Friday, November 24, 2017

Back Update

Kate Curley
Today, November 24th marks the two month anniversary of the onset of our back problem. We wrote a post about it on October 11th and haven't said anything about it since either on this blog or Facebook. So whazzup with the back?

As of today we are pain free and can walk without a cane.  We have not had to have surgery.  We received an injection on October 13.  The procedure was very slow to take effect and nearly 3 weeks went by before we began to feel better.

On November 3rd, the Doctor said we were in the 99% percentile as far as positive response goes to the injection.  However, the Doctor wouldn't (and won't) clear us for any physical activity other than walking.  That  means no pickleball.  In fact, the Doctor said it might be next July or August before she "might" clear us to play pickleball.  Or she might not. 

We're also not cleared to travel.  The Doctor has said we must stay very close to home in case something happens to bring back the pain.  We meet with  the Doctor again December 1st and are hoping to get some idea about if and when we "might" get cleared to travel.  We sure hope she gives us a green light to go to Arizona sometime in early 2018...maybe mid to late January if we're lucky.

In the meantime, we are enjoying walking laps around the city block of Kate Curley Park. Yesterday we logged 3,000 steps.  While a 3,000 step count pales in comparison to our "pre-back" average of 12,000 per day, it's 3,000 more steps than we could have walked in early October!

Since the Back Thing changed our life style on September 24th, we've adopted a new saying.  "We no longer lament what we can't do, we are just very grateful for what we CAN do!"  Yes, it would be nice to be playing pickleball again but it doesn't bother us that we can't.  We're extremely grateful simply to be able to walk around Kate Curley Park!

Well, that's the back status as of our 2 month anniversary.  Chances are we won't mention it again for at least another month or more...barring an unforeseen setback, so to speak.
Such beautiful old trees in Kate Curley Park!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Back to the future...

We won't be heading to Arizona any time soon...maybe not even at all this year.  My back gave out Sunday September 24 and I have been laid up ever since.  We've been in and out of  more medical offices than I can remember. I've had the obligatory x-rays, MRI, etc. I have a major nerve that's being badly pinched by a bulging disk between the L3 and L4 vertebrae. There have been many times in the past two weeks when the pain has been Class 10.  Generally, I can't stand up for more than a minute or two and can't walk farther than from the house to the car or the car to a medical office. Pickleball is a distant fond memory.

So, there you have it in a nutshell.  We're staying here at our Idahome until the above medical issues can be resolved.  We do not know how long that process will take.  It could be weeks. It could be months.  We begin a treatment procedure Friday that may or may not work.  If it doesn't work then we will be recommended for back surgery.  Due to the location of the "pinch," surgery would be complex and require substantial time for physical therapy and rehab.

We have held off mentioning anything on Facebook about these new circumstances until we knew for certain that there was no way we'd be heading south according to our normal migration schedule.

Susun has been an awesome care giver since the very onset of these circumstances.  Clair is an Angel! THANK YOU, Sweetie Susun!  We both have a good attitude about our situation.  Interestingly, we're both excited about spending the entire winter here, if that's the way it works out.

We both believe everything happens for a positive purpose.  We're both looking forward to whatever our  new "back to the future" paradigm will bring.  We're Happy Campers even if we can't camp any more!

Our Dear Friends may have noticed that we've been posting more frequently on Facebook.  That's true.  It's because all we can do is sit here in front of the computer so additional posts are a natural outcome of such a circumstance.  We don't plan on putting many (if any) future posts about our medical condition. We figured we really needed to let our Dear Friends know we won't be soon showing up in Arizona. 

In case you're wondering, there was no specific incident or injury that brought on these circumstances. It wasn't pickleball related in any way. It just somehow appeared. The medical people we've talked with say that's the way it happens with many people.  Fickle finger of fate kinda stuff.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Still Standing Tall

Saving Watereton's  Prince Of Wales Hotel...

