at home, Houston

This Is Houston

Every Houston winter is different, and this one has been no exception.  The first few weeks of 2018 have been colder than usual and mostly gray causing me to stay inside  and focus more on preparing comfort food.

Sadly, there were just enough below freezing temperatures to do considerable damage to yards not designed to tolerate the cold.  Now, much of what is in my yard is cut back to the ground waiting for sunshine and warm weather to bring it back.

As I walked around, I noticed little hints of green that promise regrowth.

Weather here can turn on a dime and today is warm and sunny, perfect for a trip to the nursery to gather a few things for repotting.

For the next few months snapdragons, gerbera daisies and ornamental cabbage will add color to the patio and brighten the gray days that are still to come.

With the planting done, it was a treat to sit on the porch for some leisurely moments enjoying a simple lunch and reading.

Days like this are what make Houston a most pleasant place to be, and I look forward to each one between now and the time we return to Maine’s beauty.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Houston

Inside Space Center Houston

level9_newmc_thumb-300x300If you know nothing else about Houston, it’s likely you know that it’s home to Mission Control for NASA’s space program and the training center for astronauts.  Located here in 1961, NASA continues to be an important part of what goes on in Houston.

In 1992, Space Center Houston opened and has become one of the leading attractions in the city hosting more than 1,000,000 visitors each year.  I had not visited in some time and thought it time to go.  What an absolutely fascinating place it is.

IMG_20170327_133734Exhibited there are spacecraft flown on three missions, Mercury 9, Gemini 5 and Apollo 17.  As I looked at the early capsules, I had a whole new appreciation for the early astronauts who were confined to very small spaces.  Having a tendency toward claustrophobia, I couldn’t begin to imagine myself shut in for more than a few minutes!

IMG_20170327_133836Nor could I imagine floating in space tethered to a capsule.  I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen in case of separation.

00000IMG_00000_BURST20170327133709_COVERAnyone around in 1969 remembers man’s first landing on the moon and Neil Armstrong’s defining the experience as one  small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.  It gives me chills just to remember the moment.

IMG_20170327_133920Displayed are the Lunar Rover and many artifacts associated with moon landings.

IMG_20170327_135236Especially fascinating are the mockups for the space station.

IMG_20170327_135202The fact that it is home for months means it has to have conveniences that would allow the travelers to maintain a life as normal as possible.

IMG_20170327_135036Floating weightless is yet another concept I can’t imagine.

Mars is the next big challenge for NASA, and there is a fascinating virtual reality presentation that allows visitors to experience the landscape.  It is expected to take around seven months to get there and it’s not a turn around since return depends on the astronomical position of the earth and Mars.  I was fascinated to read that some experimental gardening will take place while astronauts wait for the return trip.  Can you imagine eating strawberries cultivated on Mars?

This is a bird’s eye view of what is on view at Space Center Houston which is well worth a look should you visit here.  As time passes I plan to show you some other venues that make Houston a most interesting place.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

musings

Thinking Back & Ahead

As 2017 draws to an end, like many of you I’m reliving some of the past months and thinking ahead to what the next year will bring.

IMG_8569January and February are blurs as most of that time was spent laid up thanks to surgery to rebuild a heel bone and reattach an Achilles tendon.  To say the least, I’m glad that’s behind me and grateful for that being the worst health issue I’ve had.

IMG_8633Getting out was a treat even though it often meant scooting around rather than walking.

By March I was back in the kitchen experimenting with new food ideas and challenging myself to spend some of the down time working on food photography.

Having a bit more mobility in April allowed me to take advantage of exhibits at The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where Ron Mueck’s life like sculptures were both intriguing and a tad scary.

By the end of May, we were on the road to Maine making stops in Savannah and South Carolina to explore the low country and binge on yummy food.

Arriving in Maine, the first order of business was to replace the water facing porch, the maintenance for which had eaten the hubby’s lunch over the years.  What an improvement and hubby will be ever so happy next year when all he has to do is put the furniture out!

Pipe DreamsAfter a month of projects, it was time in July to do what we like best: explore Maine’s coast and islands on Pipe Dreams.

August was family time, and it makes my heart sing to see how much the grandkids enjoy the magic of Maine.

foggy dayMuch of September was shrouded in fog which limited boating but provided good excuse to discover what else Maine has to offer.

In October, we journeyed to the Moosehead Lake region where we enjoyed natural beauty and stumbled upon a memorial that introduced us to a tragic event about which we knew nothing.

img_0004A dream came true in November when girlfriends traveled together in India.  Bus rides got to be a bit much, but the adventure was one that more than met expectations and provided us with memories to share.

IMG_0090Though we had expected to end 2017 in Maine, winter got the best of us and we returned to Houston to celebrate the coming of a new year with long time friends.

As with every other year, there will be bumps in the road in 2018, but for all of us I hope for good health and well being and light on those days when things don’t look too bright.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

nature, Random

It’s Over!

Office View HoustonThe rain has stopped and this morning Houstonians woke to a clear sky for the first time in several days.  Some, however, also woke to the reality of loss.  I can’t imagine how that  feels.   What I do know is that people in this fourth largest US city will come together.  Neighbors will help neighbors and strangers will open their hearts and offer helping hands to those in need because  Houston’s heart is as big as all of Texas.

Among many, some of the city’s professional athletes have come forward with their money and energy to begin the business of restoration.  Houston Texan JJ Watt first gave his own dollars and then proceeded to raise more than $6 million.  He hasn’t quit as he is aware that much more will be needed to return Houston and its displaced residents to pre flood condition.

These last days have been hard for the hubby and me as we sit some 2,000 miles away worrying about family and friends.  Not all were unscathed, but we and our family are blessed to have experienced no damage.  I am deeply grateful to all of you who have reached out inquiring about our situation and expressing your concern for Houston.  

It will take a while, but all will be well in time.  I hope the same is true for the other areas where Harvey has caused such havoc.

musings

Over and Done!

Christmas is over and done, and I have to confess to that being a relief.  In the days leading up to the holiday, I have to fight off being blue.

FamilyIt makes me sad that our small family,  which now includes sons-in-law and grandchildren, is rarely all together during the holiday season.

9780740784323_p0_v1_s192x300I miss reading The Night Before Christmas to kids

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand leaving cookies and milk for Santa.

I experience sadness remembering the people who are part of Christmases past and wish that I weren’t the only member of my original family still here.

But enough of that.   Today is a new day and with it the blues disappear.

HoustonI will enjoy time in Houston while awaiting the return to Maine

Roque Island, Mainewhere there is boating, exploring islands and spending time with family and friends.

lobsterWithout question I will eat more lobster!

Most of all, I plan to live each day to the fullest, to be grateful for what good health allows me to do, and to give lots of hugs!  That should get me through the months until next Christmas when I’ll probably again feel a little blue.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Houston

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

Antiques, Decorating, Home Decor, Houston

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