Sunday, January 29, 2012


As you may remember, yesterday I wasn't feeling so great.  In the afternoon I was better, but after dinner my symptoms all came back. I felt lethargic, and had a runny nose and hacking cough.

I took some ibuprofen and a decongestant, but neither did much good.  Shortly before I went to bed I was rummaging around in the linen closet looking for other remedies that might help when I stumbled across a small blue jar of Vaporizing Chest Rub (aka generic Vicks VapoRub) that I'd bought it a few years ago when one of the boys had a particularly obnoxious cough.

I have fond memories of VapoRub.  When I was a kid, my mom would smear it on my chest and back when I had a cough.  It was messy, and made my clothes stick to my skin, but it always made me feel better.  (I'm sure part of it was the rub itself, but I think the another important component was Mom’s attention.)  I don't think that fond feeling passed down to my kids, though, because the jar was still pretty much full.   I decided I'd use some.

Chest rub is like petroleum jelly with menthol, camphor and eucalyptus.  When I took the lid off the jar, the overwhelming menthol smell was a bit sentimental.  I applied it to my neck and area between my breasts, and was transported back to my childhood.  In a few minutes, the medicated area was warm, and the vapors were wafting up towards my nose.

Immediately I felt better.  I don't know how much of the effect was psychological, but it didn't matter to me. If it works, it's good.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Soup's On

Tonight is our regular "Guys and Dolls" night with some old friends.  The men get together and play poker, and the women gather separately for dinner and socializing. This month was my turn to host.

Yesterday I woke up feeling a bit "off", and it got worse as the day went on. After lunch I cleared my schedule for the rest of the day and took a 2-hour nap. Pepper the cat thought that was wonderful; he curled up on my lap and slept with me. Tony brought dinner home and put it on the table. We ate, cleaned up, and went into the family room where I promptly fell asleep on the couch until Tony roused me at bedtime.  After washing my face and brushing my teeth I fell into bed and slept another 10 hours.

When I woke up this morning I felt better, but not great. I wondered if I should continue with my hostess role, but just in case I was contagious I decided to let someone else do it. I made a call and relinquished my duties, then laid in a patch of sun on the family room floor and dozed.

Tony was doing volunteer work today, so I had the house to myself. All morning I did five- or ten-minute tasks punctuated by some type of rest. Start the laundry, read the newspaper. Scoop the cat litter, sit on the couch and leaf through a magazine. Put the dishes in the dishwasher, look at emails. Amazingly, I got quite a bit done.  At lunchtime I made a frozen pizza, then since I wasn't going anywhere today I wondered what I'd have for dinner.

I decided that making a pot of beans (which don't take a lot of fussing over) would fit in with my lack of energy.  I'd done a lot of the prep work earlier in the month, when I made ham stock from a Christmas ham and froze it, along with a container of diced ham to add to the finished soup. On the next shopping trip, I bought a bag of Great Northern beans so I'd be ready when inspiration struck.  Today was the day!

I quick soaked the beans, boiling them and letting them set for an hour.  When the hour was up, I put the pot back on the stove.  I chopped an onion, a clove of garlic, and two carrots and added them to the pot.  After things came to a boil I reduced the heat and cooked the beans for 45 minutes. Close to the end of the cooking time, I seasoned the beans with salt and pepper, then added the diced ham and a large handful of dried parsley flakes. The resulting soup didn't look colorful enough, so I found some chives in the freezer and dumped them in too.

The finished product:

The soup was good, and even better with a little hot sauce splashed in.  Good thing we like beans, because there's enough soup for several meals!

Monday, January 23, 2012

If Only My Crystal Ball Had Been Working

My boss informed me last week that Big Boss would be in town today and, among other things, stopping by the mall Customer Service desk.

