Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category

dowager-countess-downton-abbey-s4Lady Violet makes it look so easy, walking and talking, exchanging wisdom and wit with whomever is at her side, all while walking with a cane in hand, which she uses like a pen, scripting exclamation points with a flourish here and there. She leans on that cane as she graciously rises from a chair and knows right where to put it when waltzing with Branson; after all, he knows how to steer a car.

I’m no Lady Violet. I might have a bon mot or two, but, I usually remember them an hour after the conversation has ended.

As for brandishing a cane, well, let’s just say that I gave the technician in the ER something to talk about during his break. He wrapped me up with a compression bandage, then velcroed me into a stabilizer, and handed me my weapon, er walking aid, as he released the brakes to the chair. He looked at me in shocked surprise as I tried to walk two feet to the wall. Tom was trying not to laugh as he watched, but, in the end, we all had a good chuckle. Remember, dear one, I’m the gal who can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.

Okay, Penelope, let’s try this again. Put the cane in your left hand. Use it to take the weight off of your right knee as you stand. “ .

I’m fine, just having a bit of a bother with my knee and some pain medication that has me more than a little drowsy.I slept all afternoon.

My Antler Man and I were at the Morton Arboretum, enjoying the view of the lake, while sipping on coffee and munching on muffins. We had stopped there after church, something we like to do on a Sunday morning. As we walked back to the car, my knee suddenly gave out, with a hearty helping of pain. I nursed it back home, while Tom nursed me; you know the routine, Advil, a bag of frozen vegetables, and elevation. As time went on, it became apparent that I needed more than a frozen bag of peas, so, off we set to the ER. After a few x-rays and a lot of questions, I was released to go home to rest, with some pain medications, an elastic wrap, a bulky stabilizer, and a cane.

With a bit of arthritis in the knee and some fluid, I should be fine after a spell, but, have a plan of action of I’m not; a bridge to cross with cane in hand if need be. The realities of the aging process, and a car accident some years ago where my knee and dashboard met are the culprits. I don’t even have a Perils of Penelope story to tell,  just a reality of life.

In-the-meantime, I’m really quite fine, just having a bit of bother and a crash course in caning. My own reality check after photographing this couple walking around the lake at the Morton from the view of the cafe.  They were walking, arm-in-arm, ever-so-slowly in the cold, bundled up and determined, one of them brandishing a cane.

DSCN7485

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »


Anderson Hotel:Grumpy Old Men

The Hotel Anderson

Katy and I were on a road trip scoping out colleges. We drove north, through Wisconsin to LaCrosse, then west, over the river and through the woods to our first college visit, a night’s rest, then onward and upward to the Twin Cities. It was October 12, 1998. There was already snow on the ground along the river road route we were taking, winding around the hills that follow the Mighty Mississippi. While Katy had a driver’s license, she couldn’t drive with her leg in a cast, so I plugged along, steering us to our next collegial destination.  There were light snow flurries; nothing dangerous, just bothersome in that always dirty windshield with the intermittent wipers sort of way. It was a gray afternoon.

I could sure use a cup of coffee“.  “Doesn’t pie sound good right now?” So, the conversation flowed for several mid-afternoon miles, then we passed a huge billboard.

Whoa, Nellie, slow down!

Did you see that?” “Yes, I did.”  “Wanna go check it out?” . . .

. . . and so we did. We turned the car around, seeing the sign once again as we backtracked. The sign touted Wabasha, Home of Grumpy Old Men.

Have you seen the Grumpy Old Men movies?  Grumpy and Grumpier? Their capers and escapades, ice fishing and love interests are endearing, in a slapstick, sophomoric sort of way. Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon had us giggling and guffawing time after time and, well, it was the perfect time on our road trip of serious educational exploration to take a time out.

We followed the signs to the Hotel Anderson. A magnificent relic of times gone by, and a bit of a cat house to boot.

Yes, I took my daughter to a cat house.

I ordered a coffee. If memory serves me, Kate had a hot chocolate. We both ordered pie. Mine was all-American apple. Heavenly, warmed, delicious pie, à la mode, no less, in an old, still operating, historic hotel that was filled with antiques and attitude. On the historic register, the Hotel Anderson was established pre-Civil War, and it is still in operation. Katy and I inhaled our pie and soaked in the charming atmosphere in the hotel’s dining room, glad for a bit of a respite, and a story to tell once we got back home.

My pie devoured, I walked down a narrow, squeaky hallway to the ladies’ room. As I walked back to our table, I perused framed photos, newspaper and magazine clippings on the hall’s wall. Some were signed by movie stars and dignitaries, with more than a few mentioning cats!

