Wednesday, April 16, 2014

One Day From Home

We had a terrific week in Ingram with our Hitchhiker friends.  We had coffee in the morning, games in the afternoon, Happy Hours at night, shared meals, karaoke in the evening and lots of visiting going on.  

We ladies all went shopping Saturday and had lunch overlooking the Guadalupe River.  At 5:00 we went to church and returned in time for the fish fry put on by the campground.  So we ate fish two days in a row.  Sunday was the drive to Cooper's BBQ.  We picked up Dulce and Berndt and our timing was perfect as we pulled into the turn lane in Llano right behind the rest of the folks.  We did a better job of not letting our eyes be bigger than our bellies.  We chose one pork chop, a 5 rib piece and three slices of brisket.  I ate half the chop and one rib.  Ted ate the other half,  four ribs and one slice of brisket.  We brought the other two pieces home.

Back at Buckhorn, Dulce went over my Schedule E and K-1s.  We decided it would be best to file an extension to give me time to be sure I got it filled out correctly.  So that's what I did.  We don't owe, so it was easy and I hopefully will get it done before we leave again.  If not, I have until October.

Monday we did our prep work for leaving, I made green beans and a pot of sauerkraut and sausage for the potluck and then won a game of Jokers and Marbles against some very good players.  I hadn't played since 2009 in Idaho where I didn't do well at all.

We had a great dinner, so much food!  Afterwards we had a white elephant gift grab.  We bought a BBQ set in its own case.  I picked a bag containing a half gallon of Canadian Whiskey.  Since I have liquor left from Kara's first wedding in 1992, I will take it to the wedding next week where it will be gone in no  time.

Driving Donna to Brenham and College Station, traveling to Llano and our trips out and back to Ingram gave us terrific views of the wildflowers that were awesome this year.  The Indian paintbrushes were very evident as well as primrose.  I was unable to identify the white flowers that looked like a small poppy and the yellow daisy type.  Need to get my Texas Wildflower book out!  There were fields and fields of bluebonnets especially between Austin and Brenham.

We are close to home and Ted washed the RV today.  I went to the doctor and had my stitches removed.  I also got the official word that it was a benign cyst.  Ted has his annual endoscopy tomorrow in the afternoon.  We will be leaving here early enough to get the rig parked and to the doctor on time.

Tonight we are having burgers with Tommy and Susan.  They have been here since March 1 and are staying until May 1.  They spend two months here three times a year.  We like when they are closer to us so we can spend time with them instead of "meeting in the middle."

Hopefully the landscaper will show up Friday as promised.  We purchased a new Lazy Boy double recliner loveseat and it is supposed to come Saturday.  I have a hard time getting things done at home so I pray these two things actually happen! 

"Blessed is he who expects nothing for he shall never be disappointed."  ~ Alexander Pope

Friday, April 11, 2014

In the Texas Hill Country

Sunday I was still a bit under the weather but muddled through getting ready to head out again.  We had received an invitation from Grand Circle Tours to a breakfast at the Marriott in Westchase so Monday we headed there.  It was held in a ballroom with a full breakfast served, games played, prizes awarded and new trips discussed.  There are a few changes for next year - excursion tipping included, transfers available if you do your own air, etc.  We met some nice folks and enjoyed discussing all the tours we have all taken.

We had shopping and packing to do when we returned home so we would be ready Tuesday morning to depart early.  Our drive to Ingram outside of Kerrville was uneventful.  We made one pit stop but that was all.  We traveled route 21 through Bastrop and the burned areas from the wild fires a few years ago are still very much in evidence.  I imagine it will take decades for the regrowth.  That had been the prettiest strip in Texas to drive through.

We are here with 23 HitchHiker units, one Cameo and our Mobile Suites.  If we are to remain with the group a by-law change needs to be made.  It was discussed at the annual meeting but with the two SOBs (some other brand) in the room not a lot was said.  One lady who runs the Snowbird club said they opened their club up to anyone sponsored by a Snowbird owner once Nu-Wa stopped making Snowbirds.  She warned them if they didn't grandfather previous owners or accept sponsored folks they would cease to exist by attrition since HitchHiker is out of production.  We enjoy seeing these folks when it is convenient with our schedule but it certainly isn't our end all or be all in RVing.  Whatever they decide will not impact us much.  We are still members of Texas Boomers and have a standing invitation to join the Dallas HitchHikers who accept SOBs.  That gives us the right to attend any gathering featured on the Forum.  I think it is a moot point.  Then there are always Mobile Suite groups.  We were invited to a luncheon when in Mission but we were leaving for Florida and unable to attend.

While here there are coffee get togethers in the morning, exercise class, games in the afternoon, Happy Hour and sometimes dinner planned.  A dozen of us went to dinner at a Mexican restaurant one night, we had a group cookout another.  Last night we ate in.  There is a group going to Fredericksburg to a German restaurant tonight but it is Friday in Lent and we are going to pass.  There is a catered fish fry tomorrow night!  Just our luck.

Today we were going to Buckhorn to visit Dulce and Berdt from our Mission park.  They are here until after tax season.  Usually they go to California but are coming to Michigan in July when we are all getting together so they may have different plans this year.  She is going to help me with our five K-1s received this year for our taxes.  I will need to finish our return and file it electronically the day we get home!  Everything is done but this section.  However, she has a $1million return she needs to go over so we moved it to Sunday.

We will only be home a week before we take off to Ohio for a family wedding.  We have plans to see some folks along the way.  We hope to visit Calloway Gardens and the WWII museum in New Orleans as we make our way home once again.  


“A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.”

 Lao Tzu 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Errands and Doctors

Monday afternoon I did lots of laundry that had piled up during my gallivanting.  I remember doing laundry everyday when all three girls were home and even more on weekends.  It just never ends.  But at least I don't have to beat it against a rock in the river.

Our last Senior Bingo Lunch was Tuesday so I was up and out early.  It was entirely catered so I didn't have to make something but I did take two bingo prizes.  I always watch to see how quickly they go so I know if I am on the right track with what I purchase to bring.  My two were gone right away so I am still doing well in my selections.  When I haven't bought something specific, Tide, coffee and stamps are always popular.  This put me at 46.5 hours and I am scheduled for four hours at the Thrift Shop which gets me past 50 (barely!).  It all starts over in June.

