Mood: not sure
Now Playing: CHANGE
BACK TO MY SAME OLD USED TO BE.
THE BEST TO YOU IN 2009!
I have been back from California for over a month. I spent my time visiting with relatives. It had been almost two years since my last visit but not much had changed except more traffic. The final part of my trip was back to my Aunt Lil’s in Stockton.
A trip to Placerville was in order to visit my Aunt Amy. The group picture you see was taken a few months before my visit but it includes relatives I saw including my Sister and her son Rob. From left to right is, cousin Bob, Aunt Amy, Cousin Don, Aunt Lil, Sister Pat and Nephew Rob. The person taking the picture was Carolyn, Cousin Bob’s wife. We had a good visit and Cousin Don, whom I had not seen in several years, came up from Sacramento one afternoon.
Right after our visit my Aunt Amy went to live with her son Bob and wife Carolyn. Amy was living in her home, but had been falling and was not able to be by herself any longer. It is wonderful that Bob and Carolyn are able to have her in their home, at least for now. It brings many changes and all depends on how mobile she remains.
My cousin Debbie and her daughter, Ginny and children were able to join Aunt Lil and I, after we returned to Stockton, for lunch one day. I had never met the children so it was a special treat. They were delightful. Ginny has her hands full with the three kids. Grandma Debbie always lends a helping hand.
Aunt Lil and I did errands and managed to have lunch several times at Home Town Buffet. We really didn’t do anything special other than going to Placerville. Time passed to quickly and then I was off again, going back to my sister’s in Los Molinos.
Attended a few of Rob’s events. His Halloween party and Monday boweling. After I left he went to the Special Olympics boweling tournament in Oroville. He placed 3rd and got his picture in the paper. The Red Bluff team does very well in the tournaments, all team members got a medal in their divisions.
So, now I’m home. Bob did well while I was gone and kept things in order. He kept busy spending time helping his Dad get the city water connected to his house and installing a new water heater. Kicakpoo went until the end of October so that was a weekly outing. The good news on Kickapoo is that the Gov. (you all know about Blagojevich) signed the bill to fund most of the Illinois State Parks. Not sure exactly what money will be available but at least Kickapoo is one that will not have the gates closed. The Gov., will unfortunately, be a continuing saga for awhile.
We had a quiet Thanksgiving. Mike, my son, and Bob’s Dad spent the day with us. Watched the parades on TV. Lots and lots of food that provided meals the rest of the week. Dad took his drivers test in November and will be driving for another year. He is required to take a drivers test yearly and has since he was 80 (fifteen years). He doesn’t drive allot, to the store, bank and a few other errands and here, mostly during the day. He does well.
Have all the Christmas shopping done. Bob and I decided to make donations to the Toys for Tots as our Christmas present to each other. We have very few needs and thought this would be a good thing to do since there are many who are less fortunate.
This brings us to the end of the year almost. Although we don’t have snow on the ground today, the first day of winter, was ushered in with temperatures below zero. The pictures below show the recent ice storm. Not much happened here, pine limbs down. You do get to see the cover Bob made for the garden window to keep the cold out. You can see what would have happened to the window if the cover was not there, it does help.
A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM OUR HOUSE TO YOUR'S
The trip to Corralitos (near Santa Cruz) October 15th took about 21/2 hours. Highway 17 over the mountains is a bit tricky. Fortunately for me the tree that fell across the road was in the lanes going the opposite direction. No one was hurt but the traffic was backed up for many miles.
Jim took Tanja to Italy for her 50th birthday. I was able to arrange my schedule to be with Annalise, my granddaughter, most of the time they were gone. They left on the 17th and returned on the 26th. I was there until the 24th and Don, Annalise’s uncle, stayed with her until her parents got home. Jim and Tanja had a wonderful time, all went as scheduled and this was definitely a special birthday for Tanja.
Annalise (13) is one busy gal! Let me try and recap the events that took place until her parents got home. There were two soccer games (they are undefeated for the season, one more game), soccer practice, cross country practice, a music lesson (piano), meeting for trip to Washington DC (in November), athletic awards night, two birthday parties, one each Saturday and a piano recital. We went shopping one evening and to dinner with her Uncle Don another evening. She managed to keep up with her home work and received her report card in the mail with straight "A’s". Yes, she also went to school every day. This probably is not what it’s like every week but some combination of activities I’m sure. Did I mention that she is Student Body Secretary..........I do have bragging rights!
