We’re back from Milwaukee…Unfortunate situation…Photos from the event…

Sister Beth and Tom at the luncheon on Saturday.

We left for Milwaukee, Wisconsin, for Tom’s Sister Beth’s 70th Jubilee ( since becoming a nun) on Friday morning after we checked out of the Eden Prairie, Minnesota hotel. We booked the Fairfield Inn West hotel for two nights with a plan to participate in all the activities relative to the event.

Tom was recovering from his bad case of the flu with a horrific cough, but it had been over a week since the onset of symptoms, and he was feeling better and unlikely still infectious. I was thrilled a week later when I hadn’t caught this virus from him.

When I awoke on Friday morning, I noticed a little tickle in my throat but dismissed it as dryness due to the aircon in the room at night. But, on the way to Milwaukee in the car, my sore throat worsened, and I developed an awful cough in just a few hours. When we arrived in Milwaukee, I was “down for the count,” too sick to do anything.

Of course, I wouldn’t risk getting Sister Beth sick, as well as the other nuns and three other family members who also drove to the celebration, knowing I was fully contagious at that point. As a result, I spent two miserable days in that hotel room, laying on the sofa with a pillow and blanket, streaming shows to keep my mind occupied while napping off and on.

Sister Beth broke her neck in a car accident and has trouble holding up her head.

Tom attended all the festivities, including a 90-minute mass, a luncheon, and as much time as possible with Sister Beth, expressing my apologies for not being able to join in and be with her. Sister Beth’s health has been failing over the past few years. She spent most of her days sleeping and could not attend the mass and recognition for all of the nuns.

However, she could sit at the table with the four family members, including Tom, nephew Steve, and nieces Jean and Laurie, when a lovely luncheon was served at the nursing home at a special table beautifully set for the occasion. Tom said the nuns had arranged a special lunch with several courses, including a delicious dessert.

He was in awe of how well the activities had been organized, ensuring the family members felt included. I wish I could have been there to partake, but that was not on my agenda, much to my disappointment.

St. Joseph’s Chapel in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where Tom and family attended the services on Saturday.

On the return drive, with both of us coughing, we stopped for breakfast at a Denny’s on the outskirts of Milwaukee and had a nice breakfast. When I asked the server what they used to cook omelets, requesting butter for my omelet, she explained they didn’t have butter and cooked their eggs in margarine, which I don’t eat due to its trans fats.

Instead of eggs, I had a salad for breakfast, minus any bottled dressing, and I used sour cream instead. Since it was Father’s Day, the restaurant was packed, but we managed to get seated in no time, and before we knew it, we were back on the road. Road construction and road closures approaching St. Paul created a traffic fiasco that slowed us down by about an hour.

The choir and organ are on this balcony in the church.

Once we arrived back in Eden Prairie, we stopped at a grocery store while I shopped for enough food to get us through the week and last night’s dinner. We purchased roasted chickens since I wasn’t feeling well enough to cook, and we didn’t feel well enough to dine out. We’d made plans with Tammy to go out to dinner for Father’s Day, but we felt bad postponing it until another date.

By the time we arrived back at the hotel, having to check in all over again, it had taken a while to get situated, considering we had everything we owned with us, including the groceries. The hotel staff delivered our three stored bags to the room, and Tom carried in the balance, including non-perishable foodstuffs we’d saved.

We’re fairly organized at this point. This room has four good-sized drawers we can use for folded clothes and has two closets for our hang-up clothes, unlike the last room. I still have a little unpacking, but there is nothing I can’t complete in a short time.

Whew! It’s good to be back here; hopefully, we’ll both feel well soon.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 17, 2014:

In Minnesota, these were called begonias, a flower that grew well in shady areas. For more photos, please click here.

Packing day…

Angel’s Trumpet flowers…Brugmansia is a genus of seven flowering plants in the nightshade family Solanaceae. They are woody trees or shrubs with pendulous flowers and have no spines on their fruit. All parts of Angel’s Trumpets are considered poisonous and contain the alkaloids atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine. Ingestion of the plants can cause disturbing hallucinations, paralysis, tachycardia, and memory loss and can be fatal.

The laundry and half the packing are done, as I write here now. I do it in short spurts. We picked up luggage tags from the front desk and will use them on the three bags we’re leaving behind. The only reason we have so much stuff is in preparation for the many months we’ll stay in Cleveland for many months. Once we’re ready to fly again, we’ll have used or will unload the excess “stuff.”

Also, over time, I’ll dispose of some old clothes but keep them to wear here and then in the coming months. Right now, getting new clothes is unimportant to me. I have enough to get me through. As mentioned, once I know the surgery date, I’ll order some items to get me through the recovery period.

We just returned from breakfast in the hotel, which is marginal at best, and fortunately, yesterday, I made a batch of chicken salad, which we’ll have for tonight’s dinner. Easy is of the utmost importance at this point. We’ll most likely have breakfast here tomorrow morning before we leave so we can get on the road and not be concerned about stopping except for restroom breaks and refueling the car.

The distance to the hotel is 344 miles and should take about five hours of driving time. We plan to be on our way by 9:00 or 10:00 am, arriving in plenty of time to see the other family, four of whom are also staying at the same hotel. Most likely, we’ll all have dinner together tomorrow evening. Then, on Saturday, the Jubilee festivities, mass, and luncheon will transpire throughout the day.

The four family members will be leaving to return to Minneapolis on Saturday afternoon, but we’ll be staying overnight on Saturday to spend time with Sister Beth on Sunday morning for a few more hours. It will be good to spend time with her. She’s fragile with health issues and will appreciate any time we can spend with her.

Years ago, Sister Beth was in a horrible auto accident while in the car with three other nuns. Two of the nuns were killed in the accident, and Sister Beth suffered severe injuries, including a broken neck, which significantly impacted the quality of her life today.

However, typical of the Lyman family, they don’t complain or feel sorry for themselves. They all forge ahead with smiles on their faces. Seeing their strength, determination, and resolve inspires everyone who has the privilege of knowing this fine family.

It’s time for me to get back to packing. Most likely, there won’t be a post tomorrow. We’ll take photos of the festivities and post the story and photos of Sister Beth’s 70th Jubilee, 70 years since she became a nun. Numerous nuns are honored this weekend, including 14 other nuns celebrating 70 years, like Sister Beth, four nuns celebrating 75 years, four nuns celebrating 80 years, and two nuns celebrating 85 years. That’s amazing!

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 13, 2014:

Last night’s view of the moon and the lights from our veranda over Campanario, Madeira. For more photos, please click here.

Birthday party last night…Heading to see granddaughter at 11:30…

Time was winding down as we prepared to leave Madeira to sail to Australia and the South Pacific, where we’d stay for several months.

Again, I am rushing this morning to leave for Chaska to go see Maisie. With Tom feeling better and no longer contagious, we feel confident visiting her and seeing Miles and Madighan. Most likely, Greg will be working, but we won’t see him. I’m glad Tom will drive there after my driving experience to Target on Sunday for cough medicine for Tom. I am not a good driver, and it’s best I don’t get behind the wheel.

Last night, we headed to Champlin for DIL Tracy’s 60th birthday party at a festive bar and grill, where 11 of us sat at a big table and had a good time. Tom wasn’t feeling 100% yet but could interact and enjoy the few hours with everyone. The limited meal options made it tricky to find something I could eat.

I ordered a relatively plain diced chicken salad when I’d left out some ingredients I don’t eat, such as tortilla strips and bottled dressing. It was okay, but I was still hungry when we got back to the hotel, and I had a big bowl of Fage plain Greek yogurt with added frozen berries, my go-to snack when I’m hungry at night.

Tom insisted on sleeping on the sofa last night, although I pressed him to let me sleep there while he had the bed. It’s a queen size, and if he’s facing me, he could end up coughing in my face, so we knew we’d have to sleep separately until his coughing is gone.

It’s hard to believe I didn’t catch what he had. He is often the one to start with a cough or flu, and I catch it from him. But his symptoms started a week ago, and so far, I’m OK. Most likely, this time, I dodged a bullet. This is a big relief since we’re leaving in three days to head to Milwaukee for Sister Beth’s 70th Jubilee celebration. Five of us from the Lyman family will attend the mass and celebratory luncheon prepared by the nuns.

We’ll all spend time with Sister Beth, but her health has been challenging, and she can only visit for short periods without becoming exhausted. That’s why we planned to spend two nights in Milwaukee, enabling us to visit with her over two days. The others are staying one night; we can be with her again on Sunday.

We’ll return to this same hotel but most likely will be staying in a different room.  We didn’t want to pay for two hotels simultaneously, so we’re checking out on Friday and back in on Sunday. The hotel will keep our excess luggage so we don’t have to leave it in the car while staying in the Milwaukee hotel.

As a result, on Thursday, we’ll do laundry again and then pack the one bag we’re taking with us and store the rest in the storage area in the hotel. We’re glad we’ll get a different room when we return since there are some problems with the TV for streaming shows, and there’s an issue closing the door. Maintenance has been here twice for each issue but hasn’t been able to resolve them. We haven’t pressed it since we figured out workarounds, as we often do.

That’s it for today, folks. Again, thanks for all Tom’s well wishes. He surely appreciated all the kind and thoughtful comments.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 11, 2014:

Tom’s photo is at dusk, as we spent our last night in Madeira, Portugal. For more photos, please click here.

New booking for June…Are we still nomads since we’re staying in the US for so long?…

The beautiful terraced gardens on the island of Madeira, Portugal where we stayed for almost three months, beginning in May, 2014.

