Thursday, February 15, 2018

Company #5, the last that we know of!

Kristin was leaving Thursday so Sue, Gerre, she and I went out for a bit in the morning. When we came home she gathered up her things and was on her way about noon.  She would spend a night in Houston and one other one on the road.  She called early evening to say she had arrived in Houston safely.

Gerre and Barry came over after lunch and spent the afternoon with us out under the pergola in nice, but windy, weather.  We have yet to put the cushions out except for the open houses.  We haven't sat out there and only used the table once for Mexican train with Tom and Eileen.  They stayed for dinner as planned and then we visited with Susan and Teri when they came by.  We still have Tucker with us so Ted walked him before we called it a night.

We spent all day Friday in Progreso, Mexico.  

We started with a coffee and a bite at Rene's followed by a lot of shopping for Gerre.  She bought several Christmas gifts and a few colorful mariposas (butterflies) for their backyard fence.  We spent time looking for a red pendant for me but there are no true red semi precious stones I guess.  Too burgundy or too orange were constant problems.  I left without one.  We ended up at Pancho's where Gerre and I spent most of the time shopping in the attached store.  The fellows enjoyed margaritas and listened to music.  We returned back to the U.S. and eventually went to dinner.  We still have Tucker and we came home to spend some time with him after feeding and walking him.  

Saturday Ted was feeling poorly from a cold so the three of us went to Pioneer Days at the Museum of South Texas.  We enjoyed some bluegrass music and Mexican folk dancing.  

Dancing with filled trays on their heads.  There was water in the glasses but no casualties!

The children in their colorful costumes.

The littlest one who performed alone and did a great job

There were demonstrations of cooking, weaving, churning, etc. outside and the museum was open inside.  It didn't take too long to see it all and we came home.  We decided to go to Cheddar's to eat and while we were waiting, Jay and Stella arrived with friends.  I guess we are on the Winter Texan Trail for sure!

From there we went to church where we learned Newlie, Fr. Roy's little dog (one of many), died on Ash Wednesday.  He was distraught but gave us insight into how such relationships teach us to love.  We checked on Veladora and she is growing and looks just fine.

At home we took down our front shade that needs restringing.  Ed next door came over when we couldn't get it unclipped after we took the valance down.  Not hard when you know how to do it!  Thanks, Ed!

After such a busy day, we ended up at the clubhouse playing card bingo.   We all got down to one card at times but none of us won.  Since we were all very tired, everyone went right home.

On Sunday Gerre and I took the shade to the flea market to get it restrung and buy some fruit for her to take home.  Ted went shooting and I'm not sure what Barry did.  We all met back at our place where Sue and Kathy were waiting for us to play Mahjong and Barry and Ted were heading to the gun range for Ted to do some instructing with Barry.  

By 5:00 everyone was finished with their afternoon activities and Ted grilled steaks for our dinner.  It was our last night together and we sat around a bit before they headed back to the hotel.

Monday morning I couldn't get dressed because the gray tank was full and I have a sneaky suspicion the black one wasn't far behind.  Ted was doing his "outside" duties when they arrived to pick up Tucker and get on the road.  We wished them safe travels!

Here is a photo of the principal of the elementary school accepting our Fashion Show proceeds.  Many children do not have warm clothes because they are seldom needed down here.  This latest cold snap saw children shivering in their lightweight clothing and the teachers want to build a supply of warm things for such times.  They were ever so grateful.  My friend Mimi is in yellow, Trudy in black.  

Monday, February 12, 2018

So Busy!

I thought we had to show the coach house on Sunday for the open house but the owner had made arrangements for Bonnie to do it so we made other plans.  It turned into a cold, windy day and I was more than happy not to have to hang around here.  But while it was still warm, we and our newest arrivals Tommy and Susan plus their friends Teri and Les, plus Les's mother, all went to the DonWes flea market.  Teri and Les are in the same casita John and Vivienne were in next door and Les's mother lives down here.  Everyone found a few things they couldn't live without and we left when the wind got strong and cold.  We all had lunch at Freddy's before heading home.

Kristin and I put our purchases in the trailer and left in her car to shop at one of the stores that showed clothes at the fashion show.  We got Kristin 3 slacks and top sets that are very nice.  We didn't eat much after our lunch at Freddy's.  

Monday I had to be at the clubhouse at 9:30 to help Dale prepare for a luncheon she and Coco were hosting.  At the last minute Coco had to have a stress test so Dale needed help with preparations.  I set the tables, cut up the vegetables for the salad and made Arnold Palmers to drink.  Kristin and I helped serve and clean up a very delicious lunch!

After that we went to get manicures and pedicures.  It was late when we got back home so I used my instant pot to make chicken soup.  Then we stayed in for the night.

Tuesday was a cool, misty, crappy day.  We are promised more normal weather for the next week.  I will let you know how that turns out!  Since Ted was unable to shoot, we left about 10:00 and headed to Mexico.  Kristin wants to see all the places we go to when we are down in the valley.  I get tickled at everyone's reaction when we park, walk across the bridge over the Rio Grande River and voila!  We are in Mexico and walk right in.  Immediately you are coaxed to take dentists' cards or encouraged to enter a myriad of pharmacies.  Ted took off for Renee's pastry shop while Kristin and I perused the El Disco store then eventually met up with him for a cup of coffee.  We continued walking down the street for awhile and then back up the other side eventually stopping at Pancho's Bar.  We had a bit of lunch and then proceeded to Jessica's to get some medicine and a free margarita while listening to music.  Our last stop was another pharmacy to get some Voltaren analgesic cream requested by a friend.  This is good stuff for arthritis, muscle aches and pains.  Then we made our way across the bridge.

