Friday, July 27, 2007

Family...Stronger than Dirt

My daughter came across the river for a visit yesterday and brought her laundry. All 200 pounds of it. She left around midnight and I got up around 3am and am finishing it up for her...I am on the third load.

When I say it was a mountain of laundry, I do not exaggerate. She defended herself by saying she hates a laundry mat, that the laundry room in her last apartment was nasty, that she spent $15 at the laundry mat because those dryers eat money!

Naturally it reminds me of me when I was that age. I hated the laundry mat too, and I swear, I would go through every item of clothing I owned before making the long trek to the washers and dryers. I thought I had hit the big time when ever I was able to live in an apartment that included a W&D.

We also dyed her hair. I should have examined the box a little bit closer when I picked it up as a surprise for her today. It is not disastrous or anything, but it looks nothing like the picture on the box. She looks great though despite the mess up.

My kitchen is torn up, my detergent is low, my water bill will be high....but the day is priceless.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

If I were a Tourist Visiting the Bluegrass...

If I were to spend one day in Central Kentucky I would be certain to hook up with a Horse Farm Tour Company. Central Kentucky is the heart of the Thoroughbred Industry and if one is lucky enough to visit this piece of heaven on earth, having a tour guide to take you to places the average Joe is not allowed is a must.

I believe they are several hours long and will take you to the farms, a trip through downtown, and a stop at Keeneland.

If you decide to do the tour on your own, you have to go to the Keeneland Horse Track. It is so beautiful, it will stay with you forever and every other horse track will pale in comparison. I believe there are horses there year round training in early morning, when the heat is low. I know the kitchen and gift shop are open year round. You may even catch some horse sales in the summer. Racing is only in April and October, the season being only three weeks each.

If you do not want to stray far from I-75, you can hop off at the Kentucky Horse Park expect to stay all day taking in all the exhibits and checking out all the activities. Man-O-War is buried there and a magnificent statue of the Greatest Horse that ever raced graces his grave. Lot's of horse activities going on there all the time, horse shows, jumping competition, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

If you are adventurous and want to see the second most famous industry in Kentucky, you can take tours of the Bourbon Distilleries in the area, Wild Turkey, Four Roses, Buffalo Trace, Woodford Reserve, Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, and the crème de la crème of all bourbons, Markers Mark.

Another fabulous place of interest and not to be missed is the Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill. It is outside Lexington, going down a most beautiful country highway about 30 miles out into God's Country on the Kentucky River. The village has pretty much been restored to its original simple beauty. Local artisans are on hand creating furniture, candles, glass, brooms (there is nothing that can compare to a Shaker broom) and other items of interest in the Shaker way. The food is beyond delicious at the restaurant (I use to be a waitress there after my first year in college and I gained 10 pounds on the corn bread, lemon pie, and squash casserole). It is a step back in time.

Since you are close, you may as well go see Old Ft. Harrod . When we were kids and our cousins would visit us from the North, we would always include a trip to the Fort. Why? Because they would enact Indian fights!!! I'm not certain if they still do this, but when I was kid, it was soooooo cool.

There is also Fort Boonesboro, made famous by the long running tv program in the 1960's...Daniel Boone!

Me? I would include a trip to the Lexington Cemetery because it is the most breathtaking landscaped place of rest in the area. Spectacular!

I would go to the Arboretum because I love it.

I would go to the downtown library and head downstairs to the Friends of the Library Book Cellar.

If I had the time, I would head to the Irish Acres Antique House located at Nonesuch in an old school house. I would have lunch there.

If I felt like it, I would head to Ashland, Henry Clay's home and tour the gardens and the mansion.

Then I would head to Hall's on the River for catfish and hot banana peppers.

And the trip would not be complete with out visiting the Joseph-Beth Booksellers at Lexington Green. This bookstore has grown over the years, but still maintains its unique style of presenting books .... friendly. There may be a zillion Borders and another zillion Barnes and Nobles, but first there was Jo-Beth and no one has been able to copy it yet.

I'd exhausted by now, and if I were younger I'd be ready to hit the night life. Maybe a movie at the last movie theater standing in downtown, The Kentucky Theater to see if the Troubadour Series was on and if not, to catch a movie.

