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Thursday, April 29, 2021


Evelyn put together a very special concert last night to celebrate a very special moment for Dad - his offer of a job running Dianne Feinstein's defense and foreign policy portfolio.  We were all coming together to celebrate on that one!  Then Mom and Dad celebrated Dad's new start - and Mom making it to the other side of the post-vaccine fever and chills.  Cheers to new beginnings!


Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Pfizer and Science Rule!


Monday, April 26, 2021

Weekend Update

Evelyn and Sadia had fun at the GMES playground after tennis Saturday morning.

Then it was lounging around, reading and taking turns playing video games.

Sunday morning, Mom made waffles post-race.

And then we read outside on a beautiful afternoon, before getting lots of good Piper snuggle time.


Parkway Classic

The full 10 mile Parkway Classic was postponed from Sunday until November, but Pacers ran its first road race this weekend as the Parkway 5K.  It was a fun, super laid back race with a rolling starting line and small number of runners.  I set a new PR - 8:45 mm with a total course time of 27:12.  Strength and hill work really does make you faster :)


Monday, April 19, 2021

Take me out to the ball game... for the first time in 15 months

We all enjoyed the trip to Nats Park for a big loss to the Diamondbacks.  Getting there was a lot of fun.  First, there has been SO MUCH GROWTH in the Waterfront neighborhood by the park that it was like being in a whole new place.  We parked several blocks from the stadium and walked over.  The highlight for me was Evelyn saying "oh look, a crossing guard!" and Max replying with "oh yeah, I forgot about them."  It was really interesting to be back in the more-bustling city, where even with masks and distancing things felt more alive.  

Inside the stadium, crowds were capped at 25%. The highlight for me was ZERO wait for the ladies' room, even right after the game ended.  Short lines for food, no line for bathrooms, and the ability to put your feet up on the seatbacks in front of us.  I could get used to socially distanced baseball...

We also noticed that the kids are significantly more mature about the game than they were 14 months ago.  Evelyn watched the whole thing without needing boredom breaks, to sit on my lap, or to be otherwise entertained.  Max watched intently, looking for the shifts and really studying up on how the pitcher and catcher cover in various scenarios.  It was the most no-stress game ever.

And then, we came home to the news that we're in a remote school situation for at least 3 days for Evelyn and a week (possibly 2) for Max.  And it was such a great example of how resilient Covid has made us all.  We took the hit (oh man, no school, no baseball, no playdates!) and then carried on with the pivot to positive - no khaki pants or skirts, more time with Piper, and better lunches.  Pick up, dust off, and carry on.  It's what we do.



Evelyn started tennis with Sadia and Emilie this weekend and LOVED it.  She's had us all on the court learning proper serving form and is counting down the days until Saturday so she can go back.


Thursday, April 15, 2021

Peace Pipes... I mean Peeps Pops

Nothing restores sibling harmony faster than the opportunity to enjoy Peeps Pops for dessert!


Monday, April 12, 2021

Steve on Covid

 Covid Reflections

Steve Rosencranz

April 8, 2021

As we emerge from a year of covid world- some reflections.  We (Tricia and I) have now been fully vaccinated (two shots) for about six weeks and are beginning to emerge from the cocoon.  

There are many things we have learned during covid- the most important being that having wealth and being white is a HUGE positive, while not having those characteristics likely means that the pandemic has been far more damaging, both in terms of short term and long term issues.  I’ll try to lay out some of the things I’ve learned below- alternating between positives and negatives so that one gets neither too pumped up or depressed to continue.

Wealth is a wonderful thing to have- it insulates us from so many negative outcomes

Having a spouse and family close has made covid MUCH more bearable- as we haven’t suffered the isolation that many disconnected people have experienced

Low income persons have been much more likely to lose a job and income- and not have the resources to meet the needs of their families and have suffered far more from the effects of the pandemic

Louise and Henry have skyrocketed academically because they have engaged parents and grandparents that have both the time and the skills to meet their learning needs

Students with parents that are not well educated or have the resources to support their on-line learning have an even greater learning gap than they did before the pandemic

Our spending is 60% of normal because we weren’t able to travel, got to cultural events, or eat out.  As a result, our wealth has increased

The gap between those with wealth and those without has increased dramatically as most of the job losses have been in lower paid professions like hospitality and construction and personal services—maids/nannies/trainers etc.

