Sunday, December 20, 2009
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Pane is bread in Italian.
Let me tell you what, I had one of the Italiano Sammies and a Chicken Caesar Salad at Quizno's. It was one of the best fast food meals I have EVER had! I highly recommend it! The salad had shavings of REAL Parmigiano-Reggiano and pieces of flatbread to go along with it. The flatbread sandwich had basil pesto and thinly sliced meats, including ham, salami, and capicola (Italian pork cold cuts). Oh wow, it was good!
The kids keep telling me to take a picture of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and I keep telling them I am not going to Pisa, but to Rome! :)
We actually skipped this lesson and I just happened to see this problem when flipping through the book.
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Sunday, November 15, 2009
On October 20, 2009 I received an email through my Flickr account that said,
"I am writing to let you know that one of your photos has been short-listed for inclusion in the ninth edition of our Schmap Houston Guide, to be published mid-November 2009.
While we offer no payment for publication, many photographers are pleased to submit their photos, as Schmap Guides give their work recognition and wide exposure, and are free of charge to readers. Photos are published at a maximum width of 150 pixels, are clearly attributed, and link to high-resolution originals at Flickr."
I had a great view of it out of our hotel window. I took it this summer when Frankie and I went to the Land Surveyor's Conference in the Houston area. I had uploaded it to Flickr because I was going to put in my blog, but then changed my mind.
Today I got another email through my Flickr account that said,
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I am always on the look out for things to take pictures of. Here were my "finds" before getting to Del Rio, TX and the crossing into Acuna, Mexico.
Somehow, I think Austin has them beat as the movie capital of Texas, but we will let Bracketville keep believing their claim to fame. Frankie and I have passed through Bracketville a few times on our way to elsewhere, but we have never gone to Alamo Village. One day we might just take a drive to go see it.
As we got closer to the border we saw a dirt road that runs parallel to the road and a 8 foot high fence.
This is for the US Border Patrol. They will drag tires behind their trucks to clear the path so they can watch for tracks of illegals in America. We only had to stop at one border patrol station coming home, but we are used to them from when we lived in Van Horn out in far west Texas.
There really was not much to see between our house and Del Rio except for cactus, mesquite trees or bushes the further we went, and livestock from the surrounding ranches. So, on to Mexico!
As least they let you know. Once you are in line....you are in line! We drove on past the point of no return to cross the bridge leading into Mexico where we had to pay to get on it.
I am sure they make a lot of money after 9 PM on Friday and Saturday nights off all the people who go over to drink. Which is a scary subject all by itself! In the past when we have gone into Mexico it was super easy and fast to get in. There has never been a wait, there has never been a line. Not this time.
It wasn't too bad of a wait, but note we were still not in Mexico. It was a little uncomfortable to go into Mexico. There were people stretched along that bridge trying to sell you bracelets, rosaries, food, and other items. They are fairly persistent and it was awkward for us. We are just not use to being approached like that. After 30 minutes we finally crossed into Mexico!
Now the real fun began. It is amazing to drive just over a bridge and have everything change. All the signs change from English to Spanish (although we do have many billboards in Spanish in south Texas), the stop signs now all say " ALTO" and very few people speak English.
We pulled up to the Mexican Border Patrol...not really sure what they are called...and she started speaking Spanish. We just looked at her blankly. She said something else....we looked at her blankly. She said something else, I am not even sure if she was repeating or saying something different the whole time. I think many of the Mexican people thought that I was Mexican because they would say something to me in Spanish. I would just look at them and say, "I don't understand." Then they would go, "Ahhh...ok." And that would be then end of them trying to talk to me. It isn't like that hasn't happened to me my whole life though.
Finally the agent realized that we had no clue what she was saying and just opened the back door of the car to do a quick search. I guess we seemed trustworthy, because after her quick search she said thank you in English and let us go. This made me realize why America should be protective of our borders. If it is that easy to get into Mexico then any type of person could be there just waiting to get into America to cause harm. They didn't ask for passport, they didn't even ask to see an ID card. Nothing. One quick search and we were on our way into their country.
We drove around looking for this magical main street called Hildago. Note to anyone going to Acuna...when you are done at the border turn right out of the parking area and then left onto Hildago. This will save you the time of wandering around, hoping you are not going the wrong way on a one-way. Plus, you will not try to run a stop sign or should I say alto sign, just because it is faded beyond recognition. Yeah, been there, done that saw some interestingly named streets in the process.
Here we have 5 de Mayo street. Notice the banner on the right with Aguirre on it. It will come into play later. Also, notice the alto sign and green traffic light at the same corner. Talk about confusing!
And here we have 16 de Septiembre street. Mexico does have a nice feature on their stop lights. When they are about to turn yellow the green light start flashing, then it changes to yellow. It took a few flashing green lights for us to figure it out but once we did it was nice.
Somehow we finally made our way back to the border parking area and went the correct way onto Hildago street, where there are 1000 dentist and pharmacies and 2000 bars.
Our first mission was to find something to eat. We wanted something good and authentic. The strange thing was that there were a lot of restaurants and shops closed and as you can see in the picture above it was dead. There were very few tourist and very few people out period. We found one restaurant down a side street and decided that it was the one we were going to eat at. We walked in and there were about 6 small plastic tables with plastic lawn chairs. It looked as if it was in the process of trying to open for the first time. There were two men sitting in the room watching TV. When we walked in they yelled to a person in the back. He came out and Frankie said, "Food?" The man raised his hand to tell us wait a moment and then went in the back. He came back a few moments later and said, "Huevos?" Frankie and I both understood that....eggs. All he had to offer were eggs?? We politely declined and walked out. It was the strangest thing we have ever encountered at a restaurant.
I would like to note here that when not under pressure I can speak some phrases of Spanish. I at least can say, "No hablo espanol." I know Frankie can say the word for food in Spanish, but once we got in a situation where it was needed those things flew right out of our heads. I really hope this doesn't happen in Italy when we go. I am sure it will for the first day, but maybe it will come back for the rest of the week we are there!
We continued our search for food and came to a restaurant called La Macarena.
There was no one else in the restaurant. One of the waiters spoke English so we asked him where all the people were. He said that the next day was election day and drinking alcohol was prohibited during this time. From all the banners and bumper stickers with the name Aguirre on it I have a feeling I know who the winner will be. So sadly, their tourism plummets when people can not go over to drink. Out of curiosity Frankie asked how much a beer would be and the waiter told him $1.50. I have no clue about beer prices so that is all I have for you.
We stayed and ordered. The menu was in English which means we were in a tourist restaurant, but we didn't want to try to find something else. Frankie ordered beef fajitas.
Notice the french fries...what you didn't know that fajitas were suppose to come with fries? :) Now check out the Mexican ketchup.
In case you don't know, Hill Country Fare is the store brand of a grocery store chain in Texas, called HEB. So with his fries, fajitas and ketchup from Texas Frankie ate his "authentic" Mexican food. I ordered the Tampiquena which is a cut of beef with a tomato based sauce and bell peppers on it. It came with a soft taco, rice, and the best guacamole I have ever had! I will have to say the food was good.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
This was in March and it looked this way for several months. Then the buffalobur started growing and then we actually got some rain. Here is the the same shot in October.
Yes, it may look pretty, but it is basically a huge thorn patch!
Most of those trees in the front of the house are mesquite trees. There are some others, but I haven't identified them yet. I had plans all summer to go pick mesquite beans and make some jelly out of it. I hear it taste like honey, so I was very excited to make my own. Time kept passing and I had all the intentions to go pick some, but when I finally went out in October all the beans had fallen off.
So next year it is! I know that I can used the dried beans and grind them up to make flour. It is supposedly good for you. I didn't want to use the ones on the ground though, too many bugs! This is something I might try next year along with the jelly. If I do either you know there will be a blog about it!
The tree below was the one I had the most trouble identifying. I posted the picture on Facebook and two people told me the same thing so I am going with that. It is a hackberry tree. The berries are supposed to be safe for human consumption. They stay around all winter and the birds do eat them. I have not tried a berry yet and a little scared to, but I will do some more research on them and get back to you on that.
Now for the flowers:
This is one of the flowers I am not sure if I have the name right. Anyone know for sure?
Now for the greatest find of the day in my opinion....
I saw this vine:
Which lead to this...
I picked up several of the melons to examine up close.
The ripe ones were about the size of a small lemon and the unripe ones looked like mini watermelons. They had a strange smell. I didn't find it unpleasant but my husband acted like it was the worse thing he had EVER smelled in his life. It had a spicy, earthy smell. I had never smelled anything quite like it.
After some research online I believe they are dudaim melons. I got conflicting information on whether they are edible or not so they are not going in my mouth!
They sure make a pretty centerpiece when cleaned up, but my husband didn't like the smell so I tossed them outside.
I love that we live on a piece of land that produces so many varied plants. It is interesting to see them all and I love to photograph them. Soon the trees will lose their leaves and it will look so barren, but it is the way God intended so can't complain. We all need periods of rest for rejuvenation. Even the plants. :)
I hope you remember to enjoy the greens, reds, yellows, and oranges of autumn!