Saturday, July 30, 2011

Catching Up On Little Things

We had some running to do on Friday before we got ready for the rehearsal and dinner. First off was a stop at the post office to send off a DVD to Keith. He decorates his ENTIRE house at Christmas and brought the DVD he made to the family reunion to share with me. We couldn't get it to play and it wasn't until Patrick "fixed" our TV connection in Michigan that we were able to watch it. It was all so beautiful and just amazing to see.

And we were looking for a Chase bank but apparently the nearest one is across the river in Kentucky. We'll deal with that later.

Next was a stop at Lowe's to purchase filler for a scratch in our kitchen floor. A screw on the underside of the glide came loose and scratched the floor when I put it out. We are hoping that the filler and marker will take care of it. We can't find the Armstrong Butterscotch boards or we would have it replaced. We may still do something like that if the filler doesn't work.

A stop at Kroger's for some groceries and we were on our way back home.

Karen and Ron picked us up and we drove to Harrison, IN to the church. It's small and will be hard pressed to hold 400 people if they all come to the ceremony. We will arrive early so Ted and I can be on the end. When we walk up to the altar we won't need to climb over people.

The dinner was very good and Amy and Landon received their "something old" gifts from their grandparents. Amy received a ring that her Grandpa had given her Grandma as well as a set of unused dishes they had received as a wedding gift 53 years ago. Her other Grandma gave her a Christmas serving piece, a Lenox dish and crystal bowl. She has 12 children and over 50 grandchildren. It's a tradition in their family to give these "old" gifts. I thought it was a great way to clean out the closets!

The bride and groom passed out their attendants' gifts and thank you notes to everyone who was involved in the wedding. Ted and I have been Communion ministers lots of times but this was the first Thank You note we ever received. It was very much appreciated.

Kara and Kelly will arrive today with their families. They are staying at a hotel not far from us. I know Kelly is going back tomorrow; I don't know if Kara is staying over until Monday.

Chris sent my driving glasses I had left in my car at home as well as the license tag for Ted's truck. The inspection will just have to wait until we return.

On another note, we have booked a transatlantic cruise for the fall of 2012. It is 16 days leaving from Italy with stops in France and Spain then six days at sea before stopping in Nassau and then Galveston. We have found these repositioning cruises to be great deals. There is a group of nine people going so far. The price is good until mid-October so if anyone is interested, let me know. Our balcony cabin is about the same price as a one week cruise out of Galveston.

“Successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person." ~ German Greer

Thursday, July 28, 2011

On Wedding Watch

Our only errands on Wednesday were to find three screws for the fan paddles and my nail appointment. Ted dropped me off and took off to hardware stores. The screws are so short that no one had them so he bought small washers to take up the space. He then picked me up and we came home and fixed the two paddles. I think we need to check occasionally that they are all tight. That's the only explanation we have for the metal bracket cracking on two different paddles in the same place.

We had an early dinner and then Ted went shooting at the gun club he belonged to when we lived in Cincinnati. I was content to stay here and finish my latest book.

Karen called and asked if we would like to help Cindy and Tim today get the room ready at the country club for the wedding reception. We said sure since we had nothing in particular planned. Cindy does such an outstanding job of decorating. I'm not allowed to post any pictures until after the wedding but the room was absolutely stunning!

There are two tables of beautifully decorated glass containers with all kinds of candy. Ted, Ruth, Karen and I unwrapped almost 50 lbs. of different chocolates. Each place (400 of them!) has a box with a ribbon that can be filled with candy. There is also a special table of games, books, crayons, toys, etc. to keep the younger children occupied after dinner when the dancing starts. Sam and Morgan are going to have a ball. They've never been to this type of wedding reception.

Another great thing Cindy did was to have wedding pictures of the four sets of grandparents put into silver frames to sit around the wedding cake. The top of the frames say I DO. I thought they should say I DID! Of the eight people pictured, six are alive and will attend the wedding. There's over 200 years of marriage represented in those four pictures.

Ted helped hang chinese lanterns from the ceiling and put out some of the 400 empty boxes for candy on the tables at each place. Way past lunchtime we finally all went into the dining room for a very late lunch/early dinner. I had popped plenty of the chocolates we were unwrapping so I wasn't all that hungry and just ordered a pita, Ted said he had beer for breakfast, chocolate for lunch and a hamburger for dinner! My family is a bad influence on him I think.

We have to be at the church by 6:15 tomorrow night for rehearsal. Ted and I will be Communion distributors so we need to attend. Afterwards there is a dinner at the country club where the reception is being held.

I sent an e-mail to Ted's two sisters and brother about getting together for breakfast on Sunday before my kids head back to Michigan. I figured the 10 of us and six of them would be a good crowd. They suggested the restaurant at the golf club where they live and I thought that was a great idea. Today Kathy wrote and said she made reservations for 39! Many of the cousins and their children will be there. My girls are so excited to see their cousins and for the chance for their kids to spend time with their second cousins.

