2017 June 12

Tom was up at 5:30 and spent some time working on sermons and bulletins. After Ella got up and was showered, we went to the cafe for breakfast pizza (scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and several types of cheeses).

We then went to the Grimes senior center for games and lunches.

I think it was nearly 2:00 when we finished our last game of Fast Track.

Tom’s prescription was ready for pickup at Walmart so we also purchase a few non perishable groceries.

From there Ella wanted to go to Home Makers (furniture store) to look for recliner love seats. I was surprised that they are all electrically adjustable and if you prefer they be manually adjustable, they have to be special ordered. This seems like a sad statement on modern life. When it becomes too much work to pull the lever on the side of your Lazy Boy recliner, you really are a lazy boy.

It was hot (93 degrees) in the afternoon and the air conditioning was running constantly.

Around six o’clock I started to grill some steaks when the power went out. Since we live in an RV, the ceiling lights are on a separate power supply (house batterys) and they stayed on. I first checked the RV’s breaker box and toggled all the switches off and on.  But, nope, nothing happened. So then went outside and checked the power pedestal. I toggled those switches off and on. Still nothing. That’s when I put in a call for the campground maintenance to come and help. It was maybe fifteen to twenty minutes when he arrived. He went to the pedestal and toggled the switches and the power came back on. Evidently, the breakers had to cool a while before they would reengage.

At this point we turned the air conditioning off and just ran it on the fan setting. We finished our supper of steak, baked potato, and beans. By then it was becoming overly warm so I turned the a/c on again. Instead of waiting for the Excel to cool off again, we went to Home Depot to pick up two sixteen-cent spikes. I want them to hold our awning support more securely to the ground.

After this major purchase, we returned to Cutty’s and went to the cafe for ice cream. We stayed at the cafe for about a half hour. By the time we returned home, it had cooled off considerably.

The rest of the evening was spent watching television and working on the blogs.2017-06-12_19.08.44.jpg

Sky at sunset was full of clouds. We sure could have used a few of those during the heat of the day.

2017 June 11 Sunday

2017 June 11 Sunday.

We had a communal breakfast at the Clubhouse this morning. All you can eat: scrambled eggs, hashbrowns, toast, juice, milk, and coffee. Plus for an additional dollar a quarter pound breakfast sausage. Tom had two sausage but skipped the hashbrowns and went easy on the eggs.

Following breakfast we held a Worship Service at the Adult Center. Tom’s topic “In Every Ending there is a Beginning.”

After our worship service, we went to our nephew, (actually Tom’s great-great nephew) Demitri’s graduation party. Most of the family sat outside on the deck. Thankfully, it was shaded because the temperatures were in the mid 90s. It was nice to get together with more family.

Coming back to the Excel, the air conditioning, and the recliners was the perfect way to spend the remainder of our Day of Rest.

Between the nieces who just stopped by this week, the wedding, and the graduation party, it has been sort of a fragmented family reunion. Tom is now the “Patriarch” of the Williams Family. That is a sobering thought. We got to see some of his great-great-great nieces and nephews this weekend. It also reminded me of those loved ones who are no longer with us.

We ended the day with a dish of ice cream and an interesting sunset.

2017 June 10

I woke in the night with a ‘charlie horse’(http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/muscle-spasms-cramps-charley-horse} in my right leg. I haven’t had those since I was a teenager. I got up and walked around for a little bit and the muscle relaxed. Because of my early morning exercise (grin) I slept later than usual and didn’t get out of bed until almost 6:30.

We are headed to Clear Lake Iowa today. My nephew, Kirk, is getting married today. He had originally ask if I could preform the ceremony. I told him that I’m not a licensed minister just a certified Lay Speaker. I know that there are websites where you can become “ordained” for a couple of dollars. However, I have too much respect for those ordained ministers, who attend years in seminary training.

Here are some photos of the wedding

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Ella and I with my niece, Krista and her husband, Russ and also my great-nephew, Tyler.


Here is a photo of Tyler, Kirk & Rita, and Tyler’s wife, Regina

And here are some pictures of the typical Iowa countryside … exciting isn’t it?







Two hours up to the wedding and two hours back. 95 degrees and 30 mile an hour winds.


Here is a very short update on the rest of 2016.


Rudolf the Red Nosed Pickup reached a milestone on March 28th

Tom had his semi annual checkup with his wonderful VA doctor as well as a follow-up with the doctor who performed the more invasive part off his heart surgery.


We dog sat with Zeus while his family was on spring break.

We also attended granddaughter’s musical at school.



Attended several of Beket’s football games as well as Tate’s football games. Ella had her physical before heading up to Iowa. I had my last visit with my cardiologist until we return to Texas in the Fall.

We said our goodbyes to family and friends and left for Iowa on May 1st.

From May through September we had several routines in our schedule; Wednesday’s we gathered at Village Inn for pie, most mornings we met at the campground cafe for coffee, Thursday evenings we were there for family style meals. There were countless cookouts and community breakfasts.  Not everything involved food … but most of them did. I preached most Sundays from MAY day through Labor day.


Ella had an appointment with her doctor as soon as we we’re in Iowa. I started to work in the fee booth at Cutty’s campground on. the 6th. We celebrated Mother’s day at John’s with nearly all off the kids.  Ella started working at the clubhouse on the 9th. but only worked a few days after that. There was a change in what was expected off her. She would have spent some days working alone in the rental units. She couldn’t have be able to work through the summer in non air conditioned buildings. I didn’t like the idea that, if something were too happen to her, she would have been working alone.



