May 2018

May 2018

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

This year we have a Hogwarts student and doctor. And I finally got to wear my authentic replica Professor McGonagall hat.

(My 2013 Halloween paper-crafting is now on display at DGPaperDesigns.)


Doctor Jonah and Hogwarts student Elliott.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013


Today is my 62 birthday. So weird. My parents should be 62, not me!

But the sad truth is we're all aging. My 83-year-old dad visited today and had a rough time going down to and coming up from the basement to see Jonah's new play room. Fact is, every time I see dad, I'm more skeptical about him doing the international traveling he talks about. Dad wouldn't travel as long as mom was alive, and now it may be too late.

This only reinforces my belief that I have, at the most, only 15 more good travel years. And, by good travel years, I mean trips with my hubby who's been my travel partner for over 40 years. I'm really not interested in traveling with anyone else.

So hubby and I both need to stay healthy and get more fit. We also need to be on the look out for travel bargains to stretch our budget.

One way or another, I'm determined to make the most of our remaining healthy years. Despite the aches and pains that come with aging, we are a couple of 62-year-olds ready for adventure!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Mixing Things Up

I'm on 1300 calories a day and brisk walk, or peddle on the stationary bike, 30-40 minutes 3-5 times a week. Nevertheless, I can't drop the 10 pounds I gained two years ago when I turned 60. It's now apparent to me, at that milestone, my metabolism slowed down significantly. To lose weight, therefore, I have two options, eat less or workout more. Frankly, I'm tired of eating less and less, so that leaves devoting more time and energy to exercise even though I hate working out.

I hate sweating profusely and I hate the time it takes to fully cool down after a workout. So, in an attempt to get past those obstacles, I've decided it's time to mix things up and look for ways to make exercise more fun. Hubby and I have given a lot of thought to bicycling, but we currently can't afford the upfront costs. So today I decided to check out our municipal fitness center.

I quickly learned the cost of membership is reduced 50 percent for seniors, which is fantastic. Hubby is already 62 and my birthday's next Tuesday. I also found out I still have 10 visits on a card I purchased years ago. So, without delay, I participated in today's 50+ class.

It turned out to be a solid aerobic workout with some strength training. The only thing that made it 50+ was the pace, which was just slightly slower and greatly appreciated. I'm done with jumping and running around to workouts designed for people much younger than me. My goal is to stay healthy and fit as long as possible. It's not to fit into jeans I wore 20-30 years ago if I still had them.

Before class, I walked a mile on the indoor track. Although I like my neighborhood walks for the scenery, it was great to walk without any obstacles. I found I could go much faster if I didn't have to keep looking down.

I still hate working out, but today's experience was a positive one. I believe the fitness center can provide the variety I need to keep from getting frustrated or bored with any one workout. I sure do hope so because I'm ready to kick my metabolism's butt!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Beautiful Fall Day

Today was the perfect Missouri fall day. The sun was shining and temperatures were in the 60s. It's also possible today was the peak for fall colors in the midwest.

We spent this beautiful day at the Deutsch Country Days in Marthasville, a little over an hour away. Although it's the 32nd year for this event, it was our first time. We ate good German food, listened to talented folk musicians, and did some holiday shopping. It was a great little getaway.

In fact, it was so nice to get out of the house, on the way home I recommended we catch a movie. We arrived at the theater just in time for the 4:00 P.M. showing of Captain Phillips, which turned out to be a good pick. An intense 134 minutes, Captain Phillips will no doubt get Tom Hanks nominated for yet another Academy Award.

All in all, it was another fun Saturday!

Friday, October 18, 2013

New PBS Series

Hubby and I have been enjoying a new series on PBS called A Chef's Life. Here's the description from the website:

A Chef’s Life plunges audiences into the kitchen of a high-end restaurant located in the low country of eastern North Carolina. It follows the trials and travails of Chef Vivian Howard and her husband, Ben Knight, and their farm-to-table restaurant, Chef & the Farmer, exploring both traditional and modern applications of quintessential Southern ingredients. Vivian’s skill in the kitchen is an equal match for her charismatic personality, radiating behind crystal grey eyes. Much more dynamic than a typical cooking show, A Chef’s Life is a character-driven documentary and cooking series. . .

It's definitely more of a documentary than a cooking show, so even if you don't cook much, I think you'll find it entertaining. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Cost of Maintenance

Three weeks ago, our 2002 Infiniti developed a noise that seemed to be brake related. I knew it needed to be seen by a professional mechanic but was struggling to pick one. Over the last couple of years, through the business, we'd been burned by the two shops closest to us.

Then, two weeks ago, our local Infiniti dealer sent us an offer for a free bumper to bumper check and, in a separate mailing, we got a recall notice for all 2002 Infiniti i35s regarding their airbags. Together I felt the mailings were sure signs we needed to go to the dealer. Plus there was the added bonus of a free loaner car while ours was in the shop for two days.

The bill did end up being $1,400, but each line item was competitively priced. We also feel it was a small price to pay to keep an 11-year-old car going for another 8-10 more years.

Truth is we've needed very little work done on our Infiniti. In fact, this was the first time the brakes had ever been replaced. We do put less than 6,000 miles a year on our car, but that service record is still remarkable. I believe it's attributable to the make, model, and regular maintenance.

Similarly, I believe regular maintenance is also helping me keep all my teeth. Because I inherited my dad's high-maintenance teeth, I'm strict about seeing the dentist at least twice a year. But, before today, the last time I had been to the dentist was over seven months ago. At that time, I learned my dentist was not in our new dental plan only after I was handed a $150 bill.

