March 2017

March 2017

Thursday, June 30, 2011

We Need a Vacation!

Jim and I have never been more in need of a vacation.  Jim is averaging 12-hour work days, including weekends.  I honestly don't know what's keeping him going. And I've been logging extra hours managing the books while supervising several home projects.  We are definitely in overload mode.

Years ago, we decided to keep the business small.  The main deciding factor was how difficult it is to find good employees.  We currently have six full-time technicians, two part-time people in the office, and a part-time bookkeeper.  As busy as we've been since March, however, we could easily keep another technician busy full-time. But that means the expense of a seventh truck fully equipped and insured, and another possible problematic personality to manage.  We definitely, however, need more help in the office.

How does an owner control the growth of a business?  We don't advertise. But we've established ourselves as a trustworthy service provider who responds quickly. which is why the phone keeps ringing with referrals from happy customers.

It's time for a Board of Directors meeting to talk about the company's future, again. And I think a beach somewhere would be the ideal location :-)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Finally!

A week later than planned, the driveway was repaved today.  The original asphalt in front was over 30 years old.  The back was repaved once, 20 years ago.  It was clearly time for a new driveway.

Years ago, the next door neighbor replaced their asphalt with concrete.  Besides the huge expense, there are several reasons we never seriously considered that option. As "they" say, there are two things you can count on with concrete.  It will never be stolen; and it will definitely crack.  But I'll add another.  It will eventually get stained.

The best thing about asphalt is that a yearly sealing makes it look new again. Our new driveway, therefore, should last for several decades.  And, finally, we just might have a completed project that's "one and done."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sharing The World of Harry Potter

Elliott arrived yesterday afternoon for a sleep-over and stayed until his swim lesson today at 3:45 P.M.  So we had a nice long visit.  We built two Harry Potter Lego sets and watched parts of two Harry Potter movies.  And, instead of stories before bedtime, we spent an hour looking through the Lego Harry Potter Building The Magical World book.

I'm having so much fun sharing my love of all things Harry Potter with my grandson. I never expected it to be so soon, but Elliott is not an average five-year-old.  He's extremely bright, inquisitive, sensitive, and aware of everything around him.  And we've all noticed how much happier he is since school ended.

I'm not at all sure Elliott's preschool was a good fit for him, primarily because of his teacher.  Ms. Jackie seemed extremely militant with no patience for Elliott's displays of emotion and creativity.  And I'm not the only one who had a problem with her. Before the year ended, she ran off two teacher aides, one of which was Elliott's favorite.

One of Ms. Jackie's parting cautions to Emily was that Elliott would be upset about being dropped off in front of school, which is the system used to move cars quickly through the queue.  Of course, someone he knows will take him to class.  Last week, Ms. Jackie's warning was tested.  Elliott took a one-week art class at the school where he'll attend Kindergarten, and they used the drop-off system.  He handled it like a champ.

I hope Elliott's Kindergarten teacher is a better fit.  I've never known a five-year-old who's so eager to learn how to read.  Given the right environment, Elliott will be reading the Harry Potter books in no time!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Daniel!

Today my oldest child and only son is 36 years old.  He's happily married to a South Korean and living in her country. At 36, I had a 12-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter, and was a stay-at-home mom.  (A year later, we bought the family business, which put me back into the work force.)

When I was 36, I never dreamed I would eventually travel to England, Scotland, Amsterdam, France, and South Korea.  Daniel's already been to all those countries and many more.  If my memory's correct, it was my 36 year when Jim's mom treated all of the family to a Hawaiian cruise.  At the time, it was the furthest any of us had ever traveled.  Daniel's celebrating his 36 birthday in Japan.

Clearly, my son's life is nothing like mine was at the same age.  In fact, Daniel's living a life unique from anyone else on my side of the family or Jim's.  And it doesn't surprise anyone.  Happy birthday, Daniel, and continue staying true to the "beat of your own drum!"

Sunday, June 26, 2011

. . . And More Sales!

