Saturday, December 26, 2009

OMG We Have A Garmin

The eleven of us gathered for brunch on Christmas Eve at the Grand Floridian. Here is a bunch of Disney characters that came by to meet the kids. We had a fellow take our picture at the Christmas tree and it is the only one we have of all of us together. Sam and Morgan watched Disney cartoons while we waited for the cars to be brought out front.




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Kara and family headed back to Magic Kingdom; Kelly, Pat, Cassie and Kristin went to Universal Studios and Ted, Ally and I went to Kristin's to start preparations for Christmas dinner. Ally has a cold and was just tuckered out and wanted to rest.

The next morning we all met at St. Ann's, our old parish church, and we attended Mass. We took up an entire pew. We decided to do presents while the dinner cooked. Then the kids put a gingerbread house together. Ted did what he does best, sawed logs.


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Ted has been an opponent of GPS systems because of the horror stories he has heard from people driving RVs. But after our trip to San Antonio and the streets being closed downtown for the Riverwalk Parade, Kristin thought one would be good for finding places once we have parked at a campground. We used it to go to the hotel when we left and it did fine until the last street. It said turn right and we needed to go left. We could see the hotel but also knew where it was. Score one for Ted. We're using it for places we know to try to learn the idiosyncrasies and see if we can use it successfully.

We slept in this morning and then stopped to buy a router for Kristin's house. There are five laptops there now and only one connection. This way she will be able to use hers all over the house. Then we went to La Mesa RV. There Ted found an Allegro bus he really liked. I've never found a motorhome that had a layout I liked as well as my 5th wheel but this one had everything I wanted and more. Ted drove it to the Volusia Fairgrounds up I-4 and then I drove it around some too. We are in no hurry to make a decision of this magnitude so what will be, will be.

We were a half hour late getting to Tom and Eileen's. They suggested dinner in Palm Coast which is an hour away. We agreed and eventually found out why they chose this particular restaurant. It is in their new neighborhood. They are planning ahead for retirement and downsized to a patio home with no pool. We weren't too surpised because we knew they had been looking. We wish them well when they decide to sell their DeBary house and move permanently.

We stopped by Kristin's but the kids were not home yet. Then I remembered they were attending a Blue Man Concert at Universal. We'll spend most of tomorrow with them. Hope everyone had a great Christmas and are gearing up for an eventful New Year's Eve.

Friday, December 25, 2009

And So This Is Christmas

We were at the eye doctor at 8 am on Monday and were on our way by 8:30. We traveled east over 105 and were in Beaumont in less than two hours. I was talking on the phone to Karen in Cincinnati when a truck in front of us pulling a small flatbed trailer started to lose control. There were at least 20 5-gallon plastic buckets of white paint and once the liquid started sloshing I'm sure it worsened the situation. I was on the phone hollering "woe, woe, woe" and poor Karen was frantic on the other end. The truck finally ended up plowed into the grass but white paint was flying everywhere. Luckily we missed the paint and skirted the pails to continue on our way. The guy got out of the truck so we knew he was OK or we would have stopped.

We made it to Biloxi by late afternoon and checked into our Isle Casino room. We rested up for awhile, then went to play some games and finally ate at the buffet which wasn't very good. We were in bed early and on our way a little after 7 on Tuesday morning.

It was a long haul to Disney. We checked into our studio at Old Key West and met up with Kara, Allen, Sam and Morgan. They had just finished eating at Chef Mickey's in the Contemporary Hotel so we walked over to the snack bar and got a bite to eat. It was another early night because Kara said we had to be at the gate for "rope drop" at 8 am the next morning.

Kara has visiting Disney down to a science. They have a time share and she belongs to a group that studies crowd behavior and inside info to help plan time in the park. For example, we approached the turnstiles that were not open yet and there were long lines at most. We walked to the far right and got first in line. No one moved out of the long line the whole time we stood at this turnstile.

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We went through first and immediately gave our tickets to Allen so he could go get Fast Passes for Soarin', the most popular ride at Epcot. Then we were stopped at the "rope" to wait for opening. When it dropped, everyone hurried past us while we stopped at the Kim Possible exhibit to get a ticket for a mission in the park and then went on to The Land. While everyone else was heading to Soarin' we walked right on three different rides. When our hour interval was up, Allen went to get Fast Track passes, another popular ride. We let the kids play in an area and then went to Soarin' with our Fast Passes. While others were waiting 90 minutes we were on and off in 15 or so.

