Parades and OSU/Michigan

Something weird happened on Thanksgiving. We have our traditions—we clean like crazy and cook a lot on Wednesday then finish cooking and cleaning on Thursday, then have about 11-12 people over for dinner. All of that went swimmingly but I am not sure who actually did it. I don’t think it was me. I think a clone has taken over.

One of the traditions is to watch the Thanksgiving Macy’s Parade. Usually we watch it for about five minutes then groan a few times about the cheesy singing and lip synching (we grew up in the 70s where that was frowned upon) and wait hopefully for a balloon to fly into a lamp post or attack the crowd. The parade started out like always, with a Broadway number. Suddenly out of my snarky lips came “Wow it’s Lea Michele” and I ran into the family room to watch it. I liked it! I liked the Rockettes, the giant Spirit of America crowd dancing to “Run Rudolph, Run”, the women with their heads literally inside of presents, the Lego robots, and the band that played the 1812 Overture.

After each one was another balloon…some of the characters were unknown to me, but “Bluey!!” escaped my lips as my husband shook his head and mopped the floor. What happened? I couldn’t think of a single sarcastic thing to say. I watched the whole freakin parade. Pikachu!!! The singing Christmas tree!!! Delightful!!

So who was this person? In The Addams Family musical there is a song where Wednesday mulls over finding bunnies and birdies “impossibly cute.” That’s what happened! All of a sudden it was like I was replaced with this happy, enthusiastic sugary cookie. Sheesh.

I didn’t care. The replacement me continued on gamely, not concerned about the food being cold (well maybe a little), or forgetting something (I put sticky notes on the table to remind myself of each dish…). I was happy well into the next day.

Chester was being a pain in the butt though, he was in his crate and every time our dear brother stood up he would pitch a barking fit. Honestly, I told him he was going to camp next year. My husband took him for a long walk before dinner and we put his Kong in his crate, but he was determined to make brother’s life miserable. He was fine when brother was sitting but as soon as he got up Chester became Cujo. Good grief.

Now it’s Saturday. Time to put away happy me and get my game face on. You see, today is the Ohio State/Michigan game. We are pariahs in Cleveland. We are…(drum roll please)…Michigan fans. We grew up in Toledo and just like every other child of a certain age, we declared our allegiance. John and I joined the Michigan alliance. It’s a good thing, because we wouldn’t have been able to marry each other if we were of warring factions.

Toledo is split fairly evenly. Supposedly this was due to the ”Toledo War.” From Wikipedia: “The Toledo War (1835–36), also known as the Michigan–Ohio War or the Ohio–Michigan War, was an almost bloodless boundary dispute between the U.S. state of Ohio and the adjoining territory of Michigan over what is now known as the Toledo Strip. Control of the mouth of the Maumee River and the inland shipping opportunities it represented, and the good farmland to the west were seen by both parties as valuable economic assets.”

Basically, Ohio and Michigan both wanted Toledo. I can see why, it’s a great place to live, and I’m not being sarcastic. The Metroparks are fantastic, the restaurant scene is great, and people are moving downtown. We lived about a mile or less from Michigan, which was interesting when in the 1970s the Michigan drinking age was lowered to 18 for a few years while Ohio stayed at 21. No, I didn’t take advantage. Anyway, that is neither here nor there, but to say that the Michigan/Ohio State rivalry was intense in Toledo.

Our son married outside the faith. He married a girl from an Ohio State family. Here in Cleveland, most people are Ohio State fans. In fact, I only know two other Michigan fans which is a pretty sad state of affairs. Her family is delightful but everyone has a few faults. Still, when the grandkids were born, we all agreed not to try to influence them. It’s sometimes like the “no turkey” scene in a Christmas Story…no baby Michigan onesies, no Ohio State burp rags, no Michigan stocking caps, no Ohio State diapers. We decided they can make their choice when they are older at a lavish ceremony. That doesn’t stop us from betting on the game with the in-laws! We decided to bet that whoever loses has to display an ornament of the other’s team on their Christmas tree. Last year the Michigan ornament hung proudly from the in-law tree. What a beautiful tree it was! This year we look to repeat the glory. The war of the ornaments will commence at noon today. I hope to have some positive news for my annual Christmas letter since my Fantasy Football team has yet to win a game. The Killer Tomatoes are dismal.

On to Christmas! The weather is beautiful here today so we are going to take advantage and put up our outdoor Christmas lights. There is no roof climbing or anything, and it looks nice. I’ve been listening to Christmas music for about a month. Again, who is this person who took over my body? I usually forbid Christmas music until after Thanksgiving. There is a lot of really bad Christmas music out there but I’m happily letting Sirius get it out there hoping the good stuff is yet to come. I’m sure it is, there’s no such thing as bad Christmas music. I didn’t just type that, my clone did.

Enjoy this nice weekend!

Go Michigan!

