A Very Windy City

Hi everyone! It has been a long time since I felt like writing. Danny and I went on vacation to Chicago a few weeks ago–what a gorgeous city! It was our first time there ever and we were blown away by it! We were going to the Pitchfork Music Festival to see Tame Impala and Blood Orange.

We stayed at the Kimpton Allegro Hotel, which is spectacular. I LOVE Art Deco and this entire hotel is decorated in a posh Art Deco style. I’d kill to have the stunning embellished, lacquered, showgirl art pictured below! Wow!

The hotel really is a masterpiece. I was blown away by all of the design elements. The rooms are decorated beautifully too, and while not enormous, are comfortably spacious.

We were lucky enough to be in town during the Chicago run of the musical Waitress, which happened to be playing at the theater NEXT DOOR to us! We almost missed it since it was ending on Sunday but managed to get tickets for the Saturday matinee show. The musical follows the movie script to the T, but add in music written by Sara Bareilles. It’s fun, light and frothy.

I’m not sure how much Chicago spends on landscaping but the public spaces in the city are magnificent! There are flowers EVERYWHERE! I took dozens of photos and gawked in awe at all the greenery (and how CLEAN everything was…like no litter anywhere).

Here we are at the first night of the festival…I wore a swimsuit because the forecast called for heavy rain (in fact, the Midwest was enduring terrible storms that day).

You can’t see the rain well here, but it was starting to come down and created this lovely haze with the sun glimmering through. We wandered off into the vendor tents to kill time and stay dry. I’m usually not big on festival vendor tents, but the Pitchfork folks organized a really great assortment of artists and retail booths.

Eventually, we meandered back to the field for Tame Impala. Strangely enough, I don’t have much to say about the show. While all of the other bands sounded terrific throughout the day, we couldn’t hear them clearly AT ALL. The sound wavered in and out like a bad radio signal and was never loud enough to drown out the ambient noise. We walked all over the field, hoping it would improve, but it never did. Then it started to rain more. Frustrated and mildly hangry, we left the festival. Curiously, we didn’t return for Blood Orange on Saturday. It just didn’t seem worth the trouble (Lyft rides, crowds, etc) and we wanted to see Waitress. I know…sacrilege to music lovers, but IDGAF. I have no patience for poor sound quality and super chill bands in concert apparently. Lesson learned.

The Cadillac Palace, right next door to the Kimpton, held the Waitress run until Sunday, and was then bringing in Tootsie the musical.

Sorry for the blurry image, but I’m no selfie queen. I’ve always felt slightly awkward about them. Danny was trying to take it quickly and in poor lighting. I’m sure this offends his professional photographer standards. LOL.

Another cool theater! Chicago really supports performance arts. There’s the musicals and plays, the ballet and Second City.

There is also lots of cool architecture! (Important note: One of Danny’s coworkers told us that we absolutely MUST take an architectural boat tour. She neglected to specify which one. I stupidly didn’t research the options and chose the first one that popped up on Google. It was an ad and NOT an actual google link. Don’t make my mistake, folks! I’m not a big fan of hosted, historical, bland group tours, and even less of a fan of boats. Plus, this was a day or two after the duck boat disaster. We embarked on the longest hour and a half cruise of our lives. The tour guide was someone’s overly loquacious grandma with a sharp, loud voice, and boy, did she ever talk. She never drew a single breath between words. And she made up anecdotal stories during the tour, only to immediately tell us, “No, that wasn’t true. I made that up”. We passed a raucous Tiki Party boat full of inebriated passengers hooting and whistling. She said, “I bet you all wish you were on THAT boat!”. Yep, we did. Often, though, it is the misery you suffer that gives you perfect recollection. And we will never forget our frigid, soggy, hellishly slow ride down the river Hades with that piercing harpy drilling lies into our noggins.)

This parking garage looks so precarious! I think this building looks like something out of the Jetsons.

I learned virtually nothing on the boat tour, except that you are a captive audience on a boat. Oh, and that a cow might have caused the Great Chicago Fire.

