A Good Report . . .

We were on our way up to my doctor’s office about 12:45 for my 1:30 appointment, only to not be called in for my cervical X-Rays until a little after 2:15. But that went pretty quick, and we were talking to my P.A., Alexandria by 2:45.

She was very happy with the progress with my Cervical Fusion and said the X-Rays looked great. Then we started talking about my possible Lumbar Fusion on L-4, L-5, and L-5, S-1. It seems like I’m feeling some increasing problems in my lumbar area so I wanted to get some more info on the operation.

Alexandria acknowledged that this operation is more complicated than the cervical one, and will require a 1 to 2 night hospital stay, while the cervical version was an in-and-out the same day. Also recovery will be somewhat longer, with more possible/probable pain along the way.

So at my request, Alexandria scheduled an MRI and X-Rays on my lumbar area to see if there had been any deterioration since the last lumbar MRI/X-Rays in October 2021. That comparison will give us something to work with on making the decision on whether or not the lumbar surgery.

I got an email yesterday from the La Crosse Weather Station people saying that they had shipped my replacement rain gauge for the one that died a couple of months ago. Originally they said it was not going to ship until the end of December, so this is an improvement.

Tomorrow we’re having another Alvin Opry Group get-together, this time at the Webster Saltgrass Steakhouse.

Hmmm! Steak!


Thought For The Day:

The Four Stages of Life –

1. You Believe In Santa Claus
2, You Don’t Believe in Santa Claus
3. You ARE Santa Claus.
4. You Look Like Santa Claus

HO! HO! HO!


December 5, 2010

Rudy’s and Lockhart . . .

We left the lake house about 10:30 this morning. Everyone headed out at different times. Lowell, Brandi, and Landon left first, and Chris, Linda, and Piper were finishing up the closing-up of the cottage when we left.

As we had planned we stopped off at Rudy’s Country BBQ on I-35 in Round Rock for lunch. Really great BBQ! And Jan really loves their Creamed Corn, and she doesn’t like corn!

We took a new route home this time, down US-183 thru Lockhart, a town we had never visited. Driving thru town our eyes were immediately drawn to the ornate court house on the town square a block off our route. It was so distinctive I had to stop and take a couple of photos.

I really don’t ever remember seeing a court house with this much color and detail.

Lockhart County House

Built in 1894, it is listed as the most photographed court house in Texas. And it’s easy to see why.

Lockhart County House2

Here’s a aerial shot from the court house website.

LockhartTXCourthouseAerial1008PaulTurner2

I noticed many of the buildings around the square had dates on them from the same time period.

All in all, a beautiful little town.

Our next stop was Buc-ee’s, about a hour away right as we got back on I-10. Great place for a potty break and some good coffee. Jan also got one of their great cranberry muffins for breakfast tomorrow.

It’s always amazing how big and busy this place it. They have over 40 gas pumps and I still would have had to wait in line to get gas. So I decided to hold off until we got to the Flying J about 100 miles down the road.

Buc-ees

After stopping at the FJ for gas, it was only about 25 miles until we hit Beltway 8 to bypass Houston to the south, heading back to the RV park and home.

But we had one more stop to make at Sam’s for some more kitty litter. Since we were going to be gone 5 days Jan set out 3 extra litter boxes which used up what we had.

After that stop it was home for the night after a great vacation with family and friends, short as it was.


December 5, 2011

Ma Bell . . .

Jan and I headed out a little before 11am to meet Brandi, Lowell, and Landon at our favorite local hamburger place, Tookie’s, for lunch. Landon was not feeling well last night so they stayed home with him today. But of course by this morning he was fine.

So after our Tookie’s delicious burgers, Jan went back to Brandi’s with them, while I headed out to a client’s. But my first stop was Fry’s Electronics to pick up a Netgear Wireless Router and an LG LCD/LED monitor for him.

But when I got to the client’s home I found another problem. His DSL service was down.

So I spent the next 3 hours on the phone with AT&T trying to convince them that I had checked everything and the problem was either with the line or the DSL modem. By the time they admitted I was right, it was too late for them to set up a service call for today. So we’ll have to wait until tomorrow, sometime between 8am and 8pm.

Nice of them to narrow it down for us.

Finally I headed over to Brandi’s about 4:30 to pick up Jan and head on home. We had planned to just have leftovers tonight, but since we were so close we decided to have dinner at Barcenas Mexican Restaurant, a place right outside of our subdivision that we’ve eaten at for years.

We used to eat here all the time, especially when we lived in an apartment right across the street as we were getting ready to go fulltime. But with everything going on last year, we never got here, so it was nice to be remembered by our waiter, Leno.

