Friday, May 17, 2019

Given With Love

For Mother's Day I received some lovely roses from Son Brian and Nicole. Hubby Tony took me to the garden shop, where he paid for all the annuals I selected for the garden. Son Donald stopped in for a visit. When he asked if there was anything specific I wanted I asked him to buy me a hanging basket for the back yard. I also received a call from Son Tony, who said that he and Ie were busy making cards.

He didn't specify what type of cards they were working on, but two days ago there was a long skinny envelope in the mailbox. Inside was the nicest Mother's Day card I've ever received:

They started with a graphic from a standard greeting card, then attached the graphic to a piece of card stock with photo corners, embellished the card stock with a hand-drawn boarder, and added "buttons" at the top. They really put a lot of work into it!

Five years ago today: Get Hot

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

My Warm Weather Treat

Last weekend it was furnace weather, but things bounced back and then some. For the next few days the highs will be in the upper 80s. It's time for my favorite summer snack, frozen watermelon.

I like conventional watermelon, too, but during the summer I actually prefer the frozen type. And the preparation couldn't be easier. Remove the rind from a seedless watermelon, then chop the fruit into cubes, spread them on a  baking sheet,  put the sheet into the freezer until the pieces flash freeze, and transfer them to a bag for storage.

The sweetness and texture of the frozen watermelon fools my stomach into thinking it's having a bowl of ice cream. The trick is to not let it thaw all the way, or it will be mushy. I think it tastes best after it has set out for about five minutes-just enough to soften a bit so it's easy to bite into.

Five years ago today: Sign The Flag

Sunday, May 12, 2019

The Mom Song

Happy Mother's Day!

Whether you're a mom yourself or had a mom when you were growing up I think you can appreciate this.

Five years ago today: Happy Mother's Day

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Blackberry Winter

At this time of year, the average high temperature for my area is 75 °F (and the average low is 56°). On Wednesday it got up to 82°, so I opened up windows, put on a pair of shorts, took the flannel sheets off the bed and replaced them with the warm-weather percale set, washed and stored the winter coats, and stashed the cold-weather shoes in the back of the closet.

Since Wednesday things have gone downhill. Today the high temperature was 50°! I closed up the house, found some heavy clothes to wear, and dug a pair of leather shoes out again. Tonight it's supposed to dip down to the mid-40s. As much as it kills me to do it, I broke down and turned the furnace on again.

However, I guess this cold snap isn't completely unprecedented. According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, we're in a blackberry winter, a term used to describe a brief period of cold weather that coincides with the time the blackberries are in bloom. It typically happens in early to mid May.

And at least one person actually predicted the weather. Dave Murray was a local TV meteorologist for many years. Although he's now retired from that job, he maintains an active Facebook page. Yesterday he posted:
Looking back at my Spring forecast issued in February:
"*** That brings us to the blackberry Winter around the 9,10,11 and 12th of May… I rarely turn my back on this feature in the atmosphere. It is a cold run of weather...and I will not turn my back on it this year...but let’s think more of a cool snap rather than a cold snap during this period."
Dave would have completely nailed it if he had added one day to his snap. According to my phone app, things will be back to normal by Tuesday the 14th. I hope that's right.

Five years ago today: Saturday Morning Bike Ride

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Just A Little Disconcerting

Several weeks before my last plane trip I received an email from my charge card company with the subject Your Upcoming Travel Plans.

I hadn't shared any plans with them, and the whole thing felt slightly creepy. But when I opened the message it reminded me that we had paid for the airline tickets with that particular charge card. Based on that the company had made a note of the date we were leaving. The email went on to say the company had automatically added a travel notice to the card so it wouldn't get declined in the new area.

The whole thing made sense, but still felt a little Big Brother-ish.

Five years ago today: Disremember

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Let's Go Blues!

Tonight our hometown St. Louis Blues hockey team is playing against the Dallas Stars in the seventh (and last) game of the second round of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs. The series is tied, and whoever wins gets to move on to the next round. The Blues, who began playing in 1967, are the oldest active NHL team never to have won the Stanley Cup.

I'm a fair weather hockey fan, but for the past few weeks I've been caught up in all the excitement. It looks like I'm not the only one. When Hubby Tony and I were out for a walk tonight, we saw these signs taped to a pole:

A close up of the bottom sign. By the quality of the writing I assumed this passionate follower was on the younger side.

Five years ago today: The Chiropractor Is Usually Right

Friday, May 3, 2019

John Wayne's Five Rules to Remember in Life

I've tried and tried, but cannot find the source of these. If you know, pass the information on so I can give the correct credit.
1. Money cannot buy happiness but its more comfortable to cry in a Mercedes than on a bicycle.

2. Forgive your enemy but remember the bastard's name.

3. Help someone when they are in trouble, and they will remember you when they're in trouble again.

4. Many people are alive only because it's illegal to shoot them.

5. Alcohol does not solve any problems, but then again, neither does milk.
Five years ago today: The Rubdown

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Amazing Occasions

Hubby Tony and I got home yesterday from a magnificent nine day trip. The time away was divided into three distinct parts.

On the Saturday before Easter we flew to Dallas. That night DIL Ie entered the Catholic church during the Easter Vigil. In total, there were 30 Catechumens (non-baptized individuals) and Candidates (people who were baptized in the Catholic church or another Christian community who had not received the sacraments of Eucharist and Confirmation). The beautiful ceremony started at sundown and went for almost three hours.

We spent Easter day with Son Tony and Ie. Early Monday morning Ie took us to the airport for the next leg of our journey. This time were in the air for just under two hours. When the plane touched down, the pilot welcomed us to San Jose, California.  It was time to hang out with this guy and his parents!

We were at Son Brian and DIL Nicole's house for four days. During that time we got to shadow on a day care pick up and drop off, and attend a "Take Your Child to Work Day" event at Nicole's company. One day Tony and I took an ambitious walk to the San Jose Rose Garden to see what was blooming. At the end of the day my phone app told me I had walked slightly over 17,000 steps.

On Friday morning Tony picked up a rental car for the third chunk of the trip. We drove out of the Bay Area and over the mountains to Turlock, in the California Central Valley. Later in the day we practiced for the big event that took place Saturday morning...the wedding of Tony and Ie.

