Thursday, March 30, 2006

My last day.............to be 62

Today???? I spent part of the morning downtown visiting with a couple of people. Then......don't ask what happened to the rest of the day, because I do not know!!! I was at home most of the time........did some research on surround sound systems online, and then a little after 3, the 1st Lady and I went up to Farmington and decided on the carpet for the bedroom/closet.

Came home.......and I fixed some shrimp and cocktail sauce, some vino.....and we were good to go for a light supper!! And it was very good. And then.........well, I have continued checking on surround sound systems....and watching a bit of the tellie.

It was a rather calm and uninteresting day........perhaps this is what is coming during the next year of my Life???? I can easily take and accept the "calm day".......but sure as hell don't want many "uninteresting" days!!!

Soooooooo, for the last day of my first year of Social Security..........

Life is Great......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Busy!!! Yeah....so what's new....huh??

Gravity was soooo strong here that I could barely raise my head off the pillow this morning!!!! But.....with plenty of exertion, I finally made it onto my feet and headed to the coffee maker.......putting in a filter and filling it to the proper height with Starbucks Fr. Roast ground beans. Soon, the aroma was filling TheHowserHouse and I became much more cheerful than I was when the gravity released me from the bed.

Shortly after nine, I headed to the city center to visit with a friend.......who turned out to NOT be in his office for the day. Soooo, headed to the local coffee shop for a very good cup of cappuccino.....thanks to Karen, the owner. She is running for mayor of our community and who else would be a better mayor than the owner of THE coffee shop????

Then I was off to Farmington and points north where I began my shopping trip by purchasing an anode rod for TheHowserHouse (on wheels) which goes in my hot water heater. Another stop at the large furniture store.....where I couldn't find anything like we are wanting for the bedroom. Next stop was at the carpet store.....where the young lady I have been working with on our carpet purchases turned out to not be there today. Dikd NO ONE want to do business with me today??????

Sooo, next stop was at Lowe's to purchase some tile grout and ceramic tile "glue" .....all for the bathroom. The tile layer will be here on Monday.....so he says. Then it was to Office Max to buy new printer ink cartridges......WOW.....such horrific prices for the small cartridges!!!!!!! Might have to stop printing if these things continue to go up in costs!!!!!

Then it was home again.......where I had a message that the latest bid on our kitchen cabinets was ready.......back in Farmington! Tomorrow....perhaps. Our contractor was then ready to see if we were finally on the same page with the entrance to the family room. Think he has the right concept .........now. Next was a message to our vanity builder......as to when he will be finished with it...."next week" he told me tonight.

Then the carpet people called and they will install the family room carpet next Wednesday at 7:30AM!! And soon......it was time for me to share my knowledge of music with my students!!! What the Hell happened to the day????????????????????????????????

Supper was bacon and tomato sandwiches......soooooo good!!!!!! And then.....the evening slipped away into the usual nothingness.............

Soooooo, even with all of the missed connections and not much accomplished......

Life is Great.......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Today?? A bit of variety.....

Up at 6AM this morning.....why???? I really don't have a clue. The 1st Lady got up earlier than usual and that woke my aging body from being in a full, relaxed recline position to my old, crooked toes hanging over the side of the bed as I attempted to defy gravity and haul my ass out of bed! Somehow......I WAS successful and was soon ambulatory and moving oh-so-slowly across the hardwood floors to the depository room..........You know which room! BUT.......I was told to "get lost" until the 1st Lady had prepared herself to meet the world.....and her students. Sooooo, I went and ground some new Starbucks French Roast coffee beans.....and after carefully measuring out 1/4 cup of powdery black coffee bean "dust", I added the cold water to the 8 cup level.....and with my bony finger, I pressed "Start". AHHHHHHHHHHH......the aroma of that dark, brown liquid after having being pushed through that brown powder really got my mind cranking, and soon I was ready for the day to begin!

The same old daily routine then began.....and before long I was enjoying my steaming, hot, dark coffee as I checked my email.....and read three newspapers online. As the morning progressed I made my list for a trip to the city center of our small community. Completing the list, I left TheHowserHouse on Buford Heights and headed down the hill. After several quick stops......wellllll, perhaps NOT soooo quick......as every place I stopped I ran into people that wanted to visit, learn more about my Life(why?), and our plans for her upcoming retirement.

But....after an hour and a few minutes, I was headed back to the stick and brick. Our contractor was there and so a discussion ensued concerning a misunderstanding.....not on the same page......about the entrance from the living room into the family room. A rather costly mistake which neither one of us could ,nor would, accept the blame for........it was just a total 100% misunderstanding between the two of us about my concept of what I really wanted. The entrance to the family room....the new entrance......is one step down from the living room.....and I wanted the hardwood floor of the living room to extend, on the same level, into the family room for about 14", and then a halfway step built and then down to the level of the family room........which will give the feeling of a sunken family room as you actually would walk into the room and then step down into it. BUT.......things weren't happening that way. Sooooo, after a non-confrontational discussion, our contractor began preparations to correct the mistake.

Then....I began painting the ceiling of the bedroom......and not enjoying the aromatic paint fumes which have been doing strange, un-natural things to my head. Ventilating the room as well as I could, I managed to get the job done in a little over an hour.......and actually wound up not feeling very bad.

Then just as I was finishing, I had a guest at the door to talk to me about some school related business.......since I am on the local Board of Education for the school district. This took over an hour with discussion, question and answers, and more discussion. Ahhhhh, the responsibilities of a person who wins the election!!

Soon it was time to prepare dinner......something I had not done with much regard for a few weeks since we have been in such a mess.....without even a table upon which to wine and dine. But.....I browned three VERY thick pork chops.....almost two inches thick......., added some chicken broth to the skillet, and then let them simmer for about 1.25 hours......all the while preparing broccoli to be steamed, and baby carrots to be cooked. Oh yes.......a loaf of French Bread was inserted into the oven so that it would be done by the time I took out the chops, and added some wine to the broth to reduce over high heat, to use as an au jus(sp?) for the meat and hot bread. Oh yes........the dark red medicine was necessary for the proper digestion of this meal!!!!

Hurrying to clean the kitchen, I made it just in time for 1. American Idol; 2. House; 3. The Amazing Race!!!!!
Soooo, with all of that good food properly ingested......after three hours of watching all of the above, my aging posterior which is under a heavy pulling from the ever-increasing gravity (does that have something to do with "global warming"?)......well, it seems to have spread wider across the sofa as the evening has lengthened into the dark night!!! I may have to get some type of sling just to remove my body from this sofa and get to the bedroom.........ahhh, the wonders of aging!!

Soooo, .........not matter if I can't get up off of the sofa........

Life IS Great.......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Rain, Dreary.....cool temps

Woke up with a "paint" headache.....should have got up around 4am when I woke up the first time with the paint man pounding inside, but just laid there and tried to go back to sleep. Boy......these fumes are really getting to me.....more and more each time we paint!!!! The odor was still in the house when I got up at 6:30am this morning.......and it took all morning of just lounging around before I managed to kick out that little paint man....and the pounding eased up somewhat.

Sooooo, what did I do???? I got out the damn paint brush.....and painted the bathroom. Yeah.....I just couldn't lay around all day without getting something accomplished....and we seem to be soooo damn far behind in getting Stage I completed. I put on a paint mask to try to block the fumes, opened all available windows, turned on the fan and set it in the window, and turned on the bathroom exhaust fan. BUT......when I had to close the door to paint behind it, well,........I got dizzy, my hearing in both ears got very muddled and dull.....and I quickly finished the job and got the hell out of there!!!!! It HAS to be age......painting never really bothered me before, but WOW......it sure affects me now. DAMN IT!!!!

However, the bathroom and the bedroom are now painted....just some edging to be done. Oh yeah.....I do need to do the bedroom ceiling, but that should not be a problem....work wise. The 1st Lady is going to do the edges, so that makes it somewhat easier on me.......less fumes on the floor level.

