Monday, Feb. 2 – Spent the day getting ready for a mini-vacation; The CEO is going to the National Cattlemen’s Convention in San Antonio, TX this week, and I decided to tag along with him. The boys will be staying at home by themselves, which ought to be an experience for them. It’s that more than anything that has me a little stressed. However, I think they’ll be all right. There’s plenty of food in the fridge and pantry, and they know how to take care of the dog. They can do laundry if necessary, and since Gaze got his driver’s license last month, we’re set for transportation to school.* My sweet MIL is going to come over and let the dog out for a bathroom break in the middle of the day so he’s not desperate.
*Sure, they could ride the school bus. However, there’s not that much point in getting up half an hour earlier and driving them half a mile to meet it (or getting them up 45 minutes early and making them walk half a mile to the bus stop. Particularly since they’ve both got after-school activities, and since Taz has that “zero period” Latin class at the middle school, he needs to be there before the bus could get him there.
Got the van inspected. I noticed on Saturday that not only had I missed the expiration date on the inspection sticker, I had missed it for THREE MONTHS. Yep. It should have been done by the end of November. I can’t really say why I didn’t notice, except possibly because this van, Stevie Ray Van, is exactly the same color and model as our old van, Eddie Van (Halen), but three years newer. Anyway, Eddie’s last inspection was in July, and I think the experience of driving Stevie Ray every day is so similar that I just forgot to look up at the windshield to check. WHOOPS. In any case, he’s inspected now.
Then Band Booster meeting, where I took notes as Secretary. Made dinner, packed up, made the boys an exhaustive list of instructions and tips and people to call if they needed help.
SOTD was testing DSH Perfumes Jacinthe de Sapphir from the Brilliant Collection. I loved the top and heart notes, which were indeed sparkling and lively, but eventually the fragrance took a note toward the balsamic and I’m Just Not Into That. Shame, really. There was a moment where it reminded me a great deal of a floral chypre done with hyacinth… a tiny bit like Deneuve.
Tuesday, Feb. 3 – Got the boys off to school and then The CEO and I took off for Johnson City, TN, to meet with our investment advisor about some investment opportunities. Then ran off to see some young heifers that The CEO had made plans to buy when they got old enough. They’re old enough now and we’ll be taking delivery of them next week, and he just wanted to check that they were doing okay, which they were. SOTD was Hermes Kelly Caleche edp, the more floral version of the soft vegetal/floral leather. The bottle was right there on my dresser as I was rushing out the door. I briefly considered a small vial of Fracas in the car, but decided that I really did not want to antagonize fellow travelers.
Then off to the Tri-Cities airport to hop a connecting flight to Charlotte and from there to San Antonio. (For some reason, it was cheaper for us to fly a two-leg flight out of Tri-Cities than to drive to Charlotte and fly directly out of there. Weird, huh? Don’t ask ME to explain airline economic decisions. I don’t geddit.) We had some delicious barbecue at Northwood Farms in the airport. For airport food that had vegetables but didn’t require an hour to eat and $50 a head, it was really a good choice.
Sitting on a plane making its descent toward San Antonio, it occurs to me that I really should have packed some Deneuve or some No. 19. Those would have been great. Alas, I did not pack either – I don’t have a decant of Deneuve and probably shouldn’t have risked my small parfum bottle anyway, but I do have a couple of decants and two vintage minis of No. 19 edt, more’s the pity. What I did bring? Decants of Iris Poudre and Dior Cuir Cannage, as well as DelRae Wit and Mary Greenwell Plum. I always have Iris Poudre in my purse because it’s so versatile and comfortable (well, for me anyway). I also brought several samples that I’ve been meaning to test. We’ll see how I do with those.
I stopped into The Body Shop in the airport as well, mostly to try the rose body butter that replaced Moroccan Rose (which was wonderful, and incidentally which I have loved layering with Chanel No. 19 and with Jacomo Silences). It’s called Atlas Mountain Rose, and it’s so faint it might as well not be there. Shame on them. (The website shows new rose body products called Wild Rose, but the Charlotte kiosk didn’t have them.)
