Monday, March 29, 2010

The Bluebonnets are Blooming



Despite the cool weather we have had, especially at night, the bluebonnets are blooming. I saw my first of the season in the median along 242. Ted said the hills around the airport are full of them. They are actually right on time so I guess Spring is really here.

I didn't do a whole lot while Ted was gone to Atlanta. Sometimes it's just nice to stay home and do little things you get behind on when life is busier. I grocery shopped and found some pillows for the couch in the family room at the shopping center. When Ted returned home, we stayed in and ate dinner at home Friday night.

Saturday I started the laundry and we went to see Abe at the wine store about what we need for next weekend. We went to church at 5 o'clock and then played bunco with the church group. We are getting to know these folks better and we had an enjoyable evening.

Sunday I finished up the laundry and put together a tray of lasagna for a funeral today. I have to bake it for one hour before delivering it to church. Unfortunately there is another funeral tomorrow so I have to go to the grocery to get something to prepare for that.

In the evening we met a group of about 20 people for dinner at Goose's Acre, an Irish pub along the waterway here in The Woodlands. This week will be busier because of the funerals and preparing for the Wine Tasting here next Saturday. Last night's weather report said rain on Saturday. Let's hope they are wrong because we really want to use the deck for the Wine Tasting. Also, Ted is grilling and I would hate for him to have to do that in the rain!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stephen F. Austin State Park - Sealy, TX

Tommy and I have been fussing with this video trying to get it to post to my blog. I think I finally did it!

Those who know me know I'm not a big fan of campfires because of the smoke and the smell on our clothes and in the rig afterwards. However, as cold as it was, it became a necessity last weekend.

I'm happy to report we are up in the 70s with sunshine now and I hope it stays that way. What a winter this has been.

I filed my taxes, laid out a blue print for our summer trip and touched up the paint on our fence. Other than that, I've not done much the past two days. Ted went to Atlanta this morning and won't be back until Friday. I have nothing planned other than straightening some closets and doing a little shopping. I have the CWJF Gala to attend, Sam's First Communion and a wedding in Cincinnati in June. It's time I gave some thought to what I am going to wear.

You have to click on the little arrow to make the video play. Disregard Jay's remark about Stella's anatomy. She makes a great coconut cream pie!

video

Monday, March 22, 2010

OK, I'll End the Suspense

After talking to Susan and to Stella, we decided to brave the cold and head out to Stephen F. Austin State Park in Sealy, TX. We took I-45, the Beltway and I-10 to get there. When we pull the RV we go through Magnolia, turn south towards Waller and Brookshire and pick up I-10 for just a few exits. It's a much more enjoyable ride and cheaper since we don't have to pay any tolls. They can get expensive when you are pulling a trailer with the added axles. In fact, we came home the back way because I-10 traffic was getting heavy.

We met some new folks Gene and Linda from Austin who turned out to be terrific people. Linda took charge of lunch even though everyone brought stuff to share. We had Sloppy Joe sandwiches, sliced brisket, calico beans, home made potato salad, cole slaw, lots of appetizers and banana pudding and brownies for dessert. They had a campfire but it was still chilly in the shade, especially when the wind was blowing which was most of the time. It was nice and sunny with a clear blue sky so we just made the best of it. Tommy took some Flip Video and sent it to me but I can't get it onto the blog. I'll keep working on that. So for now you won't see me in my earmuffs and gloves!

Stella's brand new chair got blown into the fire and the top of it was burned. Before anyone could grab it there was a 6 inch round hole burned through to the foam. They looked long and hard for those particular chairs and it's a shame that happened.

We all discussed our traveling plans and when we could hook up. Susan and Tommy spend occasional months at Rayford and so do Jay and Stella. We're close enough to drop in and visit them and when time permits, we pull the RV over there to stay awhile. Our plans for going to the valley at the end of September are shaping up. We always have a good time down there and I'm anxious to show Tommy and Susan around.

