On Go Texan Day, I’ve no hat, boots, cattle…just jeans and attitude!
Today is Go Texan Day in Houston.
You might not know what that is, if you’re not from ’round these parts.
It’s the official start of the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which is a big deal to many around here. Not being a cowgirl, I haven’t been to the rodeo in years, but you can’t miss Go Texan Day, even in the office environment. Folks wear western garb to show their Lone Star pride, and the 11 trail rides that started around the state some days back all converge on Memorial park later today, where they camp overnight before joining tomorrow’s parade. You really can’t miss them; 3,000 riders on 11 different routes into the city tend to make an impression. That’s the point.
I snapped these photos from my car window as I was coming back to the office from lunch on the Thursday before the rodeo in 2014. I was on the Tomball Parkway access road, and lo and behold, there came the covered wagons behind me! It was the Sam Houston Trail Ride, ten wagons and 75 riders headed into Houston from Magnolia, which is 70 miles from the rodeo destination. Needless to say, I was late getting back to the office, and needless to say, I didn’t mind because the show was worth it. Only in Texas!
And, because I didn’t post a haiku yesterday, missing my one-a-day commitment for February, here’s a repeat of a recent one (before National Haiku Writing Month / NaHaiWriMo) with a similar theme:
Texas Cow Eyes
drop-in visitors on a rainy afternoon gotta love Round Top
The Grill-Meister and I met some friends yesterday at the chili cookoff in tiny Round Top, Texas (population 90 in the 2010 census). It was overcast and gray and didn’t really seem like a good day for an outdoor festival, but we were committed, so we donned sensible shoes for trodding in mud and brought our appetites. It was a wonderful experience!
The chili was great, but the people-watching was even better. I didn’t take enough pictures and none of them will win any awards, but I was struck by the sheer Americana of the scene and had to share it.
We never get any trick-or-treaters in our neighborhood, so this is our whole Halloween celebration, right here, with you, Dear Readers. No candy, no costumes, no curses, no ghouls. Just a couple of photos and a memory.
This is what late afternoons in Southeast Texas look like; the temperature on Sunday when I took this “spooky” photo was just what you’d imagine from the looks of it, a perfect 68°F. Our sole nod to Halloween this year (other than this post) is the Talavera pumpkin on the table – do you see him? For the rest of the year, we turn him around, and he’s just a big, lovely gourd.
And, just because I found it while going through pictures on my Dad’s computer recently, here’s a Halloween postcard from days gone by, circa…1968? I think I was Orphan Annie, but can’t be sure. No one in my family is left but me from those days.
I still remember how scratchy that mask was (why did Orphan Annie need a mask?!!?). My mother made the costume, as she did every year. I felt inadequate years later as a working mom because I bought my son’s costumes and didn’t live up to her standard of handmade Halloween heirlooms.
I now realize that it is being there, listening, and caring about their Halloween experience that makes the difference for a child, not who made the costume.
What are your Halloween observations this year, or memories?
Houston is under water and the rain is still coming down. So many stories are unfolding around us here in Southeast Texas as the floods interfere with every part of every life right now. Here’s one: a major news station, KHOU, flooded earlier today and is off the air.
KHOU moved operations to the second floor when the water started to rise, then had a single field reporter carry their whole broadcast when that began to flood, too. Flooded in ourselves by the creek in our neighborhood, we still have power and cable TV. I was watching KHOU several hours ago as reporter Brandi Smith identified a truck driver who was trapped on a flooded road, summoned a sheriff with a boat, and then covered the rescue. She and photographer Mario Sandoval did an amazing job.
As we hunker down here in Southeast Texas waiting for Hurricane Harvey, previous hurricanes have been on my mind. When you live within striking distance of the Gulf Coast, you have a hurricane story (or four) to share, and I thought this would be a good time to once again post this epic tale of the mass evacuation from Hurricane Rita and how it became the memory of a lifetime for two moms and three small boys.
If you decide to read it – and I hope you do! – be prepared to “sit a spell” (as my grandmother used to say), and maybe grab a coffee or a chardonnay to sip while you put yourself in our shoes.
