Sunday, July 8, 2012


Joshua Thomas Jackson Birthday

Joshua is the second son of my daughter Pat (Hardison) and her husband, Tom. Today is Josh's birthday. For some obscure reason, I have no recent photos of Josh. I think he is camera shy.

Happy Birthday, Josh!


SF and Wine Country Travel Plans

I finished most of our arrangements for a trip to San Francisco and the Wine country at the end of July.

Golden Gate BridgeWe will be leaving the Chicago Area on Sunday, July 29, and flying non-stop to San Francisco, where we will stay at the Omni Hotel near the Embarcadero. There is a cable car line which runs right down the street the Omni is on, so we may be able to avoid having a rental car for part of the stay in San Francisco. Our plans involve touring the usual tourist sites, including a trip to Alcatraz, Sausalito and Muir Woods, Fisherman's Wharf, etc., etc., etc.

Muir Woods will involve renting a car, and we will use the car to drive up to the Wine Country in Buchart GardensNapa and Sonoma Counties, and stay there for a couple of nights. then back to the SFO Airport, where we will take a plane the next morning to Vancouver, where Dottie lusts to visit the famous Van Dusen Botanic Gardens.

Dottie hasn't ever been to San Francisco, and neither of us has been to Vancouver before. We expect to fly home from Vancouver on August 10.

Bypass Anniversary

Today is the fourteenth anniversary of my quadruple bypass surgery. This is not much of a milestone, but the next one should be. When I had the surgery, during which they replaced several small arteries feeding blood to my heart muscle, they used veins from my right let. At the time, I read up on the procedure, and found that these have a typical life of 15 years when used as arteries. Bypass graft

So, my warranty is due to run out a year from today. However, it is not so straightforward as when the warranty on your TV runs out, and you can expect it to fail within a week or two. Rather, the human body makes repairs, and replaces missing parts, all on its own. So, if all is well, there are some additional new arteries which have grown in there by themselves.

Anyway, this is not my problem. We have Obama Care now. Let him worry about it.

Monday, July 9

Airplane  Still for Sale

414MP has been for sale for some time now, without much in the way of potential buyers.

There are some elements in common between the real estate market and the airplane market, neither of which has been doing well lately. Houses cost a lot, and it is hard to get your money back if you decide y414MPou want to sell out. And while interest rates are low, it is hard to get a loan to cover the purchase price. But, there are some problems that are  specific to airplanes. Fuel is the major one, in that aviation gas costs a lot more than automobile gas per gallon, and the airplane uses a lot of gallons. Mine was doing well to get about five miles to the gallon. Six with a good tail wind. Four with a head wind.

And, the fuel prices aren't the whole story. There is some concern that 100 Low Lead, the standard gasoline for which the engines are designed, will be phased out in the future.

So, at the moment, I have the airplane in the shop, undergoing its expensive annual inspection and repair, and have reduced the asking price. I am not getting my hopes up too much though.

Report from Florida

Boat dock DamageTropical storm Debbie came through a week Cape Coral a week ago today, and did some damage to the boat dock and the cage around the swimming pool.

Today, ASAP marine, the company that takes car of the boat when I am not there, sent me a picture and a text message that the boat really needs to be looked at, because it is not sitting right on the lift, but that they can't get to it because of the dock planking, and there is no electricity at the dock to work the boat lift.

I arranged for Cape Coral Screen and Wire to come out and fix the pool cage, and have contacted a carpenter contractor who is going to try to get to the boat dock this weekend.

The house didn't suffer any damage from this storm, thankfully.

Tuesday, July 10

Chris and Brittany Jackson Anniversary


Chris and Brittany 

This is Chris and Brittany Jackson's second anniversary.  I can guess that they are having a hot time in St. Louis, and suggest that they might want to go down and visit the house in Cape Coral, FL to cool off a bit.


Happy Anniversary Chris and Brittany. (Comment by the omniscient, facebook-reading copy editor: They are in NY.)

Aimee Henning Birthday

Diane and Hennings

Aimee (Wachdorf) Henning is the daughter of Jerry Francis and Diane Wachdorf, and grand niece of Dolores. She is married to Vance Henning, and they have three children.

