We have been busy since coming back from Brown. We have had get togethers with friends and family, Meetings and events where we have seen people who we seldom see even when we are in town and doctor appointments. Oy! are we good at filling time with those. It seems that since we retired many years ago now, we have replaced work time with doctor time. Or maybe I’m just imagining that.
I think we have it all under control now, not that we are going to be having fewer appointments, but we have a plan. After all we are in Rochester and have only three months to catch up with the medical people we have here before we return to our west coast medical team.
Starting Friday June 21, our 55th Anniversary, we will spend every minute from 4:30 PM until ?? attending Jazz Festival concerts and jam sessions for 9 nights. We will celebrate the anniversary with a performance by Jake Shimabkuro https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0gaWuadgL3g This video has been around for a while, I may have even posted it in the past so here is another I haven’t posted https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bj-Js1fp4y8 (not exactly what you expect to hear on Ukulele). Then we have main stage tickets for Steve Gadd Band. That is just the beginning. Stay tuned as I report on what we plan and how I respond to what we actually attend.
Last night we went with Joyce and Victor to Finger Lakes Chamber Music Festival performance at Hunt Country Winery. The Abel Family Quartet with Richard Clark, viola, played two rarely heard quintets, one by Beethoven and the other by Dvorak. The performances were delightful and it was a joy to hear these two pieces performed live in an intimate setting. We hope to attend more of the festival performances as the season progresses. The two Hunt Country Reds I had were not first choice for me (Alchemy and Classic Red). While there a former student of Carol’s spotted her and came over to say hi.
Lest you worry we are short changing ourselves on a BIG celebration I will note that in December we are taking the entire family to Morocco on an Overseas Adventure Travel trip that will be just our family. Carol and I will follow that trip with a brief stay in Jerusalem before flying on to Ethiopia for a two week tour with Joyce and Victor. Oh, before that we are booked on a trip to Egypt in September including a Nile River Cruise. Between those two trips we will drive across the country, yet again. We are hoping to vary the route since we haven’t done this in the Fall before. So much for not planning ahead.
We are back in Rochester for some extended time now. Reunions are behind us and Jazz Fest is just around the corner (did I really say that?)
Brown Reunion, my 55th, was a great weekend. The class had two dinners and a lovely luncheon. Given our advancing age the parties seemed to peter out by 9:30. I don’t think anyone went to the Campus Dance on Friday night. It is 9 PM to 1 AM and it is outdoors on the College Green – chilly. There were many forums on Saturday. We went to a presentation on 50 Years of Dance at Brown. That started 5 years after I graduated. It was wonderful hearing how a dance program started in the English Department! I took time out to get fitted in my cutaway for my role as a Class Marshal for the Commencement the next day. Later Carol and I went to the Jabberwoks 70th Reunion presentation. this has been the longest standing acapella group. They had performances by members from each decade since the 50’s.
Commencement is a walk through the Van Wickle gate which opens in at the beginning of the academic year and opens out for the graduates to leave at the close of the year. After the Corporate and Academic procession, before the graduating class, the Alumni march through the gate, the eldest first. This year the eldest was back for her 80th reunion. she was alone at 102 years old.
Here I am ready to join the other three Class Marshals for 1964 in the Commencement Parade. Each class peels off to the curb eldest to youngest down College Hill. The last class through was the 2019 graduates. Once they were past us we inverted the parade and passed through all the younger classes to great roaring and high fives as we passed each group. It is always exciting to participate. It is also tiring as we were standing in the heat for over 2 hours and the cutaway outfit certainly was not designed in a hot weather area.
We had a lovely dinner with the Londons that evening and prepared to drive to Boston for the day on Monday. We visited the MFA for a few hours – barely time to scratch the surface – and then went on the nephew Ross, Kristin and kids for another kind of reunion before returning to Providence for one more night in the lovely VRBO apartment we had rented. We rose in the morning and began the drive to Rochester with a planned stop to visit my Uncle Josh in Syracuse just a couple of days before his 94th birthday. We had a lovely lunch he made from food he ordered from Wegmans and then proceeded back to Rochester, finally abandoning the Interstate and taking US 20 from Skaneatles to Canandaigua before resuming the Thuway and Interstates for the last few miles.
