Andy & Casey's Wedding at Lake George, NY
June's most memorable event was the wedding of our nephew. The setting at Sagamore Hotel was stunning and even the rain on wedding day couldn't dampen spirits. The storms halted just in time for the ceremony, adding extra drama and celebration!
This was the third wedding in just over a half year that involved our family. Don and I have been getting spoiled, gathering with our out-of-town relatives, who are scattered over the States.
We also enjoyed the extra perk of spending a little time with our own kids. We don't take these gatherings for granted anymore. This time next month, both couples will be living far away, in states on the west coast.
Sibling Road Trip
After the wedding, Don and I spent a week traveling with my brother, sister and spouses. We meandered around upstate New York in the Adirondacks and then on to Vermont.
Place to Place
We 6 left the glamorous Sagamore and lugged our bags into historic hotels, castles and inns in a number of small towns. We packed in lots of exploring, dining, reflecting and laughing along the way.
End of Month Reunions
In Burlington, Vermont I met up with my old childhood friend Diane. She gathered with my family for drinks and I shared dinner at her son's home... I fell in love with her delightful granddaughters!
On the last day of June, Don and I crossed the border and met Don's sister in Ottawa. We explored a beautiful garden with Jane and Dick, before hitting the city for Canada Day celebrations!
The month of June was a special one! Lots of reuniting! Lots of exploring!
We had no big weddings or graduations this May, but we found ways to celebrate. Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby landed on the same day. Sometimes that requires a costume change.
Celebrating Houston's Art
In mid May I had one of those perfect days with lunch and a museum visit. Houston's Museum of Art had some fun surprises. What fun to witness a new bamboo exhibit being installed AND to catch my first glimpse of the new shiny Cloud Column!
It was a treat having Heidi home for Mother's Day. We had pool time, games and a lovely dinner out. We avoided the Sunday Brunch crowds and enjoyed some lox and bagels and home!
Don and I hit the Polish Festival one weekend and I danced at a Greek Festival a couple weeks later. One evening, I learned the Hula with a great group of women. And then there was the usual mix of international dining. I love Houston's diversity.
The Royal Wedding
Memorial Day Weekend
It was 100 degrees at Lake LBJ, over the holiday weekend. Don and I walked 2 miles to get to the annual BBQ picnic. We amused ourselves along the way, posing with odd mailboxes.
After the messy bbq feast, children ran towards the firetrucks and played in a sea of suds!
The day after Memorial Day we headed home and found 24 baby ducks in our own neighborhood lake. What a perfect ending to the month of May.
April Fool's Easter!
The first day of April began with a pretty sunrise and a lingering full moon. Don and I had an Easter breakfast picnic at Pecan Park.
Just over a week later, I celebrated my birthday with a trip to the zoo and a ride on the carousel. I finished up my year of acting like a 6-year-old. (That's how I coped with turning 60 last year... by removing the zero)
Road Trip to Springfield
Ten days later, I was in the car headed towards Springfield, Missouri. I met up with my sister and we spent the week clearing out our dad's apartment and helping Dad with his transition to assisted living. I gave myself a reward on the drive home... with stops on Route 66.
The day after returning home, it was time for another wedding! Scott's childhood friend, Suraj was getting married. Don and I were thrilled to have Scott and Chali home for a few days, but we were also delighted to attend the spectacular celebration of Suraj and his bride, Amie. Festive music, clothing, foods and dance! What a memorable way to end the month!
My Daughter Got Married
Heidi became a bride and a wife and Jamie became a husband and my son-in-law! It was a good month!
Friends of the Bride
My memories of March 2018, will focus mostly on 3 or 4 days. I loved spending time with some of Heidi's most special friends. I've known some of these girls since they were in preschool or when they were first teenagers. It was wonderful seeing the childhood friends and post college friends enjoying each other and later, pitching in to help on the big day.
The wedding weekend brought Heidi's aunts and uncles and cousins from 6 different states. I'm so glad to know there's one more wedding coming up in June, so we get to do this gathering thing again! (Yay, for Andy and Casey, top left)
Selfishly I got to steal a little time with a few of my dear friends.
