Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Cooler Weather and Drizzle

I was up early to get ready for the Ladies Breakfast on Wednesday.  Grace had asked for a ride so I had to pick her up by 7:45.  While I was getting ready, Karen texted me to call her.  She had planned to come over with Dave to visit while the fellows went shooting but with the weather they had decided not to come.  We had pretty much determined after watching the news that there would be no shooting so I was not surprised.   We will get together next week instead.

There was a small, but fun, group for breakfast.  We laughed a lot talking about camping experiences.  Another topic was the Instant Pot which is sort of a computerized pressure cooker.  Nedra said she cooked acorn squash in 8 minutes and Bonnie made fall off the bone ribs in 20 minutes.  I need to check this out.  You can get frozen food out and still have dinner in under an hour!  Amazon apparently has the best prices and there is a huge Facebook group sharing recipes.

Since Ted wasn't going shooting he wanted to locate Shooter's Station where we are scheduled to go next week.  So that's where we headed when I returned. We found it easily and then stopped at shoe stores where I bought two pairs of shoes and Ted bought one.  We are thinking ahead to the British Isles trip and what we will need.  After a grocery store stop to get some things we needed for dinner, we headed home.  We turned the fireplace on, had dinner and settled in for the night.

New Year's Eve dawned cool with continued drizzle.  Ted went to get one of our propane bottles filled because the furnace has been running at night.  When we are awake we use the fireplace but turn it off when we go to bed.  I wrote out a few bills and balanced the checkbook.  When the stock market closed I pulled the end of year IRA numbers to get an idea of what our RMD will be in 2016.  

Because Fr. Roy was only having an 11:30 pm Mass we chose to go to St. Paul Church at 5 pm.  It was ok but I missed the banter of Fr. Roy, the country western songs and the dogs.  We will go back to OLG on Saturday.  Afterwards we had dinner and then drove through the 3 mile light display in the city of Hidalgo.  The drizzle made it hard to find the route and street lights were non-existent.  We eventually found it but next year we will come on a dry night and ride the tram so we can both enjoy the displays.

A hummingbird bird in lights.

We started the drive home on streets with no lights at all.  Between the unfamiliar road, the darkness, the wet road and oncoming lights it was scary, at least to me.  When we got to familiar territory I breathed a sigh of relief.  I had watched the ball drop in Dubai at 2:00 pm and figured that would be it for me.  But we stayed up for NYC and then CST before heading off to bed.  Three celebrations for one event.

The bad weather continued so we made no plans for New Years Day.  Ted figured out the TV at the clubhouse and parked himself there for the entire afternoon.  I used the down time to do laundry choosing to go next door to Bentsen Palms where you can park right in front of the laundry and don't have to walk far.  They also have six washers versus our two so your chances of getting machines are better.  No one was there so I was able to put all the laundry in at the same time and then into dryers.  I read a book until it was time to fold.

I stopped at the Clubhouse on my way home where Don had joined Ted.  He had another game to watch so I came home, put the clothes away and ate my leftovers from the night before.  When Ted eventually came home he did the same and another day had gone by.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Here Comes New Years Eve

Ted went to shoot trap on Monday but no one ever showed up with the thrower so he came back home.  We decided to take my prescription to Walmart for refill and then hit the post office to mail Kara's package.  Later on we went to Cracker Barrel to shop, not eat, and to Academy.  I am always on the lookout for bingo prizes for the senior lunches.  Those 70% off prices are really good.  I bought a couple things so I am good for the April bingo after I return.  Ted found nothing at Academy.

We came home and he grilled our pork tenderloin.  I reheated the leftover sweet potatoes and put out the remainder of two salads plus some applesauce.  Nice, but easy, dinner.  His second disappointment of the day was our cable does not have ESPN so he couldn't watch the Bengals.  There is a TV in the clubhouse but no one seems to know how to turn it on.  The detailed directions didn't work and two days before someone had written that fact at the bottom of the sheet.  I told him he could stream it on my I-Pad but he didn't want to use up all that bandwidth.

Tuesday dawned cloudy but not too cold and we headed to the gun range for our first competition.  Kathy and Bob across the street asked for a ride since they had a dead battery.  My Expedition held all the guns, ammo and chairs with no problem and we enjoyed the chance to visit with them.

