Toddler Proofing

Jim and I are being trusted with Tate for an overnight here at our home-away-from-home.  A home that is pretty much not at all toddler proof.  I figure between Jim, Bronson-the-service-dog, and I we can keep the kid safe.

Mo says Tate’s favorite place to explore is under the kitchen sink.  He knows all the off limits, dangerous stuff lurks behind those doors.  For toddler boys, the lure of “off limits” is hard to resist.

Options for cabinet locks are zillions.  Check out these three.  The third is patent pending.




I came up with my own patent-worthy design.  Maybe I’ll give up my new career as blogger-extraordinaire and go back to product design.


Hanging with the Kids

Yesterday I got to spend the day with my darling daughter, Mo, and her sweet son, Tate. He is an adorable twenty months old. We met at a local park. Tate was in the gym, insisting on kicking balls.


He had his first soccer lesson in the morning. Mo said he wasn’t interested in following the lesson “rules,” he just wanted to kick, kick, kick.

He will have 12 more classes.  He got a cute little blue soccer uniform.  Even if he never learns anything he’ll look very soccer-ish while at class.  Personally, I think trying to corral six 18 to 24-month-old toddlers would be a bit like trying to herd cats.

Eventually, Mo scooped him up; we strolled to their third-floor walk-up. Nana was about to expire after the second flight of stairs. And I wasn’t lugging a twenty-seven-pound toddler.

Mo fixed Tate a peanut butter and banana sandwich, along with a small pile of blackberries and raspberries, served on a clean pink frisbee. I was transfixed watching that dumpling gobble his food.

Then we went to his room where Mo put him in a sleep sack, read him a couple of books, sang “Twinkle Twinkle” and tucked him in for a three-hour nap.

While the kid slept Mo baked gluten free chocolate banana bread. Sinfully yummy.

We sat on the sofa and gabbed. It’s so good to spend time with my daughter. I’m interested in the way she thinks, the job she does, her political viewpoint.  She maintains now that she has a baby the grandchild will eclipse her.  She entertains me loads.  She’s funny and smart.  So is her husband.  Tate will be all that times two!  Possibly he will eclipse her.  🙂

Tate woke up refreshed and giggling. He listened to the Little Blue Truck book again, identifying all animals and making cow and horse sounds.


Then he tucked into his after nap snack of warm chocolate banana bread and blueberries.

When asked if he wants something he does not desire Tate responds, “no no.”  If he does want it, he says, “yeah.”

“Do you want more berries?”
“no no.”
“Do you want more banana?”



Do you want to watch Soccer Rocker?  “Yeah.”


This is a screen shot of Tate’s favorite TV video.  These strange costumed children sing and dance to a song called “Soccer Rocker.”  I’ve had the damn tune stuck in my head since yesterday afternoon.  Tate loves it.


Here he is entranced by the silly song.  Mo and I pranced around trying to get him to dance, but he was absorbed.  I wonder, why is that belly darling at twenty months, but horrifyingly unattractive by sixty-five?  Not fair.


Watching soccer rocker with his canine brother, Calvin.

After the snack and “Soccer Rocker“, Mo dressed him, and we were off to meet a friend for a playdate at the park we’d been to earlier. Tate wanted nothing to do with the other kid. He wanted nothing to do with the park.  His goal was to escape the outdoor fenced area and find his way into the gym.

He turned wonderfully, rebelliously twenty months old and let us know in no uncertain terms he was NOT happy hanging around outside.

His “no no’s” got progressively louder and more definite. Accompanied by tears.

“Do you want to swing?”
no no.
“Do you want to slide?”
“NO NO!”

Jim was coming to pick me up. I asked, “Do you want to see Jim?”
Tate replied, “yeah” and headed to the gate next to the gym.  Oops.

Tonight we get to babysit while Mo and Stephen go on a date.  Yippee!

Chicago. An Interesting Adventure.

Friday friends Brookie and Earl hiked into the city and joined us for a field trip to the Chicago History Museum. It’s a short walk through Old Town to get there. The exhibit I found most interesting was couture clothing designed by Mainbocher.

Chicago-born Mainbocher (1890–1976) established a fashion empire serving royalty, Broadway icons, and the social elite. Raised in a modest home on the city’s West Side, he leveraged his passion for the arts to become a tastemaker of twentieth-century style. His acclaimed designs include the wedding dress for the Duchess of Windsor in 1937 and a corseted style that anticipated Christian Dior’s New Look.

