Friday, March 24, 2006

Spring Break - Day 7

March 11, 2006
Lewisville, TX

Day 7

It’s still several hours until our flight leaves and we are almost completely packed. I’m up early and wanted to get a bit of work done, not to mention enjoy the solitude. I have mixed feelings about leaving. In a way I’m not ready, but in another way, I am. I miss my family. I don’t miss the cold. I miss my friends. But since I talked to everyone regularly, it wasn’t as if I was constantly thinking about them. DD is extremely homesick though. She’s been wanting to go home for several days, though she swears that this is where she wants to live when she gets older. It’s too hot in the summer for me. My mom misses us. I don’t know if all of use will come back next year or if it will be just me when nationals are here.

DD is disappointed because we didn’t get to Fort Worth, the Cowgirl Museum, or the stockyards, so those are definite do’s when we come back. I’d like to see the aquarium again and the art museum too. But the Art Museum and the Aquarium are a bus ride away from the Adam’s Mark, or I could walk or hire a cab. Especially if several of us went. I’d like to walk around the mall in Dallas, just to see. There is one that has an ice skating rink in it, which would be really cool.

And there is also the fact that Plano, which is only a few minutes from my Uncle’s house, is where Bela Karole’s gym is. Which is only the best in the country.

I’m looking ahead to Utah and to the trip to Nationals this summer. I thought about flying, but if I did that I wouldn’t get to meet Karen, Wendy, and Lisa. And possibly Margaret. But even the trip to Nationals is up in the air. A lot will be happening between now and then. Including moving, working, and a new college.

DD and Grandma are up now. DD joined Libby Lu while we were here, and I think she thinks that there are actual meetings that she can go to, there aren’t. But I think she misses being part of something. So dance and gymnastics it is and maybe campfire come the fall. We’ll see. I don’t know what’s going to happen at this point in time though.

We went to visit Texas Women’s University this morning, I grabbed some information about it, including an application. I took a lot of pictures. Then we went to see the largest house in North America – I did get a couple of pictures of it. We went back to my aunt's, packed our carry-on’s and loaded our suitcases. I would’ve loved a couple of more days with my uncle. But he is coming up in a couple of months. I’m thrilled. We went to Boston Market for lunch.

We had an uneventful flight out of Dallas and into Chicago. We got a car to take us from our arrival gate to our departure gate – that was a blast.

And now back to the cold weather…though the gate information says it’s 59°F in Grand Rapids…. Hmmmmmmmmmm

Well, we almost didn’t make it out of Chicago tonight. Apparently, some idiot at United sent an smaller version of the 737 we were suppose to take back to GR. How much smaller? 15 seats. Not necessarily a big number, unless you happened to be in those rows and its an overbooked plane. Rows 3, 21, and 20 had been eliminated – we had seats in row 20. And I was pretty much okay with that – until I talked to my mom and she told me to calm down. And then I did what was expected of me – I got angry. It wasn’t the guy at the counter’s fault, they told him 10 minutes before they started boarding, but he got the brunt of everyone’s anger. Enough people voluntarily stayed in Chicago, so we were able to come home tonight.

So here ends our vacation. DD and I are both excited to fly again. And so now I’m contemplating flying out to Utah in May, instead of the train, especially since the train is now scheduled to get into Salt Lake City at 11:00 at night. There’s no fun in that. So a train trip will come later I suppose. This vacation was just what we both needed, and I know one thing – another year will not pass without me taking at least one. Even if it’s three days long and a hotel in BFE. Nope, not going to happen. 12 years is too long to wait to go on a real vacation.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Spring Break -- Day 6

March 10, 2006

Lewisville, TX

Day 6

Today, my uncle stayed home and in bed because he wasn’t feeling good. Which is really the best thing for him. My aunt believes in antibiotics at the slightest sniffle. Can we say powerful, lethal bugs, as a result. Ugh.

She took us to Sam Moon Trading Company. WOW! They have some really nice stuff at some very inexpensive prices. I was happy. I bought several pairs of earrings and necklace sets for myself and for my mom, SIL, and DsS. I also found myself buying several purses for some strange, unknown reason. They were only $15.00, so that is good. After Sam Moon, I picked up T-shirts for DD and I. And then we went to McDonald’s for lunch. Yuck. After ward we went to the Bass Pro Shop and looked around. Fun. Fun. Fun. I also picked up some snack stuff. Then we dropped Nana off, settled our things in, and then I started packing. After a while my aunt, DD, and I ended up going to Walmart, I got more snacky stuff, a journal, and a book to write in. And TSA approved locks for all of my luggage. We came home, had sandwiches and ice cream. I finished packing, having had bought another carryon style bag and borrowing my aunt’s large suitcase. Okay, note to self, I way over packed. Let’s not do that again. That’s bad. My Aunt gave me a bunch of clothes that don’t fit her, so I first tried them on and then packed them. I helped her bring things down from the attic and sat out in the courtyard with her. She’s going to turn it into a spiritual/healing room. It’s going to be covered with roses, it’ll be beautiful when it’s done.

