Friday, May 30, 2014

Got To Keep On Dancing

The past few weeks they've been expanding the types of music they play through the speakers at the mall.  In addition to the light jazz, classic rock, pop, and soul hits from the '70s, and '80, I'm used to hearing they've thrown in some R&B and country songs, and even some disco.

Today was no exception.  Right after I opened the Customer Service desk Al Green serenaded me with "Let's Stay Together".   Later in the morning Shania Twain told me "Man! I Feel Like A Woman!"   As I answered customer's questions Marvin Gaye wanted to know "What's Going On".

Shortly before my shift was over I heard a song for the first time in many years.  With lyrics like "Dance with the boogie get down" and "Got to keep on dancing, keep on dancing" it would never win any awards for intellectual content, but the infectious beat had me bobbing my head and tapping my toes.

Here it is, so you can bob and tap too.


Thursday, May 29, 2014

Oblivious

Today I was working at the mall Customer Service desk when an associate from a nearby woman's clothing store came to me with a question.  There was a group of four unsupervised young boys (she guessed they were about 10 years old) running in and out of the store and causing a disturbance.  What should she do?  (This store has two doors, one I can see from the desk and one I can't.  The brouhaha was at the far door.)

I said if I was her I'd call Security and let them handle it.  She went back to her store and I watched to see what happened next.  Several minutes later a gruff-looking older female security officer arrived and disappeared into the store.  She's relatively new to the job and I haven't had a chance to talk with her yet, but it seemed like she'd be the perfect choice to take care of a group on unruly kids. 

Shortly afterwards a cute toddler with floppy blond pigtails scurried past the desk.  When I see a young child on their own I always check to make sure there's an adult somewhere nearby. This time I didn't see anyone, but as I was stepping out from behind the desk I heard a female voice yelling "STOP".  I looked to my left and saw a woman one storefront down, nonchalantly walking my way.  I verified it was the mother of the toddler, then went back to my post.

Three minutes later the mother and daughter reappeared.  She said the group of boys she'd had with her at the food court had disappeared; could I call Security?  I put two and two together and told her where she might find her boys.  (At this point it had been about ten minutes since the security guard arrived.)  She took her daughter and disappeared into the store; I didn't see her again, but I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall when the officer talked with her.

Five years ago today: Lyrical

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

New Standard Procedures

You may remember that last week I fell and sprained my wrist.  Several hours later I left the urgent care center with a brace and the standard instructions for RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation).   I'm good at following instructions, so I babied my wrist by doing as little around the house as possible.  After a couple of days I realized the big brace I got at the urgent care was too hot, so I bought a smaller one at Walgreens.

Today I had my monthly 'tune up' appointment at the chiropractor.  When I walked into the treatment room I was wearing the small wrap-around wrist sprint. He asked what had happened and I gave him the Reader's Digest version.  I also told him that I had quite a few aches from my tumble...my left shoulder, the right side of my neck, and my lower back.  He had me move my wrist back and forth, up and down, then announced that for the past week I'd been treating my injury all wrong.
WAIT........WHAT?!?
 He explained that there was a new way to treat sprains which pretty much contradicted what I'd been doing.   The sports medicine field has recently figured out that METH (Movement, Elevation, Traction, Heat) works better and helps sprains heal faster than the old protocol.

I got an adjustment and a demonstration of some pressure points on my forearm that help the sprained area heal, then a session on the traction table.  When I left the office all of my aches were gone!  Sadly, as I used my wrist during the day some of the discomfort came back, but it was not as severe as before.   Massaging the pressure points helped, and after dinner I soaked my hand and wrist in a Epsom salt solution while Hubby Tony and I talked about out days.

I'm a horrible invalid, and can't wait for my wrist to get back to normal.

Five years ago today:  Straight From The Farm

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Plant Place

For many years I've had two hanging pots filled with spider plants.  They spend the summer outside, and winter in a sunny window in the kitchen.  I repot them at the beginning of each season (removing half of the plants from the containers and giving them away); by the time the weather cools off the pots are full and lush again, with multiple hanging plantlets.

