Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Just In Case

In case you are worrying about us running out of relatives, here are the four newest ones, all born this month!

Congratulations to Jessica and Josh on #4, Abigail

And to Katie and Mike on #2, Lillian

To Laura and Brian on their firstborn, Jameson

And last but not least, a firstborn son born today to Megan and Greg, Baby Leo

Congratulations to all four families.

A baby is God’s opinion that life should go on ~ Carl Sandberg

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Moving On

I tried to arrange lunch for the Cookie/Donna/Donna/Donna quartet since Cookie had major surgery (cancerous kidney and spleen removed) recently. She missed both our grade school dinner and girls' luncheon and we had hoped she was up to some visitors bearing lunch. She sounds great, said she feels fine but had two doctor appointments on Friday and was unable to meet us. She promised to see me next year!

So Donna B and I went to lunch by ourselves. She chose a great little deli type cafe and as soon as I walked in someone called "Donna Rae." Well that was a dead give away that it wasn't Donna Louise but me they were calling and it was my cousin Charles and his wife Charlotte. More relatives, more tripping. We talked about the last reunion and the one he is in charge of for 2013. They invited us to sit with them but Donna and I chose to sit alone. After several hours, when the place was closing, I complimented the owner on the food. She actually told us to come back when we couldn't stay so long! (Jokingly!).

That evening Ted and I went to the movies to see The Help. I read the book and enjoyed it and was hoping the movie was just as good. It was but there were a few changes in the story line.

We went to St. Vincent de Paul Church again at 3 pm on Saturday and then went to the Germania Festival. The blue and white of the Bavarian flag was flying all over the place as well as the red/black/yellow of the Germany flag. And the food! Out to conquer the German soul - Limburger cheese, spatzel, goetta, metts, wurst, hot potato salad, potato pancakes, turtle soup, strudel and beer, beer and more beer.

We sat in the pavilion to enjoy the opening festivities. They began with the Star Spangled Banner and then played the German anthem. They remember where they are from, but first remembered where they are. I liked that. Ted had a beer and I ate my calories - in the form of an apple strudel. Yummy!!!!

We sat across from a young couple who are dating. We learned she is from Connersville, IN (where Ted's father's people are from) and she is the newspaper editor. She and Ted had so much to talk about. After watching the German dancers and listening to some music, we parted company only to run into them as she was encouraging her boyfriend to try a shot of Yagermeister. I think it tastes like thick licorice cough syrup. He didn't think much of it either.

We decided to leave and had to catch a bus back to the winery where we had parked and taken the shuttle. Three women that had been on the bus with us on the way over were also leaving. They asked if they could follow us back into Cincinnati and avoid going through the traffic at the festival. We said sure. She asked what the back of our truck said and we told her "Texas." We laughed that three locals were depending on us from out of town to lead them. But we got them back to the highway and they tooted and waved as they went on.

This morning Ted went shooting and when he returned we headed to old Coney Island. This is the amusement park we attended as children before King's Island was built. Most of the big rides were taken down or bought by King's Island so the park is a shadow of its former self. Moonlight Gardens where we danced under the stars is still there as is Lake Como for canoe rides. Now they have paddle boats too. We rode a few rides and played some skeeball. There are three stage shows and we saw two of them.

We stopped to visit Karen on our way home. She is half was through her week being face down. It is such a difficult thing to do. We hope the doctor lets her stop on Wednesday when she sees him. If so, they will leave for the lake and we'll spend some of Labor Day weekend with them.

After a bite to eat, a chat with our new neighbors and some football on TV, Ted decided to check the tires. He found a problem with one of the RV tires. This morning he had to remove the tire and have the valve stem repaired. After he got it back on, we headed out. We are now in Georgetown, KY. We spent the afternoon checking out two campgrounds in Frankfurt but they are too remote for what we want to do so we'll stay where we are and just drive to the Frankfurt attractions we want to see.

We stopped some people in downtown Georgetown to ask for a lunch recommendation. Turns out they were visiting from Texas and were from the golf community just south of where we live! Such a small world. Downtown Georgetown is a delightful place and we had a good lunch in a neat little restaurant with Formica tables and Mickey Mouse memorabilia all over. After a stop at Wal-Mart for some groceries we came back and settled in for the night. We have the windows open and the A/C off. It is supposed to be 56 in the morning!

After Ted's conference call tomorrow we are heading to Toyota for their plant tour.