First thing Wednesday morning I got the leaf, pads and tablecloth out for the dining room table.  We were having Terry, Carol and their five visitors for dinner.  Before Ted got up and would have helped me get the table together I received a call from Terry that the stomach bug had hit and dinner was out.  We were sorry to miss their family but I didn't want to get sick either.  I put everything back in the pantry and the refrigerated things into the freezer.  I will use it all sometime.

Ted and I were out several times this week doing some sort of errand each day.  Bank, pharmacy, post office, grocery, Sam's, etc.  Errands pile up too.

The next day I visited my doctor for my six month bloodwork to be sure the medicine I am taking for my cholersterol is working and not causing any side effects.  Liver enzymes are important to watch.  He checked me over and said he would call in a few days with my numbers.

That afternoon I had another appointment with the dermatologist about a lump on my scalp.  He said it was probably a cyst but should be removed so we made an appointment for the next day.  I never gave much thought to the quickness of this scheduled procedure.  On Friday we returned and my scalp was numbed and a cyst that was pure white and looked like a small tooth was removed.  That's when he said he was relieved because so many scalp things turn out to be metastized!!!  I am glad he waited until all was OK before mentioning that.  Now I have stitches that will be removed when we return from Kerrville.  So I am waiting for pathology reports from two doctors.  Getting old isn't for the faint of heart.

I spent Saturday at home taking antibiotics and Tylenol but we did go to Mass at 5:00.  We decided to try the new Golden Corral for dinner.  At buffets I try to choose a dinner - salad, meat, vegetable, starch and a dessert and not over eat.  I have noticed portions are smaller so those that want to try many things don't waste so much.  I did opt for two desserts - a tiny strawberry pie that was very good and cotton candy!  It was just me and the kids hanging out waiting for the pink fluffy stuff to be twirled on the paper cone.  I can't remember the last time I had one.  

Young love is like cotton candy, it is always sweet yet easily dissolves and fades away.

Monday, March 31, 2014

A 64 Year Long Friendship

I picked up Donna at the airport late Thursday afternoon.  We came home to a nice dinner prepared by me and Ted.  I had done my preparation beforehand so things were ready quickly.  We had a nice evening of visiting before retiring for the night.

Since it is bluebonnet season, on Friday we chose to ride to Brenham to see how well the wildflowers were doing and to also visit the Blue Bell ice cream factory.  You can certainly tell spring break is in full swing by the crowds gathered at the visitor's center.  After checking tour times we had lunch at Volare's Italian restaurant and then returned for our tour.

Donna has been in food sales, mostly spices and oil for restaurants, so she was interested in the manufacturing process.  We all were interested in the free ice cream!  After we had finished our choice of flavors they came around with their newest flavor  - Butterfinger, my favorite candy bar.  I just had to help them with their market research.

There weren't as many flowers out as I had hoped for but that is probably due to the colder temps we have been having for the past six months.  When we came home we fixed a pizza and watched Saving Mr. Banks.  It was a very good movie and had a very interesting story line, not what we expected.

I decided we would stay around the area on Saturday so after a big breakfast we took the boat ride on the waterway to see the beautiful buildings, sculptures and landscaping mixed with lots of restaurants.  We shopped a bit before heading home to go to church.  Afterwards we had dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant.  Terry and Carol joined us and we all enjoyed the evening.  After dinner we traded cars so they have my 8 seater while their family is here and I will use their 5 seater.

I had emailed information on several area things worth seeing to Donna and she chose to visit the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station.  We stopped in Navasota at Martha's Bloomers Cafe for lunch before continuing on.  The library was interesting to me just as the Johnson Ranch and the Truman library were.  The bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes were plentiful and many cars were parked alongside the road for picture taking.

Ted was busy grilling steaks and baking potatoes for our dinner.  We had another nice dinner before we all collapsed on our respective sofas and chairs to watch Amazing Race and the Good Wife.  We were all very tired.

Today I took Donna to the Cheesecake Factory to meet a former fellow employee for lunch.  I declined to join them knowing they had business to discuss.  That gave me time to fuel up the car, grocery shop, empty the dishwasher and remake the bed when the dryer stopped.  When she called, the timing was such that I could pick her up and deliver her right to the airport.

It was a whirlwind weekend but we both enjoyed it immensely!  We aren't friends for all those years for nothing.
"Friendship isn't a big thing - it's a million little things." ~Author Unknown

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Still Not Getting Any Warmer

Some landscapers are saying to wait a bit before replanting because this cold stuff still may not be over.   I need to figure out how to get our RV to Hawaii next year.  Anyone know of a bridge?  Enough is enough!

We went to church on Sunday since we were out on Saturday.  Tommy had told Warren not to get on top of his RV for any reason because God would strike him down since we put visiting him first before going to church.  I thought that was pretty funny.  We went at 9:00 and there were kids galore.  We had to sit in a different spot than usual and the acoustics were bad.  Add the noisy little darlings and we remembered why we prefer a different time.

Ted went shooting and if I did anything Sunday and Monday it was so uninteresting I don't even remember.  But Tuesday I was back at the thrift shop doing my four hours of work.  Ted was cleaning the deck furniture of all the yellow pollen when I got home.  It is in a thick layer all over everything.  I feel sorry  for those with allergies.  Luckily, neither of us is bothered.

I had my hair cut and went to the grocery store afterwards on Wednesday.  Ted does most of the shopping and I experience sticker shock when I do go.  I don't know how people are feeding their families.  The full baskets I used to buy each week when the kids were home have to be a king's ransom now.  I went to Happy Hour at 5:00 and we all stayed a long time.  There was a good group and we just lost track of time.

This morning I took Pat, who works with me at the funeral lunches at church, to my volunteer organization's Information Coffee.  There was a large group of ladies looking to join and I am happy to report Pat filled out her paperwork and paid her dues right away.  I hope she enjoys this group as much as I do.  Time will tell.

I am leaving now for the airport to pick up Donna who will be visiting until Monday.  I just hope the weather improves!

