Wednesday, July 28, 2010

An iPod…

two GPS devices,

a Nintendo DS video game,


a money clip,

two electric shavers,

several I-PASS toll transmitters, along with other cell phones, money and miscellaneous items were all recently taken in a rash of burglaries in the cover of night from UNLOCKED vehicles sitting in people’s driveways in the small town where I live.

Now growing up all those years ago, we barely ever locked the doors to our home, let alone our cars…

but today, to leave valuables in an unlocked car overnight, is just plain DUMB.

And those boys who found it necessary to steal from others, who were caught by an alert neighbor walking his dog in the wee hours of the morning, are...

17 and 15 years old.

ten rules of life they need to be told

scold scold scold

Thursday, July 22, 2010

“Let’s Go West!”

I have often said over the years to my children while passing the tollway sign near our house that reads “East to Chicago/West to Iowa”.

Iowa is where we vacation.


For a vacation?


But it wasn’t the state that enticed us to make the 10 hour round trip, it was the people.

Specifically my Aunt Jean, Uncle Jim and their two children (now adults), David and Lisa.

I was just 16 years-old when my best friend, Carol and I boarded a Trailways’ bus in downtown Chicago and headed west, announced in their local paper that we were there, we were treated to stock car races, pizza, movies and had a blast playing in one of their never changing parks (nice pose from the 70's C.D.!)...

I was in love.

That love led me back, even taking my own kids to that same park...

Made to feel so welcome, why would I not want to go back, over and over and over again?

We have gone for birthdays...


and it was in their small town in central Iowa that I was taught to hand feed cows and was not ridiculed (at least not out loud) for having big dorky glasses and badly cut hair.

My children and I felt right at home in Aunt Jean and Uncle Jim's house, although pretty small...

it was filled with fun, food and family!

And a big part of that fun was my Uncle Jim.

A Navy guy, who was sometimes grumbly on the outside, but inside, he was stuffed with fluff.

He was old school.

He reminded me of my father and thus made me feel safe.

He gave my son his first ride in the back of a pick up truck (unknown to me prior to its happening and LOVED by PJ!).

He taught me how to tie my running shoes, so when Aunt Jean and I ran the Bix 7, they NEVER came untied…

He loved my Momma’s cake...

and hated my Aunt Jean’s coffee...


He loved camping and classic cars.

He was a jokester, who would repeat a joke in a way that at first you would think he was telling you a true story.

He also awed many a youngster with his “missing thumb” trick.

And I will never forget the morning he woke us all up early by BLASTING music from the stereo downstairs.

That great guy...

my Uncle Jim...

passed away this week.

Finally succumbing to the fight...

a hard, hard fought fight that lasted many years.

During his last days, I knew what my Aunt Jean and family were going thru, having been there alongside my father 9 years ago - only prayers and kind words could be said.

Uncle Jim was a man with many, many good qualities, but what he was great at was adoring his wife, loving his children and cherishing his three granddaughters.

To them I give this tribute, tears and my love.

a lot of

Thursday, July 15, 2010

MELT bar & grilled

Having spent five days last week in Cleveland, Ohio (with my son at the National Stuttering Conference – which I will write about in another post), I looked outside of its city limits for something to do.

In that search, I found MELT bar & grilled restaurant, just one little town away. Not able to sit and eat at the restaurant (time restraints in dealing with MELT’s ever present TWO hour wait for a table for me and the 3 extra people back at the conference that also want to come along), I was able to drive there, place an order for four TO GO sandwiches and wait at the bar for the ONE hour it takes to get a carry out.

MELT has been made MORE famous by being featured in an episode of Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives show on the Food Network and with my and Anna’s upcoming Diners, Drive-ins, Dives and Divas road trip, I could not miss an opportunity to visit this beloved by Guy, jewel of a restaurant.

Sitting at the bar during my wait, I selected something cold to drink…

while quenching my thirst I struck up a conversation with the guy sitting next to me and he kindly obliged my request to photograph his food when it arrived…

it was their very popular Big Popper, a humongous, fresh jalapeno pepper, herb cream cheese, cheddar cheese stuffed sandwich dipped in beer batter and then deep fried, along with to-die-for-fries and homemade sweet slaw.

I fell deeply in love.

After finishing my "beverage" I wandered a little bit and shot these photos...

One of the kitchen crew.

And lighted plastic figures, some which might say "Boo!"

Art glass windows embedded with fun.

Along the walls of the entrance is artwork with people that are important to someone.

From the outside you might just drive right by...

as I did the first night that MELT I tried to find (DEEP HEAVY SIGH).

And if you get the chance to dine outside on the patio...

it will be under the watchful eye of Mr. Hoot know!!

I should have eaten my Parma, Italy sandwich at the bar, because carrying it (along with the three other sandwiches) back to the vintage hotel in Cleveland inside its plastic container, although still fabulous and tasty, it was soggy and not so hot.

next time i know what to do or not

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


my photographer son, Phillip and I are attending our second National Stuttering Association's Conference.

I again am asking for prayers that this trip be enlightening, enriching and awesomely rewarding for both Phillip and me, but especially for him, who as a little boy use to pinch himself and physically pull his jaw down in trying to get the words out; Phillip, who has grown into a bright, artistically talented young man, and who lets his photos “speak” on his behalf.

much much thanks again to the nsa staff

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Job Update...

I am finally breathing a little easier, although not quite up to blogging on a regular basis...


I decided during my lunch today that I should stop and appreciate the outside of this ginormous office building that houses me for 7.5 hours a day, because there is beauty...

and upon entering "my" building you are greeted by some of the nicest people I have ever met...

and me saying they are "nice" has NOTHING to do with the fact that they love my dot dot dot eat cookies a lot! cookies and purchase them from me every week!

more people like that i should seek