Wednesday, December 26, 2018


As we continued on our Last Hurrah trip, we left Mitchell, SD on the morning of October 1, 2018, headed ultimately for Custer, SD, where we had a lodging reservation for that night. Our primary sightseeing goal for the day was Badlands National Park, about a 200-mile drive from Mitchell.

Halfway between Mitchell and the Badlands, near Chamberlain, SD, is a rest area that should be a destination in itself, if for no other reason than the excellent Lewis and Clark museum located there. Since our last time through the area, a new feature has been added: a 50-foot-high stainless steel statue of a Native American woman. The statue, titled simply "Dignity" and situated on a bluff overlooking the Missouri River,  is an impressive sight.


Near the entrance to Badlands National Park, something caught Doug's eye in a field beside the road. We stopped to get a closer look and saw what appeared to be a prairie dog town. But what really captured our attention was a little burrowing owl among the prairie dogs. We were too far away for me to get a good photo, but I was pleased to get even this.

Burrowing Owl, with a Prairie Dog standing watch in the background

And then we entered Badlands National Park, which covers an area of 244,000 acres of geologic deposits and mixed-grass prairie. Its rugged beauty must be seen to be believed. Numerous overlooks along the loop road through the park provide great views. Trails are also available, including a Fossil Exhibit Trail, for a more up-close-and-personal experience.

A panoramic look at some of the landscape

If you look very closely at the following image, you might be able to see the two dozen or so Bighorn Sheep lined up along the ridge. They were so far from us that we couldn't see them without binoculars. Another tourist pointed them out to us or we'd have missed them completely.

Bighorn Sheep on ridge
The next four images show various views of the Badlands landscape:

As we neared Custer, South Dakota that night, we were treated to a lovely sunset:

Sunset Near Custer, SD

 Today's video will help you get a better look at those sheep on the ridge:

Custer State Park, South Dakota, was our sightseeing destination for the next day. But more on that next time.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Sioux Falls

At the end of September, Doug and I set off on a three-week vacation that we dubbed our "Last Hurrah" trip. Lengthy road trips are getting harder for us, so we decided we'd head west one more time, to revisit some of our favorite places and see a few new ones, before giving up those long trips that we've been privileged to enjoy for so many years.

The timing of the Last Hurrah trip, while late in the season, was determined by a conference that we wanted to attend in the Minneapolis area on September 29. Once we'd traveled that far, it just made sense to keep on going westward. But we knew we were likely to run into some cold and snow on our route. The high winds and low temperatures in Minneapolis set the tone for much of what we would encounter in the days ahead.

Leaving Minneapolis on September 30th, our first destination was Falls Park in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, featuring the Falls of the Big Sioux River. We'd visited this park once before, in 2012, and wanted to see it again. It was very warm when we stopped there in 2012; but it was very cold when we stopped this time.

And, lastly, a very short video clip of the falls:

Falls Park is a beautiful place; but the cold temperatures and the miles yet to travel to that night's lodging in Mitchell, South Dakota caused us to cut this visit a little short.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Our New Villa

Well, I decided that, if I waited to take pictures of the inside of the villa until everything was neat and tidy, it would never happen. So I'm just going to show it to you as it is.

This is the living room as viewed from the entryway.

This is the dining area, just off the living room.

The Kitchen
We're calling this the den, although it's officially the second bedroom.

The "den" has been the big hold up in showing you pictures of the new house. As you can see, we still have a lot of organizing to do here. We each have a work area. Mine is in the corner on the right. Doug's is in the middle, beside the recliner.

Because the intended use of this room was as a bedroom, it has a closet on each end of the room. In addition to what you see in the above photo, we have two chests of drawers and a tall-but-narrow bookcase also in the room. Doug is using the closets and chests of drawers in this room for his things and letting me have the walk-in closet off the master bedroom for my things. Of course, the walk-in closet is also a catch all for everything that we haven't found another place for. I'm not showing you a picture of that!

The two photos above show the master (translate that "only") bedroom. We had that large bedroom furniture in the old house, and it took careful planning to figure out how to make it fit in the new house. We didn't want to give it up, though, because of the storage it provides. We were thrilled with how well it turned out.

This is the bathroom off the master bedroom. The walk-in closet is to the right.

This is the second bathroom.

So this gives you an idea of our new living quarters. The villa is smaller, and it's sometimes challenging to get organized; but we're very happy that we made the move.

We've continued to be busy emptying the old house and finding homes for the things we can no longer keep or no longer need. The sale of that house will become final on Friday, and we'll be free to focus all our attention on our new house. We're looking forward to just enjoying it.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Move

Life has been a little crazy around here during the last couple of months, as you may have guessed by my lack of posting lately. I just wanted to pop in and give you an update.

We closed the purchase of our new villa on September 12, and we left on a three-week vacation on September 27. We made arrangements to have the interior of the villa painted and new carpet installed while we were away.

We returned from vacation on October 17, and quickly began moving by carloads. Our new home is only six miles away from our old home, so we planned to do most of the moving ourselves, one carload at a time.

Our church has a large box truck with a lift which is used for the church's food ministry. Our senior pastor offered to get some guys together and use the lift truck to move our heavier things. When moving day arrived on November 2, though, the crew consisted of only the senior pastor and an associate pastor.

We could never have done this without these godly men. The furniture was heavy and the work was hard, and still they could smile as the job neared completion.

We're still living among boxes, but I'll post some pictures when we get the mess cleaned up.

