Monday, June 27, 2016

Starting The Countdown Again

Sunday was spent making reservations for campgrounds and researching the Texas Extravaganza production in Palo Duro Canyon and the Cog Railroad to Pike's Peak in Colorado.  By day's end we were all set with our first six campgrounds as well as tickets to the Extravaganza including dinner and the shuttle bus at Palo Duro and tickets for the train ride.  That will take us to August 7 so we will plan beyond that when we get on the road.  We want to stay up in high elevations to keep cool.

Monday was low key because we had no water.  Our shut off valve needed to be replaced and it was a bit harder and took longer than expected.  Other than straightening up, there wasn't much else I could do.  Eventually we were up and running again but it was time to fix dinner.

I worked four hours at the Thrift Shop on Tuesday.  My back is still a bit sore but I held up OK.  Just as I was leaving it rained like crazy and the lights went out.  They went on emergency power and we were able to check out and be on our way.  I had more things for Maddie, Morgan and Lily.  

I boxed up the girls' clothes and took them to the post office.  The several info pages needed to be filled out for the cardiologist on Thursday had to be tended to.  I also finished up my bunco sheet for next year's bunco calendar.  I have hostesses for September through June 2017.  I sent it off to the newsletter editor and she has all she needs from me for the whole year.  All these loose ends are getting done.  

I am squared away on our $166 yearly Medicare deductibles so there are no past due bills when I return.  The problem is you don't know who got their paperwork in first so you don't know who or how much to pay!  Mine was the hip doctor and our primary dr.  Ted was eye, primary and gastro guy!  We are done!  I do love my Medicare and Supplement G.  No paperwork, no co-pays, no more deductible after the $166, no networks, no referrals.  Good anywhere Medicare is accepted throughout the USA.  

I saw the cardiologist on Thursday.  He listened to my tale of woe about the swelling in my feet that would not go away while we were gone and then no subsequent problems since coming home.  He listened to every pulse spot on my body and checked my EKG they had just run.  He said he saw no indication of a heart problem and blamed the situation on the plane ride and the BP medicine I had been prescribed.  He has scheduled an Echocardigram for next week and prescribed a different medicine.  Hopefully it will confirm his thoughts and I will be good to go next week.

Ted shot Sporting Clays Friday and I got busy around the house.  After normal morning straightening up and emptying the dishwasher, I started the laundry.  As I folded it, I placed it on the twin bed getting it ready for transfer to the trailer.  Then I printed the 10 sets of score sheets for my bunco group.  I cleaned out the bag, sharpened all the pencils and have it ready for our September meeting.  

I worked on my travel spreadsheet changing our length of stay at three of the Arizona campgrounds.  We need to stay up in Flagstaff in the cooler elevation and only go down to Phoenix for the weekend of the anniversary celebrations. We will be heading east on Tuesday after Labor Day.  We will take another two weeks getting home.

This upcoming work is really busy so I will end here by wishing you all a Great 4th of July Celebration.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Quiet Week at Home

We went to bed almost as soon as we got home on Tuesday.  Watching TV was futile so we gave in and were in bed by 9 and slept right through to morning.  Wednesday was busy with emptying suitcases, doing laundry, opening mail and making a few phone calls.  What didn't get finished on Wednesday was tended to on Thursday.

I had a doctor's appointment and did the grocery shopping while I waited for my prescription.  Dr. C gave me a diuretic to help with the swelling in my feet due to the long plane ride.  He has been trying to find a reason to send us both to a cardiologist so he made an appointment for me to have my vein efficiency checked out.  Last month he sent Ted to have a varicose vein looked at.  We have never needed a cardiologist and this bothered Dr. C.  I hope he is happy now even if we are going in through the vein back door and not the heart front door.

Ted worked a whole day shoot on Friday and it gave me time to finish up all the loose ends.  By the time he returned home, everything was done and I had smoked sausage and sauerkraut ready for dinner.

I promised to let you know the outcome of my skin biopsy.  It was basal cell cancer but the edges were clear so Dr K got it all.  It will be checked again in 3 months.  It had healed up fine while we were gone.

We didn't do much of anything on Saturday except go to church, eat at the Mexican restaurant and watch Outlander.  With our On Demand XFinity we were able to catch up on all our TV shows we missed.

Sunday was Father's Day and I gave Ted a small gun cleaning kit that he will be able to keep in the trailer.  Kristin sent a gift card for fuel this summer.  Kelly and Kara called and said they were waiting until we were home to send their gifts.  Ted shot skeet with his friends, I fixed a nice dinner and he said he had a good day.  It was a sad day for me, the first without my Dad being there to call.  I know Laurie, my sister who lived near him, is feeling his absence so very much.  

I finally was in town to play bunco but I was tired since I had still been sleeping only until 4:30 no matter what.  I continually fell asleep on the couch no matter how hard I tried to stay awake by drinking Coke, taking a nap in the afternoon, etc.  I had a score of 9 9 0 at bunco which is 9 wins, 9 losses, 0 Buncos.  In other words, zilch, nada, nothing.  The food was good and I enjoyed seeing everyone but I needed a nap when I got home.  My back was hurting some so I laid on the ice pack.  Ted had leftovers for dinner and I stayed up later and then took a Tylenol PM.

