Tag Archives: deep in the heart of texas

Hello from Houston!


Here I am in another hotel, in another city, on another work trip.

That reminds me of an Ani Difranco song…

in a coffee shop in a city
which is every coffee shop
in every city
on a day which is every day

The night before I left, I must have been subconsciously worrying that I wouldn’t wake up in time for my flight the next morning. I went to bed around 10:30, and fell asleep really quickly and soundly. I woke up and saw that there was light coming in from the hall, and I thought that it must be morning already. But Dave wasn’t in bed with me. So I checked the clock and it was 11:30pm! I kind of laughed at myself and rolled over to go back to sleep. Then I woke up again at 12:30. Then 1:30. And so on, until my 4:30 alarm. I mean, come on! Even Dave was like “Why are you awake right now?” when he came in to bed at 1:30. It was ridiculous.

So then, on the plane the next day I was trying to listen to an audiobook but I kept dozing off. My head would flop to the side or roll forward. At one point I even hit my head on the wall of the airplane because I sort of flopped over. Which I guess was better than flopping onto the passenger next to me.

It’s interesting being in Houston and seeing all the trees that are nice and lush and green, and lots of flowers blooming. It’s humid and warm, although it’s been overcast and rainy. Not that it really matters, as I’ve barely left the hotel.

Did you know Asian flight attendants dress like this? I guess their suits aren’t that odd, but the little hair bows and scarves add some flair you don’t usually see.

Last night I did get to leave the hotel and go out to dinner with Susan Hamm, a fellow NFED family member and all-around cool person. When I was planning my trip to Houston I realized that there were quite a lot of NFED people in this town. I knew Susan wasn’t far from my hotel (Houston is huge), so I contacted her to see if she could meet up for dinner, and she said yes!

She took me to a place called Pappasitos, which is Tex Mex food. When the manager found out I was from Connecticut, he gave us free dessert! It was great to spend time with Susan, who I have only ever talked to a few times at family conferences and during NFED liaison calls, but I’d had a feeling she was a kindred spirit. And I was right.

We talked about a lot of things, but one of the things that we talked about was the idea that you can always find someone who’s got it worse than you do. Or maybe it’s better phrased as, “everyone’s got something.”

She talked about how when her son Zach was born she was worried about his condition (he has EEC too), but when she saw what some of the other babies in the hospital were facing, she realized that it could have been worse. I told her about the time when I had my bone graft surgery and the girl in the hospital bed next to me had been born with half a face, and had gone through WAY more surgeries than I had. Of course I did not appreciate her struggle at the time. (I was 11). I was actually kind of pissed that she had it worse than me because I was used to playing the “special kid” card. It’s true- I played that card for all it was worth.

Last night’s Zentangle

Today I was thinking about it more, and that the “worse” isn’t always a direct comparison. It doesn’t  mean that you can always find someone else with the same thing you have, but worse. It may just be that from your perspective that they have it worse than you do in some way. For example,  I’ve had friends who have come from emotionally or physically abusive family situations, and to me that always sounded worse than the cards I had been dealt. I’ve never felt unsafe or unloved in my home, and it’s really sad to me that there are people out there who can’t say that about their own families. But who knows, maybe those same people look at me and feel glad that they haven’t had to endure all the surgeries I’ve been through. Maybe they prefer their messed up home life when it comes down to it?

I think sometimes people get so caught up in their own issues. It’s so easy to feel sorry for yourself if you don’t stop to notice what others are facing. If you just step out and look around, you’ll see that everyone is dealing with some kind of issue. It might not be as obvious as facial scars or birth defects, but, it is painful to them nonetheless.

I’m not saying it’s as simple as noticing that other people struggle too. Obviously it takes more effort, but I think noticing and becoming aware is the first step. I have to remind myself of that sometimes too.

Ok. Off to Zentangle before bed. I have an early flight tomorrow!

Peace / Love / Compassion

Going to give these gel pens a workout.

 

 

 

 

Austin Trip, Day 3 / Gonzales Day Trip


I must confess, Texas is growing on me. Being from the north,  I have just sort of vaguely perceived Texas as that stereotypical gun-totin’, bible-thumpin’, George Bush-lovin’ redneck-filled, secession-desiring wild land. Maybe it is, but it’s still got a lot of wide open space and that’s alright by me. (Just kidding- I know a lot of people who live in Texas and none of them fit the above description. At least not completely.)

It’s not even my first time in Texas. But it’s hard to get a taste of the place when you spend most of the time in the hotel. Today we ventured out to Gonzales. Along the way I saw the following, in order of quantity of what was seen:

1. Open space. Land with nothin’ on it but a few cows or horses.  

 
2. Oil derricks. Not everywhere, but the places that had them had a lot in seemingly close proximity. And they decorated them.

The cow perpetually jumps over the moon as oil is pulled from the earth’s crust.
 
3. Speaking of decorating, Texans seem to enjoy decorating everything. 

This was in Luling, where they grow watermelons and have an annual “Watermelon Thump”
 
I also saw a lot of live oak trees and prickly pear cactuses but since our bus was going so fast it was hard to get a decent pic. So just pretend there’s a photo here. 

Later in the day, after I was back at the hotel, I decided to check out the nature walk that was supposedly behind the hotel. I figured it was going to be a paved walkway with some plantings here and there around it. But no, it was legit nature. 

 
Not that I’m complaining. I’m down with legit nature. I should have given myself more time to explore it. I only had about a half hour so it ended up being a bit rushed.

I crossed this and survived.
There was a cool waterfall and water hole. It would be a nice swimming hole on a hot day.
There were wildflowers on the path.

Looking back at the resort
As I mentioned, I didn’t really give myself much time. I needed to get back in time for dinner, so I didn’t do the whole nature trail. 

When I got back to the building, of course I couldn’t get back in the door I came out. So I ended up walking all the way around the building to go back through the front door. Just another day in the life!

Now it is time to hit the hay. I have been sleeping so well here! Tomorrow is a half a day of meetings and then I get to spend the afternoon with Sonja, a friend I have known for ages through the Internet but have never actually met in person! I am sure we will have a good time and it will make for an interesting blog post tomorrow night!

Speaking of tomorrow night- I will be flying back to the great white north. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is a week away. I’ve got to get it together!!

Oh, I almost forgot. Air plants grow in the wild here! 

The top one is at Barton Creek and the bottom one was on a live oak in Gonzales.