Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sometimes You Just Need A Good Laugh...

Did you hear about the Italian chef that died?
  • He pasta way.
  • We cannoli do so much
  • His legacy will become a pizza history.
  • Here today, gone tomato
  • How sad that he ran out of thyme.
  • Sending olive my prayers to the family.
  • His wife is really upset. Cheese still not over it.
  • You never sausage a tragic thing
  • It’s such a shame good people have to die fusilli reasons.
  • It was a farfalle from grace.

Five years ago today: Look Mom...No Cavities!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Those Must Be Some Big Fairies!

All week I've drivin by a house that has a huge (about ten feet in diameter) fairy ring of mushrooms in the yard.  Tonight I stopped and took a picture:

Saturday, August 16, 2014

There's More To Ferguson Than You Might Think

It's been almost a week, but unfortunately the City of Ferguson, Missouri continues to be in the spotlight.   It's hard to keep up with the news, which changes almost hourly.  Based on the headlines you might think the entire area is in turmoil. You'd be wrong.

Ferguson covers a little over six square miles. The unrest and riots have been confined to a very small portion of the city. Yesterday Hubby Tony and I listened to a local radio show as we were getting ready for bed.  The host talked to a few restaurant owners in downtown Ferguson whose business had dropped off as a result of the disturbance. Tonight we decided to show our support for the area.

There are about two dozen restaurants and food service places in the downtown area, most of them along South Florissant Road. We chose the Ferguson Brewing Company where we enjoyed an awesome meal. We weren't alone; I heard the large group at the table next to ours talking and it sounded like they were there for the same reason.

After dinner we went to church at the nearby Our Lady of Guadalupe church. The Mass was very inspirational and uplifting. I wasn't surprised that the topic of the nearby violence came up several times, but each time they focused on what we could do to help alleviate it. 

Five years ago today: Summer's Bounty

Friday, August 15, 2014

Patch A Chip

Several years ago I had a small chip on my car windshield.  I repaired it with a do-it-yourself kit from the car parts store.  The job was easy to do, but a bit of a hassle.  That windshield bit the dust, and the current windshield has been in place for three years.  Two weeks ago I noticed a chip on the passenger side with cracks radiating out from the center.  From one edge to the other it was about two inches long.  I thought that would be too big to repair, so I called my insurance company about having the windshield replaced again.

The insurance company uses a "preferred" provider for auto glass, so I got transferred to that office.  Much to my surprise they told me I could have the chip repaired, and set an appointment for this afternoon.  At 2:00 the doorbell rang and the technician introduced herself.  I showed her the windshield imperfection, and she verified she could indeed take care of it.  It would take her about 30 minutes to do the job.

It actually took closer to 20 minutes.  She cleaned the windshield, then injected resin into the chip and set an ultra-violet light on top of the area to cure the resin.  While it was curing she cleaned the exterior of the rest of the windows and vacuumed the front seat carpet of the car (which was a nice touch).   Before I knew it she was knocking at the door again with my paperwork.  Unlike my do-it-yourself job this one has a warranty.  She showed me her work and I was amazed.  All that was left of the chip was two pinhead sized dots.  The rest had disappeared.

The best part?  My insurance company waived the deductible because I had the windshield repaired instead of replaced.

Five years ago today: Jammies

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Remodeling Season

It's remodeling season at the mall.

All summer they've been working on patching and replacing the sidewalks.  A crew has been on the roof doing something with the air conditioners.  For a couple of weeks different areas of the parking lots and garage have been roped off with yellow tape every day, and I had to be observant so I could  zig and zag around them.

There are changes going on inside, too.  One store is being remodeled.  Another is being rebranded with a new concept by the same corporate owner.  Two storefronts are being built out for new stores, and the management office has announced there are more changes to come.  (They didn't come out and say it, but I suspect everything will be done before the holiday shopping season--the main event for retailers--begins.)

All these changes have led to some grumpy customers who don't like change and expect 'their' store to be there.  They come to the Customer Service desk to vent; we have a list of alternate places they can find what they're looking for so we can send them in the right direction.  There's never a dull day at the mall!

Five years ago today: Birds of Prey

Monday, August 11, 2014

A Sad State Of Affairs

Ferguson, Missouri (a suburb of the St. Louis area) is making the national news. But not in a good way.  On Saturday Michael Brown, an African-American teenager, was killed in an altercation with the police. Afterwards the officer gave his version of what happened. A friend of Michael Brown contradicted that version. The incident turned into 'he said, she said', and racial tensions began running high.