He was known for adding jewels and embellishments so his clients wouldn’t mess up the looks with their own jewelry.

Notice the little cream dress with the “apron.”  Mainbocher designed aprons to add to gowns to change up their looks.  Clever.  These dresses are timeless.  Love the ruffles down the back of the orange gown.




Highly regarded for his impeccable construction and understated elegance, Mainbocher balanced his elite brand by designing uniforms for the United States Navy, the Girl Scouts of America, and Chicago’s Passavant Hospital.


I picked up a $5 pack of postcards featuring fancy couture clothing. At the checkout, I learned, I could get the cards for free if I bought a coffee table couture clothing book. The book is usually $30, but for the run of the couture clothing show, it was $15. So I yanked out my “What’s In Your Wallet?” card and ponied up the $15 big ones. I’ve been writing postcards like mad.  And the book is fascinating.

Not all of these are Mainbocher designs.  I particularly love the one on the right, center.  It’s a 1938 Adrian evening gown.  Gilbert Adrian was best known for Hollywood film costumes.  This dress, constructed from many different pieces of silk crepe, demonstrates the influence of Cubism.



9:30 a.m. My sleepy-head boys (Bronson and Jim) just crawled out of the feathers. I walked Bdog at eight, but he always has to climb back onto his bed until Dad get’s up. Some days I don’t see those two until nearly 11 a.m. Gifted sleepers, both.



We arrived Wednesday. Lugged all our stuff up to our sixth-floor condo. This is our first condominium experience. It’s also our first Airbnb experience where the homeowner lives here full-time. She packed her bags and moved out for our two-week visit.  Her clothes are in the closets, food in the frig, toiletries in the bathroom. But the place is clean, and the location is excellent.

The view from our balcony.


Wednesday we had dinner with Mo (my daughter), her husband Stephen, and Tate the Great! Baby Tate has grown up so much. He is a cutie patootie.



Stephen grilled marinated skirt steak. It was delicious.  I’ll add it to our menu rotation when we get home. I should have photographed the food. But I was too busy snapping shots of my darling little grandson.

Mo and Stephen “sleep trained” Tate beautifully.  His pre-crib ritual consists of reading two books followed by Mom and Dad singing “twinkle twinkle little star.”  The child goes right to sleep without making a peep.



Today we meet friends Brookie and Earl for a tour of the Chicago History Museum. I’m sure on our walk there we’ll see jets. The Air and Water Show is this weekend.  Practicing planes have been zooming loudly overhead since we arrived.

Plans for tomorrow include Andersonville neighborhood and shopping for vintage buttons. That was to happen yesterday, but grocery shopping took precedence. Food trumped buttons? Go figure.

Other road trip experiences are as follows.  I still need to write about our cool visit to Liberty, Missouri.

JFK Assassination Tour


Waco. The Silos!

Waco. Day One.

Conroe, Texas. The adventure continues.

On the Road with Team Shepard


JFK Assassination Tour

A private JFK assassination tour was something I dug up on the internet. Our guide, Robin Brown, met us at 10 a.m. in Dealey Plaza next to the Book Depository.

We had two choices of transportation, either Robin’s large air-conditioned SUV or a 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible replica of the car JFK and Jackie had been in on that fateful day.

Dallas in August? It didn’t take long to decide against the convertible. I’m sun adverse.  I even purchased a white umbrella to shade me in both Waco and Dallas.

We dropped Bronson off at The Happy Hound, then grabbed a quick breakfast near Dealey Plaza.

The Happy Hound build out was pretty jazzy.  Note the dog bone ceiling and hand painted view of the sea.

Robin was waiting when we arrived a couple of minutes after ten. He ushered us to two shaded park benches and asked us what our interest in the assassination was. Neither of us is intensely fascinated, but like all Americans alive in 1963 we remember it vividly.

Robin then told us a bit about himself. He was nine when Kennedy died. At nineteen he saw the Burt Lancaster movie Executive Action, and his interest in conspiracy theories ignited.

Robin and I were seated side by side on one bench, Jim across from us on the other. Robin stated, “Lee Harvey Oswald did not kill Kennedy.” I glanced at Jim and saw an incredulous look cross his face. The same look he gave me when I hired a pet psychic and suggested a ghost tour.

I gulped, thinking, “It’s gonna’ be a long three hours.” I’d paid nearly 300 dollars for the excursion, and clearly, Jim wasn’t happy about the arrangement.