Puddles Pity Party and ketchup

I am generally a pretty happy person. I enjoy life and am positive. But every so often a cloud will form and I end up down in the dumps. Last week I had a couple days like that…little things kept adding up, like my prescription being messed up, McDonalds not giving us ketchup, being sick with some stupid viral thing, and the bell choir really needing ringers which I was not delivering. All of these are manageable, but sometimes I end up in a mode where I look at everything with a glass half empty view. That’s depression.

There’s a line in a song called “Settle for Satin” by Alkaline Trio that says “It’s not so much a storm but just a cloud that lingers over me, it doesn’t scare so easily but when it wakes it goes the distance.” I think that is one of the best lines to describe depression. It’s hard to pull out of . I have been on antidepressants for more than 20 years and am aware of what to expect when I start to spiral down. I can do things to try to halt it early. What I’ve learned is that I have to recognize and address it. My strategy? When I start to feel sad, I listen to sad songs.

Doesn’t make sense? It does, because I have to acknowledge the cloud before I can put it to rest and move on. This is in no way a recommendation for you, but it works for me. Luckily, my awesome husband discovered Puddles Pity Party in the nick of time!

My husband has become a connoisseur of you tube videos. I think he started watching them while working on an old hit and miss engine that theoretically will make ice cream. He says we will have ice cream next summer. The neighbors are holding him to it. I think we’ll need a music box that plays one of the inane ice cream truck songs over and over and over. When the ice cream truck stops it reminds me of when our boat in the “Small World” Disney ride got stopped for about 10 minutes. It was delightful to hear that song repeated and see the happy little animatrons merrily cavorting, everybody singing together even if we are all strapped in a boat with no chance of escaping the infernal happiness. I think a song like that will encourage the children on the street to partake of the frozen delights. I’ll have to run that past him. He has put a couple videos of his engine on You Tube, a feat which impresses the heck out of me. I can’t even take a good picture of Chester.

Anyway, we watch mostly funny pets and kids, or the “First We Feast” hot sauce interviews. But sometimes he finds things that are a little… off. I’m not sure what prompted him to click on “America’s Got Talent” Puddles Pity Party. I looked up from reading the latest Andy Carpenter mystery and there was my new hero. Puddles Pity Party is a sad clown. He doesn’t talk. Simon was giving his snarky half-smirk, etc, when Puddles came onstage. Puddles sang a song, “Chandelier” by Sia and I was hooked.

I get Puddles. Apparently a lot of other people did too, and what rock have I been under that I didn’t know about him until now?? The show was in 2017. So in my downward slide, I became immersed in Puddles songs. I watched videos of “I Want to Know What Love Is”, “All by Myself” and gosh, about 5 more, even a Pink Floyd one until finally wallowing in “Everybody Hurts.” Guess what? It worked. Something about Puddles got through. So any of you who also are clawing your way back out of a valley or just enjoy something unique, check it out! Honestly, it’s not a parody, I think he really cares about people. If not, it’s a good act and I don’t mind.

Now let’s just talk about McDonald’s for a minute, shall we? Every Thursday I take the grandkid to Adrenaline Monkey so he can become an American Ninja Warrior or at least work off some energy. Littler grandkid goes too so that mommy and daddy can breathe for a hot minute. Littler grandkid and I have a tradition of going to McDonald’s while bigger grandkid is in Adrenaline Monkey running up warped walls and flying from ring to ring. Who do you think has the better deal..? Anyway, this must be the world’s worst McDonald’s. We have gone there for about 6 weeks and every single week we ask for extra ketchup. The grandkids want nothing but ketchup on their food. They order cheeseburgers with only ketchup, and large fries with ketchup, and chicken nuggets with “no sauce, only ketchup.” I picture the workers laughing when we say this because for 5 out of 6 weeks we get…NO KETCHUP. NOT A SINGLE FREAKIN PACKET!! We are lucky to get the apple slices in the happy meal, we are batting about 500 there. One week I was driving and bigger grandson started to gag and cough. I panicked, asking him if he was OK, and all he could choke out was “a pickle.” So apparently they do have pickles because they put one on his burger. But ketchup? Nada. Why do we still go there? As Tevye says, “Tradition!”

Tonight is another McDonald’s night. This time I am ready for them. I was putting flyers up for Decibells and the Convenient store was packed with Powerball players. They were busy so I wandered around, and seeing no bulletin board I started toward the door when I noticed bins with packets of ketchup, mustard, and mayo. God help my soul, but I grabbed a handful of the ketchups and ran for the door. Chester and I floored the Subaru and I am now ready to shake a handful of the packets at the McDonald’s window and laugh maniacally. I can’t wait.

I didn’t include much about Chester today, but it has been absolutely beautiful here. It could stay like this forever and I’d be OK. We have noticed that there is a plethora of acorns and giant leaves this year.

