Friday, August 31, 2007

Last day of August!!!

WOW.....this month just sweltered away in the horrendous heat.......perhaps I just melted away? OMG.....I almost wish that my weight has become a daily and constant battle. Another radical change in my metabolism??? It sure begins to look that way.......the scales just seem to be climbing higher and higher......reminds me of that old song "Jacob's Ladder". For the six years that I have been retired there has never been a real was never a real battle, just a little skirmish now and then.....and I always won. Now???? Each day IS a major battle....and most of the time a losing battle. Hmmmm........getting a bit much so that I am having to make myself step on those scales every morning before entering the shower. Thank god the mirror is placed elsewhere in the bathroom!!!!! Don't try to visualize it.......not a pleasant sight.

However, the good news for today is the wonderful, wonderful weather. What a stunning morning to take my French Roast coffee on the patio.......quiet, clear blue skies, and just a few tiny wind chimes sounding like the temple bells I soooo dearly loved to hear when I was living in Thailand for those four incredible months. Sure hope this kind of a day remains........

This evening we went to the city center.....and had the usual Friday night meal for southeast Missouri: fried catfish. Well, the Olympic Steakhouse has always served up a good plate of fried catfish filets, but........hmmmmm, have they the changed cook(s)? Never a chef.....but always a pretty good cook on Friday nights....but tonight? Rather poorly prepared, lousy service that left us always trying to flag down our waitress for various items that had not been brought to the table with our meal. The catfish was not really piping hot, but just lukewarm-been-in-the-kitchen-tooo-long cool........and not particularly very good. The fish was a bit strong flavored.....a bit too long on the fish stringer, perhaps??? Anyway.....tonight will be the final time for us to eat least for a long time. Of course, I never get my dark red medicine there.........they do not serve drinks/cocktails/wine there!

Last night's post???? has certainly brought forth many emails and unpublished comments! And.....that is always to hear what everyone is thinking no matter if it is positive or negative.

In re-reading Chapter 1 today........I realized that I did not mention that when I was 15, the summer before my sophomore year, I traveled to Los Angles, myself! Yep......I worked for two summers in a very small little tourist zoo: Tom's Monkey Jungle. Oh yeah.....great wages: after my 8th grade year, that summer I was paid $1.50 PER DAY!!! Wow......what wealth I accumulated that summer! The next summer, before I quit in July to go to California, I was making $3.50 per day.....a tremendous raise. But.......I did save the money for my trip on the Union Pacific Railway. I was gone for four weeks; made stops in Denver, Salt Lake City, and then to L.A. for over two weeks before I returned to Missouri. each of those stops I was met either by relatives or friends who showed me area/city.....and in LA, I was the guest of family friends while there. BUT......I did make the trip out there and back in the mid '50's by myself........and HAD A BLAST!!!!

Can you has always been in my blood. As I have stated before, I really believe that in a previous Life...or two....I was an explorer who traveled the world. Oftentimes while I was in Asia for 13 months during the VietNam era, I would go to another country, or a new city, and as soon as I arrived, I felt just like it was home! I was never a stranger and often felt as if I had been there, seen it all before. And these same deju vu feelings have accompanied me to many new places over the course of my Life.......WOW!

Chapter 2: My Life while in attending Lincoln University. I was a music education major, with piano as my major instrument. I was soon counseled by the faculty and my piano professor that I should major in performace.......and work towards being a piano performer. Well.......that was scary........the fear of the unknown. However, I did receive my Bachelor of Mus Ed and then continued through most of the 5th year at the university working on my Bachelor of Piano Performance.......more on that later. I had studied with the same piano professor since the beginning of my Jr. year in high school........receiving college credit as I had auditioned and was accepted and enrolled as a "special student" in piano for those two last years of high school.

As a part of the very small minority of whites at the university, I found myself having tons of friends.......and accepted without question. I was the I was informed.....white guy to be invited to join a black fraternity. But.....the costs were prohibitive.......we were not a family of many extra dollars. (My semester tuition was a whopping $50.00...fifty dollars!!) As time went by I then became active in the events that helped to integrate places around Jefferson City that were still reluctant in accepting blacks into their places of business. This was before the Civil Rights laws and legislation of the mid-60's.

I can recall traveling to Nashville with the university band......there were three white band members.....and our first stop was down here, somewhere, in southeast Missouri for supper. We all went into the cafe and several of us sat at the counter. I ordered....and then realized that no orders were being taken my friends and other band members. I then realized.......they were not going to be served, so I promply pushed my coffee away......spat out a few choice words....and left! No trouble........just small minds that were a product of the times and the area.......

In Jefferson City, there was a nice cafe up on the main street of town.....and oftentimes I would go up there for supper. It was a very popular cafe......and would often require a wait in order to be seated. One time I went in......the front tables up by the HUGE plate glass window were all vacant, but with "reserved" signs on them. I asked how long it would be before I could be seated for...for my usual cheapo hamburger....and they told me to go ahead and sit at any of those "reserved" tables. I then realized.........they just didn't want any blacks to be sitting in view from the large window onto the street. Sooooo, being the activist that I was turning into, some of my friends and I planned a little fun. I went in to be seated....and was seated in one of those "reserved" tables.....and then a few minutes later my friends would arrive and I would motion for them to join me up at the front window! We did this several different times and OMG.......did the management HATE this.....and did they ever get angry!!!!!

One time, one of my very best friends, who was from EAST St. Louis, IL......asked me to spend the weekend with him at his parents home there. WHAT a great time........and what an eye-opening experience to spend the two days there. I will never forget it.......and will never forget the acceptance and genuine hospitality that I received......wherever I went that weekend.

