Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Vet Visit Etiquette

Today was Jackson the Cat's least favorite day of the year...his annual visit to the vet for a checkup and shots. 

Going to the clinic is the only time Jackson typically leaves the house, and he doesn't enjoy anything about it.  When I brought the carrier up from the basement yesterday he gave it a sniff, then gave it the stink eye and a wide berth. 

Jackson's appointment was mid-afternoon, shortly after his lunch. I hoped that he wouldn't have a chance to find a secluded place for a nap, but the condo doesn't have many places for a cat to hide and when it was time to leave Jackson was easy to find. As soon as he was locked into his carrier he started a mournful howl, which continued sporadically all the way to the vet.

Last year the office did curbside-only appointments. This year they allowed one person inside, but you had to call from the parking lot first and get permission to enter. Hubby Tony wanted to be Jackson's person. I agreed. However, I decided to come along too and pass the time reading a book.

The clinic is on Manchester Road (a major arterial street) and it's always hard to gauge just how long it will take to get there. We ended up arriving five minutes early, and when Tony called he found out there wasn't an office ready yet. We waited in the car until Tony got word that they were ready for him. He carefully removed the carrier from the back seat of the car and carried it across the parking lot.

I got my book out and started reading. Fifteen minutes later my phone rang. It was Tony, who put me on speaker phone so I could hear and be a part of his conversation with the vet. I learned that Jackson has some geriatric-cat issues, but for the most part he got a clean bill of health. As the vet left the room Tony ended the call, and five minutes later he had finished the paperwork part of the visit and was ready to go.

Five years ago: Gimme A Subject

Sunday, August 29, 2021

When Will I Learn?

This weekend I was in the central part of the state at a business meeting for a fellowship I belong to. I helped set up for the meeting, so I left the house Thursday afternoon and got home last night a couple of hours before bedtime.

I usually eat a pretty healthy diet. During my trip I did fit in some some minimal fresh vegetables and fruit, but for the most part it was an orgy of simple carbohydrates, fat, sugar, and chocolate. By the time I got home my body was rebelling. My stomach was churning and I had trouble sleeping with all of the junk coursing through my system. I woke up this morning with a headache. I had no energy, it was hard to get out of bed, and I was so grumpy that even Jackson the cat kept his distance.

Today was about resetting my system. All of my meals and snacks were healthy. The only sweets I ate were fresh fruit. I lost track of how much water I drank. When Hubby Tony and I went to a local gas station to take advantage of a drink promotion they run when the baseball Cardinals score more than six runs the previous day I passed on the yummy frozen Pepsi, got myself a cup of cold brew coffee, and felt pretty virtuous about it.

My resetting has paid off. The headache disappeared after breakfast.  It took a second meal for the other issues to go away. By mid-afternoon I was tackling the items on my to-do list. Moving around gave me even more energy, and soon I was running on all cylinders. Thank goodness.

Five years ago today: No Interstates Allowed

Friday, August 27, 2021

Wash Your Hands And Freshen Your Breath

This morning I went out to a breakfast meeting. The food was fabulous and the group got a lot done. I drank a lot of coffee, so I stopped by the bathroom before leaving the restaurant. The sink area was quite unique. It was a large sheet of marble with two faucets and hardly any sink indentations. Somehow the water managed to make it into the drain.

And the area had another new-to-me feature, a mouthwash dispenser with a sleeve of tiny cups next to it. 

You never know what you're going to find!

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

How Hot Is It?

Every year about this time I get sick of the August weather. Every day is hot, humid, and miserable. Just how hot is it? 
  • Every time I leave the house I seriously consider if I even need to, because it feels like too much work.
  • At 9 am I went to the grocery store to get a couple of things. I could already feel the heat radiating off of the blacktopped lot as I walked across it.
  • I could have made a nice cup of tea using the bottle of water that had been left in the car while I ran errands.
  • The halls in our condo building don't have any ductwork for heating or cooling. This afternoon I walked from our second floor unit down to the basement to toss the trash. By the time I got back upstairs I was sweaty.
  • Shortly before I went to bed, the temperatures was still 88°, and with the heat factor added in it felt like 99°.

