Daily Archives: April 14, 2024

Grand Opera Recap . . .

Our Bernadette Peters’ evening started with dinner at the Saltgrass Steakhouse down in Galveston, and our luck started early. Parking is always a problem there, and though the lot was full, there was a handicap slot right in front.

We got there a few minutes before time for our 6pm reservation where we had asked for a window seat. But when the seater took us to our table, she walked right past a window table waiting to be cleared, taking us around to the side, so we told her we’d like that window table as soon as it was cleared.

So she took us back to the hostess stand, she apologized and said she had missed the request on our reservation, and that we could have that table as soon as they finished clearing it.

Then, just before they were ready to seat us, another couple who was being led to their table on the other side, just sat down at ‘our’ table, letting the seater go on ahead before she turned around and discovered she was alone.

That was just rude.

Back at the hostess stand, the young lady profusely apologized, and I told her that I understood that she couldn’t ask the couple to get up.

She told us she had two more window tables coming open in just a couple of minutes and we would get the first one available. And a few minutes later we were seated.

And we had a great ocean view.

Our meal was as delicious as always, and even better we got a 10% discount by showing our Show tickets.

We got to The 1894 Grand Opera a little before 7:30, and were once again lucky enough to a parking space just diagonally across from the Opera building and were seated a few minutes later. Luckily we didn’t have to stand in the very long line of people trying to buy alcohol, longer than the one of people trying to get in the door.

Somehow, even though I didn’t find out about it until a couple of weeks after the tickets went on sale, I was able to get us two seats on the aisle just 5 rows from the stage. Really great seats.

And this place is just beautiful inside.

And it really does date from 1894

And this was the setup on stage with the piano player, a bass player, and a drummer.

A very famous drummer as it turned out later.

The performance was about 90 minutes with no intermission.

Pretty much all her songs were from Broadway and Movie musicals.

After watching her perform, it’s hard to believe that she’s 76 years old.

Especially after watching her climb up and down from the piano.

But the song that got the most response was Send In The Clowns, which I didn’t know was from the Broadway musical “A Little Night Music”, written by Stephen Sondheim.

And it’s the late Stephen Sondheim who is accompanying Bernadette on this version of ‘Clowns’.

One thing that was interesting was when she introduced the guys accompanying her. When she got to the drummer, she said “he might be even more famous than me. At least many of you probably heard of him before you heard of me.”

And those of you who do remember him, probably remember him like this.

Yes, her drummer is Cubby O’Brien, one of the original Mouseketeers. And since then he’s played with Lawrence Welk, The Carpenters, Spike Jones, Ann Margret, and The Carol Burnett Show.

And of course, Bernadette Peters.

Tomorrow we’ve got an early morning, with our annual physicals with our doctor, starting at 8am.

Thought For The Day:

Never sing in the shower. Singing leads to dancing, dancing leads to slipping, and slipping leads to paramedics seeing you naked. So remember don’t sing.

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

April 14, 2010

Esther’s Taco House and Hollywood Blvd

Today was our first day to make the drive into LA.

We left about 10 am to head to Placentia CA and Esther’s Taco House. Placentia is on the other side of LA from here so it’s about a 100 mile trip, but it’s pretty much Interstate the whole way so it wasn’t too bad.

Before we left the Lancaster area we stopped off at a local Post Office to drop off the taxes, then it was on to Esther’s.


We got there about noon and sat down to a great meal of Chile Rellenos and Enchiladas. We first ate here two years ago, but we’d heard about the place for years from our friends, George and Gina Ellis. And they were right. It’s great. Esther’s has been around in various locations since 1957, and although Esther died in 1994, the two locations are still in the family.

Esthers Meal

After a great lunch, we headed back toward Lancaster, but on the way we took a detour over to Hollywood.

We drove down Hollywood Blvd., past Grauman’s Chinese Theater and the Walk of Fame, and then up Laurel Canyon Dr., crossing over Mulholland Dr., then down the hill to Studio City to catch the Ventura Fwy. back to I-5 and then on to the Antelope Valley Fwy and home.

