….is flat. All the roads, flat. All the yards, flat.  All points of the compass, flat enough to see 2 farms away.  Although, that’s not a record. Illinois is that flat in many areas, particularly between St. Louis and Peoria. It’s 3 to 4 farms flat. Boring flat. Sleep behind the wheel flat.

Then there’s Kansas. Didn’t believe I can see so far. Then there’s the panhandle of Texas. You can see the curvature of the earth there. There are ranches instead of farms, bigger than farms, and you can see 2 of those in one direction.

But we’re not in Illinois, Kansas, or Texas. We’re in Indiana visiting an old frield who lived briefly in Minnesota and worked in our store. He’s moved back home to Indiana. And if I’m not mistaken there’s a song title similar to that phrase.

We rolled up to his house, 15 – 20 miles north of Elwood (’ve not heard of Elwood?) and we thought we’d been trapped in a corn loop. Corn, corn, OH! soybeans, corn, corn, corn.  All of it at least 7 feet straight up.  Finally, 37 angled toward the northeast and we drove straight onto 600W, past a brick church and turned in.

We’d just left 97+ tropics in Tennessee, where it’s still going on, and stepped out into perfect low 80’s sunshine and breeze. I almost wished I’d brought a jacket. Today the weather is the same. Tomorrow the weather is supposed to be the same. I’m liking Indiana more every minute.  And on top of that, it’s not north enough to be infested with mosquitoes after sunset. wow.

Today we hopped in the Indiana issue pickup and went to a town about 7 miles from his house to find the grave of James Dean, the First of Cool. (Not really. My older brother wore the costume in 1951 just before he went to Korea.) It took us about 45 minutes to find the head stone, small, chipped from tourists wanting souvenirs, nothing noteworthy to make anyone who was not aware that The James Dean was buried in the middle of Indiana, think this marked the grave of the same.

There are a couple of older two story homes in Fairmont converted to James Dean museum and gallery and every year they have a James Dean Festival but that’s about all the hoopla Fairmont does for their world famous resident. As a matter of fact, in that festival, there is a parade of ’49 Mercurys from all over the world, that are driven to the cemetery in his honor, the model he drove in Rebel Without a Cause.

To them, he was one of the boys who lived there and occasionally baled hay for a few extra bucks in the summer.  In fact, our friend and host says he worked with Dean back in the day baling hay with his brothers. When Dean was back in town between films, he hung out with our friend’s older brothers. Just one of the local good old boys and that’s how his memory and his grave are treated.


If you want me to I can walk you right up to his grave so you can take a picture.  Because, like a dummy, I left the house with all the makeup I could imagine using, all my hair care, two cell phones, clothes I won’t wear, the computer, even a cake mix and frosting for the birthdays we’ll celebrate this week…..



The edge of the continent

Early evening, cruising over an endless carpet of cotton topped clouds unbroken from Chicago, I saw him, Mt. Rainier, unaffected by mere clouds, unimpressed by mere man’s noisy jets, regally challenging anyone and everything to top him. This was not my first sight of him.  But the sight of the peak ruling the sky isn’t old yet.

Raised amid cornfields on all sides, I moved to a state sporting more than its share of lakes and snow, and am currently surrounded by tree covered hills and softly rolling mountains.  It’s all beautiful.  But I always wanted to sleep next to and wake up to the sound of the Pacific.  Last weekend, my daughter booked us a room on the Oregon coast with only a sidewalk and a few yards of sand between us and surf.  I am a displaced beach bumette.

Those who live near enough to the ocean to spend a random Saturday on the beach or drive by it every day, try to imagine when you kicked your first wave, the first time you just thought it was ankle deep.  This was not my first trip to the Pacific or the Atlantic.  It was the first time I was there long enough to watch the sunset paint the underside of a day long cloud bank, spilling color on the breaking waves making it shimmer all the way to where water and sky meet, be lulled to sleep by its whispers and hums, and gaze at it from a balcony in early light wrapped in a blanket.  I was on the edge of a continent touching the edge of the greatest sea on earth.  Li’l ol’ me.

Seaside.  We walked the sand, kicked the waves, took pictures (to be posted but it’s midnight now and it won’t be tonight) enjoyed way overpriced and insanely wonderful seafood followed by arcade mania.  Before heading back to Seattle, we made one more short trip down the road to Cannon Beach to walk the sand again to Haystack Rock, buy a piece of pottery, home made fudge, fresh salt water taffy, grab a designer coffee and check out a kite store. The city is remodeled for tourists and it’s working.

