Wednesday, February 27, 2013


My great-nephew, Curtis, turns 16 today.

Aunt Linda with newborn Curtis.
(I cropped Curtis' mom out of the photo. I was afraid she'd kill me if I didn't.)

Christmas, 1998

Christmas, 1999

Christmas, 2002, with Mom, Dad, and little brother, Carson

Running track, May, 2007

Catching the touchdown pass, October, 2007

Shooting a free throw, January, 2008

Looking handsome, May, 2008
(You can't say "cute" once they hit 16.)

October, 2010, during a family vacation in Chicago

Enjoying the lake, August, 2010

Playing tuba in the school band, May, 2011

It seems a little inconclusive not to end this post with a picture of Curtis as a 16-year-old, but I don't have one yet. Soon maybe.

Happy 16th birthday, Curtis!

Monday, February 25, 2013


Doug's mother died in 1970, when Doug was 28 years old. About a year and a half later, Doug's dad married Lil, the widowed mother of four young-adult children. Doug's dad died 12 years ago, leaving Lil a two-time widow. Now, Lil has also passed away at the age of 89.

Lil - May 6, 2011

Lil and Doug's Dad

Lil was an interesting lady. Having been born and raised in Great Britain, she told stories of the World War II bombings of her country and the terror that those bombs caused. She served in the Women's Land Army, a British civilian organization which put women to work in agriculture, replacing men called up to the military. A few years ago, her children sent a request to England and obtained for Lil a citation, commending her for her service in the Women's Land Army, and signed by then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. Her pride in receiving that recognition was understandable.

She was also very proud when she received her American citizenship several years ago.

Lil's youngest son, a truck driver, was killed in a truck accident 14 years ago. His traveling companion, a blond cocker spaniel named Freeway, survived the crash and lived out the rest of her life with Lil. They were good company for each other, and Freeway sort of helped Lil feel an ongoing connection with the son she had lost.

Lil's daughter and twin sons and their families are a very close-knit group. Before Lil's health began to decline, she hosted family gatherings on Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. More recently, her daughter has taken on the challenge of hosting those gatherings.

Lil with one of her great-grandsons, May 30, 2005

Lil, arriving at her daughter's for a surprise party for her 83rd birthday in 2006

Lil enjoyed a good long life, at the center of a large family who loved her. She endured hardship and losses, of course, but always with the support of her family. She will be missed.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Road to Hana

The Road to Hana is a 52-mile (84 km) narrow, winding, scenic road, leading to the little town of Hana, located at the eastern end of the island of Maui, Hawaii. The road, which travels mostly through lush, tropical rainforest, passes over 59 bridges, 46 of which are only one lane wide, and around approximately 620 curves. Driving it can be a harrowing but rewarding experience.

Too many years have passed since our 1987 honeymoon for me to remember the names of many of the places we saw, but I've selected a few representative photos to share here.

One of the many waterfalls seen along the way

Coastal View

Wailua Falls

Another waterfall, the name of which I have forgotten

The trail to Waimoku Falls led through this pasture.

The pasture was occupied.

The trail also passed through a bamboo forest so dense that it was like night in there. This photo was taken with a flash.

The two-mile one-way hike brought us to this...Waimoku Falls

This gives a little perspective as to the size of the waterfall.

Waimoku Falls, the largest waterfall on Maui, drops 400 feet down a sheer lava rock wall into a boulder-strewn pool below. It's an awesome sight and made every step of the hike worthwhile.

Monday, February 18, 2013

New Old Friends

Left to right: Sirpa, Sinikka, Seija (baby), and Hilkka

Shortly after I first started blogging, almost two and a half years ago, I wrote a post about my memories of family vacations in Canada during my growing-up years. On one of my last vacations there with my parents...I was 17 years old at the time...a friend from high school went with us.

A family from Finland had a cottage just across the narrow bay from the cottage that my folks rented on Desbarats Lake in Ontario. One day that summer, Connie and I walked around the end of the bay and over to the cottage of the Finns. We spent an enjoyable day getting acquainted with the four sisters: Sinikka, who was about 11 years old; Hilkka, approximately 9; Sirpa, about 7; and Seija, maybe 7 or 8 months.

