Happy Mother’s Day

Actually, my Mother’s Day was all weekend.  I started on Saturday by sleeping in.  Rich got up with Sascha to put her out, but that was just his excuse to go fishing.  It was a beautiful morning and he had made bait the night before.  He was ready for this.

I woke up to no dog or no Rich. I knew right away that he finally got out there on the banks of the mighty Fox River to try his luck.  That was fine.  It meant a quiet morning for me.  I got my coffee and headed to the couch to read the paper in peace.  I did check on Sascha, but she was totally ignoring in case I wanted her to come in.

Today, I was getting my Mother’s Day flowers for the deck and patio.  This is what I ask for every year.  It’s simple and it’s something I truly want.  I rousted Rick from his bed to go and be my labor for the day.  This meant I had to feed him breakfast.  Oh wait, he is a working stiff as of Monday, so he took me to breakfast.  We went out to Island Café.  As soon as we stepped in the door, Rachel looks around and asks where he is.  Who?  Oh yeah, Rich.  I assured her he was doing something else and it would just be two.  Throughout breakfast, everyone asked where Rich was.  I didn’t realize he was so popular.

Then it was off to Castle Gardens to pick out my flowers for the year.  I had been planning for this and had decided on the flowers I wanted.  On the road just past the Volo Auto Museum, the fire department had the road shut down.  The Gardens were just on the other side.  This meant that we had to snake through the roads in the tiny town of Volo.  The fire appeared to be a field right next to the nursery.

Once we go there and got a wagon, we headed up the hill to the annuals.  I said I wasn’t going to wonder around, but I lied apparently.  I walked up and down the rows looking at the colors.  Finally, I did settle on purple and yellow jump ups, purple and white alyssum, white snapdragons, red and yellow snapdragons, and purple variegated petunias.  I wanted some other things, but decided to wait on those.

It was back to the house.  Rich was just getting back from fishing with his prize.  It was one lonely, rather large carp.  He had a story to go with it.  Apparently, he caught the fish after it took his bite and was trying to make its escape.  It was a good sized fish.  So we left Rich with his carp since my running wasn’t over.

I still had to go to the grocery store for the week’s load of good eats.  Rick went with me.  I like the company and the help.  He had ulterior motives though.  As I said, Rick is starting work on Monday and he wanted to pick up some things for lunches next week.  I saw the dollar signs stretching out in a straight line and the pinch on my wallet.

The grocery store was nuts!  Who knew that Mother’s Day weekend was the biggest holiday of the year.  It was worse than Christmas and Super bowl.  I think it was because the weather was going to be so gorgeous and people were planning to grill out.  You don’t always get that at Mother’s Day in the Midwest.

Finally back home, Rich was done carving up the carp for dinner.  There were fish scales all over the yard.  We unloaded the groceries and put everything away.  Now it was time for me to get busy with those gorgeous flowers.  Dinner was a couple of hours off.  I might just get this done.

I have the flower boxes on the deck to fill along with three pots that I keep up there for more color.  The sun was warm and the wind was nice.  I worked around first to remove the old and dead leftovers from last summer.  Then I arranged my flowers in order along the top of the seats.  After that, it was all fun and dirt.  I finished up in good time.  That left the pots along the patio.  I arranged what I had left to decide the best coverage.  They came out with a very stunning look.  I was very pleased with my work.

That was enough for the evening.  Rich started up the burner and we prepared dinner.  Rich was going to fry up a mess of hushpuppies before doing the fish.  I found a recipe and started creating.  The mix was easy and tasted good before they went into the fryer.  But they were so much better after they came out.  A variation of fried dough is always good.  Even the crispies were delicious.  Dinner was excellent.  Nothing like getting the food yourself.

I’m not obsessed with finding out as much as possible about the next connections that I’ve made in the Zurek family tree.  Through more records, I’m finally able to identify Joseph Zurek, Rich’s great-grandfather, in the records and correlate his claimed hometown in Poland.  Rudy Rysie seems like an interesting name.  I found it on the map of Poland. It is about where I thought it might be, between Krakow and Tarnow.  The village is still there.  I can open a street view through Google.  It’s cute and reminds me of many German villages.

I tried looking through some Polish genealogy sites.  I don’t find much, but not being able to read Polish kind of hurts my efforts also.  I just need to find the church records for this part of Poland.  I see a Joseph Zurek, but he is three years too young.  The mother’s name is right though.

I did manage to find the immigration record where Joseph Zurek from Rudy Rysie, Poland came through Ellis Island.  He came from Bremen, Germany to New York.  It shows that his mother was Marya.  Now I at least have one parents’ name.  I had found a Civil Registration card for what would have been the Selective Service around the time of WWI for Joe.  I have a general description of him.  This also listed his hometown as Rudy Rysie.

See, I can get really obsessed with this stuff.  But it’s 9:00 by this time.  I had asked Rich to make me up a mint julep.  We had plenty of mix left from the party.  I just need the ice to melt into the mix a little before I can drink it.  Rick wants to try a taste.  He doesn’t really like bourbon, but he thinks it’s pretty good.  We settle in to watch an episode of “Father Brown.”  I like English detective shows and this one is quirky and cute.  Apparently, it was an inspiration for Agatha Christie as well.

The night is pretty over by now.  We watch a couple of other things and I start to think about ready.  I’m finishing up an Agatha Christie tonight and moving on to the next book.  Sascha has only been nagging us to go to bed since 8:00, as usual.

That takes us to Sunday morning now.  I get up first and handle the dog duties, which includes grabbing the Sunday paper.  Coffee gets made to help me wake up and to enjoy while reading the paper.  Sascha decides to stay outside since it is so nice.  Pretty soon, Rich gets up and heads for coffee.  Rick finally gets up.  After making it through the comics, he heads to kitchen to make breakfast.  We have Sascha’s favorite, corned beef hash and eggs.  Maybe that’s because she does expect to get a share in her bowl.

Rich and I decide to head out and get some supplies to work in the yard.  The winter was hard on the roses.  Rich lost a couple.  I want to get herbs to grow this year as well as tomatoes to add to the garden.  We head to Ace first, but we just don’t find what we want.  Over at Home Depot, it’s crazy.  We do find everything we want.  After loading up, we head for home.

I start working on the flower bed off the patio.  I’m putting my tomatoes and herbs in this bed for the summer.  I’m just hoping Sascha stays out of it.  She loves to dig when the soil is loose.  I find I have room for more herbs.  I just need to figure out what I can add.

Rich is around front digging up the dead roses and replanting with the new ones.  He sees that not all of the dead ones are totally devastated.  Problem is, will they really survive?  Better safe than sorry and just put in the new roses.  The new roses are grandifloras.  These are really huge blooms.  They should add to the bed with the rest of the roses.  Then it’s time to put down the Moo-Nure.  I love the name.  The picture of the cow on the front is cute.

I get the patio bed finished and move on to the garden on the side of the house.  The garlic mustard plants are taking over.  And they smell to high heaven when you disturb them.  Well, they have to come out.  They are right in the way of planting my other flowers.  Here I’m doing some seeds and bulbs.  I plant zinnias for Rich.  I have Bachelor Buttons and Anemones for the fence.  I have to find a spot for my Dahlias.  Unfortunately, I’m finding so many of my plants didn’t survive.  The daisies are gone.  So I clean out the bed and put the Dahlias there.  My butterfly bush looks like it is dead.  I have to start all over again!

