Monday, June 25, 2018

Weekend Update

 First concert at Ravinia for 2018.  We've been going together since our honeymoon in 1976.
The artist was Seal, the performance was great but the weather...was cool.  The temp the day before was 95 but on the evening of the concert it was 61 with a steady breeze.  We froze!
 We snuggled under a tablecloth we usually sit on.  Lucky for us, the rain that surrounded us never fell and we had a very good time.  We danced a little and I walked around the park to get the blood flowing.
 The lawn never did fill up, but those scared away by the threat of rain missed a great show.
 Then a mission of mercy.  Our Charlotte had surgery on her foot and needed to get picked up from a Doctor's visit, and taken home to Indiana.   Then the rain came again.  I got to see the gorgeous Buckingham Fountain on Lake Shore Drive. Did you know it was built by a woman named Kate Buckingham in memory of her brother Clarence?  Geoffrey Baer a local treasure who loves to share his knowledge of Chicago history on our PBS station taught me that.  (an a million other Chicago facts;-)
Charlotte was home safe and we had a unexpected 
tour of our hometown.  It's even beautiful in the pouring rain.

 Then our girls arrived and we spent a fun afternoon shopping at the thrift and the craft store.
Kris took the train back home and left us the best girl in the world, our babygrand Penny.
We watched a kids cooking competition on TV and Penny wanted to learn to bake right there and then. I convinced her to wait till the morning.  As soon as she woke up, first thing out of her mouth, Let's bake! I let her do everything herself.  We used a mix, but she broke the eggs, measured the oil and water.  We added some vanilla and mini chocolate chips.
I told Penny how important cleaning up is.

 She was so proud.
 We made fancy hearts, and put them in the freezer for the 4th of July.
  Then a big surprise for us all.  The cousins were in town and visited.  All the hugs and kisses, laughter and fun.  I even got to hold our baby Zoe.  We miss them all so much, so these visits are very special.
 Penny and I made some cards for the children who were separated from their parents.  Our Senator posted the address, and we thought it was a wonderful idea to show the children that many Americans do care.

Off to the Lake and a performance.
 Penny took this pick.  A lot of "old people" were there to listen to a rock and roll band.  (Our peers.)
 Sunday morning, our very first sighting of Jerry!  What all Monarch butterflies till today were called.  Surprisingly, this was Jerry's sister Elizabeth.
 Then our very first visit to the Morton Arboretum to see the amazing Trolls by Danish artist
Thomas Dambo.  The trolls are made of recycled materials.  Penny was amazed and a little frightened.
 When you see where this troll's rocks landed, you might be frightened too.
 Explain that to the State Farm agent...
 What a couple of sweethearts.
 Someday I will devote an entire post to the Arboretum.
 This trip was all about the trolls.
It was so much fun for all of us.
Here the troll set a trap for kids who were tempted by the golden suitcase.

 Much different than the Botanic Garden.  Mostly trees, trees, trees. I love trees!
 We were able to drive through the woods, it was so beautiful, it brought me to tears.
Penny said that Grandma's BFF is nature.
We were pretty lucky to find a few trolls that were hidden from view. 

 This big guy...

This troll almost had our girl for a snack!
 What a great day, a happy weekend and special time with our real BFF, our sweet girl Penny.

Thanks for stopping by and for your kindness.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Houghton, before and after the storm.

 We left on Friday for a quick trip to Houghton, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula.  Quick is relative, 6 to 7 hours of driving.  We were on a mission, to check out the venue for Mike and Amanda's wedding, to deliver some arrangements I made for the upcoming shower, and to find a venue for the rehearsal dinner we will be hosting before the big day.
 As we drove I kept an eye on the weather.  There were big storms all around us, but we were fortunate to get through most of our drive with just a few showers and no storms. Thank goodness for our local WGN Weather Ap. 
 It is so beautiful throughout Wisconsin and up through the UP.
 Those clouds, little did we know the impact that the weather would have.

 When we got to our hotel, we relaxed for a while, then went out for dinner.  The sun sets so much later up here.  This is at 9:00 and it stays light until after 10.  It rained while we were sleeping.
 The next morning we met up with Amanda's Mom Lynett, her friend Melanie and Melanie's daughter.  They took us to a local spot for breakfast and we got a history lesson about Houghton.  Lynett and Melanie love their home and are proud of the mining history of Houghton. 
 It was such a great day.
 We saw the sights in town and traveled up the peninsula.
 It was bridge festival weekend, with a parade and festivities.

