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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