Saturday, March 21, 2015
I spent the time Isabelle was cleaning making reservations for our trip through the lower peninsula of Michigan this summer. Half of them I could do on line. I will have to call the other half. That wasn't feasible when the vacuum was running! When I finished that, I addressed the invitations to our 50th anniversary celebration. It was so nice having a clean house once again. I went outside and cleaned the patio furniture that was just laden with yellow pine pollen. We have to deal with this every Spring for a few weeks. Everything gets covered in it.
I made my banana bread into miniature muffins to take Friday to our Junior Forum meeting. When the meeting started it was announced that a member who was involved in a car accident with her husband and 7 month old grandbaby earlier in the week texted that her husband had died that morning. We were all so shocked and sad. The meeting went very quickly and not much was eaten so I brought home a lot of muffins and stuck them in the freezer.
Paul was probably in his mid-50s. Both Carol and the baby were okay, thank God. She was looking at her IPad and doesn't know what happened. She told others she at first thought they had hit a brick wall. Life can turn on a dime. Treat everyone like it is the last time you are going to see them because someday it will be.
In the evening we met Gerre and Barry for dinner before attending the stage play A Streetcar Named Desire. Ted had On the Waterfront, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe all mixed up in his head. I tried to tell him that Stella and Blanche DuBois were characters in this play and neither Liz Taylor nor Richard Burton were in the movie. Half way through the play when Stanley yells his famous "Stella" he admitted I was right. Some things just aren't worth arguing about!
The play ran for 3.5 hours! It was after midnight when we got home. No other production has come close to lasting that long. The lady playing Blanche did an absolutely superb job. You had no doubt she was crazy. Her facial expressions and mannerisms were right on. Even though it was opening night everyone knew their part and lines with no apparent mix ups. Quite an enjoyable evening.
I did a little more cleaning out in the garage on Saturday. I also stripped the guestroom beds because those linens didn't get changed in our hurried departure in December. I put a meatloaf in the oven when we departed for church. After dinner we watched Million Dollar Arm. It was an OK movie. It is based on a true story so I googled the boys to see where their opportunity led. Their careers were shortlived but the program continues which I guess is a good thing.
I did a bit of shopping on Sunday. Ted was shooting, the weather was nice and it was good to be out in the sunshine. I bought black and blue slacks to add to my collection because I wear them constantly. Depending upon the top and shoes I am wearing, the length and material matter. And sometimes you need to toss out a pair or two and replace them. I also picked up about 8 baby sleep outfits for the Pregnancy Center's "baby shower." We worked the table giving out info and collecting donations after Mass Saturday night. Now I just have to remember to take my contribution with us to church next week.
We are doing good with the doctors so far. We got Ted's two biopsy reports from the spots on his arm today. One is basal cell and he has to return in a few weeks to the doctor. His forehead is scabbing over from the "chemical warfare" and he will start with the vaseline to remove them today. My GYN appointment went fine. My blood pressure was terrific again. I called to schedule my mammogram and bone density tests today. Because of my lumpectomy last year, the breast center wants to do a diagnostic mammogram and ultrasound, not just a screening one, so Ted picked up the new prescription. I also scheduled a bone density test. That only leaves my eye exam in May and we are done! The older I get the worse these appointments are. Eventually someone is going to find something wrong!
Today was back to tax time. I received an incorrect K-1. I had to research back to 2012 to determine my thoughts were correct, then contact our account folks to confirm my records were right. Finally I sent an email to the company who very quickly sent me a new, correct one. Now I have to wait to download one more K-1 on 3/30. Nothing like pushing the envelope on filing by 4/15.
I had some other financial transfers to handle. Since it was a new procedure to me it took awhile to figure out how to do it all properly. I am keeping my fingers crossed it is correct. Sure glad I don't have to deal with medical insurance forms. The supplement we have is a simple $147 deductible and we're done. No more deductible, no co-pays for the rest of the year and is accepted wherever Medicare is. No networks to plow through.
It seems just maybe Spring has sprung. It is bluebonnet time in Texas.
Sunday, March 15, 2015
Friday's weather was cool enough for a jacket. Where is the sun?
Stella called and we made plans to meet her and Jay as well as Tommy and Susan at Mel's Diner for their all you can eat shrimp and catfish dinner. Mel's has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and ironically Man Vs. Food was there at 1:30 Friday to film a segment on eating the Mel Burger which stands about a foot high! Our friends Judy and Warren were there to see the man do it. He stopped at their table so maybe they won't end up on the cutting room floor. It airs April 14. Afterwards we came back to our house for coffee and a short visit.
After church on Saturday we played cards at Kathleen and Bill's house. I ended up first and Ted second so we got all the winnings. This is the $5 game so we won about $25! Not a bad night.
Ted went shooting on Sunday and my things were delivered from Amazon. It had said arrival on Sunday but I didn't believe them! One was a hall tree for the corner of the guest room so there is a place for guests to hang things. I had it put together in no time. The other things were hanging shelves for our closet to put my purses in. When I was done with that I did the armoire in the guest room. I am ready for our April company!
Monday I played bunco and won $15! I am on a roll! Afterwards I bought flowers to take to Carol because she had some surgery last week. I stayed for quite a while visiting both her and Terry. Ted made soup for dinner and we watched the first episode of Dancing With The Stars. The new folks need lots of practice. The one outstanding dancer was Rumor Willis, daughter of Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. She is the picture of her mother and certainly can dance.
Ted and I shared doctor appointments on Tuesday morning. First up was the dermatologist. He froze lots of junk off me and stuck a lancet like thing in some others. Nothing to be worried about.
He did two biopsies on Ted and has him putting his "chemical warfare" on his forehead. Ted's Irish heritage including what I call his "cheap Irish skin" has him with more worrisome spots. With two family members dealing with melanomas, let's hope Ted doesn't join them.
We were still fasting but had a two hour lag between doctor appointments so we came home, then headed back out to our GP. I just needed blood work for my cholesterol medicine. My blood pressure was awesome! I told him my hip bothers me at night when I sleep on it so he suggested we change sides so I am not laying on it all night. It doesn't bother me during the day or when walking so we will take his advice. I moved Ted's CPAP machine and my things when we came home. Ted had blood work and his PSA exam. Now my OB-GYN and mammogram are the last two things. I will be glad when all the appointments are over, all the test results are in and are GOOD.
