First Game Ever in AAHS

8-26-14-1 - Copy 8-26-14-2 - Copy9-25-12-3OK, I lied.  This is not the penultimate day in Paris.  So shoot me (well, not in the literal sense).  But it was time once again to don my cub reporter hat – the high school activities schedule is underway!  The day dawned lovely over beautiful Lake Darling.  I grabbed what diffused light photos I could (though I missed the best light by having to take out the garbage cans then rush back upstairs for my camera).  Not a creature was stirring – not even Dangerous Dan.  The evening would bring the first indoor sporting event in the still not open for scholarship brand spanking new Alexandria Area High School.  Our Cards were taking on the 2-time defending state champions and this year’s pre-season No. 1-ranked team, the Marshall Tigers.  The only thing I know about Marshall is that when people retire there they tend to move to Alex.

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[This is the new gym, on Pohlig Court, with the dreaded Tigers warming up in the background.  The gym seems "empty" because none of the achievement banners from Jefferson were moved here - the school will create its own legacies.  In the immediate foreground is my high school principal, with his supervisor.]

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[Our Cards gather on the left in a pre-game ritual reminiscent of the TV ad's spelling bee Maori warrior chant.]

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[And here come our Cards, resplendent in what I believe to be new warm-ups (you know men and their fashion sense)?]

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[As you will note from the roster, we are a senior dominated team.  Even senioritis can be overwhelmed, however, by . . .]

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[Playing for the 1st time on a new home court against the No. 1 team in the state.]

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[Kalley Bistodeau (2), 5'8" senior outside hitter, and a team leader, warms up.]

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[Gotta be Gretchen Watkins, 5'7" senior libero.]

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[I could not believe in the broad daylight of overhead lights a multiple volleyball heist was taking place.  Upon further review, that's Jackie Peters, assistant coach, 'Y' official who keeps an eye on the Fat Boys, and weekend sommelier at the winery!  :-)  ]

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[The JV work out by adjusting the railings, which flip 90 degrees sideways to fold back into the wall.]

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[Amanda Haack (11), 5'6" senior setter, keeps an eye on Abby Pohlen (5), 5'11" so. middle hitter.  Abby played well in a relief role as what already seemed like a short-handed team suffered an injury mid-game (it appears Morgan Melrose (4), 5'8" junior RH (?), tweaked an ankle - later she seemed OK but I don't believe she played again). ]

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[Alexis Stern (8), 5'9" junior outside hitter, also saw considerable playing time.]

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[I believe this is Jordan Lamb (12), 5'9" so. outside hitter . . . ]

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[Upon further review, I believe this to be Jordan Lamb (hey, it's the first game for me too!).]

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[Somebody hitting the ball with significant force.]

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[In the parlance of the sport, the scoreboard.]

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[The JV visits with a . . . fan?]

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["The Voice," with Michelle Johnson, is back for another year to call Cardinal action.  Don't tell him I said so, but for a small town broadcaster he's pretty darn good.  They like their new chairs!  :-)  ]

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[An occasional accomplice of "The Voice," which to my knowledge has created no deleterious effects.]

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[There they are.  Our future leaders.  For whom we provided a new multi-million dollar facility.  Sheree wasn't even there to keep an eye on them?  Don't worry, some day they'll be fine.  The supervisor did get a little annoyed with them at times - thought they jinxed the Cards with their cheers.  E.g., after a short run by the Cards, they chanted "Overrrated" at the Tigers - the Cards put their next serve in the net.  She said, "See, I told you!"]

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[We're No. 1!   And for the most part they played like it.  Very few mistakes.]

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[The fans all rise in anticipation . . . or the National Anthem, which ever came first.  I did advise all around after the Anthem that it was nice to have a functional and audible PA system!  :-)  ]

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[Time for team introductions . . . ]

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[Katie Dolan (7), 5'6" senior DS (?), leads off.  I screwed up most of the team - sorry.  I'll get them all over the season.  But seemed like every time a head moved across the camera sightline, the subject went out of focus.  I need a photographer's booth!]

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[Liz Schultz (1), 5'10" senior middle hitter.  I was concerned to see the heavy wrap her thigh.]

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[Amanda (there's only one this year, so I can just call her Amanda).]

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[Let's play volleyball!!!]

