Finally, some excitement…

I haven’t been thrilled with John McCain as my Republican nominee.  I pretty much planned to vote for him in November, unless he had done something like put Mike Huckabee on his ticket.  I haven’t been excited by most of the possible VP rumors, not that they were bad, just not exciting for me personally.

But this morning I got excited.  And as the excitement built, I worried that I was going to be let down. But no.  McCain has chosen Alaska Gov Sarah Palin to be his running mate. 

I love this pick.  I am excited.  I am going to put that McCain yard sign (which we have had for two weeks now) in the yard.  We have a McCain sticker to put on the car, but now I want to wait and put a McCain/Palin sticker on the car.

In the days to come, there are going to be plenty of people who say this was a bad pick for McCain, but unless they find Gov Palin in the midst of an extra-marital affair with the corrupt Ted Stevens and it turns out she aborted his baby after passing a gun ban, I’m going to continue to be excited.

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A great illness…

I have been terribly ill (tummy troubles) for the past week.  Totally out of commission.  Perhaps I have been eating too much meat this summer.

Well, summer is pretty much over now.  S had her first teaching day of the new school year today, which is a major signal of the end of summer to me.  I feel bad that her last free week was spent cleaning up my puke.

Even more free Cleveland…

Last night we went to another free concert at the Wade Oval.  This particular concert I had been quite excited about.  The band is called Yiddishe Cup and the play klemzer music and do some pretty clever humor bits.  They would describe it as “borscht belt humor”, which they do on their website.

They were good.  They were talented.  They were funny.  They were energetic.  They got all kinds of people up and dancing.  I can’t remember when I have had that much fun watching live music.  Probably at a Dead concert back in the ’90s.  I’ve now checked out their schedule and plan to go see them as often as possible.  I wil become a Yid Head.

At the concert we ran into one of S’s fellow teachers who was talking to a local city council man.  The city council guy was there to make the announcement, between bands, that Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones had passed away.  Very sad.  However, I was going to vote against her in November… But it is still quite sad.

Our nightly walk…

Last night on our nightly walk a deer ran across our path.  A deer, right here in the city.  He then ducked behind some shrubbery and watched us watching him.  Rummy really wanted to investigate the deer but we thought that would be a bad idea.

We now have a set pattern of taking our walk right around eight o’clock.  At 7:45 the dogs get anxious and start barking and running madly around the house.  Once they start doing that, there is no way we can not take them on the walk, even if we are both too full from our seven o’clock dinner to walk comfortably.

We are now up to 1.8 miles, which, if we walked it twice in a row would be equal to the Race For The Cure that we are doing in September.  I find that I am doing quite well with the length of our walks and that I am usually the one who suggests going “one more block”.  The problem I am having is that I have no proper foot wear for this activity.

S has new, comfy, Nike’s for our walks and for sport.  I have found that my Adidas soccer shoes are not actually good for my feet.  Not enough support.  They make my heels ache and the tendons in my ankles hurt like a mother ******.  Not good.  So I pulled out a pair of my old hiking shoes that I bought four years ago at Wal-Mart.  I had worn them out long ago but they still had more support than the Adidas.  Sadly, they gave me a terrible blister on the heel of my right foot.  So, I figured I would walk in my Crocs until we could afford new tennis shoes.  Walking in them isn’t bad if I pull the strap down around my heel to secure the shoe to my foot.  It wasn’t bad until the strap on the left Croc gave me a wicked blister on my left foot.  So, again I return to the hall closet full of shoes I haven’t worn in years…  Out come the really cool sport hikers that I bought three years ago at Wal-Mart (I’m cheap when it comes to shoes).  The thing is, they were so comfortable that I wore them every single day after I bought them.  I wore down their support.  So much so that the other night when I wore them on our walk, I cam home with blisters on the bottoms of my feet — on the big toes, the balls of my feet, the soft pinky toes and the heels.  I am now in desperate need for proper walking shoes.