The last time I saw Big Boss was during my training back in June, and I've talked to her on the phone a couple of times since then.  Since I don't see her often, I wanted to make a good impression. Yesterday I polished my nails, and thought about ironing my no-ironing-needed work shirt so it would look extra nice, but that idea slipped my mind until I opened the closet to get ready for work today.  (The best laid plans...) After I put on the nicest-looking shirt, I chose my best work pants and belt, and added a pair of newer earrings I bought at one of the mall stores.  Today my hair decided to be uncooperative, but I did my best to comb it into submission.  I left the house a little earlier than usual, in case there were traffic issues to worry about. There weren't.

When I got to work, I noticed that the Boss had already cleaned up the desk area, including vacuuming the carpet, but I dusted everything again and made sure things were tidy.  I didn't know what time Big Boss would be here, but word on the street was it would be after lunch. The mall opens at 10.  At 11, I cleaned the desk area with a damp rag.  At noon,  I straightened everything again. One o'clock came and went, and still no sign of Big Boss.  My Boss showed up at 2 for a meeting with her, and stood around until his phone rang ten minutes later.  It was Big Boss, saying she was running late.

She showed up fifteen minutes before it was time for me to clock out at 3:00.  I could have saved myself a lot of worry if I'd known that.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


Last night I did something I haven't done for 30 years when I went to a college basketball game.  The home team was the Saint Louis University Billikens.

The Billikens men's basketball program has been around since the 1940s, but I've never watched them play live. Tony had found a great promotional deal, so he was in charge of getting the tickets.  The promotion had several games to choose from, but based on what we had on the calendar he picked a match against the Duquesne Dukes.  I didn't know anything about Duquesne. Turns out it's Catholic university in Pennsylvania, and another Atlantic 10 Conference member.

We left for the game about 50 minutes before tip off.  It would normally be a 25 minute drive, but we ended up in a several-block-long traffic jam that stretched from the top of the highway exit ramp to the parking garage, and were still in the lobby for the singing of the National Anthem.  However, we were settled in our seats when the players were introduced and the game started five minutes later.  Chaifetz Arena, where the Billikens play, has a little over 10,000 seats.  We were closer to the top of the arena than the court, but still had a good view.  Our seats were at the end by the student section and the band, and there was a lot of energy coming from the area.

I'd forgotten how great it is to watch basketball live.  It's a fast-paced game, and last night's match was particularly exciting.  The Billikens dominated most of the game, and the final score was 68-41.  After the buzzer sounded people started filing politely out of the arena.  I expected a huge mess getting out of the parking garage, so I stopped at a bathroom on the way to our exit, then we followed the stream of bodies out the door.

Much to my surprise the parking garage was surprisingly easy to leave.  At the exit all of the traffic was being funneled in one direction, and there were patrol officers directing things along on the street.  We were in the wrong lane to get on Interstate 64 west towards home, but it was OK; Tony knew an alternate route that had us heading in the right direction in no time.  All in all, a great night.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Get The Facts

A couple of weeks ago I learned it was Braille Literacy Month, and wrote about a Website that allowed you to convert text to Braille.  Based on that post, I got an email from Online Colleges (which, according to their Website, is "a resource for online education") letting me know they'd posted an article I might be interested in called "15 Facts to Share During Braille Literacy Month".

Back in 1824, when Louis Braille developed his system, there was no audio technology to assist blind people.  Now, of course, they have a multitude of ways to take in information.  However, based on what I read, it sounds like Braille is still a vital method of communication.  Among other things, I learned:
  • Every widely-spoken language has its own Braille system, and there are also systems for math, computer science, and music.
  • Six-dot Braille cells have 63 possible combinations
  • The Missouri School for the Blind (right here in St. Louis!) was the first American educational institution to use the Braille system in 1854.
  • Eighty-five percent of legally blind students attend mainstreamed classrooms where the teachers don't know Braille, but more than half the states now have laws that require blind children to have access to Braille resources.
  • With accommodations, 75% of legally blind people can read printed materials.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Put A New Face On

I only wear makeup when I go to work, and then it's just foundation, mascara, and blusher if I'm feeling particularly fancy.   Back in the summer when I was interviewing for jobs, I bought some cheap foundation at Wal-Mart, which is just about gone.  It was time to get more, but I wondered if I should try something better.  I work at a mall; there are a lot of places to get cosmetics!

