MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Tuesday morning

It’s 53 degrees and shall only climb to a high of 77 degrees, today. I decided to stay inside for my coffee, bagel, and blogging. Even the pooches are inside and not on the deck in their usual spots.

I have felt sluggish the past two days, and when not teaching, spend most of the time in bed with books and documentaries. My lower gut has been aggravating me with tenderness and other difficulties. I am parking for the morning shift and will hurry home to nap before teaching. I had been forgetting to take my Vitamin B-12 for several days and I am hoping that might eliminate the fatigue. The weather, rain, or chillier temperatures, also affects the MS. So be it.

The students are cleaning up, this week, with their hard work and dedication. One student is playing Davy in NEWSIES! this week and opens Thursday in Colorado. Six others are preparing for THE MUSIC MAN at Epiphany Lutheran Church and it opens in about two weeks.

After today, the week is lighter and I am hoping to make it to Neon Movies to see PHANTOM OF THE OPEN which looks terribly funny.

I would also like to go off with my camera but I suspect I will lay low at The Haasienda and relax most of the week. The temperatures are to return to the 80s and that is perfect for deck time. Writing projects seem to have been on hold. While mentally and spiritually motivated, the body wanders off to do its own thing.

The Mary Lincoln daylilies numbered about seven this morning and others are waiting to push them out of the way for their one-day performance.

It’s time to prep for the day. Make it a great day!

PHOTOS: my Mary Lincoln day lilies; Mama Kay’s daisies and hydrangea; Harrigan relaxing on my pillows; Chief, Bailey, and Erma

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: My Saturday morning, RailFest, & Birthday Dinner

It’s going to be a full day.

Friday, I worked at the park for four hours, returned home for a quick nap, and then took off with Larua for dinner before attending the marvelous Beavercreek Community Theatre’s production, SOMETHING’S ROTTEN. This is one of my “I really love to laugh” pieces and Matthew Owens and his adorable troupe did not cheat the audience of one moment that was meant to be enjoyed. It was a top-notch production from curtain to curtain. Plus, I got to see Michael Wadham and Megan Weyrauch Johnson on stage, again!

Today is RailFest at the park. I always loved this event in pre-Covid years but this year it will be enjoyed by greeting the Guests as a WayFinder outside my usual area in The Atrium that will be utilized for another portion of the event.

On Tuesday, I noticed on our schedule app that I was removed from the schedule for today. I canceled my canine crew for today, made plans for lunch with a former student’s family I’ve not seen in fifteen years, figured out how I could actually attend RailFest, and did not go to the grocery store to acquire items for today’s “pack my lunch.” For some reason, I got a “nudge” to check the schedule again, Thursday afternoon, and discovered I was back on the schedule. Argh! I got my canine crew member back and sadly canceled plans with my former student’s family, but due to the last-minute crunch, did not get to the grocery. It’s a mad scramble of piecing together things for today’s lunch. It’s all worked out, but it has had its toll on me with planning.

After my time in the park today, I will hop on the No. 11 bus and step off at Town & Country where Mama Kay will meet me within a few minutes of her Saturday’s 4:30 PM Mass. It’s so convenient each Saturday evening for our supper outing. We will head to China Cottage to celebrate Laura’s 58th birthday. Laura starts the march to my own 58th birthday exactly three months to this day.

It is now 7:15 AM and it is time to shave, shower, dress, pack the lunch, and hop onto No. 17 to meet No. 18 which takes me directly to the park. It can be “hold your breath” moments if one bus should be held up and I’ve another bus to catch; Thursday and Friday had marathon events causing delays and unexpected reroutes, and road construction on Irving Avenue. That was a lot of “do I get off up ahead and finish walking?” or just sitting tight and hoping things would work out.

This morning there are fourteen Mary Lincoln day-lilies dancing in the light breeze.

Enough of this mumbling and on to the day. Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Sunday on the deck

It’s 8:45 AM and after some delays in getting the day fully plugged in, I am fully charged.

Humid air is kept at bay by a comfortable breeze and all the familiar sounds of the morning are upon me. The Quartet is exhausted and resting about the deck from earlier excitement. I am considering a return for a mid-morning nap.

The front yard’s festiveness is due to the Mary Lincoln daylilies that total an average of a dozen or more daily. In another week, their 2022 performance will be history.

Yesterday, I spent the day at the park, greeting Guests who arrived for RailFest which continues today. It was a nice crowd returning for this event after a two-year hiatus. Lots of happy little peeps who got to ride the train and carousel.

Mama Kay and I dined with Laura at China Cottage to celebrate Laura’s birthday and then spent some time back at Laura’s.

The pooches were eager to see me and we had some time together before I finally had to retreat to my pillows. The radar shows a few scattered showers at most.

Today, I am hoping to mow the backyard before some much-needed rain arrives in the Miami Valley.

