Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy Birthday Ken!

Happy Birthday Ken!  The only thing he wanted to do special today was to make a trip to Home Depot to pick up some more plywood for setting up the utility trailer for the trip to Arizona.  I also fixed a homemade pizza he likes for dinner tonight.

Last night we had a few of the neighbors over for an outside happy hour.  It was a warmer day, but once that sun goes down, everyone is ready to head back to the warmth of their RV’s or homes in some cases.

During the warmer days, I’ve been doing some weed trimming and trying to get this place looking a little bit neater.

Sorry…once again, no photos.  We really need to be doing something more interesting I guess.

Monday, December 26, 2011

My Jigsaw Puzzle Caddy

At our Christmas dinner yesterday, I was asked about my jigsaw puzzle caddy, so I took a few photos of it this afternoon.

This is the main puzzle board that measures 24.5” x 31”.  It is made of cardboard and it has a plastic edging around three sides.

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When it’s time to put the puzzle away so we can use the dining table, I cover the puzzle with a piece of foam.

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I took these photos after a puzzle was completed so this next photo shows the two sorting trays which fit on top of the piece for working the puzzle.  They are also cardboard and and have the plastic trim around all four sides.

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Then there are two more pieces of foam which fits over each of the sorting trays.

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Then the puzzle board and sorting trays go into the caddy.  It is a long piece of cardboard which has about a 1” fold at the top and bottom.  The long side on the right fits under the flap on the left which is held in place with velcro.  On the folded edge of the flap there is (or in my case, there was) a plastic handle.

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Another view of the caddy while opened.

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Here it is closed.

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And another view of the closed box.  It fits behind the couch when not in use.

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Here’s a look at how I get started on a 1000 piece puzzle.  I dump half of the puzzle pieces onto the two sorting trays.  Then I go through each one picking out the edges and placing them onto the main puzzle board.

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From that point, it’s pretty easy to select color groups off the sorting trays and putting them on the main board to work the puzzle.

We did make a trip to Home Depot today to pick up some plywood so Ken can put some sides on our utility trailer before we start packing up things to take to Arizona.  That’s his project for tomorrow and I’m hoping it will be nice enough to get outside and trim down some more weeds.

 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas to All!

We hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas!  We sure did.  We did our usual morning routine and then Ken headed over to our neighbor Kenny’s house to help him fry turkeys  He only had five to do today.  We can remember being around him where he’s probably fried a dozen or so in a day. 

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While Ken was doing that I started preparing our contribution for the potluck Christmas dinner at CO & Dolores’ house.  I had a 10 pound bag of potatoes to make mashed potatoes and I wasn’t too sure how much to make for the 13 expected diners, so I went for the gusto and peeled and cooked them all.  It made quite a large batch and we’ll be eating them for leftovers for a few days.  Dolores cooked a ham and Tommie Sue brought some turkey and she even remembered the rolls this time.  Smile  There was so much good food (onions, carrots, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, and desserts) and good company (CO & Dolores and her son Garrett, Harrell & Tommie Sue, Pete & Jo, Dennis & Linda, and Ken and I).  We had a very enjoyable afternoon with the neighbors and returned to the RV stuffed.

After Ken got in his afternoon nap, we went over to visit with Kenny and Carmen and pick up our turkey.  We didn’t stick around too long as Carmen reports to work at Walmart at 4:30am tomorrow morning.  She works in customer service and will probably have a long line of customers returning stuff.

 

Friday, December 23, 2011

Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster

It’s been a cold day in Spring Branch, TX with temperatures only in the low 40’s.  We did another last minute shopping trip to HEB in Bulverde to pick up a few breakfast items we were running out of plus a turkey as our neighbor Kenny is going to fry it for us on Sunday.  We’ll be going to CO and Dolores’ place for a ham dinner and potluck, but it will be nice to have the turkey in reserve for future meals.

Other than the trip to the store, most of our day was spent inside reading emails, surfing the internet and reading.  I’ve spent the last couple of days reading another good book on my Kindle called Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster.  Before I get too much further, I’d like to thank a few of you who have followed my Amazon  links to make a purchase of prior recommendations.  I might get as little as $.04 on a $.99 book, but it lets me know that my blog is being followed and somebody out there is following up and actually trying out one of the ebooks I’ve enjoyed reading.

Here’s a brief synopsis of Hostile Witness by Rebecca Forster:

“When sixteen-year-old Hannah Sheraton is arrested for the murder of her stepgrandfather, the chief justice of the California Supreme court, her distraught mother turns to her old college roommate, Josie Baylor-Bates, for help. Josie, once a hot-shot criminal defense attorney, left the fast track behind for a small practice in Hermosa Beach, California. But Hannah Sheraton intrigues her and, when the girl is charged as an adult, Josie cannot turn her back. But the deeper she digs the more Josie realizes that politics, the law and family relationships create a combustible and dangerous situation. When the horrible truth is uncovered it can save Hannah Sheraton or destroy them both.”