While I’m working, Rich comes around to dig up two of the roses that survived along that side of that house.  He moves to the front where I have some space for them.  More of that Moo-Nure goes in and the smell is a little overpowering.  But I guess it’s not as bad as the grass in the compost pile.  It really smells this year.

I convince Rick to come out and burn all of the wood, sticks, and other burnables.  The pile is huge and it is threatening to keep growing.  He agrees and gets the whole thing going.  It burns really fast.  I guess the amount of rot is pretty good.  Before you know, Rick announces he is done and heading back in to his computer.  Really?  It’s a beautiful day out here.

Did I speak too soon?  After dinner the clouds start to thickening and rain looks like it is moving in.  Sascha must hear thunder from a long way away.   She cowers under Rich’s desk.  The lightning and thunder start up pretty good.  Rick attempts to get the trash out before the rain and doesn’t make it.  The garbage can is out, but the recycling will have to wait.  It pours down.  I go out to the garage to watch the storm with Rick.  We see some hail, but not much.  Then the second wave comes in.  This time the hail is pea-sized and quite a bit of it.  The storm finally passes and the sun comes back out.

For one final Mother’s Day taste, Rich is making rhubarb upside down cake.  I saw this in the morning paper and it sounded good.  Rich wants to do something with his rhubarb.  It sounded like a good thing to try.  We’ll see when it comes out of the oven and cools off a bit.

So tomorrow is back to the grind.  Rick starts up his job in the bay preparing the hardware for the engineers to stage systems.  The weather sound like spring:  a little warm with showers.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, and role models for us all.

One of the deck boxes with the flowers planted.
One of the deck boxes with the flowers planted.
I love the smell of the alyssum while sitting on the deck.
I love the smell of the alyssum while sitting on the deck.
Snapdragons, jump ups, and alyssum on deck.
Snapdragons, jump ups, and alyssum on deck.
My bleeding heart by the hot tub survived and was blooming this weekend.
My bleeding heart by the hot tub survived and was blooming this weekend.
The pots on the patio with their color.
The pots on the patio with their color.
There's the carp that Rich caught on Saturday morning.
There’s the carp that Rich caught on Saturday morning.
That's an ugly face.
That’s an ugly face.
Sascha always gets excited when there is fish to fillet.
Sascha always gets excited when there is fish to fillet.


Getting the oil up to temperature.
Getting the oil up to temperature.
And the hushpuppies go into the grease.
And the hushpuppies go into the grease.
Rich pulling the golden hushpuppies out of the fryer.
Rich pulling the golden hushpuppies out of the fryer.
Rich preparing the carp for the fryer.
Rich preparing the carp for the fryer.
Fish fry is ready.
Fish fry is ready.
Sascha is trying to be patient for dinner.
Sascha is trying to be patient for dinner.
Rick was learning to drive Sally on Saturday.  He didn't kill it once.
Rick was learning to drive Sally on Saturday. He didn’t kill it once.
















Trip to Southern Indiana

I recently went home to Southern Indiana.  Rick had his plans fall through, so he joined me.  The drive down was good.  Even going through India No Polis on the day before the big race wasn’t too bad.  We arrived in the late afternoon.  I gave Rick his choice of things to go and do something he wanted.  Of course, he chose the Falls of the Ohio.

The Falls of the Ohio is an interpretative center on the Ohio River.  When the locks are closed, this side of the Ohio dries up and the riverbed is exposed.  There are thousands of fossil that appear under your feet.  The walk across the surface is full of water whirls, pot holes, and fossils.

The flower beds were all in bloom.  The smell was heavenly and the colors bright.  I had to take pictures, of course.

We walked down to the river to find the fisherman standing shoulder to shoulder along the shore.  There was hardly any room for them to be casting out.  As one stepped aside they would close ranks on the spot.  The unfortunately guy or gal would have to force their way back in.  I didn’t know fishing was quite that competitive.

We walked along the bank and back along the trail that leads to a growing ox bow that was developing down stream.  There, the cottonwoods are hanging on in the sands.  It was nice and cool.  We went by a lady with a doberman pincher followed by five puppies.

After leaving the river, we went for dinner at the New Albanian Brewing Company.  I’ve been wanting to check it out, but didn’t want to do it on my own.  Rick could drive so I had decided to try one of their brews.  I chose the one called Naughty Girl.  It seemed appropriate and very hoppy.  The food was fine.

Rick then drove up to the top of the Knobs.  The Knobs are the top of the old river bank that now makes a small mountain.  The drive up and down is quite thrilling.  Rick likes to take the drive when we are in town.  We drove up one side and across the Skyline Drive so we could look out from New Albany to Louisville and beyond.  I took a few photos along the way.

On Sunday, we took my nephew, Charlie, and his son, Trysten, down to Kentucky.  I needed to show my nephew where to find the places the family came from and the graveyards where the most important people were buried.  We had a very nice day with very nice weather.  I was able to find most of the locations.  I told my stories and shared the genealogy of my family.

In between, I was able to pay a visit with my friend, Kay, and my aunt, Brenda.  I had a very nice visit and got a few hugs from all the important people.

Amazed at the number of people out fishing on the banks.  This looking back at the railroad bridge and the gates on the dam.
Amazed at the number of people out fishing on the banks. This looking back at the railroad bridge and the gates on the dam.
Taking a stroll along and over the cliffs that make up the fossil bed.
Taking a stroll along and over the cliffs that make up the fossil bed.
Rick walking along the fossil bed.
Rick walking along the fossil bed.
Walking along the river's edge on the fossil bed.
Walking along the river’s edge on the fossil bed.
A sponge fossil in the rock next to Rick's foot.
A sponge fossil in the rock next to Rick’s foot.
Cottonwoods growing along the banks of the mighty Ohio River.
Cottonwoods growing along the banks of the mighty Ohio River.
Looking out at the river and what part of the fossil beds is exposed right now.
Looking out at the river and what part of the fossil beds is exposed right now.
Flowers and roses in bloom at the Falls of the Ohio visitor's center.
Flowers and roses in bloom at the Falls of the Ohio visitor’s center.
Rick's brick in the memory walkway.  This is under his old name.
Rick’s brick in the memory walkway. This is under his old name.
Mom's brick in the memory walkway at the Visitor's Center.
Mom’s brick in the memory walkway at the Visitor’s Center.
Naughty Girl in the foreground and Orange Dream soda in the background.
Naughty Girl in the foreground and Orange Dream soda in the background.
Rick at the Bank Street Brewery having dinner.
Rick at the Bank Street Brewery having dinner.
Beer wall at the Bank Street Brewery.
Beer wall at the Bank Street Brewery.
Thought this sign in the window at Bank Street Brewery was cool.  Just had to have a picture of it.
Thought this sign in the window at Bank Street Brewery was cool. Just had to have a picture of it.
This is an art sculpture in downtown New Albany.  After a little dinner, we walked over to admire it.
This is an art sculpture in downtown New Albany. After a little dinner, we walked over to admire it.
Looking out from the Knobs towards Louisville.  Beautiful evening for a view.
Looking out from the Knobs towards Louisville. Beautiful evening for a view.
Another view from the top of the Knobs.
Another view from the top of the Knobs.


Mother’s Day is for flowers

Traditionally, Mother’s Day is the day I start my planting for the season.  I make it easy on the guys and just ask that they buy the flowers I plant on that day.  Here, I have flower boxes on the deck that I plant in every year.

