Friday, August 13, 2010

Chicago and beyond

Okay y'all--I've been so busy walking uphill to do the laundry, sewing, and trying to adjust to a REALLY bad hair cut, that I've not spent any time blogging. Who wants to read about the the old worn out washer getting out of balance during every spin cycle? And I'm NOT going to show you the bad hair cut! Ugh! I will show you pictures of my sewing a minute.

Life really has been pretty dull these past few weeks. The heat, humidity, and misquotes have kept me from taking a paddle boat ride on the lake or playing a round of mini golf. Hubby and I have taken a bike ride around the park most evenings, and aside from the bug bites, that has been the high point of my days.

Hubby has had about all of the Chicago traffic and crowded streets he can stand, so it was a very thoughtful thing he did last Sunday--took me into the city to look around a bit.

Here are all of my pictures. I didn't take very many in Chicago. Where the streets are narrow and the buildings are tall, VERY tall, it is hard to get far enough away from anything to get a good shot. I saw several people who should I say it...kinda different. Like the three guys prissing walking down the street together, all dress identically in sleeveless pink plaid western shirts, (They can't really be western shirts if the sleeves are missing, but they did have those western yokes.) jeans, black belts, and sad (Chicago version) western straw hats. I don't think they were members of  a country western band. I thought about taking pictures of them, but decided against it.

Yeah, some of the folks here are a little different.

I also saw at least three different stores, within a three block walk, where hundreds of hand blown and artistic bongs were sold. Not my kind of souvenir.

I enjoyed riding around downtown Chicago. The buildings...the crowds...and the confirmation that I'm a country girl. Chicago is an okay place to visit, but I sure wouldn't want to live there!
Chicago's public library

Any sports fans out there? We just happened to drive by Wrigley Field right before the game started. People people people people--Oh my goodness the traffic and people! Cops were directing traffic and pedestrians, or at least they were trying. All those Cubs fans were pretty much walking and driving when and where they wanted.
If you can't get tickets inside the ball park, then maybe you can get a seat atop one of the businesses across the street.

For you football fans, yes we drove by Soldier Field. I was very impressed. It was pouring rain at the time and because there were a lot of activities going on in that part of town that day, there was no place to park. I didn't get a picture. I'm kinda sad about that because it is a cool looking stadium.

NASCAR fans, don't feel left out. We also drove by and took a look at the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet. Seen one speedway you've seen em' all, right? Well, maybe not, but I didn't take any photos there either. Gates were locked and we couldn't get very close. But now hubby can say he's been there.

Look at all those tall skinny houses! How do people live like that? And like it?

When buildings are this close together, this country girl starts humming that "Elbow Room" song.

My favorite part of the day was the little bit of time we spent at Lake Michigan.
The sky was cloudless. When I got out of the truck down by the lake, helicopters flew over. How many do you see in this picture? The one in the lower left corner...that's a big ol' dragon fly!  I was so proud that I was able to catch all three in the same frame! Whoo hoo!

The water was so blue and so clear! Absolutely beautiful!

It was a hot day--so hot the birds were panting.

The best part of our lake visit was it enabled me to make progress in completing my toe dippin' project. What's that? Well, I have a goal. I want to dip my toes in all the major bodies of water that surround this great country. So far I've dipped my toes into the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, Lake Ontario, ...
 and now Lake Michigan. Just three lakes to go! I'm trying to decide if I should add the Alaskan Gulf and the Bering Sea to my list. What do you think?

While wading in the lake, I saw this cute little heart shaped rock. All together now...AWWwwww.

That about does it for our day in the big city. We did take a few minutes on a different day and checked out the old Joliet prison. It has been in several movies over the years. With all the hype you'd think they would offer tours, but driving around the outside is the whole experience.

There was this sign on the fence though.
Well DUH! I don't know why this made me laugh, but it did.
Now we've said goodbye to Chicago and moved on down the road. Ever heard of Edwardsville, IL? Me neither--until now. We will be here a week and then, if we are not redeployed, will be homeward bound.
So, a new campground, a new laundry room, and another page in this adventure. I'll be looking for the dashing and bold!

Oh yeah! Before I go, I did promise to show you my sewing projects. Do I have any seamstress readers? If so, what are you sewing?

This is a "retro" apron I made for a friend. I had fun making it and was tempted to keep it for myself.  (Aren't I awful?)
I wanted a new summer robe. If this doesn't wake me up in the mornings I don't know what will! What can I say...Bold isn't it!?!


Monday, August 2, 2010

Leisure Lake

One of the biggest challenges in this dashing and bold adventure is finding a  place to make a temporary home. You can't park one of these big babies just anywhere. Well, not if you want to live comfortably for an extended period of time. You need to find something better than a Wal-Mart parking lot.

Can you believe, that in all of Chicagoland, we found only three options? One was affordable--a church camp. It had only 30 amp spaces to offer and we would have to move from space to space to space as different camps began and ended. Since hubby comes home exhausted and often works late into the night on paperwork, the thought of having to break camp and move over a few spaces once a week didn't excite us. And on hot days, when I want to run the AC and the microwave at the same time, 50 amp electrical hook-up comes in handy. There was no laundry facility on site either.

Our second and third and ONLY other options were pricey! Competitive in price with one another, but pricey. We picked the one that would place us about 45 miles instead of 60 miles from the area where hubby is working. (Can we say commute?)

Leisure Lake Membership Resort. Sounds all fancy and important doesn't it? Yes, well, you must be a member of one of a few exclusive clubs to stay here. I don't like to brag, but we have been card carrying Good Sam members for quite some time, so they welcomed us with open arms.

