Thursday, January 31, 2008

Day 32: WHAT a GORGEOUS day.......and what very strong winds!!!

A cloudy day at first......and then by mid-morning the clouds were blown away and the clearest, bluest sky emerged....and a gorgeous day and early evening developed. The winds were really blowing....again.....but, you know.....we are becoming used to these high 25-30 mph winds that are so frequent here in the RGV....and they don't really bother us any more.

The morning rituals, the French Roast coffee, the hot tea for the 1st Lady......all fell into place this morning. She decided that she would do a load or two of laundry at the new laundry facilities just a few streets north of TheHowserHouse here in the resort. Me??? I had to go the Rec Hall/Club House to get our names and three other couples names on the list for the upcoming Valentine Dinner and Dance. With four couples we can have an entire table for the evening........and after waiting around, and in line, for an hour and a half, we got our table. half of one of the couples we have been dancing with....was also there to make certain we did get our table.....and so we had some time to learn more about each other and our lifestyles. It was great that we got there as early as we did.....because we had no trouble getting a table..........the dinner-dance is limited because of space and fire it was important that we be there early.

Returning to our home on wheels, the 1st Lady had returned from the laundry facilities.....and I went off to WalMart to pick up a few things and to get some cash from our debit card. Returning once again........I found myself sitting outside in the great weather.....just enjoying the sunshine and blue, blue sky. I went next door and visited for a few minutes with the neighbors......and as the conversation developed, our recent trip to Egypt and Jordan surfaced.....and soon he said that his wife would really enjoy talking to me about this trip because she has been wanting to make a trip to Egypt.

Before was time to go the Rec Hall/Club House for the Chili Supper and Casino Night which had purchase tickets for a couple of weeks ago. WOW......what great fun!!!! Ron and Linda went with us.....and we continue to really enjoy their company!!! They are "full-timers" and have been for a couple of years.....and so, it is really interesting to hear about their travels across the USA.

The Casino Night was mainly centered around Blackjack tables......and since we were all given several thousand dollars in chips to begin the evening with, we found ourselves with a great dealer who believed in seeing that we had fun for the next two hours. The 1st Lady and I wound up with $92,000 in winnings.....which we used to bid on donated items. She used most of it to purchase some sterling silver and turquoise earrings. We had a great time........and it was all for the Shriner's and the work that they do!! A GREAT EVENING!

When we left the Hall.....the weather had changed. Clear as a bell, but getting colder....much colder. Down in the lower 40's tonight, but it is nothing like southern Missouri/Misery is tonight with tons of snow that arrived there today. Sorry about that.........

Wonderful weather......a great evening.........and.....

LIFE IS REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also! (and, THANKS Goldie for remembering to turn on the alarms at our stick and brick at home)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

After dinner conversation before Ken/Jeanne joined us.....

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Day 31: Another BUSY one..........

Hmmmm, for some unknown reason I slept about 45 minutes longer this morning........and it really didn't make any difference to my day. Perhaps........just perhaps I should try to do this more often!
About a half hour later, I woke up the 1st Lady so she could begin her day........

The morning rituals went quickly.....and as I fixed my French Roast coffee and pour it into my cup, the 1st Lady left for her Line Dancing class. I went outside and enjoyed my coffee......and even though the day was beginning with clouds....and then a peek from the was not quite warm enough..for be wearing the shorts I had jumped into this morning. Soooooo, back inside I went and changed into a pair of jeans.....and then returned to my "solitude" on the patio, sipping that delicious dark and rich cup of hot magic elixir!

A bit after 11, the 1st Lady returned.....and by that time I had ridden my bike for a few minutes and stopped at the mail boxes.....NO MAIL! We chatted about her class....and she felt great about how it went this morning with her dancing! Soon.....we went inside to have a bite of lunch before going to our square dancing class.

After our little lunch, we rode our bikes to the Rec Hall and had a great two hours of dancing with the friends we have made over the past month. With two other couples, we decided to go to the Buffet this evening at the Rec Hall/Club House......and then we returned to the HowserHouse.

We met the others and we all biked back to the Hall......and had way toooo much to eat: Roast Beef, Baked Fish, Chicken, Sausage and onions and peppers, with salad, drinks, desserts, etc., etc.......a great meal for a great price ....$8 per person. After dinner, Ken and Jeanne joined us as they had eaten on the other side of the room. We all sat and talked, joked, discussed plans, and had a great time with the conversation(s).......a great way to spend the early evening.

The 1st Lady and I returned home......and settled down in front of the fireplace and the tellie. It wasn't too long before my phone rang....and it was Andrew. He and I talked for quite some time......talking about the past week for each of us....and the plans for the next few days. Later.....the 1st Lady and I watched the beginning of the end of "Lost"......and just as the title infers.....we WERE lost!!!

Tomorrow......another busy day........including the Shriner's Casino Night at the Club House during the evening...........but, today.........oh yeah....with another day like this, I know that.....

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Lunch at Teri's Bistro in Weslaco

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Turtle Cheesecake and a colorful presentation of the sauces

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Ken and Jeanne at Teri's Bistro

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Day 30: Perfect......again!!!

Another!! From the time that I hauled my sagging hulk out of the the time a few minutes ago when I returned to TheHowserHouse, just before has been a beautiful day. Mid-80's, high thin clouds and virtually NO wind or breeze!!! I seriously doubt that there was anyone in the entire Valley that wasn't out and about on a day such as this. LOVED IT!!!

