The Cross of St. Andrew Friday, Oct 31 2008 

27 October 2008
I stopped at 7-11 today to fill up with petrol before the drive home. As I was returning to my vehicle, this cover caught my attention. Painted bright blue, it has a white saltire spray-painted on the top. The unofficial, but emotionally powerful, flag of Scotland is a blue flag with a white saltire.
Cross of St. Andrew
The X-shaped cross is known as the Cross of St. Andrew because St. Andrew was crucified in 69 AD in this manner. St. Andrew had begged for this type of crucifixion as he was "not worthy to be crucified in the same manner as Jesus Christ."
In the 800s AD, a Pictish King named Angus MacFergus, and a Scots leader named Eochaidh were battling a force of Northumbrians in the Lothian region of Scotland. Legend has it that St. Andrew appeared to King MacFergus the night before battle in a dream. Although the details of that vision don’t seem to have been recorded, it is claimed that the next morning on a bright, sunny day, there appeared a saltire in the blue sky formed by clouds. This was proof of St. Andrew’s visitation and encouraged the Picts and the Scots which in turn led to a rout of the Northumbrians. From that time, the azure field with a saltire of argent became the national symbol of Scotland. After the Act of Union in 1707, a new flag was designed to symbolize the United Kingdom; in that flag you will find the Cross of St. Andrew intertwined with the Cross of St. George.

Personally, I think that King MacFergus saw contrails left by alien ships and just got lucky in battle.:-)
And that is why a cross of St. Andrew is on a fuel tank cover in Ft. Worth, Texas in 2008.
Cheers.

~KR (Written on 30 October 2008 )

Listening to:
The Kiss by the Cure
from Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
Exposure: 0.001 sec (1/800)
Aperture: f/5.5
Focal Length: 23.2 mm
ISO Speed: 80
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire, auto mode

Birthday Pool Party Friday, Oct 31 2008 

Birthday Pool Party

30 October 2008

For some folks, the phrase “birthday pool party” would mean a very wet game of marco polo and a swim suit.  But, for my husband it meant a constant stream of Nine Ball games and people buying him pitchers of beer to share.  He’s off tomorrow (thank goodness we’re not replaying the unfortunate situation he was in last year where he had to go to work on his birthday), so his co-workers and Trista, our friend and bartender, decided to throw him a little birthday bash tonight at Rob’s.  There were sandwiches and cheese dip and chips and of course, cake. 

Happy Birthday, my love.

~MB

Margarita at Abuelo’s Friday, Oct 31 2008 

Margarita at Abuelo's

29 October 2008

Finally feeling recovered from the weekend and from Monday’s travels, I spent the day in my workshop.  A brief customer appointment for measurements in the early evening ended just a short time before Kyle got home from work and whisked me off to dinner at an undisclosed location.  We ended up at Abeuelos’ and had a very tasty meal.  And a very tasty, very large margarita!

~MB

Galveston Historical Foundation Plea Friday, Oct 31 2008 

Galveston Historical Foundation Plea

28 October 2008

After yesterday’s adventure, I found it to be rather poignant timing that this flyer arrived in my mailbox today.  The bottom of the page states that Dickens on the Strand will go on, and gives the dates. 

Whether it’s with a Foundation membership, a simple donation, or just the price of an admission ticket to Dickens on the Strand—the island needs our help.

www.galvestonhistory.org

I was wordy enough yesterday, to last us all a while, so that’s all you get, today. 😉

~MB

Galveston: A New Face After Ike Friday, Oct 31 2008 

A New Face After Ike

27 October 2008

Galveston Pilgrimage

What had begun as a germ of an idea on Friday night, had become a reality by Monday morning.  I had to go to Galveston. 

It wasn’t terribly responsible—I should have headed home and started in on this week’s sewing.  It wasn’t really going to be fun—it’s hard to think “fun” when surrounded by damage and destruction.  And, it certainly wasn’t profitable financially—an extra tank of gas, a “spendy” luncheon, and a lost day of work.  But it was food for my soul.  As difficult as it is to explain, I needed to go to Galveston.  And this was going to be my one chance between now and December.  Not necessarily wanting to go it alone, I suggested the adventure to Ginger and to Kelly (who had work responsibilities she simply could not shirk—good girl, Kelly) and learned that Laura had expressed exactly the desire to go to the shore, and see the Gulf of Mexico!  Laura is a native Canadian, and she and her husband Paul and son Ben currently live in Wisconsin.   She’s visiting Ginger this month and working for Faire Pair, and this was just the sort of thing she’d been hoping to do.  So, a little bit of logistic planning the night before, and off we went!

