Sunday, August 17, 2014

Behind the Iron Curtain

Our last days before leaving passed quickly.  Ted and I both won at cards, first place for me at my table, second for him at his.   My dimes runneth over!

We had our newest neighbor join our luncheon group and Thursday was my first chance to meet her. She is a nice addition to our group and fit in very well.  I did some errand running afterwards to get ready to leave.

I was up and out by 7:45 with my casserole in hand on Friday.  August is the big six month sign up for my volunteer work.  In addition to the food item, I had to help Nina register workers for the two events we are responsible for in November and December.  I learned I will get 27 hours at the four days of those events.  Added to my 12 I have put in already, I won't have trouble hitting 50 before next May.  Of course you can always go over.  I signed up for the nursing home Christmas party and September senior luncheon so that's another 5.5 hours.  I can easily get the remaining hours in March and April.

Terry took us to the airport on Saturday.  We walked right up to the counter to check in, spent minimal time in the security line and by one hour after leaving home we were at the gate.  I hate KLM for overseas travel.  Your personal space is such that you can hardly cut your food because you can't move your elbows out to do it.  The overhead light and air vent gets shared with those around you because you are so close.  I had the light blanket thrown across my shoulders the entire flight due to the lady behind me having her vent going full blast.  I am sure she didn't realize I was getting more  of the cool air than she was.  Air France is way better.  But we made our way to Amsterdam then walked a l-o-n-g way to the next gate to Bucharest.  Here we met up with many others heading to the same tour.  There was more room on this smaller plane than the 747.

We were met by GCT reps and made our way to our bus where we sat and waited for the delayed Vienna flight.  Here is our bus reflected in the building opposite us.

Check in at the hotel got messed up when our key was not in the pile.  They got us another key and we proceeded to walk in on Rojacs who had been given our key.  We then were given the room next door and the front desk switched the records.  Mrs. Rojacs had not noticed the name written on the card.  

We cleaned up a bit and had a taxi come to take us to church at 5 pm.  That all went well until we arrived to find despite the info on the website, Mass was at 6 pm in Romanian, not 5 pm in English.  So we had to flag down another taxi to take us back.  We tried!

Kara and Bill had arrived from Cluj and checked in.  We all met for the 6:30 welcome meeting before dinner.  Directions were given for today's city tour and transfer to the ship.

Dinner was great and we all cleaned our plates.  Yeah!  I had elbow room and free wine

This is the pool at the hotel.  Exceptionally nice! 

 By this time I had been up over 30 hours.  Kara was going to Skype with the kids at 9:00 but I was asleep by then.  I had been up over 30 hours.  Not a bad travel day but not a great one either.  Bottom line, we arrived safely.

We have been cautioned that this is NOT western Europe.  After Hitler and communust Russia, these countries are still taking steps to make their way along side western democratic countries.  I am sure they are watching the Russia/Ukraine situation very closely but nothing was said.

We will meet up some time today with Keith, Steve and Marge.  They did the Transylvania pre-tour.  I hope they enjoyed it. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Hoping For Another "No Monkey" Week

We had a delicious dinner at Terry and Carol's on Sunday.  Irene came too so the five of us played cards afterwards.  I was doing great until the last two hands!  But I won Saturday night and Ted came in second at his table so my dime purse is still full.

Monday we waited for the ADT guy to come service our alarm system.  Chris had trouble with it in our absence and we didn't want that to continue.  Apparently one of the front windows was not all the way down and not locked properly.  A good wind could rattle it enough to make a momentary disconnect that set off the alarm.  He fixed that and replaced the sensor in the garage door to the house.  We go in and out there mostly and I guess it was worn down a bit.  I hope that fixes the problem.  Poor Chris was getting flustered.  He had inspected all the doors but didn't think about the windows.

Tuesday I worked at the Back to School shot clinic.  Uninsured children can get caught up on all shots needed to enter school for $10.  We knew the border situation would affect our numbers.  Last year in 6 days we did 200+ children.  Our first day was yesterday and we did 102!  They started arriving 3 hours before we even opened!  

