Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hop, Skip and Jump Heading South

The day after Christmas we all went to Kelly's for dinner and spent some time with Shannon, John, Katie and new baby Cullin. You may remember Katie from last summer when she sang It's a Grand Old Flag in its entirety for the 4th of July. She will be 3 in February and sang Frosty, Rudolph, Jingle Bells and Deck The Halls for us. Then she proceeded to recite the Lord's Prayer and sang Jesus Loves Me while signing the song as she is being taught at Sunday School. Shannon says she is so smart she scares her.

We played some Mexican Train and another round of Catch Phrase and it was as much fun as Christmas night.

Tuesday morning we took Kristin to the airport for a noon flight and continued south. Kristin's plane was on time and she arrived home safely. We tried to reach Peter for three days and when we finally talked to his wife we learned Peter had been hospitalized for 11 days and was not able to have visitors. We are so saddened to learn of this development but had to respect his wishes. So we drove down 127 and stopped in Eaton for a short visit with Ted's cousin Pat. I took a couple pictures of the snow covered farms along the way. It didn't snow on us the entire time we were gone but we did run into about 3 minutes of awful rain right before we stopped for the night in Arkansas on the way home. It came and went very quickly but we were 5 miles from our exit and stopping anyway.

We arrived in Cincinnati in time to dress to go to Ted's sister's for dinner and to see Kevin and Barb. Mike and Kathy both had the flu so were unable to come. Peg asked us to pick up Aunt Eileen, age 83, and Uncle Bill, age 93, so they could visit too. Dave flew home from St. Louis just in time to eat. We had a good visit and some Skyline chili. It was good to see everyone but I forgot to take a picture!

Thursday we met two of my grade school friends for lunch. They just happen to be seeing each other now. Jerry's folks bought my childhood home when I was about 10 and he ended up in the same class in elementary school as Donna and I were. Donna went to school with me from K-12.

Afterwards we stopped at Sam's to get brats, goetta and frozen Skyline to take home with us in the two coolers we brought with us. Then it was back to Karen's for a short visit with their daughter Cindy and her husband Tim before leaving again to meet my niece Jill for dinner.

She is an excellent quilter and made us both Snuggies like you see on TV. I know they'll be great in the RV on cool evenings when we don't want to turn the furnace on. You are covered up but your hands are free to read, use the computer or hold onto the remote. We always enjoy our visit with her. She is such a sweet girl and looks so much like our Kristin. Once again I forgot to take a picture.

Cindy had brought over all she had collected for our family reunion goody bags for us to take home. We'll have more room in the RV and truck to take it all to Pigeon Forge than they will have in their Prius. When we got home from dinner we did some rearranging in the car to get things situated. Ted said we need a semi to get all this stuff back. I said we just needed to pack it better. We are full but we have it all in there.

We left at 8:16 Friday morning (one minute past Ted's announced departure time) and traveled southwest taking a different way home. From Elizabethtown, KY we took the Wendell Ford Fwy. to I-155 to I-55 in Missouri and south into Arkansas, west of Memphis. We believe this saves about an hour over going Louisville-Nashville-Memphis along I-65 and I-40. And there was no traffic. That was the best part.

We stopped in Brinkley, Arkansas for the night after being on the road for close to 10 hours. We checked into a motel, went into town for a BBQ dinner and then right back to the motel. I was in bed asleep by 9 pm. Ted said he didn't see the ball drop so he went to sleep before 11 pm. For those of you in the Eastern Time Zone, we in the Central Time Zone have to watch at 11 pm or we're looking at street sweepers in New York at midnight CST!

We arrived home today at 4:30, wished Chris a Happy New Year, then went to church at 5:00. I've been through the mail, paid the bills, and still have lots of unpacking to do.

Here is a picture from Kara's Christmas e-mail since she never got around to sending cards. She had overnight company for 9 straight days and nights so we'll just have to forgive her.

Here's my favorite picture and I've chosen the caption: "Here's lookin' at ya sweetheart!"

Wishing you and yours the best of everything in 2011.

Monday, December 27, 2010

What A Very Merry Christmas

The kids were up bright and early on Christmas but they had to stay upstairs until Mommy said it was OK to come down. Aunt Kristin helped them pass the time at the top of the stairs.

It's a good thing we took pictures the night before because it took no time at all for the room to descend into chaos.

Santa was good to me and Ted. We got new camping chairs, an I-Home for our I-Touch, Wheel of Fortune, Amazing Race and Bowling Wii games, another set of remotes for the Wii, a cover for my Kindle, Wii Fit and Board and a gift certificate for Amazon. Good thing we have the Expedition to get all of this home.

We had our traditional German breakfast of goetta and toast before we started preparations for dinner. Of course we had to have a "few snacks" for the company coming over.

There was another round of presents and more paper strewn about.

Kristin's friend, Dr. Varde (Sheetal to us) arrived with a huge fruit basket. She said she hoped we didn't mind but she was re-gifting it to us! That tells you how much she feels a part of our family. When it was close to dinner time, Kara noticed her neighbors were home. They are Chinese and usually travel during the holidays. She called them and they and their daughter Angela came to eat dinner with us. Sheetal and Kristin got within a half hour of eating at the adults' table but, alas, once again they ended up at the children's table. This is a running joke within the family too.

We played Catch Phrase and laughed until we cried. Some were rolling around on the floor laughing. Cassie told her mother that if we were playing Survivor she would vote her off the island after losing a point. No present in the world can ever be as good as having your family all around laughing and playing together.

Sunday we girls went shopping at Great Lakes Crossing. It has been 15 years since we moved from this area and I was amazed at the amount of Middle Easterners present. I thought I was north of Dubai instead of Detroit. I can really see a change in the demographics of this area.

We shopped Lord & Taylor where we found $108 cashmere sweaters for $20, Jones of New York where Kara tried on every pair of slacks in the store. She is very disproportionate top to bottom and is having a hard time getting clothes right now. Since she doesn't stay in a size for long, she doesn't want to invest great amounts in these transitional clothes. We found great bargains and she came home with two pairs of slacks, two skirts, a pair of jeans and several tops. We stopped at Strasburg Children and I bought gifts for Katie and Collin who we will see today. Shannon's parents have been so good to Morgan and Sam through the years that I wanted to reciprocate now that they have two grandbabies. Shannon has been part of our family almost as long as Sheetal.

We all met at St. Andrews for Mass at 5:00 (though some of us shoppers were a tad bit late!) and then went to Big Boy for dinner. It was the only restaurant that could put 11 of us all together right away. We had eaten at Olga's at the mall and weren't too hungry but the guys had all skipped lunch and were more than ready to eat.

Today is a "let's get our act together" sort of day. We are taking Kristin to the airport tomorrow for a noon flight and heading to Celina, OH. Kara is expecting more company passing through from Chicago to New York. We are having dinner at Kelly's later today so we need to have things ready for Tuesday morning before we leave for there this afternoon.

I'm glad we aren't any further east than we are. Those folks are having bad travel days!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Dashing Through The Snow - Not!

We left home leaving Chris in charge a little before 8:00 on Tuesday morning. It was already in the low 70s and from what I understand, continued on into the low 80s. We stopped at a Waffle House somewhere along 59 and arrived at our hotel outside Memphis around five. We used a Hilton Honors free night stay awarded to Ted last March for staying 3 nights at Hiltons in a certain time period.

After a nice breakfast included with our room we left about 8 o'clock and arrived at Karen and Ron's in Cincinnati around four. We had a nice evening visiting but went to bed early because we were tired from traveling. We had coffee with Karen in the morning and left about 9 o'clock. We stopped in Bowling Green for lunch and arrived at Kara's at two. The kids were all excited to see us and wanted to know if we brought presents for them with us. There was no snow until northern Kentucky but it was just residual from a storm last week.

Kara fixed a sausage and apple dish for dinner that Ted really liked and told Kara to give me the recipe. Afterwards she and I went to the mall for some last minute exchanging and returning ... and presents haven't even been distributed. We came home and watched Christmas Vacation and Jim Carey's Grinch before calling it a night.

Christmas Eve, Kara and I cooked and baked in anticipation of our Christmas dinner. Joining the 11 of us will be Kristin's doctor friend who she has been friends with since 1981. Allen picked Kristin up at the airport late in the afternoon and after dinner we all went to church. What a wonderful present to be all together. We stopped at Kelly's on the way home to say hello to her in-laws. We came home, got the kids in bed and watched Christmas Story and then were off to bed. I'll post pictures and more later. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Merry Christmas to All

Quiet weekend. Right! We were to meet Susan and Vince for lunch Friday but it was Rebecca's day to clean so they said they would just come over to our house after lunch. Then Vince had an unexpected Civil Air Patrol meeting come up so Susan suggested we meet them at the country club for dinner Friday night instead. That worked for us so that's what we did. Bob and Pat joined us and we had a really nice time with the four of them.

