Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Auzzie Auzzie Hoy! Hoy! Hoy!

Our friends Dennis and Chris have moved to Australia - permanently. Chris is originally from New Zeeland and her parents are still there, but her brother lives in Australia. They plan to live near her brother.

The reason I'm mentioning all this is that we have received the first email from Dennis since their arrival in Australia. I laughed so hard - it was hysterical! Dennis has this style of writing that is unintentionally dry and so, so humorous. Here is part of his letter:

We have spent some time on my brother-in-law's farm in the hinterland. Unfortunately he got bitten by a python while removing it away from the house. Normally, pythons can be handled but this one became agitated because of mating season. My brother-in-law was not seriously injured. I guess it is common for pythons to rest on the roof tops of farmers' houses.

All of the other snakes on the farm are too deadly to mention - you keep your distance. The alpacas on the farm are quite friendly. One alpaca likes to live in the farm house and thinks it is human. I don't think this is normal but I do not question the Australian way.

Well, enjoy Ann Arbor. I miss Michigan football. Go Blue. Dennis

Are you rolling on the floor? "Too deadly to mention"? "I don't think this is normal"? Pythons on the rooftops? Really makes you want to emigrate, right? Dick's comment was "At least there were no snakes on the plane!."

He also mentioned that their luggage arrived 5 days after they did...not quite so funny.

We had a farewell dinner with them not long ago in T.C., and we were cracking up then, too - Chris was telling about her new daughter-in-law who is a pagan, a witch, and has a PhD in mushrooms!!! I'm telling you what, this is a very entertaining couple! They gave us a lovely gift from their home - a painting of the Boardman from the viewpoint of our campfire circle. The painting was done by an ex-Belleville High School art teacher amd is beautifully mounted and framed.

Monday, September 29, 2008

New Old Routine

It's easy to fall into the routine we had in Ann Arbor last year. This morning we went to Briarwood for the "Old Geezer" workout. The U of M sponsors this workout every M-W-F, and it's free. It's a good workout, aimed at older citizens - aerobic and strength and flexibility mostly.

Back at the apt. we had the maintenance man come and do a couple of things that were out of whack - he was fast and effective.

Tim had his surgery today. Susie called to tell us that everything went OK and that things were fine - so we're relieved about that.

Lloyd Carr called and we're all going out to breakfast a week from tomorrow - should be extremely interesting.

We went geocaching and found 5 micros right here in our area.

Dick is cooking steaks tonight on the little grill that we bought for this apartment last year. The charcoal takes longer to heat up than the gas grill - it's been a while since he's used charcoal!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

It's Great To Be a Michigan Wolverine!

Sometimes. And today was one of those times. Wow. We are still in a kind of euphoria of disbelief. Just one Wisconsin player lining up in the wrong place saved us from going into overtime - it was exhilarating.

Tim and Susie went with us - it was a beautiful day for a football game. It was Maize Out day, and the whole stadium area was awash in bright yellow. We even got free shirts at our gate - a nice souvenir of a memorable day.
We sat through the worst half of Michigan football at Michigan Stadium in decades. These are Michigan's miserable first half statistics: Wisconsin leading 19-0, 21 yards total offense, three fumbles, two interceptions, one first down at halftime. It was totally dejecting. We were so upset and frustrated that we got a little punchy and we were trying to turn the whole thing into a joke - because the team actually looked like a joke there for a while. When they left the field the stadium resounded with boos - I haven't ever heard such booing of an M team. I've been going to U of M games since I was 12 years old and booing the team has just never been the Michigan way. Today it sounded like the entire world was booing - I was stunned.

I have to say that Tim and Susie were a bit more optimistic than we were at that point. I think they were trying to shore us up a little bit - great seatmates to have on a day like this one was!

The Michigan Band did a splendid halftime show - it was based on Ferris Bueller's Day Off. It was fun and imaginative, and multi-media. They used the big screens on the scoreboards to help tell the story. I thought it was very enjoyable, but a lot of fans were too busy grumbling to really take it all in.

The team did come out for the second half despite some predictions from fans around us. The team was greeted with the usual cheers that they hear whenever they take the field - it was as though the fans were saying, "OK now let's try this again."

Can't explain what happened in the second half. The team came to life and actually showed some offense. When they finally scored a touchdown, everybody was ecstatic even though the score was still 19-7. It was like the Wolverines proved they were capable of at least scoring somehow. We were proud and amazed that they showed a little spark for a change.

