Sunday, October 30, 2011

It's Coming in Twos

If you've read my blog long enough you know about two separate instances where we were stuck on I-40 in Tennessee for several hours. Both times semis hauling beer were involved in accidents. Last weekend we were at a home where wooden trays were set on fire sitting on top of stove burners that accidentally were bumped and turned on. Yesterday I was ironing and was just ready to start the last pair of slacks and the iron started hissing and sparking and flames shot out of the iron near the cord. I immediately unplugged it and it stopped but the handle was all black. Strangely, the cord showed no damage. But I threw it away and will get a new iron. Weird!

I've been working in the garage today because tomorrow we are having shelves installed up high to get a lot of things we seldom use out of our way. Then there will be "monkey bars" put below them. There are several types of hooks that we can purchase to use on these bars to hang folding chairs, golf clubs, bicycle, etc. Anyway, I had to back my car outside so I finally took a picture.

It is Oxford White trimmed in Pueblo Gold with beige leather interior. It has an electric hatch and electric third row seat, back-up camera that shows in the rearview mirror and the SYNC system. There are other things too but these are the most useful of the bells and whistles. We had to fill it with gas for the first time so we've been driving it a fair amount.

Thursday's Canasta went very well but I still didn't win. I think this and bunco are going to be listed as charities on my taxes this year. The ladies were all very complimentary on the food and drinks and everyone seemed to have a good time. It was good to put my feet up when it was all over.

Friday we went to vote. We can vote early here and there were 10 state amendments to vote on. We tried to hook up with Terry & Carol but we never did catch them. So we went to Sam's to get some things and came back home.

We went to church at 5 o'clock yesterday and then continued on to Jennifer and Gene's house for dinner and to play Canasta (instead of Shang Hai). There are just four couples in this group (we were substituting) so it's a more intimate get together than when there are three or four tables playing. Ted got his money back for being low and I was in the middle again.

Ted is shooting and little by little I'm getting things cleaned out and somewhat organized out in the garage. I have an "up high" pile, a "I want to hang on hooks" pile, boxes to go back on the two sets of shelves, a Paralyzed Vets pile, a pile for Ted and a full garbage can. I'd say that is some progress.

I've washed two loads of rags that I found out there and the dryer just beeped so I'll fold them and put them in a basket to keep them all in one place instead of the four places I found them in!

“I'm a tidy sort of bloke. I don't like chaos. I kept records in the record rack, tea in the tea caddy, and pot in the pot box.” ~ George Harrison

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Enjoying the Weather

It has been beautiful weather here ever since we returned 3.5 weeks ago. Fall and spring can't be beat, winters are about six weeks long and are mild but oh those summer months are killers. We still haven't received any rain to speak of and I read where the entire area is going to lose 66 million trees to the drought. We are heavily wooded and I can't help but think that maybe thinning the trees will be a good thing in the end, much like fire can be good for a forest.

Rick and Brenda came by on Monday and it was so good to see them. Last year we saw them for a very short time so we're looking forward to them being in the area for the next three months. We visited for a long time and then went to a new Five Guys for an early dinner. If going there, don't ever order a large fry, and never order two! I think there were 5 lbs. of potatoes in that bag.

Tuesday I was scheduled to work 10-2 at the thrift shop for Junior Forum. It's a long story how I came to be scheduled for four hour stints so many weeks in a row. But I do need the hours so I'm going to do them except for next week when Peggy is taking my place because it is my Shang Hai day. Standing and bending over pulling clothes out of bags for four hours is a killer on this old back. I came home so tired I took a nap, something I seldom do.

Ted went shooting and I went to play Canasta at Sue Anne's. I came in third but the scores were all really close. One game I was stuck with four pairs in my hand and couldn't get a third to lay any of them down. Frustrating.

I received my EZ Tag for my car so now the only thing I need is the Title and that transaction will all be done. We also received a letter saying we had to order our tickets to tour Versailles Palace in Paris now if we want to go in April! So I made that phone call in the morning. I keep remembering the "paperless society" they talked about when computers came on the scene. Who were they kidding? I'm awash in paper constantly it seems.

