"I have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere beyond the morning." - J.B. Priestly

Monday, May 4, 2015

Another busy weekend!

There's never enough time! Ian had a track meet after school on Thursday and both Jeff and I were able to go to it.  He was only to have 5 of them, but missed one because he was sick. Then I missed one when I was in Florida so it was good to get this one. Great weather and his relay team took 1st place!

Then, Alex had his Opener for Little League on Saturday -- beautiful day to sit outside and watch baseball. He was a bit nervous, but settled in and did quite well. The boys stayed with us Saturday night as Maggie had a birthday party for Scott. Then, we went to see the 'Avengers' movie on Sunday, followed in the evening by dinner for Scott's birthday.

At Boldt, they've put together a team for a bicycle challenge so we're both trying to get in a bit of biking each day, which is easier for Jeff than it is for me! Still, it's exercise and we're both getting out almost every day. Kind of thought I might get out of it today because we were supposed to have rain, but the little bit we got in the night ended pretty early and today was bright and sunny.

Monday, April 27, 2015

A little Vicki time

Can't believe how sore I was after all of that activity over the weekend! I think it was mostly from driving for 2 days -- pretty stiff in the shoulders -- or at least that's my excuse. Went for a nice massage this morning, followed by a pedicure. Really nice to be pampered!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Mom's back in Wisconsin

Not sure what I was thinking when I booked my flight to Florida -- had to get up at 3:30 a.m. to catch my 5:30 flight from Green Bay! Good trip, though, and Mom and Dean were waiting at the airport. Nice couple of days in Florida (including a great thunder storm and going to see 'The Sound of Music' at the movie theatre), and quite a struggle getting everything packed into the van for our trip back to Wisconsin. It was kind of fun driving back and watching the full, lush greenery in Florida going backwards to the barely budding trees in Wisconsin. Like watching a movie in reverse.

Susie and Doug came on Saturday and, along with Jeff and I, we got everything unloaded, furniture moved, TV hooked up, and pictures hung. Amazing, really, how much we got done. Sandy has a nice patio space right outside the living room window, plus Terri and Elnore both stopped to say hello so it looks like things are really coming together for Mom.

Nice to have her back in Wisconsin -- at least for the summer!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Memories from 1988 and 1993

A couple more journal entries; clearly I wasn't very good at keeping up the journal.

  • September 12, 1988: Four years later and things have changed a lot. Scott is in 8th grade at Einstein and Steve is a sophomore at West. He started driving lessons tonight. Jeff left Crum & Forster in 1986 with the Appleton office was closed. He worked for CNA until April of this year when he went back to work for C&F, working out of the house. The MMI office closed at the end of 1986, and my office (with MMGA) moved to Meade St. We spend Thursdays during the summer playing co-ed volleyball, and I golf on Tuesdays. Now that it's fall, Jeff bowls on Monday and I do on Tuesday. Our couples bowling league is every other Friday.
  • September 27, 1988: Our central air is finally going in this week. I finally had my knee checked out by an orthopedic surgeon and found I need arthroscopic surgery for a torn meniscus. I'm going to the hospital in a couple of weeks. We were in Turtle Lake for Daddy's birthday and we bought a pick-up truck for Stevie to drive. He'll be getting his "temps" this week.
  • September 22, 1993: We tore the pool out last fall when the motor finally gave out. Jeff is driving a 1992 Ford Ranger pick-up and I have a bright green 1993 Probe GT. Steve is starting his third year of college and living in Milwaukee. His first year was in Oshkosh and he spent last school year in Minnesota. Scott started his first year of college at UW-Fox Valley, and has a little white Mercury Lynx he bought with his graduation money. Jeff has been at Boldt Construction for (I think) three years. I'm still with Marsh (now Seabury & Smith) after 13 years. We just ended our fifth summer at our cottage with a Labor Day party focusing on tearing down our outhouse. Jeff's folks still live in Wabeno and are addicted to gambling. My folks still live in Turtle Lake and are constantly at odds with the casino there. My dad has been retired since cutting off the ends of his fingers two years ago. Peg & Len are still in GB - Tracy is going to school at Whitewater and Cory is 15. Tom & Nancy are also in GB but Kim is living in Moscow teaching English. Mike & Debbie are in Utah. Jeff's grandma died this past year; both of my grandmas live in Pontiac. Susie & Gary, after being separated for a while, are together and back in Turtle Lake. Dean & Carol and in New London. Tom & Evie are in Star Prairie where Mikki also lives with her husband.

Memories from 1984

In the spirit of trying to clean out a bunch of things this year, I found an old journal in my dresser drawer. I won't repeat all of the posts in their entirety, but some of the information here is pretty amazing.

