Thursday, November 29, 2018

Mother Of The Wedding Dressing

There's going to be a wedding! Next April Son Tony and his fiancee Ie are going to be married. Plans have been underway for some time. When I was in Dallas in October I went Mother of the Groom dress shopping with Ie. We ended up at a David's Bridal store, where she gave me some general color suggestions and I chose several dresses to try on. Ie also picked out a dress that turned out to be my favorite. The dress was made out of a slightly shiny floral jacquard material. It was sleeveless, with a high neckline and large pleats that fell from the waistband. As a bonus, there were two deep pockets sewn into the side seams. And it was on sale.

When I got home I went to a couple of stores and looked at their dress selections, but I didn't see anything I liked as much. Eventually, after making sure Ie was indeed OK with the dress, earlier this month I went to my local David's store and ordered it. The associate told me the dress was slated to come in shortly after the first of the year, but she wouldn't be surprised if it was much earlier than that.

Two weeks after I placed the order I panicked when I heard that David's Bridal had filed for bankruptcy, but it turned out to be the Chapter 11 reorganization type. Still, I said a prayer of thanks last night when I got a call that the dress had arrived. Tonight I went to pick it up.

I wish I could say the dress fit perfectly, but it will need to have some alterations done first.  That will happen after I figure out what type of shoes and undergarments I need to buy....

Five years ago today: Early To Rise

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Cat On Rag

The other day I came home and found that one of the cats had left a large, nasty hairball right in the middle of the hall next to the kitchen. (I asked both of them who did it, but neither would tell me.  That's par for the course).

After I got done grumbling about the mess I grabbed the carpet cleaner and got to work. The aerosol can of cleaner felt like it had plenty in it, but when I pressed the button nothing came out. Grumbling some more, I walked back to the cabinet to get the liquid cleaner.

I used a napkin to scoop up the hairball solids, then squirted the stain with cleaner, daubed it in with a wet rag, then placed the rag on top while the cleaner worked.  When I came back a couple of minutes later Pepper had made himself quite comfortable on the wetness:

The rag is wet? Doesn't bother me.
Five years ago today: On The Eve Of Thanksgiving, 2013

Monday, November 26, 2018

Packages On Porch

Over the years retailers have gotten creative in their shopping opportunities.

First is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving and the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season. Next comes Small Business Saturday, which encourages people to "shop small". Commercialism takes a temporary break on Sunday, then comes back for Cyber Monday, which is all about finding online shopping deals.

Our family is doing a gift exchange again this year. I received my name a couple of weeks ago, but (coincidentally) finally got around to doing the shopping today. The younger generation likes to send out lists complete with hyperlinks to websites. If I could have found the items in a brick and mortar store I would have purchased them, but in the end it was just easier to do it online.

It sounds like I wasn't the only one.  I've received texts from some of the out of town family members that they were having things shipped to the house.  Based on past experience there will be a steady stream of boxes arriving on the front porch for the next couple of weeks.

Five years ago today: Easing Into It

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Shopping Small

According to Wikipedia, Small Business Saturday (which is today) encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local. Hubby Tony and I decided that today we would do our best to do just that.
  • We started our day at a local church's Fair Trade Market. According to their website, it is "the nation’s largest Fair Trade Market with over 3,000 sq. ft. of merchandise from around the world."  I always enjoy looking at the items, most from developing countries. This year the most unusual thing I saw was a Nativity set made out of aluminum soda cans.
  • Right outside the church door there was a food truck for Bridge Bread, a local nonprofit organization that employs homeless and formerly homeless people to bake bread and pastries. On the way out we bought a loaf of Apple Cinnamon bread to take home with us.
  • Once back home, we called our local Chinese carryout restaurant and ordered some food for lunch. The restaurant has been run by the same family the entire 33 years we've lived in the area.
  • Mid-afternoon we went to our great nephews' birthday party at a Little Gym. While part of a chain, each location is individually owned. On one of the windows they had a flyer listing all of the Small Business specials they were running.
  • Our original plan for the evening was to go to Mass and then eat dinner at yet another local restaurant, but on the way out of church we decided there had already been enough excitement. Instead we came home and ate more repurposed Thanksgiving leftovers. They didn't come from a small business, but at least we knew the cook.
Five years ago today: Mid-Morning Nap Time

Friday, November 23, 2018

Some liked it. Some left it.