"Don't knock the weather.  If it didn't change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn't start a conversation."  ~ Kim Hubbard

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Still Cold Out!

Usually by March 1 our grass has greened up, the azaleas and dogwoods are blooming and we wait to see that first bluebonnet of the season.  So far, only the bluebonnets are co operating.  With the big freeze that covered everything in ice two days before we arrived home, 3/4s of our planted area out front was decimated.  Also, a big branch of one of the live oaks broke and is just hanging there, way up high.  So I spent last week meeting with landscapers to once again get the area replanted and the trees trimmed.  We have made our choice but they are all so busy it may be as long as 2.5 weeks before it gets done.

I worked for the first time since December for my volunteer group on Tuesday.  I am at 43 hours and will end the year at 50.5, closest I have ever cut it.  I attended a meeting Friday and now have 3 of my 4 meetings in and all four events of my committee work completed.  There is an information coffee on Thursday so I will accompany the lady I am sponsoring.  Both of my other recruits are happily engaged in their work and I hope Pat joins too.  

Friday was Inherit The Wind at the theater where we have our season tickets.  They did a fabulous job with so much dialogue to memorize.  It just flew by, that's how good it was.  Next up will be Gypsy in May.  We met Gerre, Barry, Sherida and John for dinner beforehand.  Two other friends were there and the gentlemen volunteered to sit in as part of the jury.  There were already so many in the cast I guess they thought this would be a good way to fill those chairs.

We spent Saturday at the campground visiting.  Warren and Judy have their new Mobile Suites so first stop was to see it.  We picked ours up in December; they got theirs from the same place in January.  Because they live in theirs full time, it is a few feet longer than ours but very similar inside.  We really enjoyed the visit.  Afterwards we went for burgers and Susan's sister Karen joined us and then came back to the campground.  It was a beautiful night and we stayed way late just talking and having a good time.

I have company coming on Thursday and have been busy planning our time.  It will be a short visit but I want to use our time wisely.  Planning ahead always helps in accomplishing things.

Here is a picture of Mary Rose.  I think she appears much bigger than her 3 lbs., 1 oz.  but  Kristin said her foot is the size of Kristin's thumb.  She isn't hooked up to very much and that is a good sign.

It’s the little things that make life worth living,
It’s the little things that help us make it through.
I never knew how true those words were,
Until I first set my eyes on you.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Rest in Peace, Amy

Kristin's sister-in-law will be laid to rest in New York tomorrow after viewings today and tomorrow morning.  She and Larry flew up yesterday to be there.

Mary Rose continues to do well.  All your prayers, concerns and outpouring of sympathy is greatly appreciated.  There is just so much sorrow when death comes to someone so young under these sudden circumstances.  Hug your loved ones a little tighter today.

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Tragedy

Our Friday night was spent with Gerre and Barry. They took us to dinner at the Catfish Place because we have Tucker again this week and they wanted to treat us. It was good catching up.

I received a phone call from Kristin early Saturday morning.  I knew something was the matter when the call came on Ted's phone.  It meant she called me, I didn't answer so she was trying her Dad's phone.  She needed to reach us, it was not a casual call this early on a Saturday.

Larry's brother Peter and his pregnant wife Amy had been at the wedding three weeks before.  She was about 26-27 weeks along.  At 2 am she had a seizure, fell in the bathroom and was rushed to the hospital where she had another seizure and died.  They did an emergency C-section and Mary Rose was born.  She is in the NICU.

Our families are devastated that this lovely girl, the picture of health, was taken so unexpectedly from us.  Please keep them all in your prayers.  There is a long road ahead for Peter and his baby daughter.

I feel bad for Kristin and Larry who should be pouring over photos and videos, writing thank you notes and combining their belongings into one home.  Instead they are barely going through the motions of daily life.  They could use your prayers too.

We went to church Saturday night and came right home.  Our hearts were too heavy to do anything else.  Ted did shoot on Sunday and we met our Dining Out group at 6 pm and were home about 7:10. It is hard to be good company under the circumstances.

Today seemed like ages since Saturday, not just two days.  I went to my bunco group and it helped talking to other women who were so sympathetic.  The funeral will be next Saturday in New York with burial on Sunday.  Of course Larry, Kristin and his sister are flying up.

Rest in peace, Amy.  Your daughter needs a guardian angel in you.

Treat everyone like it is the last time you are going to see them.  One day it will be.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Back Home

Friday night the four of us drove to meet Tommy and Susan for dinner at Sweet Tomatoes.  I am so used to fish and pasta on meatless Fridays I forgot about salad, soup, baked potatoes, pasta, etc. available there.  It was great fun seeing them.  Of course thoughtful Tommy had pulled our photo off my email and made 5 x 7 copies for us, the kids and my Dad.  Trying to pay him is impossible but I hope he knows how much I appreciate what he does for us.  They are such great friends as are Jay and Stella.  If in an emergency I needed someone to pull our trailer somewhere, Jay would be my first call.

We were up early Saturday, buttoned her up, said goodbye to Jay and Stella and headed for the storage lot.  We were home before noon.  Chris had already left and the house was in great shape.  I don't think he does much beyond sleeping here.  With his family 10 minutes away, he goes there for dinner.  My friend Donna is coming so I will make sure all is good in that area of the house for her arrival.

We went to church at 5:00 and then to Kathleen's to play Shanghai.  Ted won at his table but I spent most of the evening picking up cards off the floor.  Until you "go down" you have a lot of cards to hold on to and I wasn't doing it very well for some reason!

I got caught up on laundry Sunday while finishing up putting things away and doing a few "paperwork" things like renewing our passports.  We needed them in Mexico but they expire in August when we are leaving for Bucharest.  This is our fourth 10 year renewal and very possibly our last.  I'm not sure we will still be globetrotting at 80!

I did as much as I could on our taxes but need to take two K-1s to our accountant friend while we are in Kerrville.  These energy company investments are good but are a pain at tax time.  Dulce will work her magic and get the forms completed that I need.

Monday afternoon I played Canasta at Cathy's.  My cards were okay but left me in the middle of the pack.  It is a $1 game so not a big deal.  Just seeing everyone is so enjoyable.

