Traveling Tiger…

Traveling Tiger…

We traveled home to Iowa from Chicago two days ago.  Tiger, our two year old gray tabby rescue cat, is actually a good little traveler.  We purchased a medium size dog crate that goes right between us in the back seat.  Usually, he whines for a little while, but this time he just settled in for the trip.  I think it helps that he can see us.  I had read that cats get confused and don’t handle change well.  Not true of Tiger.  Like us, he loves both places and, regardless of which direction we are headed, is happy when we get there.

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When we are in our cozy little apartment in Chicago, he loves the wide vintage window sills and we often find him sound asleep in the sun there.  Once, in Iowa, he tried his best to make the jump straight to the windowsill.  We couldn’t help laughing as he slid immediately off the newer, more narrow windowsills.  I think he decided he liked Chicago best right then and there!  😉

We were in Chicago this visit for two and a half weeks and enjoyed it very much – well except for the two nights Doug had to spend in the hospital for Atrial Fib!  Healthcare is excellent in Chicago and he is doing fine now thankfully.

One evening, Doug and I were watching a show on television entitled “The Lion in Your Living Room” about domestic cats like Tiger.  We turned to see him perched with his front legs over the arm of the chair totally engrossed in the show – see the pic below!  He was definitely alert to the sounds of the cats and kittens meowing and did not move until the show was over!  Who knew they could seriously watch television?!

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Tiger loves the wide window sills.  Here he is keeping me company in the kitchen enjoying the sunshine and the birds on the trees just outside the kitchen window!

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Evenings – when we’re home in our Chicago apartment – will find Tiger curled up wherever we are.  I love those green eyes and his intense, watchful expression.  I always say I’m a “dog person” but this is one cat I have come to love.

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Birthday blessings…

Birthday blessings…

Today is my birthday.  I was born in a small town in the Delta of Mississippi, the youngest of four daughters.  When you get to be THIS old, you become a little nostalgic about your life:  your family…what you’ve accomplished – or didn’t accomplish – and whether or not you should just toss the proverbial bucket list.  I’m blessed.  I know that beyond a shadow of a doubt.  I have a wonderful husband, amazing children and grandchildren.  I have precious family and friends scattered throughout the states.

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aptWe are happily settled in our apartment in the Chicago neighborhood of Ravenswood.  My youngest son and his family is a short 3 block walk away from our apartment.  Tonight, we will be there for my birthday dinner.  Quaint shops – and a Starbucks – are just a short walk away.  Thanksgiving dinner was here in our small apartment- all eight of us.  Doug and I cooked the ham, turkey and cranberry salad and everyone else brought the sides.  My three and five year old granddaughters decided they would rather be at the “grown-up’s table”.  We moved them there and everything was perfect.

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Doug’s ninety-seven year old mom went home to be with the Lord on October 10th.  It was a beautiful service in the Lutheran church where Doug grew up.  She would have loved the amazing blanket of Autumn flowers – accented with yellow roses – that covered the casket.  We miss her.

sch_noitems_leafI’m in the process of taking photos of our small apartment and will be sharing them soon.  In the meantime, we are enjoying our time with our family here before we head back to Iowa for a few weeks.

 

 

Joyful whirlwind…

Joyful whirlwind…

While my goal is to post faithfully to Sweet Journey Home, life has certainly been a joyful whirlwind these past few months with very little time on the computer.

Late May, my firstborn grandchild graduated from high school.  As we watched him march into the large auditorium with his class, I realized – once again – that time marches on as well.  Early summer, we traveled to Chicago where we had a wonderful time with our sons and their families.  In July, we enjoyed having my precious granddaughter Sarah here for ten days and then the three of us traveled to Wyoming where we met my oldest son and his family in the Grand Tetons.  (Except for my sixteen-year-old granddaughter Noelle who spent the summer in Peru working in an orphanage and the medical clinic that my son started there!)  We all spent some fun time in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where Doug enjoying mountain biking with my son and his family.  Unfortunately, he hasn’t had quite as much experience as they have coming down the mountains.  Halfway down the trails in the mountain bike park, Doug fell and broke three ribs!  Needless to say, that put a damper on our trip and ended his mountain biking career!  Early September, we returned to Chicago to celebrate birthdays for my now three and five year old granddaughters.

Our nimg_6549-1ewest adventure???  We have leased an apartment in the neat little neighborhood of Ravenswood in Chicago!!!  We will spend at least half-time there and half-time in Iowa until we’re just too old to travel and that should be a long time since the Mega Bus is always an option!  We will actually be able to WALK a few short blocks to see these two precious granddaughters in the photos!  With two sons and their families in Chicago, we think this is an awesome idea and we are so excited about it!  Our new apartment is on a tree-lined street and in what is rated as “a walker’s paradise” – which simply means we will be a short walking distance to the train, Starbucks, many quaint little stores and restaurants.   The apartment is in a vintage, gated U-shaped set of buildings that were built in the 1930’s I believe.  We’ve purchased a few antiques for the apartment in keeping with the vintage theme.  The buildings and lawn are well kept with trees and flowers.  It’s just down the street from the mayor’s house so, hopefully, that’s a good thing.  There is so much to see and do in Chicago – including a host of museums we’ve yet to visit.   Most importantly, there will be more time with our big family in Chicago and we are thrilled about that!

