2019 Spring Road Trip

Today I posted my first post of our 2019 Spring Road Trip. This trip will be taking us to Lake of the Woods, Crater Lake, Bend Oregon and to Pacific Ocean at the mouth of the Columbia River.

Please join us on this trip, and view blogs from our past trips at “Rollin’ Down the Hallway” from the menu at the top of this page.

Been Awhile….a Busy While – Barry’s Thoughts and Quirks

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We’ve just watched “the first look” 5/4/19

This has been the busiest winter and spring since I retired from         Alameda County.

Some good some not so good, some fun and some not so fun, and some was just amazing!!!

 

 

Sorry this post is long, but I need to make up for some lost time……Check out the pictures if your in a hurry.

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Callie and Paul 10/12/85

I lost one of two my Mother-In-Laws, Callie, on January 4th as God took her home and away from her suffering from Parkinson’s disease.  God Blessed me with two great Mother-In-Laws which I see as the happy side of divorce.  Though her Family is extremely sad, I know Callie is happy to be with my Father-In-Law Paul who passed away in the Fall of 2004.

IMG_0257IMG_0259A week later life was heading back to normal again as my Sister-In-Law Nicki and I celebrating our birthdays together with our Family, it was a fun day!  Our birthdays are a day apart (11th and 12th).  My Family let me bake the dessert for our Birthdays…..It was my first cake with flowers down the side and first six layer cake.

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1/6/19

We received a wonderful call one January Saturday afternoon that our Daughter Elise was engaged, and they were heading our way to celebrate!!!   We heard that a few friends were coming to our house for a her Mama’s Spaghetti Celebration Dinner……good thing her Mama and I can work quickly together!!!    

My other Mother-In-Law, Betty, decided she wanted to see the Vacaville Kiaser Hospital some more and decided to visit the ER for a day, and be admitted overnight for observation.  She is a trooper and I think she just looked it as an adventure; and she couldn’t say more nice things about how Kiaser’s staff treated her.

Sandi’s pain management doctor has been working on getting a spinal stimulator approved by her workers comp and to hopefully relieve some of her back and leg pain.  After months of waiting, it was finally it was approved!  The funny thing is that worker comp approved a surgical trail (battery and computer on the outside of the body) which went very well, but not the actual implant.  We were told that only 30% of the actual implants get approved and it would take about two months to have it approved even though the trail went so well.  Fortunately it was approved in just a few weeks so we headed home from a short trip to have the implant installed just a day later!!!  Now months later and a lot of software adjustments there is some pain relief.

We visited the Vacaville Kaiser (for all three of us), Sandi’s pain management doctor and dentist (for two of us) so many times in the last four months…..I’ve lost track!!!

My other Sister-In-Law Janice, our Niece Leanne and her boyfriend Dan surprised us with a visit from NJ/PA for a long weekend!!!   It was a fun visit!!!   I was able to go in to tour mode taking Leanne and Dan to the City for the day!!!  Not to brag, but my “City” tours are great!!!  It was a great visit….finished off with Leanne and Dan making us a wonderful dinner!!!

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Dress Fitting Mother Daughter Fun

February, March and April were full of wedding planning, dress fittings, and more wedding planning.  It was a lot of work, but it was fun!!!   The best part was seeing that our Daughter was finally and extremely happy, and that Brad (our soon to be Son-In-Law) is truly amazing!!!  Our Sister-In-Law Nicki has told Elise and her Cousin Brittany “You want a guy that will walk through glass to get to you”……Brad has more than walked through glass for Elise.

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This Easter was a little different than most as we had another visit from Janice, this time with our Brother-In-Law John.  They were able to come during her spring break at school where she works as an instructional aide.  We were able to squeeze in two day trips during their visit.  One of the day trips was to Tahoe between the spring snow storms and the other to Bodega Bay and Fort Ross.

Besides the two day trips, we had fun just hanging together and showing Janice and John our new community.

Before we knew it May 4th was upon us and what a busy week that was to be!!!  It seemed like everyday that week had an event, and every event was miles away from home.  Though it was a busy time, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. 

