Sunday, November 27, 2016

Here Comes Santa Claus!

It is hard to believe December starts this week and the craziness that Christmas has become begins.  We have our plane tickets to fly to Michigan Christmas Eve, eight of our gifts are already there wrapped and waiting.  The few others I should be able to pack but I do have one box to go to Florida.  Kristin and Larry will not be able to join us.  He must have a radiation treatment that will keep him home bound for a week following his recent thyroid surgery.  We are disappointed but are praying for and confident of a good result.
received an email saying our Christmas cards are shipping.  However they did not mention the return labels!  I will have plenty of time even if the labels take until 12/13, the original promise date.  I may put a few decorations out since I have so much done already.

Saturday night we attended Mass then went to Landry's for dinner with Terry and Carol.  I had terrific mahi mahi.  We all enjoyed our dinner and because they were not too crowded, we were able to sit and visit for a long time.

Sunday I did get out a few Christmas things.  I haven't been doing any decorating in recent years unless the kids come for the holidays.  But I just felt like doing a little, but mind you very little, this year!

The tree is up!  This is my Texas tree adorned with Longhorns, the Alamo, bluebonnets, peppers, yellow roses, the state Capitol, etc.  Santa is one of my holiday Beanie Babies that ride my planter bicycle throughout the year.  The turkey just gave up the seat!

I do usually put up the manger.  My grandfather made the stable from a Werks Tag Soap box before I was born.  I have tried to pinpoint the date they merged with Procter & Gamble to at least have a "made before date" but so far no luck.  I know the Werks family lived in the Westwood area (where I attended high school) in 1840.  

 This is the new swag I bought this year for the front door.  Mr. Snowman has been around for awhile.

I didn't do too much Monday and Tuesday.  It gave me a chance to pay some bills, wrap some gifts and work on plans for a cruise next fall.  For our 73rd and 72nd birthdays, we are taking a repositioning cruise from Vancouver to Honolulu.  It took a bit of working things out because our granddaughter is getting married 9/29 in Michigan and we sail 10/3.  So I had to research the deck plans and cabins to choose where I wanted to be, look for flights from Houston to Detroit, on to Vancouver and then home from Honolulu.  I didn't know if we should jump ship the last night in Maui, stay in Honolulu when we disembark or fly over to Kauai.  We have been there numerous times so no particular place beckoned.  We finally settled on Honolulu.  I will be choosing a hotel in Vancouver for overnight before we sail but Kara and Kristin and families are sailing to Alaska from there in July so they can scout a convenient hotel.  

Wednesday I did my ironing that had piled up.  It included the linens from our Thanksgiving dinner but was still only four other pieces besides that.  I did some more investigating concerning our flights, hotel, car rental. Pearl Harbor visit and day at the Polynesian Cultural Center.  So much to dig through.  I gathered some boxes and wrapped  more gifts but I need to make a list of the last places I need to go to finish up.

Ted and I went to the gun club on Thursday for me to see all that has been done to the place.  The first  Five Stands are done and one Sporting Clay course is complete and the second one half finished.  They are pretty courses through the woods.  Ted talked to Mike about a gun and ordered a new one for me.  My Beretta is fine for competition but too large to carry for protection.  The new Sig Sauer will be just right I think.  Merry Christmas to me!

We went to lunch, bought some gift cards, stopped at Academy for another gift and then headed home.  We spent a quiet evening at home.

Friday I wrote checks, lots and lots of checks to go inside the kids and grandkids Christmas cards along with gift cards for some.  And I wrapped.  Thank goodness the church gift and Forum gift do not have to be wrapped.  I think I am finished except for Kara's that I have to take on the plane.  I have seen too many folks unwrapping gifts at TSA to waste my time.  I will stick them in unwrapped with a gift bag ready.

We met Gerre and Barry for dinner then went to our community theater to see The Little Mermaid.  I have to admit I have never seen the Disney movie though I did see the Daryl Hannah movie about her as a mermaid.  Not to worry!  The little girl behind us told us what happens next.  The costuming was inventive and creative.  To mimic gliding through water they wore those shoes that have wheels that click down so they glided across the floor.  Ariel and Eric both had wonderful voices.  Flounder, Sebastian and the seagull turned in great performances.  All in all, an enjoyable performance.

It is raining today so I am staying in until time for church.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Nailed It!

With my table all set and the extra dishes and things I would eventually need pulled from their hiding places, I was in good shape Thursday morning.  All would be fine if my calculations and planning held.

We set the turkey out to come to room temperature before putting it in a hot oven for 30 minutes then turned it down to 325.  I set the timer to baste it a few times and eventually removed the foil so it would brown.  When done, we  wrapped it in foil and put it in our Yeti cooler.  It gave me time to wash the roasting pan and put it away.  In the meantime I had prepared the dressing and put it with the two potato dishes that were ready to go.  Our company arrived laden with wine, pies, cranberry salads, shrimp plus cheese and crackers.  Once the dressing and potatoes were done I put them in the electric roaster sitting on the washer to stay warm while I had Barry carve the turkey that had stayed hot and Ted roasted the red, yellow, orange and green peppers with onions.  I cheated on the green beans deciding at the last minute to get a Bob Evans container that only needed to be popped in the microwave and frozen rolls that just needed to be heated through.  Terry was getting everyone's wine glasses filled and Ted had poured the water.  It all came together on time!  Yeah!  

