Home for 3 Weeks & Headed South……

Its been almost a month since I wrote the last blog.  We finished at Adventureland on Oct 1.  We headed home to Illinois on Oct. 2, parking in the lot of Scott’s house.  It is half way between both girls.  Tammy is in McNabb about 3 miles south and Tina is in Granville 3 miles north.  So Good Location, but bad location for phone or internet service.  Were 90 miles from Chicago, but may as well be at the South Pole….Hardly any reception…..Complaining does no good….Believe me…I’ve tried…

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First Day of School 2016

Rich’s plan for this time at home is working for a farmer hauling grain from the field to the elevator.  This is what he did everyday except rainydays for close to 3 weeks.  I began by babysitting the grandkids, Tina’s and Ed’s kids Miley and Austin and of course Dexter.  Tina and Ed both had to leave for the week for work related projects.  Ed went to Wisc. and Tina headed to southern Illinois to learn about the new computer system at the court house that links the State Programs.  On Monday I went in at 6:30 for my Orientation….lol….When to get them up, when and where to take them to school, when the bus comes, homework and bedtime.   So this was my first week home.  All went well until the last day of school, which was Thur.  Austin had the tablet in his hand before school and I took it away.  We got everything together and I took them to school.  Even Dexter goes with, cause Tina said he wants to go and send his kids off to school…lol.    Well about an hour later, Tina text me.  She just received a text from Austin’s teacher.  He snuck the tablet into his book bag and brought it to school.   Ohhhh Geees……Strike One…..The next day was no school.  The kids sleep in bed with mom and dad, Dexter too.   They woke up in the morning but didn’t come out till late.    They were being good so why both them…..Right…..Later that afternoon just before Tina came home, the kids went outside.  Miley came inside and layed down on the floor to watch TV.   I heard Austin outside yelling but didn’t really pay attention.   Tina pulls in the drive and comes in….”Why is Austin crying, locked up in the swimming pool pen”?    Really    Miley of course was grinning.   Then Dexter is so excited to see his mom.  He was jumping all over her.  He went and got a present which I thought was underwear or socks in his mouth.   Tina starts screaming,  “I smell SHIT OMG ”  She looked at what Dexter had in his mouth that he was so proud of……Austin had “SHIT” his underwear sometime during the day and left them lay.  Dexter had picked up the underwear which was full and was chewing it….I was rolling in laughter….It was so funny…..Strike Two….

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First Day of school 2016

A few days later, I stopped by and visited.  Tina said to me, “I sure don’t know what you were doing Friday morning when the kids woke up”.     Why.   Well those sweet children had some fun.  They had the bed full of coloring books and crayons.   Now Miley being a carbon copy of her mother, thought of something really cool to do.  She took rolls of scotch tape and ran it around all the bottle lids in the bedroom.  Then she moved on to the bathroom.  All lids were taped shut.  She even took the shampoo and conditioner out of the shower and replaced them with peroxide and other things.    Hahahaha…..Good One Miley.…Then she asked if I could sit again the following Friday…..Really…You Trust Me?…..

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This is what happens when I babysit

That next Friday, Ed’s dad had just flown in for several days.  He had things to do, so I went over around 10am.  We were talking the kids came out laughing.   They had put on makeup.  Of course I had to take their picture.  Did I get in trouble for that?  No.   I got in trouble for NOT closing the doors to the cabinets.   One is always suppose to check those cabinet doors and make sure their closed for pictures.   lol.

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Carly’s 1st day of Pre-School

I also spent time at Tammy’s house.  I always like to hear her stories of her patients at Kindred Hospital.  She is a RN and always has some interesting patients.  She really loves her work.   Little Carly is now in afternoon preschool.   She is so happy to go to school and ride the bus.  She is really growing now.  She insists her hair is always done.  She has natural curly hair.

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Cassidy, 2016. So Pretty

Cassidy is 12 and is becoming quite a young lady.  Tammy and the Kids went to Boggios Orchard and took some great Pictures.

I spent the day with Cassidy and we took this picture.

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Cassidy 2016, at the Mansion

We went shopping to the Mall, of course Bath and Body.  Bought some fun stuff.  We went to her favorite restaurant, House of Hunan, Chinese buffet.

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Now Cameron is 18.  He hates his picture take, but I thought I’d put this one in again.

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Cameron loves his car but he is a typical teenager.  The cops stopped him because of no license plate light.  So did he fix it?   NO   He simply taped a Flashlight to the car…..OMG….Just don’t forget to switch it off or your batteries will run down….lol…Or is this a BERGEN THING?……lol…..It’s kind of like Rich’s saying “Why fix it before it brakes” We also had some issues with our 2 rental houses.  It called for a dumpster…..Yuck……But fortunately part of those problems were resolved before we left.  Miley had her 8th birthday.

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Mileys 8th Birthday Oct. 2016

Her mom bought practical this year.  She is sick of toys.  Miley wanted her room painted so, she got paint brushes, roller with pan and paint samples.  She loved it.  Halloween was coming up.  Tammy took the girls to Peoria to buy costumes.

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Carly’s Halloween 2016

Carly is Strawberry Shortcake.  So cute.

 

Austin and his Friend….Miley…

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This is some of Scott and Brandy’s cliental for Halloween at One Paw’s Pub……They don’t drink much….lol….So after almost 4 weeks, we headed out to Harlingen Texas…..Eastgate MH & RV Park.….Our winter home, also our next workamping job.  Just like last year, Rich in Maintenance and I’m an Event Coordinator.  We visited many friends while home, took care of business, visited the kids and grandkids, and away we went…….

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Southward bound…….from chilly weather wearing jackets to 90 degrees weather…..YES, we are here…..Left on Thur and arrived on Sunday…..

Harlingen Texas, the home of the Winter Texans

 

 

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Heading Home…Houston Flood….

The time has finally come.  Would you believe we have been in Texas 8 months….Wow….We left last Aug. for Gate Guarding in the oil fields, did that for 2 months.  What adventures we had their.  Now we have just completed our time at Eastgate as Workampers again.   It’s really not work, it is visiting, talking, and making many new friends.

20160417_162420Pulling off our pad, getting ready to hook up the truck….