I didn’t realize until this year that Rick’s habit is go with me to pick out the flowers for the year.  He gets to make the final decision on color.  This year, they had Patriot Dream petunias, which gave me a nice array of blue, red, and white.  This along with the white alyssums were the choice for planting.

I picked up some yellow, peach and red snapdragons and petunias for my side pots.  I added in some Choleas for added color.

Returning home, I put in to beginning arranging flowers and getting them into the dirt that will be their home for the season.  My deck looks very nice.  The smell is heavenly from the alyssums.

Welcome, spring.  Now I need to move on some of my permanents flower beds to add in and get them updated.

A little gardening in the dirt is good for stress.

Happy Mother’s Day to all!

See how nice my deck looks with flowers.
See how nice my deck looks with flowers.
Petunias and more petunias on the deck.
Petunias and more petunias on the deck.
More geranium and petunias with a splash of alyssum.
More geranium and petunias with a splash of alyssum.
Geraniums and petunias.
Geraniums and petunias.
Adding a little color to the small pots on the patio.
Adding a little color to the small pots on the patio.
My Mother's Day flowers on the deck.
My Mother’s Day flowers on the deck.

Ah, the sounds of winter

So it is officially winter here. We have the gentle buzz of snowmobiles out on the river.  The last week has been very cold and the river finally froze over solid enough for the steady stream of machines to be buzzing up and down that temporary highway.We went out to dinner this evening and then headed over to Crystal Lake to pick up more coffee.  As we went over the bridge, we could see a parking lot of snowmobiles around Keefe’s Reef.  This is one of the many bars and restaurants that can you reach by boat or snowmobile all along the river.  Coming back over the bridge, I noticed that the parking lot was empty, except for a few cars and trucks.

I put Sascha about 8:00 this evening.  The neighbors behind us had a fire going and were huddled around the flames.  I could hear that unmistakable buzz of power machines over toward the river.  There was lots of screaming, yelling, and laughter from that direction as well.  That means a noisy evening well into the early morning hours.

The only good thing is that the dam is just above us.  That means the snowmobilers can only go down from here to get to the bars.  I don’t believe I heard of man and machine going or down the dam itself.  But there could be a first time.

We haven’t had that much snow this year.  I think we still 10 inches behind our normal for moisture.  It’s supposed to snow, drizzle, and frizzle on Sunday.  Then it’s going to warm up to the 50s by Tuesday.  What crazy weather.  I looked out on Saturday and saw that my patio gnome has quite a bit of snow on top of him.  He looked frozen and cute all at the same time.

Rich took Sascha out scootering this afternoon.  The weather was perfect for a run.  The temp was 24 and the humidity was 75%.  They were gone for so long that I was afraid Sascha had managed to throw Rich from the scooter and was dragging it off to the great white north.  I guess I mean Moraine State Park next to the neighborhood.  I figure that’s where the coyotes and any real wolves would be.  We believe there is at least a couple over there.  We’ve seen some that are larger than coyotes with beautiful coats.

They eventually returned to the house.  Sascha was at a slow trot, but I think that was a smile I saw on her face.  She just loves to run.

Next Saturday, Free Spirit Siberian Husky Rescue is doing their annual chili dinner and dog sled demos in Harvard, which is north of here.  I took her last year and she was able to harness up to a sled as one of the lead dogs and help a team pull.  She was so happy and really looked in her element.  I plan to take her back and let them hook her into a team again.  I don’t think she has forgotten her time on the dog sled team while she was with the rescue.   Pictures to follow.

The guys continue to work on the insulation in the new garage.  It’s going slowly, but pretty well.  Rick is working on it around his schedule at school and the extreme cold.  Rich is planning to take off work on Monday to help out.  It’s supposed to be in the 40s.  This will be one more day he can burn before he loses any more vacation time.

With some luck, the insulation will get done soon.  Rich has decided to hire out the dry wall job.  It would go a lot faster.  Because of the 10 foot ceiling, it would be better if a professional did this part.  I think Rich is hoping to get the electrical in by this spring.  One more step toward having the garage ready for some real work.

I usually have my vacation plans for the year made by the first of January.  I was running a little bit later this year.  I got most of the plans finalized by the second week of January.  We plan to attend the Chicago Blues Fest in June.  I made hotel arrangements and we are staying downtown for the entire festival.  This will allow us to go to Grant Park during the day and wonder around town to find more blues in the evening.  We have some places that we always want to go and this will be a primary opportunity to finally do it.

In July, it looks like we’ll be heading to San Antonio, TX for a reunion of Rich’s Air Force group.  This will be a first time meeting, so it is a small event.  It might grow, but it is only dinner right now.  Rich is very excited.  I’m hoping this grows into a full reunion later on as the years go.  I assume we’ll be stepping up to help with planning and execution.  We’ll be seeing Rose while we are in town.  Who knows, we might even see if they will let us hang out there.

In September, I’ve rented a cabin in the Gatlinburg area.  We plan to go driving through the Smoky Mountains and do some hiking.  We’d like to put our feet on some part of the Appalachian Trail.  We used to go camping at Pigeon Forge when I was a kid, so I’ve been in the park several times already.  I have some places I would like to go back and visit again.  The last time I was there in the 1980s, it was crazy.  I’m hoping we can avoid most of that.  We also have some friends in the area and plan to catch up with them for dinner one night.

The cabin I found has a view of the mountains.  I’m hoping it is on the sunset side, but I think it is the sunrise side from the pictures I saw.  There is a hot tub on the porch, big screen TV, and lots of windows all around.  I really had to look around to a cabin that fit everything I wanted.  Now if it just isn’t in the thick of things in Gatlinburg.  Picture to follow in September.

On Wednesday, I decided to finally wear that leftover kilt hanging in the back of the closet.  Rick gave up the Stuart tartan that he had started out with.  I had gotten him a Campbell tartan a couple of years ago.  I figured since he really enjoyed wearing a kilt, he should at least wear one that represented the Scottish side of his family.  My mom’s family is Ervin.  They are part of the Irwin clan for Southwest Scotland.  The area is subject to the Campbell clan.  There is an Irwin tartan from the 1800s, but the Campbell tartan has more history and is less expensive to buy.

I was really surprised at how comfortable the kilt was to wear.  It stayed in place and fit very nicely.  I really enjoyed wearing it.  A few people were brave enough to ask about it and if it was significant.  I know, I was showing off when I could explain the tartan and what it meant.  It was fun.  Wonder why I didn’t do it sooner?

On Tuesday, the new stove was delivered.  Hurray!  The delivery guys were very quick and efficient.  They had the old one out and the new one and ready to go in 15 minutes.  I was impressed.  That night, I cooked dinner on it.  Wow!  Was the old stove that bad or is the new one that good?  Dinner cooked in no time at all.  Cooking is really about planning and getting things done at the same time.  The new stove cooks so much faster and better.  I almost couldn’t keep up!

On Saturday, I baked cookies in the convection oven.  I had heard that it was so much easier to do.  And it was.  They baked so evenly and were just the right amount of brown on the top and bottom.  Now I want to back more cookies!  I did peanut butter, because this is Rich’s favorite.  On Sunday, I plan to bake white chocolate Macadamine cookies for Rick and me.  Can’t wait.

It’s Sunday already.  I’m not ready to start thinking about work again.  However, Indiana was playing basketball today.  I was a little afraid to watch.  Louisville fell to Georgetown yesterday.  I didn’t know if I could take the heartache of a loss.  They did manage to win, but they definitely don’t look like a team that could win March Madness.  I’m watching the various games to get a feel for who has the best potential.  March will be here before you know it.

