Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!!

A beautiful wedding...

We traveled to Fort Worth this weekend for our niece's wedding, Emily Schwencke and Aaron Seamster.  What a great time we had!  Friday was a travel day, leaving home around 11:00 am and taking our time getting up there.  The ride was beautiful, we took the long way around so that we could enjoy the countryside, traveling through some gorgeous ranch areas, lots of cattle, longhorns, and then into horse country up toward Fort Worth.  Texas has so many different cultures, doesn't it?
That evening, after we checked in (where a nice little welcome gift was waiting for us from the wedding couple), met up with Colleen, Jeff and KT, we attended a little pre-wedding party at the Flying Saucer in downtown Fort Worth.  It's in an old building right in the downtown area. Lots of Aaron and Emily's friends and family were there enjoying the happiness of the fun couple.

On Saturday morning we traveled to the Fort Worth Stockyards since we had not been there before.  I have to hand it to Fort Worth, they've taken great advantage of their history and have created quite a nice area there for tourism.  We toured the Cowboy Hall of Fame, the large shopping area, photographed the longhorn cattle drive through town that they have there twice a day, and then had lunch when the Koenig's joined us at about 1pm.
John and I are really impressed with Fort Worth - we can tell why Emily and Aaron like it there.
Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Seamster and Sarah Schumate (the bride's sister)

The wedding was absolutely beautiful, you can just feel the love that these two have for each other.  The bridesmaids were in red and the bride carried a gorgeous fall arrangement.  We had a nice meal and then enjoyed watching the dancing!  They sure picked some great music, KT was just having herself a grand time on the dance floor!
 I never knew how much she enjoyed dancing, but we'll have to make sure she gets to dance more in the future.  She was enjoying being a part of the action!
The couple is off to Canada for their honeymoon.  I wish I had taken our big camera with us to the wedding, the few shots I got were taken with my little Cannon power shot, which is a handy little camera, but not nearly as good.  
Great job on the wedding, Mike and Kathy -- now rest a few days! 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Our Travel Buddies in New England

Can you find us?  Our travel guide, Sheri (she's down on one knee on the right side of this photo) emailed this to us today.  This was taken at the John Kennedy memorial.  Good was a good group to travel with.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Dexter: Season 6 The Doomsday Killers

Are you a fan of Dexter?
I'm a big fan, but this year I'm seriously freaked out by these killers.
Mixing religion with murder is thought provoking, but is it fair?  I'm aware of how "Hollywood" feels about religion, in their "don't judge me" and "do it if it feels good" society, anything like religious thought would naturally make them feel uneasy. I'm anxious about how they will treat this.
The killer is obviously insane, but will his religious use of the old testament be used as the reason for his insanity? Hopefully his full personality will unfold through the season and this is not just another jab at Christianity.
And really, letting Batista and Quinn smoke a joint while on duty, as much as you push legalizing marijuana, not cool.  Not cool at all.

Don't make me mad, Dex writers.
You won't like me when I'm mad....

Playing with jewelry! Pretty Girl!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Movie Review --- Real Steel

Last night we went to see Real Steel at the movies!  What a great, little movie!  I loved it!
There are some cheesy moments (robot dancing?) in this action movie, but they are also kinda cute, so I didn't find them a turn off.  
The story of a really bad dad, Charlie (played by hunky Aussie, Hugh Jackman ((sigh))), who is a roll-of-the-dice kinda guy, always looking for the next big dollar score.  In the pursuit of this "big win" he racks up a lot of bad debt to a lot of bad guys. He's also lucky to have made a few friends who know him for what he is and love him anyway.  So he's constantly running from job to job and acting without thinking.  In the meantime, he's also a dad to a child he hasn't seen and wasn't interested in knowing, until his ex-girlfriend unexpectedly dies.  Now he's forced into making a decision. In true form, he makes bad ones.
But this son he hasn't known turns out to be a lot like him, only with better instincts.  
Oh, and yes, there's a bunch of boxing robots in this movie. Ha!  
We really loved it. It's an inspirational movie about redemption, it's rough and tumble, lots of really good cgi work, and a lovable robot named Atom.

