Thursday, December 29, 2011

Weather is improving!

Greeting from south Texas!

Yesterday morning we were treated to this beautiful sunrise. It was equally as impressive this morning, but I wasn't ready to go outside to take a picture.

We are having really cool nights. . . down in the 40's. But the warming trend is upon us and the last two days have been wonderfully comfortable. In the mid-70's which is perfect for sitting outside, riding the bike, or walking. We have been doing some of each. We are hoping the nice weather continues. But it is warmer and nicer than back in Indiana, where I believe there is snow on the ground at our apartments. Thankfully, however, our manager has not had to plow any snow this season. It has been light enough and sparse enough that it is gone quickly. The warmer weather here is really nice. As we get older, we are less thrilled about the cold weather and the cold we get here in south Texas is so brief we don't mind it.

Terry got me an Ipod Touch for Christmas. There is a bit of a learning curve with it. I was all ready to sync it with my Mac when I found out that all those updates for the Mac and ITunes were now important if I wanted the computer to recognize the Ipod. So I spent most of one day just updating stuff on the computer. I still have one update to go, but it has to do with buying stuff and I'm not in a hurry to do that. I've got the Mac and Ipod talking to each other now.

Brandon and Megan gave us a GTAblet (Android) for helping out before/during/after the wedding. We had gotten them an IPad for Christmas, so they gave us their almost new Android tablet. I had pretty much figured it out. Of note was that I was able to download a Kindle app, and I got all my Kindle books on the Android. So I was anxious to get the Kindle app for the Ipod. Success! So now my Kindle books are synched on the Kindle/Android/Ipod. That means I can continue reading the same thing on any device. It remembers where I am, etc. I tell you, this modern technology is something else. I'm not excited about reading books on the Ipod, but it just takes some getting used to. I primarily want to have that option for when we go out to places Terry needs to go, i.e., Home Depot, Lowe's, etc. It's not uncommon for me to sit in the car while he shops. This way I can continue reading on a device I fit in my purse. Otherwise, I take my Kindle or the tablet. I have decided I don't like leaving those electronics in the car in the event I go in the store, so this solves the problem. When we take Dad to the doctor for his shots, we spend about 2 hours, so my devices have all had a workout. I would go nuts if I had to listen to Spanish language TV while in the doctor's waiting room! My biggest problem now seems to be keeping everything charged up!

I downloaded a couple games for the Ipod. I have been curious about "Angry Birds" so I downloaded it. Hahaha. What a funny little game. I'm hooked. Ronan, my four-year-old grandson will have to give me some pointers. It's stupid, mindless entertainment. . . just what I need sometimes.

I don't like messaging on the Ipod. Give me a full keyboard any day and I am much happier. Must be from 34 years of teaching typing! But I do manage to get the job done.

Terry and I had our eye exams a couple weeks ago and we each got two new pairs of glasses. I had to wait on one pair because they are brown and I wanted the brown transitions. We went to pick them up the other day. I couldn't even see out of them. Same prescription as the other, but waaaaaay too different when I tried them on. They checked the prescription and said they were correct. Yeah, right. I tried them about half the day and gave up. I went back to the eye doctor the next day and he checked them. The prescription is correct, but only one lens is centered. The other is high, creating a prism-like effect. So back next door to tell them. They are remaking them and were to have them done later in the day. We waited till the next day and went back. Oops. Seems they didn't have the brown lenses in stock, so I have to wait again. I'm not happy about this, but I do like the glasses. I hope they are correct when they come in. This is the second time (two different eyeglasses companies) in five years we have had glasses "mis-made." The last time was through Sears and what a fiasco. They first made both our glasses without bifocals in them. Then when we got them, they had Terry's left lens in my right and my right lens in his left. After they fixed all that, they put a prism in my one lens. What buffoons do they have doing this work? Terry eventually got glasses that worked for him, but I got a refund and took my prescription elsewhere. For my eyes, I expect much better work than this.

Plans are continuing for our Texas room. We are going to be starting it around the first of February. It will be about 12 x 30. John, our Canadian friend will be doing it. We may just get it framed up this year and finished next year. It will have a full bath, washer/dryer, kitchenette, and a living/dining room. I am anxious to get it done.

I think today will involve taking down my Christmas decorations. I don't put up too many so it won't take long. I did buy one of those white lighted "stick" trees on sale the other day. I think they are pretty and they were popular a few years ago. Since we have the place here, I have a spot for it and worried I wouldn't be able to find one. It was on sale, so I got it and will store it till next year.

Till next time. . .


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all!

We celebrated by sharing dinner with 200 people in the park. Our dinner was held in the hall and the park furnished the turkey, ham and the gravy. It was so good today. Everything was. It was probably the best dinner I have had at the park. I passed up the dessert because the other food was so good, I didn't need to top it off. We got to see a lot of friends and enjoyed the fellowship.

We went over with Mom and Dad. They haven't been out much because Dad has been dealing with some health issues, but he is doing better and it was good for him to get out. I think they look great!

