Monday, May 12, 2014

A Little Catching Up

Well, don't know who may see this, since it's been over 6 months since I've posted anything on the blog.  But, for whoever may see it, here's the scoop.  When we returned from our round the country jaunt at the end of October of last year, we soon became consumed by all the goings on of life off the road, not the least of which was getting an early start to Santa Season!  As you may recall from my last post of that journey, a bit of mixed feelings also entered into the decision not to post for a while.  We were both glad to be back home in so many ways, but also sad to be off the road.  We realized that we simply fell in love with the RV lifestyle and all the many positive things it brought to our lives.  Since the whole point of the blog started out as a way of chronicling our travels, in one way it seemed a little incongruent to continue blogging about life at home.  So, before I knew it, we were all caught up in life here at home and all of these feelings, combined with a very busy schedule, seemed to conspire against it.

Well, now as we're approaching the beginning of another big trip, I've begun to get excited about blogging again, and realized I always intended to pick it back up once we hit the road again.  Not only was blogging a way to put things down so we could recall what we did where without having to rely solely on ever decreasing memory capacity, but it was a way to feel connected with so many friends, old and new, who followed us along the way.  Admittedly there was often some conflict as I wrote what I did--wondering if I was being just too over the top in descriptions of the incredible beauty we experienced all over the country, or if I was simply being too self indulgent with the whole thing.  But since we returned from the trip we've received so much positive feedback about the blog and a number of folks have told us in very moving terms how much it meant to them--one very lengthy letter in particular was frankly overwhelming and quite stunning, and indeed very humbling.  All of which is to say that the blog will continue!

We'll be leaving in early June, heading west again, to rendezvous with some dear friends for the 50 year celebration of our friendship--we met as college freshmen--and then some Disney time with our son and grandson; then to Wyoming for some more Grand Teton National Park and a weeklong retreat with Barbara Brown Taylor at the gorgeous Ring Lake Ranch; then likely to Montana to see some friends from here and Glacier National Park; then at some point go into Canada and make our way east to Nova Scotia and the maritime provinces before trekking back south, planning to get home around the end of September.  We'll be gone roughly 4 months--not quite as long as last year, but it still promises to be another wonderful adventure.

So, in anticipation of getting to the point of chronology when we start, I thought I'd take the liberty of summarizing some of what's been going on since last November.  I have some pics but I'll try to keep it succinct, just to bring us all up to date.  It likely will take me several posts to do this, but since Mrs. Claus left today for her annual week in Sarasota with the infamous Beach Girls--this is year 29, I think--it'll be just Sophie and me (that's the new pooch, about which more later) for several days, so I'll try to make use of this time to bring the blog up to date.

One of the first things I did when we returned home was to go through my closet to gather up all the clothes that no longer fit to take to the clothes closet, since the only clothes that I loaded onto the RV when we left that still fit when we got home were my socks!  Here's one of my old pair of pants--my current size is 36, but the size of this pair is off the charts!  Though I had to scrap nearly everything in my closet, this is a wonderful problem to have!

A week after we got home we headed for LA for my older brother Walt's wedding to his partner, Timo.  Since the Supreme Court tossed California's Prop 8 in the summer, the legal path was cleared for them to get married, and what a wonderful thing this is!!  Since Timo is from Finland, he was only able to get periodic short term tourist visas over the last few years.  But now they've been able to marry and Timo has his green card!  I've never seen my brother so happy, and it's so wonderful to see them both so thrilled.  It was a lovely time and joyous celebration.  Several of Walt's coworkers managed to transform a somewhat dreary basement room into a magical, lovely wedding venue, and it was just so great to see the happiness.  Timo's brother and sister, Matti and Sana, along with his good friend, Nina, came from Finland to share in the celebration.  And, folks, let me tell you about this Nina--the personification of true friendship.  She actually sold her car, just so she could come up with the money for her airfare from Finland to be there for the wedding!!  Can you believe that??!!  Like I said at the reception, if you look up true friendship in the dictionary, you're gonna see Nina's picture!  I just get blown away every time I think about that.  Anyway, trying to restrain myself, but here are a few pics from the wedding weekend:

From the rehearsal dinner:  moWalt with his dear friends Dale and Norman; Dale and Walt worked together at CDC in Atlanta, and Norman is a retired professor of rhetorics.
 Nina on the left, Sana, Timo's sister, on the right
 Timo, with Walt's longtime friend, Laura, on the left

 The wedding hall, just before the ceremony
 Pretty cool wedding cake
 Picture of our Mom and Dad, set up on a special table
 Picture of our cousin, Ann Connery, who was Walt's close and constant supportive relative throughout his journey through self realization and coming out
 A bit nervous, Walt was, as he got ready to walk down the aisle!
 Matti, Walt, Timo, Sana, after the ceremony
 Sana, singing a beautiful Finnish song of love at the reception
 Cutting the cake
The marquis, outside the restaurant for the next morning's brunch for out of town guests
 Timo and Nina, at the brunch
 Matti and Sana
 Us with Walt and our other brother, Jimmy, and his wife, Colleen as we hiked up toward the Hollywood sign after the brunch
 The Saarelma siblings, atop the mountain!

Well, I think that'll be it for the first catchup installment.  Next up, some sharing of a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas.


  1. Welcome back-it looks like you have been busy:)

  2. Thanks, Chuck--we've been quite busy and are hoping to get everything done so we can head out again in a couple of weeks or so. Hopefully by then I will be caught up on posting about the last few months--we have a new RV and are working to get all the kinks out and everything set up. Hope to cross paths with you folks some day!