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Saturday, March 21, 2020

These trying times

Cullman, AL

Talk about trying.... I just spent at least 45 minutes on this blog.  I was getting ready to post when my left pinky finger hit a key and wiped out all that I wrote.   Well, here I go again with what I can remember.  No, first I have to go sit down and collect my thoughts.

Okay after an hour or so I'm back.   As I was saying....


Last month Len told me he was having trouble reading.  We were in the car (him driving) and he said he could not read some road signs nor license numbers that were right in front of him.   Needless to say I took over all driving until he got new glasses.

We went to the eye clinic he uses.   I have to say, I was impressed with the doctor.  He said Len had cataracts on both eyes and not to buy glasses now.  Wait until after surgery and then determine what he needs.  Might only be cheap readers for reading.

On March 2 he had the left eye done.  On March 16 the right eye.   Simple procedures.  We returned to the eye doctor after each surgery and was told all looked good.   We are glad it was done at this time as the day after this last surgery all elective surgery has been stopped.   He had a follow up appointment scheduled for two weeks out.   They called and moved to it back another two weeks. 

Two NOMADS couples who we have volunteered with in the past are working at nearby Camp Sumatanga.   We invited them for lunch on March 13.   Here are Kathy and Bill Waters and Billie and Lon LaBumbard.


Kathy and Bill live in North Carolina, Billie and Lon are from Wisconsin. 

Due to the age of most NOMADS volunteers, projects starting March 30 and for the next 6 weeks have been cancelled.    I thought this would be occurring.  Not only are they in that age group but many also have underlying health issues.   


At least 45 years ago when I attended a small church in NJ there was a young couple living next to, and attending, the church     They moved the New York state some years later.   Then retired to Florida.   We always kept in touch.   These were very special people.  Their abiding love for each other, their families and friends and their Lord were an inspiration to all who knew them.

This is Ginny and Chris Crowfoot.  The picture was taken in July 2015 when we visited them in Florida.



In September Chris suffered a major stroke.  From that time he was back and forth between hospitalization to rehabs.   There would be improvement, then a set back.   It would look like he would be released to return home and another set back.   Ginny was his greatest cheerleader.    Ginny and I texted back and forth on March 16 and from her text I knew.    On March 17, Chris' heart gave out.   As Ginny said, He is happy again.

He is being buried at the small church in NJ.   Because of the current virus situation they plan just a simple grave side service.    It was to be held this weekend.   I got a message from Ginny yesterday.  Florida will not release him at this time.   In her usual humor she told me this is just like Chris.... to be late for his own funeral.   I laughed out loud.    God Bless Ginny and their remarkable children and grandchildren.   God has blessed me too.  Just knowing this couple has brought joy to my life.

Today is the first day since Tuesday that Leonard has not worn his PJs all day.  He went to town this morning and got gas for the mower and diesel for the tractor.   I have weed whacked around the pond.  Also pulled brush from our side of the creek that runs along the property.   We have had a lot of rain.  When (if) it finally dries a bit I will get on the mower again.   Len plans of getting on the tractor so I can load brush for the burn pile.   He is able to take his Inogen One with him on the tractor.   He is anxious to do something more than sit in his recliner watching westerns and napping.  Even then, activity has to be a little at a time.

We are sticking close to home.  Daughter-in-law Lois texted a few days ago asking if we needed anything.   Since she and son Lennie were going to the market I asked her to pick up 2 prescriptions and a few groceries.    We have a chest  freezer full of meats.   Plenty of soups, beans etc by the case on racks in the basement.   We purchase canned goods by the case whenever we are in Hanover, PA.   And no, we don't need toilet paper at this time.  Thankfully.

I wish each of you good health, patience and faith..  We will get though this.

Until next time.

















Sunday, March 1, 2020

Signs of Spring

Cullman,  AL


It's finally arriving.  Spring to North Alabama.   

Today was a mild day so time to get outside and get to work.    We have a small creek that is the property line of one side of our property.    I am slowly removing some the brush that has grown there over the years.   My goal is to clear out a lot of the brush so some of the creek can be seen.


Yes there is a lot.   But I have pulled a lot and there are now areas where the creek is visible and part of the yard.


