Visit To The Culinary School For Lunch

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Harlingen is the home of TSTC Culinary School. (Texas State Technical College). The students learn from cooking, baking, presentation of food, to the proper serving etiquette of the meal. They also learn how to prepare a menu, cost analysis, and shopping for their menu. Every Monday, they send out an Email presenting their Menu for Wednesday. I am on the list and have been getting it for almost 2 years. I have never gone as I was busy or I just didn’t know exactly where it was. The Campus is large and very spread out. The lady’s were just taking about it when we attend the Play at the Theatre on Sunday. Monday morning their it was …….My Email from Chef Emma...…

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Yum Italian….My Favorite…. I grew up in an Italian town, so this was certainly the key to my stomach. I contacted several lady’s and we set our lunch at 11:30 am. I called out to the school and talked with Bobbi…..Very nice lady on the phone….Extremely friendly and helpful to me as a first timer. Finally after another call or 2, we had reservations set for 5 of us. I picked everyone up and we headed out. Several had been their before but just wasn’t sure on exactly where it was. I had the map Chef Emma sent in the Email. We pulled into the parking lot, and the building said Science..Hmmmmm….Lila went in to explore the halls….Bingo…We were in the right place. We wound through the halls of students with their bookbags, and found Room 185.

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As we entered, they were all ready for us. They took my name for my reservation, and then seated us and presented the menus. This was just a regular class room with round tables set up for the lunch. Their was probably 4 or 5 tables with people seated already. They started serving at 10:30. The First year students would be waiting on us and serving the drinks and food. The Senior students were in the kitchen preparing the dishes for us. Our waitress introduced herself and took our order. We were their Guinea pigs.... lol…The menu’s were fabulous. Some things we heard of some things not. We mostly all chose the same things. We chose an Appetizer, or they called it a Starter, an Entrée, and of course a Dessert. After a few minutes of laughter and visiting, the meal began…..First the appetizer..Yummmm…..“Bruschetta”

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The flavors were wonderful….Tomatoes with Garlic, Basil, and Balsamic on a toasted baguette. I am not a tomato lover, but this was “Awesome”

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Theresa ordered the Minestrone Soup…..This was not just a cup or Appetizer size….It was huge. It was also served with 2 pieces of Toasted Baguette . I had a taste and it was wonderful. Rich in flavor. Next, time for Main Course……“Shells stuffed with Ricotta Cheese with Spinach”……“Wow”

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We all ordered the same. The presentation on the plate was very appealing and the shells were huge…The flavors again….just wonderful…During this time Chef Emma came by and introduced herself and told us a little about the program. Everything is made from scratch, including the Creamy Cheese and Spinach filling. Finally last course….Dessert……“OMG”

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Just look at this….Its called “Deconstructed Chocolate Tiramisu” Believe me, it even tasted better than it looked….It was Heavenly. The flavors of chocolate and whip cream were to die for. We all had a good laugh when Debby said...”This is another good use for our wine glasses”. None of us finished out meal. We all took home 2 of our 4 Stuffed Shells. What a Fabulous Meal.

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After we were done eating, Chef Emma again came around, also Bobbi, the girl on the phone who took my reservation. Such friendly lady’s. They made us feel like family. They told the rest of the lady’s how to sign up for emails for their menus. Finally our waitress presented us with our bill It was only $12.75. Very Economical.

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Finally after much visiting and laughter and just a great time, it was time to leave. We each paid our bills at the cash register and headed out to the car and home. What a fun afternoon.

Thank you TSTC Culinary School…..Great Job, Great Food….Not only Great, Fantastic…..The Lady’s from Eastgate Mh & Rv Park Will Be Back…large_Logo.gif

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Another Birthday….They Keep Coming…Faster

Yesterday was my Birthday. It is the day I catch up with Rich and we are the same age. lol….. In December he will become older than me again. lol. Its a good way to look at it. Now I’ve never been one to celebrate my birthday much. Its just a sign the clock is ticking. It seems to be ticking faster all the time. But today ended up a Very special day. Rich asked me, do you want to go out to eat or just grill out. I had to work at the theater in the afternoon, so I said “Lets just grill”. Ok, so he was going to go to the store and find something good. Around 12:30 I left for Cinemark 10.

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Some of the crew, hard at work

That’s when things started happening. It was a just a different day of good things……lol… First I stopped at Stripes. Its a gas Station like Casey’s back home. 1 on every other corner. I always get a Slushy and put it my insulated cup. I’m their a number of times a week. I filled my Mango slushy and went to the register. The girl that is always their said. “Just take it, you come all the time”.….Really!!!!!….I was so surprised ….I said “Thank You, Its my birthday”. Her face lite up with surprise, and she wished me a Happy Birthday. So off to the theater. As I walked in, my co-workers started to wish me a Happy Birthday. How Nice of them I thought. One of the Stephanie, actually came in and waited till I was free of customers and wished me a Happy Birthday. Steph, I wish I had more time to talk with you, but those customers kept coming, but “THANK YOU”. Awhile later something else strange but enjoyable happened. I was selling tickets and heard music. I looked in the street and seen a car stop in front of the theater. The guy turned up his music and got out of the car. He was dancing around the car. Everyone was laughing. It was such a funny sight to see. He was dancing waving his arms and then waved back at us, got in the car, and drove away. ….. Hilarious.…The ticket line was full of Happy People….. Later as the afternoon went, another special moment. I had 2 older lady’s in line. She got out all her money and she was 75 cents short. She was explaining how she had collected all her change. I started to count what she had, and Another lady spoke up……She said “I’ll pay for your tickets, put your money away”. She gave me her Credit card and paid for the 2 ladies. They were so grateful to her. So many kind people. What a great day it was turning out to be. My shift was over at 5:30. Around 10 to 5, several of the girls came in….I was shocked.

I was given a bouquet of flowers and a HUGE cake with a balloon.

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They said to come up to the breakroom after my shift, to cut the cake. The rest of the crew was going to sing Happy Birthday...…Wow….I surely didn’t expect that. When my shift was over, I went up stairs. They left Melissa in Box Office, and one person in Concession, the rest came upstairs.

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They all sang Happy Birthday. Then we cut the cake, ate cookies, and laughed some more.

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On the wall was a bulletin board. Their was notes that I had never read before. This was so nice. I had never really paid attention to the board before. It had other birthday notifications and notes on it. It is a Great way to recognize people for special days or things.

I opened my card, and everyone had signed it with a Special message. How thoughtful.

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Finally time to go….I stopped to get a few more pictures as I left. Here’s Dora and Correa at the Podium.

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Then I stopped at the Box Office. Of course I had to get Melissa. She usually comes in for the night shift and relieves me. Finally I got home around 6:15. It turned out we were going out to eat with friends. So by 6:40 we were on the road to Longhorn Cattle Co.

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So much food. Rich had a rack of ribs and I had a loaded Baked Potato with Brisket. Of course we had left overs. After we were back home, I got a call from the Grand kids. They all wished me Happy Birthday. So the end of a Birthday Day……It was a Great Day..

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So Thank You to All, Everyone at Cinemark and all of you on FB really made it a memorable day…….It will be a Birthday I will always Remember…..

Happy “68th” Birthday to Me

lol…Now you all know my age…

Its Been Awhile!!!!

