Saturday, February 11, 2017

Week Seven

Saturday was cleaning day.  The dust from the fields here is awful.  I am glad I have no more to clean than this 38 foot RV!  While I did my work, Ted went to have my oil changed and get a haircut.  At 4:00 we went to church and then picked up Susan, Tommy and Bill (Alana - not Ornell - was not feeling well -- I had the wrong couple coming down!) and then we picked up Stella (Jay cannot eat just yet but encouraged her to go).  We had a good Mexican meal at La Patio.  Bill and Stella took soup home to their ailing partners.  We rode them around Retama so Bill could see it.  

Sunday was warm but WINDY!  Ted went to shoot skeet.  Then we went to the flea market with our company when he returned.  Sunday and Wednesday are the only two opportunities they will have to go there.  Ted was waiting for his watch that was getting a new clasp.  Now the fellow is in the hospital.  He checked on it last week so he wanted to stop again.

We split up in the market and eventually met back at the pavilion where the music was.  Susan and I had made several purchases, Ted had rescued his watch since the gentleman had a stroke so chances are he won't be fixing clasps anytime soon and we then headed to the produce barn.  From there we went to Ace's BBQ for an early dinner.  Afterward we showed them our gun range, the Border Patrol station and the palapa on the river so Alana could see Mexico.  She had walked her dog and thought she was in Mexico when she crossed an irrigation canal.

I have kept our calendar open but the health issues of 8 seniors and 3 dogs is keeping us hopping.  My back still flares up and walking at the flea market set it off.  Jay tried to eat a baked potato and had to stop after one bite.  All the mouth surgery is still bothering him.  Stella uses a cane at times and Tommy usually doesn't walk too far.  Alana's dog had to go to the emergency vet with ant bites or chiggers all over so we have to keep reassessing what we can do!

While Bill was in Mexico at the dentist, Alana was at the vet and Jay & Stella took a day of rest, I chose to do laundry.  I used the one by Susan's spot so we could visit while we waited.  While the washer ran we picked up my slacks from the seamstress but I never did make it to the grocery or my Swedish Weaving class!  

Ted had tactical shooting at 5:30 and we had agreed on pizza for dinner.  So Ted was gone, Jay & Stella weren't with us all day, Bill ate after the dentist and Tommy didn't want to be the only guy so Susan, Alana and I went to Titto's by ourselves.  See what I mean?  The best laid plans of mice and men ......

Tuesday Ted went to the range to run clay bird shooting.  Trying to get myself ready for the day set my back and leg off.  It hurt so bad I hesitated going to the grocery by myself so Ted went with me when he came home.  The clubhouse was being decorated for the Valentine's party so we had a little neighborhood game of Mah Jongg in Kathy's coach house that filled a couple of hours.  Ted called the pain clinic and moved my appointment up to this Thursday instead of next Thursday.  

At 4:30 we picked up Jay and Stella to meet the four from next door at Fuddrucker's for their Valentine's Special that Susan knew about.  Two burgers, two fries and two milkshakes for $20.  

Jay still can't eat so I promised him my milkshake to drink and I just had water.  It was very good and a nice celebration for the 8 of us on Valentine's Day.  We spent the rest of the evening at home.

We didn't do anything in particular on Wednesday.  The girls were going to the flea market and ropas, something that would have me on my feet for hours ... and that wasn't going to happen!  But we did go to dinner with them minus Stella and Jay.  He is having a hard time still.

Thursday was breakfast out and then my MRI follow up appointment.  He said I have an old, healed coccyx fracture and neither of us can think of anytime this could have happened.  It also showed two arthritic or herniated discs around L5 and S1.  One said herniated, the other said arthritic.  A facit injection was ordered and they got me in on the evening schedule.  

I returned in time to take Susan on the state park tram tour.  In about six weeks the birds will be flying through but there was not a lot of activity other than the chakalakas that gathered at the feeder when the guide shook out seed.

Another stop was a lake created by backwaters from the Rio Grande River.  It now has tilapia, Asian carp and alligator gar due to the flood waters from 2010.  Mexico is the other side.

Our last stop was an original survey marker that remains on the U.S. side and has a partner just like it on the Mexico side.  The guide was very knowledgable and we enjoyed ourselves.

A little after returning home we left again for Westlaco for my injections.  It wasn't too bad and I am hoping and praying this gives me the relief I need.  I have a follow up appointment on 3/2 unless after 3-4 days I don't have relief.  I will get my MRI and treatment file to take home with me before I leave here.  We stopped at Luby's for dinner since I hadn't eaten since breakfast and it was 8:30 pm.

Friday I worked upon my SIL's taxes but I need her AGI for 2015 to support her identity and it is in her file at my house.  She will have to wait until we get home.  Once I put that number in I can file electronically for her.

That night we went to a dance at Bentsen Groves up the street from us.  Ralph and the Cruisers, advertised as the best rock and roll band in the valley, were playing.  We managed three dances but mostly enjoyed the music and watching the dancers.  

I decided not to participate in the gun competition today.  Standing around could get too painful for me  to shoot effectively but by the scores Ted said were posted I could have helped most teams.  It was shotgun, rifle or pistol.  I could have shot any.  Ted's team came in second but he is questioning their scoring.  Rifles and pistol are timed.  Shotgun is hit or miss.  And they put it all into software that can't measure both methods.  He shot with no misses but they gave him a 30 second time which makes no sense.  Stay tuned!

We went to church and a wedding was just finishing up.  The flowers on the altar and in the main aisle were very pretty.  A policeman interrupted the sermon to announce four cars were illegally parked in the alley and had the wedding folks blocked in.  Anywhere else they would have called the tow truck instead.  Several men popped up quickly!  We chose Dirty Al's in McAllen for dinner.  It is a lot closer than their South Padre Island location.  I had the special - coconut shrimp, zucchini and red potatoes.  Excellent!

My injection has not been as effective as I hoped.  However, they said it could take 3-4 days and even Don, the anatomy professor said 72 hours so I am being patient.  

Tomorrow Gerre and Barry arrive and Tucker will stay with us.  The Holiday Inn doesn't allow dogs.  I hope the weather and my injection all work out to a great week for us.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Week Six

What a Super Bowl!  It was the Falcon's to lose and they did just that.  Jim, our bet keeper, had to divide the money by 5 instead of 4 to cover 5 different scores versus 4 due to the historic overtime play.  All were in agreement that this was as fair as you could be in this situation.  Neither Ted nor I won anything!

