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.|
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 !!|
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.
|Cynthia's Grandchildren in Christmas Pageant|
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|
|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.|
|Favorite Smoochie photo (Thanks to Lil' MAC)|
|Lookie all the fog - and it lasted ALL DAY|
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.
|birds & beach|
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
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.|
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|
|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. http://sarasota.citymomsblog.com/holiday/a-guide-to-the-best-christmas-lights-in-the-srq/
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. http://innatthebeach.com/venice-christmas-parade-2016/ 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|
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|
Here is a marvelous article to make Christmas merry: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/12/02/christmas-carol-offers-important-lessons-on-how-should-all-be-living-today.html
|Pritikin from the rear|
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.