But before we got on the Ventura Fwy, we stopped at the Starbucks in a Von’s Supermarket in Studio City, for a bathroom stop and a refill with two Venti Cinnamon Dolce Lattes.

Luckily we got out ahead of the going-home traffic and got home about 4 pm.

Tomorrow we’re going back to Hollywood to take the Warner Bros. Studio Tour.

April 14, 2011

Rib-eyes and Taxes . . .

This morning started off with coffee for breakfast and then the last of the leftover Stromboli’s pizza for lunch.

I spent most of the morning getting stuff together for my taxes. I thought it was due tomorrow, but found out it’s not due until Monday the 18th, because Friday is a Washington, D. C. holiday called Compensated Emancipation Day. It’s the day President Lincoln freed the approximately 3100 slaves in Washington, D.C. by basically buying them from their owners.

Maybe if they’d offered to do that with the southern slaves there wouldn’t have been a Civil War.

Just thinking . . .

Actually, it’s even more confusing because the real holiday is April 16th, but because it’s a Saturday they moved it to Friday. Which of course moves Tax Day to Monday.

Got it now?

Ok, good. Now explain to me why a city holiday in Washington, D.C. means the entire country files their taxes 3 days later.

I know when I worked for NASA, if the city of Houston had a holiday, we didn’t get off for it.

Of course, any reason to keep my money from the government for a few extra days is fine with me.

They’re just going to spend it anyway.

About 1 pm I went down to the Thousand Trails Gate House to re-up for the next six days. We plan on leaving here on the 20th and heading over to Show Low, AZ for a while.

After I got back, I worked on the taxes for a while longer, until about 5 pm we decided to once again have dinner at the Sizzler.

After dinner, we talked about making a day trip tomorrow over to the Prescott area for a little sight-seeing.

More about that tomorrow.

April 14, 2012

Another Day, Another . . .

I was up early this morning, just knowing that we would get a call any minute.


So after a quiet morning, we decide to have lunch at Pepe Boudreaux’s again. Jan had the Tuna Stuffed Avocado Salad, and I had the Chicken Fried Steak. Very good.

Getting back to the rig I took care of a few more maintenance chores before a nap attack struck home. But the nap only lasted for about 45 minutes, when suddenly, about 4:15, it got quiet, very, very quiet. The power had gone off.

Jan said other people were coming out of their rig, so I figured it was not a rig problem. We opened the windows and turned the fans on, and because it was pretty overcast, the heat didn’t get too bad.

But it was cooler outside, so about 5:30 we got our camp chairs out of the truck and set up along with returning gate guards, Jim and Marcie, and Sam and Carol, and also Bob and Nancy, who had just come off a gate and are getting ready to head home. As it turned out, the power came back on a little after 6pm, but we were having so much fun, we all stayed outside and talked.

With all this gate guard knowledge available, we were eager to pick their brains. We spent several enjoyable hours talking about gate guarding, and RV’ing in general, before it finally got dark, and the wind really picked up.

One of the things they all warned about was watching out for tarantulas, scorpions, and snakes. Just what Jan wanted to hear, especially after seeing this sign at a nearby rest area.

Watch For Snakes

The way things are going, I figure we’ll get the phone call for a gate tomorrow when we’re supposed to have heavy rains and high winds. The perfect time to move and set up on a new site.

April 14, 2013

Made It Safely . . .

This beautiful young lady is Zoe Marivel Nadeau, 8# 10oz., and Landon’s new 2nd cousin. Welcome to the family.

Zoe Marivel Nadeau

After a nice, relaxing morning, it was time to hit the road, or at least the street. As in the street right in front of the rig.

Because we’ll be spending the next week here under a different plan, we have to move to a different site. In this case, we moved from here

CountrySide 1

to here. About 25 feet away.

CountrySide 2

And then next Sunday we’ll do it again, which will take us up to May 1st when we plan on moving up the road to Las Vegas for a couple of weeks.

I spent part of the afternoon trying to map out our travels after we leave Las Vegas. As it stands now, we plan on a couple of weeks at the Encore Park in South Lake Tahoe, and then a couple of weeks at the Thousand Trails Park in Bend, OR.

We’ve never been to the Tahoe area so something new will be nice, and we really enjoy the Bend area, so that will be nice too.

