Monday, January 15, 2024

2023 in review: August



Weirdest. August. Ever! After being on a school schedule for 50 years, it was strange to NOT go back to school as summer came to an end. Strange and wonderful!

August 1: Oklahoma

On what would have been our first day back at school for professional development, Dede and I took a road trip to WinStar Casino and southern Oklahoma!

August 6: Arlington

Thanks to my friendship with his mom, Cindy, we have know Craig M. all his life. It was wonderful to celebrate his engagement with a party at a Rangers game! It was fun to see Ryan and Craig together again, and it was wild to see the Rangers let those homeruns fly! We were excited to see the team do so well, but we had no idea that this team would go on to win the franchise's first World Series!

We parked at Six Flags for the game/party, so after the game, we walked back to Six Flags to see this year's show and take a cruise through the cave. Hot but fun time!

August 7: Home

Happy birthday to Brett! It was a very Mario birthday thanks to the movie tie-in action figures.

August 10: Hurst and beyond

In my old school district, this was the first day of school with students. Instead of being part of all that hoopla, I took Daisy for a nice stroll around Chisholm Park! Later that afternoon, I picked Brett up at work and we were on our way to the airport! We were grateful to depart out of Terminal C because that gave us the chance to try out Dirk Nowitzki's brand-new restaurant.

After arriving at our destination, Phoenix, we set up for the Game On Expo. Then we walked to Pizzeria Blanco, an amazing restaurant with the brick oven in the middle of the building. Delish!

August 11-12: Phoenix

At the convention, Brett reconnected with other retro gamers. 

Meanwhile, I took an Uber to the Musical Instrument Museum. I had read rave reviews on TripAdvisor, and by the end of the day, I was adding my own. It was fascinating to see the history of all kinds of instruments. I especially appreciated how instruments were displayed geographically according to their countries of origin.

One limited-engagement exhibit featured special instruments, such as this baroque guitar, considered to be the world's oldest guitar. That area also had Prince's costume and piano from his "Beautiful" tour. 

After a fun weekend, it was time to pack up and head home.

August 15-16: Home

One of my goals for retirement was to write more. While I haven't followed up on that goal as much as I would've liked, I did get my first byline in a hot minute. It was cool to see my story about my favorite TV family in Antique Week.

We kept our "first-day dinner" tradition alive, marking Ryan's first day with students on the 16th.

We said "happy trails" to our old Trailblazer, donating it after 200,000+ miles of road trips and commuting to work.

In August I also wrapped up one of my summer projects: converting Ryan's old bedroom into a guestroom. The decor: "Retired Teacher Chic"! For now, I love having a home for my favorite textbooks and classroom toys and plaques, and I was thrilled with how my L.D. Bell T-shirt quilt turned out.

August 19-21: Los Angeles

During the summer I came across a social media post about a special Price Is Right episode for Survivor superfans. Ryan and I talked about it for about 30 seconds before deciding we had to go! We booked our flight--basic economy--and started making our plans.

Then The Price Is Right changed the taping date for that Survivor episode from August to September--and our basic economy flight was nonrefundable. What's a traveler to do? Well, go to California, of course!

Hurricane Hilary was dueo to arrive the next day, so our first stop was Venice Beach. After the beach, we had a wonderful dinner with our hosts, and they let us play with some of their instruments from their world travels.

On that Sunday we braved the hurricane and went to Universal Studios Hollywood. In spite of the torrential rain, we had a blast at Super Nintendo World and the rest of the mostly indoor amusement park. In fact, BECAUSE of teh rain, we had Nintendo World practically to ourselves for most of the afternoon.

Then on that Monday, in lieu of The Price Is Right, we attended a taping of Celebrity Jeopardy! on the Sony lot. It was Ryan's second time to be in the Jeopardy! audience, but his first since Alex Trebek's passing. After posing at Trebek's old lecturn, we checked out the artifacts from his time with the show. We also got to pose at a contestant's podium backstage. It was so much fun to see the famous game show in person, with the added bonus of watching celebrities grace the stage. 

After watching 1 1/2 celebrity episodes (with Mark Duplass from The Morning Show, Brian Baumgartner from The Office, and Lisa Ann Walter from Abbott Elementary, among others), we rushed to LAX to head back home.

August 24: Fort Worth

August almost always means a visit to Bass Hall to see Lyle Lovett and His Large Band! Kelly accompanied me this time.

Because this was the last show of the large group's summer tour, we got some extra conversation and moments throughout.

August 26: Home

Daisy and I celebrated National Dog Day with her favorite treat from Dutch Bros. Love my punkin'!

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