Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Golden Rule

I consider myself a pretty good person.  I'm generally nice to people.  I'm optimistic.  I don't cut in line.  I don't spout profanity.  And I usually remember the Golden Rule and try to use it in my life.  Except for one place.  Except with regard to one person. 

In my home - to my husband. 

How is it that the one person I love more than anyone in the whole world, and let me tell you how crazy I am about my amazing husband, gets the worst of me?  Any rationale person would tell you that the person you love the most SHOULD BE the person you look the prettiest for (but he's seen me looking worse than anyone, save my mom), that you speak the kindest and most loving words (but he's heard me be a complete and utter meanie), that you do the most selfless acts for (but I've been utterly selfish at times), and that you daily remind, with words and actions, that you love him utterly and completely (but some days that gets completely ignored). 

Before you think that I'm a pot-throwing, red-faced yelling, maniacal shrew, let me correct that misimpression.  Bray and I are good to each.  Better to each other than many couples are after being married a few years.  HOWEVER, I could be better.  I was reminded of that last night.  We'd both had long days - he'd been alone with the kids last week while I was in London so he's playing catch up at work and I'm absolutely swamped at the office.  The kids were incredibly fussy and the youngest was having a holy temper tantrum.  We'd just gotten them out of their high chairs and they were running around the kitchen and destroying it and I wanted them on the other side of the gate but Bray had put them on the kitchen side instead.  Then he put up the salad which I had not yet eaten.  In both instances, he was being helpful.  He was getting the kids out of their chairs and cleaning up the kitchen.  But I just bit his head off.  "I want these kids OUT of the kitchen!"  "Did you THINK I didn't want to eat?"  What on earth?  And he laughingly said, "relax grumpy."  But if I'd spoken to my boss like that I would have gotten FIRED! 

Why do I think I can get away with treating the man of my dreams like a demon in my nightmares?  I can not.  And I should not.  It is disrespectful and inconsiderate.  Of course we all get overwhelmed and sometimes our fuse is a little short.  But I'm trying to figure out how those actions and words became permissible.  I wouldn't have reacted to him like that when we were dating.  And yet now, after he's committed to me for a lifetime, given me a thousand goose-bump-inducing kisses, shared a home and children and hopes and dreams, now it's allowed?  No. 

I am currently going on a journey to find a better way, a better place, to release the stress of my day without unloading on the person I adore.  I will share with him the ups and downs of my day without making him the brunt of my downs.  I will, at the very least, remember the Golden Rule and apply it first at home to my beloved.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Saturday, June 25, 2011

London, Day 5: Homecoming

So I'm home!  Never have I been more happy to see three beaming bright cherubic faces run to the door hugging and dancing me home.  That is a homecoming!  It took quite some time to get here because of the DREADFUL wait at customs at IAH, a serious deterrent to travel abroad, and a surly driver taking me home, but all that frustration melted the second I got in the door.  I think the little lady was the least affected by my time away, but the senior statesman was a WRECK and still won't let go of me, and the baby was perturbed at my absence and is playing favorites with daddy right now. 

However, I did start my (very long) day in England and in addition to my random observations, I've also included the top 3 things I loved and hated about my week in London.  First the final observations. As you may have gathered from yesterday's Austen post, I LOVE the architecture in England.  It is spectacular.  I love the history.  I loved it when I was here a decade ago and it still resonates with me today.  The Cathedral was gorgeous but all of the flats and pubs and parks that I ran across held such a since of history and beauty.  I did happen upon a Starbucks tucked in between all the historic structures (apparently they're everywhere but I believe I previously posted on how the British hide things) which I found amusing and also incredibly relieving - I was dying for a good cup of coffee!  In addition to the architecture, I thought it was so odd to see people lounging on the streets in front of the pubs drinking beer.  Apparently from around noon to 2 people have liquid lunches and then they start back again around 4:30, so the pubs are so crowded that they literally lounge around the streets in front of the pubs drinking.  How do they get any work done?  And finally, speaking of streets, what the heck is up with their street system?  It's like a drunk toddler designed them.  They curve and spin and change names half way in and nothing runs parallel and perpendicular or matches any sense of logic and order.  I don't know how this exactly evolved, but it's the most confusing street system I've ever encountered (and I've survived Rome!). 

