Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Happy Birthday Chip

Just as Laurie, Chip and Dylan got back from the birthday stay at The Great Wolf Lodge, Jana came driving in! What a coincidence! Now there are six of us.

She made really good time - driving from Ann Arbor in a little over 4 hours. The trip was uneventful, I guess, and she had a great time visiting with Tara and Leslie.

Welcome home, Jana!

Happy Birthday Chip!

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Cottage!

Sharon and John have rented a cottage on Spider Lake for all of us to enjoy! They moved in yesterday, and it didn't take us long to go take advantage of it. A raft with a slide is included in the rental, and Dylan and Chip gave it a good workout! First Dylan tried it by himself,
then Chip got brave and decided to join him.
When Chip went down, the pontoons dipped into the lake and Dylan was launched from the platform!! You should have been there!

Scenes from the cottage - thank you, Sharon and John!
Finally! A chance to hold the new family favorite - Drew Christopher!!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Paint Ball and Hidden Treasures

Chip is spending the day with Adam and others at Adam's Bachelor Party. First Paint Ball and then campfires at somebody's cabin. The rest of us spent a wonderful day on the Peninsula geocaching. We had a great time, and altogether, Dick logged 9 caches:

Found it 7/26/2008 You found The Shoe Tree (Traditional Cache)
While Mr. Sharkie was spending the day abusing his body with paint ball and various other activities, the rest of the Sharkie Crew joined us for a day of Geocaching. This was a quick stop and grab. We took nothing and left some school supplies and a pair of shoes which the youngest Sharkie artistically placed on one of the lower branches. Thanks for a fun start to a beautiful day.

Found it 7/26/2008 You found There's no place like Oom (Traditional Cache)
Teamed up with the sharkies for a day of caching, we pulled up, stopped, and before the reading of the description was completed, the container was retrieved by Mrs. Bend and returned to the car for signing. Thanks for the smilie.

Found it 7/26/2008 You found The Bluff's Cache (Traditional Cache)
Teamed with the Sharkie Crew we made this one a quick park and grab. Unfortunately, although we had three U of M grads in the hunt, we did not have any M specific loot in our bags, not even anything blue. We did leave a frog to commemorate the fact that it's not easy being green. Thanks for the fun.

Found it 7/26/2008 You found The Reading Dog (Unknown Cache)
We teamed with the majority of the Sharkie Crew for a day of Geocaching out on the Peninsula. This was certainly the most unique and interesting one we found today. Although Bear was on another assignment, the women manning the fort in his absence were wonderful. Because we did not read the description carefully enough, we didn't realize that the entire hunt would be inside the building. We arrived just as closing time approached but they patiently stayed with us and not only guided us through the clues to the cache but explained the reading dog program, the relationship of the school to the library as well as numerous other matters relating to both institutions as well as the community at large. Since our group consisted of retired teachers as well as an active school media center volunteer and an elementary student, our questions must have seemed endless yet they were answered with friendly patience and good cheer. Thank all of the folks involved for this glimpse of a fascinating program. Because we didn't understand that the cache would be inside, we had left our cache bags in the car and thus left nothing, however, the youngest Sharkie took a reading ribbon as a reward for writing our log entry.

Found it 7/26/2008 You found The Real OLD MISSION (Traditional Cache)
This was the day that Mr Sharkie was to join up with some of the younger set to abuse his body with paint ball and various other bachelor party activities. While he was thus engaged, the rest of the Sharkie Crew joined us for a day of Geocaching. We had been out here to this cache last fall and drove away with a sad blue DNF. Today, fortified with an excellent lunch at the Bad Dog Deli, we returned to the scene of our shame. It sure is frustrating to look in the same places with the same results. The odor of skunk was about to perfume the air once again when Mrs. Bend turned that frown upside down with that happy cacher's cry, "I've got it!!!"
High fives all around as we signed the log and drove on. Thanks for the fun.

Found it 7/26/2008 You found Haserot Beach (Traditional Cache)
After our struggles at Old Mission, this was a park and grab, go figure. Thanks for the excuse to take our favorite drive.

Found it 7/26/2008 You found Kid's Cache (Traditional Cache)
Lead down the path by the youngest Sharkie, we made this a quick find. Took nothing, left some smilie erasers and our card. Thanks for the fun.

Found it 7/26/2008 You found Treasure Box (Traditional Cache)
A fun day of Geocaching out on the Peninsula with the Sharkie Crew. Grabbed this one on the way back from the Kids Cache. (We came in from the north.)I set the cache bag and GPS down when I was close and went looking for likely cache locations. Mrs Sharkie sang out, "Dad, you did it again, second day in a row". She then turned to the youngest Sharkie and said, "When Grandpa sets his stuff down and goes wandering off, just look nearby and you'll probably see the cache." We signed the log and left the pen we used because there wasn't one in the cache. Thanks for adding to our enjoyment of this glorious day.

