Archive for March, 2012

The Game of Farkel: Strategy, Math and Luck

March 23, 2012

Tonight Jackson introduced me to the game of Farkel. He beat me by thousands of points, including rolling a straight good for 1,500 points. While a game of luck, Farkel also includes strategy, at which Jackson is pretty sharp.

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Tonight five-year-old grandson Jackson introduced me to the game of Six-Dice Farkel: The Classic Game of Guts and Luck. Where have I been that I didn’t know about this game?! We had a ball. Jackson practiced strategizing and his math skills while he beat me 10,750 to 6,700. (“Nanna, that means I won by 4,000 points. No, I mean more than 4,000 points.”) I strategized, too, but apparently not as well as Jackson did!

Before starting to play, Jackson and I watched parts of four or five YouTube videos, each explaining the rules of the game. As silly as this YouTube video (below) is, it is the one that best illustrated the rules for us, including in a dialect/accent we understood.

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(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

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St. Kitts — Part VIII: Plant Life

March 20, 2012

This view is from the Shiggidy Shack restaurant/fun spot on the Caribbean side of St. Kitts. We were intrigued by the cactus growing out of the top of this rocky formation. (Click on image to enlarge.)

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Three weeks ago I was more excited than I am now about these St. Kitts plant life photos. Some aren’t in the best of focus, and some of the plants can be found in Iowa (at least at Reiman Gardens on the Iowa State campus!). Post them, I will.

Any identification of the plants is a result of conversations with St. Kitts guides/residents. Hopefully everything is accurate. I’m still waiting to learn from someone on Nevis (near St. Kitts) the identification of the cotton-like tree, and also the plant with prickles (or thorns) that can cut skin.

If you want to enlarge any of the photos below, click on a thumbnail. To enlarge more, click on “Permalink.” Sometimes clicking another time will enlarge even further.

I’ve got one St. Kitts post yet to go. It will include miscellaneous photos. Then onward and forward to other topics.

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For “St. Kitts — Part I” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part II: Vervet Monkeys” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part III: Lobster” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IV: Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part V: Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VI: Brimstone Hill Fortress” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VII: The Beach(es)” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VIII: Plant Life” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IX: Miscellaneous” click here.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

St. Kitts — Part VII: The Beach(es)

March 17, 2012

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I wanted to do a post about beaches pretty much just so I could show this tractor-on-the-beach photo.

This image is of the beach at the St. Kitts Marriott. The photo was taken when Bill and I were beach-lounging one afternoon when Marriott personnel prepared to serve dinner-on-the-beach to hundreds of hotel guests. It was fun people-watching as this tractor, with wagon in tow, came slowly across the beach delivering hundreds of bottles of beverages to the mini-bars set up for the evening’s dinner. Being from the Midwest and having seen tractors out in fields mostly planting, combining or tilling (i.e., agriculture-related work being done), I thought it intriguing that this tractor was on the beach hauling rum, beer and other beverages.

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I imagine the beaches on St. Kitts are much like those at many other tropical destinations. My Lonely Planet* book recommends four beaches on St. Kitts, of which Cockleshell Beach, called an “activities beach,” is one. (The other three are South Friar’s Bay for “activities,” North Friar’s Bay for surfing, and White House Bay for snorkeling.) In the thumbnails below, I’ve included a couple of photos from Cockleshell Beach.

Lonely Planet* says about Cockleshell Beach, “On the southern tip of the island, this is a pretty but busy beach with views across to Nevis and calm waters that are great for splashing. Several bars, restaurants and water-sports concessionaires help create a party vibe from about midday onward. Local women offer massages in the tree shade. If you like it quieter, head to Banana Bay, the next beach to the right.”

We arrived at Cockleshell Beach in the morning before it was busy at all, therefore seeming serene. However, we did see little stands along the beach that we assume came to life later in the day for massages and/or beverages.

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For “St. Kitts — Part I” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part II: Vervet Monkeys” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part III: Lobster” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IV: Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part V: Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VI: Brimstone Hill Fortress” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VII: The Beach(es)” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VIII: Plant Life” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IX: Miscellaneous” click here.