When we last got together I told you about baking pumpkin pies both with and without a crust for our family Thanksgiving get together. Christine of Christine's Blog wanted an update on what people thought.

The Thanksgiving  dinner was a real feast, with large platters of turkey, bowls of dressing and, mashed potatoes, conventional cranberry sauce and cranberry jello, and pans of corn casserole, green bean casserole, and sweet potatoes. In addition to my pies, there were brownies and a pumpkin gooey butter cake.

At the end of the evening yesterday both pies had been cut into.  Half of the traditional one was gone, but only two pieces of the crustless pie had been served.  I brought it home, and it will be part of our encore dinner tonight.  Then I'll slice the rest and freeze it for future use.

Five years ago today: Worth The Mess

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

A Tale Of Two Pies

I spent part of today making dishes to take to our family Thanksgiving celebration. One was a cranberry jello that's been on the table since my mom started bringing it in the early 1980s. The other was pumpkin pie.

Our family group is pretty small. Years ago, when the next generation was young and not contributing dishes, I would bring two pumpkin pies and a container of whipped topping. That would be the only dessert, but everyone liked it and it was enough. Eventually there were more cooks involved, and more desserts would show up. Some years one of my pies would go home untouched. I thought about cutting back to just one, but since my recipe made two deep dish pies I couldn't figure out a way to make it work.

This year I had a revelation. What if I made one pie in the conventional manner, but baked the other one without a crust? The crust is the most caloric part, so eating a slice of the custard would actually be healthier for the people who are counting calories.

That's exactly what I did.

Crust, and no crust
Five years ago today: Flu-Fighting Foods

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Does It Click?

Earlier today I was filling out an online registration form for a company I'm thinking about working with. The form asked all of the standard, email address, street address, and birthday. Clicking on that last text box brought up a scrolling calendar with this month as the default.

However, the only way to get to my birth month and year was to scroll all of the way back. Month by month. That's a lot of clicks! I was curious just how many clicks, so I checked with the Date Calculator. The site told me that there was 718 months and several days between my natal day and today.

Because of all of the extra work, I may or may not finish filling out the form and submitting it. If I do, I wonder how long it will take me to click on the little arrow 718 times?

Five years ago today: Lazy Lasagna

Thursday, November 15, 2018

A Lovely Way To Spend A Day

The snow that was predicted for last night came right on schedule. When my alarm went off this morning I looked out the window and saw everything was covered in white. I got dressed and came downstairs just in time to see Hubby Tony bringing in the newspaper for me to read with my breakfast. (Which he does every morning. What a wonderful guy!). He said there was about five fluffy inches on the ground.

Tony and a friend were carpooling to an event across the river in Illinois, and they had to be there shortly before lunch. Their original plan was to leave mid-morning, but thanks to the inclement weather the time got moved up and his friend was going to be at our house at 8:00. Tony was scrambling to get everything done, so I volunteered to shovel the driveway.  The snow was very light, and it took me about a half hour to do it, the front walkway, and the sidewalks. I called that my exercise for the day.

The radio announcers kept advising people to stay off of the roads if they didn't have to be somewhere, and I realized how fortunate I was to be in just that situation. Yesterday I crammed in all of my work commitments, so after Tony left I started doing all of the paperwork. When it was time I made myself lunch and ate it while surfing the web. Next I hemmed a pair of pants, cleaned up the kitchen, and did some general straightening up. I danced around to some music on the radio, made a grocery list for the bi-monthly shopping trip, and fed the cats.

About that time the snow stopped and the sun came out, but I wasn't ready to end my 'me' day yet. Pretending I still had to be stuck inside I made myself an afternoon snack, did all the word puzzles in today's newspaper, watered the house plants, and spent some more time on the computer.