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 [Kalley leads the team back to the huddle.  She seems to be thinking about what favor of Blizzard she'll have after the game?]

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[Morgan, Liz, and Brooke Swanson (6), 5'11" senior middle hitter, man the net.  OK, I can tell you now.  We lost.  The first game was something out of a Freddie Krueger movie.  We weren't playing volleyball . . . maybe some version of pickle ball?  We went into the net so often I thought we were the subject of a population study by the DNR.  Combine those with service faults, and we just gave away way too many free points in that game.  To the Cards credit, however, we came back in the next two games that went down to the wire, 25 - 23 and 28 - 26.  In both games, service errors continued to haunt us - we could have won both those games (recognizing, of course, that serving is a part of the game).]

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["The Twins."  The season's just started and I'm already thinking how much I'm going to miss them next year.  OK, Kalley and Amanda aren't really twins, of course, they just look alike and play alike and are full-timers on the court.]

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[Gretchen serves . . . Kalley in a defensive set.]

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[Morgan, with Gretchen.]

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[And again.]

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[Amanda calls out encouragement to her mates . . . ]

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[Either that or places her Blizzard order?]

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[Then returns to her duties at the net.  As the setter, this is her position.  But at 5'6" she also has blocking responsibilities, which I think she does surprisingly well against much taller opponents.]

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[Her Liz joins her in a block attempt.]

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[Liz jump serves . . . ]

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[Amanda is the only other who uses the jump serve.]

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[It's not enough to just broadcast the game . . . he has "Voice of Alexandria" photo responsibilities.]

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[No, that wasn't . . . was it?]

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[Amanda and Liz]

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[OK, team meeting . . . ]

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[Is it still going to be Blizzards this year . . . or Culver's?]

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[I heard turtle sundae is the flavor-of-the-day!!!]

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[Watch your tongue, 15!]

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[Liz smites a might blow - she lead us in kills.]

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[While Amanda ponders a turtle sundae, Kalley signals the play to the back row.]

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[Did you get that?  It's 3!]

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[There was a ball around here someplace?]

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[Net judge points to our side.  We don't seem too excited about it?]

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[It's so close!]

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[Give me a head with hair, long beautiful hair . . .  And it was over.  The Cards are defending conference champs at 11 - 1 last year.  We should be in the mix again this year.  The season has just begun.  Oh, and the girls soccer team was playing St. Cloud Cathedral outside (well, of course) while this game was going on and came away with a good 5 - 0 win.] 

Why must women torment me so?  ~  Theodore Dreiser

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16 Days in France (Day 15, Part 1)


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[If you'll remember from your table of contents, Reetz and her luggage never made connections in Europe.  She didn't know then if they would.  So, she was purchasing attire on the run and would now need packaging to take it all home (assuming it would get there.  We thus began the day shopping for luggage . . .]

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[In the Rue Cler neighborhood where early in the morning all the restaurants were being re-stocked.]

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[Who knew?]

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[The everywhere landmark . . . we're on the way to the Rodin Museum.]

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[Down this street . . . errr, rue . . . ]

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[Et, voila!  Welcome to Musee Rodin!  :-)  ]

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[Bill checks the program to synchronize schedules.]

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[How Rodin-esque!]

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[Reetz and I ISO . . . the tops?]

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[A rather famous sculpture that's "also in" the Indianapolis Museum of Art.]

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[We loved this!  Obviously a group of pre-schoolers, with their teacher, sitting politely on the floor with their sketch pads drawing . . . "The Kiss."  :-)  ]

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[And for all you Lily Allen fans out there . . . well, this concert was postponed but we noticed she did make it up during the summer.]

I wonder why I ever bothered with sex, he thought; there’s nothing in this breathing world so gratifying as an artfully placed semicolon.  ~  Camille Desmoulins

Up next:  The full day in France.

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16 Days in France (Day 14)

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[Is laundromat a French word?   There comes a time while on vacation where one still has to perform household chores.  So, the super and I were up at the crack of dawn, wandered down the street a couple of blocks, and found a place where we could sanitize our dainties.  OK, I put the detergent in the softener tray, but otherwise everything came out in the wash.]

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[This was the day for Notre Dame, the Left Bank, the Pantheon, et al.  Bill lead the morning charge up what seemed like a climb to the top of the Arch de Triomphe at our subway exit somewhere in the vicinity of the Sorbonne (I think?).]

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[Oh, I guess it was just a transfer station.  "Sortie," BTW, means exit (but I don't know the French words for "detergent" or "softener").]

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[We're out!  Somewhere in a new, for us, Paris neighborhood.]

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[And what's this (?) - a flower shop directly across the street from our subway exit.]

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[And other shopping for the ladies (while Bill and I scoured the neighborhood for coffee).]


[While working on the "ahhh" factor, the shop proprietor chastised the supervisor for letting her purse "rest" on his flowers during our modeling session.]

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[A bridge over untroubled water - the river Seine to be exact.  Looking across at the famous Left Bank.]

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[A formidable looking government-type building with the conical-topped towers - the Conciergerie, the former prison of Paris once part of the royal palace, the Palais de la Cite.]

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[The lonesome bureaucrat.]

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[The Conciergerie, the Seine, and the Left Bank.]

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[The Conciergerie]

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[Having already spent a week on a French river, we opted out of any Seine cruises.  ;-)  ]

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[Reprising my "famous" photo of several years ago, here is "Paris Blue."]

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[This, in the old days, was called an analog clock.]

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[This, in the old days, was called an analog gate.  It's the entry to the Palais de la Cite, or now the Palais de Justice.]

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[See above.]

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[ISO . . . Knute Rockne?  Place Saint-Michel in the background (we'll be back there).]

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[Notre Dame Hotel?  We must be in the neighborhood.]

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[Aha, there it is!  Crowds are forming, but we got there early enough.]

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[The requisite "We were here!" tourist photo.  :-)   ]

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[Another impressive cathedral . . . but they tend to be dark, dank, and dusty.  The super decided during this walk-through that she "didn't want to see another church!"  ;-)  ]

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[But they were the driving force behind the incredible architecture of the times.]

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[Remember we "saw her" at Cannes last summer.]

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[Yup, looks like a church.  There were significant lines along this side for the climb to the top.  I’m glad we decided the climb of the Arch de Triomphe was enough for the trip.  After we had exited (sortied?) the cathedral we were accosted by a young Norwegian couple.  They queried as to whether we knew how to get to the Eiffel Tower from here – boy, did we!  But how to explain it?  Americans explaining to Norwegians how to get around in France?  We said we took the subway to get here with one transfer.  They looked like they were back-packing through Europe, so we said it would probably be an interesting walk of about three miles.  They thanked us . . . and then called in the limousine (OK, I made that up).

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[Notre Dame's "backyard."]

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[From the gardens.]

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[From the far end of the gardens.]

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[Lose a bike lock?  There are issues with these things - the weight is causing structural damage to the bridge.  Recall a similar such incidence in Brussels.]

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[Just across the street from Notre Dame, before we crossed the "bicyce locks" bridge.]

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[An eerie place . . . ]

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[Time to cross over to Rive Gauche.  Those locks on are both sides of the bridge all the way across (below).  I think they are going to have to cut all the locks off to preserve structural integrity.  I have no idea how this got started or how long it's taken to reach this stage?]

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[Notre Dame padlocked into our memories.]

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[We have successfully navigated the bridge . . . ]

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[And the first thing saw on the other side, from a sidewalk vendor . . .]

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[Hey, more views of Notre Dame . . . we may be been looking for the Golden Dome or Touchdown Jesus.]

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[Where's Kay?]

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[OK, already.]

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["The rwah and mwah," has a nice ring to it in French.]

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[Now who doesn't get their pictures taken under an arch of roses?]

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[Reetz says this is her kinda place!]

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[A wedding at a bookstore - gotta love it!  :-)  ]

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[Screams Rive Gauche . . . ]

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[Counter culture hauteur.]

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[A restaurant "alley" is sighted ahead . . . or nosed?]

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[i.e., silver jewelry . . . and I thought it might have something to do with dirty old man?]

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[Shopping for lunch . . . and anything else we run across.]

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[For the Fat Boys!]

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[The choices were endless, but you have to see them all.]

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[Where should we eat?  Decisions, decisions?]

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[St. Michel, where we exited from "restaurant row."  And the following photo escaped into ethereal mode again, and it was here where we long discussed sitting for a glass of wine.   I think we ambled back into restaurant row for lunch.]

