Friday, December 2, 2011


Frances Forster - loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin, niece, and friend - went to be with the angels following a brief illness on November 25, 2011 in San Antonio, Texas. She spent her last hours surrounded by family.

Frances was born on July 27, 1930 to William and Sarah Phillips in Hopkins County, Texas. She married Charles Forster on November 20, 1952 in Carrizo Springs, Texas where they made their home for many years. Together they owned several businesses in Carrizo Springs allowing her to hone her natural business abilities. Later, she served as Food Service Director for the Carrizo Springs Ind. School District. She delighted in planning tasty nutritious meals for the school children of CSISD within budget while developing long-standing strong relationships with her staff. Widowed in 1991, she remained in Carrizo Springs until her retirement in 1997 when she moved to San Antonio, Texas.

Frances loved to explore new places even when that meant traveling to every one of the contiguous states plus Alaska in a pick-up camper with three young boys. Later, she enjoyed more sophisticated options which took her to destinations as diverse as St. Petersburg, the Panama Canal, London, and Hawaii. She traveled to Alaska many times and spent nine months in Mexico with her daughter traveling, learning the language and meeting people.

During the last few years in San Antonio she served as an officer or board member of several senior citizen groups in her church and community. She jokingly referred to Casa Helotes Senior Center as her new job. Her “job” description included playing “42”, several other domino games, Bridge, Canasta, Poker, and making sure everyone felt welcome and important. She was an avid fan of the San Antonio Spurs, and she treasured the games she saw in person.

Frances was a committed Catholic. In Carrizo Springs, she was an active member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church. Her church home in San Antonio was St. Anthony Claret. Seeking out a church for Sunday worship was an intricate part of all her travels.

Her family was of upmost importance to Frances. She was never happier than when children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren crowded around her table. Survivors include four children: Dona Calcote and her husband Stanley Ashmore of Parras Coah Mexico, Charles Phillip “Frosty” Forster and his wife Jill Dacus of San Antonio TX, Joseph Forster and his wife Janet of Germantown MD, and James Forster and his wife Sarah of Zeeland MI; ten grandchildren: Miriam Frances “Panchi” Scown of Alpine TX, Sarah Locke, Glenn Lanson “Trey” Lowrance III, Kelly Forster, and Katie Johnson all of San Antonio TX, Jacqueline Forster and Justin Forster of Germantown MD, Anders Forster, Grace Forster and Cole Forster of Zeeland MI. She leaves eleven great-grandchildren. She is also survived by two dear brothers, Jerry Phillips of Athens TX and Joe Phillips of Floyada TX, numerous cousins, two nieces, one nephew, and a host of friends from places far and near. All of them were dear to her.

A funeral mass for Frances will be held on Friday, December 2 at 2:00PM at St. Anthony Claret, 6150 Roft Road, San Antonio. Grave-side services will be held at Mount Hope Cemetery in Carrizo Springs on Saturday, December 3 at 1:00PM.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


We arrived in Geneva late evening and our flight to Madrid was at 3:00PM the next day.  We knew we had to be very selective about what we saw.

First was a stroll along the lake.  It is just as beautiful as I had imagined.

Next a visit to Parc de la Grange.  Absolutely beautiful!

And, of course, a look at architecture through the eyes of John Calvin.   Read about the man and St. Pierre Cathedral at and

After a quick lunch and a small chocolate purchase, we were off to the airport.  Twenty-four hours later we were at the LaQuinta just down the road from the airport in Houston, Texas. 

Our 2011 European adventure had spanned almost two months and  four countries. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Train Ride Between Milan and Geneva

Stanley assured me that pictures taken from a moving train would be of little value, but I couldn't resist.  The pictures are certainly not perfect - for that matter, none of my pictures are perfect - but I wouldn't trade them for anything.  They show rocks and dirt at their very best! 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Verona, Italy

Let's get the mushy stuff out of the way first.  Anyone who visits Verona without a trip to the legendary home of Juliet has missed half the fun.  We were there on a very cool, misty, gray day and the place was packed.  I can't imagine what it might be like on a bright sunny day.  Of course, everyone was very orderly.  As soon as you saw everything you came to see, touched everything you wanted to touch, and added your name and your lover's name to the wall, you were expected to move on.  Important to note this process was not usually quick. 

The pictures above are my tribute to Juliet:  her balcony, the street sign, and the little elf of a man who embroidered my apron with the words Dona, La Regina della Cucina.  The background is a close-up of a tiny portion of the wall reserved for graffiti.  You cannot imagine the many layers of writing.  I firmly believe that if it were possible to separate the writing from the wall, the writing would stand up on its own strength. 

Off to explore more of Verona.

We were lucky enough to be in town during Festo D' Autumno, a celebration that seemed to spread all over the downtown area.

Everything was fresh, home-grown, or homemade.

These were some of my favorite booths. Everything from copper pots, to cheese, to lavender and more than I can remember in between. The wood-working friar was irresistible. Had my suitcases not already been bursting at the seams, I would have bought something just to extend my conversation with him.

This display of natural dyes was fascinating. I wish I could have captured the colors better.

With so little time and so much to see, we walked away from the fair to explore more of the city.  Here are some of my favorites:

You might not think we were there long enough to have a favorite bar, but you would be surprised how quickly that can happen.  Here it is:

More favorites:

What a way to be buried.  Not exactly my style.

The church of Sant' Anastasia. Plain on the outside; fabulous inside.

Our favorite restaurant and our favorite church go hand-in-hand.  In honor St. Euphemia, the patron saint of Rovinj, we went looking for the church in Verona which bears her name and claims to possess some of her relics.  The church was closed, but the restaurant across the street served up a delicious dinner.  Unfortunately, it was far too cold to eat outside, but just knowing that beautiful garden was out there made everything alright.

Ten bridges span the Adige River as it makes a huge swoop through the city.  We had a favorite and I've even included some info I found on the Internet.  It brings to mind the bridge at Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as another example of the senseless destruction of war.

Ponte Scaligero

The Ponte Scaligero is a three-arch bridge that spans the Adige River. It was built in 1375 or 1376 for the Scaliger family who wanted to use the bridge as an escape route from the Castelvecchio to the river. The architect was most likely Guglielmo Bevilacqua. The overpass spans 120 meters and connects the city to the road that leads to Tyrol. It is one of the most photographed viaducts in the city and a popular transport path for pedestrians. As with many other structures, the original bridge was destroyed by the Germans during World War II. Fortunately, it was reconstructed in the 1950s using many of the original salvaged parts.
Unlike Venice, I believe I will put Verona on a list of places to visit as often as possible.  At least I would like to give it the same extended visit I gave Venice.  There were simply too many sights and sounds to absorb in a single day.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Last Day in Rovinj

The plan was to stay in Rovinj through October 31, and when the Jack O'Lantern went up on our Apartment Sign, we knew the end was near.  Every day we were there was over shadowed by Mom's illness, but our Croatian experiences shown through.  We are already looking forward to another visit in 2012.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Motovun and Groznjan

Before reading my description of this side trip, you might want to check out another blogger.
Unlike me, this gal actually has some facts.  I just have impressions.
We managed to take public transportation everywhere we went on this trip except for the trip to the Istrian hill towns of Motovun and Groznjan.  With no public bus or rail options, we rented a car and drove, opting for the hilly country roads instead of the huge freeway which ran parallel just a couple of miles to the west. 

Motovun was easy to spot from quite a distance.  This is about as good an example of "hill town" as you can expect to find any where.

Reading about a castle and approaching it in real life are two entirely different things.  We knew our hotel was located in an old castle at the very top of the hill, but facing this wall was a bit intimidating.  Read about the castle at

The following pictures were taken as we walked around the hill, through the castle, up and down the narrow streets.  The scenery was spectacular and combined with the misty, cloudy weather one could imagine the fairy tale setting as it must have been long, long ago.

It was truffle season and after sampling some of those little gems at dinner, we knew we had to visit the home of the largest truffle ever found.  I wish I could share the taste sensation of truffles on this blog.  Technology seems to be lagging in this area.  I can provide a great visual at

After visiting the truffle museum and making our small purchases (quantity not cost), we set out for our next town, Groznjan.  On the way, I got this great shot of truffle hunter with her dogs.

Groznjan was lovely, a lot more tourist friendly than Movotun which is much more like a real working town than a tourist trap.  However, before we could begin to enjoy the village, the rain started coming down in buckets.

We persevered, snapping pictures through the rain, but it just wasn't letting up.  Finally, we gave up and got back on the road.

As luck would have it, we encountered just enough sunshine to take this picture of the lovely fall foliage.  Pretty nice, huh?