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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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: June is bustin’ something

I am certain that Mr. Joshua Logan’s granddaughter, Kate Harrigan, will also post a video clip of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over” from their classic, CAROUSEL. It seems to be our annual tradition before posting “September Song” on September 1.

Some parts of this week have seemed to rush by while others have dragged on. The next several days are filled and I have no break until Wednesday, followed by another string of full days.

Yesterday, I had planned to mow the yard, but instead, I trimmed the front and back, and then took after the front hedges that have not been touched with the electric hedge trimmer in three years. The front yard can wait a day or two for its mowing.

Mama Kay, Laura, and I went to El Toro for dinner, and Mama Kay and I ventured over to Lincoln Park for the kick-off to summer block party to listen to The Kettering Civic Band. They always do a terrific job, but they had some standouts with sets by Leroy Anderson, Frank Ticheli, W. H. Boorn, Warren Barker, and John Phillip Sousa. I especially enjoyed “The Queen City March” by W. H. Boorn, written to honor Cincinnati, Ohio in 1969,

Upon returning home at 8:30 PM, I had a Zoom session with some Mary Lincoln friends and went to bed by 10 PM. It was a restful night, but I still was not fond of the early rise. I woke fifteen minutes before the alarm was to sound.

The baby Joshua and David were to adopt has been born. Although the young mother changed her mind about keeping the child, the plans changed again but The Boys were not interested in going another round. However, the infant has been adopted and he is already in his home. I hope he will have a happy life.

It is time to start my day as the research will not complete itself.

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Saturday, May 27th

The morning is starting off on the chillier side, but we are promised temperatures in the mid-70s, by early afternoon. I will welcome this with time on the deck by evening’s end.

I was in bed by 10:30 PM and even with a healthy amount of sleep, I did not delight in rising at 6:10 AM, despite being greeted by five of the happiest dogs in the world. Every morning, they kickstart me into my day and I appreciate their efforts. Last night, Col. Deeds opted to sleep on the floor, snuggled next to Chief, but when I stirred, giving the suspicion of rising for the day, Deeds was pushed beside me, his neck across mine.

This afternoon, there are seven graduate parties of my eleven graduating seniors, all occurring within the same time-frame. I tried every conceivable way to make it work but my lack of magic prevents me from attending. I finish my work by 2 PM as most of the parties are beginning or approaching their end. I have five students I have been teaching since they were five years old – that’s twelve to thirteen years of being with these wonderful young adults.

Today would have been the 71st birthday of my mother’s younger brother, Ronald Dean Barmes. Uncle Ron was named in honor of my grandmother’s older brother, Ronald Monroe Clary, who died from injuries sustained in a horse riding accident when he was fifteen years old. Both Ronalds died in the month of June, fifty years apart. something that was not lost on John William Garrett Clary, the father and grandfather of both Ronalds.

It’s time o begin my day. I’d love to start it a bit later, but there’s much to be done.

Make it a great day!

To Give up on a Dream

By Charles E. Wellington

To give up on a dream is thought to be cowardly
But is it not courageous to dismiss one’s hopes in order to dream of something new
Is it not bolder to go where no one has been
Is it not more glorious to achieve that which would otherwise remain unaccomplished
Are not dreams nothing more than opportunity
With new decisions facing us every moment
As simple as a choice or as complicated as conviction
Then would it not be remarkable to go against one’s beliefs in order to reach the greatness waiting to be conceived
In a world forever changing, forever adapting
With days eternally numbered and opportunities nearly infinite
it would be easier to stick to the familiar
But life is like a simple child’s game
If you have nothing to challenge you
What you are, what you’re made of, and what you believe
Then it would be lacking of fun with no sense of victory
To choose the difficult path is to choose to live
To live a life of fulfillment, a life of glory
If your dreams ever seem too easy or too simple
Then I implore you, dream again

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Memorial Day Monday, 2023

Sunday evening was my last night of teaching for this week. The month of May had five Mondays and Tuesdays and I only teach four weeks of any given month. I do like these little breaks, and it also gives students and families a little break. It also assists my studio manager and the students’ parents because the monthly invoices are always the same.

