Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Old Cat, New Tricks

Jackson the Cat's 21-year old body doesn't work as well as it used to. He has to work really hard to get up on the couch, and can't jump onto the bed at all. He still wants to take his morning nap there, though, and has a system to insure that happens. Jackson waits until either Hubby Tony or I come into the room, then goes into an elaborate pantomime where he looks at the bed, then at the person, and back at the bed until we pick him up and deposit him on the mattress.

 But our old cat seems to have learned a new trick. A couple of days ago Tony asked if I had put Jackson on the bed. I told him I had not. The next day the same thing happened. We figured out that Jackson was climbing onto the bottom shelf of Tony's bedside table, which cuts the distance to the top of the bed in half.

Five years ago: Am I Right, Or Are You?

Monday, May 29, 2023

Memorial Day Movement

Back before the trees leaved out, on Sunday mornings when I was on my way to work I would see cars parked on a road paralleling the highway. One day Hubby Tony and I decided to figure out why they would be there, and ended up finding a trailhead for Emmenegger Nature Park. We walked through the park, and on the way back we saw an entrance for the new I-44 multi-use trail bridge that went over the Meramec River. We said we'd have to come back and use it some day.

Today ended up being that day. Normally Monday afternoon finds me at the church to make dinner for the two priests that live there, but I have an arrangement with the pastor not to come in on civil holidays, so today I was completely free. Tony and I decided to take our bicycles out for the first ride of the season. After breakfast was cleaned up we got the bikes out of the storage area. I had to put the battery on (you may remember that both Tony and I have electric bikes), air in the tires, and find my helmet.

We left the condo and made our way east, then south. Most of the roads didn't have a dedicated bike lane, but traffic was light. Our first stop was at Emmenegger Park for a bathroom break. There was so much cottonwood fluff flying through the sky it looked like it was snowing, and the fluff covered the grass in a thick, unattractive layer.

We left Emmeneger and turned onto the trail. It was cool to be next to, but safely separated from, the highway traffic on the left. On the right I could look down and see the river. At the end of the overpass a cloverleaf led down to ground level. We crossed the road and headed south. The flat, shady greenway paralleled the Meramec River. There were very few people using it.

Ten seconds before I took this photo there was a duck convention on the asphalt. They quickly moved to the grass, then flew away when I got closer.

Ultimately the greenway meanders through Old Town Fenton. We went east and crossed the Meramec again, this time riding directly on a two lane bridge and turned into Minnie Ha Ha Park. At the back of the park there's the start of a trail that parallels the other side of the river. We rode until the park ended, then doubled back. We passed by a lovely nature area, where I saw flowers that were white but looked like bluebells. When I got home the Missouri Department of Conservation told me I was right in my assessment.

 Since we were already on the correct side of the river we came home a different way. The first two roads didn't have bike lanes or even much of a shoulder, but once again traffic was light. Thanks to my bike's electric motor I didn't feel like I was holding up the cars.

When we got home I did a rough estimate on how far we had ridden. It was close to 20 miles. Don't be too impressed, though. Unless I was coasting down an incline I always used some type of battery power assist. The steeper the hill, the more assist.

Sunday, May 28, 2023

A Walk Through History

Hubby Tony and I are trying to get as much out of the three-day Memorial Day weekend as we can. I saw an announcement in the Things to Do section of the community paper about a hike taking place this afternoon called Walk Through History I asked Tony if he wanted to go (and if so would he call and make the reservation). The answer to both questions was yes. Just like that we had plans.

The walk started at the Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site and promised "fun, fitness, and history on a three-mile walk through Grantwood Village". Tony and I knew a little bit about Grant-he was the commanding general during the Civil War, led the Union Army to victory over the Confederacy and the 18th President of the United States. We had visited the Grant site before, where we learned how he fell in love with and married Julia Dent and received farmland from her father, but neither of us knew anything about the surrounding neighborhood.

We were to arrive at the visitor center 15 minutes before the tour started. I was afraid we would get caught up in the traffic to get to Grant's Farm (an animal preserve owned by the Busch beer family), but there was no problem getting into the parking lot. In the end there were several dozen people on the tour.

 White Haven Farm map National Park Service

 Before we left the visitor's center the tour guide laid out the itinerary. We would walk through the Grantwood Village subdivision and learn a little about its history. We would cross one fairly busy road (Rock Hill) on our way to the place where Hardscrabble, the log cabin Grant had built by hand had been located, then take an alternate way back. He said we should walk against traffic on the left side of the road and look out for cars and stressed when we reached Rock Hill not to cross until we got the go-ahead. 

