DAD & MOM:
This has been quite an eventful month.
We dropped Mark and Kasia off at O'Hare on August 31, turned around and came back the same day. I spent much time that week cleaning up the Sturgeon Bay library basement after our annual booksale.
We picked up Paul and Jennifer at the Green Bay airport on Sunday, September 5. they were returning from Bill Morey's wedding in St. Louis. They stayed here the following week, attended a cockail party at the Nevitts and an anniversary dinner at Cherry Hills which we also shared with the Nevitts. P&J had a week of good sunny weather for their stay. They flew from Green Bay, Sunday the 12th.
Margaret got us packed for our trip and we drove down to Doug's house on Wednesday the 15th and stayed overnight. Next morning Doug took us to O'Hare. Just before the flight took off, we were told that our flight had been canceled. Kennedy airport was closed because of Hurricane Floyd. We cabbed back to Doug's and spent another night there. We cabbed to O'Hare Friday about 11, took a crowded bag-lunch flight to New York. There we caught our business class flight to Budapest with plenty of room, eats and drinks. One day of our trip was lost.
We arrived in Budapest early Saturday morning and were met by our tour guide who bused our group immediately to see the House of Parliament (apparently difficult to get permission to visit). The Budapest Hilton where we stayed incorporates part of an old monastery in its structure. It's on Castle Palace hill in Buda, within easy walking distance from such tourist sites as Fisherman's Bastion, Matthias Church and the Castle. We were in a tour group of 16 mature persons, some even more mature than us. I won't bore you by describing all the sights but we were bussed as close as possible to each so walking was kept to a minimum, but it was usually uphill. We took two trips to outlying villages.
On Wednesday we took an all-day bus ride to Prague. The most memorable part of that trip was an infuriating completely unwarranted two hour delay at the Slovak-Czech border, caused by the Czechs.
We stayed at the very modern Prague Hilton which is near the Jewish section and Old Town. Again we were bussed around town to the most interesting sights but we also had enough free time to ride public transportation and to do some exploring on our own. There was one trip out of the city to Archduke Franz Ferdinand's castle. On Sunday, our final evening was spent on a dinner cruise on the Vltava river.
Monday morning we flew to Budapest. From there we again took a delightful uncrowded business class flight to New York, finally winding up at O'Hare at 8 pm, where Doug and Jean were waiting for us.
Tuesday we drove home.
This was our first guided tour. You meet nice fellow tourists; you see things you might otherwise not see. Things are arranged for you so you have less to worry about and you can have your questions answered by your guides instead of having to seek out the answers. On the other hand, it's more tiring because you can't go at your own pace, stop when you want to, etc.
We liked Prague better than Budapest. Budapest is lovely, but Prague is an architectural jewel. Prague is also harder on your feet; most of the streets, sidewalks, etc. are paved with cobblestones or small stones, definitely harder to walk on. We walked more in Prague.
We travelled light; even so, it was a lot better when we checked our luggage through rather than carry it on the plane with us.
It was a wonderful, but tiring (at our ages) tour, and it's very good to be home again.
DOUG & JEAN:
The summer ends with Labor Day in Door County. Jean and I take off from work early on Friday and drive up. The traffic is not as bad as I anticipated. In fact, going through Milwaukee the traffic is worse going south than it is north at 3 in the afternoon. We arrive to pleasant temperatures.
The weather for the entire three days is as good as it gets. Sunny breezy days and warm comfortable evenings mysteriously free of insects, particularly the "m" type, as Jean says. Sunday evening Mom and Dad pick Paul and Jen up at the Green Bay airport and stop by for dinner. Paul and Jen are coming from St. Louis, where Paul's friend, Bill, has gotten married to his male partner of 9 years.
With the good rental season I had this year in the house, I have bought some new furniture but the sofa that recently arrived is too light. I decide to return it for a slightly larger sofa bed in a darker color that will hide stains. Paul helps me load the sofa in Jean's car to return it to Younkers in the morning. It just fits. An inch larger in any direction and it would have required a pickup by the store.
On Monday afternoon we go over to Mom and Dad's for dinner. Monday is the nicest of the three days. Crystal clear skies and that sun that has begun to feel like autumn. We have a nice visit with mom, dad, Paul and Jenn. Tuesday morning we return to Chicago--although it is hard to leave, the weather has been great including Tuesday morning.
On Thursday Jason calls to tell me that he is coming into Chicago for the weekend. He is looking for an engagement ring for Heather. He arrives and stays with Jean and I Friday. Saturday afternoon he heads up to Michigan to stay with Cathy at her new house through Monday morning. This leaves little time to ring shop other than Monday afternoon but he returns to our house Monday having not negotiated the ring he had hoped for. We have pizza with Jas, Bek and Pat on Monday night. Jas departs that night for San Diego.
Saturday, the 11th, we have the Lagoas over for dinner. Joe Lagoa owns a very successful restaurant in the River North area of Chicago (by my office) and Jean and I are staying in Joe and Susan's house outside Marbella, on the south coast of Spain, on a trip in a couple of weeks. The night is very pleasant and we have a candle lit dinner on the back patio.
Wednesday night, the 15th, Mom and Dad drive in for their European trip. We go out to a Greek restaurant in Oak Park for dinner. The TV gives us minute by minute details of Hurricane Floyd's advance up the eastern coast line. Thursday morning I drive them to the airport since there is still no word that anything has been canceled or that things are that bad in New York. However, 4 hours later mom calls to say that they have closed JFK to most air traffic. So back they come to River Forest for another night. The next day they finally leave on a later direct flight into New York.
