Thursday, February 29, 2024

29 February - who can resist posting?

 It's been quite a month.  I'm ok if we don't have another like it for a LONG time!  My back/hip pain is still with me.  The doctor prescribed some medication but it's not working.  The next thing was PT and I'm scheduled to meet with them today.  We'll see how that works!  

The other nasty news is that my wife has been slowing down a lot.  Eventually her doctor suggested going to the ER!  Well, hell!  So we go over there and they immediately put her on some drips and in a couple of hours had her airlifted over to Las Vegas!  Talk about a fun afternoon.  Here's the machine showing her 128 heartbeat while she was lying in the bed.

She's been in the hospital in Vegas for a week now.  They said she had excess fluid in her lungs and worked to drain that.  That took two or three days; then they finally got her to a place where they could address her real problem:  atrial fibrillation or AFib.  It is when your heartbeat is either racing or flashing back and forth between normal and superfast.  She has had a procedure for that and we are hoping she can come home today.  Our daughter came out to see her and is going to bring her home if she gets released.  

All that makes for a fun month.  However, I've been driving into Vegas every day to see her.  It's a lovely drive, going in through the pass over the mountains and coming down is just great going either way.  I'm kind of a close-to-the-speed-limit guy so I mostly stay in the right lane and let the speeders have the left.  There are plenty of speeders for sure.  And plenty of way-too-loud motorcycles.  I did even once get passed by a state patrol cruiser - not blue lights just wanting to get home I guess.  

Here's a photo of a slightly overcast sky.

See, it's not always sunny in Nevada!  No rain of course.  But then we also get views like this.

 Gotta go.  Can't see wifie come home to the mess I've made of the house!  Take care.  Thanks for stopping by and keep washing those hands!

Wednesday, February 07, 2024

We made it to February!

Well, we've been home for 3 1/2 weeks; pretty much back in the groove and then I did something that caused a pain in my left leg.  I've no idea what happened.  The only thing I did that was unusual was to clean the 4 mirrors in our bathrooms.  They are about 7 feet tall so it is a bit of a stretch to clean them.  Anyway I went to the Urgent Care place and they suggested it was either Radicular pain or Sacroliac joint pain.  I don't know but I'm sure ready for it to be gone!  Saw my doctor yesterday; he was no help at all.  Had a xray taken of my hips.  That was WAY painful; since my injury, whatever it is, my back does not like being straight.  We'll see what else we can do; the doctor suggested Physical Therapy.  That could be torture!

In the rest of our lives; we have a well to provide us with water.  It was leaking somehow before we left on our trip but I figured there would be more time to get it fixed after the trip and that turns out to have been a good decision.  The well guy came out and, yep, found a leak right away.  


The well has a concrete foundation that was badly cracked so the well guy put in a new pressure tank away from the foundation so it could be replaced.  It took a few days but a local concrete guy came out and replaced the foundation and now we've had the well guy come back and put the pressure tank where it used to be.  It's just all fun; $1,900 worth of fun but fun.  

California has been getting hit by some storms coming in from the ocean so, of course, we get some too.  In our case it is small amounts of rain; except that this is a desert and we don't get a lot of rain.  When we do get rain weird stuff happens.  Day before yesterday we got 1.14" of rain; yesterday we got .55".  That's about half of our yearly average.  Right here in our part of town we just have wet roads; in other parts they have small lakes on the side of the road and, of course, in the road.  It's funny; we are in a 'flood zone' so our mortgage lender requires that we have flood insurance.  Across the street isn't in the 'flood zone' so they don't need flood insurance.  I'm sure to have whined about that in the past!  When I went to the doctor the fun part was seeing the wild horses visiting our county offices across the street from the doctor.  In the photos you can also see water down at the bottom of the photo.  That's not a river, it's the road full of water in front of the office!

Oh, and we've had a few birds coming through on their migration to somewhere.  That bird feeder isn't going to do it for all those guys!

That's all that's going on here in the fast lane.  Take care & keep washing those hands!

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Well, two weeks in....

 How is 2024 treating you?  

We've had an interesting start for sure.  On December 28 we got on a Viking cruise ship in Los Angeles and headed for Hawaii!  Yeah, it's not like visiting Columbia or the Sudan or Pakistan but, well, it's not sitting around in the house either!

It was a fine trip.  My wife and I like being out at sea and Viking did everything it could to make our trip a SEA trip.  We took 5 days to get to Hawaii and the first two were really kind of rough.  It doesn't bother us but there were plenty of seasickness wrist bands and behind the ear plasters to be seen.  We did celebrate the New Year onboard.  I'm pretty sure we've never had little hat things for the New Year before!


Then we got to visit Kauai, Oahu, Maui and Hawaii.  On each island there were tours  and we planned on taking one of them on each island.  Ok, with that lead in, do I have to say it didn't work out?  Kaua'i worked out just fine.  The only problem was that much of it was at a 'plantation' which has become a tourist town with lots of small buisnesses to sell stuff to tourists.  Unfortunately many of them were closed!  Duh!  You have 400-500 tourists coming by and you are closed???  Retail has changed a lot since I worked in it!  We did manage to find this Christmas ornament.  It is glass and is painted on the inside; not the outside.  It has chickens because many years ago chickens became wild on Kaua'i and they still are!  You are driving somewhere and here are 6 or 8 chickens just pecking around by the side of the road!  It's amazing!  And fun if you like chickens.  I was trying to take a photo of this rooster trying to have his way with out of the ladies but it just didn't work.  Darn!

The next day we were on Oahu in Honolulu.  We were getting dressed to go out and my wife remembered she wanted something from the bathroom; she turned, caught her foot in some bedclothes that were hanging down and fell!  Oh shit!  Of course she's been recovering from her broken ankle and now she was down again.  Slowly I got her up and we headed down to see the ship's doctor.  The good news is that there was nothing broken; the bad news is that she really couldn't walk and her toes, arm and ribs hurt and were bruised where she had fallen on them.  SO, back in the wheelchair for wifie!  


The staff were really quite nice.  They would find us places to sit and places to hide the chair.  The bar staff got to know us better than usually since we did have more time on board and alcohol helps the pain go away.  But really that was only for that first day.  Then I left my wife.

NO, not for ever, just for the Maui tour.  We decided that I'd go do that and she would just relax in our cabin.  Well, actually, she could have come with me except for climbing onto the bus and out of it.  However I did go on the tour.  The first part of the tour was up to a tourist shopping area in Lahaina.  Well, shit!


Here you are driving through residential neighborhoods where everything is burned down and then you are in the Hyatt, Hilton & whatever neighborhood with their pristine buildings and lovely golf courses.  Oh, and in the middle was our destination:  the Whaler's Village (Mall).  Well, shit!  Just what I wanted to see:  Louis Vuitton, Sephora Cosmetics, Tommy Bahama clothing, Lululemon sportswear,  Keani Hawaii jewelry, Maui Divers Jewelry.  Really???  The folks who lived there are still working on finding places to live.  There are tents on every beach where people are trying to live.  Of course there are vans parked along the road as well.  It was nasty!  These tents were probably 30 feet from condos that are worth $700K on a bad day!  Oh, and the people in the background are tourists getting on their sailing trimarans for the morning.

Anyway, the second part of the tour was up to a crazy little river, oh, and a rock!  Where you got to climb 147 steps (or something like that) to see the river falls and a weird rock.  The rock is the Iao Needle; it just sticks up there in the middle of a canyon like it was meant to be there.  Weird but photogenic.  The steps were just awful!  They didn't even have hand rails on both sides!

Our last day in Hawaii was on Hawaii, the big island.  We checked with the tour people and they said that going while using a wheelchair was fine so we decided to do it.  Our tour started with viewing the Rainbow Falls.  That was ok; my wife couldn't view them being in the wheelchair but I got a couple nice photos.  This is the falls.


