Mission, TX, Leisure Valley Ranch, Lot 159 — 23 days
Sunday, November 23, 2008 — Fulltimers 1 Year & 6 Months
Sunday, November 16. We attend a Folklorico Concert at the La Joya Performing Arts Center
Mariachi Los Coyotes.
After falling flat on my face Saturday morning, I spent a restless night. I couldn’t put pressure on either side of my face and I generally sleep on my side. At 5:00 am I got up and took an Ibuprofen and then fell asleep and managed to sleep until 7:30 am. My neck and jaw — even the front of my face ached.
Last night Myrna called. It was so great to hear from her. We caught up on news and discussed the election and California’s Prop 8. We are both horrified that it passed. She asked why I hadn’t posted anything on Cute Small Dogs since last May. I told her about my Dreamweaver difficulties. She said that Roger uses Dreamweaver and maybe he could help me. Roger got on the phone and made a date to call me Sunday morning.
Roger called me at 10:30 am my time and he was a huge help. He told me how to made a copy of what I have currently posted on the Internet. That way when I make changes I have a trail of “breadcrumbs” so if something goes wrong I can go back to an earlier version. He also told me how to delete files on the Internet that I posted inadvertently and that I don’t want. Now I can do that without worry because I have a backup. So he was a huge help.
Today is our big event day. We have tickets to attend a Folklorico music and dance performance at La Joya High School. After my talk with Roger I had to hurry to shower and dress. I painted under-eye white cover-up over the bruise on my chin and neck and then I wore makeup. Everyone was worried that I couldn’t go but except for an achy jaw I felt fine. I took a Tylenol with me just in case. We arrived early so we could get good seats. Some of the group chose to sit in the rear of the theater but we headed with the Cranes for the fourth row center and I saved seats for Tom and Theresa.
The audience during intermission. The control booth is in the center just beyond Dennis who is in the aisle with a red shirt.
The La Joya Performing Arts Center on N. Coyote Blvd. in La Joya was a big surprise to me. It is a beautiful, modern theater that was built by La Joya ISD (Independent School District) in 1998 for a construction cost of 9 million. It has 1,500 seats with a superb acoustics and A/V system. The audio system is powerful enough to support the music for folkloric and other dance programs. The control booth on the floor level was just above our fourth row seats. It has a loudspeaker system with a capability for stereo imaging. Both the systems and layout were designed for ease of use by students and to support their music program. http://www.acousticdimensions.com/projects/pac/lajoya.htm
The concert was absolutely wonderful. It featured Mariachi “Los Coyotes” with 17 musicians and singers, Grupo “Folklorico Tabasco” with 44 dancers and Conjunto “Los Diamantes” with 15 musicians and singers. The sets, lighting, sound, makeup and costumes together with the demeanor and quality of performance on the part of these teenagers was professional.
The high school has produced variations of this concert for 26 years. Graduates return to help coach students and I can only imagine that younger students practice and train from elementary and middle school onward to earn a place in this theater performance. I am sure it has affected their attitudes about education and their ability to succeed as adults. There was a lot of pride in the history and culture of Mexico demonstrated in this concert. I did not take photos during the first half of the concert as I didn’t want to blind the dancers with the flash. I did after the Intermission when I saw that others were permitted to take flash photos. I found a sampling of some of the performances that we saw on YouTube.
The opening scene was titled “Maya” and we saw six Mayan dances in front of a temple. The dancers had beads around their ankles that added percussion to the rhythm of their movements. A princess emerged from the group and was sacrificed to “Chac”, the god of rain. The photo on the left is borrowed from http://www.lizgallego.com/folklorico_cuadro.htm
Next the Mariachi Los Coyotes performed three songs against a backdrop of a masonry wall with arches, as if in a town square. They stood in a semi-circle all wearing matching traditional beige and white Mariachi costumes. The band consisted of four violins, three trumpets, a Mexican harp, two large base guitars, three small (treple?) guitars, and four medium size (tenor?) guitars. Abigail Silva sang “Gorrioncillo Pecho Amarillo”; Abigail and Izamar Salinas sang a beautiful duet to “No Vale La Pena”; Mario Cantu sang “El Son De Mi Tierra.” All performed with great poise and aplomb. http://mariachiloscoyotes.tripod.com/index.html
Then we saw amazing ribbon folk dances from the district of Sierra Gorda de Queretaro which depicted an October harvest celebration with homage to Mexico’s patron saint, La Guadalupana, with “La Danza de Xochipitzahautl” and three other dances. Sixteen men and women danced in four groups of four carrying long ribbons of white or red or green as they performed amazing intertwining of ribbons. I found a similar dance on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A45KubQ17Pw
Abigail Silva sang “El Corrido Del Gallo De Oro”. She performs like a professional.
