Holiday travel

November 26th, 2013 No comments

I write today from a pick-up truck traveling down the Interstate, loaded down with bags, goodies and family. We are Nashville-bound so my husband can get back to drive bus tomorrow night. (Its OK! It was our decision he do so, since we celebrated Thanksgiving on Sunday.)

This 800+ mile trip is one we are familiar with, though this time we took a slightly different route to avoid a big backup on I-35N in Central Texas. This time, also, we face the potential of winter weather in Middle Tennessee.

All that being said, I thought I’d share a few tips I’ve learned through the last few years making this trek between Texas and Tennessee…

1. Know alternate routes or have a GPS you trust. Knowing how to read maps helps here. I feel thankful all the time that that is a skill I have. (I even was on a map reading team in Junior High and, if I remember correctly, I got a perfect score at contest. So I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.)

But seriously… accidents happen and you can either take a detour and keep moving, or you can park it and sit for potentially hours. A good GPS will hip you to upcoming traffic tie-ups. (I recommend Waze on your smartphone.) An awesome GPS, however, won’t necessarily give you a detour, but if you can read a map that’s no big deal. Look around and plot it yourself.

GPS seems to mean “Getting Pretty Stupid” in some cases…don’t be that person. Let the GPS be your safety net to your own common sense, not your excuse to drive blind.

2. Don’t be an asshat driver. Everyone has somewhere to be and short of it being life or death, you’re no more important than everyone else. Cutting people off, tailgating, changing lanes without a turn signal, squeezing between vehicles so close you couldn’t put a pack of cigarettes between the two bumpers, driving slow then fast then slow then fast, etc. makes you look like an asshat. Look, its the holidays. Let’s all get where we are going alive and without road rage.

3. Check your weather. Don’t be oblivious to changing weather conditions. Unless you want to be featured on the Weather Channel for driving right into a tornado or blizzard or haboob or a flood. Then by all means, ignore the skies and drive with reckless abandon. May Jim Cantore be with you.

4. Snacks are important. Hey, when we stop for gas or a potty break, I love getting something to eat or drink from the store. Its fun to me. I’m weird like that. But that doesn’t mean I don’t leave on a trip without plenty of food and drinks ahead of time. It saves money, but it also means if we get stranded we have atleast one day before we turn to canablism canibleism cannibalism.

5. Phone chargers are essential. How else will you power your GPS and make sure you can use your phone to Google how to spell words like cannibalism.

6. You can’t change geography. I’ve been trying to figure out how to move Arkansas out of the way for over 7 years. I’m resigned to the fact its not happening.

7. Sleep. Just don’t sleep while you’re driving. That’s bad. But get plenty of rest so you can have good reflexes while driving when you deal with asshats. See #2. If you get tired on your trip, pull over and rest awhile.

8. Don’t text and drive. I’d like to be able to go, “Do I even need to say this?” But then drinking and driving is still an issue so that provea to me that this needs to be said. Let your passengers do the texting. If you don’t have passengers, just ignore the phone until you reach your destination.

9. Enjoy yourself. Take in the scenery. Listen to good music. Make it fun. Don’t look at a trip as a daunting task. Look at it as an adventure.

10. Be careful. This goes without saying. Look out for wildlife crossing.  Slow down in wintery weather. Turn on your headlights in the fog. Your most basic driving techniques and lessons can be the things that get you there safely.

Safe and happy travels everyone!!


Categories: travel Tags: , ,

One month until Christmas

November 25th, 2013 No comments

ChristmasImageIts one month until Christmas, and I have been trying REALLY HARD to fight falling into it before Thanksgiving. I hate how Christmas has so diminished Thanksgiving… especially with Black Friday commercialism. (But that’s another post later this week.)  However, its being made extra hard to keep Thanksgiving first when its as late as it is this year…

My family celebrated “turkey day” yesterday, and it was amazing. An extra bonus to be thankful for this year was the fact that my husband got to join us… much to the surprise of everyone. The original plan had been to celebrate Thanksgiving with my brother’s family, then my parents and I would make our way to Nashville to celebrate Thanksgiving with my husband on Thursday. However, due to how my husband’s show’s landed and other details not worth going into here, he instead joined us in Texas to celebrate with my brother’s family…

My WHOLE family together. I can’t even begin to describe how thankful I was on Sunday to look around and see the faces of all these people I love so much… these people I hold so dear. THANKSGIVING it was!!!

So now… I don’t feel quite so guilty starting to turn my focus to Christmas. My husband I took our pictures for our Christmas cards tonight. (The photo in this post is one that didn’t make the cut… ) I got those ordered along with my Christmas stamps. My nephew gave me his Christmas list, and my niece gave me some ideas. I’ll be ready to go Christmas shopping soon. Oh and I already know what I am doing (and have half the stuff purchased) for co-worker gifts.

I suppose… I suppose I am more ready for Christmas than I thought! Maybe we’ll decorate my house later this week, and I must get a trip to Opryland Hotel in soon to take in the lights. Last year, I only went for a photoshoot. This year, I want to go strictly to enjoy myself.

The countdown has begun… One month to Christmas. Let the cheer begin!

Categories: holidays Tags: , ,

Five on Friday: Quotes from Kennedy

November 22nd, 2013 No comments

On this 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of President John F Kennedy, I thought I’d take a moment to share 5 quotes that we might need to hear today…

  1. “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”
  2. “The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all.”
  3. “I would rather be accused of breaking precedents than breaking promises.”
  4. “If we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.”
  5. “Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”


BONUS… the most famous quote of them all…

And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.


Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.
(Speech prepared for delivery in Dallas the day of his assassination, November 22, 1963)



Special note:

Categories: five on friday Tags: , ,

#DrinkUpLinkUp — Shiner White Wing

November 22nd, 2013 No comments

I love when I have a conversation one day, and then a couple days later that conversation’s topic jumps up again elsewhere.

Monday night, I was talking about how Shiner has been doing a yearly brew for the last several years. Specifically:

  • Shiner 96 — Märzen/Oktoberfest
  • Shiner 97 — Bohemian Black Lager
  • Shiner 98 — Bavarian Style Amber
  • Shiner 99 — Munich Style Helles Lager
  • Shiner 100 Commemorator — Starkbier
  • Shiner 101 — Czech-style Pilsner
  • Shiner 102 — American Style Double Wheat Ale
  • Shiner 103 — Wild Hare Pale Ale

I mentioned they had to be on 104, but I had no idea what it was. Then two days later it appears on my Facebook feed. Shiner White Wing. Then today, I snagged myself a six pack of it. Serious. Joy.

 Shiner White Wing

Now, anyone familiar with my beer preferences knows I call myself a “wheat beer girl,” so when I found out 104 was a Belgian-style wheat ale I might have squealed. Out loud. In fact, no might to it… I did.

That cloudy, golden color. That bright white head. I’ll take that over any other beer ANY day.

Shiner White Wing

If you’re looking for the next Blue Moon,  you’re not looking in the right place. Personally, I compare it more to the classic Hoegaarden and I can’t wait to try my next glass with a squeeze of lemon. It’s more about the wheat than it is the orange and coriander, so it ends very dry on the palette.

Shiner White Wing

Hoegaarden was my first favorite witbier, and I regret having strayed from it over the last five years. I’ve become a big fan of Shocktop, even over Blue Moon, because its much more fruity of a flavor. But when I took my first drink of Shiner’s White Wing, I was slammed back in my memory of my first favorite. I love me a fruity beer (see Abita Strawberry Harvest) but sometimes… sometimes you gotta go back to the flavors of the standards that have stood the test of time.  I’d expect nothing less from oldest independent brewery in Texas than to bring to my taste buds a classic witbier flavoring. And boy did they deliver! Love it!

Shiner White Wing


Categories: drinkuplinkup Tags: ,

Airplane mode

November 20th, 2013 1 comment

I flew from Nashville to New Orleans to Austin today. It was a full day of travel, but it was made much more amusing by a change by the FAA.

I got to leave my cell phone on the entire time. In airplane mode, of course. But no need to power down or back up. I could read, play games, whatever from start to finish. Both my flights happened to be Wi-Fi enabled planes, too, which was just… BONUS. I was able to play on Twitter, Facebook and Words with Friends the entire time I traveled.

It was kinda awesome. It made the time pass much faster, and, like I said, it made the trip a bit amusing. Tweeting from somewhere over Mississippi. Craziness.

But here is my favorite part. I could finally take photos coming in and out of the airports… images I’ve wanted to capture for years now will finally be captured. I am positively giddy about that fact.  Twitter, Facebook, etc. is awesome if the flight has Wi-Fi. If it doesn’t though, I can snap my photos and listen to downloaded playlists off Spotify, happy as a clam. Thank you FAA for making this change!!

A few photos from today:

2013-11-20 13.44.12

Coming into New Orleans

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Over Lousiana

2013-11-20 13.54.17

Which way on I-10 do you wish to travel?

2013-11-20 13.54.29

Plane shadow

2013-11-20 15.57.19

Coming into Austin

2013-11-20 15.58.38


Wishing my husband a HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

November 19th, 2013 1 comment

362: My photography helper

Today is my husband’s birthday. Luckily we get to spend it together, as opposed to his being on the road. A couple years ago I got to be there when he played the Opry at the Ryman Auditorium on his birthday and the whole crowd wished him a Happy Birthday. Gotta admit, that’s pretty hard to top. But hopefully a nice day around the house followed by Jam Night downtown will suffice.

My husband is, of course, the musician of Musician’s Widow. He’s a piano player and a bus driver. He’s awesome at both and takes a lot of pride in doing them both professionally and skillfully. Both take him away from home, but both are something he’s passionate about doing well. And I admire that… and that fire makes ME passionate about both for him.

He loves motorcycles, and he’s even gotten me enjoying rides out on the bike. It was so busy this summer we didn’t get near enough ride-time and now its just too darn cold. He’s constantly looking at houses that are for sale, determined to find that perfect house when we are ready to purchase one. Looking out for our future, he always says, and for that I am SO thankful.

He’s my helper on photo shoots. I joke and call him my “pack mule” but really he’s my extra pair of eyes, often setting up photos I don’t see… but can make happen behind the camera. He sets it up. I shoot it. Basically. And I’m frankly a little nervous about doing a photo shoot this coming weekend without him!

He takes care of me, and he puts up with me. And God bless him for that! Between my being an Aggie (and c’mon even I know that alone is pretty much defined by others as an obsession), having constant sinus issues, having teeth that always seem to have something wrong, listening to me rant about everything from bar patrons to bad drivers, and frankly I can be pretty frustrating when I get upset and clam up (I do a mean silent treatement)… he takes it all in stride and sometimes even with an amused smile.

Look. I got me a good one. And I’m holding on tight, feeling very thankful.

I love you, honey! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!