Yesterday afternoon, I finally got a chance to chat with my son and son-in-law in London after two weeks of not having coordinating schedules. We again discussed the possibility of me visiting London, but at this time in my life, the physical demands seem too great, as well as the physical, mental, and emotional preparations. This trip might be possible later. It would be great to see all the sites in and around London.

Just as teaching began Sunday afternoon, I learned from my sister that she and her children were in a car wreck. As she later described on her Facebook account: “After finishing a softball tournament in Greenwood, we were on our way to Community Hospital in Anderson to have Kaytlinn’s ankle looked at. 10 minutes later, a truck pulled out in front of us. The [Dena’s] truck is totaled, but my children were safe! The kids didn’t get hurt, but I have a lot of swelling, bruising and soreness! But I’m here and get to enjoy life and my children! My travel ball family stepped up and took great care of us!” I have included a photo of her truck.


Col. Deeds is adorable but a handful. We still have some hits and misses with potty training. The puppyhood era cannot end soon enough to ease my stress.

The schedule is full today with research, writing, more research, and planning which means I will have twelve hours away from home. I appreciate Daniel being the Canine Crew Captain during my absence.

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: On the bus with Judy

Shortly after 1:30 AM, I woke in the middle of a cute dream and I realized that after about 15 minutes of being awake, I was still smiling from the dream.

Judy Huffman and her husband, Ron, lived east of us on Main Street in Elwood, Indiana, with their three daughters, Rhonda, Lynn, and Rae. Judy was a longtime bus driver for Elwood schools and I got to spend many hours with her going to and from the high school, to student teach, and to band and other music events. She was also the school bus driver for my younger siblings.

When I was a small boy, Judy was the police department’s meter maid, dressed in an imposing navy blue uniform. By the time I was in junior high school, she was driving the yellow school bus. It wasn’t until high school that I would see her daily. My last two years of high school, I assisted my band director with the elementary band programs, and I got to spend an additional daily 20 minutes with Judy as she drove the bus to Oakland Elementary School on the south side of Elwood. We always had the best conversations, punctuated with much laughter.

Judy’s smile and laughter could have set off the Richter Scale. I loved hearing her laugh. Judy also ran a tight ship on the bus and she was demanding that the etiquette be followed for our safety, riding comfort, and simply because she loved all her kids.

Last night, I dreamt I was hurrying to a bus lineup but cannot recall to where I was headed. I found the row of Dayton RTA buses all parked with their fronts to the curb where I easily spied No. 17. As I rounded the front end and prepared to step onto the bus, I heard a familiar, cheery voice shout, “Hello, Stranger!” I looked up and there sat Judy Wright Huffman in the driver’s seat.

I tried to move quicker but suddenly, an inflatable raft, which I didn’t realize I was carrying, decided to inflate.

“Now, you can’t get on the bus with that raft!” she laughed.

I promptly and nervously pressed the raft to my chest to push out the air. As it was nearly empty, Judy reached and pulled a chord which ignited another round of inflating as I struggled to deflate it, worrying about any passengers behind me which I could not see.

For some reason, Judy’s husband was seated behind her in the first passenger seat and said, “Judy, stop inflating his raft,” to which Judy laughed, “if you can’t joke with Darin the world’s gotta be ending.”

I have no idea what sparked the silly dream but it was appreciated and it was delightful. And, I’m glad there was a connection with a wonderful neighbor and bus driver, who like so many in my hometown, had a tremendous impact on me. We had many wonderful bus drivers when I was in school, many of whom were band parents, but Judy Huffman was MY bus driver.

Judy passed away in April 2020, just after the world had shut down due to Covid. The city promoted a mini parade in her honor since her funeral had to be a private family service. But the community turned out to see a procession of family cars, a school bus, and a police cruiser to honor Judy’s dedication to our community.

It’s been approximately six hours since I had the dream, and I am still smiling.

Keep driving the bus, Judy! I’m sure you’re such a blast on heaven’s streets!

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Preparing to leave May 2023

Tomorrow is the final day of May 2023. For some reason, it seemed to crawl at a much slower pace than January and February. it was a good month but one that was tightly packed with events at The Schuster Center and other opportunities.