The acorns are pretty aggressive too, you could be seriously injured by some of the big ones! Here are some of our highlights! Take care and hang in there!

Halloween and other random ghosts

Happy Halloween! I have lots of ghosts and goblins swirling in my head today so I may seem discombobulated. That’s my grandson’s favorite word right now. I may jump from one topic to another. But the veil is thin between the spirit world and ours today, so maybe my ancestors are arguing about what I should write about, and I am feeling like a rope in a tug-of-war. So let’s just get started, shall we?

Speaking of arguing, the weather here in Cleveland can’t decide what it wants to be. We have had days like this:

And days like this.

Yesterday I was outside burning sticks in the chiminea in a t-shirt. Today it’s rainy and cold. Go figure. Chester and I have had some beautiful walks though, in Holden Arboretum and the Lake Metroparks. The leaf colors have been breathtaking.

Chester doesn’t care for Halloween. We don’t give him candy, and he has to dress up. Granted it’s only for a few minutes while I take his picture.

Doesn’t he look happy? Hey, we spoil this dog every day of the year, so for one day (ok maybe two, I put antlers on him at Christmas) he can glare at me. Honestly, it was two minutes. You’d think he was suffering. At least I didn’t put the rest of the costume on him.

Chester got “skunked” last week so we gave him his first bath in the bathtub. We usually take him to the pet store where they have a dog wash station but it was late at night. He didn’t seem to mind it that much, not as much as having to wear a pumpkin hat. It was  “second hand skunked” — he didn’t get the full force. When we lived in Euclid our neighbor’s dog got sprayed between our houses and the curtains, couch and everything smelled for days. This wasn’t that bad. This one may have even been a roll-through skunk.

Our Model A club went on a tour, and we stopped at a store in Amish country. I thought this made a nice picture. I should have bought a pumpkin then but I did not. Alas, this morning I went to four places and they were ALL OUT of pumpkins. I have a warty pumpkin, just not a Jack-o-lantern.

I came home and drowned my disappointment in little candy bars.

I’ve been starting a community handbell choir named Decibells. I may have mentioned it. We want to combine theater/performance with handbells and take bells to the community. We are able to borrow bells from a church temporarily but would like to buy our own. We can’t take the church bells out of the church, and we want to do outreach activities in senior centers, schools, etc. Even used bells can cost $15000 or more. Sheesh, right?

Nobody under 40 will understand this because computer stuff is part of their DNA, but I am so proud that I figured out how to get Zelle for the Decibells account. I linked it to the email so we can receive donations. If any of you have even 5 dollars floating around screaming “I wish I could be used for something that will bring people joy” and you’d consider donating, we are a legit, tax-exempt non-profit and 100% will go to purchasing the bells, music, and accessories. The email is Decibellslake@gmail.com . If you are thinking, “ahh she worked in a sales pitch” I am sorry. I would never want anybody to donate who couldn’t afford it, so no worries.

Like in Harry Potter, as I express these ideas and thoughts, they seem to be flowing out of my ear and clearing out my brain. Pretty soon I’ll be brainless.

Isn’t that pretty? It’s called a “Mumkin.” It was a fundraiser for the grandson.

Chester got a new toy from our grandson. It is, or was, a stuffed Mr. Bill that said “Oh nooooo” over and over and over and over….. Chester mercifully disassembled the sound module then went to work on the body of poor Mr. Bill. He made it this far last night.

Did you ever hang up a sweater over a shirt then forget you owned the shirt? I found one of my formerly favorite shirts this morning when I reached for a black sweater. It’s like getting something new! Or used, as this one was originally from Goodwill. So kind of a triple used from it’s original birth. Or maybe more, depending if the previous owner got it new. It’s mind blowing, right? But in a good way.

Have a lovely Halloween, and make sure your doggies and kitties don’t get out. We have trick-or-treating from 6-8:00 and it’s pretty dark by then. Tomorrow is November 1st, unbelievable. Let’s hope for a few more nice days! Have a good week!

Autographs and City Dogs

I don’t usually care about autographs. I do have a few but it was more interesting meeting the person than the autograph. It doesn’t make sense to me to covet a signature when the person doesn’t even know you. There aren’t that many people I would want to meet either. Yet Saturday I drove an hour to hear author Amanda Flower.

Jethro the pig

Amanda writes cozy mysteries; the stories are great, just not so much sex or violence. It’s like you are drawn into a community and something happens. Then the protagonist must find out what it was and solve the mystery. I enjoy her books and have read almost all of them. My favorite character is Jethro the pig (yes, a pet pig, but almost the rest of the characters are people!) If Amanda ever sold stuffed Jethro pigs, I’d have Christmas shopping done for everyone! Well, when I heard she was speaking at the Twinsburg, Ohio library, I decided to go. She was there to promote a new book, “Because I Could Not Stop for Death,” a mystery (not really a cozy, more a full fledged mystery) involving Emily Dickenson. She would autograph the books, and the library said there would be tea and baked goods.

