Well, I did it…again.  No, I didn’t buy another car; Miranda and Amelia are quite enough, thank you.  But I did fly to America last week.  It had been several months since I had seen my grandchildren and thought it might be a nice idea to hop on a jet and buzz over to see them.  Well, that was my thought at least.  I had forgotten the minor part about travelling to middle-America requires two flights, and one of them lasting nine hours. 

I left Mallorca very early one morning (sorry…it was VERY early) and flew to Madrid, where, after a hour or so, I boarded another jet for the seemingly never-ending flight to Chicago.  After watching several movies (whose names I can’t even remember now), and two meals, we touched down and after negotiating the maze that is O’Hare Airport, and after deftly getting through customs and immigration, which did require some good explanations as to why I was born in America but hold a British passport, I went through the gates to find Nancy standing there with a ‘Dr. JBR’ sign.  Adorable.  We drove into downtown Chicago to meet David for dinner and as my body clock was going into shut-down mode, we made arrangements to have breakfast the following morning. 

After devouring a plate of blue-berry pancakes for breakfast that probably was big enough to feed most of the people of Darfur, David went back to work and Nancy and I drove to Milwaukee so she could spend Mother’s Day with her mum.  I, on the other hand, had dinner with some old sailing buddies and then went back to my hotel to see if I could actually sleep through the night.  Right.  As if. 

The following days were spent with some very special old friends whom I hadn’t seen for too long, and because I was in America, I thought I would begin my own financial stimulus programme.  I have read that Mr. Obama has chucked out ka-zillion upon ka-zillion, but I thought I should help out.  I went shopping.  I did manage to stay away from any and all computer stores and instead went for clothes.  Well, whilst the selection there is unbelievable, and the prices are considerably less than they are here, I was about to give up until I noticed that my shoes were sort of dying.  I plugged on and went to numerous shoe stores, but after realising that I really did like the shoes I was wearing and hadn’t found anything I liked more, I went to a shoe repair shop and this little old man sat on a stool and hand-sewed them back together.  This actually felt good to do.  I have this pair of shorts that I bought when I was still sailing.  When any rational person would have thrown them out because they were getting a tad thread-bare, I repaired them.  And when my sewing job fell apart, I began to put iron-on patches on them.  I still have them, and (much to the dismay of friends) I still wear them, even though they have had more ‘work’ done on them than Joan Collins.  Always go for comfort I say.  Shorts; shoes; doesn’t matter; go for comfort. 

On Wednesday I drove to Sheboygan.  My son Matthew, Melanie, and their two daughters live there.  Years and years ago, I kept a boat in the harbour of Sheboygan, and I have fond memories of being there.  But last week, the weather in Sheboygan was not fit for man nor beast so we all went to dinner after stopping in at the Post Office.  Yes, we went to the Post Office.  For some time, I have been saying that it would be fab if my grand-daughters would come to Mallorca to visit, and the first step was to apply for their passports.  I am really looking forward to having them visit, although because they are two teenage girls, and I am neither, I think we will do this one at a time.  Besides, Miranda only has two seats, and I can’t imagine them being too keen on seeing the island in Amelia.

Then the next day I drove back to Chicago’s crazy airport and began my flights home, arriving in the early afternoon yesterday.  By my calculations, my body will have shed all the jet lag about the same time I will lose all the weight I gained from the enormous servings of food that America seems to exist on.  I am betting on Christmas.

Today I actually finished unpacking and resuming (my idea of) normal life again.  This, as you may have imagined, involved getting back into my Sol y Mar routine and after washing the cars, I settled down on one of the terraces to sleep in the sun.  A good day so far, and whilst it was great to visit with everyone, it sure is good to be home.

Oh, a last minute P.S.  For those of you who grudgingly look at the Sol y Mar webcam on occasion to enjoy being here vicariously, you know that for some time, technology has run amuck here and the server that sends out the camera picture hasn’t been working. 

The whole IT thing can be a bugger, and after repeated attempts to resolve the problem I finally gave up and called in some help.  After utilising the services of a couple of IT-whiz-kids, all is well once again.  Having said that, we had to change the website link to the camera, so if it is raining or cold where you are, and you want to be thoroughly depressed, the new address is  The user name (solymar) and the password (webcam) are still the same. 


a gratuitis advert for the Spanish National airline


not quite the Sol y Mar view, but Chicago sunrise was wonderful


Mr. Hand-Shoe-Repair man hard at work


almost like-new shorts



grand-daughters explaining hair colour to me


more free advertising for Iberia


a nice welcome home

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copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, James B. Rieley