Wednesday 31 December 2008

2008 In Review

Today is the anniversary of the third year of having my blog and as far as I can recall I've only missed one day - the night in spent in the hospital in Cincinnati in April 2006.

Here is our 2008 in Review. I've emailed it out to people who don't read my blog regularly but thought I'd post it here as well.

We spent a mostly wonderful winter in Arizona - in Mesa for about 6 weeks, at Why, AZ for a week to see the Organ Pipe National Monument, and Tucson for the rest of the time. We really enjoyed our time there. Our RV Park, Justin’s Diamond J was a brand new park, the sites were huge and we backed right on to the desert so every day we were out hiking.

Unfortunately, Gordon contracted Valley Fever-induced pneumonia near the end of March. You get Valley Fever by breathing spores of fungus that are in the soil of the southwestern desert and with all the high winds there that blow up clouds of dust, it's difficult not to inhale the fungus at some point, especially since we spent most of our time in the desert.

A blood test had to be done to confirm the diagnosis and he was put on antifungal drugs at once and he started to feel better immediately. There was a question for a while about whether he would be able to drive us back to Ontario but we took our time and got home in two weeks.

I also managed to break my right foot just before Christmas although at the time I thought it was only a sprain. It was only when I got an x-ray when we arrived home that it was determined that I had broken it. Anyway, I limped around for a few weeks but it’s finally healing well.

The summer was spent in the Ottawa area with Gordon under the care of a Infectious Disease Specialist at the Civic campus of the Ottawa Hospital. The antifungal drugs are terribly expensive in Canada and we are very thankful for the Extended Health Care that I have through my Nortel retirement. We managed to get some time with Margie, John, and Danica as well as seeing Nick and Becky a couple of times. We also went to Lindsay for a month to spend some time with Betty and Garth and were there for the annual cottage weekend.

I celebrated my 60th birthday this year. I can’t believe I’m 60! Some days I feel it and others I don’t!

Gordon was taken off the antifungal medication on October 1st and both our doctor and the specialist agreed there was no problem with us leaving to go south for the winter. We were ecstatic!

The day after the Canadian Thanksgiving, we returned to Lindsay as that's where we purchase our travel medical insurance. I hadn't bought it earlier since we hadn’t been sure we'd be able to go south for the winter.

From there we spent a week at Sherkston Shores near Fort Erie and on October 26th, we crossed the US border at Buffalo, New York and headed to Ohio where we spent some time in Columbus to see Gordon's daughter and her family and then to the Dayton area to see his son and his family and welcome their new arrival, Iris who was born on August 16th this year. We now have six grandchildren. We also spent some time with Gordon's sister Carol and her husband, who was recovering from a recent heart attack.

From there we slowly continued south, spending two or three days at each place we stopped so Gordon wouldn't get too fatigued. When we left Nashville, TN we got onto the Natchez Trace Parkway. There are no commercial vehicles allowed on the parkway and it is RV friendly with lots of large pullouts. We saw some awesome autumn colours on the first leg of our trip. The first day we didn’t get very far. We spent a lot of time stopping and taking photos. This is where we celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary on November 5th. We almost completed the 444 miles long parkway but decided to get off at Canton, MS and take the freeway to Louisiana. We had already done the last leg of the parkway our first year out.

When we got to Louisiana, Gordon wanted to stay for a bit to photograph Lake Martin, a scenic swampy area, so we stayed for a week. We continued on and were looking for a campground near the Texas Gulf coast at Port Lavaca just for an overnight stay. We arrived at the park I had found but it wasn't to our liking although it was right across the road from the Gulf. The sites were on top of each other and it didn't look clean. Just in case, I had researched another park, the Powderhorn RV Park & Marina, so we searched it out and wound up loving it. We stayed first for a night, then for a week, then signed up for a month and we will possibly spend more time here. Right now we're here until December 28th but the site is available for us to stay longer. We're right near the water and by walking out on the pier Gordon can photograph both sunrise and sunsets over the water. There are also lots of wading and shore birds around to photograph so he's happy. I'm happy because it's quiet, the park is very reasonably priced and it's only about a 12 mile drive into town for groceries. A larger city, Victoria, TX is only about an hour away.

Our original plan was to spend the winter at Rockport, TX but this would have been our fourth time in Rockport so this is different and very enjoyable.

It looks like we might spend the remainder of the winter here. We’ve had a few cold days but also quite a few very pleasant days. We enjoyed a Christmas potluck here at the rec hall on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

Stay tuned for my blog for today as well.

Happy New Year!

