Friday, December 30, 2016

Taking Off

Friday Ted fueled up the truck getting $1.00 off at Krogers from our points buying gift cards in December.  Buying 35 gallons at $1.15 per gallon was nice.  He took a brand new, with tags, camouflage shirt to the gun club and gave it to Danny.  Because it had a logo on the shoulder it was going into the recycle bin at the Thrift Shop until I rescued it.  I knew he would know someone who could wear it.

Ted had brought the few Christmas things in from outside and I put them away while he was gone.  I don't think anyone but Marena had seen any of our decorations inside.  I packed several bags from  the pantry and cleared the refrigerator out and cleaned it while putting what we are taking to one side.  Our medicine bag is packed, my paperwork is in the pouch and my toiletries are all in the basket.  Once we get set up on Saturday it shouldn't take but two trips to load it all up.

I received an email from my sister-in-law Carol and their daughter, son-in-law and grandson were still in town so we met for dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant.  We weren't sure we would get to see them but it all worked out.  You are really old when the next generation talks about retiring!!

Saturday was busy, making three trips back and forth to the trailer.  It is easier than unloading but not by much.  I just don't have to clean.  We made it to 5:00 Mass a wee bit late but had no trouble parking or finding a seat.  Then we went back to the house and locked it up and headed to Gerre's.  All our "lake" friends were there and a spread of food like you can't imagine.  We had hats, horns, champagne and a blow up frame to take everyone's photo. 

A good part of the evening was spent at the "casino."  Roulette in the LR, Black Jack in the DR and bingo on the porch overlooking the pool and lighted fire pit.  I hit big time at bingo, lost my shirt at roulette 

and held my own at Black Jack.  Gary got tired of dealing so Ted took over and finished out the night.  We came home about 1 am and went straight to bed.

I woke up at 7, Ted at 8.  We were on the road by 9:00.  It was an easy drive into, through and out of Houston.  We continued SW until Victoria, then headed due south.  We took one break at a Pilot but that was it until Kingsville where we stopped.  It was 2:00 and we could have easily made the last 100 miles before dark but Ted prefers to stop to rest, fuel up my car and go out to eat.  It makes arrival, parking and set up easier when better rested.

We weren't the only ones getting off the road at 2:00.  Two rigs followed us right in.  The couple next to us are from NJ and have been on the road for 8 days heading to the valley.  I don't know where the others parked.  We went to Walmart for gas then on to Chili's to eat our only meal today.  TV has been football all afternoon and evening.  Texans lost, Bengals won.  Tomorrow should be a quick trip.

We left about 8:30 Sunday morning and arrived about 10:30 at Retama.  Niles, our neighbor came out  
to help me direct Ted into our spot.  He is a semi driver and said "just let me park it" and he did!  We got all set up in no time. First thing I did was pick the oranges on the tree outback.

We visited with several folks and when Ted left looking for Don I went over to deliver Trudy her gold earring she lost in Santa Fe while visiting us.  We came home and Tom and Eileen came over on their bikes to visit.  Sue knocked and invited us out to eat but we declined because of the company we had.    When they left we made a trip to Walmart and grabbed a sandwich at McDonald's.

And thus begins another season, our 13th here in the valley.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas in Michigan

I hadn't written anything between Friday and Tuesday!  Guess I was busy.  

We left about 11:00 for the airport on Christmas Eve.  I had made a reservation at the Parking Spot and it is a good thing.  "Lot Full" greeted us but "Except For Reservations" underneath that.  We parked undercover in Row 1.  

There was no traffic to speak of driving there and NO ONE IN LINE at TSA Pre-Check so by 12:15 we were on our concourse where we ate lunch at Chik Fil A.  We left on time and arrived in Chicago then walked past 38 gates! to our next flight that also left on time.  We had comfortable seats and arrived in Detroit right on time.  Since we carried our bags we met Kara at the Departure drop off versus dealing with everyone else getting picked up at Baggage Claim.  There was no one departing at 8:30 but lots of folks and traffic going into Arrivals.  