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Monday, Monday

It’s a very breezy, cool morning at 66 degrees and only eleven degrees to go to cap the day. I am writing from my bed where I suspect I will work most of the morning since the breeze is a bit strong. The hospital table I purchased in 1993 from a hotel liquidation store in Springboro has always come in handy as a workspace or holder of many bedside books.

The Quartet has been greatly affectionate the past few days and they certainly know how to love on me. They seem especially grateful to have students back in The Studio. There’s lots of excitement when greeting each student, followed by lots of sniffing and then finding their nap locations in the study as the lesson commences. This morning, only Chief is lounging on the deck while the three ladies are scattered about my bedroom.

I may mow the backyard, this morning. The front yard does not need it and probably will not until the week’s end. There were only three Mary Lincoln daylilies in the front yard but tons are waiting in the wings until time for their one-day-only performance.

There is very little to report this Monday morning and despite the relaxation, until teaching begins in the afternoon, I will still continue to make it a great day!

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Thirty years ago, today, at 2:15 PM, my grandmother, Donna Mae Clary Barmes, passed from this world into the next.

Grandma Donna was living with my parents and youngest siblings at our South A Street residence in Elwood, Indiana. She had battled chronic lymphatic leukemia since its diagnosis in 1978 and had really done quite well in handling it. In April 1992, after she and Mother visited me in Dayton to check out the new house on Floral Avenue in The McPherson District, she began battling little infections and other discomforts. On Mother’s Day, I visited Grandma Donna at the hospital where she was battling pneumonia. As we sat talking, she seemed distant and not connected which was not her character at all.

June 8th, she was home and was a bit listless, according to Mother. It was the fifth anniversary of her son’s passing, my Uncle Ron. Several days later, she called her father and several friends, chatting for several hours, each. That night, while sitting at the dinner table, she collapsed and was rushed to the hospital. Within a few hours, Grandma Donna was on 100% life support. Exploratory surgery revealed colon cancer and several other things. The specialists concurred that she could not survive.

Saturday morning, July 27th, we gathered around her bed for the final farewells. We left the room as the life-supporting machines were removed. Her very strong kept the process from its intended course. At 1:45 PM, after conferring with the medical team, the only medical device attached was the ventilator.

2:15 PM, the heart monitor, after drastic slowing down, finally beat no more. The line was flattened.

While June has sported the much remembered and celebrated birthdays of Anna Greenlee Jones, my second great-grandmother, Virgil Barmes, my great-grandfather, Debbie Riser Fox, my cousin, and Parker Haas, my nephew, the month of June is also remembered for the passing of both my grandparents, Donna and Leroy Barmes, and two cherished uncles, Garry Jolliff and Ronald Barmes.

This thirtieth-year anniversary could be sad, but Grandma Donna was about faith, laughter, practical jokes, and even more laughter. Being sad just doesn’t fit in with the theme of remembering Grandma Donna, nor my grandfather and uncles. We’re not the somber kind. We celebrate and we laugh.

I do immensely miss the darling soul, but I treasure all that she passed on to me, especially the laughter and always finding the bright side of things in life, never the shabby. “If something is shabby, brighten it up!”

Thank you, Grandma Donna, for just being you and for giving all of us so much of your bright spirit that continues down to all your great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.

Know you are still loved, very much…

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The day is adjusting into one of great beauty, at least on the outside. It’s a mild, peaceful morning on the deck with all the familiar sounds that accompany almost any morning while seated at my table. I am hoping the daily beauty and affection from The Quartet will nurture the inner sluggishness I am feeling at the moment. I abide by, “and this, too, shall pass,” but right now, it no longer feels like Indiana Jones outrunning the boulder. Spiritually, and for the moment, the boulder has won.

One bright spot for this Friday is seeing twelve Mary Lincoln daylilies dazzling passersby in the front yard. They really do make me smile.

This submission was not written by me but is from DailyOM’s site where I often find comfort, encouragement, guidance, and inspiration.

Make it a great day any way you can…


Take the time today to really notice and appreciate the beauty that surrounds you.

Sometimes we go through whole days without really tuning in to the beauty of nature that surrounds us. We have a habit of seeing it without really taking it in, yet once we begin to notice it we treat ourselves to an exquisite realm of subtle, complex scents, miraculous forms, and ethereal light. The natural world enriches our entire being through the vehicles of our senses. When we are low, nature lifts our spirits. When we are tired, it rejuvenates us — if we pause long enough to drink from its beauty. If you have fallen out of the practice of taking time to observe the light as it filters through the leaves of a tree, or the concentric rings a raindrop makes as it plops into a puddle, you can retune yourself by dedicating a day to noticing the beauty in nature. 