So yesterday we packed up and left.  We had been doing a little all week. We still had a lot to do.  We work best at the last minute.  Then we visited and said our goodbyes….Had to stop at Alice and Toms,  their from Maryland.  What good friends they have become.  Rich returned tools to Gary and Marge and said our good byes.  Then up to the office to get the rest of my things.  On to Debbie and Rick to turn in all our keys.  Next, really good friends Roberta and Ken…..Then on to the Hall, their was John and Sandy , Glen and Kathy, our new Canadian friends…..and of course Jean and Eugene…..Finally Off we went….

20160417_163908Alice and Tom from Baltimore Maryland, made signs….Be….Safe….

 

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Spider-Man is Watching Over  Us……..We Will Be Safe…..lol

It was before 5pm.  Everyone said, Stay another nite……But then the Good byes would start all over again….lol….A huge storm was coming, so we decided to head east.  Over to Houston and east to Louisiana, and then turn north on 55.  All the way home….

So we finally left….fueled up at the edge of town and went on our way.  We stopped the other side of Victoria, in a rest area for the nite.  We were 2 hours from Houston.  The big storm came finally.  It was forecast to extend from the Rio Grande Valley up to Dallas and past to Oklahoma, and heading east.  It would dump up to 12″ of rain.  It sure did. The news from Houston in the morning, was more like 12 – 20 “…..Streets were underwater, they closed the schools and told everyone to stay home if they could.

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Calls came in, people needed rescued.  Eventually  1200 people had been rescued and 6 people died.  Most of them was from driving into the flooded waters.  This was the worst flash flooding since Tropical Storm Allison in 2001.

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We watched the weather on the Weather Channel App.  Finally we found a break and we took Interstate 10  all the way through Houston.  It was a good ride for us.  But when we went through, we could see many of the city streets below the interstate flooded.  Cars were sitting in the middle.  Flashers were on and in a few cases, the police or ambulances were their to help them.  We only had 2 places  where 1 lane was closed because they were full of water.  A friend, (Thank You Tammy Bellamy Bybee) gave us the website for Texas Road Closures, so we felt safe enough to drive through.

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As we watched tv newscast the next morning, a news reporter was down by an under pass reporting on the flood.  Right behind him this man drove right into the water.  He got out of the car and the reporter still with the camera on him and his mike in hand, swam into the water and helped him to safety.  Crazy to be caught on video.  He was so lucky.

We made it through Texas finally, and stayed just north of New Orleans at the I 55 Junction.  Headed north the next day , all the way through St. Louis.  We timed it so we could stop at our favorite restaurant in Lincoln Illinois.  One of the old original Bonanza Steak House restaurants.  Love their buffet.  I always order their sirloin tips…loaded with mushrooms and onions….mmmmmmmmmmmm…

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We try to stop every time we go through.   It is a 3rd generation home owned restaurant.  It was built in the 70’s and is one of the few left in Illinois.  We left Harlingen on Sunday and pulled into the drive Thursday Afternoon.  Stopped up at the One Paw’z Pub, (Scott & Brandy’s Tavern)….Spent time their, unhooked the truck, and homeward bound.

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Sunday Afternoon around 4:30 PM……..

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Thursday Afternoon around 4:30 PM…..A Beer on the bar…..One Paw’z Pub…..

 

Freddy Fenders Gravesite…..

 

San Benito is only several miles from Harlingen.  I like their Walmart better, they seem to have more things you need and not as busy as Harlingen’s, and its also on the way to Brownsville and Padre Island.  Right along the interstate you pass this water tower stating it was also Freddy Fenders Hometown.

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I did some research and found out he was buried at a cemetery at the edge of town.  Freddy had several hit songs that I remember,  Before the Next Tear Drop Falls, and Wasted Days and Wasted nites.  He was a country singer.  I really enjoyed his singing, although I never bought any of his records.

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Freddy was born June 4, 1937 in San Benito Tx.  His birth name was Baldemera Garza Huerta.  He grew up in a poor Hispanic neighborhood.  He grew up working with his parents in the fields as migrant workers.  Many of his fellow workers were black, and some of them, Fender remembers, were good enough singers and musicians to have been professionals. The blues music he heard in the fields would become an integral part of his own unique style.  Freddy hit the top Charts in 1975 as a bilingual Country Singer. Freddy Fender has had three successful careers-as a Hispanic/pop star in the late 50’s, a country pop star in the 70’s, and a member of the Grammy award-winning Texas Tornadoes in the 90’s. With his signing to Warner/Reprise, he began a new chapter in an amazing career that spanned nearly four decades.

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He had a kidney transplant from his daughter, adopted daughter Marla Garcia, in January 2002 and a liver transplant in 2004. On August 13, 2006, he was diagnosed with incurable cancer and died on October 14 in Corpus Christi Texas.

I knew last year, he was buried near, but I had never bothered to find his grave.  So several weeks ago, Rich and I went to Walmart in San Benito, and I decided that we should find it.  I had looked up the directions earlier.  It was so easy, right at the edge of town.  His grave is in the New San Benito Memorial Park.  He was the first one buried their, and their is room for 300 burials.

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There is a replica of his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the sidewalk just behind his headstone. The back of the black granite headstone has a picture of Freddy playing his guitar with a spotlight shining on him.

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The headstone and grave is surrounded by a large circular area of paving stones. Around the edge of that circular area are two black granite benches and six monuments commemorating his long career.  On the six monuments was all the information of Freddy’s songs, his history in the musical field, and all his awards.  Lots of important info that I didn’t even know .  He had quite an Amazing Life.

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Adjoining this Cemetery was a very old one.  As I stood at Freddys grave, I looked over and seen the graves all decorated.  It was so colorful.  I had never seen one like it before.  So Rich and I drove over to explore.

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This was the City Cemetery of San Benito.   I walked through this one and was amazed at how they decorated for Easter.  I vowed to come back again.

Again came  a day later….lol….My friend Alice and I decided to go.  “Cici, if you read this, well all go this fall when we’re all back…..You got to see this…..” I took many pics.  As Alice and I walked through, this is what we seen……

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Notice  that all the plots are outlined.   Some painted, and many many flowers.  Also these plots are not in any order.   They seem to have buried wherever they had room.  So many are crooked and jammed in areas. =

wp-1459252943853.jpg  This was the grave of 2 teenage boys.  They constructed a pavilion and a basketball hoop.  They had just poured the concrete floor.  When Alice and I came, they had freshly painted it the maroon color of the pavilion.

