waves without a place to break

my tarot card for grief reads as a blocked heart chakra: love without a place to go.  It’s comical how often it appears in my array, the envious hues of jade surrounding a veiled woman in agonizing tears.  

while the card has not appeared for a while, it always lingers in my mind.  even now.  

a few days ago we boarded an ocean liner with the best intent and purpose, our summer vacation wrapped in a carribean headscarf of flowers and sugary rum drinks.  

the steel ship is robust, bombastic in its offerings, yet humble in its service.  sommkid has found bliss in the vast offerings of childhood memories, endless sun, and delectable cakes.  she glimmers like the reflection of the water beneath us.  

the sommelier, in all his capacity for happiness in European landscapes, has struggled to find his why. he puts on his best game face, though, resulting in a half cocked smile in cream colored yberras.  nevertheless, he finds the best wine possible onboard, and ensures sommkid is well fed and well mannered.

the main dining room is reminiscent of the Titanic, with an inverse, bilateral winding staircase whimsically chasing guests to the main floor.   renderings of Rembrandts and Michelangelos don the walls, while a brilliant, cascading  chandelier grasps the ceiling.  it is the epitome of opulence. 

the waiters are attentive and kind, remembering our names, our taste in wine, and our peculiar penchants.  two servers per meal grace us at any time, unless we opt for a quick poolside snack.

the stateroom is ordinary, yet surprisingly spacious with many storage areas to stow my usual overpacked luggage. the winds from the Gulf blow through our sliding doors and into our living space, providing a warm and fresh and salty sense that we are just small beings in the vast seas.  

looking at the endless waters before us, I am reminded of the crying woman.  waves fall in the distance, white foam cascading into the next crest, and then into the next, and into the next… the waves go on and on.  love without a place to go, and waves without a place to break.  a perfect caption, it seems. 

goodbye 2018, from our little peach house on the fringe of Houston.

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough.” ~Melody Beattie


2018 started off slowly, sluggish and lazy compared to the frenzy that followed Harvey.  After a few short days scouring the art museums and historic houses of Dublin, we arrived in Scotland for the holidays, our sommfamily relishing in the Gaelic poesy that curled our ears.  Thousands of feverish shoppers bombarded High Street as we ate fish and chips, eyed kilts, and bought touristy heritage pieces. Castles cascaded the hillsides of the lowlands as we rode the train from Paisley to Glasgow to Edinburgh and back again. Snow and scotch and parsnips aside, we breathed in the new year with fervor in the company of family and friends.  For our ability to do so, we are grateful.  

Rested and recharged, we returned to our steamy swamp, swimming in what has become our yearly round of travel foxtrots.  The sommelier jetted back and forth across the ocean whilst we parlayed into life at home, busied with a few work travels, rebuilding Harvey, and spicy protests; sommkid has become quite adept at GirlPower! signage.  This past year has been seemingly uneventful compared to the last, no hurricanes tried to drown us or forest fire enflame us.  No, we had an ordinary year, so to speak, in our little peach house that occupies the fringe of Houston.  For all that is simple and routine, we are grateful.  

Sommkid danced her way into seven, turning our living room into a living disco, further occupied by hoverboards and art palettes and tiny lego pieces that get stuck between our toes.  She is getting taller, her blonde hair growing darker, highlighting her elongated neck and undisputed beauty.  Outward polish aside, her heart is still forever kind, which magnifies her warmth and compassion.  Busy with art camp and acting camp, dance and violin, sommkid stays engaged with the ever-changing world around her.  She still loves Shiraz as much as any other red-haired dog.  For sommkid, we are grateful.  

This year we celebrated our 10 year anniversary, and so the sommelier and I flew to Croatia to revitalize.  After trespassing through the wrought iron gates of the historic capital, we wandered down cobblestoned streets, drank pints of pilsner and drowned in the Eastern European culture of Zagreb.  A few days later, we emerged on the coast, feeling small within the richly historic, stoned city walls of Dubrovnik, yet strong as we kayaked our way to the outlying caves on the islands.  We dipped our hot skin into the Adriatic off the coast of Brac, and sipped on the highly acidic wine that is made there.  We feasted on octopus and mussels and cuddlefish risotto, the squidink staining our lips as we closed our eyes in flavorful deliciousness.  The Roman ruins stood just outside our hotel in touristy Split, and we could hear the musicians nightly from our window, the large stone columns providing ample acoustics for the young guitarists.  We flew home rested and tan and reconnected.  For our love, we are grateful.  

For the sommelier, the year ended much as it began, with a few work trips here and there, but nothing out of the routine.  He still works in the wine business, is still drinking Burgundy, and Champagne… but mostly Burgundy.  He still basks in the delight of smelling the air around the vines, partaking in the local foods, and awashing himself in new, young winemakers.  He traveled to France as always, and this year back to Spain.  The sommelier returned from San Sebastián determined to educate us in his culinary discoveries: sardine, olive, and pepperoncini skewers are now all the rage in our little peach house on the fringe of Houston.  For his spark and drive, we are grateful.  

Last year, a recalibration was done at Allergan, and so Bryana was given the task of managing health systems in the Houston Medical Center for her division.  Many hours were spent organizing, meeting, educating, teaching, demonstrating, exhibiting, negotiating, and developing.  In the spring a welcomed sisters/father trip to Nashville was spent researching family history in the state libraries.  In the summer, Bryana turned 40, and celebrated whimsically on outdoor patios. In the fall, hot air balloons adorned the sky in the crisp New Mexico air, as Bryana and her younger sister floated their way into heaven.  All the while, work weeks passed by much the same.  Busy, yet quiet.  In the end, there are still many hours to be spent working, however the collaborative sparkle is much brighter, and the possibilities here interminable.  This role, Bryana says, is preparing her for who is she meant to be.  For her tenacity, we are grateful.


Overall, 2018 was a normal year, if there ever was such a thing.  Nothing too brazen touched our little peach house on the fringe of Houston.  We ate, we drank, we traveled.  We slept busked in quilted blankets. We laughed, we loved, we lost, and learned.  And we are grateful for it all: our friends and family, here and around the globe, including YOU.  Most of all, we are grateful for this thing called life, and that we get to spend it with each other. 

Wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday Season!! May 2019 be full of gratitude.

~The Howe’s~