Football: Notre Dame v.s. Northwestern University

55E8AB61-E124-4291-A275-7521F8F7FEC3For those of you who follow football, this weekend (November 3, 2018) the University of Notre Dame plays Northwestern University in Evanston (North of Chicago). It supposed to be a BIG game, we have not played them in 40 years and we lost last time. Of course, I am an ND fan. Game Day t-shirts are on sale now. ND fans, wear your blue/gold with PRIDE!

Go IRISH!

Chicago to Mackinac Island – Sailboat race starts tomorrow…

sailboats-1375064_960_720The race from Chicago to Mackinac Island starts tomorrow (Saturday, July 21, 2018). If you are in the area, head down to Navy Pier. It’s exciting and beautiful to see all the boats lining up to take off. They have different sized boats, so they leave at different times to make the race fair.

The reason this is exciting is because this is the oldest freshwater race in the world, it started in 1898. If you enjoy sailing, you might like to see this online tracking of the race. If you click on the “online tracking link,” you can see a picture of Lake Michigan with a line showing you how they will sail from Chicago to Mackinac Island. They sail nonstop, so they use spotlights at night. I believe there are about 340 boats and approximately 3,000 sailors.

Weather forecast not looking so good, rain and high winds.

So, you see, Chicago is known for a little bit more than just “Al Capone / gangsters.” Ah, I’m kidding, but did you know that Walt Disney was born in Chicago, 1901, and grew up here? He studied drawing at the Institute of Fine Arts. I leave you with Frank Sinatra’s song, “My Kind of Town (Chicago is)!”  AND The Blues Brothers with “Sweet Home Chicago.

Let the race begin!

Diet & Exercise – TIME TO COMMIT!

Spring is around the corner. Do you struggle with diet and exercise? I just read a motivational post by CrossFitMomm: One Mom’s Journey with CrossFit. This Mom is definitely ON FIRE. Her post called, “You Can’t Exercise Away a Crap Diet…” was a right on target.

I found inspiration in her post, because she thrives on exercise. She is fanatical about it, like a drill Sergeant. That is the type of trainer I would need. Someone to push me to the next level. As I keep reading her posts I see the difference in “her thinking” versus “my thinking.” I enjoy exercise, but I am not driven by it. She is driven by exercise, I like her energy.

It would be amusing if she and I went bicycle shopping together. At the store, I would go to the LEFT and she would go to the RIGHT. I would be looking at the old fashioned leisure bikes with a pretty basket in front, she would be looking at the high powered racing bikes. This is why I like her posts! Her energy is so high and focused on exercise that I would slowly concede and buy the race bike.

She points out that if we find an exercise or sport that we love to do then it is not a chore. I agree with this. If you are looking for motivation and a little bit of “tough love” in the exercise department, you’ll like her Blog.

Ok – this little bird needs to pick up the pace. Spring is here, the birds are chirping like crazy outside. Let’s GO!

Are there any sharks? Boating in Wilmington, NC.

IMG_1546I grew up swimming in Lake Michigan. Swimming in a Lake is carefree. You might run into some minnows, or step on a big brick – YES, there are bricks at the bottom of the Lake, but you would never run into a shark.

So, when I get to an ocean, my first instinct is to dive right in UNTIL a warning sound goes off in my brain that says, “WAIT, are there any sharks?”  That’s what happened on my trip to Wilmington, North Carlolina. I soon overcame any fears as my friend jumped in without hesitation and started bobbing up and down in the waves looking like a fish. I followed.

As I was diving into the water, I was reminded of a time I was diving into the Lake with my brother. We had found a red brick at the bottom of the Lake in the sand bar area. My brother had picked it up and brought it to the service, PROUD of what he had found. We decided to play a game. We would throw the brick in the water and BOTH of us would dive in the water after the brick. Whoever got to the brick FIRST would be the one to throw it in again.

Well, this game was working out well until my brother, being extremely fast, dove in just in time for the brick to come crashing on his head. Luckily, this was not a bolder, but still, he came up out of the water with blood on his forehead. We immediately went out of the water. My mother was horrified and off to the emergency room we went for him to get stitches. So ended our fun brick game.

IMG_4493We also did a lot of boating on Lake Michigan, but I was not prepared for the boating they do in Wilmington. Wow – we went out on Saturday and there were boats everywhere. It’s “the” thing to do on the weekend. I felt like we were on a busy water freeway. The boats were very orderly, just like on a normal road, staying in their lane. Of course, there are always the “hot rods” even on the water.

