Saturday, October 31, 2009

Mother, My Brother and His Family

Many people have asked about Mother, Levi, Maribeth, and Phil. I'll also tell you about Sylvester.

Mother has been here in Texas in a nursing home near my brother for almost a year. She's really had some ups and downs along the way. Phil has worked closely with the doctor and it seems they have tweaked her meds to a nice mellow balance. She is amazingly clearheaded and knew me immediately.

She is getting good care at Pleasant Manor and this is, no doubt, affected by Phil and Maribeth's daily visits. I really appreciate and admire their dedication.
Mother is like the energizer bunny who takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'. We hope she will continue to be peaceful in her surroundings.

Maribeth's idea for me to have a slide show for Mother worked out well. We set up a screen in a visiting area Saturday afternoon, invited Shelly (a lovely lady hired as a sitter for Mother several hours a day) and Maribeth's friend, Lynn. We all "took a trip out west" and had a break for pizza. Thank you, Maribeth, for such a good idea.

I saw Mother every day during my week in Waxahachie but forgot to take a photo. Here's one from 2003.
Levi is a sophomore at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia. It's ironic that he had a grandmother and an aunt and uncle nearby when he started school last fall. Now, his grandmother's here in Texas and his aunt and uncle are traveling. Nevertheless, he really loves JMU.Maribeth works at the elementary school where Levi went. She's in charge of writing grants, fund raising, recruiting students, and public relations. She stays busy all day, every day and loves her job.Phil is retired from 20 years in the Air Force and is a nurse anesthetist in private practice with a group here in Waxahachie. He works very hard and also loves his job.

He's had a challenging fall as he had brain surgery. It was discovered that he had too much fluid build up in his brain (hydrocephalus) and a shunt was inserted. The doctors find it hard to believe that he had no symptoms (This was discovered when he went to the doctor about something else).

This is the first time he's had major surgery and, as with anyone who has surgery, it seems to take longer than expected to recover. He is back at work and doing OK except for some neck soreness and spasms.

Sylvester makes a charming room decoration. What a lover he is!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

West Texas Wind Farms

We had been planning to see a few more places in New Mexico, ending up in Albuquerque to see Jerry and Kathy's house.

Ed watched the weather reports and when he saw the cold weather predictions, he decided he had had his fill of cold weather.

We got an email from Jerry on Wednesday saying it was snowing in Albuerque and Ed had made a wise decision to split when he did.

One of the first things I noticed when we crossed the Texas line were the speed limit signs for 80!!

We stayed in Pecos, Texas on Sunday night....not an especially pretty place. This was the view out our front windshield Monday when we woke up -- a lot of nothingness.
Next, we noticed there were lots of cotton fields.I didn't realize that they grow cotton in Texas!
All along the way were oil wells, steadily pumping. Everyone should have one in their backyard, don't you think?
Ed's sister and his daughter-in-law are both named "Lorraine" so this sign caught his eye. You can also see lots of power poles.
Monday morning we started into the wind farm country. We just couldn't get over how MANY of these windmills there were. They were along every ridge for as far as the eye can see. Most were moving but quite a few were still.....we don't know if they were down for maintenance or what.

Click this photo for a better view.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Trip Map as of October 31, 2009

Click on map for a larger view.We plan to leave Waxahachie, TX on Monday morning, November 2nd and head to Florida. It's only about 1,400 miles away......piece of cake, right? Easy for me to say since Ed does all the driving (mostly because it makes him AND me nervous for me to drive).

Monday, October 26, 2009

Silver City Slickers

I saw my first roadrunner one afternoon as we were driving out of the campground. I thank Jerry for being quick with his camera to get this photo.
Saturday, the girls (Kathy, Rosalie, and I) went to "downtown" Silver City for the farmers' market and to visit the galleries and shops there. We bought sprouts, squash, watermelon, and chard. We combined for a great supper of hamburgers with healthy veggies. A good time was had by all!
After we turned out the lights, we heard coyotes howling and barking. It was a unique sound and I only knew what it was because Kathy had heard them the night before.

So ended our delightful week with friends in Silver City.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Catwalk near Silver City, NM

Friday, we (Jerry and Kathy Millspaugh and their friends, Rosalie and Mike) drove north of Silver City to a place called Catwalk National Scenic Trail.
This catwalk was built for the silver miners to get up to the mine to take the silver down to the processing area. There was also a pipe for water to run their generator and to supply the town which had grown to 200.
These walks were built in the 1800's and have been rebuilt by the Forest Service.
Ed and I were not so said the walk was 1.1 miles. However, that was for only one way so we ended up struggling through an unexpected 2.2 mile hike!After I was over 3/4 of a mile in, I wanted to see the end. so I plodded on. Being with our friends added to the motivation.
The canyon was narrow, which added to the drama of the high rock cliffs on both sides.I'm always a sucker for swinging bridges. This was one of my "rewards" near the end of the trail.
Here we (Kathy Millspaugh, MaryMay, Ed, Jerry Millspaugh) are at the end of the trail.
The highlight of the walk was looking up to the top of the cliffs and seeing a bighorn sheep (female). We grabbed our cameras and got some pictures before they left.

Then one of the female sheep came out onto another high ledge and seemed to be posing for us. (top center of photo below)
Jerry took this shot. I was pleased that my little camera captured this.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Cave Dwellers near Silver City, NM

Wednesday morning, Jerry and Kathy Millspaugh, their friends Rosalie and Mike, and Ed and I set off for the Cave Dwellings. They're about an hour's drive north of Silver City that takes two hours because of the steep curving roads.

We stopped at a vista to view the clouds hanging in the valleys.
Jerry and Kathy both take great pictures.
I think this alligator juniper bark is just fascinating.
The people who built the cliff dwellings were part of the Mogollon culture. It's hard to imagine that these were built in about 1270.
It was quite a trek up to the caves and I think the reason I made it was because I was so focused and determined to catch up with the tour guide. I boogied up that mountain and did catch up with the guide. There were several groups of people who lived in this area in past centuries but what motivated this one group to break with the tradition of pit houses or surface pueblos to build inside the caves is unknown.
There were about 40 rooms but only 4 that we could go into.
The stonework was remarkable and the deep overhangs provided shelter to preserve it.
The "T" shaped door indicated that this was a public entry. A plain rectangular door was a private entry.From the inside looking out.
All the supports ran horizontally except for this one area. They think this huge stone fell during their construction because.... covered the indented area where they ground grains. So, they had some vertical supports here.This narrow ledge with no railing made me very nervous but I wasn't about to miss anything!
Here's where we would have fallen. Ed's down there, less than halfway down.
They certainly had quite a steep walk to go down to the stream for water!