Halloween and other random ghosts

Happy Halloween! I have lots of ghosts and goblins swirling in my head today so I may seem discombobulated. That’s my grandson’s favorite word right now. I may jump from one topic to another. But the veil is thin between the spirit world and ours today, so maybe my ancestors are arguing about what I should write about, and I am feeling like a rope in a tug-of-war. So let’s just get started, shall we?

Speaking of arguing, the weather here in Cleveland can’t decide what it wants to be. We have had days like this:

And days like this.

Yesterday I was outside burning sticks in the chiminea in a t-shirt. Today it’s rainy and cold. Go figure. Chester and I have had some beautiful walks though, in Holden Arboretum and the Lake Metroparks. The leaf colors have been breathtaking.

Chester doesn’t care for Halloween. We don’t give him candy, and he has to dress up. Granted it’s only for a few minutes while I take his picture.

Doesn’t he look happy? Hey, we spoil this dog every day of the year, so for one day (ok maybe two, I put antlers on him at Christmas) he can glare at me. Honestly, it was two minutes. You’d think he was suffering. At least I didn’t put the rest of the costume on him.

Chester got “skunked” last week so we gave him his first bath in the bathtub. We usually take him to the pet store where they have a dog wash station but it was late at night. He didn’t seem to mind it that much, not as much as having to wear a pumpkin hat. It was  “second hand skunked” — he didn’t get the full force. When we lived in Euclid our neighbor’s dog got sprayed between our houses and the curtains, couch and everything smelled for days. This wasn’t that bad. This one may have even been a roll-through skunk.

Our Model A club went on a tour, and we stopped at a store in Amish country. I thought this made a nice picture. I should have bought a pumpkin then but I did not. Alas, this morning I went to four places and they were ALL OUT of pumpkins. I have a warty pumpkin, just not a Jack-o-lantern.

I came home and drowned my disappointment in little candy bars.

I’ve been starting a community handbell choir named Decibells. I may have mentioned it. We want to combine theater/performance with handbells and take bells to the community. We are able to borrow bells from a church temporarily but would like to buy our own. We can’t take the church bells out of the church, and we want to do outreach activities in senior centers, schools, etc. Even used bells can cost $15000 or more. Sheesh, right?

Nobody under 40 will understand this because computer stuff is part of their DNA, but I am so proud that I figured out how to get Zelle for the Decibells account. I linked it to the email so we can receive donations. If any of you have even 5 dollars floating around screaming “I wish I could be used for something that will bring people joy” and you’d consider donating, we are a legit, tax-exempt non-profit and 100% will go to purchasing the bells, music, and accessories. The email is Decibellslake@gmail.com . If you are thinking, “ahh she worked in a sales pitch” I am sorry. I would never want anybody to donate who couldn’t afford it, so no worries.

Like in Harry Potter, as I express these ideas and thoughts, they seem to be flowing out of my ear and clearing out my brain. Pretty soon I’ll be brainless.

Isn’t that pretty? It’s called a “Mumkin.” It was a fundraiser for the grandson.

Chester got a new toy from our grandson. It is, or was, a stuffed Mr. Bill that said “Oh nooooo” over and over and over and over….. Chester mercifully disassembled the sound module then went to work on the body of poor Mr. Bill. He made it this far last night.

Did you ever hang up a sweater over a shirt then forget you owned the shirt? I found one of my formerly favorite shirts this morning when I reached for a black sweater. It’s like getting something new! Or used, as this one was originally from Goodwill. So kind of a triple used from it’s original birth. Or maybe more, depending if the previous owner got it new. It’s mind blowing, right? But in a good way.

Have a lovely Halloween, and make sure your doggies and kitties don’t get out. We have trick-or-treating from 6-8:00 and it’s pretty dark by then. Tomorrow is November 1st, unbelievable. Let’s hope for a few more nice days! Have a good week!

The Bumpus House and Chester’s Gotcha Day!

Happy fourth Gotcha Day to Chester! Four years ago we went to the Cleveland City Kennel and met “Roosevelt.” He was described as a “nice gentleman but never stops moving.” That turned out to be pretty accurate! Now he’s an older gentleman, 9 years old, and he does stop moving sometimes.

