Friday, May 30, 2008


You may have noticed that I haven't posted a "W" flag in quite a while. As a true Cubs' fan, I'm always reluctant to crow too loud when things are going well. That's because, as soon as you get your hopes up too high, they'll knock the bleacher seat right out from under you. BUT, this year is just looking too good to sit by and not hope for really BIG things. As we speak, our "Boys in Blue" have the best record in ALL of Major League baseball with 33 wins. I'm stopping right here and, in true blue fan fashion, I'm going to drive my Edsel to the nearest 8-track dealer to buy some Disco tapes to listen to while shooting some photos with my new Polaroid camera.
By the way, I've been told that some of you don't understand the significance of the "W" flag. Very simply, after a Cubs' win, they raise a white flag with a large W above Wrigley Field so that passersby and folks riding the "EL" are made aware of the victory.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Pure Gold

I (we) survived the "Minnesota Move". Uncas and Sally are safely installed in their new home "Up Nort" eh? For a change, we had a fairly uneventful experience. The great weather, a couple of able bodied friends and Uncas' parents helped make it a relatively painfree project. Although, before leaving home, I did have an impromptu knee-to-floor encounter in our garage. It was probably just a Freudian Slip (or more of a Freudian Trip), an attempt to avoid any real work during the move, I carefully placed a folding chair right where I could uncarefully run into it on my way to the car. Since there was no one to witness the tragedy and I couldn't sue myself, it was kind of useless lying there for very long. I swore a little bit, (Another case where a thousand very colorful words is better than one picture) got up, and limped to the house where I accused the @%#$+&@%# squirrels of tripping me. After receiving a minimum of sympathy, I was told that I didn't qualify to go on the DL (Disabled List). So it was off to "The Move". As I said it was pretty uneventful and I managed to stay out of the way while the real workers worked. We returned to Fennimore on Sunday. Got home just before the foul weather arrived.

Monday we attended the annual "Amish Flower Auction" (the AFA from here on). Talk about a big deal. This was a chance to meet everyone who lived within a fifty miles of our town. Them Amish can work a crowd as well as they work the soil. The event featured every variety of garden flowers imaginable being auctioned off by some of the best Wisconsin auctioneers in three separate locations around a large barnyard. No small time, fast talkin', farm guys here. These were the top auctioneers in the state and they have their championship trophies to prove it. Anyway, money was flying like the dandelion seeds in my neighbor's yard. Little tiny Amish boys in their dark blue shirts, black vests and straw hats were toting flats of flowers to cars parked along the road in all directions. This allowed the "Shoppers" more time to bid for the "Blooming Bounty". They waved their little white bidding number cards as guys, who were bigger, huskier versions of the tray toting kids, held up tray after tray of future flower beds for all to see. The Amish ladies weren't standing by idly, they were busily whipping up burgers and brats as well as hawking fresh baked goods for the bargain hungry crowd. Just imagine the of the aroma of thousands of flowers mixed with the scent of hundreds of brats along with that wonderful Wisconsin "Dairy Air" provided by a few dozen Amish horses attached to those charming little black and gray buggies. After absorbing as much country charm as we could handle, Jo purchased a couple of trays of some flowers whose name I can't even misspell close enough for spell check to recognize. Here's a helpful tip to remember when attending an event, such as AFA, is that when you get your "treasures" home, they have to be planted, and SOON. Jo got her plants into the ground in a couple of hours but, I'm sure that there are still some women out there scratching away in the dirt around their yards while their hubbies are standing around with their Pabst Blue Ribbons and Brandy Old Fashions, shaking their heads and saying, "I tried to stop 'er". Meanwhile as you drive down the dusty country roads around the area, you can still hear, "ein$, zwei$, drei$, vier$, funf $" coming from the darkened little farmhouses. Next year I will try to post the details of the 2009 AFA for those of you who might want to take advantage of the great deals on flowers. It's a real chance to save a lot of money on plants but, at the price of gas, you may just want to buy your own greenhouse.(I didn't mention this but, there was also a BIG Amish Quilt auction after the flowers were gone)

Once again, I hadn't planned on a long winded narrative today.
But, this is, as the title states, Ronning Off.

Hopefully these "Arty" pics of a little visitor to my big deck
will be a treat for you bearing with me.

Friday, May 23, 2008


I hadn't planned on posting anything today but, something of note arose (or unfortunately didn't arose). Part of my duties this coming weekend at the Sacnu Estate moving extravaganza is to bake cookies for the actual workers. In my estimation I'll take baking over carrying any day. That is, if you follow the recipe correctly. I got all the ingredients together, preheated the oven and started mixing. All went well, just like a well oiled cookie sheet. Until the first pan of cookies was ready to come out of the oven. As they say, "a picture is worth a lot of dirty words". Before a picture could be taken and after a lot of dirty words were spoken, I retrieved the empty chocolate chip package from the trash (the package contains the secret chocolate chip cookie recipe you know). And, lo and behold, some fool left out half of the flour necessary to produce edible cookies. Being the efficient baker that I am, I had already filled five or six more cookie sheets with unbaked, flour deficient cookie dough. It was, take the dough from the sheets, put it back into the mixing bowl, add the missing flour and beat the hell out of it. (a technical baking term). The good news is that the rejuvenated mixture baked up into some pretty yummy treats. Of, course I had test a least half a dozen or so to insure quality thus creating a shortage of cookies for the movers. What a great excuse to bake up some good old oatmeal cookies.
So, in the morning, we're off to Minnesota land to supervise the the big move. I'll be doing the supervising (and cookie guarding) while Jo will be in there helping with the dirty work.
Have a Happy Memorial weekend. See ya next week!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Just Stuff!

No earth shattering news today. Just some assorted stuff. First, while rummaging around the internet today, I ran across this "cute" photo. It's something that I missed on our trip West a couple of years ago. Wish I had run into this beauty.
Second, something that I did run across turned out to be a lot of fun (or therapy ). On my new camera there is a setting which enables you to make a panorama photo by shooting a number of shots. This might not be news for those of you that read instruction manuals but, for a learn on the run guy like me, it was a real eye (or lens) opener. Now the next trick will be to see if I can attach one or two of shots taken on our recent canyon trip.

Monday, May 19, 2008

You are officially in Spring

I want to start off with some really exciting news. This morning I found an item in the paper announcing the release, next month, of a new memory card for digital cameras that will label photos by location. Wow! What a boon for the "Elderly" amongst us. Not only will I be able to identify where I took a picture but, now I can identify where I'm at while out roaming around. Such a deal. For $129 you can get a 2 gigabyte SD memory card, shoot a whole lot of pics AND know where you're at all at once. This could put "You are here" Xs out of business. Now on to Spring. Among the many signs of Spring's arrival in Southwest Wisconsin are the menacing "Citywide Garage Sales", the fresh, bright green of the new growth of leaves on the trees, the roar of lawn mowers and the sweet scent of Lilacs. (Oh yeah! It's also time for Cub's fans to announce, "This is THE year!") To prove our dedication to follow local customs, we have tried to partake of as many activities as possible. This past weekend we joined about 50 other folks around town with "treasures" pouring out of their garages and down their driveways. Real low prices and "Big Town" sales pitches helped make our little sale pretty successful. The trees are handling their job of growing new leaves very well. Although I can't say that I'll be very happy about these same leaves next fall, they really look nice right now. Probably one of the best things in Springtime is the scent of the Lilacs both out in the yard and in vases around the house. The aroma of the Lilacs is only challenged by that of freshed baked cookies so I included the two in one picture. The mad gardener enjoys the pleasure of bringing a little of her garden into the home and it gives me some really great photo subjects. Here are a couple of shots including the mad gardener, garage saleswoman, lawnmower herself.
In the near future I'm going to try to make my first appearance on Photoshop Express which is a site where I can display my photos for all the world to see. (Or, at least, some of my close relatives) If I can perform a successful download, I'll post a link for any of you that might be interested can look in on. If it works, you will have the opportunity to be bored with photo albums of our travels, as well as my "artistic" attempts.
You'll be the first to know when it's available.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Oh say can you see?

I just realized that I had forgotten to mention a really important event the other day when I talked about our latest trip being a vacation of firsts. The FIRST that I overlooked was one of the scariest occurrences that we've experienced while traveling. (Of course none will ever equal the trip over Beartooth Pass leaving Yellowstone Park a few years ago.) Actually, there were a lot of similarities between the two trips. On both trips we experienced 90 degree weather one day and below freezing temperatures the next. The ride over Beartooth Pass took us through a visibility limiting snowstorm while on the Zion/Bryce Canyon excursion we encountered a zero-visibility sand storm. (The FIRST sand storm I've ever experienced.) We had gone from 90 degree temperatures in Las Vegas and in Zion National Park on Wednesday morning to below freezing winds that brought first, a sand and dust storm and eventually turned into cold gusts of wind and eventually snow on Thursday. Of course, there is nothing more refreshing, for a couple who just survived a Wisconsin winter which brought over 100 inches of snow to the area, than to take a desert vacation only to run into cold weather, and more snow. The photo ops at Bryce Canyon were limited to pulling off the road, jumping out of the car, snapping a couple of shots and jumping back into the car with the heater going full blast. Naturally, we had not packed with 25 degree temperatures in mind. Jo didn't even have any long pants with her. (That's very surprising for someone who usually packs enough to clothe the Radio City Rockettes on a world tour.) Below, I've tried to simulate the kind of scenery we experienced late Wednesday afternoon in Southern Utah and the snowy greeting we got in Bryce Canyon Thursday morning.

Did I mention the FIRST place Cubs who just won 4 in a row!!!

Monday, May 12, 2008

You are here!

Six thousand four hundred and thirty two, six thousand four hundred and thirty three, six thousand four hundred and ????? CRAP! I'm still trying to count my big Vegas winnings. Between counting my pennies and mowing the lawn (twice this week) I haven't had much time to post some more tidbits about our latest adventure. Jo and I are still trying to edit down our hundreds of photos from the trip so we can put together a reasonable set to share with anyone that we can pin down long enough to look them. I pulled out a couple of pics that I thought might be a little entertaining. In the first shot we see a member of the Hualapia Nation whose job is to keep "White Eyes" from blowing into the canyon. There are no guard rails or fences so, if you get too close to the edge, poof! you get quick 4,000 foot thrill ride down the canyon wall. In spite of the fact that there are signs all along the rim, our Native American friends feel the need to warn us in person. The "Guard Lady" is appropriately dressed in bright colors with an equally bright umbrella so that if she blows over the side, she can safely float to the river below and be easily found. Being so colorful, she also a highly visible example of the danger at hand. Anyway, I was quite taken with her and respectfully refer to her as "Pocahanis Poppins".

Another colorful sight in the canyon is "The Boat People". They tour the canyon by water for days or weeks or until they are swamped by a falling, heavyset Native American woman with a broken purple umbrella. There's really nothing to significant about them, but they are colorful. As if the massive natural sculptures of Mother Nature throughout the canyon weren't enough, she even went to work on a smaller scale with the rocks along the trails. For example, the head of a Mastiff in the third pic. The last picture(s) is another example of the thoughtfulness of the National Park Service. They provide the visitors with constant reminders of their location. This can be seen in the photo of Jo and me in Zion Canyon. A fellow tourist was kind enough to take a picture of the two of us in the canyon setting. While checking to make sure the guy got a descent shot, we realized the the Park Service was kind enough to mark our location with a big X carved into the canyon wall. (see blowup).

I'll close this, longer than intended, tale with this tip for all future travelers. When asking another tourist to take pictures of you and your companion, follow these simple guidelines. 1. Pick someone who looks like they the right end of the camera. Check their equipment (don't let your wife catch you doing this in cases involving younger ladies). If they have a better camera than you, they might be a good choice. Maybe offer to return the favor by taking his (her) picture. (consider taking off with his camera if it's a lot better than yours) 2. Attach one end of a long heavy chain to your camera and the other end to your companion. This accomplishes a couple of purposes. First it keeps a potential thief from taking off with your camera (like you considered doing with his) and you can adjust the chain length to insure the proper cropping, thus not cutting off your head or chopping off the desired scenery.
Sorry for being so long winded but it's the first posting in a week.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Me First!!!

We're back from our recent travels. And, as the saying goes, "It's good to be home". Well that's partly true because coming home does involve a few things that aren't that swell to return to. There's washing all the stuff that we have crammed into our suitcases, sorting through (and throwing away) all the travel brochures, maps and coupons, sorting through (and throwing away) the accumulated junk mail, AND, my personal favorite, mowing the over-grown lawn.
Enough about the joy of homecoming. Let's talk "Vacation".
This trip turned out to be a trip of FIRSTs. We got our FIRST glimpse of the Grand Canyon. Took our FIRST helicopter ride. Hit a huge slotmachine jackpot for the FIRST time (more on this later) and, in spite of a site unseen, half-price ticket purchase, we had FIRST row, center stage seats for a performance of the play, "Mamma Mia!". The canyon was spectacular, the helicopter ride, thrilling, and the play was really entertaining. (It could have been even more fun if Jo would have let me flip M&Ms into the orchestra pit.) You're probably wondering about the HUGE jackpot. Even if you're not, you're gonna hear about it. Very simply, I was playing the slots when the machine went nuts ringing and blinging and flashing and spinning, and credit total went flying. It went on for, like, hours. More spinning, ringing and blinging. It finally stopped with the credit total reading 7,500. "Increditable!" At a penny a point, that came to the unbelievable amount of $75.00. Not really all that much in real money, but with all the ringing, blinging etc. it sure seemed like a lot.
After arriving back in Fennimore Friday night, we caught a quick fifty or sixty winks, repacked an overnight bag and took off for Minneapolis to check out Sally and Uncas's new home. (Sally and Uncas are aliases for our daughter and her husband who are in a witness protection program up in the Twin Cities. Address and phone number available by request.)
Well, we're finally back home. Jo is back at her job at Lands' End and I am handling the chores around the house. We have a lot more to tell about the trip and a couple of hundred thousand photos to show. If any of you are stricken with a case of insomnia, give a call. We have enough pictures to put a Whirling Dervish down on his back. And, if the photos don't do it, I have several hundred hours of video that will certainly knock you out.
Enough for now. I'm off to download photos, mow the lawn and count my pennies.
More words and pictures, soon!