Kristin wanted to see a Ropa, a place where lots of your clothing donations end up along with dry cleaner clothes not picked up, overruns, distress jobber inventory, etc.  What she wanted to see was the huge mountain of clothes, pushed around by a forklift, and the many ladies sitting on it sorting clothes.  They will buy good condition clothes for 30 cents a pound, launder and iron them, then hang them on their chain link fence for sale for a few dollars.  It is a sight to see.  We even posed for a photo!  They have other things besides the pile and we saw little girls' uniform shirts still in packages for 50 cents instead of $7.  

We made our way home and Ted and I left immediately for haircuts.  We were both way overdue.  Then we watched Shaun White win a gold medal for the USA.  Too bad in the excitement he dragged our flag around, stepping on it.  He meant no disrespect I don't think.  He was just so emotional he didn't realize where the flag was but he caught hell on FB!

Wednesday we were expecting Gerre and Barry so we hung around waiting for them.  It was nice having a day to stay home some.  As soon as they arrived we left with Tommy, Susan, Jay, Stella and Kristin heading to Red Lobster.  The combination of Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday (no meat for us) resulted in a 1-1.5 hour wait for a table.  None of us were up for that so we headed next door to Furr's Buffet where there was no wait and a big run on the fried shrimp.  I chose the catfish!

After we dropped Barry and Gerre off at the motel we came home and visited outside with Susan until fairly late.  Ted took Tucker for a walk before bedtime and we called it a day!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Company #2, #3, #4

I skipped  mahjong on Sunday and used my winnings of those 92 quarters to hit the lavatoria, Tex Mex for laundromat.  I needed three washers because of all the bedclothes I was washing from stripping the bed and replacing the blanket.  Two ran properly, I dried and folded those clothes and the third was taking forever.  Eventually it said Final Spin, I listened and it sounded right but a few minutes later the only light said Lid Locked.  I called the attendant who got the lid open and my clothes were in the rinse water.  She wrung them by hand and moved them to another washer.  By the time I got them spun, dried and folded I had spent an additional hour.  Such is life!

It was 88 at 4 o'clock when I drove home.  We were having spaghetti and meatballs for dinner so that was pretty much ready except for boiling the spaghetti.  Ted was watching TV and I put the clothes away.  He watched the ballgame but I paid no attention (what else is new!) and looked online for a new quilt or coverlet for the bed.  After the game went off we watched our regular programming, the news and Perry Mason on ME TV!  Old TV is so much more enjoyable than the vulgarity or blood and guts of today's programming.  Not having cable doesn't bother me at all!

Monday I went with Echo and Belinda to select our outfits for the fashion show.  I am in black leggings and sleeveless top with lace appliqu├ęs at the bottom of both with several jackets, capes, ponchos, etc. to create different looks.  I am ok with all of that.  My second outfit I call the Joseph's Amazing Technicolor Coat Dress.  It is skinny stripes of many colors made like a tent!  I said "This is a definite NO!"  But Sandy added a very wide black and silver belt, my own black boots, a black cowgirl hat and she said she will add festive jewelry.  It is cute in its own way but nothing I would normally wear.  Anything for a fund raiser!  

Sherida and John arrived around dinner time and we eventually went to grab a sandwich.  We told them we would pick them up at 10 the next morning.  John's dentist appointment was at 1:00 pm.  We picked them up and drove to the bridge with very overcast skies but the closer we got to Mexico, the better the weather got and it turned out to be a beautiful day.  

We stopped at our first pharmacy to check prices and then proceeded to Renee's for coffee accompanied by live mariachi music.  We meandered down the sidewalks buying a few do-dads here and there.  We had lunch at Pancho's (preceded by margaritas) and then John left for the dentist.  We ran into half a dozen people we know including Jay and Stella.  They went to Jessica's with us where we all bought what we needed and then had more margaritas while folks danced.  Sherida left to go see what was what at the dentist and when Jay and Stella left we went to the dentist too.  It was after 4:00 when John was finished and we headed home.  

Dee and Dan had invited us to a margarita hour to celebrate the finish of their outdoor patio and pergola.  We arrived late with the bottle of tequila we had purchased in Mexico since I knew I could not make anything to take.  There was a pretty good crowd and we stayed until a little past 7:30.  It had been a full day.

Sue and I went to lunch and shopping on Thursday while Ted joined Niles and Bonnie for lunch after shooting with his Skeet Club friends.  He had gathered up some of our things because the coach house will be open on Sunday.  We were waiting for our daughter Kristin to arrive that evening.

Monday was the fashion show and Kristin was able to attend.  It went well, everyone had a good time, and I didn't trip or fall.

Here is part of the 100 person crowd.

Our only male model

Me, in what I called my Joseph's Amazing Technicolor Coat Dress.  Not something I would wear but this is what was picked out for me.  The boots are mine but the dress, belt, hat and jewelry were from Lionel's.

This is the basic black leggings and shell I wore with the rhinestone jacket.  I also paired it with a gray/black/white scarf and then a green lace poncho.

In the evening we went to see Wonder which was a really good movie.  No blood or guts!  And it taught a lesson on how to treat people, especially those different from yourself.

Susan and Tommy arrived around noon and we got them all settled in two spots down from us.  Kristin, Susan and I went to HEB for groceries and then went to church.

We have a new baby llama girl named Veladora!  Apparently Philamena was pregnant and delivered the newest addition to the menagerie last Sunday.  

After church we three met Susan, Tommy, Les, Teri, Jay and Stella at Cracker Barrel for dinner.  Afterwards we came home to play card bingo.  I won 66 dimes and Ted won $66!  We are becoming persona non-gratis at Card Bingo!