I asked our waitress, who proceeded to tell us that, are you ready for this?, guests of the hotel could choose certain appointed rooms and pick out a cat to join them for the night. She invited us to go up the stairs, look into the room where the cats resided and were on view for one’s choosing, so, we did.  The felines were on view from the half-door; all groomed and well-fed, purring and preening and napping – and not the least bit grumpy. We checked out the rooms that were unoccupied, the doors being opened to look in. They were charming and old; good for a simple night’s rest.  All-in-all, it was a most side trip, and one that Tom and I took some years later when the fall colors were abundant.

Several years then passed before I discovered the Ford Treasury cookbooks, which depict famous restaurants I have begun chronicling here on the Cutoff, I was pleasantly surprised to find The Hotel Anderson depicted.

Grumpy Old Men, and the Grumpier sequel, are always a hoot to watch, especially in winter. There are some hilarious ice fishing scenes, love scenes, and an inordinate amount of “potty talk”, all in the Minnesota town of Wabasha.

Across the river from Wabasha is the town of Pepin.  Pepin is where Laura Ingalls Wilder was born and where she and her family crossed Lake Pepin, in winter, to begin their journeys across the prairies. One of these days, I need to visit Pepin.

Have you seen either of the Grumpy Old Men movies?  Do you have a favorite scene? Do you have a favorite pie?

 

 

Read Full Post »

THE O'NEILL BOYS :2O’Neill Oil Company, Williamsburg, Iowa

It wasn’t an oil company in the ways we have come to know them.

It was a gas station in all the ways you and I have recently discussed; a service station, a filling station, a place to have your oil checked, and it was a fuel resource for area farms near the small, midwestern town of Williamsburg, Iowa.

The O’Neill Oil Company was operated by the four surviving sons of Tom and Kate O’Neill.  Earl, known by everyone as Irish, was the oldest, followed by Chuck, Jim, and Joe.  Joe was Tom’s father.

Tom was the only son born to the O’Neill boys. Irish, Jim, and Chuck all remained in Williamsburg, working at the station, raising families in the small town. Joe moved away as a young man and eventually settled in Midlothian, Illinois with his wife, Carolyn, daughter, Maura, and Tom. Tom’s family would often travel to Iowa for holidays and visits. For Tom, the summers he spent in that little burg are fondly recalled. There, everyone knew him as Joe’s boy as he rode a bike from the gas station around the town, stopped at the soda fountain, and played with his cousins. They evoke a simpler era of being a young boy in summer.

The uncles all favored Tom, but, it was Irish who held a special bond with his only nephew. Irish married later in life and had no children of his own. When Tom was a youngster, before Irish married, he would stay with Irish and Grandma O’Neill; Kate. The Kate our own Katy is named after. I can’t imagine a more idyllic summer vacation for a young boy from the outskirts of Chicago.

When Tom grew old enough, he would help at the O’Neill Oil Station on his summer visita. More than a gas station, yet not a big oil company. Stations such as the O’Neill’s pumped gas, fixed tires, and wiped windshields like other stations of the 50’s and 60’s. They also provided heating fuel  and gasoline for running farm equipment.

As a “working” lad of 10 or so years of age, Tommy, as he was called by his uncles, aunts and cousins, would get up early and head to the station with  his Uncle Chuck. They would open up. Tom would pump gas, clean windshields, and patch tires. He would also ride along on deliveries to the surrounding farms with tanks of fuel and gasoline; a heady adventure for a young city boy and times he remembers with great fondness.

Tom would stay at the station with Irish to close up at day’s end, after having supper at Grandma’s or at Chuck and Betty’s house. After closing, Irish and Tommy would walk the short distance to the diner on the Square and have ice cream or milk shakes.

Irish would tell the waitress when he ordered a milkshake “and make it the drinkin’ kind!” .

Tom and I were sitting and chatting about his summers in Williamsburg as I was composing posts about Route 66 and filling stations; an easy conversation to slide into at any time, but, especially when talking about the ’50s and ’60s and the adventure one could still have on the road. One as likely to transition from patching tires and riding out to the farms to deliver fuel to summery Saturday nights on the Square, to one particular Saturday night in July when all the stores stayed open late and everyone came into town for a concert in the bandstand in the town square – but, first they stopped to “filler ‘er up” at the O’Neill Oil Company.

This photo sits in two places in our house; the library/den when I usually works and the office in the barn where Tom conducts business.

Do you have a memory of summer and music on the town square or park?

I wrote about Irish O’Neill and the time the Williamsburg home team played against the Harlem Globetrotters here.

Read Full Post »

DSCN6621Jennifer and I were enjoying the opening festivities of Autumn Splendor at the Elmhurst Art Museum, sipping on wine, nibbling on finger food, chatting with old friends and acquainting new. We wandered into the galleries and the Richard Koppe Exhibit.  As we entered the gallery, a display case caught my eye.  Actually, something in the display case caught my eye. A book.  It’s always a book with me, it seems, even in a renowned art museum.  The book, to be precise, was a cookbook.  I looked down and squealed “I have this book” .

