Table of Contents Gift Guide 2015 Shopping
Wrap Up Homelessness Art
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Gift Guide 2015 Holiday gifts that give back by Ranya O’Connor
This holiday season instead of the usual fruitcake, give ethical, eco-friendly, and socially conscious gifts to your loved ones and friends! We’ve made it super easy to do with our 2015 Holiday Gift Guide. We’ve sought out the best presents of 2015 that are not only stylish but also give back to worthy causes. From providing clean water and education to those in need to supporting a greener world, these gifts give back without breaking the bank. And the best part is that all of these products are available for purchase at local shops in OKC. Here’s where you can shop locally and have an impact globally this holiday season!
For Claws and Paws sells local, handmade pet collars and accessories. Their colorful collars come in a wide variety of patterns and fabrics for every special occasion. From holidays to Thunder games, your pooch is sure to be stylin’. Plus a portion of the proceeds goes to benefit local animal rescue groups in Oklahoma City. $20 at DNA GALLERIES
Featured Local Shops Always Greener - 7316 N Western Ave. Blue 7 - 7518 N May Ave. Collected Thread - 1705 NW 16th St. DNA Galleries - 1709 NW 16th St. Dale Rogers Training Center - 2501 N Utah Ave. No Regrets - 9219 N Pennsylvania Ave. Plenty Mercantile - 807 N Broadway Ave. Shop Good - 3 NW 9th St. Urban Farmhouse Designs - 400 S Western Ave.
Jax & Bones is an eco-friendly company specializing in adorable dog toys and accessories. All Jax & Bones toys are handmade and dyed using eco-friendly vegetable dyes to help reduce your furry friend’s environmental paw-print. As your dog chews, these toys act as doggie dental floss and promote healthy hygiene. 10% of sales go to Animal Rescue Groups in the US. $14 at PLENTY MERCANTILE
Shinola Detroit is the perfect gift to pamper your pooch this winter. From luxury dog beds to collars and toys, all of their products are American-made in Detroit. Shinola believes there is not just history in Detroit, there is a future. They seek to define American luxury through the revitalization of American manufacturing. And a portion of their profit goes to raise awareness across the country about pet rescue organizations dedicated to saving the lives of animals. $180 at PLENTY MERCANTILE Krebs Recycle believes that upcycling is better than recycling. Krebs dog leashes are made from recycled nylon climbing rope that needs to be retired for safety reasons from climbing gyms. The rope is then repurposed into stylish, sturdy dog leashes made in Seattle, WA. $20 at PLENTY MERCANTILE
KeepCup is the maker of the world’s first barista standard reusable cup. KeepCups’ mission is to encourage the use of reusable cups. Their goal is to lift reuse rates to 40% reusables in the “to go” market. KeepCup is the perfect way to enjoy the craft and sensory pleasure of specialty coffee, and they are 100% recyclable at the end of their life. $28 at PLENTY MERCANTILE
Blue Planet designs eco-friendly eyewear that is both stylish and socially responsible. All of their eyewear is made with recycled and reclaimed materials. Every time you purchase a pair of Blue Planet eyewear, they donate a pair to someone in need. $30 at PLENTY MERCANTILE Mariposa Coffee is a small microroastery in Norman, Oklahoma dedicated to crafting excellent coffee, supporting community, and fighting social injustice. Their goal is to bring out the natural flavors that are hidden within each coffee bean, celebrating the delicate notes from each origin. Mariposa Coffee works with Water 4 to help put waterwells in coffee-growing communities that do not have access to clean water. $15-$18 at COLLECTED THREAD
For each pair of shoes you purchase, TOMS donates a new pair of shoes to a child in need. TOMS has donated over 115,000 pairs of shoes to children worldwide with help from philanthropic shoppers. From slip ons, to boots, to sandals, to dress shoes, Toms truly has a shoe for every occasion and in every color. $98 at BLUE 7
Headquartered in Oklahoma City, Always Greener, offers a synthetic grass solution that is eco-friendly to those wanting maintenance free, green grass all year round. In addition to residential and commercial landscaping needs, Always Greener also offers quirky synthetic grass doormats and rugs for inside your household. From animals, to the 50 states, to personalized monogrammed doormats, they truly offer everything in grass. $30 at ALWAYS GREENER EbenPak backpacks are made from durable canvas and genuine leather with a contemporary militaristic look. The perfect rucksack for him. And for every EbenPak you buy, EbenPak donates one full year of school supplies to a student in need in Cambodia. In addition, EbenPak donates 10% of their profit to help children get access to education. $119 at PLENTY MERCANTILE With a Purpose offers sports blankets for your favorite SEC, Big Ten, and Big 12 teams. Their blankets are made from super soft 100% polyester fleece. For every blanket sold, With a Purpose donates a blanket to one of their nonprofit partners working with people in need. With a Purpose works with the City Rescue Mission and the Homeless Alliance in OKC, donating blankets to our local homeless population. Blankets are available online at withapurpose.us. $44 at WITHAPURPOSE.US
