Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March On Two Wheels

23 Mar:  Mexico Beach, FL - WooHoo! no helmet law. After a morning beach walk we will enjoy breakfast at the sunshine restaurant, then we pack for a charming Lake House B&B in  Inverness, FL.  Our arrived at the B and B about 7 PM after dinner at a nearby Ruby Tuesday's with a greatly improved salad bar.  Ron is remembering how spectacular a few of the stands of Blue Bonnets were in Texas; he revisited 16 March on the blog to do justice to them.

22 Mar:  Biloxi to Mexico Beach, FL.  We did decide to try breakfast at Beau Rivage, and it was excellent and excellently inexpensive - on half price senior Wednesday.  We started riding in too much traffic on old US Highway 90, but after 10 miles we left the traffic behind until switching to I-10 through Mobile, AL, where in the midst of the city, headed down into the tunnel, the bike "cut out" for another brief second or two with electrical warning lights flashing.  We continued across Mobile Bay, mesmerized by the view of all that water, and arrived in Pensacola where we spotted our favorite restaurant, Ruby Tuesday.  Ron called the service department at Wild West Honda, and Dan directed us to the Indian/ BMW/ Moto Guzzi Motorcycle dealership in Pensacola.  The address from Cynthia's i-pad on north West Street was not the dealership, but the clerk at that address suggested that we check the next block to the west, where we did indeed find the dealership.  The battery tested fine. Other than 51 fault codes, the service department found nothing wrong electrically, but we needed a new rear tire, and they had one and time to mount it.  That set our schedule back nearly three hours, and we departed about 5:00.  Then our luck changed, and it seemed as if we got caught by every red light until arriving at the El Governor hotel in Mexico Beach after dark at 8:30.  Imagine our astonishment to find the parking lot ENTIRELY full.  The sign on the door said, "Vacancy," and Cynthia immediately got us into room 427.  After pointing out the beautiful starry night sky, the recycler in our family immediately departed with recycling that had originated in Texas.  Today was a great day for granddaughters Lauren and Samantha, now both state licensed MA psych counselors.  When granddaughter Kira completes her MA next winter we will have 4 granddaughters with an MA in psych counseling.  Have a great day.

21 Mar:  Biloxi, MS is a beautiful white-sand-beach resort area with lots of casinos for the silver haired to spend their silver, except for us.  We don't gamble, and we avoid the smoke.   During a pleasant 4 mile walk along the beach we enjoyed conversation with a local dentist who answered questions about the partially destroyed piers - battered by Camille and Katrina.  And where is Beauvoir, former home of Jefferson Davis the CSA President?  It is 2-3 miles away on Highway 90; it is now the presidential library.  Nice guy, that dentist. with an apparent colostomy, who said his home has weathered all of the storms, yet  - "I have never had a bad day."  Our walk took us on a tour of the Biloxi Visitor Center, near the lighthouse; it is a reproduction of an original palatial antebellum mansion destroyed by Katrina.  (The lighthouse is cast iron; it survived Camille and Katrina.)  Between lovely homes along the beach highway are ever so many empty lots, spaces where homes once lived; Katrina was a killer propelling a 30-foot swell ahead of the storm.   Cynthia was mesmerized by beautiful watercolor paintings in the Visitors Center.   Beau Rivage is an impressive casino (and expensive), but our lunch took forever to arrive.  Lunch ended on a delightful note when an observant lovely lady came to our table and asked, "How long have you two been in love?" Aaaahhhh.  We are indeed in love.

20 Mar: On the road again! Biloxi, MS was a 150 mile ride that took forever just riding out of Baton Rouge due to construction and very slow drivers.  We enjoyed lunch at Don's Seafood in Covington, LA with notable Cajun items on the menu like Boudin N' Cracklins, pot boiling for crawfish, "Pastafalaya!"  How about shrimp and chicken QUESADILLAS?  Never never never use a Booking.com because they take your money and don't allow modification.  The Hard Rock Hotel is home until Wednesday.  Ruth's Chris Steakhouse fed us a great Chilean sea bass meal without additional fat.

19 Mar:  Baton Rouge, LA:  We met spring on 5.5 mile ride down the back highways and by-ways of bayou land; the views were lovely and jarring.  Louisiana doesn't have the flowering redbuds, dogwood, azaleas, lilacs that we enjoyed yesterday in north east Texas, but the bayous, trees with new lacy leaves, forests followed by miles of barren fields presented a constant kaleidoscope of change.  Poverty lives here.  Bleak, broken down homes, yards filled with trash, old cars and appliances speak loudly of lives without meaning.  Our cousin Pat joined us for dinner at the hotel.  Poor Ron could not find a fat free item on the menu.  Worse, Smoothie King had closed at 8:00, so Ron was out of luck, but the Subway was open, so he did get something to eat.

18 March:  We had a very nice day and colorful spring scenery on our ride today - except for the first 40 miles from Denton through McKinney = too much traffic, too many stop lights and quite warm weather.  Once traffic lessened and stop lights vanished, the ride was delightful.  We arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn near the Shreveport airport about 6 pm and walked to dinner at the nearby IHOP.
So, our plan is to get as early a start as we can tomorrow (without setting an alarm and after breakfast), so we should get to Baton Rouge mid-afternoon.  Ron has selected a route that stays off the interstate: U.S. 84 East to U.S. 371 East to LA 480 South (Cushotta) to U.S. 71 South to LA 1 South to LA 10 East to U.S. 61 South to I-110 South.

17 Mar:  Blessings on your St. Patrick's Day from the O'Beatty Family in Denton, Texas, where we are visiting cousin Dorothy, a gently fading centenarian   Ron gave his Williams Sound System headphones and microphone to Dorothy for her hearing disability, but it has not been helpful; he retrieved it in order to foist it upon someone who doesn't like hearing apparatus either (i.e. his beloved SmoochSmooch).  When Dorothy and Louise, her caretaker, "ran" errands, Ron and Cynthia went for a long walk in the park, Ron returned Cynthia to the hotel, and then he raked leaves from Dorothy's driveway until she returned.  Dorothy is distressed because her taxes aren't done, deposits aren't made, and because she falls asleep constantly.  She agrees that she needs to move more to help her stay awake.  Ron restored her "pedals" under the kitchen table (the cleaning people move those pedals and don't replace them).  Cynthia is now tired and it is time for bed.  Good night.

16 Mar:  We arrived in Denton, Texas.  Yes, Ron finished packing by 3:30, and it felt great to be on board the bike enjoying spring.  Wynn in England follows our routes: we rode west on highway 105 to 1774, turned north towards the iconic Texas town of Anderson, featured in many movies because of its antebellum courthouse.  Highway 90 north from Anderson brought us to interstate 45 north to Dallas.  Ron became very sleepy so we stopped at a white, rambling concrete block building with a big sign with Sam's Restaurant in bold RED block lettering and a parking lot filled with cars.  The salad bar and baked potato were indeed good, and they woke us up.  Today we passed through several fields resplendent in the verdant blue of the Texas bluebonnet.  At times the bluebonnets looked ever so much like bright blue, white topped mushrooms, and other times they looked like a blue carpet; just marvelous.  Then as sunset approached we entered into Dallas city traffic and were incredibly surprised by a spectacular sunset casting beams of light upwards from a blazing set of clouds on the horizon, leaving us ohhing and aahhing from Ennis to Dallas.  Cynthia enjoyed the marvelous Dallas skyline, recently named the most beautiful.  I should describe how weary we are, but I am too tired.  Good night.

15 Mar:  Yes, the 15th is upon us, but there is every chance that our "march on two wheels" will begin in earnest tomorrow.   We aren't sufficiently packed.  The Ides of March, the assassination of Julius Caesar, religious observations abound, and once called the devil's Birthday, it is the 15th of March, by golly.   Cynthia agrees Smooch is an adoring spouse and prolific wordsmith.  She has shipped a dress and shoes to Philadelphia for May 5; Ron is deeply concerned we haven't found navy blue pantyhose in size B.  The original Medtronic Pacemaker tester has been swapped for a small version that works with the iPhone.  Cynthia upgraded the OS on the MacBook Pro allowing the Garman GPS to complete the updated maps after a SanDisk micro SD card was added to the equation.  Ron still needs to: 1) pack hiking equipment to be sent to Jim Sweet for our AT hike in June; 2) sort fifty trillion pieces of paper for leaving vs taking with us; 3) scan and send the motorcycle service charges to Western Services Corp for reimbursement.  We are getting there!

14 Mar:  5 am on the appointed day arrived, and Ron arose to dress, eat a bowl of cereal w/ berries and ride an hour to Wild West Honda in Katy, Texas for the 18,000 mile service on our pretty, new BMW K1600GTL that we just bought last April in Sedona.  It has been a wonderful 18,000 miles, Thank God.

