Friday, January 27, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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