But now that I'm no longer dealing with contractors working on the kitchen every day, I decided it was high time I find a new dentist. Today was my first visit with Dr. Angelina and I was extremely impressed. The entire office was friendly, courteous, thorough, and helpful. The bad news is I have five fillings that need to be replaced. They're over 30 years old and I saw for myself that they're cracked and chipped. Honestly, I'm amazed the fillings lasted as long as they did.

It's another unexpected expense, but, just as with the car, I believe less than $400 after insurance is a small price to pay to keep my teeth. Especially since, years ago, I had an expensive and painful root canal. Yep, I'm definitely all for doing what needs to be done to prevent that from ever happening again.

Nevertheless, getting hit with $1,800 in unplanned expenses over the last couple of weeks has been tough on the budget. I'll definitely be "scrapping my stash" and "shopping my closet" for longer than planned. But that means I'll also be doing more de-cluttering, which always makes me happy. Just gotta love those "silver linings!"

Saturday, October 12, 2013

A Day in the City

Today we got back to our mission of trying "new to us" St. Louis restaurants. We started the day with brunch at Brasserie by Niche in the Central West End. Jim had their quiche and I had Eggs Benedict. Both dishes were good, but not enough for us to plan a return visit anytime soon. Although I wouldn't mind trying their dinner menu sometime, especially the goat cheese tart. For our last meal in Paris, I had a goat cheese tart in a brasserie across the Seine from Notre Dame Cathedral. My mouth still waters when I think of it!

Next stop was the Soulard Farmers Market. You might remember we visited the market just a few weeks ago. Since we were close, I was eager to return and see if I could get another yummy watermelon before the season's over. The same gal helped me, so I'm hoping she picked another good one. We also got an acorn squash, a couple of enormous red bell peppers, and some pumpkin walnut goat cheese.

After visiting the market and walking around Soulard a bit, we got drinks and shared an appetizer of fried Irish pies at Llywelyn's Pub. The weather was perfect for eating outside while people watching.

We had a nice day in the city and got home in time to watch another St. Louis Cardinals win. Go Cards!

Thursday, October 10, 2013


On a normal Tuesday and Thursday, I watch Jonah all day and get Elliott on and off the bus. After school, Elliott's bus drops him off at 3:15 P.M. That means I have both boys for a solid 45 minutes, twice a week, before Emily picks them up at 4:00 P.M.

One on one, I usually enjoy being with my grandsons. Together, however, they are wild and loud, and out of control. By the time Emily gets here on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I'm completely drained from enforcing "time outs" and speaking sternly in an attempt to be heard above the chaos.

Two years ago, I said I would no longer watch both boys together by myself, except for the short period of time before and after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays. At the time, I decided I could somehow get through those short periods, and expected they would improve as the boys matured.

Well, it's now two years later and no better. In fact, it's wilder and louder. God give me strength!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Best Buy Impresses, Again

After our new LG double oven was installed, none of the interior lights worked in the top oven, and only one worked in the bottom oven. Because it's an extremely high-tech oven, I was concerned and worried something else might be wrong.

You might remember we bought the floor-display oven over a year ago at the neighborhood Best Buy that closed its doors. At the time, we knew it would be 1-2 years before we remodeled, so we also purchased the 5-year protection plan. And I'm glad we did.

Today, a member of the Geek Squad came to the house and quickly diagnosed the problem. It's an easy fix and the part has been ordered for install next Saturday. But, best of all, the technician took the time to give me a tour of the oven and patiently answered all my questions.

I'm now 100% more comfortable with my new intelligent convection oven. Let the roasting and baking begin!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

End of Week 12

The two replacement cabinet doors should be delivered next week. And I'm expecting the replacement under-cabinet light any day now. But, except for the replacement pieces, the seat cushions, and window treatments, the kitchen is done!

Thought I'd give you a different view point.
Now you can see the other side of the island.

I was so excited to finally put display pieces in the glass-front
cabinets. For the season, I'm currently displaying my witch plates.

I'll share pictures of the breakfast area after the windows are dressed and the banquette is decked out with a seat cushion and pillows.

It feels great to finally have a kitchen and to get back the rooms in our home that were disrupted during the remodel. I have a lot of cleaning to do, but I'm happy to finally be able to do it.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Things Are Going So Well

Last Saturday, my brother organized a memorial mass for mom at his church, and lunch after at his home. It all went really well. It was respectful without being overdone, which my brother has a tendency to do. I especially enjoyed seeing all my nieces and nephews and their spouses and children. The entire affair felt more celebratory than sad. There was very little crying.

It's an odd thing to lose someone to Alzheimer's Disease. It's as if the family's been fighting the AD monster for over a decade and we're happy it's finally gone. Truth is, mom left us years ago when AD began damaging her brain. The disease ran it's complete course and mom was just a shell when she passed.

I suppose someday mom's death might "hit me" and I'll feel sad. But right now, I'm just glad to be rid of the AD monster and happy mom is no longer suffering.

Dad is doing well, also. On Monday, he took steps toward getting his passport. If he can work out the details, he hopes to go on a trip Thanksgiving week. It's a bus trip to New Orleans where the group boards a cruise ship. And there's a good chance dad's sister will join him, which would be wonderful.

I hope dad does get to travel this November. But, if not, he's already looking into other trips. I'm absolutely thrilled he's ready to enjoy life without quilt and worry about mom. And, best of all, he's doing so without delay. Wise move for an 83-year-old!