Ho-Ho-Ho-HOLIDAYS!

It has been a very busy two months. We have done a lot a traveling in our car to see family for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We spent Thanksgiving at Mike and Jennifer’s house with the grandkids. It’s only a two hour drive from the RV park where we have been staying. I’ve already written about our Thanksgiving adventures in a previous post. You can click this link to see that post: https://retirementnowwhatdoido.wordpress.com/2017/11/25/brrrrr-its-getting-cold-outside/

After Thanksgiving we went back to the RV and just “hung out” until time to leave for our Christmas holiday travels. We did routine cleaning and maintenance on the RV. We did a little Christmas shopping which involved a lot of gift card purchases because we were not going to have a lot of room in the CR-V to transport gifts. We did some reading and watched a fewsome …OK… a BUNCH of Christmas movies on the Hallmark channels. Jack thinks we watched too many Christmas movies, but I don’t think there’s any way that can be done. There is nothing that helps get me in the Christmas spirit like watching Christmas movies (OK, I’m also a hopeless romantic!) and listening to Christmas music.

We did, however, make one quick trip to OKC during this time. Mike and Jenn’s church was having their annual “Christmas Spectacular” the weekend of December 8-10. We have attended this event in past years, and it is always very good. We decided to drive up in the car Sunday afternoon so we could see “Christmas Spectacular” Sunday night, then attend Kylee’s “Parent Observation” ballet lesson on Monday night, and be there Tuesday evening for Jackson’s birthday supper (THESE events are the BEST rewards of us BOTH being retired!). Sunday evening’s Christmas Spectacular was another great performance.

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Watching Kylee doing her ballet always amazes me. It is a very strenuous and disciplined activity (I actually think it’s as physically strenuous as ANY sport; maybe even MORE so). She started on pointe a year ago, and I think she is doing superbly.

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Tuesday night’s birthday dinner was fun. We canNOT believe he is already 11 years old and is getting so tall. Birthdays with the grandkids are always fun, and, as you can see, Jackson is always up for silly fun!

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The week before Christmas I began to feel like I was getting a cold. After about 2 days of the stuffy head, runny nose, headache, and achy all over symptoms, and discovering I was running a little bit of a fever, I decided I better go to urgent care and make sure it wasn’t the flu. There had been many news reports on TV about how bad type A and type B flus were going around in northern Texas. Therefore, on Thursday before Christmas, I found myself sitting in a waiting room freezing and shivering watching everyone who went in to exam rooms come out with surgical masks over their mouth and nose. When I was called back, they did all the regular things (blood pressure, listen to heart and lungs, look in eyes, ears, and nose). They also did the swab test for the flu. I tested negative for both types of flu (YEA!!) but was told that didn’t mean I didn’t have the flu because I could come in the very next day and test positive (so exactly HOW good are those tests then?). I did have sinus and respiratory infections, so I got a prescription for antibiotics for ten days. I asked to get an antibiotic shot to “jump start” the healing process, and they gave me one. By the time we left for Christmas with the grandkids a couple of days later, my fever was gone and I was beginning to feel better.

We went to OKC on the 23rd. On the 24th we picked up our oldest son at Will Rogers airport, did a little last minute Christmas shopping, and met up with Jennifer, Mike and the grandkids at their church (Journey Church of Norman, OK) for their Christmas Eve service. It was a touching service and watching Mike helping to lead worship is always a joy. Jeff wanted a family photo after the service, so we went up on the platform to take a picture. We were told we needed to back up on the platform to get in some better lighting so the picture would turn out nice. To our great surprise, one of Mike’s friends who works back in the media booth, turned on the snow machine which was used in “Christmas Spectacular” and located right above us.  You can see the surprise all over our faces!

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We had a wonderful time with the grandkids and enjoyed another delicious Christmas dinner of turkey and all the trimmings. We played games and watched Star Wars movies all day long. It was good to visit with some of Jennifer’s family as well as some of Mike’s and Jennifer’s friends from their church who stopped by for a while.

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The day after Christmas Jeff, Jack, and I left OKC and headed back to Missouri. We stopped in Springfield, MO, to spend some time with Jack’s mom and to pick up my Honda Pilot (which I left at Jack’s sister’s house after my mom’s hospitalization in mid November). After a delicious lunch at Cedars restaurant and visiting for a while, we headed out. Jeff drove the CR-V and was headed to Columbia, MO, for a couple of days to visit with his cousins and their families as well as a few friends. We headed on to STL in the Pilot to have a few extra days to take care of some appointments, make a quick trip to Dexter for vet and grooming appointments, and visit with some of our friends.