One of the things I do when I start work at the Customer Service desk is check out the sales on the mall's Website in case a customer has any questions.  Today, though, the information helped me out.  I noticed that this month one of the stores was offering a discount on makeup for anyone who had a January birthday.  That would be me!

After my shift was over I walked down the mall in the opposite direction of my usual route, ending up at the store.  I'm casual acquaintances with several of the salespeople at this store, and one of them said she'd be happy to assist me.  I got comfortable on a tall chair while she told me all about the benefits of loose mineral powder foundation.  After hearing her pitch, I decided to try it.

First I used a cleanser-soaked gauze pad to remove the makeup I had on, and another with water to remove the cleanser. The salesclerk tried several colors of foundation on my face to see which one worked best.  The store was pretty dead, and at one point there were two other clerks weighing in with their opinion, too.

Once the proper color was picked, the demonstration began.  The salesclerk made up one half of my face, explaining everything as she went along, then told me to do the other half.  It was easy to do (a big selling point).  The makeup was very lightweight, and it didn't feel like I had anything on (which was an even bigger selling point).  At the end of the demonstration I liked the way I looked, and ended up purchasing a kit that contained foundation, blusher, powder and some makeup brushes. It was more than I thought I'd be spending when I walked in the store, but my birthday discount saved me quite a bit.

Now I just have to remember how to apply tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Sent to me by a friend...

Excerpts From The Diary Of A Blonde:

January - Took new scarf back to store because it was too tight.

February - Fired from pharmacy job for failing to print labels.  Helllooo!  Bottles won't fit into typewriter.

March - Got really excited. Finished jigsaw puzzle in 6 months.  Box said 2-4 years.

April - Trapped on the Macy’s escalator for hours after the power went out.

May - Tried to make Kool-Aid, but the instructions were wrong.  Eight cups of water won't fit into those little packets.

June - Tried to go water skiing.  Couldn't find a lake with a slope.

July -Lost breast stroke swimming competition.  Learned later that the other swimmers cheated and used their arms.

August - Got locked out of my car in rain storm.  Car swamped because soft-top was open.

September - The capital of California is "C", isn't it?

October - Hate M&M's.  They are so hard to peel.

November - Baked turkey for 4 1/2 days.  Instructions said 1 hour per pound and I weigh 108.

December - Couldn't call 911, because there's no "eleven" button on the stupid phone.

What a year!!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Are You Who I Think You Are?

About 45 minutes into my shift at the mall Customer Service desk the other day, a woman asked me if there was any way I could page ‘Juan’ and ‘Jose’, the two foreign exchange students she’d brought to the mall with her.  They hadn’t shown up at the designated meeting place, and she’d forgotten to get their cell phone numbers.

This mall doesn’t have a paging system, so I told her she might have better luck talking to a mall patrol officer, but if they walked by me I’d hail them and send them her way.  She described them--two teenage Hispanic boys that were taller than her.  (She looked like she was about five feet tall, so that could be just about any teenager.)  The boys were wearing jeans and tee shirts, but she couldn’t remember what color the shirts were, or if they had a logo on them.  Not a lot to go on, but I told her I’d try.

Up to that point I hadn’t noticed any Hispanic teen boys.  Now it seemed like they were everywhere!  Every time a pair walked within speaking distance, I’d get their attention and ask if they were the ones I was looking for.  Most of them just looked confused and said no; a couple of them moved a little faster to get away from the crazy lady.

I never talked to the correct boys, but the woman never came back, so I suspect she caught up with them.  If I were her, the first thing I’d do is get their cell numbers and add them to the contacts in my phone!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Another Year Older...

