Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Little Light Music

It's been a nice week without too much hustle and bustle. I've messed with the I-Pad quite a bit and have a few kinks worked out but there is so much more I don't understand yet. Of course each new APP brings its own set of questions! I have four people I've been able to Face Talk with because they have I-Pads or I-Phones. I don't know if those people set Face Talk up on their instruments or if it comes that way. I've tried calling other people who have I-Pads but don't get anywhere. More research! Ted is getting increasingly frustrated with Angry Birds. He is stuck at Level 2 in the second set.

Monday I had the whole day to myself and cleaned out under my vanity in the bathroom. The accumulation of make-up, lotions, hair products, etc. is amazing. They say those things harbor bacteria and should be tossed ... so I did. I also put together two large plastic bags of my old clothes to be picked up on Tuesday by the Texas Paralyzed Veterans. Now it's Ted's turn!

Junior Forum had their last New Member Coffee on Tuesday and I picked up Suzy who I am sponsoring. She had her application and dues already to go and gave it to the Admissions Chair as soon as we arrived. I'm so pumped about her enthusiasm. The big gala is Saturday night. I am taking our two dollies over in the morning for them to use bringing all the auction items into the hotel. We have to be back at 6 pm because I am working the Wine Pull at that time. The Junior Forum Board, the Advisory Board and other higher ups are invited to a special party before the gala so I might be busy. I'll have the rest of the evening free to spend with Ted and our table of 10 until they do the Fund-A-Cause auction. Janeen has to dress up as the Fairy God Cow and she asked me to help her dress. It will be a busy day but so much fun.

I met Teri for lunch yesterday to give her the bunco bag. I'll miss the April gathering and she missed the March one so we made arrangements to eat and pass the bag off. We chose Sweet Tomatoes so she could get a salad and she was so impressed with all they offer to go with your salad. It's one of my and Ted's favorite restaurants for lunch.

Then I spent a good bit of time finding a Dazzle Doo Zooble. Toys R Us offered to order it if I would pay $7 shipping for a $20 toy. So I went to Target where two very disinterested clerks didn't think they had that and couldn't be bothered to look.

I came home, checked on the computer and lo and behold, the Target I was at had five of them. So back I went, bought the toy and voiced my complaint about employees who just didn't seem to care much about customer service. If I had my I-Pad with me I could have looked it up while I was still there. Note To Self: Keep the I-Pad handy.

Since I was out I decided to drop by Happy Hour at the country club to see my friend Sherida who is still waiting to finish her reconstruction surgeries from cancer surgery last summer. I hadn't seen her in awhile and probably won't have too many opportunities between now and next fall. I'm glad I went because only Teri and I joined her. Sometimes there's over a dozen, sometimes one or two. We had a great time taking pictures with our cell phones to put with each other's phone numbers.

I have my clothes for our next trip laid out on one of the twin beds in the guest room. Ted can use the other one and then Chris' room and bed won't be bothered. He'll be coming down next week to stay while we "jet off to Gay Paree." Actually we are flying to Nice, taking a week long riverboat cruise to Paris and spending a week there with a side trip to Normandy. Ted's two brothers and their wives along with the Judge from Illinois that we travel with and his two married children will round out our group of 12. There are only 42 passengers so we will get to know everyone rather quickly I think.

I have four baskets of flowers outside and Chris is apprehensive about taking care of them. In the summer when we leave, Gerre takes the plants so Chris doesn't have to worry about them. But for two weeks, I'm not ready to give them to her just yet. He can't be any worse at keeping them alive than I am. Last summer, in all that drought, Gerre kept my plants alive. Within two weeks of coming back I had killed the Wandering Jew. She said it got too much sun where I put it. So if Chris fails at gardening, so be it. Lowe's has another basket pretty much just like it.

I have to play Canasta this afternoon. When I e-mailed my RSVP I got a message back "Who are you?" Good thing I can read a sarcasm font when I see one. I don't think I've ever won in this group but they keep reminding me I have to actually show up and play to win. Wish me luck.

