Saturday, November 26, 2011

Thanksgiving Camping

We arrived at Rayford late Wednesday morning and Brenda & Rick had already arrived. We set up and visited with them along with Jay & Stella until Mike & Patrice arrived. We then all went to a restaurant that was new to me. It was a sports bar but had very good food.

The day was beautiful and we sat outside the rest of the afternoon until it was time for Rick & Brenda to leave. Later on we went to the rally hall to play bingo. Ted won $20, Jay won $6 and his grandson won $75. And I missed Survivor! I'll watch it on Catch Up when we get home.

I was up bright and early Thursday to get my cranberry jello salad made and my sweet potatoes peeled before I left to meet Jennifer for the 5K Run Thru The Woods. It was cooler than last year but not unpleasant.

We had our best time ever - 40 minutes. We were moving at a good clip. Ted picked me up afterwards and we came back to the park and I popped the potatoes in the oven.

Jay & Stella's daughter, son-in-law and two grandsons were here for dinner as well as a couple who appeared to be friends of Patrice & Mike. That made our table of 12 the largest group overall.

There was plenty of turkey, ham, dressing, potatoes, etc., etc., for all. I took some extra turkey after everyone had eaten and we had sandwiches the next day. Clean up is so easy when you only have your own plates, silverware and two serving dishes that are empty. After a 4 a.m. wake up, a 5K race and a big dinner, next on the agenda was a 2.5 hour nap. By late in the afternoon everyone was starting to stir and we sat outside some more.

Candy Bar Bingo was scheduled for Friday morning but Tommy & Susan came by and all thoughts of bingo went out the window. We were so glad to see them because it has been awhile. However, they will be with us next weekend at the Boomer rally. We had a really nice visit and I'm so glad they came by.

There was no way I was getting into the Black Friday shopping fray but by 3 pm the crowds were all gone so we went to Wal-Mart. I needed lots of greeting cards since my supply is about gone and we also wanted to buy our girl and boy gifts for the church Christmas tree. Ted chose a Rip Stick (sort of a fancy skateboard) and I picked up a baby with bed, clothes, bottle, pacifier, etc. We won't be at our church for two weeks so we can't pull an age tag from the tree but I'm sure they'll accept whatever we give them.

It started raining through the night and when we all left Saturday morning for Furr's Breakfast Buffet, it was raining cats and dogs. We had a very nice leisurely breakfast. We drove home afterwards to pick up the muffins for the bake sale. I grabbed the smaller pack that is for our luncheon instead of the larger package that was for the bake sale. We picked up the mail and then came back to the park.

At noon we took our mini-tool set up for the auction, the muffins for the bake sale and the bag of cut up carrots, celery, onions and potatoes that I had prepared to go into tonight's hobo stew. The rain continued all afternoon so it was a good time to watch TV, nap a bit and just take it easy.

The hobo stew was great and there was a nice crowd in the rally hall. After we ate, the auction items were raffled off but we didn't win anything. Over $500 was raised for charity and everyone agreed it was a nice sum. We head for home tomorrow and will be there for a few days before heading to the Boomer rally. Chris will get whiplash with this revolving door approach to house sitting.

Tucker has been no problem. He has taken over Ted's recliner next to me while Ted is relegated to the couch. He is definitely a lady's dog. He wants to be by me all the time.

"Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.” ~ W. T. Purkiser

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving to All

Last Sunday we went to church at 9 o’clock, a time we seldom attend. I wore jeans, something I hardly ever do. So we sit down right in front of a gal I know and her entire family, all dressed up in their fine clothes. Bummer!

Ted went shooting, I put the beef stew together but not before burning my arm in a dozen small places when I dropped the floured meat into the hot grease to brown it. Those cast iron Dutch ovens get hot!

Once the stew was in the oven I went into the attic and brought down things to decorate just a small portion of the house. I did the mantle, coffee table, sofa table, sideboard and kitchen table. After this weekend I’ll do the front porch. I’ll hate myself the first of January but I’m trying not to be too big a Scrooge!

Monday was bunco and I had to arrive a bit early because Mary was borrowing a card table and I also had the bag. While she finished in the kitchen I got the tables set up with dice, paper, pencils, etc. so all was ready by 10 o’clock. We managed to get three games in this time and there weren’t a lot of duplicate scores which always causes confusion in roll offs before I can award the money.

When I got home I told Ted I didn’t have to be anywhere or do anything specific until we left on Wednesday. But I busied myself getting my lists together. The park is doing Thanksgiving for two days and it goes right into Christmas over the weekend.

