My parents visited this weekend and we took them to the rodeo! If you have been with me a while, you know that I LOVE the rodeo and took a million photos while I was there — too many to sort through tonight. However, I can show you a photo of this year’s game changer:
Fried cookie dough on a stick. I’ll be eating that again! I had a longer list of must-eats than I accomplished, but I’ll get a second chance in a couple weeks. Anyway, it was fun to get to finally show my parents what the big deal is at the world’s biggest rodeo.
This weekend we took advantage of the last weekend to see the Byzantine Fresco Chapel. The two frescoes date to the 13th century and were originally stolen from Cyprus. The Menil Foundation paid the ransom and restored the 38 pieces for display as intact frescoes. They’ll be going back to Cyprus after this weekend.
We also stopped into a very famous Houston landmark, the Rothko Chapel. I apologize if you are an art buff, but I am calling BS on the Rothko Chapel. It’s an octagonal bunker with some enormous purplish-black canvases on the walls. I’m happy to let wealthy art patrons commission whatever they like, but the pamphlet makes a bit much of it for me:
“It is a place where a great artist, turned towards the Absolute, had the courage to paint almost nothing — and did it masterfully.”
Can someone show me a non-masterful example of painting ‘almost nothing’? Has anyone ever advised a student of art who has failed at painting almost nothing to go back, study the masters, and try again?
The works of the Rothko Chapel and a few other surreal about-town experiences made for a weekend replete with hilarious (to us) inside jokes and commentary. From this sprung my idea for my next blogging venture. I’m pretty sure it is destined for greatness.
Drinking and cycling. Note the interesting footwear choices.
It’s January 12, and I just finished uploading the last of 2011′s sorta-daily photos. Thank goodness that’s over. Just since the last day or two am I able to get through a day without the occasional worry about what I’ll shoot, or go to bed/wake up without having a mini-heart attack trying to remember whether I took a photo.
As I’ve mentioned, this year I’m trying weekly photos. I haven’t put any into my flickr yet, but that’s Week 2 above, taken hastily with Mark’s phone. We see that thing going up and down Washington Avenue now and then. It’s a bicycle bar. There don’t appear to be seat belts. What could possibly go wrong?
Now, if someone starts a pedaling cake bar, I will be the first in line.
On the way to Thanksgiving we had a collision with a large version of a small mammal, possibly of the marsupial persuasion. It cracked our bumper, tore up the faring under the bumper, and knocked out a fog light. Our insurance made a rental car reservation for me and today I was finally able to take our vehicle in and get the rental. I don’t know what makes me more sad — a booboo on my beautiful car, or parting with it for several days while it gets repaired.
The rental guy asked me what I had in mind. He suggested an Impala, which he felt would be similar in size. I think he thought I had the Genesis sedan, not the coupe. I countered with mid-size to standard.
“Ehhh… [looking at two Sonatas outside the building] How about a Sonata?”
“That’s considered full-size. It will be $7/day instead of $4.”
“Okay. I’ll do it.”
“How about an Altima?”
“Sonata? I want to be able to plug my ipod in.”
“How about a Nissan Rogue?”
“What does that look like?”
“It’s like a Murano, but smaller.”
“So it’s a station wagon?”
“No! This is a great car or I wouldn’t be pushing it. I’ll give it to you for the full-size price.”
[wanting to get on with my life] “…Fine.”
[several minutes later, holding completed paperwork] “You’ll have to drive down the road to the Nissan dealership to get it. Can you take [associate]? She’ll follow you in it to the body shop.”
[instantly regretting all of this] “Sure.”
“Can you drop her back here?” (I must note that this rental agency’s motto is, or was at one time, ‘We’ll pick you up.’)
“Nevermind, I’ll have someone pick her up from the body shop.”
Fine. Paperwork signed, go to the body shop, accept the keys to the Nissan, have a very surreal conversation with the shop manager, go on my way. Get into Rogue. It’s pretty grimy (later I will even find pet hair in the cargo area) and it smells like Taco Bell. Try to plug ipod in; the connector is wrong, which is why I wanted a Hyundai. Ask myself whether any of this REALLY matters when it should be for just a few days. Doesn’t help. Drive back to work, mentally calculating that this exercise has cost me two hours of my day and hoping I can easily fit this vehicle into our smallish garage at home.