We got back in time for Carol to attend the 50th anniversary of Visual Studies Workshop where she got her MFA in 1991. It was another walk into the past and the photographers there and represented there were among the greatest names in photography. The late Nathan Lyons, founder of the Workshop, was feted and honored and the weekend concluded, for us, with a visit to the George Eastman Museum which has a massive retrospective of Nathan’s work including his last works where he started working in digital color!
Since then we have been catching up with reorganizing the apartment and letting Carol have rest time to aid her healing.
We stayed at KOA in Charlottesville rather than climb the mountain road and park the coach for just a few days. Although I am not a KOA fan, this place is excellent. The site was level, roomy and when I determined that the 50 amp outlet was not working they had a tech on the site within 30 minutes, on Sunday afternoon! who installed a new breaker and got us going.
The primary reason for stopping in C’ville was that our grandson Alexander was graduating from Piedmont Valley Community College to go on as a Junior at University of Virginia next year. We got to see him “walk” and had a fine dinner and gathering with the family including Malena’s Mom, for which Carol and I were both grateful. Here are two pictures taken from way off with my phone of an almost recognizable blur taking his walk.
The next day we set out for Rochester with a planned stop at Shangri-La by the Creek in Milton PA, just over half way. This is a familiar stop for us as it is just the right distance for an easy break. As I was solo driver, the break was more important than usual. Fair weather a pleasant surroundings led us to extend for a second night so we could transfer most of the stuff we needed into the car before getting to Rochester.
Another uneventful drive brought us to the storage spot I had rented in Victor NY. We completed the transfers and secured Geewhiz for longer term storage and got in the car as an impending rain storm finally broke over our heads. We left that storm behind as we crossed the ridge into the Rochester area and pulled into the parking lot only to find that the one elevator was stuck. I carried the frozen and refrigerator items up the steps to the 4th floor and stashed them in the appropriate places in the refrigerator then sat with Carol and others waiting for the maintenance team to get the elevator working. We were assured that in recent months there had not been any problem with the new system, it quit just as we arrived. An hours wait saw the elevator restored to service and we unloaded the car into the apartment and a day later we are still sorting and storing.
Carol has been recovering from her broken hip on a steady pace. She won’t be climbing any mountains in the near future, but she is getting around better each day. It is hard for her to see the improvements, but they are visible to me and I keep encouraging her. We are off to Brown Reunion on Thursday and will partake in whatever activities we can. For some reason I booked through Monday so I am not sure when we will return to Rochester as the last events of the weekend are on Sunday.
Yes I can count by tens.
As planned, Dan arrived Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning we picked Carol up at Highlands and returned to the coach at El Paso Roadrunner RV Park to begin the journey East. Our destination was open as we rolled out on I 10. We could either drive to Rochester as planned taking about 6 days or head to Charlottesville for grandson Alexander’s graduation from Community College with an associates degree. In either event we needed to take I 20 from its beginning on I 10. We stopped that first night in Monahans Sand Hills State Park, a park Carol and I have visited several times. We arrived after 7 PM and made dinner and took a short walk on the dunes. Up early and heading East on I 20.
We entered Dallas at rush hour with me driving. Actually between Fort Worth and Dallas we turned on to I 30 bound for Texarkana. Actually we stopped in Greenville TX and Elks Lodge 703. The promised site with hookups was really at Cash RV Park 6 miles south of the lodge. It was not terrible and it was cheap. Leaving Greenville in the rear view mirror we finally left Texas for Arkansas. In Little Rock we exchanged I 30 for I 40 which brought us into Tennessee, just barely. For kicks we stayed the night at Graceland RV Park at the end of Lonely Street. Again we saw nothing other than that they tore down the Heart Break hotel at the corner of Lonely Street to build a parking lot. Someplace in there we settled on Charlottesville as the destination.
