Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, June 14, 2017

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, June 14, 2017
Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, June 14, 2017

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bob is home - resting, eating, relaxing... - Wed., May 25, 2016

Judge for yourself...Bob is home resting, relaxing, eating salad, working, planning our weekend trip, and napping as needed.

Doesn't he look good?
He read all your comments and good wishes while he was still at the hospital this morning. It made him feel so good. His big smile is to all of you who took the time to post. Thanks!

Bob is planning a trip for Memorial Day weekend to "the Valley." In this part of Texas "the Valley" refers to the Rio Grande Valley four hours south of us -- McAllen, Harlingen, Brownsville, Mission, Edinburg and Pharr -- which runs along the banks of the Rio Grande River, the border between Mexico and the United States. We will also check out South Padre Island along the Gulf of Mexico, the second longest barrier island in the United States after Long Island in New York.

According to Wikipedia, the Rio Grande Valley is not a valley, but a delta or floodplain containing many oxbow lakes or resacas which are formed by bends in the river that later got pinched off from the river as it took a different course. Early 20th-century land developers, attempting to capitalize on unclaimed land, utilized the name "Magic Valley" to attract settlers and appeal to investors. The Rio Grande Valley is also called "El Valle," the Spanish translation of "the valley," by those who live there. The residents of the Rio Grande Valley occasionally refer to the area as "El Magico Valle del Rio Grande" ("The Magical Valley of the Rio Grande"), and simply by the initials "RGV."

In looking for a place to stay, we found the waterfront hotels/motels on South Padre Island are running $200-$330 per night. I suggested we stay at a Bed and Breakfast. We will be staying one night at the Inn at Chachalaca Bend in Los Fresnos. I am partial to B&Bs and this one mentions bird watching for which the Valley is famous. Thankfully it is not as expensive as the waterfront properties!

I am so excited to be traveling even for one night. We plan to do one Volksmarch, sightsee around RV parks in the area (the Valley is a very popular location for Winter Texans because of the mild temperatures and hundreds of very active RV parks - in fact, the population swells by over 200,000 during the winter), eat dinner in South Padre or Port Isabel, go to Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, watch the fireworks show on South Padre Island Sunday night, and see what we can see in two daysl

We are so happy Bob is feeling so good.

Travel Bug out.




Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bob is doing well - Tues., May 24, 2016

This morning, I dropped Bob off at the hospital at 9:00 a.m. and stayed with him until about 10:00 a.m. I then went home, showered, ate lunch, and headed out to my dental appointment.

As I was checking out of the dentist's office and setting up my next appointments (yes they found a cavity), my phone rang. Dr. Wright, Bob's cardiologist, was calling to let me know Bob was out of surgery, he was back in normal sinus rhythm, but his pulse was unusually low. He heard Bob runs marathons and wanted to know if a low pulse is normal for Bob. I told him yes it is. The doctor said he wouldn't worry about it. Dr. Wright said Bob would be in the recovery room for a couple of hours, then moved to the Cardiovascular Unit (CVU) when a bed was available.

I then dashed over for my massage at 2:30. The massage therapist decided only to do 1/2-hour massage today because he knew I had a lot on my mind. 

After a quick stop at the 5th wheel to pick up Bob's laptop for him, I stopped for supper at Mad Mack's Burger Company just down the street from the RV park. And, yes, I did have a cheat day with a burger and fries. It was soooo good. Now I'm back to salads, fish and smoothies.

Back at the hospital 45 minutes later, Bob was just waking up from his anesthesia at 5:00 p.m. The first thing he wanted was water because he was so thirsty. He had to be on bed rest until 8:30 p.m., so we chatted, watched TV and enjoyed each other's company. He ate dinner at 8:45 p.m.

At 10:00 p.m. visiting hours were over and I kissed him good night and headed home. My gas tank had been on empty since earlier in the afternoon so I knew I had to stop for gas. I'm glad I made it to a gas station before I ran out! About 10:30, I had a text from Bob saying he had been out of bed, walking around, used the bathroom, and was back in bed to read his new Wilbur Smith novel.

That's it for now. I'll try to catch up on some more blogs tomorrow. After I pick up Bob from the hospital, he wants to go to work in the afternoon. He's their accountant and payroll has to be done. He can't drive, so I will be driving him to and from work (30 minutes each way). Maybe I'll go see a movie near his work so I won't be making two, hour-long round trips.

That's all folks.




Bob's Having Surgery Tuesday - Tues., May 24

Bob has atrial fibrillation which means his heart is not in normal sinus rhythm. This makes him feel sluggish, tired, and not his normal, hard-charging self. Some days he feels great, other days not so much.

Bob on boardwalk at San Jacinto Battlefield
He looks good to me!
Two years ago Bob had a catheter ablation for atrial flutter, which is not as severe as atrial fibrillation. They scarred his heart in a pattern they thought would help diminish or get rid of his atrial flutter. At that time they told him if that procedure didn't work he would probably need to have a more comprehensive catheter ablation to scar different areas of the heart to try to make him in normal sinus rhythm. Lately he has had more of feeling "not so well" and went to see his cardiologist for possible solutions. The time for the other catheter ablation procedure has come.

Today, he is going into Northeast Baptist Hospital in San Antonio for the procedure. I will take him in at 9 a.m. and they will prep him for surgery. He will have the procedure at 11 a.m. He probably won't wake up until sometime in the evening.

Meanwhile, I will go to my dentist appointment at 1:15 p.m. and go for a massage at 2:30 p.m. Around 5 p.m., I'll stop by the hospital to see if he's out of anesthesia yet and spend the evening with him.

Wednesday morning, Susan and I plan to go to Natural Bridge Caverns by New Branfels, Texas, and take the Aquifer Tour. Texas Hill Country has had so much rain that the aquifer has risen up into the caverns and the 75-minute tour will take us down to see the high water. After we finish the tour, I'll check in with Bob to see how he's doing and when they plan to discharge him. Susan and I may have time to go to lunch.

We hope there are no complications. Please keep Bob in your thoughts.

Travel Bug out.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Optimal Health and Wellness - Mon., May 23

Two months ago, we opted to go to a chiropractor at Optimal Health and Wellness Center. They have a "cleanse" program we follow to clear toxins out of our bodies.

As of today, I have lost 20 lbs and feel great. Bob has lost 22 lbs. We have cut out almost all flour, sugar, and dairy products and have learned quite a bit about nutrition and exercise. Did you know that nutrition is way more important than exercise?


Every week, I go to Meditation Monday at the Optimal Health and Wellness Center. We don't just meditate. When we arrive, all of us introduce ourselves, state what our goals are for the week, we listen to a motivational or nutritional tape, do some light stretching, then have our meditation. I have learned so much from the speakers on those tapes and thought I'd share two of them with you (from YouTube):
  1. 12 Bad Foods, by Peter Glidden, N.D. (Naturopathic Doctor)
  2. Diabetes by Dr. Wallach
Lifestyle changes I am making because of the wellness center and our Meditation Mondays are:
  • Drink more water
  • Eat 15 servings of vegetables per day, especially greens (serving size = 1/2 cup)
  • Breathe deeply
  • Get more sleep
  • Eat as little processed sugar as possble
  • Cut out most flour/bread
  • Exercise at least three times per week
  • Stretch every day for at least one-half hour
  • Drink more water (yes, I meant to repeat that one)
So far I have gone down two sizes and will shortly be going down another size. I have given away seven pairs of shorts/pants (most of them were pretty new). Looks like I'll be getting a new wardrobe.

The other benefit is I feel great. (But it took me a couple of weeks to feel that way. Letting go of flour and sugar caused severe grumpiness and physically manifested as cloudy thinking -- best way I can describe it -- and some depression.) I have more energy too.

In place of bread, we have been using Romaine lettuce and making lettuce wraps. Our favorite lettuce wrap recipe is:

Cod Lettuce Wraps

2 cod filets
Ground cumin seed
Garlic salt
Coconut oil spray

Spray pan with coconut oil spray, place over medium heat. Add the two cod filets to the pan, sprinkle lightly with ground cumin and garlic salt. Cover pan. Cook cod on medium/low for four minutes. Flip cod and sprinkle with ground cumin seed and garlic salt. Cook on low another three to four minutes until flaky. Flake cod.

While fish is cooking, wash Romaine lettuce and dry. You can add your favorite foods to the lettuce wrap. We coat the lettuce with guacamole, put in the flaked cod, and top with tomatoes or salsa. Then eat it like a lettuce taco.

We also make tuna lettuce wraps, and egg salad lettuce wraps. Leftover turkey or chicken? Make lettuce wraps with the chopped up meats. Add celery, pickles, onions, red peppers, asparagus...whatever veggies you like.

I eat way less and don't feel hungry. Bob is still having a problem with sugar cravings and feeling hungry. Many days, I will have one main meal, usually lunch, and have a protein smoothie for breakfast and dinner. We are still learning.

Travel Bug out.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

We Got Caught - Sunday, May 15, 2016

Prepare, check your assumptions, look for information on the internet, double check what you think you know. We did all that and we still got caught. It is a Sunday morning we'll remember, but one we wish we could forget.

I got up at 6:45 a.m. and did due diligence on my computer to check for conditions applicable to our situation. With that knowledge, we made our plan of attack: Bob and I would meet Susan Medlin at 8 a.m. and we would start our day.  That meant we all had to hustle to get to our start point by 8:00! The outcome of our activity depended on an early start.

This morning's goal was a 10k (6.2 mile) Volksmarch in downtown San Antonio. We started a few minutes after 8:00. The sky was overcast. We had an excellent walking temperature of 71 degrees, and low humidity.

The first point of interest was the O'Henry House. Yes, THE O'Henry (nee William Sidney Porter) famous for his short stories. I always enjoyed reading his works, but had no idea he had lived in Cotulla, San Antonio and Austin. He was born in Polecat Creek, North Carolina, but moved to Cotulla, Texas, for his health. You learn something new every day.

Below is the house in San Antonio that O'Henry rented for $6 per month. He lived in San Antonio until 1898. While here, he "published a humorous, tabloid newspaper, called The Rolling Stone which he filled with poems, stories and caricatures of people and races, and for which he was admonished by early German settlers, causing the newspaper to have grave financial problems." [All facts on O'Henry in this blog are taken from a Texas Historical Marker at the O'Henry House site.]

Bob and Susan M. reading historical markers
O'Henry House in San Antonio
When O'Henry moved to Austin, he took a job as a bank teller "to augment his income, at which time he was convicted of embezzlement. He served three years in prison where he wrote prodigiously and memorized every word in the dictionary.

"O'Henry was gifted in his ability to capture the essence of a city by understanding the hearts of people in all walks of life. His wit, skill with words, unusual plot twists and surprise endings brought him international fame."

The house was not open today, so we didn't get a chance to see the inside. An interesting note on the historical marker said that O'Henry's life is used as a teaching aid for Bexar County probationers. "Probationers get credit for doing their Community Service by acting as docents in the O'Henry House."

Our walk continued into the heart of downtown San Antonio. This particular walk focused on the cast concrete art work of Hannibal Pianta on many of the buildings in downtown. 

Mural on a building behind the O'Henry House
Bexar County Courthouse
On the Aztec Theater below, Pianta is listed as an architect of this theater and chose a Mexican artist to help create authentic Mayan designs.

Cast concrete art is at top of building
Close-up of Pianta cast concrete art on the Aztec Theater
In the photo below is Waldine Tauch's Indian Statue cast by Hannibal Pianta. He used a special sparkling mixture to cast the piece, and coarse sand depicting the nearer-to-nature aspect of the Native American.

Indian Statue on 1914 Commerce St. Bridge
Friendship Torch and Tower of the Americas
If you go to San Antonio, make it a point to see a show at the Majestic Theater. The interior is amazing.

We quickly stopped in to see the beautiful lobby of Saint Anthony Hotel.

Saint Anthony Hotel lobby
Across the street from Saint Anthony Hotel is Travis Park. The mural below is changed frequently. Even though the Spurs are out of the playoffs, the mural has not yet been changed. We took turns taking photos in front of it.

Susan Medlin
Me and Bob (sorry Trailblazer fans)
Lao-Thai Baptist Mission (another example of
Pianta's cast concrete work)
Close-up of Lao-Thai Baptist Mission
Below is the facade of what used to be The Municipal Auditorium. The original entry of the building was saved and remodeled, but a whole new auditorium was built behind it. This is San Antonio's new Tobin Center, which is a world-class performing arts center.

Tobin Center for the Performing Arts
Honoring mothers whose sons fought in the World War

Tobin Center entry
Side view of Tobin Center for the Performing Arts
Across from the Tobin Center on Auditorium Circle is the old Wright Electrical Building (now the admin offices for the Tobin Center). Pianta and Wright were neighbors and co-workers on many building projects, providing concrete and lighting. Check out the columns flanking the front door of the Wright Electrical Building. There is a face on each with two supporting figures above the face.

Susan M. and Bob A. - Wright Electrical
Face with two supporting figures
The whole column
Next we proceeded down to the River Walk. The river was very beautiful this morning.  Crowds were not out yet.

San Antonio River Walk
Neotropic Cormorant drying wings
Semi-tropical plantings
Hibiscus in bloom
Drury Bridge
River Walk mile maker 0.0 in downtown
Green-winged teal with chicks
Susan M. and Bob hustling ahead on the River Walk
Little surprises like this make the River Walk special
Magnolia trees in bloom
Huge Magnolia tree!
Armed Services Month - yellow ribbons everywhere.
The founder of the River Walk, Robert H.H. Hugman, has his own statue and historic marker. His was the vision that made this beautiful place a reality.


Coming up from the River Walk at La Villita, we headed toward the next Hannibal-Pianta- decorated building, the Mexican Consulate.

The Mexican Consulate Building, San Antonio
As soon as we passed the Mexican Consulate Building we started to feel raindrops. Uh-oh. The rain intensified and we stopped under an awning to put away electronics, open the umbrella (me), and put on a plastic poncho (Susan M.). Bob only had a baseball cap. We still had about 1/2 mile left to get back to our cars.

Leisurely sightseeing was over. As the rain intensified so did our pace. We ran the last four blocks back to the cars as the skies opened up and we were caught in the downpour. We got stuck at a long traffic signal and Bob was able to share the umbrella. Then we were off running again. Bob was soaked through to the skin. Susan did pretty well with her poncho, but still got wet. The umbrella and my fanny pack kept me dry except for my legs, shoes and socks which were soaking wet. Brr. It got cold all of a sudden being soaking wet. The car was a welcome relief.

Soaking wet shorts
You can see how wet my leg is
Driving home, we passed this building. It pretty much tells the story of how much rain we're getting!


Bob and I planned to go to Susan's house after the walk, but made a detour home to change into dry clothes. I was going to Susan's to watch Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. which she had taped. Bob is not a fan of the show so he decided to stay home.

The drive to Susan's house was peppered with pools of standing water and it was pouring rain. I hit some standing water on the freeway and hydroplaned a little. Slowed down to 45-50. I wasn't in that big of a hurry!

Susan made salad and had ordered pizza, so we had a very nice lunch while we watched the TV show. Her son, Travis, who recently graduated officer training school as a Second Lieutenant, was home as well. We all enjoyed the show immensely, especially because it tied into "Captain America: Civil War" which we had just seen last week and loved.

After all that, I went home and took a 2-1/2 hour nap.

Our weather forecast in San Antonio is for 50-60% chance of rain through this coming weekend. Let's hope our walk next Sunday has good weather until we finish it!

Travel Bug out.




Thursday, May 12, 2016

Happy Anniversary, Baby, Got You on My Mind - Thurs., May 12, 2106

Happy Anniversary to my soul mate, Bob. We've been married 26 years today and have been together for 33 years. Life is a big adventure and we keep it interesting. Can't wait to experience the next 33 years!

Tonight we had a date to Acenar restaurant in San Antonio next to the River Walk. Via Rapid Transit was our ride for the evening.

Here we are in front of Acenar restaurant
Neither of us had been to this eatery before. Our inside table was just right with the air conditioning and no mosquitoes. Outside it was 84 degrees and humid (and did I mention the mosquitoes?).

For dinner we each had a side salad and iced tea. Bob ordered an appetizer sampler plate with enchilada and fajita chicken, beans, rice, pico de gallo and guacamole. I had the brochette sampler: three skewers with alternating steak, mushrooms, chicken, pineapple, shrimp, onions and red and green peppers served over a bed of rice with a light poblano cream sauce. It also came with black beans. I loved my dinner. The steak on the skewers was cooked medium rare, the chicken was moist and tender and had absorbed the flavor of the pineapple. Yummy stuff! Bob said his appetizer sampler plate was "average.'

I forgot to take photos of the inside of the restaurant but after dinner we walked through the outside dining area and I took some photos there.

Acenar outside seating area


On our walk to the bus stop, we found an old clock that used to be in front of a jewelry shop. This clock is still hand wound, which is very rare. Whenever we walk in a city, we always find something new and interesting.

History of Hertzberg's Clock
Hertzberg's Clock on Houston St
After dinner, we wanted a treat so we decided to drive to H-E-B Central Market and buy a box of their dark-chocolate-dipped macaroons. Unfortunately for us, they were out. However, we did choose chocoate bars. Mine was a Ritter bar from Germany. Bob chose a Belgian chocolate ginger bar that he loved.

On the way home, as we passed University of the Incarnate Word (UIW). Our eyes were drawn to a beautiful piece of artwork mounted on one of their newest buildings. It was spectacular in the dark, even changing colors. What do you think?

We fell in love with this.
This shows the whole building.

Changing colors to sunset
Sunrise
Daylight
Thank you, Bob, for a wonderful evening to celebrate our years together. I love you so much. Let's keep life interesting, shall we?

And now for something completely different...I haven't posted pics of the fur kids recently. Here's Bowie doing his long stretch in the hallway.


He's really not a big cat, but he knows
how to streeetch!
Bowie, the happy, smiling, stretched-out cat
 Enjoy your weekend everyone!