Today, Rich cooked a pork roast in the new oven.  We’ve quickly discovered that we are going to have to plan around things getting done much faster.  The roast came out to perfection!  Hard to believe that convection would make such a difference.  Now what else can I find to cook in their as a test? That would mean we need to eat it though.  Oh well, the hardships that we have to suffer in life.

Rick worked out in the garage today.  He was able to complete the ceiling.  That was the hard one because of the angles and reaching over your head.  Tomorrow, Rich and Rick will start on the walls.  Maybe they can get done in the next couple of weeks.  There’s a lot of area to cover on just the walls.


My new stove with convection oven.  So far, it has been a dream to cook with.
My new stove with convection oven. So far, it has been a dream to cook with.
Sascha checking out the new stove.
Sascha checking out the new stove.


The Stuart kilt is mine.  I think it works.










Winter is here.  My gnome has more than his share of snow.
Winter is here. My gnome has more than his share of snow.


Cincy Blues Fest 2012 Day 2: Up Close

Those days when you can sleep are so nice.  For me, that meant sleeping in to 7:00.  Sascha wasn’t there with a wet nose and the alarm wasn’t trying to tell me something.  Now if the housekeeper doesn’t try to roust me out before I’m good and ready, it will be glorious.

I think the walking and a couple of beers in the evening helped to ensure that I slept well. Even the thunderstorm that I occasionally saw when I opened my eyes in the middle of night didn’t disturb the rest I got.

I got up and wrote up the blog for yesterday this morning as Rich continued to sleep.  Around 9:00, he finally rolled over and asked the time.  We got ready and went to the Palm Court in search of breakfast.  We had the buffet where we could get the meats, French toast, eggs, and fresh fruit needed to start the day.  All of that with a cup of hot coffee is enough.

Since I decided not to navigate the concrete canyons here in search of a parking lot with an empty space, I did valet parking.  That meant that we needed the valets to get our car so we could retrieve the chairs and other items needed for the Blues fest.  They didn’t seem to mind since it was slow at the moment.

Getting all of our stuff back upstairs, we prepared to go out into the world and visit Covington, KY.  We went back down to the TANK stop and boarded the trolley that went to the other side of the river.  The driver dropped us off right in front of the MainStrasse Village sign.  From here, it was a half block to the village.

MainStrasse is the German village on the Covington side of the Ohio River.  A lot of the shops, restaurants, and bars that are European. We went into the Linden Noll gift shop.  This little shotgun house was filled to the brim with German, Austrian, and Polish items.  I found a Bavarian hat for Rich.  The one he had gotten in Munich was way too small.  So, of course, I had to have a hat as well. The poor lady running the store was having a really bad, but taking it pretty well.  We finally sorted out things and got on our way.

One cool think was Mike’s Antique Guitars. The building was a really old theater from probably the 1960s.  Mike was taking pictures of a guitar when we entered so we got to wander around and just look.  If you were a starting band with no equipment, Mike could hook you up.  He had some very interesting pieces.  I wondered if it wasn’t a museum more than a shop. 

We continued to walk around the neighborhood looking at architecture and the different stores.  We ended up in the Mutter Goette neighborhood.  This name came from the large German Catholic church that was there.  Mother of God.  It had a beautiful copper dome that was all patina covered. 

We walked back to Main Street and entered The Cock and Bull public house.  It was a modified English pub.  The food turned out to be very Americanized, but OK.  The beer selection on tap was pretty extensive.  We settled in with an array of appetizers and drank our pints.  The place was pretty crowded when we arrived, but had definitely thinned out by the time we were done. 

On the wall was an explanation for the name of the pub.  In England, the two oldest pubs are The Cock and The Bull.  Since news traveled with the travelers on the road, these two locations always got the news first.  They each started enhancing the stories a bit to be more important.  This is where we get the term a cock and bull story.  Or is it?  Maybe their wall story is the cock and bull story.

We walked back to the shuttle stop and hopped onto the TANK trolley headed back to Cincinnati. Time to rest up and get ready for the Blues fest.  Rich got his afternoon coffee on the way up as we went through the tower shops on the first floor of the hotel.  I’m writing this blog as he prepares to raise his caffeine levels, which I’m sure, had fallen dangerously low. 

More to come tomorrow morning as I finish the report on Friday in Cincinnati.

So now it is the next day.  I got to sleep in again. I got in time to take a shower and get ready for breakfast at 10:00!  That’s fine.  I don’t sleep in often and it was after midnight by the time we got back and settled in for the night.

We’ve been walking everywhere we go or using the TANK bus to go over the bridge. It’s always a great way to see a town.  It’s about a 25 minute to walk to the park…  Not too bad.  The chairs were starting to get heavy by the time we got to the park though.

We found the Will Call table to collect our tickets, which was right next to the Performers Check In.  Rich poked me and said that Super Chikan was about 3 or 4 people ahead of us. I think that he’s just wishful thinking.  But when the gentleman reaches the table, he turns out to be Super Chikan himself with his daughter! Can’t beat that for up close, but not personal yet.

We get our tickets and head for the gate. But we ended up having to wait for the last vendor truck to leave the grounds before we can go in. Turned out to be the port-a-potty truck.  When he clears the gate, they let us in. 

We walk to the main stage and find a prime spot on a little rise that will allow us to see over everyone’s heads.  Just the tall people standing up front will get in the way.  There are one or two of those throughout the night. Checking the schedule, it looks like we have some time before the first act.  Rich heads out for drinks.  I get a water and he looks for beer.  This fest came prepared with the best beers.  They are serving the local microbrews.

Cincinnati is trying to revive their beer history.  They are creating some of the old beers in the styles from long ago and working to rebuild the brewing neighborhood as it once was.  This means that when you go into most of the local establishments, you can get some of those beers.  The fest was no exception.  I recognize the name Hudepohl from when I was a kid.  Apparently, they have started brewing the style from the last 1800s.  I thought that was really cool.

The first act of the night is Scott Yakopcic.  He won the local Cincy Blues competition solo award and is going on to Memphis in February to complete in the International Blues competition.  He was pretty good.  He is a great guitar player who can handle some of the old blues songs. His own songs will develop, but just aren’t quite there yet.

Then Super Chikan takes the stage with his all female band, The Fighting Cocks.  This is the guy Rich came to see.  Rich and Rick had seen him at the Chicago Blues Fest a couple of years back and Rich has been a fan ever since.  We had hoped to see him in Clarksdale when we were there in January, but he was out on the Blues cruise.  I hadn’t seen them, so this was going to be new for me.

Super got started with his set.  He played a guitar shaped like an old car.  It might be even be a 1934 5-window coupe; we don’t know.  He was impressive though.  He plays with a lot of skill and dances around the stage.  But the surprise was the keyboard player, LaLa.  She is part Jerry Lee Lewis and part Joe Crocker.  She wraps her legs around the keyboard stand and hangs over the keys.  She plunks around and makes some interesting contortions.  But all the while, she is pounding out some fantastic music.  How does she do that!?

At the end of the set, Mike (the emcee) starts making a slashing motion across his throat for Super to quit.  Instead, Super kicks into another song.  Why not?  We’ll all rocking in the audience.  Finally, Super says that Mike doesn’t mean quit, he means he’ll slit Super’s throat if he doesn’t get off stage right now.  So that ends Super Chikan for the night.

