Texian Market Days

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Texian Market Days is a large living history event that takes place at George Ranch Historical Park, which is about 30 minutes south of Houston. The park follows four generations of a family through 100 years of Texan history, starting with an 1830’s farm, an 1860s home, a 1920’s Victorian home and a 1930’s cattle ranch. Each area had reenactors and demonstrations.

This was one of the first events that I wanted to go to, but was disappointed because of my original work schedule having mid-week days off. Two years later, I finally got to go.

The 1830’s area had Texian (residents of Mexican Texas and, later, the Republic of Texas) and Mexican reenactors. I got to watch some demonstrations of cotton batting, a cannon firing (they did it so differently than what I was used to!) corn husk doll making, and learned about some animal furs. There was a skirmish, but honestly it was not organized well. They told everyone to get behind the fence line, but not everyone did. So the people who followed directions (me included) could not see much. I was disappointed in that.

However, the Civil War skirmish was excellent, and it made up for the first one. They had a neat skit, with the Yankee’s ransacking a southern home. The Confederates won. We are in the South after all. In the Civil War section, there was a sugar cane press demonstrations, a quilting bee, a hospital tent and dance lessons. I enjoyed this area the most of all, obviously, because of my experience as a Civil War reenactor. It felt like home. At the same time though, it felt weird to be on the spectator side of things, listening to information that I mostly already knew about. One of my favorite moments of the day was getting to watch the demonstration on the 1861 parrot rifle, and I ended up getting an amazing photo of the cannon blast.

The park is over some swampy ponds, so you have to cross bridges here and there to get to different areas. I was happily surprised to see my first wild alligator. It only took over two years. (My parents saw one only two minutes into Texas at the welcome center!)

The 1920’s sections featured a temperance movement, a 1890s beekeeper demonstration, blacksmith demonstrations and cowboy camps. I think there might have been more to see at this point but I was petering out fast!

Same goes for the 1930’s cattle ranch area. I was getting tired, but I checked out some WWII camps, some old vehicles, and watched a dancing performance by the Ballet Folklorico Herencia Mexicana de Houston before calling it a day. I had a great time and I’m glad the opportunity finally opened up for me to go.

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Derek at the University of Houston

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I have written all about our day to day life and our little adventures on Texas Tales for two years now, but I realized that I hardly ever mention what Derek is up to at school, which is the number one reason why we moved here in the first place.

Derek is starting his third and final year in the graphic design masters program. I am impatient and I want the year to go by fast, and he is the opposite. He wants it to s-l-o-w down.

This year he will be quite busy. He has to spend the whole year working on a thesis project. He has narrowed down the topic he wants to do the project on, now he just has to just figure out exactly WHAT to do. The third year students will have a thesis show at the end of the school year in the spring.

The University of Houston has provided Derek with some great opportunities, but he has also chased a few opportunities on his own time as well.

Derek has taught two graphic design software classes to undergrads. This opportunity is offered to the best students during their second year of the masters program. He will continue to teach this year as well. In addition, an unexpected teaching opportunity popped up as well. There were some summer openings, so Derek, along with one of his classmates, taught a six-week summer software class.

Derek also was the Teachers Assistant for one of his professors last year, and was set to do that again this year for a print production class. However, this professor was recently named the interim associate dean, which is making her extremely busy. She has trusted Derek enough to let him teach the class on his own! This is perfect, because when Derek was in the workforce (seems like ages ago) his job was in print production! He is excited to get this class started.

Last fall, Derek submitted a pitch for a session at the National College Media Convention in Dallas, and his pitch was picked! We went to Dallas for the weekend and he spoke to college students about typography.

Derek, and one of his classmates, also submitted a research poster for GRaSP (Graduate Research and Scholarship Projects). The event showcases research taking place at UH and is typically a STEM event (science, technology, engineering and math), so it was new for a graphic designer to join. It gave the graphic design program good publicity.  Here is a link to an article about the event:https://www.uh.edu/kgmca/about/news/2017/11-01-grasp-research-posters.php.

He also spent a year working for Gulf Coast Journal, which is a literary magazine that is published on campus. He helped design pages of the magazine. He was specifically recommended for the job, because of his magazine experience, and was able to get class credits for this.

All of this reinforces the idea that moving to Houston was a good thing. Derek hopes to be a professor after graduation. We are hopeful because there are plenty of higher education places in the city.

Exploring Rice University

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There are a ton of higher-ed schools around Houston. Rice University is just a stones throw away from us, right across the street from Hermann Park, which we frequent.

We have always seen the buildings from the roads as we drove past, but never stepped foot on campus until last weekend.

Rice University is a prestigious, private university. Their mascot is the owl. If you look hard enough, you can find owls all over campus.

Their campus was so peaceful, covered with large oak trees and plenty of tables and chairs for relaxing. The architecture was impressive as well. I felt as if I were at an Ivy League school in the northeast, or as someone else put it, Hogwarts.

We also stopped at Rice Coffeehouse, their cafe inside the student union, for some cold drinks. We also saw a French cafe/restaurant on campus called Flo, might have to check that out another time.

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