Thursday, January 29, 2009

Roy's on his way

Roy's making the final trek to Ajijic in Joseph's truck with most all of the stuff that didn't get moved down a year and a half ago on the "big" truck. He should be arriving here this evening after a long 12+ hour day of driving. Good news, the weather across Mexico today is clear and beautiful. He got books on tape from some of our Christmas gift cards so he's got something to keep him awake and not so lonely.

Parts of the drive are really beautiful and some parts are like driving across West Texas, flat and boring! I'll be happy once he's here and safe.

Paid taxes today

I went to Chapala today to pay our annual house taxes. There was an increase from last year of, wait for it, .07% -- that's right you read that correctly -- less than 1% increase. The entire bill was less than $900 pesos which in today's dollars is about $65.00 US. Again, you read that correctly, we paid $65.00 today for our annual taxes for a 3 bedroom, 3 bath house plus a one bedroom, one bath casita -- approximately 3500 sq. ft in total.

It's this place grand!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Something cool

I just logged onto to Ravelry and had a message in my mailbox asking if they could use one of my pictures on the pattern page for the Cascade Ripples Throw. Check it out!!!!!

This is really cool. I'm almost as famous as my friend Kenny -- who's going to have a pattern published in Interweave Knits next month!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

My Brother Don

I just got back from Fort Worth a few days ago after returning to Texas for my older brother's funeral. WOW, not what I thought I'd be doing a few weeks after Christmas.

It was very sudden and unexpected. He was driving home from picking up take-out Chinese food when he had a massive heart attack and died instantly, and after hitting 7 cars and running up a very steep embankment from Bryant Irvin Rd to SH 183 and jumping the guard rail, his car stopped on SH 183 heading east. No one, thank God, was hurt in the accident that followed his heart attack.

I went back to Texas immediately and got to spend some great time with my family and meet some of his friends and co-workers. It's not the way I'd have preferred we got together, but it was wonderful to see, hug, laugh, cry, and reminisce with everyone. My how the family has expanded over the years.

There's so much to say...The funeral was very subdued and emotional. I hadn't really had much of an emotional reaction to his death prior. But when Jim, Mary, Susie, and Ann got up for Jim to read what they had all written about their dad I fell apart. I realized then, Don was really more like a dad to me too, in so many ways, then a brother, especially after our Dad and Mom both died in 1974 and 1975 respectively.

Don was 20 years old when I was born. He and Pattie Ann were married in 1953 and started having their own family. Mary and I are only 13 months apart. Mary, Susie, Jim, and Ann are more like my siblings then nieces and nephew. But they still introduce me as "Aunt Donna" which always get a funny response!

Don was a pilot in the US Air Force and retired as a Colonel. He majored in dairy husbandry at the University of Maryland thinking he was going to come back to the farm and be a dairyman. Our family had a large dairy farm in Howard County Maryland, very close to the Howard County Fair Grounds.

While in the Air Force they lived in Carlisle, PA; Austin and Lubbock, TX; Hampton, VA; Montgomery, AL and Japan. He did 2 tours of duty in Viet Nam and I found out a couple of days before the funeral that he was awarded The Bronze Star. NO ONE KNEW ABOUT THIS. HE HADN'T EVEN TOLD HIS WIFE. That's my brother Don. He was the Dean of the Army War College in Pennsylvania. He wrote one of the first books on the lessons of Viet Nam. After he retired from his military career, he moved to Fort Worth, Texas and started an investment company for military personnel and worked there for 20+ years. THEN he decided it was time to really retire, and get serious about his golf game. His favorite place on earth was Hawaii.

He is buried at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery. Not exactly Maui, but it is a very beautiful place with rolling hills and lakes and fountains and birds!

My brother was a serious, introspective man when I was a young girl growing up. I never really knew him. In fact, I could probably say he scared me a bit. I was more comfortable with my sister-in-law Pattie Ann and she was the one who hugged me and made me feel a part of their family after our Mom died. As I got older Don and I became better friends. I wasn't so needy and he didn't feel so much responsibility for me and my brother Mike who was younger then he too. The last time I saw Don was 2 years ago at my niece Carolyn's wedding in Dallas. The four of us, Don, Joy, Mike and me have had several occasions over the years to all be together as adults and I am grateful for those events.

