as the summer whooshes by…

by grace on August 19, 2016

i can’t believe we’re already on the backside of august.  whooosh…

even though i spent the first part of july lying around because of bronchitis, i did manage to mosey down to the water, where les continued to enjoy the sailboat. this is on july 5th, the day after we did nothing to celebrate the 4th of july because i had no energy for it.


this is the spot he loves the most, probably because it’s highest up, and he can survey the land.


but he also enjoys staring out to sea.


i wonder if he can see the fish under the water?  probably not, but there are lots of little ripples where they’re swimming around.  kevin is wearing the green flash t-shirt i got him on captiva island, FL, when mom and i went there a few years ago.  then kevin and i returned to the same spot.  hmm, i bet captiva would be lovely this winter….


i liked the way les draped his paws over the side.


look at that green lawn!  this is the first summer in a while that everything has been green all summer because of the massive amounts of rain.  it’s still just as green now!


contemplative kitty.


the great news is that our pontoon boat has finally been fixed, after languishing all summer long at the boat fixer’s shop.  it was unbelievably filthy when we got it back and i spent many hours cleaning it up.

last night, erica and kim and i went for a lovely nighttime boat ride.  it had been such a long time since i’d been out on the water after dark.  it was fantastic.  during the day boats are always speeding hither and yon, maybe to avoid the heat, maybe to show off, it’s hard to say.  maybe just because they enoy the speed.

but the funny thing is that last night, the handful of boats who were out were just bobbing around, not even moving.

this was on the other side of the lake, under the vachel lindsay bridge.  when we got back to our side, there were literally no other boats anywhere.  the moon was full and orange.  we turned off the motor and enjoyed the quiet.

and that is all for this later in august morning.

ok then,

mrs. g. hughes.



the chipmunk incident

by grace on August 4, 2016

first, and most importantly…


it’s going to be an exciting and fun-filled day!  actually, it’s already been fun-filled for him, because early this morning he went down to the dock with lester and watched the fish jumping in the water.

so…now that i’ve finally finished posting all those photos from our trip last year to wales, i’ve had all kinds of free time to post things that have been going on around here right now.

except there have been so many things that i have had no free time.

but last sunday was going to be my day of lolling around on the couch, writing, playing a game, reading stuff.  kevin was going to be off playing with his friend garrick, it was going to be peaceful and quiet and full of a whole bunch of nothing.

i had to get up early and go to work for a couple hours and was going to stop at a couple stores before going home.

but at 9:45 kevin sent me a text – Lester had brought in a live chipmunk and it was hiding under the giant cabinet in the music room.  kevin was in the process of taking everything out of the cabinet so we could tip it back and catch him.

oh boy.

i raced home and  kevin said he’d been getting ready to leave, and both lester and chester were sitting in front of a chair in the music room staring at it intently.  kevin lifted up the chair and they were all quite surprised that the chipmunk wasn’t there.  kevin looked behind the cabinet and could see the chipmunk’s little nose peeking out.

by the time i got home kevin had already removed much of the stuff from the cabinet. it had desperately needed to be gone through for such a long time – it’s full of papers and envelopes and office-type things and so many pieces of paper and random cords for i don’t know what, and on and on.  it has both shelves and drawers.  your basic cabinet nightmare.

but it was almost empty now and Kevin had been piling heaps of stuff all over the bed, and had stacked the drawers on the bedroom floor.

we finished all that, and then it was my job to tip the cabinet forward.  i tipped…and tipped…and was pretty sure i was going to tip it on myself and crush myself to death…but kevin saw the chipmunk and set the tupperware container down over him…and it got away.

oh boy.

we thought he’d scurried under the piano, so kevin moved the giant cabinet out of the room to have more space.  there are no air conditioning vents in this room, and both door were closed so the chipmunk couldn’t escape into the house, so it was getting kind of warm in there.  we looked under the piano but he  wasn’t here.

