Thursday, June 29, 2006

Blue Jacket, the outdoor drama

One of the most entertaining evenings we have ever spent was watching the outdoor drama, "Blue Jacket". 

Located on the outskirts of Xenia, Ohio, "Blue Jacket" is performed in an outdoor amphitheater by a cast of over 40 people.  The play details the life of the Shawnee chief, Blue Jacket, and the Shawnee's struggles against the ever-increasing flood of settlers moving west and taking over the Ohio Valley and the Shawnee people's land.  It has long been held that Blue Jacket was a white man who was captured as a teenager and who eventually became a warrior with the tribe, but that legend has since been disproved.

Set in the late 1800s, the play explores the Shawnee's love of the land, their lifestyle and their attempts to repel the influx of white settlers.  The Shawnee, Wyandot, Delaware and Miami tribes defeated American troops led by General Arthur St. Clair at Fort Recovery, Ohio but were later defeated themselves by General "Mad Anthony" Wayne at the Battle of Fallen Timbers near Greenville, Ohio.

This year "Blue Jacket" celebrates its 25th year of existence.  It is a well-written and well-performed play with lots of action and excitement for both young and old.  They also have a pavilion where they serve a family style meal before the show for a very reasonable price.  We highly recommend seeing this drama if you're anywhere close to the Xenia area while visiting Ohio. 

Click here for a link to the Blue Jacket website for pricing and driving directions and more information.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006


Dang me, dang me
They oughta take a rope and hang me
High from the highest tree
Woman would you weep for me.
----"Dang Me" by Roger Miller

Okay, apparently I misunderstood Dr. M at my last appointment two weeks ago. The word today is that the brace stays on for at least 3 more weeks; one more week in the locked knee position and two weeks with it unhinged so my knee can bend. So to say I was disappointed is a bit of an understatement.

I'm going to call my physcial therapist, Billy, Bwaahaaahaaa Billy. Sadist. My good knee bends at a 140 degree angle (better than average)--the left one at 40 degrees. Since Dr. M was able to flex the bad knee to 90 degrees after the operation (while I was still under the anesthesia) old Bwaahaaahaaa Billy thinks I ought to be able to bend it that much now without undue stress on the tendon repair. Rrriiiggghhhttttt. (Bill Cosby comedy album flashback for those who remember his "Noah building the Ark" routine) For the moment, we'll agree to disagree on that one.

So I have my sheet of exercises to do until B.B. or one of his minions unlocks the brace next Monday morning and ups the ante on the p.t. routine. I'm thinking Denny better lay in a supply of shiraz for me and make himself some golf play dates for the next three weeks. It's not going to be pretty around here.


The brace comes off today, the brace comes off today, heigh-ho the derry-o, the brace comes off today. (Sung to the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell").

If all goes according to plan I lose the 10 pound black monstrosity that encapsulates my leg this afternoon. I'm SO ready to begin physical therapy! I'm sure Denny is more than ready to give up the cooking and cleaning, too. Of course, that means he's free to start washing down and then painting the walls here so he might prefer the other chores. Poor guy-out of the frying pan into the fire.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Last Lazy Sunday in June

We're back in flat-lander country so today's Lazy Sunday photographs will be of mountains. Ohio does have some "mountains" as you head towards the southeast corner of the state and reach the Appalachian plateau which are hills that have been rounded off by glacier activity. For us Buckeyes, them are mountains. Silly us.

This photograph of Mt. Rainier was taken while driving across the floating bridge in Seattle, Washington. Posted by Picasa

Basalt cliffs surrounding Lake Lenore in Washington. Posted by Picasa

The Wenatchee Mountains surrounding the town of Leavenworth, Washington Posted by Picasa

The mountains near Leeds, Utah as seen from Interstate 15. Posted by Picasa

Looking down from Donkey's Point at Joshua Tree National Park in California. Posted by Picasa

Some of the mountains near the Emerald Cove RV Resort in Earp, California. Posted by Picasa

The mountains near Desert Hot Springs, California. It's time to pull out your atlas to figure out which ones they might be. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Collectibles or Baggage?


