Friday, May 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Nannie!

Happy Birthday Nannie! You've been in my thoughts all morning, and I even dreamed about you last night. I dreamed I was looking at pictures from a cookout 2 years ago (a cookout that didn't actually exist, mind you...the first one was last year), and you were sitting under a tree in your yellow dress, waving at the camera. I wish we'd done a cookout that year, because you could have been there, and you might have even worn that dress. I miss you!

Scott's trip for next week got delayed, and now he's not leaving until the 7th. We are supposed to go to church with Laura and Bryan that day, so I hope his flight isn't too early.

All my flowers seem to be doing well since we did our landscaping last week. My lilies are about to bloom. I need to prune all the roses and take off the dead flowers - they had a big burst of blooms just in time for the cookout on Monday, and now they are dying off. I wonder when Hydrangeas bloom? Mine has buds this year - last year it did not bloom - and I'm anxious to see how it turns out. Nannie gave me the hydrangea for my bridal shower 2 years ago. She had one in front of her porch that was always beautiful.

Well, it's Friday! Thank goodness. Only a half day today, but a busy one for sure. Hopefully some shopping this afternoon :-)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Netflix + Media Center = Awesome

So I've decided I don't feel like writing about Texas anymore, because its been too long since the trip. I'll just go back to talking about life in general.

I signed up for Netflix again yesterday. You know what's awesome? Netflix on the Media Center. The "Watch Instantly" feature on Netflix works great with the Media Center, so its like having all kinds of tv series and movies "On Demand". Last night, I watched the entire first season of The Office. I had seen the pilot episode when it first aired, and didn't like it. But so many people watch The Office that I felt I needed to give it another shot. Now I'm hooked, and I can watch all the seasons this summer.

Scott is traveling to Washington State next week for a business trip to Microsoft. He'll be leaving on Tuesday and coming back Thursday or Friday (I can't remember which day). I hope its Thursday. I hate when he's gone. At least I'll have an infinate amount of television to watch in his absence, which is good because usually I can't sleep well when he's gone.

It's going to be a beautiful weekend, I think. Possible rain tomorrow, but gorgeous on Saturday and Sunday. I wonder what we should do? We need to take advantage of it. Soon it will be too hot to enjoy the sunshine.

I'm trying to decide where to go for vacation this fall. I want to go somewhere between September and December. I'd like to use our Airtran flights to go to Orlando and stay at Disney, but Scott has not agreed yet. Charleston is also a possibility, but that isn't a direct flight. I prefer to fly direct these days.

Well, back to work.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend

I'll take a short break from my Texas updates to write about Memorial Day weekend.

Friday night, my mother-in-law arrived on the train about 8 pm. We grabbed subs for dinner before heading back home for the evening. We spent most of the day Saturday working out in the yard. Scott was mulching, and I was cleaning up lawn furniture, putting new sand in the sandbox, etc. It was humid, but we still enjoyed being outside all day. Sunday morning, I woke up early to get a head-start on cooking. My parents came around 10, and by noon, all the guests were arriving for the cookout.

We had plenty of food and games. I even got one of those fancy Edible Arrangements, because I've always wanted an excuse to buy one. Haha. The kids had a great time on the playset - I had no idea kids could be entertained for so many hours with a sand box and a sliding board. We had a great turnout of people - all my family from Lynchburg, as well as mine and Scott's friends and coworkers came out.

After most people left, we celebrated Scott's birthday with some ice cream cake. Shannon, Eric and Connor were able to stay to celebrate with Bonnie, Rory, Anne, Scotty, Scott and I.

On Monday, we dropped off Bonnie at the train station, and had a nice relaxing birthday for Scott. We went to Steve & Phu's so Scott could help with their sprinkler system, and they fixed us lunch. Then I went shopping in the afternoon while Scott went for a ride in his car. Rory came over about 6:00 or so, and we all went to dinner at Firebirds. We sat outside because it was such a nice evening. It was a great end to the weekend.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Texas 2009 - Day 7 - San Antonio Zoo (and Santa Rosa Hospital)

On Day 7, my mom broke her foot.

