Pictures From Jan-Feb 2020 - It's All About Having Fun!!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

1-30 Visiting the Mercadome

The only plus dance today was in the evening so we decided to do something different. The Valley has a couple of giant flea markets and we decided to visit the Mercadome, it is supposedly the largest and is only a couple of miles away, on the way we stopped by Walmart and picked up a few things. Mercadome is the Valley's Market Place, there are rows and rows of vendors selling their wares. We walked around for about an hour looking at all the stuff, they had lots of fresh produce and about everything else you could think of. We don't usually go to flea markets but Larry has been wanting a new belt for a long time, he has not been able to find one that he liked for a price he was willing to pay, he thought since we are so close to Mexico he might just find one here. There were a lot of vendors selling cowboy boots and belts, we walked through a couple of them and the second place we walked through he found one that he liked and it was only $30 which is really reasonable. Mercadome was the biggest flea market we have ever been to, not that we have been to that many.

In the evening we went over to Tropic Star in Pharr to dance to Joe Saltel. There were 14 squares and some round dancers. We danced every square dancing tip so I didn't get a chance to take any square dancing pictures. In between the tips Ruth Howell cued the round dancers. The club provided Klondike ice cream and fudge cycles for their ice cream social. Joe called a good dance. We had fun.     

Saturday, January 30, 2016

1-29 A Fabulous Friday

A Fabulous Friday
We had a fabulous day. The sun was shining the rain was gone and there was little wind. We attended a morning donut dance at Sunshine RV Resort in Harlingen where Nelda Eaton was the caller, we have danced to her a couple times with the Double C's in Copperas Cove, they have her call a gospel dance once a year. Shirley Heiny cued the rounds. After the dance we stopped for lunch. We first stopped at a Mexican fast food restaurant, we were standing near the counter reading the menu and not only were we having troubles interpreting the menu but the prices were really high, we decided to go somewhere else. A bit further down the road we saw a Denny's, we had not eaten at Denny's for many years so we decided to give it a try, the menu was large, the prices reasonable and the food was very good. We shared a large Zesty Nachos and an Apple Carmel Crisp for dessert. We got home earlier than usual and Flo was asleep on the floor. While taking her for a walk we stopped and visited with our neighbor and his dog Doser. We had a very nice visit. There was only one plus dance today so we hung out with Flo the rest of the day.

When we decided to come down to the valley we were not sure if we would like it so we had reserved a RV spot and a rental car for a week. Today Larry went by the office and extended our stay for another week and called the rental car company to extend our rental. We will probably head home next Saturday.

Shirley Heiny cuing the round dancing and the line dancing
Line Dancing to Shirley Heiny
Line dancing with the Sunshine dancers
Nelda Eaton calling the dance
Square dancing to Nelda
More square dancing to Nelda

Friday, January 29, 2016

1-28 South Padre Island

South Padre Island
Wow, we have been dancing for four days. Each day we danced twice a day and we're still not finished dancing for the week. According to the neighbor the first day Flo sat in my chair for most of the day watching for us to come home. She now knows that we have been leaving in the rental car so she climbs on the couch and sleeps while we're gone. This morning we drove the farthest to dance, which was 30 miles. We danced at Fun in the Sun in San Benito to Nick Hartley. We only had two squares, some of the regular dancers were sick or had to go home for an emergency. The dancers told us they usually have three or four squares. Nick is a very good caller and calls at a nice pace. We danced every tip except for the last one, which was hot hash. They only had one square that wanted to do it so I got a chance to take a few pictures. In between each square dance tip Shirley Heiny cued round dancing. There were only a couple couples doing rounds. We had a good time dancing and visiting with the folks at the dance.

Nick Hartley calling the Hot Hash tip
Round dancing to Shirley Heiny
Having fun dancing to Nick calling
Trying to keep up with Nick calling the Hot Hash tip
After dancing at Fun in the Sun we drove to South Padre Island, which was about 40 more miles down the road. Larry and I had been to South Padre Island before but that was over twenty years ago. While driving around town we didn't noticed that it had grown much. We stopped at the beach so we could walk it and take a few pictures. There were a few people enjoying the beach. The wind was blowing so it was a little cool on the beach. After taking pictures we stopped for lunch at Yummies Bistro. We shared a club sandwich, it was very good but a little expensive. It was a very nice drive to South Padre Island. When we got back to Flo it was 3:30 and she was very happy to see us.