Conjunto Los Diamantes was a mariachi band wearing black with sequins in an old fashioned nightclub setting. They played three Tejano selections that combine European, Spanish, French and Polish influences in this northern section of Mexico.
Calabaceado were exciting dances from the northern part of Baja California. French influences from the state of Sonora brought the addition of the accordion to the band. The men wore cowboy outfits and the women wore short cowgirl skirts and they all danced with boots. With toe and heel stomping and kicking the partners danced and whirled faster and faster as they imitated cattle movements to “La Loba.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urq4kspPx2c&feature=related
In “Epoca de Oro Del Cine Mexicano,” a movie screen showed clips of old Mexican movies with famous stars of the 1940’s singing on screen. We had glimpses of legendary figures such as Maria Felix and Libertad Lamarque in movies like “Dona Barbara” and “Pepe el Tor”. We saw popular renditions of three songs including a shawl dance called “Si Me Han De Matar Manana” performed by Pedro Infante and Sofia Alvarez. Dancers on stage performed the traditional shawl dance that went with this song. They also danced to the music of “Escuela De Musica” and “Dos Tipos De Cuidado” while the film musicians played and the film stars sang. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlOhG-AC6i8&feature=related
There were five lively dances from Veracruz with women wearing ruffled lacey dresses and the men in white pants. They tapped an intricate rhythm with their boots that reminded me of Spanish Flamenco.
The Mariachi Los Coyotes put in two more appearances with traditional and popular selections sung by students and one performed by their teachers, alumni from La Joya turned professional, Izamar Salinas Cantu and Mario Cantu.
The concert ended with a bang with everyone on stage performing a carnival dance from seashore cities like Mazatlan in the Sinaloa district. The music and dance reflected the European influences in steps, theme, instrumentation and costuming. In the grand finale Aphrodite emerged from the sea.
Our audience of older retirees stood and gave the performers an enthusiastic ovation. We were all amazed that they are still young teenagers and not mature professional performers.
The entire cast takes a bow.
The music and drama program of La Joya ISD was a huge surprise to me. When I was in elementary school I had music and art classes. When my kids were in school, I saw classes in the fine arts discarded in favor of emphasis in science. I always thought that the skills learned in fine arts were less direct but no less important for the development of a disciplined and accomplished student. The program at LJISD seems to prove my theory.
I discovered that it has been ongoing for twenty-six years and sprang from the needs of the student population. One of the fastest growing school districts in Texas, the LJISD covers 226 sq. mi. and it has an increase of 700 students annually. Roughly 24% of the student population comes from migrant families so the student population fluctuates throughout the school year. The motivation has been to discover the best ways to train and support teachers in the use of drama-in-education techniques in their classrooms and to research the impact of drama work on student achievement. In the Fall of 2000, a two-year pilot project was implemented to test these goals. Results showed that the project had a significant and demonstrably positive impact on TAAS scores in the La Joya ISD. www.villageprofile.com
The LJISD program has also been supported by the outreach resources at the U of Texas at Austin for Theatre & Dance: Youth Programs. “Drama as a Teaching Technology (K-12) “Our Drama as a Teaching Technology program provides instruction for K-12 teachers in ways to use theatre games, improvisation, and role-playing as teaching tools. Research shows that these techniques actively engage students in the learning process and have the ability to transform children’s lives by introducing them to new ways of communicating and approaching problems as well as enhancing their academic studies. These techniques also contribute to the development of lifelong skills such as making informed judgments and evaluations. While our efforts have been restricted to schools in the Austin area, our Drama for Schools initiative specifically targets school districts throughout the state for long-term partnerships. For example, our Drama for Schools pilot project in La Joya, TX is providing a template for connecting with school districts across the state.” www.finearts.utexas.edu
Pepe’s by the River. The dance floor is at the far end.