After Bend, we’ll start working our way east up to Jackson Hole/Grand Tetons, through Yellowstone, and then on to Cody, WY for a few days to see our friends Al and Adrienne.

After that, it will be Billings, MT to visit a friend, Gillette, WY for the Escapade, and then South Dakota to renew our Drivers Licenses.

After that, we’ll see.

About 4:15 Jan and I headed over Famous Dave’s BBQ once again, the 2nd time in 3 days.

You can’t have too much Famous Dave’s.

After a great meal, and then getting back home, we decided not to walk tonight because the wind that had sprung up this afternoon had stirred up a lot of dust and it was bothering Jan’s sinuses.

We’ll see how tomorrow goes.

April 14, 2014

Down Home . . .

About 9 am Jan and I headed down to the Clear Lake area once again for meals, errands, and family, though not necessarily in that order.

Our first stop was at a hardware store down in Dickinson where I needed a few #14  3/4” sheet metal screws. The lift spring mount on one of my bay doors has worn out the holes so I’m just going to put some larger screws in it.

Then it was on down the road a little to Monterey’s Little Mexico for some Chicken Tortilla Soup and Beef Fajita Nachos. We also got to see Julia, our long-time waitress who’s been taking care of us for years. In fact pretty much the whole crew has worked there for a long time, so long that even Joey, the young man who takes care of our chips and salsa, knows we want two red salsas and no green. It’s almost like going home.

Leaving there, and taking advantage of the fact we were in the area, we made a stop at Buc-ee’s once again for a few of their delicious Cranberry Nut muffins. Then it was on back up to the Webster area for some errands. One of mine was a client stop to check in for a while.

After we were both finished up, we headed over to Chris’ for a bit. He and Linda were out shopping, so we catnapped until everyone came home. Then about 4:30, Jan and I, along with Chris, Linda, and Miss Piper headed over to Cheddar’s for dinner. It’s one place we always try to go early so we don’t have to wait for a table. The food was as good as usual, but we had the most fun just talking, especially telling Miss Piper some stories about her father and her Aunt Brandi when they were kids.

Chris also gave us a copy of this old photo of he and Miss Piper when she was 12 or so.

Chris and Piper- Old

Always was a real Cutie!


One of the things we talked about was our Easter get-together at Brandi’s this coming Sunday. With all our family, and all of Brandi’s BBF Shawna’s family, we’ll probably have 25-30 people. Everyone is bringing something so we’ll have a real feast. Really looking forward to it.

One thing unusual about today was the weather, and the front coming through. After being really warm (it was 75 degrees at midnight) all night, It was still 72 at 9am. But by noon, it was 46 degrees!

And it’s going down to 35 degrees tonight. Where did Spring go?

April 14, 2015

Back to the Drawing Board . . .

Today was another nice stay-at-home day, the creamy filling between the sandwich of yesterday’s Verde Canyon Railroad and tomorrow’s planned visit to the Out of Africa Wildlife Park.

A couple of days ago I did another temporary mounting of my magnetic shades to see how they would hold up in the present configuration, i.e. two pieces held in place by four magnets across the top and two down the outsides.

But it looks like it’s back to the drawing board. We’ve had a lot of gusty winds yesterday and today because of the oncoming cold front, and it looks like four magnets won’t be enough. So I now plan on putting three more magnets on each half. Luckily I bought a lot of extra magnets. And I’m also thinking about joining the two halves with a thin, flexible rod, so it all acts as one piece.

As I said before, it’s a work in progress.

About 3 I headed out on some errands, with my first stop at a locksmith to have some rig keys duplicated, then it was on to the Post Office to mail off a birthday card. Then it was a stop by Home Depot and Wal-Mart for a few things before getting back home about 4:30.

For dinner tonight Jan made up Stuffed Baked Potatoes using the last of the Rudy’s BBQ that we bought and froze before we left Houston at the beginning of March. With the BBQ along with cheese, butter, sour cream, and some Rudy’s BBQ Sauce. it was a great meal.

