Busy January at Eastgate….

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

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

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Marching to the Cafeteria

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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Catching Up On Activities Around the Park

Their has been so much going on that I have not written about.  It seems life at Eastgate is so busy.  Never a dull moment.  On the other hand, the other problem is that I have had to find another way to transfer my photos to my laptop from my phone.  I did have my phone synchronized to Facebook.  All of them would go directly to fb and I could choose those to download to my laptop to write the blog.  Now Facebook has done away with that feature.  They have started a new App called Moments.  So far I have not found it compatible to the laptop, only the phones.  They seem to want you to share your pictures with everyone else.  That’s really not what I do.  So I’ve had to find a new cloud for storage.   That has been completed, and now I am moving forward again.  My phone is not quite a year old and it seems it ran out of storage already.  You mean 2550 pictures + is too many?…..lol….I guess…..I went to see about an internal memory card.   Well Samsung 6 doesn’t have one…..Darn…..So I have had to  download remove at least half my photos in the phone.  So now I think I have it figured out…..Its 2 steps forward and 1 step back….lol….That’s just the way it is.

In this blog I am just going to cover some of the things briefly that have been going on.  First we have started a Garden Club.

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We only have five members.  lol  Pretty small.  We decided our first challenge was to spruce us our entrance.  It is full of Aloe and Mother in Laws tongue.

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Very uninviting.  We wanted to completely redo it with plants that would flower and have different textures.  Now how does one raise money?……Have a Plant sale….lol…The girls drove through the park and found lots of plant starts that people wanted to get rid of.  They found old pots from people, used tin cans and milk cartons to repot in.  We advertised, we would take any pots or items that people were getting rid of.   We received more plants and pots.  We also made some mosaic blocks for the garden.   We scarfed up cement stepping stones from everywhere,  and also found some broken ones.   lol….We made many of the blocks.  The girls are now pros at mosaic work.  Finally we held our plant sale on two different

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Saturdays during the Jam.  That would help bring in people.  We set up by the office so we were in great site of everyone.   All in all we did great.  We made over $250.  That was amazing.  Today several of us went to Grimsells, the Garden Center and we’ve come up with a plan of flowering plants.  Now just submit it to Debbie and get her blessings and away we go.  Now we feel good about presenting the owner with our plan and ask for the balance that we may need.

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This sign will be moved also as it is a blind spot as we leave the park.  Their is a bicycle path, right by the street, following the length of the park.  Soon this should be transformed.

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One day we were all going to go to Boca Chica Beach at Brownsville to collect shells.  Alice and I couldn’t go till late morning.  The others left early trying to beat the tide.  Low tide was around 5 am.  Well we didn’t meet up like we planned, but it was a beautiful day.

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The sound of the waves crashing to the shore and the feel of the sea breezes whipping across your face and hair are just indescribable. So beautiful.  The beach is so untouched by the real world.  When vehicles drive over it, it doesn’t take long for the tracks to disappear due to the raising tide.

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The sea gulls are flying around, and here and their you see the lone fisherman.

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One night I went to the grocery store and found this little gem sitting in the parking lot.

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I thought it was really pretty neat.

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We had a Ladies Day luncheon.  Some wonderful food, and wonderful decorations.

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So much food.  What great cooks they all are.

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Their was so much food, we could have feed another fifty people.  These were the decorations hanging from the ceiling and the fans.  The girls made them.

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I’m saving them for Easter for table centerpieces.  To pretty to not use again.

We also hosted a Super Bowl Party.  We served Wings, smokies, Nachos and Cheese, veggie tray, Shrimp and Cheese Ball.  Everyone brought a snack to pass.  It was Great, more and more food.

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20160207_165711My Cheese ball….Pinterest is so full of ideas.

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We had prize giveaways and a Kindle for the Grand Prize giveaway at half time.

Next on the agenda is our Woodcarvers show here in Harlingen.  This year I haven’t done any woodcarving.  My friend Cici entered for her first time this year.

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She received a First Place, a Blue Ribbon……She was so excited.  Her Dolphin is beautiful.

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This was the table of our club. We have lost several members this year.  Some real talent.  These Hummingbirds were carved several years ago as a club project.

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This year this project won a 3rd, but also won Peoples Choice.    All of our parks carving members had something in this project.  Notice the hunter by the tree.  The dogs have the raccoons cornered in the tree.  ……lol…..Peoples choice is an honor.  These group projects are all on display in our north hall.

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Now my last piece is about a couple who has become good friends.  Gail and Dewey have been together for several years now.  Gail has been coming to the park for around 20 years with her husband.  Dewey had been coming over 15 years.  Gails husband died 5 years ago, and Dewey and his wife divorced.  They had been friends for years but they finally got together as a couple and are so happy together.

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Gail is so sweet. She plays pool with the lady’s.  Dewey plays with the men.  They have decided to move back to Missouri near her kids and grandkids.  They were so excited to begin their new adventure together.  Gail put her trailor on the market and it sold really fast, so they left last week.  We will so miss them.

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This year when we first got here, Gail had fallen and broke her arm.  She had a lot of fun with her cast.  Her daughter had sent her some stickers and she had us all autograph it. She couldn’t play pool till recently, but she still came and gave everyone moral support and visited.  ……..Good Luck Gail and Dewey……..I told them…Their the lucky ones, most people leave here in a box…..lol…They are heading for a new……” NEW ADVENTURE.”….Miss you both…..