Dale Rogers Training Center supports people with disabilities in Oklahoma City through vocational training and work opportunities. Their Prairie Spice line is packaged and produced locally by people with disabilities. These Oklahoma themed spices are of the highest quality and every spice is gluten free, non-GMO, non-MSG, and made in Oklahoma. $21 at DRTC.ORG
Apolis means “global citizen” and is a socially motivated lifestyle brand that empowers communities worldwide. Apolis reusable market bags are handcrafted in Bangladesh and made of vegan and recycled materials. Apolis believes that people can live better lives when they are given equal access to the global marketplace. $68 at SHOP GOOD
Raaka Chocolate makes virgin chocolate from unroasted cacao beans. Raaka uses organic ingredients in their chocolates and is committed to fair trade and green practices. Raaka purchases cocoa beans from native farmers at $500 above the market price per metric ton. All Raaka bars are wrapped in recycled paper and printed with soy inks. And after use, their cocoa husk is donated to an after-school gardening program in Brooklyn for fertilizer. Chocolates vary in flavor from coconut milk to sea salt. $8 at PLENTY MERCANTILE
Giving Keys employs people transitioning out of homelessness in downtown Los Angeles to engrave recycled keys and turn them into beautiful, unique jewelry. Each key is engraved with a positive message like “courage,” “strength,” or “love.” You purchase and wear the key until you believe you have embraced the engraved message in your life, and then you pay it forward by passing it on to someone who needs the message more than you. $39-$125 at URBAN FARM HOUSE DESIGNS
Magpie is based in London and designs homeware with a distinct British edge. A stylish addition to any home, this is a must-have collection for mid-century design lovers. Everything Magpie makes is suitable for Vegans. Their ceramics are made from Porcelain instead of Bone China, and their packaging is made from 100% recycled paper. 15% of Magpie sales goes to fund Cats Protection and fed over 140,000 cats this year. $15 at BLUE 7
Denik gathers artists from across the globe and puts their artwork on journals, notebooks, and sketchbooks. Made with 75% recycled paper, each notebook features a different artist’s design on the cover. With every product sold, a portion of the proceeds goes to building schools for children in developing countries. $12 at BLUE 7
Chavez for Charity is a line of jewelry that raises money and awareness for more than a dozen charities, donating a 25% of profit based on the color of jewelry purchased. Chavez supports organizations like Water.org, STOMP Out Bullying, and Fisher House Foundation. Chavez carefully blends stones, charms, and chain together to create a coveted accessory. $10 at PLENTY MERCANTILE Read Between the Lines delivers simple, stylish, and affordable prints in a variety of cheeky sayings. Designed and printed in America, their greeting cards are the perfect way to express yourself this holiday season. A portion of each sale of Read Between the Lines is shared with MANA Nutrition and Rolling Dog Farm. MANA Nutrition addresses childhood malnutrition across the globe, and Rolling Dog Farm provides permanent homes for disabled dogs in New Hampshire. $6 at NO REGRETS
Pact Socks designs super soft, fair trade, organic cotton socks. Made with non-GMO organic cotton and manufactured in renewable energy factories, Pact Socks are eco-friendly down to their packaging. Pact Socks is also certified fair trade, working with family farms in India to source the cotton for their socks. $12 at BLUE 7
Green Tones designs handmade, ecofriendly, wooden musical instruments for children. All instruments are made with chemical free wood and are good for the planet and your child’s development. Green Tones believes that musical experiences help nurture and grow a child’s cognitive abilities. 1% of sales go to non-profit organizations dedicated to protecting the environment. $60 at PLENTY MERCANTILE
Milkbarn Organic believes that children’s products should be as fresh and imaginative as the world we live in. Their stylish baby apparel and accessories are well made and not mass marketed. All products are made with GOTS certified organic cotton and packaged in recycled paper. Milkbarn donates a percentage of profits to support Mama Jeanne’s Orphanage in Goma, DR Congo, Africa. $25 at GREEN BAMBINO
Green Toys are American made from 100% recycled milk jugs, and all products are packaged in 100% recyclable cardboard. Green Toys believes in creating toys that nurture young minds and encourage environmental stewardship through earth-friendly play. A portion of Green Toys sales are donated to nonprofits focused on children and the environment. $17 at GREEN BAMBINO
Babylit Books believes in the power of reading and introducing children to the world of classic literature through stylish picture-book renditions of your favorite literary classics. From Don Quixote to Moby Dick to Romeo and Juliet, Babylit Books is sure to have your favorite classic available in kid-friendly language. And all books are printed on 100% recycled paper. $10 at PLENTY MERCANTILE