In the basement in the corner of my mother's house there is a large stack of "stuff".  Boxes with cryptic names on them; "carousel horses", "Depression vases", "Darby's collectibles".  I've mentioned in my blog and on our website that we got rid of our "stuff" when we sold the house and began our new traveling lifestyle.  Well, for the most part we did, but the huge solid oak roll top desk that could become a family heirloom was impossible to let go.  As was my collection of Bohemian cut glass, my grandmother's flow blue platter and some Lenox and Franklin Mint Christmas ornament collections.  Things that our sons should have if they ever owned their own homes where they could store their share of Mom's "stuff".  Now that I'm here under enforced occupation I guess it's time to open those boxes and see just what it was that I thought was absolutely irreplaceable and un-get-rid-of-able.  I think I'll be surprised at what I kept and what I didn't.  I'll get back to you on that....

Friday, June 23, 2006

A Good Time Not to be Traveling

After seeing this picture in the morning paper, I was glad we weren't traveling.  Of course, the weather service won't admit there might have been a tornado passing through Lima, Ohio-straight winds, they're calling it.
 Perhaps the weather service is in league with the insurance companies, hmm?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Creativity and Innovation in Dayton

Everyone knows about Dayton and the Wright Brothers; after all, Ohio is the "Birthplace of Aviation", right? (Forget that "First in Flight" stuff in North Carolina-heh)  Orville and Wilbur Wright owned a bicycle shop in Dayton but had been fascinated with the idea of airplanes and flight since a young age.  They studied every scientific article they could get their hands on but soon decided there wasn't enough published data to support their idea of manned flight, so they built their own wind tunnel to experiment with gliders and to learn how to lift an airplane into the sky.  Countless hours of experimentation led to that historic 12 second flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina on December 17, 1903 and within a few years other innovators assisted in the eventual development of a stable flying machine.

But Dayton and the Miami Valley area seem to be a fertile area for inventive minds as there is a lengthy list of inventors and patent holders for not only specialized items but those things we use every day.

The Pop-top beverage can.  The story goes that on a hot day at a picnic, Ermal Fraze found himself without a church key (bottle opener) to open his beer.  Mr. Fraze was the owner of Dayton Reliable Tool, a tool and die business, so he was familiar with the properties of metals and the manufacturing process so after much thought he came up with the primitive pop-top opening for beer cans in 1962 which was first used by the Iron City Brewing Company.  The early versions had a tendency to slice fingers and lips and even noses, but eventually the pop-top was perfected into the ubiquitous opener found on every aluminum drink can in the world.

Waterproof cellophane.  While cellophane had been invented in France, Dupont researcher William H. Charch, originally from Dayton, created waterproof cellophane which eventually led to the creation of cellophane food wrap and cellophane tape.

The safety stepladder.  In 1862, John Balsley, a Dayton carpenter, received a patent for the first wooden safety stepladder.

The electric motorized wheelchair.  Levitt L. Custer invented the "Custer Car" or "Custer Invalid Chair" after seeing all the injured/wounded soldiers returning from WWI.  It was a three-wheeled battery operated vehicle that could be operated by hand, which he followed up with a gasoline powered version later.

Micro-encapsulation.  Barrett Green, a chemist with NCR (National Cash Register) developed the micro-encapsulation process which led to the development of timed-release medications, carbon-less paper, mood rings and scratch and sniff cards in magazines.  Two out of four isn't bad.  Heh.

The electric self-starter.  When Henry Ford invented the car, man had to hand-crank the engine to get it started.  Charles F. Kettering patented the first self-starter for automobiles and within a couple of years most automobiles manufactured had his device installed.  He also developed the spark plug, an electric motor for cash registers, the automatic transmission, freon and much more.  Mr. Kettering's home, Ridgeleigh Terrace, was the first air-conditioned home in America.  He and Edward Deeds founded the Dayton Engineering Laboratory Company (Delco) which became vv a major manufacturing presence in Dayton.  Later Mr. Kettering and Alfred Sloan created the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research.

