Well, I have been feeling pretty squirrelly this 2016!  Here is proof:

Cathy 2016!

Cathy 2016!

This powerball mania stuff is getting nutty.  I sure hope someone wins soon because I am tired of seeing the lines at the convenience stores.  I have not bought any tickets because, let’s face it, I am not a lucky person!

Moving on.

We had a great Christmas with family:

 

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Charlotte and the gang at Big Cedar

The Voight Kids do Christmas

The Voight Kids “do” Christmas

Table Rock Lake in the winter

Table Rock Lake in the winter

Someone asked why I blog!  Well, that is easy to answer.  This is the journal that I will refer to when the dementia sets in!  And, it has photos to boot.

Here is hoping you are having a great 2016.  If you bought a powerball ticket and win, let me know.

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Randy finished his classes last Thursday, so we headed to Little Rock for Ray Parker’s Art show opening.  It was held at the Historic Arkansas Museum in conjunction with the 11th annual NOG Off competition.  On the trip down, Randy and I stopped at Wiederkehr Village for lunch.  We didn’t order any wine, but the food was fabulous!

Wiederkehr's Weinkeller Restaurant

Wiederkehr’s Weinkeller Restaurant

After we got to Little Rock and checked into the historic Capital Hotel, we managed to tour the Old State House Museum.  I was born, raised and lived most of my live in Oklahoma, which became a state in 1907.  The fact that Arkansas was a state so many years before that, always comes as a surprise to me.  The Old State House was obsolete before Oklahoma became a state.  It was fascinating to tour and learn about the history.

Old State House Little Rock

Old State House Little Rock

After that side trip, we headed off to the reception for Ray Parker.  The museum far exceeded my expectations.  It has 6 galleries and the exhibits were wonderful.  Ray’s friends, Wendell and Jackie, came from Memphis for the show and it is always great to visit with them.  The surprise of the evening was the unexpected visit of Ray’s former boss Bob.

Ray and his former boss, Bob

Ray and his former boss, Bob

Bob made the trip from Florida and certainly surprised Ray and Mary Jean.  Also at the museum was an egg nog competition.  The place was a mad house and the nog pretty good.  I cannot tell a lie so suffice to say that Randy and I had several samples of the nog.

11th annual Nog Off at the Historic Arkansas Museum

11th annual Nog Off at the Historic Arkansas Museum

After the show, we all headed back to the hotel for dinner.  Anytime you have Johnny Cash’s niece, an ad man from the Mad Men era and a bit of drink, you can guarantee the stories will flow.  Thanks Bob for dinner, it was such a fun time.  And thank you Ray Parker for inviting us to the show!  If anyone finds themselves in Little Rock before February 7th, you need to go see the show!

Historic Arkansas Musuem's promo photo

Historic Arkansas Musuem’s promo photo

On Saturday, we enjoyed our morning at the hotel, soaking up all the ambience!

Christmas Tree at the Capitol Hotel

Christmas Tree at the Capitol Hotel

The Capital Hotel is amazingly beautiful. The hotel has hosted many political and historic personages, including President Ulysses S. Grant. In fact, legend says that the Capital’s unusually large elevator was built to allow Grant to take his horse to his hotel room.  I don’t know if the elevator legend is true, but the elevator was as big as my childhood bedroom!

We also drove around Little Rock and saw the State Capitol.

The Arkansas State Capitol

The Arkansas State Capitol

The famous Little Rock Central High School was huge.  The shear size of the school is intimidating and makes you wonder where the Little Rock Nine found their courage.

Little Rock Central High School

Little Rock Central High School

Randy has taken several Arkansas History classes in the past 3 years.  It is very enjoyable to visit these places with an expert!

Well, Little Rock was our last scheduled trip for 2015!  Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas.

I still have the EPIC October road trip and Thanksgiving trip to Kansas City to document but I am way behind.

Stay tuned!

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My daughter, Emily, recently went to Lubbock Texas.  Her organization, in conjunction with Texas Tech, hosted a conference on arid and semi arid land.  Seemed like a pretty fitting topic for west Texas.  Here is the link to the conference.  Her grandfather Willett, grew up about an hour away in Amherst Texas.  Emily grew up hearing ALL the stories from her Papa Willett.  So she decided to go a bit early to Lubbock, rent a car and go see this town her grandfather so often spoke about.  She also lives in Washington D.C. without a car, so wide open road driving appealed to her.  Here is the story.

