Catching Up Again

So I’ve neglected my duties for the blog. That could be because so much has happened. I’ll try to do a recap for you.

17th Rich Buys a Truck

With the old Dodge having some problems, Rich finally realized that he needed a new truck. That’s not so bad. He got a good 15 years out of “Rammie” and now he passed it down to his son. Hopefully, the truck continues to run for another couple of years for Rick to get back and forth to his classes at MCC.

Rich wanted a smaller truck. That limited his choices right away. Toyota and Nissan are the only makers with a smaller model. We spent a couple of days test driving trucks and talking to salesmen. They are both comparable, so the choice was a little more difficult. However, the Nissan had a better price and a couple of features that Rich really liked.

After tracking down the truck of his dreams, we took delivery on the Nissan Frontier on Tuesday. It drives like a car and not a truck. Or at least not like the trucks I learned to drive in. Rich went with the Metallic Blue for the color. It’s a pretty sharp looking truck. It must not be too bad to drive, he’s taken several opportunities to drive it to work and show it off to the guys at work.

18th Night at Ravinia

On Wednesday, Rich and I went to Ravinia to listen to the Tedeschi-Trucks Band. The band is a joint effort by Derek Trucks of Allman Bros Band and his wife, Susan Tedeschi, to play blues and tour with their family. We created a dinner of appetizer and cold chicken to enjoy on the lawn along with our bottle of excellent white wine.

We arrived in plenty of time to get a fairly good seat. We put down our chairs and set up the cooler with our pate, salsa and chips, cheese bits, and cold chicken. With the wine poured, we settled in to watch the crowd around us and listen as the Wood Brothers opened the show.

Now the weather report had been rather iffy all day. As we enjoyed the music, the wind picked up and we could see clouds coming overhead. Lightening began making its appearance before Susan and Derek took the stage. We were holding out for at least one set. The band was rocked it and Susan sounded amazing. Not too many people can have a full blues band behind them and not be overpowered. Their sound is totally amazing. Highly recommend them if you get the chance to catch them anywhere.

About 9:30, the rain came in and poured down very hard. We reluctantly put away our leftovers, dropped the trash into the bin, and folded the chairs for a run to the car. By the first 10 minutes, we were soaked through our rain jackets. We walked pretty quickly with the crowd to the front entrance. When the rain let up somewhat, we made the trek out to the lot to the car.

On the way home, we ran into another very heavy downpour. Visibility was bad, but we managed to keep moving westward toward home. Once we got a little further down the road, the rain lightened and we made it in without any more trouble.

So now I just had to order a couple of CDs. The sounds is just is good, but the live version is so much better. Hope they come back again next year, but without the rain.

All the picnics going on around us on the lawn at Ravinia.













21st Sally to the Car Show

Saturday was the big Gary Lang Car Show with the Northern Illinois Streeters car club. It was a hot day, but the wind was blowing. It felt a lot better than the previous weekend at Fiesta Days Car Show. The Streeters attend a car show as a group. We have canopies that we put up for everyone to sit under. For this show, we all brought an appetizer or food to share.

We walked around and viewed the cars. Many of them show up for this show over and over. I’m beginning to know these cars pretty well. There were some new entries and we had to check them out. I really like the 70s cars for some reason. Probably because those are the ones I used to drive or ride in when I finally got my license. Looking at cars always makes me want to get one to show and drive for an everyday car. Yeah, a 1962 Ford Falcon!

Rick and I wondered the used car lot for what we could buy now. Not too many used cars out there after the clunker buy back. That’s sad.

25th Golf Outing with the Department at Work

It’s still out there, but the department at work still did their annual golf outing on Wednesday. Luckily, they got started at 8:00 AM. By the time the heat started to settle in, they were almost done. I think the golfers finally learned not to hunt for those lost golf balls for very long. Everyone finished just about on time.

I was lucky enough to ride on the beer cart again this year. Brenee was driving this year. She’s about my age, so we had a lot of things in common to talk about. I was able to tell her specifics about groups, like who the interns were that might need to be carded.

There was only one cart this year, so we had to hustle to keep up with everyone. That made for an interesting ride across the course. Brenee was very good at the logistics and execution. We had a great time and kept the golfers well hydrated.