Annalise and I have not had a great deal of time together these last several years since Bob and I settled in Illinois. I so enjoyed the opportunity to experience what goes on in her life and spending time getting to know her. We are compatible and blend together well.On one of the soccer excursions we road with her coach Doug and went to Salinas. The route is through Castroville, the artichoke capital http://www.artichoke-festival.org/ and the agricultural fields. If you’ve never been in the area the picture kind of gives you an idea of what you see. Artichokes, brussel sprouts, strawberries, other types of berries and lettuce are a few of the crops I was able to identify. This was a fun trip as was the trip with Amy, a soccer mom, we went with to the game over near San Jose. Great folks and the team members are very close and respectful. They have played together for several years. The pictures of Annalise were taken at these games.
A concern I have after being here for awhile is the shortage of water. I have never seen the reservoirs as low or the dams such as Shasta and Oroville at the levels they are now. Our dependance on this precious resource for crops is very apparent. It is raining today, that’s a good thing! Where we live in the mid west so much relies on natural rainfall, they do not irrigate.
I spent time in the lounge chairs that you see in the back patio. This past year a wooden deck was replaced with a stamped cement deck and Jim redid the retaining wall. Tanja and he lugged those rocks from a pile that was left in their driveway. The result is beautiful. You can see the gazebo, off to the side in the front, that Jim Built after a willow tree was removed. The dogs, Golden and Sasha, kept me company while Annalise was in school. The weather was in the 80's most days and the kids left me with a gift certificate for a pedicure and I went ahead and got a manicure also. I found time to relax even with all the happenings.
The time passed all to quickly and before long I made the return trip to my Aunt Lil’s in Stockton.
After arriving in California I (Kathy) visited with my sister in Los Molinos for a few days and then met up with the Corallitos Tucker’s on Saturday, Oct. 11th . They were in Chico visiting their son Taylor who is a freshman at Chico State University.
Chico is about 25 miles south of my sister, Pat’s, house. It was windy and had turned a little cool. Earlier in the week it had been in the 80's. Jim, Tanja and Annalise were visiting Taylor for the parent’s weekend at the University. The plan was for me to join them and tour the campus, have lunch and on their way home drop me off at my Aunt’s for a few days in Stockton. I would venture down to their home the following Wednesday.
California State University at Chico ( CSUC) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chico_State_University , is the second oldest Cal State University. It is a pretty campus and is very strong in environmental programs. Taylor is interested in going into the environmental sciences, has talked about fire fighting, but he has time yet to decide his career path.
We arrived at the campus just as Taylor was getting out of bed. You can see us in his dorm room which is off campus. His parents, Jim and Tanja, had arrived the night before and had taken him to Target to get a mattress pad and chair. He was really thanking them for the mattress pad, he had been poked by the bed springs since day one and was glad to have a comfortable nights sleep.
Taylor has a car but his main transportation on campus is a bicycle. As you can see there are allot of those. We walked the campus, going past the buildings where he attends classes. Of coarse you always have to stop on a bridge and take a picture. Tanja took the picture of Jim, myself, Annalise and Taylor.
After the campus tour we went to lunch at the Sierra Nevada Brewery. Bob is jealous, that’s one of his favorite brewery’s. We were joined by one of Taylor’s roommates, Bryan. It was a great meal and enjoyed by all. Didn’t have time to take the tour but I may go when I go back to my sister’s at the end of the month. For sure I will have lunch with Taylor before going back to Illinois.
The trip to my Aunt Lil’s in Stockton was uneventful (about 3 Hours). Arrived safely and that’s a good thing.
For several years we did not have any squirrels here on the "farm" property. This past spring we had one show up (Fox Squirrel) and of course we started putting food out. Bob moved the feeder to a tree closer to the house so we can look out the kitchen window and check out what’s happening.
Low and behold one day we looked out and there were three squirrels. It turned out that our squirrel was a mom and she decided that we could be trusted and brought the little ones to feed. Bob began to go outside when they appeared trying to get them used to us being around. Eventually he got one to come toward him to get a peanut and he will stay close when we are in the yard. The others will run up the tree or across the yard. Our friend Tom Foutch was visiting one day and named the friendlier squirrel "Peanuts" so any squirrel we see in our yard is called "Peanuts". They are fun to watch, running after each other, up and around the trees, jumping from limb to limb. They built nests in the tree above the feeder. With the corn becoming mature and for whatever reason we have not seen them all together for awhile but at least one of the "Peanuts" shows up everyday. We also had an American Red Squirrel around for awhile but it hasn’t been here lately.
The other day Bob saw a hawk in the bird bath. He stayed for quite awhile and during that time "Peanuts" came to the feeder and they ended up on fence posts next to each other without a problem. Eventually the hawk flew off to do it’s thing.
