Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Christine Schaefer -- Downtown Merchant

Even with the best of maps and instruments, we can never fully chart our journeys. --Gail Pool

Strange where the road leads us. I never imagined myself a year ago managing an art gallery, but...that's exactly what I'm doing right now. There were originally four of us: two artists, one theatre person, and one business manager. Now, we have lost one of the artists--the one who managed the Gallery. So...who is going to do this now? The one of us who is more or less unemployed--that's me.

And guess what? I'm LOVING it! I really like being in charge of a business--making the decisions, decorating the windows, talking with the artists and the public. It's really cool!

Of course, there's more to it than all that, but I'm finding that I really like it. Who knew???

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Meth Lab Next Door

I drove out to the post office this morning and came back. The chimney of the house behind us is puffing out whitish smoke. They must have the meth burners going.

We live in an aging housing addition on the outskirts of small town Indiana. The house behind us has changed hands probably three times since we've lived here. John is convinced that the people who live there now (three guys, a girl, and a toddler) are running a meth lab. He says, "Their shades are always pulled. And why do they need to build that big privacy fence?" They need it to fence in their five large dogs--a combination of rottweilers and bull mastiffs, which begs the question, "Why do they need all those large dogs?" They have expensive toys-- big trucks, a snow mobile, jet skis and a speed boat. How do they afford all those? Why haven't they invited everyone over for a neighborhood cookout? What's with all the secrecy?? Obviously, they're running a meth lab in a quiet suburban corner of Indiana, where no one will look, where you would least suspect--except for John. HE suspects....

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Random Thoughts--4/4/09

Could it have been a more perfect day?

I need to write Uncle Peter a letter.

Our tickets are only $10 and our children's shows are $5.

Good to see you got the banner program working again--once we're past needing it.

I love my assistant.

My husband finished his novel, thus closing the window of opportunity to write a blog post about his "mistress".

My husband and my kids are the people I love spending time with the most.

Jacobs needs to say 'yes'.

I'm trying hard not to get excited by new ideas I won't have time to fulfill.

I think I'm allergic to fabric softener.

Going to sleep to the comforting white noise of NCAA basketball....reminds me of listening to the Fort Wayne Komets on AM WOWO as a kid.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I'm sure you've been wondering where the Blogmistress has been. Or perhaps I overestimate my impact on the blogging world.


It is Spring Break in the Schaefer household for both Mt. Vernon, IPS, and Greenfield-Central Schools, so we took advantage of the aligning of the planets and school calendars to spend some time with our good friends the Coles in that vacation hotspot--Cincinnati. No, no beach, no snorkeling, no Disney, no cruise. Cincinnati.

However, Cincinnati gets two thumbs up as long-weekend destination. We stayed in Mason (out near King's Island) at the LaQuinta Inn--for $45/night. An amazing rate, considering NOTHING within a five mile radius of the downtown museums was even close to that--twice or three times the price. The place had a clean indoor pool, a decent continental breakfast, wireless internet, and in-room movies. We were quite comfortable.

I'd heard about the aquarium and the museum complex down in Cincy's Union Station and, since I have a houseful of museum addicts, I'd been wanting to check them out for some time. We started our touring at the aquarium, which is over in Newport on the Kentucky side of the river. It was very enjoyable, well worth the money--we touched sharks and learned that horseshoe crabs have ten eyes, saw more fish than you can shake a stick at and some other animals that were...un-aquarium like. Strange.
Upon leaving the aquarium, we came out into a slick-looking shopping area, which would have been fun to check out if either of the two families had any money to shop with. We didn''t, so we went to dinner at Johnny Rocket's and then saw "Monsters vs. Aliens" at the movie theatre (more on this later, perhaps). We went back to our hotel, swam awhile, played 'Pass the Pigs' poolside, and then put the little kids in one room watching "Bedtime Stories" while the adults and older kids watched "Slumdog Millionaire" (more on this, too, maybe).

Day Two found us down at the museum complex in Union Station. The building itself is wonderful, art-deco, spacious, gorgeous, and makes me sad for our Union Station. I've completely lost track of what its current use is, but Cincinnati should be the role model. Hey, perhaps it could be a new home for KidsPlay! Now there's a thought.
There are three museums in the building: the Cincinnati History Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Children's Museum. There was also an IMAX movie theatre, and a special "Dinosaurs Alive" exhibit (that cost extra, grr).
The Museum of Natural History was interesting--dinosaur exhibit and lots of other earth/animal exhibits. We spent the most time in here.
The Children's Museum, though fun, couldn't hold a candle to ours--the world's BEST children's museum. It more like a big hands-on playground--fun, but not a lot of learning going on. I can't complain about creative play, however. Payton and I climbed all through 'the tunnels' in the tree house. It was fun.
We did not partake in the Cincinnati History Museum, but the Coles did and they said it was interesting. History buff that I am, I would have probably found it interesting, too, but we had timed tickets for the Dinosaurs Alive exhibit and the Coles had tickets for the IMAX movie covering the same material. Pretty interesting exhibit. Animatronic dinosaurs with movement sensors on them that moved when you came into their line of sight. It was also cutting edge dino research--that perhaps young t-rexes had fur and feathers??? And so did velociraptors. REALLY interesting.

The Coles were on their way out of town at this point--we opted to stay another day as we had never been to the Cincy Zoo and the weather looked good--so we followed them through the seamy underbelly of Cincinnati in search of a restaurant where we wouldn't have to keep an eye on our car through the restaurant window. We finally landed at The Outback, enjoyed food and fellowship, and parted ways.

We went back to our hotel to swim--or least, Ben did. We were all tired, so we went to bed early.

Slept in the next day and made it to the zoo at about 11 a.m. There was a huge bottleneck getting in to the place with three lines of traffic all taking turns pulling it. We parked WAY out, but strangely, the crowd inside didn't resemble the mess outside. We REALLY enjoyed it. I think it was the most interesting of our three days. All zoos are remarkably different. They all have basically the same animals, I think (although not all have gorillas--this one did), but I think the difference lies in the presentation. This zoo had a very interesting nocturnal animal exhibit. Who'd have thought? It also had a GREAT insect exhbit with what was basically a giant ant farm of leaf cutter ants, cutting leaves and moving through a hugely long tube with their pieces of leaf. Really cool. The gorillas were great, the elephants were subdued. We saw one of Siegfried and Roy's lions. (I thought John was making it up until I saw the sign that I had missed). We stayed until almost 4 p.m., and then headed back home. Ate dinner at Compton's Cow Palace--which was where we started in the first place.

A fun trip.

Next stop--Cape Cod. Leaving July 1. Charlie wants to walk in the footsteps of "Jaws" on Martha's Vineyard....