Monday, March 31, 2014

A 64 Year Long Friendship

I picked up Donna at the airport late Thursday afternoon.  We came home to a nice dinner prepared by me and Ted.  I had done my preparation beforehand so things were ready quickly.  We had a nice evening of visiting before retiring for the night.

Since it is bluebonnet season, on Friday we chose to ride to Brenham to see how well the wildflowers were doing and to also visit the Blue Bell ice cream factory.  You can certainly tell spring break is in full swing by the crowds gathered at the visitor's center.  After checking tour times we had lunch at Volare's Italian restaurant and then returned for our tour.

Donna has been in food sales, mostly spices and oil for restaurants, so she was interested in the manufacturing process.  We all were interested in the free ice cream!  After we had finished our choice of flavors they came around with their newest flavor  - Butterfinger, my favorite candy bar.  I just had to help them with their market research.

There weren't as many flowers out as I had hoped for but that is probably due to the colder temps we have been having for the past six months.  When we came home we fixed a pizza and watched Saving Mr. Banks.  It was a very good movie and had a very interesting story line, not what we expected.

I decided we would stay around the area on Saturday so after a big breakfast we took the boat ride on the waterway to see the beautiful buildings, sculptures and landscaping mixed with lots of restaurants.  We shopped a bit before heading home to go to church.  Afterwards we had dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant.  Terry and Carol joined us and we all enjoyed the evening.  After dinner we traded cars so they have my 8 seater while their family is here and I will use their 5 seater.

I had emailed information on several area things worth seeing to Donna and she chose to visit the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library in College Station.  We stopped in Navasota at Martha's Bloomers Cafe for lunch before continuing on.  The library was interesting to me just as the Johnson Ranch and the Truman library were.  The bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes were plentiful and many cars were parked alongside the road for picture taking.

Ted was busy grilling steaks and baking potatoes for our dinner.  We had another nice dinner before we all collapsed on our respective sofas and chairs to watch Amazing Race and the Good Wife.  We were all very tired.

Today I took Donna to the Cheesecake Factory to meet a former fellow employee for lunch.  I declined to join them knowing they had business to discuss.  That gave me time to fuel up the car, grocery shop, empty the dishwasher and remake the bed when the dryer stopped.  When she called, the timing was such that I could pick her up and deliver her right to the airport.

It was a whirlwind weekend but we both enjoyed it immensely!  We aren't friends for all those years for nothing.
"Friendship isn't a big thing - it's a million little things." ~Author Unknown

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Still Not Getting Any Warmer

Some landscapers are saying to wait a bit before replanting because this cold stuff still may not be over.   I need to figure out how to get our RV to Hawaii next year.  Anyone know of a bridge?  Enough is enough!

We went to church on Sunday since we were out on Saturday.  Tommy had told Warren not to get on top of his RV for any reason because God would strike him down since we put visiting him first before going to church.  I thought that was pretty funny.  We went at 9:00 and there were kids galore.  We had to sit in a different spot than usual and the acoustics were bad.  Add the noisy little darlings and we remembered why we prefer a different time.

Ted went shooting and if I did anything Sunday and Monday it was so uninteresting I don't even remember.  But Tuesday I was back at the thrift shop doing my four hours of work.  Ted was cleaning the deck furniture of all the yellow pollen when I got home.  It is in a thick layer all over everything.  I feel sorry  for those with allergies.  Luckily, neither of us is bothered.

I had my hair cut and went to the grocery store afterwards on Wednesday.  Ted does most of the shopping and I experience sticker shock when I do go.  I don't know how people are feeding their families.  The full baskets I used to buy each week when the kids were home have to be a king's ransom now.  I went to Happy Hour at 5:00 and we all stayed a long time.  There was a good group and we just lost track of time.

This morning I took Pat, who works with me at the funeral lunches at church, to my volunteer organization's Information Coffee.  There was a large group of ladies looking to join and I am happy to report Pat filled out her paperwork and paid her dues right away.  I hope she enjoys this group as much as I do.  Time will tell.

I am leaving now for the airport to pick up Donna who will be visiting until Monday.  I just hope the weather improves!

"Don't knock the weather.  If it didn't change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn't start a conversation."  ~ Kim Hubbard

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Still Cold Out!

Usually by March 1 our grass has greened up, the azaleas and dogwoods are blooming and we wait to see that first bluebonnet of the season.  So far, only the bluebonnets are co operating.  With the big freeze that covered everything in ice two days before we arrived home, 3/4s of our planted area out front was decimated.  Also, a big branch of one of the live oaks broke and is just hanging there, way up high.  So I spent last week meeting with landscapers to once again get the area replanted and the trees trimmed.  We have made our choice but they are all so busy it may be as long as 2.5 weeks before it gets done.

I worked for the first time since December for my volunteer group on Tuesday.  I am at 43 hours and will end the year at 50.5, closest I have ever cut it.  I attended a meeting Friday and now have 3 of my 4 meetings in and all four events of my committee work completed.  There is an information coffee on Thursday so I will accompany the lady I am sponsoring.  Both of my other recruits are happily engaged in their work and I hope Pat joins too.  

Friday was Inherit The Wind at the theater where we have our season tickets.  They did a fabulous job with so much dialogue to memorize.  It just flew by, that's how good it was.  Next up will be Gypsy in May.  We met Gerre, Barry, Sherida and John for dinner beforehand.  Two other friends were there and the gentlemen volunteered to sit in as part of the jury.  There were already so many in the cast I guess they thought this would be a good way to fill those chairs.

We spent Saturday at the campground visiting.  Warren and Judy have their new Mobile Suites so first stop was to see it.  We picked ours up in December; they got theirs from the same place in January.  Because they live in theirs full time, it is a few feet longer than ours but very similar inside.  We really enjoyed the visit.  Afterwards we went for burgers and Susan's sister Karen joined us and then came back to the campground.  It was a beautiful night and we stayed way late just talking and having a good time.

I have company coming on Thursday and have been busy planning our time.  It will be a short visit but I want to use our time wisely.  Planning ahead always helps in accomplishing things.

Here is a picture of Mary Rose.  I think she appears much bigger than her 3 lbs., 1 oz.  but  Kristin said her foot is the size of Kristin's thumb.  She isn't hooked up to very much and that is a good sign.

It’s the little things that make life worth living,
It’s the little things that help us make it through.
I never knew how true those words were,
Until I first set my eyes on you.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Rest in Peace, Amy

Kristin's sister-in-law will be laid to rest in New York tomorrow after viewings today and tomorrow morning.  She and Larry flew up yesterday to be there.

Mary Rose continues to do well.  All your prayers, concerns and outpouring of sympathy is greatly appreciated.  There is just so much sorrow when death comes to someone so young under these sudden circumstances.  Hug your loved ones a little tighter today.

Monday, March 17, 2014

A Tragedy

Our Friday night was spent with Gerre and Barry. They took us to dinner at the Catfish Place because we have Tucker again this week and they wanted to treat us. It was good catching up.

I received a phone call from Kristin early Saturday morning.  I knew something was the matter when the call came on Ted's phone.  It meant she called me, I didn't answer so she was trying her Dad's phone.  She needed to reach us, it was not a casual call this early on a Saturday.

Larry's brother Peter and his pregnant wife Amy had been at the wedding three weeks before.  She was about 26-27 weeks along.  At 2 am she had a seizure, fell in the bathroom and was rushed to the hospital where she had another seizure and died.  They did an emergency C-section and Mary Rose was born.  She is in the NICU.

Our families are devastated that this lovely girl, the picture of health, was taken so unexpectedly from us.  Please keep them all in your prayers.  There is a long road ahead for Peter and his baby daughter.

I feel bad for Kristin and Larry who should be pouring over photos and videos, writing thank you notes and combining their belongings into one home.  Instead they are barely going through the motions of daily life.  They could use your prayers too.

We went to church Saturday night and came right home.  Our hearts were too heavy to do anything else.  Ted did shoot on Sunday and we met our Dining Out group at 6 pm and were home about 7:10. It is hard to be good company under the circumstances.

Today seemed like ages since Saturday, not just two days.  I went to my bunco group and it helped talking to other women who were so sympathetic.  The funeral will be next Saturday in New York with burial on Sunday.  Of course Larry, Kristin and his sister are flying up.

Rest in peace, Amy.  Your daughter needs a guardian angel in you.

Treat everyone like it is the last time you are going to see them.  One day it will be.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Back Home

Friday night the four of us drove to meet Tommy and Susan for dinner at Sweet Tomatoes.  I am so used to fish and pasta on meatless Fridays I forgot about salad, soup, baked potatoes, pasta, etc. available there.  It was great fun seeing them.  Of course thoughtful Tommy had pulled our photo off my email and made 5 x 7 copies for us, the kids and my Dad.  Trying to pay him is impossible but I hope he knows how much I appreciate what he does for us.  They are such great friends as are Jay and Stella.  If in an emergency I needed someone to pull our trailer somewhere, Jay would be my first call.

We were up early Saturday, buttoned her up, said goodbye to Jay and Stella and headed for the storage lot.  We were home before noon.  Chris had already left and the house was in great shape.  I don't think he does much beyond sleeping here.  With his family 10 minutes away, he goes there for dinner.  My friend Donna is coming so I will make sure all is good in that area of the house for her arrival.

We went to church at 5:00 and then to Kathleen's to play Shanghai.  Ted won at his table but I spent most of the evening picking up cards off the floor.  Until you "go down" you have a lot of cards to hold on to and I wasn't doing it very well for some reason!

I got caught up on laundry Sunday while finishing up putting things away and doing a few "paperwork" things like renewing our passports.  We needed them in Mexico but they expire in August when we are leaving for Bucharest.  This is our fourth 10 year renewal and very possibly our last.  I'm not sure we will still be globetrotting at 80!

I did as much as I could on our taxes but need to take two K-1s to our accountant friend while we are in Kerrville.  These energy company investments are good but are a pain at tax time.  Dulce will work her magic and get the forms completed that I need.

Monday afternoon I played Canasta at Cathy's.  My cards were okay but left me in the middle of the pack.  It is a $1 game so not a big deal.  Just seeing everyone is so enjoyable.

Ted met Steve to shoot on Tuesday while I dropped off some medical records, took a package to the post office and stopped to get something for dinner at the grocery.  When we both got back home Ted wanted to go to the Mexican restaurant and I wasn't about to say no.  We will fix on Thursday what I bought for Tuesday!

We can't eat it on Wednesday because it was couple's card night at the country club which includes a buffet dinner.  What a good time seeing a whole different group of folks.  Once again Ted won at his table and I had the worse score ever!  I think I got down only two of the six games.  Both men won at our table shutting out the women.  At least I didn't drop my cards on the floor!  Ted is keeping my change purse filled with dimes for me.  

Today is our neighborhood ladies luncheon.  It is my month to choose the restaurant so I have to be at the restaurant a little earlier to greet everyone.  Ted joined the fellows at PF Chang's yesterday for their monthly get together.  It is important to stay in touch with your neighbors.

Our weekend is open now until Dining Out on Sunday night.  We are going to the newest BBQ place with the group.  It has been here a couple years now but I have never gone.  If there's something Texas has lots of it is BBQ and Mexican restaurants.  Don't ever look for meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans except maybe at Luby's cafeteria!

I have to mention the kindness and generosity of my friends here at home.  Several of them sent beautiful cards, messages and gifts to Larry and Kristin even though some have never met them.  Had the wedding been here the guest list would have been different but I was not comfortable inviting folks to a wedding 1000 miles away for a couple they didn't know.  But that didn't stop our very best friends here from honoring them on their big day.

We sincerely thank you for your love and support.  We couldn't be more blessed having friends like you in our lives and sharing in this beautiful time in our lives.  

Friday, March 7, 2014

Minutes from Home

We left Florida Tuesday morning with cool temperatures and a little misting.  We never did experience rainfall, just heavy humidity.  We drove to Holt, FL and stopped at a campground we have been to before.  It was too damp and cold to grill burgers so I made Sloppy Joes instead. We didn't even unhook.

The next day we reached Breaux Bridge a little after 1:00 and decided to continue on.  We found a "new to us" campground in Sulphur, Louisiana that was really nice.  We would definitely stay there again.  It was Ash Wednesday and I didn't have much to choose from in the way of meatless meals.  We also needed fuel so we unhooked and went to Richard's Seafood on the manager's recommendation.  I had grilled catfish and Ted had shrimp.  It tasted pretty good after the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches we had for lunch!  I get a kick out of the 2-3 lb. platters of crawfish ordered in these Louisiana restaurants along with a metal bucket for shells.  Ted calls them red roaches on steroids.  I find them ok but too much work for a tiny piece of meat.  There were four such orders at the next table and they were all digging in.  It remained chilly so after fueling up we headed home to our recliners, fireplace and TV.  