On this day, one possibility is to rise early enough to see the sunrise. Watching the sky change colors and the world emerge from darkness is an experience that will influence the whole rest of your day in ways that words cannot describe. Or simply observe the quality of the morning light as it infuses the world with its particular pale golden beauty. You may let the light play on your own hand, remembering that you are also part of the natural world. Let your intuition guide you to the elements of nature that call to you throughout the day, such as the sound of the wind as it shakes and sways a tree or the feeling of snowflakes landing on your warm eyelids and cheeks. 

After you devote one day to opening your eyes more fully to the beauty of nature, you may want to make this part of your daily routine. Each day drink from the beauty all around you and allow it to rejuvenate your entire being. All you have to do is pause, for just one minute, and really take it in, remembering to thank Mother Nature for her beauty. 

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: My Playground

It’s my kind of morning!

The cardinal is bellowing away his morning cantering song. The breeze is in Oscar Hammerstein II mode. It’s 70 degrees. The Quartet is animated and well into its morning routine. And, I am on the deck to work.


No, my work is actually my playground. I get to work with ideas, research, writing, planning, and studying music and history. Believe me, while it may seem like work, it is my playground where I get to explore the world around me and the world that interests me.

Some mornings, it’s difficult to contain the excitement when there’s a spark in my belly that is fostered and fueled by passion. Some mornings the spark isn’t as bright as other mornings, but that’s okay. It knows when to broaden the flame when needed. My students get to see it more regularly because I am a monster for collaboration as we observe, fix, create, and grow. What the students do not realize is that while they are developing and cementing techniques or skills, I am growing, too. It’s a fascinating life. Really.

When I am at The Atrium station at the park, I have the luxury of listening to a short documentary on Charles Kettering that inspires me each time I listen to it. Sometimes, I don’t even realize it is playing in the background but it continually embeds the terrific message into my brain and sparks so many ideas and opportunities.

Whatever awaits you on this day on your own playground, just make it a great day!

PHOTOS: Mary Lincoln daylilies and The Sisters

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: The Ripple Effect

This submission is from DaileyOM and not written by me.

Your thoughts and actions are like stones dropped into still waters causing ripples to spread as they move outward.

In a world of six billion people, it’s easy to believe that the only way to initiate profound transformation is to take extreme action. Each of us, however, carries within us the capacity to change the world in small ways for better or worse. Everything we do and think affects the people in our lives, and their reactions in turn affect others. As the effect of a seemingly insignificant word passes from person to person, its impact grows and can become a source of great joy, inspiration, anxiety, or pain. Your thoughts and actions are like stones dropped into still waters, causing ripples to spread and expand as they move outward. The impact you have on the world is greater than you could ever imagine, and the choices you make can have far-reaching consequences. You can use the ripple effect to make a positive difference and spread waves of kindness that will wash over the world.

Should the opportunity arise, the recipient of a good deed will likely feel compelled to do a good deed for someone else. Someone feeling the effects of negative energy will be more likely to pass on that negative energy. One act of charity, one thoughtful deed, or even one positive thought can pass from individual to individual, snowballing until it becomes a group movement or the ray of hope that saves someone’s life. Every transformation, just like every ripple, has a point of origin. You must believe in your ability to be that point of origin if you want to use the ripples you create to spread goodness. Consider the effect of your thoughts and actions, and try to act graciously as much as possible. 

A smile directed at a stranger, a compliment given to a friend, an attitude of laughter, or a thoughtful gesture can send ripples that spread among your loved ones and associates, out into your community, and finally throughout the world. You have the power to touch the lives of everyone you come into contact with and everyone those people come into contact with. The momentum of your influence will grow as your ripples moves onward and outward. One of those ripples could become a tidal wave of positivity. 

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Transitions

I have always loved transitions of any kind. There are some transitions in musical scores or even a “borrowed chord” in a song that will inspire me or give me goosebumps.

  • John Williams’ magnificent fanfare in those opening seconds of STAR WARS’ overture before it transitions into the main theme
  • The score to the made-for-television movie, NORTH & SOUTH before it transitions into the movie
  • The score to the made-for-television movie, FRANKLIN & ELEANOR where the haunting main melody appears during the overture and various transitions in the lives of Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt
  • That V7/vi from Beethoven’s NINTH SYMPHONY or “Ode To Joy” as it transitions back to the original key and toward the end of the song
  • The Alonzo Chappel painting, “The Last Hours of Abraham Lincoln” where Lincoln’s earthly life is in transition, as well as the transition of all the guests who visited him throughout the death watch but compiled into this one moment
  • Watching the previous Elwood marching band drum-major change his graduation cap’s tassel commencing my transition for my years as drum major
  • Watching my mother and each of her parents take their final breaths as they transitioned from this life to the next

I have had many more transitions, both large and small, some that are more significant while others are less noticeable. Sometimes, a transition can be daunting, even scary. That damned fear of the unknown that President Roosevelt highlighted in his first inaugural address! But, how blessed to have transitions of all kinds that reassure, awaken, or continue.

