I'm a "raised here" Texan- the alternative is "born here"- with 2 sons: Nate is 8 and Mike is 15. Mark is my domestic partner (just not gonna do the marriage thing again!) We have 2 rescued Siamese, a rescued Pug, and a purchased Boxer- that one wasn't my idea. I have a horse but she's a Thoroughbred broodmare and so doesn't fit the stereotypical "everybody in Texas has a horse" theory... and certainly neither do I! All of this living takes place in Denton, a northern suburb of Dallas. Since I haven't figured out how to retire early yet, I have to work. I make my living as a senior manager for a major pharmaceutical wholesaler. Yipee! If I happen to capture the elusive combination of time to myself AND expendable income, I ADORE going to estate sales. I'm part snooty buzzard and part snobby crow: I like bright shiny things that belonged to dead rich folk. Oh, the finds I could tell you about...! I'm a terribly cynical Gen-Xer who's discovering a passion for cooking and baking. There are three major ironies with this: 1) my mother was a gourmet cook and I hated every minute of it; 2) I had gastric bypass 5 years ago; 3) my children are absurdly picky eaters and Mark puts hot sauce on EVERYTHING. Mother recently found both sets of her grandparents in Ellis Island records, including their official immigration papers (from the Abruzzi region in Italy.) This has helped to spark my intense interest in mastering all the family recipes I grew up with as well as developing some of my own. As an aging only child, it's become terribly important to me to preserve the heritage so that my sons have them when I'm gone.