Go, see -- you'll be boxing in your seat!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Sleep over!

We had the joy of having KT over for a night this week!  She is changing more and more, and this time she was talking from the moment she got out of the car to the moment she finally went to sleep that night! Non-stop.... ha!  I'm starting to actually understand most of it too.
We played outside until it was too cold, then played inside, had dinner on our Halloween plates and then about 9pm, John and I were trying to get her to sleep, with the pillows on the floor, her milk in her hand.  John and I decided to change the channel from cartoons (thinking those were probably too stimulating) and so we changed to the Animal network.  Big mistake!
She was "oohhing" and "aahhing" ever animal on the show.  She loved it! ha!  John finally had to take her upstairs and she was asleep within 5 minutes.  Well, we're learning what works - it's definitely not the animal network.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Witte Museum Wild Game Dinner

Last night we attended the Witte Museum Wild Game dinner and auction.  It was a very nice event, they had every kind of game available: quail done three ways, short ribs, salmon, several kinds of shell fish, venison and wild hog sausage, and most likely much more that I never did see.  There were serving lines set up all over the grounds and I didn't get to all of them.  Tess had purchased a table for the company and there were 10 of us there. It was interesting, to say the least.  This was a fund-raiser for the museum, and they had a live auction (African safari, gator boots and a gator hunt, a young longhorn steer!) and several items in a silent auction.  We had a great time.  I apologize for the poor pictures, they are all from my iPhone, as I forgot my camera.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Love Creek Pumpkin Patch

We took a drive to Medina, Texas, today to see the Love Creek Pumpkin Patch.  This was our second year to go with KT and family, and she has really grown!  Here's a picture from last year (2010) and this year (2011).  What a big girl!
After we got back, John took us all for a ride with the tractor - we were in the trailer, even Carlie came along!  KT's cousin, Taylor, was in town and came along too.  What fun!!
Maybe next year we can afford some's so expensive right now!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Congratulations, Mike!

Today was my brother's last day at work and he's joined me in the ranks of the "retired!" Congratulations, Mike! You are going to love it!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The tour is over!

We're here at the Westin in Waltham, Mass.  The tour ended this morning with a breakfast, although it was set up as a come-and-go to accommodate the various departing times for the travelers.  Several of our tour folks are flying out today, some are continuing from here by rental car.  We're staying one more night because we're flying home tomorrow.  

I'm looking forward to getting home - I hear from our fantastic local reporter, Colleen, that it's raining cats and dogs there!  Yeah!  I'm so happy to hear it... everyone we talked to on the tour had been hearing about how dry Texas was.  There were other couples here from Texas - two couples from Georgetown, and another lady from Midland who was traveling with some other women.  One of them said in their hometown they were already on stage 4 water restrictions because their town actually has to buy water from elsewhere and the delivery system was having some mechanical troubles.  It makes me grateful for our water well.
I'm taking this free time to catch up on my blog and downloading the many, many pictures from our trip.  John's over there watching football.  I'm also seeing a nap in my near future! ha!

Day 7 -- Cape Cod, Hyannis Port, and back to Boston

Good morning!  I wasn't able to post yesterday after all, but have posted it now.

Today we're leaving later in order to have some time at the beach.  I loved it and wished that we could stay here until the end of the tour, but no such luck. If we ever come back, here's where I want to go.
John and I got up and ate early so that we could have plenty of time down at the beach. Cape Cod is gorgeous.  The differences between Texas coastline and this one are like day and night.  First thing that you notice is that there are no fishy smells here.  The air is crisp and fresh and smells great.  The coast at the gulf is smelly (not in a bad way, but much more pungent.)  We've decided its the difference between an ocean coastline (Atlantic) and the much warmer gulf (Gulf of Mexico.)  Also the seaweed in the gulf smells so different then this seaweed here (hardly any there.)  

