Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas 2017

Christmas Eve found us still wrapping presents and making sure we had everything we needed for Christmas dinner the next day.  About 4:00 we took off for Olive Garden where we had an alcove table all to ourselves which was nice.  They served Bidkar regular spaghetti instead of gluten free pasta so he ended up needing to take his replacement dinner with him to have after church.

Because the earliest Mass was held in church, the gym and the fellowship hall, over 3000 people were able to attend.  So our 6:30 service filled the church but was not a crushing SRO crowd. The new parking lot provided enough additional parking so even that was not a problem.  Fr. Tom's sermon was so inspiring he received a round of applause.  

We arrived back home to a monument of gifts and it took to the wee hours of the morning to finish opening them all.  

Larry with his Aloha shirt for our Hawaii Christmas trip next year.

Ted with a bucket of bullets.

Ally and her Apple Watch.

Larry and a new camera.

The best mess ever made is the one created by Christmas wrappings being undone.

 I received a Roomba, Echo, hand mixer (my girls said my old one sucked!), a new Waterpik, and NuWave induction burner for the RV and pans to use with it.  

A new packable down jacket will come in handy for plane trips up north when a bulky winter coat is hard to deal with.  It folds up to a very small package.

It was a fun time for all.

Despite the late bedtime, we were up early to start preparing things for our Christmas dinner.  First up was three pies and Kristin did the mixing while I did the crust and fluting.  Our menu was ham, sweet potatoes, scalloped potatoes, carrots, corn, fruit salad and rolls to go with all that pie.

Gerre and Barry arrived and we had dinner shortly after with everyone sitting around the table until late evening. When they left most everyone went for a walk but my back was acting up and I wasn't much use to anyone so I ended up on the couch with my ice pack.  

I woke up with a terrible headache with my back still giving me fits so I gave in and took the first Tylenol 3 the doctor prescribed after my surgery.  It did the trick for my head and dulled my back.  My best Christmas gift was still to come.  The grandchildren left for home in the morning so Kristin, Larry, Kelly and Pat left for the container store to buy pull out baskets and shelves for three of my kitchen cabinets.  I simply cannot get down to reach the back so I can only use the very front.  And keeping them neat has been next to impossible.  Pat installed them while Larry cleaned and replaced everything.  Now I can pull them out, get what I need and put things back neatly!  In my book this gift is way better than any perfume, jewelry, nightie, etc. you can buy!    

While they were gone, I very gingerly put away the Christmas dishes in the bookcase bottom cabinet.  In the back I found VCR tapes of our first Ruhe Reunion in 2001, a tape of Ted I made for his 60th birthday from a baby until we moved to Texas, Kelly and Pat's wedding video and a tape of grandson Sam as a baby from 2000.  We are going to have them made into DVDs because VCRs are no longer in use.  We have one in our bedroom still but it wasn't hooked up.  Pat fixed that so we could be sure of what we had.  Another priceless gift!

I had a follow up appointment with the GYN on Wednesday and he said he removed a row of polyps from the "floor" of my uterus and everything removed was benign.  What a way to end the year!  Kelly and Pat left for Dallas and Kristin, Larry and Maureen went to the mall.  I very gingerly (again) started gathering up decorations and put them in boxes and bins.  I couldn't get into the guest closets to put things on the shelves nor gather the things that need to come out and be put back due to the luggage and things in there from our company.  That had to wait.

Thursday we took down the decorations, did laundry, cleaned (love my Roomba) and had pot roast for dinner.  Terry and Carol came over to visit after returning from Chicago.  The kids packed their clothes for their flight home on Friday. 

Larry hit the ground running Friday.  He scrubbed everything in sight whether it needed it or not!  By the time we left for lunch at Spring Creek BBQ the bedclothes were laundered and back on the beds, the house cleaned and the bathroom they used was just this side of sterile.  Plus all Christmas decorations were down and stored!  

We went right to the airport from the restaurant and they arrived in plenty of time.  I received a text when they landed so all is well.

And Christmas 2017 is a wrap!  


Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Final Stretch

 Ted went shooting and I enjoyed my coffee Sunday morning.  I had lots of time before heading to the shower to dress for a late lunch with John and Irene.  Ted had gone shooting early so he would be back in time to dress for lunch too.  

We were meeting at Cheesecake Factory that doesn't take reservations but they arrived before us and it wasn't too long before we had a table.  We were celebrating Irene's birthday and Christmas.  Despite the crowds we were not rushed and had a delicious and leisurely lunch.  

From there we drove to Gerre and Barry's to deliver two toys for their church project and drop off Gerre's gift.  We had a really nice visit and we encouraged them to stop by Christmas Day for dinner after their son left. They are planning to visit us in Mission in February as are John and Irene as well as Tommy and Susan.  We are looking forward to all the company!

My bunco group's Christmas lunch was on Monday.  I am proud to say the ladies filled the back of my Expedition with groceries for the food pantry.  

Mary's table was exquisitely set in gold and green and her food was terrific.  Afterwards we played a game to distribute gifts.  Lots of passing right and left, stealing and unwrapping involved!  I ended up with the softest throw that matches our new RV furniture.  I used it that night and it is so soft and warm.

