BVZ turned 40 over a month ago. Yes, I am that behind.
The kids wanted to be the first to wish him a happy birthday so they insisted upon camping out on our floor. I cannot remember if they lasted the entire night. My guess is no. Norah gave BVZ her card as soon as she woke up. I love seeing what Norah produces all on her own. She forgets a few vowels but the sentiment is pure gold.
It was a work/school day so it was pretty much business as usual with the special addition of cupcakes for dinner. That weekend, Bubby very graciously took the kids for a sleepover and BVZ and I went to Houston for the night. Now, I go to Houston pretty often for work, so there is no real allure as far as I am concerned, but BVZ has wanted to go ever since we moved to Texas. His birthday, his choice. We decided to stay in the Museum District and get some culture, ya'll. At the end of the day I was shocked at just how many interesting, unique, and enlightening things there are to do in Houston. I'm just sorry it took us so long to get up there.
Road trip. We ate trail mix with gluten and dark chocolate. And no one licked it before putting it back in the bag.
We stayed at the hipster Hotel ZaZa. I wanted a nice place that was within walking distance of the museums we wanted to see and this was really our only option. It had a trying very hard to be LA vibe to it. The room was super spacious, the bathrooms was insanely nice, and there were lots of fun finishing touches. Our room overlooked the pool which, according to the literature, was the "place to see and be seen."
BVZ wanted to take a photo of the koi pond in the lobby because he thought Louis would be into it.
They ask if you are celebrating a special occasion when you make the reservation, so this was waiting for us when we got to the room. BVZ is not a big champagne drinker, but I sure am. I am no longer a big cake eater, but he sure is. It was a win-win.
I had two glasses and was up for anything so we walked across the street to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts. We are museum people, for sure. We go to them in places we visit and we go to them in places we live. I think our record was seeing four in one day (Paris). We had many a membership to San Francisco ones. While this was by no means spectacular, it definitely exceeded my expectations. It was spacious, not crowded (a big plus, although to be fair we did not get there until after 3:00 pm), and there were several really intriguing exhibits and installations. One of my favorites was this one which consisted of thousands of very thin strips of plastic hanging from the ceiling--probably about 100 feet by 100 feet. The intention is that you walk through it and use all of your senses to guide your way out.
We had an early-ish dinner in the fancy restaurant at the hotel and then since it was still light out, explored the neighborhood a bit. It really reminded me of the West Hollywood area in LA. Cute bungalow houses, overgrown gardens, tons of trees, etc. It was so nice to be able to walk and talk and enjoy each other's company without worrying about rushing home to a babysitter or picking the kids up at my mom's or a sister's house. It was a refreshing and liberating feeling. One we should probably make a point of having more often.
We walked onto the Rice University campus, which is beautiful. Rice is probably the best school in Texas. We looked it up while we were walking around and it currently costs around $55k a year. The kids are smart. Maybe they will get scholarships.
We got back to the room and had a super special treat from our California friends, M and A. They know their way into BVZ's heart for sure.
We turned in early (for us) and had a really great and restful sleep. Which meant we were both awake at the crack of dawn. Like before the hotel restaurant was even open for breakfast.
I had to document this because BVZ had a $9 glass of juice. It was his birthday, so okay, but good grief. What glass of juice costs $9? (Despite my protests I did try it and it was delicious).
We sat on this open terrace which was really nice. I imagine mid-May is the last time before about November that you can sit outside in Houston.
It was about a mile and a half away, but we decided to walk to the Rothko Chapel. Now I know most people fall into one of two camps--they either love the art of Mark Rothko or they think Mark Rothko just paints rectangles of solid color. Both BVZ and I are in the love side and so the chapel was a must see. It was designed and built to be a space of peace and tranquility and Rothko was commissioned to paint fifteen extra large canvases that adorn the walls. It was incredible. I loved it. In my ideal world I would enjoy yoga and meditation, but in my reality I have a hard time dialing down my brain. For whatever reason, I found this to be a truly unique place of tranquility in my head. I would go all of the time if I lived nearby. No photos allowed of the inside, but this was a serene sculpture right outside the chapel.
We tried to go to one more art museum (see, I like to pack it in), but lots of places did not open until noon on Sunday. Thank you, Texas.
BVZ's back still sucks sometimes so he did a lot of this on the walk.
The walking bridge.
This was the front of the hotel. I was trying to get a photo of the hotel "transport vans" because they were SUV's with longhorn skulls strapped to the front. I was trying to be subtle, which is clearly why you cannot see them.
On the way home we stopped at the Buc-ee's flagship store. Buc-ee's is a gas station/souvenir shop throughout Texas. This one is Costco, Target, HEB, Chevron, Wal-mart, and a crappy deli all in one. There is a jerky section with no less than 30 flavors of jerky. In a deli case. We were instantaneously overstimulated and had to leave without buying anything.
We stopped for BBQ not once but twice (one place to eat, the other place to bring home). The first place was gross, the second was delicious.
It was a great quick trip and fun birthday celebration. Here's to the next 40, BVZ!