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Painting cans that will be wrapped in lace

The wedding was an outside wedding, designed by our daughter who is used to putting on large events for her Ministries for the last ten years.  Brad and Elise wanted to keep the focus on God, Friends and Family so kept the wedding simple and only 200 guests.  I know Elise wanted to invite another 200…..but the number had to be kept low as she held herself to a strict budget.   I kept telling all that were helping us setup the venue the morning of the wedding…..”she isn’t a bridezilla, these pictures and sample tables are just an example”….and believe me she wasn’t even close to a bridezilla.

 

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Steve       Jenny       Brad         Elise        Sandi       Barry     5/3/19

As May winds up we have been enjoying some rest and planning our next adventures.  In just a week we will be heading back to Central Oregon and the Washington Oregon Coast at the mouth of the Columbia River. 

I hope you follow us at “Rollin’ Down the Hallway”!!! 

 

BionicSandiUS – A New Blog

Tonight my wifey launched a new site which you will find on our main menu above: “BionicSandiUS”.  This new site focuses on the technology used in her next step dealing with nineteen years of pain; and her experience before and after becoming a new Bionic Woman.  I invite you to visit her site and share it with your Family and Friends.

Barry’s Thoughts and Quirks – My Favorite Views

img_0214These are my three favorite views!!!   Now you might just think, of course they are because they are of your Wife and Best Friend….., but there is more.  Notice in this picture (my first view of the day) the Bible and Laptop…..this is how Sandi begins everyday.  She is devoted to learning more each day about the Word and Praying for her Nation, Church, Family, Friends, and people she just meets in her day.  Not some days, everyday from about 5am to 8am she can be found in her prayer chair in our bedroom’s bay window.

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I see this view from the indoor track above the pool at our main club house while I’m speed walking.  Even in the pool while swimming her laps she is praying for others and memorizing new Bible Verses between her laps.  She swims nearly a mile six days a week.

 

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If she ever has made a fabric art for you, know that each piece is prayed over nearly ever stitch……and there are thousand of stitches in her artwork.  If you never visited her page go up to the menu and hit “Cottonandsilk-Nature Creating Art” and see some of her art and her process.

Barry’s Thoughts and Quirks – A Long Journey with God

One year ago today, God blessed us with our new home.  It was a long journey, but God kept us on track.  It all started when, in the winter of 2017, when Sandi and I joined three other families at our Church, Brentwood Bible Fellowship to work through the David Ramsey Financial Peace Bible Study that was led by our Associate Pastor Corwin Wong. Shortly after completing that study, I was invited to join a small Men’s Bible Study lead by our Pastor Andy Cochran.  Each week when we met for our Men’s Bible Study we completed a ten question survey regarding our previous week.  It was question number six “Have you been a good steward of God’s resources?” and question number ten “Where have you been struggling with God?” that eventually convicted me.  My answer to number six was “Yes” and finally four months into the Bible Study I admitted to myself that I was struggling not with my (our) weekly finances, but my (our) future finances.  Meanwhile, in May of 2017 our daughter Elise heard from God that it was time for her to move on from serving as a Junior High Youth Pastor at Bethel, a Mega Church in San Jose; and moving her Ministry to be a Generational Pastor at Re: Church in the small town of Rio Vista.

Sandi and I started visiting Elise more and more as the summer of 2017 went on, and we came to love Rio Vista as we love “Small Town America”.  One day I was helping Elise with a project and needed some supplies from the local Ace Hardware.  On my way to Ace I saw a “Home For Sale” sign that sparked my interest in “how much?”.  In looking it up on Zillow I found out that it was two-thirds the cost of homes in Brentwood.  Over the next several days God spoke to me over and over again about moving to full retirement and get out of the financial debt we were living in (questions six and ten from above).  Sandi and I have had a policy for the last thirty-three years of marriage; if God comes to us three times, we have to share it with each other.  So now I had to share what God was telling me.  This news meant a lot as we had made a lot of friends at BBF and had made some wonderful friends in a town we loved, that would now be twenty-five miles and a bridge toll away.  

