Thursday, February 28, 2008

Caught Cheaten' on Shirley

Wednesday, I went shopping in Port A with Carolyn. It was too cold for any other activities! It got down to 47 degrees out! I have missed shopping with a girlfriend more than anything else so this was such a treat, and Carolyn is fun and nice. So we go to Moby Dick's for lunch and I hear a cell phone ringing off in the distance ... might it be mine? Ah, yup. So I find my phone and call up the message. It is Shirley, she was drivng down Stevenson Lake road and thought of me, and was I out shopping with a friend and having lunch out. Busted.

So the shopping was very good, we went to all the shops that had clothes in the fashion show at the park. JoD's has no iron linen. I found a black linen, A line dress with a vee neck and 3/4 length sleeves. It is so comfortable. The owner found a necklace and ear rings to match and offered them at half price. Happy Birthday to me! At another shop I found very comfortable black plastic sandles. Plastic is so hot at the beach. Some of the shoes are $50.

Then we hit a few other shops in the little mall area. Island Woman Boutique was nice. Lolly Pop Toes was closed. They sell permanent toe rings. I see them a lot. Very cute. Then we drove to Absolutely Everything, and I found a tan cotton shorts and top set. Very comfy and trimmed up nice. They have many darling sun dresses, but I thought they looked too young for me. I got Paul a tee shirt with "My Indian Name is Runs with Beer" on the front. He laughed and and can't wait to wear it at home. After a yummy ice cream cone we went to Pretty Dam Cute at the new strip mall. Their signature brand is very cute indeed, but the tops are too small for me, and the women sizes are huge, and not as cute. Also looked at the Penny Pincher shop and Port A Surf Shop. Both are interesting. All the shop keepers are friendly, small town TX style.

Paul spent the day with Rick the cable guy. They ran to the grocery store and Rick showed Paul how he makes beer can spinners. Paul can supply him with lots of cans. We walked over to visit with James and Roma too. She is making her shell creations for the garage sale on Sat. She is very artistic, they are beautiful, and a great deal of work. So we ordered pizza with them, from the Port A Pizzeria, arguably the worst pizza I have ever eaten. Which is odd, as at the restaurant it is quite good. Not up to Ruckle's Bar standards, but tasty. The pizza must have had sleeping pills in it, Paul and I were both falling asleep at 8:30, went to bed and slept till 6:30 a.m. A new worlds record for me.

Got in two miles on the beach, a most perfect day all around.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Toothsome Trip To Mexico

We had the best trip to Mexico on Friday. When we left it was cold and cloudy at Port A, only 61 degrees. By the time we got to the valley it was 78 and sunny. Got up into the 80s. Ahhhh
We drove down with James and Roma. They go to the same dentist as Paul. They all have bright new smiles. Cheryl and I just came for the shopping. Roma showed me her excellent bargaining technique, plus gave me some hints on judging quality. All good to know.

Roma and James are from Fort Worth area. Roma reminds us of our neighbor Brenda. She tells real good jokes and stories.

While the tooth crew was at the dentist office, Cheryl and I had a real good time. We found some little Kate Spade purses in spring colors and fabrics that we just adore. They were all over the place. It was difficult to decide which ones to get. And I found the perfect black Gucci leather purse. And nice big Prada bag for Brenda. Roma loved it so I know that Brenda will too. The Purses are fakes of course. But the quality seems ok. Then I learned that you can only buy two and bring them back. But no one asked so we got 10 purses across.

We ate at a clean little restaurant and I had yummy chicken tacos. We also all met at the Galleria ball room, good music and little old people dancing. As Paul says, the dancer’s kids think that their folks are home taking a nap. In reality, they are out dancing and drinking two for one marguerites.

Crossing back to the US was pretty easy, we do have to show our birth certificates and driver’s licenses now. Got to get that passport.

We found a wonderful vegetable/fruit stand around Kingsville. Roma and Cheryl told us how they get poblano peppers and roast them on the grill. They are the ones that get stuffed with cheese for breakfast, chilies rellenos . They looked good, but I thought they were hot, will get them another time. Tomatoes were fifty cents a pound.