As I said, we’re doing the Out of Africa park tomorrow, and because of the tight scheduling, we’re going to have to get an early start. We’re taking the Unimog Adventure at 11pm, which means we’ll need to be there at 10 or before. And since we want to eat breakfast first, that means out the door at about 8:30.

We would have liked to take the 1pm Unimog ride, but then we’d miss the Tiger Splash and Tiger Feeding (we get to feed the tiger), which is one of the best parts.

The cold front coming thru is going to make tomorrow really nice with a high in the low 70’s, but plenty of sun.

Really looking forward to it.

April 14, 2016

He’s Only FIVE !

Another nice, pretty do-nothing day, with coffee, cereal, and conversation filling the bill. I worked on website stuff, tying up some loose ends and smoothing out some rough spots.

Several readers have suggested that, along with Jan’s Favorite Recipes, I should also set up Greg’s Favorite Apps, so I’ve been going through my Galaxy S5 and Tab 4 compiling a list. Hopefully, I’ll have it ready to go in a couple of days.

I’ll let you know.

He’s FIVE !

Brandi sent over a copy of a letter today, a letter that Landon wrote to his teacher to apologize for staying outside too long after recess.

Landon's Letter_thumb[1]

I’ve transcribed it for you below.

Dear Mrs. Leethem,

I think kindergarten should have longer reses because we should be rewarded for good bhavior. The sun gives us vidumin D, the longer we play the more lrning goes on.

From Landon Morrison

Note that even words he misspelled, he was sounding them out. And he came up with all of this by himself, including the whole ‘vidumin D’ thing.

Once again, he wrote this all by himself with no help from anyone.

Did I mention he is only FIVE!

For dinner tonight Jan tried out a new recipe, a Cheesy Beef & Potato Casserole she found on Pinterest. Really, really good, and another entry in the ‘Definitely Have Again’ file,. You can check it out at the link above.

This trip it’s been really quiet here at Lake Conroe, with still a lot of open spaces. It’ll probably stay that way until the end of next month, with Memorial Day. We’ve decided that next month we’re going to break up our routine, and after our next two weeks at Colorado River, instead of coming back here, we’ll spend two weeks at the Lake Medina Thousand Trails.

It’s been a little over 3 years since we’ve been there, and it’s apparently changed a lot. When we were there in 2013, the lake bed looked like this.

Lake Medina 2013_thumb[1]

A lake bed so dry that you could drive out on it, and some people were even tent camping out there.

But now it looks like this.

Lake Medina 2016_thumb[1]

We’re really looking forward to this change of scenery.

Of course, Jan is also looking forward to seeing all of her old friends.

Deer Whisperer 1_thumb[1]

She was so popular that the deer would see our truck coming into the park, and then follow us all the way back to our site.

Tomorrow? Probably more of the same.

April 14, 2017

How That Happened I Have No Idea . . .

After a quiet morning at home a little before 4pm Jan and I headed up Boulder Hwy a little ways to have the dinner buffet at Boulder Station Casino, pretty much our favorite in the area.

We got there about 10 minutes til 4, which is when the dinner started. There wasn’t much of a line, so when we got up to the cashier, we told her that we wanted to pay for dinner and not lunch.

But unlike Golden Corral, who doesn’t like you to come in the last few minutes of lunch to get the more expensive dinner, Boulder Station doesn’t care, and said as long as we’re there before 4, we pay the lunch price.

So we only paid $7.99 each (including drinks) for our meal. So nice.

One thing we didn’t see this was the numerous dining scams that we’ve seen in the past.

For example, we saw an elderly man come through the center exit line on his mobility scooter, whereupon he picked up a plate and proceeded down the various food lines, putting food on his plate and eating as he scooted along. When he got to the end he turned around and made another pass.

In another case, a single male dinner got up and left, taking the card off its stand, letting the waitress know that he was finished. Within just a few seconds another man came by, looked around, sat down, put the card back on the stand, and went to get him a plate of food.

Then another time we sat next to a table of six where they rotated 12 to 17 people through 1 or 2 at a time, finally feeding 18 to 20 people for the cost of six.

Since we got our meal so cheap, Jan decided to give them another $20 in the slots. She twice ran it up to $50, but kept at it until she had given them the entire $20.

