Monday, September 28, 2009

Crystal's Wedding, September 27, 2009

My hiker friend Crystal got married on Sunday.  It was a gorgeous HOT beach wedding on Florida's west coast on Anna Maria Island.  Rod had to work in the morning, so we left Orlando about 2:30  to make it to the 5p.m. wedding.  Unfortunately, we didn't take into account the bad weather that blew in OR a huge 18 car pile up on I-75 just a couple miles after we got off I-4.  

The good news is that is started to clear up as we neared the coast.  We ended up pulling into the parking lot at 4:55 p.m. just in time to grab a drink and then head down to the beach front wedding.  Crystals' friend Toya stood up with her and one of the groom's cousins was best man. 

Just as the ceremony started, it rained for a few minutes.  Crystal said later that the wedding consultant asked if she wanted to delay for a bit to let the clouds pass...but Crystal said she was a hiker so basically--get on with it!  LOL  Crystal and her dress were was the setting, the ceremony and all the extras!!!

I had never met Jarrod before, so it was nice putting a real face with everything I had heard.  I also got to meet Crystal's parents, and Aunt and Uncle who had traveled from Maine and got to put faces to people she has told me about for years. 

We left the party at about 9 p.m. to get Rod home before he turned into a pumpkin.  Unfortunately, I was in such a hurry when we got there I forgot to turn my headlights off and the van was dead as a door nail when we got in.  So, we waited for AAA to get there and got home about 11:15.  Have you ever seen a pumpkin sleeping and snoring?!  LOL 

Milwaukee Brewers Game, August 14, 2009

We were thrilled when Jodie asked us to go to a Brewer's game on the Friday of Fair Week--neither Rod nor I have been to the new stadium.  In fact, I hadn't been to Milwaukee since I saw a concert there with Mike Ensminger when I was in high school--Heart was playing along with 2-3 other acts.  Anyway, it turns out one of Jodie and Garry's fellow church members is an insurance agent trying to get Garry's contractor business (Larson and Larson Builders)...and she was wooing him.  LOL

Can I just say that the people in Milwaukee KNOW HOW TO TAILGATE!!!  Somehow, I thought the Florida Gator Tailgates, the ones we have been to in Tampa Bay and Miami would be pretty typical.  No.  These people bring entire outdoor kitchens and the stadium even provides dump bins for hot charcoal.  LOL was hard to walk by all this food and all the fun partiers!

Our tickets were for this great private box (the Gehl Club) that could seat about 250 people.  It had four rooms inside that were air conditioned with lots of food stations and a big bar.  Our tickets entitled us to food and drink--and can I just say that FREE great food and nice stong mixed drinks are much better than cheap hotdogs and $8 cups of beer!!!    Right when you walked in the door, you were greeted by a hostess who gave you an arm band and then told you to help yourself to hotdogs, brats and burgers--etc., etc., etc. 

In the next room there was a chef making a chicken pasta dish with lots of kalamati olives, some appetizers and a nacho bar.  The room after had the bar and then on the far side was another chef slicing pork for big pork sandwiches, an asian station with three different things and last but not least a salad bar with four different prepared salads.  Everything was top notch and it was all good--I tried it ALL.  LOL 

After we were done with Round #1 of the food, we gathered with our group down in the box seats below the box.  There was another outdoor bar here, so Rod didn't have to go far for refills.  We pretty much watched the game here.  The Brewers were playing the Houston Astros and in the first inning they scored like 8 runs, so, I wouldn't say we were watching it intently...just checking things out inbetween chatting with everyone.

About the time the fifth inning was over and they were taking the food away, Jodie and I started thinking maybe they would have something for dessert!  Within a couple minutes a hostess was bringing out plates of warm from the oven chocolate chip cookies.  And we found more goodies back inside...brownies, little pecan pies--just yummy bites of sweet stuff.  Can you say, "sugar high"?

Part of the evenings fun was Garry trying to talk Travis into getting to know the insurance gal's daughter--who I think looks like Cameron Diaz.  She is a year younger than Travis and adorable--and both of the kids are pretty shy.  Travis wasn't being pushed around matter how often the adults tried to put the two of them close to each other. 

The game ended with the Brewers winning 11-2 and I must say we had an excellent time.  Our thanks to the group of Milwaukee insurance agents who offered the tickets!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Dells, August 2009

While Rod was in Illinois in August, Jeff had taken a couple weeks of vacation to be off for the Boone County Fair.  Sometime during the summer they had hatched up a scheme (?!!) to go to the Wisconsin Dells and ride the Ducks.  Seeing as we had never done it before, we decided to drive up on the Monday after the Fair and see what it was all about.   The trip up to the Dells was really nice and so far the weather was cooperating. 

When we were kids, we had canoed up here with the Peases.  We camped on a sandbar and of course we skinny dipped after dark.  What fun...but I remember being really freaked about the Sturgeon that were "lurking" in the currents.  Eek!

Our driver/Captain that day was a college kid working his summer job.  He was entertaining and informative, I just can't remember too much about his spiel.  I do seem to remember that one of these pictures was of the bluff that collapsed when a man was playing a grand piano at sunset.  True or False--sounds like a popular tall tale to me! 

