January 20 to February 14, 2014 NOMADS Project, Mercedes, MS

February 15 (Approximately) to June - Gate Guarding, TX or LA.

June, 2014 - Up to Alaska!

September - NOMADS Annual Meeting, Branson, MO

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

People who give...

Mercedes, TX

We started our NOMADS project on Monday.  What a desperate need there is in this area.  We are so impressed with the Mercedes United Methodist Church and their outreach to the community both here in Mercedes and across the bridge in Mexico.   I am distressed to see the condition of so many of the homes here in Mercedes.     Some  are so deplorable I would not even post the pictures.  

One sweet lady that has been helped is standing "tall" with three of our crew.  Note the window on the left. This is what she had on it to keep unwanted out.  Our crew replaced the boards with more suitable security. She could not have been more grateful.

Another place we've worked is a trailer that should have been trashed 20 years ago. A young woman lives there with her four children age 6 to 13.  All five sleep in one bed.  There is no gas hookup for her stove.  The electric coming into the trailer is a household extension cord connected to an outside pole.    Her sliding front door was off the track, with no handles and no way to lock from the inside.    The door has been fixed and other outside repairs are being done.  We've also given her a smoke detector and fire extinguisher.

We are working around the church and at two other homes.

Today we celebrated over in Mexico.   A young couple felt they were being called to build and run a "safe house".  So many children there are abandoned and/or abused.    With help from many churches, organizations and private individuals their dream has come true.   They will eventually house 20 children at this home.

Six years ago they took in an infant boy born to his 12 year old mother.   We've been told that according to Mexican law if a child enters first grade without a father listed on their birth certificate they can never be adopted.    This child is in kindergarten.  After years to struggling, yesterday he legally became their son.   They are taking on the challenge of another child they will be fostering.  He is 7 months old and blind.   There is a small chance one eye can be saved.   Funds are being raised for his surgery and hopes are high that he will one day have some sight.

This young couple is truly inspirational.    I introduce to you Yolanda, Felix and their son Joseito.

So today we did celebrate.  The official opening the Safe House and the legal uniting of this fine family.     And we were treated to the BEST Tamales I've ever eaten thanks to Yolanda!

How fortunate we are to be able to live of our dream of traveling and able to help a little on the way.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Got me some new teeth!

Mercedes,  TX

Back in the last century when I was in my 20's I had a front tooth abcess that had to be pulled.  Since then I've worn a top partial which included some back molars.

Only one day after leaving NJ on January 2, I noticed something that felt like a celery string or something similar on my partial plate.     I took the plate out and it broke in two, the back teeth falling off.  What I was feeling was a crack in the partial.

When we got to Alabama I bought some stuff at Walgreens in an attempt to glue it back together.  Did not work.   So I found a dentist who at first said they would repair it but then after seeing I had used adhesive on it said they would not be able to help me.  A new plate would take weeks to make and we were leaving in a week.

For the next couple of weeks I was front toothless and felt so very self-conscious about it.   But about a week ago I put the part of the partial back in with the front tooth and wore it when in public.   But it never felt secure.  I needed to do something.

Before we got here I told Leonard about lots of people getting dental work done in Mexico.  He said absolutely not.    But when we arrived on Friday I asked our contact at the church where they went for dental work.   MEXICO!

Buddy, from the church, volunteered to take us over, being only about 10 miles away.  We parked on the US side and crossed the bridge to Progreso, Mexico.   We went to a dentist who was recommended.   I was glad for a recomendation because this area is chock full of dental offices and pharmacies.

A young woman dentist saw me right away and got to work on taking inprints, etc.  She said the plate would be done today.    Cost of the plate and a cleaning was $520.00.   I know I would have paid a heck of a lot more back in NJ or anywhere else in the states.

So this morning we went back for my dentures.  I am very pleased with them.  They fit great and look better than the ones I had before.

I am glad we were a little adventerous!  

