Tuesday, August 2, 2011

August in Texas = 100 + degrees day after day. vegetation dying for lack of water.

 30 Aug, Tues: We plan to stay at the Rotary House Hotel connected to MD Anderson for the prep work tomorrow, surgery on Thursday and return home on the 2nd.  Son Jon will oversee house cleaning, etc. in our absence.

 29 Aug, Mon: Amazing to see seven deer (four fawns and three does) in the early morning hours as we returned home from the walk to the fitness center.  We hardly worked today... and prepared for the trip to the hospital tomorrow night.  After running errands we enjoyed a great dinner at Pappadeaux followed by a shopping spree at Borders Bookstore during its close out sale. 

28 Aug, Sun: Another 107 degree day is forecast for SE Texas. We are sitting outside on the veranda gobbling up egg-white veggie omelets while enjoying the magnificent lake sparkling with sunlight.  Ron's culinary skills shine, too! He even does the dishes, not because this is a fun job, but because he thinks one of us wastes water.  Harrummph!   More from later in the day: 2:30 PM, the temp reached 106.3 but "feels like 112."   The temp forecast of  below 100 continues to be pushed back further in the week with reports that this El Nina drought situation could last for another year.  It has rained .3 two or three times since last October. YUK!   This evening we completed a 45 minute workout at the fitness center after a very lazy day; Ron is working on the Rambo CD; Cynthia is doing data entry for two new manuscripts.  

23 Aug, Tues:  Sunrise at the lake house was a marvelous red ball of fire. No surprise to read today's forecast of sunshine with no rain and triple digit temperatures continuing to break records for driest and highest year to date.  The lake is down 5 feet. Houston is now drawing water from our lake.  We pray for rain ... but not the mini-storm/tornado that came through Friday night at son Jon's house two miles away; it blew a huge limb across the hood of his car and left 1000 people without electricity for a few hours.  Lucky us'ns: no storm here.  Granddaughter Lauren is taking a break from Rush at TX A&M to spend the day.

Our Wandering was rudely interrupted by a diagnosis of breast cancer for my beloved Cynthia.  The cancer is only 5mm and not aggressive; surgery is scheduled for September 1, probably followed by a course of radiation and then estrogen suppression.

  My plan for these months is to recount earlier adventures in greater detail, like the day Cynthia was lost on the Appalachian Trail.
22 Aug: Awoke at 3:10 and figured out which files of my Rambo genealogy are most current.  Unfortunate that my old Dell computer died, followed soon after by the Medion jump drive I used as the primary backup.  Everyone in the profession knows that you need at least two (2) backups of anything critical.  The big excitement for the day was finding on-line a copy of the Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography containing Early Swedish Records" which was a source Beverly Rambo used without giving correct bibliographic details.  Cynthia and I again walked to the fitness center at 6am for my 15-minutes on the elliptical machine.  My knee continues to complain as it has for six weeks now.  I rinsed recycling, did the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, and straightened up my messes throughout the house.  It is nice to have a relaxed day without a defined agenda.

21 Aug, Sunday: We drove to the fitness center in the afternoon and spent 45 minutes on the machines, then we went to the Magnolia Diner for an early dinner of flattened chicken, and to Walmart for foodstuffs, potting soil, and a multi-colored bouquet for Cynthia.

20 Aug: Awake at 3:30.  Today we discovered at the terminus of our 45-minute walk that the fitness center doesn't open until 8:00am Saturday and 10am Sunday; not a big disappointment since we were able to return home while the sunshine was still moderate.  Most of today I spent figuring out which files are on which jump drives in order to determine the most likely most recent files to resume working on the Rambo CD.

Yesterday was quite peaceful and pleasant beginning with our 6am-7:30 walk to the fitness center for 15 minutes on the elliptical machine. Speaking of peaceful and pleasant, the entire drive on the Natchez Trace Parkway at 45 mph was magnificently relaxing.  At 45 mph, the cruise control netted us 36 mpg.  The Natchez Trace is a National Parkway similar to the Blue Ridge Parkway, so it is maintained and patrolled by the National Park Service.  Both roads are two-lane limited-access roadways off limits for commercial traffic and trucks.  Traffic was next to none except near Tupelo and Jackson, so the entire trip was stress free.  Beware that the entire route is rural, so gasoline, food and accommodation may be unavailable for 50 miles.  The Char restaurant in Jackson was excellent, and Cynthia was enchanted by the luxurious Fairview Inn which was rated the best inn in North America in 2001 by Conde Naste magazine.  Cynthia found it in the directory of the Select Registry of Inns.

