Archive for June, 2013

Road Trip, Part Two


2013
06.28

I don’t know about you, but I hate going to the doctor. Whether I break an arm or get the flu, it somehow always comes back to my general fatness, which I don’t really need to hear. So I always show up at his office with a chip on my shoulder, but this past Monday I left the office with more than I had when I went in. I was given two injections (a pneumonia shot and a tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis booster) and by the next day I was sneezing and blowing my nose every five seconds, and by Wednesday I was flat on my back with a fever and cough. And thinking, geez, I need to update my blog. So that explains part of why I haven’t updated recently. The other part is about laziness, but that’s a whole other entry. Thank you for making me sick, Dr H!

So where was I? Oh, yes. Jean directs Cathy and Cathy’s husband Pat to a parking space near ours, and we move all my luggage and junk from their car to Cathy’s, and I think their final words were, “She’s your problem now.” And I guess I was a bit of a problem, with the non-working phone and my penchant for selecting the very worst areas from which to call, but neither of them acted very ticked off despite the extremely long drive back to their home. The same drive they had just made. On Friday. After work.

I had been to their home before, but that was before they’d adopted the very sweet Diamond (known to her friends as Miss D but not Misty) who appeared mildly interested but aloof, which was sort of like most of my past dates. She wanted to be friends but she just wasn’t sure. (Eventually she did sit on my lap, and would also greet me in the hallway in the morning.) She is what we cat owners like to call “a good girl.”

"Like a Diamond in the sky..."

Dinner at the Dunn’s is always good, and this time we had chicken cacciatore and a salad with some wonderful cheesy/vinegary dressing. Delicious! We took a tour of her gardens, which are gorgeous, and which shocked me in their blooming beauty, because you know the kind of spring we’ve had in Duluth: Rainy, cold, gloomy. It felt like being in a tropical paradise. Lush green grass, brilliantly colored flowers, chirping birds. Lovely.

Saturday morning I enjoyed coffee on the deck, where the birds were plentiful. Redpolls, cardinals, red-winged blackbirds and more. What a way to start a morning! My visit corresponded with Pike Days in the area, meaning many blocks of rummage sales, musicians, street food, and fun people-watching. I bought a small chalkware cluster of cherries for the kitchen, and later found another piece at an auction! Got some glass candle holders, and other fun objects that I could not resist. We picked up some hot sausage sandwiches at a local church basement, and went home to share lunch with Pat. It was such a hot day for this Duluthian… probably in the low 80s, but enough to make me feel kinda woozy. Great to get back to their air-conditioned house and relax for a while.

Later in the afternoon we went to more sales, and then stopped at a large flea market and food & music area. A ver festive evening! I bought a McCoy flower pot for my collection, and met a guy who also collects them, so we had a chat about various McCoy stuff. Shared a funnel cake while we browsed, and then ended up in a huge and lovely old barn where we listened to bluegrass music. It was so fun, and reminded me so much of all the bluegrass festivals I’d attended when living in Georgia. The good old days, when I didn’t realize those were going to be them!

We drove up the mountains (where the air was cooler) and had dinner at a great place called High Point, overlooking the Monongahela River. A fabulous view, and really good food. Such an enjoyable evening. (The fried cod sandwich was delicious.) We later went shopping at Ollie’s, a huge bargain shoppers paradise, which was just as much fun as the first time I’d been there. Wish I lived closer to Ollie’s!

Pat & Cathy at High Point. See the river?

Monangahela River view from High Point Restaurant

Visiting a Deacon means one goes to church on Sunday, and so we were off to St Peter’s Anglican Church in Uniontown to watch “our” deacon in action. Cathy is actually the first female deacon of her church, so a sort of pioneer in that area. It was interesting to watch her in an actual church service, and to meet her church friends who have a great fondness for her.

St Peter's. A beautiful old church.

Me and Deacon Dunn in her garden-y yard.

Pat and Cathy before church.

After church and after lunch, we drove up to see Pat’s cabin in the mountains, a rustic retreat where he and his buddies get away for hunting weekends and other manly pursuits. Though the place was built in the 1700s and still has a wooden outhouse on the property, I was not too surprised to see a satellite dish outside! You’ve got to make some concessions to modern living, you know!

They have cable, but you have to work for a drink of water!

