Monday, May 2, 2016

Signing Off

I have not been good at keeping this journal updated and I think it is about time to sign off.  This is the 6th anniversary of Sally's death and I still miss her a lot.  But being with Val has made happiness again possible.   

We have been spending some time each week going to Wimberley, TX to our house there.  Val has been gardening to her delight and we are getting vegetables already--lots of lettuce, some early squash and tomatoes and some peppers.  Also there are flowers and some new trees in the yard.  We need to figure out how to keep it watered and alive through a Texas summer which is pretty brutal.  We have had a lot of rain this year and areas not far from us have flooded in Sugar Land and Wimberley.  I think we are pretty safe though.  

We are going to our grandson Nathan's HS graduation and Stephen's College graduation soon.  Stephen's is in Golden Colorado in a couple of weeks.  We are only going for a couple of days and will see our friends Joel and Judy Bedford while we are there.

We will be heading out to California in early June and plan to get there in about a week.  We are planning to go to Palo Duro in Texas on the way and then to Moab, UT to see Arches and Canyonlands National parks before heading into California.  Should be fun.  Neither of us have never been to those places.

We hope to see our California friends and family this summer.  Both of us are still basically healthy aside from wear and tear.

Thanks to all of you who have followed this and have supported me and now us over these past 6 years.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Winter is here

The most exciting thing that we have done in the past couple of months is getting a small place in Wimberley, Texas in the hill country. It is between San Antonio and Austin and is a cute little town with a few good restaurants and lots of stuff to do like hiking, wineries, art galleries and shops.  We have been shuttling back and forth trying to get it furnished and for now will use it as a "country place" and still live in Sugar Land.  We like it a lot and there is still a lot to do.  Val is excited because she can have a small garden and stuff that we can't easily do in our condo.  

Other that that news, not much has happened here.  We have had some cold weather but not like many other places and today is around 70 degrees. Not bad.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Hello y'all

Well it has been a while since I updated this blog. All is well with us. We are finishing a couple of weeks at Panama City Beach. We escaped Texas just before another round of flooding. We have had some weather in Florida but nothing like back home. We are a little anxious to see if everything is ok there. 

Since our last post, we have continued to be pretty busy. For our birthdays, we were treated to a trip to Santa Rosa to visit Lorrie and John in their new home. It is really a classy house in a wonderful setting. We had a lot of good food and, of course, wine. 

Returning to Carlsbad, we then went to Orange for my 60th HS reunion. The night before we had a reunion for our "core" group of OHS friends at Terry and Nancy Teigen's house. The next night at the reunion we had about 50 classmates at the reunion. Fun seeing people, some of whom I could recognize or at least remember. 

At the end of September we returned to Sugar Land. We had been considering getting a place in the Texas hill country, between Austin and San Antonio. So we spent a few days looking around the area. To our surprise, we found a place we liked in Wimberley. You may have heard of it since it since it was one of the areas on national news during the big flood on Labor Day. After that we decided we didn't want a place on the river. Anyway, we made an offer that has been accepted. We will be going back there next week to be sure that everything is as we want it. Closing is to be before the end of November. We will continue to live in Sugar Land but use the Wimberley house as a get away. Val's brother, Chesley, has a place there. So that's exciting. Val has furniture in storage that will be a great start. Stay tuned. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Home from big trip

Well we have just returned from our big summer adventure.  We joined brother Ken and Mo on an European tour.  The University of Redlands has a campus in Salzburg, Austria and Ken was in the first class to go there in 1960.  They have had reunions in Salzburg periodically since then and one was organized for this summer.  So Val and I just tagged along.  We started at the end of July flying to Munich.  We spent a couple of days there and then a week in Salzburg.  After that we took a train to Budapest and boarded a Viking long boat on the Danube River.  We cruised along the river to Nuremberg.  The last part was on the Danube-Main-Rhine canal with about 20 locks to navigate.  We stopped each day for a tour of the city du jour.  If you want to see some of the pictures, you can look here.  

Hope to relax the rest of the summer except in mid September.  We have been invited to visit Lorrie and John's new home in Santa Rosa for a few days.  They purchased it last year and have been remodeling it.  Exciting.  They still live in Sugar Land but are planning for the future in California.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Now in cool Carlsbad

We are now in Carlsbad.  On the way out we stopped for two nights in Santa Fe and for two nights in Sedona. Both were very fun places.  We had been briefly in Santa Fe but Val had never been to Sedona.  We (I) thought we might take care of everything that ails us by going to the Vortexes (Vortices?) and getting all the spiritual energy that is supposed to be there.  Didn't work. If fact Val had a fall by tripping over a rock on a driveway and hurt her knee.  

Anyway we had a good time until that happened.  We had planned to visit our friends the Woosley's in Tucson, but decided to just keep on trucking and make it to Carlsbad.  Fortunately the knee rapidly improved so that a few days later she was getting around normally.  

We have been puttering around here getting everything the way we like it.  Val has been busy "gardening" in our pots and  putting up the hummingbird feeder.  

