Monday, January 31, 2022


A nasty batch of winter weather is supposed to start tomorrow night and last for a couple of days. Today started out chilly, but the temperature was forecast to rise into the low 50s. Guess which day Hubby Tony and I decided would be good for walking outside?

I had a quick mid-morning commitment that took me to the West Port Plaza area (about ten miles north of the house), so I told Tony to research interesting places that we haven't been to for a while. He came up with Overland, a municipality not too far from where he grew up.

After my commitment was finished we drove east, then turned and headed north towards a municipal park. We left the car there and started on the circular route Tony had laid out. On the walk we passed a mixture of residential and commercial buildings. The houses were well maintained, but many of the storefronts were empty. 

In a section that looked like it could have been a small downtown area Tony pointed out the billiards parlor he used to visit with his cousin as a teenager. It was open, so we went in. The man at the front desk let us walk into the main room, which was filled with pool tables. We didn't have time to play a game, but I told Tony that I would be happy to come back some other time. We popped into an antique store, but didn't find anything we needed. Nor did we find anything at the hardware store, which had a little bit of everything for sale.

We continued on, passing the bank his family used to use, the grocery store they shopped at, and the office building where Tony had one of his first jobs.  When we got to Woofies, an iconic hot dog shop, I kept going because I had to use the bathroom at the gas station around the corner. Tony said he was just going to stay there and look. I was pretty sure he wouldn't just be able to look, and I was right. When I returned he was settling in at a table outside the restaurant getting ready to sample his hot dog (served on a steamed poppy seed bun and topped with mustard, onions, and a kosher pickle slice). He was nice enough to share a couple of bites with me.

After our hot dog treat we walked through a long residential stretch until we had circled around almost back to our starting location. But Tony had one more stop planned out, a shop called LaJoy's Coffee Cafe. We each got a cup to enjoy there, then bought a bag of beans to grind and brew at home.

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Train Driving Drollery

There was a Bulgarian man who drove trains for a living. Driving a train had been his dream ever since he was a child, and he loved to make the train go as fast as possible. Unfortunately, one day he was a little too reckless and caused a crash. He made it out, but a single person died.

The man went to court over this incident, was found guilty, and was sentenced to death by electrocution. When the day of the execution came, he requested a single banana as his last meal. After eating the banana, he was strapped into the electric chair. The switch was flown, sparks flew, and smoke filled the air, but nothing happened. The man was perfectly fine.

At the time, there was an old Bulgarian law that said a failed execution was a sign of divine intervention, so the man was allowed to go free. 

Somehow, the man managed to get his old job back. Having not learned his lesson at all, he went right back to driving the train with reckless abandon. Once again, he caused a train to crash, this time killing two people.

The trial went much the same as the first, resulting in a sentence of execution. For his final meal, the man requested two bananas. After eating the bananas, he was strapped into the electric chair. The switch was thrown, sparks flew, smoke filled the room. The man was once again unharmed.

Well, this of course meant that he was free to go.

 And once again, the man somehow managed to get his job back. To what should have been the surprise of no one, he crashed yet another train and killed three people. And so he once again found himself being sentenced to death. On the day of his execution, he requested his final meal: three bananas. 

The executioner said, "I've had it with you and your stupid bananas and walking out of here unharmed. I'm not giving you a thing to eat; we're strapping you in and doing this now." Well, it was against protocol, but the man was strapped in to the electric chair without a last meal. The switch was pulled, sparks flew, smoke filled the room. The man was unharmed. The executioner was speechless. 

The man looked at the executioner and said, "Oh, the bananas had nothing to do with it. I'm just a bad conductor." 

Five years ago today: It's All Spam To Me

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Side Table Shuffle

 You may remember that Hubby Tony and I recently got new seating for the living room. We arranged the two love seats at right angles to each other, which left a square shape between the two. The rectangular Queen Anne-style side table that looked nice next to the old couch wasn't going to cut it any more, so I started looking for a new one. The requirements:

  • Square or round top
  • Between 22-26 inches wide
  • Between 22-24 inches tall.

My first stop was the website of the store where we bought the love seats. They really worked with us when one of them was manufactured incorrectly, and I appreciated that. However, everything on their website was over $400, way more than I wanted to spend. I also checked a couple other furniture stores, but the styles didn't work in our mainly traditional room. 

For the past two weeks I've been stalking Facebook Marketplace and popping into thrift stores and antique malls. I found several tables the met two of the three requirements, but nothing that was perfect. Today I visited a St. Vincent de Paul store on the way to the gym. When I saw a square mission-style table in the first aisle I pulled out a tape measure from my purse and measured it. The table met all the size requirement, so I drug it into the aisle, took a photo, and sent it to Tony to get his opinion.

He agreed with my assessment, so I carried the table up to the cash register, then out to my car.

The table was in good shape, but the wood looked a little dry. Back at home I gave all the surfaces a good coat of Scott's Liquid Gold. When I was done the piece gleamed. In the living room the table looked like it was made for the room

My original plan was to keep the side table next to the other side of the couch, but now its Queen Anne style is all wrong. Time to start looking for its replacement. 

Five years ago today: Green Juice Day

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Searching Questions

Whenever I start typing something in the search bar of my browser, I get a drop down list of websites I've visited and previous search results that start with the first letter I've typed in.

Most of the results are pretty boring. At some point in the near past I searched to find out how to import an Excel worksheet into a Word document. And how to open a flash drive on an iMac. Later I needed to know how much chicken to buy to make four cups for a recipe. The day the deadbolt lock on the front door was hard to open I searched to find out its parts.

Others searches have me scratching my head.  Why was I wanting to know about the rules of Fight Club? I think I was having a conversation with Hubby Tony when I Googled John Madden Wikipedia, but I'm not exactly sure. Who is Loretta Foly, and what did I want to know about her? Is Nash a person, place, or thing? And just what is a pizzani?

I guess the answer isn't important to anyone but me.

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Will It EVER End?

According to Wikipedia, on this day in 2020 the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 was a "Public Health Emergency of International Concern". At the time the WHO was making their pronouncement I was reading stories about the virus in the newspaper, but the pandemic seemed far away. However, in early March of 2020 a local college student who had been studying in Italy came home, then tested positive. 

Things went downhill from there.

Emergency public health orders were put into place. The mantra was that if we could flatten the curve for six weeks we would be in good shape. (And everyone believed it. How naive that sounds now.)  It didn't take long for the pandemic to be politicized. Our County Council has spent a lot of time arguing over mask mandates, and the state governor wasn't a particular fan of them either. 

There was, and still is, a lot of vaccine hesitancy in this state. Only 54% of people are fully vaccinated. I am in that slim majority that are. A lot of people think that if they're vaccinated they no longer have to wear a mask. I am not in that category either. Even though the research says that fully vaccinated and boosted people who get Covid will have very minor symptoms, they still need to quarantine. I have no desire to do that! I also don't want to inadvertently infect someone if I have an asymptomatic case.

When will the pandemic end? No one knows. I'm hopeful, though, that I won't be updating this post in another two years.

Five years ago: A Letter From Your Mommy

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Historic House And More

What do you do when the temperature outside is about 10 degrees but you still feel the need to get out of the house? You go to a specialty museum that's been on your local bucket list for a while. Today Hubby Tony and found ourselves at the Field House Museum, on the edge of the downtown area just south of Busch Stadium where the baseball Cardinals play.

When we arrived there were only a couple of cars in the parking lot. Inside, the only people I saw were workers. A friendly docent greeted us at the front desk, asked us to sign a guest book for contact tracking purposes, then offered us a tour. That tour was very informative. I knew that the house was the boyhood home of Eugene Field, who wrote poems like Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, Little Boy Blue, and The Duel (The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat), but I learned that Eugene's father, Roswell Field, was one of the main attorneys in the Dred and Harriet Scott case.

