i don’t have the coronavirus, fyi…

by grace on March 21, 2020

in one of my recent posts about mom and my trip to florida i made this statement: “Ok, so…i’ve had a cold with a horrible cough for over a week now. plus, the coronavirus …”

what i meant to convey was that i’ve been feeling bad with a cold, as well as bummed out about the coronavirus. but bev called to point out that in reading it, one would think i have a cold AND the coronavirus.

so, bad writing on my part. but i don’t have it.

but really, how do people know they don’t have it if they haven’t been tested? i’m just saying.

bev also read about the giant jar of nutella left in the house where we stayed in Tampa, and said she thought “i hope she doesn’t eat it,” but i’m sure she figured, before reading the next sentence, that of course i wouldn’t pass up the chance to eat Nutella, opened or not opened.

she told me she has a jar just that size at her house and she puts it on a graham cracker now and then. but i already knew that she’s a don’t-eat-it-all-at-once rockstar. when i’ve been at her house she has mini chocolate bars just lying in dishes which of course is never the case here.

at least my declaration about having the coronavirus made bev laugh. we need more of that.

laughing, not the coronavirus.

which i don’t have.

ok then,

g.h. on a gray saturday afternoon.


fun at the fair!

by grace on August 29, 2019

we went to the fair on wednesday, aug. 14th. Bev was going to dance in the Illinois Building, so mom, randy and i all went to watch.

while we were waiting i had to get a picture of this ride in the children’s section; i’ve never seen it before and i don’t know why i like it so much, i guess it’s because the animals are all so cute.

I’m posting this being fully aware that bev will vigorously chastise me for putting it up here. but she looks so cute! i think i’ll also sent this photo to her daughter erin, who i’m sure will appreciate it.

Randy and i rode the giant slide, which i enjoyed, but randy said it was painful because he flew up in the air a couple times. ouch.

i took a bunch of close-ups of the giant animals on the double-decker merry-go-round. i promise myself that i’ll go on it next year. i’d really like to go on it at night with it all lit up.

isn’t this an awesome hummingbird?

plus the giant rabbit in the background.

next year, i promise.

later in the day i saw this cut-out in front of the IL state police tent and i got bev to take a whole lot of photos of me inside it. i was trying to get it so it really looked like my head was attached but i realized that it was kind of hard because they neglected to put a neck on the cutout. mom started to get bored with bev taking so many photos, but i think this one is pretty good.

it was entertaining to watch the lumberjack show; it was funny because the announcer guy told the worst jokes possible, and it was a good time partly because we got to sit down and rest. the guys were really good at what they did. here’s the axe-throwing.

you have to look closely to see the axe up in the air; it’s right below the car on the right.

this is a better shot of the second guy flinging the axe.

Here’s a video of them axe-throwing.

log-rolling was good, but kind of brief.

Video of the log-rolling.

we’d been to the ethnic village so i could get some saganaki, fried greek cheese, but when we were nearing the end of the day we went back and sat on the benches in the back.

but as we sat there watching Irish dancers, i started to think that i recognized two of them, so i moved up close.

and sure enough, this is Vaughn and Sherry from yoga! they’re really good at yoga, and vaughn can stand on his head. it was funny to see them in this different context.

Here’s a short video of them dancing.

a good time was had by all!

ok then,

mrs. nearing the end of august hughes.



by grace on March 11, 2019

it was just so warm and sunny there and i wasn’t thrilled about driving back to the cold and snow.

but i’m getting ahead of myself…before florida, there was the beginning of february, with sweet riley hanging outside as much as possible.

and then, bev and i took a short and fun trip up to chicago to see the Blue Man Group. i’d been dying to see them in their original habitat, the venue where it all began.

here we are before the show started.

it was a pretty good show…but the problem is that i’d built it up in my own mind so much that i was disappointed. when kevin and i saw it a few years ago here at sangamon auditorium, i felt it was the funniest, most wonderful performance i’d ever seen.

yeah, expectations too high.

this time it just wasn’t as funny. could it be because i’d seen it, i knew what to expect? but i feel that they did funnier things back then.

my biggest complaint with the chicago iteration is that it was deafeningly loud. when we first got to our seats, bev noticed that the kid next to her had a pair of earplugs in his lap. he told her they were free, and they were giving them out. he graciously scrabbled past the tightly-packed row of seats to get us some pairs, and he certainly saved my hearing quite a bit that night.

i know it wasn’t that loud when we saw the show here – maybe when they take the show on the road they think the small-town older crowd won’t appreciate the ear-shattering noise? or maybe sangamon auditorium is so big that they couldn’t crank it up full volume.

kevin suggested that maybe their sound people have been doing the show so long that they’re going deaf and so the show keeps increasing in volume over the years.

whatever the reason, it was annoyingly loud to me even with earplugs. at the end of the show i took them out and was amazed at how much louder it was.

we enjoyed ourselves despite this, and stayed at a lovely downtown chicago hotel. bev, because she’s a saint, drove us into the city, braving the crazy traffic, and then she decided she’d drive all the way home. nice.

so i guess this post isn’t really about florida yet…except here’s poor lester, who knew we were going to be gone and was desperate to go with us.

i love how riley looks like he’s praying here…please don’t leave us!

ok, soon, many photos and videos of florida.


