Way back in November 2020

by grace on January 14, 2021

i didn’t manage to post many photos in November, so here a few of them now.

I got this picture while standing on a ladder outside a bedroom window. Kevin had been taking Riley for a walk, but then Riley likes to try to run amok, in a fairly gentle and sedate manner.

I’d been scraping the window, and here they are as i started painting. I wasn’t going to do any taping but quickly realized that would make a lot more sense, plus it wasn’t a horrible job like when I taped the many small panes of glass in the front door.

The thing about doing this project is that it’s a place that nobody is ever going to see. It’s on the side of house surrounded by a little bit of woods and really, the only people who would notice the windows are the groundhogs living in our neighbor’s back yard. And Kevin says he thinks they’ve gone across the road for the winter anyway. Maybe in the spring they’ll be back to admire my handiwork.

They do look nice with a fresh coat of paint and it will help the frames to keep from crumbling.

An even better angle showing how hidden this side of the house is.

I made a short video, also.

Meanwhile…Lovey spends quite a bit of time every day in the living room with us. She still won’t let me get near her, but at least she’s clearly comfortable being close by.

This was an historic moment as Lovey decided to die down in the bottom level of the kitty condo.

Sweetie, with her little pink sock from last year.

And Riley, occasionally happy to lie in the new kitty home, the re-purposed laundry basket.

Meanwhile, back here in 2021…it’s another gray day but it was reasonably warm for the last couple of days and I even went running, which was great. Snow is threatening in the next couple days so we’ll see about that.

ok then,

Mrs. H.


happy kitties

by grace on January 10, 2021

I don’t know about you, but I could use some nice kitty pictures about now.

So here they are.

First – Kevin bought a cat grass kit, complete with darling little black and white kitty cup to plant the grass. They sprouted fairly quickly and all the cats enjoy chewing on them. Here’s Lovey, her black and white-ness going well with the mug.

I think she’s the cat who likes it the most, although sometimes Lester will vigorously yank the grass out from the roots.

In addition to the cat grass, as I’ve posted before, all the cats love watching cat TV. I managed to capture this little video of Riley going to town.

And one more photo of Riley – but the story is about the bag. Behind our couch in the living room is a small shelf, a barrister bookcase, and on top of it are a bunch of lovely little pieces of china that I bought in England, plus a few things that Dad had. Behind them I’d propped up this burlap bag from a shop called MacGregor’s of Killin. I’d bought the bag when we were on our bike trip in Scotland and I vaguely recall that I might have bought things at the store to put in the bag?

But anyway, I guess I could actually use the bag sometime, but it’s been sitting there behind the English stuff on that bookshelf ever since I got it, in 2009.

At Christmas, as I’ve also written about, I take down all the stuff including the bag in order to put some decorations on it. But this year when I went to put everything back, I could not find that bag. I knew I’d moved it to either the music room or the bedroom, and I kept looking and looking and realizing, as I do every day, that I need to get rid of so much stuff in both of these rooms. But where was the bag?

And then it occurred to me that I hadn’t bothered to look under some of Kevin’s stuff lying on the floor in the bedroom. And there, under a backpack of his, was the bag! It felt good to find something.

Here are a few photos of that 2009 trip to Scotland, on the way to the tiny town of Killin and in the town itself. First, Kevin on the bike path on the way to town, a converted rail track.

When we left the paved path it was a very very long descent into the town, and this is the view. It was so beautiful, and luckily right then it wasn’t raining. It was July in Scotland, but they had more rain that year than normal and it rained on us at least some part of every single day were were biking.

When we reached Killin, we’d read that they had “falls” but they weren’t the big waterfalls we’d expected but they were lovely nonetheless.

Here’s the main street, the next morning as we got ready to head out. It started raining shortly after we left. I bet MacGregor’s of Killin is one of those buildings.

I just looked it up online and that’s it on the right, the big white building with green awnings. I’m happy to see that it’s still in business, because the town was so tiny and we saw a lot of “for sale” signs down the street.

It’s so weird, too, that that was twelve years ago. Gone in a flash. Will we get back across the ocean again? I sure hope so.

ok then,

mrs. gloomy grey January Sunday Hughes.


Last of December

by grace on January 4, 2021

I have a bunch of different photos here and then I’ll be moving on to the new year!

Way back on December 5th I was going for a run next to the field and came across these deer. I stopped to take some photos and they stopped to see what I was doing there.

In the middle of December Kevin was down in his man cave with Lester and Lovey. Lovey was rubbing against his leg and he was bending down to pet her, and she was relentless so he picked her up and put her on his lap. Never before had that happened! I don’t think it’s happened since, either, but hopefully sometime in this new year…

December 23rd, Mom and I walked in the park and came across this tree which some eager beaver was just about destroying.

A bunch of ducks were lying sleeping all along the shore, and you can see a tree that a beaver has felled over there on the right. hungry beavers.

Approaching dusk that day I saw remnants of the setting sun through the trees.

