Saturday, August 1, 2015

Three Tips on How to Survive Summer in Houston

Houston as you must know, is one of the top 10 hottest cities in the country and if you live here it can really get you down and make you crazy, unless you are already crazy in which case you like the heat... I digress, anyway for a "normal" person, beating the heat in Houston can take a toll on you so here are a few tips I gathered up to help you make it through your summer. These tips may seem obvious to the seasoned Houstonian but others seem a little clueless so here you go!

1. If you have the jay oh bee, Take time off, ideally between mid July and mid August. If they wont let you take time off quit your job. If you can’t quit your job, here are a few suggestions. First off, do yourself and your passengers a favor, have your keys ready and turn the car on right away. Sitting in a hot car is not the time to be rooting around for your keys or realizing you forgot your phone while your glasses are fogging up. 

Seek shelter/shade as much as possible. Let your car idle for quick errands or even long ones. Who cares about the carbon footprint when its 110 degrees outside? Stay hydrated, use the drive through for everything, make ice and don’t booze it up too much till October.

2. If you can, just stay inside and leave at dusk. Work remotely; hire a dog walker, watch TVTrue Detectives is so totally hot and worth staying in for. 

Surf the net but beware of FB . There is nothing more depressing than seeing your friends and family frolicking around in Aspen or the Hampton's while you are stuck in Houston practicing your boring indoor survival skills. If you need an escape from the day to day routine try reading an actual book or something; go to the movies but bring a sweater and splurge on the garage parking or better yet valet. 

The top most annoying indoor activity for me is analyzing the electric bill, which can be daunting. Those "compare plan" sites are just awful to figure out. Go with a broker like we did- we got a great rate no hidden fees and switching was is so easy. 

Work out at home- if you have a trainer, have your trainer come to you. Those know it all Millennial kids can go outside and show off all they want in their skimpy exercise shorts 
training for Marathons but that doesn’t mean you have to. They look better doing it anyway. 

 going shopping in the traffic only to be gifted with a smoldering parking spot on your return. Be organized; shop online, get the trail version of Prime for July and take advantage of all those great perks that that your "Primer" friends keep bragging about. 

Don’t use the oven, this is no time to be baking cookies or practicing 3 hour long 500% recipes like Porchetta. We love Porchetta but dang, on Labor Day weekend? No. For provisions, order anything (healthy or not) from one of these ever popular on demand delivery services,and get stuff delivered to your door within an hour. T
ake advantage of it and the services they provide. Houston with all its growth, is working hard to provide our huge population with food and groceries. I often find myself sitting in triple drive through lanes with servers coming to my car to help me make my transaction faster. Treat yourself and get someone else to do it for you. Save energy- do not open your door unless you are accepting a food or grocery delivery from these people. (I'm one of them) Rate them highly and tip them well, we are your friends. 

Above all don’t turn your AC off to save money when you leave the house. You are not saving money by turning the AC off- keep it at 73 and leave it there, it costs more to cool the house down after that and you never will. Make or just buy more ice and booze it if you want till October. 

3. The best option is to skip town- And sorry but you have to actually leave the state. Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas don’t count; those cities are also in the top ten and you know it. It's OK to leave Texas, really. Travel to Europe, Canada, Alaska, Montana, Minnesota – anywhere, save yourself, get out of town and booze it up if you want. It’s also OK that they don’t give you ice because you won’t need it.
Good luck, chill out and have a great summer!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Some Things Never Change

Life in Houston during this time of growth; with traffic, townhouses and high rises being built at every corner as I ask myself “why do I live here?” When its 100 degrees inside my car, I defensively drive down Richmond full of potholes alongside drivers with their heads buried in their phones, I wonder “what is good about this?” As I look down the street I see people in their imaginative summer regalia walking down the street, I wonder “what are they doing out there” “where did they come from” and for gods sake I know it’s summer but can they please put some clothes on?

It feels like the city is closing in on me. I scrupulously analyze the radius of my drive to save trauma, time and energy. I develop new rules to survive the day i.e.- never take Kirby to south side of 59 unless you have to, especially on a Friday, opt for Alabama VS Richmond when driving towards town, and my new favorite never go to the Galleria unless someone pays you. 

Despite my complaints, Houston is where I came from, this is where I belong and part of my purpose here is to ensure that Houston, it’s people old and new, be reminded that there is still a culture here that hasn’t changed. We are often criticized for tearing things down and building new but there are a few things that haven’t changed- so I went for a drive and came up with a little list to cheer myself up.

Nielsens on Richmond- 60 years later, same sandwiches, same service, same spread.

Southland Hardware- I was a traitor to Southland with my Home Depot credit card back in the 90’s but that was short lived. Home depot sucks.

Bellaire Broiler Burger- Still a favorite after 50 years if you venture out those parts- worth the trip. 

River Oaks Theater- Same seats, same smell, same popcorn, don’t eat it though. 

M and M Vacuum. When your vacuum cleaner breaks- go here- they will make you feel better even when they scold you for using carpet fresh. Just go and do what they say.

So when the heat, the traffic and the people start to wear on you, visit a favorite old institution, it’s like comfort food for a Houstonian yearning for familiarity and a reason to live. On the other hand maybe this is all a rationalization from a stubborn city girl who really needs Club Med and a cocktail.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tear Down or Keeper?

I always wonder and predict how the inside of people’s houses look especially when I walk around the neighborhood and try and peak in their windows. This is a house on our street recently listed on HAR and OMG the photos were worse than I expected.

I think it’s great to stay fit and watch our weight but seeing the “healthometer” scale facing you might not be the ideal way to wake up every morning- and if you are trying to sell your house I think this bedroom photo of the healthometer scale, along with the prescription medication on the nightstand are the kinds of things we could move out of the frame- it sort of takes away from the ambiance and charm of the house.

Location is everything and this is a great one but really, it might sell better without the photos for lot value. I do love the portrait of the sweet couple at the headboard I wish them all the best in their next move. If I lived in this house I would certainly keep that portrait and I hope they do too, but when I look at all the photos and consider the location it’s hard to call this house “a keeper”. So many of us end up finding ourselves in this same predicament, even when we keep it updated. We simply outlive our houses.

A family friend told me last night that the people of the “old south” would tear down their house before they sold the land to keep their memories. I think this is what these owners should do- keep the portrait, ditch the scale, have a couple of margaritas and move on- yes?

Monday, October 14, 2013

Dorman David

Charles Dorman David- October 27, 1937- September 30 2013

Dorman was a brilliant and talented self taught artist and collector who attracted, acquired and expected beautiful things; objects, friendships, food, and of course women. He was my friend for the past ten years but I was a new friend because held on to friendships for decades. His oldest friend goes back to kindergarten at Poe Elementary.

Dorman was a collector who was ahead of his time with great vision and aesthetic. He loved to buy/ trade and make deals- big deals with the big boys. He loved to make the news too and he did it well.

My favorite thing about Dorman was his humor; I think this was his best attribute. Once, Dorman literally made me laugh so hard I cried. I am happy to say I could make him laugh too, even in the end. When those handsome firemen were doting on him on our way to the hospital I said “Dorman look at all this male attention you are getting- I’m jealous!” He smiled and chuckled pretty well for us that that day.

As Dorman approached the end of his life, he liked to share lots of stories about his past. He constantly reminded me how much good he did- all good things and nothing bad. Dorman wasn't  much of a religious man but I think this was his way of buying his ticket to heaven and by far his biggest deal ever. Rest in Peace Dorman, You will be missed.