Ted went to shoot skeet and I played Mah Jongg on Sunday.  Kathy finally got not one but two Mah Jonggs.  She won both games.  However we were told you would normally play 8 games in the time it takes for us to complete two!  I had figured out what hand Kathy was playing and determined she needed a 2 or 4 crak for a pair to win.  I reminded her she could pick a discarded tile to make a pair to Mah Jongg, something you can't do during normal play.  She had forgotten that.  I had her tile and held off as long as I could but eventually I had to throw it or ruin my hand where I was waiting for a joker or 9 crak for Mah Jongg.  It was 50/50 whether she needed the 4 I threw versus a 2.  It was the 4 and she was delighted!  I made fresh chicken tenders for dinner before the Super Bowl came on.

Monday was the Ladies Off Site Luncheon at Peppers.  It was a really nice restaurant with a great menu.  I picked up Joanne, Cathy and Bev.  I was stuck on my Swedish Weaving so I picked up Bev first who explained what I needed to do.  When I came home I had to pull out a whole row but am now on the right path.  Ted was gone to the gun range when I got back so I did two rows and all is well.

The next day was Pat's birthday potluck so I used my Instantpot to steam eggs to make deviled eggs (the free ones from HEB!).  I put water in the bottom, set 6 eggs on the rack and chose Fish Steam since it was the lowest setting with Steam in it.  When it pressurized it went to 10 minutes but I was told to stop it in 6 which I did.  I let the steam escape on its own for 6 minutes, then released the rest and put the eggs in ice water for 6 minutes.  Perfect!  So I did it again with 9 eggs.  Same perfect results.  Once The Bachelor was over I mixed the filling and my 30 halves were all ready to go.  I forgot to mention the eggs peeled easily, every one of them.  

My sciatic nerve, or whatever it is, is still giving me fits.  The orthopedic doctor who did my hip has a "not my job" attitude about it.  Dr. Chang hasn't had any suggestions and the neurosurgeon who gave me four prescriptions and PT last year had sent me to the hip doctor.  And so it went.  So I have made an appointment at the pain clinic and just maybe someone will order a CT scan or MRI to have a good look.  Ted insists it is stenosis that he was operated on for in 2006.  I am just tired of the constant pain from sometimes not at all up to excruciating.  I am convinced it is nerve related because I have discovered different "moves" that will relieve it.  Putting my foot up against a wall and stretching my quads, placing my right ankle on my left knee and pushing down on the right knee, doing squats, etc.  I think it is a pinched nerve that I can sometimes get unpinched.  This getting old isn't for sissies!  Wish me luck!

The doctor at the pain clinic listened to me!  I explained how I have had this pain for two years, had my second hip replaced and I still have the pain.  The neurosurgeon gave me 4 prescriptions that sent my BP sky high and ordered PT.  Nothing worked well so I have been just dealing with it for some time but there is something wrong.  This new doc agrees with me, the sciatic nerve is getting pinched and inflamed and the piriformis muscle it runs through spasms at times.  That is why I can go from zero pain to excruciating so quickly.  He gave me two muscle relaxants, one for day, one for night to hopefully give me some relief until he can order an MRI.  When I returned home I received a call and an MRI is scheduled for Friday.

Thursday was breakfast out.  I picked up Barb, Cathy and Joanne and headed to my favorite place for breakfast, El Estacion, complete with bakery which I resist!  When I returned I took my new slacks to a lady advertising in our clubhouse that she does sewing.  She was a hoot and it turned into a fun visit.  My slacks should be ready on Monday.

That evening, 11 of us went to Saltgrass Steak House for dinner.  Their 4-6 pm specials are priced really well.  My getting one of them, and using our $25 reward on our Landry's card, made our bill not bad.  By the time we got home there was an email thanking us for eating there and saying we have 61 points toward another reward.

Friday was my MRI.  It took about an hour and a half because they did 3 "photos."  I should hear from them this week.  If not, I have another appointment on 2/22 but he had indicated I probably would be coming in earlier.  I hope so.  The muscle relaxants are helping.  

I returned just in time to go play Mah Jongg.  We played 5 games in 2.25 hours.  It just depends on who you play with on how fast you can go.  I got a Mah Jongg on the last game but had been one tile away on another two.  I am just glad I can reason my hand out enough to play to "close" even if I don't win.  I guess that competitiveness will come eventually.

We stayed in for the evening and talked to Susan.  They are due in today at the campground next door.  Plans are made for dinner after church tonight.  Bill and Ornell are due in too so I hope they and Jay & Stella can join us. He had 3 hours of dental surgery in Mexico yesterday and may not be up to eating yet.

Our weather has been terrific and on some days unseasonably warm.  

The sunsets continue to delight us all.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Week Five

It got cold overnight!!  I woke up curled into a fetal position totally stiff from being so cold despite plenty of covers.  I got up and turned the furnace on.  Two hours later I got up and turned the fireplace on which allowed me to turn the thermostat down to 68.  Later in the day the AC came on!  Crazy!  

Ted met Don and Dave at the skeet club and I headed to the nail salon for a mani/pedi which was much needed.  I really like the girl who did my manicure last time and she was there and available.  She is not only good but quick!  I was back in time for Mah Jongg.  We all made mistakes while playing but we learned a lot of new things today.  I defrosted leftover meatballs and sauce for dinner and we stayed in for the evening.

Monday I went back to the salon to get a chip in my nail fixed.  Gina didn't just fix the nail, she took everything off and did the nail completely over and put another clear coat on all my nails.  Then I went to HEB for groceries.  It was beautiful weather and a pleasant, unhurried day.

 Ted grilled burgers for dinner then went Tactical Shooting with the group.  

Tuesday morning was leisurely, no rush to get ready.  I played Mah Jongg at 2:00.  I am not sure I will ever get good at this game but I do enjoy it.  When we were finished we went to Kathy's coach house and prepared 144 bags for casino night.  It took about an hour and a half to do so with six of us working.

