Saturday, January 5, 2013

Weekend Notes: Goodbye Holiday Season...

Here we go with a quick chance to catch up on all the things going on out here.  First and foremost, now that we are already in January, please take down your freakin' Christmas lights!  I promise to walk out into the yard today and remove my Christmas balls that Eva so lovingly hung from the tree.  Go ahead and giggle, the neighbors do. 
 There is something so juvenile yet refreshing to have a middle-aged woman drive by and yell, Dave, I love your balls.

That aside, this is the ugliest time of year, in my opinion.  I simply love October in south central Texas.  The 100+ degree days leave us, there is an occasional cool crisp breeze, but for the most part, we are transformed into one of those places you want to visit like Orlando (unless you have ever been to Orlando, and realize, no thanks, I'll stay in Texas), but the point is, the weather is just wonderful, high 70's or low 80's.   But by mid November and December, without any benefit of snow, the entire place just turns gray.  It was as if one day, someone flipped a switch and my yard went brown, the trees lost all color and everything looks dead and dreary.  Not unlike any day in England.

Nice segue, right?  As you may know, I have been scanning in photos for years, trying to catalog all the pictures I have taken before the digital age, and now, I have several boxes of old photo albums from my parents house that I am digging through.  For the record, Eva hates this.  Not important; I have to have a hobby when I retire in a decade or so, so these pictures will be around for a while.  Anyway, in 1984 while I was stationed in England, my grandparents and parents came for a visit.  They stayed in London (at the Waldorf) for part of the trip, and in Bedford, closer to my base for a few days.
 This is a picture of the worldly travelers in front of the book store at Westminster Abbey (maybe, I can't recall).
 And this is my grandfather, Ralph Gower, with me and the matching hats we bought from a small shop in SoHo.  Are we not two hip cats? 
So going back to December, I have a few notes and pictures that must be shared.  First off, my oldest nephew (he is only about 12 years younger than me, so that makes him an adult, and then some) has moved to San Antonio from Virginia.  His family will join him in the coming months.  Santa regrets not checking the naughty or nice list before offering to snap a picture.
 Since he is working downtown, we met him for dinner on the Riverwalk and dined at a place we have missed over the years, called Lone Star Cafe.   Just a few notes.  Our group had six, and the wait was brief - maybe 15-20 minutes, which given some wait times at places we walked by on the way was fantastic.  We were seated at a table overlooking the Riverwalk and our server was very quick with menus, taking the orders and refills.  Gottta love that.
 We ordered some onion rings as an appetizer, and I must tell you that the taste was outstanding.  I love onion rings and these were brilliantly seasoned and cooked to the proper amount of crispity goodness.  Only one problem, they were just slightly above warm.  It appeared that they may have been sitting there for a while.  They tasted great, but they were not hot.   And my rule is, nothing goes back to the kitchen, so we just let it go.  If I go there again, I will order the rings but I'll ask the waiter to give me a batch just out of the fryer.  You'll want to do the same.
 We had a bunch of different orders and I seemed to get the short end of the stick.  I ordered some sort of burger.  I just recall that it looked good but I just wasn't impressed.   The bun was good, the jalapenos, pickles, onions and such were all good, but the burger patty was just okay.
My son had a steak that was overcooked.  I took a few bites of it but just gave up.  We didn't even take it in a to-go bag.  There ought to be a law that no steak can be cooked any more than medium. 
Someone, maybe Eva or maybe my daughter had chicken fried steak.  I think they used a similar breading to the onion rings and it was actually fantastic.  Potatoes were good too.

Overall, good service, some good food, some not as good.  It is worth a try if you are looking for something beyond the usual places on the Riverwalk.  Just be pretty specific when you order about how you want your steak cooked and the freshness of the onion rings.  I know, you shouldn't have to...
And then there was the day before Christmas.  Eva tried to get us all out of the house to enjoy the yard.  There I am with my son and son-in-law, throwing the football around.  Then, someone decides to throw the football over a tall tree.  And that's when it all started.  So I'll keep this brief.  Tyler, who has a history of sports related malfunctions (remember the golfing incident?) gets the autographed Dallas Cowboys football stuck in the very highest part of the tree.  So, we have another cheap football, and in an effort to throw it at the first stuck football, it gets stuck. 
Next, why not try a basketball?  That one was mine.  One shot and stuck!  I yelled, "This tree hates balls!"  My son decides he will throw a baseball bat up at the basketball and that promptly becomes stuck. 
Next, I find a long wooden dowel from the garage and start throwing it up and it too becomes stuck. Eventually, using a softball, we would get all but the original football unstuck.  There was a last ditch effort by Roxanne to shimmy up the tree to try to shake the limbs, but we aborted that effort rather quickly.  We decided that eventually, the wind would knock the ball down.

And we didn't have to wait long.
On Christmas day, the wind went crazy and not only did the ball come flying out of the tree, but I stood out on the back patio and watched my latest jacuzzi canopy get shredded.  At least I didn't lose the entire frame like last time
Yea.  Not a lot I could do but watch, then go online and order a replacement. 
 I also found a section of fence that came undone but I was able to quickly put it back in place and nail it in a little stronger than apparently I had done the first time.  It was that windy.

But Christmas day was not a bust, regardless of the wind.  In fact, all the good boys and girls got to enjoy of visit from Santa (following his recovery from the aforementioned nephew laying on his lap), and I am happy to report that no tears were shed, nobody had any accidents, and aside from Santa nearly having a uniform induced stroke, it was all good.
This is Santa sharing a moment with our granddaughter, Isabella.  She is not fond of any holiday personalities but I think Santa rates above that scary Easter Bunny any day.
And no visit would be complete without The Bee.  She looked into Santa's eyes with suspicion, as if she had seen this man somewhere else.  But she never let on to any of the other kids.
And then there was Tristan.  4 year-olds are the perfect age for Christmas.  This little kid is in almost every picture we took during Santa's visit, because he was trying to really get to know the man.  Here he is saying, "What the hell, Aunt Eva, you know Santa is on a diet.  Quit trying to feed him cookies!"

We did spend New Years Eve at home, watched a few movies before sitting in the office to scan pictures and look out the windows as nearby residents blew off hundreds of dollars worth of fireworks.  I have to admit, some of the displays were quite impressive.  And with a slight sprinkling, I was not even concerned about some stray bottle rocket landing in my yard and burning all our trees down.  And with all of that holiday business behind us, we can get on to 2013 and a fresh beginning of new adventures.


Anonymous said...

Love the old pics. Your grandfather/mother had some amazing experiences growing up in the 1920-40s.

MsBelinda said...

I enjoyed your post. You have a striking resemblece to your grandfather.

Hope to one day learn how to scan pictures as well.

Had a laugh at all the things that got stuck to the tree.

The awing incident reminded me of what happened to my friends screen room in the Terlingua winds this past chili cook-off.

Happy 2013 to you and Eva :)