Temperature was 41 degrees, but the rain suit and the fairing cut the chill satisfactorily.  The full moon was spectacularly clear and Venus hovered just off her shoulder while a jet trail balanced the picture.  (YES, a jet trail in the night sky !!)  After half an hour, sunrise awakened gradually and beautifully.  It started in the rear view mirror as a pale rose below a clear blue which grew rosier and redder as the blue faded.  By the time the Grand Parkway turned south, the red was fading and the blue was gone.

 The plan was to park the bike in the service lot so that it would be cool when the mechanics began work.  Don't try it; that lot is gated to keep motorcycles in (or out).  A La Quinta hotel sign stood about a block away, so Ron walked there to inquire about the rates.  They are within our budget, $89 / night weekdays !!  The desk clerk graciously invited Ron to enjoy coffee or breakfast and allowed him to sit and sift through papers looking for his Western Maintenance Contract.  He thoroughly enjoyed the warmth of the hotel.  If we had known, we would have booked a night or two there to avoid the cold and the early departure.  We MUST remember that this La Quinta is our solution for appointments at Wild West Honda.


At 8:30 Dan, the chief mechanic, arrived on his bare BMW GS to open the gate.  He says the service will take all day - as expected, and he IMMEDIATELY said that they don't work with service contracts, so the bill for this service must also be sent to Western Service.

Thereafter Ron made himself at home in the waiting area, ate the few pretzels he brought and started reading paperwork from his mail delivery.  (I must tell Clarence that the article about Springbok jigsaw puzzles was entrancing.)  When his stomach began growling, "feed me," Ron attempted to avoid Hooters by eating a tiny apple and a tiny orange, leftovers from the last hotel, but  by the time this post was finished, it was very apparent that that hadn't worked, so OFF we go to Hooters w/o adult supervision.

Cynthia's comment:   What a bummer "we" cannot post photos on Blogger via IPad.
Cynthia is off having a girlicure and running errands in Montgomery, TX.

Cynthia, my beloved SmoochSmooch, I just sent you this e-mail and read your replies, then started to update the blog .... and my e-mail to you is already here !!  You are incredibly quick.  Smooch.
Do you like the changes I made to improve the prose?  I love you.

13 March: Montgomery, TX. Rx ordered, packing continued. Ron completed his asset allocation.  Busy packing.  Ron is being honored by the Swedish American Council on May 5th in Philadelphia.  Cynthia solved the mystery about her great grandfather through DNA.  Thirty plus years of research that DNA ultimately resolved.

12 March: Hempstead, TX,  Cynthia preached a sermon on prayer at the First Christian Church.  The singer was really off the charts marvelous.  We enjoyed lunch with the members at the Mexican Restaurant next door; they prepared grilled chicken breast for Ron without oil.   Now off to Jon's new home in Montgomery to prepare for departure to Miami Wednesday.

1 Mar: in Brenham, Texas, Ron is delighted that his installation of 16 GB memory and a 1 Terabyte SSD hard drive seems to be working well (this note is typed on that computer).  It is raining Again! and again - Imagine that in April !!  Ron was able to dodge between rain drops to take paperboard & plastics to the convenient downtown recycling center.  The rain on color radar looked ominously solid, but in fact there have been several substantial breaks.  The rain is forecast to continue throughout the day and night and the temperature will drop overnight.  Last night Ron prepared for today's rain and being sequestered by purchasing his cereals and Cynthia's protein bars, knowing we won't make it to a restaurant.  The Comfort Suites breakfast offered hard boiled eggs and oatmeal packages we brought to the room with bananas, oranges and apples.  Cynthia is writing a sermon on prayer.  It is a cozy day.

10 March: On the road again!  We regretted leaving the historic Menger Hotel, replete with ghosts and fabulous food; we departed San Antonio with wonderful memories of our time with Sistah Carol.   An early phone call from Bob's BMW in MD answered our questions about insurance billing.  On the DNA burner, Cynthia discovered a high match to her brick wall; she is bouncing off the ceiling waiting for a reply.   By 3:00 PM we arrived in the ice cream capitol of the US, Brenham, Texas, the home of Blue Bell. Cynthia will preside at Sunday worship in nearby Hempstead, her former address.  We will catch up on computer projects tonight and tomorrow because 100% rain is forecast.

9 March: School is out!  Forensic Genetic Genealogy was worthwhile because our presenter Debbie Wayne did a terrific job.  Certificates were awarded.  A Rambo descendant's mother-in- law was a participant; she arranged a Skype session for her son-in-law who lives in the Netherlands.  Cynthia thoroughly enjoyed the face-to-face time with their 14-month-old.  Ron sent him missing documentation to his lineage.  Sistah Carol made her plane on time; she arrived home safely in Illinois.   We are so tired.  Good night.

8 March: Continuing studies on autosomal DNA and YDNA took care of all the sessions.  Very helpful.  Tonight is the banquet and a lecture by an attorney/geneticist.

7 March: Forensic DNA Workshop in San Antonio.  The hotel is old and famous; Robert E. Lee rode his horse into the lobby and gifted the Menger's two year old daughter with a gold locket she wore all of her life.  The food is excellent.  This morning we covered basic DNA Genetics; in the afternoon, ethics, business considerations were discussed.  Cynthia's cousin Justin had dinner with us at the Texas Land and Cattle steakhouse.  Ron had a baked potato dry - they were unable to grill even salmon.  We won't be back.

6 March: San Antonio, TX - Menger Hotel. Sistah Carol arrived from Illinois before we got to the hotel because our GPS quit functioning causing us to flounder downtown not finding the hotel until Ron asked a carriage driver for the location.  We spent the afternoon on the famous River Walk that has changed significantly with the addition of high rise hotels.  None of the colorful fiesta dancers and mariachi musicians were present.  We toured the Alamo feeling a heart tug with 6 March 1836 being the final Siege of the Alamo; a color guard presented revile and Taps at dusk.  The opening reception was this evening.

5 March, A quiet day with the computer and IPad.  We walked to Smoothie King to drink lunch, walked all 5 levels of the hotel floors and lifted weights in the fitness center.  Evidently exhausted, we napped.  Sistah Carol arrives at noon thirty from STL tomorrow.  She will take a yellow cab to the hotel where we will be excitedly awaiting her arrival.

4 March, We checked out of the Hampton Inn/San Marcos to make a run for San Antonio when the color radar gave us a 2 hour rain break.   The Hilton Garden Inn/San Antonio has space available for two nights at the same low rate.  We choose the Garden Inn over Hampton because the Garden  makes egg white veggie omelets.  Hampton Inn has the standard vendor buffet.  We receive free breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn plus points.  Factoring in the cost of buying breakfast at $12-15 apiece, our hotel room costs drop to $75 - 80 with the Hilton breakfast.   Light rain began falling 5 minutes away from our hotel but we arrived dry.  Shortly after checking in, heavy rain started falling.   Ron put on his new Marmot rain gear to go shopping.  The best hotels are next door to a Smoothie King.  We lunched on fat free Smoothies.  The fitness center has a nice selection of equipment.  We used the weights.  The hotel has five levels that is helpful for exercise, too. We walked each level 3 times using the stairs as steppers.  Duke and NC are playing a terrific game tonight.

3 March: On the Road Again!  Breakfast was followed by two trips to the storage unit and a return trip to Magnolia Diner to locate Ron's pack he accidentally left on the floor by our booth.  Thankfully, no one noticed it.  Now the ride SW towards San Antonio, our home for the next 7 days.  The earth Is putting forth - magnificent azaleas, 🌺  flowering cherry trees and best of all, Texas bluebonnets bordering the roadsides.  We traveled the Texas Independence Trail on Highway 105 west from Montgomery to Washington County, the birthplace of Texas March 2, 1836.   105 continued through Brenham, the ice cream capital of the world (home of Blue Bell Ice Cream)  we looked but we did not buy.   Leaving Brenham on Highway 290 west, we Turned at Highway 71 southwest driving through the antique capitol of the US spread over small towns of Round Top, Warrenton and Winedale.   At Bastrop, Cynthia booked reservations at a Hampton Inn in San Marcos where we are ensconced for the night and maybe tomorrow if the rain doesn't relent.  It's been a fun day.  Good night!

2 March: Happy a Birthday Texas!  Pack - Pack - Pack! Magnolia Diner fed us well. Cynthia boogied off to The Pharmacy, Lab Corps and Dr. B.  Ron had new keys made for Jon's house ultimately converging at the storage unit.  We shipped a box of work out clothes to the Pritikin Center for our April 2 week stay; a box of clothes went to Philly for special events; now we are packing for San Antonio.  Tonight we had a lovely dinner with Roxanne and Julie.

1 March: We leave Texas the end of next week until next December.. Yes!  Yes! Yes!  Good news on every front.   The Dow rose 1K points.  A new wave of optimism meets the morning.  We slept good. Jon had breakfast with us at the Toasted Yolk. Both of us enjoyed dental appointments and recycling. Packing for the years travel is upon us.    Thank God Thank God Thank God.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February ends right! - On the BEACH

28 Feb: The month of February zoomed by.  So did this day with our departure and ride to Houston.  Cynthia had her locks shorn by Sasha who rejoiced to see us again.  We dined at Pappadeaux and arrived at Jon's new home before six PM.  He was very excited to show us the house.  Ron walked in the evening.  We listened to President Trump's outstanding speech.  

27 Feb: 77 Degrees - Feels like 80.  We are packing for tomorrow's departure, but the heat caused Cynthia to unpack beach clothes.  Tomorrow night we will be in Montgomery staying with Cynthia's son Jon - we really look forward to having Wi-Fi again.   Once in Montgomery, Ron will install a new SS hard drive in the MacBook Pro plus double the memory.  The next two months schedule is in focus:   Friday or Sat we will tour the Texas Hill Country arriving Monday to meet Sistah Carol in San Antonio, TX for a week long Forensic Genealogy conference.  We return to Montgomery Friday March 10th,  depart on the 12th; Cynthia will preside at worship for a small Hempstead, TX congregation. After worship we head north to Denton, TX to visit cousin Dorothy for a day before heading to Miami.

26 Feb: The day was nice and sunny for our return ride to Crystal Beach.  Well, the sunny part was perfect, but the wind wasn't.  Gusts up to 40 MPH were a problem.  First thing, we boogied to the beach for a 4 mile walk noting Mardi Gras revelers weren't as destructive as New Years.  Dinner at Steves Landing with Wi-Fi enabled progress on the SCS FGS.

25 Feb:  58 degrees made for a chilly morning ride to Houston.  We layered.  The saddlebags and top case were filled with recycling.  We checked into the Hilton Garden Inn Willowbrook which has shuttle service to take us to see granddaughter Zoe performing in Shakespeare's "As You Like It."   Dinner at Pappadeaux left us too-much-over-full.  Ron has room for one king size Smoothie.  16 year old Zoe turned in a stellar performance generating three rounds of impromptu applause; the rest of the cast were excellent.  Ron dressed UP in a new shirt from Eddie and Beanie with "Yes, Dear," across the chest.

24 Feb: Another beautiful beach day with temps at 78 degrees, sunshine, cool breezes, big waves, and some great food.  Mardi Gras is here. A big parade begins in the morning. The traffic on the beach picked up considerably by evening as we concluded 7.57 miles of walking today.   The last 2016 Christmas letter was mailed. Good night!

23 Feb:  Another Anniversary! Happy us: Nine years ago Ron proposed on his knees in Bonefish Grill - Columbus, GA - followed by forever promises on the dock at Lake Murray in front of God and all the duckies.  Happy Ron - the three day Christmas letter writing project hit the mailbox.   Happy Hikers: we beach trekked 6 miles enjoying a gorgeous sunset and brilliant evening star Venus.  Happy Jon and Barb to get us to house sit for furniture delivery.  We will be over the moon once we return to Wifi.  Even Verizon signal is weak for our phones and IPad.

22 Feb: Another sunshiny day!! We hit the beach for two walks totaling 6 miles. Ron finished our Christmas letter and had it copied to mail. Some of it is the backside of the 2010 letter mixed with the 2015 and current letters. Merry Merry and Happy Happy.  The CPA has almost all of our tax records.  Another job finished. Two more days and Ron will have the bulk of his paper work finished and be ready to start more SCS projects.  The sunset is spectacular.

21 Feb:  Sunshine! 4 mile beach walk, 8 fishing boats to view. After lunch at Ocean Grille, we visited Barb and Jon nesting in their new beach house!  They picked us up for dinner at Steves Landing.  The clear sky is full of stars, especially Orion; it is quite amazing.

20 Feb: Rain again!  A special weather bulletin flashed a serious storm warning for a hit in the next 45 minutes.   Well, the wind and rain increased but nothing more happened.  The heavy rain is forecast To last all day.  The rain did diminish enough for Smooch to take a two hour beach walk. We rode the bike to Steves Landing for dinner at 4:30; it was wetter returning home. Cabin fever is the true test of a strong, healthy relationship.  In the dark, The ships lined up for miles awaiting inspection at Port Bolivar  looked like homes lit up on the distant shore, like little blocks of light in a chain.  Totally frustrating Blogger won't locate Photos to publish on IPad.

19 Feb:  The days are flying by. We walked to the Big Store - so named because it carries everything in small quantities.  A vendor hawking tickets to win a fancy golf car captured Cynthia's attention.   She bought 10  tickets and received one free.  The drawing is in May.  Amazing what can happen with a positive approach to life!    On our return we passed by a  tent on the beach with the window flap down. Nikkid bodies.  Cynthia walked quickly. Ron thinks he should go for another walk.  Steve's Landing grilled chicken dinner with baked sweet potato fries was muey bueno.

18 Feb: Lauren and Tyler, are beaching with us for the day.  Oh, what fun!! Mardi Gras officially begins today on The islands with several more parades during the next 2 weeks.  The Crystal Beach parade is next Saturday.  We will go into hiding.  Maybe we will go riding.  Barb arrived in time to meet us for dinner at Ocean Grille.  Without wi-fi we can't backup the photos to post on the blog.


17 Feb: Rain Rain Rain produces naps. Zzzzzzzz.  The rain continued throughout the day; the lights went out momentarily, the waves are whipped into whitecaps, the sun is peeking through a hole in the clouds creating a strange yellow light on the houses next door.  A severe storm watch is in effect until 6:00 PM. It is now 5:57.   Three more minutes to go. Good night.

16 Feb: The spectacular red sunrise was a marvelous sight to see before going back to sleep for 2 more hours.   A nap followed breakfast by Ron.  The beach beckoned with balmy 63 degree temperature.  We walked to Ocean Grille accruing 4.36 miles upon our return.  Ron walked to the store tonight while on hold waiting for Verizon to tell him how many minutes remain.  He forgot the code.

15 Feb: Departure at 7:00 AM -  47 Degrees COLD!!!  Return condo key, rental car and eat breakfast at the Toasted Yolk.  Ron has a Dental Appt at 9:00'AM followed by a Recycling drop-off and lunch at Pappadeaux.  The beach is 2 hours away on a very cold day.; we arrived about 4:30 -in time for a nap.   The beach house does not have Wi-fi.  Computer Communication will be limited to Verizon on Cynthia's IPad or to Ron's walk to Ocean Grille with the Mac for guest wi-fi.  We love this beach.  If only they had a restaurant that served egg white veggie omelets instead of biscuits and gravy.

14 Feb: Happy Valentines Day!  We arose at 5:00 AM!  Ron feigned a hammer blow to put Cynthia back to sleep so he could sneak out of bed; he had plans for sorting piles of stuff into more piles of stuff to pack into boxes to load into the car.  It didn't work; she didn't go back to sleep.   Fortunately, The rain was very light driving to breakfast; walloping winds whipping sheets of rain lasted about an hour hit after we were in the restaurant.  Cynthia was surprised to awaken from a morning nap to find her Valentines cards to Ron recycled into a new and funnier Valentine with kisses and more kisses. Aweeeeee!  After a late afternoon trip to the storage unit and dinner it is time to Pack the motorcycle bags.   30 cubic yards of recycling remain to be bagged,  "to hang from the bike to be taken to the recycling center," announced the Rider unable to conceal his delight at image.   Ron's congestion worsened; he might have a fever.

13 Feb: Pack! After two trips of stuff to the storage unit, the condo remains littered.  We exercised; Ron walked to the Point talking to Dave E.; at 3:30 Ron and Cynthia walked to the Fitness Center where Ron hit the elliptical machine getting his heart rate to 92 a few times.  Cynthia had her last session with Brenda, the fitness instructor, who noticed she has lost 7 pounds.  Woo Hoo!  The skinny jeans fit again. Weather tomorrow is disconcerting; heavy thunderstorms are forecast until mid-afternoon.  Cynthia complained about being, "out of sorts."  Ron offered to buy some sorts.

12 Feb: Sunday brunch with Roxanne, Julie, Eric, Haylee at the Yacht Club was a delight.  Jon and Barb had to meet clients, and Kiira was too ill to attend.   Eric loved the Norwegian trunk Cynthia had built and designed for his wedding gift.  Ron hit the elliptical machine for 45 minutes; it was just enough to require a long nap upon his return.



11 Feb: Rested, but departure on Wednesday looms like a speeding bullet train.  The Tasmanian Devil is cleaning everything but Ron's stacks of recycling and papers.   Everything will be returned to the storage unit Monday except  items we take to Bolivar Peninsula. We are meeting a Bankston/Rambo cousin and her daughter at one for a late lunch.  The moon was incredible.

10 Feb: A Rambo descendant met us at Magnolia Diner; Cynthia left early to meet Bambi.  Cynthia forgot she had fitness training until she was on the trail to meet a very, very tired Ron at the fitness center.  We walked to the Yacht Club for dinner to discover Yassar doing three jobs because he was short staffed tonight.  Ron got the Airport back up working again.  Jon could not meet us for dinner but he dropped off computer parts for Ron's next project: Ron is rebuilding the late 2011 17" MACBook Pro with a new solid state hard drive and quadruple the Ram because Apple quit making the 17" model.  Exhausted! We went to sleep at 7:30 PM.


9 Feb:  Today was the dayto sleep in  Hurrah !!  Oops! We awoke at 5 AM unable to go back to sleep. We are so overtired we decided on a late morning nap.  Deep into the doze the phone rang and we awoke to pest control people knocking on neighbors doors.  Ron has preliminary packages ready for a couple of families.  Cynthia is on a cleaning frenzy in preparation for the weekend Valentines/Birthday event.  Late afternoon we managed a 4.0 mile walk.


8 Feb:  90 Degrees. NINETY! 90 degrees HOT (or so the car said while driving on I-45 this afternoon).  Global Warming has come home to roost.  We started our day with breakfast at the Toasted Yolk and afterwards dropped off recycling that had occupied Ron yesterday (rinsing).  It was perfect timing to boogie to our appointment with Eric K., fiduciary, on Beltway 8 (thankfully no surprises there).  As we returned to the Woodlands the police stopped us for an expired inspection sticker on the rental car.  After checking Cynthia's drivers license and verifying that Enterprise had indeed purchased the inspection sticker, he let us go.  We go-ed ASAP!  Our next stop was the EZ Tag Store (well hidden in a strip mall) to get an updated tollway tag for the new bike.  We proceeded first to Pappadeaux for salmon, then to the orthodontist to pick up the new retainer for Cynthia (with a spare and a mold in case the new retainer wanders into hiding as the previous ones have).  Next stop was Enterprise to have the faulty sticker replaced, then Smoothie King to overindulge Ron.  Whew!  We stopped at "home" to change into workout clothes and hustled to see Brenda, who is personally training Cynthia for the next Olympics.  Ron's legs are tired from getting "Younger Next Year" at such a fast pace, so he only lasted for ten minutes on the elliptical machine today, AND the dumbell had to use heavier dumbells.  It is suddenly shocking to realize that we have Thursday & Friday & Saturday before seeing Cynthia's daughters at Sunday brunch, then Monday, Tuesday and departure Wednesday !!  Don't be surprised if Ron is too busy to update the blog until the following weekend.

7 Feb:  It is tomorrow in three minutes.  Waaay past bedtime. Smooch!  After breakfast at the Toasted Yolk, we stopped at the ENT for Cynthia's hearing aid but we will have to return this afternoon because it won't arrive until three-thirty PM.   The car is rented again until February 15.  And now it is a sunny, bright and beautiful day with the temperature at 78 degrees as we commence our walk.  Well! Ron  walked and racked up 45 minutes on the elliptical machine while Cynthia drove back to the ENT to get the hearing aid.  The sunset is spectacular.  Blogger won't let me post photos!!!






6 Feb: Early morning rise and shine.  After breakfast at the Toasted Yolk, Cynthia has a medical appointment with Dr. Eads and then we go around the block to the Neurologist.  We have to renew the car rental, too.  Medical appointments are on the agenda every day this week but Thursday.  Now nearly tomorrow, Ron is again burning midnight oil doing genealogy.  Isn't it wonderful to have a nice safe addiction like genealogy?  We enjoyed warm, humid weather again today.  The walk to & from the fitness center was pleasant in shorts and tee shirt.  Ron survived 25 minutes on the elliptical machine again.  He is working his way up to 45 minutes in order to be "Younger Next Year."  Problem is that he indulges in the munchies (pretzels) until the bag is empty, so his weight isn't dropping satisfactorily.  Fooey.  Now it is time to retire ... and get the points for first "I love you" of tomorrow.


5 Feb, Sunday: A fun time was had by all of the survivors.  Church was deeply inspiring, the choir incredible, and the elderly woman Ron helped out of the pew to communion was most appreciative.  We were late for brunch because the children's sermon ran overtime.  The omelet chef bought a new supersize pan just for Ron, and Ron devoured the supersized omelet with gusto.  He emailed the Friend package of 700 pages to now be placed on a CD for the buyer and then completed an outline for a SCS newsletter article prior to a similar SCS luncheon speech on May 18th in Philadelphia.  We ate a late lunch/ early dinner at Magnolia Diner before Ron rode the elliptical machine at the fitness center for half an hour and walked home.   We might be the only folks not watching the Super Bowl; Cynthia just checks the score.  Congratulations to Tom Brady and the Patriots.



4 Feb: Its a happy day in Smoochville.  Work is progressing on DNA, Family Group Sheets, and eating.



3 Feb: Smooch returned!!  Ron had a 5 hour ride from Denton, TX where the overnight low was 29 degrees.  At 10:00 AM he was partially packed waiting for Dorothy to arise - and he departed by 11:00.  He was indeed cold.  Dorothy said, "Cynthia gets you all year, and I only have you for five days."  Laughter is back in the Beatty home again.   Jon and Barb bought a beach house on our favorite beach; their closing is today bringing them great excitement to move in.



2 Feb: Ron had a good night sleep.  The electrical power is off in Dorothy's house.  In the meantime, waiting for power, Ron is outside raking her leaves.  Finally, he was able to reach the utility company to discover power was turned off for non-payment. The bill had been paid but the check hadn't reached them so their policy is to shut off the power after 30 days.  Ron vented frustration at the customer service for turning off power for elderly during cold weather. Dorothy is over 100 years old.   Cynthia had a fun day with two year old Fyn.  She was very disappointed having to leave that precious child; the parents would eventually notice if Grandmother sneaked her out of the house??? All children are cute, but this one is above and beyond adorable flashing her dimples.



1 Feb: This month begins with the end in mind; Feb. 15th we return to walk our favorite beach for the remainder of the month.  Ron had a good nights sleep - Cynthia wakes up hearing noises and cannot go back to sleep.  Sometimes it is her stomach growling.


Friday, January 27, 2017

Starting the New Year Right! - on the BEACH January 1st

31 Jan: Cynthia had an appointment with the ENT to be fitted for another hearing aid that was insured against loss.  Ron phoned during breakfast at IHOP.  What a marvelous day to clean and organize the storage unit while Recycle Ron is away.  Three large trash bags of clothing and shoes were donated to goodwill.  It is ridiculous to keep clothes one no longer wears or hiking boots that didn't work but yet they are like new.   Yukkity Yuk: a box of unopened mail was in the storage unit.  

30 Jan: Ron is leaving Cynthia to ride to Denton, Texas to visit cousin Dorothy for five days. Because we are together almost 24/7 it is difficult to be apart.  There's nothing like being in love at our ages.  Nothing!  After kissing goodbye at the restaurant, Cynthia was very surprised to see Ron parking beside her at the bank for another smooch.  She crossed the street to mail post cards and there he was again.  He followed her on highway 105 west to a gas station where she stopped for yet another goodbye.  He followed her left turn on highway 362 for another goodbye. Granddaughter Lauren says we are like high school freshmen.  Ron enjoyed the ride to Denton on this pleasant spring day; after visiting with Dorothy, he went for a walk and called Cynthia.  She reported on her trip to the accountant in Hempstead before traveling on to Brenham for the eye test she aced.   She said being alone in the condo with creaking noises from the A/C, the ice maker and a growling stomach is uncomfortable. 

29 Jan:  We enjoyed a joyful brunch with granddaughter Samantha and her best beau Adam after worship.  Cynthia cannot find the icon for uploading photos from the IPad to this blog.   Hmmmm!   Cynthia's FitBit Summary awarded her the New Zealand trophy for 8000 flights of stairs in one year.  We haven't figured out the connection to New Zealand.  Ron walked for a couple of hours without talking on the phone; instead he pondered preparations for an early morning departure to Denton, Texas to see cousin Dorothy who turned 100 years old in September. 

28 Jan: The new IPad Apple II Pro transferred all of the apps, data and features from the 2.5 year old IPad seamlessly. Blogsy no longer functions,  but the Google App, " Blogger" is an improvement to Blogsy.  The Friend SCS package of 800 pages might be finished by the time  Cynthia returns from her girlicure.  The 4.0 mile walk was indeed pleasant with sunny skies and a mild 62 degree temperature.  

27 Jan:  We are happy to see the scale finally moving down by reducing portions and extra workouts.  Braving the 50 degree temperature we duplicated yesterday's  trek to search for the missing hearing aid to no avail.  We walked  to the Fitness Center at 4:00 for workouts. Ron happily reports his  backache is gone. Cynthia is very pleased with her personal trainer, Brenda.  Bursting with energy, sort of, we journeyed to the Cafe on the Green for dinner returning home with tired legs. 7.85 miles.  

26 Jan: Winter returned briefly with 38 degree temperature reading.  Today began as yesterday's with early rising; we watched a gorgeous red sunrise as the color changed with lightening speed to rose.  The magical view was mirrored in the lake.   After breakfast we drove to the orthodontist in the Woodlands for Cynthia's replacement retainer.  Those little buggers are easy to lose.  Just imagine our excitement driving to recycling to empty the trunk full of recycling.  Well, at least one of us was very excited.  We stopped at Verizon so Cynthia could have the VZ chip put in her new IPad. Ron wanted his account on Auto Pay; we spent an hour unsuccessfully dealing with the new VZ security issue which doesn't work with Ron's flip phone.   Long story but it took another two hours in the afternoon on the phone to finally resolve the problem.  Still cold, we started walking dressed for Antarctica, but removed clothing as we heated up.  Unfortunately,  one of Cynthia's hearing aids was lost when she pulled her sweatshirt over her head; she was unaware it was gone until we dressed for dinner.  We had a marvelous evening  with Jon, Barb, Jan, Jim, Charline and Jerry. Ron managed to get the dinner check while the others were unaware. 

25 Jan: A gorgeous spring day in January - the trees are beginning to bud out. Arising early we breakfasted at the Toasted Yolk before driving to IAH, Terminal C, to complete Cynthia's TSA PreCheck. Our Recycling was dropped at Target and recycled cords to Best Buy; we drove to the ENT to order allergy drops and have the hearing devices synced. After shopping at Kroger's we slurpped lunch at Smoothie King. One more stop at UPS to pick up insurance forms they printed for us and we were home. Ron is almost finished with the Friend package totaling about 800 pages. Our walk wasn't as long today... but Ron made progress on the new elliptical machines while Cynthia worked out with Brenda. Jon stopped by with packages that included a new IPad Pro. We walked to the Yacht Club for dinner. Ron's order of Ocean Grille had bacon. That item won't get ordered again. Life is very good. Tomorrow is another early day. Good night.

24 Jan: The temperature she is a rising - 81 degrees by lunch time. The walk to the Cafe on the Green was indeed pleasant because of a good breeze. We waited until 4:30 (when the sun was lower) to do the 4.0 miles hitting a total of 6.6 miles today. The afternoon was spent trying to pay the phone bill; Verizon demands a pin code but they accept an account number except they changed the account number. Friday we go to VZ and have it direct billed to the bank. Ron is nearly finished with the Friend FGS containing about 800 pages. 7 more packages are in the queue.

23 Jan: Another Monday, another breakfast, more work on family group sheets for the SCS, oh, my! The weeks whiz by. The morning chill disappeared when the sun appeared making our 4.0 mile trek warm enough to take off the shirt. Cynthia is really enjoying working out with Brenda while Ron gets younger next year on the elliptical machine. Knees and back feel improved by remembering to lead with the right foot when walking. A large herd of deer was spotted on the walking trail. Our study book for the Forensic Genealogy workshop arrived; Cynthia is tackling it first. Sister Carol agreed to fly from St. Louis to San Antonio to join us for the three day study in March.

22 Jan: Gone with the Wind. That is, the electrical power in the church went out in worship likely by a transformer outage in the neighborhood caused by horrific winds. But we sang loud and joyfully. The traffic signals were inoperable for two or three miles, but, thankfully, electricity was on at the Yacht Club. Bill and Merry, Jon and Barb joined us for brunch. A fun time was had by all the survivors! Ron walked for an hour and the wind blew him back.

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21 Jan: Morning dawned very foggy and somewhat cool. We dallied so long that we arrived at Magnolia Diner after the normal Saturday breakfast crowd. 9am is a great breakfast time there. Our waitresses there just ask if we want the usual; I'm guessing that the cooks know the routine by heart also. Now Ron will resume straightening and organizing. The goal is to put fewer boxes back into the storage than came out. Later: The cool stopped when the sun appeared while doing our 4.0 Walk and we really sweat. Winter might be over??? Ron called Sister Carol who is joining us in San Antonio for the Forensic Genealogy workshop in March, but she said she refused to fly. We are Hoping she drives into Houston to research Mechem records with us, too. Granddaughter Zoe is participating in the Women's March with her mom in Houston today. Now it is time to shower for dinner with Granddaughter Samantha and her new Love, Adam.


20 Jan: Montgomery, TX morning dawned cloudy and cool. After our usual breakfast, Cynthia turned on the TV; her eyes dripped as she watch her first ever inauguration. She is praying for success in building bridges of unity out of the ashes of hate and division. If the new administration is successful, we will all be successful. May God Bless the USA. We walked our 4.0 miles, drove to the fitness center where Ron proudly tracked 25 minutes on the new elliptical machine while Cynthia worked out with Brenda. Driving to dinner was a good idea because the torrential rain was like being under a waterfall. The rain stopped after dinner, the clouds parted to give us this beautiful sunset.
Shadings and colors were much more remarkable that this photo, but it is still nice.

19 Jan: Rainy day at Walden today again, but this is the rainy season! Ron and da wee-fee beloved bride were up early for breakfast at the Magnolia Diner and then drove to Brenham for Cynthia's appointment at the ophthalmologist. She passed the test albeit remained blurry-eyed under dark shades for hours. Dr. Beim gave her the cutest little cling-to-your-face, wrap-around plastic shade to wear. Cynthia's good Friends met us in Hempstead for lunch and a couple of hours of hearty laughter. We then drove to Scotts Grove, the family cemetery where Cynthia's son is buried. Ron worked on the SCS project while Cynthia drove. We haven't experienced the torrential rain and flooding seen in Houston yesterday and today, but the tall power line poles near Dobbin, Texas are leaning at odd angles from the water- logged soil. Once we arrived back at our condo we changed and walked to the Caddyshack for dinner getting a FitBit buzz 3/4 of the way home.
Carol, Cynthia (sans shades) and Sandy

18 Jan: Rainy day at Walden today, and Ron is up early (7:15 am) to work on the SCS Friend package on Cynthia's computer. Yesterday she dictated that I must clean up my clutter in this rental rather than return said clutter to the storage locker. Yes Dear.

We've been sticking to our 4-mile daily walks very consistently. Yesterday we witnessed a "river of deer" crossing Walden Road near the fitness center. Perhaps thirty to sixty deer running in a stream for a minute or two; spellbinding. We've also seen several big bucks with impressive antlers. (The stream was mostly does and fawns heading towards two big bucks.)

Cynthia is enrolled with Brenda, a personal trainer at the fitness center, for 13 sessions, Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the duration of our stay here. The fitness center has new elliptical machines. Because the new machines do NOT hurt Ron's knees (so far), he has decided to become "Younger Next Year" by pushing his heart rate to 90+ beats per minute for 45 minutes daily, the fitness regime demanded by the book. He started yesterday and will be ever-so-slowly advancing slowly towards 45 minutes. This is in addition to the micro-weightlifting he is currently doing there, again part of the regime. (You have to be retired to afford the time for this "Younger Next Year" stuff.

The dentist has taken impressions (and payment) for Ron's new lower teeth (caps). Cynthia is delighted with the improvement even the temporaries present. (See January 11 below.) Her pink roses are still pretty and smelly. Ron trims them an inch every second or third day to extend their pretties.

17 Jan: Montgomery, Texas: Rain provides us opportunity for inside work: Ron is hitting the keyboard doing FGS while Cynthia is doing taxes; then Ron took a break to do Recycling. Ron decided he is eating too many pretzels; a bowl of apple slices and carrot chunks with pretzels on top is now the remedy for computer driven munchies. Sitting long hours at the computer is causing munchie weight gain. When the rain stopped we walked 4.0 miles with Ron doing an elliptical workout at the fitness center. Ron hit the trail for an evening walk and talk.

16 Jan: Torrents and tornadoes are teasing Texas. The sun is shining at least for awhile. After breakfast we loaded up more boxes from the storage units to organize and return them to storage. The stop at Wally World replenished our groceries for a few days. The rain did materialize giving Ron the opportunity to wash the motorcycle when it stopped. It is just too amusing an almost identical bike is parked by the next set of condo units. Ron parked the bike right in front of his so he would be certain to see it. After computer stuffs we walked 4 miles stopping at the fitness center for Cynthia to work out with Brenda, the trainer. We musta seen 40-50 deer running cross the highway twice. A small buck was missing a horn, a huge majestic buck was visible across the path fro m where we walked.

15 Jan: Church was lively this morning with a little bit of dancing to the hymn stanza, "we are dancing to the light of God." Well, being Lutheran we wiggled just a little bit. Grandson Steven joined us for brunch and then to the condo where he received his Norwegian heirloom trunk. His grandmother commissioned the handcrafted trunk painted in the Hallingdal rosemaling style by Leslie Landis of Sherman, Texas. Steven was elated with the trunk that tells the story of his heritage in design and symbolism. Cynthia thought she looked very small; she is, but it helps to know the trunk is 6' tall. The rain was torrential for an hour or two but stopped to permits our 4 mile walkity. We had dinner at IHOP and a Smoothie for Ron.

4 Jan: Cynthia commissioned a rosemaling artist from N Texas to paint two (heirloom) trunks in the Hallingdal style for grandsons Steven and Eric. Artist Leslie and her husband Dan delivered the handsome trunks today. Steven will get his trunk tomorrow. Turns out the artists are hikers, too, he being the 42nd person to hike the PCT. We are looking for his photos on the PCA site. A great time was had by four hiking friends!! Cynthia flitted off to do a mani/girlicue before we walked to the Caddyshack for dinner. Ron was too full to order after eating pretzels all afternoon. We stopped to visit Ryan, a former wait staff person at the Cafe, now working at the Texaco Station nights.
13 Jan: With the luck of the Irish, we survived Friday the 13th. How can we be so busy and retired?? Breakfast at Magnolia Diner, cleaning the condo, SCS projects, walked for 4 miles, worked out at the gym while Cynthia worked out with a personal trainer. Dinner at the Yacht Club was great. We split the red fish entree and enjoyed two servings of sorbet for dessert.

12 Jan: Another trip to Enterprise car rental to return the Jeep for a small car without so many problems. Satisfied, we were off to breakfast and then the electrophysiologist in the Medical Center. Dr, Dougherty moved to 6400 Fannin. Her tech assistant is half Norwegian; she and Cynthia enjoyed a delightful conversation. Dr. Dougherty was surprised that a blood clot developed while on three blood thinners. She ordered mere labs to look at clotting factors; this is a test not done at the hospital in North Carolina. All is Weller than Well! Dinner at Pappadeaux,a short walk just the twos of us, and Ron walked and talked under the incrediblly large orange orb called the moon. Deer.

11Jan: The morning sun on the horizon is humongous and spectacular!! And we are off ten minutes late to the Toasted Yolk but ten minutes early for Ron's dental appointment with Dr. Anderson in the Woodlands. Two handsome men!! Cynthia sent Carol and Brother Dean a photo; he asked if Ron's smile is from the "no cavities club." Of course! Lunch was a repeat of breakfast. The rental car is a Jeep which was exchanged for the Nissan which didn't have a good operating key. The Jeep is not good either so we stopped at Enterprise to obtain something else. No one was in the office. We hit our Fitbit buzz with a lovely walk seeing three groups of deer: 8, 13, and 7. Cynthia made an appointment at the Fitness Center to begin working with a personal trainer on Friday.


10 Jan. Happy Birthday to son Paul! How good to start the day sleeping late with no place to go! The day is warmer, but gray overcast. Breakfast at Magnolia Diner followed by stop at the storage unit where we discovered we forgot the key. Boxes packed into the car, a stop at UPS, another stop at the dry cleaners, a 4.0 mile walk and we are good for the day.

9Jan: Medical appt. - 9:00 AM - Woodlands - after a yummy breakfast at the Toasted Yolk, followed by a trip to the Apple Store in the Woodlands Mall to learn they cannot add RAM, even if we bought Apple Memory chip, nor do they carry parts for our 17" MacBook Pro because it is discontinued. Lakeside Pharmacy was the next stop. We walked 4.0 miles and went to CrossFit to learn our strength has greatly decreased. Dinner tonight was at the Magnolia Grill followed by more computer projects.

8 Jan: Yes, it is still cold in Montgomery. Grace Lutheran Church (where we are members) changed worship time to 10:00 AM making it far more convenient for us late sleepers. The downside is not getting to brunch before 11:30; but it wasn't crowded and we rejoiced seeing good friends again. After brunch we walked a couple of hours enjoying the sunshine and a young buck.

7 Jan: Texas, Montgomery, Lake Conroe, Walden: our home for the next six weeks. Yes, I can post this now. It is 4:23am and time for Ron to return to bed. What a great day beginning with a lazy morning, breakfast at Magnolia Diner, then to visit a family who have been in Reunion since Cynthia found a young woman's birth parents for her ten years ago Monday. We ate naked cedar salmon at Pappadeaux, shopped at Krogers, walked the gated subdivision across from our condo and had to wait for a vehicle for us to exit again. About 15 deer were grazing on the grounds. Cynthia loves the pink fleurs Ron sneaked into the car.

6 Jan: On this chilly (38 degrees) Friday morning, we opted to ride the Hilton shuttle to our 6am medical appointments at 6411 Fannin. The staff there is always so very nice. Mary H. was quite surprised that Ron reported a new, transient "symptom" that concerns him; her words, "Nothing ever concerns you, so I have to really pay attention to this." It was delightful to see Mary and Dr. Gould both looking much more cheerful and less care-worn than last year. Dr. Gould did indeed pronounce Ron definitely alive and did not reprimand either of us for our 5-lb weight gain since last year. (We had good excuses: less exercise in the last couple of months since departing the mountains; no fewer calories consumed. Imagine that.) We stood outside in the freezing cold drizzle awaiting the hotel shuttle from 10:20 to 10:45 and were very thankful to eventually espy the driver. He immediately responded to my suggestion that he back up to the street instead of wait for the valet drop-off lanes to clear. (Valet parking there is ABSOLUTELY incompetent.) Consequently we arrive at our breakfast table after 11am, but the manager was cooperative and understanding and provided us with egg white veggie omelets and fruit. The light rain falling earlier had stopped, so after breakfast Ron quickly checked the color radar, future-cast, and the hourly forecast. The results were mixed but promising, so he shifted into packing frenzy mode, and we were ready to roll shortly after noon. The color radar showed no rain anywhere along our route, so we loaded the motorcycle to the amazement of the clerk "helping" us and pulled out onto the pavement. The first several miles went exactly as expected. Ron's hands quickly began feeling too cold, so we stopped to pull on a pair of socks (because his gloves are in storage) and then hit highway 288 to I-45 without incident other than a couple of traffic slowdowns to complete stops. The roads were only damp with dry "tire tracks" until further north on I-45 when we first ran into sleet, then light rain a couple of times, then a substantial rain that soaked the roadway for ten miles. Traffic turned that soaked roadway into a dense fog so that visibility was severely reduced. That combined with the chill water made the riding experience less than desirable - a definite contradiction to the flippant motorcyclist saying "Any day riding is better than any day at work." That too ended within ten minutes; it is amazing how many eternities there are in a 40 mile ride like this. There were several more minutes of ducking behind the windscreen to avoid light rain, but by the time we passed Pappadeaux the rain had quit for good, and by the time we exited onto TX hwy 105, the pavement was actually dry !! Instead of stopping for a meal, we continued to the Enterprise rental shop where Cynthia had made arrangements for a car. Imagine her relief to have an enclosed vehicle with heat. Ron continued to Walden, picked up the apartment keys from Dannielle, and had unloaded the motorcycle by the time Cynthia arrived. We next stopped at the storage locker to grab twenty boxes into the car, Wally World to purchase minimal groceries, and returned to the apartment to unload those boxes into our two bedroom condo rental on the first floor, which has no view of the water, bummer. No surprise then that Ron was a basket case zombie who went to bed to sleep ASAP - 8pm.
5 Jan: We are now in Houston. Cynthia is enjoying quality time with Sasha, her hairdresser. No longer will she have to wear "hair by helmet." Next stop is at Pappadeaux for seafood; they are amazingly good and can cook for our diet. Thereafter we check in to the Hilton near the medical center so that we can walk to our "fasting blood tests" tomorrow. Ron is ever hopeful that Doctor Gould's professional opinion will be that he is still alive. It was a bit chilly getting here; 58 to 63 degrees for the hour and a half ride. Thank goodness Cynthia has her heated gear. Crystal Beach is one beach that Ron felt a bit sad leaving; it has been nice to be able to walk along the surf at will. The first 20 miles hugging the shoreline was fun seeing the surf, the next 20 miles were relaxing and pleasant despite the overcast sky since the road was not crowded. That changed for the last 60 miles on I-10 and US 59, but seeing a haze-enshrouded Houston was quite a surprise. If we were near the beach it would be fog. We did run into sporadic light rain, but couldn't decide if the haze was pollution or low flying clouds.

4 Jan: Temperatures dived overnight. Tomorrow will be even colder. Bundling up, we walked the beach to Ocean Grille for lunch; Cynthia found a nearby place to get pedi-mani-girlaqued and walked back..

3 Jan: Ron emailed the 25 MB Clements package of family group sheets that has consumed an exorbitant amount of time the past month. A poor internet connection via Verizon has been the one drawback to this "cabin." (It seems SOooo very strange to label a house on stilts as a "cabin.") The sun was out and delightfully warm, so we enjoyed walking a couple of miles on the beach before taking ALL the recycling to Galveston's recycling center, conveniently next to the Target store. We arrived at the ferry dock just as the ferry was leaving, surprised to see a long line already ahead of us. As we watched that ferry pull out, the second surprise was that another ferry was already approaching the adjoining dock. They were running three ferries today, surprisingly heavy traffic both ways on the ferry for January 3rd. We dropped off the recycling, purchased pretzels at Kroger, and then dined at Gaido's Restaurant again. The salmon was much better than the previous meal of steamed red snapper. We ferried back mesmerized by a spectacular sunset that turned even more incredible as we neared our beach house. A sizeable swath of the horizon turned a vivid, deep red while the sky ahead of us (east) became astoundingly violet. We raced from the motorcycle to the beach for a good walk and took photos. Ron went for a second long walk & cellphone talk after dark.
Sunset from the ferry
2- Jan: Morning arrived with a fierce thunderstorm and high winds - drying out by noon. Our 3.0 mile afternoon walk to the Big Store was warm and pleasant; but they were out of the fat free pretzels. Returning after lunch we were ever so pleased to see the pretzels had arrived. We had a delightful email from a Genealogy/DNA Little cousin: background - Ron is genetically a Little with such unique markers he can trace to Dumfries, Scotland and the infamous lowland Clans, the Beatties and the Little's before 1600. Read the book, "William Wallace," whose nephew may be Edourd Little from whom Clan Little/Ron is borned. The beach beckoned us to a glorious sunset stroll. By the time we turned back the beach was nearly empty and the night sky sparkled. Life is good.
Afternoon Beach Walk
Sunset on Bolivar
1-1-2017: We walked 4.03 miles roundtrip to Ocean Grille for lunch with 75 degree temperature and a few raindrops; the beach is littered with used fireworks boxes and beer bottles strewn about. We fussed about the idiots not reading the signs... then realized they are IDIOTS, repeating our thoughts to a guy by the sign that said not to walk on the dunes. He agreed, then crossed the dunes. Jon and Barb returned to Lake Conroe abandoning us to our quiet lifestyle of computering. We really like Crystal Beach but being without wi-fi is not good. Even the Verizon signal is weak. Here is a good thought for 2017: Listen to your life, listen to the joy, the pain, and you will get a glimmer that your life is grace. Deep inside of you Is the Holy of holies. Listen to your life. Here is a good link to doing gooder in 2017: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/12/30/dr-keith-ablow-seventeen-ways-to-improve-your-life-in-2017.html
Trash and No Litter Signs

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Merry December

31 Dec: Happy New Year!!! We celebrate the 9th anniversary of The Great Marriage Proposal that followed four months of Together. She said, "Yes!" surprising us both. Today the rains sequestered us until mid afternoon; Jon later took us out for dinner at Steve's Landing. After a glorious sunset we walked the beach but the revelry is too much. Fireworks are loud!! It is party time at Crystal Beach.
30 Dec: Ron arose early; the sunrise was astounding. Barb captured the photo. Cynthia slept. Paul and his family arrived at 1: 45 for a cold beach day. The ferry road was briefly impassable due to a gas leak. Cynthia was thrilled to have two granddaughters here for a visit. We walked the beach with 2 year old Fyn determined to wear Beach shoes collecting shells loving the sea and sand. With 28 years and 6 feet between the youngest and oldest grandchild we marvel at this perfect miniature person. Jon joined us for dinner and great conversation. Peace reigns supreme.
29 Dec: The sun appeared on Crystal Beach; so did the wind whipping the sand as we walked twice today for a five miler. We especially enjoyed dinner at Steve's Landing with Jon, Barb and her niece from East Texas. The temperature cooled off enough that we won't do a night beach walk.
 
28 Dec: Only 3 more days to the end of another "Terrific Year of Together." And we have fun. To say I love you is only the half of it. Fog continues to abound as we walked the beach. We looked at a beach house with Jon and Barb before continuing on our projects. Not having wi-if is Not Good!! Dinner was interesting: Cynthia ate fried shrimp, one teaspoon of seafood gumbo, two hush puppies and splurged on a whole pint of Triple Caramel Chunk Ice Cream. We walked the beach in the fog.
 
27 Dec: Crystal Beach, Texas on the Bolivar Peninsula east of Galveston: Amazing that we are about to turn over a new year again already. I'm not going to complain about time flying (beats the alternative; time stands still for only those who stop breathing.) We have very much enjoyed this beach. Hurricane Ike took all the soft sand elsewhere and left firm sand on this beach that makes for very comfortable walking - so much so that we over-taxed our out-of-condition bodies yesterday, and Cynthia's resulting painful feet made for an uncomfortable night's sleep, poor dear. Ron Continues to work away on computer projects that require no internet connection (since this vacation rental comes with towels but no WiFi. (Jon and Barb have WiFi but no towels.). Did I say dense fog?
26 Dec: Merry Monday: Christmas blissing abounds. Jon and Barb arrived to spend a few days in their own beach house so we walked the beach - a five mile roundtrip - to visit. Cynthia's feet are too-much-over-sore. Dinner tonight with Jon and Barb at Stingaree's was delicious. Home again, we are pondering how to improve Our Bankston website searches on Google: https://sites.google.com/site/bankstonfamilytree/. Good night from Bolivar Peninsula.
 
25 Dec: Merry Christmas to all our friends; and Ron to Smooch Smooch, "I love you, I love you, I love you... and never in my wildest imagining did I imagine that a marriage, a relationship, could be THIS GOOD." We were buffeted by very high winds riding to the family Christmas gathering at Roxanne's home in Houston. Ho Ho Ho!!!
 
24 Dec: O Holy Night! After a busy day of beach bumming, computer stuff, showers, dinner at Steve's Landing, the night is young, the story never old. May Christ be born anew in your hearts this night, too.
 
23 Dec: White Beach Christmas - God does "the light." After walking the beach we bounded onto the bike to catch the ferry to Galveston Island. Guido's Red Snapper was not to our liking. We ran a few errands then caught the ferry home.
22Dec: 27 Miles of beach - only four people, three golf cars in sight - making this very a very peaceful beach.
 
21 Dec: Winter Solstice: "There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy," (Ralph Blum). Ron made delicious omelets before we walked the beach for 2.75 miles round trip. We added 3.6 miles roundtrip by hoofing it to Ocean Grille for dinner, returning with a sunset so magnificent that we stopped often to look back. Ron is nearly finished with the Clements Family Group Sheets.
20 Dec: We ferried forth to Galveston Island about noon-thirty. It was fun to watch sea gulls, pelicans and even blackbirds swarm above the ferry. Ron has a new best friend with a green truck who invited us to visit. Two hours were spent in Urgent Care for a minor infection that wasn't. The beach was really lovely; many large ships were lined up at the port waiting for inspection. Guido's Seafood is the IN place to dine, so we did. The return ferry was loading as we drove up but so many cars were ahead of us we were routed onto ferry# 2. About 10 or eleven people poured out from a Nissan wagon in front of us to watch the ferry cross the inlet - looking like a frat party piling out of a phone booth. The sunset was spectacular.
Our nephew Eric and his lovely family (Carol's son):
 
Cynthia's sister Merrilee and grandniece in NYC.
19 Dec: Real feel of 22 degrees! The high will reach 48 degrees; we will not take the ferry to the mainland today. At 4:00 PM we venture forth with heated gear to have dinner at Steve's Landing buy more sorbet and some Christmas cards for Sunday's gathering. Ron will mail our cards sometime next year or the next. It is a plan. This is our 9th Christmas together. It's a good thing we like each other being together 24/7! Bundled up, we walked the beach twice today to get our fit bit buzz of 10,000 steps. The sunset was glorious.
 