We are awaiting Company #5 on Wednesday!  Tucker is coming!

Monday, January 29, 2018

A Week Off Before More Company

On Sunday Ted took John to Mission Skeet Club and met up with a half dozen others to shoot skeet. When they came back we went to the Riverside Club on the Rio Grande for lunch and then headed east to show them what else is around here.  We visited Victoria Palms and while getting out of my car I slipped off the running board, twisted my ankle and down I went.  I broke my own rule "Stay Upright."

I skinned my elbow which wasn't bad but my ankle puffed up pretty good.  When we got home I iced it and on Monday I stayed off it and kept the ice on it.  It didn't really hurt except a little when I came down stairs.  Going up "toddler style" was no problem.  If it didn't go down by Tuesday I planned to go to Urgent Care for an X-ray though I thought it was just a sprain.  

Ted fixed dinner making chicken tenderloins and French fries in our new Farberware air fryer.  Before I took my spill we had gone to the Mexican flea market and bought it for $25.  Apparently they buy Service Center returns.  I don't know if the Center refurbishes them or just passes them along with notations of what was reported as being wrong.  The first one we had them plug in and it didn't work.  The second one had a basket a little hard to get out at first but it worked fine once you knew there was a lever to push.  All the notation said was "Doesn't work."   We plugged it in and it passed the test! The food was awesome with no grease and easiest clean up ever!  That and my Instant Pot are revolutionizing the kitchen.  

Tuesday I kept my foot up and iced it with great results.  When the time came for mahjong I was able to walk to the clubhouse with no problem.  Later in the evening we headed to Greengate Grove park to see Goldwing Express.  They are here for just six weeks because the rest of the year they work in Branson, MO at Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede and The Baldnobber's show.  Texas Boomers from Missouri recognized us and came over to say hello.  What great memories these folks have!  The show was great and we took some chances on a beautiful quilt.  It would work well in the RV.

Ted shot in a competition on Wednesday.  He tied with a fellow who then bought a second sheet and tried a second time, beating Ted.  Whoever heard of giving a Mulligan in shooting?  

 I chose to work on my Swedish weaving.  Beverly came over after mahjong and helped me get back on track.  I have ripped out more yarn than I have left in!  We went to Sam's, had dinner and then watched TV.

Ted's brother Tom and my brother-in-law Ron both had surgeries on the 31st.  Preliminarily they have both been given a thumbs up.  We pray things stay that way.

Thursday Ted went shooting at Mission Skeet Range and Sue and I took off.  I ended up replacing the blanket on our bed.  The old one was one of those thermal loose weave ones and it kept growing!  It was dragging the floor on both sides!  Sue found a pair of pillows for her couch.  We stopped at Chick Fil A for lunch and had a nice, long conversation before heading home.  

Tom called from Phoenix saying he was home and feeling fine.  Ron's daughter said he was feeling pretty good that day too though he was still in the hospital.  Ted fixed dinner and we went for a DQ ice cream and watched TV in the evening.

I played mahjong on Friday and had two mahjongs but should have had three.  I had to change hands when my 8 Dot went dead and lost my concentration.  I was late on a call for a tile, threw away a tile I needed then threw a tile I could have changed for a joker.  I told them I didn't deserve to win that game and they agreed! 

That evening we went to Bentsen Grove for a dance, there were about 40 or so from our park in attendance.  Ted calls it American Bandstand For Old Folks!  Everyone had a good time.

I was up early Saturday to make my homework, apple crisp.  We had to make something using the slow cooker setting on the instant pot.  I didn't want to get up at 2 am so used a recipe that only took 3 hours.  All in all, once I had it all together, I wondered why anyone wouldn't just put it in the oven for one hour instead of 3 hours in the slow cooker.  

We went to Mass, grabbed a pizza on the way home and eventually went to the clubhouse to play Card Bingo.  We are not allowed to go next door to play anymore so the social committee decided to do our own.  They weren't sure how well it would be attended.  The count was 92 people.

We went on time which translates to "you are on time so you are late and most seats are taken" in old folk language.  But it was a success, I had a good night winning two games for a total of about $25.  They only play 11 games so winning twice was something.  The first game I had to split with Bonnie but I was the only winner in the second.

Our company is arriving Monday so I have laundry and other things to do on Sunday to get ready.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Well it Is Wednesday

I have had a week of Sundays!  Every day has felt like Sunday ... since Sunday!  Tuesday night I was wondering why the stock market had been open!  I seldom know the date but usually know what day it is!  So today is Wednesday.  I am going shopping this morning, grouting my table this afternoon and to another park for a show this evening.  And tomorrow will be Thursday.  Got it!

Monday we joined a large group (54) of our neighbors for lunch at the Republic of the Rio Grande restaurant.  It was a lively group and the restaurant did a decent job of serving everyone.  Ted did not get his Diet Coke and as I looked down the long table I saw no one had a drink other than water.  What are the odds no one had ordered a drink?  Oh well, water is better for you anyway.  

I am usually up by 7:00 but on Tuesday, when I had a 9:00 o'clock meeting, my 8:00 o'clock medicine alarm on my phone woke me!  I had to start getting ready.  All the fashion show models were meeting with the ladies in charge for directions on where and when to go for choosing outfits, where we will dress that day, where we will walk, how to display points of the outfit as it is described, etc.  Echo, Belinda and I are assigned to 10:30 am at Lionel's in Weslaco, a western wear store.  Good thing I brought my boots with me!