Really thoughtful of her.

Leaving the casino, I decided to drive over to the nearby Verizon store to see about upgrading my phone plan and possibly my 3 year old Samsung Galaxy S5.

As far as our plan, the guy took one look at it and started laughing. “How long have you had this plan?”

“Well, so long ago that our first cell phone, was a Motorola Bag Phone.”

Motorola Bag Phone

Then he said that, at 1992 we were the oldest customer he’d come across.

So an hour later I walked out with a new much cheaper plan, a 4G Jetpack 7730L MiFi to replace my 3G AirCard, and a ‘to be here Friday’ when they released Samsung Galaxy S8+.

Samsung Galaxy S8

The phone won’t be released until this coming Friday, so I have to be there at 10am to get mine. I told him that we were leaving on Saturday, so I definitely had to have it then.

Getting home I used Speedtest.net to check the speed on the new 4G Jetpack, getting a download of almost 18 Mbps, and 8 Mbps up.

Really nice, and much better than 1+ Mbps on my 3G AirCard.

I was doing some maintenance on our rig’s generator this afternoon, and when I ran it out on its hydraulic slide, I found this.

Generaor Exhaust Pipe

Don’t know how or when it happened. We haven’t needed to use the genset for a number of months since we haven’t needed the AC’s when we’ve traveled. But with the exhaust crimped like that it wouldn’t have run very long. Kinda like getting a banana in your tailpipe.

It’s going to be impossible to straighten out the pipe so what I’ll do is to cut off the crimp and then use a coupling to join the pieces back together.

Brandi sent over this phone of Landon after he got fitted for his new hockey stick, with lessons starting next week.

Landon with Hockey Stick

His uncle Chris said, “He’s ready. He’s already missing teeth.”

I think the kids just want to do this so they can hit each other with sticks.

April 14, 2019

Where There’s A Will . . .

I finished up my LegalZoom will this morning and then did one for Jan. And it really couldn’t have been much easier. Of course, ours wasn’t really very complicated to start with.

The LegalZoom system just leads you through filling out the information, kind of like TurboTax does, asking for more data depending oh how you answer the previous questions.

And as they advertised, it only took about 15 minutes. And Jan’s was even quicker, since the system lets you create a ‘mirror’ will that just reverses the names of the spouses, leaving everything else, beneficiaries, etc., the same.

Jan’s and my wills leave everything to each other, and then equally to our kids, with no special bequeaths. Just let them fight over it, since at that point we won’t really care.

Both of them are named as co-executors, again so they can figure out how to divide up the spoils. And since we sold the house, there’s no real property to worry about either.

My will, with digital download option, was $69, and $59 for Jan’s, with a $10 discount for two wills. If you don’t want to print them out yourself, for $9.95 they will send you ‘professionally printed’ copies for you to just sign. Not exactly sure what they mean by  ‘professionally printed’. Probably just some person taking it out of the laser printer and sticking it in an envelope.

As far as signing the documents, you can either have your signatures notarized, usually at your bank,  or witnessed by two adults who are not part of the will.

I did use their Live Chat feature to ask about residency, since Jan and I are actually South Dakota residents, but the wills will almost certainly be probated in Texas. And I was told that for simple wills like ours, it didn’t make any difference, and to just put down Texas as our ‘residence’ since we spend pretty much all our time here.

Apparently, every will is looked over by a human, since it was about 45 minutes after I paid before I got an email saying my documents were ready. And logging back in they gave me this list of 5 PDF files

LegalZoom Document List

to download and get signed. But actually, only two of them need to be witnessed and signed – the Self-Proving Affidavit and the Will itself.

The Self-Proving Affidavit is used to validate a will for probate to prevent the witnesses from having to show up at the Probate hearing to testify that the will is genuine.

LegalZoom did also offer to add a Durable Power of Attorney  and a Medical Power of Attorney to my package . . . for only $35 each. So $140 for both of us. That’s more than the two wills cost, and these are just add-ons.

But if you don’t want to pay that much, you can go here, PowerOfAttorney.com, and download your own valid forms . . .  for free.

