Green space and Three Musketeers

Happy beautiful Sunday! Chester and I walked in Lakeshore Reservation Metropark this week, since it has been just a sensational weather week. In fact, I take credit for this sunshine. I have a cement goose on my front porch. Last weekend when the rain wouldn’t stop I put on the goose’s raincoat. The sun came out and stayed out! Fellow Clevelanders, you’re welcome!

Sometimes when it rains for a long time my eyes feel like they have a veil over them. When we went to the park, the veil was lifted. Everything was green, green, green.

It felt like my eyes were drinking in the green and I couldn’t look away. Sometimes I am starved for color. I just want to disappear into the green. To offset the green, we noticed the bright red and white trees in the parking area.

Lakeshore Reservation has statues resembling a sundial.

I wrote of them in a previous post, but I still enjoy seeing them. Chester likes the doggie statue (not sure if it is supposed to be a dog, but we have called it that for 30 years so it is now!) No he did not pee on it.

Boy, that is a big dog!

We went down a different path and discovered another statue that I didn’t know existed.

I’m not sure what it is if anything. Somewhere someone is probably laughing thinking that they just put a big rock there to confuse people like me.

Chester wants to go swimming in Lake Erie. Unfortunately the steps to the lake were still blocked. Next time…

Speaking of things that we didn’t know about, we went to the Allen Theater in Playhouse Square to see “The Three Musketeers.” If you plan a trip to Cleveland, be sure to check out Playhouse Square.

We decided that we had not been to the Allen before, and it is gorgeous. There is a rotunda in the center of the lobby. If you stand in the middle and talk, it echoes. We did not know that until one of the nice ushers told us then laughed at the look of shock on our faces. We played around a bit, then chuckled as others discovered it. Pretty cool.

In the rotunda

The play was good, much as expected, with a lot of swordfighting. I learned that in theater now there is an “Intimacy Director” position. I had not heard that before, but it makes a lot of sense. The Intimacy Director handles both romance and fighting scenes, making sure the actors know exactly what is going to happen and that they are Ok with it. This play had a lot of both. I was impressed by the over-and-above action scenes, an extensively choreographed undertaking. Yet it moved very quickly. This play was put on by the Cleveland Playhouse, the oldest regional theater company in the United States. We enjoyed ourselves and arrived early so I took pictures and we ate candy.

One Junior Mint escaped in my purse and melted on my lipstick. Ah, summertime! I typically keep chapstick in my car console (and in spots all around the house) just in case of an emergency. I hate chapped lips. I have to remove it from the car in the summer because one time it melted. Eww. Have you ever had anything melt (or freeze) in your car? I had a diet coke can freeze and explode once. That was pretty easy because I just picked up the ice chunks and tossed them outside. One time (and only one time!) I accidentally left fish in the car. It fell out of a grocery bag. Boy did that stink!

Anyway, I have verbally meandered into the dregs of my past there….after talking about the beauty of the greenery and the Allen Theater. Focus on the beauty! And have a wonderful week!

Odds and ends on a rainy Friday

We are at status quo here, so other than one quick rant about the rain, this will be a post of happy odds and ends.

OK, I’m done…

In our relatively small town lies a huge treasure. This pipe organ sits majestically in the Painesville Methodist Church.

I am told they have great organists in the church. This time, a nationally known organist, Tom Trenney, performed a concert last Friday evening. He grew up in the church, then moved on to great success.  The concert was wonderful. It occurred to me that while the organ remains silent for most of its life, it can roar to life when someone is brave enough to ask it to perform. It was hard to believe that a little man sitting at a keyboard could command that power. Kind of like the Wizard of Oz behind the curtain, except no fakery. I was lucky to hear something like this—extraordinary things can be found in small places.

Another extraordinary thing I noticed was the beauty of tulips this spring.

This is at Perry Methodist Church, where our bell choir plays. Someone went to a lot of work in the fall, and voila, it came to fruition. My husband has a soft spot for tulips, and while we planted a lot, many got displaced or eaten.

Our pretty tulips

I’m not sure how the church ones escaped being digested by neer-to-do-well critters. There’s a certain bit of faith involved in planting bulbs I guess. The people planted them not knowing what would happen or if they would even see the result.  In this case they bloomed into beautiful flowers.

While walking Chester I saw the biggest dandelion pod ever.

Chester was unimpressed

I admire dandelions and other wildflowers. I think they are pretty but many don’t like them. Yet just like squirrels and bird feeders, you can wage war but you will likely lose. Their tenacity causes me to respect the lowly dandelion. Remember putting it by your chin to see if you like butter? Maybe that was an Ohio thing…

I raked out my corner garden, leaving leaves in the grass before my husband mulched them with the lawn mower. Chester decided that he must roll on the grass where they were. Of course, being a true pet parent, my husband pulled out his camera.