In the next couple of weeks we should have enough extra cash to purchase a decent pair of shoes for me.  And this time I vow to get real athletic shoes, from a shoe store, not the shoe section of Wal-Mart.

Lake County Fair 2008…

I do not live in Lake County but I have to tell you that their county fair is superior to the Cuyahoga County Fair.  Three years ago S and I discovered the Lake County Fair and we have attended every year since.  Last year was our first trip to the Cuyahoga fair and it was a major disappointment.  And I say this even though the Cuyahoga fair is bigger than the one in Lake County.  A week after the Cuyahoga fair we went back to Lake County and really, it was so much better.  This year we didn’t even bother going to the Cuyahoga County Fair.  What’s the point?

We have been planning our trip to the Lake County Fair all summer long.  I’ve had it marked on the calendar and have been counting down the days.  Yes, it is that exciting.  I’ve been dreaming about the corndogs and the kettle corn.  S has been planning her carnival game strategy for at least two weeks.  Going to the county fair is a big event in our opinion.

I have to make a confession before I get into the meat of this post.  In all of my dreaming and planning for the county fair, I failed to make sure that the batteries for the camera were properly charged.  Damn me.  So, we arrived at the fair with just a tiny bit of battery juice.  I let myself down.  I let S down.  I have let this blog down.  I was not able to take as many pictures as I wanted to.  I was not able to take as many pictures as I usually do.  I am ashamed of myself.

The Lake County Fair is held in Painesville, Ohio.  It’s about a 45 minute drive from our house.  It’s not too long of a drive and it is just enough of a drive to let the excitement build.  I was a little disappointed that the town of Painesville didn’t plan their summer road construction better, as the roads leading to and from the fair were all torn up and strewn with orange barrels.  It made it a little frustrating to get to the fair.  That is really my only complaint for the whole day.

Once we got parked and got into the fair (admission $6) we started in with the food consumption plan.  We arrived with empty stomaches due to good planning.  I started off with a corndog ($3) and had polished off while S was still waiting for her beloved cheese fries ($3), so I got a second corndog.  They were the best corndogs I have ever eaten.  And yes, I say that every summer.  A nice added touch this year, when I ordered a Pepsi ($2) it came with a lid and a straw.  Usually, at amusement parks, zoos and fairs, the beverages come without lids and straws unless you buy the fancy plastic cups, which I usually don’t. 

After we ate, we went through the buildings that house the various comptetions (flower shows, agriculture shows, craft shows, art shows, cake decorating shows, cookie shows, etc.)  Being a week into the fair, the flowers were not much to look at as they were wilted.  Some of the produce that had won prizes had started to shrivel up.  The cookies looked stale after a week on display and the icing on the decorated cakes had begun to crack.  But still, we loved seeing it all.

Oh the jams and jellies…

Not many enterants in the honey competition.

The blue ribbon Jade plant was impressive.  However, it is not nearly as impressive as the Jade plant my grandmother has had for the past 30 years.  Now that she is gone, my mother has offered the plant to me and I couldn’t be more thrilled.  If only I were a resident of Lake County… I would totally rock the Jade competition.

This picture does not capture the true spirit of the Lake County Fair.  Since we got there so early in the day, this picture is missing all of the families that were milling about by the middle of the day.

After seeing the various competitions we moved on to the animal displays.  I have to tell you, I love 4-H clubs.  I did not participate in 4-H when I was a kid but my mother did when she was a kid and the experince sounds wonderful.  We met a little ten year old boy who was display his Jersey calf and he was anxious to tell us all bout the animal and that it was his “buddy”.  So cute.  The 4-H kids totally rock. 

