Monday, July 28, 2014

What a wonderful weekend we had at Nature's Inn at Bald Eagle State Park in Pennsylvania.  This is our second time to the Inn and we look forward to the next visit - it's that much fun.

Last time, we happened upon this fabulous bar-b-que place and so wanted to be sure that we got take out for Friday night.  And, we enjoyed it on the back porch overlooking the grounds and the lake followed by hours of chatting and playing dominos!

The morning breakfast is included at the Inn and is great.  On Saturday we rented a pontoon boat and spent the afternoon on the lake.  The Inn packed us lovely lunches and it just was so great!  We cranked up the tunes and had a great time.

The Inn has a fabulous patio with two Weber grills for guest use.  So, we brought our own dinner to cook for Saturday night.   It was a lot of fun.

The Youngs currently live in NJ but will be moving to the Detroit area in August and we are so happy to be that much closer to them. 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

 Taste of Tremont was another event on our list of things that we've wanted to do and never took the time!  Lude was completely taken aback by the crowd, he was not prepared for how well the event is attended.  I had heard it was a big deal, but the people really came out.  Of course, as in anything like this, the parking was a problem.  We were lucky to be able to squeeze our RAV into a space that a bigger car had to abandoned after a few minutes.  Score!

We enjoyed seeing the neighborhood and having a tasting of things as well as listen to some good music.  Mary's Lane played at the Treehouse which was fun and the Boys From the County Hell played a little later in the day.  We stopped by BREW NUTS a donut shop that the daughter of a former colleague of mine opened up recently.  I was hoping to see her, but alas, she was making donuts all day!!!

As in all the fun things we're trying lately, not sure if we'd go back but only because there are too many fun things left to do before the night is over!!!!


Saturday, July 19, 2014

What a truly wonderful time I had in Las Vegas with my sister-in-law, Judy.  She's my one sibling that I have not lived near since the 70's.  When I go down to their Feis, it's usually busy, busy business and only a stolen moment of chit chat.  This weekend, she said to me "finally, Mary, I got you here!"  And to that I say "NO, finally, I got YOU here!"

We spent time gambling, time lost, time in awe at all the marvelous places, time gambling, time eating some delicious food, time drinking, time gambling, time chatting, time putting up with the invasions, time watching some circus acts and time shopping not to mention gambling.  Neither of us were very lucky at the slots, but Judy saved all her luck up for the end.  

We got ourselves a smoking hot deal at "Circus, Circus" at $20 a night each.  This was another one of life's "what were WE thinking?"  We were in the new wing and the room was spacious, well kept up and clean with the a entities we needed (coffee ), but the place was OVERUN with kids.  And strollers?  I didn't know there were that many strollers in the world.  When our airport shuttle dropped us off and we went inside and got in line to check in, we both looked at each other and it was like the dawning of the day!  There was no mistaking what our next two days would be like.   But, we soon found our way in and out of the casino by way of an adults only section and we returned to the hotel only to "regroup" and head out again.

Getting lost???  Well, there's always one story to every bit of travel and this one is one for the books or the blog!  After checking in and getting our game plan for the afternoon, we headed down the strip.  We spent some time in the Fashion Mall, but really, get us to the slots, really!  First Stop?  Treasure Island.  We walked all around, spent some money gambling and then I said to Judy, "I'm going over there to Señor Frogs for a sit and a drink, come get me in one half hour."  She is usually right on time, so my senses reared up when she wasn't back in a half hour, but she's a gambler and she knew I'd understand if she was hittin'  it big and didn't want to leave her machine.  And then (as happened once in Chicago earlier this year) my phone shut down.  I panicked in Chicago, but didn't this time, I knew that as soon as I hooked up to my charger it would come back even though I knew it had about 50% power left.  She didn't come back after 45 minutes, then an hour went by and then an hour and 15 minutes.  I started to walk around to look for her and if you've ever been in a casino you know it could be a lost cause to look for someone.  She'd mention when we were at the mall "better not get lost, I don't have much battery left!" So I knew that even trying to reach her by using some strangers phone was out of the question.  But then again, I had NO idea what her number was.  So, I started to panic-think.  Do I call PJ?  NO!....I can just hear it, "I lost your wife!"  Should I ask someone to use their phone and call Lude?  What good would that do?  Her phone was most likely dead.

I must have looked lost because an employee came up to me to ask if she could help.  I went through the entire scenario with her and wondered to myself, "how could she possibly help me"?  She asked me Judy's name....what she was wearing...what was my name....and then I told her, "OK, if you see her tell her I have gone back to our hotel and to meet me there."

I knew nothing was wrong, I knew we missed each other, but was worried that we would spend the next four hours doing nothing but looking for each other.  When I got to the hotel I plugged in and of course my phone with 58% power came back.....(damn phone) and I called Lude.  It was hard for me to leave the Treasure Island Casino without her, but I had no other idea of what to do.  About 2 hours had gone by since the time we were supposed to meet and I think I was back at the hotel about 10 minutes when Judy showed up.  I was SOOOO happy to see her face and hugged her a lot!

She said she was walking around (she must have walked right passed me at Señor Frogs) and she heard someone call her name "Judy?"  It was that kind casino worker who had been actively looking for her, for me.  She told Judy that "your sister left and went back to the hotel about 5 minutes ago!"

Needless to say, we made sure the phones were in good working order and made it a point to have a "lost" plan to which I replied, "I'm not letting you out of my sight!  She said she can't wait to tell everyone how Mary left her at a casino in Vegas!

But still, it was a truly wonderful time.....our flights home were 
riddled with weather issues and I nearly spent the night in Denver.

