Thursday, February 4, 2016

And the Great Weather Continues

We continue to have cold nights, great for sleeping, and really warm days, great for being outside.

I was up early to get dressed for my pick up of the ladies for our breakfast outing.  Joanne, Lenchen, Eileen and Lee were my passengers.  We had a nice breakfast with 5 other ladies and returned home about 10:30.  The dentist had called Ira and told him the piece he needs for his implant has still not arrived so he shouldn't keep his 2 pm appointment.  But we decided to go to Mexico anyway.

Ted drove all of us in my Expedition and we had a lovely time in the sunshine.  We did stop by the dentist to see if there was any news and then continued on meandering the main shopping street of Progreso.  We bought some more meds, mostly analgesic cream that we both use for our aches and pains plus Z Paks for folks back home.  Ted had returned a belt that didn't wear well while Ira bought two belts and a tooled leather purse for his sister they will see as they leave Texas at the end of the month.

We each had a small bag of things as we headed back through Customs.  None of us had any problems re-entering the U.S.  It was late in the afternoon so we all agreed an early dinner was in order.  It was just the right time to get into Chedder's with no waiting.  The food there is really good and reasonably priced.  Except for 3 chicken tenders, everything got eaten.  I had grilled catfish that was really good.

I intended to play cards in the evening but I was just too tired when it came time to go.  So I stayed home.

Friday we had shooting competitions in the afternoon.  The first was a dartboard target and I scored 156 beating Ted's 144.  I was second, he was third!  He used my gun to shoot.

Then we shot at the back of a deck of cards.  Whichever 5 cards you hit made up your hand.  The best poker hand won.  I had a pair of 4s and Ted had a pair of 3s.  But the winner had a straight so neither of us won in that contest.  For my efforts I won $6, the exact amount Ted paid for me to shoot.

We came home and I made a Caesar salad and Ted went for a loaf of French bread.  We were invited next door to Robert and Sherry's for jambalaya.  There were 10 of us in all.  After dinner Robert built a fire in his fireplace and all the ladies started singing songs learned in elementary school, at camp and in Girl Scouts.  It is amazing how many words of those songs we remembered especially since we can all walk into a room and not remember what we went in for.  Eventually the group broke up and we came home.

Saturday morning I was picked up at 10:30 by Sharon, Sherry and Karyl to go to Leisure Time park clubhouse.  We were volunteering two hours to bag meals for Kids Against Hunger.  We donned plastic gloves and hairnets and waited for someone on the four lines to raise their hand indicating they wanted to be replaced.  My first job was to open and place a plastic bag below a funnel.  Then a scoop of protein powder was put in followed by a scoop of dehydrated vegetables.  Next was soy nuggets of some sort and finally a cup of rice.  I then removed the bag and handed it to the man opposite me who passed it to the "weighers."  They added or removed rice to make it an exact weight.  It was then sealed, stacked, packed and taped.  Each package makes a protein rich rice casserole of 6 servings.

I worked 11-12:00 opening the plastic bags (with plastic gloves on!) before putting it under the funnel but I didn't know then if we were signed up for a second hour.  I raised my hand to be replaced so I could check in with my carpool.  Sharon said we were staying for the second hour so my next assignment was to place 18 finished bags on a grid, place a second bag on top of them and when I had 36 ready a gentleman packed them in cartons, called for the taper and we began again.

We filled 5400+ bags they told us.  A little short of the 6000 jars of peanut butter we did back home for third world countries.  The time flew by and by 1:30 I was home.

We picked up Eileen, Tom, Lee and Ira for church at 3:30.  When we arrived there were very few seats available and we sat apart.  Ira does not attend church normally but said he would go every week to hear Fr. Roy.  We went to a Mexican restaurant afterwards and had dinner.  Ira and Lee are not familiar with Mexican menus so I had to help them out.  There were no quesadillas, chimichangas or burritos on the menu.  I remember Jaime, our Mexican exchange student, saying that what we call Mexican food is not what they eat in Mexico.  We get pretty authentic Mexican down here.

We ended up back at their park for Card Bingo.  Lee won $8 in the dime game and our partner, Wendy, won about $30 in the $1 game.  There were three winners so she had to split the pot.  We of course, once again, never even got close!

Ted is driving to Houston today after shooting skeet with David.  Don is helping Bentsen Palm Woodworkers get ready for their pig roast and isn't shooting.  Ted has a Monday morning meeting at the Chronicle followed by a lunch and then will come home.  It is about a 350 mile drive each way.  This happens on occasion and we just do what needs to be done.  I have been left in St. Louis, Albuquerque, Sandestin FL, in the park by the kids in Michigan, etc.  It is usually one night, sometimes two.  It gives me time to clean the rig, do laundry, shop, etc. with no timetable since I only need to take care of myself.  And this time I have my car instead of his big truck!!!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Summer in Texas in January

The weekend sort of got away from me.  I try to write a bit each day but here it is Monday and we are both wracking our brains trying to remember Friday!

We remember having lunch with Sue and Niles one day but can't remember which day!  What we do remember is shooting practice at the range and in the evening attending the performance of Goldwing Express at a neighboring park.  They are quite entertaining and excellent string instrument musicians.  Their featured performer was Ronald Rump twin brother of Donald Trump in a comedy skit.

Saturday was another competition at our gun range.  It took three hours due to the set up of stations, the first of which was 25 consecutive shots.  Most folks don't have enough magazines to shoot 25 straight.  I have three 10s but my gun continues to jam which is frustrating because the clock keeps running.  Until that problem gets resolved I am not shooting in any more timed competition, I will just practice at the gun range.  Ted came in first but he shot his 22 rifle.  Mixing gun types to me is comparing apples to oranges but I'm not in charge!

We learned Fr. Roy's brother died when we went to church Saturday.  He did not say Mass but was participating in the Citrus Fiesta Parade.  The Our Lady of Guadalupe float won second prize.  Fr. Roy rides on horseback, not on the float.  One of these years we are going to watch the parade!

We were invited to join a group going to a Chinese buffet but we don't do Chinese if we can help it.  We begged off, ate at home after church, and then did our usual card bingo at Bentsen Palms and once again won nothing, didn't even get close!  

Sunday was absolutely glorious.  McAllen set a record high of 94!  Ted shot skeet with Don and Dave in the morning and then we drove to Dave and Karen's to go to the flea market with them.  Ted bought a Texas shirt and Grapefruit knife while I bought some cards and preserves.  We then went on a hunt for a screw starter but never did find one.

Eventually we went back to their park and played three games of shuffleboard.  The men won 2 to 1 and I convinced Dave I threw the last game so he would buy me an ice cream.  So off to Dairy Queen we went!  When we dropped them off Ted picked a dozen grapefruits off their tree and then we headed home.  

I went to the grocery on Monday and Eileen, Tom, Lee and Ira arrived next door in my absence.  By the time I returned and put the groceries away it was time for my yoga class.  We always finish in relaxation mode and today I mentally went to the Hilton Waikoloa on the big island because she said go to your favorite happy place.  I really enjoy these classes.

Ted and I were just getting ready to drive next door when the new arrivals pulled into our drive.  We invited them in and after a short visit we took them to see our gun range, the Rio Grande River and ended up at the Riverside Club for dinner.  The service wasn't very good but we didn't mind because the food was good and we were having a good time catching up.  We came home and I was late starting to watch The Bachelor.

