Memories of Summer 2021

Wow, can you believe how quickly summer has pasted us and we are now well on our way of seeing and smelling fall in the air! What a fun run we all had this Summer of 2021 and what a difference a year makes.

Last year at this time we were all trying to deal with that “C” (Covid) thing with where we should go and not go. This summer all the doors were open and we were ready to rock and roll into some fun!

It was a summer of fun music no matter where you were. We not only were excited to have music groups back and singing to us but found the music groups also felt the same about us and were so grateful to be back playing their favorite songs.

Music fills our soul in so many ways. We took in several concerts probably like most of you this summer. One special group stuck out in our minds, it was the 70’s rock group Head East. The group who grew up in the Midwest back in the 70’s and they are still playing those favorite songs in their “70’s”.

Each song they played brought back many memories as we tapped our toes and sang along. Often when we hear music it takes us right back to when, where and what we were doing when that song was popular.

The most important part of the concert was delivered by Roger Boyd who plays the keyboard. With each setting Roger reminisced how they got started and what band members they have lost along the way. Roger was sincere when he spoke how grateful they were and how Okoboji supported them along the way.

Back in the 70’s we didn’t have cell phones, iPads, or the technology as we have today. Rotary phones was our line of communication. How did we ever do it? Suppose that’s how “shagging the drag” started? We would just meet or show up on the square and see who was out and go from there.

If you wanted to hear songs on a radio station you called in on the old rotary phone to request your favorite song as Head East mentioned. The Top 10 Music Billboard was and still is a big thing. We would watch our favorite songs climb to the top of the list.

Roger Boyd also reminded when they would play at the Roof Garden in Okoboji there was the rope down the center of the dance floor. One side was for underage minors and the other side you could drink the night away if you wished. Many chuckled from the audience because the rope was often sparingly managed. 😉

With all the fun memories told, Roger Boyd and the rest of his band members were grateful to Okoboji and what we gave them. In his closing emotional words he stated he hoped he would be lucky enough to come back again and make more memories with us.

Along with Head East we also had the privilege of hearing several other music groups. The Grassroots, Marshall Tucker, Arch Allies, The Beach Boys and many more adding to the list.

How fun it was to watch these cute, young girls dancing on the bench taking in a glimpse of The Beach Boys. California Dreaming just turned into Okoboji Dreaming!

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And, if you were fortune enough to be in Okoboji the week the International Regatta took place how lucky were you! There were several exciting moments. The summer winds played well making the sailboats dance on the Okoboji blue waters. Such beautiful sights to see!

The large, beautiful sails opening and watching them fly across the lake was spectacular! Come sail away with me ~

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And we are off to the races ~

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Up close and personal with a birds eye view ~

Several tourists and Regatta sailors found new fun in Okoboji, Iowa

Look up in the sky! What is that noise? Ohhhh it’s a hot air balloon! Once again when the summer Okoboji winds were perfect, we often had the privilege of spotting a hot air ballon. We would run into an open air spot to get a better view of its beauty!

Now in the summer if you don’t get enough music on shore, hop in your boat and you will find more in the water. Damon Dotson our hometown Okoboji boy grew up and has entertained us for many years. Still several years later, Damon comes back to share his talent and puts on a heck of a concert at Miller’s Bay over the 4th of July weekend. The boats flock in for the fun! Its an awesome sight to see from the air taking in all the colorful boats and maui mats.

If you like to play hop scotch, this is the place to be jumping from one boat to another.

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Okoboji tourists and residents were lucky to have fireworks every weekend. Yep, it took place every Saturday night after the free concerts in the Preservation Plaza. People lined up on the shoreline to catch a few minutes of pure joy.

Lots of 4th of July gatherings around the lakes, and parks. Food creativity at its best to celebrate the holiday ~

How many of you took in the bikes trails around Okoboji? If you live or visit Okoboji and have a bike, your probably one of the lucky ones that take in a few sights on the bike trails. Each year there are several fundraisers. The Bike Trail Fundraiser is one of many that several people generously give back to the community. Over the past few years the Trails Board have completed several new bike mile trails. One would not lack of which trail to take.

Did someone mention social gatherings? Such fun, creative and tasty food and beverages are always shared out on the deck. Charcuterie boards have become a popular way of entertaining. They not only look beautiful but are filling and fun!