Then things began to change rapidly. The fourth quarter was a dream come true. Three more touchdowns! What a turn-around - a complete 180. Wisconsin made a great effort to come back, and they threatened to win right up to the last minute. It was a tough way for Wisconsin to lose the game, especially since they were so highly ranked (9th), but it was wonderful from our side!

Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Michigan Stadium)
Score: Michigan 27, #9 Wisconsin 25
Records: U-M (2-2, 1-0 Big Ten), Wisconsin (3-1, 0-1 Big Ten)
Attendance: 109,833
Next U-M Game: Saturday, Oct. 4 -- vs. Illinois (Michigan Stadium), 3:30 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan football team rallied from a 19-point third-quarter deficit with 27 straight points, including 20 in the fourth quarter aided by a 25-yard interception return for a touchdown by fifth-year senior linebacker John Thompson (Detroit, Mich./Crockett Technical) to complete a thrilling 27-25 comeback win over Wisconsin (No. 9 AP, No. 8 USA Today) on Saturday (Sept. 27) in the Wolverines' 500th game at Michigan Stadium
Even more amazing when you learn that Thompson had stitches in his chin from a first half injury!

We all had an afterglow back at the Ranch, and then Tim treated us to dinner at Joe's Crab House - and it was the perfect end to a perfect day.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sliding Down the State

Here we are DownState for the month of October.

First of all, Dick worked at the Visitor Center from 9 to 12 - he logged 70 visitors, including a former Belleville student and Kelvin.

Then we were off to Ann Arbor for the football season. It was a lovely day for a drive, and it went fast - trips always go faster when you take naps :).

We pulled into the Valley Ranch around 5:30 p.m., and the door was locked. We had thought that it was going to be unlocked with the keys on the table. The woman in the office didn't know anything about it, so Dick made some phone calls and got it all straightened out and the woman let us in! Whew. It seems that painters had been doing some touch-ups and they were supposed to leave the door unlocked when they left, but instead they locked it.

Luckily, we have the same apartment we had last year, so it almost feels like home.

Moved in, grabbed a burger at McDonald's, did some grocery shopping at Meijer, put everything away and collapsed to watch the debate. The debate was a little ho-hum, or maybe we were just tired.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


How many crises do we need?

We're in the middle of a Presidential election that is turning out to be kind of a national embarrassment. First of all, John McCain has chosen a Twit to be his running mate. Sarah Barracuda is turning out to be clueless in a national setting. When she is speaking or being interviewed, it's cringe and wince time. I saw a bumper sticker in T.C. that said "Big Mac and Cuda". Now that's what I call Presidential. I'm waiting for McDonald's to sue. I think the bumper sticker should say "Twit for Veep".

There's also a problem with her religion. I was brought up to be respectful and tolerant of other people and their beliefs, but that doesn't mean that I have to suffer fools gladly. This is a person who is a creationist, which flies in the face of rational thought. Fundamental evangelism is her religious background, and it's very scary to me that a person of that ilk could actually wind up being President of the USA.

She's also anti-abortion, which means she wants the government to step in between a woman and her doctor and dictate what she should do with her body. Sometime I want to do some research and write an essay about governmental intrusion into human reproduction. I would use the example of the Chinese government limiting families to one child each and forcing abortions. I would also reference Hitler's Aryan breeding program trying to create a super race. Once you let government into reproductive issues there's no telling how far it might go. I personally believe that most folks agree that abortion should be legal, safe and rare.

Somehow the Republican Party has the formula for ruining our national reputation all around the world. I'm sure the rest of the globe cannot understand how we choose and elect these hapless candidates over and over again. I'm sure they can't understand it because I can't either!

Now the Powers That Be have come to the conclusion that the Federal Government needs to take over Freddie Mac, Fannie May, AIG, and ......... To do this they will need to borrown 700 billion dollars. And who will pay for this? Taxpayers - meaning you and I will pay for it. Where will the money go? Well that's a good question. I'm cynical enough to think that several millions will go to CEOs and COOs of the companies which have failed. I would love to be wrong about that.

How many greedy people can the country afford?

Everyone is a bit worried about the money situation - investments are way, way down in value. Chip's friend had trouble getting his money out of Bank of America (scary). We're all right so far - I think most of our liquid funds are FDIC insured - but of course that depends on the stability of the Federal Government. Oh dear.

It could be that we really are going to Hell in a Handbasket. I have my fingers crossed. I wish you would cross yours too.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Basswood

For half of every year, I'm 6 months older than Dick. Today is the day that he catches up with me - so hooray! No more old age jokes for another 6 months!

