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!

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!

Snow adventures and a bad movie

Chester and I have continued to walk even after the snowpacalypse of the last week. It has been cold and snowy here. Chester likes the snow except for one thing: he can’t find a place to poop. Before the snow he pooped on the grass. Now, this is all he sees.

Not all grass is created equal either. There are some spots that are waiting for him, but he doesn’t go there. After walking farther than usual, he leaves a deposit on the mushy part of the snow. Not ideal but easy to pick up.

I thought maybe he was getting bored with the same old route and decided to take him to the other side of the tracks, that is across Bacon Road. I made a critical error in thinking. We crossed Bacon to be met with a two-foot snow wall. Obviously the snowplows had been by.

OK, it wasn’t quite this bad…

Cars were coming so I pulled Chester over the wall. Unfortunately, the snow on the other side of the wall was deeper. It had not been touched and was up to my knees and Chester’s chest. He tried to turn around toward the road, but we had to walk at least to the next street because I couldn’t brave the Bacon wall again with the traffic. I wasn’t sure we would emerge intact. So we slogged on to the next road. It was rough going. It was like walking through a ball crawl if the balls weighed several pounds each. I either had to lift my leg above the snow, or scoot through with a wiggle-wiggle squish-squish movement.  Poor Chester would take about three leaps in a beautiful deer imitation, then peer longingly over the snow at Bacon Road. I almost called my husband to pick us up but I never would have lived it down. We plodded on. Finally, we reached the little road that opened to Bacon.

We crossed Bacon, but there are no sidewalks on Bacon Road. Luckily there are driveways. It was wall, driveway, wall, driveway. We stood in the driveway of a house, then in between traffic, we hustled to the next driveway. We would wait there for a break in cars, then do it again. I’m glad I played so much Frogger. Finally we made it back to the development and walked down the middle of the street with pleasure.

I can’t complain since Lake and Cuyahoga Counties do a pretty good job of snow removal. I grew up in Toledo where they just toss some salt on it and call it a day. We are technically in the “snow belt” and lake effect snow is a real thing, so our crews are ready. You may have missed this news gem: Ohio Turnpike decided to name their snowplows. The Turnpike commission asked the public for ideas in a naming contest. The winners were announced. They include Darth Blader, Snow Force One, OH snow you didn’t, Snowbe Wan Kenobi, and Plowy McPlowface. I’m telling you, in Ohio we love our plows! Now kiddies can say “Oh look mommy, there’s Plowy McPlowface!” and “way to go Sir Plows-a-lot!” (Yes, that was another winner.)

Snow More Mr. Ice Guy, named by Sebastian Calo of Cleveland Heights, is at the Boston Maintenance Building 6 in Richfield.
One of Ohio’s finest, Snow More Mr. Ice Guy

With all the snow, there are limited opportunities for entertainment. Our kids went sledding with the grandkids but 1) it’s cold and 2) we’re old. That sounds like our mantra: it’s cold and we’re old. We could ski, but..(repeat mantra.) We could go to a bar or something but we’d have to go outside and..(repeat mantra). So, we watched movies.

There are bad movies, there are baaaad movies, and there are movies so awful that they would have to work to rise to six feet below bad. Such was “Snow White and the Three Stooges.” This movie was not one like “Plan 9 From Outer Space” which many believe is the worst movie ever. Not even close. This made Plan 9 look like an Oscar winner. This was also not bad in the vein of the Three Stooges being bad anyway. Like, what do you expect, it sounds bad from the get go. That doesn’t do this one justice.

A side note, I have yet to find a female who enjoys the Three Stooges. Guys laugh at it like it’s uproariously funny. I don’t get it. Even our daughter, who my husband tried to indoctrinate, thought it was ridiculous and turned away. And she was only four years old.

No, this 1961 movie was literally the worst I have ever seen. It was like a train wreck. We couldn’t look away because we wanted to see the next horror they could pull out. And pull out they did.

The one with the remote won’t change the channel.

