Friday, December 26, 2008

What a Christmas

Well, it couldn't have been better. We saw all of our kids and grandkids on Christmas Day. We started off at Steph's house with a terrific present-opening extravaganza followed by a brunch that was really very good. We had Eggs Benedict and incredible lox from NYC brought by Al and Steph's annual Christmas Day brunch guest Susan. Oh, did I mention the bottles of fizz. Veuve Cliquot Ponsardin. Anyway,
The last post had pics etc but here's one of Al putting together a game for the twins.

We got to P'ville by 4:15 pm and had some more champagne with Emily, Jenn and Anth and his parents. Well, we needed more fizz after the 2 hrs+ drive.
Then Anth brought out 4 wines he'd been saving for 10 years or so and along with a great lamb dinner with all the trimmings- onions in vinegar, mint sauce, carrots and turnips, gravy, mushrooms, green beans, broccoli, ham, turkey, fingerling taters, oh we had it all..........
Jenn and Anna sang for us. ( I tried to mess it up by singing along but they ignored me, thanks to God)

Another one of Drummer Boy.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Morning

Here are some snaps and vids from earlier this morning...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Two Centuries, Merry Christmas

This is my 201st post. Oh you lucky people!

We had a terrific night tonight with a great dinner of prime tenderloin and Brunello di Montalcino.............

Then we all went Christmas caroling.( Evie and Patch too.)

I am a bit pressed for time ; it is late and we want to be back where the twins are early manana so we can see the presents opening.....So I am going to do little editing and just load it all up......

Here we are caroling.

After we have lunch we will be heading up to Pflugerville to see Anna and Colin for Christmas Day at The Martins. It's all go int it?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Evelyn and Patch.

This does not need narrative.............

Nor does this......

Cruise Stuff

I know I posted some of this before but editorial prudence prompted by Steph brought about a rewrite.

The nicest thing about this big ship was the Promenade. A five-storey open space street through the center of the boat which connected the 3 storey dining rooms in the aft area to the theater at the other end. Along the way was the Purser's Office, the casino entry and several bars and a number of shops and even a Pizza joint. Here's a vid from my cabin on the first day aboard.

And here's one from a few days later... with commentary about the lowering of my expectations of Royal Caribbean. A little elitism showing there..

And a video tour of the street made before I knew that Cleopatra's Needle was an 'event' place a little smaller than La Scala, the main theater.

If you're not fed up by now, here's a vid from the ski lift in Funchal.

It really is a splendid ride and once at the top you can take a toboggan ride back down which is a lot of fun.

Here is one of the ship from the pier in La Palma

Here is a side street in La Palma, Canary Islands.

And a pic of me in Cartagena............

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Barcelona to Galveston to Austin to El Paso, Oy veh!

It's been a long time since I posted, I know.
I was unwilling to pay the 50 cents per minute that Royal Caribbean charges--with slow service too.
I saw Int.Cafes in Cartagena and Bahamas but they were uninviting and seedy looking so I opted out.
I woulda posted when I got home on Sunday but we drove straight to Austin from the pier in Galveston and got home to Houston late. I barely had time to check my e-mail before we left again for dental\dermatological appts in El Paso. So here I am on Bev's lap top in the hotel waiting on our flight in 3 hours.
I will try to post some pics tomorrow. I have several you might find interesting like the ice show on the ship and the Royal Promenade, a large street that runs through the centre of the boat with shops and eating places along the way.
My old friend Jim Enright and I had a nice time and met some really good people.
One of the interesting people was a lady who was on her first cruise and first time away from her husband. I have some pics of her and I will write more about her, perhaps, next blog.
We had a lovely day In P'ville and Anna's performance was worth the long trip. Colin was a gentleman and sat the entire performance between Nana and me. I was impressed by his behaviour and I hope it continues so we can have him overnight a few times in Houston soon.
Baby Ev had not forgotten me and I am thrilled she says Grandad almost clearly. I took a little vid of her and I'll post that soon too.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


We have had no phone for over a week. We tried to switch to Vonage but it screwed up Bev's wireless and we couldn't figure out how to get Tivo to work on the cable vs. the phone line.
So we switched back to ATT and got a cheaper rate and $100 for switching but they could not turn the phone on until tomorrow, Friday.

In the meantime I have been getting voice mail from my answering machine over Vonage.

Last week I had my blood checked and frankly I was not optimistic about the results because the last two times I was checked some #s were too high.

Here's the cardiologist, Dr Aguilar, calling on my answering machine.

Great news huh?

Other than that we have been painting the bedrooms getting ready for Emily's visit at Christmas. And I'm getting worked up about my upcoming cruise which starts the day after Thanksgiving when I fly to B'lona and sail away. Final destination, Galveston where my driver will pick me up.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A New Outlook...........

