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Our town: the front end of beyond (with photos)

I make a lot of snarky comments about the city north of me. I've been called out on this. But, I am a bit of a square peg in a round hold here. For example... I don't like cars and driving in a place that abhors public transportation. I'm a blue in a red zone. I'm a winter person in summer land. I'm a liberal arts person in an engineering and medical job market.

But of all the round places to land in, this one is pretty good.

Houston is second only to New York City for culture and arts, including performing arts. In fact, NYC is the only city that has more theater seats than Houston. We have incredibly talented, world-renowned resident performing arts companies that perform in architectural masterpieces.

A long time ago, the power elite of Houston decided to invest in the arts.

That means our museums, zoos, and galleries are top rate, as well.

Even my area has thriving arts. My area consists of a cluster of small towns, most of which have populations of about 2000 people, give or take. Nevertheless, we have an area ballet company, theater company, symphony, and even an incredible arts center. All have enormous community outreach.

The classes, camps, and programs for families and children are incredible. On any given weekend my children can enjoy learning about nature (we also have a large nature preserve), art, or space.

Yes, space. Thanks to the largest area employer, this is an diverse and multi-cultural community. Without even leaving the main road, I can find groceries and restaurants from Greek to Asian to Mexican. Within one mile I can see signs in at least four languages.

Music is king here---especially jazz, blues, and southern style rock. The seaside boardwalk offers different live music. This weekend, for example, is zydeco.


This is a coastal town, as are the adjacent towns. It provides an easy-going, laid back undercurrent. And amazing wild life, a lot of which is human.

You can go to the post office on Monday and run into the most incredible neighbors:

The dog, for the record, (and his person) support Obama in '08.

Surprising visitors can drop by for lunch on Wednesday:

On Wednesday you can also say goodbye to the cardinal nestlings you've been privileged to watch in a nest right outside the living room window...for a brief, but busy, ten days (parents of could have a baby bird, and trust me, it's more work):

March and early April are nearly perfect here, with the green lightening and deepening, and the weather beckoning you outside all the time.

It's beginning to heat up, though, with temperatures solidly into the 80s, now. The spring blossoms are shooting off allergens into the air, and summer is staring us in the face. The ozone issues are heating up (no pun intended). So before it all goes back into snark, I thought I'd share a little of the magic.

Have a great weekend.

(Notes: Next week's Hump Day Hmmm. Mamma Loves suggested "The Rules." Call them rules, call them mores, or maybe even call them ethics. In general, we all understand there are certain rules and most of us try to follow them. Something to do with being good. But...are we all playing by the same rules? Do we all have to answer to the same rules? Are the rules applied equitably, and enforced equitably? Are we even all playing the same game? Are you a rule follower? You tell me.

And I will try to do blog visiting today or this weekend. I've been reading and have even opened posts to comment (as your traffic meters might indicate---someone in Texas had your blog opened for 16 hours, LOL) but have been caught up with many demands this week.)

Copyright 2008 Julie Pippert
Also blogging at:
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le35 said…
Great pictures. If it means anything, I know just how you feel about the weather, except I don't have all those wonderful, artsy things to do around here. That's why I travel so much. CUTE little bird in the nest. I'm going out today to shoot a picture of all the little birds in my nest. I missed them while I was in Boston.
we_be_toys said…
Great pictures! Hard to believe such lovely natural areas and cultural accesses are in the red zone, though.

Can you tell I'm a blue peg in a red hole too?!
Magpie said…
Yes, and Houston has this:

I want to see that!
Anonymous said…
This was interesting because my husband just passed on a job that would have brought us to Houston in July. But the climate and the cars and the air quality do not really work for us. We are smaller town people and with a little one there can be arts up the who-ha right outside our door and we aren't going to be able to sneak away to see it anyway.

Beautiful photos but in the end I love Canada.
Emily said…
Are you doing a side job for the Houston Travel Bureau? You and Painted Maypole (CAN) speak so beautifully of your respective towns. It makes me want to visit. Though, I was a little shocked to read in early April that "springtime is over." My tulips have STILL NOT bloomed. Though, they're considering it.

**I really like next week's HMMM. I hope I can find a few minutes this weekend to pull together my thoughts.
Julie Pippert said…
Emily, no, no side job but I would if they PAID REAL MONEY. Do come visit. I'll take you and Magpie to the beer can house and other oddities if you like.

