April A to Z CHALLENGE ~ B is for BALLAST

I’m trying to incorporate some railway terms into my A to Z challenge posts. It won’t always be easy to coordinate pictures to the terms, but at least the terms will help with the alphabetical theme.

BALLASTCoarse gravel or similar material laid to form a bed for roads or railroads.

I really like #RailArt that I can actually read or understand. The #BlackBird or  #Magpie really speaks to me. This was taken in front of a local lumber mill and the color contrast was pretty nice.

The picture below was at a dirt road crossing and even though I can’t actually read it, it reminded me of a “BUBBLE BATH” 😀 The other 2 are just alphabetically pertinant even if I don’t actually know what they mean 😀


And so the  A to Z challenge begins. Be sure and check it out. There are so many people joining in with a myriad of themes!

My theme for this year is Rail Art. My recent epiphany that photographing Rail Art for me is like someone who is drawn to storm chasing never held more true than last night as I was trying to decide on my first image and had so many to choose from.

Living in a small lumber town we see the lumber trains crossing through town at least once a day, but usually twice – one in each direction and when we’re lucky 3 or even 4 times. My BIGGEST challenge is being in the right place at the right time 😀

I decided to try and find a train term for each day of the challenge and today was super easy – ALL ABOARD for the A to Z challenge! I even found this great panda bear to be our conductor 😀 The phraseAll aboard!” is said as a warning or last call before departure, especially before a ship or train leaves. I believe he’s channeling the “alien” ghost head of a former conductor from the picture below.


The A to Z challenge begins tomorrow. Be sure and check it out. There are so many people joining in with a myriad of themes!

My theme for this year is Rail Art. I had a recent epiphany that photographing Rail Art for me is like someone who is drawn to storm chasing. Living in a small lumber town we see the lumber trains crossing through town at least once a day, but usually twice – one in each direction.

What I’d like to be able to do is find a way to see both sides of the train at once. LOL 😀 I try to plan my errands and trips into and around town to purposefully be timed so I’m the first or second car stopped at the crossing so I have the PERFECT view of ALL the cars.

D – A to Z Challenge – Dreams

D is for Dreams.  We all have them – sleeping, awake, aspirations… My current dream is starting to take shape on a Vision Board. We would really like to find and old church, train station, fire station or school to rehab into an open floor plan and make a forever home.  Anyone know of anything in any of these states?

noun: dream; plural noun: dream
dream – noun: dream; plural noun: dreams

1   *a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep.
*a state of mind in which someone is or seems to be unaware of their immediate surroundings.
synonyms: daydream, reverie, trance, daze, stupor, haze

verb: dream; 3rd person present: dreams; past tense: dreamed; past participle: dreamed; past tense: dreamt; past participle: dreamt; gerund or present participle: dreaming

1   *experience dreams during sleep.
synonyms: daydream, be in a trance, be lost in thought, be preoccupied, be abstracted, stare into space, muse, be in la-la land, have a dream, have a nightmare, fantasize about, daydream about; wish for, hope for, long for, yearn for, hanker after, set one’s heart on, aspire to, aim for, set one’s sights on, waste one’s time in a lazy, unproductive way.
2    *contemplate the possibility of doing something or that something might be the case.
synonyms: think, consider, contemplate, conceive

C – A to Z Challenge – COMFORT ZONE

A comfort zone is a psychological state, I also believe it can also be a physical state, in which things feel familiar to a person and they are at ease and in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress. This is the zone where a steady level of performance is possible. This is where I’m striving to be at ALL times these days!

B – 2017 A to Z challenge Brackenridge B&B review

While we were in San Antonio we needed a place to stay and since it was a last minute trip on a Friday and Saturday we were having trouble finding a decent place at an affordable rate.  We finally found the historic Brackenridge Bed & Breakfast with 1 room left!

Unfortunately, they did NOT come close to their webpage write up!  A lesson to be learned!

“The Brackenridge House Bed and Breakfast is in the heart of the historic German King William District of San Antonio. This two story Greek revival mansion was built around 1901 by John T. Brackenridge, nephew of philanthropist, George Brackenridge, who donated the land for Brackenridge Park. It was originally built and served as a four apartment flat. At that time, the house was located on South Alamo street.

On April, 1985 it was set on rollers, turned around, and moved back to occupy its present site on Madison street. Later that year it was acquired by Carolyn Cole, who tastefully restored the house, preserving its original front Greek columns, 12 foot high ceilings and stunning longleaf pine wood floors. This lumber was a favorite among builders during the Industrial Revolution. It is rare to find these days, since it was nearly decimated at the turn of the 20th century by irresponsible harvesting practices.

