Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Navy Blue And Black Kind Of Day

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

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

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

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

Sunday, April 23, 2017

My Friend The Frog

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

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

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

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Mid-Spring Thoughts

For The Garden of Your Daily Living

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

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

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

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

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

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


Five years ago today: Who's The Parent?

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Aves Aperture (Part 2)

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

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

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

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

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

Five years ago today: Thinking Positively

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Busy, Busy, Busy

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

 Why not click over?

Sunday, April 16, 2017

An Easter Adventure

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

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

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

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


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

Five years ago today: Don't Bug Me

Friday, April 14, 2017

Silence Is Golden

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Aves Aperture

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

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

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

(To be continued....)

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

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Raise A Glass

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, April 6, 2017

A Single Letter Can Make All The Difference

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Cyberspace Blunders and Gaffes

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

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

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

    Monday, April 3, 2017

    Just The Way I Like It

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

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

    Now everything is just the way I like it.

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