The social and emotional effects of the pandemic are largely unrevealed at this point as many of the negative effects of the pandemic on kids (and adult’s) mental stability have yet to manifest themselves

We have had people over during the pandemic- sitting 10 feet apart on the patio with masks on.  We have also met with a group of 10-20 folks each Monday night at Quarantine Cantina in the church parking lot- with masks and social distancing.  Tricia started Cantina a couple of weeks after the virus became an issue.  As such, we have NOT felt disconnected from the world

The effect of the pandemic on the third world is even greater as there hasn’t been the capital to throw at the problem, as the US has done with several trillion dollars of additional government spending

The pandemic has also brought many positive changes to how things work—for instance, Zoom has made it possible for folks to continue to do business and most jobs (especially those at the higher end of the wage scale) have migrated successfully to be done from home

The extent of damage to low income communities will become apparent over the next couple of years.  It will not be pretty!

The world benefits from occasional shocks that force people to re-evaluate how things are done.  The pandemic caused much more change to happen than 9/11.   Those changes have been both good and bad

We will be wise if we honor the positive learnings and work to ameliorate the negative consequences of the pandemic.

Tricia on Covid

 Thoughts on the Covid Pandemic

As I write this (April 2021) the world is beginning to open back up.  We have been vaccinated but still wear masks and are wary of big crowds.  I feel a little like Rip Van Winkle in that I must re-learn my old ways while adapting to how things have changed.

We had traveled a lot just before the pandemic hit.  We went to see Francine in Knoxville, with a lunch with Emily in Nashville, in February 2020.  Then we took a cruise to Key West, Dominican Republic, and Cozumel.  I got really, really sick after the cruise.  All the symptoms were exactly like the symptoms for Corona virus, as it was called then.  I had an anti-body test several months later and it was negative, so it must not have been Corona, but I’m still not certain.  Then, we did a short trip to San Antonio.   We were supposed to go on a cruise from Fort Lauderdale to Spain in March.  There was great uncertainty as to what the cruise lines would do.  The cruise got cancelled a couple of weeks before we would have gone.  We had decided we were not going to go anyway.

My reflections of that spring were that it was pretty nice.  Most of the disease was hitting Europe and New York and Seattle.  Houston was preparing, but things were not bad.  They decided to lock down the city in late April.  That meant everyone was to stay home and work from home.  What I remember the most was the lack of cars.  We rode our bikes everywhere.  Almost every day or two we took 20+ mile rides from home.  The spring weather was good, and we could explore the city without worrying about cars.  People were out walking and biking everywhere.  There was great respect for distancing.  If you approached someone on the sidewalk, one of you would move far away or into the street.  We bought new patio furniture that turned out to be perfect for a pandemic.  It was lightweight and had 6 pieces so we could spread it out in different configurations.  We had people over for meals or drinks and could stay apart.  We had everyone bring their own food and drinks at first.  In the beginning there was great fear that Corona could be spread by touch, so no one wanted to eat or drink with others.  We also switched to plastic and paper.  That was ironic, because I had finally switched so I never have to use disposables for any type of party.

People started to work from home and that setup applied to other groups too.  The Bayou Bend Docent Organization is 225+ people.  My job as Chair-Elect was to look after the long-time docents at the various activities.  Well, it suddenly switched to being more of a cheerleader/mother role.  Many of the docents are older and live alone.  They really practiced social distancing, to the point that many did not see any other people for months.  As we switched to a virtual Zoom-based lifestyle, it became particularly important that they were able to communicate with others and that they did not feel left out.  I did lessons on how to Zoom and created other ways that they could connect with each other without being in person.  It was gratifying to see how some of those little events meant so much to some people.

