something about getting an Uber, no big deal.

More laughter. 

“No Uber comes to Skid Row!” 

More laughter. 

I look at Twin with a serously-fucking-really stare. 

We get off the bus and twin sets her purse down to find her bag. On Skid Row. Shocking not shocking, it was gone two seconds later. 

So, we walked seven blocks with our new friends, drank a beer, I bought them all pizza, and Twin and I walked seven more blocks to get an Uber. 

Cause we got friends In low places. Jenny from the block ain’t got shit on me. 

Golden Dawn Arkestra

The only fight me and my friend, let’s call her Holly in case she doesn’t want to be named, have ever been in was over music. Let’s just say she’s a little country and I’m more rock and roll.

After what seemed like 10 hours I politely ask if maybe we could listen to something other than the Turnpike Troubadours, and she agreed.

I put on Golden Dawn Arkestra, and my ears were instantly grateful and happy.

“You know,” Holly says after less than one song, “It’s sad a band like this will never make it.”

“Excuse me?” Certainly I had heard her wrong. “They have an entire horn section. Multiple drummers. The most talented musicians in the ‘live music capital of the world’ play in this band.”

“Right,” Holly continues, “but it’s not Texas country, that’s whats popular. Only those musicians make money… I’m just saying it’s sad, I mean, they sound talented, but will never be as popular as country music.”

And this is where I lose my shit…

“I don’t think they want to be as popular as country. They aren’t country. They are musical geniuses, all in their own right. Let’s just start with Matt Hubbard,”

“Oh, is he Ray Wylie’s son?” Holly ask.

“No. He’s not. His dad invented the crash test dummy and his father’s face is the mold of the crash test dummy which was on the cover of a George Harrison album, so technically his dad is on a Beatles cover.

Matt is one of the most talented musicians I have ever heard. He plays keyboard and horn and runs… what’s that country dude’s name… oh yeah, Willie Nelson, he runs Luck studios for Willie. He’s also married to Willie’s granddaughter Martha and they have a child together.

Now, moving on, Brad Houser, you know he and Matt record with Edie Brickell, so clearly they aren’t talented,” I say sarcastically and roll my eyes.

“Then you have John Speice IV, drummer for Grupo Fantasma, and Brownout… Grupo Fantasma has won a grammy, and Alex Marrero, also in Golden Dawn is the frontman for Brownout. Ozzy Osbourne said on the radio that ‘that dude sounds better than I ever did!’

I haven’t even mentioned the amazing creators of the band yet, Greg Rhodes, Laura Scarborough, and frontman Topaz McGarrigle, whose concept was mythical and magical and undeniably funky, soulful and just delicious.

“Um… John Branch has opened for Sting. So… yeah, no talent there. 

And then there are the other amazing members,  Josh Perdue, who most members claim is the most talented, Robb Kidd, who I cannot possibly keep up with all his gigs, Zumbi… to see that guy play a horn…”

I drifted off knowing I had made my point and Holly just nodded up and down. Well, I’d either made my point or she was sick of listening to my argument…

“I’m not saying John Fullbright and The Turnpike Troubadours aren’t fabulous, but don’t you ever try to tell me Golden Dawn isn’t the shit.”

And with that, the one and only argument ended.

If you have the luxury of being in Austin, you can check them out tomorrow, June 17th, at the Solstice Festival in Pan Am Park.