Halloween brings out all kinds of Soul Searching

The town we reside in is New Braunfels, TX.  It’s a wonderful small town that is north of San Antonio.  I’m sure years ago there was open land for farming and grazing, but since we have lived here it’s built from San Antonio all they way up the I35 corridor, and basically now all the way to Austin.  If you can’t find it along I-35, it’s probably not here.  I don’t think they can cram another business or sign along the frontage road, in Texas these frontage roads along the Interstates are prime real estate.  This is the New Braunfels that most people will see as they speed along I-35 going somewhere.  But this is not the New Braunfels that we saw and certainly was not the reason for picking this cute town to move to.

It’s in a great location. We’re less than an hour to get to downtown San Antonio, and just over an hour to get to downtown Austin.  If you ever wanted to see 2 different cities so close together, then you need to come to San Antonio and Austin.  The differences are truly amazing.  In addition to the great business corridor to live along for businesses and jobs, New Braunfels is on the eastern edge of infamous Texas “Hill Country”.  You ask, what is the Hill Country?  When most people have only seen Houston or Dallas while visiting or passing thru Texas, you really haven’t seen Texas until you have come to the Hill County, it is the prettiest area of all Texas.  Of course that is my opinion, and I’m sure others feel the Piney Woods, or prairies and Lakes area is the nicest, but that’s OK  because that’s why everyone lives where they do, we each think our area is the nicest.

I’ll leave the Hill County to another time, but for right now let’s get back to New Braunfels.  The area was settled by Germans in the mid-1800’s and I’ll leave the historical data for you to research on the Internet, but although San Antonio is majority Hispanic, New Braunfels is still trying to hold onto its German roots.  One of the events they have is Wurstfest, which by the way, is starting on Friday, 11/2 and I will blog about our day at Wurstfest next week, but this event is a very German event and is basically a 10 day festival saluting sausage and all the German music, and yodeling you can listen to.  As you go west out of New Braunfels, there are ranches  and many homes with acreage, with rolling hills and grazing Longhorns.  In the Spring you have all the Wild flowers  and it’s very lush and green, providing there is no drought, which seems to be occurring more often.  The historic old section of the town of New Braunfels, has a wonderful old courthouse that they are actually refurbishing right now, a pretty round-about with a gazebo in the middle and a nice multi-street downtown that consists of many old buildings.  We have the oldest bakery in Texas, the oldest Texas dance hall in Gruene Hall, nice antique stores, good restaurants, a good supply of bars that typically are hopping on Friday and Saturday night, wine bar, oyster bar, and some nice B&B’s to stay.  The history is plentiful in this small old town.

So you wonder how does this blog title correlate to what I’m writing.  Well, last night we participated in the annual “Soul Searching  – Night Ramblings at the Comal Cemetery”.  Of course this correlates to Halloween, the departed souls were bringing their life stories to us.  The Comal Cemetery was established in 1868 and is the burial ground for some of New Braunfels founders and notable citizens.  These ancestors come to life for the evening and provide storytelling of their lives and chronicles the family history.  Most of the souls lived in New Braunfels from the 1840’s to their death in the early 1900’s.   It is truly amazing that some of the actors are actual descendants of the people that they were talking about, I just find that amazing.  I would have enjoyed another hour or two listening to these stories and learning more about the history of New Braunfels, the actors did a great job bringing the history to life.   I know some people will think that going to a cemetery to view the graves is morbid and depressing, but The Comal Cemetery is so full of history and it so well-kept its like walking thru a Park.  It is amazing to see how the families meshed together thru marriages and the number of family members that are in the family plot.   Although Halloween brings about the scary and spooky stuff I would recommend a day visit to walk thru the cemetery to view the various families and recognize some of the historical names.

I haven’t mentioned this, but what New Braunfels is mainly known for is Schlitterbahn Water Park and toobing on the Comal and Guadalupe Rivers.  These activities are what dominate the summer scene from Memorial Day to Labor Day.  On weekends it seems the town doubles in population.  But once Fall comes the town becomes ours again.  In addition in the downtown area they have a Children’s Museum, a very nice local museum detailing the history of New Braunfels and other local museums that are worth the time, make sure you check out the Visitor Center upon arrival or setup your schedule prior to arrival.  It’s a destination that the next time you are zooming by on I-35 to get to Austin or San Antonio, take the Interstate exitfor New Braunfels and see why small town living has become so popular.  Step back in time and notice the names on the streets and buildings then go to the cemetery and you will see the names of the people who settled and started this town.  I can’t go back to my roots like so many of the local people can, but if I could I would be very proud.  Also, if you’re going to be in the area next October about this time, check New Braunfels Park and Recreation website and sign up for these tours.  They’re fun and educational for the whole family.