On the plus side, the Rogue has a surprising amount of pep. It is pretty fun to drive, even if I do have to change the radio volume at the faceplate and actually find the keys in my purse to unlock it or start it (feels so primitive now). It also fits just fine in the garage. When I got home from Toastmasters tonight I wiped all the grime off of the plastic in the dash and console area with a damp rag, so it looks much better. Now about that Taco Bell odor…
On our last full day in Santa Fe, we went up to the Marble Brewery Tap Room to enjoy a beverage (beer for Mark, chai for me) and enjoy the rooftop view of the Plaza.
We were treated to some entertainment while we sat up there. There were the men on horseback:
There was the impromptu Gotti brother dance-off (they later moved to the little covered stage on the other side of the Plaza):
And then there was a very special custom Thunderbird that circled the block a few times to display what its hydraulics could do:
Wait, we need a close up of that:
I think the metal plate behind the backseat says ‘Dave’s Fantasy.’ I’d say Dave is fairly imaginative.
I won’t live in Houston forever. I may not live in Texas forever. Wherever Mark and I go next is likely to have more clearly defined seasons. While I’ll embrace some of what that entails, like maybe not sweating in April, I will probably look fondly back at the coldest week of the year in Houston. That week is now. I was so cold when I came home from Toastmasters tonight that I stuck my feet in Mark’s bath. My fingers still hurt for several minutes after I came into the warm house.
My winter pajamas are useful most of the year because in our house Mark is always sweating and I’m always shivering, but for a week or two each year I feel justified because, finally, everyone else is cold, too. Overnight temperatures plunge into the 20s and people put frost blankets over their tropical plants in hopes that they’ll survive. Finally I look normal wearing a sweater in the office (where it is ALWAYS winter), and sometimes the building manager even turns the heat on!
My favorite part of cold weather in Houston is its brevity (and that it allows me to have SOME cozy clothes and coats, which I love). The temperature should be back into the 70s in the blink of an eye. Of course, I’ll still be wearing my winter clothes, because when else am I going to wear them? (Also, because I’ll still be cold.)
Completely unrelated to any of the rest of this post, I saw one of the buildings downtown doing this on my way home tonight (click for video):
I don’t know what that’s about, but I think it may have been inspired by some of the psychedelic holiday lights in my neighborhood that are still up.
Yesterday I had my zillion photos from New Mexico open and I was narrowing them down to what I wanted to share next, and then somehow I lost all my progress. Doh! I don’t have the energy to redo that just now, so I thought I’d share some assorted snaps from the past week.
Who’s that reading my favorite book?
It’s Sammy! He was a birthday gift from my parents. He looks great on our bookshelves!
He came with a note from my mom:
Mark and I ordered burritos the other night for pick-up. There is a Freebirds just up the street and I think they put something addictive in the meat. The staff is young and cheerful, and we have long suspected that at least a few of them are having special smoke breaks during their shifts. Evidence:
I ordered two so I wouldn’t have to make lunch, and they made sure I knew which ones were mine:
When I sat down at my desk the next day, I noticed the bag:
Speaking of places with herbally-enhanced employees, we made a Whole Foods run tonight and I picked up some treats containing my own favorite herb:
I have a slight obsession with rosemary. I sort of have a personal theory that rosemary is the new bacon. You heard it here first. I’m very excited about these!
Also spotted at Whole Foods (it looked a lot better on my 1″ x 1″ cell phone screen!):
You know the holidays are here when the sock monkeys show up en masse!
I think the Houston Zoo needs to check its fences, because all sorts of critters have been popping up around my neighborhood lately, like this neon pig nibbling grass on a busy overpass:
Or this t-rex hiding behind a warehouse corner and waiting to pounce on an unwary pedestrian:
I don’t think this beetle is by the same artist, but I like him just the same:
This dog is a little ways from my neighborhood, but I happened to notice it for the first time last week:
Ever since I started seeing these, I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for more everywhere I go. Despite my appreciation for them, Mark would like me to tell you that we don’t condone graffiti…unless it’s really cute.