The Brackenridge House opened its doors as a bed and breakfast in 1986. Carolyn lived in thehouse and ran the inn for nine years. She received a restoration award from the San Antonio Conservation Society in 1987.

In 1995, the inn was sold to Colonel Bennie Blansett and his wife Sue. Bennie and Sue are life-long Texans well known for their Southern hospitality. They maintained a strong following and had an excellent reputation for 16 years.

Roland and Lily Lopez bought the Brackenridge House Bed and Breakfast in January 2011. They are committed to continue with its current reputation as a premier San Antonio bed and breakfast and to maintain the standards that the guests of the Brackenridge House have enjoyed since 1986 by offering excellence in service.

The Inn is filled with antiques and features breezy verandas on both the first and second floors in the front and rear of the house. The Brackenridge House Bed and Breakfast radiates Texas hospitality. It is all you could hope for in a Bed and Breakfast stay. You will discover comfort, convenience and pampering in an elegant Victorian setting, perfect for romance, rest, relaxation and recreation.”

Unfortunately, they have fallen way short.  The house is poorly maintained, the linens stained and ragged, the furniture horribly not to historic believability, the walls with mold bubbling out the paint, moldings cracked and chipped needing repair and paint… the walls were paper thin offering NO privacy, I actually woke up thinking someone was in our room when the neighbors came back late the first night we were there… the kitchen and dining room were above the guest rooms and the noise began at 6AM offering NO relaxation or peace and the food was not very good at all. Plus there was not enough parking for the guests – 4 small spaces for 5 rooms and no street parking available for blocks.




A – 2017 A to Z CHALLENGE

Ironically when I decided to do the A to Z challenge this year it starts on  the day I’m at The Alamo. I haven’t been here since 1992 and hubby had never been, but with being retired Army wanted to visit.  So, when we had the opportunity to visit San Antonio for a friend’s milestone birthday as a surprise we couldn’t let it pass without visiting.  I find it interesting that a city as big as San Antonio is basically built around an old fort.

The battle of the Alamo was of HUGE significance because there were so many noteable Americans (Jim Bowie, Davy Crockett, William B. Travis) killed in the battle. Per Wikipedia, “The Battle of the Alamo (February 23 – March 6, 1836) was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. Following a 13-day siege, Mexican troops under President General Antonio López de Santa Anna launched an assault on the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de Béxar (modern-day San Antonio, Texas, United States), killing all of the Texian defenders. Santa Anna’s cruelty during the battle inspired many Texians—both Texas settlers and adventurers from the United States—to join the Texian Army. Buoyed by a desire for revenge, the Texians defeated the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto, on April 21, 1836, ending the revolution. …In the early morning hours of March 6, the Mexican Army advanced on the Alamo. After repelling two attacks, the Texians were unable to fend off a third attack.”

I’ll add in some pictures from today’s visit after we get home.


The A to Z challenge is something I used to enjoy a lot and decided to get involved in again this year.  A few years ago they began having everyone announce their “THEMES” if they had one.  The “Theme” I decided to follow this year is one of personal choice.  I sat down and wrote the days of the month and the corresponding letters then closed my eyes and just thought about places, things or emotions that were lessons I wanted to learn or are just plain important to me. I had a tough time deciding so some days will have multiple entries.

So my themes will be:

4/1  A – The Alamo
4/3  B – Brackenridge B&B, Betrayal
4/4  C – Comfort Zone
4/5  D – Depth
4/6  E – Evoke
4/7  F – Fredricksburg, Faith
4/8  G – Gravpevine, Grand Canyon
4/10 H – Haceta Head LightHouse
4/11  I – Inspirational
4/12  J – Jamaica
4/13  K – Keepsake
4/14  L – Levis
4/15  M – Lake Mead
4/17  N – Admiral Nimitz Museum
4/18  O – Outdoor
4/19  P – Painted Churches
4/20  Q – Quaint
4/21  R – Rustic, Rural
4/22  S – Seaside
4/24  T – Tequila
4/25  U – Unhinged
4/26  V – Vegas
4/27  W – Whiskey
4/28  X – Xray
4/29  Y – Yesterday
4/30  Z – ????


A-Z4-30It’s A-Z challenge time again! This year, in celebration of 2 years cancer free I’m devoting my A-Z’s to positive attributes and characteristics. It’s always a great time and a wonderful way to meet new bloggers. Glad to see you here!

Today is ZANY.