Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Navy Blue And Black Kind Of Day

When the alarm went off this morning it was perfect going-back-to sleep gloomy.  I grumbled and got up anyway, because I had a full To Do list of things that needed to get done around the house. The forecast called for rain and falling temperatures, so after my shower I put on jeans and a casual tee shirt. However, after an hour I realized the temps hadn't fallen yet and it was hot in the house.  I went upstairs and swapped the jeans out for a pair of shorts.

At this time of year I'm used to changing clothes multiple times a day, and there's always a collection of barely-worn items in the closet that can be used a second time. Today that collection included a pair of black shorts. As I was putting them on I realized that I was wearing a navy shirt, which any good fashionista would say clashes with black. I decided didn't care, because it was no one around to judge.

As the day unfolded I made some work phone calls and recorded the responses.  I swapped out the warm weather bedding and accessories, then washed all the linens and put everything away until the fall.  I watered the houseplants and dusted up the oak pollen before I put them back in their spots. I cooked, ate, and cleaned up lunch, and later did the same thing with dinner.  The only time I left the house was to get the mail, but since it was raining there was no one to see me.

All day long I had the kitchen window open, and as the day wore on the breeze coming in got cooler and cooler. By the time I headed out to an evening meeting it was cool enough to put my jeans back on. I kept the tee, though, because denim goes with everything

Sunday, April 23, 2017

My Friend The Frog

Do you remember all the frog sightings I had last year? (Here, here, and here if you don't and want to get caught up.)  This morning I took off the lid to the compost bin and saw two blobby looking things on the top rim.  Under closer observation, I realized that our frog was back and had brought a friend!

Please ignore the dirt and spider webs. See the frogs?
The morning was brisk, and the frogs weren't moving too fast.  In fact, except for their slowly opening and closing eyelids I almost thought they were dead.  But when I pulled out my cell phone to take a photo they slowly turned towards me.  Probably to make sure I wasn't going to harm them, but maybe they wanted to show me their best side?

For the past few weeks I've seen a lot of fruit flies buzzing through the decaying plant matter.  I'm sure they provide lots of good eating for small amphibians.  I'm thrilled to have the tiny critters take up residence, but I wonder how long it will take me to remember there might be something alive waiting for me every time I open the lid now?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mid-Spring Thoughts

For The Garden of Your Daily Living

Plant Three Rows of Peas:
--Peace of Mind
--Peace of Heart
--Peace of Soul

Plant Four Rows of Squash:
--Squash gossip
--Squash indifference
--Squash grumbling
--Squash selfishness 

Plant Four Rows of Lettuce:
--Lettuce be faithful
--Lettuce be kind
--Lettuce be patient
--Lettuce really love one another 

Plant 3 Rows of Turnips:
--Turnip for meetings
 --Turnip for service
--Turnip to help one another

Finally, Your Garden Must Have Thyme:
--Thyme for each other
--Thyme for family
--Thyme for friends
--Thyme for prayer 

Water Freely With Patience and Cultivate With LOVE.
There should be much fruit in your garden,
for after all, We reap what we sow.


Five years ago today: Who's The Parent?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Aves Aperture (Part 2)

Remember the story of our broken air vent?  I was pretty flustered when a bird flew out when I climbed up on a ladder to take a close look at it.

The next day I went to the hardware store and bought the replacement cover suggested by the store clerk.  Sadly, the cover had a slightly different design and wouldn't fit.  The next day I went to more hardware stores and got four additional covers, thinking that surely one of them would work.  Nope.  None of them would lay flush against the siding.

Neither Hubby Tony or I had time that week to wrestle with the project any more, so I asked my Facebook friends for handyman recommendations. I got two, but I also got an offer from someone to come fix the issue in exchange for a batch of homemade cookies.  He recommended that until he could get here we stuff the vent with towels to prevent another critter from getting in.  I went to bed that night with the vent secured.  The next day it looked like this:

Something really wanted to be in there! This time before I climbed up the ladder I waved a broom in front of the hole.  A small wren flew out and over to the nearby redbud tree, watched while I stuffed the towels back into the hole, then flew away.  Twenty minutes later she was back with her posse.  The group of birds perched in the tree, scolded me for five minutes, then left.  After that I checked the vent several times a day, but the towels were never disturbed again.

Several days later the friend showed up and determined that if he filed off a small section of siding one of the covers would fit.  Twenty minutes after he arrived he was done, leaving me to caulk, clean up, and return the covers that we didn't use.  (And he took a rain check on the cookies.)

Five years ago today: Thinking Positively

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Busy, Busy, Busy

A while back Eli at Coach Daddy asked if I would like to guest post at his place. It took me about 3.5 seconds to decide that yes, I would.  Today he's showcasing my riff on "Too Many Projects, Not Enough Time".

 Why not click over?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

An Easter Adventure

Since there were just two of us in the house today for Easter Hubby Tony and I decided to go out for brunch.  I hate sitting in crowded restaurants, though.  With a little creativity we came up with an alternate plan.

Before we left the house we loaded the car with the necessary supplies and the dessert I had picked up ahead of time.  We drove to Walgreens and purchased a jug of iced tea.  Next, we stopped by Local Chef Kitchen and ordered food to go.

We headed to a nearby park.  There was no one else there, and we had our pick of tables.  I spread one with a bed sheet tablecloth, then set it with china, cloth napkins, silverware, and glasses.   We removed our food from the carryout containers, plated it, and sat down to eat.

Both Tony's chicken casserole (served with fried potatoes, salad greens, and fresh fruit) and my egg, ham, and cheese sandwich (with fried potatoes and fruit) were wonderful.


After we moved the lunch dishes off to the side I brought out  two Nothing Bundt Cakes bundtlets.  We split both the white chocolate raspberry and the chocolate chocolate chip cakes in two to share.

Five years ago today: Don't Bug Me

Friday, April 14, 2017

Silence Is Golden

Today is Good Friday, the day Christians commemorate the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ. According to the regulations of the Catholic church this is a day of fasting (which means one full meal during the day, and two small meals or snacks).

