Saturday, March 25, 2017

Nothing much going on.

It has been 4 weeks since Clyda’s surgery and she is doing amazingly well. In fact she drove the car the other day for the first time. All of the staples, 32 of them , have been removed and she only has her scar covered with Steri Strips which will soak off soon just from taking a shower. She goes for long walks several times each day which helps strengthen her muscles and also does lots of exercises, plus rides her recumbent bicycle.

We have no real trips planned for this summer except for on RV trip after I finish with Visitadores in May. We will go to the Elks Club in Santa Maria with friends for a few days much as we did last year.

In the mean time, I have been pulling weeds. Lots and lots of weeds! With all the rain we have had this year, they sure do grow. I have the bulk of them pulled now and only have out of the way areas to finish up. Normally Clyda does the flower beds but I have had to do all of it. Oh poor Me! It keeps me off the streets I guess.

Basketball. Yeah, it is that time of year when all the NCAA teams are trying to be that Number 1. With games on 4 channels to begin with, I do a lot of channel swapping. It beats watching the news.

I am trying to get up to speed on Google Docs with voice text. I purchased a headset with a mic from Amazon and have tried it and believe it or not, it works. I still need to work with it some more to get the punctuation right. I think it will come in handy for some projects I have in mind.

I have included a few flower shots I took this morning on my walk.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

A medical update for Clyda.

I have kept many of you updated on Clyda’s progress but I am sure I missed a few people which I apologize for.

Clyda had her knee surgery last Thursday. At that time it was anticipated that she would have the old knee device removed and a new less mobile device installed. The Dr told us prior to the surgery that he had a plan A, B, and C ready just in case he needed them. Each device in this case was less mobile that the higher order one.

After Clyda was sedated and in the operating room, the Dr manipulated her knee and felt that the ligament in question was probably in good shape. After making the incision, he found that to be the case and so instead of replacing the knee he just replaced the 7 mm bearing plate with a 12 mm plate and that really tightened up the ligament. It is his feeling that Clyda should have no further problems with stability after her healing process.

Instead of a 4 ½ hour surgery, it only took 45 minutes. However, Clyda had been prepped for the 4 ½ hour surgery so it took her a while to recover from the anesthetic.

I received a call from the Dr about 2 hours after the surgery started telling me the “good news” as he said and indeed it was good news as her recover time will be much shorter.

In fact she has made amazing progress this week. Clyda even has walked to the end of our block using her walker for added stability. I think the walker will be gone after today and she will only use a cane for a while.

I told her the other day that “at the rate she is progressing I better plan a trip soon. Ha!

This Angels Trumpet just keeps putting out flowers every few weeks. Amazing!

Monday, February 20, 2017

An update

I did have my session with the Lithotriptor and it looks like the kidney stone was busted up into small pieces which have passed. The process was painless as I was sedated and didn’t feel a thing. No pain or effects from the process. Now to keep up my liquid intake regimen to avoid this in the future.

We have had a lot of rain over the last week, in fact over 6 inches locally on the coast and much, much more in the mountains which is where it is needed to fill the lake where our water comes from. We had another 1.2 inches overnight. All is welcome even with the weather related problems it cause. Some roads have been closed, trees are down, and the airport was closed overnight on Saturday because of runway flooding.

As to our phone and internet problem – I got a recorded message on Saturday afternoon saying that “the scheduled repair would not take place until the 23rd of February.” That was 3 whole weeks from the time we lost phone service. I called Frontier and was told “That is what it is.”

So, I visited the local cable company office on Monday and set up an appointment to have a full bundle of services, phone, internet, and TV, installed on Wednesday. When I returned home I received a phone call from the cable company asking if it would be OK to do the installation on Tuesday morning. OK, now that is service.

The installation was done on Tuesday but a few problems came up. Mainly, our cabling in the house is 50 years old and all needs to be replaced. That is a major job. One that I need to talk to the cable company about. In the mean time, we do have phone, internet, and TV but some of it needs to be fine tuned yet. All in good time.

When the cable is replaced, I want to move some of the outlets in a few rooms to shorten the cable runs. When this house was built the cable was installed in every room with no real thought as to where the TV’s would be placed.

I have spent the last 3 days changing the email addresses for all of our on-line accounts to the new email address. That is not a small job as many accounts require a 2 step process to make changes while others require that they make the changes themselves.

I decided to add a few photos from our cruise to hawaii.

 Sunset as we leave Kauai.

Banyon tree at Lahina on Maui. Multiple trunks but all one tree.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

It is heck getting old.

On December 29th I was admitted to the Emergency room of the local hospital with severe kidney stone pain. After a CT scan, an IV, and pain meds, I was released after 4 hours. The stone bothered me over the weekend but I was not in severe pain as I had been. We were scheduled to depart on another cruise to Hawaii with friends on January 4th. This trip was surely in jeopardy as I also had an appointment with a Urologist on the morning of the 4th. Her recommendation was to cancel the trip but in the end she left the decision up to me. Before I left the clinic she had me get an x-ray so they could track the stone.

