The Kollmans

Life and Times of Taken a sum Doodum

Pictures July 25, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — kollmans @ 11:07 pm


Pictures from our first Kollman family vacation, and Liza’s grad school residency.

Check ’em out.


Life Continues July 17, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — kollmans @ 11:06 am

Liza is still in Boston. It is hot and muggy and her residency is going much more slowly than she would have thought. There has just been so much going on back home that it is hard to concentrate on being in Boston. She’ll return on Sunday night, and get back to life and etc.

Tony is heading today back to Jamestown. On Tuesday, we were informed via text messages from Tammy, Tony’s older sister, that Tony’s father’s wife, Cindy, had died suddenly at their home in Kensal. George,  Tony’s dad, had gone to the store to run some errands, leaving Cindy on the porch. When he came back, she was dead. It was all very sudden and was quite a shock. Liza really wanted to come back from Boston for the funeral, and it would have been fine for her program, as she had been there more than half of the days and thus would have been counted as full time – but she was unable to get an airline ticket that cost less than 500 dollars. As she had only spent about 375 getting to Boston and back in the first place, spending 500 to come back three days early wasn’t possible. Her thoughts and prayers are definately with George and his family.

Tony will spend tonight in Jamestown and go to the funeral with his mom tomorrow afternoon. He will probably come back to Howard Lake Friday night, or perhaps early on Saturday. Liza will get home on Sunday.

Peace and good wishes….


Grad School and Junebug! July 13, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — kollmans @ 4:55 pm

After our vacation, neither of us felt like doing anything – but that was not possible! We got home Wednesday evening and had to be in bed by 9 or so, because Liza had to leave Thursday for Grad School. We got up at 4:30 AM on Thursday, so that Tony could drive Liza to the airport, turn around, and still make it to work in Buffalo by 8. Liza ended up at the airport a little after 7 for a 10:30 AM flight, and Tony did make it back to work on time, so all was well there!

Liza had the longest travel day she has ever had getting to Boston. The wait in Minneapolis seemed long enough, but her troubles were only beginning. After she left Minneapolis, she was supposed to arrive in Atlanta and then have about 2.5 hours to wait for her next flight. However, just before landing in Atlanta, the pilot pulled back up due to a heavy rainstorm that had JUST hit the airport. The plane didn’t have enough fuel to circle around to wait out the storm, so it was re-routed to Chattanooga Tennessee. They sat on the ground there for over an hour, and flew back to Atlanta. She didn’t get into Atlanta until about 4:00, and ran to her gate to catch her 4:30 connection. But, while she was in Tennessee, the entire Atlanta airport had been closed, meaning that all of the flights were pushed back and delayed. Her flight to Boston wasn’t scheduled to leave until 6:30. That would have put her in at around 9 to Boston, instead of the 7:30 arrival she would have had with no delays. Of course, the plane didn’t leave at 6:30, due to the fact that the pilots were delayed somewhere else. She didn’t leave Atlanta until 9 PM – and even then was stuck on the runway for awhile because the plane taking off before her had a tire blow out while taking off and had to circle back and land again before the runway could be examined. So, she didn’t get to Boston until about 12:30, which meant that she couldn’t take the train out to school, and had to take a 60$ taxicab instead.

The residency has been going well for Liza. She’s working with great people and keeping busy. She returns to Howard Lake on the 20th of July.

Tony ,meanwhile, has still been on the go. He worked all day Thursday and all day Friday, and then had to drive to Aberdeen with his drum set AND the dogs on Friday night. He moved back INTO the camper, this time at Mark and Diane’s house in town, for the weekend because of two Junebug shows that are going on. Saturday, yesterday, was the Great Pig Out – a chance for vendors to sell meat and community to enjoy live music on Main Street in Aberdeen. Junebug was booked in at 2 pm, so they played  a fantastic show. Today was a 1 K run put on by Dan Cleberg, from the coffee house to his house, followed by a Junebug concert in his backyard for the participants and community  members. Great times had by all! Liza will try to upload some pictures that she’ll get from Diane of both of these events. Tony has to return to Howard Lake this evening with the dogs, so that he can work all week, while Liza is in school in Boston.