They came down to visit me in Florida in January, so, for a change, I have a fairly recent photo of someone.

Happy Birthday, Aimee.


Dean and Cheryl Creighton Anniversary

Dean is the third son of Steve and Rose Marie (Wachdorf) Creighton, and is a grand nephew of Dolores. He and Cheryl have three children, at last count; Andrew, Zachariah and Abigail.

Happy Anniversary!

Ida Van Beek News

My sister, Ida (Hardison) Van Beek wrote a chatty E-mail to her family, with some hard news in it about the Colorado wildfires.

A lot has happened since I last wrote.


The Waldo Canyon fire became the worst fire in Colorado in terms of homes lost ---350 --- and lives lost ---two --- when  it roared down Queen's Canyon. We feared it was headed for Glen Eyrie Castle, The home General Palmer (the founder of Colo. Springs), built for his wife, Queen. It could never be replaced. However, it took a turn down a gulch which ran directly into a beautiful subdivision called Mountain Shadows  on the north side of the springs.


The fighters had hoped they were getting a perimeter and some more containment  when the wind became an unbelievable 65-80 miles an hour. The fire fighters had no choice but to retreat.


Colorado WildfiresThe Flying W Ranch, a tourist steak house and western town, burned in about 10 minutes. They had sold out the ranch and sold to the developers of Mountain Shadows. Our good friends, the Tharps, built some of the custom homes there and some were lost. Theirs was not, but the end of their street met the forest and several homes burned there, and the view will be blackened trees and char for many years.


All this time we were "marooned" here unable to go down the pass. Our weather was lovely . We got up to 80 one day, and we did not get the smoke. The wind was blowing into Colorado Springs and away from us.


Poor Les and Bob were sweltering in the 104 temps while having part in the huge power outage on the east coast. They not only didn't have AC, they couldn't even use a fan. I think she also was worried about food spoiling in the freezer. We couldn't complain  in that we were hardly inconvenienced when so many were on mandatory evacuation across the highway from us.


EvacuationWe went to one of the daily meetings where they gave reports about fire status. The city manager of Woody Park could sympathize because he was one of the evacuees and his son was to be married at his home in 2 weeks. He said he had the city and one wild bride to be to cope with. We also feel so sorry for the tourist  people around here who have lost so much of their business and sometimes the 4th of July makes or breaks them.


The first time we could get to church in Colorado Springs was yesterday and we heard some of the really terrifying stories of people who were evacuated with little notice. Many thousand  were on the two roads leaving the area. They  made all of the lanes outgoing and still it was huge jam with  cinders and embers floating down on them. Pastor Matt Heard was one who has still not been able to get back into his damaged house, but it did survive.


After all the excitement, things seem relatively back to normal especially for us. I had a lovely birthday with the whole stereo cabinet  covered with cards and I got so many nice calls. Thanks so much they really were beautiful.


I asked Tyler how old he thought I was and his reply "I have no idea". When I told him 76, he made a noise like maybe "yuck" or some such. It ain't so bad.


Bill bought me some flowers and took me to hear my favorite singer, Ted Newmann, at a nice Creekside Eatery in Green Mountain Falls. After our maroonship for a week, it was nice to get out, but I can't even complain about  having a quiet week with Bill. We usually are on separate schedules..Robert Bell Sims


...While I was not running around the last 2 weeks, I tackled a huge book about Ronald Reagan's presidency by Lou Cannon, President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime. Cousin Bob Sims was mentioned a couple of times. One time, when Cannon wanted to check on a story which had appeared in The Post, but Reagan disputed it, he went to Bob, who at the time was deputy press secretary. Bob is quoted as saying "There's no story here. The Post is out to make the president look bad." 'Cannon says "This was an unusual comment from Sims, who was known for gentle manners and honesty --- never an accusatory manner." Sounds like a good assessment of Bob. The newspapers in the Sims family didn't print anything bad that happened in town because that would be in bad taste, and Bob once said that the town ladies always beat them to the stories anyway.


