14 July 2017

Live that Life


Live that Life...

What do you do when you end up unexpectedly with three days off in the middle of the week? And it's going to be July 4th? And your house is basically packed up and the only thing to do around same house is pack MORE?

If you are me, you see if anyone wants you, if there are any reward type airline tickets available and if the sweet big guy is willing to watch the dog. And the chinchilla. And the cats. And the turtle. Bless his heart, he agreed. I took him out for Mexican food before I left to make the idea more appealing.

And where did I end up?

VIRGINIA!!

Friend Cathy lives there. We met in Mexico when we were 18. Even though she lived maybe 6 miles from where I grew up, we had to travel 1000 miles and be deposited at the same boarding house by well meaning mothers before we made each other's acquaintance. (We lasted at the boarding house until the mommas went home. As soon as the moms were gone, so were the yummy meals and hot water.)

Cathy/Me
This past winter she came to Texas!
(I can't find a Mexico picture. They are all packed away in storage.)


Anyway, Cathy foolishly said "Come see me!"
So I did.

$12 and some points for an airline ticket and I was gone.

It was a magical three days. I had four airline flights and 72 hours. That worried me. Just one flight being delayed or cancelled could ruin the whole trip. On the return I had it scheduled so I would arrive in time to get across town to pick up Bunny who would arrive at another airport.  Fingers crossed, I put my fate in United's hands.   They came through like a champ.

And what did we do in our 72 hours?

Visited her son and his wife's house, had a driving tour of Richmond, went to a brewery, had a big steak dinner,  antique shopping, lunch out, visited a Civil War battlefield, another brewery, dinner out, dug potatoes in her garden and visited a plantation.

And we visited. That was the best part.

Because Cathy lives in a picture book perfect farmhouse in rural Virginia. I had no idea Virginia was so pretty.


Can't believe I didn't get a better pic of the front of the house.
Aren't those puppies adorable? 


Decorative dogs, real dogs. 
Hank and Sadie are the real ones. 
The basket holding dogs don't have names. 
I'm going to call them Rufus and LeRóy.

Morning coffee was on the front porch. I really thought I had "Front porch-ing" down. We have a pretty good porch in Colorado. But no. This porch was straight out of Martha Stewart magazine. Or maybe Garden and Gun. One hundred and two year old farmhouse with a wrap around porch. Wicker furniture. Hanging baskets. Big black labs at our feet.  Wildflowers strategically placed in mason jars. Seriously, I could have spent the entire 72 hours there.

Heaven.

And the story of how they ended up in this perfect house is the BEST.

The other side of Heaven.

Cathy's husband grew up in the area. When he was in 4th grade, he was out on the school bus and saw this gorgeous old farm house. He told himself "One day, I'm going to live there." (Ok. I wasn't on the bus, I don't know EXACTLY what he said, but that's the gist of it.)  Maybe 35 years later, there he is. With my sweet friend.

Sigh. Excuse me. 
I need to go back and have coffee in this spot. 
There's a 100 year old magnolia tree on the other side of the house 
and it made the air so sweet.

Anyway, it was a perfect three days and I'll hit some of the highlights next post. But here's what I am going to leave you with:


Live that Life.


This was on someone's Facebook wall and I stole it. I saw it while I was waiting for my plane and it perfectly sums up what I was feeling. Yes. I COULD have stayed home and packed and been bored. Walked down to see the fireworks maybe. But...but...we only have one life. Love it, live it, don't waste it.





05 July 2017

94. Have my picture taken with dad's brick paver at Lighthouse for the Blind in Houston.

No. 94: Have my picture taken with Dad's paver.  


Back in December 2016 my dad passed away after a full and wonderful life. He was 6 weeks away from turning 94. We should all hope for such a long and happy life.


Dad was a huge volunteer. Many organizations benefited from his participation. A few that I can think of are Amigos de las Americas, The Kidney Foundation, Pilgrim Elementary in HISD and the Lighthouse for the Blind.

In honor of Dad's memory we requested donations to some of these organizations if people were so inclined.

Sweet friend Peggy felt inclined.

That's Peggy, second from left.
(And Liddy, Allison, Me and Bunny)
Lunching at rise no. 2 after Dad's service.

She donated a brick paver in Dad's honor to The Lighthouse and it was installed in February.

Ever since then it has been on the list to go see.

Last Thursday, I finally made the trip.

It was quick. And not too hard to find. Pulled up in front of the building where I could see the pavers out front.

Hopped out and walked around a minute and Voila! there he was.


Typical dad. 
Making friends even in death.
Here he is cozied up to Jerry and Rhonda, whoever they are. 

And here I am...posing with his paver and thereby fulfilling No. 94.

Love you, Dad. 
And thanks mucho, Peggy. 


04 July 2017

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, America! 

I'm off this morning to Virginia to visit a friend.


Hope everyone has a safe and fun Fourth of July!

Here's here's where the pic of the American Flag
 goes but I'm at the airport and the stupid iPad isn't cooperating. 

Love y'all! 

29 June 2017

No. 90: Another New Restaurant

No. 90:Another New Restaurant- Bar Louie


When Bunny got home from college, she knew she needed a job. And she knew she needed to make decent money.  Off she went in search of gainful employment.

A new place had opened up in the same spot as where she used to work in Sugar Land's Town Center.  Bar Louie had replaced Lasagna House and apparently it was the hopping new spot to eat. And to work.

Bar Louie
Great outdoor seating area. 
Unless it's June in Texas.

