wrapping up november…

by grace on December 15, 2017

Mom got an iphone!  a big one, and she’s very please with it, and is doing a great job of figuring out how to make it work.

lester scaling a stump on a november walk.

another beautiful lake view.

a bunny lives in the diminishing log pile, and les is always determined to chase him out.

i think this is my favorite photo of 2017.  it was a warm and sunny day, and les batted at leaves as the geese swam by.


randy’s cat pee wee, always stressed out…

My friend Toun at Bunn Gourmet.  i know i took pictures of it when i first went there, but every time it’s willy wonka-ness makes me smile.

toun was impressed too.

ok then!  that’s it for november.  there’s little chance of me posting the many many photos from december before the year is over, but that’s my goal anyway.

this morning kevin lugged the christmas tubs up from the basement, and i have a lot of work ahead of me today.  but it’s fun work and i think i’ll listen to the vince guaraldi charlie brown christmas album while decorating.

ok then,

mrs. time is running out for christmas prep hughes.




by grace on December 14, 2017

christmas.  coming right up.  here’s what i’ve done thus far, christmas-decorating-wise:  i’ve gotten the new artificial tree out of the basement.  yay, me.

oh boy.

it’s not that i don’t want to decorate, it’s just that i’ve been frantically creating calendars, and this year it has taken me much longer than usual because i want them to be really good and i have so many thousands of photos to select and photoshop and blah blah blah.

thank goodness that’s done now and i’m about to gear into full christmas mode.  tree to put up, lights, ornament, and so very many decorations everywhere.  plus cookies!  must start baking cookies!  not so many this year, and most of them will be the healthy kind. *sigh*

also, there’s the issue that there hasn’t been a place to store all the christmas boxes plus furniture that needs to be moved out of the living room for the tree – i wrote in november about the people putting in the new tile for our former hot tub room that is supposed to be a greenhouse.  they came and did it, very quickly, but they did a poor job and the tile lines didn’t match up and if i knew how to put in tile, i could have at least matched up the lines.  so we still have flowers filling every empty space in our entire downstairs, and the guy is coming either today or tomorrow to finally do it right.  then we can move the flowers into the room and the empty boxes into the screened porch.  after the boxes are carried upstairs and stuff is put around.

on tuesday my friend Toun said, “isn’t it too late to put up decorations?”  and i said NO WAY.

anyway…taking Les for a walk on nov. 21st, i spotted this brave little flower.

it’s nice that not only have we had no snow, but because we had a bunch of rain earlier and it hasn’t been so cold, the grass isn’t completely brown yet.

cutest kitty ever.

beautiful clouds later in the day.

the next day les took a different route down on the rocks, and marched right over to the bay in which the water is receding at a rapid pace.  the ground was pretty muddy and i took this picture right before i had to run through the mud to retrieve him, because he thought it’d be a good idea to walk to the other side of the bay and up into the yard way over there.  all i could grab onto was his tail, as he started to scurry up the rocks on the other side.  whew.

darling winnie, sleeping so cute – yesterday i realized that during the day he only nestles up next to or on kevin, because kevin spends more time sitting down than i do.  winnie is 16 years old already, time goes by so very very quickly.

did i mention that les is the funniest kitty ever?  this box of cat treats arrived and he was all over it.

as i was running in the field on the day after thanksgiving i was surprised to see amy, jim, and their merry pack of dogs.  it was a warm and beautiful day.

no more spectacular red leaves on the trees.  that’s the problem with fall; it’s so very quick.

the field, no more corn for the deer.

ok, one hundred million things to do now…



an excursion!

by grace on December 1, 2017

we haven’t taken many trips recently, but on nov. 18th we drove up to davenport Iowato see Harry Potter in Concert. 

This is a worldwide phenomenon, where a live orchestra plays all the music from the score while the movie is projected.  i can’t remember how i heard about it; i bet it was when i was looking up some other event somewhere. i found one in chicago but kevin isn’t too keen about chicago, and then i found another in st. louis, but settled on the performance in davenport because it was a screening of the first film, the Sorcerer’s Stone.

it’s playing in many places in the US, many in europe, in singapore, argentina, australia – kevin wondered if the film would be shown in english in the different countries, and i tried to find this out.  i’m pretty sure it’s in english with the subtitles of whichever country it’s playing because i looked at the trailer for the one coming up in paris and that’s how it was.  i don’t know what you’d do in switzerland, though, since they have three official languages.  i did see a clip of the movie that somebody took at the hollywood bowl.  wow, i’d have loved to have seen that.

it took us almost three hours to get to davenport and while driving kevin said we could stop in galesburg for lunch, because he’d been to a great place there with his friend Garrick.  but as we got closer to galesburg it was raining and then the rain turned into huge snowflakes and we figured it could get worse, so instead we skipped the stop and drove right to davenport.  we had a tasty lunch at a great restaurant only a block from the concert hall.  i had avocado on toast, which i’d read is a very trendy thing now, and it was delicious and i’d eat some right now if i had any avocados in the house.

we walked to the concert hall and were happy that we’d decided to drive through even though the snow had stopped, because there were tons of cars in a huge traffic jam waiting to get into the parking ramp.  dodged that bullet.

we sat in the balcony; on our tickets it said the show was supposed to start at two, but on the program it stated that the start time was 2:30.  maybe they did this to get people in the door sooner?    i was really excited to see the show!

at this point the place wasn’t full, but people continue to pour in.