The movie projector.  First patented in 1895, Charles F. Jenkins used a silk handerchief as a screen for his moving picture images.  He later partnered with Thomas Armat who assisted him in improving his projector, but Armat ended up secretly selling the projector to Thomas Edison without Jenkins' knowledge.  Jenkins had over 400 patents to his name at the time of his death.

Electronically stimulated ambulatory motion.  Jerrold S. Petrofsky of Wright State University has invented several methods for electronically stimulating muscles to work in people suffering from paralysis.  One of his devices allowed a young woman who was paralyzed by a car accident to walk across the stage to accept her diploma at Wright State U.

The cash register.   The first mechanical cash register was invented in 1879 by James Ritty , who owned a bar in Dayton and was troubled by thefts from his employees.  He and his brother started a company to market the cash registers but later sold the patent rights to John Patterson, who established the National Cash Register company in Dayton.  "The Cash" was a major employer in Dayton and while Mr. Patterson sometimes followed some questionable business practices, he redeemed himself during the flood of 1913 when he had his employees build boats to save families, started soup lines and allowed displaced families to stay on the factory grounds.

The price tag.  In 1891 Frederick Kohnle invested a device that printed and stuck a price tag on items.  This allowed merchants to label and price items quickly and easily.  Mr. Kohnle owned several small firms created to continue the development of his marking systems which were eventually combined to create the Monarch Marking System Co. (now Paxar) in Miamisburg, Ohio.

The list of inventors and their patented inventions goes on and on, including everything from speed control devices for the automobile to putting green cups to the hand-held propulsion gun used by Gemini astronauts on their space walks.  The Dayton area has proved to be a fertile ground for inquiring minds. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Denny's golfing and I'm not

Denny had an invitation to play golf today so he's enjoying a break from me since I'm currently rather high maintenance.

Actually, I'm finding a small measure of independence now that I'm allowed to put some weight on my leg.  Yesterday I made a huge pan of lasagna-six cheeses and our homemade meat sauce that makes enough for a small army.  Granted, I had to jack up my crutches and lean on them while I cooked, but by golly, I was cooking!  Denny made a sour cherry pie and my mom chipped in with the garlic laced Italian bread.  Gastronomic heaven and caloric and cholesterol hell disaster and boy was it all good!

Today my mother and I did some clothes shopping and picked up some flowers to plant as the local greenhouses are starting to discount their prices already.  Since I was using my crutches I figure I worked off at least half of last night's calories; hauling your rear end around on crutches is work!  The hardest part of the excursion was trying to maneuver my leg into the front seat of the van and then angle myself on the seat to fit.  But I did it.  It wasn't comfy, but it worked. 

I must admit, being more ambulatory helps my attitude, for which everyone in this household is grateful.  Heh. 

Monday, June 19, 2006

Amber Watch

The folks at Amber Watch have notified me that they have reduced the price of their watches to $29.95 for the summer season. These watches have a loud alarm that your child can set off in times of trouble or possible abduction attempt that can be heard at a distance equalling the length of a football field. The alarm also goes off automatically if the watch is forcibly removed from the child's arm. The Amber Watch is a fully functional digital watch that also has bright LED lights that can be seen day or night when activated.

If you would like to know more about these watches, click on the Amber Watch link under the "Curious Connections" section on the right hand side of this blog.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Mid June Lazy Sunday Photos

The subject of today's Lazy Sunday photos is "Critters".  Only the otter was part of a nature display at the High Desert Museum-all the other creatures roamed free.  Which is how it should be.  Not a fan of zoos. 

