Thursday, August 18, 2011

Texas: First stop our Mason Dixon Vacation

Chris’s Aunt Janine lives in Dallas and it was here that we began our Mason Dixon vacation. I first met Janine at our wedding two years ago and thought that she was fabulous. Chris’s mom passed away three years ago, his uncle Eddie about seven, so Janine is really the last living member of his maternal line from that generation. She lives in Dallas with her husband Tim who is your quintessential Texas man. They have one daughter Lauren who also lives in Dallas. Chris’s two cousins John and Ned (both son’s of his late uncle Eddie) also live in Dallas so it was a big ol’ family reunion.

Ned and his girlfriend Trisha (who both came to our wedding) took us to down town Dallas to show us around. Ned is one of the best mixologists in the Dallas area and recently won a cocktail competition that was filmed as a pilot for a possible reality show (aptly named Cocktail Confidential). Ned is in the process of opening his first bar/cocktail lounge in downtown Dallas.

The permits are turned in, and construction is to begin soon.

He has big plans for this place.

Tim is the ultimate host and really rolled out the red carpet for us. Before our arrival Tim went to Central Market and said to the clerk, “I have vegetarians coming to stay with me. Take me to your food.” He bought about 30 lbs of fruit and Tofurky meat substitutes. He also treated us to a wonderful dinner at the steak house where Ned tends bar in the cocktail lounge.

Ned in his element-the master mixologist

Our yummy watermelon and basil infused cocktail drinks (virgin for Chris and I).

Trisha is a cocktail lounge singer and was has a regular gig at the steak house. Although it was not her night to sing, the band invited her up to sing “Very Superstitious”.

It was a great night!

We also went the site where JFK was shot and toured the museum there. Chris got into the all of conspiracy theories and was out on the street and in the museum talking to everyone, measuring angles and bullet trajectories, etc.

Chris is standing on the first "X" where the bullet first hit JFK and passed through his throat .
The shots were fired out of the second window down on the far right side.

Standing on the second "X" or the "Fatal Head Wound".

Chris and Tim discussing a possible second shooter from behind the fence.

One of the conspiracy theories is that there was a second shooter that lay wait in the gutter. After Chris carefully assessed the angles, he decided that this was pretty far-fetched.

Chris has a personal interest in JFK. His great aunt Florence Pritchett (Dad’s mom’s sister) dated JFK seriously and may have married him except that she wasn’t Catholic. Even after they both married (he to the infamous Jackie O and she to the ambassador of Cuba) they still carried on an affair (according to some sources). She is often written up in JFK bios. In fact we just bought a JFK biography at DI (second hand store) in Provo about a month ago and there was a blurb about her in a chapter entitled “The Hunt for Sex.”

Speaking of family history…Chris and I bought a genealogy program and have started researching his line. We have it traced back to a Scottish King. We shared a lot of our findings with Janine and she was so touched. She shared with us photos and stories of family members.

These are some of my favorite photos.

Chris’s grandfather (Janine’s Dad). He was a WWII bomber and went on over fifty combat missions. He is buried in Arlington Cemetary.

Chris’s grandparents right after they got married.

Chris’s great-great grandmother on her 85th birthday. The cake took 50 egg whites.

This last one is Chris’s great grandma Lina Etta Lawhorn. She was Native American and looks a lot like Chris.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Last Hurrah of Our Vacation

We just returned from our epic Tour de South today (2 weeks, 10 states, and 3600+ miles put on the rental car--pictures to follow). Before we finished going through the mail and even started unpacking we indulged in one last guilty pleasure...the finale of the Bachelorette, Ashley's season. We missed it because we were too busy running around Florida.

I'm embarrassed to admit that we watch the Bachelor and Bachelorette, but we do. It kind of started off as a joke, but has now turned into an every Monday night pastime. It's basically our family home evening, especially now because my brother Chad comes over and watches it with us.

This season two suitors stood out:

Mr. Ben F. and his pal


Why, you ask, did these two fine men catch our attention?? Because of their uncanny resemblance to this guy:

Mr. Rafael Nadal.

Especially Ben F. He is a dead ringer for Nadal. Unfortunatly for Ben, it was JP that won Ashley's affection, and Ben left with a broken heart. He'll just have to look forward to the US Open...I know I am.