Such Joy! We’re in Illinois.

I am so behind on my blog. We had excellent adventures in both Dallas and Liberty, Missouri. But those will take more thought and energy to write than I have in my weary fingers tonight.

Instead, I’ll give a quick rundown on our arrival in Illinois. We left Liberty Missouri this morning. We had our first ever Denny’s breakfast experience. Shame on me, I’ve been a lifetime Denny’s snob.

Denny’s was convenient and inexpensive, so we checked it out. Who woulda’ thunk they would have gluten free English muffins?  I have been avoiding carbs.  But GF English muffins were irresistible. I ordered mine “buttered in the kitchen.” The waitress, upon delivery, said, “The cook has never had anyone ask for a gluten free muffin buttered, only toast.” Huh? Butter is such great food group. Number two only after cream cheese.

Then we were on the road. We listened to Devil in the White City. I read it when it first came out. Jim rarely wants to read anything I read. Maybe he thinks I like “chick lit?”

I’m enjoying this book as much the second time around as the first. While absorbing the 19th century Chicago Worlds Fair and a whole lot of murder, I finished a scarf and began another.

We had to stop at Michael’s in Liberty for more yarn. This new scarf is for our friend JR’s girlfriend, Melinda. Plum, blue, cream. I’m looking forward to vintage button shopping in Chicago’s Andersonville and adding plum buttons to my collection.

We drove. We listened. We crossed the “mighty Mississippi” for the second time in one road trip. Pulled into our hotel about three p.m. We hadn’t had lunch, so we planned an early dinner. At about five I said, “Honey…can we eat soon?” Jim glanced at his self-winding watch and suggested we wait until closer to dinner time.

The self-winding had run down hours earlier. Jim was unaware of the time. I pointed out it was, in fact, dinner time.  I’m not a happy hungry person so Jim grabbed our “Miss Mamie’s” 10% off coupon ( after first checking out reviews) and we headed to dinner.

Miss mamie.jpg

It was yummy, and I have enough left over for tomorrow’s lunch. I have put a note-to-self on top of the cooler to remind us to take the chicken out of small frig in the morning. Along with Jim’s wee-teeny cinnamon bun. The pre-dinner bread basket included two. He gobbled the first before his meal; the second will be breakfast.


My lemon chicken.  Delish.


Jim’s ribs.  He said mine are better, but I suspect he’s buttering me up.


Our waitress, Elaine, has celiac sprue. She felt my pain at missing out on the bread basket. But I had the marvelous morning GF English muffin, so for a celiac that’s splendid.  She loved our service dog!


The weather here is a fabulous 80 degrees. The grass is soft, not the saw blades of Floridian lawns. I adore living in Florida. But not in the summer and never the lawn.


Tomorrow Chicago! We already have two Tate babysitting gigs lined up. Life is stupendous.

Counting Down the Days

We are counting down the days until our exciting road trip. Yesterday we went to the library and got piles of CD books. As always Jim wanted to get Stuart Woods Stone Barrington novels. We’ve listened to so many of those. Stone Barrington is a filthy rich attorney, private investigator, drop dead gorgeous New Yorker. Every two or three chapters Stone is in the feathers with one beautiful woman after another.  The only reason Stone makes the cut is the narrator does a great job reading the different characters.

Jim gathered about ten Stuart Woods novels and asked me to read the synopsis of each. I couldn’t guess if we’d heard them before. I vetoed all but two. Just now, I photographed the boxes of books only to find my rat-fink husband checked out seven, not two Stone Barrington romps.


Today we took a field trip to Joann’s Fabrics. I bought four skeins of yarn. While traveling I knit. It keeps me from paying attention to Jim’s (according to me aggressive/according to Jim competent reasonable) driving.

I then spent time organizing my big yellow Banana Republic knitting sack. I dumped everything onto the kitchen island and got fierce about tossing random stuff leftover from the past voyages. There were some soggy packages of gum, a few dead hearing aid batteries, one lone sock, and several pennies.  Plus loads of yarns I won’t need this trip.

This is the “before” photo.


Now everything is pristine, organized and ready to roll.

The “after” photo. It’s nice to start out organized.  By September this order will be chaos again.

On our last road trip, I completed one scarf and almost finished a second. I will be done this one within our first two days. It just needs a few more patches, some buttons, and a bumblebee.


I love collecting scads of buttons.  It’s a sickness.  Last summer I found a vintage junk store and scooped up dozens.


Then I’ll move on to my next color scheme and create a scarf for our new friend, Melinda.  JR, our buddy who dates her, told me what colors she would like, but naturally, I forgot. I think blue was among them.



