Wednesday, April 30, 2008


1. Ultrasound - the tech said that everything looks OK - the doctor will call later. Looks like we're good to go!

2. Jeff came and did all of our electrical odd jobs - it's so nice to have those things taken care of. I love my remote control fan+light. We met Jeff through geocaching, and it was certainly fortunate for us. He's fast, efficient, and pleasant. Our fixtures and switches are all functioning and it is just terrific.

3. Steve from Traverse Outdoor came to evaluate the perennial garden. They'll be helping us get it cleaned up, dug up, and plants separated and relocated. I'll really enjoy supervising that!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Diamond Day

Talked to Dylan this morning - he's sounding so much better and we're so happy for him. He enjoyed telling us about the guinea pigs and their new sleeping arrangements - they really are a source of enjoyment and pleasure for him, as he is for us!

Wow, we had a good morning at the gym. As John Denver wrote, "Some days are diamonds, some days are stone." This was a diamond day. As soon as I started on the Nu-Step, it just felt better than usual. Dick had a great workout too. We went out to breakfast as usual, and this time we did the low-fat version of the Omelette Shoppe menu. It was very satisfying!

These are the kind of errands we do on a Tuesday: find a mail box, drop something off at the bank, take books back to the library, find a cache (puzzle cache - very much fun), shop at Meijer (low-fat diets with supplements are expensive!), locate the building for this afternoon's mammogram, and come home and put away groceries.

After all of that, I feel unusually good - (no cramping, no weakness) don't know whether it's a diamond day or a turning point for me. I'm kind of voting for turning point!

OMG! Sharon wrote and said that Kevin and Amy are expecting! I think that is wonderful news! I love to see the family expanding - and it gets better with every generation!

6:30 p.m. update: Worst mammogram of my entire life. It's never pleasant, and it's often uncomfortable, but there's never been any real pain until today. The Copper Ridge place is a beautiful facility with nice furniture and a flat screen TV in the waiting room. But next time, I'm going back to Thirlby Clinic.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Clear,crisp spring day - perfect to get outside and do some walking. There was a new cache on part of the TART, so we went to find it. This cache was put out by the WayPoint Kid, and we were the first to find. I walked on the asphalt, and Dick did the woodsy part. We saw ducks in Mitchell Creek, and five tots on a rope from Daycare.

This afternoon Dick saw Dr. Dino, and learned that his troublesome heart valve is good for another 3 to 8 years! That is good news. There may be surgery somewhere in the future.

The wind was out of the north, and the bay was a beautiful bright blue with big waves and lots of whitecaps - what a sight! The marina is beginning to fill up with boats.

Windows Live Writer

Testing 1 2 3 - I'm trying to figure out how Live Writer works - It says I can insert all kinds of things even though it's not on the blogspot site.  I'm not sure I entirely understand how this works, but...might as well try it out.

OK I can insert a picture.  This one is Tom and his biking friends making fun of another arm injury.


A table like this can be
  Not exactly sure what this would be good for...

Map image

Live Writer uses maps from Virtual Earth - you can zoom into any part of the globe.  It seems that they've never heard of Traverse City over there at Virtual Earth!  Looking at this map you would get the impression that the whole of Northern Michigan is uninhabited!

blogger Tags:

Tags can be inserted - not quite sure how this works but I think if you click on the tag, all posts with that subject tag will come up..

Videos can be inserted too, but it's too early in the morning for me to figure that out!

If this works, and actually posts to my blog, it will be great because this is a hassle-free way to add things.  Blogger is a little clunky in comparison.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Rainy, Foggy, Lightning, Gray, Low Fat Day

Perfect day to go to recycling!

Too rainy and chilly to walk outside today, so it was back to the mall. I'm an expert now on all of the shop windows - it's fun to watch them change. Dick ran a couple of errands while I was walking, and after lunch we went downtown to check jackets for him at Orvis but came out empty-handed.

