May 2018

May 2018

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Enjoying Home

Since the school year ended, I've been grabbing opportunities to relax, recharge, and enjoy my home. On days that aren't too hot, I've been spending an hour or two reading in our three-season room.  I've even managed a couple of 20-minute naps out there.  For someone who's rarely able to sleep during the day, that's a big deal.

This afternoon, I finished my first summer read, French Lessons by Ellen Sussman.  It's about one day in the lives of three French tutors in Paris.  There's a lot of moving through the streets of the city, which was fun for me.  I've only been to Paris once, and for just six days, but I found it easy to visualize exactly where the characters were, and what they were seeing.

I've now read two books in a row set in Paris.  The first was The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.  It's time to decide if I'll stay in Paris or travel to another part of the world. Wherever I go, I'll be there while enjoying the comforts of home.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

See How They Grow

My daughter and son-in-law joined the Disney Vacation Club in 2007.  Since then, they've been going to Disney World at least once a year.  Elliott was 22 months his first visit. And, last year, Jonah was 13 months for his first trip.

Six-year-old Elliott and two-year-old Jonah.
During each visit, Emily takes a picture of Elliott, and now Jonah and Elliott, going up the path to Cinderella's castle in the Magic Kingdom.  Each new shot is a reminder of how fast children grow.  Last year, Elliott was challenged with getting a hesitant Jonah to follow him up the ramp.  But, as you can see from this year's photo, that's no longer a problem.  Jonah is now taking the lead, which doesn't surprise anyone.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hitting the Mall

There used to be a time I loved going to the mall.  In fact, during her high school years, Emily and I often hit the mall every Saturday.  How things have changed!  Although I do enjoy meeting my friend at the Saint Louis Galleria every 3-4 months, I no longer like going to the mall any other time.

Unfortunately, however, I sometimes have to drag myself to the mall for certain chores. For example, today I went to Chesterfield Mall to get makeup from Sephora, my glasses tightened at LensCrafters, and a replacement cereal bowl from Pottery Barn.

Fortunately, there were no crowds anywhere.  I parked close to the door and never had to wait in line.  I'm guessing I'm not the only one who now hates going to the mall.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happy Memorial Day!

 Oh, to be a child in the summer. . .

Jonah loves grandma's water table. . .
. . .while Elliott enjoys the sprinkler.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sweet Voice

Jonah somewhere between
home and Orlando.
Absolutely one of the sweetest things to hear is a two-year-old's voice on the telephone. My daughter's family has spent the last two days driving to Disney World.  Since Emily's voice is still not back to normal, I've been getting regular text updates of their progress.  But I'm also getting calls from both grandsons.

Jonah was two in March, but nearly everyone thinks he's at least three.  He's tall for his age and speaks clearly.  Plus his vocabulary is extremely advanced.  When Jonah called last night, at first I thought he was his six-year-old brother, Elliott.

Today Jonah was eager to tell me all about his latest "hurts."  Jonah's an active preschooler, so he gets a lot of scraps and bruises.  Of course, grandma always makes a big deal about Jonah's "hurties," giving him lots of hugs and kisses.  Today I did my best to express my concern over the phone.  I guess I did a good job because I got a clear "love you" at the end of our conversation.  Without a doubt, that would make anyone's day :)

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Blue Elephant

Available on
Fifty years ago, my husband's cousin, Sharon, entered the Sisters of Loretto community.  Today was her Golden Jubilee.

The celebration gave us an opportunity to catch up on the lives of Sharon and her brother and sister.  It was fun to see how the family of my husband's only maternal aunt has grown. Sharon's brother, Don, and sister, Nina, have many children and grandchildren.  And several of my husband's first cousins once removed have traveled the world.

In fact, Jeffrey recently self-published a children's book, The Blue Elephant, which was inspired by his time in Africa.  It's a sweet book that's especially appropriate for a father to share with his daughter.  For Fathers Day, I'll be giving copies to my two nephews who have little girls.  Isn't it interesting what can come from a gathering of people.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Summer Kick-Off

Yesterday was the last day of school.  After getting Elliott from the bus stop, the boys played with water in our backyard.  Elliott loved the sprinkler while Jonah spent hours at the water table.  Dinner was pizza and sno-cones.  It was the perfect way to kick off summer.