Bison traffic control in Yellowstone National Park. Posted by Picasa

I'm not sure if this is a Poor Will or a Common Nighthawk, but they would sleep on the fence railings all day and feed at night. Posted by Picasa

Tim and Rosie who are traveling from Washington to Texas. We met up with them on Hwy. 97 north of Crater Lake in Oregon. Posted by Picasa

A river otto on display at the High Desert Museum south of Bend, OR. Posted by Picasa

A leisurely ride on the beach at Ocean Shores, WA. Posted by Picasa

A Blue Grouse strutting his stuff at the Olympic National Park in Washington. Posted by Picasa

A Great Blue Heron fishing for dinner at the locks in Seattle, WA. Posted by Picasa

A kingfisher watching for his dinner above the locks in Seattle. Posted by Picasa

A deer feeding between the huge feeder pipes of the power station at Snoqualmie Falls in Washington. Posted by Picasa

The obligatory picture of Patches, aka Curious George, who is waiting for the CD to pop out. Posted by Picasa

On Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to all those men who worked hard all their lives to provide for their families.

The picture above is of Denny, his father Joe, who turned 95 this year and Denny's sister Connie. 

My father died of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease) in 1996 and I have yet to take on the huge project of scanning all our old photos onto CDs so I have none of him to post today.

Darby's father died at the age of 36 of a heart attack brought on by a brain tumor.

Hug your dad today.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

A nifty little FireFox Add-On

If you use/like the Firefox browser and also blog, Firefox has a new extension called Performancing 1.2 that really makes posting to Blogger easy and works with other blog publishers as well.

Performancing is accessed from a pencil and pad icon in the lower right hand corner of your browser and is a full featured blog editor. While you are creating your blog entry you can drop and drag any formatted text from a web page you may be researching/browsing right to your blog post. When you are finished, you click on the "publish to" blog button and Firefox enters your post to your blog. You can post to Blogger, Wordpress, MSN Spaces and more. It's fun and easy even for a neophyte blogger.

If you haven't tried Firefox yet, click on the Firefox browser button in the right hand column below the ads and it will connect you to the download site. Enjoy!

Friday, June 16, 2006

A Benefit to Being Fulltime Rvers

We've been here two weeks and had not yet been down to Cincinnati to see Denny's dad and step-mother, so yesterday we made the 50 mile trek south. After a nice lunch of hot chicken salad and fresh fruit, Denny and his step-mother, Jean walked around the exterior of the house looking for items that needed to be repaired or repainted. The list of things to do is going to be much shorter as Jean has decided that if and when (!) they put the house on the market she'll just make an allowance for interior paint and carpet. Of course, the exterior painting isn't easy as the entire rear of the house is two stories high which means Denny will have a lot of climbing up and down on a tall ladder to paint. I don't know if my knee is going to be up for that anytime soon.

While we were discussing their preparations for selling the house, Jean mentioned that the other day they had a man come over to burn the contents of the two filing cabinets we gave them when we sold our house. It seems that Dad and Jean had kept thirty-four years of paperwork and forms that took five hours to burn in a barrel in the yard. And sitting here beside me as I type is a large box filled with envelopes that are stuffed with receipts that they managed to overlook that I volunteered to shred. Which will take me two weeks to do with our little desktop shredder. Denny also emptied one corner of the garage that was filled with metal rods that used to be used for tomato stakes and bean poles that are no longer needed due to his dad's garden being much smaller, but there was a big fight over that. It seems Denny's dad feels that anything and everything in that garage (three lawn tractors, a trailer, heating and cooling tools and equipment, several sets of tools, vises, etc.) might come in handy for something he might do at some time in the future. Sigh. When the day comes that the two of them do put the house up for sale we are going to have to rip each item from Dad's hands. Or drag him kicking and screaming from the garage to have a moving sale.

All I can say is, our two sons really ought to appreciate the fact that we downsized and eliminated tons of "stuff" from our life when we sold the house and moved into our rig. Selling the rig and its contents should be a snap, which is good because as the bumper sticker says "We're spending our kids' inheritance now". Heh.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

The Flood of 1913

With all the recent rains we've been having, I guess the best place to start in our tour of Dayton and its history is the 1913 flood.

The city of Dayton is located next to the Great Miami River which has three lesser tributaries feeding into it north of town; the Stillwater River, the Mad River and Wolf Creek. Runoff from the three after storms had caused flooding in the past and the city's response had been to build earthen levies along the river banks to stem the flow of floodwaters. When flooding did occur, the people of Dayton would clean up the mess, rebuild and strength the levies and then go about their business until the next time.

