Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Quiet Week

I have finished the weaving on my table runner and will now turn it over to my teacher to decide how the sides and ends should be finished.  I haven't a clue what to do on the ends but we both sort of agreed on fringe on the sides.  She has her sewing machine here and I don't so we need to work together.

I am doing really well in mahjong.  Even if I don't win because my tiles just don't come available I am pleased that I have played a specific hand without being lost.  Now I need to work on shifting gears when a hand goes dead.  That's a biggee!

Monday was a rainy day so we invited Niles, Sue, Mark and Dortha to Cowboy Chicken for dinner since it had just opened nearby.  We had three coupons for B1G1F so we all climbed into my Expedition for the ride over and had an enjoyable meal.  The food is great and the waitstaff couldn't have been more attentive.  

Tuesday was a bit busy.  I had offered to take dinner to one of our neighbors who has broken her leg.  Also, Niles had requested some more apple crisp like I had sent down to him awhile back.  I put the apple crisp on in my Instant Pot on the Slow Cook setting and told Ted what to do when it finished.  I headed out to mahjong.  I came back to a nice aroma and divided the contents into thirds - Ginger, Niles and Ted.  I washed the liner, tossed in a bit of oil and sautéed my beef cubes.  Then I added the rest of the things needed for beef stew and closed the pot.  In the 35 minutes that it cooked I put a Kaiser roll and butter in a plastic bag, a salad in a container, the apple crisp in a container and eventually a container of stew. 

Ted drove me to the next street so I could hold all the food but there was a street party so we turned around and came in the other way.  When we arrived everyone was telling us Ginger was at the party in her wheelchair!  I just put it all inside on her counter because I didn't want to interrupt her chance to be out in the nice weather among friends.  I hope she enjoyed her dinner.

On Wednesday Ted helped  Mark with his shotgun shooting and when he returned we drove to the flea market looking for an oversized card holder for Irene.  We struck out so Ted stopped at a construction site, picked up an adequate piece of scrap wood and plans to take it to the wood shop to see if anyone is interested in making one from the photo she sent me.

When we came home I checked on plane tickets and chose our flights to Hawaii.  There is a nonstop coming and going from Houston and that interested us so we bought them and upgraded to Plus which allowed us to choose exit row seats in the front of the plane.  I still need to get an interisland flight back and forth to Kona.  

I thought we were going to take flight Thursday morning because the wind was gusting big time.  I didn't think Ted would shoot but that group didn't let a little wind keep them away.  While they were gone Sue, Dortha and I visited Hobby Lobby, Target and then Olive Garden for lunch.  I finally caught Beverly at home and we spent a long time together finishing the edges of my Christmas table runner.

On my way home I cut through Don and Trudy's place and she was cooking a big pan of something outside.  I jokingly asked "What's for dinner?"  She said "stir fry" and "why don't you and Ted come."  I demurred but Don tried to call Ted and got Voicemail.  I had no idea where Ted was.  Don told me to find him and come back for dinner.  I found Ted next door chatting with Ed and Friends.  He called Don and accepted their kind invitation.  We had a lovely serendipity dinner - no plans, things just fell into place and it was after 10 when we got home.  They are leaving next week and even though Don and Ted shoot twice a week, my seeing Trudy had been limited to the fashion show.  She kept insisting she owed us dinner because we had them to the RV when we were all in Santa Fe!  

Jay stopped by Friday and we had a nice chat out back around the table.  They are leaving next week.  I heard 60 rigs left next door on 3/1.  The last party this month will be what is called The Tail Light Party in honor of all the tail lights of everyone heading out.  

Ted left to talk to Danny about a javelina hunt and I went to the Clubhouse to play mahjong.  I won two games!  When I came home I talked to Kristin and my sister Karen on the phone before Ted went for a cheese pizza for dinner.  Love those easy Friday dinners in Lent.  

Ted shot in a skeet tournament Saturday and tied with two others for first place breaking 97 out of 100.  However, he didn't want to hang around for a shoot off (with no money involved!) and came home.  He stopped at the wood shop before coming home and had slits cut in to the board to see if it will work to hold cards.  Irene will be the judge.

