Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.

Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.
Octagonal Bank of New Zealand banker's desk carved from Australian red cedar, Dunedin, circa 1883.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Great Thanks for Life - Thurs., Nov. 28

Happy Thanksgiving to you, your families and friends. Enjoy your day of thanks.

Many thanks for:
1. Bob who is the love of my life going on 32 years.
2. Mom who raised me to be an independent, enthusiastic, spontaneous person - children live what they learn.
3. Our two sons, Randall and Michael, who have chosen different paths, but both are happy and well adjusted.
4. Our families: brothers, sisters, in-laws,  nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, step-children, and step-parents. Much diversity can be found in one family.
5. Our lives in Oregon, Washington, Hawaii and Texas...we have lived in beautiful areas in lovely homes. We have hiked, walked and explored all of them.
6. Our current home on wheels allowing us to live "on the road." Life is now a big "road trip."
7. Our jobs: It's nice to have food, gas, heat, money to go out to eat, to travel and try new things.
8. Our health: This allows us to keep doing what we love.
9. Wildlife outside our windows. Love to watch the birds and squirrels. On our road trips we have also seen deer and bison outside our windows.
10. Our cats: They are so entertaining and so loving. I can't imagine a home without cats.
11. Beautiful weather, like today, expansive blue skies, high swirled clouds, cool temperatures, and a slight breeze.
12. Natural beauty: flowers, waterfalls, autumn colors, mountains, deserts, rivers, the ocean and canyons.
13. Food to sustain us.
14. The mental capacity to make choices in our lives.

This morning, Bob, Randall and I walked 5K (3.1 mi.) around Crownridge Canyon Natural Area. Bright blue skies with swirled, white clouds framed the day. 

After our walk, we had Thanksgiving Dinner at the RV Park Rec Hall. 100 people socialized and ate. Very nice meal with our RV Park family.

Here are photos of our day...

Bob & Randall - Crownridge Canyon
Randall & Bob - Crownridge Canyon
Me with my warm hat - fleece flaps cover ears & neck.
Gorgeous day!
Love the lines of the clouds.
Fall colors.
Bob & Randall - it's cold out!
Thanksgiving at the Rec Hall.
A whole table for just desserts.
I hope you all are happy and thankful for your lives.

Travel Bug out.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Your Thought Creates Your Experience - Mon., Nov. 25

Your thought creates your experience. 
Present reality is a manifestation of past thoughts. 

 Hmm...let's think about that.

I questioned that philosophy but couldn't put my finger on why I didn't believe it. This morning as I was trying to go back to sleep, my brain worked on those oversimplified statements.

Here is a revised philosophy that reflects my current beliefs: Your thoughts and actions, combined with choices, chaos, and chance, create your experience. Let me explain.

I have heard the opening statements used to make people feel guilty about being sick or poor or out of work. Really? That's a bunch of hokum.

Sickness, disease, plagues, and ad nauseum, are caused by more than your thoughts. Viruses, molds, bacteria, and bugs/parasites/rodents play a role in diseases. How you come into contact with those organisms is a result of chaos, chance, and your choices, not your thought processes. Stressors such as lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and lack of (or too much) exercise also cause sickness, injuries, and death.

Thought processes or heredity CAN be causes of mental/psychological disorders or stress, or not. (Mind you, these are just a few examples.)
  • Schizophrenia may be caused by genes, but it is not for certain. 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is likely a combination of stress and thought processes. For example, soldiers who have lost comrades on the battlefield or who have killed others have been through incredible stressors, and have seen death and destruction multiple times; many sustain life-changing injuries. I can't imagine the horrors they have been through. Those stressors are the results of war. But soldiers also put stress on themselves feeling guilty for those deaths and destruction, thinking they could have saved their fellow soldiers and why did they die, not me? ("60 Minutes" had an excellent story on PTSD on November 24, 2013.)
  • Children who have been abused are an example of those whose thoughts or choices did NOT create their experience. Those experiences were foisted upon them by others which I think is a heinous crime.
The opening statement also implies there's something wrong with you. Your thoughts caused you to be sick, poor, have no friends, lose your job, whatever. I don't believe it. External factors are also at play here:
  • You work in a hospital or daycare center and are exposed to more sicknesses
  • The company you work for lost major contracts causing loss of income resulting in cutting staff
  • You may not have found good friends who share your interests
  • Your friends may have changed and moved on in their lives
  • A leak in your roof allowed water to come in, you didn't discover it and are now faced with mold which causes allergies or sickness
You see where I'm going with this. You can only do so much. External forces create chaos you have no control over. Chance and luck of the draw affect your reality as well.

You can control how you perceive the world, but not how others perceive the world or you. You can offer help, advice, a kind word, or a sympathetic ear, but it doesn't mean the other person will change their reality to fit yours.

I looked up this topic online to see what else was out there and found this blog. It is quite interesting.

Please tell me your perceptions on this topic in the comments section. I love hearing from you.

I'm done trying to solve philosophical issues for today. Maybe I can go back to sleep now.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hunkering Down - Sun., Nov. 24

Going to Austin today did not sound like fun. Weather service forecast was for 42 degrees, 80% chance of rain, and wind gusts to 20 mph. Throughout the day, the temperature was supposed to drop, not go up. By 3:00 p.m. the rain had a chance to turn to sleet. With Austin being 1-1/2 hours north of San Antonio, it could have been a dangerous drive home. We opted not to go.

The other Susan and I will see how the weather looks for walking Monday. If we can, we plan to do the new Mission Reach Volksmarch in San Antonio.

Here's what hunkering down looks like:

Football, Bob with the remote, and snoozing kitties.
We took a break from hunkering down, braved the chill, and headed to Green Vegetarian Cuisine for dinner. On the way home, we drove a way we hadn't explored yet. We headed east on Grayson St. and ended up in Government Hill Historic District.

Government Hill's history is linked to the development of Ft. Sam Houston. The City of San Antonio donated 93 acres to the War Department in the 1870s. Construction of Ft. Sam Houston started in 1876. By 1918, the Fort had grown to 193 acres. Government Hill became home to over 12,000 people. Turn-of-the-century one- and two-story buildings on North New Braunfels Ave. served as the area's main street.

We wandered past The Lambermont, also known as the Terrell Castle. Bob was driving and didn't see it, so we drove around the block and went back to it. It was worth a few photos. There are no historic markers around this masterpiece so I Googled it when we got home.

This Romanesque Revival-style "castle" was built in 1894 for Edwin Terrell (lawyer and ambassador to Belgium during Benjamin Harrison's presidency) by San Antonio architect Alfred Giles. It was built to resemble the castles and chateaus of Belgium and France. The family lived in the home until Terrell died in 1910. It is now an event venue. Renting the space includes four guest rooms in the estate. From what I can tell, it is used quite frequently for weddings.

After we returned to the 5er, my equal-opportunity lap cats warmed me up for an hour.
Changing of the lap for 60 Minutes & Amazing Race.
So that's what hunkering down looks like in our fifth wheel.

Have a good week wherever you may be, and safe travels during Thanksgiving weekend.

Cold Canyon and Dallas Buyers Club - Sat., Nov. 23

A couple of weeks ago on a Volksmarch meetup, I met Susan M. We hit it off and agreed we'd walk together. Since then she was on a trip to Florida. She's back in town and we did a 10K (6.2 mi) walk today at Crownridge Canyon Natural Area.

A cold walk, I might add. It was 40 degrees F. when we started at 10:15 a.m. In addition there was a chilly wind blowing.

Our first 5K was in the trees in the canyon where we were relatively sheltered. (Every other time I've walked in the canyon and through the Crownridge neighborhood it was 80-90 degrees in spring or summer.) Today we dressed in layers and had hats and gloves. Our attire was appropriate for the weather so we didn't get too cold.

Amazingly, many flowers are still in bloom or, should I say, blooming again.

Trumpet vine

Susan M. with Agave angustofolia 'Marginata' (I think) .
Our steps were brisk and we finished 10K in 2 hours, 10 minutes. To replenish our energy, we had lunch at Taco Cabana. Bob met us at the restaurant and we had a great conversation about many topics.

After lunch, Bob and I went to see "Dallas Buyers Club" with Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner. This movie will not be everyone's cup of tea, but we thought it was a very compelling movie. Matthew McConaughey plays an electrician and wannabe rodeo cowboy who contracts the HIV virus. His doctors give him 30 days to live because he is very sick.

This movie is based on the true story of Ron Woodruff. Matthew McConaughey lost 50 pounds to play this character. We are inserted into Ron's life just before he finds out he has AIDS. Hard-partying, heavy drinking and drug use are wreaking havoc on his health.

Once he comes to terms with the fact he indeed has HIV, he reads about AIDS research and alternative treatments. At first, he thinks AZT is the drug that will save his health. Later, he goes to Mexico and brings vitamins and protein back into the U.S. which he then sells through a Dallas Buyers Club. Clients pay $400 a month for membership, then receive their vitamins for free.

He runs afoul of the USDA and IRS for importing unapproved "drugs." His club gets raided. Undaunted, he travels to Japan, Israel and other countries to find the medications he needs to help him survive.

If you do not like strong language or movies about homophobia, AIDS and death, this movie will not be for you.

In the evening, Bob took me to Random Event Center in Boerne where we shared a Sam Adams Cherry Chocolate beer. For dinner we ate fish and chips from Hippie Momma's food truck at Random.

Bob's son, Randall, the bartender
Prosit! Samuel Adams Cherry Chocolate Boch seasonal beer.
Many, many beers on tap!
Mary, one of the Random owners
Will Owen Gage playing live music at Random.
We thought we'd be able to watch the Blazers play the Warriors tonight because the pre-game show was on one of the big-screen TVs; however, as soon as it was time for the game to start, the station cut off and showed that we would have to pay to view the game. Oh well.

Home was beckoning. We were cold and tired.

Tomorrow we may go to Austin with Susan M. and her husband, Darren. We want to do the Capitol Volksmarch. It all depends on the weather. Forecast calls for 70% chance of rain and very cold temps.

Good night from the kitties and me.

Sunnie and Bowie
Sunnie and Bowie

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah'ing Around Texas - Wed., Nov. 20

So for my birthday Bob took me out to dinner last night at Saltgrass Steakhouse on the Riverwalk, a pre-birthday dinner. I had a rib eye steak, sweet potato, and salad; Bob had salmon, sweet potato and salad. For dessert, we shared a piece of pumpkin cheesecake. What a good birthday dinner!

Saltgrass Steakhouse
Today, my birthday present was a tank of gas and chauffeur (Bob) for a road trip around south Texas. My birthday card from Bob had a dog and cat on a couch. The dog is jumping up and down excitedly yelling, "ROAD TRIP!!" The cat replies, "We can't drive so quit saying that." Inside the card says, "Enjoy some adventure on your birthday." Bob took the afternoon off work and we headed east on I-10. Does Bob know me or what?

Our first stop was Palmetto State Park in Ottine, TX. We wanted to check out the park because we plan to do a weekend trip there. Our reconnaissance was to find the good campsites.

The park is primordial - swampy with dwarf palm trees, warnings of snakes, and lush undergrowth. My hiking feet wanted to hit the trails, but today wasn't about doing everything, it was more about seeing what the park had to offer.

Fall colors across from the park headquarters.

Oxbow Lake looks like a fun place to go in summer. They have rental kayaks, fishing boats, canoes, inner tubes, pedal boats and Hydro-bikes

Oxbow Lake
The park has a Volksmarch which must go on every trail in the park for a total of 6.2 miles. Can't wait to go on this walk!

The following photo struck our funny bones. It's a big enclosed tent. The sign in front says, "Tent here." It looked like there was a generator and heat pump for this tent.

Group picnic pavilion with kitchen
More swamp.
San Marcos River with erosion showing from recent flooding.

From Palmetto State Park, our next town was Gonzales. We drove through the historic old town.

Gonzales' Courthouse.
First Baptist Church, established 1847
Sculpture in courtyard of First Baptist Church.
As we continued south toward Victoria,Texas, the next town we visited was Cuero, Texas. Another beautiful courthouse graced the town square.

Bob in front of Cuero Courthouse

Such distinctive architecture.

I loved this little door tucked away beside a large entrance.
Farther south, Victoria showed off her stuff. Lots of history in Victoria. We drove part of the historic route past large mansions and humble smaller homes all part of the original historic district in Victoria.

Victoria Courthouse

Downtown Victoria, Texas
Victoria, Texas
What we learned from this quick tour of south central Texas is that we need to come back and spend a lot more time walking through and reading the history of each of these places. Also, I really want to go to the Victoria Zoo.

As we drove into the sunset, I was able to catch this lovely photo through the windshield.

Thank you, Bob, for a wonderful birthday celebration. You are right, we do love to travel! It was good to be on the road again, if only for an afternoon. Good job planning just the right birthday. Woo hoo.