Sunday, March 31, 2013

Exploring Houston

We entered the New Year in Israel with 36 others. The end of our week in Houston was shared with 3 of those special travelers. This Jewish Houstonian Family of Three welcomed us by sharing baseball, Shabbat and museum district explorations. We are truly grateful for the hospitality and the friendship.

Thursday Night - Baseball!
We watched Rice beat Tulane Thursday night - it was really fun to be on campus and watch great college baseball...
Youngest Son volunteered to do the Dance Cam in THAT wig! It was quite funny.
Houstonian Girl, Youngest Son and Oldest Son behind the plate for Rice vs. Tulane.
Friday Day - Science
The Houston Museum of Natural Science filled our Friday. Houstonian Mom contributed passes to the Cockrell Butterfly Center to our crew. The bug exhibit and butterfly center is extremely well done and we all enjoyed it. Impromptu scavenger hunts brought a fun twist to the learning experience in other parts of the museum.
Youngest Son looking at Spiny Leaf Bug - very cool. 
Youngest Son's snack from the Bug Treat Vending Machine - it IS Passover Kosher.
Oldest Son & Youngest Son  sorting out fossils at Paleontology Exhibit. Snail shells & teeth are major finds. 
Friday Night - Shabbat
Houstonian Family of Three hosted us for a lovely Passover Shabbat dinner on Friday night. Beautiful home, delicious food and stimulating conversation ...
Houstonian Girl lights Shabbat candles and says prayers.  Grape juice for the kiddos, of course.
Good ole fashioned Shabbat fun for kids. Rumors of a bing bag chair & pillow fight too ... hmmm ...
Sunday - Zoo
We hung out around the Houston Zoo Sunday ...
Oldest Son at the Tamandua Talk - a friendly little anteater.
Youngest Son at Orangutan Talk.
Youngest Son, Houstonian Girl & Oldest Son load up while Commuter Husband is the lucky 4th for Paddle Boats!
Sunday Night - Our Last Night in Reverse
Commuter Husband, Oldest Son, Youngest Son and I are settled in for our last night in Houston. Commuter Husband drives to work in the morning and we drive back to Dallas. This week has given us an opportunity to internalize Houston and Commuter Husband's weekday life. We choose to maintain our parallelism for the immediate future ... it seems to be working ... for now.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Commuter Family in Reverse

12 new Haggadahs, 2 white table cloths, 3 Seder plates and 6 bottles of wine ... we are ready. 
The routine is Commuter Husband travels from Houston to Dallas or is it Dallas to Houston?

We are in reverse this week for Spring Break. Oldest Son, Youngest Son and I traveled to Houston last Friday and we will be here until next Monday. We have lots packed into our 11 days in Houston ... work, play, friends and family.

Friday to Tuesday
The past weekend we shared an incredible country home in Cypress (outside Houston) with fun friends and from which we traveled to Oldest Son's State Quiz Bowl Tourney (2nd in State!) and celebrated Oldest Son's 13th Birthday and conducted our Passover Seder. The weekend included zip lines, go karts, basketball, horses and fresh eggs from the chicken coop!

March 23. Oldest Son. Cake carefully decorated by two younger 11 year olds.
Speedy Go Karts with horses in background. Enough said.
Farm Fresh!
Handmade place cards put kids on this end and adults on other ... traditional flip charts in sight.
Elijah on the road with us ... simple it is ...
The Obvious.
View from back porch ...

Tuesday to Wednesday
On Tuesday, we made the shift to the Energy Corridor in Houston proper and minutes from Commuter Husband's workplace. Home is now a Priceline Deal 4 Star Hotel. We had a dinner picnic at Commuter Husband's office break room on leftover Passover roast and gefilte fish. We met Commuter Husband's boss and boys were impressed with Daddy's office - as it should be.

Today, I worked remote while Oldest Son and Youngest Son crossed the sky walk to take in a double feature at the mall Cinema. Cheap childcare mixed with some kid independence. We had dinner at Kenny & Ziggy's Deli with Aunt and Uncle. We visited, shared scrumptious food and boys received generous birthday goodies!
Food for the week. Really. 
Commuter Husband and Youngest Son play poker before bed.
Commuter Husband brought me these at lunch ... definite benefits to being in Houston!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Love Lifted Me
Love lifted me!
Love lifted me!
When nothing else could help,
Love lifted me!

Dr. Brad R. Braxton sang a capella. Beautifully.