Have a safe and Happy Halloween and enjoy your road you’re traveling on this week, until next time………

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The Quiet before the Storm

It’s a beautiful sunny day in Texas for the end of October.  Temperatures will be in the upper 80’s, can’t complain about that.  It’s Fall, but it doesn’t yet feel like that down here.  Coming from the Midwest, by this time of year the trees have changed color and most have bare branches.  The corn fields are getting cut down, and there are Halloween and scarecrow festivals everywhere.  The days were cool and nights were brisk.  For me it was my absolute favorite time of year.  September and October in the Midwest are just beautiful and I truly miss that season.

This weekend we are going to get some cool weather here, high in the 60’s and low in the 40’s, so that is rather cool for this area for this time of year, but I understand that it takes one of these cold fronts for the few trees that do change color, to change.  There is a State Park west of San Antonio called Los Maples.  We have never been there, because we were only able to go on the weekends previously, and because our season change is so short and limited that at most you have 1 or 2 weekends to check out the Fall color and it’s gone.  The problem with that is that they limit the number of cars in the Park and we have heard that the weekends are extremely busy.

This year, we can go any day.  So we’re going to faithfully watch the local weatherman awaiting updates on the tree color changing status and when we hear it’s at peak we’re going to get into the car and drive out there that day.  Somewhere between now and mid-November we have to figure out when we’re going to pack!

Yesterday was my first day to start the packing extravaganza!  We have a closet that’s rather large and I use it as storage so that was my first task.  I was able to stash a lot of stuff into dresser drawers and packed up some stuff on the shelves.  It actually wasn’t too bad.  Of course I only worked a few hours, but I did feel a sense of accomplishment.  I actually felt like I did something worthwhile.  I was busy, I was active, I had to think and I had to apply myself, and on top of that I did get some excercise.  I find being home every day that you actually have to think very little compared to when I was working.  It seemed before that I was always making decisions, planning and organizing, but the last 2 months that really hasn’t been necessary as I typically have more time in a day than what I have planned, so not a lot of planning to get the things done.  And what has to be done, really doesn’t have to be done, it’s something to do.  So for me packing is actually something I’m looking forward to.  It will give me a goal, something that I need to achieve and get completed by a certain time.

This is me, whether I like it or not.  I’m goal oriented and being that way all my life, just because I take a few months off, this is not going to change.  I’m still driven, but I have slowed down.  No need to drive hard, where there’s no place in particular you’re going.  But it’s these things that come up such as packing, scheduling movers, coordinating closing dates and coming up with a plan, that I still enjoy.  I am actually surprised how quickly I have adapted to my new schedule of sleeping later, reading the paper while enjoy 2 cups of coffee, watching a talk show once in a while, going for a long walk, but I know it’s there, bubbling under the surface, waiting to come out.

I’ll let it come out some day in the future when I am ready to go back to work, but for now I have an avenue to put some of this energy into and I hope that with our few projects we need to do in the new house and the activities we hope to join that I’ll be able to funnel my energy into these types of things, and not be thinking how soon I will be going back to work.    For now, I’m learning to enjoy the moments I have now, because if I do go back to work, I need to know that I lived these months to the fullest, appreciated the time I had off, and will be comfortable knowing I had an opportunity that most people do not experience until older.  I’ve worked to get here and I’m not going to let it pass my by.

Enjoy your travels this week, hope you’re on the road that you want to be on, and if not it’s never too late to take the next right or left turn and try a new direction.  Have fun and until next time, Happy Travels…….

It was a Red Hat Saturday

Today’s blog is going to be for Women.  I did the car blog last week, so we’re going down this road today.

I’m sure most women over the age of 50 have heard of the Red Hat Society.  At some point, you probably have seen a group of ladies with red hats, all decked out in Purple and Red somewhere about town.  It’s a great way to meet new friends when you move into a new area.  If you haven’t heard of this group or would like to find out more just look on the internet and I’m sure you’ll be able to locate a chapter near you.  These photos are from today’s meeting.  I was late to join so I was the designated photographer.  The ladies were working so fast and furious that some photos are a little blurry, but you get the general idea.  They were making Red Had Witches Hats.

Busy bees, look how serious they are!

I have to say that while busy making hats this was our quietest meeting, they were all very serious in their task.  You will see the outcome shortly.  I joined this group about 2 years ago.  Most Red Hat groups meet during the week so since I worked I figured that this would have to wait until I retired.  But thru a neighbor’s invite, I attended a meeting as a guest and decided to join.  Since joining we have shopped, had lunches, attended teas, and went to museums.  We each get a month to plan the event so a nice variety of different and fun things are planned.  Today’s event was hat making and lunch at a local eatery – The Fork and Spoon.  In addition to some outstanding hats, everyone enjoyed the lunch.  Now look at these ladies!  The results of all their hard work and fun.

With moving mid-November this meeting was probably my last one I will be able to attend.  Not everyone in the group was able to attend today, but I want to take this opportunity to tell everyone that I enjoyed the time we had.  There is one thing that I know, and I think most women will agree, women need women.  There is a camaraderie that exists that just can’t be explained.  You laugh, you cry, you talk about things that your husbands would probably be shocked.  I have seen many a man who do not have close friends and for them that’s OK.  But a woman, now that’s like a slow death for most.    I have had the enjoyment of Girls Weekends and the opportunity to participate in groups like this – The Rockin Red Friends.   It’s nice to know that the support is there, and that a friendly hug goes a long way.  How do you explain that to a man.

So to my Red Hatter friends, thanks for the good times we have had. Now it’s time to look forward and since I’m only moving 90 minutes up the road, maybe on one of the groups little adventures you will head my way, up to Georgetown, and I can join you for the day.  But for now, it was a fun day, and a fun 2 years, to each and every one of you, I wish you a happy and healthy year ahead for you and your loved ones, and to enjoy the road you’re traveling on.

Look at those Awesome Hats!

Another Day Closer to Moving

OK, I hope I won’t regret saying this but I think we have confirmed closings on both sides, our sale and our purchase.  We started out on 11/30, then moved to 11/20 now we’re at 11/16.  That’s it, we will not be changing again.  We have the closings scheduled, the mover has been picked and we will be scheduling tomorrow.  We will be able to rent back for a few days which will greatly help with the move.  Although we’re only moving about 90 minutes up the road trying to do 2 closings on one day, and move is virtually impossible, and we might have done it when we were younger, but not even a consideration at this age.  Once we are aligned with the movers then the fun begins – Packing!  When you are moving yourself and you don’t have a company to pick up the bill, you learn how to pack real fast.  Moving is not inexpensive.  I am always shocked when I find out how much they want and how long it will take.  It reminds me of when my husband paints.  He says, “I’ll be done in a couple of hours”, and I say OK, and plan on it taking at least 1/2 to 2/3 of the day.  Moving is just one of those things that looks simple, but it sure is not, and always takes longer than you expect.  Of course that’s good, I prefer taking the time to assure things are wrapped well and no breakage occurs.

Our sellers at our new home have already moved out so they are allowing us to move some stuff into the garage early, before closing, again, very helpful.  That is the benefit of local moves versus out-of-state.  When we moved from Illinois to Florida and from Florida to Texas, everything had to be packed, and some things just could not be moved, like plants and refrigerated items. We have also learned that some things are easier to move yourself then to take all the time packing and a good example of this is picture boxes.  I remember for our long distance moves I think my husband spent at least 1 or 2 days just packing paintings.  We’ll take those and it will be a lot easier.  Also, having one of the larger SUV’s helps this time too.

So it’s beginning of count down time.  I’m trying to hold off until the first week of November to start packing.  Once I start I just want to keep going, and I think 2 weeks is good timing.
Seeing that we were told by the movers that 3 moving people could pack our house in a day, I sure hope 2 people (my husband and I) can pack the house in 2 weeks – we’re giving ourselves quite a buffer.

It’s a short one today, but I’ll have more shortly.  I have some photos to share in the next blog of the town that we live in.  Just like I blogged about Boerne, I do need to give a plug to New Braunfels.  It’s a great small town with lots of activities.  Keep on truckin down your chosen road and along the way have some fun.  Until next time…….

Hot Rods and More

Yesterday’s blog was about our day that we spent in Boerne, TX.   For all the people who have antique, classic cars, and Hot Rods, I have dedicated today’s blog to a few photos of the many cars that were at this event.