All of this helped to mold me into who I am today.......... I now look backwards and realize that it was my Mother and Dad who taught me to be so accepting of each and every person, no matter their disability, their mental abilites/disabilities, or the color of their skin. Little did I know how that would carry over throughout my entire Life.......and actually make me into a person who has trouble tolerating people who are soooooo prejudiced and intolerant of anyone else, be it racial or sexual orientation or whatever!!!!! We are through our own Lives and we all are on this same planet together with our individual rights.....and we all need to love each other....period!

I step down off of my soapbox, off of the podium, and close this that I have covered so little in this post, but one which I will return to over and over again. And.....a chapter that has brought me to this place that I now find myself........just being me. just being "me"......I can shout and say with all sincerity that....

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

Thursday, August 30, 2007

My very first trip away from home!

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OH YEAH......never fear, HowserHouse is still here!

Hey........don't get upset......I just took a day off!!!!! And you know.....sitting here this evening I can't even remember just what interesting/uninteresting events occurred in my life yesterday. Soooo, that says a lot about the day, doesn't it?

I have been thinking a bit today about just how my Life has been divided into chapters.......pretty easily defined chapters. Oh sure.....there are some periods when, as I look to the rear, I am not exactly certain when one chapter ended and another began.......but, for the most part it is easy to discern a beginning and an least from my vantage point at this stage of my Life.

Chapter 1 is actually the first 18 years of my Life.........the pre-school and the in-school years. Times that are becoming more and more difficult to remember anything other than very, very specific events that were either very bothersome to me or were memorable events where I succeeded very well in my endeavors. I have discovered very early pictures of myself.....from the collections of my recently deceased Mother......that I have decided to retain: one is a picture showing me at age 3.5 when I made my very first "long" trip away from home(Colorado Springs) with my grandmother.

We went overnight from Jefferson City on the Colorado Eagle.....a grand train that whisked us through the night crossing the state of Kansas......and, we surely all agree that crossing Kansas at night is the ONLY time to cross it. The memorable event was that during the the summer....the a/c went completely out on the train, with the exception of the dining car. I can still see in my mind the bodies, of people who passed out from the heat, being carried down the aisle as they were carried by their shoulders and feet to the dining car.......going from one car to the next until they reached the one with a/c. It was scary enough that I haven't yet forgotten those bodies passing by my seat.......ugh!

In the 1st grade......I remember one evening while at home, I went to the bathroom to take care of #1 necessities and nothing but RED blood came out! And the next thing I knew, I was in the bottom bunk of our bunk beds with the Dr.(who made house calls in those days) putting IV's into my arm and hanging the liquid bottles on the bedsprings of the bunk above me.....and the next morning I was in the hospital for what seems like a week.........might really have been shorter than that, but it seemed LLLOOONNNNGGGG. Won't forget that experience!!!

I was a really, really skinny little guy(times HAVE changed).....and in the 2nd grade I STILL remember as if it happened yesterday.......when the prettiest girl in the class (whom I had a crush on)....came up to me and wondered why my arms were sooooo skinny. I was wearing a long sleeve close-fitting shirt.....and she said I shouldn't wear something that tight on my skinny little body!!!!!! Oh My that hurt me soooo much!!!!!

Next chapter???? The almost five years of going to college. WHAT a difference in this chapter than in the previous one.......hahaha. GREAT fun........much, much mental stress with the studies and instrumental practice, but ohhhhhhh, did I learn sooooo damn much about Life. In order to understand this last phrase you must realize that I attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City, MO.....from 1961 to the spring of 1966......AND.......L.U. was originally started as a university for the black soldiers of the Civil War and remained a black university until desegregation in reverse began in the late '50's. I have some stories about those almost 5 years!!! It was a GREAT and WONDERFUL experience........a chapter of my Life that changed me and certainly made me the individual that I am now.......and I am sooooo happy today that I went to college at LU.....WONDERFUL!!!!!

Soooo, as to not bore you, I will close at this point......and will return to this last chapter (tomorrow?) for some wonderful learning experiences that I have to share with you.......centering around my active 5 years of working to integrate various facilities in that part of Missouri. WOW!!!!!

Hey......nothing really happened in my Life today either, so I have decided to step back into my past and reveal to many of you what has made me who I am it or not! know....all of the above...and all of the rest that is yet to be discussed......have helped to make me very, very certain that for this old sagging hulk of me.......

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Nothng just remains HOT!!

Another great temperature MORNING......and so, the 1st Lady and I took our two mile power walk.......and it was refreshing and I very good way to begin the day. A quick cool shower, two cups of French Roast coffee, and I began to check the tires on TheHowserHouse to prepare it for a short trip to Griffon's Trailer Sales.

I talked with Bruce, the owner and a F'town resident.....and he told me to bring up and leave for a few days. I need to have the entertainment slide adjusted as it doesn't open completely on the lower left side, leaving about a four inch gap at the bottom in that lower left corner. THEN......a hold-over from the "powder post beetle saga".........I needed to have the molding on the dining room slide...just the left side.....replaced as there are a couple of small holes in it that appear to be the same thing as what happened to the dining room table and chairs last winter when we were in Arizona. The Cedar Creek factory had supplied me with the no charge.....just as the did the table and chair, Griffon's will remove the "holey" one.....and install the new molding.

Returning south, I stopped in Farmington for a much, much, much needed haircut......ALL 69 graying hairs on my head. I always try to count as the "hairdresser" cuts each one to make certain that she doesn't miss any one of them!!!!! Then......a quick trip to the Wally World SuperCenter get a few items that our local SMALL supercenter doesn't stock.

