Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve Gift


"Christmas Eve Gift." That is the way my father answered the phone every Christmas Eve morning when I called him. Strangely enough, I never asked why he said "Christmas Eve Gift!." It was just what he did. Of course, now that it is too late to ask him, I have begun to wonder where that greeting originated.

After a little research, a few theories of the meaning were brought to light. The greeting is prevalent mainly in the southern states. Most believe it became popular during the depression. Since people couldn't afford gifts, their gift was their friendship, love, and presence.

I can remember the joy on Dad's face as we shared Christmas Eve with his brother and family, mother, and sister (and, of course, later with us and his grandchildren!). When he was serving his country during World War II, he must have wondered if he would see his family again. So it only makes sense that when they were all reunited, he knew then and there that there was no greater gift in the world.

 There is so much during the holidays to get wrapped up in (no pun intended), and so much thought goes into finding that perfect gift. But, we always have the perfect gift with us, and it is the best gift to share with family and friends. Plus, we can give it all year long, and it lasts long after we are gone.


Monday, December 17, 2012

A Message from Barry

I found this in my comments:

I am emailing you a picture of the "Bote" all put together. I know when your readers see it they will be calling me and requesting a ride. Please try & post the photo.

Float the Boat

Why no posts for so long?

Sometimes I get writers block. Sometimes I have too much that I want to say, but the content does not pertain to this blog. Those thoughts keep me from coming up with superficial subjects.

But, somehow, Barry never fails to give me something to write.

As you may remember, Barry and I went to an RV show in Dallas when we were trying to decide what kind of trailer to buy. As we were walking around the exhibits, we came across a booth selling a boat.

Barry has been talking kayaks for a couple of years now, but we both had some reservations about them. They would take up room in the garage, getting them loaded and unloaded could get hard for two (in pretty good shape), but aging people, etc.

The boat we saw at the RV show is called a Porta-Bote. I'm going to tell you up front it is unusual. Notice the spelling of the word boat in its name? Do you think there is some reason they cannot use the word "boat"? Would that be false advertising?

Being fiscally responsible, Barry decided to check out eBay for used Porta-Botes. He found one for sale. It was in California, and the owner had posted he would not ship. Barry emailed and tried to convince him to ship it, but got no response.

Then, Barry found one in Florida. This seller was a little more willing to try to ship it, but to make a long story shorter, this sale, too, fell through.

Not to be deterred, Barry found one for sale in the metroplex. Over Thanksgiving weekend, he went to check it out and came home with his very own Porta-Bote.

Due to work and weather, Barry did not get to put the boat in the water until recently.

It was hanging neatly in the garage.

It folds up to four inches wide, but is twelve feet long.

Then the weather cleared, and Barry had a day to take the bote to the lake and see if it would float.

Barry and I loaded the bote in the truck. He wanted to make sure I could help lift it. What a stroke of luck that I can help load the bote and motor.

Phil was Barry's first mate. I refused to be the guinea pig in the "float or sink" experiment.

Phil was impressed with Barry's knot tying skills.

So with the bote, motor, and life jackets loaded, they headed for the lake.

Less than sixty minutes later, they were back. They took the bote out into the water about twenty or thirty yards and...

The Game Warden stopped them.  I like to think that he watched them unfold the bote and felt it shouldn't be in the water. Barry says that he stopped them because the bote was not registered. Barry was certain, the Game Warden was impressed with the bote, because he only gave them a warning.  

So the bote is back in the garage awaiting its registration. Barry assures me it floated just fine. Somehow I feel, I will be the guinea pig for its venture farther than thirty yards from shore.

Friday, December 14, 2012


Today was going to be my "come back" post. I have most of it written. Some of that post even contains reasons I don't write more on current events. That post will have to wait.

After the tragedy today in Connecticut, I didn't feel that a regular post was appropriate. I can't even fathom how someone could kill people in cold blood, especially children.

I have been retired from the MISD for many years. While I was there, we were required to have lock down drills. When the secret code was announced on the intercom, we turned off the lights and huddled the children in the corner, where we all sat in silence while administrators and police officers walked the halls to see how efficiently we could lock the whole school down. You could hear footsteps coming down the hall and then the door handle would jiggle. Then the footsteps would walk away.

