Saturday, October 15, 2005


So I've got to have something else up front on the blog. And I meant to post some pictures from my last vacation, so here it goes.

Jess and I went down to Mexico to see two good friends of ours, Merrick and Toy, marry each other. The wedding was at one of those all-inclusive resort/compound type things. It's the kind of set up I wouldn't ordinarily be into, because I like to travel-travel, but for the wedding it sounded like a great idea. And it was.

We flew into Cancun and it was about an hour by van to the resort, which was near Playa del Carmen. The weather was perfect. Occaissional rain showers with some pretty dramatic lightening shows, but more sun than not. The rain would cool things off some so when the sun did come out, it was quite nice. The resort was huge - with a massive pool running its length from the lobby down to the beach. There were more bars than I thought there would be, and that was okay with me - more watered down margaritas than you could shake a stick at. Here's me at the resort, just after the short-but-sweet ceremony with my celebratory cigar:

Flattering, I know. But that shirt is my new favorite - Jess got it for me in Dali in Southwest China over the summer.

Anyway, we got to the resort last Thursday. Then on Friday we had a group get together to go to Xel-ha (pronounced "Shell Hah") and Tulum. Xel-ha was a huge "natural aquarium" where an underground river runs into the gulf. The mix of water attracts a large variety of marine life, and they've built something like an amusement park around it with the primary entertainment being some pretty decent snorkelling. It was pretty cool...looked something like this:

Jess had never been snorkelling before, and I hadn't been since I was old enough to vote, so it was fun to have that experience together. The coolest sighting? Besides the massive grouper it was probably a stingray in the process of burying himself on the sandy bottom. Pretty cool.

Tulum is the only place that there are Mayan ruins immediately on the coast. I didn't know such a thing existed. I'd been to Chichen Itza as a kid, but hadn't seen Tulum. Here I am at the ruins:

The wedding was great. I was stalwart and manly in my stoicism until Toy's grandmother went up and hugged Merrick. At that point, I got some sand in my eye or something and this liquid that didn't taste like the mai thai in my hand suddenly appeared on my face.

One of the best parts of being there were having so many friends in one place. It was especially nice to see Mike and Rita. We hadn't spent any time with them since March, and it was nice to relax and chat for a few days. Here's the four of us:
What was it I had promised to post pictures of but never got around to? If you can remember, put it in comments - apparently procrastinating from writing my seminar paper is sufficient motivation for picture-blogging.

Overall, Mexico was great, but 1 day too short. Next time I do the all-inclusive thing, I'll know that 5 days is the minimum to get the most out of your money and have the optimally lazy time.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Speakers - Rest in Peace 

Speakers was the best pet of any species that I have ever known. He was a part of our family. I loved that cat - he had more personality than most people.

Late Wednesday night, Speakers was killed by three dogs. Jess had to hear it happen.

When we first met Speakers, it was because our friends Denny and Alicia found him on the Eastside, a scrappy little kitten scraping a living in a neighborhood filled with rough cats and unleashed dogs. Actually, he found them. He started sneaking into their house when the door was open and stealing the resident cat, Lenny's, food. He was so tiny Denny and Alicia started feeding him. When Jess met him, she fell in love and took him in. Given a good home, Speakers turned out to be a truly beautiful animal, inside and out.

I could write pages about the wonderful times I've had with that cat. Times like this. But nothing would do him justice. Yesterday, we took him out to Jess's family farm east of San Angelo and buried him. Jess's dad was kind enough to etch his name into a flat stone to serve as a monument. Rest in peace, Speakers - you were one kick ass cat, and you'll be missed dearly.

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