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Starting Over … Again!

This is the post excerpt.

Once again I’m starting over on my blog. There was some difficulty with the previous hosting and none of the 475 posts would show up when RVingFulltimeWithTomAndElla.com was searched for.

So I’ve switched to a different hosting platform and am trying to rebuild.

Keep in mind that some of these posts go back to 2011.  That is a lot of posts to copy and paste.

Please keep checking back.

Thanks for your interest and your patience.

 

2017 November 12-18

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Okay … it’s not exactly the Polar Express … but Santa had fun!

Sunday the 12th we went to Church and Sunday school as usual. We had a special speaker today, Doctor Terry Teykl. He is a Methodist minister, author, and world traveling speaker. His mission is to deepen people’s understanding of and proper use of prayer. Along with being thought provoking, he was also funny. He said his jokes were “time release” jokes. You’ll get them sometime Tuesday. His sermon ran a little long today which meant the Sunday school was a little short (but good).

We came home and fixed some stew (or maybe soup … it was a little thinner than I prefer my stew) and biscuits. We finished our meal with some cherry pie.

I thought Ella was going to go to sleep in her soup bowl. She is still really suffering with this crud, bronchitis, upper repertory infection, allergy, cold, or what ever it is. It didn’t take her long to stretch out in the recliner and start snoring.

I did a load of dishes and joined her in napping away the afternoon.

 

Monday 13th started at 61° and overcast. It has been a while since we’ve started the day with sunshine. One of the things that Dr. Teykl talked about in his sermon yesterday was saying the Lord’s Prayer every day at noon. Ella and I did that yesterday after we came home from church. Ella set her alarm for 12p.m. every day. Since I’ll be at work during that time for the next couple of months, and because I don’t have access to a watch during that time, I decided to do it every morning at 7:30. That way I can remember to before I go to work.

 

We had a small rush of kids early in the morning to see Santa. Then it slowed to a stop. So, to let people know that Santa is in the house, I rode the train around the inside of the mall yelling, “Ho, ho, ho, merry Christmas!”

In the afternoon, a young woman came and asked if she could bring a skeleton in to sit with Santa. I said she could if I could get a copy of the photo. Evidently it is an art project for her. She already has a photo of the skeleton going through a drive-thru, brushing its teeth and more.

We had another small rush in the early afternoon and then nothing. I was told that the night shift only did one photo shoot.

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I saw this truck and topper going down the road. I think that someone didn’t read the installation instructions.  What do you think?

Tuesday 14th was a slow day for Santa. That’s not to say it was unremarkable. I noticed a special needs person and their helper going down the mall. Since there were no children waiting to see Santa, I went out into the mall to greet him. He grabbed my arm and gave me the biggest smile. He was nonverbal but I told him that he was loved and that I was glad I had a chance to see him today. His helper thanked me over and over for taking the time to come out to talk to him. I said, “That’s what anyone would do.” “No,” she said, “it isn’t.”

Later I had a visit from a woman who had just arrived from Mexico and she really loves Santa. She hugged me and kissed me (on the cheek and on the hand) repeatedly. She was wiping tears from her eyes when she left (and so was I). The gentleman with her explained that they had some place they needed to be, but that they would come back later to have photos taken. I was reminded of the bible story where Jesus is dining at the house of a temple ruler and a young woman washes his feet with tears and dries them with her hair in a show of true adoration. This Mexican woman truly adores Santa.

I got to the library about 4:30 to pick up Ella. We did a little backtracking after I picked Ella because we had to go back to the pharmacy. The jog tracker showed a figure 8 of my drive home from work.

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Wednesday 15 I dropped Ella off at church so that she could attend Grandies. They had lunch at the intermediate school as a “Thank You” for all the Grandies does to support the school and children. The school has a special class called “Leaders” or something like that. It was the students from this class that served the lunches to the Grandies. They brought dinners to the table for each of the guests.

As for me, it was another slow day for Santa. So there is nothing really to report there.

 

Thursday the 16th I went in to work early (dropping Ella at the Leander Senior Center on the way) so that I could make use of a data connection. I have not been able to get online at home since November 4th. That is why this post is so long. I don’t know when I’ll get a chance to post it. However, with a data connection I was able to update some things using my smart phone.

The traffic picked up a little for Santa today. I also went out to the mall and invited a group of special needs people in for a chat with Santa. Most were delighted to talk to me, a few were indifferent and one would not approach me at all.

