Thursday, March 31, 2011

Group Photos by Tommy

Front Row: Ted, Terry, Tom, Peg; Second Row: Dan, Kevin, Kathy (missing Tim, deceased 2/2008)

Back Row: Tom, Donna (wife of Ted), Erma (widow of Tim), Dan, Kevin, Kathy, Dave (husband of Peg)
Front Row: Jeanne (wife of Tom), Ted, Terry, Carol (wife of Terry), Barb (wife of Kevin), Peg

The group of 13 relatives and 14 friends who attended the anniversary brunch.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Few Pictures (just from my camera)

I didn't take my camera with me until Monday. Pictures from the weekend will have to come from the others. I'll share them when I can.

Here we are at the Brenham Blue Bell factory. This is a sculpture of their logo that sits in their beautiful park area outside.

After the tour (where we got our Blue Bell hats) and our ice cream cups, we gathered outside for a group picture under the gorgeous pink rose arbor.

We stopped at Washington on the Brazos Historic Site where we girls (minus Erma) sat a spell on a rock wall outside Independence Hall.

The Wii bowling tournament continued. Note the "alley" looks very much like our entry hall.

Here is a great bird's eye view of Minute Maid park. It sure is beautiful.

Here are some of the troops down on the field.

We took turns sitting in the dugout. Tom & Jeanne had returned to Arizona.

We couldn't pass up an opportunity to put the five of our lefty's under Lefty's sign!

One Mel Burger coming up for Terry.

A beautiful iris along the Waterway to end a beautiful extended family vacation.

A Day in the City

In contrast to our day in the Texas countryside on Monday, Tuesday we headed into the city of Houston. Tom & Jeanne had to leave for home and Kathy & Dan headed to Galveston to meet up with Dan's work counterpart for lunch. The rest of us took a ride through Hermann Park, past Reliant Stadium, through the Medical Complex where the grounds and flowers were in full bloom. Our visit to River Oaks was exquisite with all the azaleas dressed out for the occasion. Our destination was Minute Maid park for the final tour of the day.

We had a bit of trouble because they tell you to park one place but you have to enter another which is half way around the park. But we finally all made it and took a terrific tour. If you ever have a chance, visit this park. From comments I have heard from several people, this is one of the top parks in the nation. Our guide was fun, well versed and loud. No struggling to hear what she had to say. Dave decided this was the best part of the trip for him.

Everyone headed out of town before the traffic got too bad and we ended up at Mel's Country Cafe in Tomball. I don't think you would stop to eat here if you were just passing by but it's an institution in this part of the woods and it impressed everyone. Most everyone came staggering out needing to take a long walk. Kevin picked up the bill for all of us and we thanked him. We've had a nice mix of eating out and eating in.

We went to the waterway area of The Woodlands and walked around the waterfalls and along the waterway. It was such a beautiful night and the setting was just lovely. As it got dark, we split up with goodbyes because everyone is leaving today and we're not sure who will see who this morning.

Another Wii bowling game broke out. I know I didn't win but I'm not sure who did. I was keeping an eye on Dancing With The Stars but never did see who was eliminated. Everyone turned in fairly early after a long and wonderful last day with the family. It will be hard to say goodbye.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Anniversary Celebration

We all met for church on Sunday morning. We managed to get the three carloads there at the same time so all 13 of us entered church together. Our normal pews were reserved for the RCIA people so we had to cross over to the other section. We filled up two pews. Afterwards people we know stopped us to say what a beautiful family we have. So many knew our family was coming for a visit and they said they enjoyed the "parade."

Afterwards we went to the country club for brunch. We had the private room and 14 of Terry & Carol's friends (ours too for that matter), joined us. To help facilitate introductions we used name tags with first names and position in the family. Ted was #4 (his birth order) and I was 4A. That way the friends knew who went with whom. Our family knew the friends' names that way too. Lots of joking went on and everyone had the best time. Afterwards, our friend Tommy came and took photos of the entire group, the family group, the remaining seven kids and then couples. He has posted them already but they are proofs so when I have the go ahead, I'll post a couple.

In the afternoon a carload went to the Texas Prison Museum while Barb and I went to the Sam Houston Memorial Museum in Huntsville. After a few hours we all met up and went to the 7 story statue of Sam Houston together.

Then it was back to Terry & Carol's for burgers on the grill and a hilarious night of joking around and reminiscing. Finally the yawns were starting so our group came back here and after watching the DVR of Amazing Race (my cowboys are still in it) headed to bed.

We traveled today to Brenham to see the bluebonnets blooming and to visit the Blue Bell Ice Cream factory for a tour. We're a bit early for the bluebonnets. Enough were visible to be enjoyable but the fields and fields of them were just taking on a purplish hue. In a few weeks they'll be beautiful. Everyone enjoyed the factory tour and the ice cream afterwards. There was lots of passing around to taste the many flavors. A stop at Washington on the Brazos Historic Site rounded out the day.