In2Green specializes in ecofriendly, luxury throws and home knit accessories for babies. All throws are made from a sustainable blend of recycled cotton and crafted in the USA. In2Green seeks to promote green jobs in the USA in addition to minimizing environmental impact and conserving natural resources. A portion of sales is donated to environmental non-profits. $80 at PLENTY MERCANTILE
Zooties Silk Road Bazaar works with artisans to produce handcrafted goods in Kyrgyzstan. Silk Road Bazaar represents marginalized artist groups in Central Asia, connecting them to the world market through traditional craft culture. Zooties booties for babies are all-natural and environmentally conscious, made from locally resourced sheep in Kyrgyzstan and come in a variety of styles from crocodiles to foxes to whales. $35 at PLENTY MERCANTILE
Little Sapling Toys makes organic, wooden toys that encourage developmental learning and imaginative play. Each toy is handmade in Utah with the highest quality North American Maple wood. From wooden cameras, to cars, to blocks, there are plenty of designs to keep your kiddo busy. And Little Sapling plants a tree for every toy sold. $36 at GREEN BAMBINO
WRAP UP HOMELESSNESS! PRESENTED BY
Give a gift that truly gives back this holiday season and help us wrap up homelessness in OKC! The Curbside Chronicle, along with Fowler Auto Group, Cornerstone Development, and Frontline Church, have teamed up with ten of your favorite local artists to create some amazing holiday wrapping paper designs. Wrapping paper packages will be available for
sale directly from Curbside Chronicle vendors and in local shops around OKC. Follow The Curbside Chronicle online at thecurbsidechronicle.org or on social media @CurbsideOKC for more details about specific stores and locations. 100% of proceeds from each package of wrapping paper purchased go to support The Curbside Chronicle and its mission to employ and empower
Tessa Raven is a young mixed media artist from Oklahoma City. Her subjects mainly focus on fictional figures and colorful characters. You can follow Tessa at Tessaravenart.com, @teeraves on Instagram, Tessa Raven Art on Facebook, or purchase small works in person at DNA Galleries in the Plaza District.
men and women transitioning out of homelessness in OKC. Each package of wrapping paper sells for $8 and features 5 holiday designs from your favorite local artists. Get a sneak peek at the designs and meet the talented, local artists that contributed to the cause below! â€˜Tis the season to end homelessness in OKC!
Erin Robinson is an art director in Oklahoma City. Her artwork combines design + folk. Organic lines, patterns, and hand-rendered type merge together to create a style that melds nature and modern style. You can follow her on Instagram at @erinwalty.
Ruth Borum Loveland lives and works in Norman, Oklahoma where she has maitained a studio space since 2005. Her work includes mixed media 2-D paintings and wood burnings, as well as pottery. She received a BFA in Fine Art from the University of Oklahoma in 2005. She has been employed by Anthropologie since 2012, as a display artist. She has exhibited work in Oklahoma, Chicago, New Orleans, and Kansas City. You can follow her at ruthloveland.com or on Instagram @ruthbloveland.
Dylan Bradway is a co-owner, artist, and designer at DNA Galleries in Oklahoma City. With artwork focused on dreamlike beings and environments, his work is meant to inspire creativity and contemplation. You can follow Dylan on Instagram @mrdylanb and DNA Galleries @dnagalleries. Or visit their websites dylanbradway.com and dnagalleries.com.
Matt Goad is a graphic designer and illustrator from Oklahoma City. Whimsical, geometric, simple and complex, his designs of animals and nature draw visual inspiration from classic graphic design and pop art reproduction of the mid-20th century. You can follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter @goadabode. Or visit his websites: mattgoad.net or goadabode.com.
Skip Hill is an Oklahoma-based artist whose art focuses on various cultures, languages, and beliefs in captivating collage works. His body of original paintings, drawings, murals, and limited edition prints are in private collections and public spaces on both sides of the Atlantic and in South America. He has traveled, lived, and exhibited throughout the United States, Europe, Southeast Asia, Brazil and North Africa. You can follow Skip on Twitter @SkipHillArt, on Facebook at Skip Hill Art, or at skiphillartist.com.
Dusty Gilpin is owner and designer of Tree & Leaf Clothing in Oklahoma City. His prints, design, and apparel are inspired by cartoons, cars, and the great outdoors. You can follow him and Tree & Leaf online @trudust and @treeandleaf.
Dustin Oswald is the owner, artist, illustrator, author, and designer for Bombs Away Art based in Oklahoma City. His illustrative artwork is line based and is heavily influenced by the late nineteenth century symbolist movement as well as contemporary and vintage comic book art. His focus is familiar objects in a more than obvious context, leaving room for the audience to arrive at their own interpretive conclusions. Follow Dustin on Instagram and Twitter @bombsawayart and be sure to visit his website bombsawayart.com. Or you can visit him at his studio gallery at 3003A Paseo Dr. in OKC.
