Finally, Bill's biopsy results..........non-malignant. In our ignorance we are considering that the same as benign, with full expectations that the next physical might require another biopsy if the labs are still not within normal parameters.
Waiting for the biopsy results was not a pleasant experience, especially since it took so danged long. We knew on 5 December that Bill likely had a health problem. The labs were repeated......same results. Drugs administered for 10 days. Labs repeated......almost same results. Biopsy scheduled -- required 2 weeks to get into the scheduling queue. Biopsy performed. Then had to wait 3 full weeks for official results to be provided. That was the difficult part. Online research revealed that the biopsy results should have been available in 1 week or less; yet we had to wait 3 weeks to meet with the doctor and learn the specifics. And Americans think we have the best health care. HAH!
I'm sure the family members on whom we have relied for places to stay and vehicles to drive for the past 2 months are more than ready to see the last of us for awhile. Our thanks to Bill's brother, John, for the use of his townhome and cars. Even more thanks to our elder son, Trey, and daughter-in-law, Kristina, for allowing us to hang out at their home so often and for such long periods of time, displacing grandson Zachary from his bedroom to sleep on the sofa for weeks on end. And thanks to Trey for loaning us his truck; we are sure he didn't really want to drive his old hot rod Mustang for the commute to work all those days. Our younger son and his family lucked out because we didn't stay will them as often; their daily lives are much too busy to be bothered with us; but we managed to see them several times for a night or so and spent one weekend babysitting while the parents enjoyed a weekend in the California wine country.
One week we drove up to NE Texas to visit friends Barbara and Bob. They have a lovely small spread and it was so relaxing to be in the rural town areas. Barbara operates a business embroidering logos and names on hats and shirts, etc. and applying heat transfers. She digitized the semaphore (nautical flags) spelling out BeBe and embroidered this onto a number of shirts and hats. Great job!! Everything turned out looking great. We very much like having 'crew shirts' with the boat name spelled out in flags rather than in letters. Wonder if any sailors will recognize the flags and understand our boat name.
|Barbara & Judy in embroidery room.|
The wet mark is sizing to remove the hoop imprint.
Barbara and Bob have 2 horses, 4 dogs and a cat. One of the dogs was a country stray that they adopted shortly after moving to this property. His name is Pete. Pete is a sweet dog but a character. He smiles or grins to get what he wants. It looks intimidating at first.....with those lips pulled back and teeth bared. But that is his smile. He is a rather large dog and I think there must be some boxer somewhere in his lineage. When he comes up and smiles at you then you know he wants something. Pete would make a great second dog for our grandson but I don't think Barbara and Bob would ever part with Pete.
A touch of the old days. On a narrow twisting country road in East Texas we passed a ranch that is breeding bison. What a sight to look out the car windows and see buffalo spread out grazing on the rolling hills. Made us sort of expect to see an Indian come riding over the horizon on a paint pony.
|native Texas Longhorn steer|
We also passed 2 ranches that are breeding the almost extinct Texas longhorn cattle. Didn't stop to snap photos of the longhorns, but they were impressive. You have to respect the breed of animal that was able to survive desolate topography and weather conditions. Since we didn't take our own photo, here is an image taken from the Y.O. Ranch photo album on Facebook.
One weekend we visited Bill's youngest brother and his family in College Station. We didn't have much of an opportunity to visit with them at Christmas......simply because it is impossible to really visit when there are 22 people talking at once. We wanted to catch up with them and this weekend was the perfect opportunity. Bryan/College Station has really grown!! It looked like just about anything one might want could be found in Bryan/College Station today. What a great area to live. The student population at Texas A&M University must help keep prices low. For example, matinee movies still are only $3.50 to $3.75 rather than the $6 to $7 that we have been paying in Houston. And it is only an hour or 2 to Houston, depending on your in-town destination. Maybe we should retire there.