I love the cows.  I got to see a cown stand up and then relieve his bowels and bladder.  Yes, I just said the word “got”.  Some people might not think that was cool, but I did.  Probably I shouldn’t have written that.  Also housed in the cow barn were the goatsS loves the goats.  I love the faiting goats.  I want a goat.  Every time I go to the county fair, I want a farm and I want some goats.  Once I get back to the city, have a hot shower and sleep in the following morning, I am glad that I do not have a farm and goats.

Every year S’s favorite thing at the county fair is the alpaca area.  She is nutty for alpacas.  Not only because they are adorable but because she is a knitter and covets their hair.  Usually I get a ton of pictures of the alpacas and S petting the alpacas, but not this year.  Damned camera batteries.  I only got one picture and it is a bad picture.  This was a particulary shy alpaca and he did not want his picture taken.

That’s a picture of the horse show ring.  We watched the draft horses perform various drills in there.  S does not like horses because they are big and scary.  I don’t like horses much because when I was a kid I had to take riding lessons and got thrown from a horse.  That sucked.

But we both enjoy looking over the miniature horses.  They aren’t big and they aren’t intimidating.  They are especially not intimidating when they have been painted up to be Hippy Horses, like this one. 

Here is a picture of the typical fair-goers.  Cowboy hats rock with the fair-going set.

After we disinfected our hands it was time to work on our second round of fair eating.  I thought S was going to go for an Elephant Ear ($4) but no.  She joined me in sharing our new favorite fair treat, chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick ($5).  It’s a large slice of New York Cheesecake on a stick that is dipped in that hardening chocolate and served ice cold.  I like to think I could eat an entire one by myself, but no freaking way.  Between the two of us, we still ended up throwing almost a third of it away.  It was so good.  Too good.

I don’t know how S forced herself to pass up the food booth that served everything deep fried – candy bars, Oreo’s, Tinkies and Little Debbie cakes.  I think it was the cheesecake that stopped he.  She is a tiny person but she can really pack away the fried foods.  We did bring home a bag of kettle corn ($5) and a candied apple ($4), which is also a tradition.  We were too full to eat them until late in the evening.

We only played two games even though we usually play many more than that.  The first game was a mistake because it ruined S’s day.  I encouraged her to play the guess your age/weight game ($3) because she only weighs about 100 lbs (soaking wet, as Neighbor Teacher would say) and even though she will be thirty this year, she still gets asked for her student ID by the security guards where she teaches.  I knew we would “win” the guess your age game.  She was resistant, but finally gave in to my pleading. 

The man running the game took about a minute to figure out his answer.  During that time he kept looking at me and my full head of grey hair.  I think he guessed older because she was with me and I look older than I am.  He ended up guessing 33 and we won a prize (a green ball for Emma’s enjoyment).  For the rest of the day S was salty because she really likes looking like a youngster. 

That game put a damper on the day.  We played one other game which was guess your fast ball ($5).  S impressed me by throwing at 32 mph.  I threw at 39 mph.  But we didn’t guess properly, so we didn’t win anything.  Okay, second complaint of the day… the woman running the fast ball game was talking on her cell phone and smoking a cigarette when we approached the game.  We had to wait for her to end the call, but not put out her smoke, before she would take our money and hand us a baseball.  Annoying.

It was yet another beautiful day and a great day for being at a county fair, but the sun really beat us into submission.  We only managed to stay at the fair for three hours yesterday and today my face and feet are a little sun burned.  S took a long nap as soon as we got home and we were too worn out to take our nightly walk last night.  Good fun, but exhausting fun.

Again with the fishing…

When the revolution comes and we have to go back to hunting and gathering for our food and livelihoods, I am going to rely entirely on S to provide us with fish.  The problem is that neither of us has an appreciation of fish as food.  We love them as pets.  We love them as an outdoorsy sport.  We just don’t love to eat them.  That will have to change come the revolution, as it is the only thing we know how to do.

We went back out to Punderson Lake again on Wednesday.  The fishing report said that it would be “excellent” from 11:30 to 12:30.  I really only want to go when the conditions are “excellent” because it increases the chances that I might catch something.  S doesn’t care.  She will go when the conditions are “fair” or “poor” or straight up say “hey there are no fish in this lake” because she loves the fishing.