We went to church at 4:00, then to Outback for dinner and finished the evening enjoying the entertainment of Wade Landry and his wife Theresa.  Another nice day in the valley.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


It seems we have had visitors in the area since Day One.  Including Tom and Eileen who were at the park next door, we have!  It is fun to run here and there with folks but down time is nice too.  I plan on doing a bit of that this week.  We will see how that turns out!  

My first "down time" activity was a trip to the laundromat.  I had three huge loads to do.  I love those big washers and dryers.  Ted was running errands and stopped by to take my car to be washed and then returned it for me to get home.  We had been invited to Niles and Sue's for pulled pork that Ted taught Niles how to make last year.  I made an onion, tomato, cucumber salad and since Gerre had left a half container of strawberries, I dipped them in chocolate and took them too.  Two other couples were there and we had a nice meal and visit with lots of laughs. 

Tuesday was going to be our Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras celebration since we were rained out last week.  I used my time to write some cards, pay some bills, balance the checkbook and do another row of Swedish Weaving.  At 2:00 I went to play mahjong and got back too late to see the parade!  But you can count on someone to post a few photos. 

Lots of decorated golf carts.

My Swedish Weaving instructor decked out in her beads.

This person will remain anonymous!

We went to the clubhouse for our dinner and joined 5 others at our table out around the pool.  We sat with a couple who are booking their first Grand Circle Tour and had lots of questions for us.  I gave her my blog address and the four years and months we took 4 of our 5 GCT trips.  I never wrote about the first one in 2006.  I hope she enjoys reading about the places we have been and looks forward to her trip even more.

We planned to go to the flea market on Wednesday to pick up our shade that has been restrung but when the lady called yesterday she said her husband would deliver it to us.  Great!  Except I didn't get a time so one of us had to stay home all day, or at least until 2:30 when it was delivered.  I did some preliminary work concerning our RMD and income taxes, paid the electric bill and did another row of Swedish weaving.  It takes awhile and I am just about cross eyed by then so I have to stop for awhile after each row.

Our shade was delivered and believe it or not I clicked it in place, Ted tightened the strings and screwed the little plastic things into the wood frame and I put the valance back up with an extended screwdriver while Ted held a flashlight so I could see the holes.  Success!!  We aren't the handiest pair out there so we celebrate little things!  

Wednesday's 90 degree temps turned into 50 degrees Thursday morning when Sue and  I left wearing sweaters and Ted left to shoot skeet.  It didn't warm up much in the afternoon.  Talk about waiting just 5 minutes for the weather to change!!

After lunch we went to the movies to see 15:10 to Paris since there wasn't much going on and no one was out and about.  After 5 horrendous "previews" complete with mostly gratuitous gun violence which Hollywood seems to thrive on despite their screaming "gun control," we very much enjoyed the movie.  I liked it because it was a true story, made me proud of our three American young men and it was a trip down memory lane for both of us.  Everywhere the fellows went on their European trip, except Venice, we have been to including all the train stations.  We stopped at Cracker Barrel for dinner before coming home. 

I had a bit of a raspy throat and took some meds.  We didn't do much Friday morning.  I left for mahjong a little before 2:00.  Ted went to Sam's.  I had a mahjong and good hands but got left in the cold when my tiles went dead on two other games.  We had coconut shrimp,  cooked in our air fryer, for dinner.  I wasn't feeling well enough to go out and was pleased with our shrimp so it turned out okay.  There is a second bag of the shrimp so it will get eaten during Lent.

Saturday was a long day!  Up and out at 8:15 we headed to the Smokin' on the Rio BBQ Cooking Compettions.  First up at 10 am, we had to try 22 bites of different beef fajita meat.  I cut small pieces but was stuffed after that was done.  Of course eating dill pickles and drinking water in between doesn't help.  There are lots of instructions like using a clean fork each time, don't stick your nose in the container to smell, eat pickles, crackers and/or water between bites, make sure you are giving the right grade for the right box, etc.  

When we left there we hung around with the folks we had met up with.  Most were from our first years here when we stayed next door at Bentsen Palms and then a few new couples from Llano Grande.  We sat inside the arena listening to music and at 1:00 we walked over to judge ribs.  And who would we run into but the Franz's from Retama who are the couple going on the Grand Circle Trip!  Small world.

We only had to taste 13 bites but it is hard to cut a bite off a rib.  We were warned not to pick up a rib and not to even discard empty bones.  I am glad there wasn't any more than 13 to eat.  After that we headed home.  Ted stopped for shooting coins for Dave and then we went right to church.  

We had just a bit of down time at home before heading to the clubhouse for card bingo.  Neither Ted nor I ever got down to one card but we had 3 winners at our table.  Helen won $15.75 in quarters so Ted who only had a $20 bill bought 20 singles from Bonnie who won $66 so I could buy $15 in quarters for the laundry.  Such high finance!  

We have four more weeks down here before heading home.  After all the rain and a week of freezing temperatures, I am apprehensive about our yard.  Last year it was a nightmare because someone had turned our sprinklers off all of February and March that had high temps and not much rain.  That, coupled with a negligent lawn service that left oak leaves pile up on the grass, things were a mess.  We had the whole lawn done then lost about half of it to all the Harvey rain and replaced it again.  I am keeping my fingers crossed but too much rain can be as bad as not enough.

Que sera!  I will worry about that another day!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Company #5, the last that we know of!

Kristin was leaving Thursday so Sue, Gerre, she and I went out for a bit in the morning. When we came home she gathered up her things and was on her way about noon.  She would spend a night in Houston and one other one on the road.  She called early evening to say she had arrived in Houston safely.

Gerre and Barry came over after lunch and spent the afternoon with us out under the pergola in nice, but windy, weather.  We have yet to put the cushions out except for the open houses.  We haven't sat out there and only used the table once for Mexican train with Tom and Eileen.  They stayed for dinner as planned and then we visited with Susan and Teri when they came by.  We still have Tucker with us so Ted walked him before we called it a night.

We spent all day Friday in Progreso, Mexico.  

We started with a coffee and a bite at Rene's followed by a lot of shopping for Gerre.  She bought several Christmas gifts and a few colorful mariposas (butterflies) for their backyard fence.  We spent time looking for a red pendant for me but there are no true red semi precious stones I guess.  Too burgundy or too orange were constant problems.  I left without one.  We ended up at Pancho's where Gerre and I spent most of the time shopping in the attached store.  The fellows enjoyed margaritas and listened to music.  We returned back to the U.S. and eventually went to dinner.  We still have Tucker and we came home to spend some time with him after feeding and walking him.  

Saturday Ted was feeling poorly from a cold so the three of us went to Pioneer Days at the Museum of South Texas.  We enjoyed some bluegrass music and Mexican folk dancing.  

Dancing with filled trays on their heads.  There was water in the glasses but no casualties!

The children in their colorful costumes.

The littlest one who performed alone and did a great job

There were demonstrations of cooking, weaving, churning, etc. outside and the museum was open inside.  It didn't take too long to see it all and we came home.  We decided to go to Cheddar's to eat and while we were waiting, Jay and Stella arrived with friends.  I guess we are on the Winter Texan Trail for sure!

From there we went to church where we learned Newlie, Fr. Roy's little dog (one of many), died on Ash Wednesday.  He was distraught but gave us insight into how such relationships teach us to love.  We checked on Veladora and she is growing and looks just fine.

At home we took down our front shade that needs restringing.  Ed next door came over when we couldn't get it unclipped after we took the valance down.  Not hard when you know how to do it!  Thanks, Ed!

After such a busy day, we ended up at the clubhouse playing card bingo.   We all got down to one card at times but none of us won.  Since we were all very tired, everyone went right home.

On Sunday Gerre and I took the shade to the flea market to get it restrung and buy some fruit for her to take home.  Ted went shooting and I'm not sure what Barry did.  We all met back at our place where Sue and Kathy were waiting for us to play Mahjong and Barry and Ted were heading to the gun range for Ted to do some instructing with Barry.  

By 5:00 everyone was finished with their afternoon activities and Ted grilled steaks for our dinner.  It was our last night together and we sat around a bit before they headed back to the hotel.

Monday morning I couldn't get dressed because the gray tank was full and I have a sneaky suspicion the black one wasn't far behind.  Ted was doing his "outside" duties when they arrived to pick up Tucker and get on the road.  We wished them safe travels!