Then we wandered off to the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo.  That would probably have been ok too but it was really raining in the rainforest!  And my wife was in a wheelchair and, well, it was pretty wet for her!  So we were definitely first back on the bus!  

THEN came the thing we wanted most from Hawaii.  My wife's sister and her husband sold their huge, fantastic home in Washington a year or two ago and are building a smaller place there; however she hates the winters up there so they have purchased a condo on the island of Hawaii for winters (also golf which is a passion).  We were hoping to meet them for lunch.  Their condo is across the island and it is about a 2 hour drive to get there so visiting at their place was out of the question - so we had lunch together in a local restaurant near the ship.  That was fun.  We'll be back to visit them when we can rent a car and enjoy the island.  No photos, we just all forgot!

And then we were on the way back east!  It was another 5 days of 18 knot speeds and we landed in Ensenada, Mexico.  Apparently there is an old law saying that foreign vessels can't go between US ports exclusively; they have to go somewhere like Canada or Mexico too!  Ensenada is close; Carnival Cruise Lines likes it too!


Anyway, we had a nice day in Ensenada; well, except for the tour!  There is a blowhole, La Bufadora, that is pretty impressive with seawater spouting up through this hole in the rock.  That was really nice; the 2/3rds of a mile of trash and trinket sellers on the way there and back was kind of a pain in the ass!  Or, in my wife's case, in the foot!  But we managed it, two + hours of walking may not have been what she wanted but it worked out ok.  There was a nice musical party going on a mile or so from the boat but we just crashed!

And then there is an overnight very quiet ride to LA. and hop off!  Well, it was kind of screwed up since they didn't bother announcing that we were cleared to go but we managed to get off about 08:40 - probably an hour later than we had hoped.  Zoomed through customs; a nice guy named Cassady spent way too much time checking out our passports and then we were in the taxi line.  Amazingly there were no taxi's waiting but a guy showed up and took us to the hotel where we'd left the car and ZOOM!  

I've got to admit that I haven't driven that fast in a while.  We were doing 80-85mph most of the way across California.  Not that we were passing anyone but still!  We got to the kennel about 13:45 - and they want the dogs out by 14:00!  So we just made it; the clock showed 14:00 (2 p.m.) as we drove into the yard.  The house was just the way we'd left it; didn't clean itself or anything.  But, we were happy to be here.  And we had a lovely sunset.  What's not to like?

Thanks for stopping by.  Keep washing those hands and be safe!

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Happy New Year!!

 Let's just hope the country and the world can improve a bit in 2024!

Happy New Year!!  

Take care and keep washing those hands!

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Merry Christmas!

 And Happy New Year!  

Well, things are a bit different this morning.  This is our usual view (with balloon, of course).

This morning we have some of the moisture that California is getting; but the desert version.

Not exactly a blinding sunrise is it?  But, well, it's a kind of moisture I guess.  Otherwise everyone is just running around like we all do just before Xmas.  My wife and I haven't given presents to anyone (much less each other) for years.  It just seems like if we want to give you something, why wait?  And for each other; she certainly knows better what she wants than I do and vice versa.  So why buy the wrong thing?  Ok, I'm an old grump but it's been working for us for 40 years or so.

In the rest of the world, jeez, every time Mr. Trump opens his mouth I cannot imagine why anyone would vote for him.  A server in one of our local restaurants, a Japanese immigrant, was telling us how much he believes the election was stolen in 2016.  Of course the next day Mr. Trump is carefully telling us how illegal immigrants are 'poisoning the blood' of the country.  Hmmm.  Does anyone else see the stupidity of our server?  Of course there are probably other reasons he is a 45 year old server in a restaurant but I have to think 'dumb' is one of them.  

Of course in 2016 Nevada had some Republicans choose to report to the federal government that Mr. Trump had won the election when, in fact, he had lost it.  So I guess it's not just low-income servers who are dumb!  Jeez!  Every now and then my wife and I have this discussion about moving to another country if Trump were to win a second Presidency.  I don't think we'd ever actually do it but Switzerland is looking better all the time!