The rest of the day went quickly......and after supper(not dinner), it was time for "24"!!! Will sure hate to se this series finish for the season......really enjoy it!!! This evening I went searching online for Georgia O'Keefe paintings.......specifically her "Canna", which is a large red canna. Found what I want, have selected the frame for the print(lots of choices), and plan to order it soon. It is only $128 for the framed print with shipping......a really good bargain! Of course, it is going in the gray family/tv room to compliment the new red sofa. Oh......it has arrived in STL!!!! We had to special order it for the red fabric we wanted on it. Don't want to go get it until ALL is done in the four rooms......don't want the dust to settle on it!!!! Believe it or not.......it is STILL coming from somewhere and settling on everything!!!! And I have changed the furnace filter four times!! Oh well........

The vanity for the bathroom SHOULD be done by now. Must run to STL to get the vanity top.....all the fixtures are here and ready to go. Now just to get the tile guy to come and put them down in the bath. The carpet for the tv room is at the store.....and we have to get the bedroom carpet purchased. Need to find another chair for the family room......and still haven't purchased a bedroom set as yet. Know what we want....just haven't found it for the right price........as inexpensive as possible.

Soooooo, as the day has disppeared........

Life is GREAT......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Rest on Sunday???? HA!

"Never on Sunday".......rest, that is! At least for this aging man. We were up with the chickens...Hmmmm, wonder what time THAT is???!! Anyway....it was damnable early. Went up to see Mike this morning for a few hours and then it was hurry, hurry, hurry to get back to TheHowserHouse by early afternoon.

Had a "business" conference call for 1.5 hours this afternoon for lots of discussion about our future plans. Then.......it was quickly get into my painting clothes,and soon a paint roller was in my hand and I was climbing onto the ladder. I painted the walls of our remodeled bedroom, while the 1st Lady painted the area where the ceiling meets the walls....in the family room. NOT an easy job, no matter which painting tools she used. She has MUCH more patience at something like then I do.......just absolutely hate doing the little detail painting!!!!!!!!!!!

We continued to paint until a bit after 6pm......which by then it was becoming toooooo dark to see very well. I painted the bedroom a color about the color of chocolate milk.....with an extra shot of milk! Think it will really look great with our color choices: deep espresso brown with the new "hot" color of aqua.....a light blue with a tiny hint of green mixed with it. It is a color that was all the rage in the 50's......and like all good things, it has returned for another few years(??). I did some checking and looking around in the decorating shops and stores.....and, YEP....there it is in every one of them!!!!! I would NOT want to be out of style.....hahahaha!!!!

This evening......well, it was time for a few phone calls to catch up with family and friends. The tellie was not much use this evening......Grey's Anatomy was even a rerun.....DAMN!!! I am presently watching an hour show on new RV's on the market. They just keep getting bigger and more expensive.....and HEAVIER. I saw one with FIVE slides.......it must weigh many, many tons. It would take a LARGER truck than I have to pull it with all of the extras that were onboard.

Tomorrow???? Well, it is more painting and begin to get some of the rooms clean of the stuff that is laying on the floors. Soooooo, it is work, work, work for this old guy. But.........as always,

Life is GREAT......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Return to TheHowserHouse

Had coffee and toast with my mother this morning, and then left for F'town around 8:30. Stopped in Rolla....at Panera Bread to get a cappuccino(dry). I always order it "dry" as most places put WAY TOOOOO much milk in the cup rather than foam. There should be not as much milk as the expresso that is put into the cup.....and then the rest should be foam. I always watch it being made.....and then make a strong suggestion to not put as much milk in the cup. If it is "overmilked" then I will have them remake the entire cappuccino! Am I getting grouchy in my old age???????? Nope....just picky!! I know what a real cappuccino is....and that is what I want.
Ok....enough preaching about my "drinking habits"!!

When I drove thru Potosi, I called the 1st Lady and discovered she was heading to Desloge with her Academic Team for lunch during the noon break of the conference tournament. So, I went there to meet her and the kids and had lunch with them.

Then, headed to Farmington and stopped at Sherwin-Williams to get some paint for the bedroom. We like the color that Dr. Jeni used in her great room, so I had talked with her last night and she told me the color name and number. Picked up a couple of gallons which should do the job.

Then headed on to TheHowserHouse. Got everything unloaded and then hit the sofa for a nap!! For some reason, I was really tired this afternoon.

This evening........just a bit of tellie watching. Tomorrow.....we will go visit Michael and then retrun by 1:30pm as I have a conference call at 2pm with the other national board of directors of the Cedar Creek Club. Then.....some painting, I hope.

Sooooooo, as always....

Life is Great......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!

Friday, March 24, 2006

GREAT DAY!!!!!

Morning came about the same time as at TheHowserHouse, even tho this, too, is a HowserHouse. It is where I grew up and where my almost 93 year old mother resides........having lived here for over 50 years. We had a nice coffee and pecan roll......and the visiting continued into the middle of the morning. What a remarkable lady she is!!!!! Her mind is better and more clear than mine is.......or at least it certainly seems that way. Anyway......it was a very good morning with plenty of coffee and plenty of talk.

I left close to noon for Osage Beach....about 15 minutes away. Stopped at the new Target and the Pier 1 stores....looking at home decor and the availability of items that will fit in with our ideas and color thoughts for our remodeled rooms. Another quick stop at a couple of stores in the Outlet Mall and then it was off to a really good little bistro style cafe for lunch. "On the Rise" is where I had agreed to meet two very, very good friends who live here in the Lake area.

Mike and Merrie Williams met me after he finished interviewing prospective teachers for the Osage School District. The former band director here at Osage HS, Mike is now the Asst. Principal at the HS. Merrie is a National Certified Teacher and does an outstanding job of educating young students!! Mike was a former student of mine when I taught in the Eldon School District......YEARS ago. Yep......he is now in his middle age...believe it or not. I'm certain he doesn't WANT to believe it.....hahaha.

We had a wonderful lunch..... just great food at this cafe/restaurant!!!!!!! I had what is called a Crispy Crostini which is a very, very thin and crusty bread....more like a very thin pizza. It was layered with creamed spinach, carmelized onions, and portobello mushrooms........WOW....was this EVER GREAT!!!!!!! Can't wait to have this served to me again.....ummmmmm.

We sat, we ate, we talked, we laughed.......we enjoyed the lunch for over two hours!!! It is ALWAYS sooooo enjoyable to eat with good friends.....and to have that time to converse and catch up on each other's Lives and families. Time is way, way toooooooo short to not have these opportunities more frequently!!

Then after parting from such wonderful companions, I headed back to the Outlet Mall and some more shopping. Purchased some of that incredible jam/jelly that Harry and David's sells!!! It is always sooooo good and tasty!!! Actually bought 6 jars to return home with. Then......I broke my personal promise and bought two new shirts.....but, Hey....they were only $5 each!!!!!!!! Quite a sale at Haggar's clothing shop.

Then I stopped in at the Hy-Vee SuperMarket......what a great place. Purchased a couple of wines.....one for the 1st Lady and one for myself......needed a refill of my dark red medicine prescription. Got a GREAT deal.....picked up a bottle of Cabernet from S. America....Norton. However it was labeled slightly differently, but the sign under it said: $8.99. So, got to the check-out stand.....and it rang up at $22.00!!!!!! I told the clerk "NO!!!!" I would be divorced if I paid that much for my medications, so the clerk asked me to check the shelf.....and I had misread the yellow sale tag.....it was for the bottle underneath that shelf!!!!!! Hmmmmm........getting old, I guess. BUT........I guess my charm and personality helped as the clerk played around with the cash register/computer.....and sold it to me for $8.99!!!!!!!!!! Yep......I DID get a bargain.

Bought some pre-made Lasagna and took it back to the homestead and Mom and I had a great evening meal!!!!! It was very, very good!!!!!

Soooo.....it WAS a " Great Day"!!!!!!! And as always.....

Life is GREAT.......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!! AND......thanks for lunch, Mike and Merrie!!!!!!

Thursday, March 23, 2006

An exhausting day..........

