Sunday Sunday

Day 7 (May 5)
Visited: Burlington, KY
Miles Driven: None

Today was a care-free day of down time and good conversation. We started off with a light brunch at Panera Bread with Minda, Pete, Sam and Grace and then we headed back to the house for a quiet day at home. Grace and I worked on a cool craft, we hung around the house and snuggled with the dogs.

In early afternoon, Heather Dorning and her son Jason came for a visit. Heather is another of the “gang” of friends I made here in the late 80’s, and it had been over 17 years since I had last visited Northern Kentucky. I got to meet Jason for the first time today. He has her goofy sense of humor…lucky kid.

Heather and Jason

Heather and Jason

What’s really great about good friendships is that they just seem to pick up where they left off. Minda, Heather and I spent a couple of hours gabbing away like no time had gone by. It was so good to sit and laugh about the past…and today.

We had two more Cincinnati traditions to experience–Montgomery Inn Ribs and Graeter’s Ice Cream. This restaurant has THE best ribs. The sauce is a sweet and tangy vinegar-based sauce, and the baby back ribs are fall-off-the-bone tender. We all pigged out on ribs and Saratoga Chips (home-made potato chips with ribs sauce for dipping) and topped it off with some Graeter’s ice cream (Raspberry Chocolate Chip is my favorite). We’re now sitting around, watching the tube and letting dinner settle in our stomachs.

And of course, Samuel is now smitten with Jasmine. I think he would be happy if I ‘forgot’ to take Jasmine with me. Sorry Sam. 🙂

Tomorrow, we leave for parts unknown. We now begin the “no reservations” leg of our journey! We’ll decide on a daily basis how far we’re going and how long we’re staying. No agenda. No hurry. No worries!

Samuel and Jasmine

Jasmine makes a friend

Jasmine and Samuel

Sam wants to dog-nap Jasmine!

Derby Day

Day 6 (May 4)
Visited: Villa Hills and Burlington, KY
Miles Driven: 28

Today was a day to visit with old friends and to enjoy Kentucky and Cincinnati traditions–Goetta, Skyline Chili and Derby Day!

We’re staying with the Michels family. I lived in Northern Kentucky when I first graduated from college, and I met and became fast friends with a group of really great people…people who made this my home and made me a part of their families. We’re staying with one of that group of friends, Minda and Pete Michels, their children, twins Sam and Grace, and their dog Sparky.

After we arrived, we decided that frosty beverages were in order. I made my French martinis and Tom had his usual Jack Daniels. I got Minda to try the French martinis, and we stayed up until the wee hours, catching up on our lives and drinking way too much. Tom and Pete quit around midnight; Minda and I…not so soon!

We began Derby day with a low-cal (NOT) breakfast of Goetta, eggs and rolls. Goetta is a local, scrapple-like product that’s created with some grain (steel-cut oats, buckwheat groats or the like), pork and seasonings. It’s boiled, formed into a loaf-like structure, sliced and fried. And it’s GOOD. But it’s not exactly healthy. Oh well!

After breakfast, Tom and I went to visit with Nancy Egan and Barbara Wilson, two of the Moms of my extended family. It was really heartening to see both Nancy and Barbara. They both welcomed me into their families with open arms and made this a home for me. We had very nice visits…it was really great to see them both.

Skyline Chili

Yum! A Cincinnati tradition! I like the 3 Way.

In between our visits, I initiated Tom into a Cincinnati tradition–Skyline Chili. Cincinnati chili is…different. The meat sauce isn’t spiced like a traditional bowl of red; instead, you can taste cinnamon and other ‘odd’ flavors that you wouldn’t think of in chili. It’s served in different ‘ways’, but traditional is over spaghetti with cheese (3 Way), onions (4 Way) and beans (5 Way). Tom loved it enough to finish my dish.

After the visits, it was time for the main event–the Kentucky Derby! Minda threw a Derby Day party. I made more French Martinis, Pete broke out the Buffalo Trace bourbon, and we were good to go! Yummy Tortilla Soup, Not-Too-Bad-For-You-Ham-Sammies and Really-Bad-For-You-Desserts were on the menu. Grace put together a Derby contest. We each put in $2 for each horse (picked randomly) and the Win, Place and Show winners shared the pot. Orb, Minda’s horse, blew away the field at the end. Minda, our hostess, was the big money winner. Fixed? Hm…I don’t know! Given that Minda’s mother won the Place and her son won the Show prizes…hm…suspicious! LOL!

We had a great time catching up, eating and drinking, and just enjoying the company of good friends. And being in Kentucky for Derby Day…a completely unplanned event, but definitely a bonus!

Tom and Margaret Donnelly


Jeff Sizemore

Smilin’ Jeff

Winners' Cups

A shot of the Winners’ Cups prior to the race

On Your Mark...

On your mark…get set…Post time!


Sparky wants Tortilla Soup too!


Kate (Pete’s mom) is egging on her horse!

Minda and Sparky

Minda and Sparky rootin’ for Orb!

Jeff and Marty

Jeff and Marty Sizemore

Smile BB

BB doesn’t like to have her picture taken. I think she’s beautiful!

Grace and Sparky

Grace and Sparky