Oh, Chester…

 I cringe when thinking of what Chester must smell and be rolling in. He’s a hound. But a happy hound! He was especially happy because our grandson bought him a toy. Or rather, since he is only 4 years old, he told me “I want to buy Chester a toy” and I bought it.

Chester loved it for all of about 10 minutes until he dissected it, removed the squeaker, and pulled out all the stuffing. I did not take a picture of the mess because I was afraid the grandson would see it and be traumatized.  Needless to say, Chester was a very happy boy.

This weekend is Mother’s Day. I am OK with Mother’s Day. Motherhood is messy, as is fatherhood. I enjoyed having children—the child years were the best of my life. I am loving being a grandma too. Part of me enjoys the independence of not having children rely on me. Another part gets mad when they don’t answer my calls.  Another part sees how hard my daughter in law works and manages the boys; she deserves a day of recognition. (lots of energy in those boys!! ditto for Father’s Day) Another part doesn’t want them to go to any trouble for me. So you see, I am full of parts! I usually just go with the flow because any time they call or we get together I enjoy it. I know my husband is making me eggs because he asked me if I would eat a poached egg. I said no. I’m sure it would be delicious, he’s a good cook. But…still no.

Truth be told, I have pets relying on me and that’s almost like children. People call them “fur babies.” That’s pushing my saccharine level a little high. I cringe but I do get it.  This morning Milo ate some treats then hopped on my lap. He rubbed his treat-smelly face on my chin so I rubbed my chin back on his head. If you have kids, did you ever have one wipe his/her nose on your pants? Even if it wasn’t your kid? Yeah….now it’s a cat. I tried to take a selfie of this expression of cat love but he wouldn’t do it with the camera watching.  Instead he looks all handsome. He’s a hound too. Ignore the messy hair, I’m trying to see if it will curl if I don’t blow it dry. Looks promising.

I guess that’s all of my odds and ends for the week. I am starting a new project and will tell you about it soon. I was hoping for this week, but not yet. Have a wonderful weekend!

Cookbooks and a mcwarm walk

When I asked some friends over for dinner tonight, I had to decide what to make. I pulled out my old and trusty cookbook to browse through it.

Yes, to those young people reading this, the above is a cookbook. Cookbooks have been usurped by online recipes or those coming with meal packages. I can’t say whether that’s good or bad, I have no opinion, but it’s interesting. This cookbook was given to me for our wedding, 40 years ago. At the time there was no “online” and I definitely did not know how to cook. I used it a lot. My favorite lasagna recipe is in it, as is pot roast, banana or zucchini bread, and some others. I like this one because it has pictures at the beginning (kind of like online recipes!) There were some weird recipes, like one of a gelatinous fish. I never made that one.

My second favorite cookbook has to be this one.

This was given to me for Christmas in 1981 by my aunt, uncle, and cousins. My uncle’s barbecue chicken recipe is in it.

This one has my corn and cheese recipe, “simple, sophisticated chicken”, and of course the chicken recipe! Don’t you love the happy couple having a picnic on the University of Illinois green?

I do look up online recipes and have favorites. But true to form, I often print them. I can’t find them easily again. Bookmarks are OK but my problem is that I bookmark too much stuff. Then I can’t remember which one was good.  The benefit to online is that it doesn’t take up space in the kitchen. Our kitchen dedicates a shelf to cookbooks that we can’t really afford. But I think cookbooks are as hard to get rid of as regular books! I mean, how do you get rid of this:

This was from my dad and includes all my Christmas Cookie recipes. I made tons of cookies last Christmas the day before I tested positive for covid. We froze some thinking we would eat them and the freezing would kill covid but we did not eat a single cookie. I finally threw them out. Gah, what a waste of a good cookie!

Or this?

We made an erupting volcano for one of the kids’ birthdays. Dry ice and all!

This came with a special insert: “Special Effects Pet Food Recipes”. My favorite is the “Jumping Dog Bone or Flapping Fish Biscuit.” You have to make the biscuit then use a drill to drill a hole in the biscuit. That’s one tough biscuit! You then attach a plastic hose (it tells you to get it from a hardware store, which I would if the strip club hadn’t burned down Major True Value, argh) You blow air in it and the biscuit jumps up and down and “your pet will think the treat is alive!”

Chester would either develop a complex or try to kill it. The cats would sneer and walk away. I don’t know if anyone would eat the biscuit but it may be moot if the drill breaks up the biscuit when attempting to drill a hole that would fit perfectly with the plastic hose from the non-existent hardware store.

