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Blog 2010 The Current Travel Journal Feb 01, 2010.



Texas Citrus Festival Parade

The Texas Citrus Festival Parade is today and as always Oleander Acres is entering a float. The theme this year is Traveling Texas.

Oleander Acre's float.

The King and Queen of Oleander Acres --- Doc and Betty.

One of the floats --- I think it's the King and Queen of the Festival along with her attendants.

This float was decorated with sliced fruit.

There were horses pulling a carriage .......

and this horse pulling a cart

Doc was showing us a single finger and the trophy ..... Oleander's entry had won first place in it's class.

This parade was a little different as there were military vehicles, zero radius lawn mowers, trucks, etc. driving in the parade.

Not quite sure who these guys were but they were very colourful.

I just loved how the mane was weaved on the white horse.

These horses could almost dance.



Learning to be a Greeter

Today was the park's Arts and Craft Show. They take this show very seriously --- the Bully Patrol stands outside allowing only the artists to enter between 9 and 9:45 am and the judges to enter between 9:45 and 10am. Greeters (I was one of three) meet the artists and escort them to the appropriate tables where other people register them. Turned out being a greeter was pretty easy and maybe after I've done it for a couple of years I'll be ready to apply for a job at Wal-Mart.

In the afternoon the hall is opened for viewing. Turns out we have some pretty talented people in the park. One woman makes little sculptures and jewelry including making her own beads. Ok, she is a professional a sculptor but her stuff was amazing. The park also has talented wood workers, painters, photographers (no Ed didn't enter), knitters, crocheters, card makers, etc.




Last year the club thought it was going to need to raise money to help renovate the library so Cheryl decided that making and selling pasties could be a good fund raiser. Turned out the library renovation changed to building a new pool hall and so far the club doesn't need to provide any funds so the money is waiting for a good project.

Anyway, I think people like the pasties as they asked Cheryl if she was going to do it again this year. As I helped last year I was asked to help again. Learning from our mistakes, the pasty production went a lot smoother this year. 130 pasty were sold and a nice amount of change was added to the special funds. I took my camera with me but I got down to work and totally forgot I had it with me till the last batch of pasties went into the oven.

Finished pasties cooling.

Cheryl admiring the finished product.



I'm a Red Hat Now

The Red Hat group from the park were planning a trip to local museum for a quilt show. I wanted to see the quilts and decided that it would be fun to go with the other ladies so I paid my $2 dues and became a card carrying member of the Red Hats. As I didn't own my own red hat I borrowed one and put on my purple T-shirt so I sort of fit in with the rest of them.

First stop was a Tea Room which we filled with the 40 ladies. There was a sea of red and purple.

Judy and Kay are sisters.

Judy loves our park. Both her sister in-law, sister and a good friend from home are in the park this year.

Cheryl decided there was no point in standing yet as there was a long line to pay.

Second stop was the museum. The quilt show was about 10 or 15 quilts recently completed by mostly winter Texans. We were given some time to look at them then we were lead to another part of the museum where she told us about the Mission area. I was a bit disappointed as I had imaged the "quilt show" to be old quilts and that the woman from the museum would talk to us about the quilts telling us about their histories and what the patterns meant. It turned out I was part of the entertainment as the ladies had fun watching me nod off, wake up and nod off again --- I really need a cat nap after lunch. Despite my need for a nap and not getting the quilt show I had hope for I still had fun with the ladies.




Going to Ropa is an experience no one should miss. Ropa is Spanish for clothes --- thus going to Ropa is going shopping for clothes but in a very unique way. There are warehouses that receive large bundles of discarded clothes, some used and some new. You can either buy a bundle or buy the clothes by the pound. Today we went to two Ropa's --- one was a little pricey, up to $2.25 a pound. Some items we purchased were 25 cents a piece. The benefit of this Ropa was everything was sorted and put into bins. Jean, thanks for the photos.

Let's see, the colours for Mardi Gras are purple, green and gold .... yup I think this might work.

Darlene, myself and Linda standing by the clothing bundles with our treasures.

The second Ropa was a lot less expensive .... everything was 20 cents a pound but you had to sort through mounds of clothing making it a lot harder to find things . Linda was at the top of a 10 foot pile.

A fork lift kept the pile neat making it harder to find things.

We found several items of clothing to wear plus some items for Mardi Gras.



Mexican Fiesta

Cheryl, Linda and I volunteered to help the activities director today. We made 13 Tamale Pies for the Mexican Fiesta --- think I can do it in my sleep now. Everyone said the pies were very good so it must have been worth the work.

A local Mexican Dance school brought some of their students to the park to dance for us.

Each dance is from a different area of Mexico, thus each costume is unique.

The main dance instructor was trying to keep from laughing as these four young children were doing their dance --- guess they were doing it their way.



Early and Late Birthday Celebration

Ed and Colin both turn sixty this month and both are excitedly waiting for their first Canada Pension cheques to arrive. To celebrate Colin, Margaret, Ed and I met at Estero LLano Grande State Park and went for a walk. Zaph, Splash and Mexi especially enjoyed it and I think the rest of us did.

This Common Pauraque was sleeping under a bush. A second Pauraque was about six feet away under another bush. Pauraque roost during the day and hunt for bugs at night. These birds are very difficult to see as they look like the twigs, leaves and branches they sleep in.

