It was really a good weekend for us all. I think Leo and Ernie had a good time hanging out together at home…a walk to Fries and Peanuts, a movie, some Lego sorting. Lord knows that Owen and I had a great time.
We drove by a building in Fort Madison, Iowa and I circled around because I wanted to take a picture of it. I pulled into the parking lot of a Dollar Store. Owen said he would wait for me while I popped out and took my pictures. I decided I needed to cross the street to get the right angle. I stood at the side of the road waiting for traffic to let me cross, and suddenly Owen came running over, saying, “I can’t let you cross a busy street by yourself!” He grabbed my hand and smiled and said, “Maybe a little street, but not a busy street.”
We headed over when traffic let up and took our pictures. He got some nice photos of a BNSF train that was going by for Leo, and then he held my hand as we headed back to the car.
I gotta remember this the next time he drives me crazy. My sweet pea.
Sunday morning Owen and I slept in a bit and then checked out of our hotel. We had looked online the night before to pick a breakfast spot and had decided on Jerry's Main Lunch. Not a flashy spot, but the 5 digit phone number on the sign was rather charming. We went in and luckily there were two spots at the counter. This was good because all there is is a counter....maybe 12 seats or so. I ordered the house special, the Mess, that consisted of hash browns, onions, green peppers, meat of your choice (sausage), eggs and cheese. Owen went with a cinnamon roll and another vanilla malt. Yes, we went all out. Service was friendly and the tiny size and forced intimacy made everyone in on any conversation. My mess was HUGE...I managed to eat maybe a quarter of it and took the rest in a takeout box because it seemed the polite thing to do. The counters have been wiped so many times that where the plates sit is a plain brown color, around it is the base red, and just on the edges can you see the little boomerangs that used to be over the entire thing.
The whole place seemed like a well-oiled machine, from the way the two women running it worked in the tiny space, to the way that, whenever a new group came in, everybody looked up and down the row of seats and got up as one to move one way or the other to make room for them.
And we didn't eat anything else again until evening.
When we were on our Spring Breaklette, we decided to order a pizza one night. For whatever reason Owen thinks ordering pizza while in a hotel is absolutely heavenly, and who am I to argue? So what the hell, we ordered a pizza. Owen and I were sitting across from each other, each of us perched on a bed, when we heard Ernie trying to order the pizza on his phone. "No, Ernie with an E, like easy," he said. Owen and I gave each other a side eye glance, only to hear Ernie go on to say, "No, ERNIE, like Tennessee Ernie Ford." At that we both pitched forward in giggles. Ernie waved his hand to shush us and said, "No, Ernie...you know, like Bert and Ernie." With that Owen and I were hysterical. Ernie got off the phone and I choked out, "Good job trying to relate to the young folks honey.....Tennessee Ernie Ford?" Then Owen laughingly spit out, "No, Bert and Ernie," and we almost wept with laughter.
1. I have a cloud of free floating anxiety following me everywhere this week. I'm not even sure why. The house concert? Work? My children? Politics? The world? Oh, and by the by, we do still have four spaces left for Saturday's show. Message me if you are interested....
2. Owen is very proud that he actually cleaned out the garage enough that.....wait for it.....the Honda FITS IN! Look at that boy. Just look at that boy. Ernie and I sat and watched some old videos of the boys last night and almost cried with laughter. This, and this, and this!
3. Ernie informed me last night that he hums when he gets nervous. He seemed to think I should know this after umpteen million years together. This was his defense when I got irritated that he was HUMMING while I was reprimanding a child about schoolwork. HUMMING.
4. As much as I'm still not as crazy about Hello Fresh as Blue Apron, our dinner last night was excellent. Chicken in a rosemary marinade with a warm green bean/roasted tomato salad. Nice.
5. Eggs from the Meat Lab.
6. Teri told me about Cataract Falls in Indiana so we stopped there when driving from Columbus to Bloomington and WOW! Absolutely stunning. Thanks for the tip Teri....
7. We picked up a Hopscotch cake at Art Mart last Friday and good GOD it was delicious. It wasn't cheap but you get what you pay for....and it also served about a billion people. It was also nice to see that Rick Orr had some flowers available at Art Mart.
Happy birthday once more to our beloved Heather Munson and Richard Hill!
