Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Turn Signals

Hi All!

Yesterday was a nice, peaceful day here in my neck of the woods. For the most part!

I headed over to our church to drop off a check (before the first of the year, you know!) and stopped at a little Chinese restaurant on the way home for some lunch. While the Chinese food wasn't' the best I had ever had, it was still good. I did wish that I had remembered to take my book or my ipod with me so I didn't just sit there by myself eating. That was a bit boring but . . . oh well!

Just as I pulled in our driveway it began to rain. About an hour later the rain turned into snow with big, fluffy flakes floating down from the sky. Within a half hour the ground was covered in white - the second time in a little over a week! Quite a record for Texas!

I snuggled up with the kitties and stayed warm while watching the snow. Hubby came home early from work just in case the roads turned nasty like they did last week. Thankfully, that didn't happen!

As I was snuggling with the kitties I was remembering my trip to work on Monday and thinking about turn signals on cars. They are still standard equipment on cars, right? They aren't optional, are they?

I was just wondering because pretty much NONE of the cars who cut me off during my drive to work on Monday were using their turn signals. In fact, I watched one man weave in and out of traffic for about five minutes with nary a signal in sight. He was totally oblivious to the fact that he was causing chaos on the road since the people he was cutting off had to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting him. This braking caused quite the chain reaction of braking and let me tell you - it wasn't fun! Did I mention that this particular man was chatting away on his cell phone the entire time?

After him came a young girl who was obviously in training for the Indy 500 because her speed was WAY too fast for the amount of traffic on the road. She too cut multiple people off trying to get ahead of the slower traffic. She too neglected to use her turn signals.

Just a minute later another car pulled in front of me sans signal and then braked nearly to a stop as he/she (I couldn't figure out which it was from the back) waited for a chance to get into the next lane. Never did this person signal.

After finally getting rid of that "good" driver, I watched yet another driver exit the highway - from the far left lane. This was accomplished without any turn signals to warn the other drivers and was done at a rather high rate of speed while fitting into the smallest of gaps between cars in the other lanes.

Finally, I was off the tollway and on a "surface road." Surely things would be better here, right? Guess again! Between the tollway and my office - three different cars apparently had never heard of turn signals.

What is going on? Is there a trend that I haven't heard of for conserving energy by not using turn signals? Are new cars not coming with these things standard anymore? Does driver's ed forget to tell people about turn signals? Or are people simply too lazy to flick a little stick to signal?

Come on, people! It isn't that hard!


Voice Update: I am massaging and inhaling my little heart out. Last night while watching tv I noticed that my neck was sore, sore, sore. Not something I noticed before actually touching my neck. The muscles were all so tender! I spent a lot of time rubbing the muscles of my neck and jaw to make them feel better. This isn't something that is normal for me so I was a bit surprised at just how tender the muscles were. I guess I need to work on that as well as the other massage and the inhalation exercises this week.

Looking for a worthy charity to give money to before the first of the year? Why not check out the National Spasmodic Dysphonia Association?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My Civic Duty

Hi All!

Thanks for all of the comments on yesterday's post - I really felt welcomed back!

Work yesterday went well. Since there was only one therapist in the office things were a bit slower than normal - and that was nice! Of course, two other therapists "popped in" to see how work is going on the new offices. You did know that the office is moving, right? The proposed move date is January 8th but that all depends on if the work is complete and the carpet is in! I also found out yesterday that I am responsible for moving the office stuff since Linda probably won't be up to it. Fun, fun!

Oh well! I guess packing a few boxes won't kill me!

This weekend I got a notice that I have been selected for Jury duty. This will be the second time I have been selected since moving to Texas. The first time I was still working and wasn't selected because I had just testified in a child abuse case two days before showing up for jury duty. Not that the testifying was fun but it might have been better than getting selected for a jury. This time we will see what happens.

The whole jury duty has had me thinking about "civic duty." I remember being taught about civic duty in high school history classes - probably in Government class. Part of the duty was jury duty, of course, but we also were told that we had a duty to take care of our city, state, country and to do everything we could to make it a better place to live in. Part of that involved not littering.

I am sure that this was a "keep the high school cleaner" campaign but for some reason, it really stuck with me. Partly because it makes sense - littering just makes the place you live in dirty and who really wants that? Partly because keeping the area clean made me feel like I was doing something - however small - to help others around me.

Do you think they still teach that in schools today? Do parents reinforce these teachings at home?