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After a few more quick rides, we rode the boat to World Showcase and kept our noon reservation at the French restaurant. I wasn't expecting much but it was fantastic! We were visited by Remy the Rat from the movie Ratatuille (spelling?).


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Aftet lunch we did our Kim Possible mission. It took us to Germany where we made steins sing, nutcrackers play music and trains run. We did all this using a device that looked like a cell phone. We got a kick out of a sign near the train that said Wurzburg. We visited there in 2006. We took time to listen to singers in the Liberty Inn all dressed in Dickens attire followed by the fyfe and drum corp.

We went back to the park part and went to Fast Track where the wait was one hour for Fast Passes and 2 and a half hours for the regular line. Apparently it had broken down and got backed up. So we went to the Energy ride with dinosaurs and by the time we got back, the line was gone at Fast Track for those with passes and we were on in 15 minutes or so.

By this time we were all pretty tired so we decided to leave. After a quick stop at Walgreen's we then got a pizza and headed for home. They were going to Magic Kingdom in the morning. Ted and I were sleeping in and taking our time checking out. We had reservations at 11 o'clock at Park Fare in the Grand Floridian for all 11 of us.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

We're Out of Here

The house is cleaned, gifts distributed here in town and my clothes are out on the bed. I have used all my "transfer" bags from the RV to pack the presents and things I am taking to Florida. Terry & Carol's children are all coming into town so both their house and ours will be full through New Year's. Their son's family arrives today. This has worked out well for everyone.

I met Jody for breakfast on Saturday and besides treating me to breakfast she gave me a lovely set of note pads with my name on it. They're awesome. I'm always looking for something to write a note on and end up with an ugly yellow pad for lack of anything better. What a great gift. I gave her a Pottery Barn candle, brown bread Ted made and fudge that I made. I hope she and Dave enjoy it all.

Ted had gone shooting in the morning and right after he came home the doorbell rang. It was my neighbors again with a dish of homemade turtles. I love these type of Christmas presents. It is what Christmas was like before Best Buy and

We met Rick and Brenda at Dickie's BBQ for dinner Saturday night. I didn't have their gift last week because the fudge I promised Brenda was not made. She didn't want the evaporated milk or marshmallow creme kind. She wanted the sugar, cocoa, milk, cook to 234 degrees kind that is on the Hershey's Cocoa can. And that's what I made. I also brought her two dishtowels from Germany (that I found out were made in China!). When I had my pictures from this summer put into albums, I had one made of all the photos I had of them. They fulltime in their motorhome so space is always a consideration. The fudge will get eaten, the towels are necessary and the album is not bulky and won't take up room.

From there we went to the Texas Opry Jamboree in Magnolia. To our surprise there were almost 40 people there from Rayford Crossing including Jay and Stella. They were all eating in the cafe and their seats in the theater were right in front of us. When the group was announced from the stage, we whooped and hollered right along with them.

The show was so enjoyable. It was a totally politically incorrect production and Joel Brewer who owns the Opry said if you come to the Opry you are going to get a celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, that's what Christmas is. He got a rousing round of applause. The nativity scene and songs at the end were heartwarming and done so beautifully. It was a wonderful end to our celebration here in Texas. Now it's on to Florida to celebrate with our immediate family.

About my eye ... It is getting better each day but I am supposed to use it for reading and it's not quite there yet. I see the doctor at 8 a.m. tomorrow and we'll leave right from there. Since we'll be in Conroe we're going to travel east over 105 into Beaumont and avoid all the interstate traffic during rush hour. We have reservations at one of the casinos in Biloxi. Do I dare hope to win enough to finance this trip?

We will meet up with Kara and family at Old Key West Resort for two nights at Disney. Kelly's family arrives the same night and will be at Kristin's house. We're doing Epcot Wednesday and on Thursday (Christmas Eve) we are taking all the kids and grandkids to brunch at Park Fare in the Grand Floridian Hotel at Disney. We plan to all attend our former church in DeBary on Christmas Day, have dinner at Kristin's and then Kara's family flies back home. The rest of us are staying on but I'll save that for another Post.

So there you have it - our Christmas 2009. God's blessings on you and yours. Travel safely wherever you go. I'll see y'all in the new year if God's plans match mine. Feliz Navidad.

Friday, December 18, 2009

An ode to my Ford Expedition

First let me say we lived north of Detroit for 16 years so we have an affinity for American made cars, especially those companies headquartered in Detroit, and specifically Fords. We found in Texas there are predominantly three types of vehicles - your ever present pick-up, the SUV and foreign sedans. We have two out of three, both Fords.