Then it was back to Buford Heights.......about 1pm by that time. The rest of the HOT afternoon was spent relaxing and reading..........just wish I had my new glasses, or at glasses that I can see out of!!!!! Sure getting sick of this ordeal.....................

This evening the 1st Lady prepared some wonderful pork chops...boneless.....along with mushrooms and a great sauce. We also had fresh corn on the cob and fresh tomatoes.......and, OF COURSE......I had to have a dose or two of my dark red medicine which makes the dinner taste much better!

A bit disappointed this evening.......the tellie channel "FX" is not airing the next segment of "Damages" tonight........DAMN IT!!!! It is a really interesting show......with Glenn Close in the main role.......quite an intriguing plot and one which always creates much discussion among the family least, mine!

And so.......wasn't it a really, really interesting day????????????????????????? Don't you wish you could have been here to experience this day with me?????? And you know it looks now, tomorrow may be just the same! Don't miss it...........come experience it with me....because.....

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

Monday, August 27, 2007

WOW.......I feel like I am becoming Bi-polar......

Hey....I never did get back and finish my posting for yesterday......did I?? Oh well.....nothing too much of importance happening here with me that needs to be told to the cyberspace world!! We did spend the afternoon and early evening visiting with our son, Mike. was only 60 degrees this morning, so......the 1st Lady and I were off on a much needed power walk.......we have not taken one during these past 2-3 weeks of the horrible heat and humidity. If felt really good to get those leg muscles going....!!

THEN.....after my French Roast coffee....almost 3 cups.....I listened to the tellie news and heard about our Attorney General!!! It is certainly about time he is way or the other!!!!!!!!!

I then left and went back to the eye glasses shop, after a quick stop at Goldie's home to take him a few documents. As usual, he was working away.............ahhhhh, the energies of the youthful 30's!!

Back to the glasses saga: I spent almost 45 minutes in there describing the blurriness I experience with my new glasses.......for the second time around. I talked for some time with the optomistrist and took a couple more little eye tests with my new glasses on. LONG story short: a different pair of lenses will be made again. WHEW.......this is getting to be a drawn out affair....just getting some new glasses. However........driving back from seeing Mike yesterday was pure HELL!!!! Moving my eyes over to the rear view mirror....everything is totally looking at something while underwater!! So, I exchanged and put on my old glasses without moving my head once inch either way......and the blurriness was GONE!!! SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH THOSE NEW GLASSES.........DAMN IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Back to TheHowserHouse...stick/brick one.......and soon I was on the phone to India again.....trying to get my new "All-in-One" HP printer to do a scan. The young man in India....he couldn't get it fixed over the phone...actually, don't think he knew a damn thing about the problem, so he is having their "top engineer" call me........YEAH, SURE!!!! Each time I have called them the past few days......I have had to chuckle when the service guy introduces himself: "My name is John"......or "Mike"......or "Mark".......or "Sam"'s repair man!!! Now I know damn well that no one in India is given those names........!!

Then.....I spent mucho time reading blogs of those lucky ones who are traveling in Egypt and Jordan.........and after a couple of hours, I was then reading forums and message boards of RV'ers....on RV.Net. As I said above, I think I am becoming bi-polar........jumping from international travel forums and blogs to rv forums and blogs!!!! I spent a bit of time in TheHowserHouse on wheels this afternoon, also.......checking things out, running the dependable gennie for an hour, keeping the a/c on while running the gennie to pull it down some so it will work for me, taking a few things out of the basement, etc., etc., etc. Oh....yeah, putting in some fluid for the hydraulics which was getting low.

And now.......the heat has gone from a high of 96 degrees this afternoon to 85 degrees.....WOW, a big drop.....HA!!!!

I also spent some time visiting with my very good friend, Andrew Gipson on the phone. Think he might have been thinking that I was in the necessary room doing a LONG, LONG No. one........hahaha, as I was out side watering my plants and shrubs, so the sound from the hose of water dribbling out might have made him wonder!!!!! Guess he thinks I have a LARGE bladder!!!!! Always.....ALWAYS great to chat with him so we do not get together ever........and we used to never let hardly a week go by without having a drink or dinner somewhere. But, times change......and the best way is to just get on the phone and chat awhile...........after we have played phone tag for a few days trying to catch each other. I miss seeing you, Andrew!!

And so.....another day of my Life has become history.......UGH. Think that the history book of my Life is getting to 3/4's completion........time just goes toooooo damn fast. But, nevertheless.......each and every day finds for me that......

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

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A FEW hours late.....

Yep....I just didn't get my post written last night (Sat)..........I became involved in reading the novel that I am currently "in"......and didn't get back to this little lappie. SORRY!

This morning I am sitting in front of the plasma, listening/watching the morning talking heads, and now writing this at the same time. MULTI-TASKING!!!!!! And, watch out! I don't do that as well as I used to do a few years ago as a band director.......hahaha!!

And....speaking of band directors........yesterday I had a wonderful couple of hours with a former student of mine who is now a very successful band director himself!!! We had not been together for over a year.....time DOES pass by quickly......and since he was in town to visit his family, he dropped by with his computer for some of my French Roast coffee and some catching up on each other lives.

Chuck Lee.....a F'town HS grad of ' now the band director at Jennings HS in STL.....and his dedication is seeing great results with his growing band program there. He took his band to Orlando over their spring break this past March......and performed at Universal City. After seeing the pictures of his trip.......I KNOW that it was a great time AND such a wonderful experience for his that the kids will never forget!!! As always, when being a band director, the success of a band(program) is the direct result of a talented and highly dedicated teacher along with the support of the school district and parents. I am certainly proud of his hard work........with his drive and talent I always knew he would be a really outstanding band director.......and he is WELL on his way to being just that!!!

