Grapes from Thorns

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Monday, October 15, 2007

Shanghai heights

A good friend of mine from high school, Mike Helsper, works for a company in the computer industry in southern California. On a business trip, he recently went to Shanghai. He provided me with this view of the Shanghai skyline. Very impressive.

Monday, October 01, 2007

On the road again

I drove back to Cincinnati from Anaconda. It was just short of 2,000 miles. I rented a Mercury Mountaineer from Avis and packed it full of stuff. Crammed inside are a dining room table and six chairs, a nice padded chair for my living room, and numberous boxes of all kinds of family stuff. We are still in the process of moving things out of the house that had been our family home for nearly 50 years. After bidding farewell to the big stack on the way out of Anaconda, I drove to Billings on the first day and spent a very enjoyable night with some old friends, the Kemmicks. The second day, I drove for 12 hours from Billings through Wyoming and across South Dakota to Sioux Falls where I spent the night. The next day, bright and surly, I set off. I veered south toward Lincoln, Nebraska. Somewhat north of there, I caught a eastbound interstate and headed across Iowa. Hours later, Iowa gave way to Illinois. Hours later, Illinois gave way to Indiana. Being within striking distance of Indianapolis was encouraging. Indy is only two hours from Cincinnati. Finally, I cruised through the Indy metro area. Somewhere west of Indy, I had seen my first sign from Cincinnati. I plowed on. After at least 15 hours on the road, I arrived home. Riley was pleased to see me.

Swan Lake rendevous

We took a drive to Swan Lake one day to visit the Crosswhite and little Veronica St. Onge, our little cousin who has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). At top are the Fontanas with Donny Crosswhite and his wonderful Chinese wife. Next is a great little garden Donny's wife has put just alongside the lake. She has also landscaped a little creek that runs nearby. It is all very nice. At bottom is little Veronica at a tea party with her aunt, a school teacher from Arizona who spent much of the summer at Swan Lake helping Debbie with Veronica.

Gathering of the clans

While home in Anaconda, I had the opportunity to get together with both the McGuire and Menahan clans. Here are some photos. At top, we have Jack and Tommy McGuire, Joan McGuire Michaels, and Dan McGuire. Next we have me, Red Menahan, and Joan McGuire having an afternoon beer at Carmel's Bar, an Anaconda institution. Next, we have the beautiful Menahan girls, Mike Menahan, Shirley Menahan, John (Pam's boyfriend), and Pam Buralli. At bottom, Joan McGuire, Stacy Menhan, and Red. The Menahans had put on a pork roast and we all had a fine meal washed down with cold refreshments.
Sadly, the gathering with the Menahans came about because of the death of one of my cousins, Patsy McGuire, Joan's sister. Weddings and funerals always prove to be mini-family reunions. We much prefer the weddings.

For the Birds

At top, some geese strutting their stuff at a friend's house in Deer Lodge. At bottom, a blue beauty sporting some fine plumage is at home near David McNay's summer cabin at Georgetown Lake.

Family gatherings

During my September visit to Montana, my California sister was also home so it was a great opportunity for us to go out break bread together. So we broke bread, beer, pizza, fried chicken... At top, David and Darlene McNay join us at Seven Gables at Georgetown Lake, in the middle, we sample some pizza at a great new place in Butte, and at bottom, have have some refreshments and food in Bozeman. At top, you see Katie Fontana, Darlene and David, me, Pam, Lynn and Joe Fontana.

Nice kitty

One of my good friends in Montana has a bobcat for a pet. She calls it Butter. It is very gentle, sleeps a lot just like an ordinary cat, and even purrs - although it sounds a little like a growl. With a soft wiry coat, Butter likes to be petted but her paws are bigger than my palms and she is very solid underneath that fur. You can see that she likes to play with the housecat (the housecat was not enthusiastic about this) and their dog. While it may look like she just killed the dog, she was actually just lying nose-to-nose to it, pawing at it to get it to play.