Cave Dwellings

Sandwich, IL

Sandwich, IL
Happy Halloween

Cave Dwellings

Friday, October 24, 2014

Birthday boy and a “second opinion”..

I gotta tell ya, it’s getting harder for me to plop myself in front of the computer and try to pull a blog out of my arse these days…Not sure why, buy my brain doesn’t want to cooperate and the creative juices seem to have taken a hike. I always said that if my blog became like a homework assignment, I would cease and desist doing it.  Not sure exactly what the problem is, but it’s a good thing I don’t have to write a newspaper column weekly!…I would  have been fired long ago!!

Last Friday, I took the GMC to Zionsville to help with Aiden’s 6th birthday party…and conveniently I had an appointment with Dr. Michael Moore.  Dr. Moore is an ENT at Indiana University Hospital in Indianapolis. More about that later…

When I arrived at their house, Chris was still at work, Aiden was at kindergarten, and Maddox was at day care..I had the house to myself, so I just relaxed and watched some TV…I was just beginning to unwind from the drive when I heard the dreaded sound  of the “Roomba” start up.  Roomba is a battery powered vacuum that starts itself and proceeds to vacuum the floors while no one is home…


Mr. Roomba and I have tangled on occasion.  He likes to attack me as I walk through the room..AND he loves to make me lift my feet up while I am sitting and trying to watch TV…Oh, and not to mention that Mr. Roomba doesn’t use his “inside” voice…He can drown out the sound of the TV almost as good as my nemesis” Burlington Northern Railroad and Amtrack.  This sucker starts vacuuming and he won’t stop until he is finished…which is about an hour or more…SHEESH!

Aiden had a great group at his  birthday party, and there was food galore…

20141018_144208 20141018_153309

20141018_143443 20141018_143505

It should be no surprise to those who know me, that I made the Jack O’ Lantern cheese ball and the deviled egg (some with spiders).

20141018_162343 20141018_153158

20141018_160639 20141018_153328

Chris and John had ordered a bounce house for the kids to play in…



The bounce house arrived a couple hours before the party started and Aiden and his little brother, Maddox, wasted no time in trying it out….I noticed it had a double slide and Aiden and I were planning on going down it together..However, Mother Nature had other plans and it began raining and never stopped..So much for the bounce  house idea.  It was a good thing that at the Wolff cubs at least got in about an hour before the rain hit.

On the downside of a wet and useless bounce house is the issue of what to do with all the kids who had planned on it.  Well, between their basement toy area and the upstairs toy room, everyone was kept entertained…By the time the party was over, it looked like Toys R’ Us threw up in their living room…and their kitchen….and the garage…and the bedrooms…and the dining room…

Chris and John have a lovely home, and I love the neighborhood they live in …It’s called Raintree.

20141017_135747 20141019_132650

Left is Chris and John’s’s on a corner.  The photo on right is another house in the neighborhood…The leaves were peaked!

20141019_132703 20141019_134029

Aiden got a skateboard for his birthday…Who in the world would  have gotten him that?..hmmm…HEY! Chris told me he really really wanted one! What‘s a grandma to do? Maybe I should have included a gift card to the local ER.

I stayed with the Wolffs until Tuesday because I had a doc appointment in downtown Indy to see if I should get a second surgery for my Parathyroid Adenoma.. Chris went in to her work late so she could go with me…It’s a good thing she did, too..That huge complex of hospitals and medical buildings is like a maze! Chris knew exactly where to go and how to get there, since she attended school for Vascular Technician at this school.  The school is called IUPUI…standing for Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis…and the peeps that work and go to school there pronounce IUPUI as “OO-EE-POO-EE”..I just like sayin’ it…tehee.

Long story short, I loved Dr. Moore.  Being a learning hospital, I had a couple residents in the room with us too. He told me that he doesn’t want to do anything until next April 21st.  At that time, I will have a CT Scan and see him afterward.  He also wants to read the surgeon’s report of what was done back here.  According to Dr. Moore, this Parathyroid surgery is no “slam dunk”.  He always allows 5  hours for this particular surgery…Sometimes it takes only a short time, but often it is not an easy gland to find and remove…(wished I had known that in July!).  He assured me he would look over my transferred records and we would decide if another surgery was the best route to take…Yep!, I do like this rushing in with his green scrubs and his little scalpel…

Dennis is back in the cornfields and hopefully he can get it done so we can leave by Nov. 30th for Florida…I am returning to Zionsville IN to babysit the Wolff cubs on Nov. 13th for 4 nights while Chris and John get some much needed adult time going to Jamaica with a few friends.  Then on Nov. 22nd the family will gather here at the Cave Dwellings for an early Thanksgiving Cave-A-Palooza…As you can see, this has already been a whirl wind Fall and I cannot WAIT to hit the road in the Hiker, hearing Dennis say those magic words, “Ice down the cooler and get in the truck!”


This is what a great Mom Christie Jane Cave Wolff is…She made the boys a “fort” in the living room for them to play in..…complete with lighting..Actually they had so many toys in their “fort” that THEY couldn’t hardly fit inside!..There is just something really neat about a fort or playhouse.  I grew up in Elgin IL, and we lived about 1 block from an appliance store..My “playhouse” consisted of an old refrigerator box that Dad hauled home…memories..yep…that’s what it’s all about!!!!

“Every family has a story that it tells itself, that it passes on to the children and grandchildren. The story grows over the years, mutates, some parts are sharpened, others dropped, and there is often debate about what really happened. But even with these different sides of the same story, there is still agreement that this is the family story. And in the absence of other narratives, it becomes the flagpole that the family hangs its identity from.”                                   ~ A.M. Homes                          

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Headed to the “Wolff Den”..and a new Doc…

  This last few days we have been deluged with rain, as a HUGE front marches across the nation.  At least we didn’t get any bad storms like they did in Arkansas, but we were under a tornado watch last night. Today it is a little rainy but warm and I have my front porch door thrown wide open.  Got our house decked out for Fall and Chicago Bears season…


20141014_090904_1 20141014_083541

Our Tiger Eye Sumac (on the right) is always so pretty in the Fall!

I may have mentioned (Dementia Donna occasionally takes over), that we are in the process of converting our wood burning fireplace to gas.  “Why?”, you ask…After 40 years of burning wood, I am tired of: 1.Hauling it in from the garage  2.Cleaning up the wood chips and sawdust from my carpet  3. Seeing a soot spot on our ceiling over the fireplace every few years, and 4. I’m just plain tired..and maybe a bit lazy (YA THINK?).  We still have our outdoor firepit on our deck that we burn almost every evening…But it sure is nice to come inside, open the damper turn on the gas and…WALLA!! AN INSTANT FIRE!!. It was pretty neat how MacGyver followed the directions on how to create this masterpiece..(He almost never follows the directions).

20141012_114016  20141012_114223

First you lay a screen thingy over something that looks like a large dustpan…then you poor on some sandy lookin’ stuff..(he was torturously meticulous at this…and yes, I’m pretty sure there is no word “torturously”, but you get my drift.

20141012_114822 20141012_115323

Next, you get out your bag of ..well…something that resembles large lint with vermiculite mixed in…Here is where your artistic ability is challenged.  I was sooo  hoping MacGyver would defer to “moi” for this artsy fartsy part, but no…he suddenly became Michelangelo, tapping, pushing, molding and creating something of an artistic ash pile. My services were not needed.




Lastly, came the “ceramic” logs.  This particular gas log kit we got online.  It was called the “Charred Oak” logs.  I really liked that look of them being partially burned…I was told by Michelangelo Dennis that they are made of ceramic so they will heat up and create heat in the room.  I actually never knew that about a gas log…and let me tell you these suckers are HEAVY!