The first part of August Bob’s sister Alice, her husband Gary, their daughter Shay and her two children Audrey and Garret came to visit for the month. Shay and her family live in Seattle, WA and Gary and Alice are from Casa Grande, AZ. Gary and Alice had been visiting Shay and drove to IL from Seattle and Shay flew to Indianapolis, IN about 90 miles from where we live.
The picture was taken at Kickapoo where you found us on Tuesdays and Fridays enjoying the music and an evening meal. They spent time visiting with Dad and Alice’s school friends. We also went to music in Lincoln Park on Sundays.
Gary, who is an excellent craftsman ask if there was anything that needed to be done around the house(he likes to keep busy). As it happens the breeze way had never been finished. The 2X4's were showing on the outside and inside and one of the doors needed to be replaced. Before leaving he and Bob finished it including the painting. They also replaced the attached garage, garage door, with a sliding glass door since it’s used for storage and may be converted to something else one of these days.
August was also a busy time for us with the amateur radio club. We had the hamfest, a club fund raiser, that was a success with the help of club members. Club elections were in September. I did not run for president but volunteered to run for secretary and since there was no opposition I was elected. I will continue as the newsletter editor.
Just the usual stuff in September, almost. We helped Dad work on getting connected to the City water supply, everyone in his little area had their own wells. Aqua Water brought a line into the neighborhood and four families decided to convert. Bob took our tractor over and it was used to dig the ditches (4ft. deep) at all houses from the house to the street (various lengths). One of the neighbors ran the tractor doing the ditch digging for everyone. It was a month long process and just this week the water was finely turned on.
I (Kathy) am in California for a month, visiting my family. I will be going back to IL November 8th.
Bob went on an Alaskan adventure. His Granddaughter Dorothy got married on June 21st in Fairbanks, Alaska http://www.wittigfamily.com/blog/ (picture of bride and groom). Bob's son Michael (father of the bride) lives in Juneau with his wife, Sheryl and two children Becky and Michael. Dorothy has been attending the University in Fairbanks where she met her husband Jason. Bob flew from Indianapolis on June 19th. His son and family had arrived in Fairbanks the day before and picked Bob up at the airport in time to go to the rehearsal dinner. He stayed with his son and family in a campground on the Chena River, near where the wedding was held. Bob really enjoyed being on the river. He was up earlier than the others and could sit and watch the activity along the bank. There was a boat race that is held every year. The beavers were active doing what beavers do.
The wedding went well and Bob was delighted to have been at this event and to have been able to wish Dorothy and Jason the best in their adventure in life together. Their plans are to move to Austin TX before the "snow flies". This will be a definite change for them both.
After the wedding Bob traveled with his Son and family to Wasilla, near Anchorage, where Sheryl's parents live. They all met with Bob's Granddaughter Amy and husband Nick and Coby, Bob's great grandson. They live in Anchorage. They had a great visit and went out to dinner and to an air show.
After several days Bob and Michael left Sheryl and the kids and flew to Juneau to do some work on the house. There was a project that Michael wanted to finish without having the kids underfoot. You can kind of see the finished product in the picture on the right. Michael had put insulation in the roof and needed to sheet rock and put the knotty pine strips back up. Michael did the sheet rock and Bob cut and stained the strips. What you see is just a small area of what was done.
It rained most days and the temperatures during the day were in the 50’s. Bob was missing the warmer weather. He said his fingers were always cold. Even with the rain they were able to get out to the 4th of July fireworks and the parade. A trip to Mendenhall Glacier is always a must while in Juneau. The middle picture is one Bob took at the Glacier. The picture on the left is what Bob saw out the window in the morning (if it was clear) when he opened his eyes. It is the mountains behind the glacier. Bob and Michael enjoyed each others company and had good father and son time. Bob flew back to Indianapolis on July 14th and Michael flew back to Anchorage to pick up Sheryl and the kids. They took another little vacation before returning to Juneau July 22nd.
I was glad to have Bob home. Even though I enjoyed my time to do the things I had planned I missed having him on the “farm” .
On Saturday, May 10, 2008 we attended Vicki's (Bob's daughter) graduation from the University of Illinois, at Urbana-Champaign. She received her PhD in Plant Biology. This particular ceremony was the Integrative Biology Convocation and was not the entire graduating class of 2008, so it was much smaller. Which was great. Vicki also participated in the graduation ceremony the next day that included all graduates from all departments. We were able to see all the graduates attending this ceremony on stage and Vicki was in the middle, first row, right up front. Part of the ceremony was where those receiving their doctorates are hooded. Vicki's advisor, Dr. Stephen Long performed her hooding.