Today, after working out, I started knocking out projects on my summer to-do list.  This morning I fixed the unraveled rattan on the glider and put together a bookcase.  This afternoon I've been filling the bookcase, and cleaning and organizing the hobby room.

All day I've had QVC on in the background.  Their Today's Special Value is a two-piece shorts swimsuit.  I grin every time a hostess says the swim short is the latest thing in swimwear fashion. I've been wearing waterproof shorts or crops over my swimsuits for years.  Now swimsuit designers are making swimsuit bottoms that look like shorts.  It's about time.

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Plans for Summer

Tomorrow's the last day of the 2011-12 school year.  I'm so looking forward to a summer of sleeping in and having more time for projects and fun.

My third bookcase arrived today, so that will be my first project.  Once it's assembled, I'll have fun filling the shelves and further organizing my hobby room.

Next I'm going to try my hand at caning.  After watching several online videos, I hope to fix one of the bottom bars on the sunroom glider.  The rattan unraveled, so it's a matter of rewrapping.  The challenge will be securing it, but I have several options.  It seems simple enough and I definitely like the idea of not paying someone else to do it.  If nothing else, it won't hurt to try.

I'm also planning to do more reading this summer.  My Kindle is bursting with unread novels. Several hours a day of leisure reading sounds heavenly.

Let the summer begin!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Congratulations, Elliott!

Congratulations, Elliott, for a year well done!

Today was Elliott's Kindergarten Commencement.  Prior to the ceremony, each student was asked what they want to do when they finish school.  As each student walked to the podium to get their certificate, the principle read their name and response.  "Elliott J-- wants to sell some toys."  Elliott's been planning his toy store for approximately two years now.  It'll be interesting to see how long this particular obsession lasts.

Monday, May 21, 2012

New Paper Craft

This cute owl was my first iris folding project.
The owl die cut and patterned paper
were part of a kit.
Over the weekend, with the help of YouTube, I learned iris folding, a paper craft that originated in Holland.  Here's a definition I found online:

Iris folding is a paper craft technique that involves folding strips of colored paper in such a way to form a design.  The center of the design forms an iris, a shape reminiscent of the iris of an eye of a camera lens.

But this sea turtle is all mine.  I cut
the die with my Cricut and chose
the different patterned papers from
my personal inventory.
Basically, all that's needed for iris folding are strips of paper, a die cut, a pattern, and adhesive.  It's an inexpensive craft, especially since there are many online sources for downloading free patterns, and a great way to use scraps leftover from other paper projects.

Iris folding is a lot of fun and, since it requires some concentration, it's a great stress-reliever.  I may have found a new addiction.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

My Happy Place

After successfully de-cluttering the laundry room, I've decided to tackle more areas of the house. Yesterday I started on the hobby room, which never seems to be as organized as I'd like.

First I cleaned and then I did some measuring.  I found I could easily add a third bookcase, which I ordered yesterday.  Now I'm on the hunt for a new work table.  Currently, I'm using a six-foot utility table.  It's durable and gives me a lot of work space, but something a little smaller and more stylish would look nicer.  I also need curtains and wall art, things I never tackled after the room was trimmed and painted last summer.

Honestly, I doubt I'll ever be finished with the hobby room because I'm always buying new paper-crafting tools and supplies.  But that's OK.  The hobby room's my happy place no matter what I'm doing in it.

(Updates:  Jim's eye is slowly getting better.  And we finally got our audio/visual problems fixed, but I'm still keeping my fingers crossed!)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Audio/Visual Woes

A few months ago, I started hearing a buzz coming through our television.  I thought our Bose system was failing, but decided to "chat" with Charter to get their take on the situation.  They had no doubt our cable box needed to be replaced and scheduled a service call.

