Sunday, November 30, 2008

Accidental Tourists...

Saturday morning we had coffee in the V-berth. I hoped that the cold front expected in over night would be kind. When we realized that the wind was from the north but was not blowing enough to be cold... we set out to be tourists for the day. We did everything the other foreigners were doing in Rockport. These bronze statues are right out in front of our boat.

One of Bruce's favorite things in the world to do is to walk the docks. We went onto each of the piers checking out the attributes of the boats there. It's so amazing the number of boats that look like no one ever sails them. We saw a cormorant auditioning for the next bronze statue commission.

We saw an unusual fish hanging out alone in the Marina. It looked like some kind of puffer but I don't know my fish...
We saw these in the window of one of the bait shops. How can we overcome these stereotypes when I keep encouraging this behaviour?
We played around outside the Texas Maritime Museum. They didn't open until 10 am so we decided to go into town and do some shopping and then come back to tour the Museum in the afternoon.

We went back to the boat and Bruce put together our folding bikes while I warmed up some breakfast. We walked the bikes to the gas station to air up the tires and then we rode around through the residential area on our way to The Strand for some shopping.

Bruce was very good. He wore a backpack to carry all of our treasures. He bought a cool new hat.

He signed the credit card receipts...
When we were done shoppig, we rode back to the boat for a quick lunch and then walked back over to the Maritime Museum. It was really very nice.

There were exhibits on sunken ships from the 1800's with actual items brought up from the found wreck and a scale replica.
There were exhibits on shipbuilding here in South Texas.

There were exhibits on pirates, the Navy, steam ships, oil tankers, fishing... everything you could think of. Bruce played with a working wheel that gave a real life feeling of what it was like to bring the ship around.
Outside there were more exhibits including a life boat and channel markers. They look very big close up.

I always wanted one of these channel cans to display in the atrium.

We closed the museum down at 4 pm and went back to the boat for a quick power nap. We were being picked up at 5 o'clock by our friend Brenda.

She and Mark had rented a house in Key Alegro where they had a big family Thanks-giving. Their daughter Susan had already gone home and Sally was in Cambodia (of all places) but the rest of the family was still there. We had a great time with them. Lucas, the nephew had spent all day producing some fabulous ribs.

There was a football game going on and they were all interested in the outcome. I can't begin to keep up with the intricacies but it was important to everyone there but me.

After the dinner, I sat down with them to watch the game. It was some time before I asked Bruce if I had missed something... Why were the Cowboys wearing black and orange instead of blue and white. Everyone laughed at me... it was the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Oh well... I got points for trying. One by one, the family drifted off to their beds. When the game was over, it was just us with Mark and Brenda. The drove us home to the boat where we spent another peaceful cozy night in the V-berth. It finally got cold.

Weather Luck!

We got up at 5:30 am on Friday and went out to join the crowds on “Black Friday”. We did some power shopping, ate breakfast out, packed up our leftovers and dashed out to the boat. We had a questionable forecast but decided to take my blinky and go for it.

It was a good decision. We had the wind behind us as we slowly made our way to Rockport. Bruce said he could put up a spinnaker to make us go faster…but why? I couldn’t believe I was sitting in the sun in a bikini on November 28th. This place is the greatest!

We got to Rockport Municipal Marina before 4pm. We had been unable to reach anyone at the Marina for a slip so we just picked one. We tied up and prepared to be tourists for the weekend.

We took a sundowner and strolled over to the Aquarium down at the end of the parking lot.

There wasn’t an aquarium there the last time we were in Rockport. It was a small startup funded by grants but it was neat.

We called our friends Ed and Nancy who live in Rockport but keep their boat in Port Aransas. Ed came to pick us up and took us to their beautiful new custom built home. It was so gorgeous. Nancy is a fabulous decorator. Ed is a retired contractor so it figures that their home would be great. We had a snack and drinks with them and a visiting friend from the marina. She went back to her boat and the four of us went out for Mexican Food at a place called Las Comales. We had drinks next door at the Agave bar while waiting for our table. We really had a great time on Ed and Nancy’s turf. We stuffed ourselves and they dropped us off at the boat when we were done.
We fell into bed after a very full day crossing our fingers that it would not be our last bit of weather luck.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Day 2008

Somehow, my bowing out so that Melissa and Brittney wouldn't have to make a choice between me and their dad for Thanksgiving this year... turned into the kids making their own dinner at home in San Antonio and Bruce and I accepting a gracious invitation from our friends Steve and Jacquie.
I did get the token phonecall from Brittney requesting directions for making stuffing... so my need to feel maternal has been satisfied. Bruce and I were in charge of the potatoes, both mashed Idaho and baked yams topped with marshmellows. Such light duty!

We arrived at Steve and Jacquie's home promptly at 2:00 p.m. I had planned to take pictures of our normal greeting by Sandy, the 4 year old yellow lab which involves much jumping and licking. Bruce was to be the receiver but Sandy had other ideas and so my pictures didn't happen. I was being jumped and licked! By the time Sandy calmed down enough for me to use the camera, she had become suspicious.