Then there’s this one…

it was given to my mom when she was in the hospital with cancer. My cousin Wes’ wife, Kali, brought it to her. I can’t pronounce most of the recipes, but I may try one or two. Give my husband a little variety (and probably a scare!) It meant a lot to my mom that Kali visited, and she treasured this book in hope that she would be able to cook again. It was a book of optimism.  No, I can’t give that away.  

What’s a person to do? Think about it another time and take Chester to Pete’s Pond!

Pete’s Pond is one of my favorite parks. Last weekend was downright hot…86 degrees. We packed up his water bottle and headed out. Pete’s Pond is usually pretty shady but this time the leaves hadn’t arrived yet. We didn’t think of that, and it was hot. Chester did well, but near the end of the walk he decided he had enough and scraped a hole under a bench and lay down.

We decided to take a break with him (we couldn’t exactly move him) so we waited. It took a little longer than we thought but we weren’t in a hurry. The squirrels, chipmunks and birds were busy. I think this red-winged blackbird was concerned because it kept squawking at us.  

On the way home we stopped at McDonald’s for drinks. I saw this sign…

If you look at the right side, the sign says you can apply at “”. (even long haired mcfreaky people I guess!) I thought that was amusing for some reason. McDonalds is mchiring some mcpeople to mcwork. Our son mcworked there for a while in high school. He said it wasn’t that bad, although I don’t see him mchurrying mcback. OK I’ll stop….NO I CAN’T!  Mcchester and I are going to go for a Mcwalk around the mcneighborhood. Whew, out of my system.

Oh, mcmom….

We are actually going for a walk, so the tadpole extravaganza will have to wait! Have a mcwonderful weekend! (Sorry😊)

Wordle and poison ivy

When everybody likes something, I typically don’t. I am typically wrong. Everybody from Hoda on the Today Show to Scooby Doo (OK maybe not Scooby Doo) raved about Wordle. My sister told me she played it and I poo-poohed it. Mostly because I had looked at the apps and couldn’t figure out if she played “Wordles” or “Wordle!” or another slightly embellished title. Finally I asked her and she said just to go to the New York Times and it’ll pop up. I acted as if I knew that, but a couple days later I did it.

This devilish little game is addicting. It’s really just guessing 5-letter words but there’s a little strategy. I pretend I’m on “The Price is Right” and can change the incorrect letters with Drew Carey cheering me on. I then share my result with my sister. She shares hers back which is almost always better than mine. As a middle child that must make her feel good, since second kids have to try to keep up with someone older who lords it over them and tries to make them feel inferior because they can’t do what the oldest had extra years to practice. Not that I would ever do that.

This morning I woke up at 4:19am. I reported last week that I had poison ivy on my arms. I was cavalier, stating that it wasn’t bad and I have had worse. LIES!! I started noticing that I scratched my arms in my sleep so I started wearing large Band-Aids that make me look like The Mummy. This worked but left my arms with red, Band-Aid sized, raised hive-like welts. I suspect I am either allergic to the Band-Aid, or my skin reacted to the added indignity of me yanking off the Band-Aid. Either way, I was between a rock and a hard place.  The itching has been replaced with pain that even makes me stop eating. The only thing that brings comfort is holding my sad arms under water. I think they are healing now though, they look better today.

Anyway, at 4:19am I awoke with an urge to scratch or cut my arm off. I could not get back to sleep so I went downstairs and did Wordle. The first word I typed in was death. It was all I could think of. Maybe I was being a little dramatic but it wasn’t the worst word to open with. I guessed the Wordle word in three guesses which I thought for sure would crush my sister like the boulder in Indiana Jones. But alas, she also got three. There’s always tomorrow.

At 4:19am there’s not much to do. I hung out with Zeus awhile. He was confused because I wasn’t feeding him.

I watched the news and learned that the Today Show was going to set a world record. For Earth Day (today) they were going to have the most people water a plant at one time. Yes, this is true. There is no current record (really?) so it was pretty much a given. I puttered around, read a few blogs and decided to change the bedroom around, then watched the happy people in the plaza water their plants. There was a group in Cleveland watering plants too. I was not among them obviously but there was a Cleveland Browns mascot or something dancing around. Probably trying to garner some good will since most people here are kind of sour on the Browns.

So what did I learn today? I learned three truths that I will add to my Mom’s List of Advice: 1) coffee is good, 2) don’t dismiss things without trying them (except for the stuff sitting out at the fair, the dips and such. No, No, No.) and 3) …I was going to write wear long sleeves and gloves when gardening but I’ll never do that. So maybe there are only two truths.

Chester is living his best springtime life, tearing around the mud after squirrels and bunnies, both real and imagined.

I’m a happy dog!