The old deck that we replaced two summers ago had large hooks screwed into the underside of the top rail that I could hang the planters from.  This new deck top rail has no lip.  There's nowhere to put hooks, and the rail is too thick for standard brackets to fit over.  For the past two summers I've been looking for a solution, and haven't had any luck. 

This year when I brought the spider plants out I set them on the deck table and swore that was only temporary.  After a month they were still there.  We'd move them to the ground when we ate dinner outside, then put them back on the table when we were done.  It was getting to be a real pain.  Last weekend Hubby Tony and I were browsing at the garden section of a hardware store when I saw the cutest decorative metal stands.  They had a wide scroll base at the bottom and a basket hook at the top.  There were several colors on the shelf.  I choose one green and one yellow.


I set them up on the deck, and realized they could be a little taller; some of the spider plantlets are dragging on the ground.  When I get around to repotting, I'll remove the longest ones.  That should take care of the problem.

Five years ago today: Relief...

Monday, May 26, 2014

Monumental

Today, even though it was Memorial Day, I had to work my normal shift at the mall Customer Service desk.  Afterwards I was going to meet Hubby Tony at a Greek Festival, but the "chance of rain" the weatherman predicted began falling right as I got on the highway.  We changed our plans and I headed home.  After I changed my clothes we talked about our days, watched a little Cardinals baseball, then went to a nearby Pakistani cafe for gyro plates.  When we got home it was time for the main activity of the night.

 Over the weekend Tony and I watched several war movies that were part of a Memorial Day marathon on Turner Classic Movies.  Thanks to Redbox tonight we saw another one, The Monuments Men, a movie based on the true story of a great art treasure hunt at the end of World War II.


The movie, which is loosely based on a book called  The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History by Robert M. Edsel, follows seven people who were assigned the task of rescuing as much artwork from the Nazis as they could.  In actuality there were about 350 men and women (from thirteen different nations) who worked together to protect the cultural treasures of Europe.  They tracked, located, and returned more than five million artistic and cultural items stolen by Hitler and the Nazis.

I found it interesting that the movie had a local connection, Walter Kirtland Hancock, who was a sculptor and St. Louis native.  In the movie his character was Sgt. Walter Garfield, played by John Goodman (another St. Louis native).

If you get a chance to see this movie, I'd highly recommend it.

Five years ago today: Director Discourse

Sunday, May 25, 2014

First Mass Of Thanksgiving

Three years ago Hubby Tony and I went to the ordination of a young man from our parish.  Since that time there have been two more men ordained as Archdiocesan priests (one from each of our boys' parish elementary school graduating classes).  The last one took place yesterday, and today Tony and I went to his first public mass.

This first mass is called the Mass of Thanksgiving, which gives thanks for his ordination.  We'd also been to the other two 'first' masses, so we could see the similarities and differences in each of them.  One major difference was the time this one was held.  The other two times the church had added an extra celebration, but this one was during a normal Sunday Mass.  The church was quite full; the pews were filled with a mixture of people who normally attend at that time and people who chose to be there for the celebration. 

The entrance procession at a major Catholic celebration is always quite impressive, and this one was no exception.  First came a thurifer (who carried the thurible holding the incense). Next was the crucifer carrying the crucifix, and two candle bearers.  They were followed by the remaining servers and multiple seminarians, and then the lector carrying the book of the Gospels.   After all that came the clergy, starting with the deacons.  They were followed by the concelebrants (all three parish priests as well as many others), and finally the principal celebrant.

I could tell the new priest was nervous.  During the greeting he had trouble with the microphone and it was hard to hear what he was saying.  However, it didn't take him long to relax, and he did a great job.  He had some help from a Master of Ceremonies, who directed the people on the altar and made sure things ran smoothly.  At the other first masses someone else did the preaching, but today when it came time for the homily, I was surprised to see the new priest step up to the pulpit.  This time he had no problem with the microphone, and his sermon was simple but thought-provoking.  The photographer took photos during key moments.