We’re any of you brave enough to do Yoga on the water? Yipes, what a test of balance! For time being, the shoreline is just fine with me but I so appreciate seeing these yogis doing their poses and looking so graceful. Namaste ~

So I leave you a short clip of “Do you believe in Magic” by the Loving Spoonfuls. Maybe we just had a bit of magic in Okoboji, Iowa this 2021 Summer ~ what do you think?

https://videos.files.wordpress.com/TNZXzKTs/img_5451-1.mp4

Come Sail Away in Okoboji ~

If your looking for something to do this week you might want take a walk or boat ride along the shores of Okoboji. This week the Okoboji Yacht Club is hosting the 2021 Inland Lakes Annual Championships Regatta August 15-21 on West Lake Okoboji, Iowa.

Yep, that would be the beautiful Great Lakes in Northwest Iowa – called Okoboji. West Okoboji Lake is the location for the fun to take place for this well attended Regatta.

The 2021 Inland Lakes Yachting Association Annual Championships Regatta takes place August 15-21 on West Lake Okoboji. This premiere race welcomes racers from around the Midwest, and was last held on West Lake Okoboji in 2013.

Several classes of sailboats will compete for the coveted awards. The boats and owners will travel to the Iowa Great Lakes Area from the lakes of Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Clear Lake in Iowa. Classes A and MC will race August 16-18. Classes E and C Scow boats begin arriving Wednesday, Aug. 18. They will race Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 19-21. Over 400 sailors are expected to compete throughout the week of racing.

Some of the best Midwest skippers and their crew will skillfully navigate their boats over a mile-long course and back. Courses on West Lake Okoboji will be be determined prior to the race, based on wind direction. The first leg of the race is directly into the wind with a length of more than one mile. In most cases, the sailboats will go around the course twice and then make a final leg to windward and the finish line.

So, we decided to hop in the boat and go watch the fun. WOW – what a sight to see! This was absolutely beautiful as they spread their sails. The vibrant blue and silver colors shining off the beautiful blue water.

Ready for the line up and waiting for the whistle to blow. Anticipation, adrenaline and excitement by all! The well tailored crew get in place as the countdown begin.

Picture perfect sailboats formatting for the run. I’m sure each of them have a theory or game plan to do their best race. After all, these professional sailors have spent many a days on the water practicing and waiting for this day to come!

Not only did the sailors line up, the audience lined up as well perching in theirs boats with their cups of coffee in hand to get a glimpse of these beauties dancing on the blue Okoboji water.

How does one manipulate these large sails without running into each other? It looks easy from our seat but I’m sure Mother Nature does have a bit to contribute wouldn’t you say?

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The whistle blows and they are off to the races! The wind was perfect with lots of thrust was taking place as they sailed off for the win ~

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Turning the corner and wowza the colors pop!

It almost reminded me a beautiful peacock spreading their wings. Blue and silver colors glowed as the race began and on the reverse return they spread their vibrant colors on the back side. Ohhhhhh ~

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We were so caught up in the moment with awe! Watching all around the lake as they danced through the waters. We looked out our front window and what a bonus sight we seen right in front of us! These gentleman were such gracious performers as they gave us a thumbs up. Sit back and watch this was the message ~ little did they know how proud they were making Okoboji with their kind manners.

We just couldn’t get enough of these breath taking sailboats. We were memorized with all its beauty and in awe with how well they sailed.

Whoever these two perched in the sky had a Birdseye view of the Regatta Race. Their prime seats were scored like a “Rock Stars” high above the blue water. Not only did they have the excitement of the boat ride they certainly had the pleasure of taking in a good show. Suppose they knew what fun they were in for with this sight to see?

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We are all are privileged to watch these sailboats sail on Lake Okoboji realizing this takes a large crew to kick this Regatta making the success it is. These spotters spend many hours on the lake making sure safety is first and far most for all involved.

Okoboji businesses are thriving because of the addition tourists this event brings to town. Organizing food for the crews, arranging lodging, and putting our first foot forward to show off Okoboji is a huge undertaking. A shout out to my dear friend Brigid Wilkening who has spent many hours making sure this fun event would take place without hiccups. Brigid’s dedication to arrange all the special the details is supported by many. Thank you Brigid – you make us proud.

