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.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Wish Bob Well for the Tacoma Marathon on Sunday with Update (May 1) - Sat., Apr. 30, 2016

Bob has had a busy trip to Washington/Oregon. After his seminar ended on Thursday, he walked around downtown Seattle.

On Friday, he drove to Portland to spend time with my mom. He bought her a bouquet of roses and took her out to dinner at Sweet Tomatoes (a salad/pasta/baked potato bar restaurant). They spent a lot of time talking.

Roses from Bob to Mom
Back at Mom's house they watched a beautiful rainbow over the golf course that lasted quite a while, and then it rained.

Rainbow over the golf course
Friday evening they watched the Portland Trailblazers on TV. (Blazers won the first round!! Yay!)

Saturday morning, Mom made breakfast for Bob, they talked some more and went for a walk around her neighborhood. Bob drove mom around and then headed out. He took Michael (our son) out to lunch at Village Inn. They got all caught up on what's new. Michael  has been in his job for 12 years already. Wow.

Michael at Village Inn this morning
After lunch Bob headed north to Tacoma, Washington, where he will run the Tacoma Marathon Sunday morning. The weather is expected to be cool early in the day with a high of 73. Do well on your marathon, Bob! He figures it will take him about 6-7 hours. Ugh...I can't even imagine being out there that long.

He will have just enough time to go back to his room, shower, then catch his flight home at Sea-Tac airport. I will pick him up in San Antonio at 11:10 p.m. He's going to be exhausted!!

I just finished up my three-day work week. Now I'll have four days off. Life is good.

UPDATE: Bob started the Tacoma Marathon in Gig Harbor, Washington, this morning and finished in 6+ hours in Tacoma, as he had planned. He had time for his shower, return of his rental car at Sea-Tac, and made it on his flight. His plane should be headed into Denver currently where he will change planes and be home in San Antonio on schedule.

Congratulations, Bob!!

Friday, April 29, 2016

I'm Published in Escapees magazine!! - Fri., April 29, 2016

As a writer, the mantra is "Write what you know." And wouldn't you know it? I wrote an article about Volksmarching and Escapees magazine accepted it. Look for "Let's Take a Walk" on page 31 in the May/June 2016 issue. I'm beyond excited, into exhilarated, and supremely proud of myself. I already have ideas for two other articles.

All of you who read my blog know how much I love to walk. There were three motivating factors for writing this article now:
  1. The weekend of June 10-12, 2016, is the 40th anniversary of the American Volkssport Association which was started in Fredericksburg, Texas. Multiple Volksmarches will be offered by the Texas Volkssport Association, including one walk that will follow the route of the very first Volksmarch in the U.S.
  2. I am the Publicity Chair of the Randolph Roadrunners Volksmarch Club in Universal City, Texas, and I told our Regional Director I would write an article about the event, and
  3. Our Southwest Regional Director Susan Medlin asked me if I had written the article yet and I hadn't. The magazine deadline was looming. I took a day on our Las Vegas trip and banged out the article, getting it in just before midnight on deadline day. (Thanks, Susan, for the push. I needed it.) By the way, she is the one who took the photo of Bob and I at Lost Maples that is in the article.
Anyway, for your health, get out and walk. Take photographs if you're so inclined. Enjoy the fresh air; find waterfalls, gardens, murals, pretty neighborhoods, bird watch, see wildlife, make new friends, walk through festivals, capitals, and flower fields--those types of walks are available for everyone.  If you're full-time RVers, you can find Volksmarches all over the U.S., and the world for that matter. The best thing is, the walks are non-competitive - you complete them at your own pace.

Here are a few favorite photos from some of our Volksmarches around the U.S.:

Hidden Falls, Cascade Canyon, Grand Tetons
One of three moose we saw: Cascade Canyon, Grand Tetons
Cascade Canyon Volksmarch: Grand Tetons N.P.
Mt. Washburn Volksmarch, Yellowstone N.P.
(Taken in 2012 when there was a large wildfire in Idaho)
Bob and I, Law Library in Des Moines, Iowa
State Capital
Madison, Wisconsin State Capital
Indianapolis Capital Volksmarch - a random mural
Having Volksmarched for 20 years, I have earned pins and badges for the distance and number of events I have done. Here is a photo of my pins. I don't have the badges on display yet.

If you're an Escapee, or even if you're not and can get your hands on the magazine, read the article and tell me what you think. I hope it inspires you to get out on some walks. RVing and Volksmarching go hand in hand and give you destinations and goals for some of the places you may be visiting.

To find events anywhere in the United States, go to ava.org. Click on the "Events" tab at the top of the page. On the drop down box, click "Search Events." If you just enter the state and click the "Search" button, it will pull up all the Volksmarches in that state in alphabetic order by city or National Park, and will give the dates you can do the walks. Click on the city and Volksmarch you want to know more about and it will take you to a page with the information for that walk.

For more in-depth information about what Volksmarching is and how to get started:
On the ava.org home page, click on the "About Us" tab at the top of the page. From the drop down menu, choose "What We're About" and after you've read that, you can read "Let's Get Started." That will give you the basics.

Then take those first steps on a new adventure. See you on the trail?

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Bob Flew to Seattle Yesterday - Tuesday, April 26, 2016

At 9:00 am yesterday, I took Bob to the airport for his 10:30 am flight to Seattle. He's going there for a seminar for work. I wanted to go with him, but I'll be heading to Oregon in June to visit Mom and do a Volksmarch weekend in the Columbia River Gorge. Can't take that much time off work.

Speaking of work, we have slowed down considerably in the RV park now that most of the snowbirds/Winter Texans have headed home. I will be going to a 30-hour work week until we get busy again in the fall/winter. It will be nice having four days off each week.

Bob is busy reacquainting himself with Seattle. He walked along the waterfront last night. Then there was a welcome reception for the attendees at his hotel. I miss him!

Today he had classes. Tonight he is going to a social at the Experience Music Project (EMP), Paul Allen's collection of music memorabilia in an art nouveau building that is all curved lines. People in Seattle thinks it looks like wadded up bubble gum. But the music collection inside is awesome. We went there a number of years ago. As you wander through the exhibits, you listen to a recording about the artist, listen to their music, and look at clothing from concerts, posters, musical instruments and other musical tributes. It's easy to spend hours in there.

Tomorrow Bob has more classes, then is free tomorrow night. On Friday, he is driving 3-1/2 hours to Portland, Oregon, to spend the night at Mom's house and take her out to dinner. They are looking forward to seeing each other.

Saturday, Bob is driving back to Tacoma, Washington, and will run the Tacoma marathon on Sunday. Sunday night, he flies back to San Antonio. Busy guy!

On a completely different note, Bob and I have been going to a Wellness Center in San Antonio to work on becoming more healthy. We want to stop eating so much sugar and flour. On our fourth week of this lifestyle change, we have each lost 15 pounds! My goal is to lose 40 pounds.

Besides eating less and healthier food, we are working on reducing stress, drinking more water, exercising more, and getting enough sleep. Some of those things are easier to do than others! For me, getting enough sleep is very hard as I've always been a night owl. And for some reason, I just don't remember to drink enough water throughout the day.

Oh, well, it will all come together in time. We're happy with the progress so far, but even eating healthy for four weeks is taking its toll. It feels like eating isn't as much fun as it used to be; although I did make a new recipe which was really good.
Cod Lettuce Wraps

Six large Romaine lettuce leaves
Cod fillets to serve two
Ground cumin
Garlic salt
Homemade guacamole
Coconut oil spray for frying pan
Wash and drain the Romaine leaves.

Coat frying pain with coconut oil spray. Place cod fillets in pan. Sprinkle cod with ground cumin and a small amount of garlic salt. Cover pan and cook on medium for 3-4 minutes. Flip fillets and sprinkle with ground cumin. Cook cod until just flaky.

Spread guacamole on Romaine leaves. Flake cod and put on top of guacamole. Enjoy.
Our weather has been hot (in the 90s) and humid. Last night we had a thunderstorm around 3:00 am. Woke me up from sleep and knocked out the power for a couple of hours.

On Monday afternoon the cats were staring at the skylights. I kept hearing noises like squirrels dropping nuts on the roof. Looked outside and it was hailing pea-sized pellets. The storm blew in out of nowhere and was gone in about 20 minutes. I'm glad the hail wasn't any bigger!

Back in January we saw a gorgeous sunset while out driving around. Thought I'd share it with you today...
Tops of houses and a water tower
I must go to bed! Good night all. Have a good Thursday. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Fiesta's Night-time Texas Cavaliers River Parade - Mon., April 18, 2016

The weather forecasters were wrong about our weather. Fiesta officials were deliberating canceling the Texas Cavaliers River Parade tonight; however, first thing in the morning, the decision was made to "go on with the show."

Good decision. The weather was beautiful this evening. Bob, Delia (my co-worker), and I were given tickets from Fantasy Tours to attend the River Parade. Some of their attendees had to cancel and, rather than letting the tickets go to waste, the Wagon Master gave us the unused tickets. (A family visiting the RV park also got to attend.)

We rode the bus downtown and walked a few blocks to our seats. If it had rained we would have lucked out because our seats were under a bridge.

Delia loaned me one of her Fiesta headdresses to wear for the evening. You can't see them, but there are flowing curled ribbons hanging down our backs.

Me and Delia; Gregg the Wagon Master in blue
In case you have never heard of it, Fiesta is one huge, ten-day party/celebration that takes place in mid-April in San Antonio. Festival events take place in a multitude of locations around the city. Night in Old San Antonio (NIOSA) is a four-night culinary and entertainment party that takes place in La Villita (a historic, walled shopping area). NIOSA lasts from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Admission is $15 per person at the gate or $12 per person if you plan ahead and get a coupon at a local store before you go. You can buy just about any ethnic food your heart desires. (If you go to NIOSA, here's a word of advice: go between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. because if you go later it will be so crowded you won't be able to move and will get carried along in the crowd.) Throughout each evening, you can opt to listen to bands at a number of different stages in La Villita. You can also see people with huge sombreros decorated with all sorts of things you'd see in San Antonio or Texas. Those hats must really be heavy!

Back to the River Parade...Bob came separately as he had a doctor's appointment on the other side of town. By the time he arrived, he had only missed four river floats. Seems they were having trouble getting the parade going, so there was quite a wait between floats at the beginning.
U.S. Marines
Texas Cavaliers
Many of the floats had bands on them so we were treated to different kinds of music throughout the parade. A unique feature of parades in San Antonio is people yelling at the ladies on the floats to "show us your shoes," which some of them do.

U.S. Army Band
"Show us your shoes!" She did. Nice boots.
A funny story about "Show us your shoes." Apparently in some parades they say "Show us your boots." Well you know, boots kind of sounds like a part of a woman's anatomy. The person who kept hearing this phrase thought they were yelling about showing a part of the anatomy and couldn't figure out why they kept showing their boots.

Mayor and City Council
Fairy Tale Heroes
Fiesta Royalty
Sunshine Cottage School for the Deaf Children
Musical Club
San Antonio Spurs
DoSeum (Children's Museum)
San Antonio Zoological Society
Brighton Center for Empowerment
The Children's Shelter
Girls Inc. of San Antonio
Beethoven Mannechor (German singing society)
Humane Society (at least three real dogs on the barge)
This was a fun evening of song and colorful floats. The weather stayed nice all evening. At the end of the parade, we were invited to ride back to the RV park on the Fantasy Tours bus. Very nice touch. Thank you, Gregg Bruce, for the invitation and tickets. We appreciate it.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Spring Walk in Historic Gruene ("Green"), Texas - Sun., Apr. 24

When we looked at the weather forecast last night as we were trying to decide about walking today, the prediction was a 50% chance of showers and thunderstorms. With all the rain and hail that Texas has been experiencing, we decided to check the forecast just before leaving the house this morning. We did not want to walk near a river that had any chance of flooding.

This morning the forecast was 30% chance of rain. Bob also checked the hourly forecast which showed 0% chance of rain during the time we would be walking. The walk was a "go."

