Sunday, February 27, 2022

Wish You Were Here

Hubby Tony and I haven't gone out in large crowds much since Covid started, but when I got a post card from the St. Louis Symphony promoting their "Music of Pink Floyd" concert we talked about it, then ended up buying tickets for each other as a Valentine's Day present.

 Part of our thinking was that we knew that the Symphony was serious about health and safety guidelines. Before we could enter the building we had to show a proof of vaccination (or proof of a recent negative test for those who chose not to be vaccinated) and wear a mask the entire time we were in the building. Before the show and during intermission ushers walked around, using stern voices to  remind people about the rules. 

When Tony and I arrived just a couple of minutes before the doors opened we joined the line of people in the lobby. Once the doors opened it only took a couple of minutes to have our tickets scanned and enter the building. Powell Hall started out life as a theater, but has been the home of the Symphony since the mid-60s. Its Grand Foyer was modeled after the chapel in the Palace of Versailles. The walls are accented with gold leaf, the floor has red carpets, and the chairs and railings are covered in red velvet.

The building is opulent, but it also has excellent acoustics. We could hear clearly from our seats almost at the top of the auditorium. The band (guitar, bass, keyboard, drums, a singer, and two backup singers) was set up in the middle of the stage with a large clear plexiglass shield separating it from the symphony, which was arranged in a semicircle around the sides and back of the stage.. 

From my perspective at the top of the auditorium the conductor didn't seem to have much to do. Both sets of musicians paired together and played as one.  In the calendar section of Friday's newspaper the blurb had talked about hearing "lysergic classics", which I assumed meant the psychedelic, trippy vibe of some of Pink Floyd's music. The first half of the program ran through the Dark Side of the Moon album. After intermission they mixed songs from The Wall and Momentary Lapse of Reason.

Each half was almost an hour in length, but felt much shorter than that. At the end of the regular program Tony started gathering up his things to leave, but I told him I wouldn't leave my seat until the house lights came up. There were encores songs from The Wall, and Wish You Were Here. But then it was time to join the stream of people down the stairs to the lobby and out the door.

Five years ago today: Positive Penances

Friday, February 25, 2022

Tell Us What You Think

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from the Saint Louis Bread Company (AKA Panera) asking if I would like to participate in a session "to test some new flavors". To be considered, I had to fill out an application that asked what I thought of some of their current menu items, if there were any ingredients I didn't like or couldn't eat, and my availability for the scheduled dates and times. Several days later I received another message telling me I had been selected. 

My day to participate was today. I had a 15-minute time frame to show up at the company's Test Kitchen in a generic strip mall about ten minutes away from my house. Inside the building there was a table filled with plain brown paper bags. The woman behind the table asked for my name, then invited me to select any one of the bags to take with me. She said that by checking in I would receive an email link to the feedback survey, which had to be completed within two hours.

I drove home, opened the survey, and emptied the bag. Part of my agreement with the company was that I was not to disclose any information about the test. I will say that my bag contained two carry out containers, each holding an item to be tested. The items were similar, but had different toppings. I tasted each, then recorded my impressions on the feedback survey. At the end they wanted to know which item I liked better and why.

My reward for my time (other than feeling important because I got to express my opinion on something that might actually show up in the restaurant) was a yummy lunch today and a Panera e-gift card that will arrive in a couple of weeks.

Image - Katherine Ab / Pixabay

Five years ago today: Cats Everywhere

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Here We Go Again...

In the past four weeks there have been three winter storms pass through the area, each taking a chunk out of the middle of the week

  • Storm #1 brought substantial snow. Then the winter weather skipped a week, and things warmed up substantially. 
  • Two Wednesdays ago when Storm #2 arrived I wore a spring shirt and lightweight sweater to a morning event. Mid afternoon a front went through, it started raining, the temperature started dropping, and by the evening it was below freezing. We got a nasty combination of sleet and light snow.
  • Storm #3 came in according to schedule late yesterday, with dropping temperatures and rain (always a bad combination). This morning there was a little glaze on the street when I rolled out of bed. After a mid-morning break, a second wave was projected to start at noon and extend into the early evening.

Knowing that today I would likely be stuck inside I tried to sleep in, but my body had other ideas and I rolled out of bed at the normal time. Even though I read the paper thoroughly, and took my time doing the normal morning tasks, it was still only 9:00 when everything was done. Thanks to the multiple storms, I'd already done all the housework and cleaning jobs I wanted to do. Time to come up with some other activities!

I prepared and baked off some squash for future use, then cleaned up my mess. When Hubby Tony said he was getting a headache from trying to get through some daily meditations, I read them out loud for both of us.

A little before 11 I realized that the neighborhood roads had been salted and it looked like traffic was moving well, so I did a happy dance and suggested to Tony that we drive to the mall less than a mile away from us and walk. 