After this wonderful performance we came back to our homes to quickly walk and feed our dogs and change clothes to “dress down” for a dancehall called Pepe’s by the River. We put on our Texas togs — jeans, shirts and boots and six of us went to Pepe’s for dinner and dancing.
Pepe’s is a huge hall with an open wall and a veranda facing the Rio Grande. The high ceiling is decorated with a Hawaiian-like thatched roof. The room is filled with tables and a bar. Waiters serve nachos and such. At one end is a dance floor and on a stage a band played Texas line-dance type of music. We shared two orders of nachos and we all got on the dance floor for a few dances. Jay and Betty led the way as they love to dance and grab every opportunity to hit the dance floor. It was noisy and crowded and lots of fun.
Monday, November 17, 2008. We get Dennis ready to fly to San Jose.
In the early morning we went over to the Crane lot to watch the fun. Big excitement as the pad is poured with concrete.
Betty and Jay pose in front of their lot with the cement mixer behind them.
Dennis made some business appointments for Thursday at the office. He thought he would fly on Wednesday and return on Friday. But I felt that he should go a day early to rest and be well acquainted with the financial reports. And against my own best interests I felt he should stay through Monday just to be sure he put in enough time at the office. We looked at various flights and costs on Expedia and chose a departure Tuesday morning and a return the following Tuesday morning. He will be there six days and nights. With tax the cost is $437.50 to fly round trip from McAllen, TX to San Jose, CA.
After much pain and labor Dennis got e-tickets printed. (It’s not something we do every day.) Then he had to get packed. We have no suitcases so he shoved a few things into a daypack. I may have to dump the black tank next week so he showed me how to do that. We ate our Carrino leftovers for dinner.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008. Night 1 — Dennis gone. I get my nails done.
We left at nine o’clock and drove to the McAllen-Miller Airport off 10th St. It’s an easy drive on the freeway and only took us twenty minutes. The airport is small with easy access in short-term parking. We went in and got his ticket and then waited in a small café until 10:15. Then he went through Security and we waved goodbye.
His plane was to board at 10:45 and depart at 11:15 but he later told me it left an hour late. He boarded an hour late in Dallas but the plane still arrived in San Jose on time at 3:40 pm PST or 5:40 CST. He called me right after he landed while he was waiting for a shuttle to go to his rental car. Thank god he arrived safely.
After Dennis left, I drove around the Macy’s mall on 10th St right near the airport looking for a Vietnamese nail salon — but no such thing. Finally I chose a nearby salon from my list. It was west of my location on nearby Conway and south of the freeway and I was curious about the area so I drove there. It is in a terrific location, a development called Sharyland Plantation. The salon was in an upscale, small mall but they didn’t do gel nails. From my list I called Da-Vi Nails and asked if they were located in Wall-mart because I went to Da-Vi Nails at a Wal-mart in Billings, MT. Sure enough they were and they told me to come in. So I drove further west (always towards home) and north to Wal-mart on 3 Mile Rd.
In fact, I haven’t gotten nail fills since Billings. My nails were way long and I’d lost three — two busted off (bent backwards) when I fell. Kim inspected the damage and wanted to start from scratch so I agreed and she took them off. I ended up getting $118 worth of the works — wax legs, a massage spa pedicure, new gel nails and she suggested she wax my eyebrows so I agreed. She did a terrific job on all counts and I was glad I went for the extras. I gave her a twenty-dollar tip. I was there for two hours and fifteen minutes and I left feeling like a new woman.
Kim asked about my achy-breaky jaw so I told her about my fall. I asked about the lack of Vietnamese population here. She gave me the scoop. She rooms here in Mission, with three other women who work at Da-Vi, (which means nails in Vietnamese). They cook family style and save money. On a six-week rotation they go home for a week to see their families in Houston. Kim has a husband who works in Houston and two boys, four and ten. Because of a large Vietnamese population and stiff competition, she couldn’t find work doing nails there. Here, she has work but the family won’t move here because there are few job opportunities in the McAllen/Mission area. She said I would love Houston because it is a big city with all kinds of shops and restaurants. (I later told Jay about this and he shuddered saying Houston is hot and humid and the pits.) But to Vietnamese who come from tropical Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), humid subtropical Houston probably seems terrific. And who knows? Seeing as it’s a large city with much to offer, I might like it too.
