Monday, January 10, 2011

Hmmmm.....surprised so many of you are still arriving here.....

I will be making NO more posts on here, other than to continue to remind you readers that my blog has changed to a new location:


LIFE IS REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!! (on the other site!)

Monday, January 03, 2011

Monday, Dec 3, 2010: IT IS TIME TO MOVE ON............

OK........after consulting and discussing with a a great friend today, I have made the decision to begin posting on the new blog site on WordPress. I will maintain and keep this blogspot going so that you can refer back to it if you need to. Why am I doing this???

The main reason is that anyone who wishes to go into the Archives on Blogspot...this site......can no longer access all of the posts and pictures that I have posted on here. Again, why??? Because here only 5000 posts are allowed and then......the rest are inaccessible to everyone except this sagging hulk of Me. Soooo, I think it is time to move on.......

Another thought is this site is......well, rather tired looking. The new site is fresher looking, a bit easier to read, and hopefully what I am may be needing to give me a bit of a boost to write each day as I have done for almost six years. Sooooo.......move right on over to the website below and then bookmark it below or above the bookmark for this site. Hopefully, no one will get lost in cyberspace as you make the change to the new site!!!!

So....there it is........see you there!!!!

LIFE IS JUST REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Cocktail time.....(was she looking at some other guy across the room.....hmmmm???)

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The "Poached Pear Salad" ordered by the 1st Lady and Laura......really quite good!!!

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WHAT the hell?? Did I REALLY eat sooo much I couldn't sit up straight??? More sags will be there, I presume!

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Andrew and Laura......two great friends who are amazing people!!!

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After dinner discussions........always with lots of laughter!!!

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Friday, Dec 31, 2010: WOW.....what a day in Missouri!!

Yesterday???? Another one of those Misery winter days I said before, grey...gloomy...depressing, to say the least!! I spent some more time with the learning curve for the possible new blog site......much to learn about.

During the morning, I had an appointment with the chiropractor.....and I was glad as my leg was really hurting....the first time since last Friday!! Not sure just why......there seems to be no reason for it....guess it just comes with the territory of having this sciatica problem!??

The 1st Lady and I left shortly after noon for STL, with the primary destination to have dinner with Andrew and Laura Gipson. We left early in order to do some window shopping for some new chairs and perhaps a high sitting bar table for the sticknbrick. Not sure what we want yet.....still looking and thinking and discussing our real needs. Sooo, we went to the Danish Modern Furniture store(s).....there are two of them in STL and we spent quite a bit of time in each on Tesson Ferry Rd just off of I-270.....and the other one on west Olive, again off of I-270. Saw several pieces which gave us some we are quite interested in continuing our modern/contemporary clean lines style of furnishing here in the house.

From there we went to the Galleria area where we shopped in Crate and Barrel and Pier 1. Didn't really find any furniture in either place, but we did pick up some additional glasses we needed for the kitchen. A half hour stop at Whole Foods Grocery.....and purhased several items: wine, champagne, bread, cheeses, etc., etc. LOVE that store!!!! Sure makes me wish that we lived closer to one of these groceries.......sooooooooo damn many choices that we don't have in this rural region of Misery!!!!

Then we were off to the Stellina Pasta Cafe......where we arrived a bit early for our dinner with the Gipsons. We had a drink at the bar.....and before long they arrived.....and, it was sooooo good to see both of them once again. It had been almost six months since we had managed to get together.....and, so the conversation never ended, but transitioned from one topic to another, sometimes without finishing a discussion.

The food???? Well, it was above average in most cases, reasonably priced, but I was not really all that impressed. The Cafe is quite small, as we had heard, but, it wasn't full last night. Suppose people were planning to eat tonight on NYE???? I ordered Toasted Ravioli which WAS very good.....and my entree was a pasta dish: whole wheat past with walnut overtones, egg plant, and other goodies in it. The serving was quite large.....more than I could consume....but, the sauce, or lack of it, was not to my liking. Most olive oil than any other sauce, it seemed. The 1st Lady ordered a shrimp laden pasta dish....and she said that the shrimp were overcooked....making them a bit tough, plus they were quite small which certainly meant they did not need to be cooked very long.