Everything turned out really well and the Tribute to Texas Peppers (my name for them) were a hit!  After my hot red pepper jam cream cheese spread and pico de gallo quiche at bunco, we are turning into a true Texan household.  

We cleared the tables, loaded the dishwasher and proceeded to play cards, girls in the kitchen, men in the dining room.  I didn't win!  It was going on 10:00 when everyone left.  I emptied the dishwasher and reloaded it.  Then I sat down totally whipped.

I had lots to do on Friday morning.  First up, empty the dishwasher one more time and put the stray items in.  Take one leaf out of the dining room table and put it and the pads away.  Replace all the china in the china cabinet, fill the silverware chest and return it to its hiding place and put the wine glasses up on the high shelves where Ted can reach but I can't without a stepladder.  Eventually everything was back to normal.  

Ted met Randy at the gun club to show him all that the new owners have done and I went out to get the last gifts I needed.  I ran into no crowds where I went, neither of which were a big retailer or mall and then came home.  Not bad at all out there at 1:00.  I imagine the diehards were back home sleeping on the couch by then.  We had leftovers for dinner, took the mail and a plate of food next door to Marina who had just arrived home and then took a ride to Academy because the boots Ted wanted were on sale.  I also bought two packs of children's socks for Gerre's church mission, Sock It To Me Sunday.  

Remember the little boy with the brain tumor that had a fund raiser and I won all those gift cards?  His father works for UPS and look what they gave Luke!  What a great gift for him and his twin brother to share.

When I was a little girl, in the early 50s, we always gathered at my great-grandmas at Christmas.  We each received $1 from Grandpa and 50 cents from Grandma.  They had a huge nativity set with the kings and camels a foot tall.  I always wondered what happened to it and my cousin just sent out a family letter saying his father inherited it and then it passed to him.  Due to its size they never displayed it beyond 1991, the year my Uncle Ted died, until this year.  It was brought to America by my great-great-great grandfather Henry Linfert who was born in Prussia in 1832.  I was so happy to learn it has been passed down.  

Here is the trunk I inherited from my great-grandfather on the other family side.  He came to America from Germany around 1870 or so, using this trunk to bring his belongings.  Such wonderful keepsakes from the past.  I recently took the Ancestry DNA test and there were no surprises there, I am 98% Western European.  

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

This has been a weird week.  With Dan and Sue not coming at the last minute, but Niles still making the trip, my organization was turned upside down.  I found myself with some free time and used it to get a few things taken care of before I get back into my normal chaos.

A lot had piled up on my desk and hopefully I have taken care of it all with nothing falling through the cracks.  I have our Christmas card designed but not ordered.  For all our traveling this year we had very few good photos of us to choose from!

My closet is getting very crowded with my Christmas purchases despite leaving eight packages in Michigan.  But the shopping portion of the holidays is pretty much under control.

Saturday was a quiet day around the house doing a little laundry, going to church and then out to dinner with Terry and Carol.  Though we were with them Friday night, the seating arrangement was such that we never really talked.  We sat for a long time doing just that after dinner.

Ted had a big shoot again on Sunday morning and was gone by 7:30.  I updated all my work hours for Forum and will be ahead in required hours before we leave 1/1 for Mission.  I sent my Thanksgiving cards and wrote out my grocery list.  Now Ted does most of the grocery shopping but I on occasion run across the road to Randall's.  He wanted a fresh turkey from HEB so I went there.  I roamed around, backtracked, asked, read my list and hunted for bunco snacks and Thanksgiving dinner for two hours!  I finally found everything on my list and made it home.

He fixed some chili for dinner and I prepared my tables and dishes for bunco on Monday.  I made a quiche using pico de gallo instead of broccoli in it. The gals loved it. I bought a package of apple slices that turned out to be very tasty.  I coupled it with a carmel dip.  A block of cream cheese covered in hot red pepper jam was served with crackers and mini muffins (from HEB) rounded out the menu.  There were candies and peanuts on the tables.  Coffee, iced tea, fresh squeezed OJ, soft drinks and water were drinks.  Having all that done made my Monday morning easy.

Ted left for Dallas so after bunco I had the day to myself,  I put the tables back in order taking the card table and chairs back out to the garage.  I added the extra leaf to the dining room table and put the freshly laundered tablecloth on.  Since Ted was gone I had to put both the recycling and garbage out.   I ran the dishwasher, did a load of laundry and once it was put away, I put my feet up for the rest of the day.

Wednesday I set the table for Thanksgiving using my pumpkin arrangement as a centerpiece.  Then Carol stopped by with a cornucopia of flowers for the table so I moved the pumpkin to the kitchen table.  When Ted came home he said Kara was sending flowers!  She was able to change the order to be delivered in December as a Christmas arrangement.  By then I had everything in order, the last load of laundry done and all the dishes out I would need on Wednesday when I started cooking.