There are packets of 5 pieces of paper that had been put together incorrectly which caused a problem right off the bat.  I assessed the situation, took the bull by the horns and set out putting them together correctly and quickly so they could be passed out.  In the time it took the lady I was working with to put together one, I had about 7 done and ready to go.  Each packet also needed a number attached to it and that number recorded on the shot record attached.  The gal in charge assigning jobs told me to "go for it" so I put the first 100 together, all the while asking new arrivals three questions.  Has the child been out of the country in the past year?  How old is the child?  Do you have Medicaid, CHIPS or any kind of medical insurance?  Most telling answer of the day "He arrived from Honduras 8 days ago."

The out of the country question determined the need for a TB test, we only vaccinated ages 4-17 and if you had insurance of any kind you were not eligible.  When I finished the first 100 packets that were used yesterday, I got the next 100 packets ready for today.  Then I put the second set of numbers in order so someone can start the third set of 100 packets today for use tomorrow.  If those numbers keep up all week, they need to be ready first thing in the morning.  

I was tired when I got home but Ted had dinner ready and after eating all we did was get suitcases out and I looked over what he had laid out.  I think he may be a bit color blind because what he thinks goes together "ain't necessarily so!"  We also are missing a small carry on suitcase.  Probably one of the kids needed it to go home once and we all forgot about it.  International carry-ons are smaller than what we use in the U.S.  So Ted will go buy an inexpensive one today.  That beats getting charged $100 going and/or coming on the plane when they make you check it.

Today I need to take two gallons of tea to a funeral lunch at church.  It is the easy way out but I was gone all day yesterday and have a hair appointment at 2:00 today just when the lunch is scheduled.  Fixing something was just not on my radar this time.  We have dinner and cards tonight starting at 5:30 with the group of 40 that we play with once a month.

Steve, Keith and Marge, relatives from Connecticut, leave today for Transylvania and will join us in Constanza on Monday where we board our riverboat.  Kara and Bill leave tomorrow for Cluj, Romania and will meet up with us in Bucharest on Sunday.  There is a 5:00 Mass in English in Bucharest 3 miles from the hotel.  Our tour director said he will get us a taxi if we arrive at the hotel in time.  I hope we can make it because the next two Sundays we won't be able to because of the itinerary.  

Church isn't where you meet. Church isn't a building. Church is what you do. Church is who you are. Church is the human outworking of the person of Jesus Christ.  Let's not just go to Church, let's be the Church ~ Bridget Willard


Monday, August 11, 2014

Another Countdown Begins

I had a good week getting things done and being places I needed to be last week.  I hope this week turns out as well.

Lazy Boy picked up the loveseat Tuesday and returned it on Saturday, I attended training for the Back to School shot blitz clinic, I had my hair cut and nails done, I took food to and worked at a funeral luncheon at church, did the laundry, cleaned the house, got my clothes and things ready for packing and hosted Shanghai here Saturday night.  Sunday we were invited to Terry and Carol's for dinner.

This week I will work at the shot clinic, play Shanghai with the couples' group, attend my neighborhood luncheon and fix a casserole to take to our Forum sign up meeting where I need to monitor sign ups for the Children's Festival and the Christmas Gift Distribution for the Women's Shelter.

Then we will pack our bags, give Chris a big hug for taking care of things "back at the ranch" in our absence and board KLM for a 9 hour flight to Amsterdam followed by a 2 hour flight to Bucharest.  We will travel to Romania, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Hungary and the Czech Republic.  It is our first venture into Eastern Europe having covered western Europe pretty well.

Of the five couples here for Shanghai Saturday night, three of us are jet setting this week.  One is going to Argentina, the other to the Galapagos Islands.  What fun it is to share stories and photos the next time we meet. 

"Years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do.  So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor.  Catch the trade winds in your sails.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.” – Mark Twain

Monday, August 4, 2014

Staying Busy

We had a rainy day to drive to Carthage and arrived to find the office closed.  We drove around trying different spots but hadn't found one long enough when a guy on a golf cart arrived and took us towards the back where the longer sites are.  I am glad I had on my crocs because I was in standing water while we got set up.  Thankfully we didn't need to unhitch and went inside and stayed there.  No grillng those steaks for dinner!

I took the time to start getting all the clothes, food and laundry together that needed to go in the truck to be taken home.  Friday was sunny and the temps were mild.  We had braced ourselves for 90s and 100s but that didn't happen.  We arrived home around noon and set up in a nearby park.  We came home, surprising Chris who wasn't expecting us until Saturday.  Since he will return in two weeks he closed his bedroom door, did his Arnold impersonation declaring "I'll be back." 

Ted returned to wash the trailer and I started on the laundry and putting the other clean clothes and food away.  It took several hours but when I drove to the campground the house was in order, laundry was done and Ted was finished washing the trailer.  Yeah!  We finally didn't make a mess!  The steaks were grilled for dinner and we ate outside at the picnic table.  Spectacular weather!

Saturday was cleaning day.  I changed the sheets so we are good next time out, cleaned the bathroom, emptied the refrigerator and cleaned it good, vacuumed and got the last of our things together and headed for home.  Then I tackled the mail.  The truck license plate needed renewing, lots of filing of medical things Medicare sends quarterly plus a few EOBs from our supplemental policies, dividend statements, phone bills for Ted's expense account, etc.  I had mail and emails from both Grand Circle Tours and Norwegian about our upcoming trips so I created two piles, one for each so I could manage all the paperwork.  It took awhile but I got it under control.

Our neighbors asked us to go to the grand opening of a new 55+ community with them so we met them around 4:00.  The houses were beautifully decorated but were either too small or too big.  I didn't like how they used space.  Rooms were disjointed and nothing floated my boat or Ted's.  After a little wine, some sandwiches and mini desserts we headed to the church nearby and attended Mass.  By the time I got home I was stiff all over.  Two days of physical labor had done me in! 

Sunday I tackled my trip piles.  First up, Eastern Europe.  I made sure we have our air itinerary handy in addition to passports and proof of additional medical insurance and evacuation insurance to enter the Czeck Republic.  Medicare doesn't work outside the U.S. and they apparently don't want non-covered folks hanging around their country.  Novel idea!

We are traveling to seven countries, all with different money.  Using the euro in western Europe is so convenient now, that this will seem archaic, not to mention a lot of math figuring each one out.  I made several bank phone calls to determine which credit/debit cards offer the best rates on foreign transactions and at ATMs.  I also advised them of our travel plans.  I had to spell some of the countries for the young man taking the info!  The other young lady couldn't find Serbia and then finally announced "There it is.  It's just a little orange dot!"  

With that done, I proceeded to make a tomato/cucumber/onion salad and black forest cake for our next party which consisted of the 14 folks going to Panama.  Irene and her deviled eggs rode to Gerre's with us.  Again the weather remained pleasant and was so enjoyable.  We made good headway on agreeing on dining times, excursions, transportation to and from, etc.  It is a good group and should be a lot of fun.  I am in charge of booking ground transportation for all of us on our return and will do that today.

I'll settle down when my 'To Do' list is smaller than my 'Been There, Done That' list.

Author Unknown

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Our Last Week Out

After church Sunday morning we headed out to visit with our old neighbors from the last place we lived in Cincinnati.  It is amazing how years just melt away and you can pick up like it was yesterday.  It has been two years since Marge and Steve visited us in Celina, OH but it was many years before that since we had seen them.  They live in a different area now and have a gorgeous home on a huge lot complete with swimming pool.  We had a great time, delicious dinner and it was late when we left.  Visits like this are why we try to spend time in Cincinnati each year.  There are so many friends and so much family to visit.

We hadn't seen any of Ted's family so we met his two sisters and a sister-in-law for lunch on Monday.  Kath and Peg were on their lunch hour and Barb was heading to work.  In retirement you sometimes forget not everyone can just come and go as they please.  We had lots of laughs and got caught up on family news before it was time for them to return to the salt mines.

Since we were close to Sam's we stopped to get the brats we forgot to get at Kroger's.  We are now good to go!  We grilled some for dinner and just as we were finishing up Ted's brother Kevin stopped by the campground so Ted threw a couple brats on the grill for him.  I was glad he was able to spend some time with us before we left the next morning.

Tuesday was an 8 hour travel day back to Sikeston MO and dinner once again at Lambert's.  Ted wanted to stop at Vanity Fair to get some cotton slacks to take to Europe and after that it was showers and bed.

We only had a two hour drive on Wednesday to Marion, Arkansas.  We planned to spend the afternoon and evening with our camping buddies Rick and Brenda.  They have moved into a newly built cottage on his brother's property where he boards horses and has been building and improving the entire facility.  We went out to the pasture to see the four horses in residence.

They actually live in Millington TN but with the horrendous construction we chose to hold up on I-55, set up for the day and drive the rest of the way in the truck.  That way we can take the same detour today that we used on the way up. 

Our first surprise when we arrived was a Pinnacle 5th wheel in place of their motorhome.  They traded just the day before.  It is a 2013 and a terrific layout.   It is good they will get back on the road even if it is not full time.

Brenda arrived home from work and eventually we headed to the Pig N Whistle restaurant, housed in what was once an old general store.  The special was a half rack of ribs and we all got that but Rick.
Afterwards they showed us places where they lived growing up before going back.  

I did not kiss the pig!

When we returned Mike and Barbara were putting the horses in the barn for the night and we spent some time with them.  It was our first chance to meet Barbara.  Mike's wife Nancy died shortly after the last time we were there and he and Barbara have been married for a few years now.  She was delightful and obviously a hard worker.

The drive back through the construction with no street lights on in most places was a harrowing experience.  It was a relief to get back onto I-55 but the way to get to the southbound side where the campground is was darker than the construction zone, but we made it.

Today we head to Carthage, Texas.  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Our Day at the Lake

The weather was supposed to be rainy Saturday and get even worse on Sunday.  But we ended up with a glorious day at the lake.  The weather held off all day.

This was our first time driving around the lake to Tim and Cindy's new place.  Previously we were always staying with Karen whose cabin is close to the front and we took the boat over.  The road is horrendous!  There were times I wasn't sure our dually truck would make it up some of the hills with the road bed non existent.  But we made it and parked at the top of their drive for fear of not being able to get out.

Their son Brian with pregnant wife Laura and son Jameson were there as well as their pregnant  daughter Amy.  Landon was home building a garage.  Their son Ron, whose wife is expecting twin girls, was not there since Sarah is on bed rest.  They will have 6 grandkids under four by January. 

In the next cove, nephew Dave was down and joined us while nephew Little Dan and family were using Eddie's cabin.  Everyone was out on boats or swimming in the lake.

We arrived just as Tim and Brian had secured a walnut top on the outdoor stone bar.  It was from a tree off their property in Indiana.  They took it to a sawmill to be dried and sawed into planks.  It was beautiful wood. 

The wood all needs to be stained as well as the bartop.  They have accomplished so much but want to do so much more.  Right now there is a contest to name the moose!

Cindy has done a good job decorating in a western motif.  Here is the main bath.  Note the horseshoe toilet roll holders.  I loved the use of real stirrups as hand towel holders.

We visited for awhile and then took a ride on the pontoon boat. There was a concert going on so we headed that way.

It was crowded and the music hadn't started so we continued on our way.  The kids were in a different boat and stayed. 

 We stopped at Tim's sister's place where they were all doing yardwork.  They stopped to visit for awhile and then we headed towards home.  We passed the beach and Jameson in the other boat.

After a wonderful dinner and lots of laughs we headed out about 8:30.  Ted wanted to drive out while it was still light.  Some of those hills you come over are like roller coasters and you can't see the road until you crest.  He would rather not do that in pitch black.  We made it home just in time because as soon as we sat down to watch TV the rain started.

Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet. ~ Roger Miller

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Heading to the Lake

We arrived safe and sound in Cincinnati and were backed up to the lake in no time.  We ate leftovers for dinner and had a quiet evening after our drive.

I was excited for Wednesday because it was lunch day with Donna, Donna and Cookie.  These are my girlfriends from K-12.  Donna and Cookie picked me up and after hugging Ted and oohing and aahing over our new Mobile Suites, we headed to Cracker Barrel in Milford to meet up with one more Donna.  Her husband is suffering from dementia and by us going to her she would not be away from home as long. It was so wonderful to see them all.

We left the park at 10:30 and it was going on 4:00 when I got back.  More talking than lunch!  Our waitress checked on us periodically and then finally gave up!  I can't tell you what all we talked about but there was never a lull in the conversation.  I had a wonderful time!

Ted had the oil changed in the truck while we were gone and had lunch somewhere.  By 6:30 we decided we were hungry again and went to LaRosa's.  So now I have my pizza fix.  Kara and Bill are coming to Cincinnati next week for a concert so they will get Morgan her LaRosa's pizza sauce so we didn't have to do that.

Thursday we did a bit of shopping getting our food items to take home but we forgot the brats.  Now we have to go again.  But I did forego lunch to have a United Dairy Farm malt.  Two food items down, one to go.

At 4:00 we met Karen and Ron at the bank to handle some family business then returned to their house for dinner.  We were joined by Debbie and Joe who brought some family reunion items for 2015 to show me.  He has taken that job over since I "retired" from handling it.  We will be in Pigeon Forge next June at the Main Stay Suites.  We already know there are six babies on the way including two sets of twins!  Back to working on the family tree for me.  Keith had the 2013 version framed and hung in his office.  It is 3 feet by 6 feet and goes back 8 generations to 1832.

Friday we didn't do much but hang out here in the park.  Ted decided to go shooting since it is supposed to rain on Sunday.  I emailed my niece Jill and invited her to have dinner with me.  So after work she picked me up and we headed to Whiskey's in Lawrenceburg.  We had a drink, dinner and dessert!  She is such a delight, looks more like Kristin than either Kelly or Kara, and is a talented quilter. She is just finishing up a quilt for Kristin that is a wedding gift from my sister Laurie and her husband Spence.  Ted came home and we visited until after 10.

Today we are going to Owenton, KY to Elk Lake for the day.  Cindy and Tim invited us to stay overnight but we will go down and back so we are back here on Sunday morning.

Jameson and Lilly at the lake.

Good family life is never an accident but always an achievement by those who share it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Goodbye Michigan

Sunday morning we were getting us and the kids ready for church when Bill and Kara came home.  We then all met Pat and Kelly at church and sat with Pat's mother.  I think she was pleased going from all alone in the pew to a totally full one!

We saw several folks we know since this was our parish church for 16 years.  It was heartbreaking to see our friend Mary in a wheelchair totally not knowing where she was or who we were.  She and her husband Dick were our bowling partners when we bowled on the church league years ago.  We had a nice conversation with her daughter, Mary Ellen.  By the time we spoke to everyone, the church was about empty and they were locking the door.  That's pretty much how it was every Sunday when we lived there.

We returned to Kara's and assessed our food situation.  We decided we were in good shape.  I set about putting everything in baking dishes so we could put it all in the oven to bake.  Kara and Bill opened their gifts before we ate.  Cassie and Kyle came over too but Ally was working.

We said our goodbyes to the whole family after dinner.  Kara and family had a 6 am flight to Orlando on Monday while Kristin and Larry had a Sunday evening flight home to Orlando.  Kelly's family was already scattering getting ready for another work week.

We returned to the campground and had a fire with Jay and Stella.  On Monday we drove back in to colllect the rental and personal items from the wedding.  The Mission Possible Methodist teens were cleaning the  church and helped carry everything out.  Our first stop was at the rental place to drop off two bags of linens, two drink decanters and a large silver tub that had held small bottles of water.  The other things belonged to Kara.  Larry's reflective circle for photos and Bill's golf umbrella had also been left behind.  We took all of these things to Kara's where I picked up my jewelry, left Sam's Game Boy cassette and brought the trash cans into the garage.  With our chores done we returned to the campground.

Ted did the outside work while I thoroughly cleaned inside the trailer.  It actually wore me out.  For our goodbye dinner, the four of us went to the Romeo diner.  It was only the second time we ate there the whole month.  We burned all but three logs of our wood in our last fire on our last night together.

This morning we left a bit before Jay and Stella and traveled I-75 to Cincinnati.  They were heading north to Sioux Ste. Marie.  We are all set up in our usual campground and settled in.  After dinner we took showers and I took a nap.  I think the activity of the last month caught up with me.

Tomorrow starts lots of visiting with as many folks as we can fit in.   We also need to stock up on our goetta, turtle soup, brats and Skyline chili to take home.  It will be a busy, fun week before heading out for home.  We plan to stay in the Memphis area one night so we can visit with Rick and Brenda.  They have come off the road and are anxious for us to see their new place of residence.

