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!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

How Green Is My Valley

Since we are three of only four rigs in the park we've taken over the thatched pavilion in the center of the sites which form a big circle. We just leave our chairs out there. We've also taken over a site between us for our table for eating. There's also a spot to park the truck. In a few weeks this whole park will be filled but for right now it is all ours.

A cool front came through and the weather has been glorious. It's such a pretty time of year here. The butterflies and hummingbirds are flitting all over the place. I spent two days trying to get a good picture of a butterfly and this is the one I chose to keep. Tommy is helping me with my camera, resolution, size, etc.

We learned that Tommy played the photographer at the wedding in Urban Cowboy. He was called as an extra but since he spoke some lines he had to join the Actor's Guild and still receives residuals though they keep getting smaller he said. Now I have to rent it to just watch for him!

The hummingbirds are constantly around the feeder but between the glass, the sun and their speed, getting a good picture is hard. Here is one of the lovely flowers growing on a bush outside.

Sunday we enjoyed cinnamon rolls I made with our coffee out in the pavilion. At noon everyone went to watch Dallas vs. Houston and Susan and I took a ride along the levy. We passed the Border Patrol several times, saw the damage at Pepe's from the flood and viewed the river from several spots. During the night we hear helicopters patrolling the Rio Grande River that runs right behind the levy that protects this area. There has been no trouble around here but the border is porous and Mexicans continue to come anyway they can.

At 7:30 on Monday Nick arrived to start washing and waxing the rigs. It took him and two helpers over 10 hours to do all three. Nick has done ours each year since we've had one. Since we were hanging around the park anyway and it was Ted's birthday, I cooked dinner for all of us. It turned out pretty good and they especially liked my yeast rolls. I said I would make them again on the night Stella cooks dinner.

Yesterday we went to the ropa usada and ropa nuevo stores. The usada stores are used clothing in a heap. People climb all over it looking for good items, mostly for resale. Items are sold for 30 cents a pound. The nuevo stores are new clothes from overruns, distressed jobbers, clearances, etc. and are on racks on hangers. We all found something to buy but just seeing the usada stores is quite an experience.

This morning Jay is taking his truck in because something was leaking last night. Ted has lunch with the McAllen newspaper guys so we won't be doing much until this afternoon.

He has also decided to take me and the RV home on Friday and then drive to San Antonio on Sunday. He isn't shooting until Monday and doesn't want me to sit around for days waiting for him when I have so much to do at home. Either way is OK by me since he does the driving and I'm just along for the ride.

I'm watching the butterflies and hummingbirds out my window. It is all so beautiful right now in this park. Good weather is forecast for the rest of our time here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

One Easy Travel Day, Not So Good The Next

We left on time Thursday morning, making our way to Victoria. We talked to Tommy and they were about an hour in front of us. As we passed the exit where Buckee's Truck Stop is, I spotted their motorhome and tow car and voila we were traveling together. We pulled into Lazy Longhorn together, got set up and then went out for dinner.

Friday morning Ted got up first and as soon as he hit the carpet outside the bathroom door he was standing on very wet carpet. Apparently the water kept trickling into the toilet, filled the bowl and very slowly overflowed all night. I immediately threw the throw rug into the shower and used about a dozen bath towels to soak up as much as I could. In the process I jammed my little toe and you know how that hurts!

There wasn't much else to do so we closed up and got on the road. We made a stop so Tommy and Susan's dogs could go out. I knocked on their door and because their motor was running, when he opened the door the steps came out and scraped the top of my foot before I could jump out of the way. We arrived at Bentsen Palms and learned we were going to be the only people in the park. How neat! We got set up and within the hour Jay and Stella arrived.

We have a built in surge protector on our trailer and the electric would not come on - it said low voltage. So Ted had to find Don who came to put in a new breaker. Then he trimmed some branches so they wouldn't hit our slides and he lent us a Shop Vac that we used on the carpet between the bathroom door and my closet door. I set our tower fan on the first step to blow across the carpet to finish off the drying.

As soon as we had all that under control we headed to the laundry to wash the rugs and towels I had used on the floor. I have to put A&D ointment on my eyebrows for a few days. With all the perspiration waiting for the A/C, it got into my eye and burned like the dickens. I had to wash my eye repeatedly in the laundry room sink. While there it rained so hard the connections of the tin roof started leaking. We were using a rag we found to keep wiping up the floor in the laundry room. We got drenched making our way back with the clean laundry.

