Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Rest of the Week

We attended Mass on Sunday at our old parish and I had an opportunity to visit with some more old friends.  The kids waited patiently while I did so.

That afternoon I returned to Windsor to pick up Cassie.  Traffic was light, I knew where I was going, Customs was not backed up and we had no problems.  The train was even 15 minutes early.

In the evening 10 of us gathered at our favorite Italian restaurant.  It was a 40th birthday dinner for Kristin and an engagement celebration for her and Larry.  Kristin's best friend since she was 8 years old, Sheetal, hosted it.  She will be the Maid of Honor in the wedding.

We celebrated Memorial Day inside because it was cool and drizzly.  There were over 20 people invited but one family got sick and the OB/GYN had babies arriving and couldn't make it so about 15 showed up.  Kara, as usual, outdid herself with the cooking.  No hamburgers and chips at this picnic.  We also celebrated Sam and Morgan's birthdays.

When Kristin came in she complained about her back.  By the end of the evening she was in excrutiating pain.  I recognized it as an aggravated sciatic nerve because Ted has had it.  Sheetal was there and is a doctor and she recommended ice plus a pain killer from Kara's arsenal left from her surgery.  Kara called her neighbor who is a pain doctor but he was in Saginaw.  He did call back immediately and offered advice.  Sheetal gave us the name of her friend on duty in the ER if we felt that was necessary.

Getting Kristin back to Kelly's was difficult but Larry was so good with her.  I didn't sleep well worrying about how she was going to fly home the next day.  I went over all  kinds of scenarios in my head about how I could help if I didn't leave in the morning.

The pills worked well enough that I was able to fly home and so was she.  Wednesday morning she went to the doctor where she got more pills, an x-ray and an appointment for physical therapy.  That was what Ted did too but it takes time for that nerve to settle down.  

Ted had parked my car at the airport and I found it with no difficulty.  A trip to the grocery was in order so I bought myself a salad while there for my dinner.  I watched The Bachelorette premiere that was taped and went to bed. I was pooped.

Since I have gals coming to play Shanghai today, I cleaned a bit yesterday.  Of course unpacking and mail are always there when you return from a trip.  I had things in order when I left to get Ted at the airport.  His flight from Virginia was right on time.  Once home I realized I hadn't gotten Tuesday's mail so I had a bit more paperwork in the afternoon when two days mail hit my desk.

I have people coming at 1:00.  I need to get moving.

Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. ~ author unknown

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Wearing Me Out

I managed to drive Cassie through downtown Detroit, through the tunnel under the river into Windsor, Canada to the train station.  We left ourselves plenty of time in case Customs was backed up but it wasn't.  So we had time for lunch after we figured out where to go exactly at the train station.

I used my American coins in the parking meter at the restaurant and received a $10 Canadian bill as change at the restaurant.  When I parked at the train station it was $1 in coins for 30 minutes.  My coins were gone so I tried to use my credit card.  Not!  So I used my debit card and it worked.  I didn't think too much about it.

I used the $10 to pay the $4.50 tunnel fee on the way home and saved the Canadian change to use today when I pick her up.

When I arrived home we went to the drug store where my credit card wouldn't work and I once again used my debit card.  So on the way to Rain Forest Cafe for Morgan's birthday dinner, I called Bank of America.  While talking to them, Ted was calling me so I told Kara to call him back.  He wanted me to know the bank called him about the card being used in Michigan.

Long story even longer, they expect me to tell them when I am going to use my card outside of Texas. I always do this when we travel internationally but not within the U.S.  I asked if the attempt of $1 at the train station in Canada caused the red flag but they had no record of that.  They did say the account was used in Texas earlier in the day.  Duh!  There are two people on the account.  We are married not Siamese twins!

They have no idea of how many states we hit in a year.  At approximately $350 per fill up every other day when pulling the trailer, we will be on the phone to them a lot.  Ted will end up annoyed and use his American Express.  I see a rough road ahead.  

With that settled we had dinner and I ordered a drink.   Between driving in the traffic, the currency exchange and the credit card problems I needed one.  It came in a souvenir glass which the kids will enjoy.  The food was good and the kids ate well.