The cabin was a step back in time; a jumble of old dishes and antiques and pots and pans (you know they eat well, sort of like firemen!) and fishing and hunting magazines and deer heads and an ancient black box wall phone. I fell in love with it, of course. I wanted to spend the day going through cupboards and drawers, but minded my manners. If you had to get away for a weekend, I couldn’t think of a better place.

After a scenic ride around town, we ended up at River’s Edge; a lovely restaurant right on a river’s edge (hence the name) with outdoor seating and one of the most interesting bathrooms I’ve seen in ages. I had a wonderful steak and potato dinner with green beans and a salad, and later we walked down to the river and fed the ducks.

We enjoyed dinner on this patio at River's Edge.

Feeding the ducks

The end of a wonderful visit! We made plans with Jean and Dave to meet at Panera Bread in Monroeville in the morning, and I was off to bed, though first spent about an hour trying to pack all my treasures into my bulging suitcase.

Shy Diamond saying goodbye on Monday. Not her actual eyes...

We took a different route home, which was interesting, though we did run in to some bad weather along the way. We got to the Mackinac Bridge just as the fog was rolling in, so I saw nothing of Lake Michigan from that vantage point. Would love to go back and have a look!

Our trip home took us around Detroit and Flint, and we spent the night in Manistique. Next morning we drove through Escanaba, stopping at St Vincent dePaul to look for bargains, and then down to Marquette. By noon we were in Bessemer, Michigan, watching for the “Welcome to Wisconsin” sign. Got to Brule, where we had lunch, and then on to Superior, and then back to Duluth, my favorite city on earth. (Despite the cold.)

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PS: Three more auction boxes to give away, so sign up now and get yours before they’re all gone. Leave a note here, or send me an Email at pjackson@pattjackson.com. It’s fun!

Dr Evermore’s Forevertron, North Freedom, Wisconsin


2013
06.15

This is such an amazing place. You could spend hours walking around and being amazed at this person’s creativity and wit. It’s free to visit, and I think were were almost the only ones visiting on that particular day. Go! See!

Not sure why this was there, but the sad clown sort of reminded me of Krusty.

Exotic Birds

Ancient Warriors?

Happy characters

Another happy character: Jean at Forevertron

Big Bird

Road Trip! (Part One)


2013
06.15

Is there anything better than getting into the car and taking off to see the world? Or even just 2,000 miles of it?  I don’t think so.

My friends Jean and Dave and I set out for Pittsburgh on May 16, eager to see the sights. They had been planning on driving their new car out there to visit their daughter Molly, and I begged them to take me along so I could visit my friend Cathy, who lives in that area. They readily agreed. (I hope they are not kicking themselves today.)

Just for the record, I kept track of gas prices along the way, because the day we left, Duluth was at its highest price to date, a cool $4.17 a gallon. Turns out it was the highest on the trip, with Smithfield, PA, being the lowest at $3.43. What gives?

Anyhow, our first stop was Chetek, Wisconsin, where we visited a very cool antique store whose name I’ve forgotten. On to Osseo, where we stopped for pie (Coconut, one of my favorites) at the Norske Nook. We visited another antique store there, where we were cautioned to not pet a very friendly cat. What the heck? We did anyway. We all lived to tell the tale.

It looked kinda like this one. Who wouldn’t pet him/her?

Later that day we reached one of the highlights of the trip, which I highly recommend if you like oddball stuff made from wild imagination and probably lots of money: Dr Evermore’s Forevertron, in North Freedom, Wisconsin. It was a little difficult to find, since the folks we asked hadn’t ever seemed to hear of it. If you need directions, just ask for “that monument place.” That’ll get you there.

Here’s Jean going into the post office to ask for directions, which they didn’t seem to know. There’s Dave going in to double check!

I’m going to post some photos of Dr Evermore’s in the next entry.

After the self-guided tour around Dr Evermore’s park, we drove to Baraboo, Wisconsin, which used to be the winter home of Barnum & Bailey, or maybe Ringling Brothers, but I don’t think it is anymore. Looked like a great little town, and we had dinner at a silver diner, which sounds like a line from a song.

I loved the toll roads (except for the paying part) and the Oasis stops with large clean bathrooms and lots of little shops and maps. We’ve come a long way from Stuckey’s, though you can still buy chachkes if you need ’em.

