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Michigan: The Rest of Vacation & Some Archeology...

Friday, July 18, 2014

This was a most challenging week of re-entry after vacation, hence a delay in posting the "rest of the story"...!

I was truly blessed with some of the BEST weather during my time in Michigan, especially on the important days of our reunion and our party for my father's 80th birthday.

Here is a picture of my father standing WAY way up on the new "overlook" recently built in New Buffalo which takes one out into the nature preserves. We were down on the lower trail looking up toward him near sunset:

My aunts who live on a lake outside of the Kalamazoo area graciously offered there gorgeous home and surroundings as the place for holding our party for my father. Here are a couple of shots to "attempt" to show how beautiful the area and the weather was that day:

Above is the view off their rear deck. You can see the shed with the kayaks, the pier and the pontoon boat they took folks out on to enjoy some time on the water.

Below is another view off the deck with a couple of my uncles taking it all in:

Here is a nice pic of me with my uncle who is only a few years older than I and more like an older brother than an uncle. Also my sister is joining us:

The highlight of the day was heading out in kayaks with a couple of my young buck nephews and going on a paddling expedition through not only this lake, but a chain of lakes connected with marshy wetlands with just enough water to paddle through the tall cat-tails, blooming lily pads and huge swans serenely taking in the day and all but yawning at us as we quietly paddled by. One of my nephews managed to creep into the greenery to snatch a few stray swan feathers to take back to show others. What a wonderful three hour journey we had! Paddling steadily all the time...did my shoulders feel THAT! :-) I was pleased that the soreness didn't last beyond the evening. Here's a pic my sister snapped before we set sail. We all would've loved to have taken pics ourselves, but one of my nephews already lost his cell phone in another pond and nobody dared to take chances bringing them along.

Now for archeology! In preparing for my father's birthday I was flipping through lots and lots of family pics to help my sister in preparing a scrapbook and I did an online slideshow.

Of course some of these pictures had ME in them too...!

I think I may have shared this before, but for comparisons' sake I'll share it again. This is from 1973 (a special Math / Chemistry summer program between Jr. / Sr. year of high school, receiving an award at Western MI Univ. in Kalamazoo, with my parents and a couple of professors) during my all time low weight on the tail end of doing the Mayo Clinic's Ketogenic, high-fat, zero-carb diet:

This was my first foray away from home and the beginning of my unraveling the benefits of the ketogenic diet as I stayed at a college dorm with college cafeteria food and began to "stray" in my food choices.

Now here I am only a few years later while at our local community college. I'm with a couple of good friends and you can see how the pounds are already accumulating. You can also see my freaky long hair that I couldn't do anything with but tie it up like a 2nd head bobbing behind me...lol!

So further down the drain I go...

A potent reminder of the depths from which I've recovered and never want to visit again!

Here's a cool snapshot of three generations, myself, son and father taken earlier this year...life is SO much better being in control, in the driver's seat and living the SPARK!

Looking forward to a weekend of spectacular 80 degree sunny days and a ride with the bike club tomorrow from Windsor to Afton for lunch and returning for around 35 miles.

Keep the SPARK everyone! :-)

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Beautiful. Thanks for the trip away!
    2372 days ago
    Great Blog-You really look a lot like your dad!
    2373 days ago
    I SO enjoyed this, Don. What a great trip and lovely gathering for a most important occasion. Thanks for taking us along.
    2376 days ago
  • L*I*T*A*
    great share....................thanks
    2376 days ago
    So glad you had a wonderful trip and birthday party for your father. This is a summer you will remember always.
    Thanks for sharing. emoticon
    2377 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/19/2014 2:47:30 PM
    Thanks for sharing, Don. Great pics of your get together - yes, pictures never do justice to the beauty and experience. Your historical pictures -- I identify some and want to keep going in the direction I am now headed, as well. Pam
    2377 days ago
    Family and friends ... that's what life is alllllll about.
    2377 days ago
    What a super blog -- hope that while you kayaked you got a sniff of the waterlilies (the white ones in particular smell glorious!!)

    Loved the family pictures and the graphic history of your struggle (mine too) with weight . . . How marvellous that you are fit enough to keep up with the young'uns and have such a wonderful time at the family reunion to honour your father.
    2377 days ago
    Those were great photos. I also started the upward slide in college and kept going. Your transformation to health is amazing. You look great. That vacation with all of the family sounded so enjoyable including that 3 hour kayak ride. You certainly are fit to keep up with the younger family members!

    2377 days ago
    Nothing like family! These were new photos to me and it gives new meaning to your progress.
    2377 days ago
    I thoroughly enjoyed this blo. It is delightful to catch a glimpse of your progress thru life! Thank you for sharing all this.

    2377 days ago
    Beautiful. Thanks for sharing the pictures. You truly have come a long way, and to be able to kayak with your nephews is priceless.
    2377 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14253479
    OK, Don, here's a question that I've been wondering about: Where's your wife? I thought you were currently married?

    These pics were wonderful and it gives your friends a glimpse into your life. Very much appreciated. Thank you.
    2377 days ago
    You've got that right, about life being better. Not easy getting it off. Not easy keeping it off. But a whole lot better when we do what we need to, to stay Sparked!

    Great photos, Don. Thanks for sharing your trip with the rest of us! emoticon
    2377 days ago
  • _LINDA
    Wow! What a paradise! Fun times indeed! You have quite the large family!
    Interesting trip through memory lane there! Always enjoy looking at old photos of someone, especially those early hair and clothing choices lol.
    emoticon for reminding us how good life is when you are fit and able to be active!
    Spark On!
    2377 days ago
    Wonderful photos; thanks for sharing them.
    2377 days ago
  • ALICIA214

    Love your pics and family get together to celebrate your Dad's 80th
    birthday... Thanks for sharing...

    2377 days ago
    I've never been to Michigan, but your last couple of blogs have changed my impression that it was all Flint and Detroit. :)
    2377 days ago
    What wonderful pictures! Thanks for sharing. You certainly have transformed!
    2377 days ago
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