Saturday, January 16, 2016

Trapped In A Room With A Zombie

Last month, our friends Ken & Lisa announced their plans to take us on a mystery excursion and wondered if we were free January 9th. They were awfully stingy with information and would only tell us to wear comfortable shoes and that we would be indoors.

I tried and tried to guess what in the world was going on, but not once did I think of anything even close to resembling this:  
There were 8 other people who had signed up for the same time slot, and just as the sign says, the 12 of us were locked in a room with a (real, live!) zombie and had 60 minutes in which to follow clues, solve puzzles and find the key in order to unlock the door and get us to safety. 

Every 5 minutes, an alarm would sound and the chain keeping the zombie at bay would be let out 12 inches. By the end of the hour, if we'd not found the key, the chain would be long enough so that he would be able to reach every nook and cranny in the room, and we would be dead. 

We all worked very well together, but in the end, we just weren't quick enough and were...ominous music!... eaten. The whole thing was great fun and we would totally recommend it to anyone who enjoys thinking games and who also doesn't mind a little bit of good, clean fear tossed in for kicks :) 

We also had some time to have pictures taken with our zombie afterwards - he was much kinder and more soft-spoken in real-life as opposed to his snarling, crazed alter-ego :)
I should add that I was cornered twice during the hour and would have been devoured on the spot if not for my heroic husband, who jumped in to distract the zombie, which allowed me to scamper away. Chivalry is not dead yet :) 

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

A Christmas surprise

Jan Michael's gift to me this year was a (wonderful, thoughtful, made-me-cry) surprise overnight stay at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine, which  included tickets to ICE!, the hotel's (amazing, made-me-smile-until-my-cheeks-hurt, magical, C-O-L-D) winter wonderland. 

Our room was on the 9th floor and faced the atrium, so this is what we saw while we sat on our balcony during the day:

And this is some of what we saw while we wandered around in the atrium:

There are four restaurants at the Gaylord, but we decided to be fancy-schmancy and order dinner from room service - which we'd never done before and wouldn't mind doing again :) 

And here was our bird's eye view after dinner from the inside:
And the outside:

Now, about ICE!: Upon entry everyone is given an enormous parka, which is necessary because it's a brisk 9 degrees :) And then you're let loose to zip down slides made of ice, throw snowballs, and ooh & ahh over the ice sculptures (all two million pounds worth!). This year's theme was Christmas Around the World, which reminded us of It's A Small World at Disneyland... with slightly cooler temperatures :) 
The last sculpture was our favorite:

I love looking at all of these pictures again & again; what a tremendous gift to be given something we were able to experience together :) 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

A visit from Brent

Friday morning, before the crack of dawn, we deposited our brother Brent at the airport for his flight back home, but for 9 days before that, we had him here with us, and it was great fun. We spent a good bit of time at home: we took some walks around the neighborhood (the weather was quite cooperative for Brent's sun-starved WA self), played some board games, and ate A LOT (it's the Texas way). We also had 3 bigger outings, and here come the pictures..

The arboretum, of which we are so fond, has a 12 Days of Christmas display each holiday season, and so off we went. We chose to go on a Saturday night in order to to see the 5 million Christmas lights that were advertised as part of the display, but I think there may have also been 5 million other families in attendance, so from now on we'll stick to visiting during the day. Still, I'm glad we know what it's about and that we were able to experience it with Brent.
Seven swans a-swimming...

Nine ladies dancing...

Twelve drummers drumming...

And two lovebirds canoodling ;)

[ As a side note, taking decent pictures of the displays was a little bit tricky because of the crowd & the glare from the lights, etc and I laughed out loud when I saw that all I had captured of the eight maids a-milking was the back end of a poor cow. That one went straight into the recycle bin :) ]

Brent was interested in seeing Dealey Plaza, so we spent some time one morning downtown. The Sixth Floor Museum is fascinating (I've been twice and would go again & again), but we decided to explore outside instead. 
This is the former Texas School Book Depository, and the second floor from the top (or the 6th floor) is home to the museum. The window on the right-hand corner of the 6th floor is where Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots that killed President Kennedy; the assassination occurred here on Elm Street. 

Brothers on the grassy knoll, which for some reason is much smaller and different than I imagined it would be. 

And just a block or so from the 6th Floor Museum is the Old Red Museum of Dallas County History & Culture, which we've not visited yet, but it's such a pretty building and the weather was so lovely,  I had to take a picture :) 

After roaming around Dealey Plaza and before eating an embarrassing amount of lunch at Babe's Chicken Dinner House, we stopped at the arboretum so Brent could see the splendor of it in the daytime. 
You can't know how excited I was to finally, finally have found fall :) 

The Japanese garden made us miss the Japanese maple that grows in the front yard of our WA house. I told Jan I want to plant a bunch here, but I'm very good at killing everything except weeds, so maybe we'll just enjoy them at the arboretum instead. 

This makes me smile because it reminds me that it's been years & years since I've had little brothers that are actually littler than me :) 

And this makes me smile because I'm at my favorite place in Dallas with my favorite person on the planet :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Happy hearts

The first week of November is one of my favorites of the whole livelong year because our Dad & Mama were here. I cried when we left them at the airport for their trip home, I cried off and on for two days after, and I would like airfare to be free so that families don't have to be so far apart for such long stretches at a time, thank you very much. There are some things in my experience that feel too dear to talk much about, and this is one of them :)

Monday, October 26, 2015

Early October

We have pictures from the state fair and the arboretum, and I want to share them.

As far as I'm concerned, the very best thing about the fair are the animals in the petting zoo (although this year the horses from the Dallas Police Department Mounted Unit were a close second. So beautiful!)
I'm not sure how much petting the porcupines actually received, but it was fun to see them :)
And these are our friends Hugo and Eduardo, as well as the first corn dog of the day. It's practically compulsory to consume one's weight in fried food at the fair, and we did a decent job. We all, however, managed to steer clear of the Krispy Kreme cheeseburger. Even we have limits. 

I spy fall at the arboretum! :) 
This doesn't look like fall,but it's beautiful, so I'll allow it :)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Hot Springs

Near the end of September adventure was calling and we answered by high-tailing it down the road to Arkansas. Hot Springs is interesting and weird all at once. It's known for it's ties to Major League Baseball, illegal gambling and gangsters, and of course the thermal water that flows from 47 springs in the downtown district; there's really quite a lot of diverse history to learn about there. We toured an old bathhouse (c-r-e-e-p-y!), held alligators at a petting zoo and took a very sweaty but beautiful walk through a botanical garden. We also sat in our motel room and watched the Seahawks lose to the Packers, but we won't dwell on that too much :)