Thursday, September 21, 2017

Rachel in London

I'm so proud of this girl! Not only did she fly to London on her very first flight ever, but she only packed a carry-on suitcase and she's staying for a whole semester!

My niece, Rachel, is doing a study abroad program through Bowling Green University at the University of Brighton in the UK.

She left on Saturday, and she won't be back until just before Christmas.

Today, a group of students in her program took a tour of London. Now she knows how to get around so, on the weekends, she can just hop on a train and sight-see to her heart's content.

Rachel has dreamed of going to London since she was 14, and now her dream has come true. Can't wait to hear all about her adventures!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Still Life

Mysteries have never been a genre I have gravitated toward, so I was hesitant to begin this series by Louise Penny. Still Life is the first in the Chief Inspector Gamache line of books which spans from 1-13. I'm a little behind.

But I loved this book. It was a little funny, a little sad, a little suspenseful, and very well written. It kept me coming back for more - which is what I like about a fiction book.

The story takes place in the Canadian town of Three Pines, beginning just after an elderly, retired school teacher is found dead. Why would anyone want to kill Jane? Was it an accident? Or did someone have a reason to keep her quiet?

Lots of interesting characters and relationships plus a loveable detective.

I'm on to number 2: A Fatal Grace

Sunday, September 17, 2017

A Cone for Lucy

Yesterday was a Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day for Kendall (and Lucy - but she didn't seem to notice).

It all started when Peter left the house for an all-day golf tournament with Kendall's car. They planned to meet up later, but Peter forgot to leave his key. That wouldn't have been so bad, but it turned out she really needed it.

Then there were the furballs behind Lucy's ears.

One of Kendall's tasks for the day was to remove those furballs. She's a nurse, but she didn't use a scalpel. She used a pair of kitchen shears.

All would have gone as planned, but Lucy, being the puppy that she is, wiggled just as the scissors were about to snip her fur. Instead of cutting her fur, Kendall cut the skin behind her ear! The scissors were sharp, so the wound was long and deep.

Lucy didn't seem to notice, so at first, Kendall didn't think it was so bad. She took a photo and sent it over to the vet. The vet said she should come in.

Here's where the keys would have come in handy.

Kendall spent some fretful time trying to find someone...anyone...who could give her a ride. Finally, a friend from church was able to get her and Lucy to the vet 15 minutes before they closed.

They had to put Lucy under, give her six or seven stitches and a cone.

(The vet tech gave them a ride back home).

Peter, Kendall, and Lucy were headed up this way for the night, and they still came. Other than crashing into things, Lucy did not let the cone stop her. Another two weeks and she can have it off!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Bumper Stickers

I saw two interesting bumper stickers yesterday while out driving. 
Just thought I'd share.

"If you can't stand behind our troops...feel free to stand in front of them."

"Back off! We're not hauling milk."

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Cleveland Indians Set Record

Don and I were blessed to have tickets to the Indians vs. Detroit Tigers game this afternoon. The tickets were part of a season pass package he split with his tennis buddies. It just happened to be a critical game.

Going into today's game, the Indians were tied with the Oakland A's for the longest winning streak in the American League (20 games), which was set in 2002.

Don is a HUGE Indians fan, so he was pretty excited to be able to attend this game. I tagged along but was also very excited about the possibility of being there when history was made.

The stadium was packed for a Wednesday afternoon game - at least 31,000 people were there. It felt like we were at a playoff game. During the top of the 9th inning, the whole stadium stood up for the three outs. The Indians beat the Tigers 5-3, winning 21 straight games and beating the American League record. What a game!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Salmon Salad

I bought a case of canned salmon from Costco awhile ago, and I hadn't done anything with it. Every time I opened the pantry door it was staring me in the eye.

So I searched for an easy recipe to start using it up.

This salmon salad was simple to make and it really tastes great.  I would use this as an appetizer at a party with some crackers or just for a quick lunch.

I doubled the original recipe that came from The Real Food Dietitians.

Salmon Salad

12 oz. canned salmon (2 6-ounce cans)
4 T. mayonnaise
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/4 onion, chopped
1/2 t. dried dill
1 squeeze of a lemon
salt and pepper to taste

Pour salmon into a colander to drain and flake with a fork.

Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl.

Serve with crackers, lettuce leaves or cucumber slices.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Hurricane Irma

Here's a photo of me and Katherine after dinner at The Dock in downtown Naples, FL last March.

I imagine this dock is now completely under water after Hurricane Irma hit this afternoon with winds reaching 140 mph at the Naples airport.

The storm is wider than the state of Florida, and after making landfall on Marco Island, it has continued to move up the Florida coast through Fort Myers toward Tampa.

Our condominium is located a few miles inland and on the second floor of a two-story building. We will not know how much damage it sustained until the roads are open and our property manager can contact us.

We have a trip planned for January, but we may have to visit before then if any repairs need to be made.

The last major hurricane to hit the Naples area was Hurricane Donna in 1960.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Parting with Books

You are looking at a very small fraction of the books I own.

It's a serious problem...I know.

When I was a librarian, I had to regularly "weed" the collection to dispose of old, tattered books and make room for new beautiful books. It was easy. I'd pluck those babies right off the shelf and say, "Adios, my friends".

At home, though, it's another story. I look at my books and hold them in my hands, and even if I am not going to have time to read them until 2034, I have a difficult time letting go of them.

It's time to do an at-home weeding session because the books are starting to overflow onto the floor.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Fair Scare

We went to the Geauga County Fair on Sunday with Daniel and Heidi. While we were walking around, we were reminiscing about the year when Daniel was four and Don thought it would be a good idea to take him into the fun house.

Does this child look like he wants to go into the fun house?

No, but Don wasn't taking that for an answer!

I think this is one of the funniest photos I've ever taken.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Out of the Corner of My Eye

Don and I went out to dinner tonight.

We planned on a nice, intimate evening at a table for two.

We were seated at a table for two, but our table had one seat on a bench that was next to two other tables for two.

Each table was about 28 inches square and they were about two feet apart. I sat on the bench; Don sat on the chair.

It wasn't long before a couple was seated to our left. I noticed them because the gentleman sat on my jacket. His jacket was on the chair next to Don, and his date sat to the left of him.

Don raised his eyebrow at me. I raised mine back.

The couple was in their mid-40's maybe, and we surmised that they were not married. Why else would they squish next to each other on the bench, leaving the chair empty, having only 14 inches each for their place settings?

When the waitress came by, she asked if he was going to sit there. He said, "Yes, we weren't close enough."

Don't worry, it gets better.

They ordered drinks and took their time with the menu. They had other things on their mind such as embracing and kissing. I'm glad I didn't have to look at them -- except out of the corner of my eye. Don tried hard not to make eye contact.

After they ordered their dinner, they both got up and left the table. Don thought they decided to get a room, but they left their jackets, so I said they probably just went to the restroom - together.

While they were gone, the extremely efficient bus boy came over and cleared their drinks. Then he came back and cleared their silverware, napkins and everything else that was on the table. Apparently, he didn't see their jackets. I was going to stop him, but Don was enjoying the scene.

Then I got the giggles and could not stop laughing. You know how it is. I had tears running down my cheeks. I told Don he'd better start up a serious conversation with me, or I was going to embarrass us both when the couple returned.

(I had too much wine, and for me, that was one glass).

Don got real serious and tried to snap me out of it, and I played along. But I couldn't stop myself from looking out of the corner of my eye at the couple when they returned to their cleared table.

It didn't even phase them! They just started kissing and embracing again.


Thursday, August 31, 2017

No Need to Run the Dishwasher

Riley - 2009

Roman - 2017

And Lucy too!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Rice Krispie Treat Hearts

For the couples shower on Saturday, Heidi asked me to make some form of Rice Krispie Treat as one of the desserts. I decided to go for the heart design since it was for a wedding shower.

I made my standard Rice Krispie treat recipe:

6 cups Rice Krispies
6 cups mini marshmallows (one standard size bag)
5 T. butter

Melt butter and marshmallows in a large saucepan. Take the pan off of the heat and stir in the Rice Krispies.