Monday, August 23, 2021


This morning when I put on a pair of denim shorts I noticed that they were getting pretty rough looking. The top layer of the hem is starting to fray, and there are fray holes (approximately a quarter-inch wide) by the rear pockets and halfway down the outer right seam.

I've had these shorts for years; they're one of my favorite pairs. The natural waist hits at just the right spot. The length is perfect-not too short and not too long. The five pockets (two front, two rear, and a small one inside the right front hip pocket) are well-proportioned and functional.

I thought about putting the shorts in the Goodwill box, but based on what I've seen in the stores after a couple more washings and wearings they might actually become fashionable:
You pay extra for flaws this season
Five years ago: Midnight Moonlight

Sunday, August 22, 2021


On any given Sunday the Catholic Mass readings are the same worldwide, which means that every Catholic will hear the same sections of the Bible. Except for when they don't. 

Shortly after Hubby Tony and I slid into our pew this morning the lector announced that it was the feast day of St. Louis King of France (the patron saint of the city). All of the churches in the Archdiocese were celebrating the day instead of using the readings for the Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time. The lector pointed out that the passages was not in the missal, and we would need to pay extra attention as they were read.

I understand things better when I can read along, but I focused my attention on the pulpit and did my best. However, there was a family with three young boys (who looked to be approximately 6, 4, and 2) in my peripheral vision that kept distracting me. I could tell they were trying hard to sit quietly, but every once in a while they would poke at each other. Mom or Dad would send a glare in their direction, but soon they would be at it again.

At the conclusion of the readings the priest stepped into the pulpit to give the homily. I really tried to focus all my attention there, but it was impossible to concentrate. The middle young boy was trying to look at some books he pulled out of his mom's purse, but his younger brother was getting in the way. It looked like things were getting a little tense, so I closed my eyes to avoid looking at them and focus on the priest's words. I was far enough back that I was confident he couldn't see me and assume I was snoozing.

However, someone was watching. At the end of the sermon I opened my eyes and found that the middle boy was looking at me with a big smile on his face. Oops!

Five years ago today: A Dog's Life

Thursday, August 19, 2021

The Hunt For Pastries

Last week Hubby Tony and I started the chapter in our scavenger hunt book for Kirkwood. Most of the things we had to find were convenient to the city's downtown area, but we're finding that each chapter has a couple of outlier locations. This time one of them was the Nathaniel Reid bakery, which has won a bunch of prestigious local and national awards. The bakery is in a strip mall on Manchester Road just a couple of miles from our house. I've driven past it hundreds of times, but never been inside. Tony and I decided we were going to combine a trip to check the bakery off of the list with a trip inside for a sweet treat. 

Manchester is a busy arterial road, and I think I missed every stop light. In the bakery there were several people ahead of us in line, but that gave me a chance to check out all the delectable-looking things behind the counter. I kept changing my mind until it was my turn to order. After we paid for our things we drove to a nearby park, found a bench in the shade, and dug in.

My Veronique pastry was a delightful combination of sponge cake, creamy cheese, mousse, and black currants. It was beautifully composed, and probably photo worthy, but I was hungry and dug in. Tony's chocolate croissant had layers of flaky dough and chocolate, with slivered almonds sprinkled on top. It didn't take long until there was nothing but crumbs left.

Five years ago today: Color Coding

Wednesday, August 18, 2021


Hubby Tony had a minor same-day procedure scheduled at one of our local hospitals today. 

He had to be there at 6 am. For the first time in months I set my alarm, which went off a little before 5. That gave me just enough time to eat a quick breakfast, brush my teeth, put together a lunch, and gather the things I would need to entertain me for a couple of hours. 

It was still completely dark when we left for the hospital, and traffic was light. It's often hard to find a spot in the parking garage but this morning I snagged a spot not too far from the door. Once in the building Tony knew exactly where to find the same-day surgery office because he had been there last week for a pre-procedure Covid test.