I need an appetizer for the bingo game Friday night, two candy bars for Candy Bingo on another day, an auction raffle item and something home made for a bake sale. Proceeds from these two activities are for charity. There are games, crafts, hayride, movies, street party with dinner, etc. all weekend long.

We finished up the beef stew for dinner then watched Dancing with the Stars. The three finalists are all great and any of them deserve to win.

I had lots to do today around the house. I cleaned out the pantry for starters and then packed all dry foods into bags and Ted eventually took those and drinks out to the RV. I made a list of refrigerator items I needed so I don’t forget something tomorrow. I’m making sweet potatoes and jello cranberry salad for Thursday dinner.
The last thing I did was make pumpkin streusel muffins. Half will go for the bake sale at the park and half will go to my neighborhood Christmas luncheon.

Tucker is being very good and we keep telling him he is going camping tomorrow. He just looks at us.

Camping is nature’s way of promoting the motel business ~ Dave Barry

P.S. Not the way we do it!
P.P.S. Congratulations to J. R. Martinez on his Dancing With The Stars win. What an inspiration he is to us all.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Little Breathing Room This Week

I finally won at Canasta! Third place, but it was a win. I needed that to salve my battered ego with being low the Saturday before. I won't be going back to Jennifer's anytime soon, she's finished hosting, but I am doing the 5K Run Thru The Woods with her on Thanksgiving morning.

I had an eye doctor appointment Thursday morning and then I picked up Gerre for the Newcomers Luncheon. It was a nice lunch with a great speaker on wine. I thought this wouldn't be real interesting to me but she was very good. I learned a few things and wouldn't hesitate to use her shop if and when I needed to purchase wine for a specific meal or person.

There were money prizes, centerpieces and wine gifts given away. Eight women were at our table and three of the ladies won four of the prizes. Guess who one of the five that didn't win was? Me! Gerre won a great gift basket from the wine shop and one lady won TWO of the money prizes.

Friday Rebecca came to clean and I prepared all my bunco packets through March 2013. We've all picked our hostess months so I printed out that sheet and attached all the scoring sheets needed. That way, when the bunco bag is passed to the next hostess, she just takes the next packet with her name highlighted and she has everything she needs. This group runs like a clock and I love all the women who make it work.

Then I wrote our Christmas letter. I caught so much flack this past year over not including our usual letter in my cards last Christmas. Apparently at this age, if you do something differently, they assume you are dead or dying. So I worked on the letter and was able to include several photos from throughout the year.

Last night was the Lighting of the Doves and the arrival of Santa Claus along the waterway. We went with Gerre and Barry to walk through the festival. It has become more and more a Children's Festival but they were so much fun to watch. They have snow hills for sledding, snow for playing in, bounce houses and something new was huge clear balls the kids are put into and rolled onto water to bounce around. I wanted to try it! The kids were making ornaments, having their faces painted and having a good time. We watched two ice carvers make a sleigh that they filled with presents carved from ice and a big Santa Claus to stand next to it. Santa came down the waterway and once he passed us we left for dinner so we wouldn't get caught in a rush.

We went to Chili's where Barry bought our dinner as a thank you for watching Tucker this week while they are gone. That certainly wasn't necessary but was appreciated.

Today we went to church early because I am going to climb into the attic to get down the few Christmas things I'm going to use. We will be gone the next two weekends and by then it is December 4 and I need to be finished or it won't get done at all.

He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree. ~ Roy L. Smith

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Canasta, Canasta and almost more Canasta

Saturday we subbed in the Couple's Canasta Group, once again at Jennifer's house. But this is a bigger group and we played four tables. I had absolutely terrible cards all night and came out low. Unfortunately they stopped paying for low. Wouldn't you know it? Just when I finally moved out of the middle but in the wrong direction? If you don't have a wild card Canasta all four hands, you are toast. I only had one!

Ted went shooting on Sunday and I was glad to stay home and worked on Christmas shopping from the luxury of my PJs in the office chair in front of the computer. I hate to shop so Amazon and I have a love affair going on. I have everyone done but my oldest daughter and her husband. Ted and I don't buy for each other anymore. If we want something, we buy it ourselves. I guess most married people get to that point.

I was supposed to play Canasta on Monday with one of my regular groups but the hostess became ill while making preparations so it was called off about two hours before we were to meet. I was actually on my way home from the doctor when I got the call on my SYNC system. Love it! That gave me free time and I slept a lot of the afternoon. I had been a bit under the weather and I think I needed the rest.