Every couple of blocks the guide stopped to let the stragglers catch up and share some history. I learned that after Grant lost his fortune in 1884. He turned the land over to William Vanderbilt to settle his debt. Luther Conn, a former Confederate Officer acquired the property in 1888. Conn had became so impressed with Grant while owning the property that he renamed the place "Grantwood". The first houses were built in the early part of the last century, but the section we walked through was developed in the 1950s.

Once the group got across Rock Hill our guide pointed out the memorial for the site of the Hardscrabble cabin. The cabin was moved several times and now is at Grant's Farm, but there was a plaque to commemorate the original location.

By the time we returned to the visitor's center I was hot and thirsty. The guide offered a tour of the inside of the White Haven house to anyone who was interested, but Tony and I agreed we didn't need to see it a second time and headed back to the car.

Five years ago: Rearview

Friday, May 26, 2023


This morning my horoscope in the newspaper said:

Capricorn (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) — Today is an 8 — Discover unexpected serendipity along the road. Your research turns up a treasure. Luck follows initiative. Savor truth, beauty and goodness. Make a lovely discovery.

The Cambridge Dictionary told me that serendipity was "the fact of finding interesting or valuable things by chance". At the beginning of the long Memorial Day weekend with a forecast of beautiful weather and not many plans the concept sounded wonderful. I wondered what interesting things would be revealed. For the rest of the day I tried to find them.

In the morning Hubby Tony and I went our separate ways, but we were both back home by noon. He fed Jackson the Cat and I took a cat nap. After I got up we talked about what the rest of the day would be about. It felt like we were both looking for an adventure, so while we ran essential errands we tried to sprinkle in unique experiences along the way.

Tony was the driver. First we did the have tos. Tony dropped off some checks, we went to a discount club, came back home to drop off perishable items, then headed to a food distributor store for an item the discount club didn't carry. 

After the have tos came the want tos. Tony parked in a far corner of a parking lot next to the trailhead of the Deer Creek Greenway. As the weatherman predicted, the weather was lovely--upper 70 degrees Fahrenheit and low humidity, with the sun warm enough the shade felt really good. 

We came across a double air walker exercise machine installed just off the path, stepped on, and tried it out. A couple of minutes later I saw purple splotches on the path, evidence of nearby mulberries. I looked around until I found the trees and picked a couple of ripe berries to eat. They were small but flavorful.

When the park trail ended Tony and I looped around on subdivision streets to return to the park.  We both enjoy observing different neighborhoods and this was a good one, with a nice variety of houses and landscaping. 

Back at the car, Tony drove around until he saw The Piccadilly at Manhattan restaurant, one that's been on his list to try. Even though it wasn't 5:00 yet we decided it would be okay to get dinner. We ended up splitting a pork steak special, which came with baked beans and cole slaw, and added a house salad.

When the food came I was too busy dividing up the 24 ounce pork steak to remember to take a photo. The meat was an inch and a half thick and covered half of the large platter. It was fork-tender and coated with a perfectly sweet and tangy barbecue sauce. The sides were obviously made in house. The salad was acceptable, but I found myself wishing we had added more beans and slaw instead. We ended the meal with a piece of key lime pie.

Five years ago today: Watery Closet

Thursday, May 25, 2023


A man was flying from Seattle to San Francisco, and the plane had a layover in Sacramento. The flight attendant explained that if the passengers wanted to get off the aircraft the plane would re-board in one hour.

Everybody got off the plane except one gentleman, who was blind.

Another man had noticed him as he walked by. He could tell the gentleman was blind because his seeing eye dog was laying quietly on the floor in front of him. He could also tell the blind man had flown this flight before, because the pilot approached him and said, "Keith, we're in Sacramento for an hour. Would you like to get off and stretch your legs?"

The blind man replied, "No thanks, but maybe my dog would like to stretch his legs."

Picture this:

All the people in the gate area came to a complete standstill when they looked up and saw a pilot wearing sunglasses walk off the plane with a seeing eye dog. People scattered. They not only tried to change planes, but they were even trying to change airlines!

Five years ago: Let's Dance

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

You Almost Fooled Me!

My email Inbox is set to Exclusive; only addresses I've whiteboarded show up there. However, the system isn't perfect, so I still look at the Spam folder to make sure nothing was directed there by mistake.

