MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Sunday morning on the deck

Rain looks like it could come pouring down upon us at any moment, but radar shows it thirty minutes away. The 64 degrees and a passing breeze make it comfortable, but the steel gray sky is ominous. The radar indicates heavy rain or a storm.

The morning is a bit quiet. No birds are soloing or joined in chorus, a faint chirping is in the distance, and the Shroyer Road traffic is minimal. I had a nice forty-five-minute chat for our Boston, London, and Kettering quintet which we have nicknamed BoKeLo, or KeBoLo, or LoBoKe, LoKeBo. Whichever name was adopted, it’s cute. Perhaps we should have T-shirts made up.

Yesterday, at The Park, The Atrium was fired with miniature train displays and enthusiasts. there was no opportunity to have a seat and I stood the entire time. Still, I was not to be “derailed.”

At the close of the model train festival, there was still an hour before the park, itself, closed. We began tearing down the tables and stacking the chairs on the portable racks. I’ve not done that much lifting in quite some time and probably should have not done so as my body was pleading physical retirement then, and is rebellious this morning. I also mowed my backyard and my front easement before getting ready for my shift. Last evening, the gut reared its ugly head adding to this morning’s discomforts but all in all, I feel well enough to embark on research and writing.

Mama Kay has taken a slight break from suburbia to spend time at the lake with friends. In her absence, she offered the keys to her car to use at my disposal. Yesterday, for the first time, I did not take the bus to The Park. I felt like a teenager driving to high school for the first time. While driving felt natural and familiar, I last drove a car in January 2020 when I went to Indiana to visit my Aunt Joyce, as well as my sister and her family for a trip to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum.

Saturday evening was a mixture of relaxing with body aches, a pooped brain, and desperately wanting to research and write, but my brain was limited for any study. I think I was in bed by 9:00 or 9:30 PM and only recall two visits to the bathroom throughout the night.

So, here I sit on this dull-looking Sunday morning, glancing to either side to see a lavender wisteria bloom or a bright pink Rose of Sharon bloom. Chief is in his familiar Sphinx-like pose as he guards the backyard from atop the steps and all three girls have retreated inside.

On with planning my day around the approaching elements. Make it a great day!

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O, FOR HISTORY: Wendell L. Willkie returns to Elwood

August 17, 1940, the newly nominated Republican candidate for president, Wendell L Willkie, returned to his hometown, Elwood, Indiana, to formally accept his party’s nomination.

I am proud to have been born and raised in Elwood, Indiana just like Mr. Willkie.

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THE FAMILY ALBUM: The All-American Family Camping Trip


It was. Year of tremendous highlights!

As if landing on the moon, Nixon’s inauguration, Woodstock, the release of The Beatles’ “Abbey Road,” the premiere of “Sesame Street,” BUTCH CASSIDY & THE SUNDANCE KID is released to movie theaters, and the Mets winning the World Series weren’t enough, my father decided we should go on the All-American Family Campout.

Earlier in July, we had traveled to Williamsburg, Jamestown, Virginia Beach, and Washington, DC where we absorbed so much history and saw terrific beautiful scenery. I even got to see protestors outside The White House and on The National Mall near The Reflecting Pool and The Lincoln Memorial.

That was a tremendous amount of excitement for a lad who would turn five in a few months.

This particular trip was not moving along the same preparations as other weekend trips to Gatlinburg, Dewart Lake, or Holland, Michigan.

I always had the run of the backseat in my parents’ steel blue Bonneville but since “something” was taking up most of the trunk, more than half of my domain was spoken for and I was agitated.

My investigation concluded there were boxes filled with pots and pans, grates, trash bags, blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, hand and bath towels, funny looking folding seats, and so much more interesting inventory.

I can remember being curious but don’t recall my parents mentioning “camping.” All I knew about camping came from Yogi Bear cartoons or other television programs.

My father had the ambitions and intentions that oft rivaled those of Clark Griswold in the VACATION movies, but without the Chevy Chase antics.

