Friday, September 28, 2012

Another Day, Another Dollar (or 65 cents after taxes)

Ted and I attended Wind Down Friday night and saw lots of people we hadn't seen since last Spring.  I made some mini ham/cheese cups and they were all eaten so I guess that's a good sign.  By Saturday I was ready for dinner out and Terry called and asked us if we wanted to go after church so we did.  All of us get so busy that we hardly have time to get caught up with each other and about family.  We had a very nice evening.

Monday I subbed in a Mexican Train group at Suzy's house.  She is my Junior Forum "Cupcake," the name given to this year's Provisionals.  She is doing a wonderful job and enjoying the organization as much as I am.  Of course she is making friends from her class and it was a delight to meet them.  I came in third overall in Mexican Train so I guess my games while out camping have taught me well.

It was back to the thrift shop to work four hours on Tuesday.  We have two new members to our families (one Ted's side, one mine) and one baby is so small that NB and Preemie clothes are dwarfing her.  We got in a lot of excellent condition and new baby clothes, some of which were NB and 0-3 months.  So I bought a dozen to send back to Ohio for Lily. 

They had us all dress in something we had purchased there so I took my Chico's brand new denim jacket I had bought last year.  I have no idea just where the photo will be used.  It was fun getting everyone dressed.  Then I forgot to take my jacket and fretted once I got home and realized it.  I was afraid they would resell it!

The gal who runs the shop is named Donna, the gal I work under for Junior Forum is named Donna and then there's yours truly.  Donna #2 gave me Donna #1's phone number and she found my jacket.  Donna #2 took it home and I picked it up yesterday after Canasta.  So that's the answer!  It takes 3 Donnas to get a jacket to the rightful owner.

I got my nails done on Wednesday and played Canasta on Thursday.  I lost each game at my table and then 3 of my 4 partners all won!  My score was dead in the middle.  I'm still scratching my head over that one.  I started a Wild Card Canasta really late in one of the games because so many wild cards were still out.  My partner Kathleen drew the last two cards, both of which were wild and we made our Wild Card Canasta!  She thought I was crazy starting it so late but I figured "no guts, no glory" and it worked.  I'd be eating crow today if it hadn't.

Yesterday was also Ted's birthday.  He heard from all the kids, received many cards and I ordered a bike rack for the back of the trailer (that has a receiver) so he can take his bike to the valley.  They have wonderful wide asphalt walks that you can ride on for miles and miles.  I know he'll enjoy riding there this winter.

He is working at the gun club for a First Responders outing this weekend.  He helps out the owner and in turn receives free rounds of shooting.  However, I know he enjoys himself immensely at these affairs and would do it even if there wasn't that small reward.  He checks that everyone is handling the gun safely, pulls the targets, keeps score and probably has to load birds in the houses from time to time.  It's a fun day for him.

We are meeting Barry and Gerre tonight for dinner and to see their new pool, patio and outdoor kitchen that is nearing completion.  I have seen some of it but Ted has not.  The pictures look awesome. 

“Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” ~ Vince Lombardi

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Where I Volunteer Besides My Church

Many people are unaware of Junior Forum organizations. I like to say it is the older gals' answer to Junior League. I am asked constantly why I keep so busy with this organization so I want to share some information with you. And by the way, I don't give near the hours the rest of the other 300+ members do.

At our meeting Friday we were given these statistics for last year:

Lunch served to 3,873 seniors
School supplies for 3,372 children
Books for 850 Title One school children
Interaction with 670 developmentally delayed adults
Christmas gifts to 72 Women's Shelter families
Immunizations for 1,282 children
Meals on Wheels served - 2,576
C-Ration bags packed for the military - 9,900
Scholarships to high school seniors - 41
$20,000 grant money to four organizations for equipment
10,994 Volunteer Hours of service

I don't know about you but I am impressed ... and very proud all at the same time.

There is no greater calling than to serve your fellow man. There is no greater contribution than to help the weak. There is no greater satisfaction than to have done it well. ~ Walter Reuther

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's Ba-a-a-a-ck!!

My busy life that is. 

We started back with my Newcomers group by joining a group for dinner at a new Italian restaurant in our area.  The food was good, pretty fancy Italian - not spaghetti and meatballs - but a funny thing happened.  We were all served a plate of "appetizer raviolis" for each couple.  None of us had ordered this and they indicated it was from the restaurant.  Imagine our surprise when each couple was charged $12 for it.  They had not charged us for my second glass of wine or Ted's Diet Coke so we let it go.  I think the others did too.  Pretty sneaky and shows you need to look at your bill.

