Category Archives: Playing the Tourist

March

Otherwise known as the month that Texans stop their pick-ups on the side of the highway to take pictures of their kids in the weeds.

Or as they like to call them, bluebonnets.

(If you’re from Texas, you’re laughing right now because you know I’m not exaggerating in the least.)

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Filed under Moving is my hobby, Playing the Tourist

A la ‘Branch’ Detour

So. The promised post about our little detour from Dallas.

But I might have to tell a few random little stories to get to my point. I apologize if you showed up hoping to see pictures of the dog.

She’s actually not featured much on the blog. Sorry.

Anyway. Whenever you think of Waco, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For me, it’s the infamous Seige of the Branch Davidian compound and subsequent fire that killed most of them.

The last time we were in Waco is kind of a funny story. We flew back to the US from France through Chicago, except in Chicago our flight to San Antonio got canceled and the line to get to the ticket agents was quite long. When we finally got there, our only option to get even remotely close to SA was to go to Dallas. The ticket agent, seeing our hesitation said, “If it were me, I’d go anywhere but stay in Chicago. You don’t want to get stuck here.” Well, O.k.! Dallas it is.

We got to Dallas sometime in the early morning to a mostly closed down airport, except for all the people stuck there with us. There were no other flights out and there was also a huge line to get rental cars. You’ll never guess, but there were also no hotels. This is, of course, after flying all the day before from France. I sat with the kids, sleeping on the floor, while Mr. French checked out all the possibilities for getting back to SA.

Long story, slightly shorter, he found a military guy who had to report for duty the next day that had gotten a minivan (because he called the rental agency the minute he’d landed, unlike us.) But he was willing to drive us down to SA if we paid our share of the cost. No problemo. Thank you thank you thank you! (I still can’t thank him enough.)

So, we finally all piled into the van with a guy we’d just met, after flying in from France after being out of the country for 10 months. We made it about 1/2 an hour into the chitchat before we just couldn’t keep our eyes open. And I tried, because I kind of felt bad about the situation.

The next thing I remember, I woke up to hear Mr. French asking where we were and the guy driving the van says, “Waco.”

To which Mr. French says, “Waco? Like The Waco?”

“Yeah.”

And then I fell asleep again.

(In case it’s not obvious, we made it to San Antonio safe and sound. The guy dropped us off at a Denny’s and he, I’m assuming, was able to report for duty on time.)

So, a couple of weeks ago, as we were starting our drive home, looking at the map, Mr. French says, “Oh, we’re going through Waco. I wonder how out-of-the-way it is to go to that compound? or what’s left of it.”

My phone couldn’t locate it but Mr. French’s did, so we followed it and sure enough, there it was.

Actually, at first we passed right by it, but I saw the sign that said, “Branch” out of the corner of my eye, so we turned around. Mr. French parked outside the fence and walked in to ask these two guys working on a fence. He was gone for at least 20 minutes. We’d found the right place alright and the two men were part of the church that currently resides on the property. (The surviving remnant.) And one guy proceeded to talk Mr. French’s ear off about their beliefs. At the end, he offered us a chance to “come and build the kingdom with them”, to which Mr. French replied, “Oh, we’re just passing through. We’re from Ohio.” (one benefit to moving a lot is that it’s never a lie to say that you “just moved”.)

Anyway, after that, we drove in to see the memorials and some of the ruins. There were supposed to be maps at the church building, but they were apparently out so we couldn’t really see where anything had once been. There are several new buildings. There is one place that we couldn’t really tell what it was or had been, but looking at this picture online now, the cement “pool” like thing in the back is still there. Nothing else from that picture appears to be standing. The other interesting thing is that the building was well off the road (which is a dirt road, off the highway). It’s definitely out of the way.

There are several small memorials. Closer to the church there is one for the ATF men that were killed.

There is one for the victims of the Oklahoma City Bombing as well.

Closer to the road, there is a larger one with a plaque for every person that died, including name and age.

It really just leaves you with a sense of tragedy. It was all so senseless. I think there was wrong on both sides. And it’s sad that people had to die.

I still remember, sitting on the corner of my parents bed, watching as it was happening on T.V.. I remember seeing a tank moving up to the compound, as it was called, and just feeling horrified that people were probably dying. At the time, we didn’t know all that was going on, and part of me, I remember, hoped that maybe they’d somehow escaped or something.

It made for an interesting car ride home, at least.

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Filed under French toast, I confess, Moving is my hobby, Mr. French, Oversharing, Pictures worth a thousand words, Playing the Tourist, The Dog, This is going to be really funny one day

To the dinosaurs we go…

So, as I alluded in my last post, we went out of town for the weekend and saw some dinosaurs. Kind of.

First, we went to the Dinosaur Valley State Park, in Glen Rose. Thankfully, we have a state park pass and so we didn’t have to pay to get in just to take a damp picture near the dinosaur statutes. There was just too much rain and water to see the dinosaur footprints in the riverbed. I got to see the footprints on a family vacation as a kid and it made an big impression on me. I was probably the most disappointed by not getting to see them, since no one else knew what they were missing. After that, we went to the Creation Evidence Museum down the road.