Tom’s sister Betty, a retired nun living in a retirement facility for nuns in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, will be celebrating her 70-year “Jubilee” since joining the sisterhood when she was 18 years old. At that time, Tom was only 18 months old. Of course, he doesn’t remember that time other than knowing that his elder sister was a nun as he grew up.

The family is invited to attend this special celebration in Milwaukee on June 15. Thus, we’ll make the less-than-six-hour drive to Milwaukee, staying in a nearby hotel to attend a special mass and a dinner. As it turns out, we’ll have to stay in Milwaukee for two nights.

Since hotel prices are high in the area, we thought we’d use some of our accumulated rewards points from one of our credit cards to cover the $617 for the two nights. We booked the same Fairfield Inn where we stayed last time we visited Sister Beth in 2021 while we were in the US for a family visit.

We don’t know yet if any of Tom’s siblings or other family members will attend the event since there are two grandchildren’s weddings they’d planned to attend on the same date, making the trip to Milwaukee impossible.

We will enjoy spending time with Sister Beth and her friends, as several other nuns also celebrate this special date with their family members.

On another note, lately, we wondered if any of our readers may assume we are no longer “nomads” when now, and over the next six months or so, we will be staying in the US. Is our travel site a misrepresentation of who we are at this time? In conducting research as to what constitutes a “nomad,” I found the following:

“A nomad is someone who prefers to travel and move around rather than settle down in one place. The word “nomad” comes from a Greek word that means “roaming about for pasture.”Traditionally, nomads were tribes of people who moved in search of food, water, and shelter. They would often travel seasonally or annually and traditionally used animals, canoes, or walked. Today, some nomads travel by car, air, train, or ship.

Medicare Part B card finally arrived…Plans change…Thinking about the future…

Our friends Ken (left of Tom) and Don at a dinner party at our bush home in 2018. Many great memories!

This morning, I received a notice from our mailing service that a letter had arrived from Railroad Retirement. I am assuming it is my Medicare Part B membership card, which, as a spouse of a railroad worker, comes from them as opposed to Medicare itself. Once I have the card in hand, I will make an appointment for a cardiac ultrasound to determine how good or bad my valves are.

Hoping for a good outcome, I am anxious to find out if I can avoid another open heart surgery. The report I had in Manta, Ecuador, a few months ago and in Nelspruit, South Africa, indicated I have issues with both my mitral and tricuspid valves. If I can avoid surgery, I will be extremely excited.

Many patients with these issues never opt for surgery, but not doing so may shorten their life expectancy. It’s a tough decision, but once I have this test done in the US for the first time and receive a diagnosis and recommendation, I’ll go from there. I am trying not to worry about it until I know more. Meanwhile, we’re continuing to enjoy our daily lives while looking forward to plans for the future.

This morning, Tom’s sister Colleen called Tom to tell him there would be a special party for their sister Betty in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to celebrate Betty’s 70 years as a nun. This impacts our plans for the date we’re leaving for South Africa, which we’d planned for June 14. Apparently, the date of the party is yet undetermined but should be around June 15.

We’d planned to visit Betty on our way to Minnesota to see the family in May. Fortunately, we hadn’t arranged our flight from Minneapolis to Nelspruit yet. We’ve been watching the airfares with plenty of time to book flights for June. But, instead of flying out of Minneapolis, we can make the one-plus hour drive from Milwaukee, after the party, to Chicago, Illinois.

By flying out of Chicago, instead of Minneapolis, we can save about $1000 on our combined flights. The layovers and overall flight times are long, but we’ve dealt with that more times than we can count. We’ll figure it out once we know the official date of the celebration.

Also, once we know the date, we’ll let Louise know our new arrival date, which will most likely be three or four days later than initially planned. We’d already signed a rental agreement, paid a deposit, and may lose those few days of rent. But, this celebration is worth it to us to support Sister Beth (her name as a nun) on this special occasion.

Sometimes, things change that are beyond our control. In each case, we attempt to make the best of the situation and accommodate schedule changes accordingly. It usually works out well.

Not much is on the agenda over the weekend. Since we were out to dinner twice this past week, celebrating my birthday, we’re not dining out as we have most weekends. Next weekend, we’ll get our usual schedule and dine out on Friday or Saturday night.

Tonight, we’re having homemade taco salads, minus the carb-laden shells, seasoned ground turkey for me, ground beef for Tom, diced onions, tomatoes, green olives, cheese, and shredded romaine lettuce. My salad will be topped with hot Pace Picante sauce and spicy guacamole. We serve the salads with heated meat and topped with cheese and other items. Delicious!

Have a lovely weekend, and be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, February 24, 2014:

A male kudu visited on Saturday, lounging in the shade. It was the first time we’d seen a kudu lying down. For more photos, please click here.