19 Aug: Awake at 4 am again to work on stuffs.  Hopefully Cynthia will sleep longer this morning [nope].  We are at the lake house near Houston for the duration of Cynthia's breast cancer surgery & treatment - prayers gratefully accepted.  The day was restful after our 6am walk to the fitness center for a 15 minute workout on the elliptical machine.  Smooch smooch got her nails pedicured and manicured; she is happy.  We enjoyed a pleasant dinner (pear salad & trout) at the Caddy Shack with her son Jon.

18 Aug: Up at 4am, Cynthia arose at 5am, and we walked 45 minutes to the fitness center starting at 5:55am.  After 15 minutes on the elliptical machine, we returned and were caught by sunrise at 7:12am.  It had been pleasantly warm albeit a bit muggy, but the early sunshine turned things hot.  Forecast high was 103.  At noon we drove in light traffic to the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for a discussion with Dr. Lee about the need for estrogen suppression for Cynthia's particular cancer.   (Fooey.)

17 Aug, Wed: UP UP and AWAY to MD Anderson Hospital for a grueling, exhausting day with the surgeon and other staff  - donated blood for Cynthia's pending surgery on 1 Sept for breast cancer diagnosed the first week in August.  It is a small cancer and caught early.  All will be well!

16 Aug, Tues: Jasper Texas lacks lots of amenities including a fine dining restaurant or even one for breakfast besides the usual fat city stuff. Post breakfast - the drive to our lake house took two hours. We arrived shortly after lunch.

15 Aug, Monday:  A couple of Rambos were discovered in some old books in the library of the Fairview Inn.  The drive through Natchez was hardly remarkable but the drive to Jasper, Texas continued the pleasant experience of travel from New England. It is a truism: Jasper Texas is not a tourist attraction.  The trailer park city lacks lots of amenities including a fine dining restaurant or even one for breakfast besides the usual fat city stuff.  But - we arrived about 8 PM to find lodging at a nice Holiday Inn Express where we were upgraded to a suite all of 94.50 big bucks.

14 Aug, Sunday:  Breakfast at the IHOP in Tupelo deserves an honorable mention because of Betty, the delightful waitress.  The 45 MPH drive on the Trace Parkway has been most pleasant with lots of compelling history to discover.  We arrived at a Select Registry Inn in Jackson, MS at dinner time: The Fairview Inn -built in 1908 - a wonderful old mansion elegantly appointed.  After dinner at Char's (good food) we toured the Inn and formal gardens. 

13 Aug, Saturday evening: Tupelo, MS.  The Old Trace has a fascinating history.  So, too, the mysterious death of Meriweather Lewis that is being researched anew with surprising discoveries since the book was published, "The Death of Meriweather Lewis" and the History Channel Series a year or so ago.  We stopped at the burial site and marker.  Imagine a guy compellingly honest and ethical - Governor of the LA Purchase - en route to Washington, D.C. to finalize edits to his journals - found shot with two different guns (his), money gone but expensive guns remaining, with a report of suicide coming from his servant Neely who lied about his whereabouts.  We enjoyed the fitness center at the Hampton Inn.

12 Aug:  Oops, sudden change of plans.  We spent the night at the Oaks (Select Registry) in Christiansburg, VA and are en route towards the Natchez Trace this afternoon.

Our Wandering throughout August, September, and October and Wondering where serendipity will blow us next --- was rudely interrupted by a diagnosis of breast cancer for my beloved Cynthia.  The cancer is only 5mm and not aggressive, but it is one that "requires" estrogen suppression.
... i.e Cynthia's planning & organization skills are now at rest while Ron's spontaneous peripatetic lifestyle resumes ascendancy.  We are looking for a cool (temperature) lakeside/oceanside view with a nice 5-mile hike just outside the front door - - (all suggestions welcomed and appreciated.  The winning suggestion will receive a huge Public ThankYou on this blog.)

5 Aug:  Oh Boy, oh boy, ohboy, Smooch returns this afternoon, and I already got the biggest job done: reservations for hotel = Hilton Garden Inn in Burlington (amazingly less expensive than other Boston area accommodation).

