February 14, Texas to Albuquerque


Since our last missive, our lives have been as full as ever with both a lot of work and a lot of fun--good mix. We have had a couple of moderate illnesses (cold, sore throat, etc.) since the first of the year, but weathered them and are in good shape now.


View of Sandia Mts. from our Albuquerque campground
We went back to the Thornton house on Jan. 10 and started doing yard work and clean-up around the greenhouse/cantina in preparation for demolishing it. It has always been an eyesore--vines grow all over it and onto the garage roof. Also, some of the wood was beginning to rot and I was afraid it would attract termites to the house. We had gotten an estimate to tear it down but it was more than we were prepared to pay with all the other work we had been having done. So, when my brother Lloyd offered to help us demolish it, we said, "Okay!" He arrived on the 12th with the necessary tools and know-how, and we went to work. I wish I had taken pictures, but I guess we were all working too hard--it never occurred to us. Lloyd's idea was to cut the structure into quarters, letting it fall a section at a time, tearing that section apart and then going on to the next. This worked wonderfully and in two days it was down and torn apart. While Lloyd and Riley and our neighbor Rosario pried the beams apart, I carried then to the front next to the road. We had picked that weekend to work because heavy trash pickup would be on the following Tuesday. Riley and Malcolm helped me finish the clean-up on Monday while Lloyd did some roofing repair--the greenhouse had been attached directly to the garage. It was a lot of hard work and we all had sore muscles. On Tuesday, the heavy trash people came by and said it was too much construction material--I just about had a heart attack wondering how we could get rid of it. However, I guess they felt sorry for me because they relented and they took it away. I was so happy to see it all go. Several years ago, my other brother, Richard, had helped Riley tear down an old play area with decks, swings and slides. It's great to have such a loving and supportive family.

After all the demolishing was done, Riley and I went back to yard work and later that week had a fellow come by to power wash the house and garage, which were covered with green mold--the consequence of living in a humid climate. Before we could quite finish up the yard work, the rains came and put an end to outdoor work--we were relieved. To relax and get away from it all, we headed back to Nancy's for one night, then went to High Island. We went birding at the Anahuac Wildlife Refuge one morning and had fun, though it seemed to me there were not as many birds there as last year. We had wanted to visit the rookery on High Island but the rains returned and made that impossible. Riley watched one of the NFL playoff games and got his kicks from football instead of birds. We then headed on to Galveston via the Boliver ferry, where the weather continued to be overcast and rainy. We gave it up after three days and went back to Nancy's.

While at Thornton, Riley bought a satellite radio receiver, and we have enjoyed being able to get a commercial-free radio station wherever we are. We've mostly listened to the classical station, but have also tried out NPR stations and "Elvis radio" direct from Graceland (always fun, though they talk too much at times).

It turned out that Jim was not going to be making the business trip to St. Louis after all, so we were not needed to stay and care for Mom and the horses while they were gone. So we went back to our original plan to leave the area and head for Albuquerque, where we planned to spend the month of February. We stayed with Nancy a couple of more days to be with Mom as much as possible, then went back over to Thornton and finished up over there. Told Malcolm and the girls goodbye, and went to Austin.


Riley saying goodbye to the horses

Nancy, Mom & me

Richard retired from the UT Life Science Library on Jan. 31, and on Feb. 1, his boss, Nancy, gave a very nice party for him which we were pleased to attend. Many people attended to offer congratulations. Beverly funded an endowment in his name (to which staff and others contributed) for the enhancement of the Ornithology section of the library.


Nancy (Richard's boss), Richard & Beverly

The Pond family representatives less Bev & Ferrell

We spent three days in Austin and had a wonderful time. We saw more of Lloyd and Ferrell then we sometimes do, and all in all it was a good visit. I also got to present the quilts I made last fall to Ben and Zazie (my grandnephew & grandniece). I hadn't done this when we were there in early December because I hadn't finished hemming Zazie's. I bought material for my next quilt project in Austin, but have yet to start working on it.

Ben's quilt pictures.
Zazie's quilt pictures.


Lloyd & Zazie

Leslie & Margie

Richard & Ben making origami birds

Zazie & Ben climb on Richard's back as Ferrell watches

On leaving Austin, we headed directly to Albuquerque and our lives have been much quieter. Shannon has been over a couple of times to have dinner and visit, and she is doing well. She is taking us to the Botanical Gardens this weekend. On our own, we have been by the Rio Grande Nature Center State Park to see the ducks and geese, and up to Sandia Crest to see the Rosy Finch. All three species were present, as well as the Hepburn subspecies of the Gray-crowned. We had a very good time.

We plan to stay here through the first of March, meet our friends Dick and Earin in the Sedona/Jerome (AZ) area on March 3 for a couple of days, stop by Tucson for a brief visit, and then on to San Diego where we plan to attend Johnny's (Juan's son) Robotics Competition on March 8. We had a lot of fun attending last year, and since Johnny wrote to tell us his group has an even "cooler" robot this year, we're sure it will be even more fun this year.

Love,
Margie & Riley


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