Tuesday I had a meeting regarding our upcoming Tapa Hoppa, a progressive cocktail party of sorts.  So far I know we will have two margarita carts, tequila shot bar, Sangria bar, mini tacos, skewer chicken, cheese and crackers and desserts.  There are a couple more groups that did not attend and I don't know what they plan.  The Wild Bunch Women (shooters) are responsible for desserts so JoAnne and I will handle that.

When I got back home we decided to go to Sam's to price desserts because I need to get an estimate to Bonnie within the week.  Eileen and Lee went with us.  Later in the afternoon we were due at the clubhouse for a Happy Hour followed by a Potato Bake.  We ran into Linda, Bruce, Paula and Gary and ended up eating our loaded potato with them.  The desserts were neat!  It was sorbet but the coconut was in a half coconut shell; pineapple sorbet was in a half small pineapple and mango/passion fruit was in a half orange.  I don't know what they did to the "dishes" to keep them hard but the sorbet was good and the presentation great.  They are packaged individually and are sold at Costco.  What a neat dessert for a luau!

Wednesday I thought I was abandoned.  Ted went skeet shooting, Tom and Ira went to the flea market to order an awning shade and Eileen and Lee planned to go to Mah Jong.  My phone rang and it was Stella telling me the Ron Hoover Burger lunch was today and asked if we were going.  I didn't have it on my calendar but I entertained the idea of driving over on my own.  Before I had time to make a decision, Eileen and Lee showed up before Mah Jong started and wanted me to go sign up for the Valentine's dinner and take them to see Trudy's coach house.  After that I drove them home and then went to HEB and Dollar General.  

Ted and I arrived home about the same time.  After a bite for lunch we hit the gun range to see if different bullets and a newly cleaned gun would not jam.  I ran about 60 bullets through.  It jammed a time or two but I was able to clear it and continue on.  Friday's competition is not a timed event so I am going to shoot.  

We were invited to dinner at Eileen's but it was Shooter Alley night.  I told Ted to go on and I would go to Eileen's.  I made ranch roasted potatoes to take over.  Ira lit his propane fire pit and we sat around it after dinner for awhile until I came home.  Ted came in about an hour later just as I was getting in the shower.

Tomorrow is ladies breakfast, trip to Mexico and Hand and Foot cards in the evening.  And the beat goes on.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Annie Oakley Live

Wednesday was rainy so we just hung around the house.  Two ladies came by to ask Ted if he would take them to the gun range and teach them how to shoot clay birds.  They did not know what skeet, trap and sporting clays are.  He explained our gun range is just a clay bird thrower and they agreed that would be enough for them to learn about safety, the gun and taking aim.  He agreed they can go down when Sue and I go and practice and use my gun.

Later we left for Shooter's Alley for a bite to eat before Tactical Shooting started.  I had two good runs but my gun jammed on the first run and by the time I got it unjammed I was over 80 seconds and didn't take the second shot on the target where the jam occurred.  I had 15 "A" shots and a miss.  I didn't miss it, I simply didn't take the shot in the confusion.

My second run went smoothly but I didn't see my scores.  I scored better overall than Ted in hits but came in with two folks behind me (still not last) and Ted's time was way better than mine putting him way in front of me.  My second run was 40 seconds.  I hope my time gets better as I get more comfortable with all the rules and they become second nature.  I still have to tell myself - finger off the trigger, gun ALWAYS pointed down range, never turn around holding the gun, don't wave it around when picking up your magazine, etc.  Ted told me the Safety Officer told Billie to change her magazine after 9 shots so there is one in the chamber and you can start shooting again as soon as the magazine is in instead of having to chamber one.  I will practice that at our gun range first.  

Our first run, probably about 7 yards back.  The second run was more like 15 yards.  You get a penalty if you shoot the black or white.  You can't tell but the white target has the A space in brown in the middle.

Pat videotaping JoAnne during her perfect run of 16 "A" shots.

Our Wild Bunch, some shooting with their fingers (a no no in schools nowadays) and the un-PC "hands up, don't shoot" pose.

And a stop at Dairy Queen finished the night.

Thursday mornings are always Ladies Breakfast.  This week was Cracker Barrel and I drove Marisa and Lenchen.  We had a good crowd and I enjoyed the American breakfast without tortillas, refried beans, migas, etc.  I can always find scrambled eggs, toast, pancakes, etc. at the Mexican restaurants but lots of the ladies like the other.

In the afternoon I went to Linda's and she went over the Hand and Foot differences from Canasta.  I play Canasta and played Hand and Foot once at a HitchHiker rally in Nashville.  I think I can join the group here with no problem.

The helicopters are circling which means the Border Patrol is playing Hide and Seek with some illegals who have made it across the river.  Ted thought they were going to land at the end of our street.  He questioned the need to get his AR out to help them out.

I went outside to take a photo of the helicopter and right after this first photo, he landed in the field at the end of our street.

Of course a group gathered.  We saw an agent walking along the fence.  He told us a van of illegals rolled over on a road down the way.  They had all the illegals but the coyote driver got away.  All they want to do when they get this close is to keep on going because we are surrounded by Border Patrol so we don't get too concerned.  And then the helicopter took off.

Our excitement for Thursday.  It will probably be more than exciting than tonight's debate.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Home On The Gun Range

Saturday was rifle and pistol shooting playing tic tac toe.  But the squares were cut diagonally into triangles, one being X and one being O and it was on 8.5 X 11 card stock so it was harder than it sounds at 7 yards.  JoAnne won our coin toss and hit the O triangle in the middle top.  She said she was aiming for the middle box.  So I aimed for the X triangle in the middle box and hit the O which went to her.  She shot the bottom middle O and I was done.  For my efforts of shooting only one shot and being eliminated I won the following special award for my conservation of ammo.

Since we had many more heats, I helped Kathy keep score.  She used binoculars to spot the shots and I recorded them.  It also helped shooters determine where to shoot to get tic tac toe since they couldn't see the shots either.  Many heats were decided by a shooter inadvertantly giving their opponent a score.

When pistols were finished, we had lunch followed by rifles.  Our friend Don won the Overall title for the day.  I picked up a lot of brass off the ground in between heats so I got my exercise in for the day.

We went to church at 4:00 and came home to ribs I had cooking in the crockpot.  Later we went to play card bingo.  We didn't have any luck again but both Linda and Bruce won.  We are having a real dry spell this year in the winning card bingo department!

Sunday as Ted walked out the door to meet Dave and Don at the Mission Skeet Club, he announced we were due at Bonnie's at 4:30 with an appetizer and our drinks!  Luckily I had shrimp in the freezer and cocktail sauce in the pantry so I was covered there.  I went to Walgreen's for hair color and colored my hair before showering and getting ready for our afternoon soirée.

There was a nice group at Bonnie's and only one couple we did not know.  I did learn they own the two lots behind us that they rent out.  Owners are getting a bit antsy about next season's rentals because so many Canadians did not come back or have stated they are not coming back due to the unfavorable exchange rate.  They may also see some Northerners not coming back if the 401s and IRAs don't recover.  Retama is the most expensive park that I know of but that is because you are not getting just a strip to park on.  We have two drives, patio area and a coach house.  This also includes a beautiful large pool, hot tubs, community patio with grills, craft room, pool room, card rooms, TV lounge, laundry room, kitchen, bike trails, gun range and planned activities.  We also have access to the activities next door at Bentsen Palm campground.  That is where we see some shows and play card bingo.  When Eileen arrives we will probably go to Margarita nights too.

