Thursday, September 29, 2016

Charleston to Savannah

Our next bike trip is coming up at the end of October. It will be our first U.S. trip, and I am so excited to be able to begin the trip in the same time zone. No jet lag this time around.

The trip begins in Charleston, South Carolina, heads down the coast to Beaufort, and ends in Savannah, Georgia. Our old neighbors, Phil and Barby Cusumano, moved to Beaufort five or six years ago, so we are planning to have dinner with them one night there.

Some of the highlights will be:

1) Seeing the Angel Oak tree on Johns Island. This is one of the oldest oak trees in the country (estimated to be 1,500 years old), and it shades 17,000 square feet.

2) A guided tour through Beaufort where films such as Forrest Gump, Prince of Tides and The Great Santini were filmed.

3) A walking tour through Savannah

4) A visit to the Wormsloe Plantation, one of the most photographed sites in the south

This will be a shorter trip (only four days of biking instead of six). We only stay in three hotels instead of five. And we get a day off in the middle to explore Savannah.

Greg and Merry are going with us again. Should be lots of fun!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

The Newlywed Couch

Katherine and Josh got a new couch from IKEA earlier this month. It's actually a sectional. They had been living with the couch we had given Katherine when she was a junior in college until then. Katherine could not wait to get rid of it (it's actually still sitting in their dining room).

And Daniel and Heidi got some new couches a couple of weekends ago too, replacing their hand-me-down couches.

But when I saw this photo of our honeymoon couch, I had to laugh because it is worse than anything my children ever sat on. This green and yellow plaid sorry piece of furniture came from Don's college house I think. It wasn't long after this picture was taken that one of the dogs ripped the skirt right off of it while he was teething.

The couch must not have been very comfortable. Otherwise, Don and the dogs might have been sleeping on it instead of the floor.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


On Friday, Celeste, Gretchen, Nancy and I drove to Niagra-on-the-Lake to have a girls weekend.

We stayed at the Shakespeare B & B. Our most gracious hosts were Irene and Daryl Rutt.

We had the whole upstairs of the house which consisted of two bedrooms like this on either end.

And this living area between them. We had one full bathroom and one half bathroom. Everything was spotless and well maintained.

Out in the back, there was a pool and a hot tub. 

But it was a little chilly for swimming this weekend.

We had two fabulous breakfasts out on the patio.

Day one - peach-stuffed french toast.

Day two - eggs Benedict.

Saturday morning, we took a bike ride from the B & B along the Niagra River. It was a lovely day.

Then we did some shopping.

We went down the road to Lake Ontario to see the sunset on Saturday night.

And before heading home, we stopped at the Colaneri Estate Winery.

I love these three ladies! We had the best time.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Office in the Flats

As many of you know, Don and I met at work in 1983. The office of Arthur Andersen was located at the corner of East 9th and Superior, in the East Ohio Gas building in downtown Cleveland.

In 1989, Arthur Andersen (the accounting firm) and its consulting division split. Don was in the consulting division which was at the time called Andersen Consulting.

Then, on January 1, 2001, Arthur Andersen became Accenture. Don retired from Accenture in 2010.

A couple of weeks ago, the Accenture office moved from Public Square to the old Sammy's restaurant building on the east bank of the Flats.

As alumni of the company, we were invited to an open house tonight to see the new space. The decor was very modern and a little rustic because of all the wood beams left from the old building.

 But the best part was the view. I took this photo around 6:30 while it was still light out.

And this photo as the sun was setting. It might be difficult to concentrate with a scene like that outside your window.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The Wine Mill

On Thursday, Don and I met Daniel and Heidi at The Wine Mill in Peninsula. Daniel tried to tell me that they didn't serve dinner, but I didn't believe him. Turns out they just serve appetizers, desserts, and wine. So that's what we had!

The newlyweds wanted to treat us as a thank you for all we did to help with the wedding, and we wanted to check out the space for a possible rehearsal dinner for Peter and Kendall.

We enjoyed some sliders, cheese dip and salads for starters. Then we made the mistake of ordering dessert.

What you see in this photo is their version of a slice of carrot cake! It is quite the slice, and it comes with an upside down ice cream cone on top as well as strawberries and whipped cream.

The food at the Wine Mill was fabulous! Highly recommend it for a place to meet friends and have good conversation.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Time to Celebrate

Life With Riley began over six years ago in June of 2010. I had just "retired" from my job as a librarian and I was looking for a creative outlet to write about life.

The blog has become a part of me now. It has replaced the need to journal and scrapbook.

As part of this journey, I began printing blog books every 100 posts or so. I just received my 15th book in the mail yesterday. I'm up to 1,568 blog posts. Who would have thought?

Each book has a different photo of - who else but Riley - on the cover. He doesn't know he's the star of the blog.

And inside each book, every post is printed with photos and text. The all time top page view post is One Day in Paris from the bike trip in 2014. It has 107 page views. In the past month, the most popular post has been A Trip to the Landfill with 25 page views.

I'll pass these books on to my children some day, then after that, an archaeologist will dig them up and find out what life was like with Riley from 2010-20?? It certainly has been colorful.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Powell's City of Books

Over Labor Day weekend, Katherine and Josh took a little five-day vacation out west to Portland, Oregon for some much needed R & R.While they were there, they drove to the coast and did some hiking, stayed at an Air B & B and explored the city by foot and cab.

But the day they got to visit Powell's City of Books, Katherine thought she had died and gone to heaven. Powell's City of Books is "the largest used and new bookstore in the world, occupying an entire city block and housing approximately one million books."

I was jealous, of course, because that would have been my dream come true. I could have spent the entire five days at the bookstore. I would have had to ship my purchases home. Katherine could have spent five days there too, but she is so disciplined, she only bought one book: All the Light We Cannot See.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

One Hundred Days

It's exactly 100 days until the wedding! Depending on how you look at it, that is a very big number or a very small number. I bet these two just can't wait!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Bald-Face Hornets

When we were at the Geauga County Fair a couple of weeks ago, they had on display a large paper nest like the one in this photo. I asked the man behind the display what type of nest is was, and he told me it was a bald-face hornet nest.

So when we pulled into the parking lot this morning where we work out, and I saw this particular nest, I knew right away what kind of insect built it. I was brave enough to get a photo, but if I had know then what I know now, I would not have gotten so close.

Bald-face hornets are one of the most aggressive wasps there are. They will fiercely attack, repeatedly stinging, anything that gets within three feet of their nest. I didn't get that close, but I was probably within five feet. This nest is hanging on a branch so low that a tall man would easily be within three feet of it if he walked under it.

Am I the only one who has noticed this thing?

Bald-face hornets are really a type of yellow jacket, and they are beneficial insects because they are carnivores. They eat other insects, including ants, spiders and bees. They can put one of these nests up in less than a month. The queen bee starts the nest by herself. She lays eggs, and when they hatch, the yellow jackets get right to work helping. One of these nests can contain up to 400 workers.

The whole colony will die out during the cold winter months; only the queen will live on to continue her job again next year. Still, I don't know if I would want this nest so close to where people are getting in and out of their cars. I'll be avoiding it, that's for sure.

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Nightingale

I just finished The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah. It's the story of two sisters who live in France during World War II and how they survive in difference circumstances.

Viann is the older sister who lives in Carriveau (Loire Valley) in her family's summer home with her daughter, Sophie, and her husband who goes off to fight in the war. German officers board at her house, yet she manages to save and hide around 20 French Jewish children in a nearby convent.

Isabelle is only 18 at the start of the war. She leaves her father's apartment in Paris, and walks all the way to Carriveau to stay with Viann until she joins the French Resistance. Her assignment is to guide downed American, British and Canadian airmen to safety over the Pyrenees Mountains. Her code name is "The Nightingale."

I give this book five stars. It was heartbreaking at times. I certainly shed some tears, but I loved the story. The author's descriptions made me feel like I was right there with them during the war. What the French people went through was horrendous. How they survived, I do not know. It wasn't a true story, but it was based on real events. I highly recommend this one.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Shopping with Katherine

Yesterday, Katherine met me in Columbus at Easton Mall. We spent about four hours shopping before we went to Peter's school and his apartment and then out to dinner.

Ever since Katherine was in 6th or 7th grade, shopping with her has been a real adventure. I think I am the only one who can shop with her and keep my sanity. She never gets out of a clothing store in under an hour.

I remember spending three hours in one store while she tried on homecoming dresses her senior year in high school. Thankfully, the store had some chairs.

Yesterday was no exception. She was browsing through H & M, and I had made four rounds around the store before I decided to go outside and sit down at a cafe table. When she noticed I was gone, she called me to tell me she was going inside the dressing room. I told her that was fine. I would just get some lunch and wait for her.

I enjoyed people watching and catching up on all the new fashions of the young: boots that go higher than your knees, body suits, stirrup pants, overalls - fashions from 30 years ago that are coming around again. Watching all the people go by made me realize that I don't need to worry so much about what I wear in public.

I'm not complaining about shopping with Katherine. I enjoy every minute of it. Especially now that we don't get to do it as often.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Playing With Boxes

Remember when boxes were toys? They didn't have any buttons, screens or sounds.
They just had openings to climb into and hide under.
They were fun to jump in and flop over.

They could even be made into forts.

Peter is in this box-fort, but Daniel made it. Notice the flag that has his photo in the top corner.
I love the trash bag roof and the house number which is really our phone number.
Boxes could entertain kids for hours.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

D + H Wedding Photos

I finally got the photos of the wedding today on a jump drive for easy access! Here are a few of my favorite ones.

The whole bridal party

Daniel's soccer buddies

The Richards side of the family

The Dunphy side of the family

So pretty!

Beautiful bride!

My three sweeties!

My honey bun!

Thursday, September 1, 2016


Elizabeth, Lindsay and Katherine were born within a year of each other. Elizabeth (right) in November, Lindsay (left) in March and Katherine (center) in October. I took this picture of them in the summer of 1989.

Then, over the years, we tried to get a picture of the three of them every once in awhile. 








27 years later...
Most recent photo at Daniel & Heidi's wedding - 2016