So for those of you that still might want a peek of these beauties, here is more of the line up for the Regatta. So grab your coffee, sit on the shore or perch in your boat out of the way and come see this once in a lifetime show.

The entire time while we watched this Regatta I had several tunes playing in my head. So I leave you with the famous Styx song that we all know ~ “Come sail away with Me”. https://youtu.be/eYCFrcCqh7Q

What a privilege to witness this beautiful site ~ Okoboji, you make us proud!

Come find your deal ~

Remember back in the 60’s the game show “Let’s make a Deal”? Monte Hall was host that gave lots of opportunities and prizes to many people.

The show always kept our attention because we wanted to know what was behind door number one, two and three.

People would dress up to catch Monte Hall’s attention so they would be chosen to play the game. Lots of creative people and costumes were fun to watch!

Blue Star Collections will also be having some fun “Making lots of Deals” in Superior, Iowa this upcoming weekend, July 16-17

Doors will be opening for only a few short hours so get on your mark, set your calendars and shop! Friday, July 16th 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Saturday, July 17th 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

What door will you choose? Door number one, two or three?

Set your GPS to 104 6th Street ~ Superior, Iowa

https://www.google.com/search?q=104+6th+street+superior+iowa&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari

Come join the fun ~ “Let’s make a Deal”!

Fun, Food and Freedom ~

How quickly the 4th of July arrived! As a kid we always looked forward to picnics, parades and fireworks. It was and still is an all day celebration for many.

Nothing has really changed over the years as we grow older in celebrating the 4th. It still evolves around food, fun and especially recognizing our Freedom.

This year with the 4th of July holiday weekend being a three day event, it gave us plenty of time to celebrate.

There are so many choices of what to do, what to eat and where to go. We love trying to take it all in for food and fun. One thing is for certain is to go to the grocery store early to beat the crowds and get your goodies before they are gone.

What’s your menu this year? Are you adding some creative ideas for your table? We all know it gets busy and planning ahead is key. We all want easy, fun and tasty.

Maybe you have a last minute gathering to attend and take a dish to share. You search your pantry and refrigerator to see what might work. Fruit is always welcome at any gathering. Charcuterie boards never disappoint. Our eyes love all the colors to please our palette.

We love driving by and seeing our country’s flag so proudly displayed no matter where we might be. Our freedom is always on the back of our minds more so today with our world happenings. What do you do to catch people’s attention?

Keeping it simple is always pleasing to the eye and heart. Taking all the sights in on the lake, we love the “pops” of color. Even in time of construction a big flag catch’s our attention that makes us smile.

If music was on your agenda this weekend, you might have taken in “The Lake Effect” concert in Okoboji, Iowa. It was huge crowd pleaser attracting many boats for the day.

The boats perch out in the water finding the perfect location to float and take in the tunes. 🎶🎵

Picture perfect fun from 1000 feet above made for a pleasing sight to take in.

If sailing was on your agenda this weekend, that too was covered with many sailors taking advantage of the regatta. Winds made sailing another success.

What a difference a year makes! Last year as we were locked down with Covid. This year it was tine to celebrate and make it even more special with our choices in all activities.

So whatever you decide to do to celebrate this last day of our beautiful weekend, make it special with lasting memories. Cheers to a fun and free holiday as we all celebrate our freedom.

I leave you with a song we all can relate to. A little Bruce Springfield tune to make us stand tall and get your toes tapping ~

Miracles and more ~

Recently a friend of mine sent me an article on “miracles” and I have been thinking about “miracles” ever since. Today as I write this, I’m thinking this might have been a miracle I received this message in my email.

Are you looking for sign for purpose or new direction in your life? How many of you can really say you believe in miracles? Miracles are often associated with religion or a higher power sending us messages. I think I’m safe in saying “things happen for a reason”.

Our life’s get so busy every day, every week and before we know it another year passes. That sounds crazy doesn’t it? We often state how quickly times goes but do we really take time to notice miracles around us?

How many of us have said this before ~ it would take a miracle to make a certain event happen? Often in the news, journalists mention miracles. In a certain catastrophe they often stated it was a “miracle” no one was hurt. For example, living in the Midwest and tornados hit the ground destroying homes and businesses but often spares many people life’s. Suppose it was a miracle?

Every day, we experience miracles and we might not notice it because of our busy life. What if we took the time and concentrated on the miracles that take place around us each day, would we be amazed?