Thanks, BB, for the girl talk and the beach.

As soon as I find that little camera cord …

Since the SD card I used in the camera this weekend is the weird one that won’t function simply by inserting it into the slotty thing, I need the cord to connect from the camera to the laptop.  It’s 8:45, I’ve been up since 5:02, worked two extra hours and am in no way excited about digging around for a connecting cord.  Besides, Fringe is coming on.

We spent 4 short days with our Seattle kids, daughter and son-in-law.  If I could retrieve it, a picture would go here.

We played games, went to a movie, shopped, shot fireworks, ate at a way cool restaurant on a bluff, talked, grilled, celebrated Jesus’ resurrection, grilled some more, shot off fireworks, laughed, went to Ripley’s Acquarium in Gatlinburg, ate carmel corn, played mini-golf, and watched a couple of  movies at home.  All that took 4 whole days to pack it in but we managed.

Tuesday morning came all too soon and early too.  So did clock in time at work.

Our workload is heavy if not heavier than it was before they cut staff.  Now they have to kick in with the overtime, begging for it in fact.  After 3 weeks of  “thou shalt not clock in earlier than your appointed time, nor shalt thou clock out later than your appointed time, not one minute!”  So much for cutting expenses.  Speaking of cutting expenses, I headed for the kitchen for my coffee and saw a monstrous machine that actually requires MONEY, 50 cents to be exact.  HAH!  I went to Wally’s and got an air pot!  Too bad, so sad.  They’re not getting my 50 cents a cup.  I figure it will take a couple of weeks, then my coffee is freeee, freeee, I tell you! And mine, miiiine….

I miss my kids.  We’re scheduled to fly out there the first full week of June for a combination trade show for Honey and the rest of the week with the kids.  They want to take us to Seaside for a couple days of fun on the beach.  In the meantime, that feels like a long time away.

Gotta run.  Fringe is on.  There’s a heavily clawed mysterious people eater on the loose and I have to concentrate on the plot.  I hope I’m not so tired I fall asleep in the middle and dream about it.

Bring back a souvenir

Other than pictures, I brought back the baby’s leaky waterhose-nose condition.  He wasn’t sick with it; neither am I.  I’m on a simple tickle–hahhahhahtitanicshakethehairrootssneeze–grab the kleenex cycle.

Bad Nanny hasn’t downloaded the snapshots yet.  Bad Nanny couldn’t grab camera fast enough and missed several opportunities, but did snap a few.  I had all day Sunday with the boys thinking Honey had the camera with him but he couldn’t find it so I had it but he didn’t tell me I had it, and…. oh, fudge.  I was just having too much fun.

We played a cherry tree game, couldn’t find the Candyland board, baked peanut butter cookies for which Drew broke the eggs (rather well, too), sang my silly song about the old lady who swallowed the fly, and just chased around the place.  I did rearrange some of the kitchen a bit so Julie didn’t have to.

We left early Satuday afternoon, slept in Indiana, and rolled up to the back door at 3:21pm Sunday.  I unpacked by a very loose definition and have been online with the family tree into late evenings until tonight at 8:30 when the connection died.  After repeated frustrating attempts to restore it, I ended up on the phone with the yellow caped crusader, Sprint Guy, clicking things and entering things I didn’t know existed and have already forgotten, and voila, after two resets, I am again online just in time to apply a breath-right strip (are two better?) and head for Snoreville.

I have much to say and research to do.  The family lineage gets more and more interestering.  Did I mention that one string took Honey’s line back to Alfred the Great and Edward I, two of the last Anglo-Saxon kings before the Normans took over? I’ll see your Alfred and Edward and match them to my string back to Ivan the Great and a couple of kings of France.  Along with our combined checkered heritage, Christmas is on its way and there are memories to share.

A week ago

A week ago Sunday we walked the beach and later were playing interactive video.  Forget the thumb numbin’ hand controls.  This is decades’ improvement.

A week ago yesterday we toured The Underground city and went to a Mariners game.  They lost, but the fries, the dogs, and the atmosphere were great.