Still following the directions (SAY WHAAAAT?), the artist in charge laid, lay, placed the logs in the exact spots on the diagram.  Keep in mind we had not even done a test flame to see if the gas was even hooked up right.  Now all we had to do was turn on the gas key and light away…!! Get out the ceramic marshmallows!!!



The “master” surveys his work…It passes the “persnickity” test..and I LOVE IT!!!!

I was pleasantly surprised when I walked out past our Hiker to the garden…I found a bounty just ready to pick and “dig”…I knew the potatoes were there, but didn’t expect anymore tomatoes!



So, this Friday I drive to Zionsville,IN to attend our grandson’s 6th birthday party.


MacGyver will HOPEFULLY be in the combine if it stops raining!!  This trip has a duel purpose.  Of course I cannot wait to celebrate with the kids for Aiden’s birthday party…(hopefully there will be NO bouncy house this year…that is NOT a good thing after a glass of wine!)..I am also going to see a new Doc at Indiana University Hospital about my parathyroid debacle.   I don’t expect anything will be done until Spring, but I want to get this “show on the road” and start the process so the new Doc can study my case…and me..Ya know that could be a real scary thing for anyone, even a guy who “saw it all” in medical school..I’ve been told I am a “one of a kind” and not in a good way..

Our daughter, Christie, is going with me Tuesday morning for the appointment.  She works for a vascular surgeon in that huge complex, and I probably would get lost if she didn’t lead me around!  Actually it was the Doc she works for, Dr. Michael Dalsing, that recommended I go to Dr. Michael Moore..NO! NOT THE FILM MAKER..SHEESH!  Rest assured there will be photos aplenty after this trip!!!!

P.S.  I just did spell check..and there actually IS a word “torturously”…SCORE!!!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

On a LOOOOOONG Countdown..Hey, at least it’s a COUNTDOWN!!

  OK, I am officially a “farm widow”..MacGyver has finally hopped up into the combine and become “MacFarmer”..

100_4084 100_4082

There has been so damn (oops!) darn much rain the past few weeks it has put the harvest here in DeKalb County a tad behind!  I’m sure this is of no great concern to most, but our travel plans call for us to be in Pensacola, FL on Dec. 7th.  Our first full week in Florida will be at Fort Pickens.  Now you might know I am going to give you a bit of a history lesson…

Fort Pickens is a pentagonal historic United States military fort on Santa Rosa Island in the Pensacola, Florida, area. It is named after American Revolutionary War hero Andrew Pickens. The fort was completed in 1834 and remained in use until 1947. Fort Pickens is included within the Gulf Islands National Seashore, and as such, is administered by the National Park Service. Construction of the fort lasted from 1829 to 1834, with 21.5 million bricks being used to build it. Much of the construction was done by enslaved African Americans.

“Fort Pickens was the largest of a group of forts designed to fortify Pensacola Harbor.  Despite repeated Confederate military threats, Fort Pickens was one of the few Southern forts to remain in Union hands throughout the Civil War.  Captives from Indian Wars in the West were transported to the East Coast to be held as prisoners. From October 1886 to May 1887, Geronimo, a noted Apache war chief, was imprisoned in Fort Pickens, along with several of his warriors.”

“During the late 1890s and early 20th century, the Army had new gun batteries constructed at Fort Pickens.  Instead of many guns concentrated in a traditional thick-walled masonry structure, the Endicott batteries are spread out over a wide area, concealed behind concrete parapets flush with the surrounding terrain. The use of the accurate, long-range weapons eliminated the need for the concentration of guns that was common in the Third System fortifications. Battery Pensacola was constructed physically within the walls of Fort Pickens, while other similar concrete batteries were constructed to the east and west as separate facilities. The ruins of these later facilities are also included in the Gulf Islands National Seashore complex. Only one weapon of this era, a 6-inch M1905 gun on a disappearing carriage located at Battery Cooper, survives to this day.”

  ftpickens ftpickens2


Looks mighty fine to me!!! I cannot WAIT!!!