Ted met Steve to shoot on Tuesday while I dropped off some medical records, took a package to the post office and stopped to get something for dinner at the grocery.  When we both got back home Ted wanted to go to the Mexican restaurant and I wasn't about to say no.  We will fix on Thursday what I bought for Tuesday!

We can't eat it on Wednesday because it was couple's card night at the country club which includes a buffet dinner.  What a good time seeing a whole different group of folks.  Once again Ted won at his table and I had the worse score ever!  I think I got down only two of the six games.  Both men won at our table shutting out the women.  At least I didn't drop my cards on the floor!  Ted is keeping my change purse filled with dimes for me.  

Today is our neighborhood ladies luncheon.  It is my month to choose the restaurant so I have to be at the restaurant a little earlier to greet everyone.  Ted joined the fellows at PF Chang's yesterday for their monthly get together.  It is important to stay in touch with your neighbors.

Our weekend is open now until Dining Out on Sunday night.  We are going to the newest BBQ place with the group.  It has been here a couple years now but I have never gone.  If there's something Texas has lots of it is BBQ and Mexican restaurants.  Don't ever look for meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans except maybe at Luby's cafeteria!

I have to mention the kindness and generosity of my friends here at home.  Several of them sent beautiful cards, messages and gifts to Larry and Kristin even though some have never met them.  Had the wedding been here the guest list would have been different but I was not comfortable inviting folks to a wedding 1000 miles away for a couple they didn't know.  But that didn't stop our very best friends here from honoring them on their big day.

We sincerely thank you for your love and support.  We couldn't be more blessed having friends like you in our lives and sharing in this beautiful time in our lives.  

Friday, March 7, 2014

Minutes from Home

We left Florida Tuesday morning with cool temperatures and a little misting.  We never did experience rainfall, just heavy humidity.  We drove to Holt, FL and stopped at a campground we have been to before.  It was too damp and cold to grill burgers so I made Sloppy Joes instead. We didn't even unhook.

The next day we reached Breaux Bridge a little after 1:00 and decided to continue on.  We found a "new to us" campground in Sulphur, Louisiana that was really nice.  We would definitely stay there again.  It was Ash Wednesday and I didn't have much to choose from in the way of meatless meals.  We also needed fuel so we unhooked and went to Richard's Seafood on the manager's recommendation.  I had grilled catfish and Ted had shrimp.  It tasted pretty good after the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we had for lunch!  I get a kick out of the 2-3 lb. platters of crawfish ordered in these Louisiana restaurants along with a metal bucket for shells.  Ted calls them red roaches on steroids.  I find them ok but too much work for a tiny piece of meat.  There were four such orders at the next table and they were all digging in.  It remained chilly so after fueling up we headed home to our recliners, fireplace and TV.  

The next morning we took off on our final leg.  We are at a KOA not real close to home but close enough to get my car so we can empty the trailer with one more trip after that initial one.  On our way Thursday we started getting a whistle and couldn't figure where it was coming from.  It didn't seem to be bothering the truck's performance but it was annoying.  As we got almost to the campground we started smelling something.  When we stopped to register, Ted determined it was the passenger side front brake on the truck.  We aren't sure if a caliper hanging up caused the whistle or not but we got my car and dropped the truck off where Ted gets his work done.  He is having new calipers and brake shoes put on both front wheels.  The last thing you want is to get stuck with a 38 foot trailer and a bad tow vehicle situation.

Our friends Jay and Stella are here at the KOA too.  They are really far from home but it is the only place they could find with monthly space.  We visited before leaving to get my car and Stella invited us to share a crockpot of chili with them when we returned.  She had all the fixings for Frito pie, a Texas deliicacy, and it certainly tasted good.  I had a whole box of creme puffs I had bought to share for Margarita night in the valley and never used.  I took one of the bags from the box and let it thaw for our dessert to share.  Ted cut up an onion.  So much for our contribution.  We stayed into the evening talking and catching up.  I think we are having dinner tonight with Tommy and Susan who are at the campground we all couldn't get into.  But it is Friday and they will have to take that into consideration when choosing a place.  Mexican will be out.  Lent is only six weeks long but by no longer observing meatless Fridays all the time, it takes a bit of getting used to ... and then it is over for another year.

Here are a few more wedding photos sent to me.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Hitting the Road Tomorrow

After our last weekend in Florida, we are heading for home tomorrow.  We haven't been there since 12/26.  We plan to stop in Holt, FL and Breaux Bridge, LA before landing at a campground close to home so we can unload and clean up the trailer.  This new rig is tight as a drum when closed up.  We can reach the right side of the refrigerator and that's about it unless we run the slides out.  Our other ones gave us decent access to the bathroom and kitchen while closed up.  There are trade offs with everything.

Tom and Eileen came over Friday and we went back to Blue Spring.  After living in this area for 20 years they have never been to see the manatees.  

In the next photos look closely to see the baby manatee with its mother.  On the second one she is totally on her back.

We saw a good sized gator swimming in the spring but he was near the other bank and it wasn't possible to get a good shot.  While walking the boardwalk to the spring boil, we encountered this armadillo who was too busy rooting around to pay attention to us.  Most of the ones I see in Texas are road kill. 

Afterwards we went to a Mexican restaurant and then back to the campground.  It was ice cream social and bingo night so Eileen, Ted and I had a scoop of ice cream but only we wanted to stay for bingo so they headed home.  It is almost an hour and a half to their new home and it was already 7:30.  Anyway, we didn't win at bingo!

On Saturday we came to Kristin's to see them open the gifts and envelopes we had brought from the reception.  The lady who had looked at the house called and asked if she could bring her husband by.  She was at her friend's house down the street.  We waited two hours, her car was still there and we all just decided not to wait any longer.  How long can it take to finish a beer?

There was an 800 person half marathon starting at our park gates on Sunday morning.  And of course that was the day we had to be in Port Canaveral by 9:00.  We left at 6:30 and still had to dodge people, orange cones, and drive on the wrong side to get out of the area.  We stopped on I-95 and had breakfast and waited for a call that Karen and Ron had gotten off the ship.  It took three attempts to get where we needed to be which turned out to be through a garage, into their long term parking lot inside a fence.  Of course Karen's description of "we are near the back of the ship" when they were actually mid ship under the name, "we are in the black fenced area" when the entire port is surrounded by black fence and "we are in front of a parking garage" when there are two parking structures, didn't help.  When we finally located them we were told we couldn't load them there and we needed to go through the garage, pull a ticket, load them and leave.  No charge.  Whew!