This morning on the deck, I am loving the simple transition of morning into late morning, late morning into afternoon, the full transition into summer, the transition of one month to another, cooler morning temperatures into warmer afternoon temperatures, and the daily transition of my Mary Lincoln daylilies. There are so many little transitions that go unnoticed because we are always focused on the big transitions. It’s the little transitions that allow the larger transitions to take place. They’re the pieces of the puzzle that, when connected, make up the larger picture of the puzzle.

Transitions. Sometimes, we refer to them as “changes” and that always tends to dredge up fears. When I think of life with transitions, it is filled with an energy that suits me, an energy that pushes me.

This morning, a former student’s family is facing a hideous transition as they prepare to lay to rest their twenty-year-old son. Another family friend has welcomed his new daughter, Charlotte, into the world. Such opposite transitions.

Yes, there are those moments in life where a transition is unwelcome, visiting us as a nightmare. But somehow, we manage – we do manage to keep going so that we might explore other transitions. We do manage…

If you’re in a sour mood, transition your focus to something fun or positive so you can make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: The Mary Lincoln Daylilies are here!

It is already showing strong signs of becoming a more beautiful day as the sun warms the earth on this first official day of summer, 2022, and to make it official, my Mary Lincoln daylilies began blooming this morning.

About fifteen years ago, Jim and Debbie McCutcheon sent me a box of Mary Lincoln day lilies and they have been a passers-by favorite for years. Mine, too.

For nearly two weeks, they generally make a daily appearance on their summer tour with as many as eighteen blooming in one day.

If you are passing by The Haasienda, please be sure to spy those deep yellow daylilies in the front yard.

Flowers can help make it a great day, but only we can truly make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Friday morning

For some reason, I fought sleep throughout the night. The heat was the seed but by 3:00 AM, it had cooled off a good bit and a nice breeze coming off the deck mixed nicely with the window fan, ceiling fan, and pedestal fan from the hall. I retired from the deck just before 11:00 PM, Thursday night, and felt prepared for a good night’s sleep; however, a pressing matter kept my brain wired and I’ve not gotten that far into my research of electrical engineer, Charles Kettering, to learn how to unwire things, mostly my brain.

This morning’s humidity is uncomfortable at 88% in this 75 degrees. I try my best to never complain about the weather – it is what it is. However, humidity is the one thing that makes me push that envelope. The cap for today is 84 degrees and appears to be lower by about 8 degrees when the Levitt Pavilion concert begins at 7:00 PM. Plus, the humidity will be below 45%!

There’s not much to report on this fine morning leading into the full weekend. I’ve only a dinner with family on Saturday evening, and at some point, the yard will need to be mowed on Saturday or Sunday.

The Quartet is well and will be anxious upon me taking leave for the day.

Time to prep for the day! Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: My 38th birthday… I am legally 38 years old today

20 June 2022 – I am legally 38 years old, today.

My sister, Dena, who is 49 years old, and my younger brother, Destin, who would have been 48 years old, are also 38 years old, today.

On the morning of June 20, 1984, I entered the private quarters of Madison County Judge, Dennis Carroll, as Darin Lee Jolliff. About an hour later, I left the Madison County Courthouse, Anderson, Indiana, as Darin Lee Jolliffe-Haas. My siblings were no longer Jolliff but legally declared as Dena Linn Haas and Destin Lang Haas.

Upon the death of our birth father, Danny Jolliff, the previous December, our new stepfather, David L. Haas, only having married our mother, Diana Jolliff, two days prior to our birth father’s tragic death, agreed to adopt us.

When the gavel had ceased banging upon Judge Carroll reciting each of our new adoptive names, my new older sister, Autumn Haas, leaned forward and whispered in my ear, “Now, you’re officially a Haas’ ass!”

As each of my five sons’ adoptions was finalized, I whispered in their ears the command given by Autumn as my finalization. Little did she know she was beginning a new Haas family tradition.

While my physical birthday is September 25, 1964, which makes me 57 years old, my legal birthday of June 20, 1984, makes me 38 years old.

Whatever your physical, legal, mental, or spiritual age, make it a great day!

Photo: Judge Dennis Carroll, Madison County Court, Madison County, Indiana

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MY DAY: Friday is finished

Another fun adventure day at the park with some delightful Guests.

I returned home to collapse for an hour of sleep, cramming in the four to five hours of lost sleep from Thursday night. I woke refreshed, fed the pooches, and hurried downtown to the Levitt Pavilion for an Irish bluegrass concert. Amy and Katie Kress joined me for a fun time. I met Katie for lessons when she was about five years old; she’s now nineteen and will begin her sophomore year at Denison University this fall.

The weather was fantastic and the performance so enjoyable.

My body came to a screeching halt at 10:45 PM and I removed myself from about ninety minutes of work on the deck to my bed. Sleep is now a must.

The photo was taken from the Reibold Building parking garage looking down on the Levitt Pavilion.