We were shooting at a Christmas tree drawn on legal size piece of paper with 9 one-inch balls drawn on it.  I hit the inside line on one ball scoring 5 versus 10 if your shot was clean in the middle.  The other shots hit the tree but not the balls.  Ted scored zero!  Since it was Christmas everyone got a free second chance.  Ted scored 25 and came in second.  I put three shots in a perfect vertical line right next to one of the balls and scored nothing.  The other two shots hit the tree but not the balls.  Then there was a mystery shoot that entailed shooting a target ball to see how far you could move it.  My 22 didn't have enough oomph so I didn't want to waste the ammo and chose not to shoot.  Ted moved it 16 feet and Russ won moving it 45 feet.  It isn't too fair that you can shoot any size ammo.  Ted had bigger than most, Russ had bigger than Ted.  But I don't get to make the rules.

Lunch was served and winners were announced.  For the $10 we spent to shoot and have lunch, Ted won $20.  Not a bad morning. 

Afterwards we went to Cracker Barrel to exchange a sweatshirt I bought the day before that had a stain on the back that I didn't see.  They moved from 25% to 40% off overnight so I was able to buy a small Fall pillow at 70% off for $1.50 with the difference and its original price was $15.  Good shopping for the seniors bingo games!

We stopped at Mission West to get their entertaining line up and checked out the car wash to have my car detailed.  Clean inside and out plus hand waxing for $33.  Ted said as soon as the rain predictions end he is taking my car up.  He will probably have the truck done too.  The RV washer guy has already stopped by to set an appointment to do our trailer.  We will have that done too before we leave.

Last stop was at Walmart to pick up my prescription and a few groceries before heading home.  It is amazing how quickly a day can go by.  Such is life in the valley.

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Week Between

Saturday was WINDY!  Way north of us in the Texas panhandle violent storms and blizzards were breaking out then traveling east causing havoc and even some deaths.  What a terrible situation at what should be a happy time of year.  Others were experiencing warmer Christmases than ever.  The weather guessers down here predict our weather will cool off and be in the more normal range this week.  I was just doing my best not to turn into Mary Poppins with no umbrella.

We went to 4 pm Mass and Fr. Roy had us in stitches.  It was the feast of the Holy Family and he talked about his family going to his Grandma's on the Sunday before Christmas each year and the characters each family has.  He had an uncle married to a beauty queen and he drank too much.  His cousin said about the couple "She is like a rose and he is like a fart."  He smashed his face with his two hands showing what Aunt Clara did as she proclaimed each year how much he had grown, just funny things we can all relate to.  We were in and out pretty quickly because there were two weddings before our Mass and one after.  Fr. Roy had a busy day.

For dinner we went to the Riverside Club but it was too windy to sit outside.  This is the place that showed up on Fox News filled with illegal women and children the summer of the mass exodus from Mexico and Central America.  The restaurant and bar were filled and everyone was just waiting for Border Patrol.  We recognized it right away on TV.  Their tour boat, The Dreamer, was right behind the reporter.  Our other favorite spot, Pepe's on the River, is all boarded up.  We are bummed about that.  It was our favorite watering hole and dance venue on Sunday afternoons.

Saturday night is card bingo next door at Bentsen Palms.  We played with Jeff and Elaine.  Not one of us even got close.  It seemed the same people were winning more than once for some reason.  Now we need to get more change for next week.  A funny thing was one lady of the foursome playing next to us had a bag of change.  She put her and her husband's coins out and then had to front the other couple who didn't know to bring change.  That other lady won twice, put all her coins in a bag and took it home!  The poor woman who fronted them had an empty ziplock bag and nothing was said about reimbursing her!  It takes all kinds.

Sunday was cool and windy, a perfect football watching day for Ted.  I opted to go shopping.  After trolling Macy's two huge lots with absolutely no luck finding a parking spot, I moved on to JCP instead.  I found a few things and used my phone to bring up their coupon and received $10 off $25 in purchases.  I was allowed to use it twice so she rang up my things in two separate transactions.  As I started to leave the lot I noticed a Dillard's but I wasn't ready to play the "find a parking space" game again and just came home.

