Saturday, June 19, 2010

Friends + KC+Branson = FUN (3)

Our time in Branson was mostly to relax. We have been there together and separately several times now, and usually see as many shows as possible during our stay. This time we saw just two, one of which was "Noah, The Musical". It was marvelous. We took the Behind the Scenes Tour prior to the matinee show. There we saw the cast make-up and costume rooms, props, animal dressing room - yes - these are VERY clean stalls where they groom the animals used in the performance. (They use both live and animatronic animals.) During the second half of the show, the audience is actually in the ark. It was amazing!

The theatre is H.U.G.E. - seats just under 3000. The basement is built into a hill and so behind the building is where the animals live and roam, although that's not visible.

We have heard, on several occasions, about Chicken Annie's and Chicken Mary's in Pittsburg, KS. There have been TV food programs about the two restaurants and the almost cult-like following of each. Well, that peaked our curiosity, so we took a much LONGER route home, on two-lane roads, so we could have lunch at one or the other. After Larry and Elaine did research on their iPhones, we decided Chicken Annie's was the place of choice. Rich had the address in the GPS and we were good to go! We drove for hours - and then someone had the bright idea to call for reservations. Oh my!!! It was early afternoon, and we found out neither one opened until 4pm. So we decided we couldn't wait that long to eat and stopped at some other little "joint". After driving miles and miles we ended up out in the country - surely we thought we were lost. But low and behold! There they were - the two restaurants separated by a small patch of land. Well, at least we got to see them, but it was a disappointment as we had really built up the dinner in our minds! We've learned that their hours are 4-8 pm, during the week and 11-8 on Sundays, so perhaps we'll go some Sunday after church. It turned out to be about a three hour drive from our house!

So what is usually a six-hour drive home turned out to be an eight-hour drive. We were beat! Larry and Elaine stayed until Sunday. They wanted to hear Brett preach so we went to Hope for church and L&E flew back to LA on Sunday.

Thank you Lord for these precious friends!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Friends + KC+Branson = FUN (2)

On Saturday, after meeting for breakfast at our hotel, we headed out for another full day. Weather was gorgeous! First we went to Nell Hill's, a lovely home decor store. Sorry no photos - too busy shopping. This is the newest Nell Hill's store, located in a beautiful strip mall in a very posh neighborhood of KC. It's two story, even has an elevator for all those large purchases that must be carried downstairs to purchase. We all found things we just couldn't live without! :)

Then we were off to visit the National World War I Museum. This is the only memorial to WWI in the USA. It is wonderfully done! There was so much to read and see. We all agreed that our knowledge of WWI was almost nil, so we learned a lot here as well. (Another thing we learned about Truman was that after his failures in the oil business and as a haberdasher, it was WWI where his leadership skills were developed and hence his course into politics.)

The Kansas City, MO skyline from the tower of the WWI museum. So beautiful! The Old U.S. Post Office is in the foreground. We tried to go to dinner at a restaurant here but it closed at 4pm - on a Saturday!

Back to the hotel for a great round of Contract Rummy. Carey and Nancy introduced us to the game when we went to Hawaii together a few years ago. We've been playing it ever since! I especially LOVE it because it's the ONE game I can win at!

Lots of conversation, laughter, good food, and great time together. The next day Carey and Nancy would return home and we would go on to Branson with Larry and Elaine. Three cheers for good friends!!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Friends + Kansas City+Branson = FUN (1)

For a long time, we've wanted to introduce our Colorado friends, Carey and Nancy, to our Oregon friends, Larry and Elaine. We just KNEW they would enjoy each other so Rich planned a weekend trip for all of us in Kansas City. Carey & Nancy drove in and Larry & Elaine flew into Wichita and then we drove up to KC.

On Friday we spent almost all day at the Truman Presidential Library in Independence, MO. Rich and I had visited it in 1975 and WOW! has it ever expanded. We spent the morning there, went to lunch and then returned for the afternoon. So much to see. We all gained considerable admiration for President Truman. Two of the things we learned - he was the first to integrate the military and he was instrumental in getting the women the right to vote. There was also an excellent exhibit on the Korean War.

Rich. Me. Carey. Nancy. Elaine. Larry.

We had lunch at the historic Courthouse Exchange Building, across from the courthouse.

Independence, MO Courthouse. I love these old courthouse buildings!

We've all heard Truman's famous line, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." I love wearing an apron when I cook. This is the newest addition to my collection.

