Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from Galveston Island

We wish you blessings, peace, serenity and joy as we celebrate Christ’s birthday. . .


And don’t forget music, presents, good food, friends, family and lots of fun. . .and maybe some bubbly champagne!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I love Christmas lights

Don’t you just love Christmas lights?



Baby Jesus’ manager in Bethlehem


A snail


I believe in angels.  Inspires me to want to break out in song: “Angels we have heard on high…”


Into the wild with the elephants


Mama giraffe and her child-the dark space behind them is Offatts Bayou in Galveston, Texas.


Christmas lighting is not complete without Santa. . .this Santa is riding the waves!


We’re in Galveston. . . pirate Jean Lafitte's ship?


Another sea creature


Hold it. . .Santa was riding the waves a minute ago. . .now he is snorkeling-this guy sure gets around! Duh!


This looks like Ms. Foxy who used to visit us at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California


Tobogganing. . .reminds me of growing up in the snow country of North Dakota!


We’re in Texas---a cowboy boot and the yellow rose of Texas!


By now you’ve probably guessed that these are not the lights in MY yard!  It is the annual Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens--one mile of Christmas lights!


In North Dakota no matter how cold it was we ice skated every day after school.  This is a real treat for these Texans. (No, I didn’t get out there-I haven’t been on ice skates for a VERY VERY long time!)


A poinsettia Christmas tree


The very small tree in our 5th wheel home.  A couple of years ago Lee & Don gave me “Betty’s Diner” (left of tree), this year we found “Gary’s Gas & Service Station” at Michael’s.


Our Candy Cane themed exterior lighting display on our site overlooking Offatts Bayou in Galveston.  A very nice place to call home this Christmas of 2010.


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

I got it. . .I got it. . .I got it! Wahoo!

You’ve already heard my whining about going to the RV park laundry room to access wi-fi.   (See previous post) 

Enuf already!  After a couple days of sitting on a very hard metal folding chair in the laundry room I decided to strike out in search of a solution, started by Googling wi-fi signal booster and discovered that YES there is such an animal as a signal booster!  Considering my limited knowledge of what I needed and whether or not it would really work for me I really didn't want to order on-line, but; encouraged by my on-line search I set out to the bricks and mortar stores, first, Radio Shack, (why do I ever go there. . .they never have what I need!) Staples, Best Buy--nothing.  “Oh, you just need a router,”  “No, there is nothing like that” were some of the sales answers I received.  I learned that you have to have an idea of what you need or you will be sold something totally irrelevant.

During my research I checked on ATT air cards but the monthly fee is about $59-nope, in my opinion too much.   While at the ATT store I learned more about tethering my laptop to my IPhone.  For me not an acceptable plan for me for a couple of reasons:  1. Signal not always very strong   2. Have to add an additional data package which is $20 for 2GB a month--- more money plus I would have to carefully watch usage so as to not go over 2GB!  (Of course, my dream and the ultimate is a rooftop satellite system but this is VERY expensive both when purchasing the equipment and monthly fees.)

Finally, at Frye's I talked to the perfect geeky salesperson!  "Yes, of course we have several choices” and lead me over to show me a couple of Hawking Technology signal boosters. . . I settled on a Hi-Gain Wireless-N USB Network Dish Adapter.


$66 and easy to install!   Got it home, took it out of the box, popped the CD into the drive and performed the easy installation, set up the 4” dish in the window and NOTHING!  I was too far away to receive the RV park network signal although the good news was I was getting a bunch of networks not previously seen (but neither of the two at our RV park!)  Woe is me--$66 wasted although I could tell it was a good product.  Oh well, I decided to keep it for future use since experience has shown that a weak wi-fi signal is a common occurrence in RV parks. 

The network signal I was attempting to receive is located in this restaurant on the grounds of the RV park.  The Silver Stream pull trailer was probably blocking my reception.

DSCN2474.JPG with arrow

THEN, yesterday I moved the dish up to the top of the window and WAHOO, I got the signal.  I’m on!  No more laundry room! 


Ain’t technology wonderful!

Food note:  the restaurant, Boudreaux's has great red beans & rice!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

It is frustrating!

Here we are in beautiful Galveston, love our site overlooking the water BUT are getting NO wi-fi at our 5th wheel!  So…rather than sitting at my laptop and looking at my Christmas tree and decorations:


I am sitting at my laptop in the laundry room at the park looking at washers and dryers and listening to a leaky sink!