Our plans to grill a pork tenderloin outside was out of the question so Ted drove to Little Caeser's for a Hot and Ready $5 pizza.  They even have a drive thru in the one close to us.  It is the only pizza in Texas with enough sauce on it!  It was a curl up with a blanket night and I enjoyed the no muss, no fuss dinner.

This week is pretty laid back.  The rest of the folks will start arriving for a January 1 check in.  We are pretty much filled here but next door has a long way to go.  Jay and Stella arrive 1/9 but Eileen, Tom, Lee and Ira are not coming until 2/1.  We'll just have to hold down the fort in the meantime.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Trip To Mission

We had a good night's sleep and pulled out at 8:30.  To insure my hip/back/butt/calf would not act up, I sat on an ice pack all the way to Kingsville.  And it worked!  We made one stop in Beasley for a pit stop and coffee before continuing on, arriving about 1:45.  We set up, finished watching some football and then did our "RVers run" to Walmart.  You always need something!  Afterwards we had dinner at Chili's.  

We turned in early and left the next morning about 9:30 and arrived in Mission a little before noon.  Niles was not here, they had to return to Minnesota because his mother is ill, so I had to be Ted's parking assistant.  Kathy came out and she and I were directing him.  A truck was stopped because Ted had the road blocked backing in and a beautiful angel named Jerry hopped out and asked if he could help.  While Kathy and I remained in the back, he went to Ted's window and talked him back.  A 90 degree angle to back into with a palm tree and island with bushes in the middle of the drive makes for some short back and forth movements to get the trailer turned enough to get the truck back in front of the trailer.  Then it is easy to push it back into the spot.  

Once in we went about getting set up.  We have a coach house accessible to us this year.  It is unfinished but we can put Ted's bike, grill, ammo, etc. in there.  I put chairs, card tables and our tower heater and a fan in.  It gives us less stuff in the trailer to move around to get to something else.  Ted changed the anode rod out in our water heater and cleaned his whole basement area.  We are all organized!

Bonnie, who helps with the Shooting Range, came by with our keys and to remove a bike from the coach house.  She encouraged us to come to the range at 10:00 Tuesday morning for me to attend Beginner's Safety Classes.  

Eventually we went to DQ for our only meal of the day and stopped at HEB for some greeting cards I need to send.  We stopped to see Don and Trudy on our way in and then talked with Joann and her husband until the mosquitoes got too bad.  We met our next door neighbors as they packed up for a week in a friend's condo on South Padre Island which is about 80 miles from here.  We told them we would water the plants while they are gone.  Then we headed inside for the night.

We went to Bentsen Palms, the campground next door, to watch the Safety Video before heading to the shooting range.  They are very strict on safety and the video is excellent.  Also, every rule they mentioned is strictly enforced.  I shot several rounds and did very well.  The last round I put my six shots in a circle of approximately 5 inches.  I am more comfortable with the loading and use of the gun too.

We went to eat lunch and the ham we had just bought was discolored so we took it back to HEB.  While out, we drove past the restaurant where I will be meeting the ladies for breakfast on Thursday.  We were expecting a package and it arrived in our mailbox right on time.  We met a new couple on our walk about.  They have a HitchHiker trailer like our last two and know many of the same people we do.  After dinner we settled in for the night.  

Ted went skeet shooting on Wednesday with Don and Dave.  I eventually went to see Trudy and was still there when they returned so we all sat outside visiting.  Earlier in the day we had taken a ride past church to see what time Christmas services would be.

The ladies breakfast was Thursday and I enjoyed seeing several people from last year.  Many folks own their own sites and live here all the time, some just stay here in the winter.  Then there are renters like us.  When I got back we went to Mexico to pick up some of the medicines we need to get while down here. Ted took the opportunity to get a pedicure.  We enjoyed walking the several blocks of the marketplace in the warm sunshine.