One of the things he did spend some time talking about was the dam failure that led to the emptying of Lake Delevan.  The picture below is of the new dam.  It seems to me that I drove through the area after that happened and remember seeing lots of flooded farm land.  Nice to see things are about back to normal. 

After the boat ride we went downtown to check out the tourist trap shops.  I don't remember it being this ticky tacky...but I am sure it hasn't changed much in years.  Being of a certain age, the three of us dropped in to "Have a swig with Nig" but he wasn't in.  We did split a pitcher of beer before heading out of town.

And, a visit to the Dells would not be complete without a trip to both the outlet stores (I found a new pair of Mickey Crocs for $15) and losing $10 at the Casino.  LOL  It was a nice outing after a week of pigs, kids and fair food. 

Friday, September 25, 2009

Kayaking at Pierce Lake, August and September, 2009

This summer Jodie and Mom bought kayaks! It was so much fun being able to spend a few hours at the lake during the week. I would rent a kayak from the concession area and then join them after they were done taking the kayaks off Jodie's Rav4. Garry promises he will build us a trailer one day (it is easier than lifting them up and down) better be a 4 spot trailer because I think Rod and I will be buying them when we get up there!

While Rod was still in Illinois after the Fair, we went out one day with Ali and Skyler and Grandma. We planned some fishing, a picnic lunch and just some quiet time, but, with the kids the quiet time didn't happen. But, we did have a wonderful time. The wind picked up a bit so we kept Skyler close to shore. Ali seemed like an old pro--she had done the week long trip to the Boundary Waters with the Church Youth Group during the summer.  Just some random pics of different days we were at the park!

The girls enjoying a day at Rock Cut State Park

                                          Can you believe she is 70 years old???!

Rod helping MIL with rudder

Skyler all excited!

Ali and Jackie

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Camping at Little Grassy with Cindy, September 9, 2009

Cindy Waicukauski, who will forever be Cindy Pease to me, convinced me to go camping the night I was going to be in Southern Illnois on my way back home. That sounded like a nice alternative from sharing a hotel room with Bonnie Dog. And after all the news about murders and heart attacks, I was ready to get away from it all.

On the way to the three possible camping sites, she drove me through the Southern Illinois University campus to survey the storm damage that had occured in May. Something like an inland hurricane, a derecho, hit Carbondale and took out about 5000 trees. Here's some information on this particular storm from NOAA--turns out it was a very unusual storm but quite damaging in tems of property damage:

We ended up staying at the Little Grassy site but we did check out several places. The one we decided on had a nice view of the lake, a level spot for the tent and a nice big firepit. We tied Bonnie up to the picnic table and got started on the tent.

Pretty soon we were all set--sleeping gear was in place, dinner stuff was ready and the most important thing was ready for the fire once we got it going...

With that storm in May we had our pick of downed limbs. Cindy saved me from getting into poisin ivy several times (she was the girl scout, I was the 4-Her!!!!) and we actually found all sizes of kindling and two really big tree parts that we could burn over time in the bonfire. Here we have it just started...

This brought back many memories for us of camping out when we were kids out at Rock Cut State Park. Of course, we didn't have a box of wine it was even more mellow now. We called Jodie to kind of rub in what we were up to and of course to find out if she had talked to Tammy yet. I fizzled out way before the fire did after getting up at 5 a.m., so Bonnie and I hit the tent while Cindy made sure the fire was burned down.

In the morning, Bonnie was up with the sun to listen for anything that might happen across the campsite. Spotting the deer by the side of the road when we pulled in the day before was on her mind I think. Here she is sitting on top of me to be able to see out the tent windows. I am still trying to sleep.

I spent most of the morning with Cindy as she didn't have to work until noon. We tore down the campsite and then headed back to her apartment to get showers. I was on the road about 11:30 and had clear sailing down to Atlanta. We made it to our usual stopping place about 10 pm before we collapsed into the hotel bed. The next day the trip down to Orlando was a piece of cake. It is so nice to be HOME!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Schaumburg IL Septemberfest, 2009

This year Jodie and I were on a girl's weekend--Travis had to bow out of the fun of doing the Schaumburg Septemberfest! Bonnie Dog and I went up to Jodie's house in the morning to load up. We managed to make it home in time for lunch--which with Bonnie exploring 35 acres is always a big question--with cousins, Roger and Barb. We left Rockford after Jodie got off work on Friday and hit the pizza place, Lou Malnatis, on Schaumburg Rd. while we waited for our room to get ready. It was great...that Malnati's salad is a thing of beauty--all those kalamata olives!

Saturday morning the load in went smoothly as always even though Jodie and I were sleepwalking. These volunteers really know what they are doing! We did miss the high school kids helping out though...they were either on the other side of the park--or--sleeping in!