She was dialing some numbers on her cell phone and didn't see the 3 steps she was walking towards. She twisted her left ankle and badly sprained it, while getting a hairline fracture on the right. She was lucky that was all the damage she had. The Christus Santa Rosa hospital was about a half mile down the road from our hotel (how convenient!) and they had her in and out of the emergency room in just a couple hours. She had to keep her weight off both feet, so we borrowed a wheelchair from the hotel and went on about our day. Nothing was going to stop her.

The San Antonio Zoo was our big event for the day. On the way there, we stopped for lunch at a place called The Liberty Bar. I found it on the Food Network site under Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Once we saw the place, we decided it fit under "Dives". It was literally falling down. I'm honestly surprised they allow people to enter this building. Once inside, I understood why it was recommended - it looked completely different (aside from the fact that it was still lopsided). It was a very quaint restaurant with a unique menu. I ordered the lamb plate, which came with goat cheese, olives, pita bread & hummus.

One great thing about traveling in April is that all the kids are still in school. This meant that most places were not very crowded, and that included the San Antonio Zoo. We practically had the place to ourselves! The last zoo I went to was the San Diego Zoo, which is the best zoo in the country, by far. So the San Antonio Zoo had a lot to live up to. While it wasn't nearly as beautiful, it didn't disappoint. They had a huge selection of animals to see, including a butterfly conservatory, hippos, elephants, giraffes, kangaroos, bears, tigers etc. We spent much of the afternoon there.

For dinner that night, we went to The Cheesecake Factory at a nearby mall. Rory turned into a ghost.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Texas 2009 - Day 6 - The Alamo

On our second day in San Antonio, I had a full day of tourist attractions on the agenda. Our hotel was pretty close to a place called "Market Square", or El Mercado, so after breakfast we walked there. It's the largest Mexican market, and has all kind of shops and restaurants. We stopped at a place called Mi Tierra, which is a Mexican bakery. We were all sorry that we'd already eaten breakfast when we got there, because the food looked amazing! We shopped around for a couple hours and bought a few souveniers before making our way to the Spanish Governor's Palace.

The Spanish Governor's Palace was built in the first half of the 18th century, and is, according to Wikipedia, "the sole remaining example of aristocratic early Spanish home". It was pretty cool to see. It had 10 rooms and a beautiful garden in the back, where we took some pictures on a bench.
The next stop we made was at the San Fernando Cathedral, which is the oldest cathedral in the US. It's also the mother church of the Archdiocese of San Antonio and the seat of its archbishop (got that from Wikipedia, too).

The Riverwalk is right near the cathedral, so we made our way down to catch the river taxi to take us to get some lunch. We ended up at Schilo's, which is a German Deli that was recommended by Frommer's. We had split pea soup and reubans with root beer to drink.

After lunch, we walked to the Alamo. Did I mention we picked the hottest day of 2009 to visit the Alamo? It was 97 degrees that day, IN APRIL, and not enough shade. We spent a few hours at the Alamo, which I couldn't fully enjoy due to the heat. But I learned some things I didn't know. For example, I never knew Davey Crockett had anything to do with the Alamo. But that's where he died.

At the River Center Mall, there was an IMAX theatre where they showed a 45 min video about the Alamo. We were relieved to get out of the heat and into the theater to watch it. We did a little shopping before catching the River Taxi again to make our way to "Night in Old San Antonio", or NIOSA, which is part of the"Fiesta" festival that was going on that week in San Antonio. "Fiesta" is San Antonio's biggest festival of the year, and it happened to be going on while we were there. NIOSA was a party ever night in La Villita. There was music, dancing, shopping, and lots and lots of drinking. They had these eggs filled with confetti that they called "cascarones" - everyone was buying them, and you crack them over peoples heads and cover them with confetti. My parents enjoyed doing this to all of us! The place was jam-packed with people, which depleted my patience in a short amount of time. Scott and I decided after an hour or two that we wanted to leave, and my family decided they'd rather stay, so we split up. (My mom and dad ran into some dude from 20/20 after we left).

