Saturday, January 21, 2017

65 years old

Yesterday, I turned 65 years old.

It seems that I turned 60 just a few yesterdays ago.
How did that happen so fast?

In other news, yesterday Donald Trump became the 45th President of the United States.
Really.

We now have the hottest First Lady on the Planet.
Really.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Ruth Gardner turns 88

Ruth Gardner turns 88 years old and thanks to the wonders of FaceTime, she receives video birthday wishes from Samantha.

40th Anniversary

Forty years ago, Helen and I were married in a simple civil ceremony in my parents' living room. My father was the Officiant. Very little hoopla, very few guests.
With a quest to explore the country, we packed Helen's 1976 Buick Regal and headed south. Our goal was to circle the USA going clockwise, working odd jobs along the way and ultimately deciding where to call home. Our first stop was Dallas, Texas. While there, we abruptly learned that our entire savings account was needed to pay estimated income taxes ... due the next day. It caused us to find jobs immediately. We did telephone solicitation work for the Dallas Police Officers' Association. We cleaned houses. We waited tables. Friends of friends let us sleep on the floor of their recently vacated apartment. We kept a detailed daily budget. Several months later, we had replenished our savings account. We moved on. Forty years later it seemed fitting to celebrate our Anniversary by retracing our steps in Dallas.

Helen waited tables at Annie's Santa Fe, an upscale Mexican restaurant located in a really nice area on upper Greenville Avenue.
The restaurant is now completely gone and replaced by a 7-Eleven Store. While getting gas there, a woman drove away from the pump with the gasoline hose still in her tank. Two people asked me for money. The area has certainly changed.

The restaurant where I worked, Mariano's Restaurant in Old Town on upper Greenville, is also gone.
The building is still there, but Mariano's has moved. There are now 6 Mariano's Restaurants in the metro area. We ate at Mariano's Hacienda Ranch on Skillman Road. I ordered the Jesse Lopez - the sole surviving entree of the 1977 menu and the only meal provided to me for free when I worked there. Two cheese enchiladas, rice and beans. I ate dozens of them in 1977. This time it was not free, but it tasted just the same.
Interestingly, we recently learned that the founder and owner of Mariano's Restaurants, Mariano Martinez, is credited with the invention of the frozen margarita machine. News stories about him have appeared on national television networks. His original frozen margarita machine can be found in the Smithsonian.  In 1977, all waiters (of which I was the only gringo) were told to push the frozen margaritas. Mariano's margarita machine burped them out at a cost of 19 cents while we sold them for a whopping $1.75 each. They now cost $14.

Almost nothing in Dallas looked familiar. The Continental Inn Motel in Richardson (where we stayed for months) is completely gone. 

It was fun to revisit Dallas and re-trace our early married life. Actually, we turned our Anniversary trip into a mini sightseeing trip. On the way to Dallas, we stopped in Oklahoma City where we explored Bricktown, twice visited (day and night) the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum (the sight of the Murrah Federal Building bombing in 1995) and had a super fun lunch at the Grill on the Hill.

While in Dallas, we explored the Texas School Book Depository and Museum on Dealey Plaza. (Which inspired Helen to remark that I was turning our Anniversary trip into an Assassination Vacation.) Traveling home, we stopped at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art  (where the most impressive artwork is the building itself) in Bentonville, Arkansas, drove by the Bella Vista golf courses where my golfing group has gone for 20 + years, ate at Duffer's Cafe and took a drive-by tour of the intermodal Logistics Park near Edgerton, Kansas.