As we drove northeast from San Antonio to Gruene (pronounced "green"), Texas, we had a couple of minor sprinkles. By the time we arrived 45 minutes later; no rain at all. Since I have no faith in the weather prognosticators, I brought my umbrella just in case. (Note: I also brought my sun hat and put on suntan lotion. You have to be prepared for anything in spring in Texas!)

Our Volksmarch today was sponsored by the New Braunfels-Marsch-und Wandergruppe club. When we arrived at Gruene Dance Hall, we signed up for the walk at the Start table, got our start cards, paid our $3 each, and headed out. Temperature when we started was 69 degrees and it was cloudy, but humid.

The Volksmarch started out through two neighborhoods, a quick walk on city streets, then took us out into the country. Wildflowers are still blooming.

This is a very large, six-seat golf cart
Pink granite Texas yard decor
False Day Flower (Commelinantia anomala)
Gruene businesses
Gruene with Envy store

Firewheel or Indian Blanket (Gaillardia pulchella)
Blue-curls (Phacelia congesta) and some
type of Gaillardia?
What on earth do you think is hanging on the winery sign below? We puzzled over it and wondered why it was hanging there. Is it a chupacabra, a large grilled lizard? Don't know. 

What is this thing?
We crossed over the Comal River which, in the summer, is known for its toobing (tubing). Right now the river is running fast and high, no tubing until it mellows out.

Comal River looking upstream
Comal River - downstream
Love the Spanish moss!
Texas Hill Country in spring
Black swallowtail on thistle
As we walked it got warmer but the clouds hung around, no full sun. We love walking out in the country. You never know what you will see. For example, there were many dung beetles out today, rolling poo along the roadway.

Two dung beetles trying to go in opposite directions
They push the poo with their hind legs.
The variety of wildflowers today was pretty cool. We saw a number of wildflowers we had never seen before in Texas.

Herbertia (Herbertia lahue)
Slender stem bitterweed
Giant spiderwort (Tradescantia gigantea)
Skeleton Plant (Lygodesmia texana)
These people like decorative metal work!
A few bluebonnets are still blooming
All kinds of people Volksmarch. Today we saw a group out walking with their dogs. One of them was a rescue dog with a jacket that said "Adopt Me." They were four miles into the walk and those dogs were panting like crazy.

Rain lilies
Beautiful home in a beautiful setting
Here's something else we didn't expect to find out here: Vintage Travel Trailers of Texas. According to his website, he restores vintage aluminum travel trailers. We couldn't see over the fence except just the tops of the trailers. It looked interesting.

Lots of deer were roaming around and sitting in yards
Mexican Hat flowers
The Gruene water tower as viewed
from the Comal River
Black swallowtail on lantana
River tubing companies line the riverbank: Gruene River Co.
The Rockin' R toobs
Our eyes were drawn to this classic Impala
As most of you know many rivers in Texas were effected by floods. As you can see, this Comal River restaurant sustained major damage in one of those floods. The restaurant sits right next to the river.
Flood-damaged restaurant in Gruene
We finished our 10k (6.2 mile) walk by crossing back over the Comal River, then walking up the hill back to the Gruene Dance Hall.
Comal River next to Bubba's Big Burgers
The river seemed to be flowing harder and faster than when
we first crossed it 1-1/2 hours earlier.
By the time we returned to the Volksmarch Finish table at the Gruene Dance Hall, it was probably 78 degrees. The dance hall was hoppin' with a country western band playing. 

After our walk we were very hungry so we had lunch at one of the restaurants up high above the river. Bob had a Fajita Salad and I had a Shrimp Oriental Salad. The salads were huge and very good. I couldn't finish mine. Bob did a pretty good job on his. 

Today was date day for us, so when we finished lunch we saw the movie "Hologram for the King" starring Tom Hanks. The movie was quite different and when it ended, Bob said, "Hunh?" It had a lot to do with life changes and doing business in Saudi Arabia. I'd give it three stars.

"60 Minutes" was next on my agenda and we headed home. While I watched "60 Minutes," Bob went to work for one of his clients. 

We had a great date today. Thank you, Bob!