Meanwhile, things are pretty good around the Cave Cave…I am, however, continuing my ongoing battle with the wildlife around here…Yep, those nasty squirrels are now making snacks out of my Fall Decorations…




I guess they  have an appetite for more than flowers…Turns out they really like pumpkins and gords too..At this rate, I will be replacing a few pumpkins!…I really should put out plastic ones, but I have this strange feeling that they would eat those too…I remember when the critters destroyed my small American Flags I had in my pots…hence their nickname “Al-Qaida Squirrels”…

And they are still digging up my pots of grasses I have around my fountain area…Seems they hide their nuts in those pots…I know there are lots of animal lovers out there, so I will refrain from putting out any “ideas” I have (or recipes) for these little buggers!!


I managed to get my garage sale in last weekend…Of course the weather turned brutal…rain, frost, even a little sleet.  I ended up sitting out there in about 3 layers of sweatshirts and my sweatpants, gloves and ear warmers…Sorry, no pictures of that outfit…even scared ME!

Dennis wasn’t in the field on Saturday evening…rain puts a damper on combing…Therefore, we had our regular “date night”.  We got all “gussied up” and went downtown to The Olde Tyme Inn, a very old tavern and food place in Sandwich…This bar has been here a long time..not sure exactly how long. It still has the old wood floor and interesting old back bar…

20141004_182025 20141004_183816  20141004_183856

Notice the mural painting on the back behind the liquor..and the old pillars and cabinet…Rumor has it that the mural was painted by a transient who stayed in a room above the bar and paid for his rent by painting that mural…

20141004_182057 OK, I know…I took this picture of my stylish cowboy boots so I could show you the old wood floor, the brass rail and the bottom of the bar…I know what you are thinking..I need to get a hobby …or a life!..Hey, I just LOVE old stuff…just look at MacGyver!!

So that about does it for my excitement …I am in full Autumn and Halloween mood and found the perfect sign to put on our back door…


Pretty much says it all about the Cave household!!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

It’s Been A While….

  I woke up this morning to a beautiful sunrise and almost broke my toe getting out of bed to grab my phone camera to get a pic from our bedroom window…

20140925_063730   Ok, I know…you can see the darn screen, but oh it was soooo pretty! A great and beautiful new day!

I do believe this is the longest I have ever gone between blogs.  As our blogger friend Al says, the creative juices just weren’t flowing here lately.  With Autumn here, many of our RV bloggers are getting ready to get South for the Winter. The Bayfield Bunch is not too far from “lift off”. Elaine and Rick just traded their motorhome for a fiver and truck, and we hope to see them in South Florida again this Winter for an adult beverage! Mike and Gerri have been visiting some family in Tennessee, and doing some camping in their neat Casita at some beautiful parks there.

  This seems to be Monsoon season in South Arizona, and Jerry and Suzy have had some pretty torrential rains and thunder and lightening . They have also been enjoying the blossoming desert cactus flowers…beautiful! Bob is bursting his buttons with photos of his grandson, Chris, interviewing some of the Seattle Seahawks…Wow!!  And Bigdawg and Freeway are back at their “real home” after a great work/stay at Monck Park….What a neat place that looked to be!

  Al and Ingrid have been having some great family time in Colorado, touring with their RV, and they sure have a beautiful family! Dawn and Denise have spent the past months in Lavon, Texas, and just left their gig there to visit friends at Dangerfield State Park.  And talk about trading RV’ must be in the RV water because John and Bridget Hatch just traded their fiver and truck for a 40’ motorhome.  They spent the summer at Tamarac Wildlife Refuge work camping with Judy, birdlady of blogland.  Judy was there with them this summer . They just left Tamarac too, and Judy  and her brother are enjoying Yellowstone and headed to Grand Tetons…2 of my park fav’s!

   Randy and Pam, volunteers extraordinaire, have been volunteering their help all over the US…and attending a Grandbaby Reveal Party in between…It’s going to be a BOY!! And Sam and Donna are getting ready to go to Branson for a reunion of some of Sam’s Navy pals...A big THANK YOU to those brave sailors who served!! Meanwhile, Kenny and Angela have been whooping it up at a pizza place in Mesa, Arizona with friends…And our friends, Rick and Paulette, have been busy spoiling that adorable grandson Mason, and waiting patiently for their mecca to California this Winter.

What have I been doing??? Well, I washed both my chandeliers by hand….The littlest one is the BIGGEST pain, because it has about 260 Swarovsky crystals to wash!! Here it is ..all taken apart and cleaned up, ready to re-hang….

20140923_130515 I took this picture after I had the first row hung up….and here is what is looks like after my labors…


Notice all of the color reflecting off those beautiful CLEAN crystals…As you can see by the top photo, they are all clear, but when my camera flashed it brought all of the prisms to life…

  Of course we have been watching the Chicago Bears every game…Kelly and Cindy brought their dogs,  Murph and Finley, over to help cheer them on..complete with Bears jerseys.

20140914_161646 20140914_182029

Finley is the boss of these two…a woman with attitude…and Murph loves to help Dennis start the campfire…

  Dennis has a new toy, by the way.. It is called a Fly Asalt gun…No, I didnt’ misspell assault…this is a gun that shoots salt at flies and kills them…REALLY!!!  The ammo, if you will, is simply table salt…(which I am swiftly running out of!)  Chris and John got this little gem for Dennis,  and all I can say is…”the only difference between men and boys…” no, what a minute!..THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEN AND BOYS!!..


Kelly loved to play with it too…”another one bites the dust”..

   As most of you know, our wonderful niece, Leanne, lost her vigilant battle with Lung Cancer 10 days ago.   As per her wishes, there is no funeral, but a “celebration of her life” this Saturday evening at our local bowling alley.  Leanne was a real athlete, and excelled at every sport she tried, baseball, golf , bowling…and she had MANY friends. So this weekend all of the family and a gazillion friends will be remembering her great courage and infectious humor with a toast or two, and lots of photos and stories…


Den, Leanne and her hubby, Tommy…God, we’re gonna miss this girl.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


A short post to acknowledge our wonderful niece, Leanne Eisenberg Berhnhardt, who passed away yesterday after an all too short battle with Lung Cancer at age 59..You controlled this to the very end, Leo….and did it YOUR way…Now you, your Mom and brother, Scotty, can whoop it up for the Chicago Bears …with a million dollar seat from above…


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Missed It By THAT Much!!

    Dennis and I are still recovering from our weekend of the Sandwich Fair…and our family get together, better known as a Cave-A-Palooza.  If you have never been to our fair, I have to say it is one of the best County Fairs in the State of Illinois. It always begins the first Wednesday after Labor Day and ends that Sunday.  This is the 127th Sandwich Fair, and I think Dennis was at the first one..JUST KIDDING!!! But he DID direct traffic during the fair when he was in high school.  We still have the bamboo cane that was wielded by the car parkers back then to direct traffic….This cane is possibly definitely an antique…at least over 50 years old!!

  The Wolff family rolled in Friday night about 7PM and the Heisers came the next day, with Kelly and Cindy coming over after 4PM..  We waited for Peyton to run in a Kaneland High School Cross Country Track Meet Saturday morning and then we all went out to the fair together…(This group can be overwhelming when you actually meet up with us on the narrow sidewalk.)

1932447_10202772821700894_6714143194887897160_n 10620618_10202772824940975_7177097599420380124_n

Peyton is 14 years old and a Freshman in High School this year.  I know….He looks much younger, and this is his first year of Cross Country in High School.  In these meets, he competes with all 4 years of High School kids, Freshmen through Seniors.. He finished 12th out of 40 runners, so I’d say he did REAL well!!  Yet another Cave runner in our family!WOOT!WOOT!

We arrived at the fair about 1:30PM, just in time for the “heat of the day”...    Actually Cindy had to be at the EMS Medical Tent everyday at 7AM and leaves at 4PM, and Kelly was out there with her already.  She is in charge of this and has been doing it for years. If anyone needs any kind of medical attention, they end up either here, or in the ambulance.



