Of Cornfields & Coolers: A Fast Weekend Trip North

Please note that after a week of rainy days the blue sky and puffy white clouds made me happy.

OVER THE WEEKEND we drove 4.5 hours north through central Ohio farmland, seeing cornfields hither and yon, so that we could go see Zen-Den’s mother.  She’s now spending her days in a wheelchair and living in a nursing home. We also wanted to meet up with Zen-Den’s sister and her husband who live about a half hour away from MIL.

We hadn’t seen any of them since November 2019 because of all the Covid-19 restrictions, yada, yada, yada.

The weather for our drive was great, summery warm but not humid. I’ll admit that it was mesmerizing to be on the road after 16 months of staying at home.  Everything looked the same, but different.

Mother-in-law was able to chat with us for about 45 minutes before she was tired.  Considering her situation she seemed in a good place mentally, physically, and even spiritually.  Never one for small talk, we knew that it’d be fast visit with her so we also planned on visiting with SIL and her husband.

We met them at a lovely, Mediterranean-esque vineyard and had a delicious lunch outside on the patio under a large umbrella where adult libations flowed.   Then we walked around the beautifully landscaped multi-acre grounds that included a pond, walking paths, a gift shop, and a swanky bar with a hip vibe.

It was a pleasant, relaxing afternoon outside in the sunshine, walking a little, drinking some, and laughing a lot.

I mean A LOT of laughter.

Please note that the empty wine glass, with visible dregs of red wine, was left on the rustic lamppost near the vineyard parking lot.

SO THAT WE could break up the 9 hour round trip drive, on the way back home we stayed at a Hampton Inn.  Naturally something goofy happened while we were there because that’s how it goes with us.

When we travel by car we put bottles of water on ice inside a small Igloo-brand cooler that holds about 6 bottles.  It’s nothing special, just practical and durable.

As we were getting ready to leave the motel in the morning Z-D went to get ice from the machine on the first floor near the reception desk.  He had the cooler with him.  When the woman working behind to desk saw him with the cooler she started laughing.

At him.  He was baffled, not upset.

She said that she was used to seeing large Igloo coolers on wheels, the kind families take with them, but our little cooler was just too cute for words, a miniature cooler that for some reason tickled her.

Z-D explained that the little cooler was just for the two of us, so it made sense. According to him she nodded her head in understanding, but kept chuckling as he walked away.

Thus it came to be, what I can only describe as, a situation wherein Zen-Den was COOLER SHAMED.  I mean, really, who goes around publicly criticizing a man’s cooler? 🤨

Anyhow that’s what we did over the weekend. Just a weekend, kind of normal, like they used to be.

What did you do over the weekend, my gentle readers?

Please note that this is the cute little cooler mentioned above.

Three Thoughts Thursday | Photographing. Traveling. Watching.

This is when I tell you stuff and don’t make a story of it.  

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ONE

I think that this website, miss freddy, could be a useful resource for anyone interested in family photography.

Miss Freddy is a Professional Photo Organizer who explains how to take photos, how to save photos, then how to do just about anything you might want to do with your photos + slides + old videos.

I have boxes of old, old print photos around here and thousands of digital ones on a few computers, but I’ve never sat down and concentrated on getting ALL our photos organized.  This website may be the key to me getting it done.

TWO

I think that the idea of going on vacation with the intention of traveling to small American towns is a fun one.

According to this article, America’s Coolest Small Towns by State, big cities get all the attention, while unique small towns go unnoticed.  These small towns are worthy of a visit if for no other reason than “the added appeal of home-spun charm and hometown heroes.”  

I read the list and have visited 12 of the 50 featured small towns.  I’ve been to: AZ, FL, HA, IN, ME, NM, NY, NC, OH, SC, TN, AND VT.  This means I have 38 to go, should we get the opportunity to travel again.

THREE

I think that the Netflix produces some good and some not-so-good TV series.

In the good category I’d put Dead to Me, with Christina Applegate, Linda Cardellini, and James Marsden.  I watched Season 2 and enjoyed it as much as Season 1, which was stellar.  This show is one to watch if you like mysteries, dysfunctional families, and contemplating what it means to be a friend.

On the flip side, I watched 3 episodes of Sweet Magnolias, a TV series based on novels by Sherryl Woods.  Set in SC, this show was probably meant to be an engaging look at family dynamics and female friendship, but it was predictable and maudlin.  Much too slow-paced, shallow, and sappy for me.