 

Friday the 17th was a good day at the “office”. I had about double the number of children who came to see Santa. Very few reluctant visitors but had a few who just would not smile for the camera.

The camera operators (in my opinion) miss a lot of good photos just because the child is not looking at the camera and smiling. When the child and I are engaged in talking or playing games should be great photos. However, even when I say, “Take the picture,” they just continue to wait for the traditional smile-at-the-camera shot.

One little girl would come within arms length (mine not her’s) but no further. I pulled out one of my small toys to show her and “accidently” dropped it in front of her. Then I asked her if she would please hand my toy back to me. She picked it up. When I didn’t reach for it, she moved next to me and gave it back. I thanked her and then started a conversation with her. I asked what her favorite toy (that she already has) is. And we got to talking about unicorns. She never did sit on my lap but these would have been great photos … would have been being the operative word.

2017-11-17_21.04.02.jpgSanta received a gift from a 3 or 4 year old. It is a tiny pink plastic box with assorted tiny tiny stones in it. We had a nice conversation about why she had selected each of the rocks. I  added the dime to the photo so that you had a better idea of the size of these precious stones.

Another little girl was brought in just to visit with Santa. I had her on my lap and got her to smile at the camera. Thankfully the camera operator took the photo even though it hadn’t been requested. The uncle called the girl’s mommy and sent a cell phone shot of the photo on the computer screen. Mom said, “Buy it!”

On the way home, after picking Ella up at the library, she told me about her day at the Senior Center. Evidently, there were a lot of folks that showed up for the Thanksgiving meal. Ella said that it had all of the traditional foods plus several selections of pies. She also said that she wished she could have brought her leftovers home (which because of insurance reasons the center won’t allow) because she just could eat it all. She has now had 3 or 4 thanksgiving meals. I guess I’ll just have to wait until Thanksgiving for mine.

 

Saturday the 18th was the best Santa day to date. I was busy with children (and a few adults) all five hours of my turn in the big chair. Most memorable from the day was the young man (maybe 17) who came to see me with his dad. As I watched him approach the set, I knew he was autistic. He came with his fingers in his ears and avoiding looking directly at anyone. The dad said that he just wanted to see how he would react with Santa. At first he was much more interested in the statue of the bugler that stands on one side of my chair (a drummer on the other side). He waved his arms and wiggled his finger as if he were talking to the statue. He then lay on his back on the floor with his arms and legs in the air like a dead bug. I have a little blue car so I rolled it toward him. He sat up and rolled it back. So I got out of the chair and sat cross legged on the floor and we spent some time rolling the car back and forth. The dad was delighted and said that he will be back to get photos. I told him about the Caring Santa event the first Sunday of December. That is when the set opens before the stores so special needs “kids” can come when there is less distraction from the lights and sounds from the other stores. He thanked me again and again and restated that they would be back for photos.

 

Ella had no where to go on Saturday so she stayed home and worked around the house and just rested. Although we are both still trying to get over the coughing fits, she is doing more coughing and hacking than I am.

2017 November 08-11

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Wednesday 08 Have you ever been dreaming and then realize that you are no longer dreaming but just “thinking”? That’s how I woke this morning. This was not at all like I normally wake. The norm is to just wake up … suddenly … totally. Today it was like a slow slide into conciseness. I didn’t care for it.

It was a cold 41° and sprinkling as we got out of bed. The high for the day was maybe 49° with a continuous drizzle.

Attendance at Grandies was down due to the weather and people being sick with this same URI that Ella and I have been suffering through. We did have a new person, Lera, arrive today. She had been invited by some of our members who also attend the Over the Hill Gang. Those of us who attended were rewarded with a Thanksgiving meal brought in by Teresa and Jackie with Pete (Teresa’s husband) along for the meal. We had requested chicken rather than turkey. We figured we’d be turkeyed to death by the end of the month anyway. There was dressing, cranberry sauce, green beans, rolls and pie to go with the chicken.

Then we went home to nap, all covered and snuggled down in the recliners. Covered because it was 56° inside when we arrived back at the RV. Tom kept slowly bringing the thermostat up to keep us at about 62-65°, which is where we like it.

Choir was cancelled because of the cold and drizzle.

 

Thursday 09 39° start for the day. I got up and got dressed in my “kick around home” clothes. I got my blood testing meters ready and then did dishes. I’ve explained this before but here we go again. I do the dishes to make sure my fingers are clean and warm. They have to be clean for the test and they need to be warm so that the blood flows more easily. My INR showed a little on the thin side of normal and my glucose was the best it’s been recently … and it hasn’t been bad recently.