Photos and the reception took place on the grounds of a nearby lavender farm. The outdoor venue had comfortable,casual seating areas scattered about, yard games, and plenty of space for the children to run around. There were long wooden farm dining tables arranged next to a covered porch area. While the sun was up huge market umbrellas shaded the tables, but as it got dark the staff moved the umbrellas away, and the white lights strung in the nearby trees came on. The porch area turned into a dance floor (which was very popular). At the end of the night all of the guests got a long sparkler and made an arch for the new bride and groom to run through.

On Sunday we returned to Brian and Nicole's for one more night. This time Son Donald was there, too. The three of us left Monday morning for the flight back to St. Louis.

Five years ago today: International Jazz Day

Friday, April 26, 2019

The Joys Of Modern Air Travel (NOT)

Son Donald is scheduled to fly this afternoon. The ticket that he bought back in late January left St. Louis early in the afternoon for a four-hour nonstop flight, and got him to his destination in time for dinner. It also fit the schedule of the people who were picking him up at the airport.

Yesterday he got a text from the airline saying that flight was cancelled. It offered several alternate options, but the most attractive one was already filled up by time Donald got to the company's website. He chose the next-most attractive option. It leaves approximately the same time as his original flight, but now he has two legs to contend with, and a two-hour layover in between. In addition, his ride from the airport had to re-arrange their schedule in order to be available for him.

Five years ago today: Sheet Snob

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Did You Know?

Oxford University researchers have discovered the heaviest element yet known to science.

The new element, Governmentium (symbol=Gv), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A tiny amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second to take from 4 days to 4 years to complete. Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2 to 6 years. It does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes. When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium (symbol=Ad), an element which radiates just as much energy as Governmentium,, since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

Five years ago today: One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure (Part 2)

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Happy Easter 2019

I hope your day is filled with family, friends, food, and fun. And chocolate.


Chocolate Easter bunny
In a jelly bean nest,
I'm saving you for very last
Because I love you best.
I'll only take a nibble
From the tip of your ear
And one bite from the other side
So that you won't look queer.
Yum, you're so delicious!
I didn't mean to eat
Your chocolate tail till Tuesday.
Ooops! There go your feet!
I wonder how your back tastes
With all that chocolate hair.
I never thought your tummy
Was only filled with air!
Chocolate Easter bunny
In a jelly bean nest,
I'm saving you for very last
Because I love you best.

~~Bobbie Katz 

Five years ago today: One Man's Trash Is Another Man's Treasure

Thursday, April 18, 2019

To Put It Another Way...

According to the Days Calculator at Time and Date I am:
  • 22,013 days old
  • Or 723 months, 8 days
  • Or 1,902,009,600 seconds
  • Or 528,336 hours
  • Or 22,014 days
  • Or 3144 weeks and 6 days
  • Or 6031.23% of a common year
Anyway you put it, the totals are pretty staggering.

Five years ago today: Superstar

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Nice Try...But It Didn't Work!

Even though Son Donald has moved out of the house he still occasionally gets mail here. Recently the carrier put this official-looking envelope in the mailbox:

Personal information changed to protect the innocent.

I took a picture of the envelope and sent it to Donald, asking him what he wanted me to do. Some time later he responded and asked me to open it. Inside was a Sample Transportation Certificate of Title and an invitation to come to a sale at the dealership where he bought his last car.

Donald said I could put this 'important' letter straight into the recycling bin. I did.

Five years ago today: Random Thoughts

Monday, April 15, 2019

Sunday, April 14, 2019

It's Spring, Dagnabbit!

Last week the temperatures reached 80°, so I opened up the house and enjoyed the fresh air and sounds of nature. But Winter has decided it wasn't quite ready to leave. Last night a big cold front and rainstorm came though, so I closed up the house and turned the furnace back on. This morning when it was time to leave for church the temperature was a chilly 37°, and my phone app told me it actually felt like 32°.

However, it's almost the middle of April, and after my first taste of springy clothes I had no desire to go back to dark colors and heavy leather shoes. I dug around in my closet and found a pair of light-colored pants, which I paired with a long sleeved tee shirt and an ecru sweater with lace insets.

I even went out on a limb and wore a pair of spring shoes. They might be leather, but they're covered with tiny perforations.

When I got out of the car at church, I noticed there were a few sleet pellets mixed in with the rain. A couple of them managed to fall through the holes in the shoes (and I started regretting my decision), but that just made me hustle into the building a little faster than normal.

Five years ago today: Bloomin' Delicious

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Veggie Dog

Yesterday Christine wrote about trying the new IKEA vegetarian hot dog. I didn't know that such a thing existed, but filed her information away for future reference.  Much to my surprise, today I ended up with some jobs that took me right next to the store. Of course I had to check out their veggie dog! After my jobs were finished I drove into the huge IKEA lot, which was very empty at lunchtime on Thursday.

The dogs are served at the Bistro area next to the checkouts. When the associate took my order, she asked if I wanted it topped as it was in the photo with spicy mustard, pickled red cabbage, and roasted onions. I did.

The veggie dog is made with a mix of kale, red lentils, carrots, and ginger. It was more like a cylindrical veggie patty, with no casing like a traditional hot dog. But it was good. The toppings gave it a nice crunch. The sandwich was on the small size, so I was happy I had some vegetables and fruit with me in the car to supplement it.

Five years ago today: Who Wants To Dance?

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Soggy Soles

Over the weekend I stopped by an estate sale and left with a pair of barely worn canvas mule tennis shoes. (It was the second day of the sale, and everything was half priced. My purchase only set me back a dollar. Such a deal!) The comfortable bright pink shoes had laces like a normal pair, but because they didn't have a back it was easy to just slide them on. They also had a nicely cushioned footbed and decent arch support.

Before I wore the shoes, I threw them in the washer and set them in the sun to dry. At the end of the day I brought the shoes inside and placed them in the closet.

Today I was meeting a friend for tea and a chat. The weather was spring-like, and I decided to wear my new sneaks. I put them on right before I left the house, walked into the garage, and sat down in the car. The stop lights were all going my way. When I realized I was going to be a little early to my friend's house, I decided to stop at a grocery store along the way and use the rest room.

As I entered the store I realized that my shoes felt funny, but didn't think anything of it. However, on the way out of the store I realized that they felt wet. And by the time I got to my car I was squishing! Those soft, padded footbeds really held the water. By the time I got to my destination my feet were pretty miserable.

I saw that my friend was going barefoot, so I slipped my shoes off and put them in a patch of sun on her back deck. Two and a half hours later when I left they were pretty much dry, and my trip home was much more comfortable.

Five years ago today:

Saturday, April 6, 2019

The Fix

My recent car issue (a blinking 'D' light on the Drive Indicator) turned out to be a transmission sensor. The shop had to order the part, which will be delivered next Tuesday or Wednesday. When it arrives they'll let me know. Until then, the mechanic said I could drive the car without any issues.

That's easier said than done for me. Any type of dashboard light sends me into a tizzy. Even though I logically know there's not a problem, any time I look down and see something flashing I get anxious. Illogical, but that's the way it is.

I have too much to do to go car-less for the next few days. Hubby Tony suggested I could cover up the Drive light with a piece of tape. I thought that was a great idea, but went one step further and found a bird sticker, which also adds a bit of Spring to the dashboard.

Before and after
Five years ago today: Happy Or Sad?

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Get Pumping

When Hubby Tony left for work today he asked me what my day was about. I told him the only definite was a trip to the gym, but then I had a whole slew of errands that needed to get done...and a few that I wanted to do. We laughed about how the day would quickly fill up. An hour later, I was a third of the way to the gym when the 'D' light on the dashboard started blinking. I doubled back to the repair shop, dropped off the car, and got a ride home. All of a sudden I had a home bound day.

I hadn't showered yet, so I decided to get some house work done before I cleaned myself up. I used the step stool to dust all the high places I can't reach from the ground, used the same rag to remove the dust bunnies and cat hair from the front hall and dining room floors, then swept the kitchen floor and cleaned up a couple of coffee drip stains.

It felt good to be moving, but my cleaning didn't take the place of the Body Pump class I would have done at the gym. I'm motivated to get things toned up; Son Tony's wedding will be here before I know it, and the last time I tried on my dress it was a little tight. Suddenly inspiration hit, and I wondered if I could find a video online that would substitute for my aborted trip to the gym. Turns out that YouTube had dozens of options for me.
(If you're not familiar with Body Pump, it's a poplar group weight lifting class. An instructor in the front of the room leads you through ten choreographed sections, each the length of a song. After the warm up song there are tracks for legs, chest, back, triceps, biceps, lunges, shoulders, core, and then a cool down. You do a lot of exercise repetitions with lighter weights. And when the hour is over you're thrilled to be able to put all of your equipment away.)
But before I could start the video, I had to come up with equipment to use. My gym has all the necessary barbells, plates, steps, and mats. The only barbell in this house is a seriously heavy one that Son Donald left when he moved out, and weight plates that are 15 pounds or heavier. (By comparison, I use a bar that's about 4 pounds and plates that are 5 1/2 and 2 1/2 pounds.) However, I improvised with a set of three pound plates, a set of six pound hand weights, and no bar. I chose to rough it and lay on the floor instead of using a step and mat.

I set my laptop on the kitchen counter, except when I was doing the tracks that involved laying down. Then I put it on the floor next to me so I could see it better. The instructor did a good job of calling out the exercises as they came around, and the video was very easy to follow. I'd like to say that I completed the whole thing as enthusiastically as I would at the gym, but the main reason I do group classes is for the extra motivation and the shame of quitting early. Since I didn't have that I cut a few corners, but at the end my muscles were just sore enough I could tell they had worked. That was good enough for me.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Walk On

I didn't know that today was National Walking Day until my city's parks department told me about a promotion they were having in honor of the day. All you had to do is walk three laps around the track (a mile) at the main city park, and you'd be entered into a drawing for prizes.

During the Park Office hours they had snacks and water available. Hubby Tony and I didn't make it to the park until after dinner, but they had also made accommodations for people like us. After we finished we took pictures of each other standing by the park walking trails information board, then emailed them to the City's Recreation Supervisor so we could still be entered into the drawing.

The weather was nice, and Tony and I probably would have walked anyway, but it was nice to get recognized for doing it.

Five years ago today: Elderly Exercise

Sunday, March 31, 2019


I was cleaning out my Inbox today and found this gem tucked way at the bottom.  It's too good not to share.
A millionaire wanted his son to understand that the world was made up of those who had great happiness in the world because they never wanted for anything, and those who lived in unhappiness because their struggles were never-ending. He asked one of his lowest-paid workers if his son could stay for a weekend, and the employee agreed.

When the weekend was over, the millionaire picked up his son. On the way home he asked his son, "What did you learn about how others live?"

"A lot," the boy replied as he sat with his shoulders slumped, "We have a dog, but they have three dogs and a couple of cats. They even have chickens and ducks and a donkey. We have a swimming pool, but they have this great big lake. We have a deck, but they have a back yard that stretches for miles and miles. And at dinner, they all sit around a table and laugh and talk together."

The millionaire sat in silence, listening to his son.

"I guess the lesson I learned, Dad, is how poor we really are."

--Author Unknown
Five years ago today: Signs of Spring 2014

Thursday, March 28, 2019

The Best Thing Since Sliced...Bagels?

In the last 24 hours, any Internet search you do for bagels offers up results for a St. Louis controversy. It all started when Alek Krautmann, a St. Louis native, tweeted a photo of a box of bread sliced Panera bagels he had brought into the office. The caption for the photo said that he had introduced his co-workers to the "St. Louis secret".

Years ago, the St. Louis Bread Company (AKA Panera outside the metropolitan area) started offering the option of running their bagels through the bread slicing machine to make thin slices. The unconventional method has a lot of advantages. The smaller pieces are easy to dip in your preferred topping. It's easier to eat just part of a bagel, or grab small pieces with one hand while you're on the go. If you're sharing the treat with a friend, it's more sanitary.

Personally, I prefer a real New York style bagel to anything that comes from a chain. However, there are no traditional New York-style bagelries in my neighborhood, so if I want one BreadCo is the next best thing. The crust may not be as crunchy and chewy, but it's acceptable.

What about you? Do you like bagels? Had you heard about bread slicing one before yesterday? Would you consider trying one that way?

Five years ago today: There Are No Accidents...

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Detergent Diversification

Ever since I've belonged to a discount club (first Sam's, now Costco), I've bought large containers of powdered laundry detergent there. Back in the day there were five people making dirty clothes, three of whom were boys. I did a lot of laundry, and it made sense to go to the store as little as possible. In the beginning the plastic tubs weighed 40 pounds; eventually there was a reformulation it which made the tubs half that size. Occasionally the brand name would change, but the stuff inside the container always worked well.

Now there's only two of us making dirty clothes, but I still buy the big containers because I like how they clean and I know how to use them. They just last longer. Last week I realized that we were getting low on detergent. The next time I went to Costco I walked to the section near the back of the store to get another tub. I went from one end of the aisle to the other and back again but I couldn't find what I was looking for. The shelves were filled with bottles of liquid detergent and packages of pods. There were name brands and store brands. The labels touted they were "Ultra", "Concentrated", or even "Ultra Concentrated". Some styles were scented and others fragrance-free. A few even contained fabric softener. But none of them were what I came in for.

Eventually I realized that my powdered detergent tub was unavailable. After comparing the prices for several brands I chose the least expensive liquid. It felt strange to be carrying a bottle out of the store, but I have to admit it was easier to get into my car and carry into my house.

I have now used the liquid detergent for several loads. It seems to wash the clothes just as well, but it's hard for me to see the marking on the cap telling me just how much I need for a load. And right now while the bottle is full, it's hard for me to pick it up with one hand to pour a load's worth into the cap. Change is always inevitable, though, and I bet before too long I'll wonder how I ever did the laundry without that big jug.

Five years ago today: Thanks, But No Thanks

Monday, March 25, 2019


I've got some exciting news.

Some time ago Son Brian and Daughter-In-Law Nicole announced to the family that they were expecting...IDENTICAL TWINS!  At that point it was too early to go public with the information, and they said they were not planning on any social media announcements. So I waited....and waited.....and eventually asked them when I could share the information with the extended family and my friends.

In the meantime we learned that Grandson Jay would have two new brothers sometime in the middle of the summer.  At the age of two, he's really too young to know exactly what that means but because Mom and Dad are excited he is, too.

Brian and Nicole asked Hubby Tony and I to be available to come and take care of Jay while she's is in the hospital. Of course we said yes! As a matter of fact, we already have our plane tickets for the visit.

We're both delighted for all of the changes that are coming for the family. I can't wait to have new babies to hug and cuddle with.  This is going to be the best summer ever!

Five years ago today: A Tale of Two Temperatures

Sunday, March 24, 2019

No Cow Milk Needed

This morning Hubby Tony and I did something unique. We took a class to learn how to make vegan cheese! The class was held at the Bike Stop Cafe in Chesterfield, and taught by Stephanie Bosch, who is a Culinary Nutritionist.

We arrived at the cafe a couple of minutes early, where we signed in and collected a packet of recipes. Right on time Stephanie invited the approximately dozen people into the back kitchen area, which was where the class took place. Everyone put their personal things away and washed their hands, then took places around the work table in the center of the room. There was a large, beautifully arranged cheese board in the center of the table for us to sample.  As most of the recipes were finished, we got to taste them too.

To start, Stephanie had everyone introduce themselves and tell why they were taking the class. Some people were there for themselves, and others because they wanted to cook healthier for their family members. The common denominator, though, was that everyone was following a predominantly plant-based diet.

Over the course of two hours Stephanie showed us how to make three cashew-based cheeses (and one based on almonds). All of them started with soaked nuts, which were pureed in a blender with spices and other ingredients. Some of the recipes included nutritional yeast, and others used thickening agents. Some were cooked, and some were not.

The first recipe Stephanie made was a queso cheese, which was a simple blend of cashews, nutritional yeast, spices, and a canned chipotle in adobo sauce, served with tortilla chips.  This one was pretty good (and I even went back for seconds), but I personally would have added more heat to it. I did not take a photo of this one.

For the second cheese Stephanie made a "Melty, Stretchy, Gooey" mozzarella that she said was great for grilled cheese, quesadillas, or vegetarian lasagna. A combination of soaked cashews, yogurt, acid, nut milk, nutritional yeast, and tapioca starch were blended together and cooked. Stephanie said it was important to stir the entire time the cheese was on the heat.  This was served with toasted sourdough bread. 

Cooking the mozzarella
Next, Stephanie changed gears and made some chèvre from almonds.  She started by blending soaked blanched almonds with water and salt, then poured the mixture into a nut milk bag and squeezing out as much liquid as possible. (I learned that if you sweetened this liquid a little bit you could call it almond milk.) However, it was the solids that Stephanie used for the cheese. To them she added apple cider vinegar, nutritional yeast, refined coconut oil, and spices. Although she told us this cheese would be best if it aged for at least 24 hours we sampled it immediately. It was still good.

Blended almond solids-the beginning of chèvre
The last cheese was a pepper jack, which Stephanie told us could be cubed, grated, or sliced.  It was the most complicated recipe, and used several new-to-me ingredients. After the cashews were blended with plant-based milk cider vinegar, coconut oil, spices, tapioca starch, inulin, and carrageenan it was heated to a specific temperature. Stephanie mixed in diced jalapeno, red pepper, and pepper flakes, then scooped the mixture into molds. There wasn't time for the cheese to completely set up, so we were not able to sample this variety. It sure looked good, though.

Spreading pepperjack into molds
I couldn't believe how fast the two hours flew by. I don't know how soon I'll be incorporating all of these new cheeses into my daily eating plan, but at least now I have options

Five years ago today: But I Saw It On The Internet!

Friday, March 22, 2019

A Parking Miracle

Yesterday I had an appointment at an apartment building downtown. In theory, there should have been two reserved parking spaces right in front of the building. However, those were already taken, so I had to drive around looking for other options.

The hourly rate in the garages I passed was more than I wanted to spend. I would have to use a meter, but I didn't have any change to feed it. Eventually after driving around for several blocks I found a spot with a meter that took credit cards.

There was only one problem. The spot had cars in front of it and behind it. I rarely have to parallel park, and since I never practice I don't do it well. As a matter of fact, I usually go to great lengths to avoid having to do it, but time was running out and this was my only option.

Crossing my fingers, I pulled up even with the car in front of the spot, then put the car into reverse, turned my wheel to the right, then to the left when I was halfway in. Much to my surprise the car slid neatly into the space right next to the curb!

Five years ago today: Mapping Of The Cat Brain

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

First Day Of Spring Color

Last week a friend sent out an email inviting a small group to meet her at the botanical garden to see the orchid show and have lunch in the garden's cafe. Seven people responded that they were in. This morning at 10:00 we all met in the lobby for our "moment of Zen" field trip.

It was a little ironic that ten days ago when the original message went out it was still cold and cruddy. Today was overcast, but overall this week there's been a hint of the new season in the air.  The orchid show was held is a large room in the main building of the garden. There was an incredible selection of orchids arrayed against a backdrop of tropical greenery. A path meandered around and through the room.

After everyone in the group had their fill of admiring the beautiful flowers we took the elevator upstairs and filed into the cafeteria. The menu had a large variety of items, and it was hard for me to decide. In the end I ordered a Kale Caesar salad, with the traditional dressing, Parmesan, and croutons paired with large pieces of kale.

The rest of the group was going to explore more of the garden, but I was expecting a phone call, so I said my goodbyes and left. Instead of driving home down the freeway I took the surface road so I could pull off if my call came in. At the halfway point I passed a garden shop with a rolling cart of pansies outside. The pop of color took me by surprise, and I was past the shop before I could react and pull in. However, several miles to the west when I passed a big box hardware store I didn't make the same mistake twice.  I've never bought outside flowers on the first day of spring, but it felt like an appropriate postscript to my morning.

The store had single-color and mixed six packs. I chose the latter. At home I put the flowers in the front porch planter and watered them well. I'm looking forward to enjoying the bright blooms all spring.
Small, but they'll quickly grow

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Lemongrass In And Out

This morning I was supposed to have an appointment, but I received a call telling me that because of an emergency the office was closing for the day. All of a sudden I had no commitments!

I used my bonus day productively. I planted the ginger rhizomes that will summer on the deck when the weather warms up, and potted up a spider plantlet that had broken off the mother plant. I gave the bathrooms some needed attention, including deep-cleaning the toilet bowls to remove the water rings, then I grabbed the baking soda to scour the soap scum off of the shower glass. I changed out the winter artwork. In between physical jobs I tackled accumulated paperwork and desk projects. Then when Hubby Tony got home from work we took a nice walk.

After dinner I realized that after all my work the joints in my right hand were a little creaky, so I pulled out my bottle of lemongrass essential oil and rubbed a little bit over the knuckles and down the fingers. It only took a couple of minutes before things felt less creaky.  And as an added bonus my hands smelled good.

Later in the evening I decided to have some herbal tea. Do you think it was a coincidence that I chose lemongrass?

Five years ago today: Spring Into Fashion

Sunday, March 17, 2019


Today would have been the hundredth birthday of Nat King Cole. (He died in 1965 at the age of 45.) In his honor, here's a version of one of my favorite songs:

Five years ago today: The Patron Saint Of Cats

Saturday, March 16, 2019

No Fish Here!

During the Lenten season Fish Fries are very popular in our area. However, there is only one Unfish Fry, a vegetarian dinner sponsored by the First Unitarian Church. Hubby Tony and I first heard about the event last year, but unfortunately the newspaper had printed the wrong date and we missed it. A couple of weeks ago  Son Donald happened to mention this year's version, and Tony and I made sure we put it on our calendar.

Last night after Tony got home from work we drove to the church, which is in the Central West End section of the city. When we saw this sign we knew we were at the right place:

Even though the doors had just opened there was a steady stream of people walking into the building. We joined them. The ordering system was quite efficient. At the payment station right inside the door we each received a paper listing all of the choices, then chose two entrees and two sides:

When we entered the cafeteria there wasn't much of a line, so after making our choices we walked right up to the serving line and handed them our papers. (We were lucky. By the time we left the line stretched halfway down the length of the room). We received our food quickly, then walked over to the condiment table and chose from the fresh-looking selection. Water, lemonade, and iced tea were included with the meal. Adult beverages and desserts were available for an extra cost.

My meal-Chili with toppings, dolmades, salad, and green beans
Tony and I both ordered chili and salad, but his meal included falafel and hummus. We shared our bounty with each other, then splurged on dessert. I chose vegan chocolate cookies and Tony grabbed an apple-cranberry crumble. Everything was freshly prepared and quite tasty.

I already can't wait for the 2020 Unfish Fry.

Five years ago today: Tag It

Friday, March 15, 2019

Shortness Of Supply

At my checkup appointment last fall the doctor recommended I get the Shingrix vaccine for shingles. The drug website says that one out of three people in the United States will get shingles, and I've known enough people that have gone through the disease to want to protect myself. However, at that time the vaccine was relatively new (approved in October 2017 and officially recommended by the CDC for adults 50 and older in January 2018) and hard to find. I used that as an excuse to put off the task, transferring the doctor's note from month to month in my tickler file.

This month I decided to get serious about the task. Starting on March 1st I carried the reminder note around with me before the task rose to the top of my list, and for the last week I've been on a mission to complete it. That's been easier said than done.

My insurance will cover the cost of immunizations at any Walgreens pharmacy, and there are a lot of them around me. However, even though the drug website had it listed as available all over the area, none of the stores I checked with actually had the vaccine in stock. Finding it turned into a game. See a Walgreens, pop in, and ask at the pharmacy window.

Most locations told me they had a first come, first served policy and I was just out of luck. After three days the best I could do was put my name on a list, which had about 200 people ahead of me. I tried calling, but the automated menu to talk to a live person is arduous to navigate, and the hold times were so long I'd give up before I got through.

Yesterday I hit the immunization jackpot! At the pharmacy window the technician told me they had one dose in stock. It took twenty minutes from the time I walked in until the time I left, but it was time well spent.

After she administered the shot, the pharmacist told me most people had a sore arm that lasted for a couple of days, and a few reported they got a headache or felt tired and achy all over. I'm left-handed, so got the injection in my right arm. Good thing. Over the course of the day my arm got very sore. Before I went to bed I took some acetaminophen, but found I couldn't sleep on my right side. Overnight I had a headache and chills. (It also didn't help that I had done some gardening and, despite wearing gloves, got a sticker in my two different fingers, and I had sore muscles from a class at the the gym.) When I woke up I felt like I'd been run over by a Mack truck.

After a hot shower things slowly got better. I moved very slowly and was able to complete all of my errands for the day. Without too many issues.

The good news is that I got my Shingrix shot. The bummer is that I need another some some time between two and six months from now. I understand that the second time will be easier. I'm now on a priority list and will just get a call from the pharmacy telling me to come in.

Five years ago today: PLEASE?!?

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Put Water In Plants

I have a collection of potted plants that summer outside and spend the winter in the house. It started  years ago with a couple of hanging baskets. Every year since then it has grown, until now there's plants everywhere in the kitchen, and a few in the master bathroom, from late October until the weather warms back up.