Woke up with a god-awful headache.....not certain of the cause, but there it was .......a horrific little man pounding his hammer inside my head....attempting to get out, I guess. Immediately down some OTC pain killers and put the coffee on. Slowly......OH SOOOO SLOWLY....I took a shower and let the hot, steaming water work on my head, my neck, and shoulders......trying to ease the tension and pain. Which came first???? Tension???? Pain??? Not certain, but they were both playing with each other in some odd and very expressive duet.

I had a very busy morning scheduled......and it was one of those schedules that cannot, under any terms, be delayed or postponed. I had to appear in court........to testify in a legal battle I have been waging for several years. The entire event took about 2.5 hours.....and, needless to say, did not help with the little man in my head. But.....that event is now over (for now).

Then the 1st Lady and I stopped at another cabinet maker and discussed our wishes, our desires, and our budget with them. The initial cost was not tooooo bad, but with the modifications we made.....well, who the hell knows how much the bid will be????!!!!!

Then it was off to Lowe's to look for grout. Well, that damn place has NO grout samples....the chalkstick kind.....all they have is a damn brouchure. Well, who the hell can tell anything about the actual color from a slick paged brouchure?????? And certainly, not in the flourescent light of Lowe's!!!! Soooo, on to other places ............later.

We headed for F'town and finally realized I had NOT eaten a bite all day.....and it was 2pm!!! So, I quickly grilled myself a couple of grilled cheese sandwiches on my favorite Pre-Tuscan Boule bread with a couple of small, think pats of real butter on the outside of the bread (the grilled sides), and a dab of Ranch dressing on the inside with the melted cheese. Wow....do I love this flavor of the four ingredients incorporated together!!!

Then I began to put a few clothes in the bag, packed the lappie with all the necessary cables and chords, and headed to the Lake of the Ozarks area to visit my Mother for a couple of days. Well........to make the headache worse.......I wound up following the slowest damn drivers in the state. Of course, going across the state requires heading thru the hills, the valleys, and the forests.....all where there are NO four lane highways. Sooooo, I crept along behind these OLD senior citizens who are afraid to drive over 39 mph. I pledged to myself that when I get to be OLD like they are, I would not creep down the damn highway!!!!!!!!! They were all probably in their mid-60's.......Hmmmmmm.......and my age????? HA!

Soooo, here I am using my cell phone for internet connection......and realizing just how slow the cell phone is for getting into cyberspace. But.....it works when there is nothing else!!!

Sooooo, after this day.........one would think I wouldn't be able to say it, but.....AHA...you are wrong, because as usual......

Life is Great.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!! (without the damned pounding in your head)

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

A day from my past career.....

Hmmmm, do you have any idea about that title??? Well, today was the SE Missouri District Music Festival where the choirs and bands perform for festival ratings. Plus, the piano solo competition was also held today. Sooooo, off I headed to Cape Girardeau to the Southeast MO State University campus to listen, to mentally adjudicate the performances, and also hear my piano student perform his solo for the judge.

It was an enjoyable day......a chance to see other colleagues from my former profession, to see friends who have retired, and to listen/watch the performances, including my "old" band from the local school here. There are not many students left in the band that I started on their horns.......but, it is always great to see them. They ALWAYS coming running over to talk and visit.

My piano student received a "I" rating....the highest possible. This allows him to move on to the MO State Music Festival in late April. I was told by the judge that his performance was the best one the entire day.....he is a very fine pianist!!! I am very proud of him......if only there were more students like him.....both musically and academically!!!!!!!

My.....notice I say "my"......H.S. band didn't do quite as well as they had hoped for. They only recieved a "II" rating........I thought they sounded well balanced and that there were some very positive things happening in the performance. BUT.....as always, music adjudication is always a subjective opinion and not everyone agress with each other in instances such as this. I do enough "judging" myself around the state, so I know how difficult it is to be objective.......almost impossible in the music field. We all hear music differently!!!! This is the first time the F'town band hasn't received a "I" rating since.....I believe......1989. But....as I said.....everyone hears it differently.

Tomorrow I will be heading over to the Lake of the Ozarks area where my almost 93 year old mother lives.....by herself. Sooooo, I need to go visit her......I don't get over often enough. Will probably stay a couple of days......and then get back here to the paint brush!!

Sooooo, after a day of seeing old friends, hearing some good music,and losing myself in the memories that I have from my life-long career......as always:

Life is Great......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Home at 3AM this morning and a few pics from the trip

More later, but only want to say that we arrived back in F'town at 3AM this morning. LOTS of problems last night with planes, weather, delays, etc., etc.

A few randomly published pictures from Arizona that I have written about.

More later......

Went around most of the day feeling like a hung-over zombie......not enough sleep!!! I did do a bit of laundry to play catch-up. Then gave five private music lessons this afternoon.....and then hurried off to the monthly Bd. of Education meeting.

Doesn't sound as if I did very much, does it???? But......my energy level was pretty damn low most of the day. The hassle of getting back home from Memphis' delay with a malfunctioning airplane was not fun. Sitting in an airport, and with all of the restaurants, coffee shops, and gift shops all closed down.......well, it is not the most pleasant way to spend an evening.

Tomorrow I have run down to Cape Girardeau for the District Music Festival. Won't be there tooo long, but just want to hear my piano student perform his contest solo. He was suffering from a migraine this afternoon, so just hope he recovers this evening. He has really worked hard for this performance tomorrow!!!!!

Sooooo, check out the pictures below, even tho they are not in any good order or arrangement. Just a few that I quickly published on the blogsite. And.......as usual,

Life is Great.......and I hope it is for all of you, also!1

An OLD man in front of the OLD Indian Casa Grande

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Main building at Casa Grande National Park

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Chapel chandelier

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Inside view of one of the chapels

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In the Monastery Gardens

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1st Lady and Gail McDonald in required females clothing

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Inside the Monastery compound

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Entrance to Monastery

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St Anthony's Greek Orthodox Monastery

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Monday, March 20, 2006

A LONGER trip home than expected!!!!!!

Awoke this morning and had my coffee, and the 1st Lady her tea.......outside!!! It was really quite cool for Arizona.....the coolest it has been all winter.....but across the street from our friends' park model....a new park model was being moved onto the lot and set up in a most interesting way. Sooooo, we and the neighbors all watched the process as a new home was set up and established right in front of our eyes. It was like an early morning party on the street!!!!!

By 10AM, we loaded up and headed to the Phoenix airport to catch our flight to Memphis and then to STL. All went well.......we loaded up and took off right on time. We made excellent time.....and arrived in just a little over two hours, well ahead of schedule........even with the last 30 minutes of turbulence and everyone "locked down" in their seats and tightened seat belts!!!

Once on the ground in Memphis, we moved to the loading gate for StL.......and guess what!!!! Our plane to STL had a malfunction......so, we were told we would leave at 8:30pm instead of 6:34pm. The time slowly went by......I had a Starbucks cappuccino (oh yeah....GREAT!!!), and then it was announced our plane would not be flying tonight!!!! BUT.....always a "BUT"......there was/is a plane arriving from Minneapolis at 9:30pm and it would then fly us to STL at 10:02pm.

Sooooo, here we sit in the closed down, almost empty, Memphis airport awaiting the arrival of the flt from Minneapolis!!!! It is now 9:10pm and we are awaiting the plane......We did receive vouchers for $$ off on our next flight....and....1000 miles towards our Frequent Flyer miles!!!! Soooo, even tho the 1st Lady will have to go to work EARLY in the morning, think it will all work out ok. Now......it is supposed to snow in STL, soooo we hope it doesn't begin until we land there.

Ohhhh......we did make reservations for a month there at the RV Park next winter. That is exciting......now we need to reserve a site in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas for the 1st month after the Holidays and we will have two winter months taken care of......YEAH!!!!!

Ok.....the natives are getting restless here in this only arriving gate in the whole damned airport, so I will close this and get it posted.....I hope. Batteries are running low.....

Soooo, even with all of the problems,

Life is GREAT.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Great day that disappeared quickly!!!