Monday, January 21, 2013

Settling in for a month

Mercedes, TX  

We arrived in Mercedes on Friday and got set up out in the country.   Since we do not start our NOMADS project until Monday, January 28 we have a week to do other stuff.  

There is currently a team at work at the church where there are 6 RV sites.  The church also has 6 full hookup sites about 3 miles away behind a house they've used for teams that have stayed here while working on housing in the area, etc.  Currently the church organist lives in the house.

We have 13 people (8 rigs) scheduled for the next 3 week project.    Some of the people are working this period and will be staying on at the church property for the next 3-week project.    A total of 5 rigs will be stationed at the church and we will be joined by two out here.   

We were bragging about how quiet it is here - that is until Saturday night.   Loud music blared from  a house about 1/4 mile away and continued until 2 am.  We are told that occurs most Saturdays.    I can not imagine being able to talk or even think with music that loud.   It kept me awake until it quieted down. 

Before we left Kingsville we had a visitor several times.   Here he is looking in the door.  Perhaps he kept returning because of "someone" leaving slices of ham at the door?  Gosh he was so cute and affectionate.  He looked and acted so much like a cat we had named Waldo.

On Saturday the Mercedes United Methodist Church hosted a luncheon for all the NOMADS working in the area.

 The emcees were our good friends Olan and Lola Halbert. 

Following the luncheon Olan was our auctioneer where over $2,400 was raised for the cause.

Saturday night we met up with Olan and Lola and 4 of their RV club friends in the town on Alamo where an RV park held a dance.  They, like us, like to two-step.    

Once more my usual fortune prevailed.    Leonard and I were doing the 38 step and I was remarking about how slippery the floor was.   Good thing I have plenty of backside padding.  It came in handy when it hit the floor.   Neck began to tighten up so we left about an hour later.  I came back to the rig and took an Aleve.  It gave me an upset stomach which lasted through the night.  So that might be some of the reason the loud music kept me awake too.   I've noticed I get an upset stomach with other pain meds.  Daughter Terri suggested I try a buffered aspirin.  I am thinking she is right.

On Sunday morning we attended church then in the afternoon met with our friends Peggy and David. 

Peggy and I have been "online" friends for years.  We visited them in her hometown in Pennsylvania back in the fall of 2011.   It was so good seeing them again.

Lunch was at

For sure we ate too much.
Today we are doing a bit and cleaning and lounging.  I've made a pot of soup.  Not my best effort.  It is lacking something.   I usually make really good soup and this pot just does not cut it.  Tastes too much like Campbells!    
Oh, almost forgot, it's also Leonards birthday today!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

King Ranch

Kingsville,  TX

We left Sulphur LA yesterday and drove the 370 miles or so to Country Estate RV Park here in Kingsville.  We will be here until tomorrow when to head to Mercedes, TX.

While in Louisiana we spent time with lots of people we love.  We visited with our good friends Diana and Toto and then went to dinner with them one night.  Sorry - forgot to take pictures.

We were invited to dinner at Len's sister Sissy's house.   From the left is Leonard's brother Royce, Leonard, Sissy's hubby David, Royce's wife Susie and Sissy.

The night before we left Leonard's nephew Scott took us out to dinner.  This is Scott, his girlfriend Rachel and Scott's niece Brooklyn.

So today here we are in Kingsville, home of

We first went to the visitors center where we saw a video of the history of the ranch.

   We took the bus tour of about an hour and a half.  Cost as seniors totaled $21.35.  It was well worth the cost.    The Texas ranch currently consists of over 825,000 acres.   It was founded in 1853 and has been family owned and managed since.    They also own citrus farms in Florida and ranches in Australia and other parts of the world.    They own land for growing cotton and sugar cane.  Of course, they have a relationship with Ford Motor Company.  All their trucks are Fords although not all with the King Ranch logo as our F350 does.  The rolling W is well recogonized.

The last three years in this part of Texas have been plagued by drought.   For example, water should be running over this dam and the stream full and running.

The ranch has many Quarter horses.   This is a prime stallion.   Beautiful!