Saturday was bridesmaids, flower girl and mother of the bride dress shopping.  We hit three different bridal salons and have a good idea of what we are all getting.  Coordinating from three states is a bit tricky.  The bridesmaids will be in Eggplant, I think I will be in Teal or Cranberry and Morgan will be in ivory to match Kristin.  The "boys" had gone to see Star Wars in 3-D and ate at McDonald's.

I had a dinner invitation to my former Celanese boss and his wife's home which is a stone's throw from Kara's.  They are Chinese and she is a marvelous cook.  She said we were having an International dinner and it was all great.  Tofu and seaweed Japanese soup, Indian curried chicken over rice, American baked broccoli and celery with cream of mushroom soup, and Middle Eastern pita bread and baklava for dessert.  I enjoyed it all but Ted would not have been as adventuresome as I am.  If you travel you really have to be open to try new things.  Haggis is probably something I would have a problem with but on our European riverboat cruises I have tried all kinds of things.  Mustard soup comes to mind and it was really good.

Today after church I will do the Detroit-tunnel-train station thing again to pick up Cassie from her weekend in Toronto.  Then we move onto the engagement dinner for Kristin and Larry.  My time is passing quickly.  Ted said he came in second place in his class at the tournament yesterday.  I wish him good luck today.  

Say what you want about long dresses, but they cover a multitude of shins.

Mae West

Friday, May 24, 2013

An Owl's Diet

Yesterday Kara and I volunteered at Morgan's school to help with the day's science project.  It involved  breaking apart owl pellets (like a cat's hairball) to look for bones.  They were wrapped in foil, about the size of a small egg, and had been sanitized (?) but many of the children were hesitant to break them apart.  Grandma to the rescue!  The skulls and hip bones were neat.  Rats, voles and mice have pretty big front teeth!  It was a fun time.  One little Asian girl had nothing but "dust" when she was finished.  She didn't talk to anyone, just went through everything with a fine tooth comb.  Her bag was filled with bones.  Kara said she will probably have it all mounted and marked on poster board by today.  Maybe a neurosurgeon in the making!  She thoroughly impressed me.

Next stop was Toys R Us for birthday gifts.  I stopped at Kelly's to drop off her card and stopped at CVS to get Ally a card because I was short one granddaughter card.  I had sent Cassie and Ally's gifts before I knew I was coming.  I have part of Sam's and Morgan's with me and Kelly received a check for their cruise.  All these birthdays at once!  I think I have what I need now.

Then we went to Al Ameer and Sharita in Dearborn.  This city has the largest Middle Eastern population outside of the Middle East.  All the business signs are unreadable to me with their unfamiliar squiggles but the food was very good at Al Ameer.  The chicken was scrumptious and the pastries at Sharita were mind boggling.  It was like a German konditorie or French patisserie.  I may have done major damage in the weight department.

Today I am driving Cassie to the Windsor train station for her trip to Toronto.  Tonight we are having dinner at the Rainforest Cafe for Morgan's birthday dinner.  Food, food and more food!

We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nevertheless help us to be much more than what we are.
Adelle Davis
(1904 - 1974)  

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Hanging with the Birthday Crowd

Monday was double duty - bunco in the morning and Shanghai in the afternoon.  Didn't win at either! 

I had changed my plane ticket to arrive in Michigan on Tuesday instead of Thursday so I could attend Ed's funeral.  Thank you Delta for charging me $150 to make my own two clicks on the computer to change the date.  I have never made $75 a second and wonder how you lose money at that rate.  

So Ted took me to the airport and I had a pleasant enough trip.  No hassle at security.  But then I know not to wear sparkles, jewelry, belts or tie shoes.  I slipped off my shoes, placed my quart bag with all my liquids in the bin along with my watch and purse then sailed through.  

Just as we were landing I felt a migraine coming on.  We waited for a jetway driver for some time so by the time I got to a place in the terminal to buy aspirin, my headache had really taken hold.  Never mind the $6+ for 4 aspirin tablets and a Coke.  The travel gods were out to get as much as they could out of me.

Detroit Metro is a good place to train for a marathon.  Whoever decided to build two parallel mile long terminals was a sadist.  I walked a long, long way and went down, then up, then down on escalators to finally arrive at the car rental bus.  My head was easing up but not entirely while I waited in line for a car.  Long story short, I landed at 4 and left the airport at 5:30 and didn't wait for luggage.

Despite the time, there were only a few slowdowns and I arrived at the funeral home in plenty of time for the evening service.  When it was over I had a bite to eat then drove to Kara's.  After a good night's sleep we got the kids off to school and went to the funeral Mass.  It was at the parish we belonged to for 16 years and I saw many folks that still attend.

Ed had an honor guard from the Knights of Columbus, his wife, 3 sons and 9 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren to return him to Our Lord.  He also had full military honors at the cemetery.  My only problem was when the funeral director told me to put on my bright lights and flashers.  Good thing I had time because it took me awhile to find those switches.  There was a nice lunch afterwards, a job I did when I was a member.

When we came home Kara made cupcakes for Morgan's school party.  Morgan, Bill and I iced them and Kara delivered them to school this morning.  We are due back there to do something with owl droppings or regurgitations or something!!  Wish me luck on this one.  Science was my least favorite subject in school.

Kelly and Pat leave tomorrow for their Hawaiian cruise in honor of their 25th anniversary.  I am taking Cassie to the Windsor train station for a weekend in Toronto.  It is Morgan and Ally's birthday and Kelly's is Saturday.  Lots going on this Memorial Day weekend. 

May 25, 1981 ~ Ronald Reagan

Today, the United States stands as a beacon of liberty and democratic strength before the community of nations. We are resolved to stand firm against those who would destroy the freedoms we cherish. We are determined to achieve an enduring peace -- a peace with liberty and with honor. This determination, this resolve, is the highest tribute we can pay to the many who have fallen in the service of our Nation.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Change in Plans Again

We went to Gerre's again to play cards Saturday but started out with Pam, Wayne, Gene and Jennifer on the deck by the pool enjoying the lake breeze and perfect weather.  The food and drink were so enjoyable we never moved and cards were forgotten.  Such a lovely evening!

Sunday we went to Tommy and Susan's to see their new motorhome and go out to dinner.  What a beauty.  Just to cause a bit of a stir I placed this photo on Facebook.  We look so little!  This is the brand Ted would buy but for now we are sticking with our HitchHiker fifth wheel.  If only they had pulled our numbers on that big lotto jackpot!

I flew to Michigan yesterday to attend Ed's funeral which is today.  I am staying through the Memorial Day weekend.  Ted is shooting in a tournament so he won't be lonely.  Kristin and Larry are flying in too and festivities are planned.  Kelly and Pat appreciate my coming.  

Life is what happens when you are making other plans.

This is my first attempt at posting a photo from my IPad into the blog.  Hope it works!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Half Way Through The Busy Part That Just Got Busier

I had the easy job on Monday.  My windows were washed inside and out plus the driveway and walk were power washed while I played Canasta.  With our natural area out front making a comeback and the deck done, the outside is back in shape.  We thought about getting the trim painted but it really isn't showing signs of needing it, so for now we aren't doing that.

I worked my regular four hours at the thrift store this week.  It was one of those overwhelming days. Housewares had invaded our space over the weekend and I had little area to work.  And then we received two vans full of donations.  We could hardly move!  When the young folks from the church came and started working on Housewares and putting the children's clothes I had inspected, tagged and hung, out into the store, I had a little breathing room.   The four of us didn't feel like we accomplished much.  That's just the way it is on some days.

Ted had his scheduled colonoscopy and all is good.  We are done now (hopefully!) for the rest of the year. In the fall I will get my six month blood work for my cholesterol medicine and one trip to the dentist for a six month cleaning.  All we need to do is stay well and upright.  So many people we know have hurt their shoulders, elbows, wrists, arms, ankles and feet from falling!

Thursday we picked our niece up at the airport at noon to attend her father's surprise birthday party. I knew she would be hungry since the airlines don't feed you anymore so we stopped at Old Town Spring, not far from the airport, for lunch.  We walked around a bit and then made our way home so she could rest.

