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.

Sunday, December 03, 2017

AFS International Desserts - 2017

This year marks the 20th year that we've hosted the AFS International Desserts Holiday Party. This year we had students, and desserts, from Germany, India, Portugal, Japan, Switzerland, Belgium, China, Spain and Italy.
They told us of a Holiday celebrated in their homeland ...

and brought a traditional dessert enjoyed by their family.
Until next year, let the world continue to shrink.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

Our small Thanksgiving gathering was enhanced this year by a young 19-year-old soldier from Fort Riley. Yep, my super patriotic father arranged to have a soldier - with no family nearby - join us for Thanksgiving.  PFC Thierry is from Florida via Haiti. It was great fun to have him join us. As usual, we started our meal with a toast "To our Troops."
We also visited the cemetery where we initiated the new flagpole at Crow Island.
We also got to hug Helen's mother who offered smiles and "thank yous" to those within earshot.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Saturday afternoon with Dad

Every Saturday afternoon is Dad time.  Although I speak with him daily and have lunch with him on Tuesdays, Saturday afternoon is our quiet time together. We always take a sunflower to Mother. 
While Dad visits her every day, this is our time together with her. From there, we do errands and talk. Chocolate milkshakes are also commonly on the agenda. I am lucky to be able to be with my Dad. I will enjoy it while I can.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween - 2017

Today was Halloween.

It was cold.

It snowed.

But it did not stop Halloween.
Neighbors say we had over 1,500 little visitors. We also had a few big visitors .... all the way from distant continents. Life is interesting. 

Happy Halloween.

Samantha's 37th birthday

Amazing. Samantha is 37 years old. Did I say amazing?  Amazing.

We traveled to California to hug her ... and Jake and the kids, of course. More later. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Jonas and Theresa

Jonas is back. This time he brought Theresa. 

Our history with Helen's cousin Jonas goes back to August 2010 when he came from Hamburg to attend Topeka High School as an exchange student. We next saw him in Germany and France in 2012. After adventures in southeast Asia, Jonas returned to Topeka in the summer of 2014. Now he is back again. This time he brought Theresa ... his fun, beautiful and super-sweet girlfriend. Both are graduates with industrial engineering degrees. Congratulations to them both.

We took them out for margaritas
and banana splits.
Helen taught Theresa the fine art of a PBJ on Wonder Bread. She was not impressed. 
After a short visit, Theresa returned to Germany to start her job as an industrial engineer in Hamburg. She is doing really exciting stuff with wind energy in the Baltic Sea. Jonas will stay for a while. I am certain that he will do really exciting stuff as well.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Mark and Jonas and Theresa

Mark came to town to hug his mother
 and to hang out with us ... and Jonas and Theresa, of course. They arrived from Germany on Tuesday.
It was fun to see Mark. Stay tuned for more about Jonas and Theresa.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Arkansas 2017

The annual golf trip to Bella Vista was with heavy hearts. Our good friend, Bill was not there. Moreover, Derek could only attend the first day, Phillip arrived 3 days late and Brent had to leave early. It was very disjointed.  The only group photo included a photobomb giraffe standing tall for Derek.
Luckily, we had fantastic weather. 
The crazy ones played 162 holes of golf over four and half days. Nile made the best meal of the year and the Geezers prevailed over the Pups, twice. It was good, just hollow. We missed you, Bill.
 We always will.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Family and football

Andy, Donna, Hope, SACII and Cheryl came to town over the Labor Day weekend so we could all go to the KU vs SEMO football game on Saturday, September 2nd. Nancy and Heidi even joined us at the game.
We even got to see Anthony for a short time after the game.
Before they all left, we got a photo of everybody. Andy noted that it includes everybody currently named Crow, except for Melissa.
It was a blast to see everybody ... and to eat red velvet pancakes at Hanover's.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

George turns 4, solar eclipse and California trip

Like wow ... August is over.  It was a blur. Here are some of the events that shaped August.

Samantha, Jake and the kids came to Kansas just in time for George's 4th birthday. We threw him a party,
hung out at the pool,


and ate chocolate ice cream.

The solar eclipse was on August 21st. Lucky  for us, the path of totality (100% coverage) was not far away. While Helen was content with 99.3% coverage in Topeka, the rest of us gathered Dad and journeyed to the path of 100% totality. It was amazing.

As it ends up, the sun is REALLY bright. It is so bright that there is a SIGNIFICANT difference between 99.3% coverage and 100% coverage. Who knew?


While Jake needed to fly home, Samantha and the kids hung around. It was a blast to have them here.

In fact, it was so much fun to be with them that we followed them back to California.

Helen and I zipped around the peninsula in a snazzy Mustang convertible

and went to George's other Birthday Party ... this one with a Super Hero theme in Menlo Park.
We also visited Samantha's new office space in Palo Alto

and accompanied Samantha and Jake to dinner on their 7th Wedding Anniversary.
We returned home just in time to welcome Andy, Donna, Hope, SACII and Cheryl to town. More about that later.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Golf IS a dangerous sport

While waiting to tee off on the 17th tee yesterday, my good friend Phillip was struck in the head by an errant golf ball hit from the 12th tee. (Top of photo below.) The tee shot was waaaaaay to the right of the golfer's target - which is the green in the extreme lower right corner of the photo below.
Phillip, standing at the 588 foot spot, was knocked over from the impact. Although he never lost consciousness, his head bled profusely. I took him to the Emergency Room where they used 5 giant staples to close the wound.
As it ends up, golf IS a dangerous sport.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Bill dies

Apparently fighting demons that were totally unknown to me, my good friend Bill Reppart died on Sunday, July 23, 2017. I met Bill in law school ... we became friends almost instantly. 
Bill is in the middle, the one wearing his mortar board.

Over the past 25 years, we have shared life experiences, stories, heartaches and tons of laughter. I will miss him dearly. He is survived by his children, grandchildren and his loving wife, Lorrie.


Hug your family and friends. It might be your last chance.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

July 4th

This year we had the quietest 4th of July ever. From our bedroom window, we watched the Potwin Parade gather at 3rd and Greenwood.
Soon busted by former neighbor Tom (photo above is zoomed here to show Tom - the bald dude shaking hands) who spotted us and called just to pester us.
That caused me to join the gathering gang, snap a few photos
and invite Tom in for a nice visit. Later, I ventured out to take Dad to Mother's grave 
and to buy a 100 pack of TNT SUPER FIRECRACKERS
that we lit ... as if we were teenagers.

Otherwise, we did NOTHING. The evening fireworks barrage was loud and long. It was a nice lazy 4th but we sure missed the California gang.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

June stuff

The month of June has whizzed by with a blur.  Before it is completely gone, I want to take a moment and reflect on some of the fun things that happened. So, in loose chronological order ...

Jamie and Tony came from Denver for a 3-day visit. 
It was the first time we'd seen them since their wedding in November. We played three rounds of golf (Creekmoor, Swope Park - where Tony got to "checkmark" Missouri - and Firekeeper), attended the downtown food truck festival and took a quickie run through the newly renovated Capitol Building - where Helen demonstrated the proper way to view the dome.
We also took them to Germanfest 2017, the Mulvane Art Festival at Washburn and the Norseman Brewing Company in NOTO.
It was a blast to see them. We hope they come back soon.

In other news, we went to Breton's wedding,

I took Dad to Bobo's Drive-In, Crow Mountain Farm and the Casino over the Father's Day weekend,
I got a sexy (washable) tattoo,
and enjoyed, thanks to Mitch, a super lush green yard.
 Somehow, I even survived an entire day on the brink of total chaos.
June was good.