Saturday, September 25, 2010
Today is also when Barbara Peters exhibit opens. I'll have to go and try and see it. She has different outfits from throughout the centuries on exhibit at NIU. For those of you who might read this and don't know, Barbara Peters is NIU's first lady. She is the wife to NIU's president. Yeah, I know. Whoopie Do. Still though, the preview of the outfits looked nice.
Tomorrow Kerm will get to go home. He will have to still have therapy and hopefully continue on with his progress. He will have to wear his collar for at least 3 months but if he can go to therapy closer to home it will be good.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I also bought a new coffee mug when I got back. Couldn't resist it.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
I made it to the nursing home in good time and went into mom's room. I figured I had a couple of minutes before going back to the car and getting the food out. She was laying down and told me she was being punished. Being over 90 and being punished was interesting so I asked her why. She couldn't remember. I asked a nurses aide who was coming into her room and it appeared that mom had tried to get in and out of her wheel chair by herself again. That is when she is most vulnerable to falling so they don't want her to do it by herself. Mom appeared to like the stuffed Northern Cardinal that I brought back for her from the Bird Refuge in Utah. If you press it's stomach and back it will chirp. I don't think she has enough strength to make it chirp but she also can't hear it chirp so that is a minor point. I'm not sure if her hearing aids need new batteries or what. She doesn't like anybody else to touch them besides Kerm and Kerm won't be seeing her for a bit.
I rolled mom down to the room which was reserved for us. She couldn't remember being there before even though it was the same room as last year. Her memory is fading fast and she does not have much interest in things lately. Tony arrived shortly after that so there was somebody else to talk to. MaryAnn, Ken and Betty Lou arrived about 10 minutes later. It was a nice surprise to see Ken. He doesn't come to our gatherings very often so that was a special treat. No sooner had everybody said Hi to mom, then Matthew, Julie, and Gwen.
Notice that mom is actually smiling in that picture. I also took a picture of Ken. He was watching a slideshow of my pictures from Utah. I had a nice conversation with him about Utah. He had been to Salt Lake City and the Salt Lake. A place one does not want to roll down the windows at. :)
I have my food ordered for tomorrow's family reunion so no worries on that. I am getting the oil changed on my vehicle today. I have a $10 off coupon for Bockman's so that will help. It came to a total close to $27 after they applied the $10 off. I remember that I had walmart change the oil one time and it too was around $30 so I guess it is a toss up of which does it. They also filled up the rest of the fluids as well as made sure I had the proper amount of air in the tires. I know that the tires needed air and this way I didn't have to do anything.
While I was waiting for the oil to be changed, I worked a little bit on what I would be doing in the Traveller game at Mike's tonight. It was good to have something to do since I'm not used to waiting. I managed to map out what we had covered up to that point and where I wanted them to be by the end of the evening. Didn't get that far since everybody was really tired and we spent a lot of time talking about my trip. Still had a good time. They finally made it to the Dog's Paw. That was a bar run by a Vargr. The PCs, or travellers as Mongoose Traveller and Richard like to call them, heard that somebody else was also looking for the same person they were. It was proposed that they share information in order to find the woman. They suspected that something was up since they are smart. They got the Vargr owner, named Ralph (he never gave his last name or proper Vargr name), to admit that he too did not have intentions on hurting the woman. He readily agreed since that was true. HE didn't have any intention of hurting the woman. His client, on the other hand, might be a different manner. Ralph is neutral. It shall be interesting to see where they go now with this information. They called it an early night from gaming. I think they wanted time to think about it.
That's about it. Got back home and caught up on facebook as well as had a nice chat with Sally on IM.
Tomorrow is the reunion and I must get to bed.
I managed to call him to find out how he is doing. He will be coming back home on Monday for a trial run with his therapists so they can see how he fares. If everything goes right, he should be coming home on Wednesday.
Lyndon is out of the office today so that will give me time to catch up on some of the stuff like Tuition Waivers. It appears that most of my phone calls today was either about Fellowship stipend checks or tuition waivers. Stipend checks will be issued but we have to wait for Financial Aide to enter them into the system so they can be cut. The tuition waivers will be taken care of but everybody assumes they submitted the forms correctly and, of course, that isn't always true. I will get caught up. Just need a couple more days.
Tonight is my off night for gaming which is good since George's server is down. If it isn't up by this coming Friday, I might be gaming via IM. Have done it before but it's not always the best way. The next time we play Salvage, it should be the inspection of the ship. They will probably also have to carry on the mission in a different ship. We'll see.
Also need to catch up on posting in the PBeMs. Not sure if I'll get to that this weekend or not with everything else on my plate.
Lyndon was also in the office today so that meant I didn't get much done. I was constantly being interrupted with people asking me how my vacation was. I didn't mind that though since I loved to talk about it. :)
I was more than ready to close the office doors and turn off the computer and get back home. That was about it today....surviving the first day back from vacation.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Today was weird. Getting used to Illinois again and having meals with friends. Going to Bobbie's place to check up on my brother Kerm's progress....he's still recovering but managed to walk up 4 stairs. I know he is in a lot of pain but it does show progress. I did chuckle when Bobbie said that he needed a hair cut because he was starting to look a little shaggy.
I am spending the night catching up on the blog as well as watching TV. There is a new Jimmy Smits show so I will watch that. I won't write about America's Got Talent in case Shelley hasn't seen the finale yet. :)
Today I bought a five cup coffee maker, a small (big enough for a sandwich) electric skillet and a new iron. They all came in the same box and Walmart had them for $10. I can always use another iron and the coffeemaker although I'm not sure on the mini skillet yet. I'll see what I can use it for.
Oh...surprise surprise. When I got up this morning I weighed myself and I had LOST weight while on vacation. Totally shocking but I'll take it. To celebrate I went to Great Clips and had them shampoo and trim my hair. It somehow seemed like a good way to end the vacation.
Tomorrow is the first day back to work so I will be up to my eyeballs in emails and phone messages probably asking about tuition waivers. That is usually what happens at this time of year.
Until next time.....
After that I went through security and had the person ahead of me AND behind me pulled over. When they left the line, they also took my tray so I had to go and claim it. They wanted to make sure that the tray was mine which was actually easy to do. Not sure which convinced them more, the fact that I was wearing a NIU t-shirt and I had all my ID's , including my NIU ID, in there or the fact that I fit into the shoes whereas the two senior ladies didn't. Either way it didn't take long and finally I was settled in the gate area. At least I didn't have to move to different gates this time. I was also happy to have my HP Mini charged up. There wasn't an available outlet to plug it in. While I waited, I did manage to check emails and text messages. It took up my time nicely and soon I was boarding the plane.
There was some confusion on which seat to sit in since the plane was United Express and not as wide across as the regular ones. That translates as some people had seats "f" and there wasn't any "f". Eventually everybody found a seat. Then, before taxiing it was noticed that we had empty seats towards the front of the plane so the flight attendant was asking eople if they would move forward more. I was in 8D so I didn't move. The person next to me stayed also and I had a nice chat with her. She was flying out to PA but she had a couple of hours layover in Chicago. The people in the seat behind me carried on a conversation about where the women was travelling to. She was on her way back to Ireland and the man was asking questions about her visit. Evidentally she had visited Yellowstone and his daughter lived in that area. He jokingly said he should have asked her if she had Guiness in her carry on and her reply was "No Guiness, just whiskey". :)
If I had to write down everything that I enjoyed while on vacation, I'd simply say.....EVERYTHING. I really enjoyed listening to all the Gardner's play their musical instruments and see the girls artwork as well as watching them do their creative assignments from school. I thoroughly enjoyed chatting with Shel when she was quilting and her sewing section gave me a few ideas of how to change mine. I enjoyed meeting Joe and also seeing Stephen's new iPAD. I truly felt welcome and like part of the family which made it kind of sad to have to say good bye. Of course this does not mean that we cannot keep in touch. There is IM, Facebook and email and letters. Shel has a couple of projects she is doing which I am looking forward to seeing the end results. It was also fun to watch John GM a Traveller game in person. It was totally cool to meet so many of my internet gaming and sewing friends, namely George, Michele and Sadee.
soo, as I write out this rough draft on the plane home (I'll type it up once I'm home), I come away from one of the best vacations I've ever had. Thank you all who helped make it so...whether or not you contributed funds for the trip, contributed to the transportation, or approved me taking off of work.
