Orchestral musings…

Last night was Claire’s first orchestra concert. My little orchestra nerd (her words, not mine). When she signed up for orchestra this year, one of her friends promptly told her how terrible it was and how much she would hate it. Thanks kiddo! She was all poised to withdraw and change electives, when her orchestra teacher asked her what kind of music she liked and she said- shocking I know- the Beatles, particularly Paul McCartney. The teacher then replied, “You know, Paul McCartney plays bass. You could play bass and it’s just like an electric bass.”

Good teacher, right!

So began the Claire Hinkle, orchestra nerd and future fantastic bass player extravaganza. Her father, who has been trying to force feed her guitar and piano (oh please don’t deny this James Edward) is so pleased he is about to pop. Although he can’t refrain from saying “you know, bass is a nice start for guitar” every now and then. Claire just looks at him.

Anyway, last night I found myself at the Ridglea Hill Methodist Church listening to my kiddo thump those bass notes in perfect unison with her middle school orchestra! Pretty groovy.

What was even cooler was all the wild fantasy images I had during the concert of Claire alternately slapping away at a stand up in boots and a retro fifties dress with a wild rockabilly band and playing a dramatic and beautiful bass solo with the Fort Worth Orchestra. Wow, I am one of those moms, aren’t I?claire orch

Well what the hell. The kid is pretty awesome. She has been slightly grounded for the last three weeks, and frankly she has handled it like a champ. The other day she even said, “Mom, when I get my phone back, can you limit how much time I can spend on it at night. I’ve been getting so much more done.” What the hell? At first I thought it was a brilliant psychological maneuver to get me to end the grounding faster, but now I sort of believe it. She’s plowed through Catcher in the Rye, A Time to Kill, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. She’s written a book report that’s not due til next six weeks. She’s done all of her work, maintained a spotless room, and been a general pleasure to be around. Huh, go figure…kids do want limits.

Anyway, here she is. Pretty cute right?claire bass


Saturday Football Blog

The P90 three got Shawna and me tickets for the much anticipated TCU Texas game. A word: I went to Texas for Law School, and many of my UT friends assure me that I am not REALLY a longhorn, having only attended graduate school at the University. I’m pretty sure the alumnae association- which contacts me every seven hours soliciting money, would be surprised to hear that. In my defense, it’s not like I can watch the Yale football team every week on cable? So I’m kind of stuck.

Anyway, I had been subjected to the numerous “TCU is going to CRUSH Texas” comments from my thousands of TCU grad friends here in Fort Worth over the last couple of months. And frankly, until the OU game, I was fairly convinced they were correct. Those purple and black uniforms are SCARY. And I never like horned frogs, my older brother having thrown one at me in elementary school (it peed on me). So I didn’t have a lot of hope.

To be honest, I really didn’t mind too much. After all, I am a lifelong Fort Worthian- and grew up going to TCU games. But I am NOT a fair weather fan, so Shawna got me a rocking UT shirt and I had my fact painted-giving a small nod to my home town- and went to the big P90 three tailgate to rip it up with the gang.abc2

Surprisingly, the stadium was about 60/40 purple to orange. Even the tailgate had some longhorn fans, so I didn’t stand out too badly. We ate some railhead barbeque and drank some vodka (Grey Goose for a change) and headed into the new TCU stadium to watch what should have been a close game.


Well, let’s just say the longhorns were pretty dominant and I’m not exactly quiet. Before the end of the second quarter, the refs called a delay the game for lightening. Shawna and I were going to get some food (she did a tough mudder that morning) and then head back to the tail gate. But by the time we had achieved some grub, the sky opened up and it rained like HELL for three hours. There was no way we could have made it to the tailgate-although I understand it turned into a big Animal House/gatoring dance party in our absence. Way to go P90 three….Old School.abc

Well, I managed to badger our friend Steve into sneaking us into a luxury suite, where we had access to both vodka AND food. Man those things are SWANKY!! about an hour into the delay they were handing out purple icecream and cookies…WHAT???? That is totally worth a million dollars.

