Friday, March 2, 2018

Time Marches On

20 Mar: We are still at Lake Conroe, Texas on this first official day of Spring.  Texas starts spring way early and skips quickly to summer.  The sun is shining. We did our exercises.  Cynthia's BP this morning: 113/73 HR 74.  Ron's is 103/62 HR 67.  Now everybody knows we are healthy!  Photo of Ron with cousin Dorothy’s great grand nieces is precious.

19 Mar: On this day we forgot to blog!  We walked, we ate, we ran errands and did our computer stuffs.  We have fun! Ron is excited about his DNA discoveries.  Cynthia created GEDCOMS for him to upload to Thanks to sister Carol for the Beatty GEDCOM.

18 Mar: Hello World from SE Texas!  Ron wants to create a GEDCOM (compressed data). Cynthia does have the Rambo lineage in he Software, but it is not published online.  Sistah Carol has a six generation Beatty and Rambo. GEDCOM she could email to us. Our software for Macs accepts all GEDCOMS. Which will lighten the data entry load. On another note, the humidity is 100%,  but it isn’t raining; I don’t get it; we felt sticky getting in and out of the car for worship and brunch. Most amusing, One of a set of 18 month old identical twin girls flirted with Ron outrageously during the children’s sermon. Imagine, she noticed his smile.  After worship, we had brunch with Jon and Barb, plus two of their clients who are closing on their house tomorrow. The guy is an IT specialist who enjoyed Ron’s early computer geek training at MIT.  Remember last week, Ron helped Cousin Dorothy’s estate administrator retrieve computer files on her ancient computers.  Her two little girls enjoyed Ron, too. The 2 year old followed him around the house.  Ron received some coins he discovered in a drawer at Dorothy’s; now Ron is enjoying being a sometimes numismatist.  Life is good in SE Texas!  

17 Mar:  Happy St Patrick’s Day!  We celebrated with a four mile walk before meeting Roxanne in Cypress where she drove us to A.D. Players Theatre to see the C.S. Lewis dramatization of “The Reluctant Convert.”  The monologue was excellent.  Afterwards we had dinner at Pappadeaux Seafood Restaurant. And after all of that humongous excitement we grocery shopped at Wally World (Walmart).

16 Mar: WooHooooo! We walked another six miles today. Ron is having fun with DNA.  Sistah Carol has become a whiz at getting DNA spit out of relatives and posting the results on GEDmatch.  In addition to Rambo/Beatty DNA results, Ron is editing Cynthia’s DNA article now refered to as “Debbie Does DNA.”  Ron’s mentor, Dr. Peter Craig, was posthumously honored in the National Genealogy Society Hall of Fame.

15 Mar: It’s amazing how much better we feel when we didn’t know we weren’t feeling fabulous last year. We ARE aware of our good fortune and thank God.  That was the topic of discussion on our walks today on a gorgeous day (6 miles).   Lunch at the  was delicious (photo).  Late afternoon the sun hid and a cool, brisk wind whipped as we walked to the lake.

14 Mar:  Montgomery, TX, the Smooches are reunited, morning stretchified, edified, and computering.  Cynthia likes having an uncluttered computer of her own once again and is resisting having Ron install various convenience databases like the Craig Collection PDFs and the RON James Lea Compendium.  (Just with until she is not looking.)  She accidentally deleted this entire blog just seconds ago and shrieked for her beloved to HELP !!!  Cynthia knows about Ctrl-Z to remove the last fix; she hasn't yet learned about Ctrl-Y to restore the previous edits.  Now she knows. We walked to the Caddy Shack to enjoy a lovely lunch on the patio. En route we encountered Texas Longhorns. Large herds of deer graze along the jogging trail to the fitness center.

13 Mar:  Where is Ron?  This is the day!  So, where is Ron?  It is approaching 4:00 PM and that big blue BMW is not yet loaded with Smooch.  Annnnnndddddd there is that rush hour traffic on I-35 at Fort Worth, Texas that brings the traffic to stop and go.  So.  Sometime by midnight Smooch will arrive.  It will be a chilly, dark ride in heavy traffic.  But soon that blue BMW will be home! Now,   he has arrived!:
Stars shining bright above you
Night breezes seem to whisper "I love you"
Birds singing in the sycamore trees
Dream a little dream of me

12 Mar: It’s Monday morning! Aren’t you glad?  Have a happy day! Ron is transferring files to floppies because of a very old, outdated OS that can’t transfer to the Mac. Meanwhile in south east Texas Easter Lilies were ordered and Cynthia is off for a fun day with Fyn and Zoe, the youngest of the 7 granddaughters. Thoughts from Cynthia’s FB morning post: Belonging to a team, having team spirit, is a good thing. Team spirit gives us strong family ties, denominational ties, political ties, unless it divides us so much we are given to hate and rancor.

11 Mar: Ron misses da wee-fee.   With high hopes the Computer transfers will be completed by noon-thirty that big blue BMW will be traveling south like a speeding bullet. Ahhh! Not so fortunate: the discovery of files already converted to RTF by Mr. Smooch Geek in 2011 are a puzzle. Now, it is time to walk and clear the brain fog to enable memory of how that happened.  Obviously the brain fog ensued from wedded bliss in 2011. Yup!

busy night at all the British henge sites as staff work all night to move the stones forward by an hour

10 Mar: Way up at the North Pole in Denton, Texas, Ron has a job.  He is sorting over 10,000 unfiltered emails in Dorothy’s Inbox.  He can delete only a hundred at a time. This job may take a few years.  Dorothy’s  DeHaven book is on a different OS on another computer.  By 8:39 PM Ron is down to 9000 emails to sort and save after deleting junk.  Down in Montgomery, Cynthia watched Ron’s sister Carol’s granddaughter Erika receiving a 4th place drill team competition award out of 30 or 40 participants. Erika is exceptionally bright besides talented.

9 Mar: Ron departed for Denton, Texas at 10:30 AM. The five hour ride was pleasant under partly cloudy skies with a high of 75 degrees forecast; arrival was about 2:30 PM. Ron phoned Cynthia from Wally World, but she was at the fitness center and returned the call, missing him. Ron called back missing Cynthia. Isn’t this fun?  Finally, we connected. The world turns once again.

8 Mar: Ron has turned into the Tasmanian Devil, housecleaning ahead of tomorrow’s departure. The kitchen is clean and the lady of the house is smiling.  We walked to the lake, and took a joy ride on the motorcycle, first to eat at the Cafe on the Green, then onto UPS to mail a letter to the Elections Board, and finally to Wally World to fill our freezer and refrigerator. Ron finished mending the patches added to the patches on the patches of his brittle, almost dead khakis.  Certainly there is another year's wear out of these patches?

7 Mar: Happy birthday Grandson Eric. We spent the afternoon at the dentists office with granddaughter Rachel; she texted how much she and Ryan adore Ron in a “manly” way.  Ron has always striven to be adored in a manly way, too.  Plans are shaping up for Ron to go to Denton, TX on Friday to help the estate administrator take care of the files on Cousin Dorothy’s computers. Her memorial service was a week ago. The 102 year old cousin will be dearly missed.

6 Mar: WOW! We walked to voting precinct #63 so Cynthia could vote...  with a sticker, “I Voted!” pasted on her forehead, we walked to the Cafe on the Green for lunch.  We continued on the walk to the Lake and home again, home again jiggity jig.  Ron is discovering how to do chromosome matches  on  The first try was amusing by mistakenly using a cousin’s kit # instead of his own.

granddaughters are wonderful

5 Mar:  Happy Monday! Cynthia finally... finally...  completed updating her Rostered Ministers Profile to allow for ministry while we spend the year 2019 at the Lutheran Seminary in Philadelphia.  We are off to do lunch at En Salata with granddaughter Kiira who is two short months from graduation with a MA Counseling. Kiira (white jeans, pictured with granddaughters Samantha and Rachel) asked what fun things we were going to do after lunch. Ron replied, “At your age you would think to yourself, ‘Get a life!’”    We walked to the fitness center to work out and counted 19 deer on the way home.

4 Mar, Sunday:  We worshiped at Grace Lutheran followed by brunch at the Yacht Club with Jen, Brett and Roxanne before the parents to be took off for the 16 hour drive home to Denver with their car packed tight with baby items from the shower.  We managed five miles walking total for the day.  Ron has been reassured that Cousin Dorothy’s DeHaven manuscript is in good hands for posthumous publication.

