Friday, June 17, 2011

Home Sweet Home... or Swimming through the Midwestern Humidity

Hello All!

Last week I visited the Midwest on a whirlwind tour of family, friends, more family, more friends, and then more family again.  It's always nice to "Go Home," and no matter how old I get or how much my life has changed, I must admit that I simply love driving up my parents driveway and walking into the house I grew up in.  The familiarity of everything is so inexorable- the way the light hits in the sky, the smells, the sounds, everything feels so right.  This place will always have a piece of my heart.

Sunset over Lake Wisconsin from my parents house
That said, Holy Humidity Batman!  OMG!  I stepped off the plane last Tuesday into 95+ degree weather plus something like 80% humidity.  I thought I was going to die a slow miserable sweaty and smelly death. Ugh!  Thankfully, when I met my dad for lunch as his golf club, we ate indoors in the nice comfortable air conditioning.  When I left Boise that morning, it was cool and raining, so I was wearing jeans, a shirt, a jacket, and a scarf, and I forgot to pack shorts!  Dad took pity on me and he sent me into the pro-shop at the club bought me some shorts and a t-shirt.

I was able to see a bunch of friends from both Lodi and Madison while I was home... unfortunately, I didn't think to take pictures like I had planned to while I was with them.  But, I must say, my girlfriend Stacy is the cutest pregnant lady ever!  And Nicci's sweet baby girl Magnolia (Maggie) made my ovaries hurt - I just love her.  I could have held her for hours and hours... can I have one just like that?!

Driving Through WI

On Thursday I drove down to Dubuque, IA (in the rain with no windshield wipers- thank you Enterprise-Rent-a-Car) to see David's sister Marlee and her family.  Marlee has become one of my closest friends and I was really excited to spend some time with her and her family.  Their home is absolutely lovely, and Dubuque is at its most beautiful at this time of year.  Peonies were in bloom everywhere, and everything was lush and green.  My nephews Carson and Walker were out of school, so I was able to spend some quality time with them which was fun.  They are boys through and through, that's for sure!  It's fun to be around all the commotion.

Marlee and David got us tickets to see the band Chicago at the River Festival that was going on in town.  I did remember to snap some pictures there...

My beautiful sister-in-law Marlee and her handsome husband David Tart
You know you're in the mid-west when...

You can't really tell, but this guy is wearing a Boise State hat.... Bronco fans everywhere!
I felt like I was going to see Sarah Palin around every corner!  The band Foghat opened for Chicago and unfortunately we all wanted to shoot ourselves by they were done.  They were mostly just loud.  If you don't remember Foghat, they are a one-hit-wonder band who did the song Slow Ride (  Chicago didn't come on until 9:30.  We stayed for most of the show, but by around 10:45 it started to rain and we got out of there just in time for the heavens to open up.

The next day, Marlee and I drove to Chicago and did some shopping at the mall in Schaumburg, IL.... They have a Nordstrom which is all I need :)  It was really fun.  Marlee is a fantastic shopper, and we both got a few cute things.  I told her she has to come out and help me go through my closet to get rid of things and put together a yard sale and go shopping on the money we make from it.  I love the idea of having a personal shopper!

My original reason for making the trip to the midwest was to go to my friend Maren Baker's wedding.  So, after shopping, Marlee and I ran to our hotel, quickly got dressed, and then fought our way through traffic to get to the ceremony.  It was lovely.  Maren was a spectacularly beautiful bride, and I was happy to see she and her husband Matt so in love.  It was an honor to be included.  We sat at a great table, and I of course proceeded to get into a fight with the gentleman next to me about the merits (and in my mind demerits) of the BCS, and why a playoff is necessary in college football.  Luckily we ended on good terms, I think mostly because he was shocked to be having this argument with a woman!  Marlee and I didn't stay too long into the night.  I was exhausted by ten, and we went back to the hotel and climbed into bed... I was out like a light the minute my head hit the pillow.

The  bride dancing with her Daddy
Sunday morning Marlee and I parted in Rockford, IL and I drove back up to Madison to join my father and my three brothers and my sister in the Father-son/Father-daughter Golf Tournament at our dad's club.  I am happy to report that my dad and I won the 9 Hole Father-Daughter Division!  AND my dad dad and my brother John won the Father-Son 18 Hole Division!  My dad was able to take home 2 of the 8 trophies they gave out.  Go Dad!  My sister and I both actually played amazingly well considering we pick up a golf club once a year at best.  Dad says its that "natural Manchester talent"... I think it may have just been luck.  Anyway, it was really fun- I love all of my in-laws, but it was especially nice to have time some alone time with Dad and his kids.
Left to right: Anabel, Morgan, Katie, Dad, Chet, John 
Winners of the 9 Hole Father-Daughter Tournament
Monday we all left.  Katie and John's flights were delayed twice, so we all got to have lunch together.  Thank God for my friend Ann Daily who let me use her computer to fix a work thing in the middle of all the commotion!  I was then bumped from my flight to the later one and Morgan and I left within a half hour of each other, which allowed us to have a good chat while we waited.  All in all, it was a great trip and I'm looking forward to next year!

I'll say it again, there's nothing quite like going home!

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