The wine was......OK. Nothing special about it. The server was good, personable, and lively in conversation......a real plus! Dessert was not offered.....found that interesting! I did have a cup of coffee, ....nothing outstanding about it. The bill for the 1st Lady and myself was just short of $ we did have several drinks during the evening. We were not rushed to eat and leave....but were at the table for about 2.5 hours at the very least......and, that was nice to not experience that hurry up and leave the table feeling.

Afterward, we walked down the street past a couple of stores and dropped into Biggie's Bar and had a couple of more drinks, with a lot of laughs as the evening wore on. It was almost midnight when we left, walked to our car....and headed back to F'town......arriving about 1:45AM. As I said, it was just soooooo damn good to be able to spend an evening with Andrew and Laura.......and we all agreed we need to do this once a month, if we can coordinate our schedules!!!

TODAY: I had an appt with the Chiropractor at 10am......and, then an appointment to have the oil changed in the Park Avenue. While there, they suggested STRONGLY that we needed new front it was almost "metal on metal". Sooooo, another $100 for those to be replaced. Then.....a quick stop at the sticknbrick.......and off I went to Farmington to have lunch with a long-ago former student....class of '92....Steve Starkey. We had not spent any time together in years and years.....even though he does live here in the community area.

By the time I walked into 12 West Restaurant, the predictions of severe storms....tornado warnings.....were being broadcast frequently. He and I chatted for a while, and then ordered a light lunch. About the time it was brought to the table.....the WARNING sirens went off in Farmington......and we looked around, wondering what to do. We checked and discovered the place did have a is an old brick building which has been recovered into this quite nice restaurant with great food. We rather hurridly ate our sandwiches......the sirens sounded a couple of more times while we ate......and, after checking our smart phones for the radar, and looking at the tv's in the bar, we decided it might be a good idea to go down into the basement. Steve bought me a beer and then.....downstairs we went, to be joined by several others who were not in the mood to gamble on their lives, just as we were not! After about 20 minutes, perhaps a bit less, the rains stopped, and the sky brightened. And soooo, we departed for F'town.

We had both called back to our homes....and the 1st Lady had gone down through the trap door in the laundry room to the crawl space, since we don't have a basement. It rained sooooooo hard all the way back to F'town.....16 miles....that I could barely see the edge of the highway and stay on the road!!!!! winds, just rains!

Nothing had happened in F'town except the rains, but..........all over Misery, places were damaged from tornadoes and winds!!!! South STL was really torn up, as well as Ft. Leonard Wood............terrible storms on the last day of the year!!!! Very unusual!!!!!

The remainder of the afternoon, the 1st Lady and I packed up the Christmas tree, decorations, etc, etc......and got most of the boxes/cases taken to the garage. However, the tree and one other were toooo heavy for me to carry due to the back/sciatic/bulging disc problems I still have. Soooo, I will have to get assistance tomorrow....I hope.

And sooooo, another couple of days here in TheHowserHouse. I will not post on the "new" site this it will be just a repeat, but will put on a couple of pictures to "keep it going" for right now. My lack of sleep last night due to the shortness of the night, has left me without much creativity when it comes to writing!!!

But.....even that lack of rational thought(s) always,

LIFE IS JUST REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tuesday, 4:45AM at the STL airport as they prepare to fly to Hanoi, Vietnam!!!

Wed, Dec 29, 2010: Changes are coming!!!!!!!

OK....the title will be explained later..... hell of a long day!!!!! I set my alarm for 2:00AM....and when that damn thing shouted at me....and, the 1st Lady.....I fumbled around trying to locate the tiny little switch on the side to shut the damn thing off, in the darkness of the room. Finally, success!!! I then moved quickly to the bathroom.......wet down my hair, which looked like I had been electrocuted during the night.....dressed my tired body.....and moved into the kitchen, not before I had turned over a glass of water next to the quilt-pallet which had been made in the media room for the three granddaughters. Oh well......the carpet soaked up the water...and, thank God, it was just clear water!

WHAT a surprise as when I came into the living room, many of the lights were on...and there was Anne-marie and Becky working on getting everything of Anne-marie's into her large backpack. Jeremy was on the living room sofa,, I went into the kitchen and flicked the switch to make the coffee.

