Supercalifragilisticexpi*ALLY*docious: Goofing Off On Tuesday

Dear Diary,

Yesterday morning I awakened with the Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious song from Mary Poppins floating through my head.  In fact, as I walked downstairs from the bedroom to the kitchen I was singing it out loud.

I am such a dork!!!

Because I was feeling English suddenly I decided to have a proper pot of tea with milk and sugar.  I got out my little blue 2-cup tea-pot, added some Taylors of Harrogate Irish Breakfast Tea [which I admit is not English at all, but is the only kind of strong black tea that we have in the house] and brewed myself a lovely beverage.

Jolly good, I tell you.

Did I mention to you, Dear Diary, that Z-D took a day off from work yesterday?  Well, he did.  And because the weather was so mild and the skies were so clear, we decided to skip yard work and drive over the river to the next state to have lunch on the patio of an English Pub.

Yes, my morning theme continued.  Isn’t that cool?

At the Pub, I had my favorite unhealthy appetizer, curry and chips.  I washed it down with a Belhaven Scottish Lager [which I admit is not from England either, but I like it– probably my ancestry coming through].  I also had healthy fish tacos with a side salad to balance out my first course.

Then, fortified with alcohol and calories, we decided to go exploring.

We drove back over the river into our state and went to a crowded, fussy, older part of the city where we found the bestest place yet.  Yes, we went to Penzeys Spices, a place I’ve longed to go to for years, but only just discovered has a retail store in our city. You’d be proud of us, Dear Diary, we showed admirable restraint and only bought 6 small jars of spice, 2 small bottles of extract and 1 bag of herbs.

My inner foodie was in heaven.

Then we drove back home to the ‘burbs where we collapsed on our screened-in porch.  One of us played Candy Crush [Level 205, be impressed] while the other one, exhausted by the day’s excitement, napped while pretending to read a book set in London [because once you have a theme day, you have to go with it].

This is middle age fun.  Such as it is.

The rest of the day was the usual hum-drum of laundry, dishes, bills, planning, what have you.  But that was okay, Dear Diary, because we had such a good time goofing off earlier in the day.

We need to play hooky again, real soon!!!

As Unlikely As This Sounds, We Visited A Midwestern Castle

ONCE UPON A TIME… a few weekends ago… Zen-Den and I finally visited a southern Ohio castle that I’ve heard about for decades.

The Castle and the surrounding gardens are officially named Chateau Laroche.  They were built by an eccentric genius named Harry Andrews, who after serving in WWI decided to promote peace and build his own castle based on the ones he saw in Europe during the war.

First, he used his smarts to become a knight by creating his own order, The Knights of the Golden Trail.  Then he built his castle using, among other things, the stones he found along the river.  After he built most of the castle, he moved into it and lived out his days in the slightly modernized parts of Chateau Laroche.

The castle, which is open to the public on a limited basis, is one of the most unusual, almost dilapidated historical properties I’ve ever wandered through, over and around.  Here are some photos.

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A Funeral On Friday In Florida

A view of Sarasota Bay & the beautiful clouds above taken from my hotel room balcony.

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Last Thursday I boarded a flight to Sarasota, FL, so that I could attend my aunt’s funeral on Friday.  Although my aunt’s health had declined during the last few years, it was still a strange feeling to travel for this reason.

I knew that it was likely that she would proceed me in death, but when the phone call came a few days after Christmas that she had passed, I was sort of stunned.  Granted at age 88 she was the last relative of the WWII generation in my family, but I think that we all thought that she’d go on forever. 

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The waterfall by the pool at my hotel. It’s all about water in Sarasota.

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Family members from all over the country attended her funeral, which was about as happy as a funeral can be.  She had lived a full & unique life– and after years of chronic illness she was ready to go.

Talking with everyone at a casual dinner the night before the funeral, all were in agreement that our aunt– or mother, or grandmother– was: generous, funny, kind, educated, creative, determined & a church lady, in the best sense of that phrase.

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Prettiness while looking across Sarasota Bay at a pink building situated underneath the blue winter FL sky.

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The service on Friday was in a lovely Episcopalian church on Siesta Key.  It was late in the afternoon and the light from the setting sun shone through the multicolored abstract stained glass windows that rimmed the top of the sanctuary.

‘Twas beautiful & inspiring in a way that perfectly summarized the goodness that was my late aunt.  And I do believe, set the stage for a wonderful, loud, cheerful family dinner afterwards at a local restaurant where everyone lifted their glass of her favorite wine, pinot grigio [or whatever they were drinking], to toast her one last time.

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So long, Aunt Mary Jane.  You were the best.

We Went To Utah For A Long Weekend

The hubster was on business out in Salt Lake City, Utah, so I decided that it was time for me to see Utah.  He left here on Monday and I joined him there on Thursday.

The tail of an airplane + many pigeons at Hill Air Force Base Aerospace Museum.

On Thursday afternoon Zen-Den and I went into downtown Salt Lake City so that I could see what it was all about.  SLC was just as clean and organized as I had heard that it would be.  I didn’t take any photos of the buildings or streets, but visually it was inviting.  And clean.  I mentioned that, right?  With people walking within designated painted lines on the streets in accordance with the timing of the traffic lights.  Who knew?

The Wasatch Mountains.

We have friends who live just north of Salt Lake City and on Friday they took a day off from work to drive us around the area.  It was generous of them to do this, can’t thank them enough.  First we went to Hill Air Force Base Aerospace Museum and looked at their wonderful collection of airplanes and memorabilia– which, of course, I liked.  Then we went to lunch at Taggart’s Grill, a restaurant and bakery nestled in the Wasatch Mountains, with camera-shy pet peacocks who live in the garden around the restaurant.  The food was delicious.  Coolness.

The Great Salt Lake.

After that we drove up through the Wasatch Mountains and then down to the edge of the Great Salt Lake.  Everywhere I turned I saw the most amazing sights– whether they were natural formations, or unique small towns, or a herd of bison living free on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake.  Amazing.

A herd of bison on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake.

On Saturday Zen-Den and I drove up to the mountain resort town of Park City, Utah, to go to an art show.  Park City is home to Sundance Film Festival— and many wealthy people from the looks of it.  The community was perfect.  Like Disney perfect.  Like so planned that I worried that we’d be thrown off the set for not adhering to the director’s vision of what the town’s residents should look like.  Oh well.

Wild sunflowers that grow as weeds along the highways in northern Utah.

That evening in Park City we had tickets to the outdoor Deer Valley Music Festival with the Utah Symphony featuring Mandy Patinkin.  He was amazing and professional with an astounding vocal range, charming personal stories and a quiet sense of humor.  Delightful.

Starlings [I think] in a nest under the eaves.
On Sunday morning before we left we decided to drive around the University of Utah in SLC and surrounding neighborhoods.  Again, so clean.  And well-maintained.  And, I’m assuming, safe.  I say this because the capitol of Utah is in a residential neighborhood with no fences or guards around it.  The building is just sitting there.  Pretty.

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Utah daylilies in an unusual shade of orange that I’ve never seen before.

We enjoyed Utah and would like to go back there someday.  Maybe take a week and drive up into Wyoming and Idaho while we’re in the area.  Maybe take more photos of the cities– and the buildings– and the unfailingly polite people who waited on us.  That part I really, really liked.  Worth the price of the vacation alone.