Mother said the travel time was filled with she and my father answering a multitude of questions, none of which satisfied my precocious nature.

One response, “Yes, we’re almost there,” was puzzling because we’d already passed a Holiday Inn with a pool.

I remember pulling up to a huge tree where an elderly man sat in a webbed lawn chair, simply chatting with my parents. My mother threw one of her glares when I asked why he was being rude and not standing.

After he stood and completed some kind of transaction, we moved along the gravel trail with the tires making the popping sound as they ran over rocks.

My parents pulled into the numbered section that would be our weekend abode.

“Where’s the hotel? This isn’t Holiday In!”

My parents explained this new form of Holiday Inn… but I experienced something entirely different:

  • sleeping in a tent
  • sleeping on top of a sleeping bag
  • strange sounds
  • no swimming pool (I’ve never been a lake kid)
  • no television (especially, no Johnny Carson!)
  • cooking over an open fire where the smoke line followed me everywhere
  • bathrooms? And then the war was on! The concrete building had open showers and the toilet area smelled worse than any of my cousins’ farms.

I can still remember most of it and fifty-two years later, it still seems unpleasant.

Mother said I complained (my dad said “bitched with every breath”) so much that we never attempted camping, again. Mother, admittedly, didn’t enjoy camping.

We began the adventure on Friday morning and packed up by Noon, Saturday, and drove to the nearest Holiday Inn for the remainder of the weekend.

When I took my sons down to the Outer Banks, I saw what appeared to be a really cool campsite, Camp Hatteras. It sounded fun, actually.

It never happened.

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MY DAY: Drop a beet

“Drop a beat” is something I hear several of my composition students say, or “don’t miss a beat,” but there’s also “Just Beat It” from the Michael Jackson era, or Taylor Dayne’s “With Every Beat of My Heart,” or “You Can’t Stop The Beat,” the huge ending production number in the stage version, HAIRSPRAY.

But, this post is about beets.

My cousin, Dana, loves beats and often writes about them on social media.

It’s only been about five years that I’ve developed a liking for red beets. Mother and I were dining at a wedding reception and the salad contained a pickled beet. I tried it and amazingly liked it.

When I was just getting started on Gerber’s baby food or anything Mother processed, my father came home for lunch and decided he would feed me. On my little glass jar menu were strained beets. Mother said I grimaced with the first taste but continued to accept more spoonfuls delivered by my father. My parents did not realize I was storing them in my mouth and cheeks and not swallowing the bites.

Suddenly, I had enough and blew the entire mouthful of beets into my father’s face and all over his starched white shirt. I believe that was the last time I tasted beets until the wedding reception.

Several years ago, one of my student’s moms, Nicole Melin, who was always bringing me food or homemade soups, brought me her style of beats with ricotta cheese and crushed nuts. I loved them.

For the past several months, I have been enjoying canned beets, especially with my salads. I can devour an entire can in one sitting. I usually eat them as they are, but now and then will scoop them in with my cottage cheese.

So. There you have it, Ladies and Gentlemen. I like beets.

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O, FOR HISTORY: David McCullough’s signature

From June 8th, 2015.

David McCullough came to Dayton to launch his new book, THE WRIGHT BROTHERS.

Mr. McCullough gave a warm, heartfelt speech to the enormous population gathered in Kettering Middle School’s auditorium. He also read some excerpts from his book. He was presented a number of tributes from the Dayton community which included presenters, Amanda Wright Lane and Stephen Wright, the great-grand niece and nephew of The Wright Brothers, and Brady Kress, President & CEO of Carillon Historical Park.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Tuesday on the deck & Blue Faces

It’s 60 degrees and on the chilly side and the high is only to reach 78 degrees for today. There are some birds chirping in an argumentative fashion, the traffic on Shroyer Road is a bit heavier, and around 7:10 AM, the familiar sounds of teachers and staff arriving next door at Fairmont High School have commenced for the new school year.