On Easter, the other Grammie and Pop-Pop gave him a treat. It wasn’t a bunny, but the next best thing.

He loved it. He ate it in about 3 minutes.

We have not been to a park with him lately but this weekend looks very promising. He did make another friend on a walk, a puppy named Toby (I think…the puppy was running around and the owner was calling her but seemed a little out of breath). Milo is bothering me on the computer. This is the look when he is about to sneeze all over me.


I have to hurry and cover my arms so they don’t have cat germs AND poison ivy.

Have an excellent week!

The Titanic Song

Since I mentioned the Titanic, people have decided I should know this song. Not “My Heart Will Go On” or anything like that. No, my friends have been eager to expose me to an old folk song, sometimes known as “Oh they built the ship Titanic.” It includes the lyrics:

Husbands and wives and little children lost their lives
It was sad when that great ship went down.

In the camp/scouting version this is sung to a cheery tune along with a call and response type chorus:

It was sad (so sad) It was sad (too bad!) It was sad when the great ship went down.

There doesn’t seem to be consensus on when it was written, but it was traced as far back as 1915. The Titanic sunk on April 15, 1912, so they must have decided there should be a song to commemorate it, as if people would forget. In the years since, it has apparently been taught to every girl schout, boy scout, and catholic camp kid, since many friends know it. It was included in the movie “Hud” with Paul Newman. My husband has seen probably every movie with Paul Newman and would likely remember it, but I alas did not. Until my friends decided to reacquaint me with it. Thanks, friends, it is now permanently stuck in my head. If you look it up on you tube you will see multiple performances, all sung with gusto. Delightful, kind of like “Ring Around the Rosie,” sometimes thought to be about the plague (although there is some evidence to the contrary). I know songs are sometimes about grim subjects (think of “Ode to Billy Joe”). I don’t know why exactly, maybe it helps us get through a sad situation if we make light of it. Anyway, I appreciate the sharing generosity that my friends exhibited. It is a little troubling that my friends invariably sing it with maniacal smiles.  I do hang out with some strange people.

The Titanic sunk 110 years ago today. I watched a 2005 video of footage shot of the sunken ship. It is eerie in its stillness. Doesn’t it seem mind blowing that after 110 years so much has disintegrated but the ship waits? Just about everything is gone if it’s underwater for 110 years. I saw some items that were sold that were on the Titanic. Millions of dollars were paid to buy them. The weirdest was a cracker that was in a lifeboat first aid kit. Yum. There were menus, telegraphs sheets, a doll’s face and some jewelry.

Sold for $7900

What will be left of me in 110 years? Probably not much. The doll’s face reminded me of a book I wish I would have bought:

We have referred to this book frequently at our antique shop excursions. We recently won a raffle gift at the antique coop. It’s a Spanish soccer player and soccer card. We aren’t sure if it was us or the grandkids who put the ticket in. In fact we don’t remember putting it in, or even seeing this major award! It must be worth something…

Speaking of excursions, Chester has been fine except for a stomach ache. He was eating grass the day after we went to Dairy Queen. I suspect his stomach didn’t agree with the puppy sized cup of ice cream they gave him. Everywhere we go he gets snacks. He didn’t throw up (thank goodness) and we cut back on the junk food, so he is back to normal. It’s a beautiful day (every day is beautiful!) and he has been getting longer walks. He crashes in his sunbeam or on the tile, depending on how warm he is.

I’m going back to sleep.

Great news on the Zeus and Milo front! For those who have heard me lament that they hate each other, we had an encounter that did NOT end badly! I opened the door to the bedroom and Milo darted out. Zeus was right there. Zeus hissed at Milo and ran in the basement. Milo ignored him! So we are going to leave them together for half a day first, then a whole day, and hopefully by the time we go on vacation, they can have the house together. We are going to feed them separately, because they eat different foods, but time to make friends, boys!!


I am going to watch the Cleveland Guardians baseball home opener and try to ignore the poison ivy on my arms. I need a cone of shame for my hands to prevent itching. It’s not too bad though, I’ve had worse. Have a wonderful week! Go Guardians!!

The hardware store and jumping on the Titanic

We used to have a hardware store. Not a box store, although we do frequent those. No, this was the old-timey type of store. It had about three or four old guys working there who could find anything, and a couple high school kids. Anything you could ever imagine you would need was in this store. Boxes and bins of nuts, screws, bolts and washers. There was a paint section that I most often used. It had spray paint, wall paint, house paint, and probably finger paint. There was a key shop with fluorescent key guards, different key chains, and keys with Cleveland sports teams on them. It had a plethora of choices in every little nook and cranny.  It was named Major True Value but we just said, “the hardware store”. It was about 3 minutes from our house. I can’t count the number of times we would start a project then realize we needed something and run to True Value (sometimes more than once!) It had been there forever. Then came the strip club.

