Wednesday, April 29, 2015

On To The Next Thing

Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday were catch up days.  The house needed some putting back together.  Beds needed to be remade, dishes and things returned to their storage space, smoker put away in the garage, table leaves and pads removed, etc.  During the night there was a fierce storm and several trees were down in our neighborhood.  Gerre called to say they would get Tucker later because they were working on the massive clean up in their huge yard.  So we told them we would just bring him home.  Once we returned, I was done for the day!

Tuesday was a bit easier but the laundry needed to be done in addition to writing our thank you notes. So I wrote some, worked around the house, wrote some more, until it was all done.  We had leftovers for dinner Monday night and easy to fix Cincinnati Skyline chili Tuesday night.  I was thinking about my 6 am to 10 pm days when I had a full time job, 3 kids at home, a 10 room house and constant cooking, cleaning and laundry.  It was easier to keep weight off back then!

My hairdresser texted me first thing Wednesday morning to ask me to come on Thursday instead  because she wasn't feeling well.  The poor thing has to take medicine for thyroid cancer and her hours get sporadic because of it.  But Isabelle called to see if she could clean that day so it worked out.  I finished the ironing right before she arrived.  

I had to leave at 9 am to get my hair done and be back in time for the brunch for Newcomer Activity Chairs.  I had just enough time to stop at home, regroup and take off again.  It was a nice crowd and more of a lunch than brunch but that was okay!  I thought I would be home by 1:00  but it was 2:00 before I rolled in.

Since I was leaving for Cincinnati in the morning I had to start packing.  My flight was at 5:25 AM!  I went to bed early and woke up before the alarm went off at 3 a.m.  Poor Ted had to take me to the airport in the middle of the night almost.  Even at 4:30 am the terminal was crowded.  I flew first to Charlotte, then into Cincinnati.  My friend Donna picked me up and we headed to Nashville, IN.  We were the last to arrive at the log home we had rented for the weekend.  It was a fantastic find.  There were 5 bedrooms with their own baths.  Nine of us from the class of '63 were celebrating our 70th birthday year.

It was a great weekend of visiting, eating, drinking, shopping, reminiscing and reconnecting.  We had dinner at the Artist Colony on Friday then returned home to enjoy our joint birthday cake!  Since Gerrie won't turn 70 until next January we teased that she couldn't have a piece.

A parade was scheduled for Saturday and we all found a bench to sit on and watch.  Every fire department within a 50 mile radius was represented.  There were many military personnel and vets marching to lots of applause.  Girl scouts, Farmer's Market, high school thespians, etc. all marched proudly.  It felt great to be in Middle America displaying what I consider American values.  

That evening we ate in town and attended the Brown County Playhouse before returning home and playing some cards and more conversations.

The next morning after breakfast, the exodus began.  Donna and I stayed until last to be sure everything that needed to be done to set the house right was completed.  We drove back to Cincinnati to Karen and Ron's and Donna dropped me off.  Four hours later she returned and we went to church in the evening.

Monday I slept late but was ready for Karen's (from Procter & Gamble days) arrival around 11 am.  We started work the same day in 1963 and immediately became best friends.  The years and most of life's milestones have been shared.  We can always pick up like we were together just yesterday.  Both Karens and I went out to lunch and four hours just whizzed by.  I  always hate to say goodbye to her.

Tuesday was my last full day in Cincinnati so Karen and I did a bit of shopping.  Her knees are bad so she can't walk around too much.  I bought a blouse and new laundry bags for the trailer.  Karen bought slippers. In the evening Donna picked me up again for dinner with Cookie who was unable to attend the weekend.  Third Donna had gall bladder surgery and could not attend either.  We went to the Bier Haus where I had pretzel bread, hot slaw, potato pancake and Bavarian chicken.  I brought a good size piece of chicken home.  Karen can have it for lunch!  I will be winging my way home by then.

I am amazed how friends I made in kindergarten, continued through school to the 12th grade, can pick up over 50 years later and continue on as if it all happened yesterday.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

What A WONDERFUL Weekend

Friday was a busy day!  We were up early so Ted could start smoking his brisket by 6 am.  Then he prepared his pork shoulder for cooking in the crockpot.  He braises the meat first.  When he was finished I started in on my green beans, BBQ beans, cole slaw and fruit salad.