I thought about this as I was filling up my car with gas. A truck full of teens pulled up at the pump next to me and while they were getting gas, one teen seemed to be "cleaning" out the truck cab. This involved basically shoveling anything deemed worthless out of the door and onto the ground. As I was waiting for the car to fill up I watched the shoveling with wonder. Part of me wondered if the "kids" were going to pick up the trash and deposit it in the trash can not more than five feet away from them. Another part of me just sighed because it knew the answer. Of course they weren't going to pick anything up!

Watching the old newspapers blow across the lot really got to me. In fact, I actually moved and chased the paper, picked it up and headed for the trash can. One of the teens actually looked at me in surprise. I asked him if he wanted the paper - he said no and I deposited it in the trash can.

I wanted to tell the teens that littering just makes a mess out of their environment but I didn't.

Would it have been my civic duty to tell them?

I wonder.


Voice Update: Still doing okay. I didn't do my massage yesterday even though I did do some inhale voicing. Today I will need to get more of both in so that my voice improves. Sometimes it is annoying that I have to work at something - having a speaking voice - that pretty much everyone else just takes for granted. Then I think about the people who have to work at walking. And breathing. I am lucky I only have to work on my voice.

Monday, December 28, 2009

When Will I Learn?

Hi All!

Okay - now that Christmas is over I am going to try to get back to a regular schedule of posting on my blog. I found that I really miss it when I don't blog!

Christmas was good in our house. Hubby and I celebrated Christmas Eve alone while we watched it snow. Yes - SNOW! In fact, we didn't get to church for the candlelight service because it was snowing so hard and the roads were getting iced over. This was the deciding factor because here we don't have snow plows. Yes, we have trucks that trundle along spreading a mix of sand and salt but they don't clear anything from the roads and really don't do too much good at all so - the roads get VERY treacherous!

Hubby and I spent Christmas Eve watching the snow outside and the weather reports between baking Christmas cookies.

On Christmas day the sun came out and cleared the roads enough for us to head to my friend Monique's house to celebrate the day with her and her family. It was fun to spend time with them and different since we don't have any children and Monique has a seven-year old and a three-year old!

For the rest of the weekend Hubby and I stayed around the house - we cleaned and relaxed. Hubby watched a lot of football!

Now it is Monday and Hubby is off to work and . . . . so am I! Last week I had talked to Linda and she told me that she was going to work Monday and Wednesday this week (the only days either of us need to work since only Susan is in the office this week). I was a bit doubtful since she had Chemo on Tuesday but . . . . I held out hope. AND I was refusing to get my hopes up. I did NOT say that I wasn't working on Monday because, from experience I know that only "jinxes" me and I end up working.

Unfortunately, I was talking to Mom and . . . I said it. So - of course, I am working today!

I am hoping to head in really early so that I can get home early.

Wish me luck!


Voice Update: I have been trying to do more inhale exercises because my voice has been having more "missed" than I would like. It seems to be doing the job. However, today I have a lot of drainage down the back of my throat and that always sort of messes things up a bit. If it isn't one thing - it is another! I am still a little nervous about losing my voice again - I met a man with SD whose voice was good for five years and then . . . he lost it again and now isn't doing well at all! yikes!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve

Hi All!

Well - it is finally Christmas Eve! Hopefully everyone is finished with their shopping and wrapping and can take time tonight to reflect on the reason we have a Christmas season. Hubby and I will be heading to a candlelight church service which will get out just as Christmas is arriving - midnight!

There is something almost magical about a midnight candlelight service on Christmas Eve. It really makes you think about the coming of Jesus and God's gift to us through His son.

Merry Christmas!


Voice Update: Well - I am skipping more sounds than I would like but it is still here!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Lazy Day

Hi All!

Well, I am still not feeling 100% but I am getting better. That is GOOD news!

Yesterday was a lazy day for me - I totally enjoyed it! I did my morning walk, chatted with Mom on IM, and then took a nice nap. I got up, showered, dressed, and finished reading a book that I had started a couple days ago. I had every intention of finishing it in time to stick it into the package we sent to my parents - I think my dad would like it - but . . . that didn't happen. I played the piano and washed a MOUNTAIN of dishes (which still need to be put away!).

I watched a Christmas special on TV - well, I had recorded it so it wasn't "live." It was a disappointment. I know these specials tend to be sappy but this one was just bad.

