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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

HIGHWAYS & BYWAYS, PART 2 - Finding Gomer, via Mayberry

After the disappointing visit to the Lincoln Ridge Pumpkin and Mum Fall Festival, we ventured on in search of Gomer and a traveling Welsh exhibit ~ only stopping in twelve towns across the country.  With Kevin definitely having Welsh ancestry and me being fairly confident of some (still working on that side of the family tree but with my maiden name, I'm thinking, good grief, there's got to be some Welsh blood in there somewhere!), we were very curious to see the exihibit.  Neither of us having heard of Gomer (oh gee, ya' think??), we did a little online research before our trip and learned that the very small community (just slightly over 200 folk) is home to the Wales-Ohio project, including a museum with incredible resources and interesting events (although it's not open in January, February, and March because "it's just too cold and nobody shows up").

Of course, the first challenge was to actually find Gomer.  I mean, in northwest Ohio, there are a lot of places a town of 200 can hide.  Having taken a cursory look at Mapquest, we were convinced that surely we could find Gomer Road (obviously the ONLY road that would lead to the "promised land") somewhere along SR 30 so that's the direction we headed.  We didn't find it.  We did find Mayberry Road and were greatly tempted to follow that....hmmm....but a few u-turns and finally a stop at a nearby Speedway where there was a great debate among those in attendance, we had the directions we needed to Gomer.

The Welsh in America exhibit was being hosted by the Gomer U.C.C. and at the time we arrived was well attended.  In the center of the room were 6 two-sided topical banners telling the story, the history of the Welsh in America, and for us, it was fascinating to feel so connected to this story.  There were some things that we knew, but much we learned.  We now know that Ellis Island was named for a Welshman, Samuel Ellis, who had a tavern on the island, and that the phrase, "keeping up with the Joneses" arose out of 19th century New York when a wealthy Welsh couple named Jones kept improving their estate and their neighbors kept trying to do the same.  We also learned that the Welsh came to America bringing their ideas of equal rights, free speech, and non-conformity (yay!).

Surrounding the room were items from the Gomer Welsh Museum and hostesses served us (frequently!) Welsh treats which we enjoyed greatly (and picked up some recipes for a few) - Welsh cakes, imported Welsh cheese, scones.  Yes, our trip to Gomer was definitely the "win" for the day.

Despite the treats we enjoyed at the Welsh exhibit, we had planned to wrap up our day with a visit to Landeck, home of Keith's Tavern and its "World Famous Fried Chicken."  More country roads, more bean fields, and more trees showing their autumn colors and we pulled into Landeck, passing Kill Road just inside the town limits ~ I commented, "Who would want to live on 'Kill Road'?"  We found Keith's Tavern easily ~ I know, I know, it's not like Gomer and Landeck make it hard on us :) ~ and were seated, fortunately, just before what we are guessing Sunday early evening mass had let out as the place filled almost to capacity about ten minutes after we arrived.

We both ordered the fried chicken and were happy to be seated under the big screen TV so we could get the news that the Rays had clinched first place in the ALC East.  It also helped to pass the time, and I do mean time, that we had to wait for our meal.  Now, maybe someone can comment on here and tell me that "home-fried" chicken takes twenty to twenty-five minutes to prepare...I don't know.  That's why I don't run a restaurant.  But I have had "home-fried" chicken at other places that was served in a considerably shorter time.  That being noted, I do need to say that the chicken I had at Keith's was great, and yes, I licked my fingers when I was done.  So a definite "thumbs up" on the chicken....but the sides, well, let's just say, next time I'll order a four-piece chicken and skip the sides completely.  I had mashed potatoes (pretty sure they were homemade but they were "gummy") and anytime I get coleslaw served in the little plastic container with the cover...well, I just don't go there.  Rolls?  Call me cynical but I'm guessing GFS.  So, our trip to Keith's in Landeck ended up as a "bye."