After Communion and before the final blessing the priest said a few closing remarks.  He thanked all the people who'd helped with the Mass and had some special words for his parents.  During his remarks to his Mom his voice broke, which caused me to tear up, too.   After the Mass was over everyone was invited to the parish center for a reception.  We got to greet the new priest and get one of his first blessings.

Five years ago today: Jelled

Friday, May 23, 2014

Car Spa

I got the best Mother's Day present from Son Brian and DIL Nicole -- a voucher to take my car in for a thorough cleaning.

I've held off on getting the job done, because the past few weeks have been pretty rainy.  It's not often I splurge on a good car wash and I wanted to enjoy the clean-car look for several days. Today, to celebrate the start of the Memorial Day weekend (and the unofficial kickoff of the summer) I took the car to a full-service facility not too far from the house.

Forty-five minutes later the car had been pampered from top to bottom, inside and out.  It was washed, the inside of the windows were cleaned, and the wheels shined.  All the carpet was vacuumed, the dashboard got wiped down, and a vinyl protectant was applied to all the inside surfaces.  I don't think my car has looked this good since I brought it home from the dealer!

As part of my package I also got a five-day Clean Guarantee coupon.  If the car gets dirty (or rained on) in that time I can take it back in and get it cleaned again.


Five years ago today: Gifts

Thursday, May 22, 2014

And From Good.....To Horrible....

 On Monday I showed up for work a couple of hours early, then spent a portion of my 'free' time walking through a nearby residential neighborhood.  When I realized I was short on time and just a little confused about how to get back to my car I used my phone to get directions, then picked up my pace to a slow jog.  I'm not exactly sure what happened next; all I know is that I lost my balance and found myself laying face down on the sidewalk!  My left hand and side took the brunt of the impact.  Because I was in a hurry I hadn't put my phone back in my pocket; it flew out of my right hand and landed a couple of feet away.

I got up quickly and looked around to make sure no one had seen me, then did a quick inventory for any damage.  I had a small road-rash scrape on my left arm above my elbow, my shoulder was sore, and I had a large red spot on the heel of my left hand.  My phone came out much worse--the screen looked like a 100-piece jigsaw puzzle, with jagged lines running from one side to the other.  I didn't have time to mourn its passing; I put it in my pocket where it should have been and concentrated on getting back.

Once safely in the car I used a packaged hand wipe to clean up my arm and a small cut on my ring finger I hadn't realized was there.  My left wrist was feeling achy, but I ignored it and drove back to the mall where I ate my lunch in the car.  Now there was a big knot on my wrist just under my thumb.

When I got out of the car and grabbed my work clothes I had trouble using my left hand. (Did I tell you it's my dominant one?)  By the time I finished changing my clothes in the mall bathroom I knew something was seriously wrong.  I stopped by the Customer Service desk long enough to let my boss know what had happened and tell him I needed to have things checked out.  I used the desk computer to find the closest urgent care center on my insurance plan and said I'd be back as soon as possible.

It's not supposed to be swollen!
I spent almost three hours at the urgent care, where they took x-rays and determined nothing was broken. Checking in was tough; I couldn't write so one of the nurses filled out the forms for me, but when it was time to sign them I could barely get my fingers around the pen.  I left with a splint for my sprained wrist, a cold pack, and a prescription for pain killers.

I'd kept Boss and Hubby Tony updated on my progress.  Even though by this point my left hand was swollen from the base of my fingers to the wrist joint it didn't hurt as long as I didn't move it.  I decided to go back to the mall and finish up my shift (by this point there was only two hours left).  I felt sorry for Boss, who'd come in on his day off expecting to be there for only a short time.  Instead, I'd left him in the lurch.  Besides, if I'd gone home at that point in the day I would have been caught up in rush hour traffic on the highway which probably wouldn't have been a good idea.