Monday was a laid back day.  Ted had to cancel clay target shooting because of work being done in the area.  I had a long phone call with my good friend from home.  At 3:00 I had yoga that I continue to enjoy.  After "breakfast for dinner" I hunkered down to watch The Bachelor.  I have read the spoilers and the girl they say he picks is nowhere near the limelight yet.  If you follow it, Olivia isn't the one!

Tuesday I did some financial things including setting up a link between our brokerage account and our bank account.  This will make it easier to transfer funds when necessary.  The sun was shining and we were both wearing shorts.  I cleaned up around the RV dusting, sweeping and cleaning in the bathroom.  Ted had been out with Niles and they decided we would go to lunch at Firehouse Sub.  A cold front was due to come in and by the time we were finished eating outside, we were all cold.  I had made haircut appointments for both of us so that was about it for our day.  We turned the fireplace on and settled in.  Wednesday is to be cool and rainy so we will just stay home or find an inside place to go during the day.  Tactical Shooting will happen in the evening at Shooters Alley.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Our First Month is Over

It is hard to believe our first month is over already.  We haven't done lots of things we normally do right away.  Shooting has occupied a lot of our time and we are spending a lot of time with another whole group.  We had to turn down an invitation to join the HitchHiker group for a gathering and beg off a BBQ at Niles because we are having dinner with our old Bentsen Palm friends and Ted had a Border Patrol gun seminar to attend.  Our calendar is crazy!

Tuesday we went out with Jay, Stella and two of their friends.  We started at Gonzalas Burgers and thankfully Stella split a burger with me and Ted and I shared an order of fries.  It was a perfect amount and I wasn't hungry the rest of the day.  Nancy and Dave went off on their own while we went checking  out the ropas.  I bought a throw, tablecloth, two scarves, a Christmas decoration and a Fall decoration (bingo prizes).  Total bill $3.05!  Our favorite ones have closed down and we haven't been able to locate really good ones yet.

We took advantage of the tangerine trees and grapefruit tree over at Jay's.  Stella said the oranges were sour so of course I tried one.  Boy was she right!  Our fruit drawers are as full as they can be and that is after Ted shared some with Bob and Niles.

Neither of us wanted dinner so Ted emptied our tanks and then took off to Academy to buy bullets for Bonnie.  She was only allowed two boxes so Niles, Bruce and Ted went with her to buy two each for her.

Wednesday was the Winter Texan Expo and I picked up Jay, Stella and Nancy.  Wednesday and Sunday are Ted's clay shooting days with Don and Dave so he came late and left early.  We enjoyed entertainment by Southern Anthem and Bernie and Red.  Both shows were great.

There were lots of booths and we collected candy, cereal bars, coupons, had our BP taken and eyes checked, etc.  There was something for everyone.

I dropped the group off in the Cottonwood park and came home in time for my yoga class.  I think it is helping my back and teaching me movements to continue exercising it.  I am sure most of us don't look too graceful but we are 70 and moving and stretching and that is good!

Thursday morning I was reading my email when there was a knock at the door.  Lenchen was at the door waiting for a ride to breakfast.  I had completely forgotten!  I clicked to unlock the car door and asked for 5 minutes.  It probably took me 10 but we made it on time.  When I returned, Ted and I went to Mexico.  After coffee and a pastry for Ted at Renee's and a Light Coke (not sold in the US) for me, we went to the salon for pedicures.  Our next stop was the leather shop for two belts for me and lastly our drug store stop.  We will go back a few more times when Eileen gets here.  Ira is having extensive dental work done so that will necessitate several trips.

At 6:00 we met Dave, Karen, Trudy and Don at a local German restaurant.  We have gone here every year for several years but a good many of our other friends who made up our original group have either moved on or aren't here this year due to parental illnesses that require their presence.  The food was good and we all cleaned our plates.  The spätzle and red cabbage are really good but they serve their Getman potato salad cold!  That's a mortal sin in my book.

Today I ate all day for $2.50!  My breakfast was a breakfast bar given to me at the Expo.  Lunch was a Caeser salad from a free Dole salad coupon.  We had a $5 Little Caesar's pizza for dinner but I ate less than half.  My nighttime snack was tangerines from Jay's trees!  I thought it was funny when I realized what I had done.

Friday evening we went next door to see Southern Anthem, the group we saw at the Expo.  It was a great, fun show and Ted won a CD of their Gospel music after identifying The Judds as the singers of the song Why Not Me.

Wish me luck shooting in tic tac toe on Saturday.  I really don't expect to make it past the first round but stranger things have happened.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Expensive Gun Show

Saturday was the gun flea market here in the park.  I went for the coffee and donuts!  Ted bought some ammo and sold a holster.  I don't know how well the others did.  I eventually left to go make copies for Bunco but before I even hit the expressway Ted called and said to go to Firehouse Sub, save seats for 7 and I would be taking Sue home.  Well all right.

Thank goodness for GPS because I would have never found it along the frontage road.  I found it easily enough using it and sat at one table of four and set my purse on another.  It wasn't too crowded but I wanted to be sure no one sat at either of those tables.  We all had some lunch and then everyone but Sue and I went to the gun show at McAllen Convention Center.  She and I stopped at Office Depot then headed home.

In a few hours Ted returned carrying a long gun bag and I knew that infamous knock of Niles had come to fruition.  We were going to church but Ted and Niles had to go over the gun and discovered the bolt was missing.  They are required to remove it to bring it into the convention center and had forgot to replace it.  So we went back to get it and then went on to church.  Because the gospel was the wedding feast at Cana, Fr. Roy spoke about ordinary people having extraordinary love.  With so many Winter Texans there I am sure thousands of years of marriage were represented and confirmed what Father had to say.

Our evening entertainment was seeing The Red Head Express with Jay and Stella.  The performance was great.  We were happy to see Meghan who is a particular favorite of Ted's.  We had a chance to visit with her and their photographer took our picture with her.  Trudy and Don attended too and we all sat together.  It was our first show this season.

Sunday was another gorgeous day.  Ted went early to shoot skeet with Dave and Don.  Dave came home with Ted to hang our pendulum light replacement.  It is 12v and we weren't sure how to hook it up and we wanted to be sure it was done correctly.  Ted had a little bit of time before heading to our gun range to shoot pistols and his new rifle.  He wanted to get the sight set correctly.  I was due at the clubhouse for Bunco at 6:30, though I had received only one phone call about attending, and I stayed behind to have dinner ready early.

Only Diana, who had called me, and I were at the clubhouse so by 6:45 we locked up and went home.  Last year they had a good crowd but it was so disorganized I think it soured people on it.  Oh well, I offered to help Ginger and I did so she will have to decide where to go from here.

We had a couples lunch at Republic of the Rio Grande restaurant on Monday.  About 30 couples took up the entire patio of the restaurant.  We met a new couple who are traveling around the country full time looking for a place to retire.  We had a lot in common and I was sorry to hear they are leaving on the 31st.  She showed me a Verizon app that lets you see at a glance how much data you have used.  I was glad to get that downloaded because we are using our Verizon jet pack as our hotspot while down here.

Ted had moved the clay pigeon shoot to 3:00 from 2:00 so he took off shortly after we came home.  I used the time to go buy a $70 half gallon of milk.  That's what I ended up spending when I went into HEB!  I made a chicken salad sandwich for myself for dinner and Ted ate the leftover ziti from a day or two ago.  Then it was time for The Bachelor.  

