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!

Grandma Camp

This has been such a busy two weeks! From Grandma Camp to the Lake County Fair, with old car stuff thrown in, we have been running! I’m going to let the pictures do most of the talking but don’t worry, Chester got his share of excitement.

Chester recovering from a busy week

Lake County, Ohio is a wonderful home. It would also be a wonderful vacation spot! We did things I have not done in 30+ years living here, and there was more we wanted to experience, just didn’t have the time.

The week started out with a program at the Metroparks. There is a group called “Lakeshore Live Steamers” that resides at one of the parks and offers free rides for kids AND adults! This was a scheduled program so my husband rode with Grandkid #2 who was enrolled. Grandson #1 has ridden before. I have not, but it is now on my bucket list. Now I have to get my sister…wait for it…”all aboard”!

The horses’ heads move in and out when the train runs.

The Lake County Fair is something we go to every year. For the past couple of years we drove the Model A in the opening day parade. Last year we didn’t buy enough candy (or threw too much depending on who is telling the story). This year I guess I went overboard because we have some left.

There was a dog groomer who played “Who Let the Dogs Out” over and over again. Luckily we were not directly behind them.

We drove in a long line of As and Grandson #1 rode in the rumble seat. He is a baseball player and had very good aim. I, on the other hand, did not. I was throwing from inside the car and had a frisbee type move. Unfortunately, I aimed one particularly heavy “Tootsie Blow Pop” at a deserving-looking kid. It sailed off in an arc and conked another kid right on top of his head. He looked up like the sky was falling but his dad seemed to think it was funny. I don’t think there was any significant injury. John kept driving. We also gave out mini dog biscuits this year. We would yell “This is for your dog” and let it fly. Some people got it, but a few kids picked them up and looked confused. Chester is happy because we bought too many of them also.

At the actual fair, there was a spot where the cows would hang out. We were standing there and this one walked right up to me.

My new bff

Am I a cow whisperer? Maybe! She was a sweetheart. We ate pizza, Jr. Fair Milkshakes, and Dippin Dots. I avoided the deep fried Oreos and French Fries, sadly. I love the fair, just walking around and looking at the displays, the animals and the games. We didn’t get to see much in our limited time there, we’ll have to stay longer next year.

Lake County has several beaches (to Lake Erie) so we went to the Mentor Headlands State Park. We didn’t know that there was sand sculpting going on! Here is our favorite:

Pretty amazing, right?

Even though the beach was rocky we enjoyed ourselves. It was a beautiful day! Just hearing the waves is relaxing.

I had never been to the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, about an hour’s drive away. They are getting ready for the induction week.

We spent most of a day there, learning lots, even if Grandson #1 stated “I know everything about football.” I loved the Super Bowl rings; one is covered with diamonds, then opens up to reveal a little field inside. Sheesh, unfortunately I did not win the Mega Millions, so something like that is out of reach. Apparently the Super Bowl ring last year was made by the Kardashians’ jeweler.

In between events we played foosball, rummy, Clue, and went to libraries.

at the Perry Library

We played whiffle ball in the back yard, grilled hot dogs, and went to the antique coop down the street. We got Dairy Queen and pizza, bagels and for me, Dunkin iced coffee with cream (believe me I needed it!) We had so much fun, I can’t wait to do it again next year!

Such a nice gentleman!

For me, the best part of Grandma Camp was watching Grandson and Chester become buddies. This is the kid who at age 4-7 was terrified of dogs. Suddenly, he’s not. Maybe because he’s bigger and Chester is a little mellower. It warmed my heart either way. Chester was such a good boy the whole time. He did have to go to the vet for his regular vaccines but he loves the vet! They give him treats! He got an adorable bandana with trucks on it. I think it’s super cute but John thought it was silly.

It didn’t last long anyway, but at least I got a picture. He also got to walk around in Painesville Township Park, but there was a group taking wedding pictures so we didn’t make it too long. I was so tempted to accidentally drop the leash and let him photo bomb the pics, but I didn’t. He might have slobbered on the bride’s dress and I’m thinking they would not have thought it as cute as I would have.  

Have a good week!

Catching up

Last weekend was the ending of our “Titanic” run. It’s hard but I’m processing. If it hadn’t been so good, it wouldn’t be so hard, right? For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction…I’m not sure that theater was what Newton had in mind but it’s true. We invest emotionally in a production, and the more we invest, the better it is, but the more we miss it when it’s done. I mean we KNOW it’s going to be over but we choose to invest anyway. Why? Well, you have an option. You can either go all in or hold back. Some shows require that we step up. I felt like Ida Strauss’ story was not able to be coasted through. So I let myself go all in. And now it is over. I miss it but I’m so grateful for having had the experience. Here are a few final pics of the stellar cast getting on the lifeboats, and the charming theater. Til next year…

Meanwhile, I was not Ida 24/7, so what has been happening?  Lots of fun! Chester was happy when we had company for Fourth of July. My kids got to see the show, and we had a super birthday party to attend for our grandson.

