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Published: November 26th 2021
Happy Holidays and 2021 in Review/Photos YOU CAN CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO ENLARGE IT - RECOMMENDED -
THEN GO BACK TO THE BLOG OR GO THROUGH THE 34 PHOTOS - CLICK ON NEXT OR PREVIOUS IN THAT ENLARGED FORMAT. I PUT LOTS OF INFORMATION IN THE PHOTO CAPTIONS SO YOU CAN SKIP THE NARRATIVE, JUST LOOK AT THE ENLARGED PHOTOS AND CAPTIONS AND YOU'LL STILL GET MORE INFORMATION THAN YOU EVER WANTED. TO RETURN TO THE BLOG ENTRY, CLICK YOUR BACK BUTTON OR ON THE NAME OF THE BLOG - BELOW THE NUMBERS ON THE LEFT.
As you have probably figured out, these travel blogs are a way for Bernard and me to keep track of our adventures. I can't tell you how many times we've referred to one of our over 70 travel blogs looking for various details, maps, dates, etc. That said, feel free to enjoy the photos and just skim or ignore the text.
November 26, 2021
Happy Holidays Everyone!! I know this is early, but on November 28th we're leaving for a month and didn't want to miss the opportunity to wish all of our friends and family Merry
Puerto Peñasco aka Rocky Point, MX
Daughter JJ with boyfriend Bill came to AZ so naturally we did a side trip to MX. My sister and her husband, MaryJean and Buzz, were supposed to join us, but had to changed plans. We then invited good friend Susan.
Christmas, Happy Hanukah, Joyous Kwanza, etc, and send best wishes for 2022:
May the New Year bring you happiness, peace and prosperity. Wishing you a joyous and happy 2022! We hope all your endeavors in 2022 are successful.
Last year I ended my newsletter as follows:
December. Since we were stuck at home anyway, I decided to have a small procedure done on my big toe (fix the hallux rigidus). Knowing I had at least 3 weeks of staying off my foot, I scheduled the surgery for December 4. I knew we wouldn't be traveling or having visitors over Christmas; we follow the science and the health professionals were predicting an even bigger COVID surge over Christmas because so many people had NOT followed their advice over Thanksgiving . . . don't get me started. Anyway, all is well and I'm getting around the house with my knee scooter.
As it turned out, all was NOT well. Using that darn knee scooter threw my back out and caused an extreme bout of sciatica. Truly, the toe never hurt and healed quickly and easily, but I was in so much pain from the sciatica that I slept in our guest room for about 3 weeks. And it went downhill from there . . . .
As many of you might remember, in 2009 while living in Berlin I had a **lung collapse
. I was in the hospital for four days, but since that time I hadn't had any issues. Then on February 8 while bike riding I felt a shortness of breath. Rode home, called my doc, she sent me for a CT scan, went home, doc called and said to get to the hospital asap.
**A collapsed lung occurs when air gets inside the chest cavity (outside the lung) and creates pressure against the lung 'collapsing' it. Also known as pneumothorax. More typically a pneumothorax is caused by
Las Nubes Vineyard
A misty, cool day in the Mexican wine country, so a tasting at another beautiful vineyard was just what the doctor ordered
trauma, like a rib puncturing the air sac. As for me, they don't know why my lung collapsed. Could be that because of a growth spurt I had between 7th and 8th grades (6-7 inches in one summer) my lungs were 'stretched' and that caused blebs - like cysts, but filled with air instead of water. A bleb (or two) could have erupted causing the collapse. This is much more typical in boys as they are more prone to growth spurts.
Of course this is mid-COVID crises, so I wasn't just admitted to the hospital, but had to go through triage in the emergency room, get evaluated, take a COVID test and wait for the result before being admitted. I got to the hospital about 7:00 p.m. and didn't get admitted until around 2:00 a.m. Bernie wasn't even allowed through the hospital doors. In the ER they put a tube into my chest (left side; to suck out the air) to start the collapse reversal. Long story short, spent four days in a claustrophobic room with the roommate from hell. Was never so happy to leave a place as I was that hospital. 😞
Oh, but should you
JJ's Birthday Celebration
JJ didn't get to celebrate her 50th birthday (2020) as planned - darn you COVID!! - so wanted to do it up big in Puerto Peñasco, MX. She brought the flapper dresses, jewelry and accessories which we then wore out to a really nice restaurant.
think all was well, it was NOT. On February 19 my lung collapsed again.
While in the hospital earlier in the month my pulmonologist warned me that if I had another collapse they'd have to do surgery (pleurodesis) to attach my lung to my chest wall. On February 20 I had that done; four more days in the hospital, but this time in a private room with a window. I now feel 100%!a(MISSING)nd have been assured that the lung will NEVER collapse again. Bernie and I are back to biking, I'm back at the gym - yep, feeling pretty fortunate.