  • Saturday, May 26, 1984: We're in Turtle Lake for a little birthday celebration for Scott, Billy, Evie and Gary.  It had been delayed due to little Gary being in the hospital.  He's home now, but he looks very tired and he's really skinny. They didn't stay very long today because he's still weak.
  • Thursday, May 31, 1984: We listed our house this evening -- finally.  The realtor did a market survey last night which shows our house to be marketable at about $36,000-$39,000. I hope it sells fast; we're going to start looking seriously for another one.
  • Monday, June 4, 1984: We went to see the house on Fairfield Court that I liked on Saturday. We put in an offer, he countered, and we countered. Today we found out that he accepted our offer of $71,000.
  • Thursday, June 7, 1984: The school called because Stevie had been hurt. He got into a fight with one of his friends and was thrown down on his elbow. We thought is was broken, but it was dislocated. He was in a great deal of pain and we were at the hospital for hours as the doctor reset his arm and put it in a cast. He'll be discharged tomorrow, but he'll have the cast for 3 weeks and a splint for a while after that. This was the last day of school, too.
  • Wednesday, June 13, 1984: Selling the house is driving me crazy. I get up at my regular time, but then spend time cleaning so I end up late. The realtor calls all of a sudden for a showing so we have to keep the house clean. The boys were home alone today and destroyed my clean house; I had to leave work early to come home to clean before going golfing. We're going to have an open house on Sunday so I have to spend Friday and Saturday cleaning. Stress all around.
  • Monday, July 2, 1984: Stevie got his cast off last week and is doing really well. He exercises his arm to stretch the ligaments. We went camping this past weekend, which was very relaxing, as we had good weather and were able to get out on the water. Stevie woke up yelling every night, which was a little unsettling.
  • Wednesday, July 4, 1984: We spent the day in Green Bay - Tracy was marching in a parade, then back to Peg's where the kids stayed in the pool all day. It's Tom's 40th birthday and both he and Nancy were over for a while. We took the boats out on the Bay to watch the fireworks at Bay Beach.
  • Tuesday, July 10, 1984: Busy weekend; lots of showings in the house plus two offers, which we ended up rejecting. Matt got here from Pennsylvania and stayed until this morning when Jeff took him up to Wabeno.
  • Wednesday, July 11, 1984: We sold the house! The offer was $38,500 and the closing date has been set for August 29.
  • Friday, July 13, 1984: Went to the Fair in Seymour with Ralph & LeeAnn to see Don Williams.
  • Sunday, July 15, 1984: Jeff took Stevie up to Boy Scout camp today for a week.
  • Monday, July 23, 1984: Stevie got home from camp Saturday and it's good to have him back. The new Mall in Appleton opened Wednesday and I spent some time out there getting school stuff as it's only six weeks off. Peg called tonight and said Jeff's mom might have cancer; she'll have tests done next week.
  • Monday, July 30, 1984: Interesting stuff - The boys are staying with Mom & Dad for a week, Dean is leaving for Oklahoma City tomorrow, Tom & Evie are moving to Phoenix Friday. We went to the Dells Saturday and sat through a sales presentation for a private campground. Declined. Found a place to stay in Stevens Point, a real dive. Went boating on Winnebago over the weekend and did a little skinny dipping.
  • Saturday, August 4, 1984: Had our Brewers/Golf weekend in Milwaukee; slept in tents in Lorie's backyard.
  • Sunday, August 12, 1984: Went to Plainfield for a Schilleman family reunion. It was pretty bad - they were actually throwing hatchets into trees as entertainment! Stopped in Waupaca on the way home so the kids could enjoy the water slide.
  • Friday, August 17, 1984: Went to Green Bay tonight for a dinner cruise on the River Queen with Jeff's family. Moving tomorrow.
  • Saturday, August 18, 1984: We moved today - had it pretty much done by noon. Sleeping one last time in the old house - the kids are on the basement floor and we're on a mattress.
  • Wednesday, August 22, 1984: Stevie went to the doctor on Monday and his arm checked out great. We got some shock for the pool and it cleaned right up; Jeff vacuumed it out and it's beautiful.

Monday, April 13, 2015


Saturday was a beautiful day and Jeff was able to use the power washer to clean the back patio.  It was really dirty and stained from the winter but is looking better.  One more effort and I think we'll be ready for summer.  I spent the day cleaning the house and washing a few windows -- so nice to see the sun shining in!

Yesterday was another nice day with sun but pretty windy.  We went golfing with George and Lynn and, while none of us had a particularly good golf game, it was a really fun day followed by dinner at their house.  Lynn and I are talking about trying to get in some games during the afternoons this summer.