Tea? Baked goods? I’m there! I scored a cupcake and water and turned off my phone, chatting with the lady next to me. My ringtone is goats making screaming noises so I didn’t want the goats to disturb anyone especially around Halloween. No goats were harmed. I listened to her talk and learned some things I did not know about Emily Dickenson. Actually, there’s a lot I don’t know about Emily Dickenson so that’s not a surprise. But it was very interesting. I bought the book. I took my place in line, chatting with the lady behind me. Amanda had this camera thing, kind of like the old Polaroid instant cameras only white and much more modern. I was talking and musing about how it worked when suddenly it was my turn.

You know, sometimes I need to just be quiet. When I meet someone I admire I turn into a babbling doofus. I began stammering about how we met a long time ago, and I ended up writing this blog, and she was my inspiration and yada yada blah blah blah. Then I asked if I could take a picture. She kindly said yes. I pulled out my phone. Lo and behold, I hadn’t turned it back on. Well, no way was I not getting a picture so I fumbled around and turned it on, waiting and willing the little apple logo to show up. Then it wanted my password, and I had to find the camera icon, and all along I’m sure the other people in line were shooting visual daggers at me. It was kind of like a person with a bunch of coupons in the speedy lane at the grocery store. Amanda was more than gracious, and I was finally ready, smiled, and took the picture. My hands were shaking but it turned out ok. Whew!

Why do I get so flustered? I hustled out of the library (grabbing another baked good on the way) and made it to the car unscathed. I then went back in to use the restroom. Overall it was a delightful outing. I recommend the book, and if you like mysteries, look hers up. She’s from Ohio too, another plus!

On Sunday, we had a reunion to attend! Chester had his “City Dog Reunion”.

Chester is ready to go!

He was adopted from the Cleveland City Kennel which makes him a City Dog. All the City Dogs who are able get together and converse among themselves via lots of butt sniffing and barking.

The owners converse also, admiring the other pups. I got a sweatshirt and a glass, and we got a goodie bag with a cookie for Chester. He is good with other dogs so we all had a great time. The weather was kind of cold and windy but we do look forward to meeting new friends.  Chester met Harley, Mina, Luna, all beautiful girl dogs. He’s kind of a flirt.

Edgewater Park

When we got home, Chester was exhausted so he slept while we…well we slept too. But we had the tv on so we could pretend we were just resting our eyes.

On the way home

Oh, one fast fact about Emily Dickenson is that she didn’t like cats. Now, really? Milo and Zeus are launching a protest.

Inconceivable!
You woke me up for that?

It’s a good thing they can’t make protest signs. When I told Chester that he just smiled.

hee hee hee

I think I’ll read him some Emily Dickenson poems. Have a good week!

Parking and Blair Ridge

My grandsons say I’m a “bad parker.” Since I got my Subaru, which I love, I cannot park correctly to save my life. Still, I argued with them, figuring they were just trying to annoy me. Yesterday I went to CVS and pulled in as usual. No one was around me. Here’s what happened….

I concede. I am a bad parker. I think it’s part of what I call Township life. Our area is semi-rural, in that we have a few homes with chickens and ducks, no Starbucks or Dunkin nearby. Ahh, iced coffee and cream…even the grandkids know how I feel about that. They asked me what I would do without Dunkin around. I said I’d open a Tim Horton’s. We have some, let’s say underdeveloped (rather than seedy) buildings. It’s like until recently, city life jumped over our exit and left us alone. Then a few developments popped up and we are going through growing pains.

This has nothing to do with my parking except that we have lived here for almost 30 years. In that time I have developed bad habits. Why? Because I can! I drive down the middle of the street when nobody’s coming so I don’t accidentally hit a groundhog. I have on occasion rolled over some grass to get from one parking lot to another rather than pulling out and back in again. I drive at a slow, lazy pace (the speed limit or a little over) that makes my grandkids crazy. The youngest has created a list of fast drivers in the family and I’m at the bottom. He is five years old and a back seat driver. He tells me to “pass that truck” and “go faster.”

But never in the left lane!!

I am OK with this and there are a lot of others in this area who drive the same way. But I have to admit, my parking is pretty bad. I can’t see over the hood of the ‘Ru so I never quite know how far up I am. Sometimes I park in the garage and can’t put down the door so I have to get back in and pull up more. My husband volunteered to hang a string and tennis ball from the garage for me to stop when it hits the windshield. I declined out of an undeserved sense of dignity. Sigh.

So what am I going to do? Nothing. Why? Because I’m old and that’s a perk. Everybody thinks old people are bad drivers anyway, so whatever.

Chester and I went to Blair Ridge Park last week. I didn’t know it existed. I actually got lost on the way to another park and thought, “OK, I’ll just try this one.” Have you seen Blair Witch Project? I have and it did cross my mind.

