Memorial Day…Love and respect for those who gave their lives for our freedom…More family visits…

Nothing signifies Minnesota more than the commonly found Canadian Goose.

We extend our hearts and prayers to those who lost loved ones to war and strife throughout the world. Many celebrate with worship and reverence as a special part of today’s observations. May this day and others bring peace and healing for those who remember lost loved ones.

Yesterday, Sunday of this Memorial Day weekend, we drove to Sandstone, Minnesota to see daughter Tammy and family at their campground in Askov, aka Asking.

They’re pretty to look at but poop two pounds per day in the grass, a real nuisance for homeowners, particularly those living on a lake, as we did in our old lives.

The drive in the new Ford Explorer was pleasant while I worked on the settings on our phones for which we’d purchased SIM cards at a local T. Mobile store. Unfortunately, it was pricey for the two months of unlimited calls, text and 4 gigs of data at $180 for both phones, more than we’ve paid in any country.

We knew we couldn’t spend the nine weeks in the US without phones, especially with one car and the need to pick one another up during planned activities that may include only one of us.

This sky view took our breath away.

During the long drive, we sent our numbers by text to family members and now we’re easily able to stay in touch for planning and confirming our get-togethers over the remaining 39 days until we leave for Nevada for part two of the family visits.

What a pretty sky.  Rainstorms like this are typical for Minnesota and the Midwest.

Tammy, Tracy and our grandson Vincent have an RV parked in a permanent spot in a lovely fully equipped campground near Hinckley, Minnesota, home of several casinos and popular vacation spots. Many locals travel from all over the state to gamble and enjoy the countryside.

A deep bank of clouds and rain greeted us on the return drive before dark.

Warmly welcomed by the family and their two giant Newfoundland dogs, we settled in for an enjoyable day of lively chatter and catching up. Unfortunately, it was a rainy and cool day, and we spent most of the day inside the camper. 

It was raining in mysterious sheets during the drive back to our hotel around 8:00 pm.

Later in the day, when the sun peeked out we gathered around a roaring campfire for more conversation and laughter. It was an easy day spent sharing a piece of their lives as they too, like all of our children and grandchildren, have found a “happy place” where they unwind and relax while still working and raising their families.

At specific points, there was a massive downpour.

We’re deeply touched by the love and emotions shared by our family and look forward to every single moment we can spend together. Once again, we’re humbled and in awe of the world around us, cherishing every interaction, each beautiful scene and the prospect of what is yet to come.

May your day be memorable in many ways.

Photo from one year ago today, May 29, 2016:

This cat, who didn’t seem to mind, was getting a lot of personalized attention from these three monkeys at the Monkey Temple in Bali, if you see what I mean. For more photos, please click here.

Memorial Day for all of you…A year ago…An unusual photo of us…See below…

Wild flowers growing in our garden

As most Americans celebrate Memorial Day today remembering our fallen heroes, families and friends gather together to enjoy the outdoors, cook on the grill and perhaps celebrate their first outdoor spring activity. 

The remembrance of those lost in defending our country is forefront in the hearts and minds of those who not only lost a loved one and for all the men and women who gave their lives with honor and dignity. 

Today’s view welcoming us to another glorious day in Madeira.

Once again, it feels peculiar for us to be so far removed from the observation of yet another holiday. However, with US news (English speaking) playing on the TV all day today, we can observe the holiday in our own way, watching stories and noting various gatherings throughout the country.

In our old lives, we too would have gathered with family and friends, cooking up an array of delectable foods to hopefully be enjoyed outdoors on a lovely day. 

More wildflowers in our yard.

Instead, it’s another lovely Monday here in Campanario, Madeira. We have laundry going in the front-loading washer and we’re showered and dressed for the day, looking forward to dining out tonight.  

Still under the weather, having decided not to use any antibiotics, I’m unable to do any serious walking yet leaving us staying close to home for now. 

Colors in nature never cease to amaze us.

It’s always surprising to us that we don’t get bored with a few household tasks to keep us busy each day other than laundry, cooking, dishes, making the bed, and picking up after ourselves. 

The garden in our yard has a way to go. It will be fun to watch it progress and to partake of its treasures.

Now that we’re doing all of these household tasks again after the two and a half month reprieve in Marrakech, Morocco, we’ve found that we actually enjoy being in charge of running our household, each of us sharing an equal load. 

Several times each day we walk out onto the veranda to breathe in the fresh ocean air, swoon over the view of the sea and the hills, and to embrace the ease and comfort we feel here on this beautiful island.

Terraces in the hills planted and ready for the season.

Have a safe, enjoyable, and meaningful day together with family and friends!

Photo from one year ago today, May 26, 2013:
With a story without photos posted on this date a year ago, we have included a photo from the next day, May 27, 2013. Coincidentally, I was ill then with the same illness I have now and we had no choice but to cancel our plans to go sightseeing. However, a few days later, we did go sightseeing in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Here is a photo taken at that time with more to follow in the days to come.

OK, have a chuckle on me. My sister Julie and I laughed so hard on Skype over how goofy I looked in my abaya.  Tom looked rather handsome in his thobe.  It was 108F, 42.2C. I was still sick from the virus I got on the ship and was miserable wearing the hot silky black fabric while we toured the largest mosque in the world Sheikh Zayed Mosque located in Abu Dhabi, UAE, the richest city in the world. See this article for a list of the richest cities on earth. For the story from one year ago today, please click here.  Some amazing photos will follow over the next several days from our tour of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.