We brought them back to our campground where our truck was and they left from here but not before we all attended church at 11 o'clock.  They were supposed to go to St. Augustine but decided not to and drove into Georgia heading home.  I think 80 degrees and sunny here sounds better than 14 and snow at home but that's just me!

Today we are battening down the hatches.  Ted checked tires and lug nuts and emptied tanks.  I did a load of laundry at Kristin's and we both got our passport photo taken.  We need to renew before our August trip.  One more thing to put together as soon as we get home.  

See y'all soon!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Our Last Week Here

This certainly has been a doozy of a winter.  It has been cold at home, cold in the Rio Grande Valley and cold in Central Florida.  There have been beautiful, sunny days too but not nearly as many as there usually are.  We are heading home next week to spring hopefully.  My friend Donna (of the 3 Donnas), is coming for a visit at the end of the month.  If the bluebonnets are on schedule that should be a delightful time.

Kelly and family, along with Pat's mother, came for a visit on Tuesday.  We rented a pontoon boat and plied the waters of the St. Johns River up to Blue Spring and back.  We were not allowed to dock at the Spring so didn't see any manatees but we did see three alligators, two sunning themselves and one swimming.  Ally and Kelly took these photos with their phones.

We took them to dinner before they headed back to Disney.  They go home to Michigan on Saturday.

Wednesday morning we headed to the SW coast of Florida to visit my dad and his wife Edna.  They were unable to attend the wedding due to health issues.  They both are frail, riding is uncomfortable and the demands of travel are too much for them.  

We arrived in the early afternoon and had a great visit that included dinner of Skyline chili and a nice salad.  We didn't stay late because they had been up all day with no siestas.  The cleaning people came early and we took up their whole afternoon.  But I know they love our visits and rested up the next day.

In honor of Kristin and Larry, my Dad rang this bell at 2 pm on Saturday.  He was definitely thinking of us all and terribly disappointed he couldn't do the reading from the book of Tobit.

We spent the night in an area motel.  We didn't want to cause used bathrooms and sheets for them to deal with.  Little things can be difficult when your hands and legs have a mind of their own.

We have friends there in Punta Gorda, Ave Maria and Lake Placid but we needed to get home to show the house this morning.  We just didn't have time to spend another night on the road and our route was nowhere near these places except for Faith and Herman in Punta Gorda who probably didn't want visitors at 9 am.

So we left under very cloudy skies, planning a stop at the Plant City Strawberry Festival to see the Redhead Express, the group we watched grow up while performing in the Rio Grande Valley.  LaRae had her baby boy earlier this month, Kendra is getting married next month and Meaghan still has her red cup named Ted for her cup song.  She gave Ted a shout out from the stage.  They sounded really good with a back up drummer and the best of equipment.  Check them out at

We are showing the house at 10 am to the friend of a neighbor who learned it was going up for sale at the garage sale.  Who knows?  Anything can happen.  Wish us luck.

Tom and Eileen are coming over today.  I would like to go see the Tiffany windows at Rollins College Chapel if that interests them.

Everyone, stay warm!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Terrific Wedding

Today is the day after!  After all the planning and preparations have played out, for good or bad.

The rehearsal was a hoot!  Instead of me "practicing" walking down the aisle and lighting the unity candle tapers, Fr. John said I knew how to do that and should "park it" in the first bench!  He just blew through it and I applaud the wedding party who knew what to do the next day except for Aunt Maureen.  More on that later.

Kristin with Sam, Morgan and Molly the Bear in her wedding attire after the rehearsal.

There were 65 people at Wildside BBQ in Orlando to begin the festivities after rehearsal.  Kristin ordered a Groom's cake for Larry that incorporated his trade of photography.

The camera looked so real but I was afraid to touch it to make sure.  It was icing over styrofoam.  The "film" along the bottom contained photos of Larry, his family and Kristin.  It was an excellent cake too flavored with Grand Marnier.  There was a second undecorated cake too because of the size of our group.

Saturday morning started off with the first drama of the day when I dropped my dangly diamond earring down the bathroom drain!  I was cleaning them for Kristin to wear.  The maintenance man wasn't answering his radio so the front desk gave me a pliers and phillip head screw driver!  Amazingly Ted got the trap off with the pliers and Bill (son in law to be in July) got the drain thing out and out dropped the earring.  By then the maintenance man arrived and he put it all back together.  Teamwork!

The make up and hair people started on everyone about 7:30.  I said I wanted to look like Liz Taylor and they reminded me she was dead.  So I told them to do whatever.  Once finished I returned to my hotel, dressed and returned with Ted for some early photos.  When it was time for church it was raining bucketsful.  The limo had to back into the valet area to load the wedding party.  We followed it and blew through three tolls because the limo had a SunPass and we didn't.  I may be in stripes soon but I refused to be late.

I prayed the whole way and the rain stopped for the day by the time we arrived.  My other son-in-law Patrick escorted me to light the candle.  We turned around and Aunt Maureen had not lit hers on the other side.  She asked if she should light hers and I nodded yes.  Instead of lighting the candle she was supposed to, she lit the taper Larry was to use and tried to stand it on top of the bigger candle.  When no one came to her rescue, I left my seat, helped her do it correctly and we both "parked it!"

Sam and Morgan starting off the processional.

The ceremony went well except Fr. John read a different gospel than the wedding coordinator had said he would so the program was wrong but no one except me seemed to notice.  There were tears of joy and lots of laughter and finally it was time to kiss the bride.

Granddaugter Ally, granddaughter Cassie, Sheetal, Kristin, Larry, Willie, grandson Sam and Larry's brother, Peter with granddaugter Morgan in the front.

I wasn't taking photos so what I am sharing are some sent to me by others.

It was past 3:30 when we were finished with the six photographers at the church, a result of Larry being a photographer!  Somewhere in there has to be a good photo of me!  This one was taken by my friend Eileen.  I like it!

We were both hungry and dinner was over four hours away so we drove to Steak and Shake.  I believe we were voted best dressed in the drive thru line.  We both got a shake since it was easy to drink and filled us up.  Then it was back to the hotel for more photos.  

A little before six we walked across the street to the Citrus Club to be there to greet the guests.

All those place cards Kristin and I worked on sitting in alphabetical order.  There was a photo booth that everyone seemed to enjoy.  Their photo strip fit into the acrylic frame that housed their place card,  a great idea!  My sister Laurie, Kara and I did a photo strip for Grandpa who was unable to attend.  He wanted so badly to read from the Book of Tobit but felt too frail to make the trip.

The table settings.  There were 17 tables in all, named instead of numbered with different words important to a successful marriage.  Ted and I were at the Friendship table.  The centerpieces were fresh flowers in water filled clear glass cylinders topped off with those elusive floating candles that spent a few days in Louisville during the last snow storm.  The gold boxes of chocolates were placed by the waitstaff on the napkins.

There was a cocktail hour with waitstaff passing hors deuvers followed by dinner, then dancing.

Our three daughters - Kelly, Kristin and Kara.

The wedding cake.

Maid of Honor, Sheetal, Kristin's best friend since age 8.  She did an amazing job on her toast.

Kara, fiancé Bill (another wedding in July!) and Morgan and Sam.

Random shots at church waiting for the photographers to finish up.

The one thing I don't know how to share with you is the video Kara posted on Facebook of me and my brother Dan dancing to Old Time Rock and Roll.  To add insult to injury her caption read "my amazing almost 70 year old mother."  I quickly added "almost 69, not 70."

Sunday morning we thanked everyone at breakfast for coming, checked out of the hotel and drove Karen and Ron to Port Canaveral to start their cruise.  We will pick them up next Sunday.  In the meantime we can use their car instead of our truck and if need be, we can go in separate directions because we have two vehicles.

We are back at the RV, checked on the cats, and delivered the wedding gifts and envelopes to Kristin's house.  It is almost empty now.  My Fathet's Closet is coming Tuesday to clear out the garage sale stuff including tne dining room set.  A woman is interested in seeing the house this week.  We have accomplished a lot in the 3 weeks we have been here.

Happy the bride the sun shines on
Happy the bride the rain falls on

Either way, Kristin is covered.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Less Than A Week Until the Wedding

This time next week I will be sitting with my feet up!  We have been very busy getting this show on the road. 

The first wrinkle in our plans was Ted's need to fly back to Texas from Monday to Wednesday.  That left me without a vehicle because I didn't want to drive the dually to the airport Wednesday night to pick him up so he drove himself.   I went to Kristin's for two nights and used her car one day.

The next problem is the weather up north that has our 48 floating candles being held hostage in Louisville by UPS.  I have shopped around and found some available that will do and if the original ones don't arrive by Wednesday I will be out rounding up 48 new ones.

The bridesmaid dresses were shipped Fed Ex right before the storm and arrived on Thursday as promised.  Now they would have been impossible to replace if they didn't arrive!

We spent Friday getting ready for the garage sale that was held on Saturday.  Clearing out a whole house is no easy task.  With two complete households there is just way too much stuff.  We did sell quite a lot and will call a group to come get the rest.  The king size bed, couch, desk and entertainment center are all that is going to Larry's.  It is all the little things that are so hard to sort out.

In the meantime Ted and I have kept busy with errands, working on the name cards, taking our dance classes, attending a few things here in the park, etc.  I had breakfast with my friend Rita one day while Ted was gone.  Tom and Eileen took me to lunch another day.  

After the garage sale we drove to Disney's All Star Sports Resort to spend the night.  Bill and Kara met us there and we transferred all the things I had for her into their car.  We put our stuff in the room they had booked for us and went to Giordano's for dinner.  They got up at 5:00 to fly down and we were up at 6:00 for the garage sale so it was an early evening as they went to Bonnet Creek to their two bedroom apartment and we returned to our room.

We had brunch with Minnie, Donald and Goofy at Cape May Cafe at Disney Beach Club this morning along with Kara, Bill, Sam and Morgan.  

We went to church in Celebration at noon and then headed to Larry's while they went to the Hollywood Studios park.  We spent hours working on the name cards  and church program.  It was 8:30 this evening when we arrived home.

Hopefully things will calm down as we get more things wrapped up.  When more folks start arriving on Thursday I am sure it will get crazy again.  There are 65 coming to the rehearsal dinner on Friday and 130 for the wedding on Saturday.  

I know this isn't too exciting for you all to read but it is important for me to record the build up to Kristin's wedding.  The weather has been good and hopefully will stay that way for the next few weeks.

P.S.  I just checked and the candles have made it to Longwood, FL.  Hopefully they will be out for delivery today or tomorrow.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

In Central Florida

We left Mission on Saturday stopping east of Houston that night, then Slidell LA Sunday night where we had a short visit with Ted's sister-in-law and finally Madison FL for our last night out with Tom and Eileen.  We were less than 50 miles from I-75 where we would turn south and they would continue on I-10 to I-95.  Tom lamented the fact he was going to be on his own to find his way home!  He isn't the first fellow we have traveled with who appreciates my planning and navigation skills, especially when their co-pilot has no interest in reading a map.  

We arrived at our destination for the next month and got settled in.  Kristin came over so we could taste and choose the chocolates to go in the individual boxes placed on the table at the wedding reception.  We nixed the orange and mint flavored ones, too medicinal, and settled on three others.  So there will be two of each.

The next day we took three loads of laundry to Kristin's while she was at work.  Doing one load at a time takes awhile so we spent most of the afternoon there.  Then we met her and Larry at Subway before heading to the Amway Center to see the Magic and Pistons play.  We have lived both places so we couldn't lose but the Pistons played as if they went home after the first quarter.  Basketball games are fun with all the activity and audience participation that goes on.  They give away great prizes too.