Santa visited our house this year. Terry got some assorted tools and a document scanner and I got a new Ipod Touch. We have spent the day reading instructions and tinkering!

Hope you were able to enjoy your day with family, friends or loved ones. This is a very special time of year to remember our Saviour and what he has done for us.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Till next time. . .


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Ya gotta' wonder. . .

Nearly every year when we come to the valley we are greeted by some sort of road construction on and/or around Expressway 83. For several years, the frontage roads in front of us were torn up. They actually changed the elevation of the road which makes it impossible for us to enter at the first entrance to the park because of the steep grade. The back end of Phaeton Place would probably scrape and we want to avoid that, so we have to enter at Main Street which takes us down between Restful and Pleasant Valley, which is not a big deal. This year, most of the construction was finished, so we were looking forward to a construction free drive down 83.

Not to be. I guess when nothing else needs to be done, there is federal money available to change an intersection from an underpass to an overpass. Why, you ask? Who knows. But the intersection of Bryan Road and Exp 83 is being changed. Currently Bryan Road passes over the expressway via a bridge. It isn't that old. Now it is being changed and the expressway is being elevated by a new bridge. When it is done, Bryan Road will cease to going over the expressway and will instead pass underneath. Once again, the change that's being made will make the Bryan Road overpass into an underpass and the expressway which currently runs under the bridge will then pass over Bryan Road on a new bridge. Hmmmmm. Me thinks this is silly. I don't understand it.

We have been attending the jams here in the park. These are like karaoke with a live band. Some parks allow participants "by invitation only," but not our park. So we get a lot of "performers" who are past their prime and others who never had a prime. There are some good performers/singers as well. The band, however, is always good. They play along providing excellent accompaniment even though they may be unfamiliar with a song. All they know is the key to play in and they are off. They are superb musicians and a couple may have played professionally in their earlier years.

Thursday night we were rewarded at the jam by actually having a professional entertainer. I noticed the man sitting down the row from us. I noticed his sunglasses first and later learned he was blind. He and his wife are from Branson, Missouri, and were visiting friends. Turns out his name is Willie Nash and he performs with The World Famous Platters in Branson. Talk about a treat! He sang "Unchained Melody" and rocked the house! A very melodious voice and even though the band was not familiar with the tune, he sang beautifully. It was lovely. I greeted him afterward and told him how much I enjoyed his song and hoped I had an opportunity to hear him again. A very nice Christmas present to those of us who gather weekly to enjoy the music.

Winter has settled into the Rio Grande Valley. It is still rainy many days of the week and it is colder now. . .in the 50's. It is windy today with a north wind. . . never good news for down here. But we are still not complaining as those up north are suffering more weather woes than we are. And the valley can still use the moisture, so it's all good.

Tomorrow we will exchange our gifts and go with Mom and Dad to the hall for Christmas dinner at 1 p.m. We each have food to take. It's a big pitch-in with the park furnishing the turkey and ham. Yum yum.

To all my readers, I want to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! For those of you traveling, Godspeed and pray you make your destinations safely.

Till next time. . .


Monday, December 19, 2011

Never say never. . .

I said I wasn't going to complain about the rain in the RGV because they have been suffering from drought here in Texas. But it does begin to grow weary on me after two weeks. So let's just say I would prefer a little better mix with the weather. Perhaps a couple days of warm sunshine interspersed with the rain. I will say that Ally my aloe plant and Spike the barrel cactus seem to be soaking up the water just fine. I think Ally has doubled in size since we have been here. I can't believe how much bigger she looks. Her sister Lily is still getting acclimated to being in the ground, but I expect she will begin to grow soon. She is looking better.

It has pretty much rained most days in recent memory. Today is only a 20% chance, however, and the sun is supposed to shine on 82 degrees. I'm holding the weatherman to that. The wind has changed direction and is once again out of the south, so that is a good start. Whenever the wind comes from the north, expect nasty weather. So all you people wintering up north, please keep your wind and cold temps up there!

We have been hitting some of the park patio sales. Not that we need to buy anything. . . I did hear Terry say something about a table saw. Grrrrr. It is fun to go and look and meet people and that's what we do. We got a couple cheap movies the other day and Terry can usually pick up some trinkets he needs. Most parks have craft sales in the main hall on the same day, so it is fun to go look at crafts people have made and have for sale.

Our park had a craft and patio sale last week. I did pretty good. Last summer I cleaned out my jewelry box. I had 40 years of mostly costume jewelry I had acquired to wear with different outfits when I was working. I bagged it all up into little zip lock baggies and priced it very cheap. One woman bought almost $10 which was a lot considering most of it I sold for 25 cents or less. But I am glad someone else can use it.

I have my Christmas shopping done and all is wrapped. We are going to go to Christmas dinner up at the hall next Sunday. It is always a good time. Mom and Dad are going with us.

Till next time. . .


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Down in the valley. . . the RGV that is. . .

Happens every year. . . I get down here in the RGV and I get what's known as the "valley crud." Just a typical cold/sinus infection, etc. . . not sure why I get it every year. I could actually escape it periodically living in Indiana, but not here. Terry just left to get me some orange juice and soup. It hasn't got a good hold, so maybe I can flush it out before it decides to stay.

I can't believe I haven't blogged since we got here. But I have been busy. Got all my Christmas letters out and finished up my Christmas shopping. Did it all online this year. Talk about lazy! Had stuff giftwrapped too. A little more expensive, but hey. . . time, fuel, etc., costs money too. I think I got everyone stuff they will enjoy. Terry is very hard to buy for, but I forced him to put some things on his list, so he won't be empty handed on Christmas morning.

We arrived here on November 29. We backed Phaeton Place in and hooked up and didn't do much else for a few days. I have been wanting to put out all my yard "bling" but the ground here is way too hard. They have had no rain for months and the ground is just like concrete. I finally put up our name and lot number signs because of mail deliveries. I used a long screwdriver of Dad's to drive into the ground to make a hole. It still wasn't easy. Yesterday's rain, however, will make short work of the rest of my yard stuff, though.

Spike, my Golden Barrel Cactus, is doing fabulously. Apparently, he doesn't mind the dry air. He IS from Arizona, however. I planted him just over a year ago and he is thriving. He is a beautiful plant. I love cactus. Last year when we were here briefly, I planted an aloe start. Some people down the street had dug up some starts and placed them out on the pavement for free. I planted two. . . one in the ground and one in a pot. The one in the ground was stepped on later and I thought she (Allie) might die, but she has come back stronger and beautiful. She has even straightened back up from the damage. The other one (Lily) in the pot did not fare as well, but she is still alive and I will now plant her since the ground will be easier to work.

Misty, my two-year old Poinsettia, is currently outside. She is still potted and has grown large and spindly. Her leaves are still beautiful, but they don't turn red. I've been told she is not an "outside pointsettia," but we are going to try. She is too large to easily carry in the motorhome anymore. Since we got here, I put her outside by the shed to shield her from the worst wind. Yesterday I moved her out from under the canopy in order to get rain water. She doesn't like it outside so this may not work, but I am trying to get her acclimated to the outdoors so I can plant her as well. I'm thinking I will plant her close to a downspout to take advantage of whatever rains we get here.

Yesterday when we woke up it was already raining. It continued to rain the entire day. There wasn't one moment it wasn't raining. It was a steady, soaking rain and I'm sure it was welcome to all the farmers in the area, so we aren't complaining. It should help keep the dust down a bit as well. It has been so long since the area has had rain, so it is a welcome event.

Since we have been here, we have been taking Dad to the doctor for weekly shots in his back. Since his knee replacement last spring, he has had back pain and it got severe enough to see a pain specialist. I'm not sure it is doing any good. I'm not real happy with the doctor here. Dad's back feels better after the shots, but then the pain returns a couple days later. Now he is complaining about his one leg and his knee. Not sure we are doing anything that is going to help all that. The weather has turned cool here with the rain, so we haven't been able to get him in the pool, which is what we need to do. The weather here has alternated between hot, cool and in between. I can't complain about it. Even with the cool weather, it doesn't last long and sometimes it warms up enough during the day to shed the sweatshirt.

We have learned from daughter Jocelyn and husband Tom that we are going to be grandparents again! How wonderful! A little brother/sister for Ronan. With Ronan they chose not to learn of the sex of the baby till he was born and I think that is what they decided this time. We never had that option! Early June is the scheduled arrival for the new wee one. Praying for a safe pregnancy and delivery. Congratulations!

Till next time. . .


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Moving on. . .

You never know what you are going to see on the road. . . but when we left Florida, the day after the Nascar race at Homestead, we got passed by "Digger's" truck/trailer. There were a couple other race vehicles that passed us and I'm pretty sure there were a couple of driver's coaches in there. We also got passed by what I think is playground equipment. Kind of comical looking at an open frog's mouth going around us!

I found this picture of the kids I snapped just before we left the other day. They are in front of the little Christmas tree I put up for them while they were gone on their honeymoon. This will be a special Christmas for them.

We left Zachary, Louisiana, on Saturday and stopped for the night in Beaumont, Texas. The plan was to go through Houston early on Sunday morning and that was a great plan. We lived in Houston for three months last year while Terry was undergoing cancer treatment and we know the city quite well. But this Sunday was even light traffic for Houston, so we sailed right through. The only problem we had was the wind. Wow. The wind was 25-35 mph with higher wind gusts. My arms were hurting from holding the wheel, but we did manage to cover 199 miles before we stopped for the night at noon. That's right. . . noon. Those winds were fierce and we probably shouldn't have been out there anyway. As we passed through Edna, Texas, we ran into a dust storm. Fortunately, the worst of the storm was north of the roadway and there was an area there that you could not make out anything on the ground because of the swirling sand. We made it through the area fine, but it was a little wierd.

