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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

Where Have We Been?!

As some of you may have noticed, we have been rather absent from our blog as of late (up until the earlier postings of today). So, let me explain.

On Thursday, November 11th, we left for ye ol' motherland (for me, anyhow): Illinois. It was a "messy" departure - the packing not having gone as smoothly as I'd prefer. This was in direct relation to the fact that I still didn't (don't) know where half of our stuff is . . . including dress clothes, shoes, luggage, etc.! But, I have to admit to finding a few things we'd been looking for during the packing (search and destroy?) mission. On the down side, the dress shirt I'd packed to wear over the weekend ended up having a hole in it . . . which I didn't see until I was ironing it in the motel right before we walked out the door. So, do you choose a non-holey casual shirt to wear to a wedding or go with the holey dress shirt and hope that no one notices it? I chose the latter, clenching my left arm close to my body the whole night to try to cover the Clampetts-ness of it all! (Oi - hillbillies from the Great Northwoods!)

Anyhow, back to the reason for the trip. My youngest cousin (well, 30 years old now) was getting married! And, truth be told, I hadn't been back to Illinois since Grandma died in 1997, and Tom had never been there - never met everyone - so the visit was long overdue.

We drove all day on Thursday and made good time. We should have arrived about 9:00 PM. "SHOULD have", I said. As it was, we arrived at 11:45. Seems that someone (me) neglected to get an Illinois map, so once we were out of Wisconsin, we were flying blind. I wasn't worried about finding my way around the town where the family lives, but getting there from the Illinois border proved to be interesting. I was driving, and Tom was resting after driving more than the first half of the journey. I came to a fork in the tollway and zigged when I should have zagged. That took us about an hour off course and straight to O'Hare. "Hmmm, why do I feel like I'm driving through Chicago?" But then, I found I-88 slick as can be . . . except that I was on the far east end of it instead of where I needed to be (much farther west). So, undaunted, I turned west. And kept going. Missed our exit completely. And, Illinois supporting those wonderful inventions called tollroads, I couldn't get off the damn thing until nearly central Illinois. I kid you not. DeKalb, for those of you who know the area. Then, turned around again, I headed back east. This time I found 47 and headed south. Whew! Needless to say, we were a bit more tired than expected arriving a stressful 2 3/4 hours late. Too bad we didn't get to enjoy the scenery during the daylight!

Anyway, we got in lots of family visiting . . . even in addition to everyone at the wedding. It was a terrific 4-day visit, and, on the way home, I even took Tom on a tour (drive-by) of the house and town I was born in (we'd bought a map by this point)!

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