Ted was shooting and then gave instructions on shotguns to a couple who had requested his help.  They were rained out last week.  By the time he came home I was going out the door to play mahjong.  His afternoon errand was to pick up three prescriptions at Walmart, two for me and one for him.  Before I made it home he was back at the gun range and had a bobcat sighting.  I ate a salad for dinner and he fixed a couple grilled cheese sandwiches for himself.  It was a real in and out day!

Eileen and I went shopping for a bit on Wednesday morning but I had to grout my table at 1:00 so we only hit two stores.  When I returned I grouted my table which didn't take too long.  For dinner we went to Souper Salad! with Tom and Eileen followed by a show Timeless Treasures, a one man show singing all the hits of the past.  He was okay but I wouldn't run out and see him again anytime soon.  

Thursday I met some neighbors for lunch and then hurried home to seal my table. Such a time commitment for one little patio table.  Here is my finished product.

It was cool and drizzly and we stayed in the rest of the afternoon.  After dinner we played another game of Mexican Train in the coach house.  

Friday was mahjong again and a trip to London Grille for dinner where we all had some of the best BBQ yet.  I had turkey but the others had beef and pork.  London??

I had to make my bread pudding for cooking class and I also included vanilla sauce that got too thick but we spooned it out anyway.  Next week's assignment is to make something in the Instant Pot using the slow cooker setting.  

John and Vivienne arrived just as I came out of the clubhouse so we gave them the grand tour (they were very impressed) and drove to the gun range and the palapa on the river.  Two Texas patrol boats had pulled in and we talked to them about what else, the guns.  Our company was excited to see Mexico on the other side of the river.  Before we left I gave them 7 bowls, 7 spoons and 7 napkins and the rest of the bread pudding.

We went to church with Tom and Eileen and had to fight the traffic caused by the Citrus Fiesta Parade. Just as we tried to leave after Mass there were floats, horse trailers, school buses, etc. attempting to get their passengers at the end of the route which happens to be near the church.  We finally made it to Cracker Barrel and met up with John and Vivienne.  After dinner we said a final farewell to Tom and Eileen who pulled out this morning.  The four of us went on to see Southern Anthem at Bluebonnet park.  This young man who plays a mean fiddle pulled me from the audience to take me on stage to serenade me.  When Ted was fussing around trying to take this photo I told him "These old people take so long taking a photo."  He said "I understand!"  LOLOLOL

Friday, January 19, 2018

Hoping This Cold Weather Goes Away!

This global warming stuff has got to stop.  It was not only icy down here, there was snow and ice at home again!  We were using the tower heater, fireplace and the furnace to stay warm.  We have only filled one bottle of propane but I am sure the next candidate is coming up soon.  I warned our "landlord" the electric bill will be a doozy but just send me the amount.  It is what it is.

I finished the stained glass part of my table on Wednesday.  The yellow and green were larger easy pieces following a pattern.  The center brown pieces were small and free hand.  That took a long time. I was the last one done and sort of rushed those last few pieces because the quilters were coming in to use the craft room.  Next week we grout and seal.

Thursday I spent the morning with Sue and Dortha.  We stopped at the shoe repair since the ticket said Thursday but Ted's wouldn't be ready until 5 pm so we will have to make another trip.  We ended up having lunch at Pollo Loco (Crazy Chicken) which was ok but I liked Cowboy Chicken better.  I made some calls to family members to check up on my brother-in-law and to inform them I had received word our cousin Wayne had died.  He was 78 and had battled a brain tumor for some time.  He now will rest in peace.

Friday was more of the same weatherwise but they said the weekend would start normal temps again.  I sure hoped so.  Ted had errands to run so I took advantage of his absence to do some cleaning.  There isn't a lot of room to clean but there is a lot of bending and reaching to get to all the nooks and crannies.  Ted had stopped for his shoes and then had to return in one hour, four trips to finally get his shoes!

We had leftover bean soup from the freezer for dinner and then played Mexican Train in the coach house again.  I cannot get a break playing.  I pick up every large number out there when I don't have a play.  

Saturday dawned foggy and a few showers.  Ted went to the Gun Garage Sale at the clubhouse.  I think there were more sellers than buyers though.  I went to my Instant Pot cooking class and agreed to the assignment next week of making bread pudding!  Wish me luck.  I will practice a time or two before then.

While waiting to be picked up for church I got my Swedish weaving out and finally figured out the area I was stuck on.  I can't ask Beverly to help me finish the edges if I don't have the weaving done!  

Fr. Roy was in fine form again and we enjoyed his homily as always.  From there we went to Ranch House Burgers for dinner, the best place for burgers.  I ordered the kids' burger though, the others are too big! 

Then it was off to the Jason Coleman show, grandson of Floyd Cramer, one of the best piano players ever to accompany musicians on recordings.  He invented the "slip note" bringing the harmony sound to the piano.  His grandson certainly inherited the music gene.  His grandfather's history starting with Louisiana Hayride out of Shreveport in the 50s to his successful move to Nashville was all part of the show interspersed with well known recordings we all recognized.  It is mind boggling to see someone play so beautifully without a single piece of paper in front of him.  All in all, a wonderful evening of entertainment. 

Sunday Ted went shooting and sold one of his shotguns!  He gave me an envelope filled with money.  We probably won't need to go to the bank for the rest of the time we are down here.  I went to the Clubhouse and played mahjong.  

I had gotten a frozen package of cubed beef out and when I returned I made what our Instant Pot teacher calls dump soup.  Just put in whatever you have, fresh or frozen.  We floured the beef and then browned it.  I sprinkled an envelope of onion soup, then a can of diced tomatoes, a cup of water, three peeled potatoes, 1/3 of a package of frozen pearl onions and a bag of frozen mixed vegetables.  We set it on Soup/Stew and once it built pressure it counted down 35 minutes and stopped.  We let the pressure release naturally and then enjoyed some really good vegetable beef soup.  It was all cooked in the one pot so clean up was a snap!

Ted watched the playoff games and I find it ironic that the Eagles and Patriots will represent our nation in the Super Bowl.  Two beautiful symbols of our freedom that the NFL has allowed to be sullied all year.  I have no interest in the games but respect others' rights to watch or not.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Losing More Time

I last wrote on Wednesday and it is now Sunday.  Thursday we both got desperately needed haircuts.  We have been going to Carmen for several years but she was on vacation this week so we used Letty who did an excellent job.  That evening we played Mexican Train in our coach house because it was too cool to sit outside and too crowded inside the RV.  It is winterized so we don't use the bathroom or washer/dryer but we are permitted to put our excess "stuff" inside.  So we put a card table up and used two small chairs and brought in our two.  I still haven't won at Mexican Train.

Friday we played Mahjong again.  In the meantime Ted has been shooting every day, the reason he likes this park and area so much. I attended my Instant Pot cooking class Saturday, we attended Mass, went to Cracker Barrel for dinner and then to see Murder on the Orient Express with Tom and Eileen.  Our tickets were $2.44 each!  

Lots of football this week and Ted talking to the TV but I am used to that.  I have to admit some games have had exciting ends!  Eileen and I played Mahjong in the afternoon and then I watched the Vikings/Saints game with Ted.  I had no horse in the race so I didn't care who won.  But what a finish!!  

Our granddaughter Morgan and Kara's husband Bill will be Confirmed this Spring in Michigan,   They had to do an outreach program over the weekend and were at a nursing home.  My grandson, Sam, along to make it a family event, helped Miss Davis play bingo and win a bag of chips and a lottery ticket.  She held his hand the entire time.  Such a sweet picture.  

Monday I was planning to go to my Swedish weaving class but instead we went to find a shoe repair store and then made a stop at HEB.  Not exciting but it was nice to just spend unhurried time together.  We go in so many different directions so much of the time.

Tuesday dawned cold with a bit of freezing rain.  Shooting was out so we donned our down jackets and joined Tom and Eileen at the Texas Expo at McAllen's convention center.  I think everyone had the same thought because it was so crowded.  We heard some great entertainment, picked up lots of info and a zillion handouts - eyeglass wipes, key chains, toothpaste, pill boxes, lots and lots of pens, etc.  We got a few bigger items too.  Each of us received a window shade cover for our vehicles (for when normal Texas weather returns), a 6 pack cooler plus an HEB coupon book with great coupons, the kind you can use - $2 each off eggs, milk, meat, fruit, etc.  Eileen won a door prize (again!).  Last year was a Sleep Number pillow, this year a decorative metal container but I am not sure what all was in it.  I remain in zero territory not only in Mexican Train but door prizes too!  Collectively we won a double cheeseburger, chili cheese hot dog, a sundae plus a $2 coupon for Star's Drive-In restaurant.  We'll go there when the weather is better.  For fun we had our photo taken!

We received a B1G1F coupon for Cowboy Chicken, a place I have wanted to try.  After showing Eileen where the shoe repair was and dropping off her shoes, we headed to the restaurant.  Great rotisserie chicken and fresh vegetables.  And a first - a sink in the restaurant to wash and dry your hands!  It was getting colder by the minute and the wet was going to turn to ice before too long so we headed home.

Ted had leftover meatloaf for dinner, I just had a yogurt and some crackers.  It was icy outside so everyone stayed put. Eileen sent a photo of the chicken soup they made with their lunch leftovers.

Just another week, albeit a cold one, in the valley!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Back In The Valley Again

On Friday we made plans to go to Mexico.  I have lists from Kara and Carol of meds they want.  I bought a leather pouch with high end colored pencils from an artist here for Morgan and I found a gift for Carol's birthday.  I figured it was best to get their things, put in the gifts and kill two birds with one stone, so to speak, at the post office.

Our first stop was at Almost Free Pharmacy where I got 3 of Carol's 4 items and checked prices on other things we needed.  Next was the dentist where Eileen made an appointment.  In the meantime Ted went to get his first annual pedicure.  His second will be in March before we leave.  For some reason he will not get one in the US.  

Eileen, Tom and I made our way down to where he was and then went to Pancho's for a margarita before heading to Jessica's for the rest of our meds.  

Carol's 4th item was going to take a bit to get so we were invited to have a free margarita in the restaurant while we waited.  We had our free drinks, lunch (four longches for me for $5), free soup, and a free cut up cinnamon roll for dessert.  When we went back to the pharmacy, our pile was waiting - Carol's 4th item, Kara's 2 items and the things we needed.

We made our way through the vendors and across the bridge to Customs.  We claimed our items (less than 3 months' supply) and headed to the car.  We came home after being gone 6 hours!  It was close to dinner time but we weren't hungry!

On Saturday we returned to BB&B for Eileen to return something and I decided to buy the cloth Christmas napkins I had passed on.  I actually got two sets, 8 of the ones I wanted 12 of (but there were no longer 12) and 16 of another to cover a bigger crowd when necessary.  I also bought two copper grilling mats for Ted.  Eileen has a plethora of coupons and with them and the 70% after Christmas discounts I saved almost $75!

Then we stopped at HEB because I was buying that birthday gift inside their boutique.  Only another Texan will think nothing of that!  Eileen wanted to stop at Bath & Body Works too.  We finally made it home and I had only 5 minutes to get to my Instant Pot cooking class.  After class I had a bit of time before going to church.  We learned poor Nacho the llama passed away this summer.  He has been replaced by Philomena.  She played the part of the camel who came with the Magi in the gospel presentation. She even knelt at the part where it says they "prostrated themselves before the child." Her only problem now is she is scared to death of the dogs. They had to all be cleared out of church so she wouldn't be swinging from a ceiling fan if she saw one! 

