may, in the middle of summer…

by grace on May 14, 2018

I kept saying that it’d probably go from really cold around here to incredibly hot.  and unfortunately I was right.  right now as I sit here in the air conditioning, it’s 90 degrees outside.  c’mon.

so far may has mostly been a continuing flurry of outdoor work but I might not do any today.  i’d hoped to start power-washing the deck but I think i’m too exhausted by all the raking and weeding yesterday.

next door, jim seems to be cutting down all the honeysuckle trees growing down by the water.  as I worked in the side yard between the houses yesterday he kept dragging what looked like entire big trees past me to the brush pile in the circle.

here’s a summary of the month thus far:

first, kevin was out of town and he borrowed my van, so I drove the BIG TRUCK.  it was a little bit fun but also I kept fearing that i’d scrape against the cars on either side of me.  I also noticed that there were many other much smaller trucks driving around, and felt very smug about that.  I did constrain myself and didn’t drive anybody off the road.












one night I went off to the movies and dinner with a friend and when I got back, kevin had taken riley to the emergency vet.  his left from paw was swollen to twice the size of the right and he was limping.  it wasn’t broken, and the vet though it might just be a sprain.  the vet gave riley painkillers, and when I got home riley was obviously enjoying them because he leapt off the back of the couch.  not good.  we didn’t give him any of the painkillers they sent us home with, and he did lie around quite a bit the next day but was soon back to leaping and jumping.

kevin bought a new big plasic tube to replace the huge one that had been in the fenced yard, and he buried it.  it looks much nicer back there now except for the prison fencing.

this was may 3rd, and the hostas and now huge.  plus I decided to transplant a few more of them because there’s always something that I feel needs to be dug up.

turtles sunning as I ran.  there had been more of them and by the time I got a little closer they’d all plopped into the water.  turtles are about the shyest creatures when you want to get a photo.

riley, living the life of riley again.

one of amy and jim’s Italian greyhounds is having some issues and they took him to the vet in champaign, so kevin and I took turns dogsitting the other four.  here’s kevin first-ever selfie.

when it was my turn I found that it’s not easy to get a picture with all four dogs in it.

I planted quite a few bleeding hearts last year and this one looks good.

ok then.

mrs. what happened to spring hughes.






april…cats, mostly.

by grace on April 23, 2018

yeah, a mighty chilly april.  I’ve either been busy working or sitting around waiting for spring to actually arrive.

riley is doing his best to adjust to life-at-breakneck-speed that we have around here.  I love how his paw is dangling down like that; he hasn’t done that since.

Winnie has had his ups and downs, and last night I was afraid it was near the end.  maybe it is?  but today he’s been eating a lot and seems more cheery. this is from april 8th, and maybe he’s about the same?

the morning of april 9th, more snow.   riley hadn’t experienced it before, and he was intrigued.

the same morning; I like having this photo to document the fact that somebody actually sat on the floor-to-ceiling kitty tower.  yeah, it does seem like a waste of money.  maybe we’ll take it down soon.  I got it so riley would scratch on it instead of the couch, plus they could hop from level to level.

but no hopping around here.  and riley much prefers the tasty back of the couch to scratch away on.

we do our best to make les feel loved…

as I was trying to put stuff into a backpack, les felt that it was a perfect napping spot.

ok, I haven’t ordered any big scoops of mulch yet, haven’t done much of anything, yard-wise…but this giant black tube has got to go.  kevin says he bought a smaller tube and is going to bury it.  so we’ll see about his progress.  it makes me a bit crazy to think of how many times I’ve dug up and then re-planted hostas back there and how it looked pretty good last summer…but this big tube was skirting along the side of the house, not very visible, but then water came into the basement, as it does.

I took this on april 12th and already the hostas are coming up, as well as the lilies I transplanted last year, and the ferns…soon it will be very challenging to bury the tube because the place will be covered with plants.

and speaking of plants…I saw this at our vet’s office, and was astounded that it’s a real live plant, not fake.  now, looking at it again, I bet it’s some kind of lily, but so incredibly vibrant I wonder if you can grow them around here.

and here are some poor little hostas outside the fence, which have been nibbled on by the deer.  these particular hostas are really close to the house and soon the deer will be inviting themselves inside.

the kitties being sweet to each other for one fleeting moment…

…followed, of course, by ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK.

I took this on Saturday.  no new mulch yet.  soon, though, I promise…there’s so much to be done, and i’m not inspired.  hopefully warmer weather will make me wanna get out and do stuff.  actually, on Friday afternoon it was pretty nice outside and I decided to pick up a few leaves near the walk.  I was wearing my slippers, and soon I was tromping all over the garden in my slippers, scooping up the leaves.  I did wear gloves, at least, but slippers?  very very close to a crazy old gardening lady, clearly.  maybe already there.

but then wait – I took this picture at the end of last march, and the garden looked just about the same.  it’s a very very late spring.


one final photo in april – yesterday we had people over for dinner and I suddenly decided I needed to do some cleaning.  once a year, at least.  I took this to show that at least once a year things can be shiny and dusted.

ok then,



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 to get in the boat in the water and to order six giant scoops of mulch and start in on the outdoor projects…

meanwhile, riley continues to adjust just fine around here. here he is on april 1st, easter morning, happily snoozing on the middle floor of the kitty condo.

of course, a kitty never likes to linger too long, so eventually he made his way over to the adjacent shorter tower, and les jumped up to his place atop the tower.  riley really does enjoy being up top, though, and sometimes I put him on a lower shelf in order for les to claim his throne.


of course les didn’t want to be up there all day, and eventually I watched as he burrowed behind the pillow on the chair to snuggle down there, mostly hidden from view.

we had talked about having grilled salmon for dinner, and the sudden snowstorm didn’t deter kevin from venturing out to grill up some mighty fine fish.


of course he gave little pieces to our entirely unspoiled kitties.  we all enjoyed our meal.

meanwhile…lucky bev was on the east coast, enjoying the warmth and sunshine of a beach in north Carolina.  lucky, lucky bev.

I can’t recall the daffodils taking this long to bloom; this is Tuesday, april 3rd and the ones in the back were barely blooming.

but I guess that’s a good thing since it was well below freezing just the past two nights.

in between the bouts of snow and cold we did have a couple of warm days, and it hit 81 at one point. just to give us a taste of summer…

spring, eventually.

ok then,

mrs. Thursday morning hughes.



maybe the computer is working now…

by grace on March 18, 2018

wayne found some viruses on this computer.  ugh, I don’t even like typing on it, because I feel they’re going to come back.

a bunch of blah blah technical stuff was done, thank god for wayne, but…my screen just went black a little bit ago.  so now I’m trying to imagine that it was just getting that out of its system.

self-delusion, thy name is grace.

anyhow, pictures from our trip down south…

after a long, very long, two day drive down to the florida panhandle, we were ecstatic to finally arrive at our destination, a condo called the palms of seagrove.  on the beach.  paradise.

we arrived at around three in the afternoon and were overjoyed to find that the place was just as nice as it looked in the online pictures, maybe even more so.  we didn’t go through VRBO or Air bnb or anything like that, I just somehow found this property while obsessively looking at the all the properties on those websites plus more.  we got it through a realty company, and so I was a little worried that the place would be a dump, because who knows what a place really looks like, you can put up a photo from any time at all…

ecstatic.  I’d like to go back down there right now, as a matter of fact.  I’ve had it with weather that’s not lovely and spring-like.

here we are on our balcony.  the weather was perfect the entire time we were there; it was unseasonably warm for the panhandle, yay!

this is looking in at the living room/kitchen from the balcony.  if we’d had more people with us, there’d have been plenty of room.  but it was nice that it was just us two.

and of course I immediately spread stuff all over the kitchen counter.  ironically, the place is a little outdated, and the kitchen cabinets are identical to ours.  need to get our replaced…someday…

after lugging waaaay to much stuff up the three flights of stairs (ours was on the top floor), we got down to the beach in time for sunset.  there weren’t many people around.

there’s our building – our condo was the farthest on the right.  hmm, I see there’s a light on in the unit next door – we never heard any of our neighbors.


I should paint myself one of these; I finally saw it over the stove later that night.

the place had a lovely big bedroom but it was in the front and we wanted to hear the crashing waves while we slept, so we pulled out the sleeper sofa.

at about one in the morning I just couldn’t take it anymore – it was your typical wretched sleeper sofa, sagging way down in the middle, terrible…I staggered up to the bedroom, thinking that kevin sleeps so soundly that he’d stay on the sofa.  but soon he joined me, and we didn’t try sleeping in the living room any more.

but it was awesome to get up in the morning and go right out on the balcony…maybe we can go back and stay a little longer next time.  it would be nice if we could find a condo that allowed cats, but on the other hand, would we really want to take our cats on that very long drive?  it would be too stressful for everybody I think.

and that’s it for our first day on the beach.

ok then,


p.s. there’s definitely something wrong with this computer; it stopped working a few times while trying to furiously get this typed.  ugh.  technology.










something accomplished this morning!

March 11, 2018

after writing stuff on this site since may of 2004, almost FOURTEEN YEARS, i’ve finally come up with an “about me!”  yaaaay for me!   so try to take a moment to read it, but only if you feel like it. i’m feeling excited about things today, because i gave another “gracetalk” last wednesday, and then […]

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other things at the end of 2017…

January 25, 2018

well, here’s the great photo of lester and chester, as chester patiently waits for les to finish his meal so he can swoop in and devour the remains.  poor little kitty. winnie, sleeping on a “mutts” pillow. here’s mom’s living room facing the lake, with the darling little Hobbs kitty. here’s a panorama of the […]

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cheerful chester…

January 21, 2018

i haven’t felt like posting, or doing anything at all for about a week now.  i’m recovering from the flu, which is hitting everybody hard this year, it seems.  i got sick last saturday then kevin got sick then he got better then i thought i was better, but i finally broke down and went […]

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ok, it’s really, really time to stop

December 21, 2017

decorating.  i must stop.  now.  we are all decorated up around here; it was an exhausting weekend, and i still have a few more things i’d like to put up but it’s not necessary. i even put up a bunch of outside lights and decor on saturday because it was a beautiful, fairly warm and […]

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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 […]

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an excursion!

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 […]

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