Category Archives: Armchair Tourist

Thursday Never List, Bumped to Friday

So, my day got away from me. But I figure I can still make some crappy list about something. This afternoon I was running errands all over several towns, like a chicken in need of crossing the road. And on the radio some station in New York City was announcing a giveaway for a trip for two to Los Angeles, CA. And my first thought was, during which season? Wildfire? Earthquake? Mudslides? Drought?? I’m sure it is a nice city but for me, it’s just a place to avoid like the plagues.


So, here is my list of five places I’ll never visit.

#5- Phuket

Sure, it’s a great destination for tourists. That’s why I never want to see it. Besides, just the thought of Thai peppers is enough to make me taste bile.

#4- Cancun

I prefer to fry my skin and get wasted in the comfort of my own country, where I only have to worry about being mugged, and not about being a sacrifice.

#3- Fairbanks, Alaska

I am more than sure it is beautiful. I’ve seen it on the Travel Channel. But where I come from, “sn*w” is a four-letter word.

#2- Calcutta

If I want to see a black hole, I’ll go to the NASAยฎ website.

#1- San Francisco

The only thing I like about it is a former prison. That should tell you just how much I abhor it.

If you have complaints about how late it is, take it up with the management. I hear she deletes as necessary is eminently fair ๐Ÿ˜‰

The Empress’ New Groove


These past two weeks have been a whirlwind here. Honestly, I had NO IDEA there was so much to do and see in this area. Probably because familiarity breeds contempt, or maybe because hey, I live here and have time to go later, or perhaps it had something to do with the fact that I just hate dealing with the “Are we there yet?” and “When are we leaving?” crap.

We get there when we get there!!!

Anyway, our friends flew back this past weekend, and I was left feeling bereft. I just didn’t know what to do with myself. Sure, I did laundry and cleaned up a bit, but after that I felt like I was wasting time if I wasn’t moving.

Weird, huh?

So today I shall be perusing blogs in the vain hope of catching up. My fingers will be typing, and that’s enough moving for today. Besides, tomorrow I get to play with my recently organized crafting stuff. I need to get into THAT groove again. I miss having my fingers stained with ink and glued together. Life is more challenging that way ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m Wondering….

Just how much of Skyrim can I take before I finally snap?


*heads off to see the Mummies*


In Vino Logica

Today I am finally going to a local winery for a tasting tour. I have been wanting to go for about…. Hm…. I want to say six months or so. Why? Because apparently I can only buy a certain wine at that particular winery and I need it like burning.

Let me attempt to explain the logic here. I like sangria. My father’s cousin used to make the best sangria ever, but she passed away before I was old enough to ask for the recipe. Don’t judge me. Anyway, I have tried sangria everywhere it was offered, hoping to find one that was close enough to her recipe, usually to no avail. Once while in Berlin we saw an offering at a biergarten. That alone should have tipped us off, but we went ahead and tried it. It looked like someone had *ahem* upchucked their fruit salad, and tasted just as vile. After that, I tried the bottled sangrias, but usually they are not sweet enough, and the citric acid tends to conflict with the alcohol somewhat.

Bunch of liars…

Fast forward to May 2012. The ladies of our local wine club make plans to go to the Wein and Sangerfest just north of here, and ZOMG!!! I find the best cheap sangria recipe EVAH!!

Texas Style Sangria

  • 1 6oz can of frozen orange juice concentrate, plus one can of water
  • 1 6oz can of frozen limeade concentrate, plus one can of water
  • 1 liter of grapefruit soda
  • 1 bottle Dry Comal Creek Foot Pressed Red Wineโ„ข

Blend limeade and orange juice concentrates with water. Add the wine, stirring well, then add the grapefruit soda, and stir well again. Freeze until slushy, or serve over ice if you are impatient, like me. Garnish with orange slices, or pass on the fruit if your impatient, like me. Those of you that are sharp-eyed will recognize where I originally posted this recipe.

Anyway, see that last item?? THAT wine is ONLY sold at the winery. Why?? Why can’t they offer it locally in all other stores that carry their brand?? It is a nice table wine, and a less expensive alternative to their Black White Spanish, which is also awesome, by the way. My point is, if you want people to buy your wine and entice them with an awesome cheap recipe, you should make said wine available to the masses. But no…. Now I have to make the sacrifice of an afternoon, and go to a tasting room just so that I can purchase a bottle or five of wine.

It’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make ๐Ÿ˜‰


There was a good reason as to why I didn’t write a post yesterday. A very good reason.

