Saturday, January 24, 2009

Being sick can be good for you...

We were home from Texas for a day and a half when I began to feel ill...a headache that was unresponsive to ibuprofen turned into a stomach bug that put me into bed, and close to my bathroom for the next 36 hours. We know it wasn't food poisoning because, though Randy had suffered with similar symptoms, they had occurred 4 days previous, and in a different state. No matter where it came from, it was NOT fun. It was, in fact, quite miserable. In fact, once the symptoms subsided, it took a bit to recover, and while I recovered, I came to the conclusion that sometimes, being sick can be good for you...

I found that once I began to feel better, I was SO grateful for so many little things I often take for granted. This occurred to me as I said to myself, out loud, "It is SO GREAT to not have diarrhea!" There were still bills to pay, the house was a mess, my suitcase was only partially unpacked, and I hardly had any clean clothes to wear -- but I was having a GREAT day, just because I didn't have diarrhea. Bonus! -- neither did I feel like throwing up when I was upright! Does it get any better than that?? This was awesome!! Just awesome!! I enjoyed eating crackers, soda crackers -- they were yummy! And flat pop, and sips of water were so refreshing when they stay where they were supposed to...Bananas became a delectable treat...mmmm, bananas were a new height in returning to nutrition.

As I pondered these luxuries, I realized that most of my life I do not have diarrhea, or nausea. Most of my life I can eat crackers and bananas without restraint, but rarely do I appreciate them as I did this past week. Rarely, do I have a good day because I consider what has NOT happened to me. Usually, I base my opinion of the day's quality on what HAS happened, and far too often, I deduce that it has not been enough, and therefore, is not a great day.

This week, my perspective was up-ended, and I had a string of good days as I appreciated what had not happened. I also enjoyed more of what did happen...all because of short-term discomfort brought on by a stomach bug. Thus, my conclusion that sometimes being sick is good for you...It was certainly good for me this week. Now the challenge will be maintaining an enhanced perspective until the next bug comes along...I will admit that I hope I don't "need" one for a long time!

The Last of Texas...



The Tower Life Building, unfortunately finished in August 1929, just before the stock market crash. A year later, the company that built it was bankrupt, and the entire building was sold for $27,000.


Jon & Shelly DeJong's little Etta. She was a great traveler, and oh-so-cute!






Guacamole expert at work!


Our trip to San Antonio ended with a boat ride through the Riverwalk area. It was fun to hear some of the history of the old buildings, and see a different view of them. After our ride it was off to Boudros, "a Texas Bistro", for a wonderful dinner! We'd eaten there earlier and it was so good that we wanted to do it again. Both times I ordered the same thing -- papaya marinated flank steak with roasted vegetables and chimichurri sauce...Oh, man! SO good -- and I couldn't even eat it all which was quite sad! The server made our guacamole at the table, and many of us tried their prickly pear margaritas. That sounded a little daunting to me at first, but it was quite delicious, and I was glad that I tried it -- and I didn't get squiffy either, in case you were wondering, kids! After dinner the group decided to try out the "Howl at the Moon"Saloon where they had dueling pianists playing requests...Great musicians, and loud music, but it was fun -- for awhile...We turned into pumpkins early as we were flying out at 8:30 the next morning, unlike the rest of the crew who were staying until Thursday afternoon.


The next morning we arrived at the airport to find that our flight had been "delayed" a half hour, though our plane was sitting, ready, out on the tarmac. Normally, this would not be a problem, but the reason we were leaving San Antonio earlier than the rest was to be in attendance at the Lynden High School Sports Hall of Fame Induction that evening. Randy's dad was being inducted for his meritorious service -- 30+ years of announcing football and basketball games -- and all the family was going to be there. The airline had conveniently (this is a matter of opinion) re-booked us to a later connecting flight -- so, instead of arriving in Seattle at 12:45, we would be leaving San Francisco at 1:35, getting to Seattle at 3:45, and driving through rush hour traffic, trying to be in Lynden at 6pm. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?! Even more maddening was the fact that our flight from San Antonio came in early, and the flight we were originally booked on was just beginning to board. We asked if they had room, and they did, but since our bags were checked for the later flight, they would not allow us to get on. There we sat in San Francisco for 3 hours, wondering how it was going to work out once we got home...


Fortunately, everything went smoothly when we got into Seattle -- bags came promptly, shuttle to parking was efficient, and best of all, the traffic wasn't too bad. On the Hannegan, I crawled into the back of the van to change into a shirt that was a little less casual than my "airplane clothes". Our family filled plates at the buffet and had them waiting at our places when we arrived about 7pm, dessert time. We were able to slip in without looking out of place, and then enjoyed this very special evening for Lawrence. We were relieved that we had made it, and it was a lot of fun hearing some of the old sports legends tell their stories. Nearly all the family was able to be there, which was special for Mom & Dad. Lawrence has supported Lynden Athletics in numerous ways for many, many years -- not the least of which is his "moderation of the Lynden Sports Forum held daily at the Dutch Treat". It's really neat that there has been a great effort made to appreciate those who help make LHS sports successful by their behind-the-scenes support.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

San Antonio from the top... (revised)

Yesterday we viewed the environs of San Antonio from the Tower of the Americas, 750 feet above the street...We could see for miles, and by the way, I never noticed any mountains on the horizon...flat country! The Tower was one of the stops on a trolley tour we took through the city. We learned a lot about the city from our tour guide -- surprised to find out that 1.3 million people live here and it is the second largest city in Texas. (NOTE CORRECTION: I previously said that 2.4 million people live here, but that is the population of HOUSTON, the largest city in Texas. My apologies!)