Thanks Judy for the retirement celebration, it was great fun!

Favorite part of going on vacation:  Getting a Pedicure!
Thank you, Linda!

 Here I come Miss Judy!

Our first Casino Players Cards!

First slots played!

The Vegas Strip gets prettier and prettier...last time I was there, they were
just building the WYNN and now the ENCORE is there as well!

On the second day there, we spent several hours at the Venetian
Casino because it's just that amazing!  Carlos the Baker has a bakery
and a restaurant there not to mention many other fabulous shops
and restaurants!  We took a gondola ride and enjoyed every minute of it!

Lunch snack....we shared some sliders and chips!
Not to mention the fruity drinks of the day!

For dinner we returned later that evening to the Venetian
because we found a wonderful place we wanted to return to.
Canaletto, right on the canal

We found the Irish corner at the casino!

Happy Anniversary, Mr Lude

Lude and I have been trying to go only to new places either to eat or visit, and it's a lot of fun.  
While in Vegas, Lude bought us tickets for the Nautica Dinner Cruise.  We've been wanting to go for several years but something always came up and we just didn't do it.  This year we decided we would go for our anniversary and only if it didn't rain and the weather looked good.  (Thus the reason for waiting to buy tickets).  It promises to be a wonderful evening and in that case the boat will go out into the lake and up and down the coast.  

We had a fabulous time!  The food was "wedding food" (not like "OUR" wedding, though) but it was good.  A salad bar that put Ruby Tuesday to shame, sliced roast beef, chicken, hot pasta, fish and potatoes, veggies and rolls.  Dessert was a wonderful cheesecake with raspberry sauce.  The dinner was on decks 1 and 2 with a dance floor on the second level, but the top deck was decked out with benches all around as well as tables and chairs.  We had drinks up there and after eating went up to watch the sunset after which we returned to our table for dessert and coffee.

It really was great and a nice way to spend the close of our thirty-eighth year reminiscing about our earlier life!

Happy Anniversary, Ludeeeee.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Owen and Nolan had us over last night for drinks and to see their very cool space.

It's a very cool space and those two crazy cats have it fixed up just right!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

 What a Sweet Face!

Happy First Birthday, Steven Rex

Monday, July 7, 2014

Our friend, Paula retired at the end of May and I'm pretty excited about that!
She visited last month overnight on her way to Michigan to see family and she's coming again tomorrow!  Excited to have you visit again!'s been a month once again, since I posted on this blog!  But, at least I'm here.  I guess I just don't think about it and then I talk about it with someone and it reminds me to get back to it.  So, here I am.

This has been an incredible summer for so many reasons!  I get excited every time I think about the fact that I'm retired!  I'm so happy that I actually am looking forward to winter and being locked up inside the house with no where to go and nothing else to do but what I want!  I owe these happy moments to a lot of things, but mostly to Lude!  Together, we've chosen a road that doesn't put me in a position to have to work in order to keep up a lifestyle that wouldn't make us any happier in the long run.

I've been doing so many fun things that I've wanted to do but didn't make time for.  I mentioned in an earlier post that I was in Arkansas in April and that was a blast, especially my journey home!  Then I went to Chicago for a couple of visits, both were fun!  Our friend, Paula came to visit (AND she's coming again tomorrow!!!!!), I got to see a baseball game, started a decent walking regime, went to an Irish Festival, attended a Yo-Yo Feis, participated in a progressive dinner, celebrated Olmsted's Bicentennial and watched a sweet boy turn one! 

And, it's only the first week of July!  Lots more adventures in store for us!

I've appreciated having more time to PLAN and cook meals.  And, it has all been about the planning.  When there's no plan there's only chaos!  This year, we planted a "salad bowl"!   I planted two different types of lettuce in a large potand I have to tell you that I haven't purchased lettuce since the beginning of May!  I was able to convince Lude to plant a cherry tomato plant instead of his usual "beef steak" tomato.  He likes the big tomato slices on a sandwich, but they NEVER got big.  The tomatoes remained small and dimpled and more than half of the plant didn't turn red.  But, we've been eating cherry tomatoes now and they're great.  And, I just purchase a beef steak tomato for Lude's sandwich.

It's been a delight to give more attention to the garden.  Right after retiring, I went to a perennial farm in Madison, Ohio and purchased quite a few plants that are doing fantastic.  I've taken more time to water and tend the plants.  The beautiful weather has helped a lot as well.  Not only the garden, but our life!  It's been a wonderful balance of rain and sun.

And, spending time with Lude has been the best ever!

I still deal poorly with the loss of my Father.  I never really got over losing my Mother, but just when I thought it was better, Dad left.  And, under the worst of circumstances, so it's been difficult.  It's been a journey that has resulted in rearranging my priorities in life.  Work, friends, family; just everything.   It hasn't been easy, but things are looking up! 

Hopefully, I'll be back before another month goes by!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


The Celtic Festival was wonderful this year.  I have to admit though, we drove out there in June on the wrong date and were so surprised to see horses instead of bagpipers!

We like this festival because it's on such a smaller scale than the Cleveland one.  They've had the Willis Clan the last several years and Lude likes them, so that's a plus as well.  The food and drink, like the Cleveland festival is still pricey, Lude's lemonade was more expensive than my beer.  But we did enjoy good food.

We saw some new acts and some old ones, the Willis Clan continues to marvel us.

We haven't been out to the Cleveland festival for about five years now and sometimes I miss it.  I'm sure there are a couple of bands I'd like to hear, but we happen to catch them here and there at other times.