Tuesday, February 28, 2012
We received a phone call Monday morning from Mel saying he had been sick all night and they were unable to go to lunch. Ron & Lois opted not to go either and we were both actually glad because of the Brat Fest being moved to 4 o'clock that afternoon.
I made hot bacon slaw to take and we joined a whole lot of others at Don's party though it was held on Dave & Karen's Premium lot where there is more room.
Folks parked in front of and behind our trailer since we are right across the road. There was regular potato salad, German potato salad, macaroni and cheese, sauerkraut, beans, red cabbage, salad, fruit, my slaw, regular cole slaw, etc., etc., etc. There were several tables up in the storage house but it was almost impossible to find a place for all the food. It was a great turnout. Don and Trudy are leaving on Friday also and this was their goodbye after their extended stay down here.
Today eight of us went over to Mexico. The little town of Progreso has no major roads in our out of the interior of Mexico and has had no problems so far. Ted had purchased a fancy belt set (buckle, loop, end piece) so he bought a brown belt at the same place he bought his black belt. The fellow put the new pieces on and added a set of conchos so now Ted has two "Texan" belts and is so happy.
We bought another tube of Retin A for a friend and a tube of the prescription strength Aspercreme for my sister. We also bought two bottles of Don Pedro brandy for Don who forgot to bring his passport and couldn't go with us.
We sat in the plaza listening to music and had a beer (I had water, Ted a Coke) until we all met up.
We agreed to meet at Willie's in Alamo for a late lunch. This is a very popular BBQ spot and lunch was good.
Dave, Karen, Ted and I drove on to the produce market to get some oranges and grapefruits before we leave. The Ruby Reds are so good and I can't eat them because of my cholesterol medicine. Ted really enjoys them.
Ted and Dave greased our shackles when we got home in preparation for our departure. Now we're in wind down mode. Tomorrow the fellow comes to clean the carpets. On Thursday Rick will come to wash and wax the trailer. He has done this every year for the past six years. We have lots of leftovers to finish up over the next two days and plenty to get ready for unloading.
We'll only have Sunday to do laundry, go through the mail and pack for our quick trip to Florida. I'm going to ask Chris if he just wants to stay put since we'll be in and out so quickly.
“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Ted didn't shoot on Saturday because the fields were muddy so we hung out until it was time for church. We went back to Our Lady of Guadalupe and Fr. Roy. There was a wedding just ending, it was 20 minutes until Mass ... and we still didn't get a seat. We went up in the balcony and I found a chair but Ted had to stand the entire time. The gospel was the devil tempting Jesus in the desert after 40 days of fasting. We had two young men running through the church acting out the scenes, ending up in the balcony in front of us as the devil offered the city of Jerusalem to Jesus. And then the music started ... I Was Almost Persuaded!! Comparing the devil tempting Jesus to a bar lady tempting a married man is a stretch but hey temptation is temptation I guess. Five dogs were there, all dressed in purple blankets for Lent.
We were to hear the Bishop's Annual Appeal via a DVD but they had last year's by mistake so he said he would show it next week. Then someone found the correct one so eventually we did see it. Fr. Roy is totally unflappable. If things don't go right, he just talks to us as if we were in his living room and laughs things off.
We came home to a roast in the crockpot so we quickly ate open-faced roast beef sandwiches and then went to the clubhouse for an ice cream social followed by Pokeeno. Karen and Pat both won but neither of us did.
Our weather turned good again and the guys went shooting. I started working on my ancestors since I have the list of descendants done for my reunion. There is other info to fill in but I need to sync my info to Family Tree where I can add Marriage Dates and other things and I need help from Gerre on that.
We had the luau tonight so I made my appetizer and Dulce and I decorated our table.
We had a great dinner with our friends and set up a time for our trip to Mexico on Tuesday.
We can't believe our month is almost up. We're really not ready to leave but it is time.
