Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dine Around on a beautiful day.

Monday turned out to be a beautiful day, high 70s, clear and sunny, big surf. We walked in the morning and just sat in the afternoon. This is such unusual weather for us, at least 20 degrees above normal. No seaweeds or junk on the beach. We have had the clear jelly fish all along, and now we are seeing Portugese Man O'War washing in.

We went with Rick and Shirlene to the Dine Around here in town. We had heard good things about it in the past, lots of good food at each restaurant, usually their specialities. Three places had gumbo, each one hotter than the last. Except for two 12 year old boys on bikes, this was all Winter Texans participating, and it is well known that they don't like the hot stuff. So I don't know what that was all about but it won't bring in business. We really liked the ribs at the Crazy Cajun, and crab cake at the Pelican Landing. And we will for sure eat there soon. We had fun, of course, and without eating much, were very, very full. We had wondered about the brew pub, they advertised the wonderful pizza, but the sample was ample. Still haven't found real pizza here. We will try it at the Spaghetti and Seafood Place.

One thing nice about restaurants here is that they will cook your fish or steaks. You take your meat or fish in, pay for the sides and tip the cook, and they do the cooking for you. Nice because there isn't room for company in your rigs.

Paul is going out fishing with James and some other guys on his fishing boat soon. Everyone pitches in for gas for the boat. He can go out 60 miles, most winter Texans just fish in the channel or on the shore or jetty, versus going out in the gulf. He specializes in shark, and Ward and Michelle's daughter, Megan caught a 7'2" hammerhead shark last summer. James is a charter boat captain with his boat in the summer season. Paul wants to have some fish to take friends out and have it cooked. I would like to bring some home, especially amber jack!

Time to get out to the beach for a walk. This is our last nice day for awhile, got some 60s and clouds rolling in for Wednesday.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Jan. 25, 2009, Our 40th Wedding Anniversary!

And it was a cool and breezy day, mid 60's and got warmer after sunset. We drove to church in our golf cart on the beach. Then we went to Quizmos for subs. By 12:30 we were sitting in Bernie's with red beer and diet coke. The owner was behind the bar and he is pretty nice. Then two ladies came in, both bartenders in town and they started pounding down the beer and vodka. they were so nice and funny. One had the same accent and smile and gestures as Marisa, and Brenda's sense of humor. We love this red neck town, it is like Clare x 31 (the number of bars here). Really, Brenda, you can't get here soon enough.

Note: our Catholic Church here in Port Aransas has 86 families, there are 31 bars in town. Sure sign of a tourist town.

Then we got back home about 3 pm. I saw James walking his dog early Sunday morning so I knew that he and Roma were back at the park. They had been up near Fort Worth since early Dec. James's dad was real sick. I had missed her so much! She is such a sweetie. We dropped in for a visit, she loves our golf cart and wants to buy it. I told Paul that someone would want it. We can just get a new one every year and take it down. Everyone gives us compliments on it. They cost a lot more in Texas and aren't as cool.

Just before 5 pm, Rick and Shirlene picked us up and we went to Bernie's, the local band, Tumble Dry Low was playing. Last Sunday a lot of our friends from the park went there to dance. There was about 30 folks there. There had to have been double that this week, and they played for 4 hours. It is mostly older country songs, and a little rock and roll. We have to practice our two step. Winter Texans were by far the majority at the bar with a few youngsters around the fringe. They all had amused looks on their faces, and then seemed surprised at the skill of some of the dancers. We have some really good dancers, some tall, some round, all light on their feet. It was great business for the bar, winter is pretty slow here. In the summer it is packed, they have 6 security people when it is busy. Keeping the kids out and keeping the peace.

So we had burgers and fries there. Very good. Tonight, Monday, we are going on the "Dine Around" here in town. Many of the restaurants have samples of their best dishes, and beer of course. With Rick and Shirlene. It will be fun and tasty.