At 1:00 PM, I will spend some time with historian and author, Chuck Johnson, to drain his brain on Charles Kettering. Chuck is probably the last living person who worked for Mr. Kettering and has enough stories to fill the Deeds’ Barn where Kettering began igniting the world with his genius.

Taco Tuesday will be spent with Laura. We rarely do anything together throughout the week so this will be a nice treat.

This morning, a meme popped up with a little girl wearing blue icing all over her face and the caption reads: “My only goal in life is to reach this level of unbotheredness.”

It immediately brought up a memory of when my nephew, Andrew, got into a birthday cake icing match with his mom! It was hilarious. My sister, Dena, has always been great in her approach and attitude with such playfulness and unbotheredness.

Okay. It is moving in on 8:30 AM and I need to move on with my day. Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Monday morning on the deck

After Zoom time with my London boys, I fed the dogs at 7:40 AM and moved to the deck with my coffee. I was trying to adjust the table’s umbrella and, well, in short, the large exterior light hanging from it came crashing down, sending shards of glass all over.

Rechargeable vacuum and sweeping, and by 8:30 AM, I am settled in my spot, ready to begin my day.

The weather is finally nice with no rain, which was all it did Sunday, intermittently. I’d set up my work area on the deck, with assurance from my weather app that there would be no more rain, only to remove myself and work items back inside to my study. This happened at least three or four times.

Right now, it’s 63 degrees and there are only16 degrees to go before we hit today’s high of 79 degrees. The rest of the week is not to be much higher with Sunday assigned the first day with rain. I am only hearing hints of distant birds singing, a little buzzing, and the grinding motors of lawn-keepers working on the medians on Shroyer Road. The flowers in nearby Lincoln Park and the medians. I believe Shroyer Road is the only street in all of Kettering with full medians.

Yesterday, following my wet walk, I spent time researching and a bit of writing. It was a fairly low-key day, relaxing and peace-filled. I have nearly completed the podcast AMERICAN PRESIDENTS: TOTALUS RANKIUM. These British fellows are terrific with top-notch research and a delivery that is easy-listening, sometimes irreverent with British humor, but one of my favorites. I am on their first episode of two on Richard Nixon and will hate getting to the final installment.

I have beans and sausage in the slow cooker and am finally getting a hold on my day after the lightbulb fiasco.

So, I am planning to make it a great day and I hope you make that choice, too!

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MY DAY: Walking through the park and in the rain

It’s a light shower but the walk is enjoyable.

Christ United Methodist Church and Epiphany Lutheran Church always have tremendous floral activity during the spring and summer months. This morning I made a trip through Christ Church’s parking lot to take photos of their flowers which are, as usual, outstanding.

To see the flowers, please visit my blog site in my Instagram bio or for Twitter or Facebook users in the previous posts.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Friday is underway

I am sure many would find sitting outside on the deck to be a bit chilly but this 57-degree temperature is fine by me. The sun is bleeding around to the backyard and I am sure the front yard is aglow with the early rays of yellow.

The backyard is beginning to look a bit ragged and is in need of being mowed. The frontside of The Haasienda is fine and unless we have several good drenchings, will do for another good week, maybe two. The walnut tree in the front yard is already dropping a number of tiny slim branches with leaves and that allows me to rid the yard of them.

Yesterday, I drew from the mailbox a postcard highlighting The Lincoln Bedroom from the second-floor residence of The White House. My friend, Jeff Carter, spent last week in Washington, DC and Manhattan and remembered me with a view of one of my favorite rooms from one of my favorite houses in The World.

My breakfast is finished and I need to refill my coffee cup. Although Friday and Saturday are non-Zoom days with London, we adjusted our schedules since Thursday was a rest-day for Josh after traveling.

There’s absolutely nothing on my schedule for the daytime and I am contemplating taking a break from the deck to do some thinning out of my bedroom or study. My goal for the next several days is to do some purging and tossing.