Okay you can stop laughing now. Don't worry, I've not started hobnobbing with the rich and famous. But it just goes to show that an important sounding name doesn't always mean a whole lot.

When we arrived, and after we presented our membership card, the lady in the office was cordial and efficient in assigning us a space. She asked how long we planned to stay. Oh how many times have we been asked that question? And how many times have we tried to explain that we don't have ANY idea, and WHY we don't have any idea! This lady, like most campground managers, listened to our rambling explanation with a noncomprehending blank stare, then asked again, "And so how long will you be here?"  Sheesh!

They always want to know because for some reason the length of your stay has something to do with which site they give you. "I want to put you in a spot where you can be happy," she said.

I had the urge to tell her, Lady, you don't even know me or anything about me. What makes you think you know what will make me happy? (I was road-weary.) But y'all can be so proud of me. I held my tongue.

Unlike the resort where we stayed in Ohio, this place does have the amenities to justify calling itself a resort. Most of these amenities are showing some age, use, and abuse, but there are plenty of things here to keep a body entertained. Tennis courts, volleyball nets, horseshoe pits,
a swimming hole with a man made beach,
a swimming pool with plenty of sunning chairs,
a club house that reeks of stale cigarette smoke,
and a lake in which you can row a boat or take a paddle boat ride...
and catch fish or two.

There is even a mini golf course that we can play...for FREE!
I'm feeling sorry for this little squirrel. I can't decide if a frustrated golfer attacked him with a putter, or if he ate one too many golf balls and had some bad indigestion!

No matter how much leisure there is at a resort, there are always a few things that keep know...DASHING AND BOLD.
Like the laundry facility. There are three washers and two dryers to service a campground that has way over 200 camping sites. And these machines are 20 years old if they are a day! I have to walk about 450 paces, uphill both ways, toting heavy bags of clothes...there is no AC...
No, I'm not complaining...I'm just saying...

Then there is the issue of electricity. We pay an extra dollar per day to have 50 amp service, yet most of the time our voltage meter looks like this. And worse.
I'm no expert on elctrical power. In fact, I really don't understand anything about it except flip a switch and lights come on, but I DO know that little needles should be in the green. When it isn't, the air conditioner, microwave, and various other appliances do not run at full power.

On the far side of the park is a big corn field
and the lake has plenty of cattails. There is no shortage of allergens even in Chicagoland.
On our side of the resort, opposite the cornfield, is a very busy, very noisy freeway. A nice row of trees block it from view, but if I get too bored, I can count trucks as they roar by.

I know you've been wondering about the space we were assigned. You know, the one that the lady thought would make us happy.
Have you ever arrived at church late on Easter Sunday and had to sit in the "overflow" section? Yeah, our site is comparable. But it's okay...not much activity in the overflow section and the neighbors aren't too close. But, like from the church overflow pew, the view isn't the best. While many of the sites have a nice view of the lake, we see the RV storage lot out our big window.

A little leisure, a few challenges--it's all good. You want to know why? It's because I am happy, and this resort and our assigned site has NOTHING to do with it.
I rejoice greatly in the Lord that at last you have renewed your concern for me. Indeed, you have been concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:10-13. 


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Caught in a whirlwind

It has been so long since I used my computer, it didn't even know me any more! I had to type all kinds of passwords to get back in here.

I feel like I got caught up in one of those West Texas whirl winds, aka a big ol' dirt devil. We were home just a couple days when we packed our bags and headed to the DFW area for a class hubby had to take. I vegetated in a motel room for three days, then we drove to Houston and spent a few glorious days with some of our kids. Then it was back to Amarillo where we worked frantically to get the mowing and the laundry and all those other have-to things done. Early on our fourth day back home my sis called--my mom had fallen and broken her ankle, so we were off to Lubbock where we spent two days with family sitting in a hospital. We drove home again on Saturday night, then Sunday just as church let out, the phone rang. Deployed! I spent the rest of the day scrambling to get everything ready to go, so early Monday morning we took off for Chicago.

Whew! After two days on the road we got here on Tuesday and I just now caught my breath.

My camera has been stowed away, so that picture-a-day thing I was supposed to be doing--well--you didn't really think I could pull it off without interruption did you? They say that if you write a blog and want to keep and grow your readership, you must make frequent, regular posts. If I were a teacher, I'd give me an F! At this rate, I'm lucky to have anyone still reading. (Are those crickets I hear?)
So to all you who are still checking in here to see if I've fallen off the edge of the planet or if I've penned some fascinating story or have some wise inspiration or witty words to share, THANKS! Your are the best!

So what have I been doing?
I've been trying to get organized and settled in here. You know I never settle in too deeply, but I do have to unpack just a few things to make daily living a little more practical. I've also been preoccupied with a sewing project. It is a gift for a friend, so I'll show you pictures after she receives it. Sometimes I wonder what in the world we were thinking when we decided I could haul a sewing machine and sewing supplies around with us, but I've enjoyed reviving an old hobby. And, it keeps me off the streets and out of trouble.

Now I'm about to do something here that I DON'T LIKE TO DO!  I'm going to commit myself. Okay, I know I need to be committed--wearing one of those nice coats that have sleeves that tie in the back, but that's not what I mean. This time anyway. I'm going to commit to coming back here tomorrow to tell you all about the place we are staying. IT'S A RESORT! You remember that that key word, resort, is a bit relative don't you? Just in case you don't remember, click on the preceding link. This place is nothing like the resort in Ohio, but I'll show you around tomorrow.

Right now I need to go snap some fresh green beans and peel some carrots. I smell the roast, which means it's almost tender by now! So Lord willin' and the creek don't rise...yes we have a creek...I'll be back tomorrow.