*Caribbean Islands, Lonely Planet, 2011, p. 682

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

Norine Reigelsberger — The world is a better place because of you.

March 11, 2012

Norine Reigelsberger tossing candy during the Rolfe, Iowa, July 2009 Greater Rolfe Days parade. Joe, her husband, is on the tailgate with her. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

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I still just cannot believe it. Norine Reigelsberger passed away on March 9, 2012. When I was growing up, Norine, her husband Joe, and their sons Greg and Mick lived a short-1/4 mile down the gravel road from my family. In my mind, they’ll be there forever.

Anyone who knew Norine knows that she was always so full of life…and FUN! Along with that fun she certainly worked hard, both physically, creatively and in a community spirit of volunteerism, including so many acts of kindness for her family and friends. I’ll always remember Norine’s laughter, her proactive efforts in maintaining good health, and her willingness to “be there,” including for my mom and dad. Oh, and anything that came out of Norine’s kitchen, was mouth-watering, especially her cinnamon rolls!

The photo immediately below is of the local (to the Rolfe, Iowa, area) Couples Club bridge group. The group was founded in 1947-48; Norine and Joe were members from 1959-60 until the group disbanded in 1989-90. This photo was taken sometime between 1970 and 1975. My mom’s (Marion Gunderson) handwriting on the negative sleeve says “Islea [Graeber, who is in the photo below] has original.”

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Couples Club couples L to R: Ruth* and Lou* Feldman, Berniece and Al* Sedlacek, Islea and Jerry Graeber, Janet and Bob* Dixon, Norine* and Joe Reigelsberger, and Marion* and Deane* Gunderson (my mom and dad). (Click on photo to enlarge.)

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Norine’s mid-laughter smile in this Couples Club photo is how I will always remember her.

Norine’s biography is here. Her visitation is tonight. Her funeral service is tomorrow, Monday, March 12, 2012, at 10:30 AM at Resurrection Catholic Church, Pocahontas, Iowa.

On the following August 20, 1953, newspaper page is the wedding announcement of Joe and Norine. This page, as well as the archives of 101 years of Rolfe newspapers, is available at this searchable database. http://rolfe.advantage-preservation.com

Click twice on this newspaper image to magnify the text.

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*These Couples Club members are deceased as of March 9, 2012.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

Tulips Emerging

March 9, 2012

These photos were taken today, March 9, 2012. Clicking on them once will enlarge them. Clicking twice will magnify even more.

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To see watercolors of tulips painted by Mother (Marion Gunderson), click here.

The photos above were taken with a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens.

The settings for the two photos are:
Top photo: Shutter 1/30; aperture f/22.0; ISO 3200
Bottom photo: Shutter 1/80; aperture f/16.0; ISO 2500

Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.

St. Kitts — Part VI: Brimstone Hill Fortress

March 8, 2012

Bill and I give a thumbs-up to the Brimstone Hill Fortress as a “must see” when visiting the Caribbean island of St. Kitts.

A brief history of St. Kitts’ Brimstone Hill Fortress is given in this first YouTube video. The second YouTube video in this post shows the hairpin turns of the narrow road leading toward/away from Brimstone Hill Fortress. You’ll learn more facts in the somewhat stilted first video, but I think the second video is more fun!

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Lonely Planet* says Brimstone Hill Fortress “is an exceptionally well-preserved example of 17th- and 18th-century military architecture. Far larger than you’d think, this vast old military stronghold was built by the British with slave labor and offers insight into the violent and tumultuous past of the former Caribbean colonies.”

Lonely Planet* continues by saying, “Nicknamed the ‘Gibraltar of the West Indies,’ Brimstone Hill perches atop an 800ft volcanic cone and is one of the largest forts in the Caribbean. As a major British garrison, it played a key role in the battles with the French, who seized the fort in 1782 after the 1000 British soldiers inside were besieged for 30 days by 8000 French troops. The British regained it through the Treaty of Paris the following year. By the 1850s the fort was abandoned.” “In the 1960s major restoration was undertaken, and much of the fortress has been returned to its earlier grandeur.”

In the same building as the Fortress’s gift shop, visitors may view a 9-minute video documenting the history of the Fortress. I recommend taking the time to watch the video before ascending to the top of the hill. Allowing an hour at the Fortress is plenty, or allow two if you want to do a lot of exploring.

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Click on one of the thumbnails to view them all in a slide show. To view the photos even larger, within the slide show mode click on the “permalink” button. At this point, some of the photos (when the hovering mouse cursor shows as a “+” sign) can be enlarged even further by clicking on the photo one more time.

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*Caribbean Islands, Lonely Planet, 2011, p. 683

For “St. Kitts — Part I” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part II: Vervet Monkeys” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part III: Lobster” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IV: Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part V: Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VI: Brimstone Hill Fortress” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VII: The Beach(es)” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VIII: Plant Life” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IX: Miscellaneous” click here.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

St. Kitts — Part V: Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack

March 6, 2012

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Our Lonely Planet book* says about Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack, “Lanterns on battered picnic tables on the sand put you in instant party mood at this popular joint. On many nights bands hook up to the generator and jam; on others, karaoke drives many to drink (more). Thursday is bonfire night.”

A bunch of us went to Shiggidy Shack (on the Caribbean side of St. Kitts) on a Thursday night. We got it all: a beautiful sunset, the limbo, a band, karaoke, bonfire, fire-eater, rum punch and good food. Bill and I arrived minutes before the recommended 6:00 for snagging a group of tables…well before sunset.

Let the pictures say 1000-times-infinity words!

Click on one of the thumbnails to view them all in a slide show. To view the photos even larger, within the slide show mode click on the “permalink” button. At this point, some of the photos (when the hovering mouse curser shows as a “+” sign) can be enlarged even further by clicking on the photo one more time.

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For “St. Kitts — Part I” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part II: Vervet Monkeys” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part III: Lobster” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IV: Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part V: Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VI: Brimstone Hill Fortress” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VII: The Beach(es)” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VIII: Plant Life” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IX: Miscellaneous” click here.

*Caribbean Islands, Lonely Planet, 2011, p. 681.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

St. Kitts — Part IV: Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor

March 5, 2012

Except for a quick stop at a t-shirt place during our last day on St. Kitts, Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor was the only place on the island where I shopped…twice. The first time, cruise ship travelers crowded the little boutique, making it inefficient to maneuver around the shop. However, the good thing about being there with the cruise ship travelers was that it guaranteed a demonstration of the batik process.

UPDATE March 6, 2012: A YouTube video of a Caribelle Batik demonstration is immediately below.

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This woman is conducting a batik demonstration within the walls of Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts.

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If you click twice on this photo, you'll zoom in on the detail of the wax design on this fabric, as well as the hot wax kettle.

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A couple of days later we returned. (Since our first visit, I had decided I wanted to purchase a few items. I also wanted to take photos of flowering plants on the grounds.) Arthur Jones, our taxi driver, suggested he get us to Caribelle Batik before the cruise ship traffic descended upon the grounds. We scurried to get there; I finished my shopping and photography just as the cruise ship traffic arrived.

I don’t know where the garments (shirts, dresses, etc.), handbags, placemats, potholders, cosmetic bags and too much more to remember are constructed. I do know that Caribelle Batik is the main (only?) outlet for selling their products, offers batik demonstrations, “exhibits” batiked fabric hanging on the lines outdoors, and has absolutely gorgeous plant life on the extensive grounds of Romney Manor.

My Lonely Planet book* says about Romney Manor, “Just above Old Road Town, the 17th-century Romney Manor sugar estate once belonged to the great-great-great-grandfather of Thomas Jefferson. Since 1964 it has been the home of Caribelle Batik, which sells handmade batik wraps, dresses, wall hangings and other items. There is also a small workshop where you can watch the colorful fabric being made. Don’t leave without a stroll amid the palms and poinsettias of the glorious gardens**, which are guarded by a magnificent 350-year-old*** saman tree.”