Kalee Jones W. is an Oklahoma City based acrylic painter and stained glass crafter. As a painter, she hones principles of stillness, authenticity and space awareness to make spontaneous compositions. Her work explodes with color and texture, often housing camouflaged figurations. You can follow Kalee on Instagram and Twitter @kaleejonesw.
Denise Duong was born and raised in Oklahoma City by two wonderful Vietnamese parents. She attended art school in Chicago, and her wandering soul set her out to do what she does best: create things and explore. She has a deep love for nature, adventure, exploration, and working with her hands. These things influence her in everything that she does. You can follow Denise on Instagram @lildfromokc or online at deniseduongart.com.
Fresh stART is a program designed to provide homeless individuals with a supportive environment for creating art. Needed Supplies acrylic paints | paint brushes | canvas and canvas paper | paper, general grade | matte board | pencils, charcoal | colored pencils, prisma color | gel medium | glue | white paper plates | cups | easels | soap/ detergent | sketch books | old magazines | gift cards to arts and crafts stores To donate, call 405-415-8410 or drop off supplies at 1724 NW 4th St., OKC 73106
Turkey Tango needs 100 turkeys to provide Thanksgiving dinner to over 500 for West Town Day Shelter and Food and Shelter for Friends. This is the eighth year of Turkey Tango, in which Culinary Kitchen cooks 100 turkeys in less than 24 hours. Please drop off turkeys at West Town Day Shelter, 1729 NW 3rd or cash donations at Culinary Kitchen, 7222 N Western.
Proud Supporter of The Curbside Chronicle DRIVING ART + PLACES + COMMUNITY We are passionate about improving the quality of life for the places that our dealerships call home. We believe that art, culture and dissnct places are at the heart of thriving communiies, and we are commiied to this belief by supporrng many local organizaaons and causes who champion these eďŹ€orts. We take great pride in our partners and their impact on our community.
LOVE OUR COMMITTMENT TO COMMUNITY? Consider one of our family dealerships for your automoove needs. We're proud to have served our community since 1973.
by Ashley Dekat design by Hannah Beller
This holiday season enjoy all the yum by cooking none!The best local takeries in Oklahoma City to get your holiday meals to-go. Plus a meal planning guide to keep your holidays stress-free! When I was growing up, my parents threw a lot of parties, especially around the holidays. My mom would sit down at her desk and work up a menu and a shopping list. On the day of the party, we would hop in the car and head to the nearest Sam’s Club where we would gather all our party essentials: miniature quiches, pigs in a blanket, cheesecake bites, frozen meatballs, frozen pinwheels, the list goes on and on. If Sam’s had it premade, it went in our cart. Before the party, mom would thaw and bake our frozen goodies and then gracefully place them on beautiful silver platters. Then we would throw on our fancy party dresses, light some
candles, crank the festive music, and host an elegant party without the fuss of having to prepare anything ourselves. Fast forward to present day. As a foodie, I thrive on entertaining and throwing parties. I love to whip-up gourmet dishes and serve fancy multicourse dinners to my guests. But let’s get real; sometimes I just don’t have the time or energy to make the food myself. Unlike my mother, I don’t rush to the nearest big-box store and buy manufactured meals. Instead, I head to one of Oklahoma City’s many local takeries and grab freshly prepared items to-go, made with quality
ingredients, often farm-to-table, and without preservatives. And the best part is that most items are ready to warm and serve with very little, if any, assembly required. These are your perfect to-go takeries for a delicious holiday meal with zero stress! Check out our meal-planning guide for the most popular to-go dishes served at these featured takeries. Be sure to check the takeries’ websites and social media for menus, specials, pricing, and policies around the holidays. Treat yourself this holiday season to a delicious meal that’s only a phone-call away!
Provision Kitchen 6443 Avondale Dr. OKC | provision-kitchen.com Provision Kitchen is the newest to-go takery in the 405. Located in Nichols Hills Plaza, Provision Kitchen cooks up breakfast, lunch, dinner, as well as soups, salads, and snacks daily. Most meals are individual servings, but you can find a few family-sized options as well. Food is prepared fresh daily and everything is gluten free, minimally processed, free from any sugars, and made with
clean ingredients. The cuisine is plant-focused, allowing for plenty of natural vitamins and minerals but also includes animal proteins in moderation. In fact, Provision Kitchen is truly farm-to-table, sourcing as many ingredients as possible from their family-owned certified-organic farm. The menu changes with the seasons but can be found online, complete with nutritional information
and prices. For a different holiday approach, their Quinoa Fried Rice is loaded with Asian vegetables, chicken, plenty of flavors, and always readily available. Provision Kitchen is the perfect meal option for that healthy eater or special dietary member of the family. Or give your own body a break from all the rich foods of the holiday season and eat at Provision Kitchen for fresh, local meals for the taking.