I know that when my mother reads this post and sees what I did she will be upset that I didn't "get out." However - I had an excuse. My car wouldn't start! Apparently, Hubby didn't get the tailgate completely closed and the battery wore down. Hence - no starting!

Luckily, I didn't have anywhere important to go - unlike today when I am planning on going to work!

Hubby and I managed to start my car by jumping it with his car last night. That was the first time I have ever been involved in jump starting a car and luckily, nothing blew up!

Last night I decided to take a walk around the neighborhood to take in the Christmas lights. There are a lot of people who have really done a good job with their lights this year. Several homes have their lights set to music which you can listen to on the radio while you watch their show. When did this get so popular? I must have missed the memo on that one. It is neat to watch though. I was particularly impressed by the house whose entire front yard was covered in lights under a blanket of "snow." The snow was batting since we don't actually get much snow here during the winter. I just kept thinking - "that had to have cost them a lot of money to get that much batting!" It looked like real snow from a distance. Impressive.

If you get a chance - head out to look at the lights in your neighborhood. When you walk you certainly get a totally different perspective than when you zip by in the car!


Voice Update: Still doing really well. Knock on wood and keep your fingers crossed for me!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Hi All!

Well, it has been a couple days since I last posted. To be honest - the funk has returned in a very mello way. I can't say that I am in a big funk but there is a little funk running along with me these days.

I think the biggest reason for the funk is that I am having some problems with . . . gas. Not the kind you put in your car but rather the . . . errr . . . VERY natural kind! It seems like no matter what I eat - or don't eat - I have this gas problem.

At times the problem is so bad that I get a pain in my chest. Of course, one good belch and the pain disappears but, before that time . . . literally a pain! Such a pain that I have even been contemplating if I should go to the hospital to check if I am having a heart attack.

Luckily - that part of my problem is finally past. Now I seem to have a pain in my side - which I am sure is the result of a bubble!

Anyway - this gas problem has been making me cranky. I am hungry but don't want to eat too much because . . . well, it just makes things worse! When I do finally give in an eat something . . . I end up in worse shape than I was in before.

What a problem!

Anyway - that is why I haven't blogged lately. Any suggestions?


Voice Update: Doing surprisingly well. I am happy with it at the moment!

Thursday, December 17, 2009


Hi All!

Some of you might have noticed that I skipped a day of posting yesterday. Well, that is because I am having some "issues." In addition, I have been working since Linda has been in the hospital (she is out now and is doing well - thankfully!) and that means I have been trying to get out of the house early so I can get home earlier than 7:00 P.M.

What? You want to know what "issues" I have? Well - one of them is furry and has four legs. His name is Skor and he seems bound and determined to keep me from getting an uninterrupted night's sleep. For the past three nights someone (I am blaming Hubby here) has forgotten to put up Skor's favorite "fishing pole" toy and Skor has thoughtfully brought it to me at aproximately 2:00 A.M. each night/morning.

Of course, just bringing the toy to me isn't enough for Skor! No, he has to make sure that I am awake enough to "enjoy" his toy with him and - he always hopes - to play with him. Well, I can't avoid the awake part - a cat's wet, cold nose in your ear tends to shock you awake no matter how deeply you are sleeping - but I do resist the urge to play with the toy. Much to Skor's dismay - which he conveys with headbutts and meows for quite a while before moving on to fighting with Miss Cleo who is sleeping at my feet. It is wonderful (that last statement is dripping with sarcasm, by the way!).

So - that is one issue.

Another issue is work. Now, I enjoy working with my bosses and the work isn't hard but there are some frustrations there. That is all I will say about that on the blog since I never know who is reading it!

Luckily, my voice isn't an issue right now. It is doing well and seems to be holding its own. I did talk to a man yesterday who told me that his SD "went away - practically" for about five years and then came back with a vengence. That has a me a little worried. I don't want my SD to come back. Especially not with a vengence! I guess I will continue with my therapy and hope (and pray) that won't happen!! Yikes!

That is all for today since it is about time for me to hop in the shower to get ready for work!

I hope you all are having a wonderful week so far!


Voice Update: I pretty much said it all above.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Beautiful Buildings

Hi All!

I am in a picture showing kind of mood so here are some more lovely pictures from the time my family was here visiting. This time I am going to show you another of my "obsessions." I love taking pictures of buildings. There is just something about certain buildings that is irresistible so . . . I take pictures.