We crossed Tennessee in a day stopping the night at Raccoon Valley SKP Park just outside Knoxville. We have stopped at this park a few times in the past. Sunday morning we got up determined to make Charlottesville. We finally left behind I 40 and ran I 81 to I 64 to end in Charlottesville 1,892.6 miles later. Dan drove about half of those miles starting with never having driven the coach. It was a pleasure and a relief to have him as a wonderful co-driver. I doubt that Carol and I could have gotten cross country without his help. All that remains is two days from Charlottesville to Rochester leaving on Friday.
Carol moved from the hospital to Highlands Rehabilitation Hospital about ten days ago. Her planned discharge date is Wednesday the 8th. In brief she is doing everything she can to restore her ability to walk and climb steps. The facility is providing her with all the therapy she can tolerate and reasonable food and comfort. In appearance it is more like a nice hotel with large private rooms and sunny spaces. The courtyard of the Highlands Rehabilitation Hospital
I have been dividing my time between keeping the coach clean and ready to move, a little bit of sight seeing and one grand concert and spending hours with Carol when the therapists are giving her a rest.
Since our arrival in El Paso Roadrunner RV Park I have had two repairs completed and one that remains to be dealt with. The awning over the door has been restored with a new motor and reinstalled. I discovered a leak in our water pump and had a new improved pump installed, the old one was original equipment installed in 2011. The tech took apart the controller for the main awning and determined that the wait for the part was at least 10 days so I have put that off for the time being. At least he was able to diagnose exactly what had failed. Once I get the part I can handle the installation, plug and pray . . . er . . . play.
Dan is flying out on Tuesday to co drive with me so Carol does not need to take the wheel unless she is really determined. Someplace along the way we will decide whether to continue directly to Rochester or take a side trip to Charlottesville VA to be present for Alexander’s graduation from Piedmont Valley Community College. That will save Dan a flight from Rochester to C’ville and reduce the time stress on our cross country run.
During this time in El Paso I lost one of my long time jobs, member of the WMT Publications’s (former owner of City Newspaper) Board of Directors. Happily, City Newspaper is now the property of WXXI and good friends Mary Anna and Bill no longer have the burden of keeping the paper afloat, while they continue to work as consultants for the time being.
We made Las Cruces in plenty of time on Friday to set up the coach for a three night stay and arrive at Leora and Stuart’s home in plenty of time to greet their family and friends most of whom we know from previous visits. For those who don’t know a Seder has a fixed order (actually that is what Seder means) that is followed in most homes. We learned it from our parents and Carol and I have lead many in our own home when my mother was ready to let it go to the next generation.
Since getting on the road we have experienced many variants from just the two of us in a campground to Sedarim (plural) lead by our children. This year also followed the “order” but with a musical family given to enjoying the humor to be found, or created, in the service. We sang, laughed, addressed questions raised by the Seder itself until it was well past midnight before we returned to our coach.
In the morning, for reasons I do not understand I extended the small awning over the door hoping to create some shade. Later I elected to retract it as the wind was rising. It came in 3/4 of the way and stalled. After much button pushing and attempting to spot the cause while standing on a ladder, I called Richard Mobile RV since I cannot drive down the road with this awning extended. He returned he call promptly and agreed to come by on Monday. We went about our business. A bit of shopping and wandering around Messilla which always results in some small purchase – Carol is wearing the new earrings at this moment. The salsas will wait for the end of Pesach.
It is Monday and Richard has come and gone, the awning is in the storage bay needing a new motor which will be dealt with when time allows. After some other minor fixes Richard was on his way. As always I am grateful to know a competent RV tech who gets the job done with a minimum of fuss and for a reasonable charge.
