It is the first day of summer, the last day of school for the Chicago Public Schools (really?), and the last day of my 2-1/2 month “vacation.” I start back to work tomorrow.

What a wild ride it has been–both the trip and the days since arriving back at home. Vacation=time off work. Vacation≠rest. I think this is what retirement looks like. Most people say that they are busier retired than when they worked and I think that may be true.

Since we’ve been home (two weeks tomorrow) I’ve done a ton of gardening, catching up on all the work that normally takes place in the spring. I missed the whole “dandelion season”–for which I am grateful, though my neighbors probably weren’t.


I’ve cleaned the house and the back room, which is becoming our box storage area. This is actually clean, relative to how it looked a few days ago. And it gets the boxes out of the living and dining room.






Today I put away my snowmen and snow scene…









and put up my summer decorations.











(Not the best pictures, but on the left is a quilt I finished 20+ years ago. I still enjoy it, though it may the last year I put it up. On the right is a patriotic quilt I made a few years ago. It turned out too big for wall above the fireplace. Both combine piecing and hand applique.)

We are still hoping to sell our house, just not sure of the timing. Right now our plan is to take one day at a time and keep working on the million small projects that we still should accomplish. We’re thinking that maybe we could be ready sometime in August or September. Or, we may end up waiting til January (though we don’t think so.)

We also have to consider John2, Liz, and Luna. We would like Liz to stay in Elmhurst so she can continue to enjoy her work, friendships and church life. She has gotten very used to having us close by so we know it will be a big adjustment for her. We guess that we’ll be making regular trip back to Elmhurst (the reverse of what we do now.)

John2 has not had a good year and has not made much progress toward independent living. We are willing to bring him with us to a new home–and expect that is what will happen–but it is not what he wants. He likes living closer to the city. (Too bad.) We feel that we just need to move forward with our plans and see what happens. Maybe it will end up being an incentive for him to move on.

Our plan is to rent a house in Aurora (or surrounding area) near Taylor, Laura and the grandchildren. We don’t feel ready to give up a backyard, but plan to gradually downsize to a condo within two or three years. There is a house I’m watching about a mile and a half away from the Birkeys. In the rental market, things may go quickly or may not, so we’ll see. Every day I ask the Lord to go before us; to lead us, because quite frankly, we don’t know what we’re doing, we just feel a need pack up and move. It is good to trust that God does know.

In the meantime, the first two weeks of my summer have been lovely. I love hot weather and Chicago has delivered! I work hard but take frequent breaks in the pool (or hot tub.) I’m already a toasty brown! It has hardly rained, which isn’t great for the gardens, but has helped me get a lot done.

I’m grateful for my kind boss who didn’t put me on the schedule for two weeks even though I just finished a two month vacation, giving me time to get over jet lag and go through Lizi’s surgery and recovery. It has been a huge blessing.

I’m only working two days a week but it is still a game changer. When I didn’t finish something I intended to do it didn’t bother me: There was always tomorrow. Still, I’m grateful for a flexible job and a great work environment. Retirement is still on the horizon, but just over that next hill.

We’re going to make a few short trips this summer and fall, in each case to “reunite” with family and/or friends. Over the 4th of July weekend, we will be in Detroit for some family time with the Marshalls. I am looking forward to meeting two babies for the first time and spending time with my family. The 100th Hurne Family Reunion takes place the third weekend in July. All but two of John’s siblings will be there, plus nephews, and grands. It will be fun to catch up with family again. In late August, my high school class celebrates 45 years and mid-September, my nursing school class celebrates 40! (Geesh!) That one is taking place–for the first time–away from the Chicago area at the YMCA of Colorado in Estes Park.

We also celebrate Olive’s birthday tomorrow–our ONLY summer birthday in all the family. (James’ birthday is June 6, but since it is winter in New Zealand, I guess that doesn’t count.) She was “tarred and feathered” at a family party on Sunday. Here she is enjoying her feathered smash cake, wearing a headdress! What a cutie.


















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