We had dinner and watched the DWTS finale.  I was so happy the gymnast won but the race driver was equally deserving.  

On Wedneaday Ted got up earlier than usual to put the turkey in brine.  I had set the table and once he got out of the kitchen I made the mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, ready for the oven on Thursday.  We didn't do much else for the evening but eat a bit of dinner and watch TV.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

A Texas Win!

Ted went shooting early Sunday and I made the individual cherry cheesecakes for the tailgating party.  We made it to Gerre's way before half time so Ted was able to see almost the whole game.  I, on the other hand, did more visiting than anything else.  

Food, food and more food.  There were remnants of lots of appetizers and at half time there was baked ziti, salad and garlic bread.  There were two cakes, a plate of cookies and my cheesecakes for dessert.  No one went home hungry.  And the Texans won!

As soon as the game is over, everyone picks up their stuff and heads out.  We stayed an extra hour since we really didn't get to visit with Barry and Gerre.  I informed Barry he had been nominated and elected to once again carve our Thanksgiving turkey.  I hope mine is at least half as good as his was last year.

We arrived home and Marina came over from next door to give us her garage opener so we can put her garbage can away.  She picked up the mail we had for her and gave us her next return date.  She sure is traveling a lot for her job but we love helping her out.

On Monday nothing happened.  Really!

Tuesday, after Isabelle cleaned (whew!), Niles arrived.  We visited for a bit, then took a ride around the area and eventually went to dinner.  When we returned I prepared a French toast casserole for breakfast the next morning.  By 10:00 Niles and I each retired for the evening but Ted came to bed later.  I fell right to sleep and got a goodnight's sleep.  

I was up early since I went to bed so early and I was dressed and ready to start breakfast when the fellows were ready.  We had a nice meal and Ted gathered his clothes, guns, coolers, etc. to get ready.  At 1:00 they took off.  They were stopping in Huntsville before heading to somewhere around Madisonville.

I just whiled away the day since I had no idea when they would return.  It was about 2 a.m. when they rolled in.  I had been in bed for several hours.  Niles shot a 120# pig and it was cleaned and quartered at the ranch.  We lent him our old Coleman cooler to take it home.  Ted didn't see a hog while sitting in the blind but almost hit one on the road when they left.

I made breakfast again and Niles headed back to the valley.  He eventually sent an email that he had arrived home safely.  Since I needed to be at Avril's to play cards at 12:30 I immediately started getting ready.  I came in 3rd due to Linda's constantly having 2-3 wild cards in every hand!  There was just no stopping her.  Ted had defrosted the meatballs and sauce for dinner and besides eating and going through the mail I didn't do much else.  

I was up very early Friday to bake a quiche to take to a Forum meeting and used the time to strip the guest room bed and get that laundry started.  I enjoyed the meeting and found out I was nominated for Volunteer of the Month for an "act of kindness" I did at the Thrift Shop.  I was flattered.  It is such a great group of women and I enjoy working and socializing with them immensely.  

For dinner we met old friends who moved to Atlanta six years ago but returned for a memorial service for a friend of theirs.  

There were six couples and we had such a great time catching up on family and life in general.  

It was great to see them but hate the reason they came back.  Unfortunately we are heading into that time of life where illness and death are going to rear their ugly heads more than we care to admit.

Next week will be busy again.  I have bunco here Monday, Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.  There are lots of other things for the holidays I need to get started on soon.  As the old TV. show used to say "Like grains of sand through the hourglass, these are the days of our lives,"

Friday, November 4, 2016

Planning For Our Visitors - NOT

I started this blog a few days ago and since that time my brother has developed shingles and they are unable to come.  Niles is still coming.  ☹️

My brother and his wife will be here next weekend!  We have lived here 15+ years and they have never made it down.  What is the draw this time?  New guns and a scheduled hog hunt.  We have huge, ugly wild pigs that there is open season on all year and no tag needed because they are so destructive.  Niles, from Retama, is coming up from the valley and they all three are really looking forward to it.

Today I wrote out a loose plan for our time over the week and what I need to have in the house for meals.  We will be on the go so I will do some cooking and freezing for easy preparation while they are here.

Then I did errands and shopping and Ted decided to go with me.  Our first stop was the post office to mail the box containing the Christmas dresses.  Then on to Charming Charlie's with my latest coupon.  Armed with more coupons and some Kohl's dollars from my bath gift shopping in Michigan, we headed there.  I bought a gift that was originally $52, was on sale, then I received 10% plus $10 off using my Retail Me Not app plus $10 off with my Kohl's dollars.  Final cost $5.82!  I love bargains!  Ted decided we should eat lunch at Willie's Ice House.  Who am I to object?  So I didn't!

Saturday I drove to Gerre's so we could go to a holiday craft fair.  We didn't find anything to buy.  It was very, very crowded and strollers and wagons didn't help the matter.  So we went to lunch!  It was mid afternoon when I returned and I prepared our envelopes for church but not much else.

