Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Last Week in WashPA

While our last full week in WashPA was very busy, it was busy with fun things and friends.  I did have my last doctor's appointment to have the stitches removed and got a positive report that the squamous spot I had removed was all good.  A sure sign that I'm getting old is that I already have two doctor visits scheduled for August 2016.  Nothing serious, just being proactive. 
Every year we say we are going to put more miles on our bikes.  While we have not done that many miles this year, we are far ahead of the last few years.  We prefer to ride trails over riding on the roads so this week we loaded the bikes and went to the a nearby portion of the Greater Allegheny Passage (GAP) trail.  We did a 26 mile round trip on a part of the trail we have not used.  We still have a bike trip from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC via the trail on our bucket list. 
Along the trail we saw this "beautiful" red waterfall.  It is an example of what happens when we let corporations take resources out of the ground while having no long term plan to deal with the consequences of there work.  We grew up in an old mining town where all the creeks were this color and the mine acid killed everything.  I guess this background is what has shaped our views about our political and economic system. 
And this is where all that red, polluted water flows, into the Youghiogheny, to the Monongahela, to the Ohio and on to the Mississippi and the Gulf of Mexico.  So we are sharing it with much of the country.
On Wednesday we went to one last lunch bunch gathering with the retired teachers.  Seeing old friends is something we always look forward to when we come back to WashPA.
It seems as if every road we have used during our two month stay is under construction.  These two signs sum up what we have been dealing with this summer.  The closest one says "END ROAD WORK" and the next one says "ROAD WORK 1 MILE".  That is the bad news.  Hopefully the good news will be much needed better roads.
Mike needed to go to Pymatuning to get his boat ready to take out of the water so we did a day trip and a bit of fishing.  It was a beautiful late September sunny day with very few boats on the water.  We even caught a couple of nice catfish.
Here is Capt'n Catfish with his fish.  As you can see he is still wearing a boot on his broken leg, but he is getting around without a wheelchair and just using a walker.  Hopefully, even that will be gone soon as he is going to physical therapy three days a week.  It is always a fun time when I get to go fishing at "The Tune".  Thanks Mike.
On Friday we went the Carnegie with Tom and Georgie to see an exhibit of work by Edward Hopper.  We also went to the Harp and Fiddle Irish Pub for a bit of music and a bite to eat.
The Hopper exhibit included a few of his paintings and many etchings.  While it was great seeing them we were disappointed that there were so few.
Nanc at the entrance of the museum.  While the Hopper exhibit was not as big as we expected we also enjoyed seeing the permanent works at this wonderful museum.
Running the Great Race is always one of Nanc's goals when we are here.  She has run it several times over the years even when we were living in a stix and brix.   She has been running a lot more this summer so was anxious to see how she would do,  She was very happy with her results running the 6.2 miles in 57:22 (well under an hour) and coming in 10th out of 71 women in her age group.
Georgie and Tom were there to support the happy runner.  This was the first time in quite a while that Tom did not run.  I'm sure he will be back next year.  Check out that running shirt, it must have been that bottle of wine waiting at the finish line that made her run so fast.

We will be leaving here on Thursday and slowly heading south.  Our first stop is only seven miles away to get four new tires on Opus.  We were due to get tires this fall but need to do it now because one of the rear tires is loosing air.  After we get tires we plan to go to Washington, DC for a few days, but as I write a storm is heading up the coast so who knows what we will be doing.  After DC we are going to the Outer Banks (weather permitting) for a few weeks,  Then we will be going to Florida for the winter.  As always, and with the weather forecast, these plans are written in the sand and may be washed away.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Friends, a Birthday and Doctors

Our time in WashPA is drawing to a close with a very busy week.  We had something on our to do list every day.  Some of those things were fun to dos, like dinner and lunch with friends and a birthday celebration with my little brother. Others things on the list were, hopefully, my final doctors appointments. 
Of course if it's Wednesday it's Al'an Rubens for dinner and music.  Dan and Josh were not there but it was great hearing a different group.
My brother Rick and his wife Denise at his 60th birthday celebration.
A toast to the birthday boy.  Happy Birthday Bro!!!!
Jim, Nanc, Dave, Charlene, Denise and Rick at Sienna in Pittsburgh for his birthday dinner.  I guess I must be getting old when my little brother is 60.  It was great this past year getting to spend so much time with Rick and Denise.  We saw them in Florida last December, then spent two weeks with them in North Carolina this summer and now this time in PA.  We are hoping they come to Betty's RV Park for a visit next spring.
We had a couple of visitors at our site.  They slowly moved along the edge of the woods eating leaves. Very neat but there are so many in PA that they have become a nuisance.
We always get the carpet in Opus cleaned while in WashPA.  We recommend Fristick's Steam Clean if you need this job done while in the area.  They did a great job and we are good for another year.
Check out the refurbished neon sign at the local WashPA newspaper.  It has not been lit for almost 30 years.  The different fonts go back to when there were two local papers that merged to become the Observer-Reporter.  Locally, in some circles, they are known as the Observer Distorter - the eyes and errors of the world :-)  Check out the sign if you are passing through the area.
On another evening we had a great dinner with Gail and Mary Lou.  We go way back with Gail when she and Nanc worked together in the 1970's.  Mary Lou was part of our card club and we are looking forward to again seeing her in Florida for the holidays in December.  Getting caught up with old friends is one of the best parts about being in WashPA.
While overall I have had good health I did have a couple of issues on this visit.  First, when I went to the optometrist he told me that my cataracts in both eyes needed to be checked.  After two visits with the eye surgeon it was decided that I can wait until next year to deal with them.  The good news was I did not have to get new glasses, but I already have an appointment for next August to address the cataracts. 
Sorry for the gross picture, but it shows the other medical issue I had.  My GP told me I needed to see a dermatologist to check out a spot on my back.  I was lucky to get an appointment on such a short notice and the doctor did a biopsy and found it was a squamous cancer cell.  I had to return and have the skin and fat around the area removed.  So at this point I only need to have the stitches removed next week and that should finish up everything on our to do list until we return next year.  That is a good thing as fall is in the air and it is starting to cool down which means it will soon be time to head south.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Friends II

