Sunday, June 29, 2014

Not a trifling thing...tho the trifle was stupendous

It was quite a week in our little midwestern red state last week.  A federal judge struck down the state's Constitutional ban on gay marriage with words I think we all should reflect on.

"These couples, when gender and sexual orientation are taken away, are in all respects like the family down the street. The Constitution demands that we treat them as such."

I don't know about you, but when I was growing up, the families down the street were a lot like mine. Wealthier, to be sure, but white, headed by males for whom you waited on dinner and prouncements of all major decisions, and at least a few kids. Any disfunction was kept snugly under the rugs scattered throughout the house and everyone went to church come Sunday.

For us it was twice on Sunday and also Wednesday night. Every damn night during summer tent revival.  And it was very clear that if you weren't a believer in the church your parents grew up in, you were clearly on the road to Hell.

Do I remember it clearly or have I attached a bit of drama to the whole thing? Probably I'm a little dramatic. But what I remember was that if you were different -- generally that meant color, but it could also mean Baptist or Catholic or being more feminine or masculine than the accepted level for your gender -- there was something wrong with you. And you were clearly on the road to Hell.

Course you always could repent and Jesus would cure you of whatever ailed you. Skin color, maybe
you were stuck with that, but I do believe we'd have let you into the church. As long as you stuck to loving only those of your same color.

I like to think my strict interpretation father would have fully softened his stance on beliefs like that. He'd certainly come a long way around to it before he died. I would have loved to have talked to him this week. I think he'd have sat and considered it a bit before shaking his head and saying, "Well I never thought I'd see the day."

I think he'd close his eyes, stretch back in his chair and maybe say, "You know, I have to say I sure did like Jeff's brother and his, uh, friend. They were all right."

And I don't think it would take him long to start thinking more deeply about people in his own family, And then, I think he'd start reflecting on scriptures from the New Testament that talk about love and acceptance and kindness. And I think he's ultimately say that it's not up to him to judge and that maybe, just maybe, we ought to stop dwelling so what other people are doing and focus a bit more on ourselves. 

I think there's also hope for the rest of Indiana that got all upset about the ruling. One story from a woman I grew up with talked about her daughter who was happy she could marry her girlfriend and her mother who thought the ruling was wrong. The granddaughter laughed off her grandmother's position with a somewhat snarky but dead on comment about how maybe the courts should examine whether grandma's multiple marriages and divorces were affecting the sanctity of traditional marriage.

For me and pretty much everyone I see on a regular basis, the ruling was a cause for celebration. Even my friend Jim Shella, who is as cynical as they come, wrote about the joy that infused the city-county building as hundreds of couples rushed to say their vows before the court order was put on ice.

You can read about it here: http://tinyurlcom/n9qlvt7 if you want. Or just Google. My bet is if you google the word "joy" the city of Indianapolis will pop up somewhere and you'll see picture after picture of couples young and old, male and female, parents and childless, with their hearts in their eyes and happiness just jumping off the screen.

I was lucky enough to get to deliver small gestures of celebration around my workplace where several couples got married. Alison got to go with me and some co-workers on our delivery run of cupcakes and cards. We've talked a lot about equality and justice and when I told her the ban was overturned she thought it was a great thing. 

She did question why it had to happen at all though. She thinks it's crazy that women once didn't have equal rights to vote and own property and make their own decisions -- and that in some countries they still don't. She thinks its incredible that people of color were denied equal rights. And the idea that you can't openly love who you love and have equal rights and protections as any other couple is just foreign to her.

I like that.

So of course the ruling has now been stayed and we're waiting for the U.S. Supreme Court to tell us what we already know: that it's wrong to discriminate. Period. The end. It's just wrong.

Jeff and I went to an Indiana Statehouse Press Corps reunion this weekend, where we talked about a ton of things current and past. All of the folks still covering state news had covered the ruling of course, and they were all still talking about the atmosphere inspired by the ruling. Love was almost literally in the air around here. It was fabulous to witness.