So, now my top 3 lists:

Top 3 Things I Hated:                               Top 3 Things I Loved:
3.  The food.  I remember this                    3.  The weather! I can not
from my last time, and I'm sure                   even begin to say what a
there are good options and                        reprieve highs in the 60s were
restaurants when you have                         (even with the rain) from the
time to hunt, but I didn't have time            brutal Houston heat and
to hunt which left me with a ton                humidity!
of bread and none of my favs.
2.  On a related note, gaining 100             2. Tea and tubs! I think I would
pounds - that may be a bit of an              be an entirely more relaxed
exaggeration but with all the bread          person if I stopped to take tea
and butter and fried food, none of          (and scones) each day at 3:30
which I eat at home, I've gained 10         then took baths at night. I only
lbs and had no chance to work out         got to take "proper" tea on
(right at the outset of swimsuit               Monday, but I got two baths, and
 season)!                                                  each really calmed me down.
1.  Being away from the Fab Four -        1. Time to write. Time to think. 
Bray and my three babies --                    Time to appreciate how much
absolutely the thing I hated most!           I love my family.

(A shot from my phone walking to the Cathedral to prove I was in London:)

Thursday, June 23, 2011

London, Day 4: The Jane Austen Entry

(In honour of my time in England, and as promised, I'm writing one blog entry in my interpretation of a modern-day Jane Austen, my favorite author of all time.)

From the outset of my fortnight of solitude, showers hovered from Sussex to the City as the days stretched interminably to a close.  When the rain dispatched, clouds tarried, aptly reflective of my low spirits wholly tied to my vexing separation from my beloved family.  At last, in these final hours of confinement on Liverpool Street, the tempests alloyed and the summer light lingered inviting me to stroll about the cobbled streets with great felicity.  Walking about from Liverpool to London Wall, I stumbled upon St. Paul's Cathedral.  I love nothing so well as auspicious and baronial works of architecture and had scarcely had a moment to take in all that recommended the City.  So it was with amiable spirits I wandered around the great structure, remarking to myself how little of the landscape has changed with the passage of time.  Circumspect, I envisioned the honourable men that once stood on the same ground believing God had destined them to build this hallowed place.  Centuries later, I rapturously beheld the imposing domes and flying arches which stood in marked contrast to the contemporary trifling structures of home.  It was with sanguine spirits I departed the Cathedral and its agreeable parks with great dispatch to reach Liverpool Street before night fell. 

Bustling streets filled with sensible city-dwellers swarmed about me, everyone moving with great purpose, and I, against the tide, idled in want of one last adventure before bed.  I happened upon a classic pub, which recommended itself exceedingly well with its warmth and tinkling of glasses, so I joined the widely plebeian pastime of a pint with fish and chips.  Whilst some might deem it profligacy, I surmised it to be a fine and agreeable way to pass the hour.  After my excursions, I returned to my bedchamber with fond affection for the City from which I had long been away.  However, it was with great solicitude I anxiously sought to return to my children and husband, from whom I had scarcely ever been away, and from whom parting was vexing indeed.  So I nestled in my bed, earnestly whispered my prayers, and with fondness prepared to say farewell.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

London, Day 3: Homesick

I'm foregoing Wordless Wednesdays only for my week abroad so I can continue with my British musings.

I talked to my kids last night.  Did I mention I have no cell phone access so I only get to talk to them a couple of times because I'm calling from my very expensive hotel phone at night?  So I woke up homesick.  Wishing I could walk down the hall and see their sweet little sleeping faces. 