I hadn’t eaten breakfast or lunch and it was two o’clock when I left Da-Vi. Across the parking lot I saw a restaurant called Taco Rico Palmhurst. Betty invited me to dinner at six so I didn’t want to take the edge off but I needed something to tide me over. I used to love Taco Supremes from Taco Bell (forever a gringo) so I took my book and book prop and went in. What a pleasant surprise. There was loud Mexican music but otherwise it was great. I got a booth and set up to read. I ordered 3 tacos and they were excellent. I didn’t take too much time because I needed to get home to the dogs. By the time I returned they’d been alone for six hours.
A new mobile home has just been moved onto the lot opposite the lot where we are parked. I stand in our driveway and that shadow is from our bus.
When I pulled into my driveway I saw that the neighbors across the street had their mobile home delivered. One day there is empty land, the next concrete is laid and soon after a house is in place and more concrete is laid. Now our view through to the street beyond is blocked. At any moment the empty lots on either side of us could be built and would hem us in further. Right now I enjoy looking at the empty expanse of lawns across the undeveloped or unsold lots.
I rested and later I had an excellent dinner with the Cranes. I’ve turned them onto Dancing With the Stars so we watched the recap show before the results. Then I came back and Dennis called me at six his time, eight my time. He was driving to the home of my sister, Sally, where he will stay for the week. She lives in nearby Palo Alto.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008. Night 2 — Dennis gone. I go to a Spanish language class.
The dogs were alone six hours yesterday and never got a long walk. Today Betty had us signed up for a three hour Spanish class in downtown Mission from 9 to 12 and they wanted us to leave at 8 to be sure of how to get there and where to park. So I didn’t have much time to get up and get ready. Especially as I woke up at 2, finally put on the light at 3, and read for an hour before going back to sleep.
I took the dogs out and walked them as far as Tom’s corner. I brought my mug of coffee and toast with me in the car. It was a nice sunny day — not too hot or too cold. The class was quite full of Winter Texans like us. It was held in downtown Mission on Broadway at the Centro Cultural Mexicano. Our instructor is Dona Julieta C Ford, a woman in her fifties who has lived in the US for only four years. She speaks German and has passable English skills. She is an elementary school teacher and she was entertaining and lively. She skipped from one lesson to the next about every 15 minutes, which suited our elderly minds so that we didn’t get bored and sleepy.
Of course I’ve tried to take Spanish three times previously and have some of the basics. So I tracked fairly well. We plan to return next Wednesday — although it is the day before Thanksgiving. I would have been way too busy in previous years! Dona Julieta gave us an astonishing number of handouts. These classes are free and she asked for a donation to cover the cost of copies. They are all handwritten. I plan to type some of them for her so she can copy from typed masters. I believe her motivation is to bring us closer to Mexico, her country that she loves. She takes her classes on field trips to Mexico both for the day and on longer trips.
We reviewed nouns and verbs and some handy phrases. As the class is on-going, she must teach the more advanced and the beginners. Quite a challenge! Now I wish I had my Spanish textbook, workbook, notebook, tapes and CD — all stored. Would Dennis dig them out for me?
After class the Cranes drove down 10th and under the freeway so I could buy a pound of coffee at Starbuck’s. I was all out and had none for Thursday morning. Yea gods!
Then we stopped at McCoy’s Door and Millwork on Bus 83 and 29th St. They have a beautiful showroom and we learned about the various kinds of doors. Betty planned a pocket door but by the time we were done they were leaning towards a regular door. They had ordered a regular door for their exterior door and learned that it must be a solid exterior door and that fiberglass is best.
In the past week the Crane’s have poured cement on their pad and now they are ready to have carpenters frame their casita. But they have no contractor and it is a strain to understand what type of materials they need to buy. They’ve spent a lot of money and Jay seems tired.
