Thursday, January 28, 2010

Deli Depot, DVR and Manny, Moe & Jack Frost

My friend Marilynn's creative jewelry

Thursday, January 28, I'm up at 7:00. By the time I get my coffee, open the blinds and settle into my Euro chair, the digital picture frame is open for business today. I turn it to a vertical mode and watch the whole thing in 'random'--always interesting.

I check email, we have a light breakfast, and I go for a walk. Cable guys in two trucks by the trash tell Paul, the owner, they fixed four breaks in the cable. Maybe our TV reception will be better (but no, when I return home it's still fuzzy.) I stretch and get cleaned up. Bob goes fishing on this last warm morning before the Big Chill sets in. The low was 60 degrees last night! That's coming to an abrupt halt tonight according to the weatherman. The high gets to 67 on this cloudy day with strong winds out of the south. The fish like it as Bob reports catching eight bass.

I take pictures of my Smithville friend Marilynn's jewelry. I'm so impressed by her creativity and her pieces are very reasonably priced. This morning I left her a voice message about lunch Sat. at Morelia's. My project for the day is to sew the Velcro strips on to the back of Glenda's Winter wall hanging. As I sew away, Marilynn calls to say she's coming on Saturday and I should bring her jewelry. I get two of the three Velcro strips sewn on when Bob returns. We break for lunch.

Marilynn combines Tiger Eye and African turquoise in this stunning set

At Deli Depot we both have the daily special; beef tips--mostly because it comes with their heavenly Italian Creme Cake. We get a newspaper out front and then stop at Best Buy on the way home to purchase the Panasonic DVR that is still on sale. The smallest box of RW discs they have is 25 so we spent the savings on the DVDs. Anyway, this will give Bob something to do over the next 2 or 3 days of the Big Chill.

Back home I sew on the final strip. Then we read the paper for a bit. Now we're ready to hang Manny, Moe and Jack Frost above the front door. Well, actually we don't have a back door, or a side door! The Frost Brothers look so cute--don't you think?

Glenda calls around 5:00. She returned home from Depot duty in Elgin to find our package from SteadyFast on her front porch. That was fast! If I had looked at the tracking site, or my email today I would have seen that it was delivered. We'll watch the weather and figure out if we'll go up to her place tomorrow to pick it up or wait until we go to Morelia's on Saturday. It weighs 39 pounds!

Bob loads Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg pictures on the digital picture frame to see if it can read separate folders. No, it just runs through them all. That's no problem--they are all great to view. We had Stuffed Cabbage Stoup for dinner and it just gets better every day. It's 6:30 p.m. and 66 degrees with 77% humidity. The front is out in the panhandle causing sleet and snow. Not supposed to be any of that here but some severe thunderstorms may come through during the night.

Manny, Moe & Jack Frost aboard The Titanic!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Storage Unit, Contact Lenses, Rings and Sherlock's


Wednesday, January 27, I'm up at 7:30. How sad to begin my day washing two sinks full of dishes from last night's stoup assembly. I didn't want to wait for the water to heat up after we were finished with our cooking last night. Sometimes it's hard to remember to fire up the water heater BEFORE you need it.

There's a flea market in the living room as yesterday we packed up and gathered everything we want to drop off at our storage unit. Bob loads it into Big Bertha and we're off at 10:00. We go west on 71, miss the exit ramp to nowhere at I-35, bat-turn at Congress and go south on I-35. We quickly unloaded our storage items and stuffed them inside. Bob immediately nixed our idea of trying to find three things in specific boxes we wanted. We know exactly which number box but it was daunting to think of moving them all to get to the ones we wanted. We didn't need anything that badly!

Next we go back to Ben White Blvd. to the Wal-Mart but find no space heaters. Another freeze is predicted for the next two or three nights. I did find sew-on Velcro for Glenda's Winter wall hanging. We go west on 71 and missed the exit (not marked) for MoPac. It's been too long and we didn't remember we really needed to take 360. I guess Austin is becoming as foreign to us as all the rest of the cities we visit in our travels. Finally we get on MoPac north to FM 2222 (or 'four twos and Loop 1' as our friend Donna called it many years ago when she was visiting and got turned around in Austin.)

I hopped in to the optical place to pick up my contacts while Bob walked to the corner gas station for a paper. I popped my contacts in. The right one was burning like crazy; maybe from the solution they were shipped in. I get some drops from the helpful fellow taking care of me and all is well. I'm seeing perfectly out of the right one but that left one is blurry. I set an appointment for Dr. U on 2/8 (she's only in on Monday and Thursday.)

Next we stop on Anderson and I pick up my rings ($97 for repairs and resizing.) Then we decide to try Sherlock's Baker St. Pub & Grill at 183 and Burnet Rds. We ate at one in Edmond, OK, but it was just called Baker St. Pub & Grill (no Sherlock.) You can read about that location on my journal for April 16, 2008 on my Earthlink homepage On the Road 8 x 30; 24 x 7 The Sherlock's here in Austin is new this year. Bob got a Kilian's Red for $1.75 for 23 oz. I share it. I tried the Scotch Egg appetizer (hard boiled egg, wrapped in sausage and bread then deep fried; served with hot mustard and pickle relish made with balsamic vinaigrette.) I add a bowl of chicken tortilla soup. Bob tries their pot pie.

We stop at Target at Peyton Gin but they sold out all of their space heaters. We're home by 2:30 and settle in with the paper. Bob reads up on creating 'albums' on the digital picture frame. It's 6:15 p.m. and 65 degrees with 64% humidity. The high was 68 and it was cloudy all day after a low of 53. Tonight is Obama's State of the Union Address. I spend a couple of hours catching up on journal pages since Saturday. Bob and I are vying for computer time now that he is in picture mode.

Morelia's and Stuffed Cabbage Stoup

Tuesday, January 26, I woke up at 7:15 on a board. The digital picture frame came on at 7:30 (Bob changed the timer to come on one hour earlier last night) so I knew what time it was when I woke up without having to hunt up my glasses.) I checked email and while sending some messages my friend Jean from Austin called about 9:00. She is having a domestic maintenance issue that came up right before her three week trip to South America so she cancels our lunch today. We'll reschedule her tour of The Titanic on our next trip through Central Texas. I'm glad we were able to get together with her before the holidays this year.

Dr. M's office calls to reschedule my 2/4 appointment. It is a day of changes. But now we have a free agenda for the day. I clean up breakfast and take a walk and stretch (On my walk I saw Marilynn's brother Jim, who lives here in the RV Park, on his bike but he kept on a peddling when I said hi.) Bob loads Chihuly glass art pictures on to the digital picture frame.

A cool front came through so it only gets to 68 today in spite of clear blue sunny skies. Bob and I head to Elgin where our first stop is lunch at Morelia's. I had to have the Bianca Tilapia. Bob has tilapia with shrimp and crab meat. Then we head on to our bank in Elgin for a payment. And finally we stop at Elgin Hardware (no longer Ace) for an outside plumbing fitting Bob needs. Back to Bastrop HEB (we like it better than Elgin's HEB) for ingredients for Rachael Ray's Stuffed Cabbage Stoup recipe that Glenda shared with us. What a great, savory recipe (Google lets us know we can substitute tarragon instead of coriander, saving us $5.79 and another big spice jar!) This makes a huge pot of stoup. The first glass of tea gets knocked over on our new living room carpet. The Scotch Guard must still be good because you can't see a trace of it.

We watch NCIS, NCIS LA, and White Collar. Bob records The Good Wife after a weird occurrence with the old VCR. It won't accept mm/dd/10 for 2010. So he puts in 01/26/99 to get a Tuesday and we can record. Who in the world and why in the world did they program it not to accept the year 2010. It takes all dates before Y2K and it took 2001 through 2009. Very strange. It's 9:25 p.m. and 56 degrees with 41% humidity. The low was 42.

Bob vs. DPF--New Chihuly's; Reet vs. Convection Oven

Monday, January 25, up at 8:00, light breakfast, walk, stretch. Bob goes through six years of pictures to resize and load all of our Dale Chihuly glass art shots on the memory stick for the digital picture frame (DPF). I vacuum and clean house after I get on-line to send emails. Jo sent her Mexican Corn Chowder recipe. How nice!

We break for lunch and head to home depot for a dowel for Glenda's Winter wall-hanging. We get a paper at Shell (some lady Home Health worker is look for Old Bastrop Hwy and Schafer off of that so it's a while before I get out of there.) We continue on to the driving range. I did better today with my Merrill hiking shoes on. My neuroma on my toes doesn't hurt as much.

Back home I make Ghirardelli Symphony Brownie Muffins for Jean's visit tomorrow. I love my new convection oven. The high is 63 degrees today and it is 71 inside the RV but I get no heat gain after running the convection oven at 325 degrees for a half an hour. The low was 40 this morning and a cold front is headed our way. It's 4:50 p.m. and 63 degrees with 21% humidity. The sunset is a beauty and I run outside just in time to capture it.

Another Burnt Orange Sunset over Bastrop, TX

Bob vs. Recliner; Colts and Saints Win!

