Monday, February 25, 2013

Surprise at Clinch

On our Tour Du T.C. this morning we were surprised to see a boat on a trailer by the boat launch.  It's not exactly boating weather - temp in the 20s, and a foot of snow on the ground.  What on earth could be going on?

Before you can launch a boat today, the boat ramp has to be plowed out!  They thought of everything :)

It turned out to be 4 Winns from Cadillac.  They said they were "testing" the boat - we're not sure what for.  They say they do this every year.  We're never seen this before - it was weird!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Another Coin Story!

This is a fun way to start the day!  The finder of our coin was born the day we were married!  So he's 55 years old!  A little scary, but still fun and interesting:

From: Geocaching
Date: Sat, Feb 23, 2013 at 10:14 PM
Subject: [LOG] Owner: bcrockcrawler, xstitcher, & BMXer retrieved
Mission Accomplished! (Basswood Bend 50th Anniversary Geocoin) from
Made in Canada, eh!

You are receiving this email because you are the owner of this listing.

Location: British Columbia, Canada
bcrockcrawler, xstitcher, & BMXer retrieved Mission Accomplished!
(Basswood Bend 50th Anniversary Geocoin) from Made in Canada, eh! at

Log Date: 2/23/2013
Well this coin is a long way from Hawaii but it must be a destiny
thing as bcrockcrawler was born here on Vancouver Island (The Pacific
Ocean laps up on it's West coast) on the day you were married... We
will see if we can get it headed back to those other Pacific Islands..

Visit this log entry at the below address:

Visit Mission Accomplished!

Profile for bcrockcrawler, xstitcher, & BMXer:

Made in Canada, eh!


Friday, February 22, 2013

Quail Meadow is Ours! Plus Oscars

After 2 p.m. this afternoon we will own a condo in Florida :)  We have signed all of the documents, wired all the money, and the closing will be this afternoon.  Yaaay!
3624 SW Quail Meadow Trail #E
Palm City
FL  34990
Tom has published his annual Oscar picks :
 I'm so glad that Tom picked Silver Linings - I thought it was a terrific movie - especially loved all of the great characters - good story, good casting, good movie.

I pick Jennifer Lawrence as best actress, and DeNiro as best supporting actor.

Tom and I disagree about Les Miserables. I thought it was so gripping that I could barely blink. At the opening scene, the men pulling the boat, I was so spellbound that my hand stayed above the popcorn bag for about 10 minutes and then I forgot all about popcorn for the rest of the movie.
I pick Hugh Jackman for best actor. The man just oozes talent in every direction. 

It's an epic, a classic. Read the book by Victor Hugo. I saw it on stage only once, at the Fox in Detroit. I liked the movie better. I really enjoy the PBS production with the cast in costumes and no sets - just doing the music - wow. I'm not a fan of Ann Hathaway's portrayal of Fantine. Personally, I really enjoyed Samantha Barks as Eponine immensely.

Best Movie - Les Miserables

I would pick Sally Field as supporting actress.

Best director - Ang Lee

Life of Pi gets all of the technical awards .

Here's where I have to admit I haven't seen Lincoln.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Aha !

I just KNEW that playing this game was good for me  :)  !

World of Warcraft could give your grandparents' brains a boost
By Robert T. Gonzalez

