Sunday, April 03, 2016

Spring

Just a few pictures of what spring looks like in these parts :)

Now, a update from the aging chronicles: We will turn 40 soon [ only in body; we are much younger in our minds :) ], which means we've decided to become acquainted with running up the hill outside our neighborhood. It is long and steep (or at least it feels that way while we are huffing and puffing) and so far we're able to manage two times up in a row; our goal is ten. Running is my exercise nemesis, but I have very fond memories over the years of slogging along while Jan Michael zips on ahead and the sun shines up above and the music of our youth blares in my ears. It's the sort of thing wherein the actual doing of it is kind of miserable, but the after is worth the ick, and it makes me happy that we can do it together :) 

Monday, March 07, 2016

WA

On Saturday I flew home after two weeks in WA. It was a doozy of a trip, nothing at all what any of us expected (life is often like that, isn't it?), but in between the really hard things, there was a huge amount (too many to count) of really lovely things, too. And I am thankful for it all.




Friday, February 19, 2016

A Dallas Saturday

About 3 weeks ago, our friends Ken and Lisa (with whom we lived during our first month as Texans), delivered some sad news: they are being moved to Atlanta. AT&T seems to be making of a habit of transferring people half-way across the country without consulting me, and I think it's dumb.

Anyway, we've been trying to fit in time together while we still can, so on the last Saturday of January, we spent a few hours exploring the city. We parked on the West Dallas side of the Continental Avenue Bridge and walked across it...
into the Arts District. We meandered around the water gardens at Fountain Place...
before turning around and marching back over the bridge. All of this walking made us feel justified in eating brunch at Smoke (blueberry pancakes with vanilla poached apricots and apricot nectar syrup AND whipped cream!), after which we drove to the Bishop Arts District and wandered around some very fun little shops and boutiques:
I was all for making ourselves comfortable at the Dallas Grilled Cheese Company (I do not see how a restaurant with fried bologna sandwiches and caramel & sea salt milkshakes could ever be a bad decision), but my companions were still full from brunch (amateurs!). I didn't pout about it for too long, though, because it just means we'll have to plan another trip that way before Ken & Lisa fly the coop :) 

It was all around such a lovely day, and a wonderful way to wrap up the first month of the new year.

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 :)