Treehouse picture alert…

So even though Chester’s activities are much more exciting…

Chester doing what he does best

By request here are some pictures of our treehouse adventure. The Toledo Metroparks is one of the top park systems in Ohio, growing by leaps and bounds, with a focus on preservation but also enjoyment of the parks. My brilliant sister has worked there for 36 years, and is the Senior Naturalist. She has been instrumental in the development of the parks and I am so proud! The Treehouse Village was created by donations only and is booked a year in advance. Even the Senior Naturalist was lucky to get a night. Each cabin has a theme, creatively executed by the designer and volunteers. We stayed in The Stable, which was made to be barn-like. Some of the pictures were taken by my friend Kathy, who was an equestrian. The outside lights are on at night because some of the cabins use a communal restroom building. Two of the cabins have a composting toilet inside, including the Stable. Unfortunately there is a slight smell…it may be lesser in the spring. More information is on the Toledo Metroparks website. The slides would be a blast for kids! Oh, and there is a net that you can lie on or roll around! So cool…

This was a little scary at first but was very well made and sturdy. Yes, I went on it too, but didn’t lie down.
Communal fire pit..bring marshmallows!
Night lights in the village
Inside The Stable…isn’t that a cute fridge? No stove, but a microwave and an outside grill. And a Keurig!
My sister volunteered to take the upstairs bed…thank you!!
Upstairs bed is hanging
Thank you horsie for sharing your stable with us!

Chester goes to camp and the third third…

I am in the third trimester of my life. The psychic in New Orleans said I was going to live to be 92, so except for a couple years (and I count the pandemic as a lost year) this is the third third. It’s a way of looking at aging that makes sense to me…just like the prenatal trimesters, we grow and evolve until we are “born.” We are more uncomfortable in the womb when we grow, we are uncomfortable in our bodies as they begin to wear out. Just as the womb can’t hold us back any more, our bodies are not up to the exploding, ambitious, and curious beings we are as we get older. We just have to grin and bear it and nurse our aches and pains along while trying to get done what we need or want to!  Anyway enough of the musing, don’t have time for it.

September has been a whirlwind of activity. I was talking to a friend and I said something about being more consistent in writing and she asked if I was going to write about the wedding (our daughter got married). I said yes, and she paused, then said “But Chester didn’t go to the wedding.”

So that’s how it is! I get it. Nobody gives a rat’s behind about me. It’s AAALLLL about Chester. Well, fair enough, ego has been checked (jk, it hasn’t).  But so you know…here’s what I did in September in a very brief photo commentary.

Our daughter and her wonderful fiancé married in the Catskills in New York. It was an outside wedding, the weather was beautiful, everything was perfect.

Izzy and Tim’s wedding

My husband and I hiked the Gorge Trail at Watkins Glen, New York. We walked behind the waterfall (that’s John) and stayed at a phenomenal B&B, the Cupola overlooking Seneca Lake.

Watkin’s Glen

My sister, my friend and I spent the night in a treehouse in Oak Openings Park in Toledo. We hiked a bit then retired to conversation and wine.

“The Stable” treehouse at Oak Openings

Now here’s what Chester did.

Yes, this is a new photo.

Actually he did a little more. When we went to the wedding he stayed at Camp Bow Wow for 6 days. They have “Camper Cams” for the owner or other interested parties to watch the dogs. Basically the dogs just walk around behind the staff who is mopping up the accidents. But I can see him barking sometimes (his mouth moves, there is no sound. It’s like when you make shadow puppet ducks). This time I didn’t see him as much. He had been limping for a few days; it was getting better. I tried to get him into the vet but the only option was to take him to the emergency animal hospital, 30 miles away. I would do that if it was an emergency but he was getting better, and the limp was barely there when we took him to camp. They said it was fine, and would call me if there was an issue, but I was a wreck dropping him off. Although he appeared OK when we picked him up, and the limp is gone, I think he was mad at us for taking him. We had the carpet cleaned and the day after he came home he peed on it. This was only his second accident ever, and I don’t think it was an accident.

Don’t talk to me now I’m busy watching something.

