Category Archives: texas pride

Ice-olation (a post by Lee)

EDITOR’S NOTE: I apparently wrote this post two years ago and only today found it in the drafts folder. I sprained my wrist last night slipping on ice, so this seems timely. 

It is a truth universally acknowledged that I should not often be left to my own devices.

Unfortunately, the weather necessitated that isolation be the case today. I arrived at work, after spending 35 minutes pathetically scraping ice off of my car using a car key and the salt from my tears, to discover that none of my coworkers could make it to the office due to the conditions of the highway.

After a few hours of lonesomeness, someone finally called my office number. I was so pleased that I sent an email to my missing colleagues about it.

Subject: Mr. K—— Called: A Dramatic Retelling of a Mundane Phone Call

It was about 11:06am on a day most unusual for Houston — quiet, cold, a subtle wind unhappily creeping into the spaces between your scarf and your neck. Sitting here enjoying my coffee (drank not for pleasure but for heat generation), I suddenly recalled that I left my iPod in my car. Given the current weather conditions, it seemed unwise to allow it to remain there. I put on my coat in preparation of facing the elements, grabbed my car keys, and made my way to the door.

Just as the door was closing behind me, I heard the phone ring. A beat; a pause; a moment’s hesitation. I spun on my heel, sprinted back into the office, and grabbed the phone just after the third ring.

With barely enough time to collect my breath (I need to exercise more often), I answered the call.

“Good morning, this is Lee! How can I help you?”

“Hello, this is A—— K—–.- I’d like to provide you with my credit card information.”

And provide me with his credit card information he did. I dutifully updated QuickBooks with the information, then went out and retrieved my frozen iPod.

Ten minutes later, my coworker responded.

i’ll call in a bit to get the number, thanks!


From Root Beer to Root Fear (a post by Lee)

My junior year of college, without having done any research into the matter, I decided I wanted to run a marathon. Because I generally act on impulse and rarely on good sense or practicality, I immediately bought a legitimate pair of running shoes. It wasn’t until a few days later, when I investigated how to train for said marathon, that I discovered such a race is 26.2 miles.

I never made it out the door.

So when Anna Marie and I were selected to be competitors in a local brewery’s Olympics, I was understandably worried. I envisioned myself doing keg stand push-ups, climbing out of a fermentation vat, and deadlifting huge bags of grain. Luckily, the folks at Saint Arnold recognized that if you’re into spending an entire Saturday at a brewery, you’re probably not super fitness-oriented.

AM and I, flanked by our 3-person fan club, arrived early and discovered Saint Arnold was offering unlimited barbecue and beer. A lesson I didn’t but should have learned from my experience at the Warrior Dash is that it is generally inadvisable to drink beer before immediately engaging in physical activity. Considering this our first challenge of the day, however, we loaded up our plates and goblets, and went to town.

Once adequately sated, everyone assembled outside for the first challenge. Each team was required to roll a barrel around a maze of kegs. Upon reaching the end, both teammates had to chug a bottle of root beer. It is important to note here that the Olympics took place in June. Houston in June is hot. About 110° hot. Root beer left outside in this weather becomes quite warm and unpleasant to the taste. Also, AM’s and my decision to wear all black to appear intimidating totally backfired – not only did we look scrawny and young, we also overheated. As should be expected, our execution of this task was dismal. Jordie helpfully filmed our shameful performance for merciless teasing posterity.

I’d like to detail the other challenges that the winning teams faced, but I spent the rest of the day inside the brewery, stifling root beer-induced burps and softly crying. I guess I don’t have the heart of an Olympian after all.

Suture Self, Said the Surgeon (a post by Lee)

Last weekend, I went to a wedding outside of Austin. In the midst of all the excitement, I took a major tumble on Friday night. When I woke up the following morning, I noticed my right shoulder was a little sore. In my typical fashion, however, I ignored the pain, and carried on with swimming, dancing, climbing ladders, and generally being overactive.

When I returned to Houston on Sunday, I discovered that not only was my range of motion in my right shoulder rather limited, but also my collarbone seemed to be sticking out farther than usual. Because I’m an idiot optimist, I assumed the best and figured I’d just badly bruised myself. When I still wasn’t feeling better by Tuesday morning, however, I put on my responsible adult hat and went to the doctor.

The doctor took some x-rays of my right shoulder, and then sat me down for a conversation.

Doctor: So, did you hear a snap or a pop or anything when you fell?
Lee: No. It’s just that my shoulder is sore and there are some sharp pains if I move it in a certain way. Also, you know, my right collarbone seems to be sticking out pretty far.
Doctor: Well, Lee, that’s because your collarbone is broken.

This announcement reduced me into a giggling mess, which I think threw my poor doctor off-guard. He attempted to make me realize the seriousness of the situation by telling me I was lucky I didn’t puncture a lung, which only served to make me laugh harder. Eventually he just gave up and showed me my x-ray.

My collarbone was quite broken, as it turned out. The doctor recommended surgery, and that’s how I found myself at the Houston Orthopedic & Spine Hospital this past Friday.

The procedure involved the surgeon reconnecting my collarbone by affixing a metal plate over the bone via six screws. I am now the Bionic Woman! I put together a short film of my surgical experience for your viewing pleasure:

I was allowed to remove the bandages this morning. I’d been eagerly anticipating this moment since Friday afternoon, as I had no concept of the size of the incision. Turns out — it’s a whopping 4 inches!

I was disappointed to discover that my refrigerator magnets won’t stick to my new and improved collarbone. I guess there is a downside to major surgery, after all.

Walkin’ in a Faux Winter Wonderland (a post by Anna)

Houston is a funny place. Though it’s 75 degrees outside, people here keep pretending it’s “winter.”

Exhibit A: An Ice Skating Rink

Discovery Green got iced!