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This one was designed using tile around the edge walls.  It is full of Easter decorations and eggs.

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Another pavilion.  This boy was just 18….born in 1991…died in 2009….another basket ball hoop….Many easter decorations.

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Just look the beautiful headstone.  His picture is engraved and they still today 7 years later haven’t forgotten him.

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This one was so interesting.  It was completely covered with the white bars and stood on a small rise on the hill.  The top was covered with a tarp to keep the sun from beating down.  It was locked up so nobody could get in.  Beautiful

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This was the inside.  I stuck my phone inside between the bars.  Easter flowers were everywhere.

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This was right down the hill from the big white one….It held several family members

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This one is also again a locked enclose.  Another young teen, who loved horses and apparently loved Budweiser.

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This was a very old grave.  It is a childs bed, and a tree was growing up inside.  A cross is attached to the headboard.

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Love the blue tile.  They even installed tile corner pieces and a small covering to shade the head stone.

wp-1459680694896.jpgDecorated for Easter.   See all the Easter eggs on the grave.  Check out all the butterflies on the tree…..

wp-1459680762220.jpgThis was the grave of 2 teenage girls.  The bench and the grave stone is made of a pink marble.

wp-1459680738698.jpgWe found out later, that the girls were in an accident.  One died immediately, the other lived for 3 months and then passed away.   So Sad.  How had it must be on a family.

wp-1459681444962.jpg  This is just a showing how close and how decorated they were.  Lots of palm trees and beautiful foliage.

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This is a very old site.  The top of this enclose is covered with vines that have grown this way and just now starting to leaf out, as spring is coming.

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You can see how some of the vines have grown and twisted on the bars.

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This is a close up of the vine that has grown and twisted around the bars.  It is so so old…..But still it has been decorated for Easter.

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This is a close up of another fenced in grave….On this side was a child.  Lots of stuffed animals, and if you look closely on the table, you will see lots of bobbles that dance in the wind.  They had a garden swing in the foreground to swing and spend time with their loved one.

It was just amazing to me to see all the Easter Decorations.  They remember their family members after they have passed.  It is something I know my grandma did, but we have really stepped away from that practice.  We have forgotten our family members.  We really should stop and visit the cemetery’s of our family’s.  Tell our children and Grandchildren about the family history, and who these people are

……Our History is being lost…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tour of the Marine Military Academy

Out by the IWA Jima Monument is a private high school, the Marine Military Academy.  It is a college preparatory boarding school for boys for grades 8-12 with a optional post graduate year.   Since 1965, MMA is the only private school in the world, based on the values of the U. S. Marine Corp.  Boys come from all over the world to attend and are turned into cadets who will reach their full potential in life.  They offer a wonderful tour of the campus grounds and several buildings on campus.20160209_095016

We arrived at the Museum to board our bus from the Academy.

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We were greeted by our guide.  He was dressed in the Military uniform, and had a deep voice that carried through the bus.  He was very friendly and full of so much information, that I know I forgot a lot.  He is a retired Marine and is employed in admissions.  He thinks of these boys as his.  A very commendable quality.

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We boarded the bus, all 32 of us, and proceeded from the museum across the street to the gate.

Marine Military Academy Entrance

The gate was very impressive.  Double gates had a large gold rifle mounted in the center.  Black fencing surrounds the grounds and the lane is lined with palm trees.  As we drove along, we passed the home of the head military person in charge.  (forgot his rank)…As you can tell I have NO Military background.  We approached the campus and we were in front of all the barracks.

The school at one time housed 500 cadets, but as a sign of the times it has a size of around 225 cadets now.  Part of the reason is the cost.  It cost $37,000 a school year to attend.   Imagine that.  The average attendance for a cadet to attend is 2 years.  If a cadet attends all 4 to 5 years, he will most likely be guaranteed a spot at West Point or any elite Academy.  He will surely be given scholarships for any college.  This school had turned out many top notch people, doctors, lawyers, physicians, and even Generals.  You are not expected to enlist in the Marines, you can still enlist in any branch of service if you choice too.20160209_103051

We turned and stopped at the front of the Gymnasium.

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We entered the building.

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It was shiny clean modern gym.  On the wall was the MMA Emblem.

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The pads under the basket ball hoop said “Fighting Leathernecks”.  We were told why the Leathernecks.   Long time ago the Marines would stand guard.  Their collars were made of leather to help support their head while doing guard duty.  Another reason, was during hand to hand combat, the leather collar would also protect their necks from decapitation….Wow….I would have never thought that…..rather gruesome….. Off the side of the gym, we entered a state of the art exercise room.

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The cadets spend much time here, and theirs always an adult in duty.  They said otherwise the cadets would get so caught up in trying to get buff, they would probably injure themselves.  lol.  Boys love to build muscles.  We boarded the bus again, and proceeded to the back 40.  Back their was where they spent many hours doing all the things I would just shudder at.   lol.

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This is where all the obstacle courses are, mud bogs, zip lines, buildings to repel off, and many other courses spread over the area.  This was just like Boot Camp.  Next stop was a Class room.

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We went into a Math Class.  It was a small room, but it was constructed like theater seating.  Their was only 3 rows, but each row was raised, so all students could achieve  great visual and attention on the teacher.  Back to the bus again.  On the way he gave us some more info.  This Academy is on the edge of the Harlingen Airport.  The Airport was at one time a Military base.  After it closed the MMA opened bordering the new Harlingen Airport that was formed.  Many of the cadets also attend flight training classes.  He said their are more students who have achieved their pilot license than have gotten their drivers license.  The boys lead a very structured schedule.  It is just like boot camp.  Every hour is accounted for.  It is full of studying time, and the time for sports and physical training.  They have to earn time off.  Their are no cars or bikes of any kind belonging to the cadets.  A family with children lives in each barracks, so they have someone watching or someone to go to if needed.  Also on all four corners of the campus, are where all the houses of the teachers, etc. are located.  So they have a visual of all the barracks on all four sides at all times.   It is all about discipline and learning and self respect……..On to the Cafeteria for lunch.