We both had our usual, my Carnitas de Puerco and Jan’s Tex-Mex Enchiladas, and it was as good as we remembered.

They’re supposed to call me an hour before the AT&T tech shows up so I guess I could get called at 7am. But I’ll probably end up hanging around all day waiting on them.


December 5, 2012

Ducks and a Dynasty . . .

Today was another nice, quiet stay-at-home day. It was overcast and never got out of the 60’s. Just perfect for sitting back with a large mug of hot coffee and enjoying life.

Later in the morning Jan went out to feed the birds, and it’s amazing how quickly the word gets out. Within just a few minutes the ducks show up in a line from their pond about 100 yards. They can’t see the feeder from the pond so the only thing I can figure is that they post a lookout to keep an eye on things. But show up they do.

Duck Line 1

Pretty soon the feeder area is swarming with birds, and a lot of squawking, chirping, and tweeting commences.

Duck Line 2

About 6pm Jan and I headed out to meet Chris, Linda, and Piper at the Mario’s Flying Pizza up in Seabrook, one of our regular dining spots.

After a good meal, Jan and I followed them home so I could get their Epson printer installed on their new laptop.

While there I got a shot of our beautiful granddaughter Piper. I fondly remember the good ole days when she would pose at the drop of a hat. Now she grew up and got shy.

Piper in A Blanket

I guess I’ll just have to repost this photo from a couple of years ago.

Piper at Chuys 5

When we got home we found that Lowell had sent over a photo of Landon’s visit with Santa Claus.

From the look on his face, I think Santa just told him he’s on Santa’s Naughty List.

Landon Christmas 2012

While we were up in Marble Falls over Thanksgiving, we stumbled upon Duck Dynasty, a reality program showing on the A&E cable channel, when they were running a show marathon.

It’s the story of the Robertson family, living in Monroe, Louisiana, who, 40 years ago, started a company called Duck Commander, and became millionaires making and selling duck calls.

Yes, duck calls!

Miss Kay, Phil, Willie, Korie, Jase and Si Robertson (from left)

The show is hilarious, and these guys who look like rejects from a ZZ Top look-a-like contest, make the show. Although it’s called a Reality Show, the family refers to it as “guided reality”. Every show had a theme and ends with a life lesson, usually centered on the family.

It’s funny, and well worth watching.

But wait, there’s more.

Phil Robertson

Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the family, and the one who started the company, has another side. He’s a graduate of Louisiana Tech University, and actually has a Masters of Education degree.

And while he was at Louisiana Tech, he played football. And as the 1st string starting quarterback, he was very good. So good in fact that he had an offer from the Washington Redskins.

Even his 2nd string quarterback said Phil had the best arm he’d ever seen. He also said he knew Phil really liked to hunt because he would show at practice with squirrel tails hanging out of his jacket and covered in duck feathers. But since he was obviously a very good shot, no one complained.

But with a year of eligibility remaining Phil decided that as much as he loved football, he loved hunting better. So he gave up football to have more time for hunting, and a few years later started Duck Commander.

And the rest is history.

Oh yeah. The 2nd string quarterback who said Phil Robertson had the best arm he’d ever seen, and who didn’t get much playing time until Phil quit football … that would be Terry Bradshaw, top draft pick in 1970, who played 14 seasons with the Pittsburg Steelers, won 4 Super Bowls, and a spot in the Hall of Fame.

That Terry Bradshaw.


December 5, 2014

O Tannenbaum . . .

Jan spent the early afternoon decorating our Norfolk Pine Christmas Tree and it came out very nice. It fits perfectly on the dining room table and looks really good.

2014 Rig Christmas Tree2.

After a late lunch of our King Food leftovers from last weekend, I headed out a little about 3:30 for a few errands, with my first stop at the Dollar General over in Willis to get another bottle of Awesome cleaner. I’d just about used up my old bottle trying to clean the drilling mud off the roof of our RV, so it was time to restock.

Then I walked next door to the AutoZone to get a 12v accent light. Our big analog clock that hangs over the driver’s chair can be hard to see at night when we’re watching TV, so I thought I’d find one of those small white LED lights that people use in their cars. It took a few minutes but I found exactly what I needed.

Next I stopped off at the Kroger’s gas station to fill up at $2.29 a gallon with my Kroger’s card. Since we’re driving down to Clear Lake tomorrow, we won’t have to fill up along the way.

Last up, I made quick stop by the Kroger’s itself to pick up a couple of things, including a new bottle of coffee creamer to replace the new bottle I just bought a couple of days ago.

Why, you might ask?

Well, when I put the big bottle of creamer back on the top shelf of the fridge after our coffee this morning, I made sure the pop-up top was fastened down, but didn’t notice that the entire top had loosened on the bottle, which spent the day slowly emptying down through the shelves to pool in the bottom.

In other words, a mess.

So I spent the early evening starting at the top and emptying each shelf, cleaning off the food, and then putting everything back as I worked my way down. I only did about two shelves at a time, and then took a 15 minute break so the food didn’t get too warm.

I’m double-checking the top from now on.

Brandi sent over a photo of Landon’s latest artwork from his school.

Landon's Art Work

Looks like he’s got the Ninja Turtles down pat.

Tomorrow Jan and I are meeting all the kids down in Clear Lake about 11:30. First we’re eating lunch at Floyd’s Cajun Seafood and then going over to our storeroom so we can all go through the last of the stuff to see what everyone wants. Hopefully we’ll be out by the end of the year.


December 5, 2015

Wrapping Up Here in Conroe . . .

Today’s our last full day here at the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails. Tomorrow we’ll head over to the Colorado River Thousand Trails in Columbus, TX, 120 miles away, where we’ll be for the next two weeks. Then it’s back and forth every two weeks until sometime in the March-April timeframe.

Then we’ll head east to Florida, and then head north all the way up Essex Junction, VT for the 56th Annual Escapade, July 24 to 29, 2016.

After goofing off most of the morning, we headed out about 12:30 to meet Debi and Ed Hurlburt at El Bosque Mexican Restaurant for lunch. They just got here a few days ago and we wanted to be sure we got together before we leave.

As usual when RV’ers get together after not seeing each other for a while, there was, believe it or not, more talking than eating, at least time-wise. In fact we sat there and talked for a little over three hours, covering everything from cataract surgery to new flooring in the RV.

Debi and Ed Hurlbert

Finally getting in our hugs and handshakes, we headed out with a promise to get together again, this time for Chinese, when we’re back here in two weeks.

As we were leaving I saw this really neat 1937 Packard out in the parking lot. Very, very nice.

1937 Packard 1

1937 Packard 2

Next up for Jan and I, we went right across the street to the Starbuck’s for a couple of Chestnut Praline Lattes. We first had these last Christmas when we got them by accident due to bad handwriting. We ordered Cinnamon Dolce Lattes, and the barista thought that the cashier’s CD looked like CP, so we got Chestnut Praline Lattes instead. And they were delicious. Possibly the best latte we’ve ever had.

And it’s never been that good since then. And the one today was not an improvement. Even though it supposedly had a double shot of the syrup, it didn’t really have any flavor, and it was bitter. So bitter that even Jan added 1/2 pack of Equal.

So right now I think we’re about 1 for 6, so at some point we’ll probably just give up and go back to our Cinnamon Dolce’s.

Our last stop before heading home was the Conroe PO to mail off a couple of Gingerbread Man postcards to Landon’s class.

Then getting back to the rig, I took care of a few chores to get ready for tomorrow’s trip. First up I wanted to install the new Clean Machine Step Mat that I picked up at the Camping World this past Thursday.

Cleam Machine Step Mat Install 1

The mat comes with three long, heavy-duty tie-wraps that connect underneath through large brass grommets.

Cleam Machine Step Mat Install 2

This locks the mat in place allowing no twisting or movement.

The only problem people have reported is when they try to put these mats on the multiple retractable steps. Apparently these mats are too thick and don’t allow the steps to retract properly. So, you’ve been warned.

After stowing away the outside chairs and a few other things, I finished up by plugging in my engine block heater. It’s supposed to be in the high 30’s tonight, and only in the 40’s when we leave around 10am, and having warm engine oil is always a good thing.


December 5, 2016

Beeville Bound . . .

After three days of on and off heavy rain, it finally cleared this afternoon. But we were lucky compared to some areas in Texas that had over a foot of rain with heavy flooding. But now it looks like we’ve got some clear but cool weather in store for the next several days.

We’ve got a couple of daytrips planned in next three days, if we don’t get a gate in the meantime

First up is a trip down to Beeville, about 30 miles south of here, for lunch and a 4pm movie. We’ve heard a lot about the Beeville Diner and wanted to give it a try. The Yelp reviews seem to be either 1 star or 5 star, mostly due to problems with service. The online menu shows a nice selection of items so we’ll take our chances, I guess.

Then after lunch we’re going take in a movie. Yes, Beeville has a 6 screen theater, so we’re going to see Arrival,  the science fiction movie  starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Forest Whitaker. It’s gotten really good reviews and we’re looking forward to it.