We spent the day geocaching - just around T.C. - there are so many new ones we can't keep up! Today we did about a dozen. We had a great time and the weather was perfect. It couldn't have been a nicer day.

We had an early Chinese dinner at Hunan, and called it a day. No cake, no ice cream, but a very happy birthday.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Thank God it was an Away Game

Michigan Stumbles at Notre Dame 09/13/08
Sam McGuffie rushed for 138 yards and added 47 receiving yards with a score, but Michigan was unable to overcome six turnovers in a 35-17 loss at Notre Dame.

Stumbles? That's all it was? A stumble? Six Turnovers? ESPN called it the Rock Bottom Bowl, so guess who is on the Rock Bottom...oh well, win some, lose some, and then lose some more. Sam McGuffie looked good. Threet did a couple of good things. Heavy sigh.

Friday, September 12, 2008

We're Ba-a-a-ack

Syracuse to T.C. !!

Home again - we left Syracuse at 7 o'clock this morning and got home around 7:30 p.m. - a long day on the road! I don't know how Dick does it - I can only drive a couple of hours before I get really sleepy. I could drive from Syracuse to T.C. in about four days!

Dick wrote an email to the kids - I couldn't say it any better, so here's his email:

We made it.
Once we started this morning in Syracuse, I planned on pushing all the
way home. It was a shorter trip than the run last winter from W. Va
no snow.

What I didn't count on was the rain, (it ranged from a frog
strangler to a mist most of the day.) crossing Canada,that is, entering
and leaving, and Friday "Up North" traffic on I75/US10/M115.

We may never go to Canada again. It took us a half hour to get in at
Buffalo. The line to cross the border and pay our bridge toll seemed
endless. Little did we know. ( This was after the guy in the gas station
backed into us and dented our rear quarter panel. There are advantages
to having a slightly beat up '02 with over 100K miles on it.) Why is it
so hard to get through customs? We had passports for Pete's Sake!. (BTW,
did you know that Old Pete is the Devil?) OK I Know, 9 11 changed
everything, but does paranoia really make you safer?

The stern faced young man checked our plate and could see that we last
entered and left Canada the previous Sunday. What do they care what we
have been doing for the past week since we left at Niagara Falls? At
least when the unsmiling Canadian Customs Official handed back our
passports, he said "Go Blue!".

At Port Huron it took over an hour to pay our toll, cross the bridge and
clear American Customs. If the government wants to do something about
pollution and gas consumption, they should look at the border crossings.
There were hundreds of cars and trucks that were creeping, no, inching
forward in at least ten lines trying to enter the US. The traffic going
to Canada was worse. There the bridge was packed, three lanes full from
Port Huron all the way across. We were wondering how much weight it
could hold. Couldn't we just take a number? Make an appointment?

On the Sarnia side, before we could even cross the bridge, the toll
booth operators took a break for some reason and for about a quarter of
an hour, no one in three lines moved. Meanwhile, there was an empty open
line next to us that nobody could get to. I half way wanted to pull
through an opening in the barricade to it, but when I suggested that, I
got "The Look" from the passenger seat.

Finally we paid our toll and crossed the Blue Water Bridge. The Homeland
Security/ Customs Agent at the front of our line was a chatty Buckeye
Fan who wanted to know what I thought of the new Michigan coach.
Operating under the influence of my bride, and remembering the
consequences some thirty plus years ago when, at the same border
crossing, our son and heir piped up with a smart aleck comment from the
rear of the motor home, I politely indicated my view of "The New Guy"
and relayed our position that we are always in favor or the Big 10 team
when they play outside the conference. These guys are obviously not paid
based on the number of cars they clear.

The rest of the trip, while not completely uneventful, was much less
stressful and I was surprised to realize that I am much more comfortable
driving in Michigan that any place else. There is indeed no place like

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wednesday - Lexington to White River Junction

Wow! We felt really lucky to be heading north this morning - the rush hour traffic into Boston is horrendous! Mile after mile of bumper to bumper traffic - sure would hate to do that every day. We thought that Saturday's traffic on I-696 from Ann Arbor to Port Huron was bad - but it was at least moving.

We did have a bit of a goof-up this morning when Nuvi decided to send us up I-93 instead of I-95, but Dick's super navigational skills got us to the right place.

