Friday, January 31, 2014

We Got Our Fair Share of the Crazy Weather

On Sunday we visited the Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge and took the tram tour.  We saw them feed snakes and something that looked like an eel in an aquarium and stopped to visit a friend of Kara's parents who workamp there but they were not home.  After sharing a dinner with Eileen and Tom, we retired to our individual rigs to watch the Play Off games.

Monday was beautiful and we went to the Open House next door where folks own their double site along with a coach house.  We were interested in touring the facilities further and to check on rentals.  It is amazing what you can do in 200 sq. ft. In the coach houses.  We ended up renting the spot that belongs to one of Ted's shooting buddies.  He will be in Arizona next winter.  We will have a pad for the trailer next to a pad for the truck and a furnished coach house we can use.  It has a full bath, washer and dryer and a refrigerator.  There is also easy chairs and a TV but we won't use it for that.  Now my calendar extends to March 1, 2015!

Tuesday and Wednesday were cold and windy.  Everyone stayed inside for the most part.  Eileen and I did a little shopping.  We attended margarita night and met a few more folks.  We like the size of our park because you can meet most everyone eventually.

 Thursday was our group dinner at Schneider's German restaurant.  Each year Dulce and Berndt arrange this outing.  It gave us a chance to say goodbye to everyone.  

We had purchased Dolphin Watch Tour tickets at the travel show and Friday was our last chance to use them.  The weather cooperated and we drove to South Padre Island.  Tom and Eileen were surprised how much like Florida beach towns it was.  We had lunch at Dirty Al's, after a bit of a tour around town, then boarded our boat.  Turned out we got the dolphin watch combined with the eco tour which turned out to be very interesting.  

I have some photos on my camera but I need to download them.  In the meantime here is a shot of how far I got with my Swedish Weaving class.  I think I know enough to complete the afghan.  Also there are two shots from Friday.  One is a sand castle in front of the Visitor's Center and the other is us at lunch.  I will do a photo entry when I get a chance to download the rest of the photos.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

One More Week

Sunday we had a progressive dinner for 250 people.  It had never been done and the Activity Chairs were flying by the seat of their pants but it came off very well.  There were four venues.  The first was appetizers and wine, next was salads.  There were so many to choose from along with more wine.  Our circle was responsible for the potato bar.  Eileen and I went to Sam's and bought butter, sour cream and nacho cheese.  There was also brisket, pulled pork and chili.  Last was desserts, an ice cream bar and a coffee bar complete with Bailey's, Kalua, etc.  Quite a nice meal with lots of socializing with so many people on the move.  I think it will be done again since it was such a success.  We really enjoyed it and met several new people.

Monday we went to Mexico.  Ted, Eileen and I all got our teeth cleaned.  She also had hers whitened.  While we waited for her, Tom, Ted and I went to Rene's for coffee and a pastry.  She still wasn't ready so Ted got a hair cut and a pedicure.  Total bill for the day - $70!  It was such a beautiful day and we enjoyed sitting in the plaza listening to music and watching the people enjoying drinks.  It was another nice day.

Tuesday we had to find a repair place for Tom's fan blower.  We found the dealership but the service wasn't there!  We finally found it and got the car dropped off.

Dave and Karen came over on Wednesday.  Don, Ted and Dave went shooting while Eileen, Karen Trudy and I went to a boutique and restaurant for a girl's day out.  Since Eileen didn't have a car, I had to drive our truck while Dave drove the fellows in his truck.  They picked up Tom afterwards and he joined them for lunch.  I drove the truck fine but it is a PIA to park with those dually wheels!

I have been working on a Swedish Weave afghan to drape over my antique trunk.  I had all my stuff and minimal direction but successfully started and completed a few inches of the center pattern.  Thursday afternoon I made it to class and learned some more things but they said I was doing fine.  That evening  there was an ice cream social at the clubhouse.  We have made many new friends in the absence of our old crowd.