I found out that the tall, skinny building was once one of 12 row houses. All the other ones were torn down in the 1930s, but because of Eugene's popularity at the time this one was saved. Because of the connection to the Scott case, in 2007 the house was designated as a National Historic Landmark. In 2016 an addition was added on the north side of the house to serve as a museum space.

Eugene Field lived in the house until his mother died when he was six years old. At that time Eugene and his brother were sent to Massachusetts to live with their aunt. He attended several colleges (including the University of Missouri in Columbia), but he was a poor student and never graduated. After spending some time in Europe, Eugene worked at newspapers in St. Louis, St. Joseph, Kansas City, and Denver before he moved to Chicago and lived there until he died.

The house had many objects that had been owned by the Field family, and others that were period-appropriate for the building. The third floor of the building had information on the history of the house over the years. In the new section there were several temporary exhibits-one about Missouri becoming a state, and another on different neighborhoods in St. Louis City. Before we left we spent some time in the library, which had a nice collection of Field's works.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Free Couch For Sale

Last week we had new living room seating delivered. Now it was time to get rid of the old reclining couch that had served us faithfully for many years.

The furniture deliverers carried the old piece downstairs to the communal basement and set it against the wall in our parking area. My main goal was to keep the couch out of a landfill. It was solid but had some cosmetic issues; the foam cushions were a little saggy, and the upholstery needed a good cleaning. I researched prices for used couches, then chose one on the low end and posted it on Facebook Marketplace. After 24 hours the only responses I got were from spammers who wanted fishy personal information. I quickly deleted their messages. 

Every time I walked down to the garage to go somewhere or throw trash in the can the couch was there, a reminder that something needed to be done with it.

After a friend of Tony's told him that in his recent experience not even thrift stores were taking upholstered furniture, we talked about it and decided to offer the couch for no cost. Sunday night I changed the information on the ads a couple of hours before I went to bed. Only one response came in, and I started feeling frustrated. I don't know if it just took a while for people to see my posting, or if it was because many people were off for the Martin Luther King holiday on Monday, but in the end I had somewhere between 50 and 60 people inquire about the couch. 

When we were getting ready to move I had gotten rid of quite a few things via Facebook Marketplace and came up with a pretty good system. Each time I offered the couch to someone I gave them a limited amount of time to respond. Many never responded back before the deadline (which I understood; I don't sit by my computer all day) and I moved on to someone else. 

The first person who I actually thought would show up messaged me back 20 minutes later to apologize that his plans for the day had changed. The party after that gave me a cell phone number. We exchanged a couple of texts, then he ghosted me.

By this time it was late afternoon and I was getting discouraged. The next individual seemed really committed, and we even arranged a pickup time. An hour later he messaged me, apologized, and said he was bummed but his roommate didn't want a couch like that in the house. I thanked him and moved on.

The next person I contacted said the couch would be for her son, and he wanted to know why we were getting rid of it. My explanation must have satisfied. Ten minutes later, her next message said that the son had just been Covid quarantined and wouldn't be able to come and help load it (and by the way, Son didn't live with them and hadn't been at the house for weeks). I told her that I was sure Tony would be able to supply the necessary muscle.

This afternoon I got a text from the woman telling me she and her husband were on the way. They showed up right at the time they said they would in a pickup truck with a trailer hitched to the back. I opened up the garage door, the husband backed the truck in. Five minutes later the couch was loaded and strapped down, and the people drove out of the garage and on their way.

Five years ago today: Gettting Rid Of The Temptation

Sunday, January 16, 2022

The Rules

Recently I was shopping at a store the had merchandise on both the main level and the basement. As I was walking down the stairs to the lower level I saw this fabric wall sign that made me chuckle:

In case the photo is hard to read, here are THE RULES.