Monday I had my bunco group here and everything went well.  They were very complimentary on my snacks and drinks.  I won the $20 Most Bunco Award.  Another group is playing Shang Hai in the afternoon on the Third Monday but I couldn't walk out on dirty dishes and tables scattered all over.   Maybe when I play at someone else's house I can go from one house to the next if it is close enough.

To get started on my Junior Forum hours, I worked four hours at the thrift shop on Tuesday.  It was good to see the gals again and of course the time passes quickly.  I am going back next Tuesday to work again.  I had to stop at church to drop off funeral lunch sandwiches I made before I went to the thrift store.  That fuel gauge is getting a work out.

Shang Hai was played Wednesday at the restaurant where our group meets and I was able to attend.  But oh the lousy cards I got!  There are six games to a set and once I got down late and never had a chance to play my other cards and another time I got caught with my entire hand having been unable to go down.  Someone has to be last I guess.  Anyway, I used my $20 I won at bunco to pay for my lunch so all was not lost.

From there I went to church where another funeral lunch was being served.  I couldn't help set up and there was enough food from the day before but I did help serve and clean up.  I brought home eight banquet size tablecloths to launder.  I did those this morning and need to take them back to church in case they are needed again soon.

Today I made 24 mini muffins for our Junior Forum meeting tomorrow and need to make a plate of deviled eggs too.  This is an Awards Meeting and will be heavily attended.  Normally I would only take one item.

We are attending Wind Down tomorrow night so I have to come up with a "hearty appetizer" for that.  I am spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

Ted had gone to Beaumont yesterday but is already back.  Today is my day off.  I did have a luncheon for Newcomers at the country club but opted not to go.  Sometimes you just have to stay home and get caught up!

You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one. ~ John Wooden

Friday, September 14, 2012

Finally A Little Rain

It has been very dry since our return but the last few days we have had showers and occasionally a downpour that didn't last long. The temps are coming down into the 80s and that is a welcome relief. I think we came home a few weeks too early this year.

I had a most enjoyable day shopping and having lunch with my friend Jody. I bought a few pieces of costume jewelry for our cruise but she didn't buy anything. The artificial plants we went for were unavailable so I bought something else. Now I need two more of them! Nothing is ever easy.

Our neighborhood ladies luncheon was nice on Thursday. Ted had gone with the fellows on Wednesday before he left for Columbus. So we are caught up on the news.

Today I will buy my fall hanging plants (my version of gardening) and shop for the food I will serve at bunco here on Monday.

I again went over all my documentation on the family tree starting with my great-great-great grandfather Henry Linfert who was born in Prussia in 1833. His daughter Elizabeth was my great-great grandmother and her son Joseph was my great-grandfather. I knew him and his wife Pearl, parents of my grandmother Lucille.

I knew four of my great grandparents and all four of my grandparents. My daughter Kelly had 10 grandparents alive when she was born - four grandparents and six great-grandparents. There has been one 5-generation line in Ted's family. With people waiting to get married and waiting even longer to have children, this will happen less and less.

The family is the most basic unit of government. As the first community to which a person is attached and the first authority under which a person learns to live, the family establishes society's most basic values.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

We Must Never Forget

Today, on the anniversary of 9/11, I was privileged to help serve almost 200 seniors lunch at a church in a mid-sized Texas town. I say privileged because I am a senior - with the health, driving abilities and resources to be of service to those in my community. I call it "being on the right side of the bingo card."

We serve the seniors juice and coffee, then they play bingo. Afterwards we were all entertained by a wonderful performer who took us on a trip to Broadway. With hats and wraps she sang her way through many Broadway musicals, finishing up with a military salute and a medley of tribute to America songs. She was fantastic and had everyone on their feet waving their flags.

Then a salute to 9/11 was presented via video on something I had never seen before - the boat lift. We all know Manhattan is an island and saw many people trudging across the bridges that were closed to traffic just as the subways and trains were.

Enter the call by the Coast Guard for any and all available boats. Ferries, tugboats, private boats, party boats, sightseeing boats, anything that would float filled the New York harbor in numbers never seen before. A half million people were evacuated via water in 9 hours. By comparison 339,000 were evacuated at Dunkirk over 9 days. This remains the biggest water evacuation in history. There was not a dry eye at the end.

Normally we all cook many pans of the same thing(s) to feed the crowd but today was special and lunch was catered by Chik Fil A.

After lunch many folks stopped to thank us all for the fun and a memorable day.

