10th Anniversary, Day 1

“Getting Here” by David

Day 1 was a travel day but we still found some moments to enjoy. The excitement of the vacation to come was enough to buoy us through airport frustrations and Boston traffic. Up at 4:15am to make our flight from DFW, we encountered clueless drivers and long security lines but got to Boston efficiently. As we rumbled down the street in the standing room-only bus to the rental car center (whose walls were covered with posters telling us why a standing room-only bus to the rental center was a great idea: “…saves enough power for 100 homes!”), I told Grace, “this is the romantic part.”

We drove immediately into downtown Boston, although we learned that Google Maps loses connection in the tunnels and often imparts exit information too late after emerging. But soon enough we were at Faneuil Hall to have lunch at Durgin-Park, which specializes in New England favorites. We ate here during our first trip to Boston and it held good memories, especially because we got a free meal the first time due a kitchen fire. No fire this time, and I enjoyed the Yankee pot roast and Grace had an excellent Reuben sandwich. We then walked around a bit, past the Bell In Hand pub (set. 1795) and a bustling farmers market in the Haymarket area. After paying $42 parking to enjoy our $40 meal, we were on our way north to the night’s hotel in Peabody. It was close to rush hour and the drive was no fun.

By the time we checked in we were both exhausted and decided to take a nap. We ventured out for a quick meal at Capone’s and then crashed for the evening.

The Ultimate Father’s Day

Old Pirwitz house, Rock Rapids IA

Just returned from an awesome trip to Iowa (and Nebraska).  First stop, the National Music Museum in Vermillion, SD.  What an awesome place – worth every moment and every penny to get there.  If you have any interest at all in the history of any kind of musical instrument, this place will blow you away.  And they are expanding!  It took us 3 hours to go through the collection on display, and that’s only 7% of what they own.

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The Half-Planned Vacation: Central Pennsylvania

PA 008We love the “half-planned” vacation. We usually research a destination or two, but mostly we just head off “that-a-way”. Plenty of time to explore, get off the beaten path, and improvise as new opportunities present themselves. With the help of a GPS navigation system and wireless internet, it’s easier now than ever. Usually we experience awesome coincidences when random things from the trip seem to magically connect together (like the McCormick House below). At the end of the trip, we’re often struck by some “theme” based on what recurred. One trip to San Antonio turned into our “Masonic” trip, and other trips have had other themes.

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Autumn in Wisconsin

WI 477

Great trip over the weekend.  The Lakeshore Symphonic Band played the world premiere of the march they commissioned last year.  Grace and I flew up and spent Saturday in Cedarburg, a beautifully quaint town in the throes of fall color.  Crisp and brilliant, we browsed the shops on the main drag and met friends and family for dinner before the concert.  The band played wonderfully and the piece was well received.  Went to the AleHouse in Grafton for an after-concert celebration.  Unfortunately we forgot to take pictures of any of this… oops.  However, hope you enjoy the family pics of the rest of our trip!

Sunday morning we attended my cousin’s church, Church in the City, in Milwaukee.  A beautiful building and an excellent service.  Had a wonderful lunch afterwards with cousins and family before heading up to Manitowoc to visit the other side of the family.  Ended a leisurely Monday with a refreshing walk through the farm and woods.

You can’t roller skate in a buffalo herd…

SD 026

Just returned from a fascinating trip through the Great American Midwest.  We have now officially done South Dakota – been there, done that, got the cheap stamped brass Christmas ornament (we collect those).  It’s funny how the journeys Grace and I take always seem to take on a theme of some kind.  Something random happens and then we keep seeing related things again and again over the course of the trip…

We flew into Omaha and rented a nice Honda Odyssey van, picked up Dad & June and headed north; first to Sioux Falls and then straight west across the state to Deadwood.  Dad popped in a Roger Miller CD along the way and we enjoyed the music, especially his goofy-yet-philosophical “You Can’t Roller Skate in a Buffalo Herd“.  Little did we know that not only would we hear the tune again playing in the streets of Deadwood, but that we’d actually be *in* a buffalo herd less than 24 hours later!

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Wedding in Vegas


Spent last week in Las Vegas, where my son got married.  On Tuesday we flew out and spent the day with CJ’s bride-to-be Carly.  We didn’t get to meet her when we visited CJ in Japan last fall, so it a nice to have a little time to get acquainted, especially before all the other family arrived and everything got more hectic.  They make such a cute couple.  On Wednesday, Grace and I separated from the group and visited the Grand Canyon by plane, helicopter and boat.  Magnificent.

On Thursday we went to Louie Anderson’s show (my ex-wife’s uncle).  He was wonderfully hospitable, meeting us after the show, then taking us all to lunch at House of Blues on Friday, then attending the wedding ceremony.  We spent the rest of the weekend tootling around Vegas with the kids and parents.

Thanksgiving Snub for the Kitty Hawk

Japan 196My son CJ had been looking forward to visiting Hong Kong over Thanksgiving, as the Kitty Hawk was scheduled to port there.  Unfortunately the Chinese government had other ideas and turned away the carrier group.  Nearly 300 families had flown over to Hong Kong to spend the holiday with their loved ones in the carrier group and were disappointed.  Here’s the link to the story on CNN:

U.S. commander ‘perplexed’ by China’s refusal of warship visit