It was just about noon as we rounded the southwest corner of Beltway 8, and started to notice various signs of Hurricane Ike’s destruction.  The closer we got to the island, the more blue tarps we saw.  I was glad for Laura’s presence, because pointing out landmarks gave both Ginger and I something to focus on that wasn’t sad and negative.  It was as we approached the causeway that we saw our first boat alongside the road.  Then there was Tiki Island—looking a lot more empty of houses on stilts than I remembered it.  On the causeway itself, we were surprised to still see dozens of wrecked boats of all shapes and sizes.  We’d seen photos of that scene, but after six weeks I guess I thought they’d be gone.  But then, time moves slowly in the wake of a natural disaster.

Once on Galveston Island, it was impossible to turn our heads without seeing more damage.  All along the main road (I-45 becomes Broadway) we saw ruined buildings and piles of debris.  And brown.  Everywhere was brown.  I’d read where the island was struggling to save the 600-plus Live Oak trees that line Broadway.  But, I hadn’t stopped to think how brown everything would look.  Trees, shrubs, ground cover, flowers—all poisoned by the salt water, and dormant if not dead.  And the tall, proud palm trees were so horribly battered from the wind and water-tossed debris, that some looked like they’d been attacked by chainsaw. 

We had decided our first destination on the island would be the 1861 Custom House—the home of the Galveston Historical Foundation offices.  So, we followed Ginger’s GPS (hers works great!), made a couple of turns off of Broadway and found ourselves looking at Rudy and Paco’s.  Contrary to a news article I recently shared here on The Daily KRuMB, the building is still standing, and shows signs of continued renovation and recovery.  That was good news.

We found the Custom House, poked around a little, and climbed the stairs to the GHF offices.  I was hoping to meet Molly, my primary contact at the GHF, but she was at lunch and we chatted briefly with Judy, instead.  From there, we drove the short distance to Mechanic Street and parked right across from the Tremont House Hotel.  Seeing that was very near the top of our list for the day.  First we peered in the windows to our Gingerbread BallroomWow.  Then, around the corner, peering into each dirty window at naked studs and little else.  At the front doors of the Tremont, the extent of this recovery project became really evident.  Virtually all the walls have been removed.  The grand entryway is nearly unrecognizable.  A huge amount of work has already been done, but the project ahead is mammoth.  We actually learned that the current plan is to rearrange the whole floor plan, including moving the kitchen and restaurant to the opposite end of the lobby.  No wonder they need until after the first of the year to get it all done!

Having begun our tour of downtown at the Tremont, we were somewhat numbed to the rest of what we were going to see.  Across the street, the big ballroom lobby, The Strand Theatre, Fitzpatricks Pub, and the site of the late Midsummer Books—all stripped to studs and concrete slabs.  We soon realized that the spaces with brick or stone or concrete walls had a considerable advantage over anyplace that had had drywall walls.  But, at least the damaged walls all seem to be gone, now.  I’m sure that it must have been a very high priority of early recovery efforts to remove anything that would promote mold and mildew.

We walked down Mechanic Street, visiting the Galveston News Building to which I am so fondly attached.  On the way, we passed the building in my photo of the day—sporting a brand new coat of paint!  I was amazingly cheered by that simple green wall!  It was almost as if this building’s owner was thumbing his nose at Ike and saying, “Think you can bully the green off this island, do you? Ha!”  We walked over to the Strand and snooped around a bit, taking photos of high water marks and showing Laura specific sights. Amazed at how much time we so easily killed walking around and taking pictures, we finally had to give in to our hungry bellies, so we got back in the truck, and I pointed it toward the Hotel Galvez.

