Wednesday - November 27

Hey Hey.....the gangs all here!    Amazing that Anne and Patrick arrived about 30 seconds ahead of Luke, Philip, Annette and Ryan!    What are the odds coming from IL and FL...anyway, this Mama is very happy and so enjoying all the chaos, noise, laughter, etc., etc......
The guys and Annette had their annual poker game (winner still to be decided but at this point, will be either Philip or Patrick???)
Liam, Connor and Brady are spending tonight on Daisy!    So fun to see Luke and Blair interact with each other.
Wishing you all a beautiful, bountiful, grateful Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

Tuesday - November 26

It was a long day of travel that started at 3:52 AM when Daisy, Toad and crew rolled down the driveway.    We had dry conditions to start, then snow flurries in Indiana .   But  the rain started 30 miles before Lexington and it’s been coming down all day along with fog at times.    We lost 45 minutes in Kentucky cause of an accident and we just crawled along… traffic has been heavy.   Mark and Michael have switched off driving – sure nice having an extra driver..   His flight was almost 2 hours late last night coming from Chicago.
Sleeping on Daisy was a good idea last night for the boys and me.    When the guys came out this morning, all we had to do was strap them in, and away we went – they were in their jammies with their pillows and blankets and slept another 3 hours.    They are very good little travelers!
So despite the lousy weather, heavy traffic and several accidents slowing us down off and on, we were all warm and cozy inside with plenty to eat, drink and be merry about – of course, the guys had the burden of all the driving!   We were constantly watching the temperature and luckily, it stayed several degrees above freezing.
Arrived 14 hours later ( should've taken around 11 hours)….all happy to be here and so thankful  M and M got us here safely!    NOT a fun day to drive!
Hanging out on Daisy on a dreary, yucky day

Ryan and Luke hanging out in Pensacola
Tomorrow, rest of the clan arrives - praying for their safety as weather sounds worse than today!!
Nighty Night!!!!!

Monday - November 25

"Boreas" - whoever heard of such a name and yet it's in the news big time and will be for the next few days as travelers on the busiest  days of the year are hearing all the scary stuff about this big storm!     Our kids will be traveling Tuesday (us) and Wednesday - does not sound good for travel in the mountains.    Michael's flight for tonight is already delayed 1 hour......Liam, Connor and I are staying on Daisy tonight and the guys will be out EARLY in the morning and off we go.
Went to breakfast with the neighbors, brought Mark home and I ran some errands and got a manicure.    COLD and windy today and occasional snow flurries!
Everything but the kitchen sink is in Daisy and Toad......looking forward to a fun family weekend!    And praying for safe travel for all...

Sunday - November 24

VERY cold here.....but the skies were bright blue without a cloud in sight today!    We went to 8:00 Mass and then to Bob Evans for breakfast and home to change clothes and enjoy a nice warm, cozy day at home.    Put a few more things on Daisy (it never ends.....despite how much we've put in there, not quite taking the kitchen sink - ha)!    Just lots of clothes for warm weather this winter (we'll be gone 3 1/2 months) and then clothes for the Thanksgiving week (going to be cold in NC).   
This Mom's worry genes have kicked in......our kids will al be traveling to NC and weather sounds icky poo with 100% chance of rain on Tuesday and 70% on Wednesday (when Philip, Annette, Luke, Ryan, Anne and Patrick plan to arrive) - ++++ that "S" word is in the forecast!    Driving thru the mountains is not the best (beautiful scenery, though) on a good day let alone dealing with rain and/or snow!!!
So many people traveling on what is now the biggest travel time of the year, so will pray for safety for all!   Mama will be happy when all her kids/kiddies are together again....
One week after the horrific tornado that tore thru Washington and the videos, pictures, stories Mark found a beautiful neighborhood with lovely homes, mature trees, etc. BEFORE the tornado and today, what it looks like - there is nothing!    Sooo very sad with over 1,000 homes destroyed or badly damaged.
Here's to a good week and safe travels for all!