Despite the gardener's best intentions, Nature will improvise. ~ Michael P. Garafalo

Monday, March 26, 2012

iPad is making me crazy

I need a 10 year old to help me when I'm stymied. If this posts, I'm making progress.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Catching Up

We took our company to the airport after one last look at two western stores for a shirt for Cindy. Everything has been picked clean because of the rodeo and she went home empty handed. We arrived at the airport with no problems and they flew home without incident. The ironic thing is it was 66 when they left here and 86 when they arrived back home! They missed the best early spring weather ever in Indiana.

It wasn't but a day or two and we received an e-mail telling us they are all set up to spend a week next February with us in the valley. They have a casita reserved in the park we stay in, airplane tickets and a rental car. I think Karen and Ron are going to come too. Sweet!

I spent Wednesday getting my desk cleared off and Thursday doing laundry. Rebecca cleaned on Friday so we were all back in order very quickly. I attended a Junior Forum meeting on Friday. It required me to get up very early because I had to take a brunch item to serve. Our big gala is next weekend so the meeting was longer than usual as the gals made their pitch about the auction items. There is a raffle for a trip to Hawaii and three different auctions - silent, Big Board and live. There are some great travel opportunities on the Big Board - a week at a house for eight in Colorado, a week for six in Destin, FL, a "yachting" cruise (value $14,000!), jewelry, etc. It will be an exciting night. The theme is Diamonds Are Forever and we are to wear our "bling." I have bling on my shoes, my belt, my necklace, my bracelet, my earrings and my jacket! It will be fun to see everyone all dressed up.

Ted's shooting buddies were all in San Antonio this weekend so he went to a different gun club to shoot. Later we went to church and then to sub at bunco for a couple from church. This group is a mixture of younger folks with kids at home and a few older couples mixed in. Our neighbors who attend our church were also there. It was a fun night but I didn't win. I did somehow end up in charge of dispensing the winnings since Jeff was not there. First we had too much money because a husband and wife had both put in money, there wasn't enough change, there was a tie for most buncos, we had to determine who had the bunco baby about four people back and everyone kept moving my sheets around as I tried to figure this all out! It all worked out in the end. We're due to sub again in April and I'll just let Jeff deal with the money. I'm not at all sure how I ended up with it other than I do it for my own group.

Today we met Tommy and Susan for lunch at Sawgrass Steakhouse. They have been unable to use their motorhome because Susan's mother has been ill and is in a rehab facility. They need to stay close to home. Tommy brought along his IPad to convince me and Ted that we need one. We had been thinking about a new laptop and after talking to our granddaughter Ally, and being able to see her while we talked, we were convinced an I-Pad would fill the bill.

So off we went to the mall. We stopped at Dillard's where Ted bought some shirts and sleep shorts and I bought an undergarment I needed. Then we went to Apple and our lunch turned into an expensive outing. From there we went to Best Buy to get the type of cover we wanted. Now I'm messing with it and learning how to use it. I have both e-mail accounts set up. I can FaceTalk with those set up for that. I can find my house on the Map App. Right now I'm working on Skype! Wish me luck.

"To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer." ~ Paul Ehrlich.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Keeping Busy This Week

We've been all over the place with our company. They really can say they visited way more than Houston, Texas.

Wednesday started very early with the 7:56 am arrival of the 8:15 am flight! We hurried to arrive on time and then came back home after a brief swing through our area where we stopped for a coffee out on the patio of a local eatery. Later we picked up Gerre, went back to the airport for her sister and niece and headed to The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. We spent a full day at the rodeo canvassing the vendors, watching the entire rodeo and staying for 3/4s of The Band Perry's concert performance. It appears if you can stay on the bull for the full 8 seconds, in any riding form, you are in! Only a few riders did. It was a long and enjoyable day for everyone and we headed home.

Thursday we headed to Huntsville to visit the Sam Houston statue and museum. We spent time in town for lunch, introducing Tim to chicken fried steak, and visiting some of the antique stores. Tim found a hand carved duck for his collection and Ted bought me a lamb cake mold. My Aunt Ret (Henrietta) made a lamb cake for all my children's First Communion parties. She also handmade their rosary. I still have my crystal aquamarine one she made for my 8th grade graduation in 1959. Aunt Ret taught a lady I met years later in Michigan how to make rosaries. Pat has just finished Morgan's rosary for her May 5 First Communion. The lamb cake mold will be such a great reminder of those wonderful days when we lived close to Aunt Ret in Cincinnati.