Glenda has Manny, Moe and Jack Frost hanging in her den when we arrive.
Sunday, January 24, I walk, stretch and make queso dip. We pack up and head to Glenda's at 1:15. She has our Winter quilted wall hanging done. It is hanging in her den. I just love Manny, Moe & Jack Frost!

She remembered to print the Stuffed Cabbage Stoup and Double Fudge Cake with Chocolate Buttercreme Frosting recipes for me! Bob adds new batteries to Donnella, Glenda's new 'pet' that breathes--very creepy! We look at patterns and pictures for a Spring quilted wall hanging. The first game at 2:00 is Jets vs. Colts. The Colts start slowly but prevail in the end. Glenda's son Dan calls with sad news that his wife Cherly lost her grandfather so they are still in Centralia, IL, on their way back to NY. Bob plays with Glenda's digital picture frame while she's on the phone.

At half time we break out queso, tortilla chips, Fritos (I'm a Frito Bandito!), veges and honey mustard dip. Between the two games Bob goes through the digital picture frame menu with her and has Glenda choose frame and other settings. While they're at it, she chooses a burgandy mat and he changes her matting for her.

Bob guides Glenda through digital picture frame menu during half-time.

The second game starts at 5:40; Vikings vs. Saints. This turns out to be a very close game that goes back and forth with the scoring. The Saints win in overtime after Glenda downs extra Tylenol and blood pressure meds. We pack up and hit the road around 9:30. Glenda says her son John and his friend Andy will get here at 9:30 in the morning to work on her job list. It was a fun day again enjoying football and food with our friend Glenda. Bob had a couple of rounds with Glenda's recliner and it wore him out!

Back home we read the paper we picked up at Chevron on the way to Glenda's. I'm still working the crossword in bed at 12:45 when I pass out.

Donnella gets new life breathed into her.

Green Chai Cafe, Jewelry, Mexican Corn Chowder and Train

Bill, Jo and Beau show off Chalet Camper
Saturday, January 23, our morning routine is a quick one as my friend Marilynn comes by for a tour of The Titanic around 11:30. I did manage to get some early morning ironing in and chop my veges for tonight. And I called Glenda to talk about football and food tomorrow. I'm glad to hear she's joining us at The Stowe's this evening after her afternoon baby shower for Donna's grandchild. Marilynn pulls up out front and calls out "Nice color truck" from the window of her matching Chevy! Bob is 'down under' hanging our new ladder from the ceiling of the storage compartment.

I give Marilynn the tour. She surprises me with a KGSR CD "Broadcast Vol. 17." I love those; so much different, new music on one CD. Bob comes in as Marilynn spies our new digital picture frame. She can't believe the Chihuly pictures were taken by us in our travels. She asks Bob if he can help her assemble a stationary bike stand that has come into her possession without an instruction manual. She'll bring it by for him to look at.

We leave Bob to his work 'down under' and head to Green Chai Cafe (it used to be overlooking the Colorado River downtown Bastrop) now located in the old Cajun place with the cute courtyard just east of Maxine's. We both have the Melissiama Flatbread pizza (mozzarella, spinach, tomato, Parmesan, feta, onion, pesto, and black olives.) It has a delightfully thin crust and great cheese. Marilynn adds a Caesar Salad. I splurge on hazelnut soy latte.

Dan, Joyce, Glenda, Jo and Beau tour the A-liner camper-Love the Texas wheelbarrow yard art in the background!

Marilynn brings in all of her jewelry that she has been making. She had a trip last year to Phoenix to a show where she purchased the most amazing stones. I am speechless at her creativity. Lots of oohing and aahing as she gives me five or six of the two dozen sets of necklaces and earrings to take home so I can find the perfect match for my flowered skirt I plan to wear to a spring wedding. We have a leisurely lunch and catch up on news. Robin, a young lady who helps with her pet boarding business, has moved into her guest room as a boarder.

I walk down in front of Maxine's to get a paper and then we stop at Sugar Shack by the River to browse the gifts and candy. I get a couple of truffles for Bob and me. Marilynn finds some good-looking sugar-free versions.

Next we head on to Coffee Dog on Hwy. 71 but it closed at 2:00 (it is now 2:06.) This is just like old times with us bumming around. I sure miss my pal. She drops me off at the RV Park and says she'll bring her bike rack for Bob to check out. I will check out the movie times and get back to her.

Bob is done with the ladder. I read the paper and around 4:30 we head to Jo and Bill's in Cedar Hills, our old neighborhood. It's funny that we never were at their place when we lived here in Elgin. We got to know them after we went on the road full-time. They have a gorgeous home that they built here. Jo meets us at the front door. Beau, their cute little white dog, greets us as well. Jo has quite a flair for decorating and we enjoy seeing their lovely home. Shortly after he retired, Bill made the kitchen cabinets out of mesquite and tiger-eye maple. Joyce and Dan soon arrive and we all to out to tour Jo and Bill's Chalet A-liner camper as Glenda arrives.

Jo, Glenda, Bob and Bill enjoy Mexican Corn Chowder

They have made some nice modifications to their camper. This A-liner has way more room than when Bob and I saw them way back during our Casita days. It sure made me homesick for our little Casita camper and all the great times we had in it.

We all go back inside to enjoy a great Mexican Corn Chowder with chunks of fresh avocado on top. Tomato Basil bread and corn bread accompany my veges. Joyce brought a great dessert. We play Mexican Train with their new Canadian domino set until 9:30. Joyce went home to their place to get her new little puppy, Titch. What a cutie! It was a fun evening. In fact, the whole day was a delight--spent with good friends.

Bob and I get home by 10:00 and I have time to work the crossword. The high was 74 degrees after a low of 48.

Titch helps Jo play the correct domino!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Hairport

Friday, January 22, I'm up early at 6:45 a.m. I stare at digital picture frame in the dark living room while sipping my coffee. Very soothing. After a light breakfast I dig my Merrill hiking boots out from 'down under' to see if they give me relief from the new neuroma on my foot. It's always something. So I go for a walk for the first time in two weeks. The thick soles on the hiking boots help. Feels more like a bruise rather than a stabbing pain. I run into the camp host out for her walk and we match pace for a few hundred yards to her place. She is at the end of a successful weight loss and looks fantastic.

Back home my friend Marilynn in nearby Smithville returns my call. She will pick me up here for lunch tomorrow at Chai Cafe in Bastrop. That way she'll get to tour The Titanic. I pack up some excess boxes this morning (ones Glenda gave us for our upcoming trip to the storage unit and our new Sony box from the digital picture frame.) It's a hard thing to keep boxes in an RV. We hold on to them for a bit until we're sure we don't have to mail something back. But eventually it all has to go. I wrap a present and send an article on the nesting eagles out by Llano to some RV friends.

Bob puts new line on his fishing reel in case he gets a chance to fish later with this great warm weather. Unfortunatley when he gets his line and equipment out from the sub-basement he discovers a pool of water. After lunch he will investigate where it came from. What a bummer.

We do a drive-by of The Hairport on Chestnut in Bastrop as I would love to get my hair cut (with apologies to my stylist in Austin but I can't justify driving 40 miles one-way in our 2500 HD truck.) So I stop in and Carmen has a cancellation and can take me now or at 3:00. I opt for 3:00. Bob and I go to lunch at Maxine's. Our fun waitress talks us into a three-layer chocolate cake (you know that was a tough sell.) First Bob enjoys the chicken-fried pork chop special and I get to try the fried green tomato BLT. I would have preferred more fried green tomatoes and less 'B' but it was good.

On to HEB for fruit, veges and ingredients for Journey's End Vegetable Soup. This has always been one of our favorite soups. It calls for a lot of ingredients and requires quite a bit of chopping but it is worth it. Once you have about half of the ingredients they are always on hand and you just need to pick up the fresh veges.

We just have time to get home and stow the groceries and I have to hop in Big Bertha and head off to my hair appointment. Carmen is ready for me and we have a nice visit after she reads my card and figures out a plan of attack. She lived in San Antonio until a year ago January when she married again after being a widow for quite a few years. She met Mr. Right and followed him to Austin (she drives to Bastrop to this salon.) She misses her long-term clients from her shop in San Antonio but still sees them when she goes back to visit her parents. She says she does several RV ladies in the area.

I stop to get a watch battery and go next door to Beall's to replace my PJ top that was torn in the laundry yesterday. Then I get the Arts section of the newspaper that was stolen out of the copy we bought earlier at HEB.

When I get back to the RV park around 5:00 Bob is fishing at the pond. But the RV smells like heaven as he made Journey's End Soup while I was gone. What a guy! Here's the recipe--don't let the long list of ingredients scare you off--after all, even Bob can do it!

Journey’s End Vegetable Soup (from Bon Appetit!)