This building, near The Sixth Floor Museum, isn't a church (which is what we thought it was) but rather, a historic courthouse. Isn't it neat against the blue, blue sky?

I have seen this beauty from the highway and have loved the arched facade. It is even more impressive from the street right next to the building. The Trolley stop was in front of this building so I had plenty of time to play with taking its picture!

I couldn't quite get the right angle but the composition of the two smaller buildings flanking the taller one and the "fan shaped" building in front was interesting.

Buildings seen through sculpture was something I was trying out during this trip.

I think this one worked out a bit better than the last due to the curves of the sculpture.

Here is my curved building again from about a block away.

Building through sculpture no. 2.

The tower of this church just fascinated me. I think I have half a dozen pictures of it against the blue, blue sky. It turns out it if a Methodist church. Interesting.

This is a shot which is called "Shortcut to Heaven." It is a sculpture from the Nasher Sculpture Center seen with the steeple of nearby church. I wish I could have gotten a most "close-up" picture but, you get the idea! The sculpture has people walking up a large "pipe" up into the sky. It is very impressive to see up close.
Well, that is it for my building obsession for today.
Voice Update: Doing well!

Monday, December 14, 2009

More Tourist Pictures

Hi All!

I thought it was time for some more pictures from my family's visit for Thanksgiving.

Since we were in the area thanks to the McKinney Avenue Trolley ride, we headed to this historic site.

Do you recognize it? Really? It is famous! Really, really famous! There is even a museum up there. Not on the first floor - the floor on which the window is open. Right below the tree limb.

Here - I'll give you another picture - closer up. Recognize it yet? Another hint - it is on the SIXTH floor.

There were crowds of people all over the place. This crowd was listening to a man who had written a book about what happened at this historic site. My dad is in the back - he is the one with the streetlight coming out of his head!

This is Uncle Al on the street near where the historic even took place. Above his head you can see the window I was showing you before. Still don't know? (Will you look at how blue those skies were that day?!!)

Okay - this should be a give-away! The grassy knoll? Yes! That is right. This is where John F. Kennedy was shot! I am not too sure that we really needed the big sign to let us know where the knoll was but . . . it made it easier to find! The picket fence in the background is the fence where supposed conspirators were hiding to fire the "other shots." Of course, it isn't the original fence - it has been replaced several times.

Aunt Donna is standing on the exact spot in the street where JFK's car was when he was shot. Sort of weird that they keep an X there but . . . also sort of neat that you can stand on such a historic spot.
The building I was showing you is the old Textbook Depository and the open window on the sixth floor is where the fatal shot was fired from. Behind the window is The Sixth Floor Museum - all about that fatal day. We didn't visit the museum on this day because it was PACKED! It was enough to visit the site and to hear the guy who was lecturing from his book.
I live in a great place to play tourist!
Update: Please continue to hold Linda, the secretary I "temp" for, in your prayers. She is in the hospital with a very low white blood cell count.
Voice Update: Doing pretty well. I am getting in a few of the exercises I need to do. I need to be better but at least I have some going on!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Is This More Exciting?

Hi All!

Well - today is another day without work or school! I hardly know what to do with myself! Unfortunately, it is another COLD day in Texas! It was only 24 degrees when I got up this morning! Yesterday it only got up to about 36 degrees! What is going on? This is TEXAS!

Besides the cold temperature, things are pretty normal. I am getting ready to head out to the post office to return the earbuds from ifrogz which hurt my ears and then to the grocery store. Doesn't that sound like fun?? I must admit that I am not too excited about the whole proposition but . . . you gotta do what you gotta do!

Speech went well yesterday. While waiting in the waiting room (acting like a patient instead of a member of the staff!), I met a woman who I have talked to many times on the phone in my role as the "staff." She and her husband - who has SD - drive from Houston to see Susan every couple of months. Her husband has ADSD - the more common type - and has been in a research study or two about SD. He also has a twin brother who (hold onto your hats for this one) also has ADSD!

The brother lives in Virginia and actually flies into Texas just to see Susan! Talk about dedication to a speech therapist.

Cat update: Skor is sprawled on the desk trying to chew the calculator. Wait - he has moved on to the envelopes. And is now sitting on the desk with his tail whacking my hands as I type. He seems to want attention - what do you think. Okay - now he is actually settling down . . . .possibly! He is eyeing the phone cord though!