28th Tom and Christina Got Married on North Beach

Rich’s brother, Tom, held his wedding in South Haven. He and his bride, Christina, planned their ceremony on North Beach. It was great. The weather was nice and the sand wasn’t too hot for bare feet.

Rich’s siblings: Alex, James, and Vanessa were there to help celebrate. Busia came out in her summery dress and floppy hat. Aunt Betty and Aunt Linda came out also.

The reception was held at the Elks Club above one of the local store fronts. The view from the balcony was very nice, especially at sunset. It was a great chance for the Zureks to get together and enjoy company.

Dinner was a version of chicken and waffles. Everyone thought this was a southern thing, but I explained it was more in New York and Rich thought in LA. When the blues guys would get out of the theaters playing their gigs, they wanted something to eat. In Harlem, Sylvia’s would serve what they had, which was most chicken served that day and waffles being made for the breakfast rush. This version was more prepared chicken off the bone with waffles and sides. It was pretty good and made for interesting conversation.

Christina and Tom exchange vows on North Beach in South Haven.















We stayed out of town somewhat that evening. On Sunday morning, we got up and went to breakfast. From there, we went out to look around Indiana Dunes National Park. It’s a national park with a state park inside it. We got in before the crowds.

Mount Baldy is a very large dune that has taken over the lakeshore in that area. We climbed to the top and talked to a ranger stationed there. Apparently, there are rather large trees and some houses well under the surface of the sand. A black line in the sand indicates where the dune has changed position since the 1930s. They are in the process of trying to regrow vegetation on the dune to stop its 15 foot a year southward move every year.

We walked a trail on the ridge and came down the other side to the beach. The water was nice. We walked the beach trail back to the car. For all of that, we were hot and sweaty. Besides, the traffic was getting back and there was no place to park. Time to continue on home and relax.

Rich and Rick walking the ridge trail on Mount Baldy in Indiana Dunes.



View from Mount Baldy overlooking Lake Michigan













Sascha in all of this

I know, I know. There are no Sascha stories in the above narrative of our last couple of weeks. She has been enjoying herself, if not the weather. She only stays out long enough to leave a deposit of some type and then scurries back into the house.  This is the total opposite of when it is cold and she won’t come back in.

On the nice days, she likes hang out in the yard until the heat gets too much. She almost caught a squirrel the other day. Apparently, she has figured out that she can lay in the garage with the small door open. The squirrels think she has gone into the house and creep down the trees and into the yard. This squirrel was on the driveway and probably a good 15 feet from the closest hickory tree. Sascha watched him very carefully before she dashed out of the door at him. He almost didn’t make it.

On the days when Sascha enjoys her yard, she typically ends up lying next to the house. We call it packing with the house. It offers a degree of shade and protection. I have to open the door to look for her. It’s not easy to see her lying out there. I just see the chain and I’m not sure if she’s in the garage wanting in or not.

This is what we call packing with the house. Sascha spends her day in the shade.












Thunder is not Tolerated

We’ve been without any rain for several months now. The grass is dry and most of the backyard is actually dead. Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been getting some storms. A few of them have produced rain. Sascha doesn’t mind the rain, but she can’t tolerate the thunder. She seems to be deathly afraid of loud noises. This includes thunder and fireworks.

She ends up cowering under our bed or under Rich’s desk looking for safety. On the night of the big storm and we were at Ravinia, Rick couldn’t comfort her and she was frantic. It took a while for her to calm down, even after we got home.

Sascha Don’t Care

Sascha is not good natured. She doesn’t mind if you pull on her ears or mess with her. That’s why I think she would have been a great kids dog. Isabel and Sophia couldn’t get enough of petting her while they were here for the pig roast. Cael was fine as long as Sascha couldn’t move.

The other day, Sascha was stretched out in the den while I was just getting started up for work. Rich came in to put his shoes and socks on. Sascha didn’t mind what he was doing, but she wasn’t about to move either. So Rich put his socks and then his shoes on her. She still didn’t care. Honey badger might not care, but then neither does Sascha.

Honey badgers aren’t the only ones that don’t care. Sascha is very good natured, even with Rich.


These Boots!