My work schedule is the same from week to week, and I always have Wednesday off.  When I realized that this year the day off coincided with my birthday, I asked Tony to clear his schedule and join me on an adventure.  It was wonderful!

Our adventure actually started Tuesday night, when we had a reservation for the Moonrise Hotel.  I left work on Tuesday and drove east instead of west, ending up at the University City Loop--a six-block long stretch of Delmar Boulevard with dozens of shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues.  Even though I've been in the Loop many times over the years, this time it felt special.  The Moonrise opened in 2009 at the eastern edge of the Loop area.   I've walked by it before, and stopped in to get information, but this was my first time checking in.  The lobby of the hotel has a great sound system, a stunning light-up staircase, and a light wall.  It's full of moon-themed art and display cases of spaceships, lunar pop culture items, and figurines.  Our room continued the funky lunar theme, with modern-looking bedding, furniture, and lighting.

We put our bags in the room, changed clothes quickly, and walked to dinner at The Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant several blocks from the hotel. We had fondue for our appetizer, entree, and dessert. The only thing that didn't end up on the end of a skewer was our salad. After dinner we strolled back to the hotel. Most of the stores we passed were already closed, but we did some window shopping along the way and figured out which places we wanted to go into the next day.

I expect a quality hotel to have a good mattress, soft pillows, and fluffy towels. The Moonrise had all that, and more. There was a clock/radio/ipod docking station on one side of the bed, a relaxation sound machine on the other, and a connectivity panel on the desk (which we used to charge our phones). The bathroom was stocked with the standard shampoo/conditioner/shower gel/body lotion, but they were all spa-quality.  The shower cap came in a sealed package, and another package contained a cuticle "pusher" and emery board, which came in handy for a raggedy fingernail.

Before bed Tony took a shower, and came out raving about the overhead rain shower head.  I wanted to try it, too, but didn't want to go to bed with wet hair.  I looked at the shower cap package and was pleasantly surprised to see it also contained a tiny white terry band that I used to put my hair into a ponytail, which the slipped easily into the cap.  Tony was right; the shower was wonderful.

We slept in, and after a great breakfast in the restaurant we checked out, put our suitcases in the car, and started exploring.  The weather made it easy to have a good time; the temperature was almost springlike, and I soon wished I'd brought a jacket instead of my winter coat.  First we walked through some residential areas, then ended up at the Loop.  In 2007, the American Planning Association named the Delmar Loop "One of the 10 Great Streets in America."  There's a lot to do there.  The stores that had been closed the night before were all open, and we had a great time shopping. We stopped at the Chuck Berry statue that was installed last year, and a man offered to take our picture.


After we'd thoroughly investigated both sides of the Loop area, it was time for lunch.  We drove a short distance to Winslow's Home, a general store/restaurant.  All the inside tables were full, so we sat outside.  By this time I'd swapped my coat for a jacket.  That was better for popping in and out of stores, but not quite enough for al fresco dining.  It was a little chilly so we didn't linger.  I had a taste for ice cream, so we drove to a Baskin-Robbins halfway back to our house.  I  got a scoop of Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in a bowl and ate every last drop.

After all the big meals and desserts I felt the need to exercise some more, so our last activity was driving to a county park that had a nice walking path.  Thirty minutes later and two circuits around the park were enough.  It was time to go home and back to reality.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I Guess This Is What Adults Do

I went to bed last night knowing that a cold front and precipitation were coming through the area.  At some point in the middle of the night the temperature fell below freezing, and it started snowing. The first thing I did when I woke up today was look out the bedroom window.  There wasn’t a lot of snow on the ground (I could still see some grass peeking though when I looked out my window), but I knew that it would be enough to make my drive to work a mess.

In our area it doesn’t take much white stuff to send people into a tizzy.  I think part of the problem is that we don’t have much chance to practice; we only have to deal with bad weather a couple of times a year.  I’ve been dreading this day since I started my job at a mall Customer Service desk across town.  For more than a decade I’ve been blessed to have jobs close to my house, and for the past six years, I had jobs in education, which meant snow days when things got really bad.