Okay - back to business (as Skor bats my jump drive around the desk).

Now, what was I saying? Oh, right. Speech. It was fun talking to this woman about her experiences with a husband who has SD.

The actual speech appointment wasn't too bad either. Susan didn't think my throat was nearly as crunchy as I thought it would be. She did massage but nothing too painful and my neck doesn't even hurt today! YEAH! I was told to do some more inhale and to get back on my exercise schedule! I think I can handle that.

Susan and I talked a little about Linda - who was working when I got there. She didn't seem to have much energy and I am worried about how thin she has gotten! I am still praying!

After speech I headed to Domino's for a pasta bowl - my favorite treat - and to Big Lots to see if they had any Christmas flags. I was disappointed on both fronts. The pasta bowl was good but the inside of the bowl wasn't completely cooked and was pretty gummy. Big Lots didn't have any flags. Boo on them!

I came home and finished reading a book by Susan Wiggs - it was very good. I will tell you about it when I get around to doing another book post.

Well, that was my day. I am not too sure if it was any more exciting than what I wrote yesterday but . . . hey - it was interesting.

I am off to the post office and store now!

Have a super Thursday!


Voice Update: Doing well but I need to get those exercises into my routine again!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Not Much to Say.

Hi All!

I have speech today - we will see how things are going. I am sure that my throat is "crunchy" since I have been a slacker on my massage. As always, I will regret not doing my massage like I should when my neck hurts for the next four days! Hopefully I will get back into a more regular routine now that classes are over for the semester and I will have a little more free time.

Speaking of classes - you will be proud to know that I squeaked by with an A. Barely but it is still an A! This was a tough, tough class. I did learn a lot though - for that I am thankful. Now on to even more difficult classes! Yee-haw!

Well, I don't have a lot to talk about today - I guess my mind is empty after that last final in class. I will try to think of something interesting to tell you tomorrow. I guess I am still in my "mood" from Monday!

Have a great Wednesday!


Voice Update: Doing well but crunchy, crunchy throat. Speech, here I come!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Hi All!

Yesterday while I was at work I got the chance to talk to one of the clients. She is a young mother whose husband is in the military and is currently stationed at a base somewhere - not Fort Hood. She is a lovely person and we made a connection.

We got to talking about Susan, our mutual speech therapist. The woman was quite surprised that I was a patient of Susan's as well. We got to talking about why we saw Susan and it turns out that we both have Spasmodic Dysphonia (for more about Spasmodic Dysphonia see the National Spasmodic Dysphonia website). After the now normal expressions of disbelief because my voice sounds "so normal," the young woman and I began sharing experiences.

Talking about being absolutely mute and how people react to that brought tears to the woman's eyes. When she heard that I shared the same emotions and experiences as she, she started crying. She was so happy to find someone to share her experiences with who totally understood. We talked for about twenty minutes about things which helped me - including my amplified telephone (free from the state of Texas through the Department of Rehabilitation and Assistance) and my personal amplifier (brand name: Spokeman).

It turns out that this woman works for an insurance company and a part of her daily work involves talking on the phone for extended periods of time. This part of her day is absolute hell for her since she has to push her voice to be heard and then that makes her voice, already not too hot, worse.

This whole conversation made me thankful for what I have been given. Am I thankful that I have SD - no, not quite. However, I am thankful that my experiences with SD allow me to offer support and understanding to others going through the same thing. I am also thankful that my handful of readers have gained some understanding about SD through the reading of my blog and might, just might, share that information with other people that they know. Maybe the word about SD can be spread just a little through my efforts.


Voice Update: My voice is doing pretty well. I have been bad about doing my exercises - while I was sick this weekend I totally forgot them and I haven't gotten myself back on track yet now that I am up and about. I made an audio cd of me reading different stories for the members of my ASL IV class so that they can listen to the stories and practice interpreting. Realizing that I hadn't actually listened to any of the finished CDs to make sure that they really worked, I popped my copy into my CD player as I drove home. I listened to about half of the CD. I had such mixed emotions. Yes, my voice sounded pretty good but I could hear many, many breaks and hesitations. Especially on words beginning with h or the hard c sound. That was a little depressing but - I guess people need to hear a "broken voice" and realize that I can still convey meaning with it. *sigh*

Monday, December 7, 2009

Moody Monday

Hi All!