IMG_4495There were the party looking boats with a lot of young people. They were doing water skiing and water tubing. There was a little island with a palm tree. As the day went on and the water started rising it covered the little island. We drove by a red Tow Boat, and later in the day hurried to dock the boat as we could see a storm coming in.

IMG_1547There have been a lot of thunder storms this summer. That day we could see the dark clouds coming in over the Atlantic Ocean. The lightning looked like fireworks in the sky, similar to this photo. Every few minutes behind the clouds we would see a flash of pink and silver. The thunder was incredible, so loud too. When I lived in California we had rain storms, but no thunder or lightening.

If you haven’t been boating or swimming in a while, it’s great fun, GO DO IT!  Be careful of those BIG waves though, they can knock you out… seriously, they can.

 

Italy: The 2017 Mille Miglia auto race takes off in Brescia

It’s that time of year again. The Mille Miglia auto race just took off yesterday. I was there and captured this quick clip as the cars were speeding off.  It’s wonderful to be in Brescia and see 460 vintage cars around town all getting ready to compete in the race, which goes from Brescia to Rome and back to Bresica about 1,000 miles.

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My friend said to enter the race a card must have been made before 1957.  The race is not about being the fastest, it has to do with car performance. At each stopping point the car is checked for various things. It’s critical to have a co-pilot to help with this. Also, the drivers are going through small towns, mountains, etc., so they have their mechanical team close behind, in case assistance is needed. Cars do break down even before they start.

IMG_1254This is quite a race. Think about it… for each nightly stop they make, ALL the drivers/co-pilots, mechanics, race organizers, etc. must be fed and put up in different hotels for the three different nights. Also, there must be a big enough space for all of the cars, so that the mechanics can do their tweaking, testing, etc. of their cars at night, so car is ready to leave next morning.

Clearly, this is a passion these owners/drivers have for their cars. While most car drivers are Italian, there are many other countries entered to race (Holland, Germany, United Kingdom, United States and more).

The race finishes on Sunday!  If someone gets a channel and can post an update on the race, we would love to see progress reports.

Go Mille Miglia!

French artist Clet Abraham gives traffic signs in Florence, Italy a “new look.”

street-signs-florence

While I was walking in Florence recently, I “did” notice the traffic signs had art on them and thought it was graffiti. Then a friend told me it was actually a French-born artist, Clet Abraham, who had been going around town placing stickers on traffic signs.

Clet has lived in Florence over 20 years now and started this street sign art about five years ago. He has had a little trouble from the police, but it seems that has been sorted out and now he is famous for his art. He created the art as stickers, so they can easily be removed and he has expanded to other cities in Italy. If you are visiting Florence, he has a studio close to Piazza Michelangelo and he sells some of his stickers there. So, you could pay him a visit, see his art and speak to him in person.

You can follow Clet on Facebook. I just visited his site and was amused at other stickers he has come up with. He had visited New York, so he has one of the Statue of Liberty. There was a funny post there where Clet went to buy a pizza and they surprised him with a pizza that had a traffic sign on it. Be warned, if you don’t speak Italian, you will need your Italian dictionary to understand some of the conversations; however, you don’t need to speak Italian to enjoy the pictures he has posted. Good news – some of the discussions are in English.

Enjoy looking at street signs in a whole new way!

Chicago Cubs Win the World Series – Exciting Game!

fireworks-cubsIf you watched the Chicago Cubs play against the Cleveland Indians in the World Series tonight, I am sure you’d agree that it was a VERY exciting game!  And I don’t normally watch much baseball, but this game had us on pins and needles the entire time. FANTASTIC! They deserved the win!

For those of you who want to share in the excitement, see this article from the Chicago Tribune, “Cubs Win! Cubs Win! Cubs Win!,” written by Paul Sullivan – Contact Reporter.

We’re proud of you Chicago Cubs!  You broke the 108 year curse AND you have brought Chicagoans together united in celebration!  This is wonderful!

 

Chicago Cubs reach World Series. Have not won since 1908 (108 years ago) – GO CUBS!

cubs-lionsHELLO Chicago — Are we excited! For those of you who do not know much about baseball, the Cubs are a Chicago baseball team. We have not won the World Series since 1908, which was 108 years ago. That’s a long time! So, you can imagine the excitement in Chicago right now.