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[A view of Notre Dame from the Left Bank.]

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[A return to the Palais de la Cite and the Conciergerie for an interior visit.]

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[Hall of the Guards, a medieval part of the Conciergerie.]

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[A studio apartment?]

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[Well, at least I don't see any Norwegians on here.  (I didn't dare look for any Oberts!)]

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[And we circled back to here in a bit.]

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[The super and the 16th!]

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[Inside the prison walls . . . ]

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[And back to the cell of Marie Antoinette.]

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[The Biddies are rapt.]

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[Let her eat cake!]

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[Marie (we're on a first name basis) was kept under constant watch in prison lest she attempt to arrange escape using her smart phone.]

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[Whoever I tried to photo here washed out . . . at least I got The Biddies.  It may have been of Kim Kardashian?]

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[Hotel de Ville, or as we all know now, city hall.]

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[Our professional travel agent, the HQ, suggested we stroll her favorite area . . .  ]

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[So, here we're crossing over to Ile Saint-Louis, one of the two islands in the Seine.]

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[Noted for goodies of food and shopping down streets barely large enough to be one-way.]

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[The super found the place highly recommended by Kathy . . . ]

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[Not to mention the 5-star cookie place across the street!  :-)   ]

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[Time to start heading our hotel, cookies in hand.]

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[Bonsoir, Paris.]

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[This little restaurant was literally right around the corner from our hotel.  We finally got around to giving it a shot.  It was wonderful!  :-) ]

Almost anything is edible with a dab of French mustard on it.  ~ Nigel Slater

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16 Days in France (Day 13, Part 2)

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[When last we left you, The Biddies had been kidnapped by a Versailles gardens tram . . . I tried to document where they were being taken through photographic evidence.]

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[Here the super looks wistfully back at the palace.]

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[We were kindly allowed to disembark for food - a place not to be confused with the Alexandria restaurant of the same name (though not in the possessive form).]

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[Once again, the lady of the place.  I believe a Ms. Antoinette?]

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[Where Maurice Chevalier learned the harpsichord.]

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["Selfie" madness!]

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[The Biddies are waving . . . standing in line for a shoe sale?]

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[This way to Hameau de le Reine . . . ]

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[We're on the way . . . ]

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[No home is complete without a marble gazebo.]

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[A big tree.]

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[Where we were . . . ]

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[Driftwood?  This far inland?]

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[Hameau de la Reine (the Queen's hamlet), a rustic retreat for Marie Antoinette.  For some reason, the women in our group found this place particularly delightful!  ;-)  ]

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[Reetz shows this is some BIG tree in the Hameau.]

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[The Hameau, of course, came fully finished with the requisite ponds and gardens.]

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[Feed me, FEED ME!]

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[Flower and vegetable gardens . . . ]

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[Reetz, then Kay and Reetz, find something of photographic delight. ]

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[Elizabeth checks the plaque.  This Richard Mique's guy was Marie's favorite architect - he appears to have designed all the facilities here.]

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[There's light at the end of the tunnel . . . and Bill has found it.]

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[Looks like a bumper food crop . . .]

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[I have no idea how many gardeners are employed at this place . . . but she was one of them.]

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[As we make our way back out . . .]

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[More trees of a size that are Californiaesque!  But we had a long wait here - much to the dismay of The Biddies.  It was hot, no shade, and each tram that came by was full.]

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[Finally we caught one . . . which took us to The Orangerie, a/k/a, the water park?  Bill, Anne, Kay, and Elizabeth had left us to walk while we waited for the tram.  This is a huge place, but they beat us there.  They stayed to continue to the foot tour, while The Biddies and I decided to head for "home."  I decided I'd better go with them . . . so they could protect me.]

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[Well, look who we ran into here!]

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[What Bill was shooting . . . (obviously from his photo site!).  :-)  ]

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[We continued tramming out . . . through what seems like a giant maze.]

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[The back of Reetz's head.]

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[We made it back to the palace.]

