Friday, July 24, 2009

On the road again...

And we're off again!
I was home just long enough to unpack my bags, catch up on laundry, get a few hugs from the grandkids, realize what a mess my flower beds are in, find a snake in my bushes!, have Steve the snake-slayer kill it, re-pack our clean clothes, & am ready to leave bright & early in the morning.
It's a 10 hour drive, bouncing along in that car hauler,
so I'm sure I'll be happy when we pull into our hotel late tomorrow afternoon.


This time we will be attending the National Impala Club Convention. Last year was our first time to be with that group & I'm not as well acquainted...but basically it's the same group--just a bunch of old gray headed Chevy nuts!

We'll be traveling through some beautiful country.
Too bad I can't talk Bob into pulling over near Ashville & letting me off at the Biltmore Estate! And--I have a first cousin that lives up in the mountains, just off of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Maybe another time...

Back in a few days!








Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chicago Tour...my part of the vacation!

What I thought was my ticket to a ride downtown Chicago for a day of shopping, ended up being a full blown tour of the Windy City! We blew right past the Water Tower Place & American Girl Doll Store & off we went to see the sights! I wasn't disappointed.
Lincoln Park Conservatory
I learned a lot of history about the city as we toured in our beautiful black bus (wish I'd taken a picture of that!) & went up & down streets & avenues I would never have discovered on my own.
Chicago takes pride in being a clean city. There are parks & green areas everywhere with all kinds of plants & flower displays. It was a beautiful day.
Chicago Skyline along Lakeshore Drive

The Sears Tower....
until the day of our tour when it became
Willis Tower
I don't remember the name of this building but our tour guide told us a little story about it. A few years after it was built, chucks of granite began falling off of it. Eventually all of the granite had to be replaced and they used what he said was Indiana granite. I wondered if he meant limestone. Anyway....the cost was $1,000,000. per floor & there are 81 floors!

In Millennium Park there is this huge stainless steel "bean" sculpture called "The Cloud". I was trying to get a picture of myself but got a blurry photo instead. Pretty cool to see all of the reflections in it on a sunny day!

More of Millennium Park

View down the streets of Chicago. You can see the elevated train track in the distance. My friend, Denise, rides the train to work from Harvard to downtown at the Sears...oops....Willis Tower--a 2 hour ride each way!
No way would I ever drive down here!

Chicago is famous for their hot dogs. This is my lunch at the Navy Pier & I think it was the best dog I've ever had! Hot dog on a bun with mustard, pickle relish, onion, tomato, peppers (which I opted not to eat!), sprinkled with celery seed salt. It was delicious & I'm not a big hot dog fan. Maybe I was just hungry...
Looking down Navy Pier
I had been there before & decided not to walk to the end.
It's a long way down there!
Back at the hotel Bob found a new toy. Wouldn't that be fun!

Ron & Denise Novak
Our friends took a day off of work on Friday & came to visit with us. We ended the evening with pizza at Armands in Arlington Heights. We met Ron & Denise several years ago through the Classic Chevy Club & they are native Chicagoans.
No...we don't dance. (I just tap my feet a lot!) But we do enjoy some of the old '50's & '60's music so sat in & listened to The Ragtops for a while. Loved this old guys keyboard & seat! And, they were a good band.

We even spotted Elvis!

And this dude always shows up at the Chicago shows.
He thinks he is one of the Blues Brothers!
There were some cars there---I just didn't take any pictures of them. I'll grab Bob's camera & show you what our trip really was all about.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A Tribute to a Childhood Friend

SGT. GARY DWAYNE DURK
April 29, 1949 - July 15, 2009
Jefferson City, Missouri



I was saddened when I recently received the news that a childhood friend had passed away. We grew up in the same small Missouri town, attended the same little Holiness church, & were in the same grade at school. I don't remember that we were great buddies...but he was just always there, part of my growing up memories.



His daddy was a farmer & I remember that at an early age, Gary knew how to maneuver one of those big farm tractors. He had 3 sisters, two older, and one younger...a special little girl that we would now refer to as a "special needs" child. Gary was a mischievous little boy but I don't ever remember him being in a lot of trouble.



