Tuesday, December 30, 2008

So Long to 2008

I'm glad I have my blog to read because 2008 seemed like a whirlwind of doctor and hospital visits plus running from hurricanes - Eduardo, Fay, Gustov and Ike. Not much of an endorsement. But when I go back through my writings, I remember lots of good things that happened.

We spent Christmas Day at Terry & Carol's with a dozen other people. She made a wonderful turkey dinner and it was a great day. Our first Christmas at home in Texas was most enjoyable.

Kelly and family arrived late Friday evening. It was two long days of driving for them and they were all very tired so they quickly went off to bed.

In the morning I made a big breakfast for everyone. The three girls wanted manicures and pedicures so I took them to the salon and then went to grocery shop while I waited for them. We had invited Terry & Carol for dinner because Ted was putting a beef tenderloin on the rotisserie. We had a lovely dinner and visit. They even brought the girls Christmas cards with money. That was so generous of them!

On Sunday after Mass we went to Terry & Carol's beautiful home so the kids could see it. Then they took us to the country club for brunch. It was such a nice atmosphere and great food. Later, Carol and I took the girls to Charming Charlie's to do some shopping for accessories. They ended up with MORE stuff compliments of me and Aunt Carol. But girls are such fun to shop with.

On Monday we took off for Moody Gardens in Galveston. We had not been to the island since Hurricane Ike so we wanted to ride around a bit. I was amazed that we saw lots of boats still laying on the side of the road. I'm not sure what their owners do about getting them repaired and back into the water. A lot has been cleaned up and repaired but there is much more to do. This is a picture of the Flagship Hotel that lost its ramp from the highway. There is also a big hole in the wall clearly visible. The other is what is left standing of another building that had stood over the water.

We stopped at a Mexican restaurant that was very authentic. Everyone but us spoke Spanish but we muddled through. I ordered a burrito and it was a foot long and about five inches wide! I barely was able to eat half.

Then we went to Moody Gardens. Our first stop was the IMAX theater. The show was a Christmas story that none of us had ever seen. Next we went to the special effects theater and saw a condensed 4D version of the Polar Express. We got sprayed several times from snow, ice, hot chocolate, etc. The 3D version along with these special effects was great.

We visited the Aquarium which is what the girls were most interested in. There are many different exhibits in addition to the aquariums and we spent a lot of time here. I especially liked this moray eel and the penguin exhibit.

Our last stop was the RideFilm which was a Disney type ride with Santa who was late. We traveled via film and chair movement through the world at breakneck speeds. By then it was late and the Christmas Festival of Lights were all on. We didn't have time to do the 3/4 mile walk but we saw a lot of them as we walked to the parking lot.

We came home to some really well done ribs that were in the crockpots. I had started them on low close to 10 hours before. No one needed a knife! I quickly heated some beans, put frozen french fries in the oven and made cole slaw. I didn't even eat because I was so full but everyone else did. We spent the evening watching Hancock and it was around midnight before we all turned in.

I think today will be a "seat of our pants" type of planned day.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Santa, Chicken and Trains

OMG it's cold up here. Today we went to Frankenmuth (little Bavaria) about 60 miles north of Troy. It has Bronner's, the world's largest Christmas store and #1 Michigan tourist attraction. There is also the famous Family Chicken Dinner at the Bavarian Inn or Zehnder's. We stopped at Bronner's because it is such a fun place to browse and I did buy a lighted garland and a magnet.

Then we went to the Bavarian Inn for the famous chicken dinner. Santa stopped by and we were also serenaded by an accordian player playing Christmas carols and we were able to sing along. (Is that even possible, an accordian serenade?).

Afterwards we headed to Crossroads Village and the Huckleberry Railroad north of Flint. We visited with Santa and Mrs. Claus and Dancer, a live reindeer. The kids made a craft and then we took a ride on the railroad. It goes through the countryside for about 40 minutes through many lighted exhibits. My favorite is the "four calling birds" display. There are cardinals around a phone receiver!