"Is it time to go home yet? I keep clicking these damn shoes, but nothing happens” ~ Robin Hecht
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Karen sent a print of us over with Ted today. I asked her to e-mail it to me so I could put it on the blog and she said she didn't know how to do that! She only knows how to slip the memory card into her printer and print.
So before they left for dancing and we left for the grocery, I went over and downloaded Picasa to Dave's new computer and downloaded her pictures to my computer. Now I can e-mail them to her so she can share them with others via e-mail.
We did laundry today, went to the grocery and not much else. The weather is supposed to get rainy and cool again so our German Brat Fest is being moved to Monday. We are meeting Mel & Dee and Ron & Lois at Gonzales Burgers on Monday for lunch so I doubt we'll be eating many brats at dinner!
Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made. ~ Otto von Bismarck
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
The weather has been fantastic and spring is definitely here. While waiting for the Mardi Gras parade last night I took some photos of the flowers that are blooming.
The birds are starting their return to the north and chatter all day long. I haven't seen any butterflies yet however.
Here are some photos of some of our friends who rode bikes in the parade.
Karen goes all out and what she wears, Smoki wears.
The little dog never even barks. She just wears her hats, glasses, outfits and gets toted around in a carrier that always matches the outfits. It's a hoot.
We all gathered at the palapa (tiki hut) after the parade for dinner and Margaritas. Ted had some beer and I stuck to Sprite Zero. There were three different red beans and rice (the only Louisiana cuisine present) so I was pleased when my 6 quart crockpot was half emptied. I had 2 lbs. of sausage in mine and I think they were after the meat versus the other two.
There wasn't a Cajun in the crowd based on the menu. Pasta salad and hamburgers just don't cut it at a Mardi Gras party but no one else seemed to notice. Even the king cake was a yellow cake and the top was covered in stripes of green/purple/gold. Instead of a baby Jesus, Pat had put a piece of candy for someone to find. Karen got that piece and has to hostess the party next year. She asked me what a real King Cake should look like. I told her HEB sells a very nice one. They look like coffee cakes with a cream filling, sprinkled with green/gold/purple sugar. The Louisiana food and customs just aren't known up north I guess.
Today Ted is going shooting and I'm not sure what else we'll do. The days seem to fill themselves.
'Laissez les bons temps rouler!' ~ Let the good times roll
Sunday, February 19, 2012
My father lives in Punta Gorda and we haven't seen him in a year and a half so I decided to go with Ted. I'll also see my sister Laurie and her husband Spence. Then we'll move on to Orlando and see our daughter Kristin and my good friend Eileen. It will be a quick trip but very worthwhile. We need to take these opportunities when they present themselves.
Ted shot in a tournament yesterday in 40-50 mph winds. He won his class in 12 and 20 gauge and came in third overall. If you subscribe to Skeet Shooter, look for his name in the winner's box.
I spent the day working on my family tree. My great-grandfather had three children, one of which was my maternal grandmother. I have two of these three children's families done and am at 273 people. The third sibling had five children and the last time I did the tree they had 40 people so I know I'm going to hit 300+ people. I can't wait to see it all printed out on a banner printer.
Today we attended Mass at the Basilica in San Juan. It was chaotic! It was half Spanish and half English. When the priest spoke one language, the other was on a screen. Until we got to the sermon. It was 99% Spanish with a few English sentences thrown in. By the time I realized he was speaking English he was back to Spanish! At Communion, there was no rhyme or reason to get in line, just a mad dash with three lines approaching the ministers. That was coupled with the exodus in the other direction for the door. I think we'll go see Fr. Roy again next week. The mariachi music was terrific and the shrine is absolutely gorgeous but it's too far and too busy for me.
Afterwards we went to Furr's Buffet for lunch. Another crowd! There was a line out the door the entire time we were there. Then we went to the party store to get leis, napkins, centerpiece, etc. for the luau. Last stop was HEB because I need the ingredients to make the red beans, sausage and rice on Tuesday.
Tonight was pizza night at the clubhouse. We went over at 5:00 and sat with our friends but there was a program at 6:00 followed by a movie Mama Mia at 7:00 so no one in our group stayed long. Amazing Race started at 7:00 and without a DVR, I NEEDED to be back in time. And so another season begins. So did Survivor last Wednesday.
Life doesn't imitate art, it imitates bad television. ~ Woody Allen
Saturday, February 18, 2012
We were due at the Margarita party in the clubhouse but decided at the last minute to go eat at the Riverside Club. We sat overlooking the Rio Grande River with Mexico on the opposite bank. There are picnic tables on the deck to sit at and we had a nice visit with two other couples visiting here too. There is live music all afternoon and a dance floor. It was a pleasant afternoon and meal.
Dave and Karen signed us up for the luau so Thursday we went looking for something to wear. We have a lot that would work at home but that isn't helping us here. So back to our newly found store for a look. I found a blue and white muu-muu, actually made in Hawaii, so now I'll need to find a lei. No luck for Ted but he did get a few more $28 shirts for $3.50. We decided to try the ropa usada. Now finding an Aloha shirt, in his size, in an 8 foot mountain of clothes seemed like a long shot. I walked the perimeter looking for bright colors. I asked a lady sitting on the pile sorting and she pulled out one but it was just size Large. I climbed up a bit and finally asked another couple who said they hadn't seen anything like that. My next comment was "I would need St. Anthony to find that for me." I looked down and there was a black shirt with brown and green palm trees all over it ... in size 3X! I took it to Ted and he slipped it on and it fit. It is rayon, probably got washed and shrunk and is why it was in the pile. He said if I would wash it and iron it with starch he would wear it. Cost - 21 cents along with a scarf and potholder. It still isn't as good as the brand new Tommy Bahama I found last year for $3 but it will work.
Friday was a double birthday celebration for two of the folks here in the park. We met at Pappadeux with 20 other people to celebrate. The restaurtant is celebrating Mardi Gras so everyone received beads and we had a good time along with good food. We are now invited to a Mardi Gras party on Wednesday, a German sauerkraut cookout on Saturday and the luau on Sunday. I decided on red beans and rice with sausage for the Mardi Gras party, hot bacon slaw for the German dinner and ham wrapped pineapple chunks stuck into a whole pineapple for the luau. It's nice just fixing one dish and getting to eat a whole meal for your effort.
We need to make another run to Mexico, have the rig washed and wax, have the carpets cleaned and meet Dee and Mel for lunch at Gonzales Burgers. I best be getting the calendar in order since time is passing quickly.
A good holiday is one spent among people whose notions of time are vaguer than yours. ~ John B. Priestly
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
It rained all day Sunday. To keep from being cooped up all day we ordered tickets to see an I Love Lucy show. There was a BIG crowd of several hundred to see this performance. The gal did a great job as Lucy looking and sounding just like her. She had the mannerisms down pat too.
Ricky was decent enough but not quite as good with the vocals. The show itself was weak in my estimation. I think this is because there isn't a joke or punch line that Lucy delivered that most all of us don't know. It was OK but not one I would tell people not to miss.
SUNSHINE made an appearance on Monday. It was our day to meet the HitchHiker owners for the monthly luncheon. We saw several of our Haulin' HitchHiker friends and had a great time. We talked about our rally scheduled for Michigan in August at Manistee.
We stopped at HEB on the way home because we were invited to a birthday celebration across the street from our lot and needed something to prepare.
This was no appetizer/finger food outing. There were ribs, goat cheese pizzas, wings, chicken casserole, meatballs. I'm glad I made BBQ smoked sausage pieces and didn't take chips and salsa! We had a nice visit with the folks we know and met a few others we didn't. This is a friendly park. Some parks down here that have a lot of "permanent residents" aren't. You get the feeling that they resent your intrusion into "their" park.