The water line is so low now, and I feel that the rocks are sinking in because the ground is hollow underneath. the big hole that has been there for a few years now opened up again even though Kevin poured all kinds of dirt and other things down into it. I fear that because it’s such a huge empty area that the ground is going to collapse in sometime and I don’t know what we could do to prevent that. It’s always something.

On December 27th I walked down to the water because the clouds were interesting and there were man geese out on the water but my presence made them take off.

I did manage to get a video of them flying away, and decided that maybe it wasn’t my fault, maybe they were headed out to find a better sleeping spot for the night.

Here are some of them circling so high in the sky.

Every year I dig up the gerbera daisies and they look terrible all winter long but then come back to life when I re-plant them in the spring. But for some reason this one is doing quite well and even bloomed.

Final December photos – even Sweetie jumped up to watch the giant birds.

And Lester tried to grab them…

…but since he had no luck, he sat there posing for me in his Lester-like way.

And that’s it for December! Yaaaaay end of 2020, I fervently hope that 2021 will be better. I guess I’m cautiously optimistic.

ok then,

mrs. Monday morning Hughes.


Christmas Gifts

by grace on January 2, 2021

I spent a good portion of yesterday taking down every last decoration and also the tree. I kind of miss the lights already since it’s another gloomy day out there but am happy not to look at the gobs of xmas stuff all around.

Kevin loves chocolate covered cherries, and when he was a kid his dad would buy a box for his mom and kevin got one cherry every year. Because he was so deprived as a child I try to buy them for his birthday and Christmas.

But this year on his birthday I went to Pease’s candy store and was dismayed to learn that not only did they not have any, but somehow the cherries were defective and they wouldn’t be getting any more this year. I bought him a big box of dark chocolate toffee which he also likes.

A couple of weeks before Christmas I called Pease’s to make sure they had toffee, and the woman said that they had chocolate covered cherries! She said they were using a different source, and had 13 dark chocolate cherries left. I asked her to save them for me and hurried over that afternoon to pick them up. because it was an odd number, she’d put six each in two little boxes, and then the last one was in a tiny plastic bag. the cherries were all wrapped in gold foil.

As I started wrapping presents on Christmas eve day (should have started sooner) I got inspired, deciding to wrap Kevin’s lone cherry in a big box with a giant bow. Here it is.

On the box I wrote “open last,” so he’d feel it was something extra-fantastic. Here he is on Christmas morning…

And here’s the one little chocolate covered cherry. He had a good laugh, which was my objective.

I realize now that I could have tried getting some from other places, but I always felt that Pease’s was the best because it’s a small, locally-owned shop. But since they outsource the cherries, maybe I should have tried Fanny May. Maybe next time?

And this is the most dazzling thing that Kevin got me…

It’s a leather purse! Still to be assembled – he needed to know what color I wanted it to be before dying and putting it all together. It’s funny, because sometimes I heard a little “ping ping ping” coming from the basement but didn’t think a thing about it because there’s always some kind of noise down there. But it was Kevin, hard at work hand-tooling all those fine details into the leather. Such craftsmanship! I’ll post a picture of the complete purse.

To the right is a darling set of Mutts ornaments that he bought me. I’d already bought a set myself, and I’m very happy to have two of them. You can never have too many Mutts things, IMO.

All right, one final posting about Christmas and then that’s it, on to the new year. Actually, I have a few things leftover from last year, but they’re not Christmas-related. Enough is enough.

ok then,

Mrs. 2021 Grace.


Biking the Sangamon Valley Trail, Part 2

November 25, 2020

Kevin and I went on a great bike ride on the Sangamon Valley Trail on Sept. 16th, our 14th anniversary. It’s a lovely, flat path, and 23 miles round-trip. We decided to hit the trail again on November 6th and I was looking forward to the ride because it was a lovely warm but not […]

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the last warm day of the year…

November 10, 2020

kevin and i have been doing all kinds of projects outside because indian summer is coming to an end later in the day. it’s been in the 70s and i’ve gone running for the the past couple of mornings in shorts and a t-shirt. yesterday afternoon i power-washed the deck and all the splashing water […]

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running and painting near the end of October

November 4, 2020

first of all, Kevin replaced the second bearing on his truck yesterday. the first replacement took a day and a half and the second only four hours. soon he’ll be replacing the mysterious bearings all over the place. On my October 25th jog I decided to run out on the road and then cut back […]

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more happenings in October

November 2, 2020

the white pelicans are back and as usual i keep trying to get a good close-up. this one on october 16th wasn’t too bad. the problem is that when i walk down to the water they start to quietly glide away. Kevin bought and assembled another component for our kitty condo and now it’s wider […]

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Mostly Riley in October

October 31, 2020

First, to clarify – my last post had a photo of Kevin on the sailboat wearing a lovely lavender t-shirt from bev and wrote that she got it for bowling. yesterday she informed me that she’d bought a bunch of them for a line-dancing performance she did last September, and had given Kevin and me […]

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ricocheting from one thing to the next…

October 24, 2020

i can’t say why i’ve been so productive lately. On Friday it was, indeed, really warm outside and I dug up most of my gerbera daisies but when i was done putting them in pots i realized i’d missed a small one and decided that enough was enough, and that one poor little flower could […]

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