Tuesday, December 25, 2012


Christmas Day - Thousand Trails Wilderness Lakes sponsored a Christmas Buffet Dinner at Noon today!  They provided Turkey and Ham and attendees brought the side dishes.  The price was certainly right!!  It was FREE!!  And plentiful.  And delicious!

I have a Spinach Salad that I make that is pretty good.  Today I decided to add red pepper strips and made it into a CHRISTMAS SALAD!!  What a good idea, Faye!!  HA HA  That was our contribution to Christmas dinner!!

Mark and Laurie, Pickleball players, joined us; or we joined them at the Potluck!!  It was a lot of fun!!

Merry Christmas, Everybody!!


Dec. 24 - Christmas Eve we drove 75 miles down to Chula Vista to spend some time with Ken's Grandsons, Russell, almost 18, and Jacob, already 11.  Russell just received recognition as Number One Defensive Linesman at Hill Top High School at this year's Football Banquet!  Jacob is looking forward to going to Middle School next year!  They are two good looking boys!

We took them to see The Hobbit!  It was good but had a lot, a lot, a lot of talking!!  Hope the boys enjoyed it!!

Merry Christmas, Guys!!


Dec. 23 - Pam was experimenting with another dish.  Shells stuffed with cheese and ground Italian sausage!!  They invited us over to share dinner with them!!

Here are the Shells, broccoli, and my contribution - a spinach salad! UUMMMMMM!

The four of us enjoying dinner!  Faye, Walt, Pam and Ken!

Pam topped the evening with delicious cheese cake and some of her special Almond Rocha!!

Thanks a lot Pam and Walt!  That was so much fun!  And delicious!!


Dec. 14 - We returned from our sudden trip to Richmond, VA in the middle of the night on Wednesday, Dec. 12.  The next day we went to Temecula Valley RV Service to finish up having a new awning installed where the previous awning had ripped away in the wind.  After the repair, we checked in at TT Wilderness Lakes for two weeks.

On Friday, Dec. 14, Ken turned 80 years old!!!  We went to Texas Roadhouse to celebrate!

This time we ordered their Rib Eye Steak, baked potato and salad.  I'm showing this picture so you can see how large the potatoes are!  In fact, we each took half of our potato home.  Ken made the most awesome hash browns ever!!

After we had finished our dinner, the waitresses brought Ken a serving of ice cream with chocolate syrup.  But he had to work for his ice cream!!  They made him ride the birthday saddle while everyone in the restaurant, Ken included, yelled YaHoo!!!

When we left the restaurant, Ken took us on our own Tacky Lights Tour!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Dec 03 - 12 - As reported on November 18 Blog, we were surprised to learn that 2012 is the year that Ken  MUST be at the Virginia DMV in person to have his vision tested, to have his picture taken, and to renew his Virginia Driver's license.

Ken's son, Mike, in Richmond, said we could stay with them when we were in Richmond.  His daughter, Vickie, has made several reservations for their daughter, Niki, to travel from LA to Fort Lauderdale.  She recommended SPIRIT Airlines as the best price.  We made our reservations on Spirit, paid for our baggage and reserved our seats.

We were to depart LAX at 10:00 PM on Monday, December 13.

Ken made friends while waiting to board the plane!  They were fascinated by his description of the game of Pickleball!!

From LAX we flew all night.  Made a connection at Fort Lauderdale Airport, and then on to Baltimore-Washington International (BWI) pictured below.

Since BWI was so far from Richmond, we decided to rent a car from Dollar Rent A Car, and drove to Richmond (about 3 hours).

As soon as we went arrived at Mike and Diane's, Ken went immediately , to the local DMV and posed for his picture (even though he had not taken time to shave), and had his vision checked, and renewed his Driver's License!

From the time we arrived in Richmond on December 04, to the time we left on December 11, we were busy, busy, busy!  Following are some of our activities.  Other activities were interspersed and are shown in separate postings!

Dec 06 - One of the things I particularly wanted to do while we were back home was to go to Zorba's  Italian Restaurant for their Mussels Mariana.  We took Mike and Diane to Zorba's for dinner on Thursday night.

Incidentally, Ken's daughter Stacey recently moved from Florida to Richmond and is working for Diane in her Paramedical Service, Accu-Med.  And, his daughter, Vickie, surprised us greatly by flying up from Fort Lauderdale to be here with us!

Here are the girls at dinner!  Note.  All of us are LEFT-HANDED!!  Faye, Stacey, Vickie, Diane.

And the right-handed guys!  Mike and Ken.

Forgot to take a picture of the Mussels, but they were delicious!!!!

Dec 07 -  During the day on Friday, Ken and I went to the cemetery to place poinsettias on the graves of our parents.  It just so happens, both of our parents are buried in Greenwood Memorial Gardens.  Not only that!  They are separated by only a few grave sites!

The grave sites with poinsettias!

