Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Car in a Tree

Car in a tree
Last weekend when we checked on the bees out in the country, we also took a drive around different roads just to be out and about. I nearly missed this shot but thankfully Mark saw it and knew I would want to shoot it so he pulled over. It's always good to have two pairs of eyes looking for interesting things in life. :)

Below is a shot where you can see the entire tree, which has a really great shape to it against the blue sky.

Interesting sight

Friday, February 27, 2009

All-Star Dave Stewart

KABB News from SA

Last night we got in toooooo late to post about the 10th annual "Smokey" Joe Williams Scholarship Banquet but I wanted to let you all know what a fantastic time I had!!! How can I even put all the things I learned and felt here. :-( I don't even know where to begin so I'll just start out by listing a few things I recall that made an impact on me yesterday. And these are things other than what you may already know about the man, like the fact that he won the World Series THREE times.
  1. I felt privileged to have had a chance to meet up with Mark and Stew for lunch and that after calling him Mr. Stewart about 4 times, he said I had to call him either Dave or Stew. I liked Stew. That's pretty cool.
  2. He is so down to earth, easy to be with and talk with, funny as all get out and just really neat to hang with and get to know. I felt like we had known him for ages instead of a couple of days (well, really just one day for me).
  3. He and Mark had me in stitches the entire time I was with them and they made me feel so special. I mean, really....two wonderfully dashing men teasing me constantly about ditching them for a Spurs game....what girl wouldn't feel all warm and fuzzy? lol
  4. He has a GREAT sense of humor and his speech was engaging, inspiring, fascinating and just filled with fantastic stories and if you weren't there, I'm sorry for you. If you were there, remember these: players staring up at the moon (same moon as the one at home or not?) and his teammate carrying a 24-inch TV with him during winter-ball so that he can watch "American shows" while in the Spanish-speaking country in which they were playing.
  5. He has met the Queen of England.
  6. He likes the Three Stooges a lot (Curly was MY favorite) and he's a big prankster. These two things combined actually got him an invitation to sit in the box with the Queen. Again, long story so I wish you were there to hear it at the banquet.
  7. When asked what was his proudest moment, he told us a story not about his baseball accomplishments but rather, he shared his experiences of the Bay area earthquake in '89 or '90 and what he did to try and help. This man is just too awesome!
  8. He was intrigued by the fact that Mark keeps bees and he had some really great questions about what he now calls Beeology. And then he shared his new knowledge with other people! He was hilarious. He calls Mark the Beemeister. :)
  9. He's a caring man to his family and checked on them often. It was nice to see how family-oriented he is.
  10. He was so engaging that he made our daughter, Melissa, laugh out loud many times --- I know she had a great time b/c you don't hear that carefree, natural, sweet sound often enough. AND a woman who has shown little interest in the speakers in the past actually had very nice things to say about Stew. Wow. Two hard sells and he nailed them both. We told him we were pretty impressed.

This photo was snapped while San Antonio's KABB sports reporter, Hector Ledesma, interviewed Stew for a news story. I was happy to see them there because for some unfathomable reason, SA media rarely visits our banquet despite speakers like Fergie Jenkins, Monte Irvin, Buck O'Neal and the list goes on...who wouldn't want to hear from these men (even if you weren't a huge baseball fan, these are sports icons!)? Anyway, thank you KABB for sending someone to cover the banquet.

Thanks, honey, for finding yet another wonderful person for us to meet! Let's go to Claremont and make him miss a Lakers game! :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

"Smokey" Joe Williams Scholarship Banquet 2009

Dave Stewart in town

Tomorrow night is the big night for baseball fans in Seguin. Mark picked up Mr. Stewart from the airport today and he will be our keynote speaker at tomorrow's banquet. One of the nicest things we enjoy about the banquet is that we get to host the players and really get to know them and their stories. And it's not just baseball stories that they share...their lives, in general, are pretty amazing and it's always a treat to have a few days with them. Hope you can join us tomorrow evening!

And since Mark was entertaining Mr. Stewart, I was sent off the the Spurs/Trailblazers game this evening with a friend. Though I missed Mark, it was also fun to have a girls' night out with my friend! I had a blast Andrea! Especially after I taught you how to properly cheer on the boys and high five for maximum impact. Good job! :) By the way, we had another marvelous game even without two of my favorite players - Tim and Manu. And Tony Parker had 39 points!!! He was amazing after a 37 point game against the Dallas Mavericks last night. I have to give it to him b/c he sure showed up this week. Let's hope the boys keep it up for the Cavaliers, who are in town Friday night. Also, our very own Seguin Sterling Silver Dancers were on hand this evening and I shot a small video bit so I'll see if I can load that up sometime if it is any good. The Coyote danced with them and they looked like they had a blast!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Old Days

Taken in Vietnam

Lately we have been living in the past. What I mean is that I've been looking at old pictures. The digital camera era is super-fantastic BUT I still enjoy flipping through the photo albums once in a while. Some of my college friends started posting old pics on their Facebook pages so I went looking for some of my own in order to share with them. I also found some pictures that my mom brought with us when we left Vietnam; here's one of me. Last year I scanned in four albums worth of black and white photos for everyone in the family. I love looking at them.