The 1st Lady was up much earlier than she had her Line Dancing class at 9AM today. She dearly loves to line dance......and, it is not my cup of tea/Fr. I am glad she feels like going by herself to the classes. I have to stay out of her way when she is getting ready to go somewhere early in the, after she departed on her bike, I freshened up all of the sagging parts of this hulk....and then had my French Roast coffee on the the wonderful sunshine and warm temps.

When she returned I left for the "city center" of Mercedes to mail some things that HAD to be weighed in the Post Office....and then I was going to stop at the local grocery/supermarket to pick up some milk, etc. However, the 1st Lady called me and said that our neighbor and fellow Cedar Creek owner, Ken, had come over and wanted us to go to lunch with them. Soooo, I returned straight back to TheHowserHouse without going to the grocery.

The 1st Lady and I then went over to their Cedar Creek trailer.....and is soooo nice!!! With Jeanne's increasingly more difficult job of walking very much or going up the stairs, this is just the right thing for them as a 5er would require her getting up a few steps to the bedroom/bathroom. We loved the layout and the colors that were used in the trailer!!

Soooo, off we went to Weslaco, a few miles west of here. We had decided to eat at Teri's Bistro on south Texas in Weslaco. Well.......we soon discovered that we had made an excellent decision in making this restaurant choice!!!! The lunch menu listed about a 10-12 lunches, not including sandwiches......and so there were plenty of choices for our cravings.

ALL four of us were satisfied 100% with our personal choices!! I had the Shrimp Tequila which was a nice plate of fat shrimp covered with cheese, a tomato based sauce with spices and herbs in it, and thin slices of guacamole on top of the cheese. This was accompanied by a large amount of rice with mixed veggies on the side. I had also selected the broccoli cheese soup rather than a salad as the "starter".....and it was also a great choice!! This meal.......a large amount for a lunch plate......was REALLY very, very good. The shrimp were prepared perfectly......not over-cooked which always make them tough......they were just the way I like to have my shrimp. Now....on the negative side.....the had left the shells on the tail portion of the shrimp which made it rather difficult to became necessary to cut that part of the shrimp off as to pick it up by hand was very messy due to the great sauce and cheese on the shrimp. I would certainly order this again.........a great choice if you like shrimp without them being fried!!! Go for it!!!

Hmmmmm, I weakened and had a nice sized piece of Turtle Cheesecake for dessert. The presentation was just beautiful.....and the picture does not show the detail the chef or pastry chef did with the colored sauces on the plate. It was really beautiful!!!! The cheesecake.....well, it wasn't the best I have had.....more like something that might have been purchased at Sam's Club. THAT was the only disappointment I had with the quality of the food there.

Service?.......a great young man, very personable, but rather forgetful....and he had to be reminded constantly about coffee refills and other items he would forget we had asked him for. I think he just needs a bit more training......a bit more organization in his service!!! But, his personality and ease of talking with us older folks smoothed many of his faults away!!

We returned back to Llano Grande a bit after 2pm......and we just laid around for an hour and then decided to go to the pool here in our part of the Resort. It is soooooo damn nice there and as I have mentioned before, the hot tub/pool is so large and so relaxing. We spent an hour or more there........wonderful!!

Around 6pm, Danny and Donna were here to take us and another couple, Ron and Linda, to the evening square dance at Harlingen. There were three squares there......and we danced to a new/different caller for two hours before returning to Llano and TheHowserHouse. It was great, great always....and always plenty of laughter as we attempted to correct our mistakes!!! you might was a wonderful day!!!! And....with a day like, of course.......

LIFE IS REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Lots and Lots of room for each RV.....beautiful spacious sites!!!!

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Day 29: WOW......Sunny, warm, and....of course, VERY WINDY!!!

Again.....this sagging hulk of me was out of bed at 7 this morning, I came downstairs and started the French Roast coffee going.....and very soon, the deep, rich aroma was encircling my head, passing underneath my sniffing nostrils, and I started to float towards the source of the rich bouquet of my steaming deep, dark, magic elixir.....ummmmmm. With coffee in hand, I returned to the living room, closed the french door to close off the kitchen and the upstairs where the 1st Lady lay still sleeping peacefully. My day was beginning...................

I checked my numerous emails, deleted most of them, drank my first cup of Fr. Roast, refilled the cup and then began to read the morning newspapers, from across the country, that I always read online. And all too soon, it was time to wake up the 1st Lady so she, too, could enjoy this beautiful morning.

After her cup of very hot tea, I joined her for our Ruby Red grapefruits.....and a bit of cereal. Then.....I drove off to the east to the Mercedes Post Office so that I could mail our absentee ballots for the Missouri primary on Super week. Where has the time gone to???

Returning to TheHowserHouse, the 1st Lady and I took a power walk for 30 minutes, covering almost two miles.....just a wee bit short of that goal.....we NEED to speed up our pace! We haven't really done much of this type of walking here at Llano Grande since we arrived......almost four weeks ago. I have ridden my new bike many, many miles here, but the walking is also needed for this old sagging, sexy hulk of me.

And was time to head Alamo Rec-Veh for our Monday square dancing class. WOW....we had nine squares today.....and it was a great two hours of very fast mental and physical activity!!! WE LOVE IT!!!!!! Again......if you haven't, or aren't, square dancing then get busy....and take some lessons!!!! You will not regret it!!!

As always, many of our new Winter Texan friends were there......and it was GREAT fun!! Those two hours go by waaaaayyyyyy tooooo fast. With only about four more weeks left here at Llano Grande and in the RGV.....we hope to dance a few more times each week.

