The month of January whizzed by! Seems like Christmas Day was only a couple of weeks ago.
|Elisabeth (BeBe), Zachary, Damien & Bill|
One day we took the 3 grandkids to see the big dinosaur exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. A good time was had by all.
|Tara Winery. Tara Bed & Breakfast house in distance.|
One week we made a trip up to Mabank, Texas, to visit long-time friends Bob & Barbara and very much enjoyed catching up with them. Also enjoyed some primo barbequed baby back ribs!! And they introduced us to the best fried pies in the world! These were so good that we bought a dozen assorted flavors of frozen pies to bring back to Houston. A high-calorie decadent treat. But, who cares! Cannot buy fried pies just any old day or place. Enjoy them while you can.
|Judy & Bill at Tara Winery. Ever so slightly tipsy.|
One day Barbara drove us to visit the Tara Vineyard and Winery. That was an especially fun day!! I think Bob secretly regretted not joining us this day. We each did a 'flight' of 7 wine tastings. Not one of us did the 'swirl in the mouth and spit' deal that one is supposed to do at wine tastings. We drank every single little glass, Which resulted in 3 smashed people eating lunch at the winery...each of us with another glass of wine.
|Bill & Barbara at Tara|
|Bill & Barbara at Tara|
|Bill and our tasting host at Tara|
But by the time our leisurely lunch was finished we were fine to drive back to Mabank. Bill and I bought 3 bottles of red wine from Tara which were in the $32-$45 bottle range. The Carriage House was especially good. We need to visit this winery again the next time we visit Texas.
|George W. Bush Presidential Library in Dallas|
|The immigration plan that should have been implemented.|
|Sign in the library, quoting then Gov. Bush.|
|Replica of Oval Office|
|Replica of Oval Office|
|Replica of Resolute Desk|
One quote from Sec. Rice hit home with me: "If you were in a position of authority on 9/11 then every day afterward was 9/12. You would do everything within your power to prevent another attack." We Americans have exceptionally short attention spans. That is one of our worst faults, and we really do need to remember 9/11. I appreciate Sec. Rice's comment and think we need to remember that as our country moves forward.
|Layout of White House|
Note upper left. When did USA have a Queen?
After a few hours at that library we drove down to College Station to visit with Bill's youngest brother, Theo, and his wife, Teresa. We saw them on Christmas Day but with 23 people celebrating Christmas that day there was little opportunity to quietly chat with them. We enjoyed the weekend at their home catching up with each other.
One week we drove down the Texas coastline to Corpus Christi. We have been searching for a place to buy a house that would be suitable for our eventual retirement from cruising. We are nowhere ready to stop cruising but know that eventually we will reach a point when we can no longer live on a sailboat. We are not getting any younger, and we realize that.
|Intercoastal Canal near Port Aransas|
Last summer we checked out real estate from Crystal Beach on the Bolivar Pennisula westward to West Beach on Galveston Island and realized that the entire area was now out of our price range. This time we checked out from Surfside all the way down to Corpus Christi. There were a couple of communities that would suit our retirement, but it all came back to "why live somewhere that is a 5 to 6-hour drive from Houston." So we decided to focus on older properties in Galveston that we could rent until we are ready to become CLODS (Cruisers Living On Dirt).
|Drilling platform under construction near|
There was a home for sale that we really wanted to see, but the tenant always had a reason not to let a real estate agent show us that house. So we never got to see the inside of that house that was our first choice. Maybe we would have hated the interior; who knows! But while driving the area we discovered another small house in the next block on the same street. And it turned out that the listing agent was my cousin! Small world.
This purchase was rushed. Unbelievably rushed. But the title company was able to process the documents quickly and we signed the contract today. And will sign a contract with a property management company tomorrow morning. Then fly back to Turkey tomorrow evening. The sellers are out of town and will sign their documents on Monday, so the sale is not complete just quite yet. The title company has our money and there is no reason to think that the sellers will cancel out at the last minute; they are motivated to sell quickly because they have a mortgage and want to be free of this property ASAP.
|Our 'new' little home in Galveston|
It will be perfect for us when we eventually retire.
Added 7 Feb 2014: Forgot to mention that our new little house is also only about 3 blocks from the Stewart Beach. This is one of the reasons we focused on Galveston for a retirement location. The sea has been such a large part of our lives. Cannot imagine living anywhere that we could not see the ocean. Or, in this case, the Gulf of Mexico.