We talked about the political courage it took for Beth White, a candidate for statewide office, to expand office hours to accommodate the long lines of Hoosiers wanting to get married. There's a lot of dissent about gay marriage in Indiana, but she declared herself on the side of love and fairness and I think it'll affect her chances this fall. I hope she wins, of course.  

It's been more than 20 years since I was a news reporter and no one would call me a political strategist, but I keep in touch with a lot of folks from back in the day. It helped that after I stopped reporting, I joined the dark side and spent another 10 years or so still around the press corps while I worked in state government. I respect and like all of them, and some of them are dear friends.  Friends so close we'll scavange the remains of the trifle from the serving bowl together...

So it was fun to see everyone and tell old stories. It was a great time. And our hostess, Niki Kelly Lohrmann, made a great trifle. 

It's just a week away from Independence Day, and Jeff's been itching to break out his fireworks. So he brought some along and lit up the sky in a pretty spectacular, albeit spontaneous display.

Come to think about it, the fireworks were a lot like the situation most of the couples who got married this week. Many of them dropped what they were doing when the ruling came down, texted and called each other with notes like, "Well, do you want to do it?" and "Are you proposing to me? I thought I was going to do that!" and "We'd better hurry before the stay is issued." 

So what that there weren't a lot of bended knees and sky writing. No one who witnessed a wedding or the aftermath reported a lack of romance.

Congrats to all those who got to become officially husbands and wives. #LoveWins.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Why you should marry a baseball fan

After spending nearly two decades with a man who must be among the biggest baseball fans in all of America if not the world, I think I'm qualified to make this statement: You should marry a baseball fan.

Doesn't matter if the fan is male, female, gay or straight. Ethnicity doesn't matter either. It's the dedication to a sport that can move so slow you'll swear you see the grass growing in center field. A sport that tosses out one of its most enthusiastic players because he violated a sacred rule. A sport that non-baseball fans will never, ever really get.

I hear there's some other kind of world sporting event going on right now. I'm not much into #FIFA. We watch baseball in the summertime at my house. We're part of the #RedSoxNation, but we're also long-time season ticket holders for our AAA team, @indyindians. 

Truth be told, I was part of our season ticket club before my husband and I even met. I'm sure there other things about me that he liked, but those days on the bleachers at the Old Bush Stadium are definitely part of our story. 

We took our daughter to her first game at Victory Field when she was two weeks old. She claims she goes for the 5th inning ice cream, but she learned to read the scoreboard before she learned short division and she can rattle off a few baseball stats of her own. 

She still asks him baseball questions as she perches between us, and she mostly listens to the entire explanation. These are memories they'll both take to their graves. As will I.

Here's some of what you get if your mate is a baseball fan:

1. Time. Unless you're one of those people who can't be alone and need constant validation, a baseball fan is the perfect mate. He/she will spend hours on end watching, reading about, analyzing, listening and thinking about baseball. This leaves you a lot of time to do what you want, make important household decisions, catch up with Real Housewives of various locations  and focus on you, you, you.  Caveat: you will need separate televisions on different floors of your home to make this work.

2.  A hard worker. Sure they may blow off work or obligations you deem unmissable for love of the game, but if you can get them focused on a task, they are on it, man. They'll measure three times and cut once. They'll study all the options before they choose the type of carpet, wood, window, cable company, car, bicycle, baby seat, crib or major appliance. They can't help themselves. It's muscle memory honed to the equivalent of an 8-pack ab.

3. A mate with a deep appreciation for the curve. And I'm not talking only about pitching. Baseball fans appreciate the beauty of a natural curve, whether its falling off the table, carved of ash, or walking just in front of them. 