Despite that, I've gathered a few Day 3 observations:

1.  Smoking?  I don't think it's as frowned upon across the pond as I keep passing people billowing smoke like a smokestack.  Ack.  I need to drop all my suits at the cleaners.
2.  Everything sounds more polite with a British accent. It doesn't matter what they're informing you, or how loony they think you are, or if they're just telling you to take a flying leap, they do it quite elegantly and appropriately without loss of restraint.  Impressive. 
3.  There is a TERRIBLE television system here.  What on Earth can you watch???  There's a handful of "mainstream" British television stations, I assume the equivalent of ABC/NBC, a handful of news stations, and that's about IT.  No HGTV, no Bravo or TLC, no History or Weather, no TNT or TBS, NOTHING even close.  I just wanted to watch t.v. for an hour tonight, order room service, and head to bed early.  When there were no choices on my hotel television, I went to an American website to watch my favorite guilty pleasure and you CAN NOT WATCH IT OVERSEAS!  Seriously, there wasn't even a bootleg you could catch (not that I endorse that), but I was hoping for some mindless entertainment to no avail.  What a brainless American I've become. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

London, Day 2: Learning Curve

So yesterday I highlighted a few of my observations from out and about town and I have continued to collect them for your enjoyment.  First let me say at least I got a little sleep.  My body clock is still wobbly (to use my English vernacular), but better, and I slept from 9 pm to 4:30 am - for some bizarre reason I could not go back to sleep.  Of course, I was dead dog tired by 7 am but by then it was too late to do anything but put my make up on and go.  Additionally, just because it says the deposition will start at 8:30 on the notice, doesn't mean you'll be there in enough time if you arrive at 8:15.  By that point (15 mins early), the room was full and all the chairs around the table were taken and I was relegated to a chair on the periphery with my laptop literally being a "lap" top........Ah well, c'est la vie (I guess I shouldn't use French when in England.)  The only highlight was that a friend of mine who I'd lost touch with was in depositions in the adjacent room in the same office building and so we got to have a fabulous dinner out!  I assume the majority of the people in MY room were not Texans because no one was too friendly and I didn't meet any dinner buddies so this was my one night to venture out on the town. 

Day 2 Observations:

1.  Just because you order fish and chips in England doesn't mean it will be good.  I LOVE fish and chips.  I've had a taste for it since my time studying in Oxford.  But I've had better fish and chips in HOUSTON than I did last night - absolutely terrible fish, I couldn't eat it (which was sad because I also missed breakfast which made me ravenous for my stale, off-the-shelf lunch sandwich - can you tell I love food?). 
2.  A swan crossing the carriage road caused quite a muddle in morning traffic.  Not exactly what you hear in the Houston 7:30 traffic report.
3.  Why do they HIDE everything here?  Where are the trash cans?  Where do you change money?  The British reserve coupled with instinct to disguise where things might be located makes me wonder how they ever figure things out around here.
4.  Husbands are often right, no matter how hard it is to admit.  For example, on my New Orleans anniversary trip my husband suggested we acquire sunscreen for my fair skin before heading out to Jazz Fest.  I, of course, told him it was unnecessary.  Ten minutes into Jazz Fest he was offering to pay people to let me borrow their sunscreen because I was frying so terribly.  Well, in more recent news, he suggested that $50 might not be enough cash to take to England.  I said, "pish-posh" (or the American equivalent) - I'll use my credit card.  Well...since my credit card company decided to decline charges thinking my card was abducted by some identity thief because London charges were so atypical, and since $40 dollars converts to about $22 pounds, he might have been right again........

Monday, June 20, 2011

London, Day 1: Fatigued

So for those of you following me as a result of my being completely sans Verizon access this week, Cheerio!  (That's not cheerios, as in what my trio inhales, but cheerio like me trying to put a bright British spin on me having to leave my family for a week...)

Last Thursday night, at 10:30 pm, I was informed I'd need to hop on a Trans-Atlantic flight to be in London Monday to cover depositions.  The me of several years ago would have loved it - single in the city.  The me of a couple of years ago would have said, "okay, fine, I'll miss Bray but I'll manage."  The me of this year cried on the plane about leaving my children through Friday - a record in my home, 20 months old and I've only been away from them for two weekends. 

