The Daily - October 2-4, 2023 - The Stop Over in NC

I'm taking my first leg of travel to London. First stop, Charlotte NC.


10/2/23 - Monday

Managed a 20 minute bike class, had coffee with Louie on my lap before wrapping up my packing and leaving for the airport. Jill did me a big favor and dropped me off. We talked a little bit about Janice and Joe - Joe is definitely getting better and hopefully able to leave the house soon. His girlfriend Jenna is staying with the family and Janice is adjusting. The cats are adjusting to their little kitten too! Flight to ORD was uneventful - here is the approach into the airport:

Wheels Up!

My flight to CLT was packed and I was seated next to a very large man but it was all ok. Teresa picked me up.


10/3/23 - Tuesday

Swam at the local recreational center - they have 8 lap lanes. Did 30 laps at a decent pace. Enjoyed today’s coffee outside on the garden bench by the koi pond and that was nice. The weather here is cool in the morning, a bit warm in the afternoon (80’s) then cool again as soon as the sun sets.

Extended Layover

Went to visit mom and dad from 10 - 4:30. I took dad on a walk. He’s very slow but still able to shuffle up a decent incline on the walking trail. I retrieved their lunch and we enjoyed time together. Watched the season finale of only murders in the building with Teresa.


10/4/23 - Wednesday

I guess I didn’t sleep that well because I was wide awake at 5am (4am back home). I did a 45 minute strength class followed by a 20 slow flow yoga class outside that nearly killed me in my upper body. Did a final load of laundry. Picked up mom at 4pm and we left shortly afterwards for the airport. We had access to the American lounge which was nice.

With Mom

Boarded the flight around 7:40 - mom’s first time in business class. The flight left on time for Heathrow. I ended up eating the meal (I chose the sea bass) because i just can’t pass it up! I realize how lucky I am to be able to fly business class. It’s really an alternate universe up here, buffered from coach.


The Daily - Into October, 2023 - Starved Rock and Rockford IL

9/30/23 - Saturday

Brenda, My, Yahsin and I pack up Lexi and we depart for Starved Rock state park at 7am. We arrive just as the lodge opens, around 9am. We hatch our hiking plan. We soon learn the canyons are all dry so no “signature” photo ops of wispy waterfalls. No problem, the temperatures are still pleasant, the canopy filters the sunlight and we discover the element that will consume most of our hike - mushrooms!!!

Starved Rock Mushroom Hunting

Starved Rock Mushroom Hunting

Starved Rock

Starved Rock

We spent 5 hours hiking, taking photos and enjoying the trails, canyons, river overlooks and forest. Then we had our post hike picnic - another great spread of food - Chinese bbq pork, meat dumplings, fruit, moon cake, nuts and other treats.

We drive north to Rockford and check into the Airbnb, a cute older home. En route we see signs for Oktoberfests and upon settling in we decide to go to the local Oktoberfest just north of our house. Held in a large community center, we enjoy German food - sausages, roast chicken, schnitzel, sauerkraut and dark beer. There’s a German music band playing and occasional dancing. Affterwards, we did facial masks, took silly pictures and hung out. So much great fun together.


10/1/23 - Sunday

We walk to the Norwegian for breakfast - it is a traditional Norse restaurant about a half mile away. On the way back we walk the street that flanks the river but there are houses blocking the river view. These houses are quite large! Along Harlem street, we spot what looks like chestnut fruits from various trees. We gather several pounds to take home to roast. We would later discover these are not regular chestnuts but rather Horse chestnuts that are poisonous to eat. Oh well, they looked so pretty and tasty!

We check out of the house and drive to the Anderson Japanese garden. The grounds are nice but we are hampered by the bright sunlight at 9:00. The gardens open from 9-5, so no opportunity to catch that golden light. We still enjoyed our meditative exploration of the gardens, taking our time to reflect at each water feature.

Rockford - Anderson Japanese Garden

Rockford - Anderson Japanese Garden

We have a mid afternoon reservation at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Laurent House but we finished earlier than planned at the Japanese Gardens, ate our picnic leftovers at the riverside park and drove to the house with hopes of getting on an earlier tour. The tour guides were very nice and let us participate in the 1pm tour. We learned about the Laurents, their relationship with the architect and toured the house built specifically for accessibility - a person in a wheelchair. Closed and private at the front of the dwelling that faces the street, the home opens up in the back with an expanse of curved windows, bringing the feeling of being outside to anyone in the house. I learned that Frank Lloyd Wright designed this house when he was north of 60 years old! He experienced a prolific life and career.

Rockford - Laurent House

After the Laurent house tour, we set off for home. I got home and packed my bag for Monday’s journey to Charlotte.


The Daily - When September Ends

9/25/23 - Monday

Scott and I got our signals crossed and we each fed Charlie breakfast! Oh well, she probably enjoyed the treat. I did a 30 minute bike then took Charlie for a quick walk before going to the Y. I swam 26 laps and spent 15 minutes in the sauna.


Charlie, Hannah and I enjoyed coffee outside then I made my breakfast. Charlie and I went for a long walk around Porter park - so many butterflies out! I did some watercolor detail work to finish off some flower paintings and after dinner Scott and I took Charlie on her third walk of the day. We also threw the ball around the backyard. Scott bought her a “chuck it” big ball that she seems to enjoy.



9/26/23 - Tuesday

45 minute strength class then a medium walk with Charlie around the retention ponds. Coffee outside on the patio.

I did a Photoshoot with friend Julie from the Y and her two boys. I had never met the boys in real life but feel like Ive known them from birth since Julie posts a bit to IG on her stories. No joke this photo shoot was a bit of a challenge since the boys were a little bit antsy but I think I got several decent shots. I also got bitten quite a bit from the mosquitoes. still, it was a fun time.


9/27/23 - Wednesday

30 minutes of bike Boot Camp followed by another 15 minutes on the bike and some follow up yoga. Then Charlie and I went for a long walk around Porter Park. It was damp and gloomy, so we did not do coffee outside. Instead, I did research for the upcoming London trip. We now have a daily itinerary of activities for that trip.


It definitely feels like fall with cooler temperatures and mostly cloudy skies today. The sun came out briefly in the afternoon, Charlie and I went for a walk. I edited several of the photos from yesterday‘s photo shoot. Scott and I took Charlie on her evening walk.

End of September


9/28/23 - Thursday

It rained hard again last night so this morning was cool and misty outside. I did 45 minutes on the bike, then took Charlie for a short walk. Then I went to the Y to swim. After 20 laps and 15 minutes in the sauna I’m back home with the animals and we are now enjoying coffee on the patio Erica is en route home from London. She arrived in time to catch the 4pm train out of union station. I took Charlie to pick her up from the terminal and Charlie is so happy her mom is home.

I take another pass at Julie’s photos - I need to get things wrapped up before the weekend.


9/29/23 - Friday

I dragged myself out of bed at 4:40 to make it to the 5:30 Pilates class. Coffee with Brenda, Michael and Davonne afterwards.

I catch the setting full moon on the Prairie with fog rolling in. I double back, park on the side of the road to capture a photo. Totally worth the extra 5 minutes.

Day journal

I make Erica pasta bake for her trip back to Wisconsin, sew her corset top to fix areas where the boning is poking out of the fabric.

She leaves at noon and I finish up Julie’s family photos and start packing for the weekend trip. I took a walk late in the evening and catch the red sunset west of Porter park. It feels weird not to have Charlie with me!

Day journal

I’m almost home when I see My on a bike heading to the bridge over the slough. She tells me the full moon will rise over the stream so I join her. We wait at the bridge as a small red sliver emerges from the tree line. Of course I only have my iPhone and do the best I can to balance the lack of light with the red moon rising. I could have used my big camera!

Day journal



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