Another note: down here in Texas and in Oklahoma, folks take their dress jeans to the dry cleaners and have them starched and ironed. That explains why they look so good.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Moby Dick Revisited

Rick and Shirlene and Paul and I went out to dinner at Moby Dick's on Thursday night. I was just sick of cooking. Couldn't even think of anything to cook. And that was a great idea. We had each been to Moby Dick's once, time to go again. It is a very interesting restaurant, full of real fish in tanks and huge fish hanging from the ceiling, and boats and traps and all kinds of kitschy things, highlighted with blinking lights.

We all got specials of the day. I got bar-b-que shrimp, with a sweet and sour type of sauce on it, the rest got the ribs. Everything was great. The cole slaw was wonderfully fresh and creamy, it tasted like it had whipped cream in it. The potato was equally good, very creamy and since this is the south it had relish in it.

Shirlene and I have been talking about potato salad recently and her favorite is made with mashed potatoes, with all the regular additions. She can even use the premade refrigerated mashed potatoes. How easy would that be? I can't wait to try it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Dime Bingo

Last night was our second and, sadly, our last night at Dime Bingo. Rick and Shirlene are great friends and very fun so I hate to not go with them, but damn, someone is going to get hurt! It is a toss up as to who is worse, the old fart calling the cards who thinks he is funny, or the obnoxious people playing the game.

The game itself is easy and would be fun for kids. You take a deck of cards and divide it into 4 parts, 13 cards for each person. You lay it out on the table in suits so you can see them. This is a social game, everyone can see your cards and poke you when you miss one. The dealer tells you how many dimes to put in a cup to pass up front, from one to three. Then he tells you what cards, if any, to put into the pile. Like all your hearts, or 8s and Aces, or face cards, etc. Then he draws a card, one at a time. The person with that card throws it into the pile. It can be fun, a good drinking game. Easy and the first person to toss all the cards wins the dimes. In one version, everyone stands up, when you get a card called, you sit down. The last one standing is the winner.

I wanted to go with Shirlene to play, she loves the game, and Paul wanted to get be out of the motor home at night. But it isn't happening for us.

Our Best January Ever

With apologies to our northern friends, this has been our best Texas January ever. This pic is from Sunday, and Monday was even nicer, highs up in the 80s and only about 6 inch rollers on the gulf. I took the cart to the beach about 1 and got home just before 3. Walked in the sun for over an hour. Wanted to lay out in my suit but it was just too hot. Chatted up a nice lady who grew up in Michigan and is new to our park. We have lots of new, younger people this year. A good thing. Terry and Mary, from MN have started coming to our happy hours at Rex and Nellie's, early 50s, nice to meet them. Our friends are also starting to go out to Bernie's on Sunday nights for dancing. A very good local band has started to play there. Yay, fun stuff. We will go next Sunday. On our 40th anniversary.

Monday, January 19, 2009


Good question, glad you asked. After spending four winters in Texas we finally stopped at Whataburger for a snack. We took the golf cart to Port A and I had a snack attack. Tried the drive through and got the Whataburger Jr. at $1.75. It was extremely tasty, it seemed to be fried on a grill like a bar burger. It had lots of mustard, a large amount of fresh and tasty lettuce and tomato with onion and pickles. The quality of the beef was good and it had that great tang of salt in the first bite.

Not being satisfied with that amount of testing, we hit it again after church on Sunday. This time Paul got the JustaBurger for $.99, it is the same size as the Jr. but has mustard, pickles and onions. We are puzzled over the mustard thing and ordered ketchup instead. I tried the regular Whataburger at $2.49, sans mustard. We were both satisfied with our burgers. The unsweetened ice tea is good too. I just looked at the web site and in a detailed and to scale drawing it indicates that the Whataburger has 3 tomato slices and 4 pickle slices. Good to know. And they are made to order, which we suspected, as we had to wait and they were hot. Here is the link http://www.whataburger.com/browse_the_menu.php

Found this on Wikipedia: "On May 6, 1999, the company's flagship "Whataburger by the Bay" opened on Shoreline Drive in Corpus Christi, Texas. A tribute to founder Harmon Dobson, this flagship store boasts 6,000 square feet, water views, and a life-size bronze statue of Mr. Dobson near the entrance at the bay side." Field trip coming up.

