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!