Thursday, December 24, 2015

In Arkansas for Christmas

Back in early October I made reservations for a cabin the Smokey Mountains (Pigeon Forge, TN) for our first ever Christmas vacation. Since Jerry and I have worked retail hours so much of our lives we have never ad any work time off around the holidays. With Jerry retired this year, he was anxious to go somewhere. Talked to my mom and she expressed an interest in spending Christmas in a mountain cabin with a fireplace. And, that's how the cabin at Pigeon Forge happened.

from rental website

I found a great single story cabin with a fabulous view, hot tub, two bed/bathrooms and near Dollywood! We were so looking forward to seeing the millions of lights and Christmas in the Smokies at Dollywood. I was also anxious to go to the national park. But, something happened between the cabin owner and the leasing agent and they dropped each other which left us without a reservation. Money refunded, no problem, but it left us without Christmas plans.

We hadn't even put up a tree at home because we were going to be away. So, we decided to take the opportunity to spend Christmas with family in Arkansas. My mom's sister Joyce lives near Memphis and I am siting on her couch right now typing this.

We left Florida on Tuesday and drove as far north as Ozark Alabama. Yesterday we continued through Alabama into Mississippi, and then a short stint through Tennessee to reach Arkansas. The weather was awful at times and only sprinkling rain at it's best.  At one time we were very concerned with tornados because the clouds were low, dark, and it was windy. That was around Holly Springs Mississippi.

Despite sketchy weather we made it safely to Arkansas only to learn that tornados followed us. Last night we saw photos of the interstate at Holly Springs with semi trucks on their side and trees sheered off. We also learned there was a loss of life in the area. This all happened only a couple of hours after we drove past.
from Google images

We are very thankful that we made it safely to be with our family this Christmas and the families and victims of the storm are in our thoughts and prayers.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Thursday, November 26, 2015

My Cousins And I Do Another Challenge

Warning - this one gets a little gross at the end. We do the Tin Can Challenge after eating a big Thanksgiving dinner (bad idea).

Monday, November 16, 2015

Three Gross Girls (a.k.a. Me and my Cousins!)

My cousins Erica and Sarah did a YouTube video with me for my channel. We did the disgusting Bean Boozled challenge. I challenge you to watch it through to the end!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Celebrate America Cruise with the DAR

Jerry and I recently returned from a cruise to Canada and New England aboard the Regal Princess. It was part of a group cruise with other members of Daughters of the American Revolution. It was fun to see friends from my Kodiak chapter! We left from the Brooklyn NY terminal, sailed the entire second day, landed at Halifax Nova Scotia, next day St John New Brunswick, next day Bay Harbor Maine, then Boston Massachusetts, next Newport Rhode Island before returning to Brooklyn.

The first night in New York we stayed in Times Square area - boy has that changed! We saw the Broadway play "The Book of Mormon". Upon our return to New York we visited Ellis Island and stayed lower Manhattan. We could see the 9/11 memorial from our room.

Maine coastline in Acadia National Park

New England foliage

Bay Harbor, Maine

Leaving Boston

Welcome cocktail party

Old State House site of the Boston Massacre

Lighthouse outside Halifax?

Lighthouse outside Halifax?

We had about 200 DAR cruisers on board. One night we wore our blue Pashmina scarfs included in our goodie bags and gathered for a photo. 

Me and Jerry with President National

Me and Jerry in Maine

Names around the 9/11 memorial. I was so moved when I saw flowers inserted in some of the names.

Old Granary Burial Ground in Boston - the grave of John Hamilton where we had a wreath laying. There are three signers of the Declaration of Independence buried here.

Lower Manhattan

More Kodiak DAR friends

Paul Revere house in Boston. Local daughters held a nice reception for us in the house.

Hubby takes great photos - this is our ship behind the sailboat in Newport, Rhode Island.

Jerry in Times Square

Lighthouse near Boston - did not appear to be working.

The bull on Wall Street - so crowded with people could not take a good shot.

