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.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Winter's Day - Saturday, December 30, 2017

The Mamas and the Papas captured today's walk perfectly. 

"All the leaves are brown and the sky is gray
I've been for a walk on a winter's day..."
 ** from "California Dreamin'" **

Yes, south-central Texas does get winter days. The temperature was in the low 50s when we started walking at 9:20 a.m. A group of five of us headed out on a Volksmarch from Mission San Juan to Mission Espada. Bob and I opted to do only a 5k because I am recuperating from a mild cold.

To begin our walk, we strolled part-way around Mission San Juan's grounds. We then proceeded through the archway to the Yanaguana Trail.

Dee, Christie, Andy, and Bob

After the Yanaguana Trail, we re-entered the
arches to continue around the mission grounds.
Mission San Juan
We found an oak tree in full color
Wow, gorgeous color!
From the mission grounds, we headed across the San Antonio River on Bergs Mill Veterans Memorial Bridge. We followed Mission Road up a hill, past the end of Stinson Municipal Airport's runway, and around to the Espada Aqueduct.

Crossing Bergs Mill Bridge
Christmas cactus
Dee and Andy checked out the historical marker
 Below is a seed pod on a vine which is growing on the Mission Road bridge.

When we came around to the Espada Aqueduct Park, we were greeted by construction barricades meant to keep cars out. People, however, could get around them (carefully).

The Espada Aqueduct (acequia) is part of the original aqueduct system used by the missions for irrigating their crops.

Espada Aqueduct as it crosses a creek
Espada Aqueduct through the farmland
At the aqueduct
Bob talking about the history here
Espada Aqueduct
From the aqueduct, we followed this segment of the bike path back to the main Mission Reach Bike Path.

Christie, Andy, and Dee
I thought I would escape being
photographed today, but Bob got me.
Once back on the main bike path, Dee, Christie, and Andy headed south to Mission Espada to do the 10k walk. Bob and I headed back to Mission San Juan. In the aqueduct next to the bike path, we spotted this turtle who definitely was not interested in being spotted!

Turtle hiding in its shell
After the walk, Bob went to work, and I headed over to Susan Medlin's house to work on a jigsaw puzzle. That was a fun change of pace, so to speak.

Tomorrow, we're off to Fredericksburg, Texas, to do two Volksmarches: one during the day, and one at 12:01 a.m. to ring in the New Year. It's going to be cold!

Lest You Think We Haven't Been Busy... - Sat., December 30, 2017

...here's a blog to help dispel that thought.

After the Volksmarch in Southside Lions Park on November 25, I worked Sunday through Wednesday in the RV park office. Thursday, November 30, I was off work. That gave me time to pack for the trip to Oregon to be with Mom who was in Marquis Skilled Nursing Facility.

On Friday night, December 1, I flew to Portland, Oregon, via Phoenix, Arizona. No flight problems or delays were encountered on Southwest Airlines (my favorite). My son, Michael, picked me up at Portland International Airport around midnight and gave me a ride to Mom's house. Her house is very lonely without her in it!

On Saturday around 11:00 a.m., I went to visit Mom at Marquis. It is a very nice facility. They had her pain under control and she was doing pretty well.

Frank and Gina and Michael visited a few times. We worked on jigsaw puzzles and walked the halls. Janyce was there frequently and had dinner with us most nights. (Jan and I ate in the dining room with Mom many times. It was $7 per meal.)
Dec. 2 - Mom in front; Jan, me, and Michael in back
Michael and Jan
Mom, Frank, and Gina
Mom, me, and Frank
The facility has a lot of activities (kind of like summer camp). We played Bingo a couple of times, a make-shift Wheel of Fortune game (more like Hangman), Scattergories, helped make a gingerbread house, did jigsaw puzzles, went to concerts in the big dining room upstairs, and petted the therapy dog.

Other puzzles we worked on:

Hardest jigsaw puzzle we've ever done...
it took us most of the week to finish it!
Box for the above puzzle
My favorite concert was Festival Brass, a local, seven-piece brass band that has been playing together for 27 years. Two of their unique instruments are a euphonium and a triple French horn (most French horns are doubles). 

Euphonium and triple French horn
Festival Brass in concert
Triple French horn (made in Germany)
Being that it was December, I was very surprised to see fall color still on the trees and ground. The Portland area must not have had a big wind storm yet to blow down all the leaves. 

Sweetgum tree or maple?
Pretty leaves - Bi-Mart parking lot
Pretty contrast against the asphalt
While visiting mom at Marquis, I got to go to Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy with her a couple of times. She progressed very well from the wheelchair to the walker. The day she started with the walker, she learned how to transfer to the Explorer. Jan and I took her to the movie theater to see "Wonder." She seemed pretty happy to be out of the facility for a while. 

Mom with the walker at Marquis
December 7, I was checking Facebook and saw posts of snow in San Antonio! OMG, it hardly ever snows in San Antonio. 

I called Bob and said, "How do you like the snow?" 

He said, "What snow?"

I told him a number of San Antonio Facebook friends had photos of snow. He had been watching sports on TV and was totally oblivious to the snow! He then went outside and took a few photos in the RV park for me. We had only a light dusting. Farther north in San Antonio, they had about 4".

Our place and my Escape pod.
The solar lights looked like mushrooms.

On Saturday, before I left Oregon, I really wanted to do a picnic with Mom. We planned it a couple of days ahead of time and told her we'd be having it inside because it was too cold outside (45 F). 

When I drove up to Marquis on the day of the picnic, Mom was waiting outside in her heavy coat, purse in hand, ready to go to an outside picnic. When she saw me park and get out of the car, she went back inside. It broke my heart. She REALLY wanted to go out to picnic. 

Jan and I brought in the food. We had egg salad sandwiches, a veggie tray, Caesar salad, Fritos and Sun Chips, pistachio salad, banana walnut muffins, hot tea, and a pomegranate.
Me, Jan, and Mom picnicking in the Bistro at Marquis
After using the walker about four days, they had Mom progress to walking without the walker. I had already flown home by then (December 10). Next thing I knew, they were discharging her to home (December 19)! This concerns me quite a bit because she lives alone. 

Update on Mom, Saturday, December 30: 
Mom has been home for over ten days. My sister Jan has been wonderful: She cooks dinner for Mom some nights (with extra food for a couple of nights), goes grocery shopping, and visits frequently. We are so happy she is nearby. I plan to go back to Oregon as soon as I can (probably May when I'm off work for the season). 

Mom cannot drive (per doctor's orders to the DMV) so we have to look into Tri-Met Lift or maybe the bus in her retirement community to help her get around to doctor's appointments, grocery shopping, and the hairdresser. So much to think about. 

Jan got all the utilities turned back on when Mom went home. There was a slight glitch in getting internet and TV turned on, but Jan got that straightened out too. Thank you, Jan!

Mom's neighbor, Merilee, invited Jan and Mom over for Christmas dinner. She made a roast beef dinner which Jan and Mom loved. Merilee, if you're reading this, thank you so much!

I call Mom every day to see how she's faring. One day she made chocolate chip cookies. Another day she dust-mopped her linoleum floors. Mostly, she watches TV, reads, or gets on the internet. I think she's getting cabin fever. 

It sounds like her pain is under control. The main problem seems to be a seriously swollen left foot. She has a doctor's appointment on Wednesday for that. On Thursday afternoon, Jan. 4, she has an appointment for an X-ray at Meridian Park Hospital, immediately followed by an appointment with Dr. Simpson who did her hip surgery.

There are still a lot of logistics to take care of for her to be at home. We're thankful she's home, though, because that is where she wants to be.

All for now.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Nature of Things - Sat., Nov. 25, 2017

It's not often I get out of bed earlier than necessary, but it happened today. I hadn't read our walk instructions closely enough, which said our start time was 9:00-11:00 a.m. I was there at 8:15 a.m.

Other club members were already at the pavilion at Southside Lions Park to mark the trail, set up for a hot dog lunch, put out flyers, and get ready to register the walkers. I was asked to set up the upcoming event flyers. 

Having walked the Southside Lions Park Salado Creek Greenway Trail many times before, I signed in early and started walking.

Today, Bob did his last training run (10 miles) for the San Antonio Rock 'n' Roll Marathon next Sunday, December 3. He wasn't able to join us on the walk.

If you know me at all, you know I'm a nature girl at heart. I'll share photos of the natural beauty (and some man-made) that we saw today. Off we go...

The path crossing Salado Creek upstream
from Pecan Valley Lake
Early-morning sun silhouetting trees
Fisherman at Pecan Valley Lake
Southside Lions Park
Pecan Valley Lake is a very nice size. Early in the morning, there are always fishermen lining its banks. The birds hang out here, so the fishing must be good. Today, I saw neotropic cormorants, Northern shovelers, double-crested cormorants, American coot, and great egrets.

A fountain in the lake
Water lines
Double-crested cormorants
A little fall color
Double-crested cormorant and Northern shoveler
Pecan Vally Lake - a halcyon sight
Neotropic cormorant "displaying"
The path around Pecan Valley Lake is one mile, marked at one-tenth mile intervals. From the lake, we took off on the Salado Creek Greenway Trail. 

Map of the park, we started at #2.

Wide, paved path
Trail markers all along the way
I'm sure most of you know what a "nurse log" is, but in case you don't, the photo below is a perfect example of one. A nurse log is a fallen tree that becomes a nursery for new plants that live off the nutrients of that fallen tree. They are an important part of forest ecology. We saw these a lot in the Pacific Northwest, but I haven't seee many in Texas.

Nurse log nurturing new plants
A very nice feature of many bike paths in San Antonio are the "turn-outs" (one is pictured below). They are multipurpose: use the rocks as a place to sit and rest or eat a snack, stretch, tie your shoelaces, or just chat with friends. 

Path turn-out
I wonder what lives in this snag?
Along part of the creek are palmetto palms. This is in a particularly cool, grotto-like area. 
Pretty rapids
Comanche County Park

Entering Covington Park

South Salado Creek Greenway -
Rigsby Avenue to Southside Lions Park sign
J Street Park Trailhead, our turn-around point
Beautiful Spanish moss at the turn-around point
And bamboo along the trail!
Charlie from the New Braunfels club
Andy coming under Rigsby Road overpass
Andy carrying walk essentials:
water and a cell phone
Salado Creek glistens in the sun
The hot dog lunch for $5.00 was very good. In additon to the hot dog, we had chips, soda, home-made dill pickles, and home-made pumpkin crunch dessert or blueberry-pineapple crunch dessert with Cool Whip. (Most of us sampled each of the desserts which were provided by our Southwest Regional Director Susan Medlin. Thank you, Susan. The desserts were wonderful! Thanks, too, to John Ives for barbecuing the hot dogs.)

Hot dog lunch bunch
Chatting after lunch
Pavilion #2 - used for our start, finish, and lunch 
It was a lovely day for a walk. After walking, I went home and wrote blogs.