Les Paul

Heading off to Glacier National Park

by grace on October 4, 2019

I got back from my trip to Denver for my friend Christine’s funeral on the evening of Saturday, Sept. 7th.

Three days later, Tuesday Sept. 10th, Kevin and I got on the train in Springfield bound for Glacier.

so i had two days to pack. It was a crazy couple of days.

As I started packing on Sunday, Les was right there helping me. He’s always so darling on top of a suitcase!

Last spring when i put my winter clothes away, i put some of them in one tub and labelled it “Glacier?” We were already planning the trip then, and i had the foresight to put aside a bunch of clothes that i might want to take. i didn’t take all of them, but it made packing a whole lot easier. too many times i’ve put off packing til the last minute, which has made me rush around like crazy trying to grab things, and sometimes i’ve cried. no tears this time.

Tuesday morning Amy drove us to the train station.

well, she was going to drive us in our car, but all of a sudden we didn’t know where the keys were. i thought i gave them to her, but neither of us had them and there were several minutes of panic as searched frantically.

they were in her purse. whew. kevin ended up driving and we arrived safely in plenty of time.

we waited for the 8:30 a.m. train surrounded by piles of luggage. looking at that picture now it does seem like way too much stuff, but one small suitcase was just filled with snacks for hiking. and we did end up eating most of them, plus the suitcase was an old one that kevin had for many years, and it sort of fell apart during the trip so we just left it there in montana.

the train was on time, we settled down in our seats, and it was nice to sit there on the train to chicago, no more rushing around. Aaah.

we arrived right on time, at 12:20, and our train for Montana left at 2:15. When we got off the train we headed for the first class lounge at Union Station, but it had recently moved to a bigger location in the great hall of the station, and it was quite nice and spacious. Crowds of people were camped out there, but after a while i saw a kid go up some stairs and realized there was a second floor. we went upstairs and it was almost empty, plus it was on street level so there were big windows. Comfy sofas and chairs. nice.

an older gentleman was sitting across from us, and told us about a trip he’d taken to Glacier many years ago. he wore a hat and turquoise jewelry and seemed like he had many stories to tell. at one point a lounge attendant came over and shushed him, which seemed kind of rude, but at least they don’t allow loud talking.

I decided to get myself an egg mcmuffin so i whizzed out to the food court.

I then figured i’d pop outside and walked around a bit; it was quite warm that day. but i thought about how we’d spend the rest of the afternoon plus all the next day on the train and i wanted to get a little bit of walking in.

I tried to find our lounge from the street but i couldn’t figure out where it was so i went back inside. I stopped to take a photo of the Amtrak route map. i added the giant arrow to show you which route we took; looking at it now i realize just how very close we were to the canadian border. someday we’ll go there, but not this trip.

As i returned to the first class lounge i heard the boarding announcement for our train! Uh oh. I made it back to Kevin, who didn’t realize it was our announcement and we rushed out of the lounge and ran into a line of people headed from the lounge to the tracks. we were at the front of the line, and soon boarded the train.

Our tiny roomette was fine, just about the same as others we’d stayed in. the bathroom was down the hall in the car, but there were a total of four bathrooms in our car, so that wasn’t bad.

We settled in and soon realized that there was no WiFi on the train, even though it had clearly stated online that there would be. We had a small data package, so we couldn’t play our online games. kevin started reading a book he’d downloaded, and i’m pretty sure he read a few books during our trip. i’d brought an actual book made of paper, i’d downloaded a few books to read offline, I had a sudoku book, a few catalogs and a journal.

i ask you, when will i ever learn not to take all that stuff? i think i realized it was pointless a few trips back; i have a distinct memory of taking a few New Yorker magazines with me to europe, and the magazines got to travel with us but i never even opened one.

of course i didn’t read or listen to anything on the train to montana. i did play one game on my ipad that i could play offline, but what else did i do? why didn’t i at least write in the journal?

because that’s just the way i am. oh well. no worries.