4. Help with math. We can't all be math wizzes. Sabermetrics believers, however,  can cite and calculate statistics of things no one else in the world will ever consider. What're the chances that particular hitter will hit to left when the temperature is above 80 and there are more than two runners on? A sabermetric baseball fan can tell you. He/she can also calculate proper tips, what 66 percent off that swimsuit means in terms of real savings, and which block of funds to put your 401K in for the highest or lowest risk. And when your kid starts serious math, you suddently have time for a bubble bath when homework time rolls around.

5. Longevity. I won't go deep into this but if you know the genesis of the #SamKineson phrase "More capital T!" baseball fans will go far beyond that simple alphabet trick when concentrating on, well, let's say intimate, tasks. You won't care how they can maintain; you will, however, appreciate that they can.

6. Attention. Some of us need to wax poetic more than others. While it may be sad, it's also true that the partners of these poets can't always devote their full attention every single time the chatter starts. Partners of baseball fans know that all it takes is a simple question about how Fantasy Baseball actually works to buy you a good afternoon of "uh-huhs" and "you-don't-says." 

Truth has no place in the assumption above. Your fantasy baseball player is thrilled to think you care about fantasy baseball.  You get to plot your weekly menu, refine your grocery list, do the laundry, bathe the cat and build a small shed in the back yard. He/she will follow your every movement without missing a beat of the nuances -- you'd be shocked how many there are -- of fantasy baseball. It's a win-win.

7. Time in the sun. You don't have to love baseball as much as your mate to enjoy time in the park. They're almost always gorgeous settings and the food and drink will come to you! Work on your tan, bask like a gecko, reflect on your life. Just don't mow down on your nachos when a left-handed batter is in the box and you're low on the third base line.

8. Religion. You can practice any religion you want as long as you take your mate to church. And to them, church is the baseball park. Sure, some of them will also express sincere devotion in other places of worship. I'm pretty sure God is a baseball fan. No matter what name you call him/her. 

9.  Number 5.  Again. And again. And again.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I shoulda been a derby girl

It's not every family that will follow up a night of elegant tapas food, fine wine, the ballet, symphony and symphonic choir with a night at Roller Derby, but that's just how the Reeds roll.

We squeezed so much into Fathers Day weekend that it's taken me until now to set it all down in prose and pictures. That, plus I got a little excited over my roller derby night and set out on my roller blades Sunday morning. I hobbled home and have been doing the stiff walk ever since. Damn crazy roller derby girls....

We didn't really plan the juxtapositioning of our recreational activities. Our friend Lisa is much more artsy and cultured than we are and she suggested we join in for the Daphnes & Chloe performance. Lucky for us, Lisa's mom, Lynn, joined us and we pre-gamed at our house with lovely small plates of fun food and a few cocktails.

On the way to Clowes Memorial Hall, Lynn was in full story telling us of a failed jazz date she'd been on when Lisa went roaring up a hill where a stop sign lurked. Without missing a beat, Lynn yells at Lisa to stop, pushing her hand up between the front seats to be sure she got it. Having saved our lives, she went right back to her story.

It was hilarious. Also, we'd had cocktails. Jeff smuggled in a flask of bourbon and he and John giggled like small girls both going in and out. We ladies, however, were perfect ladies. As a farm girl at heart, however, I have to say I was glad I'd read up on ol' Daphnes and Chloe so I could keep up with the story the dancers and musicians were spinning.

And while it was lovely, I did have a few flashbacks to the last Lord of the Rings movie. You know, the one where it seems like it ended about 15 times, but they just kept adding another chapter?

But really, it was lovely and we got all dressed up and had a really fun night out. It was Alison's last night at sleep-away camp so we lived it up a bit.

The next morning we set out to get her -- this time being sure to get on the right interstate. I'm not sure if Jeff was still inebriated from the night before or just giddy from actually getting to place in a direct line, but he asked Ali if she'd want another week there later on in the summer. 

After ensuring that he didn't mean an extra week this year would deprive her of next year with Jenna again, she was happy to say yes. The girls made a new friend, Julia, and Ali will go back the week Julia is already scheduled to return.

