Monday, May 21, 2018

Back Home on the Ranch


Update from last post:

In my last post on January 4, 2018 I discussed my recent time in southern California getting some needed health treatment.  Earlier this month (May 3, 2018) I had a followup "wellness exam"--something that Medicare is encouraging and covering in their plan.  Thankfully, I found out--as far as we can know for now--completely cured and recovering well. 

I thank all those of my family and friends who have supported me through this challenging stage of life.  And I'm thankful for the access to top-notch latest medical technology and practice that Medicare affords.  I'm even more aware now than before how essential good health care is a necessity for all.  I worry for those who don't have such access and coverage, and, I'm supportive in a strong way, for seeking ways so ALL Americans will have excellent, affordable, accessible health care. 

Finally, it is wonderful to be back home and feeling myself again!  Though it will take a few months to fully recover, and I will need to be vigilant into the future, eat well, and exercise!  Something we should all do anyway.  I plan to live a long and fruitful life!

Recent activities:

I returned to our lovely Utah home on January 6, 2018 and had a lovely time getting reacquainted with our fantastic Zion landscape and our friends at the Red Cliffs SDA Church in St George Utah where we are in the process of helping with a remodeling project:

And with returning energy and strength after the successful treatment at Loma Linda University Health, I also got to work again on our land and with my volunteer work with the Town of Rockville on the Planning Commission as well as a new post on the Rockville/Springdale Fire Protection Special District Board.  Both entities had a lot to do over the last few months (more on that later).

It was wonderful to see and experience the change in seasons that we have here in Rockville--from winter to spring!  And we had visits from my sister (Patricia Rose Ford the artist) and my younger son and daughter-in-law with their new dog Ollie while Ollie met my sister's dog--Abbie.  They got along for a while but then got into a famous fight!  But now they are friends--hopefully ??  We were also involved like much of the nation in following the national and political debates surrounding the very sad Parkland School Shooting in Florida--and joined a local protest led by students in St George.  Some photo highlights here--much more on my Facebook page:

In March/April Karen and I were also able to travel  to spend some time in Switzerland with our older son and daughter-in-law (Bryan and Anya)--and with our granddaughter Celeste--in Lausanne Switzerland.   Some photo highlights here--much more on my Facebook page:

And in late April we attended our 50th college alumni reunion at Pacific Union College in Angwin California--see some media highlights from PUC HERE.  Below are some of our photo highlights:

I will add more highlights later.  Do follow me on Facebook which has more detail day-by-day.  Thanks for coming to my BLOG.

Robert (Geobob) Ford
See website:

Thursday, January 4, 2018

New Year Update--January 4, 2018

Palms and Bougainvillea in SoCal
A poster I pass each morning
 In my last BLOG post I updated the key recent events in our lives and promised a more extensive update early in 2018.

So here is some of what's been happening:

Over the last four months I've been in California except for short trips back for holidays to our place near Zion in southern Utah.  I've been dealing with a recently diagnosed health issue--prostate cancer.  I was first diagnosed after a routine health checkup in early summer; luckily, it is not the most aggressive type.  My physicians had us evaluate various options and after much consideration settled on going to the Loma Linda University Health--Cancer Proton Center where I started treatment in mid-October.  This has turned out to be the right decision in all respects and I cannot speak more highly of the medical and support staff and their "whole person care" approach.  During my treatment I've stayed with my little sister Patricia Rose Ford--the pastel artist--who lives nearby which has been a Godsend in so many ways--including getting to walk her dog Abbie twice a day.

I go to treatment in the early morning for about thirty to forty minutes then have weekends and much of each day for other pursuits including doing a lot of walking--often at the  Drayson Fitness Center outdoor track (see below).   I also participate in other fitness activities which are a part of the LLUH "wholeness/wellness" approach.  The program has all gone very well and the prognosis for cure is excellent--thanks to caring and efficient support from LLUH staff and my family and friends.  And I'm feeling stronger and even gained weight again.