After mass and lunch, Jim and I went to Kohl's.  I got lucky and scored a 30 percent discount in my mailer.  It's good on all my purchases for a week, sale and full-price items.

Jim got sandals and swim shirts for our upcoming trips.  Of course, I also crabbed a few items.  One was a watch.  I probably have at least 25 watches, but all the batteries are dead.  For the $14.99 sale price plus the additional 30 percent discount, the watch cost the same as a new battery and saved me a trip to the jeweler's.  Before cell phones, I collected watches.  Now I just wear one when I fly and can't turn on my phone; or when I'm on the beach in Mexico and keep my phone locked in the room safe, so I don't have to worry about it.

As usual, the sales at Kohl's were insane.  And since it was the weekend, the parking lot was packed.  In addition to drastically reduced prices, they were giving away $10 Kohl's Cash for every $50 spent.  It's a great way to get repeat business.  For sure, I'll be returning as soon as we get back from our July vacation!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sales! Sales! Sales!

Today I helped stimulate the economy.  I met my shopping friend at the St. Louis Galleria and we had fun taking advantage of Macy's sales.  Nearly everything we bought was at least 40 percent off and reduced another 20 percent with our Macy's credit cards.  A lot of the items I got will be perfect for our upcoming beach trips. I'm excited to be bringing new things, including swimsuits I recently bought through LandsEnd.com at more than 50 percent off with free shipping.

All my new purchases mean even more purging.  For several months, I've been steadily getting rid of a lot of old clothes and shoes.  I simply no longer have mercy for anything I don't truly enjoy wearing.  Plus I'm realizing I don't need as many items if they all work.  Sometimes, less is best.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Movie Review + Updates

Today I joined Mike, Emily, and Elliott for an afternoon showing of Cars 2.  I thought the movie was cute, but long.  I can't believe how intently Elliott watched the entire thing.  He seems to be maturing so quickly these days.  I guess that's a good thing since he starts full-day Kindergarten in August.

The unfortunate thing about seeing a movie at the theater these days is the poor picture quality.  That is compared to our 1080p HD 40" flat screen at home.  I'm not technical enough to know the answer, but I'm sure it would make the price of a ticket even more difficult to swallow.  In the meantime, the industry is hyping 3D movies, which don't interest me at all.  And today we saw a preview for an upcoming 4D movie!

A few updates. . .  

The concrete slabs were poured this morning.  It'll take five days for them to cure.  That means the asphalt can't be laid until next Thursday, weather permitting.

I also heard from the doctor's office today about my cholesterol test results. Fortunately, the numbers are ideal, so I'm good for another year.  Thank you FoodNetwork and EVOO!



Thursday, June 23, 2011

Baby Gate

I suspect Emily didn't understand my frustration when I was watching Jonah.  I also think she thought it was gruel that Jonah and I mostly hung out in the basement playroom. Well, after a month of chasing perpetual-motion Jonah without Mike's help during the week, Emily now understands.

A few days into summer break, Emily's daily phone calls began to be primarily about how Jonah was driving her crazy.  He never sits still plus he's a climber.  Then the two naps a day ended, making things much worse.  One two-hour nap means an extremely long day of chasing, entertaining, and disciplining a toddler.

I stopped by the Jorgensens' house earlier this week and immediately saw why Emily was losing her mind.  When Jonah wasn't trying to climb the stairs, he was running from room to room.  The only way to watch him was to join the chase.

Today Emily finally cried "uncle" and installed two baby gates.  Now Jonah can be corralled into the half of the first floor that includes the music and play rooms.  I suspect the area will become a version of grandma's playroom and Jonah will actually start playing with his toys.  He may even learn to play with his big brother. And he'll still be able to run and climb when they play in the backyard at least once a day.  I think summer just got better for Emily, and the boys.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Can't Fight City Hall

Today started out great.  The asphalt pavers arrived at 7:00 A.M.  It was immediately clear they knew what they were doing and were eager to finish the job by noon.  Then the doorbell rang at 9:20 A.M.  It was Brian, the foreman.  We would not be getting a new driveway today after all.  Ballwin city hall came by and said the concrete slabs at the end of both of our driveways should not have been removed and would have to be replaced.  Now Gevers is scurrying to find a concrete company who can do the job tomorrow.