I'm a horrible faster.  I know that the purpose of the action is spiritual focus and self-discipline, but by the middle of the day I get weak and give in to my stomach, which insists it needs its normal afternoon snack.  Based on past experience I knew it wouldn't go well, and I wondered if there was anything else I could include in the fasting.  The voice inside my head wondered how hard it would be to have silence for the day.
A little background...the first thing I do when I come into the kitchen in the morning is turn on the radio. It stays on whenever I'm in the house, and the broadcasts follow me out to the car. My first choice is a local community station, but I've been known to switch over to NPR or even an AM station if I need traffic or weather updates.
Today I decided to 'fast' from the background noise.  At first the silence was deafening, but it didn't take me long to get used to it, and then started liking it.  It was warm enough to have the windows open, so as I prepared and ate breakfast I was serenaded by a bird chorus. Later I listened to a neighbor cutting his grass. Every so often I'd hear the sound of a distant train horn.  Right before a rain shower came through things got very quiet and still, and after it passed the birds started chirping again.   I tried to drive with the radio off, but the noises of my old car were distressing. I settled for turning on a mellow music station at a very low volume.

When I returned home from my morning errands the first thing I instinctively did is walk over to the radio, then I remembered my commitment and walked away.  As I was pouring my afternoon cup of coffee my finger automatically hit the radio 'on' button.  After a couple of seconds I turned it off again.

The day had a different rhythm. My main radio station changes its volunteer DJs every couple of hours. I'm used to the flow of the day as each show has a different emphasis. It was interesting to discover just how much I relied on them to keep track of the time.  I was completely surprised when I got a text from Hubby Tony telling me he was on the way home.

When Tony walked in the door I asked him if he noticed anything different.  He did not, but after I told him said the quiet was a nice change of pace.  During dinner Tony and I discuss our days and listen to music. Tonight there was just discussion, which was a nice change of pace.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Aves Aperture

On Sunday I stepped out through the family room door and noticed several large pieces of plastic lying on on the deck. Then I looked up and saw why. The air vent cover was completely broken.   As I continued to examine the vent I saw pieces of dry grass sticking out of the hole:

At the time Hubby Tony and I were on our way out the door and couldn't do anything about the problem.  We returned just as it was getting dark, so it was the next day before I could pull out the ladder and study the broken vent up close.   I climbed up the ladder until the vent was at eye level. Suddenly I heard a rustle from inside and a small bird flew out and straight towards me.  Yikes!  I jumped down and rolled (gracefully, I think) onto the deck.  After I got up I looked around to make sure no one saw me before I went inside.

I'm sure the bird was in a panic.  I know it took  me 20 minutes to settle down.  Then I started thinking about what we had to do to fix the problem.

(To be continued....)

Five years ago today: The Cruise Diaries--Dressing For Dinner

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Raise A Glass

You're probably aware that the musician Chuck Berry passed away on March 18 at the age of 90.

Berry was proud to be from St. Louis.  Even after he became a big star he lived in the metropolitan area.  He mentioned his home town in "Back in the USA" (New York, Los Angeles, oh, how I yearned for you/Detroit, Chicago, Chattanooga, Baton Rouge/Let alone just to be at my home back in ol' St. Lou) and "Sweet Little Sixteen" (They're really rockin' Boston/In Pittsburgh, P. A./Deep in the heart of Texas/And 'round the Frisco Bay/All over St. Louis/And down in New Orleans/All the cats want to dance with/Sweet little sixteen.

Up until 2014 Chuck Berry still performed once a month at the Duck Room at Blueberry Hill, an intimate 350-seat venue. I saw him there in 2008.

There will be a public viewing service for Chuck Berry today, followed by a private celebration of life. In addition to those, last night at 10 p.m. everyone in the area was encouraged to raise a glass and toast him.  Hubby Tony and I both had busy days that started early, and by 10 p.m.we were already home. However, that didn't stop us from toasting with glasses of lemonade.

Chuck Berry wrote a lot of great songs.  Here's one of the most well-known:

Thursday, April 6, 2017

A Single Letter Can Make All The Difference

As you may remember, one of my volunteer tasks is to make slides for events that run on monitors around the church campus.  Over the past three years I've gotten pretty good at it and can put together slides without too much thought.  As I found out tonight, that's not always a good thing.

Two weeks ago I made a slide for an organization's "Bunch for Bunco" fundraising event.  (In case you're unfamiliar with it, Bunco is a mindless dice game) I emailed the finished product to one of the organizers; she replied that it was perfect.  That weekend, and the next one, it was part of a slide show on two of the three screens.  Today I made new slide shows and after dinner went to set them up.  Once the first slide show started running I stood and took a look at it.  AND discovered a problem!

The top of the slide was supposed to say "Bunch for BUNCO Fundraiser. What it actually said was:

That one incorrect letter at the end of the first word made quite a difference.  In two weeks of running, no one had discovered the error.  I came home, fixed everything, and will take the corrected slide shows back up tomorrow.  What do you think are the chances that I can get by one more night without anyone noticing?

Five years ago today: The Cruise Diaries--Fun And Fitness

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Cyberspace Blunders and Gaffes

The Internet works great.  Except when it doesn't. I've been on the receiving end of my share of cyberspace blunders and gaffes.  Two recent examples:
Later this month Hubby Tony and I will be visiting Son Tony, who relocated to Dallas last fall.  The downtown apartment he chose doesn't have a spare bedroom, so right after we bought plane tickets we booked a nearby condo through Unnamed Internet-Based Vacation Rental Site. 
    Then Tony called us with exciting news--he and his friend Ie were buying a condo!  The condo is several miles away from where they are living now, far enough that the place we booked no longer made sense.  We decided to cancel it.
    However, that was easier said than done. Even after much searching, I couldn't find a way to do it on the company's website.  I tried calling the Customer Service number, but gave up after being on hold for more than 20 minutes. Next I emailed the company and explained the problem. When I read that it could take 2-3 business days for them to respond I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

    The next day I had a message telling me that the request had to go through the condo's owner.  If they had only stated that plainly on the website I would have started there!  It took several back-and-forths with the condo owner to complete the cancellation.  Finally, four days after I started the process it was completed.
    Three weeks ago I realized I was getting low on the specialty shampoo and conditioner I use to keep my hair and scalp in good shape.  I normally purchase it at a local beauty supply store, but since someone had given me an Amazon gift card I decided to buy it online.  The products cost the same there as they would at the local store, so I added the items to my cart and chose the free (4-5 day) standard shipping. 
    After I closed the browser tab I forgot all about the order until several days later when I ran out of shampoo.  According to the Amazon website the items were ready to ship, but it wasn't until two days later that I got the email that said they were on their way.  I received the box nine days (seven business days) after I clicked the "BUY" button.  Somehow my hair and scalp survived, but they weren't happy.

    Five years ago today: The Cruise Diaries--Eating My Way Through The Caribbean

    Monday, April 3, 2017

    Just The Way I Like It

     Son Donald was home last week for his school's Spring Break.  It was wonderful to see him and spend some time with him.  However, he had a busy week planned, including catching up with friends, doing homework, and working on professional projects.  As the week wore on, in his busyness, he reverted to 'college boy' cleanliness.  It didn't help that I had a very busy weekend with not much time for housework.