i opened the closet door, which is kind of like the cabinet, only with many dvds and cds and old games that my parents left here and a huge array of different papers for printing all kinds of things, and on and on.  i noticed that there were some things on the closet floor that shouldn’t have fallen, so maybe the chipmunk had hurried in there?  it’s an old door with a good-sized gap underneath, so it wouldn’t have been any trouble for him.

kevin started taking stuff out of the closet and  there was now so much debris all over the floor that it was difficult to walk.  i decided there was a slim chance that he wasn’t really in the closet, so i looked under the small dresser.

and there he was, crouched way in the back.  we quickly blocked the sides of the dresser so he couldn’t get out and kevin was ready with the container and i poked a stick towards the by now crazy-out-of-his-mind- i’m sure-chipmunk…and kevin captured him!  yaaaay!this was the biggest chipmunk i’d ever seen.  how did les manage to get him through the kitty door and into the house? he’s a Super Kitty.


poor little fella.  it’s probably the most excitement he’ll ever have in his whole chipmunk life.  kevin carried him way into the circle and set him down at the foot of a big tree, and the little guy scampered right up it.


this had taken about 45 minutes and now kevin was really late to meet up with garrick, so he hurried away.

and there i was, facing the biggest mess i’d seen around here in quite a while.


that plant is sitting where the cabinet normally goes.  and those are chester’s little white paws as he sauntered through, fascinated by the new arrangement of the room.

and soon he was happily on top of the chair.


here’s the view from the other direction – in addition to all the other stuff, a card-shuffler had somehow scattered lots of playing cards all over the place.


i did sit down for a while to gather my strength to tackle all of that, and it took me a few hours to clean and dust and slowly try to get stuff off the bed and into the cabinet and on and on…

it wasn’t the most restful start to the week, but at least we did save a cute giant chipmunk.

and now, birthday preparations must continue.

ok then,

mrs. thursday kevin’s birthday hughes.



the nice thing about disembarking from the Queen Mary is that it’s fast and efficient.  we walked to our assigned place for disembarking…it was the Winter Garden again.  Our scheduled departure was 9:50, but when we got that at 9:30, they started herding us out!  we stood in a huge customs line once we were in the terminal, but then got called out of line and into a tiny little line because we’re American!  yaaay for being american!

We climbed into a cab, and he was a speedy driver who knew what he was doing, and soon we were buzzing up the west side, and got to Penn Station by 11:00!  amazing.  we found an elevator to get down to the main level – we’d had to try to maneuver up the escalator with our too many bags when we’d arrived in NYC on the way to wales.

We dropped all our bags at the Amtrak lounge and walked over to the High Line, a relatively new park in NYC.  the first part of it was opened in 2009, and the final section in 2014.  here’s what wikipedia sums up about it:

The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long New York City linear park built in Manhattan on an elevated section of a disused New York Central Railroad spur called the West Side Line.

it was kind of cool, and here’s kevin, before we started encountering masses of people.


on the left is a cool part on top of the street – there are steps on it that you can sit on, and watch the traffic go underneath you.  there’s a clip on the “saturday night live” opening of one of the guys in the show hanging out there.  we didn’t see him.


this gives you a better idea of all the people, and there were even more as we continued to walk.


the view from the steps.


it was a hot day, and got hotter, and we walked around a while and stopped into a vintage poster shop because they had a poster in the window of a vintage “grace line” ship poster.  it was $900.  we didn’t buy it.

more walking, more heat…we just wanted to get on that train!  we got a delicious burger a some outside food happening near penn station, then went inside and relaxed til our train started boarding.  we were happy that this time we’d checked our bags all the way to springfield, so we didn’t have to deal with them.

we got into our tiny cabin, and this fabulous pick was resting there.  i just saw it in my bedroom the other day, because i took it home.


the train pulled out of the station, i think it was about 3:30, whoo hoo!  but after about ten minutes it stopped. and then they had to pull it back to the station!  i don’t know what was wrong with it.  we decided to go to dinner even though i wasn’t hungry at all, because the train was full and the train steward said there would be a stampede for the dining car later.

the power went out a couple of times as we ate, but our waiter was prepared and gave us a glow stick.


