Saturday, December 28, 2013

Bye Bye Tom

Jana is back home in D.C., Chip is at work.

 The rest of us went to Stuart and had lunch at Mulligan's.

 We walked along the river and spent some time at the charming and interesting Stuart Heritage Museum.

 It was really enjoyable and fun.  I especially enjoyed the Seminole clothing - so intricately sewn and so colorful with such intricate patterns.

Then Laurie and Tom headed off to the Palm Beach airport for his flight back home to San Diego.  Bye bye Tom!

Dick and I stayed up to watch Michigan lose their bowl game.  Heavy sigh!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Bye Bye Jana

Jana boards the plane tonight at 9:15 at Ft. Lauderdale.

The Movies With Mom Project continued today - the whole family went to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  We thought that it was tons of fun, and I'm almost positive that everyone enjoyed it - Dick even liked it!  My favorite part was the trip to Greenland and Iceland - the scenery, the culture, the people - priceless.  It's a good story, understated and sweet.

After the movie we had dinner at Hurricane - fun, friendly,  delicious and loud!
Laurie and Jana left at six for the drive to Ft. Lauderdale and Jana's flight home.  Bye bye Jana - Happy New Year!

My family humored me and everybody joined in this group shot yesterday on Boxing Day:
The seven of us taking a stand :)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Boxing Day, Busch, Duffy's, and The Game With No Name

Our first stop today was the  Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter.  It's a small, friendly animal rescue operation where you can see all kinds of native Florida wildlife.  My favorites today were the river otters and the bald eagles.  They also have panthers, bears, snakes, armadillos, etc.

 Dylan used to volunteer here as a presenter when he was in elementary school.  Every day they have a brief animal presentation giving the audience a chance to pet the animals and learn about each one.  He was the skunk presenter and bird enclosure cleaner-upper!

A possum. 6 months old

Great Horned Owl

The Amphitheater

Some attendees !

You almost feel like saluting this regal bird.

Florida Panthers

Watching the foxes.

After the animals, Dylan was a good sport and we went to eat at Duffy's, which is his least favorite place.  The food was good, we had fun, and the family at the next table was very entertaining!

Back at Laurie's house we did a reprise of the Game With No Name - it's basically like charades without the acting out - just guessing from sometimes obscure clues!

HatBoy, just for fun!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas Day 2013

Christmas Tree of Gillespie 2013

Joyous Christmas of Steiger

Happy dinner prep of Laurie

How to make Grandpa happy - Christmas with family!
How to make Dylan happy - a Honda Dirt Bike (DRF 250 L).   Santa really did come.

Happy dinner prep of Chip

Joyous Christmas of Jana

Christmas Elves
Best Uncle and Best Nephew

My favorite 2013 Christmas Picture
Hooray for Christmas!

My three kids took me to the movies this afternoon - it was very special.  We saw Philomena, which, it turns out, is a true story of Irish babies sold for adoption by nuns.  Philomena is the Mom of one of those adopted babies, and she has been obsessed for 50 years with finding him or at least finding out what has become of him.  It's an interesting search with kind of a surprise ending.  I was totally absorbed by it, and everyone seemed to enjoy it as well.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve Day

Yay!  We went to the movies today.  We saw Saving Mr. Banks, with Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks.  It's about the making of the film Mary Poppins, with Thompson playing the author P. L. Travers and Hanks playing Walt Disney.

Christmas Eve at Laurie's with Chip's chili and oyster stew, followed  by Dr. Who.  (???)  Sorry, but I still don't get it.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Book of Mormon

Laurie, Dylan, Dick and I were treated to a spectacular matinee performance of this Broadway musical this afternoon at the Broward Center in Ft. Lauderdale.  The show is at times profane and even vulgar, but it is done in a humorous, light-hearted way which is really very enjoyable.

Jana arrives tonight at 9:30, and Tom arrives tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. 
It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas :)

Friday, December 20, 2013

Lunch with SuGarWar

Mulligan's in Stuart was the place for our lunch date with Sue and Gary.  It was one of those two hour lunches, with good food, and good re-connecting.  The last time we lunched with them, they had two birds, Kiwi and MacKenzie.  Now they have the birds, three cats, and a dog.  There's also a ten foot alligator who lives across the street from them!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

We Have Achieved Cable!

And wi-fi too !  It's never easy, but when the comcast materials arrived, Dick got right to work setting up all of the necessary connections.  We wound up with a very funky password for the wi-fi, but it works just fine.
Chip is home, and Laurie had us over for yummy pot roast.
The weather here is just about perfect, while back in Michigan they're having snow, snow and more snow.  We feel so very lucky!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Happy Birthday Dear Dylan

Laurie treated us to empanadas and chocolate ice cream cake for Dylan's birthday dinner.  Today he is sixteen - wow.  He has his pre-calculus exam tomorrow, so no party this year.  Chip missed it - he was at work flying airplanes!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Moving In

Took our time unpacking things and putting stuff away.  Laurie came over with more lights for the tree, but I had already begun to hang the ornaments.  She decided to save the new lights for next year.
Dylan has final exams this week.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Snowbirds Trip to Condo, by RBS

I just love it when Dick writes the blog!!  Enjoy:

12/ 12 - 12/15, 2013  Snowbirds trip to condo.