All in all, not too bad a day for a Sunday Highways and Byways....stay tuned :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

HIGHWAYS & BYWAYS - A Win, Loss, and Bye

Yesterday was our Sunday drive ~ a chilly, windy fall afternoon, but perfect for exploring the highways and byways of NW Ohio and eventually NE Indiana as more Sundays come our way. We had three destinations in mind - the Lincoln Ridge Pumpkin and Mum Festival, Gomer for the traveling Welsh exhibit, and finally, Landeck to try Keith's Tavern's "world famous" fried chicken.

First stop - Lincoln Ridge where we had our "loss" of the day (financially and event-wise). We had read about this festival on the Ohio Tourism site where we were looking forward to "a hay ride.  Go(ing) out into the field and pick(ing our) own pumpkin, just the right one...Have you ever been through a corn tunnel?  Here will be the opportunity to do this and tell all your friends about it.  You can participate in the straw stack, a goat boardwalk and sit back and enjoy the bonfire to warm you up while you enjoy some delicious food." 

Now we are not so naive to believe that all of these "goodies" would be free, but the Ohio Tourism site lists the event itself as "free admission" so you can imagine our surprise when we pulled in the drive to be met by an imposing cowboy-hatted gentlemen you looked us up and down and then said, "It'll be $15.00 for your carload."  So stunned, in fact, that, yes, we just handed over the money, no questions asked :/  I know, I know -- we should have put the car in reverse or inquired what was under the hat....but obviously we were under the total false advertisement hypnotic spell and simply handed Mr. Lincoln Ridge $15.00 as Kevin whispered "Oh, s..."

Trying to think the best, we parked the car and ventured out among the activities, hoping that the purple jack-o-lantern wrist bands we had been gifted with would, indeed, entitle us to free food, free pumpkins, free fun for was for sale.  Pumpkins were 30 cents a pound (I raised and sold pumpkins in a prior life - they weigh a LOT!).  However, there, was one freebie that we got to enjoy (worth the $15? I'll let you decide).  When we had the Pumpkin Patch, Dad alway "dreamed" (or joked, lol) about having a pumpkin catapult -- here's the "Punkin Chunkin" we got to experience at Lincoln Ridge -- all $15 worth of it :)

Check in tomorrow as things improved greatly when we found Gomer (yep, Gomer!) and finished up with supper at Landeck.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Delicious autumn!  My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.  ~George Eliot

Monday, September 27, 2010


First really chilly and rainy day of fall here ~ and of course, a Monday, to beat....but no blues, okay?  New cure for the Monday (or Tuesday, Wednesday, get the idea...) blahs is to try a glass (ok, maybe 2) of  vino from Cupcake Vineyards of the Central Coast, California. 

We first tried this favorite while in SW Florida on our honeymoon in June and loved the smoothness of the Chardonnay.  Now, you need to understand our "skilled" expertise at selecting wines....first, we look within the price range we are willing and able to buy (just being honest, here, right?!); second, we look for a label that catches our eye - that's the fun part - labels can be so creative; then, finally, we check the size of the punt, having heard "through the grapevine" (ha, ha, ha!) that a good punt means a better wine ~ we have no idea as to the factual basis of that but we like thinking that at least one of our criteria sounds like we know what we're talking about (especially when we tell people we pick our wine by the label!) :)

But, seriously, this little treat has been a special one for us ~ we've had a hard time finding it back here at home.  We were able to find other Cupcake Vineyard varieties ~ Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot ~ but not the Chardonnay, even checking our best "go-to" places (Cupcake Vineyard DOES ship, but not to our state).  I was thrilled when I discovered two bottles when shopping in my daughter's college town ~ and yes, I bought them both :)

List price for the Cupcake Chardonnay is $12.00 ~ I was able to pick up our last two bottles for $9.99.  Icing on the cake :)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hey, Women - Girl Up!!

Ok, I know, I know, I am so NOT in the targeted demographics for this organization, but I was so moved, motivated and made more mindful of myself and my world when I heard Elizabeth Gore from speak yesterday on MSNBC that I had to share...

