kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

kayaking on Loch Leven near Glencoe, Scotland, 2018

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bake Sale

Last Saturday was Sam Houston High Band Booster’s annual Bake Sale and Barbeque. All band parents are expected to bake either a cake or two pies. Or for those not inclined to bake, a $12.00 donation may be made. Last year, I poured my heart into a pretty two-layer cake with colorful sliced gumdrops on white icing. My mother made me this cake when I was maybe 5 or 6 years old. The gumdrops look like jewels on a princess crown. To this day, it’s my favorite birthday cake ever. Anyway, back to last year, when I returned to the school later that afternoon to pick up my BBQ dinners, there was my cake, still sitting on a nearly empty bake sale table. No one had bought it. My heart sank. I told myself it was because I had covered the cake with that plastic wrap that’s kind of opaque, and no one could see how pretty it was. Nevertheless, this year, I considered simply writing the check in lieu of baking. Wouldn’t that be easier? But no, I decided I’d make a Pittsburgh favorite – jello cake. Jello cake, for my readers who don’t live in the ‘burgh, is a white cake with holes poked all over it, and liquid jello poured over so the jello sinks down into the cake and makes a pretty marbled effect. Since this is Mardi Gras season, I decided to make a Mardi Gras Jello Cake. I drizzled grape, lemon, and lime (purple, gold and green are Mardi Gras colors) over the cake and spread the top with Cool Whip. I had planned to decorate with purple, yellow, and green sprinkles, evenly dispersed over the cake, but Bob got to the sprinkles before me. With his hand, he deftly poured the sprinkles over the cake, and after about two minutes, this was the result.

Bob still surprises me. He still makes me laugh. He still knows how to make me smile.

By the way, it’s a bronco, not a horse. And notice I used clear plastic wrap this year. I don’t know if anyone bought it. I did not go back this year to find out.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Kemah, Texas

Did you know that Kemah, Texas is home to the third largest fleet of recreational boats in America? I did not. Until I read it on the website. After having visited Kemah today, I believe it. Marina after marina after marina all look like this. I think more boats live in Kemah than people.

Kemah, slightly southeast of Houston, is a touristy summertime kinda destination known for its boardwalk, amusement park, shops, restaurants. And, of course, boats. Which is why we were there. Bob was boat shopping. He seems to be fond of this little one with the red tarp.

We ate dinner at a humble little Italian restaurant called Frenchie’s. Came highly recommended by the boat broker, and he wasn’t kidding. The food was fabulous. I hadn't eaten homemade gnocchi's since I lived in Pittsburgh. Not far away is Johnson Space Center. When you walk into Frenchie’s restaurant, there are many photographs of astronauts that have eaten there. Bob says, “Well, if all these astronauts have eaten here, the food must be out of this world.”


We didn’t have time to stroll the boardwalk after dinner. Not this time. Maybe rather it was a lack of inclination. Like I said, it’s a summertime destination. This is winter. And right now it’s cold outside.

This may be the view out my kitchen window someday. I love kitchen windows. What do you see out yours?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Star Wars at the Lafayette Science Museum

The boys and I drove to Lafayette, La. today to see the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibit at the Lafayette Science Museum. The show was larger than I expected, chock full of props, costumes, clips, and directors’ comments as well as plenty of interactive robotics and science stations including weather, biomedical prosthetics, transportation of the future, space and aeronautics and more. There's a Millennium Falcon simulation we didn't get tickets for and a robotics video we didn't have time for. The show ends January 17.

Looking at the displays, I realized there must have been a few Star Wars episodes I missed. I didn’t recognize the white woolly snow creatures. I’ve never been a huge Star Wars fan. My boys wanted to see the exhibit. But it did bring back memories. Star Wars was one of the first movies I saw at a theater without my parents. Jaws may have been first.

Here’s Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder.

We also went to the planetarium. Nothing like a show on the stars, sun, and galaxies to make an earthling feel humble.

After our museum visit, we ate a fabulous dinner next door at Athena Greek and Lebanese Restaurant. Gyro, falafel, hummus, greek salad, and tiramisu . . . all delicious!

Got any Star Wars memories or stories you’d care to share?

May the Force be with you!