Friday, October 6, 2017


Hoodwinked...! A Life's Myth exposed...!

After well over 60 years of knowing about, playing and honoring the legendary Game of Monopoly, I learn today everything I thought I knew is lies, lies and damned lies!

Charles Darrow did not invent Monopoly. He stole it from Lizzie Magie. And then to add insult to injury, he changed the soul of the game! I have to tell yam Life's Myths die hard and learning all of this today has been a genuine revelation. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The whole story is after all SO monopolistic!
 This is the original patent for what would become known as Monopoly. It all started with thisTweet from the US National Archives for #ArchivesGameNight
Here is Lizzie Magie's signature on the patent paper. This NPS story brought my whole Monopoly Myth crashing down around my Get Out Of Jail Free cards:
The Monopolists reveals the unknown story of how Monopoly came into existence, the reinvention of its history by Parker Brothers and multiple media outlets, the lost female originator of the game, and one man's lifelong obsession to tell the true story about the game's questionable origins. Most think it was invented by an unemployed Pennsylvanian who sold his game to Parker Brothers during the Great Depression in 1935 and lived happily--and richly--ever after. That story, however, is not exactly true. Ralph Anspach, a professor fighting to sell his Anti-Monopoly board game decades later, unearthed the real story, which traces back to Abraham Lincoln, the Quakers, and a forgotten feminist named Lizzie Magie who invented her nearly identical Landlord's Game more than thirty years before Parker Brothers sold their version of Monopoly. Her game--underpinned by morals that were the exact opposite of what Monopoly represents today--was embraced by a constellation of left-wingers from the Progressive Era through the Great Depression, including members of Franklin Roosevelt's famed Brain Trust. A fascinating social history of corporate greed that illuminates the cutthroat nature of American business over the last century, The Monopolists reads like the best detective fiction, told through Monopoly's real-life winners and losers.

It is available on Amazon here:
Ah, well, maybe it's better to let sleeping dogs lie.
After all, Monopoly has a Life of its own these days.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Face reality...

The camp site we stayed at in Waterton is just a few feet out of view on the right hand side of this photo.

Sooner or later, ya gotta face reality...

"The long-term impacts on the guest experience and visitation in Waterton are going to be horrific, no question about it. The backcountry is burned to a crisp.

It will be about two decades before the trees in Waterton are taller than people walking through the forest. It could take a century for trees to be full-size again."

It really hurts to look at Alberta's Waterton Lakes National Park photos. It makes me nauseous. But sooner or later, ya gotta face reality and deal with it: the incredibly beautiful area around the Waterton Townsite has been destroyed and will never look the same again in my lifetime. We are so grateful that we went there this August before it was destroyed. Oh, how we would be kicking ourselves if we had let fire smoke deter us. Yes, it was a little smokey (well, a LOT smokey) but at least the innate beauty of the area shined through everywhere we looked. We had one final chance to see the place before it flashed to black. The Waterton Townsite itself was saved from the fire but everything around the Township was burned either by the advancing fire front or by the back burns set to save the village. It's hard to imagine, hard to swallow and hard to face reality. But it's true. Source for quoted narrative above: Source of the photos:

 We visited this exact spot during our stay in Waterton.
Will try to find the photo we took of those two iconic chairs.
We drove up this once lush Valley to visit a pristine glacial lake.