Being the same age, we were in the same grade at our consolidated grade school. Although we were from a small town, our school was relatively large & there were lots of baby boomer kids in our class.



I think we were in the first grade & "Miss Georgie" was our teacher. One day she gathered all of her students in a circle & we were going to dance the "Virginia Reel". Being the little innocent Holiness children that we were, we knew our parents would not be pleased if we participated. I think I was the one that had to go to Miss Georgie & tell her that Gary & I weren't supposed to dance. I'll never forget that humiliation! But sweetly, Miss Georgia allowed Gary & I to sit that one out, having us take a seat while the other children whirled around the classroom floor to the music coming from the record player. I wonder if Gary remembered being singled out as much as I do...



Our families were friends & sometimes invited each other to our homes for special dinners. I don't think I'll ever forget the time that Charles & Marie invited my family to their home, a special invitation to listen to their new fancy purchase...a stereo system! Charles had it all set up in their living room & we all gathered around as he played that special recording of sound effects. We were amazed to hear footsteps that sounded like they were walking across the room! I don't remember exactly all of the other sounds, but we thought it was a magnificent system, bringing life like sounds right into their home!



It wasn't very long until we made a trip to Montgomery Wards & also purchased a stereo radio. Back then, the radios were in large cabinets & were actual pieces of furniture that the ladies were happy to display in their living rooms.


Then there is the memory of the time that Gary's little sister was severely burned after playing with matches & fireworks. We were getting ready to go on a vacation, but I remember my parents taking time out to go sit at the hospital through the night, while Gary's parents went home to rest.


And my one special memory of Gary is our "almost date".


It was while I was living away from home, attending KCCBS (a Christian high school). I came home on weekends as much as I could, having to "bum" rides from the guys that went there to College & had cars. Another story in itself...maybe for another time.


One morning the dorm telephone rang & it surprisingly was for me! Gary was calling. It seems that he had begged his mother to let him attend the Hallsville Junior-Senior Prom/Banquet...something that we Holiness kids weren't usually allowed to do. Marie finally agreed to let Gary go--with one condition--that he go with one of his fellow church friends--& the only one available was me. And to make matters more harried, the Banquet was that very night! Nothing like a last minute invitation!!!


I already had a ride home for later that afternoon so I made plans to be Gary's date. Some of the girls decided I needed to wear my hair "up", and after school that day, I got a fancy new "do". Of course I had called Mom to tell her that I had to rush home as soon as my ride arrived at the Columbia exit & for them to not be late. I had a bridesmaids dress that was left over from a wedding & Mom promised to have it ready & waiting for me.


Well, to make a long story short, my chauffeur home for the weekend was late that day. I told him that I needed to be home in a hurry but he & his other passenger decided they had to stop for a bite to eat at a sit down burger joint. I refused to join them & sat steaming in the car. I knew I wasn't going to make it home in time. (Arnold...are you out there?)


When I got home I called Gary telling him how sorry I was that I disappointed him. He was very kind about it & knew that I had tried my best. The next day he came by my house & brought me a corsage that he had ready for me to wear on our "date". So the next morning, being Sunday, I wore my pretty bridesmaid dress & beautiful orchid corsage to church just for Gary. I don't think we even sat together.


It had been years & years since I had seen Gary. Still, when I received that phone call this week, it really did make my heart sad. But as I read his obituary, I knew that he had lived a good life. The list of survivors was long & when I saw his smiling face, I was pretty sure that he had made lots of good family memories. At least I hope so.


He wasn't supposed to die from wounds suffered in a recent war. That was for the boys that had to go to Viet Nam in our high school years. Yet he loved his country enough to serve in the United States Army National Guard as a Sergeant, went to Iraq where he received injuries that would ultimately take his life.


Thank you Gary for all of the sweet childhood memories. But most of all, thank you for serving our beloved country!


My condolences to your family.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Chicago Bound!

It's that time of year again! Our vacations revolve around Bob's passion for old Chevys and this time it is taking us to Chicago Land....Arlington Heights to be exact. We'll be leaving in a few days for just a short stay. The conventions have been held in the Chicago area several times & it is a convenient trip for us, plus they usually have several activities.

