Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas, Houston

Six pairs of massive arches, mirror finish.  Each set 700 feet apart, like a promenade down Post Oak.  In 1995, this became more than just the Galleria--as if that wasn't enough.  It became "Uptown Houston."  New, matching street lights and traffic signals.  Giant, circular "gateway rings" hovering at the bigger intersections, suspended 55 feet in the air.  

Modern.  Brash.  And adorned for Christmas. Stainless steel, frankincense and myrrh.

Looking down Post Oak, with Neiman Marcus and Transco in the background.

Merry Christmas, Houston.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

River Oaks Christmas Lights: There Goes the Neighborhood

Neighborhoods with Christmas decorations have long attracted traffic jams, whether suburb, small town, or big city.  As a child, we'd jump in the car with my grandmother and drive all around town to look at the Christmas lights.  We'd even cruise the country roads, just to see who decked the halls.  Some neighborhoods revel in Christmas decor--with themes and all.  When I was off at university, my parents' neighborhood passed out a giant wooden sign for each home owner to decorate as a Christmas card.  And no, my mom wouldn't let my dad spray paint "Bah humbug" across it, graffitti-style (though the snarky amongst us begged her please).  Heck, I seem to recall the Chronicle publishing articles suggesting good light-viewing neighborhoods.  (And here's this year's Houston Press Top Five.)  I'm just not surprised to see the stream of SUVs and cars, bumper-to-bumper, ooo-ing and aahhh-ing over the Christmas lights in River Oaks.  I do love the lights, especially those wrapped roots-to-tips up impossibly tall and gnarled oaks.  Here's my favorite:

Yes, I know it's not an artful picture, but I felt successful just snapping one, not-very-blurry picture that excludes on-coming traffic.  But still.  You have to draw the line somewhere.  Families on bikes.  Tour buses.  Horse-drawn carriages.  I think I'm okay with those . . . creative, gets cars off the road.  But where I draw the line?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I feel a train a coming, it's coming round the bend.

Tucked away in a quiet pocket, this Mission/Prairie-style, 129-bed hospital was built in 1910 for the employees of the Southern Pacific Railroad in Texas and Louisiana.   Its name, shockingly, was the Southern Pacific Hospital.  The 23,000 employees in these two states got managed care, didn't they?  A stipend for the Southern Pacific Hospitals was deducted from their paychecks.  So long as you didn't have a contagious or venereal disease and were in good standing at work, you could come for care.

Friday, December 7, 2012

I'll Save You, Donne Di Domani!

My dear, dear Donne Di Domani sauce. . . I know and I'm ever so humbly sorry. But it's all okay now.  You're safe.

I thought you were protected.  After all, had I not crowed here, on the pages of Texqueim, of my triumph in finally meeting you, in person?  Of my plans to savor you with only the S-worthy?  I swear, I proclaimed my love of you near and far, even calling long distance to my mother, herself a veteran of so many years of the Nutcracker Market with nary a single sighting of you.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012