Thursday, June 17, 2021

Peaches, No Cream

Last Friday we celebrated Hubby Tony's birthday with cake and ice cream, then.polished off the leftovers on Sunday and Monday. This weekend is full of entertaining. We have friends coming over for dinner and games on Saturday night, and Sunday is set aside for Son Donald's birthday and Father's Day. I'm still finalizing the menus, but you can bet one or both of the events will have something frozen and creamy.

If I had my druthers I would eat ice cream every day. However, neither my digestive system or my clothes would agree to that, so I figured I would have to pass on celebrating is National Peach Ice Cream Day

However, the more I thought about it, the more I figured the holiday creators would understand if I just celebrated the spirit of the holiday. According to Wikipedia, an Italian ice is a frozen or semi-frozen sweetened treat made with fruit or fruit juice. It is similar to sorbet and snow cones, and different from sherbert because it doesn't contain dairy products. There were peaches in the fruit bin of my refrigerator and chunks of frozen watermelon in the freezer. Pulsing them together for 30 seconds in the blender gave me a frozen, peachy delight.

 Five years ago today: The Same, But Different

Monday, June 14, 2021

Monetary Motivation

There are incentives both big and small to entice people to get a Covid vaccination. A month ago Hubby Tony and I took advantage of an edible one. Yesterday I got an email from our health insurance company with another one.

The company offers a nice wellness incentive program. If you complete an online health assessment, they add some money to a debit card that you can use to pay for qualified medical expenses (like doctor visit co-pays, lab fees, and prescriptions).  Complete some 'online health coach' goals and they'll throw some more money on the card.  All in all you can earn as much as $170 a year. 

But now, giving them proof of my Covid vaccine will add another $50 to my card. All I had to do was complete an online form telling them which vaccine I received and when, then upload photos of the front and back of my card. The easy project took less than five minutes.

Five years ago: Bang!

Sunday, June 13, 2021

One Of A Kind

Today was forecast to be hot and humid, so right after breakfast this morning Hubby Tony and I put our bikes on the carrier and got ready to go for a ride. After evaluating several routes, we decided on the River des Peres Greenway, located about 20 minutes from our house on the border between St. Louis City and St. Louis County. Over the years most of the river has been channelized and is now more of a storm drain than anything else. It's pretty unattractive up close, but there's a nice walking an biking trail paralleling it. 

We've ridden on parts of this greenway a couple of times. Usually we start at the south end, but thanks to an errand I had to run on the way home it made more sense to go the opposite way. I had a hazy concept of the northernmost trailhead, but it turns out I was wrong. The greenway extended a couple of miles more, crossing a major street (Lansdowne), then turning and following another smaller street before ending up at a park.

At the park we got ready to ride, which meant we would double back on the area we had just driven. Just before we got to Lansdowne I looked over to the left and saw this:

Stag Beer is a local brand that goes back to before Prohibition. Relatives from my parent's generation drank it regularly.

I parked my bike and walked across the street to snap a photo. I couldn't get a good angle from the sidewalk, so I walked partway up the driveway. Just about then I heard a noise. I looked up and saw a 50-something man standing on the porch.

I thought the man was going to yell at me for being on his property, but he was really friendly. He encouraged me to come close enough to get a really good shot, and told me that a previous owner had done the painting. He suggested I take a stroll through his wife's front yard garden, which was small but so jam-packed with plants, stepping stones, and statues that there was no grass visible. I thanked him, but said I had to keep going.

(After that the rest of the ride was nice, but uneventful.)

Five years ago today: Every. Stinking. Time.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

What Do You Think?

I received this oh-so-professional email, offering me a business 'opportunity'. It took me about half a second to send it to the trash bin. Was I wrong? 😀
We have a job in your area and we would like you to participate and complete the assignment.
* We are starting a very big research project in USA and
* We are leading agency specialized in (Global) Customer
* You will receive instructions for the task
* and you via email in the location and details of the task
* We are leading agency specialized in (Global) Customer
* You will get (US 300) for each assignment,
Info detail to started
* MynAme,
* Address
* Post code
* Mobile Home Phone No
* Email
*Thank you for your participation and being here with us.
* Thanks,
* Mrs.Anna Best
* Official Recruitment
Five years ago today: Another Day, Another Adventure

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Happy Unbirthday To Me

Just about every retailer has a loyalty program, and I belong to quite a few. It's always nice to get something free, or be offered a discount on an item you were going to buy anyway. Occasionally I've even been incentivized to pull out my charge card based just on a coupon I've received.

When I signed up for some of the programs, all they wanted to know was my email address or phone number. Others asked for more information. I'm a stickler for honesty, so when they wanted my birth month and day that's what they got. Then I read that, for privacy reasons, giving out the factual data might not be a good idea. 

I started staggering my 'birth' date throughout the year, borrowing the phrase unbirthday from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass. Although it still feels a little dishonest, so far not one company has called me on it. 

And other than better security for my personal data there are other advantage of a flexible birth date. My natal day is in January, when I'm always trying to lose weight and save money. Taking advantage of promotions for food, beverages, and retail items doesn't fit in with the new year's mindset. However, in April, June, or September those promotions are quite welcome. 

  Five years ago today: Do You Know The Way To San Jose?

Sunday, June 6, 2021

A Very Purple Path

Hubby Tony and I continue our quest to try interesting coffee shops in the metropolitan area.  So far we've found out that the best ones are independently owned. And all of them require a car ride for us to get there.