By 9:45 we parked easily and walked into church where we found an entire row open for the six of us. 

It was a beautiful Mass and homily.  We saw many friends on our way out.  I love our old parish.  Back home it was time for bed once I bagged the few presents I had brought with me.  

Next morning was not chaotic since the kids are 12 and 14, but messy nonetheless.  Once we opened all the gifts, we needed to get ready for our company and dinner.  We had 16 coming and Kara had everything set up before we even arrived.

Our oldest daughter Kelly and her family came, Sue, a friend of Bill and Kara's, our friends Gus and Melissa who brought Billy, a U of M student from Bejing who is spending Christmas break with them.  The young men are all engineers so talk flowed easily.  The older folks discussed mostly traveling and real estate.

It was about 9:00 when only family remained and we had another round of gift giving.  By midnight we were shooing the hanger-ons out the door.

Kelly had her husband's family Christmas Eve and had some beef tenderloin left.  Kara had pork tenderloin left.  So the plan was to put the leftovers in crockpots with BBQ sauce, do some returns at the mall and then go back to Kelly's to mess up her house!  The kids entertained themselves in the basement with all their new technology toys and Nerf guns.  And adults just rested round the dining room table.  It was another late night and I went right to bed when we got home.

We did virtually nothing on Tuesday.  It was nice to just sit and relax.  I did help Morgan iron her pearl beads to make her Undertales characters.  She did a great job because attention to detail plus counting is involved.

Bill's company had a lunch for the employees on Tuesday that Bill was in charge of and he brought trays and trays of leftovers home so Kelly's tribe came back one more time.  What I did forget to do was check in with Southwest!

The kids played a game where you wear a mouthpiece and try to talk so people understand.  They had a great time.

We were up early and Kara asked if I had checked in.  Yikes!  What a thing to forget on Southwest.  When I did, we had B and C boarding and Ted did not get TSA pre-check.  Not sure why.  Gus, Melissa and Billy picked us up at 11:00 to head to the airport.  We stopped at Andiamo's, a pretty high end restaurant in Dearborn, for an early lunch.  I ordered the chopped salad and midway through found a large piece of Saran Wrap in it.  I showed it to the waitress and she apologized profusely.  It wasn't anything disgusting or dirty, just the wrapping of one of the items pre-measured for the salad, so I continued eating.  Eventually the manager came out and comped the whole lunch.  We said we understood how it could happen and thanked him for his gesture.  Good business!

Security was not crowded and Ted went through the regular one and I just watched him and waited until he came out.  Our flight to Chicago was fine and so was our flight into Houston.  Despite checking in late we had decent seats on both flights.  The bus for parking was right outside and in no time we were on our way home.

Thursday was catch up day.  I handled the mail, updated the Christmas card list, paid the charges off (ouch!), unpacked and did three loads of laundry after changing the sheets on our bed and got my clothes ready for taking to the trailer.  The kids gave me new everyday dishes and they arrived today from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  So I packed up the old ones and still do not know just where their new home will be.  There are a couple of possibilities.  

Today I will start getting the food together.  We pretty much empty the pantry, freezer and refrigerator.  Ted plugged the trailer in yesterday and tomorrow we move it to the park so we can load up.  And another year will begin.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Less Than A Week!

I didn't do much once I got home Monday and actually fell asleep fairly early.  I have been sleeping in the twin bedroom to avoid listening to Ted's coughing.  He is feeling better but the cough lingers on.  But I did run into old friends at Walmart.  

Tuesday we met John and Irene at the gun range.  I used her .22 just like mine but she has a red dot.  I did okay with it but then covered the holes and shot just using my sites and did just as well.  I don't think I need a red dot.  Then I shot my new 9 mm and emptied two magazines.  I find this trigger (5.5#) very hard to pull and I have to concentrate on not letting the kick raise my aim.  I have to use this one to qualify for my Concealed Carry License.  For some reason you cannot qualify with a .22.  I am doing OK though!  The covered holes are the .22 with and without the red dot.  The 9 mm made the bigger holes.  Of the 40 shots, only 3 were 8, the rest were 9 and 10.