And these are his three pregnant girlfriends.  The bus was moving and the picture is blurry.

There are a variety of cattle on the Ranch.   Longhorns:
 Santa Gertrudis:
 Santa Cruz  .....a newborn:
 On this property are several homes which the staff live in, barns, stalls, administration buildings, office buildings, a carriage house, sale barns, school house, stores and even a church.  But most impressive is the family home.   This house is 32,000 sf.   The bus is not permitted to stop at the house but it drives by really sssslllllooooowwwww.
 The transom windows were made by Tiffany
We saw many wildlife such as deer, various native birds, and a coyote.  One part of the ranch includes a hunting preserve which is a main money maker.  There is one section of oil rigs. 
The founder of King Ranch only had 7 months of formal schooling.  He was orphaned in England and no family member wanted him.  He stowed away on a ship coming to America.   He wound up in Texas and decided to "buy land".  His original 15,000 acress cost 2 cents on acre.  He met and married a local pastors daughter and together they had 5 children.   Only the youngest daughter remained on the ranch after marrying a local lawyer.   Captain King died at age 60 of stomach cancer.  His wife lived for another 40 years and was instrumental in the expansion of the ranch. 
On another note .... thanks to each of you who left comments on my allergic reaction to Niaspan.   I felt lightheaded for a few days but I'm just fine now.   I have started a morning regiment of oatmeal that I am told help many people to lower with cholesterol numbers.    Many of you remember dear Margie and Bruce.   I use her crockpot recipe with  blueberries and think of her every time I make it which is now every third day.    The recipe makes enough for 6 helpings.    Margie was an inspiration to many of us and through her passing on this recipe is still doing good.  She is missed.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Bad drug reaction

Sulphur,  LA

While in NJ I had my annual medical appointments with my family doctor.   As I have high cholesterol she prescribed Niaspan.  A few years back I took Lipitor for a short time but had muscle aches.

I went to fill the prescription in NJ but found it cost $130.00 a month!   Since I had signed up for  Medicare Part D prescription starting Jan 1 I decided to wait to have it fill until then.   So on Thursday I filled it at a cost of $103.00 which would go toward my $325.00 deductible.

I forgot to take the Niaspan on Thursday night.   Instructions recommend taking before bed with a low-fat snack.  I took the med on Friday night and felt okay on Saturday.

Saturday morning we drove over to Houston to visit with my step-daughter D'Juana and family for the day, intending to return to Louisiana late Sunday afternoon.

Around 7 I took the Niaspan as directed.   About an hour later I was sitting on the sofa and felt a hot tingling on my forehead.   It quickly spread over my face and down my arms.  I started to feel nausea.  Len was playing a board game with D'Juana and granddaughter Alex.   I was sitting about 15 feet away in a dark room.   I told him I was feeling strange.  He said I was bright red and the muscles on my face were dropped.  His first thought was stroke or heart attack.

Leonard came over and helped me stand.  I felt I needed to use restroom.  When I got in there I told him I was afraid to even try to use the toilet and I grabbed hold on him.   I came to laying on the floor in the hallway.   I don't remember even leaving to bathroom.

I was having breathing problems.  It hurt when he touched my arms.  My tongue swelled and I had hives down my arms.  I thought I was going to die.   D'Juana gave me some Benadryl and  called 911.   The paramedics arrived and set me on a chair.  I told them I felt nausea.   This time I came to again on the floor and they were elevating my legs.

Off in the ambulance I went.  They hooked me up to an IV and more Benadryl.   At the hospital they took an EKG, two chest Xrays, a CT scan and lots of blood work.   Everything was okay.  It was obvious I had an allergic reaction to the Niaspan.

I wondered why I didn't have the reaction on Friday night, the first night I took it.  The paramedics said often this happens that the body recognizes a problem the first time and then fights it off on the second dosage.