Then after that, I would have a night cap at Cheapside Bar and Grill and maybe listen to some music and have a snack.

I'd be exhausted by now and have to be carried to the car.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


..... and grow old wanting to get back to”
John Ed Pearce quote

Yesterday I went "home" to visit with Mom and Dad and help get the house in order for the big family reunion next month to celebrate my Mom's 80th birthday. Before heading to the house, I took a trip into Lexington because....I miss it.

Now I did not really "grow-up" in Lexington, though it was the big city we always went to for serious shopping. The Sears store use to be in downtown Lex and that was usually a destination. As was the Stewards, Wool Worth's, Wennekers Shoes , Wolfe Wiles. There were numerous movie theatres in downtown, and the McCory's, the music shop, the record shop, the bakery, art shop. You get the idea, this was the pre-Mall period.

Since I was sent to the Catholic High in Lexington (and not allowed to go to school with all my friends!)I went to the downtown area every afternoon to catch the Greyhound Bus for the ride home every afternoon for several years. I spent a lot of time hanging out downtown.

When I return, especially after this several year absence, the feeling of peace that comes over me is surprising. I think it is the most beautiful place on the face of the earth. All is right with the world. All the planets are aligned. All the little marbles are nestled in the holes.

The Malls did arrive in Lexington and the stores fled to survive.
Yet, what remained survived and today the downtown area is vibrant and always a destination for me when given the chance. I visit my favorite bookstore, the Friends of the Library Cellar, where books are donated in droves, as well as discarded library books. Years (and years) ago I felt this store was my private treasure, but now a days, every body knows and goes. Still, I can lay my hands on most everything. Yesterday I ran across "West with the Night" by Beryl Markham. I read this book earlier this year from the public library in Ft Wayne and I have to confess, I was tempted to not return it, claim I lost it, and pay the penalty. Now for $2.50 she is mine.

I timed it so I would arrive when the farmer Market would be in full swing. What started as a handful of local farmers and vendors on the intersection of Vine and Limestone has grown to two solid city blocks.

I went for the flowers.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Would you believe that Southern Indiana has a thriving, vibrant Wine Industry? According to the small winery we found, the land mimics the fertile French wine country as well as climate. Who would have thought! The very first ever winery in the United States, back when we were a colony, was in Indiana. Amazing. I checked her history and by-God, it was almost true. The very first winery was around Lexington, Ky and was a dismal failure. The gent moved the operation to Southern Indiana and using a local grape established the first "successful" winery and we are all better for it some 200 years later.

Joe and I decided that we would do our own trail of Wine this week. There are about 20 wineries within one hour of us, so off we went.

Finding Hubers in Starlight was a cinch, since it is only 20 minutes away from us. Look at those fabulous bottles. Once I got home and looked at the photograph did I realize how it the bottle resembles a star lit night! We bought a bottle of Peach Schnapps at Hubers and a bag (or two) of local produce and forged on to Hardinsburg, because it was the furthers out and I thought we would work our way back.

Naturally I brought along no directions, just a list of addresses and a mapquest map that loosely sketched out the area. I had a fleeting thought of grabbing my trusty Indiana Map (it saved my life numerous times in NE Indiana in my tenure up there), but I have no idea where it is now.

And I thought, like an innocent nincompoop, we have the Garmen.

Hardinsburg is only about 20 miles from Hubers in Starlight. Since I was the co-pilot, one of my jobs was to put the coordinates (aka addresses) in the garmen and then just follow the directions.

You would think that is easy. And in some ways, yes that is easy. Easy if you are on a superhighway and only have to get off at Exit 114 and go .........."end point two miles and turn left, turn left, turn left....recalculating"....... She always wants you to turn onto a one way street the wrong way, or on the on ramp to some highway also the wrong way, or to turn into the town dump because she thinks she knows some short cut obviously the indigenous Indians who first settles this area told her about.

I hate that bitch.

Joe mercifully turned off her power of speech (he has her powered up in an English accent, I guess being bossed around by someone with a slightly foreign accent is more acceptable than the regular computer generated vocals).