We sat on those benches for two hours while Robin explained the dynamics of the conspiracy. Jimmy’s ass isn’t as padded as mine. I could see him getting restless. Finally, Jim suggested we move.

Robin led us to his large van, turned on the A/C and continued the lecture. After another hour he suggested we walk to Dealey Plaza, while he pointed out certain places like the two X’s on the road where the first and second shots hit Kennedy. He had us study the sixth-floor window of the Book Depository from the vantage point of the first “X.”

Note the picket fence on the left of the diagram, as well as where Zapruder was standing on a plinth while filming the motorcade.

From that point, looking back, it seemed unlikely the shooter could have seen the motorcade through a large live oak tree growing between the Book Depository and the place JFK was shot. The Warren Commission stated that tree would have been bare in November. But in Texas, live oaks drop their leaves in early spring.  That sixth-floor window was behind Kennedy.


The Warren Commission stated Kennedy’s murder happened when he was shot in the back of the head. The Zapruder films show Kennedy reacting to the first shot by grabbing himself on the throat. The second shot blew out the back of his head, so must have hit him in the forehead. His skull and brains are what Jackie, in shock, climbed onto the rear of the limo to retrieve.

Later, a doctor who had worked on Kennedy stated in an early interview outside Parkland Hospital,  the neck wound was an entry wound.


Further, eyewitnesses put Oswald on the second floor of the book depository moments before the shooting. How could he have galloped upstairs, aimed, pulled off three shots in seconds?

Then there was the “magic bullet.” That is some convoluted tale about one bullet smashing through Kennedy, then hitting Connelly.

Two factors transform the single–bullet theory into the magic bullet theory:
The necessity for the slug to have changed direction twice: on entering President Kennedy’s back, to come out of his throat, and again on exiting his throat to hit Governor Connally close to his right armpit. The “magic bullet” theory asks us to believe the same unlikely trajectory.

Connally, for the rest of his life, questioned the single bullet theory. In 1966, he told the press, “I am convinced beyond any doubt that I was not struck by the first bullet,” and added, “but just because I disagree with the Warren Commission on this one finding does not mean I disagree with their overall findings.”

The ten-month investigation by the Warren Commission of 1963–64 concluded that President Kennedy’s murderer was 24-year-old ex-Marine Lee Harvey Oswald and that Oswald had acted entirely alone.

Many witnesses that day heard shots coming from behind the grassy knoll, which was bordered by a picket fence. Further many witnesses heard lots of shots, not just three.

Who might have profited from Kennedy’s death?  Several people.  J Edgar Hoover and Andrew Dulles loathed Kennedy. Hoover was due for mandatory retirement at age 70. He asked Kennedy to waive the ruling. Kennedy wouldn’t.  Meanwhile, Dulles, CIA head, had been fired by Kennedy. He too had an ax to grind.

Upon becoming President, Johnson waived Hoover’s retirement age.  Hoover was still in office upon his death in 1972.  Further, Johnson appointed Dulles as one of seven commissioners of the Warren Commission to investigate the assassination of the U.S. President John F. Kennedy.

The appointment was criticized by some historians, who have noted that because Kennedy had fired him, and Dulles was, therefore, unlikely to be impartial in passing judgment. In the view of journalist and author Stephen Kinzer, Johnson appointed Dulles primarily so that Dulles could “coach” the Commission on how to interview CIA witnesses.

Also, Kennedy had signed executive order to begin pulling troops out of Viet Nam. Big money wanted the war to escalate. With Kennedy out-of-the-way and corrupt Johnson in office, escalation would be likely.

The most damning evidence of a cover-up to truth remains the Zapruder film. Buried until Robert Groden brought it to light.

Groden is the first independent individual to get his hands on a copy of the famous Zapruder film documenting the moment when a bullet entered the president’s head. Groden has spent almost a half century producing books, pamphlets, and videos arguing Kennedy was killed by more than one shooter.

He goes to Dealey Plaza every fair weather weekend and works from a table by a banner that says, “Grassy Knoll.” He and his assistant are always a hit, drawing big crowds from among the tourists who throng the plaza most weekends.  He happened to be there on the day of our tour.

Robert Groden

Some of his books have been bestsellers. He has consulted on movies and documentaries including Oliver Stone’s 1991 movie, JFK. In 1976 he was the chief photo-optics consultant to the U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations, whose findings included the suggestion that more than one assassin probably was involved in the killing of Kennedy.