The last FULL day in Arizona this winter…….ugh!!!! Had very leisurely coffee and donuts in our small little motorhome here in the RV Park under very clear and beautiful blue skies. Then we ambled around the eastern side of the Park looking at the park model homes and the RV’s on wheels that are here. This RV Park has over 500 sites and they are all full!!! We ended our morning stroll at the McDonald home and accepted more coffee……and lots of “good friend” conversation. During the morning…..well, the desert enjoyed a fresh dribbling of rain…….something that it doesn’t have very often.

We decided to run into Casa Grande for a light lunch and a quick trip to WalMart Supercenter. Did we buy anything??? Nope……but just looked around at another WM!!! HAHAHA……..

The afternoon went quickly as we discussed our RV’ing plans for the summer and next winter. Soon, the red medicine was called for as we waited for the Lasagna to finish cooking in the oven…….and then a really delicious meal was served. Yummmmmm…..

Not certain where the day disappeared today!!!???? But it is now after 10pm…..and really nothing to show for it other than a larger number of pounds hanging on my body……thanks to all of the great food that is served at the McDonald home!!!

Tomorrow is travel hassle day as we head to Phoenix in the morning, wait for our flight to Memphis…..then wait for our trip to STL and then the drive home. By this time tomorrow night…..well, my creative juices will more than likely be drained from my mind.

Nevertheless……….the day disappeared quickly……yet….

Life is Great…….and I hope it is for

The 1st Lady and a BIG Saguaro Cactus

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Drinks with a former student in Tucson

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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Ruins, religious monastery, cacti, and a former student's success

A BEAUTIFUL morning!!!!!! We had coffee and tea on the patio of the McDonald’s winter home…….overlooking the RV Park neighborhood……with many 5th wheel and motorhome units parked amongst the permanent “park models”…..and all with manicured grounds, flowers blooming, flags flying, and the sounds of saws, drill, etc., etc. as the residents went about their morning enjoying their crafts and hobbies. Walkers, runners, joggers, and animal walkers all went by waving and calling out to us as they took their morning exercise……and all of them were retired senior citizens. A very pleasant and cheerful time of the day!!!

Soon we gathered things together and jumped into their SUV and headed off for breakfast in a neighboring community…….a local place called “Tags CafĂ©”…..and the food was wonderful!! Enough to last us all day……..!!!
From that town of Coolidge, we headed out of town to the north to see the “Casa Grande Ruins”. It is a National Park with only one building still standing from the Hohokum Indians who had lived there hundreds of years ago……..it was a really interesting site!!! Spent an hour or more there just walking and learning about this culture and ancient American civilization.

Onward we went to a rather unrealistic place out in the desert: The St. Anthony Greek Orthodox Monastery. WOW……what a place this is!!!! Many chapels of this not-so-familiar religious sect were highly decorated with icons, chandeliers of gold, and beautifully decorated walls and ceilings in each chapel.

The 1st Lady and Gail were required, as all females are, to put on long skirts, head scarves, and wear long sleeved tops while visiting this Monastery. Many monks were walking around mumbling their chants and mantras…….which all added to the uniqueness of this place. The grounds…..well, they are just incredible with soooooooooo many palm trees, cacti, flowering shrubs, and wonderful stone pathways and fountains. BEAUTIFUL!!!!! If any of you are ever around Florence, AZ……do not miss this wonderful Monastery!!!!!

From here, it was on south to Tucson. We just skirted the city and headed to the Saguaro National Park……..hundreds of acres in the desert and the treeless mountains covered with the large Saguaro cacti……huge plants which take several hundred years to form and grow into these large projectile emerging from the desert sands. It is a sight not to be missed if you are this area, also. I have been here before but it still amazes me with the austere simplicity of this National Park…….just thousands and thousands of cacti!!!! WOW!!!!

I then managed to get a phone call through to a former of student of mine who graduated in 1996 and is a student at the University of Arizona working on his Master’s. He is an incredible young man who has persevered through many things in his Life……and is succeeding in reaching his goals. He will finish his grad work this spring and then he is off to Colorado to attend Colorado State Univ in Ft. Collins to study Veterinary Medicine. The 1st Lady and I are both sooooo proud of him……..we both had him in our respective classes: Biology and Band. It was just great to have dinner together at a wonderful little Mexican restaurant……to visit and learn about how each of our Lives are expanding and improving!!!! His goal setting, his achievements in reaching his goals, and his excitement about his successes and his future……well, it just brings tears to my eyes. Oh yeah………this is exactly what being a teacher is all about. Thanks Matt McDaniel!!!!!!!!!!

After we parted in the restaurant parking lot, we headed back to Casa Grande as the stars were out and blazing brightly as we hurried up the interstate, crossing the desert at night……and each of reliving in our minds the long and varied day we had just experienced.

But of course…………

Life IS GREAT!!!!!!! Being a teacher has been GREAT……….and I hope all of you find your lives being great, also!!!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Our guest "HowserHouse" while in Arizona

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Morning tea under the Arizona skies

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Enjoying the sun and conversation by the cactus

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The 1st Lady inspects the pool

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A walk in the Park by the 1st Lady and McDonald's

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Many varieties of cactus in the garden

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The warmth of the Arizona sun and wonderful people!!!!

WOW…..what a beautiful day here in southern Arizona!!!!!!!!!! While it was quite cool when we got up this morning, the sun did it’s duty and before long the temps rose quite nicely to the low 80’s!!!! A wonderful breeze enhanced the warm temps and with NO humidity, the day couldn’t have been better.

Coffee and warm “Gail-made” coffee cake was served on the patio of the McDonald winter home. Along with wonderful conversation amongst the four of us, we were often joined by the very friendly neighbors who dropped by to welcome us and renew the friendships that I made out here when I was visiting last year.

Late morning, we took a stroll through this neatly designed RV park…….full of palm trees and many, many varieties of cactus growing on everyone’s property. We toured the various buildings which house the billiards room, the crafts room, the library, the conference rooms, the computer rooms, and then we went over to the main building to talk to a rep. of the park about renting a lot here for TheHowserHouse for a month or two next winter. We also visited the recreation area including the solar warmed pool and hot tub and the social rooms and large ballroom with stage where jam sessions are held each week.

As this is St. Pat’s Day…..everyone was wearing the green, including the 1st Lady and myself. We then strolled through the manicured streets and visited the Cactus Garden just outside the perimeter of the park’s fence. What a wide variety of cactus and desert plants were there……and how they had grown since I was here last winter!!

We returned to the McDonald winter house and once again, more neighbors came by to visit. ALWAYS sooooo many warm and friendly people living here during the winter to enjoy the sun, the warmth, and the social activities of the park.

Soon it was time for the St. Pat’s Day neighborhood Corned Beef and Cabbage dinner on the patio of one of the neighbors across the street. MORE food than could be consumed was available…..including some great desserts!!! I ate more than needed……as usual. Then the afternoon was spent in conversation and joke telling……very relaxing and much fun for everyone. How GREAT it is to be retired and everyone enjoying the feeling of rebirth with this type of relaxing lifestyle!!!!!!!

This evening was good for another stroll around the park after dark…..enjoying the intensely bright stars in the desert sky……WOW!!!!!! On each street were parties celebrating the wearing of the green……..such a great place to spend the winters!!!!!

We returned to our “borrowed” motor home for the weekend, watched a bit of tellie, and read. Tomorrow it is off to the Tucson area and perhaps across the border, time permitting. Without a doubt…………

LIFE IS GREAT!!!!!! …….and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Monochromatic browns of the Arizona Desert

Thursday….St. Pat’s Eve

Hmmmm…..didn’t get my post written last night. Yesterday was a busy day with trying to finish up a bit of painting, giving some private music lessons, and then preparing for our trip out to Arizona today. Sooooo,……..needless to say, it is now THURSDAY, and the 1st Lady and I are south of Phoenix, in Casa Grande. Or should I say, about 8 miles outside of Casa Grande, visiting life-long friends who winter out here. They own a “park model” home in this RV park in the desert, plus they also have a small motor home where the 1st Lady and I are staying while here.