Tonight, Laura and I will picnic before watching Springboro Community Theatre’s outdoor production, OLIVER!. I’ve only previously seen three live stage productions of this show.

I discovered a new book to which I am listening, THE ALCHEMIST by Paulo Coelho. I discovered it via a website devoted to quotes from the book, 10 Alchemist Quotes: That Outline How We Should Live.

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: A chilly Saturday morning

In the past fifty minutes, since I came out to the deck, the temperature has raised itself four degrees! It has gone from 54 degrees to 58 degrees. I am actually wearing a long-sleeve T-shirt. The forecast only promises a lift in 21 more degrees, setting it at a high of 79 for the day. The week ahead seems to hang in the balance of upper 70s and low 80s.

Last night, Laura and I went to Springboro’s North Park. After setting up our lawn seating for the 7:30 PM curtain of OLIVER!, we picnicked at the shelter. What a delightful, relaxing evening. There were several folks I knew in the cast but I knew everyone but the clarinetist in the orchestra. The evening brought some chillier weather and I am glad I brought along the long-sleeve T-shirt I am now wearing.

I have an afternoon stroll through the park, today, and then on with my six-day vacation from teaching and the park. I am still sorting through my plans for the week. Since the temperatures will be mild, and not scorching for mid-August, I intend to spend a good deal of time on the deck to write. My fingers are crossed!

There is little else to report this morning and I am going to relax with some reading material before getting ready for my afternoon in the park.

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Thursday on the deck, August 11th

It’s a cool morning, but quite comfortable. Occasionally, the breeze brings on a chill but I am loving this weather. I am surrounded by the sounds of non-disturbing Shroyer Road traffic, a few birds scattered about the premises, and the opening and shutting of teacher and staff car doors next door in the high school’s parking lot. The school year is quickly ramping up to begin, for most students, next week.

I’ve nothing on the docket for today except researching and writing. I am eagerly waiting to clear some of the morning items so I can get on with the fun stuff.

I am getting an itch to take my research to another location beyond the deck and study. Who knows where I might end up, later?

I’ve busied myself, bouncing back and forth between various items… sigh… I need to focus and continue with my day!

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Wednesday wanderings

It’s a dull morning with a dull sky and a dull atmosphere. Everything just appears and feels dull. Yesterday’s rain that was hoped for and boasted by weather folks and apps never appeared. I hesitated watering flowers in front since the front was overheard and sprinkles were felt. No rain. Today, rain has been forecast and my body agrees.

Yesterday’s shift at the park was spent working alongside Wendy, a volunteer who was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and moved here to teach in the 1970s. She’s fun, hard-working, and does a tremendous job greeting and embracing the guests in The Atrium. A huge plus of working Tuesdays is getting to see Chuck Johnson, even if briefly. Mr. Johnson worked with Charles Kettering and is a fount of knowledge in all things Kettering!

The tributes to author, historian, and storyteller, David McCullough, are tremendous. What an impact Mr. McCullough had on our world. Impressive and inspiring.

I finished teaching last night and will have eleven days of no teaching for the end-of-summer break. There’s so much I hope to accomplish and I do hope I will follow through with my intentions of getting things accomplished around the house, research and writing, and a few adventures here and there.

At Noon, I will meet a friend and fellow Dayton historian for the first time. For the past several years, I’ve delighted in the incredible expertise Andrew Hershner eagerly and freely shares with others in a Dayton history Facebook group and with me, personally. So often, knowledgeable folks are very protective with their research, and understandably so. However, Andrew is a true teacher and obviously loves seeing others share in his great passion. We are meeting at the historic Dayton Women’s Club for their Wednesday buffet. The photo of The Dayton Women’s Club is included with this post.

And with that, I need to move on to my day and then prepare for lunch.

Make it a great day!

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THE FAMILY ALBUM: 12 items or less

I needed something on the way home from The Greene and decided to stop at the Kroger by the intersection of Woodman Drive and Dorothy Lane. It was not my regular grocery stop but it was close by.