Thursday I started cutting and gluing purple and gold strips that are the backdrop of the name cards.  They will have the persons name, table and entrée choice on ivory strips once we have all that figured out.  It will fit into a 6 x 2 inch acrylic frame that will then serve as the frame for people's photo booth pictures they can have taken throughout the night.  That is something new now at all sorts of parties.  I had 80 of 130 finished but had to stop to fix dinner for the three of us.

It was Marriage License day Friday but first we had to stop by the Citrus Club for a check on the details.  We will be able to take the purple table runners, floating candles, table names and name cards (in alphabetical order) to the coordinator the day before.  That was good news.  We are confident they have everything planned well.

I was unable to go to the marriage license office because I had a pic comb in my purse!  Rather than give it up, I waited in the lobby.  I understand they don't want anyone combing someone to death (sarcasm font needed).  We went to lunch at Four Rivers BBQ and I hate to tell you Texas folks but it was the most tender, moist, flavorful brisket I have ever tasted.  I am sure we will go back.

Ted and I took our first dance class that Larry and Kristin purchased for us.  They have taken some classes too and thought it would be fun.  We had a lot of laughs but I'm not sure we accomplished too much.  I don't know if we will have time to get all five of the classes in.  We would like to work on the waltz and two-step but time will tell.  We all came back to the trailer for the evening.

Kristin and I spent the day together on Saturday.  We hit Michael's, Hobby Lobby and JoAnn's to purchase the card box for the gift table, thank you notes and program blanks.  They come with a template so hopefully we can get the info in easily and get them printed out with no problems.  Having a graphic designer (Kristin) and photographer with great equipment (Larry), they have chosen to do a lot themselves.  

We finished the afternoon at the tailor to get my dress hemmed, then went for a massage for Kristin and a facial for me, another gift from her to me.  We had dinner with Larry's sister at Carrabba's.  The day was long, the wait for a table even longer and we were all starving.  We ate so much bread that everyone took half their meal home.  

Yesterday we went to our old church and I only saw two ladies I know.  The area is really growing and there are many more young families with children.  A SunRail station has been built just south of the city and that will open up this bedroom community of Orlando even more.

We went to Larry's house where there were lots of gifts to be opened and recorded.  They have received 11 place settings of china, all but one hostess set of flatware, and all but six wine glasses
so far.  With two households there was no need for so many things couples usually register for but they will easily have a complete set of formal dining dishes, silverware and crystal.

I continued cutting and gluing the name strips while Kristin set up the template for the info.  To identify entrees to the waitstaff, we have chosen decorative squares for chicken, triangles for fish and circles for beef.  We want to work together when we type in the info to be doubly sure we get the right people at the correct table with their chosen entrée.

At her shower, Kristin asked everyone to write three words for a successful marriage.  Instead of table numbers she used these words to create table names.  She typed these words and I put them into 5 x 7 gold frames then alphabitized them.  We will now fill out the schematic so the coordinator can place the frames on the appropriate table.  All these little details!!

Ted grilled burgers while I made fries and corn on the cob.  Because the kitchen table only seats four and Maureen had stayed over at Larry's, we ate in the dining room.  He said it was the first meal he ate in there.

I was certainly ready for bed when we got home.  This has been a whirlwind.  Sorry about only one photo but I will make up for it.

Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter for the other.
Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth for the other.
Now there is no more loneliness, for each of you will be companion for the other.
Now you are two persons, but there is only one life before you. 
Go now to your dwelling place to begin the days of your life together.
May your days together be good and long upon the earth.

An Apache Blessing

Monday, February 3, 2014

Fixing the pictures

My IPad cuts off the picture and to see it all you have to click on it.   So I have adjusted my settings and am doing an experiment.

Friday, January 31, 2014

We Got Our Fair Share of the Crazy Weather

On Sunday we visited the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge and took the tram tour.  We saw them feed snakes and something that looked like an eel in an aquarium and stopped to visit a friend of Kara's parents who workamp there but they were not home.  After sharing a dinner with Eileen and Tom, we retired to our individual rigs to watch the Play Off games.

Monday was beautiful and we went to the Open House next door where folks own their double site along with a coach house.  We were interested in touring the facilities further and to check on rentals.  It is amazing what you can do in 200 sq. ft. In the coach houses.  We ended up renting the spot that belongs to one of Ted's shooting buddies.  He will be in Arizona next winter.  We will have a pad for the trailer next to a pad for the truck and a furnished coach house we can use.  It has a full bath, washer and dryer and a refrigerator.  There is also easy chairs and a TV but we won't use it for that.  Now my calendar extends to March 1, 2015!

Tuesday and Wednesday were cold and windy.  Everyone stayed inside for the most part.  Eileen and I did a little shopping.  We attended margarita night and met a few more folks.  We like the size of our park because you can meet most everyone eventually.

 Thursday was our group dinner at Schneider's German restaurant.  Each year Dulce and Berndt arrange this outing.  It gave us a chance to say goodbye to everyone.  

We had purchased Dolphin Watch Tour tickets at the travel show and Friday was our last chance to use them.  The weather cooperated and we drove to South Padre Island.  Tom and Eileen were surprised how much like Florida beach towns it was.  We had lunch at Dirty Al's, after a bit of a tour around town, then boarded our boat.  Turned out we got the dolphin watch combined with the eco tour which turned out to be very interesting.  

I have some photos on my camera but I need to download them.  In the meantime here is a shot of how far I got with my Swedish Weaving class.  I think I know enough to complete the afghan.  Also there are two shots from Friday.  One is a sand castle in front of the Visitor's Center and the other is us at lunch.  I will do a photo entry when I get a chance to download the rest of the photos.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

One More Week

Sunday we had a progressive dinner for 250 people.  It had never been done and the Activity Chairs were flying by the seat of their pants but it came off very well.  There were four venues.  The first was appetizers and wine, next was salads.  There were so many to choose from along with more wine.  Our circle was responsible for the potato bar.  Eileen and I went to Sam's and bought butter, sour cream and nacho cheese.  There was also brisket, pulled pork and chili.  Last was desserts, an ice cream bar and a coffee bar complete with Bailey's, Kalua, etc.  Quite a nice meal with lots of socializing with so many people on the move.  I think it will be done again since it was such a success.  We really enjoyed it and met several new people.