I arrived at work, and Boss left after thanking me profusely. After I finished the shift I was hungry and bought a dinner I could eat with one hand from the food court.  On the way home I stopped by the pharmacy and filled my prescription.  Even though it was only seven o'clock when I pulled into the garage, I declared the day over.   I changed into my pajamas, took a pain pill, and zoned out on the couch.

This all happened three days ago. I'm pleased to report that each day my wrist has felt better.  Yesterday I could write without anything hurting and this morning I used both hands to wash my hair.  I may have overdone it at work today, though, so I'm looking forward to some 'do nothing' time over the weekend.

Five years ago today: Captains Courageous

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

From Bad.....To Good....

On Mondays I start work at the mall Customer Service desk at 9:30.  This week I arrived at 9:26, which gave me time to set my purse and lunchbox down before I clocked in.  I used my key in the office door, but it was already unlocked.  Before I could think too much about it the door opened and my boss poked his head out. I gave a little shriek--and by the look on his face I think he was equally surprised.

After we both recovered, he asked me if I'd forgotten the schedule change for the day.  Instead of opening, I was working the middle shift that began at noon to accommodate a co-worker with a dentist appointment.  Boss had come in on his day off to cover the time until I started.
(If he had told me, I didn't remember; I'm always paranoid that when the schedule changes I won't show up when I'm supposed to, so I send myself an email and make a reminder on my phone so I don't forget.  In the almost three years I've had this job I've never forgotten.)  
But in the end my certitude that I was right and he was wrong didn't really matter.  What the boss says goes, so all of a sudden I had two and a half hours to kill until my shift started.  I walked away from the desk in a foul mood and pondered my options.

I had everything I needed in the car to get exercise and run errands.  My original plan was to take care of the tasks after work; now I'd just get as much done beforehand as I could and finish up the rest on the way home. Since I wouldn't have the opportunity to shower I figured out I could take a walk without getting too sweaty.  I went into the closest bathroom and changed from work clothes to workout clothes, then left the mall.  It felt strange to be driving away just a short time after I'd arrived.

My first stop was a nearby Walmart to return some things.  After I finished up I attempted to use the restroom on the way out.  It was closed for cleaning, which made me even more annoyed.  I left the store irritated at everyone and everything.  I drove several blocks and parked the car at a nearby office building, then went inside and used their restroom before I started my walk.

Car keys and cell phone in one pocket, music player in the other, I turned left out of the parking lot. and another left at the first street.  I tried listening to the radio, but the tuner on my music player wasn't picking up the station's signal well (yet another reason to be irritated). Instead I flipped over to music, choosing an oldie but goodie--Supernatural by Santana.   Soon I was walking in time to the uptempo Latin rhythms and my mood got a bit lighter.

The neighborhood turned out to be made up of large older homes, each surrounded by lovely mature landscaping.  As I walked up one street and down the next I tried to pick out which house I'd like to live in. Before I knew it I realized my bad mood had completely vanished. I looked at the time on my phone and realized almost an hour had passed; I had to get back to the car, eat my lunch, and change clothes so I could be back at work on time.

I thought I'd kept good track of the streets I walked on, but when I got to the first intersection I couldn't remember which way to turn. I tried one way, but the houses didn't look familiar so I turned around and doubled back. A second street didn't seem right either. I began to get a little concerned, so I pulled out my phone and used the mapping app to give me directions. It told me I was almost a mile away from the car (yikes!), so I picked up the pace and broke into a slow jog.

When I made it back to familiar territory I breathed a sigh of relief.  I was about five blocks from where I needed to be.There was plenty of time to do the things I needed to and get to the mall. However, I didn't count on what happened next.

(TO BE CONTINUED......)

