"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Friday, August 30, 2013

Learning to Beat the Heat (and Fears)

Summer days are marching along.
Having been much farther north for the past 4 summers,
I had not particularly relished the thought of that
relentless Texas sun pushing the temperatures into triple digits
nor those days of blue skies with the occasional cloud teasing us 
with the promise of rain that rarely falls.
However, we have been filling days with fun trips, little adventures,
 and plenty of pool time.  
These pleasant activities have made the hot, sunny days much more bearable. 

One big part of this summer has been 
the painting of the house.
Jack committed to this task with full awareness that there was a deadline--
a new roof had been scheduled.
The painting of the house had to be completed 
by that date!

His plan was to get up all bright and bushy-tailed and be at it by 6:30 AM, work a few hours and end for each day way before the heat rolled in.
Somehow that planned early hour came just TOO early and our volunteer painter was dipping his brush 
much later than planned. 
He had to carry two rags in his back pocket-
one for the paint drips and one for the sweat drips. 

A note of importance, this volunteer painter
REALLY dislikes heights.
Yet he overcame this fear and trepidation and crawled up and down the 35 foot ladder, paint can in his trembling hand.
All the way to the very top boards!

I played an integral role during these times--
I stood on the bottom rung of the ladder,
putting my weight and stability into my job!

I'm happy to report the house was completely painted,
two coats at least, in time for the installation our great new roof.  All is well. 
And safe.
Fears have been battled and beaten.
(Drum roll, please.)


We've had some sweet visits from some of our favorite 
little people, too.  

I'll bet you didn't know that Ritz crackers could substitute for vanilla wafers (in a pinch) 
to make edible sunflowers.

And teaching a willing granddaughter how to pin a pattern meant this Grandma can sew matching dresses for her and her favorite doll.  Twins, you say?

Thanks to a willing neighbor who stores lots of great stuff in her garage, 
I borrowed some of that stuff.
Whistling happily as I scrubbed each piece down,
I anticipated a visit from some other favorite people.
Can you guess who is coming?
The answer will appear soon....

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Starting the Day--TexMex style

During our road trips we plan to stay at motels that offer
continental breakfasts.
They are so convenient and it's easy to get on the road to continue driving.  We don't want to spend time ordering and lingering over a meal when there are still miles ahead of us.

We've recently learned that things as
simple as  continental breakfasts are regional.

Who knew???

I always select the yogurt, fruit and bagels.
That's my idea of a perfect breakfast.
It is pretty much available ANYWHERE in the USA.

In San Antonio the colorful Mexican flair was everywhere.
(The Spurs were in the championship playoffs and 
t-shirts like this one abounded.)

This breakfast included warm and delicious choices.
In these warmers we discovered 
 scrambled eggs, sausage and refried beans.
Salsa and cheese were served alongside.

Warm tortillas invited us to customize our breakfast burritos.

Jack's breakfasts always bring a smile if waffles are included.
He waits patiently on long lines for his turn at the
"make-it-yourself" waffle irons.
This one personalized its waffles in a special way.

Mexican flair or not, we are still in TEXAS!!

Thanks, San Antonio, for a great anniversary celebration.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

San Antonio

 I wrote about our little trip to San Antonio
for our anniversary a couple of blogposts ago.
We hadn't been away from home in quite a while
and these carefree days were good for us!
We checked out the Alamo, of course.

We spent most of the time roaming the paths 
around the Riverwalk.
Many cities have underground malls and transportation,
but the Riverwalk here is unique in that, although it is below San Antonio's streets and buildings, it is open to them.
Most intersections above have stairways down to the underground world and its canal.
Shops, music and restaurants line the walks on both sides.
No cars or trucks, just the wide tourist boats.
It's darker, cooler and a bit musty down there.
A relief from the heat of the city street above.

While meandering on the Riverwalk
or eating at an outside cafe,
we noticed details of the buildings above us 
on the bustling city streets.
But, when walking the sidewalks above, we aren't even aware of the water world below us.
A strange phenomena.
(Oh, by the way, this building is the hospital 
where Carol Burnet was born. 
We heard the tour guide announce that on one of the many riverboats 
that continually sailed by us.)

 We paused to watch this wee duckling try to copy its mama and tuck its little head into the downy wing.
It was sitting a bit too near the edge of the water, though,
and almost toppled in at one point.
My heart jumped at this perilous wobble until Jack reminded me that it WAS a duckling, after all, and falling into water would not be fatal.  
Oh.  Right.  I KNEW that. 

There is just something fun and light about being in a place filled with tourists.
Even though we were only a couple of hours away from home, we were absorbed into the world of vacationers,
smiling easily and disregarding schedules.

 We met people from all over the world.
A couple from Ireland took our picture.
It was GOOD to be in San Antonio.
A lovely city, indeed.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Where to End...?

It has been 5 weeks.
If I had had any blog followers,
by now they would have lost interest and
most likely walked away, 
bored and disinterested from lack of writing.

I should call it quits.
After all, this whole thing began with my trips
to Alaska as I shared the uniqueness of that land
with friends down here in the "Lower 48".
Thus the name Kathleen chose for the blog:
"Northern Adventures".
I haven't been that far north in almost a year.
My life isn't particularly adventurous anymore.
But still...

This silly, mundane blog does something for me.
Maybe not for YOU.
I get that.
But, deliberating on the best syntax for a sentence
or searching for the perfect adjective
or questioning the position of a comma...
those things challenge me.
And, when I settle on what and how to write,
that satisfies me.

Besides, when I see something a bit funny,
or charming, or out of the ordinary---
I want to take a picture and share it on here.
I don't have a theme anymore.
There's no real reason to even take time to edit pictures and design captions.
But, I'm not quite ready to end this blog.
I should rename it, though...
"Random Musings"
"Wandering Aimlessly Though a Mind"
"Thought Detours"
"Forks in the Road"

Whatever it is called or whether anyone
even takes a moment to read it,
I've just decided to keep adding to this blog.
For a while longer, anyway.
Because I like doing it.
And, between the hot Texas summer days of cleaning, washing dishes,
 refilling the birdbath 
and life's everyday responsibilities,
I've had some fun.
Been some places.
Taken some pictures.
And I'd like to share them.

Welcome back, readers.
Get ready for some unpredictable ideas.
These were seen along the highway:
 Poor Woody spends his days at quite a different
kind of rodeo-hanging on for all he's worth,
not to a bull, but this truck tire!

 I'm normally not an early morning kind of person
and prefer taking pictures of sunsets,
but we headed out early on a trip a few weeks ago
and watched the sky lighten and the sun show up.
Texas' big skies make these moments really showy.

This was on a tiny Mini Cooper near us.
When gazing out the passenger window of our car for hours and hours of a road trip, I certainly welcome drivers with a sense of humor!

Random, right?
I warned you.
Hope I didn't chase you away for good!