Susan was going to cook but asked if we minded going out because she was tired. So we went to Furr's Buffet one of the restaurants we frequent down here. My only problem is that every time I go they never have coconut cream pie! While I was still eating my salad, Jay put down a piece of coconut cream pie and told me to remember My Daddy loves me. I so appreciated that little ray of sunshine in a rather trying day!

I slept really good, my toe and foot are OK, my eye stopped burning, the toilet has been fine ever since so today started out much better. We went to Gonzales Burgers for the best $3.95 burger you'll ever find. Stella and I split one because they are so big. Then we went to the Don-Wes flea market. Things are just gearing up so there wasn't much going on but Stella found a lady with three dogs for sale. One looks much like their departed Ralphie and in no time we had another passenger in our truck. We had to stop to buy a collar, leash and bed before coming home. He is doing real well and their female dog is doing well with her new little brother.

Ted and I went to church at 4:00. This is the church we always attend and there were a couple dogs present. Fr. Roy had his knees replaced and has to sit throughout Mass. He moved through the prayers rather quickly and we were out well before 5:00. When we got back, Tommy grilled steaks and Susan made potatoes, beans and garlic bread. We had birthday cake and ice cream for dessert since Ted, Susan and I are all celebrating our birthdays over the next week.

Once it got dark we all headed to our own rigs. I'm not sure what we're doing tomorrow. So many of the things we wanted to show Tommy & Susan are under water due to 20 inches of rain recently. No Pepe's on the River (it is now IN the river), no Riverside Club boat ride, no visit to the state park. I bet the hand pulled ferry isn't running either. We'll figure out other things to do and if not, we'll sit and visit with our very good friends.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

About to Hit the Road Again

Chris is in his glory, because we're taking off again for two weeks. I hope he doesn't ever decide to get his own place due to enjoying his time here while we're gone!

Last Saturday after church we went to Chili's with Terry & Carol then spent Sunday doing nothing. I cleaned out all my files (where do people who full time in an RV put their paperwork?) and Ted watched football. I made a roast for dinner and we didn't leave the house all day.

Monday was our CWJF Provisional Project Day. Jacque picked me up, then we picked up Marika and made our way to the Junior Forum office. We had a meeting, packed up the bags for the Women's Shelter then we all went to lunch. I hadn't had Mexican since our Yucatan trip so it tasted darn good.

Dancing with the Stars AND Survivor are now on, soon to be joined by Amazing Race. For me it doesn't get any better than this. I can't explain why I enjoy most of the reality shows but with the Amazing Race it is seeing all the wonderful places in the world they travel to. I would have to stop to take pictures. I'd never win!

Yesterday Michele and I met Ann for breakfast then Michele and I went to a salon where I had my eyebrows done permanently. They look good and will be always ready so I'll save time and they'll be even!! That was not an easy feat for me. I found out one of the muscles in my forehead is stronger than the other so depending on how much that relaxed, my eyebrows would move. Oh brother. Anyway I'm pleased with them and will go back in a month to see if I need a touch up. They should be good to go for 5 years or more. I can hear my grandkids now "My Grandma got a tattoo ... two of 'em." LOL

Another Canasta group is starting and we met for the first time today. We had lots of beginners so we played more in a teaching mode. I knew about half the ladies and met several new ones. I love expanding the group of people I socialize with. Junior Forum is doing just that for me too and I'm enjoying it immensely.

We have the food out in the RV and most of our clothes. We want to be on the road between 9 and 10. We're stopping in Victoria where we'll meet Susan and Tommy. I'm sure we'll go out for dinner. Then Friday we all roll into Mission meeting up with Jay and Stella. We're staying a week. Next Friday we're all going in different directions. We head to San Antonio for the World Shoot.

It's officially fall and I hope your pumpkins, witches and ghosts are all ready for the season. Talk to you in October if not before.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Four Legged Visitor

We picked up the RV Monday morning. The new 16 foot wheel fender is a shade darker than the rest due to sun fading. That probably explains the tire failure since the trailer was in CA, NV and AZ before we bought it. I'm sure they weren't taken care of by covering while sitting or being properly inflated at all travel times. But we have the new H tires and I hope and pray that takes care of this problem. We sent all the bills off to Goodyear.

I made it to Canasta with time to spare since Gerry got lost. I was smack dab in the middle on score so I didn't win. It's only $1 to play so you don't win much.