Around the middle of May Ella began going to a chiropractor several days a week. On the 21st we went to a Williams family reunion with some of my nieces and nephews. On the 23rd I was called for jury duty, but wasn’t chosen. We started attending the Grimes senior Center on my days off. I started preaching again at our Sunday Worship services that go from Memorial day through Labor day.




I had a colonoscopy on the 7th.


Our section off the Resort had a block party the day before Father’s day.

At the end of June, we had a head to toe treatment…literally. We saw the dentist in the morning at the foot clinic in the afternoon.


Ella had a colonoscopy on the 29th.



Spent part of the 4th with family, however, I had to work.


July 23rd was Christmas in July. I dressed as Santa so kids could get their photos taken with me.


6th was the Nye family reunion.

24th was a gathering of the Johnston High School class of 65.


Preached the last sermon for the season on Labor day weekend.

10th we had a block party in the C section of the resort. (the “C” designates seasonal sites. But it is so much fun to call it a C section Party.)


On the 19th we started on drive back to Texas.

On the 21st we were back at choir practice on Liberty Hill, Texas.



We got back in our Texas groove.


NOVEMBER & DECEMBER I had the delightful opportunity to wear the red suit 2016-12-27_20.47.39.jpgand listen to children tell me what they wanted for Christmas. Being a mall Santa was very rewarding in many ways, including financially.

Christmas morning I got to preach at Cross Tracks Church,  our home church in Texas, so that Pastor Steve could have the day off.

We celebrated our Anniversary on the 26th.


27th I had an eye exam and was fitted for 2 new pair of glasses.

28th I received my final pay for being Santa.

And thus 2016 came to a close.



Sunrise on January 24, 2017 at Stocktank RV Park, Liberty Hill, Texas


  • With the holidays over, Santa’s red suit was sadly hung in the closet. Now we returned to our normal routine of Sunday Worship and Sunday school, Monday, Tuesday, and Friday playing games and having lunch with friends at the  Leander Senior Center. Wednesdays with Grandies (a service organization sponsored by Cross Tracks Church) in the morning and choir practice in the evening. Thursdays we attend the Over The Hill Gang in Liberty Hill for games and a meal. Saturdays there are nearly always activities with the grandkids’ games. We also added a once-a-month Bunko Party.
  • The first fell on a Sunday. It seemed very fitting to have the new year start on the Lord’s Day. We worshiped at Cross Tracks Church, Liberty Hill, Texas. Where we sing in the choir.
  • The 2nd there was an Emmaus Gathering at our church in Liberty Hill
  • The 3rd we celebrated eleven years of cancer free life after Ella’s surgery in 2006.
  • The 11th was time for Ella’s wellness checkup with Dr. Wolf.
  • We celebrated Emery’s Birthday on the 14th
  • We had the first monthly Grandies’ meal. This was very special because we had it at June’s home.
  • Tate had a school musical on the 19th0223171821_HDR.jpg
  • On the 21st our choir was asked to sing at a funeral. To my knowledge, no one in the choir new the man. However, after hearing his children and grandchildren tell stories about him, I wish I’d known him. One of the stories recounted how his young grandson would sit on grandpa’s knee while grandpa smoked a cigar and drank a beer. When the beer was nearly gone, he’d hand the can to the grandson and say, “Finish this and get me another.”
  • My birthday on the 23rd was celebrated by an hour-long
  • Birthday Wishes.jpg trip to the VA in Temple Texas for an exam. Several years ago they discovered a spot on my lung. So I have yearly check ups. All is good. We stopped at Golden Corral on the way home.
  • The 29th was the fifth Sunday of the month and at Cross Tracks Church, that means it is time for a potluck. I find it strange that a Methodist Church has a potluck only four times a year. Most churches that I’m familiar with have a potluck at least once a month and more if they can find an excuse.
  • 2017-01-25_07.49.06.jpg
  • On the 30th Tom had an appointment with Dr. Borick about the trouble with his left knee. The knee has been bothering me for years. Two years ago I had an xray of the knee at the VA. They basically said, “There’s nothing wrong with it. Suck it up, Buttercup.” The knee hurts to walk on. It also sort of cramps when I sit too long. Sometimes the pain is as much as I can bear.


  • 2017-03-08_08.16.27.jpg1st Ella had an appointment with Dr. Collins about a mole that has been growing. He removed it.
  • Mole removed.jpg While he was showing us images of different moles, Tom pointed at ones that he had on both temples. So Dr. Collins removed those also.
  • Tom had an MRI on his knee.
  • The 6th we attended an Emmaus Gathering in Bertram
  • The 13th we were back at Dr. Collins so that he could dig a little deeper into Ella’s moles.
  • Valentine’s Day Tom had an appointment with the nurse practitioner at Dr Crimmons’ office for a pre-surgery checkup and renewal of his blood thinner medication.
  • Tom had arthroscopic surgery to remove a one and a half centimeter “pencil_sketch_1487431811680.jpg
  • pencil_sketch_1487429054004.jpgpearl” from behind his left patella on the 15th at 5 a.m.  We went to our normal Grandies meeting after grabbing some breakfast. People were surprised that I was there so soon after the surgery.
  • The 16th found us back at Cross Track Church for training on being a Greeter.
  • Ella started to not feel well with cough and congestion on the 19th (Sunday) but went to the Leander Senior Center on the 20th because our friend Larrain, who lives in Waco, was visiting there.
  • However, Ella stayed home on the 21st and missed Grandies on the 22nd.
  • She got to Dr. Wolf’s office on the 22nd. He started her on some prednisone.
  • Tom went to the Over The Hill Gang alone on the 23rd. However, Ella did attend Emery’s Musical in the evening.
  • Tom was back to see Dr. Borick on the 28th for a post op exam. Everything looked super. In the evening, we had a pancake supper/dinner hosted by the youth of the church.