Last night there was a candlelight vigil that turned violent. Several businesses were looted, and a gas station was burned.

On the way to work today I heard the young man's parents were going to hold a press conference about the matter, but Ferguson isn't particularly close to the mall so I didn't think any more about it. Shortly after I opened the Customer Service desk I got a call from the main office letting me know there'd been rumors on social media that some people were calling for incidents at several places, including this mall. They were aware of it, and had extra Security guards and police officers on the floor.

For a while after I hung up the phone I startled at every strange noise, but after an hour or so I relaxed. There was indeed an extra safety presence, although they looked a little bored.  Over the course of my shift I fielded several calls asking me if the mall was open. (I guess those people had heard the rumors, too).  When my co-worker arrived to relieve me mid-afternoon I passed on everything I'd been told.  We agreed we hoped the sad issue resolves itself soon.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Moonlight Rambling

Every year about this time I hear ads for the Moonlight Ramble, a leisurely nighttime bike ride through the streets of St. Louis.  Every year I think, "I should do that some day".   Now I can say I have; last night Hubby Tony and I participated in the fifty-first version of the ride. 

This year AARP was one of the big Ramble sponsors.  Last month when I was reading through the group's Bulletin I noticed the local office was offering a limited number of free registrations.  I quickly sent off an email to the contact person, and was excited to find out a couple of days later that I'd snagged one.

Last night at 12:05 AM (long after I'm usually in bed) Tony and I were on our bikes at the staging area just south of Busch Stadium  along with thousands of others waiting for our turn to start riding.   Around us was an incredible variety of people, from babies in bicycle trailers to couples on tandem bikes. Families were clustered together, and there were quite a few people in costumes or groups with matching shirts.

When we finally got the OK to start it took several minutes for the bikes in front of us to get out of the way so we could get moving.  For the first couple of blocks things moved slowly, but eventually the crowd spread out.  Despite the fact the organizers emphasized the Ramble is not a race, some bikers felt the need to go fast; they darted in and out of the pack annoyingly, but for the most part the riders were a friendly group that leisurely rode down the blocked-off streets.

There was a  short (9 mile) and a long (19 mile) ride.  We had planned on doing the longer route, but when we got to the turnoff we changed our minds.  Only half the people turned with us, which made the rest of the ride less congested and more pleasant.  It took us about an hour to return to the staging area, where a band was playing.  We got some snacks and a drink, listened to the music for a while, and decided to call it a night.

On the way home we were already talking about what we'd do differently next year.  I guess we've started a new tradition.

Five years ago today: Younger or Older?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Unique Flavors

I try to stay away from potato chips, but today when Hubby Tony, Son Donald, and Son Tony went to the grocery store they brought home several bags of produce and healthy food....and a bag of Lay's Wasabi Ginger chips, one of the four finalists for the 2014 "Do Us a Flavor" promotion.  (The others are Cappuccino, Mango Salsa, and Cheddar Bacon Mac & Cheese)

The chips were good, but I thought the wasabi was a little too mild.  When Tony left for the evening to visit with some friends I asked him to take the rest of the bag with him. I didn't want to be tempted to eat more.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Pizza, Anyone?

You may remember that last month I signed up to be a secret shopper.  I've now done a half dozen assignments, but the majority of them have been for a chain of pizza parlors that has two locations relatively close to my house.  I must be the only person in my area who can do them because they keep calling me!

One of the locations will deliver.  My house is outside the delivery area for the other so there I order the pizza as a carry out.  My assignment is to get a pizza, rate the quality of the service, and take pictures of the pizza from several vantage points.  I upload the pictures and fill out a short survey, then call it done.

We used to order from this chain when the kids lived at home and we needed to fill three teenage boy stomachs.  The first time I did the assignment we had the pizza for dinner, and I realized my taste buds had changed.  It may be on the inexpensive side, but it's not the best.  Son Donald has friends who like pizza, though, so I tell him when I'm getting one and he figures out whose turn it is for a free meal.

The pay for doing this isn't great, but I figure I'm paying my secret shopper dues and getting experience.  I'm also making several 20-somethings happy, so it's worth it.

Five years ago today: Fine Dining