I grew up in Kentucky, but I did not grow up like that. I had heat, and I didn't have to shoot my dinner or anything. ~ Jennifer Lawrence

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Filling Our Time

Sunday evening we had another delicious meal at the Bier House and were so pleased to see Ted's brother Dan from Key West along with his son Patrick who was deployed yesterday to Iraq. He is the fourth young man from our families to be serving and we are so proud of them. God's speed Nick, Stephen, Matt and Patrick.

Early Monday Ted took the truck to the airport and flew to Orlando. I was pretty much stuck here for the day and cleaned some cabinets, read my book, watched TV and played on my computer. He had his business dinner then spent the night with Kristin. They had a good visit and he was able to do some things around the house for her that required lifting. He arrived home Tuesday afternoon and we eventually did our laundry before dinner.

Another nephew, Sean from Phoenix, was in town for a conference and asked if we all had time to come downtown for a quick dinner before he caught his flight home. Peg, Kath, Dan, Ted and I met him across from The Great American Ball Park at the Holy Grail for dinner. It was a nice but quick visit and we were so glad to see him. We walked over to the outside of the ball park and took a few photos. When we were kids we would pay a quarter to sit in the bleachers at old Crosley Field. Then it gave way to Riverfront Stadium. Most recently Paul Brown Stadium was built on the riverfront for the Bengals and the Great American Ball Park was built for the Reds. Then Peg took us on a tour of all our old haunts from years gone by. It was very enjoyable.

When we arrived home our NY neighbors had a fire going behind the trailers on the banks of the lake and we joined them. They had been to the Jimmy Buffett concert at Riverbend the night before and had lots of stories to tell. They were interested in our life in Texas. We had to get up early and they were pulling out at 6 a.m. so we called it a night around 11.

The next day we went with Karen & Ron to the facility where her surgery was performed. Everything went well and when she arrived home she wanted to take a nap so we left. After lunch, we went to Sam's to stock up on goetta, Skyline chili and turtle soup. Woo Hoo! I''m set for a couple of months now.

Here are some photos outside Cincinnati's new Great American Ball Park.

Theodore Bernard "Big Klu" Kluszewski (September 10, 1924 – March 29, 1988) was a Major League first baseman from 1947 through 1961.

Joseph Henry Nuxhall (July 30, 1928 – November 15, 2007) was an American left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball, mostly for the Cincinnati Reds. Immediately after retiring as a player, he became a radio broadcaster for the Reds from 1967 through 2004, and continued part-time up until his death in 2007.

“Baseball is a simple game. If you have good players and if you keep them in the right frame of mind, then the manager is a success.” ~ Sparky Anderson

Sunday, August 21, 2011

I'm Back!

First off I didn't get to write about our nice visit with Bill and Karen in Burlington, KY before we left. We had dinner, saw a folk concert and then had coffee and dessert. Karen is one of the friends I've had the longest, back to 1963. Neither of us were even engaged when we met but now between us there are many years at Procter & Gamble, two husbands, five kids, eight grandchildren and one great grandchild on the way. That's a lot of water over the dam.

Now back to the week that went by so quickly. I thought I would be bored since I expected Kristin to mostly sleep and she did. But Eileen came to the hospital with me on Monday and then visited again on Wednesday and Friday. Friday evening, friends of Kristin's came by with supper for us and they spent a few hours.

By Saturday Kristin was able to get out to run errands. We hit the post office, bank and a few stores. We had lunch out and she was pretty tired. I took her home so she could sleep some while I went to church.

We attended St. Ann's from 1996-2001 and I knew almost everyone in that parish. I was so involved that it was hard for us to get out of church in a reasonable amount of time because I was always being stopped to discuss various things that were going on or being planned. Yesterday I recognized about a half dozen people and could only think of the name of one of them. Many have come and many have gone. Life marches on and it's true - you can't go home again.

Kara and family arrived at Disney World (again!) so we drove down to meet them and have dinner. They are at the Beach Club on Disney property for three days and then move to Kidani Village near Animal Kingdom for a week. They sure make the most of their timeshare with the Disney Vacation Club.

I had never been in this resort area known as the Disney Beach and Yacht Club Resorts. It is difficult to get around because the entire pool area is fenced in since it is only for Beach and Yacht Club guests. We somehow got into the pool area and couldn't find our way out! I said I felt like I was in an unnatural zoo habitat for humans. We finally made our way out after being stopped for not having wrist bracelets on but Kara had her room key. There were six of us in regular clothes. Duh! We had dinner at Hannah's Grill and then went to Beaches and Cream for ice cream.