Busy, Busy, as always!



Filed under: Uncategorized — kollmans @ 4:46 pm

*** keep checking in on our photo album. We are working on downloading vacation pictures, but it might take awhile! Stay tuned,and be sure to check out the Solo album as well for updates!!!!***

The Kollmans have returned from our first family vacation! We were gone for almost two weeks – and it was a wonderful time!

Liza had been packing and organizing for a couple of weeks for this trip. During the week leading up to the vacation, Michael had come to stay with us. Since Diane was in Alaska, Liza drove to pick up Michael and two of the dogs on Tuesday. Liza met Mark in Ortonville and picked up the boys. Michael had a great time staying at our house. On Friday, June 27th, we drove back to Ortonville and met Mark again to drop Michael and the dogs back off with him. We drove straight from Ortonville back to Howard Lake to change clothes, and then headed into the city to go to Cortney and Jeff’s couples shower. It was a lot of fun! We are so excited for them to get married, and can’t wait for their wedding! 🙂

Since Liza had been packing and organizing for a while, we were pretty much ready to go by the time we got home from the couple’s shower. We wanted to keep our trip as simple and cheap as possible – so we had a bag with snacks and sodas for the car, plus dog supplies for our three dogs, and Solo, whose new family was really the main point of our trip. We had dog kennels and blankets, our suitcase and computers, and everything else that we’d need for roughly 2 weeks of traveling by car. It was quite a production, but we were able to organize everything into our little Neon.

On Saturday, June 28th, we left Howard Lake. We didn’t get out of town until around 11 or 12, but that was fine, as we were officially on vacation and simply weren’t worried about hurrying. We stopped in Minneapolis at Anthony’s house to drop off a payment for the Junebug album. We left the twin cities area shortly after that. Our first quest for our vacation was to find a Taco John’s to eat lunch at – but of course, when you want to find one, there isn’t one to be found. We settled for a Subway a little bit past St Paul, and had lunch. Of course, as soon as we got back on the interstate, we saw a Taco John’s at the very next exit – so it goes with the Kollmans! 🙂

Saturday, we drove from our house to Janesville, Wisconsin. It took us about 6 hours – but that was only because we kept stopping here and there to pick up various things or to see various things. It was a long day in the car, but we made the most of it, stopping when something interested us and just having a good time. Solo was riding in a small doggie kennel, because he was too little to understand car rules. Willie, Wicket and Daisy are very good at riding in the car. They usually settle down in the backseat and every once in a while they come up for some pets and love. But, they are fantastic at car traveling, and we love to have them along.

We had reservations at a Motel 6, which, for anyone’s information, allows pets to stay for free at any time. We got to Janesville and settled into our hotel room around 6 or 7 or so. The room was very cheap, and very tiny – pretty much just the bed and a bathroom. We didn’t need much room, however. We got Solo and the big dogs set up in an area, and Tony went to the store to buy some beer. We ordered Pizza and watched some TV, and pretty much relaxed for the evening. We spent the majority of our time playing with Solo, as we knew it was our last night to hang out with the little guy before we dropped him off at his new home!

On Sunday, June 29th, we left Janesville and headed all the way through to Indianapolis. It was another long day in the car for all of us. We made it to Chicago in about 3 hours, and it took about an hour to get through the city. Indianapolis was only about 185 miles past Chicago, so when we got onto highway 65, we called Solo’s new family to let them know where we were. They were very excited to know we were getting so close. In fact, Solo’s new mommy Molly was jumping up and down when we called to let them know we were only a couple of hours away!

