Category Archives: Houston House Husband

Today’s Listening in the Burbs

In my life I have been around some amazing people and heard their stories.  This man, Olivier Messiaen and a personal friend of his, Jean Langlais befriended me on a performance trip to Europe in the eighties I made. The “Quartet for the End of Time” was a piece I had heard and thought it to be way outside my boundaries both on technical and artistic aspects.  However, when I heard his and Jean’s story, they inspired me to move beyond my self-imposed boxes and explore different realities in interpretation and performance.

 

I was not aware of the life history of Olivier but I found out as he shared with me about the conditions around the composing of the Quartet and that sharing was so powerful to me that I made a decision to tackle that work.  At the same time, there was another influence in my life, a young artist named Marshall Fine, who saw the potential in me and pushed me to look outside my personal boundaries and become the artist that was trapped inside me.

There is another work that is performed a lot by Charles-Marie Widor, one of the mentors of Olivier, the Widor Toccatta.  It’s a powerful, fantastic work and every time I hear it here in Houston, I go to a different place mentally and remember.

Another composer I work with is John Rutter and I just played the clarinet for this work in Houston.

While I am in the kitchen cooking ,it’s on auto play through the house sound system!

Laters!

 

 

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Scenes from the Burbs

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Glorious Friday, what a day!  As we gently prepare for the advent of more rain here in the burbs, all eyes are on the two reservoirs, levees and the dams that contain the mighty waters of the accumulated rains and will they hold?  We sure hope so.

In the meantime, crab a cup of java and let’s chew the proverbial fat.  It’s time for Bacon!

This Wednesday past, I had an outing in the evening to another favorite watering hole and Mexican food emporium here in the burbs.  Out here, we have an interesting mix of the chains and family owned restaurants.  If you want to go where the locals go, follow the local crowds.  Enchiludas is where we head on Wednesday as it is biker night there and the food is excellent!

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Enchiludas is owned and operated by Pepe and Gladys, a couple that has a long history of being in the restaurant industry here in Houston.  The food is quite interesting and the new menu encapsulates the wonders of Tex Mex cuisine into a sometimes delicate art form.

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One of my faves is Ceviche. It’s not on the menu but if I am planning to go there, I call ahead and get Pepe to make it.  Then, it’s a feast of Ceviche, Queso Flamado, Chips, homemade Salsa, Margaritas and a lot of fun.  There is no pretense here, just good food and good friends.

You might ask, why are we hanging around bikers?  Well, I’ll be honest, I would rather hang around people that are comfortable in their skins and that have my back. Enchiludas has a great policy that everyone is welcome from families to party animals and we all cohabit together in Margarita bliss for the evening.

Another favorite on the menu is the Seafood Soup that can be custom made by Pepe and the staff there that includes tilapia, muscles, crab, shrimp, octopus and sometimes even crawfish!  Enchiludas also serves up a great Crawfish boil that is not that pricey and a great bargain!

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The band that evening was a Rhythm and Blues duo that took me back to my roots in Memphis, Tennessee.  Man, these cats were cooking with gas!  Two brothers, known as the “Black Cats” with some interesting professional experiences that we shared during their breaks.

Black Cats
Other menu items that are of note include the Enchilada plates varying in price, the Burritos that are humongous, the Shrimp wrapped in bacon and embedded in a fresh jalapeno and the variations on Chorizo!  Yum Yum!

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Have a great weekend!  If we float by, grab the cooler and refill it please!

From Casa Ukitena in the Burbs of Houston.

Jere

From the Burbs of West Houston!

Greetings and salutations in the suburbs of Houston! It’s great to be writing this blog and as this is the beginning of a new day for me, I would like to start off by saying we lived in the suburbs of Houston. Now you may ask, Houston is so big, where the suburbs? I’m particular HOA is located outside the Beltway’s which means you have to have two green cards to get here. We also live in a floodplain which can be quite interesting concerning the recent floods we’ve had here.