Saturday - November 23

Very cold, windy, snow flurries and downright blustery outside today!    Poor Daisy,,...tonight will be the coldest temps she's ever been in.....9 degrees overnight with a wind chill of -2.      Mark exercised and after breakfast we  finished the loading up, presents and all in Daisy and Toad.  Bikes are attached and now have a few more days to add any last-minute stuff!
I wrapped a few more gifts and finally caught up; also made two cheese balls.   Got the beds cleaned off upstairs with our summer clothes we're taking.   Making room for our 3 guests Monday night (Michael, Liam and Connor)
Mark ran some errands, Patrick brought the boys over at 12:30 and then we set to work in the kitchen.    We made rice krispie treats, chocolate cherry bars and pretzel/rollo treats topped off with M and M's,
Grandma's little helpers - aprons and all
Anne worked today and came for supper (Patrick is at a big gig in Chicago tonight).    Grandma is tried bur very happy with all we accomplished.
Our town has really come together and gone all out to help the residents of Washington and other tornado-damaged communities.    The outpouring of food, clothing and other essentials has been incredible and ongoing!!!    

Friday - November 22

"Where were you 50 years ago today"?    That seems to be the big question of the day for our generation.    November 22, 1963 I was a sophomore in high school and in PE class.    Mark was a junior and sitting in Latin class.    And it was a Friday just like today....sooo many memories from that dark, very sad day for our country!
Mark is back from his whirlwind trip to Oxford, MD to check on the boat.    He was home at 10:30 this morning - had some very early mornings up and off to airports.
Blair went for her 4-month check-up today - she weighs 15-3 and is 25 1/4" tall.   
Exercised this morning and then back and forth between wrapping gifts and loading up Daisy.     Mark and I went to WalMart this afternoon and stocked up on more stuff for our trip.   New plan is that we are leaving EARLY Tuesday morning with Liam, Connor and Michael!!!!   He will be in Chicago Monday and will help Mark with the driving.   Looking forward to a fun trip with the guys!
 Did face time tonight with Luke - he was sitting in his high chair and so happy.    Luke, Mommy and Daddy are spending a few days at Uncle Ryan's until they all go to NC next Wednesday.

We are watching the 2-hour Tom Brokaw special tonight "Where were you the day JFK died?    The tears are falling as we relive that horrible day and all that followed...

Thursday - November 21

Mark was up very early (like 2:15 AM) and off to Peoria and then Chicago and finally DC.    It was a 2-hour drive to Oxford, MD and all is well with Catrina....she is tucked in a corner of a big boat shed all high and dry!    He had dinner tonight with our nephew, Tom in Reston, VA (same area where we were in 2012 with Drew, Davis and Brady).    Mark has another early flight to catch tomorrow
and on home!
I had a very productive day just puttering around the house, wrapping gifts (almost caught up), laundry and taking several loads of clothes and stuff to Daisy.    Was a very dreary day and rained most of the afternoon with more coming tomorrow and then COLD weekend!

Wednesday - November 20

It's uglee out there!   After a day of mostly sun, but chilly temps, the afternoon gave way to dark clouds and the rain started and continued all evening!   I just got home from a delightful evening with the Central IL Chapter of the Sublettians - 5 of us enjoyed a wonderful dinner at Mandarin Garden followed by 3 hours of chatter (been a LONG time since I had been with these gals).
Mark had an appointment for his yearly physical this morning.   He got a great report!   I ran some errands and then had lunch with Exchange Club.     Mark got a haircut this afternoon and then we started loading up Miss Daisy!    I had more errands late this afternoon (in the rain) and then met the gals for dinner.
Mark is leaving EARLY in the morning for Chicago and onto DC to check on Catrina and has a few things he wants to do.   Quick trip as he'll be back Friday.
Here are 2 new pics from today of our little grandbabies....
 Blair with big brother, Davis

Cool-hand Luke boppin' around in his little car

Tuesday - November 19

Mark had dermatologist appointment at 8:15 and then we went to SF store to do a bit of shopping.    Then we were each off with our list of shops to hit, errands to run, etc.   Both of us had good luck whittling away at the Christmas shopping.    I met Kathy and Claire at Biaggi's for yummy lunch and good visit.  We've all been doing lots of traveling, so much to catch up on.
Made a batch of chili for supper and just chillin' tonight after wrapping more gifts and doing some raking and yard work this afternoon.
Here's our sweet Blair....4 months today!
"Blair with a Flair" for fashion

Monday - November 18

Lots of sunshine today, but chilly and windy - one day after all the destruction caused by tornadoes and keep hearing the sad stories - some unbelievable!     Personal things found up to 50 miles away along with large signs from businesses!    The horrific damage that comes from those strong winds and rotation of these twisters is UNREAL!'
We exercised and then I picked Ed and Donna Rae up for breakfast and Mark brought treats from Dunkin' Donuts for his birthday.    Mark and I both had 10:00 dentist appointments and then made waves at home.   I wrapped more gifts and he went to pick up Daisy out of storage.    She's in the driveway for the next week and we'll be loading her up with our stuff and summer clothes for this winter in Florida.
I ran some errands late afternoon and then joined the Monday Night Friends for a delicious supper at Donna's with 8 of us yakking the night away...