All of a sudden it was time to think about dinner-and all of a sudden I was ready to get out of the house. I listened to the traffic report on the radio, which told me that people were having no problems getting around town, so I decided to combine a Costco shopping trip with a visit to their food court area and get myself a bowl of their chili. That ended up to be a great ending to a great day.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A First Time For Everything

This week, the high temperature in my neck of the woods should be about 58°.  However, the past few days it's been more like winter coat weather.
  • Monday it was 20 degrees lower than normal. In the afternoon we got about an inch of snow (which thankfully only stuck on the grass). 
  • Yesterday it didn't even make it above freezing.
  • Tonight, as one website of one of the local TV channels proclaims " We could see one of the biggest November snowstorms ever in St. Louis." It's supposed to start snowing overnight, and they're predicting we could get somewhere between four and seven inches of snow.
All I can say is UGH!

The unexpected winter weather means that we weren't able to take care of the last of the fall yard maintenance. This afternoon there was a solid layer of leaves over the back half of the back yard.  Knowing that if they got left there it wouldn't be good for the grass, I decided to run the lawn mower over the worst of the pile to mulch the leaves.

I have never used a lawn mower in snow, but since there was still white stuff in half of the yard I had to push the mower through it. Turns out the mower wheels aren't particularly designed to deal with snow.

Imagine that.

The finished product
Five years ago today: Leaves Be Gone

Monday, November 12, 2018

Soldiers Memorial Military Museum

The Soldiers Memorial Military Museum in downtown St. Louis honors local military service members and veterans. The monument originally honored those who died during World War I. It opened on Memorial Day in 1938, and was operated by the City until 2015, when the Missouri Historical Society assumed control. They closed the building for major renovation, and it's reopened just in time for the centennial of the armistice that ended World War I. There was a big celebration over the weekend, but Hubby Tony was off work today and we decided to take a field trip to see the updates.

Soldiers Memorial Military Museum
We arrived twenty minutes before the flag raising ceremony at 10:00 AM, and spent the time wandering through the updated Court of Honor, which was dedicated as the city’s WWII memorial in 1948. Previously, the area was across a large street and neither Tony or I remember noticing it before. Now, in addition to the Memorial Walls for World War II, Korea, and Viet Nam there is a reflecting pool and fountain (both turned off because of the cold weather), and flag poles flying the flags of each branch of service. There is a large landscaped area, and an anchor from the USS Langley. The street between the Court of Honor and the Memorial has been narrowed, which makes it easy to walk between the two.

It was a cold, cloudy morning, but at 10 AM there were about two dozen people waiting to watch the flag raising ceremony. Once that was over everyone walked up the stairs and into the impressive art deco building.

The memorial is designed with large stairways on the north and south sides, flanked by huge stone sculptures-Courage and Vision on the south side, and Loyalty and Sacrifice on the north. At the top is a large loggia holding a black granite cenotaph that has the names of the 1,075 St. Louis soldiers who perished during World War I carved into its sides. Above, there is a deep red Gold Star Mothers mosaic ceiling, and there are display rooms on the east and west sides of the loggia.

The last time I was at the Soldiers Memorial was in the early 2000s. At that time the building was dark and drafty, and I thought the exhibits looked tired. Now everything has been renovated and updated. The two rooms on the main level have displays which tell the stories of St. Louisans in wartime from the American Revolution to today. The lower level (which was not open to the public previously) had a large temporary exhibit called World War I: St. Louis and the Great War

Tony and I spent about 90 minutes at the memorial. When our stomachs started telling us it was time for lunch we decided to leave.  As we walked back to the car we agreed we needed to come back again.

Five years ago today: Calendar Coincidence

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Floating And Flashing

Over the past few months I've had floaters moving through my field of vision. I didn't think too much about them, since at my last visit the optomotrist gave my eyes a clean bill of health. However, this morning I got concerned when I had large flashes of light that obscured my vision and lasted for about 15 minutes. (Mainly because last month my neighbor told me about his experience with a detached retina that had started with light flashes.)

I anxiously watched the clock until it was time for the optometrist's office to open. When I described my symptoms they told me to come in immediately. I did.