 

All that aside, we live in a very diverse. Houston. The restaurants in this area are not five-star they are more family oriented which is very unique. One of our favorite places to go is El Matador. El Matador is an interesting neighborhood establishment where every Tuesday night, Rodney plays the piano or tickles the ivories as the case may be. Writing has been playing for a long time and we know we are at home when I hear the music I grew up with and realize I’m a bit ancient, hee hee hee hee. The food at EL Matador is a mix of Tex-Mex, Colombian and pure Mexican. Of course I like margaritas but isn’t that what a househusband would like?

 

On Wednesday usually consist of going into town which is a great effort on our part. I tell my spouse Jody, but I can drive from Memphis to Jackson, Tennessee quicker than we can get downtown Houston. However, with the advent of the Westpark toll way, it cuts down on driving time for about 15 minutes depending on traffic. Of course, one must take into account the highway 59 parking lot as it can be atrocious at times. Going into town, we usually hang out in the Montrose area. Montrose area in Houston is a hot spot for multicultural experience, something I really treasure! We lovingly refer to Georges Country Sports Bar as the Cathedral of St. George since that’s where we gather together, especially on Sunday afternoon.  Beginning on Wednesday, I attempt to make the vestry committee meeting. There a lot of plans have to be made for the Sunday services at Georges. Oh, sorry. What I meant to say is that the Cathedral.

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“This is right up there at the top of the list for a bar outing in Houston Montrose area.  Great bartenders, good drinks and usually some club function going on.  OH, and Sunday’s, football season, come in for a great crowd to watch the games along with dollar vodka’s.
Very clean, well maintained, good times and good friends.”

There are a lot of restaurants in that area that Jody and I really like. The go to place for us is Barnaby’s! Barnaby’s has the menu that will knock your socks off. The serving sizes are enough that when we order separate meals we had enough for the next day. I usually like the salads and Jody really likes the chicken WONTONS. He likes of so much that even the hot sauce we had to find the Chinese markets.

 

Next place we like is the Ripcord! The Ripcord has undergone some changes from a full-time leather bar to more of an open community gathering spot. The owner, Brad, has opened up the space and invited artists in various disciplines and to show and promote their wares. Speaking of wares, Chip Ware and his spouse have opened up a new shop in the Ripcord. I highly recommend Montrose area of Houston.

 

Getting back to West Houston, the homeowners association here seems to be operating still in the 80s. Me, I am a creative type person and I need room to breathe. Perhaps there is a chance to turn things around and install solar panels, a usable landscape, more economical energy-saving products and bring things up to speed with 21st century. Now, in Texas, the homeowners associations are very powerful and seem to be able to get away with anything. So, I have to learn to work within the system and change it.

 

So, what is a Houston househusband to do at a time like this? Leave it for squeezing it? Fit in or stand out?

Jere Merman Style

 

I believe it’s time for a cocktail or better yet a cigar and a glass of sweet tea on the veranda that doesn’t exist yet. Blasted homeowners associations that I have to draw up plans and submit for approval around in the backyard. Oh well enough for now, see you next time!

Me 2016

Musical Ramblings and Visions

Today I am listening to spotify, some of my recordings and those of friends I have worked with around the world.  Being an artist is a treasure I hold dearly in my life and apply artistic aspects to everything I do.  My canvas is sound at times and I love painting with sound.  Music is my primary language and an escape from a rather hectic world.

I am in my easy chair with Ms. Ethel on my lap and the Duker vying for attention at my feet.  These are our kids as we call them and all rescue animals that just showed up on our doorstep.

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The music today is taking me back to Memphis, Tennessee, home of the blues, culture, Memphis in May, The outstanding Memphis Symphony and Germantown. It is also the home of the Rendevous and Interstate BBQ of food network fame.  header

I have an interesting history with these establishments both musically and in the kitchen.  Heck, I grew up there and love the taste and feel of the city! We have cooked side by side at many events across the Memphis/Shelby County area to the joy of many!

Enough of that about me and on to my reasons for sharing today.

There is a lot going on around the world right now. Mr. Paul Pellay is having a composition of his premiered by a highly capable Violinist.  Paul and I go back decades and he is married to a great violist, Michelle Pellay-Walker that I consider my sister from another mother.  This performance is taking place in Jolly Old England.

