Saturday, April 30, 2011

April 17: San Jacinto

I have been getting a bit antsy with my Texas Highways obsession! I have been doing things with friends and hitting things around the Houston area so I haven't been looking into the TH for ideas and a path.

Best news: I was supposed to have a Hill Country tour last Easter weekend. My friend Kristi and I decided to check Expedia's last minute deals and ended up spending the weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah. It was MAGICAL! I've finally just "taken off" to an unknown place.

ANYWAYS! Lol, the weekend before Easter I ended up going to San Jacinto Battlefield State Park and going up to the top, which I've never done. And I also the movie Texas Forever. I found my "happy place" and ended up grading by the ship channel, trying to find a balance of working and travelling on the weekends. Then I took the historic Lynchburg Ferry (and my first ferry ride ever). Though a short ride I loved it. Was grateful to have TH lead me in a fun direction.
Love the huge bridges in the area! My GPS actually died on me and I had to find a Best Buy. Think I stopped in Pasadena to get one. Luckily I had seen there was a $20 discount starting that day. With my camera breaking last year I had a $100 credit. my GPS for FREE :) But, I could have laid down some money. Believe me, I get my moneys worth!
Coming upon the San Jacinto Monument. Love this place! So historic....and where we became the Republic of Texas. The only state to be a country :) Love my Texas!

View from the top of the star. Windows could have used a cleaning but it was nice :)

The reflection pond and the Battleship Texas.

View of the port...Busy busy! I love this picture because it shows the busy port and has Downtown Houston in the background.

Gotta love those refineries...

Oil refineries and the landscape around the area.

Another one of the port and downtown in the same shot.

The Theater where Texas Forever plays.

Watching the movie on the Texas Revolution (well made) with the only 5 people in the theater :) There was a small boy in there and his grandpa was with him and totally fell asleep and was snoring, lol. I, however, enjoyed it very much...Just so happens I already knew everything! Obsessed, much?


The monument again...So pretty!

Heading across the street to the battleship....The reflection pond, too :)

Setting up shop for grading. Got some social studies graded. Only one assignment. It was SUPER windy but I was sooooo in my happy place. Going to try to travel and grade more often. That way I'll have happy memories of grading and not put it off so often!

After grading I took the suggestion of the TH editor's notes and took the famous Lynchburg Ferry, operating since the Texas Revolution!!! It was kind of exciting and a bit nerve wrecking, for sure. I was first on the ferry so I could only see water in front of my car. Plus I got yelled at by the loading guy. But my car was fine....Don't matta!

The Ferry...holds about 12 cars.

The view of the monument from the Lynchburg Ferry. Turned out to be a very fun Sunday! When I was taking those pictures I had no idea what my travel life was holding. Pictures of Utah next! :)

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

April 9-Astros Opening Weekend

If you haven't heard of Groupon, then you haven't yet lived! They are an amazing coupon that gives local, area mega coupons daily. So when they gave a 50% off coupon for the Astros opening Saturday game my friend Deborah and I HAD to go! The tickets were lower level for $22 but we did NOT expect 6th row!! It was you can see in the pictures. :)
We went about 4 hours early because there was all sorts of things to do on Opening Weekend. So we got a super close parking spot, with our choice of parking prices. Here we scored a $10 spot. Woohoo! Much better than the $20 on the other side.

Walking around to Will Call. Nice details... Minute Maid Park is really neat!

Outside of the Center Field exit is this huge baseball bronze sculpture. Love the cracked bricks too.

When we went into the park the Astros were doing batting practice. At this area there were lots of us with our gloves waiting for a ball but Deborah and I waited for like 10 minutes and there was really nothing being hit so we just left. Lots of people were kinda crowding around and hovering all over a spot so we didn't think it was our kinda thing.

After being deceived at the official gift shop we found the Astros Garage Sale with all the free items from last year put at a $1-$10. Unfortunately, most of the good stuff was gone but Deborah got a shirt for $2. Haha, not bad!
We were sitting in the right field area which is where the kids zone is. Loved the Astros Mickey! Can't wait for Disneyland in June!!!!!!

So, then we found our (amazing) seats. And when we were heading down to the 6th row, one of the Astros pitchers was there signing autographs! Lopez ended up pitching one batter that day and striking him out! But the coolest thing was when he was called to the mound he totally BOLTED from the bullpen to the mound. It was really cool. He's super fast. I had him sign my glove. Hopefully next time I'll bring a thicker black pen. All I had was a pink permanent marker from grading in my purse. Lol

The new jumbo screen and we were SO close!

The field from our seats :)

Junction Jack giving some high fives. We actually ran into him and his "friends" up by the entrance. I had some pig tails and he was pulling on them... I didn't pull an Ace Ventura and kick his _ _ _ but I could have. Lol, but it ended up being a cute FB pic :)

Soon after that the 'Stros starting warming up and our admiration of Hunter Pence began :) Hunter.....we were about 9 feet from him the whole game!

Go Astros!!