We decided to treat him especially well, with lots of Milk Bones, walks, and love. Maybe he was stressed. It apparently worked because he is full of his usual self now. I was holding Milo the cat and walking around in an attempt to get them used to seeing each other. He was pretty good until I tried to give him and Milo each a treat. I thought positive reinforcement would be good. It wasn’t. They are both treat motivated, and Chester kind of jumped up and “kissed” Milo’s butt. (He didn’t bite down, but mouthed his butt. I’m taking it as a kiss). Anyway, Milo hissed at Chester (good for him!) and I separated them again. It was a good start! I’m not giving up.

So honestly, is reading about Chester kissing Milo’s butt better than hearing about the wedding or the treehouse or my wonderful life? Yes, it probably is. Truth be told, I am so happy right now that I don’t care, with my whole third trimester (the bonus round as my sister said) ahead. I have lots of writing to do but I just got an Andrew Bird CD and I’ve been dancing with Milo. He doesn’t love dancing, he would rather be trying to drink my coffee. To be honest, I had “Sisyphus” on repeat for awhile, but the whole CD is very quickly becoming my favorite. (Andrew Bird/My Finest Work Yet)  It makes me happy. I think for a New Years resolution this year I will resolve to go see Andrew Bird in concert. Sounds like an adventure in the making!

I will be writing weekly, probably each Wednesday. I know I said that before but this time I mean it.  Really!! Below are a couple pictures from one of the walks.

At Lake Erie Bluffs checking out some dead fish on the beach.

Stay safe!

Retirement and Walking Chester…

I am retired. No, not tired again, although that may be a little more accurate than first thought. No, I am actually retired—my last day of work was yesterday. My coworkers had a great party with cake!!

I didn’t lose it crying (although there were a couple times I had to fight it…those allergies, you know..). I am humbled by the experience and have a lot of thank you notes to write. Luckily one of my thoughtful coworkers gave me some! In all honesty, I have been so blessed. I was doing what I love doing with people I loved. But, there are other things I’d like to do as well.

 I got up this morning (at the same freakin time I do for work, not intentional) and had a cup of coffee and thought now what? What does retirement mean? What should I do with the last 40 years of my life?

I thought that when I see the cat snot on the wall I will have time to wipe it off instead of shaking my head, tsk tsking and getting ready for work. I saw a couple new splotches this morning in fact. Did I wipe it off? Nope. Later…after coffee.

If you remember, one of my New Year resolutions was to blog every week. I fully intend to do that. But not this week because it’s Labor Day weekend and I have to get ready for the fantasy draft. Four packs of teenie weenies in crescent rolls don’t just make themselves you know.

Now that I’m retired I can clean out the basement. Sure I can.

I need to clean out my car. Then Chester will get in and it will be covered in dog hair again, so I’ll just wait until someone is going to ride in it. That is more efficient.

My coworkers know me well, and I got a couple Starbucks gift cards. I can buzz up real good before retrieving the four year old grandson from preschool. That’s something I can accomplish…maybe if I use the cards together I will be energetic enough to hit the basement too. Then again maybe not.

One of my coworkers gave me a gift wrapped in comics from the newspaper. When I was young I used to love reading the paper every morning. In Toledo we had two; the Times in the AM and The Blade in the PM. Remember, we didn’t have internet or even all day news on television. So we used the newspaper for news (gasp!). But I always followed Mary Worth and Peanuts, and later enjoyed Funky Winkerbean and Sally Forth. Maybe I’ll subscribe to the Plain Dealer and read the paper on the deck. Now that is a good use of time! And something I can accomplish.

For those who don’t know what I’m talking about…

Chester believes that my being home means more attention and walks for him. I was actually more inspired for this blog when we walked in the morning. When we walk in the afternoon, Instead of thinking of random thoughts great and small I’m consumed with worry that I’m going to melt into the ground, Chester will burn his feet (I make him walk on the grass), or we will be washed away in sweat. Following afternoon walks we walk in the house and he lies down in front of the air conditioner vent on the tile. I go into the family room, turn the overhead fan on and stand there for about 10 minutes. Then we feel human again.