Jacquie must have been preparing food for days! Everything was just perfect. She served us the turkey on her grandmother's 24 kt gold trimmed platter.
Steve did the carving making short work of the 20 something lb bird. Sandy got her share. The turkey was done to perfection! I stood by watching as it was all finished off and we sat down to eat.
This is the one day a year when I wish that my stomach could hold more... mouth said GO!!Tummy said NO! It was so much more food than 4 people and a dog deserve. We wadled away to the livingroom to let our dinner settle so that we could think about having dessert.
We always enjoy our time with Jacquie and Steve. They've been to so many of the places we would like to go and they make it seem somehow more "possible" to us. As the afternoon passed into early evening, the pie was brought up. No one was hungry yet but Bruce wasn't about to pass it up. When I saw the thing, I had to have a go at it myself. Bruce shared his (giant) piece with me. Here is the chef with her masterpiece.
If we couldn't be with our family this year we couldn't have asked for a better alternative. Thanks so much Jacquie and Steve for a delicious meal and good company.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Dinner with Friends

Bruce and I were invited to dinner at John and Yedda's new home in King's Crossing on Monday night. We arrived to the sound of barking little dogs and were reacquainted with Skipper, their Maltese and Titch, a fat little Dachsund. John explained that a "titch" is a little bit.

We were soon joined by young Ryan with whom we have sailed aboard Wet Express several times. He is a pleasant well travelled young man with no problem expressing opinions and ideas. He seems to enjoy hanging around with us old and older people even though he is only 23. He is a Navy boy and is well behaved as long as there are no other Navy boys around so we enjoyed his company last night.

John grilled some wonderful steaks while Yedda prepared the salad and potatoes inside. Bruce and I shared a couple of bottles of the Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz blended wine that we had made back in July. If John didn't like it he sure faked it well. I think we have him sold on stopping on his way through San Antonio to make a batch of his own. Suddenly the steaks were done and Yedda and I had to hustle to get everything out onto the patio where we had our dinner. We had a very nice time there overlooking the beautiful babbling pool in the protected cove of the patio.

Yedda is so lively and interesting. I never see her without uncovering another facet of her that I knew nothing about before. She has been painting copies of a well known painter. I couldn't get the name as her Brazillian accent is lilting and thick. But she has painted many of this artist's works and has hung them in the new house.

All too soon it was the Pumpkin Hour and we had to go home. It was a Monday after all... some of us had to be at work in the morning. I helped Yedda clean up the worst of the mess and we said our goobyes.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday afternoon on Wet Express

Sunday afternoon was beautiful. It was one of those days after a front comes through when the winds die down and the air is borderline warm. A perfect day for a leisurely sail on Wet Express with John and Yedda!
We always enjoy time with both, but it's a treat when Yedda is here. She has a home in DFW where she works in computer programming. It is difficult for her to find work in her field here in CC.

We set sail near 2:00 with a "crew" of 7...

There wasn't a lot of actual crew work to be done. The winds were so light it was more like slip sailing than being out in the bay. But conversation flew and we had many laughs.

We had only one named goal... to find and photograph Cute Shoes!

Once accomplished, we turned for home port. Sailing on our bay never fails to reward us with a spectacular view!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

One for Me...One for you!

It's funny how these things "just happen" My poor husband is left with his head spinning, wondering how he got into this mess.
I found out on Thursday that one of my co-workers, Tica... who left Costa Rica to come work here in the US about 11 years ago... had just bought a home and had been living without a refrigerator since she moved in. It seemed there was no refrigerator in sight and she was living out of a loaned ice chest.
Well, this would just not do! I concocted a plan in which Bruce and I would purchase the new bottom freezer refrigerator that I had been coveting, and give Tica our perfectly good old fridge. So... on Friday after work, Bruce and I went out and bought a new one for ourselves. Right before I slapped that credit card down, I called Tica to make sure she would accept the one we would like to give her. She said NO!!
But when I told her I would take $45 bucks for it, she agreed. We accepted delivery of our beautiful new fridge and the delivery guys took our old one to Tica's new house to be set up. Win Win!

Cowboys for Breakfast

Saturday morning we loaded up Mark and Nathan in the car and followed Charlie and his kids and his sister Louise out to the King Ranch. It was time for the annual Ranchhand Breakfast. We had never been before and had no it seemed like the thing to do. Mark had filled Nathan with stories of how they raised the Cowboys to be eaten in the taquitos. Nathan didn't think this was true...but he didn't sound so sure.

We arrived to find Ranch Hands heating iron pieces in a redhot oven to pound them into the shape of a horse's hoof. The horse waited patiently by, while the guy got it just right.

Another man cleaned and prepared the hoof to be fitted with the new shoe.
We saw real Texas Longhorns lazing around watching the whole process. They looked as though they were happy to be left alone and shoeless!

I had feared huge crowds with long lines waiting for the promised Cowboy Breakfast. I was pleasantly surprised. We stepped right up to a happy bunch of servers to receive our taquito with refried beans and a biscuit smothered in thick cream gravy.

We enjoyed our breakfast standing at long tables with plenty of room for everyone.
Bruce was intriqued by the display of firearms in the old west. It included a Henry's repeating rifle which was first used in the Civil War, of which it was said... the gun was loaded on Sunday and fired all week. It was the first successful non single shot rifle. The display also included a Sharp's 50 calibre, which was the rifle used to destroy the buffalo herds.

All of this was going on whilst I warmed my chilled bootie on a nearby camp fire.

We all watched, fascinated, while a man weaved a pattern into wool strands to make an indian lap robe. His hands seemed to know just which strands to pick up and which to leave. The impossible part was the different colored patterns he wove into the background. How does he do it?

We watched a team roping contest. The Cowboys (the ones left behind and not made into sausages) took off after the calves, threw ropes over their heads and brought them down. The calves seemed game. It was a great morning and something we had not expected to be doing when we thought about our weekend plans on Friday. Somehow, something always fills those spaces. On our way out, I asked Nathan how he had liked the Cowboy sausage. He said it was GOOD! But he still didn't believe it was made of real Cowboy! But, again... he didn't sound so sure.