We stopped in Victoria for the night. We got in early and crashed. We both took naps and then later went for a drive. It has been awhile since we have been here, so we reacquainted ourselves with the area. We ate some barbeque for supper which was good, but we are going to start eating in the motorhome more. Terry is noticing a little water weight and that is not good for him, so we will get to the valley and start walking daily and watching our diet more closely. It was cold in Victoria and we had to run our heat pumps, but that was sufficient.

Yesterday we left Victoria to drive to Three Rivers. Our fulltiming friends, Bob and Betsy, are working a gate on a ranch. They control the traffic going in/out of a natural gas pipeline distribution hub. When they first arrived there, the land had only been cleared and now there are many structures on it. They log in hundreds of vehicles daily and they have to be documented in and out including anytime they leave, like for lunch, etc. Gate guards cannot leave their site unless they have someone come and cover for them. Other gate guards in the area swap off duty with them so that couples can go out to eat, etc. Debbie, from a gate north of town, came down and took over while we went out to eat with our friends. We went to a local restaurant which at one time was owned by the baseball player, Nolan Ryan. In fact, Ryan owns one of the large ranches in the area here. We had a great dinner with our friends and we went back to their motorhome to visit with them and their dog. Once it was quitting time on the site, Bob went outside to log all the traffic going out. Later, the gate would be locked and their work would be done for the day, but they still have to remain on site. There are large lights up all night run by diesel generators and the place is pretty much lit up. If it weren't for those lights, it would be pitch black once you stepped out of the motorhome.

I took pictures of the area. Each one of these sites looks different, depending upon what they are doing on the land. Bob said this site is only one-fourth complete, so it will be quite larger when finished. The picture of all the lights is a Valero refinery at Three Rivers.

Actually before we went to see Bob and Betsy, we decided to tour Choke Canyon State Park. I had heard the name before and was curious about it. It was very close to our camp, so we went over to look. The lake, as most lakes in Texas right now, is very low. The area is 16 inches below the normal rainfall and the lake looks it. They did have some rain last week, but not nearly enough. A lot of ranchers have sold off their cattle and have come to work on the rigs and the other job sites in the area. Pray for rain for Texas.

As we entered the park, we saw this curious little fellow. I love armadillos. They are just strange looking. . . don't seem to be afraid of you, and seem to be oblivious to our curiosity. We also saw deer enjoying the shade under a grove of trees. The campground was very nice and would be a decent place to stay. Camping is cheap enough, however, they require a $4 daily park pass per person. So at $20 a night camping, our total per night would be $28 for water and electric. Hmmmm. Not a great bargain. Not surprisingly, the camp was poorly used. There were 20 "cabins" which looked similar to KOA camping cabins, but they were all unoccupied. They were called shelters, but they were enclosed and had air conditioning, so I think cabin would be the term. They also had picnic areas, a tent area, and a gymnasium with a kitchen and stage which could be rented.

We have decided we are going to head to Mission today. We are a few days early, but it has been a long time since we have been there and we are anxious to get there. We are having cool days and cold nights and we are ready for the warmth of the valley.

Till next time. . .


Friday, November 25, 2011

Zachary, Louisiana

We made it through Baton Rouge Wednesday afternoon, but it was not pretty. We missed our turn onto I-10 and headed south down into New Orleans. Traffic was instantly a mess--worse than what we left behind on I-12. That will teach Terry to nap while I am driving through unfamiliar territory. I was careful to be in the lane marked with the proper shield, but somewhere in the next few feet, I missed a curve or something because I instantly regretted it.

It was not a real big problem and I just drove a couple miles down to the next interchange where we exited, crossed under the bridge, and headed north again. Terry said he would have just had me drive down through New Orleans, but we needed to go to the Camping World at Hammond. So we did the loop-d-loop and got back on the right track.

We made it to Dixie RV and got what we needed. They are a Tiffin dealer and the night before we had a switch go bad on the bathroom light. So when in the "john" we had to use a flashlight at night. Something about that inconvenience put that at the top of our list to fix. Fortunately, they had the switch, albeit the wrong color, but it is fixed and it works. That is more important than having the perfect color. When at Tiffin for our appointment next spring, we will pick up a couple of switches in the correct color.

We then headed west toward Baton Rouge and what a mess that was. We got into road construction before we got there and it continued on through the city. It was stop and wait and go the entire time until we got onto I-110 and headed north out of the city. We could see traffic backed up over the bridge to the west and suspected more road construction, but we've been told there isn't any going on over there, so there might have been a wreck that was tying up traffic.

We finally got rolling again and pulled into the Harp Camp at about 3:30 Wednesday. Plenty of time to setup, visit, and get my food dishes ready for dinner on Thursday. We just saw Gary and Jo at the wedding, but we didn't get much of a chance to visit, so this is always a good stop.

Thursday, Thanksgiving day, dawned colder than we have been experiencing. We will be glad to get into warmer weather down in the valley. We had dinner over at Jo's sister's place and had deep fried turkey, cornbread dressing, another dressing with rice, green bean casserole, corn salad, broccoli cheese casserole, peas, corn casserole, turnips, carrot suffle, cornbread, fruitcake cranberry salad, and crawfish pie. I wasn't brave enough to try the crawfish pie, I must admit. There was pie for dessert, but I was too stuffed to eat any.