Makes 9 cups

Cook following 10 ingredients in ¼ cup bacon drippings until vegetables are soft; about 8 minutes:

½ cup peeled and diced carrot
½ cup diced onion
¼ tsp. Dried oregano
¼ tsp. Italian seasoning
1/8 tsp. Dried basil
1/8 tsp. Dried thyme
1/8 tsp. Dried Rosemary
1 garlic clove, minced
1 bay leaf

Add next 11 ingredients:

7 cups beef stock
1 cup canned peeled whole tomatoes (16 oz.) I chop or puree them.
2/3 cup peeled and diced potato
1/3 cup peeled and diced turnip
¼ cup cooked red kidney beans
¼ cup cooked navy or lima bean (I use a small can of lima beans and skip the kidney beans if I have no way to use the rest of the can)
2 tbsp. Macaroni
1 tbsp. Chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp. Barley
1 tbsp. Green split peas
1 tbsp. Lentils
Salt and pepper to taste

Cover and cook 40 minutes
Add 1 cup chopped spinach and ½ cup chopped cabbage.
Cook 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

I relax and read the paper with a big glass of iced coffee. Then Bob and I enjoy big bowls of Journey's End Soup with oyster crackers. That's right I had iced coffee as the high was 74 degrees today after a low of 50 this morning. It's 8:36 p.m. and the humidity is 74%.

Laundry, Wax, Deli Depot and Driving Range

Sony Digital Picture Frame with Dale Chihuly glass on random
Thursday, January 21, I'm up at 8:10, just in time to see the digital picture frame come on automatically at 8:30! We love our new toy. It is set on random and is kind of mesmerizing; like watching a fireplace. It has some weird clock glitch when it is on random; the analog clock goes to the time/date that the picture was taken. We'll have to investigate that.

After Crispy Thingies for breakfast Bob waxes the front cap of the RV (now that we know Glendale will not be solving our clear coat problem.) I snap a picture of his shadow on the roof as I sort four loads of laundry in the bedroom. The jewelers call while I'm sorting clothes to tell me my rings are ready. I tote laundry baskets down to the laundry room and read my book while Bob is slaving away on the ladder. It is a gorgeous day with a high of 74 after a low of 51 degrees.

Bob gets cleaned up when he's done waxing and arrives in time to help me fold and cart it all back home. We dump the laundry inside and drive to Deli Depot in downtown Bastrop for lunch. We both have the special of the day; pork chops, mashed potatoes, veges, a great sourdough bread and Italian Creme Cake. We grab our go boxes and get a newspaper out front. Back home we still have to stow the laundry. I get on-line to send emails, research Panasonic DVRs (Bob was looking at one at Best Buy last night--do you think we can cause them to go bankrupt?) One thing leads to another. We finally ended our digital photo frame search and got hooked on DVRs.

We take a break to go to the driving range. It is so warm today we work up quite a sweat. Back home in the heavy Hwy 71 traffic to settle down with the paper. We have leftovers for dinner.l I smile every time I see the Chihuly glass art scrolling by on our digital photo frame. It's 5:56 p.m. and 69 degrees with 30% humidity. This is why we go south in the winter! The cedar count is supposed to be high today and even higher tomorrow but it is not bothering either of us yet.

Bob in a Kopopelli pose waxing the front cap of The Titanium

I'm still reeling a bit from Glendale's demise. Basically we lost a year of our two-year warranty. The Beauty, our first Lakota travel trailer for 5 years of our journey)was manufactured by Monaco Coach. They went bankrupt a few years back but we were already out of warranty by then. So parts are the main issue after that. Bob will have to MacGyver things in his usual fashion. I'm so lucky to have the advantage of his knowledge, skills and expertise!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wax On; Wax Off

Gertrude gets gussied up for Valentine's Day
Wednesday, January 20, Bob decides to take advantage of a warm, cloudy day and wax the front and rear caps on The Titanic. These are the only areas they recommend waxing and ours looks a little dull in spots. Besides that he gets to try out his new ladder. The ladder is great, very steady. He's wondering if the 7-foot would have been better but it is so hard to find a place to store it. The waxing helps some areas but we may have to talk to them about a few spots that may have missed a clear coat finish when it was built. We hope to get the furnace fixed at a Glendale dealer on the Coast in February.

I take a few minutes to decorate for Valentine's and dress Gertrude in her red. I had planned to do laundry but realized we're out of quarters. So we finish the waxing and get cleaned up and head to Gracie's for lunch. Some gal in there had on risque jewelry if you can imagine that. We stop at Dollar General on the way home for sundries and score a newspaper out front. I have plenty of quarters now after stopping at the bank in downtown Bastrop.

We make one last stop at Best Buy and discover quite a sale on Sony Digital Picture Frames. We almost buy one but decide to go home and check out our USB card reader for my Sony camera to see if it will all work since this model doesn't have a USB port. I get on-line and research a few things. We eat some leftovers and talk it over and decide we've always liked the style of the Sony frame and the clock feature is important to us. So we'll give up the 2.0 USB port (it has the small USB port) since it is on sale for half price. Back to Best Buy in Bastrop. The great digital photo frame search is over.

I get on-line after we have leftovers and find an email from the RV stabilizer guy. He got the pictures we sent and it sounds like they are compatible with our RV. Unfortunately, we were shocked by an emailed forwarded to us from our friends Tom and Nan-Marie who we met in Ohio this summer. Our RV manufacturer has filed for bankruptcy! We should have gotten that furnace fixed sooner. Many of our RV friends have found themselves in this situation as dozens of manufacturers (old and new) have gone out of business in the past three years. Glendale has been in business for 60 years so you never know. Hopefully they can emerge from bankruptcy in a short period of time. I guess this morning as we were waxing the caps we really were just rearranging deck chairs on The Titanic!

It's 9:40 p.m. and 64 degrees with 78% humidity. The high was 74 and the low was 62.

Eyeballs and Lenses

Tuesday, January 19, I woke up on a board at 7:30 a.m. It is cloudy, very warm and humid with strong winds out of the south. I got a kick out of my friend Jean yesterday when she called the recent cold front Manitoba Mauler." We still don't have an email response from the RV stabilizer guy. Glenda sent me her friend's address so after breakfast I walked to the mailbox with a thank you card for her and a birthday card for my brother Jeff. I came back home to stretch. Then we got cleaned up and at 11:30 we head to Austin.

We have lunch at Mimi's on MoPac. It has been a while since we've been near a Mimi's. We shared Bob's blueberry muffin and took my buttermilk spice muffin home. Bob had the Asian Salad and I tried their new Country Brie Salad (apples, cranberries, pistachios, grilled chicken, balsamic vinaigrette and fried brie croutons.

After lunch we head across MoPac to Gateway Shopping Center to check out digital photo frames at Best Buy. We ran out of time and headed south on MoPac to 2222. We stopped at the ATM at our bank across the street and then on to the eye doctor. We both filled out paperwork, browsed the eyeglass frames and then they called me in about 20 minutes later than my scheduled appointment. All goes well. It is great to see Dr. M, my friend Anne-Marie's younger brother. I worked with her downtown when we first moved to Austin oh so many years ago. Dr. M was at Big Bend tent camping with his wife and three kids for a week at Christmas. He said it was gorgeous and they had snow one morning. He recommends both eye doctors at their location in Burnet if we decide to stop in out there while we're in Lampasas. And he rotates out there every six weeks.

I'm done and he very generously waives all co-pays. I head to the optical center to order contacts and glasses. This could get expensive. At least our health plan gives me a 20% discount on the contacts and pays for a portion of the frames and lenses. It should be delivered in two weeks. Bob finally emerges after his first visit with Dr. M. His eyes have just been dilated; mine have had a change to calm down so I drive home at 4:30. Traffic is heavy and I'm glad Bob suggested we stop on the way this morning to get a paper.

We're home by 5:30 and have some leftovers and read the paper. It's 7:58 p.m. and 69 degrees.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Rusty at the Driving Range

Monday, January 18, I sleep in until 9:00. I get busy and make Crispy Thingies since I bought all of the ingredients yesterday. I almost was able to make them in the convection oven without getting out the manual to preheat and set the oven. Maybe next time. I'm getting more comfortable with it. We have a Crispy Thingy for breakfast. Bob takes a shower and heads to Bastrop to get a haircut. I make a few phone calls and don't quite get the kitchen cleaned up and he's back home. I had a nice chat with my friend Marilyn near here in Smithville. We hope to get together this weekend.

He browses on-line for an RV stabilizer system (SteadyFast) he wants to order while we're here so we can have it delivered to Glenda's. I send an email to the guy who sells them to find out their compatibility with Glendale RVs. Then I get cleaned up and we go to Maxine's downtown for their Monday Pork Roast Special. It's not until we get down by the courthouse that I realize it is MLK Day. The whole downtown parking area is empty. Maxine's is hopping though. We can't resist the lemon pie today. It has mile-high whipped cream and is more like a custard than most lemon pie. I give it a 5-star rating.

Our waitress gives us change for the newspaper machine outside and we head home. My friend Jean from Austin calls and we make plans for lunch and a Titanic tour next Tuesday. Bob and I finally make it to the driving range. Wow, it's been quite a while since I hit a golf ball. The high got to 69 today so it is just nice to be outdoors. This was the first time Bob dug the golf clubs out from 'down under' and he said it wasn't too bad. We buy five dozen of the discount golf balls this guy sells at Bear Country driving range. Every year we cash in on that deal. When we get home they won't fit with the rest of our stash so we have to expand the golf equipment to another cabinet. That's serious!

I get on-line and work on journal pages and clear out three months worth of emails. It's 5:50 p.m. and 67 degrees with 59% humidity. The low was 45 degrees.

