Friday, May 20, 2011

A Tourist at Home

My Aunt Rhonda recently had an opportunity to come down to San Antonio to visit Mike and I. My Mom was also available to come down the same weekend. We found this to be an excellent opportunity to be tourists in our own city.
 Mom and Rhonda with "Hanna" wine they found at HEB

On Friday, Mom had some conference calls to attend to and Mike was at work, so Rhonda and I decided to check out the Botanical Gardens. I was amazed at all the beautiful flowers they had on the grounds - and all just 10 minutes away from our house!
 me inside one of the many statues on the grounds
Rhonda poses in the Japanese Garden
 Beautiful Orchid

That evening, KU was playing in the NCAA tournament. The game was actually being played in San Antonio, too! Ellie made some stuffed shells and brought it over to our house and we all watched the game together. After the Jayhawks won, there was a mandatory pilgrimage to get gelato. 
Ellie and Geoff ready for a Jayhawk victory (note the clever sauce placement on the stuffed shells).
On Saturday, Mike and I competed in a triathlon and duathlon, respectively, at Lake Pflugerville near Austin. I was very proud at my performance at my first duathlon and I got 1st in my age group (out of 3!). It probably helped that I was mentally prepared for running 3 miles, biking 12 miles, and then running 3 miles when really the runs were only 1.5 miles each!  

That evening, everyone was tired and getting cranky as dinner time approached. I suggested that we go to a nearby pizza place which is a certified "Pizzeria Napoletana" (one of only 32 in the US!). We had a bit of a wait to get a table but oh my goodness was it worth it. 
Mom, Rhonda and I seated and ready for our Pizza!!

The food was great, of course, but we also had great service. We sat at the "bar" where we could overlook the kitchen operations. 
Skilled chefs carefully prepare each pizza by hand!
 We saw pizzas go into the oven (considered the heart of the kitchen/restaurant) and we even saw them create a s'mores pizza made with nutella! When we told our waiter we wanted one of those he looked hesitant and asked the chef. He looked hesitant for a bit and then agreed to make us one. Turns out it wasn't even on the menu. They only offered it as a special sometimes. It was AWESOME! 
In awe of the S'mores pizza!
On Sunday we had brunch along the Riverwalk and then did some exploring.  
Enjoying brunch on the Riverwalk!
 There were many KU and VCU fans roaming the area as well. 
Some crazy blue guys (we assumed they were for KU) were wandering the Riverwalk
 And of course, no trip to San Antonio is complete without visiting the Alamo!

Monday, May 16, 2011

100 Years Young!

Back in 1991 I was 8 we had a HUGE 80th Birthday party for my grandmother. She knew about everyone in Wichita and has family and friends all over the US. About 200 people showed up to help her celebrate. Of course when you send out birthday cards to everyone you've ever met (she may still send one to my old high school boyfriend for all I know) and have 95 people on your Christmas shopping list, you tend to accumulate a lot of friends. There was no one that doesn't love my Grandma.

When I was a senior in high school we had yet another big bash for her 90th. Everyone talked about how excited they were for her 100th. She still volunteered at the hospital, went to church, participated in water aerobics, and visited family and friends in the area -- driving herself everywhere she went, of course. And sharp as a tack to boot.

And finally, on April 17, 2011, Grandma turned 100 years young! She still lives on her own and sends/receives hundreds of e-mails every week. She keeps up with her church activities and water aerobics. She still sends out many, many birthday cards (probably some are electronic these days). And if you're ever in the hospital, you can bet she'll find a way to send you a "patient e-mail" to cheer you up! 

On her actual birthday, Unity Church in Wichita threw her a big bash. Most of my family in Wichita attended and many church members were there to celebrate, too. My grandma is an extremely social person (if you haven't already figured this out) and absolutely loved having everyone together to celebrate. 
From her party at the church. She e-mailed me this photo since I wasn't able to attend.

On May 1st, we had the official 100th Birthday Bash. We estimated about 150 people showed up including friends and family from Seattle, St. Louis, Arizona, Florida, etc. What I found fascinating was that friends of my Dad, uncle and aunts wanted to attend, as well as my mom's family, even my dad's nurse from years ago! Like I said, no one doesn't love Grandma!

So in honor of Grandma's birthday, I'd like to take this opportunity to let you know some of the things that make her particularly special.

  • She loves cats - I'd say about 60% of the clothes she owns have at least one cat on them. All of them have cat hair on them. :) This is something I inherited from her!
Grandma with her two newest kitties, Lucky Buddy (left) and Happy Helen (right).
Her former cats, Tabby and Tiger, lived to be about 18 years old before they passed.
  • Any day of the year is a good day to dye eggs - All you had to say was "Grandma, can we dye Easter eggs?" and she'd have a pot of eggs boiling on the stove and drag out some cups, vinegar, and food coloring.
This may have been legitimately at Easter, but know that this was not an uncommon scene at Grandma house.
  • She's got a green thumb - My grandma has a huge garden plot in her backyard (one that I'd love to have now!) and she always had something growing. I grew up on fresh tomatoes, zucchini, okra, and cucumbers. No wonder I love veggies so much now!
My cherry tomatoes in my garden. Every time I catch a whiff of the sweet smell of the plant I'm immediately taken back to Grandma Farney's garden!

  • She's always got a good joke - I remember sitting around grandma's bright teal kitchen table and she'd always have a couple jokes to tell. Some were not quite G-rated...
  • She threw a good slumber party - Growing up my parents would often let me spend the night with Grandma (why I often refer to her as my "third parent"). She'd put me in an oversized Garfield t-shirt and let me stay up late watching "I Love Lucy" reruns on Nick at Nite. I'd kick her throughout the night while I slept. In the morning I'd help her do her makeup and put hairspray in her hair. 
  • She taught me good manners - In the morning, she would let me pour a concoction of 3 different cereals and when we'd slurp the milk at the end she'd say "Now you don't do this when you have company." I was always a bit confused because I always thought I was company.

 I'm so proud of my Grandma and I can't wait to help her celebrate more birthdays!
Grandma and I on her birthday weekend before I had to go back home to Texas