Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Beautiful Sunrise

It is 31 degrees at 6 am, Tuesday. A beautiful quarter moon in the southern sky with the west turning pink and purple as the sun rises. Normal low is 40 degrees here and now. At least it didn't snow. We had a fire in the fireplace last night, very cozy and warm.
I just ran out to take pictures, sounds like a happy turkey day with all the gobble gobble going on. The white spot by the oak tree is the moon.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Homemade rolls

This is a photo of shell art that Roma made, and gave to me before we left Port A. It matches my fireplace perfectly. Love it. I watched her make them, a lot of work involved.

Finally, on Thursday I had some cooking and baking time. Well I would have cooked if I hadn't left the venison out all night thawing. Couldn't make crock pot venison steak on noodles after that. Too scary for me. However, I made half wheat/white rolls with onion and dried tomatoes and oregano. Priscilla inspired me, she made bread with the dried tomatoes folded into the dough. Since she gave me several bags of dried tomatoes, I gave it a try. Very excellent. Also made a batch of my world famous Turtle Brownies. Yum. Gave most of them to the Direct TV guy. Also to Marti and Woody with some rolls. Will try the venison dish today. Maybe Julie's dish with fresh asparagus. That is always tasty and the season for asparagus just started here.

Oh no, can't find Julie's steak and asparagus stir fry recipe. Will link it when I find it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Birthday week

Stevenson Lake this morning just before a thunder storm.

I am having a great birthday week. I have tried to ignore this birthday, and have forgotten it several times. But it is good so here goes. On Sunday, the bd, I slept in, Paul made me tea, Andrea made me a wonderful breakfast, I played with Julia and Charlie. I finished up the drapes I made for Andrea's dining room, and they turned out quite nice. We went to the new river walk park with the kids, the weather was beautiful. Played some Pogo Solitaire even!

Andrea, Ryan, and Paul and I went to dinner at the Emporium in South Bend. It is on the river near the kayak run. Also a running trail goes by the river so there was a lot to watch. Don't you like to watch sweaty people go by as you eat salad? Paul and Ryan had steak which was good. We had potato skins for an appetizer, excellent. Andrea, with a sophisticated pallet, had chicken fingers, but they were hand breaded. I had walleye, a northern favorite. All very tasty. We grew up by the St. Clair River in Michigan where any special occasion must be celebrated with a meal at one of the many restaurants set up on the river. Sids, Buds, St. Clair Inn, etc. Great views of Canada, freighters and cabin cruisers. Fresh local Walleye and perch fish to eat. It was so confusing to move to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, where the only view from the restaurants was a busy 5 lane road. We kept asking where people went for a nice meal with the view. Doomed to disappointment.

On Monday we met Steff in Grand Rapids and took her out for lunch at Applebee's. They have a lunch menu where you choose two items from three lists. I had mini chicken burgers. Fried and breaded. Naughty but tasty. And the chicken oriental salad. Paul had a spinach and shrimp salad and soup. Forget what Steff had since I didn't get a bite. I was impressed by the quality of the food. Would certainly go back. Especially loved my salad.

We got home about 4 on Monday. My daffodils were in full bloom. Also grape hyacinths and the big ones too. Hope spell check knows how to spell that! Nope, had to get out the flower book. Paul has the yard all slicked up and my flower gardens too. I transplanted some poppy's to across the street and hope they live. Planted some dark red day lilies from Katie's house in GR. Have to get out when the rain stops and kill brown eyed susans before they retake my garden. They are relentless. Beautiful, but the soil is too rich and well watered. They do well across the road, just not down by the lake.

Our new living room furniture came on Tuesday, as you can see below. I love it. Feeling quite spoiled. Wednesday I had my hair cut, and it turned out great, much shorter and blonder. Nails done. Spoiled for sure. Then Shirley took me out for lunch at the Herrick House. Had the ever wonderful chicken croissant and tomato bisque soup. Lots of great girl talk. I sure missed my friends this winter. And Shirley got me a baseball hat with Lake Girl on it! Very, very cute.

