Sunday, January 14, 2018

'18/#1 Still In Texas, I Think

Yes, I have been negligent in blogging since this is my first blog of the new year. Our calender is very full and has kept us pretty busy. The New Year celebration was reasonably calm this year. We volunteered to help out in the concession counter in the hall. We sent New Year wishes to everyone on the east coast at 11pm Central time and to everyone here in Texas an hour later. When we got home we watched a couple New Year celebrations we had recorded so in total we celebrated New Year four times. Happy 2021? Just joking.

The weather has been less than ideal. As with the rest of the country Mother Nature is screwing around with our heads. With near freezing temps just spitting distance from Mexico and winds that are 40, 50 and close to 60mph, and our home being a trailer, it rocks quite a bit in the wind. Some mornings we have to look outside to make sure we are still in Texas. Also like other parts of the country Mother Nature is being fickle. Some days the highs don't get out of the 40's and a day or two later it is close to 80 degrees and then it goes back. Oh well, at least we don't have to shovel the white stuff in record amounts like some of our friends. You know who you are (wink, wink).

On another note, this weekend is the Tampa RV Super Show. We haven't missed it more than once or twice in the past 20 years and wish we could be there. Instead we went an RV show here in the Rio Grande Valley. It was less than a tenth of the Tampa show but we still got to look at a few new RVs. Nothing we would consider but saw some new features that looked promising and some that were NOT!
Toilet with a view? NOT!

One of our first RV friends once said thatRVers live in a neighborhood that is 3000 miles wide and I believe him. While we were walking around we met a couple that just happen to have worked in Zephyrhills for the same company we were at for the last 3 years. We knew all the same people and chatted for a while and now have new friends on the road. You never know when or where you will meet new people in the RV community. One of our first RV friends told us that

Well it is time to go to work. Today is our half day so Mary slept in. I am going to roust her out of our bed, in our home here in Pharr Texas because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Thursday, December 28, 2017

'17/#38 Just Things I Have Noticed

Well I hope everyone had a Happy Chanukah or Merry Christmas or what ever you did to celebrate this holiday season. We kept it real quiet. Christmas day was spent in our PJs binge watching all the Christmas shows we recorded all during the month of December. New Years will be much the same. There is a New Years party at the club house but our tradition is to watch the ball drop in Times Square. Since that is 11pm here, our New Year starts a little earlier than everyone else's around these parts.

Pharr Texas has been our home now for two months and I have noticed a couple of things. The first thing that stood out was the fashion sense of the women in the RGV or Rio Grande Valley. It doesn't matter what their size or age but the clothing leans toward "model sexy" if you know what I mean. Pants are too tight, skirts are too short, shorts are too tight and too short, and all this is accompanied by heels that just seem a bit too tall. Now don't get me wrong, there are some women of an age and body shape who can pull off this style and that is not the issue. It is the women who have reached the age where it looks ridiculous. I mean 60 years old and dressing like a teenager? Some of them are in great shape and could wear almost anything and look good....but c'mon! And regardless of age, there are those who can only get part of themselves into these clothes. It is the parts that are not covered and hanging out that make it just not right. And the shoes! So many of these women look like they are in pain and in danger of falling over. This is not a new phenomenon but it just seems more like the rule and not the exception around here.

Another thing we see around here and especially in McAllen are birds. We all know that birds fly south for the winter, but what I didn't know was that they all seem to come to McAllen. In Florida a parking spot in the shade of a tree is a bonanza. Here in McAllen it is a curse. I found a great parking spot near the door, under a tree in the shade and gave myself a mental "high-five".  You all know what I mean. We were inside the grocery store for less than an hour and by the time we returned to the parking lot the truck was covered in bird crap. If we had stayed in there for two hours I fear that we would have come back to a truck size pile of bird crap! When I got the truck to the car wash the guy told me that this is common around here. The other cars at car wash were no better off than our truck. Now I don't care how hot it gets or how bright the sun shines I will not park under a tree! In fact I scope out all the trees and strategically place the truck equidistant from every tree I see! The amount of birds is more than amazing, it is kind of scary. Mary says it reminds her of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds". You decide for yourself. It has gotten worse since these pictures were taken!

