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!!

Hrumph.

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 history.com,

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?

Bolero, Layla and losing a pet

Yesterday morning I woke with “Bolero” in my head. It was annoying. For those who don’t know, “Bolero”, by Ravel, is a one-movement orchestral piece. Some of you oldsters may remember it from the 1970s movie, “10.” (I hope not but hey…) It’s not a good cello piece. Those of us who play instruments rate songs by our parts. I may say, “Oh, that’s a great one, I love it” while a clarinetist says, “That piece stinks.” In any case, Bolero is not a good cello piece, but I wanted to hear it anyway. I asked Alexa to play it and she said she was having trouble accessing our library. I asked again and got the same results. The third time was the charm (my persistence wore Alexa down I guess) and she played it.

Chester’s opinion of Bolero

Bolero is about 17 minutes long. Apparently the composer was a stickler for tempo, calling out conductors if they sped up. It is literally the same melody repeated over and over. Different instruments enter each time, and it’s been called one long crescendo. It reminds me a little of the Eric Clapton song, “Layla.” At the end of “Layla” the piano part goes on and on until the guitar is tired of protesting and gives in. The piano wears you down.

When I feel sad or anxious or just down, the repetition in both songs helps me to cope. The melody insists that you listen until you are really listening. My mind may flutter back to worry or sadness, but the piano/clarinet says, “no, you aren’t listening yet” and plays it again. By the end, I feel better. I guess it’s like meditation in a way. A few minutes to focus on only the music.

This won’t be exactly a funny post, although Chester is up to his usual antics! Several of my friends have lost furry family members recently. I read a quote that said “Pets don’t live as long as they deserve.” Obviously not as long as we would like. I have lost pets and it hurts more than losing some people (let’s be real here, it does!). Pets are angels on earth.

Before Chester, I had a beagle named Abbey.

Abbey was my sidekick. We walked, cuddled, and played. She had three feet (not sure of the reason) and routinely when we walked someone would stop and tell me, “Your dog’s limping.” I thanked them politely. Truth is, if she didn’t want to walk she would just stop and sit down. I would carry her home. Everyone knew Abbey. If she got out or wiggled under the fence (in the mud usually) the kids in the neighborhood knew where she lived and would drag her back. One girl asked us over and over, “what happened to her foot?” We started off telling her we didn’t know but finally our skateboarding son told her it blew away. That ended that.

Even Frank the Bad Cat loved Abbey.

When Abbey died, I was heartbroken. For whatever reason, I couldn’t get past it. I would cry myself to sleep every night. Finally some deceased ancestor got sick of it and gave me a dream.

I should say here that I have certain dreams that are prescient. Normal dreams I can laugh off, like the ones where I am wandering the halls of the high school and can’t remember my schedule. Or I go into the class and have a test, never having been to class before. Or I have to go to the bathroom and can’t find a toilet. This one is more common as I get older until I finally wake up and go.

No, the prescient dreams are different. They are exceptionally clear and detailed. They started when I was about 10 years old but aren’t frequent. This dream was one of those.

I was walking into a house, led by an unseen figure. It was a white farmhouse with red trim. A door opened to a screened in porch. Through the screen I saw an open field. Abbey and some dogs were chasing each other around at full speed. I opened the screen door and felt something I don’t know the words to describe. I guess it was complete joy and every good emotion you could imagine but more than that.  I called her but I realized she couldn’t hear me. I closed the door, wanting her to stay where she was, knowing she was that happy. I didn’t want her to see me and I sort of snuck out the way I came.  When I woke up I remembered every detail. It has been over 10 years and I am sitting here with tears rolling down my face because stupid me cries when I’m sad AND happy. Sheesh, maybe I should take a new profile picture of me blowing my nose.

I can relate..

I believe this dream to be true. You may not and that’s fine. But if you believe me, and you are one of my friends who lost a pet, know that they aren’t missing you. They are so, so happy. You will miss them of course, but they are better than OK. They are frolicking with the other angels.

That and eating garbage I think…

Sometimes missing them gets to be too much. That’s when to pull out “Bolero” or “Layla.” Better yet, learn to play the “Layla” part on the piano. Then you can play it for as long as you want.  Your family will thank you for it. The sadness won’t go away for good but it may give you a moment of peace.

I was debating all week whether to write something more serious than usual. I felt I had to. But I can’t stay serious for long with Chester around. Good news on the Chester/cat front…Chester can come into Milo’s room and will leave Milo alone IF Milo is on the cat tree and doesn’t move. Hey, baby steps.

Milo staring down Chester
Chester’s reaction…

We went to Holden Arboretum last weekend, and it was a dog party!  We saw big, little, medium dogs, and lots of people who wanted to pet Chester.

this tongue was made for kisses, and that’s just what I’ll do…

We told one couple that he didn’t like he water. He then trotted over to the stream and jumped in. Just like kids at the doctor’s, they make liars out of us!

