Ok, first of all, earlier in the week I did that post about my lingering sickness – I spoke too soon. It has not gone away, but I’m still not talking real well … but life goes on whether or not I can talk.


We made it to St. Paul early in the evening and stopped at the G.’s house just in time for supper along with some previous employees who now live in CA and whom we haven’t seen for a few years. Then we headed across the Twin Cities to check out the church.

The next morning we headed back to the church for the G’s very last conference after 40 years of ministry.

The people were friendly and responsive and even though I had a difficult time talking my way through the day, I so enjoyed being there. (The city where munchkin #2 was born.)


After walking back down the 223 225 steps, we sat at a picnic table on the beach and split the cupcake – tasted good!

The pictures make the beach look sparkling white and that’s exactly what it DID look like. Very pretty with the yellow and orange leaves on the surrounding trees.

We sat, enjoying the white, white sand, the yellow and orange trees and feeling the warm breeze.

One of those couldn’t-be-better moments.


225 (OR MAYBE 223) STEPS

So, moving on up the road we saw a sign for Mill Bluff State Park and decided to check it out.

Their are ten bluffs in the park, but the main trail goes up Mill Bluff itself – straight up for 225 stone steps.

I know because Sue counted.

However, later I read that there are 223 steps and that they were built back in the mid 1930s by the WPA which might be the reason they were so uneven (and maybe two were broken in two). Some were big steps, some were little steps and like I said, they seemed to go straight up.

But the walk to the top was worth it as we looked out at the autumn-colored trees and a few of the other bluffs.

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So, last Friday, Sue and I (and my croaky voice) headed north. (Gotta love Sue who is a great road trip friend and kept reminding me to drink my tea all weekend.)

I knew the trip would be pretty with the changing leaves – but I also thought it might be fun to eat somewhere different for lunch. So I did some checking on the Web and found a place just off the highway that had 84 good reviews.

When we got there, we discovered it was a vegetarian restaurant which is not what we were looking for, but we’re both ok with the occasional omelette or crepe, so we stuck it out.

Sue had the soup of the day which was (yes, truly) cauliflower, coconut and sweet potato. She offered me a spoonful and it actually wasn’t that bad. I don’t know that I could have eaten a cup of it – but maybe a half cup.

I had the American omelette and it was one of the first things I’ve had the past three weeks, that I’ve honestly liked, so not complaining.

They had a dessert cabinet which slowly turned so you could see the delicious-looking desserts – but they offered to stop it for me so I could take a picture. We bought one cupcake to eat later.

The place also had a lot of literature about coming together as one religion and they even gave you a prayer to pray.

Hmmmm ….

Ok. The omelette was good.

Movin’ on …


I realize that reading my blog, you might think that all I do is roam around the country taking pictures – so not true.  (Though I do know how to make a two-day trip into two weeks of blog posts.)  But there’s a lot of crazy life that happens in between the trips and pictures, a lot of crazy life that I don’t write about.

These past three weeks are a good example.

Even though I did make mention of losing my voice, I didn’t go into the details.

Three weeks ago in Montana, I caught a cold (I think I actually caught it before I went) and by the time I finished my workshops, I was barely talking.

Once home, I only felt worse. I was supposed to go back to work on Thursday, but did not have the strength, so I took a sick day … and then another.  I immediately went to the clinic because I was aware I had another conference coming up and I needed my voice and my strength. The doctor said probably what had happened is my resistance was down and some strange germ sitting in the dead-plane air must’ve attacked me.

All weekend I sat on my couch watching reruns, not even having the energy to change the remote. I sat in my voiceless fog.

By this time I wasn’t keeping any food down and nothing looked good to me.  Monday I took another sick day (I cannot even remember the last time I took three sick days). I was encased in my own bubble. No strength. No food. No voice.

I knew I would have to cancel my upcoming conference which was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I don’t like letting people down and I had been scheduled for two years!  But there was nothing I could do. I couldn’t talk.

One day mid-week, I actually got to work for a meeting – then came home and didn’t move for the rest of the day.

Finally, about Thursday, about 12 days after the initial onslaught of germs, I got my mental motivation back – but still could not really talk or move.  I went to work on Friday, but gave out by 2:00.

I sat speechless over the weekend.

Monday, I went to work, but again gave out by about 2:00 and still wasn’t talking.

Tuesday, I tried again and there were tiny, little moments when others could sort of hear my voice.

I had another conference coming up this weekend and I was absolutely determined NOT to cancel. This was the Gerards last conference after 39 years, so there were no do overs.

By Friday, my voice was a lot stronger and I wasn’t losing my strength until about 7:00, so I was hopeful. However, I had been cautioned that speaking all day, I might do permanent damage to my not-yet strong voice.

But I did it. Great conference – people were very patient with me and even though I had a packed room with people sitting on the floor, I managed to make myself heard. About 3:00 in the afternoon, I suddenly felt hungry, too!  I had two pieces of pizza for supper and they tasted good. (I actually lost ten pounds through the whole thing.)

So now we’re at day 23.  My voice is there, but still sounding weird – not quite back to normal.  But I’m once again happily eating and my strength is back 90%.

Whoa!  That was not something I’m anxious to go through again real soon.

OK, enough of that – I’ll be posting about the Minnesota trip soon.


Soon the mountains gave way to rolling ranch lands as we headed back to Avon.

Because of the time, the MM decided we should eat at the Avon Cafe – it was Monday and that meant meatloaf. (“Meatloaf Mondays). By the cafe is fairly popular and by the time we got there, the meatloaf was gone – however they still had other great food.

Here I am In the Helena Airport – waiting for my flight to Denver – not knowing that some gigantic germ was about ready to attack my already cold-drenched head.