Blue Star Collection recently completed a staging project setting up three apartments for Airbnb’s in St. Paul, MN. The property is nested in a lovely, historical neighborhood surrounded with beautiful old homes. We were in our last hour of staging and I still needed one more area rug in a bedroom. As much as I wanted to discount the idea, the floors were hardwood so I felt it was necessary to complete the project.

We took off in search of a rug. It was late afternoon, city traffic was building during rush hour so it took longer than expected. When we arrived back to the apartments we got out of the truck and the doors locked. I thought Brian hit the button prematurely but nope it was me that accidentally hit the lock button getting out the truck. The keys got locked inside along with both phones and the new rug. Ohhhhhhh

There happened to be a rental person one of the completed apartments so we reached out to them for help to call the police and have our doors open. We were quickly told the St. Paul / Minneapolis Police Officers no longer assist with these issues. They suggested we call a locksmith. Now take in mind, its after 5:00 pm, traffic is crazy and what locksmith are we going to find to help that wasn’t going take all night in assisting??

After a bit of creative thinking, Brian noticed when we came back in the neighborhood after rug shopping there was a transport semi loading a car just down the street from the apartments. We both actually commented on our return of rug shopping stating “isn’t that odd” that a transport car semi would be in this neighborhood loading up a car?

When all our creative thoughts on how to get into the truck expired with a dead end, Brian came up with the thought that the semi driver down the street might have a tool to open locked doors since he was in the business of transporting cars. After a short walk down the street, sure enough there was hope. Making the connection with this fine gentleman named Jorge, our new friend came down and assisted opening the locked truck doors. No money was exchanged for his service, he stated to just pass the favor on to the next “Good Samaritan” in need. We both felt proud to be surrounded by such a generous person.

After putting the rug as we drove off from the apartments we reminiscing about the projects and meeting Jorge, I stated that was a “miracle” that just happened. What are the chances of this man being in that neighborhood the same time of the day and with a tool that could help assist us?

Our hearts were full of gratitude of such kindness ~

When you run to the grocery store and someone smiles at you in the produce department or maybe at the checkout line how do you feel? Our eyes and smiles say so much more to others when we don’t even realize it. These small acts might be an everyday miracle. Do you later continue to think about that smile or kind gesture?

I find the best girlfriends in a store when I’m trying on a dress or other piece of clothing, If I’m shopping by myself and don’t have a friend along that will tell me if it looks good or put it back on the rack almost always out of the blue, a gal steps up and says I love that on you! The conversation begins. Are you sure it doesn’t make my butt look too big? 😉 Out of the blue girlfriends are great! No judgement, just honest words. You have to love those little miracles that happen.

I truly feel everyday miracles happen around us. We all just need to open our hearts and eyes to our surroundings. Miracles are a confirmation of a larger force that is present in our life’s. Just when we feel it’s a bad day or bad situation a miracle might happen that leads our minds into a different direction and often can lead us in a new venture or mindset.

So, are you in need of a miracle today? Are you paying attention to your surroundings and have your eyes wide open? If you open your mind and heart you might find more miracles around you than you realize. They could be small miracles, but possibly powerful.

I encourage you all today to open your heart, your eyes and your mind as you look, listen and feel your surroundings. They just might add “bright” moments to your day and create a new path for you.

Now if your looking for a great “flick” to watch, put Two Hearts on your list. As we chat about “miracles”, this a true story about a miracle happening between two couples. It will warm your heart, make you smile but be sure to have a box of Kleenex handy.

https://www.google.com/search?q=movie+Two+Hearts&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari#wptab=s:H4sIAAAAAAAAAONgVuLVT9c3NMzKrcwtM0xPesTozS3w8sc9YSmnSWtOXmO04eIKzsgvd80rySypFNLjYoOyVLgEpVB1ajBI8XOhCvHsYuIMKcsNy0xJzS9exMpvpOCRmlhUUqxQBhYBADLu3YN9AAAA

And as always in my closing, I love to leave with a tune to hum along with. Enjoy ~

It’s National “Road Trip” Day!

Everyday it seems we are celebrating some sort of event. I often check the calendar to see what is being celebrated for it makes great party ideas. Yesterday when I looked at the calendar I thought it was a fun one. It’s National “Road Trip” Day!