Here is a photo of the principal of the elementary school accepting our Fashion Show proceeds.  Many children do not have warm clothes because they are seldom needed down here.  This latest cold snap saw children shivering in their lightweight clothing and the teachers want to build a supply of warm things for such times.  They were ever so grateful.  My friend Mimi is in yellow, Trudy in black.  

Monday, February 12, 2018

So Busy!

I thought we had to show the coach house on Sunday for the open house but the owner had made arrangements for Bonnie to do it so we made other plans.  It turned into a cold, windy day and I was more than happy not to have to hang around here.  But while it was still warm, we and our newest arrivals Tommy and Susan plus their friends Teri and Les, plus Les's mother, all went to the DonWes flea market.  Teri and Les are in the same casita John and Vivienne were in next door and Les's mother lives down here.  Everyone found a few things they couldn't live without and we left when the wind got strong and cold.  We all had lunch at Freddy's before heading home.

Kristin and I put our purchases in the trailer and left in her car to shop at one of the stores that showed clothes at the fashion show.  We got Kristin 3 slacks and top sets that are very nice.  We didn't eat much after our lunch at Freddy's.  

Monday I had to be at the clubhouse at 9:30 to help Dale prepare for a luncheon she and Coco were hosting.  At the last minute Coco had to have a stress test so Dale needed help with preparations.  I set the tables, cut up the vegetables for the salad and made Arnold Palmers to drink.  Kristin and I helped serve and clean up a very delicious lunch!

After that we went to get manicures and pedicures.  It was late when we got back home so I used my instant pot to make chicken soup.  Then we stayed in for the night.

Tuesday was a cool, misty, crappy day.  We are promised more normal weather for the next week.  I will let you know how that turns out!  Since Ted was unable to shoot, we left about 10:00 and headed to Mexico.  Kristin wants to see all the places we go to when we are down in the valley.  I get tickled at everyone's reaction when we park, walk across the bridge over the Rio Grande River and voila!  We are in Mexico and walk right in.  Immediately you are coaxed to take dentists' cards or encouraged to enter a myriad of pharmacies.  Ted took off for Renee's pastry shop while Kristin and I perused the El Disco store then eventually met up with him for a cup of coffee.  We continued walking down the street for awhile and then back up the other side eventually stopping at Pancho's Bar.  We had a bit of lunch and then proceeded to Jessica's to get some medicine and a free margarita while listening to music.  Our last stop was another pharmacy to get some Voltaren analgesic cream requested by a friend.  This is good stuff for arthritis, muscle aches and pains.  Then we made our way across the bridge.

Kristin wanted to see a Ropa, a place where lots of your clothing donations end up along with dry cleaner clothes not picked up, overruns, distress jobber inventory, etc.  What she wanted to see was the huge mountain of clothes, pushed around by a forklift, and the many ladies sitting on it sorting clothes.  They will buy good condition clothes for 30 cents a pound, launder and iron them, then hang them on their chain link fence for sale for a few dollars.  It is a sight to see.  We even posed for a photo!  They have other things besides the pile and we saw little girls' uniform shirts still in packages for 50 cents instead of $7.  

We made our way home and Ted and I left immediately for haircuts.  We were both way overdue.  Then we watched Shaun White win a gold medal for the USA.  Too bad in the excitement he dragged our flag around, stepping on it.  He meant no disrespect I don't think.  He was just so emotional he didn't realize where the flag was but he caught hell on FB!

Wednesday we were expecting Gerre and Barry so we hung around waiting for them.  It was nice having a day to stay home some.  As soon as they arrived we left with Tommy, Susan, Jay, Stella and Kristin heading to Red Lobster.  The combination of Valentine's Day and Ash Wednesday (no meat for us) resulted in a 1-1.5 hour wait for a table.  None of us were up for that so we headed next door to Furr's Buffet where there was no wait and a big run on the fried shrimp.  I chose the catfish!

After we dropped Barry and Gerre off at the motel we came home and visited outside with Susan until fairly late.  Ted took Tucker for a walk before bedtime and we called it a day!