After breakfast we started getting ready to go to the funeral of Bob, a friend from church. We also sang in the choir for the service. Our little chapel (the original church building) was packed with extra chairs brought in and still some people standing. He was remembered by his daughter as always being “straight and level” in everything he did. That included the way he scooped the ice cream so that what was left in the container was as straight and level as when it was first opened.

Ella and I did not go to the gravesite service but waited in the worship center for family and friends to return for the lunch. Only a few dozen of the hundreds who had attended returned for lunch. There was a lot of food left over. I hope that it found a home where it was needed.

Around three o’clock we left for Lakeline Mall. Santa’s soft opening (where they are getting the equipment set up and the new people trained) was from 5 to 8. I did not work it. Charlie did. However, I went to make sure that my suits, shirts, etc. fit. The set is much different than last year and more attractive. My only observation was that the traffic flow in and out did seem to be as direct as last year. We will see how it works.

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Friday 10th started 50° and overcast for my first day as Santa this season. I will be sitting in the big chair from 10 till 4 most of November including Saturdays but with Sundays and Thanksgiving off. In December the hours change to 9 to 4 most days including all but one Sunday. The first Sunday in December is when we open early (before the stores) and have time with special needs children (of all ages). These events are a special treat for me. Most of them come so excited to see Santa. And few of them come with a catalog of Christmas wishes. It is a lot of joy and some heartbreakers also.

My first day as Santa this season went well. People are still surprised that Santa has arrived at Lakeline Mall, even though we started a full week later than last year. All the kids that came were excited to see me … well there was one that was a little shy … but I won her over. I also had my first special needs person yesterday. He was a delight to talk with.

It was a six hour day (10-4) and I had not packed any protein bars, so I was hungry by the time I returned home. There are no scheduled breaks in the schedule but if I need to “go feed the reindeer” I just let the set manager know.

I’m still not over my cough but was able to control it while on the set. But as soon as I was off and in my vehicle, it started up again.

I had dropped Ella off at the Leander Senior Center shortly after 9. She played games and ate lunch there. One of our friends took her to the library after lunch. She played games on her phone until I picked her up around 4:30.

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Saturday 11 I worked 10-3 in the red suit. I enjoy it so much that I hate to call it “work”. It’s more like I get paid to play with children. Which reminds me; one little toddler would crawl around on the carpet and then pick up NOTHING and bring it to me. So I kept all of the imaginary things that she brought me. We never did get a photo with her because she wouldn’t sit with me. However, we had fun playing together.

I had a couple of about my age (70) that came and had pictures taken. I had fun playing with them also. I put both of my arms around her first and asked him to scoot away out of the picture. Of course I did this with a smile on my face and a laugh in my voice. So then we all cuddled together and got a great photo with plenty of smiles.

I had two special needs “girls” today. One was a fully matured young woman with diminished mental abilities. It didn’t keep her from being really excited to come and sit on Santa’s lap. I tried to engage her in conversation; however the only thing she would say was “yes”. The next girl was in her late teens and high functioning autistic. She fully interacted with Santa but didn’t speak at all.

When I returned home, Ella was waiting with three large laundry bags full of dirty clothes. I went inside just long enough to notice that it had been vacuumed and to grab something to eat. We then went to the Laundromat where Ella did laundry while I napped. I woke in time to help fold the clothes and carry them out to the truck.

We spent the rest of the evening watching TV.

Before I went to bed, I did put all of my clean clothes away.

2017 November 4-7

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Saturday 04 What a muggy start to the day. The overnight temp never went below 70° and an unusually high 98% humidity. I started the day by blowing up two eggs in the microwave. Yep! That’s what I said; I blew up two eggs in the microwave. I’ve made “boiled” eggs in the microwave many times in the past. But this morning, I had the power too high or the time too long and BOOM! Fortunately, we were not rushed for time. There is little on our schedule to which we needed to rush. We had a Fall Fest at church and a football game (or two) in the afternoon.

1106170905-1I am still coughing up gobs of phlegm and so is Ella. This URI is getting OLD.

We got to the Fall Fest around ten thirty. I took a quick walk around and decided there was nothing at the 35 booths that I needed or desired. Actually, I decided that there was little or nothing that most men would need or desire. It was definitely geared toward women. I guess that shouldn’t have surprised me because it is sponsored by the UML (United Methodist Ladies) and they are the ones who went looking for vendors. We purchased two tickets to go into some drawings. Ella chose which items for which she would enter to win. And she did she won both a bracelet and a wall hanging. We visited with some folks and had a hot dog and drink and then decided it was time to return home for more medication and more rest.