Best of All... The Wedding
So March is done. No more wedding wondering. No more keeping fingers crossed for good weather. No more anticipation about what the memories will be. We know now and the memories are pretty perfect!
February was not the ideal time to attempt a Texas to California trip, but we had a good excuse. In mid-February, Scott and Chali packed up their apartment in New Orleans and headed for their new home in Sacramento. Don and I offered to drive one of the cars. We meandered and arrived a few days after them.
Don and I had a couple days to "help" in Sacramento, but the furniture hadn't arrived. We spent a little time in their cute rental house, which held one blow up mattress and a dog bed. But mostly we used the time to get out and explore. It's hard when your "kids" move so far away, but it helps that we now can visualize their home, neighborhood and city.
The morning before flying home, it snowed in Sacramento. But, we escaped the weather and enjoyed some green and a rainbow just over an hour away in Sonoma.
I'm assuming that rainbow is good sign! Heidi and Jamie's wedding will go well and Scott and Chali will have a smooth transition to their new home!
Starting the Year in Thailand
On January first, the Zienty and Temple families flew from Bangkok to Krabi in Southern Thailand. Our group of 9 spent 4 days relaxing at the beach, before heading back to Bangkok. It was a pretty perfect way to start the year.
Back in Texas
After 3 amazing weeks spending time in Thailand with our son's new family, we headed back to good old Texas.
These photos may look like I'm making fun of my state, but actually I love these images. I've always enjoyed the scenery on highway 71 between Houston and Austin. I made the drive alone in mid January, to meet up with my daughter and daughter-in-law for a wedding shower weekend. I loved stopping with my camera.
Heidi and Chali in Austin
Chali flew in from New Orleans and we joined Heidi at her bridal shower on Saturday. We also made use of every spare moment before and after... walking, talking, dining, drinking and even a little salon-ing... if that's a word. Love these girls!
Back to Routine
It was an good month, despite a stubborn cold, some jet-lag and icy weather. I made one resolution... MORE DANCING and I'm trying. There was even a nice end to the month, with a full blue moon! I can't complain.
Sugar-Coating in Sugar Land, Texas
We started off in early December, with a little snow drama! What a treat to wake up to a soft, white blanket of snow!
Luckily the weather didn't feel Christmassy when we joined Heidi and Jamie at a Mod 1960's Fondue Yard Party. Their wedding isn't until March, but it's never too early to start celebrating.
In mid-December we headed for New Orleans to attend Chali's Tulane MSW graduation. After a couple days of Nola-style celebrating, it was time to pack for Thailand.
First Morning in Thailand
Flight delays had some of us arriving in the wee hours on Christmas Eve. After a couple hours of sleep we woke to our first morning in Thailand... and Chali & Scott's morning wedding. Evidently birthdates and the times of birth, determine when a wedding should take place.
Before we knew it, the Temple's family home had been transformed. The Buddhist Monks had arrived and the wedding ceremony had begun.
Christmas Eve Wedding
The wedding excitement kept jet-lag from taking over. After the morning ceremony and feast, we headed off to explore the neighborhood walkways and canals.
By the evening, we taxied into the city, to an area that Chali described as Bourbon Street of Bangkok. We wandered the crowded streets, stopping for drinks and food here and there. Non-stop activity after nearly 2 days of travel, made it easy to sleep that night.
On Christmas morning, we wandered down to have a traditional Thai breakfast at one of the roadside stands. The owners were delighted to see the Temple family and their houseguests. Some of the restaurant family had been involved in the wedding preparations, so there was lots of greeting and photo snapping...
In the week that followed Christmas, we toured temples and markets. We enjoyed a dinner cruise on the Chao Phraya and we flew to the old city of Chiang Mai.
One rainy day, we drove from Chiang Mai and spent time in the mountains, with these beautiful beasts. We fed them bananas and sugar cane. Then we joined the elephants in a swampy pond and scrubbed them down with handfuls of cold, gooey mud. Then we used pans and scooped river water to clean their mud-caked bodies.