The distance has both problems and advantages. It's a shame we have to use gas and contribute to air pollution, but we're having a great time exploring new neighborhoods. Today we headed towards South St. Louis to check out Sump Coffee.

In order for us to get steps Tony picked out a park several blocks away to leave the car. We ambled through the park, then had a great time strolling past some well-preserved brick residences (and sadly, a large handful of buildings that needed attention). We went out of the way to stop at Gus' Pretzels, a local institution which has been cranking out soft pretzels since the 1920s. There we got some stick pretzels...made long enough to peek out of the brown paper sack the associate put them in.

We backtracked towards or caffeine destination. Because a lot of the sidewalk slabs were old and in bad shape I kept my eyes down. Good thing, or I wouldn't have noticed the messes from the mulberry trees that had dropped their fruit all over the pavement. Whenever I encountered the dark purple messes I had to walk carefully so I wouldn't get any juice or pulp on my shoes. The last thing I wanted to do is track it inside when I got home.

Five years ago today: Down In Monterrey

Friday, June 4, 2021

Pavement Patois

Once the weather warms up around here road construction projects start popping up like mushrooms.

This year the water company is replacing about three miles of water main along North Ballas, a major road that runs just outside of our condo development.  In preparation, strange painted marks appeared overnight on the sidewalks and along the street.

I was curious what the squiggles meant, and turned to Google for the answer. It didn't take me long to learn that the colors and shapes denote the type and approximate location of an underground utility.

There's a standard code for colors. Red is the color for electric. Yellow marks gas, oil, steam, petroleum, or gaseous materials. Orange indicates some sort of communications cables. Blue is for water lines. Purple symbolizes reclaimed water, irrigation and slurry lines. Green is for sewers and drains. 

Straight lines show where pipes and cables are. The diamond shape is for a fiber conduit.A zig-zag shows something goes in both directions. Triangles indicate conduits. Colored letters indicate the owner of a given utility element, or the material an element is made out of. White writing is some type of note to the construction workers.

Now when I walk around the neighborhood I'm much more aware of what's underground around me.

Five years ago today: The City By The Bay

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

I'll Get To It Later. Maybe.

I was reading an article at Apartment Therapy about dusting easy-to-forget places, which included:

  • Ceiling fans 
  • The tops of cabinets 
  • Books and bookshelves 
  • The tops of bookshelves 
  • The tops of doors 
  • The top edge of door frames 
  • The top of picture frames and mirrors 
  • Picture frames 
  • Light bulbs 
  • Light fixtures 
  • Plant leaves 
  • Woodwork that’s too high to reach without a ladder or stool
  • The top of the fridge 
  • The top edge of shower tiles 
  • The corners of high ceilings 
  • Blinds 
  • Baseboards

I will admit to being way less than the world's best housekeeper, but I had to laugh at some of these. At my house a good dusting job includes anything at eye level. (Which includes the furniture and picture frames.) Sometimes, if I look down I'll notice the baseboards are in need of some attention. 

Seasonally I'll tackle the light fixtures, ceiling fans, and blinds. When the ladder is out to do one of those jobs, if I happen to glance over at a door or frame and it's covered in dust I'll take care of it. If I use the step stool to get something from the cabinet over the refrigerator I'll be momentarily grossed out by the messy top...then take care of it until the next time I'm up there.

But I can't say I've ever dusted the top edge of any shower tiles, and if a ceiling is tall enough that I can't reach it with a ladder any dust can stay there.

What about you? Are you on Team Dust or Team No Dust?

Five years ago today: A Great Time Was Had By All

Monday, May 31, 2021

Honoring Those Who Gave Their All

In the United States today was Memorial Day, set aside to commemorate those who died in active military service. Last year all the observances were virtual, and this year, even with things opening up, there weren't as many events as in years past. However, Hubby Tony did some research and found out that the Soldiers Memorial Military Museum was having a ceremony in the morning and tours throughout the day. 

The Soldiers Memorial building was built downtown after World War I to honor St. Louisians killed in the line of duty, and over the years has expanded to honor those killed in all wars. Traffic was light, it was easy to find a parking space on the street, and because it was a holiday we didn't have to feed the meter. We arrived at the Memorial with five minutes to spare. While we waited I watched the American Legion members on the dais get organized.

The program started with a wreath-laying ceremony. Legion members walked to the appropriate section of the Court of Honor (across a closed-off street to the south of the building) to a place a wreath at the memorial tablet contained the names of those killed in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan, Viet Nam, Korea, World War II, and the American Legion Founding Commemorative Monument across the street. (In addition to the wreaths, anyone who was interested could pick up a flower to lay on the various memorials from a tent located off to the side.)

The second part of the program consisted of the reading of names of all those who died in the First World War. Tony and I decided not to stay for that. Even though the temperature was pleasant, the sun was hot and I was afraid I was getting sunburned. 

As we were leaving through the Court of Honor, a reporter for one of the local TV stations asked us if we would consider being interviewed on camera. We agreed. He clipped a small microphone to my shirt and handed me the battery portion to hold. Once everything was set up he asked us to explain why we had come to the ceremony. I tried to put my thoughts into words but I don't think I did a very good job. (Tony told me he was also unhappy with what he said.) 

Based on what the reporter told us we may make the evening news, but I think it's more likely we'll end up on the cutting room floor.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Not For Me, But Still Interesting

I was at the mall the other day and saw a strange new machine next to one of the escalators. Looking closer, I saw it was a Bitcoin Depot.

