Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Baseball, Softball and Eye Surgery #3

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We came to College Station Tx primarily for me to have eye surgery number three. As you may remember I had my first surgery to my left eye to repair a torn retina. My second surgery on the same eye was a vitrectomy to “fix” my floaters issue in that eye. Well a third surgery was needed because the previous surgery accelerated the development of a problematic cataract.

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When surgery day finally arrived Sharon took me to the out patient hospital. She masked up as required and patiently waited for my surgery to end. An hour or so of surgery and I was done. I opted to get a “distant package” lens in my left eye and planned to get the right eye done a year or so later.

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This package basically sets one eye to see clearly close and the other (your dominant eye) to see far away. Since my left eye was not my dominant one they set it for close vision. A few days after my surgery I wasn’t overly fond of the eye having only clear near vision now and not any away vision. As a result I went ahead and scheduled eye surgery number four for my right eye to complete the distance vision package.

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Since my old glasses were still useful in the interim we took full advantage while waiting for surgery by going to a couple of baseball games to watch the Texas A&M University Aggies take on a couple of non-conference teams. We are happy to report that not only did we have a blast watching the games but our fightin’ Texas Aggies won both games.

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Being equal opportunity supporters we also went to watch a softball game at the new softball field. The women weren’t doing as well as the men in conference play but we still wanted to watch them play the first place (in the SEC) Arkansas Razorbacks. Although the lady Aggies were in last place somehow they managed to pull off upset walk off win in extra innings over the Lady Razorbacks! What fun!!!

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We still have a lot of time to kill until my next eye surgery. Also, as a result of needing this surgery, we extended our stay here in College Station one more month until June 10th. This became necessary in order for me to make the many follow-up appointments post-surgery. Ahhhh, but such is our life on the Road of Retirement!

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NOTE: We are now in College Station, TX until June 10th

Monday, May 9, 2022

Seeing lots of friends and wildflowers in town

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Another huge reason we like to come back to our former hometown is to revisit friends.. I failed to mention earlier we arrived in town Easter weekend which we knew would be our first opportunity to see friends. Our friend Cheryl historically has held a large Easter gathering at her and her husband Preston’s place in the country. Their homeplace is just little way outside town and has plenty of space for a shindig of this size.

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With Covid worrying everyone around the world these past couple of years Cheryl hasn’t had a Easter gathering. However, one of our friends told us she was definitely hosting the Easter party the weekend we arrived in town. We contacted her to let her know we were in town and wanted to attend if it was okay with her.

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As according to tradition this would be a large pot-luck dinner so Sharon whipped up a great dessert to bring to the party. We’ve been gone a long time but we have generally made this party each time we pass through Texas since we usually plan our trips to Texas in the Spring.

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It was great seeing lots of friends we haven’t visited with for a good while. It was also a treat to see all the kids, parents and grandparents having a great time together on a beautiful day under the oak trees.There were lots of children at this event and it always amazes us how fast they grow in a year or two.

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The Easter dinner was a feast with more food than a 100 plus people could eat. Another tradition is that before dinner everyone gathers in a large circle for a pre-dinner prayer. However, before the prayer a count of guests is made by having each person count off starting with one and going all the way around the circle back to the first person.

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After the count Cheryl announced that this was a record crowd of just under 100 people. It certainly was a good thing all the food was there and I can assure you everyone had all they could eat. After dinner the kids and the adults participated in the annual games such as egg toss, kite flying and cornhole. It sure was loads of fun seeing everyone and enjoying some great food as well…

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Besides the Easter shindig we have also been enjoying the wildflowers which dominate the landscape here every Spring. One place we like to see wildflowers is the disc golf course at the Research Park near Texas A&M University. It has a nice course we like to play and while playing we take breaks to admire and occasionally photograph the wildflowers,   We know from experience that Spring will soon give way to heat and humidity so we are savoring the season while we can.               

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NOTE: We are now in College Station, TX until June 11th

Thursday, May 5, 2022

A little eye surgery in store for me

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While our plan was to stay one month in College Station our departure date would be entirely flexible dependent upon what we decide about my eye care. The day after we arrived I had an appointment to have my eye examined for a lens replacement. Sharon masked up to take me home from the appointment after they dilated me.

