18 June 2017

Hola!

Hola!
Que tal?

I've surfaced again for a day.

Barely.

What have I been doing the past month?

Packing. Throwing stuff away. Negotiating.
Supervising painters and carpet people and sprinkler people and adult kids and dogs and storage units.

All to end up with this:


It's a sign!


Yep. A "For Sale" sign in front of the house.

I have stripped every bit of personality from a house that we have lived in for 18 years.

Now it is a blank beige slate.

To get to that blank slate I have had to tackle kids rooms....


 Bunny's room 

 It looks like her suitcases threw up.
I will say this was a few days after she returned from college. 
It's not usually this bad.

 After one solid day of cleaning. 

And the Big Guy's room .
Looks like Carlos is probably hunting down some varmint. 
I quit going into this room years ago.


After new carpet, new paint, LOTS of packing and cleaning.
The Big Guy did a fabulous job of pulling it all together- 
even though he did push his deadlines a LOT


Red wallpaper in the kitchen.  I liked it. But apparently it doesn't "show well".

I love this pic.
Bunny in heels doing laundry. 
Won't she make a great housewife??
She probably has on her pearls, too.
Anyway, that red kitchen is not "appealing'. 
Also, way too cluttered. 
See what it looks like ready to sell? 


This is the professional picture off the realtor's page. 
See? Blank slate. 


Pack and pack and pack.


Getting ready to move or sell requires a lot of "decluttering". Also sorting, decision making, wrapping, lifting and cleaning.


When I put No. 20: Move on the original 60x60 list I didn't really know how that would work out, I just knew that I'm a peripatetic sort and a change would be fun.  I thought I had satisfied that challenge sufficiently by relocating to Colorado for a few years, even though that was pretty much just part time.

I had no idea it would eventually end up being a full fledged, clean out every single room and handle every little item kind of move. But it is.

And that's cool. It's a ton of work. I mean, a TON. The adult kids aren't too happy about it but they are adjusting and actually being helpful when it gets to the "clean up your room and get out of the house" part of the showing process.

O! And in the middle of getting this house ready to sell, there was a quick trip to Florida (less than 48 hours) to move Belle and her furniture out of her rental house.
Because, you know, I had not had enough fun packing and moving in Texas.
It started with a delayed flight, then a cancelled flight, a flight rebooked into another city two hours further away, monsoon rains, more furniture and stuff in the house than I had been led to believe and ended up with some amazingly sweet helpers ("Straight up thugs" Belle said but in the end, they emptied our truck and stacked it into the storage unit in ⅓ the time it would have taken us and much neater and more organized than we could have ever hoped for), the use of a truck that saved our behinds and the realization that you can do the impossible if you just put your mind to it.

 Belle has always said she wanted to be a trucker.


Pretty sure I don't have a future as a moving person. 
I will say Belle and I loaded 98% of this truck ourselves. 
I have the bruises to prove it. 

And this is her storage unit.
I swear we did NOT think everything would fit. 
But it did. 

And where am I going to move TO? Who knows?!

I can only cross one bridge at a time. For now that bridge is selling the house.

Stay tuned.


19 May 2017

Fiesta:Part Tres

Fiesta Part Tres
(No. 87: Go to Fiesta in San Antonio
(for Parts Uno and Dos go here and here.)

Saturday in San Antonio, after our full day Friday of judging and partying, was thankfully duty free.
Left to our own devices, Liddy and I grabbed another Uber and headed to the King William Fair.

A nineteenth century residential area located on the south side of the San Antonio River, the King William district is a feast of gorgeous old homes. The fair is the major fundraiser for the King William  Association, a non-profit organization whose goal is to preserve and protect the oldest historic district in Texas.

didn't get a lot of pics because a) it was crowded and b) it was hot.   When it's hot, I get cranky.  


Lots of people, lots of booths.

But we met up with Felicia and Tom from Thursday night and visited Felicia's sister's booth, the Champagne Mermaid. Sandi of Champagne Mermaid learned her jewelry skills at my old school, the Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende. I took that same silver working class but obviously did not get as much out of it. It is on my list though to refresh my silver soldering skills. (No.27: Jewelry making- refresh the silver soldering skills)

Then we moved on, walking the district and stopping occasionally to shop. My big purchase of the day (weekend) was a Mexican shirt. Haven't had one in ages and I was super happy with this one. 


Love all the embroidery

We wandered the streets admiring the  old houses until our stomachs started rumbling and I needed air conditioning. 


One of the gorgeous old houses. 
Wish we could have seen inside some of them. 