As I drove us down Seawall Boulevard, we were pleased to see a number of open restaurants and a fair amount of traffic.  We pulled into the Galvez, and in trying to decide where to park, were told that they weren’t busy, so we could just leave it there in the driveway with the valet.  They’d move it if necessary.  Lunch at Bernardo’s was very nice—the restaurant was technically closed (we got there just after two), but they obligingly served us anyway.  We had delicious burgers and sweet potato fries, and a delightful visit with the hotel’s concierge, Janet, who we instantly adored.  She was able to answer our questions about the island, and arranged for us to view rooms.  And, as icing on her cheerful cake, she engineered a meeting and introduced us to Mr. George Mitchell—the owner of Mitchell Properties, and much of historic Galveston, including the Tremont and the Galvez.  We were honoured and indeed rather charmed by Mr. Mitchell.  He was jovial, and seemed genuinely delighted to meet us and was very chatty about all the work being done to make Galveston whole again.  I was pleased to get to shake his hand and tell him how admired he is, and how much we appreciate all he does for Galveston.  It was pretty special.

We peeked at guest rooms and large meeting rooms (always thinking about future events!) and decided that the Hotel Galvez would be a fun change from our usual accommodations for Dickens.  Finished there, we drove on down the Seawall, and found the Memorial to the Great Storm of 1900.  And Laura found stairs down to the beach!  Ginger and I took photos and Laura put her toes in the Gulf of Mexico!  We were all happy!  By the time we were done there, the sun was low in the sky and we figured we’d missed the worst of the Houston traffic.  There hadn’t been time to tour the Elissa or Bishop’s Palace—things I had thought we might do—but it was a good, full day.  It was sad, but inspiring.  All around us was both destruction and hope.  I was content enough to leave, knowing, of course, it will only get better.  Even the green will grow back.

It was the longest drive home, ever.  I first took Ginger and Laura back to where we’d left Ginger’s truck, and that was a bit of an adventure in itself.  Then, food on the way to the highway and north.  But, the emotions of the day, and the shortage of sleep the night before conspired to make me too tired to finish the drive without a nap.  I slept for nearly three hours in a gas station parking lot in Centerville, and finally got home around three a.m.  One tired, but fulfilled, pilgrim.

~MB

Stevens Point Brewery Thursday, Oct 30 2008 

26 October 2008
One of the things I love about the Northern Micro-Breweries is their desire & ability to branch into the non-alcoholic drinks. I don’t know if the Southern breweries do it also, but I certainly haven’t experienced it at any of the ones I’ve visited. The Stevens Point Brewery in Stevens Point Wisconsin is a case in point. They do an exceptional Orange Cream gourmet soda that is better than anything that the Coca-Cola or Pepsico companies put out.
Gourmet Soda
If you find yourself near Stevens Point, go visit them and pick up some Orange Cream soda. What you don’t drink for yourself, send to me. 🙂
Cheers.
~KR (Written on 29 October 2008 )

Listening to:
Mind’s Eye by Wolfmother
from Wolfmother

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
Exposure: 0.5 sec (1/2)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5.8 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire

Claddagh Tuesday, Oct 28 2008 

Claddagh

26 October 2008

It was a long, long weekend.  Attendance seemed rather high on Saturday, and sales were average.  Sunday, on the other hand, was quiet and sloooooooow.  So, when the day had ended and my workers were paid and on their way to their respective homes, I was more than ready for a relaxing dinner at Ginger’s with my girlfriends.  

Not long after dinner, Laura asked me what the current photo assignment was.  I don’t even know if I’m right or not, but I think I remember Kyle telling me it was “Love.”  I commented then, that that sure left things wide open for interpretation and many, many options.  Laura’s first thought was to slip her ring off her finger and present it for my camera’s pleasure. (She misses you, Paul!) It was quickly determined that adding the Girl Glass goblet as a base and partial background would add much in the way of interest and beauty.  I took three or four shots, and this is the one I ended up liking the best. 

The ring, is a Claddagh— a symbol well-known to most with an interest in things historical, or things Celtic.  It is a traditional Irish ring design, frequently given in friendship or even worn as a wedding ring.  The design and customs associated with it, originated in the (now lost) Irish fishing village of Claddagh, located just outside the old walls of the city of Galway.  First produced as a ring in the 17th century, the elements of the design are as follows:  the heart represents love; the crown represents loyalty; and the hands represent friendship. 