Between the two of us we've only had a handful of procedures, but in my experience they build in a lot of waiting time. Tony checked in as scheduled, but didn't leave for the operating room until two hours later. During that time he talked to a secretary, a nurse assistant, two nurses, an anesthesiologist, and the doctor. I lost count of the number of times he gave his complete name and date of birth and what type of procedure he was having done.

Because of Covid the same-day surgery waiting room was closed. Once they wheeled Tony out of the pre-op room I spent the next 2 1/2 hours killing time. I walked outside until it got too hot, then sat in my car and read for a while. Eventually I went to the cafeteria, where the people waiting there outnumbered the people eating. 

I got a call from the doctor when the procedure was finished at 9:30, and he told me I would receive another call when Tony had been moved to a recovery room. That happened about an hour later. I gathered up my things and went to join him

Tony was drinking some cranberry juice and eating crackers when I arrived. The post-op system is just as slow moving as the pre-op, and it was made worse when Tony's body took longer to pass through some basic milestones before they could discharge him. 

However, eventually the nurse called the doctor, explained the situation, and got his permission to send Tony on his way. He was putting on his clothes when I left to get the car. By the time I drove around to the door Tony had been 'chauffeured' out by a wheelchair porter. He climbed in the car and we were on our way home.

Five years ago today: Off To The Halls Of Knowledge

Monday, August 16, 2021

Good Old Andy

Sent to me by a friend..

A man walked out to the street and caught a taxi just going by. He got into the taxi, and said, "Perfect timing. You're just Like Andy."

Cabbie: "Who?"

Passenger: "Andy Sullivan. He's a guy who did everything right all the time. Like your coming along when I needed a cab, things happen like that to Andy Sullivan, every single time."

Cabbie: "There are always a few clouds over everybody."

Passenger: "Not Andy Sullivan. He was a terrific athlete. He could have won the Grand Slam at tennis. He could golf with the pros. He sang like an opera baritone and danced like a Broadway star and you should have heard him play the piano. He was an amazing guy."

Cabbie: "Sounds like he was something really special."

Passenger: "There's more. He had a memory like a computer. He remembered everybody's birthday. He knew all about wine, which foods to order and which fork to eat them with. He could fix anything. Not like me. I change a fuse, and the whole street blacks out. But Andy Sullivan, he could do everything right."

Cabbie: "Wow. Some guy then."

Passenger: "Yep, and he really knew how to treat a woman. He would never answer her back even if she was in the wrong; and his clothing was always immaculate, shoes highly polished too. He was the perfect man! He never made a mistake. No one could ever measure up to Andy Sullivan."

Cabbie: "An amazing fellow. How did you meet him?"

Passenger: "Well, I never actually met Andy. He died. I'm married to his damned widow."

Five years ago: Give Me A Shot

Friday, August 13, 2021

Southpaw Point Of View


I'm one of the 10 percent of the population that's left handed. Because we're such a minority a lot of things don't work as well for us. All of them are first world problems, but really annoying.

  • Ergonomic scissors have the wide and skinny blades upside down when you hold them in your left hand and you can't see where you're cutting.
  • Any chair with an attached desk has the desk on the right hand side.
  • I have to choose my spot carefully at a restaurant so I don't have a right-left elbow war with the person next to me.
  • If I'm using a pen with slow drying ink I'll drag the side of my hand through it, and both my hand and the paper end up smeared.
  • Spiral notebooks are hard to use, because the spiral part gets in the way. So is paper inside a three ring binder.
  • The ounce measurements on glass measuring cups are only visible when you hold them with your right hand.
  • The number keypad on my computer keyboard is on the right hand side. I either have to reach over or use my right hand to input the numbers.
  • Way back when I learned how to use a mouse no one told me there was an option to reverse the buttons to make it work left-handed. I figured out how to do it with my right hand (and still do).

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Just Doing His Job

My area is in the third day of an excessive heat warning. Today was forecast to have dangerously hot conditions with a heat index (a combination of temperature and humidity) of 107 degrees. When I left the house a little before 9 am it was already 83 degrees.

Because of the nasty weather conditions I've been getting my steps walking at the mall and in big box stores. That was getting old, and I really wanted to ride my bike, but didn't think that was a particularly good idea. Instead I decided to go to the gym and ride an exercise bike. Not as much fun as the real thing, but safer in the heat.