Mr. McGregor’s Garden
3 Mar:  Ron is going to Jon's house to hook up one of the new Ebay Toshibas to Jon's big screen TV for a computer screen and then he 'Rides like Ron' taking the motorcycle for a spin.  Cynthia is going to a baby shower for  our expected great grandson.  Oh, the excitement!  Ten years ago Ron, never in his wildest imagination,  envisioned having 11 grandchildren. Now we are on to the Greats!  Roxanne ‘s themed Peter Rabbit shower included Mr. McGregor’s Garden in her yard that earned her Yard of the Month.

2 Mar:  Our condo is not furnished with an ironing board or iron; friend Barb allowed us to come to her house so Ron could iron patches on his patches on his patches on his pants to last several more years.  Cynthia is prepared with back up cargo khaki pants for every day, back up cargo dress pants Ron can wear to church or for days his patches fall off.  Cynthia had a 1 PM doctor appointment at the Conroe Medical Center so we ate lunch at the Club en route, followed by a stop at the storage unit to pick up a cable for the TV to the computer; from there we mailed two unneeded Apple adaptors back at the UPS store. At 2:30 we hoofed it to the Fitness Center for a workout.  Ron is tired today, rested in the afternoon, and still went to bed early.  Do our readers need to know all of these details? NO! But, welcome to our world.  This is how Cynthia details medical information for the IRS and doctors.

1 Mar:   Ron had the perfect title for the March blog but forgot it.  We drove to the ophthalmologist in Brenham to get an update on Cynthia's macular degeneration arriving five minutes late.  Use eye drops, take vitamins religiously, and return in September.  On the way home we stopped at Kroger's for frozen berries and raw veggies. The computers kept us busy until four PM when we walked to the fitness center and onto the Cafe on the Green for dinner.  With trowel in hand Ron dug trenches  along the trail to drain standing water.  Trail maintenance never stops.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

February is for Lovers - I love you!

28 Feb:  Here it is the last day of February already.  How does time manage to fly so fast?  Cynthia finished setup of her new MacBook Pro, a tiny little, powerful little thing.  Now she is e-mailing genealogical GEDCOMs to herself from the old computer so that she can do it all on this one henceforth.  (Ron is attempting to type to Y'all on the new MacBook as we speak.).  He discovered the bad news for the day when he went out for a walk and called Dorothy Bertine, our 102+ year old genealogy cousin who passed away last Thursday.  Ron has been anticipating another visit with her soon, but no more.  Fare ye well Dorothy; you have been an inspiration and good friend.  Lunch for Ron was oatmeal with beans and lentils; Yum.

27 Feb:  Yup, we are almost out of February.  Sistah Carol sent a wonderful photo of uncle Lawrence, Carol and Ron taken in St. Louis, Mo in January.  Lawrence contracted very painful shingles the very next day despite having had a shingles shot.  Ron finished the Caulk package, fixed nephew Eric’s coin website (again), and did trail maintenance to drain standing water from the sidewalks we frequent hereabouts.  Cynthia drove to the pharmacy and met Hiker Ron at the Golf club for our typical steamed vegetable, salad and baked potato dinner.  This evening Ron threw lentils into the Instant Pot.
Sistah Carol is the short one

26 Feb:  and the end of another month approaches.  The day was lovely, cool but sunny.  The trees are putting forth; pear trees are blossoming and the redbuds are budding.  The abundant recent rainfall and more recent sunshine have borne fruit.  After going through the 2012 tax records searching for the actual cost of Ron’s (never used) MacBook Air we found the receipt in gmail - $1800.  We are trading it in for $300 the 2018 MacBookPro 13” for Cynthia to use because it is so very light.  Since Ron uses the 17” MacBook Pro so much for creating PDFs for the Swedish Colonial Society using Adobe Acrobat Pro software, Cynthia has wanted a computer of her own again so that she doesn't have to hippie toe around the hundreds of windows that Ron insists on leaving open.  (His memory has grown so short that he doesn't remember where he was without a screen open to remind him.)  A second breakfast at the Toasted Yolk filled us up nicely before the doctor appointment for Cynthia’s tendinitis.  All of the pain is gone; no need to return.  We shopped at Wally World and walked to the fitness center for workout.  Now, we are filled with salads, and Ron is cooking black beans in the Instant Pot.  Good night.

25 Feb, Sunday:  The rains they came, torrential rains, gully washers, creating road hazards because the runoff wasn’t draining effectively.  But we did make it to the church on time.  Worship was moving, peaceful, uplifting,  with  comedic moments when the children looked up astonished by loud, clapping thunder during the children’s message.  Best part is that Cynthia can now hear the sermons; she turns her new hearing aids up and up and up ... and she hears !!  The rain increased in intensity as we our destination.  Brunch with Jon, Rachel and Ryan was so much fun.  We drove to the fitness center by 3:30 to work out.  Both of us have the munchies today.  Ron munched on oatmeal, popcorn and fruit; Cynthia had oatmeal and fruit.  Cynthia was in a thinking mood... what can be done about dysfunctional families and rootless, angry kids?  How do we find the root causes? Angry, emotional talking heads on the treadmill TV, promoted reflection:  TV is intended to create emotional reactions in the viewers. TV and internet changes the brain.  Why invite anger and violence into a child’s formative mind?  Turn off the TV, video games, violence in movies;  put away cell phones and electronics, instead,  talk to/ with children.  Teach children kindness and respect for all things living, to be stewards of Gods creation.  Teach children that God loves them beyond their wildest imagination.  Amen

Ron's idea of a good time and good company
24 Feb:  Ron is planning the route for our trip to Sedona, figuring out lodging along back roads that frequently don’t have lodging for hundreds of miles.  West Texas will have Mexican restaurants with the usual junk food places.  We will pack oatmeal, fruit and veggies.  Carrots are great choices.

23 Feb:  Ron’s weight is 174.2. Good job!  Our poor Miss Smoochie Frog with one eye missing, was confiscated by sistah Carol in exchange for a brand new identical frog named Miss Smoochie with two perfect eyes.  Carol, who has a PhD in biology, wrote her dissertation on Frogs. She thought our Miss Smoochie should be retired since she has traveled the world: Italy, all of the UK, Paris, Northern Europe and the entire US of A.  Maybe so, she looked very tired.  Ron has several more Family group sheet packages almost ready to  be posted for sale on the SCS website.

22 Feb: Another day just like yesterday except Cynthia had a trip to the Lake Conroe Medical Clinic for antibiotic. Her blood pressure is excellent.  We picked up dry cleaning, stopped at Wally World for groceries and returned to our fitness regime.

21 Feb: 7 days to March!  7 marching days to get the taxes prepared for the CPA.  Cynthia has lodging ready for Sedona April 15th to May 15th, and Santa Fe May 17th to 31st.  We are excited to see our friends again. Ron is working on the James  Lea Book, plus doing Trail maintenance on the jogging path that floods with rain.  We are also working on our exercise program: 6 miles walking, plus 45 minutes in the fitness center with weights and the elliptical machine makes us happy

20 Feb: New technology is amazing. Cynthia’s new hearing aids connect to Bluetooth and controlled with iPhone X.   We picked up the now charger from the audiologist this morning; it  charges  the hearing aidsso we never have to buy batteries. Yes, it is amazing. Ron shopped for a heavy duty toenail file at the  tool store.  Cynthis thought a large heavy duty tool box was warranted for the large file.  Jason’s Deli was a great treat for lunch.  We walked early afternoon to beat the rain.  It was  also amazing to see  the temperature reach 76 degrees, yet, it was still a chilly, dark, and gray day.

19 Feb: 8:00 was WAY too early to leave the house, especially since we overslept until 7:20.  Cynthia had a 9:00 AM appointment with Bambi before we met daughter Julie for a huge salad at Salata.  We shopped for groceries at Kroger’s and walked to the fitness Center for a workout.  The National Genealogical Society publications have great read.

18 Feb, Sunday:  And we need to leave by 9:15 to stop for gas en route to church. Worship was delightful with children participating in the service, too. Jon joined us for brunch; we did a good long walk followed by a visit from Rachel and Ryan.

17 Feb:  54 degrees at noon thirty!  This might be one of Texas coldest winters.  We should be having comfortably warm weather by mid-February.   The condo is clean!  The housecleaning is done!  We walked to the fitness center for Cynthia's session with Brenda, her personal trainer, then we walked to the "Caddy Shack" for a late lunch before heading home again, home again.  Ron completed the last package pending and updated his nephew's coins page.  Maybe tomorrow he can work on Harry Bernard King and James Lea.

16 Feb:  This morning Cynthia suffered a brief morning meltdown about her macular degeneration, but she soon recovered and is back to being Pollyanna.  We ran errands, taking Cynthia’s albs (garments that pastors wear) to Pastor Diane who accidentally washed her own alb with a ballpoint pen in the pocket.  (Blue stains everywhere.)  Ron pointed out a tiny coffee stain on Cynthia’s alb and told Diane, "If the coffee stain doesn’t come out, she could dye it ballpoint blue".  Ron’s new convertible (to shorts) khaki pants are back from alterations with 22" zippers in the pants legs so that the convertible pants can be converted to shorts conveniently (i.e. without removing muddy hiking boots).  Cynthia has good ideas.  (She has been known to hurt her shoulder while patting herself on the back.)  Ron bought more roses and a wonderful floor lamp to give his beloved WeeFee the additional light she needs to read without fretting about macular degeneration.  Ron has good ideas.  We walked to the Caddy Shack for dinner and on to the lake totaling a whopping 16,000 steps.  Ron and Cynthia have good ideas!

15 Feb:  We are off to Brenham, TX for retina testing followed by personal trainer.  The test showed Cynthia does not have wet macular degeneration, but dry.  Neither one is good.  We had lunch at Magnolia Diner and worked out at the Fitness Center.  Our granddaughter Lauren is  published:  Cynthia scared herself by reading about the progression of macular degeneration.  Sometimes this reading stuff isn't recommended for the faint of heart.

14 Feb:  Is Valentine's Day.  I love you, mee WeeFee.  Isn’t Love grand?  Ron had a dental appointment at 9:00 in the Woodlands.  (His only filling needed to be refilled.)  Afterwards we lunched at the nearby Jason’s Deli and drove to the Apple Store where we learned that they only sell standard issue, minimally-configured computers and do not take laptop trade-ins.  Since we want a bigger hard drive and memory, it has to be customized and purchased online.

Lenten Lessons for Life 
by the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Forde

Tonight, Ash Wednesday, I receive the mark of the cross on my forehead to remind me I am dust and to dust I shall return.  Do I really need another reminder that dusty state is approaching faster than a bullet train?  The mirror already tells me this is so. Frustration and stress with hearing aids echoes the news.  The opthalmologist confirms unwelcome news of age related wet macular degeneration.  The sip of wine and morsel of bread tell me that inside I grow newer inch by painful inch while outside I grow old pretty darn quick.  How do I live out aging?  I fight with all of my strength against those things I can do something about.  And I surrender to diminshment, I acquiesce, knowing Christ must increase as I decrease.  I let it be done.  Amen

Ron's Lenten message is much simpler: Thank God for whatever still works.  Amen.
Ron bought a firewire cable to enjoy TV as computer screen
13 Feb:  Ron is almost there...175.2 was the mornings weight.  After the incredible euphoria over a weight loss of .4 ounces, we feasted on oatmeal and berries before bravely venturing out into the 35 degree SE Texas weather to see the CPA in Hempstead.  (Ron asks: Why is it brave to drive in a car in cold weather?)  We enjoyed a lovely lunch with Carol S. at Bever's Kitchen in Chappell Hill, and they accommodated our diet easily.  Then we continued to Brenham to see Dr. Beim, the ophthalmologist, for a retina test.  He needs to do yet another test Thursday to determine if Cynthia has wet macular degeneration.  This evening, being Shrove Tuesday, we treated ourselves to skinny salmon, a baked potato and huge salads at the Cafe on the Green.  The big computer screen is not quite big enough??

12 Feb:  Ron weighs 175.6. Six ounces to go ... so nibbling consists of a bowl of chopped celery instead of fat/sugar/sodium free/ pretzels.  Even though the weather is cold, we walked 6 miles and worked out at the fitness center; Cynthia hired Brenda, a personal trainer, for the next two months.  We enjoyed lunch AND dinner at Magnolia Diner.   The deer population in Montgomery is huge; nine in this picture; on our daily walks, we've seen two herds of 16 to 20 within five minutes.

11 Feb, Sunday:  This morning Ron weighed 176.2 (still too heavy).  Cynthia's weight is right on the money, honey!  Worship at Grace was especially delightful when the little children, including precious identical twins, used musical rhythm instruments during the recessional hymn.  Global freezing blasted us walking to and fro church, and fro and to brunch at the yacht club.  Having eaten our fill and more, Ron napped at home before he walked to the fitness center.  (Cynthia has no tolerance for cold; she drove.)  We drove home together and quickly cleaned up to attend an open house at the pastors new home.  Zzzzzzzzz -->

10 Feb:  Another day, another dollar.  Does that saying imply a dollar earned or a dollar spent or all of the above?  We arose, stretched, ate oatmeal, and Ron weighed 176.6 pounds.  Since he is not allowed to go above 175, he will have to wait until hungry to eat today and to stop when no longer hungry.  Stay tuned for the results tomorrow morning.  Today was the day to update the blog; I think Ron has finished updating back to February 1 now.

9 Feb:  We enjoyed an active day, walking first, then Cynthia spent time organizing things at the storage locker, then we grocery shopped at Wally World (Ron bought roses & Cynthia declared them a Valentine's present), the SuperFeet arrived, then we drove to Perry's Steakhouse for dinner with Roxanne and Julie.  A fun time was had by all, and Ron adhered to his diet by eating only a salad and part of Cynthia's baked potato and salmon.  (Cynthia was also dietarily perfect.)  Ron remembered to Google Jack Lalanne (click here) and was amazed to see that his TV show ran from 1953 until 1985, i.e. overlapping Maggie's exercise class at MIT.   What an inspirational guy - he enjoyed a life of good health and fitness until age 96.  His wife Elaine is still going strong at 92.

8 Feb:  Happy birthday daughter Roxanne!  After breakfast we (Cynthia) will organize the storage unit and work on fitness!  Nope, breakfast was instead followed by a long day of computer work before we sallied forth in the afternoon to retrieve a package from the post office containing Ron’s Superfeet (delivered yesterday to the condo mailbox; we don’t have a key).  The issue is resolved, we think, with USPS bringing the package to us ... Sometime.  We walked to the fitness center and back and saw two herds of 15 or more deer along the trail.  We had a good day apart from the postal delivery fiasco.

7 Feb:  Global Freezing has returned to Texas with an arctic freeze forecast for the weekend.  We signed papers to extend the rental car for another month, and we dropped off Ron’s new cargo pants for alterations to add  22” zippers to the bottom sides of both legs.  The cold, wet weather prohibited walking outside so we boogied to the fitness center for an hour workout followed by lunch at the caddy shack.  Cynthia’s  plan to spend the afternoon with granddaughters changed because of heavy rain.  Ron zonked out for a long winters nap (three hours).

6 Feb:  This was a very foggy day — rain and colder temperatures are approaching.  Ron searched  eBay for Toshiba parts, cables and flash drives.  Per his suggestion, Cynthia purchased these for his Valentines Day and Christmas gifts for the next thirty years.  After the purchasing adrenaline rush subsided, we walked to the golf club cafe for a terrific lunch sharing  a plain baked potato; Cynthia ate steamed vegetables, and Ron ate an entree-sized salad sans dressing.  From the Caddy Shack,  we ventured forth on our walk to the fitness center, the lake and back home.  Life is grand!   Our peace of mind comes from eschewing television, especially news.

5 Feb:  Montgomery, Texas, where Cynthia’s blood pressure is optimum.  No meds. We don’t know why it was elevated for a couple of weeks.  Ron’s new Hoka shoes arrived from Illinois after sister Carol forwarded them on to Texas because the shoes arrived in Illinois after Ron departed towards Texas.  The new superfeet insoles will arrive in Texas on Wednesday.  And Ron’s new pants arrived last week.  The consumer queen is flush with Overwhelming Excitement.

4 Feb, Sunday:  We awakened in Weatherford, TX and "breakfasted" at the hotel (lots of oatmeal).  We enjoyed a fun day with Eric touring his 5.5 acre “ranch,” complete with house remodeling project curently underway (remodel mandated by his mother, Julie), and his professional project, the new Ft Worth Rodeo Arena (click here).  The rodeo arena is being touted as the grandest, most upscale, rodeo arena in the world.  Eric is one of 16 supervisors on this huge arena (85,000 cubic yards of concrete) due to open in 22 months.  Not a bad job for a kid fresh out of college, but Eric has worked with the family concrete bridge construction business for 9 years before graduation, starting at age 14!!  We ate lunch at a nearby Jason’s Deli and returned to our condo exhausted, but before dark.

Eric & Emily
3 Feb: After a lovely, leisurely morning rejoicing being “the twos of us together,” we drove to visit grandson Eric and his fiancĂ© in Weatherford, Texas (west of Fort Worth).  Ron prepared for our dinner at Shep’s by bringing food that we could eat before and after dinner: oatmeal.  Ron again puzzled the waitress by ordering an entree-sized salad with only vegetables; no oil, no butter, no fat, no cheese, no dressing, no avocados, no olives, no croutons - just vegetables.  We stayed the night at a Hampton Inn and slept well.

2 Feb in Montgomery, Texas:  Since Ron is home, Cynthia posted the "Do Not Disturb" sign early, but we are now up, stretched, breakfasted and prepared to go out for a walk.  We walked to the Caddy Shack for lunch of salad, steamed veggies and a baked potato.  Then we walked to the fitness center and down the gravel path to the lake where a couple of guys were playing football catch with a youngster.  Cynthia's FitBit buzzed her at 10,000 steps, and Roxanne called as we arrived home.

1 Feb:  Ron departed from his Fortune motel in Newport, Arkansas and rode past Success on his way towards Houston, 500 miles away.  It is barely possible to make it home before dark with a ten plus hour ride, home for the winter being the vacation-rental condo on Lake Conroe and a WeeFee who thinks he is outrageously funny and incredibly loving.  Cynthia calls Ron a “balcony” person who lifts people up, including the "beige" people others don’t notice.  Surprisingly, he learns the names of many wait staff and maintenance people, blessing all with his warm, million-dollar smile.  To Smooch, I love you! ❤️
WooHoo!  6:15 and  Smooch is home.  510 miles and in need of a rest!

Monday, January 1, 2018

Jan: The First Day of the Rest of Our Lives

31 Jan:  Ron departed Trenton, Illinois minutes before noon after saying a final goodby to Don & Ann.  He rode 300 miles southwest until reaching Newport, Arkansas and the Fortune Motel about 5:30 PM.  The motel is a family run business and is clean & comfortable, recommended to anyone traveling old U.S. 67 through Arkansas.  Cynthia visited the ophthalmologist in Brenham, TX and her CPA in Hempstead before enjoying a fun, fun gathering with girlfriends Sandy and Carol at the Dairy Queen.

30 Jan in Trenton, Illinois.  Don & Ann got moving early in order to play a few games of Liverpool rummy in the afternoon.  Ron ended up as the overall winner, 4 games to Don's 3 to Ann's 2.  This has never happened before in the history of Liverpool rummy; we suspect that the end of the world is at hand.  At 5:45, Hank picked up Don & Ron to attend Ian's basketball game in Salem, the final game of the season for the Wesclin team (since they lost; Ian is Hank's son).  After the game Ron commenced packing in preparation for the long, cold ride to his Bride!

Aunt Eleanor on 26 September 2016
29 Jan:  Sad News: Ron’s (cheery, witty, paternal) Aunt Eleanor, passed away in a nursing home near Keosaqua, Iowa having attained the lively age of 98 years.  Unfortunately the forecasts are just too miserable for Ron to go to the funeral; he and the motorcycle could end up stuck in Illinois for a month until the weather warms again.
Ron is in Trenton, Illinois visiting Don and Ann S. and staying up way beyond his bedtime playing cards.  Cynthia saw a sports medicine doctor for her right hand.  It was diagnosed with severe arthritis at the base of the thumb and treated with a cortisone injection.

28 Jan, Sunday:  Cynthia worshipped at Grace Lutheran Church in Montgomery, Texas; Ron relocated from Mt. Olive to Trenton, IL, stopping at his storage locker to drop off the pile of financial reports he carted up from Texas.  Weather is forecast; more global freezing is bearing down on the Midwest closing the window of escape to return to his beloved bride in Texas.  God willing, Ron will be riding southwest before that cold arrives Saturday.

27 Jan:  Cynthia lost track of this day.  Once she finds it, she will post about doing nothing.  It is a challenge to do nothing because you never know when you are finished.

26 Jan:  What a deal!  Ron’s Hoka One One hiking shoes had a year warranty.  After wearing them for 9 months the shoes were shot and returned to claim the warranty.  Sure enough, the full purchase price was refunded. In the interim, Ron pulled a pair of old tennis shoes out of the storage unit to wear to Illinois where the soles on those shoes expired.  Cynthia ordered new Hokas for Smooch to arrive in Illinois on Monday.

25 Jan:  Ron is in Illinois, Cynthia has an early afternoon flight from Las Vegas to Houston.  The distance between Houston and Illinois is still too great.  The flight was delayed 5 hours, arriving in Houston at 10:30 PM, followed by a baggage delay and a 45 minute Uber ride.  Uber is my preferred way to travel; I like how convenient they are, always close by, with a predetermined rate,  conveniently taken care of by credit card.  Although, It is not comfortable for women to travel by taxi or Uber alone at night:

24 Jan:  Mt. Olive, Illinois is bristling with excitement that Ron is eating egg white veggie omelets at Denny’s boosting the economy.  Ron and sister Carol are splitting wood and tracking DNA matches.

23 Jan:  The distance between Las Vegas and Mt Olive Illinois is huge!  After ten years of almost 24/7 we don’t do distance apart easily.

22 Jan:  Ron is having fun in Illinois wrapping trees in chicken wire for protection from deer, creating firewood using a log splitter, and helping Carol create spreadsheets for DNA.  In the meantime,  Cynthia, in Palm Desert, CA said goodbye to son and daughter who returned to Houston, and sister Bonnie who lives in Palm Desert.  Cynthia and sister Merrilee drove to Merrilee’s home in Las Vegas for a few days.

21 Jan:  Ron and sister Carol drove to Denny’s for egg white vegetable omelets for breakfast before creating spreadsheets for Carols Mac to help her organize DNA records. Carol is such a whiz.

Da sisters in Palm Springs, warm & beautiful
20 Jan:  Ron arrived in Illinois mid afternoon after a 200 plus mile day.  Cynthia is enjoying a  Palm Springs mini reunion with her two sisters,  Bonnie and Merrilee.

19 Jan:  Ron arrived in Pocahontas, Arkansas after a 400 plus mile day.

18 Jan:  Texas is yet suffering from bitter cold.  Many accidents and a fatality were reported on 105 last night.  The pipes at the beach house froze and burst despite having a neighbor shut the water off. Arctic weather, snow and ice in the South raise the death toll to 15, and 100,000  folks are without power. We had warnings to use minimal electricity today.  Ron left Montgomery about 4:00 PM in 38 degree weather heading northeast to visit his sistah and friends in Trenton, Illinois; he stopped at a Comfort Inn near Livingston at dark-thirty after a mere 120 miles.  He was quite disappointed to get a motel instead of sleeping out, but he has lost his acumen about picking a sleeping place as darkness falls.  Cynthia is checked in for a flight to Palm Springs with two of her children. One daughter had to cancel mid afternoon when the Dr. said she was virally contagious. Another son could not leave his business. A horrid flu epidemic is making rounds; hopefully, no sick folks will be on our flight.

17 Jan:  We ventured forth at 4:15 this afternoon only to discover many patches of ice around the car.  Boxes were taken to the storage unit, UPS was closed, but Magnolia Diner was open and so was Walmart.  We are once again stocked with food and the popcorn popper was returned because it makes rubbery popcorn.  Ron's mail from Clarence arrived full of financial goodies (annual reports).  Pritikin gifted Ron a set of ping pong paddles. Ron is scheduled to depart for Illinois at one PM  when the temperature reaches 40, IF it really does!  We are tired from so little exercise.  Good night.

16 Jan: Greetings from the frozen tundra of the Texas Gulf Coast as we experience another blast of global freezing. Texas is closed today and tomorrow.  When WhatABurger closes you graps the severity.    Ron’s appointment with the electrophysiologist was cancelled.  When the warming trend to a high of 45 begins Thursday, Ron will ride to Illinois to visit Sistah Carol.  See the Houston traffic map, we are directly north of Houston off I-45, but not visible on this map.  Houston is closed!

15 Jan: Today is National Kindness Day as we honor the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Definition of kindness
1 : the quality or state of being kind treating people with kindness and respect
2 : a kind deed : favor They did me a great kindness.
It matters not what anyone else says or does, what counts is what you and I say and do.  Ron worked on recycling; we organized boxes at the storage unit and discovered Ron’s rain suit, zillions of loose rubber bands, plastic spoons from the good old days eating ice cream.   Cynthia found the battery and charger for her heated winter jacket.  A Walmart stop replenished our groceries in preparation for the big freeze due tomorrow.  We walked 4 miles midday enjoying the abundance of deer grazing near the Trail, and tonight, we walked another 2 miles after dinner;  the deer seemed interested in us.

14 Jan: The morning temperature was a very chilly actual 31 degrees; we were layered for the bounce down the outside stairs to the car, pleasantly surprised by the warmth of the brilliant sunshine.  We drove off, then abruptly turned the car around because Ron forgot to take his meds; nevertheless, we made it to the church on time.  The Pastor went into overtime causing us to be ten minutes late for brunch with Bill and Merry at the Yaxht Club.  Yes. We had a great visit with good friends followed by a 4 mile walk to the lake. Several large herds of deer were grazing along the trail, not really minding that we were so close to them. Ron spotted a gray fox that darted right back into the woods. Did we mention Ron finally completed the 1318 page family group sheet Order and sent it off? The project gave Ron three months of steady employment for a $99.00 package. We are on a roll to get recycling done by Wednesday to drop off the recycling en route to the Houston Medical Center. Weather advisory warnings are posted for wintry mix by Tuesday afternoon. The weather change dims possibility of departing for Illinois on Thursday. We shall see!

13 Jan, It is 31 degrees real feel in Montgomery, Texas.  Global Freezing is upon us. Cynthia’s blood pressure was normal. Joy.  Ron is still planning to ride the motorcycle to Illinois on the 18th & 19th, God willing, if the weather forecast continues to be moderate.  So let's let him check that out now.  Bye.

12 Jan:  It is cold and windy at Lake Conroe today.  Cynthia's nerves were shattered this morning when her iPad independently, perversely, abruptly began playing loud modern music.  We think the beast is silenced for good now.  The phone, on the other hand, is less amenable to being silenced.  These damn things seem to have the ability to reset themselves to loud without recourse.  We had no appointments, so dallied around the apartment until lunch time,  then ate lunch at the Inn on the Green at the Walden Golf Club; Oscar has been doing a marvelous job on Ron's entree-sized salads, and today we got to thank him in person.  From there we drove to the storage locker, hunting for certain items, and found several of them.  Ron now has the "guest" bedroom full of boxes of things from storage, and he has vowed to return less to storage than came out of it.  (We will believe it when we see it.  Tomorrow is his chosen day to thrash through everything, reorganize, and re-pack.)  More errands, then home and out the door for the usual walk to the lakeside "beach" and back.  Again we saw vast herds of deer more suitable to the African plain than to Conroe, where mushrooming housing is consistently reducing deer habitat.  The microwave is again the popcorn popper of choice.

11 Jan:  What happened to this day?  It has vanished before we knew it.  I think we drove to Bambi's where neither Cynthia nor Ron was scolded for "skin damage" and afterwards, as we discussed stopping at Jason's Deli, we espied a new one where we stopped for lunch.  Then we got the shock of our lives at the audiologist's office: Cynthia can now hear, and her cell phone app controls the new hearing aids.  Whatever will they think of next?  Problem is that all this new noise upsets her "quiet world" that she usually enjoys.  Stay tuned while we sort this one out.

10 Jan:  Morning comes too soon!  We are off to our dental appointments.  We emerged with smiles intact.  After lunch at Jason’s Deli,  Cynthia will see her Dr while Ron works on the computer in the waiting room.  Does anyone really need to know this?  Yes, the IRS needs noted medical mileage.  We walked about 6 miles this afternoon, including the walk to the Caddy Shack for dinner.  We are tired little longevities.  The hot air popper makes the popcorn less crisp than the microwave.  Thank goodness Ron has finally completed the 1318-page package of family group sheets, etc. for the Swedish Colonial Society member who ordered it.  Then he spent a few minutes editing "Nancy Drew Does DNA" before starting on the next Swedish package.  Good news: two grandsons will be married, one for certain next November and the other might marry yet this summer.

9 Jan: Progress is being made on our SCS projects with the 2017 report completed, Cynthia made a stab at sorting receipts for taxes, various and sundry documents have been downloaded, like insurance  ID cards, and mail sorted with a large pile for recycling.  We hit 15,000 steps again today.  We picked up our meds at Lakeside Pharmacy.  Ron bought a $20 hot air popcorn popper and tried it out several times this evening.

Aaagh !! Caught on camera.  It was chilly
The deer herds are as huge as ever
8 Jan: We remain this side of the sod in Montgomery, Texas enjoying daily walks, the lake, the deer at play, and Ron stays incredibly busy with Swedish Colonial Society Projects.

7 Jan, Sunday:  Cynthia's struggle with high blood pressure enters the third day.  This morning before eating it was high; after eating it was normal.  She added salt to her oatmeal this morning - Dr. Cynthia, self medicating.  We are looking forward to seeing our friends at church and at the Walden Yacht Club after church this morning.  Our day is starting out dreary and overcast; the forecast calls for light rain to commence after dark.  According to the forecast for Mt. Olive, Illinois, my sister might see above freezing temperatures this afternoon with rain turning to freezing rain after dark.  Ugh, we'll take ours.  Ron's plan for the day is same as usual - continue working to assemble the next package of Peter Craig materials for the patron of the Swedish Colonial Society; all that remains to do for this one is to re-read and re-order the 800 pages that will go into it.

6 Jan:  Lake Conroe, Texas.  We woke up (always good news) to rush through eating our breakfast oatmeal with fruit in order to pick up the rental car at 9:30 and then to the storage unit to unpack boxes that had been shipped back during the year.  After lunch at Magnolia Diner, Cynthia visited Verizon to set up her new iPhone X.  Our three devices now have a much lower monthly bill.  Since the storage facility closes early on Saturday, Ron opted to ignore the several items that he forgot to retrieve.  The weather was gorgeous for our usual 4-mile walk along the gravel path past the fitness center (with rest rooms) to the tiny park on the lake.  Son Jon dropped his new Christmas gift Instant Pot off for us to use during our time here at Lake Conroe (to cook our beans).  Cynthia discovered that her high blood pressure might have been caused by dehydration, or perhaps low sodium in our diet might be the culprit.  (She calculated only 25 mg salt today and for the last many days; we just avoid salt assiduously.)  By drinking  a lot of water this evening, her blood pressure reading is again normal.

5 Jan:  Houston, TX Medical Center.  Since the normal procedure is to see the doctor first, then get blood drawn for a fasting blood test, we did not eat.  Imagine Cynthia's reaction after she suffered through fasting until seeing the doctor ... only to be told that he didn't need a fasting blood test because so many were done so recently at the Pritikin !!  Cynthia was shocked to find that her blood pressure was sky high - 162/ ? and when re-taken was 140/ 79.   On the other hand, our weights were satisfactorily low.  The doctor was well pleased with Ron's numbers and report and agreed that he no longer needs the Brilinta.  Ron is ever hopeful that his shortness of breath symptom will go away after he runs out of Brilinta in a month.  We were done with the appointments by 10:10 and boogied back to the Hotel to eat breakfast.  After a quick and chilly ride on I-45 north, we were able to enjoy lunch with a beautiful baked sweet potato at the new Jason's Deli in Conroe before continuing to our 2nd floor vacation rental overlooking the Marina to the lake, much nicer than last year's ground floor looking through the bushes to the swimming pool.  Before dark we rode over to Walmart and purchased enough groceries to last us a few days but forgot to get coffee and a few other critical necessities.

4 Jan:  Goodbye Crystal Beach, TX...  Hello Houston.  Our ride to the Texas Medical Center took 2 hours even with a fuel stop and a recycling stop.  Once checked into the hotel, Cynthia took a taxi to see Sasha, her hairdresser.  Ron’s appointment with Dr. Arain, the cardiologist who opened his fully occluded artery, the LAD (left anterior descending artery - the widow maker), went excellently well.  Dr. Arain thought Ron could stop taking Brilinta, one of the 3 prescribed anti-coagulants; but the Dr. was surprised that Ron had not acclimated to the med and he was still having shortness of breath.  Tomorrow we see the second of the three cardiologists and get his opinion.  On the 17th we see the electrophysiologist and get the third opinion about knee replacement in Chicago once the weather permits.  After a terrific dinner of veggies and baked potatoes, we walked Rice University’s iconic 4 mile gravel jogging path which encircles the campus close to the Medical Center.

Lookie !!  SNOW !! on the Texas Gulf Coast !!
Miss Smoochie in winter wraps
3 Jan:  The forecast for today is somewhat warmer. Miss Smoochie is not a believer!  We awoke to see snow on the neighbor’s roofs and on our own !!  Water pipes had burst outdoors at two houses near the beach, but they were soon discovered and fixed.  Our morning walk was lovely, but chilly.  And we are about the business of packing for tomorrow’s departure to the Texas Medical Center for the annual visits to our doctor and cardiologist.

2 Jan:  Global Freezing continues at Crystal Beach.  Thankfully, because we left the water dripping, the pipes did not freeze.  Today was colder but less windy; we walked the beach only once.  Ron is close to completing one time-consuming family group sheet order; Cynthia created another Y-DNA Project: The Rinkers of Virginia, making this the 5th YDNA Project she administers.  At 10:45 PM it is snowing lightly on Crystal Beach.  Good night!

Little SmoochSmooch dressed for the weather;
five layers above and three below
1 Jan 2018:  Happy New Year! May You be Blessed with Merry Hearts, Optimal Health and Infinite Wisdom.  This morning as I, Ron, luxuriated in bed awaiting the awakening of mee WeeFee, I realized that, thanks to our new Pritikin lifestyle and God willing, the rest of our lives promise to be long and very enjoyable.  I have awakened pain free for nearly two months now.  Thanks to our 10-minute morning stretches in bed, we are becoming more fit and flexible daily.  Our plant-based diet requires us to "eat when hungry," so we are hungry only by accident, and because our foods are so low-calorie, we are not in any danger of gaining weight.  No oil, no butter, no fat, no cheese and no salt isn't half bad once you get used to it, and especially when you discover how great you feel when eating like that.  Styrofoam and cardboard have never tasted better !!
We managed two beach walks for some 16,000 steps today even though Cynthia's phone told her that the "real feel" was 15 degrees.  Global Freezing has arrived.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Christmas on the Beach

31 Dec: The place holder held.  Tomorrow is today.  Thank God.  Wasn’t it only yesterday, New Years Eve 2008, when Ron proposed, “Will you marry me?”   What a journey life has been with ups, downs and turn arounds in the 10 years since the surprising, “Yes!”  Another decade begins; 2018 breaks new ground.  We are at our healthiest, perpetually happy, continually surprised by joy.  Thank God.  With a 42 degree wind chill index we walked the beach twice to experience global freezing.  Ron’s brother Dean called from Lewes, DE boasting of running in 17 degree Brrrrr weather.  Dean wins.  After dinner we bundled up to see the fireworks and bonfires on the beach. So beautiful. Happy New Year!  Blessings on all your tomorrows, may you be blessed with a Merry heart, optimum health, and infinite wisdom.
Good Bye 2017
Some of the sunsets on the beach are wonderful, sunrises too.
30 Dec, 2017 Reflection: Thank God for today.  Many friends did not survive to see this year end; we are reminded to live for those who did not.  For those of us who continue on to another year, we do so with gratitude, relishing the simple pleasure of living fully, tasting joy as it flies.  Thank God.  A big Thank you to the 907 people who read our blog in December! Thank you!  On this day, we managed two beach walks in mild 60 degree temperature; too quickly, we started sweating and shed layers.  Dense fog moved in by 3 PM.  The evening has been quiet and peaceful, apart from firecrackers  popping  in the distance. Ron is working on a Stalcup Order while Cynthia reads, “The Experience of God, Being, Consciousness and Bliss,”. by her new favorite author, David Bentley Hart.

29 Dec., Crystal Beach, Texas at 51 degrees, after morning stretches and feeding our faces, we are ready to move.into action. Ron cleaned the kitchen and Cynthia, the Tasmanian Devil, cleaned and did laundry.  The pipes on this beach house are likely not wrapped; Global Freezing is scheduled to usher in the new year.  We walked 4 miles in WIND!
Low tide today was really low !!
Ron shopped and walked some more before we turned into Computer zombies.  Grandson Brett bought 4 new books for the baby and sent a photo of Jenn with their baby bump.

28 Dec: Cold?  YES!  But we bundled up and bounced to the beach for the first of two walks today. Well, we didn’t really bounce, but we looked bouncy moving fast to stay warm.  Ron is working on James Lea while Cynthia does DNA Projects on electronic devices.  We enjoyed a lovely dinner with Cynthia’s Texas friends, Gabby and Bob, Jr.

27 Dec: Oh, what fun! Oh, what fun! Oh, what fun!  We had FUN.  The San Luis Hotel was beautifully decorated with lighted trees and animated decorations, including a live parrot. We enjoyed a pleasant Breakfast together before everyone scattered.  The rain delayed our departure; by noon the rain stopped; Ron said, “ Let’s ride!”   The bike ride in 44 degree temperatures onto the ferry for 2.7 mile crossing with 20 mph side winds was bad.  Thank goodness we timed it to miss the rain/ drizzle.  Brrrr!  Fortunately, we did not have a long wait to board the ferry.  The wind was, well, windy. Very windy. Back at the beach house, we stuffed our faces with oatmeal. And popcorn (No butter and no salt).  Good night.

26 Dec, Awake and out of bed by 7:00 AM we quickly ate and packed the bike to arrive on Galveston Island before we were soaked by spurts of showers/rain forecast.  We made it to the San Luis Resort dry by ten AM.    Our beach house neighbor was in the car beside us while on the ferry. Another surprise was seeing Janeen from Ocean Grill Restaurant at the check-in desk. She did a double take when Ron appeared because she recognized him.  Everyone remembers Ron’s  smile or our crazy dietary restrictions. The foyer and hallway of the San Luis is gorgeous lined with huge Christmas trees.  Our family arrives this afternoon for our Christmas celebration. Daughter Roxanne received an ultrasound photo of her first grandchild for her Christmas gift from her son, Brett.  JOY, this makes Cynthia and Ron great grandparents.  Photos: Lauren and her BF Tyler; view from our room; Cynthia, Ron, Paul, Jon and Roxanne. Sad Julie could not attend.
Tyler and Lauren
View from our room, and the weather was nice
Squeeze together for the fambily shot

25 Dec: Merry Christmas!  A  birth cry pierced the silent night.  Ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes, a baby about the size of a sack of sugar, God enfleshed.  Grandchildren (2004) tell the Good News  in their own inimitable way!  The beach is chilly and windy but we did a 4 mile trek late morning.  Ron is deeply immersed in SCS packages and counting his coins on a spreadsheet.

Daughter Julie's family ??

24 Dec: Ron awoke at 5:30 and commenced work on the SCS package.  Cynthia awoke at 6:45 to a gorgeous sunrise. The day holds bright sunshine and happy hearts.  See Galveston in the far distance:
Daily walks on the beach

23 Dec:  Ron arose at 6:30 AM followed by a marvelous sunrise. We are surprised at the vast number of empty beach homes along this 27 mile peninsula.  A few more houses are lit with cars parked outside for the week long holiday.  Evidently going to the beach is usually for hot weather?  The weather is perfect for us, not too cold and certainly not too warm. We are proud of  7.5 miles today in two trips.  The evening sunset was splendid.

This sunset was worth sharing

22 Dec: And Hello Sunshine at 70 degrees!  Happiness is finding joy in the mundane:  A neighbor disposed of a Christmas tree by the trash cans; Ron rescued the tree seconds before the trash collector would have swooped it up.  It is decorated with craft type hand made ornaments.  On our beach walk today, Ron was picking up trash;  Cynthia pointed to a piece of plastic, “Do you want to pick up that jug?”  Ron replied, “No, I would have to let go of your hand; I want to hold your hand.”  Awwwweee!  Mmmmm.  After our walk on this gorgeous, sunny day, Ron started lentil and bean soup in the crock pot. The next door neighbor brought us cookies that we will give to anyone but us.
We found a Christmas tree already decorated

And Cynthia is a better decoration than any other
No, she did NOT hit me with the new Gotham omelet pan.
21 Dec at Crystal Beach, TX, Ron is once again up at 6:15 AM and prepared a surprise for Cynthia by spreading some of our favorite smoochie photos around the room.  JOY!  She surprised him with an early Christmas gift just in time for him to prepare egg white veggie omelettes, and they were quite good despite new stovetop and new pan.  The forecast was rain, but it didn’t drip a drop as we walked our usual 4 miles along on the beach.  Ron has set aside "SCS packages" for a few days to work on other projects, starting with asset allocation and Minimum Required Distribution (age 70 1/2 don't cha know).  Cynthia opines that a nap might be nice, too, but we didn't do that  We walked the beach again after Ron made his financial phone calls.
Favorite Smoochie photo (Thanks to Lil' MAC)


Lookie all the fog - and it lasted ALL DAY
20 Dec:  Ron is up at 6:15 AM; the Big Store opens at 7 AM.  Cynthia needs Quaker old fashioned oats, yogurt and jam, so at 7:06 Ron is off on his shopping trip for his beloved WeeFee.  Oops, never mind; she’s awake.  Oh goody.  And so another fun day began with a magnificent sunrise and reached a perfect 70 degrees.  We tried the upper deck’s tall beach chairs and were rewarded with a panoramic view of the beach and of the ships offshore, approaching Galveston, which lies west of us.  The Pritikin frozen food package arrived a day late but still frozen mostly solid.  After filling the freezer, we managed a second beach walk, enjoying the sunset’s marvelous shades of orange, pink and violet and arrived home before dark.  A few more folks were on the beach with such a lovely day, but mostly we have 27 miles of quiet beach.  Today we totaled 7 miles.  Wooo Hooo!  Cynthia splurged by cooking soup and a Pritikin fish dinner from our frozen delivery.

19 Dec:  How fun to walk in the fog, but the dense fog prohibited delivery of our Pritikin food until tomorrow. Christmas is but a week away; is it time to post a Christmas card?  Ok.

19 December 2017

We arrived in Crystal Beach, TX a couple of days ago to stay at son Jon’s beach house.  It is a lovely, quiet place where we can walk the beach for miles with rarely a soul in sight.   We enjoy beach walking two or three times a day; joy comes when my Fitbit buzzes, signaling 10,000 steps.

2018 is approaching like a speeding bullet train bound to hit all too soon.  2017 has been a successful year; we are still alive, we wake up every morning thanking God for the blessings of “we,” our family, and the big and little ways God works in our lives.

WE: (Ron and Cynthia) left Texas the middle of March after attending an exciting Forensic DNA workshop in San Antonio where Cynthia had a breakthrough DNA discovery after 35 years of research.  She learned the identity of her great grandfather Harry King through an unusual set of circumstances; the results await publication as “Nancy Drew Does DNA.”

WE (2Rolling Stones):  visited friends en route and arrived April 1 at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami for Ron’s two-week Cardiac Rehab.  The holistic program is so impressive that Cynthia warbled, "I could live here."  We then rode north to  Philadelphia, where Ron was honored with an award from the Swedish American Council.  His sister, Carol, and brother Dean with wife Janina Beatty, proudly attended along with an MIT alumnus, Eric Clemons.  Our next plan was to hike south on the Appalachian Trail, but we needed to get fit first by hiking near Waynesboro, VA.  After 6 weeks, we were fit, but it was too hot to stay south.  Cooler weather beckoned in Killington, Vermont and the Inn at Long Trail is a favorite spot where we can walk out the door to several trails; they feed us really good, and they like us, too.  Cynthia returned to Texas for ten days; thereafter her daughter Julie joined us for hiking and to enjoy the fall foliage.  We followed fall south, visiting friends in Columbia, SC and in Florida en route to the Pritikin again where we stayed for the entire month of November.  That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.

OUR family news:  Grandniece Erika (Illinois senior in HS) was honored with a second trip to New York to participate in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  Eric Axtell (Erika's father, Carol’s son) sent a photo of himself and Kyle with the deer that Kyle bagged on his first successful hunt.  Ron’s brother Dean and wife Janina moved to Lewes, DE; biggest plus is that they get to see their children more often.

The Texas Grandchildren: Roxanne's children: Brett is change\ing fields and working towards a degree in physics; Austin is a UT graduate living in Des Moines, Iowa; Kiira is completing her final year for a MA in counseling.  Julie’s son Eric graduated from TX A&M in May and is living in Fort Worth; he is engaged to Emily, and a fall wedding is planned.  Corrie and Alan live in College Station.  Scott's children: Samantha is a MA counseling therapist working with autistic children; her special fellow Adam is really a keeper; her brother Steven (Eagle Scout) is an executive with the Boy Scouts of America.  Jon's girls: Rachel (in public relations) celebrates 3 years of happy marriage to Ryan Miller; Lauren is a MA counselor at a Roman Catholic Girls school part time and works part time as a private therapist; she is happily coupled with Tyler Goff.  Paul and Cheryl's girls: Zoe, 17, is a junior in HS and is college shopping; Fyn is 3-years-old, breaking all records for adorable.

18 Dec:  Only a tinge of pink indicated a sunrise behind overcast skies.  Rain is expected, 0% chance of snow or ice, 100% humidity; the high temperature will reach 66 degrees.  Before the first rain showers, we walked the beach, 9800+ steps.  Ron is working on Swedish Colonial Society packages with a promise to edit Cynthia’s DNA article for publication “soon.”  Cynthia bought Ron a Gotham omelette pan for Christmas, no oil is needed; Ron bought the egg whites, but computer work takes precedence over cooking.  Our Pritikin banana ice cream recipe was yummy.  Brother Dean & Janina called & inquired about the Pritikin; their new house is more convenient to their working adult children.  Ron is realizing that it will soon be time to cook another crockpot full of beans & lentils.  Our routine is becoming normal: oatmeal w/ berries, popcorn, computer stuff vs I-Pad communication, beach walks, comfortable & convenient.  We continue to maintain pelvic tilt while walking, our exercise goal after leaving the Pritikin.

birds & beach

more beach
17 Dec:  The forecast improved with highs into the upper 60s for several days.  We walked nearly 9 miles today in our shirtsleeves, enjoying good visibility and lots of wave action!  Niece Robin and her family were evacuated from their home in Summerland, CA because of the fierce fire.  The home is safe today, but evacuation mandate remains.

Cynthia’s Sunday Offering for Advent 3:
Are you fun to live with? Do you have joy? Really? 
“I (John) am the voice of one crying in the wilderness ... but (pointing to Christ) in the midst of you is one whom you do not know.”
This is Rejoice Sunday. If only things were different, I would rejoice. I have reasons to be unhappy. If only things were different, I would be happy. . Real joy is really missing from our world. In our desert, look to Christ. Only he can bring light to the darkness of our minds. Only he can forgive, deliver or bring hope. In these days before Christmas, prepare your hearts in prayer and guard your minds, for the true source of our joy is only found in Jesus.
RSV John 1:23

16 Dec:  Life is Good!  The sunrise was a brilliant orange.   We walked 4 miles of beach despite a chilly 51 degrees and wind.  Ron rode to the Big Store to shop for microwave safe bowls and returned with paper bags for making popcorn without oil or salt.  (They work well.)  The James Lea Book is put aside for now; tomorrow's project is financial asset allocation (oops, forgot that part).  At 3:00 PM we walked the neighborhood because the wind is strong enough to blow sand.  The beach is quite empty apart from a few folks in cars or beach carts.  A couple of guys were out on the beach in shorts, tending a campfire.  Tonight a storm is forecast, but we are very comfortable in son Jon’s beach house working on projects and exercising.   Reflection: this is our tenth Christmas together; time has passed so swiftly.  Life is INDEED very good.  Thank God. Thank God.

15 Dec:  Sunrise this morning was an awesome red !!  We awoke feeling rested, then breakfasted, and Ron resumed plotting plats for the James Lea book.  After lunch we walked the chilly beach, and Ron decided to walk to the Big Store for groceries, a 2.6-mile brisk walk each way.  En route he talked with the Gowdys and with Drew while striving to keep his pelvic tilt and maintaining aerobic speed.  More rolled oats, frozen berries plus jam & Can't Believe Its Not Butter for Cynthia.  POPCORN too, but we have no microwave safe popcorn bowl.  (The bowl we used is toasted, a large crack up the middle.  The popcorn was excellent.)  Ron kept plotting plats until midnight, and has now set James Lea to rest for several days.  Next project is Swedish Colonial Society packages - tomorrow.

The motorcyclist is mending. Pants were casualties of Irma cleanup.
14 Dec on Bolivar Peninsula near Galveston, Texas:  Ron mended while Cynthia wrote her class Christmas newsletter, then he made beans in a large crockpot and added lentils to the mix.  Skies were overcast with a cool, breezy real feel of 66 degrees, perfect for 4 miles of beach walking.  Cynthia learned how to make microwave popcorn without adding oil or salt;  if we had some kernels, we could pop popcorn.  After eating rice with beans & lentils, we walked again after dark, increasing our total mileage to 5.5.  Cynthia was not happy with the poor visibility that the inky, black night offered.

13 Dec:  We left Lafayette, Louisiana by 10:30 AM, riding west towards the Bolivar Peninsula on the Texas Gulf coast.  We were excited to eat at Jason’s Deli in Port Arthur, TX, but Ron was confused since we never actually found Port Arthur; we apparently got to within a quarter mile of the deli and turned the wrong way.  Instead we enjoyed a very yummy bowl of steamed veggies at an Italian Restaurant in Winnie, TX and arrived at the beach house in time for a long walk.  We loaded up on veggies at the Big Store and took another walk to enjoy the sunset.  We are exhausted.  Good night.