Yesterday morning, the 1st Lady made a trip to Cape to spend some time with Rachel.....and I continued to sort through the boxes of pictures from my Mother's things. JUST ABOUT to get it all I did get two more envelopes ready to mail to friends/relatives with pictures that I think/hope they will enjoy. SOON, I hope, I will have these boxes out of the media where, I'm not yet sure. THAT is the can these pictures....the thousands of them....just be tossed into the trash? I wrestle with this problem in my mind each and every day.............HELP.!!!!!

What am I reading???? Well, I have several things going right now.....always have more than one "reading" project going on at the same time. Currently, I am reading material on Egypt, the ancient Library of Alexandria, travel insurance policies, and the book "The Alexandria Link"....a fiction novel but with a great deal of non-fictional facts inserted into the plot of this book. was just published this year.

Some of my above readying materials obviously has to do with my upcoming journey to NE Africa and the Middle East. I am like a sponge.......soaking up as much as I can about the history and culture of Egypt/ almost impossible task as their histories go back soooooo far.

Well......more later........I hope! And.....on a beautiful, but getting hotter, Sunday morning....

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

Friday, August 24, 2007

WOW.......this is post # 2001!!!

Where has the two plus years gone?? My first post was back in 2005......and tonight, this post, makes my 2001st post on TheHowserHouse!!!! I reread my first post this evening, I realize what a wonderful addictive habit this has become. I highly encourage those of you readers who do not blog........give it a try!! Great fun......and very good therapy, also.

Today......well, I was a bit lazy this morning and just rather loafed around here. Spent an hour or so on the patio, sipping my French Roast coffee and enjoying the tons of little feathered birds that have become addicted to my bird feeder, along with sooooo many hummingbirds that are always showing how territorial they each are as they fight and fly around, chasing others away from the sweet liquid.

This afternoon, my changed glasses arrived at the local eye glass shop.....and I hurried my sagging ass down to try them on to see if the lenses had been corrected. WELLLLLLLL.........the answer is NO!!! I am really getting tired of playing this game.........oh yeah, I can see better close up and on this lappie monitor, but OMG.......the distance is not good at all. I STILL have blurred vision from about 10:30 to 1:30 on the clock when looking straight ahead. In order to see if I can pull out on a street or highway, I have to turn my head MORE than 90 degrees. It is almost like having tunnel vision......things are not in focus/blurry except when looking straight ahead at a distance. THIS IS NOT RIGHT!!!! I sat at a corner with a stop sign....and while those behind me became irritated, I looked through the new ones, slipped them off and put on my old glasses, and then reversed the procedure.....and the old ones are NOT like that at all.......DAMN!!!!

All the road signs, when looking straight ahead appear to be under water.......blurry, blurry, blurry!!!!! BACK to the office I will "swim" on Monday morning to see what can be done. It just seems to be the outer edges that are out of focus. DAMN, DAMN, DAMN!!!!

The 1st Lady and I went to Farmington this afternoon to catch the 3:45 afternoon showing of The Bourne Ultimatum .........oh yeah......full of run-away action........blurry(NOT my glasses) scenes of rapid actions, but a good story line. I sometimes think that some of these movies....including this one......just try to out action the the expense of the story line, sub-plots, etc. I enjoyed seeing the scenes of London......brought back a lot of memories as I had been in many of those very spots on the streets, buildings..........

While we were up there, after the movie, we went over to Penny's to shop just a minute or two for the 1st Lady. AND......WOW.......what a rain storm they experienced while we were inside. TONS of rain came down with high, blustery winds to push the sheets of rain along the streets and parking lots. BUT.....upon returning home, it looked we had only had just a wee bit up here on Buford Heights. Didn't have to water the shrubs/plants, but not enough to even make the tiniest of dents in the amount of moisture we sooooo desperately need here.

And soooooo.........this ends post 2001!!!! And, as has always been the case ever since post #1.....

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

Thursday, August 23, 2007

1st Lady chatting with her mother....

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WOW......HOT and WINDY!!!!

The morning was hot, the afternoon was hotter, and the early evening remained.......HOT! At one time here, it registered 101 degrees.......I am really, really getting tired of these hot temps. But.......not a damn thing I can do about it, except go north!

Not certain where the morning disappeared just went away with a couple or more of hot, steaming cups of French Roast coffee while I read the newspapers that I have bookmarked online. Then......THEN, the 1st Lady decided to.....................

Install the drapery rod that stretches for 159 inches across our patio sliding door and the ceiling-t0-floor window that is right next to it. WELL.....................the ceiling is a slight vaulted one....and so it comes down very close to the wood molding above the door and window.....making any installation difficult, as well as leaving room above the pole for the drapery panels that have 2" grommets in them, which allow the drapery material to "stand up" above the grommets a couple of inches. And thus....the process began..........

We could not locate anywhere in STL a rod/pole that would extend for 159 inches.....BUT, yesterday we discovered in Linens and Things poles that can be slid into each for "infinity" as the boxes said. And so, we purchased a couple and.......voila! They work very well........after we did almost two hours of measuring, leveling the rod/pole, installing the brackets to hold it up, and making certain that the drapery panels would slide and close off the window/door without binding up on the brackets. Of course......part of the screws for the brackets went into the wood molding above the doorway and the others went into the drywall. THAT called for careful measuring to make certain the all extended from the wall into the room far enough to allow the pleats to remain without bunching up....etc, etc.