The Friday before Memorial Day is declared National Road Trip Day and serves as the official kickoff of the summer road trip season. Millions of Americans hit the road each year over the long weekend, visiting friends and family while paying tribute to our American heroes.

So, we too joined the other millions by hitting the road to my hometown, Fort Dodge, Iowa. We’re probably doing the same thing as many of you are, visiting family and making the rounds visiting cemeteries in honor of Memorial Day.

Who doesn’t enjoy “Road Trips”? Rain, shine, cold ~ it doesn’t matter. Roll the windows down or put on the heater, you got it covered!

Whether we’re seeking out family tombstones, looking for adventure, visiting family and friends, these road trips are often a rite of passage. Sometimes we endure them, often hearing, “Are we there yet?” And other times we never want them to end; sometimes getting lost can be even more fun than the original plan. Today that happened to us as we searched the back roads looking for the right cemetery down different gravel roads.

It’s clear that the open road calls when long weekends and Fridays roll around. We pack up, fuel up, stock up, and then crank up the tunes. In fact, having good music, audiobooks, and/or podcasts to listen add to making it a successful road trip. Additionally, having good snacks and drinks for the road, finding great places to eat on the way, and finding clean bathrooms to use while traveling are often the most important parts of a successful road trip.

How many of you play games while on the highway? Going through the alphabet finding signs for that particular letter. Playing the game, “I’m thinking of something” and the others have to guess what your thinking as you give them hints. Of course its always fun to “name that tune” from the tunes on the radio or playlist.

How do you roll down the highway? Maybe a couple of these tunes catch you singing in the car?

No matter the destination, road trips include an element of expectation, and they rarely disappoint. The best road trips bring us closer to people over a cup of coffee and treat. They connect us to places through memories and the kindness of strangers.

Also, yesterday was National Beef Burger Day, Brisket Day, Hamburger Day, Don’t Fry Day, and Cooler Day. So it was decided a hamburger needed to be in our path!

And for those of you that might want to make your own burger, here is a fun site to explore and add your own your touch.

Best Hamburger Patty Recipe

Whatever you do this Memorial weekend, make it your own. Being thankful for those that fought for our freedom. Remembering those that are gone but not forgotten. Make it fun, safe and just enjoy ~

Right up my alley ~

When I received a phone call last year from Ideal Properties ~ Minneapolis, Minnesota (www.idealpropertiesmn.com) asking if they could hire Blue Star Collections to stage this 1916 vintage complex I jumped on the chance to do some magic! I felt like I hit the jackpot and it was my lucky day to have the opportunity to work with a great company and stage an awesome building.

This completely renovated 4-plex in the fantastic located in the Lexington/Hamline neighborhood. Each unit included 2 bedrooms, 1 full & 1 half bathroom, sunroom that could be 3rd bedroom, spacious open dining/living rooms with hardwood floors, plus stunning remodeled kitchens & bathrooms. Blue Star Collections was ready to take this staging project on!

This beauty was sold to a local Minneapolis investor not only looking to add to their portfolio, but also to make a few people happy as well. Their goal was to place it in the pool of Airbnb’s rentals.

Blue Star Collections job would consist of staging from top to bottom with furniture, kitchen, bath necessaries and more to make these renters feel at home. The budget was low and there was not much room for error so I had my work cut out for me. I tapped into my years repurposing and recycling mode to make this work for all parties involved. Having a bit of experience of staying at a few Airbnb’s in our travels, I also knew having the necessary essentials were important.

My first line of action was to visualize who would be renting these rooms? The property was close to several colleges, a few breweries, shopping, and fun entertainment located in St.Paul, MN. My thoughts were parents coming to visit for the weekends, students overnighting to check out colleges, or maybe just a fun group wanting to explore the area.

Right away I also knew I was going to fall in love with the building while working this project. Excitement grew after walking through the empty rooms in this vintage apartment building making my mind wander to know what the story was behind beauty.

The colors were neutral. Fresh white paint, floors were original and each had been updated. It was Blue Star Collections job to bring this place alive with comfort and fun!

The kitchen was set up for the connivence of cooking if you wished or just having that first cup of coffee in the morning. Dishwasher was available so there would be no work involved in the clean up. Just come to enjoy ~

Knowing I had a clean slate, strict timeline and a slim budget, my mind raced to add the special touches it needed to make a difference. I was off and running with my shopping lists!

