Monday, July 18, 2011

Houston fun: Kemah, the Menil, and Miller Outdoor Theater

A "Hippie Hibiscus" my lovely friend Trish got me for my birthday! A beauty aye!

Hi friends! I wanted to post an update of some of the latest happenings in the Holtcamp homestead. It is turning out to be a busy, busy summer. I can't believe it's halfway over. Whew, life is such a twirling, whirling super-fast merry-go-round, but I can't complain - life is good. It is (sad face) my second to last summer with my daughter and just three left with my son so I'm trying to do some things with them here and there to make good memories.

In a couple of weeks I'm taking the kiddos to California for almost 2 weeks. We fly in and out of Los Angeles and we will stay with my friend Paige (who I stay with every time I fly through L.A. en route somewhere overseas). I met Paige when I lived in Pasadena (CA) before moving to Houston. My ex-husband was a postdoc at Caltech, and my son was born there - at home! So then we will all drive up to the San Francisco/Bay Area too. We will camp two nights near the Sonoma Coast, and will also visit Stanford, UCSF and a couple other universities. Before then, I am flying to Chicago for the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA) annual conference - Science-Faith Synergy. It will be my first one!

As I mentioned, I'm doing some work for the organization - which I love! If you are at all interested in science and faith issues, please check them out, and become a member even. Christianity Today Magazine just had a cover story that highlighted the work of prominent member Francis Collins, head of the National Institute of Health (NIH) and former head of the Human Genome Project, and which came out of a past ASA conference. The article is quite groundbreaking of a topic to be covered in Christianity Today! It's called The Search for the Historical Adam: The center of the evolution debate has shifted from asking whether we came from earlier animals to whether we could have come from one man and one woman.

Tuesday I'm taking Sam and his friend to the Astro's baseball game. I'm not a baseball fan (and the Astro's aren't exactly a hot team right now) but he got two free tickets from being on honor roll so I figured, why not? We have been before. It's kind of fun. We have nosebleed seats! Other than that, I am doing another Query Challenge on Freelance Success, have boatloads of work for the ASA to do, and have painted my previously uninspiring office a slate/denim blue (and plan to "lime wash" it for texture). I also painted my daughter's room - a gift I got her for Christmas and didn't get around to until last week! I'll post some photos this week. On to my photos...

Savannah is designing a blog header and template for a new blog I'm starting called Wandering Home, which has gone through some changes but I will make the big reveal very soon! What do you think of the header so far? I love it! I took all those photos by the way. :) Originally I was going to do a blog focusing on trying to find a new place to live after I leave Houston and my kids leave the nest but the concept has evolved to be more of a blog about faith - and it will have some of the "finding my next home" in there as well. But I have a lot of thoughts on faith, life, parenting, living, science, wisdom... and I want to share.I mentioned previously that my mom and stepdad Skip came to visit last month and we spent the day exploring Houston a bit. First we went to the Menil Collection - which I'd never visited despite living in Houston now for so many years. Unfortunately I didn't get a lot of good photos (you can't take any inside the museum itself) but here are a few. This is on the grounds outside. There are a lot of old live oaks. If you don't know, the Menil is a world famous private collection of art. In addition to the main art collection, it includes the famous Rothko Chapel and Byzantine Fresco museum and chapel. Everything is within a few blocks. I wrote about all these places we visited with my parental units in the AOL Houston Travel Guide (no byline) - check out my overview of the Best Things To Do in Houston.These are the doors to the Byzantine Fresco. Inside it was gorgeous! I wasn't so impressed with the Rothko Chapel, which just had several ginormous black and deep purple modern art paintings by the world-famous Mark Rothko.
After we finished exploring the Menil, we spotted this Sugarbaby's cupcake place and had to stop. Seeing Savannah taking pictures is a very common sight!We ate at Ruggles Green, which I covered in the AOL Houston Travel Guide - Top 10 Restaurants - but I'd never eaten there (I have eaten at the original Ruggles, which is amazing!) I highlighted several green, local, sustainable eateries since Houston has a hip, hopping restaurant scene! Oh wait, we actually ate lunch here, and then ate dinner at the Black Walnut Cafe in Rice Village for dinner.

I shot this photo of my mom and stepdad Skip at Miller Outdoor Theater, where we went next for the free Saturday night Houston Symphony performance of West Side Story. They have free concerts, plays, ballet, and other things during half of the year and you bring a blanket and hang out on the hill. They also have some covered seats but I've hung out on the hill both times I have been.Sam got some Bucky Balls at Urban Outfitters in Rice Village. They're totally cool! They are magnetized balls that you can create all kinds of things with. My mom shot this photo which is why it has the date... but it shows a snowflake Sam made. We put them as earrings and they are such strong magnets, it actually HURTS!
The next morning (Father's Day) we ate at IHOP and then my folks went back to Dallas and my kiddos spent the rest of the day with their dad.
This past Tuesday, we went to the Kemah Boardwalk to celebrate my birthday (right near the Johnson Space Center). First we went to RED Sushi which I'd searched out online and it got great reviews. It looked really hip and modern inside but... drum roll... it SUCKED. The service was terrible, and then Savi ordered a chocolate lava cake that sounded (and was) so good. UNTIL we discovered not one but two areas with green mold on the cake. Yep. Ugh. Makes me sick just thinking about it. The manager was really cool and comped our meal but sheesh, moldy cake? Nastygrams. There were not a lot of people in there when we first arrived but the service was really slow, and they kept messing up the order and really, I just do not recommend it (even though the manager said, please don't judge us by the moldy cake -- ha ha -- come back and try us again. I probably won't).

Sam loves having his photo taken. He he. Afterwards we went to the KSBJ/NGEN Boomin by the Bay free outdoor concerts every Tuesday in July. But not before Savannah shot a photo of the sun setting over Clear Lake (part of Galveston Bay)
It was soooo crowded you couldn't even walk. It was like Mardi Gras. Almost a bit much. First Jamie Grace opened (she sings a song I love with TobyMac, one of our favorite Christian rock bands who we have seen twice in concert). She was followed by the main act, LeCrae. I wasn't familiar with his work but checked out some of it online and liked t a lot, along with his story. However we left about 15 minutes into his set, and walked to the rides at the boardwalk because some of the kids' friends were over there and we got tickets (courtesy of Kemah Marketing/PR peeps).Me and Savi!
Sam isn't a big fan of roller coasters and rides (neither of my kids are daredevils!) so this was a big deal for him to get on the Aviator with his friend Ian. He survived but didn't go again!
I love this shot! It's the Aviator spinning around. I'm not a big daredevil either and I didn't go on this one though I think I would now. I went on a small drop ride a couple times but that was it! The Boardwalk has a roller coaster, an upside down boat ride and a big drop and other things but holy moly I do not like those things at all! We rode the Carousel a couple times. This is Sam's & Savannah's style of ride - ha ha! I'll end with the Jamie Grace Youtube vid of her song Hold Me (with TobyMac) - great song!!

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