I never expected this city to be capable of maintaining an outdoor ice skating rink, but boy was I wrong.

Exhibit B: A Makeshift Snow Storm

This is 80,000 pounds of snow!!

The Museum of Natural Science concocted 80,000 pounds of snow, which was more underwhelming than it sounds. This is most likely the only “snow storm” these kids have ever experienced. Parents bundled up their children in heavy coats, boots, and mittens, and the kids were clearly overheating. A sign was posted outside the fence that read: “Children found throwing snowballs at other people will be asked to leave the snow area.”

Exhibit C: Outdoor Ice Sculptures


When I showed up at at the annual ice sculpting competition, I expected some graceful artist-types with a potential masochistic inclination towards the cold. This was not the case.

Turns out most ice sculptors are big men with bandanas and chainsaws.

The emcee for the event was named DJ Dirty Hands, and he announced that we were just in time for an ice sculpting face-off and live music from Downfall 2012. Let’s just say it was not what I expected either:

Video compliments of the esteemed Josh Fischer.

One of my favorite moments was near the middle of the competition when a nine year-old boy was given a fake sword and began hacking at the ice; this served no real purpose.

As I exited the competition, I realized I was in the presence of stilt dancers.

Not sure how my camera pulled this off.

“Winter” in Houston is awesome.

How Lee Got Her New Jersey Poof Back (a post by Anna)

Once upon a time not so long ago, Lee was super into New Jersey. She still can’t get enough of that place. When she found out Bon Jovi was coming to Houston, she went wild. Everyone else involved in this escapade could have cared less about this concert, but Lee’s overwhelming excitement became so contagious that we somehow ended up looking like this:

Go big or go home?

When Lee led the troops through downtown, we expected to see clusters of fans decked out to our level. Instead we found the streets to be near empty, a trademark of Houston’s downtown. Lee firmly stated, “I ain’t gonna be just a face in the crowd, you’re gonna hear my voice when I shout it out loud.”

A shot for our next album cover.

Upon arriving at the Bon Jovi concert, we were bewildered by the lack of dedication from other fans. No one else was wearing any sort of 80’s garb whatsoever. The crowd was filled with women in their 40’s who were dressed for a night on the town. We pulled out a variety of inflatable guitars and started to shake it up like bad medicine.

Last Cigarette is my favorite Bon Jovi song of all time.

Bon Jovi may be approaching 50, but he somehow managed to dance around that stage (in leather pants!) for more than two hours. Lee was shot through the heart, and Bon Jovi was to blame. It was a night to remember.

Tuna-finity And Beyond! (a post by Anna)

A year ago, Jordie attended the Rice University Tuna Festival. The fact that he somehow neglected to inform his best friends about this bizarre outing didn’t stop him from bragging about his experience for the past twelve months. This year, the event was not to be missed.

Without us even asking, a friendly gentleman offered to balance Mike for this photo.

Here’s the concept: a Rice professor went fishing some nine years ago and caught a lot of tuna. Then, not knowing how else to share the wealth, he cooked it up and gave it away on Rice’s campus. Over the years Tuna Fest has been established as an annual Rice tradition, bringing students, faculty, and staff together for a day of tuna and fun. [Disclaimer: this story may only be rumor.]

We were unaware of Tuna Festival’s hilarity until we saw this year’s theme: Tuna-finity And Beyond! A fish shaped Buzz Lightyear mascotted the event.

First we spotted tables of free grilled tuna!

We made it just in time for... TUNA!

And Texas’s own Blue Bell!

Blue Bell has never wronged me.

We then ran into our friends from St. Arnold’s!

We neglected to ask our St. Arnold's friends to be in the foreground of this photo.

And that’s not all folks! There were free t-shirts, tuna tattoos, and a pinata!

You should've seen the kids demolishing that pinata.

Just when we thought the day could not possibly get any better, I looked up and saw a sign for segway demos.

What?!?! SEGWAY DEMOS?! Is this real?

It IS real. And apparently so is Toby's Wholesale Ice truck.

Tuna Fest ended with a lot of dancing.

Photoshopping is one of Lee's many claims to fame.

Many thanks to the The Richard E. Smalley Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology for hosting this grand event!

Houston Propaganda (a post by Anna)

When people visit us in Houston, we find quirky events that reflect our everyday life here. We’ve taken guests to tour the Beer Can House, eat at Jus’ Mac (the best mac and cheese place ever!), and see the view from the 60th floor observatory deck of the Chase Tower. Here are a few of the highlights from March:

You may remember last year’s rodeo experience. 2011 was similarly memorable.

An occasion to wear plaid and take awkward photos.

While we missed Jimmy Fallon, Rachel, myself, and 70,000 other people went to see Janet Jackson. I thought nothing could top Janet’s performance at the rodeo… until I saw this:

Kids In Giant Hamster Balls Inside A Swimming Pool!!!

Even funnier than the concept of kids playing in giant hamster balls inside a swimming pool was when they entered or exited the plastic ball. The whole ball deflated with a child inside it, then they used a vacuum to fill it back up with air once a new child entered.

When my dad was in town, we found some weiner dog races to attend.

Dad joined us to see some dachshunds!

Many of the dogs didn’t quite understand that this was a race. Some dogs ran in circles around each other. One chased a horse for quite some time. There were weiner dogs EVERYWHERE. It was awesome!

Dog in uniforms.

[photo compliments of

We often joke about how Texas likes to replicate American icons so that no Texan has to travel to another state to see anything. Mount Rushmore, anyone?

Texas competes with South Dakota for big president heads.

After seeing dozens of presidents and the Beatles, we found this I love Houston sculpture:

A common reaction when people visit us.

Thus concludes our March highlights on why Houston is awesome. Stay tuned for a post on the time we went skydiving!