Monday, June 28, 2010

First Off, We're OK

Many of you may have heard about the Fort Trudd Campground in St. Clair, MI being hit by a tornado yesterday. They had no warning because it never showed on radar. They went back over the radar reports afterwards and still could not find any evidence of it. One man was killed and four were injured. Trailers, motorhomes, 5th wheels all were tossed around. Some were thrown into the lake. It was a scary scene. This campground is about an hour west of where we are camped. Both campgrounds are off I-69 east of Flint. Please keep those injured in your thoughts and prayers.

Saturday was another busy family day at the campground. Kelly and Kara's families came out as well as Shannon, John and Katie. Shannon has been Kara's best friend since college back in the late 80s. They were each other's Maid of Honor. The kids had a great time with the Super Soaker guns and soccer ball. After eating, they all went on a hayride sponsored by the park and then spent time at the playground. When they returned we had a campfire and made S'mores. I'll always remember little Katie (age 2 1/2) singing It's A Grand Old Flag. She's one smart cookie and a little doll. She tells the lady at McDonald's she wants "nuggets with a toy for a child under 3." I don't have pictures downloaded but will include them next time.

Sunday we skipped church in the morning so we could meet at Great Lakes Crossing for the 11:30 showing of Toy Story 3. Sam brought Woody and Buzz Lightyear and Morgan brought Jessie. Everyone had to use the bathroom before we went in so Grandpa and I, carrying Woody, Buzz and Jessie, walked into the stadium theater and walked up the steps carrying our dolls and used them as seat savers with us on either end of the nine seats we needed!

It's a great movie for kids and grown-ups. The moral is that we all eventually have to say goodbye to everyone and everything at some time in life. I'm sure most people teared up at the end.

Afterwards we went to Rain Forest Cafe to eat. Pat had gone to church in the morning while we were at the movie so he could play soccer in the evening when we all went to church. He joined us for dinner. While we were eating, there were announcements in the mall and the restaurant that we were under a tornado warning. However, the restaurant is a designated shelter so we were OK where we were. This was about 3 o'clock and the Fort Trudd mishap was about 7 pm.

Pat took off for soccer and the rest of us headed to St. Andrew's Church in Rochester. Morgan and Ally planned to spend the night with us. However, Morgan got an upset stomach and didn't get to come.

Ted, Ally and I played a whole game of Mexican Train because it was raining outside. Ted won, Ally was second and Yours Truly was last. The scores were fairly close though and it was no runaway for Ted.

Today Ted is at the ocularist having his artificial eye looked at. He does this each year when we come here and I am doing laundry at Kara's. We are meeting Gus and Melissa at the Alibi Restaurant for dinner tonight at 6:00. I worked with Gus at Hoechst across from Chrysler Headquarters until 1996. That's when we moved to Florida and I decided 15 years of full time and 15 years of part time work was enough and I never went to work again outside our home.

Our time here is winding down but both Kara and Kelly and families are going to Alpena for the 4th of July weekend. They will be about 20 miles from us so we will continue to see them for another week. We continue to have beautiful, pleasant days with rain at night. The temps should get cooler as we start moving north.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Taking It Easy

We went to the grocery on Tuesday in preparation for Barb and Randy coming for dinner on Wednesday. But on Wednesday they were predicting severe weather all day long so we moved it to Thursday ... and Wednesday was beautiful ... but then so was Thursday. We had a nice dinner with our friends and took a walk down to the boat dock afterwards. I worked with Barb in the early 90s here in Michigan.

Today we were at the doctor's bright and early but had a wait anyway. He said the pathology showed staph so he ordered more antibiotics and said to use hot compresses and the drawing salve on my boo-boo. He and Dr. Chang called in a cyst. Kara says it is a boil. It doesn't hurt and I only know it is there because Ted can see it.

Then we came to Kara's to do laundry. We also took Morgan to buy a gift I promised her for doing so well in the dance recital even though she didn't like dance class. I hope it taught her that sometimes in life we have to do things we don't like to do and it is important to finish things we start.

Sam had two gifts to return; one at Target and one at Wal-Mart. We took care of that and then took them to Pizza Hut for lunch. We are going to the park now to meet Kelly and family and to have a Dairy Queen ice cream!

Talk to you all later.

Two of the 10 Museums in NE Indiana

We visited these two museums during our short stay in Indiana. There were vehicles of every kind used during the war, both US and German. Many famous vehicles like Patton, Rommell and Eisenhower's were on display.

I never knew the Germans came so close to our shores. The ship is a mock up of the USS Tennessee and was used in filming The Winds of War, a TV series.

This is a picture of Jacob Beser, only person to fly both missions on the Enola Gay when it dropped the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 (before I was born).

The other museum had classic cars such as the Duesenberg and famous cars from films and TV.

Below are the A-Team van, the General Lee from Dukes of Hazard, the hearse that appeared in one of John Lennon's video, the Batmobile and Fonzie's motorcyle.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Only Gene Kelly and Cyd Charise Were Missing!

We drove the 219 miles to Addison Oaks without incident. We took I-69 east through Lansing and Flint then dropped south to Leonard where Addison Oaks is located. The weather has been fantastic. It gets into the 80s during the day but with little or no humidity, it is wonderful. Nights have been in the 60s. Our A/C kicks on very seldom. We seem to have hit a run of beautiful days and rainy nights. Great sleeping.

We got our old spot 109 but it is missing its large tree that succumbed to the Emerald Ash Borer that has decimated the trees in this area. All the curbside trees in Kara's neighborhood had to be removed. It doesn't appear they have had to remove many other trees so hopefully it is under control.

Also, we inquired about Bonnie and Jerry who have workamped here for 15 years. We always looked forward to seeing them and were devastated to learn Bonnie passed away about six weeks after we left last year. Jerry's truck and trailer are in their normal spot but he is in the hospital. She will be missed by many and we wish Jerry a speedy recovery.

We spent all day Thursday at the campground. Friday morning we left at 7 am to get to the doctor before 8 am. I have an abcessed cyst on my back and I went to my old doctor to have it looked at. They found my file with no problem. Last time I was in was 1994! He fixed me up, gave me a script for antibiotics and I have to go back next Friday. It doesn't bother me at all and I can't even see it but with my hip we can't take a chance with an infection getting into my system.

We were finished in time to get the kids from school on Friday at noon. That afternoon we attended Sam's 8th birthday party at Pump It Up, a large building filled with those bouncy things. After an hour and a half of bouncing, the children are served pizxa, soda and birthday cake. Sure beats having two dozen kids at your home I guess. I learned I still can't do a hoola hoop but I can Twist and hit the basket with a basketball. However, no one was impressed.

Sam came home with us to spend Friday night while Morgan danced in the first night of the recital. She DID NOT want to wear make-up and it took Aunt Kristin from Florida to call and tell her it was OK for the dance recital. Sam had a great time with the other boys at the campground riding bikes, having water fights with his new Super Soakers and going to the playground. He slept on the couch bed and said it was comfortable.

We met Allen at the supermarket in Rochester on Saturday to return Sam to him. We did our grocery shopping, went to church at 4 pm, bought shotgun shells at Wal-Mart and then went to Oakland University to attend the dance recital. For not liking dance, Morgan did a terrific job. She knew exactly what to do and when. Kara snuck us downstairs for a quick picture with her. Ally was tremendous as always and danced in seven different routines. She is amazing. Pat danced once again with her in the Daddy-Daughter dance. I was so proud of all of them.

Once it was all over, Morgan wanted to give her tights to another little girl because she does not want to take classes next year. She said her favorite part of dance was the costumes, her least favorite part was everything else! We all went to Big Boy afterwards and it was the first time we saw Ally other than on stage. Thus I have no pictures but Kelly will send me one from the professional photographer.

Ted went shooting Sunday morning and I got things ready for all the kids coming out for Father's Day. Kara's family came mid-afternoon and Kelly's family came at dinnertime. Only Kristin was missing. We had a nice Father's Day dinner and celebrated Cassie's 20th birthday. Poor Cassie had to settle for leftover Ironman birthday cake for her candles. There was still some left and Sam took it to a pop-up where two little girls were playing. Those sheet cakes go a long way. We had a campfire and made s'mores and that's what the kids ate for dessert.

When everyone left we sat outside with a camper named Larry. He will be at the park for a week and it's nice to have neighbors to talk to.

We went to Kara's on Monday to do laundry and Ted went to Dean Seller Ford. It appears we'll be waiting until we get back to Texas to continue looking. There are too many things on northern/eastern trucks that we don't want - heated seats, heat block, 4 x 4, emission equipment, etc.

Stay tuned!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Short and Hopefully Sweet

The wifi at Grand Lake only worked if you were sitting under the antenna by the office and we were much too busy to take time to do that so I'm behind. We never did get the Verizon set up so I'm using campground wifi.

We left Cincinnati last Friday and took Route 127 up through Ohio farmland to the state park. I know the price of hog futures, corn and wheat because they told us on the radio. LOL. We arrived by 11 o'clock, set up, took a ride around and stopped at a shop called From the Heart. It is an organization's thrift store. I found three Charles Dickens Village series Department 56 houses. They were set in their Styrofoam containers inside their original boxes. They were marked $4.50 each. I bought them for Kara. She looked them up on line and the prices there were $40, $68 and $70. Whoopee!! I also bought two new rolls of wrapping paper since I used the last I had in the RV to wrap Nolan's birthday gift. Then we met up with Dan, Sue and Brandon at the Mexican restaurant for dinner ... our first since leaving Texas! Afterwards we went back to their house to visit.

Saturday we went to a garage sale Sue was helping with. The lady gave me fridge magnets, flag decals and necklaces (30 of each) for $3 for the goodie bags at our Family Reunion next summer. Her business shut down and these things were left. I also bought a new Lenox shamrock Christmas ornament for Kara who has a tree with only Lenox on it. She's also big into the Irish part of our family.

That afternoon we rode to Kettering for Nolan's first birthday. He is the best baby! Not once did he cry, fuss or holler all day. He just looked around in awe at everything that was going on around him. It was nice to see Nathan and Meg along with her family that we met at their wedding a few years back. Brandon drove us home in a terrible thunderstorm.

Sunday after church we went out to eat and then I dropped Ted off at the gun club where he met up with Brandon and Dan to shoot skeet. I continued on to Sue's to do laundry. She and I watched a movie - the one about Girlfriends Past (like a Christmas Carol) but I can't remember the exact name. It was OK but what a pain he was. God's gift to women - or so he thought. At dinnertime we cooked out and visited some more.

Ted received a phone call Monday from the Ford dealer in St. Marys so he went there while Sue and I shopped for a dress for her to wear to her daughter Beth's wedding. We didn't have any luck and neither did Ted! He drove a new 2011 and proclaimed it "really nice" but with a $64,000 window sticker I want it to raise my firstborn or something similar (since she's already 44!).

Dan left work early and we met at Bella's for a very late lunch and then looked around at some campgrounds. I feel we really need a month in Cincinnati, would enjoy a month in Celina and a month in Michigan in the summer. That allows us to visit without rushing, cuts down on the fuel expenditures and cuts the campground fees in half. We won't do that for a few years because we have some more long trips to take but it's probably what we'll do down the road.

It's rained almost every night for the past two weeks but not during the day so we didn't have to travel or set up in the rain when we moved on to Auburn, IN. We arrived early, had lunch and then went to the two museums right next door. I took pictures and will elaborate more on them when I get the pictures downloaded.

Today Ted wanted to go to Shipshewana to the flea market so we drove the 50 miles. We bought lots more things for the goodie bags but not much else. We did eat at the Auction Restaurant which was really good and we spent sometime in the barn where all the auctions were going on. I was careful not to scratch my head or anything else while we were in there! Who knows what I may have bought?

Tomorrow we head to Addison Oaks, an Oakland County, Michigan park where we'll be until July 1. Friday is Sam's Pump It Up birthday party and he's spending the night so he doesn't have to sit through the dance recital twice. He'll attend with us on Saturday.

I have 7 minutes left on my battery so I'll close for now!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Heading to Grand Lake St. Marys State Park

We had eaten out so much that I talked Cindy and Tim into just coming here for dinner. We had a nice visit and they were so impressed with our RV. I don't think they saw the last one because there isn't a lot of difference cosmetically. They love to travel and I think in time they wouldn't mind hitting the road in one of these.

We didn't talk much about the reunion but managed to spend several hours just shooting the breeze. I was thinking we possibly wouldn't be in Cincinnati next year because of the family reunion in Pigeon Forge but it seems their daughter Amy will be getting married next summer so who knows what our plans will be.

Wednesday I went into Lawrenceburg and got a manicure and pedicure. I've used this salon before and thought I would just get that out of the way. In the evening I met up with friends I've known since 1950 when I started kindgergarten at St. Bonaventure school. We went all the way through 8th grade together and then three of the girls went on to Mercy High School with me. It's such fun to talk about the silly things we remember, the other kids and some of our teachers. John brought a kindergarten picture and we had great fun identifying everyone. Surprisingly, amongst us all, we did quite well with that. Ted had gone shooting and picked me up just as it was getting dark.

Today we started preparing for our travels tomorrow. My niece Jill came over after work and we had one last go at LaRosa's for pizza. Kara wanted a polybag of pizza sauce so we got that on our way out.

Jill and Ted had great fun feeding the ducks when we got back to the campground. They liked the stale hot dog buns, didn't think much of chow mein noodles and ate the soda crackers if you threw them into the water first. We didn't know if that had to do with the salt or moisture content.

It's always sad to leave our famiy and friends in this area. We may be back in November for a wedding but the jury is out on that. Airfares are heading ever upward. I have Yapta watching for me to let me know when prices change. If we can hit a decent price, we'll decide at that time.

On the road again .......

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Winding Down

Sunday started out stormy just like the weatherman said it would but then he said it would clear. We were counting on him guessing right. And he did. By 4 o'clock when our company arrived, it was beautiful out. Ted set up his travel table behind the trailer overlooking the lake and put our lawn chairs around it. Peg had called and said she wasn't feeling well so only Kathy & Mike and Barb & Kevin came. We had drinks and appetizers I had prepared before having dinner. After Kathy & Mike left, the four of us took a walk around the lake. It's about a mile and Ted & I do it frequently while we're here. We had such a good time catching up with them about the rest of the family.

The Enquirer retirees' luncheon is on the first Monday so when we are here on that day, Ted joins the fellows and always has a good time seeing the folks he worked with for many years. Judy (my Maid of Honor) picked me up and we headed to an outside restaurant overlooking the river. She is recovering from breast cancer and it was wonderful to see her looking so well. We had a 3-hour lunch and I got home just minutes before Ted.

We decided to go to the Hollywood Casino that is nearby. My friend called from Memphis and said she had won $500 in Tunica so we thought we would try here. Ted went off to play video poker and I found a Party Time slot machine. I put in a $20 bill and in short order had run it up to $165. I wanted to be sure I didn't just play it all back so I cashed out and took the ticket to Ted to keep for me. I then found a different machine, put in another $20 and almost immediately won free spins. It started going on its own and when it stopped I had $73 so I cashed that out and give it to Ted too.

I was down to my last $20 so I went to another Party Time machine but didn't do good. When I was able to play the bonus I picked a Pooper right away, but then picked a Party Saver so I could go on and picked a Pooper again! So I returned to Ted who gave me my two tickets back but I just held on to them until he quit. I cashed them both on my way out.

I had broken the ear piece on my glasses so we stopped at Wal-Mart optical. They were able to look up my frame number on line and fixed them on the spot. There went most of my winnings! We also bought Sam a remote control car for his birthday. It was last Saturday but there is a party at Pump It Up the day after we arrive in Michigan. I sent his Procter & Gamble stock check to arrive on time but I usually give them all a little something they will enjoy right away. I probably won't be around when they appreciate the value of a P&G stock account.

Tonight Tim & Cindy are coming by for dinner and to discuss the 2011 Family Reunion. We are planning for 100 people. The 133 we had in 2009 was due to the proximity of the event to Cincinnati. The 2011 one will be in Pigeon Forge, TN and we expect to lose a few attendees. I've already decided on one color for T-shirts. In the past we had individual colors for each family but that entails 15 colors and makes ordering harder. I've found great art clip of a bear and mountain which is a good representation of the Smoky Mountain area we will be in. Cindy is in charge of Friday night's dinner and gift bags. She has a good handle on what she is going to do so we're in great shape.

Stay cool wherever you are!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Down on the Farm

I forgot to mention musicians were playing steel drums during dinner at the wedding. It felt like we were setting sail on a cruise. After dinner a DJ took over and all married couples were invited to the dance floor. Then he announced years of marriage and people sat down as he said 5, 10, 15, etc. The two couples left dancing were Karen and Ronnie (51 years) and us (45 years). I don't feel like the "old folks" but I guess we are.

By the time we left the reception we had two invitations for Saturday. But first we went to Sam's to get our supply of goetta (we have two requests from other Cincinnatians to bring some home) and Skyline chili.

Then we drove to Sherry & John's farm to see their newest baby animals and the kids' 4H projects for the fair this year. It is overwhelming to me who doesn't even have a cat anymore because it's too much trouble with our traveling. They have horses, cows, pigs, goats, turkeys, chickens, rabbits, pigeons, llamas and probably something else I'm forgetting. I learned a pig will roll in mud and then shake like a dog who is wet. I have the mud splattered shirt to prove it!

We made a quick stop at home for me to get clean clothes and headed to church. We ran into Kevin and Barb and had a nice chat after Mass. They will be here today with the rest of Ted's family.

Then we headed to Kreimer's Bier Haus to meet Dan & Sue and Joe & Debbie. Now I'm not a sophisticated drinker or much of any kind of drinker for that matter but I had to ask for four different drinks before I found one they had the ingredients for (or knew how to make). I wasn't surprised they didn't know what a mojito was and you need fresh mint so many bars can't do this drink. No brandy for an apricot sour. They had peach schnapps but didn't know how to do a bellini. She finally said "You're in Miamitown, get real." So I hit the jackpot with a Long Island Iced Tea!