    So this morning was all about getting things back to normal.  Before I left to run the day's errands I swept and damp mopped the kitchen floor, and promised it a thorough cleaning down the line.  I put all the dishes in the dishwasher, then cleaned the countertops with soapy water.  Donald had already started his bedding in the washer on his way out the door.  I transferred it to the dryer, then started another load which included the rug by the door to the garage.  The last thing I did was sweep the debris out of the garage so it wouldn't get tracked back in on the clean rug.

    Now everything is just the way I like it.

    Five years ago today: The Cruise Diaries--Ya Mon

    Friday, March 31, 2017

    The Laughing Gnome

    When I was out running errands today this came on the radio:

    After the song was over the DJ came on and announced that the song was by David Bowie. That originally surprised me, but when I came home and re-listened to it, the voice was obvious. Wikipedia said the song, which was released as a novelty single in 1967, was "a pastiche of songs by one of Bowie's early influences, Anthony Newley. At that time the song flopped, but became a hit when it was re-released in 1973.

    Thursday, March 30, 2017

    Too Tall Grass

    For the past two weeks, nine days have had at least some rain. The others have been party or mostly cloudy.  The damp and gloom haven't been great for my attitude, or the cutting of the grass.

    Hubby Tony bought a new lawn mower, and when he did the first cut of the year the grass was already long  He had to raise the wheels as high as they would go.  I had the same problem when I followed up with a second mowing a little over a week ago, and kept the wheels where they were.   Since then the grass been growing luxuriantly, and short rain-free breaks haven't been long enough for things to dry out.  

    When I walked through the grass yesterday morning, the blades covered my shoes.  It needed to be cut!

    Last night as I was cooking dinner I heard a neighbor using a mower and decided that if he could do it we could too.  However, Tony had an appointment to go to, so if the grass was going to get done it would fall on me.  After I ate I left Tony to clean up the kitchen while I got on my grass cutting shoes and headed out the door.

    The new mower starts up like a champ, and turned out to be the easiest part of the job.  I only had to push it a couple of feet to find out that the mower would have a hard time with the long grass. 

    Tall grass is difficult to cut, and tall, wet grass is even worse. The mower has a nice self-propelled function, but that was unusable with the thick, unruly grass.   If I went too fast the motor would get overwhelmed and stall. I eventually figured out the best procedure...walk two steps forward and one back, lift the front of the mower a couple of inches to allow any accumulated clippings to shoot out, then repeat.

    However, after a couple of successful passes across the yard I'd get cocky, go too fast, and the mower would stall again.  Every time it stalled a large clump of wet clippings were left behind. (After I was done I tried to go back with a rake and get them all up, and Tony made a second pass when he got home.  I don't think we were completely successful.)

    When I was done the grass looked much better, although there were weird tufts standing up here and there that managed to avoid being cut.  There were also grass clippings and wheel tracks up and down the driveway.  I pulled the spark plug on the mower, turned it over, and removed massive, damp, thick grass mats from underneath.  I also tried to remove the green stains from the driveway, then came in and did the same with my hands and clothes.

    Our plan was to lower to blade a notch or two and cut the grass in a couple of days and break the too-tall cycle, but last night I was laying in bed and heard the rumble of thunder...then the sound of rain.  The forecast has precipitation in the forecast for most of the days in the next week.

    I'm not optimistic that our plan will work. 

    Five years ago today: The Cruise Diaries--It's Grand!

    Sunday, March 26, 2017

    Around The World In Six Blocks

    Yesterday I was leafing through this week's Review (our area's Catholic newspaper) and came across an editorial about supporting immigrants and refugees in the area. There was also a sidebar list of specific ways to get involved. The very last one was to support an immigrant-owned business or restaurant, suggesting a good place to start would be one of the ethnic restaurants along South Grand, which is considered the International District of St. Louis. I mentioned the idea to Hubby Tony, and had barely finished my sentence when he said "Let's do it." An adventure was born.

    South Grand is only six blocks long, but it's filled with a wide variety of restaurants and shops. Before we left the house we did some research to find out if there was a church in the area, and were pleased to find out that St. Pius V parish was at the southernmost edge. Their 4:30 Mass fit perfectly into our plans.

    We decided to get there early enough to do some shopping before Mass, attend church, then go to dinner.  As we left the house mid-afternoon a light drizzle started falling.  We briefly thought about changing the plan, but decided to be adventurous. The rain stopped, but as we pulled into the church parking lot it started again.  Tony grabbed an umbrella from his car and we started walking north. (The drizzle stopped five minutes later.  Glad we stuck to the original plan.)

    As we strolled up and down the street we looked in all the store and restaurant windows and tried to narrow down our dinner choice.  A large portion of the world's cuisine is represented on South Grand. In addition to USA "eats", you can also find food from Brazil, Ethiopia, France, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Persia, the Philippines, Thailand, Turkey, and Viet Nam. For good measure, there are two Vegan restaurants and a couple of dessert-only places.  After we'd browsed through an ethnic grocery store, a used book store, a Fair Trade shop, and popped into a half-dozen restaurants to look at the menus we had a short list to ponder.

    After church it was time to make a decision.  We decided that Moroccan sounded good.  It was.  My Cucumber Salad had diced cucumbers tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. Tony tried the Harira, a traditional Moroccan soup that contained beef, lentils, chick peas, and vermicelli.  It was hard to narrow down my entree from among all the choices, but in the end I ordered the Artichoke M’Kally, which had several fried artichoke hearts on top of a vegetable medley that had been cooked in a fantastic tomato sauce and topped with olives and slivers of feta cheese. Tony got the Vegetable Couscous, which had large pieces of vegetables and chick peas on top of a bed of couscous.

    When we came out of the restaurant it was drizzling again.  By the time we'd walked three blocks the drizzle had turned into a steady rain, and we ran the last block to the car in a downpour.  By the time we got in the car we were soaked.  The adventure and good food made the inconvenience worthwhile, though

    Five years ago today: Polished Piggies Redux

    Saturday, March 25, 2017

    Good Day, Sunshine

    We're two weeks past the spring Daylight Savings Time change.  As always happens, the yearly shift to extra light in the evening made it dark again in the morning.  However, as the days continue to get incrementally longer the beginning of the day light has started to return.

    This morning when I woke up at my normal time there was enough brightness that I didn't have to turn on the bedroom light to pick out my clothes.  That realization of longer days to come makes me happy.

    Thursday, March 23, 2017

    Fancy That

    Yesterday I was reading an article in a foodie magazine about a new trend; evidently chefs are using all types of unusual ingredients to make fancy waffles.  I'm usually not on the cutting edge of fads, but I'm already doing that.  For the past few months I've been putting a version of falafel batter in my trusty old waffle iron. The results are quite yummy.

    Traditional falafels are Middle Eastern balls or patties made from chickpeas.  They are usually fried, and look like this:
    Popo le Chien, Wikipedia
    These are mine:
    Falafel Waffles, ready to eat
    My inspiration was this Waffled Falafel recipe, but I've made several changes.  My version has scratch-cooked beans, half the oil (I substitute bean liquid), chickpea flour instead of all-purpose (which makes them healthier and gluten free), less salt, and whole eggs instead of egg whites (because I hate wasting anything, even if it's just an egg yolk).

    Falafel made in a waffle iron are far from traditional, but the waffled version contains all the necessary flavors.  The batter is easy to put together.  After it's ready I heat up the waffle iron and spray the interior surfaces with a good coating of cooking spray.  The first time I made the recipe, it took me a couple of rounds before I figured out that a half-cup of batter was just the right amount.  As each waffle finishes cooking I place it in the oven to stay warm.  Eventually the leftovers go into the freezer. 

    A traditional falafel sandwich is stuffed in a pita and topped with tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, tahini sauce, and hot sauce.  That's too much work for me to put together, so I've been adding a crumbled falafel to a spinach salad mixed with a spoonful of yogurt and several dashes of hot sauce.  Even my meal is untraditional!

    Falafel Waffles

    4 cloves garlic
    1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    3 cups chickpeas
    1/3 cup bean liquid
    1/3 cup vegetable oil
    2 eggs
    1/4 cup chickpea or all-purpose flour
    2 teaspoon baking powder
    2 teaspoon ground cumin
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1 teaspoon ground coriander
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

    Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F (to keep cooked waffles warm).

    Pulse the garlic in a food processor until minced. Add cilantro, parsley, and chickpeas and pulse again. Add remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

    If necessary, lightly coat the top and bottom of the waffle iron with cooking spray. Add 1/2 cup of batter. (Some waffle iron will still be showing.) Close the lid gently and cook 5-10 minutes, or until the falafel is golden brown. Keep the cooked falafels warm in the oven or covered with foil on a plate while you make the remaining falafels.

    Five years ago today: The Cruise Diaries--Sunday At Sea

    Wednesday, March 22, 2017

    Global Goof Off

    Are you feeling unmotivated today? Here's your official invitation to do something about it:

    For the rest of the day I'm taking a break from the things I have to do, and substituting want to dos.  Wanna join me?  Let me know how you celebrated.

    Five years ago today: The Cruise Diaries--Embarkation

    Monday, March 20, 2017

    Goodbye And Good Riddance, Winter!

    Today is finally the first day of spring. This year the season tried to come too early, with bulbs, forsythias and flowering trees blooming weeks ahead of time.  But last week winter roared back in with temperatures that killed all the early bloomers.  Now, hopefully things will keep seasonally on track.

    With the new season here it was time to do some spring interior redecorating.  A big part of the job involves swapping out artwork in the living and family rooms.  For example, this snow scene, painted by Hubby Tony's great aunt many years ago:

    I love the memories it brings back, but the subject matter doesn't feel appropriate any more.  The painting was relegated to a closet in the basement until next fall.

    The new pieces are bright, flowery, and invoke the new season.  Like this one:

    When the changing of the artwork project was done I stepped back and took a look around. The whole thing only took fifteen minutes, but it made such a difference!

    Five years ago today: In Like A Lion, Out Like A Lamb--Hardly!

    Thursday, March 16, 2017

    Cat Cleaners

    Tomorrow, of course, is St. Patrick's Day. However, I'll be too busy to cook a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner so I decided to serve it tonight.  After lunch I plopped the brisket in a baking dish, added the spice packet and a little water, then covered the whole thing with foil and put it in the oven to cook.  Two hours later I pulled it out of the oven to check for doneness. 

    The good news was that it was tender.  The bad news is that I spilled some of the hot liquid, which ended up on me, the countertop, the cabinets, and the floor.

    I thought I wiped everything down well with soapy water before I went upstairs to change my clothes.  However, the cats seemed to think otherwise.  When I came back into the kitchen they were doing an additional clean up on the stove.

    I thanked them for their help, then grabbed the soap and washcloth again.

    Tuesday, March 14, 2017

    A Pi Memory Helper

    According to Wikipedia, Pi Day is an annual celebration of the mathematical constant π (pi), which is observed on March 14 (3/14 in the month/day date format) since 3, 1, and 4 are the first three significant digits of π.

    The Internet was full of Pi Day tidbits today.  My favorite, and new to me, was the mnemonic device "May I have a large container of coffee".  The number of letters in each word of the phrase corresponds to the first eight numbers of Pi's series.

    Sunday, March 12, 2017

    In The Land Of Grandbabies

    In my opinion, one of the greatest social developments of the past few decades is the change in parental leave policy. When my boys were born, Hubby Tony had to use his vacation days to spend time with his new sons. Today, the companies that Son Brian and Daughter-In-Law Nicole work for both have generous paid time off. After Baby Jay was born, both parents were there for the first initial weeks, then Nicole stayed home with him while Brian worked. When she went back to work Brian stepped in as the full-time caregiver.

    Brian has to go back to work at the beginning of April.  Before he does, he invited Tony and me out for a visit. We spent six wonderful days in California hanging with this guy:

    Jay was on the cusp of his five-month birthday (which happened the day we left).  Developmentally, he was right on track, so we got to see him sit up with just a little assistance and work on developing his rolling-over skills.  He liked to cuddle, coo, smile, laugh, and blow bubbles.  Any object in his hand ended up in his mouth. 

    Tony and I got to give him some bottles and take him out for a few walks.  The time flew by, and all too soon we were giving Jay a last hug and kiss.  Until our next trip Tony and I will have to make do with FaceTime calls and text updates.

    Thursday, March 9, 2017

    I Thought There Was Nothing To Eat...

    You know the feeling when you think your refrigerator and pantry are bare and then you discover you have the makings for a darn good meal in your own house?  The sweet potato and kale stir fry with fried eggs on top we were able to throw together was pretty yummy.

    Friday, March 3, 2017

    A Funny For A Friday

    Recently a guy in Paris nearly got away with stealing several paintings from the Louvre.

    However, after planning the crime and getting in and out past security he was captured only 2 blocks away when his van ran out of gas.

    When asked how he could mastermind such a crime and then make such an obvious error, he replied: "I had no Monet to buy Degas to make the Van Gogh."

    Wednesday, March 1, 2017

    A Jeans Challenge Met

    Last week I noticed my favorite pair of jeans were getting raggedy at the bottom.  I could have put up with the frayed hems until the weather warmed up and it turned into shorts weather, but I also noticed that those jeans were also getting a little baggy!  Time to get some new ones.

    It's been quite a while since I've had to deal with baggy clothes.  Several years ago my weight had inched up such that I was almost to the plus sizes, and I realized I had to do something.  Since then I've dropped down about a size a year until I reached my current size.  I'd been maintaining it for a while and was happy, but since last fall I've been more committed to a healthy eating plan.  I guess it's made a difference.

    However, I've found that when I'm on the cusp of a new size it's hard to find something that fits just right.  I still have a middle-aged woman midsection, and skinny jeans don't look good on me.  My favorite style is boot cut, and the pants get bonus points if the rise is nice and high.  Because it won't be too long before the temperature heats up (and who knows what size I'll be at the end of the summer), I didn't want to spend a lot of money. I decided to visit several thrift stores around my house and see if I could find something that fit. 

    Based on past experience I suspect the majority of items on thrift store racks are there because fashion has moved on. That means that this time I had to wade through a lot of low rises, distressed legs, and heavily-embellished back pockets.

    The first store I went to didn't have anything in the new size, but I found a nice pair in my current size which I bought as a back up plan.  I came up empty handed at the next two, but at the fourth store I stumbled upon a pair that would work.  The rise was a little lower than perfect, but I went ahead and bought them.  I always wear my shirts long and hanging out anyway.

    Five years ago today:  Never A Dull Moment

    Monday, February 27, 2017

    Positive Penances

    I recently read an interesting article entitled 19 things to give up for Lent that aren't chocolate.  It had some great ideas for focusing on negative ideas and attitudes you can 'give up' during the season of Lent (and even hopefully beyond).  I'm making these the cornerstone of the season this year.
    Fear: God is on my side. In Him I am more than a conqueror.

    The need to please everyone: I can’t please everyone anyway. There is only one I need to strive to please.

    Envy: I am blessed. My value is not found in my possessions, but in my relationship with my Heavenly Father.

    Impatience: God’s timing is the perfect timing.

    Sense of entitlement: The world does not owe me anything. God does not owe me anything. I live in humility and grace.

    Bitterness and Resentment: The only person I am hurting by holding onto these is myself.

    Blame: I am not going to pass the buck. I will take responsibility for my actions.

    Gossip and Negativity: I will put the best construction on everything when it comes to other people. I will also minimize my contact with people who are negative and toxic and bring other people down.

    Comparison: I have my own unique contribution to make and there is no one else like me.

    Fear of failure: You don’t succeed without experiencing failure. Just make sure you fall forward.

    A spirit of poverty: Believe with God that there is always more than enough and never a lack.

    Feelings of unworthiness: You are fearfully and wonderfully made by your creator.

    Doubt: Believe God has a plan for you that is beyond anything you could imagine. The future is brighter than you could ever realize.

    Self-pity: God comforts us in our sorrow so that we can comfort others with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

    Retirement: As long as you are still breathing, you are here for a reason. You have a purpose to influence others for Christ. That does not come to an end until the day we die.

    Excuses: A wise man once said, if you need an excuse, any excuse will do.

    Lack of counsel: Wise decisions are rarely made in a vacuum.

    Pride: Blessed are the humble.

    Worry: God is in control and worrying will not help.
    Five years ago today: Let There Be Light

    Saturday, February 25, 2017

    Cats Everywhere

    Mauhaus Cat Cafe and Lounge opened back in November.  Last night Hubby Tony and I made a visit.

    The adventure was actually part of Tony's Valentine present.  In doing research, I found out that the cafe accepts walk-in visitors, but strongly suggests making a reservation.  The $10 per person reservation fee gets you an hour in the lounge, and when you arrive that fee turns into a credit towards food and beverages from the cafe.

    The cafe is situated on a street corner in Maplewood, and I'm guessing that in a past life it was a store. When we arrived we walked through the entrance door into the small cafe area.  The lounge was off to the left, separated from the cafe by a glass walls and a set of doors. Before we went in we signed a waiver and ordered some coffee and pastries.  Then, it was time for kitty fun.

    The lounge space has been definitely been designed with cats in mind, with shelves, cubbies, cat trees, tunnels, and even a catwalk around the perimeter.  There were a couple of standard size tables, several low cube tables, and bench seating along two sides of the room.  Cushions were scattered on the floor, and a couple were being used (both by people sitting on the floor and cats taking a nap). 

    We found out that there were eight cats in the cafe. Some were residents, and some were available for adoption.  All of them were adorable.

    Wednesday, February 22, 2017

    Reform(er) School

    Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a demo class at a Pilates-only gym.  It was a lot of fun!

    At my gym I regularly take a Piyoga class, which combines elements of Pilates and yoga.  I already knew that Pilates is all about precise moves and specific breathing techniques.  Normally I do the movements on a mat on the floor.  Doing the exercises with equipment has always sounded intimidating, starting with the piece called the reformer:

    During my session, I figured out the equipment wasn't so intimidating, and actually made some of the exercises easier.  The free demo class was about half the length of a regular one, so the instructor led us through a condensed set of exercises to give us a taste of the real thing.

    After I arrived and signed a waiver the instructor showed me where to get a mat and some hand weights, then told me to pick out a spot.  The low to the ground reformer looked a little bit like a wooden bed frame with a moveable seat area (which I learned was called a carriage). The head rest and shoulder pads were at one end, along with straps (long for leg exercises and short for arm and shoulder work).  At the other end was a foot bar.  Near the bottom edge of the carriage were five springs with different-colored hooks. Over the course of the class we used different combinations of springs to provide different levels of resistance.  Attached to the wall next to each reformer was another piece of equipment I learned was a springboard. We used the foot straps on these (laying on a mat on the floor) for leg exercises during the last section of the class. 

    The thirty minutes went by quickly.  At the end I wasn't sweaty, but my muscles were telling me they'd had a good workout.  The instructor reminded us to clean off our machines and mats and put everything away.  As I walked past the front desk the associate standing there tried to sell me a membership to the gym. I passed. The classes were a little pricey, and, as much as I liked using the equipment, this location was just far enough away from my house that I would use the driving time as an excuse. 

    Five years ago today: Clean It Or Leave It?