The strip club was on the right, True Value on the left, same building. Only a wall separated them. If you were looking for a mop you could clearly hear the boompity-boomp music through the wall and imagine the activity. I’m not sure when, but someone must have complained because a couple years later the music was turned down a little. Of course it probably depended on the crowd and who was dancing. I didn’t notice it as much, but I am getting old and hard of hearing so make of that what you will. I don’t know how many people protested the strip club or how vigorous the protesting was…I guess there was some. It didn’t have much of an impact and eventually petered out. The two businesses coexisted with one name change, then it went back to the original name, all taken in stride. The male patrons who were interested probably figured “going to the hardware store” was a truthful destination.  A win-win if you will.

Kind of dismal day but it looks better than it did… It has received a new coat of paint. Unlike the building on the left.

Sadly, someone set the strip club on fire. The guy at the nearby gas station who always is willing to shoot the breeze, said there was a lot of smoke and water damage. That was in 2017 but it seems like a lot longer. The paper said it was arson but I never heard if the person was caught. The True Value was closed (obviously the strip club as well) and the building remained empty. Recently there was some activity spotted, and it looks like there is a baseball facility and fitness center moving in. I hope they do well but I do miss the True Value. A good hardware store is hard to find.

This came to mind over the last couple days because I painted the stair walls and hallway. Chester was getting in the way as usual and my husband asked if he was lying on a wall I just painted. I said no, but somehow he managed to get paint on his back. ??? I don’t know. At least he has some white on his feet so it’s kind of natural looking. I’m trying to get it off but it’s sticky stuff. Oh well.

Oh Chester….

I’m painting now because I am going to be taking part in a production of Titanic the Musical (not related to the movie) so my summer will be busy. There is a charming theater out here that is a theater in a barn. Rabbit Run is the name. Its shows are top notch productions.  I have auditioned there many times to no avail, but I guess this time the part was right. I’m going to be playing Ida Strauss. We have a lot in common; she died when she was one year older than I am, she was married for 40 years (me too) and her husband owned Macy’s (I shop at Macy’s!) To say I’m excited would be a gross understatement. I’m so grateful to be able to take part in this and I am completely humbled by the talent in the show. The director did mention something about wool costumes in July, but he didn’t seem too concerned so I’m not either! If you are in the area, here is the info.

What else has Chester been doing? Drinking water off the deck.

Why??? He has a full water dish. Sometimes I wonder about that dog, maybe it’s spring fever! I guess I’ll take him through the CVS drive through—they’ll give him a biscuit. He stares them down until they weaken!

Yep, this is the stare!

Have a good week!

April Fools, Bigfoot and Sponge Bob

Happy April Fool’s Day. I am going to resist the urge to say that every day is April Fool’s Day lately. Instead, I am going to show you something wonderful and new that my husband got me NOT for April Fool’s Day!

It’s a Sponge Bob Squarepants sponge holder. I don’t know where he finds these treasures but he manages. He found the light up chickens for Christmas, and the Styrofoam Santa, after all. I had a dream last night about the Styrofoam Santa. I dreamed I went into my childhood bedroom closet and found 3 of them. Two were Disney related so I left them. The other one was smaller and someone had drawn my dad’s face on it. The artist probably did not pursue a career in the arts as the picture was, shall we say, hideous. But I was excited and took it home to show my husband. He would appreciate it if it was real.

Anyway, the Sponge Bob holder is a great solution to the problem of where to put the sponge. The only problem with it is that when wet, the sponge is a little heavier. This is what happened:

I don’t care, I love it and look forward to the next acquisition. I don’t deserve this generosity except that I am going to the Pork Rind Festival in June with him. Maybe he’s paying it forward.

So back to April Fool’s. I woke up this morning and saw this:

Sponge Bob is the new barista.

Then after my coffee (not espresso) I saw this:

Sponge Bob eating the Cheetos. Not Cheezits thank goodness.

And finally, when I went to feed the fish, this:

By the sea, by the sea…

I suspect that Sponge Bob is a little like the Elf on the Shelf, moving around the house. I will wait with bated breath to see where he moves next!

 I don’t remember successfully pulling any April Fool pranks as a kid. As a kid I would try, telling my brother and sister that school was cancelled or it was Saturday. They never bought it. Apparently I wasn’t as creative as some of the businesses. According to,

In 1996, Taco Bell, the fast-food restaurant chain, duped people when it announced it had agreed to purchase Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and intended to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. In 1998, after Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper,” scores of clueless customers requested the fake sandwich. Google notoriously hosts an annual April Fools’ Day prank that has included everything from “telepathic search” to the ability to play Pac Man on Google Maps. For the average trickster, there is always the classic April Fools’ Day prank of covering the toilet with plastic wrap or switching out sugar and salt.

