Monday, December 31

Cory's Cakes

Butch and I were told about Cory's Cakes shortly after arriving here. I believe it was in conjunction with the subject of cinnamon rolls. So last week we decided to check it out and we were impressed. For one thing, it was 2:00 PM and the place was busy and then the minute I spotted the cinnamon rolls I fell in love! And they held up to their reputation. I cannot indulge too often because my sensibilities and my body remind me that caution is needed. It will be something that is hard to say "No" to and perhaps one of the last treats before departure in the Spring. They are worth the trip wherever you happen to be in the RGV.

This cinnamon roll cost $2.00 and as you can see it is large enough for 4 people!

South of the expressway on Caesar Chavez Road. On the right (west) side of the road. If you get to Ridge Road you have gone too far.

Sunday, December 30

Stop shaking, start rolling!

I saw an entry on Facebook that showed how easy it was to get enough pepper on your food. This is a problem Butch has had for years. He creates a cloud of pepper and starts both of us on a sneezing frenzy. I was so excited when I saw this and even more so when I discovered how well it works! I made this video because the post on Facebook would not allow me to share it. I always say, "When the answer is 'No', find a detour. I wish I had known about this detour a long time ago!

You can see the Youtube video here:

Thursday, December 27

Ropa plus

This week has seemed like one very long weekend. I am actually looking forward to the cold spell with rain they are predicting so perhaps the go-go-go will slow down a little. I need to get some housework done.
Today we introduced some newbies to Ropa Usada. Most thought once would be enough but Liz would like to find some dress-up clothes for her granddaughter so I am hoping to catch a ride with the Magnolia experts one time. They are much better at teaching newbies the ropes of Ropa than I am.
We also hit the Hidalgo Flea Market and that was indeed an adventure for all of us. Makes Don-Wes look like the Ritz! I used it for a photo op. Here goes-
This little gal was putting on some dance moves.

 Moe and Lyn looking over things.

Butch found a 150LB pancake compressor for $50 and he would have loved to get it but held himself back.
Border Patrol Copter

 For some 'People' this would be enough.

Border wall
 Hidalgo Texas is right on the border

Forgot to mention that we went to Pork Belly to listen to the music of County Line. Bruce Johnson lives in our park so we went to have a listen knowing he played with a good group.

County Line at Pork Belly (3.6 miles north on Westgate)


Liz and Dave

Wednesday, December 26

Christmas Day at El Mana

Large group photos are always a disappointment to me and this one is no exception.

                                                                   Moe and Lynn

                                                                     Kristi and Bruce

When someone shares their name with me I will make the adjustment. A fact I do know about this couple is they go to Nuevo Progresso, Mexico on Christmas Day and help give presents to about 2000 Mexican children and have done so for many years.

 I am proud of the picture but do not know their names. They sure look good though!

Dave, Liz, Moe and Lynn

And more large group photo's

Tuesday, December 25

Thoughts On Christmas

Thoughts On Christmas

All the children’s eyes are smiling,
Christmas Eve is finally here!
Outside my window snow is falling,
This brightest evening of the year.

Children dream of Christmas morning;

Santa Claus is on the way …
And I, a father, watch it snowing,
And drift back to another day
When I, a child, watched in wonder
As Christmas filled the world with joy.
I see myself, in faded shadows,
Long ago, a little boy.
The house is quiet, dark, and still,
And I can’t sleep although I’m trying.
The children’s dreams are filled with visions
Of Santa Claus and reindeer flying.
In the silence of this evening
I watch the winter snowflakes fall;
Time is such a precious gift…
But love’s the greatest gift of all.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

This will surely be a memorable Christmas! A few days ago we were gifted some peanut brittle and I decided to try some and it was delicious. There was a piece in my mouth that was harder than others and I discovered it was a tooth out of my upper denture! So what to do! I went online and did see where some people had used super glue with success so I gave that a try. It worked for a short while but I could tell it was not a permanent fix. On Christmas Eve morning we went to Mexico in the hopes a dentist would be open and could repair it. Not many were open but we did find one and settled in for a long sit waiting while they hustled around finding people to come to work. It finally all came together and we were back on track. And peanut brittle is a thing of the past for me.
Mexico on Christmas Eve is a good experience. The street traffic is light and everyone is particularly cheerful. We may do that again but without the stress of wondering if we can get any sort of task completed.
Another interesting bit of all this is our friends Dave and Liz along with their company Ron and Diane came to the dentist at the very same time we were there! Liz had broken a piece off a tooth and had to have it pulled. Her situation was much more serious than mine and more of an ordeal. She is on the road to recovery now.
And in the midst of all this our friends Myron and Susan came over for a visit on Sunday and when it came time for them to go their truck would not start. After some inspection time it was discovered they needed a new starter. Long story shorter they decided to come back for their truck on you guessed it, Christmas Eve! And Butch so wanted to help with this and we were stuck sitting in Mexico with me and my denture. In other words, he was antsy as all get out the whole time. And when we finally did get back we found the work in process. I knew friends from Magnolia would help Myron in whatever way he needed and that was the case.
Here is a photo of Myron and the legs of Wayne Bruun getting down to business on the truck.
So Christmas 2018 is already one to be remembered.

