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

Thursday, March 31, 2016

3-30 Lovely New Appliances!!!

New Samsung Washer
New Samsung Dryer
 I know I have mentioned in the past that Larry is a participant in The Home Depot Seeds Program. This is a program where he has the opportunity to receive products for free and then write reviews on them. Many of the items they offer him are inexpensive but a view have been over $50. He has been a part of the program for about a year and if we are not traveling he has been able to select some products each month. He enjoys receiving and reviewing these items. The Home Depot e-mailed him a couple of months ago and told him he had been selected to participate in a special offer and he would be able to receive either a free patio set or barbecue grill. There was quite a good selection of each and they were expensive products but after thinking about it a bit we didn't need either one (our grill is perfectly fine and we have a small patio set that works well) so he turned them down. A few weeks ago Larry got another e-mail that said he was eligible to receive a free Samsung washer and dryer to review, there was no choice on selection, one high end model in one color. Our current washer and dryer still work fine but they are getting on in years so after a bit of thought he accepted. About a week ago Larry got a phone call from a vendor for Samsung asking to send someone out to do measurements and check the connections to ensure they will fit and hookup correctly. They delivered them this morning and they are great. Almost to pretty to hide in a laundry room. The washer is a high efficiency model and needs detergent designed for energy efficient washers. We had to go to town and purchase the correct detergent so while we were in town we did our weekly shopping. According to the owners manual energy efficient detergents are designed to produce few if any suds. At the store we discovered that most soaps today meet this standard, who knew? Our old soap did not. When we got back home we had lunch and then we played with the washer and dryer. We did a few loads of clothes but before doing this Larry read the owners manual to see how to operate the machines. The washer has a lot of options and cycles and interestingly it does not have an agitator. It does have a pre-wash tub built in where you can hand wash and pre soak your clothes. After using this tub you lift the tub and clothes fall in the washer. The amazing thing about the washer is how it works. It sprays the water into the washer and has a sensor when to stop. During the wash cycle it swishes the clothes back and forth without an agitator. I don't know this as a fact but I would believe not having an agitator has multiple benefits, your clothes won't get worn out from rubbing on the agitator, they will not get stuck around it and your wash loads should stay more in balance. I didn't try a blanket or quilt but I think it would work better without an adjudicator, they will be able to move around freely. All the controls are in the back of the washer and dryer. You don't have to use a knob to set the cycle instead you just touch what mode you want. Larry keeps telling me not to push the buttons, simply touch them. The washer and dryer have a safety feature that would be really good for families with children, when you close the lid before it starts the cycle it locks the lids closed. One problem I found is the height of the washer. I'm about 5'5" in height and I have to stand on my tip toes to get the clothes out of the bottom of the washer. This washer has a really large tub and without the agitator and with the built in scrub tub I guess it is deeper. My old washer tub was 22" deep and the new Samsung washer is 27". Both the washer and dryer have a window so you can look into them while they are running but the window in the washer is too dark to see inside. The dryer has a steam dry option but of course to get stream you must have it hooked up to a water supply, not a problem for most folks since their dryer is next to their washer but our units sit across from each other. Looks like Larry will have another project figuring out how to get water over to the dryer. So far I really like both the washer and dryer.

Control Panel of the washer

Built in pre-soak, scrub tub, very cool
The washer's tub, don't fall in
 In the evening we went to Georgetown to dance with the Shirts 'n' Skirts Club. It was a special dance, where Brad Caldwell did the calling for the square dancing tips and Lucy Pate did the cuing for the round dancing. The dance started out with eight squares and a lot of round dancers. We had a spectacular time. Brad did an outstanding job and Lucy did a grest job of cuing.