Rich heads out for more beer and to look at shirts and merchandise.  While he’s walking around, some guy sees the Cat Head Records t-shirt Rich is wearing and stops him to talk.  Cat Head Records is a business owned by Roger Stoli back in Clarksdale, MS.  He has a store and promotes the blues as a business. He’s very knowledgeable in the blues world, writes books, promotes shows, and passes on knowledge to the rest of us.  Turns out, this guy who stopped Rich was Roger’s roommate in college.  He’s so excited to see something from Roger’s store.  He asks how Rich came by the shirt and they talk for a while.  The guy shows off Rich to his family and says that Rich knows Roger!  Well, in a way Rich does.  I thought it was cool how that 6 degrees of separation worked in there.  Another up close and personal.

So the night moves on and Sista Monica takes the stage.  We’ve been hearing Monica on the Bluesville station on XM for a while.  I thought she might be interesting to see in person, and she was.  She has this big and wonderful voice with such a great sound.  The Sista Monica band is full of wonderful talent as well.  After a couple of songs, Rich goes off to buy a CD and returns with one.  She does everything from start to finish to produce her own music.  That’s totally amazing.

At the end of the set, she says she will be at the merchandise tent to sign things.  Darn, bought it too early.  Rich tries once to get a signature, but she wasn’t there yet.  She’s still back stage with her mother, whom she brought out on stage toward the end of the show.  I wander up later and find her sitting at the tent.  She signs the CD cover to Rich.  This is another up close and person I didn’t expect.

So it’s getting really chilly sitting on the grass at this time of night.  I’m wearing shorts and freezing.  Rich just wants to watch a little bit of the last act, which is Webb Wilder.  A lot of the people around us have pulled up stakes and packed it in for the night.  The grassy knoll is getting pretty empty out there.

Now this guy is someone Rich used to listen to when we first started dating some 20 years ago.  The band gets started and it’s more along the lines of Rockabilly than blues. But that’s OK.  Finally, Webb plays “Human Cannonball”.  Yep, this seems to be the song most people are waiting to hear.  As Webb calls it, these are the true Wilderians.

With that, we pack up the chairs and head for Pete Rose Way to walk back to the hotel.  When we get closer to the stadiums, there are a lot of people out.  Still can’t tell if the Bengals did well tonight or not.  The Holy Grail Tavern is packed and flowing out into the street.  The police have barriers up to keep cars from hitting the partiers.

We continue up the hill and over a couple of blocks to the Hilton.  It’s really quiet and we head up the elevators to our room.  I had a great time and learned a lot.  We had a lot of up close and personal experiences today.  Time for bed though.  Night y’all.


MainStrasse in Covington
This is the main street or MainStrasse in Covington’s German town.



Bourbon barrel planters at Main and 5th St.
At the corner of Main and 5th, the plaza there has bourbon barrels used for planters.



Rosie Bar on 6th St.
Thought about you, Curious Daisy, when we saw Rosie’s Tavern over on 6th St.



Copper dome on Mother of God Chapel.
Walkjng around, we saw this huge copper dome on the Mother of God Catholic Church. The neighborhood takes it’s name from the church also, which is Mutter Goette in German.



Cock and Bull story on the wall of The Cock and Bull Pub.
Cock and Bull story on the wall of The Cock and Bull Pub.



Garden in front of someone's townhouse in Mutter Goette neighborhood.
Garden in front of someone’s townhouse in Mutter Goette neighborhood.



Rich settling in to hear some blues on Friday.
Rich settling in to hear some blues on Friday. Just waiting for SuperChikan.



First act was Scott Yakopcic, who won the solo/duo competition for International Blues in Cincy this year.
First act was Scott Yakopcic, who won the solo/duo competition for International Blues in Cincy this year. He’s going to Memphis in February for the Internal competition.



SuperChikan playing the diddly bo.
SuperChikan playing the diddly bo. Yep,it’s a gun stock. Super is a folk artist who makes guitars from all kinds of things. This one is illegal because it has 3 strings instead of 1 string.



SuperChikan and the Fighting Cocks
SuperChikan and his band, The Fighting Cocks. They were well worth watching.



LaLa playing the keys. She is amazing
LaLa is the keyboard player. Part Jerry Lee Lewis and part Joe Cocker.



Sista Monica was great fun.
Sista Monica was great fun. I had an up close and personal moment when she signed the CD Rich bought.


Webb Wilder
Webb Wilder sang Human Canonball, which is all Rich needed to hear. Apparently, it was true for all of the Wilderians.


Cincy Blues Fest 2012 Day 1 Welcome to O-HI-O!

The drive out of Chicago is always a nightmare.  Traffic moves, but you just see one of every kind of possible disaster waiting to happen.  And it takes so long!  I think it was 2 hours to finally get out into the countryside and away from the cars and trucks.Then you have to follow I-65 to Indy.  There are so many trucks on the road that you can’t go fast for very far.  Dragging racing semis are among my favorite pet peeves.  There were enough of them.

We stopped around Castleton on the northside of Indy to pick up plastic drop cloths in case it rains on us Friday.  Forecast looks a little iffy for showers or not.  I figured we would look like we got lost from the Gallagher show.  At least we would be dry.

Back on the road, we got of Indy and made it down I-74 into Cincy.  It was a nice drive.  You can definitely tell the Germans settled this part of Indiana with the town names.  The land becomes more rolling and green as you head down to the river.  That’s the Ohio River, of course. 

We made it into Cincy with no problem.  I don’t think I’ve ever come into the city from this side.  The drive was short and sweet to hit the downtown area.  I felt sorry for the very long line trying to get across the river into Kentucky.  That was going to take a while.

We found our hotel and figured out how to get to the valet parking. But someone was coming out the In door and I had to go around the block!  Finally got into the garage and found the guys with the yellow shirts waiting to whisk my car away.  Downtown Cincy appears to be all parking garages.

The Hilton Netherlands Plaza is circa 1930s, but with a now modern update.  It’s a nice place that the Cincy Blues Association arranged. Not bad on the price either.  I got one of the last rooms in the block.  Sweet! 

We talked to the concierge desk and found out how we could get across the river and through the woods to Newport.  The TANK bus runs between the communities on both sides to ferry you around.  TANK is Transit Authority of Northern Kentucky.  We went out the hotel and across the street to the bus stop. 

Across 5th street, they were preparing Fountain Square for the evening’s entertainment.  Apparently, throughout the summer, there is a different type of music played on the stage every evening.  This afternoon was Acoustic, which we missed.  Tonight, it was Salsa.

We hopped the bus and headed to Hofbrau Haus in Newport.  This is an extension of the Hofbrau Haus in Munich, Germany.  They’ve opened one here, in Vegas, and soon to be in Rosemont.  That’s right near us!  Newport was one of the three ports for river traffic delivering to Cincinnati.  Goods were brought to Newport and then transported over to the city.

The restaurant is in one of the old warehouse buildings in the waterfront district.  It was very nice with dark wood and German decor.  The food was excellent. I had Bavarian jagerschnitzl and Rich had a single  schweinhaxe (joint of pork).  Of course, the beers were really good.  It was nice that I wasn’t driving and could enjoy the evening as well.

We decided to walk back to Cincy across the Purple People bridge.  A private organization purchased the old L&N Railroad bridge across the river and renovated it.  The garden clubs in the area manage mini gardens in planters all along the bridge.  I’d say the bridge was more lavender than purple.  It brought us to the park where the Blues fest will be held on Friday.