We left at 11 am and it was almost 8 pm when we arrived home. Both kids were bushed and went to bed almost immediately. Tomorrow is church, Ally's dance studio recital, our family dinner at Kelly's and gift exchange. I'll rest on Monday I guess.

Fun with the Grandkids

After our Houston snowfall, the trip to the airport was slow and we arrived at our gate just as they were boarding. It was such a turbulant flight the lady in front of us traveling with three kids under age 6 I would say, all started getting sick. God bless her she never lost her cool, just handed the baby across the aisle to a passenger, passed out bags and when they were finished rang for the attendant. They stopped serving drinks and when they started up again did not have coffee because of the possibility of someone getting burned. It was a real roller coaster ride.

The airport was not crowded and we walked right up to the Budget rental counter. And here in Detroit, with all the news about the Big 3 on TV, they rented us a Hyundai! When we lived here you wouldn't dare drive a foreign car for fear of what would happen. Maybe that's part of the problem. For my kids, Detroit, Michigan and the rest of the country who would be affected by a collapse, I hope help is on its way from Washington. This would truly be "trickle down" economic suicide. So many businesses in the whole country are tied to the auto industry.

We arrived in time to pick up Sam and Morgan from school. That evening I played bunco with Kara's group and won! Friday we went to the Performing Arts Center in Macomb to see Ally dance in The Nutcracker. She was a child invited to the party, a toy soldier and a snow angel. She did excellent and the whole production was impressive. She has to dance it twice Friday and twice Saturday. Sunday will be her dance studio's holiday show benefitting ALS. We had a dear friend die of this disease and will be purchasing raffle tickets for the benefit.

Last night we made cut out butter cookies with the little ones. There was a lot of colored sugar on the floor! Afterwards, Kara and Allen went shopping and we watched Polar Express with the kids. At bedtime we read them the Christmas book we had brought and tucked them in bed. These are things we miss by living away.

Today is a trip to Frankenmuth. More on that later.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oh, the Weather Outside Is Frightful

It's snowing in Houston!!! We saw "more than flurries" on the evening news in areas just south and west of us. But when I just got up from the couch and looked out ... it was snowing here! I took these pictures of the fern and the table on our deck. I sure hope there is no delay in our 9 am flight tomorrow. We just need the temperature to go above freezing. Yesterday it was in the 70s and now this! We'll need warm coats, gloves and hats just to get out of here, never mind using them in Michigan.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Paying the Piper

Yesterday was spent getting caught up. We started off at church with Rick and Brenda for the holyday. It was the Children's Mass but they all read so softly none of us could hear; however, it was nice to see them all in attendance. Lots of Rick's relatives were there and they are all girls! Not a boy among them.

After church I grabbed three tags off the Christmas tree in the Fellowship Hall and Brenda and I took off for Kroger's with the fellows heading to Home Depot. We bought what we needed for salad, fruit and banana bread. I was back trying to find a rotten banana! I always seem to have two when I need three. Then we went to Walgreen's to buy games for the Christmas tree at church.

The fellows went several "guy" places while Brenda did laundry and I made banana bread, cut up fruit and got the salad things together for today's bunco luncheon at Carol's. Rick and Ted rehung the garage light, investigated surge protectors and antenna info in preparation for the February conversion of TVs to digital. Both of our RV TVs are analog. We have the first DTV box on the living area TV but we get the same channel on the bedroom TV if we're on the antenna. It's OK when we are on cable. We need to split the signal somehow and Rick has a theory. They'll work on this over New Year's at Rayford.

Ted went to Randall's for a pizza to bake and then came home and "doctored" it all up to his liking. I'm not sure if it was lunch or dinner but we were all hungry by then. I was ready to wrap the games I bought when Rick questioned if I was supposed to. I called the lady in the church bulletin and she said no so that was another job I didn't need to do.

I got my bunco gift wrapped and ready to go, put together a bag of groceries for the food pantry, put the Pak N Play that Peggy is borrowing into the car and prepared for mailing the picture photo box I did for Nick of his graduation. This morning I put the fruit salad together, got out a basket and napkin for the muffins and gathered the salad fixings to toss at lunchtime. Then I started my laundry.