Roma told a real good story about how they started going to Mexico to the dentist. It started with a new dog. James loves this dog. The dog loves to chew. One week he ate 3 new pairs of Rona’s shoes. She just kept buying replacements, she didn’t care, he was paying. Then the dog ate the legs off a new $90 pair of jeans, with the tags still on. They were on the bedroom chair. Then he ate James’s partial, to the tune of $4k. Rona laughed and laughed , it was a real good story. Then during Memorial Day weekend last year, he ate her partial. Rona cried and cried, she didn’t want to be in the parade with no front teeth. She actually glued together the teeth and pieces that she found. So they both got implants in Mexico so it wouldn’t happen again. That is a $10K dog.
Yea, I know, it was better when she told it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Fashion show

Today was the park fashion show. They showed casual island clothes from four local shops. They were pretty cute. I am going to take my 15% off coupons and go shopping on Friday. Before the modeling, we had a potluck lunch. It was salads, breads and desserts. Many very, very good salads. Even a popcorn salad. Many had chicken and fruit and nuts and other stuff that is tasty by nameless. I am all inspired to make interesting salads now. Two friends, Juli and Debbi modeled. I am going to put their photos up.

Paul and Rick the cable guy went on a road trip to Aransas Pass. They had some good Bar B Q and went to a western hat and belt store. Rick taught Paul a lot about buying hats, since they wear cowboy hats in OK.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Big day on the town

Up date on the helicopter and electric wires: While we were fearfully driving under this drama, the first three rows of RVs and the club house had been evacuated. ???

Today we drove into Corpus Christi for some shopping. Sunny and very windy today. Blew us along the road nicely. Did some shopping, Paul got some great deals on clothes at Steinmart. Guys clothes are always so much nicer than ladies clothes. Also way cheaper. Imagine going into a store and finding pants and shorts that fit exactly, and then there is a whole rack of shirts that match, fit, and look good. At 75% off. I found a tank top at Marshalls. Wow. Paul got a new summer wardrobe.

Lunch at Friday’s, thanks Julie and Sean. HEB was fab, as usual. Got some shrimp steamed for cocktail. Today they had cheese samples out that were aged in caves. Huh? It tasted like a cave. Love their roasted turkey breasts. We have sandwiches from it all week.

So we head home after all the shopping excitement. There are huge new cement electric poles all along the road. They must be 70 feet tall, and six feet in diameter at the bottom. A helicopter flew across the road and over the wires and then dropped down and next to the wires. Then two guys jumped down on the skids and over to the pole. Traffic was zooming along the road underneath. There was one pickup with a light on parked under it. It was scary to watch. So we went to the Beach Lodge for some restorative beer.

A mystery solved, The Flats used to be a "gentleman’s club" for gambling and stripers. Hence, no windows in it.

Beach News

Sunday was the perfect beach day. Sunny, big waves and little wind. Paul is a little red. He looked lobsterish in the hot tub. Good walking day, I went 3.5 miles.

There was an article in The Caller-Times about the beach clean up, teens doing good deeds. It said:

" The shoreline is cluttered with small blue material -- Portuguese men-of-war that were thrashed into pieces by changing tides and currents. ...... There is no need to pick up the sea whip, a thin cord-like colony of coral broken from the sea floor that also washes ashore this time of year. It's easily mistaken for being yellow insulated wire."

The sea wire is very strong and has a thin black "wire" inside it. I can't break it. I first saw it after Katrina, and thought it was wire washed ashore, like many other products that floated in. I am sure that they come in red and black too. I am going to get some photos of this stuff to post.

Well, the sun is starting to come over the dune. A beautiful morning.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Flats.

Saturday, Larry and Katherine picked us up for happy hour at The Flats. A new place for us. I am sure it hasn’t been new for anyone else since the last big hurricane. It is located between Bernie’s Beach House, which is very nice, and Shortie’s, which isn’t.

Shortie’s is billed as the friendliest bar in town. Since I can’t get past the hundred of dirty, greasy hats hanging from the ceiling with ½ inch of dust dripping down, hard to tell. I am not OCD but do like a good squirt of Clorox on occasion. It is just creepy.