The Three Stooges were hardly in the movie. Although this should make me like it more, by the end I was praying that the Stooges would reappear.  Please, please, I’ll never ask again, bring on the Stooges! The movie starred an ice skater, Carol Heiss, who was coming off an Olympic gold medal performance. They tossed in a couple songs thinking a musical number or two would show the sincerity of the plot. If only there was a plot. Neither Ms. Heiss nor Prince Charming could sing. They were dubbed by a singer from the Lawrence Welk Show and some other poor soul.  It was like a lip sync festival.  

See the source image
A world of beauty and rollicking fun for everyone! Why is this in black and white? And yes, there was a witch on a broomstick in the movie.

Not being a singer, Ms. Heiss was cast to try to meld her ice-skating fame with that of the Stooges in their final years of dubious popularity. Sure, ice skating/stooges/musical. Skoogical! Sounds like a winner! To capitalize on her skating, they put a dream sequence in the middle of the movie. It was in oranges and yellows with an exceptionally long (or maybe it just felt like that) skating number involving some children sliding around. When the dream was over, it was back to the Stooges plonking each other on the head with assorted cabin items. While Snow White was busy happily cleaning the house (ugh) the Queen’s accomplice turned the Queen into a witch at the Queen’s request with his magic sword that went woo-woo-woo and radiated green and white light. Snow White must have eaten the apple because the next thing we knew the Stooges were mourning over her dead but remarkably lifelike body. Luckily Curly Joe (Stooge fans are groaning) got hold of the sword and saved the day (whew! I was worried!)

Needless to say we watched it to the end. I’m not proud of that. But honestly, I laughed harder than I do at bad karaoke. Granted, some of it was bad karaoke. I highly recommend it to those of you (and you know who you are) who have a warped sense of humor and a couple hours. Well worth it!

I have been posting on Wednesdays, which sort of works for me, but I decided to change it up. I’m going to go back to posting on Fridays. I greatly appreciate you and thought you might have more time to read on the weekend. Meanwhile, here’s a picture of Chester after “The Snow Wall of Bacon” walk. Have a good week!

Eyeglasses and a mysterious person

America’s Best sent me a notice that it’s time for my eye exam. I hate eye exams. Family legend has it that I spilled gasoline in my eyes when I was five years old. Disregarding the obvious question about what a five-year-old me was doing pulling gasoline off a shelf, and what I thought I was going to do with it, the subsequent trauma was enough that it is completely buried in my psyche. I have no memory other than a severe distaste for eye exams, bordering on terror. The antagonist in my eye exam story is the little puff of air they shoot at the victim’s eyeball. Eye drops…forget it. Those are an impossibility. I have learned to ask the Optometrist if I can try to put them in myself but even then it’s a 50/50 proposition. Part of my brain says just do it, and the other part is telling one hand to grab the other and stop. The only two things that motivate me to enter this torture chamber are 1) our insurance pays for one per year and 2) I get new glasses.

America’s Best sent me this. Not sure who Hillary is but two tones are intriguing! I want to live on hipstreet too!

I didn’t always wear glasses. When I was a kid I did not, until about 6th grade. My sister got to wear the vogue, stylish cat glasses but they just didn’t look good on me. Instead, I opted for the brown tortoise shell, octagonal, heavy ones that looked SOOO MUCH better. Here is a picture of the happy siblings with our new puppy Socrates and new glasses.

Our parents insisted on using photo Christmas cards…note the styrofoam Santa instead of a wreath. It was the 60s you know!

A side note: I have always preferred fashion to function. I would figure out how to wear something (think 4” heels) to school even if I slid down the hallway like I was an Olympian bobsledder.  

Unfortunately, a friend had gotten similar glasses which truly did not factor into my decision. I never was a fashion follower, preferring to wear what I liked. I had a blue fuzzy sweater that stupid Ricky said made me look like Bigfoot but I didn’t care. And neither did I care that my friend had similar glasses even though she made it clear to the Trilby Elementary sixth grade that “I copied her”. Shoot, about seven other girls had the same glasses. Never mind, in another year I was off to junior high! And I had been introduced to the beauty of changing my appearance instantly!