My eldest son and I grabbed the few needed items, which did not total even twelve, and stepped into the “12 items or less“ register lane. There were only two or three folks ahead of us.

This very gaunt elderly lady turned around and began looking inside my basket. Now, I admit that I will occasionally glance into someone’s cart or basket to see what neat items they may have selected that I had not considered. However, this lady nearly had her face buried inside my basket. I looked questioningly at my son and when I turned back around the lady had her hand in my basket moving items around.

“May I help you with something?“ I asked.

Without looking up she responded, “I’m just making sure you don’t have more than 12 items.“

I assured her that I had counted correctly and was in the designated aisle. She refused to remove her hand from my shopping basket when I commanded her to do so. Finally, I used the thick plastic handle to press against her wrist until she cried out and removed her hand.

The lady turned back around to face toward the cash register. Her own shopping basket handles were nestled in the crook of her arm and she forcefully swung her basket back so that it would hit me in the stomach.

I ignored it.

After about one minute, my son suggested, “let’s move over to the U-scan registers.“ I declined because the elderly lane monitor was the next person to step up to the cash register for her transaction. My son grabbed hold of my arm and began moving me out of the aisle and toward the U-scan section.

“What’s up with this?“ I asked. He shook his head and grinned.

We stepped up to the available register and I began scanning my items. Suddenly, I began hearing yelling from the cash register aisle we had just abandoned. It was my friend, the feisty lane monitor, yelling and screaming at the cashier, “those are not mine! I am not buying those.”

My son was struggling to stifle an eruption of laughter. I asked what was so funny and all he could stumble to say was, “I’ll tell you outside.“

We left the entry way, still hearing the lady yelling at the cashier and now what I assumed to be a manager on duty.

“What do you know that I don’t?“

My son explained that someone had placed a box of Trojan condoms on one of the cash lane’s shelves with gum, candy, and other impulse buying selections.

He had slipped the box of condoms, unnoticed, into her basket.

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O, FOR HISTORY: David McCullough quotes

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MY DAY: Wednesday winding down

It was a fun, productive day.

My eldest son was in and out of Washington, DC, arriving by 3:00 AM, Tuesday, from London, giving a 10:30 AM presentation, and making a quick trip to Mount Vernon, one of his happy places, before returning to the corporate condo to eat and sleep. I rose at 5:00 AM this morning to chat via Zoom while he waited at the airport so that we could get some talk-time in as he will probably be hammered by jetlag for several days as is often the case.

By Noon, I was walking up the steps to The Dayton Woman’s Club, a stately mansion in the heart of downtown Dayton at 225 North Ludlow Street. The former home of Robert Steele. The building has a tremendous, fascinating history that is described in the YouTube video.

I dined with Dayton historian, Andrew Hershner, and had a grand time discussing local history, various buildings, and neighborhoods, and toured the building with some out-of-town visitors.

Back at home, I worked a few hours reorganizing my email filter system, a task that had taken up three hours earlier in the day. I love the accomplishment of organization.

This evening I’ve researched a bit on Edith Walton Deeds, the wife of Dayton’s legendary Edward Deeds. Edith, who has her own animatronic figure in The Atrium of Carillon Historical Park, where I claim her to be my work wife, was a musician and music educator and an all-around fascinating woman. Tomorrow, I hope to complete more research on Mrs. Deeds and begin researching Olive Kettering, the wife of Charles Kettering.

Friday evening, Laura and I plan on attending OLIVER! in Springboro following a picnic. The weather’s forecast is pleasant!

Onward with a few more hours of researching at my worktable on the deck. The weather is perfect at 73 degrees and the evening chorus of buzzing and chirping is calming and pleasant.

For information about The Dayton Woman’s Club Weekly Wednesday Buffet.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Tuesday and it’s Friday for me

A swift rain drove through the valley this morning and returned the mugginess of the previous morning. The sky is overcast and feels heavy with rain which my body and sinus predicted. The rain is expected just as I am to leave the park so my umbrella is packed.

