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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Outdoor retreats

Most Friday evenings during the summer, we enjoy a dinner with Bob and Paulie at Sunnybrook Trout Farm. a private fly fishing venue for members with a penchant for catch and release trout fishing. Bob fishes here year round -  the creek never freezes - even if he does!

Last year, Ron and I gave Bob a great fishing shirt for his birthday. We had two shirts to choose from at Sam's Club. The first one said Made in VietNam. We passed that up remembering that Bob was an attack helicopter pilot in the VietNam War, and we decided the other shirt, made in China, was a better choice. The shirt had lots of cool pockets and tabs and clips and while we had no idea of the purpose of those things, we knew Bob would be pleased. He wore his new shirt to the grocery store a few days after his birthday. On the way to the market, he and Paulette kept hearing a rather loud beeping noise that seemed to be coming from the driver's side of their van. Turns out it was Bob, himself, that was beeping - his defibrillator was emitting an alarm! A quick call to the Cleveland Clinic was made and the device staff recommended that Bob head their way asap.  After 8 hours, and consulting with 11 doctors, including the head of that department, no one could find the reason for Bob's defibrillator alarm going off. After a frustrating last consult before deciding to replace a potentially defective device(surgically, of course), they discovered a tiny magnet on one of the pockets of Bob's fishing shirt. Yep, that was the culprit that tripped the alarm and the last time he wore that particular fishing gear.

Sunnybrook was originally a private residence. Later, and  for many years, it served as a retreat for Owing Illinois executives.  The house, in addition to having dining rooms and an enclosed porch, has 10 bedrooms with private baths for those wishing to stay and relax after a full day of fishing.

The sunsets often provide entertainment during our dinners and our evening usually takes the old fashioned form of the men retreating to smoke cigars and the women sitting in the parlour.   Paulie and I linger over drinks and knit a few rows on current projects while we discuss plans for the rest of the weekend -- this could include our strategy for an early morning estate sale, and/or logistics necessary for spending a few nights at GottaGetaway, our Bellevue camping retreat in our motor homes,  Nina and Annie.  This season, in addition to our two adjacent sites, we co-rented the site in front of ours in order to increase our private domain.

While we bought our rigs for long distance trips. so far this summer, the wheels haven't turned so much as one rotation! Even our truck batteries are dead from lack of use. Before further gear atrophies, we are determined to hit the road before the end of summer. Maybe we'll just drive to the other side of the campground and back to our spaces. Or, we could cruise down Rt 20 to Norwalk for a few miles and then return a few minutes later and call it good.

Meanwhile, I've also been enjoying another favorite outdoor retreat - our own back yard.  The Rose of Sharon just started blooming over the weekend and creates a wonderful panorama from the back porch.

Even thought the yard is only 25 feet wide, it provides plenty of seating areas for sun or shade.

The maple tree was a small sapling when I first moved here in 1977. Both the tree and I have grown thicker trunks over the years.

I've learned to work around the fact that the roots and shade of that tree make it impossible to plant anything near it. Rotating pots of flowers and refreshing the window boxes with new plants every few weeks keeps the area looking fine. I have resisted the temptation to put in plastic flowers. Yes, I really did consider it an option.  Instead, I purchased some metal ones in a variety of colors.

The back porch is a great place to enjoy morning coffee as long as it is before 9 a.m. After that, it is too sunny and hot.

Kate, Jack, and Marilyn love to hang out on the porch, then head back into the kitchen, then head back onto the porch. You get the idea. I don't get to sit still for very long! We can add convalescing to the list now. Ron's recent eye surgery requires several weeks of low key activity and no place is better than the back porch for idle musing and napping, of course.

Ron's retirement dinner last week was at Chez Francois in Vermilion. It was a fine night for outdoor dining on the deck overlooking the Vermilion River. 

The day before was Bastille Day and we were  serenaded with the French national anthem by a crew of enthusiastic boaters. 

My mom returned to her home in Southern California a few days ago after spending most of the month of July with us. Paulette joined us for most of our jaunts, including several shopping expeditions for Trollbeads, WHITE JEANS, estate sales, and more. 

 We had a great time exploring area museums, libraries, restaurants,  and still allowed plenty of time on the porch. Paulie loves to hear Mom's trip reports from her 13 trips to Paris (1975-2006) and is trying to talk Mom into traveling to Paris with her. To that end, they both renewed their passports!

In deference to full disclosure, I will tell you that high temperatures and humidity are not on my hit parade list. Today it is 90 degrees and my retreat is indoors with a/c at full blast instead of any of the outdoor retreats listed above. The dogs agree with my location and are happily snoring away on cushy dog beds. I'm hoping that Marilyn will move over a bit to make room for me, too!