It worked!  I slept until 6:00.  Not sure if it was the nap or the pill that worked but I was grateful for the extra morning rest.  When I checked the Forum calendar last week I saw that they needed help at the Thrift  Shop so I signed up for both Tuesdays.  I worked 10-12 and if my back hadn't been bothering me I would have stayed until 2:00.  Hopefully I can do all four hours next week.  I only have to do 25 hours this year instead of 50 because this is my 7th year of service.  Next year I can opt out of working at all but what is the point then?  I will work as much as I can but I am only obligated to 25.

I came home, had lunch and hit the couch with my ice pack again.  Ted was out so the house was quiet and I just rested.  Other than getting a mani/pedi I didn't do much on Wednesday.  After all the running we have done since our arrival the end of March, that feels good occasionally.

Stella had called and asked if we wanted to meet at Sweet Tomatoes for lunch on Thursday after Jay's stress test.  With their schedule and ours it is hard to meet up frequently.  Jay did OK on the test and Stella is recovering from cataract surgery so we talked medical issues and travels.  Their schedule has been disrupted with this testing and eye surgery and our schedule had just been blown out of the water with the trips we hadn't planned on.  But we all seem to be back on track for now.  It was great to see them.

That evening our neighbors who also have a home in Israel came over for a visit.  We see them even less because they travel worldwide constantly.  I love to hear their stories and appreciate their interest in our travels.  He is fascinated by Ted's ability to drive our RV and the many US places we have visited.  They stayed quite late but it was a nice end to a good day spent with friends.

I had called Gerre about getting together Friday before both they and we head out again.  We decided to go to Leona TX to the best steakhouse around (as long as an hour's drive isn't too much for you).  She agreed and said she would invite Tony and Linda.  By the time we were finished, 20 of us were going.  This is a little restaurant open 3 days a week, serving steak, catfish and chicken.  Your meal comes with salad, rolls and mashed potatoes.  That's it.  No substitutes because there aren't any!

A 10 oz. steak is the smallest steak and we both ordered that.  I ate about half of mine and Ted finished it.  He won't eat mashed potatoes so he just ate the steak, rolls and salad.  It is the best steak I have ever had.  It is tender, juicy, flavorful and oh, so good.

We all left there and drove back to Gerre's where the guys sat around the outside bar, the ladies sat around the table and some of us went swimming.  The water was perfect!  It was another good day with friends.

We are meeting with Chris about our being gone in the summer.  With our whirlwind months after returning in March we haven't had a chance to speak to him about returning.  Hope he still likes our arrangement.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Fifth 25

Balmoral Castle from all angles.  This is where Queen Elizabeth was when she learned Diana had died. Tony Blair insisted she come back to Buckingham Palace when she didn't do it immediately.

Towel animals from on the ship





That's All Folks!

Friday, June 17, 2016

Fourth 25

The "fish houses" of Fitte commanding hundreds of thousands of dollars and are little more than two rooms and a small garden.  I don't get it.

One of my favorite stops, Crathes Castle, 16th century castle of the Burnett family of Ley with the land given to them by King Robert the Bruce, the guy who turned on William Wallace and was responsible for him being martyred.  Think Mel Gibson in Braveheart.

Rectangular Lampshade with the first Psalm written on it, and decorated, signed by Katherine Burnett.

Grandfather clock from 1799 still keeping correct time today.

Uncovered ceiling paintings that have not been touched up.

This was amazing.  When you looked straight at the picture it was a stag, from the right it was a ship and from the left it was a steer though the glare makes it a bit difficult to see in the photo.

Headboard with monogram of Katherine Gordon and Alexander Burnett.

Ceiling paintings that have been touched up.  Curators were not happy about that.

The gardens are spectacular.

The toparies are from the 17th century.

Third 25

Gaerannan Thatch Village, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides

Archway made of whale jawbone

Donald Trump's mother's house where she grew up

Skara Brae, West Mainland Orkney Islands, 5000 year old archeological site

Churchill Barriers (sunken ships) to protect Orkney.

Italian Chapel or Mary, Queen of Peace Chapel (my name for it!)

St. Magnus Cathedral "weeping window" with the handcrafted puppies (poppies!).

The Clannish Stones, I didn't get transferred back in time like Clare Randall does in"Outlander."

Ali our director hugging the stones too.  She is from Liverpool with quite an hackney accent.

Second 25

I'm Tropical gardens on Tresco, Isles of Scilly.  Trade winds cause the mild temps.

St. David's Cathedral, Caernarfon, Wales

Crucifix and organ

The balcony where newly crowned Princes of Wales come to wave to their subjects.  Last one was Charles in 1969.  Next will be William or George depending how the line of succession goes.

Dublin, Ireland

Statues to remind us of the starvation of the people during the great potato famine.  It reminded me of the bronze shoes at the edge of the river in Budapest where Jews were pushed to their death into the river.  Lest we forget.

A Celtic cross so prevalent in Irish cemeteries.

We visited St. Patrick's Cathedral too but I think those photos are on Ted's phone.  I will put some together at a later date.

Our Zodiak view as we approached the shoreline of Iona.

A double burial tomb in the abbey at Iona.

Isle of Barra

The runway (the beach).

Baggage claim!

Stornoway, the Outer Hebrides - Harris Tweed Wool weaver - each of those strings, numbering over 1000, have to be tied by hand before the weft is introduced to start the weaving.

The man pedals as if he is biking. 

Finished product.  It will be picked up and taken to the factory for use in making Harris Tweed items.

This is not Harris Tweed but shows the loom a bit better.

Ted observing the drying of the barley for whiskey.

Squares of peat burned to create heat.