  • 0301171551.jpgThe first was Ash Wednesday with a 7p.m. service.
  • On the 3rd I reordered Ella’s DNA test from Ancestry.com. I ordered and received it before Christmas. However, Ella didn’t spit in the tube and return it for quite a while. I received an email that said they were unable to retrieve any viable DNA from the sample. So it was reordered.0306171143_Pano.jpg
  • Our Grandies group collects recyclable aluminum cans and every so often, takes them to a recycling center. This is also a time for us, as a group, to gather at the Blue Bonnet Cafe in Marble Falls. The place is famous for its pies. The 6th was our day to gather.
  • Photo of Andice General Store - Georgetown, TX, United States. Jalapeño Bacon Burger and fries. Great classic burger.


The 7th we were invited to go with Arik and Jenny to the Andice General Store for the World’s Best Hamburger. It’s not all hype, they are really very good burgers.



  • The 8th was our last visit with the dermatologist, Dr. Collins.
  • Great Grandson Henry Arthur was born on the 9th.
  • 10th-19th Everything was pretty routine.
  • 20th had Tom doing fasting labs at the Cedar Park VA. Afterwards, we went to IHOP for breakfast.
  • On March 26th Tom discovered that the bedroom window was shattered. It is safety glass so it was still in place even though though there was a small hole in the upper right hand side.
  • 28th Tom had an appointment with his cardiologist, Dr. Crimmons. Just a checkup before leaving Texas for Iowa.
  • 30th Tom went to Dr. Borick to have 10cc of fluid drained from a pre-patellar bursitis.
  • 31st Ella went to Dr. Wolf because her ears are still “stuffed up”



  • No fooling, on the 1st Cross Tracks Church put “Make Church a Verb” into practice and went into the community do perform various tasks. Some did handyman tasks, some did in home visits, some prayed, and the choir (us included) sang at a couple of nursing homes.
  • 3rd Tom to VA Cedar Park for exam by Dr. Bassari
  • Also on the 3rd Richard, our Progressive Insurance agent, came to look at the broken window.
  • 4th After games and lunch with friends at the Leander Senior Center, we went to the nearby2017-02-24.jpg laundromat to clean our clothes.

After which we stopped at the post office on our way home.

Surprise! The truck wouldn’t start. I called our AARP roadside assistance number (that was a mistake – I’ll explain later) and was told that they’d send a tow truck to take us to a GMC dealer in Austin. When the driver arrived, he asked why we wanted to be taken all the way into Austin (about 30 miles). I told him that it was where AARP had routed us. He got on the phone with them and told them he was taking the truck (and us) to Georgetown which was considerably closer.

We arrived at the repair shop just minutes before they were closing for the day. They didn’t have loaner/rental cars and their shuttle service would not take us back to Liberty Hill.

I called Enterprise in Georgetown and was told they had no cars. Really? They transferred my call to another location where I was told that because I had an out of state (Iowa) drivers license, and a VISA bank card (as opposed to a VISA credit card) they wouldn’t rent to me.

This is why it was a mistake to contact AARP instead of Good Sam. If I had contacted Good Sam, they would have made all the arrangements for the rental car for me.

My son Adam lives in Georgetown and so I called him to ask for a ride. He had kids to take to after school activities but he could make a quick run to get us home. Thank the Lord! What a day.

  • 5th, Wednesday. I sent a message to Louine, choir director/Grandies president, to say that we were without a vehicle and would not be able to attend Grandies or choir practice. She said that she would come and get us and see that we got home afterwards. She also picked us up for Choir practice. As it happened this was the monthly catered meal for the choir. While we were eating, I was explaining our current automotive adventures with our friends. Burt and Louise offered us the use of one of their vehicles. Burt and I went to his place and picked up one of his “spare” vans. Now that is really Make Church a Verb.
  • 6th. Our new Liberty Hill Police Chief has begun a monthly program called “Donuts with the Chief” which are sort of like miniature town hall meetings. The speaker at this one was from a woman’s shelter.
  • 7th. We got the truck back. We gave them $1100 and they gave us the keys. We have new fuel pump, sending united and associated devices. The truck also has had an oil change … which we needed to have before heading back to Iowa.
  • Saturday the 8th was adventure packed. We started with Sofia’s volleyball game, and then rushed to Tate’s football game. From there we made it to the monthly Bunko party.
  • 10th. While we were sitting at the table eating breakfast, there was a “thump and a shake”. I thought something had run into the side of our RV.

However, it was closely followed by another thump and I realized that I was now leaning to the left. Looking down, I could see that the floor of our slideout had literally fallen away from the wall about 3-4 inches. Once, we processed the fact that the floor had fallen out from under us, we started moving as much weight off of the slideout floor as we could.