The park was beautiful, primarily a lake we walked around. Chester enjoyed slogging into the lake and scaring the frogs.

We had perfect weather and the flowers were out, pointing their faces to the sun.

We saw another opening and walked through it. (Do you feel the Blair Witch camera jiggling?) This is what we saw:

I read a lot of mysteries. This was a real-life mystery. I looked around to make sure there were no creepy people, but hey, I had Chester with me. Such a guard dog.

I’ll protect you unless they pet me!

When I read the sign, my heart melted. Mr. Storer was blind and had guide dogs. They are buried here with headstones. The headstones say things like, “Good friend and loyal companion” and other loving tributes.

There were about five stones, for Heidi, Jetta, Angel, and more. (I’m sorry, but like the Professor and Mary Ann I can’t remember the last two) It was a lovely place and put my Blair Witch fears to rest. We kept walking. We started down a new road and saw this:

Apparently the Metroparks acquired the land when Mr. Storer died. This clocktower is next to these bells:

They are inscribed with his wife’s name and kind words about her. How sweet is that?!! I guess they used to be in the clocktower. The clocktower is being used, and was locked, but everything looked well cared for. We walked back to the car with no more surprises, stopping for a second at the lake so Chester could scare a few more frogs, and headed out. Chester got a pup cup from DQ, one of the newer businesses in our transitional neighborhood.

pure bliss…

All in all it was a beautiful day. He is such a good boy except for his dogged determination to eat whatever went in the tree.

It was long gone through the network of trees but he stayed out there for at least an hour. A tired Chester is good sometimes…

Have a good week!

Fall in Cleverland

I was going to write that it is cold here in Cleveland but I accidentally typed Cleverland. I like that nickname, I think I’ll use it! Chester and I have been exploring the local parks in between raindrops. It’s a perfect fall temperature to go for a walk. Yesterday we went to my favorite, Lakeshore Reservation. I’ve posted before about this park, with the statues and lake views.

It’s always a good walk and yesterday was no exception. Chester met a puppy named Charlie who expressed how happy he was to see Chester by bouncing up and down. Yes, he was cute. Chester tolerates puppies so I consider it a success.

The fall flowering bushes are in full swing.

I don’t know what any of them are officially named but we call the yellow flowered ones touch me nots. They have little seed pods that explode when you touch them.

I dare you to touch that little green pod!

I am guessing they are not native due to the abundance of them! Apparently animals pollinate them by touching them and making them explode, dropping the seed, but it’s probably more successful because of people like me. I pollinated quite a few before Chester got tired of waiting for me. Chester then pollinated some other little stick tight bushes by walking through them…they don’t stick very well but he didn’t even notice he was covered, even had one on his nose.

Somebody left this on the bench.

It made me smile!

So what did I think about on our walk? With all this positivity and beauty, I ruminated over my fantasy football team which is neither positive or beautiful. We changed the name of the team this year from Killer Tomatoes to the Moops.

Moops is a Seinfeld reference…if you have seen it you are probably smiling. It’s a joke about how serious people were about Trivial Pursuit.

I, as the owner, hired my grandson #1 as the manager of the team, and grandson #2 as coach. Grandson #1 kept texting me during the draft telling me who to get. If I didn’t text back he would send me a single word text: “pick?” Finally he had to go to bed so I texted him to go get a shower. Grandson #2 didn’t care who I got, he figured he would coach whoever I sent his way. Plus he was probably watching Snoopy. He loves Snoopy. The Moops lost our first game this weekend. But, I have a better idea of who stinks and who just might be a true Moop superstar. I truly think this is the year of the Moops! Time will tell.

Zeus ran out of the bedroom and Chester chased him. I saw Chester’s mouth opening and closing but there is no injury to Zeus. Chester has chased the cats but he doesn’t seem to intend to hurt them. I think he just likes the chase. Anyway, Zeus is fine and bothering me while I try to type.

We had the grandkids spend the night, and when I pulled out the trundle bed, Chester thought it was for him. I had to shoo him off. He went on our big bed so don’t feel sorry for him.

While the grandkids were here, Chester got to spend the night at Camp Bow Wow. He likes the other dogs and is excited to go there. He walks and plays all day with the other doggies, and when we pick him up he is exhausted. He fell asleep in the car…

This does not look comfortable but he was sleeping!

Finally, if you are a female of a certain age, did you have one of these?

