Friday, July 31, 2015

90 and Not Even a Little Fragmented!

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was going to attend the 90th birthday party of a dear family member.  Alice Yasek, my mother's sister, has entered into her ninth decade, with the appearance and energy of a 60 year old!  Alice is an amazing woman who has never let anything or anyone stop her from living her life to the fullest.

Twice a week she swims at the Y.  She used to compete in a Masters Olympics program and has a roomful of medals to show off.  These medals are well-deserved!  Alice was a member of the 1940 Olympic Swim Team...part of US Olympic Team that did not participate that summer as the games were held in Germany...not really a safe place to be at the time.  My heart swells knowing how much disappointment was felt, but the safety of our athletes could not be argued.

In addition to regular exercise, Alice volunteers at her church thrift shop, drives for Meals on Wheels and finds time to stay in touch with many close friends.  Her five children are spread out over the United States (California, Washington, New York and Massachusetts) and she travels to see them as often as possible.  She became grandmother to my children (and mother to me) upon the passing of my mother 30 years ago.  I have been blessed to have her in my life, and so have my children.

My trip was a very fast, but extremely enjoyable, three day visit with Alice in her New York home.  I was able to visit with my cousins, as well as, see many of her friends.  We had a wonderful time celebrating with friends and family in the "party room" at her church.

Alice with Friends

What, no pony?


The Best Part of the Day!

I was told that she slept for a week after everyone went home!  It was a wonderful day AND weekend for all concerned!

Please stop by A Star In My Own Universe and say hello as you read the Friday Fragments of other bloggers like me!  Thanks for stopping by today.  Have a wonderfully Fragmented Weekend!

Friday Fragments with Star


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Visions of Summer

I remember the carefree days of summer in California. We had the beach, the park and a gazillion pools!  I miss those days!

The Park

Grandma at the Pool

Little Tykes after a swim

Dipping with the Bro

Mother's Beach, Long Beach, teens, no adults without kids!

Camp Pendleton, CA

Unheated Pool in Woodland Hills, CA

Newport Dunes, CA

Hope you enjoyed some of my best memories of summer when we lived in California.  Please visit Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop to enjoy more stories of some of her favorite people!

Thanks for stopping by!  Have a great summer weekend!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Feeling Fragmented?

I love this place!  It's like coming home from work on a Friday night, knowing that you can let it all go away for awhile.  Thanks to Traci at A Star In My Own Universe I now have an extra reason to look forward to Fridays!

I am excited to be celebrating with my favorite aunt, Alice, as she turns 90 next week.  She has been a force in my life that has guided me while raising my children.  She stepped in when my mom passed away and, pretty much filled some really big shoes!  She is an amazing woman who has lived her life giving to others.  The plus is I get to go to New York for the party!

We had a fun celebration last weekend when we attended the "Eyes to The Skies" event in Lisle, Illinois.  Please take a moment to learn more about it here.  We didn't know what to expect, and ended up having a wonderful time!

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  Please click on "A Star In My Own Universe" above to enjoy the Friday Fragments of some great blogger friends!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Eyes to The Skies (Sundays in My City)

Balloons, balloons and more balloons!  They are so big, so colorful and full of so many people I know!

Lisle, Illinois is a nearby town that celebrates our Nation's Birthday with Eyes to the Skies, an event spanning a few days with a carnival, craft booths, live music and lots of great food!  Oh, and yes some very large balloons!  I was so happy to hear about this event and having an extra day off this year, took advantage of getting out of the house with my DH and my love, Tootsie.

We parked a few blocks from the event and walked (my aerobics for the day) only to find that there were "No Dogs Allowed" at the event.  We were disappointed, but not discouraged. There was plenty of park area not being used for the event, so we looked around for a place to relax.  We brought chairs, snacks and a water dish for Tootsie, so we thought we would make the most of a few hours by enjoying the outdoors.

Shortly after settling under a very shady tree, a live band began to play inside of the event.  The stage was located along the side barrier 50 yards from our nesting spot.  Wow!  Did we luck out or what!  After a few hours of "60's through 80's" music, we began to wonder where the big balloons were located, and if we'd get to see them. 

Around 5:00pm we could hear the gas fires begin to erupt.  We couldn't see much as there were trees blocking the area that housed the balloons.  Slowly, one at a time, they began to appear and lift off.  I had never been this close to these balloons so it was thrilling for me to watch them as they launched.  My pictures do not do justice to the beautiful colors of each balloon.

Then, to our surprise, the large empty area where we had been sitting began to fill up with people in red shirts.  Serena's Song was the logo on the shirts and I became quite interested in what was going on.  A few vans with the same logo pulled on to the grass and began emptying their contents.  A table was set up by members of Seaspar, an organization that provides year round recreation activities for individuals with disabilities.  The activity of many members flurried as they greeted and recorded lists of disabled individuals.

In what was a wide-open space of freshly cut grass, a large basket could be seen.  Several members pulled out something large and blue that needed to be unrolled.  It was the skin of a very large balloon.  I have never experienced a start-to-finish balloon making before.  I was mesmerized!  Once the balloon was up and fully functional, I realized why there was a table set up with people "taking names."  Everyone who signed up got a free tethered ride in the balloon.  I was so touched by the looks on the faces of these red-shirted individuals who ranged from children to elderly.  Serena's Song has been part of the Eyes To The Skies for 20 years, bringing ear-to-ear smiles from all who gather at this event.  It was a privilege and deeply felt sense of joy to witness this event!

I live close to Lisle, Illinois!  Welcome to My City!  Please stop by Unknown Mami and see some really spectacular things going on in other cities!

Unknown Mami

Friday, June 26, 2015

First Fragment with a Star

Thank you Traci, from A Star in My Own Universe, for taking over Friday Fragments, a very happy place for us to go weekly to share bits of our lives. We also get to read about the bits of the lives of other friends.  It's always a fun place to go for me, and a great exercise in mental health to express the joys I have been blessed with over the week.

We had the most exquisite rainbow this week in Chicago.  My picture does not come close to the impact I felt as I embraced it.  It was the biggest rainbow I had ever big, that I couldn't capture it all in one shot.  I came upon it a few minutes too late to shoot both ends of it, but the part that I was able to capture speaks for itself.  I found a little chuckle in the fact that it either began, or ended behind our local bowling alley.  I have a friend who has won many accolades in the sport, and I have come to respect all who participate.  It's not a wussy's a skilled sport that must be practiced and performed.  What I love it about bowling is the immediate gratification of accomplishment...for me that would be anything that isn't a gutter ball!  

Thank you for allowing me to share this week.  I look forward to reading and reconnecting with others who visit.

Thank you again Traci, and I wish you the best in this wonderful adventure!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Everything Jenny

Jenny, our friend and partner in crime, cannot be summed up by a mere 26 letters.  However, each week, she throws out the challenge of the Alphabet…one letter at a time…and sits back while we scrunch our noses, scratch our heads and sometimes pen our deepest thoughts, merely for her amusement.  That’s okay.  We love Jenny to pieces and sincerely hope that our finished products bring a smile to her lovely face.  Here are a few “E” words that paint the picture of the Jenny that I so love!

Jenny has such an easygoing nature about her.  Every day is filled with much to be accomplished, but she effortlessly dances through each of them with the grace of Fred and Ginger.   

There are days that can be a little edgy for Jenny, but one would never know it.  She delivers her message with eloquence week after week, and emboldens the craft of writing to the accomplished, as well as, the novice of writers.  

We are empowered by her lessons, and enchanted by her words of support and kindness.  Our lives are enhanced by her lovely phrases as we escape with her to exquisite places of adventure.  I would love to be part of Jenny’s entourage!

Please come out and play with this extraordinary woman who loves life ever-so-fiercely; the educator who fills us with the encouragement to push ourselves to our limits…and then some…until we have exhibited our little piece of literary elegance.  

Evermore, dearest Jenny.

Please stop by Jenny’s house for a visit with her and her ensemble of “E” friends!  Just click here to be entranced by her wonderful world full of letters!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Air-Cooled Leisure!

My DH has been IN LOVE with Volkswagens his entire life!  His first car in high school was a Bug which lasted more than 12 car seats necessitated a different sort of vehicle for our use!  The West Coast is loaded with vintage Volkswagens and in the last 20 years or so, the fever has spilled over into the Midwest! Like any vehicle, if properly maintained and loved, one can hold on to the carefree days of their youth like a favorite blankie.  This isn't to say that vintage is one way of holding on to the past...just that it shows respect for the old qualities and values. 

We recently traveled to Effingham (yes that is the name of the city) to attend the Mid America Funfest for Air-Cooled VWs which is an annual celebration, bringing together hundreds of VW enthusiasts from around the world. The event includes a kickoff Fun Run, expert seminars, headlining entertainment, awards and much more! It is also a place where some bring their vintage VWs to show off, buy, sell or otherwise just hang out and enjoy the camaraderie of other VW lovers!  Please click on Mid America Motorworks to check out more about their organization and more pictures from the Funfest!

We didn't buy, sell or even show off our little baby, as it is currently in the VW hospital recovering from surgery...maybe next year!

Thanks for stopping by today!  Please visit Unknown Mami of Sundays in My City and the colorful  cast of others who share their cities with us all!    

I'm from Chicago, visiting Effingham, Illinois.  Welcome to my City!