Now it is time to think about next years vacation. I know it is a full year away but when you live paycheck to paycheck you have to think well in advance. I've been to CA and met a gaming friend there and his wonderful family. Now I've met my gaming friends in Utah. That still leaves the Dakota's or Southern route in the US to visit. I doubt I'd do two weeks but perhaps one might be doable.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Then there was the food. Oh yeah - the food. Shel is a good cook and between her and John grilling out, I over ate. For those of you who know me--that is not new. What is new is that I have only had soda three times in this two week period. Just don't count how much coffee I have had. I actually have been drinking mostly water. It will be interesting to see how much water I drink once I'm back home.
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N ow on to my Sunday. It is in italics because I am too tired to figure out how to get rid of them. I might be able to fix this before most of you read it. My Sunday started with allergies. I woke up but it was almost as if I hadn't. I had my allergy pills with me so I took some immediately but, of course, they can make me sleepy.
Meepers woke up before me so it was only us for about an hour when Em woke up around 9 a.m. Meepers also was nice enough to make me scrambled eggs with turkey cubes in it. I cut up some tomatoes to add to it and it was pretty good.
I had "How to Train Your Dragon" on my mini so after breakfast we watched it. Then, as a thank you for giving her a copy, Em drew me a picture from it.
Eventually everybody woke up but it appeared that we all were sleepy and suffering today. John and Joe, who had stayed over since they gamed so late, were the last to wake up. Food today was left overs and that was very nice so nobody had to work hard for it.
Today then was a stay at home, take naps, and eat leftover day. Pretty good way to spend the day if you ask me.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
They also have painted horses on every street similar to the idea of NIU's huskie dogs.
They also had nice picnic tables in the park area there.
Saturday was a busy day since after we got home and had lunch, we called George and Michele over. Since they were coming over as well as Shel giving Sadee a ride home from work, it was decided to have their Traveller game on Saturday if everybody could make it. A quick call to Joe and taking Sadee home to pick up her character sheet sealed the deal.
Before the game though, Em had to work on her video for a class project. She filmed various actions and then would put them in reverse. She filmed writing with crayons on the wall and being caught by mom, her sister rolling on the bean bag, rolling marbles, and a couple of other things. It's not done yet but it looks pretty good so far.
They tried to have a fire affect but it didn't work out right but it was fun watching John and Em trying to get it to turn out.
|Don't worry. Em didn't actually play with or light the matches.|
It was fun to hear George (standing) and John ltalking about John's computer.
Then they started to work on it and Meepers took a break with helping Em film to check out what they were doing.
Gaming was fun and I played a brief but memorable spot appearance. John had Honest Al being a person who the group was negotiating with for selling things they had salvaged from a downed Solomani ship. When they returned with their haul, they had called Honest Al, if that really was his name, who was very tired and grumpy from being woken up in the middle of the night. He yelled to his wife, Ethel, "Put a pot of coffee on Ethel" (or words to similar effect) when he heard what they wanted to sell him. Before anybody could say anything, I piped up with "Get it yourself, I'm in bed." Everybody burst out laughing at the voice I had used and it took them a bit to get back in game. John said I "derailed his game" for a little bit but the worst part was that he couldn't give me any experience points for it since I was not "officially" in his game. Jo, who plays the most aggressive and 'blow them up' kind of doctor I have ever seen, as well as Stephen who plays one of the children of the Captain (Shel) was able to test out Battledress which they found when they looted...excuse me...salvaged some things off the ship. There were huge dire wolves, over 10 feet long, that loved to attack things out in the open and it proved to be a good test for the battle dress. Firing weapons on it didn't do satisfactory (ie, quick enough) damage but they found out that they could punch the wolves and flatten them out in a hurry. The closest thing that I can relate to it goes back to the RPG called Rifts and SDC damage vs. MDC damage. It was a fun night though and I think everybody had fun.
I did manage to catch Dan online later in the evening and got some writing done with him. That was a good ending to the day.