I had spent time to prepare the children, so they knew what to expect and knew that all this was for their safety like a fire or tornado drill. They trusted that I would watch out for them and that they were safe with me.

I know that the staff of Sandy Hook Elementary would have done anything to save those children. I am so mad that another manic has taken the trust and innocence away from the children at the school. I am so sorrowful that families have lost their children and parents for no reason.

There is nothing that will make sense of this violent act. Just hold your children and loved ones. Never forget to tell them you love them. Let's all pray that 2013 will bring us a kinder, gentler world.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cora Kaye

While Barry was fretting about getting older, Cora and I were just hanging out. 
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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Smacks of Old Fart Wednesday-Mortality

You know what smacks of old fart? I’ll tell you. Reading the obituaries. I rarely, if ever read the obits before the last few years. Now, not only do I read the obits, every few weeks I seem to find someone’s obit that I knew. I’ve given this phenomenon some thought.     Many other old farts read the obituaries too. I think we look at the average age expectancy and realize we are much closer to the end than the beginning. I’m not expecting or ready for the big dirt nap yet but I am more aware of the odds.

I can’t discuss this subject without mentioning some choice conversations with my good friend, Bob. Yes, Bob is a few years older than me. I think eight but haven’t really discussed his age with him. Anyway, Bob has a good since of humor and tends to put many subjects into perspective. For instance; last week I asked Bob how he was feeling. Bob’s answer, “How much time do you have”? I asked Bob if he read the obituaries.  Bob’s answer, “ Yes I do and today I was disturbed because I noticed everyone that had died was younger than me”! Another day I asked Bob if he had ever thought about taking a golf lesson to improve his unorthodox, chicken wing looking swing. It is really hard to watch. Bob’s answer; “ you don’t mess with a swing that took 50 years to perfect”! 

Anyway, getting back to the subject. Mortality. I have come to the realization I am not young anymore. I don’t consider myself old but definitely not young.  I’ve talked with people in their eighties. They say the same thing. In their head they still feel young. But in their body...well, you know. I’m not sure who coined the quote, “the only problem with youth is it is wasted on the very young”, but I now understand it better.

My plan. Not exactly a bucket list- but several things I want to do. Work less, play more. I think Jan will tell you this has been my philosophy for the last 38 years. My answer is that 38 years of being a veterinarian is like 266 years at her job of educator, mother, and homemaker. She doesn’t buy that. Me either really, but don’t tell Jan. My plan is to enjoy our joint hobbies & interests; our kids & grandkids; our “golden years”. When do the “golden years” begin? BTW my hip, foot, ankle, neck, & shoulder are hurting. Does that mean anything?

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Lake DeGray Activities

Welcome to the SEC.

We have heard that ALOT this weekend. Of course, mainly by the LSU people who like anyone that LSU outscores.

Our other activities over the past couple of days have been walks and a boat ride with the park rangers.

First, we went with Jason on a walk that explored the history of the land. Barry and I were his only two guests.

We all went with Jason on the Owl Hike that evening, but no owls. That could have been because of the twenty other people along or because there were no owls around.

Yesterday morning, we headed out on a boat ride on the lake with newbie ranger, David.

The Bald Eagles were abundant.

The other tourist on the boat were hilarious. They were from India, but here working for Walmart Corporation. For some reason they wanted to take photographs of each other the whole time. This guy would strike his best modeling pose to be photographed the whole cruise.

But I must say he was photogenic.

Then there was some golf, kayaking, fishing, and a lot of eating to finish the day.

Nap anyone?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Boys and their Toys

"That is not good."

Those are not words you want to hear first thing in the morning. Barry and Jerry were checking out something under the trailer where the holding tanks are located. There was some kind of problem, but it wasn't major.

Then, I found Barry doing this.

Then he was doing this.

So, I got Kathy, Bingo, Magic, and Ollie, and we went for a long walk.

When we returned Barry and Jerry drove by with this.

They seem so happy when taking things apart or transporting grey water.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Deluge

Yesterday, we spent time exploring the park.

Well, if you don't count the run to Walmart in Hot Springs for a few items.

