Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand - Saturday, December 30, 2023

Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand - Saturday, December 30, 2023
Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand - Saturday, December 30, 2023

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I was kidnapped for an afternoon date - Mon., July 25, 2016

Bob's been having a tough time of it health-wise lately. For the past week, he has had gout in his right foot which is so swollen and painful it's hard for him to get his shoes on. He hasn't been able to run on it either.

Plus, the basal cell carcinoma he had removed from his neck has returned. There is a hard nodule in the exact site where from whence it was removed last year. He will be going in next week to have it excised again. The problem is that when he had it removed last year, it was down to the nerve that supplies feeling to his face. They were able to work around the nerve, but he still had pins and needles sensations in part of his lower face for months after the surgery. (Those sensations finally went away.) If they have to cut into the nerve, it's possible he will lose feeling in part of his face for good.

On a positive note, the recent catheter ablation Bob had done for his atrial fibrillation is giving him relief. On his follow-up exam, they didn't find any sign of the A-fib. Bob has been feeling healthier and more energetic. When he runs now, he isn't getting tired like he used to.

Bob and I at Random a couple of weeks ago
Last week Bob mentioned taking this Monday afternoon off work so we could go on a date. Apparently he reminded me of it when he left for work Monday morning. However, I was still asleep and it didn't register.

I planned my day to go see "Star Trek: Beyond" at 12:45 p.m. As soon as the movie started (not even five minutes into it) my phone started buzzing. My first thought was, "OMG, I bet that's Bob calling me about our date." I had forgotten about it. Oops. A half hour later my phone buzzed again. He will just have to wait.

"Star Trek: Beyond" was excellent, way better than the critics made it out to be. I loved the action, the acting, the interplay between characters, the humor, the new uniforms, the sets, the surprises, the traps and the tricks. I think I have to see it again, because the one thing that was difficult to understand was the dialogue, especially when an alien was talking and there was a spoken translation at the same time, one layered on top of the other.

When the movie was over I listened to my voicemail from Bob. He thought he'd be home about 2:15 p.m. It was 3:00 when the movie finished, so I called him and told him I'd be right home. He gave me a whole list of activities to choose from, one of them being to see "Star Trek: Beyond." I went to see it without him because he doesn't like sci-fi, but he was willing to go see it with me. He also mentioned going to the Museum of Modern Art, going to look at 5th wheels at Camping World, and going to eat and play games at Dave & Buster's.

Geeky me got excited about going to eat and play games at Dave & Buster's. We had only been to Dave & Buster's in Hawaii and that was over five years ago. That was my choice. We had an excellent meal to which we each added $10 game play cards.

In the arcade part of Dave & Buster's it was sensory overload. Loud music was playing, video games were making all kinds of racket, and this is at 4:00 p.m. on a Monday afternoon. I'm so happy there weren't hundreds of people there so we could take our time and check out all the machines to see what to play.

Both of us chose to play Trivia and we did horribly. LOL. That's not like us. Then we wandered around the arcade checking out the games.

I told Bob I really wanted to do the H20verdrive boat races. So we both played (against each other). What fun! I loved it! I want to go back and play some more. The graphics are awesome and it is so fun to make the boat jump and do tricks. You collect gems and smash other boats along the way. What is so cool is that there are about eight courses to choose from and the graphics are beautiful. See the link above to watch a YouTube review that shows the graphics. The best thing about this game is each race is completed on your one turn.

After we finished two boat races, Bob went off to play Galaga and I chose a game where I directed a runner across raised platforms past all kinds of obstacles. You could make your runner turn right, turn left, jump, and slide. It was fun to figure out how to make this game work. If you move the rollerball forward, the guy jumps over obstacles. Rollerball right, guy turns right, rollerball left, the guy turns left. If you make the rollerball go backward, the guy slides down stuff. Obstacles include tree roots, gaps in the path, fire, and quick turns. You can collect energy diamonds along the way. The game was fun, but you had to keep putting credits in the machine to keep the game going. I never did finish it.

What a fun afternoon! I want to go back to do the boat races again.

When we came out of Dave & Buster's, raindrops were falling on our heads. As we drove home, we left the rain behind. By 9:30 p.m., however, the thunderstorms came in earnest. The thunder was rocking the RV and lightning lit up the sky. What impressed us the most, though, was the downpour of rain! Whee! Around 9:45 pm we had a power outage that lasted about ten minutes.

Tuesday: By morning, our site was flooded. About six inches of water surrounded our 5th wheel. (This is typical because we're in a low spot in the park.) After not having rain for a long time, the ground was so dry the water didn't soak in. By 1 p.m. the water was gone.

This morning, I wanted to see "The Karate Kid," which was showing for free at 10:00 a.m.  I hadn't seen it for a long time and I love the movie, so the price was right and I went. I got there pretty early thinking the theater would be full. Not so. They put us in one of the biggest theaters in the complex.

Usually this theater runs trivia and advertising for 20 minutes before they show the previews. However, 15 minutes before the movie was to start, all that was on the screen was what looked like the front page of a computer sign-on page. It said "Music, Videos, Live TV," etc. at the bottom of the screen, with clouds filling the top 2/3rds of the screen. I went and reported to one of the employees that there was nothing playing on the screen. She told me the previews would come on at 10 a.m.  Well, 10 a.m. came and went, I went and asked another employee about the movie. He actually seemed interested in helping me. Soon, a couple of employees were coming into the theater to check the status. Nothing.

After about 15 more minutes the theater manager came in to say they were having technical difficulties and they would give us free refills on popcorn and beverages. Say no more, I had a senior (small) popcorn and went out for a refill. That was nice.

Another ten minutes went by and the manager came back in to tell us they wouldn't be able to show "The Karate Kid" due to technical difficulties, but they would substitute the new "Ice Age: Collision Course," or "The Secret Life of Pets." Everyone wanted "Ice Age," so that was what they played for us. But not without further difficulties. They got the sound going, but all we could see on the screen was the front page of the computer with the clouds. After about five minutes of that, they finally got the movie visuals working and they re-started the movie for us. It was okay. I really would have rather seen "The Karate Kid."

After the movie, I went shopping at Costco for fruit, eggs, almond milk, and protein powder. Thankfully, Costco wasn't super crowded. I'm home now, have washed and frozen the strawberries and blueberries, and written my blog. Now I'm going to watch a movie from Netflix.

TravelBug out.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Origin of the Universe - Sun., July 24, 2016

According to the Maya, we are close to the anniversary date of when our world was brought into being: August 13, 3114 BC. The gods placed three hearthstones, or stelae, into the sky. That act created the universe and cosmic order. On that date, the Maize God sprouted like a cornstalk from the back of the Earth Turtle.

Witte Museum - South Texas Heritage Center
Stelae or hearthstones
Stelae in the Maya exhibit
To assert their direct link to the gods, rulers commissioned carved stelae. Glyphs and images on the stelae described a ruler's royal pedigree or his or her role in historical or mythological events. Erecting these stones in public places was one way leaders proclaimed their power. Today, stelae are the most important source of information about Mayan kings.

We learned this today as tourists in San Antonio. Our destination? The Witte Museum.
"Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed" is the largest traveling exhibition about the Maya ever to be toured in the United States. The Maya wove together politics, commerce, astronomy, agriculture and a deep belief in a spiritual world.

Maize played a large role in the lives of Mayans as it was a primary food source. The Mayan calendar also had a leading role in their lives. Their Tzolk'in calendar is 260 days long which is the length of a pregnancy. Dates and times for rituals and ceremonies were planned using this calendar. In addition, two other calendars were used in conjunction with the Tzolk'in calendar.

The Maya were master builders as evidenced by the many ruins in Mesoamerica. The elite lived in palaces in and around city centers, while commoners' homes were spread across the countryside. Reservoirs captured water and agricultural terraces bore crops that fed large populations. Road networks tied cities together, allowing people and goods to be moved between them. [The information above is from the Mayan exhibit at the Witte Museum.]

The exhibit was very interesting. Bob and I commented it would have been good to see this exhibit before we took our cruise to Mexico, Belize and Honduras. When we saw the Mayan ruins of Tulum and Lamanai we would have had a better understanding of their culture.

While we were on our tour in Lamanai, our tour guide told us of many undiscovered Mayan ruins. New technology using airborne laser sensors, called Lidar (Light Detection and Ranging), is helping to reveal where more sites are located. Part of the Maya exhibit explained how Lidar is helping scientists find more sites.

From the "Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed" exhibit we headed to another gallery in the South Texas Heritage Center to see photos of all the range drivers that were a part of Texas history. There were even some of their charges looking down on us.

A very interesting exhibit was "Mapping Texas: From Frontier to the Lone Star State." I love reading maps. This particular collection is such an evolution of the way people explored and put on paper what they saw. One map, for example, highlighted all the rivers. If you think about it, rivers were the major highways for people and commerce before roads were built. Another map showed all the forts in the United States.

I learned that Gen. Stephen Austin was one of the first Texas mapmakers. He is also called the "Father of Modern Texas."

The map below shows Bexar County with Fort Alamo just above the center. You can see the San Antonio, Medina, Guadalupe, Cibolo and other rivers on this map. Rivers were  important for water in this hot climate. Many of these rivers start as springs coming out of the Edwards Plateau aquifer, a good source of clean, cool water.

From the Mapping Texas exhibit, we made our way upstairs to "A Wild and Vivid Land: Stories of South Texas." Here we learned it was Canary Islanders who set up the grid system of streets in downtown San Antonio. Odds and ends of information about San Antonio and Texas are on display here. A small room is dedicated to O. Scott Petty, a geophysicist who invented a device, an electrostatic seismograph detector, that could find deposits of petroleum by picking up vibrations in the earth.

Me at one of the exhibits in the Witte Museum
Do you know what Farm-to-Market (FM) roads are? I learned about them when I worked at AAA years ago. The Witte Museum has a small display that explains them. Texas is the only state with FM roads. I never knew that before.

Explanation of Farm-to-Market roads
Texas longhorn
Beautiful tile art
Just outside the South Texas Heritage Center is a sculpture by Gutzon Borglum called "Trail Drivers." You might know Gutzon Borglum as the creator of Mt. Rushmore. He lived in and worked on his Mt. Rushmore ideas in San Antonio at a studio in Brackenridge Park before he went to South Dakota.

"Trail Drivers" by Gutzon Borglum
The next special exhibit we saw at the Witte today was "Splendor on the Range: American Indians and the Horse." When Herman Cortes landed on the east coast of Mexico in 1519 he had 11 ships with 508 soldiers and 16 horses. By the mid-1700s, horses had spread across North America. Most of the horses came to North America from Spain and France.

Map showing timeline of horse history in North America
The exhibit focused not only on horses, but on the impact the horses had on the Indians, making their lives easier. The horse was used to pull the travois which helped them move their tipis and belongings over long distances. Horses were also used for attacking and defending.
"Indians Pursued" by Gutzon Borglum
About Gutzon Borglum
Many different aspects of Indian life were shown in this exhibit: moccasins, clothing, weaving, ceremonies, and weaponry.

Pouches were used because they had no pockets
Moccasin boots
Ghost Dance Dress, 1890
The Ghost Dance Dress above was taken from a Lakota woman killed at Wounded Knee and is being exhibited as a reminder of the tragedy that occurred that cold winter day in 1890. The Witte Museum is honoring the request of Chief Oliver Red Cloud. 

Below are Navajo Yeibechai, spiritual beings who communicate with the gods. They aid in medicine ceremonies and other religious events. There are six male and six female Yeibechai dancers, a leader, and the clown or trickster. Sand paintings for healing are accompanied by ceremonies performed by the Yeibechai.

 Below are bags used to carry pipes, and supplies for smoking ceremonies.

From the main Witte building, we made our way outside to see a couple of outdoor exhibits. We found a marker indicating that San Antonio is in Flash Flood Alley. The sign says we can find more information on the second floor of the H-E-B Science Treehouse. We looked and apparently there is no longer a Flash Flood Alley display. We were disappointed that they no longer had it. Even the docent didn't know about it. He said the sign outside must have old information.

The H-E-B Science Treehouse building was somewhat interesting. There were exhibits where you could get some exercise and others to learn about your bodily functions. The exhibit Bob and I liked was the one that took a photo of your body heat signature. Check out the photo below. Are we a couple of hotties, or what? LOL.

Today we learned a lot and wore our brains out. We had one more thing to do...go shopping (at H-E-B Central Market and Bed, Bath and Beyond). After we bought our groceries, we went to Bed, Bath and Beyond to see if they had the Ninja Magic Bullet. We wore our Magic Bullet out making smoothies every morning. (A big thank you to Kimmie who gave us our Magic Bullet a few years ago. Kimmie, we have used it a lot!) BB and B had the Magic Bullet, so we were in and out of the store in about five minutes with our new Ninja.