I am only vaguely familiar with the concept of crypto currency, and had no idea what this machine would be used for. Wikipedia told me that "A bitcoin kiosk is a machine that allows the transfer of cash for a crypto currency. The machine allows customers to insert cash, and have Bitcoin sent to their Bitcoin wallet online." 

I know that Bitcoin started out as (and still is) an actual currency, but I perceive that the word is beginning to become more of a generic term for any cryptocurrency. As a matter of fact, this machine touted that you could buy three different cryptocurrencies: Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum.

No one I know dabbles in cryptocurrencies. I wonder who the target market is for this machine?

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Over.....And Over.....And Over

I heard this song on the radio today, sang along with it, and now it's stuck in my head. (Although the message is so good, and I suspect this isn't the worst thing to have on repeat.)

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Covering Before Coating

Our condo has a small utility/laundry room located off the hall between the living and bedroom areas.  That's where you'll find the furnace, water heater, washer, and dryer. It also also holds Jackson the cat's litter box, assorted laundry products, and the only place we can store the two half-full five gallon buckets of extra paint left by the previous owner. (As much as I would like them to go somewhere else, the basement storage area isn't heated and the paint would freeze.)

The room does what it needs to, but it won't win any awards for beauty or efficiency. The vinyl floor is dated, the edges are curling up around the washing machine pan, and the walls need a fresh coat of paint. When we moved in, to make room for the litter box we purchased a stackable washer and dryer. Unfortunately, the tall stack covered up a storage cubby, which meant I lost my place to put laundry supplies. To solve the problem I bought a plywood board and used the paint buckets as a base for a shelf.

Eventually the room will get an upgrade, but I don't know when that will happen. In the short term, I decided to install a small shelving system. The first step in the project was to paint, but I was a little concerned about getting the job done well. It would require a lot of detail work to work around all the items, pipes, and hoses. I'm a okay painter, but detail work isn't my strong suit.

I ended up wrapping newspaper around everything that was close to the wall or could possibly catch a drip of paint or have a roller pushed up against it. That included the dryer hose and electrical cord

the back of the furnace, and the weird overflow tank for the hot water heater.

It took almost as much time to prep the room as it did to paint it, but the work was worth it. I did not have to clean up any messes. After the paint dried it was a simple matter to install the shelving uprights, snap in the brackets, and set the shelves on top of them. Now there's plenty of room for everything that needs to go in there.

Five years ago today: There's One In Every Crowd

Monday, May 24, 2021

A Zoo Adventure

Today Hubby Tony and I had the opportunity to visit the St. Louis Zoo-our first time in years.

The Zoo (and several other cultural institutions) are tax-supported by residents of St. Louis City and St. Louis County. It's free to get in, but selected parts have a fee. We did it up and purchased Adventure Passes, using them to ride the Zooline Railroad, see the Sea Lion Show, and even take a ride on the Conservation Carousel. Based on what I had read on the website I expected the food service options to be limited, but Tony and I were able to have a nice cafeteria-style lunch.

The huge park is divided into six sections. Counting our Adventure Pass activities we did something in all of them. 

  • In The Wild I enjoyed walking through the Penguin and Puffin Coast, but the temperature in the building is arctic and by the time I reached the end I was freezing. 
  • We wandered through the Historic Hill area, including the 1904 World's Fair bird cage, which now holds the Cypress Swamp with birds you would find in cypress swamps along the Mississippi River. 
  • I enjoyed the antics of the kangaroos and antelopes in the Red Rocks section.
  • The River's Edge has enclosures for animals from Africa, South America, and North America. This was the last section we visited and it was getting hot, but the area was cool and shady.

I had a lot of fun, but at the end of the day I was tired, hot, and sweaty. And glad that our car was parked close by.

Five years ago today: Fight For Your Right To Be Fee Free

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Too Good Not To Share

From a friend:

  • When one door closes and another door opens, you are probably in prison. 
  • To me, "drink responsibly" means don't spill it. 
  • The older I get, the earlier it gets late. 
  • When I say, "The other day," I could be referring to any time between yesterday and 15 years ago.
  •  Interviewer: "So, tell me about yourself." Me: "I'd rather not. I kinda want this job."
  • I remember being able to get up without making sound effects. 
  • I had my patience tested. I'm negative.
  • Remember, if you lose a sock in the dryer, it comes back as a Tupperware lid that doesn't fit any of your containers. 
  • If you're sitting in public and a stranger takes the seat next to you, just stare straight ahead and say "Did you bring the money?"
  • When you ask me what I am doing today, and I say "nothing," it does not mean I am free. It means I am doing nothing.
  • Age 60 might be the new 40, but 9:00 is new midnight. 
  • I finally got eight hours of sleep. It took me three days, but whatever.
  • I run like the winded.
  • I hate when a couple argues in public, and I missed the beginning and don't know whose side I'm on. 
  • When someone asks what I did over the weekend, I squint and ask, "Why, what did you hear?"
  • I don't remember much from last night, but the fact that I needed sunglasses to open the fridge this morning tells me it was awesome.
  • When you do squats, are your knees supposed to sound like a goat chewing on an aluminum can stuffed with celery?
  • I don't mean to interrupt people. I just randomly remember things and get really excited.
  • When I ask for directions, please don't use words like "east."
  • It's the start of a brand-new day, and I'm off like a herd of turtles.
  • Don't bother walking a mile in my shoes. That would be boring. Spend 30 seconds in my head. That'll freak you right out.
  • That moment when you walk into a spider web suddenly turns you into a karate master.
  • Sometimes, someone unexpected comes into your life outta nowhere, makes your heart race, and changes you forever. We call those people cops.
Five years ago: One Dessert, Two Events

Friday, May 21, 2021

Supreme Signpost

This afternoon Hubby Tony and I strapped our bikes to the carrier and drove to Forest Park for a pre-dinner ride. The park has a nice paved trail around the perimeter. a third of the way around I stopped to take a photo of the World's Largest Amoco sign.