However, there’d be no time off for me today.  After breakfast I didn’t stop to read email or check on any of my friends in cyberspace.  Instead, I threw together a lunch, put on my work clothes, and left the house. I’m scheduled to be there at 9:30 to do things before the mall officially opens at 10.  Since it’s after rush hour my commute only takes 25 minutes, but I allow 45 in case there’s a problem.  Today I gave myself an extra hour. I brought the newspaper, because I figured I was being paranoid and would have time to kill when I arrived much too early.

Getting through the subdivision streets wasn’t a problem, and I really started second guessing my decision.  Then I got to the main street. I was on Highway 141 (a state road with several stoplights) for six miles—and 45 minutes.  I thought it would get better when I got on the Interstate.  I thought wrong; that eight miles of inching along took me almost another hour.  At 9:20 I called my boss and told him I’d be late.  I got off the Interstate one exit earlier than I normally do, took side streets the rest of the way, and was so glad to see the sign for the mall!  I clocked in at 9:40 and had just enough time to use set everything up and use the restroom before all the stores opened.

I get off at 2:00 this afternoon. I really hope the roads are better by then!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It's In The Stars

My horoscope for today:
Happy Birthday! 
You could find this year rewarding, especially your dealings with one specific person.  Trust and closeness will walk hand in hand.  You won't have time for the superficial, as you demand more authenticity from yourself.  If you are single, you could have one friend who becomes very close.  This person also could become a romantic tie.  Do be careful not to become sloppy in other areas of your life, as you might be consumed by relating.  With diligence, your work life will become more fulfilling close to your next birthday.  LEO can be helpful with money.

Do you think it's vague enough to cover every possible scenario?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Some People Get Excited Over The Smallest Things!

When I go to work at the Customer Service desk, I wear a mall-issued white shirt and black “bottoms” of my choice.  I've come to realize how this uniform makes it easy to get ready in the morning.  All I have to do is grab a shirt, select one of several pairs of black pants that are hanging in the closet, throw on a belt (because I wear the shirt tucked in and my pants have loops), and shoes.  The only thing I have to think about is earrings.  What’s my statement for the day going to be--silver or gold, studs, dangles, or hoops?

I woke up this morning in a funk and feeling like I wanted to shake something up.  At first I wasn’t sure how I could do that, but as I was brushing my teeth inspiration hit.  There was nothing that said I couldn’t change up my work clothes and wear a skirt!  Immediately my mood improved; I even felt a bit rebellious.  I bypassed the row of black pants on the top rack of the closet, and chose a shin-length knit column skirt from the lower rack, the only black one I have.  Of course wearing a skirt meant I had to wear hose and a slip, but those were a small price to pay for shaking things up.

My radical outfit actually worked out well, and made me feel happy.  The skirt has a bit of wool in it, so it was nice and warm.  I've gained a couple of pounds over the holidays, and the skirt’s elastic waistband was really comfortable.  To hide my unsvelte waistline, I even left the shirt untucked.  What a rabble-rouser!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Hoodlum Priest

Last spring I read a fascinating article in the Riverfront Times about The Hoodlum Priest, a movie I'd never  heard of.  This weekend they were showing the movie at the Webster University Film Series, so Hubby Tony and I decided to go.

Unless you're a fan of low-budget 1960s priest docudramas, I suspect you've never heard of The Hoodlum Priest either.  The movie's about Father Charles Clark, a Jesuit who worked to rehabilitate ex-convicts in St. Louis.  In 1959 he opened Dismas House, the first halfway house for former prisoners. (Dismas was the Good Thief crucified with Christ on Calvary, and the one who asked for Christ’s blessing.  Jesus told him "Today you will be with me in paradise." He's the patron saint of prisoners, reformed thieves, and prisoners on death row)

The movie, which was filmed in St. Louis and Jefferson City, tells the story of Fr. Clark's efforts to assist Billy Lee Jackson, a young thief recently released from the Missouri State Penitentiary.  With the priest's help, Billy gets a job and tries to stay out of trouble.  He begins a relationship with a young woman.  However, when he's fired from his job for a theft he didn't commit he decides to return and rob the company.  Things go wrong, and Billy accidentally murders someone.  He's tried, found guilty and sentenced to death.  The last scene of the movie shows Billy being prepared to enter the gas chamber and being executed.

