29 September 2016

No. 86: Another Museum

NO. 86: Another Day, Another Museum

Another Museum Visit:

A few weeks ago I spent the day at the Houston Museum of Natural Science with friend Martha.
O my.
When the kids were little, we went there all the time. Even before kids, back in the day, when I was in high school I would go for a Saturday, a summer day, even a date.   But it has been a while. A long while. Once the kids got big enough to drive themselves places, I couldn't con them into going places with me. Which means I haven't been to the science museum in a bit. (Or the beach. Sigh.)

So Martha and I got up bright and early and headed to the museum district.
And hey!
They have remodeled. A LOT.

My favorite place I didn't explore enough?
The Cabinet of Curiosities.
We walked through in search of the stairs and I was overwhelmed, amazed, excited, curious. And every other verb you can think of.
An alligator on the ceiling?!  Next to a zebra skin? Surrounded by shells?
This is the kind of sensory overload that enchants me.

O goodness. Such a blurry pic. 
We were rushing in hopes of coming back through later.

 Our main destination was the La Virgen de Guadalupe: Empress of the Americas exhibit. 

The Shrine in Mexico City

The story goes, the Virgin Mary appeared to Juan Diego, an Aztec that had converted to Christianity, in 1531 on a hill in what is now a suburb of Mexico City.  She requested that a shrine be built on the site where she appeared. Of course, Juan Diego had a bit of trouble convincing the bishop that he had seen the actual Virgin. A few more visits, a shroud that miraculously developed a picture of the Virgin and some roses in the dead of winter...the bishop got the point. And there has been a shrine there ever since. 

It's been a million years since I went to the Mexico City shrine so this was a nice refresher. The actual shroud did not travel to Houston. There was a lot of history and some reproductions along with some "inspired by" artwork.  Overall the exhibit was pretty thin.

The Museum of Natural Science's version 

After the Virgin, we headed back downstairs and got waylaid by the Hall of Ancient Egypt.  O my goodness. I love mummies. Room after room of wonderful artifacts from ancient Egypt.  Ever since I did a report on Tutankhamen in High School, I've been smitten. 

I've even had my own up close and personal experience with mummies.
Back in 1972 I spent a summer in San Miguel de Allende with my mom, Liddy and her mom. Nearby was Guanajuato where they had a collection of bodies that were naturally mummified after being interred in the 1880s. They had been dug up, stored and finally put on display. When we went the display area was accessed by going down a narrow circular staircase into the ground. Halfway down you could not see up or down. It was not for the claustrophobic. Once inside (and under ground) the mummies were in glass cases with no guards and no one to stop two teenage girls from sliding open the cases. 

 Adult mummies! 
Naked ones at that. 

And baby mummies.
All felled by a cholera epidemic. 

Visiting the mummies in Guanajuato is no longer as big an adventure. You walk in to a regular old museum through a regular old door. And no touching is allowed. 

Since they have taken all the fun out of it....you might as well just go to the Houston Museum of Natural Science to see dead bodies. At least the information cards will be in English. 

After Egypt we went back in time to the dinosaurs. 

So many bones! Carlos would have been in Heaven. 

My favorites were the trilobites.  Fossils of extinct marine arthropods, they have aways reminded me of giant doodle bugs

In Texas, this is a doodle bug. 
In reality, it's a Pill bug

This visit I realized some of them had some pretty impressive "feelers" too.

Unlike doodle  bugs which are maybe ¼" long, this baby was closer to 4 inches. 

 And how would you like to run into those feelers in the ocean? 

Or how about this crawling up your leg as you wave hop? 

But of course there were the giant dinosaurs and fossils, also. T- Rex, a wooly mammoth, and a triceratops roamed the Paleontology Hall. All manner of fossilized flora and fauna took up rooms of displays. Martha and I wandered for hours until hunger finally took over. 

A stop at Goode Company Taqueria kept me from getting "hangry" on the ride home. Sadly it doesn't qualify as a new restaurant for me - can't count it on No. 63- but it certainly fit the bill that Monday. 

