Friday, February 28, 2014

Final full day with friends

Today we took Jim and Luanne to the Pulga, which is the Mexican flea market across the expressway from us. What a hoot. They actually enjoyed it and we all bought a few things. Not a lot, but it was fun and we got in a good walk.

From there we took them to the 492 BBQ which is fairly close to the park and in a two-story house. It was actually built that way, so it has small rooms. I guess if the restaurant ever fails, they will just live in it. LOL

We spent more time in the afternoon taking them on golf cart tours of the remaining Martin Parks, there are eight I think. We played some more cards and sat out in the warm air again.

Saturday we plan to all go to Pleasant Valley for their breakfast. They have the best breakfast around us, we think, all for $3. Then they will be leaving to go back to Falfurrias to visit their friends and then head back to Indiana in the middle of the week.

Safe travel dear friends. It was great having you here!

Till next time. . .


Thursday, February 27, 2014

More museums. . .

We headed out Thursday to Hidalgo to tour the Hidalgo Pumphouse. The pumphouse was built to draw water off the Rio Grande River for irrigating the valley. Without irrigation, they would not be able to grow the crops they do. Cotton was actually grown in large quantities down here. I don't think they grow it anymore, but they grow a lot of citrus and sugar cane now. Irrigation is still very important and the museum showed the pumps and other machinery used to pump the water and disperse it through the irrigation system. It's another place we had always planned to visit and never did. Quite interested.

The pumphouse sits right inside the levee where the fence is situated. There is actually a gate there, but obviously it wasn't open. I think the gates are for the border patrol and in some areas, I think farmers actually use them to access their farm land on the other side. We were able to walk right up to the fence and take pictures. There were some makeshift ladders laying on the ground and we are sure they were from illegals making attempts to get across.

We headed back toward Mission and visited the La Lomita Mission, which is the mission that Mission, Texas, was named after. It is always an interesting stop and we were able to go inside and take some pictures as well as some outside. Then we drove down the levee and stopped at The Riverside SupperClub to try out their tenderloins. We have had them before and they are very good. After lunch we able to walk out onto the deck of the restaurant right on the river and watch the river a bit.

Once we had our fill, we traveled on to the Bentsen State Park and World Birding Center. We walked into the park and then sat at one of the bird feeding areas while we waited for the tram. We were rewarded with several birds including the Chachalacas which I had told Jim about. They are large birds and make a lot of noise, but they were quiet when we saw them. We did see the elusive green jay, but no javelinas. They say that in the flooding of 2010, those animals were all swept away and haven't repopulated yet. There is a bobcat we just missed seeing that seems to stay and live in the park. The park is all wild now and nothing like it was when we stayed there and camped. They said that because of the flooding, much of the landscape has changed and even the vegetation is different than just a few years ago.

We headed back to the house and rested a bit before having a light supper. Then we went over to the jam. Fortunately for Jim and Luanne, it was better than usual. LOL They have been having some problems with the jams with personalities and egos getting too large and affected the music and participants in general. But things were better than what we have seen this year.

We spent more time outside as the weather started warming up and we were able to visit outside under the canopy.

Till next time. . .


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

More fun in the valley!

Today we started out in the rain/mist. Another cold, wet day. It sure has been a bad winter weather-wise for us down here in the valley, but we cannot complain, when Jim and Luanne came from 90 inches of snow with the promise of more snow and sub-zero temperatures before they get home.

We took them on a tour of the newer Martin parks so they could see how those looked. Then we headed toward Edinburg to the Museum of South Texas. We spent a couple hours there. It was one place we had always thought about going to, but had never gone. It was really good. It's not real big, but it is laid out well in chronological order and just enough reading to lay out the history without bogging you down. There were many rooms and lots of displays as well as the timeline of how the Rio Grande Valley was developed and populated. I would recommend it to anyone here in the RGV who would like to learn a bit about the area.

Once we left there, we went to Rudy's BBQ for lunch. It was very good and we all enjoyed our meal and conversation. Once we got back to the park, we visited more, then we played some cards.

Another great day!

Till next time. . .


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Friends have arrived!

Monday afternoon Jim and Luanne pulled in. They had spent the night with friends in Falfurrias and plans were to stay a few days there. But they were having car trouble and decided to try to get into the Kia dealer here in town for repairs. They were having heat/AC problem. They had heat, but couldn't control it and no A/C. Hmmmm. That's a problem down here because it is starting to warm up. We took them in the golf cart and showed them some of the parks in our system here. With the extra seat on the golf cart we added, we were all able to go. It was fun.

They were able to get an appointment for Tuesday morning. Once they got here we just sat outside enjoying the nice weather and visited. I thought after two hard days driving down here from Indiana, they might welcome a break and we got them settled in the Texas Room.

Tuesday morning we took their car to the Kia dealer and took off west. it turned out to be not so nice a day with misting and cool temperatures. So we decided not to do anything outside. Our destination was the Los Ebanos Ferry and it has been so long since we have been there, we missed the road. We ended up in Rio Grande City. We took them to the Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto at the Immaculate Conception Church. The mist held off so we could walk around and take some pictures.

We headed back to Mission and found the road to the ferry. We were so shocked when we got there. It has been several years since we have visited and they have put in a border checkpoint. It is a large building with driving lanes and all kinds of security. I always wondered why there wasn't a more secure checkpoint here. There used to be just a kiosk. We walked up to the little building in front of the fenced in walkway which was part of the new structure. The guy there charged us $1 to walk to the bridge and told us we only needed our drivers license. I wasn't sure why we needed that to go look at the ferry. But SURPRISE! You go past the border checkpoint, so you actually need a passport. After taking pictures of the ferry, which hasn't changed much, except they've added a checkpoint on the Mexico side as well, we walked back up to the building to go back to the car. We were stopped and asked for our passports or a birth certificate. Well, now, I know we need our passport to go to Mexico. But we didn't leave the U.S. But they wanted them. In the end, they took our drivers licenses which they used to call up our passports. Luanne, however, doesn't have a passport. We really didn't want to leave her there, but they allowed us all to move on, reminded us next time to have our passports. Nuff said.

On the way back to Mission, Kia called and said the car was done. All they had to do was reprogram the computer and all is well. Covered under warranty. I was so glad they were able to get it in quickly and fixed it. Hope they don't have any trouble on the way home.

Later in the evening, Luanne and I went over to the hall to play Bingo. The guys hung out and rested up from their day!

Till next time. . .


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Busy, busy, busy. . .

This retirement stuff is so overrated! We have really been busy, but things are slowing down for now.

Last week we had the Birch Street Dinner on Wednesday. All the streets in the park put on a dinner and sell tickets to the park residents and anyone else who wants to come. The dinners have been very popular. . . one is a meatloaf dinner, another is spaghetti, ham balls, lasagne, roast beef, baked ham, and ours which is a pork loin dinner. We serve it with real mashed potatoes, green beans, corn, roll, applesauce or jello, coffee, tea, and cake for dessert.

We start with a meeting about a week before and assign all the duties. Hopefully everyone on the street participates and our street is very good with lots of help. Not too much for any one person when everyone chips in. We start at 9 a.m. on our day and peel potatoes. Then they are placed in pots and turned on later. We unwrap the loins and they are rinsed and placed on foil on large baking pans. Then each gets mushroom soup and dry onion soup mix and rosemary on top, then it is wrapped up. Later, all the pans are stacked in the convection ovens and they are slow roasted. The tables are set up, washed, salt and pepper put out. The coffee/tea tables are set up and the cake tables are set up and plates and knives for cutting are set out. The rolls are put in airtight boxes and set in place and the applesauce is put into serving cups.

Once the preliminaries are done, we get to go home and relax and have lunch. We return at 1 p.m. and mash potatoes and check on the meat. We put the green beans and corn and potatoes in the roasters. Once that is done and everything else is checked again, we get to go home. First shift starts at 3:30 and serving starts at 4 p.m. People are always waiting to eat. Mom and Dad went over early and since Terry and I worked second shift, we caught up with Mom and Dad and we ate a leisurely dinner with them. After we were done and saw them home, we took our turn. Terry was serving. The men always serve. I think it's because the counters are tall and the guys can easily serve from the roasters. I had cake detail so I was on the other end of the hall and cutting up cakes and seeing that everyone got what they wanted. We had cake left over, but no whole cakes, so we figured it out pretty good.