When we got back, Gary took us on a ride in the 4-wheel cart out to check the camera at his deer feeder. He didn't have any pictures on the camera which is set up for motion detection. But he took us around the fields behind the house and showed us other homesteads that were once lived in by other family members. An interesting trip back in time. We mingled in the fields with the cows. We saw four new calves which is a little unusual for this time of the year. They were fiesty and cute. Last evening we roasted hot dogs outside which was a big hit with Gary and Jo's grandkids.

We aren't sure what we are doing today. Gary talked about going down to New Orleans, but Jo thinks the traffic would be too horrendous, being Black Friday and all. So we may just hang out here. Tomorrow we will be leaving and heading toward Houston. We will make a couple stops along the way before we get there, hopefully on December 1st.

Till next time. . .


Monday, November 21, 2011

And so. . . . we move on. . . .

Our time in Florida is drawing to a close. It has been an exciting month and we are glad we were able to be here and help Brandon and Megan with the final preparations for their beautiful wedding. The next chapter will be written by the newlyweds as they begin their married life together as a couple. We hope their union is as successful as others in our family. . . my parents, 65 years; my sister and BIL, 39 years; Terry and I, 40 years; numerous cousins at 10+ years; and his sister Jocelyn and Tom, 12 years. They certainly have several role models in the immediate family. Congratulations and best wishes to the newest couple in the family!

The kids took a one week honeymoon to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and although we haven't seen pictures, it sounds like it was a great time. While they were gone, we dogsat for Jax, their lab/pitt mix. He is a sweetheart and I have worked with him a lot on walking. He does well for me, but he certainly wants to chase squirrels. Ugh. I found that if I took him out to walk early in the morning while it was still dark, we didn't encounter any rodents of any kind, so that was the routine. During the day we went over to Brandon and Megan's house because he has a fenced-in yard there in which to run and chase skenks. That is his favorite pasttime. They still have a lot of wedding presents to put away and I didn't do that. . . thinking that would be fun for them to do.

I did put up their Christmas tree. Well, that wasn't hard. I pulled it out of the box and plugged it in. I know in the past Brandon has not always bothered with it, but I thought they should have it up. So I got it out, not intending to decorate it, but there were only about a dozen ornaments, so I went ahead and did it. I had a gift to put under it and thought it would be a little surprise for them when they got home.

Yesterday evening they were scheduled to get in after 9 p.m., so we left during the last caution of the Nascar race. We locked Jax in his crate. . . poor guy. He wanted to go with us, but I told him his Mom and Dad would be home in a couple hours, so he settled down. They arrived later and I guess he was pretty excited to see them.

This morning we are up early. . . as is our usual routine on travel days. We will get the motorhome all buttoned up and ready to go, then head out to breakfast with Brandon and Megan. We have some "Jax" stuff to take back and then we say our goodbyes. It's been a great month. We were very busy, but it felt good. But now when we pull out, I will steer Phaeton Place to the west and the Rio Grande Valley. We spent far too little time there last year because we were in Houston for Terry's cancer treatment. Mom and Dad are already there waiting for us and life is good!

Till next time. . .


Monday, November 14, 2011

Rehearsal and Wedding!

Thursday evening we had the wedding rehearsal at The Rockledge Country Club, Rockledge, Florida. Everything went smoothly and we had a good time. Then we retired to the comfort of Olive Garden on Merritt Island and continued to share the evening with friends and family of Brandon and Megan.

The next day we spent much of the day just lounging around the hotel and getting ready for the wedding which was set for 3:30. The time arrived and we left the hotel with Mom and Dad in tow and headed back to the country club. I was able to step into the reception room and snap a couple pictures including one of the cake which was really pretty. There were two kinds of cake under the decorations. . . red velvet and a marble cake with peanut butter creame in between the layers. Really interesting.

Guests started arriving but because it was the coldest day we have had in central Florida since we have been here (a chilly 68*), people waited to be seated outside. It was very sunny, but a little chilly. However, the wedding itself did not last long and we were able to handle the chilly breeze adequately.

Before the bridal party came down the aisle, Brandon seated my Mom and Dad and Terry and I; and then the processional started. They had carefully picked several pieces of music which meant a lot to them and the PA system worked extremely well, both for the music and for the voices.

Part of the wedding party included Kayden, Megan's three-year old nephew and his sister, Kerrigan who just turned one. Since Kerrigan isn't walking a lot yet, he pulled her down the aisle in a wagon. They put flower petals in her hands and to everyone's amazement, she threw them out of the wagon right on cue! She also grabbed the ring-bearer's pillow and tossed it around a bit. It was very cute and they both did a great job despite being so very small. Their other grandparents were waiting for them at the end of the journey down the aisle to make sure they didn't distract from the ceremony. It worked perfectly.