All in all........a task/project that took mucho patience and tolerance for each other's ideas on just "how to" get this all done. is done!!!!! We have had the drapery panels since late last fall......and just now had the GUTS to dive in, fight it out, and the get the job done. NOW......we have two floating shelves that must be installed in the new media room.........and once again, this will be a big project as we have to get the studs and brackets in JUST the right place and come to an agreement as to just WHERE the shelves will be on the wall. UGH!!!! DAMN!!!! wasn't going to be done today!!

Later this afternoon, we had to go to the church to have our pictures made for the church directory. HATE having to do this...........the photographer from Olan Mills talks to you like your were about 7 years old.......the only thing he doesn't do is hold up a stuffed animal over his head to make you look at him and laugh!!!! He has such dumb, stupid phrases he wants you to say to make you smile.......I won't even go there now, they are sooooooo DUMB!!

This evening the 1st Lady had her first meeting of the fall with her sorority: Beta Sigma Phi. It was a "pool party" at one of the member's homes.........and think they had a good time. Myself????

I spent the evening installing the software for our "new" printer that will make it completely wireless with the network we have here in the house. Took mucho longer than I anticipated......but, surprisingly enough........I, who am severely technologically challenged, did manage to get it completed after a couple of "false starts". And now.......I can sit on the patio or anywhere in the yard or house and print anything I want to print......WHEE!!!!

And so......the evening is gone as quickly as the morning was. I am going to post a picture of the 1st Lady that I took this evening prior to her leaving for the meeting........she was visiting with her mother on the phone. Just thought it was time to post a picture........

Ok.........even after the challenges of the day......

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

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Morning Coffee with very good friend!

Shortly after 8am this morning......there was an expected knock on the door and right on time....unusual for him......Mike Goldsmith walked in and the French Roast coffee was quickly poured for both of us. For the next two hours, we chatted, laughed, and discussed the events of the community, the school, our lives, our children's lives, and our plans. A well-rounded conversation over several cups of dark, rich coffee. As normal, we just don't have enough time to cover everything we would like to talk about..............almost like two old women who need to gossip to get the day off to a good start.

Soon after Michael left for a mid-morning conference call that he had scheduled, the 1st Lady and I took off for St Louis........not a planned journey, but we needed to take care of a few things and so, what better day to run up to the city than today?!

I first took my truck to Heartland Auto Repair as it has been having something leaking on the driveway concrete and I needed to have it diagnosed and repaired. Leaving from there we were in the city in an hour and fifteen minutes......and soon we were looking for a couple of chairs that would go with our main table that we have in the extended kitchen......the patio room. We hit a couple of shops and and then did some more looking for some items for the trip to Egypt/Jordan........

We also located a GREAT wine store with thousands of bottles of wine.........Lucas Liquors out on West Manchester. Before long we had grabbed a half case of wines to take home with us. The prices weren't too high........better than I anticipated. Picked up a bottle of Rodney Strong dark red medicine (Cabernet Sauvignon) of the 2003 vintage for a few coins less than $14.00......a pretty good buy! We will definitely return here.......soon!!!!

Lunch was at Applebee's.......and we really do enjoy their Pick Pair lunches in the work week before 3pm. I had the Bacon Turkey on Ciabatta with the Grilled Shrimp and Spinach Salad. Great choice.......but then I seem to always gravitate to these two selections. Give it a try........a great light meal for just a few little bucks!!

Then we hit a couple of more shops......and then for the last stop we went to Valley Park and the Carol House Furniture store. WELL........this is where we purchased our table and chairs a few years ago......and HOT DAMN!!!! They had four chairs exactly like we needed to match our set.......they have been discontinued and were on sale. Instead of $300 a piece......there were only $97!!!!!!! Did we ever jump on that bargain!!! Bought two.....just like we were looking for....loaded them into the back seat of the Park Avenue.....and hurried out into the Rush Hour traffic. Really had no idea they would have any of these chairs left.......we purchased the table and chairs in 2002.....FIVE years ago!!! We had thought all along that we would just have to get two chairs for the end of the table that would go ok with it, but in a different style, etc., etc.

Luck was with us today!!!!

GREAT COFFEE with a GREAT FRIEND,....MIKE!!!! A GREAT wine store discovery!!!!! A HUGE bargain for the chairs we needed to find!!!!! And.....we were home before 6pm. Obviously I was much in need of my dark red medicine........and am feeling much better after a few doses..........

And has to be obvious to you that......

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

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A wasted, not-feeling-so-good, day for me.....

Not much more need be said than all of the above! One of those days when the front of my face felt like it would it because I am HAVING to wear my old, old glasses........bearing into my nose..........hmmmm, I don't know....

I just laid around the house nursing the headache that wouldn't go away........from the middle of the night until about 7pm this evening, it roared and raged and pounded. Soooooo, while this sounds like was more like hurtativity for me......all day.

Michael.....if you read this, hope you can make it for coffee in the morning. BUT, if you are tooooo busy, I'll understand, as usual.....heehee.

Even with a bad day.........even with not much to discuss this evening.......

Life is Great.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!! will be better for me tomorrow!

Monday, August 20, 2007

RAIN......OH YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!

After trying and trying and trying today, it finally RAINED TONIGHT!!!!! Not much, but it was enough to hear it pounding on the roof and bouncing against the windows looking out over the patio! WOW..........will I have to mow tomorrow???? HEEHEE!!!! I doubt it.

