2013 January 28 Monday Do You Hear What I Hear?

2013 January 28 Monday   Do You Hear What I Hear?

 
Pre-dawn over the campers and hills this morning

I woke about a quarter to five this morning, got up and started the coffee and fixed an egg and bacon to roll up in a tortilla for breakfast.  I check on my Facebook and emails and read some of the blogs that I follow.  I then went back and edited the post that I posted last night … added some more pics from our day.

Now it is nearly seven and a Great Horned Owl has decided to start hoot hoot hooting in the tree across the gulch from our RV.  He usually hoots us to bed at night also.  Since I’m sitting here with the windows and doors open, I can hear some morning doves doing their version of a morning song too.  I also hear the crunch of someone’s golf cart tires on the gravel of the drive.  Most likely someone bringing their dog to the dog park/run area of the campgrounds.  What I don’t hear is traffic and machinery clanging and banging.  As I’m typing this a cardinal starts shouting from a nearby tree, “This is MY tree.  All others beware!”   Yep! I’m really enjoying our time at Shady Oaks.

 

I’ve talked about our men’s morning coffee group for several months now.  I guess it’s time to put some faces with the group.  Only about half of the regulars were there today.  A couple of them have left the park for a while and one is just out of town for a day or two.  Not everybody shows up every day and we don’t take attendance. (Grin)

 
Ron and Gary
Ron and Jack
 
John, Cal and Glen
 

 Most of Ella and my day was spent right here being couch potatoes.  The day remained grey all day.  It wasn’t a bad day.  The temperatures were in the mid to upper seventies all day and there was a wonderful breeze blowing through the windows (and slamming the door shut once).  But it was just grey and we had no place or activities to call  us away from our comfortable seats.

           Following the theme of doing nothing, lunch consisted of the pasta salad left over from our “Supper With Friends” on Friday night.  We  also had fresh strawberries that we ate right out of the box.  It was nutritious and colorful but didn’t require any effort on our part other than to chew and swallow.

The sun did poke its face out from behind the clouds for just long enough for me to get a photo of our bird/deer feeder.  We came to Texas with great expectations of feeding the birds and adding new ones to the list of those we’d seen.  Well, the birds had enough to eat that they didn’t need to come begging at our door.  For months the feeder hung there with out being touched.

Then one day I realized that it was actually empty.  We were so excited as we refilled it and made plans to be more watchful for what species of bird was visiting us.  A few sparrows came, but not many.   No noticeable activity.

Then one morning not long ago, I opened the door to go to coffee and found the four or five deer that were eating from the bird feeder.  I stopped putting feed in it.  I really don’t want the deer to come knocking on my door demanding to be fed.

A couple of days ago, I was sitting outside and realized that there were about a dozen cardinals in the tree next to us.  I put more feed in the feeder and moved away from the feeder.  The cardinals did come and visit but were more interested in the seed on the ground than what was in the feeder.  That afternoon the deer came back and emptied the feeder.  The next day, I noticed that the cardinals were back on the ground.  The deer being sloppy eaters were spilling into the course gravel beneath the feeder.  The deer would manage to eat some of the fallen seed but left most of it for the birds.

We did manage to get off our ‘duffs’ to go to Bible Study at the rec hall this evening.  We have some good music to get us started and then read some scriptures and Ron leads us in a discussion.  I always come away with new insights and thoughts to contemplate.  A good way to end the day.

2013 January 27 Sunday Heather and Headbanz

2013 January 27 Sunday

It is 6:30 p.m. and we are just coming home.  We left for church at 7:45 a.m.  The early service was from 8:15 to 9:15.  As soon as we were out of the service we headed toward Austin to visit Heather.  We called to let her know that we were on the way.  When we were about 45 minutes out from her place she called to ask if we would be hungry as soon as we arrived.  We said that we should be arriving about 11:30 to 11:45 and that yes we’d be ready for lunch but could wait.

We had dueling GPS navigators again on this trip.  Mine said to take Texas 29 to 183 and go south.  Ella’s said to go past 183 and take Ronald Reagan Blvd.  As in the past, I bowed to Ella’s instructions.

After we had passed 183 my navigator said to take the Ronald Reagan also.  However when we reached Cedar Park mine said to turn right onto 1431.  Ella’s said to keep going.  Every couple of miles my navigator would say to make a right turn of to make a U-turn.  We kept following Ella’s instructions until we reached Duvall when mine again started to agree with hers.  It seemed to me that we went a long way East and then back to the West to reach our destination.  Next time, I think I’ll try following my system and see where it leads us.