From here, we walked along the river to the stadiums.  I believe that is 3 total stadiums.  Seems like a lot sports in one area.  We did find Morlein’s brewpub in the process though.  It was a nice 25 minute walk back to the hotel. That’s just about as long as it takes us to walk down to Grant Park from the train station back home. 

We went to our room to rest up and take advantage of the facilities before we went back out.  We did discover that Interconnect was $10 a day!  Everyone is jumping on this bandwagon to charge you.  Luckily, I knew about the free wifi hotspot app that we could load to our Smart phones.  Using this was a breeze.  Yeah. It was a connection to the outside world without the major cost.

Time to wander downtown a little bit.  We checked out the restaurant and bar within the hotel.  It’s all very Art Deco here.  Of course, I love that period.  However, I love the jewelry better from that period.  Anyway, we made it down to the street level and walked down to Fountain Square. We decided to check out some pigs.

Throughout the downtown area, there are pig statues. Most of the cities are doing this and using something related to their history. Cincinnati was the stockyard and butchering center for a growing U.S. back in the day.  Today, you find the motto: When pigs fly, they do in Cincinnati.  Some of the pigs are interesting and some require knowledge of Cincinnati to understand.  I loved the Starry Night pig in the square.  Penny sits in the Westin Hotel and is covered in shiny 2012 pennies.

Excerpt from a discussion on the motto when pigs fly for Cincinnati:

The story is that when the hogs were delivered from one side of the river to the slaughter house on the other side, they were loaded on flat top barges. As they stood on the barges and moved across the river, the early morning fog would often rise off the water and cover the barge bottom. The only thing you saw were the pigs floating above the water. This gave the appearance that the pigs were “flying” across the river.

In Fountain Square, music was blaring out and we could see people dancing away.  It’s free to enter the square.  People were standing and sitting.  Mostly, they were dancing to the Salsa music being played on stage.  The band appears to be a typical Brazalian Salsa band with lots of members, voices, and instruments.  They were really good. 

After watching people dancing, we walked through the square and back out to the street.  We had seen a sign for what sounded like an interesting place.  Walking back down Vine St, we track down O’Malley’s in the Alley. We walk into a small bar with a lot of dark wood and Cincinnati sports items.  It’s an Irish bar, but more of a local type of hangout.  We had a beer and then headed back to the hotel. 

Time to plan out the day for tomorrow.  It seems we could once again do several different things and not have to move the car.  I like this.   

Hofbrau Haus in Newport KY
We journeyed over the river and through the weeds to Hofbrau Haus in Newport for dinner the first night. Good German food and good German beer.
Rich drinking good German beer at Hofbrau Haus.
See, Rich was very happy with his good German beer.
Rich walking on the Purple People Bridge back to Cincy.
We decided to walk back across the river to Cincy using the Purple People Bridge. This was very nice with the flowers and all. Good way to burn off some calories too.



Min flower gardens on the Purple People Bridge
One of many mini gardens on the Purple People Bridge.



On the Levee in Newport
View of the Levee area on the Newport side of the river.



Looking over to Cincinnati from the Purple People Bridge as we walked back to town.
Looking over at Cincy as we walk the Purple People Bridge back to town.



Salsa band playing on Fountain Square.
We arrived back in town in time to hear the Salsa band playing in Fountain Square. People were dancing along.



Starry, starry pig with Joy on Fountain Square.
My favorite pig in town was the Starry, Starry Night pig. This one is right on Fountain Square.



Rich and Penny the pig
Rich meets Penny the pig. She is covered in 2012 shiny pennies.


Night sky pig
This little piggy is the skyline at night. It was cut out so the light could be seen in all the right places.


Recap of this week (June 17, 2012)

It was another hot one today.  The last few days have been really adding up the heat.  I think it’s Thursday evening now before they say it will be better.  I like summer and the heat, but I’m really getting worried about what July will bring if it’s in the 90s now. 

I did voluntarily go back to work.  Not sure I was ready, but you have to pay the bills.  For that, I work at Motorola.  Everyone seemed glad to see me back.  I jumped in with both feet and tried to pick up where I left off.  Not too much changed and I was able to keep up with the conversations without getting that glazed over look in my eyes.

My intern was still there.  I think she is finding the idea of what we do exciting.  My plan to get her started with some actual writing this week.  Technology hasn’t been too kind to either of us and we’ve been battling just trying to make our computers, emails, and the intranet sites work.  Maybe next week will be better. 

Sascha is back to enjoying her yard and patrolling for squirrels.  One evening, Rich tried to bring her into the house.  He came back and said that he didn’t realize that dogs had a middle finger.  From that comment, I take it Sascha made it very, very clear that she had no interest in coming back in.  There is something grand and majestic about a husky that gives you that look when they want you to go away and leave them alone.  Sascha does it very well.

On Saturday, we met the Streeters’ Car Club to do the bi-monthly trash pick-up on our designated stretch of Bull Valley Rd.  We had way more people than we needed, but the more the merrier.  We had a couple of newcomers join us.  So I got to meet some new people.  We were done in less than an hour.  However, we couldn’t join them for lunch this time.  Rose was coming to visit today.

We got back to the house and Rick had already left to pick up Rose.  Guess it turns out that JP was coming with her.  His plans had changed for the day.  Rich and I showered and changed into clean clothes to meet our guests.  Rick delivered them safely to the house from the train station.

Rose walked into the living room and saw the big red chair.  She immediately had to have her picture with Sascha in the big red chair.  For those who don’t know or don’t remember, Sascha has been pretty well trained to think that the big red chair belongs to her.  If someone sits in that chair, Sascha believes it is OK to sit with them, on them, or around them.  Rose remembered all the photos of us and others with Sascha and had to have her picture also.

Sascha, of course, obliged right away and hopped right into the big red chair.  Since this is her favorite thing, Sascha seems to smile the entire time that she is in the chair.  I snapped a picture for Sascha’s Facebook page, that Rick is constructing to capture the Big Red Chair Moments. 

Rose gets picture with Sascha in the big red chair.












We went out to lunch and then Rich took JP and Rose for a ride in Sally.  That was two trips because you can only take one person at a time.  So JP went for a ride first.  Then I quizzed JP on his new job while Rose took her turn.  I understand technology and what’s going on out, but I don’t really know anyone doing the cool stuff.  Except JP, that is. 

It was getting late and we had to drop the two of them off at the train station for their journey back downtown.  The three of us headed to the outskirts of Chicago for a graduation party.  Donna and Norm had two sons graduating.  David graduated from college and Kevin graduated from high school.  Donna is Rich’s cousin. It was a chance to hang out with family and we meet some of their very nice and interesting friends.

Sunday was Father’s Day.  Rich headed out early to get in some fishing time before the boats hit the river here.  It turns out, you have to get their early before everyone brings their dogs down to swim in the river.   No catches, but Rich had a lot of nibbles.  He thinks they were waiting for the bait to get soft and then they could take without much trouble. 

Rich has been working on a strategy for catching carp.  I guess these are some wise and difficult fish to catch.  They are bottom feeders and it takes a different strategy to get them interested in the bait.  This means that Rich has been developing his own recipe for carp bait as well.  A little messy to make in the kitchen, but the results could be rewarding.

Not playdough; that's carp bait from a secret old country recipe.


Rich spent his Father's Day morning by the river waiting for the fish to bite.