This morning I was deleting all the spam that showed up overnight when I came across a message from Best Buy Customer Support. Normally I wouldn't think twice before sending something like this straight to the trash. However last week we purchased an appliance from the company so I took a closer look.

When I saw the subject was You have won an Lenovo Thinkpad the message quickly joined its unsolicited brethren in the Deleted Items.

Five years ago today: Is There A Space For Me?

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Present Production

Earlier this week I looked at the calendar and realized Hubby Tony and I missed the window to get a birthday present mailed to Granddaughter Gee so it would arrive by her third birthday.

It's really hard to have kids living halfway across the country in California. Between the two of them and their families there are ten people, each with a special day. We've cut it close once or twice, but this is the first time we've completely disremembered. (And hopefully the last.)

After thinking about the present prroblem for a while I came up with a solution. Envelopes travel faster through the mail than packages, so Grandma and Grandpa just needed a present that could fit in an envelope.

Tony and I went to the craft store and bought a package of six coordinated balloons-some plain, some decorated. Then we swung by the drug store for a card. Back at home home, I blew up one of the plain balloons and asked Tony to hold the bottom closed while I wrote a greeting with permanent marker.

After we were sure the marker had dried Tony deflated the balloon. We signed the card, put the special balloon inside, slid the card into its envelope, and then slid that and the rest of the balloons into a manila envelope. Tony took the envelope to the post office the next day.

The present showed up right when it needed to. Today we received belated photos and videos showing the birthday girl (and her little sister) with the balloons. Their mom wrote that they "had a blast" playing with them.

The next family birthday (for twins Dee and Ell ) is at the end of June. Tony and I are already throwing around ideas for their presents. 

Five years ago today: Downright Departed

Friday, May 19, 2023

By Day And By Night

At the beginning of May an exhibit called Chihuly in the Garden 2023 opened at the Missouri Botanical Garden. It features 20 of the glass artist's sculptures sited throughout the grounds. The exhibit is free with daytime garden admission (which is free to us since we are members of the garden). In addition, they are also offering ticketed Chihuly Nights, where the sculptures are illuminated after dark.

When tickets for Chihuly Nights went on sale at the beginning of March I told Hubby Tony that I thought it would be a great activity for Mother's Day and purchased tickets accordingly. Last Sunday we were eating dinner when I received an email that the event was cancelled because of severe weather forecast to move through the area. The message said that the tickets were non-refundable, but could be used any other night the exhibit was open (Thursdays through Sundays through August 27). After checking our calendars and weather apps Tony and I decided to go last night. 

Back in March when we bought the tickets I didn't stop and think just how late "dark" would be in mid-May. Sunset is at approximately 8:10 pm, with last light a half hour after that. Most nights I'm settled in the house by 8:00 at the latest. The Botanical Garden is a 20-minute drive from the house. I knew that if we waited too late to leave it would be difficult for me to get moving, so we decided to arrive early and see the contrast between the pieces between sunny and dark.

Tony and I usually go to the Garden on weekday mornings when there aren't many visitors. Last night the walkways were crowded with people. Our plan was to visit all of the installations, but when we saw the crowd inside the Climatron (a geodesic dome conservatory) we decided to pass on those. After one loop around we sat and let it get nice and dark before we ventured out again. 

The contrast between natural light and artificial light was amazing. Some of my favorites were:

Vermilion and Canary Yellow Tower
River and Cobalt Fiori

 Summer Sun

Neodymium Reeds on Logs

Vivid Lime Icicle Tower

Red Reeds

 Five years ago today: Any (Facebook) Friend Of Yours Is A Friend Of Mine

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Adventures In Dishwasher Shopping

When Hubby Tony and I moved into our condo three years ago we inherited all the kitchen appliances. They weren't new,  but they worked well. A couple of months ago the dishwasher decided to start misbehaving. The heated dry cycle was non-existent, and based on the length of time it took for a load to finish washing I suspected that cycle wasn't too far behind.

I went to the library, looked at the Consumer Reports magazine, and determined that the Bosch brand was the way to go. At the beginning of April Tony and I stopped by an independent appliance dealer to do some research. The associate agreed with our assessment of the brand, but said that because of supply chain issues it was hard to keep the brand in stock. He tried to steer us toward something else, but we thanked him for his time and left.

Then life happened and the new dishwasher project got put on hold. At the beginning of this week, after Tony hand-dried an entire load of clean dishes, it got resurrected. He did some additional website research and determined that both Best Buy and Lowe's would be an option. We made a date to visit one or both of the closest locations of those stores today.