People are blessings in our lives. I am so wonderfully blessed.

The love of a family is life’s greatest blessing. ~ Anonymous

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Now In Cincinnati

Karen and Ron had left Dan's by the time we arrived. Young Dan's family was back from their boat ride and we're preparing to leave. That left just Scott and Beth staying with the five of us. We started watching a movie and Ted said at one point he looked around and he was the only one awake. Maybe I'm not so old after all. Even the young ones were worn out.

I had taken the rest of the "reunion chili" over and later on the seven of us had 3-ways and coneys for dinner and polished off the last of the peach pie I had made. Beth and Scott left for home and we weren't far behind them.

We slept in on Monday and then spent a leisurely day doing laundry and resting up. Around 4 o'clock I fixed the last of the roast beef and gravy I had made. Ted had bought hand made noodles from the Amish and I fixed them too. With sliced tomatoes, we had a nice early dinner.

After dinner we went back to Dan's and we all took a ride to the log cabin in the woods that Brandon is refurbishing. He has a beautiful treed lot and a small lake. He hopes to be in it sometime this winter. He's made great progress on it since we saw it at Christmas time.

Today we left Celina around 10 and made our way to Cincinnati. I don't know whose roads are worse, Michigan's or Ohio's. We had to send for new paddles for our ceiling fan that broke off from flexing with all the bouncing in Michigan. We stopped by Karen's today to pick them up because we asked Nuwa to send them there. They didn't send screws so we are short three and Ted will have to go tomorrow to get some.

We decided to stop at LaRosa's for a late dinner and are now watching TV. We have no agenda for tomorrow so we'll just wait to see what develops.

Sometimes I sits and thinks, and sometimes I just sits. ~ Satchel Paige

Saturday, July 23, 2011

And On Into The Weekend

We made our trip to St Marys OH with no difficulties. Ted flipped his switch and our new tank filled up the truck tank and all was good. We are very familiar with this park and knew we had to take on water because there isn't any at the sites and the electric is on the wrong side. We had to clear all four slides and stay close enough to the electric post but we had plenty of room and no problems. They have nice big trees here but they are in the middle of the sites and cause no problems entering or exiting.

We talked to Sue and once Dan and Brandon came home from work they came over for a short visit before we all went into St Marys for dinner. Of course Dan insisted on picking up the check and no amount of cajoling on Ted's part could get their favorite waitress to give him the check.

It is Lake Fest weekend here at Grand Lake so we went into town Friday to investigate. Karen and Ron had arrived but no one wanted to come out in the unbearable heat. We walked around a bit, ate a little lunch, came back to the RV for the beef & gravy and peach pie I had made and went over to Dan's house. We stayed there the rest of the day and had dinner. A rainstorm finally cooled it off enough to sit outside comfortably.

We left just about 10 pm and saw some of the Lake Fest fireworks over the lake as we drove along the southern shoreline making our way home.

Saturday was the party for Brian's graduation and Vicki's 40th birthday. I thought the 50 cases of beer might be excessive but it wasn't. Then there were the other bottles and mixes brought in by so many others. And food galore! There had to be 100 people there. There were tents and games set up all around. Ted and Brandon lost the play off in cornhole to the pro bowler!

I think all the food kept the revelry from getting too bad, at least until much later. The music started at 8 pm but it took awhile before the dancing started. Liquid courage I guess.

They asked me to teach them the two step. When I turned in front of Vicki and said take two quick steps she asked "you do this backward?" I said, "well one of us has to." It was going downhill fast. I'm not up to these nine hour parties but I made it.

Ted is always the designated driver in our family so he drove Dan's truck home. I think Karen and I were the only other ones that were sober having drunk water all day and night. We picked up our own truck to come back to the campground. It was 2 o'clock before we got to bed.

This morning we went to church at St. Patrick's which was built in 1836. The priest was elderly with Parkinson's it appeared. There was no A/C so we had a quick 30 minute Mass with no homily. I guess that makes up for a couple of the serious overtimes we get at home.

Ted has gone skeet shooting and I'm getting things done around here. We'll probably go over to Dan's later. His son Dan, wife and three kids are over there now going out on the boat. Karen, Ron, Beth and Scott spent the night so I have no idea how many will still be there when we arrive later today.

“Drinking beer doesn't make you fat, It makes you lean.... Against bars, tables, chairs, and poles.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Ready to Pull Out Again

About 10:30 Tuesday morning, they were finished installing our auxiliary tank and automatic pump so we had to put some fuel in and drive back for them to pressure check it. Once that was done, we drove over the state line to Michigan to fill up both tanks with fuel where it was 20 cents cheaper. Wow! $360 to fill up both tanks. "Isn't that special?" as Dana Carvey as the Church Lady would say. We accomplished what we set out to do - travel all day without needing to stop for fuel while hooked up. That will normally be good for a little more than two average driving days.