    Sunday, February 19, 2017

    Still Stuck In My Head

    The other day this song came on the radio. I hadn't heard in a long time, but found I still knew all the words. (I've always said that if I could get rid of all the unnecessary junk that's still lodged in my brain I could be really smart.)

    Five years ago today: That Darn Cat (Part 2)

    Thursday, February 16, 2017

    Wrong-Really Wrong

    The other day I had an appointment to meet with a woman to learn more about her business. When I arrived at the office, the person was on the phone, but she acknowledged me and indicated where I could sit down. While I waited for her to finish her call, I noticed the big sign on her desk that welcomed "Karen". Of course, my name is "Kathy".  Other than the two of us, the office was completely dead, so I was pretty sure the sign was meant for me. And, not only did she get my first name wrong, she also misspelled my last name (using an incorrect vowel in the middle).

    When the woman got off the phone, she stood and greeted me by the incorrect name.  I corrected her,  and she fell all over herself apologizing.  The whole thing could have been awkward, but the mistake turned into a nice icebreaker. 

    Monday, February 13, 2017

    How Dirty Is Your Mat?

    Today when I did the first down dog of the day during a Piyoga class at the gym I realized that my mat was smelly.  I couldn't remember the last time I cleaned it, so I figured it was due.  After dinner tonight I turned to my friend wikiHow to figure out the best way to do that.  The article started out by telling me that I should wash my mat at least every couple of months.  Oops!  I had barely started, and already I'd failed in their eyes.  But I pressed on.

    The first step was to soak the mat in a soapy water solution.  I carried the mat up to the master bathroom tub.  I haven't taken a bath lately, so before I could start I had to dust it out.  Then I turned on the faucets, squirted in some soap, and waited until there were a couple of inches of water in the tub.  I had to fold the mat in half to make it fit, so I swished it around so that all the surfaces were wet.

    Ten minutes later I came back for the second step, which was to wash both sides of the mat with a wash cloth. When I was done I could not believe how dirty the water was! I took the mat out, emptied out the dirty water, and went through the process a second time to make sure the mat was really clean. 

    The next step was to rinse the mat until all the soap was gone.  This was the most difficult part; the mat was so long it was hard to get to all of it.  I ended up folding it in half again, rinsing each half from the top down, then folding the mat the other way to rinse the second side.

    After I was sure the mat was clean I shook it to get rid of the excess water (and shook much of the water onto my shirt).  I spread a beach towel out on the floor, laid the mat on top of it, and rolled them together to remove the excess moisture.  Then I had to figure out where to put the mat until it was completely dry.  In the end I laid it on a closet shelf in one of the unused bedrooms.  I don't need the mat again until next week, so it will have plenty of time to dry.

    Five years ago today: Puzzling

    Saturday, February 11, 2017

    Slurp, Slurp, Slurp

    I saw this truck waiting to turn into a gas station this afternoon. Even though I knew it was really filled with gas, but for some reason, it made me wish I had a really long straw.

    Five years ago today: Work Out

    Wednesday, February 8, 2017

    Just The Right Size

    Last month I gave a bag of restaurant tortilla chips to a stranger to avoid eating the whole thing.  Not too long after that I learned that at least at some fast casual Mexican restaurants you can order a kid's size bag of chips.

    Today when I went through the line at Chipotle I ordered an adult-sized entree.  When I got to the cashier,  she asked if  I wanted a drink or chips.  It felt really funny to ask for a child's bag, but the cashier didn't blink an eye.  She just reached around, pulled a small bag off the display, and put it on my tray.

    Standard bag and kids bag
    According to the Chipotle website a regular bag of chips contains four ounces, and the kid's size bag is a quarter of that.  Price-wise the large bag is a much better deal, but when I left the restaurant (after eating everything on my tray) I didn't feel stuffed.  There's something to this portion control stuff!

    Five years ago today: My Sentiments Exactly

    Tuesday, February 7, 2017


    For the past week I've been working on a project which involves comparing and contrasting five local business organizations.  Each portion of the project involves a visit to a specific location, where I get to see what they do and hear what they offer.  That takes about an hour.  Then, when I get home I organize my notes (which takes approximately another hour) and fill out a report (which takes another 30-45 minutes). 

    It's been a interesting but challenging activity that hasn't left me with a whole lot of extra time to do things like blogging or random internet surfing.  Today was the last of the visits, and I was looking forward to some serious sitting around and doing nothing.  However, right after I arrived back home I heard from the project organizer telling me that there was a second assignment available to do if I was interested.

    After a bit of thought I decided to accept the second project.  The person is offering a fair rate of pay for the work involved and my bank account could always use some padding.  My lazing around will have to wait.

    Sunday, February 5, 2017

    It's A Winner!

    Tonight Hubby Tony and I had our own private Super Bowl watching party. He put together a menu that included Veggie Quesadillas, a Napa/Tomato/Avocado Salad, Roasted Butternut Squash and Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites. Everything was good, but I'm a sucker for anything with Buffalo sauce; in my mind the cauliflower was definitely the highlight!

    I didn't have brown rice  or almond flours in the house, but I was able to make both by grinding both whole ingredients in a coffee grinder.  The recipe notes indicated that the bites soften up once they are coated, so we waited until just before dinnertime to toss them with the sauce.  However, I can report that it took me about fifteen minutes to polish off my entire plate of food, and the last crumbs of cauliflower I ate were still plenty crispy.
    Crispy Buffalo Cauliflower Bites (By Darshana Thacker)
    Makes 6 cups

    2/3 cup brown rice flour
    2 tablespoons almond flour
    1 tablespoon tomato paste
    2 teaspoons garlic powder
    2 teaspoons onion powder
    2 teaspoons smoked paprika
    1 teaspoon dried parsley
    1 head cauliflower, cut into 2-inch florets
    1/3 cup Frank’s hot sauce or barbecue sauce

    1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper (I used a Silpat silicone sheet).

    2. Combine the brown rice flour, almond flour, tomato paste, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, parsley, and ⅔ cup of water in a blender. Puree until the batter is smooth and thick. Transfer to a bowl and add the cauliflower florets; toss until the florets are well coated with the batter.

    3. Arrange the cauliflower in a single layer on the prepared baking sheets, making sure that the florets do not touch one another. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until crisp on the edges. They will not get crispy all over while still in the oven.

    4. Remove from the heat and let stand for 3 minutes to crisp up a bit more. Transfer to a bowl and drizzle with the sauce. Serve immediately.

    Saturday, February 4, 2017

    Thought Provoking

    For the third year in a row the local office of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse (NCADA) has produced Public Service Announcements that will premiere during the local broadcast of the Super Bowl. They released the ads a couple of days ago, and after watching them I think they're really powerful.