So, once again, think of us in that heavy Chicago traffic, riding in the big truck, pulling a double car trailer. The coming & going is the part I dread as we are the length of a semi trailer rig. Therefore, we have to be very careful when we pull off that we don't get stuck in a tight spot. (In the past, I have had to get out & stop traffic so Bob can back that rig up! Just what I wanted to do....)

I have plans to go on the downtown Chicago bus trip. They will take us to Navy Pier & from there we can ride the trolleys around the loop, getting off & on where we want. I'm buddy-less this time, so am going to have to make a friend fast as this small town girl doesn't want to wander those streets alone!


Friends of ours are coming to spend one day with us. Then we will be back home a few days to get ready to head out for North Carolina.
And in case you are wondering....NO, I won't be going out on the the Sky Deck at the Sears Tower. See through floors 1,353 feet in the air are not for me!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Happy 5th Birthday to Carter!

Happy Birthday to Carter Jeffry!!!
He is 5 years old today
Carter is a special little guy...brimming over with so much energy, giggles, & mischief that you can see it spilling out of his beautiful bright blue eyes
I remember when he was a baby that I called him "Tigger"
as it seemed like he had springs in his heels
He was forever jumping...
never just quietly walking
and I don't think it has changed much during the last 5 years
as he is forever on the move!
Carter looks so much like his Daddy
who looks so much like his Grandpa Brown, in Grandpa's early years
Sometimes when I have them here, it seems like I see my own little boy racing around my back yard, and then I remember that I'm a grandmother, & that darling little fellow is Carter
Carter & Brycen are only 20 months apart and sometimes they almost seem like twins. For the most part, they are best buddies.
Happy birthday, little man.
You are changing so much & growing up so quickly!
We love you bunches!!!


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Shop!

I had put it off about as long as I could. Since I had searched through every shoe store in Columbus and couldn't find one shoe that would fit my fat foot, I decided I might as well head to Indy.

Now, I used to have a reputation for being one of those "shop 'til you drop" ladies, but times have changed & I don't shop quite like I used to. And one of the reasons is, my feet. If my shoes aren't comfortable, you might as well just shoot me or keep me at home.

Yesterday was the day. Somehow (probably from being overloaded!) my feet have spread out & I can only wear a wide width...which I found is absolutely not available in Columbus. Nor are there any in Greenwood! But I hit the jackpot in Indy, finally! I guess from now on I might as well just go shoe shopping up north and get it over with. Hopefully I'm all set for vacation & can keep up with my long legged hubby who always out strides me in the parking lots. Needless to say, none of the above shoes fit me. Thankfully my new ones don't quite look like orthopedic shoes, but they are comfy!


After all of that, I decided I needed a break & went to
Homegoods. The parking lot was crazy, & being the obedient wife that I am (I'm putting that in just in case hubby is reading this....), I parked at the very end of the lot.



It didn't take me very long to discover there wasn't a thing in that store that I needed or wanted, and it was getting late enough that I needed to head home before that awful Indy traffic rush.



As I scurried out to my car, I saw something on the back end and was sure some parking lot creep had left me a note or an advertisement. By the time I got there I could tell it was something plastic. Someone had "Mikes Me'd"! How dare they think my car was so dirty that I need to go to a Mike's Car Wash! (But it did need a bath.)



The plastic was a sleeve over the back wiper arm for the rear window. I ripped it off, thinking, if there is a phone number on this thing, I'm going to call Mike up & tell him I didn't appreciate one of his parking lot gorillas bagging my wiper arm!



I hit my remote door opener twice, but didn't hear that distinctive click. So, I hit it again and grabbed the door handle---which did NOT open! And at that moment I spied a green cup in the cup holder in the console & suddenly realized......this is not my car!!! Oh dear.....I looked around to see if anyone was watching me trying to break into their car, & then spotted my car parked two rows away!
I think I about ran across those two rows of parked cars. No doubt, if someone would have seen me, they would have thought I was trying to make a quick escape. And I guess I was...and escape from not paying attention!


The embarrassing thing about it was that car wasn't even the same kind as mine. In fact, I'm not sure what brand it was, but it definitely wasn't like mine. But it was dirty! And thinking about it later, that bag was probably put on that wiper arm the last time they went through a Mike's car wash.
I'm just glad I didn't get arrested!