At 2:30, I woke Jeremy and he was soon scurrying around getting the rest of his things organized and thrown into his large backpack. The 1st Lady then came into the kitchen and before long, good-byes were being said along with kisses and hugs. We loaded the bags into the trunk of the car...and by 3:08, we were leaving the driveway for St. Louis.

No traffic at all!!!!!!!!!! By 4:45AM we were at the airport!!! Sooo, without any problems we pulled up into the unloading zone in front of the doors to the ticketing counters.....and both of them jumped out. I said "without any problems", however.....there were soooooo many cars disgorging people to catch planes that it took a few minutes to locate a spot to slip the car into so they could unload! We said our goodbyes.....and off they went into the main ticketing terminal.

I was back on the interstate and headed home before 5AM.....and I arrived back at the sticknbrick at 6:15AM. I quick 200 mile round trip to the airport and back.

Soooo, as their flt to Atlanta was to leave STL at 7am.......I was correct in assuming that they made it since I didn't get any phone calls. THAT would be difficult for them as they had disconnected their cell phones, not taking them to the other side of the world where their charges would have been outrageous! They probably will pick up cell phones for short term usage in the countries they will be traveling through.....

The rest of the day......I spent in attempting to remain awake! I finally did take a nap during the afternoon. The day was spent in the kids playing all through the house, we eating left-overs and finishing off the Christmas cookies along the way. A few games were played during the late afternoon/early evening........and then Becky/Rachel left......followed the Darrel, Dr. Jeni, and the three little ones. And.....I fell into bed quite quickly and was soon gone from the world........

WEDNESDAY: Today??? One of Misery's finest examples of winter weather: cold, grey, gloomy, rainy, cloudy, UGLY!!!!! Soooo, the 1st Lady and I just relaxed, did a few odd pick-ups around the house, and then just kicked back and read or did nothing! to the above: I am in the process, literally, of changing to another blog site on the web. Much work, muchmuchmuchmuch more education on my part needs to be done, BUT....I have established it and made my first test posting. I will be changing it around, adding things, and learning how to post pictures. I also believe that it will be possible to import to the new blog site all of my 6300 posts from here, and hopefully all of the pictures. The header picture I used is just a standard issue and I will be changing that soon, I hope!!!

If you wish to go there, the address is: I am getting excited about it, but never fear......I will NOT leave you out in the cold not knowing where I have slipped away, I will continue to post on here, until I get this site firmly established and all changes made. The LAST post on here will direct everyone to the new site......but, that may be a few days, or even more than that. Soooo, stay tuned.......

OK....this afternoon I did receive an email from Jeremy and Anne-marie....and they were in Hanoi, Vietnam!!!! Here is their email from today/tomorrow, depending on the date line:

"We made to Hanoi after 28 long hours of travel. Landed in Vietnam at 10:30pm local time, which is 9:30am Central Time.

Plane ride was super long. 14 hours to Seoul and another 5 hours to Hanoi...after a two hour flight to Atlanta. Ate about five airplane meals...rice and chicken...bean curd...and bibim bop. It all sucked pretty bad.

South Korean Airlines rocks. Beautiful Korean ladies dolled up in classy outfits.

We had a bulldog for dinner and it sure was delicious.

Got our hotel for super cheap. Went out for $1 beers at a little place this evening, ignoring the Communist curfew. Was fun. Met a wild old Australian man and a few Brits who were hanging out.

Super tired. We are going to bed now.

Will email again in the next few days.


jay and anne-marie"

Soooo, they made it without a hitch to the other side of the world and seem to be getting their "boots on the ground" over there. I am soooo insanely jealous!!!! is their trip and it will be an adventure they will never forget!!!!

And soooo, as always.......

LIFE IS JUST REALLY AMAZINGLY GREAT!!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Brunch....fixed inthe southern Anne-marie

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Christmas in TheHowserHouse

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Christmas Day brunch being prepared

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A new boat for Darrel/Dr Jeni housed at The Lodge of the Four Seasons

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Darrel and Dr. Jeni's new two bedroom cruiser

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Inside the new "cruiser" 42' boat of Darrel and Dr. Jeni

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Mon, Dec 27, 2010: And again: " Where did these last few days go????"

WOW.....Christmas came and went and now all that is left is tons of bits of candy wrappers, little pieces of torn paper under the chairs and sofas, lots and lots of cookie crumbs where they are not supposed to be......and still TheHowserHouse is full of family and grandchildren!!!