Thursday, Paul and I went to the Moose Club, fun to see friends there. Then visited with Marti and Woody, up for the weekend. Marti looks great! It is so good to see her alive and well. She had a brain aneurysm this March, had coil surgery on the back of her neck, and here she is! A miracle for sure. Not smoking and her complexion is so nice, good color. All kinds of luck for her.
We had a great visit.

We had some kind of electrical event in the neighborhood yesterday. Our microwave expired, leaving a greasy, sooty mark on the counter top and a bad smell behind. Marti and Woodys refrigerator stopped working and the motor heated up. He turned it on and off and it is ok now. Jeff''s outdoor light went on at his garage. And who knows what happened in the other cottages. Can't just be coincidence.

So today is Friday. Ready for a Friday adventure.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


It is good to be home. Busy but good. I love my bed. I say that every night at least three times. It is so comfy. Both the motor home and our house bed are platform beds, but the house bed has a plush top. After about three nights I am used to the difference. It felt like someone had been sleeping in my bed. Might have been Popa Bear, or Goldilocks. But pretty weird.

It was much harder unpacking this spring due to the chaos we came home to. Half of our furniture was out of the living room, the 60 inch TV was in the garage. Electronics in the kitchen and living room. Still. A home theatre must have two miles of cords attached to it.

Our handy guy, Shane, did a wonderful job remodeling. He put electric plugs everywhere. Caulked and painted, drywalled, fixed ceiling cracks and painted the ceiling. I am busy thinking of lots of jobs for him.

Got a hair cut on Wed. and manicure. It is good to be home.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

New Furniture

Andrea asked me to put these photos on of our new furniture. It is Smith Brothers, and very comfy.

Have to pick out tables, lamps, curtains, tv, and whatever else it needs. Probably book cases at some point. Advice freely accepted.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Home at last

We had a wonderful weekend in South Bend, Indiana, with Andrea, Ryan and Charlie and Julia. Had lunch with Steff today in Grand Rapids, her lunch hour. Home here by 4 pm. My flowers are very pretty, the yard is full of sticks.

I will be unpacking and reorganizing the house for weeks. We had work done while we were gone, new living room furniture coming on Tuesday. Looks great, all nice new paint, wiring and even some drywall. Now where to put everything!

I miss all my Texas friends!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Sunday in South Bend.

We have been at Andrea and Ryan's since Friday afternoon. Lots of fun with Charlie and Julia. And with Ryan and Andrea too. Ryan and Paul have been going to the baseball games that Ryan works as video board operator. The team is South Bend Silverhawks. They aren't winning but Paul is enjoying them. Andrea and I are shopping and going to the parks with the kids. And I made drapes for the dining room. They scraped off the old wallpaper and painted last weekend. It looks great. Hancock fabric had great fabric.

The internet here is awsome fast. I have internet envy. Ryan downloaded Fox Fire for me and it is faster too. More later in the week.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The earth moves under my feet.....

We are parked for the night in the Vandalia, Il, Walmart. Just got an email from Andrea that there was an earthquake. Googled it, found this article. Looked on the map and we are 60 miles from the center. I woke up at 4:45 but didn't feel any shaking. We don't have the jacks down and every time one of us rolls over in bed it shakes anyway.

There are no sirens or anything going on here.

Link: http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/national/1110ap_midwest_earthquake.html?source=mypi

And we had good driving on Thursday. The price of gas went up $.15 a gallon in just a few hours. That felt pretty unlucky to me. But we see Andrea, Ryan, Charlie and Julia today, and that is a treat.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sunny in Manhattan

This is our last full day at Julie's, God willing and the part comes in from Winnebago for the motor home. It has been a good visit. Especially when it warmed up and the sun came out. Patrick is at the perfect baby age, adorable, smiley, his first tooth popped out on Tuesday without any screams. He will sit on the floor and chew on a book for long periods of time. If he gets cranky, mom feeds him. I get to feed him cerial and sweet potatoes. He loves to eat. He can't crawl and get into things. He can't fall down the stairs. He stands in his baby seat and dances, getting strong enough so he can run. He says DaDa often, and if you ask him where Grandpa is, he looks right at him. So this is fun. We haven't spent this much time with a baby in 25 years. I took the photo of Julie and Patrick at 7 am today.

