Texas Contemporary Art Fair

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Last night, Derek and I attended the Texas Contemporary Art Fair in downtown Houston at the George R. Brown Convention Center.

Derek got free passes through his first year seminar class. The passes were good starting at 8 p.m. and we got to downtown a bit early. We walked to Discovery Green park which is across the street from the convention center, and we had a light bite to eat, and we enjoyed a band playing on the nearby stage. It was a nice way to start the night!

The Art Fair had a large number of exhibitors and featured a wide range of mediums such as paint, paper, clay, metal, wood, etc.

It was really neat to see so many nice works of art, and well, a lot of the pieces were just cool to look at and try to decipher.

It is great for Derek to be getting an art degree in a city where there is so much art!

Here are some pictures of some of my favorite pieces.

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NFL Broadcast

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I love football. I am a third generation NY Giants fan. I have bled blue from birth. In fact, I was born during the first game of the season, Sept 5. My mom had the game on the TV in her room, and she says it made it an easy labor. She was screaming more at the TV than she was at the labor pains. The Giants were playing against the Redskins that night, and the Giants won. A fan was born.

I had the Giants vs. Cowboys game on two weekends ago. During the half-time show, I noticed that they were broadcasting from Discovery Green in Houston. My jaw dropped. For an agonizing few minutes, I went back and forth in my head deciding to go to Discovery Green or not on a whim. It was an easy decision, really.

When we arrived, the men hosting NFL FOX Sunday were in their private trailers, but the game was on two large screens on either side of the stage. Surrounded by a bunch of Cowboys fans, we watched as the Giants won the game in the last second. Way more fun than if I had just been on my couch by myself!

And then the game ended, and we watched the guys file into their seats. Michael Strahan, Howie Long, Jimmy Johnson, Terry Bradshaw and Curt Menefee. Men that I’ve basically grown up watching every weekend.

I was so utterly excited to see Michael Strahan, being a Giants fan of course.

The broadcast only lasted for a few minutes. The guys turned around and waved to the crowd, and I got some great pictures. Only a few minutes, but a day I will never forget!

The reason why NFL FOX Sunday broadcasted from Houston during the opening week of football is because Houston is hosting the Super Bowl this year. Months ago I created a Texas bucket list. One of the items on the list was “Attend a Super Bowl event.” I can technically cross this off the list now.

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Differences between house and apartment complex

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Derek and I have been taking note of the differences between living in an apartment complex and living in a house.

The good: When we first moved in, we had some minor issues like a leaky dishwasher, and needing new insulation by the front door. It is so nice to let maintenance know and to have them come and fix it for you, no charge for us.

Our complex has a pool and a small exercise room. I have used the pool a few times already. Will probably go on a treadmill or bike machine soon. It is nice to have these amenities for our use.

The bad: We’re not used to having to go to the row of mail boxes by the front office to get our mail. Sometimes it’s two, three days before we remember to get the mail. Also, packages and things that need to be signed for don’t get delivered directly to our door, so if it is a heavy package, we have to carry it back, or we have to go to the post office since the item couldn’t be signed for.

We are learning to tread lightly. We aren’t sure what can and can’t be heard. When we accidentally drop something on the floor, the downstairs neighbor probably hears it. Whoops. The other night, Derek started hammering something for an art project at 10 at night. I said, “what are you doing????” It seems he had temporarily forgotten about our situation, so he got a book out to place on top of the table and muffle the sound of the hammering.  Things like the volume of the TV and our music matter now.

The ugly: Continuing what I listed in “The bad,” the walls aren’t exactly thick around here. Our next door neighbor plays music often (at least it’s not in the middle of the night so far) and you can hear the front doors slamming shut all the time. Yes, I said slamming. I’m not sure what our neighbor’s door did to her to deserve such treatment! The front doors are only a few feet away from each other, so every time someone knocks on her door, we think it is someone at our door.  However, this being the worst thing about living here isn’t too bad considering that when we owned the house, our next door neighbors then worked on demolition derby cars each summer. The clanking around in the garage and driveway was AWFUL.

We have a year lease here. When the year is almost up, we will reevaluate. We could stay here, or find some place else that may be more accommodating.

What are your experiences with apartment living? Good or bad?

Our apartment

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In Wellsboro we had a three bedroom, two bathroom house. Just for sake of affordability, we knew that we would have to downsize to a one bedroom, one bathroom apartment, at least for the first year that we are here.

So, officially, we downsized from 1,836 square feet to 602 square feet. It’s really not that bad when you think about it, because our house had a large dining room that was empty, and the kitchen and the living room were over sized. Plus there was that extra bedroom that was never used except for when someone spent the night.

Our apartment makes efficient use of what little space it has. The rooms that don’t really matter, like the dining nook, the kitchen, and the bathroom, are tiny, so the livable spaces like the living room and bedroom are larger.

I can handle only having one bathroom, but in the future I definitely want to have two bedrooms, just for the sake of having an extra closet and a place to shove all your extra stuff!

It is tough having so much stuff and not very many places to put it. Sure, our walk-in closet is huge, but when you put your clothes in, that fills up most of the space. So we’ve gotten clever, and we’ve hidden things behind doors and behind and underneath the bed. So that second bedroom would be helpful.

If there is one thing I could change right now about the apartment, it would be the cabinet space in the kitchen. There wasn’t a drawer wide enough to put our silverware in, so we had to buy a holder to put on the counter top. All of the dishes are stacked up on top of one another, so just one more cabinet or drawer would help.

But we’ll survive. We got everything we wanted to reasonably fit inside, and nothing important was left behind in Pennsylvania.

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Buffalo Bayou Park

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I love being outdoors. I was afraid that I might possibly feel claustrophobic in a big city like Houston, but no worries, there are plenty of green spots to explore.

Having already explored Hermann Park, we now set our sights upon Buffalo Bayou Park, which is a large park near downtown.

We only explored half of it. It is a long narrow park, and we parked our car in about the halfway point, and walked towards downtown. We will have to explore the other half some other time.

There was lots to see, and I am sure that we only saw a fraction of it. There were so many different paths to take. In our approximately two mile hike we saw many different statues, different little gardens and some ponds filled with turtles and ducks. All the while the Buffalo Bayou winds along the paths (hence the name of the park.)

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Sandcastle competition

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A few weeks ago we went to Galveston for the AIA Sandcastle Competition. A day at the beach, plus a chance to see some really cool sandcastle sculptures!

Fate was on our side because the competition was supposed to be in June, but it was postponed because of bad weather. It was nice to be able to go in August, before Derek started school. Also, the forecast for the postponed date was looking just as bad, but that Saturday ended up being a beautiful day!

Here are some pictures from the event.

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Birthday at Coco

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A few weeks ago, while browsing the internet, I found a restaurant in Houston called Coco. They specialize in crepes and waffles. I checked out their menu, and wow, I found multiple crepes that I wanted to try. That is a big deal because I am such a picky eater!

I thought it sounded like a nice new place to try for my birthday. So we went earlier this week. It did not disappoint! It was a good testament to the restaurant that there was a steady stream of people in to eat.

Coco has both savory and sweet crepes. I tried a savory Mediterranean (tomatoes, olives, greens and feta) and Derek tried the sweet Banana and Cinnamon Apples kind.

I should also mention that they also have a good selection of coffee, tea and smoothies. Ever since Wired Rooster closed down in Wellsboro, I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect chai latte. Most places just make it too sweet with no hint of spice to be found. I am happy to say that Coco is a winner!

This will definitely be our favorite place to eat here!

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