So we watched the rain in palatial luxury and even met some celebrities. One guys was this amazing double amputee war hero- brimming with sarcasm and conservative dogma (one I like, the other…) Anyway, captain awkward here opens up with

Me: She has a three legged dog.

Wow, vodka…not so friendly. Fortunately, he was a cool guy and jumped right in laughing out loud. He had an awesome service dog who was totally spoiled and apparently didn’t know he was in service-having given all of his training up in favor of petting and cookies.

The rain passed and the game resumed. As you presumable already know, Texas won 30-7. But unlike my OU friends, I did not berate my TCU peeps for days, even weeks, after. Basically, TCU alums are in a very similar situation. Building. And you just gotta respect that and ultimately Fear the Frog.

Finally we meandered our way to the parking lot, caught a ride and headed home- to watch the rest of the game. The next morning it was up bright and early for some crossfit and some home made chili.

Not bad at all. Cept for that Cowboy game…sigh.

Ahhh New Orleans…

So, Carla received a gift from a realtor she worked with- two tickets to New Orleans. Dear lord, not again. Yep, two free tickets for two free nights at a swanky hotel paid for by Carla’s points???? Did I mention the FREE part? So, we scheduled up and were ready to go. About a week and a half ago, Stacey the Rocket says “Carla asked me to go to New Orleans with you guys…” As you may or may not recall, in addition to Stacey being one of my best friends, she is my legal assistant. So when we are both out of the office, my practice essentially shuts down.

I had to have a serious conversation with Carla where I was like, “look, Stacey is one of my favorite travel companions, but if we are going during the week, you should REALLY ask me first- cause you put me in this terrible position of having to say- I don’t know, maybe, let’s see what the schedule looks like.” Carla totally understood and was apologetic….and then promptly got drunk and invited her again- twice. ­čÖé Needless to say, I have zero Stacey resistance, so off to NOLA we all went.

Let’s start at the airport. Did you know that you can take those tiny bottles of Tito’s on the plane in your single quart three ounces of liquid or less bag? Well Carla did. She had THREE of those bags full of tiny little Titos for the plane. Unfortunately, you can’t take three bags…only one. So the TSA guys escort her over to the side to review the contents of her bag. It was hilarious…he just looked at her. All I heard was Carla say “Dude, please don’t take my vodka…” Well, this guy was a trooper. He unpacked the one large bag and put it into three appropriate smaller bags and attributed one to each of us. Away we go!!! To the bar at the airport…a couple of hours and several drinks later and we are on our way to New Orleans…

When we get off the plane and into the cab, I quickly notice the cab drivers notifications. One of which states “It MAY be a first degree felony punishable by death to murder a cab driver in New Orleans.” May?? Really? I mean I am sure there are certain technical extenuating circumstances that make that a factual statement, but if we are trying to DISCOURAGE people from murdering taxi drivers, shouldn’t we use more forceful language…? Food for thought.

We spent the first afternoon at Tonique, and then wandered along to a nice restaurant where we ate, hit the casino, and headed back to the hotel. Ms. Carla was all in and headed to the room. Really? at 10:00??? Thank goodness Stacey was there. We went to the very swanky red club in the hotel where we drank vodka and stared at the awkward 60 something men hitting on the twenty something ladies in the bar.Gosh, men are quite confidant arent they?

The next day we ate at the Ruby Slipper and took a carriage tour. Frankly, I couldn’t understand fifty percent of what the toothless, Cajun tour guy was saying, but he was hilarious. At the end, he sang a little song to Carla- each phrase ended with us singing “over at Carla’s place” as he raised his hand. So from now on, if one of the three of us raises our hand, everyone is to sing “over at Carla’s place.” When the tour was over, we headed to Lafites. And THAT was where things went horrible wrong…

Lafites is the oldest bar in America- although its at the far end of Bourbon, it’s more of a locals place- dark, stanky, with cheap, strong drinks. Perfect. We were boozing is up, when this group came in and started playing cards against humanity next to us. Shortly thereafter- because we are loud Texas women- they asked us to play. And play along with did nicely. It was a lawyer and his hot wife, ┬átheir local friend, a gay vet from Dallas, and some dude sitting next to me- looked alot like a fat Richard Dawson. So anyway we play along and the group announces they are going to “Cat’s Meow” on Bourbon for Karaoke, do we want to go?