From Peter Sheppard Skaerved, Violinist

“At the violin, a day of rigour and joy. Bach in the morning then this. I am proud to have studied, and premiered, literally, hours of solo violin music by the extraordinary Paul Pellay, and this latest is absolutely engrossing-here’s the score, at what I call ‘base 1’ technical work. The groundwork in place, the notes in the hands and the brain, and now the real work begins. Here’s a Spotify link to Paul’s extraordinary ‘Thesaurus of Violinistic Fiendishness’. Violinists, what are you waiting for?”

Paul Pelay score

 

On the other side of the world, the the Pacific Northwest, Dr. Justin Smith, Director of Choirs at Maryhurst University is preparing from the summer.

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Stay Tuned!  Things are heating up here in Houston also!  But for today, I am relaxing before the weekend when Jody and I celebrate our 16th anniversary of being together. We were officially MARRIED in November of 2014.  We are having a casual at home BBQ where Tennessee meets Texas!  16 years ago, on April 1, I arrived in Houston to begin a life with Jody Turner. It’s been an up and downhill roller coaster ride but we are still together these 16 years later! FB_IMG_1436131882732
We would like to cordially invite you to our home on Sunday, April 3, 2016 for a Tennessee meets Texas BBQ in honor of this decade plus of being together. A lot has happened in these years and it’s time to celebrate.
Stop by for good times, good friends, good food and some all out fun!
Please pardon the house as it is now a DYI project that will be ongoing for a bit. I am also taking the liberty of creating videos of the work as it progresses along with recipes, exploring Jere’s kitchen and teaching videos for clarinet excellence.
If perchance, anyone would be considering an anniversary present, we need help on the renovations to the house!
We look forward to seeing everyone!  Recipes and menus will be here later but today, I am having fun with our mischevious kids!  

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Ta Ta for now and have a great day!

Jere

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Sakura Sakura!

It’s Cherry Blossom Time in Japan and DC. Actually around the world! If you have never been to Japan, I feel for you. It’s a beautiful country full of life, vitality and culture.

The yearly excitement awaiting the announcement of Spring begins when the Cherry Blossoms begin their path to blooming and when they do, life stops for a space of time. The festivals are amazing, full of friendship and kinship.

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I had the great joy, from the seventies as a young Marine to present day, of experiencing this rebirth of nature. It’s absolutely amazing!

To begin, here is a traditional performance of the Japanese Folk Song, “Sakura Sakura”. Relax, have a cup of green tea and perhaps some Umeboshi or a full plate of Oshinko, Japanese pickles along with a light addition of Poke or Ika Yaki!

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Nabayaki Udon from Nippon in Houston

By the way, if you haven’t figured it out yet, Nippon Japanese Restaurant in Houston, Texas is my go to place here for the authentic experience!  It’s now in the second generation of a traditional Japanese family owned restaurant here and it’s wonderful.  If you are in Houston, be sure and stop by.  Tell them Jere sent you.  The Uni is fantastic as is the shashimi.

 

From many of the masterpieces of the koto house, Michio Miyagi is a musician that represents Japan, promotional video we produced this time “Sakura Variations” As the first step. This work is composed in Michio Miyagi is 1923, very as timeless classics even now about 90 years have passed since a popular work. To represent the Michio Miyagi of the music world, please watch a performance by the Miyagi Orchestra volunteers. In winter, the “Spring of the sea” as the 4th we plan to up the promotional video. Please stay tuned. Miyagi Soke Facebook: Facebook.Com/miyagimichio Twitter: Twitter.Com/miyagimichio Web: Www.Miyagikai.Gr.Jp

Ah, the inspiring music of the Koto! The Geisha Houses are still active and quite relaxing. Taking a stroll down the Ginza or in the Imperial Palace in Tokyo is a nice place to be also during this time.