Gathering my thoughts I knew I needed 9 queen size beds, 3 dining tables, 3 sofas, at least 6-9 side chairs, 3 sets of dishes, 3 coffee makers, 18 sets of sheets, 36 bath towels as well as others linens, at least 24 area rugs. Whew my head was spinning. Just those necessary purchases was going to take a big chunk from my budget.

To make this a success, tapping in on my relationships with past vendors was going to be prominent. Also, would they have the amount of these items I needed in stock to meet my timeline?

My first stop was to search for new mattresses and headboards without breaking my bank. I didn’t need a couple, I needed 9 sets. Katie at Ashley Furniture a friend of mine I had dealt with in the past helped assistant in filling my request. After purchasing these sets I was assured they would be delivered by the end of the week. Keeping the “show on the road” was a must!

Ready, set and go for the unload.
These guys knew exactly what they were doing! I was amazed by the compact of the mattress, but oh so heavy to take on the task of several stairs ahead.

Shopping for headboards made it fun to see each room start to come alive. A small hiccup, and challenging was working around with old iron heating radiators in each room. Exact measurements needed to be respected to make it all fit.

Mattresses were in place ✔️. Next was setting the tone with coverlets, duvets, and pillows. Because I’m a pillow fanatic, each bed received at least 4 pillows with at least a couple accents to carry the theme. Right under 50 pillows were purchased. Needless to say I bought several places out and had to make many stops to meet my needs.

Bedrooms were under control ✔️, next it was moving into the dining and living areas. Tallying up the dollars I had spent on the beds and linens I knew I need to stick to my budget find three preferable new sofas at a reasonable price. I put all my feelers out to my possible contacts and prayed I could accomplish this next task.

My mind was racing! Each room would need accessories to pull off this project but had I to be smart and keep it fun. No buying “just because its cute”. It had to be productive, clever and eye appealing pieces that was able to work in this Airbnb rental property.

Not only did I tell you I had a tight budget but my timeline was 2 weeks until the first renter was arriving. Think I had a few meltdown moments? So it was on with the mission of completing these Airbnb’s and having the pieces delivered in time.

Since there is lots to cover in this staging project, I decided to break up this blog and share in a couple posts. Please join me for Part II as I continued to bring this beauty alive. I hope you will come back ~

Our biggest cheerleaders ~

I love Mother’s Day! It’s another day that we can reflect on our Mothers memories and how they made us who we are today. Our hearts are always full when we think of our Mothers.

Mothers give us so much unconditional love and never asking for anything in return. Being a daughter/son, mother, grandmother you all know what I mean.

Our cup continues to runneth over with joy when we think of our mothers. They brought us into this world, feed us, taught us lessons, gave us direction, wiped our tears away, and always had great advice.

Our mothers always stood up for us and was first to raise her hand saying “my kid is the greatest”!

When it’s our birthday, she never forgets our special day. Always makes us feel special with baking or buying us a cake.

Our Mothers have their own stories that we often like to hear. How she met your dad, what was it like when she grew up, or what was the best part of her life. I bet there is a high percentage of your mothers out there that might have said “having YOU was the best”!

As the years go by, the love grows even stronger between mothers and their children. Just when you think your heart is full, more comes pouring in.

So Mom, this day is for you! I wouldn’t be where I am without you. I’m blessed to still have you in my life and having those special moments. Laughing when we can’t get you in the car, talking about current events, or if you took all the bingo prizes home again. 😉 I wouldn’t trade these silly moments for anything! These memories have been priceless.

I also was blessed to have a wonderful mother-in-law. Brian was also lucky to have such a supportive mother and they had such a beautiful mother / son bond. Today she is in heaven but I still miss those favorite talks with her.

Then there is my daughter Kelli that made me a mother. Such a handful of JOY! She is beautiful inside and out with her strong and loving personality. I’m am such a proud mama with all her success today! And then there is little “Princess Marley”, all the joy she brings to everyone when she meets them for the first time.

So mothers out there, THANK YOU for your love, leadership, and laughs. You are our hero’s, and we often don’t tell you enough how really special you are!