Saturday....Christmas Day.....was NOT our Christmas Day. Jeremy and Anne-marie went to see Mike for the afternoon......and the 1st Lady and I just hung out here at the sticknbrick putting the finishing touches on the dinner to be served on Sunday, which was our Christmas Day.

By 10pm, Darrel and Dr. Jeni and three kids, Becky and Rachel, Jeremy and Anne-marie were all back here in TheHowserHouse. The rest of the evening went swiftly as we tried to get the kids bedded down, but since they were all excited from their own Christmas trees and the gifts that Santa had left for them that morning.....they were not read to go to bed. Finally....finally, they collapsed and soon afterwards the lights went out.

SUNDAY...our Christmas Day.....the kids were up and getting us older guys up so they could begin opening the gifts that were for them....and all of us. Chaos reigned supreme as they tore into their gifts.....and the hours and hours of thinking, selecting, purchasing, and wrapping were soon a thing of the past!!! What fun everyone had......and the grandkids, especially!

Anne-marie and Jeremy cooked an amazing breakfast with lots and lots of southern overtones, including cheesy grits with spices, special stuffed omelets, sausage which they had brought up from southern Alabama, and a special Jezebel sauce for dipping the sausage into. Then......we all had Mimosa drinks: champagne and freshly squeezed orange juice mixed carefully together so as not to lose the bubbles......ummmmmm...great!!!!!

The afternoon was spent in getting the evening dinner prepared, while the kids enjoyed their new toys and games and digital devices,as well as new phones and cameras......a great time!!!
Jeremy and Anne-marie gave the 1st Lady and myself a specially made and printed just for us.....large "coffee table book" of pictures of their wedding from last March. GORGEOUS!!!!!!!! A lovely book cover dedicated to us covered the hard back book, printed out in California and looks like a book that you would buy at Barnes & Noble!!! I have no idea how many huge and beautiful pictures were in the book......the layout, the outline and structure of the book is incredible!!!!! WHAT A GIFT!!!!!!!!

Dinner was wonderful....the 1st Lady is a great cook........and everyone enjoyed it 110%!!! The afterdinner evening was spent with cards and games........a wonderful day it was!!!!


A busy day here at the sticknbrick: I had a treatment for my sciatic nerve this morning followed by coffee with a former student; Jeremy had to go to Poplar Bluff to get a typhoid shot for this upcoming trip to southeast Asia; Darrel had to make a trip to Willow Springs with a friend of his; And then we had three more guests for the day here at the house to visit with Dr. Jeni.

My leg/nerve is much better....been three days since any real pain...and so, after I finished I had coffee with Nick Nichols and his young lady who were here for a couple of days. Another incredible hour with Nick......we have such great times in our discussions and I continue to learn more and more about his continuing education at Michigan State University as well as his performances with the Lansing, MI Symphony! Such an incredible guy, he is!!!!

Everyone had arrived back at the sticknbrick by this evening.....and Jeremy and Anne-marie were very busy packing for their very early departure from STL tomorrow. I will drive them up to the airport, leaving here at 3AM for their 5AM check-in.......they will fly to Atlanta, and then fly from there to Seoul, South Korea. From there another plane on to Hanoi, Vietnam and the beginning of their four month adventure in VietNam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and India.....and possibly Nepal/Tibet if time permits.

Soooo, I will close this and get things ready to leave in a few hours for STL. And.....of course......

LIFE IS JUST INCREDIBLY GREAT!!!!!!......And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Thurs, Dec 23, 2010: WHEW....where did these last few days go??

Let's see if I can bring you up to date without a lot of details, as we are ALL busy this week.....and, I doubt if you would want to argue that point.....right???

We returned from our four day tour of Misery, visiting both the 1st Lady's family and mine during that time. On Tuesday, we left Osage Beach/Lake of the Ozarks and made a brief stop to see the 98 year old aunt of the 1st Lady's.....who is living in an assisted living facility between Eldon and Tuscumbia, MO. It is her mother's sister.....and she seems to be doing really well. She has quite a bit of difficulty with her hearing, but she is looking great. At the time we were there, she was having her hair done at the beauty "salon" there at the home. We visited during the appointment and then had to move on down the road.

