Wednesday, March 31, 2010

DC Photos - Wednesday

Eventually, there will be text!

cherry blossoms
dinner @ Legal Seafood
More blossoms with Jana

Monday, March 29, 2010

Today Through a Fog

The Port Clinton Comfort Inn gets a low grade for continental breakfast. It was the pits.

Ohio is very flat and marshy along highway 2. I might add not very interesting. Once we got away from the lakeshore and gained some elevation, guess what? Fog. Not just a little bit of fog. Dense, low visiblility squintable kind of fog.

We actually drove for quite a while before we stopped for breakfast. We found a Perkins close to the end of the Ohio Turnpike - it was outstandking - and so we had breakfast for lunch.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike is mostly under construction! The finished parts are great - much nicer than the Ohio Turnpike. Pennsylvania is working on the bridges and road surfaces. They need to do something about the fog! Sharing the turnpike with tons of 18 wheelers in the mountains is tense enough - add dense fog, and it's white knuckle time. Occasionally the fog would lift and then around the next curve, there it would be again. Holy Hannah, enough already!

We pulled in at Bedford - founded in 1750! Its downtown really looks colonial. There are lovely homes here, and the town reflects a lot of civic pride - it was fun driving the rain. We found a cache at the Coffee Pot - yes we did! It was a fun, clever hide.

It's interesting to us to be in the mountains. Our motel room has a front door and a back door. The front door is at ground level, and the back door opens onto the second floor balcony! Quite a slope we have here!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Yuck of a Day

Got an early start, and were ready to roll. Before we even got to Garfield Dick noticed that something was flapping on the roof of the car. It turned out to be a plastic strip from the roof rack - it must have been loosened in the car wash last night. Then, on Meauwataka Road, a turkey flew into our antenna - no damage to us or to the turkey, but it was kind of a shock! We began to wonder what else would happen on this trip because we were off to kind of a shaky beginning!

Around Midland we began to get a misty, moisty hazy kind of a light rain. Stopped for lunch along the highway at Panera Bread - creamy tomato soup in a bread bowl - a real love pat for the tummy.

By the time we got to Brighton it was a hard, splashy, low visiblility kind of a heavy rain. This continued through Ohio. We stopped in Port Clinton in time to watch the fabulous Michigan State/Tennessee tournament game! That was the most cliff hangiest of all cliff hangers! It was a miraculous win. They should have won, too, because they were seeded higher than Tennessee, and we know how accurate that seeding process is!

Port Clinton is right on Lake Erie. Our motel was on the shore of the lake, and we had a great view of it out of our motel window.

The only problem was that it was so rainy, misty, hazy and gray that the sky and the lake looked the same - I'm sure the views would be much better on a clear, sunny day.

I'll bet you didn't know that there really is a Catholic Church named Little Sisters of the Poor! It's here in Port Clinton. Dick also liked the Happy Hookers Bait Shop.

Port Clinton was all excited about their boys' basketball team who had come in second in the State tournament. This very morning they lost the championship game - ruining their streak of 26 straight wins! The signs were all over town - go Redskins, or just go Skins.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Who Likes Birthdays?

That would be me! This b-day was spectacular! First thing was a rose and a card when I woke up! Then Dylan called and sang me the b-day song, and we chatted until he had to go to school.

I went downstairs, and found a dozen yellow roses (my all time favorite flower!) another great card, and a ca-a-a-a-ke (we don't get much cake around here).

Laurie called, and sang you know what, and we planned spring break in D.C. Can't wait to do the Smithsonian with Dylan!

Went downtown and spent a whole hour at Miner's North upgrading my bracelet - good old Dick waited at Horizon.

I had the best time - it was almost the highlight of the day. That jewelry store is so helpful and friendly - I really enjoyed spending my birthday money in there :)

On the way home, Jana called on the cell and she sang her own original version of the b-day song, which I think she should copyright - it was very much fun. There was a message on the machine when we got home that Hibbard's had been out to deliver flowers and of course we weren't there. So I called them and they came right back out with a gorgeous bouquet from all of the "Eggs".

Dick asked me where I wanted to go for dinner. I thought and thought - I could think of more places that I didn't want to go. Finally decided that I just wanted to relax and have fun, and so let's just go out to Art's Tavern in Glen Arbor! Yaay! It was a beautiful evening for a drive - bright sunshine and blue sky. Leelanau County is beautiful any time of the year.