That’s actually ice…what was he thinking??

Another couple smiled at us taking pictures of Chester. They had a baby, so I think they get it.

I want to see the squirrel who can eat these!!

Hoping the weather will get warm again next week after snowmaggedon predicted this afternoon. Take it with a grain of salt because I did NOT have a dream about snow. Not my fault!! Have a good week and take care of yourselves!

The Aerostar van and a shopping cart

America, especially in suburban areas, is automobile country. We have a pretty big auto show here in Cleveland. The show has been in Cleveland for a couple weeks and runs through this weekend. Whether a person needs, wants or has no plans to purchase a car, everyone goes if only just to look.  

Not at the auto show

My husband and I look for different things in a car. He actually reads about the cars and considers how they drive. I see one on the road and say, “that’s a cute one, I want that.” I grudgingly admit that this has backfired a couple times. A few years ago, I thought that I wanted a Jeep Wrangler. They are cute and I could visualize myself tooling around in my khaki shorts, hat and sunglasses like Crocodile Dundee. I had been thinking about one for awhile when, lo and behold, the car lot down the street brought out a new addition.

A Jeep Wrangler, and it was LAVENDER! It was as if the heavens opened up and rained down glitter just for me. In other words,  I really wanted that car. Then I test drove it. This car rode so rough that potholes felt like the Grand Canyon. I could hardly hold onto the wheel I was bouncing around so much. My teeth and bones were never the same. Talk about a buzzkill!

It looked something like this except not as shiny and a lighter purple.

Not to disparage Wranglers, but this car was too much for me. I was still hooked on the dream of a baha through the forests and prairies (so abundant in Cleveland) so we went to the auto show. I found the Jeep section and pushed my way through the crowd to the holy grail dragging my husband behind me. There it was! A brand new Wrangler! It was beautiful! Forget the test drive, who cares? I would look so good in this shiny cutie! As it happened, I couldn’t even get up in it.  I was too short. Instead I bought a Subaru.

Anyway, my favorite car ever was a Chevrolet LeBaron convertible. I was a graduate student in the fall and would drive to Kent State University, through color changing trees and beautiful lakes.  At night I would look up at the sky. Don‘t worry, I looked at the road too, every so often. I had a vision of myself as Isadora Duncan, except without a scarf.  Here is one of the only pictures I have of this lost love. Ignore the sales person, she had to take the picture.

Love at first drive!

That car just molded itself around me. I loved it, but when we had a third child, the car seat wouldn’t fit. So practicality forced me onward. We bought an Aerostar van.

To say that the Aerostar was practical is an understatement. I could transport multiple baseball players, remove the middle seat for large items, and it took us to Utah and back with no issues. The Aerostar wasn’t exactly quiet, especially after the out west trip.

The happy kids on the beginning of the out west trip, inside the Aerostar. The seating arrangement was changed several times by the end.

I was tutoring at a high school and one of my students said they could hear the Aerostar coming. I noticed that when I pulled into the teacher’s parking lot the students would part like the Red Sea. I thought it was out of respect but my student told me it was pure fear. It was the only time the students were afraid of me, so I accepted it as a compliment.

I was driving the Aerostar one evening with kids in the car. For some reason the middle seat was out—we must have bought something large recently and hadn’t put it back. A large grocery store down the street had closed a year prior. Nothing had moved in yet.  We were driving around the back of the store when one of the kids spotted a shopping cart pushed up behind some junk. You know the phrase, “it seemed like a good idea at the time?”  I stopped the van and the boys ran out and grabbed the cart. They put it in the Aerostar and we bugged out. The cart was a little rusty but became very useful sitting in our garage (I’m being sarcastic folks, it took up space and we threw things in it) The boys had fun with the cart. One day I looked outside and one child was pulling the cart down the street with a rope tied to his bicycle. The other child was standing inside the cart holding the other end of the rope and sailing down the street. Keep in mind there are no brakes on a shopping cart. To a mother’s eyes, this cart had become the definition of a rolling contraption of death. I ran outside and yelled at them to stop. That was when I began considering that absconding with the cart may not have been a great idea. The cart sat in the garage full of baseball bats, mitts, basketballs, and other assorted Nerf toys for several more years. I wish I had a picture of it, but I don’t.  I’m not sure where it ended up. I like to think of it serving a good purpose somewhere.

The Aerostar, as fine of a van as ever except for a few mechanical quirks, was sold/given to the second son and his band. They spray painted the “Another Day Gone” logo on the side. It was perfect to load the amps, drums, and band members as long as you didn’t go too fast up hills.

The Aerostar lasted years until he finally sold it with no guarantee it would drive the new owners home. Spoiler alert: it didn’t.

