Monday, October 13, 2014

Skinner Farm

Sunday morning, we headed to Rockdale to refresh the flowers on my parents and grandparents graves and to visit with Uncle Bo & Ed, who were having their monthly work weekend at the farm. We met at the Mexican Restaurant for breakfast and then headed to the cemetery in town.

Red was Grandma's favorite color!
The little greenish ones in the center were just an accent.

Since the older flowers still looked nice, we "recycled" them and perked up Mama West's grave too.

As we were heading to the country, we stopped by the Rockdale Depot, which has been restored and looks great.  I even found a few bricks out front by donated friends of Grandma Skinner ... names like Backhaus and Noack/Perry bring back memories from spending time in Rockdale each summer.

Onward to Harmony Cemetery ...

Of course, Mom's favorite color was purple!

I'm adding in Jimmie Lee's grave for family who may want to remember the dates.  Was happy I had some extra flowers to perk up her arrangement.  Having just been in Waco, I was thinking about all the day-trips with Grandma to visit her cousin ... eating lunch at the Piccadilly Cafeteria and saving leftover bites of cornbread for her poodle named Whisper.

Spent a little time at the cabin and looking at the cows before heading back to Houston.

Seems a little out of place in a rustic cabin,
but this is one of Grandma Skinner's paintings.
It hung in her living room as long as I can remember.


Uncle Bozo and Ed - ready to get back to work!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Baylor Bears

I'm way behind on my blogging, but hope to catch up in the coming weeks.  I'll start with the weekend!

Jerry and I had an opportunity to see the new McLane Stadium in Waco and experience the Baylor vs. TCU game.  A friend of Jerry's, who is part owner of the office building where BORO Riverway is located, is a Baylor grad and heavily involved in their business school.  David invited us to join his crew (12 person Loge Box) for "sailgating" and the game.  Pretty sweet deal!

First, let me explain "sailgating" - which is done on a boat instead of a parking lot.

When the stadium was designed, they took advantage of the nearby Brazos River and created an area next to the stadium for a few supporters to purchase dock space.  Out of only 16 spaces, David has a prime location on the end ... not sure what the investment was, but clearly it was significant.

So the boats either hang out at the dock or mill around the lake next to the stadium and watch the students, band and team walk over the bridges toward the stadium. It's very pretty and different than any other stadium I've visited.

The whole place is first class - just beautiful - and the layout with the horseshoe shape facing the scoreboard and river adds to the appeal.

By now, everyone knows about this game, which will go down in history for breaking several records. It was WILD!  TCU fans had to be crushed over the defeat, since they were in the lead the entire game.  We actually considered leaving early in the fourth quarter because the score was 41 to 58 and seemed a bit hopeless.

Keeping the faith in the fourth quarter!

Through divine intervention, I guess, Baylor "caught fire" and tied it up with just a little over a minute to go.  Amazingly, they put together another drive that got them within field goal range and - under TREMENDOUS PRESSURE - their guy made the goal for a 61 to 58 win.

The entire student section emptied onto the field - complete madness - and everyone was celebrating.  Well, except the TCU folks who left the stadium in shock.

It was a lot of fun, although we were late getting to our little hotel in Temple, where we spent the night.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


Could this man really be 70?

05/06/14 - Brennan's

It was a mild celebration - he didn't want to make a big deal about it - so we had a great dinner at Brennan's and then Norma dropped by with some balloons that Elvis enjoyed as much as Jerry.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Wabash Feed Store

Living in the fourth largest city in the U.S., you wouldn't think you could find a feed store within the city limits - much less about 5 miles from Downtown - but you can.  If you've never been, the Wabash is just across Washington Ave. from El Tiempo Restaurant and it's right by the car wash we frequent on the weekends.

I know it's silly, and it's probably because they're all gone now and I just like thinking about growing up and going to McVoy's in Rockdale with my grandmother, but there's something fun about a feed store.  A REAL one ... with plants and fertilizer and tacky iron "sculptures" in the yard ... and someone's too-young kittens and puppies in a pen - waiting to be adopted ... and chickens (fancy & plain) ... hay and the inevitable "barn cat".

This cat is tiny, but super friendly and usually greets us and let's me carry him around the store as we look at all the stuff we don't need.  Today we arrived to find him sacked out on top of the hay bales.

Lots of chickens and they were all working on their eggs ... particularly the one in the corner.

As we were leaving, we looked back and this is the condition "black kitty" was in ... it's a shame he can't relax

Next time you need farming supplies, or just want to step back in time for a little while, visit the Wabash!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Herman Park & Interesting Art

Jerry and I like to get out to different spots around the City for our "long walks" on the Sundays we're in town.  The relatively new hike and bike paths around Buffalo Bayou downtown are a favorite, as is the path around Herman Park - with a detour across the suspension bridge near the golf course.

