Sunday, November 29, 2009

Harwin, Turkey and San Antonio

I walked with Gerre on Monday morning. We're trying to increase our three miles a little each day but we're normally restricted by time. It's been cool in the morning so it's great walking in jeans and a sweatshirt with sneakers. Then I cleaned up and met Ann, Carol and Jody at Target to leave for Harwin.

When we arrived we immediately ran into Susan, Irene and Linda at the flower place. I did find two new things and that was all I was looking for. We hit the purse, jewelry and linen places before finally returning home around 6:00 p.m. Ted even called to ask where I was. I'm seldom gone so long but it was a fun and productive day.

I stayed home Tuesday and Wednesday preparing for Kristin's arrival and cooking Thanksgiving dinner. I had things under control early Thursday and was able to go with Ted to the airport to get Kristin. We had a great dinner (if I do say so myself) with Terry and Carol. By half time of the Texas/Texas A&M game, Kristin was in bed and Terry & Carol left for home. I was pooped.

We left early Friday morning and headed for San Antonio. After checking into the Hampton Inn, we walked to the Alamo for our first stop. Then we viewed the film and museum pieces in the Long Barracks. Next was a walk along the Riverwalk and then a boat ride on the river.

It was a BIG weekend in San Antonio we discovered. Friday night was the lighting of the tree on Alamo Plaza, lighting of the trees along the Riverwalk and the boat parade along the river. In addition it was St. Cecelia's Feast which is celebrated as the start of the holiday season by the Tejano's and from the Airmen we saw in town, there must have been a graduation at Lackland AFB. We and 199,997 people were in town visiting.

We drove out to the Mercado where we encountered the St. Cecelia celebrations and enjoyed the music and stalls. We decided to eat at La Margarita's because the Riverwalk and surrounding streets were being blocked off just as we left that area. We had great Mexican food and were entertained by the mariachi players who stopped at the table next to us. The gentleman there stood up and sang song after song. He sounded like a Spanish Enrico Caruso. What a voice! We couldn't have paid for any better entertainment.

Trying to get back to the motel to park was a real challenge. Traffic was backed up every which way. We finally skirted it all, got parked and walked back over towards the river. Of course we didn't have a ticket for a seat along the river so we stood at a wall above the river right at the convention center. The parade lasted a long time and was very colorful with lots of music and lights. We called it a day and headed back to the motel.

Saturday morning after breakfast we checked out and went to San Jose Mission. It is one of the biggest and best preserved along the Mission Trail. We watched a movie about the many native tribes that lived here once but eventually became disjointed from attacks by Apache Indians and the Spanish invaders. The missions were their salvation but also their downfall in that it caused the loss of much of their culture and also brought European diseases. Today in Texas we refer to the people of this descent as Tejanos. They are Mexicans who were in Texas before it was Texas. They are hardworking, religious, family-oriented people and they love a fiesta!

We headed home and made a planned stop in San Marcos at the outlet mall. I bought a $70 dress from Strausburg Children for Morgan for $15 and Kristin got two pair of Easy Spirit shoes for $20 each. The crowds were terrific so we didn't stay long. From there we started for home in earnest just stopping in Giddings to buy tomato preserves for Carol at Lee County General Store. We also arrived in Magnolia just at 5:00 o'clock so we went to St. Matthias for Mass. We came home to our Thanksgiving leftovers and called it a day.

Morgan and Sam called this morning. They are on the Polar Express going to the North Pole to see Santa. This is a train out of Owasso, MI. They said they were having hot chocolate "which is like coffee but tastes good" Morgan said. Sam said this was the best time of his life because he had been at the Star Wars Concert yesterday. Oh to be a kid again.

Kristin and I have a lot of running to do today. Her flight is at 5:45 AM tomorrow so it's another VERY early day. I'll catch you all later.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Our First Texas Wedding

Friday was a cold, drizzly day and we had to be at church at 2 pm for our directory picture. We got dressed nicely and were on time but we were the first persons for the day and had to wait a bit while they set up. This is such a transient area and they've been taking pictures since last summer. I wonder how many families will have moved on by the time it is published.

Afterwards we went to the jewelers to pick up my newly resized rings, drop off Ted's gold chain that had broken and get new batteries in two watches. We're turning into their new best customers.

Neither of us had eaten all day because Rebecca cleaned in the morning so we missed both breakfast and lunch. We decided to go to Sweet Tomatoes. A bowl of hot soup sounded good. I think we were the best dressed in the restaurant! When we left it was after 4 pm and we still needed to stop at Sam's to get something to take to Wind Down.