The best time to work this project is in the early Spring after a rain.  Ground is softer making it easier to put those roots from the ground


It will get done eventually.     When I got tired and the old back was starting to ache, I sat on my bench near the pond and watched my ducks enjoying the day.


It was at this quiet moment that I looked around and saw the signs of new life.

Our pear tree in bloom.    We watch the pears get ready for us to eat.   And every year the deer manage to have a feast one night.



Grape Hyacinth


Tulip Magnolia getting ready for full bloom


Various perennials in my gardens coming through the earth






The greening of our Weeping Willow


Daffodils and forsythia in their bright yellow show


And the forest on two sides of us coming alive with green growth.


Ah, Gods yearly gift to us ..... Spring!

Until next time.

Friday, January 31, 2020

And there went January and answers

Cullman,  AL


The cold month of January is about over.  Tomorrow starts another month and hopefully warmer weather.   Outside I can see a difference.   Our daffodils are up about 7 inches and loaded with tight buds.   I brought two into the house yesterday.   Waiting to see yellow heads appear.   And of course and grass is starting to grow.   I don't mind.   I love mowing.  As we have about 3 acres in lawn, it does take a bit of time.  Again, I don't mind.   I was the chief mower back in NJ.  However there we had horses that took care of a great deal of it.  And fertilized it too.

Speaking of horses, our intent when we moved here was to fence in some of our property and again have horses.    We have come to the realization that is not going to happen.   Nor are we going to have a large garden again.   I will plant some tomatoes and peppers in containers.   Because of these changes we are in the process of selling various items.

A few weeks ago we sold our rototiller.   We still have the large tiller that hooks behind the tractor, Leonard is not ready to let that go.   But neither of us plan to ever push a rototiller again.  (not that I ever did).

We are also selling our saddles and tack.   I posted on the local FB yard sale site two pairs of spurs and a leather saddle bag.




 I've had 3 inquiries about the spurs.  One for the saddle bags.  I will post the rest of the stuff but everything is in the shed and the saddles are too heavy for me the get down.  Len is unable at this time.  Tonight or tomorrow one of the people that inquired about the spurs is coming here to get them. He will take pics of all other items and see if he can help me sell them.  He does bull riding etc and has friends he rides and performs with   Let's see.

And we had visitors this month.   My sister Debbie (from NJ)  and her daughter-in-law Kelly (from VA) were here for 5 days.   Yeah we did do a few things but can't tell from the pictures.  Excuse the very fuzzy one of Kelly.    Even Biscuit was relaxing.  Always a treat when they visit.





We also hosted NOMADS friends Billie and Lon one night   They left cold, snowy Wisconsin to travel on to Georgia and then back to Alabama to work two 3-week projects.   They will return here for a few days before they head back north.   Love it when they visit.



And now what you've been waiting for.  The answers to last posts quiz.  I know you must have been losing sleep wondering.

The header is Dauphin Island in Alabama

Terri correctly guessed picture one as Alaska.  Being a smart lady she looked in the license plates.  This was taken in Skagway.

Picture two.   No one guessed Petrified Forest in Arizona.

Picture three.   I thought this would be the easiest.   No one ventured a guess.   Disneyland!

Picture four.   One of the bridges of Madison County, Iowa.  Lauren had that one right.    As did Chuck and Anneke who did some pretty close other guesses too.

Picture five.   Macknac Bridge connecting lower and upper Michigan

Picture Six.    Needles highway in Custer State Park, South Dakota.   Again good guess Lauren.

Picture Seven.  No one guessed this and some were really close.  The George H W Bush Library in College Station TX

Picute  Eight.  Some good guesses but this was taken at the Lyndon Johnson homestead in Johnson City, TX

Picture Nine.  Several recognized this as the Oklahoma City Memorial

Picture Ten.    Several knew this too.   Or maybe it was my clue.  Birthplace of Elvis Presley.  Tupelo, MS

Now you can sleep.   You know the answers.

Until next time



Monday, January 20, 2020

Places...... What's your guess?

Cullman,  AL

Way back when we were full time RVing and traveling the country, I posted a couple of blogs where I displayed some pictures and asked who knew where they were.     We no longer full time or even RV but I have lots of pictures and lots of memories.

