Home of the Testicle Festival

Looking for a steak dinner to make Nebraska proud, we ended up in South Bend, at the Round the Bend Steakhouse. Upon entering the parking lot, we realized we were a couple of days early since they’d be celebrating the 22nd Annual Testicle Festival in just two days.

IMG_9336We passed on what the menu calls, The Testicle Festival Now, and instead of ordering Beef Fries or Turkey Fries, started our meal with the Corn “Husker” Nuggets, sweet cream corn, battered and deep fried. How could we pass on corn in Nebraska?

Quote from The Testicle Festival Now portion of the menu:

“Dad used to tell me, don’t let your head beat your stomach out of something good to eat!”

While not fancy, the food at Round the Bend didn’t disappoint. Good quality steak served with salad and baked potato…not as good as what we had at Bern’s last week, but a meal representative of Nebraska, the state famous for steaks.

And what will the folks of Platt River Valley be doing this weekend? Attending a unique local festival.

The Testicle Festival is held annually on the Friday and Saturday nights of Father’s Day Weekend. If you look around at one of our festivals you’ll see people eating Beef Nuts, drinking ice cold beer, out dancing to live music & participating in the Adult Tricycle races. The party goes on in our 10,000 sq ft Reception Hall, The Ball Room, and we have an outside Beer Garden set up with spools so there’s plenty of room for everybody.

TBT Lesson #55

I can only remember two times when we had family pictures taken. The first time, I was a freshman in high school, and we had been in Florida, away from family for about five years. A family picture would be a way for us to let everyone in Indiana know that we were all indeed alive and well.

We had recently bought a house in Lighthouse Point so a photographer came to our house to document our family in our new home.

I remember my mom telling us we could pick out what we would wear in the picture so long as we wore dress clothes. Of course, my brother didn’t have much choice since he only had one jacket, but my sister and I chose our favorite dresses. The result would have been great if the picture was in black and white, but a blue coat, a brown coat, a yellow dress, a green outfit and a pink dress with us sitting on our yellow couch didn’t make for the best combination.

I’m sure colors were never considered, and I don’t remember anyone mentioning the variety of colors when we received the pictures. We were just happy to have a a family photo.

FullSizeRenderTBT Lesson #55: Coordinate your clothing for a family photograph.

(Glad you can’t see my Dad’s checked pants on the flowered couch. That would have really been too much!)



Protect Those Peepers

Tis the season for spending extended periods of time outside enjoying the summer weather and that means even more attention to applying sunscreen to protect your skin, but don’t forget about your eyes. Since the sun damages your eyes as well as your skin, sunglasses are a must.

Sunglasses for fishing

Sunglasses for biking

Sunglasses for the beach and boating

Sunglasses just because

Don’t forget your sunglasses to protect your peepers!

The Shoe Story

A couple of weeks ago on our way to church, we passed one black high heel shoe perched on the curb on 22nd Avenue.


John’s immediate reaction: Someone had a rough night!

But that led us to more speculation about the story behind the shoe.

My first thought: Someone put their shoes on the roof of the car to open the door and then drove off without putting the shoes in the car.

Or maybe the car’s so full of “stuff” that when the car door was opened, a shoe fell out.

Or the heel on the shoe’s mate may have broken leading the owner to toss the shoe out the window in disgust.

Perhaps the owner of the shoe had an accident, falling off the too high heel, and left the shoe behind when she went to the hospital to have a broken bone set.

Of course, perhaps this is the modern day version of Cinderella’s glass slipper waiting to be retrieved by Prince Charming.

So many possibilities. I’d love to know the real story of the shoe. Any thoughts?

Listen to Grandma

Whether for a weekend getaway or a longer vacation, you need to prepare so you can relax when you get to your destination. Reservations for accommodations and events need to be booked and then organized for easy access. Flights reserved or car maintenance checked for smooth travel. Bags packed. Everything checked and double checked on your list.


But don’t forget to listen to Grandma when preparing to go away. In addition to the getting ready to leave and packing routine, she always added a preparing to come home routine as well.

I can remember sitting in a motorhome in our driveway while she finished the final touches on her return home preparations, and while we were frequently impatient with the delay in starting our fun, it sure felt good to come home to a house in perfect condition.

So what was on her prepare the house for vacation plan?

  • Clean out the refrigerator and empty all garbage. (Especially important for longer trips.)
  • All laundry washed, folded and put away.
  • Pick up all rooms and clean the kitchen and bathrooms thoroughly.
  • Fresh sheets on the beds. (It feels so good to return home to clean sheets!)

In addition, my Dad took care of all yard and pool responsibilities so that the outside of the house was also in tip top shape before our departure.

No, this isn’t the fun part of traveling. Planning and packing for the trip is exciting, cleaning the house…not so much; but I swear this is one of the best things my Mom taught me.

Walking into your clean house after traveling and flopping into your own bed with fresh sheets makes your homecoming almost as enjoyable as your trip. So listen to Grandma, clean your house before going on vacation.



I Can Probably Fill One Hour Each Day

In an interview with David Letterman about his retirement from The Late Show, he was asked what he’d be doing in the future. His response, “I think I can fill one hour each day.” This in response to what most people believe about his schedule. Since he’s only on air for an hour, obviously, that’s all he works each day.

Apparently people believe I have a lot in common with Letterman. Many expressed surprise not that I’m retiring, but that I was still working. It’s funny how different the response to my retirement has been to that of my husband. He’s had lots of people suggest that he work as a consultant or take a position at a private school or one with a non-profit organization.