Today I attended a meeting of my voluntary organization and saw the first bluebonnets of the season as I drove there. Our meeting was to vote on various programs to be continued, started up or remain as pilot programs. I abstained on one because I didn't know enough about it as a pilot program this year. Friday I will attend a regular meeting. It is my turn to bring a breakfast bread so I will give my banana bread another shot. Sure hope I don't lose electrcity again!
Isabelle is coming tomorrow to gather up all the dust Chris didn't while we were gone. He doesn't use much beyond his bedroom and bath so dusting isn't on his radar. I don't mind because dust doesn't hurt anything. If she wasn't going to be able to come I would have had to give in and do it myself!
Sunday, March 8, 2015
I spent the entire day working on taxes. When Gerre called mid afternoon I was still in my PJs! She wanted us to come play cards around 6:30 so I agreed. Ted was working a shoot at the gun club and would be home in time. A little while later she called again and said the other folks were going to the K of C fish fry at 5:00. I told her I didn't think Ted would be home in time, to just go and call us when they were on their way home and we would leave.
When Ted called around 3:00 saying he was on his way home, he decided we could make the 5:00 dinner. So it was crunch time for me to find a good stopping point and hop in the shower to start getting ready. Of course it was a day where I also needed to shampoo my hair! But we made it!
Ted laughed when we walked in and right next to where you paid for your dinner was a raffle - for a rifle and a handgun. He said "only in Texas" and then proceeded to buy tickets! The fish dinner was very good and we got to visit with the folks we were with on the Panama Canal cruise. Afterwards we went back to Gerre's and 9 of us played cards. It was almost 11:00 when we got home.
On Saturday, I finished the taxes, did laundry and emptied bags. We made plans to go to dinner with Terry and Carol after Mass. Our first choice was an hour wait so we moved on. The second choice was 20 minutes which turned in to close to an hour! But when we were finished eating, the place had cleared enough that we were able to sit and talk awhile. It wasn't long after arriving home that I was in bed early for the second night in a row.
Daylight Savings Time came with its own rainy cold front. Ted looked outside and went back to bed. I continued on doing laundry. For some reason I got the bug and started trying on everything in my closet and tossing lots of stuff. The day slipped by so quickly. Ted went to the grocery and made dinner. It felt good to have accomplished so much. I could start the week on an even keel.
Monday I finished the laundry that was left here when we took off in December. I found myself folding Christmas linens in March. After lunch it was time to go play Canasta. Since it was still cold and raining Ted made a pot of chili for dinner and then we watched the final episode of The Bachelor. I don't hold out a lot of hope for this couple. They are just from too different backgrounds. Time will tell.
I ordered some shelving and things for our master closet so I really tore it apart until I had to stop until the things arrive. I filled two large garbage bags and our big recycling bin. A lot of that came from Ted's man cave room where I started in after doing all I could in the closet. For some reason he won't throw anything, including empty boxes, away! I did the side with shelves but left his workbenches alone. One of these days I will have enough nerve to tackle them.
We played Shanghai Wednesday night and we both came in third at our respective tables. Both of us got stuck not getting down one of the six hands. Our group has moved to a restaurant since the country club is going through renovations. With their remodel we may not be able to play there when it is finished. We will decide when they complete the work.
Today was our neighborhood luncheon. It is still so hard for all of us to be together without Wanda. Afterwards I stopped at Walmart and came home to work a bit on my closet. There is nothing left to do until my hanging things arrive. But then I will be done!
I have no words of wisdom to quote so I will share this thought.
Thursday, March 5, 2015
I spent more time Wednesday morning separating the mail. What to shred, to pay, to save for filing, to keep for doing taxes, to simply throw away. So many magazines and catalogues. I will tell Nancy to toss them in the future.
I gathered my clothes from the drawers, emptied the pantry of foods that could draw bugs, packed up the truck and headed for home. We stopped at Walmart for a new battery charger and while Ted dealt with that I put things away. No amount of charging was affecting the car so Ted called Car Repair. They brought a new battery and installed it since he and Noel were unable to get the old one out. He said the battery was so dead it would never have accepted a charge. I think of my car as "new" because I keep them so long that neither of us realized the battery was 3.5 years old. Sitting for two months did it in!
I did two loads of laundry and gathered the tax stuff together that I had at home so I can put it all together. Now I can work on it when I have time.
We came back to the campground and a little before 6:00 went to Tommy and Susan's motorhome for dinner. We stayed to watch Survivor and then came home. We will load the hanging clothes and refrigerated items in my car and I will follow Ted to storage. I have to direct him when he backs into the spot. There is less than three feet on either side plus he can't see where to stop at the back. We get this done in just a few minutes.
Then the fun begins at home. All the beds need stripping, the house needs to be cleaned, odds and ends need to be put away, I need to go to the store and we each have three doctor appointments to make for routine matters. It will be time to pay the piper.
We woke to cold, windy conditions Thursday. We took our time and it was after 11:00 before we headed to storage. Our residential refrigerator in the RV is great when in use but a real pain to empty! I was almost wishing for my little one back. We took more clothes than we needed but that is because we need all four seasons with this crazy weather. Eventually everything will get put in place, the mail will be handled, the laundry done, the house cleaned and doctor appointments made. Until then there won't be much to say.
Sunday, March 1, 2015
Our weather is goofy! I am used to going from a/c to heat all in the same day but 88 to 40 in a few hours is crazy. It didn't get above 45 for the garage sale and folks had on gloves, hats and coats! There were hardy souls out and about though and lots of things were leaving the park. I bought two new blouses, a Vera Bradley bag and a new Texas coffee cup for traveling. I was glad to get back inside with my treasures.
Eileen's eyebrows had gotten very dry so she put on a cream the doctor had given her for dry skin. Her entire eye area from brow to lashes got fire engine red, sore and lumpy. She and I went to the ER and I read the flyer that came with her cream while we waited. It contained a sulfite and she is allergic to sulfa drugs! I had it all diagnosed before the doctor came into the room. He gave her a prednisone prescription and 1% hydrocortisone cream.
By the time we left for church after only two pills and one application, there was a vast improvement. After church we went to the Riverside Club and then decided against card bingo and came home. It was a bit warmer but misty and a good night to stay in and go to bed early.