The older grandson wanted to buy Chester a giant pelican pillow at Petsmart, for only $5. I am a sucker for anything they want to get for Chester, so we did. It lasted awhile, and in fact about a quarter of the stuffing is still in the pelican believe it or not.

dog and pelican pillow

I am catching up on the last few baseball and t-ball games and contemplating a drastic haircut. My real hair and fake hair kept getting caught in the mic and the blouse I had to wear and some of it got pulled out. It’s not noticeable except to the microphone person who commented that my mics always had hair tangled in it. I think a lot of it was wig hair, and I thought I got it all out, but I was dropping hair, feathers, and sequins everywhere. I felt like I was molting.

I’m inspired by a fellow blogger to improve my eating and exercise habits. Thank you, Annemarie! The Titanic cast included some who found baking relaxing, including my stage husband. We had food, usually of the “not good for me but oh so good” variety, almost every night. I’m not sure if this is common since I don’t have that much experience in theaters, but I ate a fair amount of Twizzlers and cookies, cupcakes, and other delicacies each night. Now the party’s over, and I have to jump back on a healthier eating track.  

My grandson and I went to a Metropark program called the Fungii Fiesta. It was interesting and fun! Before the fiesta, we wandered around the pond and saw two turtles (mother and baby maybe?) sunning themselves. The weather here in Cleveland has been just perfect!

Yesterday my husband and I took Chester to Debonne Vineyards nearby.  Our area of Ohio has quite a few wineries and dogs are sometimes allowed. Chester behaved himself even with about 6 other dogs there.  It could be he was distracted by the Italian Panini and sub sandwiches he was getting little bites of…but this dog is getting spoiled. I offered him a plain potato chip and he refused it! What?? Whoever heard of a dog refusing a potato chip. I think he was holding out for the panini. We had a lovely lunch, quite relaxing. I’m not sure what the big metal thing is though. I think it must be an alien landing port.

I hope you have a terrific week, full of all-in moments. They are worth it. Take care..

The Pork Rind Festival and Deep-fried Oreos

I am living the actor’s life. Do I know what the actor’s life is? No. But I imagine it to be sleeping until about 9:30, watching the third hour of Today (I knew there was a reason it existed), drinking coffee, doing miscellaneous stuff then going to the theater around 6:00, coming home around 11pm, eating Oreos, and going to bed. Whether that is actually an actor’s life or not, it’s mine for another couple weekends. But that left room for an outing to Harrod, Ohio and the Pork Rind Heritage Festival.

What is a pork rind? It is the skin of a pig deep fried. I know, ewww. I had eaten exactly one pork rind in the past. I was under-impressed. The only redeeming factor is that they are carb-free. My husband, however, had been talking up this festival for literally years. He has a deeper appreciation for pork rinds than I do. Still, I did not refuse to go.

You see, the best thing I ever ate in my entire life was a deep-fried Oreo at the Lake County Fair. You wouldn’t think they could make Oreos any better, but hot damn, deep frying anything makes it better and an Oreo is no exception. Gooey chocolate like a lava cake but with a slight crunch. My hope was that nestled among the pork rinds was a nugget of gold, aka a deep-fried Oreo. So off to Harrod we went!

Harrod is a small town and the festival was in the heart of everything. We arrived when it started on a beautiful day. There was music blaring from the grandstand and (thank God after 3 hours of driving with iced coffee) porta-potties. The main street was lined with little tents and typical fair carts.

Harrod has a nice memorial area, with a real helicopter.

We met some other brave family members there and headed toward the center of it all, the pork rinds. They were making the pork rinds fresh so we bought two bags and a t-shirt. I tried one of the plain and one barbeque pork rinds.

Was it everything I expected? Ummm, OK, they were significantly better tasting than the bagged ones at the gas station. I ate a few more, then called it quits. I can honestly say that the rinds were not awful. Not deep-fried Oreos certainly, but not awful. We didn’t realize it, but they also hosted a rather large old car show at the festival. We perused the automobiles, then engaged in some axe throwing. I frankly stunk, hitting the target only once. My brother and husband performed much better. Oh well, can’t be good at everything.

Nope, didn’t hit the target on this one either.

After a lovely day, we decided to go to Kewpees for lunch/dinner. Linner. I thought I had been disappointed in my quest for the holy grail of foods, but on the way out, TA-DA! Deep fried Oreos! The stand was nestled in the kids’ section, duh! I bought six and except for one that my husband pried out of my grasping chocolate covered fingers, I ate them all. Success! Harrod was a nice town and put on a nice festival. I am not sure why they chose pork rinds as the star attraction. Why not a deep-fried Oreo festival? Somebody should jump on that!