Blair Starts a Blog

Sunday, January 17, I slept like a rock after our fun night out. It is sunny and warm again with a low of 42 degrees. The high gets to 61 today. We have visions of going to the driving range. First we have a light breakfast even though we're out of Elaine's good bread. I stretch and run the vacuum then have a shower. I put out my flameless candles; the tall one in the bedroom and the two shorter ones in the kitchen. They look great. We go to Wal-Mart and find once-a-year wax for the RV caps, fruit and ingredients for Crispy Thingies. Wally-mart has a poor selection of digital photo frames. They must have gotten wiped out over the holidays. Back home we enjoy Lemon Pepper Broasted Chicken.

I have an email from my brother Mike regarding his Christmas purchase of a Kodak digital picture frame. He likes the battery option so you can pass it around the room; good point. Finally after we eat lunch I'm able to call my friend Blair in St. Louis. She got on-line while waiting for me to call and signed up for and set her profile for her blog that I promised to help her get started with. I took our laptop in the bedroom and got on the phone with her.

She cannot see the icons to edit text or add photos. We finally realize she needs to reply to her confirmation email. Now she can upload pics and publishes two posts! I go out to her site "hay lake regulars" on blogger.com and there it is! It looks great. She set her blog up by invitation only so if you're interested in following her account of our favorite fishing resort in the great state of Minnesota, let me know and I'll have her set you up. She posted winter snow pictures and it sure made me want to see Hay Lake at this time of year. We've only been there in the summer. However, I know we would not like the current temperatures.

Blair says it is warmer in St. Louis now than it was during the recent cold snap that caused us so much trouble here in Central Texas. She can keep the house at a comfortable temperature now with her heaters; like us, her furnace is not working--boy can we relate! It was fun to visit with her. When I get off the phone I realize the Vikings have slaughtered the Cowboys so Blair has another reason to celebrate.

It's 3:30 p.m. so Bob and I blow off the driving range as the second football game is just starting. The Jets advance against San Diego. We read the sun paper and work the crossword. Then we watch "Prestige" on Sy Fy (hate the new spelling.) I love Michael Caine, Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale in this "Twilight Zone kind of movie." I have leftover Morelia's for dinner. It's 9:45 p.m. and 52 degrees with 65% humidity.

Football with Glenda and Game Night

Flameless Candles!
Saturday, January 16, I slept in until 8:45. It is sunny and warm. This is more like it. It is so nice to see the sun after three days of rain. A really old Class A is in site #32 behind us. No wonder they fixed the broken water pipe so quickly. A scraggly older guy and a younger 20-something guy with him. They have so water or sewer hooked up,just electric and cable TV. Maybe because it was pouring rain when they arrived.

We have a light breakfast. I start a new book, "Patriot Pirates" by Robert H. Patton. Then I get on-line for a bit to work on journal pages. While on-line I look up Pizza Hut in Bastrop. They have a special going--any large pizza, any crust, any toppings for $10.00. We stop to pick up a Super Supreme ($10.83) on our way to Glenda's. The guy tried to give me two large pizzas for Bree. I kept saying "No, for Rita." We finally sorted it out.

Glenda has the table set and beverages ready when we arrive so we sit down and have pizza and veges with dip. Then Glenda has us look at the snowmen winter scene she is making for our wall-hanging. We had to make a critical decision about the border.

The football game is started and Arizona scores on the first play. Fortunately Glenda has Tivo. Unfortunately New Orleans slaughters the Cardinals and the game turns out to be very lopsided. Glenda's friend Helen went on a search and found flameless candles for me. I have been admiring Glenda's. They are perfect for RVing. They look like candles and are in fact coated with wax. But they are lighted by batteries. They actually flicker and glow like a real candle. And these are vanilla-scented. How nice of her to find them for me.

At half-time I guide Glenda through loading the Chihuly pictures I sent her onto her digital photo frame. She did a great job and they are quite colorful. At 7:00 we walk across the street to Mike and Delie's with three domino racks, a set of Mexican Train and my mini-flashlight. It is great to see everyone from our old neighborhood (Peggy and Michael, Joyce and Dan, Jackie, Debbie and Luis and Donna.) Dan had some dental work done this week and his face is black and blue. He retires early and walks home next door. I'm sorry I didn't get to talk to him more before he left. Joyce looks great after her latest hospital stay at the beginning of the year.

We drew numbers out of hat for tables and Joyce was at our table #1 in the kitchen so we got to visit, along with Delie, Luis, Donna, Joanne and Bill. Bob wins at our table; Donna and I take 2nd and 3rd. It looked like Luis would win but he had a series of bad rounds at the end.

Delie serves a yummy Black Forest Trifle that tasted as good as it looked. The other table #2 was still playing. Glenda wins over there! The Reids' home is so lovely. It was nice of them to include us in their gathering. Peggy and Michael will try to get with us for lunch on Wednesday of this week, or maybe next week if that doesn't work out. We walk back to Glenda's and bid her farewell around 10:30. What a fun day. We head home to our chilly RV. It's 11:33 p.m. and 43 degrees.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Morelia's and Pinochle with Steve and Elaine

Friday, January 15, it is cloudy and rainy all day. It's very unusual for Central Texas to have a slow rain for so long. Usually fronts blow through with a vengeance, dump way too many inches of rain at once, and pass on by. This area really needs the rain after the drought in 2009.

I spend the morning filing the postcards Evelyn gave me. I think I should have stretched first as it is hard sitting on the floor first thing in the morning; not as hard as getting up from the floor however! Coffee helps the situation. Bob gets up and we have a light breakfast. He works on the puzzle and I pack up postcards, antiques and collectibles that we have accumulated all year (We allow ourselves one shoe box a year and we didn't quite make that much this year until Evelyn gave me all of those postcards.) We're fixin' to go to our storage unit next week as they say here in Texas.

Then I catch up on three days worth of journal pages. I check my email while I'm on the computer (thankfully the laptop got its act together again.) Our new RV friend Tom, we met him and Nan-Marie in Ohio last summer, has a link on his travel blog to a funny story about "Honey Wagons". Well, this may seem funny to fellow RVers. The rest of you might just be grossed out but here it is: DB Does RV: The Honey Wagon

After that I need a break from my on-line work so Bob and I have lunch. At last I get my stretch in. I really need it now after working on the laptop at our new desk that slides out of the entertainment center. I'm not quite used to the height of the work surface yet and I keep switching pillows in the chair. Bob finishes the jigsaw puzzle while I continue on journal pages and pictures. But first I call Elaine to set a time for us to pick them up tonight for dinner at Morelia's around 6:00.

I take a short break from my journal updates and then I get back on the computer to balance bank statements and credit cards. The rest of the afternoon I destroy 2009 records and pack what I have to save for storage. Paperwork can overwhelm you in an RV if you don't stay on top of it because there is no place to store it. In our brick and stick I just shoved it in another closet or drawer and dealt with it every seven years when the IRS retention period expired. If I did that in our RV I would have to get rid of clothes and food. It's 3:25 p.m. and 51 degrees with 85% humidity. The high gets to 54 after a low of 51. Gloomy would describe this day.

We get cleaned up and head to Steve and Elaine's in our old Cedar Hills neighborhood in Elgin as a steady rain falls. They hop in Big Bertha--quite a hop for Elaine--and we arrive at Morelia's with the rest of Bastrop County's population. The parking lot is packed and when we get inside there is a table of 25 or 30 people in the center. But we find a clear table right away.

I have Tilapia, artichokes, spinach and mushrooms. Bob has Pollo Delicioso that he says is muy picante. Elaine has a shrimp pasta that looks heavenly. And Steve has grilled pork chops and quail that I am going to have to try. Soon we are back out in the chilly rain with 'go boxes.' We head back to their place for Baileys and coffee that hit the spot on a damp, rainy evening. I have three voice messages so I check them. Glenda called and I return her call. We make pizza plans for tomorrow's football game. I also have two automated confirmation messages from the eye doctor for our appointments on Tuesday of next week. I try to press "1" to confirm but it just keeps repeating "press 1 to confirm." Seems like I recall this from a prior year but I can't remember what the outcome was. Oh well...

We deal out double pinochle after drawing for partners and ending up with the ones that brung us. Steve and Elaine slaughter us all evening (or as my family would say "They Mom'd us!) We break for Coconut Creme Pie, my favorite. Around 10:30 Bob and I hit the road. What a fun evening. It is still raining. The RV is chilly when we get home but the bedroom is soon warmed by our little heater. It's 11:25 p.m. and 43 degrees.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Rain, a Puzzle, and Paperwork

Thursday, January 14, I slept like a rock until 8:30 after taking drugs for my tongue. The low was only 50 degrees and the high just gets to 59. It is cloudy with a light rain. After a light breakfast and a stretch I work on paperwork, correspondence, bills, pictures and journal pages. Delie calls from our old Cedar Hills neighborhood while I'm in the shower. They invited us to 'game night' on Saturday. It was nice of her to think of us. I call her back to say we're free. Sounds like Duane's back is no better so him and Ellen cancelled.

