Day 1 of 14…..Tomorrow…. Shelter In Place..Harlingen Tx.

The Cameron County officials has decided to put us in the “Shelter In Place” phase for 14 days. That means we are suppose to stay home. We can go outside but stay away from others. We can go to the Grocery Store, Pharmacy, Appointments, or any essential personal activity that is necessary for you. All bars, restaurants, schools churches and theaters are closed. Restaurants are doing carry outs only and the schools are going to do lessons online for the kids. So the world goes on. People are still binge shopping but it is getting better. Walmart and HEB (Howard E Butts), our Texas based grocery store, is now having a better supply of meat and other products. We still are having a problem with eggs, wipes, and antibacterial soap. I went to HEB the other day at 1pm and had to stand in line. They let in 50 people at a time, sprayed down the carts as they came into the store from the parking lot and handed each person a wipe. The purpose of this whole quarantine is to slow the spread of this disease.

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The curve needs to come down. The worry is that to many will get sick at one time and the hospitals are not equipped to handle a mass of sickness. We need ventilators, masks, as well as other medical equipment to fight this disease. New York is a mess right now. As of today their are about 23,230 total positive cases of COVID-19 and 188 deaths in New York State, with more than 13,000 of those cases and 125 deaths in New York City. They have such a shortage of respirators, masks, and the things the medical community need. The hospitals have no room. They are converting other areas into make shift medical facility’s. Last weekend, they closed the Mexican border for tourists. You can only go over for a medical or a work reason. It is open for all the Commercial trucks so as not to hurt commerce. Not shopping or visiting. So that is the purpose of all of this, To Slow Down the Spread of The Disease.

So here we are today. Our freezer is full. I managed to get a loaf of bread yesterday. I have several pkgs of toilet paper and paper towels. So we have it all. Our day now consists of getting up when we please. watch the Today Show, Dr. Phil and then Price is Right. During that time, I take a shower. Today we went out and worked on the She-Shed. I painted the back and Rich worked on the wooden sidewalk. That was about an hour or so and called it quits. It was over 90 already. Back in the house to watch tv. Later, supper and then sit outside in the evening when it cools down. News at 10 and go to bed. Wednesday, do it all over again. So what’s happening in Illinois.

Tammy of course, being a nurse is busy. She is expecting her hours to go up. Little Carly is staying at Tina’s when Tammy is working. I think they are all having fun.

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Carly wrote this cute poster. It is so AWESOME that that she knows her Mom is making a difference for other people. Miley, Austin and DeeDee of course are enjoying themselves also.

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Austin has been spending time with Ed on weekends in the camper. Tina has also tried to start a Scavenger Hunt Game with the kids in town.

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This is such a cool idea. Kids can go for a walk with their parents and start watching other peoples windows. A great idea to do to keep their interest and get exercise. Ed is still working also. He works for Air-Products, which is a supplier to Hospitals etc. Tina works at Putnam Co Court house, and she is still their several days a week. She must be Essential workforce.

Scott and Brandy are out of work. They had to close the bar, and Scotts season in the truck hasn’t started up yet. Staci, Brandy’s daughter is home from Chicago also. So they are having their fun in their big machine shed garage.

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Around 7 or 8 years ago or more, I bought this yard tent for Scott. He just now put it up. Looks like a good place for Brandy to keep safe and keep her distance….Brandy, where’s your cooler with refreshments.

Scott is having fun on his Hover Board. This was a video and they had the music cranked up and he was dancing. He also had a beer in his hand…..

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Scott and Staci took a ride up in the Scissor Lift. They both had their beer in hand, singing Karaoke. When your bored, I guess you can have fun anywhere. Today, the local Fire Departments have decided to help kids celebrate their birthdays. Tina posted one today. The little girl was out on her porch. The fire engine pulled up with their lights one. They sang Happy Birthday on the Speaker. How cool is that. They made it a Very Special Birthday.

Illinois is also on a Stay At Home order from the Governor. As of today the have had 16 deaths, and 1,535 cases. The streets of Chicago are empty.

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State Street

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Marina Towers by the Chicago River

It seems like most people are taking it seriously, and having fun with it. The kids are doing ok and their is so much more family time. This is really a blessing in disguise. Family’s are home schooling online and entertaining their kids. Its really so nice to see.

But not all are really taking it as serious as they should. Their was an incident in the park the other day. We had a number of people in the pool. A resident came in with a guest they never registered. Of course the people in the pool began questioning them. They got in the pool which put the number over 10. So several of our people got out so the number came back to below 10. They talked about the quarantine issue and said that some parks had closed their pool. The guest said yes, she came from a park that had closed their pool. Of course that stirred them up and I agree. If your park has closed their pool, why do you come over to ours. We are suppose to stay away from people. Stay home at your park. That’s where you belong. The person who brought her over said, But their are no cases in her park…..I said to her….You can be a carrier and not know it….Educate yourself. This is a 55 plus park. We are really the higher risk. It is stupid to bring in a guest when this serious health threat is happening. She never really got it. She called everyone rude. “No, many are worried and taking this seriously”…..Why can’t she. She was more concered about the rudness. We are really lucky to have our pool still open. People need to follow the rules set down for us. They are all for a reason. Do what the government officials want us to do.

So much stuff is going across FB, that is funny and trying to help make this go by easy. I need to share a couple with you.

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Do you need a Vacation????….Here are some choices of places to go…..And its Cheap…

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Mancave, She Shed, Kitty’s Jealous????

I think it’s time for a Fun Blog. Too much uncertainty in this world right now. This morning we woke up to a Note on the Door…..It was taped to the outside. Rich went out and got it, and said….Official Notice.…My first thoughts were….Ron closed the pool, spas and both halls. How will the residents handle that…..MUTINY….Their will be Bloodshed..

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Rich looked really confused as he read it to himself….He finally gave it to me and I DIED LAUGHING…..I knew who wrote it. Lol…..

Official Notice

This House Now Belongs to Dashboard Kitty.

Papers have been filed at the County Court House. Due to Rich Bergen having his own Man Cave and Margaret Bergen Having her own She Shed, I DK (Dashboard Kitty) am laying claim to this residence. You may bring in food snacks and clean the litter daily. Leave the remote on the couch…

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Now you can see why he is called Dashboard Kitty. Now really only 1 person calls him that, so now I know who Kitty asked to draw up the Eviction Notice.…lol…Is He Jealous.?….Well Kitty, Sorry, You don’t scare me. I’m not leaving. You’d miss sleeping in bed with us. Nobody to scratch your neck. Besides this house is bigger than the Man Cave or the She Shed. Your going to have your Buddy (Roberta), take us to court….lol..So why is he Jealous??…….He must want his own house with the name “Cat House” on it….

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Pouring the Foundation for the Man Cave….Dec. 2018

Rich built his Man Cave about a year and a half ago. It started out as a nice shed and evolved to a pretty nice Man Cave. Roberta and Ken were at a Flea Mkt and found this sign made of Styrofoam and already painted….

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He has everything in it needed including a Frig and Kegerator. But it started to accumulate totes of stuff. Stuff we brought back from Illinois. Stuff from the Motor Home, Christmas Stuff and Craft stuff. So we decided this year to build a shed for my stuff. It started out as a regular shed for storage….But as we always seem to do, our imagination takes over.

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Cameron came down for 3 weeks and helped Grandpa build it. Rich started letting his imagination take over and he decided to make it look like a General Store.

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Cameron did a lot of the roof work as it was easier for him. They worked faithfully for several weeks. It was pretty neat to see Cameron working with Grandpa again. Rich started thinking about the Insurance commercial on tv about Sheryl’s She-Shed. So it became a She-Shed.