We are not looking for a car currently, thank goodness. I do like the Subaru (all wheel drive!!). We tend to drive the cars until they are just done. We put a lot of mileage on our cars (everyone in Cleveland does) and with Chester, it’s hard to keep them nice. I swear dog hair is the stickiest stuff in the world. It just embeds itself into the fabric! But if I was going to buy another car….a Jeep might be nice. I can see me and Chester going on a trek to a metropark, sunglasses on, khaki shorts and all. He’s a Jeep kind of hound.

Let’s go explore, mom!

Speaking of Chester, his hot spot is pretty much healed. He had a zoomie fit last night, moving his bed then jumping on it. It caused the bed to go skidding across the floor. I think he wanted to snowboard! He is sleeping it off today. We have been walking a lot lately since the snow melted. Yesterday the Great Danes were out and barked at him. He likes that when other dogs bark at him. He struts by proudly and makes it a point to stop and pee in their yard. Why? Because he can.

Too cool for school.

Have a good week!

The ramp in the driveway

One of the top stories of the winter Olympics was the retirement of Shaun White, the “Flying Tomato.” Shaun White is a world class skateboarder and snowboarder, having won pretty much any medal there is over the last couple decades.  He ended up fourth in this, his last snowboarding Olympics.  I cannot snowboard, and never could. It’s not for lack of trying…actually it is. I never tried. I admit it. I tried skiing with less than stellar results. After that debacle I figured that me snowboarding would produce less than less than stellar results.

In the 90s, snowboarding was not a sport in the Olympics. It became a demonstration sport, then official. Like many other kids, our son wanted to try snowboarding. My husband and two sons went to the local ski hill and rented snowboards. According to my husband, he and the snowboard-interested son had less than stellar results. Of course the oldest child (come on, there’s always one) who didn’t particularly care about snowboarding, hopped on and zoomed away. This was the last time my husband went…and the snowboarding son decided to concentrate on skateboarding.

When I was young, there were skateboards around. It was a “boy thing” like so many physical activities back then. I did have metal roller skates that clipped onto my shoes. I used to skate around on the driveway and street. I had the “arms out and bent” strategy to deal with the bumps and potholes in the street.

I kind of enjoyed roller skating which was why at the age of 30+ I thought it would be a great idea to take my kids skating at Laura’s Roller Emporium. Laura’s was a roller rink in a squatty little building, with colored lights and loud music and designated skates like “couple skate.”

This is the actual inside of Laura’s which is now under a new owner.

The elementary school would raise money by hosting skating parties for their school. The boys went to a few, so I thought I’d take our much younger daughter with us.  If you have ever tried to skate with a child hanging on to you with their legs flailing like Fred Flinstone trying to start a car, and were able to remain upright, you are a better person than I. I realized this pretty quickly and left the boys to their own devices. The much younger daughter skated around on the carpet. I sat down and watched them while eating M&Ms from the vending machine. I don’t remember any serious injuries. They played a game called the “magic circle” which involved skating to one of five or six circles and sitting down. Right, sitting down on the floor and getting up again on skates? I could barely do the “turn yourself around” part of the hokey pokey. The grand prize for being in the randomly selected circle was a gift pass to come back to Laura’s again. I spent many Hale Road Elementary Skating Parties sitting, eating junk food, and mentally grooving to “Turn the Beat Around” and other gems. But I digress….

I don’t know where it started, but the skateboard inspired son had the brilliant idea of building a skateboard ramp in the driveway. My husband, a “never say die” kind of man, agreed that this would be a great idea. He helped the son build a ramp that took up a large part of the driveway. The oldest son probably helped too, as that is what we oldest kids do.  I was not paying much attention to the project but seemingly overnight we had a skateboard ramp and metal rail in front of our house and garage.

I guess one is the loneliest number, so another one was created…

The son had friends. The friends came over and skated. Frequently. They were good kids, or at least I thought they were. Do parents really know? They took pictures of each other conquering the ramp and rail. We had absolute saints as neighbors. At one point our neighbor came over and very apologetically asked if they could stop skateboarding at 9:30 or 10pm. She was a bus driver and had to get up early. I cringed, realizing that what had become “white noise” to me was quite possibly an inconvenience to others. They did tone it down, and except for one time when they had a backyard rock concert it was quieter at night.

Anyway, seeing Shaun White retire gave me pause. Our son does not snowboard or skateboard anymore (to my knowledge!). I miss the days when something was always happening at our house. The skateboard ramp is long gone and we are quiet neighbors now, boring some might say.

Shaun White expressed admiration for the younger snowboarders and said that what was great back then was nothing compared to what they are doing now. During the last snow, the two grandsons were taking turns snowboarding down a very small hill, and then the slide (I know, thank goodness mommy didn’t see).

Pretty good form for a preschooler!

