Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bit by Bit

Our trip is overwhelmed with documented photos, so we're gonna do this bit, by bit.

After a horrific experience in Reno Nevada (gas station with no working bathrooms, no internet service at Starbucks, no working ice cream at McDonalds... four stops, four disasters), we crossed over to California. Life is good and Truckee, CA is our oasis of peace, calm and happiness. Welcome to Northern California. We stayed outside Sacramento, then the following morning we hit old-town Sacramento. Very cool and the doughnuts weren't bad either.
We arrive San Fran. and organized our first excursion in to the city... But before I get into that, I must tell you about our arrival, right in the middle of the Pride Fest Parade! Yes, this was every bit a San Fran experience as one could imagine. Gay pride was rampant as were the religious right.... No riots but some interesting people watching to be sure. Most of this we saw while waiting for the Cable Car (below).
We took the cable care to Fisherman's Warf. Pier 39. It's all good.
Pier 39 means sea lions.
And Ghirardelli Chocolate. They no longer make chocolate here, but they sell it, and the girls found it!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Salt Lake City

So we trekked north from Denver past Fort Collins into Wyoming. Then across the southern portion for most of the day. We stopped for lunch in a nice, windy picnic spot in the middle of nowhere. Wyoming was surprisingly baron with some dramatic geographic changes.
Once we arrived, we regrouped and headed out for dinner. Here was see Addy and Ellie pondering the finer points of an intense game of dots. I think they tied.
Here we are at dinner at Macaroni Grill. So far, so good no casualties. Next stop... western Nevada or eastern California. Westward HO!

Friday, June 25, 2010


In Denver we got a chance to see the Red Sox play at Coors field. This Inter-League game was important to Boston in order to avoid a sweep in Denver. The score changed several times and there were some explosive innings. The pitching by both teams was pathetic, and Boston's Ace Closer was tattood for 2 runs to tie it up in the Ninth. Thankfully, Dustin Pedroia had a career night with three dingers, the final homer scored two runs in the 10th to win 13 - 11 and avoid the sweep. What a beautiful ball park.
Outside the park, Chalupa, Big Dawg, Hefner, Peanut and Beaner pose for the crowd.
The excitement on Hefner's face is palpable. Last time Hef was in Colorado, he was crewing Buzz through 100 miles of trail outside Leadville. You can image his surprise and relief to spend his next stint in a Baseball stadium with the rest of the family.
Posing at one of many water fountains on the way to the Park.
Here we see Beaner, Peanut and Chalupa not sure what they are taking pictures of, but at least this moment was captured.
Here we see the crew standing with musical art in Downtown Denver. They really seemed to like the ambiance a piano on the sidewalk adds.
Another photogenic moment. Note the concentration.
On our way to Denver, we stopped for a Picnic lunch at Big Creek, Nebraska. A very nice place just 14 miles from the border of Colorado.
And a picture of something we are all getting used to... sitting in the car for hours and miles on end.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

All Systems Go

Hefner sits over the odometer waiting anxiously for a trip to California. The Odometer reads O.O. It will be interesting so see how many miles we cover. Fasten your seat belts folks and let the adventure begin!!!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Chalupa and BD took an excursion to the wonderful State of Illinois. What the heck, it was just across the river from her soccer tournament. They tied their first game at twos... but should have won. Magic struggled to find the corner of the net, but clearly had shots on goal. The second game was a blow-out: 8 - 0. Special thanks to three stand-ins from Ankeny who performed magnificently.
No one goes hungry in Iowa. We pass by this place on our way to and from Muscatine several times a year. I find it comical that they have "Smoked Cat". Really? In Iowa?

Birthday Blow Out

Beaner takes a big, 16 year old, breath. Big Dawg is watching... dynamically.
The huff...
And the puff!
And so it went, over and over and over again (relighting candles), until finally... they were as extinguished as Beaner. Whew!
And below we see the spoils of victory. Beaner is cutting the homemade chocolate layer cake made by JA Mandy who is seen here, overseeing Beaner's cutting of the cake.
And so... "Let them eat cake". Happy 16th birthday Beaner!!!

Hangin' Out

Marpy, Chalupa and Peanut engaged in a dynamic conversation. Chalupa is such a ham!
Peanut hate photos, but at least she's not scowling. Marpy is still engaged in the conversation.
Here is a motley crew hanging out on the back deck. JA Mandy, Sidetrack, Peanut and Chalupa. It was a great evening to be sitting outside. But then came the rains. It's been raining more often than not as of late. But nothing like the rains of 2008.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Happy 12th Birthday Noah

Technically, he's not 12 yet, but within a week he'll make the cut... so he qualifies.
Here's the set up:
The Delivery!
And the here are the results! Nicely done. Nicely done indeed. Happy Birthday Noah!!