We had dinner at Longhorn Steakhouse before coming home.  I left my phone in Tom's car but I called it using Ted's phone and they turned right around and brought it back!  

Sunday was an open house here in the Village.  I promised Kathy I would gladly show the coach house for her.  There was moderate attendance but everyone commented this coach house was one of the best ones they had seen.  A real interested party would certainly consider it.  I hope she receives some calls!  She did note on the handout that the property was rented until 4/1/18 which we appreciated.  Don't want our spot pulled out from us!

Ted had gone to Coyote Shooting Range with 6 other fellows to shoot Sporting Clays.  He was really hungry when he returned and suggested we use our Cracker Barrel gift card and bake the meatloaf on Monday! 

Well here it is Thursday and I have lost three days!  There was ladies lunch on Monday when I drove Judy and Tanya to the restaurant.  I played Mahjong on Tuesday after mailing our packages off and attended my Sunflower stained glass patio table class on Wednesday.  I finally was able to sit down next door with Marilyn and have a nice chat.  Then we went to Bar B Cuties for dinner with Tom and Eileen.  

Such is life in the valley!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Alone Again

The house seemed so empty on Saturday morning so I said "good morning" to Alexa and she answered me.  On Christmas she sang but that day she just greeted me.

Ted was going shooting and I needed to get things ready for loading the RV on Sunday.  But first I put all my appliances to work.  Roomba vacuumed the whole house, the dishwasher was doing the dishes and the washer was doing our bedclothes so we would come home to a clean bed when we returned. I was gathering all the paperwork and financial stuff I would need.  I will still need to do the Communucations for bunco, neighborhood ladies luncheon and the nursing home Valentine's party while gone.

Next up were my clothes.  With this crazy weather I needed to cover all the bases.  Too many years I had warm or cool clothes, this year I have both!

We went to church and then out to dinner with Terry and Carol before heading home. On Sunday Ted left to pull the trailer to the campground while I started packing the food.  When he called I filled my car and took all the pantry, refrigerator and freezer items over.  Then we went back for the clothes.  I stayed inside the trailer while Ted handed things to me so I didn't have to go up and down the steps and start my back acting up again.  It was doing pretty good and I wanted to keep it that way.

In the afternoon our next door neighbor drove over to see the RV.  He is from Israel and was curious.  He proclaimed it a land yacht and seemed to be very impressed.  We had a nice visit with him before he left with the promise to put our garbage cans out this week.  We both have remote openers so we can get into and out of the garages for that reason.  

We were tired and hungry by then but I was in no mood to get cleaned up so we had our New Year's Eve dinner in McDonald's attached to the Shell gas station.  With the bright lights inside and the empty restaurant and dark night outside, I told Ted I felt like a character in the Boulevard of Broken Dreams painting.  We came home, turned the fireplace and furnace on and spent a quiet evening.  I went to bed at 11.  I was awakened by fireworks at midnight but just turned over and went back to sleep.

We pulled out a little before 9:00 and drove to Mission, arriving about 3:30.  To save Ted a half hour of jockeying the trailer back and forth, Niles, a semi truck driver, put it in with no trouble.  Palm trees and planters and a 90 degree angle can be a real nemesis for some!  Niles would rather just do it than direct Ted.  

It was bitter cold and I wanted to get inside.  The electric cord was in my car so was pliable but the hoses were not!  I had to go out and hold ends while Ted got them connected.  It wasn't long and we were settled.  Tom and Eileen, our neighbors from the last time we lived in Florida, arrived next door the day before,  so we picked them up and took them to LaPatio where we enjoyed dinner and the GA/OK game.  What a nail biter end!

It was a quiet night and we were comfy and warm when we went off to bed.

Tuesday Ted attended the rifle meeting and I went to get my nails done.  In the afternoon, Sandy and Rusty came over for a visit.  It was cold and rainy so we just hunkered down inside.  

Wednesday Ted attended a presentation on what to do if you witness a gunshot and need to render aid.  He even received a certificate.  I straightened up, got dressed and went next door to play Mah Jongg.  I had put our Christmas dinner ham in the crockpot with great northern beans and that's what we were having for dinner along with cornbread.  But first I was invited next door to visit with my two neighbors to our right.  Ted chose to go to the left and and visit Marilyn and Ed.  With the lousy cold, wet weather, we haven't said hello to too many people yet.  But we had sun today and mid-40s so those suffering cabin fever started coming out.

After our tasty dinner we watched Amazing Race and then what the kids call "Daddy's dead people shows."  We were hoping the predicted weather improvement was really coming.

Thursday dawned sunny and warmer.  It was a vast improvement over the past two weeks.  Mimi and I picked up Coco and Dale to meet the group for breakfast.  There were about a dozen ladies present and I know them all.  It was a great time catching up.  

When I returned home I called Eileen to see if they wanted to run errands with us.  We stopped for gas and then hit Bed, Bath and Beyond to exchange a present, buy new salt & pepper shakers since I broke mine that match my new dishes.  Our can opener wasn't working right so we bought a new one and replaced a rug in the RV kitchen.  Next we deposited a check at Wells Fargo.  Then we went home and played a game of Mexican Train at the table outside.  