This book was a little more difficult for me to get into at times, but it kept me interested, and I will definitely plan on purchasing another book by this author.  BTW, this one is a freebie and here’s the link:

Merry Christmas to all our friends and relatives!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Warm and Sunny Day for Painting

We wished for it and got a warm and sunny day!  I got out there as soon as it warmed up and painted the trim for the storage shed.  After getting a couple of coats of paint on the boards, Ken prepared to put them in place.

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He clamped them into their place.

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Once they were in the correct place, they were nailed into place.

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It’s nice to have this project near completion.  The trim gives the storage shed a much more completed look.

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In between painting, I managed to do some trimming of the unwanted weeds growing up in the yard.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Happy Hour at Pete and Jo’s

I didn’t get much done during the day today.  We had found Christmas gifts for our neighbors yesterday and I wanted to get them delivered.  It took us from noon until 2pm to drop off eleven items.  Every stop required a long conversation, but we finally made it back to the RV to have a little something to eat and prepare the appetizers to take to Pete and Jo’s happy hour.  Of course I forgot to bring the camera, and of course I forgot to get any photos from my cell phone until everyone was packing up and getting ready to leave, so here you go.  This first one from left to right is Tommie Sue, Jo (our hostess), Ned (in the background), and Vicki.

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Bud is helping Karma pack things up to take home.

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As usual, most of the crowd headed home by 6pm, but a few of us stayed until 7pm.  We had a great evening visiting with everyone and enjoying way too much good food.  It was especially nice to be able to visit with Wayne and Beth who we haven’t seen in quite a long time.  Thanks for hosting the party, Pete and Jo!  Now, we need to get rested up and work up an appetite for the Christmas potluck on Sunday.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Colorful Christmas Trees

Today we made a trip to pick up a few things at the Walmart in the Garden Ridge, TX area.  Before doing our shopping there, we drove to the nearby Garden Ridge store which has numerous items.  There are items for the kitchen, clothing, furniture, home d├ęcor and at this time of year there was a large section devoted to Christmas.  There were several artificial Christmas trees already adorned with lights and ready to go and they were marked at 50% off!  But, even that price seemed a bit much for some of these unusual colored trees.  Some of them looked more like team colors for NFL or other sports teams.

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We’re going to wait until they pay us to take one of them.

When we returned to the lot, the wind had calmed down and it was nice enough to do some outside things.  Ken fit and cut the rest of the trim for the storage shed.  We’ll still be waiting for a warm and sunny day to paint them.  Tomorrow night there is a happy hour at Pete and Jo’s house and we heard there will be close to 30 people attending.  We’re looking forward to it, and I’ll try to remember the camera.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Working on the Property

We finally had a day that was a little bit warmer and with no rain during the day.  After a trip to Home Depot to purchase some additional paint, Ken got started placing the trim pieces on the storage shed.  We had already painted the ones that run parallel to the ground near above the door and under the roofline on the sides of the building, so they were the first ones to be cut to size and nailed up.

One trim piece was placed across the building above the door.

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This photo shows the trim on one side of the building just below the roofline.

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After getting the painted pieces nailed into place, it was time to cut and fit the trim for the front roofline. 

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The same thing will have to be done on the back of the shed.  Obviously those pieces still have to be painted and it’s looking like we may have a bit of a wait for more decent weather to accomplish that task.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Happy Hour with Pete & Jo

Okay…to get a little further caught up…Pete and Jo returned to the neighborhood in the last couple of days and we were invited to their place for happy yesterday.  I didn’t get any photos, but we had a great evening with wonderful friends and what more can I say.  It’s great to have them back in the “hood”.

An Afternoon in Gruene, Texas

Our good friends, Don and Donna, arrived here on December 10th for a few days, and it was great visiting with them and catching up with what they’ve been doing the last year or so.  One of the things they wanted to do while here was to take a trip to Gruene, TX and have a meal at The Gristmill Restaurant.  So we decided to have a late lunch/early dinner on Monday while they were visiting and headed east to Gruene.

The lighting was not too good, but our waitress took a photo of the four of us at our table.

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As we left the restaurant, I took this photo of their Christmas tree.  Every year The Gristmill has their Christmas tree hanging upside down from the ceiling.  Very unique!

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Before heading home, we walked around the Gruene Hall next the The Gristmill.  It’s one of Texas’s oldest dance halls and where George Strait got his start.

 

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Looking into the dance hall toward the stage.

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In the dance hall looking toward the bar.

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Don and Donna headed for Bastrop on December 14th and that left us on our own temporarily.  Safe travels Don and Donna….we look forward to catching up with you in Arizona later this winter!  The weather is still not cooperating with us too well, so we’re either staying at the RV or doing day trips shopping for groceries or whatever else catches our interest at the moment.

