September 7, 2011

So much to say

Baby update
The fluid in the kidneys went down, so no worries there. The Kid is on track in terms of size, weight gain, amniotic fluid, head down, etc. In fact, everything looked so good that Dr. N doesn't need to see us for two weeks (we go back next Monday). Jrex asked Dr. N if he thought it would be o.k. if we took a weekend trip down to Austin (3-hour drive). Dr. N laughed and said, "No. Try Ft. Worth instead."

So we did.

Weekend activities
I dragged Jrex over to the Modern last Saturday. We both loved it. Here he is playing with echoes inside a huge sculpture.
Here I am in front of my current art crush, Anselm Keifer:

Also by Kieffer:

After lunch in the museum café, we checked out a Ft. Worth wine shop. Jrex was underwhelmed. So far, he's found a decent, but overpriced, shop in Dallas, as well as another that's better in price, but with more limited selection. I'm amused that I've learned Dallas geography through furniture shopping while he's getting to know it through his hunt for a good wine store.

Speaking of furniture shopping, Lowes had a big end-of-season sale, so we stopped by Sunday afternoon and picked up patio furniture. Sunday night the weather broke (went from 100's to 80's overnight), so Monday we had a wonderful time in the yard putting this together:

The timing was perfect since we had a family of four come over for Asian potluck on Monday night. I made Korean ribs and bought side dishes from Hmart, she made shrimp and broccoli as well as homemade ice cream and dessert rolls stuffed with Hawaiian plantains and jack fruit.

This family lives a block away (I introduced myself to them a while ago. Cause I'm pushy like that...) Anyway, we really enjoyed our time with them. Their little 3-year old girl followed Muttola around the whole evening. The mutt wasn't sure why there was a kid with a hand on her back the whole night, but she tolerated it fairly well. The wife commented a couple times that since she moved here a year ago from the Philippines, this is the first time they've done dinner with another family. Turns out the husband is also an avid Yankees fan, so I foresee some World Series nights in our future (how I suffer).

Sunday night, Enthusiastic Scientist and two of his friends came by the house. From our place, we walked two blocks to the Bishop Arts District for a Margarita fest. For $20, attendees sampled margaritas from 20 restaurants. There were also street tacos and BBQ sandwiches for sale. After getting some food with the group, it wasn't that exciting for me to wait in line for margaritas I couldn't enjoy (plus the gravity of my heavy belly caught up with me) so I headed home early. On the way, I passed a neighbor's porch. He was out there with two other couples and invited me to come up and join them. The other people all live within a few blocks; one of the couples has two boys: a 3-year and a 1-year old. They were happy to hear that we're adding to the neighborhood boy quota. I've always wanted to live in a neighborhood with sidewalks and front porches, but without white picket fences (ha!). Who knew I'd find that in Dallas!

Church home?
On Sunday, Jrex and I visited Tyler Street Methodist (TSM). I'd visited once before and felt at home there. It's ironic that after growing up in a quirky Lutheran church, then attending non-denominational charismatic churches, we might end up back in a quirky yet 'traditional' church for raising our family.

Oak Cliff churches seem to do a lot of self-segregation: white, black, OR hispanic. In general, there are few Asians in the area and I haven't seen any in the other churches I've visited. TSM has a white guy as Senior Pastor, a black woman as Associate Pastor and an Asian woman as Director of Music and Fine Arts. Sprinkled throughout the mostly white congregation are Asians, Hispanics, and African-Americans. People are really friendly without being creepy and they feel very alive and genuine. Overall, the church is deeply involved in the neighborhood, many live here, others work and volunteer locally. The church runs a private K-12 academy, a retirement community and is involved in a local AIDS hospice. They do drama (Cottonpatch Gospel performance), music (Jazz Vespers coming up) as well as various Bible study groups and life groups (parenting/financial training/men's breakfast, etc).

It must be my nesting urge in overdrive: my normal pattern is to want to check out every option before picking one, but this time, I liked the church when I visited, wanted Jrex to give a thumbs up or down (he gave thumbs up) and am happy to just start going there and see what happens.

Jrex started his first 'real' job!
Yesterday was the first day at UT. Jrex is getting a nice sized lab (room for eight people to work), plus an attached office for his private domain. The guy who'd been in the space is being moved elsewhere in the building (the whole floor is getting shuffled around for lots of reasons, not just Jrex's arrival). He's mostly out, but lots of his equipment is still in the space. Fortunately, Jrex gets along well with the guy's lab manager and they're working together to clear out the rest of the lab. Jrex's lab tech starts today (he hired her over the phone based on a strong recommendation from Enthusiastic Scientist), so they'll be meeting each other for the first time this morning.

The father of lung cancer research at UT, JM, took Jrex around to introduce him to everyone on the floor. He also invited Jrex to join them this morning as they interviewed another prospective person. Overall, everyone was warm and welcoming. JM's administrator took Jrex to get his ID picture taken and show him around the campus. She commented that as much as JM enjoys science, his real passion if for mentoring people. After being in a sink-or-swim lab that's welcome news!

I NEVER thought I'd be saying this, but it really does feel like Dallas, TX is the right place and the right time for us. After so many years of uphill battles and frustration, it feels oddly disorienting to be in the 'sweet spot' where everything feels like it's coming together.

Of course, with a baby coming into the equation, this may just be the calm before the storm, right? (hmm...perhaps Jrex's ability to find the dark cloud on a sunny day is rubbing off on me...)


Inkling said...

Very fun post and fun pictures. I loved the sculpture with the wings. Pretty creative.

It's neat to hear how you are putting down roots and making Dallas your home, reaching out to others and getting to know people. It's really cool to hear that neighbors like that still exist. Makes me want to get brave and figure out how to meet more of ours.

The Asian potluck sounded yummy. This is going to probably sound like a horrible generalization, but I told my husband when we were at the beach a couple Sundays ago that if I ever was able to pick out a group of people to join for a meal, I'd choose the Asian families with their picnics over everyone else there. All of us had brought picnics to varying degrees of fanciness, and the ones brought by those ethnic groups honestly were the most mouth watering and amazingly put together. No simple sandwiches on their picnic tables. I practically invited myself over. I don't know if that's a bad generalization or a genuine observation of cultural food practices. Maybe you know?

p.s. love the adorable baby tummy....made me grin

OTR sister said...

I'm really happy for you that Dallas is turning out to be such a good fit. As nice as it would have been to have you nearby, it was far more important to me that you would find joy in your new city/job/home.

So good for you guys for not listening to the rest of us! :)

Aimee said...

Love that you're finding so much to love in Dallas.

Anonymous said...

I'm envious. I've been 14 months in Seattle, and except for family, no one has invited me for lunch. (I've had many lunches with acquaintances, but I've always had to do the invites.) Seattle, so far, has not been a friendly city. Rather, it seems indifferent.

So, blessings on your Dallas journey. I'm delighted it's going well.

And I don't think it's tactful of OTR Sis to bring up our prior bad judgment.

mama nabi said...

I'm so happy to hear that it's been good all around! I hope to be able to host the 3 (or 4, if Muttola comes) of you when you are in this neck of the woods!

(And I'd totally invite your dad over for lunch if he were around as well. :-D)

Mizasiwa said...

I so happy for your and your family that you have found your 'sweet spot'!!! SO awesome that everything seems to have 'clicked' just in time for baby boy number one. Have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

So glad you are enjoying Dallas and your new home in so many ways. Hugs!

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