We left about 8:30 Sunday morning and ran into drink tables for runners at the gates. No one said anything about a run today! We got out, made our first turn to the exway and ran into a roadblock. We were rerouted so it wasn't too bad. The officer said it was a "last minute" decision. I told him there were 60 rigs going out in the next two hours and someone was guilty of poor planning.
We had an uneventful trip to San Antonio in a lot of fog. As soon as we got set up it started drizzling. I put on a sweatshirt and jacket, got my umbrella and we went to the Riverwalk and the Alamo. We ate at County Line BBQ, saw the Alamo and long barracks and had enough of being cold and wet so we came home around 5:00.
The weatherman said icy conditions were heading this way on Wednesday and into Thursday. With that in mind we decided to leave here on Tuesday to get ahead of the weather. Monday was sweatshirt AND jacket weather but no rain. We drove to the LBJ ranch and park in Johnson City. Eileen and Tom really enjoyed it and it was our first chance to tour the house. Last time we were there Lady Bird had just died and the girls were clearing personal items from the house. It was left to the Park Service and would be open for tours when they completed the task.
Lady Bird and President Johnson's headstones.
The Johnson Family Cemetery
All the cattle bear the LBJ brand. Note the weights on the horns. Turning them down keeps them from injuring the legs of cowboys and other stock with upturned horns.
As close as we got to riding horseback.
Ted giving his State Of the Union address.
We then drove into Fredericksburg for a late lunch and a bit of strolling through the Memorial Gardens. It was a bit too cold to stay too long and we headed for home. Ted filled up with fuel and we watched The Bachelor's second last installment.
The fog didn't appear too thick on Tuesday morning so we took off about 8 am. We had one bathroom break, and another one to say goodbye to Eileen and Tom before leaving I-10 and heading north. We arrived at the campground around 12:30 to hugs and greetings from the owners and staff. Not too long after setting up, Jim, Rita, Warren and Judy stopped by to say hello. It reminds me of Cheers "where everybody knows your name."
Ted washed the entire outside, I did the inside and then we took the first bags of some things home. Everything was fine there except my car battery was dead. Having tossed our charger when it conked out without replacing it, we left in the truck and will deal with getting a new charger and get my car going on Wednesday. I stopped at Nancy's to get our mail and we returned to the campground.
Gerre and Barry had called and made plans to come by to visit and out to dinner. We sat inside until about 7:00 then went to Mario's to eat. Tommy and Susan were not at the campground until about 8:00 and sent a text they were fixing dinner for us on Thursday.
I worked on opening the mail, tossing the extraneous stuff and finally was too tired to think straight. We turned in early to get an early start the next day.
Our son-in-law Bill is having knee replacement surgery today. Please offer up a prayer for his safety and a successful operation. He has some health issues that complicate his having suregery so it will be no walk in the park for him.
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
We saw American Sniper yesterday because the weather was cold and drizzly so it was a good day for a movie. While the battle scenes were truly remarkable in their authenticity, I felt like very little credence was given to what his family was going through at home. They also rushed through his treatment when he returned home even though it was apparent he had issues. I felt like there were three stories to be told - the war, the family, the return. And though the war was covered realistically, I found how they portrayed the family situation and his PTSD very nonchalant. Ted complains I am not fun to see a movie with because I am too logical. He always tells me "it is just a movie." But this was a true story and too much of it was left out.
We went to a 3:00 show so I did two loads of laundry and made a pot of chili before we left. It was even colder when we came out of the theater so it was nice to come home to a warm, dry spot with dinner ready to go. Add in The Bachelor and Castle and it was a good evening.
Tuesday was Couples Lunch Out so we decided to attend. It was a very nice restaurant, good food and enjoyable conversation. The weather was still chilly so we just came back home. At 3:45 Ted and I both went for a haircut ($10 each!) and spent the evening at home. I had forgotten to post on FB that we would be at the Clubhouse to play Shanghai so we didn't think anyone would be there.
The sun returned on Wednesday and Ted helped Niles with gates, concrete, raking, etc. on the gun range then he left to shoot at the gun club with Don and Dave at 1:00. I cleaned some, took the afghan to Jan for the last hem and after lunch Eileen and I headed out. Jan said I needed to add a tag to my afghan to put my name and date on it. We found them at Hobby Lobby but now I need a fine tip waterproof marker to write with.
I used my new crockpot for a pot roast that was a jumble of my normal recipe. Usually I use onion soup, mushrooms and red wine. After trying a "3 envelope recipe" I have been including a ranch dressing envelope. We are trying to use up what we have so I made do. I had the two envelopes but replaced mushrooms with a small can of carrots along with a whole, cut up onion and white wine for red wine. I was able to use a slotted spoon to fill a bowl with cooked onions and carrots and thickened the broth into gravy. No seasoning was needed. Ted loved it! I made some noodles and he had a great dinner (his words!).
Thursday we headed back to Mexico to try the nail salon. Eileen got shellac nails, Ted had a pedicure and I had both. I just wanted it done so I don't have to do it as soon as I get home. There is too much else I have to do. Entire cost, $40 for all. It was a wonderful pedicure and Ted liked it even better than the other salon. He and Tom spent time at the Rose Garden outdoor bar waiting for us. When we came back through Customs there were two ladies so drunk their husbands were holding them up. I guess they got through okay. The drinks are pretty potent I understand. Ted said he had a beer for breakfast and a margarita for lunch!
We decided to try Cheddar's for dinner because we were in their 45 minute lull time period. We were seated right away and by the time we left around 5, they were out the door waiting. Survivor and Amazing Race started their new seasons so you know how glad that makes me.
Friday continued to be cooler than average. We went to the grocery for a few necessary items and then Ted took Sue to the gun range. He also took advantage of a box of grapefruits put out in the neighborhood that said FREE. Nice Ruby Red ones. He has all our tires checked, chairs stored and tanks dumped. We are getting ready to roll.
Tonight was a baked potato bar supper. Since it was cool, all 120 people ate inside and now they know their capacity. We were home in time to watch the second episode of Amazing Race.
We have a garage sale neighborhood wide tomorrow, finish packing up, church and card bingo. We don't need to leave real early Sunday since we are going to San Antonio.
Here are two photos to finish out the week. The first is my finished afghan, the second is Sweet little Miss Jemma who is already one month old but still not up to 10 lbs. isn't she the cutest thing?