After much talking and eating we decided to head back home from this beautiful park. We had intended to camp there this week but Ted is going to Atlanta Wednesday and that screwed up our plans. I had some pills to get from Stella from her drug run in Mexico after we had left them in the valley. To my surprise and delight, she had made a coconut cream pie to share with me!!!! When we go to Tony's in Sealy the portions are too big for me to have a piece of pie. We ate at Furr's three times in the valley and they never had coconut pie when I was there. I thought for sure we would go to Tony's and eat. I was determined to finally get my pieces of pie but then they said we were eating at the campground. Stella specifically told me not to stop at Tony's before coming to the campground.

She packed up half the pie and some cool whip. As soon as I got home I had a piece and shared a second piece with Ted. However, he knows that third piece is mine and I'll eat it for dessert tonight.

Thanks Stella. The pie is terrific as are you as a friend. See ya down the road!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

First Day of Spring in Spring, TX - 44 degrees!

When you find Al Gore, smack him upside the head for me. Winter is never going to end this year. I was warmer in Michigan earlier in the month than I am right now. The wind is howling, the heat is on, what gives?

I had a date for a St. Patrick's Day dinner. Terry called and asked me to go to dinner with him (since Carol was in Indy and Ted was in Fort Worth) along with our friends Dave and Jody. I told him I was going to the club at 3:30 for Happy Hour and would meet him there. I arrived and he was on the balcony with Dave and Vince. I sat with all the girls in the bar as we normally do. Next thing the guys are eating sandwiches so Jody and I ordered a quesidilla to split. Around 7 we all decided we weren't hungry and everyone went home. I told Ted his brother was a lousy date and we all had some laughs over it.

Thursday was Wine Tasting at the club and we were invited by my friend Teri and a new fellow she is dating. Another widowed lady joined us as well as Terry, Dave and Jody. They serve about six different wines and little bitty portions of appetizers. They were very good but by the time the bill came I was having a hard time doing a simple math problem with the bill!

Friday night was Wind Down and I was about "wined" out. I had a glass or two then switched to iced tea. It's hard to eat appetizers on Friday in Lent unless it is shrimp, cheese dip or deviled eggs. I took the eggs and they were all eaten. But NO ONE brought a dessert. Chantal always makes one but it was at her house so she didn't need to make a dish. I was so disappointed because I love my desserts.

Yesterday we stayed home all day and went to church at 5. I put a tenderloin in the oven to start while we were in church and we ate at home then stayed in the rest of the evening.

Today we are supposed to drive to Stephen F. Austin State Park to visit with some of our camping friends but it is 39 degress and I'm not sure I want to go sit outside in this kind of weather.

I'll let you know what we decide next time.

Friday, March 19, 2010

In Loving Memory

You may recall that Ted's nephew was killed in a motorcycle accident last summer. Today, Rose, his first wife of many years and mother of his children (and our great nieces and nephew) died after a long battle with ovarian cancer. She was a gracious and forgiving person and loved by all. We are saddened by her passing but relieved she is no longer in pain. Her children have lost both parents at the young ages of 53 and 50 in a span of less than nine months. Please remember them all in your prayers.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Canasta, the Pope and Bunco

When we were gone we received a voicemail from Alicia asking us to sub at Canasta Saturday night. The next message said they had called Terry & Carol and they were subbing. I was disappointed since we had no plans but on Saturday afternoon Alicia called back. Wayne had taken ill so he and Pam could not play. We were still available and it worked out for everyone, well, except for Wayne.

We went to church at 5:00. Terry & Carol were there but their pew was full when we arrived so we sat with our neighbors Jeanette & Dick. Afterwards we went to Chik Fil A for a sandwich and then headed over to Alicia & Owen's house.

They had four tables (16 people). We play four games and change partners each time so you get to visit with everyone. It was Owen's birthday so we had some cake and ice cream afterwards. Ted and I were 5 points apart in score but didn't win anything. That's OK. We played well and had fun.

Sunday Rick & Brenda came over. They are traveling from Rockport, TX to Memphis, TN to work for his brother for a few months. We had only this one day to get together. Last year we tried to go to the Funeral Museum but it was a Monday and it was closed. So we picked that to do, wondering if it would be macabre or depressing. But it wasn't at all.