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This is what it looks like finished on the outside. We have had so many comments about it. It so darned cute. Rich is going to build a wooden sidewalk and connect with the concrete patio. Then the area that is dirt and grass will have a gas fire ring and finish it off with red mulch, joining the flower garden. Cameron worked really hard while he was here. He also finally got to go on the Deep Sea Fishing trip that he has wanted to do for years. Him and Grandpa went out for around 8 hrs with a group. Guess it wasn’t the right time as they didn’t catch much. But he had fun. Finally after 3 weeks Cameron went back home to the Cold, Cold weather. We put some lights on the She-Shed posts, so here is what it looks like at night.

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We turn the lights on every nite and enjoy it. So now while we all seem to be quarantined at home. We are loving the evenings sitting out in our own little fantasy world. The weather has been so nice. Beautiful evenings. So for the next several weeks, we are living the Real Retired Life. Every day is the same. Nowhere to go, nothing to do, just relaxing and sitting on the patio in the evenings. “What Day is It???

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So Kitty, I’m sorry we are not moving out. Your Eviction Notice means nothing to me. It is Null and Void. You will have to have your friend file a restraining order I guess. All you get is 1 bedroom, and we share our living room and kitchen with you. You even sleep in our bed. So don’t be so Greedy….

“This Case is Closed”

….By the Order of the County Court House…

“Coronavirus”…The World is Going Crazy

Look back at 1 week ago today. What were you doing? Did you ever think we would be in the state of fear that seems to be possessing everyone? One week ago, I was planning for our Farewell Potato Bake. Ordering our potatoes, setting up the grocery shopping list, butter, sour cream, veggies and dip etc. We were excited for our final concert show of the season. It was Leslie Blassing from the Island. She has such fabulous vocals. A gifted singer, who makes it look so easy. She was singing a Sunday Matinee at 2pm. She sings at the Island mostly, but it is Spring Break for the month of March and she likes to leave. lol. Tens of thousands of the college kids come from around the country and party. Concerts are set up at different locations and bars. Different weeks bring different groups of kids according to their Spring Break from college.

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I was of course aware of the Coronavirus. I had watched it from the beginning in Wuhan China. I watched the news on the Princess Boat in the harbor with the passengers all quarantined. I have an airplane tracker App. on my phone, so I even watched as the first 2 planes that flew home with the Americans from China. One went to Alaska and the other California . Then they came to San Antonio. Soon the US was reporting the Coronavirus was breaking out in different states. Finally it hit Texas but it was only in the northern part, so what’s the worry?

And then reality set in………Friday morning one of the lady’s from the park came in. She just left Dollar General. They were buying toilet paper, paper towels and water like crazy. She said the line was all the way to the back of the store. Wow….I had no idea they were hoarding. So I decided to immediately go out and join the band wagon…lol...My excuse was….”The Cat Needed Food”….I went to Dollar General, the parking lot was full. They were grabbing the carts from the people who were done shopping and loading in the car. So I grabbed a cart from some guy and went on in. I headed straight to the back. Went around the corner and a bunch of people were grabbing 24 pks of water off the rolling cart. By the time I got to it, the half of cart of water was almost gone. I got the last 2 pks. They had plenty of toilet paper and paper towels, but they were picked over. So I picked up 2 big double pks of toilet paper and a large pack of paper towels. Wow, couldn’t believe how people were shopping. That night I went to a Concert at the Harlingen Municipal Auditorium.

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Cici and I seen Burlap to Cashmere. 3 guys, 2 guitars, and a keyboard. Very talented. I suspected that their would be some empty seats, and their was, but not to bad. Saturday was when I realized what hoarding was going on. A friend was at Walmart and took a bunch of pictures….

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No Water

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No Dish Soap, cleaning products, Wipes, Diapers, and Anti-bacterial Soap

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No Beans….Really, even the Pinto and Navy Bagged Beans were gone.

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Even the Flour was picked over….The sugar was worse

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Bic Lighters……Why…Oh Why….

The people are panicking. Even all the Cooking oil, Canola and Wesson Oil was totally gone. Hand Sanitizers and Baby Wipes are gone everywhere.….Everyone wonders WHY all the Paper products…..But I seemed to join them to an extent. I’ve made sure I have doubles of all paper products and Laundry detergent. I figure if I have to be quarantined for 14 days, we should be fine. Rich and I have both been shopping at different times to load on a few things, even for the cat. He is set with his treats and regular foods. Rich even went to Progresso and loaded up on Meds for couple of months.

On Monday the CDC had started addressing the area with limitations on restaurants and social gatherings. We can not have over 50 in a group, and later it became 10. The upper management made the decision to close all Park functions. So the St. Patrick’s Day Corned Beef and Cabbage was canceled. All activities, Bingo, Dances, Cards, Exercise classes and the Farewell Potato Bake have been canceled. So the season is now Officially Over. All the Parks in the Valley have now official canceled all activities. The Canadians have received letters from their insurance company’s. They have been given 10 days to get back home from the time Canada declared a National Emergency, or their insurance will be no good. Many of them are leaving this week. The Valley is emptying out. The Winter Texans are heading north towards home. Some stay because they say we are safer. Some are bored because nothing to do. Some have their family’s calling them to get home NOW…..Today many restaurants are closing dining rooms, only offering drive through and carry outs. All schools are closed.

Down at South Padre Island, all beaches, beach access points, and community buildings are closed. All Concerts canceled. They have 24 hours to move out their equipment. The kids are their already for Spring Break so now what…..Do they party in their rooms??? I really don’t agree with closing the beaches. At least on the beach, they are out in the open. They are not congregating together. They would be safer as far as passing the virus. But that is only my thoughts.

Now the Country is in panic. The Stock Market is Crashing, Canadian Border is Closing. Mexico has talked about it, but so far its open. The Hospital ships are moving to large cities to help. Their is a huge shortage of masks, ventilators, and other medical equipment. They can’t even keep food in the stores. Schools, restaurants, social functions, and many business are shut down. Even churches are holding services online. Unemployment is on the rise. The Cruise ship industry is in shambles, and the Airlines are flying with half empty planes…..

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So

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So now here we are. Our frig is full, we are practicing Social Distancing in public. We are told to wash our hands at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Do not shake hands or touch your face. We are in good shape. But we are on Social Security. Our check will still come. I feel bad for the young parents. They are trying to maintain a living and pay bills and feed their children. Many of them have jobs in the food industry, so now they are done for 14 days. Many are still working but now their children are home and they need child care.

So where and when will this end. At this time the Government is seriously talking about sending out relief checks to help. Right now they say this is 14 days, but the president makes comments that we really don’t know. It could last till July or August. It is going to destroy many business and lives.

In one week, we went from….Normal”…. to ….PANDEMIC”…. Definition….A disease Epidemic that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple continents, or world wide.