We decided to drive to Emma to eat lunch. There are so many fine Amish cooking restaurants around that's it hard to choose where to go. From there we went to the flea market to find a few items we had in mind including paper plates for my sister to use at the lake. She bought some when she was here and wanted another supply. Ted wanted some cleaner he bought that works well on our slide rubber and some more clamps. I was looking for a hand mirror since I broke mine. You can find all kinds of things you need and even more that you don't but buy anyway.

The heat has arrived and we were both covered in perspiration when we arrived home. Our neighbors on either side came out and we had a nice conversation with them. The nice breeze of the night before didn't kick up so eventually everyone went in to the A/C.

This morning we went back to the auction portion of the flea market. There were about six auctioneers selling "things." It was such a cacophony of chatter that I never could decipher what was being said. But when they sold the animals by only one auctioneer, I started understanding a bit of what he said. I waved at a fly in my face and the man sitting next to me looked over and I thought "Oh no, I probably just bought a cow!"

We ate lunch at the Auction Restaurant and neither of us ordered pie. In Emma we had some of the best peanut butter pie we ever ate but decided to restrain ourselves today. We found more things to buy at the flea market portion and it was mid-afternoon when we came home and got out of the heat.

Tomorrow we leave for Grand Lake St. Marys State Park, another short 150 mile trip. I'm sure it will only get warmer as we head south. From the weather maps, there doesn't seem to be much cool air anywhere in the nation right now.

Weather forecast for tonight: dark. - George Carlin

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Shipshewana, IN - Amish Country

We left Monroe Monday morning after using 5-6 feet of the spots across from us to get out. Good thing there was no one parked there. And we cleared a tree by just inches. I don't know why they don't use a list of maximum lengths for different sites. And I don't understand this propensity to put trees or posts at the end of the drive. Single lane roads just don't work well in campgrounds. Next time we'll stay at the state park since we've checked it out and we'll fit.

We had about a 150 mile drive and arrived in Shipshewana before noon. We got set up and Ted took off to Elkhart to check on an auxiliary tank. Since Pilot bought Flying J, the truck stops are more expensive than regular stations. But if you are pulling, you have no choice but to go to a truck stop. So we decided to have a tank put in the truck bed so we can pull around 800 miles without needing to refuel. That way we can take on fuel when we stop for the night when we are unhooked.

When he returned we took a walk into town and stopped at a few shops. We never tire of the buggies clip-clopping down the street. The Amish people do not want their picture taken and I always respect that but they have never objected to us taking pictures of their horses.

I wanted to take a picture of the Blue Gate Restaurant because the flowers are so beautiful. So we walked that way and I snapped a few other flower photos.

We bought a gift for someone, a birthday card and a few groceries before heading back home. I had ribs in the crockpot and after dinner we took another walk to visit our "neighbors."

I turned in early because we needed to be up at 7 o'clock to travel to Elkhart this morning. There was a big storm through the night and it's the first heavy rain we've encountered since back in February! Right now we are in the "less than luxurious" customer lounge of Dually Depot while the tank is installed.

“My biggest thrill was seeing the Amish. Their way of life, to me, is just fascinating, that people in this day and time can still live like that.” - Jennie Gamble

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hostess-es With The Mostess-es

Last February we spent two weeks in Mission, TX. Dave was parked right across from us at the campground in an older HitchHiker. That attracted Ted's attention but when he saw Dave drive in with a clay pigeon thrower in the back of his truck, his radar went off. A good friendship developed and Ted went shooting with Dave and other fellows while we were in the valley. We were also invited to a party at one of their friends who was leaving at that time.

Ted has kept in touch with Dave who lives in Monroe and has a cabin in Grayling. They wanted to meet up to go shooting while we were "passing through." We had a very nice evening on Friday and were invited to their house for dinner on Saturday.

We arrived at 2:30 as requested and visited before eating a delicious home made dinner of pork, green beans with ham, creamed corn off the cob, cucumbers, beets, cranberry relish, bread and home made apple pie. I ate way too much but it was all so good. We again got home fairly late.

We were invited back at 11 this morning for Ted and Dave to go shooting and Karen was taking me to Sylvania, OH to shop. I had mentioned I wasn't much of a shopper but she said she was and we were going shopping! And did we ever. We just about opened the place and closed the place. I bought a dress, necklace, shoes, 3 tops and 2 capris. Pretty good for a non-shopper! Everything was on sale plus we had a 20% coupon. What bargains. Karen is a size 4 and everything she tried on was so cute. I'd be a "shopper" to if I looked that good in everything.

I tried to buy her lunch but she said Dave was fixing burgers for him and Ted. He would make extra and we would have them when we got home. So we went home and ate a burger and finished the apple pie.

They are going to help us get into the campground in Mission during the last half of February. That month is almost always booked the year before and only cancellations become available. Let's hope it all works out.

We invited them to stop at our place in November while going or in April coming from the valley. We've also promised to stop next summer and visit with them again. However, I think we'll stay at Sterling State Park. We're not too crazy about the tightness of the campground we're in.

"The better part of one's life consists of his friendships." - Abraham Lincoln,

Friday, July 15, 2011

Two Photos I Meant To Post

Here is Tommy's stitched reunion picture with me in it! And a great picture of Kara taken Tuesday night at the pinning.

Moving Day

We went to Sam's second play off game on Wednesday but I took Morgan to the play area while it was going on.

It was at Raintree Park which is part of the subdivision we lived in from 1981-89. It is a beautifully wooded park with volley ball, swings, disk golf, play structures, ball fields, a pavilion and beautiful wooded picnic areas.

Unfortunately, Sam's team lost but we buried our sorrows at Dairy Queen.

Our original plan was to leave Thursday but Kara asked if we could stay an extra day to watch the kids. She had an 8 a.m. meeting and Allen was going to Lansing. We wanted to be in Monroe for the weekend so leaving Friday instead was not a problem. But on Wednesday the client cancelled the meeting so we didn't need to be at Kara's so early. We had planned to see Cars 2 so continued with our plan. Cassie and Kelly joined us. Besides us, there were only 3 other people in the theater, sort of a private showing. We had lunch at National Coney Island before taking the kids home.

Back at the park around dinner time, we started putting things away. There were three large hardwood logs left and Ted didn't think we could get a good fire going. We collected lots of pine cones and managed a fire until after 11 and the big logs had burned.

It was about 9:30 when we left Addison Oaks today and drove the 73 miles to Monroe. We are in a commercial campground and it is so different from the spacious place we just left. But it's close to Dave and Karen who are coming over.

We visited for awhile and then took a driving tour of the Monroe/Raisin River area. There was a big battle here and it is also the birthplace of Gen. George Custer. We drove past this area time and time again since 1981 when we moved to Michigan and never stopped to look around. Our first stop today was Sterling State Park where we were pleased to see it has a great campground and we'll stay there next time. You have to pay an $8 use fee per day or buy a $29 yearly sticker, but that will give us accessibility to other Michigan parks.

We went to Cabela's where Karen and I both bought a pair of shoes and the guys looked at gun stuff. We continued our tour into Dundee and then ate at Bob Evans. We got home going on 10 o'clock. We are going to their house for dinner tomorrow.

Famous Last Words:

There are not enough Indians in the world to defeat the Seventh Cavalry.

~ George Armstrong Custer

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Kara's Big Day

It was late when we got home so first thing we did was open the sofa bed. Our old couch was smaller and made a much smaller bed. We used to have to move the recliners but we don't need to move anything but the coffee table in this new one. It makes a good sized bed. The kids got undressed and into their PJs and climbed right in. Everyone slept well, especially me. I was tired from the wallpapering.

Years ago we bought a set of four CDs containing old, I mean my childhood old, cartoons. There is Lulu, Henry, Mighty Mouse, Popeye, etc. The kids love them and have watched them everytime they come. Tuesday was no exception. It kept them occupied until Ted woke up.

I made pancakes for breakfast and then Ted started to wash the trailer. Morgan was helping him while Sam played outside. I took this picture through the window because the steps were up and I couldn't go out.

The kids were bummed because there are no kids here now. There are just five trailers in the loop. After I finished up inside I took them to the playground but it was getting hot out and they wanted to come back for lunch.

Both of them like to play games on my computer. Chess is the newest one they play. Even 7 year old Morgan was telling me "this one can move this way, and this one moves that way." I guess trial and error on the computer is a good way to learn.

Ted and I dressed for the Centurion celebration and drove back into town. We drove one car downtown while Allen, Joy and Kara went in the other. Pat and Kelly came too plus four other friends of Kara's. She may have had the biggest fan base there!

The stories were heartwarming and heartbreaking. I was amazed at how many people were honored and each had their own story. Kara did a wonderful presentation and looked like a million bucks. She got a great round of applause.

Kara and Joy stayed downtown to go celebrate with a dozen others while the rest of us headed home. We were all hungry since we had missed dinner so we stopped at Steak and Shake because it was 10 o'clock and they are open 24 hours. Then we stayed at the house while Allen took the babysitter home and then we headed back to the campground. Another late night.

We have nothing scheduled for today until Sam's second playoff game tonight. We are going to ride to what we think is Lake Orion. In following our GPS to Walled Lake on Sunday, we stumbled on a town right on a lake very close by that we didn't even know was there. We're checking it out today. We may spend the night at Kara's because we're watching the kids tomorrow early while she goes to a meeting and Allen heads to Lansing. I think Cars 2 is on the agenda for us.

They're going to miss us after we pull out on Friday!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Grandma and Grandpa Things

We did ordinary things this weekend. Jay likes to eat breakfast out and with our busy schedule, his tank problem, scheduled lunches, etc. we just didn't' have the opportunity to show him a Greek restaurant breakfast. I miss these kinds of restaurants in Texas; it's IHOP or nothing down there.

We chose Gold Star Family Restaurant that also gives a 10% senior discount. For $5.50 you get two eggs, two bacon strips, two sausage links, a piece of ham with pineapple, home fries and toast. I didn't want all of that but Ted told me to order it and he would eat what I didn't want. I ate my eggs, bacon, 2 of the 3 pancakes I ordered instead of potatoes and skipped the toast. He ate the sausage and ham. I think everyone left something on their plate.

We parted company and Ted dropped me at the nail salon and he went shooting. He came back for me later and we went to Kelly's to assess the bathroom needs for the papering. We wanted to stay in town to go to church at 4 p.m.

Afterwards we met Kara and family plus Jay & Stella at Miguel's since Jay was hankering for some Mexican food. In Texas he probably eats it 3-4 times a week! They made the salsa right at the table and it was very good. I ordered Mahi-Mahi grilled. It was topped with garlic, lime and cilantro and was quite tasty. The restaurant got a seal of approval from Jay the expert. The owner came over twice and talked to us and to hear our limited repertoire of Spanish.

We came back to the campground for our final campfire. We probably have enough wood for one more but we're going to be so busy that I doubt we have one. We'll just leave the wood and someone will scavenge it after we leave. Jay and Stella pulled out about 10 on Sunday heading to Travese City. There aren't too many left in our loop at the campground.

We planned a visit to Barb and Randy's for Sunday afternoon. I worked with Barb almost 25 years ago at Voplex. But Ted received a call asking him to come to Walled Lake to try out a demo gun he has been looking at. So we hurried to get ready, used the GPS, and successfully managed our way around all the lakes in this part of the state. Ted tried the gun, made arrangements to meet Paul at The World in San Antonio in October and we arrived at Barb's right on time.

They live on Lake Oakland and the houses are stunning! One fellow has his own helicopter in the backyard and can take off right over the lake. We had some appetizers and drinks, went for an hour and a half ride on their boat and came back for burgers off the grill. It amazes me how we can see people once a year and just pick up where we left off and can talk for hours.

It was after eight when we headed home. I fell asleep on the couch some time after 10. All that fresh air wore me out. I was bummed I forgot my camera in the rush to leave. There were so many beautiful yards to photograph.

We went in mid-morning to Kelly's on Monday. Ted went for a haircut and I began to wallpaper. Even for all my 5Ks and days at Disney, the up and down, reaching and stretching of wallpapering reminds me I'm no spring chicken anymore. Kelly and Ted helped bringing me what I needed, holding things, etc. but it was 6:30 before I finished. Kelly said she was ecstatic so I hope Pat feels the same way.

Ted left to take Sam to his first playoff game and Kelly took me to Kara's. She had four friends over - Joy from NY, the other three to visit with Kara and Joy. We all had dinner and then Ted and Sam returned victorious. There is a second playoff game on Wednesday. Ted was nailed by a foul ball and has a nasty bruise/cut on his forearm. He plans to be at the next playoff game.

We brought the kids home with us so Kara and Joy can spend the day together. Tonight is the Centurion Induction and we're all going to attend. It's a big day for Kara!

“The simplest toy, one which even the youngest child can operate, is called a grandparent.”~ Sam Levenson

Friday, July 8, 2011

Sparkle Skirt Blog

Meet Kara: Her life after losing 182 pounds

Kara is third from Alice in Wonderland

Kara is third from the left

“I run to be the kind of parent I want to be…I want to demonstrate to my kids the importance of a healthy lifestyle.”

In 2008, Kara decided that she needed to take aggressive steps in her life-long battle with obesity and opted to have bariatric surgery. Her procedure was performed in 2010.

But surgery was only half of Kara’s quest for improved health. Despite having no experience with exercising, this Michigan mother of two and employee benefits professional resolved to take control of her body and fitness. Her results and her story are inspiring.

A lifetime of struggles with weight from the time she was about 10 years old, Kara battled excess weight. By the time she was in her late 20s, she had reached almost 400 pounds. Sickness and exhaustion were part of her everyday life. “I was very ill,” Kara says.

During this time, Kara’s mother read an article on polycystic ovary syndrome and wondered if this could be impacting Kara’s weight. After six weeks of treatment, Kara had lost 50 pounds and was able to overcome infertility problems that had been plaguing her personal life.

Managing her polycystic ovary syndrome allowed Kara to have two successful pregnancies and experience some weight loss. But post pregnancy, her weight crept back up to 350 pounds.

In 2008, Kara opted to have weight loss surgery. This decision did not come easily—Kara was not having other health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure, so deciding to have the surgery was really a “pre-emptive strike” at future health problems and to set an example for her children.

“My overall goal for having the weight-loss surgery was to better demonstrate to my kids the importance of a healthy lifestyle and treating the body you have been given in the proper way—that includes diet and exercise,” says Kara.

Kara’s family and physicians were supportive of her choice. Her endocrinologist called Kara a “poster child for people who truly need the surgery” due to her metabolic and hormonal issues.

In early 2010, Kara underwent the surgical procedure.

Exercise: Kara’s new frontier

Having surgery and losing weight was only part of Kara’s fitness battle. At age 40, Kara was a virtual stranger to exercise.

“When I was younger, I didn’t want to engage in physical activity because of my weight,” Kara says. “I couldn’t do what the other kids did and felt really inhibited.”

Kara started to exercise to prepare for surgery. “Before my surgery, it took me 32 minutes to walk a mile on a treadmill, and every time it felt like I was going to die,” says Kara. “I wouldn’t have run even if you chased me with a weapon.”

Fortunately, with her new body came a new motivation. Kara reached a 100-pound loss in August, 2010, due to both her pre- and post-surgery efforts. When she hit this milestone, she made a commitment to run the Disney Beauty & the Beast 5k in February, 2011.

“The 5k coincided with my ‘surgi-versary,’” Kara says, “and by the time the race came around I had lost another 70 pounds.”

Kara’s performance at the Princess was a rousing success. “I told everyone I was going to walk it, but I ran it instead!” Kara says. “I came across the finish line surrounded by a supportive group of Disney friends who I consider ‘real runners’ who only did this race for me. I held the hands of my friends Katie and Liz high in the air. I sobbed at the end with joy. Truly, it was my victory lap.”

Enjoying her accomplishments:

Today, Kara walks and runs three to four times a week and marvels at what she has accomplished.

“I am proud of what I have achieved,” Kara says. “You cannot imagine how great it feels to not carry around the equivalent of a whole other person on your back.”

You might think that someone experiencing such a dramatic weight loss would be fixated on the look of her new body—but Kara’s delight has nothing to do with her appearance.

“For me, the joy of being healthy is that it allows me to be the kind of parent I want to be,” says Kara. “Being able to demonstrate to my children that it is good to live a healthy life is much more important than buying smaller clothes.”

Kara will be inducted into Henry Ford Hospital's Centurion Club on Tuesday, July 12, in recognition of her losing over 100 lbs. She is at a 193 lb. loss now. Maybe they need to give her double membership!

Frankenmuth, Michigan

Today we left for a day trip to Frankenmuth. Our first reason for going was to show Jay the back way to I-69 and then to I-75 without backtracking. The second reason was to have their world famous chicken dinner.

Our first stop was at Bronner's, Michigan's #1 tourist attraction and the largest Christmas store in the world. You just can't look around and not find something to buy. I had two ornaments personalized but I can't say for whom without spilling the beans. I also bought a Christmas mantle scarf. I guessed on the size so I hope it works out OK. Stella bought a feathered bird ornament for her daughter.

Next stop was Bavarian Inn for that wonderful chicken dinner. First you are served fruit stollen and homemade white bread with homemade preserves and butter. Next comes chicken noodle soup followed by cole slaw, chicken pasta salad, bean salad and cranberry salad. By the time they bring the chicken, mashed potatoes, noodles, dressing, mixed vegetables and sauerkraut, you wonder where you can put it all. Ted opted for wiener schnitzel as a second meat and Jay chose bratwurst. You finish up with a dish of ice cream.

We all waddled out and headed to the fudge store. Stella bought some fudge but I waited outside on the bench. This is a mural showing the process of making fudge. The smell was tempting but I was so full, it was easy to resist.

The flowers all over the town are so beautiful that I just wanted to take them all in. Her back was bothering her and walking was uncomfortable so we limited our activity in town. This is the Bavarian Inn as we approached it.

This is a topiary-type chicken but done in flowers in front of Zehnder's that also has the wonderful chicken dinners. I believe they share the same kitchen with the Bavarian Inn.

We went back to the glockenspiel because it was to go off at 3 o'clock. It is the 13th century story of the Pied Piper of Hamlin. He agrees to get rid of the town rats, which he does successfully. But then the town thinks he has used sorcery and refuses to pay him. The next day he played his flute and led all the children out of town except for a blind boy and a crippled boy who fell behind. They returned to town to tell what happened. To this day, in the city of Hamlin, Germany the story is retold in a stained glass window. There are many theories as to what really happened to the children but it has been documented since 1384 when a written chronicle states "it has been 100 years since our children have gone."

This is the Pied Piper leading the rats out of the city.

Here he is leading the children out of the city.

This is a full shot of the entire glockenspiel.

We drove back home and have been inside ever since. I paid some bills, caught up on my e-mail, finished a book and now am doing my blog. Soon we will go outside for a campfire. We're still using the scavenged wood that supplemented the wheelbarrow full that we bought. The weather has been delightful. It was 66 inside the RV this morning and probably hit about 82 this afternoon.

Jay and Stella leave Sunday for Traverse City and I don't know what their plans are for tomorrow. I have a noon nail appointment and Ted is going shooting. We want to attend Mass at Sacred Heart at 4 pm. I guess we'll decide about dinner at some point in time.

"Pied Piper: As a rule / I refrain from calling any man a fool. Heed me now. / I'll wait until yon clock strikes the hour. / Don't let me go away / Without my pay."

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Getting Behind

Tuesday we had lunch plans with Carole and Margo from Plymouth in downtown Rochester. We first learned of these two adventuresome ladies through my friend SueAnne's mother Molly (who by the way is my role model for old age!). Carole and Margo travel all winter throughout Mexico and not in the touristy coastal areas. They get right in with the locals and stay extended periods. Molly knew of my love of travel and started sending me their Notes From the Road. A correspondence and subsequent friendship developed and when we are both in the Michigan area, we get together.

Our lunch ran for three hours and I think we could have stayed longer if we let Ted keep going. He was on a roll. We have traveled so many places and are easily entertained with local fare and Ted has a story about just about everywhere.

We may be of some help to the dynamic duo as they prepare for their 2011-2012 travels. We'll stay in touch and see how it all turns out.

Wednesday didn't go as planned, breakfast out and the Chrysler Museum. Jay needed to get his tank fixed and he went into town to get that taken care of. I took the opportunity to do laundry and met one of the volunteers here in the park. She said they are only required to work six hours a week. That's total, not each person. Quite a gig! Since we had no other plans, we went into Kara's for dinner and went to Sam's baseball game. Ted was in his glory because one coach was there by himself so Ted got to help. He's been working with Sam and they are both enjoying it.

Today was our day to babysit so we drove in early and took the kids to the mall. First we went to Build-A-Bear with Morgan's gift card. The card paid for the bear but who wants a naked bear? So one bear, one bath, one dress and shoes later, we headed to the Lego store with Molly in tow.

Sam is going to be a salesman. He was giving pitches right and left to adults in the store looking at all that is available. He almost had a woman convinced to buy the $400 Death Star because it is being discontinued and "once it's gone, it's gone!" He picked out some sort of Star Wars ship and we bought it for his birthday.

Kara asked us to stop at Gymboree to get white bike shorts for Morgan which we did. Then we took them to lunch at the Peacock Cafe. We followed that with a pit stop, a stop at the post office to mail Tommy & Susan booklets on Pigeon Forge and then on to Wal-Mart to look for swim vests. We struck out there so headed back to Kara's.

She came home shortly after that and we headed back to the campground. Ted glanced in the back and we had the car booster seats still! We turned around to take them back and eventually made it home.

Ted is washing his truck and I'm getting caught up on the computer. If all is well with Jay's truck, we intend to go to Frankenmuth tomorrow. Our days are filled until we leave next Friday. I still have to wallpaper Kelly's bathroom and have dinner with our friends Barb and Randy. No matter how long we stay here or in Cincinnati, we never get to see and do all that we want.

If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.- Maria Edgeworth

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Finally - Celebrating the 4th of July

We had a quiet morning after I got the trailer back in order and put away the clothes Kara had laundered for me. In an RV everything needs to be in its place or it gets messy really quick. That's where mine was when I woke up in the morning after our company.

Ted and Jay kept driving around the loops looking for firewood left by departing campers. We're waiting for Jay's neighbor to leave because he had a 1/2 cord delivered, then they left for a good part of the weekend and didn't use much. They were supposed to leave yesterday but didn't. The stalking continues as more campers leave today.

In the afternoon we were all invited to Kelly's. Jay & Stella wanted to stop at Best Buy and we had to stop at Hollywood Market so we drove separately. Kelly's yard and house looked very nice with all the flowers blooming. A friend John and his mother Ellen visiting from New York were there as well as Pat's parents Ed and Lou. We've known them for over 25 years. He is 87 and she is 82. They will be married 60 years in October and are planning a big party. It was a nice group.