Today Ted washed the truck, we walked around the perimeter of the park and I did two loads of laundry. At 4:30 we went to the Wine Tasting at the clubhouse. My favorite was the choco-wine. How appropriate for Valentine's Day. There was a chocolate fountain for dessert in addition to all the food brought by individuals. Ted and I stopped the Schwann truck this afternoon and bought four different appetizers since it seems we need to provide one frequently. The spinach/artichoke mini bowls I made for today were well received.
We've been here almost two weeks and the time is going by quickly. We still have several things we want to do and hopefully the warm weather and sunshine will stay and we'll accomplish all of that.
The human spirit needs to accomplish, to achieve, to triumph to be happy. - Ben Stein
Saturday, February 11, 2012
What a find! It looks like a department store, very clean and orderly. All name brand clothes with tags still on. I bought white denim capris, a pair of Ralph Lauren shorts and Ralph Lauren jeans ($26), three tops and my best find ... a Kate Spade $355 dress for $59. Woo Hoo! I believe I had eight items for about $160. Not the $3 finds of Erika's but much more to choose from.
Friday it didn't rain but was overcast. We piddled around and at 2 o'clock decided to go eat out since neither of us had eaten anything and then go to the grocery. We chose Tony Roma's because 1) we had a coupon and 2) it wasn't BBQ or Mexican. Of course we had ribs and they were good.
We decided to check out JCP because of all their advertising and Ted's need for new underwear. He has always worn their Stafford brand. Sure enough the prices were much lower than previously so we bought him two packs of briefs and T-shirts. He should be ready for our cruise now, at least in that department.
Our next stop was HEB where we got a few grocery items we needed and then headed home. We weren't hungry so after a while we headed to Mission West Park next door to ours to see a Branson performer John Sager. He was voted male vocalist of the year in Branson two years in a row. What a show he put on! He sang all the songs we like and had a lot of audience interaction which is always fun.
There was another fellow with him who did some comedy and impersonations in between. They pulled a fellow from the audience to be Elvis and his job was to sing the refrain "I'm all shook up." What a great sport he was.
Today was the pet parade. There were hot dogs, beer, soft drinks and baked goods for sale for the Cinderella Dog Shelter.
Votes were $1 each and also went to the shelter. We had front row seats in front of the trailer to see the parade. Here are a few entries.
Here is the winner.
We are going to church tonight and have tickets for a Lucy and Ricky show tomorrow night. Monday will be the HitchHiker's monthly luncheon and we'll see some more friends there. Who knows what will happen the rest of the week.
Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. ~ John Lennon
Thursday, February 9, 2012
We stayed in on Tuesday and it was pleasant listening to the rain on the roof and especially the slides when we sleep. Between my Kindle, the cable TV and the laptop, there's plenty to keep us from getting bored.
Wednesday was rain off and on but Ted was able to get his shooting in. We've also had times when we can do our walk around the perimeter and stop and talk to folks. Ted borrowed one of the parks' bikes and road around for awhile.
Last night we went to the Margarita happy hour at the clubhouse and sat with some folks from North Carolina, Kansas and Ontario. There were all kinds of appetizers, even some soup, and all the frozen Margaritas you could drink.
Today it hasn't stopped raining at all. We're going to take a ride down towards Hidalgo to the ropas. There are ropa nuevos (new clothes) and ropa usadas (used clothes). Karen said she'll go to the nuevo ropas but not the usada ropas! I'll miss Stella because she and I have the best time just rooting around through used and new. Ted has a new Tommy Bahama shirt (tags still on) that I paid $3 for. I have a pair of lined wool Ralph Lauren slacks I paid 60 cents for. I don't buy a lot, just great bargains when I find them, but it's so much fun to see a mountain of clothes and people climbing all over it. But today with Karen I'll be limited to the stuff hanging on racks.