Welcome to South Padre Island sign
A view of the ocean
Standing on the beach in South Padre Island
Folks walking the beach
Living on the beach
 In the evening we went back to El Valle Del Sol for a Plus dance with Jerry Story calling. Jerry had thirteen squares and there were a lot of round dancers. The cuer for the rounds was Shirley Heiny. We were going to sit out the last tip so I could take pictures but they needed us to make up a square. Jerry invited another caller Nelda Eaton up on stage to call with him. We had a super time dancing and visiting. Jerry did a great job calling. We had a very busy day but it was fun.

Shirley Heiny
Nelda Eaton and Jerry Story calling the last tip together
Round dancing to Shirley Heiny cuing


Thursday, January 28, 2016

1-27 Another Super Day in The Valley

Dancing with Joe Saltel
It drizzled on and off all day, the wind was blowing out of the north so it was cold but that didn't stop us from dancing. This morning we attended a Plus Dance at Tropic Star in Pharr called by Joe Saltel. The hall is only ten miles away and it was an amazing dance, Joe had 30 squares on the floor. We were told by some of the dancers that the other day there were 40 squares. The squares were lined up three across and ten down the hall. It was tight with 30 squares we could only imagine how tight it was with 40 squares. Joe did one line dance, he didn't walk us through it but he did dance it with us. I danced every square dance tip so I couldn't take any pictures but Larry took pictures of the line dance, which I participated in. The dance was a lot of fun. Joe was an excellent caller and was very energetic. 

Joe Saltel showing the line dancers the moves
Joe dancing with the line dancers
Line dancing with Joe

After the dance we had lunch at Tower Burger. Really good burgers but I think I like Fuddruckers better.

In the evening Larry and I attended a DBD Plus workshop held in Mission at El Valle Del Sol by Jerry Story. Jerry worked on rotating around the square in different positions, a half of scoot-back and scoot-back one and a half. He had taught us the scoot-back one and a half the other night in Austin and Randy Dougherty taught it a couple of days ago. But tonight Jerry taught it a differently. Now we know how to do it two different ways. We had a fun night.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

1-25 and 1-26 First Two Days of Dancing in The Valley

Bit O Heaven
We're settled in our site at Bit O Heaven. There are over 800 sites and we don't have a lot of room between our neighbors. But the park is very well kept up and the folks staying there are friendly. There are many activities for people staying at park to do from aqua aerobics to horseshoe. They even have Wii Bowling, teams wear t-shirts of the same color and have competitions. There are two swimming pools, a spa and a recreation center for dancing, pot lucks and other entertainment. Bit O Heaven location is very convenient to the parks that are having the dancing so Larry doesn't have to drive too far.

We started our dancing adventure by attending a Plus Dance and a DBD Plus Workshop with Randy Dougherty at Pharr South in Pharr ten miles from Donna. Randy's home is in Mesa Arizona and he is a full-time traveling caller. In the morning we had nine squares for the dance. The afternoon session we had  five squares for the DBD workshop. There was an hour break in between the sessions so Larry and I went to McDonald's. We were happy to see a few dancers that we knew from other places. The squares in both the dance and workshop were run by a card that tells you which square you go in on which tip. Randy would tell you which tip it was and how many couples there were to determine what square you were in. In between the square dancing tips Randy cued one round dance song. Randy is a good caller.   

Margie Sherrill (cuer) and Butch Danielski (caller)
Today we attended one Plus Dance at Pine to Palm in Weslaco which is about ten miles from Donna. Butch Danielski did the calling and Margie Sherrill did the cuing for rounds. There were three squares and six couples round dancing. The park had a lot of people playing shuffle board. We only knew one couple, we met them yesterday at Pharr South. The other dancers were very friendly and Butch went around and visiting during the rounds. Margie and Butch worked well together. Butch Danielski is from Central Wisconsin and is very outgoing. We took the evening off from square dancing.

Butch Danielski calling the last tip
Having fun dancing to Butch
Enjoying dancing to Butch calling


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

1-24 Oh Where Oh Where Are We

On the Road Again
Have you guessed where we are yet or how long are we going to be gone? Well, I’ll tell you. Ever since we have been square dancing people have been talking about different places to square dance around the country,  areas such as Fun Valley in Colorado, Maggie Valley in North Carolina and the Rio Grande Valley (RGV or The Valley) in south Texas. We went to Fun Valley during our Fall Trip and decided now would be a good time to try out The Valley. In The Valley there are a number of really large RV type communities that you can dance at. Larry made reservations for us to stay at Bit O Heaven RV Park in Donna, Texas and he also made a car rental reservation. From Donna we will drive to the other parks for their dances, you can literally dance 7 days a week. We will be here for two weeks. 

