Monday, May 27, 2013

Nailed It!

Ah yes, Photorama time!

Noel and I have been very busy lately, what with working on the house, the garden, work (duh), and a little bit of traveling.  Photographic evidence below.

First, the house!  We've been working on fixing up our entertainment center.  When we moved in, it looked um....DIY.  And not necessarily in a good way.  We're updating it, fixing it, painting it, and doing some design work on it. It will be fabulous.  Now, I don't have any pictures of it that I can show yet (I want to display it all when it's finished), but I did want to show something that amazed and astounded me.  Despite all of the moving of large pieces of wood, the sanding, the caulking, the nailing, and the painting, I have somehow managed to maintain these:

Yes, they're real.  And yes, they're also hot pink.  Because summer.  Usually when I get vain about my fingernails and paint them, they understand that polish=self-destruct, and usually one or more will break within about 2 hours. 

But!  So far so good.  Anyone for bowling?

Ok, so next on our list of photos (I know that first one was a life-changer, so try not to get overexcited that more Time Magazine caliber pictures are on the way).  Our garden has started to produce!!  We have the weirdest, biggest mutant cucumbers ever.  (Except for Cukezilla a few years ago, that looked more like a small watermelon).  Behold the Bounty!

Summer squash (that will be fried this week), okra, little tomatoes (Noel says they're great in salads), and 2 types of cucumbers.  The one at the top is what most people think of when you say the word "cucumber."  The others at the bottom look like what most people think of when you say the word "prickly oversized zucchini monster."  They are, in fact, cucumbers.  The biggest we had so far was SEVENTEEN INCHES LONG.  That's...not normal.  But it tasted good!

We're freezing the okra for cooler weather, when it will be chopped up and fried.  Yum.  The squash won't make it through the summer.  :)

And although we were excited for the pretty squash, Loki was not impressed.

Next up, we have work.  Now my job (as a trainer/speaker/coach type) sometimes has awesome perks.  One of them happened last weekend (before Memorial Day weekend) with a speaking engagement in The Big D (and I do mean Dallas).  We packed our bags for a 2 day/2 night stay at a luxury resort! 

Samson helped with the packing.

We stayed at the Gaylord Texan, a gorgeous property in Grapevine, TX.  I don't know if any of you have ever seen a Gaylord hotel (other than you, Rachel, who has also seen the one in Nashville that is INSANELY HUGE).  But they are astounding.

The outside of the main hotel:

Also, the weather was gorgeous.  Bit warm, around 90, but beautiful skies, which we could see all the time in the hotel, because the Gaylord properties all have massive atriums (atria?) as the centerpiece of the hotel! 

(Thing In Sky!)

Because of the massive atrium setup, they have essentially a small town inside the hotel, complete with restaurants, shops, entertainment, gardens, trees, walking paths, etc.  At dusk they had these little lights all over the paths.

The Gaylord Texan has (surprise surprise) a Texan theme to it.  This area below was designed to look like San Antonio, and even featured a replica Alamo!  Do you see the little river in the middle of this picture?  It flowed all through the atrium, winding its way around little model train displays, gardens, restaurants, and seating areas.

Here is the same spot at night so you can see how pretty it was in the evening:

The food was some of the best we have ever eaten (seriously, I could eat their lobster bisque every day and be happy).  The staff was exceptionally courteous and efficient (even with my 2 am complaint about the screaming tweens in the next room - tip to parents: nobody thinks your loud obnoxious untrained children are as charming as you do).  There was a spa. Massages were had.  Even the breakfast delivered by room service was phenomenal.  My workshop also went very well. 

My only major quandry?  Why is it that all major humongous hotels have hallways that look like they came straight out of The Shining?