Who Would Have Ever Thought This Would Happen …. One Week Ago

My Trip Back Home Last August

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Tammy planned a cruise last AugustHer and Cassidy booked a Carnival Cruise from New Orleans La. to Cayman Islands, Jamaica, and Cozumel.   I decided to go up and stay with Carly.  Tammy was pretty excited as this was her first cruise.  On a beautiful Friday morning, Tammy and Cassidy hugged Carly goodbye and took off for a long drive from Illinois to New Orleans La. wp-15769844464803958534113140486886.jpg

Now if it was me, it would take me several days, but she always drives straight through.  They spent a day sightseeing in New Orleans, Bourbon St and the Cemeteries. Cemeteries and spooky stuff is her passion.  Finally they boarded their ship and left on Sunday for their 7 days of cruising on the beautiful blue ocean. wp-15769840391337366215909850587441.jpg

I had taken Amtrak up as usual.  Its always an enjoyable 27 hours traveling from San Antonio to Bloomington Normal.  During my time their, the kids had signed up for school.  Now days, they have an evening before school starts to go meet your teacher and drop off your school supplies.  This year Carly is in 1st Grade in the Primary Building in GranvilleAustin is in 2nd and Miley is in 4th in the Elementary School in HennepinTina and I packed up all the kids and their school supplies and headed for Carly’s school. wp-15769845813076714720980536534584.jpg

Carly met her teacher, toured her room, filled out some questionnaires and put away her supplies.  In the hall they had large boxes full of supplies.  Their were boxes where each child would put their Kleenex boxes, Elmer’s glue, Hand Sanitizer and other large items that were on their list.  They only put out one or so of the Kleenex boxes and Hand Sanitizers at a time, so they have a supply to last all year.  Then we loaded up the kids and drove to Hennepin to the Elementary School. wp-1576984663920496244101289706138.jpg

Austin loved his teacher.  He is such a clown.  I was feeling sorry for the teacher.  I was hoping she has a strong back bone….lol…Just Look at the EVIL grin…..He’s already plottingwp-15769846125888428905137926658085.jpg

He loved putting away all his school supplies in his desk.  On down the hall we went to Mileys teacher.

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Did you know, now days you can order all your school supplies from Amazon?  They have prepared boxes you can buy for a particular school and grade.  The cost was about $40 a box.  So you don’t have to go school shopping for supplies, just clothes.  Usually you end up buying items that the teacher didn’t want, so this does make it easier.  After Tina visited with the teacher, we walked down and found the kids lockers.  This year they get real metal lockers instead of the wooden cubbies. wp-15769847800187375129687272307876.jpg

They were playing in the lockers climbing in and closing the door.  When Austin climbed in, we pretended that we left.  Austin got scared and started to cry.   Well, the evil in us made us at laugh at him.  He would have done the same thing. …. lol....He can give it…lol…but he can’t take it……. Finally the first day of school came.  I took Carly to school her first day.

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She was so excited.  She loves school.

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Tina took Miley and Austin to school in Hennepin.  She always takes First day pictures.  During my visit, I called Tricia, my friend from the Hegeler Carus Mansion.  I use to be a Docent for about 4 years and Tricia is head of the Guides. Completed in 1876 for Edward C. Hegeler, a partner in the nearby Matthiessen Hegeler Zinc Company, the mansion was designed in 1874 by noted Chicago architect William W. Boyington for Edward, his wife Camilla, and many children. The mansion is now owned and operated by the Hegeler Carus Foundation, and is open to the public. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2007.

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This was the entrance you would use if you were a family friend or member

Tricia invited Carly and me to come and hang out for the day.  It was so good to be back in the presence of this beautiful home of yesteryear.  Carly enjoyed it so much that we  came back another day also.  Here is some of my favorite pictures of those days.

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This was the main entrance that business affiliates used.  The porch has deteriorated and cannot be walked on safely

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Camilla’s, wife of Edward,  Rock Garden between the formal stairs.

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Gate to Camilla’s Garden

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The reconstructed Gazebo that is now used for Concerts on the lawn.

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A quite moment around the pond

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The commemorative plaques in front of the Mansion, describing the History

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The beautiful Baby Grand in the Formal Parlor

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Checking out the beautiful reflection in the mirror.  Look at that amazing inlaid floor and the original gas chandelier, now electrified.

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The one and only stairway leading up to the bedrooms and beyond.

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Carly in the Family Room, pointing out the original pictures of the family at Christmas time in this room.

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Somewhat a dark picture, but this is the beautiful dinning room.  This Dinning Table has been refurbished and is so beautiful.  It has an inlay of several different woods in a woven ribbon pattern around the edge of the table.  This design is also displayed around the fireplace and serving cabinets around the room.

We had a fun couple of days their.  Tricia loved having Carly.  She listened, and absorbed much of the history that was being told on the tours as we followed them.  She also helped escort some of the ladies to the bathroom, telling them to watch the step so they wouldn’t fall.   She thoroughly enjoyed herself.  During my time their, I also visited with my old friends from Advantage Logistics.  Many of them are still their.  I sure don’t know how they do it but they are younger.  They still have the stamina to put up with physical and mental stress.   Warehouses are sure not a fun place to work.  I spent some good quality time with Tammy after she got back home, talked about all the fun they had and their experiences.  I also visited with some other family members, my sister-in-law and her sister and family, my niece and her daughter.  My brother Pasted Away last Jan.  I have been going through pictures and wanted to make sure they got the ones they should have.

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St. Louis Arch

So finally it was time to go.  I left Bloomington-Normal on Amtrak for my 27hr ride to San Antonio, again passing all the familiar landmarks as we headed south.  I’ll end this post with an interesting picture from Tammy of the beach on one of the stops.  If you notice someone had just caught a fish…..ISN”T IT HUGE”wp-1579710668803332350125195978499.jpg

Part 2….Our Awesome San Diego Trip

The next morning, with Band-Aids on my feet, we took an Uber down to the water front.  Our plans were to ride the Land and Sea Ducks and also take a cruise in San Diego Bay.  We were a little early, so nobody was in line.  We had a very nice conversation with the ticket lady.  She said, “Did you hear the news yesterday about the drug busts  on the open seas?”  She said look over their.  Their was a Coast Guard boat unloading the drugs.wp-15769586124777111124741045428019.jpg

Near the Coast Guard boat was an orange raft type boat with mounted guns slowly circling.  They were unloading the drugs into a truck.  Later they brought in a crane to unload.  Later that night, on the news, we learned the drugs were 13 tons, valued at $353 million, and recovered from mid June to mid July.  That is a lot of drugs.  We were told, after the drugs were cataloged and what ever legal aspects had to be done, the drugs would be incinerated.wp-15769586566098603392769888303597.jpg

Finally we were able to board our Duck.  We had rode them before at the Wisconsin Dells.  We followed the busy road following the water front to the North side of the Bay.  We past beaches,  Harbors filled with beautiful boats, Yacht Clubs full of Gorgeous Sailboats. wp-15769596964927407319474076231515.jpg

We entered a boat launch area and drove into the water.  He then engaged his propeller on the Duck.  The airport is located near the water front.  You could see the planes come in.  The Captain took a nice leisurely drive up the North Coast line out to the fisheries. wp-15769589527691662180525717580092.jpg

By the fisheries there were tons of birds hanging out and seals laying out and sunning them selves. wp-15769598448943096609314344790415.jpg

We went on up toward the Bay opening a little further till we came to Point Loma, the Naval Base home of the Submarines.  Now they were hard to see.  They were all fenced off so we could only go so far.  Finally we turned around and drove back.wp-15769587039694507338894942436937.jpg

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We drove back up on land and past all the beautiful yachts and boats back to the  waterfront park area.  This is the Maritime Museum area.  Their are tall ships,  submarines, Aircraft Carrier USS Midway.wp-15769596655128524538343304192262.jpg

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USS MIDWAY

You can take tours of many of these ships.  Finally it was time to board our boat to cruise the North and South Bays.  It would be a 2 hour ride. wp-1576959029424983058425388891294.jpg

This is the Hornblower.  We boarded and walked to the top deck.  We pulled out and headed south toward the Coronado Bridge.  We drove under and seen many more ships in the dock at the Naval Station Ship yards.

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….Coronado Bridge….

