Sunday, August 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom!

Mom turned 72-years-young today. She doesn't seem that old at all. She still works, still does everything on her own and can get down to the floor and sit and get back up again unassisted, which is something I can't do anymore!

Hope you have a great birthday Mom, and many more to come yet!

Love you very much!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rain Choir

Beautiful... my mom showed me this while I was over at my parents' house visiting yesterday. It's really cool how they made it sound like a real thundershower.

Subbing for Bunco

How many of my lady friends who read here have played Bunco and do you enjoy it? I subbed this past Monday at my friend Pam's Bunco game and it was fun to get out and have snacks and socialize with some very nice women, and I did have a good time. However, I don't think I could make a regular thing of this Bunco stuff. Sitting and rolling the dice for ones, twos, threes, fours, fives, and then sixes...then start all over again. It's just throwing dice and seeing what team gets 21 first, then stop...then rotate and do it again. And they give prizes for being lucky. I would rather just get together and talk for the evening and have dessert and coffee and forget the dice-throwing. They also pay money to do this. If asked, I might do it again as a favor because the women are such nice and interesting people. But to join the Bunco "club", no thank you.

I stayed overnight at my friend's house and the next morning she made breakfast and we went shopping at the antique stores near where she lives. I found myself a gorgeous aquamarine Trifari necklace for only $20. That was a good find! It's worth a lot more than I paid for it. I will be keeping my eyes open when I go to second hand shops and antique stores from now on. People don't know what they are giving away!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Back to reality

Now that Heidi is in New York City continuing her vacation, it's back to reality for me and, windows, windows, will it never end?! And then he goes outside today and sees that a piece of our siding has popped off the house! What the heck??? He wants me to get off this computer now and get my staining clothes on. Staining, staining, staining. I would rather do some more vacation type stuff!

Mom and Dad, if you read this, I will come over for a visit soon! I promise!

Heidi from Aussie visits

I haven't been blogging or doing much online for the past week because my pen pal Heidi from Australia was here for a visit since last Monday. It was a busy week and we did a lot of things we haven't done in a couple of decades. Heidi and I have been pen pals for twelve years!

Monday we drove to Ohare to pick Heidi up when she arrived and I recognized her from her photos right away. We drove her to her motel and then we took her back to our town for dinner at Chicago Dough Company which she thought was delicious (it is). We sat on the deck and chatted till the mosquitoes got too bad then I drove her to her motel for the night.

Tuesday, I picked Heidi up from her motel and we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. We then drove to Frankfort to look in the shops there but we were disappointed to find that most of the antique shops that had been there for years had closed up. A sign of the bad economic times when shops are closing in a prosperous town like Frankfort! We drove to Orland Park after that and went to Borders where Heidi found some books to buy, and then we drove back to town and bought Un wiches from Jimmy Johns...they are the best! Lettuce wrapped around whatever filling you want. Better than all that bread. We then went to Jewel and got some things to make a stir fry for dinner, and after dinner we sat on the deck and talked again. I think she was cold inside the air conditioning and why she wanted to sit outside. It's winter in Aussie so she wants warmth. I like it cool year-round. I would be better off living somewhere like Maine!

Wednesday, Jon started vacation and he drove us around everywhere. I had purchased tickets ahead of time online for the Spirit of Chicago lunch cruise. We picked Heidi up around ten and we drove downtown, arriving at Navy Pier a little after eleven a.m. We easily found a place to park and we made sure we picked up our tickets and then looked in some of the shops while waiting for it to be time to board. The cruise was great. Beautiful weather. The host of the ship asked if anyone was celebrating anything special and I said that Heidi was visiting from Sydney Australia, and they welcomed her. I didn't know Jon was going to do this, but he told the waiter that it was our 34th anniversary and they announced that too. I was so surprised, and I also felt bad that I hadn't thought to say it before. That was really sweet of him. The weather was so gorgeous. We got some very good photos of the city from the ship, and also of the lake and some sailboats etc that I will post on my Photography blog. The food was excellent. It was a buffet of salads, a couple of casseroles, baked flounder, chicken with marinara sauce, rolls, fresh fruit and desserts. There was dancing on the main floor, but we chose to go out on deck to see the view of the skyline and feel the breeze and sunshine. After the cruise we walked around Navy Pier, visiting the two stained glass museums that are are the far end. Heidi and I took a ride on the Ferris Wheel, and I will also post those photos on my photo blog. We ate at a little place on the Pier and got Chicago Style Hotdogs, nothing Heidi had ever seen or eaten before. She took a photo of it before she ate it! She said in Aussie they only have hot dogs with mustard, nothing else on them.
We drove back home.

