Saturday 3 January 2009

End of December Expenses and Just Another Day in the Texas Coastal Bend!

Ok, so the total for December is not so good. I definitely overspent on the groceries category probably because we're so far out of town that I don't want to have to go back in to pick up a couple of things so I overbuy. That total also includes mostly everything I buy at Walmart and HEB so there are some things in there that should be in Misc. category but with all the calculations, I'm leavin' it as it is!

We also purchased the new lens and camera. This did not come out of our funds but out of Gordon's Paypal account from the sale of his photos. Taking off the 'toys' we came in at around $2300 Canadian for the month which isn't too bad.

We did get our December electric bill and ours was $76.57 so that needs to be added to the campground fees although I haven't paid it yet. We did have some cold days during December using the electric heater and I've been heating all our water on electric. I thought that was not bad for the month.

Enough said about that.

The wind started during the night. We had the windows open and it darn near blew me out of bed it was so strong at times! I thought it was supposed to rain this morning but I woke up to sunny skies and that's the way it continued through the day. The wind didn't let up either but we had nice 77F (25C) temperatures all day. It was already 70F (21C) when I got up shortly after 8 a.m.

Palm blowing in the wind

The only different thing I did this morning was to defrost the refrigerator. So, that's done for another couple of months. Other than that I parked myself outside in my lawnchair with my back to the wind and enjoyed about four hours reading and having the occasional bit of shut-eye.

The pull-thru site across from us is now filled. The people came in yesterday. They must be friends with the 2 RVs beside us because it has been wall to wall people there since they arrived. Not as quiet as it was! Hope some of these folks are just visiting for the weekend. I miss my peace and quiet!

Our RV from across the little bay

Other than a couple of jaunts over to the rec hall and around the campground, I stayed put today.

I had a question in my comments a day or so ago about whether this is a private or public park. It is a private RV park and marina and is family owned by Delmer and Bobbie Scott. Their granddaughter, Ginger is the manager.

Pyro came to visit near dinnertime

That about sums up my day here in the balmy Texas coastal bend!

Friday 2 January 2009

A Short Drive

Today I woke up to fog again. It burned off mid morning and we had partly sunny skies for a lot of the day with a high of 75F (24C). It was a little windier than it has been but not too bad.

We didn't do much out of the ordinary today. We took a drive to the local bird sanctuary this afternoon for a while to see if any birds were out. Photos below were taken on the drive.

Our local sandhill cranes were out this afternoon

The road in the bird sanctuary

Ibis and Roseates


While I was sitting out reading I took some photos of our rose bush beside the neck which is now starting to bloom. Roses in January, gotta love it!

I read and had a nap this afternoon. I still haven't gotten around to completing our month end expenses. It's a chore with all the calculating. Even if I set up the spreadsheet to do the calculations automatically (if I remembered how to do it), I'd still have to input a different number every day. I know I've done some spreadsheets with formulas when I was working but that was a long time ago!

Thursday 1 January 2009

Our New Year's Day 2009

This morning went by as usual but instead of the forecast cloud we had sun! Because of that around noon we decided to go out and do some sightseeing. However on our way inland toward the town of Goliad we had cloud, a few drops of rain and after we arrived at the Presidio La Bahia (shown below), we got some sun. This Presidio is before you get to Goliad.

Gordon is very interested in old churches and Goliad therefore is right up his alley. There's this one as well as a Mission that we found so far.

Gordon took my photo at the amphitheater

From there we went toward town and found the Goliad State Park which houses the Mission Espiritu Santo shown below.

And here's the altar and the pulpit

There is a campground at the State Park which we just might return to. Gordon would like to take more photos in this area. It looks like a really nice campground with water and electric and a dump station.

On to the town of Cuero. It looks like they build their streets around the live oak trees.

Here's the courthouse

I thought this was an interesting name for a lawyer. Would you be a client of his?

On to Victoria where the plan had been to take some twilight photos downtown. We arrived a bit early so looked up a Taco Bell for dinner. It was still too early and we were tired so we came home but I saw this sign and thought it was an interesting concept.

It was a lovely day with a high of 75F (24C).

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).