Today we finished all 8 of the States that we were targeting - today we did Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

In York, Maine we found the Duck Pond cache - that was a weird little pond - loaded with ducks and very loud geese.
We drove more than 1200 miles to find this cache.
We started out this morning in Lexington and drove up 95, we are eternally thankful that we don't have to face that drive every day! What a relief to get off and drive some back roads.
This was a unique cache, we weren't sure if the fence was to keep them in or us out. We signed the log and left our Maine coin. Thank you so very much for providing an us with a quick stop in which to drop it.

As soon as we entered Maine we began seeing pickup trucks loaded with lobster pots - the pots were plastic or metal, and very colorful. When we first visited Maine umpty-ump years ago, the lobster pots were all wooden and very weathered.

At one point in York, Maine a car was obviously following us closely, and Dick finally pulled over so he could pass. Instead, he pulled over too. It turned out that he saw our license plate and he was a Univ. of Mich. alumnus and just wanted to talk. It was a unique experience.

On to New Hampshire - another pretty drive. We found 2 caches near Concord, and continued on to White River Junction, Vermont.

We found a cache near White River Junction, and that completed our quest! With these 8 states that we've done this week, we now have found caches in 34 different States. Hooray for us! 34 down and 16 to go!

I have to say that White River Junction is not a place that you would want to live. The motel is fine, but the town is very down-at-heel and the homes all need heavy maintenance and trash pick up. We were disappointed because our experience has been that New England is crisp and clean and well maintained - but this town is a major exception! We did find a nice place for dinner, though - so maybe we just never drove around on the right side of the tracks - but then again, we were here all afternoon.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Tuesday - Danbury to Lexington

Drove through Connecticut to Massachusetts by way of Rhode Island. We picked up a quick cache at a wonderful rest area in Rhode Island - it was a combination rest area, tourist information center, and part of the Albion Bicycle Trail. The building was very attractive - it looked almost like a big house - very welcoming. I'm sure that the building is quite new - everything inside was spacious and spotless.

We arrived in Lexington in plenty of time to go caching and to get souvenirs for Dylan - he's studying the Revolutionary War in 5th grade this fall. We got the souvenirs at the Minuteman National Historic Park - which was hard to find, but worth searching for. Their movie presentation was very well done - kind of a multi-media thing - we enjoyed it very much.

Today I had a chance to talk to Jana - she's doing well and feeling great. She's keeping connections with a lot of her old friends, and she gets out and about - it's interesting to talk to her about what's happening at CQ!

I also talked to Dylan this afternoon - it's so much fun to hear him tell about what's happening at school - today he was excited to tell me about the Continental dollars that the 13 colonies came up with after the Rev. War was over. I cracked myself up because he was talking about Jefferson Paine - so I told him that it was Tom Paine and he could remember it because his Uncle Tom is a pain! Hehehe

Monday, September 08, 2008

Monday - Corning to Danbury

Driving through New York State to Danbury by way of New Jersey is a beautiful drive. New York has some gorgeous big farms and rolling hills - real hills - much bigger than our hills. We picked up a cache in New Jersey before we got to Danbury.

Danbury, Connecticut is right on the state line. The city limit sign is right next to the Welcome to Connecticut sign. It's a very nice place - the home of Western Connecticut State University. Driving around looking for caches we saw some absolutely gorgeous big homes on streets with names like Nursery Road and New Road. We had a great time driving around that palatial area - we found a cache called the Bennett Tree cache.

Also, at St. Peter Church in Danbury there is a cemetery that began in 1684.

Yesterday a gout attack overtook me, and today I realized that I was going to need some meds for gout. The pharmacies all said that there was nothing over the counter for gout and that my doctor would have to phone in a prescription. Well that's what happened. I called Dr. Burke around 2 p.m. and before 4:30 Barbara called and said that she had just called in the prescription to the CVS Pharmacy that I had told her about. So now I have the meds, and I'm hoping that will take care of it! The Pharmacy was very helpful as well.

Dick wasn't pleased with the motel because we couldn't access the internet there, and they had a bad breakfast. I kind of liked the recliner, though! It felt good to elevate my toe!

This is Mother's birthday. If she were alive, she would be 100 years old today!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sunday - International Day

We drove through Canada, from Port Huron to Niagara. Ontario is a lot like Michigan, until you get to the Lake Ontario area. Then it starts looking more like an escarpment area.

New York state from Niagara to Corning is very beautiful - it has many outstanding features - rock faces, huge hills, scenic valleys - great scenery!

Dick wanted me to tell about this place we stopped at called The Barn - but I told him that there are some things that you just don't want to remember - we ate somewhere else!

Dick found 4 caches here in Corning. One was at a boat launch on the Chemung River - I took a couple of pictures because it was such a pleasant area.