I really hate that fact that we are flying out tomorrow.

On a good note, I did finish a RR Christmas tree Thursday. So that is good. And I started on the Celtic Cross by TW. It's going in my carry-on for the ride home. It's cold and snowy in Michigan. It was 84 F here yesterday.

Spring Break -- Day 5

March 9, 2006

Lewisville, TX

Day 5

It was mostly a quiet day. A change from all of the running around that we’ve been doing. We went back to Grapevine Mall so that I could exchange a couple pairs of shorts that wouldn’t fit DD and that my grandma just wouldn’t stop telling me about them. Ugh. So, we walked the last half of the mall and had lunch at the Rainforest Café. I picked up shirts for the kids and a pair of earrings for SIL. Then we drove around the lake and dam at Grapevine and through one of the parks they had there. It was nice and relaxing. We came home, my uncle and Nana took naps, DD worked on her homework and I stitched. I finished Futurecast late last night. My uncle wasn’t feeling good, so he went home. And after my aunt came home, we went to El Chico for dinner. I had an enchilada sampler and fried ice cream – it was okay, it wasn’t the best. It was edible. DD had nuggets. Nana had a tortilla soup that turned out to be very spicy and she didn’t like that, so she ordered Mexican Apple Pie, which was really good. More stitching followed. It was a nice time.

Tomorrow is Friday – that really sucks.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Spring Break -- Day 4

March 8, 2006

Lewisville, TX

Day 4

This morning we went to IHOP for breakfast and then we drove into Dallas and went to the Aquarium. Nana used a wheelchair, and DD practically ran through the whole thing. We started on the third floor in the rainforest and worked our way down. It was amazing. I blew 4 rolls of color film there. It was great. We saw monkeys, birds, birds, and more birds, lizards, spiders, a jaguar -- beautiful animal, and alligators. And that was just in the rainforest. No, the jaguar was in Mundo Maya, very cool place. We went through the ocean and saw hundreds of different types of fish categorized first by island they live near – that makes sense, and then by who doesn’t eat whom. There was a large predator tank, a shark tank, and continental shelf tank, and a tank for the darkest, deeper parts of the ocean. We ended the tour near the gift shop – I bought a mug for me, some little things for DD, a t-shirt for my step dad, and nana bought a t-shirt for DB. Then we drove around Dallas. They had this really cool park that had statues of cowboys driving longhorns down and around and up this hill. It was sooooooooooooooo cool. I didn’t have my camera out to get a picture. Bummer. We came home, my uncle and Nana took naps, DD played, I stitched. We then went to the mall for dinner because our original plans got nixed. Oh well. It was fun. Went to Dillards -- $166.00 for a cotton peasant style skirt with a little bit of beadwork on the waist band – ah, no thanks. We walked out. DD wanted to go to Libby Lu, so we did. Expensive, but she picked out a few things that she wanted that were to expensive so that was good. We came home, watched TV, relaxed, and stitched. After breakfast we went to Wolf Camera’s where I picked up a flash and a lens cleaning kit, and a roll of film, that I hope is the right one. Otherwise, I could be up a creek. :S

I can’t believe it’s Wednesday already. So not fair.

Spring Break -- Day 3

March 7, 2006

Lewisville, TX

Day 3

This morning we went to the Owen’s Spring Creek Farm and saw a museum of farm life including the general store and then we walked around and saw their horses and then we went into the petting zoo and fed the longhorn cattle and (and petted) the goats. DD climbed onto a spider made out of a huge rolled bale of hay, spray painted to look like a happy spider face. After we left there, we went to Black Eye Peas for lunch, the place we were going to go to (Magical Time Machine) wasn’t open for lunch. :( After that we walked next door to Quilt Country. All I can is 8500 bolts of fabric!!!!! Very expensive at $8.95 a yard. Ouch. I bought 2 ½ yards of four Texas flowers fabrics that I’m going to use to make quilts from. I just don’t know what I’m going to do yet. We’ll see. I think I may do a flying geese for one of the patterns, I’m just not sure yet. We’ll see. For dinner, we stayed home and had ham and bologna sandwiches. And then my aunt, DD, and I went to Walmart and JoAnn Fabrics. Their JoAnn’s has more crafty stuff (like a Michael’s) than fabric, and really, their fabric selection stunk. Oh Well. I don’t live here, so it’s allright. And well, Walmart is Walmart. Not a big day, but it 79°F and gorgeous.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Spring Break -- Day 2

