Sunday, November 30, 2008

My new favourite

This reminds me of the kind of dad Thor is and was when the kids were little. I love it. Every kid should be so lucky.

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Carlton's Chocolate Log!

How cool is this? The hotel where we stayed is gearing up for the holidays. Part of their celebration is inviting the kids from the town to come into the lobby for Santa's Reading Hour. They have set out trees decorated in burnt orange, red and gold, and also set up this lovely display of chocolate sculptures.

Pastry Chef Daniel Keadle created the sculpture to depict the holiday stories from all faiths from all over the world. It took him 30 days and 300 pounds of chocolate! You could smell the wonderful scent as you walked into the lobby!

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Carlton's Log: poking around the Mercado

O.k. first off: Happy Thanksgiving!
Second off: Read this then shut off the computer and go visit with your family or friends.

How much do I love this guy? But at $240.99, um, wow. Talk about being stuck! Oh well.

But still. Have you ever seen such a cool porcadillo? (I can't really see this as a porcupine, and armadillos do not have spikes, so I dub this a porcadillo)

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fabulous Thanksgiving links!

A great friend of mine sent this to me and also has it up on his blog. A SUPER EASY way to help folks get clean water and post your favourite photo while expressing what you're thankful for! Fast, totally free and an east way to help people out...GO!

Thankful Photos Support Clean Water! Via Willisays

Also two fabulous posts by a great teacher Shebang. She has a few blogs and these two posts on two different blogs are well worth the read.

The Journal of a Black Mormon Girl
scroll down to the "Happy Thanksgiving!" post...really awesome.

When you're done with that, click on over to her other blog Introducing... and read her post "Much to be Thankful For". I am sure the time you spend reading her words will be well worth it.

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Do One Thing: Week 13

Week 13: 1 gallon bleach.

Hint: Learn how to "Protect your Home against Fire".


First, I got a head's up from Willis, about Costco's 6 day kit for Two People being on sale! Check it out: According to the ad:

Basic preparation will impact the probability of your family’s survival in an emergency. Survival Kit designed for 2 People for a total of 6 Days in 1 bucket. Keep at home and in your vehicle. This kit contains the food and supplies you need for 2 people for 6 days in 1 bucket. In the event of an emergency – keep your family well fed and warm. Keep one in a convenient location at home and one in the trunk of your car. Food is 100% Vegetarian with a 20 Year Shelf life.

click here---->6 Day Kit for Two People $20.99 OFF! Now: $49.00!

Second: I guess I dropped the ball on the above suggestion. Sorry no links! Ack!

I was thinking that by suggesting it, one could search their home owners policies to see how up to date they are, what is covered and then do any adjustments. Most insurance companies will cover your hotel expenses for three weeks, after that, you're on your own. Are you prepared for what else may not be covered? Most home repairs/rebuilds will take much longer than three weeks, even FEMA will not house you for much longer than your insurance company. You will need an alternate plan. Clothing allowances are usually $100.00. Most families will find that is not enough to "cover" them! Again, making a plan ahead of time will ease stress when stress is a daily situation. Recovering household items may mean reassessing their values at retail value as opposed to replacement costs, which are much higher. Your fridge may be 8 years old, it's value would be much lower than that of a new appliance. Also, many insurance companies will want receipts for everything you purchased and want replaced. I'm not sure about you, but I don't have receipts for everything I buy.

Getting all your important information recorded onto flash drives or c.d.s. (Think of everything you would need to start over, insurance, birth certs, school records, medical records/info, SSI numbers, etc.) Do the same with family histories and photos. Make sure someone who does not live in your home can access the information if they need to for you.

Have plans in place ahead of time in regard to what to do when or if you need to evacuate. Do you have a plan to evacuate if you are not at home or can't get home at the time of the evacuation? (Have you set up a neighbor or nearby friend to help you out if you are unavailable and do they know what to grab for you?)