I had my cardiologist appointment on Tuesday.  We got the best news!  Dr. D said the most recent Dopplar shows the DVT is GONE!  The "old clot" Dr. P referred to, she said is in a surface vein and is more of a phlebitis situation but nothing to be concerned about with the Eliquis.  She also agreed the filter should come out.  Since it can't be done until some time in January, we all agreed it is okay to leave it until March when we return near the end of March. A new lease on life!  I will continue with Eliquis since no cause was determined for why I developed a DVT in the first place.   

We were expecting our granddaughter and her husband late that night but they had stopped overnight in Ohio so we went to bed figuring everyone would arrive on Wednesday.  When I got up in the morning I had a text that they were in our driveway sleeping!  They had arrived at 5:45 but didn't want to wake us.  The garage door going up woke them up and I hustled them right off to bed.

Kelly, Pat and Cassie arrived mid afternoon having spent two nights on the road.  They all unloaded more presents around the Christmas chairs and we still have 3 more people arriving Saturday!

 I made taco soup for dinner, with and without meat, both gluten free.  I had also made gluten free corn muffins and I think all were eaten.  For the rest of us I served crusty French bread.  With toppings of sour cream, shredded cheese and tortilla chips, everyone enjoyed the soup.  I broke out my Christmas butter cookies (taste way better than they look) and Blue Bell peppermint ice cream for dessert.  

Everyone was tired so it wasn't a very late night.  Cassie chose to stay with us in the twin bedroom rather than listen to her father snore in the hotel room.  

Thursday was a lazy day.  Everyone was tired from the long road trip and slept very late.  We decided to play Mexican Train, have dinner and then go see some lights.  

I fixed an easy dinner - two meat loaves from the freezer, baked potatoes, green beans and salad.  After loading the dishwasher we took off and checked out what are advertised as the best lights in our area.  It was late when we returned.  Kelly and Pat returned to the Hyatt and eventually everyone else drifted off to bed.  Just one more day until the next three arrive!

Everyone has been pretty low key since arriving.  They sleep in very late, have a little breakfast and then take their time getting dressed.  I had suggested taking the trolley ride and visiting the dancing water fountains but it never happened.  Kelly made three different kinds of cookies and when she finished I produced another meal - Roast pork loin, wild rice, fried apples, mixed vegetables and salad. Bidkar opted for the black bean tamales.  When we were finished the kids figured out how to get their wedding pictures from the photographer's website to our TV.  We saw all of them up to the ceremony before it all froze.  The TV was not responding to any remote command and we couldn't even turn it off.  Ted and Pat finally unplugged it and all was good but so much for the rest of the pictures.  I finally went off to bed around 11 but everyone else was still up.

Saturday the three from Florida arrived and our current guests moved on to other accommodations since this new group had planned their visit here first.  Once everyone was settled we all headed to church and afterwards had pizza for dinner!  Yeah!  No cooking for me.

Afterwards, Cassie opened her gifts because she was leaving in the morning and then there was a mini village gingerbread house building extravaganza.  

Cassie won but the others managed to stay together at least.  

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Final Week Before the Onslaught

Sunday found us at church at 9 am again.  We are so used to Saturday evening church that getting up and dressing on Sunday is almost foreign to us.  The Knights of Columbus were selling tamales after church so we bought Bidkar 6 black bean vegan ones, also gluten free.  Cooking for a vegetarian, gluten free eater has me scouring grocery shelves and recipes on line.  

We hurried home afterwards so Ted could go shooting and return in time for a 2 pm open house here in our neighborhood.

Having been gone all day Saturday I had lots of straightening up to do and then made some crostini to take with us.  I also threw in a few lemon tarts too.  There was so much food we actually brought most of it home!  There was an interesting mix of people - some luncheon ladies, some old neighbors, some friends of theirs I didn't know.  It was a pleasant get together and we were home before dinner time.

Monday was Canasta day back at Kathleen's.  I took her a small gift since I was there twice in three days time.  I had decent cards but came in third, out of the money.  Another $1 lost!

My big day arrived Tuesday and we were at the hospital at 10.  About 10:40 I was taken back to get prepared.  At 11:15 I was taken to the operating room and was finished by noon.  Then I waited in the recovery room/discharge area until 3:45!!  I was fully awake, had eaten a big glass of ice and drank a big cup of water.  They asked if I could use the bathroom.  No problem!  I got dressed, Ted got the car and home we came.  He fixed me soup and a sandwich before I plopped on the couch and stayed there.

Wednesday Ted went on some errands for me while I dealt with Christmas cards and stacks of paper on my desk.  By the time he came home I had the cards ready to mail and my stack of paper depleted.  Great feeling.  Then we went to the grocery one more time.  I think we will need to go at least once more.  I had to clean the pantry and refrigerator to be sure everything would fit.  He fixed dinner and we watched Survivor plus other shows.

