My fellow librarian Hope (of great office art and wine tasting blog post fame...) wanted to preview some of the Houston sights that I had talked about, in view of an upcoming visit from her mom.
It was hotter than heck, but what the heck, let's go!
Hope's mom LOVES butterflies.
That little bit of information had come up while we were at ref desk one evening, and I had mentioned that the Houston Museum of Natural History had an awesome butterfly exhibit.
I've actually dragged my readers to the Museum twice before to see Snakes Alive! on a date with Bernie, and also to see some gems and minerals.
How could I miss a chance to drag you readers along (once again) in order to see this?
I obviously couldn't.
Please settle in and plan to read on.
Inside the rain forest like exhibit we were surrounded by gems come to life:
Butterflies swooped by our faces, considered landing on our knees, and made marvelous dance moves over our heads.
I was constantly hopping up to attempt to get a photo of a butterfly at rest.
Hmmm....maybe I should build a feeder like this in my garden!
(See the blog "Mennonite Girls Cook Constantly" for other great recipes ideas using fruit!)
Cats, squirrels and now posing butterflies.
I was so glad Hope and I could take the time to just sit and take in the exhibit. I have been there before when there was a bit of a rush, and you just can't really see how many butterflies there are unless you just sit and observe for awhile. They really were absolutely everywhere!
One tip to anyone planning a trip to similar exhibit: Wear red or hot pink. The butterflies were drawn to those colors, and regularly landed on people sporting those hues.
Another tip: Use your finger extended sideways in front of the butterfly that is feeding or resting, and sometimes they will step up on your finger, sort of like a parakeet does.
They are HUGE events in Houston; and you quickly learn that a photo being taken of a group of girls in fancy gowns that match, and another girl in a non-matching fancy gown, (often but not always white) and a bunch of guys in tuxedos usually isn't a wedding.
We headed to the Museum of Art and got a lunch there, then headed to the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft. It is my favorite gallery in Houston, and always has jaw dropping amazing pieces on display.
This time it was a display of Texas crafts; blown glass, wood carving, weaving, metal work...and this piece of cut paper art:
I shot the picture before I read the sign: NO PHOTOGRAPHY.
Next we headed to High Fashion Fabric.
I told Hope it is like the scene in every historical romance novel where the poor heroine is taken by the wealthy hero to a dress maker for a "fitting" wardrobe for her new dreamy life of luxury.
It makes me shake my head to realize that there actually are REAL people who go here to have exactly such wardrobes created.
Seems my Louisiana born friend has attended more than a few Mardi Gras extravaganzas in her day. She had heard of "the fabric shop in Houston" where people shopped for the fabric to create the amazing gowns and costumes for the various Mardi Gras balls and parades.
My English manor house ball room fantasy suddenly took on a New Orleans style twist.
I blew right past these fabrics; Hope crowed that she had seen some of them used in Mardi Gras costumes, and started telling me about what fanciful parade get ups and performances that she had seen where people were dressed in these wild fabrics.
Oh yeah....I did miss seeing the real Mardi Gras while I lived in the South.
I have been quietly mourning the fact that once I leave Houston I will no longer be able to make little fabric lust jaunt to HFF.
What ever will I do for inspiration?
(I've heard this sort of obsession crassly called "fabric porn." Yeah, that's just about what it is...I get totally turned on by the stuff.)
The good news is that I have learned the HFF is now putting pictures of all their amazing fabric on their website!
Oh goodie! INTERNET Fabric Porn!
Wonder if I should try to install a filter?
We pulled ourselves away and next headed down into the heart of Houston, AKA
"Houston Public Library"HPL has been closed for about a year now while they did multiple millions of dollars of infrastructure improvement on the old building. I had read about the "new and improved" library interior design and was vacillating between skeptical and alarm.
Who better to go see "what was what" with than my fellow librarian Hope?
Seriously...orange speckled tile floor and orange furniture with orange dots?
What is this...Switzerland or something, where EVERYTHING is orange?
The whole thing looks like a Fisher Price toy gone amuck.
As citizens of Houston and card carrying members (OK, lapsed members) of the Texas Library Association all I can say is I felt deeply ashamed for our city's flagship library.
Every year the American Library Association features award winning library remodels and designs, and every year I wait to see how various cities have made their libraries classier and more welcoming structures.
When ALA see what Houston has done, we will be a laughingstock.
( I wish I had videoed Hope going off on the whole thing. I thought her head was going ot explode! You will be pleased to know that we both made it OUTSIDE of the library before letting fly with our evalutation of their remodeling efforts.)