Nice and busy…

LOCATION:  In our tiny house in Mission, Texas
WEATHER:  Super windy.  Almost hot at 85

STEPS:  15,133
CLASSES:  2 line dancing and 2 water aerobics

No pickleball this morning with 40 mph winds! 

Bam! Bam! Bam!  Walking from 8:30 – 9:30.  Line-dancing 10:00  – 11:30.  Swimming from 12:00 – 2:00.  Wow!

Then, the afternoon was full of errands – to Walgreens, then Sprouts (our favorite fruit/veg shop), and Hope Depot.  We rushed home to have a Zoom call with our daughter who flies down to visit us tomorrow.  No rest for the weary!

My uncle from Alberta, Canada posted this cute photo of Bernie visiting him on his farm! 

The WALL adjacent to our community is a  topic of discussion.  Construction has ended, at least temporarily, but no one knows what will happen with it….Will it continue until it is finished?  Or just stay half-way done as it is now?  Or will it be torn down?  Everyone seems to have an opinion.  Today it sits quietly alone….


DINNER:  I’m trying to use up the fish in chronological order.  Tonight was the last of the trout from 3 fishing trips ago.  I quickly browned the outside with some grilled red peppers, onions, and garlic.  Then, I added a bit of butter and put it all in a warmed oven in a Dutch oven just to continue cooking without the heat.  I added cilantro and scallions at the end.  Sides were a lettuce/cucumber/tomato salad and cilantro rice. 

An exhausting day!

LOCATION:  In our tiny house in Mission, Texas
WEATHER:  Windy.  High 69

STEPS:  14,662 (includes 1.5 hours of pickleball)
CLASSES:  Two water aerobics

I gave pickleball another go this morning.  Once in a while I get lucky and hit the ball well.  My serves are the worst.  There were about 15 of us playing.  We rotate around the courts, so everyone teams up with someone different each game.  Somehow, the team I’m on always loses.  Ummmmm…

My late morning hike followed pickleball.  After the hike, I was really pooped! 

But no rest for the weary….time for water aerobics!  At 69 with high winds and clouds, the water temp was not too pleasant.  My friend and I (only the 2 of us swimming) soaked in the hot tub afterwards to warm up our bones.

I just love these Bernie photos.  Hopefully it is a sign that our two political parties can get together and have a laugh together.  This one is a bit more serious….

I drove my neighbor to the McAllen airport (about 10 miles away) to pick up his wife.  She was glad to return from cold/snowy Nebraska.

DINNER:  When George was at Costco yesterday, he bought a rotisserie chicken, as he had read that theirs is supposed to be the best, as well as the biggest for the buck.  Tonight, he grilled it a bit to get grill marks on it.  We ate the legs for dinner and froze the rest.  Sides were hash browns and a spinach/mushroom mix-up.

Not what you would call an athlete….

LOCATION:  In our tiny house in Mission, Texas
WEATHER:  Very nice.  High 70

STEPS:  16,594 (Includes 1.5 hours of pickleball)

I tried pickleball today with a bunch of very good players.  They were very kind to me, letting me hit the ball a second time, etc.  They all gave me pointers and were very patient.  My serves are especially bad!

After that, I got my morning hike in, resulting in a record number of steps!

Sports continued in the afternoon with a rousing game of pool in the clubhouse.  Again, I lost miserably, but had some fun.  George and I played with our friend Rob. 

Danger, danger!  George went to Costco without me.  He ended up with a $200+ bill!!!!!  We are not members but he went with some friends who are.  We now have a freezer full of scallops in addition to a lot of fish and shrimp.  Wine, olives, and mufalleta mix all contributed to the bill.

DINNER:  Grilled shrimp.  I found a recipe that called for marinating them about an hour.  The marinade was garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, olive oil, and parsley.   Then, you cook the shrimp with the marinade in butter.  Serve over pasta.  What is there not to like?  Side was fresh sugar snap peas from our garden supplemented by some frozen regular peas.  Yum

Un-fun, then very fun day!