Annie, that's why we live in a small town. I love it. Also, the arts here are for families, so children are appreciated and encouraged at many events. Plus, loads of great sitters. Sigh. I can say nothing in defense of the climate, cars and air quality, though.

We be toys, Texas is actually a really beautiful state. People picture flat and dusty, but I'm pretty sure that's southern Montana. There's an incredible variety of landscape here. But yes, lots of red. Lots and lots.

le, oh yes, do take photos. We tried for a ton. But they leave the nest in 10 days, and sadly the posted one is the best. Boston...I miss Boston.
Melissa said…
You hit on all of the things I miss about H-town. Austin is nice, but doesn't have nearly the culture. Especially since all those transplants from Silicon Valley have started taking over. Sigh....

If I could only breathe there...
Kat said…
I've never been, but I hear Houston is lovely.
Great pics!
It looks lovely...the seaside, especially. I'd love to visit, but cannot handle the stinking heat in the middle of the summer. So April sounds about right :)

Have a good weekend, Julie.

Liv said…
Okay, you sold me. I'll be moving there ASAP. Will you still be my friend if I live close by? Don't tell my petroleum biz bedmate that I am blue in the red state, too.
crazymumma said…
I want to be the driver in the car with the dog. I just have always seen myself driving, with a dog in the passenger seat.
Gwen said…
It looks quite lovely. Now I want pictures of people, outdoors, in the middle of summer. Just to, you know, get the whole picture.
S said…
you've made it sound lovely. i've never been...

Mad said…
Oooo, I loved these pictures and the talk of your town. I've never been to Houston but I've heard great things about it from a gay friend of mine who vows it has a divine gay sub-culture. There was something about a gay polka fest he told me about a few years ago. Yay, Texas!

I've only been to Texas once to visit a friend in San Marcos. I spent some time in Austin and an afternoon in San Antonio. Places further north are all new to me.
Kyla said…
You DO make it sound good. I'm almost glad to live here. ;)

And the weather is divine right now, although this week was starting to get a bit to humid for me. I was having flashes of summer and summer doesn't agree with me unless I'm indoors.
flutter said…
make up the guest bed, I'm coming!
painted maypole said…
maybe we'll make it there sometime...
I visit many blogs: mommy blogs, daddy blogs, kitchen blogs, history/vintage blogs, smart-ass blogs. And I imagine there are a billion other blogs from X-rated to tattooing blogs, but no where else do I encounter a blog as forward looking as yours.
Bon said…
i knew nothin' about Houston, i have to admit. i'd heard Austin was pretty cool, but thought it was an enclave and the rest of Texas was some kinda cross of J.R Ewing and the depiction/dismissal the place gets in Thelma and Louise.

thanks, Julie. thanks for broadening my horizons a bit.

now if your northern soul would like just a little of my freaking new-fallen snow, please...come and get it!
Christine said…
i've never wanted to visit texas, but you've made houston sound so lovely! now i want to go . . .
Beautiful! I'm totally going to move there.

Oh wait...
Lovely pics.....Mr. Mayhem and I came to Houston to see "Wicked" at the Hobby Center....AWESOME!

The hotel we stayed in hosted the "Whiskey Bar" that Cindy Crawford's husband owns. GOOD STUFF!
Laski said…
Blue, red. Summer, winter. It doesn't matter . . . I'm a little jealous. There is LIMITED culture here. There are FEW arts. Education is not TRULY VALUED. For goodness sakes, we don't even have a Target.

I'll survive. Until we move . . .

I'd love, love to visit . . .
I lived in Beaumont for two years. Houston was a frequent weekend escape!
SciFi Dad said…
Now granted, I am an engineering type, so take this with a grain of salt, but when I visited Houston I loved the city itself. I found it quite marvelous, and really enjoyed the time I spent there. It is one of the U.S. cities I'd consider moving to if I could convince my wife to leave Canada.

But the heat? In May? Oh. My. Got.
Robert said…
Ellie just left Boston, fyi, Julie (as noted on her blog). It's good to hear those things about Houston. I'd always heard the heat made it Hell on Earth, but now I might even consider a visit some day. In the dead of winter, perhaps. We have a couple or two we know down there now, so it might be nice to check it out. You learn something new every day.

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