In Junior High, I quickly took advantage and procured some wire rims for the hippie, John Denver loving me. I still stayed with the oversized frames, maybe trying to hide my face. I guess I was a little introverted.

Take me home….country roads….this was an Orchestra picture, hence the suit.

In high school, I went with slightly thinner wire rims. As you can see, the happy siblings minus one have entered teenage years. We were mad that we had to stand next to each other. You can’t see the glasses that well but they are there if you can get past the scowl.

When I was in college I went for a cool aviator look. This was my one experience with the glasses that darken when you go into the sun. It seemed like a good idea but when I walked into a building I stumbled around a little until they lightened again. It took forever which to me was about a minute. This technology may have improved since then and I escaped relatively unscathed not counting a few bruises from the drinking fountains I walked into. Luckily I was into Dr. Scholl’s footwear and not the heels. The aviators looked good and I didn’t care.

The 80s were all about big hair and big glasses in bright colors. I had two pair, one pink and one blue. I started taking off my glasses for photos, but they looked something like this.

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I also got married, cut my hair like Joan Jett, and had two babies. I’m not sure what happened to that decade but in the 90s I went back to the wire rims, this time black. Since then, I have had multiple fashion flip-flops in glasses…from wire to plastic to color to black. Here is a photo of the last 20 years or so, all my glasses in their various stages of vision and beauty assist.

Yes, I keep them all. I actually still do wear them all. It depends what else I am wearing. The thinner wire rims are more comfortable for outside but aren’t as strong for reading. The newer ones are plastic and hurt my nose but are stronger. I have two computer pair also (not pictured). The heavier, dark blue ones are for when I want to look intelligent. The white ones are the most recent but they hurt my ears. My favorites are the black and white ones but the finish is getting beat up. I never did go for contacts because…well the whole touching my eye thing freaked me out. Plus I need bifocals for reading. None of the glasses are perfect but the next pair will be!

I am excited to go to my appointment. The biggest reason is because they NO LONGER USE THE PUFF OF AIR!!!!!! They have some new machine that takes a picture of your eye. Much better! And I’ll get new glasses😊 Sign me up! What will they look like? I kind of like the two color picture in the America’s Best ad. I may try the darkening ones again! I’ll be sure to post a pic. Whatever they look like will be a nice mid-winter boost. Nobody will recognize me!

Image result for eyeglasses history
yeah, that’s me. for real. I’m feeling it!

Chester and I went to Lakeshore Reservation for a walk. We were the only ones in the (very cold) park with the wind blowing off the lake. We weren’t there long. Someone pulled in the parking lot with us but didn’t get out of the car. Being a former investigator, I noted the license plate and suspiciously kept checking back mostly to see if they had a dog. It could be Jack the Ripper and I’d still want to talk to them about their dog. The license plate had FLZ so I thought they might have one. (a dog, not flz) We walked around but I was a little hesitant to go deep into the woods with Michael Myers waiting in his car. Plus, if Chester decides he is cold I can’t exactly carry him back.

It was sooo cold!
The woods are lovely, dark and deep…nah, not today.

I feel pretty safe with Chester. He may be kind of a dork but he’s big and can look threatening, at least from a distance if you ignore the tail wag. He wasn’t cooperating with Operation Mean Dog though. He kept sniffing the grass, peeing on the trees, and causing me to stop and wait. This interrupted my confident kick-ass stride designed to let people know I mean business. I learned it while substitute teaching. I used to wear very loud heals and walk forcefully on the tile floor of the hall so the kids would hear me coming and settle. Other than the previously mentioned propensity to bobsled, it worked! If I fell I would have tried to slide into the classroom like I was sliding into second base. That would have been impressive, especially if I poked one of the kids with a heel.

Come on, isn’t this every teacher’s dream?