LOCATION:  In our tiny house in Mission, Texas
WEATHER:  Cool and very windy.  High 68

STEPS:  12,009
CLASSES:  None – too cool to swim.  I am self-quarantining for a week, so no chair yoga for awhile

The morning was not fun; the late afternoon was lovely….

Trying to get registered to get our Covid-19 shots is chaotic and frustrating.  There are two websites, a hospital and a clinic, where people have registered.  We are supposed to log on every few hours to see if they are accepting registrations again.  I have a phone number for another clinic that I keep trying.  It is either busy when I call or it rings and rings, until the call drops.  Today, there was an announcement that another clinic would start online registration at 10:00.  So, we logged on about 9:45.  At 10:00, their system crashed due to people trying to log in, and their website said “technical issues”.  We waited, glued to the computer screen, for about an hour.  When I went to their FB page, I read that their slots filled somehow before 10:00.  Then, someone else announced that even another clinic had some vaccine and registration would begin at noon.   For this one, you had to physically go there and stand in line to register.  We thought that would be useless.  So we will continue to wait…..

After that frustrating, futile business, we started our income tax preparation.  It was kind of like putting salt on a wound, after the vaccine debacle. 

I guess I had a martyr complex today, as I did laundry following all this stress.  While the clothes were drying, I got in my daily walk. 

The day turned around with Wine Wednesday at our favorite bistro.  We went with our lovely neighbors.  We shared a charcuterie platter and some wine.  Again, we were the only customers in their large patio, besides some workers.   Wine is half off!

DINNER:  A neighbor had given me a tasty-sounding recipe for walleye.  I substituted drum and trout that George has caught. 

Ranchero Walleye

4 walleye fillets (4 to 6oz. Each)
1 C. finely crushed tortilla chips
2 tsp. Chili powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
3 T. lime juice
1 T. vegetable oil
1 C. of your favorite salsa
1/4 C. fresh cilantro, (minced)

Preheat oven 450*. Lightly spray baking sheet. Cut fillets in half. Mix crushed tortilla chips, chili powder, salt and pepper in shallow dish. Mix lime juice & oil in another shallow dish. Dip walleye in lime mixture, then dredge in seasoned tortilla crumbs. Place on baking sheet & sprinkle with any remaining crumbs. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Place on dinner plate and put salsa over to your own taste. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Side was a stir-fry of bell peppers, squash, peppers, and onions. 

Back in the groove…

LOCATION: In our tiny house in Mission, Texas
WEATHER:  Very warm and sunny.  High 85

STEPS:  12,458
CLASSES:  2 line dancing and 2 water aerobics

Construction on the border wall seems to have stopped.  I walk past this every morning, and normally there is a lot of work going on.  Our friend who walks in the state park commented that the birds have returned to their chirping sound.  I wonder what will happen to the wall….

Also on my morning hike, as I passed by the Veterans’ Cemetery, the bagpipes started up playing the national anthem.  (It must have been another funeral).  Immediately, hundreds of coyotes started howling.  The noise must bother their ears.  It was quite the experience!

It was a perfect day for water aerobics.  Bernie enjoyed watching us swim!  He was a bit overdressed, though…..

This Facebook memory from 6 years ago popped up today.  It is from a trip to  West Texas.  What a difference!

Our daughter just got her second Covid shot.  So glad for her.  We are still trying to register.  It is very chaotic.

Yesterday was Robert Burns’ birthday.  We forgot to celebrate, so we did tonight.  We invited our friends (the British/German couple) over to have a wee dram of Scotch while we listened to poets reciting some of Burns’ poems.

DINNER:  Nothing too exciting.  Leftover Italian casserole.  Side was mustard greens.  Starting tomorrow there will be fish or shrimp on the menu quite often!