Wednesday, Feb. 4 – After The CEO’s morning interview in the selection process for the Cattlemen’s Beef Board Operating Committee**, he was free to explore with me. We went first to the Alamo, which is RIGHT DOWNTOWN. It’s incredible. Very well-preserved and maintained, and the National Park Service has created a nice little museum there that explains its historical significance. Of course it is surrounded by every tourist trap in existence: Alamo t-shirts, shot glasses, trolley or double-decker bus rides, ice cream, souvenir beer steins, Texas flags, metal signs depicting crossed pistols and the legend “We Don’t Call 911,” cheapie straw cowboy hats and t-shirts exhorting people to “Save a horse, ride a cowboy.”
From there, we went to the little downtown shop the hotel concierge recommended we visit to find The CEO a pair of boots. It’s called the Paris Hattery, and it sells genuine Stetsons as well as some other high-end hats, not just cowboy hats, and a nice selection of boots. It’s been in existence since 1917, a family business; the granddaughter of the original owner helped fit The CEO for his boots and told some family stories. The Hattery has fitted a number of country/western singers, including Johnny Cash and Dwight Yoakam, for hats, and several actors, including the casts of Lonesome Dove (Tommy Lee Jones!!) and Gunsmoke. They’ve even found hats for other celebrities such as Shaquille O’Neal and Christian Louboutin, and if you can remember seeing a picture of Pope John Paul II in his white Stetson hat – well, that came from Paris Hattery too.
Then we went to visit La Villita, the “little village,” which is an arts community sponsored by the city of San Antonio. We didn’t buy anything, but came away with an appreciation of what it takes to make that kind of community successful, after a good conversation with artist Henry Cardenas (see some of his artwork here). We grabbed lunch and had a text conversation with Bookworm, who had been concerned about her physics exam. SOTD was Iris Poudre, yum.
After that, we took a city bus several miles to visit one of the five missions begun by the Catholic Church in Spain in the mid- to late 1700s, in order to convert the Indians of what was at that time Mexico. One of those missions was the Alamo; however, it was abandoned by the Church and became a fort and supply facility. We didn’t have time to visit Mission Concepción, but we enjoyed Mission San Jose and found it very interesting. The church in particular was small but pretty.
It’s a nice city, fairly clean, and peopled by some of the friendliest, most helpful folks I’ve ever met. We ran into a couple of people whose job it seems to be to keep downtown clean and steer visitors in the right direction; they wear official vests and park ranger type hats, and they don’t hesitate to walk up to you and ask, “Hi, how are you? Can I direct you anywhere or help you find anything?”
That’s their job, and they’re good at doing it with genuine smiles and welcoming attitudes. However, the attitudes and smiles spilled over to just about all the locals we met, including wait staff and locals taking the city bus home from jobs and shopping. The bus drivers and other passengers made sure we got off on the right stop, and even suggested other places for us to see while we were visiting. It felt like real concern, and I won’t hesitate to come back to San Antonio.
We went to dinner on the Riverwalk. It was late, and it took a long time to find a place that was still seating dinner customers after 9 pm, but we had some good Tex-Mex. SOTE was Mary Greenwell Plum.
** Don’t even ask me. There’s the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, and then there’s CBB, which is a separate organization tasked with oversight of the Beef Checkoff Fund. It’s the CBB which is directly responsible for all those “Beef. It’s What’s for Dinner” ads, and for the expenditure of the $1 assessed on each head of cattle sold anywhere in the US, for the purpose of marketing and lobbying for this agricultural product. Incidentally, if you want some legitimate nutrition facts about beef or information about the industry, this website is a great place to go.
