Monday, January 30, 2017

Wild Kingdom, Texas version

We left the foxes of London's suburbs only to discover coyotes living in close proximity to us here in a major Texas city. By close, I mean yipping-yapping-snapping on the other side of our privacy fence. Behind us is a large commercial gravel pit that occupies a huge chunk of acreage and it seems that's where they reside. Our Cairn Terrier Ollie is quite disturbed by their nightly vocalizations. 

In addition, there is a large owl that goes to town a'hootin on a nightly basis. One evening I took Ollie out for his final potty stroll around the yard. I heard the hoot-hoot and shined my flashlight into the trees. I'd swear that owl was the size of a VW Beetle. Like something out of a Stephen King inspired nightmare. I've never seen one that large before, except in a zoo. I'm glad Ollie is a healthy 20ish pounds and not some little purse-sized dog that would make a tasty meal for the winged carnivore.

Lastly, our other city dwelling critters are these two incredibly unattractive vultures that like to land on our chimney top and enjoy the view. Ollie goes nuts barking at them. He's pretty good at that, alerting us to the local fauna.



New Year, New School

On January 4, the 10th grader started her second semester at a local private high school. I'm happy to report that she's STILL in uniforms, woo-hoo! And you gotta love the Converse kicks. 



Go Spurs Go!

After living in the area for 18 years, I FINALLY made it to a San Antonio Spurs pro basketball game earlier this month with the family. It was fun and exciting. I think that's mainly because basketball arenas are so much smaller than those used for football and you feel more involved in the action of the game. The Spurs whipped Charlotte by 15 points, so it was a good night for our home team.






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Another Reason to Love the South


Witnessing History

Whether you cheered or cried, Donald Trump became the 45th president of our country on January 20. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel to DC to witness the inauguration. My little history-loving heart was over the moon about that. 

We attended the Texas State Society celebrations, heard Mike Pence speak (as well as DJT as a separate event), and saw the swearing in on the capitol grounds. Then we watched the parade from the balcony of a building along Pennsylvania Avenue where we were invited for a luncheon reception. Unfortunately, rioters kept us from attending the Freedom Ball, which was very disappointing. Lighting fires in the middle of intersections as our bus crept through clogged streets. Copters overhead. Police in riot gear. Protesters beating on the side of our bus and yelling obscenities. The folks next to us were spit on. It was ugly and unnecessary and I was honestly scared. 


To the victor goes the... elephant cupcakes at hotel check in!





We spied port-a-potties everywhere.





A lady channeling Jackie O at the TSS shindig


Blame it all on my roots, I showed up in boots...



Don't worry, baby... the Beach Boys performed!







We were all gussied up, but didn't get far.


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All in all it was an amazing bit of history to witness. We even got to step back in time when we visited the First Ladies exhibit at the Smithsonian Museum of American History.


Here are the Texas first ladies, Laura Bush in red below


And Ladybird Johnson in gold, a veritable icon here in the Lone Star State. Every time I see a wildflower blooming along the side of a Texas highway in the spring, I'm reminded of her work to beautify roadsides.



As you can imagine at these sorts of events, security was tight and everywhere. Credentials were required and airport-style security was the norm. I couldn't help but notice law enforcement or maybe secret service spotters on the tops of buildings keeping a close watch on everything. 



Cha-cha-changes

Earlier this month, we closed on a new-to-us home here in Texas. The original structure was built in 1953, and then an addition expanded it to 4300 sf in 2000. At some point in the 1980s, an 1100 sf pool cabana was added. And then behind that there is a workshop with this cozy 700 sf one bedroom apartment above it. 

That's a whole lotta total square footage for three folks, but the husband is over the moon about all that space. The structures are situated on 2.5 acres, so I've started thinking of it as our family estate. Good news - a ton of potential. Bad news - it needs updating. This is the most heebie-jeebie inducing part of the entire house, the original pink and maroon bathroom that served the master bedroom across the hall from it. Seriously... hideous is an understatement. It's hard to believe anyone in their right mind back in the fifties thought this was attractive and classy.



I'm hoping the husband can come to terms with the decorator and contractor soon so that this monstrosity will be gutted as part of the demo. I guess it might pass for quaintly vintage on a good day, but I honestly can't wait to see this bathroom taken down to the studs. Give it a healthy swing of the sledgehammer and say good riddance.