Sunday - November 17

What a tragic day for Illinois and so many areas of the Midwest.    Can't remember a time when such strong storms/tornados just kept on and on causing so much devastation from state to state.
Our friends, Paul and Kathy (who we just traveled with to Spain) were very relieved to hear their daughter, Elizabeth and family in Washington, IL (one of the hardest hit areas) are ok, but so much damage in that neat town.   My heart aches for those people who lost everything and to the relief workers in their clean-up efforts.   Obviously all the talk about this storm for the past few days and then warnings when it was approaching, kept the death toll down.
Our day started with 8:00 Mass followed by breakfast at Times Past .    Quick stop at Walgreens and home to make waves.   I put some Christmas tunes on and started wrapping gifts.   That didn't last long as the weather changed big time and we were watching the TV coverage and then heading to the basement.    Between the TV, radio, I-pads, phones (weather alert went off) and our weather radio, we were kept well informed.   Unfortunately, the severity of these predicted storms really came true.   
We met Barb, Roger, Paul and Kathy (and grandchildren) for dinner at Baxter's.    Great visit and wonderful dinner but much talk about the tornadoes
Jacob and Sydney
Lots of folks are still out of power tonight....just seeing all the unbelievable pictures is heartbreaking!

Saturday - November 16

A really miserable day weather wise - we were up early to exercise and then off to Dixon to visit Mark's Mom and have a nice lunch.    Then to Mendota to see Bob and Linda and my Aunt Marian.   Although it was close to 60 degrees, it was very windy and lots of rain (heavy at times).    Glad to be home tonight!
Ryan and Mike, the Events Coordinator for the Blue Angels have started their cross country flying to 34 cities and setting up the 2014 air shows!    They will be in El Centro, CA for 10 weeks training after Christmas.    Sooo looking forward to seeing the Blues soar thru the skies again...
Sounds like a stormy Sunday coming?

Friday - November 15

  1. Dreary day with some rain and then sun came out late this afternoon!     Mark did more raking.   I was out Christmas shopping and other errands and got a manicure.    Picked up Donna Rae and we went to PEO dessert meeting.   Home to pick up Mark and we went to the visitation of an Exchange friend of mine and Mark knew from State Farm.   Lloyd had so many plans for traveling when he retired, but 6 months after retirement, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.    He was only 64.    So sad.....
Nice quiet evening at home with my laptop, Nook and a glass of wine...
Enjoy your weekend!   We are going to visit Mark's Mom tomorrow....

Thursday - November 14

After a good night's sleep.....we had a very productive day!    Hoping we've got this jet lag taken care of?     Sunny, but windy....Mark bundled up and raked a bunch of leaves.   I did laundry, put lots of piles of this and that away and did some online Christmas shopping.   We both ran some errands in the afternoon including a grocery run.    Probably another "early to bed" and get our bods back in the central time zone.
A few other tidbits about our trip.    There were 135 passengers and a crew of 90.    Mark and I took a day trip (2 buses) to Sevilla and enjoyed Spain's 4th largest city all day long.    Back to our yacht for a wonderful BBQ on the top deck followed by dancing.
The scenery thru southern Spain was magnificent and such a wide range of terrain from mountains to desert to very flat land and big agricultural area.
Almeria is the driest city in Spain - not one drop of rain since May. 
Each night as the Wind Spirit was leaving port, they had "Sail Away" when we passengers would go on the top deck and once we were underway and out in the open water, they played this beautiful music "1492" as the sails were unfurled one by one.    Talk about thrills and chills!    Just get goosebumps thinking about it!    The actual song is
 "Conquest of Paradise"

Wednesday - November 13

We are home!    After 2 weeks of 70's and sunshine, it was 18 in Chicago this morning and a dusting of snow on the roof tops and ground!    But 66 degrees coming Sunday!
Paul, Kathy, Mark and I spent last night in the windy city as it would've been around 4 AM (on Portugal time) till we got home and at this point, we were ready for bed!  And look who we had breakfast with this morning?
Michael was in Chicago on business and we met at the Hilton (O'Hare)!  
 What a special treat to end our travels. 

     We really enjoyed our Windstar cruise on the Wind Spirit - 8 wonderful days on the Mediterranean sailing from Barcelona to Lisbon with stops in the ports of Soller, Valencia, Cartagena, Almeria, Malaga and Cadiz.  Spain is so clean, language was not an issue and soaked up lots of history, culture and architecture visiting museums, palaces, castles and cathedrals/basilicas/churches.   We motor sailed a total of 1500 miles.   Average speed was 10 MPH and sails were up 60% of the time.    Food was very good and  Mark celebrated his birthday on the 7th with a bit of fanfare and cake from the crew after a full day in Malaga (one of our favorites).
So back to reality and my head is a'spinnin' with the thought of Thanksgiving just 2 weeks  away.     We have a jillion leaves to rake (not till the snow is gone and it warms up), laundry to do, shopping, wrapping and pack up Miss Daisy before we leave for NC the 26th and then onto FL and leave Daisy in storage till we return for Christmas with Philip, Annette and Luke. 
Hope all is well with you?   Good to be back on the blog but promise I won't share the 2,500+ pictures Paul and Mark took!   Now won't that be fun sorting thru?    HA!
Celebrating Grandpa's birthday tonight at Steak 'n Shake with
Anne, Patrick, Liam and Connor



Sunday - November 10

Hello from Lisbon, Portugal where we arrived this morning ending our wonderful cruise on the Wind Spirit yacht.    Going to take in the sites thru tomorrow and flying to Chicago on Tuesday!    Nice to have WiFi here at our hotel and catch up on all the news from back home!
So very sad hearing the news of the typhoon devastation in the Philippines.   Several of our crew/staff were from there and anxiously waiting to hear from loved ones.
Hope all is is 5:15 PM and we are ready for the Wine Bar and dinner that was recommended as a "must visit" by Cloud 9 (our husband/wife team who entertained us nightly - Gary and Julia).

Monday - November 4

Hello from Valencia (Spain’s 3rd largest city after Madrid and Barcelona).    It is VERY windy here today! Mark and I took the shuttle bus from our yacht to the city centre for breakfast, browsing the shops and people watching.   Valencia is a large port city and again, enjoyed the architecture of the area.   Paul and Kathy chose to do a cooking tour to learn to make paella.

But we so enjoy the charm and ambiance of the smaller towns and yesterday sweet Valldemosa  was a real treat.    We were on the island of Majorca in the port city of Soller.    Those of us who chose this tour saw spectacular scenery and many trees (olive, almond, lemon and orange), along with a tour of a monastery, palace, a walk thru the town and a popular potato pastry for this region.

Our weather has been superb – lots of sunshine with cool temps in the mornings and evenings and daytime, in the mid-upper 60’s-70’s    The food is wonderful!    We are having a fabulous time on this “Splendors of Southern Spain” cruise.
Tonight we leave for Cartegena

Saturday - November 2

Hello from beautiful Barcelona, Spain where we are soaking up so much history and enjoying this beautiful, charming city and all it's architecture and charm!    Having a wonderful time with Paul and Kathy and been walking, walking, walking - along with eating up a storm (tapas, paella, pastries, and then wine, sangria and beer)!!!!   
We enjoyed our short time in Lisbon, too, and looking forward to when we return in a week .   
The ship departs this afternoon from Barcelona, so Kathy and I have some browsing at the shops and pick up some chocolate treats (very big here).
November 1 (All Saints Day) is a very big celebration day in Spain......many businesses and schools were closed.    Dancers were performing, music was playing and it was quite a joyous day.    After a long day of touring Barcelona, we went to 6:00 Mass at the Cathedral.     The BIG highlight of our day was touring the Sagrada Familia (enormous basilica that was started in 1882 by Gaudi and expected to be finished in 2026 - UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!
And's our babies on their First Halloween!

Little Princess

The "Hulk"