After resting for a while we headed to FB_IMG_1509880465721Roundrock High School for Tate’s flag football game. This was the final game of the season and if they won it they would immediately play in the Super Bowl. It was an exciting game with the lead switching many times. The final score was 25 to 25. So it went into overtime with each team given a chance to score. Unfortunately the other team DID score and Tate’s team did not.

We were invited to go to lunch with the team but chose instead to return home for more medications and more rest. We stopped at H.E.B. (grocery store) for milk and bread. I also purchased some vanilla pudding to cook. Warm pudding is one of my comfort foods when I’m my throat is scratchy.

 

Sunday 05 We had breakfast, attended worship, sang in the choir … as best as we could, stayed for Sunday school, and then went home to try and sleep off these colds. We didn’t even attend the Bible Study in the evening. We’re getting sick and tired of being sick and tired.

 

Monday 06 We had lunch and games at Leander Senior Center. They often bring in day old bread and pastries. This time there were also some canned goods. One of the items was a restaurant size can of pork and beans.

I took it home so that I could make some for the potluck at the Emmaus Gathering2017-11-06_20.30.46 and potluck at the church in the evening. I had a bottle of specialty sauce that I purchased several years ago. It was part of a two for one package deal. The other sauce in the set was what I wanted at the time. But I thought that at some point I might want to try “Pineapple, Mango, Coconut, Tequila sauce.” Well this was the time. Into the beans it went. I heated it. Tasted it. And decided to add a small can of crushed pineapple to the mix. I liked it. I brought slightly less than half of it home from the potluck. So, now I have “Drunken Beans” to take to our family Thanksgiving. They are in the freezer awaiting the day.

 

Tuesday 07 Lunch and games at Leander Senior Center. Tom attended prayer meeting in evening while Ella slept/rested.

2017 November 01-03

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Wednesday 01 I did the devotional at Grandies. It was based on parts of Psalm 139. Since Ella and I have just been to the doctors for our annual check ups, it seemed a good time to talk about a spiritual check up. “Search me, O God, and see if there is any wicked way in me.”

Ella now has the full blown creeping crud that I have been trying to recover from. There were lots of nose blowing and hacking coughs. We both returned home after Grandies and slept covered up in our recliners most of the afternoon.

We made it back to church for choir in the evening. I don’t think either of us felt much like going to sing. However, this was our monthly choir party to celebrate November birthdays and anniversaries of our members. Ella’s birthday is in November so she was one of the celebrants. We ate and even sang as much as our restricted airways would allow.

As soon as we were home we took night time cold medication and went to bed.

 

Thursday 02 Thanks to the cold medication I didn’t wake until my alarm went off at 7:00 a.m. I got out of bed, dressed and washed dishes. This is part of my Thursday routine. I do the dishes on Thursday mornings to get my hands nice and warm in the hot water. And to make sure they are very clean before I stick my finger to draw blood. My INR test requires a good size bubble of blood and if my hands are warm, the blood flows more freely. I also check my glucose level at the same time. My diabetes is so well controlled that I only test once a week.

I received two letters from the VA. One said that I owed them money and the second contained a check for an over-payment. Isn’t bureaucracy a wonderful thing? So I cashed the check and sent them a check in return. We’ll see what happens next. Oh darn! I just thought of what I should have done. I should have sent them their check back and written “pay to the order of the VA” on the back.

1102171149We spent the morning and early afternoon at the Over the Hill Gang. There was a larger crowd today. There usually is on Fried Chicken Day. Our canasta game broke up around 2 o’clock when one of the players had to leave. It seemed like a good time for us to leave also.

I wanted to check out the Santa set at Lakeline Mall. So we drove on into Cedar Park for a look. As it turned out, nothing … not even the huge Christmas tree … was in place yet. Last year I (Santa) had already started having children share their Christmas wishes with me.

Neither Ella nor I have completely recovered from the upper repertory infection so we came home and napped away the rest of the afternoon.

 

1103170741Friday 03 The morning started foggy and with drizzle. Not a great way to start a day that included a trip to Marble Falls and the Blue Bonnet Café.