How was your weekend? We went for a post-sunset bike ride at Memorial Park last night, where we saw a coyote and a lot of rabbits. The weather has finally become pleasant, and we had the picnic loop to ourselves, with the exception of the aforementioned company.
One more thing before I go: Karen at Makeup & Beauty Blog is hosting an amazing giveaway for October, and all you have to do is make a sign, like so:
Hop over to Makeup & Beauty Blog to get all the details and rules. Good luck, and please share if you win because of me! All I want is a little Chanel in my life. ;)
It appears that sometime early last week, a vortex opened up above our house, and it has been spilling chaos all over our tidy life. We’re just trying to ride it out in good humor, hoping that this week will be better.
Wednesday afternoon: a Dior counter makeover that left me looking like a caricature of a fortune teller, followed by an increasingly frantic 40-minute search of every closet, cabinet, and cranny in the house for a cat that had seemingly vanished into thin air. I finally found her here:
She had crawled under the coffee table, where there is considerable open space, and slipped through the 4″ gap between the top of the drawer and the underside of the table. Finding herself stuck in the drawer — presumably all day, as her food was untouched — she didn’t even have the good sense to meow while I tore through the house looking for her. I guess she was comfortable. As for me, I think I lost a few years from my natural lifespan.
Thursday morning: got in the car at 5:15 to head for the gym and found it unresponsive. It cost half a day, but we got a new battery and got our money back on the one we had bought just 18 months ago. Lesson learned: buy a brand that can afford to advertise.
Friday: in the morning, a GFCI in the master bathroom tripped and wouldn’t reset, which doesn’t give you a nice feeling as you prepare to leave the house for the day. By the afternoon, one of the sinks in that bathroom had spontaneously broken:
Saturday: I woke up to a dead Litter Robot and a short trail of brown pawprints. We just bought the darn thing a month ago, and since Sweet Pea was in jail part of that time, it has been used for a total of maybe two weeks. Of course this happened on a holiday weekend, so there is no reaching customer service until Tuesday. We have the world’s most expensive scoop-it-yourself litterbox.
Oh, and then there is the mildew and the cracked windshield. Just more items for our to-do list.
However, it is still a holiday weekend. Today we had our usual Sunday brunch, tonight we are excited to try a restaurant where we’ve never eaten, and tomorrow we are sleeping late and then making one of our favorite breakfasts. We’ll also be crossing our fingers that life (and the cat) will take it easy on us this week!
I have this thing about the taskbar on my work computer — it has to be arranged a certain way. My Outlook must be the left-most button. My personal webmail is next. It doesn’t really matter what comes after that since I’m opening and closing programs and spreadsheets all day, but if something goes wrong (like accidentally shutting down Outlook), I will not hesitate to close every window so I can put things back into the correct sequence. I hate when that happens, but someone has to restore order to the universe.
Am I alone in this? A couple days ago a former coworker of mine sent me a Facebook message just to tell me that he had eight windows open and his Outlook was number six or so. He even sent a screenshot just to torment me. I honestly don’t know how anyone can work that way.
Anyhow, it’s almost Friday and I’m ready to drop. Would it be wrong to sleep through the whole weekend? At the very least I’m not getting out of my pajamas without a very good reason!
Ah, that picture always makes me laugh. Have a great weekend!
This post was going to be a review of these gourmet goodies that I tucked into Mark’s stocking:
I think he might be avoiding trying them. I’m not sure why — if the artificial bacony scent wafting through the shrink wrap isn’t a lure, then what is? I can, however report on the following treat that I got for myself:
The verdict: in a word, NO. I thought they were pretty foul once you got past the vaguely eggnog-flavored shell. Mark compared them to Gatorade gum. Gatorade, you may note, does not sell an eggnog-flavored sports drink (but I would try it if they did!).
You can buy all this weird candy and more at Offbeat Treats. (They have plenty of things that actually look pretty good, like giant candy buttons. I loved candy buttons when I was little!) They even sent me some free candy cigarettes, with the following note:
Thank you, Offbeat Treats. I did indeed enjoy my feer smoks.