I am sort of in a "mood" today. It is probably due to the fact that I was sick all weekend and now have to go to work and then have my ASL Expressive final tonight in class. Can you say - not feelin' it?!?

One good thing - I got a shipment from Bath and Body works on Saturday and it contained my order of peppermint body wash and body lotion. I love this stuff - it makes me smell like a candy cane! The lotion is even a bit tingly when you put it on! That helps my mood. After all - who can smell like a candy cane and not smile just a bit?

My cat, Miss Cleo, likes peppermint too. In fact, it drives her a bit wacky! When she smells anything with peppermint in it she rushes into the room and wants to lick it. This can cause some problems - like when I used peppermint foot lotion and she followed me around the house trying to lick my feet!

My solution? I put a smidge of lotion on a washcloth, spread it around, and let her go to it. Don't worry - I asked the vet if this odd obsession of hers could poison her some day - he said he didn't think so. We will see, I guess!

Have you sent out Christmas cards yet? I got my first one in the mail this weekend and it got me thinking . . . I always make my own cards and I need a good idea for this year's cards. I have the start of an idea but need to "flesh it out" a bit yet. I guess I will have more free time to think about it after tonight's final in class.

It is our last class of the semester! Yeah! Of course, I should be careful what I celebrate since my class next semester is once a week from 6-10 P.M.! Yikes!

Have a good Monday - I hope I get out of my "mood" soon!


Voice Update: Okay - having SD is the pitts. Luckily, for me, I don't have many symptoms anymore - even on "bad" days. I always remember those who are still struggling daily with their voices. I think about everyone who is still looking for a doctor and/or speech therapist who can help them. I pray for those who have been told that there is nothing that can be done to help them. Yes, SD isn't the worst thing in the world. It isn't cancer. It isn't going to kill you. However, there are times when you wish it would because it makes life so difficult. Our voices are a large part of our identity and without it - it feels like we are nothing. Remember SD the next time you see (or hear!) someone whose voice is far from "normal" and be a little sympathetic.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Tired Thursday

Hi All!

Sorry I didn't get around to posting yesterday - Mom and Dad and Aunt Donna and Uncle Al left in the morning and I took a nap after they left and then headed to school for a KILLER linguistics test!

When I got home, my stomach hurt. Probably from the stress of the test - it was NASTY!

I didn't have to work yesterday but I am working today so . . . this post won't be long so I can get ready.

I have more pictures from the visit with Mom and Dad but I will get to them tomorrow!

I hope everyone is doing well!


Voice Update: Surprisingly good. I have some sore spots on my neck but I am wondering if that is from being sick. I guess I will find out! Oh - I was wrong - I didn't have a speech appointment yesterday - it is NEXT Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Vicarious Visit

Hi All!

After leaving the Forth Worth Stockyards, our merry band of travelers headed to the New Dallas Cowboys' Stadium. Uncle Al and Dad wanted to check it out. Mom, Aunt Donna, and I - not so much. While "the guys" went in for a tour, "the girls" headed across the street to a conveniently placed Wal Mart. Little did we know that we would be there for more than two hours!

Oh well!

Let's see how the guys did in the picture taking area.

Just to prove the size - those are REAL cars up there! Yikes! Imagine if one of those fell on your head!

A look at the famous video screen while it looks like someone is practicing something on the field. They guys didn't tell us what was going on but it looks neat, doesn't it?

A different view of the field. It seems like that sunlight would be a bit problematic during a game . . . I think I heard that they have a curtain that can be drawn over the end to cut down on the sun . . . who knows!

The locker room. The group that "the guys" were with for the tour had about sixty people in it!

I have no idea who Pat McQuistan is but apparently Uncle Al does!

Uncle Al at the edge of the field.

A slightly out of focus Dad at the edge of the field!
That does it for the pictures - the guys aren't as camera happy as I am! I will say that the stadium is pretty impressive from the outside - it looks very futuristic. The pictures show that the inside is pretty neat too.
If you ever head out way and feel like visiting the stadium for a tour be warned - the line is long (the guys waited an hour in line to start their tour) and it isn't cheap (something like $17.70 for "regular" people and $14.50 for senior citizens).
Voice Update: Other than being tired and getting over a cold (which Hubby has with a vengeance today so I am worried I am going to get it back!), my voice is doing well. I do have a speech appointment on Wednesday so that will help whip things back into shape!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Forth Worth Stockyards

Hi All!