On Friday after Christmas all my family started arriving in STL for our LaTurno Christmas festivities. We pretty much follow the same “schedule” every year. Friday night we ALL (including the LaTurno cousins who can make the trip) gather at my younger sister, Lisa’s, house (Lisa and her husband, Rob, live two houses up from my parents’ house). We visit, have an ornament exchange, play Bingo, some play pool or ping pong, and, of course, have LOTS to eat and drink. This year the cousin that brings and calls Bingo had pink eye and couldn’t attend, so we didn’t get to play Bingo. 😢

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Saturday morning we gather at Denny’s for breakfast then head back to my parents’ house to exchange gifts. This gift exchange is for gifts to my parents (our kids’ grandparents) and anyone age 21 and under (basically it’s just grandkids now).

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My parents decided about 15 years ago (or longer!) to give us all cash on Saturday morning with the idea that we would then go shopping all day Saturday to spend that money. We would gather back at the house at 6 p.m. for supper followed by “show and tell.” During show and tell we would show my parents what they “got” us for Christmas. It is fun because it has kind of become a competition to see who can get the most for their money.

Then the over 21 group has a gift exchange. We draw numbers and as our numbers are called we select a gift from the pile of gifts in the middle of the room and unwrap it. Then we call the numbers again for the “stealing” round. It’s fun, frustrating, and always worth a lot of laughs. This year I brought a gift NO ONE else would want: it was a Cracker Barrel gift card AND the perfect RV size baking set!! I included a note that said, “Perfect for RVing!” Someone else opened it on the first round, but I stole it in the second round. I was correct: no one else wanted it.  Take note of the dimensions in the picture.

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After the gift exchange most all of us went back up to my sister’s house to visit, play games, and eat leftover party food from the night before.  One of the games we played is called Rhythm, and it was always one of my mom’s favorites.  Since we had some new additions to the family this year (a couple of new boyfriends joined in the festivities), we had to teach them how to play.  Needless to say, we all had a lot a fun and some good laughs.

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Sunday morning we all gathered at McDonald’s for a quick breakfast.  It was New Years Eve day and everyone was heading home.  Jack and I, however, were staying in STL until January 2.  Jack and I went to visit mom later that afternoon and even convinced her to put on the party hat they were passing out for their New Years celebration.  I’m sad to say that dad, Jack and I did not make it until midnight to bring in the New Year.  Oh, well….maybe next year.

New Year’s Day Jack and I helped dad get his house back in order from all the chaos. We did a little house cleaning and MULTIPLE loads of laundry consisting mostly of towels and sheets.  Jack and I also wanted to do our laundry before we headed back to Texas.  It was a busy but peaceful day.

On Tuesday, Jan. 2, we headed back to the RV in northern Texas.  We were a little apprehensive about getting back to the RV because there had been several days of bitterly cold temperatures (highs in the teens and 20s!) in Sanger, TX.  We did everything we could before we left for Christmas to prepare the RV for the below freezing temps.  Hopefully we weren’t going back to frozen and broken water lines.  I’ll let you know that outcome in the next post.

So for now …. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

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Downtown DALLAS/JFK City Tour

I was interested in going into downtown Dallas, but I would need to find some kind of “bus” tour because I knew Jack would NOT want to drive into downtown Dallas! We didn’t really know what to go see much less how to get around downtown in our own car. I googled “downtown bus tours” and several tours popped up. The one that really caught my eye was a 90 minute tour called “Downtown Dallas City/JFK Tour.” Forty-five minutes of this tour was devoted to the most popular city sites (museums, famous buildings, old churches, sculptures, parks, etc.), and the other forty-five minutes were dedicated to sites and buildings associated with the November 22, 1963, assassination of President John F. Kennedy. We chose to take this tour on Sunday (Dec. 3) in the hopes of avoiding the bad downtown Dallas traffic. That was a very wise decision on our part! There was very little traffic that day.

The first part of the tour was the downtown city sites. We were given a lot of information about the buildings, parks, etc., but since I didn’t write down any notes, I have forgotten most of it all.  😞  However, I took a lot of pictures! If I remembered anything about a picture, I wrote about it in the captions, SO be sure to read the captions!

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Downtown Dallas skyline.

4B5A56EC-7B60-4DF7-ADCB-CA0D14DF677B Building used as the “Ewing” building in the filming of the office scenes of the TV show DALLAS. They actually filmed inside the building using some of the offices.

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Dallas City Museum in the background.

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This historic old church is getting a “face lift.”