Friday, February 20, 2015
We left early Friday morning for Mexico and Dr. Flores, the dentist. They took Ted's plate and told him to return in an hour. We went to Renee's for coffee and pastries then went to look for Ted's belt guy. He moved from his original location and we asked around until we learned his new place. Ted bought a new black dress belt. We also found the optical place and nail salon highly recommended by people we know here. We will be using them in the future. We also needed to check the price of liquor but determined it was no cheaper than buying from Feldman's in the U.S. which is less trouble. We bought some vanilla, eye drops and analgesic cream before returning to the dentist. In no time Ted was out with a new tooth on his plate and a bill for just $80. We walked back across the bridge, went through Customs and came home.
I hadn't slept well so wanted to take a nap while Ted and Niles took a table to the gun range and bought wood from Home Depot to build a counter to lay guns on. After a short nap I started pulling the horizontal threads at the end of my afghan to make the fringe. I didn't think this would take so long! The selvedge sides need to be hemmed and it will be done and I will lay it out and take another photo to post.
We went to the Riverside Club for their fish fry dinner before going next door to see Link Union perform. It was a great performance from Mule Skinner Blues to Bach on the banjo. The young lady of the family was so talented, played several instruments and had a great voice. We really enjoyed the show.
Saturday was Eileen's birthday and to go with the throw pillows I bought for their motorhome couch, we got her a boot jack to allow her to take off her boots by herself. She had a quizzical look when she opened it and we had to explain what it was and how to use it.
We spent the day in Edinburg at Pioneer Days. There were lots of folks working with wood and leather, churning butter, spinning wool, baking biscuits in dutch ovens, etc. We also had access to the South Texas Historical Museum which was very interesting. The entertainment was so good. The Mexican dancing seemed to be a combination of tap dancing, clogging and flamenco. Truly a melting pot example in dance. The costumes were beautiful. And no celebration would be complete without a cowboy poet.
Afterwards we went to Trevino's Restaurant. The decor was gorgeous and the food outstanding. When Eileen and I sat our purses next to us on the floor, a rack (looking like a short hatrack) was brought to our table and the purses were hung up. I have never seen that.
We returned in time for church at 4:00 and then went to Card Bingo over at Bentsen Palms. I won about $10 in quarters which is always helpful on laundry day. All that fresh air got to me and I was in bed early.
We planned to go to Art in the Park on Sunday but when Dave texted to confirm the time for shooting he said they wanted to go to Pepe's afterwards to dance. Well OK! Dave, Karen, Trudy, Don, Eileen, Tom, Ted and I all went after they were done shooting. We ran into Randy, former sales manager for HitchHiker out of Chanute KS, and ended up sharing a couple tables with their group. What a fun time we had! On the way home I asked Ted what he thought kids and grandkids across the Midwest would think if they saw all these "seasoned" folks in leather (bikers), boots and jeans, etc. drinking and dancing the afternoon away. We laughed about a song neither of us knew where everyone joins in the chorus "Alice, who the hell is Alice?" Neither of us had ever heard it but it gets the crowd going.
Ted invited everyone back for brats and I had to scramble to put a meal together. Dave and Karen had tickets for a show so they didn't stay. We were outside until it was dark. There were no plans for the day and it turned out to be a great fun day.
Tuesday, February 17, 2015
Monday was warm enough for A/C and within a few hours you needed the heat on! The rest of the country is gripped in cold, snow and ice so we will turn on the fireplace, get out our jeans and sweatshirts and deal with it for a few days. Anyway, I can wear my new boots!
The fashion show luncheon at Bentsen Palms Village was very nice. There were three stores modeling clothes and I wanted to go to Becs the next day and look for an outfit for our anniversary Mass and dinner. A beautiful lady with gorgeous white hair modeled two outfits from this store and she looked absolutely stunning! I will settle for looking "very nice."
It was so warm as Eileen and I walked back that I took off my white slacks and changed to shorts when I got home. Ted had put a load of laundry in and we were getting ready to get it out when Kathy knocked and asked if I wanted to play Shanghai with her, Linda and Sue in the coach house. I left Ted to deal with the laundry and went over. We started with fans whirring all around us and by the time we finished we had a heater on. Sue won again!
We had leftovers for dinner and settled in to watch The Bachelor and Castle. I think this farmer guy is a player. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.
All four of us went shopping on Tuesday. Eileen and I were dropped off at Becs and the fellows went looking for a jeweler to fix Ted's chain and to buy a boot jack for Eileen for her birthday. In the meantime I found an outfit for our anniversary party and two tops to wear with jeans.
Tom loves Mexican food and found a restaurant nearby to try. Most of the menu and specials were in Spanish so we weren't exactly sure of what we ordered but it was really good! After a stop at the post offfice we brought the guys home and Eileen and I went back out to buy two baby presents. Babies, babies and more babies! I finally sent Jemma a gift card (she is one month already) but the two gifts I just bought I can take to the family reunion in June.
There was a Mardi Gras potluck and we attended though we only ate dessert. It is a nice way to meet new people or get to know the others a bit better. Eileen and I are in purple with our backs to the camera along side Tom and Ted. Lots of King Cakes!
Eileen wanted to play cards so we told them to come over to our trailer after they took their things home. When they arrived we received our first anniversary present, a new crockpot. Last year the handle broke on mine and Bill made a makeshift wooden one that worked fine. But Ted broke the lid while making his pulled pork so we really needed the new one! They are flying to Houston for our anniversary dinner so that is one less thing for them to worry about. We really don't want or need anything other than friends and family to help us celebrate but a new crockpot is great!
Wednesday got a little crazy. Ted went pistol shooting at 11 and skeet shooting at 1. So I did my walk around the neighborhood getting errands done. I stopped at Sharon's who showed me some fringe stitches for my afghan. Then Eileen and I went to Jan's to show her the T-shirt braiding technique but she was getting a haircut. We met her 47 oz. Yorkie who is so tiny! Tucker at 6 lbs. would look huge next to her.
Since we struck out I went to the laundry room to iron two pair of pants before heading home. Jan came over eventually so Eileen came back so we could work on T-shirts. Jan offered some more insight into the fringe question. Kara called in the midst of this and Ted returned from shooting. Then Niles came over to give us Don's shooting prize right before Don appeared with 15 packages of brats to put in our refrigerator for Thursday's German fest. Grand Central Station!