The bridesmaids came down the aisle as well as the one bridesman. . . yes, Megan had a bridesman. He has been a very good friend of hers for years and he was honored to stand up with her. Megan's brother, Matt, was the officiant. In Florida a Notary Public can marry people and that is the role he played in the wedding. He did a great job performing the ceremony.

The love Megan and Brandon have for one another was evident by their joy at sharing this special moment. They were extremely happy for this moment.

We adjourned to the bar area of the country club for happy hour and appetizers. During this time, pictures were taken of both families and the bridal party. Later they made their way into the reception room and to the assigned tables. The tables were decorated with centerpieces that Megan and Brandon had assembled and each place setting had a tin of custom M&M's with their picture on them as well as the date and a homebaked cookie.

Dinner was served and a great meal was had by all. We started off with a dinner salad and bread, then we got our choice of salmon, chicken or sirloin. Brandon and Megan were to be seated at a sweatheart table at the front of the room, but they hardly had a chance to sit there. They were busy greeting and talking with guests.

Dancing started after the meal. There was first a father/daughter dance for Megan and her Dad. Then Brandon and I followed with the Mother/Son dance. It was a great time and Brandon and I spent time talking about what a great time we were having and how happy he was that he finally had married the love of his life. I am so happy for him.

Dancing continued until 10 p.m. and we were all pretty much dragging by that point. It had been a long day and it had been a stressful week, so we were ready to call it a night and get home. Terry and I drove Brandon and Megan to their hotel out at Cocoa Beach and then returned home to the Hampton.

Saturday we headed over to Brandon's for the Saturday cookout he had planned for friends and family and particularly for those who had traveled a long distance. This was the reason we had spent weeks here cleaning and painting, etc., at his house. I was pleased it looked so good and we had quite a houseful. Guests started arriving before noon and later we put burgers and brats on the grill. It was another great party and we stayed to clean up after everyone had been fed. There was a Purdue game on followed by a Florida State game. Both the kids' teams won, so that was a great finish to a great weekend.

Early Sunday morning, Brandon and Megan left Orlando for Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, for their week-long honeymoon. We took Mom and Dad back to the airport in Orlando. Nita went with us which was a big help because we had both our car and the rental car which we were returning. Afterwards, we went back to the house and made sure all the cleanup was complete and the food was all put away and froze what we could. We spent the afternoon at the camp and visited with Jim and Nita who had moved their motorhome down where we are camped. We watched the Nascar race, then went out to eat at Ichabod's Dockside. We had a very good meal there and Jim and Nita enjoyed theirs as well.

Today was a bit bittersweet as Jim and Nita left around noon. I did take them out to Indialantic to the beach so Nita could see the ocean. After lunch, they left and then shortly after that Jocelyn, Tom and Ronan arrived. They had left the cookout Saturday and drove to Lake Worth to see Tom's grandmother. How nice that they took time to see Grandma Mary. I'm sure she appreciated it. They left there this morning and drove to our campground and fixed their lunch here. After eating and visiting a bit, they got back on the road and are headed back to Virginia. The last thing on our bucket list today was to pick up our granddog Jax. He is now sleeping at my feet!

I really want to thank all my family members who were able to make it here. I know it wasn't easy and not everyone could. It was great to see you all and I know it meant a lot to the kids that you were here. Special thanks to my parents who got here. . . despite Continental Airlines losing my father for almost 2 hours in the airport on Wednesday. For their trouble, they flew first-class back to Houston. They arrived safely back in Mission.

We have a couple errands to run tomorrow. We must take Jax back to the house in order to go anywhere because we do not know how he would react to being alone in the motorhome. We decided we will take him to his house so he understands the routine better.

So things are winding down. We are starting to rearrange and put things away in anticipation of leaving here next week when the kids return. We will be starting our journey west and plan to be in Mission, Texas, by the first week in December.

Till next time. . .


November 11, 2011

The new Mr. and Mrs. Brandon Pace!!!!!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

High Surf Advisory

Six years ago we were in St. Augustine awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Wilma. While there were some strong winds on the coast, we did not receive any damage and really didn't have any severe weather where we were snuggled down a bit inland. After the storm and all danger had passed, we went out to the coast to see what the ocean looked like. It was roiling, churning, rolling. . . you name it, that's what we saw. Beautiful waves, but no doubt deadly to anyone who ventured in, and there wasn't anyone stupid enough to try.

We have been having high surf advisories this week in Brevard County and Brandon has been telling us of seeing 8-10 foot waves on his way to work at Patrick Air Force Base. He said we really needed to take time to go and see it. So this morning we did.

WOW!!!! What a display Mother Nature has put out there for us all to see. Just the awesome power of the water is incredible. I'm not sure what is causing it. There is a storm that just popped up in the Atlantic and that could be contributing, but this surf has been going on all week, even before the storm started. There is wind, but we have had 15-20 mph winds before without the type of surf we are experiencing. A fellow observer this morning said it was the "spring" tides causing it. Hmmmmm. "Spring" tides. . . in November? Whatever the cause, it is an awesome site.