As others were observing the large surrealistic works of Koppe, I was chewing on a cookbook.

Several years ago, I came across the very same cookbook in a second-hand store. “The Ford Treasury of Favorite Recipes from Famous Eating Places”.  A more charming than practical compilation of recipes from famous restaurants throughout the United States,  it is divided by regions, and illustrated with stylistic paintings of each restaurant, a recipe from the restaurant, and a short description.  The books were sold by the Ford Motor Company in the heyday of US road travel in big cars and fine dining along the way as many veterans returned home from war, bought houses that were springing up all across the country, bought their first car . . .

. . .  I snapped up the book faster than a filling station attendant once rushed out to fill up the tank, clean the windows, and check the oil!

In subsequent years, I came across several other printings of the book, with some new recipes and new restaurants as original ones closed. A small cookbook collection ensued. When in the mood for nostalgia, I’ll pull one of the Ford Treasury books out, then all of them, and browse through the regions, admire the illustrations, and reminisce over featured restaurants I have actually eaten in. As I looked into the display case at the EAM, I recognized one of the printings of “The Ford Treasury . . . ” .  The book was opened to page 159, with a painting depicting the interior of the once famous Well-of-the-Sea restaurant in the Sherman Hotel in Chicago. Neither the restaurant, nor the hotel, still exists,  but, the mural in the background of the illustration does. When I was though swooning over a cookbook, I looked up to see Koppe’s surrealistic mural generously covering a wall of the gallery.  While not my favorite artistic style, I could not help but be impressed at the “real deal” and the vibrancy of the colors and textures. Back home, I pulled out my treasury of mid-century finds, and there it was, page 159, in the North Central region. The Well-of the-Sea. I wandered about the pages of several Treasuries, finding restaurants I recognized, even some I have eaten in, across the country,  getting hungry for food – and for hitting the road. Here are a few I found that I have visited:  The Wayside Inn, MA;  Williamsburg Lodge, VA;  Antoine’s, LA;  New Salem Lodge, IL;  Plentywood Farm, IL;  Don the Beachcomber, HI. Do you have a dining “treasure” you would like me to look up in these books?  Let me know.  I would love do a future post showing a page of your remembered restaurants. DSCN6620

 This book jacket opens up to a map “. . . to decorate your kitchen or game room”. I think I’ll just keep this one on the book.

DSCN6624DSCN6625DSCN6622

Read Full Post »

Drones

We had been frolicking under the welcoming arms of Olga Larch, amazed at her beauty, and taking silly pictures of the Purple Peeper, Penelope.  Maybe it was my camera, an aging but dependable digital that the Antler Man gave me for Christmas a decade or so ago. It is held together with duct tape and construction grade rubber bands, but, golly by gee, it does the job and keeps me cataloguing walks and dinners, grandkids and life.

So, there we were, emerging from under Olga’s leafy protection, anticipating the walk back up Frost Hill to our car.  We heard “it” before seeing “it”. Tom thought it sounded like a chainsaw on wood, employed elsewhere on the grounds of the arboretum. I thought it to be a small plane sluicing the pristine sky. Then, astounded it, we saw it zooming in, dipping down, swooping low, meeting the curve of a path, and then, like a bee full of nectar, darting back to its illusive hive.

Two women of certain age were resting on a bench, oblivious to the unidentified flying object. A couple walked ’round the bend, he querying  with a nod and a wink,  “think it was government?“. We laughed, thought CIA – or Amazon practicing book deliveries.

Back in our mocha colored VW with its luscious latte interior, we motored on, up hill and dale in the autumnal glow.  I was behind the wheel when I spied a Kodak moment, my thoughts on shadows I was collecting.  Does anyone else collect shadows?  With no one behind us, I idled and asked Tom to try to get a picture. He humored me, as he always does, took a few shots, and on we went, leaf peepers at full throttle.

Home again, I downloaded (or is it uploaded?), the camera cache of the day, prepared dinner and so forth and so on, later posting about Olga and sharing a few sillies on Facebook.  It wasn’t until a few days later, fiddling around with the photos, that I saw “it”. There, on the ground, not far from the shadowing tree; could it be that illusive drone that buzzed by us as we bid farewell to Olga?

Alas, dear readers, I’ve droned on and on, so will end this missive of a fly-by-photo of a tree, a shadow and a trash bag – or is it . . .?

DSCN6339

Read Full Post »

DSCN6153Nature’s wheel just keeps spinning a colorful web this fall. The trees have been outstanding, with their leaves turning  in earnest this week.  I want to drink it all in while the show lasts.