I sent out a general distress message to our family. We were planning on heading back to Iowa on the 26th. The RV was to go into storage while we were gone. However, it could not be stored in its present condition. Following on the heels of the truck repair, we were not in a financial condition to have it repaired. I called our Progressive Agent. (by the way, I guess I never followed up on the shattered window. It was covered under our policy. However, the repair cost was $250 and we have a $500 deductible.)

We received a message from Arik and Jenny that we could come and stay with them until we decided what to do with the RV. So we packed some bags with clothes, medications, and anything else that we thought we might need. When we arrived at the kid’s they showed us the guest bedroom and we began unloading our stuff.

We began making a list of our options. We started with the realization that because the floor had disconnected from the wall, the slide out would not slide in and would therefore would be impossible to tow down the highways.

  1. Repair the RV (however with our financial and time constraints this did not seem achievable)
  2. Don’t repair it. However, if we were not going to repair it, that would mean unloading all of our stuff.

If we removed our belongings that would mean finding a place to store it (rent a storage unit or get an apartment). Getting an apartment also appeared to be on our list of “not possible”. There was the option of loading everything into a U-Haul and taking it back to Iowa.

  1. Give up our lifestyle of living part of the year in Texas and part in Iowa.
  2. Curl up in a fetal position with our thumb in our mouths and do nothing.
  • 11th we went ahead with our plan to have lunch and play games with our friends in Leander. We needed a break from the worry and stress.
  • Wednesday the 12th. We attended Grandies and helped stuff 20,000 plastic eggs with candy for the egg hunt coming on Sunday morning.
  • Maundy Thursday 13th Our church hosted a Seder meal. It was pretty close to a traditional Seder considering that it wasn’t kosher and we aren’t Jewish.
  • 14th Good Friday. The choir sang for the Good Friday Service
  • 16th Sunrise service, brunch at church, Regular service followed by an egg hunt.
  • 17th. Richard from Progressive came to look at the damaged RV. He wasn’t hopeful that the damage was covered under our policy.
  • 20th. Returned to Dr. Borick to have bursitis drained
  • 24th. We had a going away party with Adam, Leigha and kids
  • John, Dawn, Brandon, and Nathan drove from Iowa to Texas.

They worked at getting the slideout pushed back into the Hitchhiker RV and everything cleared away so that it could be towed back to Iowa. After only an hour or so, they hooked up to the Hitchhiker and headed back to Iowa.

  • April 28. We left Arik and Jenny’s in Austin at 8 o’clock in the morning.

We went through Temple Texas a” t 9 o’clock and through Waco Texas at 10. At 10:30 we stopped in Ross Texas at Sonic to grab a sandwich and to get up and stretch our legs. We made few stops along the way, just for gas and bathroom breaks.

  • The 28th turned into the 29th as we continued driving. Somewhere along the way, I pulled into a McDonald’s parking lot and slept for about 20-30 minutes. We purchased some breakfast sandwiches at the drive through and continued on.
  • 29th. We arrived at Cutty’s at 3:00 in the morning. It was cold and wet.

While Ella picked up the dryer sheets (before we leave our trailers for the season, we fill them with dryer sheets. Ella believes it deters mice. I put out mouse bait to kill mice.), I got the shoreline of our Excel fifth-wheel plugged in and reattached and opened the LP tanks. That allowed me to get the furnace going.

We crawled into bed and slept until around 8 a.m. Then we went to Village Inn for breakfast. John brought the Hitchhiker to Cutty’s and set it on a temporary storage site. Rain and Cold continued.

In the evening, John, Dawn, and Brandon invited us to Felix and Oscars for supper. Afterward we stopped at Wal-Mart for water hose and filter.

  • 30th we attended church UPUMC. Then came back to the Excel and rested. More Rain and more Cold made me wonder why we are always in such a hurry to get back to Iowa in the Spring.

Usually we hurry back because I start to work at the campground fee booth early in May. This year, however, we had an additional reason … a new great grandson.


  • 1st The Sun came out but it was still cold. We went to Grimes senior center for lunch.

Then to Wal-Mart to stock up on groceries. There are canned goods in the Hitchhiker. However, we can’t get to the pantry in the Hitchhiker when the slideout is in. And we don’t want to risk further damage to the floor by opening it. Later went to see brand New great grandson, Henry Arthur Roff. On the way home, we stopped at Chicago Speakeasy for prime rib.

  • 2nd We began to settle into our Iowa routine.

We had lunch at Grimes Senior center and played lots of games. Joyce was very excited to see us return. She loves to play a board game called Fast Track. However, she has trouble finding anyone to play with when we’re away.

  • 3rd ( pie rush Wednesday) After being at the senior center for lunch.

We meet up with Tom and Sue Stone at their RV and then we all went to Village Inn for pie and a

L-O-N-G conversation. Pie Rush Wednesday is another of our summertime routines.

  • 4th Started the day at the the dentist for teeth cleaning.

Then to Grimes and the senior center for lunch and games. We went to the Hitchhiker (in storage) and moved a few things around. We brought both recliners from Hitchhiker to the Excel. We did that for two reasons. One to get more stuff out of the way in the Hitchhiker so that when we can get to work on it there’ll be less stuff in the way. And two, the recliners are more comfortable that what are in the Excel.

  • 5th signed in at senior center, then Tom went to Unity Point doctors for his sore toe.