We arrived at the airport in STL this morning about 5:45am…..yep, it was a damn short night for us!!! Our routing took us to Detroit, leaving STL at 7 AM. We had 30 minutes to change planes…..from one end of the LONG concourse to the other. Soooo, we hopped on the shuttle train, but just as we were pulling out of the loading area, the damn train completely shut down!!!!! NO electricity!!!!!

Well, I kept looking at my watch…..the time moved on, and we stayed still!!! The doors wouldn’t open and so we just looked outside the window at the people who were looking inside the windows at US!!! And time move forward…..and we remained locked inside….and our flight was getting closer to leaving for Phoenix. BUT…….the gods were with us….the lights returned….and we began to move forward. Luckily, we JUST made the plane before the doors began to shut…..WHEW!!!!

The flight was uneventful……other than the event was four hours plus LONG!!!! Seemed like we were traveling across our grand country at a snail’s pace. But, we arrived right on time……HUNGRY!!!! Oh yeah……they do not even feed you peanuts or pretzels any more…..nothing!!!! We just sat there in that sealed tube hurtling(not really) through the air, seven miles closer to space, for FOUR hours. At least it was a fairly smooth flight!!!
Our friends met us in the airport, we collected our two bags, and off we went across the city to the IKEA store!!! Yep……can’t pass up that store……WOW!!!! What bargains…..what prices…..what a humongous store!!! It is just like a Barnes and Noble for me……when I leave, I always feel cheated!!! Never ever have enough time there!!!

We had a late lunch at IKEA…..and then after shopping for a couple of hours, we headed south to Casa Grande. Again, the monochromatic desert colors becoming very boring very quickly. No rain produced no flowers this spring in the desert…..nothing like last year when I was here and the desert was in full bloom.
We moved into our home for four days……our friends small motor home which they had hooked up for us. A bit of rest and then we walked over to their winter home and drank some of my dark red medicine……which was needed by my parched body…..sooooo damn dry out here.

We are back in the motorhome and ready to recline for the evening…….my body is sagging sooooooooo much after such a long day. In fact, I almost stumbled over my hanging chins……EVERYTHING has headed south with exhaustion!!!!
Tomorrow?? St. Pat’s Day……and a grand celebratory party is planned here in this desert rv community!!!! Corned beef and cabbage and green beer…….sounds GREAT!!!! Sooooo, with that thought in mind, as always……

Life is GREAT……and I hope it is for all of you,

Monochromatic browns of the Arizona Desert

Thursday….St. Pat’s Eve

Hmmmm…..didn’t get my post written last night. Yesterday was a busy day with trying to finish up a bit of painting, giving some private music lessons, and then preparing for our trip out to Arizona today. Sooooo,……..needless to say, it is now THURSDAY, and the 1st Lady and I are south of Phoenix, in Casa Grande. Or should I say, about 8 miles outside of Casa Grande, visiting life-long friends who winter out here. They own a “park model” home in this RV park in the desert, plus they also have a small motor home where the 1st Lady and I are staying while here.

We arrived at the airport in STL this morning about 5:45am…..yep, it was a damn short night for us!!! Our routing took us to Detroit, leaving STL at 7 AM. We had 30 minutes to change planes…..from one end of the LONG concourse to the other. Soooo, we hopped on the shuttle train, but just as we were pulling out of the loading area, the damn train completely shut down!!!!! NO electricity!!!!!

Well, I kept looking at my watch…..the time moved on, and we stayed still!!! The doors wouldn’t open and so we just looked outside the window at the people who were looking inside the windows at US!!! And time move forward…..and we remained locked inside….and our flight was getting closer to leaving for Phoenix. BUT…….the gods were with us….the lights returned….and we began to move forward. Luckily, we JUST made the plane before the doors began to shut…..WHEW!!!!

The flight was uneventful……other than the event was four hours plus LONG!!!! Seemed like we were traveling across our grand country at a snail’s pace. But, we arrived right on time……HUNGRY!!!! Oh yeah……they do not even feed you peanuts or pretzels any more…..nothing!!!! We just sat there in that sealed tube hurtling(not really) through the air, seven miles closer to space, for FOUR hours. At least it was a fairly smooth flight!!!
Our friends met us in the airport, we collected our two bags, and off we went across the city to the IKEA store!!! Yep……can’t pass up that store……WOW!!!! What bargains…..what prices…..what a humongous store!!! It is just like a Barnes and Noble for me……when I leave, I always feel cheated!!! Never ever have enough time there!!!

We had a late lunch at IKEA…..and then after shopping for a couple of hours, we headed south to Casa Grande. Again, the monochromatic desert colors becoming very boring very quickly. No rain produced no flowers this spring in the desert…..nothing like last year when I was here and the desert was in full bloom.
We moved into our home for four days……our friends small motor home which they had hooked up for us. A bit of rest and then we walked over to their winter home and drank some of my dark red medicine……which was needed by my parched body…..sooooo damn dry out here.

We are back in the motorhome and ready to recline for the evening…….my body is sagging sooooooooo much after such a long day. In fact, I almost stumbled over my hanging chins……EVERYTHING has headed south with exhaustion!!!!
Tomorrow?? St. Pat’s Day……and a grand celebratory party is planned here in this desert rv community!!!! Corned beef and cabbage and green beer…….sounds GREAT!!!! Sooooo, with that thought in mind, as always……

Life is GREAT……and I hope it is for all of you,

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Is the end in sight????? Hmmmm.....

This morning........it was paint time. Painted the family/tv room.......BUT.....the paint ran out before I had finished around the top of the walls. HOWEVER......the gray looks wonderful, even tonight when it is darker. I took some red artificial flowers into the room, and yep......they really popped against the red. So, the new red sofa should look great.

Went to the lumber yard.....but since all I need is a quart....I was out of luck. They didn't have anything less than a gallon. And since I really don't need much......I will wait until I get back from Arizona next week to pick it up.

As usual, the paint fumes got to me this afternoon, so I didn't attempt to begin work on the bedroom ceiling. Will tackle that in the morning......and try to get it finished.

This evening I did a bit of ironing for the weekend trip to the desert. Yeah......who irons clothes to go to the desert, you say??? Well, we will be going other places than just to this RV Park south of Phoenix at Casa Grande, so might need something that looks ok for this old, quickly aging man.

Watched "American Idol".......and each one got better as the show progressed. Not certain who will "get the axe" next week. And.....then "The Amazing Race".........: this series is better than the last one when they had four member teams who were families. Glad to see them get out of the USA right away and get to some of the problems of getting around in a foreign country.

Not much creativity tonight!!!!! Rather tired with a pissy-ass paint pain in my balding head. Hate those damn paint fumes........but even with the windows open, and a paint mask over my face, it still gets through to me. Just really anxious to get it over with!!! "Paint Purgatory"!!

Soooo, tomorrow will be a busy day with painting, music lessons, and getting things ready to leave at about 3:30AM on Thursday. Have to be at the STL airport to check in no later than 6am......fly to Detroit and have about 40 minutes for a plane change, and then to Phoenix. Will arrive in Phoenix at 12:34pm........

I will try to get some pics tomorrow of how the room is progressing with the paint on the walls, even tho there are many unfinished things yet. But.......it is a work in progress!!!!!!!! (hope it keeps progressing)

Sooooo, as usual,........

Life is Great....and I hope it is for all of you, also.!!!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Away from the mess.....for only today!

A change always helps!!! By 8AM I was on my way up to the city on business....of the legal type. I had an appt. in Clayton for late morning, but stopped in Clayton at the new Crate and Barrel home decorating store. WOW.....such a wonderful addition for St Louis......a really, really great store for any of you who have NOT yet found this place. I KNOW they have one in Chicago on Michigan Ave.......and now one in STL. Purchased a small decorating pillow because of the colors used in it. We are considering using the chocolate brown and aqua blue colors in the bedroom, and bought this little pillow that had those colors so we could make some decision as to the exact blue color.

After my appointment which lasted over an hour, I went to the Linens and Things store there. And.....found bedding, window treatments, etc there in the same two colors. AH......seems we are on our way to making a decision on the bedroom colors.!!! GREAT!!!

