Saturday, May 30, 2015

What Have We Been Up To?

Note:  Please excuse the awkward photo placement as the application called, Live Writer, which we use to create and post our blog updates is currently down.  Therefore, we are using Blogger which is not user friendly for photos at all.

My, my, my . . . it has been a busy 6 weeks for us since we arrived home.   So, what have we been up to?

It is baseball season, isn’t it? 
 And, the first baseball experience for our grandson, Joe, who is 12 years old.  Not doing too bad as a “first timer” who wasn’t too keen on it, but we do believe that has all changed and that he’s learning and having fun.  We are trying to coordinate getting to Joe’s baseball games with visiting Jeff’s mother and/or any doctor appointments needed.  We know that we can’t make each of his games but we try to make as many as possible.  The 90 mile drive – one way – can get a little much depending on how games he has in one week.  We have so much fun rooting for his team! 

Generally, once we return home we take inventory of our flower gardens and start thinking about what purchases we need to make to spruce our place up with a little color.  The way we look at it we want our home to look so inviting that a buyer will want to buy it immediately!    Aside from that, we love flowers and our home shows it. 
There are quite a few greenhouses that are very popular that are located in the Amish countryside, about 60 miles from here that stock everything from perennials, annuals, vegetable plants, hanging baskets – overall it’s  a blast of color.  Our good friends, Diane and Donna (yes, twin sisters), took Kay on a marathon shopping day of greenhouses, garage sales and just shopping in general.  Everyone was pretty tired 12 hours later as they returned home with a car full of treasures.

Walla!  With all of the rain that we've had just recently, they are looking so much more healthier these days.

Dance recitals really rock!  Our 13 year old granddaughter, Ariana, did a good job at making sure that she kept her beautiful smile shining during their group’s performance.  Since the older girls danced last in rotation, it was priceless watching the little ones who really stole the show.  They were so cute no matter who missed a step and they all did such a good job at not wanting their mom’s while they were keeping the crowds smiling.


Of course, it’s time to share a toast to our wonderful neighbors, John & Avery, who watched our house for us this past winter.  We took them to the Ole Triangle Pub in Wabasha, Minnesota for some Irish brews and food. 

 Our longtime friend, Judy, who reads our Blog faithfully, met us at Olive Garden where we could catch up on each other over some delicious Italian cuisine.  Good news for Judy is that she sees retirement for herself within the next year.  She currently is an emergency room RN at one of the major hospitals in St. Paul. She’s ready!

 Kay met her good friend, Suzie, for lunch.  They go back to Kay’s pre-retirement days at the Bremer Service Center in Lake Elmo, Minnesota.    Just like sisters.  They can talk about anything.  She has been missed.

 We haven’t been to a family wedding for some time since missing our niece’s wedding last November.   This was our nephew Nate, who recited his vows to his fiancée Brittany on a sunny May 9 in Minneapolis.  It was a good day all around as we were able to visit with relatives that we haven’t seen in years.  Time does fly by, doesn’t it?  It was indeed a very elegant wedding.

 Mother’s Day celebration was just the two of us.  We started out the day with a drive to Alma, Wisconsin to have breakfast at one of our favorite places.  Pier 4 Cafe is located along the train tracks that run parallel with the Mississippi River.  The café makes their own bread and serve you three samples of homemade jams on the side.

When we got home we took to our woods in search of Morrell mushrooms.  Jeff found only one which was pretty small.  It just wasn’t a good year for them due to the lack of rain and weather conditions that weren’t just right for the edible fungus spores


The long awaited eye surgery to remove Jeff’s cataract from his left eye (the worse one and first eye to be done) had finally arrived.  He has been waiting for this since Kay had Lasik 7 years ago...  Because of his astigmatism he had been declined as a likely candidate and therefore we needed to wait a little bit longer.  The 10 minute procedure to place a new corrective lens in his eye was a success.  Yay!!!!  His follow-up doctor appointment just this week tells us just how innovative these surgeries are for he can now see 20/20 from his left eye – without any corrections needed.  Yahoo!!!!!

