The Aluminum Asylum

The Aluminum Asylum
Our home on wheels

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The map below in the previous post represents where the SKP Graduating Class of 2006 is at this point in time...kinda cool to see where our friends are spending the winter or are off exploring. Sometimes you will notice that I reference our graduation "class" of 2006. This was a small thread that began on the Escapee's message board under fulltime rver's about who was hitting the road full time and when. They formed "classes" and so far I think there are about 6 "graduate classes" out roaming the USA. We had initially wanted to hit the road full time in spring of 2006, but our plans changed with my hip problems and two surgeries that summer. I had already purchased our pins and official t shirts but the class said we could still be graduates even tho we didn't leave until Thanksgiving 2006. Each class holds get togethers. For example the "Class of 2007" just held their graduation at Quartsite AZ, as did the class of 2006 last year, which we missed due to our travels to Texas. We just met some of our classmates for lunch on Tuesday and had a ball. There are quite a few who winter now in the RGV and some that are still on the move. The only reason we winter with grandpa is that we can store the motorhome for free and still spend time with him taking care of the place and getting things ready for our next trip. Due to Paulie having to have his other hip replaced we still don't know what we are going to be doing come March. I was hoping to volunteer at a COE park in North Dakota but I can't even apply til we know when his surgery will take place.

I will post some more later...I still am behind in my posting...I have had a super busy week and haven't even practiced guitar so I still stink. I tried out a wonderful guitar while in Fredricksburg and now my guitar sounds like one from the clown band. Ugh.

til later...oh yeah, we are off to see LaJoya High School's Folkloria...should be fun...



Saturday, January 12, 2008

Saturday PM

Just got an email from Flickr...they are down and some of the new photos I uploaded are gone. Crap. Crap. Crap. Now I hafta do this all over again. For me that is tragic! I am so not computer savy with this kinda stuff....grrrrr.

Now for my continuing saga...
We are having Bev, Ben and Dorothy over for dinner. I think Grandpa thought we wouldn't be home until later tonight and invited them for now it's Paulie who is doing the cooking...steak, roasted veggies, salad, bread and of course, wine.

I had to go back to read what I wrote earlier so I can continue.

After Paulie got back from taking Mom to the airport we settled in to watch the bowl games. Illinois was playing in the Rose Bowl. Gee it was a waste to watch the Illini get their asses kicked by those left coast kids. Sigh...and I swore after the superbowl I would NOT get caught up in picking a team and rooting for the losers. Oh well. They say the road to hell....

The week after the New Year was took me several days to pack away all the Christmas stuff. My guitar lessons continue and I still stink. On Tuesday, Jan 8, Paulie was scheduled to go to the VA in San Antonio for an Agent Orange test. We had planned this trip in advance and scheduled several free rooms from Choice points in both San Antonio and Fredericksburg. After SA we headed to Fredericksburg a German settlement. Wow, the shops and bakeries are amazing. We did stop first in Comfort, Tx but there was little to see after Christmas. We missed the lights at Riverwalk in SA by one day...we got there and they were not only taking the lights down, they were DRAINING the canal. So it goes...lucky Paul and Dee.

We went to a brewery in town and saw three real cutie pie cowboys all dressed up in authentic cowboy stuff...right outta Hollywood. They were reinactors. I got my picture taken with them and while talking to the three of 'em I found out one was from Lombard! Some cowboy. Lombard has a lilac festival for cripesakes. They were cute tho and they were fun to talk to. We had great pizza at the place and the beer was pretty good too.

On Wednesday we shopped all day for those out there who don't know Paulie very well...this was a monumental concession on his part...he hates to shop. I did leave him outside a few places to rest his hip, but actually we had a great time. We had a great lunch at a German place that claimed the best rubens and hamburgers in town. The ruben was only so so, the hamburger Paulie said was good.'d think I learn not to believe all the hype.

We got back to the room, and I took a nap after spending a few bucks. Can you believe I didn't have to BEG? We stayed in and watched the crap they now call TV. Jeesh it sucks. Game shows, reality garbage. I can now convince Paul that we should watch TLC and Disc and LEARN something.

On Thursday we headed over to the LBJ Ranch and State Park. What a great place. We took the tour of the ranch...I can understand why Texans from this part of the state always come back...the hill country is beautiful. His ranch apparently was his refuge. Lady Bird has been laid to rest next to Lyndon, but the family has yet to decide what to do for her headstone. Beautiful red roses now mark the spot. The house where LBJ was born has been reconstructed and it is a nice little place. They were like most at the time, quite poor. His grandfather along with his brothers drove cattle, grew cotton and raised sheep. LBJ's father was a local teacher turned politician just like his son. The Texas White House is still under the family's control until one year after Mrs. Johnson's death when it will be turned over to the State. They are hoping to at least refurbish the room used as a conference room and have it available by next summer. We visited the show barn and saw descendants of LBJ's first herd of cattle. His favorite saying was apparently something like the cattle go out and the money comes in. I was not a fan of LBJ due to my protesting of the Viet Nam was as a teenager. Now I know that he truly was a prolific President and many of the programs he initiated back then have made life for many Americans better such as Head Start, HUD and Medicare. These programs have been criticized by so many people over the years, but I believe that we are a better people for reaching down to help those who need a boost. We owe LBJ for enlightening us about our environment too...he passed many bills such as the clean water act, which I think we now take for granted. Enough of my grandstanding for LBJ whom I never really cared for as a President. I still don't agree with that war, but he did do alot for the middle and lower classes. Pffffft to the naysayers!

After the LBJ ranch we went to the Suter working ranch which LBJ established for folks to understand how life was like in the hill country circa 1915, when he would have been around 7.
There are interpreters who actually work the farm. I am glad we were there on Thursday...we saw the animals they were gonna butcher next week...pooor piggies and calfs.

After the Suter ranch we found Luckenback Tx. It's NOTHING. A post office and a dance hall. Period. What a waste. From there it was back towards San Antonio and then on to Corpus Christi. We landed at a Quality inn on the beach but it was pretty empty. The place was in dire need of cleaning and altho the pool and the hot tub LOOKED clean, upon further inspection I decided not to risk the plague and stayed out. We had dinner at a place called Blackbeards. I had FRESH yes, fresh red snapper caught that day, and cooked blackened. Ohhhh...heaven. Paulie had fresh fried clams and they were also very good. We were entertained by a clone of Jimmy Buffet who sang a lot of James Taylor and America. He was pretty good and I was able to watch his effortless chord movements on the guitar. I'll never be able to do that...

We headed back to the room, watched some TV and hit the sack. All that walking on the ranches wore me out, and my scooter was not really capable of traversing the land there.

On Friday we headed to Big Padre Island, and visited Mustang Island. I didn't see any mustangs tho. A few jaguars and a few beemers. Ooops...bad joke I guess...We also checked out a couple of RV parks...on a resort with pads for sale ($50k up to $90+k) and a nice resort I could stay at with no problems...right over the sandunes to the gulf waters.

In Port Aransas we had lunch at a place called Finn's. Great hamburgers and the fish baskets looked great also. After lunch we headed back over to the mainland and headed up Tx 77 back home. We made it home around 5. We took the Vue over to Pep boys as the driver who shall remain nameless smacked into a bag full of empty cans some ass had dropped on the highway and the right front tire is losing air. I guess reflexes do deteriorate over time (insert evil grin here....!)

Well, that brings us up to date. Now I am back to redoing the upload of all those pix. Wish me luck.

Take care and Happy New Year about a week or so late!



Saturday afternoon....

I have been uploading pictures...there are quite a few...some good, some not so good...

I am too lazy to be picky about who wants what picture where yanno?

Go to the right hand column and select the set you want to see and click....Viola! Pictures of various events and places....

here is the link...

hope you enjoy...will be updating more on the blog later....

I am staying in tonight...tired from our trip to SA/Fred/CC. It was a nice get away tho...



Saturday...January 12....

I apologize to all my readers...I haven't posted since Christmas. Not that I don't have the time, its just pure, unadulterated laziness and lack of desire to put into words all the stuff going on. For this I have no excuse.

The last post was Dec 23rd, and I had sent the three fools (the Ziaja men) to Mexico to get them outta my hair. I did accomplish a lot while they were gone. They arrived back home about 4 pm. I had just taken the fat fart Pepi out to do his biznes and up drives grandpa's car with Paulie behind the wheel. I watch them disembark. Grandpa opens the door, and Pepi sees him and runs to the car. Grandpa then falls out of the car on the grass. Oh, great. The three fools are now the three drunk fools. Zack proceeds to the trunk, a bit of a weave in his step, and pulls out this bull whip. Yup, a freakin' bullwhip. This sucker must be 15 feet long. I go back in the house, leaving grandpa on the grass rolling around playing with that stupid dog. No way am I going to get involved in this foolishness. I stand at the kitchen window and watch my 22 year old son play with a bull whip. I was hoping he'd wack himself in the privates, but alas, I didn't get that lucky. That certainly would have put an end to the playing bullwhip crap. Then Paulie starts....oh how I wish for just one minute he'd smack himself...anywhere on his body would be fine. Again I am disappointed. The rest of the day goes downhill the minute the three fools enter the premises. I finally told Paul to get out and find something else to do...all he was doing was criticizing what I had accomplished. How dare he? He was playing with the bullwhip while I was making this party we all planned work and he had the freakin' nerve to criticize? Not to me he isn't. Once a fool, always a fool I guess.

Monday Dec 24th...

I go to my guitar lesson, leaving about an hour early....Paul and I head to Mcallen to pick up Mom and Cecil. No problems parking, the place is relatively normal. The mall across the street is jumping but access into the airport is unobstucted. We see Mom, she sees us and starts crying. Cecil proceeds to wander off into the farthest regions of the airport on his scooter which he has on full "rabbit", the fastest setting. He makes these u-turns in front of folks, scattering Mexicans as if he was Teddy Roosevelt. What an old goof he is. Mom, at the top of her voice starts that familiar screechy "Cecil....CECIL....CECIL!" Musik to my ears, LOL!

We get their rental and I drive the rental, Paulie takes Cecil. We head out of Mcallen back to Weslaco to their Victoria Palms. We get them checked in and settled in their room so they can take a rest. We will pick them up at 5 so we can attend Bev's Christmas Eve get-together. At five, Paulie goes to pick them up and they come back to see grandpa's place. We then head over to Bev's. Had a nice time...big group, good food which goes fast. Cecil fades around ten so Paulie takes them back to the motel. Zack, me and grandpa head home. Zack was so bored at the party he hit the hot tub. At home, the few little presents Santa is bringing need to be wrapped. Nothing changes in MY life or habits...jeesh, I wait until Christmas eve every year to wrap stuff. May have had it in the house for weeks, but never wrap until the night before...I have a circuit loose someplace in my Christmas brain section I guess.

Christmas Day....

We are up early, and I am at the hall by 8:30 to set our table up. I finish and go back to the house....we open a few presents. We told Mom we'd pick them up when they called to tell us they were ready, but the surprised us by showing up about 10:45. We have coffee and my absolutely delish stollen. (Martha Stewart's mom would be's her recipe and I make it very well, if I do say so bragging....truth as Paulie would say.) We get ready and head for the hall around 11:30 for dinner which begins at noon. Too damm early for dinner for me ...dinner is I right? I never like to eat at noon. That's LUNCH. We are the second to the last table called to hit the buffet line and the first three tables are like really empty. But there was plenty farther down, the folks here don't skimp when it comes to potlucks. The desserts look wonderful and of course, I get dessert before I eat my main meal.
We had a nice dinner and at the last minute, Katie, and older widow was planning on eating alone....she plays cards with Paulie (he said she's a viper at the table) so we invited her to join us. She was truly an enjoyable dining companion for Zack. He couldn't eat he was laughing so hard with her.

After we cleaned up, Paulie and Zack stayed for the major clean up. To my surprise, Zack volunteered and mopped the ENTIRE floor in the rec hall. Hmmmm.

Once back at the house, it was full speed ahead to get things ready for the open house. Mom rolled the sausage balls, the meatballs in the crockpot put in early this morning were coming along nicely. Paul chopped up all the cheeses, Zack wiped down the bathrooms, and grandpa wiped off chairs. Oh yeah...Cecil insisted on going back to the motel so Zack took him. PIA.
I did the parm cheese sticks...another PIA...I also had prepared the puff pastry brie so when the meatballs were done all I had to do was pop it in the oven. I had also done the fake eggnog, so all we had to do was add the brandy. I made the Mexican Rum Hot cocoa, and Zack had made the apple pie liquer the day before to age. We were doing great. I could hardly stand, but we were doing good. The hams had been sliced the day before when I baked 'em, and the rest of the stuff like the relish tray were easy. Nachos and salsa trays were easy, as was the dessert table. I had two different rum cakes, my fruit cake and a huge box of candy. Our guests would be bringing sweets for the dessert table. We had three different wines, but no beer. That's always a BYOB item here in the park. Well, folks began arriving at 4:45 and were amazed at the spread. I must admit we did a great job...we all worked together to accomplish my goal.

I wanted to thank Grandpa's friends and neighbors for keeping an eye on him while we are gone. It means alot to us that some many folks invite him to dinner, take him with them on trips to Mexico and Mcallen and making sure he is out and about.

Zack was amazing (now this is just from past experiences yanno...he IS maturing thank the good Lord!). He served drinks, he made drinks, he took trays of stuff and acted like a server...he was just , well like I said, amazing. I spent the entire party on my butt on the sofa in the living room. Everyone was tickled at the village (the one I painted years ago) and it looked great all lite up and set up in the living room, little trees and the pond etc. They loved my tree with all the santas and snowmen and the hand crocheted snowflakes drew a lot of attention. Those who had not seen the house were amazed at it's size. All in all, it was a great party and finally broke up about 11. Talk of the park for days I am told. We have been told we throw the best parties by far, which is good...there aren't gonna be many of them.

Well, the next couple of days were spent resting (me), lounging at the pool (mom) and fleamarketing (Zack and Paul). Gene rested and I think Cecil spent most of his time asleep at the motel...We made Zack's fav meal, marinated flank steak for dinner on Wed evening. Always a treat, it was really good.

We had to take Zack to the airport on Thursday. PIA Cecil decided he didn't want to spend the money on the rental car (great, now we can be at his beck and call...grrrrr) so we did that when we took Zack to Mcallen. I was so sad to see Zack leave. He was such a different kid!!! He was anxious to get back to his life....the life of older retiree's is not his cup of tea, however he was attentive and quite the gentleman with all Grandpa's friends.

After he left, we decided to get some lunch, Paulie wanting to try the Chinese buffet down the street from us. It was closed believe it or not! So we went to Keno's a local Mexican place. Had a late lunch, so we wouldn't need dinner. Took mom and Cecil back to the motel so he could sleep and mom could hit the hot tub. Later Paulie picked them up and we had a "leftovers"

On Friday, we took Mom and PIA to South Padre Island, giving them the visitor's tour. We of course ate at Dirty Al's and the shimp were as ususal terrific.

Saturday, we went to the flea market, which was lots of fun. Mom and I found denim jackets for 8 bucks...since PIA and I both had our scoooters, we saw alot. We took them back to the hotel, and made plans to go to Little Italy with them and the Elks gang grandpa hangs with. The food was amazing, but very very pricey. I had chicken marsala which was superb. After the meal, we headed to the Elks club for Karaoke. Yes, you read that right, Karaoke. Paul went to play Texas hold'em the poop...he hates Karaoke. We all had several drinks and sang. Mom cried when I sang her a song. Weepy Dawnie. Afterwards, we went back to Bev's to sing somemore and have some cocktails. Paulie took Mom and PIA home.

Sunday was Mexico. We looked at lots of was going nuts wanting things, but since they had to fly from here to Florida, it was not possible to buy much. We then hit the Arizona, and true to form, we all got sh*tfaced on the twofer margaritas. We arrived back at the house and PIA fell asleep on the sofa, Mom in the recliner. We took them home around 8.

Monday, New Year's Eve.

Grandpa is the New Year's baby this year. We got him a sash that reads 2008 and a cardboard happy new year hat. He will wear an adult diaper, hold a cigar in his teeth and have a bottle of rum with a nipple on it. Should be fun. The party started at 8 so we had dinner at the house of leftover flank steak, fresh corn on the cob and salad...still good the second time around. The rec hall had been limited to 130 folks so the crowd wasn't too big. It was BORING...watching oldies just dancing. We were drinking premade bucket cosmos, and everyone else was doing scotch.
At 11:40, grandpa left to do his thing. At midnight, Old Man 2007 arrived with New Year's Baby 2008 in a wagon. It was worth the four hour wait to see grandpa in the wagon.

We went back to Bev's after the party ended at 12:30 but we didn't stay long. Paul took Mom and PIA back to the hotel...they are leaving New year's day.

Paulie picked them up about ten on Tuesday...we had a nice chat over coffee. I was so wiped that I didn't go with them to the airport...Paulie drove them to the airport and saw them off.
It was a great visit. I am looking forward to seeing Mom in Feb when I go to Ft. Myers.

Gonna take a break now...will post more updates about our trip to San Antonio, Fredricksburg and Corpus Christi later.