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.