One of the many things that our Grandies for Christ1103170751 group does is, collect aluminum cans. Once we have a sizable amount of cans we take them to Hill Country Recycling in Marble Falls and cash them in. Unlike some states that pay a bounty of 5 or 10 cents a can, Texas has no bottle/can deposit/redemption. So, we are paid by the pound for the aluminum. Generally we collect between $4 and $8. Today we collected over $24.

I don’t know where Anne got all of those cans but she brought a LOT. I had the back of my pickup loaded with just half of the bags of cans that she donated. June had her trunk filled and Louine had the back of her mini van loaded.

Around ten o’clock Louine, Donna, Cephas, Wanda, June, Ella and I formed a caravan and headed west. I had to stop outside of Burnet because one of the garbage bags had come untied and some cans flew out the back. The other three vehicles were ahead of me and didn’t see me stop. Ella sent a text message to say what had happened and that the bag was retied, and we were back on the road again.

I had never been to the recycling center before and had only a vague idea how to find it. Ella loaded the GPS on her phone and guided us in. Once we had all unloaded the cans, we went to the Blue Bonnet Café for lunch. A good time was had by all.

Screenshot_2017-11-03-12-46-49If you look at the map of our trip you will see that the road from Liberty Hill to Burnet is fairly straight, as is the road from Burnet to Marble Falls. Even though it is going through the hill country they are pretty easy drives.  However, you will notice that the drive back from Marble Falls to Liberty Hill is a lot more … interesting.

If the weather had been nicer in the morning, I would have driven that route. However, high speed, wet pavement and twisted hills to go up and down and around … in the fog, didn’t seem like a good idea. But by the time we left the Blue Bonnet Café, it was a bright and sunny day. It was a beautiful time to tour the Real Texas Hill Country. While it is true that most of the trees are evergreen and live oaks, there are still plenty of trees that were in their Fall colors. And the vista across the valleys and hills is like medicine for my soul.

It was slightly after one when we arrived home. The outside temperature was in the mid 80s but the temperature inside the trailer was in the low 90s. We soon got the AC blowing cold air. Again, neither of us have fully recovered from our colds so we dosed with cough medicine and napped away the afternoon in our recliners.

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Predicted record high temps for this time of year

2017 October 21-24

Saturday 21 There were two events with the grandkids that we could have attended. However, we are short on gasoline and money so we’re staying home. That means that Ella could sleep in as late as she wanted.

 

I got up around 5:15 and went outside to look for meteors. I assumed from the name, Orionid meteor shower, that they would be seen around the Orion constellation. However, I didn’t see any. Ella even came out for a minute or two, looked at the sky, and announced, “I’m going back to bed.” I’ve mentioned before that once I’m awake, I’m awake and there is no sense going back to bed.

 

We spent a quiet day at home reading, playing games, napping and watching TV in the evening. It was a nice quiet day … an unplanned Sabbath. When we normally concider Sunday as our Sabbath day, it was nice to have a calm Saturday because Sunday will be jammed full of church activities.

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Sunday 22 As I lay in bed trying to decide whether to get up or to lie there and get caught up on Facebook, I heard a low grumble from outside. “Thunder?” I thought. “Naw, it must be a motorcycle starting up.” Shortly thereafter, a bright light flashed through the venetian blinds followed by a clap of thunder. Then the rain and wind arrived. It didn’t last long but it dropped about 1 ½” of rain. Just yesterday, as I was sitting outside, I thought, “I should take a picture of the cracks in the ground to show how dry it has been here.” Well, it’s too late now the cracks are gone. They’ve been replaced by mud.

We arrived at church about 8:30 for the 9 o’clock service. We arrive early because there is a breakfast bar with pastries, fruits, drinks, sausage biscuits, breakfast burritos, and more. We visited with friends as they arrived and then got to our seats in the choir well before the service started. We sang “Wade in the Water” today. We sang three verses with the whole choir singing the chorus. The sopranos sang verse one, the altos verse three, and the tenors and basses sang verse four. What an amazing sounding spiritual it is and nobody could sit still during it.

Our Sunday school class is still studying the Adam Hamilton book “Moses.” We had a good discussion about it today. There are some very thoughtful folks in this class.

We stopped for gasoline and then to Parker’s Corner Store for butter and one HUGE baking potato. When we arrived home, the RV smelled great. I’d put some ribs in the crockpot yesterday about four in the afternoon. After nearly 20 hours they were fall off the bone done. The potato went into the microwave for ten minutes and lunch was ready.