Our Townhouse is modern on the inside but the windows were 30+ years old and had leaky spots and were loose. One even flew out during the hurricane Ike as I mentioned here IKE

We had intended replacing them sometime soon and Ike just made us move a little faster. We have had a boarded up bedroom window for a couple of months.

Well we had them done yesterday. It took the crew 4.5 hours to replace 7 windows!
They were terrific and didn't mess around. Here's Mo pulling the old frame out and pushing the new window in.

And here are a couple of vids to show all the excitement we had....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

This really didn't happen!

I got caught speeding again yesterday. I thought for a minute I would be able to talk my way out of a ticket, until the officer saw my dog in the back seat........

Monday, October 27, 2008

New Costco; Shopping with Evie

We have a new Costco 1 mile from out townhouse! They have some nice wine there and we were lucky enough to find some Cameron Hughes Lot 75 there today.

Evie came with us and here she is getting buckled into the Honda...

Nana washed the cart with de-germ before she would let me put Evie in it.

And here is a little video...

Nana is ridiculous with Evie. Yesterday Evie was cuddly with her and Nana was all gooey. Today all she did was say "Nana" with her arms forward asking to be held and loved on and, BINGO!, Nana buys 12 apples just to get one 'cos Evie asked for it. "Ooh, look" says Nana, "you can see her teeth when she does that" (biting open-jawed at the fruit). I mean, she's not the first kid to have teeth, right?

Now, you wouldn't catch me being naff like that. wouldn't catch me!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Most of them came.....

The Martin's came to Houston this past week-end. The cousins always are so excited to be with each other it is a pleasure to see.

Here is Colin playing in the train room.

This video is one I took when they had just arrived and Colin and Graham were in hiding in the train room.

Here Paige and Graham are dressed to go to a wedding. They were looking forward to dancing and eating wedding cake

Before bed, Anna and Colin were given the choice of 1. swimming and showering outside or 2. showering inside and going to bed.
Which do you think they chose?

Colin can sing....

Anna can sing.....

Thursday, October 9, 2008

What a faux pas

Excuse my parvenu title (and the use of that word too) but I read a terrific article at Born Again Redneck that prompted me to be a bit daft. It is an essay from 2002 by Jay Nordlinger about the pretentiousness of people who use foreign city names instead of the English derivation - like Leghorn for Livorno, Torino for Turin etc.
And I decided to do a little of it myself.

Anyway, I saw a video on the Drudge Report and it reminded me of my chagrin at La Guardia airport in 1968. I know that's a long time ago but this is how I remember the details;

I was working at LGA and it seemed like all of NYC was trying to get to Washington D.C. for Robert Kennedy's funeral at Arlington.
Vice President Humphrey, who was running for the presidency, was waiting to get on a flight in a crowded gate area so I invited him into the PSM office so he could have a little privacy. (Of course I regaled him with my numerous fishing trips to Ely, Minnesota).
I left the office and outside met the new president of AAL George Warde. He had recently taken over the job from GEORGE Spater........Anyway Warde wanted to go in and make a call so I took him in and introduced him to the Vice Pres as George Spater. Oh my Gosh. They talked for a while and when Warde came out of the office I apologised for the blunder. "Don't feel bad", he said, "I was more embarrassed by the fact that I just subpoenaed him for unpaid campaign debts" (VP Humphrey had rented a 727 from AA and owed money for the rental.)

Anyway, here's the clip that reminded me of the event.

Can you imagine the horror that went through this guy's brain when he realized his error?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I wish I had a pair of shoes like that.......

We visited the Walkers for an hour today. The serviceman for the alarm system showed up and you will hear the bird sounds of the alarm system on one or two of these videos.

Evie was outside when we arrived and she had on some new shoes.

Later she picked out a snack and you will see her eating that. She climbs stairs well and can come down backwards unassisted from 15 or more steps up!
The last two vids show off her squeaky shoes and Graham and Paige and Evelyn on the 'Swirl of Life'.

Oh My Gosh

Went to the orthopaedic Dr yesterday. After years of hip pain, I was finally resolved to get it looked at and fix both if needed. If not both, at least the more bothersome left one.

The assistants took multiple x-rays and asked lots of ????
The Dr manipulated my legs and hips and showed me the results of the x-rays.

Your hips are OK he said. What you have is a mass of muscle that is joined by a ligament to the hip and it needs to be stretched out. I can give you a steroid shot and some other meds but I think you can work it out with heat and stretching. Do this stretch - he showed my an unattractive pose that stretches the left glute - and call me in 6 weeks. If its not better we'll do the steroid shot. This guy is an old Ag with a good sense of humor and friendly approach. We were very comfortable with him and, after he gave us the good news our opinion skyrocketed.