Of course- even though we swore we wouldnt end up in some teeny bobber club on Bourbon- alcohol (the cause and solution to all problems) wins again. So as we are leaving, Fat Richard Dawson says to me “Are we meeting later?” WTF? Is he on crack or hallucinating?

Me- “no, absolutely not.”

FRD- “I’m really good at (doing something of an oral nature that women like and rappers sing about)”

Me- “Excuse me?”

FRD- repeats his fantastic classy explanation of why I should meet a Fat Richard Dawson look alike who I have barely spoken to in the last hour.

Me-“Well, good for you my friend, maybe you can find a cat that will enjoy that.” Walking away.

REALLY????? Is this what I have become??? I’m 46 and some LOSER thinks that is what it takes to have an illicit rendevouz? That is the saddest recognition of age I have ever been slapped in the face with.

So I am bitching about this jackass – who disappears after I tell him to get the F away from me- to the others in his group. And they all start laughing. And I say, “What the hell, he’s your friend.”

To which the local guy replies- “He’s not our friend, he followed us from a different bar.”

Ah!!!!! Makes more sense now.

So anyway we head off to Karaoke where they are serving 3 for one drinks. I look up to see Carla with the gay vet working it out on stage-hilarious. And we all end up out back dancing and laughing…where this exchange happens.

Gay vet: I appreciate your use of Sappho in the name game we played. How do you know about her?

Me:  Dude? Really? Do you really think you are smarter than I am?

GV: Obviously. I’m a doctor.

Me: So am I.

GV: You’re a doctorate. Do you hold life and death in your hands?

Me: I could shoot a dog…yeah. Your a vet-it’s not like you are chief of pediatric cardiology at Johns Hopkins…come on man.

GV: I love you. I think we are going to adopt you.

Totally fun, right? Yeah, it was . I even told the story about what the weird guy said at the previous bar. That’s when the lawyers wife told me, privately at the bathroom, the she TOO was good at the above mentioned activity…she even added “really good.”

OMG!!!!! Ah New Orleans….

The girls and I took a pass on this new generous offer of me meeting her and her husband and instead went to dinner at Tommy’s. It was great…from what we can remember.

The Wild Bunch

“You are safest in a lightening storm in the water…think about it…do you ever hear of lightening striking water?”

That is a direct quote from the race director of the Lake Travis Relay- a six person 12 mile relay swim completed by the above “Fort Worth Wild Bunch” this weekend. No, seriously…that was said out loud.

When we all attended the mandatory captains meeting, I have to say I left more than a little confused. There are boats, Kayaks, swimmers, buoys, timers, rules, maps, trees and old cars under water…danger Will Robinson Danger!!! It was a little disorganized to say the least. I just kept hoping that once we got on the water, everything would become clear. That we’d have the “enlightenment” moment. So, we turned in our order card and went to dinner at the Iguana grill for some fajitas and live music.

The team- although previously ringered to the gills, had been modified due to the last minute resignation of some swimmers. (Don’t get me started…) But, having replaced the cancellations, we were loaded and ready to go. Meet the team…

Carrie Bransford- badass triathlete and fireman
Stacy “Mer” Fennell- super stud triathlete and swimmer extraordinaire
Rob “borderline Ped” Jones- Multiple Ironman stud muffin
Me- chunky girl triathlete and slow and steady
Bo Fennell- Bo “who knew this stud could swim so fast and have perfect form at 68 – thanks for making me look slow” Ironman Fennell

Julie “Jules” Sellars Rosiek- future IM AZ finisher

And our illustrious anchor- Hugh Parmer- former Mayor, former state senator, former Clinton appointee, former Yale 50 Meter free sprinter..and my Dad.