24852452_10210794239000186_6447090383977504305_nWithin a few weeks, we had our Brentwood home listed with our friend and realtor, Missey James (note in 2005, we were the first and second sale of her career).  Missey kept us on course through the bumpy real estate ride of having more than thirty people coming through our house over an eight week period.  Our home finally sold in October, to only fall apart in November as the buyer couldn’t get financing to stick.  Due to losing the sale of our home, we lost a house in Rio Vista that we had put an offer on.  It was nothing fancy, but met our needs.  We refused to look again until we had a firm offer on our Brentwood house.  In Early December, we had a firm offer, in excitement, that night went searched for houses on Zillow.  24899976_10210794239520199_659546685246274118_nA house was listed that very day and was going to have an open house on the weekend.  It was inside an HOA and an Active Adult 55+ community which we had resisted.  We decided that we needed to go and see it and a few others that were also having open houses.  Long story short, we called Missey before leaving Rio Vista to tell he we had found the perfect home; more than we ever could have had expected.  Within a few days our offer was accepted and Christmas was upon us.  Moving at Christmas is nothing new for us as we moved from Santa Clara Valley to Oakley on December 9, 1989, and to Brentwood from Oakley on December 23, 2005.  

We have lived in our new home in Trilogy, Rio Vista one year this weekend.  Trilogy does have HOA fees, but a lot less than our HOA fees at Apple Hill Estates, Brentwood and a lot more amenities.  There are many days that we don’t even leave Trilogy as we use the athletic facilities six or the seven days a week.  We swim in our indoor Junior Olympic pool, I speed walk on the indoor track above the pool and do the weight circuit in our gym.  Most days I enjoy the Club House Lobby after I finish my 1mile walk and 25-30 minute weight training circuit.  Sandi swims nearly a mile daily and has broken the 1 mile mark on several occasions. 

The Main Club House (there are currently two with two more opening within the next twelve to eighteen months) has a Cafe’, Computer Lab, meeting rooms, Billiards Hall, and  an exercise room with a floating floor besides the weight room, track and swimming pool.

 

So long story short, simply listen to God and he will Bless you.

Barry’s Thoughts and Quirks – Passing on Memories

56667632749__2740030D-3FA3-480A-8916-2FC3AC775E5DOn Christmas Day our Grand Nephew Charlie celebrated his first birthday; he was actually a miracle baby born on Christmas Day 2017.  Seventy years ago in my Grandparents basement in Ottawa, Ontario Canada my Dad made my brother Rich a wooden push along bunny, and now I was honored to be chosen to restore it for Charlie who was named after our Dad.  Restoring it meant of course upholding our Dad’s work as it is being past on to another generation.  Our Dad made me a hobby horse when I was a year old, which I will pass on one day; he also made his Grand Kids a horse corral for toy show horses, a dog house for a stuffed Pluto, beds for American Girl Dolls, Toy Box and more.  I hope the next generations pass on these crafted memories.

Have you made sure your Family Memories are being passed on?

Fine Chocolates – Barry’s Thoughts and Quirks

IMG_0219Originally in Eastern Canada, now nationally you can walk in to a Laura Secord store and walk out with a white and black box of fine Canadian Fine Chocolates. In Western Canada it was (now nationally) it’s my Dad’s favorite Purdy’s Chocolates with their purple boxes.  In the US there are several fine chocolate companies like Fanny Mae and Godiva, but in the west and stretching across the country it’s See’s with their white and black boxes.  This week I visited a See’s for a small bag of chocolates to keep us happy while we were waiting for support at the Apple Store.  I didn’t mind the wait or the $21 a pound price as I got my free sample, great chocolate and memories of times past at See’s with my Mom.

The funniest part of my journey was next door to See’s is a Lululemon store, which I had to go in to check out what I needed next!!!   I sent Sandi a couple of pictures of some nice outer tops that she might like and asked what See’s candy pieces she wanted…..here is her response!

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Thank You Apple – Barry’s Thoughts and Quirks

IMG_0215Today while waiting for some iPhone support at the new Walnut Creek Apple Store we witnessed for about the fifth time, a young man (in the blue shirt) sweeping up pebbles from the plaza’s sidewalk.  This  Apple Store has a wonderful outside seating area for customers to enjoy while waiting for service.  The first time we saw him was in September.  At that time Sandi said something to him about the pebbles he was sweeping up; boy he was ready to share that Apple employs him to keep the area clean and safe.  He was proud of his job.  Many of the people that shop in Downtown Walnut Creek make more in a day than he probably makes in a month, but I don’t think any are as proud and thankful of his job as him.  Thank you Apple for giving people that have mental or developmental challenges the opportunity to succeed.  I only wish that I was able to video him when he was in full action as his spirit gave me a lift today.

Barry’s Thoughts and Quirks – Gluten Free and Keto Friends and Followers!!!