This was my first trip to attend, and it was awesome! The Gruene Music and Wine Fest is considered a stepping stone for performers, and attracts people from all over the USA. Several well-known country music stars got the start at the Fest, including Garth Brooks. Gruene Hall is still a popular venue as well as a tourist attraction. But I wasn’t there for the music, as good as it sounded coming from the Hall. Nope, I had missed out on Clint Black, so I set my eyes on the prize.

WHOOP!! Your very own tasting glass. For a fee of $20 (which in retrospect, is pretty steep) you get a cheap tasting glass and five tickets for five tastings. Now, there were dozens of wineries featured. DOZENS!!!! Five tickets were just not going to cut it, right? Luckily for the gals, Hubby had volunteered to be our designated driver in exchange for videotaping our drunken conversations, and he divvied up his tickets between the rest of us. And by a strange quirk of fate, we got extra tickets, so we didn’t have to buy any more! Iย โ™ฅ Fate. Anyway, we managed to sample some wines from several small wineries, finding some to be hidden gems in the rough, so to speak. Others….not so much. I do have to give a shout out to the best winery name we saw: Three Dudes Winery. I ask you: how can you go wrong with that?? And yes, their wine was very good. All in all, a great time was had by all, and I’m sure I will be making a return trip next year.

Next up on the fest roster: WURSTFEST!!

Because you can’t go wrong with German food and beer ๐Ÿ˜‰

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

It was a great week, and wonderful to get away from the dry heat here to the humid heat there!

The first day we just unwound, enjoying the views and the sound of the water below. As y’all know, the second day we went bowling, and it was a blast, especially witnessing my failings at it. That evening we decided to try fishing from the balcony.

Seriously, how can one pass that up, right??? But unfortunately most of the fish were scared off due to the high traffic on the lake, so nothing bit. But Hubby is never discouraged. We got out to the store and get chicken livers for bait. Apparently, catfish really like that stuff. Continue reading

Doing Nothing

Yep, that’s all I’m doing today.

Don’t worry. I shall regale you with my visit to the local tourist trap later.

But for now, the wine is calling ๐Ÿ˜‰

Finding Treasures

I must be the geekiest mom ever.

As I was setting up the mini laptop on the vanity, I noticed that there were some books available to read. Some not so well-known, like Houses of Stone, by Barbara Michaels. As light as it sounds, I will have to pass, in favor of the book right next to it:

Volume IX of the Encyclopedia Brittanica Great Books, Aristotle II.

Courtesy of Matthew Was Prey.

During my senior year in high school, our *ahem* petite virago known as our English V teacher was a devout follower of Mortimer J. Adler, who collected the works of influential writers into volumes called The Great Books. A philosopher and educator, he was most famous for his writings geared in layman’s terms. He claimed to write for people, not for academics, since they always wrote to each other. He also came up with the concept of The Great Ideas, words defined by the individual, such as “Beauty”, “Truth”, and ironically, “Idea”. Our English teacher was very adamant that we learn the concepts. Several exams can attest to that!

I never got around to reading the second volume of Aristotle’s works. I always meant to, but Life got in the way. And Fate, being the finicky weaver she is, has decided that I must finish what I started. It is no coincidence that this volume contains Politica and Rhetorica.

Who says I don’t love a little light reading?? ๐Ÿ˜‰

Things I Miss

Yesterday I was having a nice chat with a dear friend and it hit me: I miss a lot of stuff. No, I don’t mean that I need target practice. I mean that there are things I miss from my life and wish I could have them again.

I miss the sound of coquรญs, I miss having the choice of mountain or beach. I miss being able to walk into town for lunch or to see what’s going on in the plaza. I miss the ability to get in a car and drive to the river.

I’m thinking it’s time I flew to Puerto Rico for a visit ๐Ÿ˜‰

Accidental Tourist

I was reading my List of Things To Do Before I Dieโ„ข, remembering why I had placed certain activities, places, and things on it, when I came across this one:

#53– El Hierro, Islas Canarias

I still have relatives that live in the Canary Islands (which are not named for the bird, by the way). El Hierro, also known as Ferro, is the westernmost island of the group, and for a time was considered the westernmost point of the known world, as well as being the prime meridian.

El Hierro has no beaches, only rocky shores. That’s the main gulf of the island above. As I read my list, I tried to think of why on Earth I wanted to go there. It’s stark and sparse in population, and remote from the other islands.

And that’s the reason I wanted to go. To stand there, facing the ocean alone and unafraid, looking at what ancestors considered the end of the world would be humbling to my soul, and inspiring to my spirit. Sure, I would love to see beautiful places in the world. Who doesn’t?? But to be there, on the edge of the world, facing a setting Sun…that would be a thrill of a lifetime ๐Ÿ™‚