It was pizza night so we left for the clubhouse where we ate our meatless cheese and pineapple pizza before leaving for a 7 pm liturgy with distribution of ashes. There were 8 services and ours was totally full so I assume they were all full. We stopped at the grocery for green beans for the German fest and called it a day.
Today we joined 17 ladies for breakfast and then went to Jan's for her to sew a line in the afghan so I could pull the horizontal threads for the fringe. I tried doing the stitch with pulled threads but I couldn't discern where I had stitched because it all matched. I tried using the yarn but it was too thick. The machine zigzag stitch seemed the easiest answer! Ted came along with me to meet Harold so they could talk about Harold joining Ted on the shooting range to try his hand at shooting.
We came back so Ted could take the brats to Don and I could prepare my green beans. At 3 we went next door for the German fest. There were close to 80 people in attendance. We had a great meal and an enjoyable time.
Unfortunately Ted broke a tooth off his upper plate and Lord only knows where it went. We have our suspicions but I am not even going there!
Wednesday, February 11, 2015
We opted not to go to the HitchHiker luncheon Monday much as I would have liked to have seen Bill and Judy. I'm not sure they were going and we can stop by their park if we get the time. Instead Eileen and I attended the T-shirt braiding class. Eileen is in front in pink, I am over her left shoulder. The T-shirt I bought had a curve at the bottom so mine turned out a bit different from everyone else's. It gets pretty wrinkled with all the pulling and I assume after it is washed it will look great. These are fun things you could do with grandkids, girl scouts, church groups,etc.
We shared DiGiorno pizza for dinner and retired to our respective rigs for me to watch The Bachelor and for Eileen to watch The Apprentice. We all have our little vices!
Tom was having his motorhome washed so Eileen and I took the car to the nail salon and to do some shopping. Ted took Sue from two doors down to the gun range to practice target shooting with her shotgun. It was late afternoon when we all reconvened. After a sandwich for dinner we went to the Clubhouse and had two tables of Shanghai with a few observers. I hope we can get this on the schedule as a regular activity next season.
It was ladies potluck day on Wednesday so I made banana bread to use up some of the many really ripe bananas I had on hand. It was going fine, Ted mentioned it smelled good and then nothing. The electric went out on a circuit. Ted managed to pull the breaker but he needed to go get a new one. My bread was a half baked mess and I tossed it. I figured I wouldn't go to the lunch! Niles came down to take a look at the breaker and told me to go anyway because there is always too much food. Sue stopped and asked if I wanted to walk with her so I did. There wasn't a real big turnout but it was a pleasant time with my neighbors. Eileen and Tom had gone to Mexico for her dental appointment.
Ted was meeting Don and Dave at 1:00 to shoot skeet so he planned to go look for the breaker afterwards. He came home and after much fussing and fuming in such a tight spot, he got the new breaker in and secured. Meanwhile I was finishing the very last row of my Swedish weaving afghan. Tomòrrow I can corner Beverly at breakfast and set a time to get the rest of the instructions for finishing the sides and fringing the ends.
Our list for guests on Friday kept shrinking! Four succumbed to the crud and had to bail. Eileen and I went to breakfast with the group on Thursday and then came home to get the fellows. We had several errands to run including Safe Lite glass cleaner from the nearest service center. Ted uses their cleaner ever since they replaced a windshield for us. Then we stopped at Feldman's to price Scotch to compare it with the Duty Free and Mexico prices keeping in mind there is Texas tax when you bring it in. A stop at Walmart got me new pillow inserts to replace the crappy ones that came in our rigs' toss pillows! No wonder I could never punch them into a square! I never did identify just what was in there.
We all bought groceries but Ted and I were buying more for the meal on Friday. When we came home I started cleaning so I didn't have so much to do on Friday and could concentrate on the cooking. He went to a gun class of some sort at Niles site.
Friday was another nice day and our pulled pork meal went great, just with fewer people! The fellows sat at one table, the ladies at another. It was almost 7:00 before they went home so I think everyone had a good time.
We had turned down an invite to Victoria Palms on Saturday. It was a good thing because I had a go round with my diverticulosis and spent the day on the couch recuperating from my bout in the bathroom in the early hours of the morning. I was feeling better by bedtime and woke up Sunday feeling fine.
We had Fr. Speedy again at church. Then Tom and Ted went to the gun show in McAllen. Once finished there they came back for me and Eileen to head to the flea market. Tom had his name sign refinished, had a new battery put in his watch, bought flashers for theirs bikes and filters for his RV furnace. I bought a sympathy card.
We stopped at Wallbangers for a burger and then Eileen and I went to the clubhouse for bunco. It is our last time to play this season since they changed it to every other week. There was better flow this time and people are understanding better. I have promised to send Ginger the sheets that I use for my group. They have been in use for over 20 years and it is hard to argue with that success I think.
Ted is off to the gun range and I am going next door to Bentsen Palm Village for a fashion show and lunch. Trudy is modeling and maybe I will see some former neighbors from the last several years.
Our time here is drawing to a close. It has been a marvelous two months filled with new friends and adventure. San Antonio is our next stop but my brother Dan who we were meeting has had to cancel his trip to have a melanoma on his nose surgically removed. Please remember him in your prayers. It will require three surgeries in all. Tom has not been to San Antonio so we will go but for a shorter period of time.
“What is that feeling when you're driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? It's the too-huge world vaulting us, and it's good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road
― Jack Kerouac, On the Road
Thursday, February 5, 2015
Our weather has been way better than last month. The temps have been pleasant, the rain has stopped, but the sun sure likes to hide out. But recently even the sun has been peeking out more and more.
Jan picked me up after Julia for breakfast on Thursday and then we picked up Eileen and Becky. When Other Donna returns next week we will have to split up because there will be six of us going to breakfast and no one has a car or truck to seat 6. I think 31 ladies were there.
We came home for the fellows then went to Academy for Eileen to buy cowboy boots. Then we went on to Skecher's where we all bought two pairs of shoes each except Ted.
Tom and Ted went to Riverside Club for a late lunch and Eileen and I went to finish our mosaic piece. The teacher, Kathy, is right next door to me so it was convenient. Here are the 24 pieces completed this time.
Here I am with mine.
There is going to be a prom after we leave in March so later in the afternoon we went to the clubhouse to see the formals brought by a ropa store that sells them for $10-15. There was lots of modeling going on and many dresses were purchased for the big night. The fellows will wear dark pants and a tuxedo T-shirt. I am sorry we will miss it. The ladies made corsages too. It should be a fun night.