World of Warcraft could give your grandparents’ brains a boost

Next time you sit down to play some World of Warcraft (WoW), consider having a parent or grandparent take a crack at it, instead — new research shows that the MMO can actually boost cognitive functioning in older adults. Plus, there's a decent chance they'll actually enjoy playing it. What... you aren't afraid of getting your ass kicked by a senior citizen, are you?
"One day I had my grandma play WoW with me, and after two hours she told me she had to take a nap, because she hadn't had to think that hard in a very long time," explained psychologist Jason Allaire, co-author on a recently published paper describing the findings.
"So I thought, why don't we try to find a way to harness something like this so we can improve cognitive function?"
Allaire, along with colleagues Laura Whitlock and Anne McLaughlin, set about doing exactly that. The team started by recruiting 39 volunteers between the ages of 60 and 77 and testing their performance across a variety of cognitive skills, like focus and spatial reasoning. Test participants were then divided into two groups. Members of the experimental group had WoW installed on their home computers, and were asked to put in at least an hour of gameplay a day over the course of two weeks before having their cognitive abilities retested. Members of the control group were also retested in two weeks' time, but they did not play any WoW in the interim.
The researchers found that, as a whole, the WoW group saw a greater increase in cognitive performance than the control group, though improvements tended to vary on a person-to-person basis. Interestingly, the volunteers who saw the greatest improvements in cognitive abilities were those who had scored lowest on the initial, baseline test that had been administered two weeks prior.
In other words, explains Allaire, "the people who needed it most saw the greatest improvements."
Allaire and McLaughlin are co-directors of North Carolina State's Gains Through Gaming Laboratory. In 2009, the two received a million-dollar grant from the National Science Foundation to study how video games might improve cognitive abilities in the elderly.
Allaire and McLaughlin have looked at the cognitive benefits of various video games in the past, but WoW was a particularly attractive option. Players can learn the game at their own pace, it's socially interactive, and gamers can play for hundreds of hours and still find themselves presented with novel challenges.
Of course, you can't dismiss the fact that the game is also pretty fun.
"We had two or three participants who asked if they could keep the game, and as far as we know they've kept playing," explained Allaire. "Most people gave us really good feedback." He continues:
Older adults do like to play video games, and with baby boomers all turning 65 and older in the next ten years, we're soon going to have more people over the age of 65 than under 20. Older adults belong to a demographic that video game companies often overlook, but our research shows that they will play the game, that they're interested in the games, and that they can benefit from them, as well... even in just a couple weeks' time.
Video games get such a bad rap. Just go online and you'll find [a lot of forums saying] Warcraft is addicting, that games ruin marriages, or that they're rife with violence — but this study reveals that there is a measurably beneficial aspect to games, as well. We hope our findings help people see them in that light.
The researchers' findings are published in the latest issue of Computers in Human Behavior.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

MiGO Winter Social 2013

The flashmob before the event.  It felt like 20 below - so cold!

Will, Leslie and Jay braving the cold.

Laura LightPeople   Dick got a big kick out of this shirt!

Working on MiGO Bingo - a great ice-breaker :)

Premium Member
Attended Attended
The Winter Social has always been our favorite MiGO event. We anticipate having a great time, meeting old friends and making new ones. This year's event did not disappoint. The fun and food was outstanding. We want to express our appreciation to those folks who give of their time and effort to make this event the pleasure that it is. We would also like to thank the members who have served on MiGO's boards and offer our thanks and congratulations to those newly elected. Congratulations also to the Silver Medal winners, we are aware what an honor that is.
Yes, it is our favorite MiGO event.  A whole roomful of caching buddies - it's outstanding.  Our table this year was full of  4Lmbr Jx:
Premium Member
Attended Attended
We signed the log and did the 1,500 finds (294 consecutive days) dance. What a great way to celebrate with lots of caching friends. We would like to thank all who helped organize and run this event. Congratulations to the newly elected officials and the silver medal recipients. We had a great time at the winter social and can't wait for the next gathering."
and DinoDuo: 
Premium Member
Attended Attended
Many thanks to everyone who helped to make this another premier event. It's always great to see old friends meet a few new ones and chat about caching. Congrats to all the newly elected officers and VPs and Silver Award recipients! Well done."

And how much fun was it to see Peter, Melissa and the girls come in!  It's so great to see geocaching extend to other members of the family!  What a treat.
Premium Member
Attended Attended
Had a fun road trip today here today. Glad we made it. Next year we will get here early."

All in all it was another great year.  I did think that the silent auction was a little disappointing, but all of the great people made up for it :)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Champps Lansing

Drove down to DeWitt on a cold, blustery day.  Winter is trying to recapture us after the bliss of sun, sea and sand!