March 6, 2006

Lewisville, TX

Day 2

We woke up at about 8:30 this morning and stayed in our pj’s until 9:30. I made eggs and toast for breakfast which went over fairly well. My uncle came over around 9:45 or so. After I finished getting ready, we went to this mall where the Dallas Children’s Museum was. DD played in the Greek house, the Doctor’s Office/hospital/ambulence, Cici’s Pizzeria, Kroger’s Grocery Store – where she both shopped and rang up her groceries on a real working scanner, she also played on the stage, and did some drawing. She played the most in the house and in the pizza store. Although, with as much time as we spent there, I think that was her favorite part. Afterward we went to Grapevine Mall and ate at the Rainforest Café. DD was begging for McDonald’s again. Ugh. We went to the café with the understanding that if she didn’t like it we could go to McDonald’s. She loved the alligator at the entrance and the aquariums. And then there were the elephants, and after she got over her initial scare of the gorilla’s, she went off exploring the restaurant and sat at the bar on the giraffe legs and lower body, complete with moving rope tail. She had a blast! I’m so glad. She had dinosaur chicken nuggets with fries and a Coke. My uncle had the Blue Mountain Chicken Burger with chips and a Coke, Nana had Caribe Chicken with coffee, and I had the Planet Earth Pasta (sausage and penne pasta with mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce) some sort of toasted bread and a Coke. Then we went shopping. Nana and I bought a blue romper with fish on it for Nephew #5, t-shirts for Nephew #3 (brown tye-dye with safari animals on it and reads Rainforest Café), Niece #1(pink with two white tigers that reads Rainforest Café), Niece #2 (pink with sparkly tiger that reads Wild Thing on it), and DD (dark blue tye-dye with white tigers that reads Rainforest Café). And then I bought two more shirts for Serra (both white one with the Rainforest Café animals and name on it and one with Cha Cha (the frog) riding a bucking bronco that says Dallas on it), two for me (both with, one with all of the Rainforest Café animals and the name on the back and a small logo on the upper left side in front and one with three Cha Cha frogs doing the see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil thing on it) and a mug (white with animals and name). My Uncle commandeered a wheelchair for Nana and we walked around about half of the mall. I saw this store Justice-Just For Girls, I went in, but found they had really expensive versions of the clothes I usually find at The Children’s Place. Then Nana and I went into Liz Claiborne Shoes and she found a pair of heeled sandals in the kind that she likes. She got them in black. She paid like $55.00 for them, instead of the normal $64.00, and at the last minute I found a pair of dark tan ankle boots that I like. They are normally $94.00, and I got them for $21.00. They are a little tight, but I figure since I’m losing weight and they are leather, it’s perfectly fine. Then I found this store called Texas Treasures and I got DB a gray t-shirt with the Dallas Skyline on it, I picked up two shot glasses for mom one is clear with tiny painted boots, hats, and lone stars on it that says Dallas in big letters, and one that looks like an old map that says Texas on it and cowboys. And I got a collector’s spoon with a pair of boots and a map of Texas on it. I spotted two things there that I almost got, but didn’t – a bumper sticker that reads “I’m from Texas, what country are you from?” and an “Official” Texas Passport with all of the different large cities in Texas listed in on beige paper and laid out like a real passport. It was really neat. Then my uncle bought DD a Fairytopia Mermaid/Fairy thingy and a set of Polly Pockets. Then I found The Children’s Place Outlet store and I bought DD three pair of socks, three pair of shorts, two pairs of Capri pants, a shirt, and a pair of sun-glasses. All of which look really good on her. Not that I’m biased at all.