Then I spread the mixture evenly into a medium sized sheet pan and used a heart cookie cutter to create the shapes.

After that, I melted some pink chocolate discs in my chocolate melter and dipped one corner of the heart and let them cool.

You could do this with any shape cookie cutter and color of chocolate. I wanted to drizzle some white across the pink, but that didn't happen.

The hardest part was keeping myself from eating all the leftovers!

Jon & Rachel - 29 more days (as of Saturday)!

Don and I were the only "old fogies" there. They had to invite us since it was at our house!

Daniel always wanted to be a butler.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Chicago Triathlon

They did it again! Katherine & Josh completed the Chicago Triathlon on Sunday - swimming a half mile, riding 16 miles and running a 5K.

We weren't there to cheer them on, but we did keep Roman at our house for them.

They said the swimming was really tough this time because the water was choppy. But the biking and running were on a more flat terrain than in Cleveland.

These two are racking up the medals! Wonder what will be next.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Lucy Stops By

This weekend was full of excitement at our house. Roman stayed with us, Lucy spent the night, and our house was borrowed by Daniel & Heidi for a couples shower/swim/Hawaiian party!

It was fun to spend some time with the pups and see how their personalities are developing.

It's hard to leave Riley and Roman in the same room together. I haven't figured out if Roman just wants to play or if he is challenging Riley's male-hood when he barks and goes after him. Riley doesn't like it one bit, and he lets Roman know about it.

Lucy leaves Riley alone....except for the time he got too close to her food. Then I saw a side of Lucy that has probably not come out before. I wanted to put a sign on her that said, "Beware - Will kill to protect my food!"

While Roman was napping peacefully in his crate, I took Lucy out back to take a few photos. She was a very good girl.

She waited patiently for her reward.

Isn't she just so adorable!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

First Day of School

Children are waiting at the end of their driveways again to board the big yellow buses that transport them to school.

Every time a new school year rolls around I think back to the day in 1994 when Katherine, my first born, went to Kindergarten.

She was enrolled at Valley Christian Academy, but she rode the Kenston bus. This meant she had to get off one bus and get on another one to get to the right school.

We were counting on the two girls next door to help Katherine with the transfer process. They were going to VCA too, and they were in 4th and 2nd grades.

Don and I didn't know any better. We figured everyone rode the bus to school, even on the first day. So we waited with Katherine at the end of the driveway. The bus was late, as it usually is on the first day, and with each passing moment, we became more nervous. Christy and Katie next door were not at the end of their driveway.

When the bus finally arrived, we said goodbye to our six-year-old and then I began to cry. Not because it was her first day of school, but I was afraid she wouldn't know when to get off the bus.

Don had a plan right away. He jumped in his car and followed the school bus to the Kenston elementary school where she would have to transfer. Sure enough, she stayed on the bus. Don got out of his car and onto the stopped bus to get her off. I wonder if she was surprised to see him.

He made sure she got on the bus headed to VCA, and then he drove off to work. This was before cell phones,  so I probably had to wait until he could call me later. I prayed all was fine.

We didn't make the same mistake on the first day of school after that. It became routine to drive the kids to school and drop them off. What were we thinking? Especially a Kindergartner!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Total Eclipse of the Sun

It all began this morning at 9:40 when Peter sent a group text to the family asking us "Who else is ready for the solar eclipse today?" He was sitting in his classroom in Columbus donning his eclipse safety glasses.

Heidi sent us a photo of her homemade pinhole projector crafted from a graham cracker box. She was ready.

Daniel sent us a screenshot of the weather forecast for Cuyahoga Falls which said it was going to be cloudy and raining during the eclipse. But he and his co-workers still went outside to watch.

And Katherine and Josh made us all jealous because they drove to Shawnee National Forest in Kentucky - right in the path of eclipse totality! And the forecast was for a sunny day.

Don and I were at home. I had the TV on! A miracle in itself... and I was watching live coverage from Madras, Oregon and Jackson Hole, WY on the weather channel. When the first total eclipse happened, it brought me to tears. I couldn't imagine what I would have felt like had I seen it live.