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy 
GirlUp, a United Nations Foundation, has TONS of information and resources to share here, but the best way to help is to take the "Give a High Five" Challenge NOW ~ don't wait ~ it's easy-peasy...just spread the word, spend $5 (c'mon, cheaper than a pizza and a little more than a large latte), and tweet, tweet, tweet ~ especially to any girls you know.  Let's go, ladies -- GirlUp! :)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Being the Water

It has been a month ~ a year ~ of incredible changes...deep life changes for me and those that I love.  I have been so very blessed to discover my life and love partner and celebrate our new journey with our family around in us in the most intimate, "made for us" wedding.  My youngest daughter, so gifted and talented in many areas, has now graduated from high school and is excitedly preparing for her new journey ~ college ~ where a new world awaits to help her discover and develop those gifts and talents even more.  I was able to embrace my son after two years away in Africa, home to celebrate all these milestone events with us and share with us the wonder, joy, and challenges of his work with the Peace Corps ~ and understood more fully in my heart that his true home, at least for now, is, indeed, across the ocean, in a village who loves and needs him, in a country he has come to love as well.  I am amazed at the miracle of my granddaughter who just, it seems, a twinkling ago, was a babe in arms, and now toddles around, babbling, signing words, and of course, speaking the word that will always melt my heart, "Mimi." :)

I have watched my mother grow stronger each day, rediscovering herself, step-by-step, as she walks now alone after the death of my father ~ such a challenging walk, but such strength she has shown and what new roads may lay ahead?

All of this change, even the most positive and wondrous events, can be head-spinning and heart-stirring.  When my son was home, he posted a quote from a Greek philosopher on his Facebook wall ~ "You can never step in the same river twice."  Change, good - bad - just change, is inevitable.  Nothing remains the same.  When I start to feel overwhelmed by the change around me (and yes, even all the good change can become overwhelming....along with graduations and college and weddings and happy sons in Africa and daughters and granddaughters and mothers come planning and more planning and did I say planning and moving and maybe moving and commuting and calendars and vacations and financial planning yes, you get the point), I hold on to the phrase "be the water."  Just go with the flow - let go - don't try to plant your feet in the sand and stand still against the waves.  Just be the water and flow with it.

I think tomorrow afternoon's weather looks good for heading out to the farm to do some floating on the pond.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Monday, March 8, 2010


Now I know that spring does not officially begin for a couple of more weeks, but after the winter that we've endured - and yes, I do mean endured....and with daylight savings time beginning this coming weekend (what is up with that, anyway??), I'm not waiting any longer!  Yes, it's time for the home decor change-over - the snowmen are going away and out come the spring pastels, Easter decorations (I mean, it's early this year, so hey, I'll be ready!), flowers, and sunshine all around!  Made the short trek to the storage shed to get the needed totes in today's incredible sunshine and unbelievable warmth (we seriously can't remember what 50 degree weather feels like - and yes, I did have my windows open for a while just to breathe the fresh air and enjoy it!).

So begone my once precious snowmen - no more of you will I see until November when I'll once more be ready for white dustings and won't recall this endless gray.  Bring on the sun!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


Thursday, February 18, 2010


Well, it's no secret what I'm giving thanks for today! :)  What a shower of blessings my dear granddaughter has been and continues to be every single day ~ I am amazed at how quickly the past year as gone by.  It really does seem like just yesterday that I was holding her in my arms, just hours after her birth, my heart filled with overwhelming joy and love.  That love and joy grows each day as I see her grow ~ and I celebrate her birthday today knowing that Abigail Elizabeth is a special, wonderful little girl, dearly loved by many.  Happy Birthday, Abby!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Monday, February 15, 2010


A year ago this week we were eagerly and not-so-patiently awaiting the birth of my first grandchild, Abigail Elizabeth -- yes, as trite as it sounds -- time does fly!  It truly seems like only yesterday that my beautiful daughter was captured in this pose...