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O, FOR HISTORY: The Bar Code

From Andrew Hershner, Dayton historian.

The Barcode made it’s debut in Troy 48 years ago this month!

The Marsh Supermarket in the Sherwood Centre at 982 N Market St was the test site for the new retail technology. Collaborators included NCR (which had a scanning research facility near Troy), Hobart Industries (a leader in the development of meat and produce scales that produced labels to scan) and Spectra Physics of Springfield (developer of the scanner ray).

On June 26th 1974 at 8:01AM Marsh cashier Sharon Buchanan made history when she sold a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit gum by scanning its barcode. The gum was sold to Marsh executive Clyde Dawson. When Buchanan showed up for work early that morning she noticed a larger-than-normal group of people she thought were patrons.
“Our customers didn’t know what was going on,” she said. “And we didn’t either.”
Throughout the previous night, technicians and engineers had installed a barcode scanner prototype in her checkout lane. The group stuck around to give her some cursory training and to see if the barcode scanner system would work.

The barcoded package of gum, which cost 67 cents, is on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C.

NCR’s Model 255 cash register included a scanner and a master computer that stored product information. Labels with UPC codes were printed and attached to products. This technology enabled stores to increase accuracy in the checkout process, control inventory and print a detailed receipt with a product description and price.

Marsh employee Laura Myers, who was 17 at the time working her first job as a cashier at Marsh in 1974, recalls the experience of introducing scanning technology as both exciting and a bit stressful.

“It was really nerve-wracking at the time,” she recalled of the training and efforts to help customers understand how the new technology worked. “I don’t think anyone realized how big a deal it truly was. No one knew we were making history”

First Photo: Marsh cashier Sharon Buchanan

Second and third photo: NCR 255 scanner

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Seven Quick Fixes to Feel Better

This is from DailyOM and not my own writing.

Anxiety and fear dissipate quickly when countered with conscious breathing.

The signals our bodies use to tell us we need to cleanse ourselves physically, mentally, and emotionally are multifaceted and often mirror symptoms we associate with illness. If we heed these signs, we not only feel better quickly but also stave off poor health before it can start. These quick fixes for common ailments can get you started.

1. Applying pressure to the acupressure point between the thumb and forefinger can release blockages causing pain, tension, and fatigue. You can relieve a headache naturally by squeezing for 20 seconds and releasing for 10 seconds, without letting go, four times. 

2. To breathe freely, irrigate your nasal passages with a neti pot and warm salt water. As you clear and soothe the sinuses, congestion associated with allergies or infection will gradually disappear. 

3. Apple cider vinegar is a powerful purifying and detoxifying agent. Soaking for 20 minutes in a warm bath infused with two cups of apple cider vinegar pulls toxins from the body and can clear blocked energy.

4. The foods you eat can have a profound impact on your outlook and mood. Eating a small yet satisfying meal rich in complex carbohydrates can lift your spirit and help you let go of feelings of anger, irritability, and depression.  

5. Anxiety and fear dissipate quickly when countered with conscious breathing because concentrating on the breath enables you to refocus your attention inward. You can ground yourself and regain your usual calm by taking a series of deep belly breaths as you visualize your feet growing roots that stretch miles down into the earth. 

6. Though tuning out can seem counterproductive, a few minutes spent lost in daydreams or listening to soothing music can help you see your circumstances from a new angle when you feel frustrated. 

7. If you feel ill health coming on, brew a wellness elixir. Simmer three sliced lemons, one teaspoon freshly grated ginger, one clove freshly minced garlic, and one quarter teaspoon cayenne pepper in five cups water until the lemons are soft and pale. Strain a portion into a mug and add honey by tablespoons until you can tolerate the taste. Drinking this potent mixture of antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal ingredients three times each day can ensure your symptoms never progress into a full-blown illness.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Thursday morning on the deck

Even at 80 degrees, it’s a beautiful morning on the deck with cooler air, a strong breeze, and the typical deck chorus from all around. It’s a fine setting for working on projects.

The big debate, this morning, is what to do later, once I have accomplished what is on my day’s agenda: A fun adventure? Attending a concert at The Levitt Pavillion this evening? Just hang at The Haasienda? We shall see. There is a movie at The Neon about the making of FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, but it falls at an awkward time when I need to feed the pooches.

In the meantime, I will prep for research to commence at 9:00 AM by spending time with Chief and Erma who, unlike Harrigan and Bailey, do not sleep in bed with me.

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Wednesday wanderings

Today is expected to repeat Tuesday’s wickedly hot weather. At 7:50 AM, the misery is already begun.

Sleeping was not comfortable, but manageable. Although I kept a majority of our fans aimed at the bedroom, The Seniors elected to sleep on the other side of the airflow. I could turn on the A/C but it has never been capable of fulfilling its command of keeping the house truly cool. In previous years, even on regular warm days, it has never been able to stay below 80-degree. It does need a new outside until but that would be astronomical.