I will be sharing our Chicago adventures and a lot of pictures on a brand new blog (not yet underway) at:  http://www.homesweethomechicago.net

At long last…

At long last…

When you haven’t posted on the blog you love for over a year, you have to think you are the only one in cyberspace who will be reading it ever again.  Maybe I will just be talking to myself.  Nevertheless, it is time to share my sweet journey home again…

This past year has been wonderful.  And extremely busy!  I married the love of the last years of my life on May 24, 2015.  For the sweet ceremony held at our home, we were surrounded by children and grandchildren and Doug’s mom.  Afterwards, we had the reception, buffet dinner and dancing at the clubhouse at his mom’s condo celebrating with more family and friends.  For the most part, it was the grandchildren and us dancing – but it was fun.  It was a blessed time and one we will remember for the rest of our lives.

We have spent a lot of time this past year decorating the townhouse.  Doug finished the downstairs with a family room/office, guest bedroom and guest bath.  It added another 850 square feet.  In the future, I will post photographs of what we have done with the townhouse.

This past year has also involved a lot of traveling!  We have been to the Caribbean, Mexico, Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, Montana, Holland, Belgium, England, Ireland and Scotland!  The month-long-trip to the United Kingdom, Belgium and Holland was a dream come true.  I knew I would love Scotland and Ireland…and I did.  It felt like home!  I have spent so much time this past year working on family history – mine and Doug’s!  The future holds a trip to Germany where Doug’s ancestors originated.  We look forward to that as well as returning to Scotland and Ireland.  I am getting close to finding Rev. William McGregor’s birthplace and I’d like to see it in person next time!

Below are a few scenes from our month long adventure….the first installment of a few more to come.

Sitting on the top deck of a double decker bus in London.

 

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Doug got up at 6:30 a.m. to capture the stillness of the water in the canals.  By 8:00 a.m. it is crowded!  Brugge, Belgium.

 

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The canals of Brugge, Belgium at 6:30 a.m.!

 

On top of the world of London, England, aboard The London Eye!

 

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DOUG climbed all the way to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London!!!

 

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The semi-circular gray/white building was our hotel in Ghent, Belgium. We asked for a room in the “attic” so that we would have an amazing view of the castle just across the street (out of the pic at right). It was wonderful!

 

Dianne and Doug enjoying the tulips in Holland.

Doug’s grower/exporter friend Piet in Holland entertained us for the day and took us on an up close and personal tour of his part of Holland. The tulips were breathtaking! Thanks, Piet!

 

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To Montana and back…

To Montana and back…

When you spend two long days in an automobile with someone, you get to know them pretty well.  Doug and I left on November 12th for the 1,130 mile journey to Montana for a sweet visit with my firstborn and his precious family.  Over the course of a couple of days, there was a lot of conversation and just as much laughter.  Thankfully, we have like tastes in music and enjoyed it at a volume we could actually hear!  We both sing along with the music and that’s fun.  We also have similar tastes in reading material and we both like mysteries…which made listening to a couple of books on tape enjoyable.  When we took breaks, we were anxious to get back to the mystery to pick up where we left off.  I think that I can honestly say the time and the miles actually flew by.

For the most part, we were blessed with good weather, marvelous scenery and light snow!  The funny photo below was one of several cute “photo ops” at the Wyoming Welcome Center.  I confess the one of me on horseback was funnier but won’t be published!  😉

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Rafting in snowy waters photo op at the terrific Wyoming Welcome Center…

We loved our time with my son and his family.  One day we drove about two hours to the Patagonia Outlet in Dillon, Montana.  Patagonia is expensive but a terrific 40% off sale made their prices look a whole lot better!  It was a beautiful drive with awesome scenery along the way…including several impressive Montana ranches!  On the way, we also made a stop at Montana Wheat Bakery & Deli for lunch and a visit to the bakery & gift shop.  On the evening before we left for the return trip home, Doug treated us all to pizza at the MacKenzie River Pizza Company in downtown Bozeman.  We had such a good time, but all too soon it was time to say goodbye.  I miss them all already!

On the return trip, we took the two-lane road through the Black Hills of South Dakota which made for some beautiful and interesting scenery.  We stopped for a break to check out a very neat place, the Spearfish Canyon Lodge.  It reminded me very much of the lodge in the movie Christmas in Connecticut.  It would be a great place for a winter vacation with all the snowy trails and snow mobiles for rent!  It would also be a great place to meet the family for a fun vacation in the Summer.  It is not far from Mount Rushmore, our next stop on the trip and only 2.5 miles from where the film Dances With Wolves was filmed.

I must be one of the few remaining people on earth who had not seen Mount Rushmore – along with Doug.  It is an inspiring, captivating place.  A place borne in the heart of a dreamer and sculptor.  To say it leaves an impression on you is an understatement.  Seeing it with snow covering the mountains made it extra special I think.  Not to mention the fact that on that bitter cold windy afternoon, we were two of only a handful of people in the entire park.

Enjoy the slide show below of our visit and our journey back home…

A snowy walk in Montana…

 

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