We went to lunch afterwards and had a good visit.  It is always hard in a crowd to really carry on a good, meaningful conversation so it was a nice time. The rest of the day I spent working on an IRS problem for my sister in law and mailing a sympathy card to another sister in law who just lost her father.  My time also included a call to my sister who worked at the IRS before she retired but she was no help.  I tried my CPA niece, again, no help.  So I have a call into a friend who does taxes and if she doesn't understand this ambiguous IRS paragraph I will go the fax route!   

Wednesday was a day at home and a welcome relief.  Sometimes you just want to bang around in your old clothes with no make up on!  I sent a fax off to the IRS, wrote a few thank you notes, paid our real estate taxes and did 3 loads of laundry.  I put away the few Christmas things I had out inside but left the front porch things for Thursday when we get back.  That was enough on my day off.

Thursday I worked two hours at the Thrift Shop and then got busy at home making sure I had what I needed for our trip.  A few presents have to be transported and only taking a carry-on certainly limits available space.  But I have it all packed except for toiletries that always go in last.  We received an email from the Parking Spot telling us they are looking forward to seeing us Saturday so hopefully there will be no problem getting a space.  In the afternoon I printed out our boarding passes and we have TSA pre-check!

With everything taken care of we decided to open the gifts we had received.  I received 9 mm bullets from Ted and a computerized pressure cooker.  Judy gave me an angel and also gave us a Texas Christmas hanging.  Ted loved it!   There were candles, cookies, candies, do-dads, etc.  Small remembrances from several friends.  Ted didn't have anything to open because he bought his own present, 400# of shot and several thousand primers!  Different strokes for different folks.

We will be busy in the morning so I will post this with our wish for all my blog readers.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Countdown to Christmas

Gail, Judy and I unpacking and sorting Shelter Santa gifts on Tuesday.

I wasn't sure I would be able to get out of bed on Wednesday but I got up just a bit stiff and that gradually worked itself out.  I didn't have much to do, I am trying to schedule every other day now so I don't fall far behind or wear myself out.  Eventually I went to a new nail salon.  I have tried three different ones since my old one sold out, and they did a great job with not much to work with.  I hadn't broken a nail in years and now every one of them on my right hand was gone.  I don't know why this happened but I was determined to find a place using the same stuff as the old salon.  They look nice.  Now I have to wait to see how they hold up.

Thursday was the Christmas gathering for Shanghai (just the girls).  Connie's house was done up beautifully and she had a small box of See's candies for each of us.  And I won!  My purse of dimes had gotten very low so it was nice to replenish it.  We had lots of laughs and another good time.

 When I came home Ted was feeling even worse. The night before he had started with a cough but 
it was turning into a bit of flu I think with chills and feeling achey.  We were to meet Terry, Carol and their daughter Sharon for dinner and Ted said we would go.  It was a 2.5 hour dinner and Ted enjoyed talking to Sharon about her husband's job as a basketball coach at A&M but he only ate a bowl of soup.  We exchanged our gifts because they have out of town people coming for Christmas and we are taking off for Michigan on Christmas Eve.  When we came home Ted went to bed very early.

Friday we had appointments for haircuts but Ted was feeling pretty bad.  I told him he didn't need to expose everyone in the salon and went alone.  Cindy was behind so it actually allowed her to get caught up and I made a new appointment for him next Thursday.  He slept off and on all day and evening.

Saturday he went to pick up gun stuff from Randy and put gas in my car but just about did himself in.  I told him I would attend Irene's birthday dinner alone.  My biggest worry is about him exposing others.  I stopped at Walgreen's for Dayquil D.  He has been taking that and a Z-pack and seems to be getting better but with no energy yet.

I drove myself to the country club Saturday evening and met the other 8 for dinner.  They have totally redone the club and this was the first time I have seen it.  It is nice but not over the top.  My dinner was good and I had a nice time.  I took gifts to Irene for her birthday and Christmas.  Nancy and Tom gifted all the men a bottle of wine and handmade polished wood bracelets for the ladies.  Irene had made buckeyes for all.  So I went with two bags and came home with three!