The branch of my gym I chose to go to has their bikes inside of a Cardio Theater, a darkened room with rows of equipment all facing towards a wall of televisions. The bikes are in the back row. I chose one, adjusted the seat, and started to ride.

I was halfway through my workout when a man who looked to be in his late 40s walked into the area using a white visual impairment cane to navigate. When I saw he was carrying a spray bottle and rag in his other hand I realized he was a gym employee. 

The man folded up his cane, laid it on the floor, and got to work. I watched as he sprayed cleaning solution on the seat of a bicycle and wiped it off, sprayed solution on his rag and cleaned off the front console, then sat down on the floor to dust the bottom portion. When that was done he stood up and moved over to the next machine by using his hands to feel for it. 

Eventually the man made it over to the machine next to me and I said hello to him. The room was pretty noisy, and I think I surprised him, but he greeted me back and kept working.

When I finished, I got off my bicycle and grabbed a disinfectant wipe from the dispenser to clean all the surfaces that might have gotten sweaty. I walked away and didn't look back to see if the man was re-doing my work.

Five years ago today: Egg Experiment

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Bicentennial Fun

August 10, 2021 is the two hundredth anniversary of Missouri's entry as the 24th state to enter the United States. There were several celebrations over the weekend and more today.

One of them was at the History Museum, and Hubby Tony and I decided to go. It was a very hot and humid day, so on the way to the museum we stopped to get some steps at the mall. We arrived at our destination when the doors opened at 10. The official bicentennial programming started at 11, so we spent the first hour walking through some of the displays. When we stepped outside to eat the lunch we brought with us we went out of our way to find a bench in the shade.

After lunch we watched part of a lecture, and listened to a very interesting fiddle performance. About that time I was getting antsy from sitting and we decided to leave.

There were several ice cream parlors offering promotions on ice cream cones, the state's official dessert.  After dinner we went to Clementine's Naughty & Nice Creamery, where I chose Maple Bourbon with Salted Candied Pecans from the 'naughty' (boozy) side. Since it was of the Missouri Pride flavors to commemorate the Missouri Bicentennial I figured it was appropriate.

Monday, August 9, 2021

Fermented Spicy Goodness

During the summer Hubby Tony and I eat a lot of watermelon; the sweet red flesh is juicy and refreshing in hot weather. (I especially like cubing and freezing it, then eating the pieces like bite-sized popsicles.)  

But what to do with the rind?  Two years ago I started dabbling with cooking with it. Last summer I tried using it to make kimchi (a Koren dish of salted and fermented vegetables). The results were really good, and this year I started the process of coming up with my own version of the dish. To do that, I took the best of four different recipes I found on the web:

Sorry about the sloppy writing and food splashes :-)

My recipe:

  • 1.5 pounds watermelon rind (just the white part. Remove all the red flesh and green peel)
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 bunch of green onions
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, minced (or however many it takes to make a pile equal to the pile of ginger)
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper flakes (Korean if possible-they're not as spicy as the crushed red ones. Of course you could decrease the pepper to make the dish less spicy.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce (optional, but it adds a lot of umami)

Slice the watermelon rind into small pieces, or use the slicing blade of a food processor. Put the rind into a glass bowl and add salt, mixing so all pieces are coated. Let set for 20 minutes.

Slice the green onions into pieces approximately the same size as the watermelon. Chop the garlic and mince the ginger.

Pour the rind into a colander and rinse off the salt. Squeeze out the excess water and return the rind to the bowl. Add the green onions, garlic, ginger, pepper flakes, and fish sauce (if using). Mix everything together.. It will look like this:


Cover the bowl and let the kimchi ferment at room temperature for 24 hours, or until liquid starts to exude. Stir it a couple of times.  Transfer to a jar and put it into the refrigerator.

The final dish is a delicious combination of spicy, sour, salty, and garlicky. Because it's fermented it's loaded with probiotics. I like to eat it by the spoonful, put it in a salad, or use it like a hot sauce.

Five years ago today: Where's My Food?

