Sunday, December 23, 2012

What has happened after nearly a year of our lives? Dear reader, I am not a very reliable chronicler of our own life and travels as you know. I blame it on Facebook, an election year and my lack of discipline. But it has been quite a year, none-the-less. After our Panama Canal cruise we needed to center ourselves so we retreated to the desert. I can now see the importance of the desert experience to so many writers, poets and spiritual seekers.
We spent nearly a month off by ourselves in the wide open and desert quiet spaces. We enjoyed some time with our Boomer RVing friends near Quartzsite, AZ, attended to our annual dental maintenance in LosAlgodones, BC, Mexico and were moving on towards our favorite Sonoran desert "homesite" near Ajo, AZ when life caught up with us (me) in a dramatic way.

We had just arrived that Sunday (4 March) afternoon at the Yuma Elks Club to take on fresh water and dump our waste water after 3 weeks in the desert. That night I experienced the most violent nausea in my life. I attributed it to food poisoning from an unwashed orange I'd eaten earlier at an open public market. Well, after 8 hours the stomach quieted, I collapsed and then the fever began. We did finally go for a CAT scan Friday which determined that it was the gall bladder and not the orange as the cause of my discomfort and that we should find a surgeon soon for the task. But, by Sunday (and nearly a week of 102F temperature) I surrendered to Ms. Nancy's pleadings to go to emergency room at the hospital, which, by the way, was conveniently located across the street from our new Elks Club homesite. I was in the OR and under the knife before midnight; I was finally able to leave the following Saturday. Not much of a week really, but the infection took a while to subdue and I was pretty miserable, too. We ended up staying the month on that dirt lot behind the Elks while I experienced two endoscopic procedures to place and 2 weeks later, to remove a stent in the bile duct. I am immensely grateful that all worked out well and for the good care and attention received from hospital staff.
 Our winter  travels were cut short by the month long Yuma stay and we returned willingly to our homebase at Glen Eden to further convalesce and get serious about the garden and enjoying some of the flowers we'd planted in the fall.Our lives adjusted well to settling in. Tom became active again in the Riverside Co. Master Gardeners and Master Composters with workshops and public events. Nancy enjoyed the healing and increasingly warming waters of the outdoor pool on a daily basis. Over these years we long understood that we operate with different areas of interests and more importantly, different energy levels. Wow! We worked on RV lot, our personal projects and even managed to begin exploring southern incredibly diverse and sunny place. Actually, it  one of the truly few Mediterranean climates, likeTuscany, Chile, and South Africa. The challenge for the gardener is to learn what to plant when and how to irrigate effectively and efficiently in an arid climate with predominantly winter only rains. The other challenge is to realize that the sun at 33 degrees north latitude is a whole lot more powerful than what I was used to in the relatively dark northern Pennsylvania.

Speaking of which Tom had a great summer break when he flew back to the hills of PA for a wedding of the son of long time friends who has been more like a nephew or godson. Lucas married lovely Lee in a beautiful outdoor ceremony at his mother's home near Towanda, PA. The weather was perfect and the several days preparation provided a great chance to reconnect with old and long time friends. It was quite sobering for Tom to realize the children he saw born and watched through over the years grow now as adults and establishing their own families. His own children were teenagers when he and Ms.Nancy got together so many years ago (33 years and counting) that he missed this earlier phase. The weather was great and he had opportunities to see the many changes to the region. There are new installations of wind turbines on the mountain tops near Troy, PA and gas wells and pipelines all over these beautiful rolling hills with the fracking boom in the Marcellus Shale natural gas deposits for which this old home area is ground zero.

For the balance of the summer we endured long periods of extemely hot and dry weather. It was a challenge to get any good tomatos or peppers from the garden, and everything seemed to suffer for it. But also heating up was the political season and Tom again became involved with voter registration and get out the vote activities both here in SoCal and on several occasions in the Las Vegas, NV area.
 There was lots of worry and concern this election season and we both did what we could, Nancy via the internet and Tom on phonebanks and neighborhood canvassing and it all paid off, and was fun, too, especially at close up during an Obama Rally  and on Election Night at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.

Since the election life has settled back to normal activities here in SoCal with occasional outings to the beach (warmer water/fewer people) and restaurants (Indian and Thai topping the list). Overall it's been a great year but it's now time to get the motorhome back into shape for travel. Tom's been cleaning up the lot and planting a winter garden to hopefully still be producing when we return. He's also checking all RV systems and realizing it's time to catch up with basic cleaning and maintenance. Just in time for Christmas and here we are now! Hope to be on the road to the desert in a few weeks after new year and to start over again our seasonal travels through the desert southwest. Until next time, thanks for your patience and our best to you for a happy holiday season and wonderful new year!