Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Land of My Youth

From Chicago we traveled North to Germantown, Wisconsin.  I call this the land of my youth as I lived in Germantown from the time summer prior to 8th grade until a couple of days before my senior year of high school, you know, those formative years.   Lots of good memories from those years linger in my mind.

We were invited to stay with the Mary and Bob Madalinski my former neighbors.  They were  great hosts and Mary made sure we were fed well!  It was fun talking about old times.  Their now grown kids live nearby.  Natalie and I were good friends before and we just picked up chatting as if I had never left.  Loved it!  Made me wish I was still there.

We finally got a chance to ride the motorcycle while in Wisconsin.  That is after getting a new battery for it.  What is it with batteries this trip?  We rode to Westbend and lunched with my best friend from high school, Cindi.  Then off to her house to meet her husband Dave.  Another visit that seemed as if I never left and made me wish that I hadn't.

From Westbend we rode to Holy Hill Basilica a beautiful national Catholic Shrine.  The ride there is curvy and the views are absolutely beautiful both on the way and from Holy Hill itself.  I try to get out there every time I'm in the area.  A personal pilgrimage you might say.  This ride turned out to be the only one on our trip as Lester's back started hurting more than usual in Chicago.  So I'm grateful we got to see this. (Unfortunately I left my camera at the Madalinski's so all these pictures are by phone camera.)

On the way back to the Madalinski's Lester saw a sign about a Daniel Boone park.  Why does Daniel Boone pop up everywhere?

I wish we could have stayed longer in the area and visited with some other friends from "back in the day" but we had a timeline and had to move on.  Enjoyed visiting with those we did though!  Hope we get to again sometime!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Mrs. O'Leary's Cow

I think I have been fascinated with Chicago ever since I was a child.  The city that made a comeback after being burned to the ground because a cow kicked a lantern.  I know that may not be true but it sure does make good story.

July 30th was my birthday and I wanted to spend the night in Chicago.  Lester said what his baby wants his baby gets!  We had a great time staying in downtown Chicago at the Inn of Chicago.  It's an old hotel located on the Magnificent Mile.  We ate an Armenian restaurant across the street from the hotel sitting near the window so we could people watch.  After dinner we took a taxi to a comedy club just past Wrigley Field.  We got there late and missed most of the show.  It was a free show so that was okay.  What we did see was good.  I laughed so hard at one point I almost couldn't stop. The show was called Sketch Test. They were actually testing their material/sketches before a small audience for feedback.  I'm sure they will keep one part in their show!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Michigan: People and places

Detroit: Entering the City

So much to see.  That is what I thought as we drove north through Detroit and headed towards to the suburbs to my daughter's house.  Not only was I looking at the city as a whole, the neighborhoods, and individual buildings but I was also noticing a tremendous amount of graffiti more so than I've seen in the past, some covering the entire side of a building.

How to entertain Mom and Lester Part 1

Allie and Cory brought us to Belle Island, which is a small and in the middle of St. Lawrence River between Detroit and Windsor, Canada.  We got to see the oldest, longest continually operating aquarium in the United States (perhaps the world, I don't remember) and also a beautiful botanical garden.

How to entertain Mom and Lester Part 2

We took a long route back to the 'burbs.  Woodward Avenue stretches from downtown Detroit to Pontiac. We drove all but the last loop.  I loved seeing the changes from downtown to the inner neighborhoods to the close suburbs to the end with big old churches every other block the entire way. It was very sad to see the boarded up, burned out, and abandoned areas of the city.  We could see in places where retail businesses were coming back but it will take a long time before all the blight is gone.

How to entertain Mom and Lester part 3

We spent Sunday afternoon with Cory's family.  There were so many people there one would think there was a special event but it was just a fun family get together.  And fun it was with lots of chatter, boating, and even a jam session in the basement!

How to Entertain Mom and Lester Part 4

Grand-cat Jeffrey
We didn't know it at the time, but our grandcat Jeffrey was to greatly influence us.  As we watched him snuggle with Allie, jump high on a window and sneak into our room we grew to enjoy him more and more. Days after returning home the opportunity to adopt a sweet cat who would soon be homeless due to a sick elderly owner, thus the entertainment continues because of Jeffrey's influence.

A Stop in Ohio

It was so hard to leave Golda, Jeremy, and Jonas.  Two good things about family living so far away are discovering new places to dine (even if it may be a fast food place you never heard of) and the beautiful scenery we get to see while traveling.

Our next stop was much too short but definitely enjoyable.  We were able spend a couple of hours sharing a meal with my brother Dean and his family in Hilliard, Ohio.  Dean prepared a fantastic meal of smoked meat and Martha made several great side dishes.  It was fun watching their three grandkids who we only knew from pictures on Facebook (we had met Avah when she was only 10 months old).  I wish we could have stayed longer but I tire very easily and needed to hit the sack.
Dean, son Billy, and baby William

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Destination: North Carolina

Our drive from Louisiana to NC had a bit of bad/good luck.  The bad luck was that the batteries in our truck needed replaced.  The good luck was that this happened in a Birmingham, Alabama and not small town Nowheresville, USA.  After that was taken care, all we had to worry about was a bit of rain and some traffic in Charlotte. 

 I called my brothers while on the road to make arrangements to see them while traveling from NC to Michigan.  Good thing I did as Dale and his family was at the beach in North Carolina!  After a couple of phone calls we decided that Lester, Golda, Jonas and I would head to the beach for a day and night. We had a great time visiting. Didn’t actually swim but Jonas enjoyed playing in the sand and I waded in the waves.  We had dinner out (thanks Dale!) at a place where the food was excellent but the service was not.  Golda and Jonas skipped the dinner as Jonas was too hungry to wait and was just about to eat at home as we left.  We got stuffed flounder to go for Golda.  Spoiled girl!  It is hard to see in this picture but the tide came in while we ate and part of the parking lot got flooded.  A regular event we figured but a bit funny to us non-natives.  Some of the gang spotted a momma turtle about 3 feet long on the beach when we got home.  No picture though as that is illegal.  Oak Island is a natural turtle nesting ground.  We stayed up past midnight playing games, except for the old men like Lester and Dale, they went to bed early and missed the fun.  I’ve never seen so many games brought on a trip.  Dale’s family has been going to the beach for many years and really knows how to pack!

Back in Kannapolis on Tuesday, we took it easy and basically relaxed.  We went out to dinner for Carolina bar-b-que and that was it.  But on Wednesday, we made a day of it.  First we went shopping in Huntersville for late birthday presents.  I am not one for sending birthday presents.  I prefer to buy them when I am with the person so I get the right thing.  For Jonas, we got a Radio Flyer scooter that converts to a tricycle.  He loves it!!!!  Golda had a hard time being frivolous and choose a large salad bowl, matching serving tray and a snickers bar.  After lunch at home, we had a tour of Jeremy’s office, went to the park, and then the library.  We were glad to come home for take-out pizza after all of that!

We had a great visit and already miss Golda, Jeremy and Jonas.  Jonas is a shy boy and was just warming up to us when we left.  He gave each of us a wonderful hug to say goodbye.

 Will be doing a post with various videos and slides in the near future.  Need to catch up!  But visiting with family is first priority.