Then it was on to other stores with decor items and then furniture stores to begin to select new bedroom furniture. As I said.....the change of scenery made me feel like a bird out of a cage......YEAH!!!

So.....tomorrow it is back to the painting and other details of the remodeling. Only two days until we fly to Arizona for a long weekend. The weather out there is supposed to be great!!

And, as usual.....

Life is Great.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Last night.....the Gods were angry!!!!!

When the alarm went off this morning......well, I could have sworn I had been at an all-night party with NO sleep. After sitting with our feet dangling into the small drop from the laundry room to the abyss under the house where all the creepy-crawlies live....waiting for the sounds of a tornado bearing down upon our HowserHouse (stick/brick).....so that we could drop under the house so we would not be sucked into the atmosphere and spit out onto some treetop or rooftop with multiple injuries, we finally went to bed after the all clear was given.

BUT....around 1AM this morning, I awakened to sounds of all hell breaking loose around our house.......the skies lit up like NYC for quick bright flashes of the deadly spears of light that came uncomfortably close to our stick and brick HowerHouse. I quickly jumped out of bed and unplugged the tellie, the internet cable, and all of the important square boxes under the tellie that give us our entertainment. I found the flashlight, opened up the trap door.....again.....and located my clothes in case the horrendous roaring re-appeared in the night, as it had only hours earlier. The 1st Lady only groaned.....and so I quietly(did it really make a difference with all hell going on outside) slid back into bed and awaited the possible end of our home.

After about 15 minutes of this, calm was restored.....and I eventually slipped back into a shallow sleep. However........not to be outdone, another storm pushed in about an hour later.....and it was even worse than storm #2, if that's possible. Sooooo, I laid there ready to push the 1st Lady into the under the house abyss to save our lives.......and then the downpour began. The house was shuddering under the strain of the thousands of gallons of rain that were emptied onto our roof by some unknown hand........and it continued for over 30 minutes. And like storm #2, it soon left us.....deep in silence except for the rain dripping off of every part of the gutter, but ........I finally fell back asleep.

And in another flash......the day began.

We struggled to get up and ready to go to visit Mike. Returned home early this afternoon......and then began the daily ordeal of spreading paint on the ceilings and walls. I am beginning to think that I am now in Paint Purgatory!!!!! Oh.....but do I ever dislike....errr, hate.....to paint!!!!!! I wonder if this is related to one of my past Lives?????????? More thoughts on this later........when I have had a more restful night!!!

And soooo, thid evening.....it is Grey's Anatomy.....a wonderful show. AND........guess what???? We are soooooooooo lucky......we are under ANOTHER tornado watch!!!!!!!! Is this the beginning of "Round 2"????

Soooooooo, oh yeah......

Life is Great......and I hope for all of you, also!!!!

Saturday, March 11, 2006

A LONG day of painting.....and then TORNADO WARNING!

Oh yeah......tonight about an hour ago I thought that all of this remodeling project might just be for nothing!!!! The sirens were going off every few minutes, the TV told us to take cover,....that a tornado was just west of us and headed for F'town!!!! Well, we gather together our flashlight, my trusty lappie(will lots of files and records on the hard drive), my cell phone, and we moved into the laundry room. We do not have a basement, BUT....we do have a "trap door" in the laundry room which would allow us to go down into the crawl space beneath the house.....amongst the spiders and other creepy crawly things. I got some plastic from my the floor where I had been painting and laid it on the ground beneath the opening.......and, whoever built the house put a light socket and switch underneath the house, soooooo, turned it on, put a little step stool down there so the 1st Lady wouldn't have to jump/lower herself into the hole, and we sat around the opening.

Went outside.....and Oh My God......you could hear the "train roaring" west of us. It was as still as could be here on the hill above the majority of the community.....not a breath of air(75 degrees) was moving. The sirens continued to sound....and then the horrendous air to ground lightening began to hit all around us. I kept hearing the roaring of the "whatever"....tornado???.....to the west and northwest of us. A bit of hail came down, but there wasn't much at all.....just enough to hear it falling. Some HUGE drops of rain....just a few.....and then quiet.

I had turned off the tv, unplugged it from the electricity AND the cable, and unhooked the cable internet. We ALWAYS have soooooooo much lightening up here.....we have lost two televisions and numerous phones from strikes close by. Soooo.....dumb old people that we are.....we didn't have a battery powered radio.....so we sat and waited to jump into the hole beneath the house.

Finally.....we heard the "all clear" sirens.....and by that time I had looked outside....the lightening had stopped.....and THERE was the full moon and stars above us!!! YEA.....it missed us!!!! All of the neighborhood was outside and enjoying the fact that we dodged the bullet this time.

We have had several tonadoes, within a mile or two as the crow flies, in the past 2-3 years so I thought this time might be OUR time. I kept imaging my HowserHouse on wheels taking to the air in flight rather than rolling down the highways and byways!!!! AND.....most of our clothes and breakables are currently stored inside while the remodeling continues.......!!!

AND...to the remodeling: We began painting with the primer at 8:30 this morning......painted all morning and into the early afternoon. Then we took a break, went to the local lumber company, and bought the paint for the family/tv room. Went by one of the local eateries and had a sandwich.....returned home, changed back into the paint clothes, and painted again until 5:30pm. EVERYTHING is painted, except the ceiling in the bedroom which was not demolished during the initial stages of the remodeling process......so all I want to do is to give it one coat of primer. We STILL have to select the color for the walls in the bedroom and the bath......more decisions to be made.

The individual we hired to custom build our bathroom vanity dropped by to show us the stain he had put together to match the color I wanted......a dark chocolate/espresso color. And....it looks good!! This dark color is REALLY in style right now with furniture, cabinets, and vanities. Even saw one on HGTV before the storm arrived...... I love this color.....very dramatic!

A BUSY, BUSY day......and an evening with a half hour of some nervous twitters and jitters.......but, as always,

LIFE IS GREAT!!!!!......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!

Friday, March 10, 2006

"High" on a 2 step ladder.......

The 1st Lady was up and gone by 6AM this morning......returning a bit after 6pm this evening. BUT......once again they were the 1st place winners. This time they were at one of the community colleges in StL forthe day. Now......for this group of students it is on to the MO State competition.

I found myself not going back to lala land after she left, so eventually I pulled myself up to my evolved state of standing on two legs and after fixing the Fr. Roast coffee (had to grind a few beans this morning, first), I got into my paint clothes and began to put more lovely primer on the walls and ceiling. UGH!!!!! I put on the first coat in the walk-in closet, both walls and ceiling. Then I moved into the new wall in the living room and put on the 1st coat there, also. Next it was back to the bedroom where I put on the second coat on the walls. EVEN with the windows open, fans running, etc., etc., by this time I was progressing to a throbbing headache.....and then during the last 30 minutes, whenever I got onto the very small ladder....only 2 steps....I found myself reeling with the room going around. Yep......it is/was the paint fumes!!!!!!!!!!!

Soooo, by noon, I was fixing some coffee, downing some pain killers, and headed to the sofa. It took all afternoon to get rid of the head pain....oh yeah....I did have a small mask over my nose/mouth while painting........and then I felt better.

Now.....all this evening I have been checking on paint colors for the bedroom and bath. When in Chicago and St Louis, we saw a beautiful shade of blue and chocolate playing together on sofas/pillows, bed materials, and other decor. Really, really loved the two shades together, but......do you think I can find that blue on the internet???? Hell no!!! We have the colors for the family/tv/entertainment room......but now the other two rooms are needing IMMEDIATE help and decisions to be made!!!!!! The blue is not quite as intense as robin-egg blue....not quite a turquoise, but neither is it a country/periwinkle blue. We are planning on getting new bedroom furniture.......the newly popular dark wood....called espresso or cappuccino. Hmmmmm.....hahaha.....wonder why THAT color?????

Sooooo, I stopped my research online to put out these few words into cyberspace for all of you to catch, haul into your life, and read. Tomorrow.......well, more primer to be applied in my ever-so artistic manner.....another headache looming for the afternoon.....and hopefully I won't fall off the little ladder with vertigo.....fume-induced!!