We chose to go to Mass at 6:30 on Christmas Eve and then out to dinner afterwards.  Fr. Roy did not disappoint with the live donkey processing with Mary and Joseph down the aisle to the crèche.  When they read the passage about the "host of angels" three aisles full of children dressed in white and silver ran to the crèche too!  His sermon was "It's a great day in the neighborhood."  Very fitting for us Rogers!  Mass was said half English/half Spanish but you can tell by the cadence which prayers are being said and I respond in English.  We love attending Our Lady of Guadalupe Church.

We started Christmas morning with low water pressure.  Turned out it was the east side of the city of Mission so all we could do was be patient.  It took awhile for me to fill two large pans with water to boil my sweet potatoes.  Lucky for us it was fixed and we were able to get showered in time for the 1:00 community dinner in the clubhouse.  Tickets were $5 to pay for the ham being served but one of our table mates brought turkey, dressing and gravy for just our table because for her Christmas dinner is turkey!  What a spread we had.

I just want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas season.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

And We Are Off

I was still stiff on Friday.  Walking on concrete for hours on end is hard on everything I think.  I took a pain pill, the first in a very long time, but I had things to do and didn't have the luxury of taking it easy.

I finished my three reports and sent them off, balanced the checkbook, paid a few bills, updated Ted's GPS, did some emailing trying to find my friend's elusive Christmas cards that have been in transit 9 days! and started bagging the pantry items we will be taking.

My clothes, medicines, and paperwork I need over the next three months are ready to go too.  Saturday will be another busy day with moving the trailer to the campground and then loading it with all our stuff.

We met Gerre and Barry for dinner and exchanged gifts.  She gave me a delicate hand crocheted necklace and the four Lenox napkin rings I have been looking for.  I was so pleased because no one had been able to find them.  I gave her a carved wooden pelican from Mexico because they live on Pelican Bay and collect them and a Vera Bradley umbrella. She loves Vera Bradley.

My back was still not 100% on Saturday but I needed to forge ahead.  Ted went to hook up and pull the trailer to the campground.  I met him there with some of the things to be put away.  Another back and forth trip and we were in good shape.  We grabbed a Subway sandwich late in the afternoon and went back home to get ready for church.  We saw so many folks this week - two neighbor couples, three church bunco couples, a Newcomers couple, and Sheri who I worked with all week.  It was like old home week.  I gave Carol her birthday gift because we will be gone in January and then headed home for one last time.  

We gathered up the last few things, checked everything (we hope), locked up and left to spend the night in the trailer so we can leave early in the morning.  I am following Ted in the car this year.  We think having two vehicles will be advantageous.  Time will tell. 

So as we sit here with our fireplace on, watching Katy, TX win the high school Class 6A football championship, Ted and I want to wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and God's blessings on everyone.

P.S.  The elusive cards that the post office swore on Saturday morning they never received, were delivered to my friend at 6:45 pm.  Miracles do happen.  Just ask the post office!  But she was thrilled with them and now can get them out.  All's well that ends well I guess.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Countdown Continues

We had a successful 75 family and Shelter Santa intake day.  I was up early with drinks and water iced down, dolly in the car and I stopped to buy donuts on my way over.  Unfortunately there was a funeral at the Methodist Church and all the coffeepots were in use.  Eventually someone went to Starbucks and bought a box (yes a box) of coffee!

We accepted 73 of the 75 expected family gift piles and a whole lot of Shelter Santa gifts that are used for residents in the shelter all year long.  Of course toys for the kids topped the lists.

One of the highlights of the day is when the Corvette Club starts their parade.  Many of the cars are driven by a Santa and each stops to unload their goodies.

We were sent home 1.5 hours early because they were waiting for the last two donations and were unable to reach those folks.  They didn't want us waiting around for someone who may not show up.  I was glad because we were due at the country club at 6:00 for Irene's birthday dinner.  

I dressed quickly and we arrived right on time.  We had a nice dinner with Irene, John, Terry and Carol. We probably won't see them again until the end of March.  It was a very long day for me.

I was scheduled to go to an open house luncheon on Wednesday.  Working at the Northwest Assistance Ministries during the August back to school shot blitz must trigger the invitation.  I planned on attending but just found myself with too much to do before repeating a second day of Gift Distribution and I was frankly running out of time to get things done before we leave.  I sent an email with my last minute regrets.  Colleen probably won't see it until after the fact but at least I let her know. It wasn't a sit down luncheon where a place is set for you so I am sure no one missed me.