Mark's been living in the past, too! He's making one more change in the book but he's pretty much done and it's now on the publisher's site (Janaway Genealogy Publishing) and I am thrilled for him!! [Congratulations, honey!] Mark's book is titled Slave Transactions of Guadalupe County, Texas and you can read a little more about it on Mark's blog about "Smokey" Joe Williams.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Is it Spring yet?

Bees in the backyard

It sure feels like it is! It's been pretty warm lately and things are starting to bloom all around us. Though I do wish for more wintery weather, I must say the days are quite lovely with plenty of sunshine and temperatures in the 70s with little humidity.

This is a redbud in our backyard and as you can see, the blooms are out and will be followed by leaves soon. The one in the front yard is also in bloom as well as the mountain laurel; smells wonderful! I asked Mark if we could do something outdoors this weekend in order to enjoy the wonderful we checked on our bees and then drove around the countryside a bit. It was really relaxing and a very nice change from the hectic week at work. I will post more of our outting over the next couple of days. :)

Last week I had about sixteen meetings and conference calls. SIXTEEN. That's a lot for me. I'm not used to so many and they really took a bite out of my productivity. I must say, however, that they were all good for the team because we are finally connecting with people and teams that we work with or will work with and it's great to see puzzle pieces fitting together. And I still am loving what I do and that I get to have so much fun while I'm working. It's a real blessing.

Bee update: The Africanized hive is finally dead (we think and hope). The other bees are doing very well and were very active when we checked on them this weekend. If you want more bee talk, I'll post more about them on my La China blog.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mark's Library Talk

Mark giving a talk on his book

I am so, so proud of Mark! Yesterday he gave his first book talk about his new book, which will be published next month. It's about the slave activities in our county and it's been almost one year in the works, though if you really think about how he got to this point, I'd say it was ten years in the making (when Mark first starting researching Smokey Joe Williams).

A couple of work buddies and I showed up at the Seguin Library and at first there weren't many people there. But folks started trickling in and all in all, there were about 79 people I was told! That was so great! I really enjoyed watching Mark share the stories we learned during his research -- stories of families and individuals, slaves and slave masters and mistresses -- really fascinating. AND the best part was that people in attendance asked some really great questions that allowed us all to explore our past. It was pretty cool.

I'm proud of you honey!! Can't wait to see the book in print.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I'm back!

Hi everyone. Just got home from Dallas so I need to unpack and also get ready for work. So a real quick post before I go....


This is what it feels like in my neck and shoulder blade area lately. :( I need to find another good chiropractor.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone

My honey's fave color

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend so far. Be sure to let your special someone know that you love them, today and everyday. I am so thankful for my wonderful husband. This is a card that I made for him (it happens to be both our favorite color) and in return, he gave me a touching, beautifully written love letter. And yes, I cried. It means so much to me! Thank you, love!!! In the midst of my happy tears, Mark asks, "You're not going to post that are you??" He sure knows how to make me laugh. :) No honey, that letter's just for me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Porcelain Insulators

Porcelain insulators

Last night I finished a post. But then either Blogger or I had a hiccup and it was gone. Poof. Gone. :( I was so tired and drained from work that I didn't even re-write it. Blah. It was just one of those days. Work is trying this week. We're suffering a bit from the whole economic situation but I won't delve into here. Hopefully things will pick up by year's end for all of us.

Last weekend was great weather and I snapped a lot of shots outside. These are some of my favorite porcelain insulators. I have posted about the glass ones before but these porcelain ones have their own, unique beauty also. Sometimes just looking at them makes me happy because I give myself the moment to get absorbed by their rich colors. I love the olive and the blues and the mustard. And the different shapes always make them unique and interesting. When you look at an "old time" insulator, no two are alike. That can't be said for the ones we see today on the tall poles.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Wind-blown Bees

Bees Feb09

Today Mark went to check on the bees to make sure none of the tops blew off over night. Yesterday we had some fierce winds blow through the area and the gusts were pretty amazing. Luckily, all the tops were still on the hives and the bees were doing well. That's good. We were both worried about that quite a bit.

We actually got a bit of rain over night. Not much...we need so much more to help with our drought. Sadly, I don't think we'll get it. I talked to my friend in Hope, Arkansas today and she said it was raining buckets up there and they can't get their steel products shipped if it keeps up (which it's suppose to do until THURSDAY!). I sure wish there was a way to share weather.

[Kris, we have yet to be haunted by any bees. So we're good. :-) ]

Saturday, February 07, 2009

What a Wonderful Day

Bees Feb09

Today was a wonderful day -- relaxing and fun. I watched our bees for a while in the backyard. Looks like they are doing fine, bringing in pollen and keeping busy. What's keeping them busy? Well, for one thing, I actually witnessed one of the nice bees fighting, yes fighting off the crazed Africanized bee from next door. Can you believe those bees are still not all dead yet? They are fiesty. They got out even with all that plastic wrapped around their hive and when they couldn't get back in, they started robbing the nice hive. I learned, though, that bees do know how to protect their hive; hence the little cat fight I witnessed. I wish my shots had come out clear so I could show you but with all the rolling around, none of the shots are worth posting.