Killeen, TX to Spring Branch, TX

We left Killeen mid morning on November 29th and continued south.  We made out usual stop at the Walmart in  Marble Falls to stock up on groceries and take on fuel in the RV.  After that stop, we continued on and made a stop a little south of Johnson City for a lunch break, then finished the drive to our lot in Valero Estates in Spring Branch, TX.

Here’s a photo of the RV sitting in our lot.

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Later that afternoon, we met up with neighbors John & Linda and John & Bev for happy hour to get caught up on things in the neighborhood.  The next afternoon we had happy hour at Harrell and Tommie Sue’s.  It’s great to be back with good friends!

We’re kind of into a time of not doing much sightseeing as we’re seeing doctors, trying to find good weather to get things fixed up here and get it sold as we want to head back to Arizona in mid January.  I’ve advertised our lot on Craigslist and also on the Escapees RV Club forum and to get a little more information out there as well as some additonal photos, I quickly put together another blog for the property.  Here’s the link:  http://valeroestates.blogspot.com

Wylie, TX to Killeen, TX

We left Wylie on the Sunday of Thanksgiving Day weekend and drove to Killeen for a visit with our friends Don and CC.  The traffic through Dallas wasn’t all that bad, but once we got to where I-35E and I-35W met, we were really slowed down the rest of the way.  There were numerous accidents that we saw along the way, but they all seemed to be in the northbound traffic.  However, our southbound traffic was slowed down by those that had to slow down and look.  By the time we arrived at our campground in Killeen, it was a long day and we just had a quiet evening in the RV.  On Monday, we spent most of the day at Don and CC’s.  Their son who is stationed at Fort Hood had the house built to allow for them to live there and take care of the kids when is away.  They even had room built for Don’s mother to live with them so they can care for her.  That evening Don fixed tacos for everyone.

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And here is nurse CC testing granny’s blood sugar or something else.

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We had a very enjoyable visit with all of them and then drove back to the campground where we hooked up in preparation of our drive the next day.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Mill River Recluse

I’ll be updating our travel blog in the next couple of days, but I came across this interesting article today in USA Today on ebook published books:  http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/news/story/2011-12-14/self-published-authors-ebooks/51851058/1

The interesting thing about this article is that it’s reviewing the author that I’ve been recommending recently, Michael Prescott.  Another author reviewed in the article wrote the ebook I just finished today:  Darcie Chan wrote The Mill River Recluse which I also highly recommend.  It isn’t the typical mystery thriller I normally read, but it had an intriguing plot which went back and forth over a 60 year span of a woman’s life in a small town.  Please click on my link to buy it…it’s another $.99 book well worth the purchase.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Another Ebook Recommendation

Since getting a Kindle this past summer, I’ve been reading much more than usual since there are so many free and low priced ebooks available on the market.  This evening I finished reading a book by an author I’ve recommended in a prior blog.  Mortal Pursuit is the third book I’ve read by author Michael Prescott.  I really enjoy reading mystery/thrillers that catch my interest from the beginning and are the ones that I can’t put down until they’re finished.  This book is about a rookie patrol officer Trish Robinson who is in her first two weeks in a town without any high profile crimes…or so she thought.  Her day starts badly when she reports late for duty with things escalating when she and her training officer are caught up in a deadly home invasion.  Here’s a link to the book, and if you choose to purchase it through this link, it helps me buy another $.99 ebook in the next month or so.  Smile

Wylie, TX to Killeen, TX

After leaving our campground in Wylie, we headed south through downtown Dallas.

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Just before getting to where I35-E and I35-W join, we got into heavy traffic and that seemed to continue for the rest of our driving day.

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We arrived at the campground in Killeen, got set up, drove to the store to get a few additional items for dinner, returned to the RV and crashed for the evening.  Tomorrow we will be visiting our good friends Don and CC and look forward to that.

Last Day in Wylie–11/26/11

McKenna and Kendall being teenagers have very busy lives.  They’re always on the go so we really appreciate and enjoy what little time we get to be with them.  Today McKenna and a friend drove to Dallas to watch their friend in her performance in the Nutcracker.  I was able to get her photo when she returned and before she headed out for the night with another friend.

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Kendall was off to the movies with her friend, so Chris, Laurie, Ken and I were on our own and we went out to dinner at the Olive Garden and had a great meal before we headed back to the RV for the night.

Thanksgiving in Wylie, TX

We both brought cameras when we went to Chris and Laurie’s house for Thanksgiving, but we did a lousy job of getting photos.  I finally thought of getting some after dinner and even took some with my cell phone.  Here’s our son Chris.

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and our daughter in law Laurie

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our granddaughter McKenna

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and granddaughter Kendall.

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After dinner, the men did their usual routine of watching the football games.  Laurie and her sister and mother checked out the newspaper ads to plot out where they would go for the Black Friday sales, and later we played some games.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Go Away Black Cloud!

We didn’t have much planned for today other than re-packing some of the stuff we had picked up at Terry and Sylvia’s, but that black cloud continued to hang over us with different plans.  From inside the motorhome, I’m able to hear and/or feel the vibration of our freezer in the bay below the couch.  The compressor will turn on and run for a short while then turn off and not come back on for 15 minutes or more in it’s normal routine.  This morning, it sounded like it was turning off and on every minute or so which didn’t seem like a good sign.  I went out to check and noticed frost crystals forming on several of the packages in the freezer and I later put a thermometer in it to check the temperature.  I checked it again in the early afternoon, and temperature in it had gone up to 25 degrees…NOT A GOOD SIGN!!!  Knowing it would be a while before we could do anything to repair or replace the freezer, we bought a small freezer at the local Home Depot and set it up in the middle of our living area in the motorhome.  We got it plugged in and since the instructions said it would take at least 4 hours to get cold, we went on to visit with Chris, Laurie, McKenna and Kendall for the evening.  We called it an early evening so we could get back and transfer food to the new freezer.  It feels so much better to know that what we had left of our Alaska seafood has not gone to waste!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Van Alstyne to Wylie, TX

It was another no photo day and as it turned out they would have been very unpleasant reminders anyway.  We started the morning by finishing packing the dining table and chairs and patio table and chairs and other assorted stuff into the pickup.  We took a lunch break and then prepared to break camp for our move to Wylie.  Texas has been in a severe draught, but the last two evenings have seen heavy storms with a lot of rain…and I mean A LOT OF RAIN!!!!  We got to the point where we were ready to back the RV out, and it was not going anywhere.  Ken hooked the pickup to it with a chain and it still wouldn’t budge.  Johnny brought the tractor out and that didn’t do any good either.  So Ken drove over to the wrecker service on the next road and we were finally pulled out of the muck.  We had mud pretty close to our axels and it wasn’t a pretty picture when we finally got pulled out.  I followed in the truck while the RV spewed out mud and rocks for several miles, but we’re sure there’s still plenty of stuff underneath it.

We spent the evening with Chris, Laurie, McKenna and Kendall and will be visiting with them until we leave on Sunday.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Van Alstyne, Texas

We had about 130 miles to drive from Wichita Falls, TX to Van Alstyne, TX.  We’re visiting our friends Terry and Sylvia for a few days prior to moving to the East Fork Corps of Engineers campground in Wylie to spend Thanksgiving with our son and his family.  We around noon, got set up and visited a bit and we all went to the steak dinner at the American Legion on the road behind their house.  I believe that’s about the third time we’ve been to a meal there, and it’s always good and the price is right.  Terry and Sylvia have storage units on their property.

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Terry and Sylvia and their Jack Russell, Keeper were getting ready to drive to San Antonio for Thanksgiving and then will be continuing to Rockport for a month before heading to Arizona this winter.  They had there train set up in front of the house and already to head out this morning.

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Keeper, not wanting to miss out on a trip, was in the front seat of the pickup and ready to go.

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Here’s Ken with Terry and Sylvia before they left this morning.

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And there goes their train headed south to San Antonio.

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In addition to the great visit with friends, Terry and Sylvia are sending us off with some stuff for our house in Arizona.  We’ve got a dining table and chairs, patio table and chairs, and some pots and pans and utensils for the kitchen.  What special friends…we can’t thank you two enough!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Roswell, NM to Wichita Falls, TX

Knowing that we would have a driving day of close to 400 miles, we got an early start leaving Roswell.  There were several oil wells along the road through New Mexico.

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After driving for an hour and a half or so, we crossed the Texas border and changed time zones.

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Much of the area we have been traveling through in New Mexico and north Texas are harvesting their cotton fields.  This photo shows several large bales of cotton that has been harvested.

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We even drove on a red brick road in one of the small Texas towns in our travels.

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After a long day of driving, we finally arrived at the Wichita Falls Elks Lodge where we were able to boondock for the night.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Alamogordo, NM to Roswell, NM

We had a short drive of 120 miles or so from Alamogordo to Roswell, NM.  We saw fresh snow on a distant mountain.

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We were slowed down for a short while in Alamogordo by an accident blocking a couple of lanes of traffic.

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We arrived at the Elks Lodge in Roswell around 11am and while setting up had issues with the power not working correctly.  Apparently the Elks has some problems with the electric service and we received some damage to our transfer switch.  Since we had already put out the slides, we stayed in that site and just used the generator as needed.  Later in the afternoon, we went to the home of Ken’s high school friend Glenn and his wife Linda where we had a nice visit and dinner before heading back to the RV.