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Company #2, #3, #4

I skipped  mahjong on Sunday and used my winnings of those 92 quarters to hit the lavatoria, Tex Mex for laundromat.  I needed three washers because of all the bedclothes I was washing from stripping the bed and replacing the blanket.  Two ran properly, I dried and folded those clothes and the third was taking forever.  Eventually it said Final Spin, I listened and it sounded right but a few minutes later the only light said Lid Locked.  I called the attendant who got the lid open and my clothes were in the rinse water.  She wrung them by hand and moved them to another washer.  By the time I got them spun, dried and folded I had spent an additional hour.  Such is life!

It was 88 at 4 o'clock when I drove home.  We were having spaghetti and meatballs for dinner so that was pretty much ready except for boiling the spaghetti.  Ted was watching TV and I put the clothes away.  He watched the ballgame but I paid no attention (what else is new!) and looked online for a new quilt or coverlet for the bed.  After the game went off we watched our regular programming, the news and Perry Mason on ME TV!  Old TV is so much more enjoyable than the vulgarity or blood and guts of today's programming.  Not having cable doesn't bother me at all!

Monday I went with Echo and Belinda to select our outfits for the fashion show.  I am in black leggings and sleeveless top with lace appliqués at the bottom of both with several jackets, capes, ponchos, etc. to create different looks.  I am ok with all of that.  My second outfit I call the Joseph's Amazing Technicolor Coat Dress.  It is skinny stripes of many colors made like a tent!  I said "This is a definite NO!"  But Sandy added a very wide black and silver belt, my own black boots, a black cowgirl hat and she said she will add festive jewelry.  It is cute in its own way but nothing I would normally wear.  Anything for a fund raiser!  

Sherida and John arrived around dinner time and we eventually went to grab a sandwich.  We told them we would pick them up at 10 the next morning.  John's dentist appointment was at 1:00 pm.  We picked them up and drove to the bridge with very overcast skies but the closer we got to Mexico, the better the weather got and it turned out to be a beautiful day.  

We stopped at our first pharmacy to check prices and then proceeded to Renee's for coffee accompanied by live mariachi music.  We meandered down the sidewalks buying a few do-dads here and there.  We had lunch at Pancho's (preceded by margaritas) and then John left for the dentist.  We ran into half a dozen people we know including Jay and Stella.  They went to Jessica's with us where we all bought what we needed and then had more margaritas while folks danced.  Sherida left to go see what was what at the dentist and when Jay and Stella left we went to the dentist too.  It was after 4:00 when John was finished and we headed home.  

Dee and Dan had invited us to a margarita hour to celebrate the finish of their outdoor patio and pergola.  We arrived late with the bottle of tequila we had purchased in Mexico since I knew I could not make anything to take.  There was a pretty good crowd and we stayed until a little past 7:30.  It had been a full day.

Sue and I went to lunch and shopping on Thursday while Ted joined Niles and Bonnie for lunch after shooting with his Skeet Club friends.  He had gathered up some of our things because the coach house will be open on Sunday.  We were waiting for our daughter Kristin to arrive that evening.

Monday was the fashion show and Kristin was able to attend.  It went well, everyone had a good time, and I didn't trip or fall.

Here is part of the 100 person crowd.

Our only male model

Me, in what I called my Joseph's Amazing Technicolor Coat Dress.  Not something I would wear but this is what was picked out for me.  The boots are mine but the dress, belt, hat and jewelry were from Lionel's.

This is the basic black leggings and shell I wore with the rhinestone jacket.  I also paired it with a gray/black/white scarf and then a green lace poncho.

In the evening we went to see Wonder which was a really good movie.  No blood or guts!  And it taught a lesson on how to treat people, especially those different from yourself.

Susan and Tommy arrived around noon and we got them all settled in two spots down from us.  Kristin, Susan and I went to HEB for groceries and then went to church.

We have a new baby llama girl named Veladora!  Apparently Philamena was pregnant and delivered the newest addition to the menagerie last Sunday.  

After church we three met Susan, Tommy, Les, Teri, Jay and Stella at Cracker Barrel for dinner.  Afterwards we came home to play card bingo.  I won 66 dimes and Ted won $66!  We are becoming persona non-gratis at Card Bingo!

We are awaiting Company #5 on Wednesday!  Tucker is coming!