I call Glenda about football for the weekend. We'll watch the Saturday afternoon playoff game with her and then walk across the street to Mike and Delie's for game night. Glenda invites us to watch the TIVO'd Sat. night game and 'Da Boys' on Sunday. We'll see if we're up for four days in a row of social engagements.

Bob and I went to Maxines's for lunch (also on "Texas Monthly 40 Best Small Town Cafes in Texas".) Bob has a great grilled chicken taco salad with chipotle ranch dressing. I have turkey provolone sandwich on wheat berry bread with a dill cream cheese sauce. We both enjoy the tomato basil soup. We can taste the influence of the gal who owned The Pecan Tree Cafe that we liked so much a few years ago. We get a paper out of the machine out front after I robbed my camera case for emergency quarters and we head home.

I continue to work on journal pages. My brother Mike calls and we have a nice chat. I didn't realize Megan and Casey drove as far as Denton, TX, on Christmas Eve and turned around due to the weather and came back to Dallas. They tried a gain on Christmas Day and made it to Purcell, OK. Mike and Bob chatted about the 150 flys Mike tied while up at Lake Texoma during the Big Freeze. It was cold up there with 8 and 9 degrees. Wow! We have leftovers for dinner and watch The Mentalist. It's 8:20 p.m. and 57 degrees with 91% humidity. It rains all night.

Dr. Dentist Heals Me!

Our dentist is on the right showing off his racing Studebaker
Wednesday, January 13, I slept fitfully again with my ulcer on my tongue flaring up. So I got up at 6:00 a.m. I'm considering cancelling my dental cleaning but it took four weeks to get this appointment so I suck it up. But I'm putting my foot down; no x-rays--those bite-wing things will kill my tongue.

We have Crispy Thingies, scrambled eggs and fruit for breakfast. I leave the dishes drying in the sink--unusual for me. The low was 44 last night and it gets to a high of 58 today. It is cloudy as we head out the door at 8:50. It is early for us to be up and at 'em. Traffic is pretty light.

We get to Dr. M's at Rundberg and I-35 a bit early. I plan to go first so I don't have to sit around and think about it but of course I have to find the restroom first. They snag Bob first while I'm gone. But Dr. M comes out to the lobby to give me a big hug and chat. He asks if I'm all right (I guess he can tell I'm talking funny.) I tell him about my three mouth ulcers that are killing me. He immediately drags me back to his chair and treats my ulcers with his magic wand of burning stuff. It makes my eyes water but it was worth it. A few minutes later I have my first relief from pain in days. I can talk! Dr. M says "Wow, you have quite a crater on your tongue! I see people with these all the time but not that huge." His stuff cauterizes the wound and zaps it with microbiobials. He gives me a prescription for a rinse to use until it clears up. He suggests pineapple, strawberries and tomatoes are sometimes the culprits.

I almost feel human but not enough for those x-rays. I blow off his assistant when she comes for me. Dr. M does my exam instead and we talk Studebaker racing in Mexico. He didn't go down there this year; $12,000 was too much money for the trip after his 401K took a dive. I snap a picture of the last couple of years' posters and maps.

Bob is done with his cleaning and I'm next for an abbreviated version with no polishing as it would be too painful. They have been very compassionate about my pain and I'm smiling for the first time in days when I leave. I call Evelyn, my Beauty Control rep, from the parking lot at 11:00. We're early and she's not expecting us so Bob and I wend our way over to Golfsmith to browse around.

The clubs are all way too high, even their used, traded-in clubs that we usually find a bargain on. I find two golf shirts and a pair of shorts in that nice wick-dry material for 70% off. Sweet! We go on to Fry's at Parmer and MoPac to look at digital picture frames. None of them have the specific features we want and nothing is on sale. So we leave empty handed. I call Evelyn at 12:45; of course now we're 15 minutes late. But she had time to go through some old postcards sent by family members that she is nice enough to share with me.

We get to Branding Chase (It's always weird to be in my brother Mike's old neighborhood) and I find her dining room table spread out with postcards galore. She gives me a big stack that they have already gone through. And she gives me two nice Lawson Woods (an artist I collect) postcards. I tell her about the Capitol of Texas Postcard Club if she wants to go to the show here in Austin in February and see about any of them.

We swap out the new Cell Block C that is only SPF 15. That's just not enough for me. I upgrade to a 30. It's always nice to visit with Evelyn. She has had quite a time this year dealing with her Mom's health as she is far away in Kentucky. Her Christmas trees and decor are still up as they had two celebrations later in January. As Bob and I back out of the driveway she runs out with my invoice that she printed.

Bob and I are famished so we head to Mongolian BBQ nearby on 183. This place is still great. I can eat normally for the first time in four days and I wolf it down. Thankfully I didn't cancel my dental appointment.

We go on to Benold's jewelry on Anderson. They have the cutest terrier mutt named Jack-very calm. We were surprised to see a dog running around in a high-end jewelry store. I leave my engagement ring and band for repair and resizing. They will call with an estimate.

On to the antique mall we like by the Roller Rink. We couldn't remember the back way so we had to take MoPac to 183. The place is still there and still a good mall. We found two jigsaw puzzles that we might need as there is an 80% chance of rain for the next 3 days. Bob found a Black Baby Jitterbug lure. We looked at 3 golfing rabbits chocolate mold but is was missing the base pins so we passed.

By 3:45 we're winging our way home. Traffic is good. We decide to get my prescription filled for my mouth rinse at Walgreen's in Bastrop and get a paper while we're at it. There is a one hour wait so we go home and read the paper. Around 6:00 I go back and pick up my prescription. No one is in there now. Only a $10.00 co-pay. I go back home to have a bowl of soup. I feel so much better than last night. It's 8:50 p.m. and 52 degrees with 31% humidity.

Camping World and Cabela's

Our new folding step ladder
Tuesday, January 12, I tossed and turned with an inflamed ulcer on my tongue. I get these every once in a while and this is a bad one. Got up late at 9:00 to a sunny, warm day. The low was 40 and the high gets to 62. I had a voice message from the dentist's office confirming our appointment tomorrow. That should be fun with my ulcer.

While Bob takes a shop I get on-line and find a Facebook 'friend' request from Val's daughter Katherine. I love it when the young folks stay in touch. I sent some emails; Elaine re: dinner Friday night and Tom and Nan-Marie re: Southern Oaks in Aransas Pass. Then I took a shower and Bob tries to fire the computer up to look for lunch destinations as we plan to head south on I-35 to Camping World. The laptop will not boot up. It's in a loop and keeps recycling on the MS logo. I can't believe it. I was just on and it was working fine. We let the battery run down so we can see if it will reboot after that.

Meanwhile, we walk down to take the trash out and find Barb, the RV Park owner. She is just going for a walk with her niece and the dog Scruffy. They turn around and go to the office so we can sign up and pay for another month here. Barb is always so nice. She remembered about my surgery the first year we were here and asked me how I'm doing. She said they had their 30th or 31st annual family reunion (Paul's side) in Ruidoso, NM, at a church camp with 109 attendees! They cook for you at this camp and each family has their own accommodations.

And it gets smaller...

Back home the laptop still is stuck so we take it with us to keep an eye on it while the battery runs down. We don't trust that battery pack that was smoking one time a while back. I hope the whole PC hasn't gasped its last breath.

We head south on Hwy 21 through San Marcos. We eat lunch at Red Lobster there. It must have been 20 years since we ate atone. Their lunch prices are great. I had crab-stuffed flounder. Bob had Sailor's Platter. Thus fortified we continue south to Camping World. We never can remember the exit, the laptop wouldn't boot up so we could look it up and we never saw a billboard so we pass it up and do a u-turn. But there is a huge new shopping mall so we check out Target and Best Buy for digital picture frames and ipods. We're still looking.

On to Camping World. Bob takes the plunge and buys a 6-foot folding ladder since we now have our 'President's Club' discount card for the year. These ladders reallyfold to the size of a 4x4--so they can be stored in a tube underneath your RV.

Next stop is Cabela's in Buda/Kyle. The place is deserted. The women's wear is just empty floor space. So I head to the Bargain Cave with high hopes it has all been dragged back there at greatly reduced prices. Not so! I found one pair of convertible-length slacks. We leave at 4:00 or so; Bob empty-handed for once. We get a paper at Shell in Bastrop and head home.

And is finally 4 x 4 x 6!

Bob gets the ladder out from under the tonneau cover on Big Bertha while I make breakfast for dinner; thin breakfast pork chops, fried potatoes, eggs and veges. I'm posting some pictures so you can see how it folds up. We haven't decided if we're storing it 'down under' or behind the couch. It's so long we have limited space to put it. We made it six years in our other RV without a ladder but The Titanic is just too high. We read the paper and watch both NCIS's. The water is off and we have no pressure right after we get home. Guess they are fixing all of the Big Freeze damage. Bob fires the laptop up and it works! I'm so happy. It's 6:40 p.m. and 56 degrees with 33% humidity.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Shopping in Austin with Glenda and Ellen

Monday, January 11, I was up at 7:00. Enjoyed coffee and read for a bit. The sun is out so I open the blinds. The low was 28 last night. We had a light breakfast and I get cleaned up. Glenda knocks at 9:45. She and Ellen came early so Ellen could get a tour of The Titanic. I give them each a sample of Christmas Date Cake. We bid farewell to Bob and we're off. First I point out the frozen Niagara Falls leftover ice chunks under the RV next door.