So, it that spirit.......   How many can you guess...

This might be a toughie....


Ancient stuff


Easy one.....


Eastwood fans


Crossing over


Threading


Leonard looking Presidential


The opposite side as above


Solemn


Fit for a King



Did you recognize any?


Until next time.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

These things I know

Cullman,   AL


I have lots of time to think these days.    A lifetime of memories, regrets, reflections.

The last week or so have afforded me many quiet moments.    Leonards body is having difficulties adjusting to the new dosage of his medication for Pulmonary Aterial Hypertension.   It has caused debilitating side effects that leave him exhausted.    He sleeps fitfully during the night.  Days are spent in his recliner mostly napping.   He is always cold.  Cold.   He has not gotten "dressed" for a week.  He wears a tee shirt and sleep pants.  And a sweater.   And a heavy robe.   And is covered by an electric throw.

The medication was supposed to be increased again today.   We've had conversations with the specialized pharmacy that oversees the dosage.  They will talk to the doctors down at University of Alabama hospital and decide where to go from here.     In might have to remain the same for now or even be cut back to the lower dosage. 

This thing I know....  We are so fortunate that our doctors here in Cullman referred us to UAB for his care.   We trust the staff there. 

This thing I know....  We trust the nurses and pharmacists at Accredo (the pharmacy).  We are grateful they referred us to The Assistance Fund.  Between our Prescription insurance and the Fund the $20,000 cost each month is taken care of.

This thing I know...   I am grateful for the 7 years after retirement we traveled the country in an RV.   We met great people.   We saw things I never thought I would see.    We have those memories.

This thing I know....    We decided to settle at the perfect time.   Gods timing is always perfect.  We found the perfect house for us while in Pennsylvania.   I "just happened" to go online and found this house shortly after it was listed.   Within days we were on our way to Alabama after our offer was accepted.   This gave us over 2 years to make those changes we wanted.   More land was cleared.  The shop was enclosed.   Painting done inside.  Light fixtures changed out.  Shiplap installed in dining and living areas.  Carpets changed.  Pond dug.  Anything more we would have liked done is just cosmetic.  Nothing that has to be done.

This thing I know....   I love our church family back in Upper Deerfield,  NJ.  When in the area we visit.  Its like going home.    And we found the perfect church here in Cullman.   After visiting a few others, when we walked in the doors we knew.    Our new Home Church.  Sharon Grove UMC.

This thing I know.....   Another Gods timing.   Before we retired and traveled, we joined a club for RVers called Escapees.   The very first magazine I received from them had an article about an organization of the United Methodist Church called NOMADS.   This is for people who travel in RVs and do 3 week projects throughout the country.  At churches, campgrounds, retreat centers, neighborhoods, etc.  We joined and had the honor of doing many projects for the 7 years we were active members.

This thing I know....   We are blessed with many friends throughout the country.   We are blessed when those who travel in RVs find their way here.   We love looking out and seeing an RV parked in one of the sites we installed shortly after moving here.   We are blessed with those other friends we have in both NJ, TX and Louisiana.

And most of all.  This thing I know.....   Our richest blessing is our families.   Our 5 children.  Our 14 grandchildren and 3 great grand-children.    Our sisters and brothers.    Our cousins whom we still maintain a contact with.    And thankful we are still able to travel and visit.

This thing I know.....  Life has had it's up and downs.   There have been heartaches.  There have been hurts.   But more than that there have been good times.   Fun. Excitement.  And most of all an abiding love for God, each other,  family and friends. 

Until next time.






Wednesday, January 1, 2020

So many pictures I didn't take.

Cullman,   AL

Here we are back in Alabama after a several day trip to the northeast.  A review:

December 19

We left home and as our usual practice after driving 397 miles we over-nighted at our nephews house in Rural Retreat VA.    Forgot to take pictures of the humans...... Kelly, Jason, Lance and Emilie.    But I did take pictures of our boy Biscuit playing with their 4 puppies.



December 20

The next morning we drove a little over 400 miles to our daughter and SIL's Terri and Steve near Hershey, PA.    Again no pictures.

December 22

We drove the 2 1/2 hours over to NJ to attend one of our "home" churches in Upper Deerfield.