After fishing, Rich and Rick worked on the truck some more.  The air conditioning went out last year. This meant that the warm weather was a little less enjoyable if you had to drive the truck instead of the Honda.  We got it looked at and an estimate for the work.  The guys decided to do it themselves.  It meant some replacement parts, but those came in on Friday.

While the guys were working outside, I was trying to clean up the drifts of Husky hair that had been floating up and down the hallway all week.  That dog can drop some hair.  There might have been enough to two dogs there.  I was vacuuming the bedroom, but coudln’t get Sascha out of under the bed.  I managed to coax her out and put her outside.  After I got done, I went to bring her in.  However, she seemed to be enjoying watching the guys work.  Therefore, I got the majestic death stare and she went back to observing her other humans.  Fine, I can go about my business then.

I finished up inside and went outside to try and reclaim some of my gardens from the wilderness.  My side garden had been hopeless before I left for vacation.  It was an extreme case now.  I mowed the general garden paths with the push mower.  Then I set about to pull the weeds from my daisies.  With that done, I pulled out the weeds from the butterfly garden.  Most of my black-eyed susans had been lost to the weeds.  I might have to replant to get them back. 

Time for dinner.  Rich cooked the steaks while Rick got the mushrooms done along with the baked potatoes.  Adding a salad to the bowls, we dug in.  After working so hard, we were all hungry.  Maybe not me so much.  Over vacation, I had cut down on the amount I was eating.  I hope I can keep that up.  It would be good for the waistline.  Besides that, it meant that Sascha could have some bits of steak.  She seemed to agree and ate it down. 

Now I can relax this evening and get ready for the week to start all over again.  I’m already tired just thinking about it!

Just another day in the life of me

This was a pretty good week for me.

The other day, I was standing in my closet trying to figure out what I felt like wearing.  I usually dress based on my feelings.  I guess I’m lucky that my job doesn’t require me to dress for business.  I thought about my friend, Ramya, and decided to wear the tunic from the outfit that she got for me when she went to India.  It’s beautiful so I thought it might be make me feel beautiful.  It is also very comfortable. 

When I worked at A.C. Nielsen, the Indian contractors there had brought me back an outfit one year.  It was beautiful, but rather fancy.  I liked to wear it because it was comfortable.  I wore it to an Indian wedding and fit right into the festivities.

After I got into work, Ramya showed up and I had to show her what I wore.  I made the statement that I looked like her.  Jon, who sits next to me, yelled over the cube that it could be dangerous.  Jon said that Ramya usually had a crazy light in her eyes and now there would be two of us!  Now how can that be bad?  Anyway, I was very comfortable in my outfit.  Thanks, Ramya.

Last Saturday, we were celebrating Cinco de Mayo with BBQ and drinks.  My friends, Kim and Diane K., came by.  Rick and his girlfriend, Jordyn, joined us for the food.  No alcohol for the minors.  Diane brought party favors.  We had somberos, beads, and serappe cozies.  The food and company were great. 

Kim put beads on Sascha and then tried to teach her to wear a sombero.  Sascha would accept the pieces of tortilla chips, but leaving the hat on was not going so well.  It did stay on long enough for you to see, but no photo ops were possible.  However, I did get one of Sascha in her red hot pepper beads.  No, she wasn’t licking her chops for the margarita.  She’s underage.

Today, I went out and bought my flowers for Mother’s Day.  Every year, Rich and Rick pay for the flowers to go in the boxes on the back of the deck.  I also have a couple of containers that I filled this year.  After dinner, I went out and planted the flowers.  Now the deck looks nice and ready for summer.  I put in pink petunias and white alyssum.  The flower pots have white petunias, alyssum, and pink coleus.  I love my deck flowers. 

Tomorrow, I have to transplant some peonies into my front peony bed.  Rick finished turning it over for me and it’s ready to go.  After that, I need to weed, weed, weed, and more weed.  All of my flower beds are in bad shape.  The weather’s been pretty good and the weeds are taking over.  I weeded the poppies tonight.  Something in there didn’t like me though.  I react pretty good.

So over the next few days, I image it will be gardening time.  I have lots of work to do on them before we go on vacation.  Then I can do it all again when I get back. 

On Wednesday, Rick graduates from high school.  It’s the end of one period and the beginning of another.  He had his last day of school on Friday.  When we get back from vacation, he’ll be looking for a job.  Hopefully, he can find one.  Then it’ll be on college in the fall. 

Coleus in pot with white petunias. Pink petunias and white alyssum in the flower boxes
More of the deck boxes with new flowers.
Flower pots on patio were filled. Someone saying hello.
Sascha found a stick. That's maple tree helicopters we took off the roof.
Poppies have popped.
Columbine is starting to take over a lot of the flower beds.
Single white clematis blooms.
Pink double clematis blooms.
One of Rich's lavendar roses.

Lazy Sunday around here

I knew keeping a blog would be hard.  Unless I’m actively planning or doing something, I don’t think that the rest of my life has much to talk about.  So here’s a run down of what’s been happening here.

Friday was Rick’s last day of spring break.  We don’t normally go anywhere or do anything special.  I was going to travel to Indiana and get caught up with some people, but Rick had plans for Saturday and I decided not to drive by myself.  Instead, we went to the bookstore, Julie Ann’s for custard, and went to the movies.  We saw “John Carter,” which I enjoyed. 

I had heard that the story was from the series of books by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the author of the Tarazan stories.  That interested me.  I looked up the book and found the trilogy it was from.  After reading the first chapter, I’ve downloaded it to my Nook and it will be on my reading list for vacation.  I read the Tarazan books as a kid and enjoyed them.

My riding lawn mower is down.  Rick tried to start it this past week with no luck.  Unfortunately, it appears to be fuel injected so the guys were having a hard time diagnosing her.  I finally called the service shop and they came by to pick her up on Thursday.  The grass still needed to be mowed.  Rick did the front on Thursday.  Since it rained on Friday, I did the back yard on Saturday.  This took a little while.  I had to stop frequently for breaks.  I can do things like this; it just takes me a little longer than most people.  The yard does look nice.  Sascha appears to be missing her tall patches of grass to roll in though.

I’m planning out a new flower bed for the area around the patio.  Last year, I put dahlias in that area.  They did well and spread out all over the patio.  I could cut a flower close to the top, put it in a bowl, and it would live for a couple of weeks.  They were gorgeous.  I took them to work and everyone asked if they were real.  This year, I want to raise that bed and extend it out.  I want to put the dahlias back on the outside and put in gladioluses in the front. 

Today, I wanted to get the brick and the dirt to put in that spot.  I can’t find my tape measurer, but Rich has one around somewhere.  I need to figure out the total number of bricks needed to create the area. Maybe I can get Rick to help me carry the bricks at the store and when we get home again.  I’ll have to take pictures once the flowers are in and blooming.

Last week, I ripped out the old fall plants so that the tulips could shine through.  I leave the fall stuff during the winter because it looks so barren without anything there.  The mums that dry up still smell even though they are dried and dead.  It’s kind of nice to small the aroma as you cut out the old plants out.  Now my tulips, paperwhites, hyacinths, and daffodils are blooming away. 

One last gardening thing:  I created a new bed out front for my peonies.  My mom loved peonies the most of all her flowers.  She had quite a variety of them, too.  I dug up a bunch from my parent’s house before I sold it last year.  I was disappointed to see so few had made it over the winter.  I do have a few I need to transplant and I’ll plan to fill in with those.  I thought the peony garden would be a nice tribute.