Anna is cute and busy. Both she and Megan can run and jump for hours at a time. They love to pull weeds out of the flower gardens. We brought some things from the ocean for Show and Tell, a starfish, sand dollar, mermaids purse and fancy shells. Anna took them to nursery school on Tuesday. Megan get them on Friday. She doesn't like going to school while we are here, but got used to it. She is a big help to her mom and is so smart and pretty. Tall and slender.

We have been giving them little gifts during our visit. Yesterday was tape measures. Now we know that Megan, 6, is 49 inches tall and Anna, 4, is 40 inches tall.

We hope to get the part put in the motor home early on Thursday, and head out towards South Bend, IN to see Andrea, Ryan, Charlie and Julia. And stop in Grand Rapids to see Steff on Sunday night or Monday morning. Then home to Clare.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Grand time with the grand kids

Julie has been very busy with activities for Megan and Anna. Friday night was the school carnival. We volunteered to stay home with Patrick. Partly to avoid the cold night, and partly to protect Patrick from all the germy rug rats at the carnival. And we have been there before. Lots of times. Saturday the girls had two consecutive birthday parties to attend.

Sean flew to Virginia on Thursday to speak to a class at Leo's school. Might have been biology, as he was there as a doctor? Or maybe careers. He got back about 1 pm today. We went to a local brew pub for sandwiches. I had a Philly cheese steak and Paul had a reuben, and we split. They were both very good and so were the fries and real home made onion rings.

Paul and I went to church, it was long. Today they honored the military parishioners. Sang America the Beautiful, etc. Some of the parishioners are deployed, their wives got a yellow rose. It was quite nice and well done. Kansas State is making a documentary on the military here and they filmed the mass and procession hoping to use some of the footage. Oh, lots of K of C there in fancy dress. Even on guy with purple cape and hat. Never saw that before, he must be the top knight of the state.

This all sounds so boring. It isn't. The kids are a lot of fun. Incredibly active. Just watching them wears me out. Patrick is darling and very happy. He loves chew on books and toys, he stands in his play table thing and makes it play music -- you hit the dog 4 times, it plays Beethoven's 5th symphony. He dances to the music, maybe he will have the music gene. It is very, very recessive on both sides.
It is still very cold here and windy.

Right now the girls are playing in their bounce house. Hope it wears them down a bit.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Swedish Weaving

Megan and Anna and I tried some Swedish weaving today. I had made them shoe box kits with all the needles, yarn and fabric in them. Megan is meticulous and counts the squares very well. Anna is 4, and a free spirit. Her piece is definitely art.

Patrick is self entertaining and happy. A very easy baby.

The weather is cold and windy. I have already forgotten why we left Texas.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Go fly a kite

We brought kites for the girls, so we had to fly them. It was windy but quite cold. And Megan had just gotten home from school and missed a day of fun, so kites had to fly. Anna had the fish kite and it flew great. Megan had the turtle and it didn't fly at all. Paul was very patient, the very best of grandpas.

We shopped a little, checked out tvs at Best Buy. And had pizza buffet at the Old Chicago Pizza place. Very good. Missed real pizza a lot.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

THe Little Apple

Monday we had the wind at our backs pushing us up north. Tuesday it was in our face. And the temp dropped from mid 80s to mid 40s. Big shock. Julie, Anna, Paul and I went to Chicago Pizza for lunch, and shopped around a little. That's about it. The kids have all grown, Megan grew a couple of inches. I will get photos soon.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Leaving Texas

We got an early start this morning, on the road by 7:30 am. James suggested a new route north, going up the middle of Texas taking 181 to 80, to 183. We missed a turn and went through Austin instead of around, but the traffic was light so no matter. It cut a lot of time off the trip, an hour plus, and the roads were good, the scenery pretty. We got to Fort Worth at 3 pm and missed the heavy traffic.

Now we are camped at Turner Falls Park in OK. We hiked to see the falls and caves. It is pretty and just as safe as the Grand Canyon. You know how that is, a pipe railing about 3 ft high, or no railing at all. Then Paul grilled us a steak, we drank a beer or two. It is still in the mid 70s after a nice red sunset. Paul is watching NCAA finals, and apparently we have a thunder storm warning. The tornado watch is west of us. Looks much too pretty here to storm.