It was bound to happen again considering where we are - you got it! FOG! I woke up feeling slightly nauseated and when I looked out the window I knew why but up I got and out into the fog for my morning constitutional. Actually by the time I got back I wasn't feeling too bad but it looks like we're in for 4 or 5 days of cloudy, humid weather so chances are the fog will be around for a while at least in the mornings. The fog did clear and around 10 a.m. the wind started to pick up as well but it turned out just to be a few gusts.

I did a walk around the park this morning checking different camera settings so I'm posting some photos that I took.

The new pier that's under construction

The rec hall
For Ellie and Jim, the following two photos are of site #17. You can back in from either side of the palm tree but you have to get between the electric post and the deck.

Not much was planned for today so not much was done. I sat outside and read for a while as we did have some sun for about three hours then came in for more reading and a nap. I think we reached a high of about 68F (20C) today. I know it was hot in the sun as I put the canopy up on the chair and turned my back to it.

I went over to the rec hall this morning to return a book and found out that they are having a "do" tonight, just finger foods but I wasn't aware so have nothing to take. There's also a dinner tomorrow but I think we'll skip it. We might drop in to wish people at Happy New Year tonight though, just to be sociable (which we usually aren't!)

In recent years I've stayed up to watch the ball drop in New York however I stayed up till midnight last night (I thought it was 11 p.m.) so probably won't tonight unless I get a second wind.

To read Gordon's posting for today, click here.

Happy New Year everyone and all the best for 2009!

Tuesday 30 December 2008

New Toys!

Today started out to be another beautiful day with a high of about 72F (22C). This morning we had some sandhill cranes practically next door to us that I saw on my walk. When I got back Gordon went out and took some photos of them.

After breakfast I went into Port Lavaca to get groceries and the sandhill cranes were still there. I got the groceries and was coming home around 2:30 p.m. when I saw the FedEx truck at the campground. Then I saw Gordon at the truck so I knew his package had arrived.

We are now the proud new owners of a Panasonic Lumix TZ5 camera for me and a Canon 100-400mm IS L lens. This is all thanks to photos that he has sold so it's a belated Christmas gift for us. He immediately went out to take some photos. I plugged my battery in to get it charged. Here's my camera (photo from an on-line site):

It has a 10x zoom so I should be able to get some better photos.

And here's Gordon with his new lens and his old lens. Quite a difference!

Late this afternoon the clouds came in so I think we're in for a couple of cloudy days with some rain possible. At least it's not snow!

Monday 29 December 2008

Just A Beautiful Day!

Wow! Beautiful, bright sunshine and only a breath of a breeze! It looks like Arizona outside this morning. Seems like a long time since we've seen it too! It was 47F (8C) before 8 a.m. and a glorious day for my walk. We reached a high of 68F (20C) today.

I had planned to go into town today as I thought we were nearly out of bottled water but since we still had three gallon jugs left, I decided to postpone the trip. We're in waiting mode for our camera equipment that is sitting at the FedEx location in San Antonio. When it arrives I will have to go in to town to buy a memory card as it doesn't come with one although you can take some photos on the camera without a memory card.

Most of the morning was again spent on the internet. Don't know what I'd do without it!

This afternoon I was sitting outside in my lawnchair accompanied by Pyro, reading my book and enjoying the perfect day when I decided I needed to accomplish something. So I got our little shop vac out and vacuumed and wiped down the inside of the truck. I also cleaned the mats. That job done I went back to reading.

I didn't take any photos today so have borrowed one that Gordon took at sunset tonight.

Sunday 28 December 2008

A Try at Geocaching

We signed up for another month here at Powderhorn RV Park and Marina yesterday so we'll be here till January 28th at which time the plan is to head south and spend some time around Rockport/Port Aransas.

It was still quite warm last night so I opened one window in the bedroom and it was nice sleeping with the cooler breeze blowing and no humidity.

This morning was cloudy and cooler than yesterday but still 52F (11C) with winds coming from the northeast. It was actually quite nice for walking although the wind was pretty strong. I had thought from the forecast that it would be raining this morning but that didn't happen.

I spent most of this morning on the internet trying to solve the Conde Nast Where Are You Contest and I finally did it! It seems they've been getting tougher over the last few months. When my sister and I first started this venture, they were fairly easy but within the last year there's been a couple that we've given up on entirely. Not for January though!

I chatted for a while with Dee from the rv-dreams chatroom. I just love on-line chats, so much easier than sending an email and you get an immediate response.

I've been talking about geocaching since we bought Miss Pinky in the summer when we were in Ottawa. Today we went out but didn't find it. There are so many rocks around there and so much debris that you have no idea what rock to move or what piece of debris might actually be the geocache. Hopefully Ellie & Jim will be coming to see us shortly and she can give me another course in geocaching. Oh well, it was fun anyway. If we hadn't gone we wouldn't have seen these pretty flowers.

