Christmas Day 2020 Catchup . . .

Jan and I left the rig about 8:45am Christmas morning on our way up to Brandi’s in Katy for our family Christmas

We were going up so early because Brandi had promised us a very special breakfast. And it was.

Christmas 2020 Challah Creme Brulee French Toast

Challah Bread Crème Brûlée French Toast and

Christmas 2020 Maple Bacon

Maple-Infused Bacon, as well.

And continuing with the Maple theme, we had Bourbon Maple Syrup to put on the French Toast.

Christmas 2020 Bourbon Maple Syrup

All well worth getting up that early.

As usual Brandi and Lowell had done their usual beautiful job of decorating the house. And it’s different every year.

Christmas 2020 Before

Christmas 2020 Dining Room

Christmas 2020 Dining Room 2

Christmas 2020 Dining Room 3

And even outside.

Christmas 2020 Front Door

Christmas 2020 Brandi House Outside

But when Jan saw this Advent Calendar hanging on the wall between the kitchen and the living room, she teared up. And it has a lot of family history, over 50 years worth, in fact.

Family Advent Calendar

My mother gave this to Jan for our first or second Christmas together, and somewhere along the line it got passed on to Brandi, probably when we started RV’ing in 2007. But apparently it then got tucked away until this year, when Brandi rediscovered it and pulled it out.

Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, 4 of the little ornaments disappeared. So wanted to surprise Jan, Brandi asked her mother-in-law Sonja to make new ones. So the calendar is now a fusion of the White and Morrison families.

But what really made the calendar even more memorable was the fact that Jan remembered during the Christmas of 1974 when she was working on it, and she looked up to see Brandi stand up all on her own and walk for the first time, from one side of the living room to the other. Don’t think she’s slowed down since.

Memories!

We all sat down for Christmas dinner about 5:30, and as usual when Brandi cooks, it was not your typical ‘pedestrian’ meal.

We had Spare Ribs done in their smoker, BBQ’d Port Belly chunks, an Asparagus and an Cheese Casserole and a Crawfish Etouffee Casserole, courtesy of Sherry and Steve. and
Baked Beans from Jan.

If that doesn’t just scream ‘Christmas Dinner’, I don’t know what does.

Christmas 2020 Dinner

From left to right, we’ve got Jan, Lowell, Brandi, Master Landon, Steve, Sherry,Lindell, and Sonja.

A really great meal.

And of course, Jack and Baxter didn’t want to be left out either.

Christmas 2020 Dinner Jack and Baxter

Apparently not enough Christmas dinner found its way to the floor to satisfy them, so they came begging.

Finally heading home about 7, we did check out some more lights along the way.

Christmas 2020 Lights 1

Christmas 2020 Lights 2

Just beautiful.

Well, that about wraps up Christmas at the White/Morrison households, or at the Houston/Oklahoma part of it. Next weekend we’ll be getting together with the Texas Hill Country part of the White clan.

Can’t wait.

 

 


December 26, 2010

Happy Boxing Day * . . .

boxingdaytitle

* In the U.K., Boxing Day is the day after Christmas. One of many ‘origin’ stories says that this is the day that merchants gave boxes of food and fruit to tradespeople and servants as a form of Yuletide tip.


At 11 am it’s still 37 degrees here. It’s supposed to get all the way up to 46 today, and then back down to 31 tonight.

As an article in the New York Times said today, “Bundle up. It’s Global Warming.” Of course they blame the pretty much world-wide cold snap on the fact that it’s getting warmer.

Huh?

So, if it’s getting warmer, it’s global warming, and, if it’s getting colder, it’s global warming.

Yeah, right!  Nothing like covering all your bases.

Jan and I never left the rig today. It was really nice to just sit around, read, nap, watch TV, enjoy the view, did I mention nap?

And as part of enjoying the view, our friend the Great Blue Heron was back,

Boxing Day Great Blue Heron

Boxing Day Great Blue Heron 2

along with another beautiful sunset.

Boxing Day Sunset

Boxing Day Sunset 2

That was about it for today. Looks like things will pick up again tomorrow. We’ll see.

More then…

____________________________________________

Thought for the Day:

“The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes.” — Thomas Paine

 

 


December 26, 2013

Happy Boxing Day, Again . . .

We started out this post-Christmas morning with a 3/4 mile walk around the park. Over the next week or so, we’ll work our way up to 2 miles every other day. The Runkeeper app on my phone makes it real easy to keep track of our walks. In fact, if you set a schedule of walking every other day and then you miss a day it nags you with a message that you missed your walk.