Prairie Gypsies 415 NW 30th St. OKC | prairiegypsies.com One of Oklahoma’s City’s longeststanding takeries is The Prairie Gypsies in the Paseo District. It is a one-stop shop for parties no matter how big or small. Every week, the Gypsies prepare two featured entrees, four soups, and quiche and pizza on Fridays. Their coolers are always full of salads and appetizers, such as hummus, crostini with house-made jams, and the highly
popular “Gone in 60 Seconds” cheese ball. It is a torta of cheddar cheese, green onions, pecans, and cream cheese and is delicious enough to live up to its name. Their wide assortment of casseroles feed 10-12 people and are served cold in a mess-free aluminum pan; they can bake it for you for an additional $5. You can almost always find their popular King Ranch Chicken
Casserole on the seasonally changing menu. Ingredients include layers of chicken, peppers, onion, tomatoes, green chilies, cheese, and corn tortillas. Don’t forget the dessert menu on your way out to complete your meal. They are the perfect one-stop shop for a complete take-out Thanksgiving dinner or delicious holiday luncheon.
Urban Agrarian 1235 SW 2nd St. OKC | urbanagrarian.com Many people forget about our great local farmer’s markets in Oklahoma City. In the Historic Farmer’s Market district resides Urban Agrarian, one of our city’s greatest treasures. A market at heart, you will only find locally sourced foods. Available daily are house-made Beef or Chicken Pot Pies, chock-full of local veggies, farm-fresh
meats, and wrapped in a flaky pastry. Urban Agrarian has plenty of salads and sandwiches and offers catering for office parties and private events. Keep in mind the menu changes daily depending on what local farms have available. The seasonal salad is Arugula, Pear, Pecan, and Goat Cheese, but you will always find Kale
Chicken Caesar Salad available as well. You will find more prepared foods on weekends than weekdays, such as tamales, hot soups, hand pies, and rotisserie chickens. Stop by the store to see what is fresh this holiday season and enjoy eating local at its finest.
SupperThyme 320 W 33rd St. Edmond | supperthymeok.com In Edmond, Supper Thyme is dishing up a similar concept. They offer entrees for up to six people, sides for four, Family Fit menus, and Paleo options. A few coolers are kept stocked with already prepared food, but it is best to place your order online 48 hours in advance for a wider selection. They have several appetizers for your next party, delicious gourmet sides,
and desserts for all occasions. Some of their most purchased dishes are entrees ranging from casseroles to prepared cook-at-home Crock-Pot meals like Catalina Chuck Roast. It is a baggie full of tender beef roast, sliced onions, bell peppers, and a tangy Catalina sauce. Just dump into your crock-pot and let simmer for at least 6 hours for a hot meal without the fuss.
They even have breakfast casseroles for the next time you have overnight guests and donâ€™t want to wake up early to make breakfast! The best news is that you can order your entire holiday meal online and have your purchases delivered to your home for a small fee. How easy is that?
Pie Junkie 1711 NW 16th St. OKC | piejunkie.com The Plaza district is home to the wildly popular Pie Junkie – famous for seasonal pies that are better than your own mother’s. But did you know Pie Junkie crafts savory, frozen pot pies in addition to desserts? Pot pies sell out fast and are first come, first served. Flavors include a Turkey Pot Pie, Chicken Pot Pie, and Chicken, Mushroom, and Thyme Pot Pie. Pot
pies come in two sizes; a small feeds 1-2 people and bakes at home for an hour and the large feeds 4-6 people and bakes for an hour and a half. Another savory option perfect for morning guests is the sausage pie, similar to a quiche and loaded with crumbled sausage, peppers, onions, and cheddar. It is available as a special order with 48 hours notice. And of
course, Pie Junkie is a great place to pick up dessert for any occasion. The Pumpkin Crumble is a favorite flavor available during the holiday season and is addictive. Holiday pie orders open November 3rd for Thanksgiving and December 1st for Christmas. Get your order in before they’re full; pies go fast around there!
“ Belief in oneself is incredibly infectious. It generates momentum, the collective force of which far outweighs any kernel of self-doubt that may creep in.” ~ Aimee Mullins
For creating a movement propelled by the belief in one’s self and worth, we say thank you to the Curbside Chronicle, and carry on to those moving forward.
by Robert Hatcher, The Curbside Chronicle vendor
After a year of homelessness, Robert used the sale of The Curbside Chronicle to help secure housing in OKC. Outside of selling Curbside, Robert now attends college at OSU OKC. In his free time, Robert enjoys cooking and sharing recipes with friends. For the holidays, Robert has shared his favorite entrĂŠe of Cornish Game Hens with us. Almost all of Robertâ€™s recipes were passed down from his grandmother, aunt, or mother.