We duck traffic as we pull out onto Hwy 71 heading to Austin. Glenda takes 130, the new toll road, to Parmer. This is my first time on this stretch of the I-35 by-pass and I don't recognize anything. Glenda really knows her way around. Our first stop is Hobby Lobby at Parmer and I-35. I duck into Office Max and Best Buy to browse their digital photo frames. There is no sale going on for the one we saw in Bastrop. The young sales guy says they will honor all on-line prices we find that are lower but not 'other Best Buy stores.' Go figure. I bought a Cross pen refill and rejoined Glenda and Ellen. We all had a restroom break (wow, that place needed cleaning.) Glenda got Elvis material for a baked potato cooker for a friend. Ellen got backing for her Mother Goose cross-stitch baby quilt. I browsed for greenery and iron-on appliques but nada.

We head on to Cheddar's for lunch. I have Bourbon-glazed Salmon. Soup, salad, baked potato combos for Glenda and Ellen. We all split Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie-Yumm! Thus fortified we head on to Wal-Mart on the west side of I-35. I got a newspaper and contact solution. Glenda got ink and birdseed. Unfortunately they told Glenda only two Austin Wal-Marts still do one-hour photo processing; Round Rock and I-35 at 183. She passes on the 5-day turnaround.

Across the parking lot to AT&T next where Drew sets Glenda's cell phone to ring for 30 seconds before going to voice mail. He prints the instructions for me since I failed in my attempt. He's the 'go-to' guy at this location and even he had to look up how to do it.

On to Joanne's Fabrics (that burger place we saw on the commercials is right on the parking lot!) Ellen and I agonized with Glenda over yellow/green color combo for a baby boy quilt. We finally persevered and got a winner. We head back to Bastrop at 3:45--not very good timing but 183 to 71 is not too bad. What a fun day with the gals.

Bob sorted out the water filter (it was very rusty) and hoses and blocks of excess wood. He cut up veges for the fridge too. What a guy. We split a can of chicken and wild rice soup, read the paper and watched House, Fringe and Castle. It's 10:34 p.m. and 45 degrees. It is not supposed to freeze tonight. The top news story is about some guy in South Austin petitioning to get the moonlight tower over his house dimmed. There are only 17 of 34 of these famous towers from the 1890's left. And Austin is the only city in the U.S. that still has them. The City of Austin electric utility (Bob's former employer) maintains them.

Liz, Connor, Val and Katherine Tour The Titanic

Katherine, Rita, Bob, Val, Liz and Connor at Gracie's in Bastrop, TX

Sunday, January 10, I slept on a board after catching up on my journal pages in the middle of the night from 3:00 to 5:00 a.m. I won't sleep in the living room when it is 50 degrees again. Our heater was pointing at the canned goods cabinet behind the island (the pipes are behind there--to heck with the humans on board!) I got up at 9:00 to a bright sunny day with a low of 23 degrees. We had a light breakfast of Elaine's tasty bread. Bob tries to hook up the water after it gets up to 32 degrees. Site #32 behind us has a frozen water pipe and cracked valve. It is spouting water all over our bikes that are hanging on the back of the RV. Bob puts a wooden block on the valve to divert the water so our bike cover doesn't freeze solid.

Mini Donkeys come running when they hear the peppermints being unwrapped

Our own water supply at our site #37 is frozen when he takes the foam off the stand pipe. A bit of time in the sunshine thaws it and we have water for showers. Some RV gawkers in a white dually make a bat turn to drive by The Titanic three times from all sides. They must be shoppers for a new RV.

Katherine feeds a mini donkey

Liz calls at 12:10. She is heading to Bee Caves and 2222 to pick up Valerie and Katherine. They should be here around 1:00. Bob walks to the camp host's site, the Ohio couple, to report the water leak behind us. Just before 1:00 Al came to check it out. Soon the camp hosts walk by with a clipboard. I guess they are checking for leaks and trouble at all of the sites in the Park.

The mini donkeys line up for a photo with Liz and Bob (Donkey's are on the right! Ha Ha!

I see Liz pull in just after 1:00 and my phone starts to ring. She's by the pond and doesn't see me out front waving while on my phone. At last she spots me and heads this way. It sure is great fun to see all of them. Katherine and Connor are getting so grown up. When I first worked with Val and Liz neither of them even had children. Now their kids are almost as tall as I am. That's more than I care to admit.

These little guys are hungry!

We give them the grand tour. And we decide that Val never saw our other RV. We chat for a bit then we're off to lunch at Gracie's, all piling in Big Bertha. We find a table for six in the back. The young gal who has been our waitress before recognizes us and takes good care of us. A nice young man who is a patron in the restaurant offers to take a picture of all of us.

Connor gives the mini horse a carrot

Katherine makes a bold choice and tries the Ham and Banana Pepper Sandwich that I'm going to have to try next time for sure. Connor enjoys his cheeseburger. I have the Mahi-mahi. bob and Val go for the Roast Pork Special and Liz has Chicken-fried Chicken. It was all great.

This little horse is trying to tell us something!

We head home to feed carrots and peppermints to the mini horses and donkeys at the RV Park. The little donkeys come running first, followed by the horses. They devoured everything we had. Sure wish we could have gotten them all over here when Ethan was out to visit.

Is Connor trying to get his Mom to eat more vegetables?

We head back home for Christmas Date Cake and coffee. Katherine finds Twisted Bumper on YouTube so we can watch three versions of Bob's Jamaica Zip Line. Then we show them The Silent Monks. Katherine promises to 'friend' me on Facebook (sure enough I get an invite right away.) All too soon they hit the road. What a fun visit!

Val can't resist this cute little beggar.

Bob and I go to HEB for the Sunday paper and fruit. We're home by 6:00 and watch the football. Arizona wins in OT on a defensive interception. I call Glenda and tell her I will join them for quilt shopping tomorrow. She'll pick me up at 10:00. We read the paper and have leftovers from Chili's.

Katherine, Bob, Connor, Val and Liz

Sunday, January 10, 2010

To Freeze, or Not to Freeze.....?

Our neighbor's frozen Niagara Falls!
Saturday, January 9, I woke up with a start at 6:58 a.m. when Bob said from the bathroom "We have no water." For the first time in years both of us fifty-somethings slept through the night without one, or indeed several, trips to the bathroom. It was an ill-fated turn of events since is seems our pipes froze; well not ours, the RV's!

We both get up to find 19 degrees is the low outside and it is 51 degrees in the living room. We have got to get this furnace fixed. After our brains start working and we stare at each other helplessly for a bit we came up with a plan. Bob took the living room space heater outside and turned it on the pipes in our 'down under' storage compartment in the area of the freshwater tank priming pump--the suspected culprit.

The living room temp drops drastically without the small heater so we turn the oven on for 45minutes. (I know, I know--all those warnings regarding 'do not use as a heat source.' Hey, it was on for two hours yesterday while I bake my cake. We gained five degrees this morning with it on.

Then Bob propped open the whole-house vacuum input plug for the Dirt Devil under the steps because it vents to the pipes 'down under.' I was sitting on my fist, leaning back on my thumb as my Aunt B-B-Bice (Bernice) used to say, and shivering uselessly. So I decided to actually vacuum. I did the whole RV; top to bottom using all the brush attachments--not really a good idea before stretching this morning. But it did warm up the place and me too.

I found a jug of water in the refrigerator and made two cups of tea. My heart sank as Bob sat in my recliner in the back window with the sun streaming in (fortunately) and I could see his breath and his mug of tea steaming. He has his hooded sweatshirt on with the hood up!

The space heater down under stops working. Bob brings it in to work on it while I put breakfast on the table using paper plates since we have no water. I get Crispy Thingies out of the freezer; bad idea since I have to turn off the heater in the living room to use the toaster oven. Note, Bob brought the bedroom heater down to the living room. We'll let the bedroom get cold while he fixes the one that quit outside.

I sit in the sunshine spots in the living room after breakfast and we wait for the temp to go up. It took forever (later on the phone Glenda remarked how quickly it got above freezing--sure could tell who had heat and water.) It was almost noon before it hit 32. Austin set a record of 18 degrees at the airport, breaking the old 1962 record low.

Our streetside neighbor in a small 5th wheel has a frozen Niagara Falls about 4 foot high coming out of his faucet. Things could be worse. Bob goes out at noon to hook up our city water. We are ecstatic when it works! First thing we do is brush our teeth. Then I wash dishes, clean the bathroom and we both take showers. Life is good. Water is an amazing thing. Now our brains ponder the issue of why we're working on city water and not on our holding tank. The top theory at the moment is that our 49-gallon freshwater holding tank got low and the bottom bit froze so the pump couldn't pick it up and lost its prime.

With that thought we leave for lunch taking the trash out on the way. I see several folks circling their RVs working on hoses and pipes. Big Bertha starts right up-Yeah! We go down the hill to Chili's and have their Two for $20 special. Egg Roll Appetizers, Turkey and Pork sandwiches and Choc Chip Paradise dessert. We roll out with a go box and cross the parking lot to Home Depot where we find no space heaters. The guy says he heard a rumor that Wal-Mart just got a truckload of them.

