at the start of november…

by grace on November 26, 2018

it was relatively warm, the grass was green, the red maples were dazzling…

I took this for bev because she loves squirrels.    this one was  clearly posing for me.

wow, the field was so green.  I went running yesterday, the first time in two months cause i’d had something funny going on with my leg, and it was chilly and the grass definitely doesn’t look like that anymore.


amy took this photo of jim and dogs during one of their long walks, but it looks like a professional photo!

they’re so cute and colorful this time of year.  yesterday when I came back from running, they had just finished their walk and each one had at least three coats on, so they all looked like fat little sausages.

this morning I woke up to yet another snowfall.  yesterday I put up outside xmas lights and décor and today i’m sure glad I did that.  I hope that I won’t have to go out today, but i’m sure i’ll have to venture out once.  but later in the day, so I get a chance to brace myself for it.  it wasn’t that much snow but it’s cold and windy today, and will be even more so tomorrow.  winter, *sigh*

ok then,

mrs. end of November hughes.



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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On sept. 18th kevin and i headed over to the fairgrounds to see this convoy of military vehicles.  they were trekking all the way to california on route 66, and i’m hoping kevin will remember some of the details and tell you about it.  here’s a pretty cool motorcycle with a sidecar that kevin really liked.

the next morning there a bunch of fogg had rolled over the lake, and i got these pictures of  birds skimming over the surface.



later in the afternoon lester hid in the vinca vines.  shhhh, you can’t see him…

that evening a heron perched on a buoy.  last night we had a neighborhood bonfire, and one of the neighbors told me that when they moved here 20 years ago it was pretty rare to see a heron.  that’s funny; since my grandmother lived here, i’ve been coming out here most of my life, and it felt like the herons had always been around.  but i guess not.

amy, jim, mom, randy and i went to a W.I.L.D. fundraiser which my friend Jill hosted, and amy and jim brought two of their darling doggies.  it was an incredibly hot day.

september 25th, taking the boat out of the water for the winter.  i kind of feel this is the latest we’ve taken it out, but then again i didn’t remember that the herons haven’t always been around in great abundance, so you never know.  the water was ridiculously low and the grass was brown.  since then it’s rained so much that new grass is growing, i have lilies coming up, it looks kind of spring-like.

this is our property, although you can’t see the houses.  our dock is over there on the left.

i think his is the first time it occurred to me to sit in the back of the boat.  all the many other times i always sat in the captain’s seat, as though somehow i needed to steer.  it takes me a very long time to think differently.

and there it is, the end of september.  i’m pretty sure there weren’t as many photo ops in october so there’s a chance i’ll be done with them before the end of the month.

but on the other hand i haven’t been able to give massages for the past two weeks and yet i haven’t managed to find very much free time.

right now there’s a threat of snow in the forecast for saturday.  good god.  it’s still about 70 today, but the temperature is supposed to start dropping.  i have to somehow dig up all my gerber daisies in the front and put them in pots for over-wintering, as well as getting plants from the deck into pots, but i don’t know how that’s gonna work with only having the use of one hand.  hmm, somehow i’ll have to get kevin to help me.

it’s always something.

ok then,

mrs. i hope there really isn’t any snow coming soon hughes.




Italian Greyhound Extravaganza!

by grace on September 17, 2016

on wednesday, mom and i joined amy and jim on an overnight to Purina Farms, close to six flags in St. Louis.  it was the 2016 Italian Greyhound show, and when amy told me that their four IGs were going to be in a rescue parade, i said I MUST GO TOO!

here’s a video from the show – the first part is a couple of clips of IGs doing the agility course.  i wish i’d shot more video, but i assumed there would be lots more opportunities, but then there weren’t.  but you’ll get the idea of how it went…then i recorded as much as i could of the next crazy day, with the Rescue Parade and plenty of doggie madness.

when we first arrived at Purina Farms on Wednesday afternoon we saw this cage full of IGs.


and the van they were attached to was also packed to the gills with IGs.  this must have been a breeder.  i wonder if they sold any?  it was a very warm and humid day, but i guess the dogs were OK with being outside.  How loud must it be when they’re driving?  i know that amy and jim’s dogs have a lot to say when in the car, and i can’t imagine how a person could stand that many barking/howling dogs.