Kara thought this was a great time to have the "kitchen sink" because we had enough people to eat it, or at least she thought we could.

However, we didn't quite make it.

Kristin and I left for home because we had an early morning wake up call. My flight was at 8 a.m. so we had to leave at 6 a.m. I had a delay at security waiting for a female TSA. My titanium hip always sets off the alarm so I know I'll be patted down. But I resent standing there for a long period of time, especially when my purse is not with me, while a female TSA saunters over when she is good and ready.

The flight was uneventful and after 30 years of Detroit, Orlando and Houston airports, the small Bluegrass Airport at Lexington was a breath of fresh air.

My first thing to do when we got back to Cincinnati after eating some breakfast was to print out Ted's boarding pass for tomorrow. He is flying to Orlando out of Cincinnati (expense account) for just a one night business trip. He'll spend tomorrow night with Kristin and be home Tuesday mid-morning. His is a really quick trip.

Our plans for Cave Run Lake in KY have been cancelled. Karen is having eye surgery on Thursday and they can't go. So we're staying here an extra week to be sure she is OK before heading back to the Lexington/Georgetown/Frankfurt area of KY. Where exactly and for how long? It's anyone's guess.

We are having dinner with Ted's family tonight. Back to the Bier House and more hot bacon slaw and pretzel bread!

I got the bill for my surgery. Now I know what those doctors were wearing masks for. ~ James H. Boren

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Off to Florida

I am in Florida playing nursemaid to our youngest daughter, Kristin, who had surgery yesterday morning. She came through it well and is now home. I'll be here until next Sunday and then head back to Ohio.

We went to dinner with 12 RELATIVES last Saturday. Nathan, Meg and Nolan were some we hadn't seen yet and it was a pleasure getting reacquainted with 2-year old Nolan who we hadn't seen since his first birthday last year. He is so cute and smart, talking up a storm. Hot bacon slaw and pretzel bread were served at the Bier House and I could have filled up on just that.

Sunday we left early for our drive to Lexington where I got the best deal on a plane ticket. Cincinnati is the most expensive airport in the nation. I hope they didn't pay much for that study because I could have told them that for free! The city is filled with billboards encouraging you to fly out of Indianapolis, Dayton, Columbus, Louisville and Lexington ... and a lot do, including me.

Kristin picked me up at the Orlando airport, we stopped for some groceries and went home to prepare for an early day on Monday. We had to leave at 4:45 a.m. to get there in time. It took exactly as long as they said it would, everyone seemed to know what they were doing (that's good!) and we had no issues. Kristin spent the night and I picked her up this morning about 11 a.m.

I'm at the library typing this because I don't have my laptop. Ted has custody back in Ohio so I'll catch you all on the flip side next week!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Our Tribute to Jim

We said goodbye today to an old friend who left us for the great campground in the sky.

Ted and I met Jim and Marilyn back in the 60s when the fellows both worked at the Cincinnati Enquirer. Our first adventure was trying to breed our Irish Setters but we never did get that to happen, but the friendship that ensued lasted for decades.

Many a New Year’s Eve was spent at awesome parties in their home and even as we moved throughout these United States, he and his wife Marilyn came to visit. Without fail, Jim would fix something for us around the house since Ted isn’t much of a handyman.

In the beginning we camped with our 3 girls and their 3 boys all over Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. Later there were longer camping trips including one to the upper peninsula of Michigan where Ted and Jim tried to marry off our 12 year old Kristin and my niece Jamie to every young boy that ventured by.

There was a cruise to Hawaii, a plane trip to Arizona and the Grand Canyon, a train trip to Toronto, a golf trip to French Lick, IN and so many other visits in between. We celebrated Thanksgiving with them at our Florida homes. I believe they are the only friends who have stayed at every one of our houses outside of Ohio over the years except our last one.

As time went on and Jim and Marilyn took to the road full time, our visits dwindled since we too were gone so much. Our last visit was here in Ohio when we both happened to be in town. We never made it to their place in Alabama where they decided to settle down. And now he is gone.

Our lives have been enriched by the memories we created with Jim over these past 40+ years. I’ll leave you with the toast he proposed every New Year’s Eve.

Here's to the breeze that blows through the trees,
That blows the skirts off of young girls' knees,
Which leads to the sights that sometimes pleases,
But more often leads to social diseases.