On Sunday, March 23, 1913 the spring rains started. It rained nonstop for two days and by Tuesday morning, March 25 the river was rising at the rate of an inch every five minutes with the rain coming down harder and harder. Church bells were rung and factory whistles started blowing to warn people of the potential for flooding but an hour later one levy was breached and another broken and so the floodwaters poured into downtown Dayton. It was estimated that the waters entered town at the rate of 25 mph, reaching a depth of ten to twelve feet in most areas and as much as twenty feet in the low lying areas. Homes were damaged or destroyed, cars, horses and livestock were swept away and families were trapped in the upper stories of their homes or on their roofs.

One of Dayton's most well known citizens provided enormous assistance at this time; John Patterson who established the NCR (National Cash Register) Corporation. Recognizing early on that the potential for disastrous flooding was nigh, he ordered his employees to blow the factory's whistle in warning and had them stop production of cash registers and put his employees to work building boats for rescue efforts and started food lines and created emergency shelters in the factory buildings which were set on slightly higher ground and away from the river banks.

After four days of rain, the flood waters finally started to recede and the citizens of Dayton realized they had to do something to prevent future disastrous floods. Over three hundred people lost their lives in the flood and over 1300 horses and mules were killed. Property damage was estimated to be over 190 million dollars. So the people of Dayton started a collection and within a few weeks had raised over two million dollars and the Miami Valley Conservancy was formed to implement the building of a flood system. The slogan for the fund raising campaign was "Remember the promises you made in the attic". Arthur E. Morgan of Morgan Engineering Company from Memphis, Tennessee was hired to create a system of five dry dams to control future runoff from the three tributaries flowing into the Great Miami River. These dry dams allow the river to flow through at normal rates, but would hold back any floodwaters in the basins created. The dams have effectively prevented floods over 1000 times since their creation, with no more than 60 per cent of their capacity being used.

The Germantown Dam. Photograph courtesy the Miami Conservancy DistrictPosted by Picasa

The Englewood Dam near completion. Photograph courtesy the Miami Conservancy District Posted by Picasa

The Englewood Dam being constructed. Photograph courtesy the Miami Conservancy DistrictPosted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I'm mending, I'm mending

Andy, the ortho tech removed my stitches today, commenting about how well I've healed in two weeks. This would be compared to the rest of the clientele I've seen in the office who all appear to be in their mid-70s? But the layers of bandages are coming off finally.

The good news is that Dr. M says I can start putting some weight on the leg, although the locked brace stays on for another two weeks. But at the end of that period I should be off the crutches and after I see him on the 27th I'll start physical therapy immediately afterward. Yay! I never would have thought I'd be looking forward to cooking, cleaning and chores but any kind of movement and physical activity sounds great to me at this moment.

Denny and I stopped for a celebratory milk shake after seeing the doctor and then picked up some magenta colored geraniums to brighten up my mom's back yard as we'll be sitting there to relax after starting the painting and maintenance here shortly. The brilliant red-purple blosssoms will look lovely against the ferns, hostas and lillies of the valley. Along with the gray and white of a little frisky kitten who has discovered the cat entrance in the storm door and that grass won't kill her feet. Things are looking up.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Lazy Sunday Lighthouses

Dayton has seen a lot of rain this week, so pictures of lighthouses seem appropriate today. For more of the specifics on the lighthouses or the areas we traveled, you can find our travel journals at the RV Vagabonds website.

Perhaps next week we'll start a virtual tour of Dayton. I admit, I'd much rather be playing golf. Sigh.

One of the most famous lighthouses we've visited-Peggy's Cove in Nova Scotia. Posted by Picasa

The volunteer who provided information at the Sturgeon Point lighthouse in Sturgeon, Michigan actually lived in a lighthouse as a child. Posted by Picasa

Cheboygan, Michigan's lighthouse. Posted by Picasa
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