My grandfather, Rogers Willett, Sr. moved his family to Amherst, Texas sometime between 1922 and 1925.  He and his brother in law, Cornelius Duffy, opened the State Bank of Amherst, which was chartered in 1925.  Rogers was married to Mabel Hughes and Cornelius was married to Alma Hughes.  Between the two families there were quite a few children.  My dad often mentioned that the Willett kids, along with the Duffy children, ran roughshod over the county.

Here are the three pictures I have of Amherst back in the day:

Rogers Willett, Sr.

Rogers Willett, Sr.

Rogers Willett, Jr. and his brother, Howard

Rogers Willett, Jr. and his brother, Howard

Roggie Willett and Mary Ellen Duffy (?)

Roggie Willett, Jr. and Mary Ellen Duffy (?)

You can read all about the history of Amherst here.  The industry was cotton, irrigated by the famous Ogallala sandstone aquifer.  The Ogallala is still the life blood of the Lamb Cotton agriculture scene.  Emily’s conference included a talk on that very thing.

My dad left Amherst when he was 16 to further his education in Austin, fight in WWII and then college at Texas Tech.  His father died in 1956ish and his mother, Mabel, left in the early 1960’s.  The bank remained in the extended family until a few years ago.  My dad had sold his shares many, many years ago.

The most famous line in my father’s storyline was “when I realized there were trees in other places, I knew I would never return to west Texas”.  He was pretty good at not going back and I don’t remember going to Amherst more than one time in my life.

And here are the pictures that Emily took:

The bank

The bank

Emily was a big fan of the brick streets.

Another view

Another view

Brick road

Brick road

Cotton Field

Cotton Field

More fields

More fields

My dad had great memories from his years in Amherst.  He had great stories of his family, his Duffy cousins and his aunt, Alma.  The trajectory changed when his younger brother, Howard, died when my dad was 16.  Every memory after that, regarding Amherst, was tainted.

Emily certainly enjoyed her road trip to Amherst and her week in Lubbock.  I enjoyed hearing about it and remembering all the stories I had heard about west Texas.

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James and I went to Chicago recently and came home with a pair of boots.  These boots were made for walking!  This is the fourth trip for me to Chicago School of Shoemaking and James’ first.  His ability blew me away.  There were four of us in the 2+ day workshop and I am always amazed by the creative spirit I find there.  Sara, the instructor, is such a great teacher and can tailor her approach to each student’s level.

I was in awe by the way James was fearless in the class.  From his choices in leather and style to his confidence in machine sewing and construction, he was clearly in his element.  It was exciting to watch!  James and I travel pretty well together and we enjoyed the trip.  We worked very hard for two plus days and made sure we had several good dinners at some fabulous restaurants.

Okay, here are the pictures that I have of our trip:

James' finished boots

James’ finished boots

Desert boots and leather wrap boots

Desert boots and leather wrap boots

The boots above are still wet but they certainly dried very nicely!

Wet

Wet

Dry

Dry

One more close up of James’ boots:

Another shot of James' great boots!

Another shot of James’ great boots!

Check out his gorgeous hand stitched sides and his eyelets!  Impressive.

We went to a delicious restaurant named Cafe Selmarie.  It was such a nice meal.  James had salmon and I had chicken pot pie.

Cafe Selmarie

Cafe Selmarie

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken Pot Pie

If you need a restaurant in Lincoln Square, I recommend Cafe Selmarie!

After James and I got back to Tulsa, I headed out on a girls’ trip with my sisters.  I only have one photo, but it is a good one:

Mary Jean

Mary Jean

We went to a casino to play and get massages.  A good time was had by all.

I have been gone more in September and October than I have been home.  Randy and I took a 8 day road trip through Arkansas and parts of Mississippi.  Hopefully I will get that trip up soon.

James and I are willing to go back to Chicago to make more boots anytime, so let us know if you would like join us!

