Football and More

img_8592All the talk about and around Houston these days involves the Super Bowl to be played here Sunday.

img_8595Downtown Super Bowl Center is alive with activity and thousands gather to participate in the goings on and, perhaps, spot a celebrity or two.

img_8594From what I see and hear there is something for everyone be it art or live performances.

Office View HoustonAs exciting as all this is, there’s more to this big city than Super Bowl activities, and, hopefully, visitors will have opportunity to take some of it in.

Houston is a city of bayous designed for drainage, but they are also becoming sources for outdoor activity.  Buffalo Bayou is the largest, and it has recently undergone significant change.

These days folks can hike and bike,  kayak 

bbayou-4-e1462310177369or take a scenic boat ride on the bayou.

img_1652-version-2For sure, visitors will find lots of good eats in Houston as it is one of the country’s best foodie cities with cuisines for every palate.  One could eat here for a very long time without having to go to the same restaurant twice.

img_7776sA don’t miss is TexMex.  It doesn’t get any better than at any one of the many Mexican restaurants here.

MFAHFor quieter moments, a visit to one of Houston’s outstanding museums is a delight

img_1205-1as is a stroll through a nearby park.

As I think about it, there’s much that Houston has to offer, but with the emphasis on football some visitors  may not get an opportunity to experience it.  Come Sunday, if I open the windows it just might be possible to hear the noise of the crowd cheering for a favorite team.  For a few thousand dollars I could be there, too, but I’ll be watching on TV with plenty of chips and queso handy.   

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Reentry

I am very lucky to live in two places: Houston, Texas and Rockport, Maine.  We have just returned to Houston and, oh, what a difference.  Many of those differences make reentry something of a challenge.

Office View HoustonHouston is big and with that comes lots of traffic.  

HoustonRight now I drive the freeways with my heart in my mouth, fearful of changing lanes and intimidated by 18 wheelers closing in urging me to speed up or waiting to pass me by.  

img_7502That is quite a contrast to Maine where most of the roads are two lanes with 50 MPH speed limit which makes driving a bit more leisurely to say nothing of being more scenic.

img_8259As different as it is, there are things I like about being in Houston.  High on the list is Costco where I always come out with much more than  I meant to purchase.  That was especially true on this first visit when having access to so much was overwhelming!

img_8314I like that Houston winter is green with lots of blooming things, the way Maine is in summer.  By the time we leave Maine, most of the color is gone and the landscape takes a break until spring when it reawakens.

img_8332Returning to Houston means going to St. Paul’s UMC, a church I’ve loved for many years.  I appreciate its timeless Gothic architecture, the peacefulness I feel there, the way it provides opportunity for discovering your own faith walk and that it is open to all people.

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The best part of reentry is returning to my house in the area that has been home to the hubby and me since we’ve been married.  (One of these days I will have to tell you the story of how this house got me elected to office or at least how I think it helped.)

Rockport Pano 6X18

As different as it is, I enjoy the time we spend in Houston, but I must confess that I do miss waking up in the morning, turning my head and looking out on Rockport Harbor.

Rockport Harbor

No matter the season, no matter whether it’s sunny or foggy, I love the view, the activity 

winter/lobster boatsand the sight and sound of lobster boats going out for the day’s work.  The most I see upon waking in Houston is the fence that separates our and the neighbor’s property.

Despite their differences, I am lucky to live in Houston and Rockport, and each helps me appreciate the other a little more.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Joining

Wow Us Wednesday

What’s It Wednesday

Art Cars on Parade

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For years a looked forward to event in Houston is the spring Art Car Parade.  Like much else in Texas, it is BIG and throngs line the parade route in anticipation of what is to come.

If it has wheels, everything goes.  Roller blades, bicycles, skate boards, unicycles…you name it and it’ll be in the parade.

It is amazing  what folks come up with, and they must have such fun readying for the big day.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome entries elicit guffaws from the crowd, none more than this one suggesting a great sense of humor.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACreativity expresses itself in so many ways

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand takes on whole new meaning.

While most of the cars are for fun,

a few are supportive of social causes

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  or throw out a suggestion for president.  Who’s to say Willy wouldn’t be as good as some other of our candidates? 