The facility was extremely empty. Half of the stores were dark, and I could only assume they would be closed for the day. We left the mall about an hour after we got there. The forecast was right about the start of the second wave of weather; driving home there was a steady stream of sleety stuff falling, and it came down most of the afternoon. I passed the afternoon reading, doing crossword puzzles, and fiddling on the computer until dinner time.

Most of the precipitation was out of the area by 4:00. The news sources reported that rush hour was a mess, but I didn't care because I had nowhere to be. Tony's scheduled meeting tonight switched over to virtual. My meeting tomorrow morning will be too. By the next time I need to leave the house I'm optimistic my drive will be smooth.

And I'm optimistic that we won't be repeating the winter weather dance again this year.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Taco Tuesday Twosday

I bet that you already figured out that today was 2-22-22,  a palindrome date which can be read the same way forwards or backwards. Throw in the fact that those twos all those twos happened on a Tuesday and it felt like a very unusual day.

Right after breakfast I drove Hubby Tony to the ophthalmologist's office so he could have his eye patch removed. Then we went to Costco and redeemed the reward certificate from our charge card. We had talked about celebrating Twosday by having tacos, so we headed towards one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. 

Along the way I remembered there was a new taqueria in the same strip mall and we decided to go there. However, we found out the taqueria was closed on Tuesdays. The restaurant didn't have any posted hours, but the door was locked and the lights were out. We decided to come home and eat leftovers, then get our tacos for dinner.

We did. They were excellent

 Five years ago today: Reform(er) School

Monday, February 21, 2022

What A Day!

Today was one of those jam-packed days.

  • Hubby Tony was gone when I woke up. I started some rice for dinner in the Instant Pot, ate breakfast, then realized it was really nice outside. I turned off the furnace, opened the deck door, and cracked a window in the bedroom to let some fresh air in. According to the weather people, after today it will be a long time before that can happen again. 
  • When the rice was done I carried the inner pot on the deck so the rice could cool off, then spooned it into containers and put all but one of the containers into the freezer for future use.
  •  After Tony returned we took a nice long walk. I started out wearing my lightweight winter coat, but halfway through took it off and wrapped it around my waist. The sun was shining, there were no clouds in the sky, and the birds were singing. All in all a perfect day to be outside.
  • Back at home, Tony and I each went to our offices to do paperwork and computer things. I managed to clear my backlog of emails and got caught up on blog post reading and commenting.
  • Shortly after noon I got ready to drive Tony to his big event for the day, which was cataract surgery at a nearby surgery center. After I dropped him off I went to get some lunch (and picked up a sandwich for Tony to eat after his procedure), then returned to the center and fiddled on my iPad until a nurse told me he was finished. 
  • Tony came out with a huge bandage over his eye, and in the car popped on a pair of dark glasses to keep the sun out. He wolfed down the sandwich, finished the cup of coffee he had brought out, and told me about his experience.
  • Back in the condo I left to run a quick errand. When I returned Tony was resting the couch. He stayed there until dinner time. I pulled out leftovers, we ate, and then I cleaned up and started the dishwasher.
  • Tony was expecting someone to stop by and drop off a binder for a project he's working on. When the person came they rang the door buzzer and I went downstairs to retrieve it for him.

I got a lot done today, but the thing I was proudest of? Remembering that it was President's Day, a Federal holiday. I did not check for mail.😀

Friday, February 18, 2022


It doesn't often happen, but my newspaper horoscope for today was spot-on. What it said (and how it applied to me).

You’re busy in the next four weeks! (Yes, I am. When the Covid Omicron variant was at its peak a couple of weeks ago I curtailed many of my out-of-the-house activities. Now that case numbers are falling again things are feeling safer, and I'm picking those activities back up. I also have a business meeting of a fellowship, and as the secretary I'm responsible for getting a lot of things distributed.)

You’ve got people to see and things to do! (Part of my increased activities involves catching up on appointments I put on hold. There is also the never-ending list of errands that need to be tackled. Since Hubby Tony retired he's helped me out with a lot of them, but for a couple of weeks his schedule is such that I'll be performing everything again.)

Short trips, increased reading and writing (I'm counting errands as trips. I will also be driving halfway across the state for the fellowship meeting. If the weather is good I hope to spend some time with Mother Nature. In addition to writing my own blog posts and keeping up with the ones in my reader, I will be gathering and reading reports for the business meeting, writing emails to follow up, and producing a set of minutes.)

Plus increased interaction with relatives will keep you on the go. (Our family chat group ebbs and flows, depending on what's going on. Recently there have been flurries of texts on different topics. Some of those topics will be continuing for a few weeks. I also have plans with friends who aren't blood relatives but who are like family to me.)

