A Christmas tree in a small apartment


When we first moved into this apartment, I knew right away that there would be no room for a Christmas tree anywhere. But seeing as we moved in August, I pushed that thought out of my mind for a while.

But then November rolled around, and I had to think and get creative. I knew I wanted a “tree” no ifs, ands or buts. I googled, “Christmas tree for small spaces” and my dilemma was answered.

Thankfully there were plenty of people before me who had the same problem, and came up with a wall Christmas tree. There are many different varieties, but I went with garland.

It was a little bit trial and error to get the trees (I did two!) to stay up on the wall, but I am happy with the results!





HEB Thanksgiving Day Parade


A few weeks ago, I found out that there was a Thanksgiving Day parade in Houston. Well I made up my mind right then and there to go, because how does does that sound? I suppose I didn’t ever stop and think that there might be other parades out there other than the famed Macy’s parade in NYC. I’ve never been there, and it always seemed to crazy to try to attempt to go, so the one in Houston definitely seemed more doable.

Plus, I’m trying extra hard to get into the Christmas spirit this year (drowning myself in tv specials and movies glaore) because well, it sure doesn’t feel like Christmas when it is in the 70s! So a Thanksgiving parade seemed like just the ticket.

It was in downtown, so I had to get up at the crack of dawn and take the metro in. I only had to walk a few blocks over where I was joined with the crowds. At around 7 a.m. there were lots of people around the parade route, but still plenty of front row curb seating. The parade started at 9 a.m. and by that time the crowds were 10 rows deep in some places!

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I was very happy to see a turkey float. It’s not “Tom the Turkey” from Macy’s but he looks pretty close!

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The parade marshals were Simone Manuel and Simone Biles, the two Olympians from Houston!

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There were quite a few balloons!

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I made sure to cheer extra loud when the UH float came by!

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My favorite part of the parade was seeing the Budweiser horses. I saw them once a long time ago in SeaWorld as a kid.

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Overall it was a great parade! I would recommend it to anyone in the area! It’s a good way to kick off the holiday season. I got home after the parade and got to watch the second airing of the Macy’s parade so it was a great day!


Differences part 4


Driving – I’m a much different driver here than I was in Pennsylvania. I am more alert, and more careful yet more aggressive at the same time. Driving around, you see SO many cars that are dented. People must get into a lot of accidents around here due to the sheer volume of cars. I now think nothing of putting my turn signal on and crossing over three lanes of traffic. If you have an opening, don’t hesitate, you just go for it. And if you don’t stick the nose of your car out in the other lane, the other cars won’t let you through. I go through a mini panic attack every time I need to get over to my exit lane. I have to pay attention at all times because there are plenty of people who cut me off without a turn signal. It is what it is here.

States around us – Even though I’ve adjusted at this point and I know we live in Houston, which is a shock in itself, sometimes I totally forget we are in the state of Texas. My whole life I lived on the east coast, so sometimes it hits me when I realize we’re on the gulf coast instead. The other day I was in a shopping plaza parking lot, and I saw some license plates for other states, like Oklahoma and New Mexico. Seeing those made me had one of those moments. I am so used to seeing plates for New York, New Jersey and Maryland instead. It is interesting to think and realize all the different things and places that we are nearby now.

Airplanes – Our closest airport was Elmira/Corning, and it was TINY. I don’t think any of the flight paths went over Tioga County, because in all my years there, I never saw airplanes. Growing up near Philadelphia, I suppose that was something I just got used to and didn’t realize that they wouldn’t always be there. Now we’re even closer to a major airport, and I’m back to seeing airplanes all the time. They are so low in the sky, being close to the airport! You can even usually tell what kind of flight it is. I always tilt my head back to get a good look at one. They are pretty cool, if you think about it.

Thermostat: In Wellsboro, we had two settings. Heat on, heat off. It was as simple as that! We didn’t have AC, and in the winter, it pretty much stayed consistent at 68 during the day, 62 at night. There were a few weeks in October where we would wake up to the house being in the 50’s but we stuck it out because we felt it was too early to turn the heat on! Here, we are finding that we have to change the thermostat every month! When we first arrived in August, we kept the thermostat to 77. Then little by little, we lowered it. 76, 75, 74, and now we’re at 73. It has still been too hot for us at night (we like sleeping colder) and we’ve only just reached the point where we can program the thermostat lower overnight. In fact, Derek shut off the air entirely, and when we woke up this morning, it was 66 degrees. Chilly, but doable. But of course in a few weeks that will probably have to change again! Too bad that you can only program a thermostat by weeks and not by months at a time!

Links to other difference posts:






Holocaust Museum



Last week I went to the Holocaust Museum. It is much smaller than the one in Washington D.C., but no less powerful. They had quite the collection of interesting artifacts.

I was not able to take photos within the exhibits, but I took notes of the things that I found to be interesting, or moving:

A German passport stamped with a big “J” to identify the person as Jewish,

A baby spoon with a Swastika engraved in it,

Propaganda books for children. There was a photo with a caption that read, “He who fights against the Jews wrestles with the devil,”

Cobble stones from the Warsaw, Poland ghetto,

A deportation notice from a Benjamin Wassermann, donated to the museum from Wassermann himself, (Could you imagine holding on to that all those years?)

A Zyklon B gas canister that was used at Auschwitz, (Zyklon B is what was used in the gas chambers)

And perhaps most moving of all, was the soil from camps in the memorial room, with the inscription “The soil from these six concentration and extermination camps contains the ashes of those who perished in the Holocaust.”

One thing that will probably stay with me for the rest of my life is an image taken by one of the liberators at the Buchenwald concentration camp: It was a photo of the crematorium, and you could see rib cage bones still intact among the ashes.

Outside, there was a rail car like one of the ones that would have transported the Jews to the camps, and a Danish fishing boat like the ones that helped the Jews escape to neutral Sweden.

I am interested in the Holocaust, so I am always trying to learn about it. After being to the Holocaust Museum in D.C. three times, I have to admit that I expected to not learn anything new. I was wrong though. One thing that I found particularly interesting was that college students at the University of Munich formed a resistance group called The White Rose. The leaders of the group were executed. I’m really glad to live in a world today where we have the freedom to protest.










George Ranch Historical Park


I love history. And I love photography. I discovered a place where I could combine my love of both: The George Ranch Historical Park.

The GRHP is 26 miles southwest of Houston, perfect for a day trip. The park features four homes belonging to four generations of one Texan family, ranging from the 1830s to the 1940s. It is a whole lot of history packed into one area!

The first home is an 1830s cabin. The second home is an 1860s home with a chuckwagon set up outside. The third house is an expansive Victorian 1890s home (with a second sharecropper home off to the side.) The last home is from the 1940s. At each home, a costumed person takes you through the rooms of the house and explains what life would have been like for the family back then. Extras included a working blacksmith shop and cattle demonstrations. There was so much to look at! The park really outdid themselves in the details.

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