After doing some internet research about proper diet for gallbladder disease, I printed out a chart of foods that are allowed and foods to avoid. The key seems to be digestibility - so it's mostly bland, non-spicy and of course low fat. We did a low-fat shopping adventure at the new Oleson's and bought lots of wonderful stuff. I'm sure I can do this, and Dick is a very big help.

Steve from Traverse Outdoor called and he's coming to look at the garden next Wednesday. Yaaay!

Our forsythia bush is in full bloom, and it's such a beautiful yellow. It's making it's own light outside the window on this overcast day. Daffodils are lighting up the driveway.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


After some serious consideration, we realized that we only need one new mattress after all. The Comfort Center was most cooperative, and our comfy new mattress was delivered in a timely fashion. It's great - it's a Serta and very cushy.

I spent the day washing bedding and sheets and making beds. Dick spent the day cleaning off the party porch, moving picnic tables, starting up the sprinkler system, leaf blowing, and I don't know what-all. He was uber productive. We also went to Bed, Bath and Beyond for a new mattress pad. We're also kind of casually looking for new deck furniture.

Traverse Outdoor was supposed to call to set up an appointment to come and look at the perennial garden, but the call never came. I'm still hoping.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Wednesday That Was

An outline is a good way to start any writing task. This day has been so chock full of events that an outline is where I'm starting. I may fill in the outline later, but then again, I may not.

1. 9:15-appointment with Dr. Burke. He ordered blood tests and an ultrasound of the gall bladder area for Saturday. He's thinking that I will need to have it removed. I was quite upset at the prospect because of our travel plans. Luckily Dick was right there with me to say all of the right things. We're waiting for test results to see if surgery will be necessary. This is me patiently waiting to see how the results will affect our Scandinavian cruise.

2. Picked up my new glasses - I'm so happy with them. I'm stylin' now!

3. Met Tim and Susie for lunch at Maggie's in Cadillac. Susie is doing well since her knee surgery. She has some stiffness and some twinges, but it's not slowing her down that much. We haven't seen them for several weeks, so it was really great catching up with everything!

4. The four of us went geocaching for the afternoon - I think 6 or 7 caches were found. A lot of the finds were the first of 2008! The last find had Tim holding Susie upsidedown so she could reach under a bridge! I walked trails and parking lots with my ski sticks, and I'm sure I got in a lot of exercise.

5. Dick and I got back to TC in time to take advantage of Comfort Center's sale. Our two new mattresses will be delivered tomorrow.

6. On the way home, we were stopped for about a half an hour because of a single car accident on West River Road. Two ambulances left the scene with people inside. The third ambulance appeared to be empty.

7. At 7:30, Dick has chicken and veggies on the grill ready for dinner! It smells wonderful!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Gall !

Sunday was a perfect geocaching day, and we went out to enjoy the mild weather - searching for caches and doing cache maintainence. Just by chance, out on Mayfield Road, we were looking for a cache by Dave (Lane973) when he drove up on his way to find our cache at Emma's Shrine! It was a fun coincidence, and we enjoyed meeting him. He seems like a great guy, but you do have to ignore the Notre Dame hat and stickers on his truck!

Then later, we had another chance meeting, this time it was Matt and Amy when we were doing maintainence on the new View of the Bay series. It was a good thing we ran into them because that particular stage had been muggled, and Dick was able to straighten things out.

Altogether, on Sunday Dick found three caches and did maintainence on four.

Monday Dylan stayed home from school again - he has caught a really nasty bug. They went to their Dr. and got prescriptions for decongestion/antihistamine and for an antibiotic - we hoping that he'll soon be up and at 'em. He sounded very weak and congested on the phone. Poor guy!

Dick had his annual eye exam with drops at 9:15, so I was the designated driver. He felt a little weird all day - neither of us were exactly setting the world on fire. Laundry, of course, and grocery shopping. We just had hot dogs for supper. I went to bed early - couldn't keep my eyes open!