We had another great week spending time with friends.  The weather early in the week was the hottest they have had in the area this summer.  We did have a bit of much needed rain later in the week but  overall, we have had better than normal weather with sunny skies (very unusual for PA) and comfortable temperatures.
On Labor Day Tim and Di had a few people over for a picnic and swim.  Tom, Jim, Tim and Ron all enjoyed a swim to cool off.  It was really more like a float than a swim.
Georgie and Nanc soaking up some afternoon sun.
Mike C. and Mike S. swapping lies.  We had not seen Mike C. since he and his wife Judy took a vacation to Glacier National Park, a spot we recommended.  They had a great time and Mike shared their experience and some great pictures of the park.  Unfortunately, Judy was not feeling well that day so we did not get to see her. 
Our host Tim manning the grill cooking up some brats and burgers.  He even made some spicy burgers for those of us who like their food with a little heat.
Mary Lou enjoying a homemade gob, very yummy.
Our hostess Di with Georgie and Nanc.
Tom, Tim and Jim.  Thanks to Tim and Di for a wonderful day with friends.
Next was a visit to John's and Patrice's where they had the lunch bunch over for John's wonderful homemade, wood fired pizza.  The weather was not totally cooperative so Ron did a good job of keeping the chef dry as I waited for John to take the pizza out of the oven.
Donna, Pat, Becky and Nanc having a fun time.
Ron and Kim.
Nanc, Georgie and Donna.
Joy and Tina.
Sam and Charlie.
Ed and Tom.
The rain showers stopped and everyone moved to the patio.
Gail, Ann Marie, Becky, Tom, Linda and Phil.  I can't post the other picture I took of this group as it was NSFW.   It was a great evening getting caught up with friends and stuffing ourselves with John's wonderful pizza.
The week ended with a celebration retirement party for Jimmy Brown whose last day of work we wrote about in the last post.  The man sure knows a lot of people after 30+ years at the Union Grill.
Tom, Georgie, Darlene, Jim, Nanc and Jim.  Darlene and Jim had a great first week of retirement and are looking forward to traveling and just kicking back.  We will sure miss seeing him behind the bar but we are so happy for him and wish him a wonderful retirement.  He has sure worked hard for it.

It was another great week with friends in WashPA.  We only have a couple more weeks here and I still have a couple of doctor issues to deal with, but, as always, it has been great spending time with so many friends.  

Monday, September 7, 2015


We had dental appointments on Monday with our new dentist who took over the practice after Dr. McCormick retired.  The experience was good and we are happy to report that we needed no work beyond the usual cleaning.  With that out of the way we had a great week of seeing many friends including the Wednesday lunch bunch, though I did not get pictures of that happening.
Always high on our must see list is our old stix and brix neighbor, Dorothy.  She was our second mom and did her best to keep us in line, not an easy job. She now lives in a senior housing apartment where she is going strong at 91.  We can only hope that we are as sharp as she is if we make it to 90.  Although, we already think she is sharper than we are!
Nanc, Jim, Chuck, Linda, Georgie and Tom got together for an evening of food, conversation and music at Al'an Rubens.  I taught with all of them in WashPA before Linda moved to Mesa where we meet up with her every time we are out West.  It was a great time getting up to speed with all them.
The music that night included former students Josh on sax and Dan on guitar.  If you love live music don't miss this group at Al'an Rubens every Wednesday. 
The old euchre club got together for an evening of cards, food and fun.  Here are Tim, Georgie (who won the big money coming in first), Tom and Di.
Mary Lou, Mike, Sherri and Nanc. When we lived here the club played cards once a month.  It is great seeing them all together again.  I wonder if anyone will notice what is wrong with the pictures of the card club.
Friday night was the end of an era at the Union Grill in WashPA as our friend and favorite bartender, Jimmy Brown, was working his last day before retiring.  It was an emotional day for owner Mickey, left, saying good bye to a loyal employee and friend who worked there for over 30 years.
And there was cake for all.  I think it may have been bigger than the cake we had at Jimmy's daughter Kristen's wedding last year.
While we will miss seeing Jimmy at the Union Grill, we are very happy that he is moving into the next phase of life.  We are already planning to stop and see him and Darlene at their new home in Ohio. We are also looking forward to being with him on the other side of the bar.
In addition to celebrating Jimmy's last day of work we had a great time with his wife Darlene and the whole Brown family who we had not seen since the wedding last year.
Our friendship with Gail goes way back to when she and Nanc worked together in the 70's.  We used to spend every New Years Eve with her and Joe and were there for their wedding in Las Vegas. 
We watched her kids grow to adults.  Here are Lynn, Gail, son-in-law Mark and Buddy.  Buddy had us all over to his place for a great evening of catching up.

Our friend Mel, who we stopped to see in Harrisburg, always says new friends are silver and old friends are gold.  This is so true even with so many people we have met since being on the road who have become gold friends.