In fact, The Art Institute of Chicago on Michigan Avenue decorated the two lions that are in front of the museum with Cubs baseball caps. This is a tradition in Chicago, when one of our teams (Cubs, Chicago Bears, White Sox or Blackhawks) goes to the finals, the lions are decorated with the team helmut. You can see how the lion looks with the Cub’s helmet.

I’ve heard that tickets for the World Series games are out of control. For example, standing room tickets are approximately $860 per ticket and stadium tickets are up to $6,000. Forbes.com’s article (October 23, 2016), “Chicago Cubs Ticket Prices At Wrigley More Than Double Previous World Series Record,” has more details on pricing, if you are interested in going. You’ll have to fork out a lot of money that’s for sure.

Well, after patiently waiting 108 years Cubs fans probably have a piggy bank full of $$ just waiting for this occasion.

Tune in Tuesday night (October 25, 2016, 8 pm EST) to see the Chicago Cubs play the Cleveland Indians. Now, the Cleveland Indians have not won the World Series since 1948 (68 years ago), so you can better understand the importance and excitement in this game. History will be made in the next two weeks.

Go Cubs!

Nashville – Go see Bellissima! The Italian Automotive Renaissance, 1945 – 1975

old-fiat-in-italyIf you love old cars, you have to hurry! Nashville is having a fantastic auto show called, “Bellissima! (translation: gorgeous) The Italian Automotive Renaissance, 1945 – 1975.  The show is at The Frist Center for Visual Arts and ends October 9th, 2016. Sorry for the short notice.

italian-map-bootThis tour of 19 Italian built automobiles is post-World War II era. They are designed by Alfa Romeo, Ducati, Bizzarrini, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lancia and Maserati. You’ll see Italian coachbuilt cars, concept cars and motorcycles from the economic revival period known as “The Italian Economic Miracle.” From what I have read, The Italian Economic Miracle was given this name by historians to indicate a time in history when Italy was flourishing. Italians are known for fashion; however, did you know they also produced type writers, washing machines, refrigerators, plastics, sewing machines, and inexpensive motor scooters. They were known for their elegant designs and inexpensive production techniques at this time. The Italians do have a sense of style in anything they do…. AND food/music, we enjoy it all!

If you love Italy, like I do, and are curious about Italian history, I encourage you to CLICK on the links above. Learn a little bit about Italy.

What I find amazing about these cars is that quite a few of them look “space age,” which is where we are headed now with car designs. So, if you are in the Nashville neighborhood, bring your espresso coffee with you and tour through a piece of Italian history AND do me a favor, find out “how” they chose Nashville for this tour, I’m curious!

Mighty Girls – strong and powerful.

Ginny Thrasher 2016 Olympic Gold Medalist

Ginny Thrasher, 2016 Rio Olympics Gold Medalist in Sports Shooting, photo from “A Mighty Girl” website.

Have you noticed lately there is a push toward “girl power?” A few months ago I started following “A Mighty Girl” on Facebook. They are a great resource for girls of all ages on being strong, confident and courageous.

The website shares all sorts of books, movies, TV resources featuring girls/women who have made a difference in their lives, community and/or the world. When I was young we didn’t have a special resource like this. What a wonderful website for girls!

As I follow “A Mighty Girl” on Facebook, I am pleasantly surprised by their inspiring posts every day. Share this website with young girls/women you know.

TODAY their message was really special. They honored Ginny Thrasher, a nineteen-year-old American sports shooter from Virginia, who won the FIRST GOLD MEDAL of the 2016 Rio Olympics in the 10 meter air rifle competition. I got lucky and I happened to turn on the Olympics during the shooting competitions, so I saw Ms. Thrasher in action. It takes a lot of concentration to win, especially when the crowd, instead of being silent, was loud and started clapping, which is distracting…. BUT she kept her FOCUS and finished with a 10.9 beating two-time medalist Li Du of China.

The story gets better. Ginny Thrasher only took up this shooting sport five years ago and was ranked 23 in the world as she entered the Olympics and not favored to win gold. Clearly she has a special skill and her passion and determination brought her the GOLD medal. She’s a sophomore at West Virgina University and became the first freshman ever in history to win the NCAA individual air rifle titles.

2016 Rio Olympic history was made!  Another Mighty Girl was revealed.

Congratulations Ginny Thrasher, we’re PROUD of you!!  Go Team U.S.A.!