Gevers has been in business for 45 years and came highly recommended.  Yet, this was new information to them and I have no doubt that's true.  The plan was to replace the concrete slabs with asphalt for a smoother transition.  A couple houses down from us, a driveway that was paved within the last few years is finished just as Gevers had planned. So, this glitch is a new law, or no one was looking when the neighbor's drive was repaved.

The biggest frustration is that Ballwin will be putting in sidewalks on our side of the street next year.  We figured they would have been replacing the concrete slabs anyway because they were 30+ years old and cracked and chipped.  So what did it matter if they dug up asphalt or concrete?  Then today's delay became even more ridiculous when we learned our driveways will be modified to accommodate the sidewalk, which now means the new concrete slabs will be dug up.

I seem to be having the worse time getting things done.  First, my eye exam results in a second visit for a dilation.  Next, my new sunglasses are missing anti-glare protection, which means I need to go back when the correct lenses arrive.  Then today, besides the driveway delay, I find out at my physical that the lab failed to run the cholesterol test.  I'm just hoping my numbers don't require a second doctor visit!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Best Job I've Every Had

I just spent four hours on bookkeeping for the family business.  When we started, over 23 years ago, it took me 6-8 hours a week to manage the books.  Now it takes 15-20 hours. But, truth is, managing the books on my own, from a home office, is the best job I've ever had.  I love setting my own hours and answering to no one but myself.

Ideally we would like to some day sell the business.  However, I can't see us ever being able to completely retire as long as we're able-bodied.  I'm hoping, when the time comes, I can find, or create, a similar part-time situation.  For sure, it will not be watching babies or toddlers!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Taking Care of My Health

Today I had my first visit with a new dentist.  My old dentist closed his West County office earlier this year, but I didn't learn about it until the reminder call for my March cleaning. That's when I was told Dr. Lowe now only has a St. Charles office.  I'm still amazed he never sent a letter or postcard about the closing, and assumed I would travel to St. Charles just to see a dentist.

I selected Dr. Stadnyk based on Emily's recommendation.  His office is clean, efficiently run, and two minutes from my house.  However, I wish someone would have warned me that a first visit is an hour and a half!  There was a consultation and thorough exam followed by a cleaning and oral cancer screening.

For me, the worse part of practicing good health is the time it takes to see all the doctors. In the last couple of weeks, I've seen the optometrist and dentist, and visited the lab for annual blood work.  Next I have my yearly physical on Wednesday and will get my eyes dilated in two weeks.  But, after that, I should be good until my next teeth cleaning in October.

Despite all the time well-visits take, however, I'm extremely grateful for my good health. And I plan to do all I can to keep it that way for as long as possible.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Movie Review

Today we saw the sci-fi movie, Super 8.  It's J. J. Abrams homage to Steven Spielberg, specifically several of his movies from the 1980s and early 1990s.  While watching the film, I thought of E. T.: The Extra-Terrestrial, Goonies, and Gremlins.  It's a great PG-13 family flick.  In a few years, Elliott should enjoy it, especially since he's already trying to make movies.  When he gets his own iPhone, he could use the Super 8 app.  It's only $0.99 and, per Jim, easy to use.

A fun fact about the movie is that one of the main characters is from St. Louis. Previously, Gabriel Basso was best known as Laura Linney's son in the television series, The Big C.  I find all the behind-the-scenes trivia makes movies even more enjoyable.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Controversial Miniseries

Last night, using Roku, I accessed my Netflix Instant Watch account and found the controversial miniseries, The Kennedys.  I became interested in the series during production after seeing pictures of Greg Kinnear and Katie Holmes as President and Jackie Kennedy.  The make-up and costume artists did an amazing job!

I was really looking forward to the series but, in January, History announced they had dropped it.  The reason given was they no longer found The Kennedys a good fit for History viewers.  If you do a search, however, you'll find many theories as to the real reason it was dropped.