Brad dancing like Elvis while Lucy's cuing
Kathy and Dan round dancing to Lucy's cuing
Betty, Howard, Sherri and Steve round dancing
Betsy square dancing to Brad's calling
Leonard and Kathy square dancing with friends
Linda and Art square dancing with friends
Some more of friends square dancing to Brad
Pam and Betsy square dancing with new dancers

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

3-29 Joys of Home Ownership - Yard Maintenance

Swimming in Lake Belton
We moved into our new house two years ago and we had landscape company install grass by laying sod in the front yard and in about half of the back yard. The yard looks really good but when you walk on it there are lots of places where the sod is uneven. A couple of weeks ago Larry had the largest landscape company in the area come out and look at it, they recommended laying down a layer of new soil over the grass and raking it in. Came back with a bid of almost two thousand dollars. We knew it would not be inexpensive but we really don't want to spend that much. Larry decided to see if he could find someone else to bid it and if worse came to worse we would ignore it or work on it a little here and there ourselves. He called the lawn service we use when we are out of town, they don't do this type of work but they did give us a number of someone who does, called him, he was so busy he would not be able to look at it for months, he gave us the number of another guy but he never called us back. Larry decided we might just do this ourselves, maybe not the entire lawn but at least the worse areas. This morning we went to The Home Depot and bought ten bags of top soil. The worst area was around the septic tank where the ground had settled. Larry opened each bag and poured it out while I took a rake and spread the soil. When Larry finished he helped me spread the soil with a rake. It really didn't take very long but ten bags of soil didn't go far and if we were going to continue this way it would take a whole lot of bags. Larry decided that maybe we should look at getting a truck load of dirt delivered and rent a tractor to move it around the yard, we would still have to rake it in. After lunch we went back to town, first we stopped at Mahan Brothers Rental Ranch to see how much it would cost to rent a tractor and trailer to haul it. The gentleman told Larry how much it would cost but his tractor was broken and it was going to take ten days to get it running. Next we went to United Rentals, their tractor was bigger than we really wanted and was a lot more money. The last stop was at Cheaper Than Dirt to see how much it would cost for the dirt to be delivered. So while we have not committed to anything it appears this is what we will do. Larry has never operated a tractor and he thinks it might be fun. While we were out we stopped by The UPS Store to get our mail and a package that was there. On the way home we stopped by Temple Lake Park so Flo could go swimming. The lake was down so she didn't have to walk too far to go swimming.

Mama Cozzi's Four Meat Pizza
I finished reading Personal, a Jack Reacher novel by Lee Child. I enjoyed the book. Lee Child still keeps the main character Jack Reacher the same just older. For dinner we had a Mama Cozzi's Four Meat Pizza. In the evening we watched the movie, Elena Undone, and a documentary, Rainier The Mountain. Elena Undone was about a housewife finding true love. It was based on true stories. Rainier The Mountain was about the dangerous beauty of Mount Rainier National Park and volcano. This documentary was very informative.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

3-28 Another Marvelous Monday

Marvelous Monday
It was another glorious day with nothing but sunshine and wildflowers in bloom all over the place. Yesterday Larry assembled the new racks he built for his suspenders and belts. Now he has more space and it doesn't looked cluttered. It came out fantastic. Now he needs to find another project, I am sure that won't be a problem.

This is how Larry's suspenders looked before
This is how they look now
Suspenders hanging neatly
 For the last few days I've been working on and off on my The World of Dogs jig saw puzzle. When I was working on the puzzle I read or did things around the house. Today Larry and I hung around the house, I would read a bit and work on the puzzle a bit. Larry also worked on the puzzle. It's been taking me a long time putting the puzzle together so everytime Larry found a piece that fit he made sure to tell me. While we were working on the puzzle Flo went outside to sun or she was under the desk sleeping.

Larry helping me with my puzzle
In the evening we went to Sun City to dance with The Sundancers. This dance was a special dance, it was their students Graduation Dance. Instead of having a workshop at 6:30 they had the graduation ceremony so we didn't have to be there until 7:00. One of the Sundancers asked me a few weeks ago if I would help him take pictures because I usually take pictures of the dances. We got to the dance at 6:30 but they had a couple photographers taking pictures. There were 22 people that graduated from the class. The dance started out with nine squares and I took pictures during the dance. Brad called the dance like a normal dance and the students did a great job. We had a super time at the dance.   