Some of the posters at the Drayson Center--this about special program for disabled veterans

Loma Linda University recreational fields with Drayson Fitness Center in background
and the School of Public Health on the hill (the Old Mound City) from early 1900s

Early morning walk on the outdoor track at the Drayson Fitness Center

Learn more
 HERE about the advantages of proton beam technology
LLUH Medical Center Hospital
Tower in the old building
Loma Linda University Cancer Center
It's amazing to see the progress at Loma Linda University Health in technology, academics and infrastructure.  The biggest change is the impressive new hospital going up right next door.  I see progress everyday as I come in for treatment in the early morning.  The new medical center to be finished by 2020 and will be the tallest structure in San Bernardino County--17 stories.

LLUH has much to be proud of in what they have accomplished over the 100+ years since it started as a small Seventh-day Adventist sanitarium first known as Mound City (see more about Loma Linda History HERE).  And read about it's 2020 vision and about the new construction.

New Medical Center being built--17 stories that will make it the tallest structure in
San Bernardino County and has the latest earthquake resistant design

What I do in Off-times while in Treatment?

In many ways my cancer proton beam treatment has been what some call a "radiation vacation".  So on weekends and during much of each day I've had time to take many photos in Southern California and get re-acquainted with old friends as well as continue my remote work as a geoscience and travel photographer and consultant (see my website at GeoBob's Photography and Consulting).  Timing has also been good as most of my farm work was done for the season--see photos of "our place" near Zion National Park below.

Karen stayed home some of the time to hold down the fort around our small ranch and continue her volunteer work at Zion National Park as its librarian.  And she has been assisted by Kayla and Colby (our newly married younger boy and wife) who both work at nearby Dixie State University in St George.  More later about them as well as our other kids--Bryan & Anna (and Celeste our granddaughter) who live and work in Lausanne, Switzerland now.

Loading hay on our fields below Mt Kinesava in Zion NP
Some of this last year's bumper crop of apples (and peaches as well)
Our place in Rockville Utah
Raking and drying our hay before baling
Some of our bumper peach crop in 2017

Colby & Kayla on a visit to our place whenever they can get away

Bryan and Celeste on their visit in October at the time of Colby & Kayla's wedding

For those who follow my photography, you will notice that my current work has focused on Southern California with much of it taken on long walks around Loma Linda and Redlands along Beaumont Avenue as well as photos from around Redlands and Loma Linda and surrounding communities including sights such as Mission San Juan Capistrano,  the Gamble House in Pasadena, Old Route 66 in Barstow.  A recent highlight was attendance at special musical events for Christmas in Redlands and Loma Linda including the Festival of Lights at Mission In Riverside.  Other patients did a lot of golfing (I never had done golfing well and prefer the walking and photo touring of the region).  See a few photos below from my sojourn in SoCal:

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Some street art related to the Old Route 66 area in Barstow CA

Lights at the 25th annual Festival of Lights in Riverside at the Mission Inn

Entrance to the Gamble House in Pasadena

Road stop commemoration of early mining era in the Mojave Desert near Cima CA

Musical seasonal events at Loma Linda University Church

It has been particularly nice to enjoy the sunny days and warmth that comes with fall and winter here in Southern California.  I've been out at least twice a day walking my sister's dog--Abbie.  See some sights below from my walks.  

Where else would you have brilliant fall colors of sugar maple and orange trees side-by-side.  And I was able to enjoy some of my favorite local food haunts such as El Burrito--the best Mexican "fast food" in the Inland Empire, as well as new places such as Dhat Island--a Caribbean themed restaurant in Redlands!  But most of the time I ate at the LLUH Community Hospital (East Campus) cafeteria which offers Seniors 55+ discounts for great healthy food at a good price.

My new doggie friend Abbie who now feels entitled to two walks a day!