Milestone of 100,000 miles
Motorcycle Training Class
 Last night when we got to Cabelas there was a section of the parking lot roped off and we were wondering why. Well, this morning we found out. The Harley Davidson Motorcycle store was doing a motorcycle safety class.

We bought the Minnie 10 years ago and she had about 28,000 miles, she is now 20 years old and just reached the milestone of 100,000 miles. The Minnie still runs like a charm. We had a super day.

1-23 Jerry Story Two Days DBD Dancing

Jerry Story Calling his dances
Wow, what a day!!! We left Belton at 8:00 in the morning to attend the first session at 10 in Austin It took us about an hour and a half to get there but we weren’t sure how bad the traffic was going to be. The traffic was fine so we were about a half hour early. We brought the Minnie with us today so that Flo has a place to hang out while we danced. The morning and afternoon sessions were both workshops. Jerry introduced us to a lot of different positions and we really needed to concentrate on the calls. Everyone we danced with were nice and helped each other out on the moves. We only sat out one tip during the afternoon session because there was one lady missing for about an hour. We were glad that there were two hours in between each session so we could rest. There were six squares and about five minutes between tips to rest. The workshops and dances were all computer run, this gave us a great opportunity to dance with a lot of different folks. During the two hour breaks we went back to the Minnie and took care of Flo and rested. After the dance we moved the Minnie to Cabelas, which was south of Austin in Buda for the night.

Cabelas Sporting Goods
Gethsemane Lutheran Church
Ken and Maureen dancing to Jerry calling
Yasuko Andersen dancing with Ken Maureen
Dancing to Jerry calling

Burt, Carolyn and Robert dancing to Jerry
Dancing more DBD Plus

Saturday, January 23, 2016

1-22 Already to go

Already to go
I finished packing up the Minnie, did a little laundry and cleaned the house. Now we're ready to hit the road but we're not leaving until tomorrow. When Larry designed the house he put in a dump and electrical outlet for the Minnie so now I can get a head start. We used to get the Minnie early and I would put in as much as possible except the items for the refrigerator and freezer. Now Larry hooks up the Minnie to power and turns on the refrigerator. When the refrigerator gets cold I can now load it up instead of taking a big cooler full of ice and items that need to be kept cold. I can now make ice in ice trays before we get to our destination. The freezer doesn't get cold enough to keep ice cream hard so I can't take any, I always pack enough junk food that I certainly don't need ice cream. I'm excited about our trip.

Square Dancing is Fun and Cool

In the evening we went to Austin for a DBD (dance by definition) square dance, Jerry Story is the caller. It's a two day event of a higher level of square dancing than we usually dance. Today was a two hour dance, tomorrow will have three sessions, two are workshops and the other is the evening dance. This evening there were six squares. The dance was run by computer, each tip you look at the computer to see which square you are in, this ensures everyone dances and that you don't end up with the same folks all the time, it worked out excellent. The dance was very challenging and we had a fantastic time.  

Friday, January 22, 2016

1-21 Where we are going?

Guess where we're going?
Yesterday we got the Minnie out of storage and brought it to the house. It was cold and windy this morning so we went grocery shopping for our trip. I put the groceries away and for lunch we had Campbell's Chunky Chili with steak, if you haven't tried this chili I highly recommend it. It can be difficult to find, we normally buy it at Target. After lunch I spent an hour and a half loading up the Minnie for our trip. When I picked up the keys for the Minnie Flo got excited and followed me to the Minnie, she climbed in and went straight to my chair. I made many trips loading it up with clothes and other stuff. I'm going to wait until tomorrow to load up the refrigerator and other stuff I forgot today.

So, what do you think? Are we going to another weekend square dance event or are we going on a longer adventure?

In the evening we watched a couple more episodes of The West by Ken Burns. The third episode was about the west from 1848 to 1856 called Speck of the Future, it was about gold being discovered. The fourth episode was about the west in 1856 to 1868 called Death Runs Riot, this was when the Civil war comes early in the west. We had a very nice day.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

1-20 Another Great Day

What a great day!
This morning was very cold and it didn't get out of the low 50s all day but it still was a great day. Since it was cold we didn't leave the house until the afternoon when we did a few errands in town. Larry and I wear jeans most of time and our jeans are starting to look worn so we stopped by Walmart to buy jeans. Then we stopped by the UPS Store and picked up our mail. When we got home I worked out for an hour. I thought it was too cold to take Flo for a walk but she did go out with me when I barbecued hamburger patties and salmon patties for dinner. 