More Stuff

Noah, Mouse and Big Dawg, hang out in the morning prior to departure. Unfortunately, rain delays in Chicago and technical difficulties thwarted their exit strategy for a day or so. Stranded in Iowa is not all that bad.
Here we see (sort of) Chalupa hiding in a flower garden in the Amana's.
Not sure what was going on here, but what ever it is... don't tell Sidetrack!
Taking a swing outside one of many novelty shops in the Amanas. And so it goes, another day in Hawkeye country.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Emily and Alex

It used to be (when we were kids), when someone would call Emily or Alex in a grocery store, we were the only kids around with those names. Now, if you called Emily and Alex... about 35 kids with those names would come running. Well, we're still friends after all these years and that's the best a brother and sister can hope for.
Emily did justice to our heritage when she announced the award in our father's name (the James C. Taylor Award for Best Faulty/Physician Teacher as voted by the Pediatric Resident's at the University of Iowa). Our father would have been proud of his Mouse (as I was my sister). Congratulations Dr. Don Van Dyken for this year's honor.

This is Why...

... Best friends don't let best friends fall asleep on a bus ride home from camp... with best freinds.
Let's hope Chalupa Learned her lesson. (Is that an eraser up her right nostral? Really?)
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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sleep Over

Ya gotta LOVE the dueling bed head!

Lunch with BD

Here we see BD and BD and Sidetrack enjoying lunch on the walking mall in downtown Iowa City. If this was any indication of how sweet it is, then I imagine there'll be a lot of lunches like this ... all summer long.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Beaners Piano Recital

Summer 2010 - BRING IT!

First, we clearly plan to spend a great deal of time at the pool this summer. Hopefully we can tan our hides, and even more hopefully, Beaner will learn to use sun screen! (For the record she is NOT wearing a skin colored tank top in this picture).
The Iowa City Arts Festival is the traditional kick-off for the summer season. Here we see Buzz Daddy walking Tootsie through the chaos. It was a great day to be out an about. This picture was taken by Lydia Bridges Kuennen of Mebraldy Photography for anyone in the market for a good local photographer.
Here we see Tootsie, Koko and Truman all taking what amounts to be their daily Garfield (nap). Some might say it's dog's life, but that would not be PC in our house. Some might say it's the dog days of summer, but honestly, summer has never been an excuse for these three bums. Oh to be a pet in our house.
Ahhhh the official start of the summer photo. Little to these heathens know how appropriate this picture is. It will take a car ride out to California and back to wipe of the grins from these delinquents. Oh well, summer is officially here and so far... so good.
Peanut and Chalupa are off to camp. Big Dawg and Beaner wrapped it all up today and to the best of our knowledge they move up one grade starting this fall.

Shout out to Crazy Pete and JoAnn for recent birthdays! Whooo Hooo. Bring it!

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend

Big Dawg and I attended the Graduation Party for T-Man Ylvisaker. Great to see Sarah, John, Pete, Geromeo, Eric, Crazy Dr. Y, and Mrs Crazy Y. While there, Big Dawg climbed a nearby tree and took this picture of Robin chicks in a nest. The mother Robin was not too happy... she'll get over it.
The following morning, Beaner and Buzz left at 3:00 a.m. for Madison, WI. Below we see Beaner and Buzz posing before the start of the Madtown Marathon (Beaner volunteered at the finish line, and Buzz ran it). As tradition has it, Buzz was the last on to cross the start line, and this time he was escorted across by his oldest daughter. The next time he saw her was 3 hours and 45 minutes later, when she placed a finisher's medal around his neck... How cool is that?!
After the event, BD was invited to clean up at Dorrie Sundquist's house. BD and Dorrie were HS chums. It was the first time they've seen each other in 28 years (or so). She is still every so sweet and enjoyable. A person could also say she's a brave and inspirational soul. Below we see Beaner, BD, Dorrie and (her daughter) Madeline.
After lunch, we headed back to Iowa. The following day (Memorial Day), there was no rest for the weary. It was the first full day at home with no soccer, or taxiing, or anything. So we cleaned, and BD dug up one more garden for Zucchini, Cucumbers, Tomatoes, and a Pumpkin vine. At dinner we were joined by Marpy, JoAnn, and JoAnn's 91 year old friend, Margarette. Then, KFC joined us all for Beaner's Angel Fruit Confection Dessert. What a wonderful Memorial Day weekend. Thanks one and all.