Have I been Busy????  or Lazy???  Both.….I still haven’t finished writing about our cruise in April.  But right now I’m writing about the bad rains and floods we had here in the Rio Grande Valley several weeks ago.  Down here we seem to get the bad tropical storms or depressions that come in from the gulf.  Around the week of July 19th,  a sub tropical depression came in over the valley.  Rain was predicated,  but I don’t think they expected that much.  That Wed morning I woke up about 4 am to hear a loud noise.  At first I thought the A/C was making a terrible noise.  Oh Crap, another expense.….But after listening I realized it was raining very very hard.  I had to work at the theater that morning at 8:30 am.  I got ready and it was still just pouring outside.  I called the theater and the workers were coming in.  “The theater never closes ya know”, they said.  It was the morning of the Kids Summer Movie Club.  Every Wed at 10am.  So as much as I wanted to stay home, I got out my umbrella and out to the car I went.  We had running water on our street in front but it was not accumulating.  I backed out and just up the street a short ways was the first corner of the park.  20180620_082059.jpg

It is just a little lower that the RV section.  This is were the water began to flood.  Wow. 

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As I looked back, this is our street.  You can see the pickup on the left and the MH on the right.  All the water ran down hill.   As I left the park, I stopped at each street to take a picture of the side street.

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I was amazed to see all this water.  As you can see, it was still raining.  All the side streets in the mobile section were flooded.  Fortunately, it never got high enough to go into trailers.  Most trailers are not only built up higher on their pad and the trailer itself is several feet higher off the ground anyway.  So mainly it was the inconvenience for residents to not be able to get out.  I drove on to the theater.  We had 3 of our 10 theaters saved for the Movie Club.  The kids made up snack packs.  Usually Day Care Centers come with buses of kids.  Finally we had 2 groups come…..Group of 8 and a family of 3…..No Day Care Centers.   So the Movie still goes on…..lol…..Finally around noon, most of us were sent home.  A number of the streets were reported closed but I had no trouble driving the mile or so to get home.  By that time the water was already receding in the park.  It was only in the streets and most of them were drivable by then.  So Eastgate was very lucky.  But the rest of the Valley was not.  It rained off and on for the next several days, while the storm seemed to circle over head.  Finally when all done, Harlingen received 16.75 inches of rain which was the most in the Valley.  That was a whole years supply in a few days.

Harlingen did pretty good but Weslaco and on to Mission received a lot of property damage.  Weslaco downtown and shopping areas as well as residential areas were very damaged.  Many home throughout the valley had several feet of water in them.  Storm centers opened, the boats and rescue vehicles were out.  Our county which is Cameron County and Hidalgo County were declared Disaster Areas.  Red Cross was set up and Fema is now in place.  The reports said we receive just as much or more rain than the Hurricane Dolly brought in 2008.  In our History books of Eastgate, we have a few pictures of Hurricane Dolly.  One of the pictures has a person in a row boat.  Now I believe that would have been possible that morning on our streets.  Now our Next Battle……..

 MOSQUITOS‘……Those dreaded little pesky bugs that bite and thrive in water.  Down here we do have reports of the Zika and West Nile virus.  So that is a worry of people also.  The city’s started spraying right away.  They not only do they spray for the active bugs but also are dropping pods into standing water locations to combat the pre-emerging mosquitos.  Their was standing water for days and some areas a week or two.  Our neighbor across the fence had standing water a week later.  That promotes hatching mosquitos.  You could hardly go outside for several days.  But I think finally that is under control.  Now another problem.   Pot Holes….Our park also was very lucky.  I seems like our roads are intact.  But through out the valley the roads are now falling apart.  The city trucks are out putting up orange cones and filling potholes.   So now Rich and I have a list of weather we have witnessed in Harlingen……1.  Our first Hurricane, August 25, 2017, Hurricane Harvey.   2.  First snow in the Valley since Dec 2004.  We had a dusting of snow on Dec 6 2017, which they called the Blizzard of 2017.  Police and News Reports cautioned everyone to slow down and drive safely.   Kids were ecstatic.  Now how crazy is that.  3.  Now a major flood which brought a flood comparable to Hurricane Dolly.  

We went back home last month also for 3 weeks.  We had Grandkid graduations, and some other things to do, but I will be finishing the Cruise on the next blog.  Here at the park its been hot and quiet.  Because of all the rain, the grass is now green, and growing.  Here’s some pictures of the beautiful flowers on cactus plants.

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You would never think such a beautiful flower can bloom on a cactus.   These are at some of the homes surrounding our pool.  The close ups are just so pretty.

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So delicate, and the colors so pale and gorgeous.  We’ve also had several holidays now where our flags have been displayed.20180704_082623.jpg

Last season the North Harlingen Rotary Club promoted a new program of sponsoring a flag for $50, in memory of a veteran.  Your subscription would be for a year.  It would be installed and taken down on the certain holidays like Flag Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July etc.  The Rotary would take care of installing it in the morning and taking them down before sunset.  It was so overwhelmingly received, that 21 flags now fly in front of our park, lining our street on Holidays.  20180614_121015.jpg

Everyone is so proud of our Flag, the Veterans who have passed as well as our Veterans who are with us.  Thank You All for everything you have done so we can be …….”FREE”…..Many families have suffered and gave up so much for our Country.  We must never forget this.  Here at Eastgate we are a community of Americans and also Canadians.  We have many Canadian Winter Texans that bought mobiles for their winter home as well as many who may come in their RVs.  We are all family.  The beauty of this flag program is we also had 2 Canadians that subscribed to the flag program in honor of their family member.  Our 19 American Flags, fly in UNITY with 2 of their Canadian Flags….20180704_082420.jpg

 

Tour of CBS Channel 4 and other Things

The local CBS TV Station is located in Harlingen.  I have tried to contact them for a tour but I could never seem to connect.  The Red Hats managed to get a date and I was invited.  I was so excited.  I’ve always wanted to see the inside of a TV Station.  When we arrived they first took us into the room where they make commercials.

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They showed us how they make commercials by layering different ribbons of information.  They started with the basic video and added telephone numbers and pictures and anything that keeps the attention of the audience.  They are working with seconds of time on a graph, adding where to stop and start.  It was very interesting.

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Next they took us in a room where the main feed comes in from the network.  All the local cameras either in the building or out in the community are fed into this room.  All the timing and switching the feed between cameras to the online network, are done in this room.

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Then we entered the last room.  This was the studio where all the newscasts take place.  As you looked around, you seen all the different sets that you see on tv, all in one room.  This was March Madness Week.  So no news at noon.  The room was empty so were able to wander around and try out all the sets.

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This is the monitor that they read from.  It is sitting right by the camera in front of the staging area.  We all gathered around the Lifestyles set.

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The lighting was bright but so perfect.  We were all so colorful in our red and purple.