Found it 7/26/2008 You found The 7 year itch (Traditional Cache)
This was the day that Mr Sharkie was to join up with some of the younger set to abuse his body with paint ball and various other bachelor party activities in preparation for the wedding of a cousin. While he was thus engaged, the rest of the Sharkie Crew joined us for a day of Geocaching and touring the Peninsula. As it turned out, this was the ninth and last find of the day for us. We needed to save some time for the beach and the light house. Mrs Sharkie made quick work of the find and we each stickered the log and left a heart shaped Geogem to commemorate the seven years. We hope that your next 44 will be as fruitful and fulfilling as ours have been

Finished the day by visiting the Old Mission Light - Laurie and Dylan went exploring inside:

Friday, July 25, 2008

Equal Justice Under the Law

Yesterday while going to Bo Tangles, I drove through Tom's parking lot to avoid the traffic light at 14th and Division because of the heavy traffic. When I pulled into the parking place at the beauty salon, there was a motorcycle policeman in my rear view mirror.

It seems that it's a State law that you can't cut through a parking lot to avoid a traffic signal. He asked me if I knew that. I told him that I knew it was illegal to cut through a gas station, but Tom's parking lot is huge, and has four different businesses in it, and it just seemed like the wide open spaces to me. I told him that I do it all the time in the summer!

He took my license, registration and proof of insurance. It was then I realized that I hadn't put our new proof in the car - it expired July 3. So now I'm definitely getting a ticket for not having the proof of insurance. The officer told me that if I promised never to cut through Tom's parking lot again, he would just give me a warning. Whew.

When I entered the shop, the girls were all wide-eyed and wanting to know what had happened with the policeman. I said I got caught cutting through the parking lot, and they all said Oh No! It seems that other clients have had the same experience, and got tickets for $150 and 3 points on their license!!! Whew, whew, whew. They could not believe that I just got a warning!

This morning I went to the courthouse to show my proof of insurance to the traffic clerk. Entering the courthouse is like going through security at the airport - actually it's worse because at the airport they x-ray your purse, but at the courthouse the man goes through it with his hands and gets his fingerprints all over everything in there. I hated that.

I went through the metal detector, and I set it off, probably due to the metal orthotics in my shoes. So I had to be wanded, and pull up my pant legs before I could go see the traffic clerk. I hated that too.

I saw the clerk, presented the proof, paid the $25 fee and blew out of there. Personally, I think that the traffic clerk should be in a different section separate from the courtroom area, and the criminal records area. I was traumatized by the experience, and now I keep thinking about tourists who may get a parking ticket or a traffic ticket and may choose to see the clerk rather than mailing it in. I think it would be horrible for them.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Beaver Islanders All

None of us has ever been to Beaver Island, so why not? We had a free day, the weather was good, and there are caches there! So - up at 5, leave at 6 and drive to Charlevoix. It was a beautiful morning for the drive.

The Beaver Island Boat Company boat we were on is named the Emerald Isle - a very comfy ferry. Besides passengers it can carry bikes, cars, and Semis!
Several times over the years we have had to wait on US 31 while the Charlevoix drawbridge went up and down. This time, people were waiting for us.

On the deck it was chilly and breezy at 8:30 a.m.!

Inside it was very comfortable and enjoyable:

Beaver Island, here we come!!
Yes there was a Spartan Stores semi on our ferry!
The Emerald Isle returning to Charlevoix:
Laurie and Dick went caching out in the middle of nowhere. I hear that it was mosquito heaven!

Here's our rental - Dick says that it was less than chic :)

There was also a cache at this remote coffee shop - can't pass up an opportunity!
This is the Feodor Protar Cabin - he was an early settler of the Island. There were so many bats under the siding - so many that we could hear them scuffling and squeaking around under the boards! It was what you might call...creepy!
At the southern tip of the Island is the Beaverhead Light. It's owned by the Charlevoix Public Schools!

On the map, we located a Gillespie Road. We went in search of it for obvious reasons. When we found it, there were no street signs! So Dylan put on the Gillespie sweatshirt and we made our own road sign...

The Gillespie Family at Protar's Tomb in a remote part of the Island.

Back to our boat, The Emerald Isle.