Back in November I saw a message on Messenger from a name I did not know.   As Messenger can be a problem, I did not open it.    Early in December Daughter Terri told me she had been receiving a message.   She looked at it and it was from a woman who had purchased our old house in NJ.   That was my message too.

Some of our readers know we owned this house from 1992 until we started fulltime RVing in 2009.  My daughter Terri then bought it from us.  She owned it a few years before relocating to PA.  The house was sold to people who practically destroyed it until the bank foreclosed.   The house was built in 1850 and beautiful.   We made improvements including 2 additions.  Terri and Steve also made improvements.

The house sat empty for two years.   We would stop by to check it out.  We always left it upset.  But now happy news..... this couple researched us as previous owners and were interested in the history of the house and what it looked like when we owned it.    Len and I met with them.

Here are pictures I did take.

Looking from the front entry.    There was a wall and closet here.  The destructive owners knocked that wall and closet out and you can see the steps on the right to the basement.  The tiled floor beyond the basement steps is the original kitchen which we used as a laundry and 2nd kitchen.  Beyond that is the large kitchen and family room.


This is the inside of the front door.   Don't ask me what they did.  We had installed a beautiful wooden door with glass insert.   This is a cheap metal door.  And where is the trim????


This is a 3-season room we added on to the back of the house connecting to the family room.  When we looked at it from the outside all the windows were dirty and moldy.  This couple has cleaned the windows and room.


This is the kitchen and family room.   We added the propane fireplace.  They are installing the island.  We had all floors redone.  They have had to replace some boards as some of the 150+ year old boards got destroyed.


The formal living room.   What did they do!!!!!!


We had replaced all the windows in the house.   We noticed some must had gotten broken as there were no cross dividers.   These are how they should look.


We feel confident that with time (and money) this young couple will restore the house to it's original beauty.   On a side note:    Because of the condition of the house and property they paid only $4,000 more than we did in 1992.

When we left the house we met with Len's best friend, Jim, for breakfast.   Again no picture.

Then we drove the 2 hours to daughter Amy's and SIL Scotts house is Maryland for a few days stay.

December 25

Christmas.

Here is Charlotte and then Abby.


Not sure what this gift was.  But it must have been good.


Abby loves her make-up.  

We had a lovely few days visit and as always Amy is a great cook.

December 26

We headed back to Terri and Steves.    This is grandson Justin and his girlfriend Karlie walking the dogs.


December 27

Justin, Karlie, Len and I met up with my sister Debbie and her granddaughter Siani and friend Dominique at the Lenox Store in Lancaster, PA.  After a few purchases we all went to Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse, PA.   I always find lots of jellies, salsa, beets, pickles there that I just have to have.    After lunch we said our goodbyes to the all as Justin and Karlie returned to Philadelphia and Debbie and girls to NJ.


December 28

Terri and Steve and Len and I met up with our friends Darlene and Jim who are part-time RVers.  They leave this week for Florida.  After dinner we all went back to Terri and Steves house to continue our visit.   No pictures, of course.


 This one I thought to take.   Terri puts several trees around the house.   One is always a live tree.   They all went to a tree farm where one was selected and Steve and Justin cut it down.    They brought it home and decorated it.  The next day they noticed the bottom limbs were dropping needles.   Just a few.  Then a lot.  Each day the branches going up the tree were dropping needles.  The slightest touch caused needles to drop.   IT WAS A FRESH CUT TREE.   After only a few days it had to be taken down.  After getting un-decorated this is what was left.  Bare branches and a mess to clean up.   The tree must have been diseased to have died and dried this fast.  It was kept in water the entire time.



December 29

We head from home.  Again over-nighting at Jason and Kellys where we showed our appreciation for their always hospitality.   (When there earlier Leonard had 3 helpings of Kellys stew).    We took them to Ruby Tuesday for dinner.

December 30

Getting an early start (shortly after 4 am) we got home at 11:30.   We noticed the lid was off the dog food container and it was mostly empty.    That night I put a watering can on the lid.  This is what I found the next morning.


Will get bungee cords and tie  the lid down. 

January 1

We go to Son Lennies and DIL Lois for dinner.   What do you think?   Will I remember to take a picture.   Probably not.

Until next time...... have a great New Year you all!