If she hates it, she can pass it along to someone else.

While I was in the air conditioning cleaning my craft bag, poor Jim spent an hour in the hot sun cleaning goo off of Gracie’s leather seat. Gracie is my Honda Odyssey. The chair gets unbearably hot in the Florida sun, so I tossed a clean bathroom rug onto the seat. It prevents rump burn.

Little did I know the rubberized non-slip coating would melt onto the leather. Oops. But Gracie’s all cleaned up now and has a safe un-sticky towel to protect the leather from the sun.  And my butt from the heat.

Tomorrow our “service” dog gets groomed. And all the stupid romance novels I dragged home a couple of days ago get returned to the library.  I managed to get through only one. The Last Debutante. By the end heroine, Daria was no longer a debutante or a virgin.

Waco, Dallas, Kansas City and Chicago–we’re on the way! Whooo Hoooo!

For related posts see below:

How knitting saved my marriage

Road Trip!

Our Phony Service Dog

Romance, mayhap?

Road Trip!

This mornings meditation revealed the skeleton of my novel. Breathing and believing I met Kate. She will be my protagonist.
I’ve set a goal to begin writing in September. My plan, fifteen hundred words a day. By January I will have completed the first draft. Then I’ll lock it up for six weeks. In March I will begin revisions.

Why wait until September to start writing? Because we’re heading on a ROAD TRIP!

We’re going to Chicago by way of Waco, Texas. We are both Fixer Upper fans, love Chip and Joanna Gaines. We are excited to see The Silos, visit some of the craftspeople they work with, and buy a souvenir dish-towel. That’s what I collect. Dish-towels. Cheap, unbreakable, takes up zero room in a suitcase.

I have way too many. Now and then I have to retire stained ones to the rag bag. That’s sad.

While in Waco I want to visit Harp Design Company. Joanna works with Clint Harp frequently. His showroom will be fun. I’ve already looked on Harp’s website hoping they offer Harp dish towels. Nope. But Joanna and Chip have a Magnolia tea towel at the Silos.  This is the one I will buy.

We both read their book The Magnolia Story. Here is what I love about this couple–they are living proof that positive thinking creates positive results.

Fun read.

After Waco, we’ll visit Dallas where we will have take a private tour of the Kennedy assassination route. We had two options for the excursion. The first choice is riding in a 1961 Lincoln Continental four door convertible exactly like the one Kennedy rode in on that fateful day.

We settled on the second option: An enclosed and air conditioned car. Dallas in August is not to time to be riding around in a hot, open car.

From Dallas, we head north to Liberty, Missouri. We’ll visit our friend JR. He’s the guy who owns the cows I got to feed. I’m hoping to have another chance to get slimed giving Panda pellets. We’ll also have an opportunity to spend time with his delightful, irreverent Aunt Nancy.

JR isn’t a big fan of dogs. I’m proud to say our Bronson is the only canine creature ever allowed in JR’s home.

Then on to Chicago for a little over two weeks. I am thrilled by the prospect of spending time with my darling grandson, Tate. Plus we’ll get to see Maureen, her husband Stephen and Jim’s son Jason. It’s all good.  This is Tate! Cute, right?

In years past Jim and I have explored darn near every nook and cranny of Chicago. But recently friend Brookie sent us a pamphlet called Fifty Museum Marvels: Chicago Treasures Worth a Second Look (or maybe a first.)

I learned Chicago’s History Museum has an exhibit called “The Secret Lives of Objects.” Included in the display is Ann Lander’s typewriter, Booth One a the Pump Room, Nathan Leopold’s eyeglasses, as well as thirty-nine other unique historical objects. You Chicagoland readers may want to take in this show. It runs through 2018,

The last leg of the journey will take us to Atlanta. I’ve spent hours on Trip Advisor ferreting out adventures in The Big Peach. My next job is to dig up little side trips between Chicago and Atlanta.

In the past, we’ve visited Roosevelts Little White House in Warm Springs, Ivy Green where Helen Keller was born and raised, the Rosa Parks Museum, Churchill Downs, Louisville Slugger baseball bat factory and lots of much more obscure places. Bronson dons his service dog vest and joins in the fun.

Here’s what tricky about long car trips: Not gaining weight. I’ve worked hard to shed nearly twenty-five pounds of wobbly fat, and Jim’s lost over fifteen. We don’t want to find that lard while on the road.

Now, on to do some Trip Advisor research. Hooray for road trips.

Other posts regarding our road trips:…ats-good-because/