I am happy with the news. I really didn't want to have an invasive operation but since I have suffered for years with hip pain I was prepared to do it. He said the muscle mass is all on account of my not stretching enough before I exercise.

Off to the gym now. You bet I will stretch.

Monday, October 6, 2008

After School Snack

Nana picked up Paige after school and asked her if she wanted a snack before she went home. "Yes," she said. "Some Cheshire Cheese would be good"

So here is the cheese and here is PK doing a little colouring and Nana beaming at her granddaughter's skills.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Evelyn again. Paige's Shoes and Graham's Energy

There are lots more videos from yesterdays trip to Pumpkin Park at get2eric at the YouTube site. For those of you who don't want to bother picking your way through them there I posted a couple here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Reprise of the Chihuahua Song

Evelyn and I spent two hours together today. I babysat while Steph and the twins went to Art Class. Evie is easy to care for. She went down for a nap so I really only entertained her for an hour. When I put her down for her nap she fussed for 30 secs and then the fuss became a little singing to herself for a few secs and then she was off! She slept for more than 60 minutes and then I checked on her and she was lying with her eyes wide open. She saw me and said "wowa" Ay Chihuahua!!
So I put her in the chair and showed her the video. I videoed it so those of you who are not yet fed up of my vids can enjoy my adventure too. The first vid is shaky 'cos I was jumping to the music. Listen to her say Nana in the second one.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Betty Davis is Second Fiddle

Just a quick note about Evie. Along with her funny face she has begun to look sideways at you and to give you the eyes. A new one happened when we were at the computer and she was diddling with the keys - interrupting the page I was reading. I said "No Evie" and here's what she did.

I would like to have made a picture from my angle. It was a better shot!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ike - What a pain in the Patootie

We sweated out the storm -literally- and spent a couple of days in discomfort without airconditioning and without electricity. However I think we did the right thing staying here in the Walker's home because while I slept through the hurricane force winds, Bev heard a door bust open and saved the 'train room' from a disastrous deluge of rain and wind.

At our condo we lost a bedroom window that blew out -all the glass was outside- and the heavy drapery and flimsy shade kept most of the rain on Friday night off the carpet. I rode Steph's bike over on Saturday morning and did a temporary fix, mostly with duct tape, before the big rain Saturday night. I did a better more long term fix on Sunday with plywood. Thank God Steph had a large sheet of 3/4 inch plywood in the garage.

Today, Tuesday, both our neighborhood grocery shops are open and some of the traffic lights are working. Mostly they are not. Debris is still piled high everywhere you go and trees cover and block streets throughout the area. The first shop I went to had no dairy and only a little produse. They were running the cash registers from a generator but had no lights on in the store! The second store was Whole Foods and they were allowing people to enter 5 at a time as people were leaving the store. They had full power, frozen goods, dairy, meat, fish, fruit and bakery goods - fresh.

I am uploading video, 13 of them to YouTube. Those of you who wanna see them go to my account there. She is my new Buddy.

Here are a few pics I took Saturday and Sunday and I will have video to add to this post as soon as the 13 Evie vids are uploaded.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sunday Spectacular

I sold 60 cases of wine this last weekend. I am enjoying making a few extra bucks to spend foolishly on my/our next trip.
I had thought of going on a 4 day cruise from Vancouver to San Diego late in September but it filled up before I decided to take it.
Next in line was a Trans-Atlantic deal returning from Civitavecchia to Florida on Oct 4th but a few Dr appointments that we lined up squashed that. There is one other that is still in the offing. It's a cruise from Barcelona to Galveston.............may do that.
Problem is my most favorite companion cannot take the time to do it with me.
I may still do it though.

Sunday was a spectacular day. We had the twins in the morning and then had Evelyn for dinner while the twins went out to eat with their friend Henry.
Here's a video of Paige and Graham Sunday morning having a cheese snack, followed by a video showing Evie's fascination with Patchie.

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Year of Growing......

Here's a comparison of Anna in 2007 and this year.
Here Anna has an artichoke in 2007......

Here she is talking to her Mum.......

And here is video from this year........

And another from 2008.

She is an easy house guest. She's happy all the time and shows it by walking around humming or singing. She's eager to participate in whatever Nana has planned for her.

We are looking forward to next year's visit.

Monday, August 18, 2008

This is a Good-Looking Lad

This is Colin. Enjoying his pie at lunch in Chappell Hill

With his new Captain's hat

And he can sing too.

Jennifer brought us some tomatoes and peppers.
Here they are along with a shot of Anna and Nana just after we got home and pretty Jennifer as she left Chappell Hill.