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Next we went to the weather screen.  lol  I was pretending to do the weather.  As you see the back wall is green, but looking in the monitor, the blue background and Channel 4 logo has been applied.  When they do the weather, they have to watch these monitors to be able to point at the map.  Their is the one by the screen as well as in front of them near the camera.  Quit interesting.  FB_IMG_1522972708827.jpg

We moved over to the News Center.  You can see the monitor in the table.  We took turns taking our group pictures 20180316_121518.jpg

Our guide was right next door at the Storm tracker Center.  You see all the monitors in the back ground.  This was really a fun trip.  I talked to the guide to set up a tour for next fall.  Today the station was empty, but generally they would have been busier at this time.  We would have been able to see the news cast.  So next fall I will set up a tour and well see what happens that day.  I was so grateful for the Red Hats for inviting me and lending me a Red Hat to wear.  FB_IMG_1521899879641.jpg

Last Friday, we had our Farewell Potato Bake that is supplied by the owner.  We had over 150 people sign up.  We ordered huge Texas size potatoes from the Veggie Man.  We supplied sour cream and butter, and everyone brought a condiment to share at their table.  20180323_172707.jpg

From the Super Bowl, we had left over Pulled Pork for a potato topper, and Nachos and Cheese.  I prepared Veggies and dip for Happy Hour.  Rich and his crew started cooking and preparing the potatoes in the morning and by 4pm Happy Hour began.  5 pm we Ate.  After the potato, we served Ice Cream from the Activity Board.  Finally I showed my Seasonal Video.  I take all the pictures of the season and put them together and make a slide show to music.  This year I had 157 pictures, a number of short videos that we took at some occasions, and added 4 songs, making it 20 minutes long.  The evening was finished off with drawings.  The prizes were restaurant cards that can be used for their trip home. Applebees, I-Hop, Burger King, etc.  6 cards totaling $100. Finally it has come time to say good bye.  So many are pulling out and heading back north.  The park is empting out.  But……..The weather is bad up their.  They are all giving up 80 degree weather for snow and 30s.  They are also having an unusual winter.  More snow is forecast.  But away they go…………..

Since April was on the 1st, I pulled rank and said I would not be handling Easter this year.  My contract is technically done the end of March.  We needed a break.   They had to figure out who was going to cook hams for Easter.  They did succeed and around 60 people signed up.  We went to Padre with several friends.  It ended up being 9 of us. 20180401_132055.jpg

After dinner Theresa and Ron and us, went to the beach.  It was beautiful down by the beach.  The water was chilly, as it was only around 74, but it is warming up every day.20180401_202842.jpg

I went wading in the waves on the beach.  It was a little cold, but you grew accustomed to it.  Their were so many families enjoying the weather and the water.

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Kids making sand castles, and kids playing ball in the water.  It was a perfect relaxing way to spend Easter.  Finally time to do a little shopping, and then DQ, and head home.  So nice that this whole atmosphere is only 45 minutes away.   Anytime we desire, we can just hop in the car and drive to the beach.  Everyday can be a Vacation…..Retirement is Grand….20180401_210229.jpg

Next week is going to be an Exciting Week.  We are doing something that we have never done before.   Its another 1st……….Another bucket list check off…..Stay Tuned for the next Blog……

Busy January at Eastgate….

January has been a very busy month.  It has been also a very cold month.  Usually we only have a few cold days that reach maybe in the 40s but mostly 50s, 60s, and 70,s.  This year it has been very cold.  Several times it reached into the low 30,s for several days.  We’ve lost many of our flowers.  We had a good frost that killed many.  They say its been the worst in many years.20180211_054906.jpg

We did a tour to the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen.  We have done this before, but I feel it is such an important part of Harlingen to share every year.  This is a private academy that can house up to 200 students. The cost is $20,000 a semester.  An average student will spend only 2 years here because of the cost for the parents.  Those who attend all the grades will almost be guaranteed entrance to a top college in the nation.  The curriculum is military style with a focus on academics.  Sports are also offered but no vocational courses.

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Marching to the Cafeteria

They have a very strict daily plan for the students.  They have a daily dress code and march in units.   They live in barracks and have a counselor family also living in each housing unit to watch over them and take care of their needs.  It is a very impressive place.  We boarded their bus, toured the grounds including the gymnasium, weight room,  library, rec center,  auditorium and and finally the cafeteria.  We ate, watched the kids march in formation and then they bussed us back to the Iwo Jima Museum parking lot.  It is the home of the Original Iwo Jima Memorial.  20180122_125212.jpg

It is the cast that made the Iwo Jima Memorial that sits in Washington DC. at Arlington Cemetery.  It is such an honor that it was installed in Harlingen.  It is across the street from the Academy and the back drop for the Academy’s Dress Parades.  They also have a wonderful Museum on the grounds.  It is also the burial site of Corporal Harlon Block, who was one of the flag raisers who’s picture was captured that fateful day.  He was killed in action several days later.  He was from Weslaco which is only about 10 miles from Harlingen.

Our next event was going to the Border Patrol for a Informational Presentation.   The Canadians had to have papers filled out 2 weeks prior to the date.  They said they use to take people back to the housing areas, but not any more.   We were taken to a large room where they hold their meetings etc.  20180125_111638.jpg

At the front of the room were 4 empty chairs.  They were in Memorial to 4 of the Officers from Harlingen that have been killed.  Their name is engraved and also notice the tree on the side holding a pair of empty boots, a gun holster and a hat.  Very moving.

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They held a slide show and gave us so much factional information.  The hot spot of the Rio Grande Valley is in McAllen.  The amount of family’s, men, women and children that have crossed over is astounding.   They are coming to the Park on March 4 to give their talk again.  Their was so much info and facts.  So many people had wanted to come, and the limit was 30, so I decided to have them come and give the same presentation.   Hopefully I can retain some of the facts to pass on.  It was interesting though, the highest quarter for illegal’s was the quarter just before Trumps election.  They thought they wouldn’t get over after he was in office.

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Entrance to Hotel….Concrete tree stumps.  Schlitterbahn has a very rustic appereance.

Next we had the Winterfest Concert in South Padre Island at Schlitterbahn Indoor Water Park.  I sold tickets for this event which qualified Rich and I free entrance.  They also had a 3 day special for a Dinner Show the nite before, Winterfest, and then a Matinee Dinner performance the following day.  All in all, 3 nites at the hotel.  Many went, but Rich and I chose to spend the just 1 nite.  The Dinner Show that nite was “Mirage, Visions of Fleetwood Mac”.  They were based out of L.A.  They were very good.  The next day was the Winterfest.  Live music on stage started at 10 am and continued till 5 pm.  We were also given a Shrimp or Fish Basket from the Shrimp Haus.

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We seen some great performances.  Many people from all over the Valley came to enjoy the entertainment.20180131_103735.jpg

Here is some of our Eastgate group.   I can see about 12 here….It was hard to get everyone.  We were so scattered around.  Total I believe , just from our park was about 24 people.  As we were watching the musical groups, we seen a zip line out of the corner of our eyes.  We walked over and the line was getting longer.  Only $5….Wow….Sure I’ll go.  Many of the people from our park were in line.  I found a partner, Laura from our park.  Rich came over also and went with Gaylon.  It is a zip line that 2 of you sit in 2 seats and are strapped in.  It is called the Soaring Eagle…Soaring-Eagle-Zip-Line-Mooresville-Indiana-6-of-7-1024x683

No place for your feet, just hanging freely.  So the only thing keeping you in is the seat belt.  As I was in line, our friend Ron asked me if I wanted to use his Go Pro camera…..Wow…Sure…He had a short tripod that wraps around your hand.  So finally my turn.  I was excited but also a little scared.  After you are strapped in, it is pulled backwards quite a ways up to the top of a pole.  You stop for about maybe 5 seconds and then start your descent going 30 miles an hour till you get to the end.  Then the brakes are applied and you stop abruptly.  I describe it as a jet landing on an air craft carrier and it is stopped by the hook.  So finally my turn.  Now I didn’t realize that with the camera on my right hand, I also got into the right side.  I now had no place to hang on to.  I also didn’t realize, my seatbelt was not tight.  Their was a lot of play.  Finally we started going backwards up the line…..zip line 2