You never know what you're going to see on these adventures and while we don't know anything about this "rope art", we thought it was pretty cool!

Our other favorite thing about this path - aside from the beautiful bridge - are the huge catfish easily visible in the bayou.

And one last wide shot with the bridge and the large rope art installation on the other side of the bayou ...

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Maine Coon Madness at the Omni

Since they weren't stressed out enough with all of our April travels, Jerry scheduled a massive carpet cleaning and floor refinishing job the week after Crescent City.  After meeting with the technician and being told that the cats and I could remain in the house while this was being done, the night before they begin work, Jerry reads the instructions that clearly state pets and children cannot walk on the floors until the stain-proofing and stone sealant has been dry 8 hours.  Now, with every floor in every room being worked on, over a 48 hour period, I wasn't exactly sure where that left us.

Enter the Omni!  They were so nice to us - said they have lots of guests who live out remodeling projects with their pets at the hotel.  Now the boys are accustomed to getting in the car, but they know the pattern.  If only one cat goes and they're put in the small carrier, that means they're going to the vet ... SCARY.  If both cats go and they're put in the big car kennel - and both Jerry and I are in the car - they know they're going to Galveston.  So this morning, when I loaded them and some supplies into the car kennel - without Jerry - they KNEW something bad was going down.

This feeling was reinforced when we arrived at the Omni.  Jerry had walked over from his office to help get them in the room, but those "helpful valets" didn't seem to understand that it's different with cats checking into a hotel than it is with dogs!  I would have taken a photo of them riding on the luggage cart inside their kennel, but I was too focused on praying that Elvis would not break through the mesh and take out the bellman's legs.

For some time after we arrived in the room, Elvis was in the back of the kennel, UNDER his bed!  This was uncharted territory and he wasn't happy.

He's quick to "spark" and fairly quick to adjust ... within a short time, he was making himself at home.

Maybe a little TOO much at home!

By the next morning, they were feeling pretty confident - except when someone from the hotel knocked on the door or dared to enter the room with a room service order.

At one point, Denny appointed himself "door guard" and did a good job of keeping us safe.

I guess you know it's time to go when the cats get in their kennel - clearly wanting to go home.  We checked out the evening of the second day - thinking the carpets (cleaned first) should be safe for them that night.

It was not easy, moving half the contents of the house into the garage and hauling the cats to a hotel, but they did a good job and I won't have to deal with that again for a while!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Running Hard in the Big Easy

Less than a week after returning from The Masters, we were on the road again - headed to New Orleans for Crescent City Classic!

Engine of our Plane with the Fred Hartman Bridge in the Background

Approaching New Orleans with the mighty Mississippi ahead.  I know this weather looks ominous, but it was actually fine when we landed!

We love New Orleans and we love staying at the Ritz - what a lovely hotel.

Ritz Carlton Courtyard ... Perfect Spot for Wine & Cheese
Had to take a picture of this wedding cake display ... my friend Kelly (who is not engaged at the moment) needs this cake when she gets married.  Beautiful half fleur de lis!

Y'all know it's "all about the food" for me and Jerry and we've wanted to try Elaine's for years, but never secured a reservation.  Score!  Friday night, we had an amazing dinner (Italian) and I would have enjoyed it even more if I hadn't been running 6.2 the next morning.  This quote was on their menu and it's a great way to look at life:
It doesn't matter if we say the glass is "half empty" or "half full". What matters is that there's room for more wine.     - Anonymous
Game plan for 2015 is to get reservations at Elaine's for Saturday night and eat ALL the calories burned during the run!

Race morning ... so after Capitol 10K and walking miles at the Masters, Jerry's foot issue had him on injured reserves.  He went with me to the start and then took a cab out to the finish area. It was cold that morning, which was a benefit to all of us who ran.

There may have been drones in Austin, but we didn't see them.  I got a good shot of the drone that followed us along the way to snap photos and keep the runners safe.

Here I am looking happy to be finished.  It's a good race and the course is flat, but there's something about that last 1.5 miles inside the City Park that are not easy!

And here with my finisher's medal ... added a minute to my time over my Cap 10K results.  Fairly sure it was Elaine's fault!

Up close and personal with the mighty Mississippi ...

Jackson Square

Easter Sunday was beautiful and although we had to leave before the Easter Parade got going, we did walk down to see the carriages and this guy was ready to roll.

Farewell, New Orleans ... see ya next year!