it was the Quad Cities Symphony Orchestra, and the place was Adler Hall.  a woman sitting next to us said she’d gone there when it was a grand movie theater back in the day.  the orchestra had over 70 musicians.  really cool.

here’s a bit of the beautiful lobby.

and here’s a short clip of the performance.  i’m not sure if youtube will take it down, because i’m sure it violates their copyright, but we’ll see.

one cool thing was that the conductor had a laptop in front of him with a flashing light on it for keeping the tempo, i assume – i’m pretty sure his monitor had the whole film on it, plus every once in a while there’d be a big green dot on his screen, which i think indicated that the music was about to start again.  it must have been challenging, playing along perfectly in sync.

and it’s good there were subtitles, because sometimes the glorious music drowned out the dialogue.  it was a wonderful experience, despite the fact that there were many, many children in attendance, two of them intent on kicking the back of our seats. it was such a unique experience; i read that there have been screenings of movies with orchestras for all kinds of movies, from “breakfast at tiffany’s” to a star trek movie.  watching this film made us want to watch all the harry potters again, and we’re already up to the fifth one.  when we watch them now i wish we had a GIANT screen to see them on because the scenery is so rich and detailed.  i don’t want a bigger TV, but i’d like to see the movies on a big screen again.  seeing all those lush mountains and beautiful lakes in the film also makes me want to go back to Scotland/England/Wales. sometime soon, hopefully.  i’d like to live in wales, but i guess that’s unrealistic, at least for right now.

the woman who we’d been chatting with told us that they had a festival of trees going on and if we took the walkway to the parking garage we’d be able to see them.  we weren’t sure where that might be, but we followed some people and ended up smack in the middle of the giant crowd of people entering the festival.  it was a mob scene, and kevin has been having lots of knee pain and going up and down stairs isn’t good for him, but we had to keep going up and down and ended up taking elevators repeatedly.  from what i could see of the festival, it didn’t actually look as nice as the one we have here in springfield, but we were mostly just focused on trying to find out way the hell out.

we spent the night in davenport and when we pulled into the hotel the delicious aroma of steak wafted across the parking lot.  the hotel was in one of those huge clusters of hotels/stores/malls/movie theaters, and we walked right across the parking lot to the granite city brewing company for another great meal. kevin had steak and i had a couple of kobe beef sliders, all of which were fantastic.

the restaurant had these giant growlers on all the tables.  jim thought it funny that we went to a brewery even though i hate beer and kevin can’t drink it.

even though it was a very short trip, it was certainly enjoyable.  i’d highly recommend checking out the harry potter in concert series in your area, or in someplace you might want to go.  dubai, anyone?

ok then,



just another post about lester…

by grace on November 29, 2017

on november 13th as les and i were walking i spotted this white pelican.  there are lots of them this year.

he appeared to be swimming over to join this gaggle of pelicans farther away.

you can just barely see him, as he managed to get closer.

meanwhile, les was scurrying down the rocks towards the neighbor’s house.  can you see him?  he right in the middle of the frame.

after i scooped him up once he’d reached the little bit of beach and carried him into the yard i let him down and he proceeded to climb the neighbor’s ladder in their shed.  he had a great time, as he always does.  and eventually he did come back down.

two days later he wanted to check out the big black tubes in the other neighbor’s yard.

the next day, back to the first neighbor’s shed but luckily this time he didn’t climb the ladder.

when we returned home from that walk he needed food RIGHT NOW and because i was doing something else, he felt the need to climb to the top of the fridge and wait there for food to show up.  i lik it that his paws is covering up mooch from my favorite cartoon “mutts.”

it’s all about my lester!

ok then,

mrs. h.



November 26, 2017

last night before bed i read a thoughtful article in the wall street journal about how thanksgiving is good because it’s one of the rare times when a family sits down and shares a meal together, and about how rituals are so important to people, and we have so few rituals now… but this morning […]

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happy…day after thanksgiving…

November 24, 2017

right, right, it’s black friday. didn’t make it out to the stores early this morning, because that’s not something i’m into. here’s my personal revelation i had last night…to me, and i know this is probably sacrilege to many, i think thanksgiving is a stupid holiday. even if you have a family you like and […]

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November 21, 2017

today i was walking with les in the backyard and the wind was blowing and i thought, “i’m going inside and not going out again til may.” so that’s the kind of winter it’s going to be. next time when i take him for a walk i need to bundle up better, that’s all. and […]

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wrapping up the month of october

November 20, 2017

this is from october 15th, capturing that magic moment when the sun lights up the other shore. hmm, that was taken at 6:12 p.m.  last night i was sitting here looking out at the lake and was pretty dark over there, at 5:02 p.m.  but before you know it the days will start getting longer!  […]

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countdown to turkey day…

November 19, 2017

…i mean, i suppose it’s a countdown.  it’s also a countdown to christmas, really, but the other day mom said I’VE SEEN PEOPLE WITH THEIR CHRISTMAS LIGHTS OUT ALREADY, and i pointed out that xmas isn’t so far off. meanwhile, i’m just trying to remember the photos i took in october.  in the middle of […]

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here on thursday,

November 16, 2017

things are good.  i know it’s thursday cause kevin just told me it is – somehow it feels like friday, i don’t know why. kevin worked hard at removing our very old and broken hot tub.  not only doesn’t it work, but the company is out of business so we couldn’t get parts if we […]

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