The lady buying the double mattress called Saturday morning and said she had borrowed a truck from work and wanted to come over around noon to pick up the bed. I was getting my hair cut early so that worked out too. The truck was dirty so I gave her a plastic tablecloth to put down first. One more thing out of here!

I was running out of time to see everyone so I called Jody to see if she would be home before we went to church. She was out but Dave said she would probably be back so we stopped and she was there. I gave her a gift and she gave me a nice basket of goodies that I'll be taking with me to Michigan. There was even a bottle of Riesling wine. Good friends know what you drink!

After church we changed our Chik Fil A routine and went to Jack In The Box instead. I think this is only the second time we've ever eaten at one even though they are all around. Our other time was in Honolulu back in 1985. I guess we weren't overly impressed way back then. We just had a burger before heading to bunco. We were playing for Terry & Carol in the St. Anthony Church group. Who should walk in but our neighbors Jeanette and Dick playing for another couple we know. You just have to mind your p's and q's when you are out and about. Everyone was in a festive mood. We had a lot of fun and it was almost midnight when we got home.

I spent Sunday getting ready for our trip and for my luncheon on Monday. Getting the leaves into the table, positioning the pads and then delving through the tablecloths to find the one that fits when it is fully extended takes longer than you would think. I set the table and then left for the grocery.

Once I got back I had a lot of chopping and cooking to do. I made a cheese, meat and fruit platter, bought a small circle of shrimp and made my pesto dip that everyone really likes. That was for appetizers. For lunch I prepared an antipasto salad, tortellini soup and bread followed by spumoni ice cream and biscotti. By the time the Survivor Finale came on, I was almost too tired to watch. I kept falling asleep.

Today's lunch went very well. Everyone brought food for our church pantry. Ted took it over right away and it filled two shopping carts. We all talked, had a gift exchange (I got a Christmas plate) and then had lunch. It all went well and everyone was very complimentary. Judy and Michele stayed behind to help me get dishes into the dishwasher and it helped a lot.

I have to finish getting the rest of my warm clothes together now. I've gathered up all that the kids left here over Thanksgiving and packed boxes with snack foods we can all eat when we're there together. The car is loaded except for my clothes so I better sign off before I get in trouble with you know who. Chris will be down tomorrow after we leave so I'll have to check in with him tonight before it gets too late.

May your Christmas be merry, your days be bright, and all your wishes come true.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

And The Beat Goes On

Tuesday night we met Tommy, Susan, Jay and Stella at El Chapparo for dinner. Afterwards they came back here. I made flavored coffee, put out my butter cookies and Ted fixed dishes of peppermint ice cream. Our four guests all took their turn at playing a bowling game on Ted's Wii. I think Tommy won. I had to teach him the "We did it" Dora dance. It's obvious he has no grandchildren! We had a great time with them.

Our weather Wednesday was perfect and we had a lovely day to help distribute the gifts to Women Shelter and Interfaith families. I saw tables & chairs, lawn mowers, mattresses, TVs, computers, bicycles and much, much more go out for about 200 families.

The most amazing thing transpired while we were talking to Marian from Junior Forum who is from Ireland. Her brogue is easy to pinpoint and Ted, being of Irish descent, was talking to her about where she is from and where his family is from. She told us of recently talking to a man in the supermarket line who had just visited a relative named Alice in Ireland ... who lived in the same town as Marian's mother still lives and Marian knew her. We continued talking and she mentioned her brother was 60, a doctor and becoming a priest. Ted and I looked at each other. We attended Mass last August in Gainesville, TX and there were two seminarians on the altar with the priest. One was an older, Irish doctor becoming a priest. It was her brother! The world gets smaller and smaller.

Today we had our Newcomers Christmas luncheon at the country club. Two tables of us "old timers" had agreed to go. Most of us don't do the luncheons much anymore. It was nice to see people I haven't seen in some time. The food was OK and the singer was very entertaining. The nice part was that they told us they were going to tear up all of our checks and pay for our lunch. What a nice surprise! I'm not sure that's fair to the rest of the organization that didn't attend but I'm not on the Board anymore so it's not my problem. While cleaning the pantry I came across a canister set I had and asked a Newcomer gal if she would want it since it matched her kitchen perfectly and she agreed. Turns out she was parked next to me and the switch was easy to make.

The people came tonight for the double mattress, box springs and frame but it wouldn't fit in their small SUV and they have to come back. I gave her a mattress pad and set of sheets since no one in our family will have a double bed anymore as well as the frame to take with her now. The newest sheet set I bought will go to my friend Judy who just bought a double mattress set for her daughter but neither of us knew what the other one was doing at the time. If she likes the bedspread, I'll give her that too. I'm in a straightening up, giving away, donating, tossing out kind of mood.

We don't have a big weekend planned. I need to get ready for my bunco luncheon here on Monday. Chris will be coming down before we leave on Tuesday. He wanted to know how to turn all the lighted decorations on. He's in his element again.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Still At It

Ted did not have to report for jury duty. When we called they said his date and time had been cancelled so that paved the way for us to continue on with all our plans. Susan called and invited us to join them at the country club for the Friday night buffet but we declined. It was just good to stay at home for a change.

Saturday we went to Mass and then met Gerre, Barry, Sue Anne and Tom for dinner. We tried a new restaurant but soon realized getting a table for six wasn't going to happen easily so we went across the street to a relatively new Italian place and had a great meal. We stayed and talked a long time with no one rushing us. Gerre and I walk and see each other all the time but to see Sue Anne twice in one week was a real treat

Ted went shooting on Sunday while I stayed home to get ready for Canasta here on Monday and made deviled eggs, a spice cake and some butter cookies. At 4 o'clock we went to the neighborhood party and I took my eggs there. I couldn't find wonton wrappers to make the Crab Rangoons and I knew I had what I needed for deviled eggs so I just bought an extra dozen while at the store.

Monday I got all three of the tables set with Christmas tablecloths and finished getting me and the food ready just in time. I tried to make it a little more festive than normal by purchasing two food trays from Randall's supplemented by some of my own things including the spice cake and butter cookies. They put a good dent in everything. My mango tea was gone but no one drank any flavored coffee! You just never know what they'll eat or drink. Anyway, I won my dollar back for being low. I just didn't have good cards but that's the way it goes.

Today we have to take Terry and Carol to the airport in the morning. Tonight we are meeting Jay, Stella, Tommy and Susan for dinner. We all plan to come back here to finish off the butter cookies and maybe even the spice cake. I have some peppermint ice cream too. We haven't seen Tommy and Susan since we all left the valley in October.

I put an ad on line in our neighborhood "newspaper" to sell our double mattress. I am replacing it with a queen size mattress. Both of our married daughters are used to sleeping in a queen bed so that will make it more comfortable for them (and anyone else) even though they don't come very often. The other bedroom has twin beds which works for the grandkids in each family. I could have sold the mattress several times over but a lady is coming to pick it up on Thursday night. I want to have some painting done so I won't get the new mattress until that is done. Chris normally sleeps in that room so he'll have to use a twin bed or sleep in ours which he has always refused to do. It's up to him!

Tomorrow Ted and I both are working at the pavilion distributing gifts to families idenitfied by Interfaith and the Women's Shelter. Yesterday the donations arrived, today they are being sorted to get each family's gifts together and marked and tomorrow it all gets given out. I'll get 4.5 service hours for Junior Forum. Hmmm ... I wonder if I can claim Ted's too?????

Friday, December 10, 2010

Whew! And Still Two Weeks To Go

Our lunch Tuesday was wonderful and Gail's house looked fabulous! It's a beautiful home to begin with, tastefully decorated, and her Christmas additions were breathtaking. She spends six hours alone doing her gold and white 10 foot tree. We were given gold butterfly ornaments and butterfly notebooks as presents. It was a most enjoyable affair.

Wednesday Ted and I went to church in the morning to the children's Mass. It is always so uplifting to see the little ones doing the readings, leading the songs and BEHAVING so well in church. That evening I met Sue Anne for dinner and left poor Ted to fend for himself. Our 5 o'clock date kept me out until 10 p.m. We did a lot of catching up. She is working for Hallmark and Lone Star College so we have little opportunity to get together.