Afterwards, we made a pit stop at WalMart to pick up some terribly necessary items that we couldn't live without.......and arrived back at TheHowserHouse an hour after our lessons were over. OMG.....had the wind really picked up in speedy gust by that time!!!!!! Sure glad that I don't get seasick.....and that the wind was not hitting us broadside!!! The gusts were as high as 35 mph and when I would go outside, all 69 of my very fine hairs on my head were standing up.

I am still having a lot of pain......not certain if it is tendonitis or something to do with the rotary(sp?) cuff in my right shoulder. I do know that the pain seems to be moving around to further parts of my arm and back....and a bit into my neck. NOT GOOD!!! I am damn certain it is not my age!!!! Hell.......I lack two months before I reach late middle years! But......I will get over this!!! After all:

Success comes in Cans
Failures comes in Can'ts

I have been very negligent in taking some photos of Llano Grande and the many rv's that are here at this outstanding RV Resort. Soooo, I climbed up on top of TheHowserHouse as the sun was going down and snapped a few pictures......not good ones, not very colorful, but just to let those of you who have never been here what this resort looks like. We are in the North Section..and it is almost full with motorhomes, 5th wheel trailers, and a few travel trailers......and everyone is soooooo friendly here. Walking or riding through the streets here reminds me of when I was stationed at SAC Headquartes at Offutt AFB, NB in the late 1960' hand was always up saluting the upper echelon of the officers my hands are always up waving to everyone. A GREAT feeling of being at home!!

The winds have died least here at the Resort......on the tellie, the bloated wind of George W. is quite evident as he gives his big speech....for the LAST TIME! And with that last phrase of the previous sentence, it certainly ensures that..........

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Day 28: A GRAY Day.....and then the clouds blew away!!!

And yet.....another gray and gloomy day....let's see...this is #4 in a row. UGH!!!! After my morning French Roast coffee....(three steaming cups full)........and after the 1st Lady had had her hot tea......we decided to go for a bicycle ride here in the Resort. She needed to return a few books to the Library that we have here at Llano Grande....and so after riding over there, we took a few minutes to browse through the books. She found a few books, I threw them into my backpack, and off we went for about an hour of riding up and down the streets here in the Resort. We also gathered about a half dozen or more grapefruit.......OMG, but they are soooooo damn good!

We enjoyed a brief visit from Ed Dray.....and a big thanks once his wife, Marilyn, had typed out the recipe for the great potato and sausage soup that Olive Garden serves....and that I enjoyed sooooo much earlier this week.

Later, I decided to read for awhile and went out on the patio to enjoy the day, it was getting brighter and lighter from the disappearing gray clouds. It didn't take long..... and I was beginning to nod...and so, inside and upstairs to the bedroom I went for a Sunday afternoon nap. Hmmmmm, that sounds like something a guy who works 5-6 days a week would do, doesn't it??? NOT like someone who has no everyday for a retired guy is a weekend!

After about an hour of snoozes, I awoke to a phone ringing.....and it was MY phone.....inside the pocket of my jeans, which were on my body! It was our oldest son, Mike......and so we talked for several minutes....and then there was a knock on the door.....and.........

It was Ken....from across the street!! We hadn't talked for several days....and so we sat in the ever-increasing sunshine and chatted for about a half hour or more. GREAT to see him......and thanks, Ken for coming over!!!! Of course, the conversation soon turned to where we had eaten in the past week......the movies we had seen this past week.....and then where I purchased my new bike! After he returned to his own Cedar Creek, I realized that time is getting tooooo short for us to not get together more frequently!!!

The 1st Lady and I decided to cook this evening......and so I grilled a couple of thick pork chops, and she made some great "stuffing" and some wonderfully prepared carrots in butter. For later this evening she made a fabulous apple cake.....and I ate WAY TOOOOO much!!! We watched a really heart-warming movie on the tellie this evening.....don't even know the name of it, but it was about FDR, his initial polio problems, and how he conquered a great deal of the physical part of the polio problem and how he purchased and turned the "spa" at Warm Springs into a polio rehabilitation and research center. I really enjoyed sitting back, eating the great cake and watching this movie, which I had not seen before.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a great day for good weather!!!! Let's do hope that they are right with this prediction!! And always.....

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Wllie's Bar-B-Q

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"What are YOU ordering?"

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Stuffed Baked Potato/ part of the Pulled Pork Sandwich(in the corner)

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Eating at Willie's!!

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Day 27: Cloudy, but warmer.......It was a FUN DAY!!!

Morning: It was cloudy and not as cool as the past three days.....and as the morning progressed, it did warm up until by this afternoon it was in the mid-60's!!! GREAT!!!!! Tomorrow is to be even better and as the week progresses, into the 80's......WONDERFUL!!!

Where did this morning go to???? We had our usual wonderful French Roast coffee....and her tea......and with our Ruby Red Grapefruit....the morning meal was delicious!! About mid-morning, the 1st Lady and I took a 30 minute bicycle ride around the Resort....and it felt good to get that morning ride today!!!

We left at 12 noon, taking Danny and Donna with us, for Casa del Sol RV Donna about 15 minutes west of here. There we joined 68 others who were there for two hours square dancing lessons.......a very fun group of Winter Texans who are only a fraction of a percentage point of the number of Winter Texans who are in the RGV now.......over a quarter of a million, in fact!! THAT is difficult to believe, but it happens every year........all of these RV'ers flock to this 50 miles stretch from all over the USA and Canada(almost all Provinces are represented)!!!!

We had a great time with the dancing this afternoon!!!!! Sooooooo damn much fun....I certainly wish we could continue back in Misery......perhaps we can search out a group in our area that square dances!! Our mistakes always bring on great laughter......and no one becomes upset when the mistakes are made.