Saturday, December 22

Full moon and butterfly

Cold Moon (12/21/2018)

Christmas reflected lights  at Dave and Liz's

Actual size about 1 1/2 inches wide. Probably a Moth if I only knew.

Santa Jason

Laura just sent me this photo of my "Santa Baby". He is certainly all decked out for Christmas and cute as a button!

Friday, December 21

Oh the plans we made...

When we decided to come to Trophy Gardens instead of Magnolia after much consideration one of our goals was to be less busy in our daily schedule. So much for that! I do believe we, or perhaps I should say Butch is busier than ever!  However, the days do fly by much the same as before.

Maybe but only maybe things will slow a bit after Christmas. I do not really believe that! We will be going to El Mana for Christmas like we did for Thanksgiving. Juanita, our hostess will be putting together our Christmas meal with ham or pork loin. I was concerned about Juanita giving up her Christmas for us but I found out she has no husband or children so she is happy for us to be her substitute "children". And we are happy to call her our Mom.

Our weather has moderated. Highs are in the low 70's and lows in the 40's and 50's. Today our
humidity level was 36%. Beautiful weather. We are loving it. It is cool enough for the furnace to run overnight but quickly warms to perfect.

A bit of bad news reached us from Jefferson. No more HyVee Trivia Night. It will be life changing for us but after 75 years of life and 60 years of marriage, I have learned to roll with the punches.
I still do not like it! Trivia night was the highlight of my week!

Thursday, December 20

Wednesday Photo's

Some shufflers were practicing when we happened by...

 Looped around the golf course hoping to see some birds. Didn't.😢

I did get a couple of great rabbit photos

I thought it might be interesting to follow the progress of this crop of ? on the east side of the golf course. This one is where the ground has been prepped.

 And these two are showing the seedlings emerging. I cannot yet recognize what is growing.

Bernie's Fruitcake...

Oh...MY...GAWD!!!! It is so delicious! I had not made it in years. Partially because nuts are so expensive and it calls for two cups of two different kinds and partially because of the calories. I prepared it yesterday and the recipe says to let it cool completely before removing it from its ungreased pan and then to wrap it in foil or saran wrap and refrigerate it for a day or two to let the flavors marry. I could not wait two days. I had to know how it turned out.  I baked it in my NuWave oven! Another reason to see how it finished up. I do believe I will go back to making it a tradition regardless of the cost. And I thought of our dear friend Bernie Craig many times yesterday. I could envision him smiling at the idea that I was baking it. Bernie was a special guy. He drove a semi for Ruan for many years and was well over a million miles without an accident when he retired. He had a knack for turning a phrase as well. One I remember well is when he would call in the morning and ask " Has Butch scraped that mattress off his back yet?" Another was " That piece of ground is not worth a thing except to hold the rest of the world together." That Bernie was a special guy!

You really should bake it and make it a yearly tradition at your house too!

Before by Colleen

December 19, 2018 Greene County News Online
~a column by Colleen O’Brien

I just got a glimpse in my mind’s eye of my life before:

before electronic gadgets (computers, smart fones, Alexa).

before even phone machines (there was a time you didn’t know that anyone had called; you had no responsibility for that person’s calling you at all)

before small appliances that work better un-electrified (scissors)

I grew up with phones that hung on walls, so I considered them important, necessary, as well as part of the furniture. Not to have a phone would have been, what? Reckless? Old-fashioned? Embarrassing?

Perhaps this is true of the new gadgets. But I don’t want to play.

I turned my brief glimpse of before into a long stare. I held onto the idea of life before and stayed there for, oh, maybe half an hour, thinking of all the things that were different then.

Mostly the silence.

Not a lot of whirring and buzzing and machines talking to me…not characters talking to one another, but to me. For example: I was painting a large piece of furniture at a friend’s house, I was alone except for my radio, which suddenly advertised, “If you want the radio on, just say, ‘Alexa, play NPR!’” And just as suddenly there was a voice from the kitchen in the house with no one in it but me: “I’m sorry. I am not set up to play NPR.” That made the hair on the back of my neck pay attention.

I don’t mind radios (as with books, I grew up with those, too), but I’m not crazy about TVs. I think we got our first one when I was 10 or so, but by then I had a life. TV never entered my heart or captivated me. By the age of 10, I had long been programmed, enculturated, propagandized. I had become a book reader because I saw quite a bit of it going on in my house.