We visited with Terry and Carol for a bit after church and then we drove to Applebee's for dinner because we had a gift card with about $15 left on it.  We figured out the last time we used it was last December in Kingsville on our way to the valley.  We came home to watch Ohio State on TV. 

Sunday Ted had a huge Sporting Clays Tournament to help run.  There were over 100 shooters so he was gone all day.  I had another $25 from Kohl's (not sure why) so I did a little more bargain shopping. I bought gifts for our church giving tree and for the Forum Christmas giving tree.  I also got a gift for a family member and a decoration for the house.  Everything was on sale.  The clerk took off the $25 and the $10 plus 10% from my Retail Me Not app for a total of $46 due for four items!  I seldom shop at Kohl's except for linens and housewares but I can see why they draw the crowds.

Monday was laundry day and the cable guy came to program our new remotes.  They were here to update our boxes recently to HD because they said we had to.  But the remote wouldn't do anything except turn the TV off and on.  I needed our surround sound remote to turn the sound on and adjust volume.  I knew something was wrong.  This guy fixed it and helped us figure out how to play a DVD.  All this technology!  I went to the nail salon in the afternoon to get that out of the way.

We were up until 2.30 am Wednesday morning watching the election results.  I hope we can all come together and continue to make America a stronghold in the world with prosperity for all who pursue it.  

Wow!  Since I last wrote that on Wednesday our cities are being turned into war zones.  Where are the Democratic leaders who should be addressing these actions with their followers.  I was certainly unhappy in 2008 and 2012, as were many, but we didn't destroy anything.  

Wednesday Cindi turned me into a blonde!  She was just going to give me some highlights.  I will let you know if I have more fun.

Thursday was our neighborhood lunch.  The men had theirs the day before.  Gail was readmitted to MD Anderson because her leg surgery site became infected.  She sent cupcakes for the birthday celebrants and we wanted to send her a photo of our group getting ready to enjoy them.  I had been to the doctor for my six month bloodwork earlier.  He said I am in great shape for someone my age but if I get sick this winter to come right in.  Apparently my ability to fight off illness diminishes as I age!

I was out of the house at 7:30 on Friday to work the Children's Festival at our big entertainment venue.  Title One schools are bussed in before the weekend to enjoy what is offered.  I was partnered with two others and we were responsible for directing six bus loads of over 250 children along with their teachers.  First they went to a large building where the zoo, natural science museum, Microsoft and a few others had presentations.  We had two schools mixing and the teachers were freaking out trying to keep their classes together.  

The second time period was for a stage show in the pavilion.  I rolled my papers up and held them above my head so they could see to follow me.  There are about 3,000 kids in all so this isn't as easy as it sounds.  I showed the teachers on the diagram where they would be sitting.  I don't know why this info isn't shared with them.  I'm sure they feel helpless while being shuffled around.  One little boy asked if I was a policeman!!

This group was unable to stay for the third activity because their buses needed to get back for after school runs.  We spent a lot of stop and go movement while lines crisscrossed.  But we didn't lose a kid or put them on the wrong bus! 

I was exhausted when I got home. Ted had been helping with installing new throwers into the skeet houses at the gun club and he was equally bushed.  We baked a pizza for dinner then crashed on our couches.  We then received a text asking if we were OK and where were we.  We had received a party invitation when I was in Michigan.  I asked Ted to check the calendar, he said we were free, I RSVPd but Ted didn't write it on the calendar.  Ten days later when I came home it was nowhere on my radar.  I was planning for company for a week.  Oops!  I was terribly embarrassed but the hosts were understanding. 

This morning I met Gerre and Rhonda for breakfast at Cracker Barrel and we then went to a Nutcracker Market.  I bought a Christmas swag for the front door and some pumpkins and things to put on the dining room table.  We went to church and then to the grocery.  We are invited to Gerre's for their neighborhood group Texas football TV watching.  I am taking a dessert because we won't get there until close to half time after Ted gets done shooting.  

We went to church then to the grocery to get things for my cheesecakes I am making for tomorrow.  We grabbed a sandwich and then came home for the evening.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Back in the Swing

Judy and I had a bit of difficulty on Tuesday!  We arranged to meet in the church parking lot not realizing the school children would be getting dropped off which sets up a one-way traffic pattern and the Seniors were gathering in the small parking area left open for their bus.  I have no idea where they were going on their day trip.  We finally got together after moving orange cones for me and Judy getting in the kids' line twice!  We proceeded south, talking all the way.  Eventually Judy said "where are we going?"  I thought for a moment and then realized I was on auto pilot and was heading to the CWJF office instead of Good Shepherd Episcopalian Church!  We backtracked a few minutes and were on the right road and arrived in time.

Once there we gathered up our grapes, bingo prizes and purses and Judy couldn't find her name tag. She had dropped a book when getting in the car and we thought maybe she had dropped it.  Later on she had her tag on and said it was in her pocket!  We had a good laugh.  She wanted to pay me for gas but I told her I might still be out there roaming around mindlessly if she wasn't along.

Tuesday's theme was "gone fishin'" and after bingo and entertainment, a box lunch was served.  