Directions 1) Cut the cornish hens in half. 2) Rinse hen halves, pat dry using paper towels, and place on baking pan. 3) Mix paprika, chile powder, garlic powder, onion powder, celery salt, dry mustard, kosher salt, and ground red peppers. 4) Add olive oil to spices and mix thoroughly. 5) Brush mixture on the hen halves and cover loosely with foil. 6) Cook at 375 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes or until hens reach internal temperatures of 165 degrees.
compiled by Ranya O’Connor photos by Sarah Powers
Art is a caring father, talented artist, and hard-working vendor for The Curbside Chronicle. In addition to selling The Curbside Chronicle, Art also does carpentry and handyman work around OKC. After five years of homelessness, Art moved into his very own apartment this August! You can find Art selling at NW 23rd and Grand Blvd. or at NW 23rd and Classen Blvd.
How was it living with your grandparents?
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in South Texas in the small town of San Diego. I had a good childhood except that my parents divorced when I was three, so I didn’t know my mother. I had a stepmother that, although she did her best, was a little bit wicked. I’m the only boy with two older sisters and two younger sisters. My older sisters bailed out and left me and my younger sisters at home. But I bailed at the age 11. I went to live with my grandma. My dad and I were best of friends, but when we went home, he was a different person around my stepmother. We weren’t dysfunctional, but I had to get out of that house. As soon as it got dark one night, I was on my bike headed to grandma’s house. And they told my dad, “If he wants to stay, he’s staying.” And that was it.
It was wonderful! My grandma is from Spain and was the matriarch of the household. Whatever she said went. She had five sons and four daughters. My grandpa passed when I was in 9th grade. I was so mad he left me. We were very close.
Did you like school? High school was a blast! I did a little bit of everything. I was senior class president and junior class vice president. It was fun. I was in student council and on the debate team. The highlight was me being quarterback though. We were the San Diego Vaqueros, which translates as Cowboys. I was also editor of the yearbook and the school newspaper. I had the best looking girl in school. I really did. Eva Longoria is a 6 compared to my high school sweetheart. We talked about getting married, but after graduation, I went to Austin, she went to Corpus. You know how it goes. We grew apart.
Why’d you go to Austin? I went right on to the University of Texas after graduation. I did well. I had a 3.7 GPA, but I hated being poor. My dad didn’t really want me to go to college. He wanted me to hang out and do what he did. My family didn’t financially support me after high school, and I was on my own. I was having to do workstudy at the school newspaper but that wasn’t enough. I also washed dishes and was a waiter. I was working just to make ends meet. I didn’t get to participate in the fraternity parties or dances because I had to work. I thought I’d make better money on a drilling rig. So, I came back home to work on a drilling rig. I did well servicing, which is pretty nasty but pays well. I had a corvette. I had a house. I bought my grandma everything she wanted.
When did your drinking become a problem?
When did you reach out for help?
I wanted to get out of Corpus, Texas though, so I followed this rig. I ended up in Altus, Oklahoma. That’s where I met my first wife and went to the junior college and played baseball. She was my wife for 15 years. I don’t know how I even attracted her. She was so beautiful. We both moved to Oklahoma City and had kids here. We had a good marriage, but we are better off as friends now.
What are you most proud of?
I’ve been a very good dad. Not just a father, a dad. They’ll tell you, “He’s the best dad.” That’s the best part of my life. I’m still a good dad and a great grandpa. I love it. I have four girls and a boy. When my first wife and I divorced, I took my son with me and we had a blast. You know, father son time. I ended up with all the girls later. We had plenty of money then. Nice toys. We had a lot of fun. My oldest daughter runs a place in Bricktown now. My son’s a plumber. My stepdaughter is on a full-ride academically at OU. After my second marriage ended and my kids moved out, that’s when I turned to drinking.
When I was 12, my dad gave me my first drink. Even before I started drinking, I used to buy beers for my dad at the store. I was just 9 years old. It was a small town and they all knew me. I think his alcoholism played a role in me turning to drinking. I didn’t like that he did it. It wasn’t cool to drink. It’s just that everybody drank in our town. That’s all there was to do in that town. It was almost 5,000 people. We just drank and barbequed.
I started going to AA in 2000. I go to about 10 AA meetings a week to hear what I need to hear. There’s always somebody that’s gonna say something that you didn’t think of or know. I feel like I’m getting a better handle too because of my spirituality. I’ve messed up a bunch. It’s just little stuff here and there, but it adds up. I was a functioning alcoholic. I could build you anything while drunk. When I got a DUI is when I realized that I needed help. I was a car salesman at the time, and I lost my job, which I loved. It was fun and good money, and you got to meet a lot of people. I love people. Losing my job, that’s what told me that I had hit bottom.
