Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Dusting off the ol' blog with a trip to the Fox River!

Kenney and I decided to finally take our well-accessorized bikes on the road last weekend (we've only had them for 2 1/2 years!) with a trip to the Fox River.  A couple of weeks ago while Kenney was gone (to Dallas...or Bentonville...or Canada....I can't remember which place, he's been on the road so much!) I pumped up the tires, attached our bells, put on my new seat, and finally took off the tags.  My sister-in-law and her husband gave us bike shorts (not the kind you wear as shorts, but the kind that provide extra padding), so I pulled those out of our "bike box" (yes, we have a bike box...with Nutcase helmets, our bike shorts, and the rest of the accessories we wanted all in one location in preparation for the day we would ride!).  We were ready to go!

I had found this little spot on the Fox River the day before we went biking when Mel and I drove around to a bunch of garage sales- it had a dilapidated old automobile bridge (the wooden slat kind).

 Kenney and I loaded up the bikes in the back of the Durango (no bike rack yet) and drove down to the river where we parked and started our ride.  About 10 seconds into our bike ride, I realized that our tires were still pretty flat, so I pumped them up again...only to determine that there must be something else wrong because they weren't getting any higher.  Luckily, there was a bike shop called Main Street Bicycles literally 20 yards away & they were able to fit us in immediately!  They not only pumped up our tires (apparently we just needed a super-strength compressor to do it, not my little hand pump that attaches to my bike frame), but they also tightened loose spokes, calibrated the brakes, and made sure both bikes ran smoothly- and, I bought a darling brown basket to attach to the front of my bike to hold essentials like water, my phone, a credit card and keys!  All for $42 total!  We'll definitely be back!  They were great guys, and so nice!  The shop was really busy while we were there, too, and Kenney said he heard two different people complimenting our bikes, which was nice since I only got them because I recognized the Schwinn name and they were only $45 on clearance at Target a couple of years ago.  I'm glad representatives of the biking community approve! :)

We were finally on the road!  We started out just riding the Fox River Trail which follows the river for a while, then we ended up in downtown Carpentersville which has a cute little Main Street area.  I loved this old "Horse Shoeing and Jobbing" building- look at that amazing facade!  I can just picture people riding up on their horses for the blacksmith to shoe them!

We rode right by a little cafe called Cafe Patisserie and stopped to have breakfast (kind of a mistake in retrospect- we should not have eaten so much food & then continued biking!).  I have to say that the pain was kind of worth it though because they make the most amazing breakfast pizza, it was a beautiful day, and it was so nice to sit outside while bikers whizzed by!  We continued down the path which took us into Dundee, and at some point we started riding through a very wooded stretch a few miles long.

 We realized that we were still following the river and that we most likely would end up at this little park near the apartment if we kept going long enough- sure enough, we ended up at the park and were able to use the bridge under the I-90 overpass to cross the river.  At that point, we were only about a mile or so from the apartment, so we decided just to ride all the way back home then pick up the dogs in the Mazda and drive back to get the Durango.  I was happy to have the bikes at home, too, without having to pile them on top of each other since we had just paid to have them calibrated- didn't want to have to get it done all over again the next time we wanted to ride!

(That's Kenney in both pictures!)

Honestly, I nearly didn't make it all the way home.  I made Kenney stop a bunch of times the last mile because it was SO hot, there was no shade, I was finally feeling the over-fullness from the amazing breakfast coupled with probably drinking too much water at one time.  We made it to the apartment complex, and I actually sent Kenney on ahead to get the car because I felt like I couldn't make it any further.  But then my competitive edge set in, and I didn't want him to have to come get me and admit defeat, so I crawled back onto my bike and finished the ride!  As our apartment came into view, I saw Kenney pulling out of the driveway to come get me, and he reached out his hand through the window to give me a high five (we're nerds), but it was nice.

After showering to cool down and re-hydrating, I mapped out our route on Something maps (Arrested Development reference) to see how far we'd gone- 5.7 miles!  Pretty good for our first ride in, I don't know, 15 years?  After packing plenty of water for the dogs, we loaded them in the Mazda and drove back down to the river to get the other car.  Since we were right by the river, we took the dogs down to the shoreline to let them explore and get in the water if they wanted to.  As soon as we neared the edge, Ana waltzed right in and laid down...she is a river girl at heart!

Blue walked in and stood by her for a while, then finally decided to lay down, too.  He'd switch sides every now and then to cool himself evenly.

Hanging out on the Fox reminds us of being at home on the James...we miss it terribly!  We used to walk the mile down to the river from our beautiful little ranch house, and the dogs would wade into the water.  I wonder if they think that's where we are when we go to the's a comforting thought, actually.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Photogenic Blue

I love shooting photos of Blue- he is such a willing participant and so photogenic.  Bunny isn't as photogenic. Even though she definitely is the princess and should be the one having more photos taken.  I think it's because she is soooo very long and sleek.  I think she photographs the best when her ears are up, otherwise she looks sulky (which she is sulky and sassy a lot of the time!).  Blue always has this soft quality about him.  I don't think I've ever taken a bad photo of him.  To that end, I am about to post a billion of them, because I couldn't narrow down the ones I wanted to post.  Blue loves to lay in the patches of sunlight in the office.  It makes for amazing photos. I love my big, goofy, snuggly boy!

Greyhound Finds on a Lazy Sunday

I am so excited!  This morning started out as a lazy Sunday...lounging in bed, checking out Etsy on my iPhone, relisting some expired listings and searching for new vintage greyhound items.  And then I saw them.  Mint vintage greyhound drinking glasses.  I had to have them.  Now!  I leaped from the bed, ran downstairs, and immediately contacted the seller, Ruff by Margo, to find out how much shipping was going to set me back for a set of 6.  Within just a few minutes, we had a reserved listing set up and I was checking out.  I'm now the proud owner of a set of 6 of these babies (photo courtesy of Margo!):

The glasses originally came in sets of 8- each greyhound wore a different color silk and was numbered 1 through 8.  I couldn't pass up the opportunity to have a set of mint glasses though!  Maybe over time I'll add the rest of the numbers and phase out the rest- who knows!  Right now, I am just thrilled to have them.  I did come to the realization that I think I am officially collecting vintage glasses now...I have quite a few sets that I am just in love with, and I can't seem to pass them up when I find them at flea markets (or online!).

The other thing that really just made my day is that I FINALLY found the origin of a vintage greyhound brooch that Kenney gave me for our 4th wedding anniversary earlier this month.  This is the brooch, as worn by me:

Kenney purchased it after I fell in love with it during a quick trip to Richmond a couple of months ago.  I saw it at one of our favorite shops in Carytown, Bygones, and desperately wanted it, but it was too expensive for an impulse purchase that we had no knowledge of it's real value.  We were told that it was priced at $80 because it was sterling silver and enamel, but that didn't really mean much to me then.  After we returned to Illinois, Kenney called the store and asked if they could hold it until our friend, Melissa, made it there to buy it for him- they remembered him (and probably how much I fawned all over it) and were happy to hold it.  Then, on our anniversary, I came home to a lovely presentation of the pin nestled in a birds nest (from our sister's recent wedding) and roses- I was beside myself!  Since I had the pin in hand, I started researching it to find out more about it.  What was it's origin?  How old is it?  Is it rare?  Did we get a good deal, or was it one of those "but you'll never find it again, so it's worth the extra money" purchases?  No such luck...I couldn't find ANYTHING about it.  Until today!  As I was researching my newly purchases greyhound glasses above, I came across this:

Just this one listing alone gave me so much information!  The pin is made by Uncas Manufacturing.  The U with arrow is their marking.  They are selling their pin for $155, a total of $75 more than Kenney paid for mine! So exciting!  I can't find anything else still about the pin, but this is a great start!