Wow- awesome right. Here the deal, you have to swim in the same order in intervals of 20 minutes, then 15, then 10 until you are done. Doesn’t sound too hard does it. Yeah. Wrong. It was tough. Add to the mix that I was swimming with a lidocaine patch on my back. Ouch.

So anyway. We arrive at Lake Travis at the marina to pick up our pontoon boat. Shawna is our kayaker. She chooses that moment to say “Hey, this means I’m going to be kayaking twelve miles, and I’ve never kayaked before.” We just stared at her. Was she really just now figuring this out. Into the water Gibson and practice.wild bunch

We loaded her up- including her beef jerky bag (stupid paleo) and she finagled her way around to the middle of the lake for the start.

What a cluster! There were boats and a start buoy. But we needed to “check in” before the race, and there was noone to be found. Finally we located the lovely Sandy in a speed boat. “Check in” apparently simply meant we yelled “we are here” at her as she flew by. Ok. Done.

Carrie jumped in- goggle less- did I mention she doesnt wear goggles- and swam to the start buoy. Shawna paddled into position and the horn sounded. Off they went.

The start looked a little bit like an IM start, only with fewer people. At first, Shawna was in the front, but it quickly became apparent Carrie was in trouble. Like big trouble. The race boat was over by the kayak. Ultimately we found out she had a combination panic attack/asthma attack and was freaking out a little.

Look people. Don’t judge unless you have been in the throws of a mass start, you have no idea how TERRIBLE they can be-especially if you can’t breath. The other boats were about 300 meters ahead of us. If Carrie even touched the kayak, we were out. Well, bless her, she fought through it and managed to swim intervals. I could hear Shawna calling out the strokes. Here’s the thing, when that girl swims- she FLIES!!!!! her intervals made up 100 meters on people who were swimming straight ahead!!!! Before we knew it, we were 200 meters back with Stacy Fennell in the water.

Wow. If you have never seen someone like Stacy or my friend Nicole swim open water, you should. She was like a dolphin. And, not that she is competitive, but she CAUGHT the boats ahead of us in one interval and we were back in the game. STUD MUFFIN.perfect form

Anyway, next was the power house Rob Jones- he swam strong and steady-doubtlessly to impress his 19 year old girlfriend. We were looking good.

Finally, it was my turn. The first twenty minutes sucked. I couldn’t kick with my left leg. But, as Shawna said “just put your head down and sight off me and go.” I managed forward progress, and my back loosened up a lot. Not bad.

Then Bo Fennell Stacy’s 68 year old dad hit the water. UMMMM WHAT!!!!! Look at that turn over and form. I’m not going to lie, Bo caught two more boats!!

Finally, it was the master himself that took the water. I think my dad may have the slowest turn over in America BUT he also may be the most efficient swimmer with the best stroke. His extension is unbelievable. We actually began to put substantial distance between the boat behind us.

Suffice it to say, we were on a roll. That’s when Carrie took back to the water for her redemption. Redeemed????Um YES. That girl flew every interval from then on. Watching the transition from Carrie to Stacy was AWESOME. They are amazing. Beautiful even.

We made the first turn buoy with Rob. Then something strange happened. It was like Rob was suddenly swimming in an endless pool. Or on a swim treadmill. Current from hell. And the next swimmer in was me. Shit.

Well, I jumped in and the water current literally pulled me backward as I was waiting for Rob on the countdown. Not good. But, I decided to simply increase my turn over and focus on the third turn buoy as my sight. “I will pass that freaking buoy” was all I thought. Longest fifteen minutes ever. Bo and Dad had the same issue, but we made the second buoy- which meant Carrie and Stacy were going to get to swim with the current. No joke, it looked like they had little propellers on their butts they were going so fast. Carrie made 1/2 and I would bet money Stacy swam 3/4 of a mile in ten minutes. It was so cool.

Oh, and add to that Texas was wooping OU on the radio. The mood on the boat was merry to say the least.

We made the last turn buoy and headed in. About 700 meters from the final turn, Rob took the water. We were told in the race that if you made the turn into the marina there were no more substitutions. I told Rob “Rob, you freaking better make that buoy, cause I’m not swimming again.” He was razzing me saying he was gonna pull up 100 meters out, but he didn’t. In fact, my little Jones had his best swim trying to save me. But alas, it was no good. I was in 200 meters out to swim the final leg to the buoy.