 That's a mine shaft up on the ridge.
 The streets can be very steep and a little confusing to us who live on the plains.

 Lynett took us to a rummage sale.  I found two of the elusive hobnail vases we are using for the wedding.  They are large and were just $2 and $3 each.  My dearest found a bunch of DVDs in his quest to take over the world with his *plex thing-a-ma-bob.  *A storage system for our DVD collection. I also found my guy a great shirt for $3.  It was fun to thrift in a new place.  Everyone was so kind and friendly.
 This steeple will be coming down as they remove this old church and rectory.
 We visited the venue of the kids wedding.  It's old with lots of character.
The town is charming.  There was a steady stream of people who were picking up their mail at the old Post Office.  No house delivery here.  I really wanted to visit the monastery we tried to visit last year. Lynett and Melanie gave us a guided tour and we visited points of interest along the way.
Can you imagine all this snow?  Things get real in the winter in the UP. 
I love snow but the isolation must be hard.  (Two kindly old folks.) 

 There are so many waterfalls as you travel north.
 So many interesting places we just didn't have time to visit.
This guy, what a trooper . Thank goodness he loves driving, and me.  The things he does for love, love for all of us.
 Lupines grow wild along the road.
 Finally, at the Monastery.  The bugs were fierce, but I have never been in a Monastery and here was our chance.  I was dressed appropriately...but the door was locked!
 My day will come.
 It's so appealing to this old girl with a fascination for religious orders.  Maybe not next time with the wedding and all.  It's starting to feel comfortable and familiar up here. It stared to rain, and we headed back to town to take care of some wedding business.  We found a great restaurant for the rehearsal dinner, and watched the fireworks at the bridge festival from our hotel.
 We went to bed, but all night long the rain was pounding down.  I occasionally got up to look at the parking lot to see if there was flooding, since our phones alerted a flood watch during the night.
 Very early Lynett called the kids to warn us to stay put for a while because of flooding.  Our Chicagoland experience with flooding is standing water, flooded basements.  So a couple of hours later we figured we were fine.  At the desk they were advising people who were leaving to stay away from the lake. (Lake Superior) also offering a reduced rate if we wanted to stay another night.  This all went over our heads, we had no idea what was happening.
 As we left the hotel, my hubby set up our navigation to avoid the lake.  We stopped for gas and noticed people gathering behind a department store.  We thought it might be standing water or a rushing stream.  Again, oblivious to the terrible things that were happening around us.
That road behind the department store was washed out.  Many roads were gone or impassable.  We didn't know this until we were home.  Lake Linden, the quaint and charming town we visited was devastated.  Over 60 wash outs, roads totally destroyed in Houghton and surrounding towns.  Homes and businesses destroyed or filled with mud and water.  We are so sad for our family and friends up north.  Everyone of Amanda's family is impacted by the flooding, but they are strong and resilient.
We hope that these problems will be addressed quickly, so many businesses rely of tourism to keep their economy thriving. We were so lucky to get out while we did, ignorant of the danger but watched over, probably by my dear Dad, the patron saint of good parking spots and safe road trips.  It had to be Dad being Father's Day and all.
The reason we wanted to get home Sunday...

was our sweet girl graduated Kindergarten on Monday morning.
We were there to cheer her on and enjoy the delightful program.
Penny did a great job this year.  She got great grades and made so many friends.
I love her school and everyone there was so friendly.
Now we have a first grader, and I wonder how in the world the time has passed so quickly.

Then back to reality.  No air conditioning, 95 degree day.
Luckily my dearest had a meeting so he had a cool afternoon.  I sweltered.
Being tired from our busy weekend didn't help.  We were so happy when the rains came and the temperature dropped significantly.  We were able to sleep cool, and that's just what we needed.
The new HVAC will be installed next week.

I got a call from my friend Jean.  She is my dear pal dealing with so many health issues.
The good news is that she is improving.  Numbers that were in the stratosphere have come down to normal levels.  All the prayers and good wishes have helped.  She is back to reading my blog and was grateful for all of you who have thought of her or prayed. I am so happy to have this good news to share. Jean, you are amazing!

Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kindness.
Enjoy this beautiful day.
Love, Penny