Thursday, May 30, 2019

Window Washing Workout

Last night a cold front came through, and we turned off the air conditioner and opened up the house. The nice weather won't be around for long, so I decided to take advantage of it. Instead of showering when I woke up, I put on a sports bra and old clothes. I had a job to do. It was window washing day!

For the past few weeks, every time I look out the dirty windows I think "I should do something about that". The problem is that it's is a big project, because there are a little over 30 windows around the house. The family room, master bedroom, and kitchen each have bump out bays, and the kitchen also has two additional windows over the corner sink. Each of the other rooms has two, including the master bathroom. There's also a decorative window in the foyer, two doors with glass inserts, and sidelights on either side of the front door. That's a lot of glass to clean.

After breakfast, I read the newspaper and spent some time on the computer until I convinced myself it was time to get started. I gathered my supplies and started on the shady west side of the house. First I removed the plastic grilles that make the large panels look like multiple glass panes. Next, I opened the windows to pop out the screens, then closed them almost completely so the cats wouldn't decide to explore. As I washed and dried each window I could feel my shoulders working, and I realized that I was exercising them just as well as if I had gone to the gym. I started to figure out what other body parts I was strengthening:
  • Carrying the bucket of water was good for my biceps
  • Getting to the bottom of the windows required some serious squatting
  • Pulling out the couch to get to the windows in the family room and sitting on the ledge to get the outside of the hard-to-get-to windows took a lot of core strength
  • Walking up and down the stairs was good aerobic work 
  • Squeezing the excess liquid out of the rag helped improve my grip 
  • And as a nice added bonus, by the time the job was done I had completed my steps for the day
I cleaned for 90 minutes before lunch and another two hours after. In addition to the windows themselves, I sprayed off the screens with a hose and cleaned the dirt off the grilles. When the cleaning was done I spent another hour putting all the screens and grilles back where they belonged.

After dinner I collapsed on the couch. It was time to catch up on all the internet surfing I hadn't done during the day.

Five years ago today: Got To Keep On Dancing

Monday, May 27, 2019

Vintage And Adjunct Vintage

This morning Hubby Tony and I attended the Cherokee Caravan, an outdoor antique sale/flea market/ craft show in the historic Antique District.

This is only the second year for this version of the Caravan, which replaced the Gypsy Caravan after it ended in 2017. Six blocks of Cherokee Street were closed off to make room for the vendor tents, food booths, food trucks, and musicians. Some of the stores were also open for business.

We got there about an hour after the event opened. I had fun browsing through actual antiques, vintage items, "old stuff", crafts, and jewelry. At one booth I bought this cute little bud vase:

The copper base looks like a lotus, and holds the glass tube. A copper wire loops around the tube, providing both a handle and support.  I really didn't need it, but I liked the way it looked and it was only a dollar.

My other purchase was not exactly vintage, but something I had been looking for. At a Tupperware dealer booth I ordered new sipper seals for the 30 year-old bell tumblers I still have from my boy's childhoods. Now there's a new generation of children in the family, and I need to be able to give them drinks when they're here.

Five years ago today: Plant Place

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Inoculation Anon

A little more than two months ago I got my first dose of Shingrex vaccine. The instructions they sent me home with said the second dose should be somewhere between two and six months later. After eight weeks I went back to the pharmacy where I got the initial shot to ask if they had any in stock. The pharmacist brusquely told me they would contact me when it was available.

Okey Dokey.

I wanted to be able to cross the task off of my to-do list, though, so I once again proactively stopped into the pharmacies around my house to ask if they had any of the vaccine available. It only took a few tries before I found one who did. Thursday afternoon I held out my arm and got injected.

Last time I had some side effects from the vaccine. Teri told me that it would be helpful if the next time I started taking an anti inflammatory the day before, and then continue it for several days after. Since I obviously didn't know when I was going to come upon the shot it was impossible to pre-dose myself with medicine, but as soon as I got home I popped some acetaminophen. For a few hours I felt great, but by bedtime my arm started to hurt. Friday I felt tired, achy, had chills, and an intermittent headache. It was hard to concentrate on the work I had to do, and I suspect the report I turned in was filled with grammar and punctuation mistakes.

This morning another symptom appeared...a rash on my torso-front and back, from neck to bottom-which alternated between itching and stinging. I spent the day doing as little as possible, mainly laying around and feeling sorry for myself. By the middle of the afternoon I could tell the rash would not be gone, so I cancelled my evening plans to get together with some friends.

For most people, the symptoms from the vaccine only last two or three days, so even though I'm part of the 10% who have a significant reaction, things should be coming to an end soon. At least my issues have been annoying, not life threatening, and from what I've heard having an actual case of shingles is WAY worse.

Five years ago today: First Mass Of Thanksgiving

Friday, May 24, 2019

Don’t Fry Day!

Did you know that the Friday before Memorial Day has been designated as National Sunscreen Day (also known as Don’t Fry Day)? The 'holiday' is designed to encourage sun safety awareness. You probably know that the sun's UV rays are harmful and can lead to skin cancers. Sunscreen is one of the easiest ways to protect against them.

Yours truly a poster child for skin cancer risk. My skin is light, I have freckles and lots of moles, and when I was younger I had a couple of doozy sunburns. All of those lead to a higher risk of skin cancer. Ten years ago I was actually treated for a basal cell carcinoma (the most common type of skin cancer).

Since that time I've been extra vigilant about applying sunscreen as part of my morning routine. In the winter I just have to do my face, because everything else is covered up. However, once the temperatures heat up I'm slathering it on every section of bare skin I can find. If I'm going to be outside for a long time I bring the bottle with me and re-apply it later in the day, too.

I've never found a brand of sunscreen that doesn't make my skin feel sticky, but I keep trying. The alternative is not an attractive option.

Five years ago today: Car Spa

Tuesday, May 21, 2019


Last night the TV meteorologist talked about how we might have some severe weather coming through the area tonight. Every radio newscast I listened to today offered the same information. People seemed to be quite concerned...mainly because any storms might impact the Cardinals baseball game and the Blues hockey playoff game scheduled during the projected worst time period.

There was no sun at all today, which made it feel like the meteorologist might be right. After dinner Hubby Tony and were going to take a quick walk. Right after I put my shoes on Tony said he'd found out that a storm was headed our way, predicted here in approximately 30 minutes. We cancelled our plans. Ten minutes later I was outside tossing something in the compost pile and heard a distant rumble of thunder. Ten minutes after that the tornado siren went off. Tony said they'd sighted a tornado one county to the west of us. He eventually headed downstairs. I headed to my kitchen computer to do some paperwork.

My laissez faire attitude towards storms comes from my parents. As a child, hearing a siren meant it was time to go out onto the front porch and see what was going on. I never remember spending time in the basement, no matter how nasty the weather got.
Shortly after Tony left the wind picked up and the rain started. For about fifteen minutes it came down at a ridiculous rate. A couple of small pieces of hail hit the skylight in the kitchen. I kept a cautious eye on the kitchen window so I could run and join Tony if the situation warranted, but all I saw were the trees being blown around a little bit.  The storm was over about the time the Blues game was starting. I turned on the radio and Tony came upstairs to join me.

Five years ago today: From Bad.....To Good....

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