Friday, September 15, 2006


Visiting the Show Me State

I ended up getting quite a ways behind on Blogging, so I'll end up posting two this morning.

I had a quick trip to Missouri for an advisor retreat last weekend. It was basically fly down on Friday and back on Sunday. Phylliss from HQ did some computer training with the group, so we were able to meet at the Kansas City airport and drive to Trenton together. She's so much fun to travel with--we laugh an awful lot when we're together.

Trenton is northeast of Kansas City and it is close to an area that has a lot of Amish people, so we saw lots of horse and buggys. On Sunday, we stopped at Jamesport which is a neat little Amish town--but most everything is closed on Sundays, so there was only one store that was open. It would be fun to visit on a weekday.

The scenery there is really pretty--rolling hills and lots of green. Many herds of beef cattle were grazing in the fields--and we had steak one night and it was so good!

Right now I'm in California for a retreat--but that's fuel for another post!


Wonderful Wedding

Kara & Paul’s wedding was more than wonderful! We had such a good time with family and friends; the ceremony was absolutely beautiful; and we got to meet all Kara's new in-laws--and they are really great people.

This is the wedding party. Kari (friend), Richard (brother-in-law), Ross (brother), Kara, Paul, Matt (friend), John R (brother), John K (Nephew). In front is Elissa and Adam--what cuties!

Bob and I used the wedding as an excuse to fix up our house. We replaced windows that had broken their seal and were ‘foggy’ inside; we painted the entire inside of the house and stenciled in the bathroom and kitchen (something we’ve wanted to do for a while); we cleaned and put stain on the house and shed; we put stone around the outside of the house—here is a photo of our Granddog ‘Alfred’ and our new stonework; we cleaned the house and carpet; plus we bought some new furniture for the living room. So the place got nice and clean and had some repairs/projects that have been on our ‘to-do’ list for a long time.

Sandy and Al came early and we cooked all the food for the reception. Bob and Al cooked the hams and turkeys on the church grill, Sandy and I worked really hard, but we also had so much fun—getting manicures & pedicures; cutting up cheese, olives & veggies; and making potato and pasta salads.

The Thursday before the wedding was not a good day for me. First, we had asked to borrow these nice picnic tables from the fair, but when Bob and Al went to pick them up—the fair person send some old green and white benches and two old banquet tables. I had this vision of a yard full of nice picnic tables and instead we had these dumb looking benches. Although we did put one over by the volleyball court and lots of people used it to watch the games.

The next thing was the ham didn’t turn out very good. I got spiral cut ham and it dried out so bad that it looked terrible. It didn’t taste bad, but just looked really bad and didn’t slice very well. I kept thinking of how it would look on the platter—and I went back and forth between—we can use it and no we can’t use that. Anyway, on Friday when we were shopping, I decided to buy three pressed hams that we were able to slice up— and they looked wonderful. So we have lots of packages of frozen hams to use up.

A funny thing happened when we went shopping. Sandy and I had manicures and pedicures and then went to the grocery store and bought several bins full of groceries. When we went back to get the car, I had a call from the florist and the store where the buns were ordered—they both needed me to talk to them ASAP. We got in the car and I started to drive to the florist. Sandy said “Aren’t you going to pick up your groceries?” I guess my mind was elsewhere!

Sandy and Al had their new motorhome—I think they are really going to love it. We parked ours out in the yard and Ross. Richard, Richard’s mom and sister stayed in there. LeAnn and Paul brought their camper—so we ended up with three motorhomes/campers in our yard.

On Saturday, we had the rehearsal dinner at our place. It included volleyball and then we had a little activity. First, we sang and there were some really beautiful singers in the group—so it sounded beautiful. Then Ross did his family and generation thing where he started with Kara and Paul in the swing; grandma joined them; the parents joined them; then the siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins; then the in-laws; and finally all the friends, so everyone is gathered around—it’s really a neat activity. Ross had done it at Sandy and Al’s wedding, so I asked him to do it again. Pastor Mary led us in a grace and they we started cooking burgers and brats on the grill, plus we had a little poking fire—so people could cook hot dogs or make s’mores on it.

For desert, we made a 30 foot long banana split. We’ve done that with a couple different groups. It’s really a great team building activity, because you have different people doing different jobs—the banana peelers and cutters, the ice cream scoopers, the topping putter-oners, the whipped cream squirters. Paul’s mom put the cherries on top and my mom stuck the spoons in. Then everyone dug in. Everyone got into the spirit of it and really ate a lot. There was very little left over. Several people have commented on it since—so I think they really enjoyed it.

We had a huge bonfire all ready to go that we touched off after the rehearsal. Several kids said “I’ve never seen a bonfire that big before”. We had all ages of people and kids at the dinner and they all got along so well—everyone found some people their own age to play/visit with.

On Sunday was the wedding, and it was beautiful—Kara and Paul couldn’t stop smiling. They were just beaming and I think the Church could have fallen down around them and they wouldn’t have noticed. Since Kara had Ross, Richard and Kari as her attendants—they decided it would look like a funeral if all the men came walking down the aisle together—so Paul and his sister, Pastor Mary, came in together; Ross escorted Grandma in; John (Paul’s bother) escorted Betty in; Richard escorted me in; and Kari and John (Paul’s nephew) came in together. It turned out really nice. Ross did a great job in straightening out Kara’s dress and holding her flowers.

Kara and Paul are so laid back—they are really easy to work with. We forgot to give out the flowers until half-way through the pictures and they just said “That’s OK”.

The reception was a lot of fun. Our friend, Marilyn and her sister, decorated for us and they had a ‘camping and canoeing’ theme. They had two canoe paddles crossed behind the head table, a little ‘campsite’ set up in one corner complete with a backpack and trees; the gift table was Paul’s beautiful hardwood canoe; candles in plain glasses and flowers in pint jars on top of little birch slices and table runners made from canoeing material. Rather than the pastel mints and peanuts--we had raisins, peanuts and M&M’s (and I can’t believe I spent $100 on M&M’s—you can order custom made M&M’s—so I got orange and green ones that had ‘Kara and Paul’ on some and ‘Aug. 20, 2006’ on others, plus some ‘wedding’ ones.) Grandma also made Chex mix and there were bowls of that on each table.

Kara and Paul determined that rather than having people clink their glasses for them to kiss, the people would have to sing a song that had either ‘love’, ‘Kara’, ‘Paul’ or all three in it. Several people thought that Kara and Paul would never be kissing, but all kinds of people were up there singing--some kids, Sandy led the whole group in ‘You are My Sunshine’, Paul’s nephews did one and then were back-up for his sister, Ross and Kari did the song from Grease—Kara and Paul were kissing constantly. It was a lot of fun!

We had a chocolate fountain and Dairy Queen ice cream cakes rather than the tradition wedding cakes. So there were lots of different and ‘fun’ things involved with the entire wedding. Kara had her goals for the wedding was for everyone to have a great time, not a lot of work for anyone, and not to cost a lot of money. I think all three of those goals were met.

I danced up a storm. Ross is an outstanding dancer and he can push and pull me into all kinds of moves. We also did the chicken dance and YMCA. My feet and knees hurt so badly by Sunday evening. I also wore my (borrowed from Sandy) fancy dress shoes all through the wedding and most of the reception--although I did sneak out to the car and take off the panty hose and put on sandals before the dancing started. Ross and Kari did some fancy singing and dancing and Kara and her friends danced and sang back up.

My wonderful son took the mike from the DJ and announced it was the last dance and when it was finished, we would have a little ‘hall cleaning’ party. So a lot of people stayed around and helped clean up the hall after the reception—it only took about an hour and it was back in order. Ross also said we needed to find the father-of- the-bride’s Tuxedo jacket. It turned out one of the wedding party had picked his up in addition to his own. One problem was that our car keys were in the pocket, so we couldn’t bring our vehicle home—we had to catch a ride with someone else.

Sunday morning when I left for the Church—our house was a total mess—people had tracked sand into the house; there were dishes all over the place; and stuff all over outside. Basically it looked like 60 people had been there all day and until midnight. And then 20 people got up the next morning and had breakfast. My wonderful nieces totally cleaned the place up after we left for the church, so when we came home Sunday evening it was spotless. WOW!!

This wedding was really about family. Paul has 25 people in his immediate family since he has 5 bothers and sisters and they all have children. Kara only has one brother; however, she is very close to her aunts and uncles and cousins. Most of them were at the wedding--so it was very special. I know I enjoyed it a great deal, and I hope Kara and Paul did also.

Friday, September 01, 2006


The Buckeye State

I had a quick trip to Columbus, Ohio for an advisor retreat at the end of July. I arrived there late Friday night and left early Sunday morning. And since the retreat was all day Saturday, there wasn’t too much time to see any of the area.

Another person from HQ was at the same retreat doing some computer training, so she and I shared a cab from the airport to the hotel and back again.

A couple interesting things that I learned from Ohio was what a Buckeye is. I’ve heard of the Ohio Buckeyes for a long time and a lot of the people there are crazy for the Ohio State Buckeyes , but I never knew what an actual Buckeye was. It’s a tree—that has acorn like ‘buckeyes’. They are round and look something like an eyeball.

Several places had ‘buckeye candy’. It was chocolate with a peanut butter center and really delicious.

We went to an old town area of Columbus that had a wonderful German Restaurant. It was a buffet and they had several different kinds of sausages and lots of sauerkraut. Their specialty was Cream Puffs—great big cream puffs of all different flavors. I had a chocolate/almond one—it was wonderful.

The other thing that happened in Ohio (or sometime before) was my computer caught a nasty virus. It slowed my computer down so much that I would type a sentence and wait for a full minute before it would type out. When I tried to run the antivirus program—it took six hours to check the computer. So I had to send my computer to the IT Department at HQ for a couple weeks. I was really lost without it. Then when it came back, every time I would leave it for 10 minutes it would shut down, so I kept loosing some of the things that I was working on. I think I’ve mostly got it back to how I want it. There are still a few things I would like on it. I guess I’ll have to get my personal computer nerd (Richard) to help.

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