Returning to Charlevoix

This beautiful ship had arrived in the harbor since we left this morning. It's called the Pride of Baltimore and it's owned by the State of Maryland. The ship and the flag it displays are representative of the War of 1812.
Charlevoix was really crowded because it's the middle of the Venetian Festival. We came all the way back to Traverse and ate dinner at Bubba's. One of us skipped dinner for a snooze!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Shopping Bopping

First of all, we cleaned the playroom to get ready for Auntie Jana. Dick also cleaned the basement entry- we call it the basement entry - the Gillespies call it the mud room, probably because it was a bit muddy when they got here!

It's a lucky thing that Chip drove his truck to TC, because today we filled it up with a "few things". To get enough energy to go shopping, we ate lunch at La Senorita. Then fully fortified, we went to Sam's Club. Oh my goodness, Sam's Club is full of things that you need, and also things that you just want :) We loaded the truck with salt bags for the water softener, trays of bottled water, huge lots of t.p. and paper towels, pounds and pounds of coffee, a couple of coats for Laurie, a couple a books for me, AND (ta da) - the ultimate impulse purchase - a new desk chair for Dick!!!

Then we went off in search of a new patio set for the deck. Home Depot advertised 40% off sets, but we didn't like anything there. Second came Lowe's - and we fell in love with a metal set that was cheap and comfy and just what we wanted. The saleswoman looked it up and said that the display table was the last one they had, so we just bought that one, and 4 chairs to go with it. Chip happily rearranged the bed of the pickup, and we were able to get the table and chairs loaded. Now the truck was really filled up! We didn't like any of their patio umbrellas, so when we got home I ordered one from Sears and it should be here Saturday. Yaaay!

Pizza for dinner - what a fun day!

Laurie's Gallery

Laurie let me upload her disc of all of the photos on her camera - 379, to be exact! Here are the pictures that I loved the best. The first one shows Dick and Kathee marching in the parade:

Here is Chef Dylan making a cherry pie in all its glory :)

When we were in Florida last January, Dylan was chosen the Pillar of Patience for Palm City Elementary School. We had a chance to eat lunch with him at school:

Before they arrived here early in July the Gillespies spent some time in Great Smoky Mountain National Park. They went with two other couples. The purpose of the trip was to climb up Mt. LeConte and stay in the Lodge overnight up on top of the mountain. Here is pictorial proof!

They also climbed Clingman's Dome, which brings back a lot of memories for all of us!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Can You Canoe?

This afternoon Melanie and her bridesmaids are having their bachelorette party. They kicked off the celebration by going canoeing on the Boardman. They set off in great style, with a plan to picnic at the DNR site and then go on to Beitner Park.

Everything went well until the rainstorm happened. The sky got very dark, there were torrents of rain, and some thunder and lightning. Fortunately, though, the bridesmaids seemed to have a good sense of fun because the report was that they were all laughing when they arrived at Beitner. Whew! No harm done, and a humorous memory was made. I'm sure they'll look back on it and laugh - maybe in a couple of weeks - or months - or years!

Just Wait!

Well, last night there was no waiting at the Mongolian BBQ. We left the house at 4 p.m. to go there because The Golden Dragon Acrobats of China show at Interlochen was to start at 7 p.m. Mongolian Barbecue was good fun, good food, good company - we loved it: Here Dylan is showing me pictures on the camera. He ordered the brownie sundae for dessert, and actually ate the whole thing! The verdict? Moomer's Cowabunga is better. Then we were off to Interlochen to see the acrobats - we had plenty of time to drive out there, find parking, and stroll around the campus for a while. In this picture, ex-Interlochen president Ed Downing, the man on the right, is an ex band director from Belleville High School: During the stroll, we saw a sign that said that the start of the concert had been delayed until 8 p.m. and they were sorry for the inconvenience!! Oh no - now we have too much time for waiting!! Here we are - waiting, waiting, waiting...along with many others. More than two hours....little did we know...the bottom line was that the show actually began at around 9:30 p.m.!!! Two and a half hours late. It was disconcerting for lots of people because there were many small children who had come to see the acrobats. At one point I almost decided to bag it, but we had already invested hours and hours of time waiting, and besides, I really wanted to see them. Evidently their bus had broken down and they were on their way. The first announcement said that they would be arriving in 15 minutes. Twenty-five minutes later, the second announcement said that they would be here shortly. People were milling all around the Kresge Aud. - it was very frustrating. Finally a cheer went up from the far side of the Aud. - it seems that the bus had finally arrived. So now we had to wait for warm-ups, costumes and make-up, etc, etc, etc. Heavy sigh. Anyway, it was a very good show and we all enjoyed it. Our group was very agreeable and cooperative and we had no meltdowns. Dylan's favorite was the "Chair Dude". Dick got a good video of the opening act: