Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Less than 2 Weeks Left in the States - WOW!!

We ended our Chicago visit with two more days of packed in fun!!

But while I was busy writing the blog last time, Mike, Michele, and Mo went for a terrific walk down to the Chicago River and park and just had to take many pictures to show how much fun they had!

A great evening with great friends, Bonnie & Jim Stepps!  I've known Bonnie for 31 years and she's a delight to have in my life!!  No matter how far apart we are physically in this world or how long it's been since we've seen each other, she's always been there for me and, I her. My BFF!!

Thank you both for letting us celebrate your 13th wedding anniversary with you!  Bummer, no pictures got taken of all of us because we were all enjoying the moment so much. 

A GREAT thing to do when in the Chicago area is to go to Morton Arboretum in the western suburb of Elmhurst. Having lived out that way in the early to mid 80's, this was always a highlight. And, it certainly didn't disappoint us this time. 

Michele, Mo, Mike & me headed west on Friday mid day and explored the wonderful gardens, walking trail around the lake and, the shrub maze before doing the driving tour through the 1,700 acres! Morton salt paid off! We love doing things like this and it's awesome when we can enjoy it with others!

Our flight to CT on Saturday was totally uneventful except for the huge drop in the air after taking off from Philadelphia. That was so unexpected but since we like roller coasters and zip lines, there was more thrill in the event than fear but I did grab Mike's leg pretty hard! LOL

Since being in CT, we've been just hanging out with the kids, Denise & Michael, and grand kids, Peter, Tim, and Maddox. We've gotten to watch Maddox's last 2 baseball playoff games, Maddox's birthday party, remedied some banking issues, helped a friend, Kevin Cashman, put in his new sliding door, had dinner with Mike's cousin, Thomas Keppler, at his home with some of his friends, but most of all just hung out around the pool!


This week is filled with more visits with family and friends AND the big event of Peter's graduation!

We're very close to securing our "home" in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for 5 months next winter!! Now that will be a true test of living in a foreign country. Since we already know the town and area well, we'll be very focused on getting to know people who live there. And, there's enough time to truly get involved and find out if we're as comfortable living there as we have been over the years of vacationing there. Certainly hope we have family and friends come visit!!

Happy Summer EVERYONE !!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

On The Road Again ....

As the song goes - On The Road Again ....

This US trip that's taking us on a "mini" repeat of last year has been incredible and exhausting! And, we're not finished yet!!

Each day last week was spent being with our family. We are trying to capture every moment we can with Mike's 95 year old Uncle Donald. With his fortitude, however, I know we have a good chance of seeing him again next year.


On Thursday, we made our way up the coast to Long Beach to visit friends that we had met in Pedasi, Panama. What a truly delightful time we had catching up and laughing allot!! A terrific dinner on the water and then so much fun bopping around San Pedro for First Thursday. THANK YOU Lisa Wibroe and Robert Benson for a fabulous time!!


Then on Friday, we did one of my most favorite things - sailing!! Yup, I'm happiest when looking at or being on the water.  Our hosts, David & Janet White and their visiting relatives, Karen & Karl from Maryland, were there with us to enjoy a spectacular afternoon on San Diego Bay!!  And, to end the day right, we had a scrumptious dinner at the Fish Market next to the Midway, Bob Hope's commemoration, and the WWII "kissing" statue.



Saturday, Mike's cousin, Denise Hoefer, arrived from Massachusetts to visit her dad, Donald, and we had a grand time rehashing old memories. Since she'll be going back to Mass the same day we head off to CT, we'll be seeing her again soon!

Our flight to Chicago was a red eye and left San Diego at 11pm. Fortunately, Mike & I slept the whole 3.5 hours but it wasn't enough to last us for the day.  We arrived at his sister, Laura's, in Lincolnshire and proceeded to collapse and take a nap. She woke us a little after noon so we could get ourselves put together for the rest of the day.

Cali, our niece, & Jason, her fiancĂ©, arrived shortly thereafter and off we all went to Cuneo Mansion. Mike's mom, Florence, was a Docent here for many years and this is where Cali & Jason are going to get married next October 13. A fun way to spend the afternoon on a beautiful day!


A nice gathering with both niece's and their respective partners plus Laura's friend, Elliott, for the evening and dinner rounded out a very fun day!!



On Monday we made our way down to the South Loop where we are spending the rest of the week with family and friends, Oren Sreebny, Michele Rudnick, and Mo Sreebny, our 15 year old grandson. Such a pleasure to this fine young man grow up! At the last minute, off we went to a free concert at the Pavilion in Millennium Park with Glen Hansard and his 11 piece band. Fabulous!!

The fog rolled in with huge buildings disappearing and then rolled into the stage. Glen and his band were having such a great time and the audience so appreciative that they just kept playing encore after encore! Incredible!!

Yesterday we spent the day playing "tourist", which is fun for us since Mike is from the north side of Chicago and I lived in the western burbs many years ago.  Michele signed us all up for the Art Deco Architectural Walking Tour. A full 2.25 hours of walking the streets looking at and visiting the lobbies of many buildings throughout the downtown.



Lunch in Millennium Park under the "Bean", a surprise stumble upon the Chicago Symphony practicing in the Pavillion (wonderful!!), and a walk in the Lurie Gardens.  The day was warm and sunny until we were in the gardens when the clouds rolled in and opened up upon us catching us without umbrellas so doused we did get!!  By the time we made it back to our Home bus stop, the rain had passed.


Tomorrow we will be heading out west to visit our good friends, Bonnie & Jim Stepps. So we're still in the "visiting" mode and enjoying every moment!

What I have accomplished with regard to our journey, however, is I have booked our home rentals in Nicaragua!!  We will be staying from mid October to mid November in a beautifully remodeled Colonial home in the heart of the city in Granada.  Here is the link to the details of the home with gorgeous pictures!  This home is rented for only $625/mo with all utilities and Wi-Fi included except for electricity, which will be minimal at that time of year.  http://www.gpsnicaragua.com/renthomes/casasirena/casasirena.htm

The following month will be spent in a beautiful one bedroom apartment that's part of a "boutique" hotel in the beach/surf town of San Juan del Sur, right on the Pacific Ocean. The link to its pictures and info is: http://www.pbase.com/parkavenuevillas/park_ave_villas

We continue to form our plans and are now thinking it would be a good test to live somewhere for more than a month. So rather than travel throughout Mexico, we want to spend 4 months in Puerto Vallarta. 

We love this city/town the most of any we have visited on vacation in Mexico. We know what it has to offer.  We know the streets and where things are. So let's see what it's like to actually "live" somewhere in a foreign country for more than a month at a time.  This concept is pretty risk free for us because we do "know" it and know we really like it.  It's actually the model we've carried with us through this journey. I'll keep you posted when I find "our" place. Working hard on it now.

We'll be heading to CT on Saturday to spend our last 3 weeks in the US there. Our grandson, Peter, will be graduating and we will get a chance to see many other friends and family before we head out again on July 6th to Ecuador.

And, so it goes for us on this continued journey.....