Soooo, I bring this little post to all of you out there to a close......no good segue to use here.

Life is Great!!!! and I hope it is for all of you, also!!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

RAIN....RAIN....and a do-nothing day

Oh my God.....but have we had rain!!!!! ALL night....and most of today. The creeks are overflowing, flash flood warnings all around us, with storms rolling through containing the streaked flashes, thunder, and winds. Not that we didn't need the moisture in the ground, BUT.....not all at one time! Tomorrow is supposed to be a bit better, however, the storms return for the weekend.

Sooooo, what about this old man???? Well, I HAD planned to paint all day........at least this morning. But.....I couldn't open the windows for FRESH air from the paint fumes, soooooo I didn't want to wind up with the throbbing paint pains in the head, sooooo I had a do-nothing day.

Well.....all except I did have a meeting this afternoon. There is a visiting team from various schools in the area to ascertain how one of the new programs the local school has implemented this year.....to check on how it is doing. Soooo, as part of the requirements, the team had to interview school employees, parents in the community, and school board members. Soooo, being retired as I am (???), I was selected along with one other member, to be the recipient of the questions they would throw at us. It was actually nothing.......just a few questions as to how we thought things were progressing with the new program....etc, etc., etc. Just meant I had to put a tie around my neck.....and TRY to remember how to tie it....hahaha!!!! I look at my remaining wardrobe......after having donated TONS of clothes to the local Thrift Shop of the Nutrition Center.....and was amazed at the number of ties I STILL have!!!! Damn.....what was I thinking???? Soooo, when I begin to move back into the remodeled bedroom.....well, more clothes will be donated!!!!!!!!!

This afternoon after returning home......I just rather laid around, watched the Food Channel, and got hungry!!!!! HAHAHA....that is what that tv channel does for me.....I just want to start preparing some of those marvelous dishes and recipes. I miss trying some of them.....!!!

The 1st Lady.....well, this is her week from Hell!!!! Tonight she had to go to St. Geneveive(sp?) for an Academic Team competition. Tomorrow she leaves at some ungodly hour.....5+AM...for St Louis for another competition for Science and Math students and will return late. THEN on Saturday she leaves about the same time for another school in the Bootheel(whoops...had Freudian slip...typed Boothell.....probably the truth). Anyway...she has a Science Olympiad competition there. WHAT a week for her.......I just don't say toooo much....she is a bit nerved out, so I have found it is just better to keep my mouth shut!!!!

Even though I have been a bit erratic lately with my posts here, I do see that my faithful readers from the various communities around the world....LITERALLY.....are still with me and checking in to read my ramblin thoughts about my Life. Isn't it strange how we get hooked on the lives of other people......some of which we don't even know?????? I know I read certain blogs......and look forward to reading them each day. One which I check each day, but is only written..oh, perhaps once a week or more.....is written by my former asst. band director. His writings are becoming more philosophical, leaning toward a religious (Christian) viewpoint. I always enjoy reading this thoughts.....and his deep, perceptive points of view!!! His discussion today of questioning "why" was interesting........made me realize that I need to question him "why?" about some things about his Life......hahaha!!! (I know he will read this).

To my good friends in Thailand: when are you returning to Missouri????? To my other friends here in the states....I am leaning more towards taking an adult group to Europe next summer ('07). Let me know if you are interested!! Will be gone for no less that 2 weeks......so plan ahead.

Ahhhh, the windows seem to be rattling.....more wind has decided to whip around on the hill here on Buford Heights. The 1st Lady just arrived and they won AGAIN. She has a great H.S. Academic group........pretty damn intelligent. This is a very good way to end a career in education!!!!

And so.......

Life IS Great!!!! .....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Is it an allergy???

Today was the day I was going to spend with a paintbrush in my hand.........applying primer to the walls and ceilings of the newly remodeled rooms. Sooooo, with ragged clothes upon my sagging hulk, I began to paint the bathroom. Oh yeah.....I opened a couple of windows to allow "fresh" air into the rooms. But......it wasn't long....perhaps 45 minutes.....and my head was throbbing. Soooo, I finished the bathroom and then began cleaning my brush(es) and paint pan.........AFTER I had taken some headache meds(not the dark red kind).

After changing clothes....I put my head on the arm of the sofa in the den....the only room we can find a bit of seating in the entire house. It wasn't long before I was gone from this day.......for about an hour. Awakened by the telephone, I answered it and then began the job of coming alive.......with my head still aching.

I did give lessons to my students......most of them have a competition in the next couple of weeks, so it was important to them....and to me.....that they get some advice on their performance pieces. During that time, I put a couple of large sweet potatoes into the oven to bake.......yummmm. Both the 1st Lady and I really do enjoy a baked sweet potatoe every week or so!!!!

The evening was spent laying around on the sofa watching American Idol and a couple of other series. I still have a throbbing head.......is it an allergy to paint???? This same event has occurred to me when painting previous times.........the fumes seem to bring on the headache.....and then it makes me about half sick(is "half sick" possible???). BUT.....I will give it another try tomorrow!!!!!!! I WILL NOT give up on a task that I can do rather than paying someone else!!!!!

Sooooo, guess I will close this for now...........and as always (even with paint pain)....

Life is Great.......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

A continuation of yesterday's post....and today's(Tuesday)

Hmmmmm......what the hell is wrong with me????? Do I have an "excuse" for not finishing my blog yesterday???? Not REALLY......however, I was soooooo breathless after watching "24" last night that I just didn't get around to writing and finishing the post for yesterday. WHAT an episode!!!!!!! Those of you who do not watch that show are missing such a well edited show as well as a great story line!!!!! WOW!!!

Anyway.....yesterday afternoon I put the first coat of primer on the walls of the family/tv room.....couldn't get to the ceiling as there was toooo much stuff in the center of the room: tons of painted baseboards, window moldings, etc., etc. .......so I will have to get that today....hopefully!!! Need to get to painting the rest of the rooms now.......not my cup of tea!!! The 1st Lady loves to paint, but it is not something I enjoy. She loves the detailing it takes, where when it comes to painting, I am NOT a detail person. Give me some music and each note will be performed perfectly, but PAINT????? Nope.....sorry....I am rather sloppy.

Managed to get a large salad with quick fried chicken strips fixed for last night. Had to keep moving crap around on the counters to find room to chop, peel, cut, etc. salad veggies, but got it done. A glass of dark red medicine washed down the great salad which had a balsamic vinegar dressing on it to bring it all together. Not toooo bad. We think it will be salads this week and perhaps longer as we need to get a few winter pounds shed as we begin to shed the heavier clothing which has worked just perfectly hiding those extra pounds during the cold(??) winter(??) hibernation period. (The ?? marks are there because here in Missouri we have had VERY little REAL winter this season!!!!!!!)

Now.....it is off to check on some other floor tiles.......

I WILL finish tonight after "THE AMAZING RACE"......can't wait!!! CRAP.....I really think I am hooked on the damn tellie and what it offers this season......never ever been this way for me. (not age....surely).

Later....lataer.....later......

AND NOW:......LATER IT IS!!

This afternoon I spent some time paintin/priming the bedroom. Got that finished today for the first coat. Tomorrow I plan to get the ceilings....and time permitting I'll repaint one of the rooms.

This evening after a quick dinner of broasted chicken with lemon-pepper and steamed broccoli and cauliflower accompanied by a glass of my dark red medicine, I changed into some better clothes. Then it was off to the high school to attend the All-School Choral Concert.......the 21st such performance which is held each year in March. March is the "Music in Our Schools" week.....and since I spent 13 years in this school and 17 years in two other school districts....and currently serve on the school's Board of Education.......I am 110% behind this celebration of music in the schools!!!!!!! As of now.....I have 38 former students who are making a career in the music field......performers, music educators, music therapy, musical theater, music business. The opportunities are available ..........it just takes lots of talent, perserverance, dedication, and goals to reach for something BIG!!

Sooooo, who will be eliminated on "American Idol"???? The girls just get better each week......so, who will America select tonight????