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We were able to eat the same meal the cadets eat for $10.

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We went through the line choosing our fruit, main dish, vegetable, dessert and drink.  The cadets are not allowed any soda.  That is something that is given for a reward…..I would never last…..lol….

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20160209_113232We sat in the brightly decorated dinning Hall.  It was full of natural lighting from the ceiling.  We were waiting for the cadets to come in for dinner.  They had finished their morning classes and were in their dorms getting ready for inspection were they would line up military style.  We raided the ice cream cooler filled with fudge cycles, ice cream bars and sandwiches, and headed outside to the porch area.  The cadets were lining up and getting ready to march in.

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Finally, they marched in…..Company by Company….

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Our guide has his son enrolled here.   He is 16 and his dad was very proud to introduce him to us.  Finally it was over.  We boarded the bus and was taken back across the street to the IWA JIMA Museum.

20160209_095032Some of us went into the museum and some of the guys had earlier walked around the equipment that is on display.  Some went over to the Monument for a walk.

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This tour was actually done several weeks ago.  Last Friday was a Military Parade at the parade grounds in front of the Monument.  My friends Cici, Larry and I went.  It was so impressive.  The cadets marched from the Academy across the street to the parade grounds.  They went through the weapons inspection and all their other routines.  The band played, as they did their routines.

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The last march they did was to march in front of us in the stadium seats, their commanding officers, and mostly important was the veterans of our past wars.  They invited 2 surviving members, who fought at Iwa Jima to attend.  The flag was flying half mast for the Ceremony……

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……..The Marine Military Creed…….

………And Most Impressive…..A Night Time View of the Iwa Jima Monument…….

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Tale of a New Frig & Winterfest

Last year, while we were here in Southern Texas, our 4 door frig that runs on propane or electric started having problems.  It was toward the end of our stay here.  We called an RV repair person, recommended by our friend.  The electronic board was going out or the “mother board”.  It would take a week or 2 to order and have it come in, so he offered to let us use a used one that he had and we would replace it this year.  This summer, the door broke on the hinge.  It was on the frig side, not the door.  So we decided to just replace the whole fridge with a regular residential frig.  Now keep in mind this frig has to go in and out the door or through a window.  To come in the door it had to be under 29″ wide, with out the door, and the height could be no taller than 64″.  The frig sits on top of the furnace. Sounds easy right?….lol…4-dr-refrigeratorSo several Saturdays ago, we spent the day looking for a nice black frig that would fit.  We went to Conns, here in town and checked. Found one fairly reasonable.  We decided to ride down to Brownsville also to check out Best Buy.  They had one also but not deliverable for several weeks.  We went back to Conns.  Now we were set to order it, but they were going to charge us $75 delivery charge as it was coming from McAllen.  Even if they dropped it at the store, still the charge.   That just set the price over the one in Brownsville.  So we were discouraged, and home we went.  Then the light went on….HOME DEPOT…..Now we knew that.   lol….We went out and found one and ordered it.  Now how hard was that.  One week and it would be delivered FREE…..and less money than the others.  So the following week Rich prepared the frig for take out.  Several days before delivery, Rich took out all the food and pulled our frig out.  We have another frig outside.   Now their it sat in the Living room…. lol…It was almost to big to go out the door. So now for several days it sat their.  He put his recliner in the middle of the floor, so he could see TV.  lol..20160130_075136Finally the nite before, Rich took off the screen and part of the main door assembly and we Pushed…..Pushed….Pulled….Pulled….Turn it a fraction….Pick it up, Let it down….and finally SHOVE IT OUT….It made it out the door.  We did tear a piece of the dash, but it was out.  We started measuring and got out the paper work….GUESS WHAT…It was ordered in white….grrrrrrrrr….we wanted black.  We went back out to Home Depot.  And YES we were right….It was coming in white.   They told us that we had to refuse the delivery, and wait a day so it was returned to the warehouse.  Then come in and reorder.  So that is what we did.  We reordered and had to wait another week for delivery.  All this time now, we had no frig inside.  Do you know how it feels to get up in the morning and not have anything cold to drink?…Everything was outside.  Gees, you have to be dressed decent, just to go out the door.  We have neighbors about 10 feet away.   But we survived .20160127_165508In the meantime we went to “Winterfest” at Schlitterbahn Water Park, on South Padre Island.  It is an all day music festival with different entertainers every 45 min.

20160127_151912They were all the entertainers that come to the Rio Grande Valley for the winter entertainment at all the parks. They usually have a circuit and perform a different park almost every nite.  Our entertainment in Eastgate , is on Friday nite.  Many come from Branson Mo.  Some are closer.  Many are from RFD TV.20160127_135544Mario performed, early afternoon.  We have seen him several times.  He is from Branson.20160127_124701Another GREAT singer is John Sager, Also from Branson.  He was a wonderful singer and full of energy.  He is scheduled to come to our park next season.  Also a guy named Greg ?…..Already forgot.20160127_154816He used to sing at the Play Boy Club years ago.  He was an Elvis impersonator and some others.  Once his voice was warmed up, he could really belt out a song.  Very Powerful.  The very last performance was the local High School.20160127_163920They had a Mariachi Band.  These kids were so talented.  They sang and played their traditional music.  It was Awesome.  It was a fun day, but it was cold.  They moved it inside by the indoor water park at Schlitterbahn, but it was still a very chilly day.20160127_121538The best part was, all the gift shop items was 50%  off…….Wow….That’s my price.   I bought a Tie-dyed zipper sweatshirt for $12.50.20160212_085153Several visors for $2.50 each.  Another pull over sweatshirt and Rich bought sweatpants and t-shirt, all for $10 each…..Great Day for bargains.  The best part was, our tickets were complimentary, as I was given some to sell for the park, therefore mine were free.   Some of the perks of this job.

Now all this week Rich has been working on the box that the frig would sit in.  It was now to wide for the new frig, but would just barely fit the height.  He took the side and made a narrow little pantry.