To be fair, I also saw quite a bit of darning of sox, but the propaganda palled in comparison.

I knew early on that stories were life’s escape. Not that I had a lot to escape from, but the reading of them captured me and took me away to all those lands…just the way I figured them: OZ, Shallot, Mudville, Gotham, Tara, Lilliput, Atlantis, Northwest Passage, Gitche Gumee, Treasure Island, Over the Rainbow, Wobegon, Manderley, Twelve Oaks, Olympus, Shangri La, Birnam Wood, Calaveras County, A Town Called Alice, Byzantium, Nirvana, Glocca Morra, Adaza….

The quiet of an evening with Dad in the rocker, reading silently to himself; the three of us girls on the couch or the floor, reading silently to ourselves; Mom in her rocker, well, darning. She did hum. That was nice, too. Then right before bed, the story from Dad out of the Book of Knowledge. What a life! Reading by oneself and then being read to every single day!

I know that now, kids grow up with the electronics that to them are like the furniture, part of the house, part of their existence as books were to me. But they annoy the hell out of me, because I’m not good at them, and they demand a lot of know-it-all. I’m not adept enough to know what to do when their page doesn’t turn. Books were totally manual. All I had to know was how to read, how to turn a page and how to look up a new word. No “EEK! EEK!” because I didn’t know to close a pop-up box.

These era kids know exactly what to do when the page won’t turn because they were born to the gadgets. They also read. On the gadgets. That’s fine. And when they are old and there are even more new thingamajigs, they will wax nostalgic for beeps and glare and the constant noises we get now.

But I have secret pity for them. It’s not romantic to hold a gadget to read; it is, however, warming and intimate to go to sleep with a book fallen onto your chest or tucked next to your pillow. There is no glare.
The glimpse of my life pre-little red and green and blue buttons glowing in the dark throughout my house was so strong, so clear – it was a mind picture of real people (my family), real items (books) that did not beep, buzz, or introduce strangers’ disembodied voices asking me, “What do you want me to do?”

Even though I use my gadgets daily, I have a thing about them. They are not my friends like books are. They trick me because I’m dumber than they are. I’m dumber than a lot of books, but I can return them to the library and get others. I think electronics are all malware. I’m not techy: I like my Yankee drill, not the electric drill that takes off out of my hand and skips across my counter making little shallow holes. I’m quite happy with a scissors, something I’ve been using since I was five; my electric scissors ruined one too many a piece of good cloth for me; I don’t want my email to tell me how to respond to an email! I know what I want to say. And I’m uneasy that it knows what I just said and can tell me how to respond. That is so creepy.

Before…I could add this to a place I’ve been through books; along with nearly all the cities of the world, all the seas, all the mountains. And Dune.

There were no passwords in the days before.

Wednesday, December 19

Park news

I have always found it interesting to see what is going on in other parks. Often you will find that there are lots of similarities and other times you will find ideas that can be duplicated. I have kept track of Rio Valley Estates for many years. My lifelong friend Mickey's sister is a longtime resident of Rio Valley Estates. Donna and Bobby Gabbert have lived in RVE for a very long time.

Trophy Gardens does not have an association so things work a bit differently than what we have been accustomed to. I am finding that it is nice to have someone else in charge. People step up to volunteer in both situations. The managers have an attitude of trying to make it work if a popular idea comes up. Also there is a considerable amount of cooperation with our sister park, Winter Ranch.
Butch was telling me that Bob Evans of Trophy gardens is a birder and he says there is an idea floating around to create a bird feeding station and bird blind somewhere here in the park. I am all for that idea! There seems to be way more photo ops in Magnolia so a bird blind would be a big plus!

There is not a blog for Trophy Gardens. Years ago Betsie Brown of Trophy Gardens/Churdan Iowa started a little newsletter called Bits & Pieces and people have come to rely on it for happenings in the park. Betsie does not do pictures but it is very nice to have somewhere to do a simple promotion of this and that or as Betsie says Bits and Pieces. I send her my trivia promotional stuff and she sends it out to those who have signed up for her newsletter.

Here is her last newsletter:
Bits & Pieces
Tuesday 12-18-18
What a fun meeting we had today. We had line dancers, Elves, and the Old Year and the New Year.    What fun.......

Lynn reported that we have 403 people on 228 sites, and 55 pets in the park. Any units for sale in the resort must be approved by the business office before you can sell. You must give the names of purchasers and background check . No street parking of cars as the streets are not wide enough for emergency vehicles. Park in a vacant lot or walk to your happy hour or parties. Do not drive golf carts or cars through vacant lots. The water lines are not very deep and the water lines are very fragile. Do not walk your dogs through vacant lots. The business office will be closed at 2:00 pm on Christmas day. Jean and Charlie Bezio will be in charge of the office for the weekend. Lynn and JD will be on a weekend vacation.

