December, 2008

December 1 - 7, 2008
Tuesday, December 2. Here we are, the last month of another year - time sure flies by quickly. The last 2 days have been spent recovering from our setback with colds. Both of us were feeling much better today and managed to get some chores done; laundry, Frisco maintenance, washing windows, and grocery shopping.

Many more people have arrived at the park and it will take some brain focus to remember all of the names. It was a real windy day but the temps went from 45 at 7:00 to 60 by 8:00 and by 10:00 it was all the way up to 70.

I made a batch of cream of potato soup for dinner - yum! yum!

Wednesday, December 3. Mike was still feeling punkish today, so I went shopping - picked up some stuff for Christmas decorating and browsed. I seem to be best at that lately, especially since I don't have much room to store stuff. We seem to be accumulating more these days, though.

It was a beautiful day with temps in the low 80's - my version of perfect weather, although it was quite windy and we are expecting another cold front coming through during the night.

Thursday, December 4. I went to the club house this morning to exercise with the ladies and could only manage the 1st half of the session because of the remnants of this darn cold - congestion in my chest. They do the â??Walk Away The Poundsâ? video, a 1, 2, or 3-mile walk and it is a good workout, but I only made it a mile today.

I also went to crafts this afternoon and worked on my own project (more glass etching) instead of the group project that was paper plate holders (I just donâ??t need more stuff cluttering up the motor home).

Friday, December 5. The recent cold front has kept people indoors the last couple of days, with the exception of the serious walkers. Not only were the temps in the mid-40s but the wind was gusting like crazy, first from the south, then from the north. These small RVs really rock and roll when it gets bad, although it is easy to stay nice and warm. It did give me a good opportunity to decorate for the holidays; up went the little fiber optic Christmas tree, some lights nestled in snow along the dash, and sparkly snowflakes and stars hanging from the windshield. I havenâ??t figured out how to get a good photo yet.

I have signed up for Facebook, so have been gathering friends - it's kind of fun but keeps you at the computer.

Mike made a batch of his favorite casserole, Mrs. Gumtow's, to take with us to Hair and Judy's tomorrow. They have invited us to an open meeting to start up a Parrothead's group in Corpus Christi - should be fun!

Saturday, December 6. It was nice to hang out with Hair and Judy again, we sat on the deck overlooking the channel until it got a bit too chilly. A couple of games of Farkel and a good dinner topped off our visit.

We then headed to a local bar to meet up with the recently formed Parrothead club. The club is not official with the international club yet, so they are not called Parrothead's but are referred to as Phlocker's until it is official. The primary purpose is to have fun but also to contribute to the community. Donations for canned goods were collected at this gathering. Future activities will include beach cleanup, donations for pet shelters, food drives, etc. We had a nice time, they provided discounted drink prices, a nice shrimp tray and bread bowl with spinach dip. There were quite a few attendees and we had a nice time.
December 7 - 14, 2008
Sunday, December 7. My writing has become more sporadic these days as we have settled in to a "not much happening" lifestyle. Today was spent watching the Packers vs Houston game at Lambeau and Houston pulled it off at the last minute - it was only 3 degrees there at game time. Here we were in shorts and flipflops enjoying a breezy 75 or so.

We were also anticipating news of Ben and Jill's return from their vacation to Vietnam. Thanks to the internet, we knew their flight took off and that it arrived safely back in San Francisco. Ben called shortly after they landed to let us know they were back home and had a wonderful time. Can't wait to hear more details.

Monday, December 8. I had an appointment in Corpus Christi for a bone density test this morning. The news wasn't quite as good as I expected, as I am borderline for osteoporosis and will have to add more calcium to my diet and keep exercising and walking to keep it in check - that shouldn't be a problem. All other indicators are for good health.

We did some Christmas shopping but are having trouble this year - here it is the 8th of December and we still haven't decided what to give, just purchased our cards today.

The park had a pajama pot luck this evening so the attire was quite comfortable and the food was all very good.

Tuesday, December 9. After Frisco's walk this morning, I went to the clubhouse to exercise with some of the ladies and got in a 2-mile "walk away the pounds" workout. This afternoon, we decorated t-shirts.

It was another beautiful, breezy, 75 degree day but another cold front is expected during the night, so we put our grill, chairs and tables away to keep them from blowing away. Before we headed to bed, the motor home was rocking and the wind was gusting like crazy.