The team started work Monday morning at 8 a.m. MT and continued hard for the next 31 hours. From 9 p.m. Monday until 5 a.m. the next morning, there wasn't time to take a break as the fired rolled up within about a hundred metres of the hotel.  "The embers were rolling up on the porch of the hotel," Primrose said. "We did get showered with embers, right up to the hotel." With flames encroaching, a rain of embers came all the way to the doorstep of the historic Prince of Wales Hotel.  "It was the most intense fire I've ever been involved with, and I was never at that point where I thought we would lose it," said Calgary fire district Chief Jeff Primrose on Thursday. "Not even for a second." A team of about 50 Calgary firefighters, in rotating groups, was sent to the national park to protect structural assets in the hamlet of Waterton as the wildfire approached. Crews from a number of other municipalities including Lethbridge and Taber were also called upon.  Calgary's team returned home Wednesday as the risk to the town site declined. Calgary fire Chief Steve Dongworth said local firefighters in Waterton, tasked with protecting the venerable Prince of Wales Hotel and other buildings, endured a hectic night facing down the massive blaze as it surged into the townsite. “To me, watching the fire coming down the valley at pace would have been very intimidating, and when the fire did arrive, it was very close,” he said, noting the crew worked in excess of 24 hours. “The building is unscathed to the best of my knowledge.” RELATED LIVE: Stay tuned here for real-time updates on the fire and evacuations Dongworth said crews in Waterton had been dousing the 90-year-old hotel with water and fire retardant foam in advance of the blaze. The hotel’s location, surrounded by grassland instead of forest, also helped keep it safe, said the chief. Calgary crews were able to quickly snuff flying embers from the wildfire, some the size of baseballs, which posed the greatest danger to the structure, Dongworth said. “We had a solid plan in place and we told them although the structures are valuable, none of them are more valuable than the lives of any of our people,” he said.

Monday, September 25, 2017

YEA!!!! It's HERE!

We ordered this new paddle for Susun at 8 AM, September 20.  It was tracked as "shipped" a mere one hour later.  It finally arrived at 1:45 PM, September 25.  It left Kent, Washington, and then went to Seattle.  From Seattle it went to Boise and then Twin Falls.  For some inexplicable reason it went back to Boise.  After sitting in Boise for awhile it went back to Twin Falls.  It stayed in Twin Falls for quite awhile and then went to Salt Lake City.  The tracking records show it left Salt Lake but then came back to Salt Lake.  Finally it left Salt Lake City and went to "points unknown" because it took 26.5 hours to get from Salt Lake to Idaho Falls...a journey that is normally four hours.  That's why we are so danged delighted to finally have it here.

Susun actually used this paddle (or I should say a demo of this paddle) in Stanley, Idaho, on Saturday and Sunday, September 9-10. Many Thanks to Bill Hart for allowing her to use his demo paddle.  Also Thanks to Bill for providing the discount code for Sawtooth Pickleball that saved us 5% on the purchase.

Saturday, September 16, 2017


Big Project Today.  Wreck old fence. Rebuild new fence.  Got 'er dun.

Friday, September 15, 2017

72 Hours

Icing on the cake! we've logged 1.22 inches of precip out of this!
Three days ago our high was 90. Now it's 45 here at our house and feeling COLD!  Idaho! How We LOVE YOU!

Yes, The Fall Season came in with a BANG.  That's often the way it goes here.  Flip a switch, change a season.  It's cold enough for us to flip our own switch and turn on the gas, force-air furnace.  Seriously.  It's cold enough to fire up the heated mattress pad!

Yes, in the middle of a brutal Idaho winter, mid-40's would be considered Truly Tropical.  But when it's been upper 80's pushing 90's for daily highs for what seems like forever, a sudden drop into the mid-40's is downright cold.  It takes awhile for our human physiology to adapt to these sudden changes.

It was only a few days ago that I enjoyed shopping in various stores because of their COLD air conditioning.  Today, I savored shopping in my two fave stores because they had their HOT heaters going full blast!  Such as it is in Idaho.  Oh, How We LOVE YOU, Idaho!

 What a Wonderful Day in Every Way!
These are the airport readings,  We're a degree cooler.

Our other blogs

As of August 1st, we stopped writing posts on Facebook.  Yes, we still share other people's stuff. And, yes, we still "Like" and comment on our Friend's posts. And, yes, we use Messenger all the time.  But we just don't write on Facebook any more.  We write stuff on our blogs.  This is our main blog.  We've published 1,869 posts on this blog.  But it's not the only one.  We have many, many many that we've actually lost count of how many.  Some blog post topics are simply far, far too esoteric to put here on this main blog.  So, when we get into a truly esoteric topic, we post it on an equally esoteric blog.  EZPZ.