Yesterday, I wrote about putting Flo back on the invisible fence. An invisible fence is an electronic system designed to keep your pet safely inside a boundary. If they get too close to the boundary and ignore the beep a mild shock is delivered by an electronic collar. She is trained to move towards the house when the beep or shock occurs. We had trained her on the invisible fence when we moved in the house a couple years ago but I haven't been putting the collar on her for along time and she has been wandering off. This morning Larry put the collar on her and let her out to do her thing. He watched her and tried to keep her from getting shocked but she still got shocked, at least she stayed in the yard. A little later I took her out in the backyard and I tried to call her back but she didn't stop and she got shocked again. When you initially train your pet you put flags up around the boundary to let them know where the fence is, we still had some of the flags so today I placed them around the boundary. Flo's hearing is about gone so possibly she doesn't hear the beep, maybe the flags will help her out. The shock is very mild (I know because I have tested it on myself) and just gets her attention and it keeps her safely in the yard.

This evening we started watching a 1996 series by Ken Burns called The West. This series has nine episodes and each episode is 90 minutes long. The series is about how the western part of the United States was settled. The first episode was The People, which about the west until 1806, The second episode was Empire Upon the Trail and was about the west from 1806 to 1848. So far the series is very interesting and very well done. We had a great day.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

1-19 Art Competition Exhibit

Cultural Activities Center in Temple Texas
We woke up to a windy chilly day. Larry had read in the paper that the Cultural Activity Center had a Art Competition event at the beginning of the month and the art was now on display and admission is free. We decided today would be a good day to go. Students entered their art pieces for $15 for the first piece and additional pieces were $5, the non-students entry was $25 and additional pieces were $10. The artists compete in different categories, which were: Mixed Media, Three Dimensional, Watercolor, Dry Media/Drawing, Pastels, Oil/Acrylic Painting, Photography and Pottery. When we entered into the center we began by walking through a magnificent display of Martha Dickson Allen art. Martha is a romantic realist who shows the richness of exotic cultures through her portraits and colorful market and street scenes of Latin America in her watercolors. Her art is gorgeous and full of life. After looking at her exhibit we walked through the Saulsbury Gallery where the art competition pieces were. We had a great time looking at the students art pieces. The students have a lot of talent. When we finished walking through this gallery we walked through the upstairs gallery and the other galleries in the building. The Cultural Activities Center is where we go to listen to concerts. While we were in town we stopped by our cable company, we don't have cable TV but they provide our internet service. Centro Vision has been bought out by Grande Communications and near the end of February they are going to be ready to switch us over to Grande. They have been upgrading all of the equipment and wiring in the area, last week we saw them put new wiring on the poles in our neighborhood. Grande does not have the same plans so we stopped in and selected their least expensive plan, it is almost twice as fast and cost less than we pay now, sounded good to us. Our last stop was Aldi where we bought a couple of pizzas.

One of Martha Dickson Allen portraits
Mixed Media display
One of the Three Dimensional winners
Some of the Watercolor paintings
Some of the winners in the Dry Media/Drawing category

Pastels Paintings in the competition
Some of the Oil/Acrylic Paintings
One of the pictures from the Photography category

Flo wondered off to the neighbor's house and Larry had to chase her down. He's worried that she's going to be hit by a car so he got her invisible collar working again. He told me we need to start putting the collar on her even though I really don't want to. I'm afraid that she's going to get shocked because she can't hear the beep before the shock. Larry trained her on the boundaries when we first moved in but I am afraid she won't remember them, I have not had the fence collar on her for a very long time. I guess it's better than her getting hit by a car. I worked out for an hour and half and then I took Flo for a walk around the neighborhood. By the time we got back home she was exhausted.

In the evening we watched Downton Abbey and the first episode of a new serious called Mercy Street on PBS through the ROKU. Mercy Street is a serious about a hospital during the Civil War. The first episode was introducing the main characters in the series. Afterward we streamed Austin City Limits. The two acts were Ryan Adams and Shakey Graves. Ryan Adams is a musician, songwriter-singer, producer, poet and painter. He sings rock, alternative country and folk rock. We liked his style of singing. Shakey Graves (Alejandro Rose-Garcia) is an Americana musician from Austin Texas. His music is cross between blues, country and rock and roll. When he performing by himself we liked him but when he's performing with his band not so much.