I drove to bunco on Monday and the gals contributed so much food for St. Anthony's Food Pantry that I had the entire back of the Expedition loaded and had to put the overflow on the second seat. Needless to say, the fellow at the food pantry was thrilled and so was I.

We had a great luncheon and our annual Chinese Christmas gift exchange. There were some beautiful things passed around. I got a squishy massage pillow that will be great while traveling. I intend to take it with me on Monday when we leave for Florida.

That evening Ted and five other people went down, and seven people came back, from the U. of Houston basketball game. Terry's son-in-law is the basketball coach for the team Houston played and they were in town for that. The Expedition will actually seat eight but I went to Lessons and Carols at church with Gerre. What a beautiful concert and service. We both enjoyed it.

I received an e-mail from Pat whose condo we will be staying at on New Year's Eve in Naples. She wanted to know what we would be driving because they needed a big car so everyone could ride together. Once again, my Expedition to the rescue.

And now I'm loading it up with presents, clothes, things Kristin bought while she was here, some household things for her and several kitchen items I'll need to cook dinner for 11 people at her house. When you live alone, you don't need service for that many people. There's plenty of room in my car.

So there you have it folks, my ringing endorsement of the gas guzzling SUV Obama doesn't want us driving around. When they give up their private planes, I'll think about giving up the car of my choice. I lived in Michigan, so I know Hell, Michigan has frozen over a time or two but .... well you get my drift.

We went to dinner with Terry & Carol on Tuesday since we won't be together over the holidays. Tuesday worked best because my eye surgery was scheduled for Wednesday. It was cancelled Wednesday with a phone call at 5:30 a.m. and then rescheduled for Thursday at noon with a follow-up visit at 1 p.m.!! They said everything went fine.

This eye was a little more irritated and wasn't in focus at all but my pupil was still very dilated. When I got up this morning I couldn't see any better out of it so I called the doctor. They had me come in and he said there is swelling but he wants to see me at 8 a.m. on Monday before we head out of town. He doesn't know why I'm not focusing better. He feels the swelling will be down on Monday but if it isn't they will dilate my pupil and take a closer look. I can see distance OK. The right eye is ignoring the left eye which is what it is supposed to do. However, I can't read with my left eye and that is what it's supposed to do. The doctor seems to think it will be fine in time. Let's hope he is right.

Well my neighbor just brought us soup, salad and bread for lunch because of my eye surgery and because she is just a great neighbor so I'm going to sign off. Hang in there folks, Christmas is just a week away.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lousy Weather Weekend

Thursday went as planned. I saw the doctor, had lunch at Tommy Bahamas, enjoyed coffee, dessert and presents with the neighbors and played Canasta with Gerre's group in the evening. I didn't know it was their Christmas Dinner night and I was pleasantly surprised. I'm glad I didn't eat before I went.

Friday was cold but we hooked up and were at the campground around noon. There was a fire going but the smoke was bothering my eyes and I didn't think the one just operated on should be exposed so I didn't hang there too long. Eventually I went back in the camper and played with my farm on Farmville. There were about 70 people in the rally hall for the spaghetti dinner. There were a dozen "pots" to choose from and this time we didn't run out. It started raining in earnest and everyone scattered for the night.

Saturday dawned warmer but misty. It never rained but it was never dry all day either. I think everyone was glad to have a dry, warm rally hall for our potluck breakfast. Afterwards, Ted and I went to Tommy and Susan's motorhome to see a fabulous quilt his sister made for them. It took two years and she used pieces of family members' clothes for the quilt. What a beautiful keepsake on so many levels.

We stayed there for a long time and talked about different travels and trips. They aren't retired so have to plan their vacations based on the amount of time they have off. They were interested in our time in South Dakota and are going back to read that part of my blog again. We had a fantastic time there and I think they would too.

I had toyed with the idea of coming home and doing laundry and start getting things together for Florida but decided there wasn't enough time to accomplish too much so I stayed at the campground. We had a great potluck dinner with ham, turkey, brisket and all the fixings and then some.

Afterwards we had a gift exchange which is always fun. However, everyone opened their gifts all at once and we didn't get a chance to see everything. That's the best part of some of the presents. Ted got a 3-pack of BBQ sauce and I got a nightlight. Then in another game Ted got two stacking Christmas baskets.

Rick and Brenda had come over from Timber Ridge and sat with us for dinner. They came back to our rig for a visit and gave us a friendship stone for our garden. Well, it's not really a garden, just the natural area in front of our house. I have two things for them from our travels but Brenda asked for one other thing that I need to make this week yet. We'll see them Saturday and I certainly hope I have my act together by then.