Today? Hmmmmm.....just what the hell did I do all day????? I spent some more time with the family photos....and just generally spent most of the time doing research on the places we will be seeing and visiting on our trip to Egypt and Jordan. There is sooooo damn much to learn about what we will see......and the customs of the two countries......and the food....and the people.....and the clothing to take....and....and....and....and....... it is never ending! These next two months will absolutely fly by!!!

I did return to where I got my new glasses this afternoon. Yep......they are not working properly and I am sometimes feeling like I am looking out at an Impressionistic painting that moves!!! Soooo, another eye exam, more checking on the new specs, and then finally a decision to have my glasses returned to the eye lab for testing to see if they are made correctly. Soooo, I am back in my old broken-framed glasses......the ones with the scotch tape on the bridge.....hahaha.

This evening.....well, I found a completely new website that I am sooooo excited about. It is the Virtual and I spent hours on it this evening. There is sooooooooo much info and pictures and message forums and ways to organize this info........WOW...WOW!!!! It is a REAL...WOW site for travelers. If you haven't visited this site......and you love to travel ANY place in the world/USA.......get yourself to this site!!

My eyes are worn out....old exciting website to read......that I am going to close this for this evening. I have so much to discuss, to talk about, to ramble along about......but, not tonight........even though:

LIFE IS GREAT!!!!!....And I hope it is for all of you, also!!! (Remember: Life is tooo short to stay in one place)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Another day of reviewing the pictoral history of our family.....

The day dawned cloudy and muggy, even with the dry desert-like conditions in almost everyone's yard............they crunch like sand, and they have the same tan/brown color of sand. The dirt is concrete-like......soooo very hard! And.......the forecast rain for this afternoon???? A few drops that mercifully fell from the sky.....but there were not enough drops to even get the arms on my patio chairs wet......DAMN!!!! It thundered, it became dark and storm-like.......and then it was all over and finished..........just like my desert-yard is!

Most of the day was, as stated above, a day of reviewing MORE pictures.....boxes and boxes that my sister gave to me yesterday......and attempting to cull out the ones that I want to keep, along with more pictures that I need to send to friends and relatives. WOW........when will this never-ending trip of memories come to a closure?? Hmmmm..........I doubt that it will very soon because the pictures that I keep will then have to be dealt with and will have to be organized either for albums or CD's for safe-keeping. WHEN???????????

I also spent quite a bit of time researching, again, trip cancellation insurance plans and costs. This takes time......and patience to wade through the fine print to make certain I am going to get exactly what I WANT from this policy......and then factor in the costs involved for each of the policies. most cases, I have only one week there are several companies that only give 14 days from the time that the initial deposit is sent IF they are going to cover pre-existing conditions. OK......I KNOW, I KNOW.....I have to get this done....THIS WEEK!!

This evening.......well, we both really enjoy HGTV's "Design Star" program which we get at 8pm. We both love this type of show......especially when it pertains to home/room designs! Hmmmmm........I wonder why!!??

Tomorrow, I have to FAX tons of paperwork to the real estate office in Eldon so that I can get the house listed officially. Then I have to see about getting an appt. to get some shots for the 1st Lady and myself......nothing that is required for the trip, but a couple of shots that we would like to have.......just for a bit of extra peace of that possible????

I have been lax about getting some pictures posted on here......and will try to get some tomorrow, however nothing exciting or new has happened that needs to be shared. Perhaps I can come up with some from the pictures I have been reviewing????? Hmmmm.........that's a good thought! Some pictures that would show any age or generation.....

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

Saturday, August 18, 2007

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From Las Vegas......but in only 3 months it will be Egypt!!

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A return to the Stick and Brick home of TheHowserHouse

Yep.........we have returned to our stick/brick after wandering around since this past Monday!!

We left the hotel in Eldon......hotel is not exactly the correct word for it......and went to the Lake for breakfast at Panera Bread. ALWAYS wonderful food.....not matter the time of day!!!! Their pastries are to die for!!!! And, we did!

Leaving there we went to the Outlet Mall and picked up a few more small items for the trip......luggage locks, a shoulder bag for the 1st Lady, etc., etc. Then it was on down the road to my sister's home......

We were there for a couple of hours as we completed the forms for the realty office in Eldon....and then we talked, looked at a few pictures, and exchanged boxes of pictures that we are sorting through. As I have mentioned before......sooooooooooooo many boxes of thousands of pictures which our mother kept....and kept....and kept........and was a joy, and chore, it is to go through all of these and relive the memories of the ones that pertain to us.....and enjoy the ones of generations of our family of many past years!!!

We left there early afternoon and drove to Rolla for a late lunch. Guess where??? HAHAHA.....Panera Bread again........and the "you pick two" was our choice. A GREAT choice as I had a hot panini and a wonderful tomato/onion/mozzarella salad with a great sweet/tart balsamic vinigarette dressing (sp?).

Arrived home around 5pm.......and then the task of unloading the car!!! UGH!!! We had soooo many packages/sacks from our shopping plus our luggage plus all of the boxes of pictures and the box of fresh tomatoes and...and...and................ Then I spent an hour watering flowers and shrubs.......whew.....this is becoming an unwanted chore. NO rain now for at least 5 weeks here.......don't drop you hot match!!

This evening I have been online to Egypt researching private guides for a free afternoon we will have on our return to Cairo from Amman, Jordan. Thought we might hire one for the afternoon to see a few more things before we make the flight back the next day to St Louis. There is soooo much learn and do before November arrives........................but......

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

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday.........and ON TIME!!!!