Before we left for our walk we let Mister outside on his lease, and he immediately found a nice spot in the sun and zoned out. Getting back, we joined Mister outside and had our coffee and muffins while we watched Mister and the birds at the feeder studiously ignore each other.

Mutual Distain Mister and Birds

About 1pm I drove down to the office to settle up on the next month’s rent, but found that they don’t open for the afternoon until 3:30 Wednesday through Friday, so I get to keep my money for a few hours longer.

Yesterday at Brandi’s, after all the presents were opened, and the wrapping paper cleaned up, I had a chance to play with a couple of my helicopters. First up was my new Invert X model. According to the box it will fly inverted.

Invert X Helicopter 2

What you don’t find out until you open the box is that unlike other, usually more expensive models, it will not go from normal flight to inverted flight and back to normal. Instead, when you want to fly inverted, you must remove all four blades and swap them around. And then back again to return to normal flight.

A real pain in the rear.

Even worse, it means that flying inverted, you cannot land it normally, but instead you have to grab it out of mid-air unless you want to try to land it on the spinning blades. Bummer.

But I decided to give it a try in normal flight mode. And it wouldn’t.

Fly, that is.

It would set there and the rotors would spin like crazy, but it would not lift off. So I put it aside and got out my Globe Helicopter and had some fun with it. And as it turned out, Miss Piper is pretty good pilot.

Globe Helicopter

After a few minutes of practice she had no problem steering it around the room. The 16 foot ceilings in Brand’s living room makes for a real nice flight area. You just have remember to turn off the ceiling fan.

I have a 3rd one that I didn’t bring with me to Brandi’s. It’s a very nice quad copter, but with 4 exposed blades it’s probably not a good idea to fly it around a lot of people.

Quad Copter

So back at the rig today, I got the Invert X back out to take a look at it and see if I could figure out why it wouldn’t fly. I had an idea and it turned out to right.

I can only assume that my helicopter had been bought by someone else and then return to Fry’s because it wouldn’t fly. And as I thought, the reason it wouldn’t fly is that someone had misconfigured the blades. The blades had been set so that they cancelled each other out, so it was generating no lift whatsoever. It would just sit there, whirling away.

Getting the blades set right revealed a very nicely flying machine, if only right side up. And I doubt I’ll ever fool with trying it inverted because there’s really no challenge if you can’t switch back and forth in flight.

About 4pm Jan and I headed out up to Webster to meet some friends for dinner. On the way, I stopped off at the office to settle up for our next month here. The park manager, Lauralee, said the 90 new sites should be up and running this coming March or April, depending on the weather.  Should make it easy next year to get another good site here.

Before meeting our friends, we stopped off at Sam’s Club for a few things. And I got new toy. If you can call a coffee maker, a toy.

This is the Hamilton Beach FlexBrew 2 Way. It is both a standard 12 coffee maker. and a K-Cup single cup brewer.

Hamiliton Beach FlexBrew

And it was only $79.

And even better, it not only handles the K-Cup coffee cartridges, but comes with an adapter so you can use your own ground coffee in the single cup brewer.

Neat!

We met our friends at 5:30 at Barcenas Mexican Restaurant, one of our favorite local Mexican places. We used to eat here all the time because it was right outside our subdivision when we lived in our Sticks and Bricks before we started RV’ing. We had a great time catching up with Bob and Beth, and a great meal to boot.

On the way back to the rig, we made a stop at Wal-Mart for a few things, and I picked up a box of Folger’s Hazelnut K-Cup packs to give our new coffee maker a try when we got home.

Jan didn’t want any, but I fixed a cup of coffee and it was really good. As good as a full pot from our old Mr. Coffee.

I think we’re going to like this.


Thought for the Day:

Remember, a wolf in sheep’s clothing is still a wolf.

 

 


December 26, 2014

A Tale of Two Christmases . .

Christmas Recap:

We were up Christmas morning about 7am. Luckily for us Landon’s not really an early riser. Unlike Chris and Brandi who were up at 5am, or even earlier.

Brandi's Christmas Tree

Brandi did such a great job decorating the tree, I had to get a closeup.

Brandi's Christmas Tree2

 
Landon was in charge of distributing the gifts to everyone.

Christmas 2014-1

 
And here’s Landon’s big gift, a Ninja Turtles bike. His first bike, too.