It was 87 when I left at 5 pm and still 78 at 8 pm when I came home, 44 when I went to bed and 36 the next morning.  Crazy weather!

I attended Mass Sunday by myself and the temperature didn't deviate at all throughout the day.  Afterwards I went to Walmart to purchase food for the food bank.  My bunco group pretty much fills the back of my Expedition with bags that I deliver right after our lunch that is scheduled for Monday.  I bought beans, rice, chili, soup, peanut butter, jelly, tuna fish, cereal plus paper towels and toilet paper.  

When I arrived home I started a beef stew right away and put it in the cast iron Dutch oven that belonged to Grandma Rogers.  Still works great!  Ted had received a jury summons so I went on line and had him exempted with a request to not be considered again.  After age 70 in Texas you can do that.  We don't mind serving but these summons seem to always come for times we are gone.  Once when we were having our mail forwarded, a summons was returned to the county and the next time Ted tried to vote he had to jump through hoops to prove who he was and still lived at our address.  We explained about the forwarding and they said they don't forward a summons.  So just how are you supposed to know???

Ted finally ate two bowls of stew so I knew he was feeling better but he still went to the doctor Monday morning.  He has bronchitis and was given an antibiotic to take for 10 days.  While he was at the doctor, I attended my bunco luncheon.  I received a gift card in the gift exchange which was fine by me though there were many nice gifts.  Mary fixed a nice lunch and set a beautiful table.  The girls were very generous and the entire back of my Expedition was filled with bags of food. 

 I dropped it all off at the food pantry on my way home but then I had to run by Shari's to pick up our dolly that she brought home from the Shelter for me.  It was late afternoon by the time I got home.  I am getting ready to wind things up here, plan for our Michigan trip and then on to our winter in Mission.  Sure hope Fr. Roy is doing well.  We both look forward to attending Mass at Our Lady of Guadalupe for 3 months!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

And The Busyness Continues

Thursday was our neighborhood lunch and it turned out very nice.  My fish was really salty so I didn't eat it all but there were two large pieces so I had plenty.  From there we gathered at Jeanette's for dessert, mimosas, Bailey's and coffee.  

I pulled the last number to be called for gifts and when it was my turn the only present left was my own.  Though it was a very nice Christmas place mat set for four with matching napkins and napkin rings I felt it was sort of rude to essentially say my own gift was more desirable than any of the open presents I could steal so I chose a throw.

We visited late into the afternoon before heading home.  I told Jeanette to keep the remaining cupcakes and the Santa plate they were on.

It was a holyday in our church so we went to Mass in the evening.  Church was full but Terry and Carol were not there.  Maybe they went to a different service.

Friday I did four loads of laundry and prepared the Christmas cards for mailing.  Ted made onion soup from scratch complete with toasted French bread covered in cheese and put under the broiler.  It was fantastic!  I am just going to turn the kitchen over to him. 

I drove to Gerre's Saturday, gave her Christmas gifts and two throws, the new one I got at the party plus another one I had, for her church's blanket drive.  Then I  drove one car of five ladies following Linda's car of five.  We drove to Coldspring TX, driving through Punkin TX to get there!  The whole town was roped off for a Christmas market.  I bought a blouse and one small gift I can't mention.  Afterwards we had lunch at The Hop, an old fashioned burger shop complete with a snowman next to the jukebox.  Linda spent awhile trying to play some songs.  Instead of individual plays like the six for 25 cents we all remembered, you have to choose an album or track and then choose the song.  But they were successful in the end.

I drove everyone back home and then continued on to my house.  Ted was still at the registered shoot at the gun club so I had a bit of time to take a rest before church.  Once again we forgot our Tree gift so Ted had to take it up Sunday morning.  After church we went to Kathleen and Bill's for our Couples Shanghai Christmas party.  The food was great, the wine flowed and we had lots of fun trying to get the annual group photo with a timed camera nobody seemed to know how to work!  I never did see the finished print.  Neither Ted nor I won at our tables but we had a good time playing.  It was almost 11:30 before we got home.