Needless to say, I did make the cruise but about the time the ship left the dock in Los Angeles I was having second doubts about my decision as I was having mild kidney pain. This pain occurred a few more times over the next few days but then quit completely for the remainder of the cruise and has not recurred since.

However, I did have a scheduled appointment with my Urologist when I returned from the trip and her suggestion was to have the stone removed as soon as possible. Her comment was “You have had this stone long enough so lets get rid of it”.

I am scheduled for a session with a Lithotriptor on Thursday of this week to “pound” the stone out of me with sound waves. In the mean time I have had multiple doctor visits, lab work, etc in preparation for the procedure.

As a result of all this medical stuff we canceled our annual winter trip to Arizona for this year. We hated to miss seeing all of our friends but I need to get this taken care of.
The other reason to get it done is because Clyda has knee replacement surgery scheduled for February 23rd and I need to be ready to take care of her. This surgery is to replace the device she had installed about a year and a half ago. The device is perfect but she is unstable on her feet as the ligaments for that leg are stretched. The only way to compensate is to put in a new device with less movement sideways. Unfortunate, but it has to be done.

There is no traveling in our near future until Clyda is back on her feet and stable.

On another note: We are having RAIN. Not a lot, but enough to make a difference in the drought we hope. Of course, much more is needed to overcome all those years when we had little rain. The lake (our main water source) has come up some but is still has a long way to go before it spills over the dam. I doubt it will happen this year.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Cruise report.

We are back from our Cruise to Hawaii with friends. These are the same folks we did the Panama Canal trip with in 2010. Earlier in the year we all decided we wanted to do another trip together and this trip worked for all of us. It is a fifteen day trip out of Los Angeles with stops at four islands.

Leaving Los Angeles on Star Princess.

For the first few days the weather was cold and the seas were choppy so we confined ourselves to indoor activities. Believe me, there plenty of activities to keep us busy.

Our first stop was in Hilo on the big island of Hawaii. Thomas had rented a car so five of us drove to Volcano National Park and down the Chain of Craters Road to see the Sea Arch created when lava flowed into the ocean and wave action carved out the arch.

We also could see the large plume of steam caused by lava flowing into the ocean but it was about 4 miles away. You could hike to the lava but it was an 8 mile round trip over very rough terrain. Not possible for us because of time constraints.

Plume of steam where lava is flowing into ocean.

Arch rock.

We then drove back to see the Kilauea Crater and saw lava shooting up from a rift in the cauldera floor. We found out that a large section of the caldera wall had collapsed that morning causing the rift in the floor. As many times a I have been to Kilauea, I had never seen lava shooting up here. Pretty impressive.

Our next stop was Honolulu where we took a free local bus supposedly to the Ala Moana shopping center but it stopped at a jewelry shop first. We were a captive audience for a short time. We eventually did get to the shopping center where we had lunch and then returned to the ship.

Sunset in Honolulu.

We then stopped in Kauai where we took a local shuttle to the Marriott Beach Club where we spent a few hours on the beach. We have stayed here with friends years ago and whenever we are here we spend some time on the beach. It is free after all.

Beach at Kauai with ship in background.

Our last stop was in Maui. Here the ship had to anchor out and we had to take a ships tender in to the port. We rented a cab and had it take us to Whalers Village in Kaanapala which is about a 15 minute drive up the coast. It is where all the big hotels a located. We found a spot on the beach to people watch for a few hours then joined our friend Cay who was having lunch at a beach restaurant. Clyda and I had a lunch of Poke Tacos and guacamole. Very good! Poke is raw tuna soaked in lime juice which cooks the tuna.

After lunch we took a local bus back to the cruise dock and returned to the ship.

Our trip back to the California coast was uneventful but a little choppy. We did stop in Ensenada, MX for a day. Again we took a free local bus into town, not expecting much but from there did take a tour to a local blowhole where ocean water is forced up through a narrow opening and sprays high in the air. We had a free margarita and fish tacos for lunch then shopped our way back to the bus fending off local vendors as we went up the street.

Blowhole in Ensanada, MX.

This is the first time we have gotten off the ship in Ensenada and if we do another cruise with a stop there we will certainly repeat the experience.

We have had a couple of fairly large rain storms over the weekend with about 5.5 to 6 inches of rain so far. Very nice but we need more to fill our lakes and reservoirs.

We are now catching up on Dr appointments. Clyda for her upcoming knee replacement – replacement on Feb 23rd and me with 2 appointments this week also. If all goes well we will leave for Quartzsite, AZ on Friday and make it a 2 day trip with an overnight stop in Boron.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

All is well.

We are still alive and well here on the West coast.