News about Bernie's, they have Texas Hold "Em Poker almost every day, and the Champions game has a $2,500 pot. There is no buy in, but lots of drinks get sold. If you play in the bars you put up with a lot of smoke.

Back to The Flats. It is a cement block building with no windows or charm. There are some glass blocks, painted black. The inside is all black, but clean. I guess eventually people do get tired of the sun, just not in Michigan. The waitress was super efficient, friendly and remembers names. It is a locals hang out and they are friendly too. Dogs, of course, are welcome. Don't think there is poker there.

Always exploring new bars for your enjoyment!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day Dance

This is a sad day for me. I was so looking forward to writing a mocking rendition of the park's Valentine's Day Dance. What fun for me! But actually it was a good time. The food was served quickly by volunteers who hopefully got in free. It was tasty chicken cordon blue (sorry, can't spell in French) and wild rice and carrots. As Rick, aka Larry the cable guy, said "my chicken tastes like ham and cheese" all confused like. He is from Oklahoma. Nuff said. There was lots of free wine and beer, the cheesecake was very, very good.

The band, Tumble Dry Low, is always rocking. Lots of good country music. Big piss off, they played Old Time Rock and Roll and the floor immediately filled with line dancers. Bob Seger would not approve. No one else can dance when they are out there. You would get trampled by cowboy boots.

We sat with a group that we know from happy hour at Nellie and Rex's driveway. They have all been married about 49 years so are 5 to 10 years older than us. They sure can dance country. And yes, we don't know how such a round little couple can skip around the dance floor all night, every dance. But it was touching to see them. And to see Eileen and Gary twirling a sweet young girl around the floor in her wheel chair, and to see Erika and hubby dancing, he is almost all cured of cancer.

And we danced too. We used to go dancing often, but as Paul's knee got worse and the smoke in the bars got worse, we quit going. Javier and Susan taught us to 2 step last year. We have to practice. Looks like fun but wouldn't want to knock someone over and break their hip. I have a vague recollection of an incident involving a polka back in the day.
Not there wasn't something to mock. Most outstanding was the lady with a red sequined shirt that had a heart cut out in the middle of her back. We can't wait to see her outfit for St. Paddy's Day. Nominated for the OPS (Old People Shit) award was the couple who brought a cooler, filled it with ice from the party, and stored to take home the cheese cake and rolls that they didn't eat. They even brought sandwich bags. Most telling is that they live 4 lots from the club house. Hummm.

The Birds! The Beach Update

Yesterday was a pretty good beach day, the sea weed is slowly disappearing. Maybe the early invasion was an abberation. A good bubble pop day. Spooky little buggers. Paul took some photos of me and the sea gulls. It is cool to be in the middle of them. They eat the jelly fish that wash up, some value there.

There was a pelican sitting sadly on the sand. Someone even picked him up. I thought he must have gotten some bad fish but last night at the Valentine's Day Dance one of the guys mentioned that a pelican picked up and flew off with a fisherman's knife at the jetty. Swallowing an open knife would make a bird feel blue.
Last year a group of jetty fishermen rescued a pelican who was wrapped in old fish line, he was starving so they gave him a bologna sandwich. Said pelican was devoted to them for the rest of the season, walked around behind them as they fished. Which all the pelicans do, but it was cute all the same.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Update on the Raid and Paul returns to Mexico

On the ride down to Mexico, Paul learned more about the motor home raid. The Secret Service, FBI, and the Royal Canadian Mounties were in it together. The guy arrested was a Canadian who has spent winters at the park since 2001. The Mounties actually drove their cars down here, and the two rigs that left the park (after the raid) had been occupied by the Feds. So one rig was parked across the street from the perp all winter.

Said perp is now housed in the Federal pen in Houston, awaiting trial. His wife is still in their new top of the line fifth wheel, in the park. If they determine that it was purchased with money from their sales, they will take it. Speaking of the money, he was selling boxes used to get all the Direct TV channels, for $400 each. He had sold 1,000, plus he got $25 a month to update each of the boxes. This generated $25,000 a month income. Nice work if it's legal.