i did go to the observation car because a guy was going to give a talk about the Mississippi River, which we were following. I listened to his talk for a little bit but it wasn’t super interesting. here’s a photo; on my phone it said we were in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.

we had an early dinner. throughout our train journey we always had to sit with two other people at our table, and i told kevin that i think he talked more during our trip than he ever had his whole life.

that first night we sat across from a couple of women who were on some kind of guided tour. they had taken a bus to chicago and were taking the train…somewhere…and were going to get on a River Boat later in the evening. so even though it was a tour they got to mix it up a little. they were friendly and interesting.

we went to bed early, and i always like to sleep on a train, lulled to sleep by the rocking of the car.

ok then,

mrs. h.



by grace on September 18, 2019

On august 20th I went to lunch with randy…I think this was my first lunch there, I have been there probably five times at least. We went late enough so that the place was almost empty, which I always love.

We walked around in the museum next-door, and I had added more stuff, plus some stuff was changed around.

Super cute!

I don’t know what the prices of the lake club on this menu, but they were crazy cheap. I love an old menu! I wonder what happened to the Lake club?

I’m sure this spot is just going to get better.

And finally, Darling kitties!

Les is always willing to pose.

Ok then,




by grace on August 11, 2019


of course we celebrated, but i didn’t wish him a happy birthday here.

It feels like this summer has gone by quicker than i ever remember. but then again, my memory is pretty poor at the best of times, so maybe last year also flew by.

Hopefully the ridiculously hot heat has already happened in july, and maybe August will be pleasant.

We finally found the restaurant Motorheads: https://66motorheads.com/

It’s been open for 14 months, the waitress told us, and it’s pretty close to us, but we’d dragged our feet in getting there.

we’re glad we found it – the food is good, there’s some decent outdoor seating, and the huge amount of stuff in the place is a wonder to behold. there are all kinds of cars and car parts and car-related stuff, plus so many old Springfield things.

out back was this awesome sign, a restaurant i remember fondly from so many years ago.

Next door they have a “museum,” filled with even more stuff, and there was a big hand-drawn poster from 1970. i don’t know why i didn’t take a shot of the whole thing, but here’s the part about the lake.

hmm, i see that it says that we have the “nation’s most up-to-date water purification plant.” i wonder if this could be true – just yesterday i was watering the flowers on the dock and had to use a bucket because my watering can had broken. when i pulled the bucket up from the water i could see that the water was a very icky yellow-brown color. yuck.

Inside Motorheads was a menu from Top’s Big Boy, which i have good memories of. There’s also the big Tops sign on the wall, and the Big Boy himself.

we’ve been to the place about six times now in about three weeks, and would have gone again Friday night but the place was too packed.

Meanwhile, back in kitty land…Les and Riley have taken to sleeping on targets. because they’re so comfy.

Sweetie doesn’t spend much time with us in the living room, but i’m sure that’ll change when the weather gets colder and she gets more used to us. right now she spends at least 85% of her time out in the fenced yard, and also a lot of time sleeping on the screened porch. she still hisses and swipes at Riley sometimes, but the other day all three were happily asleep on the porch. soon they’ll be the best of friends.

i went to see “hairspray” at the Legacy Theatre for a second time because it was so fantastic, and on the way home we were stopped by a train. it was hands-down the most interesting train stop i’ve ever seen; here’s one of the giant propellers for a windmill. that’s all that was on the train, just one giant propeller after another.

Here’s a little video of the sight.

On July 25th we took a nighttime boat ride, one of my favorite things.

finally, further proof that Riley continues to find it hard to mellow out.

whew, that’s all for now.

mrs. early to mid august hughes.


Hosta Stick Garden

by grace on July 20, 2019

Last Saturday morning, the 14th, i finished transplanting every single last hosta from all over the yard into the fenced yard. Whew.