We made our way back to my house where I had two trays of lasagna ready to pop in the oven. Barb (best helper out there!) and I scrambled to put out queso, salsa, chips and what was left of the tasty appetizer our sister-in-law had made earlier in the week. Our second refrigerator was getting a workout in the drinks department. Carol brought a salad and we baked some garlic bread.

While the lasagna was cooking there was a Wii bowling tournament of sorts. Jeanne, who last bowled about 60 years ago and got a whopping score of "13" on a real alley, won with a 144. When they finshed, we all sat down to eat and everyone enjoyed it.

Our out-of-town sister-in-laws were interested in bunco and asked us to teach them to play. So we had the first Family Bunco Night. After three rounds, Ted won bunco, Jeanne had wins and the bunco baby and Kevin won losses. Barb got the consolation prize. I e-mailed the rules and score sheets to Kathy so when they get home, they can teach their Ohio friends how to play.

I took a few pictures but I've been too busy to download them so I'll post a bunch when the dust settles!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

You Can't Argue with Success

Everyone arrived safely, some on Thursday, others on Friday. Flights were basically on time and there were no mishaps in the pick-ups. Everyone came back to our house for dinner and a great evening of catching up. We were all tired from long days and before it got too late, half of the people left for their accommodations at Terry & Carol's.

Up bright and early Saturday, Terry and Dave came by to pick up Kevin and Dan for a round of golf at the country club. They had a marvelous time and even the bad shots were tempered with "well it's snowing in Cincinnati." In the meantime, Tom and Ted went to the shooting range where Tom said he did well with my gun but Ted's was a little too big for him. They didn't "shoot their eye out" and sounded as if they had a good time too.

Back at the ranch, all 7 gals piled into my car for a trip to Market Street highlighted by a trip to Charming Charlie's. If we hadn't finally hurried them along, I think they would all still be there. From there we went to Old Town Spring and had a snack and browsed the area for awhile.

Since we had to depart at 5 pm for dinner, everyone met back at the house so those that needed a power nap could get one in.

We met at Las Fuentas Mexican restaurant for dinner and our brother-in-law Dave graciously picked up the whole tab. Kevin said if this kept up he was staying another week! The show at the Opry was a good one. Dave won a door prize and so did I. We all had a great time with lots of laughs along the way.

When Kevin and Tommy give me some pictures, I'll post them. But for right now I haven't taken any with my camera. More later ...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

More Grandma Bragging

We just received word that our granddaughter Ally will be inducted next week into her high school's National Honor Society. She is a straight A student and our shining dance star. I'm amazed that she can take dance four days a week and maintain her grades. She is always in about seven of the routines at the recital and that takes a lot of practice ... and she is so darn good! OK, that's enough.

If you know me well, you know I hate to shop but I set out Sunday while Ted went shooting. I had several stops to make but I got finished what I needed to except I forgot to get place mats for our patio table. I'll try to do that tomorrow. I expect people will be sitting out there to eat over the next week.

I attended my bunco group on Monday and Michelle had a wonderful spread of food, as always, and she set up her daughter's wedding photos on the computer in a slideshow. Lauren was a beautiful bride and the photography was fantastic. Such beautiful and out of the ordinary pictures. The groom just recently made the PGA tour so it's exciting for all of us who know her.

Tuesday night was Canasta for me and more shooting for Ted. And I WON! I had really good cards all night and I came home the big winner. I think I'm getting better at this. Then again, maybe not, and I might hit a dry spell so I better not brag too much.

Grocery shopping, nail appointment, and changing bedclothes were the duties for today. Tomorrow I have a Newcomers vote to cast but I'm not staying for their luncheon. I'll come home and get some things ready for my dinner for 13 on Friday night. My sister-in-law and her little dog will be arriving here from Louisiana and she'll be with us for dinner. Later we're going to Terry & Carol's and await the arrival of another brother and his wife from Arizona. Company on!

"Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez" - Let the Good Times Roll

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Our Irish Lassie

I couldn't let St. Patrick's Day go by without sharing a picture of our own Irish Lassie, though she says "don't call me that name." With her red hair, the name of Morgan Elizabeth, her shamrock tee shirt and green bow - what else could we call her? She was named for a great-great grandma Mary Morgan and a great grandma Elizabeth Keehan. That's where she gets the red hair. Her baptismal dress had shamrocks embroidered on it and she was baptized by a Keehan cousin who is a priest. I think she will be an Irish lassie for the rest of her life like it or not.

After all the planning to get the yard looking nice, we developed a leak in a sprinkler pipe. It is fixed now but we have a big mud spot in front of the fence. They were supposed to put a couple pieces of sod down but so far they haven't. We might have to just do it ourselves.