Why do you drink?
Why did you turn to drinking? My dad was an alcoholic. He died at 56 because of it. He was a very functional alcoholic. He was what you’d call a company man in the oil industry. He was very successful. He would go to bars and leave me in the car to wait. I was like 10 years old. I’d be honking the horn like, “You’re gonna get in trouble with your wife!”
After my second divorce. I think I went to every bar in Oklahoma City. I joked that they kept building bars in OKC because of me… I was hurt. I went to the bars and didn’t really care. I just wanted to get away. This lasted until a few years ago. I realized I was getting old and needed to refocus. I don’t like being lonely. There were periods of time that I’d cry because of what happened. I’d cry in bed like a baby, really. My daughter caught me once, and I was just weeping.
I have a set of glasses that say: I drink to forget; I drink to be happy; I drink to feel better. Truthfully, I could never fully answer that question. There are different triggers. If I get really upset or mad, that triggers it. But in all honesty, I like to drink. I like to calm down with a drink. I have an assertive personality. In truth, I’d like to be a normal drinker. Enjoy a nice martini in a nice restaurant. There’s nothing wrong with drinking, it’s abusing it that’s wrong. I’d love to enjoy a glass of red wine with my spouse in the evening as the sun sets. But I don’t know if that’s possible. I like to relax with a drink. But recently I’ve found that art calms me down even more than drinking, and I’m pursuing that.
You’re an artist? I just picked up the hobby this year, but I’m pretty good at it. I like drawing people. Abstract art doesn’t turn me on at all. Fixed art is really cool. I like to sketch. My first painting was a Van Gogh replica… It relaxes me. It is very therapeutic but also rewarding… Now that I don’t have to provide for people, only me, I really want to pursue my love for art. I would be interested in painting various businesses around town for people. I’m really interested in logos and company signs.
What are you passionate about?
I love training horses. I’d love to have a Thoroughbred one day. That’s my passion, really. They are freespirited animals, if you don’t break their spirit. They are very strong and loving. They’re your best friend. I grew up with horses on our ranch. My favorite horse was Whistle Splash.
What do you want people to know about alcoholism?
Alcoholism is a disease. It draws people from every walk of life. There’s doctors, lawyers, professors, carpenters, artists. It ain’t discriminatory of any gender, race, or color. You could be purple or green. It can get you.
What do you want people to know about the homeless?
How did it feel getting your own apartment this year?
How do you stay sober?
My grandchildren motivate me. And my art. I really think I could do something one day. I have natural abilities. The idea that: if I focus on my talents rather than my faults, I could do something.
Can tell us about homelessness?
I was homeless for about 5 years, but I was couch homeless. I didn’t stay on the streets or in shelters. I rented rooms from people that run big houses like motels… It’s terrible. I had my own room and no one could come in, but you’re sharing a whole house with a ton of other people. There’s smoking going on, drugs coming in and out. It’s a hot corner for meth, prostitutes, and everything else. People take advantage of you.
They’re human beings. Maybe they became addicted to drugs or alcohol. Maybe they gambled it off. Maybe they didn’t and it was just bad luck. But still, they’re human beings.
Absolutely wonderful! The best thing is that I have my own space now. I don’t have to share. And it’s quiet and peaceful. I get to draw. I watch movie after movie. One of my neighbors saw some art that I did and wanted to come over and look at it. I ended up cooking chicken, inviting some more neighbors over, and we all ate dinner. It’s a close-knit community at my apartment complex.
What are your hobbies? I can sing! I karaoke a lot. We tear it up. It’s fun. I can sing George Straight, Kenny Rogers, Frank Sinatra. I love it!
What’s one thing you’d like to change about OKC? I’d like to make OKC more bike friendly. I would love to drive again one day, but biking has kept me healthy. It’s good cardio. I betcha I rode 50 miles this Sunday alone. It’s the only way that I have to get around OKC. I’d like to see more bike lanes and paths.
Help us end panhandling in OKC! The Curbside Chronicle needs your help! Cut along the black lines and keep these cards in your car to hand out to panhandlers instead of cash. Together we can employ and empower OKCâ€™s homeless!
Help us end panhandling in OKC! The Curbside Chronicle needs your help! Cut along the black lines and keep these cards in your car to hand out to panhandlers instead of cash. Together we can employ and empower OKCâ€™s homeless!
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Hoboscope by Mr. Mysterio
You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen? Yeah, totally overrated. They didn’t even make my list of the top 50 Reindeer of 2015. I’m more into, like, Smasher and Gl@nc3r and Pantser and Dïxön. You’ve probably never heard of them. They’re not just a bunch of sleigh-pulling sell-outs. Look, Scorpio, it’s nice to feel ahead of the curve and in touch with what’s next, but not when it makes other people feel excluded. Cool it on the too cool.