Rest in peace, Jim. You will be missed by many.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Just An Ordinary Week So Far

We had some errands to run on Monday. We wanted to stop at a new store, Gabriel Brothers, to see what it was like and also Bed, Bath and Beyond to buy a shower gift for Vicki. Then we stopped by Karen's to drop off the gift and to pick up some mail that had been forwarded to us from home. It's a good thing we have "Help" on both ends to keep our affairs in order.

Then we went to Sharon's to have dinner with her, Jim, Brad, Nicole and baby Noah. We always have a very enjoyable time with Sharon and Jim and Monday was no different. It was around midnight before we started back home.

I have been sleeping so good while here. I think it is because my head is not full of things I need to do. Tuesday was just such a morning and we didn't even walk out of the trailer until 4 pm. We decided to take a ride to the casino since that appeared to be the only chance we would have. We stayed about 2.5 hours and eventually left after making our annual contribution to the Lawrenceburg cause.

Today Ted took me to Karen's to do laundry. While I was there, he went to the grocery because we are having Jim and Sharon over tomorrow night for dinner. I also have a lunch date with Donna and Donna at noon. That's right, all of us are named Donna and attended K-12 together. I went on to work at Procter & Gamble with one of the two Donnas.

We have plans for Friday with Karen and Bill, friends going back to 1963 when I started at P&G with Karen. And Dan is coming in from Celina to spend the day with us on Saturday. Then we'll leave early Sunday for my flight to Florida. I'm not sure what Ted will do to fill his time while I'm gone but this is the best place for him to be alone since he knows the area and lots of people. I'm sure he'll be fine.

Language has created the word 'loneliness' to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word 'solitude' to express the glory of being alone. ~ Paul Tillich

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tripping Over Relatives

Thursday we traveled to the convent where my 90 year old Aunt Ruth has retired. Due to a heart condition she is in the nursing care part. She looks terrific but mentally is forgetting things and confused about people. I'm not sure she knew who we were but seemed to enjoy having company. Afterwards we had dinner with my cousin Billie Jean and her husband Tom. It has been decades since we've seen them. Of course my Dad, 85, in Florida was delighted that we had seen his sister. Billie's mother, their other sister, is 88. That's some good family longevity.

The weekend started off for us at the Delhi Skirt Game. This is a baseball game played in drag by local politicians, celebrities, firemen, police, EMTs, etc. to raise money for local people in need. The outfits are a hoot!

My cousin Jim does all the electric work for the event and has a VIP section on the concrete bleachers where he sets chairs and a fan.

There are food and drink booths, games, etc. We walked around and visited with lots of friends and relatives. Jim's son David does the firework display at the end of the evening. It was another great time.

We had planned to go to St. Lawrence church, dinner and the casino Saturday night but were invited to dinner and their river camp by my niece Debbie while we were at the Skirt Game. So we changed our plans a bit, went to St. Joseph Church where we ran into Ted's brother Kevin and Barb, then met my family at a restaurant in Lawrenceburg, IN. My niece Sis and her husband came too. From there we went to their RV camp on the Ohio River. It wasn't long before their son and granddaughter arrived. After a while they left and their daughter arrived with her entourage. We enjoyed our visit and headed home about 11.

We had another terrible storm through the night, lost electric but then it cleared up. Ted took me to Megan's baby shower this afternoon where I saw many of those that had come to brunch last week as well as my sister-in-law Barb's family that I have not seen in quite some time. I had a hard time getting a cell phone signal to have Ted come get me when it was over. Oh the rolling hills of southwest Ohio.

We stopped at Kroger's for a few groceries and are now just starting to get dinner together. This will be my last week in Cincinnati because I am flying to Florida next Sunday to be with Kristin who is having some surgery on Monday. I'll be gone a week. After I arrive home on the next Sunday, Ted leaves that Monday for a business trip, back on Tuesday and we head out on Wednesday.

Other things may change us, but we start and end with family. ~ Anthony Brandt

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Slowing Down the Pace

Kara and Allen stopped by with the kids on Monday before heading home. I had a chance to take them out behind us to the lake where we threw bread in for the ducks, fish and turtles. They got a big kick out of that. Sam said he is bringing his fishing pole next time.

They took off and I decided to take a nap on the couch. Not long after, it started ... beep, beep, beep. Of course Ted couldn't hear it so I got up to check on the refrigerator doors to be sure they were closed. But the flashing code was different than the open door one. I checked our book and this had to do with a high temp sensor or something and needed a service technician.

There is a mobile service that comes to this park. Ted called him and he knew exactly what was wrong. Six months ago we took the trailer in for a Norcold refrigerator recall. It turns out the recall is being recalled! The fellow had a kit to fix it but he was in Peebles, OH and wasn't going to be back until 3 o'clock on Tuesday.