We had plans to get together with Karen and Dave on Wednesday.  Ted, Dave and Don met at the gun club and I picked Karen up there.  Our destination was Bec's to look for a dress for me for Ally's wedding.  The first one I tried on was exactly what I was looking for and was on sale.  Karen and the ladies there picking out outfits for their fashion show all gave it a thumbs up.  By the time the saleslady came by to check I was already dressed and heading to the cash register.  I am so glad to get that out of the way.

We continued on to Macy's and Dillard's where I bought a pair of black dress pants ($115 on sale for $33!) and a top.  Next Tuesday we are invited to friends at Bentsen Palms and it is Pat's birthday so I stopped at Bath and Body Works for a little gift.  By then it was time to head to Cheddar's to meet up with the fellows who picked up Trudy on the way.  The six of us had a great time visiting over our really good meals.  

On our way home we stopped at Cottonwood Park to welcome Jay and Stella who have finally arrived and then went to Bentsen Palms to give Vern his hat back.  Not sure how Ted ended up with it but when we pulled up, John and Diana were walking by so we all six ended up inside the motorhome and had a nice visit.  We finally made it home just before dark.

Trudy had asked me to go to the fashion show next door so she could talk to the stores about hosting one here at Retama next February.  Since the models go to the stores and choose their outfits, the clothes would all be different so I agreed.  However, I forgot it was breakfast day for Retama.  So I went to breakfast, ate lightly, then went to the lunch and fashion show.  The lunch was light so I didn't overeat at either place, it was just close together.  Trudy and I will set a shopping date in Weslaco in the next week or so before more company arrives.

The only thing scheduled for Friday was Mah Jongg.  Kathy and I walked up together since we couldn't find Sue.  The door was open, the dog was inside, the car was gone so we were a bit concerned.  Turned out a quick trip turned into something much longer!  We were glad to know things were ok. 

The good news is I got a Mah Jongg!  It isn't my first but they have been hard to come by for us newbies.  When I returned home Niles, Sue, Dortha and Mark all piled into our car for the promised return trip to El Patio.  It didn't disappoint and they thanked us for the recommendation.  

Saturday was Casino Night so we went to Soup and Salad for a later lunch because we knew we wouldn't eat dinner.  It isn't Sweet Tomatoes but still is a good salad bar and soups choice.  Church was at 4:00 so we were a tad late for the talk for the dealers at 5:00.  Ted was assigned to Chuk A Luck and I served as cashier for Higher/Lower.  Neither of us had a chance to play any of the games.  

"Cigarette girls" walked around offering snacks and appetizers, and margaritas were available.  Can you tell they are all from Canada?

At the end of the evening we pooled our money to buy Bonnie, who was the chairman of the event, an antique box by Winchester Western with targets, ammo, holsters, etc inside.  Bonnie does so much for so many that we were happy to get this for her even if it was with play money!

I have been working on my Christmas runner.  Progress is being made.  I usually do one or two rows a night depending on what time I start.

Next week Tommy and Susan arrive for a week followed by Gerre and Barry for a week.  I'm sure we will be busy.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Week Four

Ted went to the Mission Skeet and Trap Club with Dave, John and Don on Sunday morning.  I went to the laundromat!  I finished up just in time to go play Mah Jongg.  We had a seasoned player at our table who played much faster than Sue, Joanne and I could play.  She was the only one who won.  The other games were a draw, or as they say Wall Games.  There is just so much to consider and trying to do it so quickly is frustrating.  When I returned, Ted was watching the football playoff games and we just had a salad for dinner. 

Monday was the Couple's Lunch at Republic of the Rio Grande.  There were about 24 couples.  We sat with Kathy and Gary who we know and Tanya and Tom who live across the street that we had not met yet.  Sitting on the outdoor patio was delightful!  We came home, changed clothes and headed to the gun range.  I hadn't shot since we arrived and Saturday is a competition.  I shot my .22 first, then switched to the 9mm to practice with it.  Last, I shot one handed with the .22.  Here are my results.  Wish me luck!

The Tactical Shooting is going to be just on Monday night now and not Wednesday.  So we skipped dinner and Ted left for Shooter's Alley with the others.  I watched The Bachelor which is really weird this go round!  My interest is waning.

Tuesday I played Mah Jongg and didn't win but I was just a tile or two away in most games.  At least I am not getting lost and can head down the right path.  For dinner I made ribs in our pressure cooker.  Ted had removed the membrane and rubbed them with pork rub.  He cut them into 2 bone pieces.  Using the browning setting I browned them a bit, then set them on end in a circular pattern.  We added one cup of beef broth and one cup of BBQ sauce.  Using the Meat setting they cooked for about 22 minutes.  Fall off the bone delicious!!  I am liking this new gadget.

Wednesday we headed back to Victoria Palms for the Skymed luncheon.  We have had this travel insurance since 2011 and the peace of mind it gives us is immeasurable.  Our present policy runs out in October and we were informed we can renew at the original 2011 price which we will do.  It provides emergency medical transport to wherever you want to go for treatment (not necessarily the nearest medical facility) wherever you are in the world. It will send someone to you, return your grandchildren home if traveling with you, return your pets and the biggee, return your rig home.  It will return remains if that becomes necessary to your choice of location, not necessarily to your home if that's your need. I hope we never need to use it but if you travel it is a good thing.  If they have to land a helicopter in your front yard to evacuate you, they cover that.  No need to be 100 miles from home.

The funny thing you learn when dealing with retirees ... if you are on time, you are late.  Lunch was scheduled to start at 11:30 and we arrived at 11:10!  Here is the room with everyone eating their salads when we entered.

Thursday is breakfast day so Joanne, Mimi and Cathy joined me for the ride to Rosie's.  These gatherings are always enjoyable.  They showed me a back way to go north and now I need to show Ted!

We were invited to Don and Trudy's annual Brat Fest so I made 5# of hot German potato salad.  There was a big crowd and my crockpot liner was empty in no time.  Lots of desserts and green salads so the substantial food went quickly.  Next year I will make 10#!

Prayer before eating.  No one objects to "in Jesus's name we pray."

Our summer plans are all discombobulated.  So far we have 5 nights in Pigeon Forge at the Rowdy Ruhe Reunion followed by 3 nights in Nashville with two couples.  From there I think we will spend the week of the 4th in Cincinnati.  That gives us access to the family cabins at the lake in KY over the holiday weekend and a few days to do some visiting.  We will return July 24 for a week leading up to the more sedate Rogers Reunion.  The two weeks in between will be spent in St Marys OH, Shipshewana IN and at the factory in Howe getting our kitchen lights changed out.

The tops of these snap and break allowing them to swing when traveling.  Because the refrigerator on the slide is just a foot away when the RV slides are in, our refrigerator has dings.  I always say there is an earthquake going on inside every time you go down the road.  The exact timing for these things will depend on our factory appointment date.  

Saturday's shooting competition was moved to Friday due to the prediction of rain on Saturday.  But the fashion show luncheon at Mission West was Friday and 26 of us already had our tickets.  Ted went to the gun range and I picked up six others for the short ride to Mission West park.  We had a good time with lots of laughs.  They had an hour's entertainment that made the total program way too long! Linda was ready for two martinis by 3:00 when we left!  Our table from each end.

At dinner time we picked up Tom and Eileen to have dinner at the Riverside Club.  It is the first time we got there in the month we all have been here.  They left Saturday morning so it was "now or never."  We said our goodbyes about 8 and headed home.

Saturday dawned rainy and cool.  We had nowhere we had to be so I took the opportunity to vacuum and dust.  Later on we left to get gas, buy some hangers and get to church while hopefully parking was available.  It is the day of the Citrus Parade and the road we use to go to church is closed to traffic.  So we need to come in from the west.  Then there is the problem of parking because so many parade watchers take the spaces.  We found a spot but were 40 minutes early for Mass!  Fr. Phil (aka Speedy Gonzales) said Mass and we got caught in church AND parade traffic because both ended at the same time.  We wound our way around and eventually made our way to Cracker Barrel for dinner.

Our Lady of Guadalupe won First Place in the float competition.  The orange and yellow you see are grapefruit and orange slices.  Notice Fr. Roy's dogs in the last photo.  He was riding a horse but we didn't see him.  Maybe he had a specific place to take the horse.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Week Three

With my monk cloth in hand I headed to the craft room for Swedish weaving.  I am going to make a Christmas runner.  Trudy was going to sew my edges for me but Beverly had her machine and did mine.  Such a helpful teacher!  Every store seemed to be out weaving needles so Sharon sold me an extra packet she had!   I perused Beverly's pattern book, chose one and Jenn made me a copy.  As soon as I wash and dry my cloth I can start.  I feel like it is already a village project just getting me going.  Some of you may remember my first attempt that took me two winters to accomplish.  

When I came home we decided to make beef stew in our Instant Pot.  I floured and seasoned the beef cubes while Ted peeled potatoes.  Then I browned the meat in the pot on the browning setting. I poured in beef stock, celery, potato cubes and baby carrots plus onions and garlic.  I locked it and in 30 minutes we ate really good stew.  I put a couple rolls in the convection oven timed to be done when the stew was done.  Nice nutrious meal, little time, minimal clean up.  Afterwards we watched TV.

Eileen and I met up for yoga on Tuesday.  There is quite a crowd there now.  Ted went to organize the clay bird shoot and later in the afternoon we played Mah Jongg again.  It is feeling as hard as Bridge but you don't have a partner to get mad at you for bidding wrong!  I am learning something new every time.  
I tried to start my project but I found the directions unclear and add to that I am trying to go lengthwise versus their side to side and I went to Sharon's for a new pattern.  I have a row and a half done.  This will take a long time!

The Texas Expo was at the McAllen Convention Center and we spent a couple hours there on Wednesday morning.  I even had my photo taken with my two Minion friends.  Eileen won one of the first door prizes, a Sleep Number pillow!

We came home with so many bags, koozies, ads, coupons, pens, bottle openers, etc.!  I had to sort it all.  I have an apron, sunglasses, sewing kit, pens, visor clips to hold a pen, free eggs from HEB, samples of toothpaste, vitamins, antacids, granola bars, etc.  I threw a lot away, made a backpack up with all the cups, koozies, glasses, etc. for our casino night and stuck the coupons behind the visor in my car.  

We headed out about 4:45 for Longhorn Steakhouse to have dinner before going to see The Oakridge Boys in Mercedes TX.  It was a great show.  For being in their 70s these fellows can still sing and have a lot of energy.  They took no intermission but sang straight through for an hour and a half.  Of course they finished up with a rousing rendition of Elvira with the entire audience on their feet joining in.  Fun night.

Thursday I picked up Kathy and Beverly for breakfast.  We joined a dozen other women and had another fun time over coffee, omelettes and pancakes.  While driving home Ted called to say his brother Tom was told there was no Rogers Family Reunion group at the hotel in Lawrenceburg where I had just finalized the arrangements for the family reunion in July over the last three days!   I called when I got home and was told that we no longer had the 20 rooms they had promised.  I asked when they were going to tell me this and they said the manager would call me when she returned.  That was 3 hours ago and still no call.  In the meantime, I was scrambling.

Took me a good bit of the day but eventually found out the Jazz Festival is that weekend in Cincinnati.  There is a lot of unavailability or extremely inflated prices.  I am sure that is why our block of rooms at regular prices was tossed out.  But no one has ever called to discuss it with me!  I filed a complaint with Wyndam Corporate.  We have secured 9 rooms located conveniently at close to twice the normal price and 14 rooms at regular prices but 40 miles away.  We immediately reserved our RV spot.  I guess RVers aren't into jazz!

With that settled we invited Tom and Eileen over to play Mexican Train and have pizza.  Ted noticed a leak under the truck and we were hoping it was a hose.  We took it to the Ford dealer the next day.  Eileen and I put cardboard and two cups underneath, while the guys went to pick up the pizza, to keep the anti-freeze off the driveway.

Friday was Inauguration Day!  We joined a houseful of like minded folks and attended a party to watch the festivities.  There was absolute quiet for an entire hour and then loud whoops and cheers when it was over.  Dave made the most outstanding brisket!  After a light lunch we returned home.  Late in the afternoon the four of us met Dave and Karen at Willie's BBQ for dinner and then headed out to see The Redhead Express.  Over the last 10 years we have watched this group go from performing in the small clubhouse of Bentsen Palms to the crowd of close to 1,000 in the ballroom of Victoria Palms.  We took Meghan her dark chocolate, courtesy of our redhead, Morgan, who she met last summer in Pueblo CO and again this fall in Ann Arbor.  

