We are OTR, TDY hoping to RTB soon

I managed to crash my web page the other day while trying to update the software – I hate it when that happens. Well, after a long, quiet afternoon in the hotel room, I think I am back up and running. At least it is letting me type this and think I am in control.

Was planning to get pictures from our trip to Israel up before now, but (fill in your favorite excuse here)…

As I said in the title line, we are traveling again. Kathy is at a conference in Leesburg, VA, from Sunday to Thursday, a Board of Directors meetings today and tomorrow, and more committee meetings next Friday and Saturday. Me, I have to go to places like the Udvar-Hazy Museum, The Washington Mall, Bird Sanctuaries, and occasionally do a load or two of laundry.

In the mean time, the pictures show a bit of life in our backyard in Georgia. Max – our Goldendoodle – loves to be outdoors (as long as we come with him). He keeps the squirrels off the bird feeders, rids the yard of unwanted sticks, tennis balls, baseballs left over from the previous owner, and anything else that moves slower than he does. We have one “Butterfly Bush” and hope to have more some day. You can see just a few of the visitors to that bush.

Until next post, be safe, be kind and God bless you and yours.

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Summer Travels – Bulgaria

Had no idea Kathy & I would ever visit Bulgaria. Definitely not on “My Bucket List.” But, there we were! Kathy was invited to be part of a team conducting a Theory of Constraints workshop for business people in Bulgaria and surrounding countries. There were close to 200 attendees for the 2-day workshop. It was my first experience being in meetings where translators were used. The ladies that were translating “from English” and “to English” did great (at least the “to English” part for me).

We flew from Rome to Sofia, Bulgaria, on Bulgaria Air. The sponsors of the workshop met us at the airport and drove us, first around a bit of Sofia just to get a sampling of the city, and then on to the conference center at Pravets.

There is a great deal of old beauty in Sofia. We got just a sampling and these pictures were taken from the car as we sped through town (stopping for traffic and most pedestrians). Once outside the central part of the city the buildings took on a decidedly Soviet-style bleakness. Many of the factories along our route were closed. The purpose of the workshop was to start to improve the economy and business outlook in the country.

The conference center is situated on a beautiful lake with mountains in the background (The panorama shot from our room’s balcony gives you a bit of the feel.). The Pravets Conference Center is very modern facility. Great food – they did breakfast, lunch and dinner buffet-style. I was most at home at the desert table. No Coca-Cola products in sight so I made due with Pepsi Max….

our view

our view

Once the workshop was completed our hosts drove us back to the airport so we could catch a flight to our next adventure. On the way to the airport I did see one very familiar sign. Our driver took us through what he called the “gypsy” part of Sofia – he said it was the quickest way to the airport.

Kathy said she and the other presenters were very pleased with the turnout, participation, and questions. They received many “thank you’s” as the workshop ended.

Our next stop on this “once in a lifetime” summer of travel was Israel. We have many friends in Israel and have wanted to visit the country and visit its many historical places. That part of our story is in the next installment. Until then …

… Be happy, be safe, and may God Bless you.

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Summer of Travels

I have heard it said, “Time flies when you are having fun” (or, “fun flies when doing time!”). Kathy was part of a team that met in Frankfurt, Germany, to plan ways forward with Theory of Constraints concepts. It was a quick trip. We stayed at a hotel just outside the Frankfurt airport and several km from the town itself. Her meetings went from 0700 – 2200 each day. No time for the two of us to go sightseeing, and I was too nervous to go on my own. But we did add another country visited to our list.

Came home from Germany for a few days and then set off on another adventure (or 2 or 3). First stop in early June was Rome, Italy. Landed after an 11 hour flight from Atlanta, Georgia. We were met by our personal tour guide. The plan was to go to our hotel, drop off the luggage and then tour Rome and Vatican City. The driver took us to the wrong hotel. We were booked at a hotel by the airport. He took us to a hotel with the same name in the heart of Rome. Oops. Flexibility is the key – “to superior airpower” – so we toured and at the end of the day he dropped us off at the correct hotel.

Rome is such a beautiful city. So much history. So many people. Such small, narrow, crowded streets! Mopeds, scooters, bicycles, and motorcycles go where they want, when they want without regard to anyone or anything that might inhibit their progress. Our tour also took us into Vatican City. Our guide said they make such slow progress on upgrading the city’s infrastructure because every time a project starts, they discover new archaeologically important ruins and all progress stops.

I have included a few of the over 200 photos I took during our stay in Rome. So much more to see, we must try to go back again (but I AM NOT driving!!).

It only took me a month to get these photos posted. Hopefully the next 2 stops won’t take as long. From Rome we flew to Sofia, Bulgaria and then on to 5 wonderful days in Israel.

Until next time, be good. Be safe. God bless….

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Birds of a Different Feather

On a recent trip to Florida to stay with our Nephew, he, Kathy & I went to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL. Spent most of the day wandering and looking at the fabulous collection of Naval Aviation History. Watched an IMAX movie, “The Mystery of Flight.” Had lunch in the “Cubi Cafe” – a reconstruction of the famous officer’s club at the naval base in the Philippines. There was a graduation going on while we were there. Naval & Marine officers, and their families, came in in the dress uniforms – we noticed they were not wearing wings. When we were getting ready to leave we saw many of the same officers leaving – this time they had Naval Wings of Gold. Congratulations. (It was only 46 years ago this June when I received my wings. WOW!!!!  Here is a sample of what we saw!