It is only a few more days until the New Year and time to put Christmas behind us. I am signing off now because today we will start taking down the decorations in our home here in Pharr Texas in the RGV because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Sunday, December 17, 2017

'17/#37 'Tis The Season

There are only eight days until Christmas and we are in the middle of celebrating Chanukah and the air is filled with good will. It is a wonderful time of year. It is a shame that this feeling and attitude can't stay around all year long. In our RV park there is an "Angel Tree" to try and give needy children a Merry Christmas, some of the women are weaving mats out of recycled plastic bags for the homeless, and of course there have been food collections going on since before Thanksgiving. We joined a number of other couples and donated our time to ring the bells for the Salvation Army at the Neighbohood Market.
We try to be charitable all year long and I know many others do also but this seems to be the time of year that most people step up. If you are one of those I thank you for your effots but also encourage you to think this way the rest of the year.

Our park has it's own bus and there are always trips going out to all kinds of events in the area. The residents go to concerts, shows, shopping, and restaurants as a group with Merlin as their chauffeur. This week we are joining them. One night we are going over to Hidalgo to see Christmas lights. Apparently there is quite the display in that town. Later on in the week we will take the bus to Progresso and do a little shopping in Mexico before Christmas. We don't need anything but it is fun to go and wander around. I'm sure we will find something we just can't live without.

We are just about done with all our own Christmas preparations. The decorations are done inside and we have an inflatable to set up outside. All the gifts we have gotten for family have been shipped and Christmas cards are almost done. A little grocery shopping for our Christmas Eve and Day dinners and then we will just sit back and binge watch holiday classics we have been recording all month.

I will try to blog again before Christmas but just in case Merry Chistmas from our home in Pharr Texas because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Friday, December 8, 2017

'17/#36 Vacation? From What?!?

We are still in Texas and this morning we are watching it snow outside our windows. The temperature was 34 degrees when I woke this morning and the high is expected to be in the mid 40's. We high-tailed it out of South Dakota to get away from the winter weather and this morning it is warmer in Keystone than it is here in Pharr. Go figure. Fortunately this weather is not the norm for this area, or so we've been told. Next week it is supposed to warm up again. Right now Mary has gone back to bed and is buried under the covers trying to stay warm.

The past 3 days we spent up in San Antonio, TX. It is a place I have been trying to take Mary for a number of years and we finally made it. Working 12 hours a week is exhausting and we needed a vacation. LOL! It was a 3 1/2 hour drive from Pharr to San Antonio and we stayed in a very nice hotel near the Riverwalk. We walked along the river and took a boat tour and enjoyed all the Christmas lights decorating the shops and landscaping along the Riverwalk.

Like I said we stayed in a nice hotel and for those of you familiar with RVing you know that the one thing that is missing in the bathroom is a tub. Within minutes of getting back to our room Mary was in the tub and soaking all here troubles away. I think she was looking forward to that tub more than seeing San Antonio. With the sounds of splashing and aaahs coming from the tub I just relaxed and let Mary enjoy herself until she became a giant prune. Life is good!

We did a little shopping while we were in San Antonio for things we couldn't find in Pharr. Being from New York I like my bagels and the frozen grocery store things they call bagels just won't do. We found a great bagel shop and stocked up so I could have my bagel fix every once in a while. I was doubly excited to see that they had bialys. If I have to tell you what a bialy is you wouldn't understand. Needless to say I was as happy with my bagels as Mary was with her bathtub.

While we were in San Antonio we were able to catch up with our friends Tommie and Burnie. We workcamped with them several years ago in Cody Wyoming and have stayed in touch with them. We actually haven't seen them since 2012 but it was like we had seen them just yesterday. The joys of the RV community and the connectivity of the internet, you gotta love it!

Well that is enough for now. I am going to enjoy one of my bagels here in our home in Pharr Texas because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Saturday, December 2, 2017

'17/#35 Texas vs Florida

Well we have been here in Texas a little over a month now and are settling in nicely. We have met a lot of great people and more are arriving every day as the winter progresses. Speaking of progressing, where has the year gone? Can you believe that it is already December? The rest of the holiday season and then 2018! WOW!