With two hours of dancing finished, we four decided to go to 320 S. Alamo Rd to have a late lunch at "Willie's Bar-B-Q".....a highly recommended place and one that is ver popular here in the Valley. Arriving there, a place to park was difficult to parked everywhere!! The place is very run down....and, in fact, had we not known the reputation of this cafe....we might have driven on by it. But.........going on inside, we realized that we had to stand in line to go through the line to order and then pick up our food.

WELL.......OMG!!!!! The size and quantity of the food served with each order was preposterous!!!! The 1st Lady and I ordered one of their gigantic "Stuffed Baked Potatoes" and a pulled pork share each dish between the two of us. THAT was a great idea because the size of these two items was.....just unbelieveable!! I have never ever seen such a HUGE potato in my entire life........NEVER! And it was filled with cheese, butter, sour cream, chives, bacon, and then topped with chopped BBQ'ed beef(not hamburger) and covered a wonderful BBQ sauce! Then the pulled pork sandwich was a big as a dinner plate and was amazing in taste, tenderness, and smoky flavored!!! WOW....WOW!!!

It took us a while to eat all of this food....and the price was right...$14.06 which included two LARGE drinks. Will we go back??? Do I recommend it to all of you?????? HELL YES!!!!! For those of you readers here in the RGV who have not eaten at Willie's........GO QUICKLY!!!!! You do want to allow time so that you can return and give it another try......the menu is comprehensive.....and requires several visits.

I have forgotten to write about my granddaughter, Rachel. Night before last, she called us at TheHowserHouse to tell us that she had just won the Spelling Bee for her class, the 4th grade in the Elementary School she attends in Cape Girardeau, MO. WOW.....that is soooooo GREAT!!! I, and the 1st Lady, are both sooooo excited for her......and soooooo PROUD of her!!! She is a wonderful young lady with strong academic skills that are advanced for her age level......and that sure makes us proud of her!! CONGRATULATIONS RACHEL!!!!!!

Tonight, the 1st Lady and I joined three other couples at one of the tables at the Saturday evening Dance at the Club House here at Llano Grande. From Kansas, from New England, and from Ottawa, Ontario Canada........and the 8 of us are all square dancers and this evening we had just a wonderful time dancing(basically C&W music), having a few drinks and munchies, and some wonderful stimulating conversation. The band??? Not the best or most musical in the Valley, but they did provide three hours of live music(?) to dance to.

Sooooo, it has a been a very busy day, but a MUCHO FUN DAY!!!!! Great friends, GREAT fun!!! This place is unlike any other place for retired senior is just very difficult to describe to everyone......soooo much to do, sooooo many places to spend the winter using your/our RV's, sooooooooo warmly welcomed by all of the local citizens and communities both north and south of the border!!!

LIFE IS SOOOOOOO GREAT!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Day 26: Another day of dreary weather.......perhaps tomorrow???

Oh yeah.........another day of dreary weather.........and while I know we should be thankful we are not in the single digit weather of Misery, we are looking forward to the return of warm and sunny weather......tomorrow, we hope!

Today......after my French Roast coffee.....and after the 1st Lady returned from the gym, we decided to go to Harlingen for lunch.....and a movie. Sooooo, by noon we were sitting in The Lone Star Restaurant.....and not the "chain" one which is on Business 83 just to the west of Harlingen. This is a locally owned restaurant and has a completely different menu and style. And........the onion rings, not the onion loaf, are to die for!!!! OHHH SOOO GOOD!!! We then shared a large hamburger and after an hour with this nice and relaxed lunch, we moved on into town and made a quick trip into Wal-Mart and then to Office Depot. Then........

It was across the street to the CineMark......and we were soon in one of the theaters to see...."Juno". An Oscar nominated best film for this year.......we were anxious to see it. And.....while I do not call this a real Oscar was a fun movie, with some very great lines in it!!! It was enjoyable......and was not a movie that was overly intense with drama. Yep.....I am glad we saw it!!!

Returning to WalMart for a purchase, we bought a wireless router for TheHowserHouse. Returning to our home on wheels, I began the task of setting it up for both of our lappies. And......I was able to get one lappie online wirelessly and then the other lappie would not be able to connect. Then it go in reverse!!!! Soooooo, after two hours of calling to the other side of the world THREE times to the support for this brand.......we finally got it installed.....I hope!!! It is NOT fast....and I am not certain I am going to keep it.......a Belkin brand. Hmmmmm........our D-Link at the stick and brick runs circles around this one.....and it is not even a new model!!!

What to do? What to do? Think I may go buy another brand and see how it runs for us.....and then return the one that is the weakest. The speed is just toooooo damn slow for some reason as we are just sitting four feet from the router's antenna!!!!!!!!!!!!

And sooooo, after taking a phone call from Dr. Jeni, Darrel, and was good to hear from them. They flew from STL out to Breckenridge, CO yesterday evening for a long weekend of skiing...returning to STL on Monday evening. This is Meg's first ski trip....and she is enrolled for three days in a ski school for young ones.....and I hear that she LOVED it today!! She got to name their skiing group.....and she was then elected the leader.....haha! Anyway...they did come down the mountain for the first time this afternoon......and she kept wanting to go faster than the group was allowed to do. They will then leave two weeks later to go on a cruise for a week......on the Mexican side of the Gulf....another first for Meghan and, this time Ava will also go with them.

And so......we are sitting here in front of the fireplace..........and thinking positively about some good weather for the weekend, hoping that out thoughts will help to generate some better days! Nevertheless..........

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Day 25: UGH......another nasty, wet, cool day!!