He still is obsessed with chasing bunnies, raccoons, possums, and squirrels. This morning a raccoon kindly wished him a Happy Gotcha Day by climbing a tree in the neighbors’ yard. Chester spent some time jumping up and down by the fence and generally maintaining the critter-free yard he guards so ferociously. He came in and got an un-frozen Kong treat which perked him up. Later he will undoubtedly get whatever we are having for dinner as a special treat. Maybe a pup cup too. We love our silly hound and are grateful to City Dogs Cleveland for matching us. Happy Gotcha Day big ole baby!

This past Saturday I used my Christmas gift. If you are a fan of the movie “A Christmas Story” you will understand my geekiness over this gift! I received an overnight stay in “The Bumpus House” from my husband.

A Christmas Story House

A little background; “A Christmas Story” was partially filmed in Cleveland, in the Tremont area, West 11th street, in 1983. I remember it well, as there was a notice in the paper looking for extras for the movie. I did not go, much to my regret now, as they wanted people dressed in 1940 clothing. I didn’t have any, and it was a warm day, so I passed. The movie wasn’t a big hit when it was released. It was not marketed correctly…it was marketed as kind of a slapstick comedy, which it isn’t. But it grew and grew, becoming a classic Christmas movie.  Just an aside, I think the music doesn’t get enough credit for making the movie. I can hear a little bit and assign it to a scene. I guess I have watched it a few (hundred) too many times!

The Bumpus Hounds! A photo hanging in the bedroom.

In the movie, the Bumpuses are the “hillbilly neighbors who live next door” and own 785 smelly hounds who torment the “Old Man” (he honestly doesn’t have any other first name)! They eventually burst into the Parker house and get the turkey off the table.

In the Bumpus House

I reluctantly say that I can relate. In my teen years, a dog named “Poochie” wandered into our house (and into my dad’s heart.) He stayed against all better judgment.

Poochie. This was taken in the 1970s.

My dad truly loved Poochie, as did I, but Poochie was a bad dog. (how bad was he?) He was so bad that he peed in our suitcase on Christmas eve. One day when it was dinner time I entered the dining room to find him standing on the table with his snoot in the tuna fish and noodles. He glanced up with a look of pure bliss on his face. I chased him off the table but to this day I’m not totally sure how he got up there. Anyway, the Bumpus hounds make me smile.

In 2007 the house where the movie filmed was purchased buy a guy who had a company that made leg lamps. It was un-renovated to appear as it had in the 1940s. Then it was refigured and decorated to look like the house in the movie. Most of the Cleveland scenes were outside, or at Higbee’s Department Store, with a few inside. People can spend the night at the house, or recently, the Bumpus house next door. We stayed in the upper level of the Bumpus House, a time travelling experience, both to the 1940s and to Christmas!

The Bumpus living room, all ours for the night

We went on a tour of the Christmas Story House, then the museum. We hit up the gift shop and the Rowley Inn across the street. I wasn’t sure what to expect, being that there was no Bumpus House pictured in the movie.  It didn’t matter, I’d enjoy it no matter what, but the house was perfect. It looked old but it worked new. There were candid photos on the walls of the cast and vintage items.

I caught some glare but this was my favorite of the kids!

It was weird because we felt like we were family, like we belonged there. I didn’t want to leave! It’s beautiful and I can’t wait to do it again! I am stealing some decorating tips and we took a lot of pictures. Below are some of my favorites.

Randy’s snowsuit in the museum!
The little can on top is a can of Simonize…
This was a plastic turkey in the Christmas Story House kitchen. I’m not sure why the hounds would want it, it did not look appealing.
A bedroom in the Bumpus House. There were random old pictures in the top drawer of the dresser.
There was a message that played when you dialed. Some of the kids on the tour didn’t know how to dial…sheesh, I felt old!

The only downside is that the Bumpus House doesn’t allow dogs. (go figure!) I understand that, and I wouldn’t allow dogs either. Chester was happy to go visit his friends at Camp Bow Wow. He likes the other doggies and slept a lot Sunday! Since it’s Chester’s fourth anniversary, I am including some of my favorite pictures of our own Bumpus Hound!  Have a good week!

2018, when we first got the Chester doggie! He’s a little skinnier…
August 2019, learned what the refrigerator does!
August 2020, his second gotcha day!
August 2021, making himself at home.
2022 with lots more to come!