Unbeknowest to me, and I do believe he forgot, he also had the option of "avoid all highways" turned on.

It made for an interesting drive.

As I was waving the box around to try and reconnect with the satellite feed (we were deep in hilly country) we missed a turn and she had to recalculate. Not so bad, as we came upon one highway that was a straight stretch to the second winery. But, with all the drama of trying to reconnect, trying to figure out the "big picture" with the Garmin, I lost focus on where we were headed and was surprised as anyone when we passed the Corydon signs and continued on ending up crisscrossing the three streets that make up Hardinsburg looking for the winery road, with Joe supplying the musical accompaniment to the tune of "Deliverance".

It was closed! Dang it.

Back to Corydon to that winery. Back the way we came, though Joe insisted that I fire up that silly Garmin again and follow her route rather than just wing it with the map! We had nowhere to be, we had no time table and so I went along with this foolishness.

Man what a ride. At the time, it was unestablished that Joe had the "avoid major highways" function turned on. We went down, down, down into the country, off the divided two lane highways onto the unlined two lanes, off of those onto the single lane roads, and at times gravel roads. We even landed in a small rail road crossing type township and did a rubber band curve and headed back the way we came on the other side of the rail road track.

All in all, we panicked and then we found a major intersection and headed into town for the comfort and security of civilization. We found the information center with relative ease, she handed us a map of the county and highlighted the path to the Turtle Run Winery.

As it always happens, when we had emerged from the wilds of Southern Indiana, we were about 1/2 mile from the winery if we had just continued to follow that damn Garmen's instructions.

We had a great visit to the winery and the wine is fabulous. We purchased several bottles and headed home after a long day of adventure. Thanks to the map given us at the Information Center, we were about two miles from Interstate 64, and only 15 miles (give or take) from home.

Next time, I am taking the trusty Indiana map and to hell with Miss Garmen.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Shakespeare in the Park

Measure by Measure is not my favorite Shakespeare play. No, that would have to be Romeo and Juliet and I do not apologize for that. But when Joe said we could go out and do anything I wanted to do Saturday night, I immediately said, "Shakespeare!"

I sat on the bleachers later that evening, looking at the huge trees that surround the stage, surround us, and wondered exactly how much they had grown since the first time I was seated here, well over 30 years ago.

Odd, those little snippets of memory that remain lodged in our minds, those scrapbooks of still shots that make up a life. During the 1970's I see my brother and I driving up from Lexington to Louisville to meet up with my pal C. at Central park. I can see us sitting on grass left of the stage, on a red blanket.

I see myself during the 1980's dragging my daughter Bridget, who would have been five or six, to the plays. She typically was bored to distraction, but this particular play had sword fighting, and they fought not only on the stage but descended into the crowd and crossed swords in the aisle next to our seats. My feisty daughter jumped up and joined in the fight with an imaginary sword! I'll never forget the actor slightly turning his attention towards this tiny little girl with the blonde hair and swinging arms, smiling and nodding at her.

We were watching an interesting scene where a landlord from the village was accusing someone of running a house of ill repute when out of nowhere one of the local park residents entered the seating area yelling at the top of his lungs with a voice that rivaled the trained actors on stage.




Over and over he repeated himself as he walked to the center of the seating area and plunked down on an empty bench surrounded by

"Us" who were frantically avoiding eye contact and acting as if nothing were strange and unusual. He was two rows in front of us, and several benches over.


I began to wonder if he was going to stop the show or become violent. I worried for nothing, as he got up after 30 seconds into his soliloquy and began to leave the area. Still over powering the actors with this accusation and message to Bush, he stumbled and knocked over a bench. Those sitting behind the bench immediately leaped forward to catch it. It was the only recognition he received from any of us. He began to apologize to those closest, "Sorry, sorry".

As he righted the bench then righted himself he continued his departure, my attitude of alarm gave way to sorrow. I had no money on me, and neither did Joe. I wanted to reach out and shake his hand and palm him a few dollars, but I had nothing.