Some of the participants are just as interesting as the cars, so the parade is a great place to people watch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt the end of the day, this sums it up! Who can argue?

i so appreciate your visit and especially the comments you leave behind

A Trip Back in Time

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYears ago I fell in love with a street in the heart of Houston that dates back to the early 1900’s and is one of the very few locations in this big city where historic homes have been preserved.  These elegant residences were designed by some of the foremost architects of the times…John Staub, Birdsall P. Briscoe, Alfred Finn to name a few…and became home to the then elite of Houston.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAToday, the street remains a gracious oasis, a trip back in time.    The houses, of course, have been updated to include conveniences suitable for today’s living, but the lovely architectural elements remain intact.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANo exception is my friend’s home which she is generously allowing me to share.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom the front door 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAto every nook and cranny, there are traces of the past.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe incredible stair rail is Victorian dating back to the 1800’s.  The home’s original owner had it disassembled from another of his locations for installation here.  Its beauty sets the tone for the entire house.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATall ceilings were characteristic of the era as is the beautiful marble fireplace surround.

Informal sunrooms were common, and this one is a cheerful and inviting space that exemplifies how tastefully color is used throughout the house.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhere neutrals keep tight areas from being too dark, there are surprising splashes of color in upholstery choices.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThough the spacious kitchen has been completely updated, it retains much of its original feel thanks to the style of the appliances and the cabinets.

Touches like the corner cabinet over the sink and the glass front cabinets do their part to add charm.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs in other of the houses on this street, the dining room was designed for entertaining. In this beautifully appointed room, it is easy to imagine elegantly clad men and women arriving by horse drawn carriage for an enchanting evening.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat is wonderful about the home today is that it not only provides glimpses into another time, but it totally reflects the warm character of the people who now live here.  I give total kudos to my friend who has so lovingly decorated it, making every decision as to how it should look and feel.  For all the years I have known her, she has been collecting unique pieces that are now so at home in their space.  She must have known all along where they were waiting to go.

As wonderful as the house is, my favorite space is the carriage house, but that will have to wait for another day.  Do come back.

Joining

Metamorphosis Monday

The Scoop

Wow Us Wednesday

Dishing’ It & Diggin’ It

Cheering Them On

I was pretty fast at one time, but when I no longer had to run that was it.  That being said, I do feel compelled each year to walk down the street to cheer on the thousands of marathoners who pass through the neighborhood.  They are all ages, shapes and sizes who brave whatever weather to participate in the Houston Marathon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis 45 degree morning I was on the curb before 8:00 thinking I would see the first runners through. No such luck.  They beat me by almost 15 minutes.    One by one, group by group, the elite runners were followed by young people, trim and in better shape than I will ever be again.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs the race goes on, the mass of runners increases, and the look begins to change.

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Not all are young,

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand some are physically impaired and make the trek with a guide.

Some smile and say thanks as they pass by

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAwhile others spot a friend or spouse to whom they stop and say hello.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs he passed in front of me, this fella, a doctor, had to stop for a call.  I couldn’t help but wonder if it would keep him from finishing.

Some runners exhibit  a sense of fun to go along with their determination

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand these marines drew a cheer as they passed by.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn the curb, some watchers were ready with their phone to snap a photo of someone they knew

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand a group of your g boys cheered every passing runner.  One day I might be cheering them on.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll in all, the marathon is a study of people who for whatever reason accept the challenge of running it.  For some, like the Ethiopians who finished first, it means money, but for most the satisfaction is in the doing, and I am happy to cheer them on until my voice is no more than a croak.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Transitioning

I am very lucky to live in two places I enjoy for very different reasons, but transitioning, especially to Houston, is a bit of a challenge.

Rockport HarborFrom May until November, as soon as my eyes are open I look out the window to Rockport Harbor.  It’s a beautiful view no matter the season, and my last glimpse of it is etched in my mind.

HoustonThis morning I woke up and everything was so unfamiliar.  The view outside the window was a water soaked fence and plants bedraggled by too much rain. The only water is that which flows in the fountain outside the breakfast room, and it looked neglected and sad as did everything around it.

lobster boatI sat for a few minutes wondering where I belong.  I love those months in Maine where we have made wonderful friends with whom we frequently gather.  I love the beauty of the place, the unhurried lifestyle, the boat trips, the islands, the lobster boats and lighthouses. It is the place where I feel so at ease and where my gray hairs and jeaned self fit right in.

Office View HoustonHouston is such a contrast.  It’s BIG, and there’s more of everything from traffic to restaurants to entertainment and shopping opportunities.  It is the place I have lived most of my adult life, and the hubby and I are lucky to live in a wonderful neighborhood where most of our friends still reside. The down side is that people have so many distractions that it can be difficult to spend time together.  Spontaneous gatherings are almost an impossibility. 

MaineHouston is the place that will always seem like home, but there is no question that Maine is the way life should be.

Costco

However, once I go to Costco and get a tennis match or two under my belt, all will seem like normal, at least until May!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind