Weekend pleasures: Verizon's free phone calls to friends and relatives are most enjoyable. An hour long phone call to an Iowa cousin about the Rambo Reunion was indeed fun (see Ron Beatty Home Page re: 4 July Reunion). The address book is up to date. ER on Gmail's overfilled in-box plus updating old phone numbers is in process. The Christmas letter is posted on the Home Page complete with links to photos: the result of this month's brilliant insight. It only took fifteen years to discover that the web is a visual medium - and not so much verbiage.
Accompanied Greg to Sam's Club and SAVED BIG MONEY on fat-free foods... less expensive than Wal-Mart. We made the run to the dump - to the dump, dump dump - before heading home to watch a glorious sunset:
27 Feb- Sat: Thank you (Mary, Vince, Donna and Greg) for a delightful evening. Dinner at RT was followed by dessert at Mary (Queen of Desserts) and Vince's. Mary's huge brown eyes accompanying, "I bought a special fat free ice cream...." could not be turned down. MMM Only four grams of sugar in Breyer's chocolate and vanilla swirl made it an allowable treat to eat.... MMMMMM again. We toured their wonderfully remodeled home and Vince's studio where he records a radio talk show discussing sci-fi and old "B" movies. Mary and Vince offered lots of good Italian tour information - like how to recognize and flush toilets. They suggested Cinque Terra as a good location for hiking trails - located not far from Portofino. The girlies had a fine time discussing COLORS for the wedding (How about that, Nina?).
It was time for more anniversary of engagement celebration in the evening: we had a lovely visit with Mary Lou followed by a delightful dinner at Bonefish Grill (those guys have our order down pat!). We stopped at a wine specialty store hoping to locate Ashgrove (soft Press) an Australian wine recommended by one of Cynthia's friends but they did not carry it. We walked out with four bottles of wine recommended by the manager. WHO will help us drink FOUR bottles this coming month????? But we will continue this celebration.
26 Feb-Fri: Arose early to hide stuff: the cleaning women come today. Accomplished but not yet enough finalized:
Ron Beatty home website update is almost finished. Follow the link on the right side of this page.
The Bankston Family Home Page has been updated with a newly embedded spreadsheet. A link to the website is on the right side of this page, too.
The Rambo Family Genealogy website will be updated very soon. By the end of March the CD should be ready to go. The last two galley proofs arrived in Kansas (after telling them three times to mail to Columbia).
The AT journal is one step closer to becoming a book. Smooch Smooch reversed the blog entries; the text and accompanying photos await the wordsmythe and tape recorder transcription. 2 March is the anniversary of the AT hike starting date; that is a good time to update the trail journal online, too.
Smooch Smooch now has a Deeploma in Technical. She is working on a deegree in being a technicality - and maybe a Doktorit in Geekality. She can whip through a medium level Sudoku in twenty minutes or less.
25 Feb-Thurs: After a low of 28 degrees "BRRRRR" is the only word that comes to mind: Old Man Winter returned! Just imagine leaving this cozy nest to brave the elements. But the walk with Dick is important, doncha know.
24 Feb - Wed: Walked with Dick arriving home just as the rain began to fall. In the afternoon following exercise Dick joined us for a fine dinner. Website updating took care of the evening activity.
23 Feb- Tues: ONE YEAR AGO: can you believe it? A marriage proposal on bended knee in front of a gazillion patrons of the Bonefish Grill? The wedding is ONLY 14 months away! Updating volumes of addresses continues to give everyone a year's notice for the big event at Gloria Dei in downtown Philadelphia.
We spent the day in Greenville, SC; we did research at the courthouse and library; the car was serviced; and a phone call to the BMW dealer determined that they will have the battery in stock this coming week. Lunch at our favorite restaurant chain was good. Costco had certificates for Ruth's Chris Steakhouse: $79.00 for two fifty dollar certificates. How good is that for a special evening dinner plan on the spur of the moment??? (shhhhh! don't tell!). RX are not cheap even at Costco. Despite the cardiac cloud ... Life is indeed good!
22 Feb-Mon: Rain halted plans for the morning walk; nevertheless, Dick R. says, "Wiss!" We had a lovely, cozy day watching the birds, duckies and the rain on the lake while working on projects until the rain cleared mid-afternoon. After an hour at the gym and a stop to refill RX at Wal-Mart we ventured onto Ruby Tuesday's to eat our fill.
21 Feb- Sun: OH WHAT A GLORIOUS DAY! Dick joined the gang at Lizard's Thicket for breakfast; the fish and grits with HOT sauce are a treat with NO fat. Smooch Smooch agreed it was really warm enough for HER to walk outdoors so early in the morning but she covered her ears to block the crazy banter.
20 Feb-Sat: JOY! We are off to Zorba's in Chapin for breakfast and an hour workout at the gym. The warm sunshine is beckoning everyone out for fun in the sun. Our duckies quickly learn we feed them regularly, too, increasing in number from 3 to 7 and a blue heron last night; this morning a whole flotilla of geese floated by along with fisherpeople and boating types moving at a greater speed. Tonight's Haddock dinner at the Bonefish Grill was magnificent. Thanks Greg and Donna!
19 Feb- Our Friday night out with the gang at Zorba's turned into a small disaster on the road. For someone who is accused of driving like an old man... traveling less than the speed limit on Broad River Rd we angled onto Woodrow and into a speed trap. While there is a very visible sign noting 35 MPH we missed it. OH NO! The Irmo police wrote out a ticket for speeding PLUS... a drivers license violation warning. He said... this state requires a SOUTH CAROLINA drivers license for anyone in the state longer than ten days - vacationers or not. When questioned he reported that the out of state driver keeps his own state license but also must have a SC license. This is inaccurate for NON residents. Small fine... reduced to the minimum because there are no tickets on driving records. It is always about the money.
14 Feb- Sunday was the date of our Valentine's Day Luau.
Smooch smooch had lots of fun ordering leis & ornamentation for this reminder of Hawaii. Our friends enjoyed the feast provided by Ruby Tuesday catering. Ron was no even allowed to inhale near the luscious deserts everyone brought. This time we consumed very little beers and lots of wines. A fine celebration! with an early ending - no telling how well anyone survived the ordeal of working Monday after partying Sunday.
Well, can you believe it? Today is Saturday -13 Feb!
A winter wonderland ... in South Carolina ?!?? Snow is thick & heavy on trees and power lines; amazing that neither power lines nor trees fell to interrupt the heating so essential to Smooches happiness. Robins, redbirds, cardinals, chickadees, blackbirds and bluebirds gathered to harvest the bounty that Smooch broadcasts to all & sundry (even the d___ geese). While brewing coffee at 8:30 we were shocked speechless by TWO SC DOT snowplows and a DOT truck passing this house at the very end of this tiny street at the very end of this long, remote peninsula. The governor, or at least a senator, a tycoon or a county commissioner, must live in one of the five houses beyond us. The expired credit card was perfect for cleaning snow from the windshield before driving 8 miles over icy roads into Chapin for breakfast! By the time we returned at noon after exercise, the roads were entirely clear.
12 Feb: What happened to my calendar? Isn't today Saturday? Isn't the Valentines Party tomorrow? PLEASE Remember to testify at my competency hearing that I've always been like this, (and that I usually misspell one or two words in every sentence).
They won't have to hang the weather man; his forecast was spot on! In South Carolina schools and businesses close early when snow is forecast. (We Midwesterners continue to be flabbergasted at these cultural differences.) Traffic was mighty heavy en route to the gym at 2:30, fully 3 hours before the snow as forecast to begin. The grocery stores were selling out of all the stuffs that have sat on the shelves for the last three years. We witnessed the first few powdery flakes falling as we drove to an early dinner at Zorba's, increasing to an enchanting sky full of itsy, bitsy white floaties after dinner which accumulated into two inches while we bought macadamia nuts at the grocery. Smooch IMMediately started stacking firewood on the porch, fearing that the power would die before dawn.
Last night we had to drive to Columbia to find FEDEX to mail Cynthia's computer case back to HP for a warranty exchange because Chapin does not have FEDEX. Fortunately, it is close to our fav Ruby Tuesday's where we can eat vegetables to our heart's content at the salad bar (the kinds with no salad dressings or cheese), fish grilled without oil and more steamed veggies. The waiters REALLY listen when they hear the dire warning: "if you add oil, butter or cheese we send it back because I could die." The heart reversal diet allows no meat fat or dairy fat (allowed dairy items are skim milk and no fat cheese). Bulk carbs are not allowed. Four ozs of low fat fish, chix or turkey grilled without oil or butter along with protein drinks completes the list. Egg white veggie omelets grilled with a dash of cooking spray are a staple. Cynthia had her nails done (and not a pedicure????) We shopped for our Valentine's Day Luau, too.
11 Feb: Life is good. Thank God for Cynthia! Looks like I'm foolish enough to ride the motorcycle 25 miles at 29 degrees at 8 am again this morning. Yesterday I froze. I thought this was the warm & sunny south. HA ! Average low temperature for this date is 33 degrees - brrrh. Next year we are wintering further south or on the road.
It feels good to be arising again at 4am to get something accomplished before enjoying the day.
10 Feb: Ruby Tuesday again for dinner; that is the one restaurant where I can get filled up for 2 fat grams.
It is amazing to see how much stuffs has accumulated during the last six winters with Greg & Donna. Unfortunately nothing much sells at South Carolina yard sales.
The ride into Irmo this morning was frigid - 29 degrees. My legs didn't thaw out until Dick & I had walked for half an hour. The ride back was worlds better since I wore goggles, a kerchief over my nose & cheeks, and my snowmobile pants but shocking to Smooch Smooch who thought an alien from outer space was approaching the door.
9 Feb: Treatment is easy, but $276 for a 30-day supply of Niaspan alone ... not to mention nearly five hundred for the Plavix and Lipitor...nearly gave me a heart attack. I console myself that I've easily saved $150,000 over the last 20 years by not having medical insurance. Individual policies that I've seen generally run $1000 a month for insurance that covers 20% of your bills if you go to a doctor "out of the system", i.e. out of your area.
A tablespoon of salad dressing, oil or butter contains more than 10 grams of fat; a quarter cup of nuts contains more than 20.
8 Feb-Tues: The doctor's office called in the RX for megadoses of Niaspan to reduce LP(a), a cholesterol component reported by special tests done three weeks ago by Berkeley Labs. LP(a) does not show up in normal cholesterol tests, because the test is expensive and only 3.25 percent of Caucasian males have this genetic abnormality that magnifies the effects of bad cholesterol (LDL). The norm for LP(a) is 0-30, mine is 130! Hence my clogged arteries despite my healthy lifestyle. Fortunately it is treatable with high doses of Niaspan. Studies show an LDL below 50, meds (Lipitor, Plavix) and a diet of 10-20 fat grams per day with 80 grams of protein will reverse coronary artery disease in 80 per cent of cases (Heal Your Heart, Dr. K. Lance Gould, UT Chair of Cardiology Weatherhead PET Center in Houston). Dr. Gould is our doctor, a physics student who sequed into medicine without losing his interest in research; he developed the PET scan for use as a coronary diagnostic tool. He will continue to provide our care until we return to Houston next year to take a new PET scan.
7 Feb-Mon: Redbirds and other birdies are enjoying seeds throughout the day on the balcony rail (above).
The geese found their food, too: one of us thought geese should not be fed because they s... all over; while the other one thinks geese are "cute." So the geese are here along with the S....! CRAP, one of us sneaked this in while the other was away. The duckies arrived and finally foraged their way to the food despite being attacked and outnumbered by the geese.
Later two male Mallards fought furiously, slapping each other viciously with their wings; the geese circled them with interest but stayed out of the fray.
Walked in Dick's subdivision this AM while Smooch Smooch built a fire in the fireplace, fed the wildlife and stayed cozy. The weather warmed beautifully this afternoon - just enough to bask without a shirt in the sun on the balcony. Feeling tired... tried to nap but thoughts of the motorcycle being tied down for three months ended all thoughts of sleep; lumbered out of bed and unloaded the tied-down bike from its home in the trailer. It did not start until it was pushed up a hill about a quarter mile on the road and finally the motor started. Zooma! Zooma! The drive to Chapin to warm it up was wonderful! Dinner at Ruby Tuesday's salad bar and creole prepared Tilapia sans oil and butter was equally delightful.
Ducky fight and view of the house from the lake below:
3 Feb - Wed: The sun is shining on the waters of Lake Murray: isn't it Sudoku time?
This morning brought the tormenters together! Dick R. were I joined by new friend Steve keeping the baiting and barbs flying while taking morning exercise in Dick's subdivision; Smooch Smooch walked for two hours on the lake road until she was picked up by an old hippie with a beard: we found a salad/soup restaurant called the Old School; but we cannot eat chili.
2 Feb - Tues: The lake house is on the Chapin side... waaay out at the end of the peninsula and FAAARRR from food. We drove twenty miles to Lizard's Thicket to receive a joyful hug from Susan (the waitress) and spent the day shopping for stuffs we need for two months. Smooch Smooch bought far too many groceries for non-cooking types like us'ns. At breakfast, a gazillion points were won for surprising her with a VERY romantic valentine card.
1 Feb - Mon: We arrived at Lake Murray late after meeting Donna, Greg, Liz and Clark at Ruby Tuesday's for dinner. BRRRRR. 39 degrees COLD. But it is NOT too cold to buy roses for the Smooch Smooch.
For Jane E... in Santa Fe: We love you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! When we told Jane E (long-time special friend) we are engaged to be married - she quickly replied, "Would you accept a week in Tuscany, Italy for a wedding gift... ?" To which we IMMEDIATELY cried, "YES!!!!!!!!" But we have to take the trip before next September - it has a year limit. So thanks to you Jane E! We are delighted to have the opportunity to honeymoon ahead of the wedding and to hike Italy! Our departure Boston to Rome is 28 April - returning 19 May. Taking advantage of being in Italy we plan to drive to Portofino along the Mediterranean coast with hiking along the way. If we have time we will cross the Pyrenees south to Barcelona. There are LOTS of wonderful little Italian villages to explore not damaged by the II WW. Jane E is indeed a delightful, thoughtful, creative and unique woman! And we are so grateful. xoxo