I woke up at 5:20 Sunday morning and spent the next five hours in the bathroom. Ted went on to church and brought some Pepto Bismol back. After four tablets I finally felt well enough to get dressed and help close up the RV. We were home before noon. I spent the day on the couch but finally felt well enough to eat in the evening.

I have my bunco luncheon today and my surgery Wednesday. I don't have time to be under the weather. I'm feeling better this morning, not 100% but enough to function. I'll stay clear of people in case I had a bug but it could just as easily have been something I ate.

It's raining again today and I can't wait to get out of here and head for Florida. I don't remember having so many yucky days in a row since I moved here. I'm going to follow the sun - hopefully!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

It's Still Cold Here!!!

Saturday's Wine Tasting was a hoot! This is one of the first parties of the season and everyone was in rare form. The weather has remained so cool that several fur coats showed up! Sherida's house is decorated literally from top to bottom. I don't know where she stores all of this the rest of the year. I love looking at it but would hate to take it down after New Year's. I am a minimalist this year. Front porch, sideboard in kitchen, poinsettias by the fireplace. I'm done! We won't be home on Christmas so I figured what I did was enough.

Sunday was church followed by non-stop football but the games fell way short of the exciting ones on Saturday. I'm trying to gather my things for camping this weekend and also for our trip to Florida. I have two piles started in the small walk-in closet.

Ted took my sweet potatoes to the funeral for me on Monday since he was going that way. That gave me more time to get ready and allowed me to go right to Michele's. She always has so much food that we have a hard time getting everyone to sit down and play. Between hands someone is always wandering off to get food and I'm as guilty as the next person. I didn't win or lose, just ended up in the middle.

We did some running yesterday. We picked up my ring appraisal papers, sought out a UPS truck to give the driver a pre-paid package and also hit Wal-Mart. I needed to get a pair of reading glasses for next week when my left eye gets fixed. I've been using it to read but after the surgery it will be great for distance, not so much for close up.

Gerre and I are still walking our three miles every other day. Today the jeans and sweatshirt weren't enough and I was cold the entire time. Ted left for Dallas and I met Susan and Vince for lunch. I had a plaque stand for her and she had a package for me. I came home and made lemon squares for tomorrow and e-mailed a grocery list to Kristin for Christmas dinner that I'll cook at her house.

Tomorrow is a doctor appointment for my eye, lunch at Tommy Bahamas followed by dessert and gift exchange at the neighbors and then another Canasta group to sub in. I need to have everything ready tonight for camping because I sure won't have time tomorrow to get it together. After I walk on Friday morning Ted will be chompin' at the bit to get over to the campground.

The weather isn't promising all weekend so we'll probably spend a lot of time in the rally rooms. There are close to 100 people coming and we fill up the place stem to stern.

I'll get back at y'all next week sometime. Until then, stay warm, travel safely.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

For This I Moved to Texas?

We kept an 8:30 am doctor's appointment in Conroe on Thursday. The girl did some looking and testing of my eye and wrote her findings down. The doctor came in and read what she wrote and said "this is good." Then he looked at my eye and said "this is better than good." So I'm doing well. He said there was no reason to delay the 12/16 surgery so it is still on.

From there we went to JCP and I was able to look all around the store and see without my glasses! Of course my eyes aren't seeing the same so it's a bit disconcerting but I am aware of the far vision I haven't had since grade school.

Friday morning I drove to the walking trail without my glasses and walked with Gerre. It was 42 at 8 am but had dropped to 39 at 9 am when I returned home. We headed to Conroe to look at an RV that is for sale and while there, it started to snow! Mostly flurries but they were reporting two inches in downtown Houston. We stopped at the Dollar Store, had BBQ at MacKenzie's and then thought we would stop at Social Security to check on Ted's application status. They were closed due to inclement weather!!!! The ground was barely wet. They would never go to work in Ohio or Michigan I guess. Inclement weather to me is 15 inches of snow and 25 below zero (all of which my kids have attended school in while students in Michigan).

So we came home and waited forever on the phone to talk to Social Security. Ted has never been notified that his application was approved. The fact that the interviewer was questioning him about his other wife Victoria had us concerned! We met at age 14 and 15 and will be married 45 years in April. I hope Victoria finds the correct husband. The lady I talked to said on January 7 his will all be in the system and to check on line on January 8. Let's hope she is right. Mine went through without a hitch but then I didn't have a second husband no one knows about!