I touched the giant pumpkin buoy at 6:07. The team that finished nine minutes ahead of us told Shawna they had done the relay five times previously and never finished.

First time. Respectable finish.

I’m going to make a final shout out to Shawna- who freaking killed herself kayaking for us, Andrew and Janice- for the loan of the kayak, Travis and James for driving the boat, and MarMar- mama Marsha for organizing this fantastic race.

Finally, let me say this. My dad is 74. He lifts weights and swims every week. Check out this picture. hugh angelsHe looks like Charlie and his angels, right? If you think exercise won’t keep you young, you are wrong. I have never been prouder of my father than I was watching him gut through that current in the open water. It was awesome. Now, if I can just get him to relay the hald IM in April…he’ll be officially an ironman athlete! Come on dad- You can have a team, and maybe Carrie and Jules will relay with Travis and we can get him to swim.

Team Parmer and the wild bunch ride again.

Big Hookah Fun Was Had By All

My sweet friend Sammy took me to get my birthday present on Friday. As you may recall, my friends got me golf clubs for my birthday. But what I didn’t get was a putter. Well, Sammy had been telling me that I was getting a putter since August 17. And on Friday, finally, both of our schedules cleared and we went to the golf store to get my present.

Well first of all, Sammy had to tell me to stop looking at the price tags. I couldn’t!!! Did you know some of those putters were $300!! And he is such a doll, he would have bought me one if I had chosen it. No way. I kept trying to convince him that I loved the 99.00 putter I was holding, but ultimately he handed me this Versa 34 inch beauty, and I sank a long putt on the practice green in the store…looked at him a little embarrassed and said “I want this one.” Ahem. So much for trying to do the right thing. Let’s just say it wasn’t $300 but it was CHEAP either. Oh my gosh, I LOVE that thing.

Anyway, so then we were going to dinner. Sammy is Egyptian/American…so I thought hey, back to your roots! We decided to go to Byblos for Lebanese food, belly dancers, and hookah. sam and dancerHuh? The food was FANTASTIC…and Sammy, who happens to be all Total Nutrition uber fit guy- who once said to me “I’m never eating fried food again” with his 4% body fat…that guy sits down, gets his meal, looks at the waitress and says “Yeah, we are going to need more rice.” (by the way he was photographed by me eating a Monte Christo sandwich at a later date…so you know, that Total Nutrition stuff must work)

More rice…? I didn’t even know he ATE rice! But, never argue with a hungry Egyptian. More rice it was. Man, we ATE a ton of deliciousness. And my sweet friend Carla joined us. Several cocktails for us girls later, we all mutually agree to Hookah- which I have never done before.

First of all, hookah is weird. There was no tobacco, but it definitely gives you a head rush. We puffed away while the other men in the room looked judgmentally at us. Meh, not the first time. Anyway, we laughed and the ladies drank and Carla was quite adept at the old Belly dancing, I must say. So, all in all what a GREAT NIGHT. hookah love

The next day, I had Sammy’s little girl while he played a golf tournament. It was a blast. She is adorable. I was kind of sad about some personal stuff, but it is virtually impossible to be sad around her. She just made me smile and laugh all day. I ended my weekend with a round of golf with Pat, Steve, and John…and they were so sweet. They all complemented me on my improvement, even though my drives were sucking wind…the short games was definitely coming along. AND I sunk a 35 foot Tiger Woods worthy putt with my sexy Versa putter. What a great day! There is nothing like friends to make you FEEL BETTER. I even played with this golf ball in hopes of winning my bet on the Texas/OU game this weekend. Yeah, I bet on it…I have a $50 dollar bet with a bailiff that OU won’t break 60. sigh…gold ball

Barre…with an e

So my sweet friend Kat asked me to join Terri and her for Barre this morning at 6. She even offered to pick me up. How could I possibly refuse? Well, I could have but Shawna was gone to Austin- which meant if I walked six at the gym it would have been with the incredibly, ridiculously fit Talon coaching, doubtlessly thinking in his head something like “I knew that old broad would end up walking…”

Then I’d have to explain how I hurt my back playing golf again, which would make me look even older. It’s just a slippery old slope I don’t want to tread upon. Also, I love some Katherine so if I can make her happy by doing Barre (you know like a ballet barre…not a bar- which I do voluntarily all the time) I’m gonna.

