Tuesday, September 25, 2018

On Our Way to Prague

We decided to Lyft all the way to the airport instead of using BART. It is a long walk from BART to the San Francisco Airport where we would pick up the wheel chair assist. We watched our Lyft driver on the phone app make his way towards our house, only to see that he was stopped, for a long time, by the train. He finally arrived, we directed him through town to avoid another train. Traffic was a bit heavy, but we made it to SFO and the wheel chair assist kiosk, only to be told that several of the wheel chair pushers had just  even told to go for lunch and it would be about 25 minutes. We walked. Sore foot, ankle, toe and all.  

It wasn't long before we were on our plane settling in for a flight of about 11 hours. Here I must confess our guilty pleasure of flying Business Class. It is outrageously expensive, but oh, so pleasant! We were treated to a drink... maybe it was two (three?) and a nice meal. 

We settled down to sleep, without success. I knew I needed to get some rest, but it was only 5 or 6 pm according to my body.  I think I finally got in about an hour of sleep just as they began serving breakfast.  

We landed in Munich and were greeted by Johannes, in lederhosen (it is the beginning of Octoberfest), and his wheel chair. He skillfully maneuvered through a rabbit warren of corridors and elevators. We took a brief ride on a handicap shuttle and were taken to a passport checkpoint. There were no other people there! We whisked through the process. That aspect of the wheelchair transport was amazing! If we had walked we would have been in line with everyone else on the plane. Shortly later we were on our way to Prague. 

We caught a nap, far too short, before our first trip briefing, and then met with our friends for dinner. 

It was a full day... and a half!

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Go? or No Go?

We Dreamers planned a trip to Europe over a year ago. Shortly after we returned from our 45th Anniversary Celebratory Trip  Our friends, Ranee & Marc contacted us, letting us know that they had such a great time doing a riverboat cruise and liked traveling with us... and would we like to do another trip?! We vacillated... should we?! or.. shouldn't we?! Finally, a few days before the cut-off for a prepaid discount, we laid out the cash.

This is a mega trip for us. The trip begins with a few days in Prague. Then we are bused to the riverboat in Nuremberg. We travel along the Danube to Budapest. We Dreamers did our first riverboat cruise from Budapest to Passau, Germany, in 2006. Holy cow! That's a long time ago! That was long before I even thought of blogging! There will be only a few stops that we have visited previously, and I am sure we will see new things and learn new things.

But.. wait! 
There's more! 

After a few days in Budapest, we will continue along the river heading toward Giurgiu, Romania. (When I return I hope to be able to pronounce the name of the city!) Once we arrive, we will be transported to Bucharest. After a few days exploring that city we will be transported to the airport, our magic fairy wings will be stripped away, and we fly back to San Francisco and our almost mundane lives! (Well... I guess I can't really say that! My life is rich and I am fortunate to be able to enjoy retirement.)

Tuesday night of this past week... just days before our long-planned departure... Mr. Dreamy discovered suddenly  that he could not walk without a great deal of pain. His foot was swollen and the pain was excruciating. He was able to see a Doctor the next morning, and then we motored on to the imaging facility for X-rays. The results determined that he had not broken a bone, and the pain was from a severely strained ankle and foot. What? How? When? Where? He could not recall anything that had happened to cause the injury. But, the swelling indicated something had happened. (To truly add insult to injury, as he was hobbling into the kitchen at our son's house he kicked "the castle". Alexis is standing in the castle in the picture below. It provides a stable platform that allows her to cook with Mom or Dad. )

Thus began the discussion:
Should we go?
Can we go?
Can he walk?

The cruise company is not ADA compliant. Wheel chairs will not work on the ship, or on their tours.
We had purchased insurance policies. We could get a voucher for another trip, and the airline would refund our money with a statement from the doctor ... which we had.

So... we moved on day by day. Not sure what to expect.  Should we stay or should we go now? The Mr. tried EVERYTHING to alleviate swelling and pain. He used ice. He used compression. He used KT Kinesiology tape. He used elevation. He even went to a Medical Marijuana Dispensary here in California (where it is legal) for some pain relieving lotion.
The swelling increased. The pain increased. Then.. by Friday... it seemed that he turned the corner. The swelling began to diminish. The pain in most areas of the foot began to subside. He believed that he could, indeed, make the trip to Europe. So, we packed our suitcases!
We have arranged for a wheel chair at each airport. We are ready to call Uber... or shall we call Lyft?! We are ready to be on our way!
Stay tuned for posts about our voyage!

Thursday, September 13, 2018


We wanted to find a table for our narrow living room. When we were looking at the house the stagers had a long, thin table along the wall. I liked how it balanced the room without taking up too much space.

We wandered into the Berkeley area to a shop that sold slabs from trees. There it was. The perfect piece for our table... it was a 10' long narrow piece with one side left raw, and a straight cut for the back.

The shop planed the slab and we picked it up the next day!

The Mr. worked on sanding it and finishing it. 

Then we hunted for legs. I happened upon this freebie in Chris' neighborhood. It was still there the next morning. We left the glass and took the table.

The legs were removed and installed on the slab. The slab was anchored to the wall.

Voila, Voila 

We have a table!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Quiero Aprender Español

I regret that I did not take Spanish when I was in school. I never realized how practical it would be in the future; never dreamed of the influx of Spanish speakers in our country. In the mid '90s I had a half dozen Spanish speaking students in my classes. The beginning of the wave. I can still picture Eduardo. He tried to teach me Spanish, and a huge smile would light up his face as he put up with my lousy pronunciation. I regret that I didn't try harder!

I challenged myself to learn Spanish this year. One hundred days ago I began using the Duolingo program on my computer and handhelds. If you haven't heard of it... it's free and offers instruction in a few dozen languages, including Klingon! The activities are multi-faceted and lead you from matching words and their meaning, to writing sentences in Spanish, translating Spanish sentences into English, and filling in the blanks. There are rewards, like those you'd find on a computer game, but I don't really pay attention to them., You can also place bets on keeping your daily practice "streak" going.

I have taken numerous books out of the library, many claiming that I will learn the language easily if I use their book! I bought one book because I liked the workbook format, and I use that on occasion. That book is "Barron's E-Z Spanish". My car radio is tuned to a local Spanish music station. My son chided me that he never can figure out lyrics of songs in English, how the heck was I to learn Spanish from their songs?!

Duolingo reports that I have learned 462 words! Every day I run through a number of exercises. I like the way that the program leads you into more complex language patterns. I also like that there is a discussion area for each exercise. If you are curious about why the suggested answer is considered appropriate, the discussion will explain the more subtle nuances of the language. I am now listening to Duolingo podcasts for "intermediate" Spanish learners. I don't consider myself quite at that level, but the podcasts intersperse English with the Spanish so I can keep up with the true-life story.. oh, and they speak slower so my brain has a bit more time to process what I am hearing!  I celebrate each word and phrase that I understand! There are also stories on the "Lab" tab online. These remind me of reading exercises I used with students years ago. As with the podcasts, there are many words I don't know, but in context I can figure out the gist of the story. Oh and did I mention TinyCards? This is an additional application that has flashcards for the stories, flash cards for the exercises you complete online, and you can make your own flashcard sets.

I don't mean to sound like an ad for the program... but I'm loving it. I love that it makes language education accessible to anyone with connectivity, which is their mission.

Gracias, Duolingo. Estoy feliz de aprender español.

What is Four?

Have you ever thought of the meaning of "four"?  Four is the number of: seasons in a year. corners and sides to a square. virtues....