 According to Road Trip America, the sign is 40 feet high and 60 feet wide.

Since the 1930s there has been a gas station with a massive sign on that spot. As the name of the station changed (from Standard Red Crown, to Standard Oil, to Amoco) so did the sign. However, when British Petroleum bought Amoco 20 years ago and changed the station brand they left the by now iconic sign.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

What Would You Have Done?

This morning Hubby Tony and I met with our financial advisor for a post-retirement check in. The advisor used to have an office not too far from us, but she lives in St. Charles County 30 minutes to the west of us and started working out of a location closer to her house. Last year all our meetings were on Zoom, and we had that option again this time, but since our schedule is flexible we decided it would be an adventure to head that way.

An adventure it was. We left the house early and drove to a trailhead for a greenway which was tucked inside a research park just past the Missouri River. We parked in an office building lot and walked for 20 minutes, then backtracked to the car. The scenery quickly changed from manicured lawns to nature area to forest. There were only a few other people on the trail.

After our walk we continued to the advisor's office. At the end of the meeting I asked her if she could recommend a place for lunch. She suggested a steakhouse that was one of her favorites. 

The restaurant wasn't busy and we only had to wait a couple of minutes for a table. There was a nice selection of lunch specials on the  menu. I ordered a Pick Two, choosing half of a French Dip and a house salad. (Tony went with a bowl of chili and a house salad.)

The salad came out first...a large bowl of fresh lettuce topped with tomatoes, cucumber, cheese, and croutons. When the entree arrived I was surprised to find out I had received a whole sandwich. I pointed out the mistake to the food runner, who said she would relay my concern to the waitress.

While I was waiting I moved half of the sandwich to my salad bowl and started eating. It was a wonderful combination of fresh baguette, thinly-sliced beef, and melted cheese. The small bowl of au jus was flavorful and hot.

When the waitress returned I pointed out the mistake. She apologized and said she would adjust the bill. I finished the half portion of sandwich, and Tony asked what I was going to do. I told him I wasn't sure. I knew if I didn't eat the rest it would just get tossed, but it also didn't feel right to consume something I wouldn't be paying for, like I was trying to scam the system.

In the end I was still hungry so I cut off and ate, two inches of the extra sandwich. That was just enough, and I left the restaurant comfortably full.

Five years ago today: Outlet Treasure Hunting

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

On The Cusp Of Summer

The past month the temperatures have been all over the map, both significantly above and significantly below what is normal at this time of the year. Usually by the middle of May I've put all the heavy clothes away until the fall, but until just a couple of days ago I would start and end the day wearing jeans and a long sleeved shirt or a fleece over a short sleeved one, swapping them out for lighter weight clothes for a couple of hours in the middle of the day. 

However, it's inevitable that the hot weather will be here at some point. Based based on the forecast for the next ten days it will be soon. This afternoon the temperature reached 70, with a high humidity that made it feel even warmer. Tomorrow will be ten degrees above that, and by the weekend it will be almost 90 degrees.

The furnace has been turned off for weeks. Depending on the outside conditions there's been a window or door open to let in the breeze. I'm always thankful if we can make it to the Memorial Day holiday before turning the air conditioner on. I doubt that will happen this year.

Knowing that soon the house will be closed up again, when I woke up this morning I spent ten minutes minutes listening to the outside sounds before I got out of bed. Over a backdrop of a gentle rainfall the trees were rustling and the birds were chirping. Occasionally a car would drive past. In the far distance I heard a train whistle. It was lovely.

Five years ago today: From Lazy To Crazy

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Tiny Morsels Of Chocolate Goodness

While I was eating breakfast the Internet told me that today was National Chocolate Chip Day. It was an interesting fact, but not something I was inspired to act on.

Later in the morning I was out doing grocery shopping and running errands. On the way to the first stop I passed a Saint Louis Bread Company (AKA Paenera) restaurant, which made me I remember that I had a free cookie or pastry waiting for me there. However, I was in the wrong lane and couldn't get over in time.  Three more stops later, on my way back home, I passed another Bread Company location. This time my car pulled into the lot.

Inside, I was a little disappointed at the smallish selection of sweets, but in the end I chose a chocolate chip muffie. I didn't even wait until I got back to the car before I started eating my treat. About the time it was gone I realized that I had celebrated the day I wasn't inclined to.

No evidence left
Five years ago today: Cats Celebrating Birthdays

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Snacks For Vax

At breakfast I realized today was a special day. Two weeks ago Hubby Tony and I received our second Covid shot, and now we were now fully vaccinated!

I pointed out the news to Tony, who said we should do something to celebrate. I agreed. An hour later he was out the door to do some volunteer work. I putzed around the house, including dusting to remove the yellow pollen that settles on everything when the windows are open. Eventually I got around to searching the internet for the vaccine freebees I knew were out there.

Many of them were not available in this area or did not appeal to me. I saw two promising options-we could show our card at Krispy Kreme and get a doughnut. Or we could go to White Castle and receive a dessert on a stick. I realized that we could ride our bikes to White Castle, and sent Tony an email outlining my suggestion. 

