Friday, December 25, 2015

Texas travel adventures

A few months ago I had made plans to visit my friend Christi.  The plan was to travel with my daughter over the Christmas break so she wouldn't miss too much school but be back in time to celebrate Christmas with the rest of the family at our timeshare in Horseshoe valley.

Michelle and I were so excited for the adventure.  Michelle was particularly excited to be reunited with Christi's daughter, Allison.  They had such fun times when they first met on a Stampin' Up! cruise about 2 years ago and have stayed in touch.  Truthfully, I think,  the trip to Texas was really about the girls getting to visit.  We were also very keen to enjoy the Texas experience.
Here's some pictures:

We were given a very cheerful welcome at the airport.

Then in the car Christi presented me with a drink called "horchata" which she said was a delicious rice milk beverage served at a particular mexican restaurant in town.  Christi knows how I love Mexican food and I constantly complain how there is a serious shortage of mexican cuisine in Markham.  Christi made sure that I enjoyed lots of food while visiting.  In fact, I started nicknaming this vacation "The Texas Food Tour" because of all the restaurants I was taken to over the week. 

I felt immediately at home in Christi's house because as soon as you walk in the front door, this is what you see:

Christi does all her stamping classes out of her home so she always has a display table set up and on her walls she has hung the cards from the various Stampin' Up! kits.  
Just like convention, I started taking pictures of her samples.  Her husband John just waved his hand in an offhanded way and said "oh that stuff is set up all the time, I don't even notice it anymore!" God love those supportive Stampin' Up! husbands.  smile. 

The next day we headed out to the Fort Worth Stockyards.  Historically, farmers would herd their livestock/cattle to the Ft Worth area for slaughter or selling I think.  You can still see the pens set up as they were in the 1800's. 

They do a cattle herd down the main street to show tourists how it was done and to give us an idea of how the cattle would walk. Pretty cool!

We visited some tourist shops around the stockyard area.

The animal head decor made me laugh.  I knew I had to be in Texas.

The Texas food tour continued at the restaurant named Chuy's where I enjoyed enchiladas.  (soooo delicious!)

Christi insisted we also had to eat Texas bbq.  Here's the yummy beef brisket.

Another tourist experience was visiting Texas Christian University (TCU).  It seems that College ball is a big deal here and most people in the area are diehard TCU fans.  Lots of people wear purple to show their support as purple is the school colour.

Christi took us to the first basketball game of the new season.  They even loaned me a TCU jersey to wear at the game (I suspect that it would be uncool to be at a game wearing any other colour)

You can see even the local establishments show their TCU pride.
This Cane's restaurant has even incorporated a purple number 1 in their building.  Do you see it? 

This local pancake house sports purple and silver streamers.

Christi and I enjoyed visiting and stamping together and eating out a lot!  We met up with another stamping friend Jennifer Cotton since she lives only about 45 minutes away from Ft. Worth.  Of course we met over food.  Without even talking about it beforehand, we both brought cards we had been stamping using the new spring occasions catalogue (goes live in January).  Sharing ideas and inspiring each other is such a big part of the fun of being a demonstrator.  It just makes me smile that within the first five minutes of being together we each whipped out the cards we've been making and traded so we could look and take pictures.
I'm sure the restaurant waiter thought maybe we were a bit strange with all these beautiful greeting cards all over the table.

Sorry, I couldn't resist putting in another picture of this restaurant decor.

Well, all good things must come to an end and we had to say good bye to our beautiful Texas friends.

We left very early on Wednesday morning.  The first leg of our journey back to Toronto went smoothly.  It's when we were laying over at Laguardia airport in New York that things went a little haywire.  Our flight to Toronto was cancelled.  I knew from my previous flying experiences that when flights do not go smoothly, NO ONE in the airlines or airport care to help.  You are completely on your own.  So I spent hours at a crowded airport trying to talk to flight agents, calling airline reservation departments, looking for our checked baggage etc.  Michelle and I desperately wanted to get home before Christmas.  By this time Michelle was bawling her eyes out as I dragged her from counter to counter trying to talk to someone who would help me rebook a flight.  The best I got was a flight on December 25th at 4pm that went through Philadelphia.  This seemed very far from ideal but appeared to be the best I could do.  I got a hotel and from the hotel continued my efforts to find a way home.  It was at the hotel that I discovered the credit card I was carrying was a dud. I had planned to cover all my expenses of the trip in cash so I didn't check the credit card in my travel wallet very carefully.   The lack of a credit card definitely increased my anxiety level!  To make a long story short, after a lot of back and forth texting with my brother and husband, where all ideas were considered, from Kevin driving down to pick us up, to us going back to the airport and trying stand by flights, to looking for flights to other cities like Ottawa or Montreal, we managed to buy new plane tickets from Newark, New Jersey to Billy Bishop airport in downtown Toronto for the 24th.  My husband had to order and prepay for a black car to pick us up from the hotel to drive us to the Newark airport since I didn't want to use up the cash I had left on the long car ride. 
Whew!  It all worked out.  Flying Porter airlines from Newark was a great experience and in great contrast to the chaos going on at Laguardia airport. 
I was so happy when we were flying into the city.  

I could've started dancing for joy when I saw the welcome to Canada sign!

Kevin picked us up from the airport and had already packed everything for our trip away so we headed straight from the airport to our timeshare.
I was so so happy to be with my family safe and sound.

We spent christmas eve playing a favourite board game and getting the stockings all ready for Santa.

From our family to yours, we wish you much joy and peace this season and for 2016! 

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