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?

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!

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!

Jazz records and a new tattoo

Life is good for Chester.

I was attempting to change the sheets when he decided to take a nap. I got the first two sheets on the bed, then he flopped himself down. I continued with the blanket and comforter, thinking he would move. I was woefully mistaken. He stayed like that until he heard the refrigerator door. Yes, life is good for Chester.

I have restarted a daunting project. My dad collected jazz record albums. When he died, my son asked if we could take the albums. Of course I agreed. I thought the son would eventually take the albums to his house and enjoy them around a fireplace with a cocktail and slippers. What was I thinking??  It seemed like a good idea at the time. You should know however that there are over 900 albums and the son shares a NYC apartment with two other people. If A+B=C, then you can follow the logical conclusion…the albums continue to occupy space in our house. In my clean, clean, clean frenzy, I decided it was time to sell, sell, sell! So it began.

Part of the collection

In 2011, before he moved to NYC, our son and I attempted to document the albums, something my father was never able to accomplish. Plus my dad didn’t really care. We started a spreadsheet and began with the last name of A…We made it through the letter M, then the son moved. So they sat. I decided about a week ago to finish what we started. This entails handling each album, recording the performer, the title, the date, the recording label, and notes like other collaborators. I am halfway through the Ts.

Milo is supervising. It’s hard to work when he is sitting on the records. Can’t be good for the records. It’s OK, he’s a cool cat.

While searching for the date of the albums, I noticed that the old records (most are from the 1950s-80s) have extensive commentary on the back of the album. The front looks something like this one,

And the backs look similar to this:

Not the same album, obviously…

Sometimes my dad would make notes on the album, like “piano player is good” or “??” I began to read some of the information on the back.

When I was playing cello in an orchestra, during a rehearsal our very dear conductor, Ralph Katz, grew frustrated with the violins. We were playing “March” from the Nutcracker Suite. Now in “March,” if you start out at a proper tempo worthy of John Phillips Sousa, your violinists are going to struggle a bit in the middle. Since we were a community orchestra, they struggled mightily. One rehearsal night Mr. Katz (always Mr. Katz, never Ralph to me) placed his baton firmly on the stand and said “It’s just so much noodling! Quit noodling!” (For the record, cellists are physically incapable of noodling.) Reacting in typical cellist fashion, I thought it hilarious and “noodling” became a staple in our household vocabulary.

Jazz to me was noodling. Just sooo much noodling! I did not appreciate it, figuring that if someone took the time to write a perfectly good melody, why should it be changed? My dad however played jazz non-stop except when hockey games were on tv. I was a jazz rebel, preferring instead the complex musical stylings of “The Archies”. My dad, ever the gentleman, understood somehow that it was part of the kids contract to hate your parents’ music, and didn’t push it. He was happy just to listen himself and why not? He controlled the record player. We had our 8-track tapes, the latest and greatest in musical formats.

Yes, this is a vintage 1977 8-track tape. Remember the “clunk” when it switched sides?

Now that I see and touch these albums, I am starting to appreciate his incredible understanding of the intricacies. I’m finding that I (gasp) want to listen to these records. There was a whole part of my dad that I didn’t know. I wish I could go back and discuss them with him. My son and I were going to document these to sell them. Now I want to listen first. I’ll never listen to all of them, but maybe one per artist. We’ll see. The thing is, jazz was a part of who my dad was. I only knew or realized the other parts. How much more didn’t I know about him?

Changing topics, I got another tattoo! It’s an arrow. I got it because it reminds me of how honored and proud I am to have worked in the best unit in the county, the MUI (Major Unusual Incident) department. I learned so much from them and it makes me happy that we were able to make a difference. The people I see now did not know my work self. I was using a different part of me. The tattoo reminds me of who I was and still am. I guess we all have a lot more layers than we can show.

The wrinkles are from the plastic, not from me being old.

Chester, however, has no layers. His whole being is an open book. This is his “you are eating something I want” look. He does not use this look when I eat yogurt. If the force was with him my hand would slowly and uncontrollably move the bacon to his mouth.

You know I’m here, right??

This is his “I just came in and am one second away from doing zoomies around the house” look. See the wild glint in his eye? Only to be tamed by running full speed and leaping on the couch so it slides across the nice hard wood floor. Wheee!

Hi Mom! Got to run!

 Since no proper Cleveland resident can fail to mention the weather in any conversation, we are above freezing. The snow is starting to melt. Chester has decided that it is a good idea to take his bunny outside and play with it.

He snuck it past me. Then he leaves it there and I have to get it. I tell him to get the bunny and he looks at me like this:

You’ve got to be kidding. It’s cold out there.

Have a wonderful week!

Procrastination and a vet visit

I woke up at 6:00am yesterday with two things to accomplish—starting this post and taking Chester to the vet. Keep in mind that the latest drama on the news was (yawn) snow again here in Cleveland. Gosh, it’s early February and there’s snow? I can’t imagine. Needless to say, after the mega buildup by the weather and news media, including dire warnings to stay off the roads and hundreds of school closings, I awoke to maybe a few inches. They are trying to save the story by saying it’s going to last all day. All day? According to Groundhog Phil it’s going to last 6 more weeks. But one of the things I absolutely love is sitting in my pjs, drinking Peet’s coffee, and watching the snow come down, without having to go anywhere. I get a kind of pleasure out of watching the reporters standing out in the snow to report that it is snowing and we should stay in.

Actually the reporters were right and it snowed all day. Chester rolled in it.

Anyway, I got up at 6:00am, and by 8:00 (am, not pm) I took a shower. Mostly because I was afraid the vet would want Chester earlier due to the prediction of bad roads. What is wrong with Chester you ask? He has a hot spot on his arm just above his paw. It’s been there for two weeks, with no change. We thought it was OK, but it was not really healing so the vet thought she should check it out. I wanted to be dressed at least by 4:00, the appointment time. Vet appointments are precious nowadays and they probably frown on coming in pjs.

After the shower, you would think I’d be ready to write. I thought so too, in fact that’s what I told my husband. “Turn off the Today Show, I’m going on the computer!” But I had to check my email first. This led to a deleting frenzy then to a video game. An hour later I realized I was procrastinating.

Procrastination. I start with good intentions but if the dishes need doing, the birds need to be fed, I wait to see our school district closed on tv (even though I no longer have kids in school…old habits die hard), the laundry needs to be sorted, and the kitty litter scooped, I get sidetracked. If I think I want to get something done, my cousin’s words go through my head, “Your future self will thank you for it.” This is a frequent mantra but my future self also procrastinates so she has not thanked me yet. I don’t want her to feel overwhelmed with the thank yous, so I’m taking it easy.  

I know one solution thanks to a class I took. Eat the Frog.  Someone said that if you eat a frog first thing in the morning it’ll be the worst thing you do all day. This has been linked to Mark Twain but was around in various forms earlier and is not believed to have been uttered by him originally. The point of the quote was to do the hard thing first (hard meaning what you don’t want to do). Well gee whiz, I can’t argue with that froggy logic even if it is a disgusting and awful quote. Of course, if you procrastinate long enough you will die and won’t have to do it at all…. Just another option to explore.

See the source image
This frog has the right idea.

A book I read suggested that procrastination could be a fear of closure. People procrastinate because starting is the hardest part. We get comfortable doing what it is, but when we finish, we have to start something else. Or, we don’t want to finish something because then it is over and for some reason we don’t want it to be over. Procrastination can also be a means of control, or a passive aggressive response. Either way, there is a reason we don’t want to do something or finish it. If we discover the reason we can face it. I don’t remember how to face it though. Maybe I should go read that book, let me go look for it…aaarrgh! I’m doing it again! Too late. I found it!

This is an old book, but there’s still good in it.

Writing this blog is not a “frog” to be eaten. Our former beagle, Abbey, would have eaten it. Beagles eat anything. Once she tried to eat something mouse-like but I saw the tail sticking out of her mouth. I rescued the exceptionally lucky critter (it was still alive and quickly ran off). The beagle never forgave me for taking her prize.

I miss you too, sweetheart. You and Chester would have been best buds!

No, a blog is not a frog. I love writing and telling stories. But since I retired I don’t have a boss to assign projects, or a schedule. You would think that is a good thing and usually it is. But I have a hallway needing paint, more pictures to sort (I swear they multiply), and closets to clean that would tell you otherwise. The problem with retirement is that there is a fine line between well-earned relaxation and laziness. The first months I have erred on the side of laziness. I feel lazy. I see the projects I wanted to complete sitting undone, and I feel worse. I think it’s a form of procrastination. So instead of procrastinating I will write about it. Hmm, something is amiss…I’ll have to think about that tomorrow.

I said Chester likes the snow…here is proof. He goes out and before doing anything he buries his face in the snow. Why, Chester, why? I guess dogs can’t drink coffee to wake up!

As for his vet appointment, it was a dog party for Chester! My husband and I sat in the room while the vet took Chester “in the back to see the girls.” We heard laughing and when he finally came back to us he was carrying a squeaky pig (aka bunny) and reportedly had several treats. He is fine. He has to take antibiotics and an antihistamine for the itching. We have to take him back (for more treats) in two weeks. He is most agreeable! Stay warm and have a wonderful weekend!

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!

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!

NY resolutions and a Dodgem

Happy New Year! I watched some of the NY eve tv specials but missed both Miley’s wardrobe malfunction and Andy’s rant. I did not however, miss the earthquake that occurred in Lake Erie. I was in the basement and heard a thump noise, kind of like a truck dropping its load. I thought Chester knocked something over but when I checked nothing was amiss and he was just hanging out.

Chester is quite concerned about the earthquake.

Not a huge earthquake, and we do have them periodically. I have felt two that were bigger and actually made things move. Once I was on the fourth floor of an office building. That was a little scary. But you don’t even realize what it was until it’s over.

I have the after Christmas blahs. I have a stack of gifts for the NY kids and some of them include candy. I am considering opening and eating them. To circumvent my tendencies I wrapped the candy and put the wrapping under the bed.  You see, once again I have made New Year resolutions, and once again one of them is diet.

Since I am a believer of sharing misery, Chester is going on a diet too.

looking a little chunky there Chester…

We have begun breaking the large Milk Bones in half for his nightly ritual. He goes outside, stands on the deck for a minute or two, then comes in and herds my husband to the kitchen for a biscuit. He does this about three or four times then curls up on the couch to watch tv. He then falls asleep until I say “bed” when he goes upstairs. So now he gets half biscuits. We would try to break the habit but he’s so darn cute when he herds my husband. That is my personal entertainment for the night.

If only losing weight was easy for me! About three years ago, my grandson gave me this little figure called a Daruma Doll. He painted it and painted one for himself too. He said that you make a goal and then paint the other eye when you achieve the goal. His goal was to learn to read. He did that within 6 months and painted the eye. Mine was to lose 10 pounds. Here is mine today three years later…

The grandson thinks it’s funny that I still haven’t painted mine. He doesn’t understand how I can be my own worst enemy. People try to tell me what to do to lose weight. I know what to do, I just don’t do it. If someone could tell me how to stop sabotaging myself it might help. This year is the year though! That little accuser staring at me with one eye will get his comeuppance. And I will be vindicated!

On facebook marketplace there is a Dodgem car for sale! It’s relatively inexpensive, and in Ohio!

My husband was not opposed exactly, since I have wanted one since the great Hershey Swap Meet. I messaged the seller for the measurements. Unfortunately, it is 40” wide and 5’6” long. It is also “extremely heavy.” We would have to rent a truck to move it (no problem) and get some strong guys to help (that’s what the Fantasy Football league is for) but the real obstacle is that it would not fit through the basement door. Although we toyed with the idea of the Dodgem in the living room or family room, we ultimately decided that it was not feasible. My husband suggested the deck, but we aren’t sure the squirrels would approve. Disappointing. Some day…

The deck supervisor

Anyway, this is going to be an interesting year. Think of all the possibilities ahead! I plan to win the Powerball tonight. Anything could happen! It’s kind of fun to think of good things that may happen in the future. I do believe that positive thoughts and vibes translate into reality sometimes. So why not? I may have a dodgem AND a carousel tiger in the basement!

Finally, here’s a pic of my little tiger Milo. Doesn’t he look ferocious? He’s really yawning.

Milo the tiger

Sorry for the boring post…when a yawning cat gets a picture it’s pretty bad. When I win the powerball things will pick up! Have a good week!