And now. 
Now I can't wait to go back. Especially because I just noticed the HMNS now has a whole NEW exhibit devoted to ....wait for it....

19 September 2016


Avast Ye Mateys!!

Today is one of my favorite days of the year: Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Thar be somethin' wonderfully magical 'bout th' concept 'o band 'o pirates. Sailin' th' seven seas, pillagin', rapin', okay...hold up. Maybe wonderfully magical isn't th' right turn 'o phrase.

But they be INTRIGUIN'. Or were. Modern day band 'o pirates be pretty much th' scum 'o th' earth whether they be in boats or on computers. I don't like havin' thin's stolen from me.

'N probably th' band 'o pirates 'o th' 1700s were pretty awful but wit' th' passage 'o the hour, they have be romanticized. Thank Johnny Depp fer that. 'n Disney. Anyway, I thought I would share some bad scurvy pirate jokes. Share 'n heartily enjoy th' devil's henchman 'o th' day.
But first, if ye want to shout in scurvy pirate on Facebook, ye can do that. Be off to Settin's, then Language 'n then scroll below to English Pirate. Done.
'N if ye want to translate plain English into scurvy pirate, here's a handy tavern: Postlikeapirate.com

Now, here be some jokes....

What is a pirate's favorite letter?

You'd think it would be Arrrrr  but tis the sea.


What do you call a pirate with two eyes, two hands and two legs?

 A beginner.


How do pirates communicate with each other?

With an Aye phone.

But aye to aye is always best.


What is a pirate’s favorite movie?

Booty and the Beast. (But it is arr-rated.)


In case his ship is sunk, every pirate carries a bar of soap with him at all times.

You know, to wash him ashore.


Why are pirates bad at cards?

It’s kind of hard to play when you’re sitting on the deck.


And now if you need a translation of the above...

There is something wonderfully magical about the concept of pirates. Sailing the seas, pillaging, raping, okay...wait. Maybe wonderfully magical isn't the right turn of phrase. 

But they are INTRIGUING. Or were.  Modern day pirates are pretty much the scum of the earth whether they are in boats or on computers. I don't like having things stolen from me. 

And probably the pirates of the 1700s were pretty awful but with the passage of time, they have been romanticized. Thank Johnny Depp for that. And Disney. 

Anyway, I thought I would share some bad pirate jokes.  Share and enjoy the spirit of the day!

But first,  if you want to speak in pirate on Facebook, you can do that. Go to Settings, then Language and then scroll down to English Pirate. Done. 

And if you want to translate plain English into Pirate, here's a handy translator: postlikeapirate.com

Have a hearty day!!!


15 September 2016

No. 63 and No. 86: a Two-fer

No. 63 and No. 86: Over Achieving!

No. 63 is go to twelve new restaurants in 2016.  I'm lagging behind a bit but figure I will catch up before year's end.   I've also been to a few that I haven't counted because I've been too lazy.

No. 86 is how many museums can I go to?  (The grammarians might correct me. To how many museums can I go? But this is my blog and I can make purposeful grammatical errors if I want.) This is a grand challenge. I LOVE museums.  I may even make this challenge the focus of 2017.

So this past week I killed two birds with one stone by going to a museum AND eating lunch there.

Caroline Wiess Law Building

Houston's Museum of Fine Arts is lovely. Two buildings with a wonderful permanent collection and exciting traveling ones.  Kusama: At the End of the Universe was our main destination when friend Nell and I headed out on Tuesday.  Timed tickets are required for this exhibit and none were available online so we were taking our chances for a same day,in person ticket.    An arrival at 10:45am netted us some 1:45pm tickets. Did we want to wait? Why, yes. Yes, we did. And it was worth it. 

This exhibit is really two separate small rooms. Both are mirrored and only a few people are allowed into each room at a time. 

The first room is Love is Calling.  About 5 of us entered into this magical room of translucent cloth stalactites and stalagmites, each covered in black polka dots, with lights inside so that they glowed and changed color. These forms, and the people viewing them, were then reflected again and again into infinity.  It was MAGICAL and a little disconcerting. The mirrors made walking uncertain. Was that a wall? A mirror? How many people are in here? 

Me taking a picture of Nell, ad infinitum.

After three short minutes we were ushered out. 
Any longer and I think it would have overwhelmed us.  The colors changing, the lights, the mirrors all fascinated but also added to sensory overload. 

So cool, so confusing

The second room, Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity, was even tinier and only Nell and I were allowed in together.  We stood on a narrow platform surrounded on three sides by water and were plunged into darkness. All around us tiny white lights glowed like the most magical fireflies-on-steroids night ever. I wish we could have stayed longer but were only given one short minute inside. 

Absolute magic

And what did we do between 10:45am and 1:45pm?   

Visited the permanent collection!

First off was the Antiquities. Mummies, a sarcophagus, lots of alabaster plus a gold myrtle wreath straight out of Animal House.

John Belushi, where are you? ∆

Then we wandered through the Beck Collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art. We visited my most favorite painting in the museum, The Turning Road, by André Derain.  I wake up to a poster of it every morning. (In Texas...) 

Those colors!!
This piece speaks to me. ∆

All that art viewing left us with an appetite so we headed downstairs to the museum cafe. Formerly a Cafe Express, MFA Café is the museum's current restaurant featuring "an array of Italian-inspired fare with a Texas flair".*    So much for Italian inspired lunches, we both had salads! The restaurant is all clean modern lines, simple yet sophisticated. The food was very fresh and-for salads- good and filling. I'd give the place a Thumbs Up even though we did have to ask for ice tea refills multiple times. The tea is self serve but the container ran out and then went missing in the back for a bit. Minor detail.  

Sleek, almost sterile, but still good food. †

A fabulous day spent with a fabulous friend in the most magical of places.  

Art. It does a body good. 

 † photo credit
∆ photo credit Museum of Fine Arts

12 September 2016

Heads Up!

Heads Up!

Sometimes you just need a little project.
One that is physical, that requires some effort. Not just the dainty sit at my sewing machine or ,obviously, considering my frequent absences, type at the computer type of project.  A get down and dirty project.

Since Belle and Bunny have both moved out, their rooms are getting the remove, refresh and renew treatment. 

I started in Belle's room which has a bed, a desk, side table, her "tofu" and a cabinet.  (That cabinet needs to find another home...)  The futon has a cheetah print cover, the desk is black and the bedding was nonexistent. Her walls are my favorite shade of ballet pink.  

So I needed bedding. A trip to Home Goods solved that problem. This Indian print bedspread seemed to tie things together enough to make it passable. I could even use her old hot pink sheets.

Boring with a capital B

But ugh....boring, boring with no headboard.  She's never had one although at one point she had a gorgeous painted fence and garden "headboard".  Killed me when she insisted I paint over it.

Probably my most favorite painting project ever done in this house.
And it got painted over.

But, but..... there was a headboard. Procured at a garage sale many years ago and stored across the street in the parent's garage.

Sadly I did not get a pic before the spindles were removed. 
See those ugly calla lilies? 

Except. It had rust. And the brass was terribly tarnished. And the paint was oxidized it was so old. 

Originally I hoped to just sand a bit and spray paint over but once I dragged it out of the garage I knew that wasn't going to work. Stripping was going to be required. And not the Victoria's Secret/ brass pole kind of stripping....  The chemical kind. Ugh. 

The hubs and I took a trip to Home Depot where he grabbed a can of Citristrip, the safe and easy stripper. Ha! That man has never stripped anything in his life. I have. I was not going to mess around.  We walked out the door with the professional level, heavy duty, kill the environment, chemical cornucopia stripper. 

Give me the PREMIUM stripper. 
I want results and I want them now!

So satisfying. After painting the stripper on, I listened to the music of the chemicals eating away at old paint. It sounded like Rice Krispies. Snap, crackle, pop, peel. The paint quickly bubbled up in the most delightful way.

Doesn't that just put a smile on your face? 