I was away from The Haasienda for thirteen hours on Monday and accomplished much in the way of research, plotting, planning, and some actual writing. Sometimes, being away from regular distractions is beneficial. My distractions are five wonderful pooches who pull my attention away as they shower me with their devotion and affection. Daniel Breslin, now a senior at Fairmont HS, did a marvelous job attending to the pups throughout my absence. I’m glad he got to spend some time with The FanFive as the Breslin family bid farewell to their long loved Maggie a few days ago.

I have an event this after and evening, and then more for Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Sunday afternoon, teaching resumes.

My Walmart grocery delivery arrived at 8 AM. The FanFive is scattered about the deck and yard. Col. Deeds has been exercising Bailey and Harrigan, chasing them all over the backyard. I’m feeling some sinus pressure at them moment so I’m going to rest a bit before I need to get ready and head out.

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Memorial Day, 2023

The morning is introducing what is predicted to be another beautiful day and for that, I am very grateful. It was a comfortable night for sleeping with only Harrigan joining me in bed; Bailey slept in my study and Col. Deeds was beneath the bed but within a paw’s reach of Chief who was directly below me.

At 1:15 PM, Saturday, I was contacted by another leader that they had been in a car wreck. Canine coverage was worked out and I remained through the event until 8 PM. Tomorrow, I will be gone all day to assist in that coverage, as well as Tuesday afternoon and evening. I appreciate the team effort and love being with such a group of supportive folks.

It’s Memorial Day, and I recall this holiday from childhood where we’d listen to the 500 race on the black, paint-splattered, staticky radio in the garage while Grandpa Leroy cooked over the grill. Once the singing of “Back Home, Again, In Indiana” and The National Anthem were completed, our family did not budge from the radio until we heard, “Gentlemen, start your engines!”  I remember the family cheering to the newly adapted phrase, “Lady and Gentlemen, start your engines” as Janet Guthrie joined the lineup as the first female racer on the Brickyard.

On with the day, which is to be another long day.

Make it a great day!


by Amos Russel Wells

Memorial Day, 1911

What are the garlands we lay on the graves?
Heapings of blossoms that loveliest are?
Beauty supreme for the bravest of braves?
Yes, and an offering holier far.

Here are the garlands of memories clear,
Thoughts of the partings the desperate frays,
Marches and prisons and hospitals drear,
Triumphs and woes of those terrible days.

Garlands of gratitude fadeless and fair
Lie on the graves of our glorious dead,—
Grateful for freedom that breathes in the air,
Grateful for union that floats overhead.

Garlands of love from the children and wives,
Garlands of hope for the nation to day,
Garlands of offered and consecrate lives,
These on the graves of our heroes we lay.

Roses and lilies and violets blue,
Daffodils, tulips, and all of the rest,—
Ah, dear departed, brave patriots true,
We know what garlands will please you the best!

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“Shut up!”

At 5:45 AM, I roared those words out the window beside my bed that looks out toward the high school’s parking lot. The two females, talking loudly to one another as they jogged or walked, did shut up. I am all for maintaining physical healthiness, but I also applaud a healthy sense of being aware of one’s surroundings and courtesy.

I am sure this morning’s opening paragraph makes folks wonder if I am in a grumpy mood. No, not yet anyway. LOL.

Yesterday afternoon, I began feeling my body grind. I was physically tired, and something didn’t feel right. My studio manager asked if she could try to reduce the end of Sunday’s schedule since Monday and Tuesday have openings due to concerts, school trips to Washington, DC, and school awards nights. Rita got to work, and I finished teaching by 8:15 PM. I ate my Chinese meal that my student, Patrick, picked up from Young Chow en route to his lesson, and by 8:45 PM, I was climbing into bed. I figured I would need to rise at 11 PM to let the dogs out one last time, but I slept through the night, and none of FabFive alerted me that they needed to potty. Only at 5:45 AM did I wake to the sound of those dratted women talking loudly.

Today, I am refreshed but due to a band of rain traveling through the Miami Valley, I am feeling achy.

When the doctor first put me on Lisinopril in 2008, I began experiencing coughing. They were dry coughs and I learned it was a side affect. However, when I stopped taking the medication in 2018, the dry cough continued. Last night, I learned that coughing, and additional sinus drainage with post nasal drip are also strongly connected with MS. More pieces of the puzzle coming together to make sense of my medical history.

We are now halfway through May. While April seemed to drag, May is rushing by.

It is time to get ready for my day and I am excited to get it moving.