I sent Ted off to the grocery yesterday to get the things I need for Canasta here today. I also had to make a cake for a funeral at church. I have two of the four tables set up and will put the other two up this morning. My dishes are out and my drinks are chilling and my snacks are ready to go.

Rose is stopping by for the cake for the funeral. I am unable to help her this morning because of the remaining preparations here for Canasta. With 15 ladies coming at 1 o'clock, that would be pushing the envelope even for me. Ted is driving to San Antonio and back today because the World Sporting Clays competition with 2000 shooters is going on there now. He has to get out of the house anyway so he may as well do something he likes. Tomorrow looks like a free day. Yahoo!

"It is not time that we need to manage, but our attitude towards it - we all have the same amount, it is just how we use it that differs. Keep busy and keep getting results." ~ Anton Guinea

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tucker's Going Camping

Friday morning I picked up Peg and we proceeded to the Junior Forum office for the regular monthly meeting. We have to attend four a year and this is the first one I've made. I also have only worked two out of 50 hours so far because some of what I've done is support hours and those are different. I am so far behind someone is going to think I'm in first place. I am scheduled for a total of 24 between now and the first of the year so there's hope for me yet. If I can get on the schedule for Gift Distribution, I'll be ahead a little. We sign up for the second half of the year in January but we're going to be gone the whole month of February and the first two weeks in April so that puts a burden on me for the rest of the time. Somehow I'll work it out.

We attended Wind Down where Alton had my bottle of Riesling waiting. He was wondering when I was going to come back. No one likes the sweet Riesling wine but me so I have my own private bottle. There were wood trays with wine glasses sitting on top the stove burners and apparently one of the women leaned against the knob and turned it on. All of a sudden we had a tray burning and flames leaping. We got it out quickly but it was more excitement than any of us wanted. We didn't stay late and were home around 10.

Last night we went to the lake to play Shang Hai with Gerre and Barry. Their house is really coming together now that all the furniture from the old lake house is now at the new lake house. We picked up a pizza and ate out on the back porch. If the lake had water it would have added a dimension but alas, still no rain. Afterwards we taught Ted to play Shang Hai. He picked it up quickly and by Round 6 was in the lead. But he too got caught with his entire hand on the last round and it allowed me to go into first place. He said he liked it and we're scheduled to play next Saturday at Jennifer and Gene's.

Gerre & Barry had asked if we wanted to go on a 5-day cruise over Thanksgiving since our kids are not coming after all. We are scheduled for two cruises next year and said we were going to go to Rayford with friends for that weekend. They had made a reservation for Tucker at the kennel because they knew we were going to be gone but there's absolutely no reason Tucker can't come camping with us. So he is. Ted will have a dog to walk with all his friends who walk their dogs. Tucker is absolutely no problem and it will be fun to have him along.

We're going to Canton Trade Days with the Boomers, then the Thanksgiving weekend at Rayford and will attend the Boomer's Christmas rally too. I told Chris just to leave his stuff here because he is going to be in and out. He doesn't stay when we're home but there's no reason to take his stuff back and forth. He is a God send to us.

Our friends Rick and Brenda are back in town from Seattle. They were going to come today but at the last minute decided to come tomorrow. That's about the only day I have free until next Friday and they spend the weekends with their family. They will be workamping at Livingston State Park for three months so we'll see them a few times I'm sure. Livingston is a lot further away than Timber Ridge where they worked in the past.

You have to put in many, many, many tiny efforts that nobody sees or appreciates before you achieve anything worthwhile. ~ Brian Tracy

Thursday, October 20, 2011

No Pictures Yet

My kids tell me they liked it better when I worked ... they knew where I was. Between the mobility of cell phones and the RV, their first question now is "Where are you?" I have been on a merry-go-round since we got back the first of the month.

