Thursday, August 3, 2017

Out And About!

While at "Ketelsen East", I always enjoying staying at home out in the woods, but friends and family are only a couple hours away, so usually hit the road pretty often. My family is mostly just west of the Mississippi River, so an even 2 hours away, and we usually reserve Sundays for the drive to visit brothers and sisters, usually while eating at a local restaurant. With such a short drive time, I usually sleep in my own bed, so usually leave our dinners by 8pm to get home at a decent hour.

Case in point was early in this last trip when my brother Jim hosted us for a pool party on a Sunday. The "excuse" as if we needed one to get together, were for the July birthdays - our step-mom Diane, sister Kathy and great niece Alivia. At left they get to share a cake, made by my niece Marsha who works in a bakery.

A secondary excuse was that Jenn (my niece) and husband Chet were visiting from Connecticut! I remember their wedding in Des Moines 15 years ago (Happy Anniversary!). While a few years old, I believe it was the first time I'd met their son Sawyer, shown at left playing in the pool with his dad.

And if we needed any more reason to congregate, two of my college buddies happened to be along! Shown at left, Michael Dorn at right had visited Melinda and I a few years ago and happened to be out that weekend visiting me again. He met my family on a trip to the ancestral farm 40 years ago and wanted to join us again. The fellow in the white shirt is Luke Kuhl, who was my college roommate for 2.5 years at Iowa. He got more than a little ribbing for his name, since we went to school right after the movie "Cool Hand Luke" was popular! I hadn't seen Luke in close to 6-8 years, so was great to catch up - the 3 of us lived in the "Penthouse" 5th floor at Hillcrest Dormitory back in Fall of '72! Always fun to observe how nobody ever changes!

A few days later and I was doing a road trip. It had been a few years since Melinda and I had visited my friend Beth and Phillip in Minneapolis. It was definitely time to do another visit. Beth is one of my dearest friends again, going back to college days 40 years ago. She and Phillip survived a horrific car crash 15 years ago that left her confined to a wheelchair. But thanks to technology and her service dog Mika, it doesn't slow her down much. We made a trip to the Arboretum, one of her favorite places, as well as a restaurant overlooking the Chaska Curling Center where the USA curling team practices and competes! We also took advantage of Phillip's bar-b-que expertise - that is him at left in their garden of a back yard...

At right is a shot of Beth and Mika. I've never seen a service dog at work, and it is pretty amazing what she can do from opening doors, calling elevators, picking up items Beth needs. She is very well behaved and obviously they have worked together for a long time. It was hard to say goodbye, but eventually it was time. Phillip took our photo together, and like my selfie "rule of thumb" - it will come out fine as long as you have someone gorgeous next to you!

On the return trip to "Ketelsen East" I had intended to stop in Cedar Rapids, Iowa to see some of the crew from my old RAGBRAI bike team. That Friday they were going to load the bus for the trip to western Iowa to ride back across the state over the next week. Unfortunately, there was bad weather on the way, so didn't stay till evening to visit, but did pause nearby to see my nephew Jeff, wife Sandy and their beautiful daughters. Claire, shown at left, had just lost a front tooth and is showing the note from the tooth fairy. Because of her bravery in pulling it out, the tooth fairy left her money with glitter on it! Her younger sister Natalie was off to the sitter most of the day, but I got to see her just before leaving for the storm, as shown at right. Again - selfie, someone gorgeous - successful shot!

I stayed just ahead of the storm for the 3 hour trip back towards Chicago. Away from home for a few days, but with lots of memories of friends and family...


Anonymous said...

michael dorn very funny hahaha also the actor who played the klingon worf of star trek fame so do folks call your friend worf? jk

Dean said...

Michael is the antithesis of the Klingon character! Nope, definitely not THAT Dorn!

Anonymous said...

Worf is a uniquely lovable klingon. he is restrained reserved, pensive, and principled which makes him a very different kind of klingon. the actor Dorn is much like that himself and as well an accomplished pilot. my comment was in fact, a compliment. possibly even brothers of another mother