The thought of walking through the drizzle in the cold into and out of Sam's, staying dressed up for another three hours until we left again, parking a distance and walking to the party because 70 people were coming just seemed like more effort than we wanted to expend. We made a U-turn, came home and were crashed on the couch by 5:30. We caught *ell from some folks for not showing up and worrying them but it just felt good to stay in.

We went to church at 5 pm on Saturday with Terry & Carol, stopped off at Chik Fil A for a bite and then headed on over to play bunco. I tied for most buncos, tied for most wins and Ted won something. We doubled our $10 to $20. Not a bad night and we always enjoy this group.

We slept in some this morning and then got ready for our FIRST Texas wedding. Our neighbors picked us up and we drove to the church where the service was held. It was lovely and very touching. Grace is 75, Jack probably a bit older. They were surrounded by children and grandchildren and made one big family.

The reception was a sit down dinner at the River Plantation Country Club and the menu was ... chicken fried chicken. What else would you serve at a Texas wedding if you weren't serving brisket? The food was very good and there were three tables of neighbors. It was an enjoyable and fun time.

I hope to walk tomorrow. We missed out Friday and Saturday because of the rain. Then four of us are taking off for Harwin. Most of the ladies won't drive to downtown Houston and I will. Also, my Expedition has plenty of room for packages, another plus. Doesn't take too much to be popular some days.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Lightning Speed

Life is roaring past at such a fast clip. I can hardly believe we are about to enter 2010. That means almost 10% of the new century has gone by. Unbelievable.

We stayed home last Saturday night, something we haven't done for quite some time. After church Sunday we had breakfast at Terry & Carol's then Michele picked me up for our Southern Living party. Ted watched football on TV and we stayed in Sunday evening too.

I continue to walk with Gerre 3-4 times a week and it feels good to get out and move briskly for an hour or so. My bunco group met on Monday and we made plans for our Christmas luncheon. December is going to be even busier than November.

I returned to the dermatologist for some more "freezing." She said these things really like me but we're determined to keep after them. Then I had to see my internist for a pre-op physical for my cataract surgery. I had an EKG, chest X-ray, blood and urine labs. I sure hope this suffices for both surgeries. I don't particularly want to do this a second time.

Wednesday evening I went to the country club for Happy Hour and left about 7:00 to deliver five pairs of PJs for the Houston Reserve Unit deployed in Afghanistan. Emily was not home yet so I had to bring them back home with me. She called right before I got home and we agreed I would take them to her on Thursday evening.

Today was our neighborhood ladies' luncheon. I chose Casa Imperial since the restaurant at the Conference Center was booked with a golf outing. I'll keep that one in my back pocket for the next time it is my turn. I picked up a few things at Tuesday Morning and stayed home until I did my run to Emily's with the PJs. They needed 96 pairs and were 9 short as of last night. She said a church came through for the last nine so they had a pair for each soldier in the unit.

Ted had driven to Austin on Monday and back on Tuesday. He went shooting on Wednesday and then flew to Midland/Odessa,TX today and will be back tomorrow. This has been a very busy month for him also.

Tomorrow we get our picture taken for the church directory. Most were taken over the summer and we assumed we just wouldn't be in it. But they have one last call to those that missed so we're taking advantage of it. Tomorrow night is Wind Down at Jody and Dave's followed by bunco on Saturday night with the St. Anthony group.

My neighbor is getting married on Sunday and we're attending the wedding and reception with other neighbors. They are in their late 70s and I'm sure it will be a very nice service.

I'm going to the Harwin area of Houston (wholesale district) on Monday with Ann. I'm looking for a new arrangement for our master bath but not much else. My Christmas shopping is pretty much done. The kids want rental cars paid for, Universal tickets, Disney tickets, etc. so it has been easy for me.

I guess by Tuesday I better get to the grocery for Thanksgiving dinner shopping. Kristin flies in that morning and Terry & Carol will be coming over for dinner. Friday we are taking Kristin to San Antonio and San Marcos for the weekend.

By then it's the first week of December and my surgery. I'm going to just take the month one day at a time. It is jam packed with events but I have to see how I do. They said I can drive as soon as I feel I can see well enough to drive. My other eye should be OK, right? So I figure I'll be out and about quickly.

Just in case I don't get back here before next Thursday - Happy Thanksgiving to all. I am grateful for all the people in my life and the great things that God has done for me and my family.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

I'm Officially Old and God is Laughing

I went to Canasta as planned on Monday. Since Michele and I had no cards the first round my overall score was low enough to give me lowest score ... and my money back! For dinner we met Stella, Jay, Rick and Brenda at Sweet Tomatoes. We made plans to play Pegs and Jokers on Thursday night.