It had lots of caskets (technically 6-sided) and coffins (technically 8-sided) and hearses from plain, simple carts to more elaborate carts and sleighs, all pulled by horses to some very expensive and notable hearses such as a 1973 Mercedes that conveyed Princess Grace of Monaco in her 1982 funeral.

This is a "if I can't take it with me, I'm not going" casket. There is over $600 in money embedded; however, I'm sure the coins are now worth way more than face value.


These fanciful ones are hand painted Ghanaian coffins, the largest collection outside of Africa. Most churches frown upon them.


This is a 3-person casket built for a couple who intended murder/suicide after the death of their child. They changed their mind and the child was buried alone. When the man died the wife asked for a refund from the original funeral parlor. It had changed hands three times and they said "no."



There is a 1916 Packard funeral bus that could carry the coffin, pallbearers and 20 mourners. In San Francisco on a hill it tipped over sending everyone including the deceased onto the street. It was retired and ended up in this museum.

There were areas for Egyptian mummies and sarcophaguses (sarcophagi?), the Mexican "Day of the Dead" celebration, an exhibit on the funerals of most 20th century presidents, Elvis, John Wayne, Sinatra, Gandhi and many others. This is a funeral badge from the funeral of Abe Lincoln.


Embalming came into vogue during the Civil War and a section is devoted to Dr. Holmes who invented it and how it is done.


The next two photos are traditions that have gone by the wayside - a funeral in the private home parlor and a quilt made from the ribbons attached to the funeral flowers.



There is a large exhibit on the death of Pope John Paul II. All the pomp and circumstance that surround a Pope's death, how the chambers are sealed and the ring of the fisherman smashed are explained. There is a section on the process to elect a new pope while the funeral for the deceased pope is being planned. The deceased pope is first put into a cedar casket, then into a lead casket that is soldered shut and ribbons and wax further seal it. Then it is placed in a Douglas fir casket for interment. I didn't know the pope wore red shoes but it is part of their official dress. Apparently John Paul II didn't wear them in life but he wears them in death. Benedict XVI wears them regularly it said. They also had the British Popemobile on display.







After the museum we went to Cheddar's for dinner. Again it was very good, very crowded, very noisy. Then we came home and sat out on the deck until dark when Brenda & Rick left.

Monday was bunco at Carol's house so Ted and Terry went to hit golf balls while we girls played. Afterwards I went shopping and came home with a few new things. I'm just not much of a shopper and didn't stay out long.

Ted has gone to Fort Worth today and will be back on Thursday. That gives me a couple days to myself. Tomorrow is an early Happy Hour in honor of St. Patrick's day. I don't like green beer. I wonder if they'll have green wine?

Til later.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

I've Surfaced

It would be so nice if all junk mail disintegrated one day after hitting your mailbox. If you really wanted it, you would have 24 hours to take it out. Otherwise, poof, it would be gone. I had to empty the shredder twice yesterday. And the Medicare thing is heating up in anticipation of my birthday next fall. I already know what I'm going to do so I wish there was a way to shut all that off.

We received a notice from TX Dot that our trailer went through a toll booth without paying. Seems the driver taking it back to Arizona didn't mind whizzing on by. We filled out a form saying we had sold that vehicle so I hope that clears it up. We did receive our new vent and graphic that they owed us for the new rig. Once we change those two things out, Ted will be a happy camper.

I had a nice time at our neighborhood ladies' luncheon on Thursday. Next month is my turn to pick out the restaurant. I have two in mind but I have to check out the feasibility of taking a group of 15 women there who all want separate checks. Not every restaurant is that accommodating.

Afterwards I went to Susan's for a get together but I didn't stay long. I walked with Carol to her house to get our mailbox key. I ended up talking to her and Terry for quite awhile. So we called Ted and asked if he wanted to go to Sweet Tomatoes for dinner. We have a hard time getting together with them where we can actually talk so it was a nice evening.

Rebecca cleaned on Friday while I dealt with the mail. Then Sherida called and asked us to go to a St. Patrick shindig at Fleming's Steakhouse. We would have loved to have gone but it's Friday in Lent so we declined but thanked her for the invitation. Ted had salmon croquettes and I had mac and cheese all the time knowing how good Fleming's steaks are. It's a small sacrifice but one we're willing to make just six Fridays a year.

Last night we watched Dateline about a Cincinnati murder where a lady killed her doctor husband. When they recapped her life they said she went to a Catholic high school and my high school came on the screen. How surreal! She grew up in the 50s so I think we're close in age. She was a high school drop out so she didn't graduate from there. I looked at my four year books and she isn't in any of them so I would guess she came after I graduated. I guess she wasn't paying too much attention when they taught us not to kill!

I forgot to tell you all that spring is definitely coming. We found daffodils in bloom at the rest area in Forest City, Arkansas and the Bradford pears and dogwoods were blooming all the way home through Texas. Get those annuals, fertilizer and trowels ready folks.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Welcome to Texas

It was good to see that sign when we crossed the state line from Arkansas into Texas in Texarkana. We are gone for longs stretches lots of times but then we are usually in our RV with our own bed and our clothes put away in closets and drawers. Living out of a suitcase just isn't the same.

Last Sunday we attended church with Karen and Ron. Their son Terry and daughter-in-law Lynn stopped by to give them an update on the cabin at the lake where they had spent the weekend (without facilities). Ron is anxious to get it open because Karen won't go down until she has "facilities." They plan to do that this weekend.

Then their daughter Cindy and husband Tim came by to see us and show me what she has gathered for the 2011 family reunion. We chose the shirt and bag we'll buy in bulk. She also had a lot of "giveaways" to put in the bag. I need to work on getting some of those too. They stayed for supper so it was a nice day and evening.

Ted called his sisters and they and Kathy's husband Mike met him for lunch on Monday while I met with my friends for lunch. Donna, Donna, Donna, Cookie. It's almost like stuttering but we started Kindergarten together in 1950, graduated high school in 1963 and we can pick up like no time has passed at all. I had a great visit.

We headed out early Tuesday and drove to west of Little Rock where we spent the night. Wednesday we finished up, arriving home about 2 p.m. Here's where the saga of the post office starts again.

In December and February they did not hold my mail for the two week stretches we were gone. This time they started holding it two days before we left but I let that go feeling at least they were holding it. Terry checked the first week and we got mail 3 days in a row. I called the post office, had a "chat" with the guy in charge who assured me they had a tub of mail already that they were holding for me. Guess what I found in the mailbox - 54 pieces of mail! They are absolute idiots at my post office. Now I know why the term "going postal" has become synonymous with losing it!

Kara went to the doctor yesterday and he said she is perfect, exactly where she should be at this point. However, Morgan got sick at school while she was at the doctor and had no one to go pick her up since Kara was all the way downtown. It's times like this that she and I both wish I was closer. A neighbor came to the rescue and by evening Morgan seemed to be doing OK.

I did get through some bills and things out of the 54 pieces of mail we had yesterday but today that "tub of mail" will be picked up by Ted and I'll have another go round with it. I have a luncheon and party today too so I need to get moving.

Talk to you all later.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Super Pumped

A second comment has been placed on my Don't Eat the Bluebonnets entry. One of the authors has read my blog and commented. I'm so pleased!

I'm Pumped


Check out the comments on my Don't Eat the Bluebonnets post. The illustrator sent me a comment! How neat is that? I did share all the pictures with the kids because Morgan was sitting in the front row reminding me to "show us the pictures, Grandma." I was so happy to share part of Texas with those kids and teachers and delighted to hear from Bill.

Kelly and family made it over on Friday night to see us before we left. She had a cold all week so stayed away so Kara would not catch it. Cassie had come home from college on spring break so the whole family was there. I learned two new things this trip. 1) how to use my cell phone as an alarm clock and 2) how to "rip" a song from a CD onto my computer so I can download it to my ipod (which I don't have!). We have an ipod docking station in the new RV so they think I need one. Ally "ripped" a Steely Dan song off of Allen's CD to show me how I could get all my Patsy Cline songs onto my computer and then onto my ipod when I get one. Hey, I think they can teach this old dog new tricks.

We left Kara's Saturday morning and drove to Centerville to visit Peter and Ethleon. They are both close to 90 and experiencing some difficulty. They were so happy to see us. We only stayed a couple hours but it was a great visit. We promised them we would stop again in June when we're in the area.

My nephew's father-in-law died and was buried yesterday so they called to tell us where they were all gathering afterwards. The Irish have no corner on wakes with my German family. We arrived before 3 and it was 10 before we got to Karen and Ron's. It was a sad occasion but gave us the opportunity to see many people we see only at family reunions every two years. Rest in Peace, Kenny.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Don't Eat the Bluebonnets

Today is our last day in Michigan. Kara is doing well and today she added a little tuna on small crackers. It doesn't take much to fill her up.

Once we got the kids off to school this morning we went to the mall to get a dress shirt for Sam for his First Communion. I bought him a black sports coat in Hidalgo, TX and he has new khaki pants. He picked out a tie so we took it all with us to get the shirt. He's going to look spiffy for his big day.

Then we went to Gymboree where I got two outfits for Morgan - one for Easter and one for her birthday. We checked Pottery Barn Kids for Star War sheets for Sam but we missed the sale so we'll wait. I did find a new set on Ebay so Kristin is watching that auction and we may get them there.

We were "secret readers" in Morgan's class this afternoon since Allen had to change his trip to Lansing. I chose the book we gave them after their Easter 2008 trip to Texas. It's about a cow who eats the bluebonnets and the next year they don't grow back. I'm sure it was written to impress upon the children to not pick the bluebonnets so they can re-seed themselves. I started by telling the kids where we live, the difference in weather, and about our wildflowers that bloom in the spring. The bluebonnet is our state flower and the Hill Country and the Piney Woods of East Texas are famous for their beautiful fields of bluebonnets in April. Ted said he thinks even the teachers enjoyed the story.

We brought the kids home with us so they didn't have to ride the bus. We called Kelly and she was on her way to Saginaw to pick up Cassie for her spring break. Hopefully we'll get to see them all later this evening.

We are stopping in Centerville, OH tomorrow to see the fellow that Ted replaced at Abitibi in 1984. Peter is now 90 and having some problems so Ted wants to see him while we have the opportunity. My nephew's father-in-law died this past week and the funeral is tomorrow. Depending on our timing we may be able to catch up with the family wherever they are gathering after the service. We will be staying with Karen and Ron again for three nights.

The weather has been fairly pleasant this week. No more snow, lots of sunshine and temps in the 40s. However, I'm still ready to get back to Texas.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Sam is Doing Much Better

This morning Sam went to the pediatrician. She was grateful he did not have meningitis which is what she suspected when she sent them to the ER. Purpera is an autoimmune reaction to an infection. What we perceive as bruises are actually inflamed capillaries. He is on antibiotics and needs to have a urine test once a week for six weeks to insure his kidney capillaries are not involved. This is a rare side effect but they want to be careful. Never a dull moment around here.

After the doctor appointment Kara and I had to take pizza to Morgan's class as a lunch reward for having the most parents at the last PTA meeting. Everyone was surprised to see Kara out and about looking so well. Her surgery was one week ago today.

Ted and I went to the grocery and then Kara and I fixed a turkey breast and fixings for dinner.

Not much else to share but I wanted you all to know Sam is OK.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wacky Wednesday

Tuesday went just as planned. We got the kids off to school, the cleaning ladies came and went, Barb came for lunch and it was great to see her. The kids get home at 3:30 and Morgan has to be at dance at 4:30 so it's a quick turn around time. Kara and I dropped her off while Ted stayed with Sam. We went to the vitamin store, the drugstore and then picked up pizza at Jett's for dinner. Sam was complaining that with all the food brought to us and my and Ted's cooking, there hadn't been time for take-out (translation pizza). Since we had such a busy evening we accommodated him. Allen ate quickly so he could go at 6 to pick up Morgan.

Wednesday morning I came downstairs to find Kara and Sam in the family room. She said he had been up since 4:30 with a temp of 102.7 and was complaining his legs hurt. It wasn't long before he was wailing which is entirely out of character. She and I both checked his legs and they were covered with bruises and we recognized it as purpura because Kristin had it at about the same age. They called the pediatrician who wanted them to take him to the ER immediately. Morgan took the bus to school and they took off. I did laundry, made beds and straightened up while Ted went to get a haircut. Eventually they came home and our diagnosis had been correct. Kara and Sam took a long nap and I finished the laundry. Six people sure can generate a lot. By bedtime tonight Sam's fever was down and his bruises were subsiding. He has an appointment with the pediatrician at 9 tomorrow morning.

Ted and I made plans to meet Gus and Melissa for dinner at Loccina restaurant tonight. We had a great 3-hour dinner and got caught up on all the kids and grandkids. While we have 3 daughters, 3 granddaughters and one grandson, they have 3 sons and are expecting their third grandson. Next time might be that girl!

Tomorrow there is a pizza party in Morgan's class for having the most parents at the PTO meeting and Kara and I are doing that. Allen was to be the secret reader in her class on Friday but he had to move today's trip to Lansing to Friday so Ted will be the secret reader instead.

Kara had several projects she wanted me to help her with but we haven't had time to get started. You just never know what each new day will bring.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Photos

Kara received this in the mail. It cracked her up. Especially Joy's note that said she hoped soon the ball would be rounder than Kara.




This is Morgan's room. I just love the yellow, green and lilac colors together.



I took this picture of Kara's backyard out our bedroom window. The weather has improved since the weekend and patches of grass are appearing. They call this balmy ... my response - BS!



We took this picture when we stayed the night in Cincinnati on 2/22. It is the area surrounding Karen's condo.



That's all folks!

Monday, March 1, 2010

I Lied AND I Had to Cook!

Well here I am after saying I wouldn't be but I do have a few things to share. The fellows had a great time at Laser Tag. Poor Sam had a -29 the first round (meaning he got shot more then he shot others) but brought that up to a 30 on the second round. Ted came in 7th (out of 32) the first round and 2nd the second round. I'm sure, given one more crack at it, he would have made first!

While they were gone I played with Morgan. We were on Purble Place on the computer making cakes, choosing pairs and another game I had a hard time figuring out. It was too hard for her to play. Then we played Go Fish and War with cards. Finally we played Sorry Slider, a new version of the Sorry board game.

Eventually Christine and Kelsey came to visit - with more flowers!! The kids went off to play, Kara and Christine visited and I had some down time. When the boys all came home I heated up the tortillini soup and put out the salad with bread for our dinner.

Today I got up to get the kids off and Allen was just leaving. I asked what he wanted for dinner and he said he didn't know, no one had ever asked him that! So I got a pork tenderloin out to defrost. Kara's friend Kellie came to visit and brought Kara some body wash and visited for awhile. Since Kara was allowed to start soft foods, we made a trip to the grocery where we spent a lot of time reading labels. She can only eat about 1/4 cup of food at a time and it has to be high in protein. That doesn't leave a lot to choose from.

Another flower arrangement arrived but it was a basket of bulbs that are peeking through and will bloom shortly. Then a box was delivered that contained a Disney throw. Someone knows how much this family loves Disney World. I put "thank you notes" on the grocery list!

All our activity wore Kara out and she took a two hour nap. The kids came home and I went through the backpacks and sat with them while they did their homework. Ted read a book to Morgan because that is part of her homework this month. Then she had to color the shamrock on March 1 to indicate she had been read to or had read herself.

Sue arrived to visit with Kara so I put the tenderloin in the oven, set the table and got the rest of our meal together. Poor Kara had protein whey mixed with applesauce and a little apple juice. Blah!!

Tomorrow the cleaning ladies are coming in the morning, Ted is going to the Detroit News, my friend Barb is coming for lunch and we need to go to the vitamin store to get all the supplements Kara needs.

I don't know when I'll write again. I'm not even going to venture a guess!