Table 20, my table.

Entertainment was the Sowell Family and they are one of the favorite acts.  They received a standing ovation.

My thought when I saw all these walkers lined up was "Gentlemen, start your engines."

Once we had everything all cleaned up, we headed home with no detours.  Ted came home from Beaumont right after me.  Our neighbor came over to get her mail and gave us instructions as to what she was waiting for since she was leaving again for her job.  

We decided to eat at Chik Fil A before church.  We ran into Gordon, our handyman, on the way in to the restaurant.  He is making a cover for our water main in the garage wall.  Mass was at 7 pm for All Saints Day and the parking lot was more crowded than on Saturday or Sunday.  We ran into Colleen on the way out.  I do enjoy meeting people we know about town.  

I didn't do much Wednesday except clear my desk of a few things and make lemon squares for a funeral on Thursday.  I can't help at the luncheon because I am scheduled to work at the Thrift Shop.  My volunteering is affecting my volunteering!

My betting pool person on Survivor got voted off!  She was a great player and won immunities for her team.  But they got paranoid because she would be a threat in individual immunities so out she went!  I am bummed!  We watched some of Game 7 of the World Series (Congratulations, Cubs) interspersed with song clips from the CMA awards.  I thought it a shame that BeyoncĂ© forgot to wear her slip.  The poor thing must have been terribly embarrassed.  NOT!  

I was up early Thursday to work at the Thrift Shop.  On my way there I dropped off the lemon squares at church.  The parking lot at the store was full and the store was jammed.  Wednesday night was Christmas Changeover and the folks were out in force shopping.  

Empty shelves awaiting their Christmas items on Wednesday night.

The crew that worked the Changeover

The finished results.

Our job Thursday was to empty the remaining bins that were locked in dressing room 4 because there was no place to put any more out Wednesday night.  The way things were flying off the shelf there was no problem for us to refill the empty spots. We had young men from a church group that brought the heavy containers to us and took the empty ones away to be stored.  All through the year, Christmas items are examined, priced and stored waiting for the Changeover.  

Everyone started a box for themselves because there were some real buys. I got a great present for my friend for her collection, but I can't say what.  I bought Ted two heavy duty extension cords just because they come in handy, I bought my daughter something she will flip over, a few Christmas picks to stick in my green plants as a little holiday touch and Christmas dresses and PJs for Lily and the twins.

I sent these photos to Sarah and she was pleased.  She is an OB nurse so when she is finished with the clothes they go to our other niece Jemma and then to anyone Sarah thinks can use them.  I buy all the new with tags baby clothes so she can offer them to new mothers that have little.  And the shop makes money to help those down on their luck in our own area.

I came home and ate the salad Ted made me.  He was shooting sporting clays in the afternoon so I boxed up the girls' things and will take it to the post office.  Then I plopped on the couch for a little rest.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Time To Head For Home

With all the kids coming for dinner, I got the crockpot down to make the chicken to be used for our taco bar.  I also made a corn pudding dish while Kara made a flan.  This meal would make Bidkar happy since he is Hispanic.  He also has to eat gluten free like Morgan so care is needed in food preparation.

Everyone eventually arrived and we had a nice meal and visit and eventually we all ended up watching Halloweentown on the TV.  It was late when they all left.

When Kara's family flew to Colorado to spend a week with us this summer, they were diverted to Albuquerque because of storms.  Southwest gave them four half price vouchers that needed to be booked by the end of October and used by the end of January.  She called to ask for an extension due to her surgery. She was hoping to use them in July when they fly to Seattle for their Alaskan cruise but no dice.  They are transferable so she offered two to Bill's sister who said they couldn't use them and two to us if we wanted to come for Christmas. I checked flights out of Hobby into both Detroit and Flint and came up with a Christmas Eve flight up, and return on Wednesday.  When Ted called, Kara told him and he said if I wanted to come, we would.  What is one more trip in this crazy year of traveling?  I don't relish the traveling to and from part but love being with the kids on Christmas.  Kara eventually gave the other two to a friend who has a daughter away at college who can now fly her home for Thanksgiving and Christmas for half price.  

We went to church at 5:00 and invited Grandma Duda to come with us to dinner since she was alone in church. She readily accepted and met us there.  We went to my favorite Italian restaurant and we had a lovely dinner.  Once home we didn't even turn the TV on, just sat and talked until bedtime.

Sunday morning I packed my bags after I got myself ready.  Then I went to the grocery to get pumpkins to carve and a few things Kara needed.  Morgan carved both of them herself.

In the meantime Bill took Sam and a carload of returnable bottles to school for some project where they are raising money.  I am not sure if it was the NY trip to play Carnegie Hall or his robotics club.  Then Bill took Morgan to church to study to become an altar girl.  Once he picked her back up, we left for the airport.  I had TSA pre-check again so breezed through.  However, I had to retrace my steps back to Concourse B but I had plenty of time.  I love this pre-check thing.  Age does have its benefits at times!  