The 1st Lady, her mother, and I went in to Hannibal this morning as her mother needed to do some grocery shopping while she had some one here to drive her there. She is legally blind....and rightfully so.....she can barely see a tiny bit of movement out of the corner of her eye.....sitting at a 90 degree angle to the television in order to see just a sliver of it.

They let me out at the Quality Inn and Suites.....and I spent the next 1.5 hours in the lobby using their "free wifi" from the hotel. And that is how I have been able to post these past three days......but tonight, I am sitting in our hotel room in Eldon, and it has free wifi in all of the rooms.

We returned to Monroe City, had lunch, and then the 1st Lady and I headed south to Eldon and the Lake Ozarks. We went quickly to the realty office and signed the paperwork that is necessary to get it listed. Then we were off to the Lake and the infamous Outlet Mall there. We shopped for several hours, picking up a few good bargains. They are oftentimes difficult to locate, but I did find a few things that qualify as "Bargains!". Bought a couple of pairs of new tennis to use on the trip to Egypt and the other one to put away until needed in the future. At one for full price and the other one for 1/2 price......the bill happily came to just a few coins less than $100 for both pairs!

We returned to Eldon and the little hotel room we had reserved. Clean....very clean, but small, however it has great cable tv with over 100 stations and, most importantly, free wifi. We had to drive through a horrendous rain storm returning to Eldon as more than 2 inches fell in Osage Beach, and probably here in Eldon. What a HUGE change to be driving is such a rain storm!!! is up for grabs! We will go down to my sister's home south of Osage she has to sign the paperwork for the listing of the house. And then??? Well, we may drive back up to Dr. Jeni and Darrel's estate and spend the rest of the weekend with them..........we'll see......

A good day.......and without a doubt.....

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

Thursday post on Friday.....a day behind, again!


WOW……..hard to believe, but we actually had rain this morning!!!!!! High winds ripped through here (Monroe City) brining cooler temps and then a few rain drops here in town. BUT…….as the 1st Lady and I headed for Quincy, IL to do some shopping, we ran through hard rains just east of town……..such an strange sight after all of these weeks in SE Misery without a drop!!!!!!

We spent the majority of the day in Quincy……not for anything specific, but just to look around. We did pick up a few items that were on sale……some “desert” clothes for our trip.

We had a great little, late lunch at Panera Bread there….and that is where I posted my Wednesday thoughts for all of you out there. We came back to her mother’s home late afternoon and just enjoyed the cooler temps, albeit rather cloudy. NOT a problem with that in my book!!!

After a light supper, we went out to the countryside where the 1st Lady’s brother and wife lives. He had said he LOTS of tomatoes……and OMG, but does he ever!!!!! HUGE plants that are as tall as I am….and there were 21 one of them ……..ALL sagging with the most beautiful looking tomatoes. Soooo, took a box and brought back quite a few nice ones for eating…….I LOVE FRESH TOMATOES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The evening was spent just doing nothing…….I read for about three hours…….a publication by Lonely Planet on Egypt. Soooo much to learn and prepare myself for…….their ancient gods, history, etc., etc.

We did get our flight schedule from the tour company STI-TRAVEL. I was not happy with the short time that we were given for the connection in NYC, so I called them and they happily accommodated my request to make an earlier departure from STL for JFK in NYC. Now we may have toooo many hours to spend, but we might take a cab into Manhattan and spend some time there enjoying the energy of that great city.

And so…….tomorrow, Friday, we are going to leave and go to Eldon and the Lake of the Ozarks for a “business” trip… list the housed with a realty company there. Will overnight there at a hotel and then return to F’town and our stick and brick on Saturday……ending another week of being away from there. But…..

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

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Post for Wednesday........a day behind!


These posts are not being published on the day they are written due to the fact that I do not have access to cyberspace from where we are staying here in Monroe City. And…..I cannot find any place to piggyback on except by driving to Hannibal to the Quality Inn and Suites. I DID do that this morning…..sitting in the lobby for an hour……and catching up on many, many emails.

After leaving the Quality Inn….the 1st Lady and I went on in to Hannibal and did some shopping at Penny’s and, the obligatory trip to Wal-Mart Supercenter. Been looking for some long pants…….don’t know when I have worn long pants this summer……that are cotton that I can wear to Egypt. Found a couple of pair… enough and if I get camel dung on them, I can just dispose of them when I get back here to the States.

The 1st Lady cannot wear anything that exposes her shoulders, except when we are on the Nile cruise ship. Sooooo, she, too, is looking for some clothes that are cool but not exposing much skin.

Returning to Monroe City the middle of the afternoon, we just remained inside as the temp was 105 by 3:30pm……and remained hovering around that mark until early evening……HOT!!!!

I immersed myself in a really good book……..just a “fun” novel……and continued to read until almost 10pm. Needless to say……..that was MY day!!! However, reading again for the first time in many moons helped to make certain today that……

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

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Away, again.......and: EGYPT is a GO!!!!


We had a very relaxing morning at Dr. Jeni’s home………I took my coffee (not Fr. Roast) out to the pool where it was shady and enjoyed the oh-soooo peacefulness of the morning while it was relatively cool. Their home is in such a lovely place……surrounding by very tall trees, but yet they have cleared enough of the tall oaks away to allow for great sunlight also.

We left around 11am……and drove to Monroe City to visit the 1st Lady’s mother. We had a nice afternoon…….INSIDE….with the 103 degree temps and high humidity. Late afternoon, the 1st Lady’s brother and wife, David and Ruth, dropped by to visit for several hours.