12 Dec, Gulfport, MS:  Today's scenic highlight commenced as we left Gulfport on U.S Highway 90 along the Gulf coast.  Temperatures were very pleasant despite previous forecast warnings of frigid weather.  We stopped at IHOP in Baton Rouge for lunch, but their cooks use oil or butter on the grill, no cooking spray, so we subsisted on a small house salad and a tiny bowl of fresh fruit.  After lunch, traveling west on I-10, the sun and glare strained our eyes all afternoon, the big disadvantage to traveling due west in the afternoon on clear days.  In Lafayette, Louisiana we discovered a new favorite restaurant: Jason’s Deli.  They serve humongous sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, and a terrific salad bar.  The nationwide chain has a location in Port Arthur, TX, where we will stop for lunch tomorrow.  WooHoo!

View from El Governor Hotel in Mexico Beach, Florida
11 Dec:  In Mexico Beach, FL the day dawned at 33 degrees; that’s one degree above freezing.  The sun is out, making our walk to Sharon’s Cafe not feel so cold.  Ron looked to see if they  had another Smiley Faces dew rag but without success.  We bundled up, packed up, and were ready to roll at 10:00 AM, heading towards Gulfport, Mississippi.  We again tried to find a coastal highway to watch the water rolling in and had a bit of success; today's scenic highlight was 7 miles of sand dunes that looked like snow banks from Navarre Beach to Pensacola on FL 399, the Emerald Coast.  The rest of the ride on U.S. highway 98 was less scenic although traffic was satisfactorily light. We were delighted to discover a Ruby Tuesday restaurant for our lunch and another Ruby Tuesday for dinner.  We stayed the night at a Hilton Garden Inn in Gulfport because they have an omelet chef to cook us egg white veggie omelets in the morning.

Sunset at the Sunset Coastal Grill in Port St. Joe, Florida

10 Dec:  We were so close to the El Governor Hotel at 5:05 PM, that Ron decided to stop for dinner at the Sunset Coastal Grill in Port St. Joe, FL, a great restaurant.  Frozen, he stammered, “We want two baked potatoes for appetizers.”  Brrrr!  We held them in our hands for warmth before ordering fresh cod, steamed vegetables and two more baked potatoes, enjoying a magnificent sunset from our dining window.  We started out this bright, sunny,  morning at a raw, 49 degrees on U.S. Highway 98 going north and west.  We didn’t have wind today, but we were cold,  despite Cynthia’s heated gear and our heated seats.  By late afternoon the temperature increased to a balmy 56 degrees.  Were we warm?  No.  Highway 98 follows the Florida panhandle providing lovely rural views and is almost entirely clear of traffic.  It was a short ten miles from Port St. Joe to Mexico Beach.  The remainder of this week promises to be just as cold as we ride westward to Texas.

9 Dec, Sarasota, FL:  We enjoyed breakfast with Jan and Dorothy (thanks for your hospitality) at a local restaurant, and we are ready to roll north towards the Florida panhandle that is 400 miles away. We won’t make it all the way today in this chilly weather.  The forecast high is 51 degrees.  Brrrrr.  After 200 miles on I-75, the high winds and cold convinced us to stop early at a convenient Hampton Inn.  The hotel was far from any restaurants, so we cooked sweet potatoes, from the nearby Winn-Dixie, in the microwave and ate lots of oatmeal with berries.  A warm thought for the day:

Take Care of Yourself
LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR as yourself is part of the great commandment. The other way to say it is, 'Love yourself as your neighbor.' Love yourself not in some egocentric, self-serving sense but love yourself the way you would love your friend in the sense of taking care of yourself, nourishing yourself, trying to understand, comfort, strengthen yourself. Ministers in particular, people in the caring professions in general, are famous for neglecting their selves with the result that they are apt to become in their own way as helpless and crippled as the people they are trying to care for and thus no longer selves who can be of much use to anybody. If your daughter is struggling for life in a raging torrent, you do not save her by jumping into the torrent with her, which leads only to your both drowning together. Instead you keep your feet on the dry bank—you maintain as best you can your own inner peace, the best and strongest of who you are—and from that solid ground reach out a rescuing hand. "Mind your own business" means butt out of other people's lives because in the long run they must live their lives for themselves, but it also means pay mind to your own life, your own health and wholeness, both for your own sake and ultimately for the sake of those you love too. Take care of yourself so you can take care of them. A bleeding heart is of no help to anybody if it bleeds to death. 
- Originally published in Telling Secrets

8 Dec, Venice, FL:  Ron and Cynthia walked two miles in separate directions near the airport or into town from Drew’s home.  At 11:00 AM, we left for Sarasota, FL and stopped to have lunch at a Ruby Tuesday restaurant.  At Jan's house we discovered that Cynthia left her hearing aids at Drew’s, so Ron and Jan drove together 20 miles back to Drew’s to retrieve them.  The miles of Christmas lights in Sarasota are eye-dropping incredible.

7 Dec:  We rode to visit Drew in Venice, FL, but BD is in New Hampshire.  During the holidays, the shops in downtown Venice stay open once evening a week and entice shoppers with free desserts, lemonades, teas, and wine.  Drew will not miss an opportunity like that; we walked the festive historic district while Drew sampled wine and cookies in the shops.  To say the streets were packed can’t begin to describe the crowds dressed in reds and Christmas glitter.  After returning to Drew's, Cynthia and Ron walked all the way to “TURIN” Street (aptly named) and turned around.

view from top floor of parking garage near our hotel
6 Dec, Ft. Lauderdale, FL:  After a restful 8 hours we walked over to the nearby convention center to enjoy the long carpeted hallways and to the parking garage which has "good" views of the waterways.  (The picture (right) doesn't do the view justice.)  We used the Hilton fitness center, but the equipment was old and injured us both.  Ron rode the bus back over to the BMW shop and picked the bike up after its 30,000-mile service.

5 Dec.  The super moon was visible again this morning.  The packing is nearly completed. Check out time is a firm 11:00 AM.  After lunch, we will spend two days in Fort Lauderdale to get the 30,000 mile service done for the motorcycle.  Our time here at Pritikin has been filled to the max.  So many unfinished projects waiting for us to do in Texas.  Let’s ride.

4 Dec, We want to stay at Pritikin!  But, we must depart tomorrow, leaving behind so many wonderful new friends.  Joe and his delightful wife brought a lot of laughter to our dinner table with their repertoire of jokes and magic tricks.  Cynthia is especially fond of Candace and Donald.  The moon is gorgeous tonight.  And now we pack.
another Moon over Miami evening

3 Dec, Sunday:  Our day started Merry, became merrier, and ka-boom! During dinner Cynthia’s cell phone rang and immediately went to voice mail. Checking out the call later, she discovered the call was purportedly from her own cell phone.  How puzzling.  How scary.  Verizon security said hackers get hold of phone numbers and use third party software to make calls making it appear as though the phone call was from someone else.  It’s called ID Spoofing.  Thankfully, Ka--boom ended on a Merry note.  The Moon over Miami is marvelous.  Good night.

Super Moon over Miami
2 Dec:  Many Pritikin guests are departing today.  Two Pritikin guests, Harry and Mary Ann, were married at Miami Beach today.  They were at Pritikin before and after the ceremony.  Our day was once again filled with getting fit, fine food and fun!  The super Moon over Miami was lovely, although the photo doesn’t do it justice.
Here is a marvelous article to make Christmas merry:

Pritikin from the rear
1 Dec, Friday:  We enjoyed a delightful dinner with Joe and Terry, a very funny 92 year old and his bride of 30 years.  He is fit and first came to Pritikin 30 years ago after a triple bypass.  Our day was stellar with excellent lectures, cardio, yoga.  We managed another successful FitBit day, recording 21,000 steps. WooHoo!  Notice the Poinsettias which grace the walk to the Pritikin Center (left).

The Pritikin keeps us busy.  Breakfast is an all-you-can-eat buffet with an egg white omelet chef (Doreth or James) and lots of oatmeal options, lots of fruit.  Next Ron goes to yoga for 45 minutes, then cardio (on machines) for 45 minutes, then weights for 45 minutes, then a lecture for 45 minutes before lunch.  Lunch is another all-you-can-eat starting with a huge salad.  (It takes Ron 45 minutes to eat his salad.)  There are two more lectures after lunch and an optional cooking class in the cooking cove.  Cynthia and I often go for a long walk on the jogging trail in the afternoon.  Dinner is served at 6 PM, with a choice of salad, soup, entree, and desert.  There is usually one more lecture after dinner, and Cynthia and I go for a final long walk to end our day.  Tally that all up and you will understand that we have no free time while we are here.