Ted had taken our truck into Spikes Ford and $600 later, picked it up with a hose and another hose assembly fixed on Saturday morning.  There was a gun swap meet at our clubhouse he went to and then he, Tom and Niles went to the McAllen Convention Center to a gun show.  Surpringly nothing new showed up here!

After church we tried a new Mexican restaurant.  I estimate 75% of restaurants down here can be classified as such.  I perused TripAdvisor and Yelp before deciding to try El Patio.  The food we ordered was really good but the chicken fingers and burgers going by indicated we needed to come back a couple more times!  It is certainly a keeper!

From there we went to see John Sager.  He is a terrific singer, great entertainer and you just cannot not have a good time.  He has a lot of audience interaction and the audience Ioves it.  Bruce, Ted and I all got harassed a bit, but all in good fun.

The time is flying by.  We are hoping the folks that said they will visit in February are able to make it down.  If they all come, most of the month is filled!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Week Two

Monday we headed to Walmart to get a new water filter.  Our pressure was low so Ted also took off the regulator and now it is flowing better.  We also stopped to have one of our propane tanks filled because it ran out with the furnace running for 3 days solid.  It automatically switches to the other one so Ted always fills one up as soon as it empties. There was a Hangin' on Hummingbird get together but we opted not to go. We had chicken soup I got out of the freezer for dinner and then watched The Bachelor.

Tuesday was way busier than Monday.  Eileen and I went to yoga at 9:00 and the class is ramping up!  I was pretty tired after class but did hang in on the "plank."  I stayed up until 190 on a count of 240. My goal is to hold it the entire time but I have a lot of time to accomplish that.  I had to return home in time to dress for lunch.  There were about 24 of us attending.  It was a high end restaurant but the menu was very limited, there was one server for 24 people but we went with the flow and made the best of it.  The food was very good.  

It was past 2:00 when I arrived back and headed to the clubhouse for Mah Jongg and the three ladies acting as helpers started a new table when I came.  We played 3 or 4 games so our speed is increasing.  I got a Mah Jongg only to learn the two pairs I had have to be natural and not with jokers.  Still learning!

The weather was perfect and it looks good for the rest of the week.   

Wednesday we headed north to get tickets for Goldwing Express and John Sager.  We already have our Oak Ridge Boys and Redhead Express tickets.  Our weekends will be busy!  We stopped at Walmart to get my Swedish weaving material and yarn.  Since Ted was going to Tactical Shooting where they eat before, we stopped at McDonald's so we didn't need dinner.  We ran into Barb and Sherman and joined them at their table.  We had a nice visit!

Upon our return I took two loads of laundry to do while Ted met Don and Dave to shoot skeet.  We both came home and he went across the street in the middle of putting his gun things away.  I kept watching his bag on the patio table knowing full well he had walked across the street.  He claimed he told me he was going to help Mark make some shelves or something but that I would have remembered!!  He left eventually for tactical shooting.  Seems he came in second for the evening.  I had an evening to myself.

Thursday is breakfast day and I picked up Joanne at 8:15.  Only 8 ladies came to the restaurant and I got back just as yoga was breaking up.  We went grocery shopping and then played a game of Mexican Train in the afternoon with Tom and Eileen.  Ted won!  We spent the evening watching TV.

Friday we intended to go to the pool patio for a Wine and Cheese party but I was tired and we opted not to go.  I was into a book and preferred staying home to finish it.  

We were busy on Saturday.  First up was the Don-Wes flea market where I bought some cards I needed and cinnamon sugar at the spice booth.  Ted bought grapefruits and oranges.  We stopped at Chik Fil A for lunch.  We went to church at 4:00, had dinner at Applebee's then went to see the Goldwing Express.  They are a great group.  We really enjoyed the show and were so happy to hear they are joining Dixie Stampede in Branson.  The only touring they will do is 5-6 weeks here in the valley.

Sunday while Ted went with John, Dave and Don to the Mission Trap and Skeet club, Eileen and I went to our clubhouse to play Mah Jongg.  We only played two games because Laura has a hard time making decisions.  But I had a Mah Jongg on the second game and it was good, no mistakes!  Success!

Friday, January 6, 2017

Yikes! What Happened?

Thursday was a bit cooler but we are in for a huge change!  I drove to the ladies breakfast and about 18 neighbor's were there.  This restaurant also has a bakery but I resisted the temptation to bring something home.  Lorraine who lives three lots down from us chose to ride home with me and we made arrangements to ride together next week.

We picked Tom and Eileen up at 11:00 and drove to the bridge to Mexico.  We walked over to Progreso and the weather was nice.  Ted went ahead to get his pedicure while I bought the medicines I needed.  I couldn't remember the dosage of his eyedrops so didn't get them.  The three of us walked on down to the salon where Ted was almost done so we went next door to Renee's and again I resisted those pastries and just had a Light Coke (must be a Mexican thing because I have never seen them here).  Ted came in shortly and had coffee AND a pastry.

From there we wandered down the street stopping here and there.  Eileen bought a frog wind chime and eventually we made our way to the leather shop where they bought Ira two belts he had requested.  We made our way back towards the bridge and stopped at Jessica's where we bought Ted's eyedrops and Eileen bought some Retin A.  With our receipts we went into the bar for our free margaritas.  The live music stopped at 2:00 and it was 2:30 so no entertainment or dancing that day.  With our bags in tow we made our way through Customs and back across the bridge to the U.S. side.

We decided to have an early dinner and it was a bit before 4:00 when we arrived at Cheddar's.  Once it gets to be 5:00, the wait to get in can be long.  I had soup, salad and half a sandwich but I brought half of the half-sandwich home and ate it for lunch the next day.

Friday it turned COLD!  I turned the fireplace on when I got up but it said the temperature was going to keep dropping so I eventually turned the fireplace off and the furnace on.  Eileen picked me up and we went to the clubhouse to play Mah Jongg.  The first hand I didn't even get close but the second hand I was in great shape with a 4 dragon run complete and a 4 number run to go with it complete.  I had one more joker so it gave me leeway in how I was going to finish my hand ... and they announced it was 4:00 and we were stopping!  Bummer!

After dinner we went next door to hear the Williamson Branch, a family group.  They were okay but I don't think I would go see them again.  There are much better shows to see.  

