10/28/2009

Fall Road Trips : Houston

Spring and fall are great times to take a road trip in Texas, and one of my favorite destinations is Houston. I lived in this city from 1979-1991, and still consider it my "young adult home"; some days I miss it mightily. Almost any excuse will do to drive down I-45 and take in the sights. Late September, early Oct offer plenty of events : the International Quilt Show, a Rice football game or Homecoming event, and I keep memberships in several museums in Houston, which often pull in world class traveling exhibits. All the stars lined up this year and I managed to hit two birds with one stone at the same time: the Quilt Show and a touring museum exhibit of "Terra Cotta Warriors ", those statues buried in the emperor's tomb from China. I loaded up my mother, one of my sons and his friend, and off we headed.
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We had a marvelous time, eating in all my fave local restaurants, visiting all my old hang-outs, shops, and special places. (Driving the streets around Rice, and through Rice campus, with those majestic 100+ year old live oaks, never ceases to bring me near to tears of joy. I'm a tree worshipper, must be my Celtic heritage....they are wonderful specimens.) The "Terra Cotta Warriors" exhibit was showing at the Houston Museum of Science and History - for some reason, this little museum pulls in just world class exhibits, the likes of which DFW area never gets. Last year we went to see "Lucy", the fossilized remains of an early hominid discovered by the Leakeys in Kenya, one of the "missing links". The Houston museum was the only place, outside of Kenya, that the exhibit went. How does this little museum do it ? Perhaps it is subsidized by all those rich and powerful oil companies that call Houston home....there certainly are many large exhibits inside the museum, paying homage to the oil industry, and all the science/ecology/geology that spins off of it. "Terra Cotta Warriors" was well done and very interesting - definitely worth the trip. China remains on my personal "bucket list", but just in case I never make it there, it's good to have seen some of the art it is famous for.
Next up on our agenda this trip was the Houston International Quilt Show. I have no idea why this quilt show, which is one of the largest in the USA, is held in Houston each year . I tend to think, perhaps stereotypically, of quilts and quilters as being from the mid-west, not "Space City". Perhaps it is just a central location (relative to east and west coast quilters) with reliably mild weather, but whatever the reason, in Houston it is held, year after year. Not really a sew-er myself, it used to be I just visited this event for the incredible shopping - a convention center hall the size of three football fields, filled with clothing, baskets, jewelry, arts and crafts, antiques, imports, as well as sewing and quilting supplies, fabric, patterns, equipment and tools. Over time, I enjoyed more and more seeing the incredible beauty of the quilts that are entered into various competitions. It is even more fun now that I have friends and know people who have entries in the contests.
The quilts exhibited at this event range the gamut from traditional, to modern, but one thing is certain : these aren't just blankets, this is art !

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