Another Uber ride (with, amazingly, the same driver who had brought us there) got me and Liddy back to the hotel and our cars. A quick drive down Broadway took us to an air conditioned, uncrowded Mexican restaurant where I'm pretty sure I downed a full gallon of iced tea. 

For Saturday night we were lucky enough to have the use of a house from a friend who happened to be out of town.  Right in Olmos Park, it was the perfect spot to rest and cool down. We finished up our evening with snackies at the Broadway 50 50, once again meeting up with Tom and Felicia and their family. What a welcoming group.  

The whole weekend was a blast.  I felt like we really got the feel of San Antonio and especially Fiesta. 

Again many many thanks to all of my friends who made it possible for us to experience this fabulous weekend. I am beyond blessed to have such wonderful, supportive friends. Y'all are the best!
•••••••••••


And now I am packing and packing and purging and cleaning. Putting the house we've lived in for 17 years on the market. Do you know how much stuff a house accumulates in 17 years?? A LOT.

A surprise arrival from Florida of Belle and her little dog- for the summer- made my day but complicated my cleaning. I thought I was going to be able to store stuff in her empty room.  Wrong! And then last night Bunny got home with yet another car full of stuff. 

Carlos, Dakota and Belle. 
Dakota is a Tri-pawed dog. 
He's missing one of his front legs. 

And where are we moving to? Don't know yet. We'll cross that bridge when we get to it. 

Definitely it will be an adventure. 





18 May 2017

Fiesta: Part Dos

Fiesta: Part Dos
(No. 87: Go to Fiesta in San Antonio)
( See Part Uno here.)


Friday dawned bright and early for me and Liddy...possibly a little too early after all of the margaritas and confetti of the evening before.

But we were up and dressed pronto because we had a job to do: JUDGING!

Second grade friend Melissa had invited me and a Plus One to judge the Battle of the Flowers Parade on the last Friday of Fiesta.  This is a big deal. The Battle of the Flowers Parade is the only parade in the United States produced entirely by women volunteers. Stop and think about that. Organized and planned and hosted by nothing but women. It's a BIG parade. And on parade day, all of these volunteers are out and about dressed in yellow. 


Ladies in yellow, waiting to get the parade started.

The first parade occurred in 1891 to commemorate the battle of the Alamo and the victory at San Jacinto.  The parade organization's goal now is to teach the history of the great state of Texas and help keep alive the many traditions of this state and the city of San Antonio.

All Liddy and I had to do was show up in time for a pre-parade picnic where we were to get our badges and where I got to see Melissa again for the first time since- I think- High School. Janelle and Madeleine, two other friends of Melissa's ( from elementary and college, respectively) joined us and we all sat together for the judging. 


Madeleine, Janelle, Melissa, Juli (our Amusements guide), Me and Liddy Beth


The judging stand was directly across the street from the Alamo; the picnic actually on the Alamo grounds. I am always amazed at how small the actual Alamo is. The history is palpable. 


Remember the Alamo!

Liddy and I were to judge the "Amusements" section of the parade. We were both a little confused as to what exactly "Amusements" were, but quickly got into the spirit of the day and judged away. Apologies to those in the category if you were unhappy with the results...it was difficult to judge entries that were so disparate. We had dancers, bicyclers, a Chinese dragon and a few other entries- no two were even remotely similar! 

\
Our official judging forms!

The parade was long and the weather was hot. Fortunately there were lovely women that brought us water bottles while we were judging.  About 3 hours and 213 (!) entries later, we were done. Floats, gorgeous dresses, a Queen, a Princess and numerous Duchesses, two Kings, our Mustang from the night before (with the actual Grand Marshal), bands and horses all had passed before us in a visual feast.

 Look at these dresses! 

Duchesses
In amazing dresses. 

 Chinese dragon float


 My friends, The Budweiser Clydesdales


 Nothing says Texas traditions like bagpipes. 


Charros- riding side saddle! 


Even Wells Fargo showed up.


BUT! Our day was not done!

After a quick walk back to our hotel (again, thanks to Liddy's husband for booking us into La Mansion del Rio...so convenient to the parade and to both of them for treating me to the room)  and much needed showers, we were off again.
This time dressed in formal wear!!!

We met Melissa and her amazingly patient and sweet husband, Bob, along with Janelle and Madeleine, all at a gorgeous garden party at a private home in Terrell Hills.  (Terrell Hills along with Olmos Park and Alamo Heights are three tiny cities within San Antonio.)  Gorgeous dresses, men in tuxedos, ancient oak trees dripping with decorations and waiters passing hor's deouvres started our evening.

We clean up nice I think. 

