Saturday, October 5th, 2019, was the day of Tim’s dorm floor reunion. Tim and Jeri also drove up to Ames the previous night to visit with a lot of the guys and their spouses.
Saturday morning, Grandma Stogdill took us out for breakfast to the Cracker Barrel restaurant. Aunt Vickie and Rachel as well as Grandma’s good friend, Katie, were able to join us.
After breakfast, we stopped by Jordan Creek Mall in West Des Moines. The main goal was to get some steps. Grandma Stogdill tries to get 8,000 a day.
Then Tim and Jeri drove up to Ames. First we visited with our good friend, Annette. This was during Iowa State’s home football game with Texas Christian University.
Then we drove to Campustown and saw some old and a lot of new places. We found a place to park and began walking towards the stadium. We first stopped at the Memorial Union.
Here we are next to Lake Laverne.
As we walk to the stadium, people are leaving the game. (Iowa State won 49 to 24.) We got a picture in the stadium.
We had a great turnout for our reunion. Our group photo had 39 guys. (A lot of us also met the night before in Ames at an old fraternity house that was converted into a bed and breakfast.)
After the reunion, we started the drive back to Des Moines (well actually Johnston). Initially we thought to get a few slices of pizza at Casey’s but they were only selling whole pizzas. So we decided to stop at Hickory Park. It was a spur of the moment decision.
The parking lot was packed; apparently lot of people leaving the game had the same idea. Once inside, the hostess told us the wait would be about 20 minutes. Because we weren’t in any hurry, we decided to wait. Fortunately we were called back in less than five minutes.
We split a plate of deep fried appetizers and a veggie burger.
We finished with dessert. Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream with chocolate chips and a cookie. It was so sweet and rich that we didn’t finish it all.
Jill, Maggie, Laura, Joanna, and Victoria (in order of appearance) sing “Smile” (music by Charlie Chaplin, lyrics by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons). “Smile” was the concluding piece for Dr. Ali’s voice recital at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, CA on Saturday, September 28th, 2019.
Because Josiah is now 13 years old, we didn’t get free passes to the fair via their school/home school education program this year. Although we had to pay to get in, we were able to choose a day nearly perfect weather. It was partly cloudy with a high around 80 F.
Previously we were planning to attend the fair, the previous Friday. However the high that day was predicted to be around 100 F. We opted not to go that day.
Tim and Joanna worked from home in the morning. Then around 1 PM, the five of us (Jeri, Tim, Joanna, Victoria, and Josiah) headed out for the 50 minute drive up to Pomona.
Because we arrived at the fair starving, our first stop was for food. We found a vegan food truck, Govinda’s Veggie Bomb. We bought three of their Atomic Tacos, a Yogi Bowl, and their Bomb Nachos. Joanna also picked up an order of Chipotle fries from another vendor.
Of course the fair has many vendors. One that we seem to visit every year sells women’s dresses. Some are made in Italy; most are from India. Tim liked one that Jeri ended up getting.
The girls did some shopping and found some dessert.
One of the must-sees for Josiah were the steam engines. The train museum is on the fairgrounds and has a number of old trains.
After the girls finished some shopping, they joined Tim and Josiah to see the trains.
After the trains, we wondered around saw and heard some fun stuff. They had some cutout displays.
We took some pictures with the Ferris wheel behind us.
Victoria worked VERY hard to get ready for her voice recital. She would stay at Orange Coast College many afternoons. Lizzie would help her on piano and Joanna would be her coach.
Mai and Victoria opened the evening with a beautiful duet.
Victoria and Mai alternated sets of two or three pieces.
Here is a piece that Mai sang. She, too, sang very well.
The final piece of the recital was trio sang by Mai, Victoria, and Joanna.
As an encore for Mai and Victoria’s voice recital, Sarah, Joanna, Jeffrey, and Lizzie joined to perform Jazz Talkin’. This sophomore voice recital was required as part of Orange Coast College’s Music program.
After the recital, there were snacks and refreshments outside. This was conducive for people to hang around and visit.
Sarah and Joanna opted to stay in NYC one extra day after their Carnegie Hall concert. The rest of the choir returned to California on Tuesday.
In the morning (after only a few hours of sleep), Sarah and Joanna joined a few others to see the High Line which is an elevated park that was created from a former train line.
Later in the morning the rain started. They took the subway back to the Westin Hotel in Times Square. And Tim and Jeri took the subway from their Airbnb to meet them at their hotel.
Here we are in the hotel lobby.
By now it is raining with puddles everywhere.
After dropping off their luggage at our Airbnb, we walk to Lombardi’s, a pizza place that came highly recommended from a choir friend.
We enjoyed the pizza and experience very much.
Walking back, we stopped at Teikai NYC, a famous soft-serve ice cream store known for its fish-shaped cones.
Joanna got ice cream at Matcha n’ More. The display reads “love you very matcha” behind Joanna.
We relaxed back at the apartment. We originally planned to take the Staten Island Ferry and see the Statue of Liberty (along with Staten Island) but the wet weather caused us to change our minds.