This is a shot of one of the frames Mark pulled out of one of the hives. I thought it looked really beautiful and ever so golden. Mark told me that the light-color edges indicate new comb that the bees have made. That's good! And there's pollen in those little cells along with honey.

It was a lot of fun to do a little beekeeping with Mark today. I have been chilling out...beekeeping, photographing all sorts of things, working on a V-day project, even went by You're So Crafty to get some supplies for my project. I haven't had this much relaxing fun in ages! I can get use to this!

Friday, February 06, 2009

A Little Critter

What is it??

Between home and work, I had passed this artwork many times and it really caught my eye. Mark's also. But either I didn't have my digicam or the lighting wasn't right or I was in a hurry or something. But I finally found a day to get a shot.

I don't know the story on this and I have no idea who the artist is but there's just something about it that is so appealing to me. The colors are so bold; the subject interesting. There's got to be a story behind it. My friend thinks it looks a little like a mosquito, a bit like a bee. I agree. But it also reminds me of the train, from Soul Train. LOL...who remembers that show besides me???

Graffiti Art on Building

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Today's Letters Are...

Edible letters

I haven't had alphabet soup in ages but I have always enjoyed it. It's fun food. You can get all caught up looking at the letters and making words. LOL. So when my friend at work was eating their soup, I was mesmerized and could not move my gaze from the letters. They looked so cool. Luckily most of my friends are used to my picture taking so out came the camera.

One of the things I have noticed lately during these uncertain economic times, is that more and more people are beginning to think about the following things:
  1. Saving money by not eating out as much (hence eating soup in the office).
  2. Planning out a grocery list rather than buying as you cruise the store (we have planned our weekly meals for years and that really does help you cut waste).
  3. Saving, saving, saving...just in case you get a call into the office to say your services are no longer needed (everyone should save for a buffer on which to survive).

I think this is pretty responsible and they're the sorts of things we should be thinking about more often so that we don't take things for granted or waste resources. It's neat. It's one of the good things about the economy being the way it is.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Beekeeping News

Our two hives in the yard

Well, here are our two hives in the back yard, which I posted about before several times. The hive closest to us in the photo is doing well. I saw the bees carrying pollen in and there was constant activity. I have sad news, however. One of the hives, the strong one unfortunately, has become Africanized and they are super aggressive. Mark found it very difficult to work on them so after much deliberation, he decided he must take action....

Africanized hive

It's time to go mean bees! This is the second wrapping he has done on the hive in order to kill the crazy bees by suffocation. They found a way out the first time Mark taped up the openings. This time it appears to be working. The reason for doing it this way versus poisoning them is that Mark wants to use his box again. They're not cheap and the boxes are pretty nice. So if you used poison, you wouldn't be able to use the equipment! I learn so much about beekeeping these days -- I love it! And I love sharing the information with my friends who often ask about the bees. BTW, our new bees (the hives we picked up recently) are doing great! Next time Mark checks on them, I'll see if I can go with him for pictures. And they are very nice bees; hardly a sting despite his hammering and such on their houses. :)

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Knitting Again

Penny knitting her 2nd scarf

One of the things I promised myself was that I would start knitting again. That means two things to me:

  1. I want teach someone to knit.
  2. I want to put a knitting project in my purse so that I can knit whenever I have five minutes or when I need a little stress relief.

I'm excited to say I have done both now. Last week, while in Dallas, I taught two workers -- one how to bind off, or complete a scarf, and another how to knit (her first time). They both did great! And we had a wonderful time and it did wonders to relax me. I get so focused on it that I let go of all the thousands of to-dos floating around my head.

Tonight, I am proofing different writings. Some from work but most importantly, I'm also proofing two chapters from Mark's book! It's so exciting that it's almost done. He's working on the index as I blog. :-) I'm proud of you, love!!

Maybe after my proofing and some work, I will knit a bit while watching some of the Spurs/Nuggets game. Go Spurs!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Donut Palace

The Donut Palace in Seguin

I'm back and have had a very peaceful weekend, catching up with Mark and other things around home. It's good to be home. After the long months of only occassionally traveling for a day or two to Dallas, an entire week away from home took a little adjustment. But I did have a wonderful time in Big D, learning all sorts of new things about work and meeting some very nice people.

Saturday morning I decided to pick up some treats from a popular place in town -- The Donut Palace. If you haven't been there, you should give it a try! They have awesome donuts as well as some savory options. Since we slept in, I decided a brunch might be nice since we had errands to run so I got fresh-baked glazed donuts, a cinnamon roll and two kolaches (with and without cheese). It was all fantastic!

Saturday Brunch

Besides the food, you should try TDP because of the people who run it. They are so friendly and very hardworking. If you go, take cash or your checkbook because they do not accept any credit or debit cards. Friends at work have told me that they've gotten caught with no cash before but do you know what??? The folks at TDP just told them to bring the cash when they can. Can you believe that? Isn't that amazing to encounter such trust from a retailer? Very nice. It makes me feel good about people to know this so I thought I'd share it with you.