Five years ago today: Implements Optional

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Early Bird


The past few days I've woken up (involuntarily!) at 5:00 and noticed that the birds are really going to town with their chirping.  I go back to sleep, and an hour later when the alarm goes off and I roll out of bed, I only hear sporadic bird noises. 

I always assumed I didn't hear the birds because I was too distracted, but I've recently learned it's not me; the birds really do sing more energetically, louder and more frequently in the early morning hours.  There's an actual name for the phenomenon -- Dawn Chorus, which has been scientifically studied.

Now I know.

Five years ago today: Evaluation

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Attitude Is Everything

The Secret Society of Happy People via Facebook
The Secret Society of Happy People's goal to inspire and celebrate happiness. They're always posting inspirational and uplifting images on their Facebook page, which I often end up sharing on my own page.  If the amount of re-shares I get is any indication, their ideas resonate with my friends, too.

Five years ago today: Straight From The Breakfast Table

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Get Hot

Several months ago I had a private yoga class in the privacy of my living room.  My instructor was DIL Nicole, who was in training to be an instructor.  I'm happy to say she's passed all her requirements, and now she teaches classes at her gym.

Not just any type of yoga, though.  She teaches Hot Yoga, which is done in a special hot (approximately 100°) and humid (40%) studio. I've never done it before, and told Nicole I wanted to come take one of her classes.  However, she and Son Brian live halfway across the state so the Saturday morning class required an overnight stay.  Earlier this week I realized I had no commitments this weekend that couldn't be changed.  I cleared my calendar, and Friday afternoon I headed west on Interstate 70, arriving at Son Brian and Nicole's house just before dinner.

The guidelines for a Hot Yoga class are a different than what I'm used to. Starting with the wardrobe. For my weekly piloga class I wear a t-shirt, sports bra, and capris or baggy shorts. That wouldn't work this time; because the room is so hot I'd be sweating a lot and Nicole suggested  moisture wicking clothes.  I was online scoping out options when I came upon a website that touted their yoga tops that could double as swimwear and had a light bulb moment.  My swim suit had a long tankini top with a sewn-in bra that looked just like some of those fancy yoga togs.  I'm happy to say the top worked perfectly paired with my nicest-looking black yoga pants. 

The Hot Yoga studio at this gym is relatively small; they ask people to reserve a spot (preferably in advance).  Nicole thoughtfully got me on the list, so all I had to do was tell them my name at the front desk.  Once in the studio Nicole showed me a spot right under the blowers where the fresh air coming in would make it a little cooler.  I set up my mat with a towel on top to soak up sweat (another thing I'm not used to doing) and put my water bottle where I could get to it easily.

I was familiar with most of the class's poses, but it was different doing it with sweat dripping down my arms and off the tip of my nose.  Every fifteen minutes or so Nicole suggested we take a drink of water so we'd stay hydrated.  I was surprised how quickly the ninety minutes went by; soon it was time for the final relaxation.

Five years ago today: Destruction Part Deux

Friday, May 16, 2014

Soap-B-Gone

Last weekend Hubby Tony needed a new coffee cup for work.  He went to one of the local thrift stores and found a nice stainless steel travel mug with a black plastic interior and tight-fitting screw off lid for the princely sum of 75 cents.  The cup was in great shape on the outside, with no scratches or dings.  He cleaned it out and put it by his work bag to take to the office.

On Monday morning when I came down to the kitchen Tony had left for the day and the cup was sitting on the counter.   That night when I asked him why, he said the cup made his coffee taste soapy.  He was going to toss it in the trash unless I had any other ideas.  I told him I'd research the issue, then Googled "removing soapy taste from cup" and clicked on the first result.

The site had several suggestions, all of which used things I already had in the pantry.  Mainly because it was listed first, I decided to try baking soda.  Following the directions, I put the lid into a small bowl, dumped in a tablespoon of baking soda, then added enough warm water to cover.  The water immediately started turning a nasty brown color, which I took as a good sign. Even though Tony had said he thought the lid was the offending part, I went ahead and treated the cup too, filling it with the same mixture.  I let everything sit on the counter overnight.