Many people in the park had bought boxes. They found them through the files on the computers. They took all their boxes. One guy had bought it the day before, for $400.

Paul had a good trip to the dentist. He has four nice, white temporary caps in the side of his mouth. No pain, no strain. He and Roma will have their appointments on the same day again next time, and I will go too. James said he will shop with me while they are in the chair or waiting. Paul says Roma is a top notch shopper so I see possibilities here for me.

There is a bonus for James and Roma when we go to Mexico with them, Paul and I can each bring out 4 bottles of liquor, since we are Michigan citizens. Texans can only bring one. A nice relationship developing. He bought some more Z packs and some Astelin spray for Susan. It is half of her co-pay cost.

They ate lunch at a nice, clean restaurant next to the dentist office. Paul said the tacos were great. James had a nacho that looked good, but he has the Texas crud that is going around and wasn't much hungry. Roma won't eat much more than some nachos and cheese in Mexico, but the pina colada's are safe apparently.

James is a fishing boat captain, specializing in shark fishing. He is trading up boats to a 42 foot boat from a 28 foot. The new one holds 200 gallons of fuel instead of 100 gallons, so he can go twice as far out in the gulf. Paul is real interested in going fishing with him. He used to be a professional bass fisherman, fishing every weekend. Got to get some sea sick patches for Paul the next time we are in Mexico. Maybe they will catch an amber jack for me!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Beach and Station Street Grill

We tried a new restaurant for lunch today after church. Well, hardly new. Like many buildings here on the island, the floors slant this way and that. I was in danger of sliding off my bar stool.

After we left church I wanted to eat out someplace for lunch. Then we saw The Beach And Station Street Grill, and a huge parking place! It has been highly recommended by friends. Sounds like a "gimmi." Paul got breakfast and I ordered Country Fried Steak.

If they had more employees show up for work it would have been a good experience. Listening to people carp about the long wait, and their 1/2" thick breakfast steak being "medium well" instead of "medium." was annoying. Another woman whined because they ran out of coffee cream. These people were straight from church and they must have had a long hell fire sermon. They also ran out of fried potatoes, at least she got her fries!

Just as I was going to send Paul for some oj for me, my blood sugar so low I was in danger of really sliding off my bar stool, my salad came. It was beautiful, thin sliced red onion and red pepper, lots of slivered mushrooms. Baby greens. Excellent. My chicken fried steak and baked potato were also very good.

No food comments from Paul, he got tomatoes instead of hashbrowns. His eggs looked ok. His pancake was tasty. I snuck a bite.

I rarely choose a restaurant on account of because the black cloud that descends when I do. My record speaks for itself and still stands.

Monsignor Rory at St. Joseph's of Port Aransas

Monsignor Rory filled in at mass again today. Fr. Rory is 84, retired, and very, very Irish. We gave tanks to God and learned about the "team" of the Valentines Dance on Wed. There is no H in his church, ever.

He had some good jokes again. And for the homily he read from Bishop Utner's little black book. Ken Utner was our Bishop in Saginaw for 20 some years, died about 3 years ago, suddenly. The little black book contains a little lesson for each day of Lent. He was very cool. Was nice to see he is remembered still.

Fr. Rory plays golf with parishioners every Monday morning. He said that 2 weeks ago he won $3, but the competition got stiffer and he only won a dollar last Monday.

I wrote the rest of this entry when Mnsg. Rory was in town in January.

He told a joke to begin his homily. One day a man comes in to see his priest and says he is concerned with his hearing, and could Father pray for him. "Oh yes, I have very effective prayers for hearing." So Father puts his right hand on his head and puts his index finger from his left hand in the man's ear. And he prays for 10 minutes. He takes his hand off his head and his finger out of his ear and asks "How is your hearing now?" The man says "Father, my hearing isn't until Wednesday." Ok, Father Rory tells it a lot better, plus he puts his hand on his head and his finger in his ears.

