& Betsy Blais
FAMILY EVENTS - 2017
Here is a snapshot of the things going on around Bruce and Betsy's place in 2017. These included holidays, birthday parties and other fun events. Bruce was on a contract with NASA in Houston to provide radio communications support for the International Space Station, so there were a lot of Houston and South Texas activities that year.
The weather for January was fairly normal with the only notable event being a small amount of hail on January 21st.
Betsy got a few of her favorite things for St. Valentine's Day: yellow roses and chocolate covered cherry cordials.
Probably the last birthday party for Tim's friend Zach. He later took a job in Houston and moved out of the Dallas area. From left to right are Chrissy, Alissa, Brian. Holly, Zach, Tim, Jim and Betsy.
In February, Betsy and Bruce attended minor-league hockey. Tickets were complements of Tim's employer, PFS Web.
Below is a photo of the Allen Americans beating the Indy Fuel.
The nice thing about the minors is that the arena is small and all the seats are great.
Houston Car Parade & Monument Inn
Betsy and Tim attended the tricked out car parade in Houston in April. Below are a few of the photos Betsy took.
This car was reminiscent of the Volkswagens of the 60s although some of those were far more psychedelic.
I would say this owner was into photography.
Cadillac convertable! Now we're talking!
It's car, no wait, it's a motorcycle or maybe a portable band.
Ah, yes! Let's go camping!
If fishing is your thing, this is the car for you!
After the show, Bruce met Betsy and Tim down at the Monument Inn on the San Jacinto River. this is a great restaurant and favorite of the locals.
Betsy always smiles when she has shrimp, especially fresh from the bay.
Below is a photo of Betsy and Bruce at the Feast following the Great Vigil and First Mass of Easter on Saturday night.
Ken and Katie were at the table with them.
Also at the table was Barbara and Dave.
The next day, it was back to church for Easter Morning worship. Below is Betsy and Bruce "Feasting" for the second time in 12 hours.
This time, they were joined by friends Nancy and Eddie.
Betsy and Nancy are shown below. They have been friends since grade school.
After church, it was home for family dinner. Below is Betsy and Chrissy in the kitchen.
Holly's son Bret was there for the party.
Betsy's son was also there.
Below is a group photo of granddaughter Alissa, daughter Holly and son Tim.
While photos were being made, Bruce was carving the turkey.
With the preparations complete, it was time for the family dinner.
The day turned out well, and the hostess and host posed for one final photo.
In April of 2017, NASA offered him a job at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, aka "Mission Control". He was doing communications system analyses for International Space Station and the vehicles visiting it.
Below is Bruce in his office in the Communications Systems Simulation Lab (CSSL) at NASA. He uses the scale model of the International Space Station to locate antennas and other equipment on the exterior of the station.
Below is a photo of Building 44 where Bruce worked.
There is always something interesting going on at the Space Center. Below is Proteus being moved. This is a lander designed for use on Mars and likely the Moon.
Betsy started her own organic gardening program in 2017.
Below she is showing off one of her "Super Fantastic" tomato plants.
A mid-summer haul of tomatoes and potatoes.
This year we had a couple of graduations. Ariana on the left got her 2-year college degree and Alissa graduated high school with honors.
Below is Betsy with her two granddaughters.
Arianna and Alissa.
The photo below is the granddaughters with their father. He was battling cancer and died a few months later.
Bruce with his granddaughters.
Bruce and Betsy with their granddaughters.
They also celebrated Alissa's birthday at this time.
Alissa and the traditional candle blow.
NASA is in Clear Lake, Texas, and Clear Lake empties into Galveston Bay. At the mouth of entrance sits the town of Kemah. Clear Lake is the primary marina area for Houston and is crammed full of all types of water craft. Below is a Hatteras in the Kemah Yacht Basin.
The panoramic photo below gives you a feel for the size of the yacht basin, one of about a dozen around the lake.
The Kemah Boardwalk always has something going on. In the summer, one of these things is the Friday night fire works in June and July.
The entrance to the Kemah Boardwalk.
One of Bruce's better fireworks photos.
Another fireworks photo.
Betsy joined Bruce in Houston for his birthday in June. Bruce introduced her to Joe-Lee's Seafood Restaurant, a small local place which immediately became her favorite.
One of Betsy's best friends is Molly. Got the photo below to tease Molly about holding out on owing a pub in Kemah.
Molly's is a very traditional pub: warm and inviting.
Bruce also introduced Betsy to some of his "Houston" friends. Dinner was at Crazy Alan's Swamp Shack, a Cajun restaurant on the Kema waterfront. Below is Betsy, Shelly, Deborah, Mark and JJ. Shelly and JJ go mountain bike with Bruce whenever possible.
There is a burger joint on TX-146 between the RV park and downtown Kemah. Betsy said they should try it out since the parking lot always seemed to be full. So they did.
The burgers are AWESOME!!! The frys were very good too.
Betsy was able to put it all away with the exception of some of the bun.
One of the things on the agenda for Betsy in Clear Lake was to tour the NASA Johnson Space Center.
They spent a lot of time at the International Space Station exhibit where Bruce described the station and all the work that goes on there, including his work on radio communications for all the vehicles that visit the station.
The photo below is of Bruce in a transporter from Star Trek. Hopefully this points to things to come.
Later, it was off to the tram tour. Below is a photo of Betsy in the full-scale Mock-Up and astronaut training facility with full scale training modules of the International Space Station.
Another photo of Betsy in the Mock-Up and astronaut training facility at NASA, this time with a full scale model of Orion module in the background. Orion is NASA's deep space crew capsule that will go back to the moon, to the asteroids and eventually on to Mars.