 It was fun to recognize a few of the St. Louis streets, locations, and companies.  Although the film was a bit melodramatic, some of Fr. Clark's speeches about the shortcomings of the U.S. penal system and his condemnation of capital punishment still sound relevant today.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Out With The Old

When Tony and I got married more than 30 years ago, our dish pattern was a very simple Wedgwood stoneware called Blue Pacific; a greyish-cream background, with a blue band around the rim.  I eventually had a service for 8 (dinner plates, salad plates, soup bowls, bread and butter plates, coffee cups, and saucers) along with serving bowls and platters.

We used the pieces everyday.  As you might expect, along the way some things got broken, but it didn't matter; there was still more than enough for our family of five.  However, somewhere in the late 90s I tried to get some replacement plates, only to find out the pattern had been discontinued.  I bought a set of 5 blue-and-white ironstone plates and kept going.

I really like the Wedgwood, and there's a lot of good memories associated with it.  I've investigated options for filling in the gaps in the set.  The dishes I needed were pretty pricy on the online sites, and I could never find another pattern that had the right shape and color.  Last year we were down to five salad plates (which I tend to use instead of the larger dinner plates) and four cereal bowls, one of which was starting to crack.

For Christmas Tony and I received a joint present from Son Brian and Daughter-In-Law Nicole: a huge box filled with eight smaller boxes, each containing a place setting of Fiestaware in Cobalt Blue.  I loved the dark blue color, but wondered if it wasn't time to start fresh, so with Nicole's permission I exchanged six of the boxes for two of each of three other colors.  Now my cabinet is a riot of Cobalt, Scarlet, Lemongrass, and Sunflower:

That shelf needs a dusting, doesn't it?
I boxed up the old vintage dishes to make room for the new ones. I'm going to look into selling them to a china replacement store. Maybe I'll get enough to replace the serving dishes, too, and my discards will make someone else's day.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What's In Your Lunchbox?

When I started working at the mall Customer Service desk over the summer, the pace was laid back. The holiday frenzy came and went, and now it's back to the original tempo. I'm scheduled for several shifts a week, each 5-51/2 hours long.  I often work by myself.

I don’t mind being on my own, but there is one difficulty. Some days my shift goes right through lunch. It's not appropriate to eat in front of customers, but I get hungry!  After some experimentation, I've figured out how to sneak in a meal. My system: check to make sure no one’s walking up to the Customer Service desk or looking my way, then pop a bite-sized piece of something in my mouth and chew it up quickly.

Here are a few of the foods you're likely to find in my lunchbox:
  • Vegetables: anything small or that can be cut into bite-sized pieces. Carrots and  green pepper sticks are great. Broccoli  (stems are better than florets, because they’re less likely to get stuck between my teeth) or cauliflower pieces. Grape tomatoes if they're really small
  • Protein: A serving of nuts is really easy to eat; we always have almonds and walnuts in the pantry.  Cheese works well, too. Last time I baked chicken I portioned the extra into sandwich bags and froze it; it's easy to grab and put in the lunchbox.
  • Fruit: Dried fruit is the ultimate in bite-sized. I always have apricots, raisins, prunes, and cranberries in the house, so I dump a serving into a bag and throw it in.  Grapes are a nice juicy change of pace.
  • Carbohydrate: This is the hardest ingredient to “bite size”. My go-to carb is homemade whole-grain muffins, but they can be crumbly. I’ve found that the sturdy breads from Whole Foods don’t crumble when you break them into small pieces. In a pinch I’ll use 100% Whole Wheat bread from Aldi, but I don’t really care for that unless it’s part of a sandwich.
  • Drink: Water. In a stainless steel bottle with a tightly-screwed lid, so I don’t spill it all over.
That sounds like a lot of food, doesn’t it? However, I’ll be hungry again when my shift’s over, so I bring a piece of fruit to eat the way home. I leave it on the passenger seat of my car, and start munching on it as I’m leaving the parking garage. It’s usually gone before I merge onto the Interstate.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