Today is another sunny day (had a bit of rain in the night) so I did a bit of work outside (not too much as I'm hoping VandeHey's will get here soon), and took care of the birds.  It's wonderful to see the plants coming up and the buds on my magnolia tree are starting to open!  I must have planted hyacinth bulbs last fall because I think some of them are coming up.  Hope my hydrangeas do well this year.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Frankie Valli

Waiting for the show to begin at the Milwaukee Theatre
After a fun week with the kids, we took them back home last night and, after having dinner with Steve and the kids, Jeff and I went to the Milwaukee Theatre to see Frankie Valli.  Jeff has loved Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons forever so we were really thrilled to be able to see him again.  Two years ago, 'Jersey Boys' came to the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center and we both really enjoyed it. Then, that same year Frankie Valli came to Appleton to perform and it was a great show. We were hoping for another great show and weren't disappointed.

Initially, things started off kind of slow and flat and I wondered if maybe he was ill (sounded a bit husky when talking to the audience). Then I figured the medicine must have kicked in because the show really took off and was wonderful. People in the audience were standing up and dancing on and off during the show.

'Jersey Boys' is coming back to Appleton in May and I'm looking forward to seeing it again. Watched the movie while in Florida at Mom's at the end of February so I'm definitely getting my dose of Frankie this year!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Easter week with Jack & Anna

Always enjoy it when the kids can come for an extended visit. We had so many things planned for the week and managed to only get to some of them! Scott, Maggie, and the boys had been in the Chicago area over the weekend so they were able to pick up Jack & Anna on their way back through -- giving the kids time together on the drive. Then, I had Easter dinner ready so the boys stayed here after dinner for a couple of hours. I thought that might be the extent of it.

Jack was elated with his surprise win -- Anna & Ian not so much
Every year the schools in Appleton have the week before Easter off from school, and the Greenfield schools have the week after Easter so the kids rarely get to spend any time together. Fortunately, this year Ian and Alex also had the Monday after Easter so all four of the kids played together almost all day on Monday. The weather was reasonably cooperative so they could be outside for part of the time. I had to have my internet line replace in January and the cable is still strung across the backyard until AT&T can get out here and bury it so I was a little concerned about the kids running around out there, but they did fine. We also played board games; a pretty competitive game of Life had us pretty convinced that either Ian or Anna were going to win, but Jack took the title with a surprise spin of the wheel and hit his number.  It figures, really, with Jack's continual luck!

Jack and Anna had not yet seen the new Disney movie of Cinderella so we went to that on Tuesday. I had assured Jack that he would like it -- and he did.

We never made it to the Y for swimming and we never made it to the batting cage for practice, but we did get in about a dozen games of Life and/or Scrabble.  Ian also taught us a new card game (Pres), Jack had Skip-Bo (card game), everyone had electronic games, and both the xbox and Wii got a workout.

Thursday morning, the library was having a used book sale so we stopped in and got a lot of books, plus some vinyl records for Steve.  Jack has been reading The Hardy Boys and he found a book for me about Larry Bird and the Celtics.  On Thursday night, I had a meeting so Grandpa took Jack, Anna, and Alex to Paradise Island for supper and ice cream.

Great week!  Kids are coming back in June for a week and I'm hoping the weather will be cooperative and we can spend some days at Plamann Park at the lake.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


It seems like it's taking forever for warm Spring weather to get here this year.  We had unseasonably beautiful temperatures a few weeks ago (60s), the snow has been gone for a while, and it just seems like it should be warm to go along with the lovely sunshine.

I went for a walk this morning and the wind was a bit brisk despite the 50 degree temperature.  Bulbs are starting to come up and I've contracted to have all of my gardens cleaned out, shrubs pruned, everything fertilized, and fresh mulch applied.  Hope they get to it soon or the bulbs will be up quite a bit.

My tulips and daffodils were really beautiful last year, and I'm looking forward to all of that color agains this year -- assuming, of course, that my tulips aren't eaten by that big rabbit that I've seen hanging around in the back yard.  I put out the live trap but the rabbit is so big I don't think it will fit inside.  I'm afraid that it will have a next of baby rabbits before I can get rid of it!

I keep thinking that I should get some seeds started, but can't bring myself to get excited about it.  I imagine I'll just buy a ton of annuals and tomatoes again this year.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Jack and Anna

What a fun weekend we had!  On Friday, Alex and I went down to pick up Jack and Anna for a fun weekend with Grandma and Grandpa.  The boys headed up to the lake for the day on Saturday, while the girls went to get pedicures and then went to "Annie" at the Performing Arts Center.

Jeff wanted to check on the cottage and haul some stuff up there and Jack couldn't believe that there would still be ice on the lake!  He was totally surprised to find people ice fishing.

After Anna and I had our toes painted, we stopped for cupcakes and went out for lunch (Subway) before heading to the PAC for the play.  We both really enjoyed it -- especially Miss Hannigan!