Linda and Connie, in back row, with Sinikka, Hilkka, and Sirpa

Connie and I thoroughly enjoyed that day with our new friends. The three older girls had fun trying to teach us a few Finnish phrases.

Anyway, when I wrote that post, I included the photo of the girls that appears at the top of this post. I very carefully omitted any mention of their last name, to protect their privacy. However, being relatively new to this whole blogging thing, it didn't occur to me to remove their last name from the photo's file name.

You're guessing where this is going, aren't you?

Last month, I received an email...from Sirpa. Apparently Hilkka had come across their picture on the internet when doing a search on their last name. Hilkka had called Sinikka to tell her. Since Sinikka lives in the boondocks and doesn't have internet access, she called Sirpa and asked Sirpa to investigate.

Since then, Sirpa and I have exchanged several emails. She and I are sisters in Christ, so we've had some wonderful "virtual" fellowship.

I wrote a letter to Sinikka and received a telephone call in response. What a wonderful treat that was. Sinikka and I had exchanged letters for awhile after our acquaintaince in 1962, but had lost contact with each other somewhere along the way. It was just a thrill to hear her voice again after all those years.

Hilkka and I have also exchanged a few emails.

Seija was so little back then that she couldn't be expected to have the same sense of renewed friendship that her sisters might have, but I'm hoping to hear from her, too.

I had never forgotten these little girls and had always regretted losing contact with Sinikka. So this virtual reunion with them has meant a lot to me. They are no longer the little girls of my memory. They are women with whom I can enjoy a sense of renewed friendship.

They are new old friends.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Maui was the third and final island we visited on our 1987 honeymoon in Hawaii. Here are some of the photos from Haleakala National Park on that island. The elevation there was about 10,000 feet (3,055 m), and the scene looking down into Haleakala crater was just incredible.

The dormant crater of Haleakala Volcano in Haleakala National Park

Haleakala Crater

Haleakala Crater

Haleakala Silversword is found only in Haleakala National Park on the island of Maui.

Haleakala Silversword

Haleakala Silverswords

The Hawaiian Goose, also known by it's Hawaiian name nēnē (pronounced nay-nay)

The nēnē is the state bird of Hawaii.

I'll have more from this beautiful island in a future post.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

More from the Big Island, Hawaii

Here are a few more photos from our 1987 honeymoon in Hawaii. I believe that all of these were taken on the Big Island.

I don't know what it is, but isn't it beautiful?

Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park

Lava Cliffs on the Big Island

Lava Flow on Roadway

The Sign Says It All

Lava Fires

Our favorite little restaurant


The end of a perfect day

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Little-Known Fact About Aging

There's something about aging that you younger folks might not know. I didn't know it myself until...well...until I got old.

You see, the thing is, we don't KNOW we're old. Oh, we know our chronological age, and we know that people of that age are traditionally thought of as old. But the truth is, there is a teenager trapped inside that aging body.

Sometimes that gets us into trouble, as when I recently ran (literally) to the garage to get something out of our vehicle. As I turned to run (literally) back into the house, my shoes slipped on the garage floor; and I went down. Hard. The old body, with its slower reflexes, betrayed the teenager inside who felt just as agile as ever.

Sometimes this little-known fact of aging just creates humorous moments, as last week when I heard strange sounds coming from the kitchen. I was, as usual, in the computer room at the other end of the house. What I was hearing sounded like something plastic being bounced on the kitchen floor.

I called out, "What are you doing out there?"

Doug replied, sheepishly, "Playing with my pill bottle."

Laughing, I called back, "What is this...the senior version of 'kick the can'?"

Then I went out to the kitchen and found Doug tossing an empty pill bottle over his head and behind his back and catching it. Well, catching it some of the time.

My 16-year-old-in-a-70-year-old-body husband was just checking to see if he still had the moves from his baseball-playing days.

I love the boy in that man.

Thanks to Hilary at The Smitten Image for including this post as a Post of the Week.


Friday, February 08, 2013

Pelican Watching

When we spent the day at Fred Howard Beach, near Tarpon Springs, Florida, last month, one of the treats was watching the pelicans as they flew over the water, searching for a meal and diving into the water to catch it.

Searching the waters

Beginning the dive

Peparing for entry


Resting a bit after resurfacing

Preparing for takeoff

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