Walking peeves…

Being that most people don’t venture much out of their homes, they pay no attention to things that are really important, like not having the trees and bushes growing in such a way as to make it difficult to walk by. I cannot tell you how many times I have had to bend down to avoid branches (while biking and while walking) and barely avoided being decapitated or face and bodily whipped. How hard is it to prune these growths? I have seriously thought of walking with my pruning shears and helping them out.

Another peeve is the filthy sidewalk. Now mud is to be expected outside but is anyone aware of the dangers of dirty sidewalks? Add a small amount of rain and one will find that the mud becomes as slippery as oil! The sidewalks I have seen like this still have last autumn’s leaves next to them, no attention being taken care to clean even last winter’s detritus.

A visual peeve of mine with lawns is the edging issue. A perfectly manicured lawn does not fit that mold if the edges are not clearly defined and sharp. All it takes is some nice edging to make it all look good, but there are many beautiful lawns lacking this final step.

Another pet peeve is the dog walker who does not do his job and pick up after his or her canine. Luckily, that does not happen all that often in Deerfield, but I must say that it did last week as a homeowner yelled at me from down the street thinking I was the guilty dog owner. I showed him my bag and said that it was clearly someone else.

Oh, if only I had control in the real world, what a prettier place it would be!

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Begin Again…

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Our Labor Day was quiet in the morning with my return to the sidewalk with Stewart. We had a nice walk and then I came home to spend time evaluating my online French courses.

I spent the morning doing that and then we had lunch before heading out to the movies. The weather was threatening and of course decided to get sunny by the time we went to the showing of “Begin Again” at 1:40 PM. It might, after all, have been a kayak kind of day.

The movie stars Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Catherine Keener, Adam Levine, and Cee Lo Green in a movie about two people who meet, both being in a down and out state of some type. Mark Ruffalo’s character is experiencing difficulty, no longer the successful music industry character and he is at odds with his business partner as well as with his wife and daughter. Keira’s character plays a person who had a seemingly great relationship with a musician (she is a songwriter herself, a good one at that), and sees fame changing him and thus their relationship. Adam Levine does a good job playing her love interest and a budding music star. Fate has them meet and an interesting story ensues as they each work toward bettering themselves and finding what they deserve in life.

Neither of them having money, they resort to some interesting methods to achieve that goal. The underlying theme is how to achieve one’s goals by being true and genuine to oneself.

Despite it looking like a ‘fluff’ movie, it was actually much better and had we not noticed that the writer and director was none other than John Carney, who did the Dublin based movie, “Once,” we might not have considered it. That would have been a shame since it was really a quite engaging movie.

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Happy Labor Day 2014!

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What better way to commemorate our workers than to think of the labor behind canal construction and then maintaining it for its continued good use? What better way to commemorate our workers than to think of the labor behind canal construction and then maintaining it for its continued good use?

Although we celebrated our Labor Day yesterday, I am wishing a wonderful Labor Day to all.

The tradition is the first Monday of September and it is held in both the U.S. and Canada and it commemorates the worker. It is not celebrated in May due to President Grover Cleveland fearing repercussions with putting it with the traditional day of the Worker on May 1st.

We came home from Cleveland, just after noon, after a five and one half hour drive (and that includes stops) yesterday, chilled a bit, I did some grading of my newly begun French 101 class, and the kids came over.

We had a great time. Christian had bought some bratwurst from Wisconsin, since he had been surfing there, and we pulled out the grill. We had all the Koerners and it was wonderful. The fear was that today, what with Samantha starting her first day of Kindergarten, it might be lower key not doing it on Monday.

Today I shall labor on finishing up my grading, the first week is especially tough as I have to deal with those students who do not do the assignments and make sure that they are aware of their responsibilities. More often than not, I never know the details of their reasoning for not performing; it makes me wonder why they even signed up. I did get a message from one student, thanking me for contacting her, but saying that she was trying to figure out how to balance five courses and a job, and that I totally understand.

The weather looks iffy but the day is special. Workers made us what we are today. ‘Have a good one!’

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Taking my mom to her old haunts

The Family composed of Geiger, Paetsch, and Koerner

The Family composed of Geiger, Paetsch, and Koerner

This time I am in it!

This time I am in it!

This canal goes back to the 1820s and goes from Lake Erie to the Ohio River.

This canal goes back to the 1820s and goes from Lake Erie to the Ohio River.

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I woke up around 7:00 AM Eastern time and MK slept a little longer. We got up in a leisurely way and headed down Rockside Road to have lunch at a local Diner, “Yours Truly,” that is adjacent to the Ohio and Erie Canal that was built in the 1820s and 1830s. It was delightful but I kept thinking how much I would enjoy riding my bike on the adjacent bike path.

After a fine breakfast, we headed to Chagrin Falls, a thirty minute ride away through extremely rolling countryside with deep valleys, reminding me that the area of my youth was far from really flat. We drove through, saw the falls, and headed to Shaker Square, a formerly posh shopping square near the hospital where I was born. From there we went toward the highway to get back to the hotel, going through less than desirable neighborhoods, including Buckeye Road, the area where all the Hungarians lived and we saw the boarded up, magnificent St. Elizabeth of Hungary church. I was baptized in nearby St. Margaret of Hungary, but we did not see that. We thought, as we were rolling through these almost burned out neighborhoods, that we were taking my mom (since her remains were safely ensconced on the back seat) through her old haunts. I must say I was even irreverent, in a mood of black humor, of thinking of taking her on the roller coaster at Cedar Point (which we passed on the way to Cleveland) or to other places as well, knowing full well that she would have been disgusted at the thought, but that in the end she would laugh at the irreverence of it all, something we would all share and now something that just will no longer happen. I held back my irreverent notions and we maintained at least a little decorum.

We came back to hotel, noting the distances that people we have talked to in Cleveland think way too far, are like nothing to us. Chicago living has made us understand that a twenty mile trek is nothing. Once at the hotel, we took a wonderful swim, going back and forth between the outside and inside and enjoying the sunny skies and warm weather.

At two, we headed to nephew Bill’s place. He and Stacie had a barbecue for us which included my sister, niece, niece’s husband, and their three daughters (and eldest’s boyfriend). We had a wonderful get together as we had a mini-reunion of sorts. We stayed after my niece and family left and didn’t get back to the hotel until around 10:00 PM. Tomorrow morning, we are off to Chicago and a Sunday Labor Day late afternoon party at our house hosted by the Glencoes.

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In Cleveland

The interior of "Melt Bar and Grilled,' a collection of kitschy things in a wonderful ambiance.

The interior of “Melt Bar and Grilled,’ a collection of kitschy things in a wonderful ambiance.

The exterior of the restaurant.

The exterior of the restaurant.

The Koerner family is blessed with some of the most exquisite babies ever and runs the gamut from dark and exotic to beautiful pale with blue eyes.

The Koerner family is blessed with some of the most exquisite babies ever and runs the gamut from dark and exotic to beautiful pale with blue eyes.

The pool made our $80 a night pool palatable, just kidding as the entire hotel was amazing!

The pool made our $80 a night pool palatable. Just kidding! The entire hotel was amazing!

Arrived in Cleveland after a very uneventful trip (for which I am quite appreciative) at about 1:45 PM Eastern time. The weather was pleasant and sunny.

We got into our room and then headed down to the pool, which ended up being somewhat of a spa experience. The pool is quite pretty and even more so because it flows outdoors and you can actually go from indoor to outdoor while in the pool. The setting is beautiful, in Independence, on top of a large hill overlooking the city, not that you can readily see it from here, and located right by one of many Cleveland Clinic buildings.

We were chilling, after a fine après-travel pool and hot tub moment and awaiting our Cleveland connection. I spoke to my nephew and then to my sister and we waited to see what the evening plans was to become.

News: We found out we were going for dinner to a place called, “Melt Bar and Grilled,” which features gourmet grilled cheese. We would have dinner with Bill, Stacie, Ashlyn, and my sister Carol.

News: It is Saturday, just before 7:00 AM and MK is still sleeping. We ended up going to “Melt Bar and Grilled” as planned, had a wonderful dinner of the craziest sandwiches ever. My sister, MK, and I shared our sandwiches and had their pork special, a chicken Parmesan (named for the suburb I grew up in, Parma, Ohio), and a Cleveland Cheese Steak. They were huge, amazing, and came with french fries or potato salad.

After that, and enjoying completely meeting Ashlyn who behaved so amazingly well (and we don’t know how) as she looked around, cooed, sat in our laps, and barely cried, if at all. She is quite the beautiful child, having blonde downy beginnings of hair and blue eyes, as well as pale white skin. As I look at her, all I can think of is that she is the quintessential, beautiful American baby, would be a great candidate for the Gerber baby.

We went to Bill and Stacie’s place and sat on the back yard deck and just enjoyed the nice, cool summer evening, a nice cap to a great day before Carol drove us back to our hotel and we checked ourselves into our books and bed.

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