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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day, Jan!

Happy Valentine's Day!

It's been said many times that you never know how one event in your life will change it forever. Answering a phone or a question, taking a chance, any of these might be the most important thing that happens in your life. Writing this note, I am thinking about the phone call I received from my cousin in the summer of 1969, asking me if I would like to go on a blind date with his girlfriend's best friend on Saturday. Little did I know (how could I?) that saying yes to that invitation would be the most important moment in my life.

So you and I went with Steve and Pam on our first date of many, spent our first evening of many, on the road that lead to marriage and our life together. What would my life have been like if I had said no? It could not have been better or more wonderful than the life we've shared together has been.

Through the years, I put you through some difficult times. I apologize for that. Beginning a career, moving several times (once while you were pregnant with our son), making foolish choices, you always showed me the wisdom of your love. You showed me that if you want to be loved more, be more loving. If you want trust, be trustworthy. If you want help and care, be more helpful and caring.

You gave me patience when I was headstrong, but you were always vocal about where the line was; you know, the one I shouldn't cross. You cared for me always. You supported me in ventures that you were unsure of, and were joyful when they succeeded, sympathetic when they didn't. How would my life have been, if I hadn't said yes back in 1969?

And most importantly, you have been my foundation and support these last few years as I have battled medical problems and work issues. No one will ever know how much I appreciate you for that. You alone have seen me in my weakest and saddest moments, and have not let me down. I will never be able to say how much that means to me.

I tell you that "I love you more than life itself," and we smile in a loving way as if it were a joke. But what I mean to say is, I cannot imagine my life without you. I cannot picture not having you with me in my life. My life would be a dull, sad, lonely one without you to share my hopes, dreams, accomplishments, and failures. And who would share my favorite time of the day with me?

That is my Valentine's Day message to you. It is a poor attempt to tell you how lucky I am to be with you. You are more to me than I ever deserved or expected. I am just glad that I grew up enough to see it. Happy Valentine's Day, Jan.

love,
Mike

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Our Pesky "Pet" Squirrel

We have a "pet" squirrel living in a nest in the elm tree on the side of our house. Lots of times, I hear him scampering over the roof getting from one tree to the other. I have tried to catch a photo of him for some months, but he is very fast and I haven't been too successful.

It may be our cat, Aliyah, that makes him this way. I believe that Aliyah thinks that every squirrel, dove and wild bird in the yard is potential dinner. So, I don't hold it against the wildlife to be wary of noises and movement around the yard.

Well, serendipity struck this afternoon, and I got a fairly good photo of our pet squirrel. I opened the door, camera in hand, hoping to get a photo of a wild bird, and there he was. He was in the front yard, and as soon as he saw me up the elm tree he ran! I pointed, zoomed, and shot, and then he was gone. But I had my photo!

The picture you see is an extreme crop of the original photo. Thank goodness for lots of megapixels! I tried to sharpen and enhance the closeup without getting too fake or pixeled, but you can be the judge. Sometimes you gotta take what's handed to you!

Well, thanks again for stopping by my weblog. I always appreciate vistiors. You are the reason I do this. More soon..... Mike

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Real Nice Cafe in Kerrville


One of the nicest things about traveling around Texas while I try to sell things is finding a great little restaurant in a place you'd never expect to. Since our family has "train fever" (started several years ago by my brother Bill and carried to new heights by my daughter Amy and the boys), I am getting pretty good at spotting train-oriented stores and restaurants around Texas. For instance, there is a nice restaurant in Brady TX called the Cafe at the Depot Restaurant that is housed in the train depot right beside the railroad tracks running through town. Jan and I have eaten there several times, and we enjoy looking at the old train memorabilia and pictures while we eat.

But, there aren't any train tracks running through Kerrville, at least not now, so I was very surprised to see the (small) sign for the Rails, A Cafe at the Depot off to my left as I drove back to the hotel to pick Jan up for lunch. We decided that it would be a good thing to try a new restaurant this time, especially since its theme was trains and railroads.

The restaurant has two small rooms with high ceilings and tables for two and four near the front entrance. Towards the back there is a larger area with tables that can seat 6 or more. There are pictures of trains along the walls, toy trains in some of the corners, train tickets and menus from the San Antonio & Aransas Pass Railroad in shadow boxes, and more nostalgic and interesting train "stuff" around the rooms to keep our interest as we waited. We sat in the smaller room (to the left as we walked in) and were greeted by a friendly young man dressed all in black, which seemed to be the uniform dress of all the wait staff.

We started out with the spanokopita with peppadew sauce appetizer, a greek "ravioli" with spinach and feta cheese inside a crusty flaky phyllo wrap in the shape of triangles. They were so good and artfully presented. The peppadew dipping sauce was spicy without being too "hot," and was very much like chipotle sauce that we had had in other restaurants. We enjoyed that very much, and couldn't wait to get to the main course. Jan ordered the Soup of the Day, the Spinach Artichoke Florentine, and I ordered the Chicken Quesadilla Special that was actually two flour tortilla chicken soft tacos with sweet/hot red peppers and the same peppadew/chipotle sauce drizzled over the top. We were well satisfied and had no room for desert. Too bad! I would have liked to try the peach cobbler....

OOPS, I forgot to mention the wine list, and the wine Jan picked. The wine list is very unusual, with wines both local and California that I had not heard of before. Jan picked the Ironstone Obsession: Sierra Foothills, a sweeter white wine that reminded me of a Chenin Blanc, but milder and fruitier than that. It went well with our meal, and we will try to find some to take home with us for future meals. You can look at the menu and the wine list on their website.

There are probably many wonderful restaurants in Kerrville, and we intend to find them on other trips. But, we found a mighty good one on our first try at the Rails Cafe at the Depot. If you are ever in Kerrville, please stop by. You won't be disappointed.

Thanks for stopping by!