Monday, January 14, 2013

Sunshine, a novelty these days

We broke our run of dull, dreary, rainy days - how many, I haven't kept count but it definitely started before Christmas, for all of one day. Average daily temps about 45' F, más o menos. But today, yes! we had sunshine all day; temps still in the mid 40's but by golly, sunshine. A couple of days when it rained all day we actually had temps in 60's and 70's. All that did was increase the humidity vastly and because of this, one still felt a little chilled. Still there were times during all of this that we saw an hour or two more of sunshine.

To get out and walk - what a pleasure. Danny and I were able to get to all manner of geo-caches which, in turn, had us walking all over the park. We are currently parked in Double Lake Recreation Area, close to Coldspring, Texas. Beautiful park, centrally located to all manner of hiking and activities. From here we even got to go to one of Brooke's basketball tournaments. We will have to spend more time in State Parks when in Texas as there are rumors and talks of closing many of them down because of supposed budgetary shortfalls. We will try and do our part to keep them open.

Friends came in to visit and we had a blast geo-caching and visiting with them. Of course, it continued to rain throughout the whole time of their visit. The last evening however, it cleared and we able to have a bonfire and make s'mores. It always sad to see friends leave or for you to leave friends behind. But they go with the knowledge that we will see them again soon, as they, like all friends, are constants.
Glitter Graphics

The year is breaking in nicely. Plans are now underfoot for Danny's dream hike - the Appalachian Trail. He has been talking about this since I met him and now it will finally come to fruition. The optimum time for a beginning in Georgia is mid to late March but he has decided to flip-flop hike it. He will start in Pennsylvania and head north. This will allow him to start in a flatter section with warmer weather and prevent our being in this same area during the extreme heat of the summer.  Once we get to Maine we will drive back to where we started and head south to Georgia. He will mainly be slack hiking or essentially day hiking most of the trail. When he slack hikes I will be carrying all his gear except his daypack (sagging) and we will spend these nights together. There are sections that are too long to do in one day and for these he will carry a backpack and campout along the trail or stay in a trail shelter. He has decided to "ultralight" hike which involves parring the weight down to the bare minimum in areas such as the tent, backpack, etc. For now he is getting his legs in shape by hiking each and every trail that he can find wherever we are.  It will be lengthy endeavor - can take upwards of 5+ months to walk the 2000+ miles from Georgia to Maine. It will be an experience, you can bet. Santa anticipated this hike and gifted each of us with a trail guide. It is amazing just how much preparation there is for a trip like this.  For now we are reading everything that we can find on this subject to better improve the quality of the experience. [photo] More to come on this later.

Danny will give this hike from his perspective as well during the hike. His will be so much different from mine, and definitely much more interesting ...

For the immediate future, we are anticipating a quick visit from Bennison. It will be good to see her again and Danny has all sorts of things planned. Mainly we will park the RV in a State Park close to Beaumont, TX near the coast and day trip it from there. The main idea however, is a good visit. Then we are taking a quick trip to Mexico to visit a friend and her husband who are about to open a boutique hotel in San Cristóbal, Chiapas. We leave Feb 8th and return the 18th, giving us enough time to get ourselves packed up and to Pennsylvania before the 1st of March. I will give a report, no doubt glowing, after our experiencing their hospitality and the area. As we will arrive hopefully in time for a few Carnaval celebrations, we plan on visiting surrounding Mayan villages as well.
To 2013 [clinking of glasses], may the memories unfold and the times become immortal ...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Happy New Year

Christmas in the Zeilinger household was a great one. The tree was beautiful and everyone had a wonderful time.

The family photo - always a tradition, and a nice one at that.

There was laughter as Bunni and Brooke each received 1 boot:
The dogs got into the act too:
Then with another family tradition, we all got to play in the paper, ribbon and bows:

We always have a wonderful time when we visit. It was good to see all of the grandchildren together again. With Zach now away at college, we don't see him as much. Danny and I had fun as we decided to make this a "silly" Christmas as well as a fun loving one. Santa would have been thrilled with us if he had seen us Christmas morning in our get-ups.

As luck would have it, we ended up with a wonderful gift of a white Christmas Day: not ice, only snow!

My but how they have grown. I feel downright short now. Yes these are our three grandkids, L->R
Blake, Brooke, me and Zach.
 can you believe how they have grown?

All too soon the festivities are gone and remain only in memories, but what memories they are...

New Years was seen in along with literally thousands of others in downtown Dallas's Victory Square. It was an outdoor get-together to watch and wait while drinking beer and champagne, should you so choose, and eating gourmet foods. We rode the light rail to the venue but when it came to returning to the hotel, all the other thousands were also trying to ride. So we decided to walk it. The night was crisp, we were dressed warmly and it was not so far. Besides, it gave us a chance to witness the festivities of downtown Dallas in the West End and do our favorite pastime - people watch. We had our celebratory champagne sitting in a sidewalk (read -> outside) boutique Irish pub, watching people and all their antics. Great fun! Soon the chill became bone-chilling (after about an hour and a half of sitting) and we returned to the hotel. Definitely a once a year late night but a fun one at that.

Aaaah, 2013 - another year, more unique Sherrod experiences to be had. And so we begin ... closing the door on our past, keeping the memories, and anticipating the future.