Presidential libraries are really wonderful. We've seen Truman's (twice now), Eisenhower's (several times), Reagan's (many times, since it was in our "backyard" in CA), LBJ's (huge - no surprise! - and it is very sobering to realize what a turbulent time the 60's were - guess we were too young in our married life to realize it!), FDR's, Hoover's, and Coolidge's home (where he took oath of office) and library. As expected, all present the man in the very best light, but there is much to learn and gain a new or renewed appreciation of. Would love to see the rest -think there are 12. I think they are a "must-see".

Truman family home.

Three men and a GPS - getting directions to Jack Stack's BBQ in Country Club Plaza.

We all agreed Jack Stack's was the best BBQ! Truly yummy and we dug in before any photos could be taken!

We had such a fun day - more to come.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Home Again, Home Again - for a few days!

We returned to Moorpark for Mother's Day. Jeff and Jeremy grilled a wonderful meal for us. Jeremy was a bit preoccupied as Renee was trying to fly home from Italy, where she toured with her sister. The Icelandic volcano had erupted again and flights were delayed. We were very glad to get this very exhausted Mother-to-be home on Monday, 10 hours later than planned!

Caroline and me with her precious children - and my California grandchildren!

Rich and I said farewell to these precious kids -

to arrive home to Kansas in this...storms in western Kansas - a little blurry - I was driving F.A.S.T. - just wanted to get home HOME! We drove straight through from Gallup, NM to HOME in 12 hours, high winds pushing us all the way!

We were home just a week then headed for Kansas City and Branson with friends. Gone another 10 days! Jeff and Caroline and kids arrive June 10 for 10 days! Don't we know how to live!!! :)

And so...while we enjoy having our kids here we'll share photos of KC and Branson in future pre-scheduled blogs - and be away from blogging in the "real-time" sense until the end of June.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Balboa Island

Rich's cousin, Shari, came from San Diego to visit us on our last day in Newport Beach. She and I had never been to Balboa Island so we went there for the day. What a gorgeous day!!

This was just one of the very fabulous, pricy $$$$$ yachts that sailed through.

Loved the colors of these kayaks - or are they canoes!

My yummy lunch - very large shrimp cocktail and a ceviche. So fresh and delicious!!

Frozen bananas! What a yummy after-lunch treat!

And so we said a sad, but fond, farewell to Newport Beach. Our "scenic-beauty tank" was full to overflowing!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Roger's Gardens

Kathy introduced us to Roger's Gardens in Newport Beach. What a fantastically gorgeous place. It's a garden center unlike any we've ever seen! Of course the coastal climate brings out the very best of plants and flowers in every color and hue. If only we could transport it to Kansas!!

All that shopping for plants and flowers can wear a girl out! Kathy relaxes in the original Disneyland bandstand that was moved some years ago to Rogers Gardens.

Friday, June 4, 2010

More Family and Friends

A highlight of our trips is visiting friends. On this trip we were able to visit our former neighbor and dear friend, Darlene. She's a sweetheart!

Rich's former colleagues from Balboa Blvd. Magnet School get together for lunch every Wednesday. It was great fun to see so many we had not seen in some time.

Emily, Pansy, Sandy.

Rich, Phyllis, Carolyn. Phyllis was Rich's first principal at Balboa. What a lovely lady! I had a great time reminiscing with her about the time she and Larry had Leo Politi to their home. Mr. Politi was a famous author and illustrator of children's books, as well as a painter. He wrote about the people and city of Los Angeles and we purchased two of his paintings at that visit back in the early 1980s.

Our nieces, Ty, Baylee, Owen, Luke.

Julie, Nan, Kathy, Jamee, Rich.

We are blessed!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Mission San Juan Capistrano

Rich, Kathy and I made a quick visit to the Mission San Juan Capistrano. We had taken a lovely drive down the coast and ended up here, 30 minutes before closing. We made a quick tour and Rich and I remembered our time there with Cole, and also Rich's times as a kid. Mom took the five of us kids there soon after we moved to California to see the swallows. Remember the song, "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano"????? It's true, they really do, sometime in March of every year. Time seems to have stood still.

The gardens are a profusion of color.

The mission is one of 21 throughout the state of California. "Capistrano" was founded in 1776 by Father Junipero Serra. The purpose was to expand the territorial boundaries of Spain and to spread Christianity to the native peoples of California. Missions were built at a distance of a one-day walk. Capistrano is the only mission in Orange County.

What a lovely day! Kathy, we loved having you visit us in Newport Beach and seeing the sights together!