Friday, June 5, 2015

I Write Because My Brain Won't Shut Up Otherwise

I just spent the last hour cleaning up old links listed on my blog--the links to other blogs I used to try to keep up with. Sadly, most of those are now dead links and some of these blogs have been taken over by strange, faceless, entities who like to post about food but provide no recipes or post about the interiors of other people's bathroom updates but don't give any links for where to read more. Invisible writers missing personalities create these empty blog posts that resemble Pinterest but are less fun. Weird stuff.

I'm always sad to see another blogger disappear into the web-a-sphere, especially the good bloggers that know how to write for the masses and keep us entertained and informed all at once. But I get it. I do. Life just gets in the way sometimes and everything has to come to a halt and then some things have to go. In my case, health issues and a new job have kept me away from even my camera. I miss writing about nothing and taking pictures of things I like. I've always needed an outlet and if it's not writing or taking pictures, it'll be reading or learning something new. This last year and a half has been about both those things so I might yet disappear again. But for now here you have me. And some days I might regale you with stories about learning to live without wheat and sugar and milk and eggs and other days I will tell you about having to jump through useless and stupid state hoops to do paperwork that amounts to nothing but "busy work" just to do a job I love.

*shaking my head*

Even if no one ever reads what I write, I will still write it because I might sleep better at night if this stuff isn't rattling around in my head.

Monday, June 1, 2015

These Old Barns...

Anyone who knows me knows I'm in love with old barns. I will bring the car to a screeching halt in the middle of a highway just to be able to jump out and take a photo of an old barn. I didn't grow up with these, In my neck of the woods we have parts of old adobe buildings that are falling apart and are definitely not as interesting as barns.

On a drive near Victoria, IL, last summer, the Husband and I spotted this beautiful thing. I made him make a U-turn but almost backed out because all I had with me was my iPhone. Glad I didn't chicken out. We ended up meeting the owner--Jason, who is just as awesome as his barn. He gave us a little tour and a very brief history of the barn. I wish I could pull this old barn all up and put it in my backyard.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Never, ever, ever, EVER go to Starved Rock on Memorial Day


Had a day off, thought I'd go take a hike. Realized what day it was when we pulled into the parking lot. Not one space available. I would have turned around and come back home but I wasn't alone so I had to stick it out.

The trails were muddy (no surprise there) and we got stuck walking behind people who tiptoed--yes, tiptoed (!!) across the mud. Come on, folks! Seriously? If you didn't want your shoes to get dirty then get off the trail and go back to the parking lot.

We got stuck behind one group for ten minutes who let their two two-year-olds run way ahead of them only to scream at them every 30 seconds to "Get back here!" Personally, I wouldn't let me kids out of my sight in this park. Second, please have common courtesy and don't scream your fool head off at your kid in a public park where others are trying to enjoy its beauty. Hold on to your kid and teach them to be respectful.

Our first and only stop was Wildcat Canyon. I didn't mind the crowd of people enjoying the views and the water but the moment was ruined by a floating beer can in the little lake that forms underneath it. There were empty, discarded water bottles everywhere, too. It saddens and angers me that people here have access to such tremendous beauty but don't know how to enjoy it without littering it.

Yeah, I know I sound like an old coot but the older I get the more I realize how much damage some people do to the beautiful spaces we have. It doesn't take much effort to pack out what you carry in, for crying out loud. Even if you don't care about the park, at least take it care of it for your kids to enjoy.

The only semi-decent picture I got that day was while I was standing in Wildcat Canyon, shaking my head at the litter. This little flock of bugs flew right into the sunshine so I snapped a pic with my phone:

Sunday, May 24, 2015


It's been awhile, I know. I didn't mean to drop off but too much life happened. I'll spare you the details but suffice it to say I'm now gluten/wheat-free, egg-free, low sugar and dairy. Frankly, it sucks and finding good food to eat while on the road is a hassle. But my health is improving so I have to keep going. One day I'm sure I'll regale you with the disasters of cooking with coconut flour. Blegh.

Anyway, the Husband and I took a drive from Peoria to Lacon and back again right before the green fuzz started to come out on the trees so I put a little video together for you to enjoy. I'll have to take another one now that everything is green and beautiful. I do have to say, there is a certain charm in the brown right before it all comes alive.


I'm hoping to finally have some time again this summer to post updates of life in and around Peoria so check back soon. If there's anywhere in particular you'd like to see in pictures, leave me a comment.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Go Ahead, Cow, Walk Away...

We were heading home when I made the Husband pull over so I could capture this scene. I'd been watching this building get closer and I knew I wanted to capture it. As soon as he pulled over, I jumped out of the car into some really red, sticky mud but it was worth it:

The scene looks so isolated but there's actually a very busy highway intersection about 100 feet to camera right. We were somewhere in the Texas panhandle, traveling down some two-lane highway and little scenes like these kept coming up. I didn't realize how picturesque the Texas panhandle was until we took that two-lane highway through the remote parts and into Amarillo.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A Little Bit of New Mexico / Texas

Just got back from a trip back home to visit family. Saw the oldest child and my folks. Had a blast. Ate loads of delicious, authentic Mexican food and gained a few pounds. Then traveled to some of the ghost towns around New Mexico--specifically Chloride, Winston, Hillsboro and Kingston. Those pics are forthcoming.

One of the things I really, really miss about the Southwest--besides my family, the food and the mountains--are the blue skies. The skies in the Midwest are always washed out. You need a polarizer on your camera lens to bring out the blue in them. If you use a polarizer out there, you create blue skies that turn almost black when you convert an image to black and white. Perhaps it's the difference in altitude (4000+ feet out there) and the moisture in the air here that washes them out here. Whatever the case, I really miss those blue skies.

I'd also forgotten how far you can drive without seeing another soul. Hillsboro is about 2-3 hours from where I was staying. We made our way out there early one Sunday morning and this is what I was treated to:

Miles and miles of nothing but blue skies and open road. Once in awhile we'd see another car but mostly it was just us on the road.

I think this trip cemented my desire to go back there to live.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Fence Post

This was another one of those pics where I made a U-turn in the middle of the road and stopped the car in the middle of the road to snap this pic. There was literally nowhere to pull over to get this photo but I pass this fence at least once a day and it kept beckoning me for a photo. This is another one of those areas I'm going back to on my bike for a better pic:

Welp, this is the last Foggy Day photo. I hope to have a new series up within the next few days so stick around.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Foggy Day Tree

This has got to me my most favorite tree around here:

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Lights and RVs

There's an empty parking lot that I pass on my way to and from work every day. I've always wanted to stop and get a photo of it because I love how nitty gritty it looks, especially on the foggy days. This place was on my list to check out during this particular morning, except that there was no place to park. My best vantage point came after making a U-turn and then parking on the right turn lane across the road. It was a Gun and Run sorta thing:

I started biking recently as a way to get in some exercise. When I gain a bit more confidence, I'm going back to this lot to get a better pic.

Monday, June 24, 2013

That Ubiquitous Yellow Tractor

Ah, there's that ubiquitous yellow tractor that dominates this area: