by grace on August 25, 2014

and it’s HOT HOT HOT.

craaaaazy hot.  but at least it’s only supposed to last a few more days, as opposed to a couple of years ago when it was hot all summer long.

luckily, last sunday, the 17th, was cloudy and relatively cool.  a perfect morning for running abe’s amble!

here’s kevin and me before the run.

linda castor was also running, and we saw her husband bill, who was nice enough to take the photo.

now, you see that blue pad there to kevin’s right?  that’s the start line, and we had to cross it in order to activate the timing chip embedded in our numbers.  all the other slow, slow, slooooow runners were way way in the back, so they wouldn’t get trampled by the fast runners who were clustered around the starting line.

but it was very close to the start time of 7:30 so i figured, why walk all the way back there, and then i’d just have to run back up; this would be more running than absolutely necessary.

so i just stayed right there, next to the start line, and when they blew the whistle, off i went!

and of course, many of the approximately 760 runners passed me.

but it’s not like they pushed me down or anything; it wasn’t that crowded, and i didn’t mind everybody passing me.  nobody invaded my space or anything.

as i ran down sangamon avenue towards lincoln park, people continued to pass me, but they were all panting and seemed to be struggling for air.  this seemed a little silly to me, because the run had just started – wouldn’t they collapse by the end of it?

i always run with a bottle of water strapped around my waist but i decided against it, because there would be water stops, plus it was mild and cloudy.

it did start to rain for a while, but that wasn’t so bad either.

after i’d been running for about 20 minutes, after i’d run down the huge hill in back of lincoln park, a police car came towards us – the first runner was running back!  i think it took him about 30 minutes total.

for one tiny, brief flash i thought I NEED TO START TRAINING SO I CAN BE A FASTER RUNNER!

and that’s the entire time i spent thinking that i need to push myself.  i realize that i’m the exact opposite of all those huffing and puffing people; i’m extreme to the other way.  i just feel like i’m accomplishing something by running, in spite of my ridiculously slow pace – i know i’m getting a good workout, my heart is pumping fast, i’m burning gobs of calories.

but as i ran, i thought about the fact that i could try running a little faster.  a little less slow.  i could, indeed, try to push myself a little.

i hope that kevin will be able to run with me next year.  he continues to be blind in his right eye, so it wouldn’t be good for him to run in a big mass of people.  he’s sleeping propped up on his back now, and i keep hoping that he’ll wake up one morning and it’ll be noticeably better.

hopefully soon.

but back to the run – i ran up and down the big hills in oak ridge cemetery, and i saw linda sprinting towards me.  i called to her, but she was way too focused to even glance my way.

between you and me, she looked very intense and hot and uncomfortable.

i guess i don’t care about getting to that point.

and i did get to an uncomfortable point – as i ran up the little hill on sangamon heading back into the fair, i felt tired, but mostly my legs were starting to yell WHAT’S GOING ON HERE???  WE DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR THIS!!!  IT’S TIME TO STOP!!!

i had to push myself up that hill and into the fairgrounds, so i wonder what kind of shape i’d been in if i’d pushed myself earlier.  maybe the same shape, or maybe i’d have passed out.

i did start talking to another runner, and her name was amy, which i thought was very nice, and she was very encouraging.  when we reached the home stretch, down the avenue before the grandstand, she said “let’s push it,” and i said “you go ahead.”  i didn’t want to keep her from giving it that one more burst of energy that i absolutely did not have.

but then, just as i was so close to the finish line, some great big tall guy starting sprinting up next to me, so i felt obliged to not let him beat me!

i don’t think he did, but i can’t say for sure.

it was nice when it was over.

i ate two cookies and some orange sections and drank a lot of water.

it took me an hour and nine minutes.  not terrible.

afterwards, kevin and erica and i walked around the fair for a while.  this would have been a fabulous time to get lots and lots of fair food, but i wasn’t that hungry for it, a darn shame.  kevin and i did split some fries and they were pretty delicious.  i did want some mini dougnuts but you couldn’t get them in increments of less than 20, and i didn’t want 20 doughnuts.  kevin said he’d eat one, but erica doesn’t care about sweets.

i should have gotten them and thrown away the ones i didn’t eat.

dang.  next year.

i did feel pretty good after running, though, and it makes me want to run another 10k.  there’s one on october 19th, and it starts from UIS so we could just walk over there, and the 10k doesn’t start til 8:00, which is a half hour more civilized than 7:30.  plus it certainly won’t be hot that late in october.  there’s also a marathon and a half marathon at the same time, but i don’t ever see any of those in my future.

meanwhile…mom and i had gone to the fair the thursday before the run, and we passed news personalities vince dementri and liz foster.  vince’s hair looks a lot like a helmet in real life.  they reported from the fair all week, and one evening we were watching and a hefty young woman walked right up and stood in between vince and liz.  she kept looking at the camera and waving every few minutes, as the news anchors ignored her.  she didn’t seem to care.  i texted this picture to kevin, who said GO STAND BEHIND THEM!  but i didn’t.

at this point my yellow jacket stings were kind of painful and were about to get all bad and puffy again, so walking around wasn’t super fun.  but my main objective at the fair was this:

saganaki.  i’d been thinking about saganaki all summer, and first we stopped at the wine tent and i got a frosty and refreshing wine slushy.

mmmmm.  the saganaki was fantastic, and the peda bread was fluffy and wonderful.

the weird thing is, there weren’t many people at the fair on thursday, and there weren’t many people on sunday, and i’m not entirely sure why people don’t go to the fair so much anymore.  kevin says it’s because there aren’t as many things, but the only example he could give me is that there used to be some big boot store on the corner of main street.  it can’t just be the loss of a boot store?

that is all my exciting fair news, so we’ll all have to wait til next year.

ok then,

mrs. monday morning hughes.



by grace on September 1, 2012

i can’t really give you any explanation at all why it’s been so long since i’ve written on here.  i have had some free time, but just haven’t…written anything.

so, all i can say is, BAD BAD BAD!

one day last week randy called to say “i guess you’re officially not writing anything on your site anymore,” and i just said “yep,” and then meant to write, but…didn’t.


i have been taking pictures, though, and although i feel pretty overwhelmed about all the posting i must do to JUST CATCH UP, i do think it’s possible, somehow.



she said that all she wanted for her birthday was rain, and the rain started last night, so she’s happy.

as are we all…this morning i went down to the dock to take the pictures for this month’s banner.  the lake has noticeably risen since yesterday evening, and we’re supposed to get even more all day, plus tonight and maybe even tomorrow.

so many photos, including kevin’s birthday and the fair…but first, here’s our last boat ride of the year, on JULY 26th.  crazy early to get the boat out of the water – i erroneously wrote that we took our last ride on AUGUST 26th, because taking the boat out in july seems crazy. the water was so low that kevin was afraid we wouldn’t be able to get it out of the water at the boat ramp.

it was a bittersweet ride.

it was a beautiful night – here’s the view from the dock.

as you can see, the back of the boat was level with the dock.  crazy low.  i don’t know who was more excited about the boat ride, mollie or erica.  probably erica, since she wasn’t the one to fall overboard when trying to disembark the other time.

erica with her beverage of choice.

there were threats of rain, and the sky was beautiful.

kevin had a pretty good time, too.

mollie most enjoys the boat when it’s not hot and the lake is calm.  i’m pretty sure it was mighty warm that night, but the water was smooth.

there were three, maybe four drops of rain, so we headed back home.

it didn’t rain at all, of course.

here’s how low the water looked the next day, as i sailed away for the last time of the summer.

it seems that we had just had the boat fixed and took it out on the water, and then we were taking it right back out again.

the brown, brown grass.

i took this as kevin hoisted the boat out of the water with the van.

it was funny to be up in the boat as we were pulled out of the water.  and by “we,” i really mean “me,” because we decided it wasn’t a good idea to take mollie with us.

it was relatively quick and painless, because kevin did most of the work.

maybe, though, since all of this rain, we’ll be able to get the boat back out?  it could we warm for a long time this fall.

here are a whole bunch of random phone photos from the month.

first, the always-nervous lester.

that little blur is david’s new kitten.  she was a crazy, hysterically funny little thing, and made les paul seem totally lethargic.  she refused to stay still for even one instant so we could get a good picture of her.  she was constantly squirming and climbing, nipping and running around like a maniac. super cute.  maybe sometime i will get a picture of her that you can actually see.

here’s kevin, beating the drum in the outer lobby of osaka on his birthday.

winnie, momentarily at peace down at the dock cause he’s away from the terrorizing chester.

but then, how could chester be bad?

we were driving home one evening and this deer was so very close to the car; if i’d had an ear of corn with me, i bet it would have eaten out of my hand.

randy and i went to the fair on the first sunday, and it wasn’t really hot, and it was cloudy, and we happened to be there when they had the high dive show.  can you see the guy waaaaay up there?  really high up, and he was diving into a pool that wasn’t really so deep.

i can’t believe i was able to catch the dive on my phone.  the people next to the pool are splashing the water, to make waves so that…what?  why were they doing that?  it had something to do with the diver’s safety, must have been so he’d…know where the water was?  hmm, not clear about that.

as amy continues to be ALL ABOUT ZUMBA, we get to do exciting things.  well, this one was doing zumba down at the old state capitol for “national dance day,” something that had been dreamed up by some TV person in order to promote fitness.  i think it was somebody from the TV show “so you think you can dance.”  it might have been from “dancing with the stars” or “dance dance dance” or “dance your ass off” or “dancing for dummies.”  there sure a lot of dance reality shows.  anyway, these reenactors get paid to be at the old state capitol, and they took part in the dance and it was pretty fun.  amy was right down front and center during the dance, which is good because she was the best and cutest.

they showed a few seconds of it on “so you think you can dance,” and somebody told me that this is the only clip they showed from all of illinois.

i guess i will have to find the youtube clip and put it up here.

here’s me at the fair, this time with mom on the last saturday.  we were going to go on friday, but i was still kind of out of it from the horrible gum grafting nightmare.

luckily, by saturday i was feeling good enough to eat plenty of delicious and nutritious fair food.

here’s a cute llama.

i had looked at the schedule of events online before we went to the fair, and was intrigued by the baton-twirling contest.  i’d never seen one, so we searched for the barn where they were being held.

erica was with us, and when we got there she said, “gee, i wish i could twirl a baton as good as these girls.”

well, SHE COULD.  as we sat there watching for a while, NONE of the girls managed to hold onto the baton for the entire routine.  some of them were more spectacular with their drops, as the baton fell and rolled across the floor and they scurried after it.

most of the time, there were two different girls competing at once, each with their own set of dour-faced judges.

also, none of the girls seemed to have the faintest idea of what rhythm might be; nobody seemed to be in time with the music in any way.

a lot of them had very nervous smiles plastered on their faces, but they were all just smiling with their mouths, not their eyes.  most of them gave up on the smiling intermittently as they struggled to keep going.

i’d have to say it was very entertaining and i’d definitely seek it out again next year.  maybe it’ll be better?  but not as entertaining.  bev says that baton-twirling used to be huge, with big baton-twirling squads that came from all over illinois to compete.  now that would be exciting!  but i guess baton-twirling is becoming a lost art.

we stopped by to see randy’s brother, elvis himselvis, as i happily spooned up a delicious wine slushee.  wine slushees are really the only beverage i buy at the fair anymore.

erica had to leave, but mom and i stopped by the arts and hobbies building.  unfortunately, bev didn’t enter ANYTHING AT ALL THIS YEAR, so no more blue ribbons this year.  she was much too busy.  i wonder if she’ll enter next year?

we saw these beautiful pitchers but mom couldn’t recall what they’re called, so here’s the photo for dad, so he will be able to ascertain.

and here’s the BIGGEST CABBAGE EVER.

i love all those fruit and vegetable displays.

there are many, many more august photos, but they will have to wait.  NOT FOR A WHOLE MONTH, but i have to get busy with many other things this morning.

ok then,

mrs. first day of the month hughes.

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more fair!

by grace on August 30, 2011

our trip to the fair wasn’t JUST about bev’s multiple entries in various contests.  we walked around and looked at stuff, too.

this was the best thing – it’s the “world famous redwood log house.”  you could go right inside, where it was like a little camper.  very VERY cute.

this is the bedgroom, and where that guy is is the living room, and then there’s a tiny kitchen.  i hope it comes back again next year.  i will drag kevin out to the fair to see it.

mom and i rode the sky glider which is really the best thing to ride at the fair.  it wasn’t too hot that day, but it was even more pleasant way up there on the up and up, which is what we usually call it.

horses were racing, and after taking a few frantic pictures i did manage to actually get one of a horse.

we stopped by the nicely chilled twilight ballroom for a few wine samples, which were quite tasty plus refreshing.

we also had some fantastic fries, a chocolate shake, and ears of corn.  SOOOO GOOD.

i’m already looking forward to next year’s fair.

all right already,

mrs. hughes.

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she entered many, many, MANY things in the fair again this year.  these muffins are just that all-bran recipe, but they did look very perfect and symmetrical, which i’m sure counts for a whole lot.  i think there were a couple of other entrants and they didn’t look as nice as bev’s.

bev also entered a chocolate pecan pie, and every time i think about that pie i JUST WANT TO EAT IT.  she won NOTHING for her pie, and the only comment a judge wrote was “too chocolatey.”  for one thing, NOT POSSIBLE, and for another thing, WHAT IS A CHOCOLATE PECAN PIE SUPPOSED TO TASTE LIKE, IF NOT CHOCOLATEY???”

and then bev told me that the pie that won second place looked like the crust was BURNT, plus the top crust had risen from the filling which of course is nothing near pie perfection, and it didn’t sound to me like it should have gotten any ribbons at all.  clearly, the CONTEST WAS FIXED, i kept telling her.

she wasn’t happy about it, but then later she called me back to tell me that i MUST NOT WRITE ABOUT THIS.  of course 10 minutes had passed so i’d forgotten about it, but then that made me want to go take a picture of this damn burned pie with the crappy too-risen top crust.  and here it is.

bev has this really funny idea that i have thousands of readers and that all of them are state fair pie judges, and they’ll read this and they’ll be VERY VERY MAD AT HER because of what i write, and then…well, then what?  she didn’t get a ribbon anyway!  maybe when the thousands of state fair judges read this they’ll realize the error of their ways and they won’t want it known far and wide that THE FIX IS ON, and they’ll shape up and give bev the ribbons that she so justly deserves.

last year bev also entered the gift-wrapping contest.  she’s done an extremely clever job with a sewing theme; the box was wrapped in material, with a tape measure for a bow, and there was a thimble and a pin cushion and it was SO CUTE AND CLEVER.

she won nothing.  some really really boring wrapped present won instead.

fixed.  again.

clearly somebody needs to do a woodward and bernstein-type investigation of the situation.

meanwhile…mom saw an award-winning quilt and i didn’t really care about anything other than bev’s stuff, but then i took a look at the quilt.  it was AMAZING.  here’s a wide shot.

each of those squares had so much intricate stitching, and it was all just so beautiful and must have taken at least one million hours.

plus, the little ring-things connecting the squares together were all tatted or whatever it is that one does to create that kind of thing.  it must have taken FOREVER.  the quilt won multiple prizes, so clearly the quilt-making judges haven’t been bought off.

mom and i cam back to the hobbies building to see bev bring in her delicious-looking pizza.  it was something like chicken, figs and gorgonzola.

mmm, i wish i had a piece of that pizza right now, and of course a huge slice of chocolate pecan pie, both of which are award-winning to me.

she didn’t win anything for the pizza, either.


ok then,

mrs. bernstein hughes.

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the fair parade!

August 23, 2011

mom and i went to the fair parade, mostly because randy was going to be in it, but also, of course, because we got to go to the fair for free and we even parked for free, even though we drove by many people with paid parking on their lawns.  people were parking there, too, […]

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August 24, 2010

besides carefully perusing  all of bev’s AWARD-WINNING ENTRIES, kevin and i spent a lot of time looking at other stuff at the fair, too. first, the butter cow.  why, i ask you, did kevin figure that this was a view of the cow that ANYONE WOULD EVER WANT TO SEE??? and my, the butter cow […]

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the fair!

August 23, 2010

first, i must show you bev’s AWARD-WINNING FAIR ENTRIES. second place whole wheat bread.  the funny thing is, i think the night before she was going to bake the bread, she asked me if i had a good whole wheat bread recipe.  THE NIGHT BEFORE SHE WAS GOING TO BAKE.  she didn’t use my recipe, […]

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oh brother oh brother oh brother oh brother. oh. brother.

August 18, 2010

one count.  the jury only found blago guilty on one count.  it was nauseating to hear him blather afterwards about he isn’t guilty, justice will prevail, etc etc etc. we’ll just have to grit our teeth and wait.  they will get him, but it’ll take time.  i wonder what he’ll be doing before the next […]

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August 17, 2010

you may or may not recall that my friend bev is crazy about entering stuff in the state fair.  she used to stick to baked goods and other foodstuffs, but then she branched out into other things, like collections of…i can’t remember the collections she says she’s been entering, except that on saturday she called […]

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