Winter Ranch has a new manager. Claudia Gonzales. She is living in our park so say HI!! if you see her.

From Fran Adams: The benefit Dinner for our Park Membership for AirMedCare will be held on January 24th serving from 4:30 pm to 5:30 pm. We will begin selling Dinner tickets for $9 each at the meeting on Jan 8th. The $9.00 goes to paying the park membership. I for one can tell you this is always a great meal. It will be a ham dinner with Potato Casserole, Green Beans, Carrot Jello Salad, a roll, and dessert. AirMedCare Representatives will be on hand to visit with individuals about the other plans they have available and they will bring door prizes. We will be selling 50/50 tickets as well.

Our AirMedCare Park Membership will provide air Ambulance service to the nearest hospital for the condition that you need treated. It will fly from the Park or from hospital to hospital as long as the condition initiates from the Park. It will not cover you if you are in a major auto accident and are transported to the hospital by air unless you have individual membership that you can get for a discount since we have Park Membership.

Judy Buhlke wants to wish A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to my Trophy Garden friends. Thank you for the cards, pictures, caring; I am very blessed. I have eight years of wonderful memories that warms my heart. After 45 years in Kearney, I moved to Central City in May.  Grandchildren's activities keep me busy and I love every moment. Enjoy your winter in Texas. Christmas Joy!! Judy Buhlke

Bob Williams has a bike rack For Sale: it is a Flamma Receiver Hitch bike rack. Call 417-621-5088.

If you are planning to play Pinochle on New Years please contact Nancy Johnson 712-480-0000 or Marilyn Harms 605-274-0000. They need a head count for players.

If anyone would like to tie-dye shirts get 3 to 5 people together and Kristi will do a class at her house. Give her a call at 303-818-0000 and make arraignments. If anyone wants to do it, let me know as I would like to do one of the ice tie-dye.

The winners of the Christmas decoration contests are -travel units---Jim & Lila Knupp,   Park models—Lance & Barb Pearson,   Mobil Units---Teresa & Charles Howard. Congratulations to them.

That is all for tonight!!
Betsie Brown


Devon's Winter Concert

Snipped from Facebook

Trivia night

Christmas season is a busy one so we had a 2 team trivia night. And those 2 teams had a great time.
I look for it to pick up considerably after the holidays.
A funny/strange thing happened. Liz was telling us that she took a nap and had a dream that her team did not show up and that she and Dave were sitting at their trivia table by themselves. And that is precisely what happened! So she and Dave went to play pool instead.
We will not be having trivia next week because it is Christmas night but the people who attended want to have it on January 1st, Tuesday at the usual time of 6:30 PM. So we will.
So I must wrap this up, get a walk in, take a few pictures, come back home and make Bernie's Fruitcake. There are a couple of other chores I need to get in the schedule too.

Not home much, Can you tell?

So backing up to last Sunday! Butch and I stopped in to see Bill and Kay in Magnolia after our usual breakfast tacos. Butch needed to restock his pecan supply and we miss our visits with friends in the old park. Donn and Peggy stopped by while we were there and Donn restocked my papaya supply.

Backing up just bit more, we stopped in at the Don-Wes Flea Market before going to Magnolia so Butch could get some more LED strips to replace the fluorescents in the motorhome and I had a nice visit with Randy Hinkle, an "Expat" from Magnolia. Randy and his wife Jo are vendors at Don-Wes Flea Market selling T-shirts and other items. I asked Randy if he could put a silhouette of a bicycle on a T-shirt with SPOKES WOMAN lettering underneath. He said not easily but referred me to a booth that probably could. I think it is KIWI SIGNS or something like that so after buying a shirt from Randy for $6.50 and the process from KIWI for $10 I have a shirt that would have cost $30 online.  I will pick it up later today!

Moving on to Sunday afternoon- Butch and I participated in a pool event at Trophy Gardens. It was a mixer event similar to one they hold at Magnolia, or used to have in the past. My partner was as green as I was so we didn't do well score wise but we did have fun and met many new people.

Not remembering what we did Monday but Tuesday is becoming my busiest of days. Butch and a new friend Moe went to play golf at the Executive Course in the Magnolia time slot and I went to the info meeting they have each Tuesday. My primary purpose is to promote Trivia night. I tell the activity director to announce it.
It is usually all info but being close to Christmas a short program was performed and I took a few pictures. And here they are...

I know some names but not as many as perhaps I should.  The elf is the entertainment director.
Cindy, the Elf and Ruth.

Theresa, Liz, and ?

Assorted Elves

A most photogenic Elf

And then the New Years Babies showed up.