Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Taking Care Of Business...And More

I had three tasks that needed to get done today. Because he could, Hubby Tony decided to tag along, and patiently waited in the car while I completed each task. The last one was only a couple of miles from the Botanical Garden, so after all the 'have-tos' were finished we headed in that direction. 

(Last Christmas Tony gave me a Garden membership for Christmas. Since then we've made several visits. After the last one, we agreed that as the weather gets nicer weekdays would probably be better than weekends if we wanted to avoid crowds.)

When I pulled into the Garden parking lot it looked like there were a lot of cars, but I found a spot halfway down the first row. Due to capacity limitations you have to have a ticket to enter, but they're free for members. After getting our tickets scanned, and a quick trip to the rest rooms, we walked out the doors and into the gardens. 

The beds had a lot more color than the last time we were there. There were huge swaths of tulips and daffodils, and they were also scattered throughout other areas (like the rose gardens) that wouldn't have any color on their own. 

Tony and I meandered through the Hosta, German, and English Woodland gardens before we reached the Japanese garden. The cherry blossoms were past their peak, but there were still a few trees in bloom. Between them and the azaleas it was lovely.

In the Japanese garden we stopped to admire the koi in the pond, then left and moved to the formal Boxwood garden. About this time we decided we were getting tired and quickly scooted through the Rose garden, made our way back to the visitor center, and exited to the parking lot.

Five years ago today: Out With The Bad

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Time To Sleep

If you do an internet search for sleep calculator there are millions of results. Tonight I played around with one of them-a website called Sleepytime, which claims to help you wake up refreshed by finding the best time to go to sleep.  

The site has three calculation options. You can put in what time you need to wake up, what time you plan on going to sleep, or what time you should wake up if you go to bed NOW.
I decided to try out the first option. I have to leave the house at 9:00 tomorrow morning. Because I like to move slowly, my alarm will be set for 6:30 am. I put that information into the drop-down boxes, hit calculate, and learned that I should try to fall asleep at 9:30 pm, 11:00 pm, 12:30 am, or 2:00am. I'm not sure why there were so many options. Maybe because some people need more sleep than others?

As an interesting side note, I learned that the average human takes fourteen minutes to fall asleep. I also found out that the site works by counting backwards in 90-minute sleep cycles. I know from past experience that if you wake up in between cycles you feel refreshed, and groggy if you wake up in the middle of a cycle.

Five years ago today: Zen Masters (In honor of National Pet Day)

Thursday, April 8, 2021


A couple of weeks ago I decided I was tired of some of our everyday cloth napkins. I tossed them in the Goodwill pile and bought three new pairs at a local thrift store. 

It's been great to see fresh colors and patterns on the table at dinnertime. However, one of the sets has an interesting problem. They're made out of the same material, and appear to be cut on the grain. So why does one of them come out of the dryer relatively wrinkle-free and the other one wrinkles badly around the edges?

(Because it's just Hubby Tony and me it's not worth pulling out the iron to correct the problem. I just smooth out the wrinkles to the best of my ability, fold both napkins, and put them in the drawer.)

 Five years ago today: Day Lily Determination

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Getting Things Done At 10 Miles Per Hour

Right now the temperature is more like mid-May than early April. We opened all the windows, and last night at bedtime I turned on the ceiling fan for the first time since last summer. When I woke up this morning it was already in the mid-60s, and on the way to a high temperature of 80 degrees.

I had three errands to run and decided to combine getting them done with getting some exercise by riding my bike. After rolling out of bed I pulled on shorts and a tee shirt instead of showering. After breakfast and computer paperwork I gathered my supplies and threw on my backpack. On the way out the door I said goodbye to Hubby Tony, who had his own list of To-Dos for the morning.

First up was voting. All my ballots last year were submitted by mail, and I was excited to do it in person. Last year they implemented a system that lets you visit any polling place in the County. A couple of weeks ago I received a sample ballot in the mail. On the back it had a list of the four closest polling places to my house. The one I chose was three miles away, at the far end of the range, but convenient to my other errands.