We have been here a month already and that doesn't seem possible.  it won't be long until Eileen and group arrive next door at the campground.  Ted may have to curtail some of his gun activities while they are here.  We'll see!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Eyes! Ears! Range is Going HOT!

Wednesday night I competed in my first tactical gun shoot.  My aim is fine, handling the gun quickly and safely is a whole other ball game.  We had 3 scenarios the first round, two the second round.  It wasn't too difficult.  There were good guys (white targets) you don't want to hit being held in front of bad guys.  One station was somewhat around a corner, another through a window.  AND it was 18 shots so you had to remove and replace your magazine after 10 shots.  You are timed and it affects your score a lot.

The Range Officer knew it was my first competition and was very nice and instructive.  I know the first round I got 13 A shots, and 1 C shot.  I only got a glimpse at the sheet so I didn't see anything else.  But at the end of the evening I came in 9th or 10th out of 13 shooters.  Some of the guys are so fast!  Boom, boom, boom in under 10 seconds.  I think Ted was 4th.

All three range employees came up to me to say I did very well for my first time.  My goal was to not embarrass myself or hurt someone and hopefully not be last.  Mission accomplished!

On Thursday Ted went to the Border Patrol gun cleaning seminar while I did my normal chores and some paperwork.  By noon it was time to head to Donna (nice having a city named after me!) for a Skymed appreciation lunch.  On the way we stopped in Pharr to buy tickets for the Moe Bandy concert.  We bought six because Eileen, Tom, Lee and Ira will be here and want to attend too.  

When we arrived at Victoria Palms it was 1:00, starting time was 1:30 and folks were already eating their salads!  It is true about seniors, if you arrive on time you are late.  The lunch was delicious and we enjoyed it.  Then the testimonials and info meeting started.  You are invited to this because you have Skymed insurance!  After an hour and a half of listening to them preach to the choir, we got up and left, giving our door prize tickets to the lady next to me from Iowa.  I hope she won something.

Dave and Karen are in this park and we had promised to stop by which was the biggest reason we left but honestly we had heard enough.  We visited with them for a couple hours, and then headed home.  It was a beautiful sunset we drove into heading west.

Friday was gorgeous.  I wore shorts and eventually turned on the roof fan and even thought about firing up the A/C!  I headed out to get my nails done plus doing a little grocery shopping.  Ted went to play tic tac toe with guns.  He lost to two people shooting red dots.  I don't think it is fair to mix open shooters and red dot shooters but again, I don't make the rules.  We were asked to join our neighbors at Niles' for a shrimp boil but I had dinner started and shrimp isn't our favorite thing.  Ted wandered over to Niles' place after we ate and I eventually went looking for him.  We stayed until it got too cool to sit out and then came home.

Monday, January 11, 2016

In Full Swing

Sunday I fixed breakfast for the first time in a long time.  Ted normally doesn't eat in the morning and I am a bowl of cereal, a yogurt or a half bagel person.  So we had a nice start to the day.  Later we went to the gun range with the group to have a competition that mirrors what we will be doing Wednesday night at Shooters Alley.  I had great accuracy but my time is slower than the others and that lowers my overall score.  I hope I do well on Wednesday!

After shooting, we stopped by the boat dock but didn't see the mama alligator and 8 babies so we decided to stop and see Jay and Stella who just arrived Saturday evening.  I was thirsty and there was a huge tangerine tree in the field across from them so I picked one to eat.  It was so good that before we left we picked a bag and shared them with Kathy, Sue and Bonnie.  There are many trees all over this area laden with fruit that doesn't get picked.  We stripped the orange tree behind our spot.  What was on the ground was thrown away and what came off the tree went into the refrigerator.  Letting it rot on the ground brings unwanted critters around.

I had a chicken in the crockpot so we left for home for dinner and stayed in the rest of the night.  I saved the debris in the crockpot and carcass of the chicken to take to the alligators to see if they will come to the surface to eat it.  We know they like tortillas!

Monday was the present and previous HitchHiker owners' luncheon.  There were 55 in attendance and we knew a good many folks and it was great seeing them all.  We are being strongly encouraged to come to Ingram, TX in April for the Haulin' HitchHiker rally but we may not be able to fit it in.  We are heading to Michigan for our grandson's Confirmation on 4/20.  

We left there to get back in time for Ted to go to the gun range for clay bird shooting.  However, the red flag was up on our way in so we knew there was work being done in the area and shooting is not allowed.  He went down anyway to tell anyone that showed up why there would be no shooting.  In the meantime I changed my clothes to go to my yoga class.  It is doing my hip good in helping extend my range of motion.  Taking the steps in and out of the trailer and up and down to the bedroom also has been helpful.  It was to be part of my PT but we don't have any steps at home!  

That evening Ted had to go back to the clubhouse to see the Alabama-Clemson football game.  He texted me that the couple whose son is visiting was playing the piano and was very good.  I asked if he could hear the TV but he never answered but he never came home either!  I watched The Bachelor.  When he came home he said it was a great game and was glad Alabama won.  Great nephew Michael attends Alabama and nephew Ken covers Alabama for the Dothan Eagle.

Tuesday dawned early with me having a 9:00 meeting about running the Bunco group.  I also needed to give the Powerball pool our $10.  They ended up with 340 tickets.  $1.5 billion divided by 68 is still a great windfall!  I came home and headed next door to the laundromat.  When that was finished I came home to clean.  Eventually I ended up at Linda's and had a visit with her and Sue.  When I got back home it had been decided we were going to Shooters Alley with Niles, Sue and Bonnie.  I did okay but still have trouble pulling the slide on the gun.  I found it easier to load the magazine with it open and then click it closed to load.  Since their cafe was not open we went to eat afterwards at a Mexican restaurant. 

Here is my target of about 60 shots.  Four wayward ones but the one on the forehead was deliberate.  My friend Susan told me she was going to be sure not to p*ss me off!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Instant Pot, Range Maintenance and Brazilian Steakhouse

Ted went to the gun club on Wednesday with Don and Dave.  The trap shooters were going to be there and he wanted to see if he could sell his original trap gun.  There were no takers but there is a gun garage sale here next week so he will try again.  Otherwise he will put it on consignment at the gun club at home.

While he was doing that I straightened up and made my raspberry cobbler.  At 4 pm we went to Nedra and Al's for frozen chicken cooked in the Instant Pot in 15 minutes.  Nedra made oven crispy potatoes and a salad and voila the chicken was done.  Amazing.  I may be getting one of these pots.  Imagine buying a roast at 3 pm, putting it on at 3:15 and by 4:30 it is fork tender.  Ted left to go to the Shooters Station with Niles and I  stayed since I didn't want to eat and run.  It was a most enjoyable dinner and visit.

Ted finally rolled in about 10 pm.  He was late because he had broken a safety rule so had to buy everyone a DQ ice cream.  His infraction was loading his magazine at the safe table.  I guess no weapons or ammo is allowed there.  So now we both know!  

Thursday is breakfast out with the ladies and I picked up Dale.  It is so nice having my car!  There was a good group and I saw a few more ladies from last year that have recently returned.  I am so thankful for name tags.  When I returned, we opened up the shades and the door to let the sunshine in.  We are scheduled for some nice weather this week and are using the fireplace just for a short while in the morning.