Yesterday I worked four more hours at the thrift store. It is hard work when you are sorting clothes. Hanging and tagging them isn't so bad. A lady came in with a whole SUV filled with toys and larger size women's clothes. The toys will go quickly and we never have enough big size clothes so we were glad to get them. Another lady, whose mother had passed away, brought in all her clothes in a bit bigger size too. So it was a productive day. Just as I was leaving the rain started and Grace made me a plastic bag raincoat. It worked!

The rain stopped so Ted got to go shooting and I took care of some of that "paperwork" I am always complaining about. The end of the year brings so much stuff you need to hang on too coupled with a zillion catalogues to clutter up the mailbox.

Today is ... you guessed it ... Canasta. And you know where? Jennifer's! I'm not sure how she got stuck doing three different Canastas in a row and I'm not sure she knows either. Today's games really should have been on the Thursday that is Thanksgiving so it had to be moved. Wish me luck! Or at least a good partner!

Life is not a matter of holding good cards, but of playing a poor hand well. ~ Robert Louis Stevenson

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Battle with the Calendar

Monday I was knee deep in laundry and had to meet Kate around noon to pick up Christmas gifts she had made. I got back on track at home because the rest of the week was BUSY!

I worked my four hour shift at the Thrift Store and then stopped off at Rayford to see Jay & Stella's new Landmark 5th wheel. It is VERY nice inside and has all the bells and whistles. They recently returned from a few weeks in the Rio Grande Valley and we hadn't seen them since they left us in Michigan last July.

I had a dentist appointment early Wednesday and we are going to finally address a tooth that is in bad shape. The problem is a bridge is attached to it. I think this is going to be a long (and expensive) process. I now have an appointment with a prosthodontist the last week in November. That is the day after I am to report for jury duty so I hope I really don't have to serve, or if I do, for no more than one day!

From the dentist I went to the Junior Forum office for lunch and to practice our Book Smart play. First practice I played Dwayne the nasty cowboy. I know my lines but really need to study up exits, entrances and what is said before I speak. Most of us are in the same situation. Those that have done this in the past were able to move us along. The second go round I worked the music/sound effects. Kathy and I made a few notations to keep me on cue, like Cotton Eye Joe has to play through the entire ball until the clock strikes 12. (This is a cowboy version of Cinderella.) I think by the first week in January, everyone will be right on target.

Ted was in Fort Worth so I took the opportunity to go to Happy Hour at the country club for the first time in six months. The lady who handles this is undergoing chemo right now and the reminder didn't go out until yesterday so only two other gals showed up. But we stayed until 9 o'clock just talking. When 12-16 people are there you can't do that so it was enjoyable.

I drove to meet my neighbor ladies for lunch Thursday afternoon. They were all going shopping afterwards but I had a hair appointment and had to get on my way. I think when your hair gets to be more than about seven colors, the hair police can come after you so it was time to do something about all those roots showing! I arrived home just in time for the Glass fellow to come and measure for sliding shower doors in the guest bath. It has a shower curtain now and I want to get rid of that. We talked of redoing the whole bathroom but decided against it. We don't want to overdo the house in today's market.

This morning was the Children's Festival for the Title One schools. Our group of four had nine buses of children to unload, one of which was a special needs bus. We had this bus park where it could get out first because those children were leaving first and would not be eating lunch at the park. Jeannie led the group and I brought up the rear. Once we moved a row of chairs to accommodate the wheelchairs, we went back to help with the other eight busloads. The hardest part was keeping the schools from getting mixed into one another. Our school was going to the left, the one walking beside us was going to the right. We had to be sure the students didn't mingle and get into the wrong group. Once we got them settled we could relax. At one point the Special Needs teacher was up and I checked with her. She was getting another teacher to help her with a bathroom stop for a wheelchair bound student. She said they were fine and there was a chaperon with the other children.

Once the two stage shows were over we took them out first but another school came up the center aisle and we were back trying to keep this group separate. One of the autistic boys apparently doesn't like to be touched and was fussing when I put my arm out to stop them from mixing with the other school. The aide came up to him and he continued on with the group. It certainly wasn't a hard day but we were there a long time.

I think I might order a pizza tonight and put my feet up. It's been an interesting week.

You have got to keep autistic children engaged with the world. You cannot let them tune out. ~ Temple Grandin

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Monkey Bars and Such

Well here is a picture of the much better looking garage. The front and right side now have a high shelf installed with the "monkey bars" below. These bars can be moved in 10 different increments for height and width. Then there are several different hooks that can be snapped on and slid back and forth to accommodate whatever you have to hang. It's very versatile. I consolidated and straightened stuff on the shelves on the left and hopefully we can keep this semblance of order for awhile. Ted straightened up his work room some so my "order gene" will be calm for awhile Ted hopes.