After the new box was installed, the buzz was gone.  But then I started having trouble with the image on several channels.  The images were tiling, or scrambled, and impossible to watch.  I had another "chat" with Charter and a second service call was scheduled, but only after I had to "monitor" the situation until a system-wide upgrade was completed.

When a technician finally came out a second time, he discovered the cable to the box was bent.  I then remembered that, at the first visit, the technician "fixed" the connection by removing it from the serge protector.  At the time, I was told the cable should not go through the serge protector because it would prevent routine updates.  The second technician agreed and just replaced the bent cable and all was good.  That is until last week when I started hearing a hum.

So, earlier this week, I had another "chat" with Charter and a third service call was scheduled. The technician was here yesterday afternoon and eliminated the hum by reconfiguring our connection, fixing a grounding problem.  And all was fine, again, until I tried to use Roku last night.

Now the only audio I get is television.  I get the image from the VCR or Roku, but all I hear is the last television channel I was watching.  You guessed it. . .had another "chat" with Charter last night and a service call is set for this afternoon.

I am frustrated to the extreme, but not necessarily with Charter.  They are fixing every problem as it presents itself.  They're just not anticipating possible problems as a result of their fixes, but I've always found that true of any hi-tech trouble-shooter.  I guess it's just a curse of the hi-tech world we live in.

But I'm beginning to wonder if I will ever have another stress-free evening just chillin' with hubby in front of the television.  Oh, how I long for the good old days.

Friday, May 18, 2012

And the Hits Just Keep on Coming!

In nearly 25 years of owning a pest control business, we've never had anyone get chemical in their eyes.  That is until Tuesday.  Worse yet, it happened to the owner, my husband.  Fortunately, it was just one eye and will heal in a few days.  Why it didn't start hurting until today, I don't understand. But after seeing two doctors this morning, Jim spent the rest of the day at home, applying gel every few hours.

In the past, Jim has rarely used goggles because he always wears glasses.  I'm hoping he now knows better.  But, seriously, 2012 is not getting any better!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

New Reality Show

I've been enjoying the new AMC reality show The Pitch.  Each episode follows two advertising agencies as they develop campaigns to pitch to a new client.  It starts with the presentation of the client's brief to the competing agencies; and ends with the client awarding the job after seeing both campaigns. I'm certain Mad Men inspired the series.  In fact, it runs on Sundays after Mad Men, which is how I discovered it.

The Pitch is the most realistic reality television show I've seen.  And each episodes stands on its own, with a beginning and end.  If you've ever wondered how tag lines, ad campaigns, and commercials happen, you, too, will enjoy The Pitch.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Laundry Room Facelift

Even though I absolutely hate clutter, it tends to creep in, especially in certain rooms.  One of those rooms in our house is the laundry room, which also serves as our kitchen cupboard.  It's an extremely small room tucked off the back of our kitchen where guests rarely go.  Therefore, it's tempting to toss miscellaneous items into that room to deal with later, which, of course, is how clutter happens.

Today I decided it was time to clear the current laundry room clutter.  First I removed everything on the floor except the washer and dryer.  I then sorted through the pile before putting back only what truly belongs in a laundry room.  Next I added additional wall hooks, allowing me to hang more items and free up more floor space.  Voila!

I now have a cleaner better-functioning laundry room and no carpentry or painting was required. Without a doubt, removing clutter is the easiest and cheapest way to give a room a facelift.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Enough Already!

(Emily is now in speech therapy.  In a nutshell, her vocal cords shut down while fighting the virus and dealing with severe acid reflux.  The doctor feels Emily's voice will return once her throat muscles have been retrained.  It's a good thing there's only seven more days of school.  It's tough to control a classroom with no voice.)

I'm so over 2012 already.  It all started January 2 when a simple toilet backup turned into all of the sewer pipes under the house needing to be replaced.  Then the family business began having one problem after another.  Replacing the co-manager who retired has been a nightmare.  And now we need to replace a technician who's causing nothing but trouble.  Plus we're having vehicle problems. One truck needs to be replaced, and two others were in accidents, neither our fault.  It all adds up to big pay cuts for the owners.