After the nurse practitioner examined the toe, she prescribed some antibiotics and said to soak it several times a day in hot water and Epsom salts. Then it was back to center for Lunch and games. In the afternoon we picked up prescription. Once we returned to Cutty’s, we went to the Clubhouse to do our laundry. For supper we got a pizza at Casey’s General Store

  • 6th Tom worked at the Fee Booth from 8 to 2.
  • 9th there was a Cutty’s Employee meeting in the afternoon. We got to meet the new Club General Manager.
  • 10th was another Pie Rush. Lyn Wilkerson joined us for supper, pie, and conversation. She is a cherished friend for over fifty years.
  • Tom worked 8-2 both 11th and 12th
  • 14 th was Mother’s Day and was spent with the Iowa family of kids, grandkids, CV and great grandkids. Tom worked 2-8.
  • 15 th Ella had an eye exam at Wolfe Clinic in preparation for having her plastic lens implant cleaned.

Appointment set for 20th of June. We made it to the Grimes senior center in time for lunch and then played a few games after lunch.

We stopped at Cutty’s office on the way back in and picked up my first paycheck for the season. It was for just a 13 1/2 hours and I got $112 which I deposited electronically. One of the joys of retirement, working seasonal, part-time work for minimum wage.

  • 17th Ella had a tooth extraction at 8 o’clock in the morning.

It was around 11 when we got home. Ella went to sleep until sometime after 2.

I worked on more sermons while she slept and then set my alarm for 2 and took a nap also.

Ella woke from her nap and demanded oatmeal right now! After she had eating her oatmeal, we went back to the dentist to get her new dentures. On the way home we stopped at Village Inn for Pie Rush Wednesday. We had just gotten inside the building when it started raining really hard and then about three minutes later it increased in intensity. There were trees down and limbs scattered around the campground. One large limb way across the camper just across the street from us. She was not home at the time Dominoes on Wednesdays and Card Jackpot on Fridays are another part of our summer routine.

  • 18th in the morning I drove to Union Park UNC to pick up worship bulletins for the 28th.

From Memorial Day through Labor Day, I preach at the campground nearly every Sunday. I prepare the bulletins in advance and email them to the secretary at UPUMC who prints, collates, and staples them for us.

  • 19th  Tom worked 2-9 and missed playing Card Jackpot. Ella did play.
  • 20th there was a Meet the Manager meeting from 10-10:30 followed by a Club Hall (think town hall) until nearly noon.
  • Sunday the 21st we went with most of the family to Be Hope UMC. For Henry Arthur Roff’s baptism.
  • Tom worked 8-2:30 on 22nd.
  • 23rd Both Ella and I went to the Foot Clinic at the Grimes Senior Center.

There is a Public Health Nurse that comes once a month to care for our feet. It is on a rotating schedule so you can only get in once every three months. Having gotten our feet taken care of, we ate and played games until our 2:30 appointment at Unity Point Clinic. Ella still having trouble with her ears, was given a prescription for Allegra D and Flonase. Tom had 25cc of fluid drained from the bursitis on his left knee.

  • 24th Wednesday. You know by now that we will be at Village Inn for Pie Rush Wednesday.

We did our normal trip to the senior center in the morning and then in the late afternoon/early evening, we met up with Frances and Sandy and Stoney and Sue for pie. Then in the evening we played Train Dominoes. We play Mexican Train throughout the year in different locations. And every location has their own house rules. I do fairly well until someone yells, “Hey! You can’t do that.”

Friday and Saturday (26th & 27th) Tom worked at the Fee Booth from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  • Sunday the 28th was our first campground worship service of the season.

Ella and I were the only ones there. This was partially due to the fact that our yard signs (we had 5 originally) were missing. Tom then worked from 3 to 10 at the Fee Booth.

  • Monday the 29th was Memorial Day. Tom conducted a brief Memorial Service.

It was held at the entrance to the campground where there is an eagle statue and where we fly the US flag, The POW/MIA flag and flags of all the armed forces. There were fifteen to 20 people present.

  • 30th we were back at the senior center as usual.
  • 31st Ella had a mammogram and ultrasound. She had detected a change in the way it felt.

Since we just past the eleven year mark from her breast cancer surgery, any change gives us concern. After the exam, they set an appointment to do a needle biopsy on June 7th.



  • 2nd Tom worked 8-3;30
  • 3rd Ella did laundry at Cutty’s main street. She also attended a graduation party for one of the kids she befriended while working at the Clubhouse for many years.
  • Sunday the 4th was our second Worship Service at the campground. There were five of us this time.
  • 6th Normal day until 2 when Tom went to work until 9:00. It was a slow night at the fee booth. When I got home, Ella had bad a banana cream pie for us.
  • 7th Ella had a mammogram, ultra sound and needle biopsy this morning. We missed coffee at Cutty’s Cafe but arrived at the Grimes Senior Center early enough to help set the tables. After lunch, Ella took a nap and Tom did some outside work around the Excel. And, of course, it was pie rush Wednesday.And ended the with Train Dominos.

  • 6/8/17 Thursday. Ella received a call from the doctor about the biopsy. No Cancer! Praise the Lord. Tom had a department meeting this morning from 8:30-10 at the Clubhouse while Ella had coffee and conversation at Cutty’s Café. After Tom’s meeting was over, we went to the Grimes Senior Center for games and lunch. We didn’t stay for more games after lunch because Tom had to be at work from 2-9. Before he went to work he took care of a few things around the Excel. He moved the awning support to a vertical position so that he’d stop cracking his head on it. He added a row of pathway “lights” along the patio. And added support stakes to the two signs he had painted for the Sunday Worship. Since it is Thursday, they were serving family style meals at the Café tonight. Tonight’s menu is meatloaf, baked potato and some veggie. Ella brought some to Tom for his supper at the Fee Booth. ‘Aint she sweet?

