Rochester, Destin, New Orleans, Weatherford, TX
Trip Start Oct 02, 2007
14Trip End Apr 2008
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Sorry I have been negligent in not adding to this for the last few weeks. Received a request from one of you asking that I get "with it" and add an update.
Last I wrote we were in Rochester, MN. What a wonderful Christmas! My Dad and Charette joined us at the Truskos' home. Other than the Christmas tree falling down three times, everything went well. Brett and Kiki's home is a great place to stay. It is a beautiful new house with plenty of room. We had our own little area in the lower level which gave us a lot of privacy. Brett is an incredible cook and prepared many of the meals so we were well fed. Niko, Dom and Trey have changed so much since we saw them in the summer. They are such a fun trio and keep us in stitches much of the time. They have added one more male to the family: Frasier, their Jack Fox Terrier. He is a wonderful dog and we all enjoyed playing with him.
Their back yard adjoins a wooded area and it was great to see the rabbits and various animals. . However, they were less frequently spotted in the winter than in the summer. Saw the first "Sun Doggies" I have seen in years while we were there-just as we saw fire flies for the first time in years last summer while we were in Rochester.
The local production of The Nutcracker was a first for the boys and we all enjoyed it while Brett and Kiki took a little R&R in Puerto Rico. This is about the first time we have spent any winter time in the Midwest since we moved 35 years ago. Our bodies do not adjust as well to the cold and snow as they did then. However, we experienced no blizzard. The sunshine that we miss much of the winter in Seattle was marvelous. It snowed just often enough to keep the snow banks white all the time. The day we boarded the plane for Florida the temperature was below zero with 40 mph winds. We were glad to get back to a little warmer climate.
We had stored our van at Kathy Muscatell's home and we spent our first night back in FL with her and got to have dinner with her, Brett and Nancy and Brett's bright, fun and talented son, Tommy.
During our stay in MN, I got a terrible cold which has lasted about three weeks. Just as we got to Destin, FL, Jack caught my cold so we did not get to send much time with our long-time friends from Fargo, Tom and Sue Van Osdel, who winter there. In addition to having colds, we watched our Seahawks lose the football playoff game to the Packers. However, we got out enough to really enjoy the warmth and beauty of the area. Cannot believe how much new construction there is since we were there last year.
The colds continued to plague us when we were in New Orleans and we did not get to the tourist areas at all. This was a great disappointment as I have never been there before. We stayed in a suburb and were expecting the area to be pretty messed up by Katrina. However, we did not expect the people to be so "down". We were not out too much but once a day we went to a nearby restaurant, visited a few stores and went to AAA for maps. It was amazing how little enthusiasm many of the people displayed with life in general. While Metairie had repaired much of the damage in the city, there was still evidence of Katrina nearly every place we went. LSU had just won the national college football championship so that was exciting for the local people.
The condo complex we stayed in was a good example of the area. It obviously had been a wonderful place to stay before Katrina. However, it needs lots of TLC now. In fact some units were even being rented out by the night. Apparently, owners are not coming to stay and it is not being requested for a timeshare exchange. Most disappointing of all, however, was the need for heavy security. The resort is built in a square with the pool in the middle. The entrance doors were heavily secured and when we checked in at night, we had to be buzzed into the lobby as even that door was locked. One lovely bit of pleasure we had was listening to the Mourning Dove that was in a tree in the courtyard.
From Louisiana, we drove to the Dallas/Fort Worth area to Lynn and Kay Wilson's wonder new home in Weatherford. Unfortunately, Lynn was in Arizona working on the family trailer court while we were there. They are very dear longtime friends from home who moved to Texas just after we began our trip. Kay was a most gracious hostess and showed us much of the area. One of the highlights of that stop was to spend an afternoon with Kris and Ryan Edwards. Kris is my sister, Kathy's daughter. The best part of the visit was playing with their darling 15 month old daughter, Emma, who is Dad's only great grand-daughter.
After being away from home 3 ½ months, we figured 32169 33 Ave SW in Federal Way may be missing us so we flew home for 3 days. Our house was well taken care of but we had SIX very full grocery bags of junk mail, magazines, etc. to sort. It has been great to catch up with friends. My one wish for the return was granted yesterday when Mt. Rainier was "out" in its full glory. How I love seeing the "Mountain". Today we are back to the dreary, gray winter of Puget Sound. However, we are excited about returning in the spring and summer when it is the best place in the US. Monday we fly back to DFW, pick up our car and head for the southwest.