Aunt Susie’s visit

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Aunt Susie came to visit for three days. It was a short visit, yes, but we crammed a ton of activities into those three days! We both had a lot of fun, and it came at the right time. It felt good to take a short break and forgot about other things currently going on. It was great because, while I took her to a bunch of things that I was familiar with, I also got to see and do some new things myself too.

On the first day I took Aunt Susie to Cavenders, which is a family owned boot and western wear store. She bought a shirt, and I cried over every pair of boots that I can’t afford, haha. Christmas is coming…

Then we went to the Arboretum, and I took her to the meadow trail to see the swamp sunflowers that were still in bloom.

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After the Arboretum, we went to Downtown and I showed her Discovery Green. I was excited to see The Color Condition, which is the latest art installation.

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Day two was the beach. A drive to Galveston is not complete with a stop at Buc-ees! She loved it. She bought a Buc-ee Bever keychain, a shirt and pajama shorts.

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It was great beach weather. A little chilly in the morning, so we had sweatshirts on, but the afternoon was perfect. We basically had the beach to ourselves for the first few hours, but then more people came by lunch time. We found a dead jellyfish on the beach. I had never seen one before.

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We had lunch at a place called Fish Tales, which is right across the street from the pier. The restaurant had a great outdoor patio on the second floor. I got the shrimp po boy sandwich and it was huge! Will probably eat there again.

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We checked out Murdochs, which is an old gift shop that is right over the water. They had a little bit of everything inside. Aunt Susie bought a shirt for Uncle Paul there. They also have their own bar, where you can get drinks and snacks, and a patio for you to enjoy them on. They sure do know how to bring in business!

We walked around the Hotel Galvez for a bit. It is a beautiful hotel, but supposedly haunted. Apparently it used to be an orphan’s asylum, but most of the children died in the 1900 hurricane. Spooky.

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From Hotel Galvez we took the motorized trolley to the Strand for some shopping. The island is currently working on getting the train trolleys up and running for next summer, but have the motorized ones in the mean time. It costs $1 to ride it each way, which I think is a good deal, instead of having to move the car and pay more in a lot.

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Our last day was the Houston Zoo and Hermann Park. Some of the highlights of the zoo were getting to see some of the big cats up close, and Aunt Susie feeding the giraffes. We took the train ride around Hermann park.

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The fun seemed like it ended all too soon, but she will be back, this time with my parents too, in March. She said she had a great time and a good first impression of Houston and Galveston. She said she wants to move to Galveston now… I would be okay with that!

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Houston Zoo

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Derek and I went to the zoo this week. We had a good day! It is a fairly large zoo, and even with spring break crowds, it didn’t feel all that crowded.

Some photo highlights:

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We really loved the blue feathers on this kookaburra!

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An ocelot.

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Stick bugs! The bug area of the zoo was actually quite fascinating.

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This tiny owl was so cute!

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This chimp has the right idea. Nap often!

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This baby tapir was born in February. Their baby stripes are so cute!

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All of the big cats are my favorite!

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A mother’s love. Awww.

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These cuddling cloud leopards were adorable.

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I was most excited to see Shasta the cougar. He is the mascot for the University of Houston. Some trivia from Wikipedia: “Shasta VI was born in September 2011 in the U.S. state of Washington, and was adopted by the university as a cub. Shasta’s mother was killed in 2011, when a hunter shot her. After a search from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, Shasta VI was rescued, and transported to the Houston Zoo on December 11, 2011. In March 2012, the University of Houston Alumni Association announced that the cub would be adopted. Shasta VI is the first live mascot since 1989.”

 

Differences part 4

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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:

https://texastalesblog.wordpress.com/2016/10/04/differences-part-3/

https://texastalesblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/08/differences-part-2/

https://texastalesblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/25/differences-between-tx-and-pa/

 

 

The Menil Collection

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Last weekend Derek and I spent a Saturday afternoon checking out the Menil Collection, which is the largest private art collection in the gallery.

I was not allowed to take pictures inside the galleries, but photos were allowed in the corridors.

Some highlights of the collection included indigenous people’s art (the masks, carvings and the woven blankets were fascinating) a room dedicated to Pablo Picasso’s drawings, and Andy Warhol paintings.

My favorite Picasso was a series called “The Bull.” In each drawing, the drawing of the bull gets stripped down of the basics.

Here is an article describing The Bull, along with pictures: http://www.artyfactory.com/art_appreciation/animals_in_art/pablo_picasso.htm.

I enjoyed seeing one of Warhol’s famous chicken soup can paintings, and a large bright painting titled “Flowers.”  Check this link to see the series: http://revolverwarholgallery.com/power-behind-andy-warhols-flowers/

My personal favorite was a drawing by Henri Matisse, because I wrote a paper on him last year in school. It is awesome to be able to learn something, and then actually be able to go see it.

Here is a link to that drawing: https://www.menil.org/collection/objects/16662-studies-for-the-spire-of-the-chapelle-rosaire-des-dominicaines-de-vence-etudes-pour-l-aiguille-du-chapelle-du-rosaire-des-dominicaines-de-vence

Some history: Towards the end of Matisse’s life, he helped design a chapel in the south of France. This drawing features sketches of the spire of the chapel.

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An Andy Warhol painting titled “Ice Box.”

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