College, a President and Needlepoint

During the Winter break, my son and I went to visit colleges. It was sort of a Mother-Son trip. We hung out, talked, tried new restaurants, and toured the campus. It was nice having that one-on-one time with my 17-year old. Soon enough he will be gone from home and I cherish these moments together.

While visiting the campus of Texas A&M University, we stopped at the George Bush Presidential Library and Museum. A long time ago, when I worked on the Hill, I came within a few yards of then President Bush (the elder, not “W”). Visiting the museum gave me a deeper appreciation of him. The museum chronicles his time in the service, how he was married with a baby during college, and his rise in politics. Coincidentally, while we were visiting the museum, he was hospitalized in Houston; and more recently, he and Barbara Bush celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary! Regardless of your politics, that is impressive. He even tweeted about this milestone – so sweet!

As interesting as all the artifacts and exhibits of his life were, my attention was diverted by several yarn-related installations. Much to my son’s chagrin, I spent a considerable amount of time admiring and photographing these adorable yarn houses and an amazing Noah’s Ark and Nativity Scene done in needlepoint. They were stitched by the Saintly Stitchers from Saint Martin’s Episcopal Church in Houston, Texas. The Nativity Scene was presented to the President and Mrs. Bush in 1989, and the Noah’s Ark was presented to them in 1991 along with needlepoint ornaments for the White House Christmas tree.

I highly recommend clicking on any photo below to view larger images. That way you can see the detail of the needlepoint. So much care went into each figure. All in all, it was a wonderful trip with my boy.

Getting Hygge With It

This year, we decided to do something different for Christmas. We wanted to experience cold weather and possibly snow in winter. While the so-called “Winter Texans” flocked south toward the border, we flew north and crossed an ocean to Denmark. We spent most of our time in Copenhagen, which consistently ranks among the top cities in the world for quality of life.

We stayed in a lovely home in the area of Ørestad. It was a short walk to the metro at Bella Center and from there about a 10-15 minute ride to the city center. There were bicycles everywhere, and babies bundled up in thick jumpsuits and wrapped in cozy strollers, renaissance castles, pickled herring, and plenty of varm chokolade. The weather ranged from 43° F during the day to 25° F at night. It was overcast and gloomy and rained half the time, with intermittent moments of sunshine. It was dark by 4 pm. We didn’t get snow. Ironically, it snowed in South Texas while we were in Denmark.

On New Year’s Eve, fireworks exploded throughout the city. They easily continued for over an hour and even lingered for days after. On the first, the streets were littered with cases of exploded fireworks. We have wonderful memories of our Christmas in Denmark.

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On a visit to the Design Museum Danmark, we had the pleasure of viewing a special exhibit commemorating the work of Danish architect Finn Juhl. The exhibit Furniture for the Senses, Finn Juhl 100 featured several chairs designed by Juhl and other Danish architects. Here are a few of my favorites.



And last but not least, here is a sampling of the delicious food we tried during our stay.