I was not aware that Snoopy was a Naval Aviator.

We want to go back to the National Museum of the USAF in Dayton, OH, as they have added a great deal since we were there last. Hard to believe we left Dayton back in 1991.

Growing Old is inevitable, Growing up is an option!!

God Bless, Be Safe and Stay Happy

Semper Paratus

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Life with Max

Our family grew/changed on 7 Nov 2015. That is the day Kathy & I met, picked up, and brought home a 10-week old male Golden Doodle puppy. We named him “Max.” I have proposed a middle name – “Chewbacca” (actually it should be Chew-everything). This first set of pictures is at the kennel north of Oakland, NE… Max was 18# on this day. He just barely fit in the carrier we had.

We stopped in Omaha on the way to the airport to show off our new family member to Kathy’s cousins. They said they approved and wished us well with potty training…

The flight to Atlanta went smoothly. Kathy kept waking Max up when she would open the carrier to see if he was ok… Never a peep…

Nov 13th was Max’s first visit to the Vet. Got first set of shots and weighed in at 25.3#

At 13 weeks, Max found his way to our office. After some investigative sniffing, he laid down to rest until we would oblige and take him outside…

Friday, 4 Dec. Second visit to Vet. Max got the rest of his shots and his Rabies vaccine. He’s now up to 34#. Be fore long we will be sitting in his lap. Potty training at about 60%. Thank goodness we have mostly tile floors. At least he has started letting us sleep through the night. He loves the backyard and has claimed all the pine cones as his personal chew toys.

Max has been fed so he is sleeping now. I’m sure he will let us know his presence before the night is over and we’ll be off the the backyard. Thank goodness for strong flashlights and good batteries so we can keep track of him.

At 16 weeks we can start boarding him (boarding school). Thinking about a 2-week “boot camp.” While Max is away his mom & dad will play….

Time for a quick nap before he wakes up.

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Welcome Our New Family Member

On Friday 6 Nov, Kathy & I flew to Omaha. Stayed overnight and then Saturday we drove north to a kennel in Nebraska.   Kathy had seen a newspaper announcement of a 10-week old Golden Doodle (a first generation puppy whose mother is a Golden Retriever and father is a Standard Poodle). We drove to the kennel to see if the puppy would like come home with us (as if…). Fortunately, we were prepared, just in case he decided to adopt us, with a travel case and approval from the airline to carry him on board.

Well, surprise of all surprises, he liked us and convinced us to take him home. The kennel had named him Emmett, but we decided he was not an Emmett. So, what to name him. After lengthy deliberations on our way back to the airport we agreed his name will be “Max”. He seems to like his new name as he comes to us – occasionally – when we call him by “Max.”

Had his first Vet visit last week. He is up to 25.3# (enroute to about 75#, we think). He also got his second set of shots. Can’t get him into training or boarding until he is at least 16 weeks old.

The attached pictures are of Max the day we picked him up (er, I mean the day he picked us). Life has certainly changed around the house…. Ahh, the joys of housebreaking a puppy…  Stand by for future news/photos.


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Day 3 South Africa Touring

On day 3 in South Africa we did the full day tour to The Cape of Good Hope. We left our hotel around 8:30 AM and headed south along the east coast. We stopped along the way in Hout Bay to catch a tour boat out to “Seal Island.” As we left the bay and rounded the point the calm waters were replaced with rough seas (6-10 foot swells). I was – still am – amazed and impressed by the skills the Captain displayed in keeping the boat off the rocks but getting us close enough for good viewing of the seals – lots of seals.

The castle, overlooking the Bay was built by a very rich husband as a surprise for his wife. When she saw the finished castle, she said she did not like it and never lived there.

We were welcomed back to the pier by this small band. These guys, and the man feeding the seal, were very good at their act, and also very insistent on a contribution.

We left Hout Bay and continued on toward the Cape of Good Hope. Besides the sign, there was only a parking lot to mark the Cape. It is not even the furthest point south in Africa. Not a ship-friendly location. No beach. Lots of big rocks. Rough seas.

We stopped next at Cape Point – a point even further south than the Cape of Good Hope. Beautiful sites.

from Cape Point

from Cape Point

From there it was on to Simon’s Town and Boulders, the home of the African Penguin.

Last stop for the day was at the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden. A beautiful, quite place for a family gathering and picnics. We arrived back at our hotel about 6:00 PM.

The harbor pictures are representative of the activity we watched from our hotel room. Loading/unloading container ships is fascinating.

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South African Birds

I had been lamenting the fact that I had not done any “birding” while we were in South Africa. There was the “World of Birds” facility which boasted thousands of birds, etc., but we could not find a reputable tour to go on for this venue and our safety briefers said don’t go out of the hotel unless you are with locals or a good tour guide. So, I didn’t go “birding.”

But, as I have been going through the pictures I did get (approx. 1600) I found that I did get some “birding” in. Here are about 30 of the birds we saw during our stay.

Maybe someday we will go back and I will be able to add to this list. Several birds look very much like the American versions, but have different names (How’s that for stating the obvious?). I had fun, as always, and look forward to my next trip out.

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