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Navel Base Ship Yards

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Red Cross Ship

We seen the Red Cross Ship, and many more ships in dock. We turned around and went back under the Coronado Bridge to the North Bay.  We went back to some of the areas we had been in the Ducks. wp-15769598869877590588213178951905.jpg

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wp-1576959784558166466167623482252.jpgwp-15769597306536699804314756194092.jpgThe Bay was so Beautiful.  The sky was blue, the wind was gusting softly, the birds were singing in the air and swopping down with the wind.  The waves were just rolling along as we sailed right along passing sail boats and also a Navy Ship coming in from the sea.  Such a beautiful day.  On the way back we seen a speed boat.

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They were having a blast.    When we were pulling back in, we looked over at the Coast Guard Boat.  They were done unloading the drugs, had packed up their orange patrol gunboat. wp-15769594094686006744137835195436.jpg

We took another Uber back to the Hotel…..What a fun packed day.   Now time for Dinner.  Their wasn’t much in the area for resturants.  We have been eating most of our meals across the street….Jimmy Carters Mexican Café and Cantina….wp-15769601787685791895819906505451.jpg Rather a strange name.  I tried to figure out the correlation of the name to the ex-President.  Then I met the owner.  “Jimmy Carter” was his name….wp-15769602182476603154394857110835.jpg

Just a white guy running a Mexican restaurant, with no relation to the ex-President.  That was our last nite in San Diego.  We went up to the roof to do some site seeing.  It was another beautiful nite.  It seems like the weather is always perfect….’wp-1576960135730104198315350685211.jpg

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The View to the Bay from our Building top was Beautiful

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The view towards the city.  You can see a plane coming in on the left side.  It descends down through the city buildings on its flight path to the airport.  In the morning it was time to leave.  We packed up and took on last look. wp-15769603866308826957928343364261.jpg

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This is the front.  It is called Inn at the Park.  It is now a Time Share Hotel.  It has a rich history.  It was private apartments as well as a Speak Easy during Prohibition times.  The interior has been preserved with all its rich woods and decor.  Such a Beautiful Building.

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…..So Out The Door We Go….

….Uber to the Airport, Fly to Dallas, transfer to Harlingen, Home by 11:30pm…..

Our Awesome San Diego Trip….Part 1

We just returned from a Fun Filled vacation to San Diego. Scott has a Timeshare and had some points to use up. Last fall he asked us, “Where do you want to go”. So we picked San Diego, no real reason, just because. So he booked it for this past week. We wanted to take the train, but scheduling wasn’t going to work.

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Eastgate Rv Park….Harlingen Tx. from the plane window

We left Harlingen on the plane, transferred in Houston and arrived in San Diego just before midnight. The approach to San Diego was beautiful. You could see all the beautiful lights of a city along the ocean front and some of the ships.

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Coronado Bridge going over to Coronado Island

As we got closer to the city, the building lights were closer and closer. Suddenly we were between the downtown buildings of San Diego. It was a moment of beauty that was so unexpected. The skyscrapers were on either side of us with all their beautiful lights rising above the height of the plane. They kept flying past us as we kept falling. An amazing moment. Then all of a sudden we were out of the buildings and our wheels hit the runway. Just like that it was over…….What about a Rewind???…..Wow….so fast….

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This picture does not do it justice.

It turns out the San Diego has only 1 runway. It is right next to the Bay. It is the busiest Metropolitan Airport in the US that is not a airline hub or secondary hub. It is well know for its close proximity to the skyscrapers and can be difficult for pilots due to its short usable runway and the steep descent over the crest of Bankers Hill. Their are also shifting wind currents just before touch down. The tower is a very busy place, as they are timing the arrivals and departures on the same runway. If you look in the distance at nite you will see 2 and 3 lights of airplanes approaching to land almost all the time. We also found out that the airport has a noise curfew. No planes can depart between 11:30 pm and 6 am. We made it to our hotel around midnite.

In the morning, we were to meet up with my girlfriend from High School. We had graduated in 1968. I seen Linda that late summer and never again. She moved that December and eventually ended in Oregon, Washington areas. She raised her family and has retired recently to Palm Springs Cal. Thanks to FB, Linda and I have been in contact for a number of years. This was the perfect opportunity to see her. Linda and Len drove the 3 hours to see us that morning. We were up early and found a restaurant across the street. Jimmy Carters Mexican Restaurant…..lol…..After a wonderful breakfast, we left to go across the street to 7-11….We were going to get snacks and head back to our room to wait for them. A car pulled out from 7-11 into the street right in front of us, and their they were……Linda and Len…..Wow…..Such a surprise.

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They still needed breakfast so back to Jimmy Carters. We went to our rooms and spent some really fun time reminiscing and catching up from the past. No way can you pack 51 years into an afternoon. It was so much fun. The guys hit it off well to, but finally they wanted to head back because of rush hour. Your talking 8 lanes each way….lol…I can sure understand why. We went up to the rooftop lounge to view the city. It was such a beautiful view looking out to San Diego Bay in the distance.

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The weather was perfect, around 88 or 90, and the sky was blue. We vowed to get together again and not wait 51 years. Ahhhh bet we won’t be here. lol.… We have 2 more classmates that also live fairly close. It would be nice if we could all 4 get together. Finally Linda and Len had to leave. It was sad to see it was over so fast. It was so Awesome that they drove 3 hours each way in awful traffic just to come a visit. ….Thanks Linda and Len….

We visited our Concierge and made plans for the next 2 days.

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We decided to do the 10 stop Trolley Tour the next day. It ran continuously every 20 minutes. It was narrated and you could get off and on at your convenience. We could walk to the nearest Trolley stop to start the Tour. So we decided to walk. The nearest one was in Balboa Park near the zoo. Our hotel was right a cross the street from Balboa Park. We could see some of the 15 museums through the trees. It didn’t look that far…….It was about 6 blocks to the street that led into the zoo. Didn’t seem far…..Ohhhh Myyyy….I was wrong. But it was a beautiful walk. All the buildings, the landscapes, and we walked along the edge of Balboa Park which we were told is bigger than Central Park in New York City, were so pretty. We turned the road and walked down to the bridge. It is a historical bridge that crosses over Interstate 5.

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When you looked overhead, every 2 minutes or less, a plane was coming in for landing. Such a beautiful site with the buildings of down town in the distance. We walked on down the street past some of the very old beautiful architected museums.

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Such beauty and so many. The area was filled with walkways and porticos. So many different gardens through out the park.

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Most of the trees of San Diego have been imported from all over the world. Their are so many different trees. Many I’ve never seen or heard of. We finally made it to the Trolley Stop. We were doing pretty good so far. Finally we boarded the trolley with the first stop being Old Town. It is a unique shopping area full of restaurants, gift shops and a few museums. We stopped here for a while and continued on. We circled back down to the bay area. Driving along the street the driver told us about the Maritime Museum containing 7 different boats including a German captured submarine all the way to a Tall Sailing Ship. Along the way we passed other areas that we did not get out to visit. Gaslight Area, Little Italy, The Convention Center to name a few. We headed for the Coronado Bridge. It is a very high bridge with a curve in it. The tour guide said it is one of the longest bridges, and not only the longest, it was made to be over 2 miles long so they would qualify for federal money.