Old Historic barn on Sanger Orchards along Beaumont Avenue in Loma Linda

Some of the beauty to be seen along Beaumont Avenue with Mt San Gorgonio in the background

Sunday morning runners--many are members of Loma Linda Lopers running club

The view on our street toward the mountains and oranges!

Sugar maples in the fall in Southern California

Fall colors and oranges side-by-side

One of the new walking/riding trails in the area--Orange Blossom Trail in Redlands

El Burrito Restaurant in Redlands

Christmas decorations around Citrus Plaza in Redlands

My reflection--taking pictures at Citrus Plaza

Thankfully, I did got off for both Thanksgiving and Christmas to travel back home and attend my home church--Red Cliffs SDA Church in St George Utah--for a lovely Christmas program.  And we had some great family time with visits from family in Washington, California and Oregon, as well as a visit by Bryan and Celeste from Switzerland (I discussed that more in the last past post of Mid-December).  Below are some pictures from this memorable family time together over the last three to four months at Christmas and Thanksgiving as well as New Year's--and Colby's wedding.

Children's Story Hour at Red Cliffs SDA Church and visiting family and friends from Oregon
Special music by Alvaro Terrazas--one of our talented youth

Some visiting friends and members at Red Cliffs Church

Friends, family and colleagues at Red Cliffs Church--Giffords and Bryants

Campfire down by the Virgin River at Thanksgiving with family and friends from Washington (Seattle)
as well as Chicago, Germany, Loma Linda and St George--my younger brother Dan is standing

My nephew Daniel from Seattle with his daughter Willa as well as Patricia,
my sister (left) and younger son Colby (right)

Making smorrhs...yum!  At our place in Rockville Utah

Sunset over the Pacific during a weekend getaway to Dana Point and Mission
San Juan Capistrano during my treatment period

My brother's wife (Barbara) from Seattle with their former live-in
German exchange study-abroad student--Cora Bay--(front) who now works in
Washington DC--she has become like family 

Thanksgiving day hike in Zion

Daniel and his daughter Willa exploring rusty farm equipment in Grafton Ghost Town
Tourists viewing sunset at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley--seen on our trip to Colby's wedding

Old 20-mule team wagon Death Valley

Celeste with us on a pumpkin farm before Halloween

Karen and Celeste on the Boardwalk in Santa Cruz CA
Karen and Celeste in Big Basin Redwoods state park near Santa Cruz CA
My younger sister Pat (left) and her older sister Kathy (right) from Bend Oregon

Colby and Kayla at their wedding

The Ford siblings--from left to right: Dan, Kathy, Pat and Bob

Celeste as flower girl at K&C's wedding

Ford's at park day before K&C's wedding in Livermore CA
A tour with an old friend at ESRI in Redlands--the Mapping/GIS people

One of many old sights I visited while here in Redlands/Loma Linda--
San Bernardino Assistencia Mission

San Bernardino Assistencia--once on the Camino Real

Beautiful fountain at the Redlands SDA Church

Redlands SDA Church--rebuilt after a fire a few years ago

Beautiful stained-glass window at Redlands SDA Church

Family fun at Colby's wedding

Karen with Celeste and Bryan at Colby's wedding

In sum, it has been an eventful end-of-year but I finish my treatment regime this week--tomorrow-- January 5, 2018 and look forward to some travel to Europe soon for both photography and visiting my son Bryan Ford and his wife Anna Lachowska as well as our lovely granddaughter Celeste--who now live in Lausanne, Switzerland.  Anna (a mathematics professor at EPFL--École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne--along with Bryan who is a professor of computer science) were not able to travel for either the Thanksgiving or Christmas and events; Bryan and Celeste were able to make K&C's wedding though.  But Karen and I will be visiting them soon in Europe--and we'll share pictures on Facebook and my BLOG.

I wish you all a Happy New Year and do keep in touch via Facebook where I have many more photos and current updates on my work, travel, family time as well as service to the town of Rockville Utah.

My best,

Robert (Geobob) Ford