Modern traditions surround the wearing of this old symbol:  worn on the right hand, facing outward, it is a simple symbol of friendship.  Worn on the right hand, facing the wearer, it is a sign of commitment.  When worn on the left hand, facing outward,  it is normally being worn as an engagement/betrothal ring.  And once the union is made official (or the ring is being presented to a bride or groom during the wedding, it is worn on the left hand facing in toward the wearer.

Laura’s ring is very similar to my own engagement ring, and therefore a perfect symbol of love in my world, too.  It made me miss Kyle even more. 

He wrote that hopefully, this is the last weekend we have to be apart during TRF.  I hope he’s right.

~MB

Our German Friends Tuesday, Oct 28 2008 

Our German Couple

25 October 2008

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the wonderful experience we’d had at the Pendragon Costumes booth at Texas Renaissance Festival, working with a couple who had come all the way from Germany to order our product.  Two weeks later, after Nicole rushed to get part of their order done before they left the country, here are our new friends in their new finery!

When they were done at our shoppe, Mary walked them to Guild of Toledo (an Excalibur Leather shoppe) for new boots and a hat for him.  Perhaps she’ll link a photo of them after that shopping spree, when she sees this post!?

~MB

Rum Runner Parrot Monday, Oct 27 2008 

25 October 2008
I went to No Frills Grill this morning to have my Saturday dose of College Football and beer. Jill, Brett & later, Dave, joined me. On the way there, I’d stopped for some much-needed groceries at Kroger. Still in "Red" mode, I snapped this photo of a Bacardi Rum Runner bottle.
Parrot on Red
As I was leaving Kroger having checked myself out at the really cool & easy-to-use self-checkout lanes, the alarms went off as I exited. I had bought some expensive OTC medicine so I’m not really surprised that there is an RFID tag in them. I was surprised that it went off on me. So, I went back inside with my bag open prepared to show my receipt. What I got was a whole bunch of blank or accusing stares from employees, but not a single offer of assistance. I finally asked the nearest employee, "What would you like me to do?" His reply? "Well, you could go stand in line at Customer Service." I looked at the Customer Service line, thinking "it is the responsible thing to do" but after seeing the 8 (or so) people in the line, I quickly changed my thought to, "if they’re gonna accuse me, they can come get me." I turned on my heel and walked back through the sensors, which, of course, went off again. I ambled, intentionally slowly, to my car. I took off my shoe and dumped out a bit of rock that had wormed its way in. I turned on the engine and rolled down all the windows. Essentially, I gave them every opportunity to confront me; they did not. So, I ask, what is the purpose of those sensors at the door if the employees or management are not going to do anything when the claxons go off? What a waste of money.
Cheers.

~KR (Written on 27 October 2008 )

Listening to:
Cowboys and Angels by George Michael
from Ladies & Gentlemen

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
Exposure: 0.025 sec (1/40)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5.8 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: 0/3 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire

A Muted Dinner Monday, Oct 27 2008 

24 October 2008
For the second week in a row, Marita Beth went to TRF and I stayed home. I think this is the last week we are performing the dance apart; the dogs will just have to go to the kennel, and we will just have to suffer the costs. We have looked at a variety of options, some cheaper but less appealing (too far away, too intrusive &c) some just simply too expensive (the Pet Hotel at PetSmart for instance). So, off they will go next Friday morning to the kennel as we head to TRF.
In the meantime, I stopped at Jack in the Box on the way home and got some really-bad-for-me-but-tasty food. I’ve muted the photo, because that was my mood at the time (my wife was gone) and indeed was my pervasive mood through much of the weekend.
Details of a Dinner in Sepia
Cheers.

~KR (Written on 27 October 2008 )

Listening to:
Ernesto Guevara Lynch by Seanchai & the Unity Squad
from Irish Catholic Boy

Camera: Canon PowerShot SD850 IS
Exposure: 0.2 sec (1/5)
Aperture: f/2.8
Focal Length: 5.8 mm
ISO Speed: 200
Exposure Bias: 0 EV
Flash: Flash did not fire
Software: picnik.com

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