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[Then walked back to the train station at Versailles . . . we arrived in time to join several thousand other tourists trying to get back to Paris.  Our subway tickers wouldn't work for the return trip?  They tried to explain to all we had to buy tickets, but the ticket windows were overwhelmed.  Then they tried to teach us how to use the vending machines to buy tickets, but that was going so slow they finally just opened the gates and let everyone board the arriving train for free!  :-)  ]

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[Back in our neighbor, The Biddies and I just decided to hangout on the corner of an outdoor café with a glass of wine and enjoy the sights and sounds of Paris . . . ]

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[I think Reetz said it was liking watching millipedes navigate through a complicated, 5-way (?) intersection, so I decided to shoot a video, just like the final scene in "Annie Hall."]

The video:

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[These were taken with the super's tablet, of The Biddies enjoying themselves . . . and of our waiter fooling around and enjoying The Biddies.  :-)  ]

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[When everybody got back "home," we all went out to dinner together.  It appears to be somewhere on Rue Cler?]

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[On the way home, back to the mall for more shots of . . . ]

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[For the "Echo Press" . . . and for Reetz.    ]

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[Last shot on the mall that night - it's what people do here.]


[And we made the paper!  :-)  ] 

His tightly fitting jeans were unmistakably French.  ~  Francine Pascal

Up next:  The next day in Paris.

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16 Days in France (Day 13, Part 1)

Hey, Francophiles, we’re baaccckkkkk!  This was Tuesday, June 17.  This was Versailles day.  The palace and grounds are 12 miles outside of Paris, about a 20-minute train ride.  But we had concerns because some of the trains were on strike.  When we arrived at our station that morning, the ticket office was closed and there were no signs that anything was running.  Undaunted, the supervisor climbed over the ticket turnstile – I did not take photos of that lest I be called as a material witness.  Then suddenly someone in the group decided to try our subway tickets – they worked!  So off we went . . .

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[On the walk to the train station, we passed this building a few blocks from "home."  It's an embassy, though I can't remember whose?  Unique design that's tucked back off the street.]

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[We've arrived - the palace is about a 1/2 mile walk from the train station.]

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[We were greeted at the entrance by Louis XIV.  Contrary to some published reports at the time, we did not stand in front of his statue singing, "Louie, Louie!"]

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[A representative sampling of American tourists.]

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[Would not sell in our neighborhood . . . like so many things of some degree of antiquity, undergoing renovation.]

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[Inside, shooting back outside, in line waiting to get inside inside.  This was our one mostly gray day in Paris.]

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[The vestibule?]

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[Where we were by architectural model . . .]

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[Where we were by oil painting.]

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[A Louis?]

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[I don't know what it is, but it looks complicated?]

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[Reetz, what are you doing way up there?]

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[A statuary hall.]

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[Across a crowded room . . . an organ player.]

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[Are you starting to get the idea this place is just a tad pretentious?  And this is just the guest bedroom!  ;-)  ]

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[I believe this may be called the red room - but that's just a guess?]

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[The super and I shoot at cross purposes.]

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[Check any list of the most delightful things on Earth, a cherub's butt is gonna rank right up there!]

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[A view of the gardens.  Thankful for open windows as it was a rather tight squeeze going through the living quarters.]

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[Bill checks with his broker to determine whether Versailles is for sale?]

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[The supervisor accidentally "captures" a guy who prefers to remain anonymous!]

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[Yet another grand display of ostentatiousness!  ;-)  ]

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[The lady of the house.]

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[It's like the media covering a breaking news story.]

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[Well, the grandness of the place is magnificent.  Anne and The Biddies soak it all in.]

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[Keep looking at the floor and you'll get seasick!]

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[And now we've reached the hall of busts you read about in your history books . . . well, not about the busts, but about the people who became the busts . . . well, you know what I mean.  Voltaire leads off (he has good speed and will take a walk).]

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[Dag Obert?  I knew it!  We're French?]

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[There were more, but I've been accused of overexposure in the past.]

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[We'll end Part 1 with The Biddies on the tram ready for a tour of the gardens (Part 2).  Did I mention we ran into a couple we met on our river cruise here?  Amazing!  As I recall, they were a part of the fun-loving French-Canadian group.  There were times I felt a tad hot and claustrophobic on the palace tour - it's basically wall-to-wall people and I presume that is just the standard way it is.  If I had to do it again, less time inside the palace and more time out in the gardens.]