Another weekend we visited our home town of Beaumont again; then down to Galveston. Found a particular area of the old Galveston style Victorian homes where homes are being restored to their original grandeur. Many are completely restored; some are under restoration now; and some are very dilapidated and awaiting new owners to begin the process. It would be easy to let ourselves be sucked right into that! Found ourselves reaching for cell phone to call realtors before we had a sanity check. We had to keep reminding ourselves that we do have a boat in Cyprus waiting for our return. Now is probably the right time financially to buy one of these homes because of the poor real estate market; but now is not the right time to buy one of these homes because we intend to remain cruising full-time for years to come.
|Galveston old homes|
We also drove down Bolivar Peninsula to check on the progress of reconstruction after Hurricane Ike. We drove through Winnie and High Island and turned west on the beach road. In the opposite direction, TX Hwy 87 is closed between High Island and Sabine Pass because the Gulf of Mexico has reclaimed that area. That highway is long since covered in sand and water.
This photo shows TX Hwy 87 headed west towards Galveston, just west of the intersection of the highway from Winnie. Wonder how long this section of Hwy 87 will remain usable. The sea is awfully close and the efforts to keep it at bay appear minimal.
|East of Crystal Beach. Very close to the water now!|
Driving this route puts one close to dozens of horses. Not the breathing type of horse.....the oil field type of horse.....the kind that pumps oil up from those deep wells.....24 hours per day, 7 days per week for over a century. One would think these oil fields would have long since been depleted.
|Very old horse still pumping oil|
|Oil field horse|
Folks from other places might consider these eyesores and blights upon the landscape. Not us. This is home. The beach is supposed to have oil field horses slowing moving up and down.
Following this route took us to the Bolivar Ferry.....then across over to Galveston. The new ferry docks are really nice and can handle at least 6 times the vehicle traffic than the ferries of our childhood. Your taxpayer dollars at work.
|Driving onto one of the ferries|
|Driving on top of Galveston Seawall|
Enjoyed driving the Galveston seawall and out down off the seawall onto West Beach. Those big homes now built out on the low-lying west end of the island look like big mistakes. Why anyone would spend that much money to build such large fancy homes in such a low place makes no sense.
A hurricane will clean those all away one day. And then insurance rates will skyrocket again for every homeowner in Texas.
We had driven the Crystal Beach/Bolivar beach road about 3 months after Hurricane Ike and the devastation of that area was surreal. Block upon block of homes wiped away by the storm. And the sea moved inland about 3 blocks in most places. We had no doubts that the area would be rebuilt; just no idea how long it would take before people would brave the elements again.
It has always been in the back of our minds that we would buy a small place on the beach for final retirement after we eventually tire of boat life. Now we are kicking ourselves that we did not stop on our last drive through the area and inquire about buying some property. Right after the hurricane the average lot near Crystal Beach was selling for $10,000. Today those lots are selling for $35,000+. Now, as saying goes, we are a day late and a dollar short.
|Bolivar light house|
The Bolivar lighthouse still stands. Bolivar Lighthouse Wonder how many hurricanes and storms this old lighthouse has withstood.
When we were small children Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston were filled with pelicans. The pelicans almost became extinct because of the prevalent use of the pesticide DDT. DDT caused the pelican eggs to have such thin shells that the eggs could last for the chicks to grow inside. Good news is that since DDT was banned all those years ago, the pelican population has replenished and now live back in their native grounds.
|Return of the pelicans|
One day we watched the implosion of an old building in the Houston Medical Center. We knew it was scheduled to be imploded that day but had no idea of the scheduled time. Driving through the area we noticed a lot of people standing around and decided to stop and join them. Five minutes later a series of 10 or so very loud booms vibrated the air and a huge dust cloud rose. Lucky for us, the wind took the dust cloud away in the opposite direction.... along with all those nasty things one would not want to breathe. We took a series of photos using an iPhone. Unfortunately, regardless of how I edit or save these photos, they appear sideways when uploaded to this blog. So, no photos.
Tonight we are meeting up with fellow Amel owners, Jan and Craig. They own an Amel 54 named S/V Lone Star. Lone Star recently sailed crossed the Atlantic and they are now cruising in the Caribbean; but due to a death in the family they are now home in the Houston area for a short time. We last saw Jan and Craig in Marmaris last April. Looking forward to hearing all their stories of cruising westward through the Med this past summer. If you look on the left-hand side of this blog you will see a link to the blog site for Lone Star Times. In case anyone else wants to follow their adventures.