Surgery for his right eye is scheduled for June 3.  We have no doubt that it will be a repeat performance.

A new world has opened up for Jeff.  Can you tell how happy is in so far?

 Sometimes you have to get dates on your calendar scheduled way ahead as it seems that everyone leads very busy lives.  Our daughter, Jill made sure to check with us way in advance, working around baseball games for the grandson or activities for the foreign exchange student that she has staying with her.  But the weekend finally arrived as she pulled up in our driveway on a Friday evening with the two grandkids (Joe-12, Julia-2), foreign exchange student (Ampere-17) who is from Shanghai, China and Wyatt (the dog).  We kept them busy.  They kept us busy.   We think you get the hint.
Julia, who can maneuver around an iPad like the big girls enjoying her favorite Elmo was so full of energy as can be expected from those "terrible 2's".

Ampere, who is on the left had his first taste of Jeff’s Breakfast Burritos – with plenty of his favorite condiment . . . ketchup!  We don’t know why the funny face on Joe, but can honestly say that we believe that he does glow in the dark with that shirt!!!

Jeff took the boys to the Recycle Center on Saturday.  Ampere was impressed with how our community handles the recycling of items.   Back home they are not as organized and co-mingle everything together like the larger cities do.

Saturday was picnic day at our North Ranch (a place that we created up from the house) that is a beautiful secluded spot where you can enjoy the quiet of nature.  Jeff had to get the lawn mower out and had the boys help with the mowing.  Ampere’s first time cutting grass.  He was so excited and I’m sure will share with his family his stories about cutting grass, roasting hot dogs over the campfire, making S'mores and just having fun getting dirty and being a kid.  We did!

Got to have a foot race, don't you?

This was her "sexy" look!!!

Joe being a kid.  What a selfie!

A perfect day for all.

We took a road trip on Sunday just to get out of the house and headed to the town of Colfax, Wisconsin where they were having a classic car show, swap meet and silent auction.  The day had already started out with some light showers but we didn’t let that deter us.  We love the classics and wish Live Writer was working so that we could share with you more of the cars in one of our albums. 

Fun car made with a wheelbarrow for the kids!
On our way home we decided to take the long way home to show Ampere the countryside around our home.  He was pretty amazed by all of the open land that was so green. 

We made a pit stop at the trestle bridge near the Chippewa River.  It's too bad the weather wasn't cooperating much on the sunny side.

Jeff cooked an awesome Italian dinner for a family visit with our granddaughter, Ariana and her mom, Jena (Jeff’s daughter).  The foods must have to been their liking – look at the big smiles on their faces!!!


Getting together with friends is a big part of our being home.  Meeting up with our good friends, Ron and Karen, for an evening road trip to the Bucknuckles Bar & Grill was the highlight of our Memorial Day weekend festivities.



A funny plaque on the wall in the bar.
Once again we have more eating, more friends to hook up and more pictures to share those moments.   This picture is Kay with her BFF, Janny.  They go way back to when we first moved to Wisconsin.  Janny was our insurance agent for all of our homeowner/auto needs.  We're all retired now.  Amen to that!

The girls especially appreciate the time they can spend together for, what they term as “therapy time”.   Notice their little friend sitting next to Janny carved into the bench.  Nice bear!

It's time to take a breath for this first 6 weeks before we dive into the activities and appointments that are being added to our planner.   Be good to yourself and keep it real!  We will report back on Chapter 2 of what we've been up to.
Can you spot, what we call, the Johnny Jump-Up in this picture?

Hugs to all!
"Good friends are like stars: you don't always see them, but you know they are always there." —Unknown

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Back in Wisconsin

Many of you already know that we are back at our home in Eau Galle, Wisconsin.  When we started the trek after coming down from the mountains in Magdalena, New Mexico that pretty much started the countdown for the four days of driving that we took to get home.  Fortunately, we had good weather – except for the winds that were a little challenging – but all around it was a good trip.   Getting home three weeks earlier was unplanned, but necessary.