We took the grandkids to an antique place. Sometimes you are just walking along looking at random items and then you are struck by a memory that you didn’t know you had. I had one of these. It is a Betsy McCall’s Pretty Pac. Mine was pink but had the same picture on the front. Maybe that’s Betsy. I kept all my “Liddle Kiddles” and Kiddle accessories in it. My sister and I played with our kiddles a lot. A Liddle Kiddle is a little doll with a big head. Some came in scented plastic containers and smelled like flowers. I remember the lily of the valley, honeysuckle, and rose. They looked like this:

Liddle Kiddles…

We played Barbies too, but I don’t think I kept Barbie stuff in the Betsy McCall Pretty Pac. My husband asked me who Betsy McCall was and I didn’t know. But it was her Pretty Pac. I do remember it got torn and eventually I had to throw it out. I’m not sure if the memory makes me happy or sad. Part of me was happy to remember the fun we had but I’m sad that I don’t think I’ll ever have that kind of fun again. I guess instead of playing with Kiddles, I will have to play with adult toys instead. That did NOT come out right. I meant like video games and puzzles, really!

I will leave you with a terrible joke….courtesy of my co-grammie….

Have a good week!

Geneva on the Lake and Zeus the cat

Is this a cute kittie or what? The picture of goodness I would say. This is Zeus, our tuxedo cat. Just like kids, no two cats are the same. In fact, much of child raising can be compared to cat and dog raising, but rather than open that can of worms (worms cannot be compared to child raising, at least most of the time) I want to continue my informal tour of the Cleveland area.

But first, Zeus. Zeus needed a nail trimmed. I went into it singlehandedly (my first mistake) and armed with a nice little clipper/scissor. I petted Zeus awhile to lull him into a sense of false security…this feels so nice, you’re such a good cat, just relax. You are getting sleepy…you are getting sleepy.

I’m not getting sleepy…

Alas, the moment I clipped one nail he turned into the Tasmanian Devil. I struggled, bravely facing claws, a hiss or two, and what seemed like a cat with all elbows. I got one more done then turned him loose. I can admit defeat when I am bested. Being bested by a 10 pound cat isn’t something I’m proud of, but I have no ego.

This is mid-meow. He is very loud. I don’t want to know what he’s saying.

Actually, Zeus is our oldest cat, over 10 years old, but he still tries to attack the cord for the blinds. He’s the only cat we have had since kittenhood, most are strays or older when we adopt. He’s really a sweetheart…most of the time.

About a week ago, I wandered out to Geneva-on-the-Lake, about a half hour east of us. Geneva-on-the-Lake is a little resort strip on Lake Erie. It has a long history having been around in the early 1900s.

When we first moved to Cleveland, back in the 1980s, it was more of a biker area, and we would go on a Friday night, get Madsen’s donuts or ice cream, and watch the motorcycles. There used to be a little “carnival” area with the rides you would think of if you were asleep and having a nightmare. Did we go on them? Of course! There was a Ferris wheel, a “fun house” (think of the fun wandering around and smacking yourself in the face with mirrors or trying to walk through what looked like a huge cement sewer pipe that spins around slowly as you walk…great fun). There was a teacup sort of ride that just spun around and around and around and…I didn’t go on that one. My husband decided that our kids would just love this ride, so he and the two boys went on it. It was a slow night, and once the carny starts the ride, I guess he gets bored. I typically talk to everyone so we began chatting away. The ride spun around and around and around and…OK, you get the drift. We were having a good old chuckle fest and I guess he got a little loose with the time. I happened to look at the three victims and noticed a strange hue to our youngest son. He was turning a pea green, literally turning green. I told the operator to turn it off and he smiled, saying “it’s OK, they can have extra time.” What a guy! I explained that extra time now will mean extra work for him in a few minutes and he saw the light. They got off the ride just in time, staggering to the gate and eyeballing the nearest trash can. Everyone was fine, but we took our Madsen’s Donuts home instead of eating them there.

Anyway, about a week ago I returned to Geneva-on-the-Lake after many years away. Since then, they have built a state park and lodge, a huge outdoor game area, and have a winery called “Firehouse Winery.” There are still shops and other fun places but it’s pretty nice now. I went because my cousin-in-law is a founding member of a Celtic band. He plays the bagpipes. The band is called “Plaid Sabbath.” I enjoy their music and a chance to visit with my cousin in a beautiful setting at the winery. I didn’t order alot of food but what I did was good, and Plaid Sabbath is fun to watch. Irish dancers were there too, and the weather was perfect.

Plaid Sabbath
A beautiful day on the lake

On the way out, I decided to try to pick up some Madsen’s Donuts. Unfortunately they were closed. The oldest continuous play mini-golf course was open, though. We used to play there. Also open and running was the Karaoke place. Make of that what you will. I was saddened when nobody was caterwauling singing at that particular time.

I like little treasures like Geneva-on-the-Lake. They seem to grow organically. I like places that are unpretentious and Geneva-on-the-Lake fits that to a tee. I’ll have to go back and play putt-putt. For now though, Zeus has reappeared on my computer so I’m going to try for another nail.

Probably not a good idea.

Chester will be back in the next post. Today was just Zeus’ turn. Have a good week!

