We spent the better part of today at Holiday Valley! It was so gorgeous there -- bright sunshine for hours, beautiful snow and happy faces. We had nine skiiers (eight downhill and one cross-country) while Cindy and I took turns manning the lunch table in the lodge. Brock was "the penguin," coming straight down the bunny hill, sans poles, with arms stuck out from his body. Sarah tried cross country skiing for a while but gave up in favor of her latest Dan Brown book. Tammy was easy to spot in her hot pink jacket. Eric and Mike didn't take long to recall their ski skills from years gone by. Eric F. and Tim were the newbies but did great! Ben and Blake had a wonderful time zipping down the hills. We are so blessed to have had this perfect day to be together and enjoy Holiday Valley!
Here are some photos of the Saturday night Halloween party at the Central Terminal, a benefit for the Variety Club. If you look at the shot of the crowd, you may be able to pick out John and me in the lower left corner. Click on the photo to make it larger. John's in a red jacket and I have on a white shirt. Enjoy!
What a greeting I got in Ft. Myers! It was 99 degrees on Mike's car thermometer when he picked me up at the airport. The heat was nearly as wonderful as seeing Mike's face, especially after the cold week we have had in Buffalo. We had a good day, visiting Barnes and Noble to get some reading material for our catamaran trip tomorrow to Key West, lunch at Tropical Smoothie Cafe (Mike's recommendation), took a long walk along Naples beach, marvelled at the waterfront homes (mansions) there, did a little window shopping along 5th Avenue in Naples and had dinner at a favorite place in Tin City, The Riverwalk. We have an early call for our boat ride tomorrow so we are spending a quiet evening at the hotel. Mike's got a baseball game on and I am catching up on e-mail. Sorry -- no photos right now due to technical problems.
This weekend's Porter Cup golf tournament was quite the challenge! So much rain interfered with the playing, spectators and events. Still, it was fun to watch as long as you could stay under a tree, out of the rain and out of the mud. That last part ~~ impossible! Much of Friday's round I spent barefoot. Just easier than dealing with the sandal-sucking mud that booby-trapped the fairways at regular intervals. Mike caddied for a very gentlemanly man from Ohio and Tim split his time between Eddie and Dylan. I enjoyed making some new friends on the course ~~ Dylan's mom, another "Caddymom" and a player's mother from Pittsford. Friday night was dinner at Casa Antiqua in Lewiston and the chance to get to know the South Africans better. They had some great stories to relate! Enjoy some of the shots I took before the batteries on my camera went out.
Oh, my goodness! I am positively gaga over these new bushes ~~ like a new mom fussing over an infant. I watch them, tend them, talk to them. "Good morning, my pretties! Did you have a good night? Are you thirsty?" On the other hand, several neighbors have phoned or stopped to tell me how nice it looks now. I am looking forward to stopping at the nursery (Aha! Baby reference again!) to choose some annuals to fill in some spots. I am thinking that Sunday after church might be perfect . . . if I can wait that long!
Sunday turned out to be a fine day to sit on the lawn at the art gallery and listen to some jazz. We sat near this sculpture and enjoyed Phil Sims and the Buffalo Brass jazz ensemble. Not to be missed - crowd watching!
Today we had a chance to gather at Mom and Dad's for a farewell dinner with Blake, Ben and Brock before they head back to OKC. We enjoyed some Chef's sauce and sausage over pasta with salad, bread and dessert. So great to see everyone together - seems like we've been having a lot of that lately!
We (an aunt, uncle, three nephews and me) had such a fun time at Darien Lake park today! The weather was perfect! We rode all the scary roller coasters. The boys are much braver than I ever thought they'd be. We rode and screamed on the Viper, Predator, Boomerang, Motocoaster and Ranger. Blake even was brave enough to dare to ride the Superman giant coaster. I thought the ferris wheel was the best ride, even though some (no names here!) were terrified on it. A brief encounter with a bee and one lost child added to the adventure of the day. Luckily, all ended well with some chicken wings at Duff's. Watch for more photos coming soon.
The Killer B's and Uncle Tim and Aunt Cindy spent the day in Niagara Falls, having fun. Breakfast at the world-famous Villa Coffeehouse in Lewiston, New York before heading to a ride on the Maid of the Mist. Nothin' beats snow tubing and ice skating in July!
The gang got together at Arcade this weekend for a family reunion with the clan from OKC. Fish were caught, ladderball game was assembled and played, margaritas consumed, news exchanged, bug spray applied and plenty of hugs given. We were blessed with great weather and delicious food to enjoy. How we all love having Eric, Tammy and the boys here!
Dad and I are back in WNY after our trip to see Mike. We wish that we could have brought them some luck with making the cut, but here's hoping for good news from Valdosta. We enjoyed our time with Mike and Steve and learned a lot about what goes into this profession. Here are a few photos to give you an idea of the course. Many thanks to Uncle Roger and Aunt Dorothy for their hospitality on the road back and to Matt for taking such good care of Ray while I was gone!
It's a sunny Friday morning here in Winder (rhymes with grinder -- still working on that pronunciation). Mike is over doing his prep work on the course, marking today's pin positions with his pal Don. We are beginning to appreciate all the behind-the scenes work that goes into these Nationwide Tour events. There are hundreds of people involved and long hours. Mike's days begin at dawn and usually don't end until late in the day. Steve is in a threesome with Trevor Dodds and Garrett Osborn. Dad and I followed their play for the back nine holes, after which Steve was two under par. Dad then sat out the front nine while I followed along as the lone gallery member. Dad might have been a good luck charm because it didn't go as well for Steve on the other nine. He finished three over par. Mike and Steve went off to get something to eat while Dad and I ate in the clubhouse. Before we were finished, Mike called to say that he was free for the rest of the day. So we had some unexpected "bonus" time with Mike, back at the hotel, where Dad quizzed Mike on the workings of the tour. After relaxing for a while, we headed out for dinner and then Mike went back to his hotel in Madison for some much needed rest. They tee off at 1:40 today and we are hoping for many birdies!