We got home at 1:30 pm and I lay down to rest. Later I took both dogs on the one-mile loop around Bogey Dr. I did it by using the 68” long red leashes and looping each one around my waist. The leash attached to the lead on their halter gives each dog about 43” of latitude. I keep both dogs on the left, Rudi far left and slightly in front and Margot near left and closer to my feet. I can let Rudi go but I have to hang on to Margot’s leash and constantly haul her back in towards me saying, “heel”. Twice a caravan of some eight golf carts passed me as they made the same loop in the opposite direction. They waved at me. What are they doing — exercising their golf carts?
I talked to Dennis. He was at Sally’s watching the news. She gets home about 6:30. He said he would try to get her to go out to the Fish Market for dinner. He’s talked to our San Francisco friend, James, who plans to come down and see him for lunch on Friday — if he is free. And Myrna called to invite him to dinner on Sunday night. I think he will go to San Francisco to hang out with James and Lilia on Saturday. Tomorrow he will be busy with meetings and I will be thinking about him.
Dennis asked about the weather here. He says it was foggy and chilly all day there. But he did say the fall leaves are blowing across the street. It was a nice day here with a low of 49° and a high of 78° and a SE breeze from 4 to 14 mph. But I don’t notice or celebrate the weather here the way I did in the Bay Area. I loved October and November on those sunny, breezy, cool days with the bright colored Liquidambar leaves blowing everywhere. Those were days to notice and celebrate. Dennis says he doesn’t want to be there — probably because of the fog and chill as well as the masonry troubles. But I would like to be there!
Thursday, November 20, 2008. Night 3 — Dennis gone. I attend a meeting to plan our Thanksgiving dinner menu.
I didn’t sleep well again. I read from two to three. I am not frightened, just restless. Today nothing is planned until five when I must meet others from our Thanksgiving table to plan a menu and divvy up the work. It’s my first free and unstructured day all week. I want to work on my website and I plan to iron and organize clothes. I must also grocery shop.
My jaw and knee are feeling better. My ears are still partly clogged and my jaw aches but not as much. My chin is getting a scab and of course the black and blue is clearly evident. My neck still aches but I did not aim for the Ibuprofen first thing this morning so I guess that is progress.
I spent a few hours on the computer just answering emails and fooling around. Kevin chatted with me for a few minutes. Then I walked the dogs again with the leashes around my waist. This time I didn’t bother to pull Margot back. I just let her pull against my waist. We walked a shorter loop and by the time we came back she was heeling. She gets herself tired by hauling on me. If she walks right in front of me I almost step on her hind legs — but not quite if she keeps moving.
I ran into Jay on his bike coming back from a homeowners meeting at the clubhouse. He seemed more cheerful and relaxed. He says his only job today is to put numbers on his mailbox.
I didn’t want to do it, I never do, but I needed to grocery shop and I figured if I didn’t get it over with early in the day, I never would. So I drove to the nearby HEB on Abrams on back roads. There is a lot of construction but it only takes eight or nine minutes. The HEB stores are huge so it takes a long time even if you have a list and skip most of the aisles. It took me fifty minutes but now I have stuff to eat.
In the afternoon I finally made myself take out the ironing board. I turned on the TV and found “Ghost” to watch so I got several shirts and pants done. I left the board up to continue tomorrow. That is something I can’t do when Dennis is here.
At five Betty came to get me as I’d forgotten the time and I was to go to a planning meeting about food for our Thanksgiving table. This year the clubhouse will not do a potluck. They will provide the turkey, stuffing and gravy. Groups of sixteen will bring their own side dishes for their own table. Our group was already gathered on Dava and Bill’s cement pad where Bill is putting up a small garage size casita. Betty told me to bring a chair. Others sat in a semi circle in their chairs on the pad. In the opening of the circle there was a picnic table and three people sat at that. This blocked my view of people on the other side of the semi circle and I was looking at the backs of the people at the picnic table. I am very sensitive about seating for groups. For unity you need to sit in some semblance of a circle — if you are all supposed to relate to each other. To me, this wasn’t a good start. I wished that the people at the picnic table would move it to the outside of the circle, face us and be sensitive to the rest of the group.
Betty introduced me. I quickly waved and sat in the nearest open space by Jay. With a blackened jaw and without Dennis on hand I felt ill at ease. On my other side was a woman who had a large piece of monk cloth in her lap and she was adding decorative yarn by weaving it through the weft. She is into decoration and crafts and seems nice.