    Smart Phone:

    Five years ago today: Possible Confusion

    Wednesday, February 1, 2017

    Finding Out Something New Every Day

    Today I had business to do first in Webster Groves (a suburb about 12 miles to the east of me) and then Valley Park (a city which is basically to the south of my house). The fastest, most efficient route to get to Webster is the Interstate, but as I was organizing my day after breakfast I wondered if I could justify making a detour to go to an international food store in Kirkwood (halfway between my house and Webster Groves, but several miles from the highway).

    I used Mapquest to plan out a route, and was pleasantly surprised to find out I could be almost as productive by taking surface streets to get from my house to Kirkwood and Webster, then getting on the highway to head to Valley Park before I made it back home.  However, I've lived in this area for 30 years and thought I knew the best way to get to Kirkwood.  Today Mapquest gave me a route to get there that I've never used before that ended up being even better.

    Instead of heading east for 15 minutes than turning and heading northeast (which involves a lot of neighborhood driving, and a lot of stop signs) Mapquest told me to turn north at a street ten minutes from my house, stay on  that street for five minutes, then turn right on a third street.  In addition to fewer turns, this course involved fewer stop signs.

    Sounded like a good idea to me.

    Going in a big circle

    Five years ago today: Walk With Me

    Monday, January 30, 2017

    It's All Spam To Me

    Several times a day I clear out the messages that have accumulated in my Junk folder.  Some of them are from companies I do business with that send out too many emails and others are from stores that I've bought stuff at, but the majority of them are pure rubbish.  I've noticed that the unsolicited spam messages tend to go in cycles.  Right now, these are the ones I'm getting the most:

    Get rich quick schemes

    Portable power generators

    Red copper pans

    Store gift card promotions

    Male enhancement drugs

    'Adult' videos and chat rooms

    This month, unlike in the past, Nigerian princes have stopped trying to correspond with me.  I'm never the lucky lottery winner any more.  No one cares now if I want to drop pounds with their miracle product.  I wonder if they'll be back some day so I can delete them again, too.

    Saturday, January 28, 2017


    I think just about everyone is familiar with The Beatitudes, a set of blessings listed by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.  (If you're Roman Catholic, they were the basis of the Gospel for this week's Mass.)  But have you heard about the set of modern Beatitudes that were proposed by Pope Francis during his 2016 visit to Sweden? According to the Catholic News Service, they are:
    • Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart. 
    • Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized and show them their closeness. 
    • Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him. 
    • Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home. 
    • Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others. 
    • Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.
    I think they're equally good words to live by.

    Five years ago today: Soup's On

    Thursday, January 26, 2017

    Green Juice Day

    Did you know that today is National Green Juice Day?  I didn't either, until I heard about it this morning.  I did some research and found out that the company that makes Evolution Fresh juices came up with the day to encourage people to stick to their healthy New Year’s resolutions. 

    Of course, the Evolution Fresh people suggest that the perfect way to drink green juice is to get a bottle of theirs. However, by the time I did my research I had already been to the gym and run all my errands for the day, and didn't want to go out again.  I don't have a juicer, so I did the next best thing and made a smoothie. The main ingredient was spinach, but because I was craving chocolate I added a spoonful of cookies and cream-flavored protein powder and some extra cocoa.

    Not exactly green juice, but close enough in my world.

    Five years ago today: Morning Prayer

    Monday, January 23, 2017

    Invitation To Participation

    The notation on the official-looking letter I received a couple of weeks ago told me all I needed to know about what was inside:

    Today I had the privilege of showing up at the County Court House in Clayton to be in a pool of potential jurors.  I was actually excited to go do my civic duty, because it had been a long time.  I served on a jury in 1981, but the next two time I was called (in the mid-1990s) I had obligations that kept me from serving.

    This morning the alarm went off an hour earlier than it usually does.  I showered, ate breakfast, made my lunch, and packed a tote bag with the food, a water bottle, my Kindle, my iPad, and the crossword puzzle page from the newspaper for the waiting around I knew I would have to do.  My summons told me to arrive at 8:30. That's right in the middle of morning  rush hour. I wasn't sure how long it would take to drive there, so I left the house an hour early. It took me less time to reach Clayton than I thought it would, but I burned up the rest of the hour getting into the juror parking garage. By time I walked to the courthouse and went through the metal detector at the door I was right on time. I joined a long line of people waiting to be checked in, then took a seat in the assembly room.  By 8:45 the room held a couple of hundred people. 

    Fifteen minutes later a judge came in and addressed us.  He explained how important it was that we were there, and talked about the nuts and bolts of the day.  My summons said I would be there for two days.  However, the judge said that if it's determined that no more jury trials will be starting during that period they'd dismiss us after the first day.  I also knew from Hubby Tony's jury duty experience last year that the dismissal could come at any time during the day.

    All in all the morning was pretty boring.  At 9:45 they came and got a panel of 36 people. At 11:15 they took a larger group of 50 people.  By then (thanks to my early breakfast) I was hungry and started nibbling on my lunch.   At 11:45 they dismissed us to go to lunch, warning us to be back at 1:30.  My lunch was already gone, so I used the time to take a brisk walk.   I had just gotten situated in my seat again at 1:40, when they announced there were no more jury trials scheduled and we were free to go. 

    Although I was sad I wasn't going to be able to do my civic duty, it was nice to be able to get out of the area before rush hour hit.

    Five years ago today: If Only My Crystal Ball Had Been Working

    Wednesday, January 18, 2017

    Gettting Rid Of The Temptation

    Today I had a work lunch at a fast food burrito restaurant.   However, because I'm still trying to get rid of several holiday pounds, I didn't have one of their marquee menu items.  I've learned that a loaded burrito can easily take up half of my calories for the day.  Instead, I ordered a salad with chicken, beans, fajita vegetables, and salsa.  In the interest of being healthy I reluctantly passed on the yummy sour cream, cheese, and guacamole.  But (telling myself I could eat just a couple) I couldn't resist an order of tortilla chips.

    Who was I kidding? 

    When I sat down with my food I took one chip out of the bag, closed the bag back up, and savored the perfectly-salted chip.  I ate part of the salad, went back for another chip, then repeated the process several more times.  Soon a quarter of the bag was gone, and my will power was decreasing with every chip.  I had to do something!

    About that time a woman came in wearing a hoodie that proudly announced that she worked at the elementary school I attended oh so long ago, and an idea popped into my head.  When she walked away from the counter with her food I got her attention.  I identified myself as an alum of the school and asked her if she could help me get rid of the chips by taking them off my hands.  After a second, she agreed.  She thanked me for her bonus food and I thanked her for her help.

    Five years ago today: Blondie

    Monday, January 16, 2017

    The Evidence Is Orange

    The other morning when I came downstairs there was a beautiful bouquet of flowers on the kitchen island, compliments of Hubby Tony. The mixed blooms included, among others, several large orange tiger lilies. Like this one:

    Later in the day I had to leave the house to run some errands. Knowing that the cats like vegetation I asked Son Donald to keep an eye on the vase whenever he was in the kitchen. He did, but sadly he couldn't be in there the entire time. I came home to this:

    And there was no denying which cat did the deed.  Check out the smear on Jackson's cheek:

    The arrangement was moved to the fireplace mantel in the family room.

    Five years ago today: Are You Who I Think You Are?

    Friday, January 13, 2017

    Safe And Snug At Home

    For almost a week the weather people have been talking about the winter weather coming our way. Finally, this morning the much-anticipated ice storm (predicted to be the biggest in the last decade) arrived.

    In this area people get frantic when faced with any type of snow or ice. Yesterday I was at a hardware store for work and I think I was the only person not walking out with a bag of ice melt. After the hardware store I made the mistake of popping into the grocery for some apples. I had to wait in a long line at the cash register behind shoppers stocking up on milk, bread, and eggs.

    Last night the MODOT officials were on the news asking people to stay off the roads unless they had a compelling reason to be out. Early in the evening I heard that the local school district had cancelled classes for today. My only commitment on Fridays takes place in a church that follows the district's lead, so when I went to be I turned my alarm off knowing I had nowhere to be.

    When I woke up today the streets were still dry, but just about the time I thought I'd bundle up and take a walk outside before the weather arrived we got a smattering of rain.  The smatters continued the rest of the morning, and the real storm started just after lunch. As predicted, waves of rain came and went. The temperatures hovered slightly under 30 degrees. When I went out to get the mail the driveway was just wet, but the mailbox was covered with a heavy sheet of ice and I had to bang on it to break the seal.

    Hubby Tony made the decision to work from home, so I had someone to talk to other than the cats.  Over the course of the day I caught up on my backlog of emails and started putting together an agenda for a meeting I'm leading next weekend.  I did some cooking, a smidge of cleaning, and a lot of relaxing.  It was wonderful!

    At dinnertime there was less ice then forecast, but several more waves are supposed to come. They're still predicting 1/4"-1/2" of ice in this area. It sounds like I'm going to have at least one more day of being stuck in the house.  I can't wait.

    Five years ago today: Another Year Older...

    Thursday, January 12, 2017

    Free To Good Home

    Back in the late 1980s a local grocery store had a buy-a-new-volume-every-few-weeks promotion that would ultimately get you a set of Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedias.  Son Tony was just beginning to read.  Each time I'd bring home a new volume he'd grab it and run off to his room, where he'd spend time looking at the pictures and perusing the new information.

    Fast forward to today.  I can't remember the last time I opened up one of the books to get information; the only thing I've used them for lately is weighing down glued craft projects.  I was more than ready to get rid of the 36 inch-long stack of books.  However, since they were outdated, the charities and thrift stores around here wouldn't accept them any more.

    I asked for suggestions for getting rid of the set from my Facebook friends, but no one had any ideas. (Except for the person who suggested using them for a huge bonfire.  I didn't take that person seriously.) Another person indicated she'd unsuccessfully tried to get rid of four different sets, which didn't exactly give me confidence for disposing of my own.

    Then, as sometimes happens to me, an idea randomly popped into my head.  I wondered if I would get some interest if I listed the set on  Freecycle and Craigslist.  Two nights ago after dinner I composed a post and added it to both sites.  When I woke up the next morning I had five responses...and another five people had contacted me before I deleted the post after the set was actually gone.

    With multiple offers to choose from I picked the person with the most appealing story.  It was a woman who told me that, even though she already had several partial sets of encyclopedias she's picked up over the years, she had wanted an entire set ever since she was a kid.   When I emailed her indicating they were hers, she told me she felt like she won the lottery!

    After texting back and forth with the woman we settled on a meeting site, and yesterday afternoon I transferred the books from the back of my car into hers.  the woman was as nice in person as she sounded in her text.  At the end of the transaction she gave me a big hug, and I drove away thinking my discards would really be treasured.

    Five years ago today: I Guess This Is What Adults Do

    Monday, January 9, 2017

    Registration Completion

    We had a new dishwasher installed on Friday. As he was on his way out the door, the installer handed me a stack of manufacturer paperwork. Tucked inside the plastic bag was a product registration postcard with a strange-looking graphic on one side.  The card said the easiest way to register the dishwasher was through Photoregister.  Later in the day when I was cleaning up a pile of papers left over from Christmas I found another similar product registration postcard from a gift I received. I had to know what this Photoregister was all about.

    According to the company's website, they offer "The fastest way to register products direct with the brands you buy".  The process sounded easy.  You take a photo of the code and text or email it in.  After it receives the photo the company will send you back a link.  You click on the link, which goes to an online site where you put in additional registration information.

    I followed the directions for both cards. Twenty minutes later I received my responses, and clicked over to both websites.  They asked for my name, address, model number, and purchase information... all the things I would have filled out on a traditional paper form.  I'm not sure how exactly the new process improved things, but I have to admit it was kind of cool.

    Five years ago today: Some People Get Excited Over The Smallest Things!

    Saturday, January 7, 2017

    Waa! Waa! Waa!

    Lucky Grandpa!
    The holidays came and went, and so did our our of town children and their significant others. Then the day after New Years Son Brian, Daughter-In-Law Nicole, and Grandbaby Jay returned for a second round or socializing.  Today Hubby Tony and I took them to the airport for their trip back to California.

    It was a good visit. However, the day after they arrived back I started feeling under the weather, and by that night I had a full-blown cold--a scratchy throat and cough, a stuffy yet runny nose, watery eyes, and a hacking cough.  What a bummer!

    Grandbaby Jay is not quite three months old. He hasn't had his first cold yet, and his parents were understandably anxious to keep it that way. So the babysitting dates that were planned got cancelled, and I was careful to stay far away.  It killed me not to get my share of baby cuddles, and I felt like joining in with Jay when he cried.

    This morning as Brian and Nicole put their luggage in the car they handed the baby to Tony, who got to get in one last set of hugs.  In the middle of his Grandpa time Jay looked over at me, smiled, and blew some bubbles my way to show he was thinking of me, too.

    At least that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

    Five years ago today: Out With The Old