The Columnist

I had hoped to write about this Saturday, before it began to seem like old news, but life conspired, and then this not-yet-old story was preempted by the sad news of my aunt’s death yesterday.

We need to focus on happier times, for sure.

Like this past Friday.

We gathered to celebrate the blessed birth of The Rajah.

Happy birthday, Rajah!

Some have asked me the significance of The Rajah’s nickname. He’s my fiercest opponent in Words with Friends. He’s the king of  playing “qi” for a bazillion points. I fired back one time with the word rajah, which he promptly contested. The guy who rings me up by playing “qi” is balking at rajah. Priceless. Thus, my Runnin’ Buddy’s hubby will forever more be known as The Rajah. Just as his personalized golf towel says, The Rajah rules.

We commandeered the patio at El Tiempo Friday night for margaritas and fajitas and to celebrate The Rajah. A good time was had by all. The weather was beautiful and unseasonably mild, as it should be for The Rajah; the drinks were plentiful; the food delicious; and the company quite entertaining. It was a bit of a do-over for celebrating the Rajah; last year on his special day, I was a bit busy getting sliced & diced in the OR.

I made a few new friends and reconnected with some existing friends. (Don’t want to call the “old friends” because I was the oldest in the crowd. Boo hiss.) 

Pete, Amanda, and I shared more than a few laughs on the patio, and while The Rajah was holding court on the other end of the table, we made our own fun.

I was adamant that this celebration belonged to The Rajah alone, but my Runnin Buddy and Amanda conspired to carve out a bit of time to commemorate my 1-year anniversary of the mastectomy.  Very thoughtful, girls. Thank you, thank you very much.

Happy cancer-free day to me!

My own cupcake, complete with pink-ribbon-style frosting and a gigantic gumball on top. How much I love that is hard to express. The little umbrella was compliments of my new friend Scott, who had explored the oh-so-manly joys of drinking a pina colada after golf that afternoon. He’s secure enough in his masculinity to have consumed another one, in between the Miller Lights, at El Tiempo. The Rajah cleverly switched Scott’s ringtone to The Pina Colada song, so every time Scott calls The Rajah, that fantastic and timeless song will play; it doesn’t get much better than that. I’d forgotten about the line in the song in which Rupert says “I am into champagne” so definitively. I have a new appreciation for that little ditty.

So what about the columnist? This, my friends, is where my Runnin Buddy tried to get me trouble, yet again. Just as she did recently at the Jimmy Buffet concert when she spun a quite-believable tale to an innocent bystander in the beer line about me being an on-air personality, she spun another tale at El Tiempo to another unsuspecting bystander.

The topic of this little blog came up, and Amanda’s husband Billie was uninitiated in all things Underbelly. Somehow he interpreted this little blog to be a column (any idea how that happened, Staci??), and innocent bystander Chad got the impression that this little blogger is actually a columnist for some publication called Time Magazine. Hmmmm.

To Chad, I hope you were so knee-deep in El Tiempo’s famously potent margs that you don’t recall being duped. That really wasn’t nice. On behalf of my Runnin Buddy, I apologize.

To Billie, I offer no apology but proof that you are indeed “column-worthy” and today is your lucky day because here you are, smack dab in the middle of the Columnist’s column. Hope you’re not too disturbed by the paparazzi that is sure to follow your mention in the column.

And BTW, Billie, hope you now know not to challenge me to drink a tequila shot. ‘Cause I’m gonna do it. But only if it’s Don Julio 1942, which as you learned Friday night, ain’t cheap!

Happy Birthday, Rajah! And congrats to Billie for becoming column-worthy. Hope it’s all you expected it to be, and maybe a little more. Kinda like a shot of Don Julio.

Wastin’ away again…

We were knee-deep in Margaritaville last night. It was Cinco de Mayo, which is a big deal in this neck of the woods–and the Jimmy Buffet show at the Pavillion in the Woodlands.

We never did find that lost shaker of salt. I’m not hurtin’ this morning, but I sure am tired; when the show ended, it was way past my bedtime. I didn’t close my eyes on the way home in the limo, but only because the Rajah entertained us all with Seinfeld trivia for the hour-long ride home. If the Rajah is involved, you know you’re gonna be laughing. He still owes me $100, though, for thinking that “the Fat Pineapple,” aka Israel “Iz” Kamakawiwo’ole is still alive. Sadly, the Hawaiian crooner died of a heart attack in 1997, but his music lives on and is particularly pleasant to drunken concertgoers at the end of a show. His rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” lilted through the speaker system at the end of the show last night and like the Pied Piper, led the Parrotheads out of the Pavillion and into the night. As melodious as his music is, sadly “Iz” is dead.

Pay up, Rajah.

Never having been to a Jimmy Buffet show, I didn’t expect to see quite as much of a spectacle as we did. Lots of people in the later stages of adulthood consuming a lot of alcohol while dressed in outrageous outfits makes for some pretty good people-watching. 

Lots of guys like this.

And this.

At least this guy had the decency to wear a t-shirt over his grass skirt. Saw a couple of hairy men in grass skirts and coconut bras. Yikes! I’d heard that these things happen at a Buffet show, and now I know it’s true.

There’s a tie for best costume, neither of which I got a photo of so you’ll have to use your imagination. The ladies with the straw hats decked out with all manner of beach paraphernalia, including light-up margarita glasses, share the honor with the senior citizens riding matching Rascal scooters with 2 stuffed parrots on their baskets each. Parrotheads cruising in style.

One of the funniest things of the night was when we were waiting in line for drinks and Staci, in her usual charming fashion, started to chat up the person behind us. He asked a few questions, and she told him we were at the show as guests of a radio station, and that I was the on-air personality. The man thought he was meeting a local celebrity and wanted to know which station. I told him I wasn’t at liberty to say, but Staci told him KILT (a local country station). I know nothing about country music. Nothing. So I was hoping he didn’t ask me any work-related questions. Luckily, he just wanted to know if I’ve met “Bob the Singing Cowboy, ” who I gather is another local celeb. Staci nudged me and said sure we have! He’s great! The fella told me that Bob lives across the street from his dad, Cletus (I am not making that up). I told him it must be great to have the Singing Cowboy so close to home, and that I’d be sure to mention it on my show in the morning.

It’s always an adventure when I’m hanging with my runnin’ buddy.

Luckily, it was time for the show to begin, so we scooted off to our seats before Cletus’s son could ask me for free tickets to the upcoming tractor pull.

The show was nice and mellow, and even after all these years, Jimmy can still sing. He seemed to have a great time, and entertained the crowd not just with music but also photo slide shows and banter. He did the entire show barefoot, which made my feet hurt just looking at him.

A good time was had by all, but I think the parrots of the world are a little embarrassed.