I remember he had an awesome, distinctive laugh and he could tell you something funny and make himself crack up laughing to the point he'd cry. He was happy and content in his life. I believe he died with no regrets or unfinished business. For that I truly grateful. He was a much loved and respected man. He will be sorely missed by Pattie, his children and their families, his brother and sisters, and friends.

Good-bye my brother/dad! I love you and will miss you too.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Happy Retirement

Well, it's finally here. He said he was going to do it, but being the skeptic I am I said I wouldn't believe it until I saw it. We've been talking about this day coming for several years and it has happened. We may yet be living again in the same country, state, town, and even same house!

ROY IS RETIRED! Well, he's retired from Aon, that is. After spending Christmas in Dallas, Roy had to drive back on Monday Dec 29th cause he had to be in the office on his last day, Dec 31, 2008 -- that apparently was really not necessary after all.

Now his job is taking lots of naps and hanging out at the Fowler's house -- at least until he makes the drive down with our last bits of stuff from the Bellaire house to the Ajijic house.

We thought we had a builder interested in buying our lot, but that fell through so now the plan is to get the house inspection ready to put on the market to sell. Wish us luck!

My Christmas in Texas -- 2008

Just got back to Mexico from my 2 week trip to visit my brother Mike and his growing family in Richardson, Texas; my Dad and JoAnn in Longview, Cassie and Lauren, Joseph, Forrest and friends in Houston.

The time always goes by too fast. I can't fit in everyone I'd love to see and hope that friends will understand.

I got back to Texas on Monday night 12/22 and quickly shopped til I dropped for 2 days to get all the Christmas shopping finished. We spent Christmas eve with the Fowlers (Lauren, Joseph and Forrest) and I got to see Forrest for the 1st time (in person) since he was a week old. My goodness he's changed! He's crawling now (5 1/2 months) and sitting up alone and we all predict he'll be walking soon. Roy and I have discussed setting up an education fund for him -- but now agree that we should put an orthopedic surgeon on retainer cause there will be broken bones and stitches in the little man's future. He does not like to stay still!

Christmas Day we drove to Dallas to visit my brother Mike and his wife Willa and my nieces and nephews, their spouses, and children. Sergei and Max got a Wii for Christmas as we had a ball playing golf, tennis, bowling, soccer, dodging the soccer balls and panda heads, hula-hoops, aerobics, etc. It was a great Christmas! And of course, Willa fed us all with wonderful dinners and lunches! Thank you Willa for all your service to us to make our Christmases so wonderful.

On Saturday Roy, Mike and I drove to Longview to see Spence and JoAnn. He's 81 now and looks great. He's a bit weak, but much happier and hopeful. He's decided that he's not ready to die just yet (what a blessing -- cause he's been waiting for God for 11 years). We played a game together and Spence even tried to sort of cheat, kind of. He just withheld all the rules until after he'd played his hand! Gotta watch this guy. JoAnn is an angel on earth and I am and will always be so grateful that she came into our lives. She takes great care of Spence and all has a smile on her lips and in her heart.

On Sunday Roy drove back to Houston* and I stayed over a couple more days to visit my long-time friend, Cassie. We drove to Nocona (near Wichita Falls) to visit her Mom who had hip replacement surgery. She's home now and doing great. Cassie and I drank lots of coffee -- YEAH Tassimo! What an amazing appliance that thing is. Knitted, ate wonder food full of memories for me from my many years living in Dallas, shopped, drove around Dallas, and talked for endless hours. Of lest I forget -- I got to play with her new puppy Tipsy. What a cutie and such a mess! Love you Tips!

I flew back to Houston on Southwest (what a great organization that airline continues to be) on New Year's Eve and was in bed and asleep long before midnight. New Year's Day we went to the Fowlers and I cooked black-eyed pea soup (it's a southern tradition to have black-eyed peas on New Year's Day) and we watched football and played with the baby. I got to spend some time with my wonderful knitting family in Houston at Nancy's Knits and enjoyed our special day on Sunday Jan 4th. Thanks everyone for coming -- it was wonderful to see you all. I made a new friend (Maxine) and got to be with old friends too.

* This is another story I'll share in another post. Happy Retirement