We also found a little roadside vegetable stand close by.
They sell double yolk eggs, and Barry is still trying to figure out why the hens lay double yolk eggs. The ladies that were working the stand couldn't really answer any of our questions. For example "black apples" were listed on their sign, and yet they didn't really know what people did with the black apples. Do you just eat them, bake them, or feed them to your horse? If you know let me know. ( plus they don't look black.) I am a bad photo blogger because I didn't take any photos. I had a stomach ache and was being whiney.

After lunch, Barry and Jerry decided to kayak. Unfortunately, the did not get far before it started raining.

It rained off and on the rest of the evening, but Barry was still able to cook some hamburgers for us.

After dinner, the storm hit. It rained all night and made for some good camping weather in a nice, comfy trailer. I don't think it would have been a good evening to be in a tent. Plus, I think the snakes may have been taken by surprise by the cold snap. Jerry and Kathy saw two yesterday ( or maybe the same one twice) around their campsite.

I know this is riveting, but once all the prep work is done camping is pretty relaxing.

The cool snap should reach Texas soon. Enjoy.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Maiden Voyage

At o'dark this morning, we hooked up the new trailer for its maiden voyage. We hit the road for Arkansas after a week of supplying and packing the trailer.

Around 9:30, we met Jerry and Kathy in Mount Pleasant for breakfast. Bless their hearts, since they live in Houston, they left at really early 0'dark. We and about 1/4 the population of Mount Pleasant had breakfast at IHop. Apparently, it is the place to be on Wednesday morning.

Our destination was DeGray State Park in Arkansas.

Bingo being the seasoned traveler took it easy on the trip.

Magic felt the need to be Barry's navigator.

Barry and I practiced our team trailer backing and with Jerry's help got the trailer on the itty bitty pad. The park is really nice, and we are looking forward to camping in the new trailer.

Hopefully some more leaves will be changing with the impending cool nights.

Right now we are just settling in and enjoying our first evening.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Family Fun Continues

Saturday morning, Ben had a soccer game, so we all met at the field.

Joanie multi-tasked by watching Ben and Cora.

Brett helped the coach by instructing the defense. You can see it was an intensive assignment.

As you may have noticed from earlier photographs, Lucy enjoyed being with her "Poppy." 

Scarlett and Ava tried to avoid the paparazzi. 

All the while, Ben was busy playing his game.

It was a fun weekend full of family. 

It had been three months since we were together. Of course, we missed Shannon & Jacob-who were out of town, but we made sure their respective children had fun.   

The End

Monday, October 15, 2012

Our State Fair is a Great State Fair

Jacob had plans this past weekend, so Joanie and the girls decided to come to our house. Joanie wanted to take them to the Texas State Fair. This was always an annual outing for us and our kids.

So, Friday morning, we followed the OU and Texas buses into the Cotton Bowl. Actually, we had to stop in the parking lot.

Our first stop was the Gone to the Dogs Show. After all these years, you would think that the producers of that show would know that we cannot understand a word the guy is saying about the dogs. Let's do something about that sound system Fair officials!


Next the girls needed to tend to the farm chores.

There was milking to be done.



and taking the crops to market.

As a reward for their hard work, we let them go to the Petting Zoo.

Nothing says cute little animals to pet like a buffalo, right Ava?

Lucy had no problem feeding her cow.

Bye, little goat. We're off to the rides.

First Jumping Jumbo- not to be confused with Dumbo or the jumping dogs. 

Next the motorcycles. Ava's smile tells me this was more fun than Jumping Jumbo.

 Look at this smile! And he didn't even get to ride the motorcycles.

Our visit would not be complete without visiting the World of Birds Show.
Fishing Eagle

 Ava found this young man, but she just knew something was wrong with that shirt he was wearing.

"Shouldn't those horns be upside down?"

Then it was off to the Auto Show. Sitting in the cars was the most fun at all. 

Well, gymnastics with mom was pretty fun too.

The day with a four year old and a twenty month old went by very fast, and it was all about them. So on the way back to the car there was just enough time for a ride on the Texas Star.

Then a little nap on the way to the car. 

And guess who came by for a visit after we got home?

This is a grand kid picture overload, I know. There may be a few more in the next day or so. Family get-togethers call for a lot of photos.