Saturday, May 26, 2012


Well, not really!  Rather than exert our usual effort on blog story production our attention has been diverted by son Brian's large deck re-construction project at a nice, rural home near old friends the Hoffner's on Graham Rd., between Mansfield and Lexington.

That itself has turned into a social bonus as, most days, Ed and Donna stop by the construction project so the labor force can accompany them to lunch, mostly at Warriors Pizza in nearby Ontario; always a tasty and enjoyable interlude indeed.

Participating in the project was made all the nicer by the few days my other son Craig was in town from his Indiana home and the three of us were able to labor some days away together.  That's Brian wrestling with the board in the top photo while helper Casey prepares to hoist it to its new home on the upper level.  The step stringers behind Brian will give access to the pool level from the new deck.

Below is a view from the opposite diagonal showing part of the approximately 1,000 square foot project.  These joists continue out of the photo to the right with an area yet again as large as shown which will contain a shrubbery-framed hot-tub, and the stringers laying on this section will provide 8 foot wide access stairs to the ground level in the foreground.

The finished project is expected to cost somewhere below $30,000.

Also in the blog cue waiting for some finishing touches is a story on our most recent visit to Hemlock Falls.  That story will contain some photos and some very interesting news about a change in ownership of the falls property and plans for a new hiking trail in southern Richland County.  Please stop by a week from Saturday and enjoy Hemlock with us and square dancing friends, Mark and Nancy Meinzer.  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


GLOCK, The Rise of America’s Gun by Paul M. Barrett

Today, the Glock pistol has been embraced by 2/3 of all US police departments and multi-multi millions of private owners, this writer among them.  This book takes a look at the pistol and Gaston Glock, an obscure Austrian curtain rod manufacturer who created the gun in 1982.  It arrived, fortuitously, in the US about the time law enforcement agencies had concluded their officers, armed with the then standard 6 round revolvers, were being outgunned by the bad guys.

It is said--The book is filled with corporate intrigue, political maneuvering, Hollywood glitz and bloody shoot-outs.  It’s also a highly informative and quick read; a compelling chronicle of a period in the evolution of gun culture in America.  I agree.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

 Adopted grand daughter Mackenna Curtis-Collins engages in a mildly violent soccer scrum with her teen-age adversary from Crestview Junior High School in a recent match in Lexington.  As is often the case there is a victor and a vanquished in such contests. 

But, all is not always as it seems.  In this contest the Crestview team managed to field only eight players of the 11 allowed to be on the field at any one time.  And, those eight played the entire game without the benefit of substitutes, and, in fact, won the contest 4 to 3--in spite of Mackenna's determined spirit

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


We spent the winter without full-privilege access to a local library while snow-birding in Vero Beach, FL.  Consequently the winter's reading was confined almost entirely to paperback novels available in the mobile home/RV park's casual, library.

Lots of noteworthy authors but that's enough brain-candy.  Here's my first non-fiction read in quite awhile:

and the Great Game in China   by David J. Silbey

This book was a jolting reminder of man's propensity to wage war.  It also reminded me things I had learned about earlier in life weren't necessarily ancient history as I had imagined from the perspective of youth.  This rebellion happened in China just 40 years before I was born.  At the same time the Brits had their hands full with the Boers in South Africa, the German kaiser was threatening world peace by building a vast new navy, the US was struggling with an insurrection in the Philippines and Japan was flexing its territorial muscle around the neighborhood.  Nicely done Mr. Silbey.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

and a gator or two

While assembling photo files from our winter in Florida I noticed a few more pics worth sharing from our airboat ride on Blue Cyprus Lake near Vero Beach.

Can you imagine listening to the sounds of the jungle as you glide through this marvelous, sub-tropical wildlife habitat?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


Adopted grand daughter, Mackenna Curtis-Collins (white shirt, top left) is at the start of the 1600 meter (1 mile) run in this final event of the junior high track season.

Midway through the four lap event she is shown leading the pack (left).  That's her in the background while a slower runner is about 1/3 of the track's, oval length behind her.

In the third lap (top right) however, a closing runner has begun to catch Mackenna leading to a crowd-thrilling race to the finish line.

