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

Ticks and Grandma Camp

I read a scary facebook post this morning from a member of a dog group. No, not about the state of the world, the state of the US, Ohio, or the gas prices when I am driving to daily rehearsals. No, much worse. The writer had walked her dog at Mentor Headlands (close to us) and the dog played host to about seven ticks. She put them in a jar and took a picture. This is very troubling! As you know, I hate/despise/dread/abhor ticks. When we were young and went on our annual Canadian migration, there were two threats that we didn’t have at our house in Toledo (not counting bears and other minor annoyances…). The two horrible critters were leeches and ticks. I had a leech between my toes once and pulled it off before I even knew what it was. Then I freaked out. Disgusting, yes, but at least they don’t crawl. Ticks crawl. Just like my skin right now. Last year was what I thought a banner year for ticks. But it sounds like this year will be worse. So, what is a tick-phobic dog owning person to do? Chester is on the flea/tick/heartworm medication but what about me? Why don’t they make chew tabs for people??? I guess I’ll have to invest in some bug spray, stay on the path, and wear white socks. I will let you know how it works but meanwhile, make sure your dog is up to date with tick prevention or has a collar, and check yourself too. I know, gross.

I am not going to show you any pictures of ticks. I will show you Chester’s new toy.

Our grandson got it for him for Mother’s Day. In a four-year-old mind, that makes sense and it is a very sweet gesture. I am impressed that the grandson picked a Kong toy, as they are supposed to be hard to destroy. Chester did not destroy it….instantly. the first night he tried!

 It tired him out.

By the end of day two, he opened a very precise hole in the chest of the toy and removed the squeaker. I think he has a future as a surgeon.

That made him happy, so he took a week or so to pull out the stuffing. He still has some stuffing in the head, so this is a successful toy! Chester is also happy because his little white dog friend was at the back fence again. Their tails were wagging energetically as they took turns peeing on the same bush.

Switching gears, I am taking Grandson #1 for a week this summer (not necessarily overnight each night though). We have dubbed it “Grandma Camp.” I won’t have him until the end of July but I’m starting to plan. It is the week of the Lake County Fair, so I could just take him and sit around eating elephant ears and milkshakes and playing the break the balloon by throwing darts game.

It’s just a step up to axe throwing! We could do that too!

My ex-coworkers and I had a blast!

We could go to the Antique Co-op, or the Junk and Treasure Barn, and buy old stuff and eat hot dogs out of the thing that rolls them around. Mmm Mmm good. They had one of them at the little league field for years until it was determined that lack of running water was probably not conducive to healthy wieners. Then they switched to candy. So much better, right?

Or we could go to a Captains baseball game and eat nachos and popcorn and lemon ice.

Classic Park, home of the Lake County Captains

Dollar Dog night is a big draw at the Guardians games, so I’ll have to see if the Captains has something like that other than nickel beer. A bobblehead would be a nice freebie, or a Captains hat or t-shirt.

We could go to Jordan Park and he can climb while I sit and drink coffee and take pictures.

All these are possibilities, as are skydiving, deep sea diving in Lake Erie, riding in the Goodyear Blimp and spelunking in Southern Ohio. However, some are more probable than others. For example, I’m probably not going to eat a hot dog out of the turning thing. I am looking forward to a whole week of fun! What would you do with an 8-year-old? One thing for certain, we will dose up with tick repellant!

A human metropolis, A complete civilization, Sleek! And Fast! At once a poem and the perfection of physical engineering…

These are lines from the Titanic that I have to learn to say without spitting. I am a kinesthetic learner so I have to actually type the words to learn them. So you lucky people are going to be the unlucky beneficiaries of my learning style. Sorry….have a good week!

Green space and Three Musketeers

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

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

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

Lakeshore Reservation has statues resembling a sundial.

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

Boy, that is a big dog!

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

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

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

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

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

In the rotunda

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

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

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

Odds and ends on a rainy Friday

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

OK, I’m done…

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

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

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

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

Our pretty tulips

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

While walking Chester I saw the biggest dandelion pod ever.

Chester was unimpressed

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

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

Oh, Chester…

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

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

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

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

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

Cookbooks and a mcwarm walk

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

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

My second favorite cookbook has to be this one.

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

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

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

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

Or this?

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

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

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

Then there’s this one…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh, mcmom….

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

Wordle and poison ivy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m a happy dog!

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

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

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


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

Have an excellent week!

The Titanic Song

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sold for $7900

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

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

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

I’m going back to sleep.

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


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