Ginny, Vicki's sister, Ginny's husband Morgan and his parents, Judy and Eric, Mathew the girl's brother and their stepdad, Marty and his sister, Leslie, were there also. We were all so proud of Vicki's accomplishments. Her years of hard work were certainly worth the end result. She received several awards. She was offered and has accepted a post-doc position at the University of Illinois. She begins this new adventure June 16th. The picture with Bob and I and Vicki includes Bob's daughter Ginny, Vicki's sister.
After the graduation ceremony we all went to a Park in Allerton and had a picnic. It was a good day, lots of food, good company and very pretty grounds to explore. Two weddings were going on in the park while we were there. We could see the wedding party going down the paths. We left just as it started to get cooler. There was one more event that we attended with Vicki, Ginny, Morgan and Mathew. It was a party given by Vicki's advisor Steve, and his wife. They have a beautiful home in Champaign and are exceptional hosts. A wonderful way to end the day.
Have had several different birds the past couple of weeks, Summer Tanager, Red Breasted Grosbeak, Indigo Bunting and Baltimore Oriole. Only see these briefly as they fly thru. We had one squirrel in our yard this winter but this week we have two more. They are younger, don't know if they are babies of our one squirrel, they chase each other around the yard, fun to watch.
Bob's carpel tunnel surgery on the left hand is not doing as well as the right. The nerve in his left elbow is causing his little finger and the one next to it to be numb. When he had the stitches out he was told it may take awhile for the nerve to not be irritated. It is probably caused from keeping the elbow bent to elevate the hand.
We are in the process of getting estimates to re-roof Dad's house. He put the last one on in 1975. The old roofing will need to be torn off which gives Dad some concern because he doesn't want nails in the yard. He is getting three different estimates and they all assure him they will do the proper clean up. It's difficult for him to have others do the work, he has always done any repairs himself.
We just purchased another tool to make life a little easier here on the "farm". It is a motorized, 25 gallon, weed sprayer (12 volt ran off the mower battery) that we can tow behind the mower. It has a wide sprayer on the back for the driveway and also a wand sprayer. I think we will do 10 gallons at a time. We are looking for cheap weed spray other than Round Up. If you know of any let us know. We have not done any spraying yet, to cold, wet and windy. It's starting to warm up and it looks like there will be a break in the rain. It was sunny today and I did all of the mowing.
The farmers corn is starting to pop up. It looks like we will have soy around our house but corn across the street. Bob's garden that he started is so wet nothing came up. Don't know if he will try and do any replanting before he leaves for Alaska. And so it goes here on the "farm".
Introducing Mr. and Mrs. Foutch. Our good friends Tom and Claudia decided to become official and were married April 10, 2008. The Sunday before we were at their house and Claudia told me (Kathy) of their plans and ask if we would stand up for them. They had made the arrangements to be married at the court house the following Friday. They decided to keep it simple and uncomplicated and didn't tell folks until the last minute (some before and some after). Claudia and I decided not to tell Bob until we got to the court house. I told Bob we were going to lunch with them and would meet them downtown. Friday morning it was a task convincing Bob that he should not wear his bib overalls and he finely agreed to wear his jeans (he really grumbled when I ask him to wear his dockers so I backed off). We left the house with not to much time to spare. On our way there the traffic was backed up so I decided to go another way only to find the street closed so we had to go back to the original route. By that time I was getting upset and Bob said "it won't matter if we're a little late". I said "but you don't understand Claudia and Tom are getting married and we can't be late". He looked at me and said "REALLY"!
We made it on time. Claudia and Tom were waiting with smiles ready to get on with the show. There are only certain days and times that marriages are performed at the court house so there was a group of folks, couples as well as relatives waiting in line to get the license. When you get the license you are assigned the court room. We waited outside the court room on the benches where this picture was taken. The ceremony was performed by a very nice Judge, I think he was a Circuit Judge. I took some pictures but then realized that I wanted to listen to the ceremony and stopped when the vows began. I really liked the vows that were used.
There were kisses and hugs, congratulations all around, license was signed and we were out the door. We met Claudia and Tom later that evening at the Steak House to celebrate the event. A good time was had by all. We cherish their friendship.
I had a birthday this month and Bob and I bought a birthday present for both of us, a Garmin GPS for the car. I had the opportunity to see one working several months ago on a trip to Ohio. I was really impressed. Although it doesn't do all the things our mapping program does on our lap top that works with a GPS, it is still amazing all the information it contains and how quickly it will recalculate a route if you go a different why than is indicated. You can save your favorites so all you do is go in and select the location already there and it will do a route from wherever you are. It's easy to enter a new destination. It's small and is easy to set up in the car and move from one car to another. It runs on 12 volts and also has battery power so you can take it with you on a walk.