Later in the evening, we decided to get food delivered from Buddha Bodai, a Chinese vegan restaurant recommended by our Airbnb host. At 9:00 PM, we placed our order and the guy shows up on his bicycle about 20 minutes later. We gave the guy a nice tip.
On Saturday afternoon, June 8th, 2019, Jeri and Tim left Orange County for Moline, Illinois to visit Tim’s mom. However the trip didn’t start off well at all. And it went downhill from there.
Our first plane had mechanical issues so the pilot opted to not fly it. The replacement pilot reviewed the issues and the maintenance log and also decided to not fly it. So we eventually got another plane and had to switch gates…not once, but twice.
Our late start out of John Wayne Airport had us concerned
that we would miss our tight connection in Dallas. During our flight, the
flight attendant assured everyone that they would make their connections.
When we arrived in Dallas and checked the monitors, we saw that the flight to Moline had indeed been delayed several times. We thought that maybe they are holding the plane for us. However it was scheduled to leave very shortly. We decided to hustle to the next gate (at another terminal) just in case the flight was delayed one more time.
When we arrive at the terminal and at our gate, we see
crowds and lines of people. Our flight was initially said to be boarding, then
went to delayed, then finally canceled.
Turns out that a GPS software update was grounding a number of aircraft that day. So we now had to find a place to stay in Dallas for the night. We were booked on the next available flight to Moline which was the next day in the evening. (The late morning flight was already full.)
Long story short, we finally found a nearby hotel to stay and were picked up by the hotel shuttle. Here we are waiting for the shuttle.
We get to our room around midnight. We only had our carry-on bags. All of our clothes and toiletries were in our checked bag. Fortunately we each had a toothbrush and toothpaste on us.
In the morning, our hotel served breakfast. After checking out, we spent our time in the hotel lobby. Tim had his laptop so he could work on some stuff. Jeri had some reading material and puzzles with her. For lunch, we ate some snacks that we brought along with us.
When evening approached, we took the shuttle back to the airport. When we get to the gate, we found that we didn’t have seat assignments and were told to check the Standby list. What?!? Does this mean that we might not make the flight to Moline and would have to stay another night in Dallas…without our luggage? (By the way, due to the nature of the cancellation, the American Airlines would not have to reimburse our hotel expenses.)
On top of that, severe weather was in the Dallas area which
caused many flights to be delayed and some flights to be canceled.
We stopped at a place for food. Jeri got a grilled veggie
panini; Tim got tofu, brown rice, broccoli with Thai chili sauce which was
healthy but not as tasty as Jeri’s.
So we wait and wait as our “flight” (for which we don’t have
confirmed seats) kept getting delayed. The 8:45 PM scheduled departure turned
into 10:45 PM. Then finally a 12:45 AM departure was announced. We were
thrilled when we were issued boarding passes and took our seats near the very
back of the plane.
Shortly before takeoff, the flight attendant said that the pilot wanted to even out the weight and asked if we would be willing to move to the first class seats in front. Of course we would! So we got nice large seats in the first row. However we slept (or tried) sleeping most of the flight so we didn’t really enjoy the upgrade.
We finally arrive at the Moline airport around 3:20 AM. We wait and wait and wait at baggage claim hoping to get our luggage. After 20 or 30 minutes the last bags were unloaded with ours nowhere in sight. So we get in Grandma’s car and head home.
Everyone, including Grandma, was hungry. So we decided to have breakfast before going to bed.
By the time we get to bed it is nearly 5 AM Monday morning! Remember we left home Saturday afternoon. The eight or nine-hour travel turned into 40 hours!
But we were thankful to make it safely. Later Monday morning, Tim went on line to track the luggage and to provide a delivery address. It looked like our bag (still containing all of our clothes and toiletries) wouldn’t make it until Tuesday morning. However we were pleasantly surprised went it showed up Monday evening around 9 PM.
On Saturday, June 15th, 2019, Jill and Chris were married at an outdoor ceremony in the Catskill Mountains of New York. Tim, Jeri, and Grandma Pau flew from Moline (via Detroit). Mavis and her husband, Greg, drove from Columbus, Ohio. We all stayed at a nice Airbnb house in the country.
The weather was cool and windy on Friday. However we woke up Saturday morning to a bright and sunny day. The property was large and had a creek flowing out back.
Being out in the country, there were no fast-food places near by for lunch. So after a little online research, we drove to Mama’s Boy Burgers in Tannersville. (They had veggie burgers for the non-meat eaters.)
Here we are waiting for our food.
Here we are after lunch.
Back at the house, we get ready to head to the wedding.
A selfie out on the back deck.
They had a creative way of letting people know their table assignments.
The actual ceremony was short and sweet.
Family photo of the Pau side. From left to right, Gerald and Femma Lo, Christina Pai, Shannon Pai , Jonathan Pai (holding their son, Sebastian), Mavis, Betty, Greg Harris, Cyrilla, Vivian Pai, Michael, Jeri, and Tim.
Looking out from the barn while Jill’s side of the family gets their picture taken.
The dinner following the wedding was in the barn and was very nicely done. The tables were beautifully decorated. Each guest had his or her name carved out of wood and placed on the table.
Here is Grandma Pau and Aunt Vivian Pai after dinner.