A gorgeous yard, gorgeous house, wonderful party.
Love the streamers hanging from the trees.

(O! And I got to experience my first Uber ride!  Not on the list but probably should have been.)

 Between Party One and Dinner, look where we stopped!

Our gracious
hosts for the evening, Bob and Melissa.

Next up was dinner at the Argyle, a private club with a purpose, for our little group of six. Club membership helps support the Texas Biomedical Research Institute. The air conditioning was a nice break. 

Happily fed, we were off to our next stop, the San Antonio Country Club for another garden party. We arrived a little later than we expected but still found the party going full blast. We were greeted by the Queen and Princess of Fiesta's dress trains...gorgeous works of art that can take up to six months to create. More beautiful women in long dresses, dashing men in tuxedos, piñatas hanging from the giant oaks plus a dance floor packed to the brim and a live band backing it all up made for one grand party. Amazingly I did not see one dress repeat the entire night and the first party had about 250 attendees while the second was closer to 1000.

The Queen's train...
(The Order of the Alamo is responsible for choosing the Queen,etc.)

and the Princess's
(a bit of history on the Queen's dress here)

At midnight, the party was over, our chariot awaited us and Liddy and I were driven exhausted but happy back to the hotel. The whole evening (Hell! The WHOLE DAY!) was such an experience. It was a treat to see the people behind Fiesta exhibiting so much tradition and pride in their city and in this unique celebration. The parties weren't too bad, either!

We had one more day in San Antonio and I'll share that next.    Hopefully quicker than I got this post done.  I am in the throes of moving and Man! the house is a mess. I can barely get into the office to reach my computer. Patience with me please. 





09 May 2017

Fiesta!


Fiesta!
(No. 87) 


fi·es·ta

fēˈestə/
noun

  1. (in Spanish-speaking regions) a religious festival

    • an event marked by festivities or celebration.




O my.
What can I say?
I went to Fiesta in San Antonio over the weekend.


The Official Fiesta Poster-2017


It was marvelous.

First I'd like to talk about anticipation. How delicious it is to look forward to something, plan and prepare and then actually experience whatever it is you were anticipating.
Think back to High School and that first date with the guy/girl you had a crush on forever that finally came to their senses and asked you out. The plotting...what do I wear? Where are we going? What are they going to be like one on one?

As an adult, you don't get much of that.  Maybe when you have a baby, although knowing the gender beforehand takes some of the suspense out of that these days.  Christmas is fun but usually the anticipation is not there because...hello...as an adult you are the one doing the shopping and planning.

So I had been anticipating this trip to San Antonio for Fiesta for a few months. The build up was fun. I had to find a formal dress! Find a place to stay! Find someone to go with me!

And how did this trip even come about? I mentioned to a friend in San Antonio last year, after seeing her Fiesta pics, how I have always wanted to go but forget every year until it is too late.   That sweet friend just happens to be on one of the big parade volunteer committees and she came up with a plan.   Invite me to help judge the parade and then I will have to come.

This sweet friend, Melissa, was my BFF in first and second grade when I briefly lived in San Antonio. We had not seen each other in 40 years. But through the magic of Facebook, we had reconnected.  O! And she has a daughter named after my daughter. Isn't that a fun connection?

Woodridge Elementary
First grade? Second? 
Melissa is on the bottom row third from the left,
I'm bottom row, third from the right.
(I'm digging the kid's boots next to me.)

So I grabbed my other friend Liddy as my Plus One and off we went. A special shout out to her husband that loves to find hotel rooms as he managed to get us a lovely room at my most favorite hotel, La Mansion del Rio. Right on the Riverwalk, it was the perfect location for our weekend.


Our first night was free so Liddy called another friend and somehow we were off to a party. A big party. A Cascarones Party. With live music and dancing in the grass and a THOUSAND cascarones and enchiladas a la plancha.  We arrived in style, sneaking the Parade Grand Marshall's Mustang out for a quick run through the neighborhood. No, we weren't supposed to be in it. We definitely were not supposed to be leaving confetti all over it. But. Things happen.

Felicia, Liddy, Me
The Grand Marshall's Mustang
(Shhhh. Don't tell.)
Pre-Confetti

 On the way we HAD to stop at this corner house's display for a photo op. Isn't that nice? The homeowner decorates for every holiday so people make it a tradition to stop and have their pic taken.

New friends!
El Rey Feo, Pascal, Me, Tom, King Antonio
Liddy and Felicia 
Isn't it nice that this corner is decorated for the all the holidays? 

Liddy and I feeling frisky and it's just the beginning of the night. 