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MIZZOU in downtown Dallas! Go Tigers! MIZ…

AF672AEB-B15B-4B94-A67E-2455364C65EE First Baptist Church, downtown Dallas.62F47BDC-D2E3-4584-9945-8FC5835F513B FBC Dallas Family Center0DBB6FFC-DDC8-47F0-B87B-BDA9903898EF FBC Dallas entryway fountain.

The second half of the trip was following the path President Kennedy’s motorcade took that fateful day in November, 1963, and other interesting places related to the assassination.  I remember exactly where I was when I heard President Kennedy had been shot (5th grade classroom right before recess; our teacher let us girls go to the bathroom, and we were all crying thinking the world was coming to an end). It was a sobering tour, and Jack and I both learned some new things about the President, Jackie, the shooting, Harvey Oswald, and Jack Ruby. It was interesting to say the least.  Here are just a few pictures of the JFK part of the bus tour:

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JFK Memorial Plaza in background.

59EA7F26-DC3A-4636-A4E8-E710C0F7CF1C JFK Memorial Plaza monument.E944A106-97FA-4603-8243-016D2AEFDA69903767EA-70B1-4523-AA27-8D7BFEEDC55435D6AB05-4E31-4477-BB0F-F52DF0FAE6EF

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Replica of the limo in which JFK, Jackie, and the Governor rode.

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Building from which Harvey Oswald shot JFK (second from the top floor, last window on the right; right side of window is open).

A8342A56-6ED9-4C6D-9804-D68A0B0C4CD9 The window where the white card with the black circle on it is the exact location of Oswald.987ADB40-E463-4765-9430-E09AE7D2F757 On the street at the spot where JFK was struck by the bullet, looking back to the building in which Oswald was located (window is hidden behind the tree limbs).1B43F84F-F8C4-4C78-96CF-D53B5423551A That green X in the street marks the spot where Kennedy’s limo was when the President was hit by the first bullet. There’s a second X further down the street where the second bullet hit him, but I didn’t get that in the picture.18AE0C90-362B-4BCF-8355-B9BDA3412565 The “grassy knoll” where it was believed a second shooter was located (now it is believed there was no second shooter).2BF41CCD-2C00-446C-A82B-D2F253F0BA14 The view of the street where JFK was shot from atop the grassy knoll.A0EFAE7A-0CD1-4CFD-B2FE-F0CC6AA625B4 View of the building Oswald was in, the grassy knoll, and the location of the assassination from the other side of the street.1673D379-9403-4918-8C45-8E8545F4A7909DF76BB4-3AC3-4E7C-B5E5-0BC8D6B517BA
We had the best tour guide, and she was very knowledgeable about the shooting of JFK.  She showed us the route that Oswald took after he shot Kennedy, the street where Oswald shot a police officer (Did you know he shot a police officer AFTER shooting Kennedy? We didn’t!), the theater where he was when the police found him and arrested him, and the boarding house where he was living at the time.

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This is the entrance to the police station back then where Jack Ruby just walked in and stood with the reporters and others. When the police brought Oswald out to transport him to another jail, Ruby shot him. That shooting was actually broadcast on live TV. Did you know that Jack Ruby had cancer at the time and didn’t have too much longer to live?

19434A8B-83FE-4BD8-A5D9-C8A1AA007498 The rooming house where Oswald was living at the time.2D37E868-7109-408D-A6D7-13FA0E56A2A5 The living room of the house where Oswald lived. Fifteen minutes after the assassination, Oswald walked back into this house after shooting the President. As he walked through the living room, the lady who owned the house was sitting on the couch watching her soap opera (you can see the back of the L-shaped couch in the bottom of the picture). Her soap opera had been interrupted by the news of the shooting. She told Oswald, “Someone just shot President Kennedy! Come sit down and watch this with me!” He walked into his room which was just off the living room, grabbed some stuff, and left the house without saying a word. All the furniture in the house is the original furniture from Nov. 22, 1963. This is our tour guide in the photo.7E095312-FAAF-4BC1-97CE-9FCC3A83B31C This is the small room just off the living/dining room that Oswald where Oswald was living at the time of the assassination.5A6C5B63-6B44-46D4-8457-99B234AB6BF4 Inside the rooming house was this death certificate for JFK. Something was incorrect on this certificate (I don’t remember what it was), so they had to issue a corrected certificate. This incorrect one was placed in the rooming house.

There was SO much more that we learned on this tour about the city of Dallas and the assassination of President Kennedy.  Jack and I both decided it was well worth the money.  The price for this 90 minute tour was $25 per person!  It was certainly worth the money and I’d recommend it to anyone!

So for now …. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

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