Friday we met up with Stella, Jay, Mike and Linda at the bridge into Progreso, Mexico. I needed to replace the pills we both had taken getting rid of the crud. Ted also had his teeth cleaned, Stella had her stitches removed and Eileen made an appointment for her cleaning for next week. We all had coffee and a pastry at Renee's then split up for more shopping. I bought a slide and earrings but that was all. We walked around for several hours before coming back across the bridge and headed to Mid Valley Boots to pick up my new boots. Now I can get my new black jeans hemmed and I will be ready for the rodeo!
We asked Jose at the boot shop for a lunch recommendation and he suggested Fiesta TexMex but since it was past 2:00 the buff-it (that's how he said it) was over. It was a great suggestion, the food was really good. We skipped dinner that evening since we ate so late.
Eileen and I spent Saturday morning at a salon where she had waxing and eyebrows done while I had waxing and a dermabrasion facial. Next up will be our nails and before we leave, another haircut. We came home and both did things around the house until time for church. Ted came back from the gun range and helped me by vacuuming. Fr. Roy was in San Antonio so we had Fr. Speedy Gonzales for Mass and were out in record time. So we took advantage and went to Riverside Club for a bite to eat before card bingo. None of us won anything but it was an enjoyable evening. But winning would be better.
Don called Ted Sunday and he begged off shooting because he was under the weather. So a phone call to Dave to come earlier got them to the club and back in record time. I had the laundry ready to go and we finished that up quickly. Then it was off to Pepe's on the River (the Rio Grande River) to enjoy the 84 degrees, sunshine and light breeze. There was a good crowd but we found a spot and enjoyed margaritas and a few dances before coming home.
Ted grilled steaks and I made a salad and baked potatoes for dinner. At 6:00 it was time for the new bunco group. There were 24 women but the leader was trying to tell folks how to play by reading rules off the internet. She wasn't too interested in help from several of us well versed in this so I just went with the flow until she hit a wall. You can't keep score without a sheet of paper, there is no point in passing around a fuzzy dice when you bunco if there is no prize for having it at the end, why would losers leave a table and keep moving to the head table instead of winners? She got most of it settled with a little help but the confusion soured some on the game. I only have two more Sundays here so I will play and keep my mouth shut unless I am asked!
Even a fish wouldn't get in trouble if he kept his mouth shut."
Monday, February 2, 2015
We woke to cool and cloudy weather which the weatherman had predicted. We walked to the mailboxes to mail Bill's birthday card and stopped at Eileen's motorhome. We decided Ted and Tom would spend some time at the gun range with Tom receiving instruction from Ted while Eileen and I went to our mosaics class. It took us a bit longer than time allotted so afterwards we came right home to have dinner and settle in for this weeks The Bachelor. It is my revenge for all the football I have to watch.
All the girls all get prettier at closing time
Oh, they all begin to look like movie stars
All the girls all get prettier at closing time
When the change starts taking place it puts a glow on every face
Of the fallen angels of the back street bars
Tuesday was no better weatherwise so we went to the Winter Texan Extravaganza at the convention center. There were very few vendors and was mostly seminars. We happened in just when the entertainment/seminars broke for an hour's lunch. So once we hit all the vendors we left for Gonzales Burgers for lunch. They were on #41 and we got #60. We had to wait for a table anyway so we were able to get a spot and get settled before our number was called.
We must have just missed our friends Jay and Stella because we saw on Facebook that they were there right before us. I also received four calls in the time we were gone regarding bunco and the upcoming fashion show. It is getting to be like home!
Eileen wanted small decorative tile put in the half bath of their motorhome so we drove to Penitas to the tile store. They have what she needs and people to do it. We decided she needed to take a piece of the counter back to be sure she chose the right color.
Happy Hour was set for Tuesday evening but the weather just wasn't inviting enough to coax us out early before we left for the Mickey Gilley show. What a fabulous performance! It was like visiting with an old friend. He sang everyone of his 17 number one hits, shared photos and clips from TV shows and movie performances, duets with ladies and told the story of his entire career including mentioning his cousins Jimmy Swaggert and Jerry Lee Lewis. There were even news clips of firefighters trying to extinguish the fire that destroyed Gilley's in Pasadena, TX. The highlight for me was when the clips of Urban Cowboy were run, up popped the wedding scene and there was our friend Tommy in the movie!
I have never enjoyed a concert more.
Today we went back to the tile store and arranged for the chosen tile to be installed in the motorhome while Ted was shootiing with Don and Dave. As soon as we got back we went next store to Kathy's coach house to grout our mosaic plates. Because it was margarita night I needed to make an appetizer but Eileen and Tom couldn't go because the tile was being installed. We met up with Don and Trudy and met a couple from Indiana. The folks who arrived at the park 2/1 make much better snacks than the other folks did. Nice spread!
Tomorrow is an early start with the ladies breakfast at 8:15. Time is just flying by!
All the girls all get prettier at closing time
Oh, they all begin to look like movie stars
All the girls all get prettier at closing time
When the change starts taking place it puts a glow on every face
Of the fallen angels of the back street bars
Sunday, February 1, 2015
Tom had to move his motorhome from his temporary stop down the street from us on Lark to his February spot on Mallard. Ted went shooting with Don while they got settled in again. I took my time getting ready. This coughing is just wearing me out and keeping both of us from sleeping well.
When the dust settled we headed to La Joya to Rancho El Charco to see it when it was open and to take the wagon ride. There wasn't a big crowd but people told us that was probably due to the Super Bowl because normally the place is packed. It overlooks the Rio Grande River and is quite picturesque.
We listened to some pretty good music and had a margarita that was potent! Two of them and they would have had to carry me out! The wagon returned and we got on.
It was pulled by mules that were a cross between a donkey and a Clydesdale. We never had seen such a combination.
We rode through some very primitive Texas terrain to other venues within the ranch. We came across this deer who was so used to people that it never flinched.
We came to an outdoor chapel that is used for weddings. The primitive altar was done mostly in wood. There was no indication of its age.
We continued on to the waterfall that had a nice atmosphere. We walked across a rope bridge one at a time. It rocked quite a bit but I just stopped whenever it started rocking and started up again when it stopped. Ted has such height he had more difficulty but made it.