I am still a bit sad about the passing of David McCullough, my favorite author, biographer, historian, storyteller, and speaker. His voice is so soothing but very reassuring and guiding as he escorts us through history. What a legend.

Although it is Tuesday it is my Friday and the start of my eleven day break from teaching beginning tomorrow. I will have a few days at the park but will try to maintain some adventure-time. However, I look forward to uninterrupted research and writing time.

There’s really not much to report so I guess I will move on with my day and get ready for my jaunt through the park.

Make it a great day!

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O, FOR HISTORY: David McCullough

David McCullough | 1933 – 2022

My favorite author, historian, biographer, and one of my YouTube favorites during an interview has died… his passing is very sad.

I’ve read

  • 1776

This is my favorite interview with Mr. McCullough about his book, JOHN ADAMS.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Monday… whew!

It is not the most comfortable setting outside on the deck. The humidity is 97% and will remain in the 90%s through most of the morning. While the temperature is 74 degrees and a nice breeze circulates around the outer perimeter of The Haasienda, the humidity maintains a high level of discomfort. I am planning to move into my study upon submitting this blog post.

A semi-busy week lies ahead but really, compared to years passed, my schedule is pretty flimsy looking. Two shifts at the park and Tuesday evening will conclude lessons until Sunday, August 21st when the academic year schedule commences.

A few stragglers on the wisteria have surprised me by popping out ahead of or behind schedule with the others.

I am still in awe and quite proud of how my hometown and surrounding communities paid tribute to Elwood Police Department officer, Noah Shahvanaz, who was murdered a week ago during a regular traffic stop. My community stepped up to the plate and performed remarkably with tributes, fundraisers, and a meaningful commemoration as the funeral procession moved up from Fishers, Indiana, near Indianapolis, through Elwood for his final salute before his internment at Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis. I know it must have been tiring for the family to travel an additional 80+ miles round trip, but how touching it must have been to see the tributes in honor of Noah.

One tribute was especially touching to me and it was from the Bodenhorn Family from near Lapel, Indiana. Their tractors lined up with American flags was quite a touching sight.

A fitting tribute from the Bodenhorn-Parkison family.

It’s muggy as hell and I am moving inside to continue with my morning. Make it a great day!

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THE FAMILY ALBUM: Cleaning the plates

This meme reminded me of two incidents that involved my dog, Flyer (2000-2013).


We would finish our dinner plates, which almost never had remaining food, and set them on the floor for Flyer to give them a tongue cleaning.

One day at lunch, I was dining at First Watch with a friend. I finished my meal and automatically set my cleaned plate on the floor.

My friend looked at me and laughed. “Is this some new ritual I’ve not heard of yet?”

I didn’t follow what he was saying until he indicated my plate on the floor of First Watch!


Some friends asked if their two sons, the same ages as my older two sons, could stay with us for the day while they attended to out of town family business. It was great because my two sons and their sons were each adopted within four years and had become good friends.

We ate our supper down in the basement where we had the family room and dining room set up. As each of us cleaned our plates, we set them on the floor and our two young guests followed suit. Flyer happily cleaned all the dinner plates.

Joey helped me carry the five dinner plates and utensils upstairs to the kitchen. I began placing the dinner plates back into the cabinet.

Joey asked, “Aren’t you going to wash them or put them in the dish washer?”

“Oh, I don’t need to. Flyer cleaned them thoroughly.”

Joey began becoming more concerned. “Don’t you think you should put them in the dishwasher?”

“It would be a waste of water. Flyer is so good at cleaning them.”

Several hours later, after the guests returned home, their mother called me. “Darin, will you please tell Joey you were just joking about Flyer licking the plates clean?” she laughed.

“Oh, my gosh! I’m so glad you called me. I completely forgot to take them out of the cabinet to put in the dishwasher!”