My days are starting to run in together now. I get going on some activity or side tracked by watching what is going on in my friends household that I forget what I did on each day. Some of my days might be wrong but at least I am still putting down the events as best as I can. I am not good on keeping a blog so we'll see how long this keeps up. :)
Today I got a chance to visit Weber University. That is "Wee-ber" or "Wee-ver" University and not like how I would have pronounced it. Stephen is starting college so I was able to go with when he got his textbooks. He got a lot of them as a rental. This is something that the university bookstores are now starting to do. NIU started doing that this year also. In the case of Stephen's books it really paid off since it saved around $100. It's a great thing to be able to do. That happened earlier in the week but today Stephen brought home an iPAD.
Joy! Joy! New technology in the Gardner Household! There was much interest in the iPAD. I have to admit that it looks nice and would be totally fun to have one. I will have to double think on it now. I would like the storage on it to be greater as well as a USB port. It has a cable to it which can connect to a usb port but, since it is Apple, it has to be an Apple port, etc. It also only recognizes iTunes or CD's. Somewhat limiting but once again it IS Apple (as is iTunes). If you have an iPod it will sync up with that ok. There are many features that are nice though. I do enjoy the app which will allow you to get pdf's as well as the book apps.
It was a little cooler today which is good. Today was going to be a quilting day which I kinda guess it was. Shell and I talked about quilting and she ordered fabric from Keepsake Quilting for a project that she is wanting to do. They have a kitten called Socrates (Socs)out of various shades of grey. We did Gardiner's Sew and Quilt. I liked going and seeing the different fabrics and quilts they had there. I even managed to get out of there without buying anything. Wasn't I good? Of course it probably helped because by this point in time I had gone through all my vacation money. I did get to see some of that new bamboo batting that people are starting to talk about. I wonder how warm it actually is? I think it said that the shrinkage of it would be around 3%.
After that Shel took me to Hancock's. There we found some good greys for her to use. They had a GREAT fat quarter wall. It was all folded up nice and easy to see all the colors.
Some of the birds that we saw were:
Clarke's Grebe, adult and juvenile American White Pelicans, juvenile Double-crested Cormorants, adult and juvenile Great Blue Herons, Snowy Egrets,Little Blue Heron's (scruffy looking teenagers), White-faced Ibis, Canadian Goose, Gadwalls, Mallards, Virginia Rails, American Coots, American Avocets, Long-billed Curlews,California Gulls, White-throated Swifts, Red-winged Blackbirds.
|Shel is around 5'2" so that will give you an idea of how large the bird model was|
I have seen some of these back home in Illinois (black winged blackbirds, Canadian Goose, Mallards)but it was nice to go along the 12 mile auto drive with somebody who knew their birds. Since we were driving only around 5-10 mph, it took quite awhile to go throughout the whole route. I really appreciated them taking me there since it it took a bit to drive out to it also. I managed to pick up a nature CD as well as more post cards and book marks.
When we left, we ended up in Bringham City at an ice cream shoppe. Yummmmm. I had hand packed mint oreo single dip ice cream cone. It was suppose to be single dip but when it arrived it looked more like it was double dipped. On the other hand, it disappeared as fast as a single dip would (grins).
Thursday, September 9, 2010
There were a couple of sewing machines there but one of the brands I hadn't heard of before. There was a White but also one called Bel Air. I hadn't heard of the Bel Air one before.
The ranch was fun also because the girls were able to try their hand at roping. Not real cattle of course but mock up ones.
They had quite a bit of large sized grass, perhaps a type of prairie grass, and you could clearly see a path going through from the various animals coming unto the property for a drink of water. The tops of the grass looked like you could even perhaps use them as a duster (in days gone by).
They also had horses on the farm since you could pay for a horse ride around the property. About the only other animals that I saw were the chickens and rooster. From the amount of feathers that was removed from the chickens back, that rooster must be VERY happy.
On the way home, John took me to one of his local gaming stores. Hastur's Hobbies was a nice store. I managed to get some new dice in NIU's colors (red and black) as well as an Eldar Farseer figure and nurglings. They are so ugly they are cute (grins).
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
With kids off of school and parents not having to work, it sounded like a day to be out doing something. We debated about going to Park City but instead ended up going to Antelope Island. I was TOTALLY glad that we did. We managed to spot lots of animals and the weather was great! So far the weather for my entire vacation has been great. I probably have just cursed myself weather-wise for the rest of my vacation by saying that.