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Well, as luck would have it, we missed the Pope in D.C. by a few hours.  The good news is that we got to see Emily, James, Randi, John and Hind.  I think seeing 5 out of 6 of our favorite people was well worth the trip.

First up was a trip to see the new building that Emily’s organization, Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center, moved into this year.  It was gorgeous and has a balcony that I covet!

Emily's workplace

Emily’s workplace

An exhibit at SQCC

An exhibit at SQCC

The view from SQCC Balcony

The view from SQCC Balcony

After that, we dined at Founding Farmers, which is always a delicious treat.  The gnocchi I shared with Emily was downright decadent.

Friday found us checking out Emily’s home, doing a bit of shopping and lunching at Matchbox Pizza.  That evening was a trip to the National baseball game against Philadelphia.  A good time was had by all even with the Nationals losing the game.

Nationals baseball game

Nationals baseball game

James with a "big guy"

James with a “big guy”

On Saturday we started the day with a walking tour of Georgetown.  The tour was named “Mansions, Shanties and Cemeteries”.  It was fabulous and the guide was very entertaining.  Here are some photos:

Cemetery

Cemetery

Historic African American school

Historic African American school

Georgetown house

Georgetown house

Another Georgetown house

Another Georgetown house

One more house

One more house

Gorgeous canal in Georgetown

Gorgeous canal in Georgetown

One more of the canal

One more of the canal

Later Saturday we headed out to the D.C. University of Arkansas alumni watch party for the Razorback — Texas A&M game.  We had a lovely time, though, sadly, the Razorbacks lost.  We did get to spend the evening with Randi Butler, a  favorite friend from Tulsa.  She and James went to high school together so we have known her for many years.

James, Randi and a crowd of Razorback fans

James, Randi and a crowd of Razorback fans

James, Emily and Randi

James, Emily and Randi

Proof that Randy and I were there.

Proof that Randy and I were there.

Sunday we went to brunch and then met up with Randy’s nephew, Jon, and his friend Hind.

Hind, Jon, Emily, Randy and James

Hind, Jon, Emily, Randy and James

After an early dinner and visiting, we took a walk by the White House.

James and Emily

James and Emily

Hind and Jon

Hind and Jon

One thing I know for sure is that D.C. is pricey!  I thought this place might be the answer:

The Treasury Department

The Treasury Department

We wrapped up the trip with a museum tour:

Pottery 1

Pottery 1

Gold Jewelry

Gold Jewelry

And a great night view of the Washington Monument:

Iconic

Iconic

Sadly, the trip had to end and we flew off into the sunset.  Thanks Emily, James, Jon, Hind and Randi for helping make this an unforgettable trip!

So where to next?

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Randy and I made a trip to Santa Fe a few weeks ago.  It was a good group that included our son, Patrick, my sister, Mary Jean and her husband Ray.  We flew into the Santa Fe airport and what a sweet, old school airport it was!  You got off the plane, down a ramp, in the back door and out the front door.  It was worth the trip just to see the airport.

Santa Fe Airport

Santa Fe Airport

Mary Jean and Randy are taking a look around.

Close up of the tower

Close up of the tower

And when we picked Patrick up the next morning, his planed taxied right up to the back.

Patrick's plane

Patrick’s plane

We did quite a bit of sightseeing and ate great food every chance we could!  Red chile, green chile or a bit of both are music to my taste buds.

New Mexico Chile

New Mexico Chile

We went to Chimayo to take a look at the mission and the expanded grounds.  Click the link and go read about this fascinating place.  It had been greatly enhanced since the last time I was there. It was a beautiful day.

El Santuario de Chimayo

El Santuario de Chimayo

Patrick and Randy at Chimayo

Patrick and Randy at Chimayo

Mary Jean and Ray at Chimayo

Mary Jean and Ray at Chimayo

There are several shrines and statues scattered around the gardens at the mission.

Vietnam shrine

Vietnam shrine

3 cultures monument

3 cultures monument

Back in Santa Fe, we went to the Cathedral.

Native Americans at the Cathedral

Native Americans at the Cathedral

St. Francis

St. Francis

Around the corner is the Loretto Chapel and its mysterious staircase.

