Sunday, August 28, 2016

Gary’s 65th Birthday

While traveling this Summer, Gary had a milestone birthday.  He is now a carding carrying member of Medicare.  He wrote about his birthday on Facebook.  He wrote so well, that I will just cut and paste it below.  Happy 65th, my love!


MY BIRTHDAY PRESENT TO MYSELF. Thank you all very much for all the kind birthday wishes. I gave myself a present for my 65th birthday -- a much healthier body. Over 20 years ago, I finally quit the cigarettes but with that came a weight gain of over 50 pounds. Although I was much better off by quitting tobacco, I carried around a body of 250 to 260 pounds thereafter. I remained active and stayed healthy overall, but carrying that much weight was taking a toll. My joints knew I was too heavy. Moreover some of my health metrics such as blood pressure and sugar were at the very high end of the normal range. I had a couple bouts of gout and they were rather painful. So through diet and exercise, I took off 60 pounds over the last year. I cut out the snacks, practiced portion control, and took up walking/running and weight lifting to rebuild my strength which had been waning. Back at the beginning of 2016, I told Leeanne that I was going to run a 5K (3.1 mile) race on my 65th birthday. She literally burst out laughing when I announced that one which at the time probably was the appropriate response. But I walked every day and up to 10 miles at a time until I got down to 225. At that point, I started running. These old muscles struggled with running as I suffered several minor muscle tears along the way, but I was going to run that 5K race on my 65th birthday muscle tears or not. I ran the whole way through "The 5K On The Runway" at the Willow Run Airport in Belleville, Michigan. I finished in the top half of all runners and was second in the 65 to 69 age group. And most importantly, I am healthier and stronger and am feeling good physically and about what I have accomplished.

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A picture album for the race and the related air show is at:

Monday, August 22, 2016

Franklin Conservatory, Columbus, Ohio

Time to get caught up on some blogging. Just before we left Columbus, we toured the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. And on our way, we met our son Andy for lunch at a Venezuelan restaurant. So what is the staple of a Venezuelan meal -- plantains -- which are pretty much smashed fried bananas. Meals come on top of them or with them on the side, but they are all over the menu.

Gary visited the conservatory on one of his visits, but this was my first tour. They have several "climates" in their rooms, most of which we know well but the one thing they feature that we are not well acquainted with is bonsai gardening. Bonsais are trees grown in small pots and trimmed ongoing so they remain in a miniature state for the life of the tree which may be decades.

Here are some pictures from the conservatory. Click on any of them to make them full size.

And, by the way, we have moved back to Michigan.





Sunday, August 14, 2016

Just Bouncing Around The Midwest

Bouncing around the Midwest was all we intended to do in most of our travels this year.  And we have done a pretty good job of it.  Columbus to Indiana to Detroit and for the past two weeks we have been back in Columbus.  The County Fair was going to roll into the Fairgrounds where we were staying in Michigan, so we took the opportunity to avoid that crowd and come see little Victor again…..and maybe his parents too.  We have had plenty of baby-sitting time and have enjoyed the little fellow immensely.  On Wednesday we will head back to Michigan to the same Fairgrounds again, and three weeks later come back to Columbus.    Yep, we are mastering this bounce around the Midwest thing.



Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Mud Hens and Frozen Custard

No, that was not one of our home cooked meals.  We took a road trip in just the vehicle to Toledo one night.  When we lived in southeast Michigan we used to like go to Toledo to take in a brewery we enjoy – Maumee Bay Brewing from where we can park free and just walk to the downtown stadium.  The brewery is an old brick building converted to a brewery, two pubs, a steak house, a comedy club and offices.  The whole structure is referred to as the Oliver House.  We each just had a bowl of pub soup so we could save room for hot dogs at the ballpark.


For the second straight visit to a minor league ballpark, we only were able to buy standing room only tickets.  And for the second straight time it worked out well as we fairly quickly found some empty premium seats to occupy and I took my stab at catching a ball.


The Mud Hens were cruising along but along also came the rains and the rains and the rains.  We finally gave up but did find out later they had eventually finished the game and maybe shot off their scheduled fireworks as well, but oh well, we enjoyed the Mud Hens securing a 5 to 2 lead and going on to the win.  And we got to see a couple of the Detroit Tigers – Jordan Zimmerman and JD Martinez on rehab assignments coming back from injuries.  Both will be back up with the parent club soon.


So, what about the frozen custard?  That is another one of our local delicacies while traveling.  Actually we are not sure in just how many places they serve frozen custard instead of ice cream, but our last Michigan hometown – Wyandotte – we had one frozen custard stand that always ranks among the best.  Bob Jo’s has been at the same place and owned by the same family since 1947.  And what is frozen custard?  It is frozen milk and cream, but with egg whipped i to given it a smooth, rich texture, but without making it even as heavy as regular ice cream.  It is a wonderful treat served in a cone or as a sundae and dipped in nuts or sprinkles!