It was a smooth flight; however, the seat was hard as a rock!  My butt was numb when I stood up!  A friend was also on the plane and we chatted while waiting for our gate checked luggage.  Because we had arrived early, I was at the curb waiting for Ted when he arrived.  We first started to go to Outback for dinner but changed our minds and decided to just go to Culver's for a burger instead.  I ran into a friend there too.  It is always nice to come home.

Ted was going to Beaumont Monday so we got moving to accomplish the things that needed to be done first. He went to the bank to deposit a check and to the grocery to get grapes that I needed to take Tuesday to the Forum Friends Senior lunch.  I unpacked my bag, threw sheets in the washer, remade the bed and then got dressed.  We were heading to the polls to vote when Isabelle called to ask if she could clean at 4:00 and I told her yes.  Voting didn't take too long.  It took awhile to find a place to park though!  Then we had to go back to the bank to get cash for Isabelle so on the way Ted gassed up my car and had it washed.

Ted left and I went through the mail, balanced my checkbook, arranged to pick up Judy in the morning and stayed out of Isabelle's way.  I watched DWTS in the evening and called it a day.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

And A Wedding Is On

I was up bright and early at 6:15 to wake Sam.  He gets right up and gets ready.  No arguing or coming back several times to get him out of bed.  I go downstairs, prepare breakfast, pack lunches and send him on his way. Morgan gets herself up at 7:25, comes down, eats then goes back upstairs to get ready.  They are both so easy to deal with in the morning.

I did my morning chores (emptying the dishwasher and making beds).  Then I got ready to meet Kelly, Cassie, Ally and their other grandma at the Wedding Shoppe.  Poor Cassie came in a wheelchair.  She has rheumatoid arthritis and is having a particularly bad flare up at the moment.  Ally showed the sales lady photos of dresses she liked and described in detail what she did and didn't want.  We all sat in a semi circle around the mirrored area while she tried on dress after dress.  I was surprised that she actually chose a dress today.  It was the one I liked best but I didn't say much because she needs to please herself, no one else.  It is simple, yet elegant.  The dress is just her.  Not sexy, not flashy, not overwhelming.  She is only a size zero or two so they had to use clips to bunch up the dresses in the back to make them fit her.  She had her binder with her where she is keeping all her paperwork.  The salon gave her a bag with their logo and a bottle of wine.  She was so tickled.  I have to admit I teared up.  I wondered if we would ever live long enough to see great grandchildren but the possibility certainly looms closer than I ever imagined.

Cassie's friend Cameron came by the salon to pick her up and take her swimming.  He is a friend to both her and Kyle and takes her to either his swimming pool or the indoor community center swimming pool on Tuesdays.  That is the best exercise she can do.  I think they have lunch also.

That left the four of us to have lunch together.  We talked about Ally's graduation date, a shower date and our travel plans.  The commencement ceremony is at 9 am on the last Friday in April.  Kelly said there is a different group every hour so it goes quickly and they are not planning any party, probably just breakfast out due to the early hour.  She suggested we skip that, plan the shower for when we will be up here in July or August.  Then we will take the RV home and fly back up the end of September for the wedding.  Apparently I need a peach, apricot, or salmon colored dress but I don't know if it should be short or long.  Lou paid for lunch since she said Ted and I are always taking her out when we are here.  

When I left them I went to pick up Sam from school.  He stayed late for a session with help in math and science.  On the way home he explained to me the difference between cohesion and adhesion.  So now I know!

We ate most of the leftovers for dinner.  Kathy had stopped by with a huge pan of Mac and cheese which rounded out our meal.  We watched TV, cutting away to the ballgame occasionally.  The Indians were ahead 3-0 last I looked before heading to bed.  Ted had called and said the actuator in my car was repaired so no more clacking when I start it up.  

The kids had a half day so no packing lunches in the morning.  I emptied the dishwasher and then fell back to sleep on the couch.  The fellows came to blow out the sprinkler system, something we haven't needed to do for 20 years.  The kids came home by noon and went upstairs to do their homework.  Morgan came down and I helped her make a pumpkin pie and I did a load of laundry.  It was a pretty lazy day.

Thursday Kara ventured to the grocery with me.  I pushed the cart and loaded and unloaded the bags so she didn't have to.  I made a tomato/cucumber/onion salad for dinner and had Bill pick up a rotisserie chicken on his way home.  We made buckeye candies for Friday night when we are having the other kids over.

By 7 a.m. Friday I had Sam off to school, the dishwasher empty, and a load of laundry going.  Once Morgan left a little before 8:00 I went upstairs, cleaned the bathroom the kids and I use, made the beds and got myself ready.  I wanted to go shopping at Kohl's to buy a couple's present for Ally and Bidkar for Christmas.  Leaving presents here wrapped and ready to go just makes sense.  Since he has a small apartment I don't know what he has so I went with two bath towel sets, four dish towels and dishcloths and a set of glasses.  Ally will also get her gift check and a separate check for P&G stock.  I forced all four grandchildren to invest in that stock by making a separate check each year to P&G Shareholder Services.  They couldn't do anything else with it.  Of course now with cars, college and weddings on the horizon for them all, those accounts are looking good.  I set them up with Dividend Reinvestment so they have grown beyond my yearly contribution.  I think the older ones had one split early on.  Procter & Gamble was a wonderful company to work for.