So, The Quartet and I keep hydrated and keep the fans running. I have three large containers filled with water while I am strolling through the park for four hours. They’ve been fairly good about drinking their water and I am hopeful their anxiety with me being away from them will not overpower their minds from getting drinks as needed.

Now, it’s time to brush my teeth, fill my water bottles, and head off to the bus stop across the street.

Make it a great day!

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MY DAY: Wednesday winding down

Before I know it, six hours of the park life, a sixty-minute nap, dinner on the deck, and three hours of research, and it is nearing half-past nine o’clock.

The stroll through the park was enjoyable and I got to spend time with Deanna, Deborah, and Mike. Several volunteers with whom I normally work were in different parts of the park. The day was busy with several school groups and lots of out-of-state visitors. I am always amazed and impressed with how many find their way to the park from all parts of the country. Today we had visitors from Alamba, Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Florida, South Carolina, Wisconsin, Texas, and Michigan.

I wore a different shirt in and out of the park so I’d not soak my park shirt but not once did I perspire while waiting on the buses and connections. The Atrium and buses were nicely air-conditioned and comfortable.

Nap time was warm but not unbearable. I brought a fan to the deck and it has kept it just fine for working. I had soup for supper and it actually seemed to cool me off more than my ice water.

Right now, I am listening to THE JEFFERSONS on Pluto and a bit later will switch over to THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW and ALL IN THE FAMILY. I am always impressed with the writing, the topic tackled, the directing, and of course, the performances. Just incredible.

I am trying to decide if I should go on a Thursday adventure since I work this Friday. It’s not supposed to break 90 degrees but will still be warm in the upper 80s.

Until then…

Kings Island, 1971, a year prior to opening.
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O, FOR HISTORY: “The Gem City” – Dayton, Ohio

When asked how Dayton, Ohio was dubbed, “The Gem City,” very few can retrieve the origins.  Some believe it was based on a well-known racehorse named, Gem. However, after digging through old articles and piecing things together, I am hoping I have come to a possible conclusion.

On August 18th, 1845, a reporter, simply known as “T,” offered a tribute to Dayton, Ohio in the CINCINNATI DAILY CHRONICLE. Reprinted in THE DAYTON DAILY NEWS, August 23rd, 2015, Cassidy Boyer shared the CHRONICLE’s description of Dayton:

“The most indifferent observer will not fail to notice Dayton. The wide streets, kept in excellent order, the noble blocks of stores filled with choice, and of course, cheap goods, and more than all, the exceeding beauty and neatness of the dwellings, you at once mark with a ‘white stone,’ in a small bend of the Great Miami River, with canals on the east and south, it may be fairly said that Dayton is the gem of all our interior towns, it possesses wealth, refinement, enterprise, and a beautiful country.”


Later in the decade, Major William D. Beckham of THE DAYTON DAILY JOURNAL began a campaign to nickname Dayton “The Gem City.” So far, I’ve not discovered any research acknowledging Beckham’s choice for the nickname but Dayton’s Board of Trade commission voted in favor of the nickname a few years later.

Some have believed “The Gem City” was crowned by Dayton’s own poet laureate, Paul Laurence Dunbar in his poem, “Toast to Dayton.”

“She shall ever claim our duty, For she shines – the brightest gem That has ever decked with beauty, Dear Ohio’s diadem.”

Paul Laurence Dunbar died in 1906, and “Toast of Dayton” was not published until 1917; therefore, we’re still drawn back to the 1845 CINCINNATI DAILY CHONRINCLE article and Major Beckham’s appeal to nickname Dayton a few years later.

While Dayton has been titled “The Birthplace of Aviation,” and “Little Detroit” during its heyday in automobile manufacturing, “Gem City” has been a long-lived and appropriate title for a city and region that has given so much to the world.

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THE FAMILY ALBUM: Glass paperweights

My friend, Jeffrey Carter, a music professor at Webster University in St. Louis, Missouri, has taken up collecting glass paperweights.

Jeff’s starter collection: Paperweights

I grew up in Elwood, Indiana where glass was a major and popular commodity. Several blocks away was the glassblowing factory of the St. Clair family who had a rich history in our hometown.

The History of the St. Clair Family & Glass Business

The paperweight I’ve included in this post was a graduation gift from Paula Simmons, my band and choir director from 7th through 12th grades.

My classmate, Jodi Dauenhauer, lived beside St. Clair’s glass factory and I remember gathering up broken colored glass near her yard. In fact, Jodi loved the name St. Clair, so much, that she added it in place of her maiden name and is now Jodi St. Clair!

I’m excited that Jeff is collecting something that is near and dear to my heart, and something that is a part of my life in Elwood, Indiana.

Happy collecting, Jeff!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Tuesday morning on the deck

Muggy. The strong breeze adds some refreshment but the sticky, moisture-filled air is upon us with 90% humidity that will lower to 53% as the temperature rises from its current 75-degrees to 94-degrees.

It’s Taco Tuesday. Normally, I am not as excited as my eldest son about this event, but when I join Mama Kay and Ann this afternoon, it will be a nice break from The Haasienda.

Last night’s storms did relieve The Miami Valley of its oven, clearing the way for cool and refreshing sleep. In fact, I needed to pull up my blanket, and turn off the fan facing in from the hall but kept my window fan on since Harrigan and Bailey put off enough warmth to keep me needing to be cooled off.

I was up at 7:00 AM to prep my coffee and Zoom with my son and his partner, but by 7:40 AM, after feeding the dogs, I returned to bed until 8:45 AM. I slept well, but my body was prompting me to grab a bit more rest. Two loads of laundry are completed, on the line, and in the dryer. That’s out of the way.

The heat wave is the only thing that seems to be the only exciting thing for the day. So, I shall end the ramblings of an older gentleman and attend to my projects.

Make it a great day!

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Heat Wave & Monday morning ramblins

We’ve a heat wave coming these next three days and I cannot relieve myself of hearing in my head Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell singing their rendition of Irving Berlin’s “Heat Wave” for their movie, GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES. Mr. Berlin originally wrote “Heat Wave” for the 1933 musical, AS THOUSANDS CHEER which also included the title song for a later movie, “Easter Parade” with Fred Astaire and Judy Garland.

While the 72-degree weather is currently comfortable, the sense of impending heat coming through is heralded by the 96% humidity. I am not physically bothered by the humidity at the moment but the little signs of stickiness are with us.

The morning routine with the pooches is typical of most days but I believe they are also feeling something is coming. Harrigan continues to attempt dominance over a very complacent Erma and becomes agitated when the older dog offers no response. Harrigan has moved away from Erma and is no pestering Chief who has never really taken a complete liking to Harrigan. He’s always been protective of Harrigan and treats her no differently than the others, but I’ve always sensed a distance between these two. Bailey adores her Chief and regularly uses him as her pillow. Bailey also uses me as her snuggling fixture throughout the night’s sleep, often resting her head next to mine on the pillow.

Since beginning this blog post at 8:10 AM, the humidity has begun to empty its uncomfortableness within twenty minutes. Here it comes…

But, while I am fussing about my own discomfort, I am terribly mindful of those whose work will not allow them to escape the weather conditions, as well as those who’ve no security of a home, or homes without a cooling system. My little piece of the world is more ideal than some who’ve struggled.

There’s nothing more refreshing than listening to the sounds that provide the soundtrack for The Haasienda in the mornings. The birds always offer a chorus, especially the resident cardinal who blasts away each morning and throughout most of the day. However, the cardinal has taken leave of his post this morning. The busyness of traffic swishes on the Shroyer Road side of the house that collects all the morning’s sunshine until about 10:00 AM when the strays of light begin to invade the deck. Naturally, the umbrella and sun are positioned in such ways that I end up in the direct path of the sunshine and heat.

And, the perspiration has begun…

This is not promising for continued work from my deck table. I had also hoped to at least more the backyard, today, given the previous days’ rains have forced it to ankle-length. Mowing may be a pipe dream for today, but if I can just focus on the backyard, the front yard could hold off until later this week.

Well. It’s moving in on 9:00 AM and I’ve completed a run of dishes in the dishwasher, attended to a few business items, and now, it is time to turn my attention to some projects.

Make it a great day!

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MY DAY: Monday melting begins

I spent the majority of the morning seated on the deck at the table and beneath the hunter-green umbrella, working on research for several projects. There was little discomfort from the soaring humidity.

At Noon, I decided to mow the backyard so I’d not have grass up to my lower calves by Thursday. It was comfortably completed within fifteen minutes and then I attacked some weed patches. The Quartet rested on the deck, watching me with little interest.

Teaching commenced at 3:00 PM with a mix of Zoomed lessons and a number of students on vacation or at camps. I had an hour’s break and went to eat supper on the deck as darkened skies moved quickly overhead. After two bites, I was returning to my study to avoid getting drenched.

Teaching resumed on Zoom with my students in Iowa, Colorado, and Nevada. I kept one eye on the weather reports after reading some comments on Facebook about the second wave of storms. So far, we’ve not been seized by any of the northwestern storms shelling out large hail.

Tomorrow, Tuesday, as well as Wednesday, are predicted to be in the mid to upper 90s, and Thursday is expected to hang in the lower to mid-90s. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday keep us in the 80s with a Monday return to the 90s.

As a kid, I remember summers with days in the 90s and lower 100s but we didn’t really mind or didn’t place that much emphasis on the higher numbers. It was pretty much, “well, it’s gonna be a scorcher, today,” and we went about life. I remember when my grandparents’ air conditioner went out during a heat wave. They put ice in bowls and sat with the ice bowls in front of fans. Our house did not have air conditioning and I believe we eventually had a window unit.