Picking sunflowers

Today is a dreary day. Luckily, I have a bright spot in the house, and it’s not Chester. He’s just lying around like a lump-o-hound.

Saturday we went to Rogish Farms and picked sunflowers. Sunflowers are the kind of thing you love… or not. They inspire fear in my husband. He adamantly states they are planning to replace him with a pod.

If you have seen “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” you have to admit this was one of Donald Sutherland’s best moments!

He does not trust the sunflower. My friend looks at them through a bird-watching lens, reminding me that the birds will love them after they are done blooming. Me? I love them now! They are so bold and glorious! They are the “Leo” of the flower world, proudly facing the sun.

My gracious husband put aside his reservations about becoming a pod and found a sunflower farm near us. In fact, it is next door to where we pick apples in the fall. We arrived and after driving down a winding driveway while humming the theme from “Deliverance” we found the fields. We paid $15 for a mason jar with water, and we could fill it with sunflowers.

A few tidbits…do you know how fat sunflower stems are, and how heavy? Wow, I did not. Another fun sunflower fact, the round dome in the center changes depending on the age of the sunflower. As it gets older (see the lighter dome below) the dome expands. The darker domed flower is younger.

Bees and hummingbirds drink the nectar from the sunflowers. These are “empty” seeds, so they aren’t pollinating, just having afternoon tea.

We picked about 6 flowers but picked isn’t really the right word. We needed a clipper that we brought from home because the stems are so thick. My husband found this place right in time, because the guy said they’ll probably only be there a week or so more.

The sunflower fields made me so happy! I smile whenever I see my bouquet. I love extrovert flowers, and these are perfect. I will look at the rain as a necessary factor of good sunflower growth.

The little flowers are from our yard, they make me happy too!

Now I have to motivate Chester to go for a (short) walk.

He is totally ignoring me in this picture. He ignores me when it’s nice out and when it’s raining….this was yesterday.

I know we’re going to get wet, but I’ll feel better after singing the Nippersinker song and enjoying of a cup of tea when I get home.

Doesn’t this look like “Little Shop of Horrors” Audrey? It’s just emerging. Look at the thickness of the stem!

Have a good week!

The Bumpus House and Chester’s Gotcha Day!

Happy fourth Gotcha Day to Chester! Four years ago we went to the Cleveland City Kennel and met “Roosevelt.” He was described as a “nice gentleman but never stops moving.” That turned out to be pretty accurate! Now he’s an older gentleman, 9 years old, and he does stop moving sometimes.

He still is obsessed with chasing bunnies, raccoons, possums, and squirrels. This morning a raccoon kindly wished him a Happy Gotcha Day by climbing a tree in the neighbors’ yard. Chester spent some time jumping up and down by the fence and generally maintaining the critter-free yard he guards so ferociously. He came in and got an un-frozen Kong treat which perked him up. Later he will undoubtedly get whatever we are having for dinner as a special treat. Maybe a pup cup too. We love our silly hound and are grateful to City Dogs Cleveland for matching us. Happy Gotcha Day big ole baby!

This past Saturday I used my Christmas gift. If you are a fan of the movie “A Christmas Story” you will understand my geekiness over this gift! I received an overnight stay in “The Bumpus House” from my husband.

A Christmas Story House

A little background; “A Christmas Story” was partially filmed in Cleveland, in the Tremont area, West 11th street, in 1983. I remember it well, as there was a notice in the paper looking for extras for the movie. I did not go, much to my regret now, as they wanted people dressed in 1940 clothing. I didn’t have any, and it was a warm day, so I passed. The movie wasn’t a big hit when it was released. It was not marketed correctly…it was marketed as kind of a slapstick comedy, which it isn’t. But it grew and grew, becoming a classic Christmas movie.  Just an aside, I think the music doesn’t get enough credit for making the movie. I can hear a little bit and assign it to a scene. I guess I have watched it a few (hundred) too many times!

The Bumpus Hounds! A photo hanging in the bedroom.

In the movie, the Bumpuses are the “hillbilly neighbors who live next door” and own 785 smelly hounds who torment the “Old Man” (he honestly doesn’t have any other first name)! They eventually burst into the Parker house and get the turkey off the table.

In the Bumpus House

I reluctantly say that I can relate. In my teen years, a dog named “Poochie” wandered into our house (and into my dad’s heart.) He stayed against all better judgment.

Poochie. This was taken in the 1970s.

My dad truly loved Poochie, as did I, but Poochie was a bad dog. (how bad was he?) He was so bad that he peed in our suitcase on Christmas eve. One day when it was dinner time I entered the dining room to find him standing on the table with his snoot in the tuna fish and noodles. He glanced up with a look of pure bliss on his face. I chased him off the table but to this day I’m not totally sure how he got up there. Anyway, the Bumpus hounds make me smile.