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On the way over to Coronado, the Tour Guide pointed to the South side of the bay. It is the home of Naval Base San Diego. We could see many ships in the distance. It was built tall and wide enough for all Navy ships to go under except for the large air craft carriers. It is the second largest Surface Ship Base in the U.S. Navy. It is also the Principal Base of the Pacific Fleet, consisting of 50 ships and 190 tenant commands. The total on base population is over 24,000 military personal and 10,000 civilians. Also along the waterfront is the location of General Dynamics NASCCO. It is the largest full service shipyard on the West Coast. It specializes in design and construction of ships for the U.S. Navy and also oil tankers and cargo ships for the commercial market. We finally crossed the bridge and entered into the island of Coronado. This island is actually also home of the Navy Air Station. The North part of the island contains the Naval Airport with a large concentration of military planes of many types that service and maintain the Pacific Fleet. They probably use about 2/3rds of the island but it is on the north side which is not seen as you cross the bridge. As you cross the bridge, you enter into the residential area. It is a very high value Real Estate area. Our Guide told us an average 2 story home cost 1.5 million…….Wow…..

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This island is the home to the largest concentration of Retired ADMIRALS...….Yes they have money……We got out at this stop and ate lunch at one of the cafes. Then we walked up the street to see the Biggest Attraction…..”Hotel Del Coronado”. This beautiful, Historical, Victorian Beachfront Resort was opened in 1888.

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It is the second largest wooden structure in the U.S. It was designated a California Historical Landmark in 1970, and in 1977, it became a National Historical Landmark. It has hosted many presidents, royalty and famous celebrity’s. It has also been featured in many movies and books. The most famous movie that I know is “Some Like it Hot”, starring Marilyn Monroe, Jack Lemon, and Tony Curtis. We walked up to the beautiful portico entrance and into the lobby. It is so rich with beautiful woods. Their is so much to say about this hotel, that I will save it for another blog.

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We walked around back to the beautiful pool area and down to the beach. They had apparently just finished a special event on the beach. They were cleaning up the tables and chairs set with white linen tablecloths and decorations. All the umbrellas on the beach were in the red color of the Hotel towers and roofs. It was just so breath taking to try to take in this whole view. Before us was the opening to the Bay of San Diego. In the distance was Point Loma that curved around on the other side of the North Bay. The sky was beautiful blue with a light haze in the distance. The wind was gently blowing and you could smell the ocean and hear the voices of all the people and the kids playing and enjoying the huge beautiful beach before you. We sat down for a while to take this all in, and also to rest……..Our feet were starting to wear down. Rich’s knees were starting to hurt. Finally we headed back to the Trolley stop. We were walking slower and slower. We passed so many beautiful trees that had been imported from other country’s and some beautiful flowers.

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This plant really impressed and surprised me. It is a succulent and I used to have one. It’s common name is a Pencil Plant. At least that’s what I called it. This plant was over 6ft. tall. Mine sat on a window ledge. When you break off a leaf that is round like a pencil, it has white milky substance in it. I believe I heard it was poisonous to animals.

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Here is a HUGE Black Bird of Paradise. It was at the Hotel. I bet it was 20 ft tall. Their were many of them around the area. All the trees and foliage were many, many years old. The property was full of beautiful mature tropical plants.

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Finally we hopped back on the Trolley ready to head back home. We knew the Trolley would cross the street where we would be near our hotel. I asked the nice driver if he could leave us off their…...He kindly said…..”NO”.….He couldn’t do that because of insurance purposes. So we finally arrived back at Balboa Park and slowly, slowly walked back through the park back to 6th street, and headed down about another 6 streets to our hotel…….WE WERE DEAD.….I soon discovered I had blisters on both feet. Oh boy…..We had another day to go....So I sent Rich to 7-11 for a box of bandaids…..Yes….That will do the trick for tomorrow. So I checked my phone…..almost 15,000 steps which logged as around 5 miles…… no wonder I had blisters…..

So what’s on the agenda for tomorrow???……..

Land and Sea Duck ride on the Bay…….

Scenic 2 hour boat ride of North and South Bay.

Mosquitoes, & Creepy South Texan Bugs

Their are so many different species of bugs. They all have their place in this world to be beneficial in the chain of life and preservation of our ecosystem. They are useful as food in the food chain, they pollinate flowering plants, some produce useful substances like honey, wax, and silk. They also help as decomposers, and help create top soils full of nutrients…….Yes….That’s True…..Having pointed all that out….It doesn’t mean I have to like them……Yuck….I Hate Them……They are ugly, some are aggressive and some just want to be left alone…..I still Don’t like them.

Living in Illinois, I grew up with our bugs. Mosquitoes, ants, spiders, bees, wasps and all those nuisance bugs. Now down here in Texas I have learned all about the bugs that are common in this area.

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The first bug I experienced was the awful…..”Palmetto Bug”…..Alias, Cockroach. I found out they are everywhere. We,ve had them in the trailer, in the hall. Their everywhere. I grew up thinking if you had Cockroaches, it was because you were a bad housekeeper, to say it politely. Not down here. It turns out they love the hot tropical climate. They like to hang out in Palm trees, (hence their nick name) wood, and composting leaf areas. They are really an American cockroach. The can grow up to 1 1/2” long……They are gross. Everyone down here sprays their trailers once or twice a year. The park has the bug man come every month. They still get in and die. My first experience was late at nite. I was home alone watching tv in the MH with only the TV on and suddenly one swiftly crawled across my neck. I was terrified and scared cause I didn’t know what it was at first. They also like to hide in dark places like shoes. One morning, I put on my Sketchers. I didnt notice anything all day but, upon taking them off, I seen BIG dark flakes on the bottom of my socks. Ohhhh, did it STINK….. A Cockroach had died in my shoe. I had walked and squished him all day. ….Ewwww…So GROSS….So now I always turn my shoes upside down before putting them on. They usually come out at nite. The best thing about them is they die after a few days inside……

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The only good cockroach is a DEAD COCKROACH…..They always die upside down. The bug man told me, as they start to die, their legs get weak. They give out and flip over and finish dying legs up…….Its true….I’ve seen them upside down and still moving their legs…..TOO BAD.So what is the purpose of a Cockroach….They help with composting of leafy materials and top soil. They add nutrients to the soil with their waste. They are also a food source for small reptiles and mammals…...Now that’s a good thing. The more cockroaches that are eaten, the happier I’ll be….lol

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The next yucky one is the Hairy Tarantula. I have only seen one alive. They come out at nite apparently. So now I think I shouldn’t be walking around with flip flops at nite. People talk about seeing them in the park. A year ago, they were delivering a new printer in my office. The serviceman bent down in the corner and found a dead Tarantula. He said it was dead about a month. He said it was so big he wanted to take it home to show his wife. Fortunately I wasn’t their that day. When I heard that, I made the cleaning guy come in a clean all the corners of the room. I was so paranoid their was another one.

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About a month ago, Marge opened up the main office, first thing in the morning and their was a live one in the middle of the floor. She called somebody to come and get it….I would have freaked out…..They look so black and hairy and creepy. Their body is from 1 to 4 inches. Their leg span can be from 3 to 12 inches……People say they won’t bother you. Just leave them be…..”Not in my Office” So what is their purpose…..Tarantulas eat bugs, including crickets and Cockroaches..Yesssssssss…..

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The next freaky creature is the Scorpion. Now this one was in New Braunfels. Scott and Brandy had a reserved a beautiful 3 bedroom complex with his Time Share. This Scorpion was in the middle of the kitchen floor one morning……Sooooo Gross…..So I don’t know if they are in the more desolate areas or not, but I haven’t heard of any in the park. I think they are the scarcest of creatures. They have 8 legs, a set of pinchers, a narrow segmented tail that curves over its back, with a venomous stinger on the end. They are poisonous but not deadly. They prefer deserts and semi arid regions. Most hide under logs, rocks, boards and clutter. So what ever is the purpose of this disgusting creature...….It also eats insects and small vertebrae.