Tuesday Ted left for Florida. He flew to Orlando, spent the night with Kristin and took her to dinner, then traveled to The Villages the next day. I was taking care of my new medical and drug insurance to go with my Medicare and it takes some wading through stuff to get it all in place.

Before Ted returned I kept a beauty shop appointment (it didn't work!) and then met Teri for lunch. It was her thank you for bringing the goetta from Cincinnati. I introduced her to a nice restaurant out by us that she had never been to. It's nice to go somewhere besides a chain on occasion. I bought some new shoes and a scarecrow for my front porch planter. All my fall outdoor decorations are in place. It was Girls' Happy Hour at the country club so I went and had a glass of wine before coming home to see the start of "Survivor." I'm so excited all my reality shows are starting up. When Ted ordered the DVR on cable I fussed about the added monthly expense but now I love it.

While at Boerne I invited LeAnne and Jim to stay the night with us before a 6 a.m. flight since they live hours from the airport. I told them we would care for their dog Zoe too. So Thursday we were expecting them. I had a CWJF dinner and meeting to attend so they said they would come about 7:30. Ted was home and I arrived about 5 minutes after them.

The night was a riot. They went to bed early and we kept Zoe by us. I had set my alarm for 3:15 a.m. and put it in their room. At 12:30 Jim jumped up and said it was 6 o'clock because he read the hands wrong. They went back to sleep and at 2 am the airlines called to tell them their plane was on time. At 4:30 I shot out of bed fearing I had done something wrong with the clock and raced to their room. They were gone and the beds were made. I never did go back to sleep. Zoe slept cuddled next to Ted this whole time.

Zoe is a great dog. No barking, no chewing, I hardly know she is here. I took her for a walk through the neighborhood in the morning and she sleeps in her bed most of the day. Last night was Wind Down. Usually September is a really big crowd but numbers were down this year for some reason. It was a nice time but we came home a bit earlier than usual because of my early rising.

Ted is shooting today and Zoe is waiting for her walk. We have no plans other than church tonight at 5:00. I have a busy M-T-W before our Thursday departure so I have plenty I can do to prepare. Now Gloria is asking when Chris (her son) is coming back to stay. I'm not sure who enjoys this arrangement more - us, him or her.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fun Weekend After All

With no plans in place, our weekend still turned out pretty nice. Rebecca came as scheduled on Friday and the house is in good shape. I did all the laundry and ironing. The yard men did their thing outside. I even put the fall wreath on the door despite the 97 degrees. We are poised to be "caught up" at home.

Ted went shooting Friday and Saturday in Conroe to practice for the Best of Texas tournament at the Houston Gun Club on Sunday. I had written SueAnne about attending the Stampin' Up open house that we try to attend every year but I had not heard from her. I was delighted to find an e-mail Saturday morning saying she was free after all and could go. I needed to meet Linda who has agreed to do the class at the HitchHiker rally so we made plans to meet up. SueAnne was stopping by her mother's close to where I needed to run an errand so we met and rode together in her car.

I asked Chris to point out Linda and I introduced myself. She told me of her plans for the class during the rally and I'm confident it will be a big hit. SueAnne and I inspected the new techniques and supplies before sitting down to make our two greeting cards. We were wondering about Mary who we normally see here and she walked in! She does social work and was not in the greatest mood but by the time we closed up the place, she was all smiles. I won a door prize again this year. SueAnne and I went to lunch afterwards and continued to catch up. By 4:00 o'clock I told her I had to get home because we were going to church at 5:00.

We were scheduled to play Canasta on Saturday so after church we stopped at Chick Filet before heading to Wayne and Pam's. She had so much food we didn't need to stop to eat beforehand. I remembered to take the goetta I had purchased in Cincinnati for Susan and Teri. They were both so excited and everyone else just didn't understand it. It's a Cincinnati German breakfast food not available anywhere else but Cincinnati that we can find ... not even in Germany!

It was a fun night and I won our $10 back by losing. I had the lowest score. We play four games, all with different partners. Two of the games my partner and I failed to complete a wild card Canasta so we lost 1000 points. Doing that two out of four times will kill your score. It was almost midnight when we got home. That's a late night for us anymore.

Ted left early Sunday for his shooting tournament and I straightened up, got dressed, had a nice long chat with my friend Jody and then went to get a necklace to go with my new blouse. I also bought supplies for my Junior Forum Project - toiletry bags for the Women's Shelter. I bought four each of toothpaste, deodorant, tampons, combs and shampoo. I already had toothbrushes at home. Each thing I do with Junior Forum is new to me so I follow their instructions to a T. They tell me I'm doing great and I've enjoyed every minute of it so far.