After spending 30 plus years in Florida we are noticing a few differences between the people who head south to avoid the cold and snow. They all like their Bingo and their social get togethers and there always seems to be a group on the shuffleboard courts. Golf seems to be the main attraction in Florida while here in Texas ready access to Mexico and the inexpensive drugs  and dentistry is the reason for so many who winter here. Another difference is their self-given titles. In Florida we know them as Snow Birds but here they are called Winter Texans. What ever you do don't call them Snow Birds down here. They take offense to that and that is why the locals cater to them even putting out a newspaper for them. Ain't that special?

 I guess we are now Winter Texans and will be part of the group until we leave sometime in the spring. Then we head north for a yet to be determined destination for the summer. I don't know what we will be called next winter. We might be back in Texas or find something in Arizona or New Mexico or even southern California. Our house is on wheels and our plans are written in jello, so we will see when the time comes.

Our day at work is almost over so I will close this blog for now at our home in Pharr Texas because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

'17/#34 Thanksgiving In Texas

Here we are in Texas, a thousand miles away from family and friends, but we still celebrate the holidays. Rvers can be a very close knit community so there is never a shortage of friends to share good times with. Many travel south for the winter and are just as far from family yet still wish to celebrate. In that spirit there is always a Thanksgiving dinner to go to or a party to participate in.

This year we are having Thanksgiving with many of our new friends here in Pharr. Dinner will be of the pot luck design and promises to be fun and as tasty as any we have had in the past. Since there will be over 100 people at this Thanksgiving, groups of sixteen are gathered and the pot luck is organized for that group. There will be turkey and ham and all the usual sides that come with Thanksgiving dinners and everyone will be able to share their own specialty as well as try other's take on holiday traditions. We look forward to the camaraderie as well as the good food.

One challenge in all of this is cooking for sixteen people in an RV kitchen. Close quarters and small appliances inspire creativity. Mary is making her traditional stuffing/dressing and I will be making my home baked bread, both of which seem to go over very well wherever we go. The oven will be working overtime and we will use it in shifts to get everything done by dinner time Thursday.

To those of you who are celebrating with family and friends elsewhere we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and a safe one as well. Many people travel this time of year and there are the inevitable accidents that come with the increase in traffic. Another reason we like to participate within the safety of our RV park.

I have to go now because it looks like it may be my turn in the kitchen here in Pharr Texas because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Thursday, November 16, 2017

'17/#33 A New World Of Shopping

If you are following us on this blog or on facebook you know that we are spending the winter in very south Texas. We are literally 15 minutes from Mexico and the area is dominated by the Hispanic culture. I am not sure whether English or Spanish is the most used language here. Either way the culture is found everywhere and no where is it more prevalent than at the grocery store. In my youth I was exposed to more ethnic (ahem) delicacies than Mary was so I was not taken aback by some of the things we came across. I'm not saying I am going to eat them but I have seen them.

Mary was a little shocked to see these large slabs of meat that she was convinced were still covered in blood. I guess she is used to seeing everything portion sized and neatly wrapped in plastic. Based on my past experience with my own grandparents larger less expensive pieces of meat were brought home and then cut into the size and shape need to prepare different meals. Tubs of chicken parts, whole cat fish, and fish heads did nothing to make her understand that this is normal food used in different styles of cooking. But there is more!

 When we moved on to some of  the more unique pieces Mary was to say the least
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kind of grossed out. She could not comprehend why in the world anyone would want to eat beef tongue, cheek meat, or sweat breads once she found out what they were. Nor could she figure out what you would do with beef feet, beef tripe, or beef tripas which translates in English to beef "guts"! It looked like intestines or worse if you asked Mary. She couldn't look at it any more and had to get away from (and these are her words) the blood bath!

I personally couldn't stop laughing but I can understand the culture shock involved. Mary is starting to understand some of the differences in the local cuisine but I don't think she is looking in any cook books for ideas. I am just as happy about that myself as I don't think I am up to trying any of those "exotic" foods either. My main concern is the potential nightmares Mary might have after her traumatic experience at the grocery store.

Well this is goodnight (I hope a dream free night) from our home in Pharr because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary