Stuck in a Rut and Telemachus

I am in a rut. I’m not sure what a rut is but if this is being stuck in one I enjoy it. I know I am stuck because I am taking basically the same pictures of Chester over and over, mostly lying on the couch. Apparently he is stuck in a rut too. I don’t mind it, it’s a good rut.

I was listening to the radio on the way back from getting bagels and heard Carole King, “It’s Too Late” from the Tapestry album. I sang along with every word. How can I remember that but not where I put my keys? I guess it makes sense as this was the first album I owned and played it so many times I lost count. Growing up in 1971, when the album was released, there were not a lot of women role models in the music business. This album became one of the biggest sellers worldwide, winning 4 grammy awards and spending mega time on the Billboard charts. Not only that but it was one of the albums that defined women in pop music. I still love it!

Did you know this was her cat, named Telemachus? After digging a little I found this picture of Telemachus as a kitten.

In Greek mythology Telemachus was the son of the Greek hero Odysseus and his wife, Penelope. But there is another Telemachus, a monk. According to the church historian Theodoret, bishop ofCyrrhus in Syria, Telemachus had attended gladiator games.

Per Theodoret, “After gazing upon the combat from the amphitheatre, he descended into the arena, and tried to separate the gladiators. The sanguinary spectators, possessed by the demon who delights in the effusion of blood, were irritated at the interruption of their cruel sports, and stoned him who had occasioned the cessation. After being apprised of this circumstance, the admirable emperor numbered him with the victorious martyrs, and abolished these iniquitous spectacles.”

I don’t know which Telemachus the cat is named after but I’m going to try to find out. There are stories about the photo for the album cover but I haven’t found out much about his name. He’s a pretty famous cat. He even has his own t-shirt!

 Anyway, he’s a cute cat (looks a little like Milo) and I thank Carole King for helping me through the often disheartening early teen years. She made me realize that it’s OK to look “normal” (I had the natural long hair too) and take charge of her own music. Love you, Carole!!

So, we had a major breakthrough with our cats, or at least a stalemate. They are now free together overnight. They seem to just ignore each other and so far Chester hasn’t complained that he’s stuck in a bedroom. This is a breakthrough because in the past they would try to kill each other so we kept them separate. I don’t know if they are getting older or just used to each other but it’s a milestone for us!

and Milo….not quite together but coexisting!

We went to another park (here is the rut…a park and cute pics of Chester cute pics of Chester) and some of the spring flowers are just starting to bloom.

It’s early, it has to snow on the daffodils three times before it’s really spring. But it was nice to see. Of course this is what Chester saw on the walk…

Chester is totally hooked on pup cups. He got one at Biggby coffee after our walk, then went to CVS and got a beggin strip. They know him at Biggby now and say, “Hi baby, did you go for a walk? Do you want a pup cup?”  He practically crawls in my lap to give them the big starving eyes.

Pullling up to the Biggby drive through. Ready to give them a show!

They always give him two biscuits in his cup. I think that is more than they give other dogs. Does he look starved? Not hardly.

I’m working on Decibells, our new performance bell choir. We are working hard and planning a concert for 6/3 at 4:00. There is a lot of stuff to do….today I bought a cash box! Honestly, it seems like every fundraiser or show I participate in has that moment when someone wants to donate or pay and the cashbox person isn’t here yet. Right???? I decided that I want the cash box there early in case anyone has the immediate urge to donate. Plus it made me feel legit. I guess if I didn’t win the Powerball (I didn’t) I’ll have to rely on the bake sale. For that we need a cash box!

Enjoy the weekend!

Our Final Christmas (til next December!)

Christmas of 2022 was ridiculous! In a good way, but still…

We visited our kids in Brooklyn NY this past weekend for our third and final Christmas. Between illness and weather, they were not able to come back to Cleveland. It was wonderful to see them. We visited Chamber Street Wines, where our son works.

one of the best in the city!

We went to the Guggenheim Museum which was super cool. The building is in a spiral, and you walk the spiral to see the art.

inside the museum
Alex Katz exhibit…we remember these clothes and hair!
art by Nick Case

We also played Bananagram, a fun scrabble-like game with tiles that look like Chiclets. Of course no NYC trip would be complete without a parking ticket. I’m serious. I double dog dare you to try to drive in NYC and not get a ticket of some kind. It’s not humanly possible.

John was a hero…
The subway was much better!

But it was a nice trip nonetheless. I miss the kids. I don’t know if I will ever be not sad coming home from seeing them in person. They are happy there and I remember being that age and living my life. But I still miss them.  Ah well, whatcha gonna do?

Izzy and Tim at a sweet little cafe with amazing breakfasts

Chester got to spend a few nights at Camp Bow Wow. He does like it there but it sure tires him out. He basically passed out in the car driving home and slept for two days.

He’s getting back to normal, so I’ll take him for a walk later. The weather is not particularly cold…about 37 degrees, which is practically flip flop weather! We’ll go see the lake.

One random complaint about the weather…muddy paw prints. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Milo and Zeus missed us; Milo decided I’m not allowed to stop petting him and is lying on my arm so I can’t type.

OK now on to the Super Bowl and an internal conflict. I like football. Actually, I like fantasy football, but I like to watch too. There is nothing like a Browns game on a Sunday afternoon to prompt a nice nap on the couch.

But it seems a little barbaric at the same time. Are we still watching the gladiators in the arena? I would not want my grandkids to play football. But I still want to watch it. While I watch the game and more importantly the usually underwhelming and over-hyped halftime show and commercials, a small voice in my head says football is not going to be part of our psyche at some point. Something will happen; something to change our viewpoint. I’m not trying to be dramatic, unlike the usually over-dramatic halftime show…just admitting that I’m a hypocrite when it comes to football. However….

NOT THE PUPPY BOWL! I love the puppy bowl and kittie halftime show. I love the corny jokes, the birds and other assorted critters who make guest appearances and the referee. Most of all I love the cause. Our shelters here in Cleveland are overwhelmed. If we could squeeze in one more pet we would, but our house is full up. In NYC everyone seems to have a dog; they were all out walking! Cats aren’t as lucky there, but our kids adopted two spoiled ones.

I understand that there is a bump in adoptions following the puppy bowl, so fingers crossed some of these guys (especially the adults) get a second chance. We are certainly glad we chose Chester (or he chose us) since he has been a great addition to our family. (minus the muddy paw prints!)

It wasn’t me!

Have a great week!

Puddles Pity Party and ketchup

I am generally a pretty happy person. I enjoy life and am positive. But every so often a cloud will form and I end up down in the dumps. Last week I had a couple days like that…little things kept adding up, like my prescription being messed up, McDonalds not giving us ketchup, being sick with some stupid viral thing, and the bell choir really needing ringers which I was not delivering. All of these are manageable, but sometimes I end up in a mode where I look at everything with a glass half empty view. That’s depression.

There’s a line in a song called “Settle for Satin” by Alkaline Trio that says “It’s not so much a storm but just a cloud that lingers over me, it doesn’t scare so easily but when it wakes it goes the distance.” I think that is one of the best lines to describe depression. It’s hard to pull out of . I have been on antidepressants for more than 20 years and am aware of what to expect when I start to spiral down. I can do things to try to halt it early. What I’ve learned is that I have to recognize and address it. My strategy? When I start to feel sad, I listen to sad songs.

Doesn’t make sense? It does, because I have to acknowledge the cloud before I can put it to rest and move on. This is in no way a recommendation for you, but it works for me. Luckily, my awesome husband discovered Puddles Pity Party in the nick of time!

My husband has become a connoisseur of you tube videos. I think he started watching them while working on an old hit and miss engine that theoretically will make ice cream. He says we will have ice cream next summer. The neighbors are holding him to it. I think we’ll need a music box that plays one of the inane ice cream truck songs over and over and over. When the ice cream truck stops it reminds me of when our boat in the “Small World” Disney ride got stopped for about 10 minutes. It was delightful to hear that song repeated and see the happy little animatrons merrily cavorting, everybody singing together even if we are all strapped in a boat with no chance of escaping the infernal happiness. I think a song like that will encourage the children on the street to partake of the frozen delights. I’ll have to run that past him. He has put a couple videos of his engine on You Tube, a feat which impresses the heck out of me. I can’t even take a good picture of Chester.

Anyway, we watch mostly funny pets and kids, or the “First We Feast” hot sauce interviews. But sometimes he finds things that are a little… off. I’m not sure what prompted him to click on “America’s Got Talent” Puddles Pity Party. I looked up from reading the latest Andy Carpenter mystery and there was my new hero. Puddles Pity Party is a sad clown. He doesn’t talk. Simon was giving his snarky half-smirk, etc, when Puddles came onstage. Puddles sang a song, “Chandelier” by Sia and I was hooked.

I get Puddles. Apparently a lot of other people did too, and what rock have I been under that I didn’t know about him until now?? The show was in 2017. So in my downward slide, I became immersed in Puddles songs. I watched videos of “I Want to Know What Love Is”, “All by Myself” and gosh, about 5 more, even a Pink Floyd one until finally wallowing in “Everybody Hurts.” Guess what? It worked. Something about Puddles got through. So any of you who also are clawing your way back out of a valley or just enjoy something unique, check it out! Honestly, it’s not a parody, I think he really cares about people. If not, it’s a good act and I don’t mind.

Now let’s just talk about McDonald’s for a minute, shall we? Every Thursday I take the grandkid to Adrenaline Monkey so he can become an American Ninja Warrior or at least work off some energy. Littler grandkid goes too so that mommy and daddy can breathe for a hot minute. Littler grandkid and I have a tradition of going to McDonald’s while bigger grandkid is in Adrenaline Monkey running up warped walls and flying from ring to ring. Who do you think has the better deal..? Anyway, this must be the world’s worst McDonald’s. We have gone there for about 6 weeks and every single week we ask for extra ketchup. The grandkids want nothing but ketchup on their food. They order cheeseburgers with only ketchup, and large fries with ketchup, and chicken nuggets with “no sauce, only ketchup.” I picture the workers laughing when we say this because for 5 out of 6 weeks we get…NO KETCHUP. NOT A SINGLE FREAKIN PACKET!! We are lucky to get the apple slices in the happy meal, we are batting about 500 there. One week I was driving and bigger grandson started to gag and cough. I panicked, asking him if he was OK, and all he could choke out was “a pickle.” So apparently they do have pickles because they put one on his burger. But ketchup? Nada. Why do we still go there? As Tevye says, “Tradition!”

Tonight is another McDonald’s night. This time I am ready for them. I was putting flyers up for Decibells and the Convenient store was packed with Powerball players. They were busy so I wandered around, and seeing no bulletin board I started toward the door when I noticed bins with packets of ketchup, mustard, and mayo. God help my soul, but I grabbed a handful of the ketchups and ran for the door. Chester and I floored the Subaru and I am now ready to shake a handful of the packets at the McDonald’s window and laugh maniacally. I can’t wait.

I didn’t include much about Chester today, but it has been absolutely beautiful here. It could stay like this forever and I’d be OK. We have noticed that there is a plethora of acorns and giant leaves this year.

The acorns are pretty aggressive too, you could be seriously injured by some of the big ones! Here are some of our highlights! Take care and hang in there!

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!

Donuts and Chester being Chester

I am very much like Chester. He is food motivated and so am I. During Titanic I ate far too many goodies and junk, eating lunch then nothing until coming home at 10:30 and eating until midnight.  I had a doctor visit and imagine my surprise when I learned that my A1C is the same and I haven’t gained weight. Honestly, I was so thrilled I had a dunkin donuts iced coffee with cream and a bagel to celebrate.

Of all the foods I enjoy, Dunkin iced coffee and a bagel are among the top. I don’t get them often, but I always get the same thing, a toasted sesame bagel with cream cheese, and an iced coffee with cream. Lately it hasn’t been the same. Today the coffee tasted stale, kind of bitter. When I asked for a sesame bagel, the voice said “We are out of sesame bagels”. It was about 11am, granted, so I said, “I’ll have a cinnamon raisin bagel.” The voice said “We are out of cinnamon raisin bagels.” I said, “What kind of bagels are available?” The voice said, “We have plain.” So I said, “OK, I’ll take a plain bagel with cream cheese and an order of 10 Munchkins.” The voice said, “We’re out of Munchkins.”

For those who aren’t familiar with Munchkins, they are “donut holes” or little round….(wait for it)….DONUTS. How can a donut place be out of donuts? I am boycotting Dunkin and their lack of Munchkins for awhile. My own little protest.

This last sip will have to sustain me for awhile.

Our son used to work for the same Dunkin, and I know all fast food/restaurants are hurting for staff. I get it totally. I think we are in the middle of a readjustment period. We got used to having everything at the drop of a dime…uber, door dash, freshly, and others brought everything to us. I took advantage. What I didn’t realize, I mean really in my bones realize was that these services were not sustainable in the long run. Before the pandemic we had quick access to everything. Information, social media, food, and anything else. We didn’t have to wait. Now we do. We landed with a thump when everything closed. The people in the middle of providing these services are not as willing or able to do it anymore.  We’re all backpedaling a little bit. To anyone working in a service industry, I apologize for taking you for granted. Especially those of you who get up early to make the donuts…

Chester treed something out back and was out there for an hour jumping up and down panting and barking at it. He must have landed wrong on his paw because he’s been licking it. I don’t see anything wrong, and he isn’t limping, but he keeps licking. He seems a little peppier though after a few Milk Bones. Now he doesn’t want to go out in the rain, even to lick the deck water. Dogs..

He slept for a day straight after his back yard adventure.

We have a super-colossal weekend planned, and I can’t wait to tell you about it! Meanwhile, here are some photos from a walk with my cousin at Veteran’s Park in Mentor, and our Model A Club outing to Lost Nation Airport.  Have a good week!

Veteran’s Park
Does anyone know what these reed-like things are?
You can drive the model A with this cooker on it, then eat a hot meal. It warms it up. Usually you wrap the food up in foil to cook and to keep grease from spattering out.
All the A’s in a row!

In the weeds and a rainbow

I am fighting my way out of the weeds. I am struggling to learn the character of Ida Strauss in Titanic. When I used to do investigations, there inevitably comes a time when I used to say, I was “in the weeds.” I could not figure out what happened and I hoped, thought about and just willed some little piece of evidence to point me in the right direction. I would go over and over statements and interviews, and call people again, asking more questions. Then, the proverbial light bulb would go on and just like that I was out of the weeds.

I thought I knew this character but when I heard her words out of my mouth I freaked a little and realized that it was not right. I had to learn an accent, which was (believe me) not good. I also learned the dance. Sort of. When they recorded it, I showed my husband and he said it could be my audition tape for left shark. Left shark was on the halftime Super Bowl a few years back with Katy Perry. Right shark was on point, but left shark went rogue and wandered around.

My hero

We laughed at that (come on, it was funny, look up left shark if you want) but inside I was nervous. I was in the weeds in oh so many ways. So what else to do but…go on vacation?!

The pier at Ocean Isle

We spent a week in Ocean Isle, North Carolina. We swam in the ocean, collected shells, sat on the beach and played putt-putt. We ate Italian Ice and walked on the pier.

I meant to learn my lines and practice them but I didn’t. I won’t say that this week cleared my head. On the contrary, I was kind of out of it. But things are clearing. The director promised that the only thing that will sink is the ship, so I’m ploughing ahead. My grandson, husband and friends are helping by reading lines. I use the lines everywhere. My friend and I were walking past the Tom Cruise cardboard cutout after seeing Top Gun Maverick, and she popped out my line, “You’re still a pretty good-looking fella.” My grandson cracks up when I sing, “Maybe you should drop bread crumbs.” Basically, everyone is having a lot of fun with this. I apologize if you are sick of hearing about it, but if you’ve done community theater you know how consuming it can be. Two weeks to opening!  

One of the cool things at Ocean Isle is a little museum. They have lots of neat displays and activities, but this is one of the family favorites. I say family because adults and kids participated. You color a fish, a stingray, or an octopus, then scan it into the computer. Your fish pops out the pipe on the big screen and swims around with all the other people’s creations. It is so fun to see your little fish bobbing around. There were no sharks on the screen, left or right.

What about Chester? Well, Chester spent the week at doggie camp. He enjoyed running around with the other dogs (I could watch on the Camper Cam). When he came home he was Exhausted with a capital E.

He didn’t move for two days. Unfortunately, he also had a touch of pink-eye but we dropped in on the vet and he’s fine now. He likes the vet but this is what he did…

They even gave him a cute bandana!

Chester is a pretty lucky fella, especially since we felt a little guilty and have been giving him extra treats.

I’m not nervous anymore. Driving to NC we saw a rainbow. Not just a rainbow but a double rainbow! I think it was good luck. When I came back to rehearsal my stage husband told me we are no longer dancing, just standing by the captain and clapping now and then. Yes!  The one thing about being in the weeds is that it never lasts forever!

In Marietta, Ohio

Ticks and Grandma Camp

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

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

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

 It tired him out.

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

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

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

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

My ex-coworkers and I had a blast!

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

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

Classic Park, home of the Lake County Captains

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

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

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

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

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

Green space and Three Musketeers

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

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

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

Lakeshore Reservation has statues resembling a sundial.

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

Boy, that is a big dog!

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

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

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

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

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

In the rotunda

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

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

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

Odds and ends on a rainy Friday

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

OK, I’m done…

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

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

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

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

Our pretty tulips

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

While walking Chester I saw the biggest dandelion pod ever.

Chester was unimpressed

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

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

Oh, Chester…

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

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

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

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

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

Wordle and poison ivy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m a happy dog!

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

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

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


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

Have an excellent week!