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QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Do you have your photographs under control? In other words, can you find them when you want ’em? 

What do you think about traveling to small towns to experience their unique charm instead of going to big cities for a vacation?

Have you watched the TV shows I mention above? If so, did you like what you saw? If not, what are you watching instead?

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Notes On Getting My TSA Known Traveler Number + Chitchat About Where I’ve Been

Let’s heAR it for Ms. Bean

This summer, after yabbling about doing this for years, I finally enrolled in the TSA PreCheck program.

The online application was easy.  The total cost was $85.00 for five years.  But it did require an interview with a real person at a TSA-approved IdentoGO office that happened to be nowhere close to where I live.

My interview appointment time, the soonest I could get, was 4 weeks from when I sent in my enrollment– and then it was 10 days after that before I got my official TSA Known Traveler Number [KTN].

For me this was not a fast process

Do I need this TSA PreCheck status?  I dunno.  But after some of my air travel experiences, most notably standing in the Las Vegas TSA line for 1 hour 45 minutes, I’ll do anything that *might* make the process less painful.

[Click HERE to read an article that helped me to better understand the program.]

And on that note, having talked about the practical side of travel, I’ll share the following fun and pretty stuff.

I created these images using the Visited Countries Project on Douwe Osinga’s website. You may already know about this because it’s been around for a long time.

Nonetheless here is where I’ve been

I’ve been to 9 countries which amounts to 4% of the world.

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I’ve been to 34 US states which amounts to 68% of the country.

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I’ve been to 3 Canadian provinces which amounts to 23% of the country.

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QUESTIONS OF THE DAY

Are you in the TSA PreCheck program? If so, how has that worked out for you?

Where did you go for your favorite vacation ever? Where did you go for your worst vacation ever?  

Got any travel plans for the rest of this year?

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#ThursdayDoors | Visiting A Rose Garden, Finding Some Pithinicity

Today I’m joining Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton, so that I can share with you photos of the following doors plus a little more.

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A few weeks ago Zen-Den and I had the chance to stop by the Columbus Ohio Park of Roses again. [Click HERE for post about previous visit and information about this park.]

Entrance sign.

It was a beautiful summer day but the garden was not at its rosy best like the last time we were there.  I snapped a few pics anyhow, ostensibly to be part of this project.

A pink rose not in its prime.

While the doors we saw were more utilitarian than awe-inspiring, the carved stones in the walking path that connect the Shelter House [event venue] to the park itself were eclectic.

Gazebo in center of park.

I hadn’t noticed the messages on the stones during our previous visit.  So below, for the heck of it, are two photos of the doors we saw and the pithinicity on which we walked.

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DOORS on side of Shelter House looking into the park.

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“HAD I ALL LANGUAGE AT COMMAND AND SPOKE THE [1 of 4]

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TONGUE OF EVERY LAND, I COULD NOT FIND THREE WORDS [2 of 4]

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MORE SWEET OR FORM A SENTENCE MORE COMPLETE: THAN [3 of 4]

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THESE THREE WORDS I LOVE YOU.” ~ YOUR FAMILY [4 of 4]

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DOOR on side of Shelter House leading into Bridal Room. [Doesn’t this door look ominous to you? It does to me.]

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#ThursdayDoors | Finding History In Front Of Us, Hello Texas Saltbox Houses

Today I’m joining Thursday Doors, hosted by Norm Frampton, so that I can share with you photos of the following doors.

Using my cell phone camera that is not so great, I took these photos last month when we were visiting San Antonio.

Come to find our hotel, Plaza San Antonio, had a past.  Situated on 6 acres located in a historic district originally settled by German immigrants in the 1800s, this hotel was built around old homes.

[Also, but not pertinent to doors, this hotel allegedly has a ghost running around in it.  I didn’t know that when we were there, but hat tip to Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge for letting me know what I missed.] 

On this hotel property, owned by Marriott, were well-kept old houses built in the New England saltbox style.  These various buildings, one of which I feature here, charmed the socks off me with their small scale and sturdy vibe.

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DOOR, very narrow, on side of Elmendorf-Tyler House.

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DOOR, seen up-close, showing hardware painted the same color as the door.

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Gate on property surrounding Elmendorf-Tyler House.

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DOORS, maybe still used as such, opening onto long porch on what I guess was the front of Elmendorf-Tyler House.

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Brick sidewalk between long porch and hotel rooms.

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DOOR, rarely used it would seem, leading into small shed attached to side of Elmendorf-Tyler House.

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