Last Friday we went to the lake and Ted loaded up my Expedition and Gerre's Lexus at the old lake house and we took it over to the new lake house. Barry had "big" gall bladder surgery and isn't able to lift. The contents we brought gave Gerre things to do the rest of the weekend in getting settled. Their big mover comes tomorrow for what is left.

After a very busy week, I was happy to stay home on Saturday and even opted not to attend church but to wait until Sunday. I had to prepare food and tables for bunco which took a good bit of the day because it was afternoon before we got home from church.

Bunco went off without a hitch except we are supposed to play 4 games, normally only play 3 but with all the talking we only got in 2! I love that the girls enjoy visiting so much. The game is just a reason to get together.

Tuesday I made egg salad for sandwiches to take to church for a funeral on Wednesday. Then we hung around waiting for the car transport to pick up my old Expedition to take it to NC. We finally got the call around 4:30 pm so we took off to deliver it to a parking lot big enough to accommodate the car hauler. We were glad it was on its way. Now I could get my new Expedition out of the garage and use it.

With 25.9 miles on the odometer I drove to my friend's to play Shang Hai. This is only my second time playing and I came in second. I was first until the last hand when I just couldn't get down and was caught with all my cards still in my hand. That sometimes happens.

I came home to a real Texas beef brisket just finished being smoked in Ted's smoker. It was as good as any brisket in any restaurant we've been to. Now he has to work on ribs. I'm happy to let him cook as much as he wants.

Today Ted put on his suit and I got dressed up to attend the visitation for Barb at the Rosewood Funeral Home. Ted found Dave's funeral program in one pocket, Amy's wedding program in the other.

It was so sad to see a poster that Mike labeled "our first and only RV trip after my retirement." They were half way through their summer trip when she was taken ill and returned to M.D. Anderson in Houston. He said he'll learn to cope but the other half of the queen bed will always be empty and he'll always miss her.

Ted drove me to the country club for the Newcomers luncheon and ran some errands. It was a nice afternoon and Gerre brought me home. Tomorrow is a Junior Forum meeting, up to the dealer to get my license plates and then the Wind Down cocktail party tomorrow night. If Barry is feeling up to it, Gerre and I are going to teach the fellows how to play Shang Hai.

Back to my car -- I programmed the garage door opener in the sunvisor, set my seat to respond to my memory key, called HOME on the SYNC, asked SYNC to take me home (which it did) and figured out the vent button opens the back side windows. There's a lot of bells and whistles to learn.

One of these days I'll take a picture. Just haven't had time.

Drive carefully! Remember, it's not only a car that can be recalled by it's maker.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

In Memory of Barb Ellerbrock

We lost another good friend today to that awful disease cancer. Barb actually battled breast cancer twice but her latest war with leukemia was more than she could overcome. She died this morning with her husband Mike at her side.

Barb was a good time, party loving gal. She was always ready with a kind word and a big smile. I never heard her say anything negative about anything or anyone.

I took this picture last Easter when Barb was unlucky enough to win Mr. Wonderful as a gift. This is a big joke present that has circulated for years within the Texas Boomer rallies.

Today she met THE Mr. Wonderful and I know he welcomed her home with outstretched arms. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Mike and their entire family.

Rest in peace, Barb. If anyone deserves to, it is you.

Friday, October 14, 2011

On The Mend

Well I made it to Canasta, didn't sneeze or cough on anyone, and was able to play all four games. I had decent cards but came out in the middle. Since we only play for $1, winning isn't what we gather for. This is a great group of ladies and we all just have a good time.

By that evening my flu/cold headed to my chest. I started on antibiotics before it could take a strong hold and started using Nyquil Cough at night. Needless to say I didn't do much on Tuesday or Wednesday other than make a pot of taco soup. It makes life so much easier when either of us can just grab a bowl of soup when I'm not up to making a full dinner.