Corning, New York is the home of the Corning Glass Works. They make Corning Ware and Corelle dishes, for example. They have a huge museum in town, and there are historical plaques everywhere. Steuben Glass is there, too. Steuben opened up later and for a shorter period of time.

Market Street is the tourist area here - but a lot of things were closed because it was Sunday - so we just had pizza in the room. Note to self - cheese bread from Pizza Hut is not good. It's nothing like Jet's or Mancino's.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Miami of Ohio

At kickoff, it was 20 degrees cooler than last week's kickoff! There was an occasional light breeze, so it was much more comfortable. Believe it or not, I stayed in my seat for the entire game - I'm so happy!

As for the football - there was not that much to be happy about. We did win the game 16 - 6, but the team still doesn't really have its act together. There was only one play in the entire game that was well executed and resulted in big gain. We kept waiting for something effective to happen, but it wasn't to be.

Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Michigan Stadium)
Score: Michigan 16, Miami (Ohio) 6
Records: U-M (1-1), Miami (Ohio) (0-2)
Attendance: 106,724
Next U-M Game: Saturday, Sept. 13 -- at Notre Dame (South Bend, Ind.), 3:30 p.m.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The University of Michigan football team held Miami (Ohio) without a touchdown, repelling two drives inside the U-M 10-yard line, while the offense scored a pair of quick-strike touchdowns to begin the first and fourth quarters, helping head coach Rich Rodriguez earn his first win with the Maize and Blue in a 16-6 decision Saturday (Sept. 6) at Michigan Stadium

It remains to be seen how much tougher Notre Dame is than Miami of Ohio of the MAC - it's going to be a long season.

After the game we began our trip out East by driving to Port Huron to spend the night. Ate dinner at RumRunnerz - a fun place right on the water. Dinner got off to a slow start, though, because we couldn't find each other! Dick dropped me off and went to park the car. I was seated, ordered beverages, got a refill, and he still hadn't arrived! The waiter hovered around me being very solicitous - I think he thought I was being stood up. I was picturing Dick maybe having an accident in the parking lot and with nobody knowing where I was! It turns out that he had gone into the restaurant next door and was waiting for me over there. I think we were separated for over a half an hour with no clue what was happening to the other one.

Tomorrow we plan to drive through Ontario to Corning, New York. Let the caching begin!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Football / Travel

We're in Ann Arbor again this weekend - gluttons for punishment. Tomorrow we'll see how badly Miami of Ohio can beat us - oh well - I think the only way Mich. fans can be happy this year is to have a good memory!

After the game tomorrow we're off on another road trip. This time we're going to New England. Dick says we're touring the "News" - New York, New Jersey & New England. His goal is to find a cache in every state in the union, and I think I heard him say that on this trip we can collect 8 states. We hope to be back home on the 13th so we can watch Notre Dame eat us alive on TV. Heavy sigh.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


Jim's shoulder is still giving him lots of trouble. He can't drive yet. His therapy is painful and bothersome. I'm so sorry that he's having these problems.

Tim is slated for surgery later this month - not really fair for someone who is physically fit and spent his career as a phys. ed. teacher! He should be immune from all of this stuff. If I ruled the world.....

James of JamesandSheryl suffered a heart attack last Saturday. Apparently he came through it OK and he's doing well. It's still very worrisome.

From the gym, Lee and Lucy are going through a crisis - Lucy is in ICU with a blood clot on the brain. Apparently she's not doing so well. I think I heard somewhere that Lucy was Shelly's first grade teacher. (9/14 update - Lucy has passed away - tests showed no brain function - quite sudden and very sad.)

Sharon V., one of our stadium seatmates, had uterine cancer surgery in January and is still receiving chemo treatments - she has three more to go. She's in excellent shape and so she's recovering well, and seems to feel fine except for when she's recovering from chemo.

Dan, our friend for 45 years, has bone marrow cancer. He's about to begin a series of chemotherapy treatments.

Amy has been put on bedrest until her baby arrives, near the end of October. She's allowed to be up and around for 20 minutes each hour.

We're hoping for the best possible outcome for all of these great people!.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Bye Bye

Dropped Laurie and Dylan off at the airport before 6 a.m. They got home before we did! I was really surprised - they called before noon and said that they were on the ground in Florida. We got home around 1 p.m. Tom and Brandy are scheduled to leave at 7 p.m. They are planning to tour the Arboretum this afternoon and then to tour Beautiful Belleville on the way to the airport.

And that was the end of our idyllic weekend.