Friday, November 7, 2014

Trip to the US

For Grant's fall break he flew to Iowa to duck hunt with Kevin (married to our niece, Amanda).  Our skeet shooting practice in The Netherlands must have paid off because he bagged one.  He and Kevin had a great time shooting ducks and targets.  Thanks, Kevin, for hosting him.

I decided to fly with Grant to the US.  But instead of shooting I went shopping.  Mom needed a new car so Tom & I took her around to try them all.  She decided on a Subaru Forester.  It's great; easy to get in and out of and lots of gadgets.  She may not get full use of all the gadgets but so far Mom really likes it.  It was fun to shop with someone else's money.

We had some beautiful fall weather and the leaves were just beginning to turn.  I planted this tree about 35 years ago.   Although it may be a little lopsided, it's doing pretty well.

We made our usual family trek to Gansons for dinner.  I had the Rock Island Rocket, a steak burger with all the normal stuff plus roasted poblano peppers, chipolte sauce and fritos on top. 

We always try a new restaurant when I'm home.  This time it was a Mexican restaurant in Cordova. Tom and Mom had tacos and I had a chili relleno.  Who knew that Cordova, a river town of 600 people and one nuclear power plant,  could have a good Mexican restaurant?

You knew it was a classy restaurant when you saw the Shell brand out front.  

The Quad Cities has a great path along both sides of the river for biking, running, walking, etc.  One morning I ran across the Government Bridge which connects Rock Island with Davenport, Iowa by way of Arsenal Island.  The pedestrian lane is made of expanded steel so that you can see the Mississippi River below you as you cross.

Let me indulge in a little bridge history.  The current bridge is the fourth at this location.  The first was built in 1856 and was the first railroad crossing of the Mississippi River.  The bridge was built in a section of difficult rapids so steamboats were afraid of hitting it -- which of course they did two weeks after the bridge opened.   They sued the railroads.  The lawyer for the railroads was Illinois homeboy, Abraham Lincoln.   Lincoln was reported to be very well prepared when the case was tried and very verbose.  His closing arguments lasted two days.  The jury debated for two hours, but could not reach a decision.  The bridge stayed.    And Abe went on to bigger things.  

One final stop in the Quad Cities was Stones Apple Barn.  

On Thursday I flew to see Kate in New Jersey.  My flight left at 5:00 am!  Surprisingly the plane was full.    

Kate, Doug and I had a great meal at Due Meri.  If I don't look quite as happy as Kate, it's because I strained my back earlier that day trying to do yoga with her.  

This is elephant trunk, the yoga pose I was doing when I hurt by back.  
This is the next stage of the pose.  Kate can do this.  I don't even try.  

This is how I feel when I do yoga.  Most of the time I do it at home where no one can see me.  

No trip to New Jersey is complete without visiting Delicious Orchards.  Apple cider donuts plus apple cider.  

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Happy Birthday Graber

Graber turned five years old this week.  Unlike the rest of us, he did not get to choose his own birthday cake.  He got the same kibble he's eaten every day for the past four years.  His big treat was the neighbor kids coming over and asking if they could play with him.   He had a great time.  

Just in case you're not familiar with Golden Retrievers, I've included some quotes from that encyclopedia of dog knowledge, Wikipedia.  "Golden Retrievers have an instinctive love of water, and are easy to train to basic or advanced obedience standards."  This statement provides more proof that the folks at Wiki need to do a little bit more research before they publish.  Graber has been in the water exactly twice and he hated it both times. And "easy to train" is not the phrase that comes to mind when I think of Graber.  

"Although they need substantial outdoor exercise, they should be housed in a fenced area because of their instinctual tendency to roam.[2] The dog sheds copiously, particularly at the change of seasons, and requires fairly regular grooming."  In this paragraph the Wiki folks seems to have done their homework.  This summer when the gate to our yard was not working properly I received several calls at work from strangers, "I have your dog".  Funny, they never asked for a ransom.  

"The breed's friendly, gentle temperament means it is unsuited to being a professional guard dog" -- a truer statement was never made except maybe for the following -- "Golden Retrievers are rarely choosy eaters."  Thanks Wikipedia!

I'm going to try and increase my blog readership by posting some puppy pictures.  Everybody loves puppy pictures.  Most of these were taken when he was 2-4 months old.  After that we put the camera away for a couple of months and then before we realized it he was all grown up.  

Man and his best friend sacked out together. 

Graber has a long history of being helpful  

This time he's helping Grant shoot his air rifle