I was released around 1:30 am.    I got back to D'Juanas, went to sleep and woke around 9:15.  I was tired all day.  Today I am still lightheaded, with a slight headache but well enough to have tossed that prescription in the trash!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

From New Jersey to Louisiana

Sulphur,  LA
We left NJ on January 2 heading south.  The first night back on the road we over nighted in Wytheville, VA at "Camp Wallyworld".  Wytheville is 450 miles from NJ and 1/2 way between NJ and our son's home in Cullman, AL.   In addition, we have two nephews and their families who live in the area.  One wife, Wanda, works at the WalMart there and I was lucky enough to run into her while picking up a few items.  She had just finished her shift and was also shopping.  A short time later her hubby, Jim, stopped over.    A little later nephew Jason dropped by to visit with his family.  Here is Jason, Kelly and their two great kids Jason and Emilie.

Back on the road the next morning we drove the 450 miles to Cullman Campground in Cullman, AL where we stay while visiting son Lennie and his family.    On Saturday Len went with Lennie to watch granddaughter Maddie play basketball.    That is Maddie in the center.  I stayed in bed all day with some type of bug causing lots of dizziness. 

One of the nice things about Cullman Campground is the many burros and tame deer which are being raised on the road back to the sites.  I love these babies.

This trip, as all others, is not without incident.  I wear a partial plate which includes a upper front tooth I lost due to an abscess when I was in my 20's.   For a few days I noticed what felt like a hair or something attached to the plate.  I took out the partial to check it out and the dang thing broke in half!  Of course this had to happen just two days after leaving the area where my dentist is.  WHY NOT!   We went to Walgreens and purchased a dental adhesive hoping for a temporary fix.   Did not work.  

On Sunday I felt well enough that we could take Lennie and family out to dinner at the local Ruby Tuesday.   Feels funny trying to eat steak with less than a mouthful of teeth.   The young one in this picture is Lennie and Tammy's grandchild. 

We left Cullman early Monday morning knowing we had to put almost 600 miles behind us to arrive in Sulphur, LA later that day.    Once more - another incident.  Leonard remarked that we were having a problem with the deadbolt on the rig the night before.  He would put the key in and the lock would just spin around and not lock.  So he did not lock the deadbolt.   Mid day we stopped to grab some lunch and this time the deadbolt had locked and would not move.   We were locked out.   He tried and tried but to no avail.    So, we drove on to the Camping World in Hammond, LA.  They got right on it.  

They had to drill out the lock and fully replace the locks.  Over an hour and $200 later we were back on the road.   We finally arrived at Choupique RV Park outside of Sulphur close to 6 pm - 12 hours on the road.  We were beat.

The business yesterday was to find a dentist to determine if he could fix my dentures.  I would have liked to have new ones made but the dental assistant said they could not have them done before we pull out next week.   They would attempt to fix the ones I have.  I left the partial with them and was to go back this morning for impression.  They would then have the lab work on my set and I would have them back this afternoon.   GREAT!

Until I got a call later in the day.   Because I had attempted to glue them myself, they would not work on them as they were afraid they would not hold.   So here I am  - no front tooth and feeling very self-conscious.

Since we will be in Mercedes, TX for a full month, I am hoping to get a new partial while there.

Is has rained every day here since Jan 1.  Today has been a constant downpour.  This RV park is surround by bayou and I am hoping we don't float away during the night.   Can not believe it but the mosquitoes are out and it is only January!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Wondering why I don't lose weight....

Upper Deerfield Twp,  NJ

Could it be because:

Dinner at friends house Dee and Barry

Out to dinner with friends John and Bobbi and their daughter Deanna.

Dining on Chinese and Japanese with friends Scott, John and Carol and daughter Terri and SIL Steve.

Lunch at cousin Kennys'

Christmas breakfast at daughter Terri's

Christmas dinner at daughter Amy's

Out for Italian with The Baxters,  Carole and Dan.

Lunch with our friends Eileen and her brother Glen hosted by Terri.

Dinner at our friends Peggy and Bills'

Covered dish dinner at the church

Have a great New Year to our friends and family all around the country.

Tomorrow we pull up stakes and travel to parts warmer!