Thursday, July 31, 2014

Our Last Week Out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I did not kiss the pig!

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

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

Today we head to Carthage, Texas.  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Our Day at the Lake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Heading to the Lake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jameson and Lilly at the lake.

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

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Goodbye Michigan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Party's Over - Almost

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A First!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Cookies Are Done

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~ My Fair Lady

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Great fun in Southern Michigan

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

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

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

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

We visited until 10 then headed back to the motel.

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

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

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

You wouldn't believe all the food!

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

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

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

Friday, July 11, 2014

Out and About

My second "dry run" hair appointment was Wednesday morning at 10 so we headed into town stopping first at Kara's to throw in a load of laundry.  We had a difficult time getting to the salon because access to it is closed from every available street!  We finally followed a car going through barricades and made it.  Manuveuring the truck through all the barricades, barrels and construction was so difficult that Ted grabbed a cup of coffee from the store next door and came into the salon to wait.  It took less than a half hour, she did a great job and I will see her early the morning of the wedding.

From there we went to the mall to return a Land's End bathing suit I have been messing with.  The first time the bottom fit but the top needed a bigger bust size.  That was not available so I ordered a different one.  When that came I didn't like it so I looked again.  Lo and behold my first choice was now available in the size I needed.  However, the deal was 40% off two pieces so I ordered the bottom a second time.  Finally I had the two pieces I wanted in the size I needed.  We took back the top I didn't like and the second bottom I didn't need.  Whew!  Such a lot of work for a new suit to take on the cruise.

Next stop was the nail salon for pedi, mani and waxing.  So much preparation for the wedding.  It was a very nice salon and soon I was ready for Ted to pick me up.  We went back to Kara's to fold our clothes and then eventually came back to the park.  Stella grilled burgers for dinner and we gave another run at the leftovers before tossing them out.  

It has been chilly at night, requiring a jacket, even when sitting by the fire.  It was 63 inside the trailer this morning and I am wrapped up in my heavy robe.  Thoughts of turning on the fireplace have crossed my mind!  Global warming at its best.

Yesterday Jay accompanied Ted to the gun club.  When they returned we all left for Frankenmuth.  First up was stopping at the outlets in Birch Run.  We stopped in several stores and ended up with 5 tops and 3 pairs of shoes for me as well as two shirts for Ted.  He also bought two food tents to cover food outside.  Lori had them at the pool party and they keep the flies off the food.

Then it was on to Zehnder's for the famous chicken dinner.  We sent Tommy and Susan a photo of their two empty chairs and told them we got a table for six because we were sure they were coming.

The food is always wonderful and this time was no exception.  Afterwards we went to the bakery but they were pretty much cleaned out for the day.  We were hoping to buy something to take with us to Monroe today but no luck.

The flowers are so pretty and here are a few photos.  This is a new fountain and sitting area.

Note the 65 degrees on the thermometer.  This was about 6 pm.

We walked to the platz at the glockenspiel to listen to the oom pah pah music of the group performing.  

The Bavarian Inn is across from Zehnder's. 

If there are horses around, Ted is going to go visit them and take some photos.

It was about 8 when we arrived back at the park.  Ted started the fire and we sat out until 11 before calling it a day.

Today we head to Monroe for the surprise birthday party tomorrow.  There are 18 folks camped in Sterling State Park and three different ones contacted us last evening.  These are all friends from the Rio Grande Valley where we spend time in the winter.  We are not breaking camp for one night and will stay at the Red Roof Inn at the same exit as the park.  We are about 75 miles north.  Tonight will be a party at the campground followed by the party tomorrow afternoon.  We will come home Saturday evening.  We have church and cookie baking on Sunday.

We are one week away from the wedding!