20160212_085246He made shelves top to bottom and we have clear plastic containers that are wide enough for cans.  Each one will slide out so we can see what is in the container.  Now he just has to make a door for it.  It will solve our can storage problem of them all jumbled together under the sink.  Finally the big day came.  We got the call.  The frig was on the way.  I had to go to the office, but that’s ok.  I really didn’t want to be their.   I knew it would be a very tight fit, and I wouldn’t be any help.  I just knew their would be a few choice words said….lol….So our friend Ken came over.  They took off the screen door again, and after some other adjustments they began.  Rich said it was an extremely tight fit through to door.  They pushed…pulled….brought it back out twice.  They problem is, as the frig goes through the door, the dash comes out and you have to turn it to clear the dash.  Finally after time, and some more small rips in the dash and a dent in the wood, it was in…..Now it had to fit in the new opening….Bingo….Fit like a Glove….Rich had to do some minor adjustments to the ceiling light, as the freezer door hit it, but it all worked out….I came home that day, Hoping it was in.   I was worried that we might still have to take out a window to take it through…..I looked outside…..Nothing….No sign of the frig, or the box.    Good Deal….It was In…and …It looks Marvelous, and20160211_172435

IT SURE IS NICE HAVING DRINKS AND FOOD INSIDE AGAIN…..THE SIMPLE PLEASURES OF LIFE….LOL…NOW TO CLEAN UP THE MESS…..

 

The Trip To Illinois to Take the Kids Home….

The time had come to take the kids home.  It sure did go fast, but I think they were ready. I just wish the weather had been better and Rich was not sick the first few days.   I bought Amtrak tickets for the three of us.  We would leave from San Antonio on Saturday and arrive in Bloomington on Sunday.  I would then return on the train on Wed, arrive San Antonio late Thursday, stay in the motel and head home in the truck on Friday.  Their first day back at school after the holidays was Monday.  While they were down here, their had been lots of rain in Missouri.  I received an E mail several days before, that we would be taken off the train at Little Rock Arkansas and bussed to St. Louis and then return to the train for the rest of the trip.  We left in plenty of time Friday, for San Antonio so that we could arrive during the daylight, find a parking spot for the 6 days the truck would be their, and a motel for the night.  Our train left at 7 am.  Cameron let me drive until we got past the Border Patrol check points.   All the major roads have check points on them.

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Their are illegals from Mexico being caught all the time.  Once we were past that, Cameron drove the rest of the way.  He loves to drive, and he is a good driver, even in the city and on the interstates.  He’s really had a lot of practice on this trip.  He drove through Houston and now also San Antonio.  When we got their, we went down by the Amtrak station.

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It is located next to the sports center, the AlamoDome.  home of the San Antonio Spurs.They were having something special going on.  Their were white tents set up all over the parking lots and park areas.  The hotels were full.  No parking decks to be found.  We finally found a Travelodge that would let me keep the truck their for the 6 days, as long as I booked the room that night and on my return.  So that is what we did.  We went and eat out at a Popeye’s Chicken restaurant, and headed back and went to bed prepared for our early morning wake up.  We had called a cab that took us to the early morning train and ready to board for our 27 hour ride.

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I took this from the internet, but this is what we seen near the entrance to Sunset Station.  The old time locomotive was all decorated in lights for Christmas.  So Festive.  Alamodome tower lights in the background.

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Cassidy was rather excited as this was the first time on a train.  Cameron had went with us to New Mexico before, so he knew what to expect.  They are fun.  If you’ve never been on a train, you must take a trip sometime.  I find it to be so relaxing.  Comfortable seats, plug ins for your electric toys.  A nice glass observation car and a café down below, full of snacks and drinks, even alcohol.  Then their is a diner car that serves full meals.  Of course it is all high priced.  If you want to go first class, you can also buy a bunk in the sleeper car.  We always do the regular seats and sleep in them too.  We had a good ride, and Cassidy enjoyed it.  About 11:30 pm we finally arrived at Little Rock.   We looked out the window to see 4 buses, waiting for us.  3 buses were Little Rock Tours, and the 4th was Champion tours.

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Now that should have been the first warning.  They had the handicap and family’s with children detrain and board the buses first.  This is what we did because we had Cassidy.  We grabbed all our luggage and headed toward the buses.  They sent us to the Champion bus.  It looked good from the outside, but not so good on the inside.  The seats were small and so uncomfortable.  Cameron and Cassidy sat together.  He looked miserable. So many little kids on board.   In front of me were 3 little black kids in 2 seats and across was their mother and a little one in a carrier.  I looked at her and said.  Are they all yours?  Yes, she said.  Wow….Are you traveling alone?  No, I have my 2 older boys in the seat ahead of me.   OHHH Myyyyyy…..So she was traveling to Indianapolis with 6 kids.  Finally we were all loaded and the buses all started moving.  We crept through the parking lot of Amtrak and came across this area with a side concrete Abutment of some sort….All of a Sudden scraaaaaaaattttttttchhh……….Oh My….then KA THUD…..The back tire under me went up…. and ….down……Stop…..Lets back Up Now…………Ka Thud in reverse………Scraaaaaaaaattttchhhhhhhhhh……Gees….I thought he just ripped the tires off….Now our driver looked like they had found him down in the soup kitchen, took him to Goodwill, bought him dress pants to big and put a belt on him to keep them up with his dress shirt that didn’t fit tucked in.  He pulled out into the street, stopped and walked to the back outside in the dark to check it out.  He got back in and never said a word.  Now, what could he see in the dark?  I kept thinking the whole time the tires were going to blow.  Now the black lady with the kids was really nice.  One of the little ones got up a little later and stood  by their mom and said….”I peed my pants”…..lol…Ohhh My….poor lady….She took the little girl to the bath room and cleaned her up.  Finally she was holding the little one that peed her pants as their was no where for her to lay.  The little girl looked like a rag doll trying to sleep. I told the mom to lay her down in the seat next to me as it was empty.  So that was the rest of the 7 hour ride on this bus.  I sat in this seat and held this little girl so she wasn’t falling on the floor.  Poor Cameron was trying to sleep and he looked so miserable.  I finally found a double seat in back, told him to take it.  Finally arrived at St. Louis around 7 am.  Long Long nite.   When I got out of the bus, I looked at the side of the bus.  Their was a huge scrap running clear through the whole luggage door.  At the bottom of the luggage door was a huge hole.  About a 10″ square of the outer skin was missing…..Explain that to your boss, Driver……