With my husband’s help they are all tagged  with year, and model, as close as we could get.  Some are guesses, but I think we’re really close.  We don’t have a car like these, but we always talk about how much fun it would be to own one, then something else comes up or we go another direction and we still don’t have one.  But we sure do enjoy looking at them and truly appreciate all the hard work and cost that goes into fixing and maintaining these cars.  They are like rolling pieces of artwork.  I’m glad there are so many guys and gals that take the time to restore these cars for future generations.  Imagine traveling down the road you’re on today in one of these, enjoy the sights.

1940 Mercury, very nicely done

Inside of 1940  Mercury

Buick early/mid 1930’s

1932 Ford

1934 Ford Roadster, this one was my favorite

About a 1930 Ford pickup

Ford Pickup

About a 1934 Ford Pickup.  Lots of pickups, we are in Texas!

1937 Ford

1934 Ford, very nice also.

Vacations do not always have to be Far from Home

This restaurant was a popular place.

I have always liked this Building – a little New Orleans in Boerne

We had a very nice day on Saturday.  We went to a town that is about an hour away, called Boerne, TX.  This town is located off Interstate 10 about an hour northwest of San Antonio.  We went on Saturday because they had an Antique Car show, plus Market Days, plus blocks and blocks of stores for shopping.  It’s a quaint small town where you can go to spend a day shopping from jewelry stores, to antique stores, to even a very nice Christmas Store.  There are good restaurants and also a bakery and you can even get pickles, which are fantastic and made locally.  The cars on display were all Pre-1949, so there were some classics that were restored and many Hotrods.  My husband is a car-nut so we have been going to car shows for years.  Coming from the Midwest you can go to a car show most weekends during the summer, but here in Texas they’re not as often or as big.  We try to attend this one every year because it is one of the best in the area.  Check out Boerne, TX website to see what weekend this car show will be.  If you have a pre-1949 car and haven’t attended this show you might be interested.  If my husband was nearby when I was writing this he would have made sure I wrote the year and model of each car next to its photo, but then this is my blog not his.

A hotel in Boerne, right in the heart of all the action.

Cute Pickup Truck

What was nice about the day is that it proves you always don’t have to travel far and wide to enjoy yourself.  There are many hidden gems probably within 1 – 3 hours from your home that would make for a wonderful day get-away.  You always don’t have to incur hotel expenses and drive a great distance, just check out the weekly events and happenings in your area.  As mentioned once before,  almost every State has an Event calendar and you can really plan your weekends.  One can only cut the grass so many times, work in the garden or wash your car.  I find when we go away for the day it’s like a mini-vacation.  Especially when I was working the day away made the weekend seem longer and when I went back to work on Monday, I didn’t feet like I wasted it sitting at home.  Even now, being home every day, it’s fun to go away but for a similar but different reason.  I find myself doing more of the daily house activities and by going away for the day I feel recharged and relaxed.

A photo of part of the Main Street with all the shops.

If your husband doesn’t mind this type of day, going from store to store, then even when there is no car show, Boerne is a wonderful town to go see.  This is also a great Girl’s Day Out or part of a Girl’s weekend.  Forgot, there are also art galleries too.  Not too far away are a few Hill Country Wineries that can add to your day’s adventures.   At Christmas the town is decorated very nicely and they do have different Holiday activities.  No matter what day you choose, I think you will enjoy your visit.

Some of the cars at the show parked on Main Street

A very Nice One!

The nice thing about the Car show is that the Main Street was closed so there was plenty of room for walking and viewing the cars.  You could go from cars to shops and never have to worry about traffic and crossing streets.  The Market Day that Boerne hosts is one of the better ones in the area, and they always have some local music that you can sit and listen to.  Not very much seating so you might want to bring your own chairs with if you plan to sit awhile and listen.  I hope if you go for the day that you enjoy.  These are photos of Boerne and the Car Show hope you enjoyed  traveling down Main Street of Boerne with me.

One of the Buildings in Boerne dated 1908

It’s Blooming!

This plant is still a mystery.  Is this a cactus?  Yucca?  But it’s now blooming – large brown speckled star-like flowers.It is a very unique plant and it’s a nice surprise.  I bought this at a local Market Days and thought it would be great to be hung on my Shepard’s Hook.I needed something the deer didn’t eat, so far, it seems they don’t like it or the flowers as none have been eaten.If anyone knows what this is, would really like to know, appreciate your feedback.