I don’t know what it is about the french language, it seems to be scared of coming out of the mouth so it comes out the nose instead.  ~  P.D.Q. Bach 

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Camp 2014

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[We left Mackinaw City early Sunday morning, driving back over the bridge on the way to Camp Brosius in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, our annual visit to Indiana University's alumni camp.   We had initially thought about taking the ferry across Lake Michigan from Ludington to Manitowoc, but the timing wasn't right.  We did have to back track a bit on the road, but then we got to go through Escanaba.  How many people can say they've been to Escanaba?  It's just fun to say . . . Escanaba!  Anyway, we got to camp about 1:00 - for at least the 2nd year in row, the first campers to arrive.  Camp staff was out waiting for us and sang the camp song for us - then two of them followed us to our cabin, Rappaport, to help us unload.  :-)  ]

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[This would be home for a week.]

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[Our first camp meal lakeside that night - by tradition, turkey with all the fixin's!  Mmmm!  :-) ]

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[Then the opening night campfire.  Reetz staked out her position under the totem pole.]

Editor’s note:  This will not be a day-to-day report of life at camp as in previous years – been there, done that, and we had an extended camp prelude trip.  This will be an overview of the whole week in which I basically pledged to complete “The Art of Fielding” and start an old Carl Hiaasen book.  The weather was perfect all week – sat by the lake or on the porch and read.  We lost some of the usual kids this year . . . school started earlier in Indiana.  Grandson Tom, who was a camp counselor last year spent this summer in Harbin, China, earning college credits . . .

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[Tom last year on the raft and with Grandma (in a heretic shirt!).]


[Also not here this year was Caitlin Van Kooten, but it was reported she was still "recovering" from a bike ride . . . all the way across the country.  4,200 miles, from toe in ocean Oregon to toe in ocean South Carolina, in 7 1/2 weeks with her fiancé - talk about your trial by fire!]


[Her dad, Rick, who was at camp this year and has something to do with string theory at Indiana University, rode the first 1,000 miles with Caitlin on his 25-year old bike before he apparently had to return for work.  Thus, endth the short history lesson, and back to this year . . . ]

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[The Biddies and the rest of us came down the first morning for sailing lessons.  Reetz has often sailed as a deck hand or, as in my case, as ballast, but this was the first time she soloed on a Sunfish.  Not bad!]

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[Here she comes!]

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[Oh, she's having fun!]

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[Coming in for a two-point landing, she almost lost it!  But with the skill of an ancient mariner, she saved it and didn't tip over!  :-)  ]

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[So, keep trying.]

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[Bring it in for Karina.]

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[The Biddies double team a paddle boat - under the watchful eye of the sailing instructor.]

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[We left the watch hare in charge while we were gone.]

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[The Biddies enjoy the morning sun lakeside.]

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[The path to Ye Olde Swimming Hole.]

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[Part of the 73 steps from lakeside to topside where the cabins and playing fields, basketball/tennis courts, horseshoe pits, et al, are located - and we did them at least three times a day (for each meal).]

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[The super guards a Sunfish.]

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[Nephew Chris, and others, out practicing for the regatta.]

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[As so often happens in such things, a 10-year old kid, who had never sailed until the previous day, won the solo regatta.  Ha!]

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[Fine dining night . . . walleye or prime rib!  And a little vino!  :-)  ]

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[All relatives, in some manner or another under the Eskimo kinship system.]

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[Annually, the usual suspects.]

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[Tie-dye every year.  Loved the drying display on the tennis court fence!]

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[The Biddies at play!  ;-)  ]

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[Hi, Max!  One of the regular kids.]

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[Reetz contemplates the finer points of cheating at Euchre.  Once again the Callecod sisters joined forces and reigned terror on the camp as The Biddies, storming to the championship game in both tournaments!  They lost the first when the other team claimed victory after one game (the tournaments are always 2 out of 3?), and they lost the latter when the cards went cold on them holding a 6 - 0 in the 3rd set.]

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[Another doctor (they're everywhere at camp) shoots one of his kids.  But it's a good thing nurse Reetz is there to tend to the usual child bumps, cuts, and bruises.]

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[An evening pontoon ride around the lake.  That's the Roundhouse on the left and the mess hall on the right.]

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[Ye Olde Swimming Hole with the Annex porch above where The Biddies lost the Euchre finals.]

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[Our cabin in the left.]

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[The super was actually enjoying herself.  ;-)  ]

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[Perfect time of the evening - looking back at camp on the far end of the lake.]