We'll have to see what kind of grown up event Lisa has that week, too. Get ready, Lynn!

A few of my friends at work have been talking up their roller derby league and we've been talking about going for a long time. We snagged Alex Ogden to go with us and I think he's now in love with Vivi Section -- one of the Circle City Derby Girls jammers. It might be Bomb-Chelle he was most enamoured with. It was hard to tell.

Jeff pulled up the official derby rules up on his phone and Vivi came by to give us the real scoop before the bouts. "That's your friend, right?" Alex said at one point at the pack rolled thru, Vivi elbowing and almost dancing her way through a core of other derby girls determined to keep her behind them. "She's really good!" he said, never taking his off her.

If you've never been to roller derby, you should really go. There's a whole host of sizes, shapes and ages down there on the floor. It's stripped down action. Raw and heady. The women really test themselves mentally and physically. You can get carried away and think, "Well I can do that."

And then, when you're on your nearly 20-year-old roller blades pushing off with your significantly older thighs downt the Monon Trail the next day, you realize you're no derby girl. You're just wearing their shirt. 

Once I'd staggered home, we made our annual foray to the Talbott Street Art Fair, an event we've attended as long as we've been dating. Alison was less than a month old the first time we took her through the booths. Every year I fall in love with something. Sometimes it's a big something. Sometimes it's small.

In all our years going, we've never dropped significant cash there. Until this year. I don't know if Armando Pedroso will ever be a hallowed name in the art world, but I love the painting we have in our living room right now. 

I'd gone ahead of Ali and Jeff, who tend to linger over things, and I'd found his booth a good 20 minutes before they came along. I had nodded but not really engaged in conversation because I always feel like i'm letting the artist down if I don't then buy what I've admired. 

Jeff and Ali came charging in and I could hear them from my spot outside. Alison was pointing out something she liked and was describing why to Jeff.  "You must be an artist," too, Armando says to Alison. 

So they engage in conversation. They ooh and aah inside. I grab Jeff and say, "but look at this."  He agrees with me that the piece is striking. We talk more with Armando. And we walk on.

We talk about it for the next hour or so as we look at other things. Jeff points out a thing here or there and asks my opinion. "I like it but not as much," is my standard reply. As we near time to leave so we can head to Victory Field to really celebrate Fathers Day, Jeff says, "OK. Let's go back."

The piece I like is called "Field of Possibilities" and I can't fully describe what I like about it. it's just amazing. His story, is too, which I discovered later when I went to check him out. (Yes, I know that's backward investing...) Don't care. I love it.

When I went in to make the purchase, Armando asked more about Alison and her interest in art. He talked about how taken he was with the way she and Jeff had talked so deeply about what they saw in the different pieces and what that meant to them. Now, I know you're going to say he was the artist making a sale, but there were other pieces there with little red "sold" dots on them and they were larger, more expensive pieces.

I told him of my reticence to really engage artists' time because we so rarely buy, he said he never minded talking with people who had an appreciation or curiosity about his work. And, he said whether we'd come back to buy or not, we'd already made his day with our interest in the work and hearing the discussion between Ali and Jeff. 

We might even look him up next time we're in Chicago. You should, too.

So this brings us to the Indians game and Victory Field, or "church" as Jeff calls it. We had great weather, good ballpark food and the Indians won.

Leaving the game, Alison asked if I had spare change for a couple of guys with cups. "You're a good person," I said. She shrugged and said, "That's a Democrat, right? If you can help someone, you should." 

I posted that along with a note that "I love her little soul" and set off a firestorm of "kindness isn't political" on Facebook, which I tried to extinguish with, as Paul Harvey, would say, the rest of the story. Alison had gone on to say that Republicans tend to think people shouldn't ask for handouts out but should instead help themselves up. Then we agreed that we, too, believe people SHOULD help themselves up but that everyone needs help now and again.