Thursday we picked Heidi up a big earlier and we drove to Chicago once again. We started with the Sears Tower, now called the Willis Tower because the main lease-holder said he would only sign a lease if they let him change the name of it...what a doofus! It's my guess they will change it back after his lease has ended. The stuff they sell still says Sears Tower, I saw no souveniers that said Willis Tower on them. Anyway, we went up to the top and was the first time we were up there since 1978! The buildings below are more numerous now. Lots of new buildings, some blocking the view of Buckingham Fountain and Soldier's Field. There is a good view of the new Museum Campus where the aquarium, planetarium and Field Museum are. Sears Tower now has glass balconies, and while I didn't think I would ever step on one, I did...and here is proof!

Click on picture to enlarge

After Sears Tower we went to Adler Planetarium where there is a presentation called Cosmic Collisions. It was a fantastic 20-minute show in one of the sky theaters. We looked around the museum, and then took a walk outside and then sat by the lake on the far side of the planetarium and watched the boats go by. Afterwards we drove back home, stopping to get Chinese food to bring back for dinner. I was so tired and sore from all the walking, but was a nice day. We watched a movie before taking Heidi back to her motel for the night. The movie was Bruce Campbell Lives...corny but she thought it was funny as the guys did so that was good.

Friday was Museum of Science and Industry day and I really felt I would keel over a couple of times. I was really getting to be exhausted from all the running around. I had to keep sitting down. Every exhibit I saw with a seat and a little movie going I would go sit and watch it, even boring ones about energy, and war generals, etc! We went on the submarine tour of the U-505 German submarine that was captured by the Americans. This is the only one in U.S. possession. They built a whole building around it and very nice and interesting exhibits with little film clips, etc. I made sure we saw the Fairy Castle, and also we took a tour of the Zephyr train which I never had a chance to see on past visits because the line was usually too long. This time there were only about eight people on the tour. We left the museum around 3:45 and headed over to Bennigan's on Michigan Avenue for dinner. Jon parked the car while Heidi and I ordered and started eating while waiting for him. He got there finally a half hour later...said he found a place to park for six bucks. He loathes having to pay $16 everywhere for parking downtown now. After dinner we walked over to Millennium Park and we put down a blanket and got situated for the Grant Park Symphony Concert. They performed Beethoven's Ninth...the Grant Park Chorus also performed with the orchestra. It was a magnificent performance. A bit weird though sitting in the grass with yuppies all around with their folding tables and chairs and fruit, wine and crackers and cheese...etc. etc. and what was annoying was that they had to have soft chats while the music was playing! During Beethoven's Ninth...what is wrong with these people! After the concert we walked over to Buckingham Fountain where there was a light show since it was dusk by then. We sat there for quite awhile. Jon finally went to get the car while Heidi and I waited on the corner of Jackson and Columbus chatting while waiting for him to get there. Then since it was very late we drove Heidi directly to her motel. It was a great day for her last day of her visit to Chicago.

We got up early yesterday morning to take Heidi to the airport. Jon drove the van so I could sit in the back next to Heidi to talk. It's a bit hard in the car to twist around and talk between the seat headrests. We said goodbye at the curb at departures, and she hugged me for a long time, and handed me a couple of envelopes. Inside one was a pair of crystal earrings. Then a thank-you card for me and Jon for being such good hosts. She said she would miss us. We are hoping to get over to Sydney in a couple years to let her show us around her city.

Now it is back to email, snail mail and Skype with me and Heidi. :-(

Sunday, August 09, 2009

34 years

The couple in this photo is how Jon and I are getting to look! LOL! With the way the years fly by it won't be long! We both will be 70 in about 15 years only! Eeegghads!

Today is our 34th wedding anniversary, and actually we have been together about 38 years if you count the dating years. Though we have changed in physical appearance, I can see so much about him that is still the same...the way his eyes smile first before he breaks out into a big grin or laugh, the way his hair curls up in ringlets when it is getting too long. The way he sleeps curled on his side in a fetal position at night. His profile as we are moving along down the highway in our van. The way he breaks out into sing-along with the songs he likes...especially Robert Palmer's "Simply Irrestible". Lots of little things like that.

So what are we doing today to celebrate? We are still staining windows and cleaning house in preparation of my Australian friend who is coming for a visit starting tomorrow and will be here all week. He is taking vacation so we can show her the sights of Chicago and the area around where we live. Maybe go to the Indiana Dunes one day if it isn't too hot.

For now, it's back to work and we plan on celebrating after Heidi leaves to continue her U.S. visit on Saturday. Maybe we will go to Alexanders for a nice steak dinner and a movie Saturday night.

Time in a Bottle

Jim Croce
This is mine and Jon's song. . .

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Traffic court in LaSalle County

Some things just don't make sense in life. Hubby who drives very conservatively now that he is older and wiser, and also because he is trying to get best gas mileage possible out of his new Honda Civic Hybrid, was driving back from a safety seminar he was helping to conduct in upstate Rockford last month when a cop pulled him over and gave him a ticket for not moving over as hubby passed him on the highway while the cop was parked alongside the road in the emergency lane behind an abandoned car he says he was "investigating." But the truth is that Jon DID go around him. He moved over as law requires one to do when passing by an emergency vehicle at the side of the road. And he does this if anyone is stopped at the side of the road if no one is next to him in the left lane and he is able to do so....which the law also states. He did nothing wrong.