4 Aug: Dinner with Drew & BD, Mike & Irja & Robert, Rick & Sherry, Beanie & Ed, and Ed & Anna was marvelous.  Ed is certainly the proud papa; Anna is a delight and is delighted with her YMCA camp job although South Carolina heat and humidity are exhausting. It was wonderful to see Irja's improved mobility, but distressing to remember that Robert had Lyme disease and now has a cold.  Everyone else was too far away for my limited hearing.  The Pasta Loft in Milton served excellent food (and the Thursday lobster special was a big hit).  Drew, BD, and I got lots done earlier in the day once BD started whipping us into activity.  Now I'm gonna take a break and read another chapter of her newest library borrowing, Stuff.

3 Aug:  Drew and Ron flew to Portsmouth, ME and Nashua, NH already by noon; flying is certainly a speedy way to enjoy the scenery  Maybe I should encourage Smooch Smooch to resume her pilot's training. Personally I'd rather ride than fly because flying looks like too much work, but I could enjoy co-piloting and sightseeing.  I do miss my Smooch Smooch but have been busy visiting friends hither, thither and yon.  (Richard; Bob & Rachel; Dave, Kris, Kelsey, & Shayna; Beanie & Ed; Ed & Mary; Mike & Irja; Drew & BD)

2 Aug, Tues:  "Where is Ron now?" -- wonder no longer. Thanks to Greg Gowdy's prodding, Ron has a contribution to forthcoming MIT newsletter:

MIT CLASS NOTES FOR RON BEATTY

Ron Beatty has married a wonderful, beautiful, talented, and intelligent woman.  Anyone who knows Ron will be amazed at any and all of that.  Cynthia is an over-achiever who planned, orchestrated and executed a magnificent wedding at Old Swedes Church in Philadelphia.  Ron held up his end of the deal repeating frequently "Yes Dear" (as was mentioned at the reception).  

"The wedding of Ron Beatty and Cynthia Forde was unique, in that it was obviously planned by Cynthia for the maximum benefit of the attendees.  Most weddings are planned for the two that wed.  It is their special day and of course we all were there to honor Cynthia and Ron at this momentous day in their lives.  But this wedding has allowed us from MIT and Ron's friends that knew him in Boston to renew our friendships as we celebrate Ron and Cynthia's wedding.  And I am certain that my comments are applicable to all Ron and Cynthia's friends and families," said Walter Maurer. (Ron: this is a direct quote from Walter by email today)

 12 May 2011 Ron Beatty  and the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Vold  Forde,a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America , were married in a 17th Century Swedish Colonial ceremony at Gloria Dei “Old Swedes” Church in Philadelphia .  Ron and Cynthia, eleventh cousins, are descendants of a founding father of the congregation, Peter Gunnarson Rambo, who emigrated to “New Sweden” in 1640 and died three years before the building was consecrated in 1702.

MIT alumni in attendance, besides Walter and Pamela M__., were Rick and Sherry H__, Jerry and Cathy S__, Greg and Donna G__, Larry W__, Dave E__, Hans and Audrey P__,  Eric and Jean C__, Jan and Dorothy W__, Ed M__, Carlton S__, Bob and Rachel W__, Drew and Barbara Deane G__, Ed M__ and the Hon. Mary G__, and Mike L__ and Irja L__.  Most of those alumni appear in the "Wedding photos" (sidebar link ->).

Ron was shocked and awed by his bride when she took the microphone and announced that this was really just a surprise birthday party for Ron.  He reciprocated later during the reception by stripping to the waist to reveal the SMOOCH tattooed on his chest by a mischievous 11th cousin. (Thankyou Sharon and Marissa, you imp.)

After a honeymoon to Ireland and a cruise of the UK the newlyweds returned to Philadelphia to for a few weeks to continue archiving the Craig Collection for the Swedish Colonial Society where they were honored as "Fellows"  Ron has published five volumes of the Rambo Family Tree documenting the descendants of Peter Gunnarson Rambo and his wife, Britta Mattsdotter.  The newlyweds continued a honeymoon travel to cooler weather hiking in the mountains of Vermont. Tom S__ and his delightful wife, Kim, flew to Rutland for for a marvelous evening.

The guy in clown clothing is Ron; the Magnificent beauty beside the clown is my Beloved Smooch Smooch.

Hey Wall, Irja, Thanks for the laptop battery latch repair and the salmon dinner.  Irja, seeing your improved health and mobility was a marvelous balm.  Coffee on your porch was marvelously relaxing and promoted meditation and the realization of total contentment.  Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou.

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