By Thursday I was feeling better and went to the neighborhood luncheon. October has the most birthdays and I walked into a stack of cards and gifts at my place in the restaurant. It was a second birthday celebration. Jeanette made Halloween cupcakes with candles for the birthday girls and pumpkins on the others' cupcakes. Today I need to write out thank you notes to my wonderful neighbors.

I now sound worse than I feel and I think I'm pretty far down the road to recovery. But while I was hacking and sneezing I was productive!

I have a brand new 2011 white with Arizona beige trim Expedition in the garage. It was driven home, put into the garage and has never been out yet. My 2003 is sold to my niece Vicki in North Carolina and will be picked up next week. She has three kids and is so excited to be getting a big SUV. I normally would hesitate to sell a used car to someone I know but this has been the best car and right now I know of nothing wrong with it. I hope she gets another 75,000 trouble free miles out of it. I'll post a picture of the new car when I get it out of the garage and take one.

I've also done all I can on the April France trip. Our air came with the riverboat cruise and is all in order. So only the three days on our own at the end of the cruise needed work. We now have a hotel in the Left Bank area, a group contact for train tickets to Normandy when we get within 90 days and a guide for our Normandy day trip booked and deposit made. We have three nights in Paris with the tour so we'll decide during that time what we want to do when we are on our own. We won't be alone, there are 12 in our group.

LeAnne and I burned up the keyboards back and forth with Caron in Rome about the days before our trans-Atlantic cruise next November. We want to go in several days before the cruise to see some of Italy. We have put together a package of transportation, hotel, tours and some meals that the 23 in our group can join in or not. Some are arriving later, some have been there before so hopefully they can pick and choose any or all of what we've put together to make their trip enjoyable.

If all goes as we hope, we will have transportation to our hotel from the airport, a nice hotel with buffet breakfast for the duration, three days of tours including a day in Capri, Pompeii and Naples using hydrofoils. The last day we will be transported to the ship with a stop at ruins along the way. We have stops in France, Spain, the Canary Islands, six days at sea, the Bahamas and finally Galveston. I'm really looking forward to both of these trips. Add in a month in the Rio Grande Valley in February, Morgan's 1st Communion in May, Ally's graduation in June and anything else added to our summer and you can see why Chris is looking forward to being "lord of this manor" in 2012.

We hope to go to Gerre & Barry's new lake house tonight to see it. They bought a different one than the one she and I had looked at. We left before they made the deal so we never did see it except in pictures. It looks spectacular. We'll go out to eat at a new Mexican restaurant in the area.

We have no big plans for the weekend but I have bunco here on Monday so I have some preparations to make. After I go to the store I'll make whatever food I can beforehand (washing my hands constantly!). Monday morning will be busy as I get the food out, the tables ready and myself ready. They come at 10 a.m. so I have to start early. Maybe by then I'll be all better. Let's hope so.

When an illness knocks you on your *ss, you should stay down and relax for a while before trying to get back up. ~ Candea Core-Starke

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Busy, Then Sick

I attended my first practice at Book Smart on Tuesday. First there was a light lunch followed by an introduction to the book and program. Bubba, The Cowboy Prince is a Cinderella story Texas-style. We put the story on as a play and then each second grade child receives a hard covered copy. These performances are at Title One schools which have the most at risk students. Most of the time it is the first hard covered book the child has ever owned.

I am in charge of music and sound effects and when not doing that I will be Dwayne one of two mean cowpokes. We all have to learn two parts/jobs in case of absences. We will have two more practices before presenting the play five times over the winter.

Thursday I was up and out early to the Autumn Party at Regent Care Nursing Home. I was in charge of Table 6 and had five lovely ladies gathered. They said they were the Golden Girls and we had a fun time. Our Merry Melodies did a Hit Parade through the decades of songs that mean so much to these elderly folks. During one, Ivy age 87, told me used to dance to the song with soldiers and sailors at the USO in San Francisco when she was 18. It was a huge success. I always feel good when I leave there knowing I made someone's day a little brighter.

