Saturday, March 31, 2012

Festivals? Why yes please!

There is something about large crowds, fried food and middle aged men with fanny packs that embodies a good festival experience. I don't know if it is festival season here in Houston or what, but there have been some cool gatherings and such lately.

Here we are at the Bayou City Art Festival in Memorial Park. It was HUGE, with over 300 vendors spread out within the park.

It was amazing to see all the different mediums of artwork. The experience confirmed how unartistic I am, but inspired me to try and be a craftier person...hmm...maybe knitting would be safer than welding metals like this!

These beautiful sculptures were made out of coiled and wrapped wire. If only I had $450 to spend on one- it takes some serious commitment. Someday when I grow up, I'll get a couple to put in our parlour :)
Instead of buying a painting or sculpture, I went for a pretty green bracelet.

This guy was incredible. He slowly meandered through the streets, and had the persona of a tree, very regal and poised.

Our next endeavor was BINGO! Granted, it's not a festival, but it should be! We met up with some friends to experience the lure. The church parking lot was packed, mostly with buicks and cadillacs...perfect! It's not legit bingo if the median age of the players aren't 75 years plus. Once in the church basement, it was on! We purchased our packet of game sheets, our very own dobbers (those who aren't aware, they're basically ink blotters), and some cokes to keep up with the professionals. People were READY!

Each game had different ways to win- four corners, crazy kite, blackout, postage stamp, and the list goes on! There were 'specials' with different colored boards, 2 bingo callers, a projection of the ball and number, and a lit up spread at the front of the room with all the numbers and letters called thus far.

Man, we had walked into an underground, serious, gambling ring masked beneath a catholic church facade!! We knew it was serious as soon as the first game started. Everyone immediately stopped talking, and all you could hear was the sound of dobbers dobbing, and a few oxygen tanks clicking. If someone did call bingo, everyone in the room gripped out 'NO' and 'Uggghhh!!"

If you did win, the cash prizes were pretty good! The smallest amount of money you could win was $70, and the grand prize that night was $750!!! Man, we were not messing around on that one! I ended up winning one of the small prizes, and turned three sheets of red. I did not anticipate actually winning, and when I did, I wanted to make sure I had dobbed correctly! Our friends informed us that if you call out bingo, and didn't really get one, that people get pretty mad...eeek! Luckily, I did everything correctly, and could take everyone out for frozen yogurt. Yep, that's right- I was the sugar momma, bingo winning, frozen yogurt buying winner of the night!

Bingo turned out to be pretty amazing, and lucrative for out grandma's, Chelsea needs a new pair of shoes!!!

The most recent festival we attended was just today, a Palestinian Festival. It was really fun! The music was so very cool to hear live, with families dancing and singing along. The handicrafts and goods being sold were so unique and beautiful, and all the vendors were focused on projecting information about the culture of Palestine.

Going to this festival really made me want to travel. I love to be immersed in another culture, and experience something new for the first time. I'm hoping there is a Hawaiian festival next- because I could really use a mai tai and a beach... :)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spring Break Compilation

The rest of the spring break week passed in a lovely blur! Here are some of the highlights from the rest of the week...

One of my favorite things in the world, is to take nature walks. We live right next to the Buffalo Bayou, with awesome trails for hiking and biking.

I always feel like there are such interesting bird houses by where we live. Houston is actually in the migratory path of a lot of birds, so we will see all kinds of interesting bird houses that people put up to accommodate them.

Sangam and I watched the movie 'My Idiot Brother'. It was pretty good! Sangam makes popcorn on the stovetop, heating up the kernels- one of my favorite things:)

On St. Patrick's Day, we decided we needed to see the Houston Parade. In Minnesota, we would go to the St. Paul parade, which was awesome! I didn't want to get my hopes up, but was pleasantly surprised...

Dancing clovers, very clever!!

Sangam and I made sure to wear green :)

The roller derby is huge in Austin and Houston. Here are some of the ladies showing off their skills :)

Irish wolfhounds. These were the biggest dogs I had ever seen. They had very intense, yellow eyes, but were very friendly and let us pet them.

Later that day, we tried a new place to eat, called CoCo's. Definately the best crepes I have EVER had!! There were so many international people eating al fresco; Sangam and I felt like we were abroad listening to people speak Italian, Portuguese, Russian (I think) and others I couldn't recognize.

To finish out the week, Sangam and I met up with our friend Katie and some friends on a camping excursion to the Brazos Bend State Park. It takes courage to set up a tent next to these big guys!!

Camping is fabulous, because there is nothing to distract you from just being with people and enjoying each other's company! We took a walk around dusk, which happened to be when the gators were on the move, we saw a lot of them!

On Sunday, we decided we just weren't quite ready for the fun to be over, so we went mini-golfing. Here are some 'action shots' of our stellar skills :)
I hope you all have a happy start to spring!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Staycation!

Ahhh, it's spring break week! In Houston, this is the best time of year, weather wise. It is a balmy 65-75 everyday, with sunshine and blue skies. So, this year, we decided to stay in Houston and get some much needed rest and relaxation, and save a little moola at the same time!

I decided that in between doing the necessary things like getting the oil changed in my car, and cleaning our apartment and getting my dental checkup out of the way, I would sprinkle in a fun/new thing each day, to spice things up a bit.

Monday: Wabash Antiques and Feed Store

When I walked in, I wasn't sure what I would find, a cat greeted me at the door, and the smell of pet food and pollen filled my senses- hmmm...
I rounded a corner, and oh boy, there were some hearty looking chickens! They were happily eating, and laying eggs galore- you could go in a pick some up, talk about fresh! I was a little apprehensive of walking into the crowded henhouse to take their eggs, maybe next time :)

There were baby ducks, bunnies and even roosters! It felt like spring had sprung right in the middle of Houston! I had an urge to take home these baby ducks, letting them swim in our bathtub to welcome Sangam home from work- eek!

The more I explored, I soon realized that this little store was filled with secret rooms hidden at first, but once you followed the hallway, it opened up into these spaces FILLED with goodies!

I know there is such a thing as too much color, but I think you have to try really hard to accomplish this. I am in love with bursts of bright, vibrant colors. Someday, I want to have a big back yard with little foot bridges, tree houses and these metallic, colorful flowers creating a path of whimsy, ahhhh...

I was so pleased with my Monday fun activity, life is grand when you have the day off! This curvy cowgirl showed me to my car, how nice :)

Tuesday: Operation Banana Bread

I've always gobbled up my Grandma's delicious banana bread, but had never made a batch of my own. What better time to try a baking endeavor than when you are making it for Sangam Napit, who loves practically anything! We had some frozen, black bananas so I thought, here goes! Stage #1: Mash the frozen bananas...brrrr!

Stage #2: Mix in the butter, sugar, vanilla, flour and a pinch of salt! I am always amazed that what I am mixing is going to turn into something that actually tastes good...especially when it looks like this...hmmm...
I asked Sangam to take my picture, it's important to have domestic tasks documented, like seeing an albino squirrel, you need to capture illusive images when they happen!

Out of the pan and into the oven...

The apartment smelled fabulous, Grandma would be proud :) Here is my lovely husband, who raved about each bite as we had some afternoon tea and fresh banana bread. Satisfaction, check!