Shoot, I should have tried the plastic wrap one. The sugar and salt thing is too much work. I’m not a very creative or ambitious prankster, unlike our Cleveland Orchestra. On the morning news we discovered that there was a Bigfoot sighting at Blossom Music Center, a beautiful outdoor venue for the orchestra. The orchestra released a video so there is proof! Bigfoot looks strangely like a guy in a red jacket, but who am I to question Bigfoot’s style choices?

As a mom, I would try to fool my kids like I did my brother and sister. Once they were past about 3 years old they didn’t buy it either. On the plus side, I was never the recipient of any pranks even though I did receive the most coveted award in high school, the “Most Gullible.” At least that’s what they told me.  

I do plan to play a trick on my grandson today…he’s pretty smart though. He’s eight years old and won the March Madness family bracket. I’m going to tell him there was a change in the stats and Grandpa won. He wouldn’t believe it if I said I won, my bracket broke down faster than the Titanic. The only problem is that he has the stats analyzed already. The kid is a future sports journalist I think. But don’t all kids believe their dear old grandma???  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Chester has been enjoying lying in the sun. We’ve been walking a little longer now that the weather isn’t 50 degrees below comfortable. Zeus the cat got mad at me because I was brushing him. He had blood work done and got a clean bill of health, even though he is turning 13. This is what he does when he’s mad…

Gotta love an irritated cat…

Our crocuses survived the snow and are blooming full force.

Chester is unimpressed by the crocuses but interested in the squirrel up the tree.

Everything is a little later here because we are about a mile from Lake Erie and it is cooler. As you can see, the squirrels don’t eat the purple and white ones but feast on yellow. My husband commented that the squirrels on our street are significantly more substantial than those on the other streets. I can’t imagine why!

Have a good day and I hope you have only silly pranks!

PS: Happy Birthday to my dad who was an ultimate prankster. I miss our conversations and feeble attempts to prank each other. I miss playing cards and the smack talk (Can we have a reading of the scores please?)  I smile, remembering those moments with love!

Our daughter painted this for me from a photo. Dad is the one on the right and the other gentleman is a good friend. It’s a little blurry in this because of my phone, but it’s a good likeness. I just noticed his red jacket…hmm

Spring changes and an uber ride

I love spring. I’m going to keep saying that even through it snowed about an inch last night.

Believe it or not, this was what we woke up to.

Ahh, Cleveland. At least it froze the mud pit that is in our back yard. We have grass, yes we do. Probably 85% of the yard is grass. But under the trees it is a little thin. Of course that is where the raccoon decided to climb.

I know people with 4-wheelers like the mud. I don’t. Thursday morning at about 6:30am I heard Chester barking outside. It was raining fairly hard so I thought he wanted in. That was a miscalculation. Chester had treed a raccoon and was jumping up and down in the mud pit under the tree. When I say mud pit, I mean a mud pit. Picture a demolition derby area after the cars tore it up and while it was raining. Chester and his glorious 79 pounds give or take a few was literally jumping up and down and running around the tree. Every time he landed I could hear a splat sound and see the mud rise to meet that delightfully substantial belly. I knew this was going to be bad.

I called him, realizing it was futile. I always feel bad for the neighbors, but at least it was raining so the windows were closed. Oh, I forgot to mention that he was barking incessantly. After getting no response from the first few calls, in escalating levels of firmness, I moved to shaking the box of Milk Bones. He didn’t even look. By 7:00, I thought he’d be tired. Nope. He was covered in mud, determinedly jumping and barking. The raccoon was sitting in the tree looking at him. Probably cussing him out. By 7:30 I had to leave so I put on my tennies and went out to drag him in.

As I got closer to the tree, I got a good look at the raccoon. Poor thing, it was scared…of ME. I was slipping and sliding and grabbing the fence to try not to wipe out. Chester realized I was trying to ruin his fun and ran away from me to the other side of the tree, barking. We went round and round like that a few times but I couldn’t leave the fence due to my perceived humiliation should I fall in the mud. My husband had suggested taking the leash out there, so I waved it around a little. I guess the vision of me slipping and sliding and waving the leash may have confused the raccoon (and the neighbors) but it didn’t fool Chester. He’s too smart for that.

When I got nearer to the tree (but not under the raccoon in case it jumped on me with claws and fangs bared) it moved. It jumped across the fence onto our neighbor’s shed, then to the trash can and scooted under the shed. Honestly it could have done that at any time. Seriously, raccoon? Evil thing.