The doctor dilated and examined my eyes, then said he didn't see any problems. He said he thought the issue might have been an ocular migraine, but said I was smart to have it checked out. Since it was a sunny day, on the way out of the office I got some plastic dilation shades to slip behind my glasses. I ran my errands looking like this:

Five years ago today: In Breaking News...

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Arcane Ancestry

I'm sure you know Vincent van Gogh, the famous Dutch painter. He came from a large family, but after much careful research it's also been discovered that there were quite a few lesser relatives you may not know about. Among them were:
  • His dizzy aunt: Verti Gogh
  • The brother who worked at a convenience store: Stop'n Gogh
  • The brother who ate prunes: Gotta Gogh
  • The constipated uncle Can’t Gogh
  • The cousin from Illinois: Chica Gogh
  • His magician uncle: Wherediddy Gogh
  • The brother with low back pain: Lum Bay Gogh
  • His Mexican cousin: Amee Gogh
  • The Mexican cousin's American half-brother: Grin Gogh
  • The nephew who drove a stage coach: Wells Far Gogh
  • The ballroom dancing aunt: Tan Gogh
  • The bird lover uncle: Flamin Gogh
  • His nephew psychoanalyst: E Gogh
  • The fruit loving cousin: Man Gogh
  • The aunt who taught positive thinking: Way to Gogh
  • The little bouncy nephew: Poe Gogh
  • The sister who loved disco: Go Gogh
  • The niece who travels the country in a van: Winnie Bay Gogh
Ha! Caught you smiling at some of these. There ya Gogh.

Five years ago today: Pumpkin Butter

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The End Is Here

After the polls close today the United States 2018 Election Season is over. Thank goodness!

Our state had hotly-contested national, state, and local races, along with multiple state and local amendments and propositions. The radio and TV ads started more than six months ago. At first they were sporadic, but as Voting Day got closer they became almost nonstop. Three weeks ago large glossy political post cards started showing up in the mailbox. I threw the first few straight into the recycling drawer, but I was curious just how many we would receive and two weeks ago I started stacking them on the kitchen island.

After I voted today I came home and counted and recycled all of them--there were more than 30. Most were for specific candidates, but there was also a handful for local propositions and "dark money" scare tactic groups. The most unique was hand-written postcard from a volunteer asking us to vote for our incumbent Congressman. Over the weekend and yesterday we got some 'get out the vote' cards, including one that compared Hubby Tony's voting history with some of our neighbors. (Interestingly, I also vote in every election and did not receive anything.)

Tonight the local TV stations will suspend their regular programming to offer a steady stream of election analysis.  I'm not planning on watching much of it, but when I do it will be satisfying to know there won't be any political ads during the commercial breaks.

Five years ago today: Bogus Birds

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Don't Let The Bedbugs Bite

This weekend I attended the twice-yearly business meeting of a group I belong to.  These meetings, and some other group activities, are always held at the same hotel in the middle of the state. One of the topics on the meeting agenda was some issues the group has had with the hotel, including dissatisfaction with its upkeep. However, this morning when someone reported getting bed bug bites the group went into crisis mode and there was a long discussion of our options.
The room I stayed in had two beds. Both my roommate and I had slept in those beds for two nights with no issues, so we were pretty confident that the room didn't have an infestation. However, we still went ahead and stripped both beds (including the pillow cases) looking for evidence. We also looked behind the box springs and the night stand. There were no signs. However, in my haste to get in and get situated on Friday evening I had stored my suitcase on the floor, with all of my belongings inside of it. Not a good move.

During the whole drive home I felt itchy and uncomfortable. When I arrived (even though it would be extremely unlikely that a bed bug would be on the clothes I was wearing) I couldn't wait to get inside and change into clean clothes. I dumped them straight into the washer, along with my coat and all of my dirty items from the suitcase. When the load got done it went into the dryer.

I put everything else that had been in the suitcase in the deep freezer, where it will stay for the next four days. Until I figure out the best way to insure it's clean the suitcase will stay in the garage. Better to be safe than sorry.

Five years ago today: Pumpkin, Pumpkin...Who's Got The Pumpkin?