We ended the December and the year 2017, back at the house in Bangkok. We dined across the street at a restaurant, beside the canal. Then we returned to the house for champagne. Poor Jamie missed our toasts. He was sick in bed, but came around the next day. What an amazing month... and really what an amazing year.
Cheers to 2017! Eager to see what's ahead in 2018!
Scott & Chali's Texas Hill Country Wedding
We lucked out with perfect weather for the rehearsal dinner at Salt Lick BBQ. The cozy, casual bbq joint was the perfect place to reunite with family and friends, who had come from all parts of the country.
Wedding at Vista West Ranch
On wedding day, the weather was again spectacular, for the outdoor ceremony. Food and dancing in the rustic/elegant barn, followed. Seeing these two dance to "Home" put a huge smile on my face.
I wish I had photos of all the family groups that came (from so many states) and shared this special celebration. This photo is a special one, though. I feel so lucky that Scott and Chali are now married and we have new family now!
What a Happy November!
Don and I spent all of October near home. We celebrated Heidi's birthday, Don's birthday and our 38th anniversary. I've always loved October.
With Scott and Chali's wedding coming up in November, there was a lot of focus on the celebration ahead. We chatted with Scott & Cha on the phone a lot. I played with flowers & photos. Don and I worked very hard sampling wines and TX BBQ! And, even though I hate shopping, I got help and advice from friends which lead me to a mom-of-groom outfit, that I'm actually excited about.
Reunion in Richmond
I made sure to celebrate the month of October with a special reunion, down the road in Richmond. A year ago I had a hair shaving adventure in A.D.'s barber shop. There wasn't much hair to get rid of that day, since I had just finished chemo. But A.D. treated me like a queen and got my head silky smooth... ready to grow new hair! It was fun to be back in his cozy shop, where I introduced him to Don and showed off my hair.
Last Day of October
Halloween night was a disappointment for the trick-or-treaters, with rain showers in Houston. Having the Astros playing in the 6th game of the World Series, also took the focus from Halloween.
But, I was at the ready at dusk, with a hideous mask in case the doorbell rang. After a while I was pretty sure we were going to have our very first Halloween with no visitors. But, then, the doorbell rang. It was the UPS driver... assuring me he needed no more candy. Eventually, I got some Halloween fun with 3 doorbell rings and 6 adorable little costumes.
Best of all Houston won the series... but that was actually on November 1st. Oh well, I’m cheating a bit on my October post.
September started with lots of worries from Hurricane Harvey... but it ended with a trip to Northern California.
There were vineyards in Sonoma.
There were stunning parks... some with trees and some with cliffs.
There were some critter encounters.
There was a round barn and a Hitchcock schoolhouse.
And there were some beautiful hikes, with some special people!
It turned out to be a good month.
On August 21, we made it to Pikeville, Tennessee in time for the Great American Eclipse! Don and I traveled a total of 1842 miles (with detour to pick up Scott in New Orleans) from TX to TN and back! We made up ridiculous eclipse songs and limericks. We enjoyed Moon Pies and Sun Chips. And we hoped the skies would stay clear!
Before noon, we found a town in the Path of Totality with a welcoming cemetery. Other enthused locals and eclipse travelers gathered on blankets and lawn chairs. We enjoyed a picnic and shared extra eclipse glasses with the working lawn crew. Finally, we applauded with giddy glee, and removed our glasses to look up at the moon covered sun! The 2.5 minutes was worth 2 days of driving!
Hurricanes have no place in a Happy Blog, unless your house doesn't end up flooding after a mandatory evacuation! It all started the day we returned from the Eclipse Trip.
We returned to Sugar Land, the day Harvey was headed towards Texas. Days after landfall, the rising Brazos River became a serious threat and we scrambled to evacuate. After 4 anxious days, we were allowed to move back to our dry home.
I will always remember August 2017, as the month that brought us a spectacular eclipse and a devastating flood. We cheered for the eclipse. We cheered to get home. Now it's September and time to help those who are not cheering.