So much for the nap. I put most of the freezer stuff in one side with a block of ice figuring it would be OK for 24 hours and we bought a bag of ice for inside the refrigerator so the things like mustard, ketchup, jelly, etc. could stay too. We bagged the rest and took it to Karen's. They are at the lake so I just left a note in case they came back.

We hung around on Tuesday and the fellow came at 2:45 and in no time had us up and running again. I "thought" I had a dinner that evening with my grade school friends but it was actually Wednesday night so my getting dressed and driving to the restaurant was for naught!

Wednesday we awoke to a terrible storm and no power. Outside, our grill had been knocked over and the latch broken plus our cooler had blown away. It was floating on the opposite side of the lake. It doesn't take long for 300 sq. ft. to heat up with no A/C so we gathered our laundry and headed to Karen's. We stopped at McDonald's for breakfast since we had no food and no power at this point. When our laundry was done we gathered up our food, left a new note for Karen, and came home.

I had the right night for the dinner so Ted dropped me off and he went on to the Fairfield Gun Club to shoot. There were about a dozen of my grade school friends in attendance. I always enjoy this gathering so much when I'm in town. We didn't have people moving in and out back in the 50s so we pretty much all went from kindergarten through 8th grade graduation together. There's a good split between "boys and girls" with a few spouses and friends thrown in. There's much catching up to do and then the "do you remember" stories begin. Such fun!

The weather is a bit cooler now since the storm. Let's hope the "inconveniences" are over for now.

We are going to the convent today to meet up with my cousin and visit our aunt who is 90 years old and in failing health. She is a Religious Sister of Mercy. Tomorrow is the charity "Skirt Game" in the town where we lived from 1968-71. Lots of my relatives will be there and we'll get another chance to visit. My nephew David does the fireworks for the event after the baseball game played by celebrities and politicians dressed in drag is completed. We're looking forward to seeing everyone.

I've plagiarized a picture off Facebook of Amy being walked down the aisle by her father, Tim. It's the shot I couldn't get.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I Have Pictures!

The kids all made it in safely on Saturday and we met up here at the campground to go to the wedding. We were seated about half way up and I was on the side aisle so Ted and I could get out easily at Communion time. So I have no pictures of the ceremony. The entire church filled including the balcony. It was a beautiful ceremony and went off without a hitch.

Now I can show you some of the pictures we took Thursday while putting Cindy's finishing touches on the room. First is the bag of chocolate hearts I had to unwrap. Karen, Ron and Ruth worked on the peanut butter cups. Voila! The finished candy tables. There were three buffet tables set up for the 400 attendees, these two with the head table for the 20 person bridal party to the far left and a third buffet table in the smaller room. Next is an overview of the room and a close up of a table with the black candy box in place as well as the centerpieces Cindy made. The hall bought them from her after the party.

Lighting was very low at the reception so I couldn't get many pictures that were light enough. Here are the bride and groom, the wedding cake surrounded by the grandparents' wedding pictures, Karen and moi! and Pat and Ally dancing.

We went out on the veranda and took a few family photos.

A great wedding and reception. Knowing Amy and Landon as I do, I expect a great marriage for all the years of their lives.

The next day we met up with Ted's family at the golf course restaurant where his two sisters live. I figured we would have 16 people but then it grew to 39 and ended up at 48! We took over the restaurant. It was a wonderful visit.

Here is about 1/3 of Betty & Les Rogers' grandchildren, 31 in all. The second is the next generation, again about 1/3 of the total (55 I believe) with three more on the way. There are six in the next generation but they don't live in Cincinnati.

Pat and Kelly headed back to Michigan and we left with Kara's family to the Newport Aquarium. The Riverwalk in Newport, KY is a great venue and I think Cincinnati missed the boat on this one. Here is the Cincinnati skyline and some great photos inside the aquarium.

Next up was dinner with my niece Jill from my father's side of the family. She reminds me so much of our Kristin and she is a delightful young lady. We are all friends on Facebook so we keep up with each other and don't need to "catch up" but can just enjoy each other's company. We sat for several hours visiting before taking a picture outside to send to my Dad who turned 85 yesterday.

Ted took the camera and here is his contribution - a picture of his new tank and a third filter before the fuel enters the trunk tank.

"The more fun you have, the greater your value to yourself and to your society. The more fun you share with others, the more fun you have."