Purina Farms is a lovely piece of property in the rolling foothills of the ozarks.  mom and i took my van because amy and jim’s van was filled with dogs and dog beds and blankets and mostly everything in the world. plus ours was a much more quiet trip than theirs.  mom and i didn’t bark at all.


here’s one of the cute topiaries at the entrance to the event center.


we thought it was exclusively an IG show, but there were other dogs competing  as well.  there were a lot of these cute little dogs. i think it’s a brindled american shepherd?  i must have heard somebody say that.


i’m not sure what this darling little dog is, except super cute.


amy and jim got to the center about an hour after we did, and by that time not much was going on anymore, so we headed to the holiday inn.  it was literally right across the street from six flags, which i thought was cool.


mom and i walked over to the giant six flags parking lot, and it was weird because it’s closed during the week now.  so deserted.  i really wanted to jump the fence and walk around, but of course then i’d have been arrested, so i decided not to.  plus mom didn’t want to walk all the way to the gate anyway.


i just read a couple reviews about the hotel on trip advisor and somebody complained that it wasn’t within walking distance of the park.  hmm, since my 80 year-old mom was able to do it, just how unable to walk was that person? it was literally right across the street.


we went back to Purina Farms to see Sarah, the sweet woman who had fostered amy and jim’s dogs laz and sadie.  we met deb, the head of all the missouri/kansas rescue, and then we piled back into amy’s car and headed back to the hotel.  mom and amy got us some carryout chinese food, while i luxuriated in my room, channel-surfing.  we don’t have cable anymore at our house, and as i flipped through the channels i realized that i don’t miss it at all.

we then had a lovely feast in amy and jim’s room which adjoined ours.

the holiday inn has a “fundome,” which is like the “holidome” that the old holiday inn east here in springfield used to have.  it was kinda cool.  do you see the “exercise room” there in the upper right?  it’s a platform with a few machines on it.  there’s a little bar there in the background. on wednesday night there was one lone person sitting at the bar, and one woman in the pool and a couple kids in the kiddie pool.  the place definitely had a “shining” vibe, except not scary, just deserted.


they’d had a fire in the kitchen recently so the restaurant was closed, so no free hot breakfast.  instead, this little continental fare was spread out on a table poolside.  not bad, except they had no tea at all.


amy had decided she’d dress the dogs as “sharks & jets” from west side story, and wrote a bio about them including why she dressed them like that.   the girls sadie and izzy were the sharks, with little fluffy skirts like the puerto rican sharks in the play.  izzy is like a shark because she has hair loss and feels like a shark.  i guess sadie is always sharking around looking for food.  and the boys laz and mincy were the jets, because they fly around all over the place like airplanes.  they looked adorable.  amy had intended to fashion fins to put on the girls’  backs, but that didn’t happen which is probably just as well because they probably would have fallen off.


here they are on thursday morning, excited to be headed back to the dogapalooza.


it was a loud and energetic scene, to put it mildly.  that’s deb there in the green shirt.  and jim wore green and grey, to match the dogs’ t-shirts.


sweet old dog.


dogs in prison!


amy was going to get really dressed up for the parade, but decided to wear a couple of boas, but then she took them off for the parade because they were very hot.  all the dogs were attached to her at this point, and during the morning they were also attached to me for a while, and it was quite an effort to keep them from getting hopelessly tangled.  i walked them around a lot so they wouldn’t get bored and start barking.


so cute!


it was challenging to try to get a still photo of all of them.


we thought the Rescue Parade was going to start at 9:00, so we made a huge effort to get there before then.  but they had to judge all these pedigreed IGs first, and as you can see, there were lots of them.


cleaning up the inevitable accident.


the Rescue Parade was then going to start at 10:45, but that didn’t happen either.  it was interesting to be around all these serious dog show people, because they really did seem like the characters in “best in show.”  i observed some high-strung antics from some of the owners.

finally the parade started at about 11:30!  here’s sarah with a couple of dogs she’s fostering now.


i tried to take pictures with my phone with one hand while holding the video camera in the other, but that didn’t work out.  Deb read amy’s bio as they paraded around, but it was hard to hear. my favorite part of the whole event is how amy was prancing around the ring.  so funny!

whew.  we finally left the show after the parade and headed back home.  mom and i took the scenic route for part of the way, and stopped in the little town of Hamel at this cute little bar called Weezy’s for lunch.


i love this picture!


amy took this of the dogs on the way home in their crash-proof dog cage.  i think they were pretty quiet because they were completely exhausted from their first-ever hotel and dog show experience.


we were all pretty tired.

but a good time was had by all!

ok then,

mrs. past the ides of september hughes.’




January 16, 2016

last friday, january 8th, jim’s picture was in the paper on the front page of the city/state section, above the fold!  it was a great photo, and jim said the photographer, Dave Spencer, followed him and his buddies around seven holes as they played disc golf. jim is a fantastic disc-golfer, and i’d like to go […]

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wrapping up december, making way for this shiny new year…

January 2, 2016

the sun is shining this morning, although it’s cold…it’s nice when we have the blue skies, because of the many gray days we’ve already had. just a few more december photos, and then on to 2016!  which will be filled with…about 365 days.  except now only 364, so let’s try to make the most of […]

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