Go Hunter :) Lol

Go Fire Sauce!!!! Deborah totally knew they'd be coming for the 7th inning stretch. I thought Fire had it but he "tripped"...

Hunter at bat...

The Astros were ahead for probably the first 7 innings but ended up losing :( Deborah and I were too busy talking the whole time, but we had to stay alive as we were so close to the line drive fouls! It was a great night. Dinner at Chili's was just as fun. It was a great time at opening weekend!

The next day I headed to the CyFair Exhibit Center for the Cy-Woods High School FFA Craft Show. Spent wayyyyyy too much money but it was for a great cause. My partner teacher's daughter is very involved with the FFA here so I felt like I contributed. :) I planned on being here for like half an hour but ended up being here for over 3 hours seeing and meeting about 5 of my Lamkin friends. Met a nice T-shirt lady...Kindred spirts, for sure!

And.....I finally broke down and got one of the magnetic cross necklaces. Super cute Minnie mouse bottle cap with a B on it, though.

Also found some CUTE Disney bows for my trip. SOOOOO ready for Disney!!! And after spending all afternoon shopping and visiting with friends I headed home for some R&R and grading. Another top weekend!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Cirque du Soleil, April 6

Ovo, the insect Cirque du Soleil came to Houston for about a month. My new theatre friends Heather and Brandy and I went. It was really neat. We were SO much closer than I expected since it was at the Sam Houston Race Park under a real tent like the old days. The show was AMAZING!! Loved the story and loved the fantastic moves. Truly amazing, especially the trampolines!
The tent :)

The show....Before it started. Ovo means egg. :)

Close up!

Didn't want to take pictures during the show and get in trouble. Love my new theatre friends! I think our next show is Little Shop of Horrors at the beginning of May!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

April 2-3, 2011 Meeting Texas Highways!!

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of being invited to a Texas Highways Magazine event. I write on their Facebook page all the time, as I follow their magazine fairly religiously. After posting a rave review of the photo editor's new exhibit he befriended me on Facebook. Then invited me to come meet with them.
It was so surreal! He told me they talk about me at the magazine, and how lucky I am I get to travel so much (I feel the same way!). He gave me a lot of one-on-one advice on photography and types of cameras. I made some new photography friends too. It was an amazing time. I even joined them for lunch at a very neat BBQ place.
When meeting Griff Smith, photography editor at Texas Highways he gave a talk on his photography exhibit. It was filmed for a video on the exhibit. I loved it! (Even though I had been to many of the places myself.) :p
We were allowed to ask questions, and it was a good time. Only 4-5 other people were there so it was kind of like friends just hanging out talking about photography. I did learn a lot about submitting photos to magazines though. Will have to keep that info tucked into my notes. :)

New Zion Missionary Baptist Church Barbeque. Very small, only a few picnic tables and fold out tables. But, dang, the meat was GOOD! I wasn't planning on going but one of the women at the photo exhibit was trying to get me to go. Nothing like making new friends!

While the group took off back to Austin with a stop in Caldwell, I decided not to follow them since I'd want to drink and be too far from home. Well, that and I wasn't dressed to go dancing in a honky tonk. They were all much older, too so I'm pretty sure I would have been a third wheel. So, again, they took off on their roadtrip but I headed to Historic Downtown Huntsville. I saw this mural on the side of the shopping buildings. Very nicely done!

The county courthouse...Not as cute as the big, fancy ones.

The antique stores on Main Street were open but the cute, girlie shops weren't. :( Which means? Return trip must be had!

The antique store had plenty of stuff you'd regularly find. I did find some cute crafty ideas though.

I loved the letters from the Scrabble game and the old letter game (I forgot the name!). Will have to do that for my classroom.

While in downtown found some historical buildings and plaques. Still interested in learning more about the dates of Sam Houston and his Masonic affiliations, including the time he became apart of the group.

Some people have their own hobbies. Whatever makes you happy.

This store looked SOOOO me and soooo cute. But, unfortunately, was closed.

The visitors center was also closed once I got there but still a VERY cute set-up. That cabin is time period and originial.

It was so small! So interesting to see how people lived back in the frontier days.

As I was leaving the area I saw this beautiful sign of Sam Houston State University which owns the building where the photo exibit was.

Since Huntsville was such a fun experience and I was on a travel high of hanging out with the photo editor of my FAVORITE travel magazine I felt like celebrating with some real shopping. So I stopped at the addicting Sam Moon center and got way too much jewelry...but again, I get my moneys worth so it's not that bad...But I spent too much but it was well worth it and since I didn't splurge in Huntsville it wasn't that noticeable. So, after shopping I ended up going to the Woodlands Mall and thought of calling my friend Shanna since it was her birthday on Sunday. Ended up just going to the movies. I bought these cupcakes to celebrate with and put them in my purse to sneak in. The movies were too packed to feast on them but yucky, I'm glad we didn't eat them in the dark. It got moved around way too much. Yucky looking, but don't judge a book by it's cover, they were delicious!!!!!

Another fun weekend in the books.