Another park we stayed in a couple years back has a fashion show each year. The ladies must buy all their clothing at the ropa usadas. I think they tell how much the entire ensemble cost. Once two ladies found a silver fox and a full length mink coat. At 45 cents a pound, they were a real hit in the show.
Such is life in the Rio Grande Valley ... with or without the rain.
Shopping tip: You can get shoes for 85 cents at the bowling alley. ~ Author Unknown
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Monday we picked up Jay & Stella and headed to the Mercedes bridge parking lot to meet most of the group we had dinner with on Friday. They all wanted to be accompanied into Mexico and we four obliged. First stop was the Almost Free Pharmacy where we get what we need. I had orders for some face cream, allergy medicine, antibiotics, etc. from folks in addition to what we needed.
Now don't get your panties in a twist. It is perfectly OK to buy these things in Mexico and bring them back. I always show what I have to Customs and there has never been a problem. Also, the quality of the drugs has always been up to par.
The ladies wanted to go into the big department store to browse so we waited while they did that. I found a scarf but that was all. We walked on and eventually stopped at Rene's Cafe. Ted and I just had rolls (delicious!) and coffee while the others ate lunch and/or breakfast. It was just too early for us to have lunch and Ted isn't an egg eater so breakfast was out. Our three pastries and two bottomless cups of coffee were $5.75. Try that at Panera Bread or Starbucks!
We walked on and stopped at several boot places. I was looking for boots and found some that feel good on. I didn't want fancy ones or the high heel/pointed toe ones. At my age, comfort is the name of the game. These are black with white embroidery up the sides, very much like Ted's boots. Now I'm ready for the rodeo!
We've tried to replace Ted's belt that we bought in New Mexico but the fellow called us and said it was no longer available. So we stopped at the leather shop and Ted chose a black leather belt and the man put his old silver buckle on it along with four silver conchos strategically placed in the design. Then he put a new buckle on his old belt so he could still wear it. Now he wants to go back over and get a brown belt.
We walked back over the bridge after clearing Immigration and Customs and said our farewells to the folks. Jay & Stella leave tomorrow and we won't see them until April. The other folks are heading out in different directions too.
The weather has been about 10 degrees cooler than normal and it has been very overcast. We took a walk around the entire park before coming in for dinner. The Bachelor was on so I was happy to be home since I missed last week when the skinny dipping scene took place! I've read spoilers and if they are true, I don't like the outcome and it has sort of ruined it for me. If he really chooses this girl, it won't last long. She isn't a very nice person and seems too self-centered to ever be good marriage material.
We were invited to Willie's BBQ to say goodbye to all the Heartland folks but we passed. I'm not sure what we're going to do today, perhaps nothing. That sounds good!
The trouble with doing nothing is that you never know when you are finished.
Saturday, February 4, 2012
When we were less than an hour from Mission, Jay texted that we were invited to a cookout with their Heartland friends. Of course we accepted. So we had an agenda.
We pulled into site 418, right across from Dave and Karen. Perfect! And we are right near the clubhouse. We couldn't have picked out a more convenient site. Karen told me to come over as soon as I was settled. She and I had a pomegranate martini while Ted visited with the fellows out in the casita that is on their site.
At 4:30, Jay and Stella picked us up and we went to Jim's over in Retama Village. Kathy, who we know, was there and two other couples we didn't know but met and enjoyed their company. We had a a nice cookout and visit. A little before 7:00 we left to return to our clubhouse to see the Link Family show. We've seen this group before and enjoy them. Friday night was no different. Having an entertainer in the family is great, having the whole family involved is amazing.
Saturday we picked up Jay and Stella and went to Furr's for breakfast. We intended to go on to the Don-Wes produce market afterwards. The weather was iffy and Ted received a call that the shooters wanted to leave early so we brought Ted back to get his truck and then the three of us continued back to the market.