Landon's New Bike

 
Chris and Linda and Nigel showed about 10 am to spend the rest of the day. Chris and Landon spent a lot of time checking out some of the online games.

Christmas 2014-2

 
Landon also got a Mousetrap game and he and Piper had a lot of fun playing with it.

Piper and Landon with Mousetrap

 
And here’s Piper posing with her puppy, Nigel. Nigel is a Syorkie, a Shi Zhu/Yorkie cross, and a real cutie.

Piper and Nigel

 
Later in the morning, the tree was reset with the presents for all the family and friends coming over for the big party in the afternoon.

Brandi's Christmas Tree3

 

We had about 30 people there, with a lot of great appetizers and snacks for everyone.

Christmas 2014-3

 
Later in the evening they put out a Taco Bar, with ground beef, grilled chicken, salmon, shrimp, pulled pork, and all the fixing’s All really, really good.

Christmas 2014-4

 
Then it was time for the second Christmas for all the kids.

Christmas 2014-5

Everyone had a great time getting together and exchanging gifts. And as usual everyone pitched in to help clean up, so Brandi wasn’t left with a messy house.

Jan and I hung until after 10pm, so we didn’t get home until almost midnight, a long but very fun day.

Today Jan and I headed out about 3:15 for lupper and some shopping. We were both hungry for a good burger, so we ended up at the nearby Culver’s. Jan got her usual cheddar mushroom burger, while I got the Double Pub Burger, and we both got a bowl of their delicious chili. But with a difference this time.

One of my Christmas gifts from Lowell and Brandi was some things from iBurn, a local store that specializes in ‘hot stuff’. And one of the items was this.

10-Pepper-Flakes-2

Here’s how it’s described on their website:

Tim’s 10 Pepper Flakes – This is pepper flakes on steroids containing; 3 variety of Bhut Jolokia (Ghost Pepper), 3 variety of 7-Pot, Moruga Scorpion, Fatali, Habanero and Scotch Bonnet. This stuff rocks and we know you will love it if you are missing that kick from your crushed pepper.

We both put some in our chili. I used about 4 sprinkles, which gave me about 5 or 6 particles of the peppers. Jan had a couple of sprinkles with about 2 or 3 particles making it into her chili.

Both of us agreed that based on a heat to particle ratio, this is the hottest stuff we’ve found so far. Tim’s 10 Pepper Flakes is now my ‘goto’ hot stuff. And with the size of the bottle vs. how much I’ll use each time, this is a lifetime supply. Thanks, Lowell.

Leaving Culvers, we drove across the road to brave Wal-Mart on the day after Christmas. But it really wasn’t that bad, with only the checkout taking a little longer than normal.

Next up was the Lowe’s right next door. I found that the stainless steel hose that allows us to pull out the faucet handle on our kitchen faucet and use it as a spray nozzle, had started to leak so I picked up new one.

Our last stop was at the Kroger’s across the Interstate to get gas for the truck. And I got it for 99 cents a gallon. Yep, 99 cents.

We recently bought a lot of Christmas gift cards from Kroger’s and got 4X the fuel points. This means that for the next 350 gallons or so, we get a $1 off each gallon we buy. And that goes for diesel too. Unfortunately you can only get 35 gallons at a time like this.

Tomorrow we head down to the Clear Lake area to try and finish up cleaning out our storeroom before the end of the year, then have dinner with Chris, Linda, and Piper tomorrow night.

cndyln

Thought for the Day:

Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger. — Franklin P. Jones

 

 


December 26, 2015

Just in Time . . .

Jan and I did 1.03 miles today, staying just ahead of the rain. We’ll probably stay at this distance until we leave here and head back to Colorado River TT on Jan 3rd. Then we’ll bump it up, hopefully, to 2 miles or so over the next couple of months.

It was starting to mist when we headed out, but just as we getting back to the rig, it went from sprinkling to downright raining. So we timed that perfectly. Of course it only rained for about 10 minutes and then stopped.

It looks like the small heatwave we’ve been having the last few days is coming to a screeching halt. The high today was 77, and it’s going down to 71 tonight. But after a high of 73 tomorrow, the front comes through and it’s going down to 38 degrees tomorrow.

Then it’s low 50’s and low 30’s for the next 10 days or so. It’s going to be nice to actually have winter again.