So where ever your mother is today be it living on earth or up above in heaven, enjoy all the wonderful memories our mothers brings us. Party on together like there is no tomorrow. Be grateful ~ enjoy her love. Happy Mother’s Day ~

Are you ready to Jump?

I normally don’t get personally attached to CAMM Air projects but when this came into our shop the beginning of this year my ears perked up. My heart began pitter pattering right away when I heard the plan for this next refurbish project. I couldn’t wait ~

For those of you that might not know CAMM Air, it’s our family business or one might say our bread and butter. We are located in northwest Iowa in a small farming community in Spencer, Iowa. We refurbish and maintain corporate aircraft and other types as planes as well. It’s been a fun run for many years now holding great success and satisfaction of being our own entrepreneurs.

This King Air project airplane came in mid January. A King Air is an elite aircraft holding up to eight passengers with a biff in the back if needed. 😉 It had been bought from one of our local long standing customers and was sold to a group out of Michigan. I didn’t pay that much attention “until” they mentioned the aircraft was going to be converted into a “Skydiving Jump Plane”. My heart jumped a beat, I swear!

So the project began, and a hefty project at that taking several new parts, hours of labor and refurbishing the fuselage. The guys in the CAMM Air shop work magic so I was keeping my eye on this project because of my curiosity of turning it into a “jump plane”.

I’m not sure who was the most excited, our crew, the owner or me! It was certainly fun to watch and hear about the makeover project. From week to week I would ask how the King Air project was taking place. It always amazes me how something gets torn apart in so many pieces and then like magic our team puts it back together bigger, better beautiful and seamless.

A refurbishment is taking the aircraft apart from head to toe one might say. The guys recycle what parts they can, adding new parts and of course updating the latest and greatest in avionics. Today it continues to be about safety but also adding luxury items as well.

After spending a few weeks with overhauling the landing gear, changing a wing, fuel control, upgrading avionics, installing jump mods, new door, bench seats for high density to now hold twelve people, and updating all maintenance records it was getting close to being done.

Everyone is excited! Tests runs were done! As they say in the movies, it’s time for “lights, camera and action! The behind the scene Maintenance Techs were eagerly watching from their benches or windows and we might have had a few “nose prints” on the windows as well.

The King Air looked pretty sexy on the ramp as she rev’d up her engines to fly out into the friendly skies! Checklists were completed and it was time to send her to her new home in Michigan.

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I’m sad and sorry to say I wasn’t there the day when the King Air taxied out from CAMM Air. I could only imagine the proud moments that took place. I was excited to know what fun laid ahead for the King Air that would be filled with laughter, excitement and many jumps ahead.

Memories flashed in my mind once again knowing the new King Air project plane was done. You see, why this was so close to my heart is because once upon a time I too did a skydive tandom jump. I still remember the day like it was yesterday.

Every year, Fort Dodge, Iowa holds the “Labor Day Skydiving – Couch Freak Boogie”. At the time in my career, I happened to be the FBO (Fixed Base Operator) Manager at FOD (Fort Dodge Airport). I worked close with the Sky Divers beforehand with set up so it was fun to watch as they arrived for their fun weekend.

After being around the exciting energy I decided I needed to try it as well! For those wanting to participate in on the fun, you partner up to tandom jump with a bit of instruction and video training. I completed the task and I was ready to go!

I had butterflies the entire time as I suited up thinking “I’m really going to do this”! My tandem partner calmed my nerves saying I would never forget this moment and just like that, off we flew to 13,000 feet above the ground. The aircraft was filled with fun and laughter. There were bets as to how many could land on the sofa. My thoughts were, these professional jumpers knew how to have fun!

Thirteen thousand high above the ground, the door opened and one by one, they started to jump! I knew I wanted to go sooner than later because there was no “chickening out” and just like that 1-2-3 we jumped!

Well, didn’t make the sofa but we were certainly close. Oh my gosh, after about 10 minutes of pure joy and thrill I was back on the ground. The rush of before and after was an experience I will never forget! I graduated with my first jump and was proud I did it!

So in closing I have a several thoughts in my head from this CAMM Air project. My sky dive jump in Fort Dodge, succeeding in this King Air and making our customer and several sky dive jumpers happy.

Songs also keep popping in my mind with “sky diving”. Do you think this is place that people to go to forget everything as they jump out of plane and enjoy God’s beautiful landscape? Do you suppose any of them had ever had fear such as I did when I jumped?