Today Dylan is still staying home sick, but the Dr. said he could go to school tomorrow if he felt like it. He still sounds pathetic on the phone. We went to the gym as usual, had a good workout as usual, went to the Omelette Shoppe as usual - but the unusual thing was that I had a gall bladder attack soon after being seated! I'm sure that's what it was - I looked it up after I felt better. Dick rushed me right home, I was sick, sick, sick for four hours, and then as quickly as it came, it left! So now I'm not feeling sick, just like a limp dishrag, as Mother used to say.

By the sheerest coincidence, I have a routine appointment with Dr. Burke in the morning - how lucky is that?!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

It Has Sprung!

Spring has sprung,
The grass is riz,
I wonder where the birdie is?
The bird is on the wing,
But that's absurd,
We know the wing is on the bird.

Daffodils are blooming, the snow blower is put away, the grass is fertilized - what more evidence do we need! Oh, I know, we have open windows and fresh air is in the house. This is great - this is the season that proves to us how lucky we are!

Today I went out to lunch with Neighbor Mary, and then to the movies to see Smart People. We both agreed that the characters needed a good grooming session at the local salon, and that the movie was achingly slow-paced. It was interesting, just not lively and fun - although there were some amusing moments. Dennis Quaid is not very appealing in my humble opinion. For me the message of the movie is that we are all stuck with whatever human relationships we have accumulated, and that some are better than others and that even in a gloomy sort of family, love can prevail but not until the credits. Some might be left with the impression that Smart People are all gloomy! Not so, I assure you. Although Tom always says that he doesn't do "happy".

Speaking of Tom, this movie is set in Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Once at MIT Tom got a letter from Kim, and the return address was a Central Michigan University (CMU) address label. One of Tom's friends glanced at the label and said, "Carnegie Mellon?" As Tom told me later, at MIT the students only relate to "real schools". I think that Kim did CMU proud by graduating and going on to medical school, moving to California and leading the very good life! I'm sure that she considers Central a "real school".

This has been a good week, as we've watched the weather warm up and improve daily. I walked Monday and Friday at the mall. Tuesday and Thursday we did gym and breakfast, and on Wednesday I had my annual eye exam with eye drops at 8:30 a.m. and didn't feel normal until around 3 p.m.

Dick finished the cache series on Wednesday. it was published on Thursday, and Dennis and Josh (rathergohiking) started searching for it right away on Thursday. They are having trouble with the breakwater section and Dick is thinking that he may have to go make that stage more user friendly.

Dylan has been sick, but he says that he is feeling much, much better. He caught some kind of a bug - had a fever of 102 - and slept all morning Friday. When he's not feeling well, our solar system stops revolving!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Let's Go Around Again!

Yesterday we went to the mall again for walking practice because it's chilly outside. This time I used a shopping cart from Target for stability, and it worked great.

Today we did the same thing for the same reason. This time I walked the .8 of a mile with only one sit-down. When I finished I felt like I could do it again - what a nice (and unusual) feeling! We saw Mary, Heather and Kimberly but we didn't have a chance to say hello.

We had lunch at Hunan - their buffet is the best! Afterwards we went to the Bay to double check some coordinates for Dick's new caches, and we ran into Dennis and Melanie (rathergohiking) in the parking lot. Seeing friends is always a highlight of the day!

Had a nice talk on the phone with nephew Ed this afternoon - we needed to know how he and Ruth wanted their names to appear on the T-shirts for GenFest. He sounds good, and he's very easy to talk with. He's doing well - likes his job - is conscientious about taking care of his vision problems - and also about shoring up Ruth during this rough patch that she's going through. She has taken a small apartment in Lake Ann, and misses her home, her dogs, and her land.

In other news, J.P. will be attending Cranbrook School next fall! He auditioned for and received a scholarship which pays a small percentage of the tuition - but it has been worked out that he can go! We're as pleased as punch! Way to go Jackson!