Ted didn't get home until very late because he had to wait for a shoot off. He came in third place. Congratulations Ted!

We are waiting on a call from Thornton's that the RV is ready. I'm playing Canasta at 1 o'clock and Ted leaves on a business trip tomorrow. If we don't get it this morning, it will have to wait until Thursday when he returns. We aren't leaving again until 9/23 and then we'll once again be back playing catch up when we return.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

And Hermine Came To Call

We got lots of rain Monday afternoon and evening and on into Tuesday. However, it was nothing out of the ordinary and we did not experience the flooding and tornadoes that hit other parts of Texas. In fact, my yard looks great! Last year we had lots of dead stuff and this year everything is green. Of course we had the front planter redone so it looks extra special to me. Thanks to all of you who contacted us to be sure we were OK.

It was easy to stay in and get caught up with the bad weather and that's just what we did. We are helping the organizers of the HitchHiker Rally get some local information together. The man who has done this for years died recently and his wife and sons are trying to carry on in his absence. When we received our packet it was light on things to do and places to go. So we contacted Sherry and she graciously accepted our offer to help. I've put together a packet of local attractions along with maps on how to get there from the campground. Ted is getting a group together through the Nuwa Owner's Forum to attend the Texas Opry on Saturday night before the rally officially begins on Monday. He also has arranged for Chevy, Ford and Dodge 2011 pick ups to be brought to the campground for viewing on the day of the men's luncheon. I'm trying to get a Stampin' Up distributor to do a class for the ladies too. I don't know how this will all turn out but at least we will have tried as hard as we could.

Today I had to work a Senior Bingo and Luncheon held at Trinity Church. Junior Forum is the most organized group I've ever worked with. Everyone has a job to do and as long as they do it, it runs like clockwork. We had to set up the tables with the things that went on them - decorations, silverware, napkins, name tags, sheets to be filled out, etc. We then offered coffee or orange juice as they arrived, all 114 of them. Then we played bingo and I had to help a lady who didn't hear too well ... and she won the first game! I'm a lucky charm I guess.

After bingo they were entertained by a group of trombone players. They started off with 76 Trombones and then the fight songs of UT, Texas A&M and LSU. I think that covered 99% of the football fans in the room. When they concluded their concert we served lunch of BBQ chicken, cole slaw, chips and a brownie. I've never seen food come out, get distributed and then cleaned up so quickly. They have it down to a fine science.

I left there and went to Pappadeaux's Seafood Restaurant because my neighborhood ladies were having our monthly luncheon there. I told them I was coming but would not be eating. They had ordered but not gotten their food yet so I just had an iced tea and talked to everyone at the one end of the table. Afterwards I did some grocery shopping before coming home.

Tomorrow Rebecca is coming to clean. She is going to earn her keep because it's been a long time since the house has had a thorough cleaning like she gives it. Ted is going to the Visitor's Bureau for brochures to send along with the other stuff for the rally. After we get it all together, he'll take the packet to the post office and send it to HitchHiker International so they can get packets together to bring.

We're playing Canasta Saturday night but have nothing else on the agenda for the weekend. Ted is making a trip to Florida for work next week and we're going to dog sit for Zoe while her Mommy & Daddy are gone. Never a dull moment in our neck of the woods. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Our Inaugural Adventure

Our Labor Day trip to Boerne was the first time we pulled the new trailer with the new truck. I'm happy to report it all went well. We left early Thursday and headed the back way to pick up I-10 at Brookshire. We learned Jim and LeAnne were about an hour in front of us but scheduled to make a stop and Tom and Susan were about a half hour in front of us. They said they would hold up at the next rest area where they needed to walk the dogs. So at the Guadalupe Rest Area we all met up and sat around a picnic table for a short while. Then Leo and Shirley pulled in. We were having our own little mini-pre-rally!

We all arrived together at the Alamo Fiesta Park so there was a short back up in the office but eventually everyone made it to their site. For dinner about a dozen of us went to the Hungry Horse. It rained so hard while we were in there that we had to take our shoes off and wade across the street to our vehicles. Other than a storm in the middle of the night, that was all the rain we got. The weather was superb. No oppressive heat during the day and cool, comfortable nights for sitting outside.

