Monday, March 05, 2018

Springfield weekend ...

Last weekend Dad and I drove to Springfield to hug family.  It was a blast. We got to hang out with SACII

and eat good food ... including a cook-it-yourself steak served on a stone that was heated to 650 degrees. Fun.
We also got to enjoy time with our wonderful Springfield family.  
Why did they seat us next to all of these birds?

We told stories and relaxed. Sam even played the guitar that Dad and Mother sent to him when he was in Saudi Arabia during Operation Desert Shield in 1990. It somehow survived the war and is living peacefully in the condo overlooking Table Rock Lake.
It was fun.
Family is good.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Social Security

Having reached full retirement age last month, I had the option of accepting social security payments now or deferring for 4 years until I reached age 70.  Taking payments now would guarantee at least some return on my 50 years of contributions but deferring would allow my future payments to grow at a pretty good clip.  
Hmmmmmm .... how would I decide which to do?
The answer became easy when Helen discovered the Spousal Benefit Rule. It goes something like this: if both spouses were born before 1954, the first spouse to reach age 66 (full retirement age) can take his social security payments PLUS the other spouse (upon reaching full retirement age) is entitled to receive half of her spouse's payment while allowing her benefits to continue to grow. In essence, this allows 150% of the benefits until age 70. In our case, it will allow us 150% of the benefit for almost 4 years. 

Maybe everybody knows this stuff. I sure didn't. It's not that easy to understand. At least for me. I did the math several times. If I did it right, this works for us unless I live past age 89 ... or something like that.

Anyway, today is a big day for me as I received my very first social security payment. 

PS. My apologies for posting something sooooo boring. It is embarrassing that my life now includes calculations of social security benefits. Please don't tell.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

California in February

Nope, we can't stay away. In early February we traveled to California to hug grandchildren ... Samantha and Jake too. We enjoyed Sports Sunday,
a fabulous patio dinner with Beth at her beautiful home in Pleasant Hill,
multiple visits to Bing School,
some silly games,
some art projects,
some swinging,
some cookie making,
some book reading,
a FFL presentation graciously hosted by Samantha with a socko presentation by Jake,
and some quiet moments together.
It was a blast. Somehow, I never think to get photos of Samantha and Jake anymore. They have fallen off the radar screen. Maybe next trip.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Dan turns 66 years old

Last weekend I turned 66 years old. Dad gave me this super plush bathrobe with my name on it. Like Wow, super sophisticated, right?  In an effort to do it justice, I struck my very best super sophisticated pose.
Yikes!  Despite my best efforts to look stately, wise and sophisticated, I only succeeded in looking dorky, stupid and fat. Old too. Thanks for the robe, Dad. Too bad I can't do it justice. Maybe next year you should give me some worn out gym socks.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Auf Wiedersehen to Jonas

After being with us since mid-September, Jonas left last week for greater adventures elsewhere. An experienced world-traveler, Jonas brings sunshine, enthusiasm and joy to wherever he goes. In the 4 months he was here, Jonas made dozens of friends and shared his creativity with dozens more. A tangible example of Jonas' creativity is his campfire lamp. Inspired by experiencing Samantha's and Jake's storytelling paper campfire in Menlo Park ...

 Jonas designed and created his own.

Badgered by Helen for years for not acknowledging her email to him, he built her a beautiful wooden box that softly and quietly pulses a gentle golden light whenever he receives an email ... no matter where he is in the world. I call it the Pulse Notifier.
Mega thanks to 712 Innovations (the maker space in downtown Topeka) for empowering Jonas' creativity. An even bigger thanks to Jonas for sharing his zest for life with us. 

We don't say "goodbye" to Jonas. We say "see you later." He was with us in 2010-2011 as he attended his senior year at Topeka High School. We joined him in 2012 as we traveled Germany and France together. He returned to Topeka in 2014 and again now. In between, he finished his industrial engineering degree and traveled to 40 countries on 3 continents. We can't wait to see what happens next.
See you later, Jonas.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Ruth Gardner Mass - December 27, 2017

On December 27, 2017, the good people of the Glory to God Prayer Community organized and served a German memorial luncheon for Ruth Gardner at St. Joseph's Catholic Church.
Several of us spoke about Oma at the luncheon.
After lunch, we attended the Mass for Oma in the beautiful and historic German Church.
It was exactly what Oma wanted.

We are forever grateful to the kind and loving people who made this happen.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Christmas - 2017

Christmas caroling. A horse-drawn wagon ride through Potwin. Snow. Christmas Eve. Christmas Day. Family. Here are some of the photos that somewhat describes our fun times together.
Christmas Eve luncheon with Carolyn.
Christmas Eve afternoon preparing for Santa ...
and tracking his travels.
Christmas Eve ...
Christmas morning ...

Family ...
Family group photo ...
Gardner genes apparently oppose silly photos.
Merry Christmas to all.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Ruth Gardner dies - December 5, 2017

After years of struggling with dementia, and a decade of praying to meet her Lord, Ruth Gardner died peacefully in the early morning of December 5th. With us in the room, and her hand gently held by her loving daughter, she passed calmly and quietly without distress.
She was 88 years old.

In the longest obituary ever submitted to The Topeka Capital Journal, Helen provides a sweet eulogy to her mother. (Click to read.) 

When going through old family photos, we discoverd this one of Ruth from 80 years ago. It deserves posting.
Thank you for the decades of love and kindness.
We love you.