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Those who follow our blog might remember a few years ago while wintering in Arizona I experienced a retinal tear while we were on a walk. I had laser surgery the next day as it was a large tear which threatened the sight in my eye. Well a year passed and the amount of floaters in my surgically repaired eye never diminished so it was recommended I have a vitrectomy.

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A half a year ago while spending the fall in Arizona I returned to the same doctor and had that procedure done. A vitrectomy is a procedure where the surgeon takes out the fluid (vitreous) inside of the eyeball and replaces it with a sterile saline solution. The procedure was successful as my vision was clearer but I was informed that this surgery would likely advance a cataract forming in the same eye.

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The glasses after the vitrectomy became worthless in a few short months so I  scheduled to see a Doctor here in College Station to have yet another (my third) surgery on this eye. This explains the length of our stay being dependent on the outcome of this surgery.

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I will fast forward a bit and say that I had the lens replacement surgery done and all is well. However, I have decided to go ahead and have the lens replaced in my other eye while we are here to avoid having to go through this again in the near future. As a result we have extended our stay to June 11th.

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While we are waiting to have my next eye surgery we have been enjoying birding at some of the local parks during this spring’s migration. Birding here isn’t as productive as in the Rio Grande Valley on the Texas coastline but there are occasionally days where lots of migrants settle down for a day to fatten up before moving further north.

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We had one such day like this while visiting the Texas A&M University Research Park. In this area after cold fronts bring severe weather there are occasionally large numbers of migratory birds settling to avoid the turbulence. On this particular day the migratory birds were in abundance. However, no matter how patient we were in trying to focus our cameras on these tiny little birds we found it a bit more challenging than we hoped.

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Today’s photos are from our some of our hiking and birding excursions here in the Brazos Valley of Texas…

NOTE: We are now in College Station, TX until June 11th

Friday, April 29, 2022

You Never Know What You’ll See on the Road…

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We said our “See ya’ laters” to our son and his family as we headed out of San Antonio back to Canyon Lake.It is not that far but with all the construction along the route, the trip was arduous. At least we had two more days at the lake before we would have to leave. This would give us time to unwind and give us the opportunity for a few more things we wanted to do.

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We took one last drive down the old river road as the scenery was just too good to pass up. Something about the limestone cliffs and the artistically placed bald cypress trees which make this part of the Guadalupe River so very special. As things are greening up due to spring it was fun to see new wildflowers blooming every day.

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We also found a short hike along the Guadeloupe River near the dam where the water discharges. There were quite a few wildflowers blooming there and a short but very scenic boardwalk where we paused to enjoy the springtime sights and sounds.

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When our time at the lake was up, it was time to break camp to head east toward College Station, Texas, our former hometown where our RV dream and adventure was born. The drive over was uneventful which was great considering our last misadventure with our slide popping out on the highway in the middle of San Antonio.

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Although it may have been uneventful,it did not mean it was uninteresting. At a stop light we encountered a truck full of what appeared to be plastic animals in the back of it! It was so odd to see and we had absolutely no idea what they might be used for. You just never know what you will see on the road.

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As we neared College Station we began seeing lots of bluebonnets which pleased us both immensely. And finally we started seeing fields of the brilliant red Indian paintbrush as well. We could certainly tell we had left the area under severe drought and entered a much wetter environment.

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We settled into one of our favorite parks at Holiday RV Park where Dan, the manager is just so helpful.  We were even able to acquire our favorite site which although is near the highway, it gives us shade and a nice expansive view.  We will stay a month (or more) to explore the many changes our growing hometown is experiencing, meet up with old friends, visit some favorite establishments and take care of some more eye surgery for yours truly.

NOTE: We are now in College Station, TX until May 11th…

Monday, April 25, 2022

Visiting and BBQ in San Antonio, TX

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While at Canyon Lake we planned to spend some time with our son and his family in nearby San Antonio.. Last time we visited I was helping him build an outdoor kitchen and this time the plan was to do a little painting and replace a kitchen light fixture. Prior to leaving we had a couple of days to enjoy the hill country before we locked up the RV and headed to San Antonio to visit family.

