Thursday, June 26, 2008

Random Ronnings from the Weekend (RRW

Just a bunch of leftover stuff from the past weekend. This time I'm going to let the pictures tell the story. And, to any of you who wonder about the cloud paintjob on the Honda in the previous post, it's a very expensive option that can be attained by driving 400 miles or more straight North to the clear air of the north woods, park in a clearing and admire. Now that that's clear, on to the pics.

Just a little cuteness to get things started

A cozy screened in retreat on the edge of the woods

A beaver dam pond. Can you spot Sophie
(a brown and white Springer Spaniel)
in the lower left corner?

All the outdoor Eagles were a little too far away but, this guy,
at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota,
was kind enough to pose for us.
(notice how his eyelid closes from the side rather than from the top)

Wabasha was also the location for the Grumpy Old Men movie.

Mom and twins being interrupted from a midmorning snack

No need to travel to the North Woods to see a Maple forest.
Just check out Sally and Uncas' front gutter (eave trough for you rural folk)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

What's New?

This is going to be a tough task (TT for the short cut folks). There is so much new news (NN) from this past weekend. So, I'll try to keep it as short as possible. Let's start with Thursday. We went to Madison, bought a new car, did some shopping, went home, packed and hit the hay. (How's that for short?) Now to make a short story long, we went to Madison and bought a new Honda Accord. We had pretty much decided not to get a new car UNTIL the dealer agreed to take BOTH of our old cars as a trade in. The car is blue and beautiful and we've already put close to a thousand miles on it. The shopping was for birthday gifts for daughters Sally and Elaine, son Rick and new puppy Sammy. Friday began by seeing how much stuff we could stuff (SS) into the new car. Good thing we got the larger car. We successfully crammed in suitcases, a cooler, two beanbag toss boards with accessories, a croquette set, a variety of gifts, other foody things, pillows, still and video cameras, Jo and I. (Oh yeah we also had a couple of inkjet printers to drop off at Best Buy in La Crosse for recycling) The trip Up North was fairly normal for us. A few arguments with Wanda (our GPS voice), a couple of u-turns, some cool wildlife spottings, (Bald Eagles, a Sandhill Crane family and some Does and Fawns. Road kill doesn't count.) After a blinding downpour, we arrived at Uncas' folks' place. And, what a cool place (CP) it is. Twenty acres in the woods just west of Lake Superior along Minnesota's North Shore. The place is completely self sufficient (off the grid). All the power is provide by large solar panels, a small generator and propane gas. And, it's fully equipped with a state-of-the-art outhouse (SH). There is also a fully equipped indoor bathroom. The place is loaded with so many great things that I'm going to need a separate posting complete with photos to do it real justice.
The real story of the weekend was the arrival of Sammy, Sally and Uncas' new Dachshund puppy. Sammy was the center of attention and guest of honor at a Saturday afternoon cookout (SAC). He won the hearts of all present and formed an immediate friendship with Uncas' parents' Springer Spaniel, Sophie. Here, for a change, I'll let Sammy speak for himself.
"Speak Sammy, Speak!!!!"

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Blub, Blub, Blub!

Just saying Hey from a dryer part of Southwestern Wisconsin! Although we got a lot of rain this past week, (I think over 6 inches total) we fared a whole lot better than so many of the neighboring areas. Luckily we had enough breaks in the weather that "farmer/botanist" JoAnne had an opportunity to finish filling all the bare spaces in the yard with one form of vegetation or another.

I've really fallen behind on my photo shooting. The subjects have been available but, it seems that I don't happen to be in the same time frame with them. Our Hostas are growing to tremendous proportions and I want to shot some of them to post here. But, so far, the planets haven't aligned properly for the "right" shot. For Fathers' Day I received my own, real live, Cubs Win (W) flag and I plan a photo extravaganza to show here. Once again, haven't gotten everything together for the "Big" shot. But, I promise, you'll be the first to see me and my pet flag in full color right here in Ron City.

Only other news at this time is I've been car shopping. After extensive research and test driving and financial wrangling, I've been able to narrow the quest down to one vehicle and, more importantly, a justifiable price range. After constantly hearing auto manufacturers bally hoo their cars as, "as good as an Accord". I wondered what would be better than being as good as an Accord? Duh!!! An Accord of course. So, if all goes well with the financial dealings, we may be heading up to Duluth this coming weekend in a.... yep, new Accord.

All in all this coming weekend should be pretty exciting. We're going to Duluth to meet up with Sally and Uncas and stay at Uncas' folks place. They live north of Duluth just off of Lake Superior. They have lots of land and, from what I've seen in photos, it's kind of rustic. The other big treat will be the introduction of "Sammy", Sally and Uncas' new puppy which they are picking up this weekend. So, watch for lots of pictures. Car, puppy, house in the woods and maybe even Ron with his "W" flag. As you probably know, the Cubs just keep on winning.

See ya round the corner.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fall has Fell!