According to one of the companies I "Like" on Facebook, January is Braille Literacy Month, and today is Louis Braille’s birthday.  He's the one who invented the Braille System, which is used for reading and writing by the visually impaired.  I decided to celebrate Louis' birthday by writing something in his language system.

On a cute site called Braille Bug, sponsored by The American Foundation for the Blind, I found a English-to Braille converter.  This is what my name (Kathy G) looks like in Braille:

Monday, January 2, 2012

Back to Normal

I love the holiday season, but after weeks of it it's nice to return to normalcy.  With the help of our house guests we've eaten most of the Christmas leftovers and sweets, and I’m trying to get my diet back on track.  Last week at this time all the kids were home and all the bedrooms in the house were filled.   Gradually, they’ve emptied out and tonight they’ll be completely vacant; after dinner I'm taking Son Tony to the airport so he can catch a flight back to Phoenix.

Even at work things are returning to pre-holiday season status.  Extended holiday hours are over, so the mall opened an hour later (now back to the regular schedule).  The store across from the Customer Service desk, which last week still had a Christmas display in their windows, today had the windows covered  with large pieces of white fabric while they changed them.  The piped in holiday music was gone (THANK GOODNESS!), replaced by a combination of smooth jazz and pop.  A few of the temporary kiosk stores were already gone, and the huge tree in the middle of the mall was being disassembled.

At the end of my shift I didn't have any problems getting out of the parking garage.  The temporary stop signs at the entrance to the garage had been removed, an acknowledgement that the massive traffic flow is over until next year.

It's all good.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year's!

Today's the first day of 2012.  Last year is gone. Over. Finished.

Last night Hubby Tony and I had a nice but low-key evening.  It's been many years since we've done the dinner/dance/noisemakers and bottle of champagne with hundreds of other people at midnight routine.  I don't miss that craziness, but I enjoy the dressing up part. That's been missing the past few years, so I decided this year was going to be different.

I couldn't get too crazy, though, because our first activity of the night was going to Mass.  No decolletage!  After spending some time rummaging around in my closet, I started my outfit with a pair of black jeans.  The first top I chose (hot pink satin with cap sleeves and a bow accented with rhinestones) was too tight after a week of holiday overindulging, so I changed into an amethyst-colored stretch velvet shirt with a swirly metallic glitter pattern. I fancied my hair up a little, added a pair of dangling crystal earrings, and I was ready to go.

After Mass we had a good Italian dinner, then drove to the movie theater and purchased our tickets for War Horse.  There was enough time to get frozen custard at a nearby by-the-ounce place before the previous showing finished, but we were waiting in line to get our seats as soon as the theater was clean.

There were several movies we'd considered for our big night, but I think we made a great choice.  From the movie's Website:
From director Steven Spielberg comes “War Horse,” an epic adventure for audiences of all ages. Set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War, “War Horse” begins with the remarkable friendship between a horse named Joey and a young man called Albert, who tames and trains him. When they are forcefully parted, the film follows the extraordinary journey of the horse as he moves through the war, changing and inspiring the lives of all those he meets — British cavalry, German soldiers, and a French farmer and his granddaughter — before the story reaches its emotional climax in the heart of No Man’s Land.
The movie had some pretty emotional scenes.  At one point I needed a Kleenex and didn't have any in my purse. I found out that my sparkly stretch velvet shirt was not a good substitute!