18 Dec: Brrrr! Real feel is 33 degrees. This means 10 degrees less riding on the motorcycle - we really felt it when we rode to Steve's Landing for lunch and missed the turn. We forgot the heat apparatus, too. Our salmon was so delicious, so, too, the baked potato. Thankfully, they will be open daily during our stay. Despite Freezing cold, Ron remembered the Gelato sorbet that comes in four flavors at the market; four is a good number in large quantities, plus a half gallon of fat-free sorbet that was greatly enjoyed upon our return to the beach house, all By Ron. The beach house does not have wi-fi so updates will happen eating out. We won't try the ferry to the mainland until warmer weather. Cynthia's sister Merrilee fell in NYC today; a man nearby said he was glad she fell because she was a Trump supporter. His picture was posted on FB and is being shared. Merrilee went to the hospital by ambulance, checked out OK and was released.
 
17 Dec: Baton Rouge to Bolivar Island, TX (beach house) to 5 January. The temp will reach 80 degrees; we were spared the forecast showers but not ginormous gusts of wind. An interesting stop was Delta Downs Rosewood Grille for lunch. Waiting for the doors to open, the chef passed by; Ron explained his heart condition and restricted diet with the chef acknowledging the perfect meal. And it was indeed. The beach house is terrific, but only one fast food restaurant is open our entire stay. We bought a lot of groceries. Cynthia fell down the last few steps to the carport in the dark landing on her hip. It seems to be OK but she should have it checked Monday when we can ferry to Galveston.
 
16 Dec: Biloxi, MS to Baton Rouge, LA - scenic gulf coast with serene water views on the left hand and antebellum homes on the right hand. In between stately white columned homes are lots of lots for sale where the devastating hurricane made many a direct hit in its path of destruction. Don's Seafood in Covington was a great place to lunch. Cousin Pat will join us for dinner tonight.
 
15 Dec: A mighty cold ride to Biloxi, MS; we followed the gulf coast roads staying at the Hard Rock Casino because the rates were $79.00. Guess they like mid week guests because our room/suite is in the tower. Two bathrooms, with a shower big enough for a car. Black and white decor with Mick Jaggers face painted on the bedroom wall. The temp was a bone aching 50 degrees in the room.
14 Dec: What happens in Mexico Beach stays in Mexico Beach. We rode to Port St. Joe for lunch at the Sunset Grille. Lovely restaurant but surprisingly few fish choices.
13 Dec: Mexico Beach, FL here we go! And six hours later here we are; we departed Macon at a Kairos 10:00 AM staying ahead of rain, fierce funnel shaped black clouds, into warm sunshine on the beach at $65.00 a night. Gorgeous sunset, brilliant moon and Subway. Restaurants winter hours - open only Th-Sun.
12 Dec: WooHoo! 15 degrees warmer en route from Lithonia, GA to Macon, GA to visit nieces.
11Dec: More Colderest: Ohmygoodness! 43 is the high today in beautiful downtown Athens, GA as we continue descent towards Texas where we are warned TX isn't any warmer. Our arrival in Lithonia, GA will be an hour from Athens not bringing any relief from the cold. Ron's nice warm gloves are in Texas but his socks are doing the Job along with heated handlebars. We look forward to visiting cousin Donald, the Bankston historian.
 
10 Dec is the day we resume riding south, and the forecast is a chilly 45 degree high that day. I knew we were a day late and a dollar short in our flight from cold weather. Fleeing south IN cold weather is not optimal. Heated gear will be connected. Our first stop is to see cousin Vince and his lovely wife Janet. By mid to late afternoon we arrive in Athens for dinner with cousin Quint and wife Lori. We overnight in Athens.
 
 
9 Dec: More Colder: Ron's schedule didn't vary after breakfast with Cynthia and Dick except the temperature dropped during breakfast. The dump was open to receive recycling. The USB extension cord was happily discovered along with three slightly used Christmas cards, too, at the Gowdo's. The mending Tape was not found so a purchase was made, the pants are patched. Cynthia did laundry and has her bag packed for morning departure. Tonight the gang gathers at Ruby Tuesday's for a farewell dinner. We love our SC friends.
 
 
8 Dec: Colder! After breakfast with Dick and Cynthia, Ron walked with the guys. Cousin Duncan is joining us for dinner this evening at Ruby Tuesday's. He is such a great guy.
 
 
7 Dec: Cold! Ron walked with the guys and worked at the Gowdos. By 5:00 PM Ron and Cynthia walked to Ruby Tuesday's for dinner with Lizbeth and Clark who kindly treated us to the Incredible Lexington Christmas light show covering acres of park and river area. We walked the river boardwalk through lights and laser shows.
 
6 Dec: Rain! Breakfast with Dick ended without a walk because of rain. Ron and Cynthia walked the mall with lunch at Ruby Tuesday's and tried to nap the afternoon away.
 
5 Dec: Ron was up at 6:45 and met Dick downstairs for breakfast. Cynthia provided him quite the surprise by sauntering into the breakfast room before Ron had finished eating. But then, we did get to bed early last night. Ron & Dick left at 7:50 to join Clark & Steve for a long walk around the Coldstream subdivision. Much fun conversation was had by all, but Ron had to cut short plans to hunt for mending tape at the Gowdo residence because his "pill alarm" went off and he needed to return to the hotel to assmeble packages of pills. We thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas concert at Riverland Baptist Church with Mary. The75 voice choir, string orchestra and ballet corps got us into the Christmas spirit.
 
4 Dec, Sunday: The BIG day, fish and grits at Lizards Thicket with the new hotter than hot sauce Clark & Liz gifted to Ron. We can all hardly wait. We were up early enough to grab a quick breakfast at the hotel. (Lizard's will NOT cook with little enough oil for our dietary restrictions.) Mary picked us up at 7:50am. (Cynthia was VERY grateful to avoid the COLD motorcycle ride this morning.) Liz and Clark entertained Ron all afternoon at the South Carolina State Museum in downtown Columbia. Liz gave Cynthia an email address of a Norwegian friend Ron met yesterday thinking Norwegians might have a connection. Turns out the woman's uncle is Albert Quie, former governor of Minnesota, who is Cynthia's cousin.
'Lizabeth & Clark at Lizard's
Mary and 'Lizabeth
 
3 Dec: We awakened in Columbia, South Carolina late this morning and were still abed when my phone alarm chimed 9am, time to take pills (as required by the hematologists at UNC. Last night Cynthia fell asleep whilst Ron was typing/ researching, so in the wee hours of early morning, he is now apologizing to all you faithful readers for blogging so infrequently in the past months... and probably the future ones as well - too many fun things ... Plan for the day is to join Clark and Liz at the train club for a couple of hours [DONE], check Greg and Donna's home for a couple of minutes [DONE], and continue computer stuffs [continuing]. MaryLou Bohler has also deceased since our last visit here in October; she was a delightful friend who nicknamed Ron "Wild Man". May she rest in peace and be with her Charlie again. Ron takes this as a reminder to be happy to be alive and to enjoy every minute of life. Cynthia agrees: Life is good. Ain't love grand?
 
2 Dec: It was a long, cold ride from Hilton Head to Columbia, but the back-road scenery was very pleasant. Vegetation has all changed into winter wear with browns and grays predominating. Sharon and Don delighted us with a good morning of conversation and a decent breakfast at a local diner. Imagine our continued delight to have dinner with six of our favorite friends in Columbia, missing only Greg and Donna who are on baby sitting station in Minnesnowda. Unfortunately the interim has been hard for everyone. Tom and Cheryl just lost their newly remodeled condo in Gatlinburg to the flames; Mary's loss of Vince is still too recent and too cruel; 'Lizabeth's new knee is swollen and restrictive. The good news is that we are all still alive to "enjoy the disadvantages of aging", all except Vince, whose cheerful presence was too sadly, permanently absent. Ron again got busy with Swedish Colonial packages after returning to the Hilton Garden Inn. The backlog has grown to four or five now since he spent so much time in North Carolina working on Cynthia's James Lea book. There are just too many fun things to do in life - and it would be overwhelming on a daily basis if he were less committed to his enjoyments.
 
1 December- Charleston, SC is Cynthia's dream city. The open air market was very fascinating and full of too-cute items to delight the grandmother of a 2-year-old. Imagine her joy when told that they can ship purchases! And ship they did. After an intoxicating hour of shopping, we departed Charleston about 11AM, stopped for Ruby Tuesday in Beaufort, and arrived on Hilton Head Island, SC about 3:00 PM. Hurricane Mathew's direct hit on this island left tree debris everywhere. No telling how long it will take to cart all that elsewhere. Cousin Sharon is so much fun. She prepared a lovely salmon dinner with fingerling potatoes and salad. We had so much fun with so much to talk about until we are all exhausted. Zzzzzzz