What most likely happened was is that the cop didn't see Jon till he was back in the right lane after going around him because the officer was looking downward towards something and most likly didn't see Jon till he passed by. But he came after him and gave him a ticket anyway, almost immediately going after him as if he was waiting for the next car to come by to give a ticket to. A van had been right ahead of Jon going well over the speed limit, so at first Jon thought that the cop was going to go after that guy, but no...easier to stop Jon and make something up. A ticket is a ticket when trying to meet one's quota for the day.

So, we went out to Ottawa in LaSalle County which is about a 50 mile drive. This is nearly six weeks since the ticket. When we got inside the courtroom there were lawyers up front, calling people by name to come forward to talk to them either to dismiss tickets or to make "deals", and for Jon they said he could pay the $250 fine and get six months supervision or he could come back in September for another hearing. Jon said "why can't we do this today?" There were only about eight or ten people and usually if you wait weeks to go to traffic court, the hearing is held, and a verdict given, fines paid that day and it's over with. Well, the lawyer says "that's not how we operate here in LaSalle Co." SO, he got a second court date now for September 25th and has to go all the say back out there again and miss another day of work. Hopefully he will win his case then. Life is not fair at times. So many people drive like maniacs and get away with it, but here is a man who follows all the rules, never breaks the speed limit, and he gets the ticket when he hasn't done anything wrong.

Watchmen review

We watched the film Watchmen the other night and must say it was pretty good for a "superhero" flick. The difference with this one is that all but one didn't have super powers. Dr Manhattan, the blue guy, is a godlike being who is the only one with actual supernatural powers.

The film is based on the critically acclaimed graphic novel by the same name. This film was even more dark and gloomy than Batman: "The Dark Knight". "Watchmen" follows a group of retired costumed heroes living in an alternate 1985 where Nixon is still president and fear of nuclear doomsday looms over planet Earth.

When one of the heroes named the Comedian is murdered, his former colleague--the unhinged, masked Rorschach begins investigating who is behind his death. The other masked crimefighters--Silk Spectre 2, Ozymandias, Nite Owl 2 , and Dr. Manhattan , soon learn that there may be a plot to rid the world of their kind.

Watchmen is not a comic book movie for kids since there’s sex and violence throughout the entire film, but the story is a complex and interesting one for adults. I won't give away the ending in case some of you haven't seen it yet, but one of the main messages is that human nature cannot be changed. We might be able to be shocked into "uniting" for a little while, like after the 911 tragedy, but "life goes on" and humans go back to being human. But there is always "hope".

Monday, August 03, 2009

Regulating blood pressure

I think after a few weeks of experimenting with blood pressure medicine, I finally am now on the right one and the right dosage. Started out with Inderal because of the bad headaches I was having and also the high blood pressure. Well, while it brought down the blood pressure and controlled the headaches, my heart rate was in the 40s! So, I called the doctor who said via his nurse, that no, 40s was not good and so I needed to be switched to something else. I told her specifically not to give me Zebeta since that also made my heart rate slow when I was on it a couple of years ago. When I went to the ER with my gall bladder attack, they could hardly get a pulse it was going so slow and was so weak. So, what does the nurse call in to the pharmacy? A prescription for Zebeta! And of course that was a Friday before the weekend. But the following Monday I got ahold of the doctor again, I should say got ahold of his nurse who then called in a prescription for Metoprolol and said to take half. Well, the blood pressure went back up again, the headaches started coming back again. So, now I have to take a whole pill each day, and that seems to control everything pretty well. However, I told the doctor to please call in another prescription as I am now only getting 15 pills a month and need 30 now so need a new script. They called the pharmacy on Friday, and then I didn't get around to going over there to pick it up till today and guess what? They didn't know anything about it, so they said. So, I called the cardiologist's office back and asked what's up...and they said that the prescription WAS called in and so they called the pharmacy. I then made a back-up call to the pharmacy and now they say I can't get the rest of the prescription till the 9th and that is when they will put through the change. Lucky I have enough pills to last till that long. Things are a hassle enough, and wonder what the hell they will be like if we get to National Health Care with the government in control of things. Oh boy!

Staining, staining, staining

Our whole house smells like wood stain. All we have been doing in recent days is staining window trim. It smells good while we are doing it. I love the smell of paint and stain, however, after it is on for awhile it gets in the air and sort of hangs there. Made a baked chicken tonight and can barely smell it because of the odor of the stain.

We have all the upstairs windows and trim stained, but now have to do all the downstairs' windows. Can't wait till it's all done and trim is on and we can carry on with all the other unfinished projects that have been left hanging.