6/9/2017 sunrise at Cutty’s

2013 February 02 Saturday Cancer and Car Trip

Since it is Saturday, I read the RV Travel Newsletter on my Razr Maxx before I even got up to start the coffee.  The newsletter is something that I look forward to each Saturday.  I also subscribe to the Daily Tips newsletter that they publish Monday through Friday.  I nearly always find something that I can use … and nearly always find something else that I say to myself, “Tom, (I’m very polite to myself) that is just common sense … everybody knows how to do that!” To which I reply, “Tom, just because you are a genius, doesn’t mean that everyone else is also.”  (Yeah, sometimes I flatter myself also.)

To which newsletters to you subscribe?

At the Men’s Coffee this morning, Cal informed the group that Carol, his wife, went to the doctor’s yesterday and found out that she has cancer.  The doctor is a G.P. so he’s setting her up with a specialist to determine exactly what it is.  They think it is ovarian or colon.  We are of an age that nearly everyone in the group has experienced cancer in their own bodies or the spouses.  Ella, my wife, has had a lumpectomy to remove a cancer the size of a grain of salt.  We thank God that she had the mammogram and that the tech could see it while it was that small.  Even with the advances in medicines and treatments it is still scary when the “C” word is mentioned.

When we bought groceries last, we picked up a cantaloupe and some strawberries.  The cantaloupe smelled ripe.  However, when I cut into it we found out that it was far from ripe.  The strawberries we not very sweet and were beginning to spoil.  What to do?  What to do?  I cut them into chunks and added some honey.  hey turned out pretty good.  And I’m betting that the left over’s will be even better because they will marinate in that honey.

Before we left Shady Oaks, Ella activated an app on her Droid Razr Maxx.  The app is called Jogger Tracker and it does just what it sounds like.  You turn it on at the beginning of your run/jog/hike/drive and it tracks you on a map as well as keeping track of the time and distance traveled.  Today we drove 115.95 miles in four hours and twenty one minutes.

Ella fixed some tuna sandwiches to go with the mixed fruit.  It was a very good and colorful lunch. After lunch we went for another drive.  We wanted to go explore the Liberty Hill area.  This is the nearest town to the Rio Bonito Cabin Resort RV Park that we hope to be in next year when we come back down to Texas from Iowa.

The last time we were through Liberty Hill is when the fog was so thick that I nearly had an accident.

2013 February 01 Couch Potato and Living Will

Predawn at Inks Lake, Texas

        Today’s discussion at the Men’s Coffee was basically on three areas: Oil (recovery and transportation), Weather (here in Texas and in the various states from which we came) and Fishing (Inks Lake Dam in ‘generating’ which means water released which means fishing improves).

       It is 9:38 a.m. and Ella has just left for the Women’s Coffee.  I have no idea what their topics of discussion will be … probably how to maintain a secure hold on their world domination. 

        It is now 12:15 and we just finished lunch (left over Chinese from yesterday mixed with some more rice and chicken).

        I had several things in the mail from the VA today.  The results of our trip to the VA this week include: A return visit to the Cedar Park Clinic on February 8th, a visit to the VA in Temple to consult the Ortho doctor about the x-ray taken during the visit this week, and an introduction to M.O.V.E. (an exercise program) at the Cedar Park Clinic on February 21.  They had also scheduled an eye exam at the Austin VA clinic on April 30.  However, I called to cancel the eye appointment since we will be well on our way to Iowa by then.  I did get a call back from the eye clinic and they said they would try to reschedule to an earlier date.  I told them that it would be just as easy to visit the clinic in Temple as in Austin.  He said that he would send the information to them also.  So I may or may not have an eye exam before I leave Texas.

Any veterans out there?  If you have dealt with the VA Healthcare system, how would you rate the experience?

        I also called the NuWa factory in Kansas and set an appointment to take the Hitch Hiker to them on April 29th.  That way I can have people who know what they are doing examine and repair our non-working slide out.  I’m really hoping and praying that it is a simple, quick and inexpensive fix.

        I have never visited an RV factory.  I hope that we have time to take a tour of the factory while we are there.

Have you visited an RV factory?

Before or after your purchase?

        This has been a total ‘couch potato’ day.  After lunch, I worked on my blogs.  I was feeling a little sleepy … and hey! I’m retired … so I took a nap.  Now usually for me a nap is 15 to 45 minutes, well I just woke up and it is after four.  That means that the most I’ve accomplished is to update my calendar, my blogs and make a phone call!  By all accounts it has been a beautiful day (70 degrees, mostly sunny, light breeze) and I’ve been inside and inactive during it all.

        I do have one other project to take care of, filling out an “Advanced Directive: Durable Power of Attorney / Living Will”.  I picked up the forms when I was at the VA Clinic in Cedar Park.  The advanced directive portion is fairly easy.  I just need to have it in writing who can make medical decisions for me if I’m unable.

        However the second part of the form is the living will.  There are a series of questions followed by three possible answers: 1. Yes. I would want life-sustaining treatments., 2. I’m not sure. It would depend on the circumstances., 3. No. I would not want life-sustaining treatments.  Some of the questions such as, “If I have a condition that will make me die very soon, even with life-sustaining treatments”, to which I can say a definitive “No”.  But what about this question: “If I have a permanent condition where other people must help me with my daily needs (for example, eating, bathing, toileting).”  Even though I wouldn’t want to live in that condition … do I really want to give up on life just because I’ve lost control? There are quadriplegics such as Doctor Stephen Hawkins and Christopher Reeves who continued to be vital parts of society while living in those conditions.  I think I’ll mark that as a “Yes”.  To the question, “If I need to use a breathing machine and be in bed the rest of my life.”  I think I’ll have to mark, “I’m not sure”.

        The final question on the form is “How strictly you want your preference followed”.  You can choose to have them as a “general guide” or “followed strictly”.  I find that, as in the rest of life, the questions are easy … it is the answers that are hard.

Do you have a living will?  How did you feel

while you were completing it?  And afterward?

2013 January 29 Tuesday a day at the VA

Isn’t that a lovely shade of pink in the sky?

The day has begun with some wind.  There is a chance of rain also.  Which in this area of Texas would be a good thing … er .. thang.  There are fire alert warnings out because the dry conditions and gusty winds could spread a wildfire very quickly.


I’ve been to morning coffee and am now getting ready to go to the VA Clinic in Cedar Park for my annual physical.  I’m hoping to get referrals for glasses and hearing aids also.  The last prescription glasses I had broke a couple years ago and I’ve been wearing older glasses from a prescription that may be fifteen years old.  I really need to be able to read the fine print on my prescription bottles.  And the ‘hearing aid’ that I’m using is actually a sound amplifier that I purchased at Cabela’s sporting goods.  It is designed for hunters to be able to hear the deer etc.

It is now three p.m. and we back from Cedar Park.  My lab work all looked very good.  Heart and lungs are okay immunizations are up to date.  However there is a new tetanus shot that also guards against whooping cough.  They are recommending that I get that shot.  I said that I was concerned about my right knee giving out on me at times.  So, I had an xray taken.  They are also sending a blood pressure monitor so that I can give them a report the next time that I’m in.  They wanted to set a six month check up and I said that I will be in Iowa in six months but if they want to set a twelve month check up that would be okay.

I have referrals for an eye exam.  However, I was told that I did not qualify for glasses.  I also do not qualify for hearing aids.  Bummer.  Between the exam and the xray we had time to go to KFC for lunch.

Then when we were finally done at the clinic we took a back road from Cedar Park to Liberty Hill.

We stopped at a couple of thrift shops on the way home.  Awhile back, Ella saw a powerlift recliner at a shop in Burnet that closely matches our furniture.  Because one of our current recliners is a piece of junk, she wanted to see if it was still available.  It wasn’t.

2013 January 28 Monday Do You Hear What I Hear?

2013 January 28 Monday   Do You Hear What I Hear?

Pre-dawn over the campers and hills this morning

I woke about a quarter to five this morning, got up and started the coffee and fixed an egg and bacon to roll up in a tortilla for breakfast.  I check on my Facebook and emails and read some of the blogs that I follow.  I then went back and edited the post that I posted last night … added some more pics from our day.

Now it is nearly seven and a Great Horned Owl has decided to start hoot hoot hooting in the tree across the gulch from our RV.  He usually hoots us to bed at night also.  Since I’m sitting here with the windows and doors open, I can hear some morning doves doing their version of a morning song too.  I also hear the crunch of someone’s golf cart tires on the gravel of the drive.  Most likely someone bringing their dog to the dog park/run area of the campgrounds.  What I don’t hear is traffic and machinery clanging and banging.  As I’m typing this a cardinal starts shouting from a nearby tree, “This is MY tree.  All others beware!”   Yep! I’m really enjoying our time at Shady Oaks.


I’ve talked about our men’s morning coffee group for several months now.  I guess it’s time to put some faces with the group.  Only about half of the regulars were there today.  A couple of them have left the park for a while and one is just out of town for a day or two.  Not everybody shows up every day and we don’t take attendance. (Grin)

Ron and Gary
Ron and Jack
John, Cal and Glen

 Most of Ella and my day was spent right here being couch potatoes.  The day remained grey all day.  It wasn’t a bad day.  The temperatures were in the mid to upper seventies all day and there was a wonderful breeze blowing through the windows (and slamming the door shut once).  But it was just grey and we had no place or activities to call  us away from our comfortable seats.

           Following the theme of doing nothing, lunch consisted of the pasta salad left over from our “Supper With Friends” on Friday night.  We  also had fresh strawberries that we ate right out of the box.  It was nutritious and colorful but didn’t require any effort on our part other than to chew and swallow.

The sun did poke its face out from behind the clouds for just long enough for me to get a photo of our bird/deer feeder.  We came to Texas with great expectations of feeding the birds and adding new ones to the list of those we’d seen.  Well, the birds had enough to eat that they didn’t need to come begging at our door.  For months the feeder hung there with out being touched.

Then one day I realized that it was actually empty.  We were so excited as we refilled it and made plans to be more watchful for what species of bird was visiting us.  A few sparrows came, but not many.   No noticeable activity.

Then one morning not long ago, I opened the door to go to coffee and found the four or five deer that were eating from the bird feeder.  I stopped putting feed in it.  I really don’t want the deer to come knocking on my door demanding to be fed.