The tour that was to last three hours went on for six. There was no charge for the extra three hours, and Robin declined a tip. He truly is dedicated to bringing the truth to light.

At the end of our tour, we were both convinced Oswald, if involved, was not the only person in on the assassination.  And best of all, Jim had dropped the “Holy Smokes, my nutty wife has gotten us into yet another weird situation” attitude.  Yay, me!

The rooming house Oswald lived in at the time of JFK’s murder.



The theater where Oswald was arrested.



Another puzzling fact is that only Clint Hill, Jackie’s security detail, made a move.  Not one other secret service man lifted a finger. Odd.

If you want to do a bit of research check out The three hobos, and the two Oswalds.  

Fascinating stuff.



Such Joy! We’re in Illinois.

I am so behind on my blog. We had excellent adventures in both Dallas and Liberty, Missouri. But those will take more thought and energy to write than I have in my weary fingers tonight.

Instead, I’ll give a quick rundown on our arrival in Illinois. We left Liberty Missouri this morning. We had our first ever Denny’s breakfast experience. Shame on me, I’ve been a lifetime Denny’s snob.

Denny’s was convenient and inexpensive, so we checked it out. Who woulda’ thunk they would have gluten free English muffins?  I have been avoiding carbs.  But GF English muffins were irresistible. I ordered mine “buttered in the kitchen.” The waitress, upon delivery, said, “The cook has never had anyone ask for a gluten free muffin buttered, only toast.” Huh? Butter is such great food group. Number two only after cream cheese.

Then we were on the road. We listened to Devil in the White City. I read it when it first came out. Jim rarely wants to read anything I read. Maybe he thinks I like “chick lit?”

I’m enjoying this book as much the second time around as the first. While absorbing the 19th century Chicago Worlds Fair and a whole lot of murder, I finished a scarf and began another.

We had to stop at Michael’s in Liberty for more yarn. This new scarf is for our friend JR’s girlfriend, Melinda. Plum, blue, cream. I’m looking forward to vintage button shopping in Chicago’s Andersonville and adding plum buttons to my collection.

We drove. We listened. We crossed the “mighty Mississippi” for the second time in one road trip. Pulled into our hotel about three p.m. We hadn’t had lunch, so we planned an early dinner. At about five I said, “Honey…can we eat soon?” Jim glanced at his self-winding watch and suggested we wait until closer to dinner time.

The self-winding had run down hours earlier. Jim was unaware of the time. I pointed out it was, in fact, dinner time.  I’m not a happy hungry person so Jim grabbed our “Miss Mamie’s” 10% off coupon ( after first checking out reviews) and we headed to dinner.

Miss mamie.jpg

It was yummy, and I have enough left over for tomorrow’s lunch. I have put a note-to-self on top of the cooler to remind us to take the chicken out of small frig in the morning. Along with Jim’s wee-teeny cinnamon bun. The pre-dinner bread basket included two. He gobbled the first before his meal; the second will be breakfast.


My lemon chicken.  Delish.


Jim’s ribs.  He said mine are better, but I suspect he’s buttering me up.


Our waitress, Elaine, has celiac sprue. She felt my pain at missing out on the bread basket. But I had the marvelous morning GF English muffin, so for a celiac that’s splendid.  She loved our service dog!


The weather here is a fabulous 80 degrees. The grass is soft, not the saw blades of Floridian lawns. I adore living in Florida. But not in the summer and never the lawn.


Tomorrow Chicago! We already have two Tate babysitting gigs lined up. Life is stupendous.


Today we had fascinating private JFK assassination tour. So much to tell. We learned that the public wasn’t privy to many facts about that heartbreaking day.  But I’m too tired to fill in the details. Maybe tomorrow.

Two hours before the tour started, we had excitement.  I was attempting to shut off the water when this happened.  And no, I wasn’t able to save the day by putting my finger in the dike.


We were told we’d get a different room at the end of the day.  We piled all our stuff into Gracie, the marvelous mini-van, and waved goodbye to Robert, the soaked to the skin maintenance man.  We dropped Bronson off at The Pet Resort and raced to meet our tour guide.

While sitting in our suitcase, in the 100-degree heat, my hormone replacement therapy meds, used to living in air-conditioning, melted down into a lump of paraffin.

Who knows what kind of hot flashing freaking out menopausal monster I’ll turn into within the next few days?  Poor Jim.