Over the weekend of June 19-22, we went up to Carmel to meet some old friends, Pate and Judy Thomson.  Pate and I interned together in Seattle over 50 years ago and we have kept in touch.  They celebrated their 57th wedding anniversary during our visit.  Carmel hasn't changed much in 50 years when I started going for medical/research meetings.  One thing we did, though, that was new to us was to explore Elkhorn Slough.  This inlet of Monterey bay is home to a lot of wildlife.  Many people kayak there, but we went on a small boat powered by an electric motor. We loved the birds and animals, particularly the otters.

Now back and looking forward to the family reunion for the Nies brothers and their families that will be held in the Newport area hosted by Nancy and George Bravante (Boyd's older daughter. We haven't had such a reunion in a while and this year it looks like almost everyone can make it, including Lorrie and John and their family from Texas.

Toward the end of July we will be traveling with Ken and Mo to Europe on a trip organized by the University of Redlands.  We will start in Munich and then travel to Salzburg during the Mozart festival. We then will take the train to Budapest and board a Viking cruise to Nuremberg.  We get home in mid August.

We're looking forward to seeing our California friends this summer.

Just a word about the rains in Texas.  We were there for most of the worst of the rains and flooding.  Fortunately our area in Sugar Land didn't suffer too much but it was hard to get around because of the flooding. One night we had about 11 inches of rain in about 6 hours. The next morning we saw an alligator in the lake outside our condo.  Later in the morning it had climbed onto the bank behind our Whole Foods market about a block from us. They are probably all there as they are in a lot of the rivers in Texas, but we hadn't seen one so close previously. 
Val's brother has a weekend home in Wimberly, TX that was the site of the first large flash flooding.  Their house is on a bluff above a small creek. They were there over Memorial day when the flooding started. In the middle of the night they got a call from a neighbor to look out the window.  The water had risen to the deck of their house, which is probably about 40 feet above the river normally.  Neighbors whose houses were below theirs lost their houses.  Several people were killed and hundreds of houses were washed away. Normally the river is no more that calf deep at its deepest.
So it is good to be back out the flood zone into the earthquake zone.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Anyone know how to build an ark?

Last night we had a horrific thunderstorm.  Officially we had over 10 inches of rain.  Our rain gauge overflowed at 6 inches so I'm not sure, but I bet it was at least that amount.  There was thunder and lightening and flash flood warnings all night.  Fortunately, it did not flood here, but it did in many parts of Houston.  The day before, there had been a major flood in the hill country.  My brother-in-law Ches (Val's brother) has a vacation house in Wimberly in that area.  They were there for the Memorial day weekend and his neighbor called and woke him.  He looked out the window and the water had come up to his deck.  The little creek he is on had risen over 40 feet in an hour.  About 300 houses were washed away.  Not sure how many deaths.  

Also when we got up today, saw this on our bank going down to the lake out our back door.  I think we had an alligatornado come through.
 We are planning on leaving here on Saturday for the trip to California.  We will stop for a couple of days in Santa Fe and a couple of days in Sedona before heading out to dry, dry California.  With all the smart people in California, why can't someone figure out how to normalize the water in this country??

Friday, May 1, 2015

Starting to think about trip to Carlsbad

Well, spring finally came and we have had a string of gorgeous days punctuated by a few days of torrential rains and high winds.  But I think that it won't be much longer until it starts to get hot.  And that is my clue that we need to start thinking about our annual summer trip to Carlsbad. We are planning to leave here at the end of May and spend a couple of days in Santa Fe and Sedona on our way out, arriving around the 5th of June.  We will be driving Val's new CR-V.  Yes we finally traded in the Acura.  It was still running perfectly and would probably have gone on for another 10 years at least, but Val needed a somewhat smaller car and one that she could really feel was her own.
Fort Sumter

We have not done too much this winter, but we did take a spring trip to Charleston, Beaufort, and Savannah.  Neither of us had been to those old historic cities and we loved it.  There is a lot to see and appreciate.  Charleston was a major city where the Civil War actually started at Fort Sumter.  The fort is a little bitty island in the harbor that still stands, sort of. Charleston was also the center of the slave trade prior to the civil war and there is a museum at the old Slave Mart where this all happened.  

Beaufort is a well preserved city that the Union occupied early in the war so the city was spared the destruction of many other southern cities. There have been a lot of films made in this part of the country including Forrest Gump, Prince of Tides, The Great Santini, The Big Chill and lots of others.  It was interesting to see where some famous scenes were actually filmed.

Savannah is interesting in that it is well preserved and is built around many squares.  If you think about most towns, there is a central square.  But in Savannah there is a square about every other block.  There is a lot of wrought iron like New Orleans and brick and cobblestone streets.  The much of this material was brought from England as ballast on ships and then dumped to make room for cotton, rice, tobacco etc to go back to England.  

Before we came home we went to Charlotte, NC to see the Kings Mountain battlefield that was the site of a major revolutionary war battle where Val ancestors fought to defeat the British.  At the time the war in the north was at a stalemate, and the British were beginning to look to taking over the south.  They occupied a ridge on the SC and NC border called Kings Mountain.  The colonists who volunteered to fight were mountain men who crossed the Appalachian chain.  They used guerrilla tactics to soundly defeat the British and this changed the momentum of the war.  It was said to be the turning point.