Then, off to see the Kennedy memorial on the island, and the Korean War memorial that adjoins it.  This was a nice stop, it gave us a good look at the cape.  Wild geese all over the place, along with their accompanying poop, unfortunately.  I don't guess there's much they can do about that, though.

Boarded another train for lunch, the Cape Cod Central at Hyannis Port.  This is both an actual transportation for people here on the cape and a re-creation of the long-gone elegant mean of coach travel in a dining car.  We were served a truly gourmet meal (I had the salmon encrusted with pistachio and John had the lemon smothered chicken...yummm.)  I have to say this was very elegant - white linens, the works.  We had an excellent chocolate/raspberry mousse for dessert.  Sigh...I know I'll have to stop eating like this once I get back home, but I'm enjoying it now!  The tour was a bit disappointing, though, as the train seemed to travel in a ditch, with the views blocked for most of the tour.  We did get to see some cranberry bogs, though!  And they were in the middle of dry harvesting some of them - a big wheel type paddle that scoops up the cranberries.  The whole tour was about 2 hours, but it was enjoyable as we sat with a very nice couple just about our same age.  We have met some nice folks on this tour - many were much older, but there were a few couples our age and one or two that were even younger.
We had some free time to walk through Hyannis Port -- John found some sherbet at the Ben & Jerry's store.  KT may or may not have gotten even more clothing in Hyannis Port.  Spoiling her is going to be such fun...

Then board the bus and back to the Boston area for the night.  The tour is giving us a farewell dinner tonight at the hotel and then tomorrow we are all going our separate ways.

Day 6 - Mystic Seaport, Newport and Cape Cod

Really bad reception tonight here at Cape Cod with our MyFi, so if this gets too painful to post, I'll shut it down and try again tomorrow.  We had an exhausting day and I'm about ready for all of this excitement to end.  Whew!

This morning we were up and out to the Mystic Seaport which was very interesting - it is a whaling port that the town has preserved and recreated to show the various ways that folks here made a living on the sea.  There were several boats, from a simple fishing boat to huge schooners, some in the process of being refurbished, some set up as trainers.  The docents were on board to show us around and answer questions.  Interesting.  Then the little town was a representation of the various trades required for this work, sail makers, tool makers, barrel makers, printers, churches, etc.  My favorite place was an exhibit of mastheads.  These were amazing - huge.  Loved that and wish we had more time here.

After we ran through this place, we were off to the town of Newport, Rhode Island.  There we had some free time for lunch - John and I opted for crab at The Barking Crab. Some delicious crab cakes. Then we got a new guide on board from Newport and were taken on a tour of the various mansions that dot this island, the "summer homes" for the ultra-rich of the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Some of these places were amazing, including the one we stopped at and toured - The Breakers.  The Breakers was the summer home of the Cornelius Vanderbilt, the 2s. Complete sensory overload - who really needs a home that was encrusted with this much gold?  I mean really -- who are they trying to impress?  But I guess that was the way of people who inherited $57 million and then made several times that again.  Sheesh!!  Beautiful in a "I'd never live like this even if I could afford it" way. They only came here two months of the year.  Amazing waste of money.
There are many over-big homes here at Newport.  Many wealthy (as in inherited wealth, not "new money" wealth) people had summer homes here, and there were some private beach clubs open only to those who were "acceptable" to the owners.  La dee da.
Then we took off to Cape Cod for the night.  A bit longer (groan) bus ride, but the hotel we were staying was great - The Red Jacket Beach Resort.  It was a bit older, but well maintained.  The lobster bake was good, not outside on the beach which is what I was expecting, but actually fine dining inside.  Very nice staff here.  Bad reception for both phone and internet, but I think you're actually supposed to come here on vacation and leave all that stuff at home.  Even the television is ancient.  Took a little stroll out on the beach in the moonlight.  I hope I can see more tomorrow!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Day 5 - Stowe and Mystic

Today was a full time train day - we got up to a beautiful breakfast in the dining hall at the Stowehof Inn, then boarded the bus to the train station a very short drive down the road.  