Not only are our parents buried at Greenwood, Ken and I have our mausoleum niche reserved there for our ashes when we are cremated!!  This picture shows our niche with a view!!  Ours are the top two plaques.

Dec 08 - We chose today, Saturday, to drive over to see Stacey's apartment, since she would not be working.  The apartment is actually the second floor of a dwelling in the neighborhood where she and the Ewbank siblings grew up!  Neat!

Stacey sitting on her window seat in her neat alcove!  Notice the pictures on each wall.

Picture on the right wall -- Ken in NYC the year after we were married!!  Now you ladies see why I married him!!  HA HA

And Faye on the left wall at about the same time!!

On Saturday evening, we were invited to a party being given by Suzanne who has a house cleaning service and cleans Diane and Mike's house.  On our way to the party, Mike took us on a "Tacky House Tour."

The party was at Suzanne's boyfriend's huge house.  There were only about 200 people at the party!  And food to die for!!

Stacey was a Paralegal in Florida, but on the side she was a Bartender!  She was the only Bartender for the 200 guests!!  Great job, Stacey, and Suzanne!!  Thank You!!!

See other Richmond activities in the following posts.


Dec. 5 - Another thing I particularly wanted to do when we were in Richmond, was to go to Bonefish for the Bang Bang Shrimp on Wednesday evening!  (We have not found a Bonefish in the west!)  Our good friends that we played tennis with and have hung around with for 30+ years arranged this evening for us.

Gene and Lois Keebler who discovered the Bang Bang Shrimp night at Bonefish, and turned the rest of  us on to it!  They recently bought a condo in Venice, Florida for the winter.  We have Pickleball friends who play in Venice.  Maybe Gene and Lois will take up the game themselves - do you think??

Karen and Dennis who handled making our reservations at Bonefish!  Karen is a real estate attorney.  Dennis is retired and having way too much fun!!  He has started playing Pickleball in Kilmarnock on occasion.  He said an 80 year old woman and 79 year old man beat his a$$!!  HA HA  We went to their townhouse for rum cake,egg nog and reminiscing after Bonefish.

Our hosts for the week, Diane and Mike.

And here we are!!  Having a great time!!

Have to tell you this story.  As we were dining, something was happening in the back causing all kinds of confusion.  The waitresses were soooo mixed up.  Some of us couples had ordered salad to share before our Bang Bang Shrimp.  The waitresses brought us whole salads, and then brought out the salads to share.  Then several other waiters stopped by our table:  Who ordered the Caesar Salad??  Who ordered the Seared Ahi Tuna??  Who gets the Caesar Salad??  Diane said "If they stop by with one more dish, I'm going to eat it!!"  HA HA

Then the waitresses served the Bang Bang Shrimp.  Some of us ordered Shrimp in Bang Bang Sauce; some ordered the sauce on the side.  A waitress was serving Shrimp with sauce on the side, when the sauce slipped off the plate and spattered on the floor at Karen's feet!!!  The waitress was so apologetic.  Karen just said:  "Tonight we are offering Bang Bang Shrimp in the sauce, Shrimp with sauce on the side, and Shrimp with sauce on the Floor!!"  HA HA

Later in the evening the Manager stopped by our table and explained how he had been watching our evening unfold.  He said he saw the salad confusion, the seared tuna, and then, the sauce on the floor.  He offered to reduce the bills for the entire table by half!!!  How amazing!!

Here is the Bang Bang Shrimp in the Sauce.

And Bang Bang Shrimp with Sauce on the Side.

Sorry.  No picture of the Bang Bang Shrimp with Sauce on the Floor!!

That was so much fun guys!!  Thank you so much for arranging it for us!!


Dec 06 -  We had set aside Thursday during the day to visit a couple of our doctors.  Our first stop was to see Ken's Podiatrist, to have his toe nails filed.  They feel a lot better now.

Dr. Duke's office is located at Stuart Circle on Monument Avenue in Richmond.  This monument of Robert E. Lee is one of six monuments on the avenue, four of which are of Confederate heroes!

Between doctors, we drove by Union Theological Seminary where Ken was the Grounds Manager.

His favorite groundsman, Mike, was having lunch and came out to talk with us!!  Mike is so funny with all the stories he tells.  Ken said he laughed so much he had tears in his eyes!  We are always amazed how much Mike remembers about our families, and he tells tales about my son Barry who worked at the Seminary for a season.  And tales about Ken's sons Mike and Richard.  And remembers all the kids' birthdays and relates them to his kids birthdays!  Amazing!  Great to see you, Mike!!

I guess most of you are aware that I developed Acathamoeba Keratitis in my right eye in 2006.  After a couple of months, I was referred to Dr. Joe Iuorno,  who had just opened West End Ophthalmology.  Dr. Iuorno immediately diagnosed my problem and has been treating me since that time.  While we were in Richmond, I simply had to set up an appointment to see Dr. Iuorno. 