The restaurant was fun - lots of interesting conversations to eavesdrop on, and lots of local color. I had a marvelous time. Back at home, as soon as we opened the door the phone started ringing and it was Tom from California. We had a great talk, and It was a really nice way to end my perfect birthday!

Dick asked me if I felt any older, and I said, "Ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies." More and more old cliches are beginning to make sense to me :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Maturity Levels

Yesterday, when the Northern Iowa Panthers defeated the Kansas Jayhawks, I felt so bad because I had picked Kansas to be the National Champions. It was not meant to be. I was upset and bad-mouthing the Kansas athletes who were so sad. I was thinking, "You mean you didn't see this coming? You're surprised to have lost? Considering that your only lead in this game was when it was 2-0?"

I posted this whiny entry on the famiy message board:

The N. Iowa Panthers are a bunch of big fun-messer-upper-ruiners !!!
I'm getting no sympathy from my husband !!!
Good luck everybody.

My niece Shelly had a much better reaction to the whole thing - she took the attitude of a much more mature adult when she posted:

Way to go Northern Iowa, you have made some history. 40% of brackets on ESPN have now been ruined. Yes, I took Kansas to win it, but as I watched the game I couldn't help but cheer for the underdog. Maybe MSU will have a chance to go farther in the bracket. This sure is a fun year to watch the top seeds fall.

Then, my daughter Jana found a way to pique renewed interest in the tournament and gave us all something to look forward to. She posted this on Facebook:

Just in case anyone else is also confused, I just had to google to figger it out -- Ali Farokhmanesh is the N. Iowa dude who sunk the three-pointer; Al-Farouq Aminu is the Wake Forest dude. I now want Wake Forest and N. Iowa to get to the finals so they can play each other.

Another niece, Susan, validated Jana's plan:

Yes! Good for you. Now that we are no longer contenders we need to find something fun about this tournament and you did.

Well, gee whiz, these family members have all demonstrated maturity, acceptance, and grace under disappointment. I'm so proud of them! So I have changed my own attitude. I just have one thing to say: The KANSAS JAYHAWKS are a bunch of big fun-messer-upper ruiners.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

March Madness

Here we go again! It's Bracket time! I'm not sure why I enjoy this so much, but I do. Right now my West bracket is looking horrible, but I'm tied for third in the family pool, so it could be worse. There are twenty of us in the pool, and three of us are tied for third. (Jana and Melanie and I). Jana is bummed, though, because she picked Minnesota to go all the way, and they're already out. Dick picked MSU to go all the way, and I think he's going to be bummed, too, judging by the way they played last night!

This seems to be the year for upsets. There are always a few, but there sure a lot this year! Everybody was surprised by Georgetown losing I think - but I also picked Vanderbilt, Minnesota, Temple, Florida State and UTEP to win, and they were all ousted. Not doing so well so far! Last night, Michigan State almost lost in the first round - we were glad to see them pull it out - but it was a really ugly game.

Win or lose, this is always fun!

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Filled out my brackets yesterday, so I'm good to go.

We have a Gen Family pool, and no money is involved. It's online and really easy to keep track of. You can see how everyone else filled out their brackets, and see what your standing is in the pool so far. Kevin and Sharon started it about seven years ago. You can even look up how you ranked in previous years. Such fun.

This morning at the gym I filled out Norene's bracket for her for the MCHC therapists' pool - poor thing - talk about the blind leading the blind. She said she didn't care - she just wanted Ron to stop bugging her!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Alden Park and Greensky Hill

Our Greensky Hill cache is over near Charlevoix. When a cacher reported that the cache needed maintenance, we were happy to have an excuse to go over there. First of all, it's a delightful location. It's an old Indian mission and burial ground, and it's very sacred to the native Americans. The grounds are well maintained, and many of the markers have native language inscriptions.

As long as we were heading that way, we had noticed that the Alden Search Party had put out a new cache in the Alden Park. That darn Ron and Barb! This was a very tricky hide! We were turning over every stone and kicking gravel for twenty minutes before we decided that we were skunked. Then Dick had an inspiration, and voila! There it was! Whew. That was a toughie.