On our way back, I got a photo of this pretty pink house that I see every morning when I'm out (without my camera).

And this interesting door

On our return, our favourite kitty was waiting for us. Here he is watching for the door to open. He sure is fast. He got inside before I even knew it.

These roses are about to bloom beside our deck, at least I think they're roses.

Other than reading and a brief nap just before dinnertime that was my day! I think our high today only reached about 55F (13C).

Saturday 27 December 2008

Life in Powderhorn, TX

We slept with the windows open again last night. Today was warm and windy. It was already 69 (21C) when I got up about 7:45 a.m. and we reached a high of 75F (24C). We didn't have much sun but the outside temperature was nice.

After my usual morning rituals, I went outside to sit and read. I usually turn my back to the wind. I was sitting reading when all of a sudden a see a yellow ball of fur beside me, then his paws were on my lap and then the whole cat was on my lap. He stayed there purring away for about an hour when I told him it was time to move.

I got the vacuuming done this morning and this afternoon I did three loads of laundry. I finished my book while I was waiting for the laundry.

Around 5:00 p.m. it looked like we had some weather coming in. The wind changed from the south to the north very quickly. Looks like no windows open tonight!

Exciting times in Powderhorn, TX!

Friday 26 December 2008

The Day After Christmas

Thank goodness the fog blew out today! That meant no headache for me. So I guess that's what's causing them. Our day was spent much as usual. It was 66 (19C) when I got up and it made it's way up to 81F (27C). There was a bit of rain this morning just as I was getting up but not enough to keep me from my exercise! By the time breakfast was over the sun had come out so after my morning internet, I sat outside and read.

This cardinal was hanging around as I was reading. If you've been reading my blog for a while you'll know that we've decided my Mom has come back to earth in the form of a cardinal. I saw one the day before Christmas and then today so she's watching over me down here in Texas.

Yesterday there was a young pelican standing on the deck at one of the RVs looking in their door. They thought he might have been hurt or sick and sure enough, today he's dead. Poor little pelican!

Gordon came out just before noon and wanted to know if I wanted to go for a drive so after we had lunch we set out for Goliad. It's supposed to be an interesting little town but the sun started to go away as we were heading toward Port Lavaca so we canned that idea and just went into Port Lavaca, filled up with diesel at 1.99.9, found a chiropractor so I wrote down his information in case we need it in the future. We also went into Walmart to look at camera cards as the nice FedEx man will be bringing me a new camera soon and Gordon a new lens. These are coming to us from Gordon's Paypal account and sales of his photos. I'll give you details of the camera when I receive it.

From there we took the scenic route home through Magnolia Beach and along Matagorda Bay, into Indianola and then home where I sat outside again and read, then came in for a nap.

The end of another beautiful day on the Texas coastal bend!

This roseate was foraging for food at the end of our pier this afternoon.

Dark sky and sun shining on the waters of Powderhorn Lake.

I borrowed this from someone else's blog:

I had too much pecan pie today!

Thursday 25 December 2008

Christmas Day

I awoke again to mild temperatures with no wind but cloudy and foggy again. This morning was just getting everything ready for the potluck today, getting showered. I did go out for my walk and did my exercises first thing though.

We don't exchange gifts anymore, there's nothing we need and no place to put anything so why spend the money!

I looked up migraine and damp, foggy weather on google and it seems that some people are bothered by this kind of weather and it does cause migraines for some so maybe that's what I've been experiencing lately although it never bothered me before. The headaches don't feel like migraines I used to get years ago, not nearly as debilitating but they are annoying just the same!

Just before 1 p.m. we took the Cornbread Stuffing and ourselves to the potluck. We found that people here don't dress for Christmas so we were probably overdressed but the food was excellent as usual. We got home around 2:30 p.m. and I proceeded to read and have a nap. Gordon went out to see if he could find any photos.

Here we are by the Christmas tree in the rec hall.

I called home around 5:30 p.m. to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. My sister from Toronto, Betty and her husband, Garth had gathered at my younger sister, Margie's to be with her and their family.

We didn't have much for our dinner, still full! It was a lovely 68F (20C) Christmas Day!

Wednesday 24 December 2008

Getting Ready for Christmas Potluck

This morning was absolutely balmy - 63F (17C) but cloudy. There was no wind for a change. I didn't have much energy this morning, probably from the stuff I've been taking for my headaches. The good news is that I didn't have one when I went to bed last night for the first time in a number of days. I only spent about 1/2 hour in the rv-dreams chatroom last night so maybe looking at this little screen for hours on end isn't helping.

