Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2019 January Joy

18 Jan, Baton Rouge to Pensacola by evening.  Our plans to stay a day in Baton Rouge changed due to rain forecast for all day Saturday, Tues and Wednesday.  We left Baton Rouge at 11:30 on I-12 East to I-10 East until exiting Mississippi 607 and turned onto US 90 and into spooky, dense fog that shrouded the view. We couldn’t see the water at all.  Gradually, the fog lifted for the Gulf Coast ride through Gulfport and Biloxi.  The white beach stretches on through many communities;  many palatial antebellum mansions grace the opposite side of US 90.  Nice, huh?  The trillions of stoplights were not nice.  Turning north, we returned to I-10.  And then kaboom! 25 miles east of Mobile, AL the bike made a clattering noise.  It wasn’t the tires.  We stayed on the shoulder of the road clattering along to the Highway 39 exit to Pascagoula.  Ron phoned BMW Roadside Assistance, enjoying a chat with a representative; she  assured us a tow truck would pick us up in an hour and a half to take us to the BMW service in Pensacola.   Ron called Pensacola BMW Motorcycle Service and spoke with Darien to let them know the bike would arrive tonight.  And we waited.  And we waited some more. After 2.5 hours Ron phoned Roadside Assistance and learned nothing had even been done on our ticket.  An hour later the bike was loaded on the truck, we were loaded inside and took off, leaving our helmets behind,   Thankfully, the driver remembered the helmets, so we turned around and retrieved them successfully.  Dropping the bike off for service was simple enough.  But, thidis the first time we have ever gone to a hotel in a tow truck.  We hope it is the last time, too.

17 Jan,  Lets’s ride!  Will we  be on the road by ten AM?  Maybe.   Nope!  At 11:30 noontime, we rode off with another load of Ron’s treasures to the storage unit, dropped off our condo keys, then we returned the rental car and a drop off of paper to be recycled at our church.  It was 12:30 high noon when we hit 105 eastbound to 327 north, to 2246, to 96, to 62, to TX 12, crossing into Louisiana  on LA 12 which merged with LA 190 (For Wynn).  Cynthia did not need  in heated gear until five PM when we both agreed we needed warmth.   Ron is a chronic hypothermic who rarely wears gloves, but he donned his balaclava.   Pat B. met us in Baton Rouge for dinner at the Hilton Garden Inn. That a six  hour ride on back roads, allowing for stops.  Great ride!

16 Jan, Errands today include dry cleaners, alterations pickup, bank, post office and dermatologist.  The bike isn’t packed either.  It is cold with rain forecast so tomorrow is the day we begin riding towards Miami.  I hope  we make it to FL before the bitter freeze hits.  Jon wrapped the pipes on the beach house.

15 Jan, Each day of running errands, cleaning out the storage unit,  is like the previous day! Today, we moved a chair out of the storage unit to be picked up for consignment.  We continue with our frantic pace exceot today we had to include a trip for Cynthia to see Dr. Siddiqui at the medical center in Houston.  It was a most successful visit with a good report.  Sunglasses that were sent to be polarized are back in time for our ride to Miami.  Fiber DLish Bars arrived! A very successful but busy day was had by all of the survivors.  Ron completed a Swedish Colonial Society package that has consumed him for two months.

14 Jan, Happy Birthday to my oldest friend Ann J., my playmate at age 4!    On this day we are off and running again, returning items to the storage unit and packing our gear to depart Wednesday.

13 Jan,  From Cynthia’s weekly FB Post:

 Sunday Offering:
Grace Lutheran Church of Conroe, Texas is the most delightful place to worship because children are seamlessly incorporated into almost all aspects of the service. Their involvement is thoughtfully planned. Then comes an occasional surprise. Today, an adorable, curly-haired, three year old decided to roll  around on the floor and explore the bottom of the pastors alb during the Greeting.   When the pastor moved into the Chancel the little tot followed her. And with amazing graciousness, Pastor Diane Roth took her hand allowing the little one to sit behind the pulpit with her during the lessons. Quietly, she sat until time for the children’s sermon. 
Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven."
Matt.19:14 RSV

12 Jan, The plan is to catch up on sleep, walk, and celebrate with the family at a party at Perrys Steakhouse. Most everyone was there except for  Paul’s family on vacation in Mexico, and Roxanne’s sons out of state.  We certainly had a great evening.
 Cynthia’s Daughter Julie and Cynthia’s son Jon

11 Jan,  Carlos met us at the storage unit to pick up the four bar stools his mom bought from us. Slowly, ever so slowly,  we are making progress emptying out the storage unit. We walked to the caddy shack for lunch.  Cynthia went on to get a pedi, mani and load the car with a large pastel portrait, a watercolor and a pencil rendering she gifted to Julie.  Tonight we met Cheri and Sam for dinner to discuss investing in Cheri’s medical device that will end incontinence in women, Floelle, Inc.  it will be a miracle for millions of women.  We are eager for the return of our quiet lifestyle once we leave Texas next week.

10 Jan, In 40 degree temps Ron rode the bike to West Side Honda to have new tires put on the bike.  He forgot his cell phone at home on the kitchen counter.  Hence, he could not call to find out where to join Cynthia and Julie for lunch.  Cynthia had a girlie appointment with Bambi and enjoyed a delightful lunch with daughter Julie at Salata.  We managed a four mile walk;  and Ron was in bed by 7:00 PM.

9 Jan, We passed our good tooth brushing test at the dentist today.  Dr. Anderson is such a good dentist and a great guy.   After baked sweet potato, baked potato and humongous salads at Jason’s Deli, Cynthia had a doctor appointment with Cheri.  We returned batteries, stopped at Riverbridge Consignment, another stop at alterations, then Wally World for groceries!

8 Jan, We ate a lot today. Burp!  Ron is elbow deep in cutting identifying information from paper for recycling.  Cynthia is buried in writing essays.  We surfaced to complete two good walks totaling seven miles.  And we are happy that the furniture in the storage unit is gradually being given away or sold.

7 Jan, it is really January!!!! ??  It is!  And it was a good day for running errands; we did run to the post office to mail Cynthia's class newsletter, fax our medical records to the Pritikin Longevity Center, stop at the bank, the storage unit, the pharmacy, Walmart, and we lunched at the Magnolia Diner.  It looked like it would rain,  but we managed a four mile walk without getting a raindrop on our heads.

6 Jan,  I am tired, so tired I have been writing Dec, instead of January on this blog! The combinef children and adult worship service is always delightful.  We had brunch at the Yacht Club before we attended granddaughter Zoe’s high school graduation party, a BBQ at her home.  After returning home we picked up our pastor and her husband for a most enjoyable dinner at Pappadeaux. The salmon was yummy!

5 Jan, Pleasant weather made running errands most enjoyable.  The 2019  RX were dropped off at the pharmacy,  and we are back to our hectic schedule, but we did have a five mile walk late afternoon.  The absence of deer made us wonder if Santa was recruiting.   But eventually the cutest little fawns, maybe triplets, apoeared withbtheir momma, along with many others.

4 Jan, 7:40 A.M. right on the money, we walked down 15 flights of stairs and six blocks to the doctor.  It is always good to get a professional opinion we are still alive.   The view from our room of the Houston skyline at sunset was spectacular.  We arrived back in Walden about 3:30 PM.   Cynthia dropped Ron off at Jon’s to get the bike out of his garage and run errands.  Now we are on the third floor of the unit.  It will take getting used to climbing that extra floor.  Cynthia spent the evening hand addressing her class newsletters.  Ron is back at work wired to 57 Chevy Radio Rock and Roll while working on the current SCS project.

3 Jan, YUP!  Three, Tres, and now we are on a roll into January at the Houston Medical Center going through our annual medical checkups.  Have you noticed the scales at the doctors offices are set extra high to frighten us into losing weight? Yup! Trust me on this one.  Cynthia had a morning hair appointment with her long time hairdresser, Sasha, who encouraged Ron to let the sides of his hair grow out last November.   He did.  Cynthia accidentally told Sasha the hair was dutifully grown out, and Ron was actually willing to let him cut his hair this time, if Sasha offered again.   Of course, Sasha agreed to do it.   Now, Ron has a professional hair cut to last for the next 30 years.   Lunch at the hotel was delicious, baked potatoes for Ron,  and a soybean veggie patty for Cynthia.   The rain stopped allowing us walk in subzero temperatures for the afternoon medical appointment.  We walked fast and stayed warm. Cynthia’s jacket is battery operated for warmth.  Tonight,  we fast for early morning labs.