We arrived in F'town about 3pm or a bit later.....and before long it was time to go out to the Hanner House for dinner for the four of us(Jeremy/Anne-marie) and the 1st Lady and myself. Their daughter, Danielle and her two children were here and we had a great dinner of several courses. Talk was never a problem as Jeremy and Danielle had been in the same high school graduating class.....and not see each other for several years!

Wed and today were spent mainly in preparing for the weekend when everyone will be here. I did have coffee at the local coffee shop with a former student....Leslie Sikes who also brought her significant other.....and it was just wonderful to visit with her, and to get know him. She was a flag corps girl for me, a piano student, and a European traveler on one of my trips over there. She was a music education major and is now teaching elementary music in the Webster Groves School District......and, LOVES IT!!!!!!! A very talented singer/vocalist, she has sung in many musical productions in the St Louis area........and enjoys every minute of it. She also sang a summer or two at Six Flags Over Miss Kitty's Saloon, if memory serves me correctly.

My sciatica nerve and left leg seem to be improving with each day, albeit slowly. The pains do no awaken me any more.....because.....I have no pains during the night. And, even during the day they are bearable 99% of the time. Still getting treatments each day....and will continue for a week or so. There is some stiffness in my back, but that will disappear, I am told.

Sooooo.....I do have some pictures on my camera from our wonderful dinner at the Hanner's on Tuesday night, but will have to post them in the next day or so. Snow is predicted, but they seem to be pushing back the "heavy" snow that was originally discussed.

And Santa is loading up his sleigh for the trip tomorrow........for me:

LIFE IS JUST REALLY, REALLY GREAT!!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!

Monday, December 20, 2010

My cousin, DianeDellbringge; my aunt, Lambie(Dorothy) Howser Ossman; and the sagging hulk of Me

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My sister and her husband at dinner this evening

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Dec 19, 20, 2010: Family Christmas in Hannibal; Visit with family in Jeff City and Osage Beach

Ahhhh.....yesterday.....what a gathering of family members!!!!! After spending many hours in the large indoor pool at the Quality Inn and Suites in Hannibal on Saturday evening.......the Redman Family gathered at the Jaycee Hall in Hannibal for the Christmas celebration including a catered dinner, exchange of gifts, and games for all ages. The hall rang with squeals of laughter and fun from the youngest generation.......the great grandchildren of "granny", the matriarch of the family. And....I believe I counted 43 in attendance....only two grandsons were unable to attend. It was an afternoon of fun, food, and family......what more could be wanted from the Christmas gathering??!!!!

The 1st Lady, Jay and Anne-marie, and myself remained in Monroe City last night at the home of the 1st Lady's mum.......and then today we drove down to Jefferson City where I spent a wonderful, warm 90 minutes with my only remaining aunt, who is now living in an assisted living facility there in Jeff City. We were joined by her daughter, my cousin, for a great visit.......and it was soooo good to see my aunt. She has suffered a heart attack and a quadruple bypass in February....but, has recovered beautifully. She is an amazing lady, sharp as a tack, and with a wonderful outlook on Life considering everything which has been put on her plate over the 86 years of her Life!!!! This was 90 minutes which will stay with me......forever!!!!

Afterwards, we drove on down to Osage Beach, checked into a hotel, and then did some shopping at the outlet mall there. Drinks for Jay/Anne-marie and the 1st Lady and myself were at a local watering hole....Bootleggers.....and then we met my sister and her husband, his son and wife from Florida, and we all had a great two hours of eating, drinking, and conversations at the Outback Steakhouse! Great to see all of them again.......and to be together for a few hours during this Holiday season!!!!! I was glad Jay/Anne-marie were able to be there so he could visit with my sister......before they fly to Hanoi, Vietnam next week for 3-4 months of traveling throughout Southeast Asia for 3-4 months.

My sciatic never problem????? Well, it is about the same.......not a constant pain, but from time to time if I sit and drive too long at one sitting.....and then if I walk too long. Hmmmm......still raising question in my mind about the extended trip to New Zealand.......????!!!!

And sooooo, two great days........days of family and visits with families!!! Soooo, of course.......

LIFE IS JUST INCREDIBLY GREAT!!!!!.....And, I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!