The party was a dual 70th celebration for Terry and another friend, John.  Both thought it was for the other and the element of surprise worked. The room was all decorated in red and black.  I brought the centerpiece home but the balloons lost their oomph before I remembered to get them out of the back of the car.  But here is an idea of what it looked like.  It was a nice evening and we were glad to help by getting Karen there to add to the surprise.

Last night six of us had dinner out and attended the production of Grease that is part of our theater series. The cast was all kids from surrounding schools except for the teacher.  It was an energetic, fun evening and we all had a good time.  I was able to pick up next season's tickets at the box office.  We will miss Matchmaker in the summer.  I donated those tickets and a dinner gift certificate to our Junior Forum gala this year for the silent auction.

I have five busy days left and then I am flying to Michigan on Thursday for the Memorial Day weekend.  There are engagement festivities planned for Kristin and Larry who will be visiting from Florida.  More on that later.

Before we left last night we received a call from our daughter Kelly. Her father-in-law passed away late afternoon after a very long illness.  Ed was 88 and fought long and hard for the past 12 years.  He was in a wheelchair but there wasn't one thing our grandchildren did or were involved in that he wasn't there.  His wife Lou was his caregiver until just the last few months.  She is 82 and her stamina and ability to care for him was amazing.  They were married 62 years.  Rest in peace, Ed, you were loved by many and will be missed.

2 Timothy 4:7    I have fought the good fight.  I have finished my course.  I have kept the faith.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The Home Stretch of May

I was up and out by 8:15 on Friday morning to attend the Junior Forum Installation Luncheon.  This is the most fun program we have all year.  The skit they do to install the new president and board is always so creative and entertaining.  But it is why our luncheon starts at 9:30 a.m.!  I drove to Judy's and then she drove to Gail's so we could all ride together.  We had 160 women and that's a lot of chattering going on.  Judy and I found seats and Gail was seated at the Provisional table and we didn't see her again until the end.  Lunch was very good (did you notice I hardly ever complain about food, especially when someone else has fixed it?), the program was sensational and our year is ending on a high note.

It was 2:30 before I returned home and by 5:30 we had moved on to a birthday celebration for a dear friend.  His daughter was in for the party and it was a delight to see her.  Their yard backs to the golf course and it was so pleasant sitting outside listening to just the birds and enjoying the beautiful plants and fairway.  The weather was just perfect.  It was a nice ending to a long day.

I redeemed myself big time in the Shanghai department on Saturday.  We went to Gerre and Barry's to sub in their group and I went out 5 of the 6 hands but ended up in second place.  The one time I didn't go out, I also didn't get down and had a handful of face cards which upped my score.  It soothed my ruffle feathers from my performance on Tuesday when I was wondering if I really knew how to play!  My 500+ score on that day was the highest out of almost 50 women!  We stayed after everyone left to visit with Gerre and Barry since we haven't seen our hosts for some time.  Their new pool, patio, outside bar and kitchen turned out beautifully.  It also was very serene and we ate outside before playing began.  Our spring has been spectacular this year.

We went to church on Mother's Day and after an unsuccessful attempt at eating breakfast out, we came home and Ted made pancakes and bacon for me and him.  He had offered to take me to dinner but the restaurants are always so busy that I told him to grill the filet mignons he had purchased at the store and that would be fine for dinner.  We eat out often and I would rather go when things are less hectic.

My best treat was the Survivor Finale.  I love my reality TV and to have the entire evening filled with their final show of the season was most enjoyable for me.  The four people at the end were not "bad guys" so I didn't know how it would go.  But the winner was a unanimous decision and I thought a good one.  I am SO easily entertained!

I hope all you mothers had a wonderful day with your families yesterday.  Living away from everyone it is hard to celebrate holidays but we have been doing it for years now and it doesn't make it any easier.  We just have to be sure to make the time we are together very special.

I have 10 busy days in a row coming up.  Most of it is fun stuff but I am working the thrift shop twice, Ted is having his colonoscopy and we are having the windows washed and the driveway power washed.  That should keep me out of trouble at least until Memorial Day.  Ted is flying to Virginia that day so our plans for the holiday probably won't be much but such is life.