Heather’s dog, Lily was V-E-R-Y excited to see us.  So much so that Heather suggested that we take her to the small dog park near her home.  Lily is a large white dog about a year or two old.  I forget the bread but similar to the pitbull but not as muscular.  Anyway, when we arrived at the park there was a girl/young woman with a small black Boston Bulldog that was a little hyper to see another dog to play with.  Heather would throw a dog ball and both dogs would chase it.  The little bulldog acted like it didn’t know what to do with the ball.  Lily, however, remained very focused on the ball.  The little dog kept getting between Lily and the ball and I was concerned that there might be a problem.  Lily would just wait for the smaller dog to move out of the way and then pick up the ball and return it to be thrown again.

After several minutes the bulldog and owner left and Lily was free to run and chase the ball on her own.  After awhile she got the ball but kept it at the other end of the park rather than bring it back.  Heather said that is how she takes a break in the game.  It’s like Lily knows that if she brings the ball back to Heather, it will get thrown again and that she will HAVE to go get it.  So she just stops bring it back.  She lay down for a while and then picked up a rock and brought it to Heather.  When Heather refused to take the rock, Lily took it away and buried it.  Eventually Heather went and retrieved the ball.

What is the funniest thing that you’ve seen a pet do?

Here are the 3 of us reflected in Cafe Java’s window
 
A funny thing happened as I was taking this picture.  I had reversed the camera on the Droid so that I could see us and get us all in the photo.  I’m holding it at arms length to get the shot.  I then realize that I’m pointing the camera toward and very close to the man at the table next to us.  I imagine that he must have thought I was trying to get a close up of the inside of his ear!  I explained and apologized to him.
 

  We returned Lily to the apartment and then piled into Heather’s jeep (not an easy thing for Ella to get into the back seat and not real easy for me to get my feet up and over the door jam in the front seat.  We then went to Café Java for lunch/breakfast.  Heather had her breakfast of biscuits and gravy, Ella had an Ironman omelet, and I had the soft beef taco.  The taco was good but nothing special.  Heather said that although the gravy is not a sausage gravy it reminders her of Iowa.  Ella said that her omelet was okay.  Not a lot of praise for the meal.

In your opinion, where is the best place to eat breakfast and what would you order?

After eating, we return to Heather’s to visit a play a game, Headbanz, where each player wears a headband with a card facing out.  Then they have to guess what the card says.  They can ask the other players questions about the card.  The questions have to be answered with a Yes, No, Maybe or I Don’t Know.  You only have a limited time in which to guess it.  It was fun enough that I’d play it again.

What type of games do you play with friends and family?

As it approached four o’clock, I said that we needed to be leaving.  The idea of driving straight into the setting sun isn’t appealing but driving after dark isn’t either so I wanted to get moving.  We said our good byes and left.  It was a nice visit and I’m glad that we were able to spend some time with her.

After leaving Heather’s we drove to WalMart so that Ella could buy her 2 pound bag of Werther’s.  Some of the meds that she takes gives her a dry mouth.  So she considers the Werthers to be an over the counter medication. (Grin)

We had to , of course, check out the discount items while were at WalMart.  We escaped with no further damage to our checkbook.

It just so happens that the WalMart we stop at is just across the street from Bartlett’s Resturant where Heather and my older son, Arik, are chefs.

We stopped in Burnet at Whataburger for a couple of malts.

Do you become impatient when waiting in lines at the drive through?

How would you handle these type of delays if you

were the owner/manager of a fast food place?

2012 January 26

2012 January 26

We began the day with pancakes and sausage at an event at Highland Lakes UMC.  The Cub Scout pack that they sponsor was selling pancakes and breakfast tacos as a fundraiser.  When we got there, there was a tangle of boys under one of the tables.  They were huddled under there watching cartoons on a laptop.  The parents and troop leaders were busy in the kitchen cooking pancakes and sausage.   It appeared that the breakfast tacos had been pre-made and kept in a warmer.  They were good pancakes (I ate mine without syrup … as usual … to help keep the blood sugar in line) and sausage.  The sausage was almost as good as what we get back at Cutty’s in one of the community breakfasts.

To get to the breakfast we had to drive in some misty fog that seems to have settled in over us for the morning … and maybe the rest of the day … we’ll see.