And each day brought us closer to the anticipated arrival ~ surrounding our newest baby girl, the fifth generation (!), with prayers of peaceful love.  No doubt about it, when she made her debut, she did so with grace and peace ~ has it really been a year?  Happy Birthday Week, Abby!  Mimi loves you :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Friday, February 5, 2010


I wandered onto one of my favorite sites the other night and found some most wonderful Valentines! Anthropologie has unique gifts for every special loved one on your list, including yourself, of course :)

~ Upsy Daisy Mug   This is perfect for sharing cups of tea, cocoa, coffee with that special someone - be sure to order a pair!
These will take you back to a simpler time and are perfect for sharing your love with all the special ones in your life!

Find yourself tongue-tied or at a loss for words when it comes to matters of the heart?  Then this is the book for you!  Try sharing a bit on one of the following see what happens! :)

~ Valentine in a Bottle      The perfect way to leave just a "little note" for that special someone that will tug at heartstrings in such a big way!

Monday, February 1, 2010


You know it's time to "embrace your age" when...

  • your Facebook doppelganger is Diane Keaton and you're actually flattered...
You know it's time to "embrace your age" when...
  • your "not-much-younger" (!!) brother tells you the following joke and you find it very funny ~
Rod Stewart has a new song out - "Da Ya Think I'm Sixty?"

You know it's time to "embrace your age" when...  
  • your youngest daughter informs you that AARP has announced the age group doing the most "sexting" is over 50...
You know it's time to "embrace your age" when...
  • same daughter tells you, in an attempt to make you "feel better" that none of her friends can believe that you're really that old????
You know it's time to "embrace your age" when...
  • same daughter (she's on a roll...) points out how close you're getting to the senior special at area restaurants...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Monday, January 25, 2010


One of my "non-resolutions" (yes, I resolved to make no resolutions this year so I wouldn't be breaking any as the months moved on...) this year was to continue actively working on stress management in new and old ways.  I suffer from chronic migraine headaches which can often be debilitating and am also finding that my body is beginning to protest more frequently and increasingly.  Therefore, I was intrigued by a seminar on "mindfulness" as a means to stress reduction which a friend recommended and that I'm beginning tomorrow for six weeks.  As I've already begun the 40-day meditation practice (Winter Feast for the Soul), the work we do in the seminar should be a further step into slowing down, breathing deep, and centering for peace within.

I know that one of the practices I should return to is yoga - I've been an "occasional" yogi-wannabe (??) for a few years and by no means am an expert or even much above a beginner, most likely.  But I DO know my favorite pose, lol!  Balasana - also known as "Child's Pose" - is the most relaxing, releasing, peaceful, peace-filled pose that I find in yoga.  This morning I was moving through some recommended stretches for my protesting lower back muscles and happily ended with an exercise that involved "Child's Pose."  Ahh.....yes, now, if I could just stay here....

Friday, January 22, 2010


I've  been in wedding planning mode for a couple of weeks now.  Even with a small, intimate affair, there is planning to be done, decisions to be made...and much fun to be had in the process.  Today's features are some finds I've stumbled upon along the way.

Frame the Date is a special way to celebrate all the occasions in your life and those dear to you - you'll create a OOAK gift that will indeed be treasured!

Intimate Weddings is a site full of advice, other links, and how-to's for the bride and groom planning a small wedding ~ lots of ideas to consider!

Another fun site, again full of suggestions, blogs, and other links, is Wedding Bee ~ and one of the contributors is my talented dressmaker! :)

StelieDesigns offers beautiful, creative invitations and more, many available to be customized with your wedding colors!

Now, where did I put that "to-do list"...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Monday, January 18, 2010


If someone has asked me in the last few years about my faith, I have found it difficult to answer.  It is a question I have struggled with, stumbled over, avoided when at all possible for very real reasons...those who know my vocation prior to these years sometimes find this odd, even shocking or outright strange, especially if they are unaware of the circumstances surrounding my journey into the desert of doubt.  I worked for "the church" and was in ministry in various areas for more than ten years, even attending seminary at one point, determining a call to ordained service.  How could I "abandon" this church, question my God, and simply seem to "fall away" from the kingdom of God?