After sleeping pretty much all day Saturday and Sunday, I am feeling better. For an added bonus - I don't have to work today so . . . YEAH!

Here is the second installment of the visit with my parents and my aunt and uncle. The Fort Worth Stockyards.

For those of you who don't know, Dallas and Fort Worth are only about an hour apart and these two cities and the suburbs between them are known as "The Metroplex." Dallas is considered to be the more "citified" of the two cities while Fort Worth maintains some of its "cowboy" roots. This doesn't mean that Fort Worth isn't a sophisticated city - it just means that it has kept more of its traditional past alive than Dallas has. This is a good thing since it gave us a good place to visit!

The Forth Worth Stockyards is a sample of what life might have been like in the "old west" when cattle ruled the scene. Every day there is a cattle drive in the Stockyards. Of course, we had to go and see that!

The herd of longhorn cattle were herded through the streets. They are very impressive animals. Just look at those horns!

Then, I got locked up in the "pokey!"

Mom and Aunt Donna got locked up too!

Then Dad got thrown into the slammer!

Here are some longhorn cattle trying their hardest to stay away from people. I am standing on an observation deck and the cattle are on the opposite end of the pen. Smart cattle.

Inside the Live Stock Exchange building Aunt Donna stood beside an antique buggy.

They have a "Texas Trail of Fame" and in the building they have plaques with all of the honorees on them. They were neat to read.

We all spent some time looking and finding some familiar faces and names.

You could get your picture taken on the back of this VERY patient longhorn. We opted to just take Mom's picture in front of him.

Cowboys accompanied the cattle drive (sorry some of the pictures are a bit out of order but . . .). Earlier they were cracking bullwhips. Really!

The cattle do this "drive" twice a day and are pretty content to do it. I don't think that the cattle would have been so docile in the days of the real cattle drives.

The horses were as impressive as the cattle.

It is a good thing that the cattle didn't decide to take offense to the cars parked along the road. Imagine what their horns could do to that paint job!

This marker is one of over 400 which were set in the countryside to mark the Chisholm Trail.

Aunt Donna and Uncle Al sat in the Billy Bob convertible. How fun!

Mom and Dad get up close and personal with "Calamity Jane." Isn't she cute?

There were plenty of touristy shops in this old building which once was used to sell sheep, goats, pigs, and other smaller livestock. The train runs right through the middle of the building for easy loading!
We found some neat shops. My personal favorite was the Ernest Tubb music shop where I found some good local talent CDs!

Speaking of Earnest - here is his star on the Texas Trail of Fame!
We all had a fun day at the stockyards. We ate at Riskey's BBQ (I am hoping I spelled that right!) and had good food. Then we set off for the new Dallas Cowboys' Stadium. That will be another post for another day!
Voice Update: Huskier than normal due to the cold but doing well - all things considered!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Rainforest Cafe

Hi All!

My visitors have headed north to Oklahoma for a few days so I have some time to actually blog!

I have been having a lot of fun taking my parents and my aunt and uncle around to "touristy" places. Not something I regularly go to see!

The first place we "hit" was The Rainforest Cafe. My parents and I have been here before and thought Aunt Donna and Uncle Al might enjoy it.

We sat at a table right next to Baba. He was a great host! For those of you who don't know - the Rainforest Cafe is a restaurant decorated like the rainforest. There are a lot of animatronic animals around the restaurant who "come to life" every five or so minutes. Every twenty minutes the whole restaurant "thunders and lightnings." There is also a starscape where shooting stars streak every so often. The place is a bit loud but it fun to eat at and the food is pretty good too!

This is Mom - she is getting her camera ready for some good shots of the cafe.

Here is Aunt Donna. I love her smile - if you look closely there is a HUGE iguana over her shoulder.

This is Dad - doesn't he look thrilled? For some reason, he looks odd in pictures at times.

Uncle Al - he had fun but didn't really say a whole lot.

This parrot was near our table - it didn't move but was pretty anyway.

The elephants move - they trumpet and shake their ears and raise their trunks. The last time Mom and Dad and I ate here we sat right next to the elephants.

A big dragonfly - they are huge in the rainforest

There are also massive fish tanks around the cafe with colorful fish. It is fun to watch them swim around.

Mom took this show with me in it.

Does this stool make my but look like a duck butt?
Voice Update: My voice is doing pretty well. It didn't really like the loud atmosphere of the Rainforest Cafe too well but . . . that is just a sacrifice I make for family!