When we got back to Shady Oaks it was only about 8:00 so I stopped at the rec hall for coffee with the guys while Ella went on home.

I said that we began the day with pancakes.  Actually began the day at 4:30 by making coffee, doing dishes and emptying the holding tanks and working on the blog post about yesterday’s activities.  Ella began the day at 10 to 7 when I asked if she was going to go for pancakes.  She said, “Well I thought they were serving until eleven.”  I said that “Yes they are serving until eleven.  However, I was wanting pancakes for breakfast … not lunch.”  This isn’t that odd of an occurrence.  Because I rise early and Ella would rather not, there are times that I’m ready for lunch when she is ready for breakfast.

My daughter, Heather, called today and said that she has today and tomorrow off from work if we’d like to come visit.  Since it was already after one p.m. it was a little late for us to drive the nearly an hour and a half, visit for a short time and get back here before dark.  (I really don’t like driving these narrow twisty, hilly, deer infested roads at night.)  However, as it happens, tomorrow (Sunday) is the one Sunday out of the month that there is an early church service at 8:15.  We can go to that and then leave for Heather’s.  I said that I’d give her a call when we get underway tomorrow.  She said that she take us to lunch.

For the last couple of days I’ve been working on a business card for Ella and I to exchange with other RVers and friends we meet along the way.  After I’d printed some for us, Ella said, “You know what you forgot?  Phone numbers.”  A assured her that I didn’t forget.  I left them off on purpose.  I don’t want our phone numbers ‘out there’.  I’ll gladly write my phone number on the back of the card for people that I want to call me.  Otherwise, people can email me with THEIR phone number and I’ll call them.  Then I can add them to my phone’s phone-book.

If I receive a call from an unknown number, I don’t answer it.  And I don’t have voice mail for phone spammers, politicians and salespeople can leave messages.  When I see that I have a missed call from an unknown number, I MAY try a reverse look up. >>>note from 2017, The address on our cards has changed<<<

Do you screen your calls?  What method do you use?

2012 January 25 Friday

2012 January 25 Friday

The day started with this beautiful skyscape taken just before sunrise.

As usual, coffee with the guys from 7:30 to 9:00 and then the women had coffee from 9:30 to 11:00.  While Ella was at coffee I started working on the pasta salad for our “Suppers With Friends” group in the evening.  I cooked the spiral macaroni, drained, added some Italian dressing and let it cool.  Once it was cool, I added chopped fresh mushrooms, carrots, celery, and tomato.  I was going to add bell peppers until I realized that the pepper I had was ‘out of date’.  Once Ella arrived home we went to H.E.B. in Burnet for some peppers (red, yellow, and green).

By then it was lunch time.  We’ve eaten at the Whataburger, the McDonalds and The Highlander so we wanted to try something different.  We’ve been in and through Burnet a lot since we’ve been in Texas.  However, we’ve not strayed far from the two intersecting highways (29 and 281).  So we drove around town a little looking for a local restaurant.

When you go to a new area do you like to eat at national chains or local restaurants?

There are at least four Mexican restaurants in town.  However, I was really hoping to find chicken or fish for lunch.  If they are there, we didn’t find them.  We ended up at Storm’s of Burnet which I guess is a local burger chain.  I just asked for the day’s special (which is what I like to do when trying a new place).  What I got was a gawd awful big burger.  Seriously!  There were four beef patties in that thing.  It was topped with lettuce, tomato, mustard, mayo, ketchup and about a half a jar of pickles!  Ella had a regular burger which also came with all the fixin’s (the only differences were that I’d ordered mine with no onion and she’d ordered with no mustard).  She had a generous order of onion rings and I had the French fries.  With a couple of fountain drinks (and tax) it came to a little over $16.  I’d rate it as far better than McDonalds and Burger King but not as good as the Mushroom Swiss burger I had at the Central Market in Austin.

What is your favorite restaurant chain and why?

          Our forwarded mail package from the UPS Store came today so we spent quite a bit of time sorting through for bills and ‘important’ mail and tossing junk mail.  The few bills that we received had already been paid.  That is something that happens a lot when we only get our mail once a month.  Almost everything is auto-pay or we can go online and pay so we don’t get much in the way of bills in the mail.  These happened to be some doctor bills for appointments Ella had before we left Iowa.

That brings up a question.  Why do doctor’s take so long to send out bills?  We pay the co-pay at the time of service and then they bill the insurance.  But it seems that they always have some other thing that the bill for a month or so after the service rendered.