YEP......another day of this crap! It should end by Saturday morning......and everyone here hopes that it WILL end then, if not earlier. This was not a day for being outside....and soooo, we didn't venture very far away from TheHowserHouse.

After the 1st Lady and I were up and moving around successfully, which includes having had our Fr. Roast coffee and hot tea, we decided that THIS was the day to see if I had learned my lessons about re-stringing the day/night shades?? Sooooo, with a bit of fear deep inside my aging hulk, I took down the first problem there. Then, I took down the first day/night shade.....and laid it on the floor just as my great re-stringing teacher had taught me to do. Hmmmm........

Looking at it, I thought....OK, old can do this.....and if you can't, then you can call for help just two streets behind me. Sooooo, with string, scissors, screw driver, measuring tape, and a few others things for security....I began to take it apart. And in less than an hour, the 1st Lady and I had it re-strung and was ready to re-hang it!!!!! To get this one down, I had had to move the sofa from the slide it has been sitting in.....and while I had it out, the 1st Lady decided that we needed to trade the sofa for the recliner in the back window. Hmmmmmm.......

Sooooo, we did! Then I began the task of doing the second shade. AHA!!!! Success!!!! Still in less than an hour, again!!! Thoughts began to run through what I have left of my brain cells.....perhaps I should advertise and go into business....(a tax write-off for traveling??)????, I don't mind if I screw up my shades, but I don't want the responsibility of screwing up a stranger's, I canceled that thought quickly. I do owe a HUGE THANKS to Ed Dray for his excellent teaching.........learning "hands on" is always better than just reading the instructions from an online source.

The rest of the day???? Well, the 1st Lady did a couple of loads of laundry......and then it was just the right kind of day to sit in front of the fireplace, read, surf the web, and just doze when it felt right to do so. And.....we did.

Being very, very ready for better weather, we are looking forward to the weekend!!!! But, you matter how nasty THIS weather is, it is one hell of a lot better than the weather that Misery is having right now!!! Soooooo,.....with that thought in mind......

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Day 24: YUCK!!!! Gloomy, dreary, and all terms like those describe this day!

Ohhhhh my.......what a dreary day to awaken to.......and it didn't really get any better as the hours went by. Not that it wasn't expected, but it was such a radical turn of events when comparing it to the gorgeous day we had yesterday. And tomorrow??? NOT any better.......ugh!

My night didn't make the dreary morning any better........I had awakened for some reason before 4am.....and I just lay there trying to decide exactly what time it was. Then I heard it begin to rain.....and somewhat later, I suppose I went back to sleep. All tooooo soon I awoke again and it was 7am when I went downstairs to start the Fr. Roast. I learned from a neighbor that it rained around THAT part of the sleepless night is known. was not a restful night, which made today a difficult task for me to plod on through.

After my coffee, the 1st Lady got up and began to get ready for ther 10am Line Dancing lesson. At 9:30, my Missouri friend, Ed knocked at the he was here to walk me through the procedure of re-stringing the day/night shades. We met through another of my blog readers....and after a bit of chatting that first time, we discovered that he had lived in my wife's hometown for several years....and that his daughter still lives in that area. Small World!!!

Ed really knows his business in this re-stringing task!!!!!! way could I have done it without his assistance.......and I just hope that I learned the correct way....completely!!!! We made a small error in the necessary steps......and this entailed the tedious task of re-doing the stringing. didn't take long, especially with Ed's "stringing talents"!!! We finished one shade in 1.5 hours.......a bit longer than he said it normally takes him, but.....what the hell! We DID get it done....and it looks and works wonderfully!!!! A BIG THANK YOU TO ED!!!!!!

After a quick lunch, the 1st Lady and I were off to the Rec Hall for our square dancing lessons. Dancing for two hours, we did re-enforce some of the "moves" and calls that we had learned on Monday.......and those two hours FLEW by!!! It is sooooooooooo much fun!!!!! For those of you who haven't done this.......OMG.....get thee to a place where you can spend a few weeks in Beginning Lessons.....and join in the fun and laughs AND exercise. You will NOT be sorry!!!

Following those two hours, we went to Home Depot to purchase some more string/cord for the other three blinds that we need to re-string.....and then it was back to Wal-Mart for some edible items. We finally returned home about 5:30.....and settled in for a chilly, damp evening. Sitting in front of the fireplace, we endured the auditions of American Idol........and for the life of me, I do not understand WHY the staff allows those hideous performers to audition for the cameras!!!!!!! With the thousands who are there to perform, what kind of standards do they use to eliminate all of the others????? It is such a damn waste of time......especially those of us who have tuned in to watch this "spectacle"........I am really getting sick of these shitty auditions!!!!! Cut out this crap and get on with the Hollywood auditions.......AGREE????!!!!!!

Tomorrow??? Well, we had discussed running across the border and catching the Thursday afternoon performance at Garcia's.....but I'm not sure I want to go over there in this kind of weather. No fun......trying to stay warm and dry as you walk down the streets!!! Tooooo cold to drink Margaritas.....????? Hmmmmmm.............

Dreary weather, a sleepless night, horrible auditions, but a very successful completion of a task I have been dreading with the shades, thanks to Ed!!! THAT in itself assured me that......

LIFE IS GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Llano Grande Pool #3.....the NEW one!!!

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Canadian "HowserHouse" blog readers!!!

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Day 23: WOW.....WOW.....WOW... WEATHER!!!!

Nothing more can be said than the above!!! It was one of those rare Perfect Days........from the very beginning to the late afternoon/early evening. Temps hovering around 80, wonderful light breezes blowing across Llano Grande.......a day to be out and about.........and to tuck away in your/our memories for the few days that are about to descend upon all of us here in the RGV!