You can read more about my cousin, Adm. Bob Sims, by clicking here or on his photo.

We are glad things are returning to normal in Colorado. We don't seem to be having wildfires in the Chicago area, although it is awfully dry here.

Wednesday, July 11

UOP annual golf outing at Biltmore

Today was the first Wednesday in July that didn't fall on July 4, so it was the day the UOP Alumni group played golf and had dinner at Biltmore. This was probably the tenth Medinahyear we have played there, usually on the first Wednesday in July, except, of cMatryjane Lengemannourse, when the first Wednesday lands on the Fourth of July, as it did this year, in which case we play on the second Wednesday. We didn't actually play anywhere on July 4, as we figured the courses would be filled up with people who had the day off work.

This year, our number was reduced somewhat from the past couple of years, in spite of the fat that we had one couple who came up from Houston (Dick and Ronnie Barchfield) and one which came from Phoenix (Gregg and Sue Lickus). We had two couples drop out because of joint replacements, and one because of visiting grandchildren. In addition, my old boss, Larry Stine and his lady friend, Fran didn't feel up to climbing the hills at Biltmore, and Char Olker, one of the club members who has played with us several times, has a bad case of shingles. Finally, one of our group, Bob Baratta. died during the winter. So, we were down to only 13 golfers and 15 people at dinner afterward.

We had a very nice day, weather wise. The temperature was down considerable from the high nineties for the past week or two, and there was enough of a breeze to make the playing conditions relatively comfortable. We have been doing this at Biltmore for over ten years, and with one exception, we have had good weather each time.

Dottie and I played with Maryjane and Bob Lengemann and had a good time, as usual.

Bob LengemannMe and Dottie

Bob and Mary Jane Lengemann

Gregg and Sue Lickus

Dick and Ronne Barfield

Bill and Ann Borst

Mike and Arlene Winfield

Roger Maurice

Fred Nearing

The game was played with a minimum of confusion, and we had a nice dinner afterward, and closed the place up at 9:00 PM or so.

Maple from a distance

Anniversary of the Big storm

It was July 11 last year that I posted the photo of the tree lying on our sun room, blown down by the ferocious wind storm that came through. We were lucky in that, other than losing the tree, which was the only thing that provided shade for our deck on hot summer afternoons, we didn't have much actual damage, just some gutters which got crushed by the tree branches, and the deck railing which was broken where the tree trunk fell on it.

This year our storm damage has all been in Florida.

Thursday, July 12

New Monitors arrive

Some of you may recall my enthusiastic ravings about my twin Gateway 30-inch computer monitors a few years back. I dearly loved those things, but alas, Gateway did not.


They were on the expensive side, but they were beautiful, and had all sorts of bells and whistles, sufficient to make any computer nerd drool.

But, they only worked well for about three years. Gateway didn't produce them for more than two, and by the time mine stopped lighting up, Gateway had no interest in repair or servicing of the monitors at all. I have been making do with lesser devices ever since.

However, last week, while nosing around on the Dell 30 inch monitorsInternet, I found that Dell has a new 30 inch monitor which is similar to, but not quite as elaborate as, the Gateways. Yes, they did have them in stock at Dell, and could deliver them free in three days time.

I couldn't help myself. I ordered two of them. And they are nice.

These are the first mail order monitors I ever bought where the stand comes already attached. There was nothing to assemble. The color is nice. They have four USB ports (each) and inputs for everything electronic which puts out a signal of any sort. I am luxuriating on my vast desktop. My cup runneth over.

Talking about Travel

I was asked recently where Dottie and I would be celebrating Christmas this year. Christmas Tree

We hadn't really though much about it, but pressed for an answer, we will be in Florida for the Christmas Season, unless something changes drastically. We might, this year, actually celebrate Christmas on December 25, which would be the first time in a long time we managed to do it on an actual Christmas Day. There is no pressing need for our whole family to be together on one particular day, although it is nice when it happens.

Dottie and I have six bedrooms between us, and there are hotels down there too,  so we would welcome visitors in Florida this Christmas.