Monday we went to Mexico.  Ted, Eileen and I all got our teeth cleaned.  She also had hers whitened.  While we waited for her, Tom, Ted and I went to Rene's for coffee and a pastry.  She still wasn't ready so Ted got a hair cut and a pedicure.  Total bill for the day - $70!  It was such a beautiful day and we enjoyed sitting in the plaza listening to music and watching the people enjoying drinks.  It was another nice day.

Tuesday we had to find a repair place for Tom's fan blower.  We found the dealership but the service wasn't there!  We finally found it and got the car dropped off.

Dave and Karen came over on Wednesday.  Don, Ted and Dave went shooting while Eileen, Karen Trudy and I went to a boutique and restaurant for a girl's day out.  Since Eileen didn't have a car, I had to drive our truck while Dave drove the fellows in his truck.  They picked up Tom afterwards and he joined them for lunch.  I drove the truck fine but it is a PIA to park with those dually wheels!

I have been working on a Swedish Weave afghan to drape over my antique trunk.  I had all my stuff and minimal direction but successfully started and completed a few inches of the center pattern.  Thursday afternoon I made it to class and learned some more things but they said I was doing fine.  That evening  there was an ice cream social at the clubhouse.  We have made many new friends in the absence of our old crowd.

Friday was cold and drizzly and Eileen made another trip to the dentist for a filling and we did laundry.  That evening we enjoyed the Farnum Family Singers.  It was another fun group to see.  I am always amazed at the amount of talent in one family!  You would think one or two talented folks, but six?  There are many families that perform down here so all that talent is not unusual.

Today we visited the Custom Car Show in McAllen, ate lunch at Cheddar's, went to church and came home to play card bingo.  Eileen won so I am the only one who never one at all this trip.  By next Saturday we will hopefully be east of Houston for the night.

We haven't planned out next week but the days seem to fill themselves.  I know Kristin is anxious for me to arrive to help with the last of the arrangements.  First up, contacting those who have missed the 1/25 RSVP date.  Why oh why is it so hard to check yes or no, choose an entree and mail a card that is already addressed and stamped?  I will never understand, but it happens all the time.  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Falling Behind in My Writing

We have been keeping busy here in the sunshine.  We always finish our week with church, dinner out and card bingo at the clubhouse.  Last week both Ted and Tom won.  

On Sunday, the ladies "next door" who own or rent their sites from owners had a wine and cheese party for us ladies.  We picked up Sandy and Betty and Eileen drove us over.  It is only a short walk but too much for Sandy.  Once again I am reminded of how fortunate I am to be in good health and able to get around easily.

We met nice folks and may try to rent there next year.  I ran into Donna from Thunder Bay who switched parks this year.  Her husband worked for the same company as Ted did.  Ted used to travel to Thunder Bay, Ontario frequently.  We laughed about how many Donnas were here last year.

They showed the movie Gravity in our clubhouse that evening and it was not very good in my opinion.    The story line was thinly developed and the outcome preposterous.  So this movie and the one we walked out on, The Wolf of Wall Sreet, are both up for Oscars!  I am trying to figure out if I am old, a prude, stupid or simply out of touch.  I will settle for "hard to please."  

We had a potluck in the clubhouse and I made a chuck roast using a Facebook recipe.  Since they did everything but lick the dish, I think I will use it again.  I love crockpot cooking!  A clubhouse full of hungry folks at a potluck is akin to a hoard of locusts when it comes to eating.  Not much left over.

Trudy and Don encouraged us to visit Quinta Mazatlan, a historical Adobe mansion and nature and birding center located in McAllen, Texas.  During fall and spring the grounds are alive with migrating birds but at this time of the year we had to settle for several chachalacas and a couple Great Kiskadees.  We found the house itself very interesting and beautiful.  We need to stay long enough one year to see the migrating birds.

We had the rig washed and waxed this week.  It gave us a chance to stay put and get caught up on groceries and laundry.  Eileen has a washer and dryer but I opted not to have one.  I would rather go to the laundry and get it all done at once.  Also, you have to be on a sewer to use one or you would fill your gray water tank very quickly.  Many times we are not on a sewer and use the dump on the way out.  Also, I use the closet that a washer/dryer would go in for storing big items.

We have an insurance policy that will fly us home by air ambulance if need be, bring home remains, drive your rig home, fly someone to you, etc. called SkyMed.  It gives us great peace of mind and we know people who have called on them in an emergency.  The proof is in the use and everyone says it was a godsend.  We were invited to their luncheon in Weslaco and were able to take Tom and Eileen as guests.  There was no sales pitch, just a talk by the president on the company and an enjoyable meal.  I thought they would offer to sell us an extension of our existing policy but not a word was said.  It was a nice afternoon.  The interesting statistic for me was that 40% of their evacuations are to get people back to where their Medicare Advantage plans work.  It is the reason we have a Medicare Supplement instead.

Our friends Dave and Karen who moved across town to a different park had a get together on Friday.  They gathered all of us who are now scattered across the valley at a two room house available to them in their new park.  It was good to catch up with old friends and introduce Tom and Eileen to them.  We are invited this summer to a 70th birthday party for Dave while we are in Michigan.  Thank goodness for my calendar.  It is marked up through October.

We saw The Redhead Express perform at our clubhouse that night.  There are four young ladies and their three younger brothers that we have watched grow up these last few years.  They are terrific and have been picked up by a Nashville promoter so this will be their last year performing here in the valley.    We have an opportunity to see them at the Plant City Strawberry Festival in Florida and the Wapakaneta Fair in Ohio if we plan our days right.  We wish them all well and hope we can say "we knew them when."  We ended up on the park's Facebook page!

Yesterday I got my hair cut and we went to church followed by dinner at the Riverside Club.  It was German night and the Oom Pah Band was playing.  It is such a delight to see elderly folks out dancing.  Most of them are very good.  It always reminds me of Cincinnati German wedding receptions I attended as a kid.  Such fun!

We came home for card bingo and Ted won the big pot of $77!  Not a bad way to end this week. We are leaving here in less than two weeks now.  The wedding is just five weeks away.

Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well.  Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.

~ Louisa May Alcott