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Now this little cute guy is a GECKO…..Upon looking this guy up, he is actually called a lizard, proper name Brown Anole. They grow as long as 9 inches long. These guys love the heat. You don’t see them so much in the winter, but in the summer, they are everywhere. They just flutter around and crawl up everything in site. They have sticky toe pads.

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I came out the back door one day this one was just sitting their watching me. The orange flap of skin extends and then retracts. It is called a Dewlap. It is used to mark their territory or to attract their mate.

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I walked into my office about a month ago and seen something out of the corner of my. I seen this little guy jump up on my printer. lol. I didn’t mind him like I did the Tarantula. I left him their and closed the door. Their was plenty of room under the door for him to escape. The last bug is the awful Mosquitos. They are everywhere. Especially since we had a heavy rain. I can’t even walk outside cause they will take you away.

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About a month or more ago, the City of Harlingen, along with the school started a study on Mosquitoes. They will be looking for Zika and the West Nile Virus carriers. Out of the 10 buckets placed through out the park, we are fortunate to have one put in our yard.

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They came at first once a week. Now they are coming 2 or more times a week according to the life stages of the mosquito. They check each bucket for mosquitoes. The take a black sticky ring out of the top and examine it closely

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The spread it out and collect a sampling of mosquitoes and attach it to a paper with grids. They can look at these with their naked eye and know exactly if it is the type that carries the Zika Virus or any other virus.

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In asking about the Zika carriers, they showed me the small vials. They said they now have to put the virus carriers in these vials and isolate them. He’s even found them at my house….. I do want to make it clear. They have not found the virus, just the type of mosquitos that can carry it.……They can look close with their naked eye and tell the difference in the mosquitoes…..Right now, they are collecting eggs. This will be going on for the next year.

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Facts from Wikipedia.…..Did you know Mosquito is Spanish for “Small Fly”….Their are 3500 species. These little pests have been documented to have been around 226 million years ago. Their are 4 stages of their life cycle, Egg, Larva, Pupa, and Adult. The first 3 stages take place in standing water or lakes and marshes. Each stage last 5 to 14 days. We all know about the adult stage. The male lives typically 5 to 7 days. The female lives up to 14 days. The female after obtaining a full blood sucking meal….WHICH IS US….will rest while the blood is digested and the eggs are developed. Then the female will lay the eggs, (100 to 200). Then this cycle which is only several days will be repeated. A mosquito can produce up to 1000 or more eggs in a life time……WOW, no wonder their are so many of these little nuisance bugs…..So what is the lesson here. Dump out all standing water after a rain. Don’t let them breed. Every time you kill a blood sucking bug on your arm, you have saved yourself up to 1000 bugs in your neighborhood….lol…

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So what is the purpose of a mosquito.….I didn’t think of them as useful. But they are. The fish, frogs, birds and bats eat the eggs in the water. They are a food source. I guess their is a use and a reason for all of Gods creatures on the earth…..I just don’t like some of them…..

Cameron is “21”

My Letter To Cameron On His “21” Birthday….

Cameron turned “21” on June 11 2019. What does turning that all important birthday mean? When you are young, you can’t wait. It seems that, that is when the whole world opens up to you. You are old enough to do as you please. You don’t have to do anything your parents want you to. You can go wherever you want and buy anything. You are FREE to explore anything, anywhere. You can now legally drink, gamble, smoke, rent a room in a hotel and rent a car…..The World is Now Yours…….You are “ETERNAL”

Now, what does it really mean….lol….Your now an Adult. You are legally of age…..yes…but you are legally responsible for everything you do. Your parents aren’t responsible for you anymore. They don’t have to pay your way. You have to work and pay your own bills. At first its really cool, but eventually you learn that the money sure doesn’t stretch when you have to support yourself. Yes life begins to get real. You can buy any vehicle you want, but now your also responsible for payments and insurance and repairs.

Yes Cameron, that is where you are now. You have come so far in the last several years. You are now becoming that man. Life can be tuff. But…..Remember, it can be 2 steps forward, but at any time it may be 1 step backwards. Learn from your mistakes. Take ownership of them. Treat each one as a learning experience. Look at each one without blinders and learn. Then take the 2 steps forward again. Life can be harsh at times, but keep trying to find your niche in life. You will with time...…………..But how did it all begin?

You were born the morning of June 11, 1998. Your were our first grandchild. I remember your mom came home from her doctors appointment and announced she was in labor….lol…she was so excited. She didn’t feel the contractions yet. She wanted to go to Mendota to Plano Molding where we all worked and tell everyone, which she did. She came home all excited. We went to the Spring Valley Hospital late at nite on June 10. They put your mom in the labor/delivery room. At first she was really in a good mood and happy, as they let her get out of bed to walk around. Then we had a crabby nurse that made her stay in bed. At that point it became harder. She wanted to walk and the nasty nurse said no…:Stay in bed”….The early morning hours went by. Early in the morning I went down to the end of the hall to make a phone call. After the call I came out to the hall and I thought I heard a baby crying. I seen the nurse at the other end motioning to me to hurry. Here it was your mom screaming for me…..“Mom…..Mom”….lol….You finally came into the world around 9:30 am. I forget how much you weighed, but you were perfect….and bald….lol….Seems like all our baby’s start bald….Its that blonde hair.

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We all took turns taking care of you as we all worked. Tina and your mom had a lot of fun dressing you up. You and your mom lived with us a number of years. Your first birthday came and we had big Birthday Party.

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Your mom bought you your first Harley.…A handmade Motorcycle rocking horse…..Your Grandma and Grandpa on your dads side came also. Ruth and Steve Rydz.

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They surely enjoyed being their and celebrating with us. It wasn’t soon after, they got sick and couldn’t travel out of LaSalle anymore. During this time you were just a skinny peanut, still with barely any blonde hair.

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We took so many cool pictures of you. You finally started growing the blondest hair. Christmas time was really fun. We all spoiled you, and Santa was “ALIVE” in our house again.

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Aunt Tina let you drive….lol…

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Santa came to visit on Christmas…..“You Really Believed in him”.…It was really grandpa. He went downstairs and dressed up in his newly purchased Santa Suit. He went out the back basement door carrying some bells. I waited near the front door and heard Santa coming shaking the bells. He came in with his bag of toys. You sat on the chair with him. He gave you the toys and when it was time to leave, you had to kiss him good bye. It was all so sweet. Then Santa went out the front door, went around back and in the basement door. Grandpa then came upstairs and found out he missed Santa…..lol….It was so much fun. Grandpa played Santa even after you moved. I remember in Depue sitting a block away in the car at 5am waiting for Santa to come back from bringing in the toys. Your mom had woken you up and had you peek through the crack in the door. She told you to be very quite so Santa wouldn’t know you were peeking. You watched as Santa came in and left the toys under the tree. As soon as Santa left, you called us and said Santa had come. You were so excited and wanted us to come over. Well we showed up about 10 minutes later even though it was a half hour drive from our house in McNabb……lol…I don’t think you ever knew for years….It was funny to be sitting at the end of the block in the car at 5am, and see Grandpa dressed as Santa walking down the street on Christmas morning, with a full bag. Cars would come by and slow and just look at him…..Hilarious…..

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This was probably one of my most remembered birthdays when you were young. Grandpa bought you a battery powered motorcycle. You also received a jacket and hat and looked so cool…..Like a real Harley Dude…..You loved to wear those sun glasses and run all over in the yard.

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During that time we also had a parakeet. Tweety was a “Awesome” bird. We let him fly all over the house. He would take baths in the sink, eat off our plates, drink from our glasses, sit on our heads and crawl all over us. He was so much fun.