Niles and Sue we're hosting a cookout Thursday late afternoon and I needed to make a dish.  I had frozen a lot of the nut topping from my Christmas sweet potato soufflé and asked if that dish would be okay.  Given the green light, we bought four big sweet potatoes and I got it all ready.  When we went across the street for Happy Hour I put it in the oven.  By the time the grill was eventually up and running, the potatoes were done.  Kathy proclaimed them awesome!  We came home after dark and laughed when we saw it was 7:05 pm.  We are officially old, going to parties at 4:00 and being home 3 hours later.

Our anniversary photo book arrived from Kristin and Larry so I took it over to show Kathy while Ted was gone.  He and Niles bought lumber to replace some of the shooting range backboards since they get shot up quickly.  I guess sawing and drilling was involved.  They also filled sandbags for rifle shooting and finished off with a beer!

Card bingo was moved to Friday because there is a band next door at Bentsen on Saturday night.  We went over and I did get to stand three times with one card remaining but I never won.  Sure hope our luck improves soon.

Saturday was a Charity Shoot that was attended by a lot of our shooting group.  It was very windy and no one did any good except raise money for the Benefit of Children of South Texas Shooters.  It helps the kids pay for their expenses when they go to shoots.

In the evening we went to a Brazilian steakhouse with Kathy, Bob, Niles, Sue, Bonnie and Lex.  Everyone seemed to enjoy it but I didn't think the meat was all that good.  The ribs and Parmesan chicken were the best in my book.  None of the beef was to my liking so I went to the salad bar twice and just didn't say anything.  It was a fun group and we enjoyed spending time with our neighbors and shooting buddies.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Crappy Weather Returns, Then Leaves

Saturday the rain came in earnest.  It was cold, raining and just plain nasty out so we were content to stay inside until we left for a late lunch/early dinner before church at 4:00.  Fr. Roy had his dogs in King clothes complete with crowns, the llama dressed as a camel and a moving star for the Kings to follow to celebrate the Epiphany.  His sermon was about the three kings representing us and seeking God in our loneliness. He feels we all have an emptiness in our heart that we can fill with loneliness, unhappiness, unkindness or fill the void with love, understanding, or kindness.  His cowboy song was Oh Lonesome Me and he asked if there was an engineer who could figure out how to keep the moving star straight instead of sideways as it moved toward the stable.  

Father Roy preaching.  Note the cactus ornament on the tree.  There are also cowboy hats and boots that size.

Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus.  Our daughter's church n Winter Spring, FL uses a real baby and then invites anyone in the congregation who was the baby Jesus in the past to come forward.  What a lovely tradition.

Nacho the llama substituting for a camel.  He stayed until the end and was very good.  As long as he can see what is going on, he behaves. 

Two of the dogs dressed as kings who slept through the whole service.

We came home for a bit and then went next door to play card bingo.  Again we did not win but our partners won twice.  We need some better luck this year!

Sunday dawned with a bit of blue sky and sunshine so skeet shooting was on.  Karen texted that she wanted to shop if I did so I picked her up at the gun club and we headed to La Plaza.  We hit a couple stores where I bought a Michael Kors blouse and some designer shorts and I can't even remember who right now.  I am such a non-shopper but it is Karen's big thing!  If I was a size 4 I probably would feel differently!  Dave and Ted met us at Cracker Barrel and we had a nice dinner with them.  As soon as we arrived home, the TV went on for Ted to see the rest of the football games.  Another Sunday night shot to h*ll!

Monday dawned with blue sky and sunshine!  Yeah!  I had 5 ladies to pick up at 11:15 for our monthly luncheon at Lemon and Grass, a Mediterranean restaurant.  I needed a cheat sheet to remember who I was getting and where they lived.  There were no problems and we arrived first to the restaurant where 25 were expected.  I had my mind set on souvlaka but it wasn't on the menu.  Since their gyros only said "meat" and not lamb, I ordered an Oriental salad with chicken.  It was very good and everyone seemed to enjoy their selections.

It was just beautiful when we came outside around 2:00 pm.  I dropped everyone off but Ted was shooting clay targets starting at 2:00 and I just missed him.  I knew he wouldn't have my Remington with him, I didn't know about ammo and I dreaded taking my car down the muddy roads, so I stayed put and did a little housework.

He came home for an hour or so then left with Niles for Shooters Station.  They were participating in Tactical Training.  I chose to watch The Bachelor. Tuesday morning there was a seminar on holsters, carrying concealed and open carry.  We both think open carry is just asking for trouble and would never do it without a good cause.  I saw no reason to go with Ted.

When Ted came home we went to the grocery.  There was a Happy Hour at the clubhouse and I wanted to make pizza bundles.  We are also having dinner at Nedra's tomorrow and I am making a raspberry cobbler.  It is hard to keep up with all this socializing especially when you have to bring something!  When we returned, Niles came over with a price on a gun Ted wants before Obama totally tramples on his rights he said!  Thanks Niles, that was an expensive knock!

There was a big crowd at the Clubhouse and so much food no one would ever need to go to dinner afterwards.  We enjoyed catching up with a couple that workamped next door when we stayed over there.  Don and Trudy sat with us and a new renter couple we met for the first time.  It was an enjoyable evening.  

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Cooler Weather and Drizzle

I was up early to get ready for the Ladies Breakfast on Wednesday.  Grace had asked for a ride so I had to pick her up by 7:45.  While I was getting ready, Karen texted me to call her.  She had planned to come over with Dave to visit while the fellows went shooting but with the weather they had decided not to come.  We had pretty much determined after watching the news that there would be no shooting so I was not surprised.   We will get together next week instead.

There was a small, but fun, group for breakfast.  We laughed a lot talking about camping experiences.  Another topic was the Instant Pot which is sort of a computerized pressure cooker.  Nedra said she cooked acorn squash in 8 minutes and Bonnie made fall off the bone ribs in 20 minutes.  I need to check this out.  You can get frozen food out and still have dinner in under an hour!  Amazon apparently has the best prices and there is a huge Facebook group sharing recipes.

Since Ted wasn't going shooting he wanted to locate Shooter's Station where we are scheduled to go next week.  So that's where we headed when I returned. We found it easily and then stopped at shoe stores where I bought two pairs of shoes and Ted bought one.  We are thinking ahead to the British Isles trip and what we will need.  After a grocery store stop to get some things we needed for dinner, we headed home.  We turned the fireplace on, had dinner and settled in for the night.

New Year's Eve dawned cool with continued drizzle.  Ted went to get one of our propane bottles filled because the furnace has been running at night.  When we are awake we use the fireplace but turn it off when we go to bed.  I wrote out a few bills and balanced the checkbook.  When the stock market closed I pulled the end of year IRA numbers to get an idea of what our RMD will be in 2016.  

Because Fr. Roy was only having an 11:30 pm Mass we chose to go to St. Paul Church at 5 pm.  It was ok but I missed the banter of Fr. Roy, the country western songs and the dogs.  We will go back to OLG on Saturday.  Afterwards we had dinner and then drove through the 3 mile light display in the city of Hidalgo.  The drizzle made it hard to find the route and street lights were non-existent.  We eventually found it but next year we will come on a dry night and ride the tram so we can both enjoy the displays.

A hummingbird bird in lights.

We started the drive home on streets with no lights at all.  Between the unfamiliar road, the darkness, the wet road and oncoming lights it was scary, at least to me.  When we got to familiar territory I breathed a sigh of relief.  I had watched the ball drop in Dubai at 2:00 pm and figured that would be it for me.  But we stayed up for NYC and then CST before heading off to bed.  Three celebrations for one event.