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a tale of a fateful trip…” *Gilligan’s island opening*

I haven’t finished with my photos of September, but here’s the story of the boat shenanigans from last Friday, October 5th.

kevin and I were going up to Starved Rock on Friday; we’d planned to leave between 10:30 and 11:00 so we’d have time to do some hiking, and were then going to a nearby winery to listen to some bluegrass.  but things didn’t go as planned.

first of all, when I woke up I looked out the bedroom to see kevin walking around.  he’s not normally on that side of the house.  lester had bolted out the front door at about five in the morning when it was still dark.  but at about 9 he hurried up the front walk, anxious to get back inside.  whew.  meanwhile, I realized that i’d chipped a front lower tooth and my dentist wasn’t available so a backup dentist was able to see me.  before I left, kevin said that our neighbor frank had called – his boat was sinking!  alarming.  because we were going to head out after I got back, kevin arranged for amy and jim to tow frank to the boat launch later in the afternoon.

but while I was driving to the dentist I saw all kinds of issues with this plan.  neither amy nor jim had driven our new boat, and it took a long time for both kevin and me to figure out how to dock it in our new boat slip, so it all seemed like a bad idea.   plus you never know what will happen with a boat…

kevin agreed, and the new plan was that he would tow frank with jim’s help.  my tooth issue didn’t take long to fix, so I was home in time to go along for the ride.  bev, who was at our house to cat-sit, joined us, because the more the merrier.

we started out at 11:30 and had time to talk about the situation.  kevin said that the back of frank’s boat had been filling up with water the night before because the lift had broken.  somehow frank had managed to pull his boat to the beach and tied it up to some trees.

Friday morning, frank drove his minivan to the boat launch and jim sat in frank’s boat as we towed it.

I drove our boat and things were going fine.

jim mostly stood around in frank’s boat.

it was a little tricky towing him under the bridge but I managed to not crash his boat into the sides of the tunnel.  yay!

it got a little hairy as I tried to maneuver so that Frank’s boat would go into the boat slip and my boat wouldn’t hit the other boat.  luckily kevin always knew which was I should be turning the wheel, and together we managed to successfully get his boat where it needed to go.

kevin and bev climbed out of our boat to assist with frank’s boat, and I managed to pull our boat up to the next dock and secured the ropes.  I never left my boat while all the shenanigans over there were taking place because even though my ropes were secure I had a suspicious feeling that somehow they might untie themselves.

here you can see poor bev covering her head; she never ever goes out in the sun without covering her head, and she had no sun protection that morning.

the boat wasn’t perfectly lined up with the sides of the trailer so jim started rocking it to maneuver it into place.

kevin later told me he was sitting there pushing the boat with his feet.  the woman in the purple shirt is linda, frank’s wife.

I love this picture showing just how hard everybody was working.  look at bev go!

I love the way kevin manages to manipulate one rope all the way around bev as he tries to get a handle on things.

here, frank pulls his car forward and along near the end of the video they realize that the winch strap, which you need to pull the boat up onto the trailer, is stuck.

backing up again!  at the end of the video you hear a little shriek, and i’m pretty sure that’s when bev’s rope snapped.  it didn’t seem to make a difference, really.

jim jumps aboard the trailer as frank once again pulls the minivan forward.  kevin pulls on the winch and confirms that yes, the strap is definitely stuck.

frank got out of the minivan and tried to see what was going on.  what to do?  I realized we might never get to leave that place.

commercial break!  I took a picture of my new fitbit, the Ionic, which is waterproof.  I could have tested its waterproof-ness by pitching in, but instead I continued protecting my own boat, plus documenting it all for posterity.

this is one of my favorite photos, because of the jaunty way linda has her jacket draped over her head.

you will see there’s somebody new here – a nice guy came along in a bright orange pickup and jumped in the water to help. we never caught his name, but because kevin kept telling frank to move the car, the guy knew frank’s name and kept hollering to him.

later, kevin told me that the guy wanted to scoop up bait at the end of the pier.  he was going to use it for a fishing contest later in the day, and he probably figured that if he didn’t help he’d never get to his bait.  he said they’d need to cut the strap off the winch, which would completely destroy the strap, but at that point there was no other way to do it.  frank found some gardening shears in the van and the guy cut the strap and tied it onto the winch.  by some miracle it was strong enough to pull the boat out of the water.  it turned out that the strap was fairly new and whoever wound it around the pulley hadn’t pulled off the old strap, and that old strap got entangled with the new one plus it was all folded over on itself and that’s why it was very stuck.



here the guy utters the line “that sumbitch is heavy!” as he gets frank to back up a little more.


wow.  what a morning – we piled back into our boat at about one o’clock, we got back to our dock a little later and then bev and I covered the boat.

that was a final ordeal because it was hot by then and bev was getting lots and lots of sun on her head and it was hard work.  kevin had gone up to the house because he was having all kinds of issues with his insulin pump, and jim went back to his house because he was wet and hot and exhausted.

whew.  we finally pulled out of the driveway at about two and didn’t get to hikethat day, but all in all it’s a miracle that we even left at all.

a very exciting start to the weekend.

ok then,

mrs. October hughes.



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June 8, 2018

although it’s early june, it feels like august.  91 degrees right now, feels like 96.  might as well be time for the fair. meanwhile, the end of may….this tiny fawn was curled up outside amy’s porch.  since then we’ve spotted it and its mom quite a few times – the tiny thing is smaller than […]

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finally spring, maybe? hopefully? hopefully.

April 19, 2018

yes.  spring.  it seemed that we’ve had now had a ritual of snow every sunday.  snow on easter, snow the sunday after that, and the sunday we just had…well, no snow really til Monday, and then it was a very brief blizzardy thing early Monday morning.  but it’s been chilly and blustery and i’m itching […]

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bev and i go to the illinois state fair

September 2, 2017

i don’t think i’ve been to the fair for a few years.  i didn’t go last year, and we were on vacation the year before that, so that means it’s been at least since 2014. i love the fair, even though usually when i get there i immediately think “what the hell am i doing […]

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