When I caught up with Tony the next evening I asked him how the cup was.  He indicated it was better, but still not completely soap free, so I moved on to the next recommendation-a solution of vinegar and water.  I'm happy to report that this time the procedure was successful.   Tony told me his coffee was now soap-free.

Five years ago today: Destruction

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sign The Flag

Last week I was talking with the manager of the mall's Build-A-Bear Workshop store when she mentioned their upcoming promotion in conjunction with the USO -- an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most signatures on a flag.

This morning shortly before the mall opened I was walking around seeing what was new. When I passed Build-A-Bear their gates were already up, and there was a table just inside the entrance covered with a large piece of white plastic. Even before I saw the USO representative standing there I knew what was going on.

I explained I'd be working as soon as the mall opened and asked if I could sign the flag. Her answer was "of course". It was very easy to do, and took about a minute. The semi-transparent plastic had been placed over a grid. I was told to sign my name in one of the squares, and then enter my information on their tracking sheet. They'll combine this section of the flag with all the others.

The USO is such a great organization; I hope they meet their goal.

Five years ago today: Hybrids

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Fitness Afoot

Last winter was the coldest and snowiest in recent memory.  During the worst of it I lost my desire to go to the gym.  Instead, I went to the library to see what they had in  the way of exercise videos and came home with a couple of "walking" DVDs.  My friend and Walk Diva jd swears by them for getting a workout when it's too nasty to be outside, so I thought I'd give the concept a try.

The workouts weren't that exciting, but they did manage to make me acceptably sweaty. When my two week library loan was up the weather hadn't improved, so I renewed them.  Two more weeks went by; it was still cold and nasty, but I was getting tired of the routines on the discs and returned them.  Shortly after that I was ordering from Amazon and needed one more thing in my basket to qualify for free shipping.  I purchased a walking DVD of my own.

I thought that once winter turned to spring I'd be able to forget about the basement exercise stuff.  However, tonight it was rainy and chilly.  I didn't feel like leaving the house so I decided to pop the DVD into the player for a workout.  When I got this DVD it didn't take me long to figure out the simple moves.  Now, instead of listening to the instructor call out the steps I turn on the radio and listen to the music.  I think it's much nicer.

Tonight I spent 30 minutes exercising, then decided to call it done.  Although the DVD is better than doing nothing, I prefer to do my walking outside

Five years ago today: Shop For A Good Cause

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Inquiring Minds

Today was full of interesting questions at the mall Customer Service desk.
  • The first was asked by a very slow walking middle aged gentleman.  He wanted to know if we had a nail salon (the answer was yes), and where it was (at the end of the mall by Macy's).  Next, he we wanted to know if I thought they'd accept male customers for a mani-pedi; he'd been turned away from some places before and didn't want to walk all the way down there if they wouldn't serve him (I called and found out they'd be happy to).  He thanked me for my help and headed off in that direction.
  • The second question came in over the phone.  A woman (who sounded fairly young) said a friend of hers had bought a corset at one of the mall stores.  Did I know what a corset was and could I tell her which store it might be?  The question threw me for a loop.  My first thought was Victoria's Secret, but  when I asked her I found out that Victoria's Secret was not what she was looking for.  I couldn't think of any other stores, and certainly not one that specialized in corsets, although she kept insisting we had a place that did.  After a while I gave her the phone numbers for the anchor stores and hoped that one of their lingerie departments could help her out.
  • A harried-looking man shouted out his question before he was even completely up to the desk.  It took me a while to figure out he was looking for the store right across from walkway.  When I pointed it out to him he got a sheepish look on his face and slunk away towards the store.
Five years ago today: Harmonious

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Saturday Morning Bike Ride

When Hubby Tony and I woke up this morning the sky was blue and the temperature was perfect;  we decided it was a great day for a bike ride. After breakfast he put the bikes and helmets in the car and we headed towards a new-to-us trail along Clayton Road in the city of Town & Country, slightly northeast of our house.