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We pulled up and were shocked to see how big our grandson had become. At 15 he now has a deeper voice as well. His sister has left home since we were last here and gave birth to a baby boy just a few months after our daughter gave us a granddaughter.

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Happily she came for a visit giving us the opportunity to meet our first great-grandson who is quite energetic. At about 10 months old he is already trying to walk and has several teeth as well. It is really hard to believe that Sharon and I are now great grandparents… does this mean we are getting old? Nahhhh!

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The first few days at their house we were able to paint the whole downstairs which is what they had hoped to accomplish.The kitchen was also painted and when I took out the old overhead light fixture it was apparent that an electrician was needed to move some wires and ensure everything was done to code. The good thing  was that since they were going to need an electrician they decided to go ahead and have all recessed lighting installed instead of a single overhead fixture. It sure looks a lot better that way.

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It wasn’t all work as we also made time for playing down by the Riverwalk in the Pearl District. It is an area developed around the old Pearl Brewery from years gone by and replaced with a multitude of shops while also featuring food and drink establishments. It is really a quite active area and a great little place to visit in San Antonio. I also had to make time for some good rubs on the grand-dogs…

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We also visited a few breweries in the greater San Antonio area. We found there are some pretty good breweries there. We had a lot of fun hanging out with our son who was able to take vacation the whole time we were there.  Our daughter in law had to work and Cameron was in school so the plan was to take care of dinner planning and after school snacks as a treat for them..

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We mostly did dinners at the house where we were able to break in our son’s new smoker by smoking a brisket one day and a couple of pork butts another day. We froze a lot of the pulled pork so Sharon and I could take some home to break out in the future when we are both craving some good ol’ smoked Texas BBQ.

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The week sped by and the mini vacation with family ended as we returned to the RV to enjoy a few days at Canyon Lake before moving on to College Station, our old hometown.  There we will spend a month visiting old friends, our favorite establishments and taking care of some medical appointments.

NOTE: We are now in College Station, TX until May 11th…

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Canyon Lake and scenic drives abound…

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With the slide issues behind us we were now able to enjoy our stay at Canyon Lake in the hill country of Texas. We have visited this park many other times including our extended stay when the Corps of Engineers closed down the park during the early Covid scare allowing us to hide out here for many weeks.

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What makes this a special place to stay (besides the super low nightly rates for those of us over 65) is the turquoise blue lake and all the walks available inside the park seeing deer, birds and other wildlife. This park gets really crowded on the weekends but since they don’t allow any day use, the park is normally very quiet even on these crowded weekends.

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There are lots of scenic hill country drives to take from this park and this time of year the wildflowers ae usually abundant. Not so, this year as the wildflowers have been sparse and the grass mostly brown because of the drought this year.

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Our absolute favorite drive from our camp is down the Old River Road which creeps slowly alongside the Guadeloupe River on the way to the town of New Braunfels. When driving along the old river road there are several bridges crossing back and forth over this beautiful river making for some scenic views downstream. This river is very popular for fly fishermen and for toobers. What's a toober, you ask? It’s someone who uses and innertube or some other floating device to float down the river.

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If we were to drive this road on a summer weekend it would be packed with mostly college aged kids and young families flocking to float their way down the river. One of the main reasons is that the temperature of the Guadeloupe River is constantly cool since all the water comes from the deeper waters of Canyon Lake as they let water out all year long.

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Besides the river road we like to drive the countryside looking at wildflowers and checking out such destinations as Luckenbach, Austin, New Braunfels, San Marcos and Fredericksburg. There are also quite a few breweries located in this part of Texas with the Real Ale in Blanco and Rough Diamond Brewery in Spring Branch.

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We won’t be able to drive to a lot of the places we normally visit here since we plan to spend a week at our son’s house visiting him and his family…

NOTE: We are now at Canyon Lake State Park until April 11th…