We had time for a nap before returning to church for the Church Conference. We will have 8 other churches joining us for this. It is nice that we have the space to host them all in our worship center.

After the conference we went to Chicken Express to get something to eat and kill time until the Sunday night Bible study at six.

Then it was home and to bed.

 

Monday 23 I was awake and up just before my alarm went off at 5:30. I couldn’t imagine why I had an alarm set for then. I checked the calendar to see if there was someplace that we were supposed to be early in the morning. Nope. Ahh ha! I’d set it (or thought I had) for 5:30 p.m. to remind me of the Bible study last night. Opps!

 

It was 43 degrees when I woke up and we had slept with the window open. Since the alarm had called me back to the bedroom, I crawled back under the still warm comforter. I lay there and got caught up on Facebook (not much of interest … but you never know that until you scroll through it.).

Ella’s alarm went off at 7 and I decided it really was time to get out of bed again. This time I turned the furnace on to take the chill off. While I was starting the coffee Ella got up and started getting dressed. So, I started breakfast.

After breakfast we played a couple of rounds of Fast Track while waiting for time to go to the Leander Senior Center on Bagdad.

 

We had fun and had some good food. It is a shame that more people aren’t coming anymore. It used to be full (5 tables of at least 8 each) and several times they had to turn people away that had not signed up in advance. The city is going to build a new building for the Senior Center and the Headstart kids. I hope that there is still a group of seniors around to move into the new building when it’s finished.

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After lunch no one stayed to play games so Ella and I came home also. We took the long-long way back. It was a nice day to drive through the hill country. Ella started her Jog Tracker after we’d been zig-zagging around a bunch of switchbacks. So this image tells only part of the story.

Tuesday 24 it was another chilly start to the day. But it is so nice to have the windows open! It is Sneezin’ Season with the pollen in the air. Soon that will lead to Cedar Fever when the cedars (actually they are junipers that people call cedars) start spraying their clouds of yellow pollen through the air. Seriously, folks, at times in looks like the valleys are covered in clouds of smoke.

After breakfast we drove to Leander and the senior center. We played games and had a decent lunch consisting of a burrito, mixed veggies, and apple crisp.

I found out that Rod, one of the new folks at the center, is a mechanic who has a “hobby” garage. I asked if he did brakes. I said to bring the truck in and he’d check to see what it would need. He was only going to inspect the brakes today so that he’d know what parts were needed. However, when he got into them, the calipers came apart and could not be reinstalled. We drove to the parts store and got everything needed to repair the front brakes. So, we got the brakes fixed today instead of tomorrow.

While Rod was working on the truck we had quite a conversation about our belief in Jesus and how that has made a difference in both of our lives. I invited him to our weekly Tuesday night prayer meetings at Cross Tracks Church.

2017 October 17-20

Tuesday 17 The morning started at 48 degrees. It was my youngest daughter’s birthday. I had called Heather the night before because I wasn’t sure what hours she worked today. She works as a butcher in a restaurant / meat market. Sorry, I don’t remember the name … it is strange. I do remember that it means something like, “Of the 2 kingdoms (plant and animal) eat well.”  She is a chef but has found that her real passion is butchering.

The first thing on our agenda was going to the Leander Senior Center for games and lunch. The attendance has been extremely small every since our return. Two factors at play here. One, our normal chef is off on medical leave and her replacement, while competent is not creative with the Federally mandated menu. Two, last year the road in front of the complex was widened which took some of parking. There just isn’t enough space for the Senior Center and the Headstart daycare that share the parking lot.

Those of you who live on fixed income will understand that occasionally the month lasts longer than the money. That is the situation in which we’ve found ourselves. Our travel expenses (from Iowa to Texas) took a larger toll on the account than expected. Looking at our budget it was clear that our last automatic payment would come out of the account before the infusion of money. Our credit union will automatically cover any overdrafts (that’s a good thing) and charge us $25 for each overdraft (not such a good thing).

We had a small amount of cash on hand however; Ella needed a couple of prescriptions filled. The last time those two prescriptions were filled they totaled between $60-70. We did not have THAT much on hand. I suggested that our church (Cross Tracks Church in Liberty Hill, Texas) would most likely loan us money to cover the two refills if we asked. However, before we could ask for a loan from the church, we needed to call the pharmacy to see exactly what the charges would be. Ella called and then turned to me with an odd expression on her face. “$6.00 each,” she said. We immediately drove to the pharmacy and got the drugs. I said a quick prayer, “I don’t know what just happened here. But thank you, God.”