After Tony got home he spent 15 minutes chilling, then we fed Jackson the cat, changed our clothes, found our vaccination cards, and got ready to leave. Riding on the lesser-traveled roads, it was a little more than three miles to White Castle. At the cash register we showed our cards and placed our order for a Fudge Dipped Brownie-on-a-Stick for me and a Fudge Dipped Cheesecake-on-a-Stick for Tony. Although we had both eaten lunch, Tony said he had a hankering for a slider (a small, thin hamburger steamed on top of a bed of onions and tucked inside of a steamed bun with a pickle slice). I asked him to get me one too. The tiny burgers are cheap; our total bill was less than $1.75.

We took our food to the outside patio and retrieved the water bottles from our bikes. It took longer to get the burger out of the packaging than it did to eat it. The dessert on a stick was equally petite (2 ounces, according to the label) but it was just enough.Five years ago today: Polished

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

It Doesn't Take Much To Entertain Me

Today I was mailing a package at the post office. That's normally a pretty mundane errand, but this time proved to be quite interesting. Mainly because the clerk had the longest fingernails I have ever seen.

The nails looked to be about three inches long. They were decorated in a pink/ecru/black theme, but each nail was unique. Some had glitter on them. Some had an ombré pattern. The middle finger on each hand had a small crystal glued to the base.

It looked like this clerk had lots of practice working with her 'talons'. She had no problem picking up my box and placing in on the scale. When she typed in the mailing address, she used the tips of her nails instead of her finger pads. She expertly applied the postage sticker on with her fingertips, then smoothed it down with the side of her index finger nail. And last but not least, at the end of the transaction she held out my receipt with her thumb and index nails.

Five years ago today: My Brain Is Always Lit Up With New Ideas. Who Knew?

Monday, May 10, 2021

Another Face Accessory

After months of wearing a mask everywhere I go I'm used to it. The only place it bothers me to have something covering my mouth and nose is at the gym. I quickly figured out that if you are exercising hard enough to breath heavily, the mask gets sucked into your mouth (which makes it even harder to breathe).

Last week when I went to a class the instructor was giving out mask bracket guards to anyone who wanted one. I wasn't sure how it would work but decided to give it a try. Turns out it's a pretty slick item.  

The white plastic bracket (sometimes also called a lipstick guard) looks vaguely like a muzzle. It’s designed to fit underneath a mask but still have it cover your nose and mouth. The rigid material pushes the mask out enough to let you breath easily.  Or keep your lipstick in place.

There are hooks on the bracket that would attach to a paper mask with pleats and keep it in place, but the masks I use at the gym are flat. I just position the bracket in place and stretch the mask over it.

 So far the bracket has worked well. One issue I've found is that every time I stop to take a drink I have to remove the mask from one ear and slip the bracket off, then put everything back on and readjust. But sometimes it's nice to take a short break from exercise action.

Five years ago: The Mystery Of The Materializing Worms

Friday, May 7, 2021

They Won't Miss Me!

Today was one of those beautiful weather days. After a brisk morning, the temperature climbed into the low 70s, and the sun was shining brightly. Yesterday was rainy, and so will the weekend. That meant today was the day to get out.

Hubby Tony and I have been combining our walks in different parts of the metropolitan with visits to independent coffee shops to find our favorites. Today we decided to head into the city, specifically Cherokee Street, home to Antique Row and the city's tiny Little Mexico.

In honor of the nice weather I decided to put on a ecru short sleeved shirt and a pair of bright yellow jeans. Normally I would pair the jeans with neutral shoes, but at the last minute I remembered the vibrant, crazy color combinations the mannequins were sporting at Macy's the last time I was there. In their honor I swapped out the neutral shoes out for a bright burgundy pair.  On the way out the door I threw on my purple wind jacket and slung my current Vera Bradley print purse over my shoulder.

Very colorful
By the time we got to our destination it was warm enough to leave the jacket in the car, but I still felt  vibrant. Tony and I walked down the eastern section of Cherokee, stopping to read historical plaques. The plaques continued around the corner on Demenil Place and so did we. At the end of the street we turned around and came back on the other side. We visited a cat cafe to play with the four-pawed residents and some adorably tiny kittens, then stopped for the requisite coffee. 
Clutching our caffeine, we went west across Jefferson into Little Mexico, then continued several more blocks until we reached the next major cross street (Gravois) and turned back towards the car. Our last stop was at a Mexican bakery, where we bought a pink-topped pan de dulce to share.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

What Do You Think?

Why did this goose settle down in the middle of the parking lot? Does it make a difference that it's right in the middle of the handicapped area? Any other thoughts?

Five years ago today: Box O' Buttons

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Ancestral Mathematics

In order to be born, you needed: 

2 parents 
4 grandparents 
8 great-grandparents
16 second great-grandparents 
32 third great-grandparents 
64 fourth great-grandparents 
128 fifth great-grandparents 
256 sixth great-grandparents 
512 seventh great-grandparents 
1,024 eighth great-grandparents 
2,048 ninth great-grandparents 
For you to be here today, from the 12 previous generations you needed a total sum of 4,094 ancestors over the last 400 years.

Think about that for a moment. How many struggles, battles, and difficulties did your ancestors undergo for you to exist in this present moment? How much sadness? How many love stories? How many expressions of hope for the future?

~~Borrowed from the Internet. Author Unknown.~~

Five years ago: Don't Fall For It!

Friday, April 30, 2021

Virtual No More

This weekend I will be in Jefferson City, attending a statewide business meeting of a group I belong to. As I was driving west on interstate 70 on a beautiful sunny spring afternoon it occurred to me I would be driving right by the Kan-Do Campground, home of Kathy of Kathy's Kampground Kapers.