Below is a closer view of a mock-up of the Orion capsule.
Betsy at Rocket Park and the lower end of the Saturn V on display there.
The next day, it was off to Galveston Island. Galveston is only 20 miles from Clear Lake, so it was a quick trip down IH-45. The first stop was Galveston Island State Park. The park is on the Gulf of Mexico and has campsites within walking distance of the beach.
From the parking lot, they strolled down to the beach. Below is a photo looking east towards Galveston.
Another photo on the beach, this time with Bruce. It was taken looking west.
From Galveston Island SP, it was back towards town and Moody Gardens. The only pyramid they stopped at on this trip was the aquarium.
The exhibits at Moody Gardens are inside huge glass pyramids. The Aquarium Pyramid is in the background behind Betsy.
One of the more interesting displays was the one of an oil platform showing the marine habitat they create. There are thousands of platforms in the Gulf and most operate in harmony with the environment, and even provide habitat for marine life.
A close up photo of an oil platform leg with various forms of sea life.
Betsy in one of the underwater tunnels in the aquarium. I wonder if this is where Disney got their ideas for the "Living Seas".
Divers doing windows in the aquarium.
While in Houston, Betsy & Bruce went to church at St. Martin's Episcopal. They had heard about the church and decided to experience it first hand. Below is Betsy at the front of the main church.
The church architecture is a very traditional English cruciform style. The photo below shows the the Nave, altar and organ.
While down in Clear Lake, Betsy and Bruce toured the San Jacinto Battleground Historic site and mooring for the battleship Texas.
San Jacinto is where the Texas army defeated Santa Anna, securing independence for the nation of Texas. Below is Bruce at the monument and museum.
Each of the four sides of the museum have inscriptions. Here is Bruce at one side. taken together, the inscriptions describe all of the events leading up to Texas independence.
Next is Betsy at the next side.
The third side.
Betsy at the fourth side.
The north side of the monument has a reflecting pond.
Next, it was over to the Battleship Texas berthed nearby. The ship was started in 1911 and saw action in both world wars.
Below is Bruce on the gangplank near the stern of the ship.
A photo on deck showing the Texas under way.
The deck map.
A shot of Betsy from the bow.
One of about dozen small cannons along the sides.
A shot of Bruce at the berth showing the entire ship.
After touring the San Jacinto Historic Site and the Battleship Texas, it was over to the Monument Inn for lunch. Below is a photo of the Jan Jacinto ship channel from the dining room.
Normally, there would be a bunch of birthday party photos here, but this year Betsy decided to forgo the normal party. Bruce did not forgo a gift, getting her tickets to see George Strait in Vegas.
Needless to say, you could have knocked Betsy over with a feather. The trip is described in the Vacations section of the Happenings tab under Las Vegas.
This is the last year the twins will be 40-something. Here are Holly and Chrissy celebrating their 49th.
Most of the family was in attendance. Below is Alissa, Holly, Chrissy and Bret. Alissa and Bret are grandkids.
Below is the rest fo the gang. Arial is in orange with Ariana, Collin, Jim, Time and Betsy. Ariana is one of the grandkids and Collin is her husband.
More action opening gifts. Arial, in the orange shirt, was battling cancer and lost that battle a short time later.
The family gathered for a birthday meal.
This was the year we lost Arial, our granddaughters father. He put up a gallant fight against cancer but could not prevail.
Internment was in the family plot at Pleasant Ridge Cemetery in Sunnyvale.
At the end of the ceremony, a temporary marker was placed until the permanent marker could be installed.
Bret celebrated his last 20-something birthday in 2017. As a single dude, the meal consisted of pizza. Below is a photo made by Bruce from one end of the table.
Betsy made a photo from the other end of the table so Bruce is in it. She said he was always doing the photography and wasn't in very many photos.
After dinner, everyone gathered in the family room for the gift exchange.
Next, it was on to cake and ice cream.
The evening wrapped up with a "photo op" with his grandmother.
Thanksgiving for 2017 was just the immediate family; kids and their spouses, and the grandkids. Below is granddaughter Ariana, Betsy and Bruce getting the meal ready.
Grandpa Bruce carving the bird.
The guys getting ready for the meal by watching football.
Collin and Ariana.
Number 2 granddaughter, Alissa, with Grandma Betsy.
Brian and Holly, the number 2 twin.
The entire family, less Arial, gathered for dinner.
Ariana and Collin are back in the Dallas area after Collin's being discharged from the Marines. They have been missing out on family birthday parties for the past several years, but that is over now. Below is Arianna opening a gift card.
After opening gifts, it was time for cake. Below is Arianna blowing out the candles.
Christmas in 2017 was pretty typical around the Blais residence. It began with Mass on Christmas Eve followed by a family gathering on Christmas Day. Below is Betsy and Bruce by the tree prior to going to Mass Christmas Eve.
The table was not too fancy this year, although Betsy did pull out the gold flat ware.
The mantle, bookshelf and arch to the kitchen.
Some of the action in the kitchen. Left to right is Zach, Betsy, Bret, Tim and Anna.
More kitchen action with Anna, Alissa, Collin and Betsy.
Those family members able to make the dinner. Tim, Zach, Alissa, Collin, Anna, Arianna, Jim, Betsy, Bret and Bruce. Holly was visiting Brian's family in Wisconsin and they were not there that year. She wished she was as the temperature was -7 F in Wisconsin for Christmas.
Before dinner was the gift exchange.
Next it was time to finish the dinner preparations. Betsy is icing up the tea glasses while Bruce carves the ham.
The whole dang family at the table.
Version 0.2, December 28, 2017