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Note: This bloggie post is being written whilst the writer is under the influence of NyQuil Cold & Cough. Any typos, grammatical errors and/or nonsensical ramblings should be credited to/blamed on the NyQuil.

So, here I am, back from The Kansas City Road Trip one full day ahead of schedule — thanks, in no small part, to the fact that the RLC tennis team won just one match (that win occurred when two of our doubles teams had to play each other!) in the tournament. Which should not be construed as a negative comment about the RLC squad; fact is, the tournament was loaded with great teams from various junior/community colleges — most of them loaded with great players from various countries throughout the world. (NOT to say that Southern Illinois isn’t a “hotbed” for tennis players!)

We left for Kansas Thursday evening, and after approximately six hours of driving, we got to our hotel around 9 p.m. By that time, both of my nostrils were completely blocked with snot and crud and whatever else fills a person’s head during allergy/hay fever season; in fact, my whole head felt as if someone were trying to blow up a balloon inside of it — while someone else had hooked a clothes pin on my nose! How odd/annoying NOT to be able to breathe through your nose.

That lasted most of the night until, oddly enough, my nose started to run … yet, still was completely blocked. (I’m sure I made all kinds of noises during my mouth-breathing slumber; fortunately, my hotel roomie, The Lovely, apparently slept right through it. Otherwise, I suspect she might’ve been tempted to put me — and, more importantly, herself — out of any misery by covering my face with a pillow!)

Friday was pretty much a wasted day. The players and their coach spent the morning and afternoon at the tennis courts; I spent the day in Room 318 of the Pear Tree Inn, feeling horrible. Eventually, around 1 p.m., I managed to walk over to Panera, risking life and limb while crossing a multiple-lane major intersection, which of course included a “walk” sign that lasted until you got about halfway across the road and then started flashing the “don’t walk” sign, forcing you to sprint across the final three lanes for fear of being hit by 20-some cars!

I got my 1/2 Greek salad and my 1/2 turkey and Swiss on country bread to go and managed to make it across the highway, again (vowing never to attempt it again). I was quite happy to get back in my hotel room, where I scarfed down the food and decided to watch some more TV.

I have to tell you, I had some weird, almost agoraphobic thoughts when I was holed-up in my room. I attribute those to being slightly off-kilter ever since the weekend before my last road trip, the aforementioned Wrigley Field adventure; then, over the past few days, I’ve been fighting this congestion. On Tuesday, Sandy gave me a Claritin-type timed-release pill which cleared my head AND nostrils, pronto! — but then I didn’t sleep AT ALL that night. (I mean, I must’ve drifted off a couple of times throughout the night, but I don’t remember actually getting any sleep!) The next night, I was back to my Benadryl and slept great.

Anyway, agoraphobically speaking: I did NOT want to go anywhere on Friday. I did not want to leave the room, and I found myself thinking of all kinds of reasons not to go out. Naturally, though, hunger won out — at lunchtime and, later, when I went to dinner and the mall with the team. I didn’t feel much like going, physically, but mentally, it was good for me.

Yada yada yada, the team had just two matches today, first thing this morning, so we decided not to stay another 24 hours and just “hang out.” Which meant a long day of driving today (we left at 10 a.m. and arrived home at 6 p.m. … with a couple of detours along the way!), but now I’m home and happy. And slightly medicated (with more to follow, I’m sure!), and feeling pretty good.

(I think I had more I wanted to babble about, but … I’ve lost concentration. Go figure!)

Weekend before last, we — Diane, Karl, Sherry, the kids and I — are all sitting around at Diane’s, watching Roger Federer play Novak Djokovic for the U.S. Open championship and the Chicago Bears play the San Diego Chargers on the split-screen. Actually, Diane and the grandkidlets are out in the kitchen, coloring and what-not around the new Spider-Man table.

A few minutes later, Kameron comes running into the living room and yells, “Go, Cubbies!”

Confusion ensues, for Diane, Karl, Sherry AND the kids (for all we know) are fans of the St. Louis Cardinals. I, of course, am the lone Cubs fan in the group. (Kurt likes them, too, but he’s way down in Loosiana.)

“What’s that?” I ask Kameron.

“Go, Cubbies!” he yells again and then scampers back to the kitchen.

“Who taught him that?” I ask — convinced that one of the adults did so, simply to taunt me.

They all deny it, and the more I think about it, the more I realize that none of them would EVER do or say anything that could even remotely be considered in favor of the Cubs.

Apparently, Kam has come up with this gem on his own! And he is all too happy to repeat himself, several times, whilst I capture it all on cell-phone video.

The next morning, Karl and I are in the car at 7 a.m., heading to Wrigley Field in Chicago where we are going to watch the Cardinals play the Cubs in a game that was postponed a few weeks ago because of rain. (Note to self: Driving to Chicago and back, all in one day, is a road trip you never want to take … especially when the drive home includes constant rain from just outside the city clear down to Troy!)

Although the city itself, as usual, is great fun. We spend 45 minutes at Niketown on Michigan Avenue, then tool over to Arturo’s for nacho chips and tacos for lunch. Less than an hour later, we’re cruising toward Clark, parking about five blocks from Wrigley and then walking to the historic stadium.

Along the way, I see a cute doggie:

How much is that doggie ON the window?

Before long, we’re at the ballpark, and I make Karl snap a picture of me in front of a very recognizable landmark (and, no, I don’t mean McDonald’s!).

Di at Wrigley Field

Once we’re inside, I see one of my favorite Cubs players, shortstop Ryan Theriot, warming up on the sidelines.

The Riot Throwing

The Riot on Deck

Yeah, OK, it’s pronounced “terry-oh,” but isn’t that a cool last name: THE RIOT?!

We’ve got awesome seats, too, so I shoot some action shots during the course of the Cubs’ 12-3 rout of their arch-rivals — including Jacque Jones getting a base hit, and three of my faves (Derrek Lee, David Eckstein and Jim Edmonds).

Jacque Jones Hit


It rains a little during the game, but thanks to my scorecard serving as sort of a windshield/rain deflector, my clothes AND my camera stay dry.

Two of my favorite parts of the game — aside from the Cubs’ five-run fourth inning — are the women serving as gatekeepers/bouncers for the row in front of us. People try, hard as they can, to get to their seats by walking down the row, but NOTHING gets past these old women, who make them go back up and around and back down! (It’s not all hard work; they also get to take part in the traditional “Y-M-C-A” performance.)

Directing Traffic


And this sign makes me chuckle:

Foul Balls

Name this former member of The Monkees:

Peter Tork Jams

Yes, of course, that’s Peter Tork. He and his band, Shoe Suede Blues, played Saturday afternoon at the Cedarhurst Craft Fair.

I had intended to attend the craft fair anyway. I always try to make it up there — not so much to buy any of the arts & crafts on display, but to see what the artsy & crafty people are doing these days. This year, once I took a look at the schedule (the night before the event started), I knew I simply HAD to get up there to get some pictures of Peter Tork and Shoe Suede Blues.

For Patti, mostly … and for Case, if she ever ventures over to my bloggie.

As for me: I love certain Monkees songs, but for the most part, I can’t claim to have been a fan of the show. For no reason other than I simply didn’t get it. It all struck me as pure silliness with basically no plot … which, I suppose, is pretty much what it was. It was only years later, in college, when Patti and Case and various others would tune in to The Monkees marathons on TV Land or whatever channel happened to be showing them, when I realized that was exactly the point: It WAS pure silliness, and there really was nothing TO get. You just watched the show and laughed and enjoyed the music. And crushed on whichever Monkee happened to be your favorite.

(I’m thinking both Patti and Case liked Mike the best, but I could be wrong; I really wasn’t paying attention. I’m pretty sure neither of them liked Davy Jones all that much, though.)

Peter Tork Closeup

Peter Tork & Arnold Jacks

September 2007

My Shots on Flickr



Shed & Pump