And.....the "Amazing Race".........still another week in Brazil, but......it was a race to the evening's finish. Soooo much just plain old luck is involved in this competition........dead batteries not being "luck"!! But.....the pair that were eliminated tonight probably deserved to go. They never looked like they knew how to "move".....to hurry from one place to another. Oh well.......

Sooooo, time to haul my sagging rear off to the guest bedroom (even tho I'm NOT a guest in this house) and get some rest. Rain is predicted for tomorrow......and not just rain, but storms, wind, and hail. AHHHHH, spring has arrived with weather like that!!!! But........

Life is Great......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Where did the past two days go????

Way behind on keeping the cyberspace world informed!!!!!! As I sit here here at the desk and gaze out the surrounding window...I realize that winter has never REALLY arrived, and now the signs of spring are popping our of the ground, along with the return of many bird species. WOW.......and to make it NOT soooo good, I turn another year old this month.....UGH!!!

We were on the run all weekend.....and getting home just in time to turn around and leave again. Saturday morning was painting morning......painting the trim for the windows and the baseboard moldings before they are put in place. Also filled in the nail holes on the two doors that have been hung. With way over 200 feet of trim to paint......three times.....our morning was pretty well shot. The afternoon was a hurried trip to the Farmington area where we purchased some carpet for the tv/family room. We also spent time looking for carpeting for the bedroom/walkin closet and tile for the bath.

We then met with Rachel's "other grandparents" and picked her up. She wanted supper at McD's, so our dining experience that evening was less than elegant cuisine....hahaha. After that it was off to the State Quarterfinals for girls where we watched our F'town girls team take a real dunking from an outstanding girls team from south St. Louis. It wasn't pretty.....but I have the greatest respect for the opponents.......they were just terrific!!!

Returning home, we stopped by the Hanner House for coffee and tasties......and a long discussion of remodeling/building, etc., etc. Following that it was time to get home and get Rachel onto the one and only sofa that was available to sleep on....hahaha!!

Sunday, we were up early. The 1st Lady was painting before I got my first cup of Fr Roast. Before long I had Rachel in the truck and we were off to visit Mike. Following the visit, the 1st Lady met us in Bonne Terre and we went into StL to take Rachel home. The remainder of the day was spent at Expo in STL......a marvelous store, with VERY high prices. BUT.....lots of ideas from there. Took some pics and will use them later for ideas.

Then we stopped by a tile/carpet store and purchased some tile for the new bathroom. And....then it was off to Kohl's.....one of our favorite clothing stores....to take advantage of the 30% discount the 1st Lady received thru the mail. WOW......it came in handy. Purchased $150+ of items and it only cost us $100!!!!!! THAT was great.

Then the drive back to the boonies in the drizzle, picked up the truck, and then came on home to watch the Tivo'd Academy Awards. Ok.......will have to see these movies as I haven't seen anything for weeks and weeks.

Today.....well, our contractor picked me up this morning at 7:30 and we went to a place that works with hardwoods, etc., etc. We have to order some small "runners" for the new steps into the tv room......a new idea we took from an HGTV show. And now......time for more coffee!!!!!

Later.....

Friday, March 03, 2006

Me??? Human again..finally!!

WOW.....I almost feel like a human today. No headache from sinuses!!! No facial aches!!! HURRAY!!!!! Oh sure....there is a bit of a cold that has taken its place, but I can handle that.......what a relief!

The work crew was here by 7:30 this morning.....and before long the air compressor was filling the house with such a horrendous volume of cacophony that even my coffee was sloshing about in my cup from the vibrations. But....it didn't last too long and it was soon replaced by the nail gun, saws, and some hammering as they removed and replaced the bedroom windows.....and then replaced the huge 7x5 foot window which looks out onto the back patio, even though this is actually in the second stage of our project. The seal between the panes of this large window had somehow ruptured and so for the past many months it looked like it was a frosted pane......nothing could be seen through it! Now......WOW...it is soooooooooo nice to be able to look out onto the patio and the back lawn, even though it looks rather brown and barren at this point in time.

The new doors in the rooms are in place, the recessed lights are in place, and most of the drywalling has been completely sanded and finished......ready for the 1st Lady and I to do the artistic job......paint them. Tomorrow we are going to paint the baseboards, the door moldings, etc., etc before they are to be put in place on Monday. Rather anxious to get in there and do a bit myself.....JUST abit!!

After the painting task is finished, we then have to pick up our oldest granddaughter in Park Hills where her other grandfather will meet us so she can spend the night with us. We will be going to the H.S. girl's state quarterfinals for basketball........F'town's girls are playing against a St Louis private school. The winner will advance to the Mo State Finals for girls BB next weekend.

This evening the 1st Lady and I dashed to Farmington to see if we could make a decision on the vanity top.....marble?? granite?? solid surface??? We need to select the vanity top and get the tile flooring picked out so that it will have some senseof coordination. Beginning to think we never will!!!!!! DAMN!!!!!!!!!!

Couldn't believe that Lowe's would NOT have some brushed nickel door (handle) levers.....don't want to complain toooo much, but pisses me off that I have to run into STL just get the items I need. We are headed that way Sunday when we take Rachel back up there, so guess it will be an afternoon of shopping. We need to start looking for new bedroom furniture, also.

After all of our looking we headed to a local Mexicano restaurant for a couple of Margheritas and some authentic Mexicano cuisine......yummmmm!! As usual, it was full, however, the wait was only about 25 minutes.....not too bad for a Friday evening. LOVE that south of the border food!!!!!!

Sooooo, another busy one is gone.....and the weekend predictions are BUSY, BUSY, BUSY!!!!! Ahhhhh, the life of a retired band director......no rest for the wicked!!!! Sure fit that category...... But no matter how busy,

Life is Great.......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Yep....I AM alive......

With having complained soooo much lately about my sinus infection and then not writing last night, I had several calls wondering if I had ceased to exist from my face exploding under the pressure of the overfilled sinus cavities. Well, to let all know.....my face is still intact....with all three chins sagging to my chest and the wrinkles returning as my infection begins to die down. However, last night I was really suffering and just simply went to bed early and medicated myself......heavily!! (NOT the dark red medicine)

This morning I felt a bit better and as the day went by, I kept feeling a bit better. Had a guest for coffee this morning.....my former student and then asst. band director...THE Michael Goldsmith. As usual, we drank French Roast coffee and talked and talked. There always seems to be soooo much to talk about that has happened since we were last.....drinking coffee together. Are we worse than two hens chattering away over morning coffee???? Hmmmmm......hadn't thought about that until right now, but there might be something in that thought! HAHAAH. I'll meditate on that one a bit more.....hehehee.

Later this morning.....after two hours of chatting between gulps of steaming Fr. Roast, I took off for the Farmington area to do more looking and research on floor tiles, vanity tops/granite/solid surface/etc., carpeting, and kitchen counter tops. Soooo, after becoming more and more confused over ALL of the choices available......I returned feeling drained and exhausted......hmmmmm, is that age or illness???? (sure it is the present day sickness that has invaded my aging body)

This evening, after the 1st Lady returned from another H.S. Academic Team victory(she is the coach), we then had decisions to make about the little steps we are having built from the living room into the tv/family room that is under construction. We had to decide the width of the step and the length that we are having the living room floor run out into the family room before it steps down. Next it was decision time on the three door handles.....brushed nickel is the winner which now means the door hinges must be changed from the brass kind that came with the pre-hung doors we purchased. ALWAYS something.......whew!!!

Been sooooo busy tonight that I haven't even found out who was "kicked off" of Am. Idol tonight....and now we are behind on watching "ER".....may never get to bed tonight....hahaa. Did watch "Survival".....it was just ok.....just can't get into this series of it.

So....another day(two days) have gone by.....and the main thrust has once again been: THE HOUSE. Will this ever end?????? Sat morning we have the, hopefully, the final bid on kitchen cabinets. Hope this works for us.

I will close this post.......time for my nurse to deliver my bedtime meds (HA....as tired as the 1st Lady is, I can't imagine her bringing my meds into the den while I watch "ER"!!!) As always.........(with when I'm not feeling well)......

Life is Great......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!