And there will also be a travelogue of the three-week trip out west. That should take us through the winter. (Smiles)

Friday, September 28, 2018

Squirrels and the New Villa

I find the antics of squirrels very entertaining sometimes. Here are a couple of pictures that I snapped of a squirrel in a tree outside my computer room window recently. They just make me smile. I hope they have the same effect on you.

I mentioned in my last post that we had recently purchased a villa in a nearby retirement community. I thought you might enjoy seeing a picture of it.

We're getting some work done inside the villa, primarily painting and some new carpet; so I'll hold off posting pictures of the inside until that work is done. 

Meanwhile, there's a lot of work to be done in downsizing and getting moved, then getting the current house ready to be put on the market. So it's a bit hectic around here right now.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

The Reveal

Back in July, I showed you a picture of a new entry door we had ordered for our house and promised to show you before and after photos after the door was installed. Well, you probably thought I forgot; but it was several weeks before the installers got around to our project. Finally, it's done. And here's the reveal.

First, the before photo of the outside of the front door:

And then the after photo:

A note of explanation about the above photo...I had to open the storm door in order to get this picture. The storm door is clear glass, but there was so much reflection in it that it detracted from the new entry door.

Here's what the old door looked like from the inside:

And here's the inside view of the new door:

And, lastly, the before view of the house with the old door:

And the view of the house with the new door and a new roof:

At the time we planned these and other improvements to our house, we had no immediate plans of moving. These were just things that needed to be done. And they would be especially important if we decided to put the house on the market.

Things have changed in the last few weeks, though. We have purchased a villa in a small retirement community just a few miles from our current home. As soon as we can get it ready for occupancy and get our current home ready for sale, we'll be moving. It's going to be an adjustment because we've lived in this house for almost 30 years, and the new place is smaller. But we're excited about it.  

There will be more about the new place soon.

Well, as you may have noticed by my irregular posting lately, "soon" is a relative term.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

A Quick Trip to North Carolina

Doug's sister, Linda, who lives in North Carolina, called us on Saturday, August 18, to let us know that her husband, Larry, had died the day before. A bad fall a few days earlier had resulted in a severe head injury, from which he couldn't recover. 

Doug and I talked it over after the phone call from Linda and decided that, even though there wasn't to be any kind of funeral service for Larry, we'd like to go, just to be there for Linda. We couldn't leave before Monday afternoon because we had appointments to change and needed to get an oil change for our vehicle before making the 1500-mile (2414-km) round trip.

We arrived at Linda's on Tuesday afternoon. She was doing well, having gotten some good counsel from the funeral home that was arranging the cremation. And her son, Shawn, from Tennessee, was staying several days with her and helping her through the details that need to be attended to after a death. We had missed seeing Shawn's sister, who had been there but had left before we arrived.

We were able to spend some time with Linda and Shawn on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, before starting for home about 10:30 Thursday morning. We drove straight through and arrived home at 12:30 AM on Friday. (We had missed our own bed.) 

I thought you might enjoy seeing some photos from Linda's house and yard. She is a landscape designer and has had some fun using her creativity in her own backyard. 

Shawn and Linda
Linda relaxing with her dog, Finn

Saturday, August 25, 2018


Our friends, Winston and Patty, were planning activities to include in their vacation to Put-In-Bay, on South Bass Island, in Lake Erie. One of those activities was a sailing trip on Lake Erie on August 9, and they invited us to join them for that. We were delighted to accept.

The day was beautiful, with a nice breeze to fill the sails.

Our vessel for the tour
"Captain Jim"

Doug and me. 
That's our captain, on his cell phone, with his back to us. 
Winston was at the helm.
A collage of photos of Winston and Patty. Each took a turn at the helm.
Doug also took a turn at the helm.
Some of the other vessels we saw out on the water
Starve Island
It's said that two-mile-long Starve Island gets its name from the fate of a sailor who was shipwrecked there.

Perry's Memorial

Perry's Memorial commemorates the Battle of Lake Erie, one of the most significant naval battles to occur in the War of 1812.

It was a fun day, and we so appreciated Winston and Patty's invitation to join them.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

31 Years!

Yesterday was our anniversary. Thirty-one years! Yikes! Where does the time go?

This wasn't a major anniversary; and, after all, there had already been 30 of them. So we hadn't planned anything special. I had volunteered to work in the church office from 9 AM to 2 PM, covering for another volunteer who needed the day off. After that, we had just planned to enjoy a nap, have a quick supper, and go to church for our mid-week Bible study.

But then...good friends, Terry and Diane, contacted us the night before. They live about 50 miles south of us, but Terry had to come to Fort Wayne for a medical appointment Wednesday afternoon. They wondered if we could meet for a meal so they could celebrate our anniversary with us.

Suddenly, we had plans for celebrating the occasion.

Anniversary Flowers

When I came home from working at the church office, I found a bouquet of flowers on the kitchen table, accompanied by the photo book that I had made for Doug for our 20th anniversary. He has loved that book since I gave it to him on our trip to Alaska back in 2007, and bringing it out again on our 31st gave us both the opportunity to look back over those photos from our first 20 years together.  

The rest of the photos in this post were taken by Diane at the restaurant...well, except for the one of the four of us, which was taken by our waitress.

These final two pictures are of the outside of the restaurant. One wall of the building consists of windows, overlooking the water and the swans and ducks that call it home.

Many thanks to special friends, Terry and Diane, for making our 31st anniversary special.

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