When they left for home we came in and had leftovers for dinner.  Another great day in the valley! 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas 2017

Christmas Eve found us still wrapping presents and making sure we had everything we needed for Christmas dinner the next day.  About 4:00 we took off for Olive Garden where we had an alcove table all to ourselves which was nice.  They served Bidkar regular spaghetti instead of gluten free pasta so he ended up needing to take his replacement dinner with him to have after church.

Because the earliest Mass was held in church, the gym and the fellowship hall, over 3000 people were able to attend.  So our 6:30 service filled the church but was not a crushing SRO crowd. The new parking lot provided enough additional parking so even that was not a problem.  Fr. Tom's sermon was so inspiring he received a round of applause.  

We arrived back home to a monument of gifts and it took to the wee hours of the morning to finish opening them all.  

Larry with his Aloha shirt for our Hawaii Christmas trip next year.

Ted with a bucket of bullets.

Ally and her Apple Watch.

Larry and a new camera.

The best mess ever made is the one created by Christmas wrappings being undone.

 I received a Roomba, Echo, hand mixer (my girls said my old one sucked!), a new Waterpik, and NuWave induction burner for the RV and pans to use with it.  

A new packable down jacket will come in handy for plane trips up north when a bulky winter coat is hard to deal with.  It folds up to a very small package.

It was a fun time for all.

Despite the late bedtime, we were up early to start preparing things for our Christmas dinner.  First up was three pies and Kristin did the mixing while I did the crust and fluting.  Our menu was ham, sweet potatoes, scalloped potatoes, carrots, corn, fruit salad and rolls to go with all that pie.

Gerre and Barry arrived and we had dinner shortly after with everyone sitting around the table until late evening. When they left most everyone went for a walk but my back was acting up and I wasn't much use to anyone so I ended up on the couch with my ice pack.  

I woke up with a terrible headache with my back still giving me fits so I gave in and took the first Tylenol 3 the doctor prescribed after my surgery.  It did the trick for my head and dulled my back.  My best Christmas gift was still to come.  The grandchildren left for home in the morning so Kristin, Larry, Kelly and Pat left for the container store to buy pull out baskets and shelves for three of my kitchen cabinets.  I simply cannot get down to reach the back so I can only use the very front.  And keeping them neat has been next to impossible.  Pat installed them while Larry cleaned and replaced everything.  Now I can pull them out, get what I need and put things back neatly!  In my book this gift is way better than any perfume, jewelry, nightie, etc. you can buy!    

While they were gone, I very gingerly put away the Christmas dishes in the bookcase bottom cabinet.  In the back I found VCR tapes of our first Ruhe Reunion in 2001, a tape of Ted I made for his 60th birthday from a baby until we moved to Texas, Kelly and Pat's wedding video and a tape of grandson Sam as a baby from 2000.  We are going to have them made into DVDs because VCRs are no longer in use.  We have one in our bedroom still but it wasn't hooked up.  Pat fixed that so we could be sure of what we had.  Another priceless gift!

I had a follow up appointment with the GYN on Wednesday and he said he removed a row of polyps from the "floor" of my uterus and everything removed was benign.  What a way to end the year!  Kelly and Pat left for Dallas and Kristin, Larry and Maureen went to the mall.  I very gingerly (again) started gathering up decorations and put them in boxes and bins.  I couldn't get into the guest closets to put things on the shelves nor gather the things that need to come out and be put back due to the luggage and things in there from our company.  That had to wait.

Thursday we took down the decorations, did laundry, cleaned (love my Roomba) and had pot roast for dinner.  Terry and Carol came over to visit after returning from Chicago.  The kids packed their clothes for their flight home on Friday. 

Larry hit the ground running Friday.  He scrubbed everything in sight whether it needed it or not!  By the time we left for lunch at Spring Creek BBQ the bedclothes were laundered and back on the beds, the house cleaned and the bathroom they used was just this side of sterile.  Plus all Christmas decorations were down and stored!  

We went right to the airport from the restaurant and they arrived in plenty of time.  I received a text when they landed so all is well.

And Christmas 2017 is a wrap!  


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Final Stretch

 Ted went shooting and I enjoyed my coffee Sunday morning.  I had lots of time before heading to the shower to dress for a late lunch with John and Irene.  Ted had gone shooting early so he would be back in time to dress for lunch too.  

We were meeting at Cheesecake Factory that doesn't take reservations but they arrived before us and it wasn't too long before we had a table.  We were celebrating Irene's birthday and Christmas.  Despite the crowds we were not rushed and had a delicious and leisurely lunch.  

From there we drove to Gerre and Barry's to deliver two toys for their church project and drop off Gerre's gift.  We had a really nice visit and we encouraged them to stop by Christmas Day for dinner after their son left. They are planning to visit us in Mission in February as are John and Irene as well as Tommy and Susan.  We are looking forward to all the company!

My bunco group's Christmas lunch was on Monday.  I am proud to say the ladies filled the back of my Expedition with groceries for the food pantry.  

Mary's table was exquisitely set in gold and green and her food was terrific.  Afterwards we played a game to distribute gifts.  Lots of passing right and left, stealing and unwrapping involved!  I ended up with the softest throw that matches our new RV furniture.  I used it that night and it is so soft and warm.

I had my cardiologist appointment on Tuesday.  We got the best news!  Dr. D said the most recent Dopplar shows the DVT is GONE!  The "old clot" Dr. P referred to, she said is in a surface vein and is more of a phlebitis situation but nothing to be concerned about with the Eliquis.  She also agreed the filter should come out.  Since it can't be done until some time in January, we all agreed it is okay to leave it until March when we return near the end of March. A new lease on life!  I will continue with Eliquis since no cause was determined for why I developed a DVT in the first place.   