Texas pals heartly endorse the Jalapeno Whataburgers but they aren't on the menu now, maybe they save it for Lent or something. The company is privately owned and headquarted in Corpus Christi, which whould explain the Whataburger on every block.

I think our next gourmet excursion will be to the Texas Stop Sign, the Dairy Queen. Our young Texas friend, Carlie, loves their burgers. Sounds like a snack attack occasion.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Preview of Coming Events

Coming soon! A detailed study of Dime Bingo with rules and details.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Week in Review: Hodge Podge

This week was supposed to be cold and windy and rainy. It is 61 degrees and calm and cloudy at 7 am. Not exactly a hardship. We had mostly sun, no rain, and even temps up in the 70s, walked on the beach every day except when we went to Corpus and walked in the stores and on Friday when the winds were over 20 mph. We were driving through sand drifts on the beach. We soldiered on and made it to the bars in Port A.

Talked with Jean Villa and Tony Boyle in Detroit area, Cyndi in Milan, Shirley in Clare, Roger up north, Mark in NY, Priscilla down the road. They are all awash in snow and wind and icy cold. We are worried about all our northern connections and want you to button up and don't slip and fall on the ice. You guys are having some seriously scary weather.

We keep hearing about how much people are enjoying their Wii games and Wii fit. We played with Steff's on summer vacation, bowling and golf and tennis. It is so real, I got sore just like I was playing golf. Yesterday when we got to Bernie's Bar there was a crowd of a dozen plus Winter Texans playing Wii Bowling and drinking. Just like the real game. Lots of hooting and hollering going on. It was fun just to watch.

I can't talk about poker.

I made an amazing food discovery recently. You know those flat, round frozen Steinhower Sizzle Steaks in grocery stores? I had some to use up and Paul suggested we stir fry them with broccoli and get some egg rolls. Good idea. I cut them up when they were still frozen and was alarmed that between the thin top and bottom layer of real beef slice there was something white about 1/4 inch thick. Strange, but I threw it all in the pan and it all turned out browned and looked like regular meat. It was tender and tasty and even had a normal texture. ??? A mystery but excellent for stir fry.

I had a kitchen incident while stir frying: the oil in the frying pan was just heating when the tin foil box fell out of the cupboard over the stove top and hit the pan handle, flinging oil all over the kitchen floor and stove and counter top. Lucky it wasn't hot yet, but what a mess. I was pissed. Paul threw rugs over it so we wouldn't fall and a good wash with dish soapy water took care of it. When I got over my mad, a few days later.

We ran out of strawberry freezer jam this week. Decided to make some and picked up a big plastic box of strawberries, Driscol, at Sams Club. Expected the usual hollow, dry and tasteless berry. So very wrong, they were huge and jucy and tasty. The jam is excellent. They were from Florida. My mom always said the berries in Florida were more flavorful when they had a frost on them. Whatever, I approve. We ate a lot of them too, am thinking we can blame Paul's rash on them.

That appears be all the boring minutiae that I can remember. Oh, I really, really, miss all my wonderful, intelligent, women friends in Michigan. Wish you were here. Actually, I miss my friends who are in Florida too, but am happy that they are someplace warm. And my OK friends, one is sick and the other in in Tulsa.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Our First Skype

On Sunday afternoon I took the computer up to the Rec Hall, where they have a strong wireless signal, and set up the camera for the first time and Skyped Julie and Sean. It wasn't the best picture, broke up a bit. I think that it needs a big internet line. The sound was drowned out by the noise in the hall. Line dancing lessons were going on, with music, plus it was our group's happy hour.