I guess I spoke too soon on Sunday. After a rather dull week the new one started off with a bang. A little yard work in the morning and then...all @##$$%^$%$ brought loose. While Jo was in the bathroom hosing off some excess potting soil the Fennimore tornado siren starting wailing. A quick check of the TV news weather bulletin showed a lot of bright colored stuff going on just north of us. It seemed that the worst of the storm(s) were following the Wisconsin River valley which is several miles north of Fennimore. We were feeling relatively safe as we monitored things on the on and off antics of the Satellite TV until we looked out of the window only to see a wall of water so heavy that we couldn't see the street, let alone the house across the street. The rain let up, the sun came out and it seemed as though things had calmed down. But, when I looked out the front door I discovered that half of one of our maple trees was lying in the street. Jo suggested that I go out and move it off the street. HA! I reminded her that I was 72 years old and that was half of a tree lying there and if it was in the street, the city would come and move it. Sure enough, in no time at all, the trusty Fennimore Volunteer Fire Department showed up and Jo saw first hand that this husky crew could hardly move it. A chain saw and a front loader later and it was gone leaving only a slightly smaller version of a mighty maple. Not much of an adventure when you consider what other folks around the area are experiencing. Lake Delton, GONE! A 257 acre lake containing around 400,000,000 gallons of water drained into the Wisconsin River taking entire houses with it. And, hundreds of other homes under water throughout the area. Half a tree isn't much of a hardship by comparison. Besides, that's just that many less leaves to rake when Fall really arrives.

Valley Delton 20 feet deep, a quarter mile wide - Formerly Lake Delton

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Can Fall be far behind?

We had our half day of Spring and we're now in the midst of Summer. Hot weather, thunderstorms, tornado warnings and the still in first place, best record in baseball, Cubs losing two in a row. This week has been a lot less exciting than the weather. I guess the highlight was moving Jo's mom to a new assisted living facility. She is now residing in beautiful downtown Dodgeville, only minutes from Jo's workplace. It's a nice place with a seemingly sociable group of residents. But one of the best features is that it's only blocks away from both MacDonalds and Culvers making it mighty handy when a Big Mac or Frozen Custard attack erupts. The other events of the week were all sales related. For me it was new car shopping which was not nearly as exciting or challenging as when done in the Chicago area. (not as much price haggling due to the lack of cutthroat competition.) Sally and Uncas were new dog shopping. Hot Bulletin: New dog has been found and will debut in a couple of weeks. JoAnne shopped for more flowers. Another Hot Bulletin: Bare ground has been discovered in the Blume yard. Action is being taken to alleviate the situation. And, Derek and Jeanna took up the opposing position by SELLING. They hosted a garage sale this Friday and Saturday between the storms cells that ran through Wisconsin. Haven't gotten the final sales figures yet but I think I did see some video cassettes and audio equipment in a funnel-shaped cloud heading for Kansas. Today looks like a day of watching the rain fall, keeping out of the way of the "Cleaning Frenzy Frau" and basic computer playing around. (Can't even watch a Cubs' game until tonight)
So, I'll leave you with a photo from a nicer day and a quote from that sage philosopher, Dave Barry. "You can only be young once. But you can always be immature."

Monday, June 2, 2008

Weekend Update

To start with, the Cubs are forcing me to abandon the "W" flag thing. They just keep winning and I'm running out of unique ways of flying the flag every day. Let's just say that they're providing this old fan with a whole lot of excitement. Only one more mention of their heroics and then on to other things. Friday, they came back from being behind 9 to 1 and ended up winning 10 to 9. Enough said. (Except that they swept their entire homestand, 7 straight wins)

One real highlight of the weekend was the annual "Race for the Cure" breast cancer run/walk. This year JoAnne was the coordinator for the Lands' End team. She managed to recruit 120 participants. The weather cooperated and the turnout for the "Race" was around 11,000. To celebrate her 28th year as a survivor JoAnne ran/walked in the 5K event. At this time we haven't gotten her official time but, I'm sure that it's somewhere between 43.01 minutes and 43.03 minutes. Even if she had run in half that time I'd be just as proud of her although, if that would have happened, I wouldn't have gotten to the finish line in time to take this photo. The very pregnant Jeanna participated in the 1 mile fun walk as Derek and the granddogs cheered her and Jo on.

As soon as the race was over we were back in the car for a quick trip to Chicago. There were two reasons for that trip. First, my Mom celebrated her 96th birthday on Friday and second, my oldest son Rick was in town. Seeing my Mom is always a treat because she's so alert and full of fun. She still kids about the old people at the nursing home even though she's older than most of them. And she usually has some smartass comment about my age. Rick, who lives in California, dropped in to surprise Grandma on his way home from Minneapolis where he attended a seminar and met up with Uncas and Sally for dinner earlier in the week. Daughter Elaine and grandkids Elizabeth and Catherine stopped by to wish Mom a happy birthday as well. A quick "Hi!" to my sister Mary and her hubbie Jim and it was back in the car to cap off a whirlwind 19 hour day.

Sunday was another adventure in "Hosta Heaven". In short it was a day of yard work. (Jo claims that she enjoys the weeding, planting, trimming and digging) I plan on covering the whole yard experience in a future posting so for now, we'll just say that everything is growing like crazy.

Two last bulletins, tomorrow (Tuesday) we are moving Jo's Mom once more. (Hopefully the last time) A room became available at the assisted-care facility in Dodgeville which will make it much more convenient. (Five minutes from Jo's office and about 30 miles closer to our home) Jo's brother Verne and his wife, Diane came up over the weekend and helped Vi pack her things for the move. And, Sally reported (with photos) a major hail storm in her Minnesota yard. Two waves of large hail left the place looking like mid winter. Fortunately no damage. I might add that driving down to Chicago I did pass a place where guys were playing with hail-sized golf balls. (I've been wanting use that line for so long)

Got to get an afternoon nap now to prepare for a late Cubs' game tonight.
See ya!