Monday, May 22, 2006

Back to the Bowflex

This weekend we put out Bowflex back together and have gotten back into the Bowflex swing of things. It's a set of rods and pulleys. Right now I can only do about 35 lb. comfortably, but hope to raise the weight soon. I remember back when we got the Bowflex over a year ago, I was so weak that even on the very lowest setting, I was not able to budge the weight. The exercises I have chosen to start with are concentrating mainly on the abs and shoulders. Bowflex is so intense that you only have to work out for 20 minutes a day/ 3 days a week. They claim that you will start seeing results in six weeks. So, I am supposed to be meaner and leaner by July 4th.

I may not look like the woman in the commercial by then, but at least it's a start!

Monday, May 08, 2006

USS Lexington & Texas Aquarium Day

When we got up today, we decided to do some more sightseeing. Our destination: the USS Lexington and the Texas Aquarium, conveniently located down the bay from our hotel. There was this really great beach that we found near there too, only a day too late for us to visit. Oh well, there's always next trip.

The USS Lexington was a very awesome ship, approximately 100,000 square feet. it took a few hours to take the entire tour. I have a whole new respect for those Navy sailors who had to climb up and down all those ladders. My legs are killing me after all that climbing we had to do. There is a non-working escalator on board, so I even had to walk down it. The only good thing was that gravity was nicer to me with the escalator. The angle of descent wasn't nearly as steep.

This tour took us all over the ship, and was more detailed than other battleships I have toured. You got to see the quarters of all of the enlisted men and officers. What they call home is very modest compared to what most of us call home. This ship was also an aircraft carrier, and they had quite a few plane types on deck for your viewing pleasure. You could even go all the way up to the main control deck and see what the captains who pilot the boat have to work with. There were map rooms and radio control rooms. So much to look at.and be thankful that these guys are looking out for us, the US.

The Texas Aquarium was very well put together. It has one of the best saltwater habitats that I have ever seen. They also had a great Amazon exhibit complete with parrots, spiders, and other creatures that go "bump" in the night in the Amazon rainforest.

We also got to view a dolphin training session. Those dolphins were very smart, possibly smarter than a lot of humans I know.

These attractions were within a block of each other and I recommend them highly. A fun time was had by all.

Bowling...Corpus Christi style

Sunday was devoted to bowling and preparing for the night's bowling. Marvin is team captain and was registering his team at bowling headquarters when Ray, the other team captain, contacted him because he needed a bowler for his team. I made the mistake of bringing my USBC card and bowling ball, so I was drafted by the other team to bowl with them on the 8:30pm squad. My average is 100, so I was able to help them out with a warm body so that the team could bowl. I got my average, mainly because I was plagued with a series of splits that I couldn't seem to shake off.

It was fun, and I did get a cool bowling shirt out of the deal. My newest resolution is to work on my game so that I improve my average.

A Drink of Another Flavour

We stopped at Burger King around 1am after a late night of bowling. While there I decided to concoct a drink of my own choice. I filled the cup half full of Sprite then added a fourth cup of Hi-C Orange and a fourth cup of Minutemaid Lemonade. When asked what I was going to call it, I didn't have a clue. In my childhood, we called such drinks a "suicide." Some possible suggestions are JannSprLemOrange or SprLemOrange for short. A drink of a different flavour sure went down swell with that late night chicken sandwich & fries.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Saturday at Padre Island

Strictly adhering to a "no alarm" policy, we woke up around 9 and dressed for an afternoon at the beach. After a quick breakfast at Denny's, we headed to Padre Island and the National Coastline. The terrain was mostly marshes, mudlands, and sand dunes, lots different from the ocean you see in the Florida panhandle.

We landed at the Visitors Center near Malaquite Beach (North Padre island) and lay in the sand, watched the waves, and waded in the water. The seagulls were out, flying over the dunes and watching for the unwary picnickers who might give up their food.