While in the hospital I kept begging for the COVID vaccination, but at that time only state and local governments had access to them. My pulmonologist told me later that he had tried to get the vaccine for his patients - all with compromised lungs - but couldn't. I, however, hadn't stopped working the various vaccination sites via computer and got my first Pfizer shot Feb. 27.
In February Bernie usually flies to Colorado Springs, to the Air Force Academy, to lecture on international humanitarian law to a group of cadets preparing for various competitions (Pictet, Clara
Jensens in Rosarito
The vineyard Frida is one of our favorites - had a delicious lunch in their garden
Barton, San Remo), but it was cancelled this year.
With COVID raging, we were hunkered down in March, but we did do a lot of biking, hiking and outdoor activities. Sooooo grateful for our amazing Arizona weather that time of year. Bernie got his first vaccination (Moderna) in early March, I got my second jab, and then on Bernie's birthday, March 30th, he got his second jab. In September and October we each got a booster.
Even being fully vaccinated we didn't feel safe taking part in the annual international humanitarian law competition, Pictet, which was held in Albania. They went ahead with the competition, but even though all the teams (typically 48 teams of 3; fewer this year) and staff were in Albania, they still did it remotely(?). Everyone said it was a success, but I'll get more details when I see our wonderful Pictet family in December.
Normally in April Bernie flies to Berlin/Frankfurt-Oder to teach an international criminal law class at a university there. This year he did it via Zoom, which was a nice alternative, but much less enjoyable for Bernie and I'm guessing the students too.
Stuart & Susan
We stayed, AGAIN, with good friends from Seattle, Stuart & Susan, in one of their condos in Rosarito, MX. Always a pleasure to spend time with this delightful couple.
the19th of April daughter JJ and boyfriend Bill
flew from Alaska to Arizona for a little holiday. We took the opportunity to drive to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico
(also with friend Susan)
to spend 4 days on the beach. Then over to Baja to the wine country, Valle de Guadalupe, around Ensenada.
What a ball we had in both places!
May was a repeat of March in that we didn't go anywhere. Fortunately we had some good friends in our COVID pod. One life-saver in particular was neighbor and good friend Susan
(see photos from April Puerto Peñasco and Thanksgiving) who we continued sharing meals with. I cooked on Wednesday nights and she on Sunday - so we each had a day off and the other prepared a nice meal. Win-win - particularly for Bernie! We have continued this routine, but changed days as in September resumed my docent duties at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum on Wednesdays.
In June we went to Mexico again, this time with Marcela, Tim & Cal
. Marcela is one of our exchange student daughters (Argentina) married to an American, Tim, and their son Cal is 13 now. Tim works for
Polish Family in Chicago
Our fist stop on the 'Dougherty Family Tour' was with Bernard's Polish family in Chicago. See more in travelog entry: https://www.travelblog.org/North-America/United-States/blog-1062265.html - Summer 2021: Chicago, East Coast & Texas
the FAA and was transferred to San Diego. Then COVID hit, so we hadn't gotten out to visit them. Good friends Stuart and Susan
had invited us to their place in Rosarito, MX
, which is only an hour away from San Diego, so we decided to all get together in Rosarito. What a lovely time we had! From Rosarito the Jensens and we drove down into wine country again
- can't beat the scenery, the wines or the amazing food.
Marcela and family went back to San Diego and we stayed in Rosarito. Stuart's cousin passed away in NYC at the start of our visit, so we stayed and took care of Leo, their giant but gentle standard poodle.
On my 70th birthday, while still in Mexico, Marcela arranged a Zoom call with the other exchange students, my sister MaryJean, Christina, JJ, etc., which was a surprise and a hoot. Have to say, Zoom really was a boon during COVID.
July - August
We started our summer travels
a bit late because Bernie had to have a Mohs procedure on a growth on his eyelid - he is perfectly fine now. He actually had another Mohs
Desert Museum with Jensens
On their way back to FL from CA Marcela, Tim and Cal stopped for a short visit.
procedure done when we got back from our travels - that too is fine. Also, we were waiting for the all clear from my surgeon and pulmonologist - I was good to go!
The past few years we spent our summers on the West Coast and with my family. This year we decided to visit Bernie's family, which are mostly on the East Coast. Our summer travels started on July 12th when we headed north and east. Our first family visit was with the Polish side of Bernie's family in Chicago. I did a whole travelblog entry on the summer - see that entry here: https://www.travelblog.org/North-America/United-States/blog-1062265.html
- Summer 2021: Chicago, East Coast & Texas
We got back to Tucson the very end of August and boy was it still hot. Arizona had had a really good monsoon (3rd best ever), but it was hot and dry when we returned.
Mid-September the Marcela, Tim & Cal
came through on their way back to Florida - yep, Tim had gotten transferred again. Only had them for about a day and half, but managed to celebrate Tim's birthday, take Cal for his first Ethiopian food (turns out
The Cohn Family: Larry, Mara, Josh, Lauren, Alicia and Ben
he is a little foody) and out to the Desert Museum. I had re-started my docent duties at the Desert Museum earlier in the month.