Recovered Autosave1

10151955_10202771862516915_1494045596609375447_n   10494545_691565937587345_2562672007222173544_n


Look closely at this photo of our daughters, just in between their heads, and you will see the best “photo bomb” ever, courtesy of Iron Man John Wolff!

Spending most of my life living in Sandwich, this fair has grown unbelievably…and so have the prices. I use to go out to see old friends and people I hadn’t seen in a while…now I don’t see ANYONE I know!

20140906_135905 20140906_142029

Saturday night, the adults went back out to the fair to watch the Tractor Pulls…Not “moi”…I prefer to stay home with all the kids and have a campfire. A little of the fair goes a loooong way with me. I’m not a big fan of the crowds and the noise of the Tractor Pull…I can hear it just fine from my house!!

20140906_190743 20140906_162059 20140906_190717

The kids and I stayed back at the campfire…Cindy stayed back with me as well…Enough fair IS enough fair!

As you can see, the traffic going into the fair was backed up past our house again this year…


20140906_162117 20140906_170735 20140906_170717

On their way to Sandwich, John Wolff stopped in Hammond, IN and picked up some great shrimp, already breaded and ready to fry…He and Kel cooked it up in our cast iron skillet…AWARD WINNING! …and it sure beats that fair food by a long shot. Not only is it less costly, but you don’t have to eat it standing up!!

After everyone left on Sunday, we had more visitors arriving…They missed our Cave-A-Palooza by THAT much!!! and here is what they arrived in…

20140907_162833 20140907_190424

….Yep, that would be John and Bridget Hatch (FD5)..driving their new to them 2007 (I think that’s the year) Monaco Diplomat…FINE LOOKIN’ RIG!!! We have met them a couple times before and they are just a great couple. Currently, they are volunteers at Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge in Minnesota and working with the birdlady of blogland, AKA Judy.  They just missed the crazy Cave Clan, but were still in time to go to the Sandwich Fair, so we walked out for about an hour and did the “tour”.

20140907_134633 20140907_135357 20140907_135345

20140907_134902 20140907_140432 20140907_134759

John and Bridget enjoyed the fair, though we didn’t linger long…The sun was hot , and being the last day of the fair, it was PACKED with people!! We got our fill of the fair and walked back to our house for some adult beverages, a campfire and some left over lasagna and Italian sausages…John and Bridget did get to meet our son and his wife…and Fred met their 2 dogs, Finley and Murph..




Fin (female Silky Terrier) and Murph (male Weimaraner) are the same age,  came from the same kennel and they were raised as brother and sister by Kelly and Cindy. Finley is a “wild child” and Murph is a “cool dude”. And just for the record, they have both been neutered, so no worries about “Silky Weimaraners” running around the house…They roll and tumble and play together great, but if Finely gets in trouble (which frequently happens), Murph scolds her by putting his big mouth around her head…very gently..He never hurts her, but just reminds her she needs to settle down.

I’m pretty sure Fred had his pants Beagle spots scared right off him when these two rolled in…However, after a few “hairy eyeballs” and sniffs, they all settled down as friends….well, they accepted each other as equals…Well……Finley was satisfied that Fred was NOT going to knock “Her Highness”off her throne any time soon.


 20140907_184710 20140907_184715

Monday morning, after some Casey’s breakfast  pizza, John, Bridget and Fred prepared to get “on the road again”..I hooked them up with some home grown tomatoes, potatoes and my world famous “rub”….

20140908_102038 20140908_103208

How  many retired Firemen does it take to program a GPS??…and OOPS! Someone left the key on in the “toad”…tehee….

20140908_103716  20140908_103932 20140908_104020

Never hurts for McGyver to learn how to hook up a toad, right??? Just for possible future reference….

20140908_104113 20140908_104133

Now we see who is “the lady in charge” of this organized bedlam…YOU GO BRIDGET!! …and….THEY’RE OFF!!!!!