When we got done sniffing up to the lake and back the person was still in the car. At that point I thought he/she was just a lot smarter than me and Chester. You can look at the lake and not go outside. We were freezing. The sight of Chester pulling me to the car was probably amusing and must have dissuaded Freddy Krueger from his oh-so-likely chainsaw massacre because we never did see hide nor hair of a person.  

I tried to get some nice pics of Chester looking at the lake, but he wasn’t interested in the lake. So, I tried to get a selfie with him. This is what happened. Oh well…who doesn’t love a good dog snoot picture? I think his drool froze into icicles.

Have a good week!!

Chester’s wild and crazy night

While Chester does love snow, he’s not so fond of the cold. My husband and I are perfectly happy to sit in front of the fireplace and binge “Law and Order” but I think Chester is a little bored. His day consists of lying on the couch and watching for squirrels. Lately even the squirrels have been binging “Law and Order” in their nests (they have a mini tv and peanuts), so Chester has been relegated to watching birds. Here is his usual routine, and keep in mind it takes him about 5 minutes to do the whole thing.

First, he notices the bird. It takes some time to decide whether to do anything about it: get up vs go back to sleep. Get up vs sleep. Up vs sleep…About half the time he decides to get up.

Second step is to start to lift that overweight body up. I know the feeling, Chester. He could still turn back. Turn back, Chester!

His third step is the point of no return. He stands with his front half off and his back half on the couch for seriously 2-3 minutes. He stretches his front half then very slowly lowers his back half to the floor, one foot at a time.

He then stands at the door and stares at the bird. Does he go out? Nah. He lies down on the floor in front of the door. The bird flies away and he feels he has done his duty, so he gets back up on the couch and falls asleep again.

Now this is mellow fellow is why we adopted a “senior” dog; he was five years old when we got him. But this is not the energetic pup that the kennel said “never stops moving” and his laziness probably contributes to his weight gain. It’s too cold for long walks although we do make the effort. He walks a little, poops, then turns around and pulls us toward home. Then gets a biscuit and falls asleep.

Yesterday I had to go to the pet store for cat food, drop off stuff at Goodwill, and get an iced coffee at Dunkin Donuts. I took Chester with me. He was a good boy at the pet store (meaning he didn’t pee on the merchandise) until we reached the cash register. Just like the candy at the grocery stores right at kid level, there are bones and rawhides at dog snoot level. He grabbed a rawhide for the road. I didn’t realize it until the cashier said, “Can he have that?” He carried it out to the car. He then got a donut hole at the Dunkin Donuts drive through. “Can your puppy have a treat?” I gave an extra dollar to the tip jar. While this is a nice diversion for Chester, the real treat was yet to come.

My husband had ordered a Bark Box for Chester for Christmas. It contained the infamous Bumble toy I admired in a previous post. What he didn’t realize is that it is one of those monthly subscriptions that you have to cancel. I hate those. He went to war with Bark Box but alas (or yippee, depending who you ask) the box was already en route. It arrived last night.

Chester was happily and peacefully gnawing on his large bone when John opened the box. He pulled out a fuzzy purple thing and squeaked it.  Instantly Chester jumped up and stood laser focused. He pawed at John and sat, gave paw, and lay down (the extent of his tricks) in about 3 seconds. John gave him the fuzzy purple thing (a slipper we figured out) and the Chester party began. He chewed and ran around with it, squeaking it constantly for the next hour. We couldn’t hear “Law and Order” because this thing was so loud. I do mean loud, and if you’ve ever heard a loud squeaky toy nonstop for literally an hour, you understand. He took a break for a few minutes halfway through to get one or two of the treats they sent then bounced back and forth inside and outside a few times. If you can picture someone who is “the life of the party” with a party hat, arms in the air, blowing one of those noise blower things and screaming “Woo hoo”, you can picture Chester.

Don’t even think about taking this bunny!

After a couple hours the purple fuzzy slipper was demolished. He had torn it to bits and found the plastic squeaker. He ran around squeaking the squeaker, then chewed it and spit the remnants on the floor. I love finding pieces of it when I walk barefoot to get coffee…Since the fuzzy slipper was now retired to the pile of has-been bunnies, he turned his attention to destroying the box itself.