It was just starting to get dark, so Scott and I decided to catch the river taxi and relax for the rest of the evening while it cruised us around the River Walk. It's so beautiful at night time. We must have been on it for 2 hours or more. Just before 9, my dad called and said they were getting ready to catch the river taxi as well and head back to the hotel. Next thing we knew, our taxi was pulling over and there was all my family getting onto our boat. What are the chances? It was a great end to an awesome day.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Cruisin' Ocean City

I'm taking a break from writing about Texas to blog about our trip this past weekend up to Ocean City, MD. It was the Cruisin' Ocean City car show, and Scott's favorite weekend out the year. He'd been working in the garage until all hours of the night for the past couple weeks to get the car ready.

It was a great weekend for the car show. Thursday night we went out to eat at Phillips (which I've decided is completely over-rated) and made it an early night. Scott had only gotten about 3 1/2 hrs of sleep the night before, and he really needed some rest. The next day, we woke up early, had breakfast with Rob & Jeanine, and made our way to the Convention Center to pick up all the registration documents. Friday was a nice day - they had called for possible showers, but we didn't get any. We spent the day driving all around Ocean City to the different venues where the cars gather. I got a lot of reading done while we were cruising around (finally finished the Twilight series!)

Saturday we had breakfast, and went directly to the Inlet. We were there for most of the day, and it was threatening rain for a while, but in the end it held out. It was nice that it was overcast, because it kept the sun off me and it wasn't too hot (although, Scott got pretty badly burnt from not wearing any SPF 85 worked like a charm). I hung out in the hotel for a couple hours that evening and then we all went to dinner, then cruised around. Sunday, we got an early start coming back because it was raining. I finished another book (The Glass Castle) before we made it home, as the traffic was terrible. It took us 7 hrs to get back, I thought we'd never get home.

Now I'm getting ready for next weekend, for the big cookout! So far, it looks like we're going to have a GREAT turnout. I'm excited, and still hoping the weather cooperates.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Texas 2009 - Day 5 - Austin to San Antonio

Leaving Austin the morning of our 5th day, we headed towards the LBJ Ranch in Stonewall, TX. We took a driving tour (complete with Audio CD) through the ranch and made a couple stops along the way. There was a "Living Farm", which was really neat with all kinds of animals just roaming around. Then at the end of the tour was the "Texas White House", LBJ's home there. We spent several hours here, as the ranch is huge and everyone really enjoyed the history.

After leaving the ranch, we stopped for lunch at a Dairy Queen (ice cream for lunch, awesome!) before making a short stop in Luckenbach, TX. They aren't kidding when they say "Let's get back to the basics of life". There is one main building in this so-called town, which is the Post Office, General Store, and bar all in one. (I think there is also a dance hall, but it wasn't in use while we were there). Behind the Post-Office-General-Store-Bar are tables where a few local bikers were sitting drinking beer, listening to a couple guys playing music. They started playing "Luckenbach, TX" when the tourists arrived (i.e. my family). It was really very cool to see, and definitely the smallest town I've ever visited! But from now on, I can claim I've been to Luckenbach, TX - just not with Waylon, and Willie and the boys.

We made it to San Antonio just in time to check into our hotel and meet back up for dinner. For our first night there, I had reserved us a table at the Tower of the Americas Chart House restaurant. It's one of those restaurants at the top of the tower that rotates, and gives you a great view of the city. The dinner was a lot of fun and I think everyone really enjoyed the experience. The only issue I had was they over-cooked my steak, and took 20-25 minutes to cook another one...medium rare doesn't take very long! I wouldn't have sent it back if not for the amount of money I was paying for that steak. Other than that, it was a great experience.

After dinner, we stopped in a gift shop where I bought myself a cowboy hat. Then, we walked around downtown San Antonio and the Riverwalk for a bit before heading back to the hotel for the night. Another great day!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Texas 2009 - Day 4 - Waco & Austin

On our 4th day, we packed up and left Dallas and hit the road again. Our first stop that day was Waco, TX, where the Waco Massacre occurred. Believe it or not, the Branch Davidian Compound still exists and is still in the same place (out in the middle of nowhere). We stopped by to take some pictures and then get out of there as fast as possible. Haha.

