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Friday, May 30, 2008

Vacation Stories, pt. 3

On Sunday we drove up to Ann Arbor to see Mom Stahl and Larry. We met them for brunch at IHOP, which was packed but worth the (shorter than expected!) wait. After a delicious meal, we caravaned over to Saline to see some of Larry's photography - which was part of an art auction and doing well. We then went to Larry's house, dropped off our car, and headed back out, this time to go to the Clinton Flea Market. I bought a really cool wooden rose for my collection of "fake" roses (really, I have a vase full). Next we went for a drive in the country and saw: the barn featured in one of Larry's displayed photos, a farm with goats and sheep and llamas, another farm with miniature horses, and finally a farm with camels. Boy does Michigan have diverse livestock!

We wrapped up our afternoon by visiting at Larry's house for a while. I helped Mom make the banner for the ESL department at her school - she does one every year, all the kids sign it and then it hangs in the school - Larry had printed out some clip art to go with the theme and Mom and I positioned and ironed it on (I did the ironing). I got to open my birthday present (cool Pooh pajamas!) and also gave Mom some of the pictures from the Loebrich Family Photo Shoot. Larry had prepared a fabulous pork roast and veggies in his slow cooker, so we had a delicious dinner before getting back on the road.

The drive to Kalamazoo from Clinton is pretty easy (thanks for the warning about the jog in the road in Manchester, Larry!) and we made it to Cyndee's house in good time. We had a nice visit with her and Paul, and their children, Brandon and Olivia. It was amazing how much they'd grown in the last two years! We spent the night there (thanks again for letting us use your room, Brandon!). Cyndee had also taken Monday off work so, once the kids were off to school, we headed in to town. We stopped at the mandatory places - Meijer's and Sweetwater's! Bruce and I splurged and got a dozen donuts at Sweetwater's, oh the yumminess of a traditional chocolate cake donut with glaze and a good old fashioned French cruller!

Then it was on to Kalamazoo College campus. The renovations to Hicks Center are amazing and I can't wait to see it when it's completely done. We did cause some consternation with the lunch lady as we poked in to see how Old Welles Hall has been retrofitted into the cafeteria, but once we explained that we were only alumni checking things out all was well. Then it was off to the bookstore for souvenirs before Cyndee headed home to take advantage of her day off.

We had arranged to meet up with my two student externs slated for this summer. So we met Paul in the coffee shop in Upjohn Library. We had a great chat before he had to go to his next class. We look forward to hosting his externship in September.

Then we ran down to Burger King for lunch. We came back up to campus, found a place to park, and listened to a bit of the College Band Concert on the steps of Fine Arts. I went into the library to use the bathroom and then stopped in the video studio to say hi to one of my former teachers, Dhera, who kindly took time out of her taping session and helped me track down one of my former externs, Marlene. When I came back outside, Bruce had found our most recent extern, Kelly, who was also listening to the concert! We had a nice visit with her during the rest of the show.

Cute K College story: I have been eager to meet Kalamazoo College's new president, Dr. Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran, for many reasons, but this is the first time I've been to campus in two years so I really haven't had a chance. Well, she was at the concert! I had heard that she was making an effort to be involved in campus life. I think it was Kelly who told me a story of being greeted by President Wilson-Oyelaran, by name, while crossing the quad. When the concert was over, we were still standing in the middle of the sidewalk talking with Kelly and Dr. Wilson-Oyelaran walked by, looked right at us, and said, "Hi, everybody, how are you?" So I at least got to say "hi," even though I haven't yet had the time to introduce myself as an alumna.

Suddenly we realized it was time for the meeting we had arranged with Kristaps, my other extern for this summer. So we dashed across the street to Dewing. He had just finished his classes for the day and we had a nice chat with him before parting ways so he could go to the externship orientation session. We look forward to hosting his externship this July.

We then went back over to the library where we had arranged to meet Marlene. We had a great visit with her including getting to see pictures from her wedding last fall.

After a lovely day, we got on the road and headed back to Toledo. We wrapped up Monday by taking Dad and Cindy out for dinner at their favorite area Mexican place. A good time was had by all.

Tuesday we stopped by Aunt Maggie's to look at the dresser and nightstand that go with our bedstead. We had a nice, although brief, visit as we talked about ways to reunite the three pieces of furniture. Then we met Mom Loebrich for lunch before heading down to Columbus. We spent a relaxing evening playing Wii with Debbe, Duncan, and Derek before calling it a night.

Wednesday we got on the road to NC. We drove at a leisurely pace, stopping for snacks, gas and breaks. We had some bouts of rain, but for the most part the weather held. Of course we stopped at Tamarack in West Virginia and had an enjoyable rest walking about looking at the booths before getting back in the car.

It was a delightful vacation. We really enjoyed the time with loved ones.

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