The next morning we took off on our final leg.  We are at a KOA not real close to home but close enough to get my car so we can empty the trailer with one more trip after that initial one.  On our way Thursday we started getting a whistle and couldn't figure where it was coming from.  It didn't seem to be bothering the truck's performance but it was annoying.  As we got almost to the campground we started smelling something.  When we stopped to register, Ted determined it was the passenger side front brake on the truck.  We aren't sure if a caliper hanging up caused the whistle or not but we got my car and dropped the truck off where Ted gets his work done.  He is having new calipers and brake shoes put on both front wheels.  The last thing you want is to get stuck with a 38 foot trailer and a bad tow vehicle situation.

Our friends Jay and Stella are here at the KOA too.  They are really far from home but it is the only place they could find with monthly space.  We visited before leaving to get my car and Stella invited us to share a crockpot of chili with them when we returned.  She had all the fixings for Frito pie, a Texas deliicacy, and it certainly tasted good.  I had a whole box of creme puffs I had bought to share for Margarita night in the valley and never used.  I took one of the bags from the box and let it thaw for our dessert to share.  Ted cut up an onion.  So much for our contribution.  We stayed into the evening talking and catching up.  I think we are having dinner tonight with Tommy and Susan who are at the campground we all couldn't get into.  But it is Friday and they will have to take that into consideration when choosing a place.  Mexican will be out.  Lent is only six weeks long but by no longer observing meatless Fridays all the time, it takes a bit of getting used to ... and then it is over for another year.

Here are a few more wedding photos sent to me.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Hitting the Road Tomorrow

After our last weekend in Florida, we are heading for home tomorrow.  We haven't been there since 12/26.  We plan to stop in Holt, FL and Breaux Bridge, LA before landing at a campground close to home so we can unload and clean up the trailer.  This new rig is tight as a drum when closed up.  We can reach the right side of the refrigerator and that's about it unless we run the slides out.  Our other ones gave us decent access to the bathroom and kitchen while closed up.  There are trade offs with everything.

Tom and Eileen came over Friday and we went back to Blue Spring.  After living in this area for 20 years they have never been to see the manatees.  

In the next photos look closely to see the baby manatee with its mother.  On the second one she is totally on her back.

We saw a good sized gator swimming in the spring but he was near the other bank and it wasn't possible to get a good shot.  While walking the boardwalk to the spring boil, we encountered this armadillo who was too busy rooting around to pay attention to us.  Most of the ones I see in Texas are road kill. 

Afterwards we went to a Mexican restaurant and then back to the campground.  It was ice cream social and bingo night so Eileen, Ted and I had a scoop of ice cream but only we wanted to stay for bingo so they headed home.  It is almost an hour and a half to their new home and it was already 7:30.  Anyway, we didn't win at bingo!

On Saturday we came to Kristin's to see them open the gifts and envelopes we had brought from the reception.  The lady who had looked at the house called and asked if she could bring her husband by.  She was at her friend's house down the street.  We waited two hours, her car was still there and we all just decided not to wait any longer.  How long can it take to finish a beer?

There was an 800 person half marathon starting at our park gates on Sunday morning.  And of course that was the day we had to be in Port Canaveral by 9:00.  We left at 6:30 and still had to dodge people, orange cones, and drive on the wrong side to get out of the area.  We stopped on I-95 and had breakfast and waited for a call that Karen and Ron had gotten off the ship.  It took three attempts to get where we needed to be which turned out to be through a garage, into their long term parking lot inside a fence.  Of course Karen's description of "we are near the back of the ship" when they were actually mid ship under the name, "we are in the black fenced area" when the entire port is surrounded by black fence and "we are in front of a parking garage" when there are two parking structures, didn't help.  When we finally located them we were told we couldn't load them there and we needed to go through the garage, pull a ticket, load them and leave.  No charge.  Whew!

We brought them back to our campground where our truck was and they left from here but not before we all attended church at 11 o'clock.  They were supposed to go to St. Augustine but decided not to and drove into Georgia heading home.  I think 80 degrees and sunny here sounds better than 14 and snow at home but that's just me!

Today we are battening down the hatches.  Ted checked tires and lug nuts and emptied tanks.  I did a load of laundry at Kristin's and we both got our passport photo taken.  We need to renew before our August trip.  One more thing to put together as soon as we get home.  

See y'all soon!