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Once Every 200 Years

August 10th marks the two hundredth anniversary of Missouri’s entry into the United States as the 24th state.  For the next week or so there are all kinds of celebrations going on. Today Hubby Tony and I visited one of them, which took place on and around the grounds of the first State Capitol in St. Charles.

We got there a little before the official start time, and walked a couple of blocks out of the way to visit a farmer's market. There we got some produce and talked with a coffee roaster (who made us a darn good cup of drip coffee) and picked up some tips for coffee shops in St. Charles.

The anniversary event was organized by the Missouri State Parks. There were historical reenactors, lots of activities for kids, and booths manned by both state employees and community organizations. There was a section behind the building seemed to be focused on pointing out some of the state symbols....

  • A native bird organization showcasing houses for bluebirds (the official state bird)
  • A booth manned by two young women, one of whom played the state song ("The Missouri Waltz") on the state instrument (the fiddle)
  • A tent manned by a beekeeping (the state insect) organization, which was giving out information about hives and how you could make your area bee friendly
  • The Department of Natural Resources, which manned a table with samples of rocks and minerals you could find in the state. I learned about the state rock (Mozarkite), and picked up a small sample of Galena (the state mineral)
  • A woman sitting at a table holding a sign proclaiming the state dance (square dance), who told me all of the other people in her group were across the street actually dancing. She looked sad to be left behind, but gave me a lot of information about groups in the area
  • Two women sitting at a table under a large black walnut tree (the state tree nut) demonstrating ink made from the inner skin of black walnuts with quill pens
  • The department of conservation, which had a sample of the state grass (big bluestem) and mounted displays of the state game bird (bobwhite quail). We had a discussion with him and learned there was a small native prairie that still remains in the St. Louis metropolitan area, which I added to my list of things to visit
  • A volunteer organization that grows and promotes native trees
  • A group from one of the large state parks in west St. Louis county, which brought specimens of the state fish (channel catfish), amphibian (American bullfrog), invertebrate (crawfish), and reptile (three-toed box turtle). They also had a poster which displayed the state animal (Missouri mule), horse (Missouri Fox Trotter), dinosaur  (Hypsibema missouriensis), fossil (Crinoid). And for some reason they included symbols that had nothing to do with fauna. It was interesting to learn that jumping jacks were the state exercise and ice cream cones were the state dessert

We were there for about two hours before it got hot. The sun was high enough that there wasn't a lot of shade to be had and we decided to leave. It's a shame that the anniversary couldn't take place a month from now when the weather would be much nicer.

Some of our swag

Friday, August 6, 2021

Frozen Soda Treat

Earlier in the week I learned that today was National Root Beer Float Day, and right away I knew that Hubby Tony and I would be celebrating. I'm always down to observe an event that revolves around yummy food or drink, but this celebration would kill two birds with one stone. It would get rid of the two aluminum bottles of Fitz's root beer taking up space in the refrigerator.

Tony bought the bottles about a month ago to include in a gift basket, but in the end decided not to include them. That gift basket's loss was our gain.

Five years ago today: Dividing Iris

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

It All Comes Full Circle

At age 4 success is not peeing in your pants

At age 12 success is having friends

At age 16 success is having a drivers license 

 At age 20 success is having sex

At age 35 success is having money

 At age 50 success is having money

At age 60 success is having sex

At age 70 success is having a drivers license


 At age 75 success is having friends


At age 80 success is not peeing in your pants


Five years ago: Incommodious

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Directory Of Businesses

The last time you needed to look up a business's information what source did you use? If you said the internet we're of like mind. A couple of weeks ago a pile of what looked like magazines showed up on the condo building foyer table. However, when I took a closer look I saw that they were Yellow Pages.

I didn't even know they still existed.

There are eight units in the building, and eight slim directories were piled in a neat stack. I did the polite thing and took one upstairs, walked back to my office, and deposited it straight into the recycling container. Someone else in the building took another one. The rest of the books remained on the table gathering dust. 

Yesterday I noticed that the person who takes it upon herself to decorate the table had changed the decor. The books were gone. Probably not a coincidence.