Tag Archives: San Antonio

2008: A Year in Review, Part 2

Welcome to the 2nd half of my year. I just realized that I probably should’ve done these in reverse chronological order, but whatever.

July–I took my blog public, making it a whole lot easier to remember what I did for the rest of the year.  I also started biking to work and we had Kristi’s Bachelorette Party Boat Trip:



August– I took two vacations this month, plus a Tour de Philo.  First up was my staycation and then a second trip to Nawlins for Kristi’s wedding:



September— I started running, became obsessed with Mad Men and reconnected with an old friend via Facebook.  We also had Bunco at Erin’s in conjunction with Philo Fest, but-unfortunately- I have no corresponding photos :-(


I do, however, have a photo of this thing that I found on my fence (I know you all needed to see it again)




October– was downright insane.   There was a crazy gas station incidentmy cat died, and I was involved in train accident on the way home from seeing Cross Canadian Ragweed in Carbondale.  To top off the craziness, this was the first year in a long time that I *didn’t* dress up for Halloween.  Odd.


And then there was the trip to Chicago to see the New Kids on the Block:




November– is always a busy month.  This year, I went to San Antonio for work. And had the usual Thanksgiving with the family.  Oh, and there was that whole historic election thing.

I also made a trip to Chicago for Nikki’s Big Ten Bar Crawl:



And attended my only (gasp!) U of I tailgate of the season




Family and friends of Ryann Smith held a benefit in Tuscola and raised a bunch of money. I realize that I haven’t blogged about Ryann at all.  She was born a couple days after Christmas with a rare birth defect called CDH.  She is a fighter.  Please keep her and the family in your thoughts and prayers. If you want to know more, visit her caring bridge page:  http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/ryannsmith.


I also had Christmases with my Grannie Rich,  my brother, and the rest of my extended family.


(And, because I know you can’t get enough of me and firearms, here’s the infamous gun shot one more time…)



I spent my Christmas break lounging, watching movies (Marley and Me and Seven Pounds), reading (still making it through the Twilight saga… I’ll reserve judgment until I’m finished with all the books), and spending time with friends and family.


I rang in the New Year in Chicago, but failed to take a single photo.  Maybe I should resolve to be a better chronicler this year :)


Reflections on 2008

All in all, the year turned out pretty good.  In some ways, this is one of the hardest years I’ve ever had, but I’ve learned so much.   I’ve learned how to ask for help from those closest to me.  I’ve learned to say “no” on occasion and I’ve learned to enjoy myself in less-than-ideal circumstances. I’ve made some new friends, reconnected with others, and have spent more time with some of my family members than ever before.


This blog has really been a great outlet for me and I appreciate each and every reader, hit, and comment you all have given me.


Here’s to happiness and prosperity in 2009!


San Antonio Stories, Part III: Crazy Cab Ride

The second to the last night of our San Antonio trip, one of my colleagues got extremely sick.  He had to go to the hospital and everything.  There’s nothing worse than being sick when you’re away from home, so I offered to help out.

He needed some prescriptions filled, so I called down to the front desk and asked for the closest 24 hour pharmacy.  They gave me the address, I went to pick up the prescriptions from my friend and headed out.  

There was a cab sitting outside the hotel, so I asked the cab driver if he could drive me to the pharmacy and wait while I filled the prescription.  He said sure.

So I hop in the cab. It’s a van cab, but the first thing I notice is that the front row of seats has been removed.  In its place, there is a computer with a flat screen monitor and a keyboard.  Pretty odd, I thought, so I asked the cabbie about it.  He tells me it’s for his customers, so that they can check their email or look things up online. Weird.

I ask him if removing the extra seat affects his business, since he can’t haul as many people.  He tells me that, no, his customers appreciate him because he does everything to help them feel comfortable and safe.

At this point, I notice that I can see the road on the monitor of the computer.  I can also see MYSELF. 

As I start to freak out, the cab driver keeps talking… and talking… and talking.  And then I notice that he’s going down a bunch of dark, empty roads.   I look around the cab:  he has his cab certificate on the dashboard.  His dry cleaning in the back.   And then there’s my image on the screen.  Freaky.

All these crazy thoughts start going through my head. I kept thinking: “This is how I’m going to die. I’m going to get raped and murdered in this cab and it’s going to be broadcast all over the internet for everyone to see.”   It was after 10:00. I was a woman alone in a strange city in a car with a guy who was talking a mile a minute about how “safe” he’s trying to make me feel.  Something was not right.