We were almost to the top and I was feeling like I was going to fall out…All most at the top, it jerked you about 3 or 4 times.  Each time I thought I was falling. ….. OMG…..But the View from the Top was…..ASTONISHING BEAUTIFUL…The island looked so small.   What a View.  I still had the Go Pro wrapped around my right hand with nothing to hold on to.  I tried panning it around to get it on video.  Then all of a sudden we were falling….faster and faster towards the ground.  We came closer and closer and then I could see the end of the line….The platform where we loaded and at the end of the line????  The I-Beam holding up the zip line.  If it did not stop….It would be a DIRECT HIT to the I-Beam….In those last seconds, all my thoughts were, when the brakes went on, I would fly forward and slip out of the seat belt….So at the last minute…The hand with the camera came down and grabbed the seat…..And we stopped really very easy…..lol..lol…OMG….It was a crazy ride.   Many of you have probably seen the Video, It is on FB on my Time Line….So I got out and Rich was next….Him and Gaylon climbed on board and took the ride.  Now he really enjoyed it and wasn’t scared.  He also made them strap him in tight….So Would I do it Again???    Yes I sure would…..It was AWESOME...Now I will show you my Awful picture…..

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….In the corner, you can see the overlay of us at the end near the top of the pole…

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The next day I had to get up early.  We had a SegWay Tour back down at Port Isabel.   We ended up with 2 groups because we had 10 people.  We held one at 10 am and then another at 1 pm.  It was an absolutely Beautiful day.20180201_120705.jpg

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The temperature was in the low 80’s and hardly any wind, and the water and sky was beautiful shades of blue.  2 more weeks and we will be doing SegWay on the Beach at Padre……20180204_175349.jpg

Next affair was the Super Bowl PartyRich and I are in charge of that.  I have a budget to go by.  Rich cooked around 50 lbs. of pork and pulled it.

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We had smokies, shrimp, nachos and cheese, veggies and dip, sausage cheese and crackers and a Keg of beer.  I decorated with balloons from the ceiling in team colors, and made megaphones from construction paper for center pieces.  Everyone also brought a snack to share ….

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I had collected 27 door prizes to give away including 2 Director Chairs from the park owner.   They all had a great time…..Most of the beer was gone, and food too…..Everyone was happy.20180209_120500.jpg

Our last event we just had was our Ladies Luncheon with our 2nd Annual Style Show.  Everyone brought a dish for the food table.  Their was so many wonderful homemade dishes.20180209_124311.jpg

The desserts were out of this world.  Everyone filled their plates, and when we were done we still had so much food.  Finally the Style Show portion.  Last year we chose 3 stores that were in different towns.  They were rather elite stores that are a little pricy.  This year, they choose local stores that were more practical in style and price.

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The first one was Cato’s.  They had some really nice items for everyday.  The ladies had so much fun doing this….20180209_133346.jpg

The next store is Quelles Boutique down town Harlingen.  The modeled many items that were so inexpensive and yet so unique.  Its really a great store that I need to go and check out.  She carries new as well as gently used.  It sounds very interesting to see.  So that has been my month….So so busy…..soon it will be almost over……April 1 is officially the end of the season when everyone is going or has gone back north….

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A Beautiful Day in Port Isabel looking over the Bay to South Padre Island

 

 

Tammy & The Kids Visit….Part 2

FB_IMG_1516214053865.jpgWe had a fun day in Progresso Mexico and then headed back over to the US side.  We headed for South Padre Island which is about a 45 minute drive.  Rich and Cameron were in our car leading the way, and us girls in Tammy’s Jeep.  We arrived after dark at our motel and settled in.  Now we had a number of things planed,  but the weather was going to cause us a problem.  Cameron wanted to do a Deep Sea fishing Trip in the Gulf.  We also wanted to take the Port of Brownsville  Tour and see the ship yards where they dismantle the decommissioned Navy ships.  The USS Ranger is their and the USS Independence just arrived last May.  The weather has not been stable at all this season.  The forecast changed from the 70s to the 60s with some rain.  We had tickets lined up for both but they were both cancelled because of the weather.  FB_IMG_1515893032735.jpg

Tammy did manage to take several drives up the beach.  The first one she was very excited to finally drive up to the end of the road.  South Padre Island has only one main road down the middle.  It continues north until it turns into sand.  It passes all the beach access points, the hotels, condos, restaurants and bars.  It also passes a Zip Line area.  They also offer horse rides on the beach.  It is the farthest north facility on the island.  Then it turns into sand a ways up the road.  It gets so windy the road is always blowing over.  The plows regularly have to plow and maintain the road.  As you see it was sputtering rain on her windshield, but that didn’t stop her.  She drove back to Access 6 and entered the beach.  She said she drove a number of miles north.  On the way they passes the horses out for a ride.

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It was chilly to be on the beach.  The wind blows in from the ocean constantly.

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But I guess if you love horses and the beach, it doesn’t stop you.   It probably was a dream come true for some of those people.  The weather just didn’t cooperate.

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Along the way Tammy stopped and they looked for shells.  She actually found some large Conch shells.  They probably had washed up from the storm that had just come in a day before.  Carly brought her fish net and loaded it up with all her special shells she found.  They loved ridding on the beach.  Its such an exhilarating feeling as the wind blows and the sea gulls fly and chirp.  The feeling of peace, tranquility and Freedom.  Mother Nature at her best.

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Carly on the upper deck…..It was so Cold and Windy

The next trip we did was the Dolphin Eco Watch.  The boat is a double decker.  It holds quite a few people.  It is around a 2 hour trip in the bay, looking for dolphins.  They also drop a net to the bottom and drag it to catch different types of fish.  It was so cold.  We bundled up in our sweat shirts and jackets and boarded.  The girls had so much fun….Even Tammy.  We seen the dolphins many times just swimming around near us.  They would surface and then go under and come up a ways ahead.  The deck hand had dropped the net and reeled it in.  He had quite a few different variety’s of fish.  He cleaned them out of the net and put them all in a bucket with water.  He took them out 1 by 1 and showed them to the kids and adults.

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He actually caught a Sting Ray.  He explained the danger and how to react when near a Sting Ray.  He also showed a Puffer Fish and several others.  Finally he dropped them all back into the bay.  Then they took the boat clear out past the Jetty’s of Padre.  The wind was blowing, the waves were blowing high and splashing against the Jetty Rocks.

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It was so beautiful to see all the hotels at a distance and the beaches.  We also seen Dolphins clear out here.   Finally after almost 2 hours we went back to the docks.

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Now we were all hungry.  We decided to go to Pier 19.  It is a restaurant out on a dock.  Very cool atmosphere.  Every table is by a window.  It is a long and narrow restaurant as it is built actually on the pier.  We had seen Dolphins near the restaurant when we were on the boat, so decided it would be a great place to eat.

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They had some great food.  I had a Hawaiian Burger.  It was awesome.  I can’t wait to go back.   The next day we decided to go to Brownsville to the Gladys Porter Zoo.  It is situated on 31 acres.  The zoo houses about 400 animal species and over 250 tropical and neo-tropical species and subspecies.

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We didn’t see to many animals as it was still so cold.  But we sure seen Flamingos.  It is such a beautiful unique zoo.  The animals are all housed in areas that are natural to their habitats.  You don’t see many in cages, as they are all in natural out door settings.  But since is was so cold, I think they were mostly brought into their indoor areas to escape the unusual cold weather.  Just Carly, Tammy and I went here and we had a great time.  We also took another side trip out to Boca Chica Beach.  It is on the south side of Port of Brownsville.  It is a desolate beautiful area just a stones throw from the border.  After a 20 mile drive it dead ends into the beach at the Gulf of Mexico.  Several years ago they anounced that Space X had bought some ground for a new Missile launch area.  It is being built now, but we were told it would take another 2 years before the first launch.  That night ate out at Louies Backyard on the Bay sideTammy and Carly stayed at the hotel as they were tired.

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Glen and Kathy from the park came down to spend a nite.  They had spent the afternoon at another Club listening to the singer “Leslie”.  After she was done their, she came to sing at Louies.  We had some good food and fun times.

The next morning, Tammy wanted to go for another drive on the beach.  Rich and I and Cameron stayed in the room.   Awhile later, Tammy called…….”Dad do you have a tow rope in your car?“……lol….Oh no…..They had driven into Access 6 again and drove for miles up the beach as it was low tide.  They had a great time until they came back and tried to get back through the Access area.  In these areas the sand accumulates into drifts.  If not cleaned out regularly with a plow, it is like snow drifts up north.  You simply get stuck and end up bottoming out if you keep trying.  Well that’s what happened.   The other thing was, all this time she thought she was in 4 wheel drive.  Cameron had showed her to put the switch in 4 wheel but neglected to show her the other part of the process.  She was lucky she never got stuck earlier.  Well “Dad” didn’t have a tow rope…….Rich and Cameron drove out their and their was a whole crowd helping her.  She had of course bottomed out trying to get out.  Several vehicles tried pulling her but to no avail.   Finally another Jeep hooked up and pulled her right out.  She was so excited that she never took any pictures.  She was disappointed when she realized others were taking pictures but she didn’t get any.  So another Adventure for her to talk about…..lol….But no pictures.   Later she had to wash the Jeep as she was so full of sand.

Our stay at the island was coming to an end.  We had nice rooms.  Cameron stayed with us in ours so the girls could have their room to them selves.  Our room was obviously quieter.  When you went into Tammy’s room it was a disaster.  Clothes all over, and Carly always had her little toys out on the table playing with them.  She always has to have play time with her little toys.  We had a great Breakfast every morning down in the Lobby.  All the cold cereal, donuts, bagels, and toast as well as eggs, potatoes, waffles and juices.  Anything you could want for breakfast.

We left the Island to go home, but Tammy was still staying another day or two.  We both drove and headed for Brownsville,   77 Flea Mkt.  This turned out to be a beautiful day.  The Flea Mkt is huge.  Rich and Cameron took off and us girls started to slowly make our way through.  The girls had fun, even Cassidy.  We found a cheap stroller to put Carly in.  She would have never walked the whole thing.  20171230_133504.jpg

Cassidy found quite a few things.  Several pairs of slacks, make up brushes, and her best item was a blue tooth speaker with disco lites on wheels.  It was made like a rolling suitcase.  Great for taking to her friends or wherever she wants to go.  Tammy found a rolling suitcase for herself, and many other things and food items.  We were half we through and I was tired.  I mentioned, are you getting tired yet, but…… NO…..she wasn’t…..So we finally did the WHOLE FLEA MARKET.   I don’t think I ever walked the whole thing before…..Now we were very hungry.  We ate at a Chinese Buffet.  Good Food.  So we finally went back to Harlingen and Tammy went back to Padre.  That nite they decided to go fishing by the Causeway.  FB_IMG_1515891798874.jpg

Would you believe Cameron caught a Sting Ray.  It was being chased by a Puffer Fish.

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He finally pulled it on the dock.  A Mexican who didn’t speak much English helped Cameron get it off the hook and finally sent it back in.  FB_IMG_1515891839792.jpg

Now that is something you sure can’t catch in Illinois.  More memories were made.  The next morning they decided it was time to leave.  The kids wanted to go home.  They arrived back at our camper around 11:30.  Tammy come flying in and said….”Dad, Dad, take me to Mexico one last time….Please?”  Cameron said ” No, you don’t need to go”…..Tammy looked at Cameron and said….“I’m the mom your the kid…..You can’t tell me what to do”…..Then she looked at Dad and said ” Please Please, I want to go back one more time”.….So of course, Tammy, Cameron and Dad went back to Mexico…..I took Cassidy and Carly and went to Mr Gatti’s.  Its a Pizza Buffet.   It also has Pasta, Mac and Cheese, Baked Potatoes and the fixings and a great Salad Bar.  We went back to the park and I had 2 more things to do with the kids.  My friend Gail Rollo has written a Children’s book.  She is selling it in certain book stores and on Amazon.  She has been doing some book signings also.20171210_124501.jpg

Its a wonderful book of a dream that she had when she was a child.  After all these years, she has written the book and Published it.  Were all so proud of her Accomplishment.

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I wanted Gail to sign one for Carly so we stopped at her house.  Gail read the book to her and then signed her very own book.  Carly loved it.  She held the book with 2 hands against her chest when we left.  It was very special to her.

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Our next stop was Roberta’s.  Roberta and Ken have 2 Parrots.  Maui is a Beautiful Red and Blue Parrot.  20171231_133908.jpg

Cassidy met her 2 years ago.  At that time Maui was the only one she had.  Since then, Roberta has been given Benny.  His owners had passed away and he desperately need a family.   20171231_134030.jpg

Benny is a beautiful blue and yellow Parrot.  Roberta is so good with birds, animals of any kind and has a wonderful green thumb.  She can grow anything.  So Carly poised for this picture with her doll and they had their matching dresses on, that they bought in Mexico.  Finally Rich, Tammy and Cameron came back around 5.  They drove across this time.  Tammy had to walk almost the whole length of the shopping area that we stick to in Progresso.  She shopped and shopped and made sure she had her Margarita.  She loved it.  20171231_173423.jpg

But now it was time to head out.  I thought they would be to tired to drive, but they wanted to go.  The kids sleep at nite and travel better.  So around 5:30 the left.  I figured they would stop and sleep.  It is a very long drive.  But with Cameron and her driving, they made it straight through in 22 hours.  They pulled into home in Illinois before 4 pm the next afternoon. …. OMG….No way.
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It was a great time having Tammy and the kids here.  We didn’t get to do everything we wanted but we did a lot.   We never had a dull moment.  It was so nice after going on 4 years that one of the kids have finally came down and seen where we live in the winter.  Their is so much to offer in the Rio Grande Valley.  It is such a different life style than back home.  Harlingen area has so much to offer.  So much to see and do.  It never gets old.  Much history and many things I’m sure I haven’t discovered yet.  It is a life style that is so unique, and so hard to describe to anyone up north.  It is an area the Winter Texans come back to every year to enjoy the warmth of the weather, the beach, and the culture of the Southern Texans……It is so nice to think, the beach and the ocean are just a short drive away.   

…….We Made So Many Wonderful Memories…..

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Halloween at Eastgate….55+ Style…lol..

Last nite we had our first Halloween Party in many years at Eastgate.  One of the residents Paulette and her husband Steve, love Halloween.  Its their favorite holiday.  So we started planning.  Actually Paulette did it all.  And what a Fantastic Party it was.

20171029_140450.jpg She bought a Dragon blow up and named her Hildegard….lol…Hildegard even flapped her wings.  Everyone took their picture by her.  If you notice, Steve even hung gray sheets behind to cover up the walls.  It was so cool.  We played Halloween back ground music.