The end of the get-away

LOCATION:  Back in our tiny house in Mission, Texas
WEATHER:  Hot!  High 84.  Hazy

We left our windows open overnight while camping at the beach at South Padre Island.  It was very mild and the breeze was very nice. 

We drove around the town of South Padre showing our friends some of the sand castles.  Many appear to need some touch-ups.  Then, we drove over to Port Isabel, right across the bay, in search of shrimp.  We found a place selling huge ones for $9/pound.  The Glanvilles stocked up.  (We already have a bag in our freezer). 

Then, we headed out towards home. We are about 2 hours from South Padre Island.  It was a (thankfully) uneventful drive. 

Back home, we scurried around all afternoon, moving stuff from Joy to the house, and washing the sand/sea spray off Joy. 

It has been a very nice getaway – 3 nights right on the bay at Goose Island State Park, 2 nights at Port Mansfield for great fishing, and a fun evening/overnight at South Padre Island. We hope to make short trips again in February and March, then head North in April for the spring/summer/fall.

Our back-door neighbors from Ontario have been renting a coach house and had planned to be here this winter.  Alas, they cannot come.  They had stored some of their furniture in the rental house and now the owners have sold the house.  So, we offered to store some of their stuff here until next fall when they will hopefully return.  So, we now have a dining room table and chairs that actually look quite nice. 

We just love the Bernie Sanders photos that have been populating Facebook.  Here is Bernie with the Doctors Mayo at Mayo Clinic in our hometown of Rochester, Minnesota.

Then, Bernie traveled up north to Alberta, Canada to visit my baby cousin (who is not too interested in him)…

DINNER:  A food truck came to Retama Village and we bought some tacos.  Inviting food trucks here is kind of an experiment.  We like to help the local economy as much as we can. This is a pretty safe way to do it.  We brought ours home to eat; some people sat around the clubhouse patio to eat together. 

We watched Rick Steves’ Monday Night Travel podcast.  This time he was island-hopping.  He sipped on lemoncello the entire podcast and appeared a bit tipsy at the end!  I LOVE Rick!

BOOK:  “All The Devils Are Here” by Louise Penny.  She is an excellent author writing about a Chief of Police and his life in the Eastern Townships, outside of Montreal.  5 stars out of 5

Lovely South Padre Island!

CAMPGROUND:  Isla Blanca County Park.  In section next to Dirty Al’s, right on the water.  They supposedly have upgraded their bathrooms, but it doesn’t appear much better than before.  Sites are OK, but no picnic table or fire pit.  The alternative is the next-door KOA at $90-$110/night.  Location, location, location!  With electricity and water, $40/night.  2 stars out of 5.
LOCATION:  South Padre Island, in southeast Texas, on the Gulf
WEATHER:  Fine and dandy!  Mostly sunny.  Windy.  High 80

Wild deer roam freely all over Port Mansfield.  This guy came into our RV park to check it out this morning before we departed…..

Since we are flexible and have no schedule, we decided to head down to South Padre Island, to extend our little get-away.  We couldn’t get through to reserve a campsite at the county park, so just gambled that there would be availability.  It was a 2-hour drive, and we found a backroads route to avoid Harlingen and the Interstate. 

We were in luck, and snagged two sites next to each other. Since we are right next to Dirty Al’s restaurant, we walked over there for lunch.  George and I split a yummy grilled fish po-boy. 

Then, we took Trix for a long walk on the beach.  She loved it!

Of course, she got sandy and Rob gave her a little wash

Later, we enjoyed my (now) world-famous margaritas while we enjoyed the sun set. 

One great thing about South Padre Island is its free shuttle bus service.  We picked up a shuttle right in front of the RV park, and it took us to the Painted Marlin restaurant.  We had heard it is a good place.  Wow – it was terrific.  We sat outside on the bay.  Since we had had a big lunch, we split the ahi tuna salad with ginger dressing.  Out of this world! 

Elon Musk has built his Space-X launching pad here, and a group of Space-X staff sat at a table near us.  Never a stranger, George had to go talk with them.