A scraper made quick work of most of the old paint. A quick sanding with the detail sander (I have the ancient version of this one and love it.) was required for the little dibs and dabs of paint that I didn't get with the stripper. 

The spindles that were brass were a challenge. I spent most of one day trying to get the tarnish off before I realized it had been treated with a clear lacquer.  A little more stripper and then some brass polish made them shine. A quick spray with clear lacquer once they were shining will ensure they stay that way. (I hope.)

Polished within an inch of their lives. 
My hands were happy to have this part finished. 

A nice coat of primer will hopefully keep the paint on the headboard and not on the wall.

Primer gray.
Looking pretty good...

Black satin spray paint-two coats- made such a difference. I wasn't too fond of the little flowers and especially the larger calla lilies that adorned the frame. The black paint made them disappear into just "ornament".  
The spindles were reinstalled and Voila!  I LOVE IT.

Happy results. 

Such a difference in the room. Such a difference in the headboard. 

Worth those hot sweaty days out in the garage stripping, sanding and spraying.


And like mother, like daughter.....

Bunny called me in a frantic panic last week. Her hair is turning green. This was particularly upsetting since she had paid for her own highlights right before she left for school.

I guess it does have a green tint to it. 

When Bunny was little and spent most of the summer in the pool, her hair would end up a bright lime green. Belle's might get a hint of green, but Bunny's would be GREEN.

She called her colorist who suggested a clarifying shampoo. That didn't work.

She called maintenance at the school. Nothing they could do. It's the copper pipes and the chlorine in the water and O well!

But she is my baby girl.

It took two trips to Home Depot, a late night session with the RA, a couple of wrenches and Face Timing with her mom (at 12:30am) but look!!
As she says : Shower By Bunny

She unscrewed the floor's community shower head, switched it out with one that has a filter and hopefully no more green hair.

The old shower head....
she just switches them out when she showers. 

Isn't she a smarty? 

All that plumbing at the cabin has paid off. I told her if this college gig doesn't work out, the two of us can open up our own plumbing company.   Click here, here and here to read about some of our other plumbing adventures.  We've had a few!


04 September 2016

Perfume, Portrait, Power

Perfume, Portrait, Power on a Sunday Morning...

O rats, I've been AWOL again.

I have all these little thoughts pinging around in my head but I just can't seem to organize them.

But here are a couple of things that have caught my attention this past week.

THIS video:

I've written about perfume before and how I crave the power of a signature scent. I've pretty well settled into Ce soir ou Jamais.  I am also anxiously awaiting the arrival of Hermès new scent, Galop d'Hermès, out this month.  Who knew roses melted my butter? Certainly not me. Roses bring up visions of little old ladies and floral sofas covered in plastic.   Maybe roses have arrived and thrown off their old person mantle. Or maybe I am just a little old lady now. 

Anyway, this video just leaves me in awe. It's an ad for a perfume I have never experienced but man! I want THIS power from my perfume! If only a spritz  could enable me to shoot lasers from my fingers. If only.

If you can't see the video, click here.
I promise it is worth it. 

And THIS portrait. (Can a picture of a bird really be called a portrait? I guess so.) Isn't he awesome? 
Such a powerful glare.  Not only is it a magnificent photograph, the bird himself has a pretty bad-ass rep. A deathlike stare combined with a machine gun staccato call-all while he EATS baby alligators for lunch! Plus in one of natures little perverse whims, he poops his legs to cool himself down. Power plus eccentricity. A perfect storm? 

Portrait of a Shoebill
Sorry, I don't know who to credit this photo to....

So I guess the theme of last week was power. And I was attracted to it. Because both of these things are power full

Until I get my brain coordinated...hugs and kisses and machine gun noises.

Also, Happy Labor Day holiday to all and many thanks to the people that do the jobs that most of us wouldn't want to. The jobs we don't aspire to. But also the jobs that need to be done. Thanks to the janitors, the trash men, plumbers, (Where would we be without plumbers? Knee deep in crap, I tell you) dishwashers and busboys. Thank one of them this week.