Sorry to say, but money burns a hole in my pocket.  I had come into some extra money last summer and my first thought was I needed to get a pair of Windwalker boots.  Rich had gotten a pair for his Ren Faire costume and he really liked the way they wear.  The cool thing about these boots: You get to design the pattern on them yourself.First, I have to tell you about Windwalkers.  Tim and Mary are the leather master and designer for Windwalkers.  We found them at the Bristol Ren Faire some years ago.  I’ve always admired their work and the wares that they displayed.   They traveled all the way from Snowflake, Arizona to be at the faire.  They rented workspace nearby to work on shoes in the evenings.

About 6 or 7 years ago, I wandered into the booth looking for shoes to wear with my costumes.  They made these great sandals that feel like walking on clouds.  You can get them wet and everything.  I ended up hiking in my sandals on one vacation and they were wonderful for that as well.  I have lots of comfort and they give me traction on the mountainsides that we climb.  I was super impressed then.  So 6 or 7 years later, I’m still wearing my sandals.  They need new soles, but those are free as long as I can send them to Arizona for the work.

Here’s how Rich’s boots went.  He decided that he wanted tall boots.  That meant he picked a 7-button style.  Then he worked with Mary to come up with a design.  After talking to Mary for a bit, it came out that Rich liked to brew his own beer.  Mary decided that he needed to put hops and barley on the front of the boots.  We found some pictures and came up with a crude drawing.  Mary took that and created the beautiful pair of boots that Rich wears today.

Knowing beforehand what I needed to do.  I began the process and came up with the things I like and what I enjoy.  I had thought about a garden, but that seemed too much.  I was looking through some of my quilting books and discovered that you could use the same pattern from a quilt and transfer it to the boots!

I found a spinning wheel pattern that I thought would transfer nicely.  I printed out patterns and designs so that I was prepared when it came time to talk to Mary about the design of my boots.

I went to the Ren Faire last July with all the necessary patterns and ideas.  My first stop was to the Windwalker booth.  Of course, Rich walks in and they know him immediately by his boots.  He’s known to Tim and Mary as the brewer’s boots.  Mine will be known as the quilter’s boots.

Tim took the fitting and the casting.  He helped me pick out the basic leather for the boots.  In this case, I went with a dark black leather that was soft and smooth.  Then it was time to talk to Mary about the design.

I presented my idea with the patterns and layout.  Mary liked it right away.  She had not done anything with a quilt design before.  This was going to unique for her as well.  We discussed colors and where all of the patterns would appear.  I specifically wanted turquoise and hot pink.  The rest I left up to Mary to decide once she got home and could look at her store of leather.  I put down the deposit for work to begin.

Now it takes a while to get boots.  First, they had to go back home to Arizona to their workshop.  That wasn’t until October.  They had one more stop on the way home from Illinois.  I knew I had to be patient and wouldn’t get them for this winter.

About May, I started sending emails to inquire about the status of my boots.  Mary replied that they were in the works, but would take a little bit longer to complete.  I asked again right after vacation.  Mary promised to have them ready in a couple of weeks.  Right after the 4th, I got an email asking for the remainder on the boots.

I wrote up the check and sent it right out.  On Thursday, the post office attempted to deliver a package to the house.  Unfortunately, I went out to do some errands and missed them.  Today, I went to the post office to pick up the parcel.  My boots!

I came home, but had to run an errand with Rich.  He bought a truck this morning and needed moral support as he wrote the deposit check for them to get the vehicle to the dealership.  But that’s not important now.  I came home and put my feet in the boots for the first time.  They are surprisingly comfortable.  Pictures were taken and I’m sure I’ll need a few more to show them off properly.

My plan is to wear these boots when the weather is cool and downright cold.  They will be great for snow and rain as well since they are waterproofed.  This is something I’ll have to keep up with.  If they last like my sandals, I should get a good 5 to 7 years out of them before they need to have new soles.  They should last for quite a while beyond that though.

I love my new boots and can’t wait to be wearing them.  They are extremely colorful and have such a great design on them.  Thanks, Mary and Tim, at Windwalkers for making me the greatest pair of boots a girl could ever want!

My boots!


Overhead view of my beautiful quilter’s boots from Windwalkers.Trying to show the sides of the boots. They are so beautiful.