And we sang the special fisherman song, about Jesus with the fishermen, recited the special fisherman poem, about how if you want Jesus to be with you all day in the boat, you have to meet him on shore at sunrise. And a fisherman blessing, when you cast your last line and God catches you, you hope he finds that you are a "keeper." as Fr. Rudy spreads out his arms. He had a good homily, 3 things to remember for a good marriage. Almost everyone in church was over 60, so a little late for all of us. He is just perfect for a small fishing village.

It was great to see him again. He has retired to a cottage someplace north of Rockport.

Kind of makes me want to fish.

Food and Fun On Saturday

Susan, Javier and Carlie drove down to the island on the spur of the moment on Friday, so we had the usual good time on the beach. We met at the Taqueria San Juan, for breakfast. We ate there our first year down here, and weren't impressed. This time I loved it.

We sat outside and enjoyed the sun during the short wait for our food. My ice tea in a to go cup was huge, with lots of ice. The way I like it best. I ordered a Taquitio with eggs, potatoes, cheese and sausage. It was excellent. Ranch sauce added the final touch. I also had a pancake, as I have been craving them. Our zippy waitress, Sunshine, found the sugar free syrup for me.

Paul had his usual breakfast, eggs, bacon, potatoes and toast. He said it was good. Carlie had her usual, which I hardly glanced at, being busy with my own food. Susan had regular food like Paul.

Javier had minueto, which is spelled wrong and I can't even spell it close enough to find it on the internet. Baby Steff says it is spelled Menudo. He likes it soupy. He won't tell us what's in it. There were some very unusual shapes floating around in it. I did try the broth. Had a familiar flavor, but not a happy taste, but not nasty. Both he and Susan say this restaurant has the best version of this dish. I was glad to taste it there. The waiter asked him if he was hung over, because most anyone that orders it is. Javier translated for us. Always good to have a translator.

So then we went to the IGA and got supplies for a dinner at their friends house tonight. Then off to a great day at the beach. Had to slather on the sun screen as it was very sunny. The ocean was pretty calm, a great day for walking. And the sea weed is gone again. There was just a little left over high on the beach.

Moe stopped by at the beach and we gave him the ribs and beans, etc. for dinner. Which turned out good, and their condo/town house was darling. Mostly they rent it out. But not much in the winter.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Chef Gary cooks venison

On Tuesday, Paul took some frozen venison loin to Gary, the chef at Bernie's Beach House in Port Aransas. He had a plan to marinate it. He did. The recipe is 2 parts pineapple juice to 1 part soy sauce, plus garlic and ginger.

Thursday, with Larry and Katherine, we had a wonderful dinner. He grilled the venison outside, and we tried the Spinach and artichoke chowder, the seafood chowder and gumbo. All were awsome good. Caesar salad is very tasty. He served the venison with rice and a bread stick. We also got a side order of rice and beans with sausage. It is just the best. The beans are smokey flavored, few beans and a lot of beany tasting sauce. Almost like a very tasty, juicy refried beans. I really need to find out what is in it.

So it was a great dinner. Now Paul wants to try the hangover breakfast on Sunday. It starts at noon, it is $10, for a 6 oz rib eye steak, 3 eggs and fried potatoes. Guessing we will split that.

Highly recommend the New Orleans cuisine at Bernie's.

Seaweed alert

Oh drat, the sea weed is early this year. The beaches have been very clean this year, and usually the sea weed doesn't start until well into March. So on Wed. I get to the beach and it is liberally sprinkled with sea weed and tiny, marble sized Portugese Man O War jelly fish. They make a happy bubble wrap pop when you step on them, just make sure you are wearing shoes when you do. They are the poison type of jelly fish, and they have long tenacles that are so very fine and hard to see, they are poison too. It is a pity because they are the most beautiful blue color.

In January there was another invasion of jelly fish, but they were much larger, up to 7 or 8 inches long. Too big to pop just by stepping on. Sounded like a gun shot when a car drove over them.

