Sunday, October 23, 2016

Chicago is where you find...

Mr. K had a convention in Chicago this summer.

Since I had never been there, we decided to fly in a few days early and explore the town; then I would fly home early while he stayed for his convention.

Chicago is an interesting place..
we took the Chicago River architectural tour, which was fascinating...

well worth the price of a ticket!

I had heard so much about the Navy Pier, I couldn't wait to see it.

Turns out, it was interesting, had great food too!


They must have known Ron was coming.

He did not have lobster but they did provide him with a lobster bib...

We really wanted to visit the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), but they told us there was
AT LEAST a 2-1/2 hour wait to get on the elevator.

They suggested we try the Hancock tower, which is about 300 feet shorter, but at over 1,000 feet,
who's counting?  The views were spectacular!

The Willis tower has the ledges where you can walk out over the city.
The Hancock tower has Tilt...

Where you lean against the window and they tilt you out over the edge!

We did not do it, and after watching person after person back away from the window,
it was just as well!

My favorite two things were walking to the Tortise Club to hear the Mark Burnell Trio.

Mark is my cousin, we hung out a lot when we were kids.
We even had the same piano teacher!
I think his parents got more bang for their buck!?!

We met my Cousin Jerry and his wife, daughter and son-in-law there.

Jerry was another one of my favorites but I haven't seen him in years.  He's an attorney in Chicago.

Sunday morning, Mark picked me up at the hotel for Church.

He's the pianist at Gorham United Methodist Church and afterwards, we all headed for
Pegasis Restaurant for some wonderful Greek food.
Jerry and his wife, Cathy, met us there.
Of course, it was time for a photo op.  As usual, we forget and hand a camera to Ron...
who hasn't taken a clear photo in his lifetime!
 That's Jerry on the left, Mark on the right.
I loved Chicago (had to leave the next day)...
and I loved spending time with family even more!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Pumpkin Patching...

Tony and Mindy love to take Locklan on adventures.
Last weekend, they were taking him to the local pumpkin patch and invited me to go too!
It was so exciting for him (and of course, us too)!
He seemed amazed at the pumpkins...
They had so many...but Mindy and Tony couldn't wait to take him to the corn pit!
They had a huge section of the barn filled about 2 feet deep with dried corn.
All you had to do was dive in!
We had a blast!
I tried to photograph him, but he was on a mission...
They had a slide set up on one end...
Mindy and Locklan had such fun there...
Uncle Tony and Locklan loved it!
A few weeks ago, Locklan saw a girl doing cartwheels and he's been trying them ever since!
He would have stayed there all day, but then he saw the tractor ride!
He couldn't wait!
The tractor took us out to the pumpkin patch...
Locklan couldn't decide which pumpkin to carry around!
Until he found one that made a handy seat...
There were animals that needed petting...
And his very first pony ride...
He loved the displays...
And ran from one to the other...
And finally it was time to go home. 
I bought him a little pumpkin to hold.  He seemed to like it!
He was still awake when we got to my house
 but by time Tony and Mindy unloaded my huge pumpkin...
THIS is what was going on in the back seat...
Later that night, he managed to entertain everyone when we met for dinner...
Last week, Andy had to run some errands and of course, Locklan went with him.
They invited me!
Locklan loves the holiday displays (even though it's way too early),
But we did find something that was appropriate.

He had a ball!
What a love bug!
You can't imagine how much I love that little guy!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Turning 65 ain't all that bad...

This year was another big birthday...
I turned 65!
If you've been around for five or so years, you might remember My surprise party! for my 60th birthday.
This year, my birthday was a little more sedate, just a quiet day at the river with a few friends and family...
Look what Mr.K gave me for the big day:
Yes!  it's a VW Beetle convertible! 
My dream car!  I've been lusting after one forever.  I think I've had 9 VW's since I got my first Beetle in 1974.  Needless to say, I was am thrilled.
One of the first things I did was plan a road trip.
I headed due north, first to Clayton, NY, on the St. Lawrence River.
I've been going for more than 30 years. 
I love the Thousand Islands!
I got to stay at the new Thousand Island Harbor Hotel,
Which is a wonderful place to stay!
Mark and I spent many summer days (and occasionally winter days too) watching the river.
He loved ships.  It was so cool to walk into my room and look out the window to see this...
How ironic...Not only did he love ships, but he loved to sail as well!
In two nights, I became thoroughly spoiled...
The weather was so beautiful, I ate dinner on the patio...
They had fire pits where everyone seemed to want to hang out...
My friend, Patricia, came over from Canada for lunch.
The food at the hotel is so good, we ate on the patio..
and then we sat in these chairs...
That were set up along the river. 
Since we only see each other once a year, we had a lot of catching up to do.
We had a five hour lunch!
My first morning, I woke up just before six.  I heard a strange noise, a humming sound.
Then I realized...
It was a ship!
I tried to get a photo...
That was the best I could do.  See the ship in the middle of the photo?
The next day I had to try my courage and drive across the Thousand Islands Bridge... 

I did not take this photo.   I was hanging on to the steering wheel with both hands!
I managed to visit all my favorite places...Cape Vincent, Clayton and Alexander Bay
Complete with lunch at another favorite...Bella's in Clayton!

They have wonderful food...a deck overlooking the water and cuddly throws on the back of the chairs in case it's a chilly day or night (and they do have plenty of those!).

Before I knew it, it was time to head south.
I was going to Canton, NY to spend time with Mark's family.
We had three wild and crazy nights of Pinochle...until someone delt this  
hand to Aunt Anne...

Barb, Mark's cousin, it such an amazing cook
but we did manage to go out and have a meal with eyes
with Aunt Anne and her daughter, Jenny...

And we went house hunting.
Barb has been house hunting for quite a while. 
 Just before I got there, she had put an offer in on a house.  The realtor called to say that
the owners had countered her offer.
Barb was a little bummed and said she needed time to think about it.
Barb, Aunt Anne and I jumped in the car and went out to see if there was anything interesting for sale.
There really wasn't, but the next day, the realtor called to say
that the owners of this...
waterfront property that had this...
Overlooking this...
Brandy Brook
that empties into the mighty St. Lawrence...
We accepting offers and were motivated sellers...
Long story short, Barb moves in next month!
Guess I'll be making lots and lots of road trips!
I had one more stop on the way home;
Oneida, NY.
That's where my Uncle Frank raised his family.
I had three cousins still there but had not seen them for years and years!
My cousin, Mark, was gracious enough to invite us for dinner
(and a photo session).
Mark and his wife, Laurie, have the most incredible Victorian home...
It's a work of love and lovingly restored!
It was so wonderful to sit on the screened in back porch and see
faces that looked like family!
Here's beauty and the beasts...
That's Frankie, Mickey and Mark.
can you tell we're related?
We talked, laughed, and had a wonderful time.
I was sorry to see the evening end...
But I had a few kids, a grandson, a couple of dogs and a plant-killing husband waiting at home...
So I headed south.
6 days, 1,287 miles and all but 2 hours total with the top up.
It was so good to be home, even if my peace lily did not make it!