On Friday LeAnne, Susan and I were driven by Jim to the PX at Fort Sam Houston. I only bought a few staple things as did Susan. But LeAnne bought a new Coach purse and shoes. We stopped at HEB to order a meat tray for that evenings "Sandwich and Snack" dinner. Most everyone had arrived by dinner and there was a big crowd. I think we had close to 70 rigs with over 150 people. We were able to visit with friends we hadn't seen in some time. The evening's entertainment was Boomer Bingo.

Saturday morning there was a potluck breakfast that we all enjoyed. All the tables were decorated for various rallies we've had in the past. Sandy (Madame Boomer) asked me to decorate for Christmas and Easter which I did. Then my job was to make sure the two tables were cleared and cleaned. I also put all the chairs back properly. With many pitching in, it made the workload less for everyone.

Unfortunately my Canon camera just wasn't working. I had been having trouble and bought a new battery but that didn't fix the problem. So in the afternoon we went to Sam's with Tommy, Bob and Dana. They bought some things but I bought only a new Sony camera that Tommy (the photographer) helped me pick out.

Our dinner Saturday evening was catered with brisket, sausage, beans, potato salad and cole slaw. Dessert was the 10th anniversary cake for all to share.

Our entertainment was a guitar player and a singer. They did lots of nice music that you could dance to but still talk to the people at your table without screaming or going deaf. Ted and I danced several times. I asked him if he remembered his waltz steps but he said he didn't think so. I don't recall a waltz being played so he was safe. I'll have to refresh his memory for our trip to Pepe's On The River in Mission at the end of the month. I can't let Waltz Across Texas go by without dancing to it.

Sunday morning was our zippy omelet breakfast. This sounds weird but it works. We were all given a quart size good quality freezer zip bag and you wrote your name on it. You broke two eggs into that bag and squished them all up. Then you added a tablespoon each of "fixins" to the egg mixture. I just put ham and cheese in mine. Press out the air, zip it up and hand it off to be cooked. Fifteen bags at a time were cooked in boiling water for 15 minutes. When your batch number was called you got your bag with a perfect omelet cooked inside. Eight batches were cooked that morning.

We left to attend church in town. When we returned we rode toward San Antonio to a pewter place that had sent coupons out to the campground. I finally found a soup tureen. I have been looking for two years. They are hard to find and the few I did find were made in China. I refused to buy them. So the trip was productive for me.

Sunday night was our potluck and dessert was a 20 foot banana split. It was actually two ten-foot gutters side by side.

It was all going great until it was time for the whipped cream and things got a little crazy. I just filled my bowl and ran for cover.

Cody was sitting next to me and coaxed Madame Boomer into giving him the whipped cream directly.

We enjoyed one last night sitting outside with everyone. Monday morning dawned very cloudy and people were leaving in droves. We got off about 10 am after making our rounds to say goodbye to those that were staying over or had not left yet. We ran into Ron and Ellen at a rest area and then made it back to the storage area just fine. We stopped to get fuel before coming home and the heavens opened. Even though Ted was under a canopy the wind was blowing so hard he got soaked. We eventually had What A Burgers for dinner to end Summer 2010.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Heading Out Again

The weather has been very hot and humid since we returned so we're spending most time indoors. I unpacked and did laundry on Saturday. Sunday after Mass we had a big breakfast and then late in the afternoon I went to the country club to attend the Newcomers Welcome Tea Social. Being an Activity Chair for bunco and the Continental Breakfast Club, I had to man two different stations. Bunco got about 8 interested members and CBC had a sheet and a half filled. Great turn out! Afterwards Ted came over and we had dinner with Vince and Susan. It was nice to have the time to get caught up. Usually we're in a crowd and it's difficult to have a conversation of any length.

I started getting things together to take to the RV on Monday and stayed close to home. Tuesday I worked a 4-hour shift at Interfaith's Hand Me Up Shop as part of my service hours for Junior Forum. Bending over for four straight hours pulling clothes from bags is hard on the back. It also gave me a headache. Near the end we stopped doing that and started tagging clothes which was a lot easier. Next time I'm signing up for a 2-hour stint.

We took most of our things out to the RV today. The fridge is on so tomorrow we'll put things in before we take off. There will be two catered meals and three group meals so I only need to take the ingredients for my dishes and not a lot else. That eliminates dragging food out and bringing it all back which happens a lot of times. Especially if you end up eating out a lot.

Chris just left his room as is and I shut the door. He'll be back down here tomorrow morning to see us off. I think Gloria and Al are enjoying him being gone but don't tell him that!

Talk to you all next week.