Houston Post Harvey – Taking it Day by Day

I’ve lived in Houston since 1997. It’s flat. You don’t realize how flat until you’ve traveled to Austin or San Antonio. The Texas Hill Country quickly reminds you that Houston’s only hills are its highways and beltways. It’s also full of traffic, and as recently shown on the news, prone to flood. We have bayous and creeks surrounding our flat terrain. Still I love this city for so many reasons such as :

1. Diversity. This is truly an international city. Global companies choose Houston to place as their U.S. headquarters consistently. We attract business and opportunity bringing people from all over looking for work. Annual Greek and Italian festivals along with the city’s international festival, highlight just some of those cultural activities that the city and its suburbs love to celebrate.

2. The people. Because there’s such a diverse group of people in the 4th largest city of America, people learn to interact with others from such different backgrounds and we do it daily. That’s why people came together so quickly to help during Hurricane Harvey. Houstonians help when the cry for help is sent out. They may have cursed at you the day before for not merging onto the freeway correctly, but the next day that person is there to help you evacuate your flooded home.

3. Food. We have the best. Fajitas and margaritas are a staple. Bar-B-Q and chili cook offs are as frequent as weather updates. Spanish tapas bars, hip Montrose eateries, elegant Galleria restaurants, taco trucks, China town, and seafood dives where you can “peel n eat” crawfish and shrimp, dot our city’s landscape.

4. Sports and entertainment venues. We have the harvey picRockets, Astros, Texans, and Dynamo. We still have loyal Oilers fans. Our fans have been deprived of a championship for a long time, but they remain true and steadfast. Houston also attracts the best performances from opera, to country, rock, jazz and we have a symphony that gives free performances to the public in Herman Park.

5. Resiliency. People here pick up the debris and tattered left overs from the storm and get to work. Neighbors help neighbors and volunteers show up in full force to aid in cleaning homes, schools, and businesses affected by the flood.

It’s going to take time for Houston to rebuild. We have flooded before. It will most likley flood again…but hopefully not for a while. We’re Houston Strong and will take life one day at a time. Congratulations Houston! You showed America and the world what we’re made of. Now time for a margarita.

Feeling Sorry for Thanksgiving

Rockwell, Thanksgiving.jpg
Rockwell, Thanksgiving.jpg

I really feel sorry for Thanksgiving.  Once Halloween has come and gone, there is a short amount of time before Thanksgiving arrives.  A couple of weeks of grocery store sales on turkeys and trimmings is all you might really notice about the holiday.  People may speak about where they’re going to spend the day, but before it even arrives, it’s overshadowed by the approaching Christmas season.

Thanksgiving is almost like the middle child.  It deserves more attention for all the good that it represents, but the beautiful, more attractive Christmas season casts a shadow over this short holiday. Black Friday sale announcements start earlier every year, and more department stores are opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day.  What a tragedy that retail profit is trumping family time!  But the hurriedness and excitement of it all seems to just shrug it shoulders at Thanksgiving.

I once went to Target on Thanksgiving night with my husband.  We thought we were really going to grab some great deals.  Problem ended up being that we were grabbed; physically.  Do you really want to know what kind of people show up on Thanksgiving night at some of these stores?  Our experience has taught us that they’re not very nice people!

In between picking up scooters and DVDs,  I tried to pick out a pair of women’s boots when I was pushed aside.  My hair became tangled in some lady’s ( I used the term “lady” loosely) button down jacket, and out of the mass crowd of barbarian shoppers, I saw my husband waving his arms at me.  He was signaling that it was time to evacuate.  We walked out with a few items and more of a headache.  People were shouting at employees for items that had sold out, and let’s just say we would have been better off being at home with family; warm and cozy with a piece of leftover dessert.

Now I have to admit before going further, I love Christmas!  It’s my favorite holiday as it seems to be for a lot of people.  I love our family decorating the tree, baking goodies, Christmas parties, gift exchanging…singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus…the list goes on.  It’s a cheerful holiday.  But what about Thanksgiving?

If you really look at the story behind Thanksgiving, it’s one of danger, uncertainty, faith and survival; much like the times we’re living in I would say.  It’s more than just coming together to remember what the Pilgrims did, and passing the gravy.  It really becomes more than that.  We pause with family and friends and take the time to be grateful and thankful.  The only gifts involved with Thanksgiving are those of hospitality, sharing, gratitude, and reflecting on all we have to be thankful.

I remember as a child our family taking the time to talk around our dinner.  Each person had fond stories to share of past holidays, and special recollections of family members that had passed on.  “Remember Me-Me’s dressing?  Hers was the best” coupled with “I miss Granny’s smoked turkey,” and the sayings would continue.  Our family would discuss current events, while the older generation would reminisce about how good life used to be.  No one would have cell phones out and the television was off.  The only thing we would turn the television on for was the Dallas Cowboys game (this was before my Houston Texans came on the scene).  Games like trivial pursuit and UNO were pulled out, and no one thought of going out on Thanksgiving night except to watch a movie or take a walk.

So enjoy this holiday.  It’s a quick but an important one.  Take the time to be thankful, put down the cell phone, and converse with family and friends.  Forget about shopping on Thanksgiving night.  Those sales will come and go, but your family won’t always be together.  Pass the gravy, enjoy the laughter, and DVR those Cowboys!

Happy Thanksgiving…