In the lower photo the racers are about to cross the finish line.  Note the shadow of Mackenna's leading foot as it touches the white finish line while the competitor's foot's shadow is behind Mackenna's.

After a prolonged review of the official, finish line camera--the race was called a draw, both girls with times of 5:53:xx

While fans were digesting the exciting event I found my way to the shadow area under the bleachers where I could review my photos.  That's when I discovered my photo's evidence which could suggest a different race result.

Grandma and mother and other Mackenna fans huddled in my shadowy, photo viewing area then invited a distraught Mackenna to take a peek and she imediately found hope my photo's "evidence" might somehow right her horrible injustice of a tie result.

I had to wiggle out of the fray by pointing out my photo was not official, whatsoever.  It could be construed as the work of a clever grandpa whose bias in the proceedings was unquestionable.

We bid good bye and headed off to an Akron-area square dance confident Mackenna would ultimately realize life is not always quite fair.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


We returned to Ohio Saturday, April 21 with mixed feelings.  It is hard to deny the fascination of sub-tropical breezes and all the pleasures unique to the Florida scene.

Yet it also is painful to be away from family and friends--especially our square dancing Johnny Appleseeds--for those four wintry months.

Now, we will enjoy rekindling our Ohio activities for the next 8 months or so and will leave the family circumstances of the Christmas season dictate our next departure date. 

Our Florida blog stories concluded with the airboat ride published April 21st.  Today we offer a little wrap-up featuring a few unpublished photos.

The pelican on the dock piling above was, itself, celebrating the arrival of morning on a piling near the Fort Pierce Causeway Bridge; that day of our recent deep sea fishing adventure.

The pelican's companion, the alligator, was found on our last visit to the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge, just before our departure for home.  That outing celebrated the spring break visit of Sue's granddaughter Mackenna and her friend Amber from the Cleveland area.

Thank you Sunshine State for the marvelous weather these past four months and the sensational critters who blessed our experience with their presence in many of our wanderings.

We opened the story of our trip south with a portrait of a giraffe in the Jacksonville Zoo.  That was a nice picture but it is of far greater comfort to see wild animals roaming freely.

We enjoyed seagulls everywhere.

Pelicans and turtles and crabs too.

We enjoyed the dolphins who often enhanced our mealtime views along the waterfronts.

I enjoyed the hammerhead shark who prowled about our fishing boat, reminding us of a human's real place in nature's food chain.

And then, this; on our last weekend...

...A Fairy Festival at the McKee Botanical Gardens (think Kingwood with a very tropical flavor) where lots and lots of little lads and lasses romped the grounds in the make-believe world of angel's wings and magic wands and pirate's cardboard cutlasses for the lads.

Some older princesses got into the spirit of the day too like the lady above with her colorful arrangement of garden cuttings serving as her angel's wings while she tends to her photography chores.

Yes, thank you Florida.

The camper's modest storage fee is paid and it will rest on our spiffy lot until we next grapple with the thorny question of abandoning Ohio's usual winter discomfort and, alas, our Ohio families and friends for our third season of snow-birding in the sunny south.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


My adopted granddaughter, Mackenna Curtis-Collins, anchors the mile relay for her Lexington Minutemen, junior high track team at a meet in Shelby, Monday.  She took the baton (above left) from her teammate then proceeded to overtake and pass all but the leader of the event.

Watching from the stands as the race progressed it was joyful to hear the observant crowd note her stunning speed around the back side of the track as she blazed past other runners in the hopeless task of catching the leader.

Her effort helped garner 2nd place for her team in the event, much to the delight of the cheering crowd.

And, track is not her favored sport.  In running she prefers cross country and, in sports in general, she prefers soccer.

Regardless, there already are quiet comments about her role starting at the varsity level when she reaches high school.

Meanwhile, I'll simply enjoy going along for the ride.

*          *          *

Confession time:  I missed the shot at the finish line as she hammered into her 2nd place laurels.  I was too busy being a "grandpa"--rather than a photographer.  Mackenna is the daughter of Traci Curtis, my lady Sue's daughter.