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.

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.

Are we concerned about returning to South Africa during political unrest?…Photos from Tom’s cemetery visits…

    Tom was not named after this grand uncle. This headstone is located at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

One year ago today, it was day #116 while we were in lockdown in a hotel room in Mumbai, India, for almost ten months. The last post that we wrote from that hotel room was day #291. It’s hard to believe when we think back over 2020 while living in such unusual circumstances.

And yet, now, in the US, we feel far removed from that reality.  Oddly, we feel far removed from South Africa right now with its riots, killings, carjackings, and political unrest that we see all over the news. Many are shocked that we plan to return, leaving in a mere seven days to our temporary house in the bush in Marloth Park.

Tom’s ancestor, Thomas F. Lyman, was a grand uncle, brother to Tom’s grandfather, who passed away in 1931.

On yesterday’s five-plus-hour road trip from Minneapolis to Milwaukee, I spoke to my dear friend Karen who, along with her fiance Rich has been considering visiting us at some point in the next year. But, their logical concern over what’s transpiring in South Africa right now is undoubtedly justified.

To alleviate some of our family and friends’ concerns about our returning to South Africa, we explain that the political unrest transpires the equivalent of a “state away,” comparable to Wisconsin and Minnesota. This five-plus-hour drive is the distance from Johannesburg to Marloth Park. The horrifying riots and looting occur in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Nata provinces, not in Mpumalanga, where Marloth Park is located.

The top portion of the headstone for Thomas F. Lyman.

Our dear friend Kathy just arrived in Johannesburg a few days ago and her husband Don picked her up at the airport. She mentioned that security was over-the-top on the N4 highway. From there, they made the five-hour drive to Marloth Park without incident. We’ll travel from the closer Nelspruit/Mpumalanga/Kruger Airport on July 26th and then commence the 90-minute drive to the park.

Of course, we feel a little apprehension about returning during this difficult time. Who wouldn’t be? But, then again, as we’ve mentioned in the past, there was rioting and looting in Minneapolis only 20 to 25 minutes from our family members and friends living in the area, only months ago.

St. Mary’s Cemetery is located in Hales Corner, Wisconsin, where many of his ancestors were buried.

There is nowhere on the entirely safe planet. We always proceed with as much caution as possible. We’ve encountered some of those risks along the way, some heart-pounding, some less problematic, but have come out on the other side. We knew these risks were real when we originally planned to travel the world.

As for our drive from Minneapolis to Milwaukee, the time flew by, mainly when I talked on the phone to Karen for 90 minutes. We had so much caught up to do. Then, I read a few interesting articles on my phone to Tom, contributing to the time flying quickly.

Before we knew it, we arrived at the first cemetery in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where Tom wanted to find cemetery plots for his ancestors and take photos to add to his substantial file in Ancestry.com. We both wandered through the wet grass at the cemetery and finally found a few plots. However, Tom was disappointed to discover that many of his ancestor’s plots were unmarked.

We arrived at the hotel in Milwaukee by 4:00 pm, did a little unpacking, and headed out the door for dinner by 5:30. We settled for a Chili’s restaurant with mostly fast-food restaurants nearby for a quick bite to eat. The restaurant was dated and run down, but the food and service were exemplary. Our goal for Milwaukee was to see Sister Beth, not experience fine dining. Once we arrive in La Vegas, we’ll undoubtedly have an opportunity to enjoy better meals.

Back at the hotel by 7:00 pm, we streamed a few shows while we were shocked by the loud music in the room next to us. By 10:00 pm, we’d called the front desk twice to ask them to address the loud noise. It was frustrating. At this point, all we wanted was a good night’s sleep. By 11:00, it settled down, and we were able to accomplish our goal.

This morning, Tom took off to the second cemetery he wanted to visit in a nearby suburb, 17 miles from our hotel. I stayed behind to shower, dress and begin working on today’s post. Above are a few photos of the headstones Tom found at the cemeteries.

We’ll head out to visit Sister Beth in a few hours and hopefully, if she’s up to it, spend the afternoon with her at the nursing home. Tomorrow, after one more visit with his sister, we’ll head back to Minneapolis to the airport, where, in the evening, we’ll fly to Las Vegas for five nights to visit his son, Richard.

May your day be pleasant and fulfilling.

Photo from one year ago today, July 17, 2020:

There were 17 kudus in the garden that morning. See the video at this post for details.