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Cherry trees of the Imperial Palace “dry street (dry as)” pass-through in the spring of introduction to the general public. Was for the first time published, about 75 connecting from Sakashita Gate Kitanomaru Park to near the dry Gate 0m. Inui street bloom 76 cherry trees, such as Yoshino cherry tree in the spring. Until now, New Year and the Emperor Reborn except for the general Sangha production date, generally was not able to pass through it is. Open to match the full bloom of the cherry blossoms will be the first time. Cherry Blossom In Imperial Palace (Tokyo) The Imperial Palace, Where Their Majesties The Emperor And Empress Reside, Is Situated In The Center Of Tokyo. The Palace Is Surrounded By A Water-Filled Moat And Tree-Covered Grounds Of Nature Within The Bustling Metropolitan City. In Commemoration Of Umbrella Kotobuki Of His Majesty The Emperor, Opening To The Public Is Performed According To Imperial Palace Inui Street In Spring. Inui Street Has 76 Cherry Trees And Is The Perfect Place For People To Experience The Beauty Of Nature.

In Japan, time progresses and for an updated version of this very traditional folk song, enjoy!

Rin ‘- Sakura Sakura ((Sakura Sakura)) Instrumental

For those in the United States, get thee to our nations Capitol for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival!

I apologize for my absence as of late but I have been dealing with some health issues. Coming up is my take on Japanese Cuisine, Culture and my life there and here in the States. It’s wonderful being an artist and having the opportunity to travel the world as a performer and teacher.

Scenes from a Kitchen…Mine!

I thought it would be great to begin sharing how I set my kitchen up and have on hand the things I need.
To begin, these are pictures of creations from my kitchen that I serve at home and professionally as a Chef, Caterer and Party planner.
I wear many hats and take pride in what I do. The adverse diversity in my life leads to some creative ideas and this represents the ideas becoming reality!

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My travels around the world have opened me to some great experiences. This is a starting point today.

Carpe Diem!

Healthy Boundaries

According to the book Boundaries and Relationships by Charles Whitfield, M.D., healthy boundaries are NOT:
Set for us by others
Hurtful or harmful
Controlling or manipulative
Invasive or dominating
Rigid and immovable

Healthy boundaries ARE:
present
appropriate
clear
firm
protective
flexible
receptive.
determined by US
How to Develop Boundaries

An important first step in developing healthy boundaries is to get acquainted with, and take ownership, of your true self. This is essential before healthy boundaries can be set and maintained. As adults, we are responsible for the decisions we make in life. We have freedom to respond, to make choices, and to limit the way others’ behavior affects us. As a “free agent”, we can take responsibility for our freedom by setting boundaries, or borders, between ourselves and those around us. Some people refuse to set boundaries because they see them as selfish. Others actually use them to be selfish. Both are wrong. Boundaries are about self-control.

According to the authors, John Townsend and Henry Cloud, there are ten laws of boundaries:

The Law of Sowing and Reaping – Actions have consequences. If someone in your life is sowing anger, selfishness, and abuse at you, are you setting boundaries against it? Or are they getting away with not reaping (or paying the consequences for) what he/she sowed?

The Law of Responsibility – We are responsible TO each other, not FOR each other. This law means that each person refuses to rescue or enable another’s immature behavior.

The Law of Power – We have power over some things, we don’t have power over others (including changing people). It is human nature to try to change and fix others so that we can be more comfortable. We can’t change or fix anyone – but we do have the power to change our own life.

The Law of Respect – If we wish for others to respect our boundaries, we need to respect theirs. If someone in your life is a rager, you should not dictate to him/her all the reasons that they can’t be angry. A person should have the freedom to protest the things they don’t like. But at the same time, we can honor our own boundary by telling them, “Your raging at me is not acceptable to me. If you continue to rage, I will have to remove myself from you.”

The Law of Motivation – We must be free to say “no” before we can wholeheartedly say “yes”. One cannot actually love another if he feels he doesn’t have a choice not to. Pay attention to your motives.

The Law of Evaluation – We need to evaluate the pain our boundaries cause others. Do our boundaries cause pain that leads to injury? Or do they cause pain that leads to growth?

The Law of Proactivity – We take action to solve problems based on our values, wants, and needs. Proactive people keep their freedom and they disagree and confront issues but are able to do so without getting caught up in an emotional storm. This law has to do with taking action based on deliberate, thought-out values versus emotional reactions.

The Law of Envy – We will never get what we want if we focus our boundaries onto what others have. Envy is miserable because we’re dissatisfied with our state yet powerless to change it. The envious person doesn’t set limits because he is not looking at himself long enough to figure out what choices he has.

The Law of Activity – We need to take the initiative to solve our problems rather than being passive. In a dysfunctional relationship, sometimes one person is active and the other is passive. When this occurs, the active person will dominate the passive one. The passive person may be too intimidated by the active one to say no. This law has to do with taking initiative rather than being passive and waiting for someone else to make the first move.

The Law of Exposure – We need to communicate our boundaries. A boundary that is not communicated is a boundary that is not working. We need to make clear what we do or do not want, and what we will or will not tolerate. We need to also make clear that every boundary violation has a consequence. A boundary without a consequence is nagging.
Putting It All Together

Untreated individuals with personality disorders are dependent on the compliance of others. They resist boundaries in an effort to control, manipulate, and dominate. Non’s sometimes use boundaries in an effort to control, manipulate, and dominate too. For example, we might be tempted to tell someone “You can NOT rage at me”, or “You can NOT say cruel things to me.” These aren’t examples of boundaries, these are examples of a Non’s effort to control someone else’s behavior. A healthy boundary is, “When you rage at me, I feel threatened. I am going to leave (the room, the house, etc.) until such time we can communicate calmly.” The other person is free to rage to his/her heart’s content, but you don’t have to sit there and absorb all their anger and rage. If you are saying to yourself, “Why should I have to leave the room? They should have to stop raging!”, you are looking at boundaries backwards. You are taking the same approach as one would take who says, “Oh no, my house is on fire and is engulfed in flames. I’m standing at the front door but I’m not going to leave the house because my new sprinkling system will turn on an put out the flames.” Are you waiting for someone or something else to make a move so you don’t have to? Are you willing to take a chance of getting burned? Don’t do it.

Boundaries are all around us. We come across them every day. Cars have theft-deterrent devices to prevent someone from stealing your car. Homes have deadbolts or locks to prevent someone else from invading your home and removing your possessions. Your office desk has a lock to prevent theft. Your locker at the club has a lock to keep your valuables safe. If your personal property is protected against theft, but you find yourself feeling like your emotional well-being is being stolen from you, then it’s time to take steps to learn how to set boundaries so that your emotional well-being can be kept under lock and key.

Think about it. We go to a lot of effort and spend a lot of money to protect our material possessions – yet we often do little to protect ourselves. Aren’t you worth more than all of your possessions?

In order for boundaries to be effective, you need to approach it with the right mindset. Recognize that you must take personal responsibility for your own well-being.

Whether you end up staying in close relationship or not, learning how to set healthy boundaries is one of the very best things you can do to ensure that you don’t end up in a dysfunctional dance again with someone else.

Lose attachment to expectations and outcomes. Don’t sound or be needy. Be happy on my own and with or without sex. Be happy with myself. Become detached from the outcome. Who am I? Do I need this? I am responsible for my feelings and emotions and no one else’s.
Be happy on your own.

Abusive relationships produce a great amount on unhealthy investment in both parties. In many cases we tend to remain and support the abusive relationship due to our investment in the relationship. Try telling a new Marine that since he or she has survived boot camp, they should now enroll in the National Guard! Several types of investments keep us in the bad relationship:

Emotional Investment – We’ve invested so many emotions, cried so much, and worried so much that we feel we must see the relationship through to the finish.
Social Investment – We’ve got our pride! To avoid social embarrassment and uncomfortable social situations, we remain in the relationship.
Family Investments – If children are present in the relationship, decisions regarding the relationship are clouded by the status and needs of the children.
Financial Investment – In many cases, the controlling and abusive partner has created a complex financial situation. Many victims remain in a bad relationship, waiting for a better financial situation to develop that would make their departure and detachment easier.
Lifestyle Investment – Many controlling/abusive partners use money or a lifestyle as an investment. Victims in this situation may not want to lose their current lifestyle.
Intimacy Investment – We often invest emotional and sexual intimacy. Some victims have experienced a destruction of their emotional and/or sexual self-esteem in the unhealthy relationship. The abusing partner may threaten to spread rumors or tell intimate details or secrets. A type of blackmail using intimacy is often found in these situations.