Ted shot on Sunday and then asked if I wanted to attend the German Christmas Market in the town south of us when he was finished.  I was just too tired!  I started gathering my things to pack to see how I was going to accomplish getting everything into a carry-on.  Other than dinner with the entire family on Sunday we have no other plans so casual clothes will work.

Monday was lunch and Canasta at Cathy's.  We normally don't do lunch, just appetizers, but she wanted to make the December one more festive.  Talk about lousy cards!  I never moved from my seat and ended up with 11,000 and it takes 27 or 28,000 usually to be first.  But I got my dollar back for being in last place.

Tuesday was intake day at the Methodist church for the Women's Shelter.  I arrived at 9:00 and immediately had to call Ted to bring our dolly over because no one had one and it was needed!  We have 101 families selected to be individually given to donors who request a family.  All those packages, boxes and bicycles were arriving.  Then there is Shelter Santa where toys, books, toiletries, clothes, PJs, etc. are collected to be used throughout the year at the Shelter.  Clubs, organizations, companies and individuals buy from a list provided, in any quantity.  Normally there is a Shelter employee who sorts these things and we will have a dozen tables plus the area underneath.  Well this year there was no lady at 9 am.  Usually the tables are marked so Judy and I just started sorting, creating table subjects as needed.  Toys, games, creative arts, boys clothes, girls clothes, women's clothes, toiletries, electronics, etc.  

We were doing okay until the Corvette Club came at noon and dropped off stuff from 16 cars.  

By the time we got it all to the back, everyone returned to the front and Dale joined us but we couldn't get caught up.  More and more stuff kept coming in.  Then Dale started feeling bad and left.  They kept bringing more stuff and we said several times we needed help.  Finally the Shelter lady came at 1 pm.  But she started regrouping things and packing things up for the drivers to pick up on Wednesday.  That gave us more room but everytime we got the table cleared, more came in.  Finally two gals realized that Judy and I were supposed to leave at 1:30, it was now 2:00, and the table was still full.  They all pitched in and Judy and I finally left at 3:00 leaving two ladies in the back to work with the Shelter lady.  I came home and laid down with frozen peas and carrots on my lower back!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Weather is Cooler

Well it is December and the weather took a dip and produced rain the whole weekend.  Saturday after church we ran by Culver's for a bite.  When we returned home I changed into my PJs and when I came out of the bedroom Ted had turned the fireplace on.  We seldom use it and I was surprised he knew where the key to turn the gas on was located.

We have been on football overload (according to me).  To make matters worse he keeps flipping channels so I can't even follow along so I play with my IPad and chat with friends and family.

Sunday and Monday were quiet as I finished up all the little things that come up during the holidays.  I mailed the package and bought stamps but my return labels still have not arrived so Christmas cards are on hold.

Tuesday I worked the Christmas luncheon at Good Shepherd.  So many were decked out in holiday finery.  

Entertainment was by the school children singing Christmas and holiday songs.

I went home and Ted and I immediately went to the gun club to try out my new gun.  It is much harder to fire and keep steady but I did OK.

Just to be sure I filled out the day, once we got home I dressed for the third time and attended Forum's Christmas party.

We had a nice cocktail hour and a terrific meal.  Many gifts were collected for three different groups we support.  I picked up Donna and Judy and we had a good visit coming and going.  I only drank my one glass of complimentary glass of wine since I was driving!

I had an appointment this morning and arrived home about noon.  Ted made us salads for lunch and then I baked Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie cupcakes.  I had the mix including the ganache for the frosting. I used a hammer to crush peppermint sticks in a Baggie to sprinkle on top.  There was a plastic plate in my Christmas things so I put them on it and Ted delivered it to Jeanette's for our tomorrow after party.

The neighborhood ladies are celebrating with lunch out at one of the better restaurants nearby followed by gifts and desserts back at Jeanette's.   It is party time!