The windows and walk/drive are done! I've seen lots of people power wash but this guy had a scrubber thing. It reminded me of a big polisher like you see being used in commercial or public places. We probably have the cleanest drive in the neighborhood right now.

We attended a lovely BBQ at a beautiful home to say goodbye to Maria and Dan. It was a nice party but since it was Friday, Ted and I did not eat the hamburgers or chicken. I ate salad and we stopped at McDonald's for fish sandwiches for him on the way home. We used to not eat meat any Friday but now it is just six Fridays in Lent. However, something like this always seems to come up. Such is life.

After church we decided with Terry & Carol to pool our dinners and eat together at their house. We watched an exciting end to the Pitt/Butler game. Afterwards we went outside to look at the Super Moon. It was so bright it glowed! Quite spectacular.

Have a good week everyone. We're excited our time with the family is almost upon us.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Back to First Class

Ted had to travel to Dublin, GA this week which necessitated a flight to Atlanta. He was a Platinum member with over 3,000,000 miles on Northwest while he worked but as his career wound down he went to Gold, to Silver then nothing. Our last first class upgrade was our trip to Michigan for Thanksgiving in 2008. We figured that was our swan song.

When Delta and Northwest merged, he received a letter saying they would honor his "million-air" status and gave him Silver status for life. He was delighted to get upgraded to first class to Atlanta on Tuesday. However, he didn't make the cut on Wednesday when he came home. He did get the first aisle seat in the bulkhead which gives him plenty of legroom and allows him to get off quickly. He enjoyed his Technical Service meeting because he doesn't see these folks often even though they have a conference call every Tuesday morning. I think he likes keeping his finger in the business.

I played Canasta and came in second on Monday. I had some really good cards and partners. I didn't miss first place by much! Maybe my playing or my luck is improving.

We had a funeral at church on Tuesday so I took four pounds of meatloaf and stayed to help serve and clean up. Sue has promised us a meeting to get a better handle on just how much food we need. We end up with way too much and then the clean up is so much harder, not to mention the waste. We send most of it to the firehouse across the street. Instead of dealing with leftovers, I chose to bring the 16 tablecloths home and washed them. I have to take them back to church today.

Ted picked up Tommy, our photographer friend, to take him to the country club. He wanted to 1) know where he was going and 2) check out the area and lighting of the room we'll be in for the anniversary brunch. He will come after we eat to take some photos of the momentous occasion. This is Ted's third brother to celebrate his 50th anniversary. We'll be up next in four years since we'll celebrate our 46th on Easter Sunday this year. Tommy is such a good friend and we're delighted he has agreed to do this for our family.

I walked with Gerre twice this week. We're getting ready for the Blue Bell Ice Cream Fun Run in Brenham the second weekend in April. We still do the 1K trail five times even though we think it is not a full kilometer. As we get closer, we'll do a sixth kilometer which will get us closer to the three miles we do in the competitions. I know the weather will be warmer and we have a little hill to navigate so this next run will test our mettle for sure.

I'm off to the shopping center to get a going away gift for some folks heading back to Oklahoma. There is a Texas Y'all store in the mall and I'm looking for a Texas flag wine gift bag to put a bottle of wine into. We'll all miss Maria and Dan but they are from Oklahoma so this move is going home for them. The turnover rate in our township is constant. Many who go away to such exotic places at Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Chad, Malaysia, etc. move back here until they are sent off again. It makes for some very interesting furnishings in the houses I visit.

We're down to less than a week for our company to arrive. I'm going to clean out the refrigerator and then go to the store to stock up and I'll do laundry one more time before they come. I bought the hanging baskets. It is Day Three and they are still alive!! Tomorrow the windows get washed and the driveway and walk power washed.

We're almost ready!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pretty Laid Back Week

I played Mexican Train on Monday but think I'm going to give up this group. They meet every Monday and I'm not only not interested in doing that, my second and third Mondays are already booked. Also there is a very vocal, unpleasant lady that plays that I can just do without. She doesn't like it here and if I thought it would help, I'd offer to help her pack to move back to Illinois. Life's too short to put up with that negativity. I'll just move on.

Mike and Tim came on Wednesday to do the tile. I had to move everything off the counter and of course it meant I couldn't cook anything. Ted went to McDonald's and brought back our lunch (fish because it was Ash Wednesday) and then we went to the Fish Place for dinner since I couldn't do anything in the kitchen. Shucks!

Thursday the fellows came back and Ted stayed here while I went to my neighborhood luncheon at Babin's Seafood. For fear I could sprout gills and scales being as today is the first Friday in Lent, I opted for the chicken salad. We had a nice group and a very good time visiting with everyone. Two of our friends are getting chemo for cancer but they both looked and felt well and that is a blessing to them and to us.

