Thursday, June 26, 2014

June in Iowa

P6090010(Jan)  June 2014 in Iowa has been beautiful! There have been lots of days in the 70’s and lower 80’s and some rain days with out severe storms in our area. When we arrived in the Midwest it seemed like the area was in for another drought this summer. Things have changed and now there is adequate moisture.

After leaving Chicagoland we spent a day along the Mississippi River at a Corps of Engineers CG near Thomson, Illinois, pictures at right, and one in a County Park near Colo, Iowa. Both were beautiful in their own way. Our stop near Colo was to visit our son and family in Ames. We had a lovely dinner and visit with them and then headed to Swan Lake SP to be near my mom.P6210032


Last week-end we were able to gather 34 out of 50 of my mom’s family members. We had a picnic at our Motor Home at Swan Lake, a gathering at mom’s Nursing Home, a stop at our home town cemetery in my brother Ron’s honor and dinner & birthday cake in Templeton. Here we are! And below here’s my sister & I as we celebrate her birthday that evening. It was wonderful having everyone that could be there together.

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We were at Swan Lake for several weeks before changing locations to Yellowsmoke County Park near Denison. Both of these lakes/campgrounds have excellent 4 mile walking paths around them. We try to walk each morning before it gets too hot and humid. We’re happy to be averaging over 10,000 steps a day again. Here’s Chuck lawn chair testing after one of our many walks at Yellowsmoke.


We plan to hang out here through the July 4th week-end with our friends Muhlbauers & Phillips before heading back to Swan Lake for a final week before leaving for Hart Ranch in South Dakota.







        Happy July 4th everyone!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Difference between Men and Women

(Chuck) Jan and I used to be great fans of Dave Berry. He wrote a nationally syndicated column for the Miami Herald from 1983 to 2005. His writing style seemed to fit our generation and we looked forward to his column each week. We lost track of him in the later years and a while back I ran across this bit by him. It makes us laugh each time we read it.

The Difference between Men & Women. Dave Berry at his best.

Let's say a guy named Fred is attracted to a woman named Martha. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.
And then, one evening when they're driving home, a thought occurs to Martha, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: "Do you realize that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?"
And then, there is silence in the car.
To Martha, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of.
And Fred is thinking: Gosh. Six months.
And Martha is thinking: But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I'd have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily towards, I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?
And Fred is thinking: that means it was...let's see...February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer's, which means...lemme check the odometer...Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here.
And Martha is thinking: He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed - even before I sensed it - that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it. That's why he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected.
And Fred is thinking: And I'm gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don't care what those morons say, it's still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It's 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.
And Martha is thinking: He's angry. And I don't blame him. I'd be angry, too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can't help the way I feel. I'm just not sure.
And Fred is thinking: They'll probably say it's only a 90-day warranty...scumballs.
And Martha is thinking: Maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.
And Fred is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I'll give them a warranty. I'll take their warranty and stick it right up their...
"Fred," Martha says aloud.
"What?" says Fred, startled.
"Please don't torture yourself like this," she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. "Maybe I should never have...oh dear, I feel so..."(She breaks down, sobbing.)
"What?" says Fred.
"I'm such a fool," Martha sobs. "I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse."
"There's no horse?" says Fred.
"You think I'm a fool, don't you?" Martha says.
"No!" says Fred, glad to finally know the correct answer.
"It's just's that I...I need some time," Martha says.
(There is a 15-second pause while Fred, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.)
"Yes," he says. (Martha, deeply moved, touches his hand.)
"Oh, Fred, do you really feel that way?" she says.
"What way?" says Fred.
"That way about time," says Martha.
"Oh," says Fred. "Yes." (Martha turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.)
"Thank you, Fred," she says.
"Thank you," says Fred.
Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn, whereas when Fred gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a college basketball game between two South Dakota junior colleges that he has never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it's better if he doesn't think about it.
The next day Martha will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification.
They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it either.
Meanwhile, Fred, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Martha's, will pause just before serving, frown, and say: "Norm, did Martha ever own a horse?"
And that's the difference between men and women.

Sunday, June 8, 2014


DSC_0055DSC_0094(Jan) These past couple of week-end have been a time of celebration for us and our middle son Eric’s family. Their son, our grandson Ryan graduated from High School on May 31. He was honored with the National Choral Award for his school and performed two solos at the Commencement Ceremony. His High School years were very busy with academics, music & drama performances as well as the Black Belt in Karate that he earned last year. In the fall he will continue his education at Iowa State University. Pictures are of Ryan & his classmates at Graduation Ceremonies and Ryan with his parents and grandparents.


DSC_0127DSC_0015We celebrated with a delicious and fun dinner after Commencement at Kyoto Steak and Sushi Bar and at the family’s home with an Open House this past Saturday. The first was a family time with grandparents & family. The second was a great time for celebrating with family, friends, neighbors and extended family.


We arrived here in time to go to our granddaughter Jessica’s Band Awards Ceremony. As a freshman she has been busy with both Band and Choir along with her academic schedule. It’s been a wonderful time with family.

In between family activities, Chuck and I have gone on several bike rides; here at Paul Wolff and along the Fox River Rail Trail. The weather has been nice with temps mostly in the 70’s and 80’s. Tomorrow we will head back west into Iowa.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Time in Iowa

(Jan) We arrived in Iowa just in time for some nice weather. The cold weather had finally come to an end after a particularly brutal winter here. The trees are all leafing out and the grass looks beautiful. Crops are peaking up out of the ground. The rivers and creeks are running low and there is yet again, concerns of summer draught for this area. Later in the week we drove down to the farm and Chuck took time to ride in the tractor with Lynn as he was planting. It’s a sophisticated business these days with GPS guidance, soil monitoring and computerized placement of the seed. IMG_20140522_121119_485We were excited to see my mom again at St. Anthony’s Nursing Home. She is doing well and looks good. She was very happy to see us. We had many nice visits; talking in her room, attending Mass in the Chapel, going for wheel chair ridesIMG_20140524_164658_897 to the Nursery in the Hospital, the Aviary and going outside to sit in the sunshine. Her dementia & loss of hearing has not improved but she has an incredibly good attitude. She’s happy and a joy to be with.

We had time to walk around Swan Lake with our friends Ron & Edna and enjoy lunch and visiting. We also were invited to join a picnic at the lake with Glen, Mary Ann, Susie and Ryker. The next day we headed down to Templeton for a family dinner to celebrate Ryker’s 3rd Birthday. All fun times!

With a really great lunch stop in Ames to visit with Brent, Donna & Maddy we were on our way to Chicagoland for our Grandson Ryan’s High School graduation. For the next couple of weeks we will be at home in Paul Wolf CG near Elgin.

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