Thursday was back to the Methodist Church to distribute the 73 family gifts that were collected Tuesday.  All the sorted Shelter Santa gifts had been picked up and taken to the Shelter for use at Christmas by anyone who may be living at the Shelter during the holidays.  The rest will be used throughout the year as needed.

I once again stopped for a dozen donuts and had cleaned my stored coffeepot and took it, but there were two boxes of coffee from Starbucks so I left it in the car.  I rolled our new Yeti cooler on the dolly into our area.  With all the cookies that had been given to us on Tuesday I chose to bring a Christmas platter and make a nice presentation for the girls.

The ten of us were extremely busy early in the day.  If someone came for pickup and had 6 bags plus bicycles, it took most of the 10 people to bring the gifts out and load them in the vehicle.  Bicycles and most cars are not real compatible but these ladies figured every situation out.  It was fairly busy the rest of the day.  We had bilingual members present to help the Shelter Directors when necessary.  Not much sitting down was done by anyone.

I was very tired and achy by the time I arrived home about 5:00.  Ted made us salads, I put the ice pack on my lower back and plopped on the couch!  My duties are finished except for my report and updating the Blue Book for next year's chairperson. But that isn't due until May.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Countdown to Post Time

On Thursday I attended my neighborhood ladies Christmas luncheon.  We rent a small treehouse room at a local restaurant so we can move around, exchange our gifts, talk and not bother others.  Medical problems persist but we had 13 in attendance which is a pretty good turn out.  After a nice lunch and gift exchange I came home but Ted was back at the gun club getting his scope sighted since it got too dark last night to continue.  He is going back tomorrow to work so Mike can attend his daughter's college graduation.  I have a hair appointment and then we have dinner with John and Irene so I don't mind.  Mike should definitely attend the graduation.

We have decided to leave on Sunday, 12/20.  We were waiting to see how my sister in law's health issue would turn out and she is good to go for now.  More tests are scheduled but not for two months.  By then we will be three weeks away from returning home.

I was to get a haircut but received a call that Cindy was at the doctor again so we changed it to Saturday.  She works so hard, even with her health issues.  I pray she is better and nothing more serious has been found.

I started loading my clothes on the guest room bed and then got ready for our dinner out.  We met John and Irene at P. F. Chang's for a nice change from all the Mexican and BBQ restaurants in the area.  They are going to the Bahamas the day before we leave so it was good to get together with them.  Irene is talking about coming down with Patti to see us in Mission.

On Saturday Cindy was better and gave me a haircut.  Then after church (where we AGAIN forgot the toys for the Giving Tree), we went to play Shanghai.  We were bombarded with info when we arrived.  Our hosts and their grandson had been in an auto accident that morning.  Both were sore from seat belts but no serious injuries.  Their car was totaled.  A young man was late going to school detention that he got for being late!  Another couple canceled at the last minute because a tornado had touched down in their area and emergency vehicles, etc., were all over the place.  Also, the weather stayed iffy. But the hosts chose to continue on.  My cards were so bad it would have been better for my dime purse if they had canceled. We all were relieved no one was hurt in all the excitement of the day.  Here is our annual Christmas photo.  We were told to wear red!

First thing Sunday, Ted took our two gifts up to church since today was our last opportunity.  I went to the grocery to get food for the church pantry and left it all in my car.  At Bunco tomorrow I will leave the hatch back up and put in what my Bunco Gals bring and then deliver it right to the food pantry after Bunco is over.  I put ribs in the oven for dinner and just stayed in while watching the gloomy rain outside.

Kara called to tell us another Michigan friend has died.  When we lived there, Ted belonged to a group of 8 that bought the last tee time of the Saturday 6 am hour and the first of the 7 am hour at the city golf course.  They mixed up their foursomes and always had a good time.  On occasion we women would golf too.  Our big outing of the year was the Chicken Open held in Frankenmuth MI, famous for fried chicken dinners.  One year our foursome actually won it.  We spent most Super Bowl Sundays at this individual's home, partied with them all at the Elks, we had progressive dinners, New Years Eve parties, etc.  Jeff was the fourth of the 8 to leave us.  Cancer took the first three but we only know Jeff was prayed for in our old church where Kara still attends for some time.  All the women are still with us.  May Jeff rest in peace.  He was one of the good ones.