The Procter & Gamble Company (PG)

86.84 Up 0.26(0.30%) Oct 28, 4:00PM EDT
After Hours : 87.09 Up 0.25 (0.29%) Oct 28, 7:27PM EDT
Prev Close:86.58
Bid:86.84 x 300
Ask:87.09 x 500
1y Target Est:93.06
Earnings Date:Jan 24 - Jan 30 (Est.)
Day's Range:86.45 - 87.23
52wk Range:73.95 - 90.33
Avg Vol (3m):21,663,000
Market Cap:231.81B
P/E (ttm):23.51
EPS (ttm):3.69
Div & Yield:2.68 (3.06%)

When I came home I wrapped the gifts so now I have 7 of the 10 gifts needed all wrapped and ready, stored in Kara's guest closet.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Like Coming Home

We lived in this area of Michigan for 16 years, moving here from Cincinnati in 1981. The girls all graduated from Troy Athens High school but all went to different schools afterwards - Rochester College, Oakland University and Bowling Green of Ohio. The two older ones married young men from here while Kristin moved to Florida with us.  When we moved to Texas she stayed behind, eventually marrying a man from Winter Springs, FL.  

And even though we have been gone 20 years, I walked into our old church and was welcomed by many old friends.  When I went to the tea that afternoon, there was a huge group of women who greeted and hugged me and seemed so genuinely pleased to see me.  They all remembered we were in Texas now but no one believed we left Michigan 20 years ago.

I was so happy to honor my two friends, Betty and Jane, who were being feted for all their work in the parish.  They joined before the church was a parish, they met in the Methodist church* and worked on the committee to request becoming a parish.  Their families, peers and Father Norm all had fine words to say about them.  My biggest surprise was to learn their ages.  The lady on the left is Jane, mother of six, and is 79 and Betty on the right, mother of 9, is 89!  She is as trim, spry and beautiful as ever.  We golfed in the Chicken Open together with Ted's golf group for many years.

These are my table mates.  I knew them all but one.  The sad thing is four of the five I knew have lost their husbands.  The glad part was when the photographer asked "you two young ladies" (Diane and I) to go stand on the opposite side of the table for a group photo! 

I had a delightful time and was so glad I was here this weekend to attend.

*The Methodist church the parish met in was eventually sold to the Troy Historical Village.  In 2005 Ted's cousin, Rev. Terry Keehan, flew in from Chicago and celebrated Mass for our 40th anniversary.  I believe about 75 were in attendance.  In 2014, my middle daughter was married in this church too.  

I returned home and fixed dinner for the family but ate very little because of the tea sandwiches and desserts I ate!

On Monday 6:15 rolled around very early.  I did breakfast, lunches, pills for fall allergies, etc. and sent the kids off.  I unloaded the dishwasher and did two loads of laundry.  Kara was able to get a shower and wash her hair on her own but paid for it the rest of the day.  I took Sam to an appointment at 3:30 and came back to start dinner.

Kristin's husband, Larry, had his thyroid removed today.  It was diagnosed as cancerous back in September.  The prognosis is excellent but he too could not go to the bathroom and finally was catherized and sent home with meds in case it continued.  She said he was being a PITA as a patient. Needless to say, my mind has been all over the place this weekend.

Today I am meeting my granddaughter, my daughter and her mother-in-law at The Wedding Shoppe to look at bridal gowns.  I am unaware of any plan dates  but there must be some coming down the road sooner than I expected!  I suppose they will fill me in today.

"When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.” —When Harry Met Sally

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Off I Go Into The Wild Blue Yonder

Ted dropped me off at the airport and since I had my TSA Pre-Check boarding pass and no checked luggage, I headed right to security.  No problem there and I was at the gate with plenty of time to spare.  We had a different, bigger plane than had been displayed when I chose my seat so even though we left a half hour late, we arrived 15 minutes early.  It was a l-o-n-g haul down Concourse B to the tunnel connecting to Concourse A, then out to the ticketing area and up an escalator to meet Gus and Melissa who were picking me up.  I felt like I walked from Toledo!

We were going to dinner and I paid no attention to where we headed.  Eventually we were at 12 Oaks Mall and heading to Carraba's.  When we were taken to our table, Tony and Mary were there to greet us!  I worked with both Gus and Tony 20 years ago in Detroit.  While I see Gus frequently, this is the first time I had seen Tony.  Other good friends, Bill and Lorie, were unable to come but hopefully I will see them sometime over the next two weeks.

It was about 8:00 when they dropped me off at Kara's.  They were all glad to see the nurse, chauffeur and cook arrive.  The kids don't really need me to look after them but someone needs to be at the helm to keep the household running smoothly.  I went to bed pretty early and got to sleep with the window open, something we don't do in Texas very often.

I didn't have much to do on Wednesday.  The house had been cleaned, the laundry done and the dishwasher emptied.  I went downstairs when I woke up and found no one!  After awhile Kara returned in her bathrobe.  The school bus never came so she drove Morgan and Brynn to school.  Morgan texted later that the bus arrived 10 minutes after classes started.  We never did learn what the problem was.

Kara was on the phone all morning tying up as many loose ends as she could before her leave starts.  I just stayed out of her way.  She had a meeting downtown and eventually left about noon.  I made the kids' beds and mine and got dressed myself.  By 2:15 they started returning.  I took the kids to Red Robin for dinner and then dropped Sam off at school  for Robotics and Morgan and I went home.  Kara and Bill had gone on to Conferences for Morgan, picked up Sam and then went to the grocery.  I offered to do either thing but I think they wanted to spend some time together.  The kids and I just stayed home.  Thursday was going to be an early morning for all.

I got up at 6:00 on Thursday and the kids' things had all been put out.  I didn't need to do anything but be sure they were up and out the door on time.  Kelly came over around noon and Morgan came home because she had just half a day.  At 2:45 I had to leave and pick up Sam.  Kara's surgery went well but she was unable to go to the bathroom so she didn't get home until about 7 o'clock.  She was so terribly pale and worn out from the awful drive from downtown.  I had made dinner for everyone and it wasn't too long that everyone was heading to bed.

I was up again at 6 on Friday but this time I had to make breakfast, dispense meds, pack lunches and get them out the door in a timely fashion.  Kara was looking better and getting around a bit better.  She still needs help in and out of the chair and bed.  Bill has been doing that for her.  The kids went to their father's from school so I fixed dinner for just the three of us and we watched TV for the evening.

Saturday I slept late.  The kids were still gone so I just stayed upstairs so Bill and Kara had time alone.  When the kids came home, I made dinner again and we watched some football and other TV.  Kara sleeps a lot due to the pain pills so Bill and I just do what needs to be done without disturbing her.  She is feeling some better but is still very sore.  Getting up and down is painful.

Tomorrow I will get out to church and a tea for two ladies at church that I have known since 1981.  I am looking forward to it!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Less Than A Week to Flight Time

Wednesday I accomplished all l set out to do except for buying birthday cards for the other three neighbor ladies celebrating October birthdays and stopping by the bank to get money for Isabelle.  I was at Sam's signing for my flu shot when my phone rang.  My friend Irene was feeling poorly and wanted me to take her place at Shanghai.  She runs this group and her husband was in town so he had all the stuff that would be needed.  This group of 35-40 meets in a restaurant with dinner served in the middle of play.

I was pretty tired but she sounded so miserable I hurried home, ran a comb through my hair, put on a bit of lipstick, thanked Ted who now had to eat alone and took off.  John was there setting everything up.  The night went well, I won at my table, John bought my dinner and Ted taped Survivor for me.  Ted said he tried a new restaurant in our strip mall and said it was pretty good.  He is a keeper!

I went to the neighborhood luncheon on Thursday where Jeanette brought candy and cupcakes for us all.  I received a stack of birthday cards and a gift from Nancy, our mail lady.  She was wearing the necklace I bought her in Sedona with a turquoise blouse and it looked very nice.  Peggy who has finished cancer treatment was there for the first time in a long time.  She has developed "drop foot" from the chemo treatments and is wearing braces and using a walker.  She is one of the younger ones and it breaks my heart.  I also met our new neighbor, Dana.  Gail is still recovering from her cancer surgery. I have been asked to take dinner to them on Saturday.

Isabelle came while I was gone.  Ted went to the bank to get cash to pay her.  I used 3 birthday cards I had at home for the ladies at lunch since I didn't get to buy specific ones for each lady.  And then I came home to a clean house and an open weekend!  Time to start thinking about what to pack.

I packed my bags on Friday but didn't do much else.  Ted bought everything I needed to make dinner for Gail and Wilson on Saturday.  I made Italian tortellini soup, Caesar salad, French bread and pumpkin squares.  I made enough for us to have some on Sunday.  We took their dinner down as we left for church.  Afterwards we went to Cracker Barrel to use the gift card we won at the fund raiser.  We have one envelope filled with gift cards but get behind in using them!

Sunday turned into laundry day.  Ted may have to do some in my absence but he knows how.  He had to learn when he traveled constantly.  His travel schedule and my work/laundry schedule didn't always mesh.  I had "a husband, a house, a mortgage, 3 babies" (from "Sadie, Sadie" - Funny Girl) and a full time job.  Laundry was done daily but only one load a day first thing in the morning until Saturday.  It worked.  We went to Walmart in the afternoon for a few groceries to carry him over for awhile.  I am sure he will eat out some too.

Monday was bunco at Kathryn's.  We had six subs and six regulars.  I think that is an all time high.  Two regulars were traveling, two had medical reasons, one had out of town company and one was settling her folks in an independent living place here in Texas.  Everyone is busy.  We all enjoyed meeting the new ladies and will see them off and on over the next year.  Some may eventually join us as regular spots open up.

I leave today for Michigan.  The thought of being away from Ted for 12 days is unpleasant but it is important I be there for Kara and her family.  He has lots to do in my absence.  I hope he gets it all done!