We got to Indianapolis early in the evening, and found Molly and Dave’s house. They were super excited to see Solo, and we were glad to see them! The minute that Molly put Solo in her arms, we all got the feeling that Solo had come home. Solo loved them all right away, and licked their faces as soon as he saw them. Molly and Dave are about our age, and have been married since 2004. They are a super fun family – with a beautiful house! We spent about a half hour watching them hug and pet Solo, and showing him his new home. Then, we went out to our car and got our dogs to bring them in. All three of our dogs did great with Molly and Dave. Willie was her typical Willie self, and even snapped a little at both of them, but we were able to tell her no, and the behavior stopped. What a good dog! We enjoyed some time playing up in their attic with Willie, Wicket, Daisy ,and Solo, and sitting around talking for awhile. The four of us people made home made pizza, and then we spent the evening just chatting – talking about dogs, going over the contract, and trying to fit in a whole lifetime of ideas into a few hours. We even played a few rounds of Cranium Pop 5, which is one of our favorite games. They are wonderful people, and we are very happy about our choice for Solo’s new home!

On Monday, June 30th, we got up and got things rolling for the day. We wanted to get back to Chicago at a pretty good time, so we took our dogs out and loaded the car. Molly had gone to work, but we chatted briefly with Dave, and let Solo romp and play with our dogs one last time. It was great to see them all playing, and know that Solo had a really good upbringing that will prepare him for a wonderful life with Molly and Dave! We already miss him, but we know that we’ve found great friends, and Solo has a great new life!

We drove back to Chicago, leaving Molly and Dave’s around 12:30 or so. It was another great day in the car. We really do enjoy traveling, and we love to have our dogs along. We got to Chicago around 3 or so, and it took us awhile to find the address of the hotel we’d reserved online. Turns out this was because when Liza had mapped it, Google maps had taken the address and changed it into something else – which it does from time to time. Our first shot ended us up at a store called GoodWillie, which we thought was rather amusing. Thanks to a great atlas, we found our way back up to the place our hotel was supposed to be. However, when we got to the Super8, we were less than impressed. It was very dirty, very dank, and it a very poor section of town. Neither of us wanted to stay there after seeing it, but we didn’t know how to get out of it. Luckily, we found that right at the front desk was a sign that said “No pets allowed”. Liza had booked the room online, and the site had said that there WERE pets allowed. We got back in our car and found the customer service number for Orbitz. There, Liza talked to a very nice woman who explained that since the Super8 had misrepresented itself as a hotel that accepts dogs, Orbitz was fine with us leaving – but we had to convince the manager to let us out of our payment contract. At first, he wouldn’t do so , claiming that it was ok with him if the dogs stayed. We didn’t feel comfortable in the hotel period – because when we stay places we want to stay in places that not only ALLOW dogs, but ACCEPT them. We were planning to be gone all day the following day, and wanted a safe place to leave our dogs. The man wanted us to stay in his hotel, obviously so we could pay him. So, we brought the car around and he peeked in the windows and saw the three dogs, who were all jumping and trying to eat his hand. He said to Liza “well, as long as you are going to be in the room” and she said “well, we’re not. We are leaving all day tomorrow, and we’re leaving them in the hotel”. and then he asked “well, what if they bark?” and she said “exactly! They will bark! They will be loud! Please let us out of our room contract!”

And, he did.

Since the Orbitz lady had been so helpful and had stayed on the line with Liza (probably her BEST example of customer service in her entire life), we found another reservation on Orbitz before we left the Super8 parking lot. This was at the Garden Inn, which wasn’t too far away, but which was located about 3 blocks away from a subway station, and definately not only allowed pets but accepted them. Best part was that the hotel was only 65$ a night, which was totally something we could afford. We got in the car and drove to the new hotel. After we checked in, we headed next door to Hooters and had dinner. We always enjoy going out to eat, so we took our time and really enjoyed our vacation evening.