Today was our last day to work at Brandon's. Safe to say we got it all done. So my schedule the rest of the week is as follows:'

Wednesday, pick up Mom and Dad at the airport in Orlando. We all check in to the Hampton in Viera.

Thursday, rehearsal and rehearsal dinner.

Friday, WEDDING DAY!!!!!!

Saturday, host the cookout Brandon is having for friends and family so he can spend time with them before they have to head out. This was the reason we spent so much time working at his house the last few weeks.

Sunday, take Mom and Dad back to the airport in Orlando to fly back to Texas.

Monday, pick up granddog Jax at the vets.

Tuesday through Sunday, dogsit and housesit for the kids while they are on their honeymoon to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

Once the party is over, we can breathe a sigh of relief, I think.

We are excited for the kids and know all will go well. They have planned the entire event themselves and worked hard to have a nice wedding. I am happy for them and happy to be seeing all our family together once again.

Till next time. . .


Friday, November 04, 2011

10, 9, 8, 7. . . .

Seven days to go to the wedding! Next Friday afternoon! Woo hoo! So much to do between now and then, but a lot of it is last minute stuff.

Earlier this week I went to a hair dresser that Megan and her Mom go to and had my hair cut and highlighted. I think it looks much better than how I had become accustomed to wearing it; and hopefully I will be able to do it well the day of the wedding. We ran other errands while we were out on our "day off." Hah. The painting was done, the house is cleaned. I will have to do it again before the wedding, but we have been going over every day and I can keep up with it easily between now and then. We tracked down ribbon for pew bows and I started making those.

We mainly go over to the house to watch for UPS and FedEx. They won't drop anything if there is no one home and then someone has to go get it. It's easier for us to hang out there. It gives us a chance to let Jax out and anything I have to do I can do there.

We ordered M&M's in the wedding colors and are putting a small tin on every plate at dinner. I didn't buy them already mixed, so I had to mix and fill 120 tins. Then after I did that, I put stickers on the tins, front and back. Done. When I get tired of working on a job, I skip and go to something else. I make bows when nothing else sounds easy. I probably have enough bows made already, but I have more ribbon and I decided to make them up. The country club can put them around the reception area.

Today I made the ring bearer's pillow. They wanted it in black satin with a gold stripe, so I did that. They seem to be happy with it, so that is done. I am still making bows.

Saturday after the wedding Brandon is having a cookout, so I decided to make some stuff for that. I now have all the ingredients and will start making stuff tomorrow. We have tomorrow off. He is supposed to get rock in for his backyard on Sunday, so we will go over then and supervise. I am still making bows.

Wednesday Mom and Dad fly in from Texas, so we will go to Orlando to pick them up. I am anxious to see them and to show them around the area where Brandon lives. They will be here till Sunday.

So things are really rolling now. In less than one week we will have the rehearsal, then the wedding. It will be a lovely event. I hope it all goes well. The kids have done all the planning and they have thought of everything.

Here's hoping they have a great day and a great start to their wedded bliss!

Till next time. . .


Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

AND Happy Anniversary to our lovely daughter and son-in-law Tom. They were married 12 years ago (hope that's right) on Halloween. Congratulations to you both! They are the parents of our grandson Ronan and we love them all!

It is pouring down rain. . . I mean pouring. I heard it over the fan in the bedroom before we got up and it has continued almost non-stop for the past two hours. I am glad when we came here to Camelot park that we chose a site with concrete and up a slight incline. I don't think we will have to worry about getting flooded out, but the people over on the grassy/sand sites could be in for a little mud.

I certainly hope the rain is done this week so our son's wedding will be able to be held outside as planned on the 11th. Plans are progressing nicely. The kids have planned everything, but tensions are mounting as the date draws near. There is a considerable amount of last minute stuff even when all is planned out and they are both working long hours in the days leading up to the big event.

We have been working at tidying up the house and we decided to do some painting. Terry has hated the green color on the walls in the living/dining room and I am pleased to say that it is completely gone now. We are also painting the great room and it is close to being finished. After that is done, we are pretty much finished. I will try to keep up with things in the house for them until next week when we move up to the Hampton when Mom and Dad get here.

Last week one day we took a drive up to Cocoa and got to see the Disney Cruise ship at the dock. I didn't get a very good picture of it. The best picture is from the bridge and they kind of frown on you stopping there to snap a picture. Hah! So I had to settle for a blurry shot. It's is absolutely huge and quite impressive.

Well, sometime this morning when the rain lets up, we plan to head over to the house and try to finish the paint today. We get to dogsit for Jax as well, but he is a good dog and does his best to stay out of our way.

Till next time. . .


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Busy, busy, busy. . .

The wedding is only two weeks and a day away! Two weeks from today is the rehearsal dinner and I plan to be ready for it.