Overnight was REALLY COLD and it got down to 27!  We left the furnace on, turned our 3 holding tank heaters on, used a second blanket, dropped the hose off the spigot and filled a gallon of water for flushing the toilet.  Morning came with sunshine but windy and the temp started creeping up.  We stayed in until 3:15 when Tom and Eileen picked us up for church.  Afterwards we went to Taco Ole for dinner.  

They dropped us off to get our change to go play card bingo.  In 13 years I have never had such an irritating night playing this game.  Volunteers are callers but this guy was terrible.  Everyone kept asking him to repeat and Ted constantly had to tell the four people at the end of the table what was called.  To make matters worse there was a guy bantering with the caller and he kept announcing if he had the card called.  I finally said loud enough for him to hear "we don't care!" and he shut up.  We are busy the next two Saturday nights so maybe they will get it squared away.  There were lots of unhappy people besides us.  It was warmer when we came out and is heading back up to the 80s in a few days.

Sunday was cloudy but warmer.  Ted met Don and Dave at Mission Skeet and Trap Club to shoot a few rounds of skeet.  I did my paperwork paying our Estimated Taxes, flood insurance, deposited a check using my IPad and then balancing my checkbook.  At 2:00 Eileen, Sue and I went up to the clubhouse for Mah Jongg.  We all are learning quickly but our play is slow as we wrestle with all the variables in this game.  I won one of three games and was one tile away from winning a second.

Ted had gone to the grocery and bought a roasting chicken so we took another shot at using the new digital pressure cooker.  It turned out really good and we are both learning a lot about its use.  I am not sure how much more this old brain can learn!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Such Warm Weather

After reaching 93 degrees on Monday, I figured shorts were the order of the day on Tuesday.  But yoga was at 9:00 so I settled on Capri pants.  I like this instructor's routine more than last year.  It seems more encompassing with lots of stretching versus some awkward poses.  I didn't bring my mat since the old instructor left for Florida so I was ill prepared when this opportunity came up.  Eileen and I both took beach towels.  That worked ok until we had to do the plank.  The towel kept slipping and I couldn't stay in position.  It is hard enough to hold but to be slipping besides just doesn't work.  I will buy a new mat today!

Ted was not home when I returned.  He was running the clay bird shooting down at the range.  Bonnie stopped by to "get the gun range stuff" out of our coach house.  Niles, Mark and Ted arrived right after her arrival.  I told them the stuff wasn't bothering anything.  Ted had his stuff stored, I had my two card tables set up with a tablecloth on them and six chairs around so we can eat or play games and Ted can do his gun thing and there is a coffee table in the corner that actually belongs in the furnished coach house next door but they don't want it in there.  So I covered it top and bottom and said this is my spot for bags when I buy things.  We all agreed we had the space we needed and all was good.  Ted ran his big spotlight and hung it from a rafter so we have light in there.  I don't know if the owners know people store stuff in there or not!

We were supposed to be across the street at Mark's this year with a finished coach house but they decided to use it themselves so we are back across the street where we were last year.  He did bring over a patio set for us to use which is really nice to have.  Ted put our rug down, Bonnie added her big umbrella and we are all set!  Cooperation at its finest!

At 2:00 it was time to go to a mahjong introduction.  I have tried to play this game several times and never really "got" it.  Roseanne explained things really well, her handouts made sense and with the little I remembered I didn't get lost while four of us played a practice hand with her husband as our coach.  I switched the "hand" I was attempting to play three times and in the end was victorious and mahjonged!!  I will attempt to hang with it since it is played at home by many ladies.

Monday night we had returned my new pressure cooker to Walmart because a gasket was missing and got a different one.  I made a meatloaf and we tried to cook it and everything seemed to be going as planned and then I got an E3 display.  Of course there is no explanation of this error message so I unplugged it, let the steam disperse, checked everything again and the same thing happened.  We called the hotline and they said it means it is defective, take it back to where we bought it.  I don't think I will replace it.  I could have baked that meatloaf twice in the time we spent messing with it.  

Today was much cooler and I put on jeans and a 3/4 sleeve shirt.  Ted went to the Skeet Club (which is different from our gun range) with Dave and I went to pick something up at the shopping plaza, had my nails done and then stopped to buy some greeting cards.  I go through a lot of them!

Ted had taken our pressure cooker back as instructed and bought a Farberware one.  I was ready to give up but he likes to try different cooking methods and loves soup so we gave it another shot.  These instructions made better sense and we were able to cook our meatloaf in 30 minutes.  I think if it was frozen and you could cook it in 40 minutes it would be handier.  They tell me it can do that so we'll see.

Wednesday night is tactical shooting and Ted went but I didn't.  While he was gone I was notified that the deputy shot in Lancaster County KY was my cousin David's son, Colby.  He was shot in the arm twice and it was not life threatening.  However, when one person is dead and the other airlifted to the hospital and that is all you know, it is definitely scary.  We have lots of first responders - fire, police, EMT, etc. in my family.  I worry about them all.  Praise God for this recent outcome.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Taking Off

Friday Ted fueled up the truck getting $1.00 off at Krogers from our points buying gift cards in December.  Buying 35 gallons at $1.15 per gallon was nice.  He took a brand new, with tags, camouflage shirt to the gun club and gave it to Danny.  Because it had a logo on the shoulder it was going into the recycle bin at the Thrift Shop until I rescued it.  I knew he would know someone who could wear it.

Ted had brought the few Christmas things in from outside and I put them away while he was gone.  I don't think anyone but Marena had seen any of our decorations inside.  I packed several bags from  the pantry and cleared the refrigerator out and cleaned it while putting what we are taking to one side.  Our medicine bag is packed, my paperwork is in the pouch and my toiletries are all in the basket.  Once we get set up on Saturday it shouldn't take but two trips to load it all up.

I received an email from my sister-in-law Carol and their daughter, son-in-law and grandson were still in town so we met for dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant.  We weren't sure we would get to see them but it all worked out.  You are really old when the next generation talks about retiring!!

Saturday was busy, making three trips back and forth to the trailer.  It is easier than unloading but not by much.  I just don't have to clean.  We made it to 5:00 Mass a wee bit late but had no trouble parking or finding a seat.  Then we went back to the house and locked it up and headed to Gerre's.  All our "lake" friends were there and a spread of food like you can't imagine.  We had hats, horns, champagne and a blow up frame to take everyone's photo. 