A couple of days ago, I was sitting outside and realized that there were about a dozen cardinals in the tree next to us.  I put more feed in the feeder and moved away from the feeder.  The cardinals did come and visit but were more interested in the seed on the ground than what was in the feeder.  That afternoon the deer came back and emptied the feeder.  The next day, I noticed that the cardinals were back on the ground.  The deer being sloppy eaters were spilling into the course gravel beneath the feeder.  The deer would manage to eat some of the fallen seed but left most of it for the birds.

We did manage to get off our ‘duffs’ to go to Bible Study at the rec hall this evening.  We have some good music to get us started and then read some scriptures and Ron leads us in a discussion.  I always come away with new insights and thoughts to contemplate.  A good way to end the day.

2013 January 27 Sunday Heather and Headbanz

2013 January 27 Sunday

It is 6:30 p.m. and we are just coming home.  We left for church at 7:45 a.m.  The early service was from 8:15 to 9:15.  As soon as we were out of the service we headed toward Austin to visit Heather.  We called to let her know that we were on the way.  When we were about 45 minutes out from her place she called to ask if we would be hungry as soon as we arrived.  We said that we should be arriving about 11:30 to 11:45 and that yes we’d be ready for lunch but could wait.

We had dueling GPS navigators again on this trip.  Mine said to take Texas 29 to 183 and go south.  Ella’s said to go past 183 and take Ronald Reagan Blvd.  As in the past, I bowed to Ella’s instructions.

After we had passed 183 my navigator said to take the Ronald Reagan also.  However when we reached Cedar Park mine said to turn right onto 1431.  Ella’s said to keep going.  Every couple of miles my navigator would say to make a right turn of to make a U-turn.  We kept following Ella’s instructions until we reached Duvall when mine again started to agree with hers.  It seemed to me that we went a long way East and then back to the West to reach our destination.  Next time, I think I’ll try following my system and see where it leads us.

Heather’s dog, Lily was V-E-R-Y excited to see us.  So much so that Heather suggested that we take her to the small dog park near her home.  Lily is a large white dog about a year or two old.  I forget the bread but similar to the pitbull but not as muscular.  Anyway, when we arrived at the park there was a girl/young woman with a small black Boston Bulldog that was a little hyper to see another dog to play with.  Heather would throw a dog ball and both dogs would chase it.  The little bulldog acted like it didn’t know what to do with the ball.  Lily, however, remained very focused on the ball.  The little dog kept getting between Lily and the ball and I was concerned that there might be a problem.  Lily would just wait for the smaller dog to move out of the way and then pick up the ball and return it to be thrown again.

After several minutes the bulldog and owner left and Lily was free to run and chase the ball on her own.  After awhile she got the ball but kept it at the other end of the park rather than bring it back.  Heather said that is how she takes a break in the game.  It’s like Lily knows that if she brings the ball back to Heather, it will get thrown again and that she will HAVE to go get it.  So she just stops bring it back.  She lay down for a while and then picked up a rock and brought it to Heather.  When Heather refused to take the rock, Lily took it away and buried it.  Eventually Heather went and retrieved the ball.

What is the funniest thing that you’ve seen a pet do?

Here are the 3 of us reflected in Cafe Java’s window
A funny thing happened as I was taking this picture.  I had reversed the camera on the Droid so that I could see us and get us all in the photo.  I’m holding it at arms length to get the shot.  I then realize that I’m pointing the camera toward and very close to the man at the table next to us.  I imagine that he must have thought I was trying to get a close up of the inside of his ear!  I explained and apologized to him.

  We returned Lily to the apartment and then piled into Heather’s jeep (not an easy thing for Ella to get into the back seat and not real easy for me to get my feet up and over the door jam in the front seat.  We then went to Café Java for lunch/breakfast.  Heather had her breakfast of biscuits and gravy, Ella had an Ironman omelet, and I had the soft beef taco.  The taco was good but nothing special.  Heather said that although the gravy is not a sausage gravy it reminders her of Iowa.  Ella said that her omelet was okay.  Not a lot of praise for the meal.

In your opinion, where is the best place to eat breakfast and what would you order?

After eating, we return to Heather’s to visit a play a game, Headbanz, where each player wears a headband with a card facing out.  Then they have to guess what the card says.  They can ask the other players questions about the card.  The questions have to be answered with a Yes, No, Maybe or I Don’t Know.  You only have a limited time in which to guess it.  It was fun enough that I’d play it again.

What type of games do you play with friends and family?

As it approached four o’clock, I said that we needed to be leaving.  The idea of driving straight into the setting sun isn’t appealing but driving after dark isn’t either so I wanted to get moving.  We said our good byes and left.  It was a nice visit and I’m glad that we were able to spend some time with her.

After leaving Heather’s we drove to WalMart so that Ella could buy her 2 pound bag of Werther’s.  Some of the meds that she takes gives her a dry mouth.  So she considers the Werthers to be an over the counter medication. (Grin)

We had to , of course, check out the discount items while were at WalMart.  We escaped with no further damage to our checkbook.

It just so happens that the WalMart we stop at is just across the street from Bartlett’s Resturant where Heather and my older son, Arik, are chefs.

We stopped in Burnet at Whataburger for a couple of malts.

Do you become impatient when waiting in lines at the drive through?

How would you handle these type of delays if you

were the owner/manager of a fast food place?