So we zipped home early from the farm in Louisiana on Father's Day (feeling guilty for that too!) so I could catch an evening British Airways flight out - at least I was flying business class so I presumed I'd get some rest and be ready to be on British time.  I presumed incorrectly.  After catching The King's Speech on the small screen while I ate my airplane dinner (what better to put me in a British mood, right?), I reclined my seat into a bed around 11 pm to catch what I hoped would be 5 hours of sleep.  Wrong.  The flight was bumpy, so with every bump, I said a little prayer for a safe return to my loving family & remained wide awake.  Then when I finally dozed off shortly after 2 am, it got hot.  And then they turned all the cabin lights on & began to serve breakfast at 3:30 am in preparation for our 5:15 am landing (11:15 am in London). 

So my ex.hau.sted. self trapesed like a zombie (with bad breath) through the checkpoints, grabbed my luggage, and enjoyed an HOUR AND A HALF ride from the airport to my hotel.  Seriously?  Agh.  The hotel is lovely, a little modern for my British expectations, but fully functional for a business trip.  Without access to any Verizon service here in jolly old England, something about their platform not being compatible, I proceeded to place what I can only guess was a very expensive hotel call to my husband.  I plan to place a few of those to my kiddos as well, but not being able to talk to them every day while I'm gone is going to be wretched.  At least Bray and I can email. 

So every day I'll do a short post, much shorter now that I've downloaded all the background, about funny little things I'm observing or doing or just musing about.  I've not been back to England since the late '90s so I'd forgotten a lot. 

Day 1 Observations:

1.  If you wear canary yellow on the street in London's central business district, expect to stick out like, well, a yellow canary.  The attire here is blacker than Manhattan. 
2.  Just because it's in English, doesn't mean it makes any sense to an American.  There are so many examples, but one of the best is my room thermostat.  It either goes up or down to -3 or +3 Celsius.  What the heck am I supposed to do about that?  It is freezing in my room!  I've tried the + and - and I can't get the room to warm up. 
3.  The English make precious children's clothing.  I just acquired one new item per child as part of my penance (they'd rather have a ball or tractor mind you) and was in a quandary over how to pick only one.  They've left tacky and garish to the Americans and have beautiful and creative items here which I couldn't wait to take home. 
4.  Everything is expensive, or more expensive than you think.  Watch out, that whole pound thing will kick you in the rear.  I decided to take tea this afternoon before the work all day/all week kicks in, and while it wasn't at the Landmark like I'd hoped (too far for me to venture over), it was lovely and relaxing at the traditional English restaurant the hotel offered.  Though $18 pounds for my afternoon tea sounded reasonable, I know that the approximately $35 dollars it will turn into when my credit card statement arrives is going to hurt if I do much shopping/eating/spending here. 
5.  It's very nice that the lovely British people painted their roads to remind ignorant Americans to "look left" when they are instinctively looking right and to "look right" whilst they're looking left (don't you love the interjection of whilst, it's such a great Jane Austen word, I'm going to try to write a blog in all Jane Austen-speak in honor of my time in England).  Otherwise, said Americans would get mowed down by the double decker buses careening their way on the completely wrong side of the road. 

So Good Afternoon - and I'll see you back here tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mommy Meltdown

How do you entertain three 20 month olds all day in June in Houston when it's 100 degrees outside and they love the outdoors?  Silly, if you know anything, you should know that is a rhetorical question and can not be answered because you can NOT entertain three 20 month olds that love the outdoors all day in Houston's summer heat.  It is IM.POSS.IBLE. 