A good part of the evening was spent at the "casino."  Roulette in the LR, Black Jack in the DR and bingo on the porch overlooking the pool and lighted fire pit.  I hit big time at bingo, lost my shirt at roulette 

and held my own at Black Jack.  Gary got tired of dealing so Ted took over and finished out the night.  We came home about 1 am and went straight to bed.

I woke up at 7, Ted at 8.  We were on the road by 9:00.  It was an easy drive into, through and out of Houston.  We continued SW until Victoria, then headed due south.  We took one break at a Pilot but that was it until Kingsville where we stopped.  It was 2:00 and we could have easily made the last 100 miles before dark but Ted prefers to stop to rest, fuel up my car and go out to eat.  It makes arrival, parking and set up easier when better rested.

We weren't the only ones getting off the road at 2:00.  Two rigs followed us right in.  The couple next to us are from NJ and have been on the road for 8 days heading to the valley.  I don't know where the others parked.  We went to Walmart for gas then on to Chili's to eat our only meal today.  TV has been football all afternoon and evening.  Texans lost, Bengals won.  Tomorrow should be a quick trip.

We left about 8:30 Sunday morning and arrived about 10:30 at Retama.  Niles, our neighbor came out  
to help me direct Ted into our spot.  He is a semi driver and said "just let me park it" and he did!  We got all set up in no time. First thing I did was pick the oranges on the tree outback.

We visited with several folks and when Ted left looking for Don I went over to deliver Trudy her gold earring she lost in Santa Fe while visiting us.  We came home and Tom and Eileen came over on their bikes to visit.  Sue knocked and invited us out to eat but we declined because of the company we had.    When they left we made a trip to Walmart and grabbed a sandwich at McDonald's.

And thus begins another season, our 13th here in the valley.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas in Michigan

I hadn't written anything between Friday and Tuesday!  Guess I was busy.  

We left about 11:00 for the airport on Christmas Eve.  I had made a reservation at the Parking Spot and it is a good thing.  "Lot Full" greeted us but "Except For Reservations" underneath that.  We parked undercover in Row 1.  

There was no traffic to speak of driving there and NO ONE IN LINE at TSA Pre-Check so by 12:15 we were on our concourse where we ate lunch at Chik Fil A.  We left on time and arrived in Chicago then walked past 38 gates! to our next flight that also left on time.  We had comfortable seats and arrived in Detroit right on time.  Since we carried our bags we met Kara at the Departure drop off versus dealing with everyone else getting picked up at Baggage Claim.  There was no one departing at 8:30 but lots of folks and traffic going into Arrivals.  

By 9:45 we parked easily and walked into church where we found an entire row open for the six of us. 

It was a beautiful Mass and homily.  We saw many friends on our way out.  I love our old parish.  Back home it was time for bed once I bagged the few presents I had brought with me.  

Next morning was not chaotic since the kids are 12 and 14, but messy nonetheless.  Once we opened all the gifts, we needed to get ready for our company and dinner.  We had 16 coming and Kara had everything set up before we even arrived.

Our oldest daughter Kelly and her family came, Sue, a friend of Bill and Kara's, our friends Gus and Melissa who brought Billy, a U of M student from Bejing who is spending Christmas break with them.  The young men are all engineers so talk flowed easily.  The older folks discussed mostly traveling and real estate.

It was about 9:00 when only family remained and we had another round of gift giving.  By midnight we were shooing the hanger-ons out the door.

Kelly had her husband's family Christmas Eve and had some beef tenderloin left.  Kara had pork tenderloin left.  So the plan was to put the leftovers in crockpots with BBQ sauce, do some returns at the mall and then go back to Kelly's to mess up her house!  The kids entertained themselves in the basement with all their new technology toys and Nerf guns.  And adults just rested round the dining room table.  It was another late night and I went right to bed when we got home.

We did virtually nothing on Tuesday.  It was nice to just sit and relax.  I did help Morgan iron her pearl beads to make her Undertales characters.  She did a great job because attention to detail plus counting is involved.

Bill's company had a lunch for the employees on Tuesday that Bill was in charge of and he brought trays and trays of leftovers home so Kelly's tribe came back one more time.  What I did forget to do was check in with Southwest!

The kids played a game where you wear a mouthpiece and try to talk so people understand.  They had a great time.

We were up early and Kara asked if I had checked in.  Yikes!  What a thing to forget on Southwest.  When I did, we had B and C boarding and Ted did not get TSA pre-check.  Not sure why.  Gus, Melissa and Billy picked us up at 11:00 to head to the airport.  We stopped at Andiamo's, a pretty high end restaurant in Dearborn, for an early lunch.  I ordered the chopped salad and midway through found a large piece of Saran Wrap in it.  I showed it to the waitress and she apologized profusely.  It wasn't anything disgusting or dirty, just the wrapping of one of the items pre-measured for the salad, so I continued eating.  Eventually the manager came out and comped the whole lunch.  We said we understood how it could happen and thanked him for his gesture.  Good business!

Security was not crowded and Ted went through the regular one and I just watched him and waited until he came out.  Our flight to Chicago was fine and so was our flight into Houston.  Despite checking in late we had decent seats on both flights.  The bus for parking was right outside and in no time we were on our way home.

Thursday was catch up day.  I handled the mail, updated the Christmas card list, paid the charges off (ouch!), unpacked and did three loads of laundry after changing the sheets on our bed and got my clothes ready for taking to the trailer.  The kids gave me new everyday dishes and they arrived today from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  So I packed up the old ones and still do not know just where their new home will be.  There are a couple of possibilities.  

Today I will start getting the food together.  We pretty much empty the pantry, freezer and refrigerator.  Ted plugged the trailer in yesterday and tomorrow we move it to the park so we can load up.  And another year will begin.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Less Than A Week!

I didn't do much once I got home Monday and actually fell asleep fairly early.  I have been sleeping in the twin bedroom to avoid listening to Ted's coughing.  He is feeling better but the cough lingers on.  But I did run into old friends at Walmart.  