Off we went to George Ranch in Richmond on Friday, another long day. We saw the roping, dipping, hide scraping, blacksmithing as well as touring three of the four houses before we ran out of time.

Our company is so impressed with the wide open spaces and all the livestock so close to the country's fourth largest city. We came home west of the city to avoid rush hour traffic and stopped in Brookshire for pizza. It was late when we got back home.

Saturday we drove east to the Opry in Liberty. The Magnolia Opry shut down and we certainly miss it. We've been wanting to try the Liberty or Alvin one and this was a great opportunity. Tim got a kick out of the political incorrectness of some of the announcements from the stage such as having the veterans stand and then the MC saying "We are going to pray now, these fellows fought for our right to do that, so if you're offended, they fought for your right to leave the auditorium until we are finished." Of course no one left and we said a prayer for our country and our servicemen.

The show was 3.5 hours long and was so entertaining. Again, Tim was amazed that you could have that period of time of live performance for $15. He is liking Texas and keeps looking at all the land with cattle. He'd love to have a small ranch. We grilled some brats when we got back home and put out all the leftovers so far and finished a lot of them off.

Today we went to church and then to the Sunny Flea Market north of Houston. It was like being dropped into the middle of underdeveloped Mexico. Tim got his hat and boots while Cindy bought some gifts for their children. I bought a "bling" necklace to wear to the Junior Forum Gala the end of this month. We ate at a Taqueria but we're not sure just what it was. As much as we've eaten in Mexican restaurants, this was more pointing to what we wanted put into the tortilla and hoped for the best. We spiced it up with pico de gallo and such and it was pretty good. It is a huge market and after almost five hours of walking, we were pooped.

I slipped in my monthly bunco game Monday morning while Tim and Ted put a shelf up in Ted's room to hold his trophies. I ran out of room to display them. Then Tim climbed up and cleaned out the rain diverter above the family room door. It gets so filled with pine needles and he could see them hanging out the ends. He also took the screens in my dishwasher out so I could clean them and touched up the paint on the front fence a bit. His help was much appreciated.

After a quick lunch, we headed to Tomball to check out the little town and antique stores. Tim loves to browse these areas and he found a reproduction of the Remington bronze, Bronco Buster. Based on what we researched on the internet, he did OK on the price. An auction house near them is auctioning #37 of 90 of the authentic Remington and it is expected to go for $200,000-$300,000! They will be loaded down when they get on the airplane.

NASA was our intended trip today but there was terrible weather predicted so we stayed home this morning and had a big breakfast. The radar showed the edge of the storm near Brenham so we headed west figuring we would drive out of the rain and we did!

We walked all around the town square stopping in many of the stores. When it got to be close to 4:00 we drove to Carmine and hit a couple antique stores before eating at JW's Steakhouse. We each had a few packages and everyone was happy with their purchases.

I checked today's flight status and the planes are back on schedule after the delays of the past two days. Cindy and Tim are due back at work tomorrow. We've had a wonderful week with them and they realize there is way more to see in this area. They want to meet us in the valley next winter so I hope they can work that out. We've had a great time showing off Texas to a couple of Hoosiers.

Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.-- Gustave Flaubert

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

On This Date - Nothing Much Happened

I meant it when I said we had a quiet weekend planned. We went to church Saturday at 5 o'clock, came home and ate a bowl of chili and watched Taxi Driver on TV. I'm not sure why this is a "classic" or how Jody Foster got her career off the ground with it. But that's just me!

On Sunday Ted fixed lunch for his shooting buddies and took it all to the gun club. They couldn't even shoot because of the weather but they must have enjoyed the food because he was gone a few hours. It was raining cats and dogs most of the day and I stayed in and worked on my family tree.

By Monday the weather had cleared and I played Canasta in the afternoon. I came in third but should have had second. Cathy and I went out, forgetting we had 4 of the red 3's and the other 2 were still in the very small pile. When we checked, I would have drawn them both, giving us 1600 points instead of the 400 we got. Cathy won either way, but I would have been second instead of third. Live and learn.