Also, we normally carry a couple of Bibles in the center console of the truck. They seldom get used because we have other bibles plus the ones on our electronic devices. However, when we were going into the Pastor’s Bible Study, I grabbed the bibles from the truck. There were papers (bulletins etc.) in my bible. As I pulled them out, I discovered $50 dollars (2 20s and a 10). I have no memory of placing them nor when. As I said the bibles seldom leave the truck. So, “Thank you, God.”

Now that we had some cash, we went to a local credit union and made a deposit to our home credit union. That more than covered the expected shortfall in our account. God is good all the time. All the time God is good.

Wednesday 18  It was 47 degrees at 6:15 in the morning. We had slept with the bedroom window open. It was a little brisk so I turned the furnace on for a few minutes to remove the chill. Forecast was for a high of 81 and I believe we reached or surpassed that expectation.

Being Wednesday, are first stop after breakfast was Cross Tracks Church where the Grandies gather for service work / card ministry, fellowship, and games. This Wednesday was also the once-a-month meal together. For lunch we had enchiladas (both chicken and beef), with cornbread, pinto beans, and lemon bunt cake.

Choir practice was cut short because we didn’t practice the cantata. Rick, our very talented keyboardist was in Alaska. He has constructed a full orchestra sound for the Christmas cantata.

We’ve had such clear skys lately that I’ve not taken any sunrise or sunset photos. (no clouds equals no color in the sky) Finally I got some in the evening.

Thursday 19 It was a little warmer this morning; right around 60. I checked my INR and blood sugar and found them to be in range … though the glucose was a tad higher than expected.

There was some ground fog along with the sunrise.

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After breakfast we drove to the post office, From there it was to the Over the Hill Gang. Ella brough our Fast track game and she and I sat and played. Shortly Jeri (her first time there), and Ed and Pat (their second time there) arrived. We introduced ourselves and ask them to join us for a game of Fast Track. We played until lunch time (Ham, potatoes, beans, green beans, corn bread and a variety of salads). After lunch we played Canasta with Ellen & Ira, Dorothy, Jeri, and Ella & myself.

We played until around two thirty when we needed to leave to get to Ella’s Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor. They rechecked her hearing. It was amazing to me as I saw the graph of the hearing in her right ear change. I had watched the screen during her first visit and saw how much more she was hearing with her left ear than her right. This time the hearing in her right ear was equal to or better than her left. The doctor then did a visual exam and declared that the hole in her eardrum was nearly healed.

Friday 20 The day began with temperatures in the low 60s and a light mist in the air.

We had only one thing on the schedule for the day; lunch with Tate and Emery at their school. We arrived at the school shortly before noon and got signed in and purchased our lunch ticket. From there we went to the cafeteria to wait for the kids. We had been there only a moment when Leigha arrived. She was working from home, which is only a short distance from the school, so she was able to come also. A few minutes later Tate’s class arrived and we joined him in the lunch line. My son Adam works as a teacher’s aid with special needs children at the same school. That meant he was also able to join us. I had a chance to talk with Tate a little before Emery’s class came in for lunch.

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She brought a friend to sit with us. This is the first time that I knew Emery wore glasses. Evidently she has worn them for several months now. She can see up close just fine but was having trouble seeing the board at the front of the classroom. All too soon their lunch periods were over. Tate’s first and then Emery’s. Adam and Leigha had to return to their work.

So Ella and I came home with nothing else on the schedule. I drained our holding tanks and then worked on this blog until I began to doze off while typing.  That was when I lay back in the recliner and napped. Being 70+ and retired has its perks.

 

2017 October 14-16

Saturday 14 We drove in to Cedar Park/Leander to watch Sofia play volleyball. Her team won the first of three games. The other team had girls that were quite a bit older, bigger, and stronger. Very little about what they play could be called “volleyball”. Mostly, if one team finally manages to serve a ball that goes over the net, no one touches it. If they do manage to hit it, it goes out of bounds. I guess this game is teaching them some ‘life skills”.

I mailed out 4 birthday cards when I picked up the mail at the post office. We then came home and fixed some lunch. There was time for a nap before going to Tate’s flag football game in Round Rock at 4:30.

My ex and her husband just recently moved to Lampasas Texas. This means that they will be able to attend more of the grandkids events … like Tate’s game. It was 89 degrees and partially cloudy. The humidity was very low and there was a slight breeze which actually felt cool. Becky, my ex, was commenting that she was confused about what season it was. “It’s supposed to be fall.” Well, do you know what fall means in Texas? That’s right. Nothing.