Checked in to the Sleep Inn - oh yes, we remember this one - no bathtub, just a funky shower.  No room for really moving around, the whole room is a very tight squeeze!  But it's warm, and the beds are comfy.  And it's just for 2 nights!

We met Sharon and John for dinner at Champps - it's right by the Town Center shopping area, only 4 miles or so from the motel.

They are just back from California, so they had super pictures of their pride and joy, Maya and Ella - a real couple of cuties!  We heard all of the news of Tom, Kevin and Amy, Joyce and Richard, and the whole California "shirt tail" family:)  We spent a great couple of hours eating, chatting and taking up space while the lobby filled with people waiting for a table!  Hehehe.  Thanks, John and Sharon for a great evening.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Omelette Shoppe

Now we're officially back in Michigan.  The gym, followed by breakfast.   We really enjoy going to the Omelette Shopppe. 

But is it because of the delicious, hot, nutritious food?

Or is it because of the great people watching...if there are no cute babies to watch, there's always the Coast Guard!
Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Festival of Foods

We spent the day at the Oleson Center of Northwestern Michigan College for the annual Festival of Foods.  This event was a Christmas present for me from Laurie, and what a great day we had.

The first group was Country Breakfast - the highlights were quiche and granola.
Stephanie from Black Star Farms.  She's making a quiche for us.  She was Miss Personality :)
The second class was all about bread, presented by the owner of Bay Bread.  We sampled crostini, bruschetta, and a spinach dip with pumpernickel - scrumptious!

  This picture shows bread as a centerpiece!  It was very attractive.  When the diners want a roll, they can just tear off a piece!

Stacy, the owner of Bay Bread.  She knows everything about bread making - she answered every question from the group.  I was very impressed.

Stacy and some of her beautiful breads.

She brought each of us a cinnamon roll !

One happy hubby :)
The third group was Vegetarian Tarts.  It was just like watching a show on the food network - Chef Cheryl made one from scratch while we watched and sampled.  People asked a lot of questions, and she answered them with good humor and enthusiasm.
Chef Cheryl Janz - she teaches at the college.  She really knows her stuff.

Chef Cheryl going over her recipe.  She had a very warm personality, and a great knowledge of cooking.  She made a yummy, spicy vegetable tart with a great poppy seed crust.
Our last group was like a class - very educational - and for me, a little disappointing.  We sampled chocolate made from beans grown all around the world.  Some chocolate was good, others only so-so, and at least one not very good. Our favorite was made from Tanzanian beans. 

Tuesday, February 05, 2013


 WOW  !  !  !

MGOBLUEJon Horford
Jon Horford
Feb. 5, 2013 Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Crisler Center)

Score: #3 Michigan 76, #10 Ohio State 74 (OT)

Records: U-M (21-2, 8-2 Big Ten), Ohio State (17-5, 7-3 Big Ten)

Next U-M Event: Saturday, Feb. 9 -- at Wisconsin (Kohl Center), 11 a.m. CST (TV: ESPN)

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Buckeye guard Aaron Craft drove to the rim with three seconds left in overtime for one last attempt to tie the game, but junior guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (Miami, Fla./Palmetto Senior) stuffed his shot and secured the avenging victory, 76-74, for the University of Michigan men's basketball team (No. 3 AP/No. 3 ESPN/USA Today) over Ohio State (No. 10 AP/No. 10 ESPN/USA Today) on Tuesday night (Feb. 5) inside Crisler Center.

FINAL - Overtime - Michigan 76, Ohio State 74

Behind 23 points and 5 straight 3-pointers from Tim Hardaway Jr., 16 points from Trey Burke and 14 points and 6 rebounds from Mitch McGary, Michigan topples Ohio State in an overtime thriller at Crisler Center. Can't get any better than that!

Next up: At Wisconsin, Saturday 2/9 at noon EST

THANK YOU MICHIGAN FANS! The Maize Out was great. Crisler Center was just awesome. We couldn't have done it without you. Be sure you check out the ESPN, the Magazine coverage and photo gallery. It makes the whole day even better.

North from P.C. to T.C.