Then on Thursday we’re doing another trip into San Antonio, or at least the southern edge of it. I didn’t realized I was low on one of my prescriptions when we went into SA  last Thursday so we’re going back to the Sam’s to pick it up. I could get it at the local Wal-Mart here in Kenedy, but here it would cost me $56. However, with my Sam’s Plus membership, it will only be $10. So the $40 difference will pay for gas, Turkey & Dressing at Cracker Barrel, and another movie, Dr. Strange, another science fiction movie. Are you sensing a pattern here?

Of course this could all go away if I get a gate in the next few days.


December 5, 2017

Food and Fun . . .

We were out the door about 12:15pm today for a busy afternoon of food and fun. Well, maybe not so much fun as errands.

Our first stop was up in Kemah at Sundowner Canvas to drop the sample for our new window awnings. I wanted to be sure that they measure the Sunbrella fabric along the ribs, and not in the middle where it’s shrunk due to the sun exposure.

Then when they finish one awning, I will bring another one to them, and pick up the done one. That way they can reuse the plastic ribs from the old awnings.

The first one should be done in a week or so.

Leaving Sundowner’s we headed on up 146 to Pasadena for another shot at meeting up with our friend Julie, at the Monterey’s Little Mexico restaurant there. We had tried to catch her last week but she was off. So this time we called ahead and talked to the manager to be sure she was there.

Since we’d asked the manager not to say anything to her, she was really surprised when we walked in.

Julie and Jan

We’d known Julie for over 15 years when she worked at the Monterey’s down in Dickinson. She said that they’re doing a complete remodel on the Dickinson location which was flooded out in Harvey. They’re also taking in the store next door to enlarge it too. Should be open in March.

After a great meal of  Chicken Tortilla Soup and Beef Fajita Nachos, we got our good-bye hugs and headed down to the the Wal-Mart in Webster for a few things, and also to double-check my extended warranty on our Samsung TV in case I end up having to replace it . But the Customer Service ladies said I would have to call Headquarters.

Then it was on over to our son Chris’ to pick up our mail and go through some more stuff from the attic. Going through a bunch more boxes, I found some really neat things about my father and his time on the Birmingham Police Department back in the 1930’s – 1950’s that I’ll share with you later.


December 5, 2018

5:15 . . . In The Morning?

We were originally told that Jan’s cataract surgery was scheduled for 9am tomorrow morning. So we figured that we’d need to be at the Surgicare Care about 7:30-8:00.

So we were VERY surprised when we got a call this morning to tell us that Jan needed to be there at . . . wait for it . . . 5:15 in the AM.

She will be the first patient of the morning, but we don’t know they’re just starting a lot earlier or what. Or maybe just a lot of  pre-op stuff. Though neither of us remember a lot of prep stuff like this when Jan’s mother had hers done.

Besides being just generally nervous about this, the worse part of the whole thing for Jan are the eye drops. Three times a day today, and then various amounts over the next three weeks. And of course doubling up starting next Wednesday before her 2nd surgery.

The problem with all this is that Jan is EXTREMELY ‘eye-shy’, as in run away screaming ‘eye-shy’. So if she’s this bad with the drops, we can only hope she’s heavily sedated for the actual operation.

On the way home this afternoon, I did stop by the Los Ramirez  restaurant to get a few photos of the Christmas windows. Really nice, especially considering how fast the lady did it.

Los Ramierz Decorations 1

Los Ramierz Decorations 2

Los Ramierz Decorations 3

That’s about it for today since we’ve got to get up so early.


December 5, 2019

A New York State of Mind . . .

The day couldn’t not have gone more perfect.

We were up at 3am, our car service guy showed up about 4:15, and we were on our way up to Hobby Airport by about 4:30. Right on schedule. And I didn’t forget my camera or laptop this time.

We got dropped off at the Southwest entrance a little after 5am, and we tagged and checked in our 3 suitcases a few minutes later.

One thing nice about this flight is that, unlike our recent European flights, we could check in 2 bags each, not just one. So we had no carrying-on stuff, other than Jan’s large purse and my laptop bag.

The only problem was that our online check-in got screwed up and we ended up boarding in the last group. So by that time there were only center seats left so we couldn’t sit together. But it was a nice smooth flight and we actually got in at 10:50am (9:50CT), 5 minutes early.

Probably because we were doing almost 600 mph.

NY Trip Speedometer

We had to wait about 15 minutes for our luggage, and while we were doing that, an enterprising Skycap came by and asked us where we were going. I told him that we were going to get a taxi or Uber to a hotel near Times Square.

Now there were signs all over the baggage area that due to the ongoing construction of a new terminal at LaGuardia, you had to take a shuttle bus to a place about 15 minutes away where you could then get a taxi or an Uber. When I mentioned this to him, he said this was not necessary and he could take care of this for us.