On Tuesday July 1st, we got up rather early, or at least tried to. We are always on a budget, but we did heave enough money to do the things that we wanted to do. We took the subway into Chicago and then took a bus to the Shedd aquarium. We’ve both been there before, but not together. During out trip, we got a chance to wander around downtown while we found the right buses. So,that was a fun experience as well. We got to the Aquarium at about 2 pm, which ended up being perfect. We had a great time looking at all of the fish and other underwater creatures, and most definately enjoyed the dolphin show – after which we got a very close up look at feeding and play time with the whales. It was very, very neat. We finished up at the Aquarium just as they were closing for the day – around 6. We decided that we’d like to go find Navy Pier, so that’s what we did. We enjoyed wandering around the botanical gardens, and just seeing the shops and other things that were there. We’d eaten a late lunch at the Aquarium, so we headed back to the hotel and had some more snacks, as well as some more of our beer! 🙂

We did have a scary occurrence on Tuesday night – however. Wicket slipped his collar in the parking lot of the hotel when we were taking the dogs out to potty. However, he must have remembered his terrible night lost in Eden Prairie, because he simply stood there and looked at us. Liza flopped to the ground and called him in her sweetest puppy voice – and he came right over to her, without any problems. No running, no bolting. We felt very proud of him, and lucky that things hadn’t gone wrong!

On Wednesday, July 2nd, we got up and packed our car yet again to head back in the other direction. We were on the way to South Dakota for the 4th of July, but instead of finding a place to stay that night, we thought it would be best to save money and simply stay back at our home in Howard Lake. Chicago to Howard Lake was a long haul, the longest one-day drive that we’d had. But, the dogs did fine, with much more room because of the absence of Solo’s kennel – and we stopped several times for potty-breaks. We finally got our Taco John’s food, as well, in between Chicago and Minneapolis. 🙂 We got home at around 7 or so, and didn’t even unload the car completely. We took our suitcase in, and the dogs in, and that was pretty much it. We decided that we were still on vacation, even if we were stopping at home – so after watering our plants and checking on our cats, birds, and fish, we ordered pizza and watched some television on the computer in the living room. We did do any work, any cleaning, or anything. We did remove our dirty clothes from the suitcase and add a couple of items for our 4th of July weekend – but otherwise we pretended we were still on vacation!

We got up on Thursday the 3rd and continued our trip. That day’s journey took us from Howard Lake to Liza’s folks’ house in Aberdeen, South Dakota. We got to Mark and Diane’s around 5, and after a few minutes of hellos and last preparations, we headed out to the lake cabin for the weekend. Mark and Diane had set up the camper up on the hill behind the cabin, so us Kollmans really did have our own place to be. Which was very nice, indeed. We set up the dogs in the camper, where they have stayed before, and unpacked ourselves for the long weekend. It felt great to be somewhere to stay for a few days! Thursday night we all enjoyed the wonderful company (along with my dad’s cousins Gary and Marcia) and grilled out for dinner. Liza worked on perfecting her marinade for froze fake meat patties. There were salads and veggies and all sorts of goodies, as well. The boys started in on the fireworks, but left the major blowing-things-up display for the next day.

Friday, the 4th of July was one of the best days of our trip. Liza always has loved the 4th of July, because it is a time for celebration and family. There is always a boat parade out at the cabin – in fact, Diane really started the idea of a boat parade more than 13 years ago when she got up at the crack of dawn, decorated the boat, pulled her tired and sulky family out of their beds, and made them drive slowly around the lake, blasting patriotic music and waving flags. Five or six years ago, the Richmond Lake Committee started to organize actual boat parades – and we all have a pretty good idea that it was because of her. We always have a theme for our boat parades – three years ago it was Born to Be Wild, with Michael’s little Harley tied to the boat deck. Two years ago we did a Peace theme. Tony and Liza missed out on last year’s boat parade, as they were in Europe on their honeymoon. But, this year’s theme was Jimmy Buffet. We all decked out in swimming suits, shades, and flowered shirts and decorated the boat with fish nets, Island print flags, and general Island decor. Then, we got our margaritas and beers and juice and soda, and got on the boat for the parade at around 2. We were there, as well as Mark, Diane and Michael (we missed Scott very much!!!). Gary and Marcia were there, as well as Mark’s dad Allen, Mark’s sister Becky, and Becky’s husband Ted. It was a great group, and we all had lots of fun!