We were expecting our granddaughter and her husband late that night but they had stopped overnight in Ohio so we went to bed figuring everyone would arrive on Wednesday.  When I got up in the morning I had a text that they were in our driveway sleeping!  They had arrived at 5:45 but didn't want to wake us.  The garage door going up woke them up and I hustled them right off to bed.

Kelly, Pat and Cassie arrived mid afternoon having spent two nights on the road.  They all unloaded more presents around the Christmas chairs and we still have 3 more people arriving Saturday!

 I made taco soup for dinner, with and without meat, both gluten free.  I had also made gluten free corn muffins and I think all were eaten.  For the rest of us I served crusty French bread.  With toppings of sour cream, shredded cheese and tortilla chips, everyone enjoyed the soup.  I broke out my Christmas butter cookies (taste way better than they look) and Blue Bell peppermint ice cream for dessert.  

Everyone was tired so it wasn't a very late night.  Cassie chose to stay with us in the twin bedroom rather than listen to her father snore in the hotel room.  

Thursday was a lazy day.  Everyone was tired from the long road trip and slept very late.  We decided to play Mexican Train, have dinner and then go see some lights.  

I fixed an easy dinner - two meat loaves from the freezer, baked potatoes, green beans and salad.  After loading the dishwasher we took off and checked out what are advertised as the best lights in our area.  It was late when we returned.  Kelly and Pat returned to the Hyatt and eventually everyone else drifted off to bed.  Just one more day until the next three arrive!

Everyone has been pretty low key since arriving.  They sleep in very late, have a little breakfast and then take their time getting dressed.  I had suggested taking the trolley ride and visiting the dancing water fountains but it never happened.  Kelly made three different kinds of cookies and when she finished I produced another meal - Roast pork loin, wild rice, fried apples, mixed vegetables and salad. Bidkar opted for the black bean tamales.  When we were finished the kids figured out how to get their wedding pictures from the photographer's website to our TV.  We saw all of them up to the ceremony before it all froze.  The TV was not responding to any remote command and we couldn't even turn it off.  Ted and Pat finally unplugged it and all was good but so much for the rest of the pictures.  I finally went off to bed around 11 but everyone else was still up.

Saturday the three from Florida arrived and our current guests moved on to other accommodations since this new group had planned their visit here first.  Once everyone was settled we all headed to church and afterwards had pizza for dinner!  Yeah!  No cooking for me.

Afterwards, Cassie opened her gifts because she was leaving in the morning and then there was a mini village gingerbread house building extravaganza.  

Cassie won but the others managed to stay together at least.  

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Final Week Before the Onslaught

Sunday found us at church at 9 am again.  We are so used to Saturday evening church that getting up and dressing on Sunday is almost foreign to us.  The Knights of Columbus were selling tamales after church so we bought Bidkar 6 black bean vegan ones, also gluten free.  Cooking for a vegetarian, gluten free eater has me scouring grocery shelves and recipes on line.  

We hurried home afterwards so Ted could go shooting and return in time for a 2 pm open house here in our neighborhood.

Having been gone all day Saturday I had lots of straightening up to do and then made some crostini to take with us.  I also threw in a few lemon tarts too.  There was so much food we actually brought most of it home!  There was an interesting mix of people - some luncheon ladies, some old neighbors, some friends of theirs I didn't know.  It was a pleasant get together and we were home before dinner time.

Monday was Canasta day back at Kathleen's.  I took her a small gift since I was there twice in three days time.  I had decent cards but came in third, out of the money.  Another $1 lost!

My big day arrived Tuesday and we were at the hospital at 10.  About 10:40 I was taken back to get prepared.  At 11:15 I was taken to the operating room and was finished by noon.  Then I waited in the recovery room/discharge area until 3:45!!  I was fully awake, had eaten a big glass of ice and drank a big cup of water.  They asked if I could use the bathroom.  No problem!  I got dressed, Ted got the car and home we came.  He fixed me soup and a sandwich before I plopped on the couch and stayed there.

Wednesday Ted went on some errands for me while I dealt with Christmas cards and stacks of paper on my desk.  By the time he came home I had the cards ready to mail and my stack of paper depleted.  Great feeling.  Then we went to the grocery one more time.  I think we will need to go at least once more.  I had to clean the pantry and refrigerator to be sure everything would fit.  He fixed dinner and we watched Survivor plus other shows.

Our neighborhood ladies lunch and party was Thursday.  Dana drove me and Merry to the restaurant.  It is a higher end one in our area but for Christmas we go a bit better than normal.  After lunch we went to Jeanette's for drinks and dessert.  Then we had a gift exchange.  Half way through, Isabelle set off our alarm and I got a call.  I had to walk home to get things squared away with ADT.  Ted was due home at 3:00 but she came at 2:45.  Always something!

Friday was all mine!  I didn't even get dressed.  I did four loads of laundry, finished wrapping presents, wrote out a few more Christmas cards I had missed AND made one of the three reservations we need for condos in Hawaii next Christmas!  Kara's family and we know what our plans are on the Big Island and Oahu so we felt confident in choosing the two King bedroom and one twin bedroom townhouse.  When the others get around to choosing their dates, I will make the rest but not until then.  I hope what they want is still available.  Dealing with this family can be like herding cats at times!  

Saturday after church Terry and Carol took us to Landry's for dinner since they are leaving for Chicago on Wednesday.  We exchanged gifts and had a great meal and visit.  It was raining really hard when we left and all the umbrellas were in the car!

Here are a few photos from the nursing home Christmas party that just now were posted on the Forum website.

Three of our eight helpers preparing balloons that are tied to residents' wheelchairs.

Gail, my co-chair, and I.

Jim, the former organist for the Astros who now plays at our church too.  He did an awesome job!