Ten years after Hurricane Rita, I shared this remembrance of the mass evacuation from Southeast Texas and how it became an adventure. Now it can entertain us while we we to see what Harvey brings.
And watch this space for any new adventures that Harvey may bring as we shelter in place here at Glover Gardens. We are not in the direct path of Harvey’s landfall, but definitely in the big-time after-Harvey flood zone party. That’s us just northwest of the big “H” in Houston below.
Glover Gardens never floods up into the house (“God willing and the creek don’t rise!”), but our pine trees don’t do well with standing water. Just last year with had a bit of a problem with a trees coming down during a flood, and perhaps a tornado (click here for the post, called If a Tree Falls on a House, Does Anyone Hear It?).
We’re all put back together now, and hope that Harvey lets us stay that way! Prayers and good wishes for everyone in his path.
Yay! A new article in Zagat’s online Buzz section waxes poetic about the dining options in our little town here in Southeast Texas:
At first glance, Tomball may seem yet another Houston suburb filled with chain stores and sprawling neighborhoods. But look closer, and the charm of small-town living is evident, particularly in Old Town Tomball. Spend a day perusing antique shops and boutiques, then explore a surprisingly diverse culinary landscape, which includes these hot spots — for quick bites to leisurely fine dining.
I’ll make my confession now: Houston is sprawling, lacking in zoning laws to protect precious historical landmarks, rampant with ugly billboards and freeways that loom like cement spaghetti in the sky – and yet, and yet – it is an amazing, diverse, rich, welcoming, smart, innovative, authentic, unpretentious, surprisingly sophisticated, heritage-laden, open place to live. I love it.
I’ve said before in this blog that I’m just a little girl from a small town in Southeast Texas who is constantly surprised by her life.
Here are some pics from that very small town on the Bolivar Peninsula, which really isn’t a town any more since Hurricane Ike obliterated almost all traces of it in 2008. I couldn’t bear to return to Gilchrist, Texas for several years after the storm, but a recent trip renewed my love for it. Regardless of how a natural disaster can savage a locale, nature itself comes back to make use of it. The birds were magnificent when we visited on a gray, overcast day in early January. Folks who are in the Houston area for the Super Bowl and have time for a day trip should give the Bolivar Peninsula a look.
The Heron and the Barges
Below, a heron watches barges churn by in the Intracoastal Waterway from the little fishing area at the end of the road where I grew up. Our little subdivision, aptly named Canal City – and the rest of Gilchrist – was sandwiched between the Gulf of Mexico and the Intracoastal canal, with Galveston Bay just behind it.
Brown Pelicans and Seagulls
Aiming to get closer for really good pics, I startled several brown pelicans and their seagull companions.
Sandpipers at Rollover Pass
On the back side of Rollover Pass in the shallow sands beside it, sandpipers search for supper.
Seagulls at Rollover Pass
Seagulls contemplate the Gulf of Mexico from a cast concrete berm at Rollover Pass.
Brown Pelicans at Rollover Pass
Brown pelicans are posing and preening on posts at the pass.
These pelicans inspired me to post a haiku a couple of weeks ago, which is included in the resource links below.
The Grill-Meister and I are both blessed to work in international environments, which fosters great relationships with colleagues from all over the world. Sometimes we are able to lure them to Glover Gardens, such as tonight, when we are having a tiny dinner party with a couple from far across the globe. It is so rewarding to learn about different cultures as we share our own. One of our two guests tonight has never been to Texas, so we’re having a very traditional steak dinner. The menu:
It is mid-morning right now and the table is set, so I’m about to get to work on the dessert. I’m breaking Ina Garten’s (the Barefoot Contessa) rule of never making anything for the first time for a dinner party, but it is early enough in the day that I can do something different if I make a mess of it.
We’re really looking forward to it! And for a look at an entirely different type of international party here at Glover Gardens and a couple of cool wintertime recipes, check out Pot Luck Perfect: In-the-Moment Lentil Soup. We had a houseful of colleagues this time last year and a rollicking good time when everyone brought a dish or drink to share.
I’ll share the results of tonight’s meal, and wish you all a happy Saturday evening.
UPDATE: the tiny dinner party was super-successful, and the dessert was rockin’! Read about it here. And I made a new friend! Read the haiku about that here.