In my absence Ted smoked a 13# brisket. The house still smells like it today. We have two trays ready to share with our company.

Today I did laundry, got my hair cut and colored and had a manicure. Then I picked up the dry cleaning. I'm waiting for Gerre to call because we are going to dinner while Ted is shooting.

Tomorrow Cindy and Tim arrive around 8 a.m. We'll be up early to get to the airport in time to get them. Later in the day we're going to the Houston Rodeo. It may be a few days before I get to write again, but I'll have good info on the bull riding when I do.

"Never approach a bull from the front, a horse from the rear, or a fool from any direction."- Anonymous, but probably a smart cowboy.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Into Sarasota, Out Of Daytona Beach

While at my Dad's on Tuesday, I was able to go through all the stuff he has on the family. I got a lot of useful information on some ancestors; however, that created more questions! This is quite a detective game. But I'm anxious to get back to working on my account.

Laurie came by on her lunch hour for a final visit and she was able to say goodbye to Ted who was pulling in the drive just as we walked outside to her car. It was a great visit and all concerned were happy we made it happen.

The sun was shining, the sky was blue and we headed NE towards Orlando. On the radio it was announced that Brenda Lee was performing at the Strawberry Festival in Plant City, strawberry capital of the U.S. We attended this festival sometime in the late 90s with our friends Jim and Marilyn and saw Wayne Newton perform. So we decided to stop.

My, how it has grown. It was bigger than most county fairs with a seemingly never ending midway, everything under the sun to eat (including deep fried butter!?!?) and of course everything strawberry.

We caught most of Brenda's show. She is 4'9" and her hair is about 6 inches high. She put on a good performance and we, along with many others, enjoyed it.

We walked around some of the exhibits but we don't need any signs, candles, massages, etc. so we ended up at St. Clement's Catholic Church strawberry tent for shortcake. You get a bowl and can choose a shortcake or half a biscuit and then you put on your own strawberries from a huge bowl, followed by whipped cream from an equally huge bowl. The lady at the end plops a whole strawberry on top. Now this isn't on my diet but you can't go to the strawberry festival without eating one ... and besides it was my lunch!

Kristin had a dinner to go to so we weren't in any hurry. We all pulled into the drive at her home at the same time. The yard looked so nice now that the city has finally finished digging up her yard for the third time. Pipes were installed for the lake water leveling system so there wouldn't be any flooding. It would have been so much better if they had done it right the first time!

Wednesday Ted went to The Villages and we went looking for a new car for Kristin. She has had an Altima for 10 years and it has 180,000 miles on it. We thought it best to get a new one while there was time to comparison shop rather than getting into a situation where you had to buy something right away. She put her car on Craig's list and had constant calls. She was unable to keep her voicemail empty. So we knew there wasn't a problem getting rid of it.

We went to Courtesy Acura in Sanford to look at a Honda Accord that had been advertised with 36,000 miles on it. It was in beautiful condition with leather interior and clean as a whistle. We both drove it. We studied the carfax and it had every maintenance recommended done at a Honda dealership and was inspected by the state of NY each year. No floods, no accidents, no major repairs done on the vehicle.

We pretty much shot the day looking, negotiating, driving, paperwork and paying for the car. Then we had to take the old car to the new buyer and that was 45 minutes away in rush hour traffic. But we got it all accomplished and she is happy with her new set of silver gray wheels.

We were going out to dinner and Kristin invited a friend she wanted us to meet. Larry has been in the picture for a few months but she hadn't said anything until now. He had dinner with us and we found him delightful. Very open with us, caring about her and seems to be an all around nice guy. He is a photographer and after dinner he brought his camera in, used her ladder for an angle, and took a lot of pictures of all of us. Then Ted took a few of them two using the camera. I hope there are good ones in there.

Kristin went off to work Thursday morning and we dressed, packed up and left mid-morning and drove to Daytona Beach airport. Since we had to go through Atlanta anyway, this airport is so much easier than Orlando's crowds. Ted flew 1st Class to Atlanta but had to sit with me in the exit row into Houston. Three out of four segments in 1st Class isn't bad though.