You and your mom moved to Granville for awhile and managed some apartments and then to Depue. That is where you started School.

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You played Summer Soccer for only one Summer…..This was not going to be your sport of choice

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You had a best friend Larry. He was about 2 years younger than you. He lived 2 houses away. You both played a lot together. Most of the kids in town were Mexicans, and you were both little white boys. You really formed a bond with Larry. Unfortunately, Larry had Asthma. He had an attack one evening and was rushed to the hospital. Unfortunately he passed away. He was probably only about 10. This hit you hard. I took you to the wake, not so sure if you went to the funeral but I think you did. I remember, on the way to the wake, we seen a rainbow in the sky. I told you it was a Rainbow for Larry to enter Heaven. You wanted to visit the cemetery, and we did several times after that. You saved his picture and remembered and talked about him through the years. This year Larry would have graduated High School. The class had an empty chair at the ceremony in remembrance of him, and you even went to graduation…...You never forgot your Childhood friend.

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During the years in Depue, Cassidy was born. You were a good Brother. You were a big help to your mom with getting diapers and holding her bottle. As you grew older, you started to go on vacations with us. You were such a hyper little boy, but we put you in the car and you settled down and loved traveling. We took you to Albuquerque several times to visit family. My dad had remarried Grace my step mom. So now I had 4 Step brothers 1 step sister and 1 half brother. Grace was an Awesome lady and always made us feel at home and part of her family.

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On the way we stopped at the Cadillac Ranch on the west side of Amarillo Tx. A number of Cadillacs are buried nose down in the dirt. Everyone stops and spray paints their name or a saying. We found some cans laying around so we painted also. Of course a favorite stop on these trips was McDonalds.

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My favorite picture of your family was when Scott and Tasha were married. We took group pictures in the church. Gosh, you all looked so nice in your dress up clothes. You were in a Tux because you were the ring bearer. So Handsome.

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Cassidy and you did a lot of fighting as brothers and sisters do, but you also had some fun times together also. Your Mom moved you all to Spring Valley. It was so much more convenient for work, shopping and much better driving conditions in the winter. Grandpa always spoiled you. He always bought you the fun things that cost money….lol…

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He bought you a real 4 wheeler. You loved your 4 wheeler. You rode it all around the yard and up and down the edge of the field in back. Probably in it also….lol…

Sometime during this time I decided to take you out for a driving lesson. We were over by Granville, Hennepin area. You were a big boy for 12, you looked 16 behind the seat. I had you start to drive around the Florid area. You started off slow, and you did so well. It was hard to believe you had never driven before. You definitely had the knack to drive and felt comfortable. I let you drive all the black top roads back to McNabb and all the way home……Then I told you mom what we did…..OMG….She was so mad…”What were you thinking” she said. I laughed at her…..He had to learn, and he was a natural.

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Grandpa turned 60 and had a party at Steweys Bar in the Valley. It was a surprise party. This picture was early in the evening. Later Scott was still their after we left and others. He became the life of the party and was on the bar…..minus a Shirt…..OMG...I do have pictures. Carly was born in the Valley and you gained another sister.

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Your mom was in Nursing School about that time. She depended on all of us to help with her including you. You were again a good brother. In fact you have been so good with her that she looks up you as a father figure. You are so patient with her, and share so much of your time.

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You graduated 8th Grade from JFK Elementary in Spring Valley. We all came including Aunt Tina, and Uncle Scott.

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You then attended Hall High School and tried out for football. You only played one year and decided it wasn’t for you. but at least you tried.

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You were invited to a school dance with Maddie Dose. She is the daughter of one of your moms very good friends, Jamie. You and Maddie were born around the same time. Jamie and your mom were very close in your early years and you both grew up spending much time with each other. You were both attending different schools. You both looked so nice. You picked out that special hat to wear with your suit. You went on to attend St. Bedes Academy, but eventually earned your GED.

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South Padre Island.…We rented this Jeep, Grandpa let you drive it on the beach

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You decided that a GED was the route to take and you proceeded ahead to prove to yourself and all of us that you were serious. You then enrolled in CDL Truck Driving School at College. With the help of Scott, you graduated and obtained your CDL license ……Quite a feat for an 18 year old. You started Volunteering for McNabb Fire Dept. around 2 years ago and recently, Bureau Fire Dept.

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You have also just graduated after much hard work with your EMT Basic. This took a lot of hard work, and now your working on getting your probation hours in so you can continue in this area for a career.

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Uncle Scott and Brandy were their to Celebrate with you

So continue on Cameron. “21” years old. You have accomplished a lot. I know you have learned a lot also. So keep striving forward. Remember, for every 2 steps forward, you may take a step back…..take ownership, examine, learn from it, and proceed forward. You WILL find your niche in life…….

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Just Follow Your Dream……Life Can Take You Where Ever You Want it To Go…..Its a lot of hard work, but …..Anything Is Possible…..

Vacations Over, Everyone is Home…..Part 5

Tina and the kids returned home just before Easter. Is really funny how much kids pick up. The are so impressionable. The day after they return home, Tina walked into the kitchen.

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Their was Austin wiping his shoes. Tina asked him “What are you doing”. He said “I’m shinning my shoes. That’s what all the little Mexican boys do.”…..lol…..Can you imagine of all things, that is what he picked up in Mexico. He watched the little Mexican boys walking the streets with their box of shoe shine products and a stool, trying to make a dollar. Easter was the following weekend. Tina went shopping and amongst all the things she bought for Easter….Guess What….

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Shoe Shine Kit….Everything he needs to wash, wax, buff and shine shoes….What a nut…lol…Look how excited he is.

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So he proceeded to shine Mileys shoes and then the boots. He is such a character. They went camping out at Fish and Fun, and he got to do what he loves best…..

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He’s a Fisherman. This is what he loves to do…..Like Father….Like Son….He is a true Dolder.. He loves fishing, hunting, and the great outdoors. Ed and Grandpa Dan are teaching him well. Now Miley had an assignment at school to write a paragraph using contractions for English.20190616_2054356957540398378968055.jpg

She fell in “LOVE” with Texas……This is what it says……………….

“I’m hoping I can go back to Texas to see family. My mom loves it there. She’ll say yes. We’re gonna have such a fun time. I can’t wait. My dad hates heat so he’s not gonna go. Isn’t it fun in Texas? Aren’t you gonna answer me? Anyway won’t Texas be Fun.”

I hope they do come back soon. We Will Have A Fun Time.

Now Carly came home from school one day and wrote a story. Her First grade class was learning about Authors. Carly had picked out Gail Rollo, my friend here at the Park, as she met her the last time they were here. Gail Rollo wrote and published her book Gorilla of My Dreams. In fact her 2nd book in the series has just been released for sale on Amazon. Tammy made a video of Carly reading her story.

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It was a full page, front and back. It was so cute. She really did good. I sent the video to Gail, and she was so happy that she used her imagination. Meeting Gail and learning about Authors had allowed Carly to unleash her imagination a write a story. Something she probably never thought about before.

Tammy decided to order some T Shirts to remember the trip. Her and Connie had some ……Quality…… Time …..lol….. in the car on the way down, and on the way back…..The official saying that became a JOKE was…..“Get in the Car Connie”…..

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So these cool shirts finally came in. Tammy surprised Connie with hers. They all had a good laugh.

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So Texas Mexico “2019” is now OFFICIALLY OVER…….Hopefully they all come back again. But I bet it will be separately next time…..lol…..