Anyway, I did my morning walk and exercises, breakfast and thought about making the cornbread stuffing. I thought about it so much I got tired so lay down to read and had a nap. I woke up, thought about it again and went back to sleep.

Finally I got up and got to it and had it in the oven by about 2:30 p.m. I walked over to take the garbage to the dumpster and saw the great egret on one pole and 2 pelicans on two other poles. They sure are cute sitting there.

We had a bit of rain on and off during the day but nothing much. If it was snow it would probably hardly equate to a ground cover. I think 65F (18C) was our high for the day. The forecast for tomorrow is mild and cloudy again with a possibility of passing showers. I might be able to wear my sandals to Christmas Dinner. LOL!

Tuesday 23 December 2008

Christmas Potluck Prep

Today was cloudy and warmer. It's 54F (12C) right now at 7 p.m. Central Time. I didn't have to bundle up for my morning exercise.

After breakfast, I got ready to go into Port Lavaca to pick up ingredients to make my Cornbread Stuffing for Thursday. I was home before 1 p.m. with that.

I have been feeling lousy with a headache and stomach problems (probably related to the headache medication) so when I got home I unpacked the groceries, took the cookies I had purchased over to the rec hall and then went to lay down for a nap. I slept for about three hours.

When I got up I got the potatoes peeled, cooked and mashed, got Gordon's dinner ready while he went over to the rec hall to pick up some gumbo that Delmer was making. Gordon can't eat it as it's roux based but that was my dinner. It probably didn't do my stomach any good but it sure tasted great! While I was doing that, I made two pans of cornbread, cut it up and toasted it in the oven. So I have a headstart on Christmas dinner!

I feel a bit better after my nap. Sure hope it continues!

Monday 22 December 2008

Jibber Jabber

It was 35F (2C) this morning. I got up a bit earlier before a headache had a chance to form. We reached a high of 45F (7C). This morning we had some sun amongst the clouds although it was quite windy. I went for my walk/run, did my exercises, did my morning internet stuff then lay down on the couch and read for a while.

I also got our expenses calculated in Canadian dollars and entered onto my spreadsheet. Since my cornbread stuffing turned out rather well, I went over to the rec hall and put it on the whiteboard as my contribution to the Christmas potluck. Now I just hope it turns out well again! The biggest problem with making stuff for potlucks is not having the proper dishes. Consequently I like to use the crockpot, however I think this fare will be made in foil pans. Easy clean up!

While I was out, two pelicans were doing their swan dives into the water. They are so funny to watch. It's almost synchronized.

I added Cross Country Adventures to my sidebar. David and Lise Jennings are also from Ottawa and we'll be in the same RV park when we return to Ontario in April so we'll get to meet them then. They go to Arizona for the winter, specifically Apache Junction. They like to hike and go out a couple of times a week it seems. So if anyone's looking for another blog to read, check them out.

Since I didn't do much today, I'm just jabbering away! So enough already!

Sunday 21 December 2008

Cold and Windy!

Gordon made some changes via Photoshop to our Christmas card. Can you see three changes from yesterday's card?

Today was very windy and colder with a high of 52F (11C). I got up later than usual as I could hear the wind outside and knew it was colder but up I got and bundled up for my walk. It actually didn't seem to be as cold as it was but the wind was really strong. I woke up with a headache. That's what I get for staying in bed longer than usual. Sometimes my walk will clear it but it didn't today so I took a Tylenol with my breakfast and it mostly went away.

I spent some time this morning chatting on Facebook with Dee. Her blog is Tumbleweed.
This afternoon I decided to make some Cornbread Stuffing. I was thinking that I would make it for the Christmas potluck here at the campground but I wanted to put mashed potatoes in it to make it more substantial but couldn't find a recipe so decided to wing it. I also added some bacon as I didn't have any giblets. It turned out really good but it's pretty labour intensive. I baked some chicken for dinner as well as it's far too windy to use the barbecue today.

My younger sister, Margie called today with some bad news. My aunt Ruth has not been well and is now in St. Vincent's Hospital in Brockville, Ontario awaiting placement at a nursing home. She really didn't want to give up her apartment but the time has come.....

My headache has also come back with a vengeance this afternoon but after sitting on my massage cushion for 15 minutes and another Tylenol it's a little better. I really hate headaches!

Saturday 20 December 2008

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Gordon and I went out around noon to get our Christmas photos taken. We do this every year and post it on our blogs as our Christmas card. So, Merry Christmas everyone!

This morning was very humid. It was 84% humidity inside the RV. As the day progressed the wind picked up. We had sun and cloud off and on all day. I think our high today was about 71F (22C) but there's supposed to be a cold front coming in for the next couple of days. Anyway, we're enjoying the weather we've been having.

Here's a aerial photo that Gordon took of the campground a couple of weeks ago.

I put in a load of laundry this afternoon as well as some of our baseball caps. Two of them unfortunately bit the dust and now I need to replace my denim Florida hat that I bought our first year on the road for $4.95. Oh well, other hats and more places! When I was walking back from doing the laundry I met the lady that we sat with at the Thanksgiving potluck. Her husband is 90 years old and is blind and nearly deaf so she enjoys getting out and walking around and talking to people. She's a really cheerful sort and we talked for about 1/2 hour.

At 5:30 p.m. we went over the the rec hall for our shrimp dinner that the campground was putting on. It was soooo good. We had boiled fresh shrimp, pork roast, cabbage salad, corn on the cob and baked potatoes. I am absolutely stuffed! I've never been at a campground where they feed you so much and free!

The end of another beautiful day on the Texas Gulf Coast!

Friday 19 December 2008

Just Another Day!

Today was mostly cloudy and 71F (22C). With the weather that's happening up north, I can't complain about some cloud.

I did my usual walk and on my way I dropped my grapes off at the rec hall. Lots of people are dropping goodies off. After lunch I went back and had a banana nut bar. It was yummy!

This morning I sat outside and read and listened to the breeze blow through the palm trees. This afternoon we drove over along Matagorda Bay just for something to do.

Little blue heron

Fishermen on Matagorda Bay

Roseate spoonbills

In flight

Some sort of palm

When we came back we stopped at the rec hall and were invited to a shrimp dinner tomorrow night. We don't have to bring anything. You sure don't go hungry around here!

Thursday 18 December 2008

A Little Diversion From the Usual

I woke up to more fog but warmer temperatures. It was 60F (16C) at 8:15 a.m. Gordon said the fog was really thick when he went out for sunrise.

After my morning exercise and breakfast, I went out for a walk around the campground to take some photos and to see if the mail was in yet. The owner, Delmar, had asked me if Gordon wanted to go out in the boat this morning but he was taking a nap and by the time he got up the wind had picked up so it wasn't a good day.

This is where I do my morning stretches.

Our RV is the first one on the left

This egret was trying to keep out of the wind

They're building a new pier here at the campground

Picnic structures along Matagorda Bay. We took the scenic way into town.

Instead we traveled north of Port Lavaca to the Formosa-Tejano Wetlands. We saw a few geese but they took off and one heron but he was too far away. We see more birds in our little area than we saw there.

A sign at the wetlands - we didn't see any of either

Part of the wetlands

These cows were across the road from the wetlands and very curious about us

A pretty scene that we saw on the way home

On the way back, we stopped at HEB so I could pick up more nectarines. They had them yesterday and even though they were 3.99/lb I had to buy more.

I had some stale bread around so we stopped as well at the Little Chocolate Bayou park to feed the ducks and geese. They didn't seem terribly interested. I've never seen that before. They must be fed elsewhere and weren't terribly hungry.

Feeding the ducks and geese

Has anyone ever been in an RV park where the owner gave them a wrapped Christmas gift? We got one today from Delmar and Bobbie. We're keeping it to open at Christmas. That is so nice of them!

I've been having a lot of problems with my reflux disease for the past couple of weeks. I've been eating a lot of grapes and now I find out that grapes are probably not good if you have reflux. Now what do I do with all the grapes?

Although it was mostly cloudy with some sunny breaks and windy today we reached 80F (27C)!

Wednesday 17 December 2008

A Day in Port Lavaca

Today was warmer - 61F (16C) but cloudy and very foggy over the water as you will see from some photos I took today.

This is a pelican on the rail in the water, note you can't see much behind the pelican due to the fog.

After my morning walk/run and breakfast, I piddled around, had a shower and got ready to go into Port Lavaca for groceries and water. I took my time getting that done and managed to spend about four hours in town. I picked up the fluorescent light bulbs we had ordered last week at Ace Hardware, looked around Family Dollar and Bealls but didn't buy anything. I got some groceries at HEB and find that a lot of their prices are better than Walmart. Then off to Walmart to get what I didn't at HEB including water. I like Culligan water so go to Walmart if possible for that.

On my way home, I stopped at the pier in Port Lavaca to take a photo to show how foggy it was over the water and also stopped along Matagorda Bay.

This cute little bird was scurrying along the pier in town

The pier with fog over the water

These terns have really pretty polka dot tails

A loon on Matagorda Bay

Now I can relax and enjoy the nice weather that's supposed to be here tomorrow.