Saturday, January 29, 2011

Texas January Roundup

Our Rockport Camp
Since January is almost at an end, I guess it's about time to bring the Journal up to date with some of the more notable happenings from the past couple weeks. As usual, Old Man Time ripped through Rockport at supersonic speeds leaving at least this writer stunned by the accelerating pace... the quick repetitive pulsations of lightness and darkness previously known as days and nights... that seem to meld into an ersatz slide-show, one picture per day... the same one each day. At times I feel like a spectator as life parades by... and must exert some effort to get up and into the action. Vacation is over... time to get back to work.

Phil, Rose, Gisele, Tim
The big neighborhood fish fry was scheduled for the 18th. We joined friends Tim & Gisele and Phil & Rose in contributing a bag of oysters to the party. This is a good year for oysters here on the Coastal Bend... big and plentiful... so it was easy to score a bag right off the back of a fishing boat down at Fulton Harbor. The price was $26 for the bag... a little over 100 pounds of raw oysters in the shell. The next step is to "shuck 'em". For this, one needs an official shuckin knife. Then you reaches into the bag, grabs ahold of one of 'em, locates the "hinge" end of the about three inch long shelled creature, inserts the point of yer shuckin knife into the hinge and twist... prying open the shell just enough to stick it in a bit further, twist again, until the shell separates completely. The oyster meat is finally scraped out and refrigerated for later use. A 100 pound bag of oysters will yield something like 7 pounds of meat. It took 5 of us about a half hour to shuck the bag. Sorry, no pics... my hands were a busy and slimy.

The fish fry itself was a real hit. I think we had about 60 people and enough food to feed twice that. It's a lot of work but everyone joins in and contributes in some way... so it's manageable. Good food and good people make it an enjoyable day.

We were happy to have Jan & Dave, my little sister and brother-in-law, visit us during the weekend of the 22nd. They were looking for an excuse to escape cold snowy Wisconsin for a few days prior to gearing up for tax season -- Dave is a CPA and they both work hard long hours between now and tax day in April. It was a short visit, just two days, but we really connect with these two and always have a great time when we get together. When we're back in Wisconsin during the summer we usually join these two for TNOD (Thursday Night On the Deck) at a local Mexican Restaurant in downtown Beaver Dam. It's sorta-like TGIF... their way of starting the weekend. You see, a side benefit of working hard during tax season can turn Friday into a weekend day during the summer. Thanks for coming down you guys... we really enjoyed it.

The Big Tree -- Largest Coastal Live Oak in Texas

The Beach on Mustang Island
Yesterday, Jimmy Smith (of Julianne and Jimmy fame) and I had lunch at a little place on Fulton Harbor -- Moon Dog. It was a nice day so we sat outside and whiled away the afternoon by discussing life, telling stories, and solving world problems. I think I need to do this kind of thing more often. It was good for my mental health.

Other than those, my days have been routine. Dar's still working a lot (today she was called in to cover a staff shortage, which makes 4 long days in a row for her this week) and I'm keeping house when I'm motivated. Even with working so much, Dar's doing a better job of keeping up with our online photo albums than I've been with blogging... so check out the few pics we have from January.

More soon...