This was an Amtrak train, being used every day as public transportation.  We rode from Stowe, Vermont, thru the bottom tip of New Hampshire and back into Vermont -- a very full day of train travel.  The sights were rather sad in many of the areas we passed through today - the recent Hurricane Irene did some terrible damage here.  The train we were on actually was out of commission for several weeks after the hurricane, many of the tracks were covered in debris and bridges were out for a brief period.  The states did some Herculean work in getting them back into operating order in a couple of weeks, but the total job will take many, many more months. The train station we went to was actually closed because of damage there, but they were offering coffee on a fold out table on the station porch (free for a donation to the repairs) and a local business had opened up their bathrooms to train riders.  Very generous.

The ride took about 5 hours - they served us a box lunch on board, and we were able to get up and walk around some if we needed to.  
After the ride finished in Brattleboro, Vermont, we again boarded the dreaded buses to ride through Massachusetts and into Connecticut.  We stopped briefly at the Yankee Candle Company when we were going through Massachusetts, and badly needed walk around stop.  What a neat place - they have so many candles there, including all of their various scents, even the ones that have been discontinued anywhere else. There was a Halloween shop, several Christmas stops, a home store, a candy shop, several art shops, and even a German Christmas forest where the snow actually falls.  Wish this was closer so that I could come back some day to experience the entire thing - with only 1 hour, we didn't get to see much!  
Tonight we are in Mystic, Connecticut.  Because of delays in the train, we will be visiting Mystic seaport tomorrow morning, which is fine because I'm exhausted!!
Time to take my shoes off!!
Tomorrow after the shore, we are taking a tour of Newport Rhode Island fancy mansions and then over to Cape Code for a New England Lobster Bake in the evening.
Night all!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Day Four - New Hampshire to Vermont

This morning after a great breakfast at the ski lodge, we drove to the covered bridge at Jackson, NH.  This is a busy bridge that is still being used, and this one has a covered walkway for foot traffic.  These covered bridges are quite quaint!

Then on to the railway where we were going to board the Conway Railroad one way for 2-1/2 hours to the Fabyan station where we were being picked up for the next stage of our trip. But before the ride we had about 1-1/2 hours to walk through North Conway where KT may or may not have acquired another book and a cute little sweatshirt with New Hampshire on it...I'm not sayin'.  They have an old fashioned 5 and dime there, which was so much fun to walk through.  
Then "all aboard" and we were off to the train where we swayed and jumped and bumped for the next few hours.  We were served a box lunch on the way and got to see several different weather patterns...sun at the railway, rain, sleet, and everything in between.

Back on the bus where we were able to take a side trip to see another covered bridge and take some time to walk around the small village at Bath.  The general store there, the Brick Store, is the oldest, continually operating general store in the United States.  

From there we made it into Vermont and took a visit to the Morse maple sugar farm.  This was the highlight of our day, to be sure.  The family that operates it are hilarious!  The two brothers greeted us, and the older brother, Burr, gave us a little slide show presentation about how maple is harvested and how it is turned into syrup.  This is a family business, but it's not just maple syrup.  The sugar harvest and cooking are a small bit of their business since the season is only about 5 weeks long in the spring, and is so very dependent on so many factors, it's a wonder to me that they stay in business!

After that we were off to our evening hotel, which turned out to be a really neat ski chalet called The Stowehhof Inn in Stowe, Vermont.  This is a cool place, old school European in many, many ways.  We love it, and they served us a beautiful turkey dinner, complete with all the trimmings!  Whew, a busy day!

Tomorrow we're off to ride the Vermonteer train and then into Mystic seaport in Conneticut (I think?) We spending the evening there, so there should be plenty of time for enjoying the village.  Can't wait for a little down time!