I feel duty bound to fill you in on my retirement so far.

I'm happy to say it's been pretty good, and I am definitely finding out why retired people carry appointment calendars.

I have just returned from Reno, Nev. where I visited with all the family I have there. My goal was to see my mother who is now living in an assisted care home, and I had good and bad moments in doing that.

She lives in a lovely, friendly, clean home, but she has had some trouble adjusting to this big change in her life. The whole time I was in Reno she was pretty sad and unhappy, often to the point of tears. It has turned out that she was on a very inappropriate antidepressant which was actually causing her heavy depression.

However, she has been changed to another better medication since I returned home, and she is now cheerful, her memory is intact, and she's enjoying the phone calls we share. I am so relieved that she has done this about face since it's very difficult to see your parent so unhappy.

I spent a lot of time with my daughter and her family, which gave me the opportunity to watch my grand daughter, Tabby, practice for her big debut as a snowflake in the Nutcracker with the Moscow Ballet Company. She's amazingly graceful for a kid who just started ballet lessons this year, and my great regret is that I won't be there to see her in late December.

My grandson, Brock, is a funny little curly head who is in love with Thomas the Train, and who can run for hours if you let him. He's working very hard in the talking department, with some things coming out so clearly that you know there's a lot more going on in his little head than cars and trains.

At one point when he thought he had lost me in a big crowd, he shouted out "Meemaw!" when he finally spotted me. I've waited for 16 years for one of my grandchildren to come up with something other than Grandma Bev. It's not that I dislike that moniker, but "Meemaw" seems so much more personal and endearing.

Spending quality time with both of the children was the highlight of my trip, and now I want to call them to hear their voices every day. My daughter and son-in-law are doing a wonderful job of parenting, to the point that I want to pinch myself to remember that I did have something to do with it all.

I was welcomed home by our dogs Boo and Maggie, plus our tiny, new toy poodle, Lily Belle. If life was loud and hectic in Reno thanks to the two grand children, it's not much different here at home as we adjust to Belle and all her antics.

Just before I left Corpus, I was treated to lunch by my former bosses, Edward Herrera and Commissioner Peggy Banales, where I was presented with a wonderful watch in spite of my rather ungrateful protests that I didn't need one in retirement.

I was so wrong, and I need to thank those who insisted on giving it to me. It's probably the most comfortable watch I've ever worn, and I needed it all the time I was traveling.

Mil gracias, amigos.