Friday, June 24, 2016

No News is Good News

News flash: I will be avoiding the TV news until after the election. And if we still had little ones at home, I would NEVER let them watch. Even without the election, there is much not to like.

Violence! Adult content! Celebrity "news!" AND SLANTED! You can tell the networks' politics by whose photos are flattering and whose are creepy.

Very different from the olden days (my childhood!).

Frank Reynolds delivered Chicagoland's news.  He never editorialized. Just the facts (kind of like Dragnet!). P.J. Hoff cartooned the local weather.

The biggest scandal of my childhood? The boys at school saying "hell" and "damn" at recess! The teachers solemnly escorted all the girls into a conference room. After reciting the naughty words to us, the teachers asked us to I.D. the culprits letting BAD WORDS fly on the playground. Yep - this was my first exposure to "cuss words." From the teachers. 

Anyway, given my head-in-the-sand childhood, it seems inevitable that I found out TV news is not for kids the hard way - by letting our kids watch.

D2 was a sensitive little soul. We never realized she was even paying attention to the TV news until she started remembering the Iranian-held hostages in her bedtime prayers. At age 4. She worried about them for 444 days.

And when, at last, the Americans were released and we watched them descend the steps of the plane onto U.S. soil, D2 was overcome. (Okay, D2 was pretty much always emotional, but this was a personal best, even for her!) 

We dried her tears, but the deluge was unstoppable. Between hiccups and gulps of air, she kept repeating something over and over. It sounded like "Where are they? Where are the hostages?"

Finally we figured out what she was saying.

"Where are the OSTRICHES???"

All that time, D2 had been praying for the safe return of our BIRDS!

Like I said - letting the kids watch TV news? BIG mistake! HUGE!

And that's the way it is.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Back Home Again . . .

I am a proud Hoosier. I sing "Back Home Again in Indiana" every time I return. But I had never been to the Indianapolis 500.

This was the year to be there - the 100th running!  Still, we did not get the tickets bought or the hotel booked or the dogs boarded. Then this happened.

Mr. Wonderful’s younger brother, a crazed Oregon State alum (the Beav) is making a sports-themed odyssey in a forty-foot Beaver (what else?) motor home. Daytona? Check. The Kentucky Derby? Check. And of course, the 100th running of the Indy 500.

The Beav bought better and better seats for Indy online, selling extras as he bought new seats. The week before the race, the Beav still had two unsold tickets. And the kennel had room for our canines.
Maybe my midwest roots are showing, but I have a feeble sense of adventure. Sent home early from not one, but TWO, childhood camps. A pristeen hotel? A charming bed and breakfast? Now we’re talking! 

Every hotel in Indy was booked. But wait! The Beav's first choice to park the Beaver had a low-hanging branch preventing clearance. His second choice, an oversized yard with a concrete pad behind the house, had a spare room.

The Beav checked it out, worked a deal for the room, and advised us to bring sheets, towels, pillows, etc. We would stay at Andy's (no last name - just Andy).  A mile from the Speedway - score!

Okay, this was a bit more fluid than our usual planning, which usually includes a clipboard with confirmation numbers, maps and rates in chronological order. Spare room at Andy's. That is all.

Our destination was the tree-lined streets and uniformly tidy homes of “Leave It to Beaver,” er, Speedway, IN. At first, the Beav's Beaver was the only motor home. Soon, three other behemoths joined us - including one that had come only six miles.

Next came tents. And porta-potties.

And a huge party tent.

This looked like fun - even to an adventureless soul like me!  Especially since yours truly would not be sleeping in any of the tents. Heh-heh.

Then we saw our room. Think guys' dorm. And not the weekend mom is visiting.

Two beds - a double and a twin. Each loaded with miscellaneous stuff. Nothing else in the room. No lock.

Leave it to Beav to give us a heads up on bedding!  We stripped the double (I am not sure what a bedwetting alarm looks like, but I think we removed one!)

We left a plastic cover on the mattress, and put our own sheets and pillows on, and mounded everything else on the twin bed and covered it all with a comforter we found there.

Andy agreed to leave a back door unlocked. He forgot only twice.

Indy is hot and humid by Memorial Day. It was the nights of my childhood. Where was the cross breeze? The plastic cover on the mattress wasn't helping. The double bed. (Were we both smaller when we last slept in one?) Andy left his bedroom door open to catch a breeze. (Right next to ours – dueling snoring with Mr. Wonderful.) On day three, Andy said "Hey, I turned on the A/C today." Seriously? There was air?

All in all, it was a pretty good arrangement. We just popped outside to hang with the Beav and his wife. Forty minute walk to the Speedway (drive time from nearby hotels was 3 hours!). And there is nothing like being in the midst of a bunch of happy race fans.

Still, I wish I could have recorded my conversation with my sister afterward. She seemed to be channeling my mother.

"Where did you stay?"

"At Andy's"

 "What is that?"

"A house near the Speedway."

"Whose house?"


"Andy who?"

"Don't know his last name."

"How do you know Andy?”

"Don't know him.”

“What is your relationship with Andy?"

“None. The Beav set it up. Four nights in Andy’s spare room."

"You had your own bathroom, right?"

"Nope.  One bathroom.  Shared with Andy."


Hey, maybe I do have a sense of adventure after all!