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: “A Light Exists in Spring”

It’s Tuesday, and it feels like it’s last Tuesday. I thought I was getting a tremendous night-filled rest but I am sluggish this morning. A weather front is moving into the area as my muscles are aching. I still intend to make the day a great one.

I found this poem by Emily Dickinson and was surprised by its lighter tone and that it’s not as seemingly dreary or forlorn.


By Emily Dickinson

“A Light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period –
When March is scarcely here

A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels.

It waits upon the Lawn,
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you.

Then as Horizons step
Or Noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay –

A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament.”

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Sunday, May 21st

The grumpy old man who wrote a less-than-positive blog post on Saturday is not the same man who is writing this post, this morning. For the first five to six hours of Saturday, I could not find the button to turn off the tiredness, achiness, and grumpiness. However, given my record of always being a positive force, I am allowed a day, or two, of the schlumps.

Yesterday morning, while managing one of my areas, I watched bits and pieces of Centerville High School’s graduation ceremony at The Nutter Center. Two of my students, Sam McLain, student body president and Northwestern bound, and Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (theatre) bound, Patrick Comunale, were featured. What a proud moment that only highlighted the pride in these two young men who continually climbed and achieved rises in their high school careers.

A brief return home to tend to the pooches, grab a nap, eat some soup, and dress for the Schuster Center refreshed me. By 10 AM, the dreary, wet skies had transferred to clear, sunny skies and it made some of the walking more pleasurable and reenergizing.

It was another fantastic presentation by The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra. I got to meet Carol, a house manager with whom I had never worked, and we split the loge balcony with our usher teams. Carol lives in Oakwood and is such a lovely lady. There were some terrific patrons that I met, too, and they added some extra bounce to my spirit.

I returned home to find some delicious containers of food delivered by Mama Kay from Laura who hosted a dinner to celebrate May birthdays and Mother’s Day. Sadly, I could not attend the event with my bonus family, but I did enjoy a terrific late supper.

Col. Deeds, who now stands as tall as Erma, Bailey, and Harrigan, and is nudging Chief in the height competition, was so delighted to see me. He crawled next to me in bed and kept hugging and kissing me before he snuggled into the crook of my arm to sleep the remainder of the night.

It is time to start my day.

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Friday FunDay at Home

It’s been a relaxing, educational day, thus far, with reading and documentaries. I’ve spent most of the day on the deck despite the morning offering a breezy coolness. At 1 PM it’s still breezy but the deck remains cool due to the enormous shade provided by the tree that grows through the deck’s rail on the southwestern corner.

The FabFive have enjoyed their deck time, today. They’ve mostly lounged about the deck but Col. Deeds has led the three girls in lots of yard-play. They chase one another, hide behind bushes, and roll in the grass. Chief, no longer able to join in the romping about, lays at the top of the deck’s steps watching the fun.

Deeds is especially loving the large backyard for racing and flying over the two-feet high sidewalk border fence. He’s enjoyed trying to capture the playful Robin redbreast that will land and wait until The Colonel gets near before flying off, and Deeds has discovered his shadow and seems to have great fun on his attempt to catch it.

Thursday, I joined the family of Bob Green who hosted a memorial gathering luncheon at The Meadowlark Restaurant. Bob’s wife, my dear friend, Betty, was the maternal aunt of my best friend, Susan Cook, who passed away in September 2012. In 1991, I got to know Betty & Bob Green, their daughters, Kim and Jill, Susan’s maternal grandparents, and her dad, Woody.

Susan and I thought it was ironic that we each had uncles named Bob, and aunts named Betty Green (mine is Betty Green Barmes) and both of our Aunt Bettys were terrific artists. We also had Kims and Jills as cousins. Susan was also close to my own Hoosier family. We spent a good deal of our meals at La Piñata in Centerville after we finished teaching lessons at McCutcheon Music, often joined by Debbie McCutcheon.

I immediately felt like a part of Susan’s family when I first met them 32 years ago and have loved them ever since. It was great to see Betty, Kim, Jill, Jeff (Jill’s husband), and Jill’s son Steven who I’ve not seen since he was about ten years old.