Then we headed back to my Aunt's. I stitched, DD played, my uncle and Nana slept. After my aunt came home we went to Razzoo’s Cajun Restaurant for dinner. The outside looked like a swamp shack (at least the pictures I’ve seen of them) and had a pair of screen doors leading into it. There were bottles of different sizes and colors that used as a divider. Nana and my aunt both had the cheeseburger with fries (it was huge), my uncle had the shrimp basket, DD had chicken strips and fries (of course, did we think there was going to be anything else?), and I had the Andouille with Red Beans and Rice, which is spicy but not hot. Let me just say that it’s Cajun sausage – it BITES BACK!!! Ouch. But really good. And like lunch, I couldn’t finish it all! No desert -- and they looked really really good. We did pick up some ice cream, bread and cheese on the way home, though. My uncle went home, my aunt and Nana watched TV, DD played. I started to stitch, but ended up talking to a friend of mine instead. While we were at Razzoo’s (oh, and yes, Alligator tails was on the menu), I called my Brother and told him that we’d arrived safely, that we were eating Cajun and that it was a balmy 81°F. He had absolutely no sympathy for me. :) I believe his words were something to the effect of “I hate you. Shut up.” I was just trying to be helpful and kind and let him know I arrived safely. Even though I had called him from the Smokehouse yesterday…it’s not my fault. (It was 18°F there). Did I mention I wore a tank top, skirt, and sandals all day? Um, oh, darn.

I did end up stitching a bit after DD went to bed and I finished talking with my aunt. I do need to call my mom tomorrow. And I think I want to pick up some earrings for SIL and maybe something for SSis and her kids. I might get DSdad a t-shirt too. I think he’d like that. I’ll have to remember this for when we go to Utah. Gifts for the family. And when I go to Atlanta this year… gifts for the family…. :) I had a blast today. I loved all of the food, and seeing everything. There really aren’t a lot of chain restaurants down here. I was surprised. And happy.

Thought of the day – OMG!!!! I bought shoes. Vile, evil things!!! And I bought a pair. Willingingly. Oh boy.

Spring Break -- Day 1

March 5, 2006

Lewisville, Texas

Day 1 of our Spring Break vacation to Dallas.

It was truly a travel day. I got up around 5:30 this morning, checked out of the hotel after spending a terrific weekend at a mostly useful writer’s mini-con. I picked up DD from DB and SIL new house, toured it – it’s huge – really, it’s too much. I mean who wants to clean something that large. Ugh. Nana picked us up around 8:30 this morning and we arrived at the airport at 9:00, since we had a 10:16 flight.

Security was a pain in the arse. I haven’t flown in 7 years, I wouldn’t have thought that I needed to remove my laptop from my carry-on. It was on the bottom of the flippin’ bag. Ugh. So they hand searched my bag and did some sort of chemical test on my computer. I’m going to take a long shot and assume they were looking for traces of explosives or other nasty chemicals meant to kill lots of people. You had to remove your shoes, unless you are over 80 or wearing tennis shoes. Yeah. DD and I were both wearing tennis shoes. Joy of joys. So we cleared security.

I bought gum to help DD equalize the pressure in her ears…she doesn’t like gum. So I had her drink a little, which she didn’t really want to do either. We boarded the plane out of GR easy enough. Watching her as we took off renewed my joy in flying. I got to re-experience everything for the first time with her. All of her excitement and fears. By the time we landed in Chicago though, she was complaining that she was hungry. It only got worse, especially the whining. YUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So I did the unthinkable, I bought food at the airport. Really, what choice did I have? She was doing nothing but whining and complaining. I spent a good $30.00 on food for three people. Ouch. The meal consisted of Pepperoni Pizza, the personal size ones, Chinese with 2 meats (Sesame, orange), and a ham and cheddar on Ciabatta bread. We boarded the flight to Dallas on time, but then they had to de-ice the plane’s wings. And then we sat on the runway for a bloody half-hour. We were late getting into Texas. But we finally made it. YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We got settled in at my aunt’s house – it’s gorgeous, I’m going to have to get pictures of it all. My Aunt’s house is a gorgeous brick house, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, with a study, breakfast nook, patio, sunroom, large kitchen, and formal living room that she separated with 2 large screens and made into a prayer sanctuary. One of things I’ve noticed down here is that almost all of the houses are made out of brick, is that a good portion of the houses, especially the newer ones, had their garages in the back of the houses with 8’ – 12’ wooden privacy fences, all accessed by alley ways. It’s really cool. My aunt's got this nautical - western - feminine decor thing going on. It's really tasteful and cool.

My uncle took us to the town of Denton, to a small hole-in-the-wall restaurant called the Smokehouse for dinner. I had a two meat combo of Beef Brisket and German Sausage, with a side of Potatoes salad and onion rings. DD desperately wanted Chicken Nuggets from McDonalds. She ate most of her chicken strips, and onion rings. Then we went to see the largest house in North America. Then home and then out to the grocery store followed by Braum’s, which has excellent ice cream. On the way back from dinner, we drove through Texas Women’s University, which was truly awesome. And then we saw the largest house in North America, which was gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And all the land that goes with it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And everywhere there are horses and cattle!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

More to come....