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Saturday, January 30, 2016


   January started slowly.  The stock market was setting new lows.  The presidential campaigning couldn't be more depressing.  But, then, along came Madeleine, our second great granddaughter, on the 28th.  She was a week early, and she signed in at a strong 7.2 pounds and 21 inches.

     The mother is our granddaughter Melissa, and the ugly guy on the left, husband-Illia, is the slightly crazy Greek from Australia...and a welcome addition to the clan he is.  On Tuesday our first great granddaughter will be eleven!  When your youngest kid is a grandfather twice, it starts to put your life in perspective.  Perhaps some day I will get introspective and write down some profound pronouncements about my observations.  For the moment, however, I'll be happily content that everyone is doing well.  And life goes on as it is supposed to.
     I'll be flying up to New England in three weeks for an alumni ceremony, and I'll be able to sneak in a quick visit.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January in SC

     Well, let's see if I can find enough information to put together something resembling a blog post.  I often recall the quotation from Bud Wilkinson, the legendary Oklahoma football coach: "When you create a monster you have to feed it."  What started as an easy travel blog as we did our "lap around America" in our new motorhome has become an obligation as some readers expect regular updates.  I know bloggers whose daily readership number in the thousands.  Mine is much smaller and more personal, so I guess I am obliged to provide inputs even if the story doesn't appeal to thousands.
     That said, one can always use animal pictures.  The last blog showed Baxter with his laser goggles on.

     Here's the old man warming his bum in front of a warm fire.  I understand the position as my back responds well to warmth.  I had a visit with a spinal surgeon yesterday to agree on a game plan.  It is clear that the stenosis (cartilage and bone minimizing neurological pathways) and listhesis (slipped disc between lumbar 4/5) are causing the lower back pain.  They are not causing the peripheral neuropathy, nor is diabetes.  But the two combine to sometimes make mobility a problem.  The decision was to wait.  When I get back in October from our last summer in Maine, I will sell the bus and see about some spinal stabilization surgery.  The MRIs at that time will give us a 30 month interval between MRIs to better asses the progress of the problem.  If we started that process now, I would not be sufficiently recovered to get in one more summer.  Not to worry.  There are a number of activities that have had to be abandoned as we have pursued the RV lifestyle.  A fifty gallon aquarium and a good garden are memories from more than a decade ago.  We have accumulated over 350,000 miles on motorhomes, so I guess we can say, "been there; done that".
     This morning Durelle suggested that I go out and look at the geese as a potential photo-op.  Although we have not been feeding them, our neighbors apparently have, because, as I leaned over the fence with the camera, eleven geese coasted up to our fence.  We expect to see a gaggle of goslings later in the spring. 

     A few days ago we had a Happy Hour with our Clemson friends, Walter and Brooke McCants.  The occasion was to deliver on a bet between Clemson and OU in the Orange Bowl.  They have a three year old Carson who is a delightful child.  I thought you would enjoy the picture of Durelle and Carson.

      We are doing fine and hope you are, too.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Rock Star dog

     Check out Joe Cool!

     If it looks as if Baxter were enjoying himself, he really isn't.  His arthritic hind quarters are getting a bit wobbly.  He frequently slips and falls on the hardwood floor.  With some reluctance we are in the middle of a two week, MWF "laser" treatment.  I really don't believe that it's a laser.  I think I know enough about the physics of a laser to be very skeptical.  I think that the glowing red wand used to massage his hips for 6.5 minutes each is an infrared source with enough energy to do some deep heating.  Even the vet calls it a laser, but I don't believe it really is.
     Other dog owners I talked with in the waiting room said it worked on their dogs.  We'll give it a good try, but we haven't detected any changes yet.
     I'm still trying to find a small residential refrigerator to replace the one in the bus.  No luck yet, but apparently the main slide out has been repaired with some confidence.