In 2007 the house where the movie filmed was purchased buy a guy who had a company that made leg lamps. It was un-renovated to appear as it had in the 1940s. Then it was refigured and decorated to look like the house in the movie. Most of the Cleveland scenes were outside, or at Higbee’s Department Store, with a few inside. People can spend the night at the house, or recently, the Bumpus house next door. We stayed in the upper level of the Bumpus House, a time travelling experience, both to the 1940s and to Christmas!

The Bumpus living room, all ours for the night

We went on a tour of the Christmas Story House, then the museum. We hit up the gift shop and the Rowley Inn across the street. I wasn’t sure what to expect, being that there was no Bumpus House pictured in the movie.  It didn’t matter, I’d enjoy it no matter what, but the house was perfect. It looked old but it worked new. There were candid photos on the walls of the cast and vintage items.

I caught some glare but this was my favorite of the kids!

It was weird because we felt like we were family, like we belonged there. I didn’t want to leave! It’s beautiful and I can’t wait to do it again! I am stealing some decorating tips and we took a lot of pictures. Below are some of my favorites.

Randy’s snowsuit in the museum!
The little can on top is a can of Simonize…
This was a plastic turkey in the Christmas Story House kitchen. I’m not sure why the hounds would want it, it did not look appealing.
A bedroom in the Bumpus House. There were random old pictures in the top drawer of the dresser.
There was a message that played when you dialed. Some of the kids on the tour didn’t know how to dial…sheesh, I felt old!

The only downside is that the Bumpus House doesn’t allow dogs. (go figure!) I understand that, and I wouldn’t allow dogs either. Chester was happy to go visit his friends at Camp Bow Wow. He likes the other doggies and slept a lot Sunday! Since it’s Chester’s fourth anniversary, I am including some of my favorite pictures of our own Bumpus Hound!  Have a good week!

2018, when we first got the Chester doggie! He’s a little skinnier…
August 2019, learned what the refrigerator does!
August 2020, his second gotcha day!
August 2021, making himself at home.
2022 with lots more to come!

Donuts and Chester being Chester

I am very much like Chester. He is food motivated and so am I. During Titanic I ate far too many goodies and junk, eating lunch then nothing until coming home at 10:30 and eating until midnight.  I had a doctor visit and imagine my surprise when I learned that my A1C is the same and I haven’t gained weight. Honestly, I was so thrilled I had a dunkin donuts iced coffee with cream and a bagel to celebrate.

Of all the foods I enjoy, Dunkin iced coffee and a bagel are among the top. I don’t get them often, but I always get the same thing, a toasted sesame bagel with cream cheese, and an iced coffee with cream. Lately it hasn’t been the same. Today the coffee tasted stale, kind of bitter. When I asked for a sesame bagel, the voice said “We are out of sesame bagels”. It was about 11am, granted, so I said, “I’ll have a cinnamon raisin bagel.” The voice said “We are out of cinnamon raisin bagels.” I said, “What kind of bagels are available?” The voice said, “We have plain.” So I said, “OK, I’ll take a plain bagel with cream cheese and an order of 10 Munchkins.” The voice said, “We’re out of Munchkins.”

For those who aren’t familiar with Munchkins, they are “donut holes” or little round….(wait for it)….DONUTS. How can a donut place be out of donuts? I am boycotting Dunkin and their lack of Munchkins for awhile. My own little protest.

This last sip will have to sustain me for awhile.

Our son used to work for the same Dunkin, and I know all fast food/restaurants are hurting for staff. I get it totally. I think we are in the middle of a readjustment period. We got used to having everything at the drop of a dime…uber, door dash, freshly, and others brought everything to us. I took advantage. What I didn’t realize, I mean really in my bones realize was that these services were not sustainable in the long run. Before the pandemic we had quick access to everything. Information, social media, food, and anything else. We didn’t have to wait. Now we do. We landed with a thump when everything closed. The people in the middle of providing these services are not as willing or able to do it anymore.  We’re all backpedaling a little bit. To anyone working in a service industry, I apologize for taking you for granted. Especially those of you who get up early to make the donuts…

Chester treed something out back and was out there for an hour jumping up and down panting and barking at it. He must have landed wrong on his paw because he’s been licking it. I don’t see anything wrong, and he isn’t limping, but he keeps licking. He seems a little peppier though after a few Milk Bones. Now he doesn’t want to go out in the rain, even to lick the deck water. Dogs..

He slept for a day straight after his back yard adventure.

We have a super-colossal weekend planned, and I can’t wait to tell you about it! Meanwhile, here are some photos from a walk with my cousin at Veteran’s Park in Mentor, and our Model A Club outing to Lost Nation Airport.  Have a good week!

Veteran’s Park
Does anyone know what these reed-like things are?
You can drive the model A with this cooker on it, then eat a hot meal. It warms it up. Usually you wrap the food up in foil to cook and to keep grease from spattering out.
All the A’s in a row!