40 years is a long time. It deserves comment.
I am a super lucky guy. Thank you, Helen.
Happy Anniversary.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas 2016

The 2016 Christmas Holiday included family from 4 states, girls on trampolines, shooter arcade games, caroling, a massive gift exchange, Hanukkah candles, a million calories and most importantly ... lots of love and laughter. It is impossible to do it justice here.
Despite the joy of being together, we missed Melissa, Roby, Anna and Camden. It was also our first Christmas without Mother. We missed her desperately.
1953

Stay tuned for more photos - they are being developed.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

International Desserts 2016

Earlier this month, we hosted the annual AFS International Desserts party. Having hosted this party since 1998, we have been able to meet hundreds of smart, ambitious and adventurous high school students from all over the world. As in the past, the students bring a treat that is commonly enjoyed in their country ....

and talk about one of their Holiday traditions.
These kids are great.
France, Ghana, Finland, Germany, Japan, Italy and China were represented. We like to think it helps bring the world closer together.

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Medicare Health Insurance

With neither pomp nor circumstance, last week I received in the mail my MEDICARE HEALTH INSURANCE card.

While understated in appearance, it is the exact opposite in impact. Like wow, am I really old enough to have one of these? I thought these were for the elderly and the retired. This will need to soak in for a while. In the meantime, I need to get back to work.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thanksgiving 2016

Can you say quiet
Can you say really quiet
Then you can understand our Thanksgiving weekend. Helen and I had a quiet Thanksgiving lunch with Dad, Oma and Carolyn at Aldersgate Village.
The next 3 days Helen and I did - NOTHING! 
It was great.

Now, magically transport yourself 1400 miles west to join Beth and the other 4 Quists as they explore beautiful Yosemite National Park. They stayed in the Yosemite Lodge and had big outdoor adventures.
When they returned home, the younger Qs continued their outdoor adventures by Christmas tree shopping.
It looked like they had big fun.
I know we did.
Happy Thanksgiving 2016.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Tony and Jamie get married in Denver

Congratulations to Tony and Jamie. With a relationship that might be described as the perfect fit, Tony and Jamie got married in Denver on November 12th. They allowed me the honor of serving as their unofficial officiant.
It was a beautiful wedding.
Tony and Jamie are so happy.
The party afterwards was a total hoot.

This fun event brought the California family to Denver where we all shared an old Victorian house in the hip and funky Baker District.
We arrrived early which gave us time to hang out and have fun. We got to have a quickie dinner with Philipp and Nica. (So sorry to have missed the photo opt with Nica.)
There was a visit to Boulder.
Some boulder climbing in Boulder.
Some electronic story telling.
Some song singing.
Some tower building ... and crashing.
Some dancing.
Some intense art work at the Children's Museum.
Some swinging.
Some sliding.
Some Denver cultural education.
And, of course, some golf.
Mega thanks to Tony and Jamie for allowing us to join the fun. We had a blast.
So did Jake and Samantha.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Halloween 2016

Halloween 2016 was a hoot. Our house is commonly visited by foreign exchange students who are experiencing their first American Halloween. This year was no exception. Here are some spirited college-age Trick or Treaters from Japan:
Aunt Nancy joined us for the first time. Her efforts to save the punctured pumpkin were valiant, but futile.
Her treat distribution technique did not reveal her novice status. In fact, all DVs (Distribution Volunteers) displayed the skill and endurance necessary to hand out 2,000 +/- treats. Monster thanks to Nancy, Bobby (and his rescue greyhound, Molly), Paul, Toni, Rhiana, Lynn and Dad.
Oh yes, Salome's two sons helped too. Thanks to all. We could not do it without you.
Happy Halloween 2016.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Samantha turns 36

For years, my parents told me that it was easier for them to accept their ages than to accept mine. Now I get it. Last week Samantha turned 36. THIRTY-SIX!?!  No, I am waaaaaay too young to be the parent of a 36 year old. Judging from the binary code blaze on the cake, maybe not.
We traveled to California to see for ourselves. Our trip was a total blast. It included pumpkin patch adventures,
some nice walks,
video
some yummy ice cream that was Nitrogen frozen in front of us 
and some nice dinners together.
Happy Birthday, Samantha.
We are very proud of you and your 36 years.