Third Coast

But You Can Still Be Friends

Isn't it always the case that after you break up, the other party pulls it together and then you can't remember why you wanted to break up?  He gets off the couch, quits the fantasy football league, shuts off the TV, and finally starts the company that he kept talking about while you hung around offering encouragement...he loses ten pounds, he starts cooking, he goes dancing...basically he does all of the things that you had wished could happen while you were together, but he does them with someone else.

Houston is doing that to me a little bit right now.  I have been hanging around, waiting for Houston to come into its creative own, looking for signs of creative life.  Hints of it surfaced here and there, but still it has sometimes felt difficult to actually find people to do creative things with.

Last week, literally weeks before our departure, a new place opened for people to rent space and make things.  People close to me know that I have wanted to try this for sewing; every time I pack up my heavy machines that do not get daily use, I wonder why more us don't share these things.  I have even sketched out a rough idea for a business model.  But the constant moving has stopped me from actually going for it because I was terrified of having to leave it behind.  Anyway, I'm not bitter that someone else did it first; I'm happy it exists because it makes so much sense.  I'm just disappointed that it didn't happen two years ago, when I could be part of it.

Regardless, Houston, you are looking better already, and I'm sure it's not out of the question that I will be back.  Maybe we will make things together at some point in the future.  In the meantime, good luck to Houston Makerspace!

(I couldn't help but add the photo of this cool bus stop bench around the corner.)


Almost exactly four years ago, my husband and I evacuated from New Orleans, in order to get away from Hurricane Gustav.  Residents of the Gulf Coast accept hurricanes as part of life; since I had never evacuated before, and didn't know the first thing about hurricanes, I found it scary.  Instead of packing, I wrote about what I should be packing.

When Katrina hit a few years before that, I still lived in Minnesota.  Up there, I know that I was not alone in wondering why more people hadn't evacuated, but when faced with an evacuation myself, I began to understand it better.  Now, I believe that most people, when faced with a significant threat to their home and possessions, would feel tempted to stay home, where they are most comfortable and also where they can see exactly what happens.  Not only is evacuating an unexpected travel expense, but it is also packing as an extreme sport, not just requiring selection of garments, but instead necessitating that favored garments be pitted in the competition for space against favorite photos, important papers, and family heirlooms.  Especially maddening is the unpredictability of hurricanes; you can feel a little silly for packing up the family silver and driving to your cousin's house, only to find your house perfectly snug and intact when you get back.

Life on the Third Coast has a special set of circumstances, and hurricane watching is included in that.  From May until November, it is a little game of weather-life roulette.  Everything is quiet, and then along comes a storm bouncing across the tropics.  You are vaguely aware of it, the way you may know sports scores or the outline of an international political scandal.  But then, once and a while, the little storm that could makes it past the gates of the Caribbean, and suddenly it's the Superbowl.  You know something about it, even if you are technically not a fan.

Hurricanes are obviously a menace, but it could be argued that they have at least one silver lining.  People on the Gulf Coast seem remarkably relaxed in general, and I think it could have something to do with hurricanes.  Hurricanes occasionally force people to stop what they are doing, to step away from life even when it's inconvenient, to accept that nature is in charge, and sometimes to just throw up their hands and admit that things are bigger than us.  I heard a man in the seafood business interviewed on the radio today, who is from way down the bayou in Louisiana.  He was so calm.  He said, basically, and without a trace of frustration in his voice, that water is his life and gave him everything he has, but that sometimes, water also takes it all away.  I aspire to roll with it the way he does.

All of this is to say, my heart goes out this week to everyone getting messed with by Isaac.  Hopefully, losses with not be tremendous and people will remain safe and dry.


Confession: Last week, in the grocery store check-out line, I purchased my second issue of Garden & Gun.

To be clear, my position on guns has not changed.  I understand guns for hunting, and I can support that, with sufficient regulation.  The idea that guns should not be traceable is ridiculous.  Guns for non-hunting civilian pleasure are a recipe for mayhem, and Americans are not proving worthy of the responsibility.

However, Garden & Gun is good.  It feels similar to my favorite Twin Cities publication, Metro Magazine.  It is a fresh and hip report of southern food and lifestyle, and is proving to be a handy resource.  Aside from advertisements, articles about guns are far outnumbered compared to lifestyle, food, and culture articles.  The only reason I haven't yet subscribed is that we are still in the throes of finalizing next year's address.  Stay tuned.

In the meantime, in spite of August weather that drags me down, alligators in garages, and over-abundances of churches, guns and crazy Tea Party people, Texas is creeping into me.  I'm happy here.  How can you not love a place that harbors such enthusiasm for chili peppers and cowboy boots?  I even like the little lizards that skitter around on the sidewalks when I run past.

For whatever reason, I'm in.  The call of home was strong, but living there at this stage would mean significant separation from my husband, and for now, we like it here enough that it doesn't seem worth signing up for that unless we have to.  Luckily, it doesn't feel like a sacrifice to settle in right here for a bit.