So Bunny of course went and got herself hired. Her work experience has not been painless.  She works ridiculously long hours, has one very difficult manager and frequently ends up working the outside tables which can be lucrative and/or a waste of time. Depends on the weather. But she's making good money so she isn't complaining. (Too much.)

Anyway, like a good mommy, I had to go see what all the fuss was about.

Libby and I met for happy hour a couple of weeks ago. Happy hour is a deal. Half price martinis, wines and beers plus a good selection of half price appetizers. The food portions are plentiful and filling.

Libby ordered the bruschetta for us to share. A giant martini glass lined with toast slices and the center piled high with tomatoes, garlic and goodness was deposited on our table. We also tried a couple of martinis. My new fave is the Lemon Drop and yay! they have a yummy grand one.

Sadly, no pictures exist of this evening.

Once we had decimated the bruschetta, I ordered some buffalo wings (still on the half price menu) while Libby tried an enormous plate of chicken nachos. And maybe we each had another martini.

Good food, plenty of it and great deals from 5pm to 7pm, what's not to love?

In fact, I loved it so much, I went back the following week on a Tuesday night. Tuesday just happens to be $5.00 burger night, too.

This time I went with Martha. Again we tried some martinis. The chips/queso/salsa/guacamole appetizer started our evening. (Still half price here, guys.)   Dinner was a $5.00 hamburger that came with my favorite, tater tots. So filling I could not even contemplate finishing it.

Martha/Me: martinis in hand, burgers in belly.


This is not diet food. This is not health food. But for a fun evening with affordable prices and good solid food, Bar Louie is the place.

And if you're lucky, you'll get this really cute waitress.

Bunny
Waitress extraordinaire



26 June 2017

Sometimes the Universe Speaks to Me

Sometimes the Universe Speaks to Me....


Actually I imagine the universe speaks to all of us a lot. But we don't hear. Or don't listen. And then the universe, just like a mom that's been ignored after she has asked for the umpteenth thousand millionth time for someone to please pick up their shoes N.O.W., loses it and screams.

And then I think "Wow! Wise words from the Universe!"

This happened on Friday. The Universe screamed.

If you read my last post, it was a recap of my last month or so. Moving, packing, cleaning, more packing, more cleaning, more organizing kids and dogs and things and more and more and more. All while working almost full time and living life. And signing contracts because THE HOUSE SOLD!!!  I should wait to scream that until the option period is over because I know very well that sold houses often don't stay sold, but I feel fairly positive about this one.

Anyway, after all that running around I had a pretty quiet week where I just worked and signed paperwork and did normal stuff.  My day off on Thursday was non stop with errands, lunch with a friend (at The Dunlavy, my review here) and completing No. 94 followed by taking my mom to her former assisted living place for Casino Night.

A little blurry but of course we had to hit the photo booth.
I have so few pics of me and my mom together. 
Trying to rectify that. 


I had plans to go to Austin on Saturday morning to see friend Ann. Just a quick trip, up Saturday and back on Sunday. See Melissa Etheridge on Saturday night. I knew that didn't allow for any down time, but Melissa Etheridge...  That sounded too good to pass up. And I can have down time when I'm dead.

And then the Universe said "Nope. You need to stay home and just chill."   (Sadly, it didn't suggest Netflix and Chill which would have been more fun.)

How did the Universe tell me this?  Letters written across the sky? A phone call? Nope.

An email from Visa asking me if I had just spent $406 at Target.

Well, of course not. If I was shopping at Target I would have used my Target card. Five percent off.

So I checked my wallet and realized "O yea, that Visa is in the change purse in the car. In my beautiful Kate Spade handbag on the floor in the back seat. Where it has been since I switched purses last week."

You see where this is going?

I walk out to my car to find broken glass and a hole where my back window used to be. The beautiful Kate Spade is gone along with my favorite little pewter cross body that was just the best little all purpose bag.

This isn't how the window is supposed to look.

The Kate Spade had the change purse that had some gift cards (bye...) and my Visa (bye...) and some Loyalty cards (bye...) and who knows what else. There were probably some crumpled Target receipts in there, a few lipsticks and some Advil.  Really I don't know what else. The pewter cross body was
empty.

That little pewter cross body was the perfect size.
It held an iPhone, sunglasses, money AND a brush.
Sigh. 

It was upsetting to see the hole where the car window should have been, but the loss of the purses is what really makes me sad. I bought that Kate Spade as a birthday present to myself when I turned sixty. It elevated everything. I constantly got compliments on it. I constantly got compliments on what I was wearing when I carried it. ("Great outfit!"  Really? I have on jeans with holes, a v neck t shirt and Vans BUT I'm carrying a good handbag. Honestly. It was the bomb.)

Me and Kate.
Yummy leather, big enough for an iPad. 
It's rare for me to find a bag I really love. 

So that was my scream from the Universe. Weather forecast for the weekend was rain. Lots of it. Couldn't get the car to the insurance appraiser until Monday.


That black stuff used to be my window.


You need to stay home. That's what the Universe said.

So I did. Taped my car window up with plastic. And put the car in the garage.

Can we say "Ghetto"?
Friend Cherrilla says maybe my car just has bad juju.
I think she's right.

And Saturday?? I slept in until 11am. Eleven. In the morning. An hour before Noon. I did not get dressed until 3:00pm.

The Universe knew what it was talking about.

Stay home.

Chill.


(And I have already ordered myself a replacement bag. Not the same, but hopefully as wonderful. Maybe better?! We shall see.)

Does the Universe ever talk to you?




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.