Dick wrote this essay about our trip north:

 This trip back to Traverse was unique. Because of the medical false alarm, we left Palm City a little sooner than we had originally planned. We wanted to get home to a doctor and a situation we trusted. The problem was the weather.

There were storm conditions moving across from west to east bringing rain in the south and snow in the mountain's and Ohio River valley. We decided to drive up 95 toward Columbia, SC on Friday and look at the weather that night. We had an option to go west from there to 75 or even to Nashville and 65, or continue north to Charleston, WV. As a result of our indecision, for the first time on our Florida excursions, we did not have motel reservations. One result is that on this trip we sometimes we went further that the 250 - 300 miles we usually schedule, we went as far and as long as we both felt comfortable.

The weather on Friday in Florida and Georgia was fantastic and the traffic was reasonable so after breakfast with Chip and Laurie, we pushed a bit further than usual. We stopped for lunch in Kingsville, Ga. because we were low on petrol. Jack's Bar-B-Que was spotted on, of all places, Scrubby Bluff Rd. What a colossal disappointment! It seems to me that ribs in a restaurant, especially in the south, should at least taste as good as the ones I cook on my smoker.

Back on the road, the traffic was light and we made it all the way to Columbia. Good lord, it's like we are in our 50's again.

 The Weather Station Saturday morning convinced us to continue north toward Charleston WV. We have had some bad experiences on this route in the past, many semis chugging up the mountain in the far right lane and then racing down the other side and "blowin' your doors off". On past trips we have seen a number of accidents with lanes blocked and trucks piled up over the edge. This day however was a breeze. We cruised through North Carolina and into Virginia. We entered the mountains and for the first time we saw snow. In spots, there was a dusting on the side of the road in the shade. As we continued north it became more noticeable off on the sides but with increasing frequency.

 We passed through the Big Walker Mountain Tunnel

 and on the other side, the amount of snow on the ground increased. A second tunnel,  the East River Mountain Tunnel. and we were in West Virginia.

 Now the snow was falling from the sky and for the first time, affecting the road. It was getting nasty and folks were driving crazily. Our target had been Charleston but we decided to call it a day at Beckley. We were anticipating that the road crews would get the plowing and salting done in the morning. Michigan played Indiana that night and lost. Nancy watched to the bitter (and it was bitter) end but I couldn't take it.

 Sunday morning we watched the weather and news, most of the churches in the Beckley area were closed and so we thought that if God had forsaken so many of the West Virginians this day, what chance did we have. We waited for a time in the room. About 3 inches had accumulated on our car. Finally, about 9 we decided to give it a try, maybe go as far as Charleston.

 Actually, as we drove out that morning, there was little or no snow until we reached the WV toll road. Although it was snowing steadily the roads were in fairly good shape until we hit the Ohio border. I just hung in the right lane and kept a good distance back of the car in front of me. Dick Dokas had sent me a forecast indicating that there was a weather advisory for SE Michigan so instead of heading north through Columbus (not one of our favorite towns) we decided to go to Lima which would give us the option of continuing on to the west. In the good old days when we were rolling south or returning from spring break in the Smokies on 75 with Neuperts and Sniders, Lima seemed to be just out the front door.

 It was Super Bowl Sunday and we watched it in the motel room. We both had a hard time deciding who we would pull for but decided that we would go with the 49ers, coach Jim was the M QB when Jana was in school and wrote her a nice note, Belleville grad and M linebacker Tink Nunley played for them and their current center Jon Goodwin is also a Michigan man. As usual, our support turned out to be the kiss of death.

 Monday was decision time, the radar showed a clipper system moving across from the west, we decided to drive west into it rather than north along the front of it. If we had to we could hunker down in Fort Wayne. The road across Ohio and into Indiana, US 30, was snow covered and it was coming down heavily. However, traffic was light. It is a 4 lane road but not limited access, a speed limit of 55. I was happy to cruise along 5 MPH or so under the limit. Once again I was upset with the folks (often in white or silver cars) who do not turn on their lights. I get very nervous when I suddenly realize that mysteriously, suddenly, there is a car sitting on my back bumper.