2 Jan, TWO! DOS! TOE! Second.  And so begins the second day of this new year. We are filled with hope, enthusiasm, and joy in our life together as we turn the page into 2019.  Mostly it is a joy to feel so healthy.  Being deeply in love is an amazing thing.  It is life transforming.  The housekeeper arrives,  so we finish our packing and depart promptly an hour late.  It was fun talking to Louise.   The moderate rain did not prevent the mandatory stop at recycling.  Our trip into the Houston medical center allowed for a pit stop at Pappadeaux on the 610 south loop for salmon. Our home for three days is the Hilton Medical Center.

1 ONE! UNO! EIN! FIRST! This is the first day of 2019, it is the first day of January!   

Sad to say, we left the outside door closed and were able to sleep through the midnight crescendo.  Yes I took my 3rd 4-mile walk of the day around 9:45 to 11 PM last night, and the crazies were setting off so much fireworks on the beach that I decided it was safer to walk a block inland.  Besides the ear-shattering BANG fireworks, there were some spectacular flowering varieties and one amazing multi-colored fountain 40 feet high.

We both woke up and consider this a wonderfully promising start to the New Year.  Let's hope that trend continues for the entire year.

Friday, December 28, 2018

December in Texas

31 Dec, Our sunset beach walk brought to mind lyrics from the Star Spangled Banner, “And the bombs bursting in air...” because fireworks are bursting in air!  Music is playing loudly, with revelers gathered ‘round bonfires on the beach.  The magnificent sunset is wildly orchestrated in shades of red, crimson, rose, scarlet, fuschia, Orange, pink, lavender, purple, and blue.  The photo is but a glimmer of the sunset’s surreal splendor. Ron took his third 4 mile walk at 9:45 amidst a volley of fireworks deemed not safe to walk close, so he walked a block inland.  Another breathtaking ending to yet a new beginning.  Thank God!

30 Dec,  A rainy day means no beach walk!  It IS a dreary, rainy day forcing us to stay indoors with our Macs!  The SCS Cox Family Group Records was almost ready to send when an error was discovered.  Back to the drawing board and it is done!    Cynthia saw a hilarious video on FB of  a couple who had been married for 70 years. sharing advice.  She said, "He's always after my body."  He said, "Wouldn't anyone want this gal?"  She said, "I haven't ever been attracted to another man." He said, "I haven't been attracted to another man either."  Their advice was to be nice to each other.   The rain has now decreased to spritzels allowing for a walk.  Cynthia opted not to have wet shoes in cold temps. Cynthia stayed warm indoors writing a YDNA analysis and sharing a new year's memory with grandchildren on the ranch;

I remember New ear’s Eve 1993 :  After dinner I turned  the clock ahead every fifteen minutes. At MIDNIGHT we donned our party h ats, rattled noisemakers and joyously celebrated New Year 1994!  And the grandparents got to sleep by real time ten-thirty. The grandchildren were so excited to tell their parents they got to stay up to midnight.  Some of them remember! 

29 Dec.  Beach life means slow,  lazy mornings!  We are enjoying  another day without racing the clock or running to meetings or appointments.  All we do is enjoy eating  walking on the beach and working on our Macs.   Cynthia is writing  the Lea YDNA analysis chapter  for the James Lea book, while Ron is working on projects for the Swedish Colonial Society.  The temperature is 51 degrees with a real feel of 45; that being the case, we bundled up for the post morning beach walk at 1:22 P.M, only to get on the road and discover raindrops keep falling on our heads.  Hey that's catchy, someone should write a song about that!  We boogied back into the beach house to check the weather. Sure nuff.  Rain is forecast for the next hour. And it drizzled all the day long!  We dined out at Ocean Grille on Mahi Mahi that included three grilled shrimp for Cynthia.  Ron walked tonight despite the cold but no one was home to phone.

December 2018 in Texas.  A fun time was had by all of the survivors.  The record of this happy month was accidentally deleted by someone whose name will remain confidential,  and the computer hero in our family said, "Yup!, It's gone!"  If you didn't look at it before it was accidentally deleted, too bad.  We did have fun! Cynthia will try to recreate it with photos.

28 Dec,  Ron awoke about 2:30 AM to telephone Fidelity to transfer funds from one of those over 70 1/2 IRA's. Mission accomplished.  Ron listens to 57 Chevy radio station using headphones while working on the computer until an Elvis song comes on and hands it to Cynthia.  Once in a while we rock out dancing to our favorite Rock and Roll.  We are Rock and Roll fools.  Cynthia was happy because she helped an adoptee find her living birth mother and deceased birth father.

27 Dec, Woo Hoo!  We walked nearly 8 miles today!  YES! The sunset stroll was splendid. The extremely high tide washed out Karen's sand Christmas tree so she created ski boots when those were washed out, too.   Wifi is poor with high holiday volume of residents in their vacation homes.  Verizon signal is also weak on the island.

26 Dec, We rode to Galveston via ferry in the rain, ate a delicious meal at Gaido's Seafood Restaurant before shopping at Wally World to load up on supplies for the next week.

25 Dec, Merry Christmas!  We awoke early to ride in dense fog leaving Bolivar Island, for the two and a half hour ride into Houston, to spend Christmas with Roxanne, Kiira and Jon.  She prepared an elegant and delicious meal.

24 Dec, A quiet day at the beach with two walks.  A lovely lady named Karen from Annapolis, MD made a delightful sand Christmas tree with ornaments, and a sand sled with a Santa suit hanging on a line on the beach.

23 Dec, Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas, everywhere but here.  And Christmas for some folks means stress, sadness, anxiety, loneliness, and a reminder of loss and grief.  Cynthia likes this letter Ron wrote to a friend yesterday who is grieving at Christmas:

You might enjoy a philosophy of mine about my several great, irreplaceable friends who have passed on.  (Peter Craig is one of those.  A couple of MIT classmates and a former roommate are more.)  It is my obligation to enjoy my life that much more to make up for their inability to enjoy theirs any longer.  One way I do this is by refusing to take any obligations more seriously than my obligation to enjoy life - all day, every day.

The only way to compensate for loss of irreplaceable friends is to make new ones.  Consider Cynthia and I a couple of new friends who will do what we can to make your life and holidays happier.  Family is still family; disconnects will reconnect in time.

I was a life-long bachelor when I met Cynthia, and all of my friends and family were shocked when I married for the first time at age 64.  To this day I tell everyone that I had the perfect life as a bachelor; plenty of money to live the life I enjoyed, lots of travel by motorcycle all over the country, lots of genealogical puzzles to keep me thinking, lots of good friends, hiking, camping, athletics, and on and on.

Leave it to God to improve upon perfection by giving me Cynthia, and at church a few weeks ago I discovered why God has inflicted me upon her: it is to restore her spirit so that she can again be a little dynamo spreading God's "Good News" to the world.  Not a bad commission, and the pay is wonderful.

As a bachelor, my mother was the keystone in my life, and after she passed away, I simply stopped celebrating any holidays, including my own birthday.  Without mom, there was no purpose to holidays.  To me they became just another day in the year, but since all my days are good and enjoyable, it was not a bad change.  I became (and still am) ironically unmoved by the passions that holidays evoke in most people.  Daily life, on the other hand, is wonderful.  Only recently do I have two occasions to celebrate, our marriage date (my birthday, May 12th) and Cynthia's birthday, the month of July!

And of course, we celebrate every day of life and each other.

Formerly I was an athlete, played basketball with the "kids" until age 56, ran to stay in shape, and hiked in the mountains energetically.  Now my bad knee prohibits anything beyond a walk.  So I Thank God for whatever still works, even if imperfectly.  Cynthia and I still walk miles daily and hike in the mountains as our travels and bodies permit.  Life is still good despite the changes.  RSB

22 Dec, We slept, exhausted from two months of running places every day. Son Jon:

21 Dec, We slept, exhausted from two months of running places every day.
20 Dec, We slept, exhausted from two months of running places every day.
19 Dec, We slept, exhausted from two months of running places every day.
18 Dec, We slept, exhausted from two months of running places every day.

We rode the ferry to Galveston to shop at Wally World because the food prices are so high on the Island. Being especially hungry we ate at Gaido's Seafood Restaurant first.  Eat first, then shop.

17 Dec, We slept, exhausted from two months of running places every day.
Life on the Beach in a two unit with stellar Texas flag!

16 Dec,  We slept, exhausted from two months of running places every day.

Ron Beatty's Sometimes Annual Christmas Letter: 
P.O. Box 598
Hempstead, TX 77445

    Finally, after all those long, long annual letters, this is a short one and surprisingly early.  If you'd like the normal lengthy annual letter, I would be surprised and delighted to send it.

    Cynthia and I are still alive and doing well.  Yes, we still travel by motorcycle most of the year throughout the continental U.S.  Cynthia loves watching the "kaleidoscope of change" that one sees while motorcycling.  Just now we are again at the vacation rental owned by Cynthia's son Jon at Crystal Beach on the Bolivar Peninsula east of Galveston, TX, following grandson Eric's wedding in November and our recent efforts to help fund country clubs and yachts for lots of doctors.
My heart has remained mostly trouble-free ever since the multiple procedures in 2016, 5 stents, an ablation and pacemaker installed in 2017.  Thank God.  We continue to thank God as we count our blessings.  Cynthia is my wonderfulest blessing, and she counts me high on her list too.

     2018 was great; in April we discovered Greer Lodge in Greer, Arizona (click here), a new beautiful place where we can walk to daily hikes in the mountains.  Sedona remains Cynthia's favorite place (click here), and we spent a month there.  In Pagosa Springs, Colorado we saw as many as thirteen deer with velvet on antlers during our daily walks around the neighborhood. (Google: Pagosa Springs, CO photos.)  Our one "adventure" of the year was fishtailing alarmingly in foot-deep silty dirt on New Mexico state highway 126 between Cuba and Los Alamos.  Yes, 14 miles of dirt road on a New Mexico official state highway.  Cynthia now dictates, "NO more dirt."
The highlight of the year for Cynthia was meeting a new great grandson and great granddaughters.

     After our first visit to the Pritikin LongevityCenter in April of 2017, Cynthia said, "I could live here !!"  Our month-long stay at the Pritikin in November of 2017 transformed my creaky old body into a more youthful feeling creaky old body.  On our daily walks, we now pay attention to pelvic tilt, tight core, and scapular retraction, and it is transforming.  For the last year, we both have awakened and gone through nearly every day nearly pain-free !!  Cynthia's back and foot pain and sciatica are also quiescent.  It is a miracle !!

We intend to spend the month of February 2019 at Pritikin (in Miami).  Besides poshaccommodations and golf resort scenery (click here), a Pritikin experience means exercising a lot, eating a salt-free, plant-based diet, and going to four lectures per day.  We are becoming good little longevities, God willing.

We are both feeling so good that we cannot believe it.  As usual, you can see pictures and daily descriptions on our blog.  (Google: Where is Ron  - and our blog shows up firstWhereIsRonNow.blogspot.com).   Lupe has our blog set as "home page" for her browser.

Escape winter !!  Come visit us at the Pritikin this February to see what we mean when we say, "adopting a Pritikin lifestyle is the best thing we could ever do to enjoy our aging bodies.

We wish you the very best, with love from Ron & Cynthia.
15 Dec, We arrived on Bolivar Island in the dark; our packing and multiple stops took up the day.

IRS Notes;
13 Dec, Dr. Stavinhoa
12 Dec, Cheri with Dr. Sims
11 Dec, Dr. Beim in Brenham
5 Dec, Cheri with Dr. Sims
3 Dec, Dr. Sims, Dr. Stavinhoa

Thursday, November 1, 2018

November at the Lake

30 Nov, Nice to sleep in except we were wide awake by five AM. We have the same routine. After the hike we boogied to the storage unit to organize.   Great day. Mammogram is normal. Good bye November.

29 Nov, How can two retired people be so busy?  We stretched, oatmealed, hiked... Ron’s strategy of strength training and cardio on a,ternate days is paying benefits.   Recycling followed workouts, then James Lea book, then recycling, etc. and the Christmas letter was written   Cynthia and her adult children were joined by their dad for a lively, fun dinner to celebrate Julie’s birthday.

28 Nov, Also, Texas accidentally has a New England leaf peeping season.  In early November we had a couple of hard freezes just when Texans are supposed to be enjoying 75 degree temperatures. Repeating November 18th: Thanks to the freezes we are enjoying Autumn dressed to the nines in her fall finery using every Crayola in the box. Breathtaking shades of red, crimson, burgundy, gold, bronze and greens are gorgeous to behold.  Despite our crazy busy schedules we managed to hike twice today accumulating a total of eight miles.  WOW! Are we proud.  Ron completed a full round of routines at the Fitness Center, too.  The large community of deer must be happy, too, because they are bouncing and bounding along the trail. for of aware we are not deer until we get too close.

Also, dear reader: do you wonder why you have to read about our trips to doctors and pharmacies? We keep this record for the IRS! And we do most of our medical trips annually while in Texas.  Another boring day of a medical trip to Dr. Sims in the Woodlands.

27 Nov, was a very long day.  We enjoyed a pleasant lunch in Chappell Hill with Carol S., and her sister visiting from Hawaii.  Following lunch, Cynthia had an appointment in Brenham with the ophthalmologist.   She has dry macular degeneration which is showing regressive changes.  But such is life.  Enjoy life as it comes.

26 Nov, Our rental car exchange created a most interesting vignette. We rent a car when home in Texas. This current rental, a Nissan SUV, produced interminable growling and complaining from one member of this duo (not naming any names) who says the vehicle is unworthy of a Premium price.  Three weeks into the rental, the maintainance lights flashed for tires, oil and filter. “Gladly,” she declared, “I will bring the vehicle back, but I want a different car!”  Imagine Ron waiting patiently in the rental Nissan MENDING his socks when her exuberant voice exclaims, “Its a luxury car.”   Enterprise exchanged the manual operating Nissan for an Infinity with buttons.  Two different world views.  One of us mends socks; the unnamed one likes electric buttons, auto heat, GPS and comfort.  Imagine that!  We do have a mixed marriage:  One prefers Old-Fashioned Oatmeal while the best oatmeal really is Quick Cooking Oatmeal.

25 Nov,  Brunch with son Jon, Merry and Bill (Ron’s longtime friends from Florida) at the Yacht Club was delightful.  Bill and Merry told us about their terrific trip taking Bill's mom and stepdad on the grand tour of Europe for three weeks.  Bill's mom is 90 and his stepdad is a youthful 93.  Later, Cynthia took a long winter’s nap before we walked. The visual effects of gorgeous fall colors are exciting to see.  It is a rarity in Texas because a hard frost rarely comes when there are still leaves on the trees.

24 Nov, Montgomery, Texas - a stellar day!  The weather is perfect; the recent hard freezes dressed autumn to rival New England using every Crayola in the box. The brilliant shades of crimson, orange, and gold dance and shimmer in the sunlight.   By the time of our late afternoon walk, the light changes caused the colors to pop.  Lots of deer frolicking along the trail increased the day's delight.  We agreed it was a fun day.  Grandson Steven arrived at our storage unit mid morning to move furniture Cynthia is gifting Steven's sister, the bride-to-be. The back of Steven's pickup was loaded!  It was fun chatting over lunch at Magnolia Diner with Steven about potential plans to enter law school and the political fray.

23 Nov, Happy Stay at Home and Do Not Do Black Friday!  Well. we almost stayed at home.  We worked on our projects before going to dinner and Wally World.  The James Lea book is back on the front burner; it is not likely to reach the publisher this winter but progress is being made.  Our front bedroom is a sea of files, cardboard and plastic boxes going to recycling,  a shredder, and to a fellow who will take about a hundred hanging files with file folders. Thirty years of financial, ministry building and other project records are being examined and sorted carefully by Ron the Recycling Man.

22 Nov,  Happy Thanksgiving!  We are deeply thankful for you, our family and friends.  We are both thankful and doing marvelously well despite the multitude of setbacks that life deals to us always.  (We just notice the unfairness more as we age.)  We still walk industriously every day and do our morning exercises together and consequently our bodies feel very good in most respects most of the time. We still eat Pritikin, i.e. tons of veggies and no oil no butter, no fat, no cheese, no salt, so I'm feeling fine. 

I continue to work on the computer doing genealogy projects interminably.  Cynthia tolerates my messes very well, poor dear.  She is in constant e-communication with half of the universe, an interesting by-product of retirement for a introverted minister who does not hear well.  (Cynthia approved this message.)  Brother Dean and kids raced in a 5K despite cold and wind.  No surprise that he won first place in his age group. Benjamin and Sarah ran together. Gobble Gobble!

21 Nov, Happy Birthday daughter Julie!  We drove to the Woodlands for Cynthia’s Ob-gyn appointment and on to the Toasted Yolk for lunch, witnessing a nasty accident on the way home.  Cynthia ordered a case of fat free-salt free pretzels from Walmart because the store is perpetually out of stock. No other stores carry them.  The case is huge.  Ron will have pretzels for three or four months!

20 Nov, Yes! Another day, more doctors.  Ron rides shotgun as Cynthia’s extra pair of ears; her hearing aids aren’t enough listening to mumbling doctors.  The mammogram results aren’t back yet, but the oncologist was joyful Cynthia has reached the milestone of being seven years cancer free.  Yes, we are thankful.  Next year she does not need to see the oncologist, just the PA.   Eating at Jason's Deli in the Woodlands is our reward.  After pigging out we saw Cherie , the PA  in Dr. Sims office, for a treatment.   Ron hauled lots of paper to our church recycling bin.   Now back to work on various computer projects!

19 Nov: Another day, another trip to the Woodlands.   It was time for Cynthia’s annual trip to MD Anderson for a mammogram.  Afterwards we tried to stop at Staples only to be  greatly surprised to discover Staples no longer exists within 29 miles of us.  This means we will use the nearby UPS, not Staples, to shred paper that cannot go to recycling.  The Toasted Yolk fed us nicely after our non-stop at Staples.  And we walked! The rain spurted a bit, just long enough to make a mess on the trail,  Ron, the hiker man got into trail maintenance mode.  Large groups of curious deer cluster along the trail, very young fawns, does, young bucks, a large buck with six antlers delight us with their antics.  But it is too late and my eyes won’t stay awake.

Ron and Cynthia seated for the wedding
18 Nov, Montgomery, Texas.  Exhausted.  Five hour drive home in a heavy rain the last hour, but grandson Eric's wedding was beautiful.  We need sleep!  But Ron is busy going through years of Cynthia’s boxes of records to take to recycling or shred.

17 Nov, Fort Worth, Texas.  We have had mornings below freezing in Texas already, and one morning I saw ephemeral snowflakes amidst raindrops.  Oh, and ice on the windshield, frost on the rooftops, etc.

We have seen a host of doctors already and attended grandson Eric's wedding this afternoon, a lovely outdoor wedding in a pleasant climate, 72 degrees.  More doctors until the 3rd of December at least.  Cynthia wore her newest cute shoes with high heels (as recommended by a California sister) and suffered mightly.  I had to hold her up while she muttered " I shoulda worn my hiking tennies."

The poor motorcycle hasn't moved in two weeks although it has been washed a time or two whenever it rained to provide rinse water.
Cynthia with sons and daughters

Bride and groom flanked by Mom and Uncle Jon
16 Nov:  Errands were run to Lakeside Pharmacy, our storage unit, and Ron waited patiently for Cynthia while she was girlicured with pedi/mani for the grandson Eric’s wedding to Emily tomorrow night in Fort Worth.  At tonight’s rehearsal dinner: daughter Julie (mother of groom), Eric  (groom), Emily the bride, and son Jon, brother of julie.

15 Nov:  Our deepest sympathy to our niece-in-law, Denise, in the loss of her mother.  On the road going to Brenham to see the audiologist, Ron noticed that there are fall colors creeping into the trees this fall in Texas.  We cannot begin to explain how unusual this is.  Cynthia’s appointment with the audiologist took an hour, followed by a stop at Home Depot to get a water ph test strip.  From there we enjoyed lunch at the Toasted Yolk with our former landscape contractor and her mom, who coincidentally arrived at the same time.  We shopped at Wally World, stopped at the storage unit, tried another Walmart for salt free, fat free pretzels, dropped off a rent check at the Management Company and managed a 5 mile walk.   We deserved that great dinner tonight at the Yacht Club!

great grandson Hudson with part of Papa
14 Nov, Yet another long, exhausting day at the Woodlands for medical appointments with Cherie and getting labs.  Usually this is all accomplished in the month of January, but this year we are going to Miami late January.  We really enjoy the sweet potato at Jason’s Deli. Our newest great grandson is beyond cuteness.

13 Nov:  Snow in Houston brought a lot of big smiles this morning!  The smile froze into a loud YUK:  A colonoscopy and endoscopy! Yes, YUK! After the three hour ride round trip to NW  Memorial Herman Hospital,  a baked sweet potato at Jasons Deli was a just reward.  The cell phone is still deader than dead.

12 Nov, August heat is gone for awhile!  Brrrr!  Bundled up, we walked a ways before receiving a phone call to go to Lakeside pharmacy to pick up the prep for tomorrow’s medical test.  After the pharmacy stop, we shipped a bunch of 3.5 floppy discs to a business in California that will recycle them; Cynthia shipped the Brooks genealogy to the public library in Troy, Alabama for their loose paper files.  Ron’s phone is dead!

11 Nov, The cross generational worship at our church is delightful.  How fun to see the children assume  roles as readers,  and participating with the pastor in Offering the benediction.  The antics of a set of two year old twins during the children's sermon makes all of the adults smile.  Son Jon, Granddaughter Lauren and her beau, Tyler, joined us for brunch at the Yacht Club.  We miss Yassar, the Maitre D' at the club.  The rains they came, soaking Ron and his cell phone.  Will it work in the morning?

Zoe, the equestrian
Zoe the princess (in middle)
SmoochSmooch and Smooch behaving properly
10 Nov:  We are counting our blessings!  Thanks for son Jon, daughter Julie and Granddaughter Rachel joining us to see Granddaughter Zoe’s performance in the Little Mermaid.  Zoe, a senior in HS, has won many local and state accolades in musical drama. She graduates mid-December,  planning a spring semester break to travel before she begins college in late August. Zoe is also an accomplished equestrian.

9 Nov:  Progress is being made on several DNA projects, plus going through boxes in the storage unit.  These are humungous boxes filled with years of records that go to recycling.  Ron is preparing a zillion pierces of paper, tax records, some from forty years ago to go to the dump, the dump, the dump, dump, dump.  Lunch was a great treat at the Toasted Yolk.  A delightful customer said she enjoyed watching us.  Ron told her the story how we became Smooch and Smooch Smooch.  She was enthralled to know Ron hiked the Appalachian Trail, and also that Cynthia was vacationing in a Vietnam during some of that hike.  She explained that she has never had a vacation because she is a caregiver for everybody in her family.  Cynthia blessed her.  She cried.  Life is good, love shared is the joy of life.

8 Nov: Awake, exercises done, oatmealed and we were in the car for a long drive to the Galleria area and medical center by 7:30 AM, for  appointments that took up the entire day!  Ron made Cynthia’s hairdresser laugh until his belly shook and he had  tears in in his eyes.  It was fun to have fresh Atlantic salmon at Pappadeaux for lunch.  Now that darkness falls upon the earth like a trapdoor by five thirty, it was too late to get in the day’s walk.  Granddaughter Zoe called with joyful news of her acceptance to her number one college choice.

7 Nov, Cynthia is en route to College Station to visit daughter Julie, granddaughter Corrie and her two babies.  Ron is hardly working.  He is good at this job.  Today we are thankful for family.

6 Nov, And thank God the mid-term election is over; no political ads tomorrow.  Cynthia had a girl day at Bambi's and Ron went along to keep her company.  Eating at Jason's Deli is a treat.

5 Nov, Thank God!  Just Thank God.  We woke up!  We are healthy!  We are incredibly happy!  Thank God.  This was another one of those days to run a million kazillion errands.  Cynthia had a medical appointment in the Woodlands at one PM; afterwards, we treated ourselves to a monster-sized baked sweet potato at Jason's Deli.  Cynthia eats a quarter of her potato, so Ron ate his baked potato and three quarters of Cynthia's sweet potato.

4 Nov, Sunday Offering from Cynthia:  
 I decided to post positive thoughts this month to combat the negativity and cruelty so highly visible in the media and on social networks. Each day I will thank God for something positive on our blog and Facebook. 
 I am thankful for my baptism into the mystical body of Christ on this, All Saints Day.  I lit a candle in memory of my father who died on All Saints Day, 1977.  As I lit the candle I reflected on a memory of that day as I grasped the deep meaning of the mystery of the Communion of Saints.  In Christ Jesus we are  connected to those who have gone before us.  At the same time, we are connected to our community. 
“The first service one owes to others in a community involves listening to them. Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for others is learning to listen to them. God’s love for us is shown by the fact that God not only gives God’s Word but also lends us God’s ear. . . . We do God’s work for our brothers and sisters when we learn to listen to them."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

3 Nov, After running morning errands, we walked four miles, once home again, we settled into doing DNA projects on our Macs. Triangulation on GEDmatch.com is a terrific tool, but how to research 500 close matches?

2 Nov. Thank you, Lord, for this gorgeous day beside the lake.  After a four mile walk, we inspected the disaster in the storage unit: Jon moved boxes and boxes of stuff from Cynthia’s former home into our storage unit.  She had forgotten about the boxes.  Now we have to figure out how to dispose of the stuff.   We can’t start a bonfire.   We hauled our personal items to the condo, like shirts.  After wearing the same shirt for the past seven months, Ron wore through the back of this favorite shirt; but the front has lots of wear left in it.  He located a favorite long sleeved shirt from the 60’s  or 70’s that must have been a cast off  from a Haight-Ashbury Hippie.  But Cynthia loves the  blue that matches his eyes.  Tonight’s sunset was a show stopper,  with many shades of blue, lavender, peach, and Rose to delight us on our evening walk to the fitness center.  The deer are out and about, but the numbers seem smaller.

1 Nov. Lake Conroe, Texas. After seven months on wheels, we are back at the condo.  Jon moved a bunch of Cynthia’s boxes that were in his storage unit into ours.  It is packed full.  We shopped for groceries and walked to the fitness center knocking out 12,000 steps.  Good night

Monday, October 1, 2018

October Trails on Wheels

Oct. 31, The Feast of the Great Pumpkin has arrived.  And a huge Happy Birthday to brother Dean.  The Smooches are in Nacogdoches, Texas, ready to roll home to Lake Conroe dressed for the part. Thanks to my friend Jane for photoshopping this picture.

Oct 30, Autumn made a grand entrance in Arkansas, dressed in glorious reds, oranges, golds and bronzes,using the whole box of crayolas.  We were in Mena  visiting Cynthia’s Miller cousins, Danny and David.  Her mom and aunts lived here the year of  1932, after their mother died in Texas.   The Miller cousins told us the story  that her Miller ancestors brought their church bell from Dade County, Georgia to Mena in 1859. They gave the bell to a newly founded Miller Chapel church built On land great grandpa Miller donated for church and the Board Camp cemetery.  Eventually, the church closed;  it was torn down and the bell seemingly lost.  Fifty years later the bell was discovered at an auction.  Dorothy Ellison Miller found out the Miller bell was to be auctioned and bought the bell.   It is now back in the family.  We left  Mena  for the descent to Texas after a seven month absence.  At exactly 12:20 PM we were welcomed home to Texas by a big sign.  The landscape changed immediately from colorful forests to ranch lands.  The GPS got us lost for awhile, but it did seem to know where we were, and where we are now is Nacogdoches, Texas.  Our local genealogy cousin invited us to a fish fry college scholarship fund raiser started by her late husband.   Yes. We ate fried catfish. 

Oct. 29, Red! Orange! Gold! Bronze!  We awoke to wonder!   Somebody used the whole box of crayolas everywhere we look.  After a great two hour hike with Duncan we finished packing for a a colorful   ride to Mena, Arkansas for dinner with Cynthia’s two Miller cousins.  We are ensconced in the carriage house of the Carriage House Inn, a marvelous antebellum home.

Oct. 28, What? How did that happen! October is zooming off the page!  That’s what happens when you are having fun.  And we are indeed.   From our bedroom, we saw a marvelous sunrise spread red orange over the Arkansas River Basin,  with ethereal patches of fog floating over the valley.   Its amazing how clean the trails are after we have been cleaning up dead branches and clipping overhanging vines in only five days.   The entire 400 acres of Camp Mitchell was all ours todayuntil a photographer showed up late afternoon.   Ron fixed a few screens on the bedroom porch.  Glory, glory to this gorgeous sunset tonight.

Oct. 27,   What a glorious, golden sunshiny day!   Cynthia is on day 7 of a 30 day exercise challenge in addition to our stretches.  This morning’s routine is increased to 70 squats by adding five a day. Two great hikes today, plus a splendid sunset walk made a perfect day.  The outdoor stone chapel is perched on a rock outcropping, catching the sunrise and sunset.

Oct. 26,  Despite the cool, cloudy weather we managed two great hikes plus a trip into Morristown for grilled salmon and sweet potato dinner at Colton’s Steakhouse.  Just as we returned a stunning sunset cast a scarlet glow on the the trees and buildings.  We raced into the house for a camera and caught the last glimmer of the glow.

Oct. 25 Thursday, Camp Mitchell, Arkansas. Here we are perched on top of Petit Jean Mountain, stuck indoors because of  mist.  It rained a lot last night and it has been misting all day.  Add to that, dense, thick fog which means we don’t have views of the breathtaking Arkansas River Valley.  We are at work on our computers without WiFi!

Oct. 24, Camp Mitchell, Arkansas. The view of the Arkansas River Valley is breathtaking. The morning hike to Stout’s Point, overlooking the Arkansas River and the grave of Petit Jean. We saw a deer, big fat buzzards, road runners, and a walking stick insect.  We rode into Morrilton for lunch and groceries.  Cynthia baked salmon with tangerine sauce and baked sweet potatoes for dinner with Duncan.

Oct. 23, Tuesday: Another pleasant ride from Blytheville, Arkansas on Highway 127 SW through fascinating flatlands with a lot of water in some sort of irrigation project.  We arrived at Camp Mitchell Episcopal Retreat Center on Petit Jran Mountain in Arkansas about 5 PM. How fun to see Cousin Duncan Ely who is Mr. Camp Mitchell. We are his guests until Monday morning.

Oct. 22, Monday: Our plan was to leave Carlyle about ten AM heading for Petit Jean State Park in Arkansas, but we didn’t get on the road until 11:30.  The ride was pleasant but cool, on Illinois 127 south to I_57 to I-55 to Blytheville, Arkansas. Cynthia had on heated gear.   Fascinating to actually see a bright red maple tree, very little fall color has happened because of the heat lasting until a week ago.  Mosof the corn is harvested, with bean harvesting big time sending clouds of dust high in the air.  A big surprise was white stuff along the edges of the Highway in Missouri. What’s that white stuff?  Snow??  Oh my stars! Cotton! Vast fields of cotton ready for harvest line both sides of the highway.  Our bellies are full, thanks to a stop at Ruby Tuesday’s. Enroute.

Oct. 21, Sunday, Keosauqua, Iowa - returning to Carlyle Lake late afternoon.  A hard freeze last night and we are awakening to a temperature of 28 degrees. It is possible the shared bathroom on the second floor of the Victorian Hotel Manning hasn’t been washed for a few centuries.  The sound proofing isn’t good, either.  A herd of elephants danced on the floor above. How did all of those elephants get up threevfloors?  Ron awoke at 4 AM, sister Carol was already awake, unable to sleep, she suggested getting on the road for Illinois.  At eight AM, pulling into Denny’s Restaurant in Litchfield, a phone call to a stunned Cynthia produced, “Holy Moses!”  What a fun time visiting cousins for the first time in 20-30 years.  The cousins litte kids grew up!

Oct. 20,  Driving to Keosauqua, Iowa  with Sistah Carol to Marvin's 50th wedding anniversary celebration, returning Sunday. Carol arrived promptly at nine-thirty AM to have breakfast with us at the Wheelhouse Restaurant.  She gifted Ron a new wool neck scarf of the Clan Little Tartan plaid.  Thank you, Carol.  Thanks to YDNA testing, our Beatty line is genetically Little, with such a unique DNA marker it pinpoints the Borders Reivers (click here), the infamous Beatty and Little low land clans on the Scottish border of England; King James gave the Reivers (horse thieves) the boot by 1600.  Instead of surnames, they used clan names.  Hence, a Beatty woman kept her clan name when she had a child sired by a Little (click here) clansman.  Cynthia loves this pun.  Have recycling, will travel. Yes. a whole month’s recycling is packed to deliver to Litchfield recycling today.

Oct. 19, The move to pack our belongings is indeed slow. Sudokus are more fun. So is DNA!  But we did walk the River Trail.  The new restroom along the trail is completed and the horrid old outdoor restroom has been hauled away. It is now filled in with dirt and grass is planted.  The Great Blue Herons are fun to watch when they are in flight.  Fuzzy Caterpillars are crawling about the sidewalks. The dam is silent; there is no water gushing over any of the four divisions.  Perhaps the Corps of Engineers are getting the lake ready for a mega fishing tournament that begins tomorrow??

Oct. 18, Another heat wave hits Carlyle Lake! The temperature reached a pleasant 60 degrees by noon-thirty.  We racked up close to 10,000 steps during the morning walk.  We first toured the Nature Trail, where we spotted four turtles perched so perchily on a log.  Then we hiked the River Trail, followed by lunch out of the refrigerator in our room.  Don S. thought he was improved enough for company and a Rummy game or two, but partway through the second game he returned to bed.   Now it is time for the second walk of this lovely day.  16,500 steps. Life is indeed good!

Oct. 17, Its a heat wave at Carlyle Lake!  62 Degrees warm.  Ron spent the day with sistah Carol on her farm using lopping shears.  The ATV ran out of gas, but the mower had gas to go get gas to fill the ATV tank.  Carol roasted chicken, potatoes and baked an almost fat free pumpkin pie. From scratch.

Oct.  16, Another day just like the other day, except we walked 7 miles enjoying the antics of Great Blue Herons in flight.  Ron is hardly working.  Cynthia is very hard at work, being an industrious preacher lady, she has completed 6 essays of the #52 Ancestors 52 Weeks with a huge shoutout to Jane B. in Kensett, Iowa, editor-in-chief!

Oct. 15,  Happy Birthday to nephew attorney Benjamin, who reported, “It’s been all downhill since I turned six.”  Our friend Don is still in bed suffering from a cold or flu.  We did our usual routine with eating alot, exercise and more eating. Pritikin is such a terrific program that allows us to eat non stop. The housekeepers cleaned. Cynthia did her favorite exercise: laundry, despite the howl Ron's clothes were just washed last year.

Oct 14, Ann reports Don is sick in bed with congestion after overdoing the gardening.  Hence, no trip to Trenton in 44 degree temperature.  Instead, we walked the river trail, rode to Wally World to replenish our food supply, and we worked on our computers.  Before dinner at the Wheelhouse, we walked the Nature Trail once again and explored the Corps of Engineers outdoor storage. The birds were so fun to watch. The pelicans sat on one side of the jetty while the sea gulls were across the jetty on the landside.  A huge great blue heron was wading in the water foraging for food.

Oct. 13, Sea gulls, great blue herons, and pelicans were out and about while we hiked the River Trail. It was most amusing to see a large community of pelicans gathering, circling, dipping black tipped wings in flight as we approached the hotel.  We wondered if a signal was going out to cluster for the flight south for approaching winter.  The temp is colder this morning, but we managed the 2 mile ride to Walmart to replenish our mainstay vegetables and fruit.  Don's newly planted grass is growing higher!  Cynthia reports a new TV station, "The Chosen" byVidcom. is going to have a TV series about the Life of Christ.  She watched a premiere, The Shepherd.

Oct. 12, Happy 18th Birthday Granddaughter Zoe. Well, we tried to prevent winter’s arrival as long as we could, but it sneaked up on us, arriving with another rainy day. But we did get in a four mile walk on the Kaskawaka River Trail accompanied by spritzes of rain.  The Restaurant next door is open weekends so they baked sweet potatoes for us. It is exceptionally heartbreaking to read about the devastation at Mexico Beach, FL.  One wing of the El Governor Hotel is gone and so is the pool. The town is demolished, it looks like a war zone.

Oct. 11, Finally, summer heat has ceased; the high temperature was 58 degrees.  Why do people post gedcoms on GEDmatch.com that do not show direct lineage?  Junk genealogy.  After the morning walk we got hooked up into more genealogy and time whizzed by so fast it was 3 PM.  Despite the chill, Ron rode to Trenton and helped Ann bring in green tomatoes.

Oct 10, a day of adventure!  The forecast was for thunderstorms so we planned to get in our walk in spurts during rain breaks.  Surprisingly, we were able to walk the dam in mid-morning 45 minutes.  After a couple of hours of computer work on Bankston DNA, we decided to take a second walk because the sun came out, and that's when the adventure began. We were fortunate to hike the entire Kaskawaki River Trail, just coming around the last curve when we spotted ominous black clouds approaching from the west.  And the rain drops started.  We walked up the hill very fast when the serious rain drops began pelting us while we got into our rain jackets.  We boogied so fast staying under the trees and made it to the shelter with our pants and shoes soaked to the skin.  The heavy downpour didn't last more than twenty minutes.  We scarfed down some hot oatmeal and dried our clothes.  Ron rode to Trenton to play rummy with Don and Ann.

Oct 9,  The red-orange sunrise blazed across the morning horizon emitting such a glorious feeling of gratitude: Thanks for this day!  We are doing a great job of keeping winter at bay!  Wherever we go it is hot; today wasn't an exception, except we didn't sweat as much as yesterday.  After buying some mouse poison at the Tractor Supply, we had a pleasant ride to Edwardsville.  Harvest is fully underway with few cornfields remaining to be harvested, and most of the beans yet to combine. Our first stop was the Moto Guzzi Store for a test ride on this Italian beauty.  It performs comparable to our BMW, and it is lighter.  Next stop was the postoffice to return Cynthia's Hoka shoes (they replace under a year for any problems) and we mailed her absentee ballot.  What a surprise to see Maxine (Credit Union) behind us in line.  We quickly made arrangements to meet her in Collinsville for lunch at Ruby Tuesday's. The next stop was the bank to replace some coin sets in the safety deposit box and have Cynthia sign the card to access the box if necessary.  After filling out all of the forms which took forever, the teller let us know that the entire document had to be resigned by others authorized to have access because of adding a new person on the list. The last stop was the storage unit.  Cynthia asked where the space was after the motorcycle was given away?  How is really there room for a mouse inside this storage unit?  If one does get inside, the new mouse poison will take care of that problem.  Lunch with Maxine was so fun.  It cooled off by the time we got back encouraging us to go for another walk.  Good night!

Oct 8,  Columbus Day and Indigenous Peoples Day: I still appreciate Columbus.  Bankston DNA is foremost on the agenda before playing cards with Don and Ann.

Oct 7, Sun: Zooming our way through October, too, with morning stretches, 4 mile walks, we enjoyed a great lunch with Don and Ann at the Wheelhouse Restaurant.  Ron rode into Trenton to play rummy, and beat them roundly once again.  We are likely to stay at the Carlyle Mariners Resort until 15 October.  The Wheelhouse had baked potatoes and tilapia for dinner tonight. It was too late for sunset views on the evening walk.  The mosquitos like Cynthia.

Oct 6, Sat. We did another 4 mile morning walk in August-like heat. Cynthia spent the afternoon on the computer, doing laundry, and wishing it wasn’t so hot.  In the meantime,  Ron enjoyed the afternoon playing cards with the Stalcops, beating everyone! Don’s gardening is done.  He can’t do much by himself any more; he is quite pleased to have the assistance of two extra hands and a strong back.   Don is really celebrating seed that is now planted before it turns cool, allowing it to germinate while the temperatures are yet warm. The ride home from the Stalcops was spectacular riding into the center of vivid double rainbows. The rainbows continued to increase in intensity approaching the hotel.  We dined at the Wheelhouse Restaurant, now open weekends.  A perfect ending to a great day.

Oct 5, Fri. Was a long day! We walked in horrid heat before riding into Trenton to visit a blind minister who uses a talking computer to write his sermons. Unfortunately for us, he wasn’t home. Lunch at Ruby Tuesday’s in Collinsville at two PM filled us up.

Oct 4,  A morning walk to beat the rain with cool 70 degree weather.  Ron rode to Trenton to enjoy the afternoon with the Stalcops hitting golf balls. Cynthia was hard at work on 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. God answers prayer.

Oct, 3:  We spent the AM walking the dam and river trail until Ron took the yellow blaze trail on the motorcycle.  Cynthia spent the afternoon trying to pull together a Christmas Dinner for our huge family with so many other conflicting schedules.

Oct, 2th!  Ron is enjoying his time with Don and Ann in Trenton. Cynthia was abandoned in Carlyle, but that's ok, there was hiking to do, a lake that held a huge community of seagulls this morning, a black squirrel, and lots of bicycles on the trail.  Cynthia didn’t  want to sit inside.