So Rick got a new bed for his room.  This meant that the old loft bed had to come down and get stored in the garage.  Rick managed to do this all by himself.  I then took him up to the mattress store to pick out a new mattress set.  Of course, he had to stretch out on all of them and try his favorite sleeping position (curled on his right side).  We found one that didn’t cost me an arm or a leg or both.  I figured a full size was big enough for him.  I might even be able to put company on that bed, when needed.

So now Rich has a new desk and bed.  He has gathered up all the toys and kids type of stuff.  Some are going to charity and some are being spread through friends for their kids.  I finally got someone to accept the huge tub of Legos.  I sorted through it for trash, broken toys, and even money.  So far, I’ve collected $10.00 in change and I’m not quite done yet.  I guess this means that my son has grown up, a little.

Last night was exciting around here.  Basketball, of course.  Kentucky and Louisville played.  Unfortunately, the Cards didn’t win.  I would have loved that.  I didn’t expect them to be this good though.  Maybe next year, I’ll have to consider them for my top pick.  Kentucky looked really good and had some good moves.  Then Kansas and Ohio State played.  Rich has Kansas to win this year.  They didn’t look as good as I thought they should. Not sure they can beat Kentucky.  Should be an exciting game on Monday.  I love March Madness.  Yep, that’s me yelling in the living room every year.

I had heard about this app called Pinterest and decided to sign up.  This thing does what I do normally do in my Favorites folder, only it’s visual!  I love visual since I’m a graphics type of person.  I started a couple of boards.  One was showing the planning for our vacation.  Another was Sascha and things related to huskies.  This week, I saw a front porch that I loved.  So rather than save it my favorites (and hope it still shows up), I pinned it.  But it didn’t work!  I could pin it, but it wouldn’t allow me to create a board or add it an exiting board!  WTF!  I sent an email to support, but no one has answered.  If it stays broken, I guess I’ll unsubscribe.

I started getting estimates for a new roof.  This one has had it and needs to be replaced.  I called up a company who specializes in metal roofs.  I love the look of the metal roofs.  It reminds of the roofs in Kentucky, only in color.  Rich agreed to consider it, if the cost wasn’t too much.  I’m waiting for the estimate now.  At some point, we plan to get new siding and to put a porch on the front.  I love the Arts and Crafts style and would love to put something like that on the front.  It would definitely be more appealing the blank front we have now.

And speaking of planning:  I’ve started on the pig roast for the big celebrations this year.  I talked to Smith Farms and we set a date:  June 30.  Now I have to plan the food and anything else I need to do.  I have to talk to my baker, Tobi, and see if she can whip up some cupcakes for me.  Tobi is 12, but she has decided that she wants to be a baker and have her own shop.  She found a Kitchen Aid mixer at an auction and talked her dad into buying it.  Tobi made cupcakes and a cake for a friend’s 40th birthday.  They were wonderful.  I hope she has the time to do some for me.  Besides, it would be fun to help her get started!

So the pig roast is planned.  Smith Farms did the pig for our wedding reception and for Rich’s college graduation.  They do such a wonderful job.  They also do all the work.  They bring the roaster to the site, cook the pig, and cut it up.  I just have to serve it.  And hope everyone eats it all.  Otherwise, there are leftovers for everyone to take home. I just to make things for my vegetarian friends too.

Just a side note:  Smith Farms cooked pig for the 1968 Democratic convention in Chicago.  I hear they are still talking about that being the best party held in town.

One last thing to bring up is that vacation is closing in.  We leave May 23 for our grand tour of California.  I’m excited.  I’m not sure the guys are because of the long car rides.  I think once we get to California and start acting like tourists, they’ll be fine.  I’m looking forward to Yosemite and Joshua Tree National Parks.  I’ve never been to Yosemite, but seen and read so much about it.  Of course, I’m worried about the bears.  That’s one thing about hiking in some areas that makes it dangerous. 

It’s been over 10 years since I’ve been to Joshua Tree.  I worked out in the desert for a couple of months when I started with the Trunked group in Motorola.  We were in Landers.  It was great.  Now I want to show Rick that side of California also.  We plan to go up to Big Bear also before heading out of the state.  Big Bear is normally the winter funland for LA, but I really liked it during the summer.  Definitely a resort town.  Besides, they have one of the most famous roads in the world.  In most car commericals, you see this road.  Rick can say he drove it.  I’ll make sure he does.

Anyway, Easter is next.  It’s a Polish eating holiday, again.  Gotta get the lamb, polish sausage, pieriogi, and decorate the eggs for King egg.  Of course, my favorite of all time is the Zurek soup.  I love that stuff.  That’s all I have for dinner.  Then Rich’s birthday is the 10th.  We’ll celebrate it on Saturday the 14th when a group of friends meet at Weissgerber’s restaurant for good German food.  Maybe a little beer will be included. 

This week will be all prep for the next couple.  Wish me luck as I order cakes, make reservations, and buy up the necessary food and stores for eating.


Spring has sprung

So repeat after me:

Spring has sprung

The grass is riz

Wonder where the flowers is?

I can say that over the last couple of days, it has begun to sound and smell like spring out there.  I stood in the doorway this morning and listened to all of the birds singing while I waited for Sascha to take care of business.  The air even had a freshness to it. I’m so ready for spring!

I look out my front window and the crocus are starting to bloom around the edges of the flower beds.  I have tulips and other flowers about 3 or 4 inches out of the ground and on their way to show glorious flowers.  I planted more bulbs last spring and fall.  I should have quite the riot of color.  That is if a terrible ice storm doesn’t descend upon us and crush my poor flowers. 

My yard continues to grow and expand with flowers and examples of different ways to add color to your house.  I’m hoping that my transplanted peonies do well in their new bed out front.  I have a couple of others to move, including the crimson peony I saved from my mother’s flower beds. 

I planted hedge roses along the west side of the house.  This was to replace some really bad evergreen bushes that were dry and brown.  I have white and lavendar hardy roses that smell heavenly.  That is as long as the deer don’t eat them all. 

It sounds like a struggle here to make sure that my flowers come up and have the chance to bloom their little hearts out.  But it is another example of how life works.  I love my flowers and my flower beds.  Hopefully I can work in them this year. 

Wonder if I can get a small garden with tomatos, asparagus, peppers, and some other choice items put in this year?  And keep the deer out of them.  Another challenge to be taken and hopefully won. 

On another note, Rick turns 18 tomorrow.  At 9:02 AM on March 9, my son took his first breath.  Of course, Rich has his own memories of that ride to the hospital over the bumpy roads.  Maybe I shouldn’t have let him take a shower before we went.  But it worked out and we brought our beautiful son home.  Not too bad for coming into the world 3 and half weeks early.

Raising him has had its ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade him for anything in the world.  I’ve enjoyed having a son rather than a daughter.  I know I’ll lose him someday when he chooses that one special girl to make his wife.  I just hope she doesn’t mind me too much.  I do promise to try and be a good mother-in-law. 

Well, to my son, Rick, on his birthday.  Another milestone down.  Graduation in 2 months and then on to the work force and college.  I’d say it’s downhill for here, but my ride has been very interesting so far.  I wish you many more birthdays in the future.  Remember, you know have to beat Busia for longevity.  90 might still be young the way she makes it look.

Happy spring everyone!

Yellow crocuses ready to bloom when the sun is warmer.
Birthday boy this morning getting his early hugs in with Sascha.