“A star! A star! Shining in the night!” It’s right in front of you, but also completely out of reach. And that distance just makes you want it more, Sagittarius. You know “desire” comes from the Greek “de sidere” meaning “from the stars.” And we often desire those things that are so impossible to obtain. But if you know what I know, you’ll understand that desire, even for the unobtainable, can teach you to stretch our arms a little further.
Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” is still the number one selling single of all time! 50 million copies! It must be the best song ever, right? Well, the ninth selling single of all time is Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” Does that make it the ninth best song ever? This month, Capricorn, rely on your gut. Don’t wait for the charts to tell you who’s better and who’s best.
I’m surprised more songs don’t allow the opportunity to yell “Like a Lightbulb!” I’m going to start anyway. So if you hear “And the rocket’s red glare . . . Like a Lightbulb!” that’s probably just me behind you at the ball game. Or when the pew to your left lets out “That saved . . . a wretch . . . Like a light bulb!” that’s me too. It’s a good season to shout your thoughts at the top of your lungs, Aquarius. Plus it’s fun (Like Monopoly!).
Dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh! Wait a minute, is this safe? Maybe we could dash a little slower. There’s ice in the fields below, and we’ve only got the one horse. Sleigh-safety is a real issue this time of year. Not to diminish your fun, but should you really be laughing all the way? Remember, Pisces, jingling bells on bobtails aren’t a license for recklessness.
David Hasselhoff has one. Conway Twitty has one. Carol Channing and Charo have ‘em too. Has anybody not made a Christmas album? I know you think it’s sappy, but I still think you should get in the spirit, Aries. Don’t be afraid of being overly sentimental this season. If Twisted Sister and Keith Sweat don’t mind recording a bunch of Christmas songs, the least you can do is put on a reindeer sweater and pose for the family photo.
Just hear those sleigh bells ring-a-ling ting-ting-ting-a-ling MOOO! Sorry. Interrupting cow. You know Taurus, knock-knock jokes are one thing, but when interrupting cows show up in the middle of your holiday horoscopes, I think you may have an infestation. Don’t worry, there’s a guy who does interrupting cow extractions for a pretty reasonable price. They’re completely humane. Just call him at 1-888-33MOOOOOO! Call soon. I think it’s getting worse.
You’d better watch out. You’d better not cry. You’d better not pout. Geez, this is starting to sound like my last 3 relationships. Do this. Don’t do that. Nobody likes being bossed around, Gemini. But why are we so resistant to helpful direction? Maybe it’s a good time to start taking friendly advice at face value. Maybe there really are a few things you need to take care of before Santa Claus comes to town.
There are so many versions of every Christmas song. How can I possibly create the greatest, most comprehensive holiday playlist of all time? Don’t let your perfectionism stop you from finishing your project, Cancer. People tell you that “good is the enemy of great.” But sometimes an obsession with “great” is the enemy of getting anything done at all.
It’s a hostage situation and the list of demands has begun. “Now, bring us some figgy pudding! (and no one gets hurt.)” But my household has a strict policy of not negotiating with carolers. Stay resolute, or they won’t go until they get some! Then again, Leo, maybe we should feel a little less attacked by the season. Is all this festivity really an army invading our usual melancholy? Or are these besweatered neighbors actually attempting to bring us some joy?
Of course, it’s also the worst wonderful time of the year. Despite the flashing lights, real life goes on. People get sick. Relationships falter. Money runs out and family tensions flare. You may feel like you’re the only one having a terrible week. You aren’t, Virgo. Don’t compare the way you’re feeling inside to the decorations on everybody else’s porch. Find a way to share your winter melancholy. What good is “good cheer” if it makes you feel lousy?
I think my holiday playlist came out pretty great this year! I think the only way it could be better is if I’d made it less than 6 hours long. I guess I was just being a completist. But you know what that’s like, Libra. You’ve been trying to cram in all the Christmas. Every party. Every decoration. Every nog. But while you’re checking it all off the list, don’t forget to enjoy it too. That’s what it’s here for.
In Oklahoma, 1 in every 21 children is homeless. During this season of giving, you can help us change that.
As Oklahomaâ€™s only school specifically for homeless children and families, Positive Tomorrows has been breaking the cycle of homelessness for 25 years. Annually, over 100 children receive a robust, trauma-informed education while their parents receive support to create a better life. As a private, non-profit organization, Positive Tomorrows relies on the support of our community to meet the needs of these little ones. During this season of generosity, you can be a light in a childâ€™s life.
Visit www.positivetomorrows.org to start making a difference today.