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Thursday, June 28, 2012

One photo worth a thousand words…

Today from Houston, TXDSC_2573 crop

life on the local pond

Monday, June 25, 2012

Visiting Houston

I can’t believe that three weeks of my month at Patty’s in Houston are already gone.  One more week here, and two weeks at Camillo’s son’s which will include 4 days in Michigan celebrating my Mother’s 90th birthday.  That celebration will include over 40 family and family friends and should be a great time. 

Nothing makes time seem to go by so fast as having a list of things to do each day.  There have been hours at 005the gym with Marissa, taking Maris to her driver’s training course and to a couple volleyball workshops (is that what they are called?), an annual eye exam, annual well woman’s exam, lab test, bone density tests, grocery shopping (Yea!), lunch downtown with the girls, taking the camera in for cleaning, dinner at a friends home on Sunday, and, of course, shopping shopping.  Yes time has flown. 

032Shopping with Marissa is usually great fun, I don’t buy (much) and am forced to look at all the new styles and fabrics.  The summer styles this year are made up of ‘way to short’ shorts and crop tops.  You know I still think of Marissa as a little girl even though she is 16 going on 17 and getting ready to be responsible for driving a car.  So Short shorts and belly displaying tops make me nervous.   I look at her and feel shock that she is growing up so fast.  Maybe this is a direct result of being away from her so many months between visits. 

Sorry cloths and shopping…  we were in the Galleria last week for my haircut and by parking  at the opposite end from the hairdressers it was necessary to walk the mall and go in and out of all the stores having sales.  We walked into this store and Maris says, ‘I feel like I’ve just come home!’….  ThankGod they didn’t have the size she needed in the shorts she liked, we walked away empty handed but (I) had a great time looking, soaking up the space and trying on cloths.

The whole time here the temperatures have been in the high 90s.  This week it is to reach into the 100s.  Humidity has been high.  Scattered, very heavy rains happening nearly every other day.  This weather is not conducive to walks with the camera so I have no new photos and have not participated in the FMTSO for several weeks, and wont this next week either for that matter.  My second favorite thing to do while in Houston, maybe that should be third favorite because just hanging out with Patty and Marissa is number one, then walking with the camera is two and three is to go out Latin dancing.  I have only gone out two times, both to rather disappointing places so no real dancing opportunities.  In other words I feel like I need more time here.  I will need to make the most of my next, last week visiting Houston.



Saturday, June 09, 2012

A walk inside.

SAM_0092I have in the past written about how (now that I have been in Brasil for 10 years and even though the city of Rio, the city proper not metro area, has a population of upward of 7 million, making it just over 3 times the size of Houston proper) everything in Houston just looks and feels BIGGER.  In Rio the first half of this year, I have had several up close and personal visits to 3 or 4 different hospitals in the city; seeing for myself a few of Rio’s hospitals and making the inevitable comparison with the Houston medical system.    Now before anyone goes crazy saying, ‘but Rio, Brasil is not the USA’  I know – I really do know - but my point still holds true, that Rio is a large enough city with enough people to warrant large rambling hospitals and it is in Houston where you find them and Rio is were you find small, clean, well staffed but terribly overcrowded hospitals.  While getting the population numbers above from Wikipedia, I also noted that the area of Rio proper to contain the 7 million is over 700 sq. miles and Houston with its 2.1 million is under 450 sq.  or less than two times the area with 3 times the population / population stacked on population just like in their hospitals. 

The picture above is a small confortable private hospital just below the Christ and surrounded by slums.  It had about 50 parking slots and as you can see is only 3 stories tall.

030Now about just one of Houston’s hospitals:   Back in the mid 70s when the X and I first arrived in Houston, we lived just a few blocks from the Memorial City area which was at the time a small shopping center and an even smaller hospital separated by a two lane street (Gesner).  Now Memorial Hospital is owned and operated by the Memorial Herman Hospital Care System with 12 hospitals in the Houston area.  The memorial city hospital is connected to the shopping center by a 035skywalk, has its own high end hotel, four 5 or 6 story doctor office plazas, five story parking lots for each of theses buildings and they are all connected, one to the other, by covered walkways.   This last week I was in the complex for my annual eye exam and I decided to park at the mall and walk through the complex to my appointment on the other side.  There were maps, I saw 4 but there were likely more, that showed where you were standing and you could clearly see how to get where you were going.  I still had to ask directions once, with steady walking and some exploring to take photos it took me about 40 minutes one end to the other.  Once I found the office were I needed to go, I back tracked and had lunch in a very nice cafeteria.  Fresh salad bar and a bottled water for $6.00.   (In the Rio hospital posted above there was no place to eat inside the hospital)

037My expectation was of large areas, well appointed seating and good lighting.  I found all of this.  There were also high ceilings, handrails in all walkways and security guards at most junctions.  And the feeling of BIG.  What I didn’t find was signs of patients.  Long empty hallways, clean and shiny and wide, but no patients.  Nothing like big carts of cleaning supplies, or food trays or noise and confusion.  Quiet, clean and restful and perhaps too sterile .   A great place to be sick.