Loretto Chapel

Loretto Chapel

The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support

The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support

And no Voight trip would be complete without a parade:

Fiesta parade

Fiesta parade

Another parade shot

Another parade shot

But really, my favorite part of the whole trip was the food.  I am a fan of green chile, so I was in heaven.

When we got home, the Liddekes came for a short visit and we had a lovely time.  We only have one picture but it is a great one!

Randy and I with Tyler, Christian and James!

Randy and I with Tyler, Christian and James!

Well, that is it from here.  Would love to hear about your fall travels.

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Randy started his third year of classes at the U of A as a Senior Razorback.  He is taking two history classes and so far, so good.  As any proud wife would do, I took a first day of class photo:

Randy Fall 2015 U of A

Randy Fall 2015 U of A

He looks so collegiate!  I started my third decade of driving the carpool.  I am getting pretty good at it.

At the end of the week, we had to deal with some family issues, that proved to be fraught with peril!  Everyone survived, but we ended the week worn out.  Saturday, Randy and I decided to run away from home.  We headed to Eureka Springs for the day, to attend a VW car show.  The car show was packed, so we headed downtown to do some sightseeing and grab lunch.  We went to a tea room and enjoyed a fabulous meal.  We headed back to the car show, lucked out on parking and spent some time looking at the cars.  Here are the pictures:

Cute

Cute

Darling car and the guy isn't bad either

Darling car and the guy isn’t bad either

If only I liked to camp

If only I liked to camp

My favorite color

My favorite color

My other favorite color

My other favorite color

Many varied VW's

Many varied VW’s

Wow

Wow

Another Porsche

Another Porsche

And more

And more

This was a large show and we enjoyed it.  I have always wanted a vintage VW, but with the resident ’62 Corvette, we do not have room for another car.

Randy's '62

Randy’s ’62

I guess I will survive without a VW.

On Sunday morning we woke up to a 1000′ slip and slide outside our front door.  The event had started setting up at 2 a.m. and would have sliders from 9 am to 9 pm.  It appears that lots and lots of people enjoyed the Slide the City event.  We watched people come and go all day long.  Our front porch is the best place in town to do people watching!

Slide the City 2015

Slide the City 2015

People everywhere

People everywhere

1000' slip and slide

1000′ slip and slide

All in all, things are going well around here.  The town has filled up with students and football starts in a week.  It always takes a few weeks to get used to a new normal after the calm of summer, but so far so good.

Let us know how you are spending your time!

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This time of year always brings birthdays and back to school events.  Emily and James both celebrate birthdays this week.    Emily is spending hers in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, hiking with a her friend Sara.  This is the second year that they have taken a hiking trip and from all accounts, it is going very well.  They just got back down the mountain from a night at the LeConte Lodge.  This lodge can only be reached by hiking up the mountain.  I think they survived, but Emily did say her feet hurt!  Here is a photo she sent us from the top:

The view from the top!

On top of ole Smoky

And here is a photo of Emily hiking:

Check out the Arkansas hat!

Check out the Arkansas hat!

James will be celebrating later this week and hopefully has a wonderful day.  Randy was able to take James and Patrick out to dinner a couple of times earlier this week, so hopefully that was a celebration for James!

To round out the birthday post, here are some photos from Emily and James’ childhood:

 

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Birthday boy

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cake

RED

RED

christmas wall

James 2006 (?) Christmas day in China

London

London

TOSHIBA Exif JPEG

Emily in Syria around 2006

emilyminusredeye

Moving on to the back to school segment, Randy enrolls tomorrow for the fall semester and the boys finish up their 8 month program next week.  Randy took his first ever “selfie” and it is so great!

Randy and "friend"

Randy and “friend”

And here is a throwback photo of “Voight Kids” first day of class:

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Randy and I are looking forward to this season’s offerings at the Walton Arts Center and have enrolled in several classes at OLLI.  So, summer ends and fall begins!

Stay in touch!

 

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A post about this, that and everything else or maybe about nothing!  I am going to start off with a photo I call “A truckload of Willetts”!  The only problem with the photo is we are missing my brother Roggie and his wife Trish as well as 3 additional Willett grandchildren.

Truckload of Willetts

Truckload of Willetts

Peach Tea Photography

You can click on the link above and go see all the wedding pictures!  They are gorgeous.

