Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Winding Down - December 2012

With our Permisos de Salir y Entrar (Permission to Leave and Enter), we left Mexico on December  2.  Back in Edinburg, I immediately started laying plans for the dinner parties I wanted to have in our new home, but within a few days, I was sick again with a respiratory ailment that had plagued me since I first encountered it in October in Croatia.  I fought it for two weeks and finally thought I was over it.  We'll hear more about this later in the post.

With all my coughing and sputtering it was not the carefree, full-of-energy December I had imagined.  However, I did manage to attend Book Club and have a few daring fool-hardy friends for dinner.  

We had a grand time putting up the Christmas tree and all the decorations.  

Stanley even strung lights on the mesquite tree in the garden.
We also worked in a dance lesson and a couple of dances.   

I also had the chance to talk to Jerry about a necklace Frosty had found among Mom's things.  According to the note, it was intended for me, but there was no signature or other indication of who it was from.  Together, we decided it must have been from Grandmother Phillips.  Interesting to find a gift more than 60 years after it was given.

Finally, thinking my cold/allergy/flu/whatever was on the run, Stanley and I organized an End of the World/Solstice Observance Tamale Feast.  The End of the World failed to materialized and Winter Solstice isn't the same high-profile event in South Texas as it is in Alaska.  However, the tamales were excellent!  

On the 23, we joined a good portion of the valley's population at the State Farm Arena in Hidalgo for a performance of Beauty and the Beast.  The show was well done even though some of the individual performances were a bit weak and the crowd was very interesting.  Some folks knew the entire show by heart and sang along with the cast; others sat stone-faced as if they expected small explosions at any moment; and still others behaved more like they were at a hockey game than a theater production.  At any rate, it was a fun evening even if the arena seats got very, very hard before the curtain call.  The cast thought they got a standing ovation, but actually people just needed to relieve their backsides.

On the 24, we traveled to San Antonio to spend a delightful evening with Frosty and his family.  

What a precious bunch of grandchildren he has collected.  

As always he and Jill were fabulous hosts. 

The most talked-about gift of the evening was this painting Kelly did for his dad.  It was his first effort at painting and we were all amazed. 

We spent Christmas Day with Sarah and her family.  The kids were so much fun to watch.  

Grayson was somewhat overwhelmed; maybe not so much with the phonics flash cards

but the marshmallow rifle was a real hit.

There was one more child this Christmas.  I am not free to share pictures or even use her real name, but for literature sake, we can call her Sweet Pea.  She is a foster child that Sarah and David are hoping to adopt.  She has stolen all our hearts and made Christmas extra special for all of us!

Zac was totally unimpressed with the whole production.

Trey dropped by to watch the big Santa Claus reveal and have breakfast with us.  Always a pleasure to see him!  Later, Sarah and I prepared a non-traditional Christmas dinner including Nana's Mushroom Rice.  

The next couple of days were a rush of post-holiday shopping, San Antonio Botanical Garden, Yardhouse, and Les Miserables.  What a movie!

We spent all day Friday at Sarah's house.  David, Trey and Grayson worked on the play structure in the back yard.  When it is finished it's going to be wonderful and even unfinished, it's fairly spectacular.  Friday evening, Stanley and I took care of the kids while Sarah and David went out on the town
It was then, just as I was putting Grayson to bed, that I began to feel that awful tightening in my throat and I knew without a doubt the "ick" was back!

On Saturday morning, I was worse.  Panchi and her family had arrived in town the night before and I really wanted to see them before we left, but I felt awful.  Jill suggested that since I hadn't tried antibiotics, I might want to give them a whirl.  She wrote a prescription for me and we went off to meet the gang for breakfast. 

Our first choice was Cracker Barrel, but the wait there was an hour and a half so we decided Alamo would be a good second choice.  They weren't open.  Alas, Cha-Cho's, the third choice, proved ideal.  There were no big crowds so there was no rush to leave and the food was ever so tasty.  

Trey was unable to join us, but all the rest of the kids and grandkids were there.  I do love having them all together even if it's just for an hour or so.  Talking was quite an effort, but I managed.  I couldn't let a little laryngitis get between me and visiting.  At the end of breakfast, we all went our separate ways:  Stanley and I back to the valley, Sarah and her crew off to spend the day at home, Panchi and her family off for a day of intense shopping.  Allyson wasn't feeling so hot, but I'm thinking a couple of good sales perked her right up.

Within a few hours after taking the first antibiotic, I was feeling much better.  I don't know if it was the medicine or putting some distance between me and the cedar in San Antonio, but improvement was dramatic.  Thanks, Dr. Jill!

Back in Edinburg, there has been time with sweet friends.  Last night, we had two of our favorite couples for dinner:  rack of lamb, pasta with basil pesto, tomato salad, and chocolate cake with raspberries.  Then, the New Year's Eve celebration and dance. 
Stanley and I opted out of the late night breakfast and came home to watch the fireworks from the screen porch where we shared the last of the night's bubbly and reflected on the past year.  

He tried to get me to say we should slow down in 2013, but I refused.  There are still so many places to visit, people to meet, and wonders to discover.  I can't imagine slowing down!
Best wishes to all of you in the coming year!  Peace, love, prosperity - may you have all you desire!