Gordon had to fit our letter on two pages so he had to edit someone’s part–he picked mine. I can fit anything I want to on this site so I included the missing pieces. God, I hate it when he messes with my stuff without asking…
December 2017 – START HERE
GORDON: I’m writing this after picking up the tree and hanging lights, so the season is officially started. The holiday season is slipping by so fast I’m almost afraid I’ll miss it – Halloween came and went, Thanksgiving involved a very tasty turkey and a week of leftovers, and I have no idea what to get Barb to put under the tree. We’re both dealing with “I already have whatever I want” – dumb thing to whine about, but we’re grateful to be in that position. The house, on the other hand, is getting some big presents – a repaint and new floor in the kitchen, and Barb’s ‘91 Miata is getting a repaint and new top about 20 years after the last one. Our driveway is starting to look like a collector car alley – even my Infiniti is now ten years old, and the Beast (‘67 Dodge Polara wagon) turned fifty this year. I’ll get around to fixing it up next year I hope.
We did get some traveling in – Another Viking cruise that included Prague and Paris. Prague was particularly fun since I have a cousin who lives there and runs the local Skittles factory, of all things. She and her family were wonderful energetic hosts, and almost walked our feet off day one. The Viking tours covered much of what we saw that first day, but in buses. We spent two days saying to ourselves “yeah we saw that on foot” or “We climbed this hill with Suzanne and family”. After almost a week on various rivers, we wound up in Paris after a long bus ride, and saw the highlights out a bus window. We’ll have to do that again on our own time. And if you haven’t read Barb’s blog about getting there, you should. Alitalia provided the airplane ride from hell, but I’ll let her tell that story if she wants.
Other trips stayed within the US. I’m now a two-time inductee into the SoDak Rock and Roll Association Hall of Fame, this time with the Fabulous Flippers. This is the band that got me to 48 of the 50 states – The bus didn’t get to Hawaii or Alaska, but it did get me all over the continental US, and any Canadian Province that touches the US. And I got to play with musicians significantly better than me – of the folks that came back for the reunion show, only two (one was me) don’t actively play on a regular basis. If anyone’s interested, click on this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXt-NflV0NY and see me hiding behind the guitar player – we wailed.
My second oldest cousin Nancy (the only person I know who still sends holiday cards via USPS throughout the year – bless her! – not to mention being unofficial organizer of everything reunion, it seems), outdid herself this year, inviting seemingly every shoestring relative to celebrate her and Hubby David’s 50th anniversary in Sheboygan, WI. For this midwestern kid, it was a trip down memory lane to places I frequented with my parents, since all Mom’s siblings seemed to live in Wisconsin. And it was fun hanging with the relatives and friends/spouses thereof who had no background in Northern Wisconsin traditions. Many of us have moved to more cosmopolitan places and acquired significant others who didn’t have a background in Wisconsin mores or eating habits: ya shurr you betcha and ya want some pop? And as a Californian, it was an adventure into red state mores – as a libertarian, I was somewhat refreshed.
I played (I use the term loosely) golf at a charity tournament, and while I didn’t win the “best try” award, I did win a silent auction or two, so I have tickets to Disneyland, which I haven’t been to in almost 15 years. Barb & I spent about nine hours there, riding rides but mostly standing in line, and I think I’ve established Barb’s limit of tolerance for “fun” – about nine hours. We have two more tickets, so we can go back and catch all the rides we missed, but I think I’ll make reservations at one of the hotels on property, so I can let her have a nap before we go out and play until the wee small hours next time.
I’m still doing my LA Conservancy tours, and taking the jobs that get thrown over the transom, but easing into retirement. Gives me time to work on my taxes. Here’s Barb.
BARB: I’m running on fumes as Christmas approaches. I decided we had to replace our kitchen floor before year end. I don’t know why I gave myself a deadline; we’ve been living with a warped floor for a year and a half. But I wanted to GET IT DONE! Unfortunately, to replace the floor I had to paint all the kitchen woodwork—which meant a week of prep, painting, and clean-up. And I’m an old lady so I’m getting really tired. I asked Gordon why he didn’t stop me from starting the project and he just raised an eyebrow. I guess he would have had to tie me up and lock me the closet to get me to stop and that’s against the law, isn’t it? I’m done with the painting but the floor still waits. I had other things on my mind. Gordon had scored some Disneyland tickets so I decided we had to SEE THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!–although I’d sworn for years that the next time I spent a fortune to stand in line for hours I’d do it at the grocery store; at least I’d have something to show for it. But we had the tickets and my mantra is “Can’t waste a thing.” I’d never been to California Adventure so we started there. I enjoyed the rides that we got on—particularly enjoyed Guardians of the Galaxy ride although I almost left my kettle corn at the top of the lurch. And the roller coaster was great. I yelled at Gordon, “That was great! I may vomit but it was great!” We finished the day at Disneyland because we wanted to see the fireworks display—which was cancelled due to the brush fire danger. Of course it was. But we spent nine hours having fun and now I’m exhausted. Which explains our Christmas tree. I went into full screech mode (“We need to get the damn tree NOW!) and wasn’t patient when it came to picking. We just grabbed a wrapped up tree because it’s easier to transport–which wasn’t smart. When we unwrapped it we found a huge gap on one side. And we lost two feet when we trimmed it. Gordon calls it a Charlie Brown tree but I think that’s giving it too much credit. Well, it’s ours now; we’ll love it. Shouldn’t take much time to decorate as there’s not much tree. Time to whirligig about something else. We still have to LAY THE FLOOR! Oh dear.
As Gordon pointed out, we’ve done a lot of traveling this year. My job was mostly to ‘spouse’–smile and be pleasant. You wouldn’t think that would be difficult—but this is me we’re talking about. I spoused beautifully through Gordon’s band induction in Sioux Falls. I was in charge of my own entertainment while Gordon practiced so I toured the arts district which is amazing. I even met some interesting people. Artists are moving back to places like Sioux Falls because they can afford to live there. One of the photographers at the induction told me he was born in Sioux Falls but had worked with Prince and gone to Los Angeles with him. He also worked for Disney painting the ocular at the Pantages theater. Now he’s a sculptor back home where he started. He said he’d like to buy a place in Lake Los Angeles for winter which is in the desert someplace. Apparently I’m not the only one with the idea of spending winter in California and paying taxes in South Dakota. Oh, and the Flippers were great.
Gordon mentioned our Viking tour; if you want to read about it in more depth, google Barbara Schnell’s Daily Squirt. That’s my blog. Make sure to specify Barbara Schnell’s site. If you just look for Daily Squirt you’ll end up at some porn sites. Never even occurred to me when I named the site; apparently I lead a very sheltered life. Or you can click on this: https://barbaraschnell.wordpress.com/2017/05/23/i-hate-alitalia/
We went back to South Dakota last October for a Prairie Rep (summer stock) reunion. It was fun to reminisce—although I was irritated when I saw the new theater facility. We didn’t even have running water! We had to use an outhouse! These kids have showers! And air conditioning! And dressing rooms! Spoiled whippersnappers. Back in my day we suffered for our art. And the miles were longer and the snow was deeper…Hmmmm. Out of room already. I’ll just add that the cats are fine. George looks like a bowling ball with ears from the rear and Gracie jumps him to make him exercise. I thought it was a man/woman thing. Seems to transcend species. Have a happy and a merry. Check the blog.