July was pretty hectic.  Besides our trip to Kansas City, we moved everything from my rented studio space.   It was time, after 2 years, to say goodbye and truth be told, I will not miss it.  Most of the stuff either came home or to our storage unit.  My plan is to work from here until I figure something else out.  That pretty much means that I won’t be making shoes for the time being, but bags I can still do.

The big move came when James bought a condo and moved!  This was the quickest transaction on the planet.  So off we went to Tulsa to help make it all happen.  Here are the pictures of the condo when we looked at it:

Courtyard

Courtyard

Pool

Pool

Balcony

Balcony

The big picture

The big picture

Dining

Dining

Bathroom

Bathroom

Bedroom

Bedroom

Chandelier

Chandelier

The grounds of the condo complex are absolutely stunning.  The pictures above are from late winter.  The chandelier is indicative of the former owner’s taste.  James might work on making the place a little more “manly” soon.  Right now, though, he is moved in and figuring out where to put everything.

We also moved my dad’s dining room table and chairs into the house that Patrick lives in.  My nephew, Bucky, delivered it to Tulsa this weekend.  I suspect Bucky is ready for school to start so he can quit helping us!  Thanks Bucky.

Here is a shot of the dining room with Papa’s table and chairs:

Papa's dining room furniture

Papa’s dining room furniture

Looks like we need to put up more artwork!

Emily came to visit and that was fabulous.  She came twice in 5 weeks and we are spoiled!  It was a great visit.  She did get stuck spending the night in the Chicago airport, on a cot with 350 other unlucky travelers.  We certainly appreciated her effort to get here.

Emily enjoyed visiting with the neighborhood cat that often comes to visit!  Emily, this photo is for you:

Feline Friend

Feline Friend

I told you I didn’t have much tonight!  We are hoping that there are not anymore moves in our near future.

Enjoy August.

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Well the Willett wedding was fabulous.  5 of 6 Willett children, 9 of 12 Willett grandchildren and one Willett cousin made for a great time.  We ate, we drank and we visited!  We missed the Willetts that couldn’t be there!  Brandi made a beautiful bride and Matt looked great too!  Brandi’s “something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue” were all together on her bouquet.  It was a lovely nod to her grandfather Willett.  She carried a 1922 silver dollar, borrowed from her brother in a new case with a blue background.  My dad was born in 1922 and he had given the coin to my nephew Bucky.  It was definitely a sweet addition.

Okay, let’s get to some pictures:

The Voight family

The Voight family

We cleaned up pretty well even though 5 of us got ready in a one bedroom house!

The bride chilling before the ceremony

The bride chilling before the ceremony

Dad and Daughter

Dad and Daughter

Check out those “Willett” gawkers in the background.

Matt and Brandi

Matt and Brandi

Bride and cousin Patrick

Bride and cousin Patrick

Brandi and Matt cutting the "cake"

Brandi and Matt cutting the “cake”

Two of mine cutting their "cake"

Two of mine cutting their “cake”

Brother and Sister

Brother and Sister

 James and Brandi dancing

James and Brandi dancing

James and his lovely Christy!

James and his lovely Christy!

Cousins

Cousins

And to top off the evening, the newlyweds left the reception in a helicopter!

One way to start your honeymoon!

One way to start your honeymoon!

Everyone enjoyed the wedding, the reception and the helicopter!

Over the 4th of July, we headed to Kansas City to spend the holiday with Randy’s family and our boys.  We spent the day at Lake Quivira.  It was a gorgeous day with temperatures in the 80’s.  Thanks Pat and Martha for hosting the get together and feeding us.

Lake Quivira 4th of July

Lake Quivira 4th of July

Charlotte had us over for brunch the next day and we got a picture of all 5 of the Voight “kids”.

The Voight "Kids"

The Voight “Kids”

In between these two events, we headed up to Big Cedar Lodge for a quiet week of relaxation.  Randy and I had a lovely time floating in the lazy river, listening to music and eating some fabulous food.  Not sure why this picture isn’t more gleeful:

Randy enjoying our trip

Randy enjoying our trip

Must have been pretty bad coffee!

Let me know how your life is going please.

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