After a nice comfortable ride back on the train, we finally arrived in Bloomington around 11 am.  Their was Tammy and Little Carly waiting for her sissy and brother.  She missed them so much.  I was good to get back to McNabb for a few days.  It was chilly, in the 30’s, but not bad.  As soon as we got home, the kids opened their presents under the tree.20160103_132756

That nite, Tina and Miley and Austin came over and we had meatloaf.  We had a nice fun evening, and finally went to bed.  I was soooo tired.  Sure was good to sleep in a bed.  I met my new Grand Dog Chaos.   Perfect name for him.20160103_133416

He can reach for anything he wants.  Now I should have know better, but this is the next story.  Tammy and I were in the living room.  We didn’t pay any attention to the dog until we heard a …CRUNCH… CRUNCH….CRUNCH…Tammy Screamed…..”OMG…MY TEETH….Not Again”…..and then a little shiver went down my spine as a thought came into my head……”Could they be MINE?”   We both jumped up and …….Yes… they were mine….My Heart Fell…I had left them in the bathroom on the back of the sink, but he reached and got them anyway.  All we found was pieces.  Nothing to even glue together.  I know he ate some too.    All I can say I Hope it hurt when they came out the other end.  We sat their in shock at first, and finally started laughing about it.  How crazy is that.  Tammy said, I would never forget that sound.  You see she has already lost 1 and a half sets to Chaos.   He got her uppers and chewed them.  She was able to take them to the dentist and they were glued.  Then the dog got them again.  All she has now is the front section, and she glues them in.  After I calmed down….lol…I called down to Eastgate to Debby…..”Help”…. I need a dentist in Progresso Mexico as soon as I get back.  Finally that afternoon, I got names and numbers.  I finally found out, the Mexican dentists are all walk ins.  Ok.  That’s good.  So I made plans that I would go straight to the Mexican border and meet Rich with my pass port.  I refused to go to Cassidy’s first volley ball game….sorry Cassidy…also never got my hair cut.  I didn’t want people to see me.  I arrived on Sunday, lost my teeth on Tuesday, and Tammy took me back on the train on Wed.  Now the return trip with the bus again.  We got to St. Louis, and their we found only 3 Little Rock busses.  No Champion buss.  Probably in the shop with the driver fired….These busses were still small seating, but more comfortable.  I fell asleep and woke up to shouting and cussing.  Here a man was so drunk….He was calling people Mother F….r….the driver was yelling back….SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP….The driver never cussed, but for the next 2 hours, it was a shouting match.  The drunk was not making sense most of the time but the driver and him kept yelling as we drove down the road.  How did he ever keep control of that wheel, I don’t know.  I bet he had a sore throat later.  Finally after 2 hours, we pulled into a gas station .  We pulled right up to the door with the other 2 busses parked near the back.  The other drivers and Amtrak personal on the busses came and the drunk got of the bus after much more cursing.

Their was almost a fight as you could tell the driver was so angry.  They took him in the store and tried to keep them separated.  Finally the cops came, and we drove away with the drunk sitting on the curb after almost falling, his luggage by the building, and talking to a cop.20160106_224039

The rest of the trip was uneventful.  Made it back to San Antonio, spent the nite at the hotel, got into the truck at 6 am and headed south.  I arrived at the border by 10:30 and beat Rich.  He arrived with a bunch from the park about 15 minutes later.  We went across and went looking for dentist.  I knew the most popular one would cost $500 and take 2 weeks.  We were looking for another and couldn’t find him.  I bet theirs 10 or more dentist on every block, and I’m not exaggerating.  As we were walking back, a guy stopped us, like they all do, and said, come on in and check our prices.

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My Dentist and interpreter Jasmine……They can’t speak English

I finally did…….$300 and 1 week…..Yes, I liked that.  So they made impressions, an hour later, he did the bite impressions.  No money down….Pay when I came back………Good Deal…..They do all the same procedures, but don’t have the fancy expensive equipment.  I felt pretty good about them.  It is just a narrow office with 2 treatment rooms straight back.  The dentist and his wife can’t speak English nor can the kid that was the assistant.  They have an interpreter, Jasmine,  that is present at all times.  They also have a pharmacy that has an adjoining door with a street door also.  This is common practice.  Many of these business, have doors on the inside in the back to another business.  They all have workers standing outside trying to get customers.  “Lady Lady, come in come in….I give you good price.  Lowest prices.  Come on in”….You hear this over and over…..

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Our Canadian Friends

So after a tough long day, we had Pina Coladas at the bar and ate at a Mexican restaurant.

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Check out the brick ovens covered with mosaic….Beautiful

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As we were waiting, we looked up at the streets and 3 Mexican Army trucks went by with men in full uniform with their guns ready and waiting…..hhmmmm…now what’s that all about….

So its been a tough, embarrassing week, but I’ve survived.  I had several events that I couldn’t hide from, so I decided to just accept and deal with it……I told my story and watched people just cringe…..some laughed…some were in shock….some wanted to shoot the dog….but ya know, things happen…Chaos is really good with the kids.  Gotta laugh at yourself.   Its just the way of life….so Yesterday was my day to go back….I have NEW BEAUTIFUL TEETH….Every bit as good as my $5000 dollar teeth….all for just $300 as a walk in….

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Great Time on a Segway and Seen a Terrific Raptor Show

Were been back at Eastgate now almost  a month already.  The weather has been so nice and warm. 80s’ and 90s’.  We’ve had some rain though.  We have been very lucky in Harlingen, as their has been much more rain to the east and west of us.  Many of the drainage ditches have overflown and homes have been flooded.  So far the new position is going well.  My official name is Event Coordinator.  I have been checking out some great things to do.  Sunday we are car pooling to the Local Theater to see a play of “Steel Magnolias”……Last Wed, I went on a Segway Tour of Harlingen.

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I have always wanted to do it.  We were at Don Wes Flea Market, last year, when the were advertising, and they let me stand on one.  It is balanced by a Gyro inside.  It stands on its own.  It is really easy to do.  This company has tours through out the Rio Grande Valley including South Padre Island.  I had attended a convention for Activity Directors and was able to sign up for this tour, so we could take our experience back to our Parks and book tours with a fabulous discount.