I have been looking for recipes that are either Gluten Free or Keto that I can try, adjust if needed and post in “Cookin’ in the Hallway”, and hope to have some posted in January.   Until then here is a fun email I received you might enjoy.   IMG_0200If you follow or know me you know I love my Safeway, which has introduced a new online shopping experience that is different than their Home Delivery or Store Pickup online site.  This new site will be specializing in different dietary needs such as Gluten Free and Keto!!!   Notice that they are offering Gluten Free and Keto Snack Boxes and FREE Shipping!!!   The website address is: https://www.moreforu.com   Hope you enjoy!!!

Barry’s Thoughts and Quirks – Barry the Germaphobe & H1N1 Compliant

IMG_0118Every year I battle if I should get the flu shot or not.  Kaiser, my medical insurer and provider each year encourages me to get the flu shot; and you can’t go in a major grocery store, drug store or Kaiser without seeing “Flu Shot Here” signs everywhere.   NOTE I’M NOT SAYING TO OR NOT TO GET THE FLU SHOT!!!!   img_0078.jpg
It is also important to remember that the flu shot vaccine is a roll of the of the dice each year as they only can guess which influenza will hit the country, and they do generally hit most of the virus’s that come through the population.

The one year out of the last decade I got the flu shot, I got the flu.   I generally don’t get sick outside of each year I get a sinus infection with the first major allergy outbreak.  How do i not get the flu without the shot…… 

th-1Well to start out I’m a germaphobe and I wash my hands about forty times a day; but often without soap.  Why no soap?; did you know that there are germs living outside and inside of many refillable restroom soap dispensers?  A Columbia School of Nursing research shows that refillable public soap dispensers have their own set of germs.  Also think about the fact that everyone with dirty germmy hands touches the soap dispenser before washing their hands.  

If in a public restroom I also always save the paper towel from drying my hands to open the restroom door if it has a handle.  If the door is one I can push open I use my lower arm, or my shoulder if I’m not wearing a long sleeve shirt.   

I DON’T use antibacterial soaps or gels on a daily basis…. some people I’ve worked with used the gels on an hourly basis or MORE!!!  A FDA study shows that antibacterial soaps can lead us to a set of germs tat will build a resistance to the chemical in the soaps to kill germs.  I have found that the people I know that get sick a lot are the same ones that use the antibacterial gels constantly.  Working with the public all of my work life I did use antibacterial gels after I have encountered a really sick person or a person with poor hygiene habits, but never on a daily basis. 

IMG_0120I told you how I open bathroom doors, but how about other public doors.  I always open doors when possible without my hands, I love the automatic door openers I can hit with my elbow or foot.  If I have to use my hand I open them with my righthand as it is my public hand.  Think about it, even if your left-handed you shake someone else’s righthand that has touched everything.  Now when using my righthand I only touch the bottom of the handle or if it is a bar handle as far away from the edge as that is where most people touch it.  Ok, some of you are saying that germmy kids use the bottom of door handles….and your right but look at a bottom and top of handles and you’ll see almost no wear on the bottom’s but the tops are wearing down through the metal layers so the bottoms are hardly ever used by kids.

Now since I use my righthand for all germmy things I do, what do I use my lefthand for……well taking a tissue to my nose, taking care of an itch on my face, eating a unwrapped sandwich, burger, etc. and the fries!!!   I know I’m safe using my lefthand as it has not touched any public surfaces or someone else’s hand via a handshake.

My Family and Friends that really know me understand…..Our Friend/Realtor and fellow germaphobe, Missey, and I got Sandi to come fully to our camp this last year.  About twenty years ago Missey and I were the founders of a fundraising group for our kids Dance Competition Team selling Hot Dogs, Coke, Beer, Popcorn and Peanuts at a Giants/49ers Hot Dog stand inside Candlestick and AT&T Parks.  It was a fun experience except for the fact we drove our teammates crazy with our germaphobe habits….which we tried to have them follow….didn’t work.

I hope this gave you some insights on how I stay healthy.  I know some of you won’t get it….it being the flu or my thoughts and quirks.  As an Alameda County Behavioral Health Care Disaster/Emergency Services Assistant I had to go to different types of seminars one of which was dealing with the “Influenza A virus subtype H1N1” back in 2009, this training focused on the germs on our hands which sent me over the top on my germaphobic habits.  I since have said I’m “H1N1” compliant.