The bad weather continued so we made no plans for New Years Day.  Ted figured out the TV at the clubhouse and parked himself there for the entire afternoon.  I used the down time to do laundry choosing to go next door to Bentsen Palms where you can park right in front of the laundry and don't have to walk far.  They also have six washers versus our two so your chances of getting machines are better.  No one was there so I was able to put all the laundry in at the same time and then into dryers.  I read a book until it was time to fold.

I stopped at the Clubhouse on my way home where Don had joined Ted.  He had another game to watch so I came home, put the clothes away and ate my leftovers from the night before.  When Ted eventually came home he did the same and another day had gone by.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Here Comes New Years Eve

Ted went to shoot trap on Monday but no one ever showed up with the thrower so he came back home.  We decided to take my prescription to Walmart for refill and then hit the post office to mail Kara's package.  Later on we went to Cracker Barrel to shop, not eat, and to Academy.  I am always on the lookout for bingo prizes for the senior lunches.  Those 70% off prices are really good.  I bought a couple things so I am good for the April bingo after I return.  Ted found nothing at Academy.

We came home and he grilled our pork tenderloin.  I reheated the leftover sweet potatoes and put out the remainder of two salads plus some applesauce.  Nice, but easy, dinner.  His second disappointment of the day was our cable does not have ESPN so he couldn't watch the Bengals.  There is a TV in the clubhouse but no one seems to know how to turn it on.  The detailed directions didn't work and two days before someone had written that fact at the bottom of the sheet.  I told him he could stream it on my I-Pad but he didn't want to use up all that bandwidth.

Tuesday dawned cloudy but not too cold and we headed to the gun range for our first competition.  Kathy and Bob across the street asked for a ride since they had a dead battery.  My Expedition held all the guns, ammo and chairs with no problem and we enjoyed the chance to visit with them.

We were shooting at a Christmas tree drawn on legal size piece of paper with 9 one-inch balls drawn on it.  I hit the inside line on one ball scoring 5 versus 10 if your shot was clean in the middle.  The other shots hit the tree but not the balls.  Ted scored zero!  Since it was Christmas everyone got a free second chance.  Ted scored 25 and came in second.  I put three shots in a perfect vertical line right next to one of the balls and scored nothing.  The other two shots hit the tree but not the balls.  Then there was a mystery shoot that entailed shooting a target ball to see how far you could move it.  My 22 didn't have enough oomph so I didn't want to waste the ammo and chose not to shoot.  Ted moved it 16 feet and Russ won moving it 45 feet.  It isn't too fair that you can shoot any size ammo.  Ted had bigger than most, Russ had bigger than Ted.  But I don't get to make the rules.

Lunch was served and winners were announced.  For the $10 we spent to shoot and have lunch, Ted won $20.  Not a bad morning. 

Afterwards we went to Cracker Barrel to exchange a sweatshirt I bought the day before that had a stain on the back that I didn't see.  They moved from 25% to 40% off overnight so I was able to buy a small Fall pillow at 70% off for $1.50 with the difference and its original price was $15.  Good shopping for the seniors bingo games!

We stopped at Mission West to get their entertaining line up and checked out the car wash to have my car detailed.  Clean inside and out plus hand waxing for $33.  Ted said as soon as the rain predictions end he is taking my car up.  He will probably have the truck done too.  The RV washer guy has already stopped by to set an appointment to do our trailer.  We will have that done too before we leave.

Last stop was at Walmart to pick up my prescription and a few groceries before heading home.  It is amazing how quickly a day can go by.  Such is life in the valley.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Week Between

Saturday was WINDY!  Way north of us in the Texas panhandle violent storms and blizzards were breaking out then traveling east causing havoc and even some deaths.  What a terrible situation at what should be a happy time of year.  Others were experiencing warmer Christmases than ever.  The weather guessers down here predict our weather will cool off and be in the more normal range this week.  I was just doing my best not to turn into Mary Poppins with no umbrella.

We went to 4 pm Mass and Fr. Roy had us in stitches.  It was the feast of the Holy Family and he talked about his family going to his Grandma's on the Sunday before Christmas each year and the characters each family has.  He had an uncle married to a beauty queen and he drank too much.  His cousin said about the couple "She is like a rose and he is like a fart."  He smashed his face with his two hands showing what Aunt Clara did as she proclaimed each year how much he had grown, just funny things we can all relate to.  We were in and out pretty quickly because there were two weddings before our Mass and one after.  Fr. Roy had a busy day.

For dinner we went to the Riverside Club but it was too windy to sit outside.  This is the place that showed up on Fox News filled with illegal women and children the summer of the mass exodus from Mexico and Central America.  The restaurant and bar were filled and everyone was just waiting for Border Patrol.  We recognized it right away on TV.  Their tour boat, The Dreamer, was right behind the reporter.  Our other favorite spot, Pepe's on the River, is all boarded up.  We are bummed about that.  It was our favorite watering hole and dance venue on Sunday afternoons.

Saturday night is card bingo next door at Bentsen Palms.  We played with Jeff and Elaine.  Not one of us even got close.  It seemed the same people were winning more than once for some reason.  Now we need to get more change for next week.  A funny thing was one lady of the foursome playing next to us had a bag of change.  She put her and her husband's coins out and then had to front the other couple who didn't know to bring change.  That other lady won twice, put all her coins in a bag and took it home!  The poor woman who fronted them had an empty ziplock bag and nothing was said about reimbursing her!  It takes all kinds.

Sunday was cool and windy, a perfect football watching day for Ted.  I opted to go shopping.  After trolling Macy's two huge lots with absolutely no luck finding a parking spot, I moved on to JCP instead.  I found a few things and used my phone to bring up their coupon and received $10 off $25 in purchases.  I was allowed to use it twice so she rang up my things in two separate transactions.  As I started to leave the lot I noticed a Dillard's but I wasn't ready to play the "find a parking space" game again and just came home.

Our plans to grill a pork tenderloin outside was out of the question so Ted drove to Little Caeser's for a Hot and Ready $5 pizza.  They even have a drive thru in the one close to us.  It is the only pizza in Texas with enough sauce on it!  It was a curl up with a blanket night and I enjoyed the no muss, no fuss dinner.

This week is pretty laid back.  The rest of the folks will start arriving for a January 1 check in.  We are pretty much filled here but next door has a long way to go.  Jay and Stella arrive 1/9 but Eileen, Tom, Lee and Ira are not coming until 2/1.  We'll just have to hold down the fort in the meantime.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Trip To Mission

We had a good night's sleep and pulled out at 8:30.  To insure my hip/back/butt/calf would not act up, I sat on an ice pack all the way to Kingsville.  And it worked!  We made one stop in Beasley for a pit stop and coffee before continuing on, arriving about 1:45.  We set up, finished watching some football and then did our "RVers run" to Walmart.  You always need something!  Afterwards we had dinner at Chili's.  

We turned in early and left the next morning about 9:30 and arrived in Mission a little before noon.  Niles was not here, they had to return to Minnesota because his mother is ill, so I had to be Ted's parking assistant.  Kathy came out and she and I were directing him.  A truck was stopped because Ted had the road blocked backing in and a beautiful angel named Jerry hopped out and asked if he could help.  While Kathy and I remained in the back, he went to Ted's window and talked him back.  A 90 degree angle to back into with a palm tree and island with bushes in the middle of the drive makes for some short back and forth movements to get the trailer turned enough to get the truck back in front of the trailer.  Then it is easy to push it back into the spot.  