Wednesday morning will find me at the park for four hours and I may head downtown to watch a movie at The Neon later in the day.

Until then, it is sleep and hopefully without any stormy disturbances. Remember to be cool and keep cool.

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MAKE IT A GREAT DAY: Sunday morning recovery

Saturday was absolutely delightful at the park with so many interesting and kind Guests moving through. From 1:00 PM until about 4:45 PM, it was non-stop. At 5:20 PM, I caught the No. 11 bus that took me to Town & Country Shopping Center in Kettering where Mama Kay was waiting for me, having just gotten out of her 4:30 Mass down the road. We went to Geez restaurant in Centerville for supper with Libby and Mama Kay’s cousin, Sue.

Beginning Friday morning, I was noticing stiffness and achiness in my legs. I went to dinner with Laura Parker and when I mentioned it to her she wondered if the rapidly changing weather and impending rain could be playing a role. I had recalled reading other MS patients discussing how weather did affect their mobility and comfort. There were a few previous times I believed weather to have an impact on my own body, besides my aggravated sinuses before a weather system arrives.

During my shift in the park, I felt fine but once I sat down to dinner an overwhelming exhaustion set in and shrouded me in a physical fog. I am afraid my lack of energy placed a pall on those with whom I was dining. Once I returned home, I removed my blue park shirt, opened the door and secured it so the pooches could come and go, and fell into my bed at 7:15 PM. I first remember seeing the clock again at 4:35 AM this morning. At some point, I do recall hearing heavy rain at some point and apparently rose to shut the screened storm door. I rose for a bathroom break and returned to bed, sleeping until 7:45 AM, sadly missing a ZoomFest with Joshua and David in England, and Dave’s parents in Boston. However, I feel much rested and quite refreshed.

Today at 3:00 PM I begin teaching and go until 11:15 PM.

I plan to take it easy the next several hours, filling the time with reading and researching until it’s time to get ready and sweep the hall and study area.

While taking it easy, I do intend on making it a great day!

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IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Roger Glass & The Kenley Players

One thing I love about the park is being asked questions to which I do not have an immediate answer. One young air force gentleman came through with his parents from Texas, and his college-aged brother living in Kansas City. The local gentleman asked about the incredible beer stein collection in the WinSupply gallery before entering The Atrium where the animatronic Mrs. Deeds and I reside during shifts. As with other Guests who inquire about things with which I am not familiar I assured them that given enough time, I would try my best to have an answer before they returned to The Atrium to leave the park.

I quickly checked out the exhibit but since I was keeping watch for arriving Guests toward The Atrium, it was a quick search yielding little information. I was focused on finding information regarding the steins and failed to notice familiar photos on the wall. The steins belonged to Roger Glass, the owner of Marion’s Piazza, and the gallery was dedicated to him. The photographs on the wall were from the displays at several of the local Marion’s Piazza eateries that I have viewed countless times throughout the past thirty-one years of living in Dayton.

Between 1940 and 1996, a theatrical producer, John Kenley, offered an equity summer stock theatre company that produced hundreds of shows featuring Broadway, film, and television stars throughout the midwest. Kenley is sometimes credited with laying the groundwork for Broadway touring companies. During its heyday, Dayton was one of the key venues and brought in familiar names like Tallulah Bankhead, Cyd Charise, Rosemary Clooney, Olivia de Havilland, Gypsy Rose Lee, Arthur Godfrey, Rudy Vallee, Tommy Tune, Ethel Merman, Burt Reynolds, Barbara Eden, Billy Crystal, Betty White, Mae West, William Shatner, Florence Henderson, Mickey Rooney, Roddy McDowell, Marlene Dietrich, Jayne Mansfield, Rock Hudson, Gloria Swanson, and many, many more. Some performers appeared in more than five productions: Edie Adams, Ed Ames, Vivian Blaine, Mitzi Gaynor, Vincent Price, Genevieve, Robert Goulet, Lois Hunt, Van Johnson, Carol Lawrence, Paul Lynde, Gordon MacRae, Ann Miller, Karen Morrow, John Raitt, Martha Raye, Alexis Smith, Betty White, and Barry Williams.

During summer stock tours, THE PHIL DONAHUE SHOW then broadcast in Dayton, showcased performances giving Kenley Players a national spotlight.

From 1966 through 1995, John Kenley brought his Kenley Players to Dayton and to Marion’s Piazza. Marion’s Piazza. Today, diners can visit walls on either end of each of the local venues that hold many autographed photos of the stars who passed through Dayton.

If you live in Dayton or just passing through, be sure to visit Dayton’s Carillon Historical Park and enjoy the Roger C. Glass exhibit. Then, head on over to one of eight local Marion’s Piazza for a bite to eat and see all the hall of fame photographs of Kenley Players’ stars who performed in Dayton.

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