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The first game we played was Apple Bobbing…..We had maybe 4 people who tried this.  I’m sure they were afraid they would lose their teeth…..Tim tried and tried, but couldn’t get one.

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Next Nancy tried.  She tried several times and finally she stuck her whole head down in the water and sunk her teeth into it at the bottom.  Ohhhhh My Goodness….so so funny.   She came out dripping….Look how deep the water is….

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Now along came Pat, she gently lined up her apple that had a nice stem on it.  She tried several times and finally got it….Hurrrrrayyyy….Finally our Unicorn (Paulette) tried, but to no avail.  She couldn’t either….I think her horn was in the way…..

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Next we had Chicken Soup game…..Their was 3 little rubber chickens that fit on your finger like a sling shot.  You shoot it into the soup bucket to win……Its crazy how they made a simple game so funny…..

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You now how those dirty ole men talk, all about sticking their finger in the chickens hole???…..I’ll let your imagination work for you……lol…

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Then we had a costume contest.  Now unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures of the winners, as we were trying to figure out who they were through popular vote of hand clapping…..We ended up with 4 ladies and 4 men for the winners.  The Winning lady was Princess Trailer Trash.  She wore a stunning Tiara and a beautiful styled white trash bag……The Winning man was a Blind man who dressed himself…..Totally clashing colors and a huge funny tie, and sun glasses and beach hat……So so funny…..Now the next thing was the Pumpkin Pinata.

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It was filled full of Adult Goodies…..little liquor bottles….beads, glow in the dark bracelet’s, and other toys.

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Everyone had to go outside.  Steve had strung a rope between 2 Palm Trees.  He constructed the Pinata so it could go up and down and side ways with him pulling it around.  20171028_211449.jpg

You should have heard them all screaming like little kids.  They swung and swung….The Pinata flew…..up and down……from one side….to the other side….at least once they would get a direct hit….. Everyone kept yelling at them….”Swing to the left….No Swing to the right”….They just kept laughing and giggling….

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Then candy would start falling out……out came beads….and of course then the little alcohol bottles started tumbling out.  They were like little kids…They were screaming, “OH this is so much fun…I feel like a kid”…..We gave them little lunch bags for their goodies.  They were all over the ground looking for it in the dark.  They were all unruly children.  They wouldn’t even wait till a person was done.  As soon as something would fall out, somebody would dive to the ground to get it.  I really thought someone was going to get hit….

 

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Debbie and Rick, Our Retired Park Managers

 

Finally the Pinata was over and we all went back in.  During this time everyone was also eating snacks.  We all brought snacks to share.  Their was plenty.  Crackers and dips, finger foods, sausage and crackers, and Veggies.  Paulette supplyed plenty of candy.  Little Smore kits, and little Cotton Candy bags, with a black plastic spider in it.  So much food and candy.  So what to drink?  Well you could by soda,   or just BYOB…..and they did….We do have the wine, beer and alcohol drinkers in the park.  But it is only Social Drinking….It makes them all Happy.…..and that’s they way we like them…..HAPPY….

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We also had one other guest with us….Esmeralda, (Paulette) came to do Tarot card Readings…..20171028_201110.jpg

She really became popular.  Everyone wanted their fortune told.  Even Prisoner Ben, as I think he was worried about being sent back to prison….lol..

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Then Pat our Flapper girl, was really enjoying it.  But their was one couple that came in cute as can be……FB_IMG_1509316506848.jpg

Our Clowns Marge and Gary…..Now they are the Temporary Park Managers

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How cute are they!!!!…..But unfortunately…..Clown Gary was getting himself in trouble…..

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I don’t know what he was doing here,   but I think he was assaulting the Prisoner Ben…..You just never know what to expect with these 55+ parks…..Then Later these pictures showed up on Face Book……  The Clowns are in Trouble….The Cops are Here!!!!

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What on earth is Happening?????  The cops have Clown Gary spread eagle against the cop car…..Clown Marge looks like she’s saying  “Help, We didn’t do anything”……

Well, it turned out.  We had a break in at the park.  Marge and Gary were dressed for the party when the cops came.  As Temporary Managers, they had to go over to the trailer when the cops came, as the tenant wasn’t there.  Can you imagine what the cops thought when those 2 showed up on a golf cart????…..FB_IMG_1509316424791.jpg

I bet they couldn’t stop laughing….I’m sure they had stories to tell back at the station……Those Old people sure have fun…..Or those Old People,  their all crazy???

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Never the less, it was a Great Party,  Lots of Fun, Lots of Prizes, and Lots of Candy……

So That’s How Old People in a 55+ park Celebrate Halloween……HaPpY HaLlOwEeN 2017 

 

 

 

 

3 Year Anniversary for the Blog….Aug. 25 2014

 

Hard to believe that 3 years ago I posted my first blog.  …..8/25/14….I know that date so well as it is also my …..”BIRTHDAY” ….. We had been planning on retirement for several years.  The date was coming nearer…..I turned 64 and I retired the end of Sept. 2014.  Rich worked till Nov. 1 and retired.  He turned 65, Dec. 25 2014.   We were so ready to sign up for Social Security, Medicare A and B and the whole ball of wax.  If truth be told, I would have probably been fired sooner if I hadn’t planned on a retiring date.  Things weren’t going well at Adv. Logistics…..I feel for all you guys still their……They pay a good wage, and good benefits, but they work you like a dog……They’ve lost lots of Really Good people through the years…..

So as the date came closer, we were getting so excited.  We had been accepted as Workampers starting Dec 1 at Eastgate RV & MH Park in Harlingen Tx.  I had been following several bloggers and asking questions about Fulltime Rvers for almost 2 years.  I started to think….”I Can Do That Too….I Can Write”…..This was going to be an Adventure that we had no idea how it would turn out.  What would we see, and do???  So I started to research on WordPress and set up my blog site myself.  I was rather amazed at myself.  I did it by trial and error and finally succeeded.  I wrote my first Blog and published it on Aug. 25 2014, my 64th Birthday.  My goal for writing these blogs was so that the kids and our friends knew what we were doing.  Hence the title…….And Let The Fun Begin……We wouldn’t have to explain to everyone our activities, they could just read about it.  As time went on, I realized  that someday these would all be lost in cyberland.  I needed a way to preserve them.  I also came to the realization, that everyone works back home.  The kids were busy living and working.  Time marched on, we were having fun with no schedules while they still had that regimented life style called work.  They weren’t reading all of them .  I found a company called Blog2Print that would print your blogs into books.  I pick the dates, the covers, set up the dimensions inside and they can print them to soft or hard back books.  So the printing began every 6 months.

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This was the first book that started it all.  First I printed them in paper back.  Every 6 months I print one, so I have 2 each year.  I try to make each one a different color and design.  Each book is running around 160 to over 200 pages.

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I decided with this last book to try a hard back copy.  It really wasn’t much extra.  We were so pleased with it.  I have been replacing them all now with the hard back.  The black one is the only one left.  I will be done before the year is out.  When I started printing them a book cost around $80 with shipping and handling…..They charge you so much per page after the initial 20 pages…..The last one just cost me around $130…..But they are so worth it….

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The pictures inside are pretty nice considering they are all from my phone.   I have the pictures made big and the paper is semi glossy.  Now as time has gone on my goal for the books has changed.

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At first it was about our travels and experiences.  Now I realize how much history we see.  When we are at a historical place, it seems so important to write about what we see and how we view it.  Take for instance the LBJ Ranch.  We lived President Johnsons time in office.  I want to take what I know from my time in life to what we see on the tour, and write about it.  Also the different anniversary dates that we pass each year.  We witnessed the assassination of President Kennedy on tv and in newspapers.  I feel it is important to write about that piece of history and what we seen and heard and felt during that time.  It is so important to tell the story of what we were doing at the time these events happened.  The kids nowadays aren’t really taught a lot of these things in history.  I try to research it and convey all the historical facts and what we witness to try to tell a full story.

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Also as family pictures and special events happen, they can be captured and preserved.  So many reasons to write these storys and make sure they are preserved for them and the grandkids.

This will be our gift to them, Our Storys……Our Legacy…..lol….(kids your not getting any money,  lol  you’ll have to be happy with these books)

But Rich and I are very “PROUD” of these books.  We hope that someday the family will enjoy reading them as much as we have enjoyed the experiences.  I really enjoy writing them.  I feel that its a talent I would have never realized if we hadn’t embarked on this adventure in life.  Life is good down here in Harlingen.  But only for the winter.  lol.  Sure is hot in the summer.  We do have so many other things to do yet.  We just renewed our Security License for Texas again.  We have other things we would like to do in the summers.  So time will tell what we do next summer.

………So Today I celebrate my 67th Birthday…..are we going out to celebrate????

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I’m afraid not…..Another 1st…..Hurricane Harvey……. is on its way in….We are not in the direct path, but we will be included in the outer bands.  Their calling for 4″ to 6″ of rain and up to 70 mph winds.  It will be landing as a Category 3 around Corpus Christi and Port Aransas.  They are doing evacuations right now.  Once ashore it could drop 22″ to 24″ in some areas.  South Padre Island campgrounds were evacuated today.  People boarding up windows.  Even though their not getting a direct hit, it is still front line to the Gulf.  Their expecting huge storm surges of water.  All beaches are closed and most people actually left for the mainland.  Today we took down our screen room, put in all the awnings.  Put away the chairs and everything outside.  The park went around and put away all the pool chairs and anything that could blow.  So we are all prepared.  So well spend my birthday enjoying ….Hurricane Harvey 2017….

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This picture is Thursday late afternoon, ready for the storm….Blue Sky overhead….Hard to believe that west of their behind the shed a hundred miles is  Hurricane Harvey 2017, developing from a Category 1 to a 3 at landfall.

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These are our new Personal Cards….Rather Cool I think…..Blog address on one side…..This picture was one I took last year as we left Adventureland….

Back In Harlingen For a Month…

Wow, hard to believe we’ve been back for over a month already.  Back to the everyday life.  So what is that…..

Rich is working on the rental trailers.  When people move out, their is always repairs or updates to be done.  He just finished replacing a floor and drawer area in the bottom of a closet that had rotted.  Now he is working in another that had a water leak in the kitchen.  New plywood and flooring, and also the counter top was so bad, that he is now building a new counter top.  He bought a sheet of laminate from Home Depot and had to cut around it and then glue both sides and glue it down.  It is a process but a huge money savings process on a counter that is an odd size.  In this picture, he had just cut it to size.  He will then take it off, glue the bottom of the laminate, and the top of the base of the counter.  He will then put the dowel rods on top of the base on the glue surface as in the picture.   Then he will lay the glued laminate down on top the dowels. Then starting on one end of the counter, he will take out the dowels one at a time, pressing down the laminate to the counter making sure their are no air bubbles.  Then he will cut a strip and do the edge the same way.  After dry he will use a router on the edge to cut it to a smooth finished edge.

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I am back at the theater, Cinemark 10.  I only work the outside box office.  During the school months the Box Office is only used on weekends.  Otherwise the tickets are sold at the Concession Stand.  I have been getting an average of 20 hrs a week give or take a few.  But the business has lessened during the week because school is beginning soon.  Starting next week during the week the tickets will again be sold at the Concession Stand.  Now I will only be getting weekend hrs.  But that ok, it is still something.  My week days will again be free.  It has been interesting in this job.  I have again met many nice customers.  I enjoy the joking that can be in 30 seconds of contact as you sell a ticket.  Some people are so spontaneous.  But then their are others.  I have been chewed out in Spanish on the Phone.   Box Office is also the switch board per say of the theater.  I answered one day and the man spoke in Spanish.  I said, “Sir I’m sorry I don’t speak Spanish”.  Now usually they change to English at this point.  Did this Guy????…..No….His voice raised and he again ranted in Spanish.  I again repeated  ”I don’t speak Spanish”  I would get a Spanish speaking person on the line.  Well, his voice raised HIGHER and LOUDER…..I can only imagine what he was saying.  So I got a manager and guess what…..He Hung Up…..lol  Oh Well…..        Another lady called one day.  Now keep in mind we have 10 theaters playing 10 or more movies.  She asked me what movies we were playing, what times, and what time did each end.  Now each movie also plays an average of 4 times a day…..Do I have time for that with customers at the window????  Nope…..Tried to be nice, but she was rather abrupt and finally hung up….Everything is online you know….About a half hour later she called again and asked about 1 specific movie.   So much easier to answer that.   Another time nobody was at the window and a customer called.  As I was answering her question, a lady and her husband came to the window and started to order their tickets.  I held up my finger saying, 1 minute please.  She stormed through the theater doors.  I was done with the call and she came out.  I apologized to her and said I was taking to a customer…..She said rather blatantly and rudely,…..”Well, I Am A Customer Too”…..He husband muttered something to her and she said, “Well never mind, Just give me my tickets“.  But most people are very nice.  I have a couple who come at least once a week.  He usually brings several pages of jokes to read.  Also a very odd old man who wears a big straw hat.  He has turned out to be the most pleasant man to talk too.  So many people come regularly because of our prices.  You see we are a discount or second run theater.  Therefore our prices are cheap.  Week ends are the most expensive….$2.79 a ticket.  Tue and Thur….$2.17 a ticket.  Monday….Groups of 3 or more $1.30….Seniors….$1.68……Wed. Discount day for all …. $1.41 for all……Most people are happy about the prices.  But you have no idea, how many people complain….”What, I thought you were the Dollar Theater” …….Go to the big citys…Check their prices…lol20170726_125930

Temperature has been running around 100 degrees.  My Box Office has A/C of course.  The other day it started raining, and it came down in sheets….It was beautiful…The temperature fell.  My windows were fogging up and it became hard to see.  I realized finally, I was getting really cold….Now that’s a new concept…Cold….I went and checked my thermostat and it was set at 61 degrees….Wow…No wonder, so I set it back at 70.  All in all it has been another experience to add to my list. It’s the first time I’ve ever handled a register.  It’s touch screen.  Once you learn it, it’s really easy.  All the employees are really nice.  Of course their mostly kids.  Some will be going off to college soon and some back to high school.

While we were in Illinois, Richs’ shed was delivered.  He needed a shed to put in his tools.  So he ordered a shed from Sam’s Club.

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So this was a shed that came in 3 million pieces, with pages of directions and pictures….OMG….so that mess is suppose to make a shed,……and it was so hot….So you work in the morning for awhile and then at nite.  I almost passed out one day, well I felt like it….lol….Finally a week later with several other guys helping he got it done.20170707_150420

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He now has a place for his tools.  We have a washer and dryer inside.  He built 2 work benches, so now he is set.20170616_194014

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Ive finally been spending time at the Pool.  The pool is around 88 degrees.  So so nice.  This is the view as you lay on your back sunning in the pool.  The gorgeous Palm Trees..…They just blow in the wind.  It still doesn’t seem possible that this is my life now.  I can do this everyday if I choose too.  I still think of the people at Advantage where I worked.  They are doing the same ole drag day in and day out…..Their is hope out their….Just takes time……My message again is “SAVE YOUR MONEY….PUT IT IN THE 401K”….After a nice dip in the pool and floating on a noodle,  lol, now time for the Spa/Hot Tub.  Ohhhh just feel those jets pound on the sore muscles.  This is the Life.      Last week we went to South Padre Island.20170716_145340

We drove to Access 6, which is free parking and entrance.  Rich had our chairs and walked up the ramp and down to the beautiful sand beach.  We found our spots in front of the Life Guard.  It was a beautiful day.  Even though it was near 100 in town, it was a wonderful cool and breezy temperature at the beach.

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This was the gorgeous view down the beach towards all the hotels and Beach Clubs.  Many people were out but it wasn’t crowded.  The water was so nice.  Wasn’t cold at all.  You could just step right in.  I walked out till it was up past my waist.  The power of the waves felt so good as they pulled you back to shore and then back out.  When it got to be hard to stand, I decided to go back and sit and just enjoy the sun. 20170728_151000

So many Sea Gulls were their.  They were watching all the picnickers and waiting for free handouts.  Sometimes they just congregated in groups and faced the Gulf and just stood their.  They were fun to watch.  We just sat their and listened to the pounding of the waves….coming in….going out…over and over.  The sounds of the Sea Gulls, and the kids and family’s on the beach.  Laughing and Playing.  Finally time to leave.

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Behind us the Beach Patrol had stopped and was visiting with the Lady Life Guard.  Now we were hungry.

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So we headed to everyone’s favorite…..Louie’s Backyard.  Well lets say one of everyone’s favorites.  Their are so many all the way up and down the beach on both sides of the island.  Louie’s is on the Bayside.  They offer fine dinning, cocktails and entertainment every nite of the week.  They offer an All-You-Can-Eat Seafood and Prime Rib Buffet in the Dinning Room, drinks and snacks on the patios by the Bay or an abbreviated Menu in the Sports Bar.  That was were we went.  They had home made Potato chips on the bar, and the Special of the nite was Barbequed Ribs.  Ohhhh Yes….That’s what we got….They were fall off the bone good, with lots of gooey sweet barbeque sauce….Yummm…..So, the end of another day….We could have stayed for entertainment on the outside patio deck on the bay but,  we were SO FULL….Time to go home.  So Ill close with a picture of a beautiful Plumeria that is growing in our Memorial Garden.

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It as started from another plant in the park.  All you do is cut off the stalk in a long piece and it will root.  Some many have been started.  This Plumeria was planted last Nov. So it hasn’t even been there a year yet.  We have a wonderful gardener in the park that has started it from a cutting and tends to it regularly.  Roberta is such a talented lady. 

She can make anything grow.

 

Back Home In Illinois

We are back home for a short time.  We’ll be here around 3 weeks total.  Its good to see the kids again.  We left Harlingen on Saturday afternoon and arrived Monday afternoon.  The goal was to make it to Scott and Brandy’s  bar for tacos.  They serve them only on Mondays 5-7.  20170515_174717

They are deep fried, something you can’t get in Texas.  Must be a northern thing.  Brandy puts in the meat filling, inserts toothpick.  Drop them in the fryer and immetiately open and put in lettuce, onions and tomatoes after frying…..mmmmm…..Saturday morning I had an employees meeting before we left.  I work at the Cinemark 10, 2 days a week on the weekends in the box office.  I, of course am the oldest.  Most are all kids or young adults.  It was rather interesting.  The General Manager of the theater held the meeting.  The purpose of course is to update all employees on new programs coming up for the summer, as well as safety issues, fire drill procedures, and many at risk situations.  But the think I find most interesting is the general manager is so good with these kids.  He is firm with rules, but he also builds them up, trying to get them to strive for the very best in life.  He demands respect and yet have fun at the same time.  One of the managers, Miss Ramos, has been taking the steps to climb the ladder in the company.  She has just taken a test and achieved a fabulous score.  The General Manager announced that she was 4th in the nation and is now titled “Assistant General Manager”  Everyone is called Miss or Mr.  In fact, this is something I have noticed here in the Rio Grande Valley.  Their is respect everywhere from little kids to Seniors.  You can be in a grocery store or on the phone, and everyone says, “Thank You Maam”……It is something that is taught from childhood on and still continues.   As soon as I came back home we finished packing. 20170512_145157

This little guy was hanging around on the awning.  There are zillions of these everywhere.  Kinda cute……It was so hot……Sweat was just pouring off Rich.   Finally we took off and had a rather uneventful trip home……but that’s good…

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Kitty enjoyed the ride as usual, sleeping most of the time.  He would of course also sit on his foot stool by his dad and paw at him.  He always wants Rich to pet him while driving.

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Finally crossing the Mississippi we made it into Illinois.  We seen some floods coming across Arkansas.  They were really hit bad on the White River.  The Mississippi was up but nothing out of the ordinary.  Its been so much worse.

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Brandy behind bar

We arrived in McNabb and parked at “One Pawz Pub”.  Brandy was working,  Scott showed up about a half hour later, from driving truck.  This was the first time we had seen the new progress on the bar.  Scott reconstructed a new bar and put stripe designs in it and covered it with epoxy.  This is not a good picture but it is beautiful.

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Patio area….it was getting dark

He has also finished his patio out back.  He made all his own bars and bar stools and painted them different bright colors.  He also made 3 octagon picnic tables and put down grass turf.  They have a Harley Davidson Bag game in the area you can’t see.  He is striving to gain a lot of bikers this summer on their poker runs.

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Tammy, Cassidy and Carly came for Tacos.  Also her boyfriend Bryan and son.  Ed, Tinas Husband showed up with Austin.  Tina was at a softball game with Miley.  Finally Cameron came in.  He was working…….”What a Nice Sound”…..lol….This past year, Cameron has made “HUGE STEPS” in his life.  He accomplished his GED, then went to Truck Driving School, obtained his CDL, and now has a seasonal job at AG Service.  He drives the chemicals out to the fields for the farmers as they plant.  He loves it.  He also has a truck driving job coming up after the season is over.  It will be a roller coaster for him as he is only going to be 19 in June.  Lots of companies can’t or don’t want to hire him because of insurance.  When he is 21 it will get better…..Just have to stay positive….Finally Connie, Richs youngest sister came and Brian.  We had a nice visit eating Tacos.  Finally drove to the house a block away before dark, parked and settled in.

Now time for a “Randy update”.  Randy has been in New Orleans and Galveston having a Grand time.  He went to a museum to check out and learn about alligators and turtles.

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Look at Randy’s COOL NEW PANTS

He’s been to many resturants checking out the hot sauces and peppers…..lol

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But he decided to eat Brownies instead…..Guess he knew it would tear up his stomach.

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So now Randy and his parents are all packed up.  They are heading on their way to Maryland.  Their having such a good time seeing the sites….

Cant wait till we see where Randy’s Adventures take him next…..

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Randy and his Mom in Galveston La.