The distance between us may be miles and years but it will not change the fact I hope you are missing me too. ~ Tammi Post

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Things Are Picking Up

I had a few things frozen off at the dermatologist.  She said they are nothing other than a nuisance and there is nothing to keep those spots and skin tags from coming.  I filed that info in a growing mental file I have named DEAL WITH IT.

And then I was traumatized at Shanghai only getting down twice and ending with a score over 500!  Even when I had a Shanghai in my hand and hoped to redeem myself, the lady before me put down a Shanghai and I was stuck big time again!  But that is what keeps the game interesting.  Some days you get the cards, sometimes not!  Some days you're the bug, some days the windshield.

As I pulled in to the neighborhood there was a crowd outside.  A couple who moved away were back visiting and they invited us to meet them all for dinner.  Ted had his skeet league but I agreed to go.  It was a nice visit and now I have Ida's info to catch up with them when we are in Florida.

Our Russia trip may be turning into an Eastern Europe trip instead - Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania.  I am still waiting to hear from a few more who expressed some interest.  I have four cabins committed right now and only need two more to get the discount.  It is worth trying for but if we don't get it, we don't.  These trips are harder to fill because of the considerable cost and the physicality of the tours.  We are already starting to run into folks that don't feel they can keep up or worry about being away from US medical because of conditions they have.  Unless you need a cane, walker, wheelchair or have difficulty walking, you would be fine.  But Europe is filled with cobblestones, curbs, steps, etc.  Europe has neither an American With Disabilities Act nor Walt Disney to move you around more easily.  The day will come when at least one of us can't go, or Ted will be unable to drive the RV so we are going now while we can.

On a high note the Family Tree has turned out awesome.  I am awaiting the 6 foot by 3 foot copy printed on a pale green tree background.  Anyone know where I can pick up a frame to fit it?  I really am considering doing that and hanging it at the end of our hallway.

Well I am off to the neighborhood luncheon.  Ted went with the fellows yesterday and the ladies are up today.

Ask not what you can do for your country, ask what's for lunch. ~ Orson Welles

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Nothing Much Going On

The weather cooperated and the deck was done on Monday. A few boards needed pounding, then it was power washed and the preservative was put on. The table and chairs were power washed too so it looks good. Ted's mums in the back are blooming and the crepe myrtles are leafing out. Our yard was showing winter stress upon our return but now is nice and green. It was a very dry and warm winter for our area.

I worked at the thrift shop on Tuesday and cleared the kids' clothing table. Every time Jeannie and I thought we were caught up, another pile would be added but we got it done. Putting some of those little things on hangers is difficult at times. We all enjoy holding up the cute clothes for everyone to see. I never buy Newborn or 0-3 months clothes as baby gifts. Now I know for sure that is wise because those sizes come in brand new. American babies are born at weights that just skip that size it seems.

This week was the Activity Chair thank you party. I was the longest running chair at 12 years for my bunco group. There was a nice turn out and the refreshments were presented so well and were delicious. So many new faces were there this year and it gave me an opportunity to talk one on one with many of them.

Nothing much else has gone on. I am working with a company to get the family tree printed for the reunion. It will be 6 feet by 3 feet and has 8 generations starting with the birth of my great-great-great grandfather, Henry Linfert in Prussia in 1834.

The Moscow to St. Petersburg riverboat cruise in Russia has been on our radar since last year and I am gathering information and interested parties for an August 2014 trip. Six couples is a nice group and I have 5 already expressing interest. Just maybe this will be a go!

Ted went to the NRA convention and heard Gov. Perry and Senator Cruz speak. It was very well attended he said and he enjoyed looking at all the vendors' goods. Two observations: ammunition is hard to come by and the Colorado hunting lodges are hurting, push back from recent laws enacted there I suppose. When he came home we went out to dinner.

We have absolutely nothing planned for the weekend. It seems our time has switched. We used to socialize on weekends but now we are busy all week and less on weekends. I guess retirement does that.

Middle age is when you're sitting at home on a Saturday night and the telephone rings and you hope it isn't for you. ~ Ogden Nash