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[Cindy centers a rare - I've never seen one? - summer sun dog!]

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[The moon may be high, but I can't see a thing in the sky . . . ]

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[I only have eyes for you.]

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[The family tree of counselors.]

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[My one trip to the town of Elkhart Lake this trip.  I had to hit the little wine store for the nectar of the gods - a couple of bottles of sauterne.  :-)  ]

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[With new eyes, I'm now able to function with off-the-shelf sunglasses.  The camp featured Brosius shades for $5.00 a pair!  Being a bon vivant man-about-town, I bought one each of the 4 featured colors - orange, yellow, blue, and tortoise shell (for those formal events).]

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[Coming down for the "show off (IU) the colors" night!]

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[Let the good times roll . . . ]

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[Reetz and the DOM remained under the constant eye of those in charge!]

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[Dance and eat.]

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[Then it was back up top for the final campfire.  Chris's folks, Ed and Elke, enjoyed their 2nd year at camp.]

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[Sometimes you laugh so hard you just have to fall off a log.]

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[Reetz photos; Chris massages Beth.]

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[The final skits by the kids are always a hoot!]

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[So, until next year . . .]

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[Kudos to the staff the following morning at good-bye breakfast.  Tom worked with some of these guys last summer and I tried all week to get a group photo for him.]

I don’t believe man is woman’s natural enemy.  Perhaps his lawyer is.  ~  Shana Alexander

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Up next:  At long last, a return to Paris?

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The Bucket List III

   8-2-14-1 - Copy [Hey, CCLers, on the early morning road from Marquette to Mackinac . . . a roadside rest area powered by solar panels!  :-)  ]

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[Before proceeding, a forgotten note from the previous day.  This is a canned photo of Munising, Michigan, on South Bay, Lake Superior, about 37 miles from Marquette.  Just wanted to give it a call out as the coolest little town we traversed.]

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[I believe these are shot from the right side of the car - that would be me in the passenger seat.  Thus, while we were hugging Lake Superior from Marquette to the aforementioned Munising, that lake was on our left.  At Munising we headed south until we hit Lake Michigan, then we headed east again.  Thus, through the powers of deductive reasoning, these above would be of Lake Michigan.  ;-)  ]

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[Despite being a major reason for visiting the UP, we somehow managed to never have a pastie dinner?  The horrors!]

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[Cruising the Lake Michigan shoreline reminded me of driving the Outer Banks of North Carolina.]

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[Nope, didn't stop here either.  El Holm will never give me a homemade one ever again!]

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[Bottomed out of the UP at the nifty little port town of St. Ignace, which coincidentally is about the same size as Munising, where we boarded a Star Line Ferry for the trip to Mackinac Island.  While ferries run every half hour from both St. Ignace (on the north) and Mackinaw City (on the south), there are only a couple times each morning and evening when the ferry detours out to go around the Mackinac Bridge - we were lucky to arrive just in time for such that trip.  :-)  ]

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[The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island - I believe we determined it to be spendy and exclusive but nice to look at.]

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[I don't know why I particularly stopped for a caption here?  But I do find this goes much faster if I don't caption every picture.  This, of course, is still on the passage from St. Ignace to the island, less than a half hour trip.  It was a quite lovely day.]

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[Sailing, sailing, over the bounding main . . .]

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[We've landed.  We come in peace and pledge to do nothing to adversely affect the local populace . . . well, maybe a little fracking.]

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[OK, it's not the entire island.  Our map was bigger than our scanner and I didn't feel like futzing with it any longer.]

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[Little did we know the importance of this piece of scenery until a little later in the afternoon (see lunch).]

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[And they just keep coming . . . and going!!]

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[Downtown Mackinac Island, abuzz with all manner of tourists and touristas.]

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[From the above four photos you should get the idea that the only forms of transportation on the island are walking, bicycling, and horsepower (not the kind in an internal combustion engine).  So when you say, "That's horseshit" around here, you really mean it!  Oh, the super and I opted for walking . . . so we really had to watch our step!]

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[A rock with a plaque stuck on it.  OK, it says Mackinac Island, Michigan's Most Historic Spot (as chosen by the Michigan DAR).]