Susan called. Calendars don't mesh

Susan called yesterday morning to say that Jimmy and Cali's Spanish teacher had the flu or something, and cancelled the class they were supposed to have today, leaving their day unscheduled.Calendar So, they wanted to come visit with Dottie and me.

Unfortunately, we were already over at Biltmore, and I didn't have my cell phone with me. But, we were tied up for the day, anyway.

I talked to Susan today, to see if we could get together for a visit. Dottie and I are scheduled to play golf in the morning with Fred Nearing and Roger Maurice, but will be free in the afternoon. On Saturday, we are free in the morning, but are scheduled to take part in the Nine and Dine at Biltmore in the afternoon and evening. Susan's calendar is just the opposite. They are free on Friday morning, and on Saturday afternoon.

But Sunday looks good. 

Friday, July 13

Woefully out of date photo of Tracie and Trevor Yankoff (2002)Tracie and Trevor Yankoff Anniversary

Today is the wedding anniversary of Tracie (Nemeth) and Trevor Yankoff. Tracie is the daughter of Sandi (Wachdorf) and Jack Nemeth, and Sandi is the daughter of Jerry and Charlotte Wachdorf. Tracie and Trevor have two children at last count, Cole and Sam.

Happy Anniversary, Tracie and Trevor

Golf Sans Fred Nearing

Dottie and I had a date to play golf with Fred Nearing (for sure) and Roger Maurice (probably) this morning, but we wound up playing alone as a twosome.GolferFred usually gets to the golf course before we do, but we were on the early side when we left home, and thought we might beat him this morning. However, when we turned into -- or tried to turn into the club -- we were stopped by a road construction crew. The road was  being repaired, but one of the workmen said we could get to Biltmore by driving back to Route 59, going north about a mile and approaching Biltmore from the other side. We did as instructed, and finally found it after winding around for a while.

However, Fred wasn't there when we got there, nor was Roger Maurice. I called Fred on my cell phone, and asked where he was. He was at home, and asked where we were. We were at the golf course, of course, where he was supposed to be also. Fred said he had tried to drive to Biltmore  from his home diametrically across Honey Lake from Biltmore, and found the road closed. So, he tried to go around to the north, and found that road closed also. So, he went home, put on his gardening clothes, and was in the midst of his gardening chores.

He was surprised we got there, but opted to go ahead with the gardening and see us next Friday when the road should be open.

Dottie and I played as a twosome. There were 24 ladies from Rolling Hills Golf Course playing there as guests, so we were allowed to start on hole number six to get ahead of them, and had a pleasant, if slightly warm morning of golf. 

Saturday, July 14

Cindy Schalk Birthday

Cindy is John Hardison's wife, and my daughter in law. Her birthday usually offers the opportunity for me to  get together with John and Cindy, and to see their kids, Alex and Anna.

I forgot to mention her birthday last year, but offered, as an excuse, that Dottie and I were in Bismark, ND, attending the renewal of vows ceremony for some Florida Friends. No excuse this time.

Happy Birthday, Cindy!

Kurt Brown in his Illini Orange Krush outfitKurt Brown Birthday

 Kurt Brown is the son of Barbara (Wachdorf) and Bill Brown. Barbara is Marge Burrell's sister, and Dolores' niece, so Kurt is Dolores' great nephew.

Happy Birthday, Kurt.


Susan Visit sort of FiRm

Susan and I sort of meshed gears this morning. Either she is coming to visit at our house, or we are going to hers, tomorrow. This depends on Janet. the kids don't want to miss seeing Janet, and Janet may or may not be available to go to the Black's tomorrow, so we will see.

One way or the other, we are going to get together, no matter what.

Kate Hardison has a new Cat

Kate HardisonKate posted a photo of her new cat, Mickey, on Facebook. She says Mickey will share her new apartment.

We do not believe for a minute that she really has a new cat. The one in the photo is obviously our George, as there could not be two cats that are equally plump with the same black tail and facial markings.

Congratulations on getting the new apartment, Kate. If you would like a companion for Mickey, George is available and the price is very reasonable.

However, we can believe that Kate has a new apartment, because she said so