Steve and Sherri round dancing in between square dancing tips
Jodi and Brad round dancing with Terry and Lynn
A new dancer enjoy herself while square dancing with George
Our friends Jeanne and James dancing with some dancers
Brad Caldwell calling the dance
Dancers waiting in a column for the next move to be called
The outfits Larry and I wore to the dance

Monday, March 28, 2016

3-27 Happy Easter

Happy Easter
Happy Easter. We celebrated Easter by having Louise and Autumn over for lunch. They stayed for a couple of hours. When they showed up Flo was outside sunning and Autumn was very excited to see her. For lunch I barbecued hamburgers on the gas grill. Along with the burgers we had scalloped potatoes. Louise brought some delicious brownies for dessert. While I was barbecuing Flo and Autumn kept me company on the back porch. I had made an Oreo Jello dessert and now we have dessert for a couple of days. During their visit Larry showed Louise how to do video calling on her tablet and how to make phone calls on it. We had a very nice Easter lunch.

Autumn and Flo hanging out together
Larry waiting for Louise and I to join him for lunch
Louise and Larry
Today we had Advance lessons with the TIPS Club but because it was Easter the lessons were moved from 2:30 - 4:30 to 4:00 - 6:00. We had two squares for the lessons. We reviewed all the moves we have been introduced to and were introduced to a couple more. We only have lessons the second and fourth Sunday so at this rate it's going to take a long time. The dancers have been talking among themselves about having lessons every week. Wendell Moore, one of their callers doesn't want to start this until after his mainstream lessons are over in five weeks. Even though it's going slowly we're still having fun.
Watching television

In the evening we streamed a movie on Amazon and relaxed. We had spectacular Easter.   

Sunday, March 27, 2016

3-26 Wonderful Saturday

Larry's Suspenders
It was another beautiful day and the wind was down. We started the day out by working on the project we started yesterday of building a better method of storing Larry's belts and suspenders. Larry cut the wood and dowel he needed and now the pieces are ready to be stained and painted. I stained the dowel and a strip of trim with Miniwax Wood Finish Provincial, which is a brown. While it was drying I painted a piece of board with Behr Semi-Gloss White. After fifteen minutes Larry took a rag to the dowel and trim and blended the stain in. I cleaned up my mess. Last night Larry called Louise and invited her over for Easter lunch. While on the phone she told him that Autumn has been escaping from the backyard and the neighbors have been putting her back in the backyard. One neighbor told her that Autumn was climbing up on top of a board that was leaning on her fence to prevent her from squeezing through an opening. Once she got on the board she climbed over the fence. She was worried about Autumn getting run over by a car. Larry and I went to The Home Depot to see what we could use to help her out. Louise had measured the area and told him how big it was. He thought about a couple of things but he decided not to buy anything until he had a chance to go over to her house and look at the problem area. He decided he would give her a piece of wood from the house to take with her to use for a temporary solution. When we got home I put another coat of paint and stain on the pieces of our project. While the second coat was drying Larry treated the entire yard for weeds and I read. A few hours later Larry was going to assemble our project but the paint was tacky and the stain wasn't completely dry so he decided to wait until the morning.

Cutting the dowel to the length he needs
Sawing a piece of aluminum to keep belts from sliding off

Tasting out the new rack for belts
Drilling holes in the board that is going to hold the dowel in place
The paint and stain we used
 In the evening we streamed a movie on Amazon called Temple Grandin. It's a biography about Temple Grandin, she is an Autistic woman that became one of the top scientist in the humane livestock handling industry. It was very good. Then we watched a couple episodes of Weird Homes. The seventh episode was called Funny Farms, which was about two farmers. One farmers raised dummies instead of crops. The other one built things that people only thought about. The eighth episode was called Yards of Fun, which was about three people. One was a lady that had a yard full of colorful stuff she painted including her house. One was a gentleman that welds and made giant structures made out of metal. Each structure had a story. The third one was a gentleman that collects pink flamingos and has them all over his yard. Each episode has cute stories about people and their home. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

3-25 What a gorgeous day!!!

