03/30/16 - Here We Are!|
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I doubt if I have many correspondents any more …. My letter writing or posting has fallen to a new low, and conversations on the phone are non-existent. I can go into a long explanation as to why the long silence, but it would be all excuses, so I’ll just say “I’m back! Read on or ignore, as you please! This is going to be long.”
We did move into our “final” place– at least that’s what we think about Euclid Avenue. We actually lived in this particular apartment some years ago, and had pleasant memories of the place. Having spent about 12 years in a motorhome, we felt this would even be more room and a stable place. No need to stop every several hundred miles to fill up with diesel! No drives to Nacogdoches to have some work done on the mechanical workings of our little home. Lots of “no mores” could be listed. There would also be lists of all the places yet to visit, and people to see, and oh, so many roads we still wanted to search and discover…
Not long after moving in, we received a message fom our adopted son, Victor (who still lives in St. Petersburg, Russia. He was here for a conference in Las Vegas, and although we offered to go to Las Vegas to see him, he reported that he wasn't sure of what time he might have (outside the conference) and said that if possible, he'd come here - date and time were unknown. So what a happy surprise when he showed up at our door! (He was on a very limited time frame, so we hardly had time to say "Hello" and "Goodbye" with him, but it was such a shot in the arm to have Victor visit us. He's a real treasure, and we are so grateful for his affection for us.
Age has caught us unawares, and I still battle with the idea (and fact) that I can no longer do things I’ve “always done.” Daily, I am surprised at how my body simply refuses to do what I want it to do. So this little apartment, larger by far than the motorhome, comfortable and secure does give us many benefits. Strange as it may seem, the motorhome was 600 square feet, while our present place is 900 square feet, the motorhome was so designed to maximize the space – a place for everything! This apartment is spacious in comparison, but we have yet to assign a specific spot for many items, and so we do spend too much time looking for something we put some place! A far cry from life in the motorhome where there was one place for an item, and one place only! Rarely did we have to search through the rig, looking for something!
Several real plusses: We live about 4 blocks from our doctors and the hospital. This particular Kaiser facility is the best we’ve ever used. Our new “primary” is fantastic; every doctor we’ve seen seems to be outstanding, caring and knowledgeable. We see a doctor one day, and the following day we have a message from them, referring to any diagnosis and treatment, offering their email address and phone number – just an incredible piece of service! As an example, I have two hernias. For 40-45 years every Kaiser facility has poo-pooed my complaint that the hernia ought to be “fixed.” Well, last week the surgeon our primary referred me to said, “No problem, we can take care of that easily!” Wow! What a deal! I’m thinking that June is a good month to have that finally taken care of!
We live within easy walking distance to several grocery stores, a theater, bus and BART stations, and most importantly, we’re about ½ block from Lake Merritt. It is a natural salt-water tidal lagoon connected to the Oakland / Alameda Estuary. One can actually see the tide come in and out under the 12th street Bridge! This “lake” is actually part of the ocean tide. I try to walk around the Lake every day.
In 1870, the Lake Merritt Wildlife Refuge was voted into law, making it the first such refuge in North America! (That makes it home to the oldest designated wildlife refuge in the U.S.!)
The lake’s iconic plant is the New Zealand tea tree (Leptospermum sp.), which grows with picturesque gnarled branches along the water’s edge.
Along the lake is what’s called “The Cleveland Cascade” … a 250-foot- long ornamental stairway near the Lake with cascades in the center.
It was reportedly modeled after features in the hill towns of Italy.
Lake Merritt is also home to Children’s Fairyland, which opened in 1950. It’s claimed to be the first theme park in the United Sates that catered specifically to families with small children.
Paul Jr. and family live close by, and Christina and family are about 20 miles to the south. Joe also lives in the Berkeley/Oakland area. So we have lots of reasons to be grateful to be living here.
On March 21 we celebrated Christtina's birthday at one of her favorite Ti restaurants
And here's the birthday girl, all by herself!
When we first “took to the road” I was glad to be rid of “yard work” but now find myself outside frequently, mainly weeding. Paul helps with the mowing of our postage stamp sized front yard. Here’s my one and only “bush” in the yard. It is probably over 100 years old, and a rose bush that defies death! This past winter, it looked “dead” for all the world, yet a few weeks ago, it came to life again, and behold! The roses!
In this building we have two other apartments, with nice tenants who have been in their respective apartments for several years. Long gone is the “tenant from hell” and we feel lucky to have tenants who are pleasant neighbors and who pay their rent on time! This is really a nice neighborhood – with friendly neighbors and even a few youngsters! (Lots of dogs, though. Again, lucky for us, the dogs are most frequently “on leash” and well behaved!)
During one of our recent and past rain storms, Paul Jr. and Miriam had substantial flooding in the basement. All the articles on the floor were soaked, and what a mess they had. But to make it a real "mess" Paul had to dig out almost all around the house where he intended to create a "French Drain" .... the tons of earth he removed from his ditches was amazing (two large "dump" cars and then the real "challenge." He and Miriam were doing some work on his truck when Paul, thinking the ground below him was closer than it was, fell and broke his ankle As I write, he's still in a cast and will not be able to work (at his job or on the ditch) for several months... He will not accept help in filling the ditch, nor in working on the "French Drain" .... As Red Skeleton might say, "How revoltin'!"
Grandson Paul III recently completed a course in carpentry and Miriam held a nice party in his honor. Here he is in his "working belt!" .... it weighs a ton, I swear!
This May the two of us have plans to take the Zephyr Amtrak train from here to Chicago. Our plans are to rent a car in Chicago and drive up to Minneapolis to be present for the college graduation of grandson, Graham. We plan to be there a little over a week, and then we’ll return to California on the westbound Zephyr. I did enjoy my first trip on the Zephyr a number of years ago, and always wanted Paul to enjoy the ride, too. So 2016 is going to be our “train trip year!”
Every day one of us reminds the other of how lucky we have been – health-wise; we have no complaints (just slowing down more than we’d like!)
Now, if you have read to this point, you get extra points!
Enough about us now! Enjoy the coming summer and year ahead!
Much affection from us,
Paul and Kathleen