The weather was stormy early on and screwed up all three flights we were expecting from Phoenix, Detroit and Orlando.  The fourth flight from Florida was not due in until Saturday and was delayed that day too!

Fortunately the flights kept being delayed equally so our airport trips could be coordinated.  Unfortunately the last one landed at 4:40 and I had 16 folks coming for dinner at 6:00.  As soon as we arrived home I put both bean dishes in the oven and put out crab dip, pesto spread, shrimp and cheese & crackers which started disappearing in earnest!

Ted's brisket and pulled pork were excellent.  Of course if you make sure your guests are really, really hungry, anything will taste good!   Carol made brownies, lemon squares and chocolate chip cookies for dessert.  It turned into a great evening! 

On our deck.

Granddaughter Morgan with son-in-law Larry.

Look at these three brides of 50, 54 and 50 years of marriage.  

Daughter Kara and Son-in-law Bill.

Saturday the fellows went to the gun range where Sam finally got to shoot under his Poppa's tutelage.  He did really well as did all the others.  

We girls went to Stein Mart and then Kara and Kristin had hair appointments.

The Mass went very well.  We were mentioned in the Prayers of the Faithful and again at the end of Mass being congratulated followed by applause.  Once church was dismissed we renewed our vows in the presence of our family and friends.  We then invited Father to come have dinner with us and he did!

My beautiful friend Jody did a FABULOUS job on the cake table layering it with white and gold cloths, gold candle hurricanes, 50th anniversary napkins, white and gold plates and gold forks.

Our Wedding Album and a photo of each of our three girls' weddings with flowers sent by Gerre and Barry graced it too.

We had a great time in the party room of a local Mexican restaurant complete with salsa, queso, guacamole, margaritas and the dinner of our guests' choice.  The lovely cake was our dessert and for once the entire cake was gone!  Ted took the last piece for our friend Tommy who left before the cake was cut but LOVES bakery celebration cakes.

I have to admit I was so tired when we got home that it took no time to hit the hay!  We had more celebrating the next day.  Terry and Carol invited the family, 16 in all, to brunch at the country club.  We had a private, quiet room, much different than the night before!  It was a nice ending to a busy weekend.

Then the airport runs began again.  Thankfully the flights were all on time.  Ted did two of the runs, Terry did the other.  My sister had rented a car because they were scoping out the Ironman course in The Woodlands because they are considering doing it in 2017 when they move to another age group.  So we didn't have to arrange their transportation.  On Ted's last run he stopped to give Tommy his cake!

While Ted was gone I started getting the house put back together.  And in the midst of all this chaos little Tucker was a champ.  He took the extra people, time alone, and erratic potty breaks in stride.  That evening whiile Ted napped off and on in his recliner, Tucker and I crashed together on the couch.  

Things are back to normal and as Pippi Longstocking tells us ... "God's in his heaven, all's right with the world"  ... at least for this past weekend.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Lots To Do This Week

There was an election for my social group at a luncheon on Thursday.  Since I wasn't supposed to be home this week I hadn't sent my reservation in.  But I was able to go over for the meeting part and cast my ballot.  Teri also came just to vote so while we waited she suggested we have a glass of wine. I normally don't do that in the middle of the day but said sure, why not?  There were many friends to visit with and Teri even snagged an ice cream sundae from someone's lunch!  

After we voted I left to go to Party City to buy nice 50th anniversary plates, napkins and forks to be used for the cake we are having made for our party.  My good friend Jody has the cake thing under control!  What a blessing that is to not worry about it on such a busy day.  I hope she knows how grateful I am.  She has excellent taste and will make the cake table nice and be sure the tables are placed suitably.

I then hurried to the Memorial Service for Sue Anne's mother, Molly, who I mentioned died last week.  If only people would say one-quarter of the wonderful things about me when I die, I would consider my life a success.  I met Molly in 2003 at the age of 81.  The happiness and friendship she brought to the residents of the facility where she lived was astounding.  When asked to speak I said I always told Molly she was my role model for old age and related my eyelash story.  It was a very moving service.