Dava tried to get control of the situation but she did not succeed. She asked that we all introduce ourselves and we did. I said that my husband was gone on a business trip. I felt very weird in this all couples group. I said little except to volunteer homemade cranberry jelly and sauce. This exchange took little time and then the picnic table went back to loud joking and laughing while the rest of us sat and listened. I was bored and irritated and couldn’t wait to leave. I love a formal dinner celebration and I concluded that this would be an informal mishmash dominated by male, jokey loudmouths.
As this was a planning meeting about food, I felt it should have been a gathering for women only. None of the men volunteered to make food except Jay. Jay was uncharacteristically quiet. Other than stating that he planned to make two desserts, he did not join in at all. Several of the men talked about cheap box wines and how they prefer beer. The seating arrangement and circumstances made it difficult for the group as a whole to get acquainted.
Someone mentioned we would be spending Christmas together. I began to feel like I was going to cry. I felt so disappointed. Thanksgiving is special to me and I miss my beautiful dinners and the sense of family togetherness. Christmas dinner with this group of strangers? It seemed unthinkable.
Mind you I am not feeling at my best right now. I wasn’t able to rise above the circumstances and overcome them as I sometimes might. I just wanted to run away — my usual impulse. I thought about leaving my chair and just saying to Jay that I need to go get a sweater and then not coming back. I knew Betty or Jay would retrieve my chair for me. Finally when it was clear there was to be no further social progress and no more planning I asked Jay for the time. It was 5:45 pm and I said I expecting a call from Dennis at six. I picked up my chair. Above the chatter, someone across the circle said, “Are we done?”
I replied, “Well, I am.” I left without goodbyes or good to meet you niceties. I do not blame the entire group. I think some other couples also felt uncomfortable and were also very quiet.
Later Betty dropped by with planning information about another matter. I asked some questions and discovered that these couples are neighbors who live near their lot. They’ve been here in prior years and know each other. Betty and Jay know Dava and Bill and us but have just met the others. There will be twelve couples in all at our table. She said we would have more opportunities to get to know them better. Although I lectured myself to not show my feelings to Betty, I rolled my eyes. Betty added, “—if you want to.”
I said bitterly, “I have no wish to get to know these people better.” So that kind of tied it. I made my unhappiness known because I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. Jay was awfully quiet and may have had his own thoughts, I don’t know, but I doubt that Betty found anything wrong with this social interlude.
I told Dennis about it when he called. I could tell that he didn’t want to get into details about his business affairs. It was probably a tough day and he wasn’t ready to talk about it. So I vented to distract him and he was sympathetic. I said that next year I want to eat out and go to a Yosemite, Ahwahnee Hotel, Bracebridge Dinner type of event. One way or another we are with strangers and I think that would be preferable to the Leisure Valley Ranch clubhouse in Mission, TX. But the jury is out. We will have to see.
Friday, November 21, 2008. Night 4 — Dennis gone. We have a cold and windy day.
I slept hard until 2:30 am when wind and rain woke me. There was a NW wind at 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph. Darn! I think without that I would have slept through the night. I checked the windows and I did go back to sleep and slept until 7:00 am. I’ve been doing emails and stuff since I got up. I wrote a long letter to Dick Peeke. It was 48° out there, gray and windy but not raining.
Dennis called. He told me about an ad with five acres for sale at Melby Ranch, CO in the San Luis Valley. It is at 7,500’ el. and north of Taos, NM. Sounds beautiful. I sent an online request for a brochure. Later that night I got a call from them to check our address. I need to spot a mail delivery truck to be sure they deliver mail to us.
It was very cold all day. A high of 69° was posted but it didn’t feel like it. It was windy with low, gray clouds. I walked the dogs on the short leashes wrapped around my waist. I wore my balloon festival ski jacket!
I spent the day ironing or on the computer. I didn’t go out.
Saturday, November 22, 2008. Night 5 — Dennis gone. I have a social day.
Today we had a low of 48° and a high of 68° with heavy low clouds and a 10 mph wind from the WNW. It did not feel warm. I got myself in hot water with Jay. I was invited for a chili lunch to meet a couple they met recently that they like. Jay and Barb are doing a work camp by the coast at a wild life refuge. They came over on their day off to visit the Crane’s. They have a sweet little Schnauzer. When I arrived for lunch, their first words to me were congratulatory with reference to how much they like it here and how impressed they are with Parker Ranch.