I guess I have some thinking to do. I have ideas but maybe I need to decompress a little first. As for today, the thank you notes await. I will miss my coworkers and my job. I hope to keep in touch, but it’s hard. Still, every chapter requires transition. I’m going to have a second cup of coffee and write my thank yous. I will try to write more often after cleaning the cat snot off the walls.

Meanwhile, here’s a picture I posted on Facebook of Chester watching t.v. My brother expects him to watch educational tv to enrich his mind. I said he prefers Scooby Doo. Doesn’t he look worried? I sure hope those meddling kids get away from the mean farmer with the axe! It’s OK, Chester, Scooby will save the day!

Scooby Dooby Doo!

Also, August 16th was Chester’s third “Gotcha Day.” We gave him chop suey and a shrimp. Usually we make a puppy burger but it didn’t work out that day. It’s difficult to put three candles in chop suey. After three years, he is definitely a loved part of the family. He has his quirks but he is sweet, funny, and such a  good boy! Happy Gotcha Day buddy!

Chester’s Gotcha Day meal

I have two pictures, the first taken when we adopted him, the second taken about a week ago. A little more belly, but not as bad as I feared! I guess he wears off the pounds chasing the same darn squirrel!!

Chester then…
Chester now…still hasn’t caught the squirrel!

Dog Olympics and pop..

Hang dog days…

The Olympics is over. I had Olympic fever. I freely admit that I watched everything Olympic. When nothing was on except two countries (not USA) playing soccer, I would look for other games. Once we found something called “Dods” aka “death diving.” It is a sport from Norway where people jump off a really tall platform in weird positions, like running man. The points are given partly based on whether they “stick” the landing, which means going in with hands and feet first, like a sitting position with your butt in the air. It was remarkably fun to watch. It was like the skateboarding or ninja warrior type of sport. But I digress….back to the Olympics.

I saw table tennis, rock climbing, marathons, sprints, gymnastics, water polo (way too much of water polo, even a little is a lot), and even synchronized swimming which looks like aliens from under the water.  We watched steeplechase, cycling, skateboarding (not much), three person basketball, wrestling (even less), and baseball/softball. It was to the point where Chester and I would go for a walk and I envisioned Olympic events everywhere. So I decided on some sports that our neighborhood and friend dogs would excel at. This seriously will be a thing, just wait.

Synchronized barking: The two Great Danes have the gold in this one. They were standing next to each other barking in tandem. Their mouths moved at the SAME TIME. Incredible!

Composure in the face of craziness: Norman the basset hound is the calmest dog ever. Chester was jumping around trying to get Norman to play. Norman was pretty stoic so Chester jumped over him. Norman didn’t seem to care! Amazing!

Pee Putting: like shot putting but through the fence and extra points for hitting another dog. Chester and Benson take turns peeing in each others yard through the fence. Sometimes they pee on each other. Who makes it the furthest? That’s why they need judges! Macy, Chester’s girlfriend on the other fence, tries to participate but is at a disadvantage.

Most Drool: need I describe this one? I had a turkey sandwich and not only did Chester drool while I was eating it, but after I was done he went outside and continued the drool. He is a contender but I don’t know, I’ve seen St. Bernards…I used to clean the cages at the Humane Society and we had a St. Bernard who would shake his head and drool would fly everywhere. Luckily he got adopted very quickly!

The sprint to the squirrel (no need to explain).

On your mark, get set…….

The fools gold; he and Enzo are champs. Then there is the most ferocious bark with a top-notch performance by the little white tornado down the street.  Chester would also excel at hearing a cheese stick wrapper at a mile away, throw pillow wrestling, and barking at something he thought he might have dreamed about.  He could lick the most water off the deck, too. Such a hound!

When Chester does something really hound-like, my husband says “you can take the dog out of the city but you can’t take the city out of the dog.” Chester is a city dog and we often remind him that he was living on the mean streets of Cleveland and had to eat garbage instead of milk bones (aka biscuits). He should not destroy throw pillows when he should be grateful he has them. Homeless doggies in Cleveland would love those throw pillows.  We don’t actually know that any of that is true, but he did end up in the kennel, so I’m going to guilt him if I can. He doesn’t understand anyway, just looks at me like, “did you say biscuit?”

Chester and I went for a walk in the park. These little pop-em things are bursting. He would sniff the grass and I would pop some of them. When you touch them, they explode and the seed falls to the ground. I expect naturalists hate them because they do overtake everything. Like Tribbles. But they’re fun!

the little hanging green thing is just irresistible!

I also took a picture of Chester looking at Lake Erie. It was loud and the waves were sizeable. Lake Erie is the shallowest of the great lakes and storms can pop up quickly.  I could not get a good picture to save my life, so here it is.

I know you’re telling me to turn around and look at you…but I’m busy. Thought I saw a squirrel.

Speaking of pop, do you say pop or soda? Our kids said pop until they moved to Brooklyn, NY. Now they are all in on soda and kind of superior about it. Bah humbug. I’m going to get a pop and sit on the deck.

PS: Happy Anniversary to my husband. 40 years of shenanigans! Looking forward to the next adventure!

Fairy doors and The Peach Truck..

2021 will go down in history as the year I experienced The Peach Truck. Last year my daughter-in-law and her mom talked about The Peach Truck. I had never heard of it. It sounded like some fly-by-night enterprise. I had a vision of someone opening the trunk of a car and glancing around under a streetlight. My daughter-in-law pulling out cash for some black market peaches. They came home with a lot of peaches and didn’t get arrested. I was intrigued. This year, I was asked to join the pilgrimage, or at least share in the bounty.

The peaches arrived on a certain date, and when I picked up my half of an order I was surprised. It was a lot of peaches. I mean A LOT of peaches. We ate peaches twice or three times a day. I made peach cobbler. I cut them up with cool whip. Ate them with the flaming turkey wings from last Thanksgiving and with leftover Valentine’s Day candy. We ate them grilled with yogurt. We packed them in lunches. Yes, we ate a lot of peaches. They were delicious actually, and I would like to order again. But the real upshot of this peach extravaganza was a long forgotten song that stuck in my head. Some of you oldsters and even not oldsters may remember the peach song. It goes like this:

Movin to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches…

Movin to the country, gonna eat a lot of peaches….

And so on. But I don’t remember any more of it. I have been singing that song constantly. I finally looked it up and found that it’s by a group called The Presidents of the United States of America and it has a debatable meaning. Apparently some people think peaches aren’t what I got from The Peach Truck. It would seem I have quite possibly been singing about something that is a sexual double entendre. Nobody is sure. The video doesn’t help, it’s just weird. Ninjas are fighting with the band in a peach orchard. I’m not sure what that has to do with peaches. Doesn’t matter, I’m still singing it. Chester thinks it’s funny.

hee hee

John and I went to Holden Arboretum to walk Chester.  Holden has this event where the staff (or someone) decorates “fairy doors” and kids try to find them. Victor and Grammie found something like 15. John and Chester and I were hopelessly pathetic. We honestly found none for the first half hour. Then we saw a couple of teens with blue hair and followed them. They found two so we walked behind and took credit for those. Here is one:

Look mom!

The other one, well, it is interesting. I’m not sure if it’s really a door or how the fairies would get into the house except to slide down it. I’m not sure what it is to be honest. See what you think:

Now those of you seeing a fairy door, you are good people. The rest of you…well I will just leave it unsaid.

Speaking of mushrooms, we have a bumper crop. After all, it has rained for 40 days and 40 nights and John is out there building an ark. The mushrooms are beautiful. I took some pictures and I don’t think there is any way anyone can see these as a sexual reference. Who am I kidding, if there is one thing Americans are good at it is making anything a sexual reference. See below:

Lastly while walking Chester I have taken the peach song and tried to make a doggie song. I was wishing I could take Chester back to the office with me. Here it is:

Running round the office, gonna meet a lot of people…

That’s as far as I got. So maybe you’ll get a doggie song next post. Until then, I’ll be hibernating on the couch watching the Olympics. Might have to get some more peaches too. I think the peach truck delivers..