The bumble still reigns. He is eating the new bunny.
We are leaving this for further shredding later tonight. He can do better.

Chester didn’t calm down for a good while. My husband commented that the fuzzy slipper was like catnip for cats, and he was probably high. Finally he crashed in the middle of his mess. When he went to bed he left the clean up for me.

The aftermath of hurricane Chester

This morning Chester was back to his place on the couch watching birds. I think despite the party hangover it did him good. He seems more energetic. It’s not so cold today and most of the snow melted. He has been outside chasing squirrels and staring at the trees desperately praying that a squirrel will fall out and land at his feet.

Oh please please please…

We do have one more toy that I hid next to the refrigerator. In Cleveland we’re guaranteed to have another cold spell. For now though it’s good to have him back to his ornery self!

Have a good week!

Chester’s arch-nemesis and just for fun flower signs…

Over the weekend Chester and I had quite the adventure. It rained in the morning so we went later than usual. The walk was nice, and I saved multiple worms. One was pretty big and it looked like it was low on energy to get off the street. I set it in a bed of clover to either gather strength and dig or die and be eaten. It reminded me of the Hunger Games.

Because of the worm saving mission, we were a little slow. We made it around the big block toward the other end of the development when we caught a glimpse of Enzo. If you remember, Enzo and Chester are mortal enemies. Whether you remember or not, Chester remembered. He flipped out, howling, barking, and making otherworldly noises. He pulled as hard as he could, lunging and running around me in his desperation to get to the dreaded Enzo. Chester’s over 70 pounds, maybe more with the COVID snacks, so I had to ground myself. I spread my legs apart and bent them a little, hanging on for dear life like I was waterskiing. I was yelling “leave it” and “No” and the bag of poop attached to the leash was flying in circles with every pull. Keep in mind that because of the rain and the shutdown my hair was frizzing out which added to the visual. Picture a Sumo wrestler with frizzy hair and baggy capris and you’ll have it. Not my best look. Meanwhile Enzo was just sitting on the other side of the street. His owner petted him and said “see what you made him do?” If I hadn’t been in the middle of a Chester-induced hurricane I would have said, “No, Enzo didn’t make him do that, he is choosing to do it himself. He is being a BAD DOG right now. We are not responsible for the actions of others. We may be a trigger, whether we did anything or not, but we are not to blame. Don’t take that on yourself little Enzo.” Of course I said nothing of the sort, I was busy dragging Chester down the street like I was in a truck pull.

Chester calmed down, and we walked home. It was warm and humid, and I didn’t save many other worms because I was d-o-n-e DONE. We got home, and I started to throw the bags of poop out…oh, did I say bags? Because there was only one still attached to the leash. Groan. He had done one prior to the Enzo debacle and one after. I could tell by the weight that the one prior was still there and the other must have fallen off. It couldn’t be far, I reasoned, so we walked back. I could have let him go in the house but he is the one who pooped. So we went together. We retraced our steps, and retraced and retraced all the way around the block again, peeking around corners to avoid he who shall not be named. It was located just after the scene of the Chester meltdown, a little blue blob on the side of the road. We collected it and went home. Sometimes things happen. His tongue was hanging out and he didn’t look one bit guilty. I couldn’t stay mad since he looked so happy. Sheesh.

On the plus side of the great poop escape, during the second walk I started to think about if flowers were people what kind of personality traits they would have. I came up with one word answers that I instantly thought of… based on some of the flowers here in northeast Ohio. Then because I have alot of time on my hands I tried to match them with astrological signs based on their personalities. Totally not official or anything, just kind of fun. See if you have the same reactions!

Sunflowers – joyful, definitely a Leo! Nothing shy about sunflowers!

 Lilacs – precious, maybe Cancer.     

Tulips – graceful, a Virgo? I wish Virgos were graceful but I hate to say…I’m, I mean they’re not.         