Sitting around a fire can be a great camping pastime but it makes all your clothes, not to mention your hair, smell like smoke. And when you wake up the next morning, the RV smells like smoke. So I brought everything home to be laundered. There are some jackets, sweatshirts, etc. that normally stay but not this time.

I need to see Dr. Chang for my blood work for my Lipitor before we leave. We get new insurance January 1 and I want to order my 3 month prescription while the transfer of info is taking place so I don't run out. We also both have a dermatologist appointment and I have my GYN and mammogram appointment. All of this in addition to being in Michigan for a week and over Christmas!

We thought we were going to begin 2009 on a clean medical slate but Ted is scheduled for one more endoscopy with biopsies the first week in January. This has to be done because of the ablation therapy he had done at the end of October. One of these days we hope to get the "see you in one year" comment. Now if I can just ace my two tests we'll be in great shape for 2009.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Weekend at Bernie's (Boerne, TX)

We seem to be meeting ourselves coming and going. Last Sunday we pulled out of Rayford after attending church and then joining 8 others from the campground for breakfast at Skeeter's. Ted had a trip to Dallas/Fort Worth planned for Monday-Wednesday and I had routine things to do. I also had a dentist appointment, hair cut, have the garage ceiling repaired and packed a box to be sent to Michigan. Since I had to send presents anyway, I packed a good bit of our clothes. I printed out the UPS labels and Ted found a UPS truck in our neighborhood and just handed them to the driver. Now we are set with just a carry-on, no $15 baggage fee and no waiting at luggage claim in Detroit.

Thursday we met Stella and Jay at Magnolia High School and headed to Boerne, a quaint little city 40 miles NW of San Antonio. When we arrived, Jay's electric receptacle was not working and we had to wait for the park to fix it. That made it late in the afternoon and we headed into town to eat rather than cook. We finished after dark and had an opportunity to see the whole town lit up. They were having Dickens on Main this weekend and all the buildings were decked out.

Friday was busy with the rest of the 30 rigs coming in for the rally. Ted and I decorated the table we were assigned and helped Sandy a bit in the rally hall. We were invited to eat at Dave & Charlotte's. Dave is quite a cook and made chicken tortilla soup, jalapeno cornbread and guacamole with chips. The soup was excellent. I passed on the others. We sat around Don's "far" (fire for those that don't speak southern). It was pretty chilly and we needed the heat on overnight.

Saturday began with a breakfast in the rally hall. I used my new convection toaster oven to make a casserole as my contribution. Afterwards Ted and I went to Oma's Christmas Fair and into town to stroll through the shops. We had to get back in time for me to make two different pans of baked chicken drumsticks for the potluck. I put the first baked batch in the crockpot while I baked the second one. I made over 7 lbs. and all but 6 legs were eaten.

We had a gift exchange like no other. You chose a gift and a number. When your number was called randomly, you were give a direction such as name the reindeer, sing "We wish you a Merry Christmas", exchange with someone at a certain number table, etc. The gifts are mostly funny and their journey is even funnier. After it broke up we sat around Jay's fire. The nights were really cool but the days were beautiful and sunny.

This morning we attended church in Boerne and then hooked up to head home. We arrived around 4:30. I'm now getting organized for our trip Thursday to Michigan. In the meantime, Rick and Brenda are coming tomorrow. Brenda will do laundry and Rick will help Ted rehang the fluorescent light in the garage now that the ceiling has been repaired. Tuesday is my bunco Christmas party luncheon. It will be at Carol's new house with me being co-hostess. That means I have to make the muffins, fruit tray and salad.

That leaves me Wednesday to do all the last minute things before we leave one more time! We'll be back 12/17. Kelly and family will be here 12/27 until 12/31 and we're heading to Rayford after they leave. We're due into Cut N Shoot mid-January, the cruise the first week in February and then off to the Valley if all goes well. Time just goes by so quickly. It seems impossible to slow it down.

In all the rush please don't forget the Reason for the Season - Jesus.