Video games and movies finished up the evening with a reasonably early bedtime as we had all been up the night before watching the NCAA Oklahoma game.  Jack had been pretty disappointed that they lost so a day out on the frozen lake was just what he needed (and some Harry Potter movies).

Had to get Anna back fairly early on Sunday as she had softball practice.  The weather was not very nice (icy rain) so it's a good thing the practice was going to be inside!

Grandma Lancaster is coming to visit them for Easter next weekend and, then, they're coming back to stay for the whole following week as they'll have spring break.  I'm guessing there will be some trips to the Y for swimming that week!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Spring Visitor

Once again this year I've been enjoying the arrival of woodpeckers to my trees.  This morning, I'm seeing lovely Downy Woodpeckers.  Haven't seen the males, but plenty of females.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Best Intentions

This year I'm going to start posting about my gardens again.  It's March and the City of Appleton needed to trim trees in order to install new light poles everywhere.  So Asplundh came to our house and moved a pretty big piece of equipment into the back yard -- taking part of my hydrangea tree with it.  They removed a huge number of limbs and branches from the trees so we'll see if we still have heavy shade back there this summer.  The ground was still mostly frozen but I think they tore up the turf quite a bit -- which is a nice match for the tunnels left by voles this past winter.

Between the voles, chipmunks, rabbits, and other critters that are killing my gardens and lawn, I'm not sure having the bird feeders around with their constant supply of food is a really good idea.

I've been poking around outside a bit and I'm seeing growth from many of my plants in the gardens already.  I don't want to remove any of the winter cover, though, as I'm sure we'll get some bad weather yet this year.  It has been beautifully warm (up to 60) the past week or so.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Spring Cruise 2015

Jeff and I take a cruise every spring.  The past three years we've gone out of New Orleans (our favorite port), but we wanted to see new things this year so decided to try Galveston.  Once again, we drove down, which I love because you can haul so much stuff along rather than worrying about what you can take on a plane.  The drive down was pretty uneventful and, as neither of us had ever been to Galveston, it was kind of fun to be somewhere new.

Beautiful Gulf of Mexico steps from our hotel room
Turns out, the weekend we were there was Mardi Gras weekend in Galveston.  I'm really surprised I was able to get a room for us.  We like to go in the night before so we can board the ship at our leisure and not be rushed.  Using Wyndham points, I booked a night at the Travelodge along the Gulf.  Surprisingly, the room was ready when we got there a bit earlier than planned so we could dump our stuff, park the car, and go for a walk.  Truly lovely weather and tons of people were gathering all along the road (both sides) not unlike tail-gating while they waited for the parade. 

Our room had been recently painted but was still quite the dump.  Dead gecko in the bathroom, walls as thin as paper, but we managed quite well and found our pre-arranged parking place near the port on Sunday morning.  It's so awesome to have status with the cruise line so you can board early!
Beautiful interiors in the ship

Lovely cabin (Deck 10 - the highest we've ever been) with a nice balcony, good food throughout the cruise, and really, really good entertainment.  I haven't been thrilled with the entertainment on some of our last cruises, but this was really good.  Weather was warm and lovely at every port and we hadn't booked any excursions so we could sleep in, stroll around the port, and reboard to enjoy the ship without crowds.

Cabin steward left us a little pet
Our ports this year were Roatan (Honduras), Belize City (Belize), and Cozumel (Mexico).  Roatan was absolutely nothing special -- even worse than Falmouth, Jamaica.  If we ever went back, I think we'd need to book at excursion or just stay onboard.  Really had a nice time sitting on the docks in Belize where we could get free wifi and drinks.  We had been to Cozumel before so we just strolled around a bit.
In a bar in Belize where we got free wifi

Once again, we had prepaid for the drinks package (which was even more extensive this time because it included the onboard Starbucks).  It didn't make a lot of sense, then, to buy a bunch of drinks onshore when we could get them for free on the ship.

My new ring -- that got us off the ship quickly!
Inside the atrium area of the ship
Very exciting at the end of the cruise.  I had bought a beautiful ring at a LeVian event onboard, and the customs people must check things like that.  When we left the ship, I was stopped at the checkpoint and told that I needed to wait for someone to escort us to the customs area.  For the first time ever, there were problems getting people off the ship because one or more of the escalators in the terminal wasn't working.  As a result, the lines were backed up through the terminal, through the gangways, onto the ship and into the various areas of the ship.  Not sure how long it was taking to leave the ship, but we were escorted past all of the waiting people directly to the passport control area.  It was pretty awesome.  I had put the ring on our customs declaration form and had the sales slip handy so the whole process went pretty quickly (extra $50 in duty).  We were on our way at least an hour earlier than we would have been if we had had to stand in line.
Sunset from our balcony