However, I was talking with a friend this morning and learned that there was a Best Buy Outlet store in the Chesterfield Valley. I pulled up the store website and found out that they carried the Bosch brand. The store didn't open until noon, but after we fed Jackson the Cat an early lunch we headed towards the area because both big box hardware stores have locations at Chesterfield Commons, which has designated itself as the longest outdoor strip mall in America.

We browsed at Lowe's, then headed down to Home Depot. Research done, we walked across Chesterfield Airport Road (the main thoroughfare) to the outlet store. Because I've always navigated the area by car, I had never noticed there was a crosswalk and walk sign, but they made the trek across the four-lane road much safer.

At the outlet store we found an upgraded Bosch model for just a little bit more than we would have paid for a model with less features across the street. The tag said it had a dent, but both Tony and I looked closely and couldn't see it. Even the sales associate couldn't point it out.

Five years ago: No Reaction Whatsoever

Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Picking Toilet Paper

Today was a stock up grocery shopping day. One of the things on my Aldi list was toilet paper, a household essential, but something I hate spending money on.

When I turned into the aisle I noticed just how many different types of TP were on the shelf. Aldi carries very few name brands, but that doesn't mean that they don't offer choices to their customers. Their six store brands had posh and sophisticated names:

  • Essential
  • Strong and Plush
  • Ultra Strong
  • Ultra Soft
  • So Soft
  • Thick and Soft

With the exception of the Essential brand, all of the labels proclaimed the contents were "premium" (whatever that means when the product is a long strip of white disposable paper rolled around a cardboard core).

I can never remember what brand I bought the last time, but I know that the size, weight, and ply vary greatly from one brand to another. I don't want something thin and itchy, but if the roll is too thick and fluffy it won't fit on the holder.

I stood in the aisle for a couple of minutes trying to figure it out, then decided on a mid-price package of 18 rolls. Back at home, I figured out that I had chosen the same brand last time. It was good enough for the past few months, and it will be good enough going forward.

Five years ago: Ventilation Competition

Sunday, May 14, 2023

In The Style Of....

I've been having a great time playing around with the Microsoft Bing Image Creator. You describe an image you want to create, and the AI returns options that you can edit and save.

My subject was Jackson the Cat, who tomorrow will make another trip around the sun. He'll be 21 years old (and if he was human, legal to drink)!

I started with a basic description of Create a painting of an orange and white tabby cat celebrating a birthday, then modified it to request different types of art. After the request is submitted, the page thinks for a bit, then shows four versions of your description. I chose the one I liked the best in each style and saved it to my computer:


  Pop art


Art Deco

 Five years ago: Winery Fun

Friday, May 12, 2023

Cost Of Cleaning

I bought my heavy winter coat at a 'pay by the pound' thrift store in 2020 just before Covid shut everything down.  I can't remember exactly how much it cost, but it was well under $10.

I try hard not to buy anything that needs to be cleaned. When I got it home I realized that the care label said Dry Clean Only, but since I didn't pay a lot I just consider the yearly cleaning to be part of its cost.

A couple of decades ago I got so busy when the weather heated up that I forgot to clean our winter outwear, and when the first cold weather showed up in the fall we had to put on the dirty stuff or freeze. Since that time I've made a point to get everything washed and ready as soon as there isn't a need for it anymore, so earlier in the week I dropped the coat off at a branch of a large local dry cleaner chain. They do a good job, and I can always find a coupon to bring the price down a bit.  

However, for this coat it's a crap shoot just how much the cost will be. Some years they consider it a plain garment. Some years they say because of the fake fur they have to price it as a premium garment (which costs four times as much). Of course I would prefer to pay the cheaper rate and keep the rest of the money in my pocket, but since the coat only gets cleaned once a year I just grin and bear any additional cost.

This year I won the cheap cleaning price contest. I went up to the counter with my coat and the latest coupons. The clerk looked at the care label, which says nothing about special treatment, and handed me a scissors to cut out the $4.65 Plain Garment coupon. She wrote the price on the receipt and told me I could pick up the coat today.

When I picked it up the clerk who assisted me said that Drop Off Clerk had made a mistake. I should have been charged the non-coupon price plus two dollars. When I asked how much that would have been, she said $7.

I wonder which clerk was correct? And I wonder how much I should budget for next year?

Five years ago today: Behindhand

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Best Of Both Worlds

Spring hasn't left the area yet, but I can tell it's heading towards the door. Over the weekend we turned the air conditioner on for the first time. (Twenty four hours later the temperature outside was low enough that we turned it off and opened up the windows again.)

Hubby Tony and I have decided we like having the bedroom windows open overnight. The outside sounds are soothing to fall asleep to, and the chirping birds are invigorating when I wake up.

When we lived in our big house, opening and closing up the house was a big deal. The family room, kitchen, and master bedroom each had multiple-window bays. All of the other rooms except for the smallest bedroom had two individual windows. Consequently, once the air conditioner went on it tended to stay on.

Our apartment-style condo only has six windows. It only takes a couple of minutes to open or close all of them, so Tony and I decided that until the weather gets oppressively hot and humid we'll have the best of both worlds. When the temperature inside the house exceeds the air conditioner thermostat setting, we close up and turn on the air conditioner. When the outside temperature drops below the thermostat temperature setting, we open the windows back up.

Monday, May 8, 2023

From Winter To Summer

Hubby Tony and I were out of town over the weekend for a fellowship business meeting. When we left on Friday morning I had on jeans, a bracelet sleeved shirt, and a lightweight jacket. Saturday it was a little bit warmer. I wore a short sleeved t-shirt and jeans, and my after-lunch walk left me a little sweaty. Sunday was the hottest day yet. I ditched the jeans for a denim skirt and was glad I did. The meeting ended at noon and I would have been miserable with covered legs.

Last night on the news I heard that the area had set a new high temperature for May 7th of 93 degrees Fahrenheit. Even though that level of heat will be gone in a day or so, by the end of May it will be back.  It was time to swap out the winter for summer clothes in my closet.

I got out the plastic tubs of off-season clothes,  then stepped into the closet and pulled out the hangers that held sweaters, sweatshirts, fleeces, and heavyweight dress pants. In their place I put t-shirts (short sleeve and sleeveless), capris, and cotton skirts. Sandals replaced leather shoes. All the cold-weather items were boxed up and stored until next fall.

I haven't followed fashion trends for years, and most of my wardrobe is from thrift stores. Some of the items I was hanging up are five or more years old. They're well made, with sturdy material and quality fasteners. The newer items are lesser quality. T-shirts (even ones with labels from high-end stores) are constructed with lightweight fabric, which pills or quickly gets holes. Fortunately I paid thrift-store prices for them, but it's annoying to have to replace things on a regular basis.

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Car Lock Crackerjack

A woman rushed into the drug store to pick up a prescription. When she got back to her car she realized her keys were locked inside.

Right next to the car there was a rusty coat hanger on the ground. She didn't know the first thing about using it, so bowed her head and asked God to send her some Help.

A couple of minutes later a bearded man on a beat-up motorcycle, wearing a raggedy leather vest and a biker skull rag pulled into the parking lot. He asked if she needed help.

The woman frantically said, "Yes, my daughter is sick. I must get home, but I've locked my keys in the car. Please, can you use this hanger to unlock my car?"

He said he could, walked over to the car, and in less than a minute the door was open.

The woman hugged the man and through tears said, "Thank You, God, for sending me such a very nice man."

The biker heard her prayer and replied, "Lady, I am not a nice man. I just got out of prison yesterday. I was in prison for car theft."

The woman hugged the man again, sobbing, "Oh, thank you, God! You even sent me a Professional!"

Five years ago: Closet Changing Season

Thursday, May 4, 2023

Car-Less Adventures

Right before the beginning of the St. Louis Cardinals Major League Baseball season the team ran a promotion-for $6 you could buy a ticket that also included $6 in "Cards Cash" to use at the concession stands. Hubby Tony purchased tickets for several games scattered throughout the season. The first one, a day game, was today.

Busch Stadium, where the Cardinals play, is downtown. Even though there are fewer people working in that area than their used to be, for day games parking around the stadium is harder to find and more expensive. Tony and I talked it over and decided to drive partway, then take Metro Link-our rapid transit system-to and from the game.


The Cardinals have tightened the rules on what you can and cannot bring into the stadium, but they still allow food. After we drove to a Metro Link station and parked the car, we walked a couple of blocks to get lunch, then walked back and bought our tickets. Round trip tickets were $5 each, and a day pass was the same price. We had no reason to get day passes, but why not?

The train was filled with people wearing red Cardinals gear. At the stadium station the vast majority of the riders exited, and the driver told us to "have a good time". However, the game was a stinker. The Cardinals scored two runs in their half of the first inning, but the Los Angeles Angels scored four runs in the second inning and six in the third.