Wednesday, February 16, 2022


Back in December I needed to look at some special occasion dresses. The store preferred I make an appointment to come in, so I did. 

Two weeks ago I received an email with the subject line

KATHY You're a WINNER! FREE Pampering Package! CALL NOW!

The beginning of the message had photos of beautifully made up women. Underneath the photos the body of the message said that the woman got my email from the special occasion dress store. She told me she was the "preferred skin care and makeup vendor" for the store, and as such received many contacts each week. She had done a drawing and chose my name. I should contact her TODAY! 

In return for my call I would receive a facial with customized spa-like treatments, a pampering hand and lip treatment, custom color makeup, and MORE! If I were to invite others, they would get the same pampering, and I would get additional benefits.

If I wasn't interested I should let her know, and she would pick someone else. She was "super excited" to hear from me, and asked me to call or text because the store had not shared my phone number. The message ended by saying there were 'no catches' and she would 'explain everything' when I contacted her.

I had no desire to take the woman up on her offer, and when I Googled her name and found out she was an "Executive Sales Director" at Mary Kay Cosmetics I had even less desire. I replied to her message and told her to go on and choose someone else. She wanted to know why. I came up with a non-committal answer and considered the issue closed.

However, two weeks later I received the exact message again. This time it took me less than ten seconds to hit the delete button.

Five years ago today: Wrong-Really Wrong

Monday, February 14, 2022

Flora Afoot

Today was the first Valentine's Day we've celebrated since Hubby Tony retired. He has a standing Monday night meeting that he told me he would be happy to miss, but I told him that since he didn't have to work we could do our celebrating during the day. In the morning we took care of some individual business, but met up mid-morning for a lunch date.

This year we had agreed to pass on presents. I already don't use most of the jewelry I have and it seems wasteful to get more. Over the weekend we brought a box of chocolates to an event, and enough of it came home to cover the Valentine's candy needs. And as much as I adore flowers, in my opinion the quality isn't great on the holiday; I would rather have my bouquet on February 16th or 17th.

Before heading to the restaurant we had decided to find a different neighborhood to walk in. Tony did some research and found a subdivision that had streets named after flowers. As we strolled down Tulip, Azalea, Columbine, Violet, Camellia, and Honeysuckle we agreed that this was the best type of Valentine's flowers.

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Celebrating Female Friendships

Have you heard of Galentine's Day? The name comes from a 2010 episode of the TV series Parks and Recreation, where the character Leslie (played by Amy Poehler) throws a "Galentine's Day" party for her female friends the day before Valentine's Day. 

Since then more and more women have embraced the concept. I'd like to think that this group of long-time friends has too:

A group of 30 year old girlfriends discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally, it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the waiters there had tight pants and nice buns. 

20 years later at 50 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the food there was very good and the wine selection was good also. 

10 years later at 60 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because they could eat there in peace and quiet and the restaurant had a beautiful view of the ocean. 

10 years later, at 70 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because the restaurant was wheel chair accessible and they even had an elevator. 

10 years later, at 80 years of age, the group once again discussed where they should meet for dinner. Finally it was agreed that they should meet at the Ocean View restaurant because they had never been there before.

Five years ago today: How Dirty Is Your Mat?

Friday, February 11, 2022

Pricey Pussycat Provisions

Hubby Tony and I were out running errands this afternoon. One of our stops was the pet supply store to get food for Jackson the cat. 

We've had felines in the house for years, and for most of those used dry food because it was cheaper than wet and easier to serve. A couple of years ago, on the advice of the vet we changed over to canned food.  She gave us some suggestions for brands, and we chose the cheapest one. (Jackson has never met a cat food he didn't like.)

Changing Jackson's diet was a learning experience for both Tony and me. We found that cat food came in two can sizes - 3 ounce (single meal) and 5.5 ounces. The big ones cost less per ounce than the small ones. A large can of food lasts for a day's worth of meals. (Jackson also doesn't mind eating portions that come chilled from the refrigerator.)

The canned food prices and selection were pretty stable until Covid and then supply chain issues started. The manager of the pet store told us that so many people had bought quarantine pets that they were having trouble getting merchandise. All of a sudden the five flavors that had always been there dropped down to three.  

And the price went up a nickle.....then a dime.....then another two dimes. Tony had last purchased cat food about a month ago. Today we found out it would cost twenty percent more! I know food prices in general are going up, but Tony and I eat very little meat at home and I've not kept on top of how much it costs.

Jackson is going to be celebrating his 20th birthday later this year. We want him to be healthy for as long as possible. If we have to spend more money for that health we'll just grin and bear it.

