home, Random

Transitioning

If you’ve followed along for a while, you know that my life is split between Maine and Houston.  I enjoy both places, but transitioning into Houston does have its challenges.

West UThere are some highlights, including coming home to the house I love.  

Houston houseThe first few minutes are spent wandering from room to room reacquainting myself with each one.

tablescape/barEven before bags are unpacked, I go to buy foodstuffs.  Now, that is one of the joys of being in Houston.  Costco and Trader Joe’s are just a few minutes away as well as a grocery store that has everything and then some.  Between the three the pantry is well stocked and bunches of flowers make it seem like home.

Office View HoustonNow for the hard part. Compared to Rockport, Houston is a behemoth!  What that means is traffic, lots of it.  Already I’ve had to do some freeway driving and after traveling mostly two lane roads for the last few months, six lanes of cars moving at fast speeds is a trifle scary.

Houston has been home for many years, and I do have good friends here that I am anxious to see.  I appreciate the amenities this big city offers, but I miss the simple life and the natural beauty in Maine.  Heck, I even miss shopping at TJ Maxx!

Rockport HarborI especially miss opening my eyes every morning and looking out to see how Rockport Harbor is welcoming the day.  Here, when I turn my head all I see is the wooden fence that separates us from the neighbors.  

Oh well, it’s a good life and I am very grateful for all that each place affords.

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

Houston

This Is Houston

For the next 3 weeks western attire will be the norm in Houston as it’s rodeo time.  I have to confess that I don’t own a single piece of western style clothing so I don’t quite fit the look.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo is a really big deal featuring big name entertainers and raising lots of money for scholarships awarded to young people.

I don’t know how many people go to the rodeo, but when I tell you it’s mass humanity both on the grounds and in the stadium, believe it.  This is not a great thing for one who does not like crowds!

As much as the entertainment, I totally enjoy the events.  Bronco and bull riding take a lot more courage than I could muster up.

barrelracing  Not being a gal who has ever enjoyed horseback riding, I have great admiration for these gals who showcase their skills in the barrel race.

Chuck wagon races are just plain fun and get the crowd cheering .

The calf scramble is madness with kids doing everything they can to get a calf tied down. The calves are not always real cooperative.

With the rodeo events over for the night, the lights go down and quick as a wink the stadium is transformed into an entertainment venue, this night featuring Garth Brooks, a real favorite among country and western music fans.  I have to say he is quite the entertainer feeding off the crowd energy and giving it his all.

I don’t know how late into the night things go, but as we left there was a little two steppin’ going on 

and the amusement park was still in full swing.

You know, this is Texas.  It’s just kinda surprising that it happens in Houston!

i so appreciate your visit and the comments you leave behind

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