Wednesday, February 5, 2014

January 2014

January 1st was a busy day as we tended to last minute chores in the winery and the casita. It ended with a glorious sunset!

The next day brought a sad note. I got a call from the kids on Thursday, January 2nd as Stanley and I were on the bus returning from Mexico to the United States. Their father, my first husband, Lanny Lowrance, had passed away the previous day. Would I go to the service? Should I go? I left it up to the kids and they said, "Yes, please come." So off I went.

I flew from Harlingen to Midland on the 3rd, and then drove to Alpine on the 4th, arriving only hours before the graveside service.

 The kids buried their father honoring the way he had lived his life. They did it with dignity and respect. It was all I could have asked for.

Lanny's beloved Coors advertisement portrait. It represents the life style he followed and perhaps his happiest moment.

Sarah and I returned to San Antonio the following day. She had to go back to work, and I had a plane to catch. Stanley and I left on Monday for Washington DC.

We spent two nights in DC and they were cold ones. It was tempting to stay in the hotel room and pray for warmer weather. A quick look at the weather channel and we were convinced that wasn't going to happen soon, so we bundled up and took off for the National Art Gallery.

After our experience in Istanbul, we were anxious to see this exhibition of Byzantine Art

An additional surprise with the presence of the Dying Gaul, a fabulous ancient sculpture.
Seeing all that wonderful art was well worth the effort, but I was ever so glad to be back in a warm room at day's end.

The next morning we were on the train to Vermont. We arrived in Stowe the next day.

To say that the Edson Hill Manor is a classy B&B would be an understatement. It may not look like much in this picture, but 

inside there was a touch of elegance.

and our room couldn't have been more comfortable. No need to mention that the fireplace was more of a necessity than a luxury and that the "private" bathroom was across the hall.  Those were totally insignificant details.

Patricia, the bride's mother, organized a lovely dinner party for those of us who arrived on Thursday. It was a great opportunity to get to know the folks we would be spending the next few days with.

On Friday, some of the wedding party went dog sledding. I'm sure they enjoyed it very much, but we had our fun shopping and looking around Stowe. Here are some of my favorite photos:

That evening we all boarded a chartered bus. The destination was a farmhouse that Patricia had rented for James, Amanda, and all the young folks that had come for the wedding.

It was quite a trek. Approximately 45 miles and a little over an hour travel time. I have to say, some of my fellow passengers were concerned that we might be lost, or worse yet, we might be charged a roaming fee if we called for help because we were so close to Canada.

As most always happens, the worst fears were for nothing. We arrived safely, had a fine dinner, met some very interesting people, boarded the bus again, and were delivered safely back to Edson Hill Manor.

Saturday was a gloomy rainy day. Time for leisurely meals, conversation, and a good book.

Time to head for the church!

The bride was radiant, the groom stunning in his formal kilt. The flower girls were precious.
The following are my favorites of the wedding pictures.
The bride flanked by her little sister on the left and Stanley's granddaughter, Rowan, on the right.

Robin, Stanley, and James . . . pride of the Highlands!

The whole family. 

A little father/son chat.

Tables set for the reception.

Quote from the program.

Sunday morning we were off to take Rebecca to the airport. Then back to the inn to meet with James and Amanda. They took us to town for lunch. Back at the inn for a short time before they had to tackle the trip back to the farmhouse.

For us, it was early to bed. Weddings can be exhausting.

Monday was all about lolling around the inn all by ourselves. We enjoyed reading in front of both the fireplace downstairs and the one in our room. We had a long chat with the owner of the inn, paid our bill and finished the day with dinner at the Crop Bistro and Brewpub.

On Tuesday, we were on the road.

The rain had washed away most of the snow and the ice was melting fast. That's Lake Champlain in the distance in the bottom picture.

We drove into St. Albans just in time to see a bit of the picturesque downtown before returning the car.

Some take-out sandwiches, a good movie at the motel.

The next morning, we were on the way the New York City!

First order of business was finding a great ethnic restaurant.

There it was - right across the street.  The Braai - South African cuisine. The wine, food, ambiance, and service - all great! The oysters were superb!

Up the next morning in search of lox and bagels!
Then a walk through Central Park.

I love the way the park looks at this time of year. You can see so much more of its structure when it isn't covered with flowers. And what about the view of skyscrapers through leafless branches?

I have no pictures to share of the exhibition at the Frick Collection.

but a lot of people wanted to see it. So many, in fact, that we had to become members just to get tickets.The main draw for most folks? The Girl with the Pearl Earring. For me? The Goldfinch. I had just finished the novel by the same name and I couldn't believe I could see the painting right there in NYC. Talk about perfect timing. Both of these outstanding pieces of art were at the Frick on loan from The Hague.

We tried to get our membership money's worth. I don't think we missed a single nook or cranny of the entire place.

We finished off the day with Wicked. It was wicked good. It's always a treat to see a Broadway production in NYC. Added bonus: Our hotel was only a block from the theater. No need for a taxi.

Next morning, it was off to Penn Station. 

Back in DC it was much warmer. First thing was a reconnaissance mission to The Kennedy Center.

Great building.

The setting.

The quotes.

Walking back to the metro station we saw this. I guess they still have plumbers at the Watergate Hotel.

It wouldn't be DC without a peek into the National Botanical Garden.

Orchids. I need to warn everyone that the orchid enthusiasm at the Ashmore residence has been rekindled.

We wrapped up our cold February jaunt back at The Kennedy Center with Flashdance! High energy, I guess! What a thrill to watch young people move like that.

We had experienced about all we could enjoy. As much as I hated to admit it, I was just as tired of going as Stanley was. It was time to head for Texas and a slower pace.

Sarah and her family picked us up at the airport. We had burgers on the way to Frosty's where we thankfully had the house to ourselves. Stanley had another dental appointment scheduled on Monday afternoon and he was fairly adamant about not wanting to do anything else. I couldn't let the possibility of a trip to the zoo with Grayson and Beans pass me by. See the next post for details.