There was a huge layer of anxiety over the country.  Not only did we have the uncertainty of the pandemic, but we also had a horrible political situation.  Donald Trump was using the pandemic for his personal goals and was denigrating science and the facts about the disease and its prevention.  No doubt it spread further and faster because of his mistruths.  As more and more people died and we got closer to the election, the nation was stressed.  I am not an anxious person, but I would wake up with my jaw clenched or my heart racing.  Fortunately, the election signaled the end of Trump and the beginning of the end of the virus.

There was great uncertainty about how you could get access to the vaccine.  It really was a game of who-do-you-know.  Fortunately, I had a friend who was an attorney.  Her former partner now works for a hospital.  He called her and told her that several hundred shots would be available through the hospital’s Facebook page.  She called me.  We were eating dinner.  I jumped up and yelled for Steve to come run to his computer.  It was chaos—like on an old television sit-com when the wife would go into labor and the dad would panic.  We raced to our computers and both logged on to their site.  This was about 6:30 pm on a Friday.  We had appointments for 7:08 a.m. the very next morning.  We drove to the football stadium and got out shots without getting out of the car. (I’m telling this in such detail because it’s important to understand how willy-nilly the whole access to vaccines was.  Emily ended up driving over 3 hours one way to North Carolina to get her shots.  Parrish randomly got called for a shot by the City of Houston before he was even eligible. My brother and sister, who are older and have health issues, could not get the shots for months.  Fortunately, Francine got hers in February.  The system is total chaos.)

In the spring of 2020, the schools shut down.  They continued operation, but students stayed home.  We home-schooled Louise and Henry every day.  We had a curriculum from the school, and I got other materials online.  For about 2-3 hours every day we accomplished the entire day’s schoolwork.  We had a schedule and took turns with the kids for one-on-one instruction.  They thrived.  It was really gratifying to see Henry learn to write and read.  Louise started long chapter books.  

In the fall, Louise and Henry went back to school virtually.  Louise had a pod of four students who met up at First Congregational Church with a paid facilitator and a teacher on the television.  Henry started kindergarten at our house, by himself.  We covered the first 9-week session.  Then he went up to the church so he could have other kids around during recess and lunch.  His nanny was his facilitator.  I enjoyed having him here and learning how schools work.  This was actual real-time school, rather than the way we had done it in the spring.  I really admired how the teacher could keep the kids involved, even when it was clear that some of their learning situations were less than ideal.  It was hard work and I was glad when Henry went to join the pod.

I missed seeing the Bryans and Francine terribly.  Over the summer when the kids had more free time we tried to come up with ways to stay in touch.  I had remote art classes with Evelyn and Louise over Zoom.  Steve and Max built matching model airplanes over Zoom.  I can’t believe how long it has been since we have been together.  Thank goodness we have Facetime and texting, but those can’t replace being together.

One side-effect of Covid is that people stopped doing routine maintenance on themselves.  We postponed dentists and eye doctors and others because of fear of catching Covid.  My cataracts worsened to the point where I could really not see to drive.  The very day that my immunity was to be in place after my second shot, I went to the eye doctor.  I am very glad to say that I now have 20/20 vision in both eyes.  Next comes the dentist--then the dermatologist and the rest of my ‘veneer.’   Steve was very good and did go to his annual physical, but not to the other kinds of doctors.  

I have not been to a store for almost 14 months.  We were gone for most of February and I was sick for early March.  Stores were seen as super-spreaders, so I quite shopping.  We learned to shop remotely.  Amazon became invaluable because you could order and receive it in a day or two.  Target also offered quick car-side pick up or delivery.  We started getting our groceries by ordering online, driving to the store and the groceries would be brought out and put in our trunk.  It became a big outing to go to the grocery store.  I finally did go to some stores in April, 2021.  I was excited because I had missed the visual stimulation.  I was very disappointed.  The stores had very little inventory and what they did have was displayed almost in a garage sale manner.  They had little staff.  Many stores, both small and large, were permanently closed.  It was a little like being in a Mad Max movie—everything struck me as grey and leftover.  I really don’t know where I will go for clothes shopping.  My two favorite stores have closed.  I also noticed that people, even in Target, were using little carrying bags instead of the large buggies.  It was like they just were dashing in for one or two items.  I felt that the stores were full of things I didn’t need.  I kept thinking, why would I buy that?  I don’t know if making do without shopping has made the excesses of shopping seem unattractive.  Maybe it will last, maybe not!