Rebecca is cleaning today. The guest rooms and bath aren't usually used but with Chris having been here for so long she has a little extra work today. I cleaned the pantry, the inside of the refrigerator and my closet. There is a pile of clothes to go out now.

We have a quiet weekend ahead of us and I'm looking forward to time at home catching up on whatever comes my way.

The time to relax is when you don't have time for it. ~ Sydney J. Harris

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

No Grass Growing Under Our Feet

We left Victoria around 8 o'clock Saturday and were home by 11. We have finally mastered the back roads. We drive up out of the valley and then continue north, staying west of Houston. We've tried several different ways and now we have the best route down. We can make it a one day trip if we have to but Ted prefers to stop after a couple hours on the road when we have the time.

It took two trips with the truck to get everything home. First was all our clothes, laundry and items that needed to be brought back. Second was the pantry items, refrigerator and frozen foods.

We keep lots in the RV but it will sit until May now and I don't want to need something and it's in the trailer (happens all the time!) or encourage bugs. You would be amazed how quickly two truckloads of "stuff" can mess up a neat and tidy house.

Chris took one look and opted to head for home, leaving his stuff and promising to come back on Monday. He is rather shy and prefers to stay only when we're out of the picture.

I put groceries away first, started the laundry, sorted the mail, finished our taxes because the last two items I needed were in the mail and started putting everything else away. We did make it to church at 5 o'clock and surprised Terry & Carol. They were going out afterwards and we headed home to keep plugging away.

Ted went shooting on Sunday and I finished up the laundry, did a little ironing and packed for Florida.

Our flights over were uneventful and Ted was able to fly First Class with his Silver Status upgrade. He always offers to let me sit up there but he needs the room, not me. I had comfortable aisle seats and both segments were short flights.

We checked into the Hampton Inn (Note to self while sitting here: Do not take the room next to the exercise room! - thump, thump, thump).

Laurie, Dad and Edna were waiting for us and it was so good to see them. Their health has been a challenge this past year and God bless Laurie for being there for them all the time. We had a nice visit and then took them to Cracker Barrel for dinner. It is a struggle for them to go out but they made the effort, ate well and we appreciated being with them.

Today I'll go back while Ted visits the newspaper and takes Richard to lunch. His contacts in the industry still come in handy at times. When he is finished, we'll head to Orlando.

If God had really intended men to fly, he'd make it easier to get to the airport. ~ George Winters

Friday, March 2, 2012

Adios Until We Meet Again

Wednesday the rugs inside were cleaned and at 5 pm we went to the Margarita hour. I took pigs in the blanket as well as a few taquitos and they got snatched up quickly. We sat with a fellow and his wife that we met last year and a new couple. That's how you make new friends. Pat and Vern were there but at a different table. We don't want to limit ourselves to just one group. Afterwards we took a walk and said goodbye to Trudy and Don. They left today too and we didn't know if we would see them again.

Rick came and washed and waxed the rig on Thursday and I started packing up my clothes as well as the pantry items and miscellaneous things that we need to take back to the house. Ted made a run to Camping World to get a new sewer hose because ours was getting a split and you just can't have that. Our antenna "froze up" and when we tried to raise it for Nick to clean the roof it wouldn't go. Dave climbed up and lubricated it and now it works great.

We were up and ready to pull out about 8:30 this morning. We went to say goodbye to Karen & Dave and Diana & John. We will see all of them this summer in Michigan and then again next year in the valley. Ted signed us up for mid-January to mid-March, double the time we spent this year. I can't remember a month passing by so quickly.

We made our way to Victoria in just under four hours. There were no stops other than at the Immigration Checkpoint where there was a slight back up. We must look like honest Winter Texans because they asked citizenship, if anyone was in the trailer and told us there was a rest area right ahead if we wanted to stop. We said thank you and continued on.

Ted wants to leave by 8:30 tomorrow and that should get us home with the RV put away by no later than 1:30. That will give me a jump on mail, laundry and packing. We hope to get to church at 5:00 so Ted can shoot Sunday to finish up the latest league and I'll finish up what isn't done. If Chris wants to go, we'll take him out to dinner.

Florida bound on Monday.

Long you live and high you'll fly
And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be.
~ Pink Floyd