  1. The FEMALE always makes THE RULES
  2. THE RULES are subject to change at any time without prior notice.
  3. No MALE can possibly know all THE RULES.
  4. If the FEMALE suspects the MALE knows all THE RULES she must immediately change some or all THE RULES. 
  5. The FEMALE is never wrong.
  6. If the FEMALE is wrong it is due to a misunderstanding which was the direct result of something the MALE said or did.
  7. The MALE must apologize for causing said misunderstanding.
  8. The MALE is always wrong.
  9. The MALE may be right if he agrees with the FEMALE unless she wants him to disagree.
  10. The FEMALE may change her mind at any time.
  11. The MALE may never change his mind without the express written consent of the FEMALE.
  12. The FEMALE has every right to be angry or upset at any time. 
  13. The MALE must remain calm at all times unless the FEMALE wants him to be angry and/or upset.
  14. The FEMALE must under no circumstances let the MALE know whether she wants him to be angry and/or upset.
  15. The MALE is expected to mind read at all times.
Five years ago today: The Evidence Is Orange

Thursday, January 13, 2022

Seating Snafu

Last April Hubby Tony and I purchased a pair of love seats for our living room area. We put a deposit down, and the store told us they would be ready to be delivered at the beginning of September, approximately 20 weeks later. At the end of August I got a call that because of production delays the delivery date was being pushed back into December. At the end of November another call pushed the date back again-this time into February. 

On Monday I came out of the gym and saw that I had missed a call from the store. This time, though, they were calling with good news. Our love seats were in and ready to be delivered! I called the store back and arranged the delivery for today. Their policy is to call the day before with a three-hour delivery window. This afternoon the truck actually showed up two minutes before the beginning of the window but I didn't mind at all.

The first thing the two workers did was move our old couch into the garage. The new seating was more modular (the back cushions were detached from the base), which made for lighter loads to bring in but more of them. When everything was inside one of the workers put all the pieces together and the other one went back outside and organized the truck.

At the end of the installation I discovered a big problem. One of the loveseats had manual lift footrests (which is what we ordered). The other one had power footrests. Both of the pieces float in the middle of the room. There are no electrical outlets for a power footrest plug in the middle of the floor.

 The worker was extremely apologetic. He called the office, took photos of the tags on the underside of both pieces, told me the store office would call, and left. Twenty minutes later the office did call. The man was falling all over himself to apologize. According to the invoice the correct pieces were ordered; the mistake was on the part of the furniture company. Hr said he wanted to know what the store could do to make it right, but before I could say anything he offered to give us a rechargeable battery pack for the power seat. 

I discussed it with Tony and we thought that was a sensible solution. Next week we get to wait around for the battery pack delivery. In the meantime, Tony and I will enjoy using one of our new seats.

Five years ago: Free To Good Home

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

A Movie For My Day

Today I completed another trip around the sun. It turned out to be a wonderful day.

Over the course of the day I received birthday wishes via text, email, and Facebook. After breakfast I went for a chiropractor adjustment (scheduled specifically for today because I always feel so good afterwards). On the way home I took advantage of my free birthday drink at Starbucks. 

Back at the condo there was a beautiful flower arrangement from Hubby Tony waiting for me on the kitchen island. I took care of some paperwork and then Tony and I left together. We headed towards a movie theater just a couple of miles away which has a promotion on Tuesdays that offers tickets for five dollars, and free popcorn if you're enrolled in their rewards program. 

Tony had bought tickets online, and we were able to pick our specific seats before we got there. The auditorium was sparsely populated, and there were no other people anywhere near to us. The comfy seats reclined, and we could raise the arm rest between us.