Kewpee Restaurants is a chain that used to have a restaurant in Toledo, where I grew up. It’s kind of the old-fashioned version of McDonald’s. There are only five left, and three are in Lima, Ohio. We went to the one that was eligible for the historic places register. We felt that to pay homage to our youth we should drop in and have a square burger. It is said that Kewpee inspired Dave Thomas to start Wendy’s. Not sure how true any of that is but it’s possible.  Kewpee has several slogans. The current advertising slogan is, “Hamburg pickle on top, makes your heart go flippity-flop.” How true that may be…other past slogans that were seen around the restaurant are, “Your Granpappy ate here” and “Mity Nice Hamburger.”

The “mascot” is a Kewpee doll, based on a real life Kewpie doll. Oh, remember when I said I should buy the book, “Creepy Ass Dolls?” I did! I thought of the book when I encountered the first Kewpee outside the door. There were several more strategically placed in corners staring at us with malevolence in their sweet little eyes. That may be a bit dramatic. Maybe.

We ate our burgers and fries on a wobbly table and thought about why we didn’t eat more Kewpees in our youth.

Where’s mine, mom?

Overall we had a wonderful day, And Chester? No, he didn’t get to go to the pork rind festival, although he would have loved it. Our neighbors took him for a walk and he got a few pork rinds when we got home. A couple days ago he got to go to Dairy Queen and to the park, so he’s enjoying summer.

Luckily he is not terrified of fireworks, just kitchen fans. Chester is a “roll with the punches” kind of guy. Have a safe 4th of July and take care of each other and your pets!

In the weeds and a rainbow

I am fighting my way out of the weeds. I am struggling to learn the character of Ida Strauss in Titanic. When I used to do investigations, there inevitably comes a time when I used to say, I was “in the weeds.” I could not figure out what happened and I hoped, thought about and just willed some little piece of evidence to point me in the right direction. I would go over and over statements and interviews, and call people again, asking more questions. Then, the proverbial light bulb would go on and just like that I was out of the weeds.

I thought I knew this character but when I heard her words out of my mouth I freaked a little and realized that it was not right. I had to learn an accent, which was (believe me) not good. I also learned the dance. Sort of. When they recorded it, I showed my husband and he said it could be my audition tape for left shark. Left shark was on the halftime Super Bowl a few years back with Katy Perry. Right shark was on point, but left shark went rogue and wandered around.

My hero

We laughed at that (come on, it was funny, look up left shark if you want) but inside I was nervous. I was in the weeds in oh so many ways. So what else to do but…go on vacation?!

The pier at Ocean Isle

We spent a week in Ocean Isle, North Carolina. We swam in the ocean, collected shells, sat on the beach and played putt-putt. We ate Italian Ice and walked on the pier.

I meant to learn my lines and practice them but I didn’t. I won’t say that this week cleared my head. On the contrary, I was kind of out of it. But things are clearing. The director promised that the only thing that will sink is the ship, so I’m ploughing ahead. My grandson, husband and friends are helping by reading lines. I use the lines everywhere. My friend and I were walking past the Tom Cruise cardboard cutout after seeing Top Gun Maverick, and she popped out my line, “You’re still a pretty good-looking fella.” My grandson cracks up when I sing, “Maybe you should drop bread crumbs.” Basically, everyone is having a lot of fun with this. I apologize if you are sick of hearing about it, but if you’ve done community theater you know how consuming it can be. Two weeks to opening!  

One of the cool things at Ocean Isle is a little museum. They have lots of neat displays and activities, but this is one of the family favorites. I say family because adults and kids participated. You color a fish, a stingray, or an octopus, then scan it into the computer. Your fish pops out the pipe on the big screen and swims around with all the other people’s creations. It is so fun to see your little fish bobbing around. There were no sharks on the screen, left or right.

What about Chester? Well, Chester spent the week at doggie camp. He enjoyed running around with the other dogs (I could watch on the Camper Cam). When he came home he was Exhausted with a capital E.

He didn’t move for two days. Unfortunately, he also had a touch of pink-eye but we dropped in on the vet and he’s fine now. He likes the vet but this is what he did…

They even gave him a cute bandana!

Chester is a pretty lucky fella, especially since we felt a little guilty and have been giving him extra treats.

I’m not nervous anymore. Driving to NC we saw a rainbow. Not just a rainbow but a double rainbow! I think it was good luck. When I came back to rehearsal my stage husband told me we are no longer dancing, just standing by the captain and clapping now and then. Yes!  The one thing about being in the weeds is that it never lasts forever!

In Marietta, Ohio