Sunny Day

It’s so nice to see the sun!  We have had so many dreary days.  I think Spring might be showing it’s brighter side for a few days now. 

I gave up on March Madness.  My brackets were full of losing team!  I guess I won’t win the free dinner!

I have heard from a couple classmates lately.  Deb Mc emails:  SusanI always love your blogs – our little one (Niki) turned one last Wednesday – our daughter Steph once bought me a Tshirt (her daughter is now 15) that says “If I would have know grandchildren were so much fun I would have skipped the middle generation!”

I leave April 9 for Ghana and am really looking forward to the trip. I’m feeling a bit like a pin cushion. the shots for the area we are traveling to are different from the far east – in the last two weeks I’ve had yellow fever, polio, meningitis DPT [vaccines], finished a typhoid series and start the malaria routine on the airplane. Everything else carried over from China. I’ll send pics! the trips always make me so very very thankful to have grown up in the US. We have so much and parts of the world have so little.
 
Deb and Frank were in Mexico the beginning of March.  Deb wrote:
We had a great time.  The weather was fantastic.  Not too hot, just right in the upper 70’s. It must have been unusually cool there as the tour guides had on coats.  When we traveled to San Sebastian some of the population had on winter coats.  We were fine in shirt sleeves!!  The sun could be intense when out.  Frank got a sunburn.  the screen he used must have been too old.  I got along just fine.  The ocean was so warm.  Neither  of  us had been in the Pacific before.  I jumped the waves while Frank just stood there against them.  It wore me out.  
 
I had to take naps most days and it worked out fine.  The resort was beautiful.  The hotel zone was well tended and they seemed to water everything. 
 
We did two different tours.  One to the city of Puerto Vallarta where we walked on the cobblestone streets.  It was difficult walking.  The guides were so good to talk about  the history and also how people are living today.   We got a little time to shop but barely enough to get the few souvenirs we wanted. After the city we traveled south along the coast to a fishing area where we had the best seafood for lunch.  It was a winding road and some people were getting car sick.  We also visited a tequila plant and had samples, of course.  Bought a few bottles there and learned how to really drink the stuff to get the aroma.  I was so tired after that tour.  The booze is what got to me.
 
The second tour to San Sebastian was a long drive inland.  We visited another tequila plant . . just tended traditionally by a family.  Such nice people. Bought another couple of bottles of the product.
When we got to San Sebastian we had a traditional family lunch and it was very good.  Not a bit spicy.  Walked on cobble stone streets again.  I was surprised how rocky the countryside turned out to be.  It would be very difficult to farm there.  We  saw few fields that were tended at all.  The kids are leaving the farms there, going to Guadalupe to learn English and then head for the resorts for work.  50% of the population works in  the resorts.  We visited a small coffee farm.  Another family venture.  These bus tours are helping that local economy.  The  road we drove on has only been improved for 4 years so the area was rarely visited before.  San Sebastian is 400 years old and there were actually  some building still standing of that age.  It had been a silver mining town but  now  has a population of 100.
 
The food at the resort was very good.  We both gained some weight.  I did end up with heartburn most of  the time.  The last day Frank was a bit ill.  I thought it was from the sunburn but it lasted several days.  He feels better today.  Frank was not a bit impressed with what we had to go through at the airports and then through customs.  It maybe a while before I get him to travel outside of the country again.
 
Logan and  Becky took care of  things very well while we were gone.  The had the mail all organized for us.  That is  the hardest part of coming  home for me … the pile of mail.  And then all the vacation laundry. ha!
 
Mike H (who lives in NC now!) sent a joke about Nebraska weather you might enjoy:  On the sixth day God turned to the Archangel Gabriel and said: ‘Today I am going to create a land called NEBRASKA. It will be a land of outstanding natural beauty. It shall have tall majestic landscapes full of buffalo, tall grass, beautiful skies, forests full of elk and deer, rich farmland and fair minded people.
God continued, ‘I shall make the land rich in resources so as to make the inhabitants prosper. I shall call these inhabitants CORNHUSKERS, and they shall be known as a most friendly people.
‘But Lord,’ asked Gabriel, ‘don’t you think you are being too generous to these NEBRASKANS?
‘Not really,’ replied God ‘just wait and see the winters I am going to give them.’
 
This seems to be the week for doctors for me.  I see my orthopedic surgeon today about my knees.  Hopefully, I will just need an injection of Synvisc or something.  It’s getting hard to climb stairs again.  My right knee is the worst.  That’s the one I had the meniscal repair on 5 years ago.   Tomorrow I have an appt to see my primary care doc because of rapid heartrate. I have been waking up from a deep sleep with my heart beating around 200 a minute.  I had a real bad episode of that Saturday night, so called my doctor today.  We are at the age of doctor’s appts!  I fear it will only get worse the older I get!  (At least, I AM getting older, unlike my siblings!  Hopefully, I will continue to get older…but not sicker or debilitated!)
 
We had a unique weekend.  (Those Bristol’s are always finding something to do!)  Saturday afternoon, we went to Fremont to listen to the Pathfinders barbershop chorus.  Sounds like an old fogey thing, doesn’t it?  Believe it or not, there was a wide age group in the crowd.  The chorus itself has guys ranging from 11 years old to 82 years old!  The Fremont group is the first barbershop chorus to make it to the international competition.  They are #20 in the world!  There are about 100 guys that sing in the group.  They put on quite a show this weekend.  They had three performances.  We went to the matinee.  One of my writer-friends was there.  Her son is in the barbershop chorus and was a main player in the performance.  They put on little skits and told corny jokes in between some of the songs, and her son helped with the segues.  He and another guy tied it all together with their antics and jokes.  Afterwards, Dennis and I got together with Cheryl (my writer-friend) and her husband.  We went to a Mexican restaurant and had margaritas (Dennis had Dos Equis instead.)  It was a fun day/evening.
 
Sunday our parish Youth Group performed the Living Stations of the Cross.  For those of you who don’t know what the Stations are, they are mediations/prayers that are said in memory of Jesus’ path to Golgotha and crucifixion.  There are twelve stations.  If you have been in a Catholic church and have seen the plaques along the wall, usually in the back or side walls of the church, those are the stations.  They depict various things that occurred along the way to the crucifixion.  Sometimes stations are called the “Way of the Cross.”  Anyway, instead of just doing the prayers along the plaques like we do a lot during Lent, the Youth Group dressed up and put on a performance or pageant.  It was very impressive.  They do this every year and it gets better every year.  If you have ever been to South Dakota to the Passion Play, it is similar to that, but on a smaller scale.   
 
Keep in touch!  Let me (us) know what’s going on in your lives! 

March Mayhem, Mischief and Madness

Don’t you love alliteration?!

I didn’t realize how long it had been since I last posted!  Much has been going on since February 17th!

We are in the middle of the Bristol Birthday Season.  Dave’s birthday was March 1st, Mike’s this weekend on March 20th and Carlota’s Sunday.  Next comes Dennis’ on April 1st, then Joe’s on April 8th.  Dennis’ mom’s is on April 15th and our baby girl will turn ONE YEAR OLD on April 16th.  Hallmark gets a lot of business from me this time of year!  When the boys were younger and we had birthday parties, this time of year was more expensive than Christmas!  Mine kind of starts it on Feb 2.  Dennis’ dad’s birthday was a week later on Feb 9.  He has since passed away, so there is a bigger gap between my birthday and the rest of the family’s.  I think it’s interesting that Dave married a girl with a March birthday and Mike dates a girl with an April birthday!  I guess we will keep it going!

  Mike's 19th birthday 007

A couple weeks ago, my writers’ group had a retreat in Nebraska City.  It was a blast!  We stayed at the Lied Lodge, which is a very nice facility.  Lots of large logs.  The carpeting is leaf-patterned.  Definitely an Arbor Day theme going.  We arrived Thursday and stayed until Saturday.  The lodge has lots of nooks and crannies where we could write.  It was too cold to go outside, but I would love to go there in the summer and check out the large deck and all the trails around the lodge.  We visited Arbor Lodge which was closed as was the Mayhew Cabin (John Brown’s Cave).  We still managed to find things to do in the town of 7200.  It is amazing how much they have for a town that size.  Lots of history. They recently built a big Lewis and Clark center just east of town.  I think it opened a few years ago for the Lewis and Clark 200th anniversary.  We visited the coffee shops in town and did some of our writing there.  On Saturday we drove over to Louisville, NE, and ate lunch at their old fashioned drug store.  They serve burgers and sandwiches along with the old-time soda fountain drinks.  I ordered a green river.  I think the last time I had one of those was at Central Drug in high school!  After that, we browsed
Coop deVille store, which is a crazy store with all kinds of pink things and oddities.  Definitely a “chick” store (hence the name “Coop de Ville!”)  We drove about 10 miles south to Elmwood, Nebraska, a very tiny town, but home of Bess Streeter Aldrich, one of the most prolific writers of her time.  She lived from 1881-1954 and wrote many stories for The Saturday Evening Post and the Ladies Home Journal.  She wrote several novels. A couple were made into movies.  One of her best loved novels is A Lantern in Her Hand.  We arranged to see the small museum in town.  (It is so off the beaten path and not real well-known, so you call ahead to see it.)  We also got to tour her home, and the curator even let us do some of our writing at Bess Streeter Aldrich’s kitchen table!  It was the first place of this type where we actually got to sit on the furniture!  Of course, if it were to become popular like the Scout’s Rest Ranch in North Platte or the Arbor Lodge, I’m sure that would change! It was interesting, though, because it almost felt like Bess Streeter Aldrich was there with our group. 

Nancy, Cheryl, Nancy, Janet, Joyce-Arbor Lodge Becky, Nancy, Cheryl and Nancy at Whispering Wall

Sue, Nancy, Cheryl, Janet, Joyce, Becky

We have had two rowdy weekends at the Brazen Head (two weeks apart, so not in a row, thank goodness!)  The weekend before St. Patrick’s was the best ever!  One of our friends reserved a couple of tables (for 20 people) and several of Joe’s friends came.  Mike was home on Spring break, so he was there, too.  The band was better than ever (even though Dave Marsh had a cold) because they were enlivened by the crowd.  I did have one close call, though.  I ran into Jim (Hob) when we got there!  He, Kris and Artie were at the Brazen Head for dinner, then they were heading over to the Holland Center to a concert, featuring Irish music as well.  They were at a much more cultured event than we were!  But we got to drink beer and sing loud songs!

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At work, we are following March Madness.  We filled out our brackets and whoever has the most right will win a prize of some sort.  Kansas’ loss threw my bracket ‘way off!  I am about half right and half wrong at this point.  It’s kind of fun to follow the games that way.  I have never been a big basketball fan, but this is a neat way to get into it, I guess.

Hope you all are doing well.  I try to keep up with you on Face Book and email.  Take care!