Durable Power of Attorney Form
Medical Power of Attorney Form

A little Googling showed that a simple will in Texas, done by a lawyer, can cost $300 to $1000, and that’s for each of us. So $128 with LegalZoom is a real bargain.

Tomorrow it’s back to work, trying to wrap any last-minute items on my checklist, while I try to anticipate any new ones that might pop up while I’m gone.

Wish me luck.

April 14, 2020

It’s Finally Done . . .

After getting the all-clear from Rob, our park owner, about the location of the shed, I went outside and used 2” wood screws to fasten the shed’s plastic flooring to the 3/4” plywood base, using the metal bars to reinforce the flooring.


This should hold it in place through any normal winds around here. If we do have something like another Harvey coming through, my pants and suspenders solution is to use ratchet straps over the roof tied down to additional screw-in anchors.

Now to fill it up.

Wrapping up, do you have a Nest cam at your home, and maybe wonder where all your data is going? This article talks about how Google is lowering the default video quality of your Nest cam to help reduce the load on the Internet with so many people at home.

But what surprised me was the amount of data a Nest camera uses at the highest settings. It’s a stunning 400GB a month. So they’re lowering it down to 300GB per month, though you can bump it back up if you want.

But really, 400GB a month? Yes, some data plans have a 1TB cap, but one Nest cam uses almost half of your cap. And with two cams, Yikes!

April 14, 2021

El Palenque Get-together . . .

Though we had one night in the 50’s last week, I was thinking about taking our two big heaters over to the storage room since the nighttime temps have been in the 70’s since then.

But then I looked at the forecast and saw we’ve got 4 nights in a row in the low 50’s coming up this weekend. So I’ll hold off on that, I guess.

Tomorrow Jan and I are heading up to the Spring area to meet up with long-time friends, Debi and Ed Hurlburt, and Janice and Dave Evans, at the El Palenque restaurant up there.

Really looking forward to seeing everyone again.

I decided to do a test run of our new Sous Vide Immersion cooker this evening, not to actually cook anything, but just to see if it works, and if I can control it from the phone app.

Originally I had planned to use our slow cooker with the Sous Vide unit, but I found that the rim of the slow cooker is too thick for the large clip on the side of the immersion cooker. So for the test, I just stood the cooker up in the center of the slow cooker to check it out.

Sous Vide Test Drive

I filled the cooker with tap water and turned on the Sous Vide cooker. It showed the water temp as 73°, so I set the wanted temp to 140° and timed it.

It only took about 12 minutes to raise the temperature from 73 to 140 degrees, at which time the timer started counting down from the 11 hours that I had set it for.

The only thing I was missing were the ping pong balls.

The phone app showed me the same information as the unit itself, as well as letting me change the settings, and even receive notifications when it was done.

Sous Vide Phone App

The Custom Preset section gives me suggested cooking times and temps for many different foods. A neat touch.

Sous Vide Phone App Custom Presets

I let it run for about 30 minutes and it kept the water temp at exactly 140° the entire time with the built-in pump keeping the water circulating as well.

Since the slow cooker won’t work for actually cooking, I’ll have to check out our InstaPot pressure cooker to see how it will work, but right now it’s in the storage room so that will have to wait a bit. Otherwise, I’ll have to buy a large boiler for that purpose.

We did get some hot dogs and some sausages the other day to give our new George Foreman Grill a tryout this weekend, depending on the weather, of course.

April 14, 2022

Mazatlán and More . . .

Jan and I were out the door a little before 11, on our way to the Spring area to meet up with Debi and Ed Hurlburt at El Palenque, one of our local favorites, for another in our monthly get-togethers. We always have a great time with them, and today was no exception.

Jan got her usual Mazatlán dinner with Chicken, Shrimp, and More.

El Palenque Jan 20220414

Her favorite, and always delicious.

I got something a little different this time, the Chicken Tortilla Soup, also with a little of everything.

El Palenque Greg 20220414

We had so much fun talking that suddenly we looked up and 2-1/2 hours had passed.

El Palenque 20220414

A great time, and we’re already scheduled to do it again next month.

And even better, we were a little ahead of the traffic coming home, and were here by 4pm.

Just in time for a nap.