The Statue of Liberty

New England clam chowder in New England!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Texas Barn Owls

I have become addicted to a bird web cam. My drug of choice is the Texas barn owls available through Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology.
You can also follow them on Twitter (official)  and YouTube (there's official and viewer content).

When I first discovered the cam, early June, all four owlets were hatched. They all still had down, none had branched, and the youngest was very small and immature. As of a couple days ago all have fledged! I've learned so much and believe it is great family entertainment.

They still associate the nest with feeding so they hang around the vicinity of the nest box during their nightly fly arounds. Plus, they continue to roost there during the day. It's strange how a group of strangers have come together to cheer on both the small and large accomplishments of 4 little birds and to worry about them as well. This was probably helped by the fact that the youngest was a bit of a runt having had a lean start and no one was sure he was going to make it.

Here are some photos from Twitter (they are not all mine):

Their home

Sometimes it seems they know they are being watched

Huddled together sleeping

The day a female wood duck landed on the nest box and then snooped around. the owlets were on alert for the stranger!
Mid July when all had branch but the youngest had yet to fledge

Mid June waiting for someone to feed them


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Eddie's Office Remodel

After remodeling the sewing/craft room, Eddie insisted we do something to clean up and better organize "his" office. So with a little paint and a lot of Ikea furniture, here it is:

Eddie approved storage bench in the window

From the door, toward the west

The north east corner of the office

The south east corner including the desk

The south west corner and Eddie show us "the end".

Friday, May 29, 2015

Saying Goodbye to the Big City

Today is a 10am check out of our apartment in the Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago and a train ride back to my cousin's house. (Tomorrow we fly home) So, I thought it was a good time to post photos of the place where we have stayed.

This is it! 1631 W Winona. We had the upstairs apartment with the balcony.

This is view looking down the street toward the other residences. It is a beautiful street with people walking dogs, pushing strollers, gardening, etc. The other direction is toward two busy streets which were handy for restaurants. The area was settled by Scandinavian immigrants and it still shows in the area some.

This is the stained glass fire surround in the living room.

The dining room
The bathroom - it as a big blue tub!

The kitchen

One of the 3 bedrooms 

And the sun room behind the kitchen
It was a very comfortable rental with an enjoyable neighborhood. The cab rides to downtown were over $20 though. We took the bus to/from Wrigleyville because it was a straight shot and that was $ 6.75 for the 3 of us each way.

I have relatives and friends who have opted for "vacation rentals" instead of hotels so I thought I would give it a try. I didn't miss the hotel services at all but, instead, enjoyed the comforts of a home environment.

When Jerry and I lived in Kodiak we had a mother-in-law apartment downstairs. We set it up as a business and called it Serendipity Guest House and it was a morph between a B&B and a long term rental based on our clientele.  Now I have figured out we had a vacation rental!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sight Seeing Day Three

We started the day at Millennium Park. The Cloud Gate, or Bean, was on my list of things to see.

 (This photo is inside the bean looking up)
The photo doesn't show it well, but this is a large garden of wildflowers anchoring the tall buildings.

This art piece is one in the Boeing gallery. It appeared to be glass blocks/bricks that has a video playing through the bricks. The face changes (eyes blink, etc.) and water pours off the roof ad sometimes out the mouth.


Next we went to the water tower area. It's one of the areas I remember from when I used to travel to Chicago for business since I usually stayed in a hotel in the area. Since I know work with water/utilities, thought I would snap a photo of the old water works building.

Boy! Bloomingdale's changed a lot since I was there last (in the early nineties, I believe). They made it into a mall meaning Bloomingdale's gave up room for other stores.
 Next it was off to Pizzeria Uno which was on Jerry's list. Here he is pictured with my cousin Diane outside the restaurant. He remembers it from years ago.
And, our dinner - deep dish, Chicago styled, pizza.

Neighborhood Muscovy

Broke Wing So, back in March a mama Muscovy showed up with 14 ducklings in the pond across the street. These ponds are retention pond...