Chester immediately stopped barking. I trudged back to the house with muddy shoes and grabbed every towel I could. When he came in, he was dark brown and smelled like funk.

This was taken after a previous escapade, but picture this with mud up the sides and you got it.

We should have hosed him off but to get to the hose I would have to walk in the rain and turn on the water, and the water was cold. I A) didn’t want to go back in the rain and B) felt sorry for the hound, who was more than pleased with himself. We used the paw washer and toweled him off as best we could which wasn’t very well. His belly rubbed on the wall, leaving a mud mark. He jumped on the couch leaving mud everywhere. He shook himself and got mud in my COFFEE for crying out loud. And paw prints? You guessed it. Everywhere.

The next day he was stiff and sore. I brushed a fair amount of mud off him, but he’s not pristine. I almost felt sorry for him as he walked down the stairs, not running full force like usual. Note I said almost. Honestly, I love spring.

So with the rising gas prices, I thought of Uber. I have only taken an Uber once, in Orlando several years back. My daughter and I went to Harry Potter World.

So cool, it was like stepping into the books.

We had a great time and wanted to go to a nice restaurant outside of the theme park. She picked a good vegetarian one and called an Uber. We started on our way and the driver was friendly. I talk to everyone, so it was fine. He asked where we were from. When I told him Cleveland he said “Ohhhh, like the serial killer?” Yes, we had a serial killer. He then asked about the girls who were kidnapped and held many years. I said yes, that’s us too. I swear he mentioned every crime that happened in the past 30 years. I got one or two words in, trying to remind him of the Orlando shootings that have occurred, but what a thing to talk about! Not exactly a good way to reassure customers.  Is that all he knows about Cleveland? Not even the burning river? I’m used to that one. People are fascinating. We chatted on like two old chums, and when we arrived my daughter said she was glad she lives in Brooklyn. This is not to say that the ride wasn’t fine, it was.  Just kind of strange when small talk is about true crime.

Even at Harry Potter World we had a true crime reminder…

There is no moral to that story, I just enjoy random moments. Kind of like the lady in the car dealer waiting room playing “A Horse With No Name.” (previous blog) I actually do like spring (if it ever quits snowing!) and have resigned myself to cleaning mud off the house and the dog for awhile. Part of dog ownership I guess!

Can I go out again?

Have a good week!

Handbells and the end of Cheezits

I have been changing the furniture around frequently due to a combination of boredom and a broken spring on a chair. Chester tolerates it pretty well but today I moved the couch while he was outside. I think he is confused because he decided to lay on the hard wood floor where the couch used to be. It’s only a foot away.

I spent Friday and Saturday at the Area 5 Handbell Festival in downtown Cleveland. I have played in a bell choir for almost 30 years. Most of the ringers in our choir went to the festival and had a great time.

The ding-a-lings (I’m so funny, right?)

The festival is split into classes and rehearsals (we are told the music ahead of time and practice on our own) and a guest bell choir performed for us. This time it was the Raleigh Ringers, a professional group who played lots of rock & roll. Honestly, they did…we sang along to Journey, Neil Diamond, and Guns n Roses. This merely pointed out that bell ringers aren’t necessarily singers, and nobody knows the words to “Sweet Caroline”, but everybody knows the “bu bu baaa” part. The Raleigh Ringers are going to perform in Chautauqua, and well worth seeing if you are in New York. We then played our concert Saturday evening. There were about 200 ringers or so. It went well and I’m ready to ring again! So much fun!! Our choir is only four octave so we don’t have the giant bells and chimes, but the Purdue Bells were right in front of us, and they did.

Those chimes were incredible.

We spent money too, on tye-dyed gloves, t-shirts, and other fun stuff.

I wanted Chester to be the hand model but he declined.

We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel attached to Terminal Tower in Cleveland. It was OK except that there were only a few elevators. When 200 ringers who usually go to bed at 9:00 get out of a concert that lasts until 9:45, well, it does not bode well for the maximum weight limit. There was a mile long line to get on them, and I had a box of Cheezits, so my stand mate and I thought we may as well hit the hotel bar and wait there. At dinner I had a peach something or other drink.

I probably drank it way too fast.

We then visited the bar, yada yada yada and I was late to the 8:00am rehearsal the next morning. I didn’t yada over the best part…the peach something was amazingly good. On the other hand, I will never eat another Cheezit. Ever. It is now on my list of banned items along with corn nuts and Bugles.

Outside of that glitch in the well laid plan, and after talking the coffee guy into filling my travel mug with Starbucks for 3 dollars, I won a Cleveland trivia contest. I probably should have disqualified myself being from Cleveland…I suspect the others were from Kentucky, Michigan, or Indiana. I snuck in late and the presenter didn’t ask. Besides, the prize was a cute t-shirt….