While I was away from home for the luncheon, i decided to recreate several previous attempts of allowing Deeds to remain out of his crate with the others. So far, it’s been a success with no potty breaks inside the house or anything destroyed. I returned home to find the end of a cord chewed off a heater, a dog bed unstuffed, and the loose-weaved lining from beneath my box springs all ripped out. Later, I went to a dinner up north of Dayton and returned home to nothing destroyed.



Make it a great day!

PHOTO: a photo with Betty Green; photos of the pooches relaxing.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Tuesday on the deck

It’s a beautiful morning and I’m spending it out on the deck with The Fab Five. it’s a day for relaxing and replenishing before teaching commences at 4:30 PM. Bailey, Chief, and Erma are lounging near me on the deck while The Colonel and Harrigan explore the yard.

When Chief was six months old, I captured a photo of him hiding in the grass while my sons, Jose and Quintin, and I took Flyer, Navi, and Chief to play in the backfield of the high school. Chief was playing and thought he was hiding from us in the tall grass.

This morning, twelve years later, I captured a photo of another six month old pup laying in the backyard. I’ve never seen Col. Deeds just lounging like this in the grass and it seemed appropriate for the anniversary of Chief’s photo at the same age.

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: 1983 Graduation

While watching eleven of my private students going through commencement exercises, it was not lost on me that forty years ago this afternoon, my Elwood Community High School classmates and I changed our tassels to the other side of our mortarboards and graduated.

There were twenty-two of us fellow graduates that had been together since our kindergarten year began at Washington Elementary School in September 1970. Many of us are still in contact via social media or in person.

I will always believe that I had the best education backed by the best teachers, supplementary staff, and administrators. Forty years after leaving the hallways of Elwood’s school system, I am still grateful and indebted to everyone that played a role in my educational development.

.Happy 40th anniversary to all my fellow classmates from the Class of 1983, and THANK YOU to all my wonderful teachers!

Make it a great day!


1. Myself with band director, Paula Simmons, and the best co-drum major, Sandy Wilburn.

2. Conducting the Marching Panther Band, 1982.

3. Senior night with Mother.

4. Graduation with my great-grandfather, John William Garrett Clary, and his daughter, my grandmother, Donna Clary Barmes.

5. Graduation with my great-great uncle and aunt, Raymond and Betty Daugherty. Raymond was the younger brother of my great grandmother, Thelma Daugherty Barmes and the three-month-older uncle to my grandfather, Leroy Barmes. Aunt Betty was best friends with my grandmother, Donna Clary Barmes. Raymond and Betty had one son, Steve, who became a special cousin and friend.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Feeling the grumps

Last night, I was a house manager for The Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra’s Beethoven’s Second Symphony. The original times indicated we’d be wrapping up shortly after 9 PM. I was elated because I knew I could make the 9:55 PM No. 17 and be home by 10:20 PM and not closer to midnight. However, due to us not knowing there would be an encore from the guest cellist, additional dialogue, and a post-show talk, it was 10:15 PM. I was exhausted, and in pain from the approaching rain, and I just wanted to get home. I splurged, contacted an Uber, and was home by 10:45 PM.

Sleep came easy and I was only awakened once when the rain finally arrived. It is still raining and I need to be out the door, again, by 7:40 AM to manage before rushing home to feed the dogs, change back into my Schuster attire, and be returned downtown by 5:15 PM. Since I am in the loge, I won’t need to stay for the post-show chat, but I still doubt I can make the 9:55 PM No. 17.

This morning I am feeling sluggish, with the grumpiness exacerbated by the MS aches, and a sinus headache that has gone from a mindful tapping to throbbing. Still, somehow, I shall manage to figure out how to forge ahead with a cheerful disposition while making it a great day with the heavily clouded skies,

Emillee Goodwin – Apr 2016


I am Strong

Darkness can consume me
Life can be overwhelming
The mind can feel suffocating

I am strong

I crawl out of bed
I shower and dress
I eat my breakfast
I sit on the couch

I am strong

The day progresses
Tiredness overcomes
Exercise clears the mind
Study occupies my thoughts

I am strong

I go home
I cook
I listen and talk  
I get ready for bed

I am strong

Another day has finished
I got up
I accomplished
I am strong

Make it a great day!

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It’s not an actual “fun day” with adventures with my camera, but I stepped onto No. 17 at 7:23 AM to grab some breakfast at a buffet and then I will hopefully grab a few things at Walmart.