"BUSH, BUM, HUNGRY" he chanted as he left the area and began to walk back into the recesses of the park, two wary security personnel of the Shakespeare production following him at a respectable distance as he circled the stage. He faded away into the evening, traces of his accusations lingering lightly in the cool night.

My attention focused on the stage production again. As soon as it was intermission, we left.

I had such a heavy heart.

It seemed there was more drama and emotion in the audience than on the stage that evening. At least for me.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Silent Summer

What is the coolest thing about not working is ...not working. I spend countless hours surfing the net (does anyone say that any more?) and watching Netflix movies, and generally doing nothing. It's great.

I have a feeling it is not going to last much longer as I am beginning to feel guilty about it. Until then, I shall continue to waste time.

My most recent time waster began this morning when I wandered out to the 21 rose bushes to dead head them and discovered in the several days I have not tended to them the dreaded Japanese Beetles have come calling.

It is so gross! I began collecting them in a jar to pulverize them and then spray their diluted remains back on the plants. The damage is beyond trying Organic Gardening recommendations that I read 20 years ago and it stuck with me until this moment when I can use it.

But first, I rushed out and purchased a bag of bug killer which I shall use and feel terrible about it. But, I will force myself in the name of the Roses, those poor defenseless innocent roses.

I'm going to do the bug solution on the back bush that they seem to find as delicious as a French Restaurant in Paris.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

You Had to Be There

So family seems to be my big theme this summer. Spending the long long week end in Norris Lake was just the beginning. This has been followed by spending the 4th of July with the Joe family.

If I were an artist I'd include a map that would show you how we got to the 50 acre farm that Joe's brother and SIL recently purchased and renovated. Instead, I'll just drive you down there with a mental picture. You head out of town and dive right into horse country heading down towards Kentucky River on a two lane country road. Around five miles or there abouts, you begin the descent into the Palisades. Deep gorges, wet springs gushing down limestone, dark holes that could be caves, and the limestone cliffs that jump out at you as you steer the curvy tight road down...down....down into the lush river area. You have to drive on guard, animals are everywhere, deer, turkey buzzards, raccoons and the occasional loose dog. Then, back up the Palisades until you stumble across an even smaller road where you make a left and once again begin to head down, past the 7 Spring Creek crossroad, up a hill and by-God, you're there!

What's great is you have actually arrived at the end of the earth! And in such a place, you can do just about anything you want to do. We chose to strap the babies in very large ATV's and drive all over the farms ridges looking for deer! The children love it. I wish you could see how adorable the most adorable grand child in the world looked throwing kisses at us as she took off with Grandpa (hahahahah). (I can't get over him being a Grandpa...don't ask what that makes me!)

At the ends of the earth there was a grand fireworks display taking place on the other side of the hill. We climbed to a great spot on our hill to watch the celebration.

I am not kidding when I tell you we are in the middle of no where. I had a great time with my head thrown back watching the sky and being able to pick out satellites traveling across the universe and shooting stars. The night sky is so beautiful when you are not distracted by city lights.

This fire work action went on forever. So long, the children became tired and wanted to return to the house and the refrigerator that was loaded up with Popsicles.

We adults said things to each other such as, "Should we make a beer run?" "Can you believe this?" "Ohhhhhhh.....ahhhhhhhhhhh". "Wow!" "This is the grand finale, it has to be!' "This is the grande finale." "This has got to be the grand finale" "Do you think this is the grand finale?" and finally, "What do you think?"...."I think Grand Finale."

It was hysterical and we laughed and behaved accordingly.

And when it really was finally The Grand Finale, we did not move for a long time, afraid to even think it could be, that if anyone actually said, "Grand Finale" out loud, another batch of explosives would be ignited.

It was so funny, but I guess you had to be there.

Dear Ringo,

Are you who I think you are?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Touch of Gray

I survived. To live another day.

You would think as much as I longed to come home, prayed for it, hoped and dreamed that once I got here (almost) I would have countless stories and anecdotes. And I do! But I seem rusty with the writing, like I feel rusty with the camera.

The best way to conquer a problem is to just tackle it. Right?