Dad and I arrived safely in Winder (rhymes with binder) last night after about 12 hours on the road. We had rain, fog, a little sun but an otherwise good journey south. Today we had breakfast at the hotel and set out to scope out directions to the golf course, which is about 20 miles from the hotel. We parked, got a shuttle down to the driving range to look around and, as we got out of the cart, who should be walking up the hill towards us, but Mike! (We could NOT have planned this if we wanted it to happen!) He was about to take a break so we had the chance to visit with him and watch the golfers on the range while he brought us up to date on his activities. We met some of the guys (Don, Gary, Aaron) that he has been working with as well. The Pro/Am was underway so Mike was hoping for a break in that in order to get his prep work done. Steve was still at his hotel, so we did not get a chance to see him. Dad and I then proceeded to the Georgia Botannical Gardens in Athens to spend some relaxing time wandering around the beautiful grounds. The dogwoods and azaelas are in bloom. On our way through Athens, we saw some frat/sorority houses that were huge, gorgeous mansions. Two houses even had girls in pastel ball gowns posing for photos on the front steps (think "Gone with the Wind" meets "Animal House"). Wonder what that was all about?! There are Georgia bulldogs everywhere. Dad even spotted one on a man's belt! As we finished up at the gardens, Mike phoned to say he had a break, so we met him at the Georgia Square Mall for more talk time. Right now, Dad and I are back at the hotel, relaxing. If Mike finishes his work early enough, we might meet him for dinner tonight. He seems happy, relaxed but focused on his job. Team Han goes off at 8:40 tomorrow morning.
For those of you who have been following family news, you might know by now that Matt and Erin had a fire in their home on Monday. They and all their animals got out safely, thanks to Matt's quick thinking and are now staying here with Ray and me. They will spend the rest of this week salvaging what they can and dealing with the aftermath -- insurance agents, cleaners, and more. They will not be moving back to that home! We are all so thankful that they are safe, and that the wonderful Kenmore firefighters were so conscientious and careful to safeguard many of their things. Ray is definitely enjoying his new "pack!" Welcome Bentley, Daisy and Max!
Take a look at the bag that Mike will be hauling all over God's creation this year! He is sure that his cousin Brock would easily fit inside! Team Han leaves for Panama this coming week. Please keep them in your prayers!
I had a phone call from Mike last night. He and Steve were in Scottsdale for the FBR PGA tournament. They met with Eric, Anthony Kim's caddy, and walked a few holes with him. Mike also met AK himself! Then they went to another course to meet with Steve's instructor. Tomorrow they planned to get in some more practice and go to PING before returning to Las Vegas on Thursday. The plans are for them to leave for LA on Sunday and fly out to Panama from there on Monday. He sounded good -- excited about all he is doing and seeing. Since there was no internet access at his hotel in Phoenix, his plans to get his own blog underway are delayed a bit. Stay tuned for more information and keep him and Steve in your prayers!
Finally! We rolled into Las Vegas about 4:30 (Pacific Time) this afternoon. It was a perfect trip -- good weather, no traffic, no remorseful conversations with the law, no accidents and (this part is absolutely unbelievable) never getting lost! Mike did most of the driving and it really wasn't too bad, all things considered. We crossed the Continental Divide, stopped to marvel at the Hoover Dam, listened to many great country music stations and caught President Obama's inauguration on the radio. Once we unpacked the car, we hustled off to see about a bed for Mike and bought some other household things. Steve's home is huge and I think Mike will be very comfortable there. I will send photos just as soon as I get home. For now, enjoy these from the Hoover Dam. Keep us in your prayers!
We have safely arrived in Albuquerque, in a lovely downtown hotel. Saying goodbye to Eric, Tammy, Blake, Ben and Brock in OKC was difficult, but we are thankful to have had such a wonderful visit with them. They were great hosts! We had clear roads, little traffic and a bit of wind (tumbleweeds!) as we made our way through Oklahoma, the panhandle of Texas and on into New Mexico. We passed the Cadillac Ranch, a bit of a disappointment because it was on the opposite side of the highway so we didn't have a great look at this wacky cultural icon. The timing seemed right (gained an hour and no delays) for us to make a last minute detour north to Santa Fe, where we spent a few hours roaming in and out of galleries and shops. Mike gets bonus points for being patient as I browsed! We had dinner there at the San Francisco Street Bar and Grill and then drove another hour to get to Albuquerque. Tomorrow Barack Obama is inaugurated as President and we roll into Las Vegas! Wow!
We packed in a whole lot of OKC today! Great breakfast cooked by our own "Chef Pierre," followed by services at Lakeside Assembly of God. Music and message very familiar from the Chapel at Crosspoint, but inspiring in its own way. We went to lunch at Applebee's with the gang, plus Gene and Charlotte, then toured the magnificent grounds at Coles Gardens. We said goodbye to them and headed downtown to view the OKC National Memorial. What an awesome testament to hope and healing, but sad nonetheless! Eric then very kindly drove us all around downtown, pointing out all the sights. By then we had pushed the limits of patience for the Killer B's, so we headed back to their home. Now, just hanging out, watching football and winding up our visit. Tomorrow we head out for Las Vegas. Keep us in your prayers!
It's the night before it all begins. The packing is done. Travel plans are set. Even the dog (check out his huge ears in the photo here) is taken care of for now. Tomorrow I meet Mike in Tampa and he begins his big trip West. My hope is that this blog will enable family and friends to keep track of Mike and his new adventure. Stay tuned for details on our trip.