We watched American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story, which told the story of the National Football League Hall of Fame quarterback who went from stocking shelves at a supermarket to becoming an American Football star. Kurt played for the Rams in St. Louis, and during the 1999-2000 season led the team to the Super Bowl. The movie was as much about his relationship with his girlfriend (and then wife) Brenda as sports, and had some very heartwarming scenes.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Bittersweet Goodness

Did you know that today was National Bittersweet Chocolate Day

Every type of chocolate starts with beans from a cacao tree. They're harvested, fermented, and dried, and roasted. Then the roasted skin is removed, the beans are cracked into nibs, and the skin is winnowed away. The nibs are ground, then conched (heated and stirred with the additional ingredients), tempered (cooled), and molded.

I've never met a chocolate I didn't like, but I adore the dark and bittersweet types. Neither contain milk or milk solids. Both have a high percentage of cacao, but bittersweet (as you might suspect) has a bit less sugar than dark.

Coincidentally, yesterday I had received some truffles from a local chocolate shop. After dinner was cleaned up, in honor of Bittersweet Chocolate Day I treated myself to an Italian Espresso Truffle. The dark, chocolately, bittersweet flavor was just what my taste buds were looking for

Five years ago: Registration Completion

Saturday, January 8, 2022

Being A Little Unconventional

Yesterday afternoon I had some business to take care of near the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Hubby Tony came with me, and we decided to have dinner on the way home. 

UMSL is a predominantly commuter campus nestled into a residential area. Google told me there were a couple of college-type bars near to it, but nothing I would want to visit. Tony and I could have gone north into downtown Ferguson, but I know most of the restaurants there, and we were looking for something different.

I expanded my Google search south and west and came up with some interesting sounding restaurants. Unfortunately, both the barbecue and Korean places that had great reviews were carry-out only (which doesn't work when the temperatures are just slightly above freezing). However, the Yelp page of the Mexican restaurant told me that they "specialized in Latin food with an emphasis on Mexican and Central American dishes". One of the pages of their online menu had a collection of Honduran items. As far as I know I've never had food from Honduras, so we decided to go there.

The restaurant was in a very small building. The parking lot was completely dark. If there hadn't been an Open sign in the window I would have assumed the staff had taken the night off. We walked in, found out we could sit anywhere, and took a booth along the wall as far away from the door as possible. (Nothing's worse than having a cold blast of air hit you every time the door opens.) After the waitress brought chips and salsa and took our drink orders I looked around and realized that we were the only non-Hispanic people there, which is usually a sign of good ethnic food.

Seven of the eight menu pages were devoted to Mexican food, but I immediately turned to the unfamiliar page. There wasn't much description of the items, but the words tilapia, pollo, and carne asada gave me a sense of what was in those dishes. When the waitress came by Tony tried to ask her a question, but her English was very limited. He decided that Tacos Honduernos would be a safe choice. I got a little more exotic and ordered Plantanos Honduernos. I love plantains, but I've never seen them on a menu before.

The chips came straight out of a bag, but the red salsa was some of the best I've had. The creamy green salsa had quite a kick. It took a while to get our food, but when it arrived I found out it was worth the wait.

My plate contained a
nice-sized pile of fried plantains, accompanied by scrambled egg, sour cream sauce, refried beans, avocado slices, and crumbled queso fresco. Tony's tacos were filled with chunks of pork, rolled, and covered with a layer of very finely shredded cabbage and marinated onions.. They looked more like a fat taquito than a traditional taco. We always share our entrees, and tonight was no exception.

As we exited the building there was another party of non-Hispanic people coming in, and I overheard one say to the other that even though he wasn't particularly hungry this place was so good he would be ordering a complete meal.  I didn't want him to think I was eavesdropping so I didn't answer....out loud. In my mind I was definitely agreeing with him.

Five years ago: Waa! Waa! Waa!

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Crossing My Fingers...

I was at the post office today to mail a package that contained a cute little glass tumbler. When I bought the glass, the store associate wrapped it tightly in a large sheet of paper. In preparation for mailing it, I swaddled the wrapped glass inside a thick strip of padding, then slid everything into a 8 inch square box. A second piece of padding filled up the remaining empty space. When I was done I shook the box and didn't feel any movement. The tumbler was completely secure.

At the post office the clerk asked me the standard Hazmat question: "Does this parcel contain anything fragile, liquid, perishable, or potentially hazardous, including lithium batteries and perfume?”

I replied that there was glass, and hit the yes button on the screen. The clerk printed out the label and attached it to the package. I know that boxes can really get jostled around, and I asked the clerk if she would please stamp the box fragile.

The clerk rolled her eyes a little, then grabbed a red Fragile stamp and applied it to the front of the box four times. Then she applied the stamp at least that many times on the other five sides of the box. When she was done there wasn't much cardboard that didn't have red on it.

I hope that's good enough to get the glass to its destination in one piece.

Five years ago: Sun Up

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Pillow Perfection

For quite a few years I've been using therapeutic pillows recommended by my chiropractor. Each long edge of the pillow has a different sized section of memory foam. I flip the pillow over to the correct side to support my neck depending on if I'm laying on my side or back.

However, the last pillow I got didn't seem to last as long as it should have. The foam on the side I used the most started breaking down, and there was an indentation right in the middle of it. When I realized that it was time for a new pillow I decided to research other options. I looked in multiple stores, but the number of styles was overwhelming. How do you figure out what type of pillow would be comfortable, short of buying one to take home? And then if it's not, finding the time to return it.

At the beginning of December I went to the library to research something in Consumer Reports. The library staff hole punches the magazines for each year and places them in a binder. I quickly got the information I came for for, but as I was closing up the binder I saw a teaser on the front cover of a different issue for reviews of pillows. I turned to the article and took a photo of their recommendations for the best ones.

When Hubby Tony asked me for suggestions for Christmas presents, my list included a Coop Home Goods Original pillow, top-rated by Consumer Reports. On Christmas morning I opened a long, narrow box and found my new pillow--rolled up tightly and enclosed in plastic. When I took it out of the plastic the pillow was completely flat, but the instructions said that tossing it in the dryer for a short time would allow the memory foam to plump up. The instructions were spot on. Fifteen minutes later the pillow was fluffy and ready to use.

It took a couple of nights to get used to the firmer pillow, but now I can't imagine sleeping without it. My neck is supported no matter which way I'm laying in the bed. Each morning I give it a shake to get rid of any dips and it's ready to use again.

Five years ago: Package, Package, Who's Got The Package?

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Celebrating The End Of Another Year

New Year's Eve was another wonderful weather day in my area. Hubby Tony and I did our best to enjoy it. After lunch we stopped for coffee on our way down to the Central West End neighborhood, where we went to a matinee screening of the new version of West Side Story at the Chase Park Plaza. The hotel was setting up for an evening event. I was thankful I would be gone before the hordes of people arrived to ring in the new year.

Floors so polished they reflect the lights

Tony had bought our tickets online, but we still had to wait in line at the cinema concession stand, which also doubled as a ticket collection station. Everyone in line was masked. The theater showing the movie was set up with two-seat rows on one side of the aisle, and we selected one of those. However, any row would have worked; the room was empty enough that patrons could spread out. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this version of the movie. I thought it was a little more realistic than the original one (or as realistic as a musical can be). All of the singing was fantastic, and some of the dancing moves were reprised from the original version. Rita Morino, who played the character Anita in the original movie had a part in this one as the owner of a drug store.

After the movie let out it wasn't even 5 pm yet, so Tony and I walked around a little bit to kill time, then ended up at Shake Shack for dinner. I used to eat there on a regular basis, but that was before Covid times. The food still tasted as good as I remembered. We got sandwiches and split an order of fries, then went back for shakes.

 A couple of decades ago those activities would have just been Act I of a proper New Year's Eve. This year they were the entire show. We were home before 6:30. At 9 pm (midnight in Rio de Janeiro) we broke out some fizzy water, toasted to the new year, and headed to bed.