Do good fences make good neighbors? I am totally use to having a privacy fence. I am totally use to the kids who use to live next to me in FW banging on the door and asking permission to go into my back yard to retrieve a ball etc. etc. etc. The kid even asked if he could use the un-used bike in the shed. (of course I said yes and even wanted to leave it with him, but somewhere I have these grandiose ideas that I will exercise with it someday). Now I have a bunch of hooligans who run thorough my back yard as a cut through to the next street all day and half the night. Last night they were in my back yard doing God knows what, examining my jar of caught june bugs which I am going to pulverize and then dilute with water and spray all over the plants they are chewing up! WTF? Aren't kids suppose to be glued to their computers and X-box games? I opened the back door and said, "Do you all play back here?" maybe it was in a menacing voice, all I wanted was for them to ask permission and I would have said yes, instead they ran off!! A gang of about five of them, next door neighbor and his/her toadies ranging in age (and I guess) from four to twelve.

I wanted a privacy fence anyway, for the garden opportunity and I'll admit it, for the privacy!

To distract myself from the kids running through my back yard under the cloak of night, I decided to dye my hair since it's about five weeks and the roots are getting out of hand.

My hair has steadily been turning red under the sunlight and effects of previous dye jobs. Now, I have always had very very dark hair, chestnut brown my Mother called it. Not black, but almost. Irish hair. So I get a box of dark brown thinking it will be cool!

Holy S***. I have very light skin and naturally a reddish tan, exacerbated by the rash I encountered while spraying the 21 rose bushes with some sort of fungal black spot destroyer. I look like a washed up, washed out Irish bag woman.

After a great nights sleep (thanks to several slugs from the bottle of NyQuil placed strategically by the bed side) I wake up and walk out on a totally drenched carpet outside closet housing the water heater, water softener and air conditioner. Holy S*** again!

Joe has taken off for Central KY to meet up with the kids, while I wait for the plumber. He came and it is not the water that is causing the problem, its the AC. Somewhere in the corners of my mind, I knew it was the AC after the AC Incident in Miami (when the ceiling came down ....I should have had my money refunded, I forgot all about that!!)

Good thing, no charge from the Plumber for the call.


He must have felt bad for me because of the hair.

Sunday, July 01, 2007


I am sick sick sick. Which is kind of funny, because I was never once sick while living in NE IN. It was a joke that maybe only I got. When ever I wanted off early (which you always had to plead your case to the Big Guy) I'd just include that I have never had a sick day unlike my fellow co-workers who were sick all the time.

Some type of twisted irony is about.

I may have to go to an emergency treatment center tomorrow if I still do not feel better. I think I have walking pneumonia. Maybe a strep throat. We'll see.

As I lay in bed unable to sleep and watching endless CNN and KET programs dozing in and out of sleep I wished for my Mommy and the good old days.

If we were ill, feigned or real, we were confined to our bed room and in bed. This was yesteryear, when no room had a tv. computer or anything remotely entertaining except for the radio and books.

The menu for the invalid never varied, chicken noodle soup, crackers, and hot tea served with sugar and milk. Ginger ale for upset stomach. This was delivered to you on a tray, brought to you by a sibling or if it was a school day, your Mother. You'd sit up, prop pillows behind you, tuck your book away and balance the precarious tray on your lap.

If you were really sick, the fever kind, you had a bowl of ice water and alcohol beside the bed and a wash rag soaked and wrung out, placed across your forehead. To this day, nothing is as soothing to me as this old remedy to lower body temperature.

Doctors actually came to your house back then!! Old Doc Parrott, who was old when I was a kid, was the last of his kind. He looked like a parrott. He would come up to the bedroom, take his stethoscope out of his bag and listen to your chest, tap around on your back, check your eyes and ears and then announce your diagnosis.

He missed my brothers once, who had appendicitis, Doc Parrot called it a stomach virus. My brother ended going through a very rough time with that mis-diagnosis!

It was around that time Old Doc Parrrot retired.

When you stayed home from school, you were never alone. My sisters were much younger and constantly under foot when I was in High School. Yet, they made good servants taking care of my every need. Refilling my ginger ale, the ice-alcohol bowl, or just climbing in bed with me for company as I read fan magazines aloud to them.

I want my Mommieeeeeeeeeeee.