If the power to do hard
work is not a skill, it's the best possible substitute for it. ~ James Garfield

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Party's Over - Almost

Thursday we just hung out at the campground.  It was nice to relax, play some board games, build a fire, etc. with no agenda to attend to.

Friday we came into town for the rehearsal and luncheon.  There were about 20 of us in all.  All I had to remember was to start walking when Marilyn and Dave were out of camera range, walk to the left to join Marilyn when the Unity Candle ceremony started and to start the procession out after Kara and Bill rang the church bell for dismissal.

Our lunch was at Kona Grill.  It is a sushi bar but has a very good varied menu besides.  When lunch was over we took the kids home while Kara went to pick up her dress.  It was about 7:00 when we returned to the campground.

We were up and out early Saturday for a hair appointment at 8:30.  That didn't take long and we came to Kara's for make-up and to get dressed.  Ted had to help Sam and had to tie his tie for him.

It was cloudy and showers threatened but we were in luck for the time being.  The ceremony was beautiful.  It was held at the church in the Troy Historical Village.  Built in 1837 by Presbyterians, it was sold to the Methodists in 1860 and was used until about 2000 when it was moved to the Village.  

Kara compiled the whole thing into a program so everyone could follow along. The Catholic deacon and Presbyterian minister were so complimentary on the thought and planning Kara and Bill had put into making it all about faith and family.  

I have only a few photos I have pulled off Facebook since I was in no position to take any.  I will share more as they become available.

There was a tent on the Village Green where light refreshments were served.  It rained a little but within an hour everyone had left for the restaurant for lunch so it didn't cause much of a problem.

The place cards turned out well and Morgan made good use of the acrylic frame by visiting the photo booth 21 times!  It was rented from Morgan's teacher's husband and she came to run it so she could see Morgan!

Lunch was served in courses and consisted of soup, salad, pasta with meat sauce, chicken, roasted potatoes, broccoli and cannolis as well as wedding cake.  Even though it was an afternoon affair the open bar got a workout!  When we left there was still one table of folks.  I told Kara not to worry about them.  Once they realized the bar was closed they would leave too!

We came home for Kara to have her hair and make-up refreshed.  All the rose boutonnieres were limp so I took apart one of the table arrangements and made three new ones.   My kids didn't know I had all these hidden talents!

Then we went to a park for family pictures that we had not had time to take.  Everyone was so tired, especially Larry and Kristin who did the photography.  I was so-o-o glad to get back to Kara's with the kids.  She and Bill spent the night at a hotel and will meet us at church this morning.  She has invited the family over to eat and watch them open their gifts.  

We will return to the campground tonight and come back in tomorrow to return the rental items and linens.  Kara, Bill, Sam and Morgan all leave for Disney at 6 am.  

After that it is time for us to button up to hit the road on Tuesday.

The real act of marriage takes place in the heart, not in the ballroom or church or synagogue. It's a choice you make - not just on your wedding day, but over and over again - and that choice is reflected in the way you treat your husband or wife.  ~ Barbara de Angelis


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A First!

Today was cool (56) and drizzly so we decided to take a ride to Port Huron and cross the Blue Water bridge into Sarnia, Ontario, Canada.  Jay and Stella have never been to Canada so we thought it would be fun.

First up, the lady charged us $6.50 as a commercial truck on the way over which we didn't know was wrong until we came home and they charged us $3.50 as a non-commercial truck.  Then we were stopped to answer questions before entering.  First thing she asked for besides ID was Jay's camera in case he took forbidden photos of government buildings.  All he had was signs saying Canada!  

She asked if we had any firearms.  No.  Do you own firearms?  Yes.  Where are those firearms?  In MI and TX.  We were given a yellow Immigration card and told to pull over.

We were again asked if we had firearms, bullets, magazines, etc.  No.  They told us all to get out of the truck, stand against the wall at the front of the truck while they searched it all.  They found nothing because we had nothing. 

What struck me is they never directly asked me or Stella if we had guns.  They also did not search or frisk Ted or Jay who could easily have concealed a gun in their back waistband or ankle holster.  I thought that was dangerous for the officers.  Maybe I watch too much TV or too much USA news.  Anyway, they finally told us we were free to go.

Coming home we waited in line about 15 minutes to go through U.S. Customs to show our passports, identifying us as legal U.S. residents, to return home.  If we were in south CA, AZ, TX we could just walk in.  Doesn't seem right.

We stopped at a port park and saw some nice flowers and things.  The dreary day didn't make for good photos.

We stopped at the visitor's center where they had this beautiful fowl sculpture and pool.

We eventually stopped at Stokes restaurant for lunch.  There was a nice deck but that was not a good choice for today so we sat at a window table.  I chose pickerel (walleye for you non-Michiganders) and it was delicious.  We all agreed the food was good but things are more expensive in Canada and their taxes are high.

All in all it was an adventure.  It could have been a sunny, no hassle day.  Instead we got dreay and challenges.  But Jay and Stella had two "firsts" to our one.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Cookies Are Done

We went to church at 9 on Sunday so when we got home I fixed French toast and bacon for breakfast,  that way we could skip lunch and have an early dinner.

Laundry had piled up so that is how I spent my Sunday afternoon.  Stella and I shared 3 washers to do 5 loads of clothes spacing it so we got finished at the same time.  The weather was perfect and we spent the downtime sitting on a bench outside the laundry here in the campground.  Ted grilled pork chops while Jay and Stella ate the chicken and rice for dinner that we brought back from Monroe.  We had a fire but didn't stay out too late.

Monday I put a roasting chicken in the crockpot for all of us for dinner.  We went to Romeo to the grocery while Jay and Stella went to Rochester to get their auxiliary tank checked.  When we returned I made baked potatoes, baked apples and gravy while Stella baked a loaf of bread, a coconut pie and some carrots.  Turned out to be a great meal.  Since the Bachelorette came on at 8, we called it a night early.  

Today was cookie day!  Jay and Stella had two sets of friends stopping by to visit so it worked well for us to go into town.  Ted needed a hair cut and we had some banking to do also.  Kara had the dough made so I messaged her we were on our way and to set it out to get soft.  While Ted ran his errands I made 27 dozen cookies using the cookie press.  Kara wanted lavender sprinkles on top and I went through a large bottle of them doing that.  

I had taken a load of laundry with me but forgot to put it in right away.  So we had to wait a bit for it to finish.  Kara had left for the eye doctor so once we were washed, dried and folded we headed home.

We are not needed again now until 11:30 Friday when we will be at the rehearsal followed by a lunch.  Kristin and Larry will arrive Thursday evening and that will be our first chance to see them.  I am still carrying Patrick's birthday card around since we missed his birthday dinner last Monday when I was sick.  I hope I remember to give it to him on Saturday!

They're gettin' married in the morning
Ding-dong the bells are gonna chime
We'll have a whopper, pull out the stopper
Get me to the church on time 

~ My Fair Lady

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Great fun in Southern Michigan

We drove to Monroe in just an hour and a half.  Traffic was moving going south but heading north was a  different  story, everyone tries to get a jump on the weekend "up north" when you live here.  We checked into the Red Roof Inn and then proceeded to Sterling State Park which was only three quarters of a mile down the road.

What fun to see everyone once again!  There were two dozen of us who came from VT, Ontario, MN, TX, NY, etc.  What a testament to Karen and Dave that so many would come so far for his 70th birthday!  

After a short spell of visiting we all headed to the hall to help set up the tables, roll silverware, figure out plugs for the roasters, etc., etc.  

Within an hour we were all back at the park for a potluck.  Since we didn't have our rig we stopped at Popeye's and bought chicken tenders.

We visited until 10 then headed back to the motel.

Since we had to check out at 11 the next morning and the party didn't start until 1:30 we decided to head a bit south to the Bass Pro Shop to use Ted's gift cards while we had a chance.  The timing was great and we arrived right on time.

Karen's work on photos through the years.  All the couples attending had made the board too!

When Dave came in wearing his Texas shirt we suspected he knew but he said no.  By his reaction I believed him.

You wouldn't believe all the food!

We had a great time and told everyone we will see them in January.  We headed home and arrived about 7.  Jay had the fire going but it started to rain forcing us inside.  Ted was tired from driving and I hadn't slept well so it was just as well we turned in early.

The place cards for the wedding are done so we are down to doing the cookies.  I think that might happen on Tuesday now.

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?  ~Satchel Paige