I think Susie's surgery is tomorrow...our fingers are crossed :)

Friday, April 11, 2008

NMC Scholarship Luncheon

Another lovely scholarship luncheon for donors of NMC scholarships - today at noon at the Hagerty Center. It's always very nice and this was no exception. We sat with Kerry, Craig and Sandra.

Kerry works for the law firm of Smith, Haughey etc. She was fun and interesting. Craig works at NMC and is also on the board of Oryana, so we told him to say hi to Sarna.

Sandra was the student at our table, and believe it or not, she worked for Cherryland Electic as a lineman!! And she's just a small person! Even more unbelievable is that she survived a fall of 34 feet which really should have been fatal. She broke her back and she has a red scar on her face but she seems healthy and happy and recovered. It's quite a miracle story!

We saw Pete, Mim, and a gal from the Agency who was very sweet to us. We had a good time.

When we got home, Dick leveled on the game and so now our whole family is level 70!! How awesome is that?

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Today was gym day, and gym was excellent as usual. Camaraderie abounds, and it's such fun to talk to everyone. We did Bob Evans for breakfast.

I haven't been walking on gym days, so I didn't do walking today. Unless you count walking around Menard's, which can sometimes feel like a marathon!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Mall Stroller

Mall stroller - that was me today. It was cool, windy and sprinkling, so inside I went. When you rent a stroller there, it costs $4.00. $5.00 to get one, and a dollar back when you return it. I rented one because I didn't want to use my cane or my ski sticks in the mall.

Next time I think I'll just cadge a cart from Target or TJ's. I'm just not confident walking for extended periods with no support, and if you lean on a wall or grab a column, people think you're in trouble.

They say that once around the mall is 4/5 of a mile, which would be .8 - so it's .2 farther than from Clinch to the West End.

It's harder to pretend you're in Norway when you're in the mall.

Global Geocaching

When we go on our cruise at the end of May, we'll be visiting seven different countries. There are geocaches everywhere that you go in the world, so Dick wanted to make sure that we find at least one in each country. He found email addresses for cachers on the the website, and sent some letters asking about caches that might be in the areas where the cruise ships dock. So far he has received three responses. This is the letter that Dick sent to all of them:

Greetings from the USA,
We are going to be in Gdynia/Gdansk Tuesday May 27 on a cruise. We have a limited amount of shore time and would like to find a cache in town in which we could leave one of our geocoins. Could you please recommend a cache in town that is, convenient to the docking area, not strenuous, and is large enough to receive a travel bug. If none is available, perhaps you might be placing one this spring?
Thank you,
Dick and Nancy of Basswood Bend
PS: As a reward/ thank you gift/ sweetener, we would be glad to drop one of our unactivated coins for your personal collection if you would like.

POLAND (Gdansk)
[GEO] basswoodbend contacting Topik from‏
From: Richard Steiger (
Sent: Tue 4/08/08 5:58 AM

From: Alicja i Sławomir Jędrzejewscy Date: 2008/4/7
Thank you for your message. We have been in Gdansk with our daughter and we've found few places to hide a cache. Before we'll do it please ask a few questions:- How much time have you got for searching this cache and from place will you start searching ( airport, railway station, old town)?- How will you move in Gdansk ( by car, by bus, walking )?- Could you reach a point view or you couldn't climb a little hill? Because of travel bug witch will be in that cache we suppose the cache should be registered in We send a link to most popular geocache portal in Poland:

FINLAND (Helsinki)

Date: Sun, Mar 16, 2008 at 2:49 AM
Subject: Re: [GEO] basswoodbend contacting reijamasa from

Hello Dick and Nancy!

I´m sorry to inform you that we do not know much about Helsinki´s
suitable caches for your needs. It must be over a year since we have
been caching in Helsinki area.

But what I can do is give you a name to ask from, he knows much better
than we do; he lives there.
Ask from Mikkozzz, I know he can help you, he has many local caches of his own.

Have a nice time in Helsinki.