Ali was repeating a line I tend to trot out when she or Jeff ask me why I sometimes mow my neighbor's yard. I tell them, "If you're in a position to help someone, you should." My neighbor's had a tough time and if I'm already mowing, it's not a big deal to take a few extra swipes next door.

My neighbor on the other side just tonight asked me if we needed our tree debris hauled away. I'd mentioned something to a group asking if anyone wanted to team up because we don't have that much to haul. He's got a truck, a farm and a small pile of yard waste he'd been planning to haul away and asked if I wanted to toss our pile in, too.

That's not a Democrat or a Republican action. It's what neighbors/friends/familie do, right? (Mark and I are generally opposite ends of the spectrum politically, by the way.)

So I loved it that Ali wanted to help those guys. Just because she thought we were in a position to help. I hope that's always her first thought. And before you get confused and think I'm PollyAnna (as if you could) I don't ALWAYS help even if I can.

And I do think that there may come a day when I might need a neighbor to mow my yard.

Probably it will be the next day I strap on those damn rollerblades...

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Does this blog make me look bitchy?

It will likely surprise no one that I can get a little hangry -- you know, when you get cranky because you're starving to death?

I got a little hangry today. Couple that with having to pee by the side of the road, and I might have been a little more than a little hangry.

Maybe I should start at the beginning.

We took Alison to sleep-away camp today. As is tradition, we were to have stopped for lunch on the way at The Cow Palace. I know it sounds weird, but they make a great salad there. Jeff and Ali have the ice cream the place is known for, but I was really looking forward to the salad.

So I have a light breakfast. I ignored my internal warning to bring a snack bag.  I usually have emergency food when we road trip because I know full well a rumbling stomach does not a happy Cheryl make.

But I could hold out for salad. Right?

Jeff was driving. I failed to notice anything navigationally amiss as I reminisced about past trips to camp, chatted with Alison and the like. At one point, Jeff asked Alison for his phone so he could check in on his GPS.

It crossed my mind that we shouldn't really need his GPS. It was, afterall, our fourth trip to the camp. And yes, that first year, I got the camp confused with a Flat Rock near Edinburgh, which is south on Interstate 65 rather than east toward Flat Rock River, but we hadn't made that mistake again.

At another point Jeff said something about being ahead of time but he wondered if we wanted to get there early so Alison could snag her bunk. We could skip the Cow Palace and stop when we picked her up at the end of the week. 
To my dismay, she agreed. 

"No worries," I thought. "Jeff and I will have a nice lunch on the way back."

Then, Jeff muttered something about this being our exit.

"That's not our exit," I said. "We're looking for a Love's truck stop."

It was then we discovered we were on Interstate 70.  We needed to be on Interstate 74. And it might have been at this point that I decided living in "The Crossroads of America" isn't really such a good thing. 

But I bit my lip. As just mentioned, I've made my travel mistakes before. So we exit and head off into the wilds of Indiana. Jeff stops at the lone truck stop/restaurant option. Ali gets tacos. 

While I WAS hungry, I decide I have a week of great dining ahead of me. I can wait for salad. I do want a soda though. 

And that was the second mistake of the trip. We don't get back on the Interstate, you see. There had been a big semi-tractor trailer accident over there that had stalled cars for miles. GPS would see us through the country roads.

Jeff spent the next 25 minutes loudly disparaging himself for his bonehead mistake. Rather than agree with him, I sipped on my drink. He informed Alison that he was so sorry she wasn't goign to be early and apologize for the 700th time for his wrong turn.

 "Well, now I know where I get my trouble with directions," she said.

It lightened the moment enough that Jeff stopped complaining so much. Instead, he started chewing his gum loudly. It was about here I realized I'd had too much to drink.

I asked for a bathroom break.  Field after field swooshed by. A tiny gas station that looked kind of like a double wide trailer loomed ahead. It didn't look promising. I grimaced and waved him on.