As i wrote previously, i first dug them up, piled them in the wagon and pulled the wagon into the bedroom front door and out the back into the fenced yard. because, of course, there’s no way to actually open the back gate because then Lester would immediately find out a new way to escape.

this was a lot of work because the wagon full of hosta sticks was quite heavy.

the next time i tried it, i instead hurled the hostas over the fence. i had been meaning to ask kevin to lower them in a buck over the fence to me, but i decided this other way wasn’t bad. the hostas survived my hurtling, and it way better than the wagon.

but then i decided that the perfect solution was to pile some into a bucket and carry it back to the yard. the ones i’d flung over the fence had left piles of dirt in the yard, which annoyed me.

so last saturday morning i dug up the remaining hostas down at the bottom of the deck and then dug up a giant hosta right in front of the porch; last year the deer hadn’t touched it, but this year, anything goes.

i finally dug up the few remaining hosta sticks in the circle out front – this was the last part of the giant hosta circle that dad had been proud of. i’d transplanted some of the hostas from there to other places before, and there were only six or seven little hosta sticks left. it’s a little sad that the hosta circle is gone, but at least many of those hostas are going to live a happy life in the fenced yard.

kevin had tossed seven bags of mulch over the fence for me, and he’d also helped dig a few holes, and i got it all done and was exhausted but happy.

my Hosta Stick Garden

I took these pictures on saturday after i finished, and they’re already looking better.

this one even bloomed! i’m pretty sure this is one i’d transplanted a few days earlier.

I’ve been watering them and have high hopes.

and then, i have about eight or 10 daylilies that need to be transplanted, plus some big hydrangea, all at the side of the house. every bud has been eaten off the lilies plus the deer are eating the stems, and they’re making their way through the hydrangea.

right now there’s no place to put all these flowers until kevin does more tilling in the fenced yard. so that’ll wait a while. which is fine by me.

plus i want to plant some roses of sharon in most of the empty places where the hostas had been, but that can also wait.

last friday night, amy, mom and i took a lovely boat ride.

the motor was making such a spectacular wake, but there was no way to get a good photo – maybe somebody with a better camera could get one that’s not so blurry.

and one final funny thing – i wasn’t home last saturday afternoon, and kevin decided to take les for a walk. lester walked under the deck and sat there, waiting for unsuspecting birds to appear. soon kevin realized that les was not going coming out; he wouldn’t even look at kevin who was trying to get him to emerge.

kevin texted me, telling me of his quandary and i suggested shaking a treat container at him.

he tried, and later told me that les did finally turn to look at the sound, then he poked his head out a litttle, and then one paw, and finally came out enough for kevin to pick him up. funny kitty!

ok then,

mrs. july hughes.



June 24, 2019

This was June 6th, Sweetie’s first adventure in the fenced yard! i think her only experience outside had been so go out on her previous owner’s deck. she never got to run around in a yard. she loves the yard sooo much. here’s Riley, still not sure what to make of this foreign kitty who […]

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sweetie’s first taste of fresh catnip

May 20, 2019

last tuesday, the 14th, i picked a bunch of catnip and brought some of it upstairs to Sweetie. And boy, she loved it. I tried to get a photo but she was a constant blur. meanwhile…one day i was sitting on the couch and there were two woodpeckers at the feeders! i managed to get […]

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friday! and suddenly it feels like august…

May 17, 2019

i think it got up to 92 yesterday, or something completely bonkers like that. it’s already mighty warm today. go figure. also, suddenly we have lots and lots of buffalo gnats. on wednesday kevin and i were outside and all of sudden a bunch of tiny things were zipping all over the place, landing on […]

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march, briefly

April 26, 2019

nothing much to report about march, except we had a late birthday celebration for mom. HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY, MOM! but first…we got home on March 4th. here’s kevin, plowing mom’s driveway on March 7th. I never want to come home to snow. the next day we had a celebration with both pie plus some kind […]

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Final Day in Florida – March 2, 2019

April 15, 2019

We took our final walk on the beach over to Seaside. Here’s us, looking almost the same as we did the first day. except for our nice new A30 baseball caps. it’s funny that there was no name on this banner. or maybe the restaurant is called the shrimp basket? This was the day before […]

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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 […]

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