Friday Rebecca came to clean and I worked on getting the rest of my paper work done. I'm in good shape now. But I started with a cold and by that evening I was going down hill quickly. On Saturday morning I called the hosts of a surprise birthday party we were to attend to tell them we would not be there. No one needed exposure to my germs. I slept all day and all night.

This morning I was still a little weak and chilled but made myself get up and do some things. I started feeling better and decided to make some chicken soup. If that didn't cure me, nothing was going to. Ted had bought skinny noodles from the Amish and had been after me to use them. They worked great in the soup and Ted said it is excellent. I haven't eaten any yet but it smells good.

I intend to play Canasta tomorrow as long a I'm feeling well enough to sit up for three hours. I'll take Purell to clean my hands at each round so no one gets germs from holding the cards after me. What I don't understand is that I got a flu shot somewhere in Kentucky and Ted refused to get one ... and I'm sick!

To be seventy years young is sometimes far more cheerful and hopeful than to be forty years old ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Me and the Mother Road

We made it home safely on Saturday about 1 pm. The day was bright and pleasant. The worst of the dead trees we saw was in the Marshall area and I was surprised at how green other areas were. I expected everything to be dead and was delighted it wasn't like that. We are still desperately in need of rain but the land has not been laid barren ... at least not yet.

Once set up, we loaded up the truck and headed to the house. We found everything in great condition and even two of my hanging plants made it through with much tender loving care I'm sure. There appears to be a bit of "brown patch" in the grass but that isn't unusual. I'll need to get some fungicide to put down. But overall both the house and yard were in great shape. Thanks to Chris and those who helped him. His parents' house has still not sold so he didn't have far to go home.

We took my car back to the campground because it carries so much more than the truck. We went to church at 6 pm, stopped for a burger and then headed for the RV. We were both in bed pretty early.

The next morning it was 66 inside the trailer. I took personal responsibility for bringing this wonderful weather to Texas. People were emerging from the A/C to once again enjoy the great outdoors. It was a miserable summer here and was worse than being cooped up all winter by snow and ice I would imagine.

Ted and I both got right to work. He washed the entire rig on the outside and did the windows. I emptied out what needed to come home and cleaned the inside very well. When we were done, it was back to the storage unit and then home to put everything away. I always amaze myself that I can mess up a 2300 sq. ft. house with things from a 300 sq. ft. trailer. We had leftovers for both lunch and dinner and settled into a quiet evening.

Monday was "pay the piper" day. I spent all day getting everything back in order and tackled the stack of mail that had accumulated. All the ads and junk mail had been thrown away already, the bills had been dealt with so that made it a much easier job. There were lots of thank you notes from all the festivities we had attended over the summer and birthday cards for both of us.

At 5 o'clock we drove to Terry and Carol's and then on to a new restaurant in the area. The food is homemade Italian and is fabulous. It's the first time I've found gnocchi on a menu down here in the south. We had a great meal and a wonderful visit after almost four months.

Tuesday was my birthday and old Route 66 and I are sharing the same number for the next year. I received some nice gifts, lots of phone calls, a stack of cards and rows and rows of greetings on Facebook from family and friends. I'm so blessed to have so many great people in my life. I started the day meeting Gerre for our normal walk. She has signed us up for the 5K Run Thru The Woods on Thanksgiving Day and we need to get up to speed. It was so good to be walking with my friend again.

Ted planned to attend the World Skeet Shoot in San Antonio again but hesitated to leave me alone on my birthday. I sent him off because I really needed time to myself to get my calendar and volunteer projects all in order. I had just spent 107 days in 300 sq. ft. of space with him. A day alone would be just fine. And it was.

Today I start back in with my Junior Forum work. I'm also scheduled at the nursing home tomorrow. I think I'm in my groove again!

Birthdays are good for you. Statistics show that the people who have the most live the longest.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Haulin' HitchHikers

I couldn't get this picture to load when I did my rally blog so they sent it again and now it worked! Close to one-third of the attendees at the HitchHiker International Rally belong to Haulin' HitchHikers. We had a great showing.