Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Quadruple Celebration!

Now at "Ketelsen East", we've been spending time with family and friends - making up for the extra-long absence since we've been here for a visit.  Last night we had Melinda's sister and her husband, her niece and nephew and his family over for dinner.  As usual, we offered a pork loin cooked over the grill, and added cheesy potatoes, macaroni salad and steamed veggies.   Also as usual, it was great!

For a little post-dinner entertainment and in celebration of Melinda's cancer remission, we sent a few "Chinese lanterns" aloft - effectively little hot air balloons.  Totally biodegradable and made of thin tissue, a little wax-coated piece of cardboard adds enough heat when lit to fill the interior and it floats into the air to a respectable height, and considerable distance downrange.  I was exposed to these at last year's RAGBRAI, and after searching out stores in the Midwest (turns out they are illegal in Illinois, and we bought out the entire stock of a store over the river in Iowa) we  ended up with a dozen.  It is amazing how such a simple device can delight kids and adults alike.  We sent 5 aloft, one ending up getting caught in a nearby tree...  We had brought a couple to Tucson, but it has been so dry that we're afraid of setting the city afire.  Melinda's nephew is a fireman, so we felt safe in setting these off...  I believe the theory of these lanterns is that at altitude, by the time the little flame goes out and the interior cools enough to drop that by the time it comes down it will be cool and no longer a fire danger...

After returning to the house, it was time to celebrate birthdays!  Brother-in-law Jeff, Rick's wife Susan and daughter Lilly all had birthdays in the last few days, so Melinda had made a cake and filled it with candles.  All 3 contributed to blow out candles, and we all enjoyed cake (Melinda's mom's recipe!) and ice cream!

Melinda's niece Kathy has been out to the house
a number of times this week, bringing her dog Jethro along for the ride.  He is a good dog, though he insists on tongue-bathing Melinda's face when given half a chance (see pic at left).  He's not allowed to do it to Kathy, so enjoys working on Melinda...

As most visiting dogs are when the arrive, he's quite excited and explores the entire house before he quickly settles down (after washing a few faces).  He is about the only dog I've seen that makes himself a bed out of the pillows on the couch though while the adults talk around him!

We've got a busy agenda the next few days, so the action won't stop till we return to Arizona.  Hopefully a few more posts from Illinois before then!

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