Since we weren't supposed to be home, this weekend's entire calendar was clear.  I cleaned out the freezer, refrigerator and pantry.  The Paralyzed Veterans of Texas people called and are coming Tuesday so my two huge bags of clothes plus two boxes of household items are sitting out waiting for the big day!  I was hoping they would call before our company arrives and they did.

After church on Saturday we went to Sweet Tomatoes for dinner and ran into friends who were there too.  We arrived home in time to watch "Outlander."  I have read the entire series (8 books) twice and am loving the shows.  With that and Amazing Race on Friday night I didn't care we were home both  evenings.  The weather was stormy and it was good to stay in.

I did a bit of shopping on Sunday, buying Nancy a birthday gift, getting myself a couple tops and getting in the first batch of groceries for the weekend.  

My bunco group met on Monday and we had a nice time at Nancy's.  Afterwards I stopped at Target because I was looking for place mats for the patio table.  And I was able to buy a new fitted sheet for our bed since the old one developed a tear.  It is hard to find single sheets, there are mostly sets out there.  I was glad to find it!  
Gerre brought Tucker over after dinner to stay for the week.  They are going to Big Bend National Park in west Texas with their neighbors.  We were invited but couldn't go of course.  Anyway, we would want to stay longer than the 5 days they will be out there.

I was asked to sub at Canasta that turned into Shanghai when the number of attendees got skewed.  I came in third but only got stuck once.  No one had a clean round of six.   We had lunch on the patio outside the bar at the country club and it was very good!   You win some, you lose some when you eat there.  I always like it when the food and service are good.  On the way home I remembered Ted had a business lunch downtown and Tucker probably needed to go out.  He was fine went I got home but I gave him a treat after his trip outside.  He is such a good dog.  I changed my clothes and went to the nail salon.

I had to clean the house Wednesday because it is Isabelle's week off.  It didn't take too long because so much of our house doesn't get used on a regular basis.  The two guest bedrooms, second bath, dining room and sitting room were just a quick dusting and vacuuming.  The rest took awhile longer.  But I was pretty whipped by day's end.  Ted had a business lunch down near the airport and I always work better when he is gone.

We did the last grocery run on Thursday so I can start my cooking Friday morning.  We have to pick up 8 folks at the airport around 2:30 pm Friday.  I want to have dinner preparations all ready to go when we get home.  Four are staying here and 16 are coming for dinner.  Ted is smoking his brisket and cooking a pork shoulder first thing in the morning.

Wish us luck with the celebration.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Upcoming Celebration

Ted and I were married April 24, 1965.  That means this year we are celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary!  We have booked a cruise for our family (kids, in-laws, grandkids and us) on the Disney Fantasy for August.  But I didn't want the day to just pass by without recognition so we are renewing our vows after 5 pm Mass on 4/25 with family and friends in attendance.

Following the ceremony, 40 family members and friends will join us for dinner at a local restaurant.

We are so excited to have a dozen folks traveling long distances to join us.  And we are so grateful for the neighbors and friends who have made our life in Texas so wonderful.  This is a tremendous milestone that many are not fortunate enough to achieve due to various reasons.  We are both proud and blessed to have made it this far.  Every additional year is truly a gift.

My present from Ted was a .22 Beretta pistol to use at the gun range, especially during the time we spend in Mission, TX.  The gun range there is on the property owned by the developer and there are lots of men and women who participate in all kinds of competitions.  I am all for anything we can still do together without threat of injuring ourselves.  After falling off my bike twice last year, Ted proclaimed no more bike riding for me.   I haven't bowled since my hip replacement in 2007 but I bowled in a league every year, sometimes a women's league, sometimes as a couple, since the mid 1960's.  We need to look into that again but we can't join a league until we hang around more.

My new gun.

Second trip to the gun range using my new Beretta.  I shot 40 rounds - 10 at 5 yards, 10 at 7 yards and 20 at 10 yards.  Not too bad!  My Dad told Ted to be careful because I can shoot!  I hope I can translate this into some good scores in next year's competitions.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Glad We Stayed Home

Seldom do we pass up an opportunity to get away but our April travel schedule was ambitious even for us.  I think we were both relieved when we agreed to stay home.