For those of you that might want to take this Blog to the next level, turn up your speakers and you too can hum along or tap your toes with a few tunes.

Free Fallin’ – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1lWJXDG2i0A

Live Like You Were Dying – Tim McGraw. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9TShlMkQnc.

Jump – Van Halen. https://www.google.com/search?q=jump+van+halen&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari

Here is another “cool” thing, as I’m writing this blog, a text just popped up on Brian’s phone from the new owner of the King Air over in Michigan. It follows as such, “Hey Guys, just wanted to say thanks again for everything. The plane is amazing! There are a lot of happy “Sky Divers” over here in Michigan because of you guys!”

My last “little note” a note from my “tandom partner’s father” that arrived a few days later after my jump. I’ve kept those memories as well as this note to remind me we need to have fun everyday! Our Team at CAMM Air filled a lot of dreams and will support many making these same memories by completing this project, you make us proud!

Meet Phyllis and Jerry ~

You know how we say “you never know who is going to slip in your path next”, that is certainly the case in this next story. Meet Phyllis and Jerry that stepped into our path last night.

We had been out exploring around Savanna, Georgia most of the day and arrived back at our campsite at Skidaway Island State Park shortly before dinner and dusk was minutes away. We quickly got a fire going and sat down around the fire to reminisce our day.

A gentleman comes up and asks if we were just at Gulf Shores Alabama. He mentioned a trailer such as ours that had Iowa license plates was parked in the same campgrounds as he was. We both commented, nope not us ~ we were coming from Florida. Meanwhile in that same conversation, another guest arrived on his bike and stands back awaiting to chat as well.

Jerry, the man in the background waiting patiently grins with joy and asked if we happened to see his Avion trailer in the next row over from us. We completely missed it since it wasn’t in our drive to our campsite and was one row over. A bit small conversations took place about our trailers, we invite Jerry to take a look inside. “Oh no”, I can’t look without Phyllis because “she wouldn’t t let me hear the end of it if I looked without her”. Can I go get her and come back he asks? Sure, come back we both respond we will be here.

Just a few minutes later, sure enough here they come Phyllis and Jerry. Oh my gosh they both were so full of fun and lots of energy! They asked if we had seen their note they left for us? Gezz we were flunking all bases with not noticing their trailer, nor note. Maybe we had done too much sightseeing for one day?

Phyllis and Jerry were such a little joy to be around. We exchanged stories of acquiring our trailers and where we were all from. Lots of giggles were exchanged. It was now “showtime” for Phyllis and Jerry to take a peek at our old 1962 Avion.

They both squealed with joy and had amazing looks as they stated their trailer was almost identical. We must now come look at theirs! Off they go on their lighted bikes as we follow behind.

We arrive at “their camp” and we too giggle as it seemed like the trailers were a brother and sister thing and they were from the same family. Two 1962 vintage Avion trailer in the same campground, what’s the odds?

More small talk and they tell us they are from Moline, IL. Phyllis and Jerry are trumpet players (so is Brian 😉) and Phyllis does virtual lessons to students back in Moline. Phyllis reached for her trumpet and was excited to share her talents with a serenade for us. Bravo – bravo as she blushes!

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On another fun note, this last year they brought along their sewing machine and have been sewing masks. Posted at their campsite is a clothesline full of free masks for giveaway to anyone that comes along. Jerry cuts out, Phyllis is the seamstress. Several hundreds later, I might say they have had a greet success making many of peoples day by providing a free mask just by stopping by.

Such a colorful personality Phyllis had. Many fun sayings around their trailer, netting to keep the bugs out, colorful lights strung all about outside and of course the trumpet is ready to play at a moment’s notice.

Time quickly pasted with our new friends and it was time to head back to our camp but not without one more dual song on the trumpets. You see every night at 9:00 pm both Phyllis and Jerry plays the taps at their campsite for neighbors to enjoy. One stands at one end of the site and the other at the other side. They flash their flash lights and taps begin. What a treat for many ~

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As we say our goodbyes, I quickly look back and see the cat in the window watching us walk off. How lucky for us to always meet such awesome new people. Phyllis and Jerry we hope our paths cross again in our old 1962 Avion’s. Safe travels ~ keep up the tunes, and sewing machine going. You sprinkle such joy ~