My right eye remains stable, but I have a cataract in my left eye which will soon require surgery.  In the meantime, Dr. Iuorno prescribed new glasses which we ordered in Richmond and will be shipped to California!!


Dec 07 - This was a total surprise!  When we arrived at Mike and Diane's on Tuesday the 4th, Mike said his cousin Terri was planning a reunion of the Ewbank cousins!!  By plan or by chance, the reunion turned out to be during the week we were in Richmond!!

Mike and Terri made arrangements for the group to meet at the local Golden Coral on Friday at 5:30 PM.  They felt Golden Coral would suit best because everyone could eat what they wanted, when they wanted, and stay for as long as they wanted.  Turns out they made a great decision!  Everyone enjoyed the evening!

Here is the group of cousins and their families.  I won't attempt to name them all -- just the main table in the center!   (Clockwise around the table from front left:  Ken's daughter's Stacey and Vickie, Faye, Ken, Ken's brother Edward, Mike, Diane, and Terri who instigated the reunion.)

Here are the cousins who were able to be at the reunion:  Douglas, Stacey, Vickie, Mike, Walter; Front: Terri and Michelle.  (Three cousins were not there.)

And here are the two brothers who created all of these children!  Ken and his brother Edward.  They each had five children.

It was a great gathering of the Ewbank clan.  Thank you Terri and Mike for making it happen.


 Dec 09 - My daughter and son and their families live in North Carolina.  They were able to arrange their schedules so they could all come up to visit us on Sunday!!  I was thrilled!!

I wanted to come up with something we could all do together, rather than sit around Mike and Diane's house in their way.  I discovered there was going to be a dramatic re-enactment of the Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death" speech made at the 1775 Virginia Convention at Henrico Parish Church.   I thought my grandson, Thomas, would enjoy the history lesson.

Henrico Parish Church is now known as St. John's Church in Richmond-- an historic landmark.  Note the grave markers in front -- over 200 years old.

Grandson Thomas reading the plaque about St. John's Church.

The re-enactment was inside the church with actors seated among the audience.  Each stood in turn to make his point as to weather Virginia should make immediate preparation for war with England or if we should try to avert war.  Arguments were heated and ended with Patrick Henry's resolution for immediate arming of the colony in which he stated with fervor, "I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"  We, in the audience, were participants in the proceedings as well, shouting Aye or No as appropriate.

After the performance, the actors waited outside to greet the audience.  I don't remember them all but  the patriot on the left is Thomas Jefferson.  The person at the far right is George Washington.  It was amazing how much the actor resembled the Nickle!!  Next to GW is Edmund Pendleton who questioned if we were ready for war at this time.

The two Thomasses!  Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Gobble.  And they both have beautiful red hair!!

Thomas chatting with Richard Lee.  Mr. Lee was seated in the pew directly in front of us and frequently turned toward us and made some comment under his breath about the proceedings.  We felt a kinship with him, particularly.  In talking with us outside, he mentioned the bandaged right hand and explained that Richard Lee had lost two fingers on his right hand and was never seen in public without a bandage covering the injury.

On our way home from the re-enactment we stopped by KFC to pick up one of their Festive Feast for lunch.

Another thing I really wanted to have while back home was some Brunswick Stew!!  So we opened several cans of Mrs. Fearnow's Brunswick Stew to go with our KFC.  Not as good as home made but it was good.  UMMMMMMM!!

My family just sitting around, having fun together!!  Stasia, Gene, Faye, Barry, MaryAnn and Thomas lounging across our laps!!

It was wonderful to see all of them again after two and a half years away!!  Love you all so much!!


Dec 10 - I was hoping to see all of my brothers and sisters while we were back in Richmond.  Believe it or not, it actually happened!!  My sister Jean took the day off on Monday and arranged for my brothers and other sister to come to her home for a family gathering!!  I immediately volunteered that Ken would make his Bar-B-Q for the party!!  Everyone brought a side dish.  It was a big success!!

My brothers, Nelson and Chip (hidden) helping themselves to the buffet.

The family gathers around the dining table:  (Clockwise around the table from the front:  My niece Debbie, Ken, Faye, my sister Beryle, Debbie's husband Jeff, my sister Jean who arranged the party, my brother Nelson, my brother Chip, and Jean's husband Bob.)

They had a birthday cake to celebrate Ken's 80th Birthday!!  Happy Birthday To You, Ken!!

Here are the girls:  Seated:  Faye and sister Beryle.  Standing:  My cousin Ann who stopped by for the occasion, niece Debbie (Beryle's daughter), and sister Jean.

And here are the guys!!  Debbie's husband Jeff, brother Nelson, brother Chip, Jean's husband Bob, and Ken.

Jean had hung items that looked like crystal ornaments on the tree.  They were actually gifts for all of us -- small pocketbook size magnifying glasses!  I am retrieving my gift from the tree.

What a great time we had being together!!  And everything was delicious!!  Thank you Jean!!  Thank you everybody!  Love you all!!