Now THIS is a Christmas present!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

I went outside this morning, and FINALLY, my fall veggies are putting out! Check out that broccoli! I am so excited! Most of the broccoli plants have broccoli now (the one pictured is the biggest), and the brussel sprouts all have tiny little sprouts on them. There is one cabbage plant that looks very close to having a head of cabbage. I can't believe it. I planted them in September and thought I must have done something wrong.

Our Christmas was pretty good. Sunday, we went to my parents house for the day. My sister and her family came over. We all drew names this year, which was nice because we didn't have to buy so many presents. My sister and I drew each other's name - she got me some pretty silver and black jewelry and a salad spinner. I got her a Wii Fit. :-) My mom also filled all our stockings with candy, Christmas socks, jewelry that she made, and Chapstick. LOL We had a great lunch, too much dessert, and played Pictionary afterward. It was a nice day.

We had my niece Miranda over for a visit Monday-Wednesday. Wednesday morning, Tom and I exchanged gifts. I got him a nice welder, and he got me some silicone cooking utensils, Mamma Mia DVD, a couple DS games (one is Personal Trainer Cooking, which is pretty sweet), and an IOU on my Dell Inspiron Mini 9, which we ordered yesterday after finding a good deal from Dell on it. I can't wait to get it in.

We had Christmas Eve at my aunt and uncle's house - it went pretty well. Then we spent the night with Tom's parents and saw his niece and nephew get their Santa gifts. It was fun. At their house, I got a food processor from Amanda (woo hoo!) and a new slow cooker from the Chinese Christmas gift thingie. I am using the new slow cooker right now to make pulled pork for fight night tonight.

I am going over to my sister's today to try out that Wii Fit! Also, my niece got a trampoline, and I can't wait to jump on it. We are staying at their house tonight to watch the fights. They are going to be great! There are three "main events" (four if you count the pulled pork...)

We got to spend good quality time with both sets of family, and didn't really have to be in a hurry anywhere we went.

Who knows what we're doing for New Year's Eve - hopefully staying in! I hope everyone had a nice Christmas!

Something I want to do

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Well, we totally took a month off from the diet and are planning to start it up again in January. I spent a lot of time planning our meals and buying groceries when we were on the South Beach Diet. It's so much easier to eat carbs! But I'm blogging so I remember to do what I want to do.

I want to make a 3-5 weeks worth of meal plans and grocery lists. Maybe leave one "wild card" day for each week. I need to do this before school starts again. Then all I'd have to do is buy the groceries every week, not do a lot of recipe searching and thinking.

That's all. Carry on!

Surfside & Galveston Damage

Saturday, December 20, 2008

After Goose Island State Park, we drove straight through to Freeport, Surfside Beach, and Galveston to check out the damage. It got progressively worse the further northeast we traveled up the coastline. This is all from Surfside.

This used to be a front row beach house. Note all the displaced sand.

To the left, a lot of houses are still standing. They were all damanged though. On the right used to be the first row of beach houses. Several are gone. Plus, you can tell there is debris everywhere, and a ton of displaced sand.

Other than the houses that had fallen off the face of the planet, this was some of the worst damage we saw in Surfside.

If you've been to Surfside, you probably recognize those four A-framed houses. They lost a lot of siding, but seem to have come out OK.

This is a good illustration of the sand displacement. That bridge used to take you over a sand dune to the beach. Now, it's all flat and you can just walk across.

If you're still not sure what the big deal is about the sand displacement, here is Bluewater Hwy, the road that runs along the coast from Surfside to Galveston. The road is "closed" but you can still travel is, you just have to be really careful. And there is a detour onto the beach at one point.

I don't know for sure that this is what happened, but it's a good theory. The storm surge came in and flooded everything, then as it receded, it took all the sand with it out from under Bluewater Hwy, causing it to collapse. Also, I don't have a good picture of it, but there is now beachy sand on the other side of the highway. The storm completely changed the geography of the area. Dang...we're talking, time-to-revise-the-topography-map changes. I always thought about the damage to structures in a hurricane, but never considered the damage to the land.

Leaning house of Surfside! (Or Jamaica Beach, or whatever small town we were in)

Probably the worst section of Bluewater Highway. You can see in the middle where you have to leave the road and drive on the beach. This picture was taken from the beach.

Galveston State Park was pretty torn up. The bathrooms all looked like they'd been picked up and thrown back down. About half of the picnic tables were badly damaged. Looks like they are planning a "new park"...wonder what all that is about.

We booked the San Luis Resort for $100 that night. Woohoo! That is a great deal. Those rooms run about $500 during the summer. It's definitely the nicest hotel on the island. This is the view from our room. There were a ton of displaced residents that were staying there courtesy of FEMA. I have mixed feelings about that...on one hand, I guess if I lost my house and the govt. would pay for me to stay in a nice hotel like that, it'd be a nice light at the end of the tunnel. Then again, really? The government pays for the San Luis Resort? Seemed odd, but whatever.

This picture represents typical damage. Damaged roofs, displaced sand, and debris piles. Not quite as dramatic as seeing entire towns wiped out, like on the Bolivar Peninsula, but still, a good example of how long it takes a place to recover from a hurricane, even if the destruction isn't total. It's been three months since Ike.

My house seemed to make it out OK! Just missing a few Spanish roof tiles!

You probably recognize this RV park if you've driven down Bluewater Hwy before. Not much left to it.

The Flagship Hotel in Galveston. You can see the road that leads to the hotel was destroyed, and part of the Flagship's wall was ripped off.

Murdoch's gift shop. Went there with my parents and Danyelle and her family summer before last. And now it's totally destroyed. Weird.

Here is what's left of the Galveston Hooters.

We thought about heading to the Bolivar peninsula, but I felt a little tacky going somewhere just to gawk. I have lots of memories in Galveston. And it was operating fine and will recover, but still, it was eerie seeing it with all that storm damage.
And this was the last leg of our trip! We drove home Monday afternoon and the freezing rain started accumulating on our windshield about 90 miles south of Dallas. It was a terrible drive home from there. Traffic everywhere, ice on the bridges, and when we got close to home, there was one steep bridge that people were struggling to drive up (not us with 4 wheel drive though!), so even though we were only 15 miles from home, this part of the drive added almost 2 hours to the trip. :-S
But it's all just a memory now, and we've shifted into Christmas mode. Again, have a great weekend! I'm done.

Goose Island State Park - I smell a camping trip!

Last Sunday, we left Port Aransas a day early to drive to Galveston because we hadn't seen it since Hurricane Ike. We didn't get far before we found a State Park we needed to scope out. Goose Island State Park is in Rockport, which is about 30 minutes north of Port Aransas. So, a couple hours longer drive than Galveston, depending on whether you are hauling a camper, but what a neat park! Plus, Galveston Island State Park is closed right now - more on that in another post.

Here are some of the water front sites. These aren't really on a beach. You could fish here, but see the wall that separates the water from the sites? It wouldn't be fun to swim here, or try to launch a kayak. Still, they are neat looking campsites.

There is a nice long fishing pier in the park. It is so shallow that they have stairways leading down to the water, where you can wade out to get deeper.

A pretty bird!

View of the pier from the end of the pier. We walked all the way down. It goes straight, then off to the left in the picture. I love how they have little tables set up, and even some rod holders. There is a fish cleaning station at the beginning of the pier. Very nice (for a fishing pier).

An island made of shells, accessed from the pier!

I guess this is where Goose Island gets its name.

Hey little buddy!

We loved the pier so we decided to fish a little while. Didn't catch anything, but this old redfish was slowly swimming close to the surface of the water. I took a picture, and we both frantically dangled our baits and lures in front of him. He wasn't having any of it. LOL!

We had to see what this "Stinky Beach" sign was all about. It really did stink.

There is an onsite bait shop. Nice!

Now, check out these campsites. These are tent sites. Don't those trees look neat? They look sort of African safari-ish.

And here is a site with hook-ups. Hard to believe this is a BEACH state park. It looks just like any other state park at the lake, with all the trees. It really is the best of both worlds. There is a swim beach, and other RV sites with a beach, but I didn't get any pictures of those. So, great fishing areas, good places to launch kayaks, wooded campsites, and a beach. What more could you want?

Oh, and the bathroom we went into was spotlessly clean and brand new. It had hand sanitizer in there. FANCY!!
We will definitely come camping here sometime. It was a great park.

USS Lexington

Whew, if I don't get on it now, I'm about to get behind on my pictures! I haven't finished my vacation pictures, and I have my first family Christmas celebration of the year tomorrow!

We went to the USS Lexington, an aircraft carrier that was a big part of WWII, in Corpus Christi. I really loved this museum!

Tom found the WMD!

Even the bathroom was a mini-museum. It had all these recruiting posters targeted at women. Aren't they neat?

This is an actual flight simulator from back in the day.

The flight deck. I took a ton of pictures of Tom posing with the aircraft. He loves him some planes! I'll spare y'all, though.

Here is a replica of John McCain's airplane that he crashed in. If you haven't read his autobio, Faith of my Fathers, I recommend it. It's hard for me to understand how a person can go through all that and still be a functioning adult.

Tom is either doing the "$5 foot long" Subway commercial, or imitating one of those signaling people who direct decide.

We love guns!

I got a little Captain in me. (Not really...)

Just looks neat.

An FA-14, I think.

Blue Angel plane, what, an FA-18? Tom should really be writing this blog!

Now THIS is a job I could handle! The flags all stand for a different letter, and you fly them to send messages. Sweet.

Looking out from my captain's chamber.

At the helm!

In the captain's chair. Ahem, my chair.

The captain's quarters.

These were the stairs. Not a museum exhibit showing what the stairs look like, but the actual stairs you climb on aboard the Lexington.

It was hazardous to say the least. Tom nailed his head once so hard it made him nauseous.

Ready for a haircut in the ship's barber shop.

I want to print this out and hang it in my grandma's house. LOL

Of course I'm only interested in the food.

The dentist!


The sick bay.

Did you make it to the end??? It was so neat. There was a lot I didn't take pictures of. I highly recommend this museum!

And here we are Tuesday night after the DSO Christmas Concert. We clean up alright, huh? Also, today is our anniversary. Woot! Have a great weekend, folks!

Bloggerized by Blogger Template