“Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against, yes, sword will pierce through your own soul also, that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”
~ Simeon ~

Lisa and I traveled to Katy, Texas to spend Christmas with a close friend of Lisa’s. This has been a tradition for Lisa for many years with this year being my introduction to the “family”. In my mind I could picture a dark room only lit by a single bare bulb hanging from the ceiling. Under the lite would be a lone chair in which I would be seated before being questioned to determine if I was worthy. Thankfully, this scenario only played out in my twisted imagination and instead I was greeted with southern hospitality. Warm bowls of taco soup, which was new to me, were waiting when we arrived which was far better than the airport food we grabbed before our flight (several days later the taco soup was even better). The rest of our stay was filled with long walks, many conversations, games, a trip to the movies and good southern cooking. Unlike many Christmas’ in my past, it was a low keyed day spent at home.

Speaking of homes, the one pictured above is three times the size of my home and cost 40% less. The lot is quite a bit larger too. Before our trip, Lisa received a rent increase of $340 per month (19.3%) for her tiny apartment. In many places that amount would be the total rental cost, but here it is typical to raise rents beyond what a tenant can afford. There is a shortage of places to rent and Ebenezer Scrooge the landlord knows that someone will be willing to pay even more. Many people are finding themselves being priced out of the rental market. California real estate once again has showed how crazy expensive it is to live in our little corner of the world.

Seems like our time in Texas went by too quickly. Lisa enjoyed catching up with her friends and I throughly enjoyed meeting them and making new friendships. Both Sally and Maggie are happy we are home after spending Christmas with their Aunt Kathy. Sally is following Lisa around and Maggie is parked next to me on the couch as I compete this post. All-in-all it was a great trip and we are glad to be safe at home.