Birthday Boy and his Flowers Thursday, Nov 5 2009 

Birthday Boy and his Flowers

31 October 2009
Happy Birthday, Kyle, My Love

Usually, when one talks about having a birthday and flowers in the same sentence, there are plants involved: daisies or lilies, or even roses. But, with Kyle*, it’s just one Rose . . . and one Iris. And, they aren’t plants.

While Kyle celebrated his natal day, I had a very busy faire day.  The special part of my weekend is that Nicole is here from California!  And not only Nicole, but Shawn and Jerry (our leather-guy/tooling artist) as well!  Nicole, of Pendragon Costumes fame, has more recently created a sister company to Pendragon, known as MadGirl Clothing.  Inside of a year or so, it has become THE source for the serious steampunkers to get the best garb for their flavour of fantasy.  She can be found at most major sci/fi/fantasy/steampunk conventions, and this weekend only, at the Texas Renaissance Festival

So, it was the getting ready for her visit and making the guest artisan booth workable for a clothier that took control of my day yesterday.  And, it was all worth it!  Her booth looked great, and was full of fabulous product!  I just know that when Kyle has a chance to go look, it’s gonna cost me!

He didn’t get there today, though.   I didn’t see as much of my husband on his birthday as I would have preferred.  He spent his day doing what he loves most . . . looking good, drinking beer, and playing with friends.  Happy Birthday, my love!


*I’m not sure why it looks as though he’s flipping me off as I take this photo!  Hmmmm . . .?

Ed’s Birthday Thursday, Dec 18 2008 

Ed's Birthday

16 December 2008

Happy Birthday, Ed!

I spent the day once again, doing laundry, deep-cleaning corners of the house, sorting papers, filing, stowing things into the trailer, and just generally making progress.  It’s slow, but there’s light at the end of my proverbial tunnel.

At seven p.m., though, I dropped everything, and went to a birthday party.  Kyle was unable to attend, as he was at a party honouring a friend from work who is leaving the company (temporarily, we hope!)  But, I missed that party to join Ed and Stephen and a wonderful bunch of new friends I’ve met through them.  It was barbecue night, so we were gathering at Coker’s, and my stuffed baked potato was really tasty!  Despite our best efforts to try to pay for Ed’s meal, we were all unsuccessful—the restaurant picked up the tab!  Ed and Stephen eat at Coker’s once a week, pretty much without fail, so Ed is a regular customer there and apparently a special one.  But, of course, with that smile, what else would you expect?


Mickey and another Galveston Update Wednesday, Nov 19 2008 

Mickey on the Bed

18 November 2008

Happy Birthday, Mickey Mouse!

Mickey turns 80 today!    I think that’s incredible, and it inspired me to shoot a colourful photo of the bed in our guest room—the room some of our guests have dubbed, “The Mouse Suite.”  Is it just me, or is this birthday being very overlooked?  I guess perhaps the powers that be at Disney, are saving their efforts for the big blowout that will happen in 2028!

On another subject entirely, here’s the latest article regarding Dickens on the Strand—scaled back, but still ON!

I sent a message out to the Yesteryear Enthusiasts Society group last night with some other update information.  Sparked by an email from Larry who was confused to have received a refund for his Galveston Historical Foundation Dickens Ball tickets, and needing to talk to her, anyway, I called the GHF offices and spoke with Molly late yesterday afternoon.

It seems that there were not enough advance ticket sales for the foundation to justify the expense of the event.  Our group alone, represented nearly half of what was presold.  The Galveston Historical Foundation Dickens Ball is cancelled for 2008.  And, Molly indicated it would seem logical to anticipate a much more intimate Dickens on the Strand, than we’ve seen in a very long time. 

To what can we attribute the presale of only 27 tickets to this event usually enjoyed by 150?  Are the usual Ball attendees Galvestonians who are too caught up in their own recovery efforts to be able to make time for Dickens?  Perhaps they’ve lost all their Victorian costuming in the flooding?  Are they too short on money?  Or, were they simply assuming the event was cancelled, thus creating a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Kyle and I discussed it last night, and we are concerned that that does not bode well.  We are a bit fearful that the “average joe” who normally thinks about attending Dickens on the Strand, may not actually bother to find out that the event is on.  Certainly, I’ve tried to do my part to spread the word, and the Galveston Historical Foundation website has been very clear from the earliest point possible that the event is happening.  And, there have been a few mentions of it in the local news, there.  But, if people don’t pay attention, the assumption could be made that Galveston isn’t ready, and that the event can’t happen. 

What those people are forgetting is that Galveston can’t afford for the event NOT to happen!