The desert has not been an easy journey.  Dry, long, empty at times and quite lonely.  Yet through it all I sensed a presence not so much leading me but "with me" as I stepped along and found my way, as long as it took, whatever route I took.  I see with new eyes, eyes more open and a heart more full of the incredibly abundant love of our God and knowledge of Her joy and delight in all of us, ALL of us throughout this world.  I celebrate quietly that the journey is bringing me peacefully home.

Today I began "Winter Feast for the Soul" ~ a globally organized 40-day spiritual practice period, believing that "A life grounded in daily practice is one that knows inner peace. It is that peace which translates into peace throughout our lives and ultimately to peace and healing for our planet."

The guided meditation schedules provided are available from various faiths and practices and ages to accommodate all.  I found great comfort in "coming home" to the Contemplative Prayer model which today used the practice of lectio divina, reminding me in today's message that the kingdom of God is within me. Such powerful words!  Throughout that desert journey, indeed, I was not alone, and I had not "fallen away" as the kingdom of God is already here, within me.  What peace that brings.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


This week's devastating earthquake in Haiti, a country already beset with the overwhelming challenges of poverty and survival, have to make us remember in gratitude the very simplest and yet, grandest, of blessings that surround us - warm beds, safe shelter, food, water, our loved ones around us.  The images that we see shatter our quiet winter realm, and as we whisper prayerful gratitude for our lives, we are called to reach out and help our Haitian brothers and sisters who need so much at this time.  Some "how to help" resources that have been recommended...

EASY-PEASY!   Text "HAITI" to "90999" and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the American Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill.

Other organizations on the ground in Haiti now...

World Vision 

Save the Children


Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Monday, January 11, 2010


"Being Mimi" is such an incredible journey for me.  My first granddaughter (and first grandchild), Abigail, arrived in February of this past year and has had me smiling ever since. :)  From the first time her mom, my daughter, placed her in my arms - just hours after her birth - to today's impromptu Monday moments when she pulled up on my jeans and put out her arms to be picked up, nestling her head into my shoulder for a cuddle, I have found that "being Mimi" means priceless smiles, treasured times, and warm memories in the making.  My heart is full each and every day with the blessings of this journey.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


"A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out."

One of my FaceBook friends, orignally a dear beading artisan friend, posted  this quote yesterday as her status, and I gave it a resounding FB "likes this" response.  I am especially grateful today for the real  friends in my life - those friends who have been with me a lifetime (one who just traveled across the country for her family and still took time to trek through our first "snowstorm" to have lunch and catch up with me :) );  those who have walked side-by-side through crisis with me and see the sun still rising gloriously on the ocean's waters each day;  those who are scattered across the world and are joined with me forever in our bond of caring for each other and our common passion for the art of beading and creating;  those who just know the right time to send that email, call for that cup of tea or coffee or just to chat....yes, real friends are rare and precious gifts ~ give thanks for them today and every day!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


Monday, January 4, 2010


Ok, yes, I'll admit it, I'm guilty. Completely 100% guilty of blog neglect. I've ignored this thing first for a few days, then a couple of weeks, and before I knew it months, and now a new decade has dawned -- what was I thinking?! :)

So, new year, new decade, time for resolutions and all that, right? Well, at least I can give it my best shot at breathing some new life into the blog world here and see what happens...

Looking back at 2009 ~ becoming Mimi (welcoming my first grandchild!); finding love and saying "yes" (how wonderful to find and share such happiness); road-tripping with my youngest around the country (just call us "Thelma and Louise") for fun, soccer, and college exploration; saying a too-soon 'good-bye' to my remarkable, strong, and so loving father; celebrating my grandmother's 99th birthday (her "secret"? one highball everyday at 5pm)...

Looking ahead to 2010 ~ celebrating Abby's first birthday (my creative daughter has already selected a wonderful theme - "Winter ONE-derland!") ; celebrating "soccer girl's" college commitment (stay tuned - she's close to making an announcement, I think!), her high school graduation, and her travels abroad (Spain this spring, Nicaragua over the summer); planning our "simply" wonderful (key word is "simply") wedding and terrific trip; welcoming my son home from Tanzania for a three week visit before he returns to Africa to extend his work with the Peace Corps...much to look forward to in this new year and in this new decade, indeed.