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[This is Father Marquette, who is also famed in Minnesota song and story.  Minneapolis named an avenue after him and Carlos Creek Winery named a wine (a good wine!) after him.  The following three photos were taken by a young lady who offered to do so, and she captured a potential award-winning shot of the gull that was on top of Marquette's head dropping through for a fly-by, and then captured him/her landed on the steps.]

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[More fun with Father Marquette.]

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[The view from Father Marquette . . . the one "up the hill" is of Mackinac Fort.  We opted not to go up there though several folks subsequently asked if we did.]

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[Rather than visiting the fort, this is the walk we opted for . . . up and around the Grand Hotel.  It was an uphill hike and got our juices flowing as it was getting a tad warm and sticky.  Though they do it all the time, felt for the horses, who though quite large, appeared to be laboring pulling those "trailers" full of people up those steep hills.]

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[Coming back down, a little outdoor café on the Grand Hotel golf course.]

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[The views from and around the Grand Hotel.  Where the super is standing is about as far as you can go in front of the hotel without paying a $5.00 sightseeing fee.  We opted not to.  ;-)  ]

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[As I recall, the governor's summer residence?]

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[Al Capone and a "moll"?]

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[We walked out to the edge of town where there was a little park that offered food and drink for sale.  We were getting hungry for lunch but . . .]

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[Kept on hiking out into the residential area.]

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[Much to her delight, the supervisor found the home of a fellow Hoosier!  :-)  ]

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[OK, far enough - let's start looking for a restaurant and trying to figure out how they do it when boatloads of people are arriving every half hour?]

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[OK, a long stretch between captions.  On the above sign you'll see where we ended up for lunch.  Why we decided to go in here, I'm not sure.  It's a hotel, and you can't really see the restaurant from the street, but it was the first place we hit upon coming back into town.  And then we discovered this is right next to where we disembarked from the ferry.  We had a lovely champagne lunch at the restaurant voted to have the best outdoor dining view, as reported by our server who thought I was quite the crazy old man.]

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[You can't swing a dead cat (or critter of your own choosing) on this island without hitting a fudge shop.  So, this is where the super chose for dessert.  I wondered how much sugar they must have to ferry out to the island to support all these shops - the super reported she did see large bags of sugar stacked somewhere along our route.]

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[Past the pirate ship, the harbor, and the Grand Hotel, it was time to go back to the mainland.]

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[What, another "selfie"?]

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[Well, at least get the size right!  And this is where we noted on Facebook that although we live on beautiful Lake Darling, on a lovely chain of lakes, we had yet to be on the water all year . . . and here, in a period of two days, we boated on three of the five great lakes.  In this instance, Lake Michigan is on the west side of the bridge and Lake Huron (and Mackinac Island) is on the east side.]

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[Back at St. Ignace.]

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[And then we drove over the bridge - from St. Ignace to Mackinaw City - for our overnight lodging.]

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[The view of the bridge from our lodging.]

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[On the way to dinner, I had to try out the motel's hammock - then I had to try out their chiropractor.  We ambled down the street for a block or two and found a family style restaurant where I had a lovely whitefish (the number one commercial fish of the Great Lakes) almondine.  To my indistinct memory, my first whitefish dinner . . . when in Rome . . .]

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[After dinner, we returned to the motel and then crossed the street for a literal "walk in the park."    ]

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[Just so you (and I) remember where we were.]

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[Just some photos in the park - nice lighting for these.  Like this latter one of girls skipping stones.]

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[There's not much more one can add to that.  But for a bit of history, the bridge spans the Straits of Mackinac, connecting Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsulas.  The Strait connects Lakes Michigan and Huron.  The bridge is the 5th longest suspension bridge in the world and was opened on November 1, 1957 (I seem to remember that as a kid).  Of serious note, the bridge's central span is designed to move 35 feet (east-west in high winds) - the most it has moved is 22 feet, which would be a pants wetter.  As someone who has crossed the much higher Chesapeake Bay Bridge many times, this wasn't a bad crossing . . . but then it wasn't moving either!]

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[People were gathering and frolicking in anticipation of the coming sunset.  After I shot the above photo of the super holding the sun, the camera battery crapped out.  Uffda!  Well, it was a good sunset, not a great sunset.]

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[Went back to the motel, popped in a recharged camera battery, and took these bridge photos from our balcony.  Next stop - camp!]

I would rather lie on a sofa than sweep beneath it.  ~  Shirley Conran

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