Slow Gypsy Life of Lynda and Bob travel blog

Welcome to Peter and Conni's living room - the focal point. Dave...

Ta Da - enter the dining room

The table is always interesting! Note empanada in small skillet.

Of course - dessert!

Deb's new world - Emory University

View behind the counter

Tyson making suggestions for improving operations

Fun way to keep employees happy - here's looking at ya!

...and James is very happy is Arlisha

Kathy makes sure the packages go down the belt.

Deb in her office. Sign says "Life is not about the destination,...

Then on to Chattanooga for a quick visit with Emi, Ken and...


Bob and his buddy Zolan. He loves to make faces.

What a great place to play!

Lynda and Aiden, the new great grandson.

Auntie Kristen with Aiden

Grandmother Deb and Aiden. Sorry Rachel didn't get photo of the mom.

Look closely at right side for the dents from the hail. Rick...

It is Friday February 20, the day before returning to Phoenix. The weather there tomorrow is supposed to be 81F and sunny. Ah!

As Lynda briefly reported we arrived back in the U.S. last Wednesday and then flew to D.C. the following morning to spend a few days with David and Edy, and our grand dogs Willie and Teppo. David, an accomplished home chef, prepared two wonderful meals on Thursday and Friday night with his special homemade sauces. I forget what the one on Thursday was, but Friday’s was a mango-habanera sauce made with fresh mangos. It was a terrific complement over a chicken breast.

Friday David took a half-day off from work in anticipation of our visit. We went to the nearby Bowie, MD ice rink where there was an open hockey skate and shoot. Ice hockey is David’s favorite sport and he wanted Lynda to see him skate for the first time, and break in his new skates a bit more. I hadn’t seen him skate since his senior high school season, so I was looking forward to renewing the memories of his youth hockey career in the D.C. area and at prep school in Connecticut. His work schedule prohibits him from joining an adult hockey team so he relies on open skates and pick-up games to satisfy his addiction. The best part of this skate was the 40-minute scrimmage that formed among ten reasonably accomplished skaters. Besides the friendly competition, it was a really good workout.

The following day we all (including our grand dogs) drove to St. Michaels, MD to visit our friends Peter and Conni. We have wanted David and Edy to meet them for sometime and this turned out to be an opportune moment; St. Michaels is less than an hours drive from Bowie. Peter is a self-made food guru and chef, so he and David have that in common. As it turned out, not surprisingly, Peter prepared a delightful lunch of soup, empanada – a stuffed pastry of beef and vegetables – and salad (David made the vinaigrette dressing). Of course we had dessert, a ricotta cheesecake prepared by Conni. This is truly fine dining at home! Interestingly, Conni’s son-in-law is from El Salvador as is Edy, and her daughter has worked in the restaurant business as has David. Consequently, Conni will bring our respective children together, perhaps the beginning of new friendships.

Sunday morning it was decided to go out for breakfast since David didn’t have supplies for one of his world-class meals. A breakfast place named Rips is nearby so we thought we’d try it. It is always dangerous to eat out with a self-styled chef in the family. They always believe – and they are generally right – they can prepare a superior meal for less money. In the case of Rips this was absolutely true, even if I was the cook. Rips provide a lousy buffet that cost us $65.57 (sans tip, that I did not leave our surly waitress). Since Rips is adjacent to the Bowie Baysox baseball stadium, a Baltimore Orioles farm club, I asked whether the restaurant was associated with Cal Ripken. I was assured it wasn’t. After breakfast I concluded that Rips must be short for “ripoff!” As you may have guessed David was not a happy camper after this culinary experience. Working children are busy so we said good-bye and headed for the airport, stopping for a quick visit with John and Ginny in Annandale. John had celebrated his 80th birthday so we got caught up on the fun festivities Ginny planned for him and the family. I still can’t believe Ginny prints out all our journal entries and puts them in a scrapbook.

Later we flew back to Atlanta for two nights at Rick and Deb’s. Being a bit hungry from the less than great breakfast we devoured a pasta dish with lots of good stuff in it, including pine nuts Deb had made. As Lynda mentioned previously, we went to Emory University on Atlanta’s eastside where IKON, Debra’s employer provides contract support services. Deb and her staff of eleven operate the University’s Post Office, so we wanted to see her new work location. This is a new contract for IKON and the employees hired from the previous contractor –as well as a couple of Emory staff – couldn’t have been more positive about the change, especially Debra’s leadership. Of course, I was thrilled to see a smattering of my theories on organizational high performance posted here and there. Deb has proved to be an excellent pupil!

Tuesday last we drove to our home residence in Cleveland, AL for a quick overnight to visit our dear friends Mike, Pam, Austin, and Peyton, and to pick up and sort two months of mail. Since the mail we did not trash was more than our luggage would hold, we boxed it up and sent it to ourselves in Arizona.

Wednesday and Thursday was about seeing a few friends and doing some personal business in our former home, Chattanooga, TN. I visited our dentist for a cleaning and a review of the crown that came loose eating Christmas pudding in Shropshire as well as others crowns that need replacing – four in all. Ugh! I’ll get these done when we settle for four months in Anacortes, WA in May. Lynda saw her gynecologist for her annual check-up and mammogram.

We also got to see our adopted grandson Zolan and his parents, our former neighbors Ken and Emi. We are not really small children people, but Zolan captivated us when he was a baby. Now two-years and four-months, he is a bundle of energy that walks and talks, and requires close attention. We met at Books-a-Million near our bank where we had some business, and convenient for all of us. After an hour-long visit with them on Wednesday, we landed at our friends Ron and Sue for another fine meal and an overnight stay. Ron is also a terrific cook and prepared a wonderful pasta and shrimp feast. It was great seeing them again and hearing about their holiday in Italy and the bizarre happening while they were in Miami, among other updates.

Ron and Sue were in Miami visiting friends during the Christmas season. While they were gone their new neighbors from Indiana had their yellow Hummer delivered on a flatbed truck. Both houses are on a hill with the neighbor’s house at a higher elevation. Apparently as the driver got into the Hummer to drive it off of the flatbed, the brakes on the truck gave way and the truck with the Hummer and driver on the flatbed began to roll down the hill. I can only imagine what the driver was thinking and feeling as he headed toward Ron and Sue’s house. Fortunately for all concerned the truck, Hummer, and driver missed the house and came to a stop hitting the telephone and electrical boxes in Ron and Sue’s yard. If it had not stopped there, the journey for the terrorized driver would have been at least another 100 yards at an ever-increasing speed until there was a huge pileup in the woods below. One can imagine how bad that would have been. There was some damage to Ron and Sue’s yard, but surely the greatest damage was to the driver’s psyche. He must be having nightmares of what might have been!

Yesterday afternoon we returned to Rick and Deb’s for a nice visit with our two-month old great grandson Aiden and his mother Rachel. We also got the full story about the severe weather with hail here on Wednesday evening. Deb and Rick’s car and the truck were pelted with hailstones up to 1-½ inches in diameter. The house roof got the worst of it. Since they need a new roof this might be a good thing.

Today is prepare for departure day. Our flight departs Atlanta at 8:50AM and arrives Phoenix about 11:15AM. We look forward to being back in our own home and sleeping on our fabulous airbed. Of course, warm temperatures and low humidity are another plus and should dry up our sinuses. Hopefully our truck and rig will still be in good working order and there will be no weather or critter damage. Surely not in the desert? Until next time.

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