Now it's late and I must get some sleep. Nighty night!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Number Patterns - Tues., July 19, 2016

When my mom, sister and I went on mom's 80th birthday trip in 2010, we kept noticing patterns with the #1 every day. We'd notice it was 11:11 a.m. or our hotel room was #11. I don't know how many times we saw the #1 in different configurations on our vacation.

So today, I looked at how many blogs I've written. In fact, the number jumped off the page and into my brain. Today I have written 1,111 blogs. This short blog makes 1,112.

You have to wonder why did we start noticing this pattern in the first place. Did it have any special meaning? Once we did start noticing it, was it truly random that we kept seeing the number 1, or did it just become more noticeable because we talked about it.

To this day, I can look at a clock and it will be 1:11 p.m., or I'll notice my odometer when it has a lot of 1's in a row. It all started with our vacation.

It's 11:11 p.m., so I think I'll say good night. Do you have any meaningful number patterns in your life?

Volksmarch: Mission Concepcion to Blue Star Arts Complex - Mon., Feb. 29, 2016

Still going back in time, but now we're at the end of February. All the beautiful early spring bloomers are out.

For this walk, we drove to our start point of Mission Concepcion. After wandering around the mission grounds, we walked on surface streets to Concepcion Park where our route took us onto the Mission Reach of the River Walk. From there we followed the San Antonio River as it meandered north to the Blue Star Arts Complex.

Late February into early March is the prettiest time in San Antonio, in my opinion. The weather is perfect, flowers are blooming, and birds are starting to migrate through.

Mountain laurel in full bloom - very fragrant
Mountain laurel blooms close up
Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans)
Today is an out-and-back walk. Our turn-around is Blue Star Arts Complex which is an old industrial complex re-purposed into small art galleries, restaurants, a bicycle repair shop, and other enterprises. We love to eat lunch at Stella Public House, an upscale, artisanal pizza restaurant. We order individual pizzas with a small side salad. They're usually opening their doors just as we arrive.

Wallpaper at Stella Public House
Stella Public House 
On the way back, we spot a number of birds.

Little blue heron
Pied-billed grebe
Pied-billed grebe

Ring-necked duck
Ringed-neck duck
Red bud tree
Concepcion Park
And so we wound our way back to the car, through Concepcion Park, and called it a day. Nothing like a perfect spring day in South Texas.

Travel Bug out.

Second Wii Bowling Night - Sat., Feb. 27, 2016

The first Wii bowling night we had in January at Travelers World RV Resort was so much fun, we wanted to do it again!

I must give a big "THANK YOU" to Don and Jocelyne who were the instigators of this new activity last month. Jocelyne spent a lot of time organizing the teams and setting up the Wii on bowling night. They also spent time teaching people how to use the equipment and play the game. In addition, they set up their Wii game in the Rec Hall for a couple of weeks ahead of time so people could practice.

We closed the office a little early tonight so those of us who work at Travelers World could make it for pizza dinner. On the menu were pizza, popcorn, cookies and brownies.

Once again, the bowling lanes were marked out on the Rec Hall floor to let us know where we could bowl. Thank you to the maintenance crew and Terry for keeping us in the lines.

We again had ten teams of four which made for lots of friendly competition. Everyone had their own bowling style. Looking at all the photos together like this, it looks like we're dancing.
Joslyn and Tim
Francine & Tim
Joslyn and Larry
You can see from the photos that daytime turned into night as we spent about 3-1/2 hours bowling. Everyone had a great time, even the spectators. There was lots of high-fiving and fist-pumping.

Pam and Bob
BettyAnn and Lorne

BettyAnn on deck

Friendly instructions were provided
Pat, Joslyn, LuAnn, Jan, Larry
And the winners were (drum roll) Super Bowlers:
Carol, Clari, Susan, Bob
Here's our trophy.
Thank you to Delia and Fran for selling refreshments and to Bob E. for providing bowling music. It takes a community to put on these events. We're thankful we have many helping hands at Travelers World!

These evenings are so much fun! I'm thinking this coming season we may have Wii bowling leagues form.

All for now. January and February blogs are all caught up.