Lunch at the Juilleret Restaurant in Charlevoix. We were the only ones there. It was hard to figure out why, because their food is really good. When we got the check, we figured it out. It was $30 for sandwiches and coffee. Live and learn.

Then off to Greensky Hill. Here is Dick's description on the cache page:

This cache is located adjacent to the grounds of the Greensky Hill United Methodist Church also known as The Pine River Indian Mission. It was added to the National Register of Historic places in 1972. Take the time to look around, visit the medicine garden next to the parking lot and as you take the path to the east toward the lake, seek out the sign by the grave enclosed by a picket fence.
The church was built over 150 years ago under the direction of Peter Greensky alongside a circular grove of trees which had long been used by the native people as a religious gathering place. Notice the replica circular grove in the modern cemetery west of the parking lot.
The Greensky Hill Church is a rectangular, front-gable wooden structure built with walls of hewn logs, below the clapboard gables. It measures thirty-five-feet long by twenty-five-feet-wide. In the early 1940’s the entrance was changed by the addition of a low vestibule and porch with a hip-and-gable-roof surmounted by a square, louvered belfry. The church and grounds are recognizable in many of Ernest Hemingway’s Nick Adams stories.
One of the oldest churches in continuous service in west Michigan, today it serves a small local congregation of about 50. Approximately half are Anishnabek and half are non Native Americans. In the worship service the congregation continues the use of the Ojibway language in some of the hymns and prayers. On some weekends in the summer, camp meetings are held which feature activities designed to perpetuate the ancient skills and crafts used by the people before the arrival of the Europeans.
In addition to the small church and the new fellowship hall, the entire 20+ acre grounds are sacred to the parishioners. While you explore the site, please observe the reverence the area deserves.

It was a beautiful day and an inspiring place to be. Dick had the cache replaced in no time at all. I enjoyed walking around and reading the stones.

On the way out, we took a wrong turn. If we hadn't, we would have missed seeing this one of a kind trailer! Does this make you want to go camping?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Cattle Track

Hooray for the new kitchen floor! We babysat flooring and the installer for the past two days, and so now it's time for an adventure.

Cadillac has tons of interesting caches in and around town. We met Tim and Susie for breakfast at the Cadillac Bob Evans and made plans for our day of caching.

First of all, right in downtown Cadillac, along Mitchell Street, there are two series involving signs or parts of signs. You have to locate the signs pictured, and then put them in order from north to south to arrive at the coordinates of the cache location. We had a great time driving up and down Mitchell Street 87 times (may be a slight exaggeration) trying to find exactly the right signs in exactly the right color! We had two sets of pictures - one for each series - and we got really confused flipping through pages, so we decided to do one series at a time. Even with four sets of eyes it took us hours to finish! We had a super good time, though, and that's the whole point!

We took a break in the middle to get some fresh air and found three caches out in the surrounding area. One was named The Bridge to Nowhere - doesn't that sound intriguing?

We sat in McDonald's so Dick and Tim could figure out all of the final coordinates. After a minor glitch, we found both of them. It was laughable to spend so much time searching and then have the finals be a lamp post skirt lifter and a cemetery! But the search was the fun part, so it didn't really matter where you signed your name.

All in all, it was the kind of day you'd like to put in a bottle - we had a wonderful time.

Friday, March 12, 2010

My Class is History!

Yesterday's Grand Traverse Herald had this picture in its historical pictures feature. It's the kind of thing where they ask, "Can anybody identify any of these individuals?" It was like a bolt out of the blue for me. I could identify six of them without even wracking my brain - they are kids I went to school with from grades 1-12 ! They're in my TCHS class of 1953. This picture was taken when they were in 8th or 9th grade, at the new BoGi Club, so it would hve been 1949 or '50. (BoGi stands for Boys and Girls) I'm not in the picture, but if I could walk into the picture, everybody there would know me, and I would know them all very well!

The girl closest to the camera at the table is Jackie Brown, one of my best elementary school friends. She and Pauline Brigham and I were best friends at Union Street School in grades 1 to 7. Pauline passed away a few years ago, and I've lost track of Jackie. We used to have one birthday party for both of us - her birthday is March 20, and mine March 22. Such good memories.

I hope everybody can live long enough to become historical (without becoming hysterical).