He kept chewing his gum loudly. I started counting, humming, crossing and re-crossing my legs.
I was holding on to the edge of my seat and tightening my core tighter than it's ever been, when I reminded him again that I needed a rest break and asked him, politely, to chew with his mouth closed.

He closed his lips, but not before he said, "You know, you said it yourself when you ordered that drink -- that you were going to regret it." 

From the back seat, "Yeah, Mom. You could have shared my water."

I hold my tongue. I text Amy, who was delivering Jenna and Drew, and was, as I expected, far more organized. I inform her we're late. If you can roll your eyes in text, she did it, but agreed to have Jenna snag a bed for Ali. And to take care of an issue of whether they were in the same cabin as Ali is a real teen and Jenna has a couple more weeks before she turns the magic 13. 

More grassy field. Spring hay bales. Cows. Horses. Miles and miles and miles of beautiful country side. I care for none of it. I give up, look over and say, "Pull over at the next two lane road."

Jeff gives me an incredulous look, checks his GPS for the 7 millionth time and says: "It's only a couple of miles until the next town. Can't you wait?"

I think my eyes were yellow. Or red. Either way, they were narrowed.

He pulled over.

"Uh. Dad. WHAT is she doing?"

"Honey, this will be a day to remember."

I grabbed the Taco Bell napkins and did what any good country girl would do. I looked both ways, left the door open and made sure my feet were out of the stream. Alison was ahast. Jeff was resigned. "I hope a car comes," I heard him tell her.

They talked about it all the way to camp, threatening that this would be a story that would live in infamy.

"I don't think either of you understand," I said. "I have no shame. Everybody pees."

So we get to camp. I'm still hungry, mind you, but I know there's a cookout. It's not "good-for-me-food" but I'm now past any semblance of caring about my Weight Watcher points for the day. We check in. We hope to find the Tokashes  We get Ali to her cabin where Jeff is annoyed that Alison can't find the medicine that we have to take to the main cabin for official dispensing.

As Jeff and Alison argue over where the inhalers are, the counselor asks me if Ali is hungry because other than the hotdog/burgers at the cook out, there's no food til dinner. I tell Ali to come with me, we're getting a dog.

"She CAN'T be hungry. She just had tacos!" Jeff exclaims. 

I didn't care if she needed foor, I was hungry, so I snap at him that we're going and make like a mare heading for the barn toward the grill.  As we approach, Alison says, "You know I'm kind of freaking out from you guys yelling at each other, right."

I was gobstruck. Yelling? She thought we were yelling. I was for sure yelling. In my head. But I thought I'd shown great restraint through the "I'm-on-the-wrong-interstate and pee-by-the-side-of-the-road" incidents.

And, she wasn't hungry anymore. She just wanted to find Jenna and get her bunk arranged.  I sighed and put my money way. "Go on," I said.

She ran off. Jeff was still in line.

After about six years of waiting, he finally emerged. We track down the girls, say our goodbyes and get hugs from Jenna and Alison both. Never did see Amy.  All was well at the camp when we left.

We had to stop for gas. No suprise there as we'd almost crossed the state line into Ohio. I remembered that the Love's truck stop had fruit as well as junk food. Once both the Mustang and I were fueled up, the day seemed brighter.

We're having dinner with the Jasheways tonight. I'm going to get on my bike soon so I can indulge in whatever culinary/libatious delight we find. 

I'm no longer hangry. I do have to pee again, though. 

Welcome Campers!

Every year when it comes time to pack Alison off to summer camp, I think of my friend Peggy's summer camp retrieval story of her two cherubs.

One came running to greet her. The other hid in the woods.

This is why I have only one child. (kidding.) 

Alison has never hiddin in the #FlatRockRiverCamp woods when we went to pick her up, but she's never been reluctant to go.  This year, she insisted that she could pack on her own. So I armed her with the list and told her to go for it. 