I caught the tail end of rush hour, and traffic was a little heavy. It took me a half hour to ride to the polling place in an elementary school. When I pulled into the parking lot it was loaded with cars and buses dropping off students. The voting line was filled with parents, but moved quickly. The ballot had a school bond issue, school board elections, and some sewer district measures. I had figured out my options ahead of time, quickly filled out my selections, and I was out in 15 minutes.

After voting I rode to the grocery store to pick up a couple of ingredients for dinner. The cashier asked if I wanted paper or plastic for my items; I said 'neither'. She placed my things at the end of the counter, where I picked them up and stuffed them into my backpack.All except for the banana that I ate outside before I put my bike helmet back on and left.

My last stop involved a little backtracking to get to a branch of my bank. This location has both a walk-up and a drive through ATM. There were no cars waiting to conduct business, so no one to complain when I rode my bike through the line. I completed my deposit quickly and was on my way again. The trip home was uneventful, and I pulled into the garage about 90 minutes after I left.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Today Is When It Started Getting Real

Hubby Tony ended his working career on Wednesday. Thursday we got our first Covid vaccination. Friday our activities took us in different directions, although we did come back together for dinner. The weekend was filled with normal weekend activities, plus rituals for the Pascal Triduum (the three days leading up to Easter-Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Saturday). Son Donald joined us for Easter dinner.

Today was the first real morning of Tony's free agency. He was gone when I rolled out of bed, and I knew he had gone to mass and coffee afterwards with his friends. When he got home there was no work day setup to do. Jackson the cat is a creature of habit, and seemed to be annoyed with the change. Tony placated him by sitting at his desk for a few minutes and dangling a length of ribbon they play with.

The day passed in a flash. Tony tagged along for my trip to the gym. I joined him on his trip to Walgreens. We tried unsuccessfully to figure out a technology issue, then decided we needed to talk to an Apple technician. 

Mid-afternoon Tony went to the dentist to get his teeth cleaned, something he couldn't have done if he had to put in a full day at work. When he got home he helped me put dinner together, then I helped him clean up. He did some things on his computer, then went back into the office for his standing Monday night Zoom meeting.

And the good news for Tony is that there are endless tomorrows to do more of what he wants to do.

Five years ago today: A Wright Adventure

Saturday, April 3, 2021

Jerusalem Tomorrow

I love Emmylou Harris's version of this David Olney song about a charlatan who 'heals' the sick and makes a 'mute' speak. When he encounters Jesus, he decides to go along as long as his way is paid. They're going to Jerusalem the next day.


 Five years ago today: Buy Me Some Peanuts And Cracker Jacks

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Can You Call It Medical Tourism If You Only Drive 40 Miles?

This was the first day of Hubby Tony's retirement. We spent it getting our first Covid vaccination.

Based on his profession, Tony technically could have qualified a couple of weeks ago. But he chose to put it off, because he was busy wrapping up the loose ends at the job. He also wanted us to be able to get 'shot' at the same time.

Originally, scoring a dose of the vaccine was somewhat of a crap shoot, because our Governor sent a higher proportion of doses to outstate, non-metropolitan areas. There were reports of vaccines going to waste because not enough people were signing up. People from the St. Louis area started taking to the road to get vaccinated, as much as two hours each way. Hannibal, Cape Girardeau, and Rolla were popular destinations. That inequity been righted, a few mass vaccination events have happened not too far from us, and more are on the way, but in the St. Louis area there's still more people who want the shot than there are shots to give them.

Several weeks ago Tony talked with a 'vaccine hunter' who had taken it upon herself to connect people with places. She kept sending him links, and last week he followed up on one in Washington Missouri. Appointments were available, and he asked if I wanted to go; it took me about a half second to run to my computer and start logging in.

We made our appointments for 10:30 am. That would allow Tony to sleep in, and make sure we were finished with everything before lunch. Washington is a city along the Missouri River that has a nice downtown area with plenty of restaurants. Our plan was to leave our car at the vaccination location and walk to one of them.