Friday was cold and drizzly and Eileen made another trip to the dentist for a filling and we did laundry.  That evening we enjoyed the Farnum Family Singers.  It was another fun group to see.  I am always amazed at the amount of talent in one family!  You would think one or two talented folks, but six?  There are many families that perform down here so all that talent is not unusual.

Today we visited the Custom Car Show in McAllen, ate lunch at Cheddar's, went to church and came home to play card bingo.  Eileen won so I am the only one who never one at all this trip.  By next Saturday we will hopefully be east of Houston for the night.

We haven't planned out next week but the days seem to fill themselves.  I know Kristin is anxious for me to arrive to help with the last of the arrangements.  First up, contacting those who have missed the 1/25 RSVP date.  Why oh why is it so hard to check yes or no, choose an entree and mail a card that is already addressed and stamped?  I will never understand, but it happens all the time.  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Falling Behind in My Writing

We have been keeping busy here in the sunshine.  We always finish our week with church, dinner out and card bingo at the clubhouse.  Last week both Ted and Tom won.  

On Sunday, the ladies "next door" who own or rent their sites from owners had a wine and cheese party for us ladies.  We picked up Sandy and Betty and Eileen drove us over.  It is only a short walk but too much for Sandy.  Once again I am reminded of how fortunate I am to be in good health and able to get around easily.

We met nice folks and may try to rent there next year.  I ran into Donna from Thunder Bay who switched parks this year.  Her husband worked for the same company as Ted did.  Ted used to travel to Thunder Bay, Ontario frequently.  We laughed about how many Donnas were here last year.

They showed the movie Gravity in our clubhouse that evening and it was not very good in my opinion.    The story line was thinly developed and the outcome preposterous.  So this movie and the one we walked out on, The Wolf of Wall Sreet, are both up for Oscars!  I am trying to figure out if I am old, a prude, stupid or simply out of touch.  I will settle for "hard to please."  

We had a potluck in the clubhouse and I made a chuck roast using a Facebook recipe.  Since they did everything but lick the dish, I think I will use it again.  I love crockpot cooking!  A clubhouse full of hungry folks at a potluck is akin to a hoard of locusts when it comes to eating.  Not much left over.

Trudy and Don encouraged us to visit Quinta Mazatlan, a historical Adobe mansion and nature and birding center located in McAllen, Texas.  During fall and spring the grounds are alive with migrating birds but at this time of the year we had to settle for several chachalacas and a couple Great Kiskadees.  We found the house itself very interesting and beautiful.  We need to stay long enough one year to see the migrating birds.

We had the rig washed and waxed this week.  It gave us a chance to stay put and get caught up on groceries and laundry.  Eileen has a washer and dryer but I opted not to have one.  I would rather go to the laundry and get it all done at once.  Also, you have to be on a sewer to use one or you would fill your gray water tank very quickly.  Many times we are not on a sewer and use the dump on the way out.  Also, I use the closet that a washer/dryer would go in for storing big items.

We have an insurance policy that will fly us home by air ambulance if need be, bring home remains, drive your rig home, fly someone to you, etc. called SkyMed.  It gives us great peace of mind and we know people who have called on them in an emergency.  The proof is in the use and everyone says it was a godsend.  We were invited to their luncheon in Weslaco and were able to take Tom and Eileen as guests.  There was no sales pitch, just a talk by the president on the company and an enjoyable meal.  I thought they would offer to sell us an extension of our existing policy but not a word was said.  It was a nice afternoon.  The interesting statistic for me was that 40% of their evacuations are to get people back to where their Medicare Advantage plans work.  It is the reason we have a Medicare Supplement instead.

Our friends Dave and Karen who moved across town to a different park had a get together on Friday.  They gathered all of us who are now scattered across the valley at a two room house available to them in their new park.  It was good to catch up with old friends and introduce Tom and Eileen to them.  We are invited this summer to a 70th birthday party for Dave while we are in Michigan.  Thank goodness for my calendar.  It is marked up through October.