Chester did better modeling the shirt.

On the home front, little league baseball started up for grandson 1.  I admit to loving baseball in general, probably genetic. Little league is so nice, sitting outside and taking grandson 2 to the river next to the field now and then. Of course, when it gets hotter the bugs come out and the river doesn’t have the same appeal. We don’t usually take Chester, but we may try it this year. He would want to lick all the kids and would distract them, but he’d love the river.

Chester and I went for a long walk today and only saw one other doggie. It was beautiful outside so I’m not sure why, but we did hear some hounds pitching a fit from inside their houses. When Chester hears a dog barking at him from inside a house he stops and looks at the house. He doesn’t want to keep walking for a few minutes.

This is the look he gives them.

It’s like he enjoys making the other dogs bark. Maybe they are saying something interesting in dog language. Or maybe he is just taunting them. Not sure.

That was my weekend, and I was pretty tired. I absolutely love the bells so it was worth it. But now, I’m going to give Chester some extra hugs and kisses. And maybe a little ice cream. Did you know today is National Ice Cream Day? Isn’t every day? I would also like to tell him a story about the exploits of a sweet little dog who tolerated the eccentricities of his rather unusual but lovable owner, and was a much more cooperative model. It’s a good story for a good dog. ❤

St. Patrick’s Day

Top o’the morning to you all! There, I have fulfilled my St. Patrick’s Day language requirement. I am bemused by this pseudo-holiday. On one hand, there is a grand parade in Cleveland and I look pretty good in green. The weather is beautiful, the birds are chirping, and I am happy.

On the other hand, my ankles and legs are tired and sore with a capital T and S. I was going to hear the best bagpipe band in Lake County, “Plaid Sabbath”. But yesterday our grandson and I spent the day together. We attended a Metropark program on four leaf clovers, rainbows, and leprechauns, culminating in a nice walk and searching for a pot of gold. We then went to McDonald’s for lunch (he had fries with his ketchup), then the Lake County Farmpark.

The Farmpark is just that, a farm and a park. The grandson loves the horses so we spent a fair amount of time (OK more than that) visiting and watching the horses. The staff was getting the draft horses ready for the big Cleveland parade. We watched one get a haircut and another get a bath.

Willie getting a haircut
Jax getting a bath

That was certainly a highlight. We saw maple sugar being harvested, laughed at the conversations between sheep (or sheep and grandson), and pitied the mama pig with an “I lost count” number of babies.

Oh my…

Maybe the pity part was just me. We humans with one baby at a time are pretty wimpy compared to mama pig. We rode in the tractor-wagon, played on the playground, and saw a strikingly pretty cow named Dot.

Dot is seriously the most beautiful cow I’ve ever seen.

We had a great time but I am paying for it today! We walked a lot. That is an understatement.  How do little kids do it?? The day culminated in Batman calzones and Macho Taco. I will pay for that too, I’m sure.

So, today we are taking it easy, or I thought we were. This is how Chester has been lately:

This morning he woke up feisty! He barreled down the steps, banking his chonky self off of the wall to rebound into the family room. He went right outside and did his business, then ran back in and did NOT jump up on the couch!

Let’s go!

What the heck? Maybe he has spring fever. If he thinks we are going to a park, as much as I’d like to, we aren’t. We will go out back and he can chase the squirrels while I sit and think about all the yard work I should be doing. We caught him eating the corn I throw out for the squirrels. Like he doesn’t get enough food. Sheesh.

He also snuck his kong outside…a no-no (he knows that but does it anyway). Here he is ignoring me as I mention his kong…

Meanwhile, I will be watching either all or one of the Leprechaun movies. Per Wikipedia, Warwick Davis is the “highest grossing supporting actor of all time,” due to his appearances in Star Wars and Harry Potter. He is worth every penny. Someone could make a lot of money with a kid friendly leprechaun movie. Maybe the evil leprechaun could be rehabilitated…Mr. Davis??? If you are reading this, see what you can do, OK?

Or, if it is on, I will watch “Finian’s Rainbow” with Fred Astaire and Petula Clark. That one has the song “Look to the Rainbow” which was a favorite of my mom’s. It’s not a bad movie, and a break from the “Leprechaun” series, AS IF you would need a break!!! I usually make it through one or two “Leprechaun”s. Then they get silly.

Tomorrow and Saturday I am going to a handbell festival. We ring bells and attend a whirlwind of classes. I love these festivals and will share anything and everything you ever wanted to know about handbells next week! (No, it won’t be as short of a post as you may wish.) Take care of yourselves and enjoy spring!   

OK, the kong is in now. Are you happy?