8. And lastly, from our trip to Bloomington, IN....
And so my spring breaklet winds down. I worked a couple of days this week but took off Wed-Fri so we could all hang out together. Last year we did our French Lick/New Harmony outing. This year I decided on Columbus, Indiana. I had never been although I had read about its architecture for years. Starting the in the 1940's I believe, the owner of a major company there offered to pay the architect's fees of buildings in the town if the architects were chosen from a list of important architects. Thus the relatively small town is full of buildings by likes of Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Harry Weese, Richard Meijer, Robert Venturi, etc. I'm not actually that hard core of a Mid-Century person....it's the 18th and 19th century buildings that tend to make me weak in the knees, but I do love architecture of all periods. Buildings speak to me, so I was utterly smitten with Columbus. These buildings are often quiet, it's a beauty of simplicity and clean lines, so the town just has a quiet, peaceful beauty. I highly recommend a trip there!
We took off Wednesday morning, moving kind of slowly. Then there were multiple stops at Radio Shacks and Best Buy because of various earbud emergencies. I love my teenagers though. We moseyed along, stopping at the Oasis Diner in Plainfield, Indiana for lunch. A classic diner, and the sign...well, the SIGN! I decided to go with the tenderloin sandwich as it's a classic Indiana dish that I'd never had. Look at this thing....that's supposed to fit onto a bun. I assure you I did not eat it all. Service was great, food was great diner food and the place was sparkling. It made me supremely happy.
Between changing to Eastern time, the ear bud and adapter emergencies and lunch...we managed to hit Columbus many hours late but we didn't really care. We wandered into town about 4:00 pm. That gave us time to stop into the visitors' center (replete with Chihuly) and watch a well done introductory video to the town and grab a map. We wandered a bit, walking and then driving a bit, before tumbling into our hotel. It was a Hotel Indigo and we were quite pleased with it. The boys love hunkering down in a hotel room so Ernie and I went out, found a spot for a drink, and then explored a little more. The next day we planned to get up early and take lots of pictures. Well by the time we'd had a somewhat questionable diner breakfast it was starting to rain. I love rain but it did curtail our walking and picture taking. We persevered...I loved the Cummins headquarters (Kevin Roche) and I was walking along the stone tiles in the grass, under the pergola, I did a classic Cynthia and went BAM onto the ground. I must say that if I ever am doubting that my guys love me I should just trip and fall. They came running, panicked and full of concern. Ernie was trying to help me up and I just kept bleating, "Is the camera o.k? Is the camera o.k?" It appeared to be and apart from a scraped knee and palm and a bit of wounded dignity since I had managed to do this in front of the building's cafeteria with big glass windows full of people....I was fine too. It started to rain a lot harder but made it to the car without getting completely soaked. I was sad because I hadn't gotten photos of the Veteran's Memorial (Thompson and Rose). Owen offered to go take pictures of it in the rain for me (see what a fall does?) but we decided to all go in the rain. It is powerful. Huge limestone columns with details of letters written by soldiers along with the date of their death. Truly powerful. And yet again, standing there in the rain with all three of my guys, surrounded by these columns of loss, I thought about how lucky we are.
Almost more than the buildings, I love the landscape design and artwork of the town. Unfortunately we chose a day when the Miller House and Gardens weren't open...oh well...next time.... A few random grey day pictures.....
A pretty good first attempt at home made bulgogi.
A surprise visit from one of Ernie's oldest and dearest friends, Robay Geary. It was a wonderful treat. And yes, yes, yes, it's a truly awful picture of Ernie but Robay was smiling the most in this one so I went with it anyway....
Ernie picked some parsley from the garden and this tiny little bachelor's button ended up in the mix...it was just beautiful...the most vivid blue....
From one of Owen's boxes from the garage...an old phone I had decorated with nail polish many years ago. Made me sort of wish I still had a landline...
In Wildwood, NJ...
Some of Owen's pictures....
Ahhh...the end of vacation looms. Back to work tomorrow but that's o.k. I've had a good break....I'm SO glad I took some time off after we got back. That's a luxury you can't always do and it really felt good this time.