We just came home from a 15 day cruise through the Panama Canal on the Celebrity Infinity with friends from Walnut Creek. It was a wonderful cruise with stops in Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, Puerto Quetzal, Guatemala, Puntarenas, Cost Rica, the Panama Canal, and Cartagena, Cloumbia. We completed the cruise in Ft Lauder dale, FL on Friday and visited the Henry Flagler Museum in West Pam Beach. On Saturday we flew back home.

I particularly like the ancient Guatemalan city of Antigua. It is up in the mountains and is UNESCO World Heritage site. That means it can be maintained but not changed. The streets are cobblestone as they have been forever.

We had perfect weather and calm seas for the entire trip.

Arriving home we hit the ground running to get all the Christmas stuff done. The outside lights are up, the tree is up and decorated, the Christmas letter is written, the packages have been mailed, but the cards remain. Those should be done in the next few days.

A very merry Christmas to all.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Another Desert trip complete.

Back from my fall desert trip.

What a great trip this year. We extended the trip by over a week so we could camp in Panamint Valley, West of Death Valley and explore those things which have been our our list of to-do’s for some time. In the past we had to drive from Death Valley which is about 50 miles by road each way.

A bonus was the military jets which used us as targets while flying low over the valley. We had parked our 4 RV’s in a row along a turnout in the road and I guess our predominately white vehicles made a convenient target for the pilots to see. We were buzzed numerous times and some at very low altitude. What a hoot! We also got some good video.

An ancient geoglyph or rock alignment.

Overview of Panamint Valley from the old townsite of Lookout in the Argus Range.

The downside of this week in Panamint valley was the 2.5 days of wind which piled up sand around our rigs and got into every opening. We eventually spent a day at the Ridgecrest Elks club blowing the sand out of everything with my air compressor. Every lock, window, under all the truck hoods, door hinges, etc.

While in Panamint Valley we explored the town of Darwin (people still live there), drove the back road from Darwin to China Springs and back to Panamint Springs Resort in Death Valley. A very nice trip.

One day we drove to the Owens Valley, West of Panamint Valley and visited the mining camp of Cero Gordo located at 8200 ft above the valley. We had made arrangements for a guided tour from the care taker. Many of the old buildings still stand and some are being refurbished by the present owner. The Silver and Lead mined at Cero Gordo were the predominant reason for the growth of Los Angeles. Eighty Six pound ingots were hauled by mule teams to Los Angeles for trans-shipment to smelters in San Francisco for processing. The freighting was done by Remy Nadeau of 20 mule team fame.

We moved to Calico Ghost Town near Barstow for 2 days so we could explore Inscription Canyon and all of its many petroglyphs. This involved about a 100 mile round trip, most of it off highway. We also visited the NASA display at the Barstow train station and well as the railroad museum nearby. Both worth the visit. We also got to see the worlds second largest meteor (6000 lbs) at another Barstow museum.
Ancient petroglyph in Inscription Canyon.

Petroglyph of Big Horn Sheep in Inscription Canyon.

We moved on from Barstow to the BLM area near Tecopa, CA, our usual stopping place after spending a night behind the Mad Greek restaurant in Baker, CA. The BLM area allows us to circle the wagons as it is not an organized campground.

From Tecopa we visited Saratoga Springs along the Harry Wade 1849 exit route out of Death Valley. We have been here before but this time we wanted to look for ancient Indian village sites as well as check out the mining areas. We did all of the above.
What 1.5 inches of rain look like at Tecopa BLM.

Armagosa River in Southern Death Valley crossing Westside Road.

We planned to visit Galena Canyon in the South end of Death Valley but a day of rain raised the level of the Armagosa River making it too dangerous to cross with 4x4 vehicles so instead we drove to the Ashford mine trail head and hiked 2.2 miles up canyon to the mine site. Soon after we arrived it started raining so we took shelter in the mine kitchen and had lunch. The rain stopped shortly thereafter so we explored for a while before going back down the canyon to the vehicles. This was my third trip to the Ashford mine and not one I was planning to do this year.

Ashford Mine in Death Valley.

Tim exploring Phinney Mine in Nevada North of Beatty.

King of the Hill!

Old telegraph wire and pole on the line from Bullfrog to Skidoo.

No trip to Tecopa is complete without a stop at China Ranch Date farm for a date shake and we did that twice this year. The second time was so son Tim could checkout a geo-cache high atop a mud hill near the ranch.

Eventually we moved to Death Valley and continued our exploring of mines, ghost towns, and Indian relics and then ended up attending lectures and events connected with the Death Valley 49er days.

DBRC (Desert Balloon Recovery Crew) haul of mylar balloons (33).

Campfire at Furnace Creek Campground.
On Sunday Nov 13th we again drove back to Baker, spending another night there before driving home on the 14th. We never drive from Baker to Barstow on a Sunday afternoon as the home bound Las Vegas traffic is a night mare. Much better to drive home on Monday.

 One of many great sunsets on our trip.