He was right; that was just a rumor. We leave Wal-Mart and stop for gas at HEB but some lady in a van is jockeying for the diesel pump so we go to Shell for a few more cents and I can get a paper while Bob's pumping fuel. Then we stop at Lowe's but their heater aisle is blocked and looking empty. We make one last stop at Best Buy. They also have no heaters left. But we look at digital photo frames. Found a nice 8" model with the features we wanted on sale but they were out of them.

We go home to try an experiment on the water pump. We disconnect from city water and the pump can now prime with a half-full tank. I wash the dishes while we're on real water. And I finally call Glenda to tell he our woes and say we'll have to stay home and babysit our pipes instead of watching the Cowboys game with her tonight. She said she turned down an invite from Duane and Ellen for all of us last night to play Mexican Train. It's a good thing we didn't leave since we had enough trouble after staying home.

On a positive note, we have an email from Tom and Nan-Marie who we met in Ohio this summer. They hope to meet us near Corpus in February. How fun! We have leftover Cajun Chili and Date Cake. Then we watch the Cowboys slaughter the Eagles. It's 9:15 p.m. and 33 degrees. Bob unhooks the water and says he almost waited too long (seems like we just got it turned on.) The humidity is 16%. All of this time since May 2009 when we got our new indoor/outdoor thermometer, the inside and outside humidity readings have been switched. We just figured it out due to the extreme conditions yesterday and today. Go figure!

The Big Chill

Gertrude is a Red Hat Lady
Friday, January 8, I was up at 6:30. The low was 25 degrees outside and it is 55 here in the living room. We spend the day keeping warm. Before we can have breakfast we tear up the Peanuts puzzle. I make Christmas Date Cake from "Sugar Cookie Murder" by Joanne Fluke. Bob lights the oven for me and then retires to the bedroom to read as it is 15 degrees warmer in there.

I have the oven on for two hours; 80 minutes for the cake and 1/2 hour to preheat and burn off the 'new oven' chemicals. This is the first time I'm using my new propane oven as I have been so enamoured with my new convection oven because it doesn't heat up the RV. Today I'm baking a cake for the sole purpose of heating up the RV. It's working as I gain seven degrees; from 61 to 68 in the living room. The high only gets to 37 degrees outside. We don't see the sun until late afternoon. Bob gets cabin fever at 11:30 and opens the day/night shades even if we lose some heat. It is just too dark and depressing with them closed.

Peanuts Photomosaic Puzzle-Thanks Holly!

We were sad that UT lost last night and even more sad for Colt McCoy who was injured on the 5th play. The freshman QB, Gilbert, made a valiant effort in the second half. Sure wished we could have watched it with Glenda. She tells me later she couldn't bear to watch the second half and turned it off. I knew she needed us to be there.

For my cake I used up all of my sugar (I need 3 cups and only had 2 3/4 so I faked it with packets in my purse.) And I used all of my stick butter plus two pats from go boxes. And I used all of my flour (I need 3 cups and had 2 1/2 so I used wheat flour.) My oven works well and the date cake turns out nicely; almost like nut bread with chocolate chips and pecans.

I clean up the kitchen and myself and then drive to the Shell station for a paper around 3:00. Before I left I walked to the trash can and it sure feels cold; 30 degrees with a north wind at 15 to 20 mph. Big Bertha fires right up. Bob is surfing for soup recipes. We had grilled cheese and tomato soup for lunch plus a piece of my still-warm cake. We read the paper and work the puzzles.

Later I made breakfast for dinner after boiling potatoes to keep warm. Then I washed the whole kitchen full of dishes that I saved up three times today in an effort to keep the RV warm by cooking. I save water in the freshwater tank by doing them all at once. Hey, we're roughing it. This evening we watch the movie Four Brothers. It's 7:45 p.m. and 29 degrees. The high was 32; it never got above freezing. More on that tomorrow.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Peanuts Photomosaic Jigsaw and Cuddle Duds

Thursday, January 7, the cold front blows in at 5:00 a.m. The winds rockin' and rollin' the RV wake me up. I get up at 6:30 to 40 degrees outside. In half an hour it is 34 degrees. The wind sounds bad on the living room awning on the north side of the RV and on the antenna. It is blowing 25 to 30 mph with 40 mph gusts. Bob gets up at 7:15 and puts the antenna down before it breaks off.

I read, have coffee, then hot tea. We have very think pork chops and eggs for breakfast. I stretch and then we turn over the 1000-piece Photomosaic puzzle that Holly gave us. We work on the puzzle as the temperature drops and the wind shakes the RV. The sun comes out at 11:30 bringing the temperature up from 31 to 36 degrees by 1:30. We leave the water unhooked and have leftover meatloaf for lunch after a brief discussion and veto about going out for lunch. Tomorrow is supposed to be even colder, staying in the low 20's all day so I'll do my baking tomorrow.

I finally get dressed and put my Cuddle Duds on under my clothes. I might as well use those darn things. Bob goes out around 3:00 to rescue his two bottles of distilled water that we just bought for the battery. He has them stored 'down under' in the sub-basement so he's afraid they might freeze. It's 3:00 p.m. and 37 degrees with 36% humidity.

Movie Night with Glenda at Chestnut Square, Bastrop, TX

Wednesday, January 6, the low was 40 degrees. It is overcast so the high only gets to 52 today. After breakfast I walk, stretch, and do my strength routine. I get on-line for email and researched neuromas on the Net. My toe is killing me and it's a lot like a neuroma I used to have on the other foot. Nothing I saw on the Web gave me any encouragement about it going away any time soon. hen we pack up three loads of laundry just in case the pipes freeze and the RV Park loses water during The Big Freeze the next few days.

We have lunch at Gracie's. Both of us enjoy the meatloaf special. The best part was the small sample of Spice Cake that comes with it for dessert. It reminded me of my Mom's--a blast from the past! We tried to ride through Chestnut Square movie complex to see what the run time is for Avatar and The Blind Side but there are no total length of times posted outside. It was a bad idea all the way around as they have the main drag dug up for some kind of pipe they are putting underground. So we had to detour around on the side streets which are very narrow in Bastrop. I felt bad for those people living along there.

On the way home we get a paper. Back at the ranch, as we say in Texas, we get the two-way radios out to fill up the fresh water tank (well, 2/3 full anyway plus 2 minutes after medium yellow light came on.) We're as ready as we can be for The Big Freeze. I call Glenda and we agree the front is not supposed to get here until the wee hours of the morning so we're all on for the movie tonight in Bastrop.

Bob and I read the paper and work the puzzles. I finished reading Sugar Cookie Murder. It has 50 recipes that I read through. I have to remember to tell our friend Blair about this author, Joanne Fluke, who rights about an amateur sleuth who lives in Lake Eden, Minnesota! The stories are fluff but Blair would like the descriptions of the town, the Minnesotans and the Up North food! Anyway I found a Christmas Date Cake recipe in there. I have leftover dates from Holly's cookie bake. So tomorrow I may try to bake it in the propane oven thus helping to keep the RV warm. As Glenda's friend would say "I can kill two stones!" Oops, I need baking soda and don't have any. So I called Glenda. She has two pounds. I never knew it came in that large of a size. She says she'll bring me 2 teaspoons to the movie. How nice of her to share.

Bob and I have Cajun Chili and Chicken Broccoli Soup respectively. I washed up the dishes since we'll be on water rationing until Saturday. It is not supposed to get above freezing for 40 hours! It has not been this cold here since 1996. Bob says it's because our furnace is not working. We'll see how The Titanic holds up.

We have an email from our RVing friends Tom and Nan-Marie who we met in Bluffton, IA, this summer. They will be in Kerrville, TX, from Feb. 10th through the 14th. I sure hope we can get together while they are here. It's 6:14 p.m. and 52 degrees with 82% humidity. We leave at 6:30 for Chestnut Square, Bastrop's entertainment complex on Hwy 95. Bob bought his ticket for the Avatar showing at 7:00 ($6.00 with the Senior Discount!) We watched bowling (they have 16 lanes here) for ten minutes. There is 'all you care to bowl Mon. thru Thurs. from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m. for $7.00!) Bob goes into his theater.

I hit the restroom and then walk down to check out The 13th Strike Sports Bar & Grill. Lots of pool tables and big screen TVs; not much atmosphere. I wait for Glenda while watching the bowlers. A young kid around 19 shoots a 200 game. He gives the older lady watching next to me a long-stemmed rose from a pile of them he has on his table. Nothing for me and no eye contact. Hmmm.

Glenda arrives at 7:15 to report she was stuck behind a wreck on 95. She didn't have her address book in her purse for some reason and my cell number is not in her phone. But she made it in plenty of time. We both get the Senior Discount for The Blind Side at 7:30. We have a quick tour of the complex. Glenda says she has bowled and played black-light miniature golf here with her teacher friends.