My best find was wild rice from Minnesota. We bought a BIG bag in Minnesota summer before last and I recently used the last of it. The only place I can find it at home is a very small box at Kroger's. There are lots of mixtures, boxes, etc. but no plain wild rice. So I was happy to buy two bags. I also bought grapefruit and a pineapple. I didn't buy too much because I wanted to be sure Ted would bring me back next week.
Attending church here is still a hoot. Hank Williams' Oh Lonesome Me was the entrance song. I counted three dogs this time. It was once again the celebration of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple. Jesus, Mary, Joseph, Simon and Anna were all part of the small play but no donkey this year. However, when Father was reading the gospel while the actors silently did their acting, he said "and Jesus, Mary and Joseph came to the temple." And then one of the dogs barked. So Fr. Roy started again, "and Jesus, Mary, Joseph and their dog came to the temple." Everyone laughed long and loud. When Anna didn't appear on time, Fr. Roy asked "what happened to Anna." She appeared and at the end of the "play" Fr. Roy said Anna was 84 years old (according to the Bible) and it just took her awhile to get to the temple.
We so enjoy attending church at Our Lady of Guadalupe while here in the valley. There is always something non-conventional happening.
We came home, made a pot of chili and watched War Horse on DVD that David and Karen lent us.
Today is cold and rainy and the Super Bowl shindig starts at 5:00. So we've been inside but are heading out to the store.
Catch you later.
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Sunday was a relaxing day but Monday was a bit busier. When Rebecca came to clean on Friday, she said the bathroom rug in the guest bath was wet. I called Rick, the plumber, and he said he would come Monday. We turned off the water and just didn't use that bathroom. We needed a new ring where the toilet sits in the floor and it was fixed in no time on Monday. Ted picked up Kelly and Pat around 2 pm and as soon as they got to the house, I had to leave for the dentist. After grinding the partial down a bit to get my bite more in line, I was back home in time to leave for Terry & Carol's. She had invited us all to dinner. We had a swell time visiting with them, at the dining room table, as the family always does. The kids were so glad to see them.
The weather was rainy on Tuesday but we had tickets to see the King Tut exhibit at the museum so we drove downtown and parked in a garage that allowed us to make our way through tunnels to the museum. We all enjoyed the exhibit and it is amazing how much people have learned about the Egyptian civilization 5,000 years ago. Afterwards we had dinner at the Mexican restaurant out the road from our house. The kids really enjoyed the authenticity of the place and the excellent food.
Today was beautiful but Pat & Kelly had to leave for home. We had the morning together and just spent the time visiting. They worked on some things from their weekend training and Pat had a work phone call but for the most part it was pretty laid back.
We dropped them off at the airport and are getting our things together to leave tomorrow. We'll drive to Victoria, spend the night and then drive into Mission on Friday. Jay & Stella and Dave & Karen are awaiting our arrival. I'm looking forward to a month of not having to be anywhere at any particular time for any reason!
Next time will be "notes from the road" as we make our way to the Rio Grande Valley.
RIO GRANDE VALLEY, WINTER TEXANS by Ken Rudine
Every winter, starting about 1950 many so-called “Winter Texans” have come to enjoy the Valley’s South Texas weather. These folks come from the states north of Texas and Canada. Their numbers have increased every year and as a result they now make a tremendous impact on the local economy. We hear them talk among themselves of the bad weather being experienced at their home. They are easy to spot dressed in their shorts and T-shirts. While us natives wear our jeans, long sleeved shirts and jackets when the north wind occasionally blows into the Valley. Obviously the weather is the first reason they choose the Valley. It is a fact that if these visitors collectively sang, they could sing, “I’ve been everywhere – crossed the deserts bare – I’ve breathed the mountain air – of travel I’ve had my share – I’ve been everywhere” and really mean it. I believe they choose to come to the Rio Grande Valley also because of us Texans. Winter Texans understand that Texans get along just fine when left alone.