I can't remember when I found Kathy's blog, but I really enjoy reading about her adventures as a campground owner. When Son Brian lived in Columbia Missouri and we visited him on a regular basis I often thought about stopping by to meet Kathy, but we were always in a hurry to get to his house or get home. Today I had plenty of time, I was by myself, and I could set my own schedule. No one would be inconvenienced if I detoured off the highway to meet her.

Borrowed from the kampground website-I forgot to take a photo.

The kampground was easy to find. I followed the signage to the lot, parked in front of the office, then walked in and asked the woman inside if she was Kathy. She was. I introduced myself. 

We had a nice chat about campers, road trips, and dogs. At the end of the conversation I met HeWho (Kathy's husband, and the focus of many of her stories). All in all, it was a wonderful visit.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

April Showers Bring Puddles

Early this morning a front came through, bringing rain with it. It was lightly drizzling when I left the house this morning. In the car, I heard the radio meteorologist say the pace of the rain was going to pick up. Based on his forecast I put my umbrella in my purse and carried it into my first stop. When I came out an hour later it was raining cats and dogs. I opened my umbrella and hustled across the parking lot but I was still pretty wet by the time I got into my car, and my tennis shoes were soaked from stepping in a puddle.

At home I put both my umbrella and shoes by the door to dry, and went about my day. Hours later I was trying to figure out how I was going to get my steps in and realized the rain had stopped. A quick check of the weather app on my phone told me it wouldn't start again for a couple of hours. That would be more than enough time for a walk.

My shoes were still wet, but it was warm enough I could wear sandals. Hubby Tony decided to walk with me. We rambled around the neighborhood streets and had a nice talk along the way. On this route there are a couple of places where the sidewalk is crooked and the low areas have puddles after any type of precipitation. Today was no exception. I tried to skirt around the edge of the first puddle. I misjudged, and the toes on my left foot ended up getting wet. The water was warm, and it felt good!

From that point on I actively searched out puddles to walk through. By the time I got home there were pieces of grass, tree catkins, and a little mud stuck to my toes and sandals. Nothing that a little soap (and a little more water) couldn't take care of.

Five years ago today: Oops!

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Another Day, Another Adventure

The other day I noticed that our supply of balsamic vinegar was getting low. Two of the three 375 milliliter bottles were down to dregs, and the third wasn't far behind.  It was time to go on a road trip to get more. A couple of years ago Hubby Tony and I stumbled onto a store called Olive Oil Marketplace, and tasted their flavored balsamic vinegar. It was the best we've ever had, and we became complete vinegar snobs. 

The store has two Illinois locations. One is in Alton (at the northern end of the metropolitan area) and the other is in Belleville (almost directly across the Mississippi River from downtown St. Louis). Both are approximately the same distance from us, but in my opinion Alton has more places to explore. That's where we headed today.

The store didn't open until 11 am, and Tony asked if we could leave early to stop at a museum called The National Great Rivers Museum, run by the Army Corps of Engineers. I agreed.

The building is right next to the Melvin Price Locks and Dam on the Mississippi River. When we pulled into the parking lot there were no other cars. Inside, we found out that a tour was going to start in five minutes. The tour ended up being just the two of us and a knowledgeable docent. She highlighted some of the museum displays, then we walked outside. Although we were unable to take the elevator up to the top of the lock (it's been discontinued due to COVID restrictions), we got to see group of barges go through the lock. It was fascinating to see the dozen barges tied together and being guided by the channel by the tugboat at the rear.

At the vinegar store we sampled seven or eight varieties, and ended up buying bottles of garlic cilantro, black walnut and white balsamic peach. Based on past experience those should last us about a year, although we left the store with a lot of new ideas for using our purchase.

It was time to get some steps in. We've walked through the small downtown Alton area enough to know we wanted to see something else this time. From the store we went west, turned right at the end of the road, then turned left at the first residential street. We ended up in an area on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River called the Christian Hill Historic District, filled with large Victorian houses.  

Tony and I sauntered around for about a half hour, then decided to head back to the car. Just before we got there I saw a statue of the musician Miles Davis, who I fond out was born in Alton in 1926, (but moved with his family to East St. Louis the next year.)

Young Man with a Horn

Five years ago today: Radiant And Red-Faced

Sunday, April 25, 2021

A Belated Earth Day Bargain

The large closet just outside the hall bathroom is filled with a collection of linens, extra toiletries, bathroom supplies, first aid items, and medicines. When we moved in I quickly tried to arrange things in a logical order, then moved on to the next project. The arrangement wasn't that great to start with, and after more than a year things were a mess.

I decided to tackle organizing the two shelves that held the non-linen items, thinking that shoebox-sized plastic containers would be good for holding different categories of items. I looked in the storage unit for something the correct size and came up empty handed. I'm trying to limit the amount of plastic I bring into the house, so I started looking for containers at thrift stores. That way I would be recycling instead of buying new.

For a couple of weeks I popped into stores when I had time, but always walked out empty handed. Yesterday I drove by a place that's going out of business. There was a sign by the door that indicated they were only going to be open one more week and everything was 75% off. I figured there wouldn't be much left.

The clothing racks were pretty empty, but in the back of the store I struck pay dirt. There was an entire shelf of plastic storage containers, and four of them were the size and shape I was looking for. None matched exactly, but that was alright by me. The cashier rang up my purchases, then applied the discount code. My total was a whopping 55 cents...a win for both the environment and my budget.

 Five years ago today: Undoing

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Jefferson Barracks

Yesterday was cloudy and cold. Tomorrow and Saturday there's a good chance of rain. Today was forecast to be chilly but sunny, and Hubby Tony and I decided to spend it outside. Tony was in charge of finding a trail. He threw out a couple of ideas, and we settled on Jefferson Barracks Park. Last summer we had ridden bikes in the park, but we ran out of time to explore the museums and said we'd go back.Today would be the day.

Wikipedia says: 

The Jefferson Barracks Military Post was an important and active U.S. Army installation from 1826 through 1946. It is the oldest operating U.S. military installation west of the Mississippi River, and it is now used as a base for the Army and Air National Guard. 

We entered the park through the north entrance, parked in the Visitor's Center parking lot, and started walking. The park has a paved trail, which is divided into a north and a south portion. Together they're a little over 2.5 miles. (A third trail is a Greenway that runs along the Mississippi River.)  There were very few people, and at points it looked like we were far from civilization.

At the south end of the park we walked past the historical buildings and stopped to read the historical markers. The active National Guard section was behind a tall fence. When I walked over that way to look at a World War Sherman tank I was pretty sure the people in the guard booth were checking me out. 

At this point Tony and I decided we were hungry. We left the park and walked to a restaurant five minutes away, where we enjoyed great bar food. The owner's father came by to ask us how our food was. When he learned that it was our first time there he asked if he could sit with us for a few minutes. He told us all about the history of the building.

After lunch we returned to the park, where we found out that all of the museums are still closed due to COVID. That was probably just as well, because we agreed we were getting tired...and we still had to get back to the other end of the park.

So we're now 0 for 2 in seeing the inside of the buildings at Jefferson Barracks. There's also a National Cemetery section, which will be a whole other day's adventure.  

Five years ago today: Don't Criticize The Competition!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

A Happy Coincidence

 Four weeks ago Hubby Tony had some oral surgery done, and today he went back for a follow up appointment. The office is on the second floor of a strip mall building, right above a branch of the gym we belong to. Last night Tony realized he could use the Nautilus exercise machines there and asked if I wanted to go with him. Having nothing else pressing to do I said yes.

However, this morning time got away from me. When I realized I would really have to hustle to leave the house to fit Tony's schedule I almost backed out, but one look out the window at the sleety mixture that was falling from the sky was enough to convince me that using a treadmill in a warm gym would be way better than taking a walk outside. I sped through the last of the paperwork I was doing, changed my clothes, and was ready when Tony got his car keys.

In the mall parking lot Tony and I plotted out our time but when I checked in at the front desk they had a flyer listing the group classes. I noticed there was a yoga class starting in less than five minutes and my plans changed. As a bonus, I was familiar with the instructor from a different branch of the gym six years ago, and knew that I would get a great stretch.

Of course I hadn't brought my yoga mat, but one of the group exercise mats worked well enough. The large room only had a handful of people in it, and I was able to put my mat in a place that was far away from everyone and I could still see the instructor. When the class started I realized that some of the instructor's pose combinations hadn't changed and I felt right at home.

Even back before the pandemic shut everything down my yoga classes had decreased, and today it showed. My flexibility wasn't near what it used to be, and my balance was horrible. This class turned out to be a good fit. It was gentle, with a lot of stretches, and the sun salutations weren't too vigorous. Due to enhanced room cleaning between group classes they've reduced the length from an hour to 45 minutes. Before I knew it the instructor was calling for Shavasana, meaning the time was almost over.

Five years ago today: Spring Clean Your Life

Monday, April 19, 2021

It's A Wrap

Hubby Tony had a dinner meeting, so I decided it would be a nice night to treat myself to a meal out.

Mid-afternoon, after I fed Jackson the cat and enjoyed my coffee and crossword puzzle time I left the house to run several errands. After popping into three stores I ended up at a large ethnic grocery, where the goal was to replenish my supply of herbal tea. (Based on my experience, ethnic markets tend to have better selections and prices than the conventional groceries.)

Although it was only 4 pm, as I walked into the grocery store I realized I was hungry. That's a bad idea in a place that has aisles dedicated to all different parts of the world, but I decided to grin and bear it. The tea selection is right across from the produce section, to the right after you enter the store. Sure enough, I found a Polish brand that sounded good and bought two boxes - multifruit and  rose hip.

Picking out the tea only took five minutes, but by now my stomach was starting to growl. My plan to go out to dinner morphed into buying something at the store and cooking it when I got home. I walked up one frozen food aisle and down the other. In the Indian section I saw some interesting-looking wraps. I compared the different varieties and settled on this one

The packaging described the contents as a 'Mildly spiced lentil patty along with mint chutney wrapped in wholesome flat bread'. Its size and shape led me to believe it would be similar to a frozen burrito. At $2.49 the price was right and I tossed it into my bag. With the main dish decided, I walked back to the produce section and found a small head of leaf lettuce to make a salad. All of a sudden had the start of a meal.

It was still too early for dinner when I got home. I took chickpeas out of the freezer, thawed them in the microwave, and made a batch of hummus. Most of it went into the refrigerator, but I spooned some into a bowl and scarfed it down to take the edge off my hunger. I finished some paperwork, then washed and chopped the lettuce, dressed it, and nuked the kebab.  The whole production took less than five minutes.

My Indian burrito prediction was pretty on the money, but the lentil patty had a nice spice to it. Between my before-meal snack, the wrap, the salad, and a large handful of grapes for dessert I was full enough.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Go Away!

