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Friday, November 12, 2010

My Town Friday Shoot-out / overhead

SAM_3043I am still in Houston.  That is Houston!, Texas! and to write about overhead, over my head, above my head or looking up, I have to mention the Texas sky.  Today driving home, mid-afternoon, it was cloudy and trying to rain.  But as I sat at a stop light looking around, above my head, and I thought, in Texas from the ground it seems you are in a flat bottomed pie pan covered with a huge dome.  On a clear day you can stand in the center of the pan, make a 360* turn and see only deep blue SKY.DSC_7340

In Rio, the sky is limited by the width of the street and the tall trees that line them.  Even in Friburgo, as beautiful as the view can be, the sky is limited. In Arizona, the sky is the same deep blue but with its tall mountains it is a tall sided bowl covered with with what appears to be a flat blue lid.

SAM_3057Here in Houston, especially out here in west Houston, the high dome of the sky sits low on a fuzzy haired, fringe of tree tops.  So high is the dome that even large birds are dwarfed.  Man and his impact in this world seems dwarfed.  No matter the time of day, or the weather the view from your point on earth is dominated by the sky. 




SAM_3070  As I took Marissa to volley ball practice this week, every evening had a glorious sunset just to emphasized my thoughts that the sky dominates our days here in Texas. 

Monday, November 08, 2010

Houston Parks

I love walking and taking photos.  While in Houston I usually buy a temporary gym membership and this time is no exception, but walking out of doors (with my camera) is my exercise of preference.  I don’t think I realized in the 30 years that I lived here that this area, Houston and its surrounding counties, has so many parks.  I used a few of the larger ones when I live here; Herman park that houses the Zoo, Museum of Natural science and the rose garden and is right beside the Medical center where I used to work (jeez – 20 years ago), Memorial Park just west of downtown – a good place to stop off after work for a quick 3 mile walk around after a long day in the office and Bear Creek Park in far west Houston where in my single years (pre-Camillo) I played women’s soccer every Sunday.   Only since I have been coming back to ‘visit’ from Brasil have I started hunting smaller, close to Missouri City Parks and find myself pleasantly surprised. 

SAM_3040Last spring while here I walked in the Brazos Bend State park.  If you didn’t follow my ‘Walking with Alligators’ posts then check the link to catch up on that park area.  I also have posted about ‘Kitty Hollow’ here in Missouri city and need to go back to see how it looks one year later.  On my walk yesterday morning I thought that in the next few weeks, maybe, I could find a few more small, secret parks that the locals enjoy, taking the opportunity to feel more connected and knowledgeable about this specific area. 

Yesterday I walked in the Oyster Creek Park of Sugarland.  Like Memorial and Bear Creek parks, Oyster Creek has walking / bike trails and soccer fields.  With this action all around you don’t get the feeling of being out in nature, but you do feel that you are an area important to the community.  There seems to be 3 interlocking walkways each covering about 2 miles.  There is a small pond with fountains and dark water creeks wind along side the path.  There are the requisite warning signs posted to give way to the alligators.  I suppose that all these creeks and ponds connect and if one has an alligator then they all have alligators.  

SAM_3030Along with the soccer players, there were families with little children, middle aged adults meandering or running, a few walking their dogs, and one young woman walking her grandmother (seeing this made me feel – well happy - that a young, modern women would take the time to slowly walk her grandmother along a half mile or so of nature walkway – dare I think that there is hope for us all)


Thank you for letting my take my photos.  Your Grandmother is beautiful – AND you are too.

SAM_3037My only complaint, if I have to make a complaint is that this park is along the creek but also under the electrical grid.  There are acres and acres of grass land, all neatly mowed and easily accessed, but those walking their dogs had allowed the dogs to ‘do their business’ right on, in the middle of the path.  The walking, jogging, biking path, where children play and elderly women are walked by their families, how can you be a nature lover, an animal lover, a member of a community and not help keep this area beautiful by picking up after your dog, or in the very least walk them up the hill and away from the path until they have done their thing….?   Does the government have to say, ‘keep pets on a leash’ as well as ‘clean up after them’  before these dog lovers behave properly…..?  EEK! makes me so mad I could spit. 

Okay I will go back out and walk another path to calm myself down again. 

Sunday, November 07, 2010

A Brief Celebration – to mark the landmarks

On Friday sometime during the day I passed a blogging landmark.  22,222 visits.  When I opened the blog on Friday morning I saw 22,212 and thought - I have to pay attention, maybe I can see who is the 10th visitor today - but by the time I’d run around all morning and reopened Flowers in the afternoon it was already logging @ 22,235.  As most DSC00102landmarks do these days it just slipped by unappreciated and uncelebrated.  So now I will say in the Texas tradition, “yeah, yippee – yi – yo – kayah” (song sung by Bing Crosby)
I have been in the USA just a few days short of a month.  I’ve seen my mother, had my eyes examined and new glasses are ordered.  I have offered on a new townhome and am in the process of negotiating the cost of the items that are listed on the inspection and am building a budget for the upgrades I will want to do.  I had a very pleasant lunch with my stock fund manager and arranged for the cash I need for the townhome, and this next week I look forward to going into the office a few days and working a bit – it wont be much just filling in at the front – but its with people and I will enjoy that beyond measure.   
Actually this next week will give me a taste of the schedule that an average working mother goes through here in the states.  Patty is taking a 3 day trip out of town and I will get to make sure Marissa’s volleyball practices and other activities are monitored and transportation made available.  The days will be long and happily full.
Also since being here I have gone on a couple of walks in the local parks.  Two different ones that are pretty close to me. (no walking with alligators adventures so far this visit)   I have found 4 different small parks with hike and bike trails where I can get a good 45 minute walk but I will talk in the next couple of days  about just these two.  Great little spaces for the local residents.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Being gNarly in Houston;

All this week I have been driving around saying, “fence, tree, branch, flowers, dry grass, road signs, motor bikes, freeway, overpass, ‘fall festival’ ….  never a ‘N’ noun to be found” in Houston.   So I say to my granddaughter, Marissa, (M was much easier) look for ‘Ns’. 
Ns, I need ‘N’ words in Houston for the FSO.
She quickly rattles off, “Necessary, nada, name, negate, nocturnal, notions, nameless, NO Nouns; don’t see any ‘N’ nouns.” (She is a straight A student and quicker on her feet than Grams)
NEARLY desperate, I go once more through my limited photo folders on the laptop – nada, nothing, zip.  (no photo archives on this laptop just misc. folders that I have been too distracted to move to the external drive.)  Back to the HOUSTON folder from my trip here last March-April.  I see a photo and the word ‘NARLY'’ pops out of my mouth ….. to the internet, Google …  define ‘NARLY’  “you mean gnarled?”   okay gnarled – that’s close isn’t it?  It sounds like an “N” word and gNarled is defined as, “used of old persons or old trees; covered with kNobs or kNots; "gNarled and kNotted hands"; "a kNobbed stick".  Yeah! I can participate this week without driving to NASA or to the Natural History Museum. YEAH!!
So here we are “gNarled from Houston.”
(now that I look closer that could be my arm with its new old age wrinkles and bumps, ick!)
Have a great week.