Gorgeous Day
It was a gorgeous day. The sun was shining and the wind was down. In the morning I read a little and Larry did his normal morning routine. After lunch I mowed the yard, Larry weedeated and did the blowing. After he finished with this he treated the weeds and sprayed for wasps. We finished the yard early in the afternoon and with the day being so nice Larry decided he wanted to do something other than sitting in the house reading a book. We have been square dancing for a little over two years and we enjoy dressing up when we go dancing. I wear square dancing outfits or long dresses. I bought a couple of belly dancing belts when we were in Fun Valley so now I wear them a lot. Larry wears jeans or dress pants along with a dress shirt which he normally accessorizes with suspenders and bow ties or regular ties. We both wear hats. When he started wearing suspenders he searched everywhere for some kind of a rack to hold them and could find nothing, he ended up buying a tie rack, it works but has never been perfect, the wider suspenders are especially troublesome. He currently rolls his belts up and puts them on a shelf. He decided that he needs to modify an area in the closet for the suspenders, belts and ties so they would be easier to get to. In order to do this project we had to go to town and pick up a few things. Larry got the keys for the car and Flo got excited about going for a ride. We loaded her in the car and off to The Home Depot we went. We worked on the project until it was time for dinner, we will have to do a small amount of painting and staining so it might be a day or two until we are completely finished.

Mowing the yard
Larry weed eating the yard
In the evening we finished watching the second season of Bosch. We kept ourselves busy all day.

Friday, March 25, 2016

3-24 Grilling, gas or charcoal?

Our gas grill
We had another beautiful sunny day with wind. A rain storm came through a little after 1:00 am with hail, rain and lightening but this morning when Larry got up you couldn't tell that it happened, everything was dry. Another lazy day, I worked on my puzzle and started reading Personal by Lee Child and Larry read another Cork O'Connor book.

Paper Back Swap
We started reading novels by Lee Child many years ago. They are a series with the main character being Jack Reacher. He is an ex-military cop who gets into situations where he has to solve some crime. We finished the series years ago but Lee Child continues to write more and when we happen to notice a new one Larry will order it via Paper Back Swap. If you don't know what Paper Back Swap is I will try to explain it. It's an online book exchange where people buy and sell their books either hardback and paperback. People list their used books on the site and when someone wants the book they request it. The seller mails the book and in payment gets a credit that they can then use to purchase a book. If there is a book you want and you don't have a credit you can buy one. If the book that you want isn't on the site you can put it on a wish list. When the book is available you are notified and you can request the book, you are notified when it's shipped. When you receive the book you go online and say you received it. The site has thousands of books on it. It takes some time to get through the list but the site is easy to use. Larry and Louise have been using this site for years.

When it was time to make dinner I had to make a decision. How should I barbecue our pork chops? I really wanted to cook them on the charcoal grill but the wind was blowing strong all day. I went outside and checked the wind, it wasn't blowing too bad but I decided to use the gas grill. It is easier and you don't have to worry about the weather. The pork chops came out good.

In the evening we didn't have any square dancing so we watched three episodes of Bosch. We had a very relaxing day.    

Thursday, March 24, 2016

3-23 A Windy Wednesday

Freshly Baked Bread
Today was very windy and we didn't have any errands to do so we hung around the house. Larry figured if we were going to be hanging around the house a loaf of bread would be nice. So I took a loaf out of the freezer and put it in a bread pan so it could thaw and rise. It took about six hours and then I baked it for 20-25 minutes. Once it was baked and cooled off I sliced it. It came out excellent. While we were hanging around the house I worked on my jig saw puzzle, I've been working on this one for awhile. It's a little more complex so I really haven't been able to get into putting this puzzle together. I would prefer to read or do other stuff. I also took a nap for a couple of hours. Larry started and finished reading Iron Lake. Flo slept. For dinner I had a HEB Fiesta Jalapeno Salmon Pattie and Larry had a hamburger.

My Fiesta Jalapeno Salmon Pattie and Larry's Hamburger Pattie
Jan and Skip enjoying dancing with friends at the Shirts 'n' Skirts dance
Linda and Art dancing with friends
Lucy Pate cuing the round dances
Suzy and Bill round dancing to Lucy's cuing

Jim Hayes calling the square dancing tips
Vicki and Steve getting ready to round dance
Kathy and Dan round dancing to Lucy
In the evening we met up with Jan, Skip and Belinda and drove to Georgetown to dance with the Shirts 'n' Skirts Club. It was a regular dance and there were seven squares. Jim Hayes called the dance. In between the square dancing tips there was round dancing cued by Lucy Pate. There were a lot of round dancers. Lucy cued so we saw a lot of friends we don't usually see unless Lucy is cuing. We had a lot of fun.