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Check out our helmets…..lol….

Our guide, Rachael, gave us some great instructions and was very patient with training us.  She also had an assistant, John with her.  He was awesome also.  He always followed us to make sure we were all safe.  After about a half hour of instructions and training we took off for the 1 1/2 hour ride through historical down town, focusing on the many murals.

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I didn’t take to many photos of the murals as I was a little nervous to take my hands off the handles.  Sure didn’t want to fall off and make an A***** of my myself……lol….Our first stop was a fabulous garden center, Grimsell’s Garden Center.

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It was so pretty, It had beautiful patios, and gardens.

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I heard some birds tweeting,  I sounded so pretty, so as I walked through, I came upon a garden with a cage of parakeets…..They were so happy enjoying the gentle breeze and singing happily.

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Their cage was on a set of wheel barrow wheels. That way they can wheel them in at nite and bad weather.  They are well taken care of and obviously so happy.

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I continued on enjoying all the beautiful plants on display, and for sale.  Such a beautiful, soothing and relaxing atmosphere in the middle of town.  PARADICE

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Next, back on the Segway’s for another mural.  This building is all the windows and downs painted.  Its is different and a departure from the other murals.  An artist actually has a shop their.

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On we go to Harlingen Lake.  It was huge, right in the middle of town.  I hadn’t seen it before.  It has awesome walking trail around the lake with many grassy areas.  We rode the walkways halfway around, and then got off to rest.  We had the opportunity to either rest or go play on the grassy hills nearby.  It was time to rest my feet as I think you stress your muscles at first.

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Several of us just sat and relaxed, enjoying the beautiful breeze from the lake.  This is a picture of Rachel (Owner) and John.  We had them pose for it.   Nice advertisement….lol…I want to give them all the plugs I can…lol….

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Onward to the Library.   They had a beautiful Plaza area.  The emphasis was obviously on books….The gorgeous arch, was structured with books.

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Some had rather comical names.  One of them, as you would be standing under the arch staring up was named….”Looking Up”…..lol

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This was a cool statue of Thomas Edison.

12242728_10205027847603556_343139502_o12242221_10205027845723509_944901624_nTime to get back on…

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.Rachael  and John were always their to help us get on.  So patient

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One of our last murals was down town.  The Lady from the Visitor Center welcomed us and took our picture.  Finally it was over and back to the parking lot.  It was a blast.  The next day I called Rachael and have scheduled 2 tours for our park, one for this Wed. and another in Dec.  I hope they have as much fun as I did.

We also had a Birding Convention in town.  The RGV is a huge birding area.  So many kinds, as we are on the main migratory areas.  They held Bird walks all over during the week, even going over 50 miles away.  For the weekend they had a great show at the convention center.  I went with my Good friend Roberta, who is a permanent resident of the park.  She has 2 birds…..”Maui” a beautiful Macaw, and “Love Love” a cockatiel that has broken hips.

They are awesome birds. Roberta found many books and contacts on birds.  They offered many trips all over the world, even New Zealand for Birding. People come from all over the world for these Birding conventions.   But my favorite was the Raptor Project.

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The Raptor Projects is an extraordinary and outstanding array of eagles, hawks, falcons and owls that have won the rapt attention of enthralled audiences throughout the nation. Presenting almost 1000 educational programs to over 10 million people annually, The Raptor Project leads the way in outstanding, top quality, professional wildlife education. Featuring 15-20 raptors from diverse habitats at each presentation, these dynamic fierce predators capture hearts of both young and old.

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Jonathon asked a little girl to feed meat to the eagle. She wasn’t even afraid

The Raptor Project founders, Jonathan and Susan Wood of New York’s Catskill mountains have assembled a traveling collection of feathered predators that is unrivaled in scope and size anywhere in the world. Jonathan Wood is a Master Falconer and Wildlife Rehabilitation, bringing unique insights, observations and humor to his exciting, riveting, nationally acclaimed shows.

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This Owl was so beautiful. At first he looked stuffed…lol…but He was real

Many of the birds in About Johnathan Wood - BiographyThe Raptor Project have
permanent handicaps and have been donated to his project by crowded wildlife centers around the country because they were unable to be re-introduced to the wild. Some faced euthanization and now have been tamed and trained to educate the public as charming ambassadors of their species and the environments they inhabit. Jonathan and Susan Wood and their staff operate the organization from a beautiful 14 acre, private facility in New York’s Catskill mountains. All birds are housed, exercised and cared for in spacious, state of the art aviaries.

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Jonathan Wood works with birds in a wide rage of sizes. From small falcons and owls weight 3-4 ounces to majestic eagles with 6-8 foot wingspans. He is honored with 35 years of handling experience and has produced and presented The Raptor Project to over 10 million people… up close and personal!

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These birds were so awesome to see in person and close up.

It has been a fast month already.  Time is flying by and its all most Thanksgiving.  We are doing our final plans on that now.  Thanksgiving menu will consist of 7 Turkeys, 2 roasters of Dressing and 1 roaster of Gravy.   Were on the cooking committee, Well rather Rich is, I will be doing other stuff.  Sure isn’t my forte…..lol….Till next time, which I have a Great Article on Veterans Day to write next, I will leave you a picture of Kitty in the shower…..He loves to drink the water…..lol12233369_10205026521490404_1724181842_n

Our Girls At East Gate RV Park….Denim and Diamonds

 

Tonite was such a fun nite….Our Girls from the park, Denim and Diamonds performed.  They performed music from the 30’s 40’s 50’s and 60’s.

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The duo is comprised of Georgina Holiday and Jami Asselin.  The came to our park in December wanting to bring in their Coleman popup camper, after the 1st of the year.  They were new to the Winter Texan circuit and was trying to add some more performances to their tour of the Winter Texan Parks.  Debbie and Rick were kind enough to give them a spot as close to the shower room as possible and in between 2 other campers to give them protection from the wind.  Jami arrived with her husband first and Georgina arrived later.  We’ve have all felt so bad for them staying many cold nites in a pop up.  They say it is plenty warm but the conveniences are just not their as we have in our RVs.  They have spent plenty of time in the halls practicing and we have gotten to know them.  The are so full of fun, and excitement.  I think most all of us admire their determination to follow their dream. We were so excited to finally see their show.