Thursday, Feb. 5 – Early on, The CEO and I went to have breakfast at Denny’s across from our hotel, and then walked several blocks to the The CEO had meetings most of the day, and so I was able to explore the city on my own to some degree. I walked around the Riverwalk, around the convention center, then into the mall. Found a really lovely sterling silver ring with what the jeweler was calling “pink coral” and which looks like enamel to me. It’s pretty either way, and not expensive.
Had some really delicious dinner at The Granary: pork and beef brisket barbecue, and the best baked beans I’ve ever had, plus some appetizers and such. Met some really lovely people – some other members of the CBB and spouses, two people who work for the beef ad campaign, a gentleman who works for MICA (Meat Importers Council of America). Shared a bottle of wonderful Riesling, too. Go ahead, call me unsophisticated, but I like Riesling very much.
SOTD was Cuir Cannage. It was very light in the chilly weather, for some reason. Native San Antonians keep complaining, “It’s so cold!” but it’s barely lower than 45F. The rain sprinkles and wind do make it feel colder, though.
Friday, Feb. 6 – Got up early(ish), and went down to the lobby to pick up my rental car. It was a little Kia Rio, a real change from the Caravan, but okay to drive. I was surprised that it had as much power as it did; it handled the Texas interstate speed limits, ranging from 55 in a construction zone to 75 on some long straight stretches, just fine.
Incidentally, either Mapquest for Android sucks or I can’t read Texas road signs. Or both, maybe. I got lost to a minor degree, going to see my sister A at Fort Hood. Wound up going about 10-15 minutes’ drive out of the way – not awful, but enough so that I came into town from the wrong direction.
We had lunch together and then went to her on-base house for the rest of the day. My BIL came home early – his work schedule over the last couple of weeks has consisted of making early-morning formation at… 7 am, I think, and then working until mid-afternoon, followed by a few hours of rest before he goes back to the motor pool where he’s assigned until 10:30 or 11 pm. But he was released early from work yesterday, and I’m sure he enjoyed being home and relaxing without the need to go back in. SOTD was DelRae Wit, so pretty.
My nephew was proud to show me his room and, then, how to play “The Battle for Middle Earth” on Xbox. He’s such a sweetheart, and so cute.
Got back late to the hotel, around 11:30 pm. It would have been sooner, except that I got off the interstate to put a few gallons of gas in the car and wound up stuck behind a disabled vehicle, THEN stuck in traffic when police, fire and rescue vehicles rushed out responding to an emergency.
Saturday, Feb. 7 – I have really enjoyed San Antonio – although to be fair I think I might not have enjoyed it quite so much during its hot, humid summer weather. It’s a city with a great deal of interesting history, and the downtown area in particular is very nice. The Riverwalk is enjoyable, but I also enjoyed walking outside the touristy area. In any case, it’s a very friendly and pleasant town.
Sometimes I wonder what air travel might have been like in the 1960s, when it was a great luxury and airlines went out of their way to pamper passengers. As I write, I’ve got my laptop open on my tray table and The CEO has his head leaned over on my shoulder (for some reason, probably the pressure in my head and ears from the high altitude, I can never sleep on a plane). SOTD is DelRae Wit, which I love a little bit more every time I wear it. I’ll work on this decant for now, because I have so much perfume on my hands, but I truly wouldn’t turn down a bottle of Wit. It’s a fresh floral in the nicest of veins.
We will definitely miss Gaze’s concert at Regional Band, unfortunately. It is just Not Going to Happen that we will be able to make it back to Bristol by 6 pm. However, my parents and The CEO’s mom, as well as Taz, are going to attend. I’m so glad of that.
Sunday, Feb. 8 – I’ve been working on a twin-size afghan for Bookworm since shortly before Christmas. It’s a fluffy thing in super-bulky chenille yarn, very soft and plushy. I hope it holds up to use. It’s an interesting variegated yarn, in colors that I think of as being very Victorian: raspberry-sherbet pink, deep plum, brown, and olive green.
Glad to be home, but I’m exhausted. SOTD is L’Arte di Gucci, big loud beautiful rose chypre. Wonderful stuff.