We had an earth quake here in Illinois and it wasn't caused by Claudia and Tom's wedding. It happened about 4:40 a.m. in the morning this month and was centered south of us. I woke up to the house rocking around and creaking. Our bedroom is upstairs so there was a little more action. I thought I was back in California. There was relatively little damage. Bob looked up the history of earthquakes in Illinois and there were five in a three month period all 8.0 or more in 1811-1812. It caused all kinds of shifts and terrain changes. It was said that the Mississippi flowed backwards but actually it was wave action. It was not very populated which was a good thing. Reno has been getting their share recently. One of Bob's sons lives in Reno and he said he only felt one and so far has not experienced any problems.
Bob will be going to Alaska for his granddaughter's (Dorothy) wedding in June. He leaves June 19th for Fairbanks, the wedding is the 21st. After the wedding Bob and his son Michael and family, Sheryl, Becky and Little Michael will head for Sheryl's parents near Anchorage stopping at Denali along the way. They will spend a few days there and Bob hopes to see his granddaughter Amy, her husband and Great Grandson Coby. Michael and Bob will fly to Juneau for several weeks and do some work on their house. Sheryl and the kids will stay with ther parents so the work can get done without little people around. Bob will be flying back July 14th. My son and I will hold down the fort here at the "farm". Bob says he wants me to have something to do so he's trying to get the vegetable garden in before he leaves.
Dad is getting along good. He went for a little check up last week and all things checked out okay. Last week he told me he needed to go to the dentist because of a molar he has had problems with for several year. We went to his regular dentist, Dr. Lewis, yesterday (Monday) and Dr. Lewis said he needed to see an oral surgeon. He referred us to Dr. Anderson. We stopped by his office on our way home and there was an appointment available for this morning. Dad had the tooth pulled without any problems, the tooth was broken and infected and had been for awhile. The Dentist said he is a real trooper. We really liked Dr. Anderson. He was very friendly and concerned and all his staff were great too. Dad will go back next week to be sure all is okay.
The bearded guy goes in to have carpal tunnel surgery done on the other hand (left) May 1st. His right hand is doing well in fact he played the guitar and sang this past two Friday nights at Kickapoo.
Now is the stormy season for us, possible tornadoes and thunder and lightening. Weather spotting activities have started. We had our first storm warning of the season last Friday. We had a little sprinkling of snow today and it sure cooled off. Looks like April showers will bring May flowers.
We had a new visitor here on the "farm", as you can see, a skunk. Last summer Bob caught a skunk in his trap and after calling out the county animal control to help us let it loose we didn't see it again. Don't know if this is the same critter. It surprised us that it came out during the day and feed near the bird feeder right out the kitchen window. We could observe it's movements and take pictures without scaring it away. We would go outside and as long as we didn't make much noise and didn't get to close it just continued what it was doing. The skunk stayed around for several days but we haven't seen it now for a week or so.
We have seen the squirrel frequently this year. He comes to the driveway to get his share of the bird seed. We put special food out for him but if he's not quick enough the black birds take off with the peanuts and sunflower seeds.
It is getting warmer but not quite warm enough to do any real yard stuff yet. Maybe that's a good thing. Bob has been picking up branches and such and getting leaves cleaned up in spots. The crocuses are blooming and the tulips and daffodils are coming up.
We have been doing the usual stuff, music in Urbana, Red Cross. Amateur Radio. We have had kind of a disaster with the radio tower for the 2 meter repeater. This is our main source of local communications. One of the tower legs broke and we had to bring the tower down. Now it's back to the drawing board to decide what to do to get back on the air.
We have been doing doctoring stuff. Bob had carpel tunnel surgery Thursday (4/3). We went in at 10:30 AM, he didn't have the surgery until 12:30 PM, the doctor was behind and then there was a delay getting his prescription for pain pills so we didn't get home until around 5 PM. He seems to be doing just fine. Not to much discomfort and he said he slept okay.
Waiting for spring to really kick in, consistent warmer temperatures and leaves on the trees. The really good news is that Kickapoo Landing opens tonight with a jam. Bob will not be able to do much for awhile but it will be nice to see the summer gang. The Kickapoo folks will be here later today to get some of the canoes. It's kind of a drizzly day and will be this evening but it won't stop the regulars from being at the opening. A happy spring to all of you.
Newer | Latest | Older