The boat parade always lasts a few hours, because we take our time and enjoy the speeds and the water. When we got back from it, we spent the rest of the fourth relaxing and enjoying each other’s company. Many hours were spent in the hammock, visiting the Klee Kai and the 5 sled dogs that were at the cabin for the weekend, and eating food. At dark, Tony, Mark and Michael, with a little bit of help from Gary and Ted, shot off the fireworks that they had purchased. Then, everyone got into the pontoon boat again and we headed out to the middle of the lake to watch some awesome fireworks displays put on by the richest people out on Richmond lake. Although there were bugs, it was a great time and we really enjoyed it all.

Saturday the 5th and Sunday the 6th were the best relaxation days of our vacation. We didn’t worry about anything – just hung out at the cabin, enjoying the water and the sand and the grass. We grilled out, watched great TV programs, and enjoyed the company of family. Everyone left the morning of the 5th except for us, so it was only us, Mark, Diane and Michael at the cabin. We really tried to just relax and enjoy these few days of our vacation. Saturday night we took an evening speed boat ride to watch more fireworks, and Sunday afternoon we all piled in the boat and Liza, Tony, and Michael went tubing behind the boat. This is something that neither Liza nor Tony has done for many years – with good reason. Oh, but what fun we had! It felt great to be behind the boat, and it even felt great to get thrown off into the water! What fun!

All too soon it was Monday morning July 7th, and we had to leave. However, we were happy that our vacation wasn’t yet over! The next leg of our trip took us up to Tony’s mom’s house in North Dakota. We had heard from Tony’s little sister Joni that she would be in town, so we knew that we had to include Jamestown in our vacation. On Monday we headed up there and arrived – thinking that we’d find Tony’s mom and Kelsey. However, the family had all decided they’d like to see us too, so we walked in the kitchen to find Darla and Kelsey, as well as Wendy, her daughter Allisyn, Allisyn’s friend James, and Hunter, who is Laurel’s son. Later, Angell (who is Laurel’s daughter) and her boyfriend came over – so everyone was there except for Laurel! It was a great surprise to see that side of the family, since it seems that we hardly ever do! We really enjoyed seeing everyone and catching up on what had been going on in everyone’s lives. There are always changes, and there is always gossip when we get together with that big group of people! We stayed downstairs in the basement, which is also a room that the dogs know well from our trips to Darla’s house. So, they were content to hang out in the room and wait for us to be done with our stuff so we could come down and see them.

Tuesday, July 8th was our day to meet with Joni – and we also had a treat as she brought another of Tony’s sisters, Tammy, and a niece, Daisy. (who is Tony’s 6th sister Becky’s daughter). So, on one day, Tony was able to see four out of 6 of his sisters, which is a pretty good number! We had a long lunch with Joni and Tammy at Perkins, which was great because Tony and Joni haven’t seen each other for more than 10 years, and Liza and Joni, while having spoken on the phone and online, had never met face to face. So, it was wonderful to have lunch and catch up with even more family members.

We had booked ourselves silly while in North Dakota – we thought we’d have more time to hang out with Joni – but since we’re only there every once in a while, everyone wanted to see us as well. We spent the rest of that day seeing friends, and exploring things in Jamestown, like the Frontier village and fort, and the World’s Biggest Buffalo. It was a very long day, but it was great to see people and things that we haven’t seen in a long time. We spent that evening relaxing at Darla’s house, while she drove the rest of the gang back home to Fargo. That gave us some good time to watch TV with Kelsey and enjoy seeing her more.

Wednesday the 9th was finally our day to come home after our vacation. We got up as early as we could and got on the road – knowing that even though our vacation was coming to a close, we were not done traveling at all. From here on out, our summer is going to be busy and packed full of things. We got back to Howard Lake around 5 or so on Wednesday, and Liza immediately began preparing for her Grad School Trip, for which she was leaving the next morning! We were able to relax and order pizza around 7 pm, and we got to bed very, very early!

We had a fantastic vacation. It was really our first Kollman Family Vacation – we don’t think a honeymoon really counts as a family vacation! Liza is working on the photos right now, so check back soon to see pictures from the trip!