Tuesday we met John and Irene at the gun range.  I used her .22 just like mine but she has a red dot.  I did okay with it but then covered the holes and shot just using my sites and did just as well.  I don't think I need a red dot.  Then I shot my new 9 mm and emptied two magazines.  I find this trigger (5.5#) very hard to pull and I have to concentrate on not letting the kick raise my aim.  I have to use this one to qualify for my Concealed Carry License.  For some reason you cannot qualify with a .22.  I am doing OK though!  The covered holes are the .22 with and without the red dot.  The 9 mm made the bigger holes.  Of the 40 shots, only 3 were 8, the rest were 9 and 10.

We went to lunch afterwards and had a good visit.  It is always hard in a crowd to really carry on a good, meaningful conversation so it was a nice time. The rest of the day I spent working on an IRS problem for my sister in law and mailing a sympathy card to another sister in law who just lost her father.  My time also included a call to my sister who worked at the IRS before she retired but she was no help.  I tried my CPA niece, again, no help.  So I have a call into a friend who does taxes and if she doesn't understand this ambiguous IRS paragraph I will go the fax route!   

Wednesday was a day at home and a welcome relief.  Sometimes you just want to bang around in your old clothes with no make up on!  I sent a fax off to the IRS, wrote a few thank you notes, paid our real estate taxes and did 3 loads of laundry.  I put away the few Christmas things I had out inside but left the front porch things for Thursday when we get back.  That was enough on my day off.

Thursday I worked two hours at the Thrift Shop and then got busy at home making sure I had what I needed for our trip.  A few presents have to be transported and only taking a carry-on certainly limits available space.  But I have it all packed except for toiletries that always go in last.  We received an email from the Parking Spot telling us they are looking forward to seeing us Saturday so hopefully there will be no problem getting a space.  In the afternoon I printed out our boarding passes and we have TSA pre-check!

With everything taken care of we decided to open the gifts we had received.  I received 9 mm bullets from Ted and a computerized pressure cooker.  Judy gave me an angel and also gave us a Texas Christmas hanging.  Ted loved it!   There were candles, cookies, candies, do-dads, etc.  Small remembrances from several friends.  Ted didn't have anything to open because he bought his own present, 400# of shot and several thousand primers!  Different strokes for different folks.

We will be busy in the morning so I will post this with our wish for all my blog readers.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Countdown to Christmas

Gail, Judy and I unpacking and sorting Shelter Santa gifts on Tuesday.

I wasn't sure I would be able to get out of bed on Wednesday but I got up just a bit stiff and that gradually worked itself out.  I didn't have much to do, I am trying to schedule every other day now so I don't fall far behind or wear myself out.  Eventually I went to a new nail salon.  I have tried three different ones since my old one sold out, and they did a great job with not much to work with.  I hadn't broken a nail in years and now every one of them on my right hand was gone.  I don't know why this happened but I was determined to find a place using the same stuff as the old salon.  They look nice.  Now I have to wait to see how they hold up.

Thursday was the Christmas gathering for Shanghai (just the girls).  Connie's house was done up beautifully and she had a small box of See's candies for each of us.  And I won!  My purse of dimes had gotten very low so it was nice to replenish it.  We had lots of laughs and another good time.

 When I came home Ted was feeling even worse. The night before he had started with a cough but 
it was turning into a bit of flu I think with chills and feeling achey.  We were to meet Terry, Carol and their daughter Sharon for dinner and Ted said we would go.  It was a 2.5 hour dinner and Ted enjoyed talking to Sharon about her husband's job as a basketball coach at A&M but he only ate a bowl of soup.  We exchanged our gifts because they have out of town people coming for Christmas and we are taking off for Michigan on Christmas Eve.  When we came home Ted went to bed very early.

Friday we had appointments for haircuts but Ted was feeling pretty bad.  I told him he didn't need to expose everyone in the salon and went alone.  Cindy was behind so it actually allowed her to get caught up and I made a new appointment for him next Thursday.  He slept off and on all day and evening.

Saturday he went to pick up gun stuff from Randy and put gas in my car but just about did himself in.  I told him I would attend Irene's birthday dinner alone.  My biggest worry is about him exposing others.  I stopped at Walgreen's for Dayquil D.  He has been taking that and a Z-pack and seems to be getting better but with no energy yet.

I drove myself to the country club Saturday evening and met the other 8 for dinner.  They have totally redone the club and this was the first time I have seen it.  It is nice but not over the top.  My dinner was good and I had a nice time.  I took gifts to Irene for her birthday and Christmas.  Nancy and Tom gifted all the men a bottle of wine and handmade polished wood bracelets for the ladies.  Irene had made buckeyes for all.  So I went with two bags and came home with three!

It was 87 when I left at 5 pm and still 78 at 8 pm when I came home, 44 when I went to bed and 36 the next morning.  Crazy weather!

I attended Mass Sunday by myself and the temperature didn't deviate at all throughout the day.  Afterwards I went to Walmart to purchase food for the food bank.  My bunco group pretty much fills the back of my Expedition with bags that I deliver right after our lunch that is scheduled for Monday.  I bought beans, rice, chili, soup, peanut butter, jelly, tuna fish, cereal plus paper towels and toilet paper.  

When I arrived home I started a beef stew right away and put it in the cast iron Dutch oven that belonged to Grandma Rogers.  Still works great!  Ted had received a jury summons so I went on line and had him exempted with a request to not be considered again.  After age 70 in Texas you can do that.  We don't mind serving but these summons seem to always come for times we are gone.  Once when we were having our mail forwarded, a summons was returned to the county and the next time Ted tried to vote he had to jump through hoops to prove who he was and still lived at our address.  We explained about the forwarding and they said they don't forward a summons.  So just how are you supposed to know???

Ted finally ate two bowls of stew so I knew he was feeling better but he still went to the doctor Monday morning.  He has bronchitis and was given an antibiotic to take for 10 days.  While he was at the doctor, I attended my bunco luncheon.  I received a gift card in the gift exchange which was fine by me though there were many nice gifts.  Mary fixed a nice lunch and set a beautiful table.  The girls were very generous and the entire back of my Expedition was filled with bags of food. 

 I dropped it all off at the food pantry on my way home but then I had to run by Shari's to pick up our dolly that she brought home from the Shelter for me.  It was late afternoon by the time I got home.  I am getting ready to wind things up here, plan for our Michigan trip and then on to our winter in Mission.  Sure hope Fr. Roy is doing well.  We both look forward to attending Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe for 3 months!