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. . .