Our seats were located on the sunny side of the stadium, and I felt like my sunscreen was failing, so when I suggested we leave and find a place to redeem our virtual cash Tony agreed. We ended up getting a tray of mini donuts drizzled with chocolate and vanilla icing.

 After we finished the donuts Tony and I decided to leave. As we exited through the turnstile I asked Tony if he was interested in using our Metro Link day pass for an adventure. We could jump on a train going east over to Illinois (something I've never done before) before we doubled back and headed to the station where our car was. He was game.

When the eastbound train arrived it had five cars, with only several passengers in each. We chose seats facing forward so we could see where we were going. The trip starts out underground, then goes above ground just before the Mississippi River and stays there. The first couple of exits are in neighborhoods I wouldn't want to walk in, but it was both interesting and sad to see once-elegant buildings now abandoned and blighted.


The Illinois route has two alternate ending points. Shortly before the train reached the first one the driver announced it was ending there and everyone would have to exit.  We got off, walked over to the other platform, and waited for the next train to come.

I don't ride public transit on a regular basis, and when I do there's always some type of adventure. This time was no different. On the train back to St. Louis an older gentleman (Man #1) came walking up the aisle speaking loudly to himself, then stopped at the door and plopped down on the floor so that his body was covering the entire exit. From the seat behind and catty-corner to me another older gentleman (Man #2) announced that Man #1 was OK; he did this all the time. I turned around and told Man #2 he was a good friend. A minute later Man #1 got up and walked back like nothing had happened.

The rest of the trip passed uneventfully.

Five years ago: Pepper On Pillow On Bed

Tuesday, May 2, 2023


In the past week we finished three of our 375-milliliter bottles of good balsamic vinegar, and the fourth only had a couple of tablespoons left. It was time for Hubby Tony and I to make another road trip to the Olive Oil Marketplace pick up more. 

[We stumbled upon the store in 2018. Even though it's a half hour from home, across the Mississippi River in Alton, Illinois, Tony and I think it's worth the drive. Their balsamic vinegar is the thickest and most flavorful I've ever found (and I've looked in a lot of places). I've been known to drizzle it on a salad straight up.]

As each bottle of vinegar became empty I rinsed it out thoroughly and set it aside, because the store gives you a dollar off a new bottle if you bring in the empty one. Last night I drained out the last of the fourth bottle and washed it, too. This morning I pulled out the store's bottle carrier and filled it with our returns. 

Tony drove. There was some road construction on both the interstate and the state highway leading to Alton, but traffic was light. When we entered the store the owner was busy with another customer, but we've been there enough to know the system-find something you want to taste and pour a sample into a tiny paper sample cup. Our empty bottles had held Garlic Cilantro, White Pineapple, Mango, and Traditional Aged Balsamic. By the time it was our turn we had decided to refill all of the bottles except the Mango, which I changed to Strawberry.

Business finished, it was time to walk around. Sadly, since it was Tuesday many of the independently owned stores were closed, but the architecture of the old Alton residences is fun to look at. Along the way we stopped at Post Commons, a coffee shop/restaurant in an old U. S. Post Office building and ordered coffee, which came in funky ceramic mugs.

On the trip home we decided to take surface streets instead of the interstate. When Tony pointed out we weren't too far from where I grew up and asked if I would like to visit the area. I said that sounded like an excellent idea. 

There were a lot of memories made in that growing-up house. My family moved into the newly-developed subdivision in the mid-1960s. I moved out when Tony and I got married in 1980. A friend who lived several streets away bought her parent's house when they downsized in the 1990s. I made occasional visits, but eventually she sold that house and there was no reason for me to go anymore.

Tony did a great job of remembering where to turn into the subdivision and how to navigate the rest of the way. Because the trees were so much bigger than they were back when we were dating he had trouble remembering the exact location, but he slowed down when I pointed it out. The house and yard were nicely kept. There was a car in front and we could see someone inside. Tony asked if I was interested in talking to the person, but I declined. From there Tony drove through the subdivision while I pointed out things. 

Eventually we reached the neighborhood park, where we got out and walked around.The playground looked the way I remembered it, and the man-made hill on the south side was still there. As a child I was more of a bookworm than an outdoor adventurer, but I did my fair share of playing on the paths through the forested area just past the hill. Now that area was just a jumble of vegetation, probably due to the fact that just beyond it is Coldwater Creek, where radioactive waste contamination was discovered after I moved away from the area.