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We had our friends from Tropic Winds come, Cheryl and Linda, and they brought their neighbors, who were actually from Norway.   Cheryl and Linda are actually from back home.  Seatonville.  They are good friends with our daughter Tammy.  They use to work with her.  We arrived early and got front row seats.  Finally at 7 the show started.  They sang a lot of the oldies.  OMG.  What a voice they both had.

 

Georgiana sang most of the songs and Jami sang harmony.  They Jami sang some of her own.  They sang oldies from Patti Page, Brenda Lee, and Anne Murray.  Jami did some wonderful Tanya Tucker. 

At one point they went out and picked on our neighbor Mike and brought him up on stage.  They tried to get him to dance….lol….He had a problem getting the beat…lol…But we all got a GOOD LAUGH ,…..even his wife LauriBeth…

We had a short break and continued on with the show.  The girls kept encouraging dancing.  Finally they called out to the line dancers to come up and they did a song line dancing.

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And they the most Embarrassing thing happened.  “They Came After Me”……They made me come up and stage and sit on a stool….I put on sunglasses and they put a feather Boa around my neck….So so embarrassed…lol…Finally they starting singing and wanted me to sing the chorus.  Hahaha….I don’t even remember what it was, other than it was some kind of Doo Wop  song……Finally at last it was over….Whew….back to my seat I went…..

They sang to the Veterans, Anniversary’s and to all the February Birthdays.  The most moving song for me was their Rendition of “Wings Beneath My Wings”  So beautiful.  The show was finally over and time to go home.  It was a Grand Show.  The audience LOVE THEM….It was a full 2 hours of fun and Entertainment.

These girls come from Branson.  Georgina performs regularly at Jack B. Goodes, Uptown Café along with Mario, who was here 2 weeks ago.  She will be performing next summer in a Tribute to Anne Murray and Jackson Brown, along with her husband.  She has been awarded the BEST FEMALE ARTIST 2 years in a row in Branson.   Now that is an Honor.

Jami also has been performing in Branson on Stage.  She has been performing since she was 8 years old.  She loves to sing Tanya Tucker.  She has a CD that was on the Charts for 3 weeks.  She may be starring with Georgina this summer at the Uptown Café.

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So if your ever in Branson…….Look up these Girls…..They are so Talented….You won’t be sorry…..

Another week over……Another week closer to summer…..Could be 80 by Sunday….So they say….

But after awhile ,  Should you really trust the weatherman?

McAllen Festival of Lights Parade….With 14 Large Helium Balloons

 

 

Yesterday was a pretty fun day.  Started the day with Breakfast at the South Hall (Main Hall)….For $3.50 we had Biscuits and Gravy, eggs, bacon or sausage, pancakes and orange juice.  Had some great company.  Everyday you meet new people, and visit with the old.  The trouble is you forget all the names unless they wear their name tags.   Everyone gets name tags even us….Ours have our names and Workampers….Everyone else has their name and the state they are from.   Rather nice I think, to know where everyone is from.

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After that, we went to Hobby Lobby and Home Depot and a Thrift Store.   I got out my craft stuff to make the mosaic bricks and found out I forgot all my tools….lol…go figure…It was the last thing we packed, about 2 hours before we left.  I just threw it in.  We are having a Christmas Craft Bizarre coming up, and I am going to try to sell some.  So Rich made me drive so I could get my directions down pat.   All the shopping is done at the other edge of town by the interstate.  It is rather congested, but not to bad.  I managed quite fine.  After that we came home and I started getting my bricks ready for my projects.  At breakfast we had decided to go with our neighbors to McAllen for their Festival of lights Parades.  They have been advertising all week on tv.  They had 14 large aerial balloons and 40 floats.  So at 4 we left for McAllen.   Traffic was horrible the closer we got, and the funny thing none of us knew where we were going.  Rich had been their and hauled produce many years ago, so we headed for downtown.  When traffic stopped, we parked and started walking….About a mile later, we arrived….lol…Took our chairs and sat down.  So here are the pics from the parade…..

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These were the pics from the walk along the Boulevard where the floats were lining up.  The Budweiser Clydesdale Horses were  their.  3 Semis were parked along the curb  and the horses were all out hitched up and getting groomed and ready for the parade…

Next we past the big balloons in a parking lot ….ready and Waiting…\Dusk arrived around 6 and the first parade events started at around 6;15.

The Budweiser Clydesdales were first and the Santa Balloon…

This guy just didn’t want to stand up….He kept falling over…..Nemo was really cool…

The turtle was so cute….The second one was from Frozen…

The second pic is of 3 ornament balloons….really cool…

Don’t know what this guys name is, but he was really awesome…

The Shrek, he was really big….and one of the Angry Birds

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How about the Grinch…..He was another really huge one….Notice the guy standing at the base of him trying to keep him standing….lol

The first one is rather hard to see but it was a River Boat, complete with smoking stakes….It was really nice….

My Absolute Favorite is Kermit the Frog….He was huge and so cool….

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Bringing up the rear of course…………SANTA CLAUS……

They had some trouble with some of the balloons keeping them up.  The wind would blown them around.  But so so cool. Many of the Balloon’s had spot lights on them….They had spotlights mounted on motorized carts in-between the floats and balloons shining in the sky and on the balloons  The local TV station had advertised that some of the balloons had been in the Macy Day parade.  Another thing really cool but I don’t think it showed up very good in pictures, was the bands.   Many very good bands, and they were all decorated with lights.  The kids had lights around their hats, necks, down their arms and legs around their waists and even their instuments.  The big horns had lights around their largest part of the horn and down around their instrument.  Towards the end of the evening, my phone was running down, so missed some of the balloons.  There were many others I never took pictures of….But I got the Best ones I think…

It was a great evening.  Then we had to walk all the way back….Whoah…so far and we were so tired.  Finally got back to the truck and Larry made his way out of town.  Just as we started driving, it started raining….It rained hard all the way back….Oh No….remembered I left the jeans on the line at the laundry room outside….Hahaha….I guess , Pray for sunshine today…..