The party itself was big and loud with interesting people and good music and plenty of margaritas. Just like a party should be. Not knowing anyone going in, Liddy and I both found connections through out the night. Person A knew Person B. Person B knew Person C. There was a house in San Miguel. A friend of a friend. It was fun finding the common grounds.

The next morning I woke up with confetti in my bed. I'm pretty sure that's a sign of a good night.

And we hadn't even gotten to the Fiesta part yet.


Stay tuned for the rest of the story weekend.....







27 April 2017

No. 90: Twelve New Restaurants in 2017

No. 90: Twelve New Restaurants in 2017
Hopping over to the Fourth One!


I love that I have so many willing partners in crime when it comes to my challenges. Friend Martha is probably the most helpful because A) she is always up for a good time and a new adventure and B) she has a husband that travels so she is frequently alone and looking for company.

Last night we tried a new restaurant in the Rice Village area in Houston. A whole little row of restaurants greeted us but our destination was Hopdoddy Burger Bar.   An incredibly interesting gentleman had been in the office waiting for his buddy and we got to talking. Man, we covered the gamut of topics.  Race relations (He is black and I am not) and the price of slaves in the 1800s, the risk management part of casinos, horse racing, and good restaurants. He had heard great things about Hopdoddy's so I figured it was a good one for the list. Also it's a restaurant that originated in Austin, so that gives it a pretty good pedigree.

Doesn't it looks like fun?

Hmmm. Appears I might be tilting a bit upon our departure.

Even though I'm a huge fan of sitting outside, it was sprinkling a bit so we opted for an indoor table. The set up was one of those "stand in line, they assign you a table while you are waiting, order, and then the food comes out by waiter" arrangements.

It was hard to choose. Every single hamburger looked beyond yummy. They cheerfully make substitutions. Thankfully. 

I ended up with a Thunderbird which was supposed to have grilled chicken but I was jones-ing for a burger.  So they substituted.

Doesn't that look delicious? 
It was. 

 Martha had the Magic Shroom burger. We also shared some of the best french fries con chili con queso.   They were the closest I've had here to my favorite fries from the Fritz in Salida. 
And we both had margaritas.  


Big and Little Larrys. 
Or as my girls would call them "the mama and the baby" margaritas.

For some reason they call the margarita with Grand Marnier "Little Larry". Or off the menu but also available, the "Big Larry". 


See? 
It was an enticing cocktail list but we went with the basics.

Fortunately Martha had the Little Larry as she was driving.  They were sufficiently potent, especially considering the waitstaff had already passed out samples of the classic margaritas while we waited in line. Talk about keeping the customers happy while they wait!

A great evening out, a yummy meal and home at a reasonable hour. I even brought the Big Guy a hamburger since I am leaving him to take care of all the animals this weekend while I head to San Antonio. Figure I better butter him up a bit.

And this weekend is Fiesta in San Antonio. I am super super excited. Lots of fun activities in the few days I will be there. Follow me on Instagram @ininnbee to see pics as they happen!



21 April 2017

Not Quite Red Rocks....

Not Quite Red Rocks....
But Outdoor Entertainment Nevertheless
(Number 96: Houston Miller Outdoor Theater- see a show. )
(Bonus: No.71: Plan and execute a picnic)


Happy weekend!!

Number Four on my Sixty by Sixty list was/is go to Red Rocks in Denver for a performance.  For those that aren't familiar, Red Rocks is a an outdoor amphitheater with perfect acoustics in the mountains.  Stone steps make up the seats, the "walls" are the natural red (duh) rocks of the area.   I have been there early in the day when there wasn't a performance, but it is on my list to actually see a performance there, preferably musical, at some point in the future.


 Rock walls

Stone seats


And look! 
Diane, Diana and Lucy.
Can't believe this was so long ago. 
2012.


Until then, while I am back in the Houston area and doing Houston things, I hit up the next best thing. Or at least the next best thing locally.  Houston Miller Outdoor Theater, which I made No. 96 on the list. Miller Theater has FREE performances throughout the spring/summer/fall (i.e. most of the year in this part of Texas!) and they can vary from musicals, symphony, ballet, children's performances and more.  While it is outdoors, they do have some covered seating. The remaining seating is on a manmade hill overlooking the stage.

One of the benefits of outdoor venues? 
Beautiful sunsets while you wait for the show to start.

Friend Martha, along with another friend Betsy, headed to see the HITS musical production of Footloose. Side note: I have never seen the entire movie of Footloose. I HAVE seen Kevin Bacon in the dance scene at the end. Not sure where I was or what I was doing in the early 80s but I missed a few of the most popular movies around then.  (Flashdance? Never seen it either. )

Here we go....