a little less fancy dinner than those on the queen mary!  dessert was no-sugar vanilla pudding.

we were still sitting in the tunnel, mind you, but the train finally started moving at six.

we passed the scenic Hudson River, and there were lots of people out enjoying the day, and i realized it was Labor Day weekend (only because i saw it on the news).

we went to bed very early.

when we got up on saturday, i realized that we were three and a half hours behind schedule – there seemed to be no chance that we’d make our 1:45 train from chicago home to springfield.

i wonder why i took this photo?  maybe because i was thinking about all the beauty we’d seen, and how ugly this place was.


ditto this…this is when we were heading into chicago, i believe.


and now, sitting here exactly 364 days after we left for our trip last year, i can’t even remember what happened when we got back to chicago.  i think we just sat in the sleeper car lounge and hung out for a while.  ate some food.

here’s the last picture from that day, the clock on the wall says 9:40, relaxing with a glass of wine and Winne, who was glad we were home.


later in the evening, winnie was happy to move to kevin’s lap.


and the next morning things were back to normal, with lester trying to relax as usual.


whew.  i can’t believe it was so long ago, i can’t believe this is the final posting, i can’t believe i actually finished posting before a year passed, but also can’t believe that it’s taken me this long.

in my journal on the last day, i wrote that i’d love to go back and walk other parts of the coast path.  i know it’s supposed to get more challenging the farther north you go, but i did manage to survive many up and downhills.  we could do it, and it’d be fun.

but then there are also so many other places we could go…

we’ll just have to see.  and i’ll have to start planning.

ok then,

mrs. finally finished posting about wales which was an entire year ago hughes.



here’s the very last video!  i can’t believe it’s the final one…by this time, i think i’d shot enough video of the Queen Mary 2 interior on our crossing to Southampton, plus other videos of other trips, so these are exclusively shots of the sea from our balcony on Deck 11.


ok then,

mrs. winding up the trip after almost a year hughes.



Sailing into New York! Friday, Sept. 4th, 2015

July 28, 2016

Land ho! i staggered out onto our balcony at about 4:30 on friday morning to see us going back under the Verrazano Bridge, and this ship passed us. here we are, getting closer and closer.     here’s a little bit about the history of the bridge, from a Smithsonian article. The History of the […]

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Queen Mary 2 – Wednesday, Sept. 2nd & Thurs. Sept. 3rd, 2015

July 25, 2016

Wednesday was one more day of feeling crummy, but at least we were sick on the way home, not during the hiking and sightseeing part of our trip. it was the day of the talent show, and i’m sorry i missed it, because you just never know what kind of stuff you’ll see at the […]

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Closer and closer to home on the QM2 – Tues. Sept. 1st, 2015

July 24, 2016

amy’s birthday!  i tried to call her a couple of times, but couldn’t reach her. even though i still wasn’t feeling so great, we got tickets to the planetarium show in the afternoon. we attended the morning lecture “secrets of the titanic,” which was interesting, but i can’t remember one single secret about her. after […]

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Crossing the Atlantic on the QM2 – Monday, August 31st, 2015

July 23, 2016

Ok, here’s the crazy thing – i have no photos of all of this day!  that’s because i started getting sick.  no fun. we did manage to do some stuff anyway. we went to an interesting talk by a gentleman named Michael Dispezio, which was called “Whales, Dolphins and other Marine Mammals.”  this must be […]

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Sailing home from Wales on the QM2 – Sunday Aug 30th, 2015

July 22, 2016

sunday morning we got up early again and started watching a fascinating documentary about Roger Ebert.  It was still chilly outside, about 57 or so. one great thing about making the transatlantic crossing on the QM2 is that we gradually set the clocks forward, or back, like we did on the way home. We walked […]

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ok, i just have to say…

July 21, 2016

well, i have been so desperate to finish posting my photos from our trip to wales before a year has passed, that i haven’t posted any of my many many photos i’ve taken during our somewhat eventful summer. but the reason i was doing such a bangup job of posting every single day is because […]

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