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Saman Tree - 400 years old

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If you click on one of the thumbnail images below, you can view all of them in a slideshow.

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For “St. Kitts — Part I” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part II: Vervet Monkeys” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part III: Lobster” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IV: Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part V: Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VI: Brimstone Hill Fortress” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VII: The Beach(es)” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VIII: Plant Life” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IX: Miscellaneous” click here.

*Caribbean Islands, Lonely Planet, 2011, p. 683.

**In a future St. Kitts post, I’ll include more photos of the grounds.

***The sign at the Romney Manor entrance says the tree is 400 years old.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

St. Kitts — Part III: Lobster

March 3, 2012

This photo was taken as our taxi driver drove past this young man who was standing at the edge of the road. (Click twice on photo to enlarge.)

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Freshly caught lobster was available at many St. Kitts restaurants. Bill and I enjoyed lobster at three restaurants during our St. Kitts stay: Serendipity, The Beach House, and Mr. X’s Shiggidy Shack.

All three restaurants offer beach-side dining. The Beach House is the most elegant of the three (but even so, it’s fine to wear a nice casual shirt and shorts). Serendipity is not as elegant but still very romantic (or, if not in the mood for romance, still a lovely environment where you can watch twinkly cruise ships depart in the night for the next port), and Shiggidy Shack not elegant at all but definitely a ton of fun.

From these three restaurants, the lobster was most (very) expensive at Serendipity, next most expensive at The Beach House, and least expensive at Shiggidy Shack.

Bill and I had lobster at Serendipity on Valentine’s Day when it was offered as a special entree. We neglected to ask the server the price when she recited the specials to us. It’s probably a good thing, because we are so glad we ordered it, but probably never would have given it a chance had we known the price! We each were served three lobster tails (so…a total of six tails) which made us wonder if we had mistaken the server; we wondered if it was intended to be lobster “for two.” When we asked the server, she said that, “No,” it was meant per person. We had the leftover lobster the next day when we combined it with a Caesar salad for lunch at the beach.

Lobster at Mr. X's Shiggidy Shack on the Caribbean side of St. Kitts. (Photo taken by Vicki Boeke. Click on photo to enlarge.)

For the price, the lobster was worth it at each restaurant. I liked the Serendipity lobster best. There was something about the sauce that was different and more delicious to me than regular garlic butter or any sauce I had ever had with lobster. Bill liked the lobster best at The Beach Club; the garlic butter there was pretty amazing. (Oh, and the blue cheese butter and the banana walnut butter for the rolls was…yum!) And at Shiggidy Shack, the lowest priced lobster of the three restaurants, we definitely got our money’s worth with lots of lobster and tasting better than any lobster back home. (Plus, at Shiggidy Shack, we also got g-r-e-a-t entertainment. I’ll report more about that in a future post.)

If we had it all to do over again, to which of these restaurants would I go? All three of them!

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For “St. Kitts — Part I” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part II: Vervet Monkeys” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part III: Lobster” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IV: Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part V: Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VI: Brimstone Hill Fortress” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VII: The Beach(es)” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VIII: Plant Life” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IX: Miscellaneous” click here.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)

St. Kitts — Part II: Vervet Monkeys

March 2, 2012

Vervet monkeys were plentiful on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts when Bill and I were there in February. (An overview of our vacation is here.)

If the monkeys had an easy “out,” as soon as they were noticed they’d scamper away.

At least some of the locals consider the monkeys to be a nuisance.

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For a close-up of the image immediately above, click on it twice.

To fully enlarge the thumbnails below, 1) click once on an image, 2) then click on the “permalink” button, and 3) click on the image again.

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For “St. Kitts — Part I” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part II: Vervet Monkeys” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part III: Lobster” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IV: Caribelle Batik at Romney Manor” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part V: Mr X’s Shiggidy Shack” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VI: Brimstone Hill Fortress” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VII: The Beach(es)” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part VIII: Plant Life” click here.
For “St. Kitts — Part IX: Miscellaneous” click here.

(Click here to go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s home page.)go to Louise Gunderson Shimon’s blog’s home page.)