At 5:45 she picks me up and we head over the the barre class near my home. My friend Terri and her sweet daughter Courtney were there, which made it even better. Then, Kat gives me my Barre sock- apparently there are socks you have to have. Thank goodness, cause I never wear socks. And away we go.

So we go into the small, carpetted and mirrored room with barres against ll four walls. There is blaring techno music…at six am.

And sweet Kat says “Aren’t you soooo excited?”

And surly Betsy says, “I could do without the techno…” and then growls in her black running tights and her over sized Total Nutrition tshirt. Everyone else looks adorable, of course.

So the class begins. I will say it’s not easy. It’s essentially isometrics, limited movement repetitious low weight work with some yoga and a barre. You definitely get a burn. The down side is the MUSIC….oh my gosh. Generally I can tolerate techno after one or one hundred vodka sodas, but at six in the morning. ARGHHHHHH.

There is lots of pumping and flexing, which I do enjoy. And most importantly, at the parts when I could neither pump NOR flex, I could look over and see Katherine’s smiling face. So that was a positive. But, in all honesty, I have to say it wasn’t my thing. My pumping and flexing is done in private, thank you.

Anyway, she and Terri also do hot yoga (not the Bikram kind, the other non corporate free love kind). I think I’ll try that with em next. Because hey, if you can’t pump and flex with your friends, you should pant and sweat. You know?

Last night I went to Happy Hour with three of my triathlon friends and my coach. Two of these ladies are training for Tempe this year, and one is about to start training having just now recovered from foot surgery. Seven weeks of training for a full ironman!!! She is ballsy! Although she doesn’t smell ballsy, which I am not sure why I felt the need to clarify, but suffice it to say she smells awesome.

But I digress…So Sho and her minions are on this weird Crossfit/paleo challenge that is like 50 plus days of workouts and no vodka. What the hell? She is tiny, but buff. It’s like all the people around me are wasting away to paleo nothingness! Whereas me? Well, I suffered a severe golf related back injury three weeks ago, and my exercise is limited to walking and biking in pain. Bring on the liquor and pastries.

Sho once told me “Look, you are an endurance athlete. Endurance athletes get hurt. You just got to suck it up and not hurt yourself more.” Now, she said this after she broke her vagina doing Pike’s Peak Marathon (no, seriously, she broke her vagina). She was down from her usual performance for almost a year!

A year? three weeks is KILLING ME! I am such an endorphin addict, this is sending me into a depression. I recognized this last night when Kristy said “yeah, I only skimmed your blog. You are supposed to be funny.”

WTH? You skimmed my blog???No No No…I’m not required to be funny, young lady. It’s still over 90, I’m peri menapausal, I can’t work out because i hurt myself playing the least stressful sport in the world, and I’m fat!!!!! I don’t have to be funny!! I get to each wings and drink vodka and LAUGH at you people doing the nine hour bricks! HAHAHAHAHAH! Bring me a twinkie….NOW!

So because I am fat and depressed, I decided to do what any normal woman having self esteem issues would do- go pants shopping. Yep, I wanted to pour that salt into the wound. Could have only been better if I had enchiladas and THEN went pants shopping.

Well guess what? I’ve lost weight!!!!! Yeah Yeah, it’s probably muscle. Suffice it to say my ability to get into some reasonably sized black straight legged jeans gave me enough confidence last night to drink 5 vodka sodas, eat a plate of wangs (still missing the all important 4th wang) and skip my walk this morning. Yes!

So to the gym with me, I say. And since you aren’t injured, why don’t you do the same chunky nation. Cause I’m thinking it’s time for another Ironman. Whos in?