Day 1,  456 miles:  We arrived at Pueblo, Colorado to stay the night at Haggard’s Campground.  It is here that you’ll be treated first class by its owners,  Matt and Nancy Fetty.  We last visited with them this past October when we were heading to our southwest destinations for the winter.   The new improvements that we saw since our last visit tell the story of how passionate they both are in making this one of the best campground’s around.  Such nice people too!


Day 2, 482 miles:  Left Pueblo around 9:35a. to pound some miles through the states of Kansas and Nebraska.  We called it a day after arriving in Kearney, Nebraska at 7:45p. to spend the night in the parking lot of the very first Cabela’s store (see pictures of store front below).  This day was our longest.  The next morning we ventured into the building, made a purchase and then headed for the interstate with more miles to travel.

CIMG5271 We normally do not stop at wayside spots – or Historical Markers as they are known - but we decided to at the town of Nicodemus.  We’ve glad that we did to first of all take a break, and secondly to learn about the history of this community.

Nicodemus represents the involvement of the African Americans in the westward expansion and settlement of the Great Plains.  It is the oldest and only remaining Black settlement west of the Mississippi River.

“Nicodemus continues to be important to our nations’ history because the town serves as focal point for all people to renew spiritual and emotional connections of family, community, and ancestors.”

A very different look for the first Cabela’s store in Kearney, Nebraska.  Cabela's, the World's Foremost Outfitter of hunting, fishing and outdoor gear, was born somewhat inadvertently in 1961 when Dick Cabela came up with a plan to sell fishing flies he purchased while at a furniture show in Chicago.  Upon returning home to Chappell, Nebraska, Dick ran a classified ad in the Casper, Wyoming, newspaper reading: "12 hand-tied flies for $1." It generated one response.   Undaunted, Dick formulated a new plan, rewriting the ad to read "FREE Introductory offer! 5 hand tied Flies....25c Postage....Handling" and placing it in national outdoor magazines.  It didn't take long for the orders to begin arriving from sportsmen and women around the country.  In typical direct-mail style, each order was mailed out with a mimeographed catalog of outdoor items Dick and his wife, Mary, added to their product line.  In the beginning, Dick and Mary ran the business from the kitchen table of their home in Chappell where they were both able to handle the growing business with the help of temporary typists hired for mail, label and catalog preparation.  However, by the fall of 1962, they realized the demands of their new venture needed full-time attention so Dick urged his younger brother Jim to join the new company, which he did in 1963.  Neither Dick, Mary nor Jim took any salary from the company in those early years.  Instead, they invested in more mailings, new equipment and bigger facilities.   Business ventures have really changed over the years, haven’t they?

Let’s go kayaking!!!!!  Colors have come a long way.

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Day 3, 356 miles:  Not too much scenery to speak of other than farmers out in their fields during this time of the year.  This day’s end was to spend this night in the parking lot of Walmart in Ames, Iowa.  We walked into the store to get the approval from Walmart management that we could stay the night, purchased a couple of items and then then pretty much relaxed in our rig (sans the slides out, of course).  We were so exhausted that taking a picture of where we were was the farthest thing from our minds.  Life goes on!  Time for bed.

Day 4, 257 miles:   A beautiful morning to start our last day of travel with a minimal amount of miles to travel.  What we look forward to on our last day of travel back to Wisconsin has now been an annual treat for us.  It is found in Wabasha, Minnesota and is our favorite Irish restaurant, The Ole Triangle Pub.  We order up a couple of cold Guinness’ on tap and enjoy a bowl of their Irish Stew.  Jeff looks just a bit tired, don’t you think?   What a home coming though!

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Lots to do now that we are home.  We do believe that this happens to everyone when they come off the road for six months.  We look forward to this time that we can spend with family and friends.  The way the time has flown this past winter, before we know it it will be time to start planning for our next six months of travel.  We’ll be ready by them.   
HugsRed rose

“Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit”
         – Edward Abbey