I drove half of my neighbor ladies to Navasota on Thursday for our holiday luncheon. We went to Martha's Bloomers Cafe, garden store and gift shop. We had a private room and another great lunch. When we returned we met at Gracie's to exchange gifts and have dessert and coffee. Ida collected money from each of us for the Food Bank. Once the gift giving was finished I had to leave so I could get dressed again for another party!

Junior Forum's Christmas Party was being held and I needed to meet up with the carload of ladies I was riding with at 6 o'clock. We all had presents and gift wrap to donate to Interfaith and the Women's Shelter so we were totally filled up. I bought a doll and layette set as the gift and took three rolls of paper. There was a mountain of gifts when we arrived. In their normal efficient manner, when we left, the gifts had all been bagged up and put into cars to be transported.

We had an open bar for an hour, a delicious dinner and then entertainment by our own Merry Melodies, our group that goes out and entertains in senior homes, for organizations, schools, etc. What started as a Christmas Carol performance turned into a rendition of Mele Kalikimaka complete with the hulu and then another round with gals from the audience getting into the act.

After that it was a medley of all the dances you see at weddings and such where no one needs a partner. The dance floor was full and no men present was not a problem at all. It was a fun night!

After walking 4K with Gerre this morning, I now get to stay close to home the rest of today. I do need to go to the store to start food preparations for Monday's Canasta gathering here. I'm also making Crab Rangoons for our neighborhood party on Sunday afternoon. All that will keep me busy and out of trouble for awhile.

I have some gifts to wrap and I want to start getting things together for our trip up north. Chris hasn't been here to stay in so long that I wasn't sure he wanted to come back. But he jumped at the chance. His mother had back surgery and he has been out walking with her. He is a good son I guess but he likes when he spends time alone here. We're grateful for that.

After 5 we have to call to see if Ted has jury duty next week. That could put a wrinkle in our plans but we'll just have to deal with it if he does.

Remember, with all this partying, if you are going to drink, don't drive! God bless MADD who has raised everyone's awareness of the danger of drinking and driving and taught us to designate a driver.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

And So The Parties Begin

Ted talked to Jay on Friday and he invited us over to Rayford for bingo night. We weren't doing anything else and it would give us a chance to visit him and Stella plus all the Winter Texans we have met over the years. Jay suggested we meet at James Coney Island for a bite first. We always have a good time with these two and Friday was no exception. None of us won anything at bingo but Warren did make me and Ted "honorary" name badges for Rayford Crossing.

Saturday was church and dinner out with Terry & Carol. They had been trying to take us out for our birthdays since the fall so we finally made it. We had an excellent dinner at Perry's followed by coffee and dessert at our house to exchange Christmas gifts. They are leaving next week for Chicago and will be gone over the holidays.

Ted went shooting Sunday and I stayed home and did all my Christmas cards. I can't believe I am so ready for Christmas this early in the month. I've used our American Express points on Amazon and have just gone to town! I love the $0.00 due at the bottom of the invoice. I did order Ted a Wii and a Kindel for myself too.

It's been chilly here the past few days and that was welcome on Monday when I went to play Mexican Train. Sometimes Christmas sweaters are just too hot down here but not this time. My gift was a hand embroidered towel done by the lady who runs this group. I appreciated the effort that went into the gift. We had lunch afterwards and then I stopped at Sam's to buy bulk food for the food pantry at church. My bunco group always fills the back of my Expedition as our Christmas project and I wanted to have my things on hand.

Today is the luncheon for Junior Forum Provisionals at a home here in our area. Our Provisional Group this year is labeled "butterflies." Everything that has pertained to us - notices, invitations, napkins, announcements, etc. have had butterflies on them. Even Gail's Christmas card to all of us had butterflies. At one of the stops on our way home from Austin I found a beautiful clear lavender tinted vase with butterflies. I immediately thought of Gail and knew it would be a good hostess gift for today's luncheon.

I'll let you know how she liked it next time!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Meeting Myself Coming and Going

Monday was our last trip to DermaColor about eyebrows. I think both Michele and I are entirely satisfied with the results now. We had a morning appointment and I had plenty of work waiting for me back home from all the company the week before.

On Tuesday I went to my neighbors for their craft sale. They were supposed to be at the hospital craft show but it was cancelled so they just did it at home. I bought a purse and a photo box. As soon as I left there, I headed to the Hand Me Up Shop to work in the afternoon. They waste nothing and I spent half my time cutting buttons off clothes destined for the recycle bin. Apparently there is a big market for old buttons. The big ones are easy to get off but the smaller ones can be a dickens. I used my route home as an opportunity to drop off Kathy's ice cream scoop, Judy's pie plates, Kathy's folders and Sherida's wine carry-all. Now the top of my dryer is cleared off.

My pantry was in a real state after everyone left so I took everything out, threw some stuff away and got it back in order. Then I tackled the double linen closet in the hall. Now I'm ready for the next call from Paralyzed Veterans. I love getting things orderly. I got the Christmas decorations out of the attic and decorated as much as I am going to. I don't do a tree, just the tabletops, mantel and front porch. If I wasn't having bunco and canasta here, I probably wouldn't have even done that.

Mealtime has been easy because we had so many leftovers. After warmed over turkey and turkey sandwiches, I made a turkey pot pie that turned out really well. By then we had shared the table with that bird all we cared to so I threw the last little bit, all dark meat, in the garbage. So long Turkey 2010.

I had to work at the Children's Immunization Clinic on Thursday so I set the alarm for 6:30. This was my first time at Tomagwa (Tomball, Magnolia, Waller) clinic and I had a lot to learn. I was amazed at all the shots kids need! We have to mark off on a sheet everything they have already received based on records we have or records they bring in, then determine what they do need. But you have to pay attention to age (are they old enough or too old), is the time lapse between the last one and this one enough? I was glad to learn a nurse goes over the sheet before the immunizations are given. Whew! They had me worried there for awhile. Then there is filing to be done and sheets to be filled out so the records can be put on the computer. In no time at all it was time to head for home.

I stopped at Wal-Mart for some toiletries and to get a boy's and a girl's present for the church tree. I found a Disney princess table and two chairs by a sign that said $19. Then I found a Matchbox Car Raceway for $19. When I got to check out the table was $27. I told the lady about the sign and she charged me $19. Some little girl and little boy will be happy I hope.

Back home I was wrapping up all the rest of the presents and I'm in really good shape. I ordered a lot off Amazon so those things will be arriving soon. Rebecca came today (thank you Lord!) to get all the sticky stuff off the floors, walls, furniture, etc.

So my house is clean and decorated, laundry is under control, presents are either here and wrapped or on their way. The weather is pleasant and the sun is shining. Now I just have to get to those Christmas cards.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

So Much To Be Thankful For

What a week this has been. Last Monday I got my hair cut and went to the grocery for the third time in anticipation of our company and Thanksgiving dinner. The kids got in at 10:45 pm so it was straight home and off to bed. Tuesday morning Allen had some work to do so we locked him in the office and took the kids to the park and then to the mall.

They visited with Santa while wearing shorts, something they've never done before.

We had lunch at Chik Fil A and then went home. In the evening Kristin, Kara and Allen went to see Harry Potter and Ted and I took Morgan and Sam to see MegaMind. Since our movie finished an hour before theirs, we took the kids along the Waterway to see the dancing colored waters, waterfalls, mosaics and to hear the Christmas music.

Kara and I had lots to do on Wednesday so Ted, Allen and Kristin took them to play indoor neon miniature golf in the dark. They had a great time, especially with the Air Cannon until Grandpa shot Morgan in the face. Bad Poppa! Then they went to the NY Pizzeria for lunch. Meanwhile back at the ranch, I had set the tables with Kristin's help before she left and Kara and I were cooking away.

We finished up and got dressed just about 3 p.m. when her friends arrived from Dallas. They were staying at the Fairfield Inn but spent most of their time here with us. I had leftover chili, leftover taco soup and BBQ so I put it all out for dinner and everyone helped themselves.

I already posted about our Run Thru The Woods on Thanksgiving morning.

We all ended up back at the house mid-morning. Later in the day Terry & Carol came for dinner as well as friend Judy, Mike and son Mark. I had 15 in all. It was a very good dinner if I do say so myself!

I begged off the 4 a.m. shopping and called when I got up at 7. They were at the mall and I expected them back but it was much later before they came for me. I only went to two stores with them before coming back home. Ted and I had to take Kristin to the airport. On the way home we stopped by Willie's to see that the party room I had reserved for Kara and her friends was indeed ready. They pulled in right behind us, things were OK so Ted and I came home.

Saturday we had to get everything all gathered up for everyone to leave. We stopped by Terry & Carol's to see their new house. Kara wanted some Mexican food so we had a late lunch at Casa Imperial before heading to the airport. They were not getting home until after 10 pm and Lord knows the airlines don't feed you anything. After we dropped them off, we came home, went to church and then I tore through the house and before bedtime had all the sheets laundered and changed with six of the rooms dusted and vacuumed.

This morning I finished up the kitchen/breakfast area and did some laundry. I also started wrapping some gifts because my closet is so crowded I can't walk into it anymore. My bedroom and bath are on tomorrow's agenda before I leave here at 9 o'clock.

At noon I met Teri, Carol and Kay at the country club for brunch and then we went to see Singin' In The Rain a musical production performed at a nearby auditorium. The food and performance were both terrific. We had a great girls' day out.

Don't forget to thank "the powers that be" for all the things we have to be thankful for. You don't want to turn in prayer and have the answer be "do I know you?"

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Another Morgan Story Before I Post The Week

When Kara and Allen changed planes in Atlanta on the way down, their 40 minute layover had turned into 20 minutes due to a slight delay out of Michigan. Allen sprinted off to get to the gate to make sure they held the plane. He gave the boarding passes to the gate agent as Kara and the kids caught up with him. When he tried to board, the same agent asked for his boarding pass. He told him he had given all four to him which the agent denied. A slight "disagreement" ensued until the gate agent checked and informed Allen he was "on board." Then he told Allen to just get on. Sure enough a lady who had dropped all her travel documents in front of Allen was sitting in his seat having been checked in with Allen's boarding pass. She moved and all was well.

While we were watching Home Alone and it came to the airport scene where the mother is frantically trying to get back to the U.S., Morgan, age 6, piped up with "That's how my Daddy acted when they lost his ticket."

We laughed and laughed. Out of the mouths of babes.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Let's Hear It For The Old Broads!

Just a quick update to let you know Kristin, Kara, Gerre, Lora, Mary Kay and I completed the 5K Run Thru The Woods today. However we were walking at a good clip. Gerre and I did it in 54 minutes, 6 minutes under our normal time. She is 62 and had a stroke a few years back and I have an artificial hip.

Now I just have to get dinner on the table for 15 people this afternoon. And they want to go shopping at 4 a.m. tomorrow. Did I mention I was 65 and have an artificial hip?????

Monday, November 22, 2010

So Much For Disney

We went to Wind Down Friday night. There was a good crowd and all my shrimp was eaten. I like when that happens. Nothing to bring back home. I had a long discussion with Becky, an immigration lawyer, on immigration. There are no easy solutions to this problem though I still contend if we didn't hire illegals, provide them with Hud housing, free medical, free education, food stamps, WIC, etc. there would be a lot less reason for them to come here. If I can put my SSN, birthdate and last name into the .gov site and they are unable to find me if anything I've entered is wrong, how come employers can't do the same thing and know immediately that they have been given false information. I'm just thinking out loud here.

We went to church at 5 o'clock on Saturday and then to Eden Cafe to eat. We had a Groupon coupon that we bought for $10 that was worth $20 of food. I've only bought three of these Groupon coupons but the first one worked just fine. The next two are for B1G1F indoor miniature golf and $20 worth of pizza for $10. We'll be using them this week with the kids and I'll let you know if they work as easily as the first one did.

Sunday Ted went shooting and I worked on Thanksgiving and Christmas stuff. There is so much to get out and assess. I buy things all year long and then forget what I have. I'm in pretty good shape it seems. At 6:00 we joined the Newcomers Dining Out group at a new restaurant that opened up on Sunday just for us. It is very nice, the food was very good and we had a delightful time with Michele, Stan, Alton and Sally at our table. Alton is my "boyfriend" because he always brings at least one bottle of Riesling to Wind Down and it is just for me.

Today Gerre and I once again walked the 5K/3 mile track across the highway. It is still taking us just about an hour. Since Gerre is going skiing on January 1, we have both decided we're never going to shave that 12 minutes off our time to just squeak by at Disney so we're abandoning those plans. There is another walk advertised in our packets that we might consider. We're just not into the "rank and yank" of marathons/runs/walks, etc.

This afternoon I got my hair cut and then we went to Sweet Tomatoes to meet Rick & Brenda and Jay & Stella. As a surprise, Patrice & Mike joined us. Except for Rick & Brenda, the other four are at Rayford for the Thanksgiving weekend. We have joined them in year's past but there's nothing like having your kids and grandkids over for Thanksgiving.

Kara and family arrive tonight at 10:30 and Kristin arrives tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. We're excited to see them. Morgan called me from the airport to tell me she was going to get on a plane to come see me and she wanted to sleep in the flower bed. She means the twin bed with a floral bedspread. I'm pretty sure she doesn't want to sleep outside with the pansies.

I want to wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving. Don't forget to make that two words Giving Thanks. If you live in this country, no matter what your situation is right now, you are better off than a large percentage of the rest of the world. Many have given all for the rest of us. Never forget.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Great News

While I was stimulating the economy (shopping!) on Wednesday, Brenda called and wanted to get together. Their time here is short and ours is busy so I told her to call Ted and let him decide what to do. I could stop shopping at anytime. I had already run into Teri while I was buying two sweaters and three tops and I really didn't need to buy anything else. Ted called and said to come home because we were going to meet Rick and Brenda at Willie's. On my way out of Macy's I ran into Gail, my neighbor. That Macy's One Day Sale was attracting lots of shoppers.

We had a very nice lunch at Willie's and I checked out the party room and its proximity to the sandbox. I've reserved it for Kara and her entourage of Tour Guide Mike Disney friends from this area for the day after Thanksgiving. One of her friends, her husband and son are having dinner with us on Thanksgiving and another is joining us all in the Run Thru The Woods Thanksgiving morning. Apparently there are more lurking out there that are showing up for dinner at Willie's the day afterwards. She said 25-30 people.

The four of us came back to our house and sat on the deck until dinnertime. Their motorhome is parked on the street at his sister's but they are staying inside her house. She fixes dinner each night and they needed to get back. I'm not sure if we are going to see them again or not before they leave for Louisiana and Mississippi where they are spending the winter.

Thursday I did laundry and worked on my lists for the Christmas gatherings I am having here. Then Ted and I went to Kroger's for the turkey and some more things for the kids' visit next week.

When we came back, Ted heard from Dr. Chang's office. He told Ted he is constantly amazed at his numbers. He hadn't seen lab results like Ted's in over six months. They were like an 18 year olds, albeit an overweight 18 year old. EKG was perfect, cholesterol was 126, PSA .08, liver function normal, sugar normal. He said he knows Ted doesn't exercise or watch what he eats so he must have good genes. Ted takes one Prevacid a day. Period. Dr. Chang just shakes his head. Ted asked him to tell me all this. He was soliciting a "told you so" from the doctor but Dr. Chang wasn't biting.

Today Rebecca is cleaning and Ted went to have his aorta aneurysm ultrasound done. It is one of the tests that Medicare listed as Ted being eligible for. Since his mother died from one and his brother and cousin each had one, Dr. Chang thought it would be a good idea to have the test. In January Ted will have another surveillance endoscopy to ensure his esophagus is still OK. He hasn't had a bit of reflux and we expect a good report there.

Tonight we are going to Wind Down at Terry & Carol's. She said 40 people were coming. Kroger had their $30 shrimp tray "buy one, get one free" so I bought two of those ... AND I got a $3 senior discount. So $60 worth of shrimp cost me $27. What a bargain.

Have a good weekend and I'll "see ya down the road."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Not Accomplishing Much This Week

I had given Susan two notecards I made at Stampin' Up to use as Thank Yous for our Austin hostesses. Kathy asked if I would make some Christmas ones for her bridge group. Sunday I went to Michael's to get the supplies and spent the afternoon measuring, cutting, pasting, etc. Kathy saw this picture and was pleased but I haven't gotten them to her yet.

I went to Michele's for bunco Monday and tried to get next year all set up. The gals were in high spirits and I only partially accomplished my mission. We've been together so long now that our routines are pretty much in place so I'll fill in the blanks and send them an e-mail about what we're doing for Christmas.

When I returned home Ted suggested we go see Jay's new truck. It sure is snazzy with chrome and pinstriping on the sides. His hitch had not been put in yet nor his plug. That was going to be done one day later in the week. He's had his issues with paperwork too. Besides all that, with a new truck the bedliner has to be sprayed in, hitch moved, plug installed and in Jay's case, the auxillary gas tank moved; ours was ordering and installing a V-gate in place of the tailgate. Jay is going to try to keep his original one for now. We did that for lots of years before we finally caught it on the trailer hitch and bent it all to h*ll and had to buy a V-gate. It became an issue when we sold the truck. So now the new one is in the box the V-gate came in stored in the garage. Lots of coordinating going on. It feels good when it is all done.

Ted had his annual physical with his doctor and had some routine tests run. He has to schedule one more and then hope they are all normal. I'm good until the first of the year and then I get to do all this too.

I was going to work at Keep Pace today but it was canceled because the building has mice (!) so is unsafe for the children and volunteers. So I told Gerre I could walk. She called this morning to cancel because she has an earache and needed to get in to see the doctor. Ted was supposed to golf with Terry but Terry is fighting a kidney stone and called to beg off. Three things canceled in one day.

Macy's is having a big one day sale so I'm going to go and stimulate the economy. It's the least I can do in light of all that has been canceled for today.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

It's Gearing Up to the Holidays

We didn't even put our suitcases away when we arrived home from Cincinnati. On Wednesday Ted headed to Beaumont after his men's neighborhood luncheon and that morning I headed to Austin. His was a routine business call; mine was a 10 girls getaway that had been planned since last May.

We all gathered at my house putting one car in the garage and one in the driveway so no one had to stay parked on the street. Loading up five in one car and five in the other, off we went with a stop at Starbuck's first on the agenda. A pit stop at Buckee's was the only other stop we made before making our way to the Caswell House in Austin. This mansion is owned by the Austin Junior Forum. They decorate it for Christmas with everything for sale and they serve lunch in the upstairs. After doing some browsing, and a little buying, we took our places for a very nice lunch. We were met by our two hostesses for our trip, Gail and Shirley.

We headed to Point Venture on Lake Travis about an hour NW of Austin in Leander, TX. Half of us were staying at Gail's beautiful home and the other half at Shirley's great condo. We spent the remainder of the afternoon on the porch of Gail's house overlooking the lake.

Then we all made our way to Shirley's for Happy Hour. She has deer running around in herds! They are very tame and aren't spooked by humans at all.

Then it was back to Gail's for dinner. We were served chicken and salmon that Shirley caught on vacation. I think she said it weighed 35 lbs.! Since we had all been dressed all day with the long ride, we decided to have dinner in our PJs and have a pajama party. The CMA awards were on the TV so we had music and a little dancing from some of the attendees. What a fun night it was.

Donna Marie and I took the twin bedroom on the lower level. We both slept soundly through the night. The next morning our hostesses cooked a wonderful breakfast before we departed.

One car was driving straight home, the other (mine) was stopping to shop. Since we realized we were now 1.5 hours away from the San Marcos outlets, we opted to hit the antique shops along 290 instead. We all gathered on the steps of Gail's house before saying goodbye to some great gals who were superb hostesses.

We stopped at several little towns along the way and before we knew it, we had the entire back of the Expedition loaded down with birdhouses, wind chimes, planters, decorative items, metal pumpkins, velvet pumpkins not to mention our luggage. We had a very late lunch in Carmine at the JW Steakhouse. We had the place to ourselves and it took awhile for our food to come out but it was well worth it. We had another fun time trying to sort out all the purchases when we got home in the dark.

Just to be sure I didn't get too much rest, I was up bright and early on Friday to work at the Children's Festival at the pavilion. We had to be there at 7:30 for our instructions on how to herd 4200 children from school buses to their seats. Some groups had to move to different venues but ours stayed in one spot for all three shows on the main stage so that made our job easier. We had one bloody nose and a poked eye but the group had their own nurse so we didn't have to take anyone to First Aid. Once the third show began we were able to go eat our catered luncheon. The school I was assigned to had 640 children on 12 buses and they were the last to leave. It was 2 o'clock before I headed home.

But wait ... it wasn't over yet. We were invited to a birthday party at the country club for Maria, one of the gals from Junior Forum who was on the trip. Husbands were invited so at 5 o'clock we arrived for some more festivities. It was a great get together and she got some funny gifts including a foul-mouthed talking parrot! It was over at 8 and by 10 I was in bed.

Tonight we'll go to church and then we play Canasta. I hope to put my feet up tomorrow but with shopping, baking, cleaning, wrapping, etc. staring me in the face, I doubt I'll stay in that position too long.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Did You Miss Me?

Last Monday I played Mexican Train with a new group. I was a few minutes late and they were in the middle of a practice game. When they finished we started in earnest and later two ladies wandered in and joined us in the middle of the game. Then another lady had to leave. I thought "what the heck?" We don't need to be regimented but let's all be there to start and stay until we finish. This group may go the way of the new Canasta group!

I had a dentist appointment on Tuesday and CPR training for Junior Forum on Wednesday. Then on Thursday we were off to Cincinnati. Karen & Ron picked us up at the airport and took me right to a bar where my grade school friends were meeting. It is owned by the son of a former classmate who was a police officer and died unexpectedly last year. We sent out for pizza and had a great time visiting. Ted took Karen & Ron out to eat and I got a ride home with two of my oldest best friends, the other two Donnas!

Friday we had to be at the church for rehearsal at 6 o'clock. They chose Sacred Heart in Camp Washington because they didn't care for the priest at their parish. This guy was so crabby I hate to think how bad the other one was. To make matters worse, the bride was sick and we were having rehearsal without her. He was very particular about how I read the reading and stopped me several times. Nephew Eddie said "if he stops Aunt Donna one more time she is going to come down off that altar and belt him." We finally finished up and headed to the Westin Hotel downtown for dinner. It was a very nice affair but I was certainly glad to get home and get into my jammies. My feet are used to sandals and flip-flops, not closed shoes and they were yelling the loudest.

Our daughter Kelly, along with her husband Pat and granddaughters Cassie and Ally, arrived and we took them Christmas shopping. Everyone knows you can't shop for a teenage girl and expect her to like what you picked out. We managed to get a coat and two sweaters for Cassie and a dress and two pairs of shoes for Ally. We snuck in a LaRosa's pizza for lunch before going home to get dressed.

They joined us for Mass at Karen's church and then we all headed to Sacred Heart for the wedding. Thank goodness Beth was feeling much better. When they handed me the program I noticed that I was listed as doing the Second Reading from the New Testament, not the first reading from the Old Testament. I was looking for the other reader and she was looking for me. We decided to just switch readings and she would go first reading mine and I would go second reading hers. We figured the priest couldn't say much during the ceremony if he didn't like how we were reading. Everyone said we both did fine, Scott and Beth are husband and wife, so all's well that ends well.

The reception was a noisy affair as they usually are. I have such a big family and it is only at weddings, funerals and family reunions that we get to see many of the others. It was so nice to say "I'll see you next summer at the reunion." Ally and Cassie had a ball dancing with all the other young folks. No one needs a partner anymore. They can't wait for next July when they are coming back for Amy's wedding.

Sunday morning we took everyone to IHOP for breakfast/lunch (due to the hour change) and they headed home to Michigan. We went back to Karen's, grabbed our two baby shower gifts, and were off to Nicole's shower. Ted and Ron watched football. We were able to talk to the female members of our family without screaming like at the wedding. My niece Rhonda died unexpectedly at age 47 in 2002. The shower was for her son's wife and was a melancholy time when a little girl who was 4 months old when Rhonda died, gave Nicole an outfit and rattle that Rhonda had bought for her at her mother's shower right before she died.

We flew home today without incident and are once again playing catch up. A colleague and friend of Ted's from his Abitibi days died this past Saturday from a heart attack. He was the same age as Ted and they worked together for many years. Because he is being buried in Connecticut, we were only able to send flowers and condolences to his wife Kathy.

Life is filled with joy and sorrow. We experienced some of each this past weekend. It is good to be home safely.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween All You Witches and Goblins

I'm sure most of the festivities are over but some places are still trick or treating on the 31st so for those little ones the fun is yet to begin. My family had a big party in Ohio and I saw on Facebook where some didn't get home until 4:30! I can remember those days but I was MUCH younger back then!

Michele and I kept our eyebrow appointment. She did just a few touch ups on mine and then was re-doing Michele's entirely since it had been five years. While it didn't hurt me at all, Michele started fussing right away and she needed more numbing cream. I felt bad because I told her it didn't hurt at all ... and on me it didn't. She was very pleased with them when it was over so that's what matters.

Jay called on Thursday to see what we were up to but Ted had not arrived home from Dallas so we made arrangements to go to Mel's with him, Stella, Tommy and Susan on Friday night. We timed it right because we got the last table for six and by the time we left, the porch was full of people waiting. Mel's is a hole in the wall you would never stop at on a bet. It is where Barbara Walters interviewed the Enron whistleblower Sherron Watkins. But their biggest claim to fame is their food. None of it is any good for you but it tastes really good going down. Afterwards we went back to Rayford and had a campfire. It was a NICE fire in that it didn't smoke much and the little bit it did went straight up instead of heading towards me. Rita, Jim and Ed came to sit and we ended up with a big circle around the fire.

Friday morning I met Gerre at the walking trail and we did 5K in just about an hour. We need to shave 12 minutes off that to do the Disney 5K in February. For practice, she and I along with Kara, Kristin and two of Kara's girlfriends are going to do the 5K Family Walk in the Run Thru The Woods on Thanksgiving Day. While the Family Walk will let you take as much time as you need, Disney yanks you if you get off the pace. We are both going to do the trail by ourselves with no talking to see how well we do. I'm not sure she and I could walk together for 48 minutes without talking but if that's what it takes, we'll do it.

Saturday I met four gals at Black Walnut for lunch. We have known each other since I first moved here and we have all gone in different directions. We picked this date awhile back and put it on the calendar so we would make it happen. Of course we did more talking than eating and we decided to meet again in January after the holidays are over. Friends and family are too important to let the busy part of life keep you apart. You need to make it happen.

We went to church and out to eat with Terry and Carol afterwards. It is getting dark so much earlier now and the heat and humidity are pretty much gone. It was so cool in the morning that our heat came on. We have a nifty thermostat that keeps the house between 74 and 65. If it gets hotter than 74, the AC comes on; if it gets below 65 the heat comes on. It didn't stay on long because once the sun comes up it warms up quickly. It got to 80 degrees by afternoon.

If you get any Butterfingers or popcorn balls while you're out there trick or treating, send some my way. My kids used to beg people to give them something else because they knew I would steal these two items out of their bag. Bad Mommy!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Now THAT Was A Long Day

The weather has been delightful here though now it is getting really dry and we could use some rain. But I'll take these cooler (by our standards) temperatures. We are allowed to vote early in Texas so we went on Friday since Rebecca didn't come and afterwards went to Culver's to grab a burger.

We ended up meeting Jay and Stella for dinner Saturday night at El Chaparral Mexican restaurant, a new one close by. This venue has been several things but never made a go of it until now. The food was great and the guitar player was even better. I think we may have found a new favorite.

We went to church early on Sunday and stayed around the house the rest of the day. Rebecca had changed her day from Friday to Monday so Ted ran a lot of errands while she was here. I worked in my office getting things done.

I was up at 5 a.m. on Tuesday. I picked Jacque up at 6:15 and we proceeded to Starbucks to pick up Susan, Janeen, Pat and Donna Marie. We had to be at the Junior Forum office at 7 a.m. to leave for Orange, TX.

As soon as the bus pulled out we were given ham and cheese burritos and juice for breakfast. We played a game a good part of the way. Everyone had to write something no one knew about them and others had to guess who it was. I was guessed as having graduated over 50 years ago and being the shortest girl in my class. Those clues weren't me. But I won a bottle of wine when no one knew I sold my name to a company I worked for to use in promotions and advertising. To this day I don't know if they ever used it.

Our first stop was the Stark House, a distinctive three-story 1894 Victorian mansion. The owners, W. H. and Miriam Lutcher Stark, owned the Lutcher and Moore Lumber Co. They both died in 1936. The house stood empty until 1976 when it was restored and entered in the National Register of Historic Places. The house had never been damaged nor vandalized. The furnishings had been stored in warehouses. Thanks to a former nurse and housekeeper, much information was available as to the appearance and placement of the belongings. It was a wonderful way to start our day.

Next we went to the Stark Museum of Art. Many Remington and Russells were on exhibit along with a couple Georgia O'Keeffe paintings. The docent gave pairs of us a word and we had to identify a picture that depicted that. Jacque and my word was LONELY. We chose an Indian standing on a snowy mountain holding his dead son. The docent said there are no wrong or right answers. She praised us for noticing the child in his arms because many people miss that.

We moved on to Shangri La Botanical Gardens & Nature Center, 252 acres in the heart of Orange, TX. It features over 300 species of plants in nine formal gardens. It also includes a Nature Discovery Center, a laboratory and three outdoor classrooms. We were told our admission helped pay for 75 school children to visit the Nature Center and includes their transporation there.

We were given box lunches of chicken salad croissants, chips, cookie, raisins and drink. We ate outside in the garden in very pleasant sunshine.

There were 126 scarecrows decorated by businesses, schools, organizations, etc. scattered throughout and we were asked to vote on our favorite. There were so many great ones it was hard to choose.

No day is complete without shopping so our next to last stop was at Paragon's Gift Shop. All Halloween items were 50% off and I found a metal magpie, dressed as a farmer for my front porch. I put him out there this morning and he looks nifty.

Dinner was at the Sunset Grove Country Club. It was served buffet style and was very good. You have no idea how much loud chatter 48 women can make!

It was about 9:15 when I finally got home but it had been a delightful day and worth the small sacrifices I made. I would like to go back to Orange to revisit these venues and take a bit more time to see them more thoroughly.

Ted left this morning for Dallas and I played Canasta. We still have several new people playing and it is a bit trying when several people don't know the rules just yet. But they'll learn in time, we just have to be patient.

With Ted out of town I stopped by the country club for Happy Hour with the girls. I forgot about Survivor and didn't set my DVR. It was half over when I got home! I've not been into this season for some reason. I can't get enthused about any of the contestants.

I have to be at Michele's at 8:15 tomorrow morning. It's her turn to get her eyebrows touched up and we're going together again. Emily will take a look at mine to see if they need any touching up. No one has mentioned them so I'm confident they look very natural.

I've not planned a big weekend so we'll just see what develops.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Home Again and Paperwork on Truck and Trailer - DONE!

I promised you some pictures once I got home. Here is Ted trying to perfect his delivery on the Wii bowling game.

Here's a panorama of the Red Hat luncheon. I'm practicing with my panorama feature on my new camera.

Here are the HitchHikers all in a row. Ours is the first one on the right with our new truck parked in front of it. We had almost 80 rigs but that's really down from the 20o+ that attended in Missouri and Oklahoma the times we attended. The 2008 was cancelled because it was to be held here and Ike messed that up. We chose not to go to Illinois last year but we are going next year to Tennessee.

This is a shot of the potluck we had in the pavilion next to our site. My pork loin and yeast rolls were all gone so I guess everyone liked them.

We didn't have to be at the rec hall until 11 o'clock on Thursday for a talk by Sherry and Kevin, her son, on where the HitchHiker International Group is going. When Don and Dolores finished their contract with NuWa, no new wagonmasters were hired. This put a tremendous burden on Sherry & Larry's company who worked so closely with them. With Larry's passing, it became an even bigger job for Sherry and Kevin. They did a great job pulling it all together. Granted, different chapters of HitchHikers jumped in to help but I think that's a good thing. So for now we are scheduled into Lebanon, TN (outside Nashville) next September.

Ted and I went to the bank and out to lunch. When we returned it was time for the ice cream social and the Wii bowling roll off. Ted made it into the finals but came in third. The winning man bowled 202, the winning lady 208. We enjoyed the Wii so much we are considering getting one for ourselves. We just received our American Express Rewards Christmas catalogue. We may just treat ourselves to a Wii, Bose Sound Deck IPod player, a Flip video recorder and a Nook or Kindle for me. I don't think we've used any AE points since the late 90s when we used them for our Alaskan cruise. Maybe it's time.

There was a Texas BBQ for dinner followed by a 3 piece group entertaining. We stayed until 9 but I was tired because I got up so early and Ted wanted to watch The Mentalist so we left. This is the line for our BBQ dinner.

We buttoned up this morning, bid our farewells and were home in the house before 10:30. So of course laundry and mail took center stage. I am happy to report that the check from Goodyear arrived. They reimbursed us for the RV damage repair, the G tire so we could move the RV back into storage, the two nights at Rayford campground and the four H tires we had put on the trailer. We had to pay for the new rims. That took care of the trailer. In the mail also was our truck title. We had received a letter from Ford saying our truck was paid in full but we hadn't yet received the title. Now that's all done. Next on the agenda is inspection of my car and we should be done for a year. The EZ tag and insurance were all taken care of previously. I dislike getting mired in paperwork like that.

We have no weekend plans other than getting everything back where it belongs. Ted is going to Austin next week and I have a trip to Orange, TX scheduled. Another busy week ahead.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Week Is Winding Down

We had our Red Hat Luncheon on Tuesday followed by the owner of an Herb Farm here in Montgomery speaking on the ease of growing herbs and how to use them in cooking. Right! Two of my favorite things to do. But she was cute as a button and I enjoyed listening to her. The men's luncheon was going on at the same time but Ted was on the lookout for the 2011 trucks coming in. The sales manager at Anderson Ford had a death in the family and didn't make arrangements so only GMC and Dodge showed. Ted was aggravated because at that time it looked like a "no show."

Our entertainment that evening was a fellow and two girls doing 50s music. They used a lot of audience participation and were a hoot! People were in gales of laughter. There was some nice dancing music too so we and others danced a bit. In between, we were all trying to get a better score on Wii bowling. So far my highest is 178 but that's nowhere near high enough to be in the bowl off.

Wednesday we had a catered breakfast followed by some seminars. Ted had a conference call so I listened to the Mor-Ryde independent suspension talk since Ted is considering adding that to the trailer. Then a lady from the Montgomery Extension Office talked to us about portion sizes in managing our eating. She told us to read the labels carefully using muffins as an example. The numbers they have listed are for one serving ... but the muffin itself may be three servings so you need to multiply those numbers by three! So 200 calories per serving becomes 600 for the whole muffin. Sneaky.

We were all waiting for Mike Mitchell, owner of Nu-Way, to arrive with two trailers for people to check out. He had not arrived when Sherry came to Ted saying the trailers were here. Ted called the factory and got authorization to sign for them. He and Stan then proceeded to set them up. Ted called Gullo Ford and they brought two dually trucks over so all four vehicles were lined up for inspection. Anderson Ford called and apologized profusely. They offered Ted a free detail on his truck as an apology.

In the meantime Debbie from Stampin' Up arrived and we got her set up for her class. Most of the ladies had never stamped so I was kept busy helping people while I tried to make mine. They seemed to enjoy it and had lots of laughs as they tried their hand at being creative.

Mike arrived and spoke to us about the direction of the company and where the HitchHiker International Group is headed. They always had paid wagonmasters for these rallies but they aren't doing that anymore. He hopes Sherry and her son will be able to continue on without them. With Larry dying this past year, Sherry and her son are still feeling their way. Lots of changes.

The Haulin' HitchHikers invited Mike to a happy hour at the pavilion next to our trailer. He came and had a beer with all of us. He calls us the Outlaws for some reason. Since bingo was going to be at 8 o'clock, about a dozen of us left about 6:30 for Fajita Jacks. A margarita and too much food later, we all came back (I had already missed Survivor!), but had a headache so came home. Ted went down to the bingo. I was in bed by the time he came back a big winner. He won a year's membership in the HitchHiker International Club ($25 value), 25% off next year's rally (about a $65 value) and $224 in cash. I'm glad he went.

I'm up early this morning since I went to bed so early last night. Today will be busy as we do all the activities and prepare for tomorrow's departure. We have such a long trip home.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hanging Out in Montgomery

Last Friday Ted drove the trailer to the park and I stayed behind getting my things together and drove up in my car. I needed it for my trips back home this week.

Ted had great fun Friday through Monday driving the golf cart and parking people. I told him I could get him a workamping position doing that but he said he wasn't looking for another career. It gave him lots of time to sit and BS with all the guys from the Owner's Forum while they waited for arrivals.

Twenty of us went to dinner Friday night at Vernon's Catfish. They did a great job with such a big group. Some had never had chicken fried steak or chicken fried chicken let alone fried okra! I had grilled catfish.

On Saturday night we took over 60 people to the Opry. We sent them in three different waves so it wouldn't overwhelm the little cafe. We heard many compliments and no complaints about the home cooking. Everyone loved the show. Of course Joel told them this was the most fun they were going to have in a metal building in the middle of a cow field. We were recognized twice from the stage and everyone joined in the whooping and hollering.

We drove to Plantersville to St. Mary's on Sunday to a little wooden church built 100 years ago by German immigrants. It is painted so beautifully inside and reminded us of The Painted Church near Kona, Hawaii. I've never been to the Painted Churches out near Schulenberg and it's really something we should take the time to do.

We ordered pizza for the Haulin' HitchHikers for Sunday night and everyone gathered in a pavilion next to our site. It's a good group and a nice size that allows you to meet everyone. We know many of them from other rallies.

Monday I drove in to play bunco with my group. It was afternoon before I returned. That evening we had our Haulin' HitchHiker meeting and potluck, again in the pavilion next to us.

Afterwards there was a welcome meeting for the entire rally group but I snuck out and watched Dancing With The Stars. I figured no one would miss me but Ted said several people asked where I was. I'll go to tonight's entertainment but I probably will miss Wednesday. It's Survivor night you know!

Today is the men's Greasy Hat Luncheon and the ladies Red Hat luncheon. I've borrowed a hat from Wanda my neighbor and will wear that with a red shirt. Ted checked in with the dealers and they are all still on board to bring their 2011 dually pick ups for the men to check out. They will also speak at the luncheon about the new urea tanks required on the trucks and all their features.

I've taken a few pictures but the download is too slow here so I'll publish them after I get home. I still think there's a country western song to be written about rallies. Sort of "you can't get drunk on Saturday night 'cause all the rigs look alike."

Until later.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

80 HitchHikers and Counting

We had a fun time playing Canasta on Monday. Kathy came laden down with all sorts of appetizers, nuts, desserts and drinks. I went ahead and took care of the coffee and cups so she didn't have to mess with that. I didn't win but that's OK, I played well.

Ted headed to Austin before everyone arrived so I was alone for the rest of the day and evening. That's nice every once in awhile. It gave me all Tuesday morning to lollygag around also.

In the afternoon Ann came by to pick up the coffeepot for Continental Breakfast since I won't be attending in November and while she was here, Irene stopped by. She is a floral designer and is going to rework the big shell dish I have in my master bath. In the midst of all of that, Ted came home. He was here long enough to say hello and goodbye as he left to shoot in his skeet league.

Everyone finally left and I had a half hour to pull myself together and get to the country club for dinner and an Austin Girls' Trip meeting. There are 10 of us going on a package that Susan bought at the gala last year. Janeen and I are going to be drivers. I'll tell you all about it after the fact.

Wednesday I was back at the grocery and into the kitchen. For the Trinity Episcopal Seniors bingo and luncheon, I was to make a goulash casserole. They provide the recipe so it's not too hard to do. I also bought stuff to make Taco Soup for our dinner. Once I got the casserole together I started right in on the soup. Tasted darn good too.

I had to be up bright and early this morning because I had to bake the casserole before I left here at 8 am. There was another BIG CROWD at the church. We had a lot of bingo prizes (that we ladies all donate), an accordian player entertained since the theme was Oktoberfest and lunch was the goulash, green beans, rye bread and German chocolate cake.

I didn't eat there because it is my neighborhood ladies' luncheon date and I met up with them at Eden Cafe about a half hour after they all arrived. They all had birthday cards for me and an old neighbor who moved away had come and brought all five of the October birthday ladies a dozen roses each. What a beautiful gesture!

Tomorrow we head to Montgomery TX for the International HitchHiker Rally. I have this afternoon to get my clothes and food together for an early morning departure. Since we're close to home I'll be back and forth taking care of some commitments I have around here. I may even be staying over night a time or two. It just depends on how things work out.

I know there's a lot of Indian summer around so enjoy it while you can and I'll talk to you later.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Tea Party, Canasta and Cooking

Friday night we went to the Tea Party. I printed tickets out on my printer. They were free instead of $10 because we are "seniors." I'm liking this free stuff. Ted dropped me off with our two chairs while he parked the car. No problems at all. We ran into friends and sat right in front of them where a tree was casting a bit of shade. There was presentation of the colors, Pledge of Allegiance, patriotic music and singing plus speakers. The ones we came to hear were Michael Berry, Laura Ingraham and Andrew Breitbart. The message was basically "Scr*w you, Obama Administration. We don't like your socialistic agenda and we, the people, aren't going to be silent and polite anymore." To prove his point, Andrew asked everyone who was politically involved in 2008 to raise their hands. No one. Then he said "and there are 5,000 of you here tonight." If nothing else, voter apathy is not a problem now. That's good for both sides I guess.

It was a beautiful night and I shook hands with Laura. She raved about where we live and I told her not to mention it on the radio because we have enough people here already. It was later than we anticipated so we stopped at Culver's for a burger before heading home.

Saturday Ted went shooting. We went to Mass, Chik Fil A and then Canasta. Our normal Saturday procedure when we are going "gaming" on Saturday night. We had to come back towards our own neighborhood to play at the home of the Martins. I won 2nd prize, missing 1st by 30 points ... out of over 25,000! Bummer. Even though we only sub in this group, I offered to do November for them since they didn't have a hostess. The problem is they need for someone not to play so we can sub in our own home. Susan will let me know.

With no big plans for Sunday I got the cooking bug. I made goetta and toast for breakfast (no big deal) then proceeded to make beef stew, cornbread and strawberry shortcake, all from scratch, for our dinner Sunday night. This doesn't happen often but Ted enjoys it when it does.

Tomorrow I'm hosting Canasta here for a gal who lives in an apartment and doesn't have room. I only have to get three tables ready. She will bring all the food and drinks. Rebecca cleaned Friday so it's not a big deal.

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. I've read on Facebook about beautiful weather over most of the U.S. Maybe you had a chance to go leaf peeking where you live.

Friday, October 8, 2010

First Week as an Official Senior Citizen

Well, this isn't so bad. I don't look or feel any different. So far, so good.

We came home Tuesday from San Antonio without incident. Instead of going to Rayford to unload and clean, I put everything in the truck and cleaned before we left. The only thing to get out at the storage place were the refrigerator/freezer items. The truck backseat was filled. I always try to leave our arrival day and the next day free so I can get through the laundry, mail and put things away. This is exactly what I did the rest of Tuesday and all day Wednesday.

Thursday morning I attended the Continental Coffee Club. I'm a chairperson but miss so many gatherings because of being gone. The gal who hosted had the most beautiful yard and lovely Halloween decorations up. Her food and drink selections were extraordinary. I don't know where some of these gals get all their energy. Maybe if I stayed home more .....

I left there and headed to the dry cleaner where I took a pair of slacks to be hemmed that I am going to wear to the wedding in Cincinnati. They are very full and it is hard to tell whether I'm wearing slacks or a long skirt. I feel the outfit is dressy enough for a wedding. I'm doing a reading so I have to walk to the altar while everyone watches. Argghhh!

Last night I was invited to the country club by Susan for a Pearl Party. It sure was classy. The whole dining room was done up in white and black as if for a banquet. The chairs were covered in white with big black bows on the back. There were candles and white fresh flowers as centerpieces on mirrored tiles. Each place had a small white box tied with a black ribbon. Inside was a pair of 8.5mm pearl earrings for each person.

There was an open bar, beef tenderloin and rolls, wrapped asparagus, spinach triangle pies and luscious fig and pear wraps. The fellow gave a 10 minute talk on growing and harvesting pearls, how they are made into jewelry and how to take care of them. Then they gave away five nice prizes and you were free to shop ... or get up and leave. A great evening at no cost.

I did buy a gift for my sister-in-law but I didn't need anything. Mary told me at our age need has nothing to do with it. If we wait until we "need" something we won't spend another dime in this lifetime. That's probably true but I still didn't buy myself anything.

Today Rebecca is cleaning and we plan to attend the Tea Party at the Town Center Park tonight. It will probably be a mob scene so I'm not sure if we'll be successful in finding a parking spot and a place to stand. I'll let you know next time.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Fall Weather is Here in San Antonio

We bid goodbye to our friends in Mission and then continued to enjoy our private Garden of Eden for two more days. I never realized how spring-like fall was in the valley.

We went to the grocery and did laundry on Friday but on Saturday we went to Palmfest at the McAllen Convention Center. What a beautiful building and grounds. We didn't know what to expect but it was free with free parking so we thought we would check it out.

There were many booths and we found a few more places to visit next time we're down there. We also won a visor, two water bottles, a bag clip, etc. at different company booths. We saw a magician, a guitarist and sat on bales of hay eating a sandwich while a Tejano band played.

There were things for sale and I bought a necklace. Ted looked at the Dodge Ram 3500 but didn't tell the salesperson he just bought a Ford F-350! It was sort of a fair, fiesta, carnival, home & garden show all in one.

We left at 3:30 to go to church at 4:00. Fr. Roy made it down the aisle with his walker to a great round of applause. Of course three dogs circling him didn't make his trip any easier. He told us Auggie (his main dog) has cancer. Then he pointed to another black lab who is Auggie's brother and said "Chunkly hasn't been to Mass in 9 years but he's been coming ever since my surgery. So if a dog can figure out in times of need you should turn to God, don't give up on your kids!" Instead of a cowboy song at the collection we heard Jimmy Stewart reading "A Dog Named Beau" that he read on Johnny Carson's show in the 80s. We're going to miss Fr. Roy next Sunday.

We left Mission Sunday morning and drove 281 north into San Antonio. Once we got set up Ted went to register at the World 75th Skeet Shoot. We cooked hamburgers on the grill and watched Amazing Race.

I cleaned the RV Monday (my 65th birthday!) while Ted shot in the morning. He came home for lunch and then we went back late afternoon for him to shoot his second round. Unfortunately he didn't do so well and we were able to leave for dinner right away. No shoot off. After a nice dinner at the JB Brewhouse we came home to watch Dancing With The Stars (and the football game during commercials!).

It doesn't sound like much of a birthday but it was great. Thanks to Facebook I heard from over 50 friends and relatives. Three girls I started kindergarten with in 1950 sent me wishes, friends from OH, MI, FL and TX did too. Nieces, nephews, godchildren, all sorts of relatives chimed in. I loved every minute of it.

Today we head for home. We'll put the RV away for about 10 days and then head to Montgomery, TX for the HitchHiker International rally. Since we're part of the Haulin' HitchHikers group, we have work to do at the rally so we'll be there a full week. We have over 30 attending the Opry Saturday night and a nice number for the Stampin' Up class. The golf cart rentals are in place so we can lead people to their site when they arrive.

Fall is in the air here in San Antonio and by the temperature at home, it's probably the same.

October's Party
Author: George Cooper
October gave a party;
The leaves by hundreds came-
The Chestnuts, Oaks, and Maples,
And leaves of every name.
The Sunshine spread a carpet,
And everything was grand,
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.

The Chestnuts came in yellow,
The Oaks in crimson dressed;
The lovely Misses Maple
In scarlet looked their best;
All balanced to their partners,
And gaily fluttered by;
The sight was like a rainbow
New fallen from the sky.

Then, in the rustic hollow,
At hide-and-seek they played,
The party closed at sundown,
And everybody stayed.
Professor Wind played louder;
They flew along the ground;
And then the party ended
In jolly "hands around."

I may have shared this with you all in the past but it's worth repeating. I hope you enjoyed it.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Adios Amigos

I don't have a lot of news but I have some pictures to share. So I thought I'd "blog" again.

Jay took his truck to the dealership and now has a new water pump. Ted went to lunch with the McAllen newspaper folks and I stayed behind while everyone was gone. I'm so enjoying the butterflies and hummingbirds. In the afternoon we took a walk across the bridge into Mexico. We didn't go far or stay long but had no problems.

This morning Ted, Susan and I went to the Butterfly Farm where we saw more butterflies and enjoyed the birds at the feeding station. Then we made plans to stay here until Sunday before heading to San Antonio for two nights. Ted will shoot on Monday. We tossed around many different plans and finally decided on that. Mike and Patrice stopped by this morning. They arrived last night and are taking delivery of a new Bighorn trailer today.

Our friends are taking off tomorrow. Susan and Tommy are heading home instead of Rayford to handle a family situation. Jay and Stella are going to Palacios to attend her high school reunion this weekend and will move on to Rayford at the beginning of the week. We'll see them all again soon.

Here are a few pictures that Tommy cropped and worked with the color and sharpness. I wish I had his knowledge and equipment! He was fussing because some pictures were not as crisp as they should be. I told him trying to catch a butterfly or bird sitting still isn't easy.

If you look closely you can see the grackle has the green jay by the tail.

Here is a nice picture of a green jay. They are very common in this area.

This is a better picture of one of the hummingbirds that are frequenting our feeder.

And this is my favorite. The butterfly is looking right at me. You can see his/her antennae and legs.

We'll be here alone after tomorrow morning. A handful of RVs have arrived since it is 10/1 so we're not all alone. We have spent lots of time in San Antonio, most recently over Labor Day, so I'd rather stay here for the weekend.

Maybe the frost is on the pumpkin where you are!