This cormorant gave us quite a show. He had speared a fish ................

............. and hit it against the tree several times before he finally ate it.

After the walk, we drove over to Colin and Margaret's trailer where she made us grilled shrimp and stuffed Cornish hens cooked in the Ronko, yum!!!!! Unfortunately, things did not go according to plan that day. A few days earlier in the week, Colin and Margaret's refrigerator died. They purchased a new refrigerator and it seemed to be working fine until today. When we arrived from the walk, Colin decided the refrigerator needed to be defrosted ---- NOW. So after borrowing a cooler from the neighbours for the frozen items. The refrigerator was turned off. As we sat down to dinner the refrigerator was turned back on. As to be expected, the refrigerator incident had an timing effect on dinner. Turned out the vents of the fridge were on the side so it would not run correctly in the trailer. The refrigerator was returned and a replacement purchased. Hope this one will work as expected.



Fun Night

Fun Night is when people get up and do silly things so we can all have a good laugh and laugh we did. Last year we didn't bring our video camera but this year at the last minute I threw it into the trailer, so when Ed was asked if he could video fun night he didn't have a good excuse to say no.

The first skit was a story about the trials and tribulations of using a bedpan .........

Next, a local elementary school came in to show us "speed stacking". It's a hand - eye co-ordination exercise where cups are stacked in patterns. Apparently it's very popular .... lots of hits when you google "speed stacking" and lots of video on youtube.

Darryl is shown how to speed stack.

We were also treated to a fashion show feature some unusual models

Starting on the left we have the recyclable "can-can" skirt and straw hat, a "print dress" with a "pill box hat", a "box sweater", a "slip on sweater with 3 quarter sleeves" .... yup three quarters were taped to each sleeve. At the far right we have the "tea-shirt"... yup tea bags were pinned all over the shirt and "bell bottom pants". She jingled when she walked.



Tummy Rubs

Ed had a pretty good birthday ..... some time to do his own thing in the morning, helping a friend with a slide show followed by freshly baked cinnamon rolls with the neighbours (thanks Rosetta) in the afternoon and finally a nice steak dinner at Cheddars. The service wasn't as good as it normally is (our server had two trainees and they definitely need more training) so Ed wrote an e-mail to head office and got a phone call back from the kitchen manager at the local restaurant offering us a free dinner. Guess it's worth giving your opinion when you're not happy.

Gotta love those teeth ------Zaph is lying upside down on the bed getting his morning tummy rub.



Happy Birthday Rosetta & Ed .... 1 and 3 days early

One of our friends (Rosetta) celebrates her 70th birthday on January 12th and Ed, of course, celebrates his 60th birthday on January 14th. As they are "0" birthdays we decided to celebrate them in style. (Rosetta is playing the piano for the Men's Chorus on the 12th so we did it a day early). Ed's actually birthday won't be forgotten .... we're going out for a steak dinner.

We gathered a group of people, party favours and a cake and drove to Ponchos ---- a Mexican restaurant that's not too far away.

Ed & Rosetta.

The Mariachi Band came and played a couple of songs for us.

Lots of delicious food.

and of course cake. The cake said Happy Birthday Rosetta and Ed ..... 130 years of knowledge

I'm ready..... let's party.



Gazing Balls

Where do old worn out bowling balls go?

They go to Oleander Acres RV park to be made into gazing balls.

A couple of women from our park scoured the local flea markets and found around 30 old bowling balls. Next they found some willing participants, pieces of glass, pottery and mirror and a lot of silicon sealant. The result are these gazing balls.

Not being good at abstract I decided to create a flower pattern.

Baby, it's cold out there. South Texas had an unusual cold snap with the temperatures dropping below freezing for a couple of nights.

It was weird to walk around the park and see sheets everywhere.

Even the park owner covered a couple of the sensitive cacti.

Gypsy makes her self comfortable when she comes for a visit.



Zaph's New Friend

Two of our neighbours arrived on New Years Eve day. The snow in Illinois delayed them by a day --- the mid west is really having a tough winter so far this year. As is the tradition when there are new arrivals we went out for dinner. Being New Years Eve we decided to head out early and arrived at our first choice in restaurants at 5 pm --- it was going to be an hour wait so we headed to our 2nd choice. Not as popular a restaurant as we were seated right away. It was a little more expensive but the food was good and the company great. Ed and I opted for a quiet evening (they were having games and finger food at the rec hall) --- watched some TV and cracked a bottle of sparkling wine at midnight. It sounded a bit like a war zone as the Mexicans are very fond of fireworks and shot them off for at least an hour before midnight and half and hour after.

Hey .... that's not a play toy ..... that's my tail.

Zaph's new friend Gypsy came over to help wake Ed up --- she did a really good job. I had let Ed sleep in and skip Saturday coffee as he's fighting a cold. Gypsy is my neighbour's 5 month old Papillon and she seems to really like Zaph.

Working on Zaph's rawhide chews --- she still has the razor sharp baby teeth.

Have you seen Avatar 3D yet? I didn't know much about it except for the few clips I'd seen and that it had been in the works for 15 years. Ed really wanted to go so I thought I might as well go too and I'm really glad I did. It was an amazing movie .... great special effects but also a story and of course good won over evil. It's been a good day --- bridge with decent hands, the movie and a visit to the DQ. Life is pretty good.

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