When we are done serving at 6, cleanup begins. I cleaned up the cake area with the help of the other gals working. We are a great group and everyone helps. By 7 p.m. everything is cleaned up and everything back in place.

The dinners are one of the ways our park earns money. By raising money we are able to keep our assessments down to a manageable amount and the common areas like the clubhouse and pool are maintained.

On Saturday after our street dinner we had the Ladies' Luncheon. The theme this year was "Bal en Blanc." I think I spelled that right. It was all done by our French Canadian ladies and the theme was a "white ball." Everything was white and everyone was supposed to wear white. Hard to believe how that theme was so interesting, but something about everything being white was quite refreshing. They decorated the entire hall in white and covered the backs of the chairs in white and covered other visible furniture and items in the room with white coverings. It was really pretty cool. We all pitch in with salads and eat lunch. Then there is entertainment and this year several women from the park sang and some line danced. Awards were given for the white outfits that seemed to capture the essence of the theme. It was a wonderful afternoon and our French Canadians ladies outdid themselves with their preparation. Thank you Ladies!

Today I spent getting ready for our first visitors down here! Yes! Luanne, my high school friend, and her husband Jim are due in sometime tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing them and the weather is supposed to be pretty good. Not too terribly hot, but was enough for shorts and it will be a nice diversion from Luanne and Jim and all that snow they have had this winter.

So, until next time. . .


Monday, February 10, 2014


Last Thursday, we took Mom and Dad to Houston in Phaeton Place to visit some family. We left around 8:15 a.m. in the misting and cold wet weather and made it to our planned stop in Victoria. Once we got there, we unhooked the truck and we all went to Mumphford's BBQ. I had taken them and Nita there for lunch when we brought Mom and Dad down in October and they really loved it. It was just as good this time and since we went in the early afternoon, there weren't many people there. There were customers, but it wasn't crowded, so that worked out great. Afterwards we went back to the motorhome and turned up the heat. We had finally run out of the rain/mist and we were hoping that was it. We stayed in the rest of the evening and went to bed early.

Mom and Dad were in the bedroom, so we put an air mattress in the living room. Some time during the night, the air started leaking out and we suspect the valve wasn't tightened. We didn't want to use the pump at 2 a.m. fearing we would wake up Mom and Dad, so we opened the couch and slept there the rest of the night. We were able to get out the backup air mattress for the second night out and that worked great.  On Friday we drove 115 miles on to Houston and parked Phaeton Place at Lakeview RV Resort, where we had spent three months when Terry was undergoing cancer treatment. We had lunch and then we headed out. We took Mom and Dad to see where Terry's treatment had been and also past the Astrodome and the Reliant Stadium. We also passed by the main hospitals in the area which have changed a lot since their last visit.

We then went to visit my cousin Jim. He is having some health challenges and his two sisters have been taking turns spending time away from their homes in Oregon to help him here in Houston. I haven't seen the girls in over 40 years and we planned our visit when they would both be there.  It was so good to see them all. Jim and his wife Lillian you may remember from my blog of a couple years ago did a good job of keeping us entertained when we were here for Terry's treatments. They invited us to dinner parties frequently, a Super Bowl party, and gave us lots of information on where to go and what to do to keep us busy. We will always be grateful for that time. Jim's wife died suddenly about 14 months ago and he was stricken four months later. But he is back on the road to recovery and is making good progress. 
We visited all afternoon, then headed back to the motorhome. Mom and I had made a couple casseroles that were ready to pop in the oven, so we had a good dinner waiting on us. It was still cold and wet out, but the wind had died down, so it was easier staying warm. We spent the night there, then headed back home to the valley Saturday morning. We are back home now in Mission and it was a bit warmer yesterday and today.

I hope it won't be as long before we see each other again, Cousins

. We had a lot of fun talking and did a bit of catching up, but we have lots more to talk about!

Till next time. . . 


Shed's finished!

Mom and Dad's shed is finished and John did a great job on it as usual. Mom and Dad are very happy with it and it no longer looks like the eyesore that it was. It isn't totally maintenance free, as the trim requires some painting. John did paint that though, so it will be several years before that will have to be done again. So now they are pretty much maintenance free on their place. That is good.

Here are some more pictures of the various stages and the finished shed.


  Till next time. . .