Another Jetson building…

I liked this building. The curves are to help it withstand all of the winds that buffet it constantly. Apparently there’s a nice French restaurant inside too.

Thank God…almost back at the slip!

More gorgeous flowers, after we escaped the Rusty Minnow.

Look how clean and pretty!

Danny took me out for a lovely dinner at the Italian Village. I think it has been there since 1895 or something and has been a meeting place for mobsters over the years. It was very charming.

We visited Ragstock in the Wicker Park area. ANIMAL! ANIMAL! ANIMAL!

I can’t quite figure out how to add more photos to this post without overwhelming my fragile iPad (thank you, planned obsolescence), so I’ll post more ASAP. It feels good to be writing again, so stay tuned!

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I’ll celebrate you, Bam…

I debated about whether or not to post this deeply personal piece. Bam passed away on January 19th, and I chose to speak at her service. Public speaking is far from my forte, and I wasn’t certain that I could stop crying long enough to share. I managed to do it, between tears and sniffles. I want to share it with everyone because Bam meant the world to me.

I’ll celebrate you…

I’ll try not to cry today…because I want to tell you what Bam meant to me, and because I want to celebrate her and all of her special gifts.

Bam, I’ll celebrate you, smiling at the thought of your rose garden, those fragrant, vivid blossoms that you tended so lovingly. Not only did you have a green thumb, but you could create almost anything with your hands.

You made me Raggedy Ann dolls with a matching costume, a Hershey Kiss costume, and a dollhouse by hand, complete with working lights, cross stitch rug, and wallpaper.

I’ll celebrate you for driving me around on the HoJo seat in your pretty blue Cadillac.

I’ll celebrate you for singing the single saddest lullaby I’ve ever heard…Go Tell Aunt Tabby.

I’ll celebrate you, for piercing my ears, for picking me up each day from daycare so I didn’t have to take naps, for cutting up my Weyman’s chicken perfectly on Friday nights.

I’ll celebrate you for giving me a cross to wear since you thought I shouldn’t wait to inherit yours when you were gone.

I’ll celebrate you for teaching me how to love animals, especially poodles and cocker spaniels.

I’ll celebrate you for teaching me how to embroider, even if I swore I’d never do it again.

I’ll celebrate our beach trips to St. Simons, with Donnie, Mom, and Papa, where we lounged in the “kajuzzi” and ate pink starburst candies.

I’ll celebrate you for all of the inspiration and encouragement you have given me in support of my artistic endeavors.

I’ll celebrate you for giving me my first sewing machine when I was FINALLY patient enough to learn from you.

I’ll celebrate you and our obsessive love of quilting, for our many excursions to Little Quilts, Quilting by the Sea, Intown Quilters, and Discover Sewing.

I’ll celebrate you for our tea parties, both at home and at Tea Leaves & Thyme, where we dined on scones and Sugar Plum Fairy Tea.

I’ll celebrate you and all of the time we have spent together in my adult years and think how precious it is that we are best friends. You would laugh with me over silly websites, pop stars, and fashion…always far cooler than any other grandmother.

I’ll celebrate you, realizing that most people don’t get to know their grandparents very well, yet I was blessed with years together visiting the beauty shop, quilting, shopping and enjoying wonderful meals together.

I’ll celebrate you for teaching me that you are never too old to learn new things, to tackle big challenges, to use a dongle. You embraced technology better than most teenagers.

I’ll celebrate you and our beach memories, years spent having family time at Seagrove, driving down in caravans, gathering for meals, laughter and joy.

I’ll celebrate you for loving babies and children so much, for nurturing us all. You gave each of us special time and attention, making sure we all knew how much you love us.

I’ll celebrate you for how you could always keep a secret and never betray a confidence.

I’ll celebrate you for your sense of humor, your iron will, your wisdom, your ferocious loyalty, your brilliant mind, your glowing presence and your steadfast faith. If Bam ever made up her mind about something, you could consider it done.