I've quizzed her a bit on whether she remembered this or that, and helped her find a few things, but here's the difference between her first year when she was 9 and this year, newly 13.

At 9, we labored over the list, checking it off together and making sure to pack in momentos from home and pre-addressed envelopes for notes home.

Yesterday, it was: "Mom, should I bring this for the dance?"  as she offered up a slim-fitting black mini dress I made the mistake of buying for her. 

"And I can I bring these sandals?" she said, offering up a pair of my favorite summer wedges.

Oy vey.  

It's a great camp. No electronics allowed. They do a great job of teaching self-confidence, self-reliance and independence without alerting the kids that they're actually learning these important life skills. It's a terrible/wonderful thing to see the growth even just a week can bring.

Alison seems focused on the hope of finally getting to break in the new zip line, re-climbing the Alpine tower, creek stomping and the annual mudfest where they have a contest to see who can get the dirtiest. She should have only one opportunity to break out that dress and heels. (Thank God!)

She's anxious to get contacts. But take a look at this: 
  If she gets any cuter, I'm going to not just refuse the contacts, but I might slap those braces back on her... In the picture below, she's with Bree Tabor. They had great fun while they were in charge of themselves for a few days this week. Lisa and I are letting them take baby steps -- compared to our own childhood summers -- and they have yet to burn down the houses, maim each other or have the police called. They'll get more chance for all of that later on this summer. 

I'm considering seeing if we can add Jenna Tokash to the mix, but don't know if that's just too much rope/temptation. As babies, they ruled their little Day Nursery kingdom. As teenagers, I'm not sure any of our neighborhoods would be safe.

While Ali is away at camp, Jeff and I hope to resume our exploration of local eateries. 

Last year we had a rule that we could only go to places we'd never visited before. I suspect #PetitChou will be the rule breaker.  

It should be a fun week for all of us. And speaking of fun, I had a work trip last week where my friend @JodieKehoe18 and I learned how to be better PR professionals. It was great connecting with some folks there but we were able to sneak out to have dinner with Jonathan Swain. We met him in a trendy part of Washington DC, where of course he lives and plays. I've forgotten it's name. It's on 14th Street -- just go there. It's wonderful.

We went to Barcelona and Masa 14. Had Jodie and I not gotten up at 4 a.m. to make our flight -- and still had afterdinner commitments -- we would have explored more.

Between that trip and the coming week, my culinary adventures will be rivaled only by my trips to the gym to work it all off. I'm in a bit of deficit already thanks to that damn Jodie. She, Jared Hay and Ashley Harriman and I worked an Indianapolis Motor Speedway announcement last week. On the way back to work, I had the top down on the Mustang and as we glided from 16th to Indiana, Jared went n point.

It was as if Pepe LePeu was in the car and had caught the aroma of that paint-striped cat. In this case, it was the aroma of Long's donuts. Jared and Jodie learned that neither Ashley nor I had ever indulged in the Indianapolis legend.

We went back and I'm here to tell you that there's not a better way to fry cinnamon, apple and dough than they way they do it there. I have banned myself from driving in that part of town the rest of the summer....

Sunday, June 1, 2014


"On the Banks of the Wabash" strikes a chord that's quickly unstruck when thoughts shift to the White River in Indiana, the waterway that winds through the state and through Indianapolis. 

There may be songs about the White River, but I don't know any. Aside from being a catch basin for combined sewers, it was also victim several years ago to a chemical spill from an automotive plant. State officials at the time won a great battle to clean it up and the river is probably in better condition now than it has been for 100 years. Literally.

But when Lisa Tabor and I biked across the bridge and saw two young boys frolicking in the waters while their family watched happily from the river banks, we both gasped. On the way back, they were still there. the boys still splashing about.

"Those boys are going to be radioactive," Lisa whispered. I don't know if she knew she said it out loud but when I laughed, she continued. "It's only going to be them and Keith Richards left at the end of the world."