We were thrilled to find our new friends, Deb and Jeff Foernssler were setting up beside us. These are the wood vendors we originally met two weekends ago in Dekalb. Jeff's Dad who helps them out at shows and does part of the woodworking lives in Schaumburg. They have some beautiful items if you want to take a look here:

We found a Bahama Breeze on the way back to the hotel and since Jodie had never been to one, we stopped there for dinner on Sunday night. We had a GREAT time with great food and drinks. Let me just warn you--the second drinks are poured with a much heavier hand than the first--so be careful. We spent too much money, but, we would not trade it for anything. We did however miss breakfast with the Foernsslers the next morning. ;)

The show was a bit down from the prior year, but, all in all it continues to be a show I can count on every year. I love that Jodie or Mom always like to come with me to this one and we can have a relaxing time away from it all.

Mom had a bit of sad news for us when we got back to Rockford. It turns out one of my best friends from growing up, Diane (Wheeler) Reed's oldest daughter was killed by her boyfriend. This of course had everyone upset. Mom and Dad consider the Wheelers to be their best friends so it was hard to see the family experience that horror. On Tuesday night, when I was having dinner with my friend Robin, they were having a prayer vigil for Amanda. Turns out that Robin's daughter knew Amanda too. The visitation a few nights later was attended by hundreds of people and lasted well over the four hours. So very sad--our thoughts and prayers to the family and all of Amanda's friends.

Edwards Apple Orchard, August 28, 2009

One of my favorite things to do when I am home in August is to go to the Edwards Apple Orchard in Poplar Grove, IL. They don't have a website, so you are just gonna have to get in the car and drive:

Edward's Apple Orchard
7061 Centerville Rd
Poplar Grove, IL 61065-9029
(815) 765-2234

Back in January, 2008, I wondered if anybody would ever get to experience it anymore--a devastating tornado ripped through their grounds wreaking havoc on the farm buildings and their residence but luckily not hurting the orchard. Here is a link to the local paper article. You can check out videos and pictures there too. (Interestingly, there is a link to the 1967 tornado my family went through in the box titled "Historical Report" near the top of the page.)

I love this place so much, not because of the apples, the cider or the cider donuts (they come in a very close second place!!!) but because of the shop in the barn! They have a really interesting selection of crafts, foods, clothes, decorations, etc...and every single time I go I find something interesting. A couple years ago I found my paper pumpkins and gourds there...the ones everyone asks me about this time of year when I bring out my Fall decorations.

This year I found another cool thing--a very rustic soapdish that you will just have to come and see at my craft shows. I bought the two they had out and I would have bought more if my pocketbook had allowed. Another neat thing this time was seeing a guy I had talked to at the Dekalb Corn Fest, "Banjo" Jazzy Jeff! He is a cool performing guy who walks around with a small amplifier backpack and plays the coolest bluesy banjo music. He also travels in a cool little oval trailer...and most of you know I love camping, so, I just kinda took to this guy. He would love to play at Disney on the cruises...and I would love to help him be "found" by the Disney Entertainment folks. You can check out his MySpace page if you like to see why I just love this guy:

The diet lost this day...we bought a dozen donuts!

Dekalb IL Corn Fest and Frankfort Art Festival, August 2009

Both of these events were smallish, but, I met really nice people at both! The craft show at the Corn Fest was actually held in town, not at the Airport, at a middle school. It was sponsored by the local Music boosters and it did bring people who wanted to be at a craft show, but, we didn't have anywhere near the 100,000 people the event brought in. What we did have was great musical entertainment from the talented kids at Dekalb High School. It was so nice!

I bought several handknitted and crocheted washclothes from the three gals of "Lacey Things" across from me who were knitting up a storm. I will be listing those on my website one of these days.

But the best thing of all were my visitors. My Aunt Gini, Uncle Jeff and cousin Kim came down from Genoa for a while. One of my Dad's croonies came over from Sycamore. AND, the best of all one of my best friends from high school showed up and surprised me--and I didn't have a clue who she was!!!! It was hysterical--she kept saying, "I think I know you". I kept saying, "No I don't think so, I am from Florida". After a minute of this, I finally said, "Who ARE YOU? " LOL, she was cracking up when she told me and I just freaked out. In my defense, she looks more like her Mom now...and it has been 20+ years. Truth be told, I look more like my Mom too!

Next up was the Frankfort IL Art Fest. I went down to Genoa and stayed with Gini and Jeff on Friday night and had some awesome baked cod and a little place in Kirkland, IL. We spent the whole evening talking and had a really nice time. I got up early and hit the road to make it to Frankfort to set up. The only thing fueling me were the cider donuts from Edwards Apple Orchard...more on that later too! LOL
The show was held at a really great location at a children's camp, but, it was a first year event. Since there is a really big craft show here in Frankfort the week after, I was hoping for some more traffic...but maybe next year. There is a lot of work to be done for this to qualify as an art show...first up I would recommend getting some professional signs done. The ones below just don't cut it for an "Art Show". LOL

What I discovered when I got to the Camp was that some of the same people I had met at Corn Fest were at this show too! The family that did the nice scroll work bowls and cutting boards was there....and I got a chance to get to know them better. Turns out they will be at the Schaumburg show the next weekend more on them later! I did alright at both of these events--about like I would have done in Florida without the heat and the threat of a a winner on a smallish scale.