I’ll celebrate you for loving Papa for 67 years. In my entire life, I can’t ever recall a cross word between the two of you, except maybe for when Papa would call you “Patsy”.

I’ll celebrate you for being such an amazing wife, mother, daughter, sister, grandmother, and great-grandmother.

I’ll celebrate you for giving us the greatest gift of all…each other. You and Papa built this wonderful family together. We will honor you and celebrate you by loving each other always. We celebrate you with our stories and fond memories. We celebrate you with our love.

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Posted in Bam, Beach, Family, friends, grandfather, grandmother, Mom, Quilt, Quilting, Seagrove, Summer, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Farewell and Fluff Off, 2017!

So, I’m trying to finish off 2017 with one final blog post for the year. I feel like everyone is straggling over the finish line like that poor world class speedwalker who endured explosive emissions on his final laps. Bam, Andy and I have all been to the ER this month. I’m thankful to report that we are all back home, recuperating. Tonight, I am nursing my very sweet boyfriend through the monstrous stomach virus that I recently endured. This bug has it all…nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, fever, chills, body aches. My heart hurts for him and all the agony he’s experiencing. It took me a week to recover (and lots of Zofran, which I could only consume once I stopped hurling). He nursed me through everything and now I get to return that love. Our New Year’s Eve will be enjoyed vicariously through the FB and Instagram posts of others. While you raise a flute of champagne, we’ll toast with ice chips and Gatorade.

I’m hoping to post a lot more in 2018, to rededicate myself to something I love and have missed so much, sharing my musings with whoever enjoys it. I’m hitting a brick wall early tonight, but I wanted to say Happy New Year! May 2018 bring us all more love, peace, prosperity and good health!

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Paris, Part Deux

Howdy everyone! Just to preface this…we were in Paris from October 6-14. I’m super slow these days with my posts, but determined to preserve as many memories as possible.

Here we are in front of Notre Dame. Truly a magnificent place! I know that I’m a bit jaded sometimes, but nothing can prepare you for the grandeur of this church.

Paris is such an utterly charming city. We were walking along a busy bridge and found this pianist parked over the river. During our week there, we saw a cellist, an opera singer, a jazz band, a guitarist and so many other street performers.

Danny and I both love Mexican food, but he thought it would be hard to find in Paris. My aunt and uncle recommended this cantina. It was fabulous and they made fantastic margaritas (or so I’m told…I can’t drink tequila.) Danny said they were amazing.

Danny submerged in the delicious margarita. Glub, glub.

I think this is when we wandered around Le Marais, but I’m not 100% certain. I just loved the birch tree trunks decorating this spot. Lots of cool boutiques and shops in this area.

The photographer at work…

We found a garden hidden among some apartment buildings.

Mark, Cyndi and me exploring Paris. Such a wonderful start to the trip!

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Notre Dame at night! Look at those Flying Buttresses!

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La Tour Eiffel in the distance…

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I occasionally love candid shots that are slightly silly. The auto timer makes that SO easy to accomplish!

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We saw a Parisian marathon! (Or maybe a 5K. Not sure.)

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I think this is the Musee D’Orsay. I really enjoyed this museum because it wasn’t too crowded and was well organized. It’s inside an old train station.

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Danny took some amazing gargoyles shots with his super zoom camera!

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We ate an afternoon snack in this lovely garden full of unusual plants. I want exotic palm trees in my backyard…

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Yet another shot of Notre Dame…

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I lit several candles during the service.

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L’Arc du Triomphe! We did not get to go inside this monument because it was late at night. What’s really cool about it, to me at least, is that it stands in the center of a very busy avenue, the Champs-Élysées, or Elysian Fields.

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We happened to venture out to the L’Arc du Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées right after a Paris St. Germaine match, obviously a victorious one. It was WILD! Chanting, honking, excited throngs, cars cruising the avenue slowly waving flags.

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We watched it for a bit and then wandered off down less crowded streets.

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Struck a pose with an F1 driver mannequin…

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Our evening ended with crepes at this very unusual eatery. I almost expected the band from the Star Wars cantina to come out.

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How charming…

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Ladies, I bring you…cucumbers. Just kidding, I have no clue about the context of this statue.

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I love how Paris has carefully preserved its artistic heritage…even these art nouveau metro signs.

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This building houses 30 artist studios, making me immediately want to revert to my art school days. Oh, to have studied in Paris!

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A far off view of Notre Dame surrounded by the city…

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The lounge inside the Museum of Modern Art. I wasn’t super fond of this place. The escalators alone caused me quite a panic.

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You can see me to the left, enjoying the reflecting pool and the view, from afar, rocking my Air Force Ones (purchased that day for their incredible cushioning support and comfort), jump suit and faux fuzzy satchel.

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This sort of reminded me of Howard Finster…

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Such an unusual installation! I was shocked that we could actually climb inside this art.

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Man in black contemplating colorful box…

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Box without contemplating man.

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Yeah, one of the exhibits had a dead mouse. C’est un pipe?

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Along the River Seine…such a lovely stoll…

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We took a cruise up and down the river late one night. It was so romantic and peaceful, a welcome respite from the otherwise bustling metropolis.

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I wanted to post a video of the Eiffel Tower sparkling, but I don’t have video on my blog anymore. Oh well…it’s gorgeous even when just lit up!

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Transported to another world…

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Our fascinating hotel, Vice Versa. It’s named and decorated themed for the seven deadly sins.

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La Tour Eiffel!!! It’s insanely massive! I refused to go up any of the elevators. My fear of heights is just too insurmountable. There’s not enough Xanax in the world.

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Another fantastic garden…I love those topiaries!

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I think this is Napoleon’s tomb. Forgive me if I forget. This was four or five days deep into our whirlwind trip.

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Heading up to Sacre Couer and Montmarte…

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An incredible guitarist performing on the steps…

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An artist in the market up on Montmarte.

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Perfect timing for a hilarious shot!

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I bought a stunning painting of a kitten for Bam here from this gentleman. We had to do some detective work a day or two later because I didn’t buy it when we took this photo. Live and learn.

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This photo is last, but in now way, least. This is me and my precious Aunt Cyndi. I love this gorgeous woman so dearly. She is delightful and so full of love. It was such a treasure to have her and my uncle Mark greet us in Paris (and her brother, Kenny)! It set the tone for the trip and made us feel at ease immediately. J’adore Paris!

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Enchanté de Vous Rencontrer, Paris! Part One

Bonjour! As you may have guessed, this is all about our trip to Paris! I had dreamed of going to Paris my entire life, so to finally go, especially with someone I love, was incredible! (Danny took most of the photos, over 2,000, so I’m just featuring the ones I took on my cell phone. I apologize in advance for any jumps in chronology or omissions.)

I think we were in Newark here, waiting to depart. I’m glad that we were on a red eye flight. We got a good nights sleep before we landed. (Thank you, Dramamine!)

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We met my Aunt Cyndi and Uncle Mark, along with her brother, Kenny, on Saturday when we first arrived in Paris, and dined with them at a lovely café. (I don’t have these photos, so I’ll include them in later posts.) They also took us to a wonderful gelato shop and gave us a tour of the St. Germaine area late into the evening. Such a fantastic introduction to Paris!

The Musée D’Orsay was one of our first stops, on Sunday. I loved this museum since it featured dozens of works by impressionists such as Monet, Cezanne, Van Gogh, etc.

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I love Monet’s “Le Dejeuner Sur L’Herbe” and how it spills over two canvases, with one horizontal and one vertical. That touch is so contemporary, despite the clothing being dated to that era.

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Les Dindons. For some reason, a painting by Monet of all these turkeys tickled the daylights out of me. I️ love saying it…LES DEEN-DON!

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We unwittingly wandered into Notre Dame during mass on our first full day touring Paris. The exterior is supremely impressive…

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But, OH, how it pales in comparison to the inside during mass…incense, candles, a hushed multitude, and a breathtaking choir ensemble.

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Regardless of faith, this hallowed space is profoundly moving. You are surrounded by centuries worth of history and devotion. I can scarcely begin to describe the majesty of Notre Dame. Utterly breathtaking and beyond sacred.

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I only wish I could post the video of Notre Dame as well. The choir was quite impressive too. 

I’ll be adding more Paris posts in the next few days. My trusty iPad is running a little slow these days, which complicates posting. Bon soir!

 

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Looking Kinda Fly…

I’m a little rusty with my blog, so I apologize for the photos being all out of order and for being months behind. It has been a super busy summer! I finally got to go on the annual Montana fly fishing trip in July! We stayed in a lovely cabin right on the banks of the Missouri River, in Cascade, Montana. Two very special family friends greeted us when we arrived, Kris and Nancy. They spend the week with us and organize the meals for everyone. I happily gained five pounds enjoying all the delicious food they lovingly prepared.

Pictured below: Rob and Bo…two of our three fishing guides extraordinaire! (Not pictured, Jeff) Bo is Kris’s son.

The view from the back deck…

Yes, there was some dancing…Mom and Kris getting down.

Susan and Steve joined us for this fabulous trip…

Mom and Me

Me and Becca getting misted at the falls…

A stunning lakeside view…

Mom traversing a log bridge…

This young buck visited the back yard several times…check out those antlers!

Dad enjoying the view in Big Sky country after a long day angling…

Hat. Check. Polarized specs. Check. Buff. Check.

Have you got your gear? I got gear. Rain gear. Check. Bug spray. Check. Binoculars. Check.

More gear! Net! Gloves! Expensive reel! Rubbery shoes!

Me and Becca enjoying the rushing water…can I have one for my backyard?

Breathtaking…

Mom and me…

Summers are brief in Montana, but WOW, are they ever gorgeous! These flowers were stunning!

I can’t recall which lake this is, but it was VERY windy and chilly…somewhere near the Road to the Sun.

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I love the Glacier Park mascot, Rocky. He’s riding a lightning bolt.

I need a t-shirt with Rocky all over it. I love, love, love him!

The view from the lodge was spectacular!

As you can see, the trip to Glacier was just for the girls. The fellas were out fishing that day.

How can I get my flowers to grow this big? Chicky-poo? Miracle Gro? Voodoo?

We got to ride through Browning and see folks gathering for the native festival.

Another fabulous meal courtesy of Kris, Nancy and Bo! Cedar plank salmon! Woohoo!

Our charming fishing lodge…

Bo, Kris and Nancy…what a pleasure to meet you. I hope we get to spend more time together next summer. You are treasures and tremendous blessings in our lives.

Susan, Me and Mom on the river cruise to the Gates of the Mountains…

My first fly-fishing trout catch ever! What a beauty!!!

Strictly catch and release…

Patrick going for a swim…the water is a little chilly but quite refreshing.

Scaring the fish away with a gun show…


Gene and Gene with their amazing kissing trout…

Our stag returns! 

Netting the catch after walking the dog…

Becca learning from Bo…

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A nice catch! 


Trout bandit 

Trout bandits…

Dad hauled in a beauty! 

Gene and Gene 

Like I said, the photos are all over the place, but they capture a small slice of our Montana experience. Big Sky Country is a wild, overwhelming paradise, full of so much rugged beauty. 

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Puppeh On The Go

Now that Biscuit is an only dog again, I try to take him everywhere with me so he’s not lonely. He enjoys bike rides on the belt line (check out his new wheels!), road trips all over and rapt attention from children and adults alike.

Snoozing on the sofa…

Closer…

And closer…

Biscuit over the Beltline

On his way to a softball tournament…

Biscuit giving his new best buddy some kisses…

Nap time after a long day entertaining kids…

He is…THE MOST INTERESTING DOG IN THE WORLD…lol.

Or perhaps just the snooziest puppeh ever…

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