Top 3

If I were to rank this Spring Break out of all my Spring Breaks, it would definitely be in my top 3.

Why, you ask?  Well …

Ms. BQ’s Spring Break send-off was to be sure and get some miles in.  My initial plan was to spend the first weekend cycling and complete a virtual marathon during the week.  Good news! I’ve knocked out 31 miles since last Saturday and I haven’t even begun to peddle today.  And that doesn’t even include last week’s little boo-boo.

My first "battle of the bulge" wound

Cupcake Marathon 2011 3/14-3/26/11

I, knowing myself, knew that the more time I spent in the saddle, the more confident I’d be on my bike.  True to form, I’m gaining confidence each time I take my bike out.  I even ventured out on my own yesterday!

I’m not “thrillin’ on the downhills” yet, but I’m getting there.  Maybe by next weekend?  Who knows! 🙂

According to plan, I headed out the door early Monday morning to complete leg one of the Cupcake Marathon.  In hindsight, this was something I shouldn’t have done because I managed to aggravate my foot injury and wisely opted to refrain from any more foot mileage through at least the rest of the week.  I notified the race director on Friday that I had to pull out of the marathon.  He shared that he was sorry to hear my news but did want me to know that he’s got another cupcake marathon planned for the fall in addition to a pizza triathlon for later in the year!  Triathlon –  sweet!  Pizza – meh.

So, what was it about this Spring Break that ranks it so high among all my Spring Breaks?  Truthfully?  It’s because I was active. And I learned a few new things.

Mum & I took our annual trip on Monday and headed up to the LBJ library in Austin.  After we wrapped up our tour, I took her to lunch at TGI Friday’s on the (Colorado) river and we had a scrumptous meal!

Bust of LBJ at library's entrance

LBJ's favorite phrase (paperweight on Ladybird's desk)

Part of wall-length mural below the presidential archives

Mum & I spent a lot of time in the library looking at artifacts, reading placards, learning things never or seldom found in textbooks.

For instance, Ladybird graduated from the University of Texas (hook ’em!) and hoped to become a teacher in an “exotic location, like Alaska or Hawai’i.”

We also learned that Ladybird & LBJ had a beautiful relationship.  Their letters to each other are mounted throughout the library.

And did you know that LBJ received the Silver Star (WW II) and was the first Congressman to go active duty?  I know I didn’t know this before we went to the museum.

Mum & I also sat and listened to excerpts from some of his speeches.  LBJ was a funny man.

One little tidbit that I’m sure you tatertots didn’t know about me.  I used to work with one of LBJ’s grandsons.  It’s true!  Back in the days before I became an educator, I worked in one of the world’s largest law firms (international contract law … yawn)  Anyway, the associate that worked closest with my partner was … you guessed it, Lyndon Nugent.

And that, tatertots, is my “6 degrees.”

Actually, my “6 degrees” is former president Bill Clinton, but that’s a story for another day.

Hub & I headed over to Missions Espada & San Juan Capistrano during the week and we were blessed with a very knowledgeable park ranger who shared with us more nuggets neither of us knew previously.

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Chapel at Mission San Juan Capistrano

Mission Espada

Ironwork over well at Mission Espada

Dam at Mission Espada

Ranger Flowers (should have taken his picture, but Hub & I were so rapt with his stories, I forgot) shared that each of the missions had a specific function.

Mission San Juan Capistrano is the southernmost mission and was tasked with raising livestock.  The fields where the cattle grazed are still there.  Empty, but still there.

Mission San Jose (we didn’t go there this trip but Mum & I did a few years ago) was where grain crops were grown, harvested, & milled.  It’s the largest of the mission compounds and the mill is still in operation, albeit for demonstration mostly.  If memory serves, you can purchase flour ground at the mission.

Mission Concepcion was primarily for worship.  It’s located closer into town and almost directly across from St. Peter’s & St. Joseph’s children’s home. (There’s another story here, but that’s also for another time, tatertots.) Hub & I didn’t go to Concepcion this time.  We will soon, though.

Mission Espada, Hub’s favorite mission, produced textiles.  The acequia (aqueduct) from the San Antonio river still flows around the back of the mission.  Nuns still reside at the convent at Espada and the open courtyard to their living quarters is filled with many beautiful and bright flowers.

Out of respect for their privacy, I didn’t take any pictures of their residences.

Mum & I had tried to find the Espada dam a couple of years ago but we weren’t successful.  I told Hub I didn’t want to leave this time until we found it.

I’m so glad we did!  The acequia runs along the top of the bridge from the river down to the missions.  Ranger Flowers shared that there was a V-shaped tool that the settlers and missionaries used to get the water to flow into the channels they created.  Even with everything being so primitive, the technology used to get the water to where it needed to go seemed pretty advanced (to me).

Our missions trip was pretty interesting and very educational.  Not to mention, I got some pretty good shots!

One of the true highlights of the week, though, was Hub’s & my bike ride from McAllister Park to Los Patios on Friday.  Since I’m not willing to aggravate the foot, I’ve been spending a lot of time on the local cycling sites studying trail and road maps.  The first one Hub & I tried was along the Salado Creek greenway.  It wasn’t too hard (meaning hilly) and it was a great way see parts of San Antonio in a new light.  There was one part of the trail that unnerved us both:

Salado Creek greenway

This one mile stretch of boardwalk is only about 6 feet wide.  For a person that had fallen off her bike just a few days before, I wasn’t going to take any chances!  I have to admit, after the first .75 miles, it became “just” a path to ride.  Oh, the picture is from the Cycling San Antonio site.  I wasn’t comfortable enough to stop riding and snap a photo.

We got to Los Patios a lot faster than either of us had anticipated and we were actually disappointed that we had found the end of the trail as quickly as we did.  How’s that for progress! 🙂

Full moon in perigee

By far, the absolute best moment of my week was getting outside last night and taking pictures of the moon.  I actually wasn’t going to do it but Hub, God bless him, wasn’t going to let me not.

I wasn’t happy with my initial shots (took about a dozen, came in & uploaded them and promptly trashed them) and remembered that NYIP had sent out an article on how to photograph the lunar eclipse we had about a month ago.  I found the article, noted the camera settings, and returned to the back yard.

Would you believe I took this one without using a tripod?  Neither did I!  It’s true, though.  In case you’re interested, this particular shot was done in ISO 400, f16, 1/1000.

So there you have it, tatertots.  Spring Break 2011 was pretty darn good.  I head back to work tomorrow, have a full day planned and need to figure out how to baby the foot in the process.  But I’m not complaining!  I had a great time this past week, made even better because I got to spend it with my Mum & my Hub.  May we all be so blessed!

All photographs in this blog, except the Salado Creek greenway, are the property of Lisa Alvarado & LM Stillvarado Photography

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