Yes -- I went to the top in spite of my feeling about heights! : )



The Alamodome, built to attract an NFL team -- that never came!








The Mission San Jose was a large compound in which 1500 people lived in a self-sustaining community. It has been restored and is a National Park now...


Mission Concepcion -- not restored as the 3-4ft thick walls have stood the test of time. However, the frescoes on the walls inside will soon need some work to preserve them for the future...

As we went past these old missions, we found out that the main purpose of their work here was to "civilize" the people and get them ready to accept Spanish rule -- less important was their conversion to Catholicism. Spain had grand plans for much of the territory that has become the US. At one time they controlled 75% of our land. The tour guide pointed out that we owe a debt of gratitude to the Mexican people who settled here as they wrested control of this area from Spain, allowing it to eventually become part of the US.

The "Mighty" San Antonio River...


We had a great visit with the tour guide for a while when we were the only ones on the trolley. We also learned that San Antonio receives 35 inches of rain per year! Unfortunately, it all comes within a month or two, and much of it is wasted. Last year they only got 13 inches -- 2 years ago they had 70 inches and dealt with a lot of flooding... extremes! This is actually their river...more like a creek, it runs clear and you can see to the bottom. The Riverwalk in downtown is actually this river running through channels constructed to control flooding.


This area was once Spain's possession, then was part of Mexico. In the years after the battle of the Alamo, Sam Houston's forces won its independence and it became its own republic, and then finally became part of the US. Our tour guide reminded us that Mexicans are the natives here. Some people view them as immigrants, but the truth is that they were original settlers here... He's had some people on his tour that were offended that he greeted them in Spanish -- as if the Mexicans are trying to commandeer the culture. In truth, Spanish is the original language of this land! English is the second language, and American culture is the immigrant to the area.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Remembering the Alamo...
















As it turned out, after a little break for our feet, and a snooze for Randy, we made our way over to the Alamo. We got our audio tour devices and headed in to learn about this famous place.

The structures are beautiful to me -- the stonework, both primitive and carved, the old trees and palms on the grounds... The chapel at the center of this memorial is a shrine to those who gave their lives on that spot. I couldn't help but compare in my mind to the shrine of the Arizona in Pearl Harbor. The men who died at the Alamo chose directly to give their lives for independence -- the men on the Arizona, indirectly. Yet, I don't see the same kind of emotion in many of the visitors at the Alamo, as I did in Pearl Harbor. Perhaps it's just the difference in time. Pearl Harbor is close enough to our generation that we know people who lived it. The Alamo is old history -- yet when you hear the story of what went on there, the bravery and sacrifice of that company of less than 200 men is phenomenal. They faced an enemy of many hundreds, eventually thousands, more under the control of the ruthless General Santa Anna. Though his forces could easily have waited for the small defenses of the Alamo to collapse, he instead chose to kill the defenders of the Alamo. Even had they surrendered, he said it would be a surrender of "no quarter", meaning he would take no prisoners. This demand was answered with a cannon shot from the defenders of Texas liberty. Their young commander, William Barret Travis, declared in his letter to the people of Texas "Victory or Death!"

We have heard so much about the Revolutionary fight for liberty, and the World Wars maintenance of liberty, but so little about the Southwest's fight for the same. Texas was it's own country for a while, you know -- something I forget, and something that explains to me the self-reliant attitude you find here. Unlike a lot of the rest of our country, Texans really do "Remember the Alamo!"

Sunday, January 11, 2009

San Antonio...











We're in the great state of Texas for a few days as Randy attends a conference for Co-op Board Directors put on by Land O' Lakes. We're in a great hotel right on the beautiful Riverwalk. We arrived in the dark, so this morning was designated for exploration and getting the "lay of the land". I am not getting it... but fortunately this is Randy's forte and he has saved me from numerous wrong turns. The Riverwalk winds through downtown and is never very straight. I go into a shop and then turn the wrong direction when I come out. Randy says, "No, we need to go north!" Yea... north...which way is north????? I can't even remember which way we came from!! No surprise from someone who didn't know where the stores were in the mall for years... Anyway, it's a very unique area with lovely old buildings, trees, and many restaurants and shops as you go along.
We have seen the Alamo, as it is across the street from our hotel, but have not gone there yet. I suspect we'll wait til tomorrow when I can peruse to my heart's content. I don't think the others in our group will probably be able to stomach as much history as I will want to take in...but that's perfectly okay... We can remember the Alamo on our own.

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life (leslieisverbose.blogspot.com) and one where I can vent. (leslievents.blogspot.com)