It took me by surprise and I made a face. “Why, don’t you like it here?”
“No, I hate it!” I said with drama and some humor.
“What don’t you like?”
“It’s flat and gray and there are no trees.” (I didn’t say it’s UGLY!)
Jay said, “Well there’s two kinds of people — those who want scenery and those who want to be sociable. This here is the social choice.”
I said I agreed and then we all agreed that it’s very CHEAP here. (Everyone agrees on that.) They were a very nice couple and we had a fun lunch. I asked them about living on the coast. According to them, the weather has been about the same as it is here. We are invited to go visit them and see what it is like over there.
After lunch they planned to see the area and I left. Jay wouldn’t look at me when I made my departure. He fiddled with the blinds and wouldn’t say goodbye or make eye contact. I hurt his feelings and I felt bad about being a tactless Sagittarian.
I went back to my ironing and computer. I am supposed to connect with Theresa about plans for going to see Dicken’s “Christmas Carol” at the University of Texas in Edinburg tomorrow. Tom is home after a hernia operation yesterday and won’t be going to the performance. Theresa and I are to be “dates”. So after awhile I walked over to their home.
Theresa had gone out but I found Tom in the little living area in a comfortable chair watching TV. He was anxious to talk and have company so I settled in. They are watching Nancy’s dogs while she is in the hospital — two beautiful and charming little Shiatsus. Tom gave me his take on the social life and the people who live here. He and Theresa avoid larage groups and choose their friends. They are less social and outgoing than the Crane’s. They don’t plan to do Thanksgiving at the clubhouse. I had a good time talking to him and after I left, I felt better with a new perspective.
I walked back and Theresa dropped by later. She wants to cook her own Thanksgiving dinner and invited us. But I said I didn’t want to offend Betty and Jay by dropping out of our table. I suggested we do a joint dinner on Friday or Saturday but I think she wants to do it on Thursday.
Dennis never called. He probably had a busy day with James and Lilia in San Francisco. They are probably enjoying soft shell crab appetizers at Minora, their favorite Thai restaurant. I’m jeolous.
Betty dropped by and told me to come over for Chili leftovers dinner. I said that Jay was mad at me. She said he wasn’t and that he was in a good mood. The couple that visited never left Parker Ranch! They spent the afternoon driving around looking at lots and they were disappointed that the office was closed. He was wearing a large cast on his foot and he is a cancer survivor. He was in Vietnam and is losing his bones from working with Agent Orange. I think he wants to get his wife settled in a safe place in case he doesn’t make it.
I dropped over for a bowl of chili and told Jay I was sorry for being negative and gave him a hug. He isn’t mad. The Cranes are very positive people.
Sunday, November 23, 2008. Night 6 — Dennis gone. We all attend Dickens’s “Christmas Carol”.
The sun finally came out mid-morning and with a low of 48° and a high of 79° we got a moderately warm day at last. A SSE wind blew at 15 mph. Theresa met me here at 12:15 as per instructions from Betty who told the group to be ready then. Theresa and I are both the rebellious type that don’t like to go with large groups. I called and said I was driving with Theresa and we knew how to get there. So off we went to the U. of Texas — Pan Am campus in Edinburg. We took the back roads and had a good time visiting — instead of sharing a ride with others.
The play was in a small intimate semi- circle theater with seats sloped up high to the ceiling. Students did a lively and original rendition of the “Christmas Carol”. We all turned out to see it because this is a big favorite of Jay’s and Betty arranged it. We had fun but I didn’t wear long pants or bring a jacket and it was very cold inside the theater. We were seated by 1:15 for a 2:00 performance. I don’t know when we got out — probably 3:30 or 4:00 but I was a frozen block of ice by then. Theresa and I stopped at Starr’s drive-in and brought back hamburgers and fries and drinks for Tom and us. I came inside and ate quickly and then came home.
At night before going to bed I copied Cute Small Dogs from the Internet. I put it into an empty folder with the date, as Roger showed me to do. I bet it took all night. That’s a big file.
Tomorrow Dennis will be home. I’ve missed him terribly.