But after watching four episodes, I would agree that it's not a good fit.  The series is less about history and more about family drama.  Nevertheless, I'm sure I'll watch the entire series.  For me, the family drama makes the history lesson less boring and more entertaining.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Design With a Plan

Today I'm having fun putting the spare rooms back together.  Long ago, Daniel's room became a guest room.  I now call it the boys' room.  The main furniture pieces are a queen size bed and a play yard for Jonah.  The theme is sophisticated Disney, which should last a long time since the Jorgensens are Disney Vacation Club members.  It's also a good neutral theme, not catering to either Jonah's or Elliott's current interest.

When Emily moved out, I turned her bedroom into a hobby room.  It's a great space for all my craft supplies.  And I love being able to leave projects out until they're completed, which I couldn't do when I was using the kitchen table.  I'm in the process of giving that room a Parisian shappy chic theme.  The walls are now a deep rose and the main furniture is black and white.  There are also a few antique pieces in the room.

I've learned a lot about interior decor from a designer I use infrequently, HGTV, the web, and magazines.  In the last few years, I feel I've finally found a style I can live with for a long time.  Although I've been purchasing a lot of new items, mostly accessories, I know I will save money in the long run.  Before, I purchased items I liked in the store and tried to make them work at home.  They never really did and, eventually, went to charity.  Now I shop with a clear plan and end up with the perfect items.  If only I knew then, what I know now. . .

Thursday, June 16, 2011

It's a Win, Win, Win!

Last week the newest Harry Potter Lego sets became available online and in the stores. Since the last Harry Potter movie will be in theaters July 15, I doubt any more new sets will be made.  So I'm eager to add to my collection, especially since I've learned that Harry Potter Legos gain in value as time goes by.

To add to the excitement, Target has a special offer on Harry Potter Lego sets, old and new, this week.  With every set purchased, a second one of equal or lesser value is half off.  Or, in other words, buy one for grandma, get another one for Elliott at half price.

In the last couple of days, Elliott's taken home Hagrid's Hut and the new Knight Bus. Previously, he could only play with Harry Potter Legos at grandma's house, so he is beyond thrilled.  And I'm happy to now have more room on the basement project table, since I'm keeping most of my sets in their boxes.  Plus I now have a nice stock pile for special event gift giving, such as the first day of school, holidays, and birthdays.  It's a win, win, win!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dealing With Anxiety

This is day three of the spare bedrooms' facelifts.  The hobby room was finished this morning and I'm happy to report I like the color.  Whew!  I was hoping to spend most of today setting up that room, but it's not going to happen.

It was decided that the queen bed in the boys' room had to be dismantled.  That means I have mattresses (the memory foam system has two), a box spring, a frame, and bedding sitting in the hall and family room.  There's now no way I can move furniture back to the hobby room from where it's being stored in the master bedroom.  And that means two-thirds of the house is in disarray.

When things get this disheveled, I get extremely anxious.  I just have to keep telling myself it will all be over within 48 hours.  And the spare rooms will look so much better.  But it's at times like this I seriously wonder how I will ever get through a complete kitchen remodel.  I suppose it's a good thing I have at least two more years to mentally prepare.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Time to Be Grateful

I'm extremely grateful for the weather we've been having lately.  I hate running the air conditioner while getting work done in the house.  Yesterday the carpentry work began on the two spare bedrooms and the front door was opened and closed continuously all day.  I expect the same activity today.  So the air conditioner is off, but it's still comfortable due to mild temperatures.  We've also been getting some gentle rain, giving us a break from watering plants every day.

In addition to the current weather, I'm also grateful that the cicadas are finally gone. There are still a few, but nothing like we've had for weeks.  Seriously, the noise was deafening! Jim pointed out that we'll be 73 when the next major cicada infestation occurs, which also means Elliott will be graduating high school.  But as daunting as that sounds, it will still be too soon for me!