And so that is how and why we created an esoteric post today on our "Travel Trailer Tips" blog. We're always thinking we're going to post frequently on that blog but we don't.  Today was THE day to add a new post to that mostly dormant and truly esoteric blog.

Anyway, for those few of our Dear Friends who actually own and tow a single axle trailer, today's topic is all about Axle Alignment.

We have many, many other blogs as well and we're going to begin using each of them more often. We love writing but we know that writing LOOONG Stuff on Facebook is a real "no-no".  Don't worry, we got that message Loud & Clear!

Thank You for reading!

Just Gotta Go...

"Just Gotta Go before it's burned down, locked up, sold off or destroyed."  We've used that mantra for more than 20 years.  The scope and scale of change seems so much more profound with each passing year.

Prior to leaving for our Glacier-Waterton trip, we "almost" talked ourselves out of going because of the fire smoke issues.  At one point we actually said, "It's going to be too smokey, let's call it off."  But then we remember our mantra and looked at each other simple said, "Just Gotta Go."

And now we're go glad and grateful that we did.  So much has already changed in the few short weeks since that trip.  The Sprague Fire in Glacier National Park burned down Spreey Chalet and has wrecked havoc with the Lake McDonaald Lodge area along the Going to The Sun Road.  We were able to see this beautiful ocne pristine area before it mostly went to black.

Meanwhile, fire has hit Waterton even harder.  The photo you see above is all that's left of the Waterton Visitor Center.  This structure sat right on the edge of Waterton and we passed it many times during our stay here.  We often used the parking lot of make u-turns.  It can't be more than a quarter mile from that epic landmark, The Prince of Wales Hotel.

Reports seem to indicate that the fire burned right to the edge of Waterton in other areas, too.  That beautiful forest surrounding Waterton now appears to be mostly or totally gone.  Ditto with the forest on the way out to that nearby glacial lake.

It's hard to imagine what it must look like there now.  We are so fortunate to have been able to see it during its last season of splendor.

That's why sometimes ya have to ignore the superficial stuff.  So happy we remembered "Just Gotta Go!"

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


The historic Lake McDonald Lodge is in the crosshairs.  We were just there standing in front of this majestic structure in early August.  You have no idea the emotions we are feeling as we sit wondering whether the Lodge will survive. Sperry Chalet is already gone.  Will Lake McDonald Lodge be next?


It's been about a year since I started playing pickleball. So much has happened since then.  All Good. Just about a year to the day from when I started playing, we were in APPLE Athletic Club yesterday when one of the regular basketballers said he'd like to play pickleball.  His name is Carlos.  I said, "Hey, Carlos, "I'll teach you to play."  And he replied, "I don't know a thing about pickleball."  To which I said, "Well, you play basketball don't you?"  He nodded.  And then I began to make the connection between his basketball skills and what's needed to play pickleball.  I really gave it to him straight.

Well, he got it.  I told him I could teach him to play pickleball in five minutes.  It actually took about three minutes.  And then I turned him loose as he and I played two of APPLE's best female players.  We smoked them 11-4 and they were stunned and dazed.  It was ALL because of Carlos and his natural moves and acrobatic skills.  He went on to win every single game he played in yesterday, a mark unheard of for new players, especially against the tough pickleballers that call APPLE Home.

I asked him yesterday if he was coming back and he laughed his 20-something, easy-going laugh and said, "Yeah, I'll be here."  Sure enough, he showed up right on time and proceeded to play nose-to-nose with the Big Dawgs, winning way more than he lost today.

He's so impressive to watch.  I asked him if I could have my picture taken with him and he smiled and grabbed me by the shoulder.  It's been a great first year of pickleball and this was a very fitting anniversary marker.