Those who learn of my retirement suggest places to visit, new things to experience or hobbies to pursue. No one has mentioned anything remotely related to work. I can’t help but ask myself what that means. Am I just seen as one who wants to play? Or is my husband just seen as one addicted to work?

In any case, neither of us plan to do any “real” work. We will be volunteering on a regular basis and will work as “interns” with Emily’s event planning business.

Instead of work, we’ll be traveling. First to Omaha for the College World Series and then later this summer to British Columbia so I can use my passport. We’ll continue to travel throughout Florida since we have more springs to swim in, more lighthouses to climb and more beaches to visit. And the list of other places to go seems to grow everyday. We also have plans to walk, bike, kayak, sail, fish, read and watch more sunrises and sunsets from our porch.

We’re living at the lake where life is suppose to be slower, but we haven’t noticed that change yet. I don’t anticipate having any problem filling an extra hour a day.


House for Sale!

Well, it’s official! Not only have we completed our move, we’ve listed our house for sale.

Upon hearing this news, many people have commented about how hard this must be to leave a house that we’ve lived in for nearly 30 years, but to be honest, it hasn’t been that difficult.


I think that’s because we’re confident in the changes we’re making and ready to move on to what the future has to offer.

Yes, we’ve had lots of good times on 11th Street. That’s the house we brought two daughters from the hospital as well as the only house our oldest daughter remembers.

We made significant changes so that it provided the space needed for a growing family and made it our own.

This house has seen it all: birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, proms, holiday celebrations and the day to day life of our family.

My only regret…not enough pictures. We moved in well before the age of digital photos in 1986 so while we took pictures through the years, the changes in the house aren’t well documented, but we won’t make that mistake again.


I’m anxious to see who gets to love living in our old house.

6 Down; 9 To Go

I must admit my enthusiasm for celebrating retirement with dinner at Bern’s Steakhouse in Tampa did not match that of John’s. For well over a year, this has been a topic of conversation and while I’m always interested in a good meal, the menu for Bern’s terrified me.


Appetizers listed ranging in price from $12.95 – $190.00, with most in the $20 range seem extravagant and this followed by soups and salads and vegetables at about $10 each, even sliced tomatoes are listed at $8.95. All I could think about was whether or not we’d be able to qualify for a loan for our dinner.

Finally I got up the nerve to look at the steak portion of the menu. After all, that’s why we’d be going to a Steakhouse…$34-$118…I wasn’t sure I could eat something that expensive, and I certainly wasn’t going to even bother looking at the dozens of pages on the wine menu.


I didn’t voice my concerns. This was something John really wanted to do and I wasn’t going to spoil it so it was added to the list for 15 in 15…and I’m so glad it was!

This week we were joined by our good friends, Kay and Karen, fellow 2015 retirees, for an evening at Bern’s Steakhouse. No, we didn’t order appetizers. I don’t know who could eat them when the steak is served with soup and bread, salad, a baked potato, two vegetables, and onion rings. That’s more than enough food for me and best of all it was all included in the price listed for the steak. So that $40 steak was really the price of the full dinner and complete dining experience, and it was an experience.

For two hours our waiter attended to our every desire as he brought out each course of the meal. And did I mention that the steak was the best I’ve ever eaten?

Following dinner, we took the kitchen tour and visited the wine cellar on the way to the dessert room. Somehow, after all the food eaten at dinner, we managed to eat dessert tucked away in a private booth. I guess they figure guests will eat more if they aren’t worried about being judged by other diners.

I’m glad Bern’s Steakhouse made our list of 15 in 15. Sure it was pricey, but it was also well worth it. We enjoyed delicious food as well as a wonderful dining experience.


Maybe we’ll have to make a return trip for our anniversary in August?




TBT Lesson #54

What a wonderful school to start a teaching career. In April of 1979, John was hired to teach 3rd grade at Stanton-Weirsdale Elementary, just around the lake from where we’d be living.

Since he was interviewed off campus, John felt a great sense of relief when he saw students wearing Boy Scout uniforms when he stopped by to check out the school he’d just agreed to teach at in the fall. Two years later I joined him at Stanton.

We still have good friends from those early years and several Marion County school administrators taught in Weirsdale and a few spent their elementary school years there as well. Stanton-Weirsdale will always be remembered with fond memories.


TBT Lesson #54: Good things happen in rural schools.

More Horse Fever

In 2001 and then again in 2011, Ocala experienced Horse Fever when the Marion Cultural Alliance sponsored the life size horses painted or embellished to represent a variety of themes which decorated city streets while raising over 1.75 million dollars for MCA and 35 other local charities.

IMG_5621This week, Horse Fever in Ocala and across the country refers to the excitement many felt as American Pharaoh won the Belmont Stakes on Saturday to become the twelfth Triple Crown Winner, and the first since Affirmed, a Florida-bred thoroughbred, won the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont in 1978.

In the past 37 years, twelve horses had been in the same position as American Pharaoh having won both the Derby and Preakness, but all had fallen short.

IMG_5624Horse racing was ready for another Triple Crown winner, and this year, I cheered for one as well. I couldn’t cheer for California Chrome last year because my loyalty remains with the horses with ties to Florida. I don’t cheer for the Dodgers, or Lakers, or Raiders. I’m not a fan of USC or UCLA or any other California team so I just couldn’t root for California Chrome, a west coast horse, but with connections to Marion County, this Kentucky bred horse seemed perfect for the honor this year.

This print has hung in my parents’ house for years, but they gave it to Sarah and Daniel this year as an Engagement gift, and now it’s missing the latest Triple Crown winner, the one they cheered on last Saturday during their first Belmont as husband and wife. I wonder if this had anything to do with the American Pharaoh breaking the long drought of Triple Crown winners?