DSCN6149Some of you asked to see “my” Copper Beech in her Autumn splendor.  Her leaves are exhibiting their coppery rust, which makes it  a striking companion to what I believe is an aspen. Copper and gold; such amazing tones in nature. Even in the rain – especially in the rain – the performance is spectacular this year. Yet again, I was exploring  the Morton Arboretum on Wednesday.  The path above was leading to the glass-blowing pumpkin extravaganza going on through the weekend.  If you are in the area, you really should drop in to see the Glass Pumpkin Patch at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, and then absorb all the fall colors.

Leaf Peepers! That’s what we become in the fall. Leaf Peepers!

The path below wanders amid an arbor rainbow.  I felt a bit like Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road.

DSCN6165

It doesn’t matter where paths wander in our midwestern fall ; just that we take the time to walk them, as this pair did in the Autumn mist.

DSCN6138

Would you like to see some of the glass pumpkins? They are even better in person.  Click on photos for a better look-see.

DSCN6158DSCN6155DSCN6160DSCN6156DSCN6161

Read Full Post »

DSCN5973Shall I tell you a story of linen and ink, gardens and waterfalls, sunshine and splendor?

It occurs at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Illinois.

Our garden club’s adventure started with a private tour of the Lenhardt Library; a treasure trove of horticultural books, journals, periodicals, reproduction prints and more. There was an amazing display of noteworthy bookplates, including those of Charles Dickens and Eugene Field.  Several of us were particularly interested in Field’s bookplate as we first met long before joining the garden club, when our children attended Field School, named for the poet. (you know him – Wynken, Blynken and Nod).

After our introduction to the wonders Lenhardt has to offer, we were taken into the June Price Reeder Rare Book Room. It was as if a hush fell on my soul, so enthralled was I in the presence of four centuries of bound and conserved horticultural wisdom, some of which became the template of remedies for modern medicine.  To touch the linen pages that predate the anniversary of Columbus’s discoveries, the day before Columbus Day is commemorated here, is rather awesome, indeed. The library is in the painstaking process of digitizing  these books and journals, some truly tomes, for all to access. You can see some of them by clicking the link to the rare book room above.

No garden club event seems complete without food, so, we stopped for lunch at the Cafe. We commiserated over sandwiches, soups, salads and sunshine, then separated, some taking a tram tour of the grounds, others walking the paths.  I suspect most of us also ended up in the bountiful gift shop before heading home.

The groundskeepers were busy, hauling this and that, flowers and soil, pumpkins and gourds, readying the Botanic for this weekend’s fall festivities. It was a pristine day; the best kind for visiting such an expansive garden. The Chicago Botanic Gardens is a destination for grade school field trips as well as an international destination to world travelers.  It pleased me to no end to hear the many languages that were being uttered and the universal joy of horticulture.

Here are a few photos taken in the Rare Book Room.  Our guide was Leora Siegel, the library’s director. It is an understatement to say that she was exemplary as she guided us through the centuries of books. I felt a tinge of regret when the tour concluded as I longed to hear and see more.

DSCN5975DSCN5976DSCN5974

Finally, a few photos of the grounds, which include the Japanese garden, the vast vistas, waterfall, and stunning chrysanthemums dripping from the main arbor leading out to the Botanic’s grounds.

DSCN6036

DSCN6003

DSCN5993DSCN6017DSCN5988DSCN6025DSCN6014DSCN5989

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

leaf and twig

where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry

Loop Head Lore

stories from the west of county clare

mirandasnotebook

Your Guide to a Stylish Life

Petals. Paper. Simple Thymes

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart." William Wordsworth

My Chicago Botanic Garden

A blog for visitors to the Garden.

Living Designs

Circles of Life: My professional background in Foods and Nutrition (MS, Registered and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist, RDN, LDN) provides the background for my personal interests in nutrition, foods and cooking; health and wellness; environment and sustainability.

Women Making Strides

Be a Leader in Your Own Life

Raising Milk and Honey

The Farm at Middlemay

The Cottonwood Tree

Beautiful Things Inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder

cakes, tea and dreams

savoring the beauty in the everyday

Romancing the Bee

Beautiful Beekeeping, English Cottage Gardening, and Cooking with Honey

Book Snob

FOR DISCERNING READERS

teacups & buttercups

An old fashioned heart

Louisa May Alcott is My Passion

Analysis and reflection from someone endlessly fascinated with Louisa May Alcott. Member/supporter of Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House (including the Alcott International Circle) and the Louisa May Alcott Society.

breathelighter

Reducing stress one exhale at a time ...exploring Southern California and beyond

Kate Shrewsday

A thousand thousand stories

Blogging from the Bog

musings from and about our cottage in the West of Ireland

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 413 other followers