Friday, December 03, 2010

# 41’s Presidential Library & Museum

One of our traveling goals is to visit all of the twelve Presidential Libraries. (ground was broken for #43’s at SMU in Dallas in November--it will be #13)  So far we’ve done Hoover, Truman, Carter, Clinton, and Kennedy.  And, of course we’re Californians so we haven’t been to the two in our state: Nixon and Reagan!  Our main reason for staying in College Station, Texas was to visit President George H.W. Bush’s Library & Museum which is located on the campus of Texas A&M University.

I particularly like the way it focuses on both his personal and public life.



The special exhibit was one my favorites:

The Heart Truth

first ladies

Red Dress Collection


Jackie O’s is the only one enclosed in a case


Hundreds of area school children were touring the library.  Yes, it was noisy until they left!  I had to laugh as I watched the kids climbing on President Bush’s shoulders, poking his eyes, sticking their fingers in his ear and up his nose!


Barbara & George were married in January 1945.  This is her dress:


The Gulf War exhibit


A real section of the Berlin wall.  I wonder why the “graffiti” is all in English?


President Bush loves to fish so his library has a lake…and he fishes in it!


And it is decorated for Christmas!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Plan Fizzled!

OH NO! I only blogged to day two of “A week of Food.” 

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My plan took a turn and pretty much fizzled out when we arrived at Kelle and Joe’s.  Those of you who know Kelle will be shocked to hear that she cooked for us most of the week, even Thanksgiving Dinner!  Well, we did eat out a few times: Tex-Mex at Christina’s in Southlake one night, seafood at Joe’s Crab Shack another and, of course we had to hit Rudy’s BBQ in Frisco.

And, so I will move on…but stay tuned, more food adventures are sure to surface.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Week of Food. . .Day two

Today's food highlight: Ralph & Kacoo’s in Bossier City for the BEST hushpuppies we've had! OK, so Gary's étouffée with catfish and Southern-style green beans was pretty scrumptious and my shrimp "stew" on rice was mouth-wateringly good. (I have leftovers for dinner tonight!)

We found Ralph & Kacoo’s in the same way we often find a place to eat:  drive by, name of restaurant sounds good, lots of vehicles outside, yes, we will give it a try.  It works!


NOTE:  Will Gary ever tire of catfish?

A Week of Food. . .Day one

Yesterday I had Red Beans & Rice with water cornbread for lunch at the Cotton Boll Grill in Shreveport...yummy! Oops almost forgot: Southern fried chicken, lima beans and purple hull peas for Gary...he says "best fried chicken ever"

When the waitress asked if I wanted water cornbread or regular cornbread I just stared at her, then said I have no idea what that is but I'll try it and I did and I loved it. When we got home I looked it up on-line: just cornmeal, water, a little salt and sugar mixed with boiling water then shaped into a palm-sized patty ( kind of almond shape) and fried. A little crispy outside. (sounds like poor person's cornbread doesn't it?)


Hot Water Cornbread Recipe

(found on

  • 2 cups corn meal
  • 1 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (optional but I recommend this)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. sugar or other sweetener (optional)
  • vegetable oil to fry in
How to make it
  • Put the corn meal, salt, and sugar in a bowl that can handle boiling water.
  • Pour the boiling water in slowly, stirring all the while until it makes a thick paste.
  • Use your hands (yes, it's hot but you get used to it) and form the paste into palm sized patties, slipping them carefully into hot oil (we use canola or EVOO).
  • Fry to golden brown, turning once.
  • Drain on paper towels and serve hot.

I may have to give it a try!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Found in Shreveport. . .Lampshade light poles!

Are these just the cutest?  Yesterday while we were exploring downtown Shreveport we turned onto Texas Street and saw these lampshades on the light poles.  Designed by Shreveport native Marjorie Kouns, these realistic-looking lampshades appear to be about 6’ tall.  I hope to get back to the area to find the other 34!


Seems that the exhibit was last Spring so maybe the other 34 have been removed! I checked it out on this website:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

In search of Bonnie & Clyde. . .

But their run from the law ended on May 23, 1934 when they were ambushed by law enforcement near Gibsland, Louisiana.  Ted “Boots” Hinton Jr., curator and host of the Ambush Museum in the little town of Gibsland, was the son of Ted Hinton, one of the six officers who finally tracked them down.  After two days of waiting on the lonely gravel road (now paved LA Highway 154) and about fifteen minutes before they were to give up on their vigil, Bonnie & Clyde came roaring down the road in their stolen 1934 Ford and the officers opened fire.  Both Bonnie & Clyde took at least 50 gunshots thus ending their life of crime and murder. Why didn’t the officers attempt to capture the pair? Bonnie & Clyde and their associates were masters of shooting their way out of a situation; eleven of the 12-14 people they murdered were law enforcement officers!
Photographs are not allowed in the museum which in 1934 was Ma Canfield’s restaurant where Bonnie & Clyde bought two sandwiches just moments before they met their end. (Only two bites were taken from the sandwiches.)   We watched a video which features footage commonly seen on the History Channel and also a segment featuring “Boots.” 
Even more than going through the Ambush Museum we enjoyed talking to Boots, a retired U.S. Customs Agent, about his father’s (he refers to him as Ted) role in Bonnie & Clyde’s end.  Stories abound in newspapers, books, newsreels and magazines about what actually took place the day of the ambush.  The six officers involved in the shooting made a pact that none would tell their story as long as any of the others were still alive.  Ted Hinton was the last survivor but waited until 1977 to tell the story and, with the help of L. Grove,  wrote Ambush (The Real Story of Bonnie and Clyde).  It was published in 1979 after his death. 
The marker located at the ambush site has been vandalized and
marked with graffiti.  Why do people think it is OK for them to take “just a little piece” of a historical marker?


Next month in Dallas, where they are both buried, we will have to continue our “In search of Bonnie & Clyde. . .”

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Southern food with a few plantations thrown in

As usual we made the Visitor Information Center our first stop in Natchitoches, Louisiana (pronounced “Nak a tish” or “Nak a tosh” or “Nak a dosh” or “Nak a dush” but never as it is spelled!) 


Of course, after we picked up brochures and maps for the area our next order of business was lunch.  While driving through town “Meat Pie Kitchen” caught my eye so we decided to try Lasyone’s (no idea how to pronounce Lasyone’s!) Since it was Homecoming Weekend for Louisiana Tech the place was especially busy-lots of visiting between tables and everyone wearing Tech. purple. (yes, Gary went to the game Smile)


What a find for a great lunch on our first day!  A Natchitoches specialty, Meat Pies (shown on the upper plate in the photo) are half-moon pastries filled with a mixture of ground beef, pork, Worcestershire sauce and Cajun spices, my new favorite!  My side of red beans & rice was tasty. . .I love red beans & rice.  Gary red beans & rice meal featured Andouille sausage (lower plate.)  The rice was fluffy and the red beans were perfectly flavored.  Needless to say we came home with “doggy boxes. “


The following day we hit the Natchitoches Historic Trail which roughly follows the Cane River which at some point turns into Cane River Lake, which looks exactly like the river, which previously was the Red River. . .confusing? Yes!  Why?  We do know that the Red River changed its channel but that’s about it.


Oakland Plantation house is a sprawling home.  If the Mistress of the house ordered a piece of furniture which turned out to be too large for the room, i.e. the dining room, they simply added a new room! Then added a porch which may later become another room!


The Stranger’s Room was a guest room with a separate outside entrance.  According to our tour guide the separate entrance also made it very convenient for the Master of the planation to entertain his mistresses. Oh my!


This is a centuries old bottle garden.  Meals typically lasted for hours and hours and involved consumption of multiple bottles of alcoholic beverages. The bottles were then “planted” as borders for the garden.  Many of the bottles in the garden date from the 1700’s making it a very expensive and expansive collection! Our guide said the garden most likely includes some Bud bottles since the tradition continued up until 1994 when the National Park Service took it over operation of the Cane River Creole National Historical Park.


Close-up of the bottle garden.


These huge oak trees are quite a contrast to our California Coast Oaks!


Poteaux-en-terre construction sounds so much better than “posts in the ground” doesn’t it?  Apparently only about 10 examples of this ancient type of construction still exist.


Back in Natchitoches I kept seeing what I thought were duplexes but the houses seemed too small to be duplexes!  Looked it up on-line and learned that they are double pen houses.  When an addition was made to a pen house they gave the new room its own exterior door.  Similar to shotgun and double shotgun houses we’ve seen elsewhere.


Do you recognize this house?  It’s the house from the movie “Steel Magnolias.”


After touring the historic countryside and city of Natchitoches we treated ourselves to an authentic southern cooked meal:


but no, no way was it Baked Opossum!