I finally won at cards. The big Shang Hai group meets at a restaurant on the first Tuesday and I was home so I could join them. Not only did I win some money (I came in second), I also had a Shang Hai which is the ultimate in this game. It is sort of like Gin in that you have to be able to lay your whole hand down in the configuration called for in that round using all 12 cards. I probably won't be available to play with them again until March.

Wednesday we were up early to take the trailer to have the stud and lug nut put on the wheel. It was broke off by the fellows up in Kentucky and they couldn't find one the right size so we've had 7 instead of 8 on one wheel. That would normally only take 5 minutes at the shop but Ted noticed a busted shock. One was found in Houston and we had to wait for it to be delivered. We were able to get the trailer fixed, put it away and get to the doctor for our annual check up by 1 pm. Everything checked out with me and I had my blood drawn. Same with Ted except he had to give a urine sample too for some reason. We'll hear from our doctor in a day or two about all the results.

I was asked to work at Change Over for the thrift shop where I work for Junior Forum. I had no idea of the number of boxes of Christmas stuff acquired through the year and set aside for this pre-Thanksgiving sale. Lauren, Jill and I did nothing all night but break down boxes. We filled an entire dumpster with ones not good enough to save and a shed with good ones. They started their big sale the next day and I was assured all the Christmas items would be gone long before Thanksgiving. We were served sandwiches and salad while we worked and it was a fun atmosphere though everyone was working very hard. I bought two gold stars to match one I have at home for my mantel this Christmas.

I'm not sure how Ted does it but he can wake himself up when he needs to without an alarm clock. At 7:15 he came out of the bedroom and was ready to get things together for our camping trip with the Boomers this weekend. We had to make soup for Friday night, pastries and juice for Saturday breakfast and Ted's pulled pork was all done for Saturday night. So we didn't need to take much beyond that in the way of food. Coffee and such stay in the trailer. We gathered a few clothes, left a note for Chris, hitched up and were on our way around 10 o'clock.

We received a call from our doctor on my cell (he always calls himself, not his staff) to tell me our tests were all good. He said to tell Ted his bloodwork was beautiful. He is always amazed at Ted's numbers. Dr. C told us to keep on doing whatever it is we're doing but officially he is required to tell us to exercise and lose weight. Point taken!

It took about four hours to arrive at the campground. We were the second to arrive and got set up. This is a beautifully wooded campground and we will enjoy being with the Boomers again. Soon others started arriving and we visited awhile and made arrangements to go to Bodacious BBQ for dinner. Then I took a nap, probably due to the muscle relaxant the doctor gave me for a kink in my neck.

After a good dinner we sat around a propane fire, the only kind allowed due to the burn ban in effect. It got pretty chilly so we didn't stay out too long. Ted didn't get a nap so we were in bed by 10.

We drove to Canton Trade Days on Friday and followed the traffic to a sea of cars parked in a field. Then we ventured into the mix. OMG this place is bigger than huge and it's hard to figure out where you are, where you've been and how to get where you want to go. We spent about five hours there and were both whipped. I bought very little but it wasn't due to lack of availability. We simply don't need anything. But it was fun looking.

Dinner that night was soup and sandwich night. We made Tortellini Soup which was a big hit since the whole pot was gone. I tried three different kinds and they were all excellent. The fellows headed to the firepit and the gals sat inside talking. Before we had come to dinner, one of the ladies caught her thumb in the awning support and ended up being taken to the hospital. They were not back yet when we went in. The next morning she came to breakfast all bandaged up with a broken thumb and was told to see an orthopedic doctor on Monday.

Everyone took off for Canton but we decided one day was enough. We went to the state park to check out the campground, rode into town to check on church for tomorrow, filled up with fuel and drove around the town a bit.

Eventually the shoppers started trickling back in and groups gathered around the campfire and at other RVs. Mudslides were served, the fire became known as "Don's Hot Rocks" and things just got funnier and funnier from there on in. If laughing is good for the soul, we're all in much better shape this week! What a great time.

Dinner was potluck and there was a great variety of all different foods. Afterwards I played Skipbo with the ladies and Ted headed to the fire pit. When I went looking for him he was already inside watching the LSU/Alabama game.

We went to the cathedral for Mass early Sunday morning, then prepared to leave. We got on the road about 10:30 and everyone else was already gone except the few staying over until Monday. We had the RV put away and were home by 2:30. We are signed up for the Christmas rally so we'll see these folks again shortly!

Laughter is an instant vacation. ~ Milton Berle