Sunday, December 6, 2009

Snow Day!

Meteorologists were tickled pink (or white) when their forecasts came to pass and it snowed in Houston yesterday! The snow began during the morning commute and lasted well into the afternoon. All told, about 2 inches fell. It was enough so that, after work, I went MacGyver and used a plastic ruler to brush the accumulated snow off my car! The Prius handled the strange weather and the slippery streets with aplomb.

Last year when it snowed, Garrett didn't believe me when I said it had snowed. This year, he couldn't argue!

By the time I got home, warmed up, and went back onto the streets with my camera, the snow had stopped and was even starting to melt. Here's what I saw!

This scruffy snowman stood about 2 feet tall.

This soldier is remembering what it felt like to serve at Valley Forge!

I love that Garbage song, "I'm Only Happy When It Snows"!

While it was beautiful and whimsical to see it snow, unfortunately it was also bad news for our friend Sandhya, who was supposed to fly in to visit us from Phoenix. When she booked her tickets a couple months ago, she never imagined her flight to Texas would be cancelled due to snow and ice! We are saddened but have plans to see her in Arizona in January.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lazy Sunday

Glimpsed through the smudgy window in our apartment this afternoon -- Can you find the kitty?

It made me smile to see him enjoying a siesta in his very own quiet place.

Walking by on the ground, I could only see his ear at first!

I hope everyone enjoyed a restful weekend!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Texas Renaissance Festival

Garrett and I returned to the Texas Renaissance Festival, this time on Halloween.

Garrett disguised himself with a dashing cloak.

My Waldo costume was a hit! As an adult, I have never received so much positive feedback on a Halloween costume. People shouted at me, "Hey! I found you!" or "Have you seen Waldo?" Some comments were disappointing (i.e., "You're the third Waldo I've seen today!") or sexist ("Are you Waldo's girlfriend?"). The comments did wear thin as the day went on, but all in all I was just pleased that people recognized me. Garrett observed, "I guess we have disproven the notion that it is hard to find someone in a crowd wearing a red-and-white striped shirt." Indeed!

The best part of the day was the people-watching. Or monster-watching.

It was comforting to know that even Gandalf has to stop and ask for directions sometimes.

These girls had pretend squirrels (or other small rodents) on their shoulders!

We took in a very entertaining fighting competition. The actors battled it out using a variety of medieval weaponry and dirty jokes. Oh, those codpieces!

It's not a day at the festival without some mead!

I think these guys have a big head about their costumes.

This shop sold satyr horns. I thought this drawing would make Matisse proud!

Where's Waldo? Hint: She's carrying a bottle of mead!

The pirate hanging out in the second-floor shop window found Waldo.

Can you see the man in the Ghillie suit? The suit is usually worn by hunters. (And, I'm not talking about a baseball cap and jeans.)

This Native American was a hit with the ladies.

David the Gnome counseled a lady in need. He was a real midget!

We concluded the day with the jousting tournament. We sat in the winning section -- Spain!

After a long day of fun in the sun, we returned to Rice Village. Now that Halloween is over, we can start looking forward to Christmas! Santa picked the best bench in the shopping plaza. He's gonna find out who's naughty and nice!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Smile! It's Halloween! Check out the pumpkin that Garrett carved!

Good-bye, Daylight Savings Time! Remember to turn back your clocks!

Renaissance Festival photos to come soon!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Vision Realized

While Garrett has had his Halloween costume ready to go for a week or two, I have only just put the finishing touches on mine.

To make the perfect Waldo shirt, I first tried to create white stripes by spraying bleach onto a red shirt. That resulted in a red-and-pink shirt. Perhaps the right shirt for a new rugby team, but not the shirt for me!

I then tried spraying (and sponging) red fabric paint onto a white shirt. It worked!

The entire ensemble will be revealed on Saturday! Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Into the Wild

Garrett and I began last weekend by fighting this giant, red-eyed longhorn armadillo with our bare hands!

Actually it's just the prominent mascot of a local bar, Goode's Armadillo Palace.

The following day we embarked on a hiking adventure. The weather has finally cooled off so that going outdoors is now (somewhat) bearable. We drove up to Lake Houston Park, about 45 minutes north of Houston.

This bridge over Peach Creek was the most visually exciting part of the hike.

Given its muddy color, Peach Creek is more like Latte Creek! It's hard to discern mud from water in this picture...

We saw squirrels, birds, mosquitoes, butterflies, ants, mosquitoes, what seemed to be deer hoof prints, mosquitoes, and Cub Scouts. And mosquitoes! Those insects never give up. Isn't it time for them to migrate south? further south?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Scenes from the Bayou City

Here are some snapshots of Houston in October!

Our neighborhood is safe, thanks to the Texas Rangers!

Follow the yellow brick road... to fall!

Nothing says "upscale neighborhood" like a shrunken head!

Lizard close-up!

"Hoot, hoot!"

We've had a lot of rain recently, and little mushroom cities have sprung up.

Garrett and I attended the Bayou City Arts Festival in downtown Houston last weekend. So did this polar bear!

Steel cacti, steel skyscrapers.

How does your garden grow?

Sculptures appropriate for Halloween!

Seen from the Metro train on the way back to Rice.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The second most surprising award of the week

Forget Norway and Nobel! Another set of awards was announced this week that shocked many Americans. The part of Houston known as Montrose was named one of the ten "Great Neighborhoods" of America by the American Planning Association! Montrose is a hip part of town known for its antique stores, cafes, thrift shops, restaurants, bungalows, art museums, Halloween pub crawl, and annual gay pride parade. The college where I am currently taking a class, the University of St. Thomas, is also in Montrose and has on its property the boyhood home of Howard Hughes (1924 Rice University drop-out). Garrett and I agree that Montrose is a pleasant place to visit and/or to drive through.

Check out the website for the lists and slideshows of great neighborhoods, great streets, and great public places honored by the APA.

Am I getting old?

Garrett and I attended a Kings of Leon concert at the Toyota Center here in Houston. We had general admission tickets that gave us access to the floor of the arena. After entering through a side door, we were ushered to the wrist band table. This is what we had to wear:

"Should I have brought my bike helmet with me?" I thought.

As it turns out, the crowd (as well as the band) was generally mild-mannered. By night's end, my legs hurt and my ears were ringing. As we were leaving, and I was wondering if this was my last concert, I saw a mom depart with her young daughter. The girl was about 7 years old and wore a homemade Kings of Leon shirt that read, "My First Concert." Ah, the circle of life!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Old West... and the New Pest

I went for a late-afternoon bike ride today and captured these images around the neighborhood.

At Fleming Park, rodeo rugrats can play. (I guess in Texas you can have guns on the playground!)

Down the street, at an art gallery, roams the mighty buffalo.

Rice University, to protect us from H1N1, recently installed hand sanitizer by the doors in our apartment building. "Nice!" says Garrett. "It's like we live in a bathroom!"