And that translates to major changes in our 2012 personal budget.  Unless a miracle happens, we will not be taking our annual July trip to the Riviera Maya.  Plus, our November trip to Paris is in jeopardy.  And I'm beginning to think the family room redo should wait until summer 2013.

But maybe we're just having a bad first half.  At least I'm praying that's the case, because I've had enough.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Another Worry

It's been nearly two weeks and my daughter still has no voice.  After a week of steroids and bed rest, she's feeling better, just can't talk.  So tomorrow the ENT will be taking a video image of her throat. Emily's husband will be going with her.  I'll be watching Jonah.

I don't know how people with more children handle life.  We only have a son, daughter, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, and two grandsons, yet there always seems to be someone to worry about.  

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mothers Day

Next to my husband, my kids and grandkids are the best things that ever happened to me.  And that's why Mothers Day is special to me.  But it's also nice to get some extra attention.  My son and daughter-in-law sent roses and chocolates. My daughter and son-in-law made dinner and gave me some kitchen tools.  And my two grandsons made me laugh and gave me hugs and kisses.  It was a perfect Mothers Day.

Saturday, May 12, 2012


According to wikipedia:

Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.

I heard the term for the first time on an episode of The Martha Stewart Show.  The craft segment was about upcycling used gift bags or paper shopping bags by cutting them into strips and making bows. What a great idea!

To see the video go to and search Upcycling Bows.

Friday, May 11, 2012


It would seem I've now got tinnitus as a result of grinding my teeth.  So far, this is a self-diagnosis. But after doing online research and realizing the buzzing in my ear started shortly after my teeth and jaw started hurting, it all makes sense.

My annual physical and six-month dental exam are in June.  My plan is to discuss the problem with both doctors.  In the meantime, I've ordered an over-the-counter grind guard.  It was interesting to read how many people found the $20 OTC guards just as helpful as the $500 custom ones.  I figured $20 was a small investment to find out for myself.

I'm also going to start cleaning my ears with a water and hydrogen peroxide mixture at least once a week.  I usually need a nurse to clean wax out of my ears every 18 months.  The last time I had it done, she recommended I regularly clean my ears with the water and hydrogen peroxide mixture.  It can't hurt to start following that recommendation.  And, again, it's a small investment.

Mostly, I'm trying to stay positive and not let the ear buzzing drive me crazy.  But, honestly, it's nearly brought me to tears several times already.  For someone who loves silence, tinnitus is a nightmare.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Not a Flag Stone Fan

The hardscape projects are wrapping up today.  The team did a beautiful job.  But now all the vegetation and outdoor furniture are covered in dust from all the stone cutting.  It's going to be a big clean-up job, but it's better than de-molding flag stone every few weeks.

What a nightmare!  I just don't see the appeal of flag stone.  It constantly molds and flakes. Fortunately, however, some people still like it.  I was able to quickly find a buyer through Craigslist who picked it up on Monday.  Good riddance!  I have no patience or time in my life for something so high maintenance.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Office Woes

My daughter's down with a major viral infection, so I've had the boys until their dad gets home around 6:15 P.M. the last two days.  I can't keep this up.  Besides the boys wearing me out, I need to be spending time in the office.  The new co-manager started Tuesday and things are backing up while she's in training.

I'm so annoyed the first co-manager didn't work out.  The idea was to train during the slow winter months, but here we are instead, training during our busiest season.  I understand how a first pick might not fit.  What annoys me is why the established co-manager didn't speak up sooner.

It's never easy running a business.  It's just one challenge after another.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Congratulations MHS!

Marquette High School
Chesterfield, MO

Congratulations Marquette High School for being ranked the fifth best high school in Missouri by US News and World Reports!

My daughter was in MHS's first graduating class.  She's currently a MHS English and journalism teacher as well as the school newspaper advisor.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Morning Visitor

See him in the distance?
Our small garden is midway on the left.
In the forefront are pallets of stone for
the current landscaping project.

It's raining today, so there's no work happening on the patio and retaining wall.  Without all the noise and activity, one of our frequent visitors returned this morning.  I just hope he's not scoping out the tomato plants we just put in the raised garden bed!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Looking Forward to Summer

It's hard to believe the school year ends in just three weeks.  I'm not nearly as stressed as I was by this time last year.  It's been a big help having Jonah in daycare two days a week.  It's amazing how much I can get done in two week days without kids.  And I love not having to do all my chores and run all my errands just on weekends.

I'm also not watching both boys on Fridays this school year, which is a huge relief.  Last year I hated Fridays, and was completely wiped out by the end of the day.  Alone, each boy is manageable and fun.  Together, they are wild and out of control.  It's not an enjoyable experience for any of us.

And now I'm looking forward to sleeping in more often and taking things a little slower.  Grandma is ready for summer vacation!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

No Wallflowers Here!

Last night was Elliott's school carnival.  Wisely, since this is a spring event, it was held inside with a different game-of-chance in nearly every classroom.  Elliott's school includes Kindergarten through sixth grade, so the halls were packed with students, siblings, parents, and grandparents.  As we fought the crowds, we kept hearing, "Hey, Elliott!"  It didn't matter their age or gender, it seemed everyone knew Elliott.  Clearly, my oldest grandson has embraced his elementary school.

The other fun thing to see was two-year-old Jonah walking the school halls like he belonged, refusing to hold anyone's hand.  We just told Jonah which way to go and away he went without fear or hesitation.  He also played most of the games.  And, when he won a pair of silly huge glasses, Jonah proudly wore them for the rest of the evening.

For sure, neither of my grandsons is shy.  They both are extremely outgoing and sociable, the complete opposite of their reserved parents.  Based on last night's experiences, it's going to be fun watching where my grandsons's cordial personalities take them.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Spring Projects

Today work finally started on the retaining wall and upper patio.  We're replacing the 30-year-old railroad-tie wall along the driveway with stone.  We're also replacing the five-year-old flagstone on the upper patio with roman stone to match the lower patio.  The flagstone proved to be too high maintenance, constantly molding and flaking.

The landscapers were supposed to start work earlier this week, but the job before us was delayed due to rain.  And, because we're having sporadic downpours today, I have a feeling completion of our job will also be delayed.  But that's the risk one takes doing outside projects in the spring.

One thing's for sure, all the rain we've been getting is doing wonders for the grass and vegetation. Everything's so green.  I'm just trying to soak (no pun intended) it up before the brown of Missouri's hot summers hits!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Toughest Part of a Remodel

Yesterday I had a consultation with our interior decorator about redoing our family room.  My head is now spinning with all the great ideas she had.  Instead of just picking paint color, I'm now researching making the hall closet a display cabinet; redoing the banister; converting the wood-burning fireplace to electric; and covering the hearth with stone.

Sprucing up the family room has become a much bigger project.  And, as usual, the biggest challenges are finding the time and money.  But, as someone who can visualize a finished project, this is by far the toughest time, the waiting.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Why Wait?

I'm so frustrated about mom's situation that, yesterday, I joined the Message Boards on, the Alzheimer's Association website.  I needed to know I'm not the only one tired of how long this disease can drag on.  Everyday, mom is eating and talking more and more.  Once again, she's a far cry from the person we were told, six weeks ago, had only days to live.  In her current state, I believe mom could last another year or more.

But what frustrates me the most, at this point, is dad refusing to leave town as long as mom's alive. He's always wanted to take a cruise and still talks about doing just that after mom passes.  But, obviously, the longer mom holds on, the greater the odds dad will never take that trip.  He'll be 82 in September and has an inoperable artery that's 50 percent blocked.  Dad's clearly taking a big gamble putting off his dream trip until mom's gone.

All their married life, dad passed on adventures and opportunities because of mom's fears and paranoias.  In three weeks, my brother and sister-in-law are leaving for a nine-day cruise of the Baltic capitals.  And, once again, dad's taking a pass because of mom.