Daisies – cheery, let’s say Sagittarius. They happily do what they want and people are happy to let them.    

Crocuses – eager and independent, like Aquarius! Grow wherever the squirrels plant them.

Pansies – gentle, Gemini, my Grandma used to say they are like little faces looking to the sun.    

Marigolds – strong, like Taurus. Even bunnies won’t eat them.

 Petunias – easygoing, Libra? They are definitely gracious.

Irises—royal, Scorpio, of course. 

Roses; determined (they have to be, especially in my garden) like an Aries.  

 Daylilies—reliable, like a Capricorn. 

Finally let’s go with Hyacinths—intoxicating, maybe artistic like Pisces.

Now that I’ve used up another few minutes of your time, I’m going to smell the lilac bush that is blooming like crazy in our back yard. Let me know if you agree with my in depth and very scientific flower analysis!

Matthew 6:28-29

Lilacs
Our lilac tree
This is just a tree at sunrise but i like how the light makes it look like it’s dipped in gold.

A Chester Q&A and my house…

I belong to a facebook group called City Dogs. It’s a great group for adopters who have pit bull mixes from the city kennel. Mostly we show each other our cute pictures of the smooshie faces of the pups and rave over how cute they are. In that vein, they started a Q&A so I filled it out for Chester. It goes like this:

Name: Chester

Nickname: Chester no! No, No Chester! OMG really Chester?

How old are you? 5-7

What’s your favorite human food? cheese sticks. I could be in a coma and wake up if I heard the wrapper.

What are you scared of? the big inflatable snow men that I saw at Christmas. And little white bossy dogs.

Favorite toy or thing to play with? any stuffed animal. it needs tearing up. Especially if it’s a bunny.

What’s something you don’t like? when mom shuts me out of her office because a cat is in there. I sit in the hall and whine. also bunnies. I hate bunnies. Favorite things to do? zoomies in the back yard, especially after a bunny.

Have any other furry siblings? two bad cats but we had a falling out. I thought they were bunnies.

Human siblings? no, just the two little boys that come over sometimes and drop food.

Something you get in trouble for? eating things off the counter. But it’s soooo goood!

Where do you sleep? On the bed of course. I really stretch out.

Do you bark? Yes, I have to let mom and dad know when the UPS guys comes or a dog walks by or somebody is pushing a stroller or a squirrel is getting cheeky.

What is your best attribute? I make the hoomans laugh. Also I never have accidents in the house and I have a cast iron stomach. I like most dogs except for Enzo down the street. He’s evil. My mom says she loves me.

Do you go to the groomer? No I go to the dog wash. But they’ve been closed so I’m kind of dirty. Mom loves me anyway.

Do you like car rides? Yes! Especially to PetSmart!

Do you snore? Yes sometimes!

Pass the time and share about your dogs!

Then we post a bunch of pictures. It was fun, so I wanted to share with you. I’ll share some photos below.

I walked Chester this morning in the rain. I thought it would be a wormapalooza but we only saved one. In fact, I just redirected it since it was heading toward the street. It turned around and I encouraged it to the grass. So in between worms needing saving and raindrops and pee breaks, I thought about my house.

My house is not my house, and if you believe my grandson, it never will be. It’s a little house on the way home from picking them up. It used to have all sorts of stuff in the yard like old bicycle wheels or metal pots or just plain junk. The house itself is adorable. It’s brick in front, on a corner, with a small yard. Apparently someone made the garage into another room, a maneuver that I hate. And, it was really run down.

My grandson and I would play a game and pick one thing to take out of the yard that would improve the looks. Or, it could be something like fixing a door. Or the windows. The house was somewhat in disrepair so this went on for awhile. But a funny thing happened. As we mentally removed things, I began to see some artistic value in the stuff. We changed our game to what we would keep. I began to love the house, junk and all. And I was super curious about the people inside. This went on literally for years.