A week ago tomorrow we went to Young Frankenstein, the stage musical.  If you’re a fan of the movie with Gene Wilder, Madeline Kahn, Terry Garr, Cloris Leachman, et al, you have a puzzled “huh” on your face.  So did I. Wipe it off. The great lines are there, the rapport is there, certain scenes are expanded, certain are combined artfully.  Seattle was chosen to test it before it hits Broadway.  I see no reason why it will not succeed.  It will indeed inspire another generation to embrace Young Frankenstein. Let us not forget the 100 year old theatre, The Paramount, overlooking the Sound — gold leaf, ornate, 3 balconies — restored to its original high society status.

That day, Wednesday, Honey proved he could still fit into a fighter jet (even though that’s the only one he’s sat in), boarded a Concorde and an Air Force One at the Boeing field while Brenda took a really long walk.seattle-2007-036.jpg  seattle-2007-038.jpg

Thursday Honey and I did the Lost in Seattle routine.  That night was old movie night, a tradition to indulge the Old Ones in their ongoing effort to share memories from The Late Shows and the matinees of their youth.  We viewed The Quiet Man with John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara, 1952.  There are some classics that just have to go forward.

Friday was a walk and a coffee on the beach.  I wish I’d taken a picture of the bona fide beach bum but it started raining and he seemed a skosh aggressive.  That night was dinner at Dukes, a legendary seafood place, where the chowder has a reputation.

We packed, we slept to 3:30am, we flew, we landed in Nashville.  A short week, a long day, another memory to file and review.

Back to the work routine, back to planning the next visit.

Jet Lag

We’re home.  The flight took off at 6am pacific time.  Clouds below were slipping  ghostly fingers over mountain ridges as dawn glowed on the peaks, including the master, Rainier — snowcapped 24/7/365, big, dominant, beautiful and magnetic, standing guard over his lesser sibling peaks, also volcanos, in the distance.  He floats in the sky.  Mm, mm.  Kind of makes you want to salute.

The jet was one of the big ones, 3 seats on the left, 4 in the middle, 2 on the right; we were in row 37.  In front of us was a gorgeous blue eyed 8 month old baby boy who apparently thought two funny looking people playing peek-a-boo behind mommy’s shoulder was entertaining.

The other 3 planes on the round trip were on an age and quality spectrum from “Ok” to “gee, I wish they served communion at the gate.”  The first one from Nashville to Salt Lake City carried a woman whose 3 year old twin girls were nearly brain-dead, poor babies.  We were taxiing when we heard “are we up yet?” a version of Bart Simpson’s “are we there yet?” litany.  Forgive them their lack of understanding aerodynamics, but….. they had no concept whatsoever of “Ssshhhh”, repeated at regular intervals from takeoff to landing.  The mom made me want to shake her or offer a shoulder to cry on, it varied. The interior width of the plane was about as wide as my dining room and she was the main attraction — hard to avoid.

As in Bill Cosby, Himself, “HimynameisJeffreyI’mfouryearsold” in which Jeffrey’s mom punched the dad dead in his face when they landed, this mother seemed to age visibly after 3 and a half hours of chasing, kneeling in the lavatory doorway, changing clothes after spills, shushing, and much etc., etc., etc.  The little girls were exceptionally pretty.  Pretty travels only so far.  Not all the way from Tennessee to Utah.

On the leg from Utah to Seattle, I was in front of a very large man with very long legs and apparently proportionately big feet.  I thought my fillings would fall out before he positioned himself.

The last jet from Atlanta to Nashville was your basic plane.  We were in the tail section and virtually the thickness of the fuselage away from being sucked through the engine.  My stomach doesn’t upset on planes but the ride was loud and rough and I came this close to asking for a barf bag.  When we finally rattled through the turbulance to Nashville, the pavement looked really good but the mile marker didn’t.

As my son-in-law says, “I wish they’d just inject me with drugs, put me in a tube, and roll me out when we land.”  p.s., his dad was a pilot and he has a lot of flyer miles under him.

Eventually, we made it.  Honey’s pooped and snoring happily.  I napped about every time I sat down today.  Once I woke myself up with a honkin’ snore snort.  Special thanks to Honey for not allowing the drool to string all the way to the seat.

He’s in bed.  I’m blogging and watching Daystar until it feels like late evening.  After the naps, the shower and the popcorn, I have the second wind, and it feels just like 8pm at 11:00. 

Vacation was more than worth any fruit-fly, bean-bag complaints I can report. Our hosts were so thorough in planning an enjoyable itinerary, that the week just flew by.  We may have to stay a month next time.