More foodie update: we ate at Trout Street on the harbor on Sunday with Carlie, Susan and Javier. I had fresh grilled tuna salad on toasted yummy (and currently nameless) bread. It was delicious and my first grilled tuna ever. Paul had a wrap with turkey, monterey jack cheese and bacon. Very good. And feeling very Texan, I had a gas station breakfast burrito on the way out of town today. I can’t stress enough how risky that is.

I took some wild flower photos out of the window as we whipped by. Turned out ok. Also pics of here at turner falls.

And we're off!

We are leaving this morning. Had lots of good byes on Sunday. All the Texans want us to move down here. Uh, no. It gets too hot and we are wimps. Plus we love our lake in the summmer. but mostly they party way too hard for us. We just can't keep up. It is like being surrounded by the Boyles when they have their Irish relatives visiting for a week. Exciting and fun but exhausting. It is kind of like Christmas every day with a house full of four-year-olds, and some of them are hung over and cranky.

So we are taking a new and improved Texan approved route, bypassing San Antonio and Austin, cities full of the NCAA Final and clogged traffic. Now we only have to worry about Fort Worth and the NASCAR race congestion. Apparently the party groups of campers don't leave the race track until Monday. We will contrive at any rate. We will be at Julie's on Tuesday, for sure. Don't want to miss any baby hugs or little girl giggles. If all goes as planned we will be at Andrea's on April 18, and home on the 21st.

The weather was perfect this weekend, sunny and 80s with not much wind. Hate to leave but can't wait to get home.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Our Claim to fame

Our claim to fame in Pioneer is we don't tow a car. We go everywhere in our motor home. Paul is a master driver. We go to the malls in Corpus Christi. He sits in the rig and does his newspaper puzzles. I shop. We go to the beach for the whole day. We have our own clean bathroom, cold beer, radio, a great view and lunch on demand. It is good. There is no place we can't find a parking spot. When we get in after dark on a Saturday night and Ward and Michelle have a gathering of Texans on the corner, Paul just whips the rig around their golf carts as they cheer. He is good!

Foodie Update

Friday we went to lunch at the Spaghetti Works. I wanted my usual grilled Amberjack fish, but, alas, they were out. You catch Amberjack about 50 miles out in the gulf and it was rough seas most of the week. Lucky me, the special was chicken fried steak. And it was the best I have ever had. Real steak, homemade gravy, and their always luscious red skin garlic mashed potatoes. And the southern staples, canned green beans with a soft white roll. Paul had fried shrimp, made with the cornbread type coating. The soup was a tomato with vegetables. So good. The vegetables were just the right softness, the broth was creamy.

It occured to me in the middle of the night that you Yankees might not know what is in a shrimp boil. Usual ingredients are redskin potatoes, garlic, sausage, sweet corn, and lots of fresh gulf shrimp. Oh, don't forget the fire spices. First of all it is cooked in huge pots on big outdoor gas burners. Sometimes the whole thing is cooked at once and dumped on the newspaper covered table, sometimes you just dip it out of the broth. James separated all the ingredients and they were on platters like a buffet. I really like it that way. The sweet corn was excellent and there are no blisters on my lips this morning. The photo is James cooking. FYI - we went to Mexico with James and Roma, remember the purse photo?

The shrimp boats have been out almost every day this week, so lots of fresh shrimp. We watch them head in and then head for the harbor.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

55th Wedding Anniversary Party

This evening we had a great time at Ron and Helen's anniversary party. It was a surprise party and it was a real surprise. Friends and family arranged it all. James made shrimp boil, and it was awsome. The best I ever had. My lips were only a little bit hot. Roma made a delicious, beautiful cake. It was huge. She must have been a professional cake decorator. This photo to the left is James and Roma. Also above left, Roma and her beautiful cake. And the happy couple.