I'm already looking back at July and remembering the refreshing weather in Michigan.
Dave & Amy
Don and I spent a few glorious days with my brother and sister-in-law. As much as I loved the lakes, dunes, wineries and cherries, it's the laughing that I'll remember. Especially our last night.
Don and I spent a few days on our own exploring parts of Michigan we'd never seen. It was fun to be back in the state where we both lived from 1973 to 1975. Oddly, we both lived in Ann Arbor, those same 2 years, but met for the first time a couple years later in St. Louis!
Travels in the West
For most of June, Don and I were traveling. I have hundreds of photos of mountains and rivers and flowers in Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming and Texas. But here are a few photos of the happy travelers... and some of our unique traveling outfits!
A year ago, we had to cancel this trip, since June 2016 was the beginning of my cancer treatment. What a treat, to have all that behind me!
One of the best things about the trip was seeing some special people along the way. Christy and I posed while getting our boots shined in Fort Worth. I got to meet Baby Gus for the first time in Wyoming... and catch up with his wonderful parents. In Colorado, I saw Martha for the first time since college. She made me laugh as hard as she used to. Joanna had hardly changed since we danced to the Monkees in 4th grade, which was about the last time we saw each other!
My June memories will also include the people and conversations we experienced during our travels. We had some pretty curious chats with a rancher, a hiker, a farmer, a musician and a chef. My favorite encounter of all couldn't be captured with the camera. I will never forget the delightful Amish couple, telling us about their train travels from Indiana to Colorado!
May was a good month and it also marked the end of 12 months. It has now been one year since my diagnosis. It's time to stop counting the days since this all began. Now I'll just focus on each month and what I loved best.
The month began with some beautiful sunsets in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida.
Graduation Festivities in Nola
Towards the end of May, we celebrated in New Orleans with family. We couldn't be prouder of our son Scott. He earned 2 diplomas at Tulane. One for Law and the other for his masters in International Development. He also brought some pretty wonderful people together! What a happy time!
Turning 60 is not something I ever expected to get excited about. But I'm pretty darn happy to be here! I celebrated early in the month with a visit from Heidi, doing the things I love most... games, movies and brunch! I spent my actual birthday in the Hill Country, sporting my little donkey pin, sent from Scott and Chali and roaming around backroads of Texas!
The last half of the month was all about relaxing... in Mexico. There are way too many photos that make me laugh and smile, so I'm forcing myself to grab 2, quickly.
Bow Ties and Bluebonnets
Every spring, Texans get out there and pose their kids and pets in the roadside bluebonnets. It's just what they do. Don and I chose to celebrate spring with a festive hike up a bluebonnet covered hill, overlooking Lake LBJ. We went all out and snapped on the bow ties we'd purchased at an antique store earlier. I think Ladybird would have been delighted. She started this whole TX wildflower beautification, after all!
March 1, 2017
I'm continuing my once-a-month post, using some February photos that keep me smiling.
February ended well when my friend Milissa came to spend a few days. Here we are celebrating... and modeling our candy jewel rings for Oscar night, as well as our 7-dollar outfits from Goodwill. A lot of laughing in a few days!
February was also a month for exploring the city. Houston is actually a pretty interesting place... if you get yourself out of the suburbs to enjoy it. Don and I made good use of Houston's great food, art and music this month!
February 1, 2017
Now that I'm only posting once a month, I'll throw out more than 1 photo. These 2 collages show what made me happiest in January.
It was so fun getting away and enjoying the world... without my wig! Just wearing hats and scarves was the first step. Halfway through the month I started facing the world with my funny, fuzzy head!
Being With Don
But the best thing of all, was spending a little time on the road with this guy! Even though we were able to get out of town a couple times in earlier months, this time we weren't hurrying back to start up a treatment. Lots of toasting in January 2017!
January 1 2017!
We are bound for Big Bend National Park, today. Meandering through west Texas... taking our time. I doubt there will be snow like we saw in Janurary 4 years ago, but I know there will be surprises along the way. That's what I adore about road trips!