Here are the six babies, the grandkids of my niece Cindy and Tim, at the Festivals of Lights in Cincinnati. They are so lucky to be surrounded by their cousins and are together for most holidays, vacations and weekends at the lake.  Such an opportunity is priceless.

Monday Ted left for Dallas and I headed to our Bunco lunch.  I had come up with a Jeopardy Christmas Bingo game by combining the two games with questions about Christmas.  We had a lot of fun with it and all the gifts were very nice.  I received a cute Santa.

These are my two gifts from the parties.  The lamp from my neighborhood party and Santa from the Bunco Group.

Tomorrow I will be at the Mehodist Church heading up the Shelter Santa intake day.  It is a full day and will be followed by Irene's birthday dinner.  I may have to wear my uniform if it gets to be too late to come home and change!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Back to Normal

Our friend Rick was in town from Memphis so we invited him to come visit Saturday, attend church with us and then we took him to dinner.  It was good to see him but we missed his wife Brenda who was unable to come.  We waited a long time for a table at Saltgrass so it was pretty late when we got home.

I am feeling more like my old self each day.  The hesitancy when I first stand to walk is almost gone.  I can sleep most any which way without experiencing discomfort and that has been a relief.  I do think the arthritis diagnosed in my lumbar region is in play but there isn't much to be done there other than meds or injections.  Once all the aches from the hip surgery are gone we can address that situation. 

Ted worked at the gun club on Friday.  He had to leave Beaumont by 8 am to get there in time.  Then he had to be up at 7:30 to work Sunday.  He certainly is dedicated to a non-paying job!  But he enjoys it and there are some perks that come with it.  When the shoot was over he and his buddies did their normal shooting.  I am always reminded of the 100s of thousands of rounds these sportsmen shoot each year and you don't hear of any accidental, let alone intentional, harm occurring.  It isn't the gun, it is the person using it.

While Ted was gone I finished designing a Christmas card for good friends of ours.  They too celebrated their 50 year anniversary and wanted their card to reflect that.  I was very pleased with the finished product and hope they are too when the cards arrive.  And then I finished up mine for mailing. 

With that out of the way I got the granddaughters' gifts together and boxed up for mailing.  I stuck their envelopes with gift cards and checks into their bags and put the adults and our grandson's envelopes in too.  My grandson was so thoughtful in sending me a text telling me what he wanted, where to buy it and how much it cost.  I loved it!  And of course it is being shipped right to his house.  Good Grandma!

I had received a Kohl's $10 coupon so thought I would go buy another toy for our church Giving Tree.  The lines were so long to pay I decided to just go next door to Walmart and bought a watch with different colored bands for an older child.  To make dinner easy I picked up a rotisserie chicken they had just put out.  That took care of Sunday followed by pot pie on Monday!

We ran some errands on Monday - the bank, the post office, trial run to the location of my party Tuesday night, the grocery, gas station and car wash.  Whew!  After our chicken pot pie dinner we went to church at 7 pm for Mass.

Tuesday was the Forum Christmas party.  Ted was at the gun club working on getting a new scope put on and sighted ... and apparently doing some wheeling and dealing.  He is going to sell a trap gun he bought in 1964, before we were married!

So I picked up Judy and off to the Wild Stallion Vineyards we went.  It was a lovely venue that I had never even heard about.  The tables were set so nicely.

And their Blanc du Bois was delightful.  No more pain pills, hello a glass of vino!  It was a great turnout.  The company was marvelous and the dinner very good.  

There was about 24 feet of tabletop that was covered in toys for families in the area.  They will be distributed through three different agencies.  

I just love these gals I volunteer with!  Doris under the upside down Christmas tree.

Today Isabelle comes to clean and I think I will start getting my clothes ready to be taken to the RV.  Still not sure when we are leaving but it will be within two weeks.  There is still volunteer work to be done and a few more parties!