Saturday, December 13. Computer problems again! I havenâ??t been able to update my journals for a few days, as I starting having problems with the old Toshiba on Wednesday morning. I attempted to do some cleanup and mistakenly deleted something that I shouldnâ??t have deleted. Oops! That wasnâ??t the right thing to do. Nothing would work after that; couldn't connect to the internet - I started to get the shakes - what a dependency! That meant that I had to go back to the original install disk and start over from scratch. Fortunately, I was able to backup the things that I hadnâ??t recently backed up. Two days later, all is well and Iâ??m back to running pretty efficiently and most of my programs are updated.

We had a couple of days of chilly weather, so we took advantage of doing inside stuff and made peanut brittle and chicken tortilla soup and did computer stuff.

One of the couples in the park are quail breast, elk, and wild pork ribs for a cookout this afternoon and everyone is to bring a dish to pass. The food was really good, don't think I've ever had quail before and found it to be quite tasty. The elk ribs were the biggest I've ever seen, measuring about 28-30". The meat was picked off the bones for serving. The turnout was good, food tasty, and conversation great!

Sunday, December 14. We started the day off with a "stick to your ribs" biscuits and gravy breakfast, complimented with local grown Texas grapefruit.

Today's temps were expected to be near 80 today, so we decided to go to the beach. Mike packed water, sweatshirts (you just never know) and chairs into the Jeep and off we went to Port Aransas and Mustang Island. Dolphins and pelicans entertained us as we rode the ferry from Aransas Pass to Port Aransas.

We drove the beach, probably a total of 6 miles, stopping along the way to walk, look for shells, and let Frisco run hard. We still aren't comfortable letting him be off leash, as he isn't the best about coming when he's called. Regardless, the retractable leash gives him lots of space to run and we have the security of having him under our control.

As we drove along the beach, we spotted an RV park that we didn't know existed, just on the other side of the dunes. Naturally, we had to drive through to check it out and were quite impressed. We stopped at the office to inquire about availability and there just happens to be a site available. Guess what - we're moving again, but not until January 2, but then we will be living right on the beach at the "On The Beach RV Park", Port Aransas, TX. Again, a very friendly park, as we had conversations with 3 different people in the half hour we were there. It sure is nice to have a home on wheels and no lease on our site and the ability to just go wherever we want to. This will give us a real opportunity to know if we actually want to live on the beach. Our neighbors will be a couple that are originally from Czechoslovakia but are currently Canadian citizens that have a 7 month old Great Dane puppy. Should be interesting!

It has been a few weeks since we have seen Jim and Diane, so we stopped by their place at the Palm Harbor RV park on our way home. They invited us to join them at their park's ice cream social, so we tied Frisco to their golf cart and headed for the clubhouse. When we left there, Frisco was occupying the driver's seat, just waiting patiently for our return. As usual, we had lots of good conversation and a very nice visit.
December 15 - 21, 2008
Monday, December 15. What started to be a beautiful 70 degree morning when we woke up deteriorated quickly and was down to 51 by 11:00. Yuck! It's nice that the cold fronts that go through here are usually pretty short lived, we should be back in the 60s within a couple of days.

The park collected over $700 to buy Christmas gifts for an adopted family of 7 children and this morning several of us gathered to play Santa and wrap everything. It is incredible how many nice gifts that money was able to buy, each child will get several pieces of clothing, a stuffed animal, and toys. In addition, a very generous collection of food will also be presented to them for the holidays. I would love to see the looks on their faces on Christmas morning. We had lots of fun wrapping.

Mike and I finished packaging up our Christmas goodies this afternoon and got them all sent away. It was a good afternoon to curl up with a good book, too bad we can't stay awake too long to read. A short nap felt real good, though. We're back to running the electric heater and supplementing with the furnace every now and then. It sure doesn't take a lot to keep this little house warm and cozy.

Tuesday, December 16. BRRRRR! It was a cold, 37 degrees this morning and didn't get any warmer that 45 throughout the day. I walked away the pounds this morning, but poor Frisco only got a jaunt in the dog park.

Back to Corpus Christi and the IRS office this afternoon. Just wanted to make sure I had everything together before mailing off our resolution to their questions regarding my 2006 income. What a hassle! After several calls and e-mails to Edward Jones and 2 visits to the IRS office, I think we have it covered.

I mixed us up some Old Fashioneds this evening and made scalloped potatoes and ham for dinner. It was a good day for baking, as the oven helped to keep us warm.