I, like many others, took advantage of the lockdown to clean out the house.  Unfortunately, with the uncertainty of the possibility of death over us all, we began to look at all the stuff our families would have to deal with should something happen to us.  I began the great purge.  I have been quite successful so far.  There are still way too many cloth napkins and tablecloths, but now they are organized and sorted.  

Along with clearing the clutter came fixing the house.  Steve has probably spent more time actually in the house this last year than ever before.  He spearheaded a repair campaign.  We had the entire house painted inside (that took a month.)  We got new windows.  We had plumbers and electricians come.  The house has never looked better, but ironically, we can’t have people in to see it.

As for the matter of actual illness or death from Covid, we have been extremely fortunate.  We have heard of people who had relatives or friends who got sick or died, but no one close.  Houston had full hospital capacity a couple of times, but much of the horrors of Covid seem to have been elsewhere.  Our friends and family have been extremely cautious.  We have kept a busy life, but the virus has overlaid everything we have done for over a year.

One thing I did early on made the year go faster.  I invited several friends to meet in the church parking lot on Monday nights for Quarantine Cantina.  Everyone brings their own chairs, food, and drinks.  We have met for over a year now.  Numbers have varied, but the core is about 12-16 people.  We have had birthdays, Halloween parties, a Christmas gift exchange, and even a grandparents’ shower.  Louise and Henry are the only children.  They have become surrogate grandchildren for several of the regulars.  It has been a wonderful, safe way to stay in touch.

I am glad that Emily asked me to write my thoughts on the pandemic because it is already fading into memory, and it’s still going on!  The first months were so different from now.  Now, we are used to ordering online.  We are just beginning to venture out. (Steve and I went to a sushi bar the other day and we were sitting inside.  All the sudden we both realized we were actually inside a restaurant.  It was thrilling and terrifying.)  Traffic has picked back up and bike riding is much less fun.  There was a sense of adventure in the beginning.  Nobody knew how dangerous it would be.  People were willing to lockdown for the greater good—and because it was kind of fun to be home.  We have all learned to adjust to a more virtual life.  I think if we had had better national leadership we would have had greater success beating, or at least handling and understanding, the virus.  Now we are still very cautious as we begin to return to normal life.  It would be horrible to get sick now, after giving up a year of our lives to stay safe.  People are now saying that by October things should be more comfortable and certain.  Last April they were saying the same thing, only it was about last October.  I do think that many good lessons have come from this time.  People have learned to value family time.  People resent commuting time and perhaps that will lead to changes that will help in many ways.  We’ve certainly learned what parts of school are easily taught online and which are not.  We have come to appreciate how valuable personal interaction is.  Even brief interactions with other people add much to our lives.  The retail and restaurant/entertaining section of the economy has suffered.  I imagine much of it will not return.  That, of course, will make room for new ideas and innovation.  

Overall, we have been extremely blessed during the pandemic.  We have had the financial resources, the medical resources, the common sense, and the good luck to weather the storm.  

Tricia Rosencranz

April 9, 2021

Weekend Fun

Paint-your-own cookie and a ball game, tennis for 3, girls' night out, and scooter fun.  What a weekend!


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Road Trip!

Mom took a 3.5 hour drive down to Scotland Neck, NC, to get her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.  It was amazing to go from being in a community where even the most at-risk are waiting to get their shots to a town where the only person interested in getting one... was a stranger from 3.5 hours away.  So glad to be on the way to protected and one step closer to normal-ish life!  Thankful for science, McDowell's Pharmacy, and the flexibility to get it done.  And for proof, been there, bought the t-shirt.


Monday, April 5, 2021

Hopped over these

Mom's pre-everyone-else-waking-up breakfast game was on-theme an on-point.


Sunday, April 4, 2021


Saturday, we dyed Easter eggs, baked a pineapple upside down cake and hot cross buns, and then had a surprise special guest, who had us Bunny Hopping and Chicken Dancing in the front yard.

Easter morning, we enjoyed baskets, buns, egg hunting, and a lazy day before a delicious Easter dinner.