October - 1th, Carlyle Lake, Illinois: Turn the page to a kaleidoscope of color; autumn soon dressed in her finest apparel.  We are hunkered down at a quiet, pleasant resort with hiking trails, a woods near by, and a room with a view of a lovely lake, in yet another hot week. Ron spent the day with Don and Ann S. Gardening. Cynthia hiked 5 miles after publishing the first of 52 Ancestors a Week Challenge. https://www.treesfrompeopleseeds.com

Walking the Dam

Goshen Trail 

Carlyle Lake Dam

Suspension Bridge Stuff

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Hello September

30 Sept, Mariner's Inn, Carlyle Lake, Illinois.  Cynthia thinks she could live here. The room with a lake view includes a separate living area and kitchenette; a Walmart is within walking distance, and the Carlyle Lake park is lovely.  The restaurant next door offers baked sweet potatoes; and the visitor's center was a timely stop at 5 PM because they close at 6 PM for the winter.  There is a five mile trail across the dam and onto a river walk.  This looks like a great place to hunker down until the the high temperature of the day is below 70 degrees because that is the indicator to turn south to  warmer weather. And this is a good place for Ron to work on DNA and Swedish Colonial Society projects.  Cynthia can get started on TreesfromPeopleSeeds.com. Good bye September!

Praying Mantis 
29 Sept, Fairview Heights - the Hampton Inn after a terrific long walk achieving 10,300 steps; we stopped at Dick E.'s law office and shoved a message with a phone number through the mail slot.  Lunch at Ruby Tuesday was a delight.  After some time with our Macs, we enjoyed the gorgeous day by walking the neighborhood, followed by yet another walk to dinner at Ruby Tuesday’s how fun, Ron discovered a large Praying Mantis.   Now we are back at the Macs; Lance sent a super funny email from the Beatty hometown in Scotland:  his Mac was revived by calling on St. Stephen of Silicon Valley. Cynthia is creating a new blog: http://www.treesfrompeopleseeds.com ...  the goal is to write an essay a week for 52 weeks. She has completed #1 but sent it to her Kensett, Iowa friend and editor;  It is not yet posted.  Ron is smiling even bigger after a big DNA breakthrough.  We hit 18,500 steps today which equals 7.5 miles.  Woo hoo for us.

28 Sept, BMW Service in St. Louis, the headlight for the bike was  replaced, a five hour project.  Now to return coins to safety deposit box - woohoo - forgot the key to the box.  Sistah Carol showed up at Eric's with freshly made tomato juice. The Beatty siblings had dinner together with Eric's family.  Ron had dinner again at Agostino's Italian restaurant with the beloved Smooch Smooch.

27 Sept, Fairview Heights Hampton Inn.  Ron rode to Trenton to visit Don and Ann S.  They picked Cynthia up at the hotel for dinner where Don entertained Cynthia with stories of Ron, the basketball star coming off the bench his senior year dominating the court.

26 Sept, Watching the new Hampton Inn sign get erected over the past week was fascinating ...  but a cliff hanger, because we missed seeing the actual sign raised beforr we left at noon.   Litchfield in the morning and Fairview Heights an hour away by afternoon.  After lunch at RubyTuesday Ron rode into St. Louis to the BMW shop for bike service, arriving late because of construction and detour signs, driving twice as far as he needed to. A romantic dinner at Argostino’s Italian Restaurant led to a 3 mile round trip walk with a gorgeous harvest moon again tonight. Thanks to Denise A. for our photo.   Prayers uplifted for Brett Kavanaugh. Yes.

Silly and Sillier
5 Sept, Oh, what a beautiful morning... ! The usual stretches, exercise, oatmeal accomplished, we walked to Wally World followed by lunch at Ruby Tuesday’s Garden Bar.  Ron rode to Edwardsville for a late lunch with longtime friend Maxine from the Credit Union, mailed a box for Cynthia after forgetting the tape in the storage unit three times. At least he remembered to get the envelope he forgot yesterday at FedEx. The police (in an unmarked vehicle) turned on their red light,  checked out the drivers license which has no violations, and asked a variety of questions.  The reason for the stop is puzzling.  We ate dinner at Ruby Tuesday again,

24 Sept, Ron rode to Edwardsville to visit John and Susan, old friends from SIUE, enjoying a 4 hour lunch with John at Ruby Tuesday's. Shopping and errands were next:  Walmart, then the storage unit to Fedex boxes of puzzles to Sam in AZ, followed by a trip to the credit union and the bank to get coins out of the safety deposit box to gift to nephew Eric. Once the coins were delivered to Eric it was time to return to beloved Smooch Smooch.

23 Sept, Stretches, Oatmeal and Shopping for low sodium bread to go with low sodium breast of turkey was the morning agenda. We did pig out on veggies at Ruby Tuesday's before taking sandwiches to the eVILE older sistah for the afternoon event - meeting a new very close and very lovely relative. The warm, sunny afternoon was indeed pleasant for touring Carol's tree farm and visiting.

22 Sept is much cooler in Western Illinois, but the chiggers are fierce!  Ron's hide is covered with bites.  Cynthia has a few that may have passed from Ron’s clothing or from crossing a mown field while waking to Walmart.  Fels Naptha soap helps the itch. We lunched at Ruby Tuesday's, ever so grateful for the garden bar assortment of raw vegetables; it is too bad the croutons tempt Cynthia, 14 fat grams!  Wally World is a few blocks away allowing more steps to accrue.  Ron rode into Edwardsville to visit Connie McK returning home amidst a gorgeous hot pink sunset and a frigid temp of 64 degrees (54 at 60 MPH).  DNA is ever so compelling now that we are finding unknown ancestors.

21 Sept, Litchfield, Illinois is a cooler day. Ron became a tree and trail farmer again today. Cynthia opted out of cleaning trails after seeing chigger bites that have nearly devoured Ron.  We may lose all of our blogger fans without having exciting hiking and traveling news.  But it surely beats the main stream media. The pacemaker test was sent through the iPhone perfectly!  A good report followed.

20 Sept, In the wee, small hours of this day, Ron finally turned the computer off to sleep for a few hours before the energizer bunny woke him up. Today is another day just like our other days except Ron now has chigger bites.  Dinner with sister Carol at Ruby Tuesdays is always fun. We get to eat so much!

19 Sept,  After a thoroughly delightful breakfast with Bob A., a new motrcycycle afficianado/genealogist,  Ron spent the day at Carol’s tree farm cleaning trails.  We picked Cynthia up at 4 to meet nephew Eric and family In Edwardsville for dinner.

18 Sept, Edwardsville, Illinois home of the infamous Beatty storage locker packed with precious possessions, including an ancient Triumph motorcycle that is being gifted to be refurbished.

17 Sept,  Litchfield, Illinois;  Ron helped Carol tie pink ribbons on the boundaries of the expanded acreage of her tree farm.  Cynthia opted not to ride on gravel roads. We had dinner (spinach) at Jubelt's bakery followed by a meal at Ruby Tuesday's.  That bakery had a huge selection of delicious looking stuff we can't eat; but we stared really good.

16 Sept, 9:00 AM Jacksonville, Illinois and it is 70 degrees already with a promise of 87!  We are outta here to Litchfield,  Illinois, our home in a Hampton Inn for the next week.  After lunch at Ruby Tuesday's (hooray!) we rode to sister Carol's tree farm where Cynthia took photos of Ron's Smiles Through the Years.
Ron's Smiling Christmas Photo for Mom

Smiling Ron Childhood

Smiling Toddler Ron

15 Sept, it is still surprisingy hot.  From Ottumwa to Keosauqua, Iowa it got hotter. We passed through Eldon, Iowa, home of Ron’s great grandmother Julia Nicholson, and Selma, Iowa where his father was born, past the ancestral Forbes Cemetery as we entered Van Buren County, Iowa, where the Beattys and Rambos were early pioneers.  First Cousins Ken and Marvin joined us for lunch,  Ron and Marvin rode to visit the Farm.  Ron and Cynthia got going at four PM for the next leg of the trip, past a trillion zillion cornfields, across the wide Des Moines River, the WIDE Mississippi, and the sorta wide Illinois River, arriving at a Comfort Inn in Jacksonville, Illinois at 7ish.  If you are looking for a hotel, don’t choose this one.
Ron and Cousin Sandy

14 Sept, was hot  I thought we escaped heat once September arrived. We had a lovely visit with my second cousin Sandy in West Des Moines before getting going about 4 PM to beat the rush hour and made it to the Hampton Inn in Ottumwa without incident.  The wind still blew us around a bit, but far less than yesterday.  Again it was far hotter than we like - and I thought that this was supposed to be fall rather than more summer.  Tomorrow we ride to Keosauqua to visit my first cousins Marvin and Ken (also proud owners of Beatty blood through their mothers, my father's sisters).  Then off to Illinois.

