Wednesday, August 17, 2016

A slow week ..........but enjoyed some time with friends.

Well  Dennis and the family headed out to dinner this week with Dalton's girlfriend, Sara, and Chauna's boyfriend, Ryan before Dalton heads off for collage.  This  family is so close, and does so much together, that I know it's going to be real difficult for Dennis and Crystal to  see Dalton leaving home.    And I'm sure that Miss Chauna will miss her brother, as well. 

As a member of the Iowa State, Hawkeye Marching Band, Dalton needed to head out a couple days early.  His good friend, who he is rooming with, and his girlfriend, Sara will be joining him  the following Thursday

Here's Dennis  at the University with Dalton, saying his "goodbyes"

Good Luck to you, Dalton...........Hang in there Dennis!!

As for Rich and I, this week has been pretty slow.  I had my follow-up with my Gastroenterologist - after my rotor rooter procedure.  All looks pretty good.  A couple of small pre cancerous polyps removed, and evidence of  Diverticulosis forming in the large intestine, so probably a good idea to maintain an even higher high fiber diet, so as to prevent diverticulitis!   They did not discover anything that may be causing the abdominal pain or back pain, but fortunately that has subsided significantly. 

Encountered some reception problems with the satellite for Direct TV, which required some cutting of tree branches from the tree between our house and the neighbors.  Probably as good a time as any for that to happen.  With the exception of the Olympics - not much good on TV - although Rich was having some problems with his news channels. 

With all the recent booking of hotels recently, we earned a couple of free $50 gift cards, so on Tuesday we met up with good friends Nick and Tonyia at the Red Lobster.

Been dark skies and rain most every day, and as we headed for Sebring the skies got very very dark and the lightening was flashing!  Pretty dark looking across Lake Jackson...............But the sun was out and we caught a decent rainbow on the way home. 

  Food was awesome at Red Lobster, and it was really nice just enjoying the atmosphere and catching up with what our friends have been up to.    Rich opted for the Create your own combination, of Garlic Grilled Scallops and Shrimp Linguine Alfredo. Nick went for the Admiral's Feast, Tonyia the Cajun Chicken Alfredo, and I had the Lobster Scampi.  And, of course, here we all are outside, saying our goodbye's. 

I got a very nice surprise phone call today...... Tonyia was heading here to Lake Placid so she made a stop to visit.  We pulled out the Mexican Train  game and she proceeded to beat my in TWO games.   Enjoyed playing and enjoyed the company. 

Hopefully, we can do this a little more often...............or maybe Bingo tomorrow???

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Donald Family HIghlights!

I am ashamed to say that I am so far behind in sharing those special moments,  happy days, celebrations, recognitions, accomplishments........about the family

First - going all the way back to early July when Dalton made the Iowa Hawkeye's Marching Band.   His dad, says it best:

"Proud is only one of many feelings for this moment!  You got mail Dalton....  it's official..... He Did it!!!!  He made the Iowa Hawkeye's Marching Band!!! Rah Rah!  OMG"

"Long story short that's been close hold, a couple weeks ago when he auditioned, he cut his playing hand finger on the music stand setting up for audition & still performed bleeding & overcame that setback & still nailed it!  Road trips for football games but halftime show it's ON!  Go Hawkeye's & Dalton.......Loves you Buddy!"

And on July 30th - my awesome daughter-in-law celebrated her birthday.  Happy Birthday Crystal!  Love and Hugs!  And that little tree is also celebrating - Crystal planted it two years ago, on her birthday!

Moving along to August 4th.  Dennis and Crystal celebrated their 26th Wedding Anniversary.  An awesome couple and super parents.  Love them to the moon!!!

And this year our beautiful grand-daughter is a senior in High School.  WOW... How quickly time passes.  Her Mom shared her senior pictures, taken recently by Aubrey Kall.  She did an amazing job!

That should bring everything up-to-date.......  So Blessed to have such a happy, smart, caring, beautiful family.

Safe and Sound - Back Home

Well, the rest of the trip home was nothing exciting.  Our last stop on Tuesday evening was at the Econo Lodge in Brunswick, GA.    I will say that after staying at the Econo Lodge in SC last year, and then again in Hollywood, FL , I had booked this hotel all three nights coming home.  Very disappointing.

The young lady who checked us in at the first one was the worst I've seen.  Problem with not getting the room we booked; her response was to shrug her shoulders, and then to answer, "I don't know", when I had a question about the wifi!  Second one in,  Christiansburg, SC was a problem with the air conditioner.  It was SOOOOO loud, that we had to turn the TV up to 95 to hear it.  They let us move to another room.  That air-conditioner had only ONE setting  - very cold , even on the lowest setting and the low fan.  Needless to say it was a miserable night sleeping without the air!!! The third night in Brunswick - none of the outlets on the bedstand would work......

We hit the Florida/Georgia line early afternoon, and the only thing exciting that we saw was an accident on I-95 not far from Jacksonville.

Stopped for breakfast/lunch at Bob Evans, just outside Orlando, and then home around 2 in the afternoon.  It was a great site making that turn onto Heartland Rd, from 27 and seeing the lake - almost home.

The lawn was mowed, but the topiary in the front yard and all the palm trees
were in desperate need of trimming.  (Another day)    Lots of unpacking and putting stuff away and laundry to do..............and that took me a couple of days!  So, dinner on Wednesday was Chinese take-out!    But finally things were back to normal............ and the next two nights dinner was stuff that we had not made all the while we were gone.  I did a Chicken and Potato Bake on Thursday, and Rich made his pizza on Friday night.   And sleeping in our own bed was wonderful!

On Saturday we decided to see a movie, so headed to the B&B in Sebring where Hillary's America was playing.

Dinesh D'Souza, an immigrant from India, also wrote and produced the documentary "2016- Obama's America"  back in, I think, 2012.  While I personally did not think that this one was as well produced, the message was right on point.  This is a documentary that everyone should see before they vote this year, and more specifically those voting the Democratic ticket.  This was an excellent lesson on the history of the Democratic Party and their role/impact on minorities,  Indians, slaves, immigrants, woman's rights,  and radical racial groups ( KKK).  And it covered the life of the Clinton's  and their affiliations with people like Margaret Sanders, and the Clinton Foundation's role with Foreign countries.................Everyone in the audience clapped at the end of the movie after the playing of God Bless America and the Star Spangled Banner.

It was pouring after the movie!!!!  After a short while, Rich waded in water, better than ankle deep,  to the car................ and picked me up at the front of the building - where I stayed very dry!


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The trip home..........

We were on the road early on Monday morning.  We'd called ahead to Light's Bake Shop and ordered a dozen coffee sticks.  Light's is another of those family owned businesses that are still open and doing well in the area.  Actually my mom had the wedding cake for Rich and I made here..........and I often stopped here to pick up coffee sticks for the people at work........... and to take them home for Rich..............Yes - this is only Tuesday and the WHOLE dozen is GONE!

We made our way through PA, Maryland, West Virginia and into Virginia, stopping in Christiansburg for the night.   And, I can not pass through Pennsylvania, or Virginia, or along the shores of Lake Norman in NC without taking a few pictures of the beauty of Mother Nature.

Had to share this picture of an accident and the backed up traffic in Virginia!

If ever you get to Christiansburg, VA you have to stop at a place called the Fatback Soul Shack!  Absolutely awesome.  Blues and Brews!!!!  And the food is great.  Rich had a beer and I had a freshly made Screwdriver.  We actually watched her cut and squeeze the fresh oranges!  And the people are so friendly.  The couple at the table next to us shared their bucket of pork rinds with us!!

Rich had the fried porkchops with hush puppies and french fries and gravy and slaw, and I ordered the popcorn shrimp with pups and slaw!    Sure wish we had one of these at home......Nick and Tonyia - you two would love this!

We were on the road early on Tuesday morning, and it was an uneventful ride. Arrived in Brunswick, GA mid afternoon.............and walked over to the Chinese Take out for dinner.  Should be on the road in the morning for the final leg of the trip - and arrive home early afternoon........ Sad to have this fun vacation come to an end.

Sunday - Some of the family get together ............

We had an absolutely wonderful time on Sunday at Harris Hill in Elmira, NY.  Brother Dave, on short notice contacted family members on facebook, and  booked a pavilion at Harris Hill Park in Elmira.   Somewhere between 20-25 of the "Benjamin" relatives joined for the day.  We had hamburgers and hotdogs and everyone brought a dish to pass, but the best time was just catching up with family members that we have not seen in years.

Below - Me with my nice Dawn Sewalt,  Rich with nephews and cousins, Brian Sutter, Jack Pelrah, Tim Benjamin/and son, Bill Bell and my Brother Dave.  Me and my baby brother,  and with my niece Tammy Sutter,  Rich  helping the guys with the fire, my niece, Cheryl Morgan Farr, Kathy Benjamin Bell, my cousin, Carol Benjamin Pelrah with me, Rich with brother Dave Benjamin, and cousin Bruce Thatcher.

Some more of the same people............and more neices/nephews, cousins, and even a few Great neices and nephews and their families.

A few more group shots...........

Feel so blessed to have been able to spend time with family.

You would think that we'd had enough to eat............but by about 7:00 we were feeling a bit hungry and ordered a medium pizza.  When we lived in Elmira, one of our very favorite places to go for pizza and subs was Pudgies Pizza.  We'd left the Elmira area in 1985, so we were surprised to see that this family owned store was still in business, and had expanded the number of their stores!   The pizza was as good as we remember.