I love to travel: near and far: Africa, South America, Europe, North America. Just a few more continents to go. Here you can read about my more adventurous travels and the Easy-Going Places I like to go. I’ll spotlight some places to take the Grandkids, Kids, or maybe just you and your Closest.
The greatest gift we have is our time. – Meditation from St. Francis Xavier
It’s cold and winter is here; summer still clings with all her might. Sometimes, that’s the way I feel. I love summer. Still, there’s something invigorating about a brisk walk in crisp air.
My friend Geri gifted me with a day in Chicago with friends. Of course I can go anytime, but I don’t. I wait for a reason. What better reason than time with a friend.
My first Fathom Event: Dr. Who Day of the Doctor in 3-D. Was it worth it? Heck Yes!
Loved-One is a fan of Doctor Who. Not a Johnny-come-lately fan, Loved-One can name all the companions since Romana I, Roman II, who came out of nowhere with no explanation, and K-9, Loved-One’s favorite companion. And what about his favorite Doctor? Tom Baker, hands down. Tom Baker and his crazy 10 foot scarf.
I’m a late comer. I started with Christopher Eccleston as The Doctor and Rose (Billie Piper) as his companion. The Empty Child pointed out a big difference between British television and American. British children die. Lots of British children die.
I’m crazy about Doctor Who; my favorite re-generation is David Tennant. I cannot decide which companion I like the most: Is it Rose, or Amy and Rory, or Clara, or maybe Martha. Jack Harkness Continue reading
You can’t always get what your want,
But if your try sometimes,
You might find,
You get what you need. – The Rolling Stones
My bonus mother, Marilyn, the mother Loved-One gave me, gifted us with flowering trees from the Arbor Day Foundation: two Washington Hawthorns and a Crab-apple. The trees were tiny, little seedlings that fit in a sandwich bag. All Together.
Loved-One and I nurtured them, took pictures of them and gave progress reports to Marilyn. The Crab-apple made her home beside our water garden with nary a worry. The next spring, Continue reading
September is now the number one month for weddings. Loved-One, Ducky and I went to Nashville late last month to attend out lovely neice, Megan’s wedding. On the way, we stopped in Effingham, IL on my way to Nashville. Have you heard of Effingham? Me neither. It’s a smallish town, about halfway between Chicago and Nashville; where Interstates 57 and 70 meet.
My family traveled there on our way to a beautiful fall wedding in Nashville. Our niece got married that weekend.
The signs in the Hampton Inn and Suites elevators took me by surprise. Yes, the sheets and duvet covers were the whitest-white. Yes, the sheets were clean and fresh smelling, without being perfumey. But what’s up with a sticky note on the bed, and these signs in the elevator?
I had to find out more. I had to stop and talk to the woman in charge.
Carrie Ragle is the Assistant Manager of Housekeeping. She’s been with Hampton Inn and Suites since it opened in January. Before that, she worked as a waitress at a nearby Denny’s restaurant.
Carrie doesn’t use statistical analysis or process mapping. What she does is adhere to W, Edwards Deming’s number one point for “Transformation of Western Management”: Constancy of Purpose. She pays attention to the details, and puts the customer first.
The 800 thread count sheets get purchased from a Hampton approved supplier. Consistency of quality starts there and continues through the housekeeping and laundry process.
First, when the housekeepers change the beds, they tie stains with a rubber band, which acts as a flag in Laundry. Stains get soaked in a Dawn Dish soap, Tide Stain Remover, and Bleach concoction. Next, the sheets are laundered in Tide and followed with Downy fabric softener. Clara, from Laundry, inspects all the sheets before she turns them over to Housekeeping. Clara discards any sheets with resistant stains.
Carrie likes working on her own: she checks the rooms and makes sure all the work gets done. She likes her manager, Suzy, who trains her to take on new responsibilities, as she is ready. Carrie looks forward to learning how to place orders and manage employees’ schedules.
Although Carrie misses some her customers at Denny’s, she applied for a position at Hampton because after four years at Denny’s, she lost respect the management team.
After just a few months at the Hampton Inn and Suites, Carrie got a promotion from housekeeper to Assistant Manager. How did she get promoted so quickly?
“I asked. That’s all it took.”
I bet her work ethic had a lot to do with her promotion.
Carrie dropped out of high school because it stopped being fun and relevant. When Carrie turned 25, she talked her mother into being her study partner. Together, they both earned their GED. Today Carrie appreciates the value of a good education. She lives in Altamont, IL, because it has a great school system. She wants her 7 year-old daughter to start out with a strong educational background.
Sometimes we can overlook how important the quality is, which everyday people put into their work. When it comes down to it, “It’s all about the people.” I like to stop a moment and talk to the people who provide quality services. Some of the most quality focused people, never went to college. Some even dropped out of high school. It doesn’t take an advanced degree to understand the principles of quality. It just takes constancy of focus.
Oh and about those elevator signs: Carrie just sighed. “Yeah, I don’t quite understand it either.”
Still, I sure liked climbing between those fresh, whiter-than-white sheets. I know that the people who made my stay so comfortable, really cared.
We stopped in Effington on the way back from Nashville, too. Of course, we stayed at the Hampton Inn and Suites.
We might just go back there on more than a drive-through, next time. I think Effington just might have a lot to offer.
I the meantime, I can get my own Hampton Inn quality sheets for home at The Hampton Home Collection. My neighbor got her mattress on this very website.
- Hampton Inn Really!? (lifeslittlerantsandraves.wordpress.com)
This gallery contains 4 photos.
Miss G is in second grade this year. She is a bit shy, and she knows what she likes. She likes science more than anything. Missy S is in first grade. She reads like a sixth grader, even using inflection when she reads dialog. She has an opinion on everything. Miss K is a fashionista and a social butterfly. She is in the fourth grade this year. Miss K loves math.
All three girls are are wiz-kids and as techno-savvy as any of their brothers. Who says girls don’t like science and math? Who says girls’ brains are not wired for technology and engineering?
It’s because of Miss G that Love-One and I plan the Science and Industry Museum outing. Miss G loves the science of the body. Especially the brain. She wants to see a real human brain.
I question how anyone in the world can dislike science. I mean, it’s all so interesting. And technology, well that’s science put to work. I tell the girls if anyone tells you math is hard, make sure and let them know spelling is way, way harder. Miss G’s eyes get big, and she shakes her head up and down like the diva she is.
“Waaaaay easier than spelling,” Miss K says.
Right off the bat, the girls are intriqued by an experiment. They measure and mix and observe as liquid turns into a semi-solid.
Miss G sees her heart in action. I do this too, and guess what? The monitor picks up on a little anomaly I have: a slight delay in the relay from atrium to ventricle. Interesting to see.
Miss S demonstrates the effects of energy and force.
On to reproduction. We watch some chicks hatch.
The ant room was a favorite.
We had a healthy lunch in the cafeteria. Really good food. Okay, the chicken fingers were fried, but look at the fruit and carrot sticks. After all the walking around, all three girls ate every bite.
Miss G explains the workings of the body to Miss S and Miss K.
Loved-One and I took two sets of grand-kids to Dozing with the Dinos on two separate occassions: once a girl and a boy, next two boys. Are there any differences between boys’ and girls’ approach to science? Yes.
When little boys get tired or bored, they give each other a shove, run, and do high karate kicks. When little girls’ attention wane, they huddle and giggle and talk and touch each others hair or clothes.
“Let’s move on,” Miss G announces, whenever the gaggle lost momentum. She’s definitely the alpha-girl of the bunch. Everyone fell into line under her tutelage.
We welcomed a good night’s sleep, while visions of mitochondria and ganglia danced in our heads.
- Exhibit Propels Girls Toward Science, Tech Jobs (hispanicbusiness.com)
“Wouldn’t it be fun to have High Tea together?” I said to Miss K on her 9th birthday.
“Well, it’s a little like lunch with fancy sandwiches and pretty cookies, and tea or lemonade,” I said. “Everything’s on pretty dishes, and we could dress pretty, too.”
Miss K is my girly-girl, grand-daughter; the one sandwiched in among four brothers. I know just the place: The London Pub & Grill, authentic English food, only tastier.
“Yes, yes.” She clapped her hands together and shook her curls out behind her tipped back head.
A month passes.
“Remember you promised to take me to that thing with the fancy sandwiches and cookies?” Miss K pouted out her bottom lip and tilted her head to one side. (Yes, she really does that.) We made a date, and invited Missy S and Miss G along.
Missy S is the six-year old. She’s all business. She’s got the score and is ready to make sure you’re up to speed, even if your lapse is only temporary.
Miss G is seven. She’s the scientist. Her current focus is the human body from the inside out, with particular emphasis on the brain.
A slumber party precedes High Tea is preceded. Missy S and Miss K spend the night often. I am a lucky G-Mom. They live close by. Miss G lives a little further, and never spent the night of the slumber party. Sorry, Mom and Dad, but Miss G’s only comment was, “I thought I might miss house, but I don’t. Not at all.”
In the morning, G-Dad, aka Loved-One leads the girls in a frog hunt.
Next G-Dad’s boo-boo must be doctored. I think it’s just a hang-nail. Thank heaven for little girls; much more sympathetic than an old wife.
We get dolled up and off we go to High Tea. We need reservations, but for some reason, our name is not recorded. No matter, it only means a slight wait, sipping tea, while the chef prepares High Tea.
Missy S reminds everyone to curl their pinky finger.
“Never slurp air through your straw in a fancy restaurant,” she admonishes her older cousins.
Look at all the sandwiches and pastries. Yuuummie. We get some fresh scones when I give the waitress my business card. The first ones are a little overdone. Just a tad bit.
Rising to the occasion, good manners and daintiness mix in with a lot of giggles.
The girls stop and stare at a couple they believe are on a date. “Kiss, Kiss.”
Girls just wanna have fun. And we know how!
The nicest thing about this excursion was how quiet conversation with the girls. Isn’t that almost always the best?
Sorry to say, The London Pub’s website indicates they closed. Whah! Still, a quick Google reveals several places in the neighborhood.
What do you think? Would you attempt High Tea with your children or grandchildren? What’s your favorite outing with little ones?
- Afternoon Tea Anyone? (cherryheartsblog.wordpress.com)
Going to a ball game can be fun for the whole family. I love major league ball, but add up even the fair upper deck seats are $30 each. That’s without beer or hotdogs, or even peanuts and cracker jacks or parking ($30). Estimated cost for a family of four to attend a Cubs game is somewhere around $305; my family is way bigger than four.
This year I got a chance to visit the Kane County Cougars. Go Cougars! The A-Team affiliate of the Cubs. Soooo much fun. $10 a ticket ($5 for seniors) and $1.00 for hotdogs, beer and soft drinks up through the seventh inning. Eight grandchildren and five adults and change in our pockets.
Parking at $5.00 is a bit of a walk, but hey, Loved-One and I are trying to get in 10,000 steps a day and 10 flights of stairs as part of our Mediterranean lifestyle changes. Okay, okay, we have temporary handicap parking, also $5.00, because of Duckie’s osteomyelitis surgery. She had prime seating. A couple of the parents were happy to stay in the peaceful handicapped companion seating, but got booted out as we each had a turn at keeping Duckie company. We bounced up and back to our bleacher (with backs) seating to keep her company. That said, even the lawn seating looked like a fun time for the kids. (Who doesn’t love rolling down a hill?)
The best part? Cougars won!
Or was it the celebratory fireworks after the win?
Was it running the bases after the game?
Or was it filling up with all the hotdog a kid can hold?
Me? Take me out to the ball game with family and I’m happy as a fan can be. I limited myself to one beer and 1 ½ hotdogs. (Mediterranean lifestyle is low on the processed meat. – I got my 10,000 steps in, more than 10 flights of stairs, and enjoyed family fun. All part of the lifestyle.)
Have you ever been to a Minor League ballpark? What’s your idea of a fun outing with family or friends? I’m especially interested in the kind of fun that can be enjoyed by all ages and keeps the cost reasonable.
This week, after visiting Duckie’s doctor, we visited Anderson Japanese Garden. Soooo much fun. And sooo nice to get a break from the 90 degree heat. One set of grandchildren (5) and my other daughter, Beanie, joined Loved-One and me.
We fed the koi, and the baby duckies. We walked the shady paths and “meditated” in the zen gardens.
The kids’ favorite: the Fairy Butts. Mine: listening to children banter with each other, and Love-One making like Pinnochio.
The pictures are quite dappled and shadowy. Shade can do that.