If we were better people, we might have stopped, trudged down the hill and informed the parents, but we didn't. Firstly, we're not that good a caliber of people. Secondly, the parents might already know about the river. And thirdly, the boys are probably going to be just fine. And if they light up rooms in the future, well, we can hope they get super spidey powers and use it for good instead of evil.

Speaking of spidey powers, Jeff took Alison to PopCon, a sort of ComicCon but smaller. At the same convention center facility, there was a high school graduation, a political dinner, a gamers' convention and a gathering of some religious order. A few of the gamers and the ComicCon folks got mixed up and tried to register with the religious folk -- watching that get sorted out might have  been worth the $30 entry fee.

Alison had little interest in anything but the PopCon people who'd come in costume. She'd wanted to listen to a panel discussion of an actor who'd played one version of Dr. Who but got tired out early.   She made up for it by meeting a couple of guys who were dressed up like one of her favorite doctors.

Friday she'd dumped me for dinner with a friend from Young Actors Theater. Jeff was at bourbon & baseballing it with his friends. I was invited to dinner, but stayed home tending my eye gorp, which, happily has been decimated by my medicated eye drops. 

Being deserted by your family might seem like a bad thing. But on occasion, it's kind of a gift. 

By Sunday I was so rested up that I helped Jeff take down an ill-placed redbud tree in the back yard. We're going to put a shed back there, and Jeff has always been unhappy that I placed it under the power line. I'd planned on trimming it so it wasn't a problem, but of course I didn't. While we have piles of scraps to haul away, we're one big step closer to the shed I've been harping about for a few years now.

I'd planned to help only a little bit because I'd made plans with Lisa to come plot a course of summer schedules with our friend Breanna -- the third part of the Day Nursery Triumverate -- aka Ali, Jenna and Bre. Alex came along later to make it the fearsome foursome, but for the first couple of years, the three girls were peas in their own little pod. We try to get them together still, but they're in three different schools and we all work, so it's hard. 

We're better about it in the summer. This summer, we're testing whether Ali and Bre can be trusted to be on their own. It was their job to scout the way, by bike, up the Monon to the Jordan YMCA pool. 

We figure, with rules, they can safely bike from our house to the pool and back. Alison, unfortunately, is as directionally gifted as her Aunt La and will often turn left rather than right when heading out to the Jordan. Left takes you downtown. 

You'd think after 13 years of either being hauled or riding the trail she'd have better bearings. So we did a test run with the girls in the lead. She did OK, but I'll still have maps strewn the house and taped to her bike when school breaks next week.

So that's how Lisa and I came to be on the Monon bridge over the soon-to-be radiocative boys. I really hope this works out because Ali and Bre have a friendship that doesn't require daily contact. No matter how long it's been, they launch right back into the days they were rolling around and swapping rattles.

Which was great to watch right up until the time they decided Bre shouldn't have to go home so they biked ahead, hid the bikes and then hid themselves in the house. Had I not seen Alison in the house as I came around looking, I totally could have freaked out, thinking they'd gotten themselves stolen in the three minutes it took us to catch up with them.

Damn kids. I didn't like this trick when they were 4, and it hasn't grown on me. However, as they head into their teen years, I do kind of like it that they can just be little girls playing hide-n-seek.

Our short week started with what I hope to be is the first of many years of "fancy brunch" with Aunt La. May was so hectic that we extended Ali's birthday celebration and took what we could when we could. Monday while Team Tokash recovered from the race, Lyn and I took Ali and Jenna out.  Ali wore her new jewelry gifted by Aunt La and Jenna wore her fancy dress and we had a lovely time at Petit Chou.

I hope we are still doing that when the girls can have champagne cocktails. And that they'll want to have them with us. I think I'll keep the convertible just in case I need to bribe them. And yes, I'll let them drive if that's what it takes.