We have been busy over at Brandon's every day. I have been trying to tidy up a bit and dogsit for Jax during the day. There have been several deliveries, and FedEx won't leave packages on the doorstep, so someone has to be there. They also are trying to get something done with the backyard so that it looks good around the pool. The previous owners had put in some rock. . . put down the mesh first, then rock, then forgot about it. Grass and weeds will eventually grow up through that stuff and the previous owners didn't take care of it. So now he is trying to get something done. We cleaned out all the dead grass/weeds the other day and workmen have been coming and calling to give quotes on what will be done. No decision has been made yet, but we will be there when the work starts.

Jax has been a lot of fun. I have been taking him for walks, trying to every morning. I don't always get to, but he really likes it. He likes to chase squirrels, so it can be a bit of a challenge. He also likes chasing those skenks. . . the little lizards. He got a tiny one the other day and it must taste badly because he spit it back out. It was dead though.

A guy came the other day to fix the sliding glass door. Didn't know you could get that service. They removed both doors and put in new rollers. Then they cleaned up the track with some acid and replaced a part, then put the doors back in. What a difference that made. The door was hardly able to be moved and after they fixed it, I had to lock it in order to wash it. The movement back and forth would cause the door to move. They also replaced the screen in the screen door which was torn. The owner of the company said he used to be in mortgages. He lost his job with the economy, so came up with the idea to fix sliders. In Florida, there are a lot of those and he said he is always busy. Doesn't make as much money, but makes a living anyway. That is good.

Today we are going to look at some rock to see what Brandon wants to put in the back yard. He may have sod done. . . just depends on what he decides. We try to do the running around since they both work.

Till next time. . .


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Melbourne Bound!!!!!!

Wednesday evening we met good friends Bill and Helen and Steve and Lynette for dinner in Astor, Florida. It is about half way between Ormond Beach and Silver Springs, so neither of us had to drive too far.

The Blackwater Inn sits on the St. John's River and due to recent rains, which have been numerous and torrential, they have asked boaters to not go out on the river. They are afraid the wave activity will flood out houses situated along the river's banks. The river was beautiful, but I hope the area gets some relief from the recent rainy activity and has a chance to recover. To someone who doesn't live there, it all looks normal enough, but there is a lot of water standing in ditches on the side of the road. Bill and Helen's park even has a new resident alligator in their retention pond. As cousin Gary has always told us about Louisiana. . . if you've got water, you might have a 'gator. Seems that holds true in Florida as well. I was able to get a great picture of Bill and Helen, but I missed Lynette and Steve. Sorry. You guys had stepped out for a minute and so did my brain!

I snapped one last sunrise at Ormond Beach before we left the next morning and headed to Melbourne. The wedding is only three weeks away! We are camped at Camelot, south on US 1 at Malabar. We were here years ago, but I believe they have new owners now. They are very accommodating and we ended up on one of their park model sites. We have full concrete and a corner lot, so we have plenty of room. Even have a separate designated parking spot off to the side. We back up against some empty RV sites, but to get there, we have to drive up to the front of the park. We are way in the back, which suits us fine. There is a lot less traffic here. Here's an interesting tidbit. . . the park here is a mixture of mobile/park models/rv's. As the older trailers/park models get pulled out, they are NOT replacing them. . . instead they are converting them to RV sites. Whoo hoo! That's a switch. And the sites are huge as RV sites go because they were designed as mobile home sites. They angle in which makes them perfect for RV's.

Yesterday we were visited by a group of curious Sand Hill Cranes. They live much of the time in the park. A momma, daddy and their baby. The park attendant says they have been around quite some time and walk all over the park. How cool.

Today we are going to Brandon's early, hoping to get some yard work done. Then tonight we are going out for dinner with them and Megan's family. Looking forward to that.

Till next time. . .


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Good times. . .

The DataStorm is working flawlessly, even with the wind we are having today. Notice it in the picture about midship. Many, many thanks to Tony of DataStorm of Florida. If you have a system and need work done, it is worth coming to Florida to have him work on it. He will do the job and be professional in the process.

We have been enjoying our time here on Ormond Beach, Florida, at the Coral Sands RV Park. The park is FHU, but nothing to write home about. This is only a block from Tony's house, though, so that makes it convenient for him. A real treasure, though, is the beach. A few steps out our door and we are on a beautiful, smooth sand beach that stretches for miles. We have been out taking walks every morning and spend time in the afternoon just watching the ocean. Just beautiful.

A nasty storm was forecast for yesterday, but it never did materialize. Not sure who had their signals crossed, but Mother Nature usually does her own thing. Today, however, it is already warmer than predicted and just now we got hit with some pretty strong winds and rain. The rain didn't last, but the winds are still going. May actually decide to pull in a slide or two maybe.

We went out exploring yesterday and ran down to Daytona Beach. We drove by the speedway. We have been by it before, but it is always a thrill to see it. Just like Indy. We enjoy the Nascar races and it is thrilling to go to a race, which we have done; but I really prefer to watch them on TV. I get to see more of the race and see the news coverage which actually gives you more information.

Today we are driving over to Astor, Florida, and meeting up with Bill and Helen and Steve and Lynette for dinner at the Blackwater Inn. Whoo Hoo! Can't wait to see them.

Till next time. . .