Flogging Mary

Last night as we were walking into the Gaff a young woman was leaving and her pirate tee shirt had a picture of a pirate woman and said Flogging Mary. Very interesting. Got to Google her. I found this site that has the words to Flogging Mary, the song. http://www.lyricsandsongs.com/song/98570.html

We spent the afternoon at Roberts Park and got more shrimp from the Alicia Kay, watched birds and the ferry boats. We stopped at the Munoz Beach house as it was on the way home. Javier bought some wings from Hooters. Yum. His neighbor, Donny, then called to complain that our big hunking motor home was blocking the road and have that ass h_le move it. So we went to his house to harass him back. Had beer. He had his kids there to do some work and they were fixing to grill dinner. Had a very interesting potato recipe. Get a big tin foil pan, fill it with cut up potatoes, a pound of cut up butter, garlic, onions, and two cans of good beer, not Lone Star. Set it on the side of the grill, cover with foil, and cook for 2 hours, top with lots of cheese. We will have to try it.

After all this we went to the Gaff and got pizza and more beer. With Carlie and the dog of course. Carlie asked a question I have often puzzled over, "Why is the glass so clean in some of the windows and not all of them?" Oddly, the answer is "there is no glass in the clean spots, it broke out. " So on either side of the bar there is not windows. Low to the ground. Cats could just walk in and out. And probably do. A cold front had come through earlier and it was in the 60s and windy, someone complained about the draft so they stuck in a handy piece of cardboard box. Then the heat came on. ?? It is just so different here.

I am so ready to leave now. Paul too. He packed up the Direct TV dish even. This is going to be a good weather weekend, and we decided to leave early Monday morning. Should make it past Fort Worth on Monday, and to Manhattan, Kansas, easily on Tuesday. Yay! One reason we are ready to leave, besides wanting to see the kids and grands, is the sea weeds are deep and fragrant. Makes walking on the beach a trial.

It is always good to get here, and good to leave. Good to get home, good to leave home. Looking forward to having fun with Donny and Shirley next winter. They are such fun people.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Pirates at the Gaff

We spent the afternoon at Roberts Park watching ships and fisher people. Paul bought 5 pounds of shrimp from the Alicia Kay, and we froze it. Frank and Denise stopped by and we went to the Gaff with them for happy hour. One Thursday a month is the Pirate Pub Crawl. They get the pirate ship out and fill it up and go from bar to bar. Some even give them free drinks, they dress up so authentic and say Arrrrgh very well. These pictures are dedicated to Charlie! Grandpa and I have a pirate gift for you. The sword is real and sharp. This pirate is named Kiwi and sounds like he is Australian. The first time he wore the sword he cut 2 people getting it out and himself putting it in the sheaf.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Spring flowers

Took some photos on a walk after dinner today. The view from the boardwalk, wavy day.

I think this is an hibiscus flower.

These are wild flowers growing in the dunes.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Stewed Okra?

On Monday, we rode the ferry across the channel to Aransas Pass. Paul wanted to get the oil changed in the rig at Walmart. It is a very nice store, fun to have time to look at everything. And buy everything. And then we shopped at HEB. Then we went to the Bakery Cafe, across the street for lunch. I had heard good things about it. Paul had breakfast there once and said it was only ok. It was hopping with locals, they had a big menu, lots of Mexican foods, but I chose to have the chicken fried steak, voted "Best In the Area." It was very good, made with real cube steak, good gravey, sides of country fries, sauteed chunks of real potatoes, and stewed okra! I was feeling like a local perched there on a swivel stool at the counter, so I chowed down the orka. It is not like Campbell's canned Gumbo okra. It was cut in larger pieces and there were lots of seeds. It was firmer. The sauce might have been a chicken broth with a red tinge of color and flavor, or it might have been mild spices. Very different yet familiar. Then we got red jello with a dab of reddi whip on top. Just like mom used to make! Is it 1961 yet?

When we got back to the ferry we saw 25 or more large red fish, surface feeding near the ferry. They we at least 35 inches long. I know because while we are at Roberts Landing Park a guy caught a 31 inch, 35 pound Black Drum. He had to throw it back because it was so large, before throwing it in he had to puncture it and press the air out of its body, or else it would just float and die.

Adding a picture of the spoonbills that are in the park. They are the large pink birds. Sorry I coudn't get closer. The birds are all jumpy.