This year there are several pots on the counter top behind the sink, another group on the window seat across the room, and two baskets hanging above them from hooks in the ceiling. The plants the cats like to nibble on are living above one of the kitchen cabinets. (They don't receive near enough sun there, but they survive well enough.)  Upstairs, there's a large pot on a ledge next to the bathtub and a smaller one on a second ledge. Since both Hubby Tony and I take showers instead of baths I even have a pot set inside the tub.

Watering all these plants is a big deal, and it takes the better part of an hour to finish the job. I start by adding a couple of inches of water to both sides of the double-bowl kitchen sink. Then I cram in all the smaller plants, pour more water on the top of the soil to filter through, and let them soak for 20 minutes to make sure everything is saturated. While they're soaking I run upstairs and start all the bathroom plants in the tub. When the first set is done in the kitchen I take them out to drain and repeat the process with the hanging plants.

Eventually everything is well wetted and I can put all the pots back where they belong. Until the next time.  I'm already counting down the days until I can think about putting all the plants back outside!

Five years ago today: Spring Cleaning...It’s Time!

Monday, March 11, 2019

There's A Day For Everything!

According to the Dull Men’s Club, the Monday of the second full week in March (which would be today) is Fill Our Staplers Day.

Mine needed it, so I did.

Saturday, March 9, 2019


Wiktionary defines a paraprosdokian as a:
Figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently used in a humorous situation.
Here are a few examples for your chuckling pleasure
  • Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  • If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong 
  • A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station.
  • We never really grow up; we only learn how to act in public.
  • War does not determine who is right--only who is left.
  • Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.
  • I didn't say it was your fault; I said I was blaming you.
  • In filling out an application, where it says, 'In case of emergency, Notify:' I put 'DOCTOR.'
  • Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut and still think they are sexy.
  • A diplomat is someone who can tell you to go to hell in such a way that you will look forward to the trip.
  • You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
  • I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure.
  • To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.
  • Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  • You're never too old to learn something stupid.
  • I'm supposed to respect my elders, but it's getting harder and harder for me to find one now.
  • Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

Five years ago today: Crosswords By Committee

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Ashes On The Go

Today is Ash Wednesday, which marks the first day of Lent. I started my day by receiving ashes on my forehead at my parish school's Mass (where they 'buried the Alleluia' until Easter and the Eighth graders and Kindergartners teamed up to do the Prayers of the Faithful petitions), then continued on with my errands.

Once on the main street, I noticed that the nearby Methodist church was having what they call an "Ash and Dash" program again this year. The event was set up in the parking lot of the city's Athletic Association, which is where the church also has their Christmas tree lot in December.

There was a pop-up tent set with a sign that indicated they were offering Drive-Thru Prayer and Ashes set up right off the street. The lot was divided into lanes with traffic cones, and I could see two clergy people standing and waiting for business.

At our church they ask parishioners to bring in their palms from last year's Palm Sunday to burn and make ashes. I don't know how this church also did it, but I know it's just a coincidence that the event is held right next to a cremation provider.

Five years ago today: Polenta. It's What's For Dinner

Monday, March 4, 2019

Walk With Deliberation

Today I didn't exactly march, but when I chose not to go to the gym I had to do something to get exercise. Because the weather was too frigid to be outside, I used a trip to a large grocery store to get a good chunk of my 10,000 daily steps in.

There weren't many people shopping, so it was easy to do. I started in the Produce section and went up and down each of the 15 long aisles until I got to the far side of the store, breaking stride only when I swerved around a cart, turned a corner, or stopped to put a needed item into my shopping bag.

Halfway through the store I passed a store employee going in the opposite direction pushing a large dust mop. We crossed again in the next aisle, and the one after that. It started to feel weird, so at the end of the next aisle I stopped and browsed the end cap merchandise until the employee swept past me and turned the next corner. Then I continued my route in the other direction.

Five years ago today: Fat Tuesday

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Came To Pass (Almost) Perfectly

So....just a couple of days ago I was telling you about how a pending snow storm was messing with my planning for a food-serving event.  I'm glad to say that the event went off without any major hitches.

In the end approximately a third of the registered meeting attendees ended up cancelling. My combination of sweet and salty snacks was too heavy on cookies, but there were only a couple of bags of chips left. I was surprised that hardly anyone one in this crowd was an orange juice drinker; after two breakfasts less than a half gallon was gone and one was unopened. And, as I had suspected, there were unopened packages of plates, cereal bowls, and cups.

But...after Friday's social hour was over I ran to the grocery store across the street from the hotel for more cheese sticks and nuts. Mid-day on Saturday I returned to the store, this time to get more yogurt, hard boiled eggs, and bananas for Sunday's breakfast. Because of my scaled back food purchasing there was wiggle room in my budget, so each morning I was able to walk across the street to the St. Louis Bread Company (AKA Panera) and bring back totes of coffee.

As the weekend unfolded the start of the predicted snow storm kept getting pushed back. When I woke up this morning I was thrilled to see that the ground was clear. Fifteen minutes later flakes were flying during my coffee run, but in the end we only got a couple of inches of white stuff. After the meeting attendees finished breakfast I told them to take anything they wanted for later in the day snacks, passed on the unopened food items to someone for another event next weekend, packed up the Hospitality room, and headed home. My drive only took five minutes longer than normal.

About noon the snow stopped  and it wasn't long before the sun came out. This afternoon I took back all of the extra paper products and some jugs of iced tea that tasted 'off'. I tallied up all of my expenses and submitted the total for reimbursement. Project finished.

Five years ago today: The Mom Look

Thursday, February 28, 2019

How Much Is Enough?

This weekend I volunteered to chair the Hospitality Room for a group meeting that starts Friday night and ends Sunday just before lunch. The approximately 60 meeting attendees are coming from Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas. A few are flying in, but the majority are driving.

The budget for the event was adequate, but not extravagant. I spent considerable time researching options for food and paper products, and developed a shopping list that cherry picked the best deals at three different stores.

I thought I had everything under control. And then Mother Nature stepped in.

Coming our way
All of that purple in the Midwest is today's weather- a mixture of sleet and freezing rain.Tomorrow should be fine, but then another event--this time snow--is predicted for Saturday night into Sunday morning . Depending on what source you listen to, we could get somewhere between 2-8 inches. Based on the forecast, last night people started cancelling their meeting attendance. Today I've received a steady stream of emails from the meeting chair to keep me updated. As of 1:00 pm 18 people had indicated they wouldn't be coming, and the chair expects there will be more.

I had purchased the paper products earlier in the week (buying heavy because I knew I could return any unopened packages), but because of my schedule today had to be Buy Perishables day. My carefully curated grocery list got halved, or for some items cut even more. After lunch I went to Aldi and came home with snack foods and breakfast items, crossing my fingers that I didn't overbuy.

And if by some crazy coincidence I didn't get enough? There's a grocery store right across the street from the meeting venue.

Five years ago today: The Random Acts Of Kindness Adventure #4

Monday, February 25, 2019

Perking Up Parsley

Over the weekend Hubby Tony and I went to a pot luck. Our section of the alphabet was asked to bring a side dish, and after some consultation with Tony I decided to make a chickpea salad. In addition to the chickpeas, the dish had colored peppers (red, yellow, and orange, because why not?), garlic, kalamata olives, green onions, tomatoes, and chopped fresh parsley, all tossed with a lemony dressing.

I bought the ingredients the day before I needed them.The morning of the potluck I prepped everything and mixed it together. After I put the salad into a bowl I wanted to add a sprig of parsley on top for decoration. When I took a good look at the extra stems, I realized they were pretty sad looking. Fortunately I knew a solution.

I got out a deep coffee mug, put a couple of inches of water in the bottom, and placed the parsley stems in like a bouquet of flowers. Two hours later they had revived enough that I was able to get my sprig, but 24 hours later the stems were looking pretty perky.

Before water                                               and after

Five years ago today: Keywords Unavailable

Friday, February 22, 2019

Changing It Up

Today was gloomy and chilly...and a good day for soup. When I looked in the pantry to see what was there I decided a hearty lentil soup made in my Instant Pot is what would be for dinner.

Son Brian was the first person in the family to get an Instant Pot, and he gave me one last year. Since then we've shared recipes and tips back and forth. Very early on I made an Indian-inspired lentil soup recipe which used both brown and red or yellow lentils. (The colorful ones took less time to cook and fell apart before the brown ones were done, which made the finished dish wonderfully thick.) I told Brian; he made the recipe and liked it so much it went into his regular cooking rotation. He even started making up batches of a seasoning mix to have on hand, then shared the information with Son Donald, who shared it with me:

Turmeric, chili powder, coriander, cumin, black pepper,
onion powder, and garlic
Today, though, I was in the mood for Mexican, and I wondered why I couldn't spice the basic soup differently. I Googled 'Mexican lentils' and cobbled together portions of three different recipes. My dish started with onions, lots of garlic, and three types of lentils (brown, yellow, and red because why not?). After I sauteed the vegetables and tossed in the lentils I added broth, half of a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes, and a couple of tablespoons of tomato paste, then seasoned with pepper, cumin, oregano, and chili powder. I closed up the Instant Pot and cooked everything for 20 minutes.

When the soup was done I served it up with tortilla chips to continue the Mexican theme. It was so good I forgot to take a photo!

Five years ago today: Welcom-er

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Nothing But The Facts

Factslides is a website that takes random facts and converts them into slideshows for "students, teachers and curious minds". All of the facts are verified, and you can click through to the source material.

I was sitting on the couch tonight with  a cat on my lap, scrolling from slide to slide, and this is the one that struck my fancy:

Five years ago today: Don't Tell Her, She Doesn't Want To Know

Monday, February 18, 2019

Hurts So Good

On Thursday nights Hubby Tony and I are attending a workshop series at our church. Since last Thursday was Valentine's Day we decided to put off our celebration until today when Tony was off work for President's Day.

Tony took charge of the plans. Yesterday he shared them with me, saying he had made made massage appointments for us at a spa located in the small Chinatown area of town. I was excited; I haven't had a massage for a very long time, and never with Tony!

We left the house mid-morning for the 20-minute drive. If we hadn't been looking closely we would have gone right by the nondescript storefront in the middle of a small strip mall. When we entered the owner greeted us, then turned us over to a masseur (for me) and a masseuse (for Tony). We passed through a curtain into a large, dimly lit communal room with of towel-covered chairs arranged along the long walls. Each chair had a large ottoman in front of it. Soft, soothing music was playing.

The first stop was the changing room, where we changed into shorts (and a tank top for me). Back in the massage room we were directed to sit in chairs next to each other. A container of water had been set in between the chair and ottoman, and my masseur indicated I should put my feet into it. He reclined the back of my chair, then the bliss began. Over the next hour I don't think there was a part of my body that didn't get attention!

This was a deep pressure style massage. The masseur really put his body weight into it. After he gave my face, scalp, shoulders, and arms attention, he removed the container of water and moved the ottoman next to the chair so I could lay my legs on it. My legs and feet got their turn, then he put the back of the chair completely down so I could turn over for the back of my body. I was in heaven.

All too soon the hour was over. Tony and I changed back into our street clothes, paid, and left. It was time for lunch. Within a mile there were more than a dozen Chinese restaurants. We picked one that looked good. It was, and a great way to continue our time together.

Five years ago today: Just Me

Sunday, February 17, 2019

A Great Grate

A while back, Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen (a wonderful source for vegetarian and vegan recipes, with an emphasis on Indian food) had a giveaway. After the contest closed, Lisa emailed me and let me know that I was one of the lucky winners. I gave her my mailing address and promptly forgot about the whole thing.

Two days ago a package showed up on my front porch. I opened up the envelope and found my prize...a Deiss PRO Citrus Zester and Cheese Grater!

All in all this looks like a quality kitchen implement. The grating surface is twice as large as my old micro plane, and looks like it will be much easier to clean. There's a sturdy plastic cover to snap over the sharp-looking stainless steel blade. The handle is large, nonslip, and fits well in my hand.

 I can't wait to use my new toy.

Five years ago today: Presidential

Thursday, February 14, 2019

SO Appropriate For Valentine's Day!

This was today's thought in my page-a-day calendar:

The slogan was new to me. I must be the last person on Earth to know about it, though, because when I searched for the phrase Google gave me 'about' 1,010,000,000 results. I wonder if the person who put together the calendar consciously chose this phrase or if it was a happy coincidence?

Five years ago today: The Random Acts Of Kindness Adventure #2

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Cover An Owie In Style

Last month I was shopping in a store devoted to lifestyle and pop culture reference items. I had to buy something, and these kitten-shaped bandages came home with me:

I showed my purchase to everyone who was around the house at the time. They all oohed, aahed, and said "How unique". I put the box in the hall closet, and waited for an excuse to use them. That came today. After I got out of the shower I had a tiny irritated spot on my thigh, and covered it with a cute little kitten to stop my jeans from making things worse.

Not only did the bandage make the pain go away, it caught my eye every time I used the bathroom.

Five years ago today: Brotherly Love

Monday, February 11, 2019

No Good Deed Goes Unrewarded

Written by someone else...but I don't know who...
A guy arrives at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter is reading through the Big Book to see if the guy's name is written in it. After several minutes, St. Peter closes the book, furrows his brow, and says, "I'm sorry, I don't see your name written in the Book."

"How current is your copy?" the man asks.

"I get a download every ten minutes," St. Peter replies. "Why do you ask?"

"I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I was always the stubborn type. It was not until my death was imminent that I cried out to God, so my name probably hasn't arrived to your copy yet."

"I'm glad to hear that," St. Peter says. "But while we're waiting for the update to come through, can you tell me about a really good deed that you did in your life?"

The guys thinks for a moment and says, "Hmm, well there was this one time when I was driving down a road and I saw a group of biker gang members harassing a woman. I slowed down, and sure enough, there they were, about 20 of them harassing the poor woman. Infuriated, I got out my car, grabbed a tire iron out of my trunk, and walked up to the leader of the gang. He was a huge guy - 6 feet 4 inches, 260 pounds, with a studded leather jacket and a chain running from his nose to his ears. As I walked up to the leader, the bikers formed a circle around me and told me to get lost or I'd be next."

"So I ripped the leader's chain out of his face and smashed him over the head with the tire iron. Then I turned around and yelled to the rest of them, 'Leave this poor innocent woman alone! You're all a bunch of SICK, deranged animals! Go home before I really teach you a lesson in PAIN!'"

St. Peter, duly impressed, says "Wow! When did this happen?"

"About three minutes ago."

Saturday, February 9, 2019

National Pizza Day

Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I learned that today was National Pizza Day. Hubby Tony and I were already planning to go out to dinner tonight after church, and he quickly agreed that pizza would be a great choice.

Many of the chain pizza restaurants had deals for the 'holiday', but we wanted something better than chain pizza. We're lucky to have many independent restaurants in the area. First we decided on a neighborhood that had a lot of places to eat, then we found a church near to it that had a convenient Mass time.

When we got out of church I used Yelp to research the nearby pizza restaurants. There were four non-chain options. We picked one that we hadn't been to before and drove there. It turns out that the restaurant had a National Pizza Day special--a large pizza for the price of a small. We ordered a "Special" and a House salad at the cashier, then found a table and waited for our food.

The salad came out a couple of minutes later. It was a nice combination of lettuce topped with red onions, pimentos, artichokes, green olives, Provel cheese, tomatoes, and croutons. Right after we finished the salad the St. Louis style pizza arrived. As expected, it had a very thin cracker-like crust, was topped with sausage, bacon, onion, hamburger, green pepper, pepperoni, black olives, mushrooms, and Provel cheese, and was cut into square slices.

We ate until we were full, and still had plenty to bring home for lunch tomorrow. I love 'holidays'!

generic St. Louis style pizza - Wikipedia

Five years ago today: It's Amazing What Happens When You Stop Looking

Friday, February 8, 2019

Bring On The Light!

When my alarm went off at 6:30 this morning I growled, then rolled over and turned it off. Then I remembered that tomorrow is Saturday and I wouldn't need an alarm. My day suddenly got better.  It was easier to roll myself out of bed and make the bed I just left.

After the bed was made I noticed the room was a little lighter than it usually is. When I looked out of the east-facing windows of my two story house I observed the sky had the tiniest little pink tinge to it. Daylight! I hadn't seen it at that time of day for months.  By the time I got out of the shower it was almost light enough to pick out my socks without turning on a light.

The downstairs kitchen windows face east, too, but it wasn't until after I finished breakfast that the sun made it over the two-story house behind us and brightened up the room. It was so nice to be able to do the rest of my morning activities in the natural light.

This evening Hubby Tony and I had dinner shortly after he got home at 5:00. Today, for the first night in a long time, we could eat without turning on the overhead light. (By the time we were finished, though, we were sitting in a darkened room, but we didn't let that bother us.)

The longer day makes sense. Groundhog Day,  the exact halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. was last weekend. So now we're incrementally more than halfway through winter. Things will be looking brighter and brighter.

Five years ago today: The Random Acts Of Kindness Adventure #1

Thursday, February 7, 2019

The Dress Was Only The Beginning

Almost two months ago I picked up the dress I'll wear to Son Tony's wedding in April. At the store it was too long, too big through the chest area, and needed to have alterations done. When I talked to my local tailor shop, she told me when I came in for the fitting I needed to bring the shoes and undergarments I planned to wear with the dress.

Those shoes and undergarments were a real challenge to find!

First of all, my feet don't handle high heels or pointy toes any more. They are happiest wearing athletic or "comfort" shoes. The dressy styles at the big box shoe stores all had one or both of my no-nos. I found some interesting pairs in a dedicated comfort shoe store, but they had unattractive black soles (which I thought would distract from the overall look). I lost track of the number of stores I shopped at. One day I was browsing for something else at an upscale thrift store and found a pair of flat sandals. They were comfortable, had tan soles, and, as a bonus, only cost ten dollars. The shoe color was a little darker than ideal, but they'll hardly show under the long dress.

One piece taken care of. Next was the undergarments.

The jacquard material of the unlined dress is a little scratchy, so a long slip was in order. The local Vincent dePaul store, my first stop, had a nice selection. They were one dollar. I picked the newest looking one. Half of the intimates were taken care of.

I've never found a comfortable strapless bra, and wasn't looking forward to having to wear one. But the sleeveless dress has bare shoulders and any type of strap would show. Bras tend to be expensive, but I didn't want to spend a lot of money on something I won't wear again. I looked in stores large and small, searched online, and finally ended up paying retail price for something at the outlet mall. The next day I happened to be back in the Vincent dePaul store. On a whim I looked at their rack, and was thrilled to see that there were three bras in my size! I tried them on, bought the one that fit best, returned the outlet mall one, and had an extra 40 dollars in my wallet.

Now the tailoring can be done. I'm one step closer to a complete outfit.

Five years ago today: Sugar, By Any Other Name