I attended the Board of Directors meeting in the morning on Friday then came home to finish up the laundry.  Ted was at the gun club all day getting the scope mounted on the rifle he won down in the valley. It had arrived the day before and apparently took longer to mount and get set right than either he or Mike anticipated.  Ted was in bed when I left in the morning and I didn't see him again until I came in late that night.

Our friends Sherida and John have moved to Georgetown TX and there was a dinner for the girls to say goodbye to her.  About 24 were in attendance and we had a great time.  It was one of the most fun events I have attended in a long time.  The guest list was done by Sherida herself and I found it interesting who she invited.  We never know for sure what we do that stays with people through the years to make them consider you a friend.  We all have so many acquaintances but true friends are a blessing.

I presented my "toast or roast" and it was well received.  Two others did too.  Her granddaughter gave a tear jerker account of what her Grandma means to her and the hole it will leave in her day to day life not to have her close by.  It warmed my heart to see how this young lady has matured over the past six years.

Another friend who is battling brain cancer was brought to the party by her husband but was sick immediately and he had to return to take her home.  What a terrible situation they are in and it breaks my heart.  I also learned my role model for old age passed away on Easter.  Sue Ann's mother, age 93, was the most gracious, unassuming person I ever met.  When she met someone she told them if they couldn't remember her name to just call her Gorgeous.  Once when I asked how she was feeling she told me her eyelashes didn't hurt.  That has always stuck with me that she could find a positive comment no matter what.  Rest in peace, Mollly.  You will be missed by many.

Bad weather was forecast for Saturday but it was evening before light rain started.  After church we went to try Gino's East Chicago pizza.  It is always a wait plus the pizza takes 45 minutes to bake!  But we were alone and had the time.  We were seated immediately at a high top table but it was 8 o'clock before we were served.  The place was crawling with kids scrambling all over to write on the walls and it was noisy.  Ted said he will go back ... but in the middle of the afternoon, after lunch and before dinner.  They had gluten free pizzas so we brought an unbaked one home and put it in the freezer for Morgan while she is here.

Gerre, Anna Marie and I were going to the Art Festival Sunday but then I agreed to host Canasta Monday for Carol who has a CT scan scheduled.  And I had to make lemon squares for a funeral also on Monday.  So I was up, grocery shopped and came home before Ted ever woke up.  I had the lemon squares made, a pot roast started and the dishes out that I needed for the Canasta snacks early on.  I was able to rest up and watch The Masters late in the day.  

Ted took my lemon squares to church as he left for Beaumont.  I was busy getting ready for Canasta.  We only had two tables and I ended in the middle having two mediocre games and two really good ones.  I had lots of snacks left over so I cleaned up after they left and then had the evening to myself except for putting out the garbage.

Today I worked at the thrift shop for the first time since last year.  I have all my hours in but at our board meeting they annonced they needed help so I signed up for a few shifts.  

Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in. ~ Unknown

Monday, April 6, 2015

Maybe A Change in Plans

We went to 11 o'clock Mass on Easter.  I always wonder where all these folks are the other 51 Sundays of the year.  We found a parking spot around the back near the playground and entered through that walkway which put us right at the gym where a simultaneous service would be held in addition to the church.  There were seats in the third row so we took them.  Our hospital chaplain said Mass and it was 12:30 when we got out.  Luckily we drove right out of the parking lot and were on our way home with no gridlock.

We met Terry, Carol, Irene and John at the country club for the 3:30 seating for dinner.  Unlike our experience the week before, the food never ran out and there was plenty of waitstaff.  Afterwards we went to Carol's to play cards and I had horrible hands and ended up with my highest score ever.  So much for bragging about all our previous card playing triumphs last week!

They are predicting rain all three days next weekend and then through most of the next week so I asked Ted if we were able to cancel our Kerrville trip.  Traveling there in the rain, followed by days of rain doesn't sound like much fun to me.  And I do have other things to do!  We eventually decided to cancel the trip.

On Tuesday I had a bone density scan, 3D diagnostic mammogram and an ultrasound.  They read the last two right then and the doctor came in to tell me all was OK.  I have never had that happen before and it caught me off guard.  I was certainly happy with the news.  I am anxious to see what the bone density test shows.  I was really uncomfortable laying on that hard xray table and my hip/back/sciatic nerve/whatever it is bothered me for the rest of the day.  It hadn't been bothering me!

