Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Whirlwind Recap!

We've been here for nearly a week and it is time to go back to Tucson already! Time has flown by and not enough chances to blog, so here is a quick summary of some of our weekend activities.

Whenever here in St Charles, we're on the lookout for Bruce, our resident groundhog. We figured with the snow cover that we'd be unlikely to see him, but he has been out nearly every day! While considered a pest on the grounds here at the camp, we look forward to spotting him, and are encouraged by his digging under our shed outside, where we hope he'll take up residence.

Saturday, after nearly a full day's work on our hallway, the Johnson girls led a group of 10 to Rookies for the All-you-can-eat crab legs. It was quite the scene of devastation, with shellfish and butter everywhere! Not a fan of seafood, I had a steak, but we had some great times visiting with Carolyn, her daughter Anne and her husband Pete, and cousin Lisa and husband Dan. We respected the family's privacy and didn't bring the camera to dinner - pics of you with crab leg in your hair just isn't something you want to see!

On Sunday, our friend Carolyn joined us on our cross-state ride to Iowa to visit the Ketelsen part of the clan. Just over the river near Sabula ("Iowa's Only Island City"), we spotted some bald eagles in the trees, though couldn't stop on the bridge to shoot pictures. Once in Sabula, we pulled off at a boat ramp and shot these of an eagle defending his fish from another adult as well as a juvenile (still dark head). We've been fans of the birds since we attended the "Eagle Festival" the first weekend in January last year near Clinton, where they amass near the open water under the lock-and-dam spillways to fish. They are so majestic in the air and are amazing to watch fishing in the river. At any given moment there were upwards of 60 or more in the trees nearby. With the lack of ice on the river, we were lucky to see the 8 or 10 we spotted this late in the season.

As we entered Iowa, we called my Aunt Velma, who we'd had difficulty contacting in advance. We stopped to pay a visit and fortunately, she was available to join us on our trek to visit the rest of Dean's brothers and sisters at a "Pizza Summit" at the DeWitt Pizza Hut. All the Sibs were there, except for sister Sheri, who moved to San Antonio a few years ago. We've got to coordinate our Midwest trips better so we can all meet at once - Sheri and family were back for the holidays, but we didn't make it then... Also attending were my Uncle John and Aunt Judy - they had celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary our last trip back, and just the day before was Judy's birthday, so we were glad they could join us.

Star of the show was 3-year-old Alivia, plus, sitting next to her we got the most pictures of her. But she was a ball of fire and fun to photograph - certainly not afraid of the camera! Between drink deliveries, and rounds of pizza hopping, until long afterwards (we were there for 2.5 hours!) I think everyone got to catch up on every one else's news, and it was just getting dark as we headed back to deliver Velma back to her country home near Sabula. We knew we'd miss the Oscars, so set them up to record, but still saw nearly an hour of the show after arriving home about 10pm. A great weekend and day trip to Iowa.

The last few days have been a blur - it would be great to stay longer, but the jobs in Arizona require a return. Next time we'll be posting from Tucson!

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