A nice man is in our kitchen laying down our new vinyl flooring. He'll be finished today. The old floor was beginning to come apart at the seams, so this time we're having no seams.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Kitchen Floor

Diary of the new kitchen floor.

This is what your kitchen looks like when the floor is torn up!


Underlayment - nail guns are loud!

Almost the End:

Choose a color

How does it look?

Finished pictures later!

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Politics 2010

Politics is not my favorite subject. Sometimes I feel as though if I hear another personal attack on someone or another discussion of Health Care Reform, I'll check in to psychoanalysis.

As a fairly progressive Democrat, I find it really hard to believe that there are so many people in our country who are ignorant of basic facts. They think that our President may be a socialist, communist, or maybe a fascist! Ask them to define any one of those three terms and you'll see how much they know about the world around them.

You just can't carry on a rational conversation with friends who are under the influence of the loud, shocking conservative media, both radio and TV. The local AM radio station is impossible for me to listen to. From dawn to dusk all you can hear is hate, vitriol, misinformation, shockingly one-sided opinions, and shouting - all day long! I listen mostly to NPR, where you do get a relatively balanced view of the world - what a concept.

The Republicans in Congress are behaving abominably. On a report card they would get F's in participation and citizenship - they should also lose recess. Keep them there until they do something.

Today Dick found this perceptive list in a column of the Washington Monthly:

March 7, 2010
UPDATING OUR POLITICAL DICTIONARIES.... Josh Marshall had a very short item the other day that I've been meaning to mention. He was helping readers understand the new political "lexicon."

"Jamming it through": to vote on a bill.

It got me thinking about how we should all update our understandings of political terms that had fairly straightforward definitions up until fairly recently.

"Obstructionism," for example, only refers to Democratic minorities opposing Republican proposals.

"Tyranny" is found when an elected Democratic majority passes legislation that Republicans don't like.

"Reconciliation" describes a Senate process that Republicans are allowed to use to overcome Democratic "obstructionism."

"Terrorism" refers to acts of political violence committed by people who aren't white guys.

"Bipartisanship" is found when Democrats agree to pass Republican legislation.

"Big government" describes a dangerous phenomenon to be avoided, except in cases relating reproductive rights or gays.

"Treason" refers to Democrats criticizing a Republican administration during a war.

"Patriotism" refers to Republicans criticizing a Democratic administration during a war.

"Fiscal responsibility" is a national priority related to keeping our budget in check, which only applies when Republicans are in the minority.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Quilt Barn Trail

The sun has been shining for three days now. The temperature hit 40 this afternoon. Even though we still have three feet of snow in the middle of our deck, you can tell that Spring is just around the corner! Hooray.

Dick has been thinking about a new cache series out on the peninsula, along the Quilt Barn Trail. It was a gorgeous day to drive out there. The bright sunlight made the quilt barns look fantastic. We recorded the coordinates for each of the ten barns, and had lunch at the Old Mission Tavern. I want to tell you that this is a very pleasant way to spend some time!

On the way back home we saw this regal eagle posing for us along Peninsula Drive. He sat there very quietly the whole time we were watching him, and turned his head as we drove off.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Grayling Meet, Greet and Eat

The AuSable Valley Expo will be April 24 and 25. Just like last year, a geocachers' meet and greet was planned to coincide with the Expo. The trouble is, there was nobody to take charge of it for various reasons - job training, and the opening of trout season for instance. We discussed it and decided we would give it a try - we've never hosted an event before, but this was just a small group last year so we figured that we could handle it.

We met with Misty at the Grayling Days Inn, and she was terrific. She offered the room, sloppy joes, beverages, and prizes for the meet and greet. It was a super meeting, and she was very cooperative and easy to work with.

We had lunch at Tim and Susie's house - home made soup, sandwiches and cookies - you just can't beat it! It was a lovely lunch, or as Dick said, "Good stuff!" We always have a good time with them.

At home we both worked on a web page for the meet and greet. It should be published soon so people can make plans. I thought it was just about perfect, so we submitted it. Guess what?! It was not approved. Tiki, the reviewer, said it didn't sound like an event just for geocachers, and he had to follow the guidelines. Interestingly enough, the same scenario was approved last year, so we are slightly befuddled with his rejection. We made some changes, re-submitted it, and haven't heard back. Dick says he's not going to jump through any more hoops, and if it's not approved, someone else can do it.