On Tuesday I kept my eye doctor appointment and was shocked when he told me I had cataracts on both eyes. I thought I needed my prescription changed. Pretty soon I'm going to be the bionic woman! Since I was having a hard time driving in the bright sunlight I went to the Black Walnut Cafe near his office for the Coffee and Chit Chat Group to give my eyes a chance to adjust.

That afternoon when I could see OK again, I followed Ted to the car wash where he used the gift card I gave him for his birthday for a complete detail inside and out of his truck. We stopped at the shopping center on the way home. I bought a gift for our Texas Boomers Christmas Party and the young man at the register asked me if I belonged to the Tuesday Club. I said no and he asked if I wanted to be since he thought I probably qualified. He explained it was 10% off on Tuesdays for seniors. Sure kid, I'm a senior, give me my darn discount!! I guess the mirror hasn't been lying and I'm probably in for a real shock when I can see properly again. Can't you hear Him chuckling already? Don't ever doubt that God has a sense of humor.

Pegs and Jokers was scrapped for Thursday evening because Ted had to fly to McAllen at the last minute. He took a 5:40 a.m. flight home on Friday to be back in time to take me to have my eyes "measured" and get all the instructions for my 12/2 cataract surgery. For not being a big deal, I have a lot of stuff to do prior to the surgery.

Last night we were invited to the country club by Jeff and Connie because we had taken them to dinner awhile back. A good group gathered and it was a nice time.

Today Susan, Carol and I went to a Christmas open house in Conroe. Then we stopped at MacKenzie's for a burger before heading south back to The Woodlands. Susan and I continued on to the jewelers to pick up my rings. They did a spectacular job replacing the emerald with the new diamond and the new ring using all my old diamonds turned out terrific. My wedding band sparkled like crazy from a good cleaning. It's a quite nice 45th anniversary present times two.

Ted has been at the Houston Gun Club over the past couple of days. They are celebrating their 50th anniversary and had all kinds of shoots, dinners, fireworks, etc. He won third place (out of 200 shooters) in skeet and brought home a trophy. The lamp table in the office is getting crowded.

We're having goetta for breakfast at Terry & Carol's tomorrow after church. She is introducing a few novices into the intricacies of Cincinnati cuisine. Then I have a Southern Living party and Ted will be content to watch football all afternoon.

I just want to say I don't feel old. We both had a great year with no aches, pains or doctor visits. We walked all over National Parks this summer, all over Europe last month and I'm walking three miles a day with Gerre (we're working up to 5 miles). And other than the time adjustment, I've been sleeping great. So, unofficially, I'm still young at heart regardless of what the calendar, the doctor and that kid say.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

An Accomplished Week

Monday after my walk with Gerre, I cleaned out my office closet. I was gathering up cards, envelopes and pens to be sent to the soldiers in Iraq so they can write home. My friend Anna takes care of this and I had a small shopping bag full for her. She asked me if I would sponsor PJs for a soldier. I said sure and started looking on line. I was able to get four sets of PJs on line from JCP on sale and with free shipping. I ordered four different sizes. I think I'm supposed to write notes to go with them. Anna will get back to me on that. After all that was taken care of I cleaned the files and had to empty the shredder five or six times. But now I'm ready for tax time and a new year.

Tuesday's funeral luncheon was an all time high for our St. Martha's group I think. There were about 250 in attendance. I thought we had so much food that we could set some aside for the Thursday funeral, but I was wrong. I seldom claim to be exhausted but believe me when I say I was exhausted after that. Then I had to come home and wash 12 of the tablecloths and make brownies to deliver on Wednesday for use on Thursday. I felt bad for the ladies going back for a second time in one week. However, no one dies at a good time, no matter when it happens.

On a brighter note, our Wednesday Newcomer breakfast was a huge success. We had great attendance and a lovely buffet by our hostess. This is a casual atmosphere for new (and old) members to get together with nothing to do but get to know one another. I met a new lady and she and I are going to the Christmas luncheon together so she knows some one when she arrives. Sometimes it's just that little extra that makes people comfortable in our group and they become enthusiastic members.

Thursday was the Habitat for Humanity luncheon and fashion show. One of the St. Anthony men from Terry & Carol's bunco group had purchased an entire table. His wife asked Carol to invite me. Sometimes we sub in that group so they know me and Ted. It was a very nice luncheon and show. We met a couple more ladies from our church. There are over 4200 families at St. Anthony's so getting to know people is a challenge.

Gerre and I walked on Wednesday and Friday. Then Ted and I went to the jewelers here in The Woodlands. I have a diamond and emerald ring that my mother gave me. I wear it all the time and the emerald got pretty beat up. We purchased a marquise diamond to replace the emerald in that ring. I also had two other rings - one had my original engagement set diamonds in it and the other had my mother's engagement set diamonds. We chose a setting that will use all the diamonds from both rings into one new ring. When the kids had a big 40th anniversary celebration for us, Fr. Terry asked us to remove our rings to repeat our vows. Darn! I missed a perfect opportunity for a new ring. I just never gave it a thought. Since April will be 45 years, I guess we'll call it a 45th anniversary present.

Wine Tasting last night was awesome. The couple had traveled to Argentina and used those wines along with Mediterranean food for the evening. They had a digital frame showing pictures of their trip, a map on the refrigerator showing their travels and the location of the wineries and then they did a slideshow on their TV of the wines we would be tasting. Now how is anyone going to top that! We start with a sparkling wine or champagne, move up to the white wines and then on to the bolder reds. I liked them all and I'm not much of a red wine drinker. Ted drinks Caffeine Free Diet Coke instead. He's not much of a drinker but enjoys the group nonetheless.

I've been on the phone with our daughter Kara a lot this week because Morgan has been sick. We finally think she is on the mend. Kara is ordering shirts for us for our day together at Epcot during the holidays. They have a timeshare and spend lots of time at Disney World. Here is the design for our shirt. They find it easier to keep track of one another this way. I know it worked well in 2006 when all eleven of us went to Disney.

Next week looks a bit calmer. I'm playing Canasta tomorrow and going to the eye doctor on Tuesday. My calendar is clear beyond that for a few days. I need to start thinking ahead to the holidays. How did that get here so soon?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Settling In

After finally adjusting to the seven hour time difference when we first got back, I had another hour thrown at me when DST went away! I slept until 6:30 this morning so I think I'm OK now. On the other hand, I'm grateful for all those 3 a.m. wake-up calls because it allowed me to get the trip blog finished when there wasn't much else I could do while Ted was sleeping.

This past week we both had doctor appointments and I had a dentist appointment. I'm glad to report Ted's blood pressure, cholesterol and PSA are all good and he takes no medicine for any of those things. I also had lunch with Gerre and Jennifer on Thursday.

On Saturday I had lunch with Susan and when Ted returned from shooting we went to Rayford for the chili-cookoff/Halloween party. What a crowd they had. I don't think you could have put one more vehicle into the park. There were lots of adults as well as kids dressed up for the festivities and RVs had been decorated for a contest. There was a keg of beer in the middle of the breezeway and 22 entries in the chili contest.

Music started at 3:00 with the potluck at 4:00. The chili was the main dish with all sorts of side dishes and desserts. Afterwards we all went to Tommy's motorhome and sat around a campfire. It was perfect weather. In fact, the weather report this week gives our weather an 11 out of 10!

Sadly we have two funerals this week at church, a 16 year old girl and a young mother. I'll be working the luncheon today but just cooking for the one on Thursday. I wash all the tablecloths so I'll have to get them right back up to church for the second luncheon.

Wednesday is our Newcomers breakfast club and Carol has invited me to a Habitat For Humanity luncheon on Thursday. Then it's Wine Tasting on Saturday with Canasta Monday afternoon. It doesn't take long to get back into the swing of things.

Kristin is coming here for Thanksgiving and we're taking her to San Antonio and San Marcos over the weekend. We've made plans to go to Florida for Christmas because all three of our girls and their families will be there. We'll be at Disney for two nights, out near Kristin for 5 nights in a motel while Kelly and family stay at Kristin's and then hit Punta Gorda to see my Dad, Cape Coral to see a friend, Naples for New Year's Eve with friends from New York and Lady Lake to visit friends and allow Ted to call on the newspaper as we head for home. We'll stop in Slidell, LA too to see our sister-in-law. We'll get a lot of visiting mileage out of this trip.

People have been asking me if I've got next year planned. We'll probably go to the Rio Grande Valley in February for a couple weeks, we have Sam's 1st Communion in Michigan in April, a wedding in Cincinnati the first part of June, our granddaughters' dance recital mid-June (Morgan is now dancing as well as Ally) and a trip to Cancun the end of August with Ted's brother.

I have to take all these events and start making a plan. I know we won't be out as long as this past summer. We're flying to Michigan in April for just five days and will head out later with the RV in time for the June 4 wedding in Cincinnati and then travel to Michigan. Where we go from there until we need to be home in August is up in the air right now. They say if you want to make God laugh, just tell him your plans.