 We crossed into Indiana and the road conditions worsened. We decided that when it comes to winter maintenance, in the contest between the Buckeyes and the Hoosiers, the Buckeyes win. We spotted quite a few plow trucks working the road in Ohio, once we crossed the state line, we saw none. Outside of Ft. Wayne, the snow let up and I 69 was not bad as long as you stayed in the right lane. I kept an eye out for an escape route in case something happened up ahead. Although at times there was a ditch or guardrail on the right side, the median was usually wide and flat. We figured that we would at least get to Angola, maybe cross the Michigan line before fatigue and road conditions took over. As we approached the toll road crossing, the snow picked up and there was an accumulation of snowy slush building up between the lanes. Changing lanes was getting chancy and so some folks got out in the left and hung even if they were only going 45. There were a lot of folks swerving back and forth. Trucks rolling in the left lane threw the slush back across the adjacent lane.

 We crossed into Michigan and we were both happy. Now we'll see how roads should be treated in the winter, now we'll see the salt trucks.  Not!   Soon we hit a stretch of concrete which had been grooved longitudinally. This is supposed to increase skid resistance and eliminate hydroplaning in wet weather. In this case, with the road surface frozen it appeared to have the opposite effect to me. I felt a lack of traction and control. Our car seemed to be slightly drifting back and forth in the lane. As a result, I throttled down and decided to just hang in the right lane. We wondered if perhaps our tires had become snow packed but that didn't stand the test of logic. Cars were passing us so others didn't seem to be having any problem.

Up ahead, a truck put on his four way flashers and began moving into the left lane. I stayed put. Further up the highway, we saw 3 or 4 vehicles off on the shoulder with people walking along side, I cut the speed further, down to maybe 30. To the far right, maybe 75 to 100 feet off the road we saw a car flipped on it's roof. Then we lost traction. Our car began sliding off the road. I got off the gas and lightly tapped the break pedal but had no control, we just kept sliding toward the shoulder and the guard rail. At least we won't hit hard, I thought. Then, when we were off the concrete and on the asphalt shoulder, the tires regained their grip. I hit my flashers, slowed to a near stop, got a grip on myself and then, when traffic cleared, eased back onto the pavement.

We were less than a mile from an exit, we pulled off and spotted a MacLand.

We made a potty and beverage stop, grabbed a booth and made use of their Wi-Fi. We discussed calling it quits for the day, the medical pressure was gone but like the horse, we were heading for the barn and wanted to push on if we could. I looked at the radar and saw that the snow was just in the southern part of the state. We decided to bag the expressway and drive the surface streets for a while, let's take Michigan Ave. to Battle Creek and see how it goes.

It went well, speeds were less, traffic was less, stress was less. When we got to M66 we turned north, there was no traffic! The only thing we saw was a farm truck hauling a trailer load of hay and when we caught up to him he pulled over to let us pass. We had never driven this part of 66 before, it is just open farmland. There is only one little town, Nashville, where we stopped for lunch. I think we were the only non-locals they had seen, everybody else knew each other. Each person who came in (4 or 5) spoke to the other people who were already there, booth by booth and discussed their health, kids, families, etc.

 Back on the road, the weather and roads cleared just as we had hoped looking at the radar. When we got to I96 it was pretty clear and traffic was flowing well. We hopped on, made the turn at Grand Rapids and were in the clear. After we made a MacStop in Big Rapids the sun came out. We hadn't seen it since Virginia. A quick stop for soup fixin's in Kingsley and then home.

 Kathee from the visitor's center had come out and she, her husband John and McLenithan had the drive cleared.

We pulled right in at about 5:30. I had laid a fire in the wood stove before we left so it was lit, the thermostat was dialed up and after an hour of thrashing about, the car was empty and we were home. The house is always cold soaked when we get home so it takes a solid 8 - 10 hours of the furnace running to get it up to comfortable but this time I had only dropped the thermostat to 55 so it wasn't that bad. The outside temp is in the low teens and there is 6 - 7 inches of snow on the ground. We both slept well.