Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Time in New England

I never did do that well in geography. Is New Jersey part of New England? Hmmm. Anyone out there is free to answer that question and let me know, as I'm too lazy today to jump over to another tab and Google it.

I've been a bit MIA here. A couple weeks ago, I abandoned Mark and Kai to head off for what I am calling New England. First stop, Hamden, CT, where I spent a great time with my dad (Mom was off celebrating Uncle Roy's 94th birthday in South Carolina, which is definitely not part of New England). Happy belated birthday, Uncle Roy!!

Dad and I began the festivities by dining on the world's largest plate of sweet potato fries and fried calamari ... ever! I barely made a dent in it, and somehow leftover fried food just isn't as good as the first time around. Bummer, as it was quite tasty the first time around. The next day, we loaded up the cooler with more than enough essentials, including a delicious deli sandwich, and sailed around Long Island Sound on his 20-some-odd-foot sailboat, Entropy. The weather was beautiful, though not much wind. That, however, turned out to be a good thing. We later found out that not too far south there were tornado warnings and hail storms. That would explain the black clouds on the horizon!

Saturday we headed up to Shelburne Falls, MA, home of the Bridge of Flowers and my dad, for a fantastic day with Uncle Paul and Aunt Gerry and a host of other Meads. Happy Anniversary, once again, to Paul and Gerry! After an afternoon of Wii playing, where I proved that I absolute suck at tennis and golf, both real and virtual, we filled up on lobster, corn, and salad. Yum, yum, and yum. It was so great to see all the cousins again, as it has been WAY too long. Thanks, everyone, for making it up there "just for me" (oh, and for the anniversary too, of course ... grin!).

Then Sunday, the nieces arrived--Megan, Ella, and Sabrina. Denise and I loaded up the minivan to head south to Green Pond, NJ. I can't even begin to cover our week full of adventures and activities. There was swimming; jumping off the dock; playing on the playground; riding in the canoe, party boat, motor boat, and Chris Craft; tubing, including a spectacular "dismount" by yours truly as well as a great time with Megan; lots of food, drinks, and laughter; a reunion with the McGarry girls; listening to Uncle Gary play at Jig's; just sitting around visiting and catching up; bike rides and walks; food at the Stand; lunch at the Yacht Club. Whew. I know there is so much more. I can't even remember it all. Thanks, Mom and Dad for a wonderful time!! And thanks Auntie Jane and Uncle Gary for putting up with me ... I mean putting me up! I know it wasn't in the plans, but I really appreciate it!

Sorry, no photos yet. Mom had the camera, as mine was back home with Mark.

Now I am back home in Texas, where it looks like we will be staying for a while. We just applied for a lease on a home for the next year. It's not too far from where we live right now, and it's closer to Dave's, where Mark works. Right across the street from the house is a park with trails (paved) for good walks with Kai. The house also has a MASSIVE backyard for Kai to run around in all he wants. First purchase after moving in ... a doggie door for Kai. Hallelujah!

So if any of you are ever in Dallas for the next year or so, give us a call, as we'd love some company and a distraction from the fact that we actually live in Dallas, Texas (who would have ever thought that would happen?!?).

Monday, August 11, 2008

Falling Behind and Catching Up

I'm sitting here sipping some wine and listening to the rain pour down outside. Aaahhh! I don't know if it's cooling anything off out there, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed! Sorry to be a bit out of touch (aside from all the well wishes). We have been keeping busy with work and exploring and even a little bit of exercise, all as explained below.

But first, some technical info. For those of you who do not receive email updates, you can sign up for them simply by entering your email address in the little box at the right. I know you all check in every single day, anxiously awaiting our next big adventure, so this will make it that much easier to read all about it! OK, onto our so-called adventures.

Two weekends ago, Mark, Kai, and I trekked south for a little getaway. We headed down to Waco and then veered off the main road to explore the back routes. Along the way, we passed a sign for Crawford, which sounded very familiar, though we didn't realize why until I said, "Hmm, Crawford, Texas, sounds familiar." Then I realized that the next word after Crawford, Texas, is ranch, as in Dubya's home away from home. We decided not to stop in to say, "Howdy."

After 5+ hours on the road, we once again realized that taking the back roads in Texas is not even remotely interesting. Ya seen one dusty ranch with long-horn cattle, ya seen them all. But it was all worth it, as we ended up in Dripping Springs, a small town in the Hill Country southwest of Austin. We were there to visit our good friends Marianne (pronounced My-anna) and Travis (pronounced T) and their two boys (Barret and Adler) and two dogs (Bailey and Addie), who had all moved to the area from Hillsborough (Calif.) about a year ago. They have a very lovely home with lots of land and a house full of laughter (with some occasional crying and barking). We were only there for a couple days, but we had a blast. Lots of reminiscing and catching up. Way too much good food and wine. And an absolutely fabulous time at Barton Springs Pool ... a little piece of heaven right in the middle of Austin. If I lived in Austin, I think I would just camp out at this pool 24/7. Mark and Travis finished off the weekend with a mountain bike ride near Hamilton Pool, another cool (in all senses of the word) area of Austin (I only know about it because I found the link for this post; we didn't actually go to this pool ... BUMMER!). It was hard to tear ourselves away from it all, and I probably wouldn't have if I'd known about Hamilton. Even Mark admitted that Austin is a great place, what with all its open space, trails, parks, rivers, and natural pools (all of which is very lacking in the Dallas area), not to mention a host of good restaurants (only two of which we tried). But home we went, promising to get together again much sooner rather than later.

The past week has been filled with work for both of us. I won't bore you with the details. If you really want to know, just give us a call and we'll fill you in. We ended the week with another bike ride. I did the shorter route (only about 20 miles ... ouch!); Mark pretty much doubled that, at about double the speed. His legs are back to being the solid pistons that just won't stop! Yesterday, we did a driving/hiking tour around Lake Lewisville and discovered some great hiking trails for us and for Kai, with a couple easy access/swimming points. We finished it off with a delicious chocolate shake from Braum's and a night of video-watching and relaxation. So, although we may whine just a bit about Dallas, we are enjoying ourselves. And good thing too, as we most likely will be here longer than expected. And with that tantalizing bit of news, I'll say good night until next time!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

So Many Leos . . .

. . . I can't keep up. I completley missed cousin Katya's birthday last week and nearly missed another dual-hemisphere day: Cousin Peter's birthday in Massachusetts today/yesterday and sister Sharon's birthday today/tomorrow (depending on where in the world you are), not to mention Cousin Tim and Denese's anniversary tomorrow. Whew!

We wish you all the best in the year to come with gobs of love and laughter. I'm a little skimpy on photos, as I haven't seen many of you in way too long. We'll just have to find a way to solve that problem in the coming year. In the meantime, heeeeeere's Sharon!

Stay tuned, as I really be updating this blog with more news of our adventures in Texas, including our wonderful, wonderful time in Austin last weekend.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Apologies to Aunt Kay's Family!

I wrote that last post in a rush on our way out of town. I had Aunt Kay in mind and decided to rename them the McKay family! You know what I meant, right?!?!

An officialy update on our weekend is coming soon, but wanted to say a big OOPS and SORRY!!

Hope you all had a wonderful, wonderful weekend!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Busy Birthday Weekend!

We are off to Austin to visit our good friends Marianne (pronounced Myanna) and Travis. But before we head south, we wanted to send out very happy, wonderful birthday wishes to a triumvarate of beautiful women in our lives:

Mum and Auntie Jane share the same birthday, although Mum's is today here in America (tomorrow in Australia) and Auntie Jane's is tomorrow. But whatever the day and wherever you are, we wish we were with you to help you celebrate with love and smiles.

And a belated birthday to the latest bride in our family, Mrs. Rebecca Bressani. We saw the photos, and your tropical wedding looked absolutely wonderful and a grand ol' party (who would expect any less from the McKay women and their clan?). Happy, happy birthday!!