13 Sept, From DesMoines, Iowa we made a side trip to Elk Horn, Iowa on IA 44 west for a lovely luncheon hosted by Cynthia’s friends.  SW Iowa is home to the largest Danish settlement outside Denmark.  The early part of IA 44 was very rough so we returned on a different but more crowded road. Iowa is boasting Freedom Rocks, a hand painted history in every county is most interesting.
Classmate Carol visited us at the hotel.

Cynthia's friend Carol, Ron and Cynthia

The Smooches in Elk Horn, Iowa

12 Sept, Northwood to Des Moines, a two hour trip turned into three hours because we took back roads instead of the interstate.  Despite a strong south wind, the ride was very pleasant passing one cornfield after another with a bean field here and there.  Lake Mills, Forest City, Garner, Belmond... towns Northwood played against during football and basketball season. But the most important part of sports was for the cheerleader who also marched in the band.  Our hotel is only four minutes from Ruby Tuesdays where we met cousin Sandy for dinner.

11 Sept, 9.1.1, Forever etched in our hearts. This was a good day to catch up on projects.  Dave, a Rambo cousin, and his wife Pat, joined us for dinner and great conversation.  Packing ensues.

10 Sept, Northwood, Iowa has poor Verizon and WiFi or I would be posting photos from our day hiking at Pilot Knob State Park near Forest City.  Annie and Connie hiked with us on the trail to the second highest point in the state, while Dave and Jim visited at the shelter. We had a great lunch together before visting a waterfall in Fertile, Iowa.  Annie hosted a feast for dinner with Norwegian treats like lefse, cod, vegetables and fruits from their farm. She made fat and salt free bread, cake, etc. Her home is like a museum filled with family treasures. She lit memorial Candles for those who have passed away.
Northwood Friends and Food!

Cynthia at Fertile, Iowa - The Top of Iowa

9 Sept, Elk Creek Lutheran Church was the congregation Cynthia’s great ancestors belonged to and are buried.  We attended the baptism of friends great granddaughter and joined their family for a great  brunch of sweet corn, and grapes. Cynthia did eat the contraband (Iowa beef), but only the patty without a bun. When we returned to the hotel we ate a big bowl of oatmeal.

8 Sept, The Smooch family bounded out of bed at the crack of daylight-thirty to participate in the Tailgate 5K Run.  Ron came in first place in his age group six years ago, despite being the very last person behind Cynthia and Ann.  This year The 5K did not have age groups, so there were no winners in our family. We toured the newly restored Stroheim Building and the 100 year old Miss Winifred hotel  now undergoing restoration. Cousin Ray M. joined us for lunch before we visited a courageous niece who has suffered through cancer of the jaw and tongue twice.

7 Sept,  Northwood, Iowa.  One word surfaced during the two hour ride from MPLS to northern Iowa Cynthia’s hometown: Order.  Farms are well kept, equipment is organized, or parked in machine sheds, farmhouses are well maintained. The same is true of twins with manicured lawns and tidy houses. Perhaps it comes from well ordered Scandinavian or Germanic influence. We arrived about three PM, surprised by a large bouquet of flowers and a basket of vegetables and fruit in our room from Annie and Dave.

6 Sept, Minneapolis, MN on a pleasant, cool, but sunny day.  The steel cut oatmeal was prepared with cinnamon and honey;  honey is a no-no sugar for this diabetic.  Ron is Rockin’ DNA.  Our room smells! What’s the smell in here?  Smells like shoe polish. Aha! It is Mink Oil for leather boots so they don’t dry out.  Ron met his riend/former boss Kurt K. this afternoon and walked across the Mississippi River.

5 Sept, Minneapolis, Hilton Garden Inn, Shoreview: It is a windy Wednesday in MN.  Ron is spending the day with his sister-in-law, Carolyn, treating her to an awesome dinner at McCormick and Schmitz.

4 Sept, Sioux Falls, SD:  Rising early, Ron checked and rechecked the color radar making the determination to go north to Brookings, SD ... immediately, at 9:00 AM to avoid the gully washer soon to hit this area. We turned east from Brookings into MN, with a pit stop in Tyler a Danish enclave famous for Danish pastries, managing to avoid rain until we were close to Fairfax, MN with an inviting cafe. Oh, my goodness. A guy with extreme Daisy Dukes, cowboy boots, pink hair, and covered in body tattoos was a hoot.  The cafe closed at two, so we opted to be Library patrons wait8ng for a break in the rain, which occurred at 3:00.  The rain break didn’t last long!  We got as far as Eden Prairie, MN at 4:00 when more intense rain and heavier traffic called a halt to the day’s ride. We opted to check in at a Hilton Garden Inn.  Cynthia ranted at the idiocy of the reservationist when she tried to book by phone standing in the rain.

3 Sept, Hope you are enjoying Labor Day!  7:30 AM and we were packing the bike!  Cynthia said, “This is one of those rare occasions we are leaving very early!”  Ron said, “It is the ONLY time we have left so early!”   We had an adventurous ride to Sioux Falls, SD through heavy, dense fog this morning. Pea soup.  SD 44 East is a back road with very little traffic, with no farm equipment or school busses on this day.  A pheasant flew up close and personal, a community of wild turkeys and about ten babies gathered alongside the road.  Two deer bounded across the road.  We crossed the Missouri River Lake.  The joy was arriving to find a Ruby Tuesday restaurant in perfect time for lunch!  Ron asked the hotel clerk for a hiking suggestion; we were both surprised when she said, “Yes, the Yankton Trails.”  We ventured forth from the hotel for a great walk on terrific bike and walking trails along the Big Sioux River. We will check weather early AM to see if we dare venture forth very early to arrive MPLS without drowning.  The weather looks clear until close to noon. 

2Sept, Prairie Wind Casino and Hotel:  Breakfast is deli and our only choice is oatmeal. No wonder there are so many unhealthy people!  The buffet offered scrambled eggs, bacon, biscuits and gravy for an affordable price.  We walked through the smoke filled casino to the restaurant, which was almost empty except for a few elderly with oxygen tanks.  But, the hotel was a place to sleep.   The sun is shining, its a beautiful day, birds did an air show outside our window, and we are happy. Interesting to see the bike trails with overhead lighting. The ride through the agricultural Pine Ridge Reservation was most interesting with vast fields of  corn— sunflowers, alfalfa, sorghum, and pasture land with black angus cattle. An abrupt change of scenery occurred crossing into the Rosebud Reservation on 18 east;  the first 2/3 of the Rosebud Reservation were hilly and not good grazing land. An amusing contrast was seeing mostly Hereford cattle on the Rosebud side, while the Oglalla Sioux had only Black Angus. Also amusing was a doe standing by the roadside observing traffic. We were happy to arrive in Winner, SD at the Holiday Inn and discover we can eat cooked vegetables at the Mexican Restaurant across the street.  Congratulations to Granddaughter Lauren for her first full time salaried position as the outpatient therapist for a new psychiatric hospital.

1 Sept, Guernsey, Wyoming was a disappointing night in the Cobblestone Inn.   The scenic ride across pristine Wyoming grasslands turning from green to gold was mdeed pleasant. How fun to see advertising for Wall Drug!  At Lusk, Wyoming we learned about the Cheyenne to Deadwood Trail,  and at Hot Springs, SD we scarfed down an egg white veggie omelet and platter size pancakes with no butter at the Daily Bread Bakery not too far from the Black Hills, and we arrived at the Prairie Wind casino hotel on the Pine Ridge/Oglala Indian Reservation SD for the nights lodging.  This is At least the Cobblestone Inn was clean. Our room appears clean except for hairs on the bathtub. The halls smell like smoke. The elevator is not clean,  the stairs are gross.  Glad we had that big lunch. We have had great experiences staying at casino hotels, they have been clean. Today is the 20th anniversary of Cynthia’s son’s death from Leukemia. Anniversaries of deaths are difficult. The many faces of grief are endless. Tomorrow will be here soon. After all, tomorrow is another day!