Raleigh, Bismarck and Las Vegas: September 4-30, 2009

Click on the above thumbnail for a map during this time period

We have been getting inquiries about our lack of updates on this site.   The short explanation is that we have been in the USA, and we have been – um – more than a little preoccupied.   We will enhance this page later, but post this now, even though only a small fraction of the photos are available to Barb, who is in Las Vegas with the computer used to create our entries.   I am composing this in North Dakota, using my brand-spanking new MacBook Pro computer.

Cary, North Carolina 

Our first stop was in Cary, a prosperous city near Raleigh.   My daughter Nellie lives there, as do her two daughters, Katherine (Katie) and Jessica (Jessie).  Katie is emancipated and Jessie is in her first year in high school.    We spent Labor Day weekend with them, and had one of our best visits ever.  Some nice long walks, some shopping, a dinner at a sushi restaurant, lotsa loud and boisterous card playing and of course many nice conversations.

 Pictures taken in Cary:

Chuck, daughter Nellie, Barb and grand daughters Katie and Jessie

Nellie, Jessie, and Katie

Katie and boyfriend Daniel


Jessica & Katherine

Nellie and her Smart Car

Her license plate


Bismarck and Jamestown, North Dakota

Our next destination was Bismarck, North Dakota, where my sister Zona and her husband Mike live, as well as their daughter Cathy and her husband Jon, and their kids Katie and Cole.   Also joining us for a weekend were Mike and Zona’s (MZ’s) son Erik and his fiancé Cindy, and MZ’s daughters Susie and Jessica.   In tow with Susie were her husband John and their kids Maddie and Oliver, and with Jessie was her fiancé Peter.   Susie is a professional photographer and Zona took advantage and asked her to take family photographs, so of course I took advantage and got bunches of shots too.

MZ have a cabin on Lake Isabel just south of the tiny village of Dawson, and we spent time there as well, helping Mike harvest his grapes on one weekend and dismantling his dock on another.   MZ’s lake neighbors are Marvin and Violet, with whom we had our first visit to Norway several years ago.   Marvin’s little four-wheeler came in mighty handy on the dock-removal project.

I had decided to take advantage of our presence in the USA to finally get my knee diagnosed.  When a post-MRI visit with a surgeon indicated that I would probably be able to run again after arthroscopic surgery, I went for it on the eve of our scheduled departure to Las Vegas for Barb’s family reunion.   The doctor said I shouldn’t attempt to travel that soon, so Barb went on ahead and I stayed in Bismarck.  Mom and Zona have been discussing for years the possibility of Mom moving from out of her home in Jamestown and into a “mother-in-law” annex to MZ’s home.   So I suggested to Barb that instead of me joining her in Vegas and then us returning to Trinidad when the reunion was over, that she fly back to ND and we help Mom prepare the house for her move.

Pictures taken in North Dakota:

Chuck's sister Zona, her husband Mike, mother Evelyn, Chuck and Barb

Sign at Robb's lake house

Barb picking grapes

Chuck's sister Zona picking grapes

Chuck grilling dinner at Lake Isabel after an afternoon of grape picking

Mike cleaning grapes

Jessica's fiance Peter pitched in to clean grapes

Delicious grapes

Smushing and straining grapes in preparation for making grape jelly and wine

Lots of grape jelly was made

Mike and Zona with their grandkids

Chuck with great-nephew Cole

Our niece Jessica with her nephew Cole and niece Katie

Suzie took over grill duty one evening

Katie and great grandmother Evelyn

Great grandma with the four great grandkids - Cole, Oliver, Katie, and Mattie

Barb making a Smore

Jessica getting the kids to exercise at the park

Jessica & Peter

Jon relaxing at the park

Cathy roasting a marshmellow

Great grandma Evelyn

Chuck after his knee surgery


Las Vegas

So Barb headed to Las Vegas and helped her family celebrate her mother's 82nd birthday and her father's 84th birthday.  The family rented a huge house/mansion for four days on the outskirts of Las Vegas for the reunion.  33 family members were able to make it.  Son Jeff and grandson Zane were there, but daughter Danielle and grand daughters Kristen and Abigail couldn't make it. Barb had a great time and one day took Zane and two of his cousins down the Las Vegas Strip to see some of the sights. 

Unfortunately Barb’s mother Louise had been ill recently and was feeling so poorly on the third day of the reunion that she was taken by ambulance to the hospital.  She was there for three days before they diagnosed her with stage 4 pancreatic cancer.  She is back home from the hospital now but is going to need care, so Barb will be staying with her parents until late October.  All of the family members were shell-shocked by the news.  Louise has been so healthy her entire life, so the news was a big surprise and sad news to everyone.

So I am in Jamestown helping Mom sort through (and dispose of) 45 years of accumulated possessions and – um – junk, and Barb is in Las Vegas shopping, cooking, scheduling, arranging, and supporting her parents.   It's good that we have a flexible schedule and can be there for our parents.

Pictures that Barb took at the reunion:

Trevor, Audrey, Mom and Mary playing cards

Dad and Hugh playing chess on-line against each other (no need for a chess board anymore :-) )

Nephew Austen


Shane, Samantha and Zane

Zane and Jeff - maybe some disciplining going on?

Kids playing in back yard of Family Reunion house/mansion

Boys on top of LV Eiffel Tower

View from top of LV Eiffel Tower

Zane, Simon and Wyatt at Excalibur

Brother Hugh

Niece Jessie and fiance Westin

Sister Lori

Brother Mike

Nephew Preston and Mom

Nephew Preston

Simon and Zane

Nephew Tyler

Barb, son Jeff, grandson Zane

Dad and son Jeff

Zane and Jeff

Family photo without Mom & Dad

Barb's brothers Dan, Tim, Mike, George and Hugh

Brother Dan's family

Mom in hospital with Dad

Mom leaving hospital

Mom & Dad