The approximately three mile long asphalt trail was completed last year.   In most places it's separated from the road by a wide grassy strip, but in a couple of places fences or concrete barriers serve the purpose.  Since I'm usually driving this section of the road in my car I would have told you it was pretty flat, but on my bike I figured out there were a couple of gentle inclines to deal with. 

This section of Clayton is popular with bicyclists, and there were a lot of them out today--riding singly or in groups.  They wore fancy spandex shorts and form fitting jerseys.  In contrast, Tony and I wore t-shirts and loose-fitting bottoms.  The 'real' bikers traveled quickly on the right edge of the traffic lane, stopping only at the lights.  On our trail there were stop signs at every subdivision entrance, so we had to slow down and look for cars at each of them.  We also had to navigate around several people walking their dogs.

We rode from one end to the other, then turned around.  On the way back I noticed several side roads that that I'd like to try sometime. 

Five years ago today: Eat. Drink. Play

Friday, May 9, 2014

Don't Take Yourself So Seriously

When I went to a meeting last weekend I was asked to bring an action figure and an inspirational quote or slogan that would apply to me.  This is what I came up with:


I liked the results so much I have it sitting on my desk in the kitchen, where Goofy can remind me to keep it light every time I use the computer.

Five years ago today: To Market, To Market

Thursday, May 8, 2014

A 'Dog Park' For Cat People

A couple of weeks ago Christine wrote about cat cafes (a coffee shop that has cats for you to play with) that were popping up in different cities.  I'd never heard of them, and commented that I thought I'd just stay home with my own cat.  Well, I've changed my mind.  Tonight Hubby Tony and I visited the Tenth Life Cat Rescue for their first-ever Kitty Cafe.  It was a blast!

Tenth Life was founded in 2009.  It's mission is to save stray cats and kittens in the St. Louis area, particularly those with special needs. They are a no-kill shelter, and euthanize cats only when they have reached a state of incurable suffering.

The cafe took place at Tenth Life's storefront.  When we walked up there was a volunteer standing guard outside, and another immediately inside.  At first I thought they were just being friendly and greeting everyone, but then I realized they were also watching to make sure no kitties escaped when someone opened the door.

The small room was packed with people holding cats, playing with cats, and talking about cats.  We grabbed a cup of coffee and chatted with one of the volunteers that were circulating around the room.  I learned that normally there are only six cats living there (the majority of the cats are in foster homes), but for tonight's event they'd also brought in two litters of kittens.

In addition to drinking some great-tasting coffee, I got to hold several of the kittens and pet a couple of the mature cats that had taken shelter in a tower of climbing structures that covered the front store window.  Eventually Tony and I got our fill of cat petting.  Until next time.

Five years ago today: Bad Mood Begone!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Disremember

This morning at the mall Customer Service desk I was assisting a woman who'd asked for an electric scooter.  I was chatting with her as I left the desk to get the scooter from the storage area when a second woman pushed in and asked me where a store was.

Even though she'd been rude I didn't want to stoop to her level, and I told her I'd be with her in just a minute as I continued to the storage area.  That wasn't what she wanted to hear, though.  In an even more demanding tone she repeated her question.

After almost three years at the mall I know the layout like the back of my hand, but I was so taken aback by her attitude that I had to stop and think.  I pointed her in the direction of Macy's and she went on her way.  It wasn't until I was driving the scooter to the original customer that I realized I'd made a mistake.  Bossy Woman had asked for a store on the second level.  I'd sent her towards a store on the first floor that has a similar-sounding name.

I halfway expected her to come back and complain, but she never did.

Five years ago today: News On The Run (Updated)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Chiropractor Is Usually Right

The other day at the chiropractor office I learned how the sinuses are connected to the liver.  Sounds crazy, doesn't it?