Our vaccination instructions said to wear a short sleeved shirt to make the injection process easy. The weather turned brisk overnight, and I left the house wearing three layers-the short sleeved shirt, a fleece, and my lightweight winter coat. The location was easy to find. Inside, there were socially distanced chairs placed against the walls of the small building. Tony and I checked in, filled out paperwork, then waited  for our turn. Just a few minutes after the pharmacist called us into the consultation room we were finished. I spent the required 15 minutes waiting period  browsing around the store.

We asked the pharmacist for restaurant suggestions. He offered three, and we chose the first one, the Old Dutch Hotel and Tavern. The restaurant area was on the ground floor of a small hotel. It had beautiful aged wood floors, and a metal ceiling that looked original. Our waitress was friendly, and the food was fresh and tasty.

On the way back to the car Tony and I popped into a couple of stores and got a cup of coffee to drink as we walked. Along the way we saw the other restaurants the pharmacist had mentioned, and discussed which one we would try on our next visit...28 days from now.

Five years ago today: It's All O.K.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

So Close He Can Almost Taste It

Tomorrow morning Hubby Tony will go into his office one last time. He will bring the remainder of his files for the coworkers who are taking over his projects, meet with his boss to turn in his computer and badge, and walk out of the office a retiree. 

Tony's been counting down his last 100 days and having a mini celebration when he reaches the end of each row of ten. Although the big whoop-de-do will be tomorrow, in honor of him finishing the last of the chart I gave him a bag of popcorn...which proudly states it is "100% whole grain."

 Five years ago today: Our Bags Were Packed...

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Free labor

An elderly Italian man living alone in New Jersey wanted to plant his annual tomato garden, but it was very difficult work, since the ground was hard. His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament: 

Dear Vincent, I am feeling pretty sad, because it looks like I won’t be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I’m just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. I know if you were here my troubles would be over.. I know you would be happy to dig the plot for me, like in the old days. Love, Papa 

A few days later he received a letter from his son. 

Dear Pop, Don’t dig up that garden. That’s where the bodies are buried. Love, Vinnie 

At 4 a.m. the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived and dug up the entire area without finding any bodies. They apologized to the old man and left. That same day the old man received another letter from his son. 

Dear Pop, Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That’s the best I could do under the circumstances. Love you, Vinnie


Saturday, March 27, 2021

Reaction Response

Yesterday afternoon I volunteered at my church's Fish Fry. This year is carry out only, and I was taking drive-through orders in the parking lot. The organizers set up a nice system using a set of tablet computers connected to one in the food assembly room to relay orders. People don't even have to get out of their car.

After taking the order I would either collect the money and take it to the cashier (returning change if necessary) or find one of the people who had a mobile card reader to run the charge card. Either way, there was a moderate amount of walking involved. Even though I've done this job several times during Lent, for some reason I was beat at the end of this shift. I was also really hungry and thirsty.

Every other week Hubby Tony had worked directing traffic at the other end of the parking lot, but he still wasn't 100 percent after his oral surgery and stayed home. He told me he would have some dinner waiting when I got home, which sounded like a great division of labor to me.

Traffic wasn't too bad on the way home, but all I could think about was my growling stomach and my dry gullet. In the condo I chugged down a glass of water, changed my clothes, and joined Tony on the deck for carryout Chinese...mixed vegetables in white sauce with brown rice, hot and sour soup, and (of course) fortune cookies.

I was so hungry I think I set a record for the amount of time it took me to inhale me food. I had a glass of water with dinner, and after it was gone I came inside and chugged another. I was still hungry so I ate an orange.

Twenty nine minutes after the meal was cleaned up I was fine. At the thirtieth minute I developed a horrible headache. There was pressure all over my face, and the entire top of my head was throbbing. I've heard of people having reactions to monosodium glutamate, but I've never had an issue before. An internet search indicated that might be what was happening. 

I spent the rest of the night drinking herbal tea to try to flush out my system. Two hours after the headache started left as quickly as it arrived, although I still felt limp like a wet rag. It was all I could do to drag myself to the bedroom and fall into bed.

Five years ago today: Easter Words Of Wisdom