We only had to wait a minute or two in front of the restaurant to be picked up by the shuttle, which dropped us off in front of Isla Blanca.  How nice!

This Facebook memory popped up …what a coincidence!  Six years ago today, we were visiting South Padre Island and admired the many sand castles…..

The big catch!

LOCATION:  Port Mansfield, Texas
WEATHER:   Overcast again.  Very humid.  High 70

George and Rob got up early to meet the charter boat captain and off they went, in search of the “big fish”.

  Luck was with George when he caught this 20-pound 30-inch black drum.

Rob didn’t have such luck, only catching a small fish that he had to throw back.

They finished up about 1:00 and we joined them in town for a seafood lunch.  Drum was on the menu! 

We spent the afternoon relaxing, planning our next road trip,  and walking around the town.

DINNER:  My turn.  We started out with some shrimp cocktail on the picnic table.   We probably should have had the drum for dinner, but we were kind of tired of fish, and I had a refrigerator-ful of chicken to use up.  George grilled the chicken thighs while I made some farro.  It is supposed to be a healthy grain.  Side was a lettuce and tomato salad.  All quite nice.

On to more fishing towns…

CAMPGROUND:  The Park at Port Mansfield RV Park.  Full hook-ups.  Swimming pool, ok bathrooms, picnic tables.  A bit tight.  Many seasonals – fishermen.  $40/night.  3 stars out of 5

LOCATION:  Port Mansfield, Texas – east central Texas on the Gulf coast

WEATHER:  Mostly sunny.  High 74

The sun came out and it was much prettier than it has been..  The fog has lifted and you can see the bridge from our campsite….

A community with canals leading out to the Gulf is near the campground…

As we left, we saw several airboats come in to the pier, full of duck hunters, dead ducks, and hunting dogs.

We drove about 3 hours south to Port Mansfield.  Its only claim to fame is fishing.  Even though the town is fairly large –  perhaps 1000, there is not much here – no grocery store, gas station, bank, or school.  There is a marina and a few bars.  It is a good thing we went grocery shopping before we left.  There are a LOT of wild (tame) deer that roam the neighborhoods..

After we got settled in, we drove around the town.  We stopped to watch a party boat come in, and the crew cleaning the fish.

The seagulls and pelicans watch anxiously for scraps. 

and Rob got lined up to go fishing again tomorrow.  We will stay here two nights.  Not having any itinerary or obligations, we are thinking about extending our little trip a few more days, perhaps to South Padre Island. 

DINNER:  It was Irene’s turn to cook.  She made some delicious chicken cacciatore. 

A foggy day on the Gulf

LOCATION:  Goose Island State Park in east central Texas
WEATHER:  Dreary with drizzle and dense fog.  High 67

We awoke to a foggy but mild morning.  It was good weather for a book.  We walked to the pier to see what the fishermen were bringing in.  One boat just came in having shot their quota of duck for the day.  The bay seems to be full of fishermen pulling up oysters, crabs, and shrimp; fishing; and hunting.  We watched this big bird drying his feathers.  You can see Joy in the background.

We returned to cute Fulton for lunch. We sat in a second story enclosed patio with a view of the dock.  We watched the fishermen haul in their oysters.  They slung about 25 huge bushels of oysters from the boat to the awaiting pallets.  Hard work!

Our lunch was delish……George and I split a dozen raw oysters and a crab sandwich.

Rob and Irene shared a “tower of crab” and said it was terrific.

After lunch, the “boys” met up with the charter boat captain and were off for an afternoon of fishing.  Irene and I did some grocery shopping, then returned to await their arrival.  We were counting on fish for dinner.

Yay!  They did catch some fish – redfish, drum, and sheepshead. 

DINNER:  We grilled the redfish simply – with just salt, pepper, and butter.  Irene brought some steamed broccoli and cauliflower.  I sauteed the rest of some kale, mushrooms, and onions. A healthy and very fresh dinner!