Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, June 16, 2016

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, June 16, 2016
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon, June 16, 2016

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Nature of Things - Thurs., Aug. 25, 2016

Trees are being trimmed and taken down all around the RV park because they are diseased, rotted or have been struck by lightning. A small palm tree was taken out right next to our 5th wheel. That palm was the shade for our shower skylight. Now if we take a shower mid-morning, the sun beats in on us. Unfortunately, a large pecan tree in another section of the park had to be removed because it had been struck by lightning a few months ago.

In the past two weeks, nature had more rain in store for us as well. Nature provides the best watering system for the park which is now very green. The grass is luxuriant and our temperatures cooled from the low 100s to the low 80s earlier in the week. For August, those lows are a wonderful relief. Now the temps have crept back up to the 90s.

Since I haven't written for over a week, I've got some catching up to do!

First, happy birthday to my son, Michael Gmirkin, who turned 37 this week. He lives in the Portland, Oregon area and took a couple of days off from work to celebrate. In early August, he and some friends went to Las Vegas for the Star Trek Convention. They had a blast and all dressed in costumes. The convention consisted of workshops, entertainment, karaoke, guest speakers, a showing of the new "Star Trek Beyond" movie, banquet and lots more.

In other news, Bob is doing great. He had an appointment with his cardiologist this week who proclaimed him free from atrial fibrillation following his latest catheter ablation procedure. Plus Bob has had the tube removed from his neck and his neck incision is healing well. Bob has been cleared by his docs to start marathon training. Bob began his Honolulu Marathon training this past week and reports he is keeping up with his training group.

On Wednesday, August 17, Susan M. and I planned a 10k walk along Leon Creek. We signed in, got our walk instructions and proceeded to the trailhead. We walked 1/3 mile and encountered deep water over the trail. Well, we reasoned, the trail goes the opposite direction from the trialhead as well. We'll walk that direction. That didn't work so well, either. We came to a second portion of the trail that was flooded.

2nd flooded crossing
Yet again, we tried one more off-shoot trail only to find even more water in that direction. The current was flowing pretty strong in the area below. It's nice there was a bridge across the creek, but we couldn't get to it!

The third crossing we tried was the most flooded!

Sign says, "Do not cross when under water."
A City of San Antonio Parks & Rec Trail Steward was on the trail taking photos to do an assessment of how to improve the flow of water to keep it off the trails. He said a number of other trail stewards were all around San Antonio doing similar photos and studies. 

 We ended up walking only 4k. It was better than not walking at all.

Thursday through Saturday, I worked. Sunday, Susan, Bob and I wanted to walk but rain was again in the forecast. Instead, we met Susan at Wonderland Mall where she was enjoying a gyro lunch when we arrived. After she ate, we went to the Santikos Bijou theater to see "Anthropoid." The movie is a true story about a 1941 British top-secret mission, called Anthropoid, using Czech paratroopers to land in Czechoslovakia. They are to assassinate Hitler's third in command. With Czechoslovakia under lock down, the lads on the mission must plan the assassination by studying the best place and time to make it happen. I can sum up this movie in two words: disturbing and overkill (overkill both literally and figuratively). Unless you don't mind seeing graphic violence and gross mistreatment of citizens by the Nazis, stay away from this movie. All three of us left the theater deeply disturbed by what we had seen.

When I see a movie like this, it makes me wonder...we are quick to judge how long it took to stop the Nazis from the path of genocide they were on. How are people looking back at our current times going to judge the civilized nations of the world for not stopping the genocide, terrorism and brutality brought about by ISIS? Millions have been killed and people in parts of the world cannot live lives free of terror and fear. I think we, too, will be judged harshly.

After the movie, Bob and I went to brunch at an Indian restaurant behind the Wonderland Mall. The buffet was very good and we will go back.

Monday, Susan and I again planned to walk. We agreed we'd check the weather in the morning and make our decision. At 6:00 a.m. the forecast was for 50-55% chance of thunderstorms. I texted Susan and told her we had thunder and lightning at our place and I was going back to bed. We did not walk Monday either. It rained quite a bit so I was glad I opted for more sleep. Monday afternoon, I vacuumed and did eight loads of laundry.

After all the chores, I watched my Netflix selection which was "Belle," a movie based on a true story about an illegitimate mulatto who was the "daughter" of a British Admiral and a slave. Bob and I loved the movie. It blends history and a wonderful love story along with the societal norms of the 18th century. Her interactions with her "uncle," the Lord Chief Justice, help to abolish the slave trade based on the true trial of the the slave-ship Zong.

Both Susan and I had other plans Tuesday and Wednesday so no walking those days either.

Tuesday, I was able to go for 60-minute massage in the morning. I re-vacuumed Tuesday afternoon, then scrubbed the floors.

Wednesday, I had my mammogram (ouch) and I should see the results of that by next week. I have no family history of breast cancer, so hopefully it will be normal.

After the mammogram I met Bob for lunch at Olive Garden. We each had one of their Tuscan Duo lunch specials for $6.99/$7.99. I had the spaghetti bowl and unlimited salad. Bob had Grilled Chicken Piadina which is basically a chicken quesadilla with veggies in it. My spaghetti was served in a cereal bowl or small soup bowl, so it was a nice serving and I did not over-eat. Bob's serving was four slices and was just right for a light lunch.

When lunch was over, Bob went back to work. It was still 45 minutes until my hair appointment, so I shopped at Burlington Coat Factory where I found two cute tops and some skinny jeans, all for $42. My hair appointment was for cut and color. I'm still not sure if I like my inverted bob or not. I may go back to short hair. First I'm growing it out to where I think I'll like it and see at that time.

From the hairdresser, I headed to Costco to get my tires rotated. I found that 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday is a great time to get tire work done at Costco. I got the car in almost immediately. They estimated 1-1/2 hours, but the work was done in one hour!

I went home from Costco, changed clothes, and Bob and I headed out to Wolff Municipal Stadium to see the AA San Antonio Missions play the Frisco Rough Riders. The Missions were up 3 to 1 when we left in the 7th inning. The Missions ended up winning 4 to 3.

I have to go back to work to get some rest! Today, Thursday, was a very quiet day. August is our slowest month of the year. I keep expecting a flurry of phone calls to make reservations for Labor Day Weekend. Pretty soon travelers will realize Labor Day is only one week away!

Oh, today the Volksmarchers celebrated the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service with a 10k Volksmarch from Mission San Jose to Mission San Juan. At the end of the walk, the Volksmarch volunteers provided a Happy Birthday cake to walkers. They also took cake in to the park rangers in the visitor center at Mission San Jose. My friend, Susan, told me the rangers were really impressed. Since Mission San Jose is only 3/4 mile from Travelers World, Susan stopped by and gave me a piece of cake as well. She is so sweet. Thank you, Susan!

That's my summation of the nature of things for the past nine days. Thanks for stopping by. All comments are very much appreciated.

Here's a photo of the fur-kids.

Sunnie and Bowie

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A Little of This and A Little of That - Tues., Aug. 16, 2016

On the Friday after his Wednesday surgery, Bob went to work because he had so much to do. He "could give me 50 reasons" he had to be there. At work, tiredness set in for him about 3:00 p.m.

Friday and Saturday were regular work days for me. Well, Saturday wasn't exactly regular. We had thunderstorms and lots of rain. The power went out (no computers, lights, copiers, phones, etc.) for about 50 minutes. This was a big power outage affecting about 1,500 customers.

It could have been worse...about a week ago when Delia was working, she and Brenda were without power in the office all day. At that time there was power in the rest of the park, so they were able to run power cords to the ice machine and the ice cream freezer!

Bob worked all day Saturday too. He was still tired, but did better than Friday. He was still having headaches.

Sunday, we were going to do a walk early in the morning with Susan M.; however, rain was in the forecast so we skipped walking. For lunch, Susan, Bob and I went to Dave and Busters. Bob had a dish called the "Lawnmower" which consisted of a huge platter filled with fresh veggies of all kinds, avocado, bacon, and blue cheese. I had shrimp skewers with seasoned rice and broccoli, and Susan had hamburger sliders and fries.

After lunch, we went to see "Captain Fantastic" with Viggo Mortensen as a dad who chose to raise his five children in the woods. We learn how they hunt, learn, and have fun. We also learn about their absent mother who "is in the hospital." You can tell they love each other very much, but they are lacking in the social skills that come from being around other people. The movie is irreverant, funny, touching, and unusual. All of us liked it, but not everyone will.

After the movie, we walked Susan around the model railroad exhibit. She loved it.

Susan headed home. Bob and I walked the mall because Bob felt a need for some exercise after all his time in the hospital. The rest of Sunday we relaxed.

Monday Susan and I were supposed to walk early. Sunday night we checked the weather and saw an 80% chance of rain, so we decided not to walk. But we decided to see "Jason Bourne." She hadn't seen it and I wanted to see it again. Normally we would have lunch, but I was on a liquid diet for the rest of the day (more on that later).

Tomorrow is my colonoscopy, so breakfast today was limited to oatmeal or other whole grain cereal. As I stated above, the rest of Monday (until midnight) was clear liquids only. Nothing at all after midnight, including water.

At 10:30 a.m. Monday I had my chiropractor appointment and the meditation class they offer. I have officially lost 25 lb. My pant size has gone from size 16 to size 8. My goal is size 6, so that's another 10-15 lb. I feel great.

Susan and I met at the theater at 12:40 p.m. "Jason Bourne" was just as good the second time, although I did nap a little through this one. The rest of the afternoon was spent quietly at home.

My big test for the day was the prep for colonoscopy. I had to drink one gallon of water starting between 4-6 p.m.: eight ounces every ten minutes. The rest of the evening was spent in the bathroom. Aaack! That was the absolute worst part of the whole colonoscopy experience: the prep.

Today, Bob dropped me off at the gastroenterologist's office at 8:00 a.m. He went to work 1/2 hour away. We both thought I'd be there until at least 11:30 a.m.

At 8:30, I was taken back to the pre-surgical area. OMG, what a zoo. It was like a super-highway of people on beds being taken for endoscopy or colonoscopy. I've never seen anything like it.

By 8:45, I had all my paperwork done, was gowned, on the gurney and joined the superhighway to operating rooms. They put in an IV. The anesthesiologist, nurses and doctor talked to me. The anesthesiologist asked me if I was getting sleepy yet. I said, "No. Is the back of my throat supposed to be burning?" She said, "No." That's all I remember until they woke me up.

At 9:35 or so Bob walked in the door to pick me up. Wow, that was really fast. Speaking of fast, I had been fasting since Monday morning and was starving. They gave me a cup of apple juice in recovery, but said I could resume a full diet. Score! I asked Bob if he would take me to breakfast at Guenther House or IHOP. He wanted IHOP so off we went. After a satisfying breakfast, Bob dropped me off at the 5th wheel and he headed back to work. I went to bed and cat-napped with the cats for another two hours.

Meanwhile, Bob went to work until 1:00 p.m. He had an appointment at 1:30 p.m. to get his drainage tube removed. His experience wasn't as quick as mine. He waited two hours before the doctor removed his tube (which took about five minutes). Then he went back to work. He'll be working late tonight because his boss asked him to do a special project due by tomorrow morning.

The doctor told Bob he's cleared to walk until Saturday. On Saturday, he can start his marathon training as long as he isn't too tired. That was music to his ears. He gets stir-crazy, cabin fever if he has to sit still too long!

It seems we can now get back to our regularly scheduled lives. Medical stuff can go away for at least a year. (Well, not quite. I have a couple more appointments scheduled in the next two weeks - mammogram and a visit with an orthopedic doctor to look at my cramping hand.)

Texas has been having rain and our temperatures have dropped from 101 to 78, but still with high humidity. I'd rather have high humidity at 78 degrees rather at 100 degrees! Rain is predicted through the weekend. We'll see how that affects our weekend walk and run.

So, a little of this and a little of that. Travel Bug out.