Food For Thought

So, here in the cornfields. in our little town, we have a grocery store crisis brewing. For almost a hundred years, we had several little independent grocers, of which, two, which became Hilander, and Loglis, were the two largest. Both were locally owned til 10 or so years, ago. Then, the family who owned Hilander, wanted to retire. The chain, Kroger bought them. Ok, not bad for the first year, then service and selection plummeted like an Acapulco cliff diver. As best I can recall ( it gets confusing) Loglis were sold in the same manner, to Schnucks, out of St. Louis. A couple years later, Kroger sold the Hilander chain to Schnucks, who now owned the bulk of supermarkets/grocery stores in town. Enter more Acapulco cliff diving of service and selection.
A year or so ago, a Meijers decided to come to town. We have a Woodman’s, from Wi, here, and it’s a pretty good place to shop, but not as handy as the several aforementioned stores. With the Meijers monster coming to our part of the cornfields, Schnucks, displaying their amazing lack of business ability, started closing the stores they had recently acquired.
First, the one in our neighborhood, which, had, in the last four or five years, turned into a store straight out of the ‘hood. Not a good place to go. Along with that, they cut back every employees hours to part time, thus cutting pay and benefits. They are now in the process of closing every other store in town. More than half a dozen in an area of 200, 000 people.
In a brilliant stroke of business sense, Schnucks has managed to destroy a century of local business, unemploy hundreds, and remove any local grocery stores from around the entire city…

Thanks, Schnucks, for your brilliant business strategy, and, dedication to community…. We really appreciate it…

Friends, Music, and Memories

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Two days in an empty cow pasture-almost empty, except for surprises left by the cows, and a chance to turn it into something special.

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600 of our closest musical, quirky, entertaining, interesting friends joined us there, for a chance to leave a lifetime impression on us all.
Camping in little caravans, tents, airstreams, motor homes, and the back of a station wagon.

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We wait anxiously until noon, on the dot, before we are allowed to enter. Then the ‘mad’ dash to stake your claim in your usual spot. We had 12 of us in our compound this year. Four tents, the aforementioned airstream, and motor home, along with 7-I think- easy ups for shade, too. We outdid ourselves this year. Almost 40 feet of camping and music paradise.
It’s like a Motel Six of jamming and conversations til past midnight. Quiet coffee and breakfast in the cool morning. Catching up on recent past, and planning the weekend, and the future.

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Jam, listen to the excellent musicians around us, and plan our set on the stage. Our big moment!

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More jamming back at Biltmore compound, and trying desperately to stay awake, so it won’t be Sunday when you get up, and have to disassemble the dream, and head back home, loaded with wonderful images locked away, and happily anticipating the reassembling of the gang again soon!

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A Fourth to Remember

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Ah,
After a wonderful Independence Day, we relaxed on the back porch, with bagels and coffee. It was 90* already, so thus the Las Vegas coffee mug.
We were resting from adventures of the 4th. Maggie baked cupcakes

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To take down to our fireworks adventure. The company I work for opens up the property, right along the river, and provides bratwurst, sides, porta potties, a cooling center ( a sprinkler), and a secure spot, DIRECTLY across from the launching site of the largest fireworks display in the state.

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We invited some friends, and, in our ‘designated’ spot, set up our party.

Food, friends, and fireworks- what more could one ask for, on a summer evening? Everyone had a great time, and, much oohing and ahing ensued.

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When the finale finally faded away, we headed out into the fray of traffic, but we all made it home, to start thinking of next years colorful adventure…

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Summertime, and the living’ is…

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Summertime. My favorite season. I apologize to my friends for going on and on and on about what a great time of year this is, but… IT IS! Sure, we have paralyzingly hot days. More sunshine than some countries get in a year. Yard work and chores up the perverbial wazoo, but, it’s all worth it, to see that morning glow, or the red dusk. In between, we manage to slip in-besides work 😦 – cookouts, bike rides, visits to other cuties, and musical venues. We have trips to Wisconsin to see parks and lakes and guitars and friends. We cherish breakfast on the screened in back porch, listening to Pandora’s Bossa nova channel, listening to the multitude of birds, and planning what adventures that will consume our days.
Yea, I’ll take this season, and and use it up!