Ted and I got to see the recording of Ally's dance recital. We were disappointed we didn't get to attend this year but the family reunion stood in the way. There was no video of her dancing at Disney. Jay and Stella were good sports and watched quietly with us. It was just snippets of several dances so it really didn't run on too long.

Patrick grilled chicken and we had potato salad, broccoli salad, fruit salad, Waldorf salad and deviled eggs. Kara made two apple pies and they were well received by the troops. Sam and Morgan were busy all day in the basement with the Wii.

We were still celebrating birthdays since the 4th is Allen's so there was singing and a few more exchanges of gifts. We had a good laugh over the card I gave Patrick last year. I bring cards with me when we travel and last year the only one I had left by 7/7 was a white kitten with pink flowers. Later he had asked Allen, "um, did you get sort of a strange birthday card from Mom this year?" I made sure he had an appropriate one this year!

When we arrived home Jay came right over and Ted walked away with him so I knew something was wrong. Jay has an auxiliary tank that holds 100 gallons of diesel fuel and it was leaking. He wanted to offload some to Ted to get the level below the leak. We took about 10 gallons but that wasn't enough. He approached another fellow who took another 10 gallons and that seemed to do it. (We both paid Jay for the fuel.) The sheriff came by because he had followed the leak into the park. They reported back to whomever that the source had been found and it was fixed. He gave them the name of a place in Rochester to take it to this morning. I hope they can get it fixed quickly. Watching $4 a gallon fuel flow out the tailgate is not a pretty sight.

We built a fire but there were no marshmallows for us grown-ups. Jay went home first and I came in second. Soon after Stella left and Ted came in. It's been a terrific 4th of July holiday for us because we were able to spend it with family and good friends. I hope everyone else had a great holiday too.

A friend is one with whom you are comfortable, to whom you are loyal, through whom you are blessed, and for whom you are grateful.” ~ William Arthur Ward

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Still Celebrating

We celebrated Father's Day and Allen's (7/4) and Pat's (7/7) birthday today. Ted received some new shorts and a set of walkie-talkies since the charger on our old set died. That completes our birthday bonanza that starts with Kristin on 5/8 and includes Mother's Day and Father's Day and ends with Pat's birthday. Only Kara is out there in December all by herself. It keeps me on my toes for those two months.

We used the last 10 lbs. of chili to make 3-ways and coneys for dinner. Stella made a cake and there was some chocolate cake and ice cream left from Friday. I'm finally getting my refrigerator cleared out some since the reunion.

Pat took Sam, Morgan and Cassie down to the lake to fish. Morgan caught seven blue gills she said. I think they all caught some but she must have been the big "winner." After dinner Kelly, Ally, Stella and I played Mexican Train while Sam and Morgan played ball with other kids in the campground.

Ted built another fire and the kids roasted the great big marshmallows this time. Pretty much everything around here is sticky tonight!

It was a wonderful day and the sky gave us a spectacular show to end it.

Tomorrow we are going to Kelly's for dinner. Ellen and John as well as Lou and Ed will be there. It will end our four day long celebration!

When I admire the wonder of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in worship of the Creator” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Celebrating the 1st of July ???

For some reason the big fireworks display was scheduled for July 1 here at Addison Oaks County Park. So all the kids came out for our "4th of July" picnic. Including Jay and Stella in our festivities brought the number to 12. I hope we didn't overwhelm them.

This campground loop is just that, a huge circle with a large amount of grassy space in the middle for the kids to play.

Sam brought every toy known to man I think. They tossed ball and he and Morgan ran around squirting each other with his many huge squirt guns. Morgan also remembers the foam stickies I have in the trailer so she made a few pictures. Then they took a walk to the lake and she picked me a bouquet of flowers that consisted of clover, daisies and Queen Ann's Lace.

We all contributed to a dinner of burgers, brats, beans, corn on the cob, cole slaw and fruit salad, we finished it off with remnants from the reunion dinner. I made a chocolate cake with chocolate icing and then added ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, nuts and cherries. Stella bought a coconut cream pie because she knows that's my favorite! Yummy meal.

Before the fireworks began, Ted started the fire so the kids could roast marshmallows.

Of course the two little ones managed to burn theirs, one after another. No amount of coaching got them to where the marshmallow was all gooey inside and just light brown on the outside.

The fireworks started around 10 and lasted a good long time. It was a spectacular display.

They have cancelled the fireworks where we live in Texas because of the drought conditions. It is still extremely hot there and no rain. We really need a hurricane to come ashore with lots of rain to relieve the situation (one without wind that causes damage). Now that's a tall order!

All we have of freedom, all we use or know -
This our fathers bought for us long and long ago.

~ Rudyard Kipling