Have you had that same experience with health care providers?

              As I mentioned earlier, we had supper with some friends.  This is actually a program of the church we are attending here.  You sign up   and they dived you up into groups of three or four families.  You then take turns hosting a monthly evening meal.  It is a great way to build community within the congregation.  As it happened, we were grouped with the pastor and his wife and one other couple.  We had our first meal at the pastor’s home and we have scheduled the next one to be at our RV.

Do you belong to a club, church or other organization that does something along the lines of the “Supper With Friends”?  

2013 January 24 Adapting a small TV stand to bedding storage

Adapting a small TV stand to bedding storage.

I had this small TV stand/cart and have been using behind my recliner in the living room area of our Hitch Hiker 5th wheel.  I realized that nearly everything stored on it was extra bedding, the thought s-l-o-w-l-y sunk in that maybe it should be in the bedroom! Duh! Huh?

I measured the space next to the bed and the stand would fit nicely with about 3 inches to spare which would not get in the way of making the bed.  Cool!

Well … not quite cool.  The floor is uneven.  There is a ledge about 5 ½ inches high that protrudes from the wall about 3 inches.  No problem!  Buy 5 ½ inch legs and attach to the front of the cabinet.

Off we go to Lowes.  Legs?  Yes they had them. A very friendly store employee took me right to them.  Attaching hardware?  Nope!  On back-order.  Come back next week.

See, there’s here is the situation with that; I have to drive nearly 50 miles to ‘come back next week’.  The only reason I was near a Lowe’s in the first place is because I had other shopping to do in the area and THAT made the drive worth while.  The idea of driving 50 miles for a $10 purchase was not in my plans.

Stop at Ace Hardware.  A very friendly employee asks what he can help with.  5 ½ furniture legs and attachment hardware, if you have it.  He took me to them.  Asked how many legs I wanted and which type of hardware, straight or angled?  Straight.  Here you are, thank you for stopping in.

Today, armed with the hardware I began the conversion.  First, remove the castors from the cabinet.  Secondly attach the mounting hardware.  (you will notice that the hardware assumes a large flat surface to which it will be attached.)  I don’t have a large flat area.  I could go back and purchase some lumber with which to create a large flat surface …. Or …. I could just turn the hardware 45 degrees and use two screws instead of four. 

I know it’s not neat.  I’m not a cabinet maker.  I’m an RVer making use of what I already have.  I’m a conservationist!  A recycler!  A cobbler of junk parts into something useful.  And it works.

 

2013 January 24 Thursday

2013 January 24 Thursday

My day started with coffee with the guys as usual.  I returned home about 8:45 and went in an updated yesterday’s blog entry.  I also moved a few more of the 2012 files to the archive page.

Yesterday while we were in Cedar Park, the animal shelter called to say that Kramer the cat’s ashes were ready to be picked up.  They had called on Ella’s phone and she thought that they had said we could pick Kramer’s remains up after ten o’clock in the morning.  So about ten we drove to the shelter.  The gate was locked.  So we decided go into Kingsland for some shopping and try again later at the shelter.

On the way into Kingsland we decided to locate the address that we will be going to tomorrow.  The local church here (Highland Lakes UMC) has a program called “Supper With Friends”.  What it does is match up three to four families which get together for an evening meal.  One family hosts one month and another the next.  Being unfamiliar with this area, we wanted to be sure that we could find it before dark.  It is a good thing that we did the trial run.  I had received emailed instructions on my Droid Razor Max.  However, Ella was using MapQuest or Navigator and I was following her instructions.  So we went too far.

 
Llano River  We did not take this picture.  I found it on a website, http://www.castellcabin.com/ and it may be copyrighted.  So I’ve included the link to their site.

As it turns out it was worth going that extra mile in the wrong direction because we found a lovely river crossing on the Llano River.  We did not stop to take pictures this time … but we will certainly be back for some photo shoots.

After turning around and retracing out travels, we did locate the house and are sure we can find it again even in the dark.

Once we found our way into Kingsland by way of some back roads, we stopped at the H.E.B. and picked up some fresh fruit, sliced luncheon meats and some cake mixes.