, the son of good friends Mara and Larry
from El Paso, got married mid-October in Austin. We flew down the night before for the rehearsal dinner, the next day attended the beautiful wedding, had brunch with everyone the following day and flew home that evening. A whirlwind trip, but a super nice one.
We first met Josh in the Netherlands when he was 12 and have enjoyed watching him turn into a funny, kind and accomplished young man. Don't get me started on Lauren
- amazing young woman and oh, drop-dead gorgeous! It was a delight to see all of the Cohn family, especially Alicia and boyfriend Ben
(Seattle) whom we hadn't seen since they all spent Christmas here in 2019.
FINALLY, my sister MaryJean and husband Buzz
came for a visit. We'd been trying to connect for a visit/camping for almost two years! Sooo many things intervened - it really was a comedy of errors. They were supposed to have gone with us to Puerto Peñasco, Mexico
MaryJean and Buzz in Puerto Peñasco
Beach walk at low tide - wonderful shells and sea glass to be found
April, so when we suggested a trip there, they readily agreed. Actually it was the best weather we've ever experienced in Puerto - warm, sunny, not windy. Lovely beach walks, amazing food, lots of naps on the patio, too much wine . . . .
Back in Tucson MJ & Buzz spent a couple of days and we took them on the 'Mission Tour' - San Xavier and Tumacácori - and then to the artist town of Tubac.
MJ & Buzz left us to camp and hike for a few days near Karchner Caverns with a side trip to Tombstone. After that we met them in Chiricahua National Monument
to camp and hike for a few days. Beautiful place, fabulous weather, LOTS of laughs.
And that is where we parted - us back to Tucson and MJ & Buzz to New Mexico (Santa Fe, White Sands National Monument, Carlsbad Caverns) before they turned westward back to their home in Olympia, Washington. JJ
arrived on November 21 and is staying until the 30th - or longer if Bill decides to join her. We, however, are off to Albania and Montenegro on the 28th. The Pictet international
Puerto Peñasco Shopping
Buzz and MaryJean loved the Day of the Dead mannequins, skulls, etc.
humanitarian law competition is taking place in Albania this year, as it did last year. We are going a few days early to explore the capital of Tirana, then a week of the competition, and another week exploring more of Albania and neighboring Montenegro.
For a variety of reasons Pictet is holding several competitions in 2022: Mexico City in February; Albania again in March; Bali in September. Not sure at this time which ones we'll participate in. Mexico is likely for both of us; I'll not do Albania again I don't think; we'll probably both do Bali as we have Emirate Air tickets we need to use. We are thinking of stopping in the Emirates and exploring there and Oman before Bali. Keep you posted.
Updates: Daughter JJ
remains healthy and happy in Alaska; we see her at least twice a year as she flies down for 'sun' breaks. Christina and grandson Evan
are still in Seattle. Evan turns 16 this week! He continues to do his high school virtually and is excelling. Most likely his junior and senior years will be in person - as a teenager I couldn't imagine not having that experience. See photos of
Sonora Sun Condo
We had a great 2-bed, 2-bath, huge patio, etc., condo in Puerto Peñasco. Same one we stayed at when we went with JJ, Bill & Susan in April. In April JJ & Bill had their own condo; Susan, B and I had the penthouse
all of them at the end of the blog.
I filled you in about Marcela (Argentina) above. Her twin sister, Vicky
, is still living and working in Ibiza, Spain. Their brother, Seba (Valencia, Spain) has been very ill this past year and they, and their other siblings, have been spending large swaths of time with Seba in Valencia. Camie (Brazil
) moved to Rio and she and her four kids seem to be doing well, although Camie did have COVID last Christmas when visiting family in Saó Luiz. Jackie in Guatemala
continues to be amazing. Marysia in Poland
had some great exposure for her singing career - she is literally a rock star in Poland! See photo of her in NYC Time Square, below. DON'T FORGET TO LOOK AT THE PHOTOS (TOTAL of 34) BELOW (VERY BOTTOM, BELOW THE AD, OUR PROFILE, THE BLOG OPTIONS, NORTH AMERICA, TRAVELBLOG AWARDS, TOP PHOTOS - YES, RIDICULOUS!!) CLICK ON 'NEXT' TO ADVANCE TO NEXT PAGE WITH MORE PHOTOS.
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Thanks and Merry Christmas!
As always, I love armchair traveling with you! I always learn something. Safe travels on your upcoming trip !
reconnecting with family
hola amigos! so glad to hear you were both able to resolve your health issues, and still manage to travel and spend time with family in the US and in Mexico and on ZOOM! All is peaceful here in Ecuador. Feeling well-vaccinated and secure. I hope you guys will get down to visit me here someday -- your suite awaits! We can relived that first time we met 30+ years ago in the Amazon Basin! sending big hugs and best wishes for continued good health. Lots of love Jill