HITS is a youth group so the presentation was entirely made up of students. Students who aspire to be real live paid actors. Not exactly Broadway caliber but there were some high points. The lead actor could really dance...very Fred Astaire-like with long legs and long arms and great moves. His singing? Eh. Hit or miss.  The preacher, on the other hand, had a great voice.


Preaching to the choir.

But overall the show was great and I guess I have an idea of how the movie played out now. Still need to watch it.

To make the most of our night, we brought a picnic and were even able to bring our own adult beverages...as long as they weren't in glass containers. (Even though I have already crossed off No. 71 on the list which was to have a picnic, I'm going to count this in the picnic list. No harm doing the fun things more than once!)  I'm sure decanting wine into plastic is the stuff of oenophiles' nightmares but it worked for Martha and Betsy. I stuck with beer in a can. We had a charcuterie platter for our dinner and snacked our way through the entire show. There were some envious glares from the surrounding seats who didn't come as prepared. (Or maybe that was anger and annoyance- we were blocking the aisle a bit.)

Look at that feast! 

So...not Red Rocks but a pretty fun substitute. Although, seriously, anywhere with friends, food and drink? Always fun.

Probably no post next week as I am headed to San Antonio on Thursday. It is Fiesta time in San Antonio and I get to help judge a parade! Talk about a new and different experience. I am super super excited and 200% looking forward to a little break. Can't wait to tell you all about it.

14 April 2017

i love you so much....



i love you so much....

Last weekend I visited my friend Ann in lovely Austin.

It was a quick trip, up Saturday, back Sunday.

But we packed in the excitement.

Saturday we headed to S. Congress to people watch and wander.  All that wandering worked up an appetite. So we ended up at Guero's for a little Tex Mex and maybe a margarita or two.

Honest. It was only a couple of drinks each.
In the middle of the day.
We were having fun. 
I love sitting at the bar to eat. My new favorite.

Sitting at the bar, we realized there were TOURISTS everywhere. Huh?  I guess I have been reading more and more about Austin as a destination but still, it surprised me.  A tourist destination? No, it's where a bunch of friends went off to college and stayed...not a place to go for a bachelor weekend. But apparently it is a place to go for a bachelor weekend as the five guys from New York City sitting next to us explained.

Anyway, after Ann gave the New Yorkers some tips on where to go, we headed off to have our picture taken in front of the I Love You So Much color wall. Such a fun idea: paint a wall bold and bright and watch people line up to have their picture taken in front of it.  Good job Jo's Coffee.

 I love this pic so much. It was a happy day. 

 Bunny ears for Ann. 
Such a good day.

We did a little regroup after S. Congress, and ended up eating dinner nearer to Ann's apartment. NxNW Restaurant and Brewery was walking distance which I always think makes things more fun.  It had a whole wall of brew tanks and somehow, Miss Beer Drinker Me ended up with Prosecco. I seldom miss a chance to try a fun beer, but that night I did.


Really, how could I pass up this display?


We had the waitress take our pic but all it shows is how tired we were. (And that empty Creme Brûlée bowl.) Seriously, why didn't she prompt us a bit to "perk up" or a "sit up straight"?

The Creme Brûlée was gone. 
Surprised those strawberries were still around. 

The food was yummy and I'm counting it as a new restaurant as I've never been there before. I had a fabulous, decadent shrimp pasta while Ann went for the crab cakes. And since I hadn't consumed enough calories for the day, I insisted on Creme Brûlée for dessert. We kinda shared. Not much. I ate most of it.
But the best part of the dinner?   It was prom night. All the cute young things in tuxes and suits and formals and fun short dresses paraded by, teetering on stilettos and awkwardly acting all adult for one night. Ann and I had a blast critiquing the dresses.

And because Ann always takes me to the nicest places, on Sunday she exposed me to Costco.



 I had never been.   I've done Sam's Warehouse many times but never a Costco. I've always heard everyone say Costco is so much better. More fun. Better samples. More random bargains.

Such a selection of premade meals!


 Everyone is right. We had a blast. Sampled our way around the store.  Found some deals. Admired the plants and flowers. Inspected the clothes.


The crowds are starting to gather. 
Time to get out.


And then church let out.  And it started to get crowded. And there were lots of families huddling together in the aisles. And it was time to leave.
I don't really have a lot of patience with crowds anymore.

So, just like on S. Congress, the crowds came and we left.

And the weekend drew to a close and I drove home.

But what a lovely 36 hours.
A good friend, good food, good fun.