We spent the night at a hotel in South Bend, but got there just as every restaurant in town was closing. (And it was Notre Dame’s graduation weekend, so what the heck?) We ate a late dinner at the Steak and Shake, and went to our separate rooms and slept like dogs. At least I did!

In the morning he drove through Elkhart, Indiana, and on to Toledo, Ohio, stopping for Starbuck’s coffee and caramel corn. You gotta have that on the road. We listened to a beautifully poetic short story called “The Distance of the Moon,” by Italo Calvino, and read by actor Liev Schreiber. I want to read it or hear it one more time. I thought it was a perfect bedtime lullaby for adults and children alike. Gorgeous.

Near Sandusky and Norwalk, we stopped at an Oasis where Jean and Dave wisely ordered lunch, but I opted for Hershey’s ice cream. Think about it (which I did when I saw the sign.) What could be better than ice cream made by Hershey? Turns out, just about anything would be. The ice cream was marginal (they only offered about 3 flavors) and when I asked for hot fudge, they said they didn’t serve that. They had sprinkles, though. So I had a cup of grocery-store quality ice cream, for a mere $3.69, and that was that. I also bought a bottle of water for the road, only to discover it was actually sugar-free Sprite, or something like that. Foiled again!

We arrived in Pittsburgh around 5:00 and were directed to “The Strip,” which was a fun touristy area of town where I discovered Lidia Bastianich has a restaurant, which might have been fun to visit. (The short haired lady from the Create channel’s “Cooking with Lidia.”) We visited the public market which seemed to be closing up, and tried to buy a drink somewhere but nobody would acknowledge our presence (take THAT, Public Market!) and visited a wonderful antique store where we didn’t buy anything but the friendly owner gave us a lot of tips on what to see and where to eat.

My cheap TrackFone apparently does not work outside the confines of my car, so Jean had to use her phone to call Cathy and Cathy’s husband Pat, to give them directions on where to find us in the seemingly busiest section of Pittsburg on a Friday night after work. One of my favorite memories of the trip is Jean on the phone, walking down a busy street waving and guiding our friends to a parking place. Had it not been for Jean, I’m not sure how we’d have found each other. Are there public phones anywhere anymore? I never saw one.

So, part one of the trip. Part two to follow. Pictures of Dr Evermore’s Forevertron on the next page. Go there. You’ll love it. Take a lunch and have a picnic. They’ll let ya.

***

PS: Three more auction boxes to give away, so sign up now and get yours before they’re all gone. Leave a note here, or send me an Email at pjackson@pattjackson.com. It’s fun!

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PPS: I’m not proofreading this, just so you know.

Taking Care of Business. (NOT)


2013
06.07

First of all, there’s no winner for the May auction drawings.

There’s no winner because someone is too busy or too lazy to get things together enough to do it. It’s already taken me one month to deliver the April winning box of stuff, so that kinda gives you a clue about my activity level.

Naps are good.

But you know how it is, right? There’s work. There’s lawn mowing. There’s volunteer stuff. There’s fun times spent with family and friends. There’s this, there’s that. Since retirement, my days have lacked structure, and that throws me off. Every day is different, which can be a good thing unless you are a dullard who thrives on routine, as some of us do. Me, for instance.

Everyone needs a break from time to time, eh?

So I keep telling myself that I will pull it all together some magic day. “When the lawn gets mowed.” Or “When the trip is over,” or “When the party is behind us,” or “When that garage sale is over.” But those “when” days come and go, and are replaced with new “when” days, and so things that should be getting done are not getting done.

So I’m taking a break, I guess.

I’ll get back to the auction drawings the end of this month. There are only 3 boxes left, so you still have a chance of winning, if you let me know you’re interested. Even if you’re not, you can still win. It’s fun!

In the time it took me to write this, I could have told you about my fabulous road trip with Jean and Dave, and even showed you pictures of really fun stuff, but that will have to be on hold for a few days.

The Gigantic Garage Sale (the sale is gigantic, not the garage) will be over tomorrow, and maybe I can get back on track again, with no “when” day looming, and a fully functioning brain. (Or what passes for one at my house.)

So there ya go. I hope you are enjoying your summer, such as it is. I will be back. I promise!