“GET IN THE CAR CONNIE”

Connie, Tammy and the Kids Last Days of Vacation…….Part 4

Now that Tina and the kids had left, things quieted down a bit.  I took a day to take Connie site seeing and shopping.  Our first stop was the Museum of Arts and Heritage.  It contains the actual house belonging to the founder of Harlingen, Lon C Hill.  Also their was the first Hospital of Harlingen and the Stage Coach Stop that was moved in from several miles out in the country.  Then on to the Iwo Jima Memorial.20190418_1158548738467382576573432.jpg

This is such an impressive site to see.  It is the original first sculpture.  It is the clay cast that was made to mold the bronze Memorial in Arlington Cemetery, Washington DC.  It was a picture that was taken by an AP news photographer, of 4 soldiers raising the flag of the United States at the battle of Iwo Jima against the Japanese in WW II.  It was later in years made into a sculpture to honor our soldiers in battle. 20190418_1159311359531357824814867.jpg

One of the flag raisers was Corporal Harlon H Block, just a young man from  a little town west of here, Weslaco Texas.  He is buried at this site.  20190418_1208047820625982269052270.jpg

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Little did he know he would be killed in battle 3 days later.  This sculpture was given to the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen for several reasons.  1.  The Marine Military Academy was across the street.  2.  The street in between was already called Iwo Jima Blvd.  3.  Harlon Block was a home town boy.  It arrived on 10 semi flat beds in 1981 and was reconstructed.  In between the sculpture and the Military Academy lies a beautiful parade grounds used by the Academy for Military Parades.  Many visitors from Harlingen as well as far away including the students families come to view the Parades.  Nearby is a small but wonderful Museum filled with a wealth of historical memorabilia from World War II.  Also we seen a 32 minute black and white slide show, many actual shots of the Battle of Iwo Jima.  I never get tired of watching it.  It is so impressive and informative as to the reality of the war.

We drove across the street and slowly drove thru the Marine Military Academy.  I showed Connie the dorms, Gymnasium, Cafeteria, Class rooms and many others.  The school is a private college preparatory academy for classes 7th – 12th.  It is extremely expensive to attend therefore I have been told the average stay for a student is 2 years.  If the student attends all 6 years, they will likely graduate with an entrance into West Point or any other High ranking college, graduating with a very high rank.  Next we went shopping.  Amongst others Connie wanted to do Burlington Coat Factory.  First time for me.  We seen lots of bargain stuff.  I bought Carly an outfit.20190418_1711324737293413788877434.jpg

Of course we found something else.  This cool unicorn trunk to put stuff in.  We also went back to the Island to the new Sea Turtle Inc.  They rescue and treat the injured and keep the ones that cannot be rereleased in the waters.  It is a new building with a number of huge tanks for the ones that have found their forever home.20190419_1307384700962464836390273.jpg

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This one is Gerry.….Hes been here since 1980 and was on Johnny Carson.

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This one is Allison, she arrived in 2005 and has rudder attached to her back.  She is missing 3 of her 4 flippers. 20190419_1340591719390303973342248.jpg

Their was a very interesting display on the garbage that is found in the ocean waters and how dangerous it is to animals.  So much plastic is thrown overboard or washed out to sea.  The turtles think it is food and take bites.  It is so dangerous for them to ingest.

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The girls found a tank with a bubble in the bottom.  They crawled in from underneath.  It looked like they were in the tanks.  From their we went to the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center.20190419_1437415067563501753533916.jpg

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It is a beautiful place full of birds, butterflies, and some alligators.  Its trails are all boardwalks that are built above the ground.  The birds, gators and wildlife have so much area to roam and be free and we are above them and…..SAFE…..20190419_1458192968984700477143471.jpg

This was a sleeping Alligator.  Or at least he looked like it.  He never moved.

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This was a beautiful walk out to the pier.  This was all shallow water full of crab, fish snails and ducks. 20190419_1515471042480478050570140.jpg

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Such a beautiful view of the bridge coming from Port of Isabel to the island in the distance.  On the walk we seen several turtles.  They loved to dig in the mud. 20190419_1552485231534597102920834.jpg

Many bird watchers were their with their binoculars.  The area was full of lush foliage that was a home and haven for birds and wildlife.  We came across 1 more pier and found another sleeping alligator.  He was right next to the post and never moved.  He was much smaller than the other one.20190419_1603116609505219380753557.jpg

Finally after a full day, time to head home.  The next day we took off to Boca Chica Beach again.  Tammy loves that place because she can drive down the beach in her jeep.  We went through Brownsville and past the Border Patrol check point, past Space X again and right down to the beach entrance.  I wouldn’t let her go south as that was Mexico.  So we went north on the beach.  It was such a beautiful day.  I had also checked the Tide report.  I certainly didn’t want to be marooned on the beach.  We drove 4 or 5 miles on the beach, watched the ocean waves beside us, passing  vehicles fishing and grilling out.  Just enjoying a fun day of sun and water.  We approached the end and found ourselves in front of the Port Of Brownsville inlet.  Just across from us was South padre Island.

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It was so pretty.  We parked the Jeep and climbed up the big concrete/stone retaining wall.  Right in front of us was South Padre Island and one of the Dolphin Watch Cruises.

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It was windy but so pretty.  Behind us was a number of houses on a hill.

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These houses do not have any utilities to them.  They are all owned by private owners.  All water has to be trucked in from Brownsville.  They all require generators for power.  We are told when you take the Dolphin tours that if these houses are ever demolished in a hurricane, the government will not let them be rebuilt.  They don’t want them their.  So far they seem to be fine.  What a great Vacation home away from civilization.  But I bet the weather is brutal at times.  It gets the direct wind and rain from the Gulf.  We turned around and started driving back slowly.  Tammy, Connie and Carly started walking the beach while I drove the Jeep.

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It was so beautiful watching them walk, listening to the waves roll in from the ocean.  The wind blew and the sea gulls swooped and fly from the shore line to up in the air, chasing anything that looked like food. 20190419_1911514184852462720873849.jpg

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I came upon a log that had been washed to shore.  It had apparently been submerged for a long time.  It was full of barnacles that had attached to it.  I had never seen them before.  Pretty interesting. 20190419_191923165950046638024157.jpg

It was nearing time to go.  We still had to go over and visit my friend Gail Rollo.  She has written a series of Childrens books.  I bought Carly one last year and now her and Tammy wanted to purchase one for her First grade Class.

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Gail was so Happy to see us and Carly Gail dedicated a book to the first grade class.  Carly was so excited.  She read the whole book to Gail and all of us.

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She really reads well for only first grade.  Gail has just released her 2nd book in the series.  Its called …..”Gorilla of My Dreams”……Its a dream she had as a little girl and has never forgotten it.  She has self published her books and they are available on Amazon as well as many book stores.  She is an ….”Awesome”….. lady.  You can also check her out on Facebook as well as Amazon.  Finally it was Easter Sunday and time for them to go.  We went to Golden Corral for Breakfast.  When we came home guess who had been their…The Easter Bunny…

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Carly was so happy.  She thought the Easter Bunny might miss her.  She got her bag and started collecting all her eggs and surprises.  The Easter Bunny left Cassidy her new hair iron that she has been wanting.  Now they had to pack.  You  would never believe all the stuff they had to pack.  The little trailer was so loaded down.  They had bought so much, including bags of fruit.  They also brought back the things Tina had bought that she couldn’t put on the plane. 20190421_1251364733610969203983122.jpg

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Finally it was time for them to leave.  Their was just enough room the kids to sit.  After Hugs and Good Byes they took off loaded to the hilt.  24 hours later they pulled into home again.  I can’t imagine driving with her,  packed in tight like the kids were, but it is what they do.….lol….. and Connie survived….

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“GET IN THE CAR CONNIE !!!!!”