We had a great dinner with hot bacon slaw, pretzel bread and potato pancakes. I brought 2/3's of my meal home. Dan insisted on picking up the check instead of letting us split it three ways. We'll get even with him next weekend when we move on to the state park near where he lives. Sue asked if we minded going to their grandson Nolan's first birthday party. It will give us a chance to see all of their family so I picked up a small gift at Sam's for him.

Peg & Dave, Kevin & Barb and Kathy & Mike are due to visit us here in the campground today. The weather is threatening so we may have to do some adjusting to our plans. Wherever we end up gathering, it will be a good time.

Ted continues to look for a new truck. Gullo and Planet Ford waited until the end of the month to call him back ready to deal. He had warned them we were leaving on the 25th and we were in Arkansas when he got those calls. He has been to an Indiana dealer and is now talking to a Michigan one. It will be like buying the RV, when he sees the one he wants at a price he is willing to pay, he'll get it and not before. I'm astounded that these new trucks cost more than any of our first three houses!

Now doesn't that sound just like something an old person would say????

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Another Busy Week

On Wednesday, our friends who are fulltimers, Jim and Marilyn, came for the day. We've been friends since 1969 but we keep missing each other in our travels. They are heading to Maryland on Sunday so we took the opportunity to get together.

After lunch here at our RV, we went to the Visitor Center and Nature Preserve on the grounds of what was Fernald's National Lead Company. It was the early 1950's when many farms were bought or chopped up to build the infrastructure. Their product was uranium and they worked in conjunction with Oak Ridge in Tennessee.

For every pound of uranium, they produced 2.5 pounds of waste. They had a tiger by the tail and it took them many decades to realize/admit this. The information was very forthcoming about the leaking barrels, cracked cement containers, the burying, etc.

And of course they were tauting their expensive clean up and restoration. It is a beautiful nature preserve now but having lived in this area at that time, I know they neglected to mention some things.

Many employees died of cancer (my brother included), residents within a 5 mile radius received annual health screenings for years to watch for residual effects (my sister's family included). Fort Scott, a camp my children attended, was closed down because of its proximity. A subdivision now sits on that property. I can only assume it was built after the soil was cleaned up. It was interesting but made me sad at the same time.

After dinner, we bid Jim and Marilyn a fond farewell. We plan to see them during March or April when they workamp at the San Jacinto monument and Battleship Texas.

By Thursday Karen's washer was fixed and we spent the afternoon with her. Ted ran an errand for Karen and brought back some White Castles for lunch. One more taste treat taken care of. Amy stopped by to give Karen a manicure so we had a nice visit with her.

We spent a leisurely day at the RV on Friday sitting by the lake. Ted was listening to the radio and I was reading a book. Around 4 o'clock we started getting ready for the wedding.

It was a nice affair with an island theme. Everyone received an orange lei and the wedding cake had a waterfall. There were 30-40 of my family there and with an open bar, things cranked up in a hurry.

My great nephew had fun all night getting into pictures with everyone. He said he worries about me if he doesn't see me on Facebook but insists he always knows where I am.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Congratulations, Vicki

Saturday was a great party for Vicki on the farm in Indiana. About 80 people were in attendance, a good many of them my relatives. The kids enjoyed swimming in the pond and using an old row boat as a diving platform. The older kids played volleyball and had a bonfire when it got dark. We "older" folks had a wonderful time visiting. We'll see most everyone again next Friday at Jessi and Joe's wedding and I'm thrilled about that. No need to say goodbye just then.

Ted and my nephew John spent the afternoon cooking 10 beer can chickens. The chickens were raised by Vicki, went about 8 lbs. each, and were delicious. John was relieved that Ted has done this for a crowd in the past and was able to help him this first time out.

This is John's version of "giving someone the bird!"

My niece Lynn made the cake and did a beautiful job.

We didn't get home until late and went right to bed. We attended church Sunday morning in Lawrenceburg and ate breakfast at Howie's Diner before heading to Elk Lake. We sat back and relaxed and took boat rides on the lake. There are some pretty fancy houses going up. The first one is Karen & Ron's cabin and dock, the second is my deceased brother's old place. The rest are just nice looking ones we passed on our rides.

We pass through some small towns getting to the lake. I was impressed with all the flowers on the gravestones (an old "Decoration Day" tradition). We couldn't pass up this sign with a different message on each side. Rand Paul has a great chance in this area.