We continued on and saw a pool area used for picnics and such in the summertime when children are out of school. Our guide said he does many nature programs for children.
It was getting close to Game Time so we came home. Eileen fixed Skyline chili and we sat outside watching the TV embedded in the side of their motorhome. I was so tired that I left the three of them there watching the Super Bowl and came home to my couch. The Z Pak seems to be working but this coughing is so tiring.
Ted came home at half time and I got up to watch the last of the game with a finish that was just unbelievable. I had no horse in the race but can certainly enjoy a good game with a great finish. Congratulations to the Patriots.
Friday, January 30, 2015
Well I drove to breakfast and back without incident taking Becky and Jan with me. Once I returned and Ted was ready, we went to the grocery and also got fuel for $2.42 for diesel. I can remember one summer paying $4.75 in Vicksburg, MS!
I put together the lasagna and laid down for a nap. Everyone here has whatever this is going around and both Ted and I are coughing our heads off. I took Nyquil Wednesday night and it always knocks me out into the next day.
Ted went to another gun thing around 3:00 and shortly thereafter, Eileen and Tom arrived. I walked down and Tom was unhitching the car and then I helped him back into Walter's spot. Eileen says she normally asks someone in the campground to help him! He understood my hand signals just fine and he was parked in no time.
They didn't stop for lunch so I came home and put the lasagna in the oven, tossed the salad and sliced the bread. By the time we finished dinner I was fading fast. I was in bed around 8 with another shot of Nyquil. I was hoping I would feel better in the morning.
I slept better but both of us coughed all night long. We were taking antibiotics but the cough just lingered. We were due at Karen and Dave's at 1:00 so I got the baked beans together, made up the ambrosia and filled our cooler with drinks. Tom drove and it was nice to see our old friends, many of whom remembered Eileen and Tom from last year. We were given an invitation to Vern's 70th birthday party in Colorado for the 4th of July. However, we are already booked for a 60th anniversary party in Bowling Green, KY. We came home about 5:00 and Eileen told me to go to bed. I laid on the couch and was out like a light until 8. I stayed up until 11, took my Nyquil and slept until 6 in the morning.
I took my time getting ready on Saturday. It was 3:00 before we left for dinner at Cheddars. Despite being told we had to wait 10-20 minutes, ww were seated as soon as the guys finished parking the car. We had some time afterwards to stop at Academy for ammo. Ted is going to take Tom to the range to familiarize him better with his handgun.
We went to the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan of the Valley for Mass. The road we use to get to Fr. Roy was closed for the citrus parade and he was riding in the parade so we thought it a good time to experience the mariachi band during Mass at the Shrine. We left there and headed to a show at Canyon Lake park. It was OK but not one I would tell people not to miss and I wouldn't see it again. The comedian was funny and did great mimicking especially singing as Elvis. He needs more of that and less of his wife singing karaoke.
We continued to be congested and coughing through the night so we are started on Z Paks. We needed bigger guns to lick this thing.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Monday was the ladies lunch out. I was picked up as promised and headed to BJ Brewhouse. We have one close to home but I have been there just 2 or 3 times. I really liked the menu. They had Mediterranean chicken pitas complete with yogurt sauce. These are a staple at the Greek restaurants in Detroit but I haven't seen them here in Texas. They were every bit as good as the picture looked. Out of 21 women I was the only one that ordered them.
Ted was supposed to go to lunch and a gun shop with the fellows but when Ted went outside he saw Niles' car go around the bend. They forgot him! He went on to the gun shop on his own and found a new gun. He came home to get his old one to trade and check to be sure he could spend that money. Being on the road it is necessary to watch your cash flow. Nancy is doing a great job of handling our mail (Chris will take it in but that is all!), so our money is getting to where it needs to be. Ted called Don who went back with him and got a few things himself.
Ted ate leftover chicken soup for supper, I wasn't hungry yet. Later on Trudy and Don came by bringing some dessert left over from their Progressive dinner. When we came inside I had a piece with a cup of tea.
Yesterday we tried the new laundromat near Mission West to compare cost and time. Washing costs more but drying is in 4 minute increments so you can buy only what you need. The dryers are big and get your clothes dry much quicker. So cost is about the same but you save some time especially since there are as many machines as you need versus the two here in our park.
Ted then went to try his new gun out at the Gun Range while I did my best tracking Tom and Eileen's progress. They drove beyond Holt FL where I thought they were stopping so scrambled to find a suitable park for them for the night. They ended up in Robertsdale AL. A 40 foot motorhome with a Jeep Cherokee behind it needs a long pull thru spot so they can stay hooked up. Lots of coastal parks are dirt, gravel or grass. If we and they can help it, we avoid those parks. I found them concrete!
After dinner we went to the clubhouse and had three new players to learn Shanghai. Joanne won! These folks catch on quickly. Next week we are going to a Mickey Gilley benefit show so we won't be teaching Shanghai that night.
This locale is a huge birding area. I have always wanted to see a Painted Bunting and a friend saw two yesterday morning, but in Florida! Aren't they beautiful? I think they look as if they flew through a rainbow and picked up all the colors. The first is a male alone, the second has the green female too.
Today is Spanish class and the grocery. I am fixing dinner for Tom and Eileen tomorrow. If all goes as planned they will be here mid afternoon. I am also attending ladies breakfast in the morning. In fact, I am the driver. Love driving the dually. Parking it is even more fun!
Saturday, January 24, 2015
I made an appointment Friday to get my hair cut and Carmen did a great job. I have used her while here for several years. It was so windy, there was no sense having it styled. So it was just blown dry with a brush and that's all. She said her business is down, many folks have not returned.
When Ted picked me up we headed west to La Joya to El Rancho Charco, a beautiful venue on the Rio Grande River. I have carried an ad around for about three years advertising wagon rides, exotic animals, waterfalls, dance bands and a restaurant. There is going to be an outing there for the folks of Retama but it is scheduled for after we leave. I think one Sunday we will go there with Eileen and Tom.
In the evening we attended a production right from Branson, A Tribute to George Strait. The couple presenting and singing were terrific and the history and life of George Strait was so interesting. A short stint by an impersonator who could mimic anyone was a bonus. I am going to find out where he is performing because he can talk like Gomer Pyle and sing like Elvis. We had an enjoyable evening.