SWEDEN (Stockholm)

Dick and Nancy,

For a really close cache that would hold geocoins I would recommend the
cache "Katarinahissen" (GCPCRH). It is about 300-400 meters away from where
the cruise ships usually dock so even if you only have a half hour ashore
you should be able to get there ;)

It's hidden in a stone wall and you have to go up some stairs from street
level to get to it. It's not hard at all (grabbed it during my lunch hour in
full "bank-suit"). Spoiler picture is really good.

I've attached to KML files (for Google Earth); one points out where the
ships usually dock and the other one is for the cache.

If you do head into town I would also recommend a few of my own caches
1) "The Stockholm Syndrome" (GCN14J) - Just outside the bank where a hostage
situation in the early 70's gave name to a certain psychological phenomena.
2) "Urban Squirrel" (GCKV2D) - "Quicky" outside the Prime Minister's office
(no way that would be possible in the U.S.)
3) "The Murder Weapon" (GCMB6V) - Hidden along the escape route of the
murder of Prime Minister Olof Palme. Cache is big enough to hold a TB

I will unfortunately be in Rome on the 22nd of May. Otherwise it would have
been great to meet up and I could have given you a quick tour.

Good luck and I hope you will enjoy my hometown

/Ulf Gerhamn

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

April Weekend +

Saturday -

I walked on Front Street while Dick worked on his new cache series. Four and a half blocks seemed to be my limit - with the help of my cane and frequent stops. It's obvious that there's a lot of work to do!

Afterwards we had lunch at Opa's, a new Greek restaurant in the Cherryland Mall. Alice and her husband were there, and it was fun listening to her tell about their trip to Norway and beyond in 2006.

Memphis and Kansas will play Monday for the NCAA men's basketball championship.

Sunday -

The plan was to have brunch at Dinghy's in Frankfort. But guess what? Evidently they don't do brunch anymore - they don't even open until noon! So we backtracked a bit and had brunch at the Brookside Inn - a lovely brunch in a unique, quaint setting - quite an elegant fallback position.

We had a nice drive around Benzie and Leelanau counties. My walk consisted of walking around the parking lot of a Betsie River boat launch area. I think I only walked the equivalent of a block and a half with my cane while Dick was finding a cache.

Monday -

Using my ski-walking sticks, I walked six tenths of a mile on the TART between the marina and the West End Beach. I believe I took a break on every single bench along the way! Dick is still working on his new cache series.

Kansas won the National Championship, and Sharon won the family bracket challenge. I came in third and Dick was fourth. Kansas was lucky to win - the game just barely went into overtime, and then Kansas took control. The final score was 75-68.

Tuesday -

Today at the gym, Alice brought her pictures of her Baltic trip. She has some great shots, and it was so interesting to us.

After gym, we met Dorothy for breakfast at the Omelette Shoppe. It was fun to see her - she is such a sweet, good-hearted person. She loves to tell stories and it's so much fun to listen to her. She's a bit flaky but in a good way!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Baby Drew

I practiced walking on Front Street today while Dick did some walking on the TART. He was checking out some information for some new caches that he has in mind. I was pretending to be in Norway - I want to be prepared to do a little walking around when I get there!

Afterwards we went to see Baby Drew, who is now 3 months old! Autumn and Brooke were visiting Aunt Shelly, so we got to see everybody! Drew is adorable, and such a good baby - it was delightful. He bonded with his Uncle Dick (great-great Uncle Dick).

Autumn is in the 3rd grade, and she thinks that their new house in Kalamazoo is cool!A kind of blurry Brooke and Michelle. Brooke is in Kindergarten and is already reading :)

After this very pleasant visit, we went out to lunch at Bubba's - and it was yummy! Then we drove around the old State Hospital grounds - it's amazing what's happening up there. Several of the smaller buildings have been done over and freshly painted, and businesses have moved into them - a coffee shop, a winery, and a cheesecake bakery and cafe among others.