Dickens on the Strand is the largest annual fundraiser for the GHF.  Its ticket sales, and vending proceeds help monetarily power all the important restoration efforts of the foundation.  Over the years since the festival started in the seventies, the Historical Foundation, and a few special philanthropists have put Galveston Island back on the map of tourist spots and places to visit.  Even in the decade and half that we’ve been attending the festival, we’ve seen amazing growth and renaissance efforts in the beautiful little downtown area.  Antique stores, banks, museums, boutiques, condos, restaurants, and even a few tasty little national chain stores (like Chico’s!) had come in and turned the once forgotten downtown zone into a bustling little business center.  And, now, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, the hands of the clock have been turned back, and once again this charming Victorian era city is struggling to survive and needs help.

Hopefully, the Dickens on the Strand Festival will provide some of that help. 

Progress is slow, but it is happening.  I got word yesterday that a couple of downtown businesses have reopened, including the Emporium.  In our early years of doing Dickens that was always a favourite stop.  Kyle has purchased many a beer from that fine establishment.  I can remember befriending employees and being invited to walk into the huge room-sized refrigerator on hot Dickens days.  I’m glad they’re back, but so far, they are among the very few. 

Bravely, the GHF pushes forward with festival preparations, despite the obstacles nature has placed in its path.  This cancellation of the ball is only the latest disappointment.  The first difficult decision was to scale back the festival borders.  Usually two blocks wide and four blocks long, comprising a large, ladder-shaped portion of downdown, this year’s event will take place entirely on The Strand itself.  Then, recently came the realization that the over 400 lanterns used in the annual Candlelight Parade could not be saved from the badly water-damaged warehouse, and so the sparkling parade and evening hours of the event would have to be pulled from the schedule.  And on a purely financial level, some things just aren’t possible.  For example, this year’s event will not include the usual “snow hill” that is such a crowd-pleaser in our southern land of non-white Christmases.  The financial cost was just more than the foundation could pay.

In fact, much of what is going on in Galveston right now, is really all about the money.  Our nation’s government has not yet come through with the millions of dollars needed to relieve Galveston after Hurricane Ike.  The GHF finally got to have a meeting with FEMA this week.  I read where the Meadows Foundation of Dallas (big SMU money) has given $100,000, to the GHF restoration efforts, but that’s only a drop in the bucket, and won’t go far.

Everyone who’s heard me speak or read my writings of the last couple of months is familiar with my mantra:  Galveston needs us.  The island needs us to visit.  The island needs us to attend Dickens on the Strand.  Galveston needs our love—but far more importantly, it needs our dollars.  I know the economic climate we live in doesn’t allow for us to be overly “spendy” or careless with our money.  But, if ever there was a worthwhile cause for a little frivolity, this is it.  Go to Galveston.  Pay for parking.  Buy tickets to gain entry to Dickens on the Strand.  Buy food and drinks and souvenirs from the vendors, there.  Do your holiday shopping there.  Fill up your gas tank on the island.  Have dinner in one of the many restaurants on the seawall.  Stay at the Galvez.  Treat yourself to a fun weekend and the satisfaction that you’re helping. 

Kyle and I will be proudly promenading The Strand on the 6th and 7th of December.  We’ll be proudly carrying our new Galveston Historical Foundation membership cards.  We’ll be with a group of at least a dozen or two of our dearest friends.  It is my sincerest hope that thousands of other folks have similar plans!


Happy Birthday, Kyle! Monday, Nov 3 2008 

Happy Birthday, Kyle!

31 October 2008

Happy Birthday, Kyle!

Birthdays are wonderful, aren’t they?  An excuse to be a little bit decadent—sleep late, eat and drink rather freely with no calorie counting, be nice to yourself, and just generally relax and have fun.  Today was such a day for Kyle.  I gave Kyle his little gift I got him—an awesome fez for him to wear at Dickens as we play parlour games in the hotel! We went to VOTE—early voting was a breeze—and he was generous enough to fit in a trip to the grocery store in preparation for the weekend, but other than that, it was a pretty relaxed day.  I managed to be ready to leave for TRF by about two-thirty, and by three o’clock, we’d dropped off the pups and were on the way. 

We got down there in plenty of time to pick up our product, off-load everything at the booth, and even unpack.  Then, we headed back out, and met friends at Rancho Grande for Tex Mex and margaritas.  Kelly, George and Delaenya, and Donny and Mary all shared Kyle’s birthday dinner time with us.  Mary presented Kyle with one of his Guinness cupcakes and made the event complete!  We were back at the booth watching a movie at a reasonable time, and I hope it was a good day for him.   I suspect the “birthday” theme will carry throughout the weekend, too!