Monday, June 13, 2011

A Slow Death

Yesterday when Jim and I got to Bethesda, dad and mom were in the lobby.  Dad had already been there 45 minutes and decided to surprise us.  I know he meant it to be a happy surprise, but it wasn't.  Truth is, we find any "improvement" depressing.  If mom were recovering from a stroke or surgery, it would be different.  But, with Alzheimer's, "improvements" just delay the only true recovery, the blessing of life after death.

Alzheimer's is often referred to as a "slow death."  It's certainly true with mom.  We literally have been watching her die for over 10 years.  But as sad as that's been, the worse part is also watching the window of opportunity for dad to realize his dreams of travel quickly closing. He simply refuses to leave town while mom's alive. 

Dad's 80 years old with an inoperable artery that's 50-percent blocked. Nevertheless, he's more active than most people I know half his age, and lives alone. Mom never strains herself and is being cared for by a team of healthcare professionals.  I'm beginning to believe what Jim's been warning for years.  The odds are not in dad's favor.

Angie Dickinson's sister died of Alzheimer's when she was in her 50s.  When Larry King asked Dickinson what she would tell someone whose loved one had been diagnosed with the disease she said, "pray for death."  My prayers continue.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Let the Trimming and Painting Begin!

This week our two spare bedrooms are getting facelifts.  The windows and closets will be framed, and crown molding will be installed.  Both rooms will also be painted, which is long overdue.  I realized today that the current colors are at least 10 years old.

The three men doing the trimming and painting are excellent.  Last year they did our master bedroom and I'm still impressed with how well it turned out.  They are also extremely conscience.  They carefully covered the carpet and furniture and, at the end of each day, left the room just the way they found it so we could sleep.

This time around, it should be an easier job.  Neither room will need to be uncovered and set up until the work is completed.  Plus, I've moved most of the furniture out of the rooms, leaving plenty of space for maneuvering.  My only anxiety is over the wall colors I chose. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the guys don't end up painting either of the rooms twice.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Level Playing Field

This morning I went through my box of swim wear, preparing for our upcoming trips to the beach.  Fortunately, everything from last year fits.  But I still got rid of a couple of items I now find inappropriate for my age.

Years ago, I discovered swim shorts that I wear right over my swimsuit.  They fit like regular shorts but dry quickly.  With swim shorts, I am much more comfortable at the pool or on the beach. I don't have to look at my upper-leg cellulite or worry that part of my rear is hanging out. I always found it extremely unfair that men, essentially, wear shorts as swim wear, yet women are expected to expose much more than they ever would at any other time. Women's swim shorts level the playing field.

Swim shorts come in different inseam lengths.  Today I got rid of my shorter pairs, keeping only the ones that stop just above the knees.  And I now also have swim crop pants, which I found this year at L.L.Bean online.  Since I'm only 5'4", crop pants hit me slightly below mid-calf.  So, unless I develop cellulite on my ankles, I'm now covered over the long haul.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sad To See The End

It's sad when a good series ends.  Over the last couple of weeks, I've watched the complete series of Sports Night, using Netflix and Roku.  I saw the last episode just before turning in last night and I miss it already.

Sports Night ran from 1998 to 2000.  I don't know how I missed it.  But, apparently, I enjoy fast-paced heavy-dialogued series, because Sports Night has that in common with my all time favorite television show, Gilmore Girls.

I strongly recommend checking out Sports Night.  (The episode when Casey, one of the news broadcasters, learns about the internet is especially fun.)  Truth is, some of the old shows are much better than any currently being offered.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Eyes! My Eyes!

My last eye exam was in the summer of 2009.  That was the year the astigmatism in my left eye began making contacts extremely uncomfortable to wear.  After testing several brands, I finally gave up and began wearing glasses full time.  Because I had no vision complaints last year, I skipped my annual exam.  But I know I should see an eye doctor at least once a year, so I decided today that I wouldn't put if off any longer.  Plus, I've been wanting bifocal sunglasses and need a prescription that's less than a year old.