Oddly enough the setting is Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, Tx. The topic is Marriage and the Changing Face of the Modern Family. A panel discussion is the format.

Dr. Braxton is the Lois Craddock Perkins Professor of Homiletics at SMU Perkins School of Theology and he is also the founding Senior Pastor of The Open Church, a cross-cultural, radically inclusive congregation in Baltimore, Maryland. Dr. Braxton is an ordained Baptist preacher. One of the best speakers I have encountered in quite some time.

The panel also includes Dr. Ron Garber who is a Psychologist and Marriage and Family Therapist. His area of specialty includes working with survivors of trauma and abuse, as well as families impacted by HIV and alternative lifestyles.  Our own super star, Rabbi David Stern moderated.

All three men are long-time married to their first wife. All three men are sons of clergy. All three men are firm in their support of marriage equality and the LGBT community.

But tonight's topic was bigger than LGBT rights and the important upcoming Supreme Court case. It was about why we even want the institution of marriage ... who benefits ... responsibilities to our spouses ... the meaning of the vows ... and then why everyone should have the right to marry if they so choose.

Tonight I thought about my own marriage. Dr. Braxton talked about:
  • Faith as "the soul standing on tiptoe." Standing with Commuter Husband in the faith that there is a better tomorrow and more to explore.
  • Slow moving grace will sustain you. The 17 years leading up to the moment Commuter Husband stood by my side patiently working through the slog of breast cancer.
  • Forgiveness breaks the cycle of resentment. Amen to that.
Tonight was inspirational. I am appreciative of my own right to marry and thankful it has endured. I unequivocally support marriage equality.

And guess what? Dr. Braxton COMMUTES from Baltimore to Dallas weekly. His wife and daughter are in Baltimore. Our Commuter Family is in impressive company!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Commuter Hootenanny

These Justin's are ready!

Fun News: Commuter Husband and I have a date night! We are going to the Houston Rodeo tonight at Commuter Husband's workplace suite. Blake Shelton in concert!

Craziness: To lasso in the logistics of this excursion, I am driving to Houston today - ummm should be on the road right now - yikes! And we will be back to Dallas before 10:30am in the morning. Gracious me.

Gotta get these boots scootin out the door ...

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Trying New Things

No home Internet since Thursday. Frustrated and agitated. Ah ... Yes.

Opportunity? Perhaps ... with a gleam in my eye. I have downloaded the Blogspot App. That action required me to reset the Apple password I never, ever remember. Google showed me the way of course.

At this very moment I am typing this out on my iPhone. I think the subject of this post is Trying New Things. Let's see how this post goes ...

Youngest Son was tired of waiting for Commuter Husband to get back from Lowes this morning. More importantly, he got hungry. Youngest Son retrieved the pancake mix box and the iron griddle and then got busy. The second set of silver dollar pancakes were perfect! No help from an adult, the house did not burn down and he avoided a visit to ER. Success for Youngest Son in the Trying New Things category.

Now let's see I can get this posted from my iPhone ... success for me too!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Working Out of the Hole ... Slowly

I can sit on the couch and see the floor and use the desk!
I am definitely feeling better. It could be the meds or it could be elapsed time - maybe both.

I now have the mental energy to look at the hole. The hole that has gotten deeper and deeper with the things not done. Chores not complete. Notes not written. Work tasks hanging open. Stacks accumulating in each room. Emails gone amok. All those THINGS that repeat over and over and over in my head ... seriously ... I wish I was kidding. Chaos in my physical space makes me anxious.

When things seem overwhelming (and they do) then all you can do is start somewhere (anywhere) and mark something off the list.

Commuter Husband and I cleaned up our office this afternoon. Not perfectly but well enough. A start to be sure. At least we can move our multiple computers off the dinning room table now. Smile.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Wake Up Mommy

It is 7:35pm and I am fast asleep on the couch ...

Youngest Son "Mommy, wake up. You need to go get Oldest Son from fencing."

I look up to see Youngest Son. He is standing over me with damp hair and wrapped in his favorite fleece robe that is decorated with baseballs, soccer balls and footballs.

In the hour I have dosed off, my industrious 10 year old has eaten his dinner, finished his math homework, taken a shower and brushed his teeth.

And he has wisely thought to awaken his slumbering mother so his brother will not be stranded at 8pm.

Me "Thank you sweetie."

Whether it is the commuting or the cancer or just getting older, our boys are showing meaningful glimpses of independence, responsibility and care of others ...