Once in we went about getting set up.  We have a coach house accessible to us this year.  It is unfinished but we can put Ted's bike, grill, ammo, etc. in there.  I put chairs, card tables and our tower heater and a fan in.  It gives us less stuff in the trailer to move around to get to something else.  Ted changed the anode rod out in our water heater and cleaned his whole basement area.  We are all organized!

Bonnie, who helps with the Shooting Range, came by with our keys and to remove a bike from the coach house.  She encouraged us to come to the range at 10:00 Tuesday morning for me to attend Beginner's Safety Classes.  

Eventually we went to DQ for our only meal of the day and stopped at HEB for some greeting cards I need to send.  We stopped to see Don and Trudy on our way in and then talked with Joann and her husband until the mosquitoes got too bad.  We met our next door neighbors as they packed up for a week in a friend's condo on South Padre Island which is about 80 miles from here.  We told them we would water the plants while they are gone.  Then we headed inside for the night.

We went to Bentsen Palms, the campground next door, to watch the Safety Video before heading to the shooting range.  They are very strict on safety and the video is excellent.  Also, every rule they mentioned is strictly enforced.  I shot several rounds and did very well.  The last round I put my six shots in a circle of approximately 5 inches.  I am more comfortable with the loading and use of the gun too.

We went to eat lunch and the ham we had just bought was discolored so we took it back to HEB.  While out, we drove past the restaurant where I will be meeting the ladies for breakfast on Thursday.  We were expecting a package and it arrived in our mailbox right on time.  We met a new couple on our walk about.  They have a HitchHiker trailer like our last two and know many of the same people we do.  After dinner we settled in for the night.  

Ted went skeet shooting on Wednesday with Don and Dave.  I eventually went to see Trudy and was still there when they returned so we all sat outside visiting.  Earlier in the day we had taken a ride past church to see what time Christmas services would be.

The ladies breakfast was Thursday and I enjoyed seeing several people from last year.  Many folks own their own sites and live here all the time, some just stay here in the winter.  Then there are renters like us.  When I got back we went to Mexico to pick up some of the medicines we need to get while down here. Ted took the opportunity to get a pedicure.  We enjoyed walking the several blocks of the marketplace in the warm sunshine.

We chose to go to Mass at 6:30 on Christmas Eve and then out to dinner afterwards.  Fr. Roy did not disappoint with the live donkey processing with Mary and Joseph down the aisle to the crèche.  When they read the passage about the "host of angels" three aisles full of children dressed in white and silver ran to the crèche too!  His sermon was "It's a great day in the neighborhood."  Very fitting for us Rogers!  Mass was said half English/half Spanish but you can tell by the cadence which prayers are being said and I respond in English.  We love attending Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

We started Christmas morning with low water pressure.  Turned out it was the east side of the city of Mission so all we could do was be patient.  It took awhile for me to fill two large pans with water to boil my sweet potatoes.  Lucky for us it was fixed and we were able to get showered in time for the 1:00 community dinner in the clubhouse.  Tickets were $5 to pay for the ham being served but one of our table mates brought turkey, dressing and gravy for just our table because for her Christmas dinner is turkey!  What a spread we had.

I just want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas season.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

And We Are Off

I was still stiff on Friday.  Walking on concrete for hours on end is hard on everything I think.  I took a pain pill, the first in a very long time, but I had things to do and didn't have the luxury of taking it easy.

I finished my three reports and sent them off, balanced the checkbook, paid a few bills, updated Ted's GPS, did some emailing trying to find my friend's elusive Christmas cards that have been in transit 9 days! and started bagging the pantry items we will be taking.

My clothes, medicines, and paperwork I need over the next three months are ready to go too.  Saturday will be another busy day with moving the trailer to the campground and then loading it with all our stuff.

We met Gerre and Barry for dinner and exchanged gifts.  She gave me a delicate hand crocheted necklace and the four Lenox napkin rings I have been looking for.  I was so pleased because no one had been able to find them.  I gave her a carved wooden pelican from Mexico because they live on Pelican Bay and collect them and a Vera Bradley umbrella. She loves Vera Bradley.

My back was still not 100% on Saturday but I needed to forge ahead.  Ted went to hook up and pull the trailer to the campground.  I met him there with some of the things to be put away.  Another back and forth trip and we were in good shape.  We grabbed a Subway sandwich late in the afternoon and went back home to get ready for church.  We saw so many folks this week - two neighbor couples, three church bunco couples, a Newcomers couple, and Sheri who I worked with all week.  It was like old home week.  I gave Carol her birthday gift because we will be gone in January and then headed home for one last time.  

We gathered up the last few things, checked everything (we hope), locked up and left to spend the night in the trailer so we can leave early in the morning.  I am following Ted in the car this year.  We think having two vehicles will be advantageous.  Time will tell. 

So as we sit here with our fireplace on, watching Katy, TX win the high school Class 6A football championship, Ted and I want to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and God's blessings on everyone.

P.S.  The elusive cards that the post office swore on Saturday morning they never received, were delivered to my friend at 6:45 pm.  Miracles do happen.  Just ask the post office!  But she was thrilled with them and now can get them out.  All's well that ends well I guess.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Countdown Continues

We had a successful 75 family and Shelter Santa intake day.  I was up early with drinks and water iced down, dolly in the car and I stopped to buy donuts on my way over.  Unfortunately there was a funeral at the Methodist Church and all the coffeepots were in use.  Eventually someone went to Starbucks and bought a box (yes a box) of coffee!

We accepted 73 of the 75 expected family gift piles and a whole lot of Shelter Santa gifts that are used for residents in the shelter all year long.  Of course toys for the kids topped the lists.

One of the highlights of the day is when the Corvette Club starts their parade.  Many of the cars are driven by a Santa and each stops to unload their goodies.

We were sent home 1.5 hours early because they were waiting for the last two donations and were unable to reach those folks.  They didn't want us waiting around for someone who may not show up.  I was glad because we were due at the country club at 6:00 for Irene's birthday dinner.  

I dressed quickly and we arrived right on time.  We had a nice dinner with Irene, John, Terry and Carol. We probably won't see them again until the end of March.  It was a very long day for me.

I was scheduled to go to an open house luncheon on Wednesday.  Working at the Northwest Assistance Ministries during the August back to school shot blitz must trigger the invitation.  I planned on attending but just found myself with too much to do before repeating a second day of Gift Distribution and I was frankly running out of time to get things done before we leave.  I sent an email with my last minute regrets.  Colleen probably won't see it until after the fact but at least I let her know. It wasn't a sit down luncheon where a place is set for you so I am sure no one missed me.

Thursday was back to the Methodist Church to distribute the 73 family gifts that were collected Tuesday.  All the sorted Shelter Santa gifts had been picked up and taken to the Shelter for use at Christmas by anyone who may be living at the Shelter during the holidays.  The rest will be used throughout the year as needed.

I once again stopped for a dozen donuts and had cleaned my stored coffeepot and took it, but there were two boxes of coffee from Starbucks so I left it in the car.  I rolled our new Yeti cooler on the dolly into our area.  With all the cookies that had been given to us on Tuesday I chose to bring a Christmas platter and make a nice presentation for the girls.

