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.