Later, after our coffee and cranberry bread, I got back to work on re-installing Jan’s “Oh Sh$t Handle” right by her chair. If you missed the earlier posts. you can check it out here: Livingston Bound and BBQ

I first drilled pilot holes in each of the wooden dowel rods that I had glued in last week, but when I went to put the #14 x 2” wood screws in the handle so I could screw it in, I found a problem.

When I used a smaller screw to measure the length I would need, I apparently used the bottom hole in the handle. But as it turns out, the top hole in the handle doesn’t go into the wood as far as the bottom hole. So while the bottom screw extend out about 1”, the top screw only stuck out about 1/2”.

So while I went ahead and temporarily mounted the handle, I’m going to get a 2-1/2” screw to replace the 2” one.

Oh Shit Handle Repair 5

When I get the larger screws, I’m also got to get a can of White Oak Pickling Stain to refinish all the handles.

But I was happy to see that the handle is now locked down very firmly with no movement at all. So once I replace the screw and re-stain the handle, I should be finished with this project and ready to move on to others.

There’s always others.

Before I finish this up, I thought I’d answer several inquiries where the handle’s name came from.

The actual name for the ‘Oh Sh$t Handle” came from a hilarious book called “Queen of the Road: The True Tale of 47 States, 22,000 Miles, 200 Shoes, 2 Cats, 1 Poodle, a Husband, and a Bus with a Will of Its Own” by Doreen Orion. Jan read this book about the time we started RV’ing and adopted this name for the handle that’s right by her chair at arm level.

It’s what she grabs when someone cuts us off, or pulls out in front of us and then stops. But over the years, after a lot of use, she finally broke it off completely. And when that happened, whatever held it in place fell down in the wall, so I had to come up with a new way of mounting it. 

Wrapping up, regular readers will remember how in the past I’ve had trouble with multiple hacking attempts trying to log in to this blog. But in the last couple of months, the attempts had dwindled away to almost nothing.

And since most of the attempts came from Europe, and recently stopped, it may be that this is the reason why. – Botnet Attacking WordPress Sites

Hopefully this will eliminate the problem once and for all.

_____________________________________

Thought for the Day:

Princesses

  

 

 


December 26, 2016

If It Weren’t For The Rattlesnakes . . .

This might turn out to be a pretty decent gate.

But then I’ve only been told about the snakes secondhand. But the scrub brush terrain is perfect for them, so it’s quite possible. I’ll definitely keep my eyes, and my ears, open.

This seems to be a new gate that’s just getting started up, and coincidently it’s only a couple of miles away from our very first Marathon drill rig gate back in 2012.

Besides the snakes, the only other problem is with the Verizon phone and data service. When I got here at 5 pm the guard I was relieving said that he had no service inside and sometimes a little outside. And my phone showed pretty much the same thing. And of course no signal on my AirCard. Bummer!

I did make a call to Jan from outside with some success, but the voices were crackly. But then about an hour later I looked at my phone and had 3 bars of 4G and good data service. But still nothing on my AirCard.

So then I moved my AirCard antenna to a different side of the shack, rebooted it, and now I have good 3G data.

So now I only have to worry about the rattlesnakes.

Jan and I are to the point in our lives where we really don’t need more ‘stuff’, especially living in an RV. So our Christmas presents are pretty laid back. Like for her birthday this past October I got her a new electric can opener because that’s what she wanted. She said she was giddy.

So for Christmas I got her one of these Silicone Non-Stick Baking Mats.

Silicone Cooking Mat

Silicone Cooking Mat 2

You bake right on it, it spreads the heat evenly, and channels away any grease from the food. Neat.

For lunch today we had the second half of our Barth’s Christmas Turkey & Dressing meal.

Barth's Turkey & Dressing Xmas

All delicious, especially the green beans like I said yesterday. You can tell that their cornmeal mix is only cornmeal and not this half cornmeal/half flour mix that a lot of places use. Their cornbread ends up having the texture of cake. No, this is good ole coarse-ground cornmeal.

And we’ve still got two more meals to go because of the large portions.


I mentioned last week that we used the RV park’s free laundry to do some heavy rugs, and while we were there I saw this notice.

RV Park Washer Notice

I can only guess that when times are slow in the ‘patch’, people start taking in laundry to make ends meet?


Thought for the Day:

“Owners of dogs will have noticed that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they will think you are god. Whereas owners of cats are compelled to realize that, if you provide them with food and water and shelter and affection, they draw the conclusion that they are gods.” ― Christopher Hitchens

 

 


December 26, 2017

Merry Boxing Day . . .