Now, we have fished from a row boat and we have fished from a “pier” in the campground area, but this time we thought we would try fishing from the docks in the marina.  I’ve seen lots of people fishing there so I assumed it was a good spot.  When we first got there, we were the only people on the dock.  Lots of people were out on the lake in boats though.

When I think of the word marina, I almost always picture a large area with docks and big boats.  The Punderson marina is not that kind of marina.  Sure, there is a slope for putting personal boats in the water and docks for row boats and a boat house, but I would probably just call it the Punderson Boat House, not marina.

We didn’t have much luck for the first half hour or so.  Our worms kept getting eaten off of the hooks but the fish were too smart to get caught on the hooks.  S switched our usual hooks out for a smaller size and a few minutes after that, she caught this fish.  She informed me that it was a Perch and that she was surprised to have caught one because they prefer cooler temps.  However, it has been in the 70’s every day for the past couple of weeks, so maybe that is cool enough.

Even though we have been having a cool August, all of the days have been spectacular.  The skies have been blue and the clouds have been for decoration not precipitation.  A couple of days have had rain, but it comes in the early morning hours and is just enough to water the plants and keep the grass green.  Afterwards the sky clears up and we are blessed with beautiful days.

S’s second catch of the day was this little Bluegill.  I still hadn’t caught anything other than lake weeds.  But I was very good at cathcing the lake weeds.  I pulled in a real heavy one that was this _                         – long.

S also caught this big, ugly Catfish.  It was too heavy to get it completely out of the water and we hadn’t brought along our net, so she just got the hook out and let him go without getting a full picture.

Not much past one o’clock tons of people started to arrive at the marina to fish from the docks.  It was nice to see so many people fishing, but a few of them encroached on my little fishing area and I was no longer able to cast out without getting myself wrapped around their lines.  Annoying, really.  So I pulled in my line and started taking pictures instead of fishing.  Not so bad since I hadn’t caught anything anyway.  The above picture needed to be taken because it was a very touching father/son fishing trip.  I love that kind of thing.

This guy has the look of a real angler.  He had all the right equipment and he had great form.  However, I don’t recall seeing him reel anything in.  Still, he looked really good at what he was doing.

The last catch of the day was this itty-bitty Bluegill.  It was the last catch of the day because S started getting freaked out by a snake that she claims was near her end of the dock.  I say claims because I never actually saw the snake.  Three or four times I jumped up and went over to where she was sitting to see the snake but each time, it had gone back under the water.  S was acting all girly, jumping up on the dock bench and pointing in the general direction of the snake.  I didn’t believe her.  But then a guy who was fishing nearby claimed to see it and I had to believe them both, even though I still hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.

The snake thing shook S up quite a bit and she was done with the whole fishing trip.  That was fine with me since it had been an hour since I had even had a line in the water.  The car ride home was kind of smelly though.  S hadn’t used our special gloves when she unhooked her fish, so her hands smelled like a wharf worker. 

I have promised S that the fishing trips out to Punderson Lake will continue until it is too cold to sit outside for long periods of time.  I have promised to give her free reign of our Saturdays and even some Fridays throughout the fall.  I made those promises even though it is college football season.  These are the promises we make when we are in love.

Even more Lake View Cemetery Photos…

If you haven’t seen them already, check out the previous Lake View Cemetery posts here and here.

We sure did take a lot of photos yesterday.  Actually, S is the one who went photo nuts, I only took a few pictures.

I think this statue looks surly.

A Greek inspired grave marker.

A mausoleum with some privacy.

A large, but simple mausoleum.

The Gleitz family mausoleum.

A more Asian inspired mausoleum.

The grave marker of Senator Theodore Elijah Burton.

Apparently this man was a Mason.