The ten of us were extremely busy early in the day.  If someone came for pickup and had 6 bags plus bicycles, it took most of the 10 people to bring the gifts out and load them in the vehicle.  Bicycles and most cars are not real compatible but these ladies figured every situation out.  It was fairly busy the rest of the day.  We had bilingual members present to help the Shelter Directors when necessary.  Not much sitting down was done by anyone.

I was very tired and achy by the time I arrived home about 5:00.  Ted made us salads, I put the ice pack on my lower back and plopped on the couch!  My duties are finished except for my report and updating the Blue Book for next year's chairperson. But that isn't due until May.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Countdown to Post Time

On Thursday I attended my neighborhood ladies Christmas luncheon.  We rent a small treehouse room at a local restaurant so we can move around, exchange our gifts, talk and not bother others.  Medical problems persist but we had 13 in attendance which is a pretty good turn out.  After a nice lunch and gift exchange I came home but Ted was back at the gun club getting his scope sighted since it got too dark last night to continue.  He is going back tomorrow to work so Mike can attend his daughter's college graduation.  I have a hair appointment and then we have dinner with John and Irene so I don't mind.  Mike should definitely attend the graduation.

We have decided to leave on Sunday, 12/20.  We were waiting to see how my sister in law's health issue would turn out and she is good to go for now.  More tests are scheduled but not for two months.  By then we will be three weeks away from returning home.

I was to get a haircut but received a call that Cindy was at the doctor again so we changed it to Saturday.  She works so hard, even with her health issues.  I pray she is better and nothing more serious has been found.

I started loading my clothes on the guest room bed and then got ready for our dinner out.  We met John and Irene at P. F. Chang's for a nice change from all the Mexican and BBQ restaurants in the area.  They are going to the Bahamas the day before we leave so it was good to get together with them.  Irene is talking about coming down with Patti to see us in Mission.

On Saturday Cindy was better and gave me a haircut.  Then after church (where we AGAIN forgot the toys for the Giving Tree), we went to play Shanghai.  We were bombarded with info when we arrived.  Our hosts and their grandson had been in an auto accident that morning.  Both were sore from seat belts but no serious injuries.  Their car was totaled.  A young man was late going to school detention that he got for being late!  Another couple canceled at the last minute because a tornado had touched down in their area and emergency vehicles, etc., were all over the place.  Also, the weather stayed iffy. But the hosts chose to continue on.  My cards were so bad it would have been better for my dime purse if they had canceled. We all were relieved no one was hurt in all the excitement of the day.  Here is our annual Christmas photo.  We were told to wear red!

First thing Sunday, Ted took our two gifts up to church since today was our last opportunity.  I went to the grocery to get food for the church pantry and left it all in my car.  At Bunco tomorrow I will leave the hatch back up and put in what my Bunco Gals bring and then deliver it right to the food pantry after Bunco is over.  I put ribs in the oven for dinner and just stayed in while watching the gloomy rain outside.

Kara called to tell us another Michigan friend has died.  When we lived there, Ted belonged to a group of 8 that bought the last tee time of the Saturday 6 am hour and the first of the 7 am hour at the city golf course.  They mixed up their foursomes and always had a good time.  On occasion we women would golf too.  Our big outing of the year was the Chicken Open held in Frankenmuth MI, famous for fried chicken dinners.  One year our foursome actually won it.  We spent most Super Bowl Sundays at this individual's home, partied with them all at the Elks, we had progressive dinners, New Years Eve parties, etc.  Jeff was the fourth of the 8 to leave us.  Cancer took the first three but we only know Jeff was prayed for in our old church where Kara still attends for some time.  All the women are still with us.  May Jeff rest in peace.  He was one of the good ones.

Here are the six babies, the grandkids of my niece Cindy and Tim, at the Festivals of Lights in Cincinnati. They are so lucky to be surrounded by their cousins and are together for most holidays, vacations and weekends at the lake.  Such an opportunity is priceless.

Monday Ted left for Dallas and I headed to our Bunco lunch.  I had come up with a Jeopardy Christmas Bingo game by combining the two games with questions about Christmas.  We had a lot of fun with it and all the gifts were very nice.  I received a cute Santa.

These are my two gifts from the parties.  The lamp from my neighborhood party and Santa from the Bunco Group.

Tomorrow I will be at the Mehodist Church heading up the Shelter Santa intake day.  It is a full day and will be followed by Irene's birthday dinner.  I may have to wear my uniform if it gets to be too late to come home and change!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Back to Normal

Our friend Rick was in town from Memphis so we invited him to come visit Saturday, attend church with us and then we took him to dinner.  It was good to see him but we missed his wife Brenda who was unable to come.  We waited a long time for a table at Saltgrass so it was pretty late when we got home.

I am feeling more like my old self each day.  The hesitancy when I first stand to walk is almost gone.  I can sleep most any which way without experiencing discomfort and that has been a relief.  I do think the arthritis diagnosed in my lumbar region is in play but there isn't much to be done there other than meds or injections.  Once all the aches from the hip surgery are gone we can address that situation. 

Ted worked at the gun club on Friday.  He had to leave Beaumont by 8 am to get there in time.  Then he had to be up at 7:30 to work Sunday.  He certainly is dedicated to a non-paying job!  But he enjoys it and there are some perks that come with it.  When the shoot was over he and his buddies did their normal shooting.  I am always reminded of the 100s of thousands of rounds these sportsmen shoot each year and you don't hear of any accidental, let alone intentional, harm occurring.  It isn't the gun, it is the person using it.

While Ted was gone I finished designing a Christmas card for good friends of ours.  They too celebrated their 50 year anniversary and wanted their card to reflect that.  I was very pleased with the finished product and hope they are too when the cards arrive.  And then I finished up mine for mailing. 

With that out of the way I got the granddaughters' gifts together and boxed up for mailing.  I stuck their envelopes with gift cards and checks into their bags and put the adults and our grandson's envelopes in too.  My grandson was so thoughtful in sending me a text telling me what he wanted, where to buy it and how much it cost.  I loved it!  And of course it is being shipped right to his house.  Good Grandma!

I had received a Kohl's $10 coupon so thought I would go buy another toy for our church Giving Tree.  The lines were so long to pay I decided to just go next door to Walmart and bought a watch with different colored bands for an older child.  To make dinner easy I picked up a rotisserie chicken they had just put out.  That took care of Sunday followed by pot pie on Monday!

We ran some errands on Monday - the bank, the post office, trial run to the location of my party Tuesday night, the grocery, gas station and car wash.  Whew!  After our chicken pot pie dinner we went to church at 7 pm for Mass.

Tuesday was the Forum Christmas party.  Ted was at the gun club working on getting a new scope put on and sighted ... and apparently doing some wheeling and dealing.  He is going to sell a trap gun he bought in 1964, before we were married!

So I picked up Judy and off to the Wild Stallion Vineyards we went.  It was a lovely venue that I had never even heard about.  The tables were set so nicely.

And their Blanc du Bois was delightful.  No more pain pills, hello a glass of vino!  It was a great turnout.  The company was marvelous and the dinner very good.  

There was about 24 feet of tabletop that was covered in toys for families in the area.  They will be distributed through three different agencies.  

I just love these gals I volunteer with!  Doris under the upside down Christmas tree.

Today Isabelle comes to clean and I think I will start getting my clothes ready to be taken to the RV.  Still not sure when we are leaving but it will be within two weeks.  There is still volunteer work to be done and a few more parties!