Thursday, December 18. Yesterday was nice, so we did manage to get outside a bit. Today, it's back to feeling like being on the coast, the temps warmed up to near 80 today although it has been cloudy most of the day. I was way overdressed for exercise this morning, wearing jeans and a t-shirt.

Mike took care of some car maintenance this afternoon while I went to crafts. We made luminaries out of gallon milk jugs and I wasn't real impressed (tacky!) with the appearance but will have to see what they look like lit up in the dark.

It was a nice day for Happy Hour, so we joined a few others at the fire pit and had some good conversation. After dinner and a walk around the park with Frisco, Mike and I played a game of Scrabble since there was nothing but the usual on TV - we don't have cable at our site, so we're at the whim of the local channels. PBS is about the best there is.

Friday, December 19. Over breakfast this morning, we decided to see what Hair and Judy were up to today. A short phone call later, we were getting ready to head to Corpus Christi. Mike dropped Frisco and I off at the beach where Judy was collecting shells. We searched the beach for angel wings and baby's ears, but didn't find a lot today.

While Frisco was exploring, he stepped on a barnacle and his little toe on his back right leg was surrounded by this hard, brittle, sharp thing and he was walking on 3 feet. I couldn't slide the thing off, so Judy had to hold him while I put as much pressure on the barnacle as I could and it finally broke.

After dropping us off at the beach, Mike went to their house and he and Hair took the boat out as it hadn't been used for a couple of weeks. They took a ride through some of the canals around Padre Island.

Later on, we all met up at their house and hung out for a short while. We didn't stick around long because they were predicting heavy fog this evening and there are several bodies of water that we have to cross to get back home. Once we move to Port Aransas, it will only be a short 13 mile drive to their house. Shoot, we can just walk down the street and be at the beach, collecting shells whenever we want to.

Saturday, December 20. About 20 couples from the park went to the China A Buffet for lunch today. The food was fresh and they had a nice assortment including some sushi that was quite good. It was a nice time.

Frisco got a bath today as he really needed it after being at the beach the other day. It was nice and balmy so we spent most of the afternoon outdoors. The park was busy as lots of people riding bikes and walking off their big lunches. Happy hour was across the street from us this evening, as 4-5 couples gathered at the neighbor's site. We had some good conversation, lots of laughs, and made plans for a shopping outing on Monday.

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December 22 - 28, 2008
Monday, December 22. Sunday was laundry and house cleaning day. It was cold and windy, never got about 45 degrees all day long. We had pork and sauerkraut simmered all day long in the slow cooker for dinner.

This evening, we watched the movie, "Ray" about Ray Charles' life. It was very well done and we both enjoyed it, but thought it was a little bit long.

At happy hour on Saturday night, several girls decided to go thrift store shopping today. It turned out that only 3 could make it today, so Sandy and her sister Kay (visiting from South Dakota) and I headed out in the Jeep.

We struck out in Rockport as only 1 of 3 shops were open, so we headed to Aransas Pass to stop at Blessings and it just happened to be closed on Mondays. Neither Sandy or Kay had ever been on the ferry, so we crossed over to Port Aransas to see what we could find there. While having lunch at Little Joe's BBQ, we asked about shops in Port A, and were led to Gratitude, an eclectic little shop stuffed with fun things to look at. We didn't find the thrift stores we were told about, so we crossed on the ferry again and headed to Portland where I knew there was a Goodwill store. We all found a little something there, so the day wasn't a total disaster. We had lots of fun. Poor Kay, the tallest of the group was the one that had to crawl in and out of the back seat of the Jeep every time we stopped, I bet her hips were hurting tonight.

Wednesday, December 24. Happy Birthday, Rita! And Merry Christmas to all! Our project today was to make Cheryl's BLT Bites (the 1st prize winner at the cookoff we went to this summer in Stoughton) and what a project that was. We had an assembly line going and it was about a 2-hour project. They turned out really good and was worth the effort.

The weather has warmed up and we're in the 70s today. This evening, we went to the Christmas activities at the clubhouse in the park and grazed on finger foods and shared a bottle of wine from the Biltmore Mansion in Asheville, SC (a gift from our friends Tom and Karen). We had a nice time and good conversation.

We celebrated Christmas with Frisco when we got home. Mike bought him a squeaky stuffed squirrel because he get so excited over those critters. He didn't notice it at first but one squeak and he was all over it, excited and just going crazy. Guess he likes it, Mikey.