I've been busy doing nothing and turning over all sorts of things in my head....why the Jersey coast didn't speak to me the way Maine coast does; the story, and response to it, of Jackie Fox revealing that Kim Fowley had raped her; wondering how the Cosby story fits into that all; the ways in which we never really know what's going on inside others; and hoping that Ernie's bone scan shows his shoulder pain as merely muscular damage.
Yup. All that. Unfortunately I can't articulate it all properly so it's still just spinning around in there... Right now I'm too exhausted and exhilarated from online chatting with Comcast for almost an hour to try to pull it out of my head any faster. HOWEVER....I managed to lower my cable/internet bill over 60% AND get faster internet. YES. I did move down from a digital preferred package to a digital starter package....I made Ernie give up IFC and Sundance and I lost the Cooking Channel, but our internet is supposed to be twice as fast. Sometimes I think I'm ready to give up cable entirely...but I'm not QUITE there yet. I had tried this once before...just going to online chat and asking about prices but I never got anywhere before. This time it really worked. I haven't even told Leo about the better internet speed....he's going to be beside himself!
Before I head back to real life, a few random shots from vacation....
A breakfast treat new to me: Taylor's Pork Roll! It's kept in the cooler right next to scrapple. I actually bought some scrapple but never got around to cooking it. Oh well....
And in our last regional chip-off, Grippos was a clear winner!
I woke up Monday morning in our Cleveland hotel room and thought to myself...."the Keno brothers nodded at me!" The family rolled their eyes when I mentioned it. I ignored them and we all lolled about in the comfortable beds and ate leftovers for breakfast. This was our day to hit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I had added this on to the trip because I wanted Owen to have part of the trip that was something for him. I had never particularly been dying to go before but as we planned the trip I started really looking forward to it.
Our hotel was just a few blocks away so we walked down and forked over our money. As we paid they offered to take pictures of us holding guitars. Uh, no. We headed downstairs and began wandering. It was crowded. It felt mmm...odd. I'm not sure why I didn't like it more than I did. I mean I am a person who loves artifacts. What are my antiques except artifacts of a certain age and culture? So why didn't this touch me more? I'm not quite sure. The displays seemed crowded. I somehow expected more interpretation or focus. I don't know. I loved the Country Music Hall of Fame when I went there (although it was a million years ago). I made Ernie take a picture of the CBGB awning just to point out the...well....oddness. I don't know what I would do differently but....there was just something unsettling about this.
As we headed into the displays the first things we came across were displays of items related to Taylor Swift, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry and Lady GaGa...and someone else I can't recall. If I only had a picture of Owen's complete and utter bewilderment. "But why is this in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?" He was crushed. He and Ernie eventually found things they were interested in however. Me and Leo? Not so much. My leg was going numb which is always a bit unnerving and Leo was polite but tired and uninterested. Eventually we told the two blondes we would meet them in the cafe. Leo and I went up, spent $6 and some change on an iced tea and a water, and found a quietish spot to sit and talk. It actually ended up being delightful. He showed me all his pictures from Railcamp and we chatted and chatted. Ernie and Owen showed up and we all talked for a bit. Then Leo and I headed back to the hotel and let the two of the enjoy themselves without feeling like we were weighing them down.
For some reason my favorite thing that I saw was the display of John Cippolina's amp set up. I'm not sure why...maybe because it looked like a wonderful Dr. Seuss sculpture.
Ernie and Owen didn't take much in the way of pictures but Owen did get this. I love that boy.
Later I asked Owen what he thought overall and he said he'd give it a 6 out of 10. Not bad. Overall we were just kind of eh...although Ernie said one thing they watched did make Ernie cry...can't recall what it was now. So it had its moments I guess. We hung out the rest of the afternoon....thought about doing other things but were all just a bit road weary at that point. We ordered good Japanese food from a place called Noodlecats and snuggled into our beds. The next morning we got going pretty early and happily climbed back into our car. We'd had enough diner breakfasts during the week so went with doughnuts. A cursory search or two led me to Jack Frost Doughnuts and oh my lord were they good....these might rival my beloved Doughnut Dip!
my salted caramel doughnut above, Ernie's classic glazed below...