Also in Waco was the Dr. Pepper museum. Did you know that a Dr. Pepper used to be called a "Waco"? So next time you order one, just ask for a Waco and see what happens. The museum was really interesting, and they had a cafe where you could order sodas and ice cream. They made the sodas from scratch, probably like they did in drug stores back in the day. First they put ice in the cup, then some syrup, then add water, and then carbonation. It was pretty cool to see.

After the museum, we had lunch. Four of us went to Cheddars (LOVE THAT PLACE) and the rest went to Golden Corral. The latter four did not know what they were missing. We got back on the road and made our way to Round Rock, which is just north of Austin. We have cousins that live in Round Rock, so we went to visit them. We hung out at their house for a while, then made our way to the Congress Street Bridge to watch the bats. We got there a bit early, so we took a walk along the river/lake (it's apparently the Colorado River, but they call it Town Lake?). We walked up to where the Stevie Ray Vaughn statue is, took a picture for my friend Steve, and then walked back.

So let me tell you a little about the bats. The Congress Street Bridge in Austin is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America, which consists of about 1.5 Million Mexican Free-tail bats. Something about the way the bridge was built was attractive to the bats, so they made it their home. Every night between March & November, the bats fly out for food. It's a pretty cool thing to see.

Austin, by the way, is a gorgeous city. We didn't get to see much of it, as our time there was quite limited, but what we saw was beautiful.

We went to dinner that night at a Tex-Mex restaurant called Chuy's. There were 11 of us total, and we had a great time. It was nice to spend time with Cindy, Jamie & Jordan since we don't get to see them very often.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Texas 2009 - Day 3 - Dallas/Fort Worth

So after days and days of empty promises, I've finally gotten my stuff together (meaning I've gotten my pictures together) and I can now blog about the rest of the trip to Texas. So here you have it, Day 3.

Our first stop that morning was to the King Tut Exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art. We had ordered the tickets ahead of time for a 9:30AM slot, and while ordering the tickets, I noticed that there was also a King Tut exhibit in Atlanta at the same time. This confounded me, because how can King Tut be in two places at the same time?

When we got up to the gate to go in, my brother asked the girl who was working, "How can King Tut be in Dallas and in Atlanta at the same time?" Without missing a beat, she replied, "King Tut is still in his tomb in Egypt, and he's never been anywhere else." Well, didn't WE feel stupid. Haha! I think we were all under the impression that we would see his sarcophagus or coffin or whatever you call it. The famous "King Tut" face. But alas, we just saw lots of other things that were also found in his tomb. It was still pretty amazing.

After the museum, we made our way to Fort Worth to see the Stockyards. I had no idea what the "Stockyards" were before we got there. In my imagination, this was some big farm with lots of cattle. I was wrong. The Fort Worth Stockyards is probably one of the most unique places we visited the entire trip. If I had to describe it, I'd say its like a ghost town that hasn't been abandoned yet. Its just like the towns you see on old westerns and such. They had a General Store, and a Trading Post, an ice cream shop, bars & restaurants, and yes....cattle. At 11:30 AM and 4:00 PM every day, they do a "Cattle Drive" through the streets with Longhorn Cattle. It was really neat to see. We ate at a place called Riscky's Steakhouse, which has been there since the 1920's. On their menu, they serve their "Famous Kapusta Soup", which is saurkraut soup, an original recipe from the 1920's. It's the only thing from that time that is still on the menu. The soup, steak and baked potato were the best lunch I believe I've ever had! It was amazing.

