Hugs, Chuck & Kalyn

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sands of time.

How’s that for a classy opening to what promises to be no more than the usual drivel and minutiae?!  I have always liked that particular passage from A Psalm of Life written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and re-written in my autograph book by my third grade teacher, Mrs. Kreitzer.  It’s kinda hard to believe that I grew up at a time when teachers were so revered that their students would actually stand in line to snag the signature of someone who just had them write 100 times on the blackboard, “I will not hit Sandra Venuto even if she hits me first.”  Yep, those were the good old days.

Welp, so much for the nostalgia.  Our west coast tour culminated with a three week stay in Los Angeles and the annual appointments with our team of medical professionals and the requisite prodding, poking, cajoling and blood-letting.  Once again we managed to slither by with marginally mediocre results.

When in LA, we usually stay at Dockweiler State Beach which puts us within striking distance of our daughter’s family and our youngest grandkidlets, Devin and Layla . . .

Jerry and Sandy fixed dinner for us on my birthday (69 on December 13th) complete with the closed eyes, make a wish and blow out the candles routine.  When I opened my eyes the dog had peed on my foot, my brother-in-law had sprouted a full head of hair and I was still a pleasingly plump old fart.  So much for birthday wishes.

A few days later we loaded up the entire tribe in the community Volvo station wagon and headed off to Saguaro National Park to spend a day among the cacti. Although the Park has a strict "Look but don't touch" policy, some folks are just natural born scofflaws…

Do you notice anything unusual about these footprints?

At 5000 plus square feet, this place is so huge that I was actually lost for several minutes in an upstairs hallway until I caught the aroma of turkey and managed to follow it back to the kitchen.

In addition to our doctors and kids, we never miss the opportunity to spend some time with our one time travelling companion, Queen Bee, and her faithful canine, Johann.  Being a service dog, he is allowed into restaurants and anywhere else that people go and usually becomes the center of attention and topic of conversation wherever he lands…

She has just been diagnosed with breast cancer and is beginning the struggle that so many others, my Bride included, have already endured.  Please take a few minutes to visit her website and feel free to leave a comment.

Merry Christmas, folks, and have a happy and healthy 2014…

  Christmas 2013                                                      December 23, 2013

who always look forward to a visit with “Gramma and Granpop at the beach” . . .

We haven’t quite figured out if it’s the sand and sea or cookies and ice cream that attracts them or, perhaps, they simply enjoy hanging out with a couple of old farts.  We sure seem to wear out fast when trying to keep up with these two but, nevertheless, they sure are fun to be with.

Our time in LA included Thanksgiving with our daughter, Kassie, and her family (pictured below) with friends, Eric and Merilee (they were too busy cooking for all of us to pose for a picture), at their hilltop retreat in Pacific Palisades…

Saguaro National Park is actually divided into east and west sections, separated by the town of Tucson.  The previous photos are from Saguaro East.  Saguaro West is still on our “To Do” list.

I guess there really hasn’t been much to tell you folks this month regarding things of a touristy nature and I can only imagine that y’all are getting pretty bored with pictures of friends and family instead of grizzlies and humongous salmon.  We’ll try to expand our horizons a bit for our next edition.

Before closing this final Update of 2013, I would like to ask for your prayers and positive thoughts for one of our “kids,” Yvonne…

Unfortunately, I am extremely allergic to him but simply can’t resist the urge to get a lot closer than is prudent.  I always load up on allergy pills, nose spray and an asthma inhaler whenever he’s in the neighborhood.  Actually, that’s pretty much the same routine I go through whenever I interact with any dog…or cat…or horse...or my in-laws.  Speaking of which . . .

After leaving LA, we wandered in the desert for a spell before arriving at our winter residence, Voyager RV Resort, in Tucson, Arizona, and as luck would have it, our ne’er do well in-laws tracked us down and managed to homestead the empty trailer across the street from us…