Jan and I really enjoyed our day at home, feasting on some of the Christmas dinner leftovers we had.

We caught up on some TV shows we’d recorded recently and also got in a nice nap somewhere in there. Really nice.

I’m still trying to figure out what’s going on with Social Security next year. According to the letter I got from them, we got a 2% increase this year, which for me should be about $30 per month. But on my checks next year I’m getting a $3 a month.

Now my first thought was, that as has happened in the past, the Medicare charge had increased. But according to the web, the Medicare Part D charge for 2018 is the same $134 it was in 2017.

So where’s my other $27?

Even stranger is the fact that Jan’s check, even with the 2% increase, will be exactly the same as last year.

What’s up with that?

Looks like the USPS is still working at their peak efficiency. Well, peak for them, anyway.

Last Monday I mailed off three Flat Rate Priority Mail envelopes; one to Athens, AL, one to Vernon, IL, and one to Ashville, NC. All three were supposed to be delivered by Friday, December 22.

But by the next day, tracking said the delivery date for all three had slipped to Saturday. And if that were how it turned out, it would have been OK. But no, that’s not what happen.

The two going to IL and NC did make it on Saturday, but the one going to the closest destination, Athens, AL, just disappeared for six days, somewhere between Houston, TX and Birmingham, AL, with no tracking whatsoever, only to show in Birmingham early this morning and to be delivered in Athens late this afternoon.

Great Service! /sarc

Jan and I have gotten to the point that we don’t give each other much in the way of physical things for Christmas, but instead, things like our Trans-Siberian Orchestra tickets a few days ago. But this year I got her a small item, almost a gag gift. But it turned out to be one of her all time favorites.

It’s a LumiLux 16 Color Motion Sensing Toilet Bowl Light.

Toilet Light

When you walk into the bathroom in the middle of the night the light switches on for two minutes and starts cycling through the 16 colors. Or if you like you can set it for your favorite. And it makes it easier to find in the dark.

Jan says she likes all the colors, even the bright red that she says makes it looks like the Bowels of Hell. Bowels, get it. Nudge, Nudge, Wink, Wink.



The Headline of the Day :
Pennsylvania Woman Mistakenly Gets a $284 Billion Electric Bill.

Just another reason I don’t do AutoPay on anything.


Thought for the Day:

“When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.” – President Ronald Reagan

 

 


December 26, 2019

Boxing Day Notes . . .

After a quiet post-Christmas (Boxing Day) morning I spent some time trying to figure out why our new Samsung TV won’t see my computer, since my old Samsung TV had no problems with it.

It has 3 HDMI ports and I can put my DirecTV DVR to any of the 3 ports and the TV recognizes the DVR and shows the video. So I know the ports are good.

But though the TV recognizes the PC as a PC on any of the 3 ports, it only shows a blank screen. I’ve swapped the cables around with no luck either.

The cable that works fine on the DVR still doesn’t work on the PC, and the HDMI cable that doesn’t work on the PC works fine on the DVR.

So I thought maybe there was a problem with the screen resolution I’m using on the PC. But, according to the 177 page for the TV, (Yes, a 177 page manual!) the 1920 x 1080 60Hz should be acceptable to the TV.

So I got on Samsung Support Chat and told them my problem. But as usually happens they had to read from their script, completely ignoring what I had already done. I don’t think they even read it.

But I finally ran out of time before we left for lunch, so I’ll try again later.

While we’re on the subject of Samsung, I’m thinking maybe it’s about time to think about upgrading my phone since I usually try to upgrade every 3 new models.

I got a Samsung S5 in 2014 while we were in Elkhart with Nick and Terry, and then upgraded to an S8+ when we were in Las Vegas in 2017. And now the S11 is coming out next February.

Samsung S11

It seems to take at least 3 iterations before there’s enough improvements to make it worthwhile to spend the money to upgrade to a new phone. But this one has a lot of great new stuff.

Like:

  • 5G Support
  • A 108 megapixel camera
  • A Ultra Wide Angle Lens
  • A Telephoto Lens with 5X Optical Zoom
  • A 120Hz AMOLED Screen
  • And a Whopping Big 5000mAh Battery!
  • Sounds like it will be a worthy upgrade.

    And Jan’s happy because she’ll get my hand-me-down S8+.



    Thought For The Day:

    I don’t believe in astrology; I’m a Libra and we’re skeptical.

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