My family doctor is off until Monday.  But, YAY, my brother-in-law is a doctor.

Eek!?!  I just remembered, he retired a couple of weeks ago. Can he still prescribe?  OMG.  Oh well…Too late to fret about it now.  Time to crawl into the feathers.  First I’ll crank the temperature down to arctic levels.  Take that, Hot Flashes!



Waco. The Silos!

We were told to arrive very early at the Silos. Otherwise, we’d meet long lines and stand in the oppressive August heat. We bounded (Lie. Hobbling is more our morning style) out of bed. Sucked down a cup of La Quinta coffee and headed to Happy Hounds, Bronson’s play-date for the day. Dropped the kid off and he never even looked back. He must have been ready for some canine companionship.

Front door, Happy Hounds.



Lovely greeting from the other kids at daycare.


While driving to the Silos, I suddenly remembered I’d left my engagement ring, as well as my mom’s engagement ring, in our hotel room.

My mother’s ring has enormous sentimental value. Daddy sold his blood while getting his masters degree at the University of Michigan. He wouldn’t buy food. Every blood earned nickel was saved to purchase that ring.

As for my engagement ring–I adore it and the man who gave it to me. We raced back to the room where I found both rings snuggling safely in their secret hiding place. (I’d tell you what that secret place is, but then I’d have to kill you.)

We arrived at the Silos shortly after their nine a.m. opening. Jim dropped me off by the bakery while he went to find parking. I opened my white umbrella–an Amazon purchase in anticipation of Waco and Dallas sunshine–and stood to wait for Jimmy.

But the bakery beckoned me. Just a peek? I had no money so even if tempted couldn’t purchase a gluten free goodie. It turns out there were only three GF options–all cookies. If they’d offered cupcakes, I would have waited for my bank, Jim, to show up. I would have purchased a devils food with buttercream frosting delight and eaten every darn carb laden crumb. But it wasn’t to be. Joanna, my thighs thank you.


The exterior of bakery.


Exterior of Shops


The place is divided into different areas.  Shopping housewares, shopping garden, shopping bakery, playing, relaxing, eating food purchased from trucks.


The place seemed busy-ish to us. Employees told us it was a VERY slow morning. Jim and I checked out the shopping. Every square inch has Fixer Upper styling. Almost each shopper was busily gathering items for purchase.




Cute way to display paint colors and wallpaper.  I will remember this for the next time I open a store.


I tried to interest Jim in a giant “Demo Day” hammer.  He prefers an easy chair and the newspaper.  Go figure.




The interiors are all about shopping. Exterior offers a giant fake grass play area, lined with black and white bean bag chairs to accommodate spectators. There are many picnic tables as well as bunches of food vending trucks. Few were open.


All of the merchants were local Waco restaurants. We wondered how the Gaines’ and the vendor’s split the monies. Do they rent space and also give up a percentage to the Silo business?

This was my favorite because my parents always wanted an Airstream.




We stood for a bit and watched families play on the faux grass. We sauntered around to suck in the atmosphere. We had driven from Palm Harbor, Florida to Waco for this experience. We owed it more than half an hour. By 11 a.m. we decided it was time to push on.

The big rusty silos in this shot aren’t open to the public.  We were told there are future plans for them.


As we left the Silos a bus-load of little kids got dropped off at a play yard next door.  Presumably, they were going to climb into those big plastic balls–each had a tube down the center–and roll sweatily around, then let another kid climb into the clammy cylindar and have their turn.  I was so glad not to be ten years old.


Next stop was the LaSalle Shoppes. Sixty-five vintage shops under one roof. My goal was to find buttons for the scarf I’m making. I hit pay dirt! Eight buttons and I got a discount. Whoo Hooo.

Then, because of all the wandering and button shopping, we were hungry. We had lunch at Cafe Cappuccino. An omelet with cream cheese and bacon for me, two eggs over easy/sausage/hash browns/toast for Jim. He has abandoned our “low to no carbohydrate” diet since the road trip began. He gets a hall pass since he does all the driving.

We then moved on to Spice Village. Located in a 1908 warehouse building in downtown Waco, Spice houses over 80 individual shops in a fun atmosphere. We thought we’d recognize many from Joanna’s televised shopping adventures. We didn’t. Nor did we buy anything.

road tip.jpg
If I had bought anything at Spice Village, it might have been this.


