Monday, July 11, 2011

A Photo Journal: Treasures of Texas Edition

Those of you truly faithful readers might have noticed I was absent from posting this last week. I didn't announce my leaving because I was pretty sure 99% of my readers knew where I was and who I was with. Also, just in case any of my less faithful readers wanted to take the opportunity to burgle my apartment, which may or may not actually be located in Astoria. At any rate, this year, as always, July heralded scorching weather, displays of patriotism, and summer vacation. My exotic vacation locale this year: Houston, Texas. Also: Austin, Texas. Actually, really a fair amount of central-ish small-town Texas as well as the Gulf Coast region.

The central focus of the trip was family. That's not entirely true either. It's fair to say the reason for the trip was family, specifically my sister and I and our significant others uniting at my parent's house for the week. However, the central focus of the trip--as with any vacation--was most decidedly food. Each meal naturally led to the discussion of what the following meal should be to best complement the current one. The gluttony was only paused when our styrofoam contained leftovers could no longer fit within the bounds of the refrigerator, and we were forced to consume them before continuing the food odyssey. It was glorious!

Per the usual, I'm (mostly) avoiding showing pictures of people (who aren't me--I sold out my privacy a long time ago) in them. However, if you are one of my readers who might have a personal interest in seeing one of the lovely full-family photos taken on this trip, email me and you will have some forthwith!

Where we spent the bulk of the 100 degree afternoons. This is what makes Houston, a city with the humidity level of Vietnamese jungles, a habitable place.

The Fanthorp Inn in Anderson, TX (population: 208, and yet somehow still the county seat). This building has been around since 1834 which (by Texas history standards) is really old. They also have a model stage coach on the property (the inn used to house stagecoach passengers and drivers delivering mail) and offer rides. Sadly, the Fanthorp Inn Historic Site will be closing in September, so if a trip to Anderson, TX is in your plans for the late autumn, you might want to push that up.

We journeyed to Galveston Island to go to the beach. While there my boyfriend and I created this sand face. It originally started out as a portrait of me, but the concept was abandoned when it started to take on Cro-Magnon features. I chose this photo rather than many showing the actual beach at Galveston because while the water is delightfully warm and great for swimming, this particular part of the Gulf Coast is not a conventionally attractive shoreline.
Nevertheless, the Galveston beach is a great reminder of my childhood.

Another fond memory of my childhood: making tamales. Although skipping the traditional lard, our tamales are delicious and totally worth the 2 days of cooking that go into making them. Although I'm not sure I can really say that as it's really my mom who does the lion's share of the meat preparation while the rest of us just jump in for shuck stuffing at the end.

The Art Car Museum is a treasure of Houston springing from the annual Art Car Parade. This particular vehicle is made almost entirely of spoons and other cutlery.

Another Houston gem: the beer can house. Created by a retired upholsterer and beer drinking enthusiast who began siding his house in beer cans in 1968. It is now an art piece although the artist himself says of the work, "Some people say this is sculpture, but I didn't go to no expensive school to get these crazy notions."

Some of the aforementioned gluttony. It doesn't look as formidable here as in real life, but believe me, this is quite a pork chop.

This photo requires a jump from Houston to Austin, but it seemed a fitting follow-up to the previous photo. We saw this porker in an Austin resident's front yard near the place we got drinks on South Congress.
The Capitol in Austin, a building my sister describes as "pink." The Texas Capitol is the largest in gross square footage of all state capitols and is second in total size only to the national capitol in Washington. I'm including my source for this fact because certain Californians doubt its veracity.

Barton Springs, in Austin, is a spring-fed swimming pool that stays consistently 60 degrees around the year. Very refreshing on a 105 degree day! Apparently, it's also the only known home of the Barton Springs salamander, an understandably endangered species.

Overall, I had a lovely trip. It was wonderful to see family, old friends, and to make one new one. Now it's back to the daily grind, but I should remain pretty relaxed for at least the next day or two.


  1. A picture of New Yorker in new cowboy hat would have been a nice addition (perhaps in profile?) Still, a great wrap-up.

  2. Not to be that Californian, but according to Wiki, TX State Capitol is 360,000 square feet. While I couldn't find anything on CA's state capitol building, I'd like to input that SF's city hall is 500,000 square feet. We should visit it when you guys come, it's beautiful. Probably as nice as NY's public library ;).

  3. Anon--I think I can arrange that very picture being sent to you. I also have photos of a couple of Californians in said hat.

    SustainableCow--I have no idea how the Texas Capitol stacks up against city halls. But if it's a NY library quality building then you will definitely have to take us there :)