Then we trundled back onto the highway and sped for home. We drove through some frightening storms complete with hail and wind but eventually we made it into the sun and home. As always, as anxious as we are to get away, it feels unbearably good to be home again. I'm off the rest of this week and trying to not let work creep back too quickly into my psyche. In other news Ernie somehow hurt his back/shoulder. We're hoping it's not related to the accident and surgery. He's off to the doctor today. We shall see. The boys worry about him greatly. He has no idea how loved he is. Today I am enjoying the grey skies and am already thinking that maybe TOMORROW could be our productive day to figure out bills and everything else that needs to be done.....maybe one more day of vacation time....
On Saturday we left Cape May and picked up a glowing Leo at the University of Delaware. He was glowingly happy and had a tiny bit of glowing sunburn which was a wonderful thing to see on my pale inside boy. I tried not to keep hugging him for an hour but none of us could stop grinning. We tumbled into the car and headed off for Cleveland, about six and a half hours or so. We drove from Newark towards Strasburg, Pennsylvania. It was absolutely gorgeous, rolling country with wonderful architecture and many Amish horse and buggies. In hindsight (see? it was the theme of the vacation) we should have stayed around there instead of Cape May. We were so far east though that I could not resist the lure of the ocean. One of the days in Railcamp they had spent at a train museum in Strasburg with a live steam engine (as in Leo's picture). As we drove by we could see it loading up so Leo directed us to a spot where we could watch it go by. They don't have a turntable so it went by backwards but it was strangely thrilling to see. As we drove through Strasburg there were a number of antique shops that looked promising but our budget didn't allow for stopping and I just watched them go by wistfully.
After talking rapidly about his whole week, Leo promptly collapsed into sleep. It was a VERY busy week for him. We made it into Cleveland just as traffic was pouring into their stadium. We got stuck in traffic and one way streets but it gave us a quick tour of downtown Cleveland which I thought was delightful. We were happy to tumble into our hotel room though, to flop onto the beds and look out at the lake and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. My boys love hanging out in hotel rooms so they had no interest in going out. Ernie and I ordered dinner for them and went downstairs to the hotel bar. I found the layout rather odd until I figured out that the actual restaurant was being remodeled and it had all been moved out into the lobby for the duration. We settled onto a couch in the corner. My wine was expensive but it was a hell of a pour and we sat and talked and began to relax.
When Ernie was checking in to the hotel, the person at the desk had mentioned that the Antique Roadshow was in town. There was only one other person in the restaurant/bar when we got there. As I sat, looking out the window to the street, I saw a group of folks walking toward the hotel. I don't know why but I just thought hmmm....wonder if that's a group of AR folks. Just the look, the bags over their shoulder... A bunch came in and sat down and a minute later Ernie whispered the same thing to me, saying that one of them had a lanyard that said AR Crew on it. We giggled for no good reason and kept sipping and chatting. Then Noel Barrett (and lord I just looked at his website and he sure as hell doesn't look his age) came walking in and as he's pretty damn easily identifiable our suspicions were confirmed.
Ernie murmured "maybe the Keno brothers will show up," and I just rolled my eyes. Then a moment later, sure enough, Keno Brother One came walking in, over to a corner to talk on his phone. We sat and watched everybody. It all seemed so familiar for some reason. Then, in came Keno Brother Two. He stood and talked to the a group at the table in front of us before turning to take off. He looked over to our table, smiled and nodded. We nodded back and I tried to figure out if it had seemed as though we were staring. Ernie has this odd ability to get the nod from people though. I don't know how he does it. We can walk into a club and somebody from the band that we don't know will give him the nod. I'm always like "What the hell?" The first time we saw Malcolm Holcombe, before he even played, he walked over, patted Ernie's shoulder and said hello. It works on antiques folks as well. I have no idea.
I made Ernie get me another glass of wine because no way in hell was I leaving this kind of entertainment. Yes, we are geeks. A few minutes later Keno Brother Two finished up his phone call, walked over to the other folks and said a few words before heading out, only to turn toward our corner, pause and wave at us.
And good LORD did I ever want to call my mother. She would have been so tickled.
The Roadshow group headed out for dinner and we went upstairs, ordered some Vietnamese food for delivery and happily collapsed into comfortable beds.
Yup, my favorite moment of vacation (other than the storm coming in off the bay I guess....). I wanted to take a picture but I didn't want to sink quite that low.