At that point, Jim had just about enough shopping for one day. We went to the Waco Suspension Bridge. The bridge is often featured in opening scenes of Fixer Upper. It’s a beautiful landmark and was the first bridge across the Brazos River serving as crossing on the Chisholm and Shawnee cattle drives. What most impressed me were the beautiful bronze sculptures. A herd of thirty cattle being driven by two cowboys astride horses.

I studied the steer for a long time, trying to sort out how many sculptures had been created. There were duplicates, but the placement was carefully orchestrated to keep clones from being obvious.





This little-painted rock was perched on the historical marker by the bridge.  Curious if it was glued on, I picked it up.


Here’s what the other side said.  I chose not to keep/give/re-hide.  I turned it around and left it for some other curious traveler.


Then we decided we needed coffee to wake us up enough for MORE FOOD! We went to Common Grounds, the eclectic coffee shop near Baylor Campus and a quick walk from our hotel. The proprietors are the proud owners of one of the season two Fixer Upper homes. I remember that episode was the one where Chip ate a cockroach. Yum.



Dinner was at George’s, and supposedly the locals love it. We found it underwhelming.

This morning Jim and Bdog let me sleep until 8:30. Fabulous. We poked around, drank some unfortunate La Quinta coffee, went to Honda dealer for new key-fob battery, and then had breakfast at a different Cafe Cappuccino location. Jim repeated his yesterday’s order. I added spinach to my cream cheese and bacon omelet. A green veggie now and again won’t kill me. I hope.

Today we only had a two-hour drive from Waco to Dallas, so I figured we might enjoy a little vintage button hunting on the way. I found a dandy antique store in some Podunk town along the way. I told Jim the place had GREAT Trip Advisor reviews. I chose not to mention there had been only two reviewers. Likely the owner and her sister.

No buttons. After that, I shut up and knit.

This has grown tons since I snapped the photo. By the time we get to Liberty, Missouri I might be finished!  I hope these are, in fact, the colors Melinda requested.


Tomorrow we have a three-hour private tour of the Kennedy assassination route. After that possibly the Bush Presidential Library. Bronson has another spa date.  He will be well worn out when we pick him up at the end of the day.

For some reason, he has been off his feed since we began the road trip. I wish I could say the same for us. Oink.

For dinner tonight, Jim has located an excellent Italian restaurant nearby.  Yay!  More food!  Tomorrow we tour Dallas.  The day after that eight hours in the car to Liberty.  We began listening to our second Stone Barrington romp this afternoon.  Stone got laid before chapter three was over.  That man has stamina.  By the time we reach Liberty he may need to be put into traction.

Waco. Day One.

We started at Harp Designs. Joanna Gaines collaborates with Harp owner Clint when she wants custom furniture created. Clint, a woodworker, and his wife owned and lived in the home next door. It was a Fixer Upper several seasons ago.

They have turned it into a B and B.  It can sleep twelve and costs $550-$650 a night.  I can understand their decision to move.  Since fame has struck I’m sure many were intruding on their privacy.  While we were there people were walking to their porch, snapping photos, peering into windows. Not me. Honest. But I did stand on the sidewalk and take a few shots.




Harp Design’s retail store sells things made of wood. Hand-turned candlesticks, wood napkin rings, and cutting boards. We bought a mug. We don’t need another mug, but it said “Harp Designs” on the side, so I wanted it in our cup arsenal.



Following lunch, we headed to McGregor, Tx for a gander at Magnolia House, Chip and Jo’s bed and breakfast.  They found this fixer upper while working with clients who were interested in opening a B and B. The clients passed on this home, but Chip and Joanna snapped it up.  They then added a ranch home in the back yard to house the couple managing their B and B.






I just read the couple has another B and B opening in the fall of 2017.  Maybe tomorrow we’ll roll past it before heading to Dallas.

Then we moved on to lunch at the Homestead Cafe, located in the Homestead Craft Village. First, we wandered Craft Village. I wondered if it was a Mennonite group. All the female workers wore long hair, pulled back severely, no makeup, and ultra-conservative clothing.

I learned Homestead Heritage owns the craft village. Homestead Heritage is an agrarian- and craft-based intentional Christian community.  Its literature stresses simplicity, sustainability, self-sufficiency, cooperation, service and quality craftsmanship. It also strives to live in peaceful coexistence with the land, other people, and other faiths.

Our lunch was delicious. The Heritage Cafe is in a charming rustic house. All interior walls are natural ship-lap. Do you suppose Joanna Gaines suggested that? I had jerk chicken tacos with avocado, mango, some mystery gluten free sauce and spicy, yet sort of sweet cole slaw.  Jim had the always-adventurous cheeseburger option.


Bronson was admired by one and all as he snoozed under our table.

On the way back to Waco we wandered through a large vintage/junk/antique warehouse Joanna frequents.  My goal was to find loose buttons for my current scarf.  None to be had.  There was a second option next door, but the yawns had caught up to me.

At that point, it was time to drive back into Waco, ferret out our hotel and check in.  I was exhausted. Crawled into my “Mishri” jammies. To explain, our little step-grand-daughter, Mishri, at about age three made “exotic” (think mismatched) clothing choices. Her parents allowed her to pick her outfits on weekends. Jim thinks my PJ choices smack of Mishri styling. Blue and green plaid pajama bottoms with a red and white striped t-shirt, perhaps?  Does this constitute letting myself go?  No matter, it’s comfy and since Mishri is adorable, dressing as she did makes me feel adorable too.  (I highly suspect the look is more becoming on a three-year-old than a sixty-five year old.)

Due to weariness,  dinner was something grabbed from our on-the-road cooler. Two cheese sticks for me. I was asleep before I saw what Jim picked. More on Waco Day two tomorrow.

Jim is standing at attention, hoping to get me to dinner before I opt for a second  night of cheese sticks.

Conroe, Texas. The adventure continues.

It’s 7 a.m. I must be where? Sleep still fogging my brain. Please wait while I swill a second cup of coffee.

Coffee quaffed, memory restored. I am sitting in the Conroe, Texas La Quinta dining room. Fellow diners include blue-shirt-guy. He chose to sit in the corner of an eight person high-top dining table. Best view of TV probably the reason. He’s about sixty, slim and eating a sliced banana.

The other person sharing this dining area is a stocky fellow. He picked a table placing his back to the television. But, like Linda Blair in true Exorcist fashion, he keeps spinning his head on his neck to look at the TV.  I wonder why he doesn’t move to the other side of his table.

Blue shirt just made a move. Filled a glass with juice. New person entered the scene and is chatting with Exorcist-man.

I woke at 7. Bronson sensed it and said, “Let’s go walk around.” So we did.

I was hopeful the morning Nazi would sleep late. We only have a 2.5-hour drive today. At home, that old man can snooze until 11 a.m. On the road, he bolts out of bed eager to hit the road.  But he crawled outta’ the feathers just as I dropped the dog off and was sneaking out the door.  I thought I was stealthy.   Stealth is difficult to judge when you’re deaf.  Note to self: Put in hearing aids next time I go on a covert mission.

Last night we had a nice dinner at Red Brick Tavern. There was a large crowd in spite of the rest of Conroe’s downtown being fast asleep.



Exorcist-guy is a bouncer. He keeps jiggling his right leg up and down. I can see it out of the corner of my right eye. Vigorous leg bouncing is a pet peeve. My options are as follows: Walk over to his table and scream, “Just stop with the damn leg bouncing!” or look the other way. Option two is probably smarter. I’ll try to position my self to take in the view to my left.

My view.  I failed to photograph “The Jiggler.”


View to my left.  Jiggler can no longer drive me bat-shit nuts.
Sigh…Gluten laden delights off limits for me.  But happily there are eggs.

Uh, Oh…the “time-to-go-Nazi” just strolled into the dining room. Did he trust Bronson to stay in the room? I keep glancing to my right watching for the animal to come rolling in.  The Jiggler-Exorcist-Guy is done so I’m free to look right again.

Last night at the Red Brick Tavern there were several guests seated at the bar. A woman, back to us, had pretty shiny long brown hair. Jim wondered if her face was as lovely as her hair. I suggested he be a spy, take a photo. The spying fell to me.

The lady in the glasses was my spy target.  Jim clearly enjoys seeing me skulk about on secret mission.

Other views from the dining experience are as follows.  I’d add more info, but Hitler awaits.


The “service” dog, taking in the sights.  Maybe he’s wondering if shiny-hair-woman is pretty.
sweet centerpiece
Jim’s meal.  I had fish tacos.
Live music about to begin.  Always so much better than dead music, don’t you think?

Time for eggs, then outta’ here before The Nazi scoops me up.  He said, “Take your time.” but that freedom won’t last long.  I still need to eat and apply war paint.  Next stop WACO!