Port Aransas works manfully, with big machinery, to keep the sea weed off the beaches, but there are miles and miles of beaches. Carolyn tells of the great sea weed invastion of five years ago, she would walk along the shore and could not see over the piles. She is at least 5'5''. Did I mention that it gets smelly too? Yup.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Mardi Gras Port Aransas Style

Katherine and Larry invited us along to the Mardi Gras Parade in Port Aransas on Tuesday. We went to Bernie's, a favorite watering hole, and the gang was saving seats. There was Billy Ray and Sherry, from Tulsa, OK, (owners of Billy Ray's Bar B Q, would love to see his tv ads) also Frank and Denise, and Bill and Vicky, all from Colorado. Billy had on OK formal wear, bib overalls.

Gary, the chef at Bernie's, had made Annie Beans and rice, with rolls. Free for the customers. It was very good. The beans had large pieces of sausage and onions and green peppers in it. His rice is always excellent. He cooks New Orleans style, not cajun. The food is tasty, not burning. Paul brought him a couple packs of frozen venison that he is going to cook for us on Thursday. He is going to marinate it in a pineapple/Hawiian mixture. I think he is going to use a roux for the base and serve it on rice. Something like the Craw fish Etouffee. I surely wish the spell check worked. Bernie's Beach House Bar gets better every year. It is clean and open and not smokey, unless you are playing Texas Hold 'Em in the poker rooms.

The parade was the usual charming, small town affair, with the added bonus of drunks flinging cheap beads at us. I got good at ducking, they sure sting. I did get a tee shirt from The Gaff. Another bonus of being spryer than almost anyone else, and sober. Many old guys in the parade had ROMEO shirts on, which means "retired old men eating out." The male version of the Red Hat Club. Guess they are everywhere. It was news to us.

After that we went to The Gaff for meat ball sandwiches. Which were pretty darn good. They have excellent pizza too. The Gaff was full of pirates, which has been their theme forever, and their parade float was pirates too. Grandson Charlie would have loved it. Aaargh was the pass word. Lots of grog and ale consumed. The Gaff is a small shack of a bar, they cook in a toaster oven. It is pretty clean for Port A.

There is no end to the joy of living in a truly red neck town. No pretensions, just regular folks having fun. Eating red meat and drinking beer. Life is good.

Monday, February 4, 2008

What I learned at Happy Hour

Always learning new stuff from our old friends. Sunday there was the usual crowd for happy hour at Rex and Nellie's driveway. Since it was Super Bowl Sunday, there were a lot of snacks set out. There are at least 20 chairs circling the driveway, one couple is mid 60s, the rest are 70s +, and this group has a heavy drinking reputation. So basically, we are hanging with the drunks. Old drunks. It feels like home somehow. I know that Nellie and I have water or ice tea in our sippy cups most of the time.

On Feb. 11, Paul is riding with friends to Mexico, Roma has an appointment just after Paul's at the same dentist. I have asked him to pump Jim and Roma about shopping there. Maybe she will take pity on him and help him shop. We are still learning the ropes. The designer purses looked good, but I didn't think they would be so expensive. The big ones were $80. The Rolex watches were $125. I would like one that works, but that seems excessive. I am naturally cheap.

Keep hearing about lots of drugs they purchase. There is a cream that you rub on a sore joint and the pain goes away. They buy a cream for cold sores that works great. Also a penicillin cream. Many of our older friends here have ultrasound machines that are hand held, you rub it on the sore joint and the pain eases. I think they order them online. I am telling you, sometimes it is good to be the baby.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

It's A Raid!

On Thursday, the FBI (and CIA and maybe a HMO -- if you listen to the gossip) raided three rigs here in the park. They carried out many black bags full of stuff, and took a motor home with them.

Gossip is that they had a web site for a "Dream Box" that would steal dish TV for free, and had a web site and were selling them on line. The park is all atwitter with gossip. Will keep looking in the Caller Times News for something more substantial.

I wonder how the spell check works here.

Inks Lake State Park, Texas

In early January we went camping at Inks Lake State Park, in Hill Country, about an hour west of Austin. The camp was excellent. We had lots right on the lake. There are nice fishing piers, boat rentals, and you don't need a license if you are staying there.

We hiked to the Devils Water Hole, very fun, some rock climbing. Friends Susan, Carlie and Javier are in the photo.

We highly recommend this park and we will return.