Wednesday we played Shanghai and I again had awful cards.  The evening didn't end well when one fellow at my table got upset because I threw a player card which allowed the girl next to me to go out.  I was holding 11 of the 12 cards I needed, a pile of cards that were players I couldn't throw and a set of diamonds and a set of hearts, none of which had a sequence of three that I needed but were such that I ├▒eeded just one of 7 different cards to make it work.  I chose not to break up my sets, not to throw a player but instead threw one that could be traded for a joker.  There was a chance no one would take it because you have to be able to use it immediately or hold it for 50 points.  I took my chances but Ann was able to use it and went out.  The fellow who then slipped from first to second was livid.  He claimed I wanted my friend Ann to win and we girls were sticking together.  I told him I was just glad it was over because most everyone had left.  We just said goodbye but I was told he was still cursing as he went out the door.

It is a card game that costs at most $2.30 if you don't win anything.  We play to have fun.  My thoughts are I have been disliked by professionals so I won't let an amateur like him bother me!  He can just play at another table as far as I am concerned.

The ladies' neighborhood luncheon was today and we had 11 ladies attend.  Nancy picked me up and drove us to Outback Steakhouse.  We had a big round table which worked really well for visiting.  We finished out the yearly calendar and once again will go to Treehouse for our Christmas lunch.

Tomorrow I have a Board of Directors meeting in the morning and a going away dinner party at 5:30.  I have been asked to give a toast so I typed up some things about the couple who are moving.  It will only take a minute or two to present them so I hope they have others lined up to speak too!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Getting to be Crunch Time

We met up with Gerre, Barry, Irene and John at the gun range.  Ted was going to help everyone get more comfortable with their guns including me.  The gun he wants me to use has a top slide and I can't pull it back.  So I insisted on using the .357 that I can handle.  Ted showed Barry and John a gadget they should get to help with loading and worked with Gerre and Irene on targets.  Using the gun I like, I had 30 pretty good rounds.  I still tend to rest my finger on the trigger which is a big no-no and my four errant shots show this.  But I had four wounds and 26 fatal shots.

Here is the gun range at Retama.  Lots of work was done on it this year. Ted also shoots skeet at Mission Skeet Club.  And that's why he loves his time in the Rio Grande Valley.

Thursday was Isabelle's day to clean so I hung around waiting for her.  It was 4 o'clock before she arrived.  Her helper notified her at 10 on Wednesday night that she couldn't help clean so the poor woman was doing it all alone.  It was 7:30 before she left.  I do hope she finds help.  If not she may need to cut back on her customers and I don't want it to be me!

When she left we went to Dickie's BBQ to grab a quick sandwich because it was so late.  We are trying to decide what to serve to everyone on Friday night of our celebration weekend.  It would be very hard for Ted to smoke the brisket, pork and ribs while making runs to the airport and getting the Florida folks a rental car and settled at their hotel.  We may just call on Dickie!  But that leaves me with a pork shoulder, 11# brisket and racks of ribs in the freezer!

I had an early morning hair appointment and afterwards stopped to get a few things at the mall.  I had messaged Gerre the night before about going back to the K of C fish fry.  She called and said to bring my dimes because Tony and Linda wanted to play cards this time.  We walked in right behind them and another neighbor couple soon joined us while we ate.  At 6:30 they raffled the rifle and handgun. The man to Ted's immediate right won first and chose the handgun, the lady neighbor of Gerre's sitting across from me won the shotgun!  Close but no cigar.

When we arrived back at their house there was a message that Tony and Linda were staying home because their dog had 5 teeth pulled and wasn't doing well.  So we four played Canasta and the fellows beat us badly.  We just didn't get the wild cards we needed.  That happens now and then!

Saturday was a quiet day.  Ted shot sporting clays, I went over our reservations with Eileen, paid our 4/15 estimated taxes, sent a few cards and just took it easy.  I put some new things out on the porch and cleaned and polished the front door.  Ted laid sod where the old grill had been sitting on pavers.  I will get my hanging baskets soon.  Next week is pretty low key.

I have to share my niece Cindy and Tim's Easter picture with their six grandkids.  I am so looking forward to spending the 4th of July at Elk Lake with them.  I am sure it will be pure chaos.

He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.