Our neighborhood ladies lunch and party was Thursday.  Dana drove me and Merry to the restaurant.  It is a higher end one in our area but for Christmas we go a bit better than normal.  After lunch we went to Jeanette's for drinks and dessert.  Then we had a gift exchange.  Half way through, Isabelle set off our alarm and I got a call.  I had to walk home to get things squared away with ADT.  Ted was due home at 3:00 but she came at 2:45.  Always something!

Friday was all mine!  I didn't even get dressed.  I did four loads of laundry, finished wrapping presents, wrote out a few more Christmas cards I had missed AND made one of the three reservations we need for condos in Hawaii next Christmas!  Kara's family and we know what our plans are on the Big Island and Oahu so we felt confident in choosing the two King bedroom and one twin bedroom townhouse.  When the others get around to choosing their dates, I will make the rest but not until then.  I hope what they want is still available.  Dealing with this family can be like herding cats at times!  

Saturday after church Terry and Carol took us to Landry's for dinner since they are leaving for Chicago on Wednesday.  We exchanged gifts and had a great meal and visit.  It was raining really hard when we left and all the umbrellas were in the car!

Here are a few photos from the nursing home Christmas party that just now were posted on the Forum website.

Three of our eight helpers preparing balloons that are tied to residents' wheelchairs.

Gail, my co-chair, and I.

Jim, the former organist for the Astros who now plays at our church too.  He did an awesome job!  

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Doctor Week

Ted had to be at an Exxon Mobile gun outing all day Sunday.  I took the time to do some paperwork and get our supplies for the Regent Care Nursing Home party on Thursday all in order.  A lot of computer work goes into keeping numbers which are then used in applying for grants.  Who worked, how many hours, preparation time, drive time, expenses for supplies and entertainment, in kind donations contributed and how much.  I will not be here for the Valentine's party so I had to get that ready too.  After red/white/blue in November and red/white/green for Christmas, Gail will need to shop for Valentine red things but she now has the necessary paperwork and entertainment all lined up.

I had my Dopplar ultrasound on my leg Monday.  On the calf I could hear swish, swish, swish but on my thigh it was just shhhhhhhhhh with no beat evident.  Not sure what that means but we will find out Wednesday.

Tuesday I worked as a dresser for our Petticoats and Parasols fashion show.  I was responsible for the Wave, Wac, Twiggy and Flower Child!   The Wave and Flower Child costumes were both worn by Mary Lea so I had a quick turn around on that one.  Afterwards, you have to undress them and get all the items back in their case and into the bottom of the garment bag.  

Our Lucy and Ethel

Our Jackie O.

Audrey Hepburn

Four of us had carpooled so we dropped off many costumes back at the office.

Wednesday it was off to the hematologist.  He said there is blood getting through my vein but the lack of heartbeat sounds probably is damaged valves that don't work as well as they did when I was younger.  There is also an old clot that has attached itself to the vein wall and is nothing to worry about.  I can travel, including flying, without doing anything more than what we all are advised to do - sitting in place flexing our ankles and feet, walking once every two hours, and do not sleep in one position for a long period.  I told him I don't sleep in one position in my own comfortable bed!  I flop around like a fish out of water.  It doesn't bother Ted though.  So now we get on with life!

Not to sit on my laurels, but Thursday was the nursing home Christmas party.  Once again Gail and I had to wait for the lady with the key to come to work!  She must be on flextime!  Our helpers showed up early enough to help us get ready.  Our entertainment was terrific!  He had my heart with Mele Kalekemaka!  I did a bit of a hula to the delight of the residents simply because we have been in Hawaii several times for Christmas and I have seen it done a lot.  There was a special excitement in the room, a real boon to us who try so hard to reach the residents.  

When I left there I headed to the hospital for my pre-op paperwork and tests.  It took 1.5 hours to give four vials of blood, have an EKG taken, and answer a million questions for paperwork.  I am wearing a red bracelet now to indicate my blood tests have been done.  I had been gone for 8 hours and felt like I put in a full day's work.  We went to Mass at 6:45 for the holyday and grabbed a bite afterwards before heading home.

Friday morning brought us only the second snow we have seen in our area over the last 16+ years.  

It was 36 degrees.  The temp never went up much all day but the sun came out and melted the snow.  I had an 11:00 nail appointment and streets were dry when I drove north.  I had a bit of down time that afternoon because Ted was gone.  

Saturday I left the house at 7:15 to meet up with the Willis gals.  We were heading to Coldspring, TX for their town square Christmas bazaar.  I had on socks with my shoes, jeans, a sweater, my winter coat, gloves and hat which gave me a terrible case of "hat hair" during lunch!  We all walked around viewing the vendors' goods but I only bought a jar of home made salsa the girls raved about.  Lunch was at The Hop, complete with jukebox.

I arrived home in time to put my sweet potatoes in the oven, I had prepared them before I left.  Then I had to get dressed again and freshen my make-up and try to fix my hair!   Our Shanghai Christmas potluck and card game started at 6:00.

Poor Connie who handles this group was sick and couldn't attend.  What a shame.  We had a lovely dinner but I had terrible cards all night and ended up second last! You win some, you lose some.