Tuesday Carol has another fall. We made it as far as Van Horn Texas where we stopped at a garage to have Texas inspections on our vehicles. Carol had driven in to Van Horn, While we were parked she had a reaction to a med she was on. I was in the garage with the Jeep and she decided to get some fresh air. I found her sitting on the sidewalk, in pain. The Van Horn Culberson Hospital saw the broken hip on xray and transported her to University Medical Center in El Paso retracing the last two hours of driving. I followed with the motorhome towing the Jeep. I arranged with the hospital to park the coach in a back lot overnight. Security met me and directed to a parking place.
No more detail needed, that was Tuesday, it is now Friday. The hip has been “repaired” and Carol just transferred to a Rehabilitation Hospital, Highlands Rehab Hospital. She has a private room and the facilities are gorgeous. I am with the coach in El Paso Roadrunner RV Park. We stayed here one other time in 2003. We met the Hoggs in the laundry. and became friends until they had to hang up their keys. It isn’t that we aren’t still friends, but they must stay in Canada for insurance reasons and it is a long way north of us. WE do talk from time to time but we miss their company. Hope you are reading this.
We will stay in El Paso until Carol can walk onto the coach on her own. Stay tuned!
March and April have been rough. Carol has mostly recovered from her fall and subsequent medical problems. Her doctors gave her the go ahead to get back on the road, so we did.
I wanted to get going as soon as practical, Carol said she had a package arriving on the 16th so I figured we could roll out early afternoon on the 16th – Wednesday in my head. On Sunday, as we were discussing departure timing Carol reminded me that the 16th was Tuesday not Wednesday. Then her package arrived on Monday. She was still convinced we couldn’t be ready to leave on Tuesday. Somehow by mid afternoon on Monday it became clear we were ready to leave Tuesday morning.
Tuesday afternoon after about 5 hours of driving we pulled into Hi Jolly Short Term Visitor Area in Quartzite. A stop in town filled our fuel tank (mini mortgage – it was ONLY $3.26/gal ) and our propane tank was also full. I set up the grill for a steak I had and while it warmed it started to rain and hail. It stopped in time for me to grill and I no sooner had the grill shut down , cooled and stored than the rain, wind and hail resumed for about 30 minutes. We eased out of there mid morning and spent 6 hours on I 10 through Phoenix and Tucson, no significant traffic! to Wilcox AZ. This is a reasonably large middle of no place. Our reason for stopping here is it was 6 hours from Quartzite and 4 hours from Las Cruces NM where we have plans for Seder Friday night. Since we had driven for two days to get here, we stopped for two nights. Today we explored Chiricahua National Monument.
I just can’t resist these birds that were posing for us, well actually they were cadging meals from some picnickers
Mexican Jay – Illegal Alien! Jumped the border.
The drive is wonderful. We did this many years ago actually March 2004 when there was snow on the rocks.
We returned to the RV Park and Saloon and joined in the line dancing program – every Thursday night year round. Her Physical Therapist would be proud of her.
The campground is small, 14 sites, but the saloon is a blast. they have a very long shuffle board and Wednesday night is shuffle board tournament which we watched for while. the people are friendly and come from all around the area. As we got to talk to several both Wednesday and Thursday night we found that they are from all over the country, several from as far away as Maine. We will stop there again as we pass by on our cross country jaunts.
It took some time, it took some doing, but after less than 2 weeks that seemed at times like months, Carol is back on the coach with me. She is not fully recovered but she is well on the road.
While Carol worked to heal and to get the best care she could from Murrietta Health and Rehab I was deeply involved in my committee work here at Jojoba Hills. We encourage members to volunteer in areas that are of interest to them. For some this means working in landscaping and for others it may mean rehanging shed doors that have warped and sagged (Shed Angels). The opportunities are as varied as any jobs you could imagine to be needed to keep a small city operating. I have never been a gardener nor does cooking for groups of 150 appeal to me. I serve on committees, Finance, Marketing, Infrastructure (don’t ask how a retired Financial Planner gets to chair a committee that oversees water, electric, sewer etc). I always enjoyed working on committees so this is my contribution to the welfare of the locals community.