They also had plenty of shopping areas in the Stockyards, where we did some souvenier shopping, much to Scott's dismay. He hates shopping on vacation, and my family loves it, which is a bit of a quandary. Once we were fully exhausted, we stopped in to Billy Bob's Texas, which is the "World's Largest Honkey-Tonk" to relax and get something to drink. The place was dead, as it was a Sunday night, so we practically had it to ourselves. After leaving there, we grabbed some dinner at Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse (great barbeque, terrible side
dishes). And then we called it a night.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Paperback Swap

Add another website to my growing list of favorite sites! I just signed up for, which is a really great website for avid readers. Here's how it works:

To start out, you post 10 paperback books to your account that you are willing to ship (for about $2.20 via media mail) to any member who wants to have them. Once you have posted your 10 books, you will receive credits on your account that you can use to "order" books from other members. They will ship them to you at no cost to you. So the more books you post, the more credits you get. The service is free and its a great way to get the books you want. The only fee is the shipping fee for the books you ship out. If you sign up, put me down as a referral (my username is blakelyn) and add me as a friend. It's perfect if you are in a book club, and have to buy books that you wouldn't normally buy.

So I've finally sorted through my Texas photos and picked the best ones. Will begin posting in the next day or so about the trip.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Successful Yard Sale!

The yard sale was a success! Contrary to the weather reports, the rain held out and it was a beautiful morning. Cool and breezy, perfect weather for a yard sale. We had a lot of traffic come through, and I made a satisfactory amount of money based on how much stuff I had to sell. I really didn't have much because there was not enough time to get it all together since we were in Texas the weekend before.

After the yard sale, my mom and I went shopping. I got some great scrapbooking stuff from A.C. Moore with a gift card I'd been saving since Christmas from my mother-in-law. A.C. Moore has the best selection of scrapbooking supplies out of all the craft stores I've been to, and unfortunately we do not have one here in Richmond. I sure wish they would open one close by!

We also stopped at Kohl's and Maurice's before grabbing a pizza and heading back home. That night, we watched Gran Torino (great movie!) and Radonna came over to visit. I hadn't seen her in a while, so it was good to catch up. It was her first time seeing my parents' new house, as well.

Sunday, Rory, Scotty and I went to church, and afterwards we celebrated their birthdays along with Mother's Day. Amy, Bobby, Leah & Lila came over to visit, and Amy showed us her bridal bouquets. They are so pretty! She's planned her wedding for September 5th. It will be here before we know it.

I drove back to Richmond and got home around 5:30, took a bath and read a new book I started: The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith. It's so good! They are starting a new series on HBO based on the books, and it really makes me wish we had HBO.

I started going through Texas pictures last night to pick out my favorites so I can start blogging. The problem is that its not just MY pictures I have to go through - I have to go through Anne's, Scotty's, Rory's, Shane's AND Mandy's. Scott and Mr. Trost are the only one's who didn't have their own camera. So there are literally thousands of pictures (I think Rory alone had over 1000). I need to go through them, not only so I can blog, but also so I can order prints and start scrapbooking. The car show is next weekend, and Jeanine wants to do some scrapbooking while we are there. She may not be up for all the walking in the heat since she's well into her 2nd trimester. And I can't be in the sun that much anyway, so it will work out well for us.

It's Monday. Hopefully the week will go by fast for everyone.

Friday, May 1, 2009

No, I will not send an invoice.

I discovered I have a major pet peeve at work. I really, really, really hate it when someone asks me to send an invoice. I am not an accountant and I do not work in accounting. One of my responsibilities in Project Management is to recognize revenue for the company. I send our revenue recognition sheet to accounting once every week or two, and if anything hasn't already been invoiced that is listed on the sheet, then they will issue an invoice. I had two Project Managers yesterday ask me to issue an invoice for something, and I had to explain to both of them they needed to have the accounting department issue the invoices, and I would recognize the revenue on the next sheet. I have to explain this multiple times a week. I think my head might explode the next time someone asks me to send an invoice for them.

So last night I got the house straightened, and today I have to finish putting things together for the yard sale tomorrow. I still have not checked the weather yet. Let me do that....

Hmm...yes, "rather cloudy with a thunderstorm, mainly later". I wonder what that means? "mainly later"? I hope that means it will not rain in the morning, just be cloudy. Not ideal yard sale weather, but oh well. Maybe I won't put too much effort into getting stuff together.

On a positive note, its Friday and I'm wearing jeans, and that makes me happy. Yay for the weekend!