Do your children and or aged adults (or anyone else living with you) know the routine, the plan and escape routes and where to meet if there is an emergency? Have you shown small children how to escape via their bedroom window, and how to decide whether or not to do that? Do they have ladders or stools to give them access? Do they know they safest way to break a window if necessary? If your home is multi-story do you have window escape ladders in all the rooms? Have your little kids been introduced to FireFighters and the equipment they use (masks, air tanks, uniforms, etc.) so they will not be frightened by their rescuers appearance and sounds? Do they know what your alarms sound like and what they mean and what to do when they hear them?

Are your pets in the plan? FireFighters will not risk their life to save an animal, however they will go in after a pet if at all possible. Stickers on windows will let them know if pets are expected to be in or out of the house.

Are your smoke detectors/alarms fresh? When is the last time you tested them? Do you have freshly charged fire extinguishers?

Outdoors, at least in our area, that 30 feet of defensible space, weed abatement, house and garage clean of oil or rags, yada yada.

Is the roof fire safe or extremely flammable? Are the gutters clean of debris that could catch flame? (This is how many of the houses in the recent fires caught fire, via flying embers!)

yeah, stuff like that. I hope that gets your ideas working and thinking on how you can determine how fire safe your house is.

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Carlton's Log: Mi Tierra Cafe

"We Never Close" is their slogan, so I am at a loss to understand when they manage to dress the place up. Holy Guacamole! This place was jumpin'! It's obviously the place to be if you want a good south of the border meal, tons of eye candy, and tons of shops to wander through just steps away.

The place was as crowded as I have ever seen any eatery, and we got there about 5 in the evening. As the night progressed so did the crowds, but even at 7 we only had to wait about ten minutes for a table.

The place was covered, literally with all manner of glitteratti and twinkle lights. After exploring as much of the restaurant as I could, an older worker informed me that the place was done up in anticipation of Christmas. O.k. but how do you explain all the other permanent decor?

The Madonna and chandeliers in the bathroom? The band instruments everywhere? The murals that have taken over two main dining areas with famous and important people in Latin history? The giant swordfish over the bar? This place is electric with energy, and I presume, not just during the holiday season.

Perhaps in Mi Tierra there's always a holiday to celebrate. I noticed the old signage paint on the interior walls that seem to be a reminder that perhaps where the bakery/entrance lobby of the restaurant used to be an exterior. I don't know. There were life sized and over life sized paintings every where of friends and again, famous Latins who demand you take notice. Oh and the one of Bill Clinton jogging in a Mi Tierra tee shirt (available at the counter for a small fee!) Out side on the mercado side there was a rather large Dios de los Muertos shrine set up to pay tribute to the owners family, which I might add, was awesome!

Seriously, this is the kind of place you will want to come back to just to see what they have done to it since you have been gone.

John Dingle (real name) was our extremely friendly waiter, chatted us up a bit about the local marathon and other trivial happenings, but all the staff on hand were informative, friendly and assisting when I asked questions and took photos. I actually got to take a few photos of other patrons in the restaurant. I'm not sure if they thought I was on staff or just a crazy lady walking around taking pictures, but it was kind of fun to go from one table to the other taking strangers photos!

So there you go. Mi Tierra - We Never Close - so 365 24/7 you can go and feel the fiesta they provide, sit and watch the people, glance upwards and feast on eye candy, or just wait three minutes for the Mariachis to perform in front of you.

Oh, and the food was great!

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Carlton's Log: Meeting the Artist

Can not believe my luck! I went back to Mi Tierra today to look around and on my way out I met a woman in the foyer/shrine. We had a great conversation about the artwork and design that goes on in this place. Turns out she was head designer ( I later found out she is the owner's daughter!) and how much she does to make sure the whole place is fresh and new each time people visit. I can tell she is full of enthusiasm and passion for the things she does in her job.