Five years ago: Slurp, Slurp, Slurp

Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Take One, Leave One

The local chain of gyms I belong to has dozens of locations. I'm equidistant from two of them, but today I headed to the third-closest one because I like the Wednesday morning yoga class. The instructor goes slow and allows lots of time for each pose, and I leave there feeling nicely stretched out. Hubby Tony decided to go with me and use the machines. My class lasted an hour, then we reconnected by the front door and walked out to the car.

Neither of us had anything on the calendar for the rest of the day, so I took a scenic route home. The temperature was warm enough to spend time outside, so along the way we checked out the sidewalks to see if they were snow free and walkable for two people wearing athletic shoes. Sadly, most still had large stretches that were slush covered. 

Halfway home I was getting ready to turn left, but realized that if I turned right we could visit a couple of antique malls as part of my hunt for a living room side table. After we strolled through both malls, we figured out the sidewalks on this stretch of road were clear enough to walk on. We left the car in the parking lot and headed north on foot. Along the way Tony spotted this sign:

I had heard about exchanges like these, but it was my first time seeing one in person. It made me happy to see that there was a nice variety of warm things on the rack.

Five years ago: Just The Right Size

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Doo, Doo, Doo, Doo, Doo, Doo (Can You Guess The Song?)

Now that the winter weather from Wednesday and Thursday has moved out of the area, the digging out has begun.

Today, for the first time in almost a week the temperature was forecast to be above the freezing mark and I thought I would take a walk outside. Thanks to the snow removal people the sidewalks in the condo development are completely clear, but I forgot that not everything would be. Once I got outside of the development most of the sidewalks still had a deep layer of snow on them. The snow that had been removed from the driving lanes of the streets was piled up on the curbs. That meant that even walking along the edge would not be safe, so I reluctantly headed to the mall.

I guess everyone was feeling the same need to get out than I had. There were more people in the mall than normal, but it was still possible to keep a good social distance. With all the people, the background music was harder to hear than usual, but I caught snippets of a little ABBA, a little Bruno Mars, and some Lady Gaga. And then this.

I have never heard a children's song coming over the loudspeakers of any public place. Judging by the non-reactions of the people around me I don't think anyone else noticed. Were they not paying attention, or did they just not care?

Five years ago: It's A Winner!

Thursday, February 3, 2022

Hunker Down Days

We've lived in our condo for a little over two years. This is the third winter, and in that time there's been very little winter weather. However, yesterday and today have made up for that.

The weather people had been hyping this winter storm for days. Coincidentally, it was coming 40 years and a couple of days after the "Blizzard of 1982", where the area got somewhere between 14-18 inches and the city shut down for five days. Some forecasters said this storm had the potential to be close to that amount. (Fortunately, they were wrong; in the end the total will probably be closer to 8-10 inches).

During the day on Wednesday it was lightweight winter coat weather. After the sun went down it started raining, then the temperature fell, which meant the rain turned icy. Then the upper atmosphere cooled off and everything turned to snow. When I rolled out of bed yesterday the street light had some impressive icicles hanging off the edges, but there was nothing but a dusting of white stuff on the ground. It snowed on and off during the day, and by mid-afternoon there was a couple of inches. 

A snowplow went up and down the street. A worker cleared off the driveway, sidewalk, and walkway to the front of the building.   

If I didn't know better, I would have thought everything was over, but the weather people said that this storm would come in two parts. Part Two was forecast to start about the time I went to bed last night and last for about 12 hours.

MoDOT (the roads department) had asked people to stay off the roads, and it seemed like most people listened. The large road that runs in front of the condo development had very little traffic. Schools were closed and there weren't many places to go; I received a steady stream of emails and texts informing me of places closing early, or not opening at all.

This morning the wind chill factor had the temperature at a frigid 4 degrees Fahrenheit, and I had no desire to leave the condo. Instead, I busied myself with inside tasks. At Hubby Tony's request I put together an Excel spreadsheet that will help him when he gets ready to file the income taxes. I also cooked a pot of soup for lunch each day (on Wednesday it was Clean Out the Refrigerator Vegetable, and today was Sweet Potato with Apple and Sunflower Seeds). I also dusted all the window blinds, read, and fiddled on the computer.

By early afternoon today the heavy snow was over, although lazy flurries fell for some time after that. About 2 pm a snowplow came down the street, followed a little later by a salt truck. A worker shoveled off the sidewalk and walkway, and a small tractor tackled the driveway. I'm not breaking down the door to get out, but it's nice to know that I could if I wanted to.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022


I'm a big fan of numerical palindrome dates, and today is one of them. No matter if you write it American style (with the month and day first)  or British style (day, then month) and don't include the leading zeros to the month and day, you'll be writing nothing but twos.
And if that isn't enough, because palindromic dates seem to come in patterns, twenty days from now there will be a date (2-22-22) with even more twos. And to make it even more special that date will be a TUESday.