It was raining when we first got there. You could see fog in the distance. Then the sun came out and the horizon was in sight. The water was cloudy and warm. The marsh grass on the shore washed into the ocean. High tide was at 1:12pm, so we were there to witness it.

We stopped at a shop and bought souvenirs and then drove back to Corpus Christi. After a short nap, we went over to Landry's for seafood. Landry's had a very international flavor to it, as there were people from other countries there. It was cool to listen to them speak their native language amongst themselves and then address the waiter in English.

After Landry's, we had the distinct pleasure of watching one of the Buc Days parades. Corpus Christi has a spring tradition that originates back in pirate times, me mateys. Capt. Jean Lafitte had his headquarters in Corpus Christi. He was eventually acquitted of his crimes when he helped the city during the Civil War. In early April, a group of Buccaneers visit the Mayor of Corpus Christi's office and declare that Buc Days begin. Bucs take over the city and they have all sorts of Founders Days festivities and carnivals that last through the end of May.

Even though Corpus Christi is a big city, everyone here seems to be nice and friendly. As we continue to explore it, I find things that would make me want to revisit sometime in the future.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

This year's Cinco de Mayo was a happy celebration in San Antonio. We woke up late and ate a quick continental breakfast at the hotel. Then it was time to explore San Antonio.

We headed downtown for the "not quite a trolley" bus tour, aptly named because the trolley was down for maintenence and they were using a bus instead that day. We got a general tour of the city and learned some of the city's history from our driver.

The first stop was at Concepcion Mission, one of the four main missions that the Spaniards set up in Texas. Then we went to El Mercado, a group of fifty shops specializing in Mexican clothing and arts & crafts. I wound up with a pink cowboy hat as we bought souvenirs. We ate a quick lunch at one of the Mexian restaurants and then headed outside to listen to the Mexican music and the Cinco de Mayo booths that were set up outside. There was this very talented duo on wind flutes and guitar. I put some money in the guitar case that they had set in front of them as they played. We looked at our watches and found that we had to quickly make it across the street to meet our bus.

Whew! We made it back just in time. We passed by La Villita, an historic arts village. It looked interesting, but we were pressed for time. Maybe we can spend more time next trip. The bus dropped us off at the last stop, The Alamo. I think that every school kid in Texas must have been out of school and on a tour of The Alamo that day. It was a very impressive place. We first visited the Shrine. It had some Davy Crockett artifacts and also a memorial plaque to the fallen in the Battle of The Alamo. I was surprised at how many different countries had been represented. In the Shrine, there was a guest book to sign. When it was my turn, I found out that the pen used to sign the hallowed guest book was out of ink. I took out my own pen and dated it Cinco de Mayo, 2006 and signed Marvin and me in. I left my pen there, my contribution to the Great State of Texas. We walked around the grounds and saw the barracks and living quarters, and saw a movie about the Battle of Alamo. Then we left and started on our way to Corpus Christi.

San Antonio is a great town full of history. I hope to visit there again when I have more time to spend.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Vacation time has finally made it's way around the bend again. Marvin and I are headed for Corpus Christi, TX. We are driving this year, and I am writing this blog on my Palm Treo en route. We had a lot of rain in our drive through Tennesse, and the rain finally stopped by the time we hit Little Rock, AR.

We finally arrived in San Antonio about dark. Then it took a while to find a hotel that was satisfactory. When you first get into town, there are a lot of warehouse and factory districts. We got off at this one exit, but then I noticed that most of the cars had their windows tinted, and the neighborhood looked seedy. So, back onto the expressway until we saw signs of houses, schools, and churches. Then we felt like we were in a safe neighborhood, and got settled in at a Days Inn.

I was up packing our suitcases late the night before, so it was time to catch up on some shuteye and let my body adjust to the fact of not having to be at work. I feel like I'm loafing, but it won't take long for me to adjust to being on vacation time. First Rule of Vacation: No alarm clocks are allowed.

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