So today I went to LensCrafters at Chesterfield Mall.  Jim and I have gotten several pairs of glasses there, often getting an AAA discount.  Before today, however, I had never seen their optometrist.  But it was time to find an eye doctor closer to home.  My old doctor is only in St. Charles now.  He closed his West County office many years ago.

I was more than satisfied with my exam and feel comfortable with Dr. Miles.  The good news is my distance vision has not changed and today's tests found my eyes to be healthy.  My reading vision is weaker, but that's to be expected at my age.  Now the bad news.

I learned today that my extreme nearsightedness makes me susceptible to retina detachment.  There are some preventative treatments, but first I need my eyes dilated to see if there are any weak areas.  If there are, a laser surgeon will probably be able to fix them.  Dr. Miles did say the odds are that I'm fine and my retina will never detach, but -- I'm freaking out!  For sure, I'll be scheduling my dilation as soon as Jim can be my driver, and will not miss another yearly exam unless I'm bedridden!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

User ID and Password Frustration

Some days I just want to scream when asked for a User ID and Password.  It's impossible to stick with just one combination.  Either a site wants a a specific code, a certain amount of letters and/or numbers; or there's been suspicious activity, which means a completely new combination has to be created; or my User ID of choice has already been taken.  The more I use the Internet, the more frustrating this issue gets.

The irony is that User IDs and Passwords aren't even fail safe.  I had my ebay account hacked so often that I closed my auction business.  My ATM card's Password has been stolen twice and I don't even use it online.  And, recently, I had to change the password to mom's checking account due to suspicious activity.

I look forward to the day when User IDs and Passwords are replaced with voice or thumbprint reconnection.  Until then, a tracking app would be great.  Does anyone know of such a thing?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Stress of Having Senior Parents

This morning I did two hours of yard work before I got nauseous from the heat.  I honestly didn't think it was too hot until I began sweating and feeling ill.  It's easy to see how the elderly can get overheated without much warning.

Dad is 80 years old and has a heart condition.  But he still cleans the house and does his own lawn care.  Dad does seem to tolerate the heat better than me, but I'm still always worried about him overdoing it.  If dad passed before mom, I doubt I would ever fully recover. Yet there are times when I think dad hopes that will happen, so he doesn't have to mourn his wife's passing.

I never expected that the last stage of life for either of my parents would be so stressful. And no matter how long it continues, especially with regard to mom, it doesn't get any easier.

Monday, June 6, 2011

"The Thrill of the Grill"

I've watched enough cooking shows to know that the quickest way to grill a whole chicken is to flatten it out.  So I did my research and, today, spatchcocked a chicken.  A year ago, there was no way I was ever going to cut a backbone out of a chicken and crack its breast bone.  I had no desire to handle a raw chicken that much.  But I've become a more adventurous cook and, recently, been doing more grilling.

Last week I grilled a turkey breast for the first time.  I'm working my way through our two freezers before the meat gets too old.  But I don't want to heat up the kitchen.  With my Weber Performer, I've learned it's easy to cook something as large as a turkey breast.  It just takes more time and charcoal than hamburgers or pork steaks.

The Weber Performer is such a clever invention.  A small propane tank quickly ignites the charcoals, so there's great charcoal flavor without distasteful lighter fluid taste.  It's been a great purchase.  Without it, I definitely would not be enjoying "the thrill of the grill."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Deciding on an eReader

After extensive research, I ordered an eReader today.  I chose the Kindle because it got the best reviews.  Plus, after my recent success with Rewards Programs, I got an Amazon Visa and saved $40.  Since I place an Amazon order at least once a week, it was really a no-brainer.  I'll now get two points for every dollar spent, which will add up to Amazon gift certificates.

For me, the best feature of the Kindle is the Amazon Whispernet technology.  With the free Kindle app, Amazon Whispernet will keep my digital books, including my bookmarks, available on my iPad, iPhone, and Kindle.  In other words, if I find myself eating alone in a restaurant or waiting in a doctor's office, I can pick up a book where I left off, using whatever tool I have with me.  Amazing!