The “Committee Season” starts right after the Annual Meeting” in early February and extends until the masses depart for cooler parts. Finance picks up in early September to get the budget ready and the others resume as chair people and other key players return to wrap up their work by the end of December.
The big excitement in SoCal has been the “Super Bloom” Every flower in the desert has had enough water and cool to burst into flower. Some stretches of freeway have become impassable on weekends as the banks flame in yellow, orange and purple. Borrego Springs is swarmed by locals and people who have flown in from everyplace to see the fields in bloom. With Carol tied down in recovery and the traffic impossible I have stayed closer to home. Here is a link to some pictures taken within a 5 minute walk of the coach: https://photos.app.goo.gl/QEiVn45GgreT2hXN8
We have been busy getting things in order and I have not been awake enough to even write about our activities and my thoughts until now.
The trip home was a bit of a trial. With great help from airport personnel and airline personnel we were able to get Carol situated in seat 1 B, as close to the door as possible. In the process I learned some things about air crews, if you give them a chance they are helpful, friendly and will go to the limit of there protocol and maybe a bit beyond to make travel under difficult conditions better then just possible, this is a shout out to the crew of the Copa flight from Panama City to LAX on the 8th of March.
After a night on the coach it was clear Carol needed more care then I could provide and there were plenty of medical questions that would not wait until Monday. Saturday morning, with some help from neighbors, I transferred Carol to the Jeep and headed in to Temecula Valley Hospital. They took over when we got there. In summary, Carol was xrayed and CT scanned until she glowed. We waited for everything to settle out and then transferred her to Murietta Health and Rehab where she is getting excellent care and therapy and mediocre food. It is too early say how long her stay will be, but when she can climb 5 steps into the motorhome she will be coming back to complete her recovery in the comfort of home surrounded by the most marvelous RV community in the country.
I am not detailing her injuries here, there is no need, they will all heal and she will be good to go for Jazz Fest in Rochester come June!
I am practicing living alone, sort of. I spend several hours a day with Carol – probably less now during the week as she will be busy with OT and PT. Today as I settled in for some work time I had friends see my open door and drop in, occupying me from 4 until 6. This ended with a phone call from friends from Rochester on vacation in Hawaii.
We are blessed.
The best of times, the worst of times. And then a full stop.
We arrived in Panama City to find that Carnival was about to start the country as it is throughout Latin America and Louisiana. The Panamanians take ti seriously and most abandon Panama City for the outlying countryside they come from or areas that are reputed to have “better” festivals. This results in massive traffic jams on the highways all over the country on the day preceding and the day after, we presume as that is tomorrow as I am writing.
The festivities are wondrous with two Queens for every festival, the “up street” queen and the “down street” Queen. Their regalia costs into the tens of thousands of dollars, the currency is US Dollars. We saw one queen wearing strands of US gold coins from the mid 1800’s. and a visit to a maker of the dresses priced them from a low of $8,000 to over $40,000 for the finest handmade dresses. They ride on elaborate floats through the parade route accompanied by dancing crowds and music.
Another feature of Carnival is “throwing water” it seems everyone has a squirt gun or more elaborate means of wetting down everyone in sight. Just in case this isn’t enough there is a line up of water tankers with low pressure water cannons manned by people to wet down all who dare pass. They also soak each other. We were prepared with minimal quick drying clothes and nothing that could be damaged that wasn’t in a zip-lock bag. The ambient temperature was in the mid 90’s so getting soaked actually felt good. We also attended a parade of beautifully dressed women – ages about 4 to 70 – who danced around a square repeatedly. We left after two circles. During our departure Carol tripped on a very uneven road edge and banged her head and cracked a bone in her right wrist so we are now in a hospital waiting to get permission to board a plane for home in California.
The biggest downside on Carnival is that the normal slow service has deteriorated. Restaurants where OAT had contracts for our meals closed without any notice. Even half the hospitals are closed. Everyone wants to be at Carnival. I’ll write about hospitals another time.
I will post many pictures when I am not on a stringent data diet.