I just had an email from another triplet mommy asking this question - her words nearly screamed, "WHAT ARE YOU DOING????"  And my response was: drowning!  My kids love, love, love being outside.  But short of our walks and outdoor backyard time from 8 am to 10 am and our post dinner swims at 7 pm, we can't go outside.  Heck, I was panicked yesterday when I put the kids in the car for an outing after the AC had been running nearly 10 minutes because the car was still too hot!  And I have three more months to survive.  They stand with their little faces pressed up against the wall of windows in our playroom like sad little puppies with a mommy that doesn't get their pain.  Oh I get it, trust me wee ones, I get it.  And they are teething again.  What the heck is that?  And Bray's gone this week on a fishing vacation.  And I'm buried up at the office so that if I start digging out now I should be done by Christmas.  And I'm representing the family in a land dispute.  And I gained three pounds. 

Do you just ever have one of those weeks?  Where you just say, "seriously?!?!"  I totally realize that each of these issues is so entirely minor.  And that there are a million people that would love my problems.  The kids climbing the walls is really a blessing because I have kids and they can climb the walls.  The husband taking a vacation means I have a husband and we had the money in the bank so he could go fishing.  The overworked frenzy means I have a job.  The three pounds means I enjoyed some insanely yummy red velvet cupcakes last week (yes, that was plural).  All blessings.  Thank you Lord.  But.........(couldn't you hear that coming!) 

Thank you for my blessings, but I'm tired.  But I'm out of ideas.  But I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off.  Please don't take my exasperation as ingratitude, it's not I promise.  But I'm a little frayed.  If you could find a moment, in between all your work on world hunger and bringing peace to the Middle East, to just throw a little extra peace and patience my way, I would be inexpressibly appreciative. 

Until then my fellow Houstonian moms, hang in there, the end of September is only 15 weeks away........

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Thursday, June 2, 2011


Do you have those times in your life when you are surrounded by one message?  As if everyone received a memo from God saying if you encounter Gindi in your audience make sure you stay on point?  Regardless if that audience is the radio, television, Internet, blogs, or church.  How does God get these memos out? 

I am going through such a season.  Though the words used are different, and the speakers vary, the message is the same and I am surrounded by it:  YOU. ARE. BEING. CALLED.  You are being called.  Into an unknown.  Into a brand new frontier.  Into a place that may result in you being seriously uncomfortable.  But don't miss it - you are being called.

Let me just recap the highlights.  First, I heard a sermon by a guest pastor about being called to do something uncomfortable.  That pastor recommended a book which I've written about a couple of times.  As I have been reading that, I'm getting kicked upside the head about my calling.  My pastor preached this last Sunday on being called.  Oprah's final show (which I recorded for posterity) spent a whole segment on the idea of your calling and the need to listen to God whispering His directions to you before you get kicked upside the head (I wasn't even safe with Oprah).  Lysa TerKeurst's blog which I follow has been talking ALL WEEK about "The Cause Within You" and a man who wrote a book of that same title (all about finding the one great thing you were created to do in this world).  A couple of weeks ago Jonathan Acuff, a very funny Christian writer and blogger, came out with a book called Quitter which I now own but am terrified to read because it's subtitle is, "Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job." 

Seriously???  I mean enough is enough.  I get it.  I'm being called.  Can you just give me a sec to get a hold of this news before I'm supposed to act!?!!?!?  I am a planner.  I grew up with uncertainty at times in my life and it makes me love the KNOWN.  The comfortable.  The expected.  I am married to a planner.  We have very scheduled children.  I've done my job for 13 years (he's done his for 16).  It pays well.  It allows me to contribute to our family lifestyle which is comfortable.  What I'm being asked to do upends all this.  It gives me heartburn.  It makes me dizzy. 

I don't know what this all means right now, but I do know if you are being "surrounded" right now by a message, by God's memo to you, listen.  It may not be easy to hear, but at least listen.  Don't drown it out.  There's a reason that you and I are getting a message over and over and over again right now.  Let's try to avoid getting swallowed by a whale in our attempts to avoid it.

Jeremiah 29 - For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Jonah 1 - The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”  But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD...Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. At this the men greatly feared the LORD, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows to him. Now the LORD provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

I Samuel 3 - Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”