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: A late start to Sunday

It is 10:35 AM and I am just beginning to rumble into my morning. After feeding the dogs and drinking a cup of coffee, I’ve been awake but still feeling puny with gut issues. Since most of my Sunday students are on vacation, I managed to squeeze the remaining lessons into Monday and Tuesday. This will allow me a bit more rest, today.

Yesterday morning, Saturday, I decided to stock up on hot and sour soup from a nearby Chinese restaurant that has been our family’s headliner since 2003. They didn’t open until 10:30 AM so I was on the bus to Town & Country shopping mall ordering my six small containers of soup and adding a large cabbage and pork soup to the order. I received a message that it wouldn’t be ready until 11:30 AM. That worked as it allowed me to grab a few things from Kroger, attend to some banking, and stroll the long promenade of Town & Country.

Now, over the past few years, the quality of service from this restaurant has slipped but the food is still good. When ordering through Grubhub it is more expensive because this favored eaterie is not a part of Grubhub or Doordash. I order from this restaurant weekly and am often receiving incorrect orders or generally, missing items. I’ve continued with the eaterie because 1) I like their food and 2) I’ve always received terrific service.

I arrived at the restaurant by 11:35 AM while anticipating a Bus No. 17 return home at 12:20 PM. My order was not ready. At Noon, a father and daughter entered and placed their order. At 12:05 PM, I went to the window to inquire about my soup. The six small containers and the large container were sitting on the prep counter while the lady attended to the most recent order. She immediately returned to packing my order. At 12:10 PM, I was finally out the door, hoping that I would meet the bus, and also hoping the unusual brisk exercise would relieve my high degree of agitation. My thighs were in dreadful pain from climbing the stadium steps Thursday night at Soaring Sounds and I managed to cut through the discomfort to meet my bus just in time.

Now, while crossing the drive between Marian’s Pizza and the former Steinmart that had been the western anchor for Town & Country, a lady sped through the stop sign, coming within feet of hitting me. I yelled and she threw up her hands, questioningly. “You ran the stop sign!” With that, she rolled her eyes and huffed. The decal on the back of her car indicated she was one of the reasons a nearby community gets an awful rap. As I entered the other end of Town & Country, I was nearing the crosswalk when I heard tires screeching and car horns honking. Someone in a familiar vehicle had pulled out of Chik A Filet without stopping or acknowledging oncoming traffic, forcing several cars to swerve away from her and one onto the curb. Yes, it was the delightful lady who ran the stop sign on the other end of the long building.

At home, I put away my Kroger purchases and began loading the soups into the refrigerator only to discover that my six containers of hot and sour soups were half egg drop soups which I detest. With that great annoyance, I set down to eat the container of cabbage and pork soup… there was no cabbage and only about a dozen small pieces of pork in some kind of stock. That was the final nail in the coffin for me with this restaurant. I permitted myself to overpay delivery fees to do my part in supporting a small, local business but I’ve decided to look elsewhere.

I spent the majority of my day in my study watching the funeral services for murdered Elwood Police Department officer, Noah Shahnavaz while lying on the floor with four pooches happily snuggled against or near me.

I am contemplating a lazy day and I am okay with that. I still, however, have the intention of making it a great day.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: A damp deck morning

It’s Saturday, my alternate Sunday since I return to teaching tomorrow. A brief rain cell passed through not more than an hour ago and dampness clings to the world around The Haasienda. It must have been quite the water dump as I can hear a lot of water splashing on the Shroyer Road side of the house. The Sisters are busy scattering about the deck and yard in search of excitement while The Seniors lounge on each side of my chair, Erma waiting for the remnants of my cereal bowl.

My Friday was rather low-key until the evening when Laura and I went to The Neon to see MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON [< video trailer]. Once again, it was a delightful, sweet movie. We did, however, have a family behind us, parents or grandparents with several young (but old enough to know better) children that were apparently on their first outing ever to be amongst humanity. The one young child consistently kicked Laura’s seat (the rows are nice and wide) and the gentleman, seated directly behind me narrated the entire damn movie and at times opted to be the star of the event with all his non-quiet asides. The ill-bred crew behind us did not diminish the delight in loving the film.