My French Roast coffee, my ruby red grapefruit, and my sagging hulk were all on the patio to enjoy the beginning of this day. The 1st Lady was up and off to her Line Dancing class at 9am this morning......and I then jumped on my bike and rode.....and rode.....and rode......through the North Section of Llano Grande. was a total of 5 miles this mile further than yesterday!!! Hooray for my aging heart!!!! Hooray for my aging pedaling legs!!!! HOORAY for ME!!!!

Returning to TheHowserHouse, I drank one bottle of water, and then washed this water down with a cup of steaming Fr. Roast. The 1st Lady returned a bit after 10....and since I had already ridden my goal for the day......she decided to just catch up on some email. Me?????

I drug out the hoses, the Windex, the sponges and rags, the tire brush......and began the task of cleaning up the F350. NOT that it needed it.....heehee........! So, working against time with the warm breezes and sun, I washed it by sections and then toweled it off quickly so as to not allow the damn hard water spots to form on the finish. Puff...Puff..Puff!!!! Two hours later, I was finished and putting away the cleaning utensils, getting rid of the wet newspapers which I use on windows, and generally just beginning to slow down for the rest of the day.

We had a bit of lunch, I puttered around outside for a while.....and then it was off to the new pool just north of us. Arriving, we realized that there weren't many there, but within 30 minutes there were not many chaise lounges or chairs left to occupy.......lots of others had the same idea......GET TO THE POOL QUICK.......tomorrow is not going to be so nice.

As always, the 1st Lady and I found ourselves involved in several conversations with others who were sharing this LARGE POOL with us and others. Eventually, I was approached by another rver who was from Missouri/Misery.....and now lives at the Lake of the Ozarks, my original home. He and his wife had both been in education all of their lives....and so we did have quite a bit in common.

Then friends from Canada arrived.......the fellow who had greeted me when we first arrived here three weeks ago. His wife reminded me that it is because of ME(??) that they are staying here at Llano Grande. Seems that they had followed my blogs and had read my reports of this RV Resort and the RGV from last year......!! Guess I am reaching out to others in ways I would never have been able to imagine. THANKS to cyberspace????!!!!

Returning to TheHowserHouse, we began to get ready for dinner. I prepared my rice and steamed FRESH veggies(carrots, broccoli, cauliflower) which we then placed under and on top of Tilapia filets that the 1st Lady had quick "fried" in EVO.....extra virgin olive oil. WOW......when put all together this becomes one of my favorite easy to fix dinners!!!!! LOVE IT!!! Now of course, I had a dosage...actually two doses...of my dark red medicine....and the 1st Lady had a dose of Riesling. YUM....!!!

We took a walk after dinner during the minutes just before dark.....and enjoyed the warm evening as we passed by other rvers grilling, extending their "happy hours", and just relaxing on their patios. This is a wonderful section of the Park...........wonderful!!! must realize by this time that.......

LIFE IS WONDERFULLY GREAT!!!!!!.......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Day 22: WHAT happened to the predicted clouds/showers? BEAUTIFUL DAY!!!

I was up at 7 again this morning.......and there were clouds covering the sky.....and I was certain that it wouls be a gloomy day. WOW......what a later while taking a shower, I noticed through the skylight above the shower that it was becoming brighter. And, up going outside a bit later.......the sun was shining brightly...and soon the clouds were completely gone. YEAH!!!!

The morning.......well, I rode my bike for four miles here in the new section of the Llano Grande......and then, the 1st Lady decided we needed to walk for 30 minutes. Soooo, off we went through the same section of the Park that I had ridden earlier.

Returning to TheHowserHouse we stopped first at the Cedar Creek across our street, Mazzeron, and visited with Ken and Jeanne. They were the couple that last week we ate with at Gonzales Hamburgers....and had such a good time. We had not had time to visit with them since, but this morning we did sit and visit under their awning for a little time.

Soon, Danny and Donna picked us up and we went west to Alamo Rec-Veh Park for a square dancing class. After the two hour class with 40 people participating, we decided we needed a late lunch. So, we went a few miles further to over by the McAllen area where we decided to go to Olive Garden, which does have a late lunch menu here that lasts until 4pm.

Hmmmm........everyone was on the same page, as we all four placed our orders for the same items........Soup and Salad. WOW.......the service was really great with a lovely Mexicano Senorita doing the honors!!! The meal was quite good, the breadsticks were hot and buttery, and the soup......YUM!!!!! I don't even know the exact name of the soup I had, but it had potato slices and bites of sausage in it, with a spicy broth and some green herbs floating in it. A beautiful soup.........and quite, quite delicious!!!! It was a very good choice.......!

We returned to Llano Grande and then the 1st Lady and I just kicked back, had a later afternoon glass of wine and let the warm sun sink into the palm trees and grapefruit groves on the horizon. almost full moon, beautiful stars looking down on us, and a warm night, albeit the breeze began to cool down the Park as the evening disappeared into the moonlit night. It is sooooooooooo quiet here........we are over a mile from the nearest expressway or major street.....and with this lovely evening, it is so wonderful! Oh yeah.........

LIFE IS SOOOOOOO GREAT!!!!!.......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

WONDERFUL oranges and grapefruit!!!!!

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Scenes from the Fruit/Veggie Market

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LOTS of Poblano peppers!!

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The 1st Lady and our friends Donna and Danny.