Thursday, December 25. Merry Christmas everyone! What a nice day we had, although it would have been perfect to be near our families. We didn't exchange gifts with each other, although Mike broke the rule and bought me a certificate for a manicure and pedicure - very nice! After breakfast we opened our gifts from Ben and Jill, all from their recent Vietnam vacation; a beautiful silk scarf and jewelry organizer for me and a coffee maker and t-shirt for Mike.

We were invited to Mickey and Karen's (folks we met through Hair and Judy) open house at their home on Padre Island. It was foggy on the ride there and we even wondered if the ferry would be running, as it was pea soup in some areas. It did clear and by the time we got to their home, it was sunny and warm. They served delicious food and drinks and we had lots of good laughs and conversation. Many of the people that came were from the Parrot Head group, so we had met before.

When we left, we headed to Hair and Judy's house where we exchanged gifts and sat around talking for quite a while before we headed home. Once we hit the ferry, the fog was thick and it was like that all the way back home.

Frisco was happy to see us although he didn't spend all day by himself - David and Jan, our neighbors at the park took him for a walk and let him hang out at their site for a while this afternoon.

Conversations with family throughout the day made it an especially nice Christmas.

Saturday, December 27. Other than a trip to the local RV dealer yesterday, we've been hanging out close to home. As we were heading to Padre Island on Christmas Day, I spotted a motorhome at the dealer that I hadn't seen there before, so I wanted to check it out. It turned out to be a bust, as it was a brand new 2003 Alpine that had never left their lot - the price was ok, but we didn't like the floor plan and it is way tooooo big for our taste.

The weather has been nice and warm, although real windy - quite the norm for around here. Today, the sky cleared and we sat out in the sun reading our books for a while.

While sitting at Jan and David's this afternoon having *bleep*tails, we watched a huge black cloud floating our way from the north and blanket the whole sky. It actually looked like it could be bringing tornado activity our way. As it traveled south, passing over us and mixing with the coastal air currents, it started to break up and have a layered appearance and it was framed by bright, white sky on all edges. Mike was able to get some shots with the camera, so they are posted in the photo album. Needless to say, it brought cold air with it and sent us all back home to stay warm.

Sunday, December 28. I got busy doing laundry this morning. It takes a long time as the machines in this park are not commercial and not very efficient. One of my dryers shut off about half way through the cycle and didn't come close to drying my stuff. While there, I got to talking with our neighbors. They commented on how cute Frisco is when he sits calmly on the dash, watching the activities through the windshield and that he only gets aggravated when a large dog walks by. They call him "Brave", as that is posted in big letters on the front of the motor home and they didn't know his real name.

When I finished with the laundry, we headed to the Rockport Cinema to see the movie, "Marley and Me". We both had read the book and couldn't believe how this couple could love and keep the dog from hell, but they loved it dearly. Although it's not getting very good reviews, we enjoyed it.

I made a batch of chili for dinner tonight.
December 29 - 30, 2008
Tuesday, December 29. By 9:30 this morning, I was ready to go shopping in Corpus Christi with Jan and Barbara from the park. We made stops at Kohl's, Dillard's, World Market, Hobby Lobby, and Sam's Club with a stop in between for lunch at the Olive Garden. We found lots of good deals and I bought a few things but didn't really go overboard. It was a great time hanging out with the girls.

Mike, on the other hand, hung around the park, did a few things around the house, and enjoyed the beautiful day with Frisco. It was sunny and around 77 degrees until a bank of clouds moved in later in the afternoon.

We watched the movie "Passengers" this evening, an interesting story about some victims of an airplane crash.

Wednesday, December 30. Here it is, the last day of 2008 and what a year it has been. Our country has experienced natural disasters (fires in the west, flooding in the midwest, hurricanes in the south), a crumbling economy, involvement in wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the election of our 1st black president.

Mike and I have hung in there financially and managed to continue to enjoy our early retirement and nomadic lifestyle. We enjoyed a wonderful trip to Mexico in March where we celebrated the marriage of Ben and Jill and our 40th wedding anniversary. Our travels took us on a loop from Texas to Florida, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and back to Texas, and then to Kansas City. We were able to spend some time with most of the members of our families and our friends.

Happy New Year to all! We're looking forward to seeing what the next year brings and definitely hoping that things in our country start looking better.