None the less, it was great to see Patrick eating a cookie and Megan came over to say hi and Anna slide in for a second too. It was delightful. I can't wait to see Charlie and Julia when they get hooked up with Skype. Andrea called me this week and Julia said "Hi Grandma" and some other things, her voice is getting stronger and louder.

Julie posted a picture on her blog of Patrick. I am trying to put it up. Done. Also a picture of Julia in her monkey pjs.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tuesday at The Big Fisherman

On the mainland, just north of Aransas Pass, there is a restaurant out in the sticks that must serve more dinners than any other place for 30 miles. And that is just on Tuesdays. Their Tuesday lunch special is chicken fried steak, fried gizzards or fried livers with real mashed potatoes and southern gravy, coleslaw, roll and soup, for $2.25. All you can eat. And the food is pretty good. Margaritas and beer are a dollar. Four of us ate and drank for $13.50.

The line is long but it goes quite fast. The quality control there is impressive, they serve around 5,000 meals on Tuesday for lunch and they were good. Imagine the mountain of mashed potatoes alone.

I took a beach walk when we got home and was surprised to find the gulf very quiet and calm and beautiful, the quietest I have ever seen it here. They said it would be rainy and cloudy today, glad they were wrong.
Yay! Lots of good walking weather coming up.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


There was a big article in the Caller-Times today about a woman who just completed her "Big Year" and spotted 723 different species of birds in North America. This should make her number two on the all time ABA list in the approved area. She quit on Dec. 27 because she couldn't think of any other birds she can get to. She put 39,000 miles on her car plus flew all over. She hasn't added up her miles traveled or money spent yet.

We enjoy watching the birds down here. Lots of birds, often people see over 100 different species in a day. This would be obsessive compulsive people. We have vowed to see the Whooping Cranes this year, there are 4 more than last year!!
The pic of 4 birds shows the only pair that brought down twin birds this year, note the babies look bigger than the parents.

Friday, January 2, 2009

New Year's Day

It is a southern custom to eat black eyed peas and ham for good luck in the new year. The Gaff has a "Pea Cook Off." Of course we had to go. Susan entered the contest. Her recipe was delicious. Some pots were very spicy, some were bland, some were just right. Beth won first place and $60 with her recipe. She is originally from New York, she sure became a first class Texan! She had been experimenting for some time. She used the canned beans, Rotel tomatoes with chilies, a ham bone, and bacon. I forget what else. They were very tasty. A young guy made a big pot that was quite a favorite, he put them in tiny cups and called them pea shooters. There were several plates of corn bread too, my favorite had sweet corn and chilies in it.

There was a band playing during this contest. Every so often someone would join them on stage to sing, play harmonica, or play the guitar and sing that song that they wrote in the 60s, or at least as much as they could remember, it was the 60s after all. They passed the hat for donations. They were actually quite good. Sang songs I have heard on the radio and they sounded just the same.
Pics: Beth and her Pea award. Me in the crowd, da band. As you can see the dress code is relaxed.

New Year's Eve

We went out for New Year's Eve! This must have been the first time in -- I don't know, maybe ever. We consider it Amateur Night. Javiar and Susan wanted us to go to the Gaff, his boss and the Gaff owner planned a party and we all brought food. Sean had two big smokers going and cooked racks of ribs, chicken, the sausage we brought, baked beans, and lots of munchies. The private party and food was all set up outside in the patio area, the same place where the belt sander races are run. Everything was very delicious, but it was colder than a well digger's butt.
The top pic is Paul and Javiar snacking. Then Susan, Javiar and me mowing down the ribs. You can tell how much fun I am having by the way I am hunched down in my parka. Bottom pic is Sean tasting some ribs.

Susan picked up up and we called a cab to get home. Didn't want to have the golf cart on the beach that late. Turned out it wasn't that late, we left at 10:30. It was too cold outside and too smokey in the bar. I could have stayed if it was warmer, Paul was a good sport. More later.