We did not have the official glasses, but we did have our cell phones, so around 2:00, we went out on the deck and took some photos over our shoulders in the selfie mode so we wouldn't go blind. We got some pretty good ones.
Early on, and before much cloud cover. The black part is our house.

During the approximate 85% eclipse as we could see it, but with a lot of clouds.

Katherine sent me some "real" photos of the day. This one is of the partial eclipse reflected in the glare of the sun.

The sun through finger openings looked like crescents. 

And the coolest photo! Total eclipse of the sun!

Katherine and Josh called us on their way back to Indiana. Josh was over the moon from the whole experience. He took some video footage, so I can't wait to see that. Katherine said the experience was pretty amazing. The temperature dropped about 10 degrees and crickets started chirping as the sky got darker and darker. It was clearly worth the 5+ hour drive.

Kendall was disappointed because Columbus was too cloudy for a good viewing today. 
We'll just have to be ready for 2024!

The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork. - Psalm 19:1

Sunday, August 20, 2017

40-Year Reunion

I graduated from Kenmore High School in 1977. 

And last Saturday night, I attended my 40th high school reunion.

Thankfully, my cousin Kathy was in my class and she said she would go with me. Don did not want to go, and I don't blame him!

Out of our class of 360, about 52 people attended. I thought that was a pretty good turnout.

We had a nice buffet dinner at Bricco Prime on Manchester Rd. in Akron. The restaurant used to be Prime 93, and before that it was Anthes.

There was a corner photo booth set up to get any photos taken that you wanted. This one is of the "kids" who lived in the Castle Homes development - at least it was supposed to be. I think a couple of outsiders squeezed in.

At first, I was nervous to attend the reunion because it had been decades since I had seen most of the people in my class. However, within minutes, I was recognizing old friends and having a great time. I walked away from the event feeling so glad that I went. The graduating class of 1977 is made up of some of the most friendly and caring individuals I know.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Therapeutic Massage

I had my first therapeutic massage in 2000 after I walked a marathon to raise funds for the Leukemia Society. My friend Brenda gave me a gift certificate for an hour-long massage because I was walking like a duck. Even though that initial massage was painful, I did not forget how great it felt when I walked out of there.

Then after my rotator cuff surgery, I had regular therapeutic massages every two weeks to help me recover from scar tissue and over-compensating muscles in my arm, shoulder, and back. I don't know what I would have done without those appointments with a massage therapist recommended by Nancy.

Since then, I have only had three therapeutic massages. I found a place near home (Alicia's Massotherapy) where the therapists are well-trained and do a great job.

I was there today, in fact, having Christine work on my trapezius and palmaris longus (inside forearm muscles) which have gotten extremely tight from all the biking I've been doing.

I highly recommend getting an occasional therapeutic massage - not a relaxation massage - to loosen up tight muscles and find out what muscles you tend to overuse.

You will know which muscles they are because you will want to scream when they press on them!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Roman visits Riley

Katherine brought Roman along this weekend, and I was amazed at how much he had grown since we last saw him. His legs are growing like weeds.

I took him out in the backyard by himself with a handful of his dog food, and he did everything I asked him to do...which was basically - sit and stay! He is really good at that when you have a treat in your hand.

He tried and tried to get Riley to play with him, but the grumpy old man would have nothing to do with it. Roman really missed his sister Lucy. I hope they get to see each other soon!

Monday, August 14, 2017

Potatoes & Onions

This is such an easy recipe, and one that tastes so good! You can eat these potatoes with your eggs in the morning or with your steak in the evening. Or anytime in between.

Potatoes & Onions

3 pound bag Yukon Gold potatoes
1 large yellow onion
Olive oil
Salt & Pepper
Paprika (optional)

Wash potatoes and pat dry with paper towel.
Cut potatoes into bite-size pieces.
Cut onion into chunks.
Place potatoes & onions on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.
Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until crispy.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Goodyear Half Marathon & 10K

Congratulations to Daniel and Heidi for completing the Goodyear Half Marathon & 10K race yesterday morning!

This was Heidi's very first race, and she ran the 10K in 57:22.

Daniel ran the half marathon in 2:03:00.