I wonder if one of them will be the next big thing? It makes me want to belt out “The Circle of Life.” I’m sure their parents would just LOVE a ramp in the driveway! I’ll have to broach the idea…

This is what Chester has been doing.

What?

He has been lazy with a capital L. He goes out, stands on the deck, then comes in again unless he sees a squirrel. The youngest grandson bought him a “bunny” at Petsmart and chewing it up was the most energy he has expended in a few days. I think he has a case of the winter blues.

Keeping new bunny from getting away while he sleeps.

It could be worse though, several years ago we visited our kids in NYC in February. We decided it would be FUN to go to Coney Island. The wind was whipping up and it was NOTFUN. It was kind of cool though (literally) and we did eat hotdogs. I think you can feel it in this picture.

It’s almost March and spring is coming so hang in there and have a good week!

Curling and Mr. Rogers

When I woke this morning I had every intention of writing about the Olympics or the Super Bowl or the Puppy Bowl, all of which are worthy topics. Unfortunately there was water on the floor of the basement which was traced back to the hot water heater. I tried to dry it up but it was soon apparent that we need a new one. They say it’s not what  you know but who you know, and I am lucky to know the owner of Kish Heating and Cooling. They are going to fix us up today (ON A FRIDAY, is that awesome or what???) and are working out details.  I am waiting, as I can’t really do too much housework (what a shame!).

Whenever I have to wait, I think of Mr. Rogers. My kids were huge Mr. Rogers fans, as was I. Back in the 80s, there was not the children’s programming that exploded in the 90s. There were three basic network channels and PBS. Happily, PBS carried Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers. My boys were a little afraid of Sesame Street and it irritated me when the “1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,NIIIIIINE, 10″ song came on. It was paired with a psychedelic video of a pinball machine that made my oldest run from the room. But Mr. Rogers was a must-see. He was gentle, like the boys, and a great role model. What I didn’t realize was that he was a musician and played the piano for most of the music. One song that stuck with me was “Let’s Think of Something to Do” while we’re waiting. The lyrics are “let’s think of something to do while we’re waiting, while we’re waiting for something new to do” I went back and listened to it on you tube.

I had forgotten the last words of the verse. While we’re waiting…for what? I would just stop singing until I annoyed myself and I had to know what we were waiting for –it was something new to do. But I digress… All that jazz album documenting paid off! If you listen to the link, you’ll hear a jazz pianist, aka Mr. Rogers!  I couldn’t believe it. Mr. Rogers received his Bachelor of Music and played piano since the age of five according to the Wiki page. He put out some recordings of his music. I think I will attempt to add one more record to the collection which is now numbering over 1200. I’ll make it 1201. I think the “something to do” song was the precursor to multitasking. It’s basic time management. So I am writing this post while I’m waiting, while I’m waiting, for something new to do… and as usual it is digressing a little. My other topics didn’t turn out as planned either.

I planned to write about the Puppy Bowl because I love it but to be honest I’m a little fuzzy on the rules. What is the football? One puppy scored with a pink ball, then another scored with an orange and blue fuzzy thing. Hmmm….a little loose I would say. Almost as if the IOC made the rules… The kitties in the box were doing what most people do in a box at a sporting event…which is not paying one whit of attention to the action on the field. Nonetheless the pups were adorable.  My husband took Chester for a walk so he wouldn’t get jealous and he could avoid my “aww look at that one” comments. I hope they are all winners but puppies usually do pretty well getting homes. Our City Dog Cleveland kennel is full…mostly adult doggies. That’s where we got Chester, the best pup in the world (my humble opinion)! It’s pretty overwhelming. (hint hint, if you are in the market for a pooch…any kennel would love to see your shining face!)

The Super Bowl was a good game. The Olympics chug along with curling, skating drama, bobsled and lots of half pipe stuff. I will come back to the half pipe in a future post but it seems that curling is the big winner. Every time I turn on tv it’s curling. Doesn’t there seem to be a lot of curling?

My favorite curling meme

We in Cleveland have ups and downs with weather. I had left an orange Home Depot bucket on the deck. Snow collected, melted, then froze. My husband turned it over and this is what came out:

Chester is looking for an opponent

It’s a perfect curling stone! I was going to arrange a match with the husband and grandkids but alas, the weather gods of Cleveland weather graced us with a 50 degree day. Here’s what happened:

Picture 1, 8:00am
Picture 2, 2:00pm…Chester is yawning
6:00pm and Chester is not eager to go outside in the rain.

Today it’s snowing again. And the curling stone has curled it’s last. So here I sit thinking of Mr. Rogers and humming “let’s think of something to do while we’re waiting.” Chester is happy about the snow, although he was happy in the mud too. His hot spot hasn’t healed but he got to go to the vet again and get more medication. This time they gave him peanut butter. It looks like it’s starting to come around. Snow or no snow, the days are getting longer. Spring will be here before we know it! Have a great week!