The place we were standing she called "The first Shrine, the shrine of the entrance." She said it was very important for the owners to keep the heritage they came from and to share it with others and inspire their costumers. She was on her way into the restaurant when I was walking out. Her arms full of bags filled with "secret" decorations that would be going up in the wee hours of the night when they -depending on the availability of the room and amount of diners- could get in and "close" just one room at a time. She said it usually goes on about 2:30 or 3:00 in the morning!

Then a gentleman came up and said hello to us, and come to find out "Robert" is the resident muralist and portrait artist! He too was passionate about his work and the way the whole restaurant begs you to stay, ponder and find new things to look at each time you come by.

I really appreciated their time and conversation, the way they stopped to talk with me, the things they explained and especially the way they were so very proud of the work they do and the feeling of their work for others. It truly was important for them to keep the "mission of heritage and culture alive for [their] customers." Seems to me, everyone I talked with really enjoyed working there and had a sense of fun, family, and pride in the whole experience.

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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Celebrity Sighting

O.k. so this is probably the most lame thing I did in San Antonio/Austin...

While we were waiting to board the plane we ran into Bobby Flay. I didn't feel like having a SmackDown, so I just grabbed a quick photo and let it go. FYI: This man talked on his phone for over an hour. Straight. His poor wife just sat there, waiting for him to get off the phone, which he never did. Maybe it was a call from Anthony Bourdain. But I doubt it. I don't think they're friends. One call after another; that man walked into first class heading for Newark with a cell phone lodged deeply into his ear canal.

On second thought it wasn't the most lame thing I did. The most lame thing I did was goof up my knee. (get it...lame!) I have bum knees. They crunch when I bend them and snap and pop if I sit a bit then stand. It was a cool parlour trick there for a while, but then the kids just got freaked out about it so I had to stop focusing attention to the noise. Too much walking or too much cold makes them ache, and sometimes they pop out of joint. Usually walking a bit sets them back into place or just resting will do the trick.

Not so much this time out. The walking messed me up and it was really cold; but then I heard a loud pop and I haven't been able to walk correctly since. Hot baths helped ease the pain, and so have heat wraps. Thor is making me put ice packs on it and the doc has prescribed heavy duty Motrin. I went yesterday to take x-rays. This morning was a visit with the actual Dr. who saw nothing extraordinary on the film however was shocked and a little disgusted (by the look on his face) by the sound my knees make when they bend (kind of like twisting bubble wrap). After hearing my knees he said he was pretty much done with me and shot me a referral to an orthopedist. No diagnosis, no guessing on this guys' part, he wants nothing to do with me. Just the horrified look I usually get when someone hears my knees. Yippy.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

I ain't 'fraid of no ghosts

Seems like wherever I went in the city I could see the top of this tower, The Tower Life building. It's really cool with its' metal framework spire, green tiled roof and graduated structure which made it the tallest building in San Antonio up until 1988 when Marriott put up a hotel. The white and tan brickwork glows deep green when it is lighted at night. (SO wish I had a good photo of that, Fabulous! But there is no way with my camera!) It is so tall that my eyes couldn't really focus at the top; but around the facade there are amazing Gothic sculptural details - scroll work, florals and leaves, and faces! Creepy faces.

When sis and her family came to San Antonio to give me the insider's tour, I asked about the Tower. Cathi told me this is the building where they shot the last scenes in Ghost Busters! As soon as she pointed it out I remembered all the gargoyles and there they were, way up at the top, lunging over the edge and spewing whatever down onto the unsuspecting public below. They were everywhere once I began to look for them.

While on the river tour our guide informed us that back in the day, two brothers, Ayres& Ayres, built the Tower, purposely adding the gargoyles to ward off evil mojo and/or spirits and bad luck. The building was finished in 1929, the same time as the Great Depression...when the brothers lost everything, including the Tower.

So much for those gargoyles. Hopefully the Ayres Brothers were still around to bask in the glory of their beautiful Tower life building making it onto the big screen.

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