Sorry about the rant but this shit is getting old!  On a better note my wife and I managed to get our Xmas photo taken yesterday.  With the dog, of course!  So, as I said, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Much Better New Year!  Thanks for stopping by & take care.

Saturday, December 16, 2023

Well, that was fun!

No, I'm lying.  It was NOT fun!  We woke and fed the dog the other day and I took him out to hear just a waterfall!  Well, this is the damn desert.  WTF??  I saw this in our back yard.

Yeah, that's a small lake in our back yard right next to the pump house.  Hmmm.  It didn't take me long to turn around and run in to get the key for the electric box and shut off the pump.  Well, I did managed to get this photo of the problem.

Yeah, that's a problem for sure!  We called our favorite 'well guy' and he came over and repaired the leak.  He's explained this to me before but apparently our local government has decreed that pumps should be sitting on a concrete pad; but they don't want a REAL pad like with rebar & an underpad of gravel.  So as the ground moves around, so does the pressure container and every couple of years the plastic pipe cracks.  Ain't that wonderful?  So, he fixed the pipe and collected his $80 and we'll be seeing him in another couple of years.  He is a nice guy but really?

Of course it's not all about water around here.  We do get some nice night skies, sunrises and sunsets.

 Of course it is the Xmas season so we've decorated the house.  We have our 1998 plastic Christmas tree from the Netherlands.  I'm sure I've never posted a photo of it before!  LOL  The things decorating the tree all have memories attached.  Some are things the kids made (who are now both over 50 years old!); some are from the Netherlands; some are from our travels; some are just beautiful in their own right.  The Santa robe beneath the tree on the table was created by my wife's sister when she was into weaving.

And, of course, it is finally cool enough to use the fireplace!

Hey, what more could you want?  Well, aside from no more broken well connection.  Oh, and world peace and no more Hitler-wanna-be assholes and a funeral for Mr. Trump.  Yeah, I'm not asking for all that much so maybe in 2024 we'll get some of that.  Hell, I'd settle for the last one!  Take care and keep washing those hands!  Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, December 07, 2023

Travels - back in the day!

 Well, it looks like I've been gone for a couple of weeks.  Jeez, I hate it when I don't have anything to say!  But, well maybe, that's a good thing.  Anyway I don't have any more broken bones to talk about!  It's been quiet out here in the desert.  Just below freezing in the night and almost warm by mid-day.  Orion started showing up in the dark sky about a month ago and it's always nice to see that constellation.  We went and got shots for the new version of COVID; who knows if they work but it's worth a try.  And, of course, we are decorating for Xmas.  It's fun lighting up the place.  Lots of memories there too! 

I've been reading a few blogs where the people are visiting other countries.  I'm refering specifically to the blogs Key West DiaryThe Chouters and Kevin and Ruth.  Of course there are many others but those three have been filling lots of my time lately.  They remind me that we've been here and there as well.  

How about this?  The required before dinner photo on the SS Norway; previously the SS France.  Yes, they made you stand there and pose.

I don't know why but I'd been a fan of the SS France for a long time.  So when it was renamed the SS Norway; well, I still loved the ship.  I think it was going to be retired so I talked my wife into a cruise.  It was just Florida to a couple of the Caribbean islands but it was enough.  We had this cabin that was WAY up in the bow and when they dropped the anchor we sure knew it!  That was 1997 - a quarter of a century ago!

Of course when we lived in the Netherlands we got to travel about quite a bit.  Being an old Army guy I had to take photos of some of the local WWII memories.  This one was in Belgium.

Of course in the Netherlands they do like their bicycles.  

Looking at those blogs and my old photos does make me want to travel more!  We have a cruise planned but it's not a big deal.  LA to Hawaii will be lots of ocean time and no foreign ports.  Still, it will be cruising on the ocean and we do love that.  It's even better if you can't hear the anchor being let out!  LOL  

I'm going to post a few more memories but for now I'm sticking to the 1990's.  Take care and keep washing those hands!