This trip is the best way to start the New Year... to return to normal! On this, 220th day since I first learned of my cancer diagnosis, I will end my daily posts. Maybe a monthy post? I don't know. It's been fun remembering and recalling and staying postive with photos from the past.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
This photo was taken on New Year's Eve about 6 years ago when my 2-inch Bear had more fur and stuffing. He's been put though a lot over the years, while posing for my camera. Sadly he did end up falling into the champagne. But that wasn't as bad as many other close calls in the past.
Close Calls With Little Bear: Almost got carried off by a seagull... nearly caught on fire when posing with 10 candles... Fell into a marsh at dusk... Blew off a wall and was lost in growth 12 feet below... Fell out of pocket in New York, was run over by a car and mailed back to me by a family who found him AND the posted "Missing" note...
No, this is not a surprise Christmas gift, with a bow. This was taken today at the Carmax, used car dealership. Thomas our "sales-guy" placed a temp bow on our newly purchased Kia. He was delightful, by the way. We spent as much time talking about Frank Lloyd Wright, the Guggenheim Museum and NYU, as we did cars. I'm pretty darn excited to drive this car, but I'll be sad to say good-bye to my well-worn Honda Element.
Favorite Past Cars: The (1965?) red, Ford Galaxay convertible, that held our family of 6... Dad's red Fiat Spider convertible, that he used to teach me to drive stick... Our crazy (not classy) conversion van called "Prime Time", with mood lights and built in TV... '73 Chevy pick-up that Don drove, on our first date... My new 1978 , 4,000-dollar Ford Fiesta, with no a.c. or power windows!
I miss the days when backyards had clotheslines. The last time I saw clothes drying in the sun was 2 years ago in Bouquillas, Mexico. Don and I were visiting Big Bend National Park in west Texas. We brought our passports so we could cross the Rio Grande at the only ranger operated legal crossing. It was a beautiful day and we met some wonderful people in the village.
Clotheslines I Recall: Beach towels struggling to dry on the line, in our jungly, humid yard in Sarastota... Taking pictures of old quilts on a clothesline, behind an unoccupied house in smalltown Texas... Watching preschoolers enjoy a bandana washing activity, then hanging them on a line...
This looks like I'm taking a picture of a seagull. Actually my sister took this photo of me, because she was amused that I was photographing my tiny, 2-inch bear on the sand. We were together almost a year ago in Florida, eagerly snapping away with our cameras. Taking photos makes me happy. Taking photos with Jenni, makes me twice as happy.
Photo Moments: In Rome, my memory card was suddenly full, just as the Pope was approaching in his Pope Mobile... In Utah, I fumbled my camera off of "auto focus" and have one blurred photo of Robert Redford walking by... Such fun, attempting to capture the sun setting as the full moon was rising on Galveston beach...
I'm continuing these "happy posts" till the end of 2016. Christmas is over, so I'll post more random, favorite images. This photo shows my grandmother and her sister playing croquet at her grandparents' house. I have always adored old houses and this one is a beauty. I so wish this house were still standing in Springfield, Missouri so that I could go visit.
I love old houses with... Wrap-around porches... Creepy attics and basements... Pocket doors... Bay windows... A barn for a garage... Staircases with ride-able banisters... Tall windows that open...
It's the day after Christmas and the four "youngins" are already gone. That should make me sad, but the photos make me smile! We toasted to both engagements on Christmas Eve and the night before we had a few toasts at our favorite German restaurant. I was surprised on that night when there was a toast to me... finishing treatment. The holidays have made me forget!
I started this blog, by thinking about the things that make me laugh and smile. My "Photo a Day" posting began on May 27, 2016. I had just been diagnosed with Breast Cancer, and I found I could keep things positive, by sharing some of my favorite photographs. Some were silly and made me laugh. Others were just pleasant or peaceful. After 7 months, I was ready to move on. I had finished chemo and radiation and it was time to focus on other things.