Kind of wary of the City Slicker swindling the Country Rubes, I asked how much this would cost and he said he just worked for tips. And since he had his own luggage cart, I didn’t have to rent one for $6, so I told him OK.

So he grabbed our 3 suitcases when they came around the carousel and off we went. Jan, of course, was somewhat suspicious.(make that VERY suspicious) but gamely followed along, knowing at any minute we were going to be ravaged and pillaged.

After about a block we turned a corner and there was a long line of people waiting for one of shuttle buses. Positioned around were electronic signs saying the wait for a taxi or Uber at the other end of the shuttle ride was 55 minutes. And based on the length of the line on this end, it was going to be at least 30 minutes here.

Resigning ourselves to the wait, we started to get in the long line, but he shook his head and motioned us to follow him. And since he was leaving with our luggage, we decided to follow.

He led us around the outside wall of the covered shuttle waiting area, past several policemen, who nodded to him (made us feel better), and then across the street. There, behind a police barricade, was a line of Yellow Cabs being waved forward, one by one, by another police officer.

Our SkyCap put our luggage in the truck, I tipped him, and we were on our way, less than 10 minutes after we got our luggage.

And less than an hour later he was letting us off at the Hotel Riu Plaza Times Square, about a block and a half off Times Square. And even better, our Uber ride was listed on the app as being about $80, but our taxi ride was only about $60.

Very, very nice.

Checking in, we were told our room was ready, and we ended up with a very nice room on the 25th floor, with an open balcony that we can walk out on, with a great view.

Riu Room

Riu Room Balcony View

Even better, though we knew our room came with a full breakfast buffet, we were happily surprised that it also came with their full dinner buffet. Which is advertised as being $35 per person if you had to pay for it.

Neat!

Then it was, of course, time for a nap.

About 3pm we made the 2 block walk over to Times Square to check things out, and then headed over to Junior’s Restaurant, just about a half block off Time Square

Jan got their version of the her fav Wedge Salad,

Junior's Wedge Salad

while I got their 10 oz. Steakburger,

Junior's Steak Cheeseburger

which we then split with each other.

This was to leave us room to Jan’s Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake

Junior's  Chocolate Moouse Cheesecake

and my Carrot Cake Cheesecake.

Junior's Carrot Cake Cheesecake

And of course you can’t have Junior’s World-Famous Cheesecake without a nice hot Cappuccino to go along with it. Especially when it’s 39 degrees outside.

Junior's Cappucino

We ate several times when we were here in 2009 and really loved it, so it had to be our first place to eat when we got here again.

By the time we finished it was getting dark here (about 4:30 here in the ET) so we walked back out to Times Square to check out the lights.

New Times Square View

One big change we noticed since we were here in 2009 was that Broadway is now open to traffic.

But when we were here in 2009, Broadway was closed to traffic for many blocks in each direction, as you can see here.

Time Square 2009

It was a little warmer then, too. It was about 36 degrees when we sat out for a while this evening.

Getting back to the hotel after about ten minute walk, we checked out the view from the 25th floor at the end of the hallway.

Riu 25th Floor View

That’s our balcony and room behind the railing on the right.


December 5, 2021

What A Country!

Well, we made it to Branson this afternoon by about two o’clock pm. Nice, smooth trip up from Texarkana.

We first went by and picked up our tickets that we bought online from one of the many discount places. and then had a lunch special at Famous Dave’s, one of our favorite barbecue places.

Famous Dave's BBQ Branson

By the time we were done it was three o’clock and we could check into the hotel.

We were going to be staying at the Twelve Oaks Inn right off the west end of the US 76 Loop, and convenient to everything.

Twelve Oaks Branson

Turned out to be a very nice privately-owned place with nice rooms and friendly people.

After resting up for a couple of hours we headed out for the first show of our week in  Branson, Yakov Smirnoff.

Unlike most other theaters, Yakov’s is not on the main Strip, but up north of town.

Yakov Theater

Besides seeing Yakov in Galveston this past July, we also saw him when we last visited Branson in November 2011, so we definitely wanted to see him again.

Having lived in the Soviet Union until he was 26 when he and his parents managed to get out. There he was an art teacher, as well as a ‘licensed’ comedian.

Yes, in Russia all comedians have to be licensed. And all their jokes have to be approved by a committee. No wonder he wanted out of there.

Yakov Branson 1

Besides talking about humor, laughter, and relationships, his act is overtly patriotic.

Yakov Branson 2

As Yakov says, “What A Country!”

A really great show!

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