The weather has been delightful here though now it is getting really dry and we could use some rain. But I'll take these cooler (by our standards) temperatures. We are allowed to vote early in Texas so we went on Friday since Rebecca didn't come and afterwards went to Culver's to grab a burger.
We ended up meeting Jay and Stella for dinner Saturday night at El Chaparral Mexican restaurant, a new one close by. This venue has been several things but never made a go of it until now. The food was great and the guitar player was even better. I think we may have found a new favorite.
We went to church early on Sunday and stayed around the house the rest of the day. Rebecca had changed her day from Friday to Monday so Ted ran a lot of errands while she was here. I worked in my office getting things done.
I was up at 5 a.m. on Tuesday. I picked Jacque up at 6:15 and we proceeded to Starbucks to pick up Susan, Janeen, Pat and Donna Marie. We had to be at the Junior Forum office at 7 a.m. to leave for Orange, TX.
As soon as the bus pulled out we were given ham and cheese burritos and juice for breakfast. We played a game a good part of the way. Everyone had to write something no one knew about them and others had to guess who it was. I was guessed as having graduated over 50 years ago and being the shortest girl in my class. Those clues weren't me. But I won a bottle of wine when no one knew I sold my name to a company I worked for to use in promotions and advertising. To this day I don't know if they ever used it.
Our first stop was the Stark House, a distinctive three-story 1894 Victorian mansion. The owners, W. H. and Miriam Lutcher Stark, owned the Lutcher and Moore Lumber Co. They both died in 1936. The house stood empty until 1976 when it was restored and entered in the National Register of Historic Places. The house had never been damaged nor vandalized. The furnishings had been stored in warehouses. Thanks to a former nurse and housekeeper, much information was available as to the appearance and placement of the belongings. It was a wonderful way to start our day.
Next we went to the Stark Museum of Art. Many Remington and Russells were on exhibit along with a couple Georgia O'Keeffe paintings. The docent gave pairs of us a word and we had to identify a picture that depicted that. Jacque and my word was LONELY. We chose an Indian standing on a snowy mountain holding his dead son. The docent said there are no wrong or right answers. She praised us for noticing the child in his arms because many people miss that.
We moved on to Shangri La Botanical Gardens & Nature Center, 252 acres in the heart of Orange, TX. It features over 300 species of plants in nine formal gardens. It also includes a Nature Discovery Center, a laboratory and three outdoor classrooms. We were told our admission helped pay for 75 school children to visit the Nature Center and includes their transporation there.
We were given box lunches of chicken salad croissants, chips, cookie, raisins and drink. We ate outside in the garden in very pleasant sunshine.
There were 126 scarecrows decorated by businesses, schools, organizations, etc. scattered throughout and we were asked to vote on our favorite. There were so many great ones it was hard to choose.
No day is complete without shopping so our next to last stop was at Paragon's Gift Shop. All Halloween items were 50% off and I found a metal magpie, dressed as a farmer for my front porch. I put him out there this morning and he looks nifty.
Dinner was at the Sunset Grove Country Club. It was served buffet style and was very good. You have no idea how much loud chatter 48 women can make!
It was about 9:15 when I finally got home but it had been a delightful day and worth the small sacrifices I made. I would like to go back to Orange to revisit these venues and take a bit more time to see them more thoroughly.
Ted left this morning for Dallas and I played Canasta. We still have several new people playing and it is a bit trying when several people don't know the rules just yet. But they'll learn in time, we just have to be patient.
With Ted out of town I stopped by the country club for Happy Hour with the girls. I forgot about Survivor and didn't set my DVR. It was half over when I got home! I've not been into this season for some reason. I can't get enthused about any of the contestants.
I have to be at Michele's at 8:15 tomorrow morning. It's her turn to get her eyebrows touched up and we're going together again. Emily will take a look at mine to see if they need any touching up. No one has mentioned them so I'm confident they look very natural.
I've not planned a big weekend so we'll just see what develops.