The tile looks terrific and I'm glad we had it done. This morning after letting the grout dry overnight, I used my countertop cleaner and very gingerly wiped all the counters without touching the grout, cleaned everything that needed to be put back so that by the time Rebecca came to clean, I had all that done.

So now the inside of the house is as done as it is going to be for our company. I've scheduled window washing and power washing for the Saturday before they arrive. I'll get my hanging baskets about then too. That way I have little time to kill them before the company arrives.

We are going to Mel's for all you can eat catfish and shrimp with Gerre and Barry tonight. Now what was I saying about gills and scales?

No plans at all for the weekend.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Melancholy Weekend

Ted asked what I had to do Friday and I said "nothing." He asked where we had to go Friday night and I said "nowhere." He asked how that happened. Kay had invited us to the club for the evening but I declined. I was delighted to have no plans other than laundry and grocery shopping.

Saturday we attended a memorial service for a friend's husband. They married last Easter and he was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer within six months. They didn't even make it to their first anniversary. It was very sad but a beautiful service.

That evening we attended a St. Patrick's Day Wine Tasting at Terry & Carol's. They had hats, tieras, necklaces, etc. for everyone. There was even a quiz but no one did too well. Instead of general knowledge it was trivia that would only be known to someone who lives in Ireland or studied that country extensively. I was happy my guess that an occurence off the coast in 1915 was the sinking of the Lusitania. I admit it was a shot in the dark when I wrote it down but I was right!

Today after church we met Judy & Harry and Stella & Jay over at Rayford. From there we went to Casa Imperial for lunch. I brought some things back from Mexico for Judy and this gave me a chance to give them to her. Tommy & Susan went to a birthday party in Katy so they weren't there to attend. I have to admit my lunch was disappointing. Ted said the same thing. Either they are slipping or El Chapparo is just way better.

The trip to Coushatta was canceled so we called Mike to tell him if the tile is in, we are home for him to do the work. He said they were due in last Friday but he didn't follow up because he thought he had until next week. He'll get back to us tomorrow.

And so it goes.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Finally Finished

I wasn't allowed to eat Sunday, just clear liquids, and had to start the "medicine" at 6 pm. I was up until 2 (for obvious reasons) then had to take the next liter starting at 5 am. My test went well, all is OK, and after lunch I slept for several hours. It took two months to do a yearly physical. That means in 10 months I get to start all over!

Tuesday I was scheduled to work at Harvestwood Senior Center and the room was decorated in a rodeo theme. The rodeo is a season down here just like hunting, or Christmas, etc. Our Junior Forum Merry Melodies put on a terrific show hosted by Minnie Pearl. However, she said she was from Nashville so I reminded her later she is actually from Grinder's Switch. We northern rednecks know these things! I had a ball singing along to all the songs.

We normally play bingo with them but the show took up time and we ended up just having a raffle. We Junior Forum ladies always bring the prizes. I bought boxes of 10 birthday cards in the valley and taped 10 stamps to the top. Someone else had brought a book of stamps so it must be a good prize. Once I took a bottle of Tide and it went first. These seniors are on very limited incomes and anything that saves them money is so welcome. Lunch was brisket, of course. It is very gratifying to be thanked by these folks when they leave.

I came home to Ted browning ground beef and Italian sausage so I could put together two trays of lasagna for his Skeet shooting "banquet." When he left I settled down with my Kindle. A nice quiet evening by myself. Ted came back with a two foot high trophy for coming in first place. I am running out of room for his awards but I'm sure proud of his accomplishments.

In Texas the laundromat is referred to as the washateria and that's where we headed on Wednesday to wash the two twin bedspreads before our company arrives. When we were finished we stopped at Rayford to check on the Coushatta trip. It was canceled because they didn't hit the 40 they needed. But we stayed and visited with Tommy and Jay for awhile. They invited us to dinner with them but Ted had to go downtown to the Chronicle so we came home. I watched Survivor on my second evening alone.

I was up bright and early to get to the Tomagwa Shot Clinic for the morning. We did lots of paperwork in preparation for the Back To School shot blitz that will start over the summer. They weren't too busy with children that morning, I only had one record to compile. We also changed out all the info sheets that are given to the parents for each shot the children receive. The clinic is in good shape now Sherry said.

My daughter Kara was in Orlando last weekend to do the Disney Princess 5K with her friends. Another daughter Kristin lives there and they spent two days together visiting the Harry Potter part of Universal. All my kids and grandkids are Harry nuts! Last night she sent me this picture. I think they had a real good time.

Our weekend plans are changing due to the cancellation of the Coushatta trip and a memorial service for a friend's husband. I'll let you know how things went next time.