We saw The Redhead Express perform at our clubhouse that night.  There are four young ladies and their three younger brothers that we have watched grow up these last few years.  They are terrific and have been picked up by a Nashville promoter so this will be their last year performing here in the valley.    We have an opportunity to see them at the Plant City Strawberry Festival in Florida and the Wapakaneta Fair in Ohio if we plan our days right.  We wish them all well and hope we can say "we knew them when."  We ended up on the park's Facebook page!

Yesterday I got my hair cut and we went to church followed by dinner at the Riverside Club.  It was German night and the Oom Pah Band was playing.  It is such a delight to see elderly folks out dancing.  Most of them are very good.  It always reminds me of Cincinnati German wedding receptions I attended as a kid.  Such fun!

We came home for card bingo and Ted won the big pot of $77!  Not a bad way to end this week. We are leaving here in less than two weeks now.  The wedding is just five weeks away.

Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well.  Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life will become a beautiful success.

~ Louisa May Alcott

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Finally, the SUN!

We have had a decent week with the sun finally making a strong appearance and the temps making it to 80.  It was a long six weeks of less than desirable weather.  I know we didn't deal with the snow and extreme temperatures like in the north, except for our trip to Kansas, but RVs are not built for below freezing for long periods and lack of suitable clothing got old quick.  My jeans and three sweatshirts got a workout.  We plowed through 40# of propane plus whatever electric we used for the fireplace the first two weeks.  I hope it is over and our normal weather stays.

I don't even remember what we did for most of last week.  Tom had his motorhome washed and waxed and ours will be done Wednesday.  We went to the Iwo Jima memorial (original casting used for the bronze memorial now in Washington) one day.  Every Wednesday is Margarita night and we attended and then stayed to play Mexican Train. 

The water line has been repaired.  When the repairman removed the panel under the bed and Ted turned that line back on, water came gushing out.  Taking the bed apart was the hardest part, fixing the water line was easy.  We grocery shopped and yesterday Eileen and I had manicures and pedicures while Ted and Tom went looking for a new tire for Ted's bike.  

Last night we saw Goldwing Express at our clubhouse.  They were really funny besides playing great music.  They appear in Branson, MO part of the year.  Many Branson entertainers come to the valley or go to Arizona for the winter to entertain and we do enjoy most every one of them.

Each day is spent a lot like at home.  Straightening up, grocery shopping, cooking, doing laundry all needs to be done but on a much smaller scale.  That leaves time for bike riding, projects, walks, entertainment, sightseeing, visiting, etc.  All  in all, it is enjoyable to be here taking life easy.

Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold.  But other times it's essential to take time to make your most important decision of the day which color to slide down on the rainbow. 

  ~ Douglas Pagels

Saturday, January 4, 2014

The End of the First Week

On Thursday we decided to drive to the Shrine to show it to Eileen and Tom.  We have never seen it all done up for Christmas and it was decorated beautifully.

Tom said he tried to count the poinsettias but gave up.  They have mariachi bands play at Mass so one Sunday we may go there.  But you know how I hate to miss time with Fr. Roy.

Afterwards we went to the produce market and then stopped to say hello to Dave, Karen, Dulce and Berndt.  We are invited by Karen to a lunch later on this month at their new park.

Yesterday we went to Mexico.  We got some eye drops at the pharmacy and Ted had his two belts reworked reducing them by six inches.  Then he bought another one for his championship belt buckle. Eileen bought a purse and Tom a belt.  I didn't buy anything.  We went right through customs with no problems after having walked several blocks in the market area.

We stopped for lunch and then went to Premium Outlets where Ted and Tom bought new jeans.  Ted's old ones are so big and puddling around his shoes besides.  He found a pair but they only had the one pair in his size so we will go back next week to see if they get in more.

When we returned home we went to the entertainment presented in the clubhouse.  It was Freddie and Sheila on guitar and singing.  We laughed a lot and sang along when instructed to.  I like when the audience gets to participate.

Today Ted went shooting.  I did laundry in the laundromat and came home to find a leak.  Tom and I think we found it to be the line for the washer.  Since I don't have one, I don't know why it was even on.  So we turned both the hot and cold lines off at the manifold and had to mop up the water.  I am glad I found it as soon as it started.  Ted will be on the phone Monday asking who to call for warranty work.  We have a fellow down here we really like and will suggest we be allowed to call him.  Ted feels it is no more than a loose connection.  Maybe because we didn't order a washer, that line wasn't tested properly.

Tommy and Susan want to come here the last week in January.  The park is full but I learned Kathy's private spot was being vacated by her so Eileen and I went to see when she was leaving and if it would be available for Tommy to rent.  She was there in her new Landmark yesterday and today they were gone!  So I put a call into Stella to get a phone number so I can get in touch with her.

We went to Mass tonight where Fr. Roy's llama served as the 3 King's camel.  They created a hump for him under a red cover and he stood next to the crib munching on hay for the rest of Mass after the gospel was read.  The dogs had crowns on but Benito didn't like his.  Fr. Roy said he was in his Terrible Twos and not acting nice.  Tom and Eileen are enjoying attending church with us at Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Tonight was card bingo at the clubhouse and our long table was hot but none of us won anything in our little group.  We are in for the night and heading to the flea market tomorrow.  Eileen and Tom want to get a wooden name sign made plus look around at what else is there.

The last two days have been beautiful but the cold gripping the nation is due to hit here too.  What a wacky winter.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

So Tired of the Rain!

Last summer we had quite a bit of rain and everyone in Texas told us to bring it home.  I think we did and still are!  It is in the 40s and raining every day.  We are getting real tired of being cooped up.

Monday we arrived in Mission and got set up in the rain and the flooded patio at our site.  Then we went to WalMart to finish grocery shopping.  Eileen bought a rotsserie chicken and we had that with leftover sweet potatoes and vegetables for dinner.

We decided to not attend the dance here in the park for New Year's Eve and instead planned to go to church, dinner and a show.  Then we learned there was only one Mass at 11:30 pm followed by a potluck dinner.  We knew we would never make it that late so we agreed to a show, then dinner.  Eileen chose The Wolf of Wall Street.  We lasted about 10 minutes in that movie before walking out.  I spoke to the manager about seeing a different movie in place of the garbage being shown.  Based on show times we chose to go to dinner then return for a later showing of Walter Mitty.  

We were able to walk right into Cheddar's and had a real nice dinner.  We returned in time to see the movie which was a whole lot better than that first one.  It was about 11:00 when we returned and retired to our own units.

Today we were able to see the church with its renovations and expansion completed.  It is beautiful!  Fr. Roy is certainly pleased and we were delighted to see him and tell him how much we enjoyed all the changes.  We came back and ate beef stew I had made along with salad and biscuits before going to the Margarita hour followed by an information meeting for the 100+ folks that showed up this week.

The rain is SUPPOSED to be over and the temperaturees are to climb back to normal.  Let's hope the weather guessers are right this time.  

The Beach Loop

Sunday we took the beach loop across the Laguna Madre to the north end of Padre Island.  It was very cloudy but we didn't let that deter us.  I took a photo of Ted taking Tom and Eileen's photo.

We visited the pier a bit south before heading north to Mustang Island.  We drove through the state park campground and ran into our friends Don and Pat!   I don't think I mentioned when we were stuck in Durant, OK we found ourselves parked next to Captain Tom and Donna from the park in Mission.  We love running into our RV friends.

We traveled on to Aransas Pass and took the free ferry over to Port Aransas.  

We traveled up to Rockport and Fulton before stopping for dinner.  These are all coastal towns where boating and fishing are king.  We made our way back to Corpus Christi and stopped at the USS Lexington.  There wasn't enough time left for us to take the tour but we did walk around a bit outside.  Of interest is the Japanese flag on the Lexington where a kamikaze plane hit it during the war.  You can see the airplanes parked on the flight deck where there is room to park 1000 cars.

It had been a very full day and we would be traveling on Monday so we called it a night.