But the main reason I decided to get an e-reader was because of the no-glare screen.  We're going on two beach vacations this summer, so I'll be using it a lot in full sun.  And the eReader will take up much less space in my carryon than 2-3 paperbacks.  Plus, honestly, how cool will grandma look with an eReader!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Rewards Programs

For the most part, I find Rewards Programs annoying.  I'm usually in a hurry and hate when I'm delayed by the cashier asking if I'm in, or would like to join, the Rewards Program.  I usually just want to pay cash and be on my way.  However, some years ago, Rewards Programs started providing keychain tags, which made me more willing to participate.  Yes, my keychain is now cluttered with tags, but it's better than stuffing all those cards in my wallet.

And the truth is Rewards Programs offer nice savings.  Today I used $40 in Rewards Points at Best Buy. My $49.99 refrigerator water filter ended up costing just $9.99 plus tax.  I also recently saved $12 at the Day Spa with accrued Rewards Points.  But my favorite Rewards Program is the one offered by Panera where I eat at least once a week.  It's a nice surprise when I get a free meal, drink, or bakery item after the cashier swipes my tag.

I now need to embrace credit card Rewards Programs.  I hear they offer some nice savings. I do already appreciate the 5% discount I get every time I use my Target Visa at Target stores.  But I should investigate the savings other cards offer on plane tickets and hotel stays.  So now my To-Do List just got longer and I'm back to finding Rewards Programs -- annoying!

Friday, June 3, 2011

My Favorite Movie

My favorite movie of all time is Out of Africa.  I watch it once a year, usually in the summer.  I'm a Meryl Streep fan and Robert Redford, at that age, is nice to look at.  But what I enjoy most about the movie is the location.

I've never had a desire to visit Africa.  It's a long way to travel and a bit too "back to nature" for me.  Unless I'm resting on a beach, I prefer places where I can tour historic buildings and museums.  So I'm grateful for zoos and films that let me see Africa's beauty without actually going there.

Last year was Out of Africa's 25 anniversary.  I just got the anniversary Blu-ray disc, so I can now watch my favorite movie in HI-DEF.  It'll be the perfect activity for a hot humid weekend.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

No Such Thing as "One and Done"

In the last several years, we've completed several home-improvement projects, or so I had hoped.  In 2006 we replaced a rotting deck with a sun room; in 2007 we excavated the backyard, adding two patios; in 2008 we finished half the basement; in 2010 we remodeled the master bathroom.  At the end of each project, I thought that's "one and done."  But unfortunately, for the most part, that hasn't been true.

In addition to pushing forward with new projects this year (a new hall bathroom and driveway), we are now also having to revisit completed projects.  The fad-resistant laminate flooring we put in the sun room is getting lighter every year and, eventually, will need to be replaced.  The flagstone used for one of the backyard patios is flaking terribly and needs to be sealed (requiring hours of prep work) or replaced.  The carpet tiles we used in the basement mildewed and will be replaced next week now that we've implemented several anti-moisture measures.

I'm learning that home-improvement is never done no matter how much planning and money is invested.  But, until I fully "wrap my brain around" that truth, it's a huge frustration.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Zero Tolerance

I don't believe my body is unique.  Therefore, there must be a lot of women walking around with the same problem.  What I'm referring to are shorts and pants that gap in the back if they fit in the hips, or that are tight in the hips if they fit everywhere else.  I'm, however, no longer willing to settle for clothing with the least discomfort.  And, as a result of my new zero tolerance attitude, I've given a lot of clothing to charity this season.

Of course that means I now need to shop, which I no longer find fun.  In the last few days, I've tried on at least 15 shorts and crop pants in my usual size and a size larger.  By far, my usual size comes the closest to fitting properly.  However, only one pair made it home. Well, I actually purchased two, thinking if one pair fit so would another in a different color.  But that's another frustration I'll discuss at another time.

So I've determined my average.  I need to try on at least 15 shorts and/or pants to possibly find one comfortable pair.  Ugh!  Anyone know a good personal shopper?