Good times, not so good times…

Well,
We’ve been looking forward to our adventure for a month. A drive through the countryside, to a nice restaurant, then summer stock theatre. A lovely summer evenings entertainment. Well, we’re batting .500 on this one…
We went to Mt. Carroll Il, for dinner. A cute restaurant called Bella’s. The owner/chef has worked in two of our cities tastier restaurants. Then decided open up a place of his own in a cute little town. to We’ve been there a couple times on a Sunday, and had a sandwich, and it was good. However, last nights ‘adventure’ was not quite the same experience…
We had 6pm reservations, but arrived at 5:40. Seated quickly, and had a drink, while perusing the menu. As we narrowed down our choice, we were told that three of the entrees were already unavailable, due to the fact that it was Wednesday evening, and the suppliers did not deliver fresh product until Thursday… Huh? They were out of some food? The menu is printed up weekly, so we have a problem…
Ok, we made our second choice, and the slightly muddled, but somewhat pleasant waitress took our order. Now- I should back up. When I made the reservations, and, when we arrived, I mentioned that we were attending the theatre, so as to inform them of our time constraints. Timberlake is a fairly big summer draw in the area, so they are well aware of patrons schedule for show nights.
So, order in, we chatted & waited for our salads. Got ’em, but in a leisurely fashion. Tick. Tick. Tick. Time rolling on. After 45 minutes, we asked approximately when we would see our food, as we had to leave for the theatre shortly. ” we’ve had a bit of a rush. Everyone arrived at once, so we’re a little behind”. Rush? There were maybe twenty people in the place… Fifteen more minutes. “um, we are running out of time. What’s the word?” ” any minute now. I am sorry”. At 6:50, our food arrived. Oh- it was not Peking duck, or something incredibly complicated. A grilled pork chop with rice, and chicken alfredo with linguini.
By this time, the waitress had pretty much given up hope of making us happy. As the plates hit the table, we were asking for carry out containers, since we didn’t have time to eat, and make it to our seats on time. She was apologetic, and took our name and number. ” The owner will want to make this right”. We’ll see…
We did make it to the theatre on time, but the people who parked next to us were also at Bellas. And, they had the same underwhelming experience. That is not good for the reputation. Maybe it was the ‘perfect storm’ of everything going horribly wrong that night, but, I do not think so…
Suffice it to say, that will not be going back any time soon…

On the bright side, however, Timberlake Playhouse saved the evening, and, was stellar! We saw Guys and Dolls, one of my very favorite plays, and they nailed it! I am not speaking as goofy uncle Tim, who, as the child manages to play three notes in a row, jumps up and applauds wildly. No, these actors were good! We have seen several plays on broadway, and, seriously, this held up to that level… The entire cast was good, but Tim Wessel, who played Nicely Nicely, and Hayley Gribble, who played Miss Adelaide, absafrickinlutely nailed their performances. A 110% well done bit of acting… Speaking in an AARP uncle voice, “these kids are gonna go places”.
If you know me, you know I can be a bit hard to please, but I was amazed by the whole cast, and the passion they put on the stage.
http://www.timberlakeplayhouse.org
If you like good summerstock theatre, want a fun evening, and, would like to support the future, check ’em out.

That’s the end of my long rant…. Thank you for listening…

To Snip or Not to Snip

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We are finally, seriously, thinking of cutting the cord, so to speak, from Dish Network, and our land phone line. We would install a Roku on one tv, and an Apple tv on the other. It would save us $100+ a month. However, our 10+ megabit Uverse Internet has been spastic the last week, and, if you can’t count on the Internet you have, you are toast. The alternative would be to ‘man up’ to Comcast Internet for $60 a month, and wonder about the evening slowdown…
Our Dish Network contract is up in August, so we have a few months to ‘think ‘ about, and do a bit of research. We actually watch only an hour or two of programming a night, so if we made the switch, it wouldn’t really affect our viewing, and, we may actually get to practice our ukuleles and guitars more, along with more reading.
All things to ponder during the next couple months… Have to have SOMETHING to ponder whole enjoying the best three months of the year…