There are only four people besides us in our theater. Bob says later there are 25 or so in his. Glenda fills me in on the 20/20 special she saw on the real family that this movie is based on. Sandra Bullock is outstanding as the mother. Tim McGraw turns in a surprisingly good performance as well. Glenda and I both enjoy the movie. We're out by 9:20. Bob is in the lobby and has only been out of his movie for 5 minutes-good timing. Avatar was visually stunning but had a thin plot according to him.

We walk to Glenda's car. She finds my 2 tsps. of baking soda in a little Tupperware container in the bottom of her purse. She thought it fell out on the floor. It was sure nice of her to remember it so I can bake tomorrow and help keep the RV warm.

Bob and I get home by 10:00. Bob gets the water turned off outside and the hoses drained. He also wraps up the stand-pipe with foam. I forgot he was going to do that and I was just putting my shoes back on to go out and see what happened to him when he came in. It is still 45 degrees right now. We get in bed and read until we pass out.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Cajun Chili and Paperwork

Tuesday, January 5, I was wide awake at 5:30. I tried to stay in bed since it was so cold but nothing doing. I had to get up just before 6:00 and brave the living room. It is 56 degrees inside and 28 degrees outside. It's a good thing Bob unhooked the water. Our neighbor next door in a small 5th wheel has water dripping under his rig. Not sure if it's coming from the water hose input or from a pipe or tank on his undercarriage. Bob sees him look at it later and just get in his truck and drive off. Bob says 'He's not that guy.' He would have to at least look at it. Somebody shut his water off a few hours later; maybe his neighbor or the owner, Paul.

I snuggle under the down comforter, sip coffee then hot tea, and read my book. The sun is out but it doesn't get above freezing until late morning. And today is supposed to be the good part of the week. Once again I forced myself to go for a walk. But today is actually warmer without the wind blowing. I don't even put my hood up. But I do put my gloves on. I take my bills to mail, and take the trash with me, and put the new insurance stuff in the truck on the way. Once I come inside I'm not going back out there.

The RV is toasty when I return and smells like heaven as Bob is deep into making his Cajun Chili. I stretch and do my strength routine. My darn right foot/toe is killing me. It's always something. After we dig into Bob's chili he goes out to flush the holding tanks and attempts to reroute the propane bottle controls but ends up leaving them in the original position.

I work on photos, email and journal pages. Bob goes down to Shell for a paper. When he returns we browse the news and work the puzzles. I go back to my journaling, we break for leftover chicken. Now I'm back at the computer again before NCIS starts. It's 6:40 p.m. and 46 degrees with 44% humidity. The high got to 48 today.

Mail Call--Christmas Cards at Last!

Monday, January 4, I was up before 7:00. It is 34 degrees and sunny. I have lovely morning reading "Sugar Cookie Murder." We have breakfast tacos. I'm very proud of myself for going out with gloves and the hood up on my parka to walk. Back home for a much-needed stretch-I seem to have some weird pain in my foot. I put up our new calendar after adding up my total fitness activities for 2009 that I kept on the old calendar. We only cycled about 400 miles and golfed 35 rounds. We decided we spent too much time purchasing and dealing with the new truck and RV. We vow that 2010 will be different!

Around 11:30 we go to the post office and I encounter a long line. A third window is opened up by an older lady postal worker who comes out of the back and says "What's this, Christmas?" All of us in line chuckled as we were thinking the same thing. Our packet of forwarded mail is there and I find Bob in a remote parking space out back. We stop at HEB to get a paper and of course our beer we couldn't get yesterday morning. Well actually they are out of Blue Moon so we had to get a 12-pack of Ziegenbach. HEB is all about the Rose Bowl on Thursday with The Texas Longhorns' merchandise in place of last weeks huge display of Xmas stuff.

Home for leftover Las Cocinas for lunch. Then I tackle the mail stack. Fortunately there are no items to bite me like sometimes after a few months. I had fun reading all of the Christmas greetings. I love hearing from everyone. Then I worked on some bills and financial stuff wile Bob brought his storage drawers inside from 'down under.' It is cold outside with a north wind so he spread it all on a blanket in the living room to reorganize the contents. I updated addresses on my Christmas card list.

We had leftovers for dinner and read the paper. Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives is a repeat (but tomorrow morning I get an email from Patti with a link to one of Guy Fieri's picks that they visited in Oklahoma!)Check it out on YouTube. It's 9:50 p.m. and 37 degrees. Bob is outside draining the water supply. He might have to every night for the rest of the week since a big arctic front is headed this way. The high was 48 today with a low of 34.

Glenda Fought the Log and the Log Won!

Bevo in Christmas attire behind the UT Coop on The Drag in Austin, TX
Sunday, January 3, I slept eight hours through at last. This morning I lounged and read. After breakfast I took a walk in spite of gray skies and 45 degrees. There is no wind so it doesn't feel too bad. We cleaned up and went to HEB to get veges and fruit. We tried to get two 6-packs of beer (they had a good price on Blue Moon and Ziegenbach.) The young gal who checked us out said "You can't buy this until after noon today." It is 11:16 a.m. Sunday morning. We are definitely back in the deep South. Oh well, I guess HEB has a good marketing technique to put their beer on sale when you can't purchase it.

We take our legal stuff home and read the paper and eat our broasted honey mesquite chicken. I cut up veges, read the paper and around 2:15 we leave for Glenda's and a night of football. Her house has lost all of the Christmas decorations. She sure has been busy. Right before we arrived a big log rolled to the front of her fireplace and smoked up the room--hence the title of today's journal page. We got a laugh out of that.

We watch Dallas beat Philadelphia handily. At half time we enjoy Rotel Cheese Dip, veges, coffee, tea and Rice Krispy Treats. I try to reset the number of rings before voice mail picks up on Glenda's cell phone but fail again. I have better luck with her HP digital photo frame. I take her 4GB Transcend flash USB memory card to her desktop PC and actually find a spare USB port on the back of her CPU tower. I drag and drop the photos I emailed to her, plug it back into the photo frame and Voila! She has eight new pictures. My favorite is Bevo the UT mascot that I took last year on a Christmas shopping trip with Glenda to the UT Coop. I sent all of these pictures to her in email resolution and they look fine. Next time I'll send more and try one in a higher resolution. What a relief--I didn't mess up her 147 pictures her son Dan had loaded on it at Christmas.

We watch the first half of the Bengals vs. Jets game. Cincinnati doesn't show up. Around 9:30 we hit the road with a promise to meet for a movie in Bastrop on Wednesday. Bob and I are home by 10:00. It is 42 degrees so we crank the heaters up and get in bed. It is nice to be home on such a chilly evening but Glenda's fire sure was nice.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Holly, Doug and Ethan Tour The Titanic

Holly, Bob, Ethan and Doug on the road between the ponds at Bastrop RV Park
Saturday, January 2, we catch up on our sleep after New Year's Eve but still have time for a leisurely breakfast, a walk and stretch before cleaning up for lunch with our Austin friends Holly, Doug and Ethan. They get here at 12:30. We give them the grand tour. Holly said she saw the Egg Art jigsaw puzzle on my website so she brought a Photomosaic puzzle that they worked. Those things are hard. We worked one a long time ago. This will be a challenge. And she brought me a Large Letter postcard fold-out of St. Louis. How nice! We pile in Big Bertha and head to Las Cocinas for lunch. We had planned on Gracie's but mentioned Las Cocinas and Ethan liked the idea of Mexican. Bob and I didn't think it was as good as it was for dinner on New Year's Eve. Maybe the lunch cook is different. Anyway, Bob and Holly's cast iron plates were sizzling when they arrived.

As we backed out of our parking place, Bob got the front bumper off of a stump he barely ran up on. He drove through downtown Bastrop, around the courthouse and past Gracie's so they would know how to find it.

Back at Bastrop RV Park we all walked down to the ponds with mints for the mini horses and donkeys. But we had to walk way around to the other side to get to them. Only one little horse came over to the fence. All Bob had to do was open the peppermint and hold it up. The mini horse was kind of chubby and we made matters worse by giving him a handful peppermints. We went around by the big farmhouse but none of them would come over. Maybe Barb, the owner, had just fed them.

Ethan gives a peppermint to a brave mini horse while Doug captures the moment and Bob looks on.

So we walked back to The Titanic for dessert and coffee. They were telling us about watching the AMA's top 100 films of all time by ordering them on Netflicks. Sounds like fun. They hit the road around 4:30 to get home before dark and in time for Dr. Who tonight. It was a fun visit and I'm glad they got to see our new home-on-wheels.

Bob gets in on the act

Bob and I read the paper we got on the way home from lunch. Then I call Glenda to make a football viewing plan for tomorrow. It looks like Fox and Time Warner Cable reached an agreement so the Greater Austin area won't lose Fox's programming. What a zoo!

I called Mom and Dad to wish them a Happy New Year. Dad said it was 4 degrees there this morning! Yikes! That's way too cold.

Holly, Bob, Ethan and Doug wait at the fence to no avail

Yesterday in our spare time Bob and I calculated the square footage in our old Lakota travel trailer (The Beauty) at 255 square feet versus our new Titanium at 335 square feet. So we gained 80 square feet of living space but it sure feels like more than that. It must have been the 'right' space that we gained.

Doug and Holly enjoy Symphony Brownies and fake Carmel Macchiatos