That evening, Jean takes the train downtown and we go to the large group of gallery openings that occur every year in the early fall. There are hundreds of people walking around from gallery to gallery in the River North area, where my office is. There is a sidewalk band called Twang Bang, sort of a mellow Talking Heads, that writes their own songs. They are a lot of fun to watch and listen to for a while. These gallery openings are something that Jean and I do several times a year and really enjoy. The people watching is almost more fun than the art.
Our back yard has been decimated by a deranged skunk looking for lawn grubs so on Saturday Jean and I try to do some repair work on the lawn, hoping that the skunk has had his fill of things. Sunday evening we go over to Bek and Pat's for dinner.
On the 25th, we go to a friend's (and client's) 50th birthday party. Tom and Lynda Danielson live in Burr Ridge, a suburb south and west of Oakbrook. Lynda throws great parties and she has this one catered with a large tent in the backyard. Tom is friends with people at the Old Town School of Folk Music and they play bluegrass through much of the party. Lynda and some of her friends (named at a previous party, Lynda and the Asians, since all the rest of them, with the exception of Lynda, are Asian) read a poem about Tom to the beat of The Beverly Hillbilly theme.
Tom's parents, Tom and Phyllis, who have retired to Tucson, have come in. When I designed the warehouse and plant renovation for the Danielsons in 93, Tom Sr. was still there at that time and I enjoy his company.
Mom and Dad return on the 27th, also Jason's birthday. Jean and I pick them up at the airport and we go back to watch some of the video that they have taken of their trip, which sounds pleasant. The following morning, after rush hour, they return to Door County.
On the evening of the 30th, Jean and I go to an award presentation at Iberico's, the Spanish tapas restaurant owned by Joe Lagoa. The award is for the best restaurant in River North, which is quite a feat since there are many outstanding restaurants in this area.
I had an office in Joe's building (above the restaurant) for three years and helped Joe with each of the three expansions that he planned as Iberico's grew into a 400 seat restaurant, which is one of the busiest in the area. I originally met Joe when I did design work for the Giordano's chain of pizza restaurants.
Iberico's was rated the nosiest restaurant in Chicago recently by Chicago magazine, a claim that might apply primarily to the entry bar area where it is always packed with people. The bodega, in the basement, is actually very quiet, due to the ceiling treatment between the floor rafters.
October begins as September did, with Jean and I heading back up to Door County for another weekend. September seems to have rushed by, heralding the rapid advance of changing weather.
JIM & MAUREEN:
The trees are beginning to show us their fall colors and I'm enjoying autumn all over again. September went by quickly and before we know it the holidays will be upon us.
The library has slipped back into the school time schedule...quieter with more mature patrons during the day and the kids working on homework in the afternoon and evenings. We will soon have busloads of school kids coming in to work on science projects.
At the circulation desk we lost one employee and are looking for another. Our Help Wanted sign states that we need someone with stamina. I have been at the library for over a year now and still enjoy it very much.
After the hectic library summer schedule Jim and I planned our first vacation in a year. We drove down to Mississippi to spend a week with his family. The weather was lovely...warm during the day, cooling off at night. We stayed at his sister Faye's house, saw her son's new house (almost completed) and his new baby daughter (Krystal). We brought Jim's mother home from the rehabilitation center and went looking at new apartment possibilities for her. Mostly we relaxed, ate delicious food, shopped, visited with relatives and watched hummingbirds. Faye has two hummingbird feeders that need filling nearly every day. There were often a dozen birds at a time fighting over the nectar.
While we were there we followed the news about Hurricane Floyd as it got closer to the coast of Florida and worried about Rachel. The broadcaster on the weather channel was standing on the Melbourne beach with crashing waves and heavy winds in the background. Rachel contacted Neill who then contacted us mid-week to let us know that they were evacuating the area and going northwest. Later Rachel told us that they drove to Tampa (normally a three hour drive that took them 10 hours!) They only stayed away for a night since Floyd didn't cause much damage to their coastal region except for some loss of electrical power. She was back at her teaching job in two days.
Two movies that Jim and I watched recently "Blast from the Past" and "Enemy of the State" were both good and we recommend them.
Type in the movie name (if you know it) and your name.
|October 11 -||Jennifer's Birthday|
|October 31 -||Halloween|
Here are a few more so that you, too, can impress your friends with knowledge of obscure origin and useless content...
- The fat molecules in goat milk are 5 times smaller than those found in cow milk. It takes 20 mins for the stomach to breakdown as opposed to the hour that it takes to break down cow milk.
- Jeremy Bentham, a British philosopher who died in 1832,left his entire estate to the London Hospital provided that his body be allowed to preside over its board meetings. His skeleton was clothed and fitted with a wax mask of his face. It was present at the meeting for 92 years.
- Diet Coke was only invented in 1982.
- The first time movie audiences were treated to a flushing toilet was in Alfred Hitchcock's 1959 release Psycho
- Onions get their distictive smell by soaking up sulphur from the soil.
- A sliced raw onion helps relive a bee sting.
- Raindrops aren't actually tear-drop shaped. They are rounded at the top and flat on the bottom.
- American car horns beep in the tone of F.
- More people are killed by donkeys annually than are killed in plane crashes.
- Oak trees do not produce acorns until they are fifty years of age or older.
That's all folks!!!
Go back outside.