Thursday 12/12

In the morning I finished loading the Rav. It was as packed as we’ve ever had it. So packed that the walker had to be strapped to the roof rack. I had a Dr’s appointment with my new personal physician Dr. Burke. For the past 22 years I had been seeing Dr. Lambert but the Munson Family Practice Center has become a teaching/intern adjunct and Lambert has become more of a teacher to his students than a doctor to me. He spends more time talking to the student than to me and his terminology is meant for them and generally indecipherable to me. After Burke’s outstanding performance in finding Nancy’s tumors she recommended and set up an appointment with him for me.

Since the Rav was packed, we took the Jeep. TC had been bombarded with lake effect snow for days and the roads were icy and slick. Twice we almost spun out and were happy to have made it into town and back safely. The forecast was for more lake effect here on Friday with a major storm in Southern Michigan for Saturday. We decided to leave first thing in the morning and just take it easy and see how far we could get. We usually get advanced motel reservations at distances from 225 to 260 miles each day. Since the roads and weather were questionable, we decided to just take it as it came and get as far as we could.

Friday 12/13

We were up and raring to go early. I pulled the car out of the garage and strapped down Nancy’s walker on the roof. I had to wait until this morning because it wouldn’t fit under the door opening. We checked the doors, turned down the thermostat, pulled down the shades, activated the alarm system, and away we went.

The roads were slippery and it was snowing steadily. The traffic was light and everyone was driving cautiously. We had heard that below 20 degrees the salt would melt the snow but the melt would refreeze causing it to ice over again. I held it under 50, even when we got on the 131 expressway at Manton, Some were driving faster but it didn’t feel real safe to me. Although the snow stopped, the roads remained slick until we reached Clare. From then on they were just wet because the temps were up in the 20’s and the salt was working. As we approached Saginaw, I was reminded just how little we use the Interstate anymore. Since we don’t stay in Ann Arbor for football season anymore, our annual Florida trek is it.

Checking the weather on her iPhone, Nancy reported that the big storm was coming tonight starting about 9 and continuing through the night. We decided to push on as far south as we could, hoping to drive south of it. When we hit the Ohio border, I made sure I was in the right lane and was at or 1 mph below the speed limit. I have the feeling that if a group of cars are buzzing along 5 miles over or so, the one which gets pulled over is the one with Michigan plates. I think that is especially true f it’s an M plate. We both were getting tired as we drove through Lima and after getting bogged down in a construction zone that took us 45 minutes to go two miles, decided to stop for the night just north of Dayton. We got into our room about 5;30, freshened up, rested a bit and watched the weather forecast. It was scary! We went out to dinner at Smokey Bones Barbecue, great ribs!, and then back to sleep.

Saturday 12/14

When we looked out the window in the morning, the cars in the parking lot were covered in snow. While Nancy was attempting to eat her barely edible breakfast, I went out in the parking lot and brushed nearly three inches of the white stuff off the car. We went back to the room to pack stuff up and then while she was checking out, I brushed off another 1/2 inch which had fallen in the mean time. We were on the road by 7:30 driving through the never ending road construction in Dayton in a steady snow storm. Luckily, it was wet and melted as soon as it hit the pavement. As the temperature rose, the snow changed to sleet and then to rain. Saturday morning is not a bad time to get through Cincinnati. (Our least favorite city to drive through. (Except for Atlanta))

We crossed the Ohio river with a big sigh of relief, happy to be done with the Buckeye and into Ky. We made our mandatory stop at the first Ky MacLand for beverages and a muscle stretch. Back on the road the weather was crappy but at least it was just rain. I was glad to be back on a four lane stretch of I75 so I set the cruise at 75 as confirmed by Nuvi and enjoyed the most relaxed drive of the trip so far. We ordinarily would have stopped somewhere near Knoxville but thoughts of Dylan, warmth, and our condo encouraged us to push on into Jahjah. We discovered that no natives Georgians drive the speed limit. At 75 I couldn’t even catch a truck. When the limit dropped to 65 or even 55, I appeared to be the only driver to notice. I am not comfortable having cars pass me on the right and so I stay in the right lane as much as possible. Down here it can get lonesome. For the most part, not even trucks use the far right lane. If you are willing to drive the limit or slightly above, the road is pretty clear except for entering traffic.

We stopped in Smyrna, got a room,  and asked the gal at the desk for a restaurant recommendation. She recommended Papadeaux so we went down there. The parking lot was huge and packed. I dropped Nan at the entrance and drove off to find a place to park. The place I found was over a tenth of a mile away. By the time I got back to the restaurant, she was waiting for me and announced that there was an  hour wait. Obviously a very popular place on a Saturday night! We eventually made our way out of the parking lot and found a less crowded little southern place called Folks. The food was fine, I ordered a half rack of ribs and got three pieces. Must be small pigs.

Sunday 12/15

After I had a standard motel quickie breakfast, (Nancy took a pass, she opted for an Egg McMuffin at the coffee stop.) I loaded the bags in a light drizzle. We tiptoed through Atlanta. Traffic was light with no trucks and the Nuvi warned us of upcoming exits and showed us a picture of what lane to be in. Except for the habits of Georgia drivers, it went well. The only remarkable incident was when a white SUV came roaring up behind us in at right lane, swerved onto the exit ramp. pulled along side, and then zoomed back between us and the vehicle ahead of us just as the exit lane ended. It was remarkable but compared to some of the other white knuckle experiences on this trip, not outstanding. Before long we were back in normal traffic with only two southbound lanes. I was able to set the cruise and relax a bit as the miles piled up. The rain turned to mist and then ended. Soon we started seeing patches of dry pavement. and started hoping that we might make it all the way to Palm City.

It wasn’t until after we crossed the Florida line that we saw our first serious accident. We had seen where cars had slid off the road into the median, a few were still there but no sign of serious damage. This one was a roll over in the median with parts, hood, doors etc, spread all over. There were ambulance and multiple police cars on the scene. The gawkers were slowing to stare but since we were in the right lane, we breezed on through. Shortly after we entered the turnpike, the sun came out, the rain stopped and all was right with our world. We pulled into Martin Downs, the gate rose and we turned into Quail Meadow. At Unit E ,there were flowers by the front door which was decorated with a beautiful Christmas wreath, the garage door opened when we pushed the remote, there was a large Christmas tree in the living room and numerous decorations sitting about. Laurie was there to help us unload. After catching our breath we took trunks and boxes over to the Gillespie house, picked up the birthday boy and went out to dinner at his favorite Tai restaurant. After catching up with the days events and hugs all around, Grandma and Grandpa went off to our Florida home for a long night’s sleep and a well deserved day of vegetating.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Packing Pending

The car is mostly packed for our trip south.  Dick has been carrying trunks and boxes out to the garage all day!  It really is a herculean effort.  Hooray for Dick.  We're still planning to leave Friday a.m., but we don't want to drive in a blizzard, so we'll keep an eye on the weather.  We don't mind waiting until Sat. or Sun, or good weather - whichever comes first!

I'm working on laundry and my mental packing list - we have luggage and garment bags galore - just waiting to be stuffed.

We can hardly wait to head south.  Have you been outside today?

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Feeling Good

The parking lot at Munson is not full at 7 a.m. when the summer is over!  The Radiology Prep and Recovery Department was not busy this morning, either.  Our room was exclusively for us, and at times we had four or five nurses working for us in that room.  If you have never done a procedure like this one, you really don't know what to expect, so some anxiety is involved.

IVs were hooked up - saline solution for hydration, 2 kinds of antibiotics, benedryl, a couple of unidentified things, and finally the happy juice.  At about 9:45 the oxygen mask was put on, and the happy juice was put in the IV.  Gee, that is nice stuff.  It makes you feel woozy in a good way.  The actual procedure took about one hour and fifteen minutes.

  When I got back to the room, Dick and Barb were there.  Barb had come to stay with Dick while I was gone.  They had a good conversation in the cafeteria.  It was so great to have Barb there - it was a good distraction for Dick, and a really nice, warm family feeling for me.  Thanks Barb -you really helped us through this!   I was a little loopy, so I wasn't quite aware of everything that went on, and I had some trouble talking, but it was a very happy time for me.

 .  The insertion area looks like a pin prick and is covered with a band aid.  I had been told that afterwards I might feel a lot of pain, or at least some pain.  Also I might be nauseated and have a slight fever.  Evidently I can't be left alone tomorrow because of possible serious bleeding.  Well I'm happy to say that I feel just fine - just the same as always. I have to say that I felt nothing, absolutely nothing At this point, I don't feel sick at all.  We shall see what tomorrow brings.

Dr. Picotte said that I could go home today, and not spend the night in the hospital.  What good news.  My own bed will certainly feel good tonight!

"Feeling Good"

Birds flying high
You know how I feel
Sun in the sky
You know how I feel
Breeze driftin' on by
You know how I feel
It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good
I'm feeling good

Fish in the sea
You know how I feel
River running free
You know how I feel
Blossom on a tree
You know how I feel
It's a new dawn
It's a new day
It's a new life
For me
And I'm feeling good.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Visitor Center Christmas Party 2013

Photo Booth at the Christmas Party!  Kathee knows how to have a good time :)
This year we were in town for this annual event.  We enjoyed it so much.  It was at the Great Wolf Lodge - we're getting to be old hands there.

We sat with Pete S. and Dawn and it was a good table - sparse, but good.    Had nice conversations with Nancy and Don F., Kathee, Joni, and of course Pete and Dawn.

It's just always a good time, and a nice beginning to the Christmas season.  The food was great.  Dick especially loved the prime rib and the salmon.  My favorite was the meatballs - small, flavorful, and just the right spiciness.  I want that recipe :)

A good time was had by all, and the photo booth was fun!

Dick wore the hat prop, and he said it was for Dylan.