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WOW…..a beautiful day……no clouds(this morning)…..and as the sun rose higher in the south-eastern sky, the temperature rose right up with it. It was brilliant outside….and the crisp temps mad everyone feel great again. By later this afternoon, the clouds were blowing in from the south-east…..and as the sun disappeared, I was certain it would become cooler….but, at 8:15 tonight, it is 60 degrees!! GREAT!!!!

We have new neighbors to the left of us….and as they were outside soaking up the Vitamin D from the sun, I wandered over and found myself spending the next hour with them. Being from Iowa and this being their first time to the RGV, we had much to talk about…..and lots of laughs, also!

The 1st Lady and I decided then to take a bike ride around this new area of the resort……and as we did, we again found ourselves discussing rving with another couple who were walking the same streets that we were riding on. They are full-timing and are excited about this new lifestyle…..and, I believe they are certainly much younger than we are. Our bike ride was for at least two, maybe three, miles….and it felt good to do so in this stunning weather.

This afternoon we decided to go over to the Don-Wes Market….the fruit and veggie market where we have always purchased our great fresh items! We wandered around, looked at some of the other items that were in stalls there and then looked more seriously at the fresh fruits and veggies, purchasing some fresh limes, tomatoes, and zucchini. Everything is soooooo inexpensive there……..and to think that it is the REAL stuff…..not what we get in Misery after it has been picked GREEN and then shipped to us.

Returning, we ran into our friends Danny and Donna just as they were preparing for an exercising walk of a couple of miles or so. We told them to stop by on their return to their home-on-wheels for some happy hour drinks…..and the agreed, of course!

Returning home, we did a few chores, putting away the fresh goodies…..and planning the evening which includes watching “The Amazing Race”, the FINAL episode of this years’ race.

Danny and Donna soon arrived….and from that point on, with wine glasses in hand, the conversation flowed at the rate of a fast-moving river……..with laughter bouncing off of the walls which only brought about more laughs! We have such a GREAT time whenever we are with them……….we just seem to “click”….much like the couple we met on the tour and cruise up the Nile River in Egypt that we were on this past November(check the Archives Nov, 2007, for many, many pictures).

After a couple of large doses of dark red medicine for both Danny and myself……we both felt better when they decided it was time for them to leave!!!! We are going to ride with them over to one of the other RV Parks to square dance tomorrow afternoon….and then who knows where after that.
“The Amazing Race”!!!!! WOW…….the couple that we had decided many weeks ago that we would like to see win this game…….well, they WON!!!! Seeing the scenes in Alaska stimulated our appetite for a return trip to that fabulous state…… has been probably 25 years since we drove up there…, it is time to go again!!!

Today????? A GREAT day!!!! Great weather!!!! Great friends!!!!! Great shopping!!! ……And, so…….what more can be said but…….

LIFE IS REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!!….And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Llano Grande: Site 2138....Stop by and chat!!!

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Day 20: FINALLY......the sun returns!!!!

This morning? Damp, WINDY, and very cool. By late morning the clouds were breaking up....and patches of blue sky were visible from time to time......YEAH!!!! And.....the temp climbed upwards bit by bit. Looking began to look like there were people in all of these mobile painted tin cans on wheels.......others began to look out and soon we were once again an RV Park full of senior citizens who had come south to enjoy the warmth of the tip of Texas. Yep.........after three days of not-so-pleasant weather.....the sun and the warmth has returned!!!!!!

We puttered around TheHowserHouse........drinking Fr. Roast coffee and hot tea......enjoying the sweetness of these wonderful Texas Ruby Red grapefuit......and a bit of cereal. We decided to go over to the city center of Mercedes, hit the Dollar General store, and the local H.E.B. grocery store. We purchased the various items that we just couldn't live another day without.......went to the local Post Office to mail a package......and then went west of Llano Grande to the next stop light and purchased some propane for an empty tank. The prices at Betts Propane are not as high as the tank trucks that go through the Park twice each, I take my tank(s) over there to get them refilled.

Back to TheHowserHouse, we put the purchased treasures away, I re-installed the propane tank, and then the 1st Lady took off for the gym. Returning, she made a large pot of chili......and we let it simmer for several hours during the afternoon.......awaiting the dinner hour. And before was 5 0'clock somewhere.....and I needed my dark red medicine dosage for the day. Since for some reason I have missed a couple of my daily doses, I made up for not having taken them......hmmmmmm.

THE CHILI!!!!!! OMG.....but it was sooooooo damn good!!!!!! We like our chili "wet".....not chunky, but with lots of liquid...juices. I had the 1st Lady use a can of black beans in the pot this time...and the entire concoction/recipe was enhanced.....and WOW!!!!! I can barely lift my sagging and extended hulk this evening!!!!!!! SOOOO GOOD!

As I was putting my propane tank into it's proper place in the side of TheHowserHouse.....I kept thinking about my good friend in the Kansas City area.....Larry!! He has discovered he has some severe back problems awaiting an appt. his wife, Cindy, has made for him with some specialists. I tried not to put toooo much pressure on my back in lifting this damn heavy propane tank to put install it, but being the short, sagging hulk that I am.......I find my back does bend a bit backwards as I lift it up and place it in the compartment......NOT an easy task. were on my mind the entire time!!!! GOOD LUCK!!!!!

This is the fireplace warmth....and some shitty crap on the tellie, so I am writing this earlier than ever...and with a cup of hot tea, I am going to hoist my sagging hulk up onto the sofa and get into a horizontal position with the book on my extended mid-section.....and enjoy a good read for the evening.

A very good day........the sun shineth again........and....

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!!.......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!! (Lots of hope for you, Larry!!)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Day 19: A NASTIER Day!!! Time for a new weatherman......