When the doctor entered the treatment room for my adjustment, he asked me how my allergies were.  I wondered why, because I hadn't mentioned having any issues.  He said that since it was prime spring allergy season and he'd heard me sneeze a couple of times he made an assumption (which was correct).  I have very mild issues with pollen in the spring and fall.  A couple of times I week I take an antihistamine which clears everything up.

He proceeded to give me a short anatomy and physiology lesson.  I learned that histamine is a chemical substance which causes many of the symptoms of allergies. Antihistamine helps to block allergic reaction symptoms, but when the body’s histamine response function kicks in, other body systems are affected, too.

Instead of popping a pill whenever I started feeling wheezy, he suggested a supplement that would help my body's detoxification mechanisms.  Basically, if my liver was functioning well I wouldn't have allergy issues.  I was skeptical, but I've heard crazy-sounding things from the chiropractor before and they've always panned out the way he said they would.   The supplement didn't cost very much so I decided to try it.

The directions on the bottle said to take one capsule each day.  Twenty minutes after I downed one with a large glass of water I started feeling better, and my nose dried up.  I also had more energy and my headache went away.  Was it a real or placebo effect?  I didn't know, but I felt so good I decided I didn't care.

The next day I took the supplement again (and had no allergy symptoms), but the third day I decided to try an experiment and did NOT.  After lunch my eyes started watering and my nose ran.  I guess the chiropractor knew what he was talking about.  Since my allergies are so mild once things stop blooming I'll put the supplement bottle in the back of the cabinet.  I plan on keeping it handy for the fall allergy season, though.

Five years ago today: How Cool Is That?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Temporary Use

This weekend I attended an out of town meeting at a conference center that was several hours away by car. When I got ready to go to bed on Friday night I realized I'd forgotten to put my phone charger in my suitcase.

I keep a car charger in the glove compartment, but that wouldn't help until it was time to drive home on Sunday.  (I charge my phone every day, so I knew it would lose power long before then.)  All night long I fretted over a solution to the problem.  Saturday morning I had an inspiration.  I'd heard that cell phone chargers are one of the most common left-behind items in hotels; I wondered if the front desk might be able to help me out.

I went to the front desk and asked if they had anything available.  The clerk said she believed they did.  Sure enough, she checked in the back office and came back with a charger that was the exact micro USB style I needed.  She was kind enough to let me borrow it for the weekend.

Problem solved.

Five years ago today: House Wrecker

Friday, May 2, 2014

The Rubdown

When it was time to think about lunch today I looked in the refrigerator and noticed a bunch of kale that needed to be used.  I decided to make a kale salad and serve it with salmon left over from last night's dinner.  Normally I'd remove the kale stems, wash and chop it, then add dressing and immediately eat it.  However, in the interest of trying something different today I decided to make a massaged salad.

If you've ever eaten raw kale, you know it's tough and fibrous. However, iIf you massage it with (depending on the recipe) lemon juice, olive oil, or salt it becomes softer and easier to chew.  It also makes it less bitter.

After I chopped, washed, and dried the kale I put it in a bowl and added a tablespoon of lemon juice, two tablespoons of olive oil, a big pinch of kosher salt, and some pepper.  I tossed everything together to mix it, then took bunches of kale in my hands and rubbed them together.  It only took a couple of minutes for the greens to shrink in size and become glossy.  I sampled a piece, and it had a pleasingly smooth texture.

When I was done I transferred the kale to two bowls-one for me and one for Hubby Tony to eat with his dinner.  I ended up using mine as the basis of a main dish salad; I heated up the salmon filet and flaked it on top of the kale, then added some chopped cantaloupe and a sprinkling of sesame seeds.  It was good stuff.

Five years ago today:   Mocha Mask

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Happy May Day!

Here's a bouquet of virtual flowers for you to brighten your May Day.


(Want to make your own bouquet? Check out the cool program at Central Park.com)

Five years ago today: A-Tisket, A-Tasket