(Sorry, all my pictures are from my phone so none are that great.)

It was much bigger than when I was a kid but I’d forgotten some of the cool artifacts that they have. The kids and Mr. French enjoyed that and the kids were talking about “the dinosaur museum” for several days afterwards, so I think they enjoyed it.

Doesn’t he look like he’s about to walk here?

Incidentally, this is how he likes to take baths too. I tell him this is the worst way to take a bath and he just looks at me and stands up.

Betcha can’t guess what we did while the other, more interested people in our party toured the museum.

Yeah, we could go on with the pictures but I’ll spare you.

I did look at everything but had to go a little faster because of the baby, so we found our own entertainment.

Then we drove two hours to the other side of Texas Dallas, to the main reason we left home. Some friends had invited us to visit their church and stay in a friend’s guest house/lake cabin. It was so cute!

I thought about pretending this was the new house we’re moving to, but decided you would be on to me.

This was the view. (I figured this would be the tip off that this isn’t in San Antonio.)

Pretty, isn’t it?

We tried to get a picture of everyone looking.

But Ethan is a hard dude to turn around.

(Sometimes I look around and think, “Ok. I’m outnumbered but at least I’m still taller than everyone.”)

(I’m gonna need something new to tell myself soon.)

And for my Mom and anyone else who likes to oogle kitchens. (Again with the pictures not doing it justice.)

I have the picture of the perfect kitchen in my mind (Okay, and on Houzz.com and pinterest) and this kitchen isn’t among them, but I loved this kitchen. It was so warm and inviting. I loved everything about it.

Maybe I’m easy to please? (Mr. French is not allowed to comment.)

I have a few more pictures of the cabin to show you, which I’ll do in the next post-ish.

And I still have to tell you about our little detour on the way home.

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Filed under Boys will be boys, Moving is my hobby, Pictures worth a thousand words, Playing the Tourist

Guess what?

Guess where we were on Saturday?

Besides sitting under chairs, I mean.

Annnnnnnnnnd…..

Guess what we’re doing this week?

It’s highly unusual* and I’m sure you’ll never* guess.

*on opposite day.

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Filed under Boys will be boys, Moving is my hobby, Pictures worth a thousand words, Playing the Tourist, That was fun

I know this is getting old but….

I know this blog is just becoming one long sarcastic complaint about the weather, but….

Seriously?!

Dear Texas,

It’s January!

Get yourself together, man!

At least some frost!

Sincerely,

Displaced Northerner

I am so dreading this summer.

Disclaimer: This post brought to you, free of charge, by the ad council for Tourism in San Antonio. We encourage you to visit before summer hits in February.*

*Just kidding. I mean, the ad council didn’t not pay me to do this post. It is true that summer starts in February, though.

 

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Filed under Moving is my hobby, Playing the Tourist

At least it’s a dry heat

This was around two in the afternoon on Sunday.

We were facing the southeast if that makes a difference.

And this is tonight around 9 p.m.

(traveling south by southwest)

This is the drought map.

We’re right smack in the middle of exceptional.

Of course, we are.

Did you hear about the new Texas rain gauges they’re sellin’? It’s a bottle cap on top of a fence post.

It actually rained last week.

For about five minutes.

Have you ever gotten a frying pan really hot on the stove and then flicked some water into it?

It was kind of like that.

We had some visitors from Virginia a couple weeks ago. As they were driving down through this great state late at night they decided to roll down the windows and get some fresh air. They choked and quickly rolled them back up.

It kind of made me laugh out loud. Sorry, Virginians.

Supposedly, we’re supposed to get some rain this weekend and the weather is supposed to break into the high 90s.

Oh boy! Hold this while I go get my coat on.

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Filed under Playing the Tourist, That's just gross, This is going to be really funny one day

The Rodeo, take 2

We went back to the same little small town rodeo that we attended last year. Mr. French works with a women who helps plan and run it. I have to say, it was just as fun as last year, although a bit dustier (we’re still in a major drought down here) and a little more uncomfortable (37 1/2 weeks pregnant will do that for ya, I guess).

We went early on a Saturday night to try to get the boys signed up for the Mutton Bustin’, but unfortunately they ran out of “mutton” by the time we got to the signing in. They were disappointed, though after watching it, I was secretly okay that they missed out. I didn’t get any pictures, but basically they strap a helmet on a kid, throw him (or her) on the back of a sheep and then swing open the gates and you watch as sheep race down the rodeo field with kids hanging on for dear life.

As the announcer said after the first round, “You can get arrested for spanking your kid at Wal-mart, but this is perfectly legal.”

It is fun to watch though.

I was determined to get better pictures this year and as you saw, I took some pre-show and then, my camera died.

I guess we’ll just have to go back next year.

Now you have to know that rodeos are not something Mr. French grew up going to, and if you guessed that they’re not really his thing, you’d be right. So, it might surprise you to see how far he was willing to go to get his children the full experience of the rodeo.

I present to you, stick horse racing, for the younger set.

 

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Filed under Boys will be boys, Girls are not boys, Moving is my hobby, Mr. French, Playing the Tourist