May 2018

May 2018

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Snow Days

I guess it's time to take the snowflake wreath off the front door.  The average temperature for the next 15 days is 50 degrees.  So chances of a significant snowfall before the end of the season are extremely slim.

The question that now begs to be asked is what happens to all the snow days factored into the 2011-2012 school year?  The Rockwood School District allowed for six snow days and, so far, hasn't used any.  It seems only fair that the school year should now be shorten by at least a few days.  Or a day or two should be added to Spring Break.

Of course, none of that will happen.  But when has life ever been fair.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Three Levels of Exhaustion

Because I'm so mentally and emotionally exhausted today, I also have little physical energy.  It's all the result of yesterday's roller coaster ride of ups and downs.

Mom, who's in the advance stages of Alzheimer's Disease, was down with the flu most of last week. She started to improve over the weekend.  But, when I called yesterday morning, the nurse said mom had a fever, again, was still not eating or talking, and refused to get out of bed.  She was going to call hospice for help and a full evaluation.

And that's when the phone calls, text messages, and emails between hospice and family members began.  Eventually, my brother picked up dad to go visit mom, thinking dad would be too emotional to drive.  At the time, my brother and I both felt mom's days were numbered.

But then, around 3:00 P.M., the hospice nurse called with his evaluation.  He found nothing especially wrong with mom and felt she was just sleeping off the end of the flu.  All her vital signs were normal.  He wasn't even alarmed that mom hadn't eaten in a week, saying she's a "big woman with some reserve."

Honestly, at this point, I don't know who to believe.  For sure, I will be taking any future alarming calls with a grain of salt!

Monday, February 27, 2012

A More Mature Elliott

Elliott's newest interest is bike riding.
This starter bike was replaced over
the weekend with a bigger model.
Typically after Elliott walks through our front door, he immediately drops his backpack and coat on the floor.  He then takes off his shoes and adds them to the heap.  Today, however, he hung up his coat on the hall tree and placed his shoes, together, neatly on the foyer rug.

I've also noticed other changes in Elliott since he turned six a couple of weeks ago.  For example, his speech has improved. Since school started last fall, Elliott had always referred to the lunch room as the "afeteria."  But now it's clearly the "cafeteria."

Elliott's also getting much better at dealing with frustration.  There always used to be major meltdowns when he was misunderstood or something didn't go as planned.  But, more and more now, Elliott is able to calmly express himself.

It definitely appears Elliott is growing up.  I'm a little sad about how fast it's happening.  But mostly I'm excited about sharing new adventures with a more mature Elliott.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Academy Awards

It's 4:30 P.M. and I'm already positioned on the couch for a long night of Oscar fun.  I've only seen three of the nine Best Picture nominees, but that doesn't matter.  I'll catch up with the others later. Actually, I almost saw four, but just couldn't get through The Tree of Life.  I'm a Brad Pitt fan, but, honestly, The Tree of Life is one weird movie!

I did see the other Brad Pitt Best Picture nominee, Moneyball, which, in my opinion, is a solid contender.  The other two movies I saw, The Help and Midnight In Paris, are good but not great.

But because I've see so few of the nominees, I'm not pulling for any one film.  But I do hope The Artist doesn't win.  If it does, I feel it will be mainly because it's a gimmicky black-and-white silent film.  I really think it should be in its own category if nominated at all.

Besides The Artist not winning Best Picture, the only other thing I'd really like to see is Melissa McCarthy win Actress In a Best Supporting Role.  She did a great job in The Bridesmaids and it's time she got some recognition.  She was one of the best things about the television series Gilmore Girls.

Whomever or whatever wins, it should be an entertaining night especially with Billy Crystal as host again.  Time to pop the popcorn!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Looking Forward to Spring

With the warm temperatures and my daffodils now nearly 10 inches above ground, I'm beginning to think spring is just days away.  Truth is, however, we still have the long month of March to get through.  As someone who enjoys their home and has several indoor hobbies, I'm thrilled there's still an entire month before yard and garden work begins.  But, for someone like my dad, April is frustratingly far away.

Winter is rough for people who suffer with cabin fever.  But it's especially bad for dad because he doesn't read, watches little television, and has no indoor hobbies.  This winter has been dad's hardest so far because he's also depressed over mom's current condition.

Mom's floor at the nursing home has been under quarantine for nearly a week.  They have several cases of flu, pneumonia, and upper respiratory infection.  Mom was hit with the flu last Tuesday. Since then, she hasn't been eating and sleeps most of the day.  To make matters worse, last Wednesday night, mom had a TIA (transient ischemic attack).  After talking to the floor nurse this morning, I'm beginning to think mom may be near the end.

I'm still giddy about another month of indoor activity.  But, this year, I'm also looking forward to spring, especially if, by then, mom's in a better place.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Grand Central Terminal

My favorite building in New York City is Grand Central Terminal.  It's a magnificent 109-year-old building with beautiful stone work, ceilings, and stained glassed windows.  Earlier this week, I was with my daughter-in-law when she saw Grand Central Terminal for the first time.  I was thrilled she found it as majestic as I do.

If you ever visit New York City be sure to make Grand Central Terminal one of your stops.  There are several restaurants, a dining hall, many shops, and a food market.  Personally, I could spend an entire day there.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lost Its Appeal

When I visited NYC in my 30s and 40s, I absolutely loved it.  I found the energy infectious and enjoyed all the city had to offer.  But now that I'm 60, I feel differently.  I no longer have the endurance or patience to happily deal with crushing crowds several days in a row.

Nevertheless, we had a lot of fun on our five-day getaway.  My favorite activity was a food tour of the Nolita (north of Little Italy)/NoHo (north of Houston Street) area.  That section of the city is less congested than midtown, which made it pleasant to walk through.  Our guide was excellent and, over the three hours, we ate enough to satisfy lunch.  I especially enjoyed learning about restaurants I never would have previously considered.

My second favorite activity was the musical, Chicago.  We waited nearly an hour in the cheap ticket line to get a 40 percent discount, yet still paid nearly $190 for two seats.  Nevertheless, the show was extremely entertaining.  And it was great to sit so close we could clearly see all the dance gyrations and facial expressions.

Since our son and daughter-in-law now live on Long Island, we definitely will return to NYC.  I'm just hoping the crowds this time were a little heavier due to the holiday weekend.  And I'm also hoping some of my impatience was due to a respiratory infection and being tired from dealing with so much at home.  Whatever the reasons, I'm sure I'll be ready to tackle the city, again, in the future.  But, for an older me, NYC definitely has lost some of its appeal.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Home Sweet Home

We returned home this evening after five days in the Big Apple with our son and daughter-in-law.  It was a fun trip, but we're beat.  It's good to be home.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Muppets Still Entertain

Since 1969.
Unlike his older brother, Jonah wasn't interested in television until he was well into his second year of life.  He just couldn't sit still long enough to appreciate its magic. Even now, a nearly two-year-old Jonah has a shorter attention span for videos than Elliott did at the same age.

I'm extremely grateful, therefore, that, most Grandma Day mornings, Jonah now watches Sesame Street.  His favorite characters are Elmo and Mister Noodle, or "Misser Noodle" as Jonah calls him.  We sit on the coach and watch together, talking about the characters and story lines.  It's my favorite part of the day.

In appreciation, I recently became a PBS Sustaining Member.  Bravo to PBS for a show that has been entertaining preschoolers for decades!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Battling a Cold

A couple of weeks ago, I thought I was getting sick.  Turns out I was having sneezing fits due to some sort of allergy.  But now, for sure, I have a cold, which started yesterday.

While everyone around me has been sick, off an on, for months, this is my first illness of the season, so I shouldn't complain.  Nevertheless, I am.  I'll be flying in a few days, which is miserable to do with a head cold.

My plan is to take regular doses of Zicam and AirBorne for the next several days, which has shorten the duration of colds I've had in the past.  And I'll be packing nasal spray to take only before boarding the plane.

I've been looking forward to our short winter getaway for weeks.  I'm determined not to let a cold ruin it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy 6 Birthday, Elliott!

My sweetest Valentine who makes me smile everyday. . .

Monday, February 13, 2012

High Tech Wiz

Anyone younger will not appreciate what I'm about to share.  But I know most people my age and older will understand why I'm feeling very proud of my 60-year-old self.

First, over the weekend, I used my holiday gift certificate from my son and daughter-in-law to purchase an iPod Nano.  Granted, making the purchase was not terribly remarkable, although I do know people my age who have no idea what a Nano is.  No, the astounding thing was I loaded it with my music and photos with no help from anyone, and even set up my "watch" face to always appear first thing.  Awesome!

Then, yesterday, I set up our new flat screen television in the exercise room.  There's no cable access in that room, so I connected it to the Roku box I bought online for $59.  While my husband watched the set-up process completely perplexed, in less than 10 minutes I was streaming a movie from Netflix.  Yes!

And, in addition to all the above, for the last couple of weeks I've been loading apps on my iPhone for our New York City trip.  I'm now armed with digital road and subway maps as well as walking tours.  My favorite, so far, is the American Museum of Natural History app.  After entering the museum, we just pick a tour, such as Dinosaurs or Night at the Museum, and the app will lead us to each exhibit.  Go green!

But, despite these recent accomplishments, I know there's a lot I don't understand about today's technology.  Nevertheless, within my circle of friends, I'm a high tech wiz!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Whitney Houston Dead at 48

If you knew anything about Whitney Houston beyond her musical talent, today's news was not a shock.  I'm honestly surprised she lived as long as she did.  It seemed Houston was incapable of not continually abusing herself.  She took drugs, drank excessively, and married a man who beat her.

It makes me wonder.  If someone like Houston couldn't overcome an abusive nature, what are the odds of recovery for a poor soul with the same affliction but without the same resources?  Houston had plenty of money and access to the best mental health professionals.  Nevertheless, in the end, nothing could save her from herself.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Pirate Birthday Party

One of Emily's students free-handed the pirate
ship for a pin-the-skeleton-on-the-ship game.
The peanut-butter pirate ship cake
and cupcakes grandma made.
Elliott will be six years old on Valentine's Day.  So, today, eight pirates celebrated with crafts, games, and cake and ice cream.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Shape Wear Convert?

I have a friend who wears a bodysuit bra year round.  There's no way it isn't hot in the summer time.  Nevertheless, she'll wear it even when temperatures are over 90 degrees because it makes her feel slim.

Personally, I find shape wear terribly uncomfortable.  Until recently, the closest I came to shape wear was my one-piece swimsuit, which honestly does make me look slightly slimmer.  But last week I bought my first pair of Spanx, hoping to eliminate VPLs (visible panty lines).  I got a full size bigger than I needed, hoping it would then not be too tight.

I guess time will tell if I really hate VPLs enough to succumb to wearing shape wear regularly.  Odds are I'll end up deciding a little VPL doesn't look that bad after all.  Either that or I'll just start wearing baggier cloths!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Terrible Twos

Just like Tuesday, Jonah is spending the morning crying and pitching tantrums.  I'm afraid we've entered the Terrible Twos.  I don't expect children to be on their best behavior all the time.  However, I no longer have patience for hours of screaming and hearing "nooooo!"

It's times like these I'm especially grateful Jonah goes to a daycare twice a week.  And it's looking like an even better idea that he'll be going three times a week next school year.

But, for today, I'm counting down to nap time!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Journaling in Kindergarten

Elliott journals at home and at school.  I find it amazing.  After all, he's only in Kindergarten.

Today after school, Elliott wanted to write about his upcoming birthday party.  I gave him a pencil and paper and away he went, constructing sentences and sounding out words.  I'm not sure what astounded me more, the actual journaling or his desire to do it.

For a boy who often has trouble falling asleep because there's so much on his mind, writing will be a great tool.  I'm looking forward to reading many stories by Elliott J.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"Smash" is a Smash!

If you missed it last night, I recommend setting your DVR for the next episode of Smash, a new series set in New York City.  Overall, it's an inside look at how Broadway shows happen.

I found it fascinating and, of course, enjoyed the singing and dancing.  But Smash is not another Glee.  It's all drama with a great cast.  I was especially impressed with Debra Messing.

Please take a look and spread the word.  I would hate to see Smash cancelled unfairly like Pan Am.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Amazing iPod Nano

I've been looking for ways to workout on days I watch Jonah.  We walk the neighborhood when it's not raining and the temperature is over 60 degrees.  It's the other days that are challenging.

After some research, I found the City of Ballwin's indoor fitness center, The Pointe, still offers babysitting for just $4 for a two-hour period.  Jonah's brother used that service when he was little, so I know it's nice.  And I think Jonah will enjoy the change.

But, if I'm going to walk the track or ride the stationary bike at The Pointe, I'll need some entertainment.  So I started looking online at the iPod Nano.  Before making a decision, however, I wanted to see one in person, which is what I did today at Target.

Holy cow!  How can something so small and light weight hold and do so much?  I'm honestly a little concerned about losing it.  Nevertheless, I do believe I'll soon be purchasing another amazing Apple product.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Home Alone

I have no interest in the Super Bowl.  Jim will be going to a friend's house to watch the game with other football fans, which means I'll be home alone.

As much as I like quiet evenings at home with my husband, I do enjoy an evening alone from time to time.  Tonight I plan to watch a "chick flick" with a large bowl of popcorn.

Go blah, blah, blah!

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Simple Cardboard Box

For two weeks now, Jonah has been having fun with an empty cardboard box.  UPS delivered it filled with blankets that came with matching stuffed animals.  I bought the sets on clearance for Easter and Christmas presents.  When I saw how big the box was, I knew it would be great for my soon-to-be-two grandson, Jonah.

When I was a kid, my sister, brother and I turned big appliance boxes into playhouses.  I remember decorating and playing with them for weeks.

Based on Jonah's recent experience, it appears cardboard boxes still ignite a lot of creativity.  Jonah loves hiding in his big box and has turned a smaller one into a boat.  In our high-tech fast-paced world, it's nice to see pleasure coming from such a simple thing as a cardboard box.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hard-Boiled Eggs

There's nothing simple about boiling an egg.  After hours of watching shows about food preparation, and doing a lot of online research, I've found what seems like hundreds of different methods.  The one consistent belief about hard-boiled eggs, however, is a yoke with a green outer cover is overcooked.  And that means I'd been overcooking eggs for years.

But now, thanks to Ina Garten, I can hard boil an egg to perfection every time.  Here's her recipe:

Not mine, but look the same^^
1. Place eggs in water and bring to a rapid boil.
2. Turn burner off and let eggs cook five minutes.
3. Remove pot from stove and drain water.
4. Let cool for two minutes and peal.

And here's a tip, eggs are much easier to peal if slightly warm.  So I now store them pealed, which also makes them quicker to eat in the morning.

I recently read the perfect healthy breakfast is a small bowl of oatmeal and an egg.  But, in addition to the combo's health benefits, I've found it also keeps me feeling full longer.  So, with Garten's recipe and the approval of the American Heart Association, I'm now enjoying a daily dose of the perfectly hard-boiled "incredible edible egg."

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Bye, Bye!

Thank goodness January 2012 is over.  I sure hope February is a kinder month.