Toto, we’re not in New Jersey any longer…

That, my friends, sums up my impression of Houston. I was there last week for two events. And the entire trip felt, well, just slightly surreal.

First, it’s still hot there. I always forget how far south Houston is. It was summertime weather. At the end of October.

Second, on three separate occasions, when asking a local for a restaurant recommendation, we were told “McDonalds.”  (an aside–both Thing 1 and Thing 2, when I relayed that anecdote, then asked, “well, how was the McDonalds?” defending their question with the statement–“If that’s what was recommended, then you really shouldn’t have tried anything else.”)

Third? Too. Many. Roads. (yes, coming from NJ, I am potentially that kettle calling the pot black, but really, too. many. roads.)

I took a run around the neighborhood behind my hotel, and spotted two odd things:

First, this:


A tread. No shoe attached. Only one and in the middle of the road. I felt like I had come across Houston’s version of the Spinal Tap drummer. Do runners self combust in Houston (because it’s so scary flat)?

Then this:


Only in Texas are golf courses considered green spaces.

With glee, I returned home after only 3 days. I was lucky, too, because my original ticket had a return date of 1/28/16 (instead of 10/29/15). So I spent three hours in the Cleveland airport counting my lucky stars.

Once home, it was time to prepare for Halloween. Thing 3 was the Disney version of the Cheshire Cat, because it would have been too easy to have gone with the Tim Burton version that her sister was (and that we have the costume for) a few years back. Thing 3 and her posse had a fun little party and then did some trick or treating.


Thing 2 did Thing 3’s face paint (which won her the “best costume” prize). She looks good, but I actually think this mom totally one-upped everyone in the neighborhood.


The next morning was the NYC marathon, and I was “bus captain” (yes, I made that title up) for my running club’s buses for our runners. That meant a 4:30am wake up, 5:30am bus boarding, 7:00am runner drop off and 9:00am park the bus in NYC.  I took advantage of the wait time (I had until 1:30pm before spending the next 5 hours standing on a corner holding a sign to direct our runners back to the bus), so I took a 6.5 mile run down CPW, across 72nd st and into Riverside Park and the Greenway–a running/biking path that circumnavigates most of Manhattan.  A lovely run. At 1pm, I took my post at 86th and Central Park West with my ginormous ERC (essex running club) sign for the duration. It was great greeting my club’s runners after their races. It was even greater trying to explain to every single Italian runner that ERC does not mean “Info.” Eventually I gave up and became the de facto info person on the upper west side. Most perplexing was the number of runners trying to get to the Museum of Natural History after their race.  Finally at 6pm, our final runner got through the chute, walked the obligatory mile or so to get her swag, and onto the bus and we returned, happily, to New Jersey.


  1. You’re the best bus capitan I’ve met! Great job-thank you for being there for everyone and the fun chat on the way over:)

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