I was able to get my hair cut and colored at the last minute late in the afternoon. When I came home Ted had fixed dinner for the third night in a row. I'm liking this interest in grocery shopping and cooking. He said a young girl had asked his opinion on ground beef. He asked what she was using it for and gave her his opinion and why. You could almost see the chest puff out with pride!

We covered my pansies last night. Good thing too because it is 29 this morning at 6 am. We have the Christmas Party Wine Tasting tonight. I am taking sweet potatoes and an extra bottle of wine. CASA (Court Appointed Advocates for children) is having a "wine pull" at their gala in February. We said we would donate a bottle for it. I worked with CASA for about three years when my friend Jean was the director. After she retired I lost touch with the organization. However, I'm scheduled to begin working with Junior Forum in the spring. Newcomers has sort of run its course and my friendships and groups are established. It's time to move on and broaden my horizons.

Stay warm. I'm trying to. They did say we'll be back in the 70s by the beginning of the work week. Let's hope they are right.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

One Down, One to Go

Kristin and I were up and out early on Sunday. Our first stop was Michael's where we purchased frames and mats for the pictures I have hung in my guest bath. Kristin has beautiful pictures and photographs all over her house and decided mine would look better matted. From there we went to Old Town Spring to Petals and Metals to look for a metal cross for her. The only one we found was $160, a little more than she was willing to pay. So off to the nail salon we went. And it was closed!! I don't know if it was just for Thanksgiving weekend or they have decided not to be open on Sundays anymore. Either way, we were out of luck.

So we came home and worked on the pictures and mats. The matting went fine but we both seemed to be mathmatically challenged when it came to hanging them. No matter what we did, we ended up with a dot in the wrong spot on the wall. Eventually we got them hung and then decided the burgundy mats on the small pictures were "too much" so she suggested I change them out.

Carol had invited us for dinner Sunday night so we headed over there. It was great to have someone cook for us and we all enjoyed the dinner. I was fading fast and we came home about 8:30. It wasn't long before we were all in bed because of the 3:30 a.m. alarm I set.

We had Kristin to the airport and were back home shortly after 5 a.m. so we both went back to bed. At 7:00 Gerre called and we agreed with the rain and cold we would skip walking. Ted got up so he could be at Rick and Brenda's to go downtown to help them unload their old motorhome and reload the new one. He videotaped the walk through so Rick can refer to it if he needs to recall some instructions.

I went to Susan's at 1 pm and stayed there until 3:30. When I left for home I called Ted to see if they were all back at the campground and he said they were still downtown. I was amazed they were still moving stuff from approximately 300 sq. ft. of space. Of course there were two people emptying and only Brenda trying to put it all away. It was after 6:00 when Ted got home. He was very tired and the trip to the airport hadn't helped.

Tuesday we went to Sam's to return some crab cakes that were being recalled. We received a phone call telling us to bring them back ... but Ted had already eaten two. They gave us our money back for the whole pack but no one ever told us what the problem is/was. We were looking for toys for our church giving tree and it became apparent Ted was looking for a boy toy and I was looking for a girl toy so we decided to buy two. He chose two Tonka trucks with moving parts. I chose a stroller/bed/diaper bag/carrier Princess Disney set. We don't have to wrap them, just put them in the bin at church.

Then we went back to Michael's to return one frame and mat and to buy two cream mats to replace the burgundy ones. I came home and changed them and they do look better. I'll hang on to the burgundy mats for use in my bedroom. Kara and Kelly and families had portraits made so I'm thinking just maybe two will end up in my Christmas stocking.

Today we were at the Conroe Surgery Center at 7:30 for my cataract surgery. The only hitch was it took four attempts before they got the needle in for an IV (in case I needed it). Turns out I didn't so I got stuck all those times for nothing. I was awake and heard the doctor fussing with a "chunk" he was trying to get with the vacuum. He told me when he was slipping the new lens in and it was all over. We were back home by 9:30. Everything is very cloudy out of my right eye but I can see better without my glasses than with them. However, my left eye needs the glasses for now. It will all work itself out I'm sure. We have to see the doctor at 8:30 tomorrow morning and then again next week. We'll discuss whether to proceed with the 2/16 surgery since we're leaving town 2/21. I won't be able to keep a one week post surgery appointment. If it's a problem, we'll just do the second one after the first of the year. It would be nice to get them done though so both my eyes are working the same.

I'm wrapping presents today and Ted is fixing dinner so it will be an easy day for me. Catch y'all "down the road."