I’m either on a messed up version of Cash Cab or I’m about to be murdered.

I tell the driver I’m getting a little scared and ask to talk to the cab company.  He calls them and they tell me that they don’t have records of ALL the cabs, but that if he has the license and a cab number he should be legit. SHOULD BE?  Seriously??

So, after talking to the cab company for a while and passing a few closed Walgreen’s, the cab driver apologized profusely and told me that no one had ever been afraid before.  We FINALLY made it to the all night pharmacy and I felt a little better.

I went in to fill the prescription and the guy behind the counter told me it would be 25 minutes. I went out to the cab driver and told him how long it would be.  He said he would wait for me with the meter off, so I knew I’d be safe.

I’m  not the kind of person who usually gets afraid of stuff like that, but for a brief while I was convinced I was going to die in San Antonio in the back of a cab while the whole world watched.  And, no, there were no trivia questions, either.

San Antonio Stories, Part II: Eating and Drinking in Alamo City

One of my favorite parts of traveling for work is the opportunity to try out new restaurants in great cities across the country.  I really enjoy researching various places and trying to find somewhere interesting to go.

By far, my favorite restaurant of the trip was 20nine, a wine bar in the Quarry Market district of San Antonio.  (The Quarry Market is essentially an upscale strip mall.)  20nine is named after California Route 29, which goes through the Napa and Sonoma valleys (it also happens to be my current age, as Lisa pointed out).  Since it’s been a few years since I’ve been to wine country, I was interested to see how a California-style wine bar would translate in Texas.

I was not disappointed.  In addition to wines by the glass and by the bottle, we had the opportunity to try various flights of wine.   The flights were grouped by varietal (Chardonnay, Merlot, etc.) or by region.  I chose a flight of spicy reds from Chile and Argentina to begin with.*  The server brought them to the table using this really cool carrier and each wine was accompanied by incredibly amusing tasting notes.



[photos courtesy of Lisa. She likes to take pix of food.  We make fun of her, but it comes in handy when trying to spice up a food blog.  And, yes, these are white wines and I had red, but I didn’t take the photos. Beggars can’t be choosers.]

We ordered cheese plates and antipasti.  They were so delicious, I was afraid I wouldn’t enjoy my dinner. 



Lord, was I wrong!!  I ordered the sea bass with a side of gnocchi.  It was phenomenal.I also had some really great homemade ice cream (unfortunately I didn’t ask Lisa to take any pix–next time!) We had some other nice dinners in San Antonio, but 20nine was definitely my favorite. 

The other highlight of the trip was Bar Rojo at the Grand Hyatt, which was next to the Convention Center and across the street from my hotel.   It was pretty fun for a hotel bar and they had the best raspberry mojitos, made with real raspberries.  I bet I had 10 of them while I was there*, and each one was slightly different.  Yum!



*I should probably note that, although my employer pays for our meals while we’re away… drinks are on us.  I spent a pretty penny on wine and cocktails this trip.  I just didn’t want y’all to think we were pulling an Enron or something!

San Antonio Stories, Part 1: Strangers on a Plane

I’ve been back from San Antonio for almost 2 weeks and I still haven’t blogged about it.  I had planned on doing a single post-San Antone wrap-up, but it’s just not happening.    Therefore, I’ll try to post the highlights separately. 

First up: the plane ride there!

Believe it or not, I actually DON’T like to talk to people on planes (surprising, I know!).  So, when I saw that I was sitting next to this frat-boy type (track pants, Texas A&M pullover), I promptly turned on my iPod and opened a book.

Turns out, this guy *is* a talker and I ended up having a great conversation with him.  He owns a software company based in Argentina and was doing some work in Danville.  He had spent quite a bit of time in San Antonio and gave me some restaurant tips (which I was unable to use) and I gave him the name of my very fave place in New Orleans.  

We talked for the duration of the 3 hour flight about everything—travelling, family, music, college football.   He told me all about Argentina and said he writes a blog about his experiences while traveling.  In perfect “missed opportunity” fashion, I never asked for the blog address.  Or his last name.   (Chill your jets, kids, he’s married—this isn’t a love connection).

At one point in the conversation, he asked me what year I graduated from college.  He said he graduated in the same year.  Here is this guy who owns his own software company, has travelled the world and frequently gets booked as a speaker at conventions and he’s the EXACT SAME AGE as I am. 

Eek. Nothing like meeting a stranger on a plane to make you feel like a big ole loser!