The forecast for tomorrow is pretty spring-like. But jump ahead until Tuesday, when it's back to a winter chill. Some portions of the metropolitan area even have a freeze watch for late Tuesday through Wednesday morning.

I don't car how cold it gets....even if I have to wear multiple layers when I leave the house I refuse to get out my heavy coat again!

Five years ago: In Fashion? Me?

Friday, April 16, 2021

Sitting Tight

It's been 15 months since Hubby Tony and I moved into our condo. (Time sure does fly.) 

When we downsized from our large house we got rid of a lot of furniture, but our comfortable, three-cushion La-Z-Boy couch with a recliner on each end came with us. We've had the couch for almost 20 years. It's structurally sound, but has a few cosmetic issues. The foam in the cushions is breaking down a little, and the padded footrests have dips in the middle. In addition, the couch is really too big for our new place. 

Our plan was to get situated, figure out what we wanted, and buy new seating. Just about the time we had the figuring out part done, Covid shut things shut down. Even after the stores opened back up we made do, figuring that a new couch was a want and not a need. 

Now that Tony has a lot of time on his hands we decided weekdays would be a good time to go furniture shopping, because there would be less foot traffic. A couple of weeks ago we visited some stores and sat on furniture. We came home, measured the room, and checked a couple of websites. After discussion we figured out the room would look nice with a pair of love seats arranged in an L-shape. Rather than relying on an ottoman for our feet we decided to stick with something that reclined.  

Today we went back to a store with a list of three specific love seats that we wanted to take a last look at. We sat on all of them, figured out which one we liked the best, and placed an order. That's the good news. The bad news is that Covid shutdowns in the factory caused a backlog of orders, and  it will take approximately 20 weeks for our new furniture to be delivered. We'll be using the old couch for quite some time.

Five years ago: Pop Goes The Egg

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Take Me Out To The (Daytime) Ball Game

When Hubby Tony made his list of post-retirement activities, going to a weekday afternoon baseball game was near the top. He researched the options, bought tickets, and today just before the announcer read the starting lineups for the St. Louis Cardinals and the Washington Nationals we were settling into our seats.

Our view

Not surprisingly, there were multiple social distancing procedures in place. First, the stadium was at 32 percent capacity. Masks were required. Tickets were sold in pods so there was no sitting next to strangers. (We were on the aisle and there were six empty seats between us and the next pod.)  Every other row was roped off. Tickets were electronic, and all concessions were cashless. The larger food stands had only touchscreen ordering.

I know a lot of thought went into the Covid plans, but the entrance procedures still needed some tweaking. Tony purchased our tickets on the secondary market. They were missing the designated entrance gate information, and we talked to at least one other person who had the same problem. Instead of bringing my big purse I put my essentials in a wallet on a string, which fit the posted size standards. I still had to go through an Inspection Lane, which an usher didn't point out until we had stood in a different lane for 15 minutes.

But the minor annoyances went away when we entered the stadium and walked up the ramp to the upper deck. Although the low-60 degree weather was a little cooler than I would have liked (our seats remained in shade for the entire game) I solved the problem by putting on a promotional puffy vest they handed out at the gate. Eventually we walked down a couple of levels and over to the sunny side, which made a big difference.

Yadier Molina, the Cardinals beloved catcher, celebrated a milestone today when he became the first Major League Baseball player to catch 2,000 games with one team.

What an achievement!
 That announcement was the most exciting part of the day. Last night the Cards had won big time with a score of 14-3. They obviously used up all their offense, because today they lost 6-0. It was still a lot of fun, thought, and probably not the last time we attend a getaway game.

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

Thursday, March 25, 2021

It Will Be Here Before We Know It

In the Roman Catholic church this is the Solemnity of the Annunciation, the day Mary said 'yes' to being the mother of Jesus. That means that Christmas is nine months from today. 

 Five years ago today: Knuckle Down

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Confusion Leads To Custard

This afternoon Hubby Tony had an oral surgery appointment. Back when he scheduled it Tony thought he was going to need a ride home, and I blocked out the time to be his chauffeur. A couple of days ago he learned the surgeon would be using Novocaine and he would be able to drive himself. I briefly thought about staying home, but when I couldn't find anything compelling that needed to be done I decided to go along for moral support.

The procedure was scheduled to take one hour. My plan was to drop Tony off, then get my steps. After a rainy morning my phone app said there was a break in the precipitation, but I brought my umbrella just in case. Before I left I Googled the office address to find out what there was to do around the immediate area.  Other than a grocery store, a couple of chain stores, and a boatload of fast food places there wasn't much, but the area has a lot of interesting architecture which is always interesting to look at.

The surgeon's office was in a small shopping center at the intersection of two major streets in South St. Louis, about 20 minutes away from our place. I went up to the surgeon's office on the second floor of a professional building with Tony, wished him good luck, then spent some time browsing through the center's stores on my way out to the street.

I had a destination in mind for my walk, but I'm not extremely familiar with the area and turned left when I should have gone straight. When I realized my mistake I wasn't too upset, because I wasn't too far from the iconic Ted Drewes frozen custard. Of course I would have to stop!

On nights and weekends Ted Drewes is extremely busy. Today there were very short lines at each of the three open stations, and there were partitions between them to help with social distancing. I passed on a signature concrete, which is a serving of frozen custard so thick that it doesn't fall out when the cup is turned upside-down. Instead, I ordered a scoop in a cone, which would be easier to eat while I walked.

My trip was a little less than a mile each way, which hopefully used up quite a few of the calories I consumed.

Not the greatest perspective...the cone was not as big as it looks!

Five years ago: Cake Pan Purging