With many hands, clean up was quick and I was home in short order.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Just Settling In

I did a good job of keeping our calendar empty for two reasons. First, I didn't want to be overwhelmed with lots to do right off the bat when we got back and second I didn't know exactly when we would get home.

So the past week has been quiet. We did some shopping for Ted at the mall and went to the new Mexican restaurant in the strip mall and it was just OK. I still like El Capparro better. And we played Canasta Saturday night. We didn't win but it was great seeing everyone.

On Sunday, Ted shot in the Best of Texas Tournament and I just took it easy. I made spaghetti sauce with Italian sausage for us for dinner. Of course there is lots of football on TV which makes Ted happy and increases the number of books I read!

Tomorrow will be my first hours worked for Junior Forum this year. I am working at a senior luncheon. It is being catered so I don't have to cook anything but I do have to take a bingo prize or two. I was on the lookout all summer and have a few things stashed away. I have also taken Tide, coffee and greeting cards with a book of stamps and they go very quickly.

I have a shopping date with Jody on Wednesday and our neighborhood ladies' luncheon is Thursday. So I am easing back into my normally hectic schedule. But with our Rome trip and trans Atlantic cruise just 7 weeks away I have to "make hay while the sun shines."

I have the family tree done as far as I need to go for those attending the reunion next summer. A tree of my family will never be complete because there are always branches of families that aren't direct descendants but belong on the tree. Since the one I have done prints out to 18 pages I chose not to pursue siblings of our grandparents and great grandparents.

I have documented births, marriages and deaths up to my maternal grandmother and her two brothers. Descendants of these three comprise our family reunion. In 2011 we had 133 participants in Pigeon Forge, TN. We will gather in Bardstown, KY in 2013.

I am missing a marriage certificate for my great grandparents and a birth certificate for my grandmother. I have written to the Cincinnati Chancery Archives of the Catholic Church because they should have documentation of both.

We were traveling when Ted signed up for Medicare and his birth certificate did not have a seal. It was easier (and free) for me to call his cousin at Holy Family Church and get his baptismal certificate than it was to get a birth certificate. Social Security will accept this in lieu of a birth certificate.

Well it is Monday and according to Burt Reynolds:

"Marriage is about the most expensive way for an average man to get laundry done."

I better get started!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Labor Day Weekend and Beyond

On September 1, 2 and 3 in the year 2012 nothing much happened at our house. We stayed home getting settled, I got my nails done, went to church and stopped by to see Carol who had some surgery last week.

On Tuesday I jumped back into my routine and played Shang Hai. Today I finally made it to the hairdresser for the first time since July in Celina. Those silver roots that were glistening so brightly in the sun have been subdued.

And that folks is life in the slow lane for now. Check back and things might get more interesting. We are talking about another Russian riverboat cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow next fall. Now that will be exciting!

Nothing happens unless first we dream ~ Carl Sandburg

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Busy Two Days

We woke to gray skies to our east and expected to hit the outer bands of Isaac but we never got a drop of rain.

We drove the last bit of the trip without incident and pulled into a campground that is closer to home than Rayford. They are in holiday weekend mode with minimum stay and maximum pay in effect. We only needed one night.

We loaded up the truck and came home for my car. The only thing different I noticed in the neighborhood was all the flowers the new people planted at Chris' parents old house. He and all his stuff were already gone. I just need to get my mailbox key back. He was anxious to get home to their new house. All the moving happened just as we were leaving.

Of course my neighbor Gayle and Gracie's son Robert who lived with her and Dick died in our absence, just two of the nine deaths that happened over the last three months.

We emptied out the trailer and it boggles my mind to see how much we had with us. I cleaned everything but left the refrigerator and kitchen floor until the next morning. While I was home with lots to put away, Ted went back to wash the trailer.

We finished up the next morning and backed her into her storage spot. It will be January before she comes out again to head to Mission, TX.

I did three loads of laundry, got checks ready for two banks, notified the water company and our EZ Pass that our expiration date had changed on our credit card, paid some bills, sent some cards, activated Ted's gift card from his new Verizon phone, made myself hair and doctor appointments and went through a lot of mail that was stacked on my desk. Both our car tag renewals were in the mail and need to be put on the car and truck. Ted's expired yesterday!

Today I want to hit the nail salon, go to church and visit Carol who had some surgery earlier this week. We have no big plans for Labor Day except to rest up and get acclimated to being home.

There's nothing half so pleasant as coming home again ~ Margaret Elizabeth Sangster