Saturday we headed to the flea market to pick up a few things we knew we needed. These included a card holder for Carol, parsley flakes in a larger bottle than available in stores, greeting cards, wild rice from Minnesota, oranges and grapefruits. About 1/3 of the produce vendors are missing and several vendors we frequented are gone.
Afterwards we went to Gonzales Burgers since we hadn't stopped there on Thursday. Best burgers ever! We sat with a couple from Chicago and had a nice visit. They are taking their motorhome to Houston 3/1 and taking the same cruise twice because 7 days is too short!
I was developing a headache so I came home to lie down and we decided to go to church in the morning. After about two hours I felt better and we went next door to play Card Bingo. Unfortunately neither of us won.
Morning church was as crowded as evening church. Fr. Roy gave his usual interesting homily but we had a different music group. However, we were treated to Clay Walker's song I Want To Live, Laugh and Love. There is always a cowboy song for the week's message as far as Fr. Roy is concerned.
When we got home Ted picked up Don and met Dave at the Skeet Club to shoot. When he came back we went to the grocery and then over to check out Pepe's on the River. The first 5 years we came here we loved going to Pepe's for $10 all-you-can eat fish or shrimp, $10 pitchers of margaritas and a country band for dancing. When the river flooded in 2010 Pepe's became IN the river not ON the river. It stayed that way until this year when it reopened.
Now they are only open on Sunday, there is no food other than a food truck and lots of motorcycles. I am not sure we are going to frequent the place much. We passed Riverside Club when we left that reopened in 2012 and there wasn't a parking spot anywhere. I am sure people came from Pepe's to eat. We like that place too and have gone there frequently and will continue to do so. We actually saw it on Fox News last year filled with women and children filling the bar waiting for the Border Patrol to pick them up.
Ted grilled a pork tenderloin for dinner and I used some of that Minnesota wild rice to make a side dish and had some cranberries too. We seem to be averaging eating out every other day, mostly for lunch. Neither of us are big breakfast eaters so a big lunch and light dinner isn't so bad. Today we skipped lunch because of our schedule and had a nice dinner, just going with the flow!
Now about my title. For the past 10 years we had to make our reservations for the following year to insure a space. There are a dozen or so parks on our road alone and they were all booked solid every winter. This year every park has lots of spaces available. The border situation is hurting the area which took in $700+ million from winter Texans last year.
There were lots of folks over in Progreso, Mexico though spending money. Renee's bakery was filled to capacity, all 13 chairs at the nail salon were filled with folks getting pedicures and the lines back through Customs at times have been longer than ever seen before. I guess you have a lot of folks who still feel comfortable in the area and others not so much. The wave of newcomers each year just didn't happen. The answer will lie in the total spent by the Winter Texans. People vote with their feet and pocketbook. Until the border is truly secure, I think the Rio Grande Valley will suffer.
“Choices made, whether bad or good, follow you forever and affect everyone in their path one way or another.”
― J.E.B. Spredemann
― J.E.B. Spredemann
Friday, January 23, 2015
Trudy and I had made plans to go to lunch and shopping while Ted and Don did another "double." Pistols first at the gun range, skeet second at the Skeet club.
We went to Renee's which is a spa/beauty salon/boutique and tea room. I bought a Vera Bradley bag as a camera case and Trudy bought a dress. We had a nice lunch, her treat to me for Ted always picking Don up to go shooting. From there we went to Victoria's to check it out. We both bought a few gifts and I can't believe I am Christmas shopping already! We returned home around 5:00 and decided not to do Margarita hour next door. Other than Don and Trudy, all our friends have moved to other parks and it isn't the same.
Thursday morning was the weekly ladies' breakfast and it was not far so I planned to drive myself and let Ted sleep. But these wonderful women of Retama sent a FB message saying they would pick me up. I was tickled they included me! I am still an eggs and bacon person and it amazes me so many of the ladies do the refried beans and tortillas like I do toast! We had been instructed not to sit with whomever we rode with so we all chose a different table. Two new (to me) ladies sat down and we were quickly joined by another three.
Ann asked if I was going to the lunch on Monday but I admitted I had not yet signed up. You have to keep up with this calendar while here! She told Linda who runs these things that I was coming to the lunch and she was going to pick me up. So I guess I'm going! I sure haven't cooked much while here.
As soon as I returned home we left to pick up Jay and Stella and headed to Mexico. We all had our grocery lists of needed medicines and they along with Ted were getting pedicures. It is the only time Ted will go, even though he enjoys the results. I had mine when I had my manicure last week so I was good, I just waited and observed. The instruments and basins were all cleaned with bleach after each customer. One girl was being so thorough with one lady, taking longer than anyone. When we left I said I wanted her if we came back. The lady tried to ask the girl her name but she didn't understand and almost looked scared that maybe she had done something wrong. Spanish class to the rescue! "Como se llama" I said and she smiled and answered Selena. I was proud of myself over such a little thing.
We went to the Super store to check prices and got the analgesic cream there plus penicillin. We moved on to my favorite, Almost Free pharmacy, to get the rest. Someone on Retama FB had asked if anyone was going to Mexico. She needed lots of vanilla for folks back home. At breakfast I asked who that was and she was sitting two seats over. I bought her six bottles of vanilla at the pharmacy along with Ted's eyedrops and Retin A cream for a friend. I picked up a Z pack to keep on hand just in case. Traveling like we do it isn't always easy or inexpensive to get to a doctor for a minor thing that would require an antibiotic. I just toss them when they expire and we haven't needed to use them.
On the way home Jay wanted to eat at Luby's but Stella nixed that. Then she suggested Gonzales Burgers and he nixed that. Ted suggested Cheddars since we all like that and we figured mid-afternoon was a good time. Wrong! We had to wait about 10 minutes to be seated. This restaurant is always packed! I wasn't really hungry so only ate my bowl of soup and took my half sandwich home. We left about 3:30 and finally there was no one waiting. The hostess said 3:30 to 4:15 is about the only lull they have but not on weekends. The food is good, plentiful and very reasonably priced. There is the answer to success.
Tom and Eileen are due in one day next week. Their spot is occupied until 2/1 so they need a spot for 1-3 nights depending on their arrival. There is a place for sale and I wrote a private message on FB to the owner. He called and agreed to let them park on his spot but he has someone coming in 2/1 so it will be a day of musical coaches as everyone settles in for February.
Our beautiful weather is giving in to windy and cooler for two days and then the next week looks really good!