Oh my........This morning was really dreary......cold.....wet.....windy!!!! All of these nasty words.....and it was just really difficult to get moving. I was up at 7am, but kept the day/night blinds down to assist in keeping our heat inside. We have sooooo many and such large windows that the heat does leave us quicker than we like. Anyway........the day really did not improve weather wise....and the last time I was outside this was very much like this morning!

The 1st Lady and I padded around here this morning......enjoying the warmth and cheeriness of the fireplace as we read, drank hot tea and Fr. Roast coffee, checked emails, and just were damn lazy. Early afternoon, the 1st Lady went to the gym for over an hour of exercising......she hadn't been yesterday, so she had some guilt feelings. When she returned..........we made ourselves presentable to the public.......and.....

Left for McAllen...about 17 miles west of here. Ok....for those of you who haven't been here, we are technically in the town of Mercedes, but it is definitely the western boundary of Mercedes. From Brownsville in the very tip of Texas to Harlingen on the north to S. Padre Island on the east and then all the way west on Hwy 83 past Mission and a few other small towns.......this 50-60 mile stretch is nothing but one metropolitan never run out of "town"!!! THIS is the Rio Grande "Valley"......and, it is NOT a valley. Sooooo, whenever you go from one place to another, you never know WHICH town you are is just like a city with all the suburbs.....they all run together.

Sooooo, off to McAllen we went. Stopped at Sam's Club for a few items which we normally buy in bulk. In talking with the check-out clerk, this is THE #1 Sam's Club in the USA!!!! has more business than any other Sam's Club in the entire nation!!!!!!! What does that mean for us? That we have to weave and shove and apologize and push and apologize just to get to the items we need to purchase........and then sometimes we have to wait for long periods of time. Now......then you have to go through the check-out......and THEN you have to through the exit door which also is a LONG line as they check your receipt and items in the cart. Whew......a major undertaking to get a case of Swanson's Chicken Broth and some Trail Mix Granola Bars!!!!

After that ordeal, we went the movies!!! Yep......what else does one do on a rainy day besides shop and see a movie. OK........This movie was a surprise.......and I came away thinking about it for a couple of hours afterwards. "Atonement" was the movie: excellent filming, photgraphy, music, and some outstanding acting. Not having read the book which came out a few short years ago, I was taken in by the story, the presentation of the story line with some rather different techniques of telling the story, and the artful way of putting the entire thing together: story/plot, filming, editing, music, art work. Others have not been as kind with their comments about this film.........but, I did enjoy it.

We returned to TheHowserHouse about 7pm.....and the 1st Lady has just taken out of nice loaf of Banana Nut Bread!!!! OH has no calories....haha! Really soooooo damn good when it is hot with real butter spread on!!

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fat Daddy's Decor.......

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Lunch at Fat Daddy's with Bob and Beverly

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Day 18: NASTY wise.

WOW.....I woke up at the same time as usual.....came "downstairs" quietly, made my dark, rich French Roast coffee...and then quietly turned on the fireplace and then....looked outside. UGH!!!! Foggy, misty, windy, very damp and cool. just didn't get any better than that first visual that I had of today......NASTY!!!

We kind of just puttered around TheHowserHouse this morning......and then left at 11AM for Palm Shadows RV Park where we were to pick up Bob and Beverly....members of our Cedar Creek RV Owners Club. Bob and I set up this little meeting after talking on the phone a couple of times and a couple of emails back forth through the CCRVOC website forum. And so......after getting a tour of their new and really, really nice new Cedar Creek rig, we drove back over to Weslaco for lunch.

The 1st Lady and I had heard many good comments about a little BBQ place......"Fat Daddy's"......and....yep, it IS a good place to eat!!!! Finding it was a bit difficult because I didn't have the EXACT directions....just knew that it was on International Blvd that leads to Progreso, Mexico. Well, we drove to far south...and after getting some better verbal instructions, we turned around and went back towards Bus. 83. Again....we didn't see it, but then I turned again and started south...and VOILA!!!! There it was, the sign being hidden by the large number of cars and trucks in their parking lot!!!! It is on the right hand you head south from Bus. 83 and International......less than one block from the junction.

Food???? Well, I had the BBQ pulled pork sandwich....and it was VERY good!!!! The Fr. Fries were nothing special, but they were not greasy, as sometimes happens in other small cafes. Well.....this is not a small place as it seats quite a few people in several different rooms......and when we arrived, we had to wait for a few minutes for a table for four.

The 1st Lady also had the pork sandwich....and Bob and Beverly had the pork lunch plate. The prices were not too bad, but I believe the sandwiches were a bit higher than other places around this area for no more than is served. The fries are extra....., but.......we will certainly return to eat here again!!!! Should you go to eat there?? BY ALL MEANS!!!!! Well worth a visit there.

After returning Bob and Beverly to their Cedar Creek, the 1st Lady and I ran out to east Mercedes to look around at the Outlet Mall. We didn't purchase anything of any significance, but we enjoyed walking around, albeit a cold and damp walk from store to store. I did get to pick up a Starbucks Cappuccino....dry. As is a great cup of strong, rich coffee with just the right amount of espresso, steamed milk(very little), and the frothed milk on top. WONDERFUL!

Returning to TheHowserHouse......we settled in for the the damn and chilly evening. Turned on the fireplace, made a pot of Earl Grey tea, had a few of Hersey's Dark Chocolate Kisses.....and watched some dumb tellie shows!!!

It has been a really great day, despite the weather!!!! We really enjoyed our lunch with Bob and Beverly......and I am certain that the warmth from their friendship and the good food made sure that for me........

LIFE IS REALLY GREAT!!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!