One day, we noticed that some of the stuff was gone and the lawn mowed. We commented on how nice it looked. Then more stuff disappeared, and brush and trees were cut down. Something was going on. I looked up the address on Zillow and put my investigator skills to work. The house was foreclosed on and I had not noticed. Apparently an artist did live there. I found him on ETSY. The bank owns it now but for much more than it’s worth at this point. I called the bank to see if they were going to put it up for sale. They said maybe in February. I called the realtor who put me on a list. But nothing yet. Once we drove by and a window was left open. I called the bank and told them to get over there and close it. The next day it was closed. I started calling it “my house.” My grandson said it wasn’t my house and never will be. He got sick of hearing about it and told me to drive home the other way. (I didn’t)

The grandson is right. I know that. I’m being totally irrational. I would love to think we could buy it and fix it up. My husband and I don’t have the skill or know-how for that extensive of a project, not to mention the money or time. Shoot, If we did our own house would be in better shape. We don’t need another house that’s for sure. And if we did fix it up, I don’t think I could sell it. What is it about this house? Why does it call to me?  Maybe because an artist lived there and I grew to see the beauty in the junk. Maybe it just looks like a cozy, warm home. I feel good driving by. I don’t know–all I know is that I want it to be happy. I hope it finds a new owner who can fix it up. I hope someone will plant flowers and make the garage a garage again. I hope someone will love it as their first house, a dream come true. When this happens, I will stop driving by.

Fame and becoming a hermit…

I feel guilty saying it, because there are so many people who don’t have this luxury, but for me one of the side effects of COVID is boredom. GAH I am so bored I watched Sharknado 2 and was worried that the Sharks would eat everyone. Spoiler alert; they don’t but I wish they had.  I played Gummy Drop and Magic Puzzle until my phone is practically dead. I still have to walk Chester but it’s cold so I procrastinated by surfing the web. While flipping around learning about the cast of Sharknado, I read about celebrities who tested positive for COVID.  What? How is that possible?

Fame is a funny thing. Someone becomes very good at something and through a lucky break or deserved acclaim that person becomes famous. We all know who he or she is. Once this happens, we can’t shower enough praise or notoriety on the person to the point where he or she isn’t a person anymore. They are now legends, kings, best of whatever.

Then, once we run out of superlatives, we start to generalize. If someone is great at acting/sports/singing/whatever, then the person is great at everything. The person becomes familiar to us and becomes a role model. “Oh I love her.” Back about 7-8 years ago Charles Barkley said he was not a role model, that parents should be role models. He said that entertainers and jocks shouldn’t be the only role models, that doctors, lawyers, engineers and parents should be too. I think he hit it on the head but it started some controversy. I think kids, and adults, too often look up to people without knowing anything about that person except that he/she does really well at something. A good singer is not necessarily a good person.

Because the famous person is now a non-person, but is an image, when he or she does something shady or just makes a really bad decision, we are shocked. We blast the person off the pedestal that we created. Truth is, they are people. They aren’t perfect and we have no right to expect it. We aren’t perfect either.

So now celebrities are getting COVID. The virus doesn’t discriminate. Some of the people in the online clip didn’t reveal it until after it was basically over. Hey, they don’t have to. They don’t owe us every little detail of their lives.  If I wasn’t so bored I wouldn’t have flipped through it because I don’t really care. They may be fine people but I don’t know them.

If there is one thing this virus has done, it has slowed us down, at least those of us not in the health care field. All sorts of businesses are offering stuff online but strangely I don’t partake much. I am becoming a hermit I guess. I realized I want to see my family and good friends, but the rest is ephemeral. I want to slow down and take things in. I want to find out what is real to me, and what is important. I’m pulling back and finding that I can let some things go and it’s actually a pretty nice feeling.

So yesterday I went for a walk with Chester and saw this yellow flower by the road. I don’t know what it is so am sending a photo to my sister. But thought I’d post it here too. The other picture is Chester and his “mastodon bone.” I went to the pet store and stocked up, and wanted to get Chester a bone that would keep him busy for awhile. I think I overestimated a little.  

Unknown yellow flower
Chester’s giant mastodon bone