Here is another video about MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES featuring the voice actor for Marcel.

Although my weather app indicates no more rain, the skies are a heavy dark grey and I am trying to determine whether or not to remain working on the deck.

Today will be filled with research, planning, and hopefully some writing. Other than that, the docket is slim other than after-Mass dinner with Mama Kay and The After-Mass Primetime Dancers.

Whatever is on your docket, make it a great day!

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O, FOR HISTORY: Jeff Carter at The National Archives

My friend, Jeffrey Carter, is spending some holiday time in Washington, DC. I wake every morning to read Jeff’s blog posts, first, before even climbing out of bed. They are a smorgasbord of information, entertainment, education, seriousness, and amusement.

This morning’s offering from the nation’s capital was an extraordinary description of his visit to The National Archives museum. Jeff’s description of the aged national treasures was a sad reminder of how earlier presentations of these documents did not heed preservation efforts. However, it was also an era where conservation and preservation were often not a consideration designed for future generations.

Do take a moment to enjoy Jeff’s hearty description of his time spent in our National Archives and feel free to wander about his wonderful blog.

Blog post: Jeffrey Carter

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MY DAY: Sunday evening

It’s been a semi-relaxing but semi-productive day.

The lawn is mowed and trimmed.

Research and some writing completed.

Now, I’m in my study with lounging pooches and listening to THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW.

It was a good day.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: On the deck, Wednesday morning

Right now, at 8:15 AM, the morning is very comfortable, embracing, and peacefulness is only disturbed by the waste retrieval vehicles that semi-robotically empty our waste containers. Now and then, one of our resident cardinals pipes up.

The Sisters, Bailey and Harrigan, are being kept busy by offending squirrels that dare cross the utility wires in the easement, and Chief joins in, agedly rising for a slower chase, but often has no clue what he is chasing.

Tonight is Soaring Sounds at Centerville High School’s football stadium and I could not be more excited. The temperature is expected in the lower 90s and I dread that part. However, the excitement of seeing the drum and bugle corps is exhilarating. It was 1980 when I saw my very first DCI show and I can still recall the rush of excitement. It’s never stopped.

I finished listening to my biography of John Quincy Adams and began listening to a new biography on Henry Clay. Clay’s biography is pitifully dull and I am thinking I may give it another 30-60 minutes of listening before making a decision on whether to can it or keep going. It’s only eight hours in length, nothing like the 30-40+ hour biographies I’ve listened to, recently. Even while working and listening at the same time, my attention does not hold to Clay’s biography. And, it could be the reader’s voice. Some are terrific while others would bore a deaf person.

That’s about it for this morning. I am sure there will be more to report following the DCI show this evening. In the meantime, do make it a great day!

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MY DAY: Soaring Sounds soared!

I don’t remember attending Soaring Sounds in 2019 as Mother was slipping away, and the Soaring Sounds contest of 2020 was canceled due to Covid. For some reason, I don’t recall my reason for not attending last summer.

I saw my first drum & bugle corps contest in 1979 in Kokomo, Indiana with my band director and her college roommate. It was as much a game changer in my fourteen years as the moment I first heard John William’s powerful score to STAR WARS in the movie theatre a few years before. Last night, the excitement and thrill reappeared and I was a fourteen-year-old kid again.

Last night, compliments of Jim & Deb McCutcheon, I sat in the uppermost reaches of Centerville High School’s football stadium to watch DCI ensembles, Cincinnati Tradition, Spartans, Music City, Madison Scouts, The Cavaliers, Mandarins, and Blue Stars with an entertaining encore concert performance by Madison Scouts.

This Thursday morning, I am still riding the musical wave. How inspiring it is to see these thousands of young folks dedicate their spring and summer to such an incredible venue. I applaud them and am grateful for the performances they share.

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