The cake mixes are for a recipe Ella saw posted on Facebook.  It calls for mixing an angel food cake mix and any other cake mix (we chose yellow cake) and storing the mix.  When you have a hankerin’ for cake but don’t want to heat the oven and get out the mixer, you add a few tablespoons of the mix and a little water to a cup and microwave it.  It sounds simple enough and would make fixing a couple of single servings easy.  So, we’re going to try it.  You can too.  Here are the instructions:

Recipe 1-2-3 Cake*

Start with two packaged cake mixes.  One of them HAS to be Angel Food but the other can be any flavor you like.  Mix the packages of dry ingredients together.  We placed ours in a gallon size zipper locked bag.  Store the mix until you are ready to use it.

When you have the craving for cake, add 3 Tablespoons of mix and 2 Tablespoons of water in a coffee cup.  Microwave on high for 1 minute.  You may have to adjust time according to YOUR microwave.

Top with frosting, fruit, or nothing at all.  Be creative.  We used Pillsbury Easy Frost.  It seemed like the perfect compliment to a one minute cupcake.

*I’d like to credit the person who came up with the recipe.  However, it is something that I’ve seen being passed around on Facebook so I don’t know where it originated.

 

After H.E.B. we went to Ace Hardware for some furniture legs that I’m going to add to the bottom of a small TV stand that I want to use for storing bedding.  The floor in the 5th wheel is uneven.  There is a ledge about five and a half inches high against the wall.  My solution is to add five and a half inch legs to one side of the cabinet.

By now it was lunch time and we had a coupon for Sonic and there was one very close.  We chose to eat at the drive-in rather than drive through.  The coupon was for the lunch sack special which included two cheese burgers, two tater tot orders and two drinks.  Made a perfect lunch for us and saved us $4.75.

Now we drove back to the animal shelter and found that the gate was still locked.  I was about to turn around when I noticed a second drive and three people sitting under a shelter beside the animal shelter.  I pulled into the drive and asked if they were open.  I was told that they were only open to the public from Saturday through Wednesday.  I said that we had received a call that our cat was ready to be picked up but that we’d come back on Saturday.  The gal said, “No that’s alright, we can do that.  It just isn’t open for viewing and adoptions on Thursday and Friday.”  So we now have a plastic bag full of cat ashes in a cardboard box under the head of our bed.  It’ll stay there until we go back to Cutty’s in the spring.

It is a lovely day with a predicted high near 80 degrees.  I intend to work on the cabinet outside where I can enjoy the weather.  I’ll try to remember to take pictures as I go so that I can post them later.

2013 January 23 my 66th Birthday

2013 January 23 my 66th Birthday 

            How is this for the way to start my birthday?  Getting blood drawn at the VA Clinic in Cedar Park this morning.  The trip into Cedar Park was ‘fun’.  We drove most of the way in a very dense fog.  I shot some video so that you can see what we saw … or more accurately what we couldn’t see. >>>note from 2017, the video didn’t import from the old blog<<<

After the blood draw, we stopped at Office Depot for some business card stock and software. As we were leaving there, we called Arik and told him that we were only minutes away.

He took us to Central Market in Austin for lunch.  Ella had the hamburger with mushrooms and sweet-potato fries and I had the Mushroom Swiss burger with brown rice.  After we ate we went for a walk around the lake at the park.  There was this amazing tree at the park.  If I was younger, nothing could have kept me from climbing that tree.



     After the walk, Arik said,”I’d like some coffee, how about you.”  Ella and I both said yes.  And he asked what kind of coffee.  I said just coffee with lots of beans in it.  He took us to a small Mexican coffee shop and I had the dark roast drip coffee and Ella had the medium roast while Arik had some foo foo drink with flavored soymilk.  (I tried to raise a hippy and ended up with a yuppy)

     We sat and talked for a good while before returning to his house.  He had worked the night  before and then been back to work for a managers meeting in the morning.  And then was going to need to pick his kids up from school in a couple hours.  So, we thanked him for the lunch and coffee and left him to take his nap.

 

 

     The zipper on Ella’s skirt had broken while we were walking around the lake.  (she hadn’t mentioned it until we left Arik’s)  She said she wanted to stop at Goodwill.  Cedar Park/Austin is a great place to shop if you like Goodwill … there are lots of them.  We stopped at several and she never found a skirt but did find a blouse that she liked.  I also found a juicer.  I’d been wanting one to have in our winter home because I’d really liked juicing on the one I left in Iowa.  We also stopped at several Dollar Generals on the way back to Shady Oaks.  I think we’ve managed to buy as many close out Christmas items as we really need!