To get there, we had to go across a causeway.
I took TONS of photo's from Antelope Island and we saw the following animals:
Mule deer, Bison, 2 coyotes, one lizard, a Kangaroo Rat, Orb weaver spiders hanging on their webs, a Sage Thrasher, several nests of fledgling barn swallows, lots of Avocets, Magpie, White-faced Ibis, California Gulls and Black-necked Stilts on Antelope Island today.
I think my favorite part of that was when we were seeing the Bison. There was this one Bison that was taking a dust bath (the flies were horrible that day as well as the next day). Since he was laying down, the cars had pulled over and people were getting out to take pictures. Shell did that for us. When he moved his hind legs to turn and twist, he made some of the people jump. He didn't get up then, but when we were on the way out, there was a Bison VERY close to the road that was scratching against some rocks and I think that he might have been the same one. Once again cars were stopping by to take pictures and only moved on when he looked like he was going to move.
I have no idea who the person is that I caught in my photo but I have to give a thank you to her since it helps show the size of the Bison.
Monday, September 6, 2010
Emily didn't play this time but John and Meagan did. There was a pretty good variety of instruments represented by the time the session ended. They had around 3-4 fiddles/violins, hammered dulcimer (that is what John is playing), penny whistle, guitars, and harmonicas. The group is called something like Old Time Fiddlers, and they go out to perform at various state fairs and other places. It was quite enjoyable to listen to them and the time went rapidly. This was a jam session so you also heard mistakes and restarts, etc.
Another nice thing about the group is that you have all ages represented.
As can be seen from the picture, John has figured out how to achieve the flames.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
So, at 10:48 a.m. I found myself all through check in thanks to the help of a female employee. She took my ticket and punched it into the computer, had some problems with it, corrected the problems and handed me my boarding pass all within 5 minutes. A quick check through security which took all of 3 minutes and I was on way to the gate. For anybody who will fly United, Gate B21 is clear on the other side of nowhere. If it gives you any idea, I checked through security around gate 3. I got my exercise getting to B21. It was clearly marked so that wasn't the problem. It just took me a bit to get there. THEN they changed gates on me. For the next 30 minutes the flight to Salt Lake City bounced between Gates 19 – 22. It changed a total of 4 times before it settled on gate 20. There was only a slight delay before boarding since the plane was arriving late. Eventually I got on the plane and waited for what seemed like forever before we were in the air. Taxing took a long time. Long enough for people to play musical seats. There were two couples who wanted to sit together but their tickets weren't tgogether. Once they found out that nobody was in the seats ahead of us, they moved there. That was good for me since it meant I didn't have anybody sitting next to me and I could spread out a bit more, etc.
So, here it is 1:43 p.m., I think I'm still in central time, and I'm looking out the window at flat clouds. Why is it that all the pretty fluffy clouds are usually only seen on take off? They are seen when we can't take out our cameras and take a pix. NOW I can see the flatlands of the clouds. Not much of an improvement. I went from flat cornfield land to flat cloud land. Looking out, it's like an extra light desert. I can imagine a wind sweeping through the clouds and moving them into little sand dunes...or cloud dunes.
Things got better though and soon I went from flatland clouds to semi fluffy clouds. THEN I started to see the land. I had reached the mountains. It wasn't long before the captain announced that we would be landing in Salt Lake City. From the air I could see the chiseled topped mountains leading down into the valleys. Most of the mountains were brownish but as we got closer you could start to see the patchwork landscaping. Periodic greens and reds interspersed by a river or road.
Despite the almost 45 degree banking that the plane took to approach the landing strip, the landing was smooth and going through scurity was a breeze. I noticed that John had called me to see if I had landed yet and soon we had figured out where each of us was. I recognized John right away because I had seen pictures of him once or twice before. It wasn't long before we were in the car and had started up a convesation. Not sure if it was just that we liked talking or that it was to cover up some nervousness or perhaps a bit of both? Either way it was a delightful drive. We went to The Pie, a pizza place which has great pizza. It took 20 minutes to bake so I snapped some pix and they are posted on my fotki site.
More on the vacation later.