Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wine Tour

The ride up to Marble Falls on Tuesday morning was super pleasant. We made several stops to admire the colors of fall.

Charlie had made all the arrangements for us to stay at Heart of Texas. Everyone drew for beds and Stanley and I lucked out with Room #5. 

The kitchen was perfect. It had all the bells and whistles. 

What a great place to gather.

Outside the weather was turning nasty. Foggy, misty, and cold.

Not very good for swing time.

Back inside dinner was coming together.

We had a wonderful evening. The kind you remember and enjoy over and over again. We told stories, ate delicious food and sampled wines that everyone had brought to share.

Finally it was time to wind down and head for bed. Stanley made a last trip to the bathroom before going upstairs. Somehow he fell and split his head in two places. What a scare! Bob N took us to the hospital and then stayed with us for over three hours. Finally the doctor decided to admit Stanley and keep him for the night. Bob and I went home. 

First thing Wednesday morning, Stanley called me. He wanted to be picked up. The doctor had sown up his gashes with 33 stitches, but the admission had never happened. He had spent the night on a narrow hard emergency room bed. He was more than ready to get out of there!

An hour later after a shower and change of clothes, he was ready for the wine tour.

He made it through four wineries, a pizza lunch,

A shared cheeseburger for dinner,

And Christmas lights. He napped a bit between wineries and quite a bit on the final trip back to the B&B. He went to bed as soon as we stepped into the house. The important thing is that he seems to be okay. He is not in pain and stayed in remarkably good spirits all day! 

I am so very grateful!

To bed. To sleep. We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Thursday morning he reports he is feeling normal. I am so very grateful. 
It was raining when we got up, but by the time we had breakfast, clean-up, and good-byes, it was down to a fine mist. We decided on a circuitous route. Through Jonesville, Burnet, Llano, Fredericksburg, and on to San Antonio. I took a few photos along the way.

Tonight we are safe and warm and I'm fairly sure Stanley is ok. Life is good!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

What a lovely afternoon.
First one bird. With sparkling wine, of course!

And then another. With mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, dressing, gravy, brussel spouts, yeast rolls, and cranberry. Not to forget a side of Smithfield ham. Hard to get more traditional.

Best of all were the good friends: Jim and Veti, Cher and Steve. Always good to sit down and break bread with people you love!

Makes a person thankful!

A10 Day Trip Back to Mexico

First morning back it was cold. And foggy! We couldn't see beyond the arroyo edge. It was as if the entire Parras Valley and the mountain range beyond had disappeared.

On Friday, we went to Torreón, but were unable to complete the visa renewal because one of our papers was incorrectly worded.

Back at Perote, we spent the weekend in the winery. By late Monday, most of the wine had been racked.

My big job on Monday was to see to the incorrect paper. That took about five minutes. I spent most of the day enjoying the garden

On Tuesday, we went back to Torreón. Getting the visa renewal application on file went very quickly, but there was not enough time to complete the application for our permiso para salir y regressar. I faced a huge crowd at the bank and when I returned to the immigration office, it was already closed. Not willing to face the ride back to Parras knowing we would have to return the following day, we opted to stay in Torreón that night. Without a chane of clothes, toothbrush or hairbrush, we made a pretty sorry lot the next morning. However, my tale of woe must have made an impression because the officer was able to process our permiso in an hour and a half instead of the usual three day minimum. Our decision to spend the night actually saved us two trips! 

The rest of the week we enjoyed almost perfect weather.

Omar came on Thursday and really spiffed things up. We got a couple of new items in the cactus garden. A tree to replace the sotol that died and a viejito cactus.

The aloe was showing off.

Pecan trees were turning gold

Pomegranates hung in the trees lonely and already ravaged by the birds

Stanley made himself busy cutting firewood

We had some good meals on the grill

And Solo Vino and I had some good walks.

His devotion to me is one of life's great mysteries. After being away for months at a time, my return is always cause for celebration and he stays close by until I leave again. If I am in the front of the house, he is on the front patio; if I am in the back of the house, he is on the back porch; if I am outside, he is never more than a few feet away. When we leave the house to visit friends, he always assumes he is invited, and because he is so lovable and well behaved he generally is on the guest list. He deserves a much more stay-at-home family, but I am grateful for his devotion. 

The vineyard tried to match the gold of the pecan trees, but the vines just looked tired.

The garden was teaming with flittering goldfinches.

And butterflies were everywhere.

Oranges are taking their good old easy time getting ripe.

Tumble weeds are collecting.

One afternoon we had monarchs in the garden.

Everyday the trees were more golden.

The bodega got new doors while we were there.

Lots of interesting insects . . , some of them were quite lovey dovey.

Both the insect and the spider look pregnant to me. Oh, goody!

Our time in Mexico was marred by the terrible news of missing students and their awful deaths. So much corruption. So much sadness. Not nearly enough will to change!
The LA times had an excellent article.

On Friday afternoon a bee stung me. More on that later.

I spent the Saturday with Estela. We went around town delivering certtificates of participation to all the artists who participated in the Alianza Art Contest last August. We were also able to make contact with some key artists who seem very interested in coordinating a gallery. I have my fingers crossed. Meanwhile, I cannot thank Estela enough for all she has done to promote art in the community. Muchas gracias, mi amiga!

When we got back to the house, Yoyo, Tencha and their daughter Annai were there . . . already sampling the white Zinfandel Annai taught us how to make last summer. What a great way to wind up a visit back to Mexico.

On Sunday, I accomplished three things. I sneezed all day, we finished racking the wine, and I managed to ready the house for our absense again. Putting all that together was very interesting.

We left on Mondday morning just as the sun was coming up.

I assume Sunday's sneezing fit was a prelude to what followed. On Monday's bus ride, I developed a raging rash that itched like crazy. First thing Tuesday morning, I was on the phone asking for an appointment to see the doctor. He prescribed a steroid and Benadryl cream. I wouldn't say it has worked like magic, but thankfully I am much better. I have some choice names for the bee that got me. Most of them are unprintable.

We will be here in south Texas for a couple of months. We've already had several meals with friends and Stanley is making the garden here look beautiful. I'm not surprised. He always does.

Please keep Mexico in your thoughts and prayers. My Mexican friends are facing some difficult decisions and there seems to be no Pancho Villa on the horizon.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

November 4-5 Flight Time

Up early to beat the metro traffic.

Our air bus is ready and waiting!

All aboard!

Back in Washington DC, we managed baggage collection, immigration, customs, a bus ride, and a metro trip all in a semi conscious state. Once we checked into the hotel, we perked up long enough to share a hamburger. First one of those I'd had in a long time!

Next morning, we enjoyed the colorful foliage outside our window

And a view of the Capitol building. What's with the shrouding? First the Panthéon and now the US Capitol?

By 5:00 we would land in San Antonio in the middle of a pouring rain storm. A few hours later after a hero's welcome and a delicious dinner, we would fall into a deep12 hour sleep. 

This trip is in the books. Time to start dreaming up a new one!