Wednesday, December 18, 2019

What happens with snow, ice or wind

Cullman,  AL

I am always amused with what they consider a snow storm in Alabama.   This is last weeks blizzard.


School cancelled.    They are not prepared to handle the ice that lays on the overpasses, etc.

I guess neither am I.   When the temps sink, we get ice on all three sets on steps leading down from front porch and back porch.    This is the front porch on the day we had snow.



A few days later, December 12,  all steps were iced over.   I just didn't realize how much.  As is my usual practice I feed the ducks in the morning.     When the ducks see me on the front porch they run to greet me.  OK..... it's not me they are glad to see, it is the feed.    On this morning I saw the bottom couple of steps looked icy.  My plan was to go down ONE step.   I stepped down, my feet went out from under me and I did two complete flips landing on the concrete stepping stones at the bottom.  My head slammed against one of them.   Blood everywhere from my nose.

I dragged myself inside and got cleaned up as we were leaving for Louisiana a short time later.  I hurt a bit that night.   I had large bruises on my left leg.   And I had a large knot on the side of my head.  Surprisingly I did not hurt much the next day.   The knot on my head has gotten a bit smaller but still is tender when I touch it.  So, okay... don't touch it.

We went to Louisiana  with no issues.   Well, not exactly.   We got packed to go and our new-to-us car battery was dead.   Our dear neighbor jumped it off and off we went.   We stopped in Meridian, MS at a Ford dealer.  They said the battery was not a problem.

I had booked us at the Quality Inn in Laurel, MS, about the half way point.   The sweet woman at the desk asked me how I was.  I told her about falling that morning.   She said she was moving us to a room where we would be parked by the door instead of having to walk through a courtyard.  Everything was fine.  Until 2 am when the door opens, a woman looks in and backs out quickly.

In the morning I go to the breakfast area.  A man sees me and points to the desk clerk and says "She's the culprit"   She comes from behind the desk and hugs me and apologizes.  She said she thought that room was empty until another guest walked in and saw us.

Then we go to the car.   Dead battery.   The man who spoke to me earlier came and got us started.  Nice people.

When we got to Sulphur, LA we went to the Ford dealer.  Yea, we needed a battery.  We only got the car two weeks before but it is 3 years old and has been sitting in a garage most of the time.  Understandable.

We spent 3 nights at Len's brother and SIL, Royce and Susie.   They always treat us well.  Fried shrimp and catfish on Friday, turkey on Sunday.   Saturday was East family Christmas party at sister and BIL Sissy and Davids house in Orange, TX.

This is daughter D'Juana and grandchildren Lindsey, Jared and Alex.  They drove in from Pearland, TX.   SIL Joe could not make it.  This week he is really busy.   He is the Head Band Director of Pearland HS.   20 HS bands from around the world are invited to march in the Rose Bowl.  The 350 members of Pearland HS is one of them this year.   We are rightfully proud of Joe.



We left Sulphur on Monday December 16.  We drove again to overnight at the Quality Inn in Laurel, MS.  Waiting for our arrival was Priscilla, the original lady who checked us in a few days earlier.  She apologized for the interruption in the middle of the night.  She neglected to change our movement in their system causing her replacement to give our room to other people.    Then she handed me a card and a gift bag containing these items.  Mugs for Len and me and a toy for Biscuit.




Around 6 pm we got an alert on our phone for a Tornado warning.    It was dark but everything looked fine outside.  Then we heard a roar.   I knew what that meant.   Len said he felt the bed shake before we heard the roar.   Biscuit was running in circles.   He got him and we  went to the large bathroom area.   It only lasted a few seconds.

Then sirens, crashing, and stillness.   We looked outside.  Metal and insulation lay in the parking lot.  The car parked next to us had a window broken out.  Another car down the parking lot lost windows.
This car did not fare well either.



Cars across the road were heavily damaged.   Buildings nearby had damage.  Debris everywhere.



Electricity was out from the time the tornado hit until about 2 am.   I understand that other parts of town were much heavier damaged.   Daughter Terri said it was on the news in PA.

We got home yesterday about noon.  We are packed to leave tomorrow morning for PA, MD.   Wonder what this trip will hold.

Until next time.