Tate’s game was exciting. Both teams played well … unfortunately, the other team played better. Tate made a touchdown that didn’t count because there was a flag for offsides. He also made an interception and gained a lot of yardage.

Cross Tracks church was playing “The Shack” in the evening and serving hotdogs, popcorn, and other snacks starting at 6:00 before the movie at 7:00. I had never read the book nor previously seen the film. I had no idea what to expect. With no expectation going into it, I was impressed. I won’t give much away about it for those who, like me, never read nor saw it before. However, I will say that I was surprised by the unusual turn the story takes and the outcome. Count this as a recommendation.

Sunday 15 Breakfast was at church before Worship service. Cross Tracks puts out s large breakfast bar before worship. There are donuts and sweet treats, fruit (I really like the strawberries), homemade sausage and biscuits, and breakfast tacos. Now if that is not a “welcoming church” then I don’t know what is. Oh, by the way, the people are great also. (I didn’t want you to think I only go for the food.)

Ella and I sang in the choir for the first service, which it the more traditional service. Pastor Steve’s sermon title was “9 Apples.” It was a sermon about giving/tithing. The visual aids were good as were the projected images. However, though it examined what usually happens with people’s budgets and their giving, I don’t feel that it made the impact of WHY to donate or tithe to the church. My feeling and understanding is that donating is a way that God allows us to be of service to others and also to be in partnership with God. For in truth God doesn’t need our money but does require our service. He is more than Savior. He is Lord. (here ends the mini-sermon)

The F.R.O.G. (forever relying on God) class has bee stnudying an Adam Hamilton book “Moses, the reluctant prophet”. They are about halfway through the book. So, Ella and I have some catching up to do. I have read and enjoyed many of Hamilton’s books. He is good at enlightening his readers without using a lot of “churchy” words. And when he does use those words, he explains their meaning in plain English.

On the way home from church I asked Ella, “Nap or lunch first?” Her response was a resounding “Nap.” So, our lunch became both lunch and supper (lupper). The rest of the day was spent reading and playing games until returning to the church for Pastor Steve’s study on the New Testament. Once again the group was already in progress when we arrived back in Texas. So there is catching up to do there also. They are halfway through the book of Acts. I have downloaded the study manual on my Kindle app and sent screen shots of the pages to Ella. That way we can at least jump in where they already are.

Monday 16 Began with a sneeze and a runny nose. Somewhere before 4;30 I was forced out of bed by the need to blow my nose. I’m the kind of person who, once I’m awake, I’m awake. Extremely seldom do I ever try to go back to sleep. Unable to sleep, I got up and worked on a sermon idea.

The alarm went off at 6:30 and we ate and got ready to go into Cedar Park. This was the day that I visited my wonderful VA doctor. (Seriously) Doctor Bassari is a wonderful doctor who actually acts like she enjoys see us. She looked at the results of my blood work and told me it was beyond good … it was wonderful. We set another appointment for six months out (just before we head to Iowa).

It was a little before nine when we arrived at the Leander Senior Center. Again, there were very few people there. Ella pointed out an obvious possibility for the smaller attendance, last year they changed the road in front of the center and took away quite a few parking spaces. Makes sense to me. We are old and most can’t or don’t like to walk very far. Another thing that has changed is the chef at the center. Debbie has had surgery on her feet/legs and not returned to work. The person that is filling in for is competent but does not embellish the food at all.

My nose was still dripping and the constant sneezing and blowing made it difficult to play games or eat. I was glad when lunch was over so that I could go home. I put cotton balls in my nose (yes I did) and dropped my recliner back and took a nap.

After supper, we played some games and watch tv until bed time.

*Grandies is a service organization that meets every Wednesday in the Church’s fellowship hall. The group is comprised of “old folks” who are (mostly) grandparents. Hence the name Grandies. We have a card ministry where we send birthday, anniversary, missing you, hope you get better, sorry for your loss, and other types of cards to church members and others. We also donate money and merchandise to the local schools for the care of the homeless children there. We support **Operation Liberty Hill by donation and service. We have a Sack Lunch program during the summer because some children rely on the school lunch program for what may be their only meal of the day. The Sack Lunch kicks in while school is in recess for the summer.

**Operation Liberty Hill is a Thrift Store and Food Pantry.

***Over The Hill Gang is a member suported senior center in Liberty Hill, Texas.