Thursday, I had completed walking to Speedway to fill the gas canister, mowing the front and back yards, trimming both yards, tidied up the kitchen, and completed a load of laundry.

I laid down at 2:30 PM with the intention of napping until 3:15 PM so I could feed the dogs and get ready for house management duties at The Victoria Theatre for an Irish dance troupe from Oklahoma. I was awakes by the doorbell and knocking. I got to the door to find a high school student holding Harrigan. He said Bailey was down at the other end of the school’s north parking lot entrance. Ugh. The school buses were pulling out as I walked to the west. The traffic guard said Bailey was being held at the Delaine Drive entrance and radioed the person holding her. Thanks to Mr. White, Bailey was safe and eager to see me.

After locating where The Sisters had escaped, I repaired it the best I could with my skills.

I got to The Victoria Theatre and had a lot of fun with the fellow head managers. It was quite an event-filled evening and managed quite easily.

This morning, after feeding the dogs, I propped the back door open. At 7 AM, four of the five dogs were in my bedroom. Harrigan was missing! I searched for her and then dressed to head out with the leash. I scoured the area along Rockhill Avenue and the high school’s parking lot and there was no sign of her. Back at home, I went on a more thorough s check and Harrigan under my bed!

So, here it is, Friday morning. I’m a bit stiff from the yard work but intend to have a relaxing breakfast. I may even hop off the bus on Main Street near Miami Valley Hospital to take a shirt still through Woodland Cemetery.

Make it a great day!

PHOTOS: Irises from my Pati Rogers Collection.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Mother’s Day 2023

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MY DAY: Ending the long day with FROZEN

As fortune would have it this evening, the attendance at the Victoria Theatre was quite low, and there was an open house manager spot on balcony, house left. I was pretty excited that I would get to see FROZEN one more time. There were at least a half dozen moments that I thoroughly enjoyed throughout this run. 

I had another amazing team of ushers with me, tonight, and the fellow house managers are always a hoot to work with. 

It’s 10:55 PM. I have 40 minutes until No. 17 drops me off at The Haasienda. I am really missing my pooches at the moment. I cannot wait to crawl into bed with Harrigan and Col. Deeds who are my constant snuggle buddies. The past week, Bailey has been sleeping on the dog mattress in my study. 

The night is pleasant and while I can hear pockets of conversations, it’s a fairly quiet setting at the terminal. A young mother of color is walking her baby in a stroller and singing to the child. She has a gorgeous voice and I am enjoying the serenade. 

Tomorrow will be another long day and I’m hoping tonight’s sleep will restore energy and strength.

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MY DAY: Ending the long day with FROZEN

As fortune would have it this evening, the attendance at the Victoria Theatre was quite low, and there was an open house manager spot on balcony, house left. I was pretty excited that I would get to see FROZEN one more time. There were at least a half dozen moments that I thoroughly enjoyed throughout this run. 

I had another amazing team of ushers with me, tonight, and the fellow house managers are always a hoot to work with. 

It’s 10:55 PM. I have 40 minutes until No. 17 drops me off at The Haasienda. I am really missing my pooches at the moment. I cannot wait to crawl into bed with Harrigan and Col. Deeds who are my constant snuggle buddies. The past week, Bailey has been sleeping on the dog mattress in my study. 

The night is pleasant and while I can hear pockets of conversations, it’s a fairly quiet setting at the terminal. A young mother of color is walking her baby in a stroller and singing to the child. She has a gorgeous voice and I am enjoying the serenade. 

Tomorrow will be another long day and I’m hoping tonight’s sleep will restore energy and strength.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Saturday, May 13th

The last time I knew how awake I was upon hitting my bed, last night, was 12:25 AM. I anticipated six hours of sleep; however, due to two men shouting their conversation to one another as they ran through the high school parking lot, alongside The Haasienda at 5 AM, I was wide awake with only four and one-half hours of sleep to claim. My five “alarm clocks” responded to the inconsiderate fellows and returning to sleep for one more hour was not to be. I cannot understand why runners or walkers are so boorish at such an early time of the day.

Talk, but don’t shout while others might be sleeping!

Today is busy and I am only afforded two hours before needing to be at The Victoria to serve as a house manager. I need to sweep, get dishes into the dishwasher, and tidy up as I will only have forty-five minutes before teaching begins, Sunday. I will hopefully be able to catch my breath on Wednesday, when I will have time to catch up on household items and have some time to myself. I would love to make a round through Woodland Cemetery, but it seems unlikely.

It’s time to prep my day so I can hopefully accomplish some things to ready the house back into teaching mode for Sunday.

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Spring is here

The seasonal allergies and sinusitis have formed into a huge bass drum that has a consistent solo inside my head. But, I’m loving the weather and the smell of spring flowers.

We’re taking a slight dip in temperature, today, sandwiched between the 70s of Monday and Wednesday. Still, the weather is nice.

Monday night, my 6:30, 7:00, 7:30, 8:00, and 8:30 local in-person lessons were involved in band or choir concerts. Instead of asking if any of my 9:15 – 11:30 PM Zoom lessons between Missouri and California if they wanted earlier times, I took advantage of the opening to go watch a former student and Canine Crew member play lacrosse at Fairmont High School next door. Beck Melin is outstanding and of the 10 points scored, 8 were his. Impressive. I’ve really grown to love the game and I’m so impressed with the agility, ease of catching the ball, and physical aggressiveness.

It was a beautiful night and with the exception of a strong ten minute rain storm that passed over, I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

It’s time to move on with my day.

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Letting go of FROZEN (for me)

I went to bed by 10 PM after a very long, tiring day and Col. Deeds immediately snuggled against my chest. Generally, he will spend a few hours against my neck and chest before moving down to be near Harrigan who lies at my knees or feet. However, from 10 PM until 6:05 AM, Deeds nestled into my chest the entire time.

At 2:30 AM, I woke with my mind on a former student who is experiencing a slight life detour. The remainder of the night I touched upon the deep sleep a few times but relented to a restless mind. Having The Colonel next to me was comforting.

I wanted ten more minutes to just stay in bed but Bailey, my Miss Wigglesbottom, came into the bedroom with a ferocity of enthusiasm, disrupting the entire room.

Tonight is my last night to work FROZEN at The Schuster Center. I think… I really do think I am going to miss it. Saturday night, I will house manage THE SECRET GARDEN by a local community ensemble across the street at The Victoria Theatre.

Yesterday was beautiful, albeit a tad warm and humid. But, I was inside with air conditioning at my desk, so I did not fully experience the weather. Today is to be less hot but there are chances of rain.

It’s time to move on with my day. Make it a great day!

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MY DAY: Friday night FROZEN

I’ve twenty minutes before No. 17 hauls me southward into Kettering. I’m beat and eager to see the FanFive before crawling into bed for six hours of sleep before repeating today’s schedule on Saturday.

FROZEN… ahhhh… the music grew on me and I hated to see my final night of it. Tomorrow, I’m house manager for THE SECRET GARDEN over at The Victoria Theatre.

One thing I love about working DaytonLive is seeing so many folks I know. Tonight, one of the ushers was Angela Lin. In the lobby I got to see Cody Butts, Bob & Karen Henry, and Sam Knopp.

My usher team was super and a number of patrons expressed their gratitude. There were so many little peeps seeing their first show and that kept a smile firmly planted on my face.

I’m going to relax a bit before the bump-bump-bumpity ride home.

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MY DAY: Wednesday is almost in the books

My day began with waking at 6:10 AM when Col. Deeds, who’d been sleeping beneath the bed so he was close to Chief, bounded excitedly onto the bed to snuggle next to me, offering a few kisses to my neck.

After feeding the dogs and hooking the storm door open so they could come and go, I retreated back to my bed. It felt good to grab a few more hours of sleep. Harrigan, Bailey, and The Colonel traded off snuggling next to me. The weather was beautiful and the FabFive took advantage of the sunshine.

I mowed the backyard and trimmed the front sidewalks and other areas in the front yard. It was a relaxing two hours before needing to get ready for my first non-shadow night at DaytonLive.

My first official night as a house manager, on my own, with an incredible team of ushers, was unique. There were several unusual items that occurred that had my fellow house managers applauding and chuckling. Everything was easily handled and I’m glad for the many years of experience behind me. Fortunately, I had my Loge Bud, Danielle, a fellow house manager, on the opposite side of the life balcony for support and encouragement.

Tomorrow is a light day with another evening shift. FROZEN is really growing on me and I hope folks take advantage of grabbing some tickets to see the production before it finishes its Dayton run this Sunday.

I have thirty-four minutes before No. 17 arrives at the bus terminal to take me to the southern suburbs. I think I will listen to a presidential podcast.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: April & May have switched places

5:50 AM, twenty-five minutes before the first alarm was to sound, the thunder and lightning began.

Erma is the only pooch of the five that seems terrified of storms. We have had several storms since Col. Deeds arrived last February and he seems unaffected by them. As the storms moved in quickly, and more loudly, Erma was standing on her hind legs to stretch as much as she could into the bed where I could hold her. Since her arrival, she has never been on the bed or furniture except for a few nasty storms. While I held her at the side of the bed, Deeds have her comforting kisses.

I lingered in bed a bit longer to comfort her before rising to get their breakfast bowls ready. I did get the crew out to potty, but they promptly returned to the deck’s door. The heavy rains and storms will be moving through most of the morning. This storm front has also ignited my sinus pressure and MS. Argh…

FROZEN is beginning to grow on me. The tour is well done and is receiving rave reviews from patrons of all ages. My colleagues and friends who know theatre are quite impressed. I stepped into the hall to watch the costume change toward the end of “Let It Go,” and it deserved the thunderous applause it gathered.

I seldom watch television, but when I do, it is almost always a documentary on history, or “Aerial America,” or classic television on Pluto. There are several shows I will leave on because the host’s voice is interesting or calming. Martha Stewart is always one of my favorites. However, I have become a fan of Rick Steve’s European travel shows. As I prep for the day, I am listening to one of his episodes. It’s making me miss Europe a bit; however, those travel days are behind me, now.

The popular thought is “April’s showers bring May’s flowers.” Well, April is still lingering.

“The Rainy Day”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary…


Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Birthdays for Grandma & Harry

I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful day, especially one such as this to remember my grandmother on her birthday as well as President Harry Truman. 

I rose at 6:45 AM, fed the dogs, opened the deck door for them to come and go, and went right back to bed until 8:30 AM. Those few extra hours of sleep felt great. 

Grandma Donna’s birthday often fell on Mother’s Day, giving our family two reasons to celebrate. My grandparents lived around the corner from where I grew up and I spent a majority of my time with them and my two uncles who were born ten and twelve years before me. I had my parents, and my grandparents and uncles were much like having an older set of parents (they were 40 and 42 when I was born) and older brothers. 

I spent most mornings with my grandparents and while working in the kitchen, Grandma Donna would tell me about our family’s history, her experiences growing up during The Great Depression, and other countless stories that have remained with me.  When discussing The Great Depression, her comments were always positive, the fun they had, and about what she learned; she never made it sound negative. But, that was her nature: always positive. She battled chronic lymphatic leukemia for fifteen years, but dying from colon cancer in the end. I don’t ever recall her complaining, even when it was obvious she was in discomfort or pain. 

Grandma left us in June 1992, thirty-one years ago, but her love and terrific sense of humor have remained in full force. 

I’m on the bus heading to one of my favorite haunts, and will return home so I can head next door to purchase my impatiens for my yard as I have done every year for twenty years. The proceeds are for a terrific cause that benefits Fairmont HS students with special needs. 

Make it a great day!

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MY DAY: A day filled with royalty

My day began at 6:15 AM as King Charles III was moments away from being crowned. My official day ended with Elsa being crowned in FROZEN.

It was a long, busy, productive day filled with business and creative moments.

Before FROZEN began, I bumped into the conductor for FROZEN, Angela Jamieson, as she passed through the orchestra house right lobby where I was positioned. Angela has also conducted national tours for THE LION KING and CATS she finishes tomorrow’s shows before returning to NYC for another assignment.

It’s 11:15 PM and I’ve another twenty five minutes until the No. 17 departs for the South Dayton area toward the Dayton Mall via way of the University of Dayton’s campus (the night before graduation), Oakwood, Kettering, Miami Township, and Centerville. I will be glad to crawl into my bed with Bailey, Harrigan, and Col. Deeds, and Chief and Erma close by on the floor pallets.

What a fun day this has been.

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