Oh…….yesterday morning: We “signed on the dotted line” for our trip to Egypt and Jordan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just knowing that we ARE going to make the trip gives me goose bumps……I have wanted to go to Egypt since I was in the 6th grade…..a LONG time!!! I will probably come all unglued when I see the Pyramids for the first time……..I did when I first climbed up the Acropolis in Athens and actually stood in front of the Parthenon for the first time……..tears were all over my face! The 1st Lady is just as excited…and in fact, as said that if we feel that we want to see more over there, we might return in a couple of years and go it alone….since we will know more about how to get around by ourselves there in Egypt.

I mentioned the 6th grade………I have ALWAYS, ALWAYS had a tremendous love for traveling…..even before I started traveling. I fell in love with “places”, maps, and the lure of the seeing the world. I have always felt an affinity for what used to be known as the “Orient”…..and so often, I feel like I have been there before. I felt “right at home” whenever I was in Asia, no matter which country I was visiting. I have been in and out of Japan 26 times over the years, mostly while in the USAF and stationed in Asia during ‘69-70.…..the Viet Nam Era. I was in the Philippines a few years ago……..but, it has always felt like home to me over there. I often think I must have been an Asian, of some nationality, in a previous lifetime. And……I have visited many of the Asian countries and loved each one.

I have been in each of the 50 states……and have visited 41 countries over the years. I do want to make 50 before I get toooo old to travel….and I do want to have visited 6 of the seven continents. With the trip to Egypt, I will have planted my feet in Africa and have only South America to reach in the next few years……and I will. Our goals and plans are to take one BIG trip each year……and if we can…..we WILL!!! Remember: “If you don’t think BIG….nothing BIG will happen.”

Soooooo, we are going in November….the 14th, if the flight plans work as I have requested. We will be flying out of NYC on Egyptian Air and they only have three flights to Cairo from NYC each week, so that also has to be coordinated with the cruise ship that we will take up the Nile from Luxor to Aswan, which has to be coordinated with the flt to Luxor from Cairo, the flt from Aswan to Abu Simbel which is almost on the Sudan border on the south end of Egypt, coordinated with the flt back to Aswan, the flt then to Cairo, the flt to Amman, Jordan, the flt back from there to Cairo, and then the flight back to NYC from Cairo. Obviously, this is why we are using a travel agency that is based in Cairo, but has an office just outside of NYC. We will be taking 10 flights plus the cruise ship, plus the overland trip from Amman, Jordan down to Petra to visit the ruins of that ancient city that has only this summer become one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. An extensive travel plan!!!!

And so……as you can see……I’m sooooooo damn EXCITED!!!! (Guess what you will be reading about often?)

I will end this world-wide mental traveling for the evening…….that may be the most active part of my mind at my age…….hahahaa!!! Life is TOOO short to stay in one place!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

Monday, August 13, 2007

Heading north..........

Don't get excited thinking that I may be attempting to leave this HOT weather......sorry, I'm not that lucky.

The morning was cooler, cloudy, and much more tolerable outside. I found myself on the computer and/or the telephone trying to get some things caught up with our fall travel plans. I made reservations for the Region 6 Cedar Creek RV Owners Club Rally which will be held the last weekend in September in Joplin, Mo. Region 6 is basically a four state area, but other members from other states will also be joining us for a great, fun-filled, over-eating week/weekend.

I then canceled our reservations.......with MUCH, MUCH regret.....for the Balloon Fiesta Cedar Creek Rally. With a great deal of regret we decided that we couldn't go to Egypt/Jordan.....and still go to New Mexico for this week......soooooo, I called the RV Park and canceled the reservations. I still have many regrets about this..........still tonight!

Then we left for Dr. Jeni's office and the 1st Lady's dental appointment. She had some major work done which took about three, I got to spend three hours in the waiting room doing some reading and watching and talking with her clients/patients that were seated there.

We are now at their "Estate", after eating in Washington, MO. Just average food that does not call for any reviews.......very average.

Tomorrow we will go on to Monroe City to the home of the 1st Lady's mother where we will be for 2-3 days.......WITHOUT daily cyberspace access...........DAMN!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Always upsetting........

Then we will go to Eldon and the Lake of the Ozarks for a day....minimum. As I mentioned last night, I need to list my mother's house and hopefully, get it sold!

Sooooo, brief paragraphs..........from a person who seems to have brief thoughts this evening. my old(er) age taking hold of me just little bit more????????? Hmmmmm..........I wonder? However,......

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

Sunday, August 12, 2007

"I love to play the piano, PawPa"

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"How much have I grown, Grammy?"

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The Granddaughter Growth Wall

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103+ actual the SE Misery Desert

And hotter than that in the next three days!!!!! The outside thermometer on our car registered 107 degrees at 4pm this afternoon.....UGH!!!! WHEW!!!

My usual Sunday morning talking head shows were interesting as I sipped my French Roast coffee....freshly the coolness of our media room. The 1st Lady had gone to church this morning....and then when she returned from the early morning contemporary Methodist service, I also had the STL Post-Dispatch to digest as the morning wore on.

The afternoon was for staying inside......and so I did!! I spent a great afternoon........just reading!!! Yep......something different for me.....a bit of silence and many chapters slipped by as I kept from being interrupted during that time. The 1st Lady was doing some bookkeeping for Dr. Jeni's husband, Darrel........and for his business which is really, really doing well with this heat. He repairs incapacitated air conditioners in heavy equipment units and other mobile units.....and he does it "on the road"......where they are "broken down". A GREAT business to own with all of this heat!!

Late afternoon, Dr. Jeni, Darrel and girls arrived for a quick visit as they had been close by visiting old friends overnight. We had a good visit.........the girls were hyper, as usual, and that just makes them that much cuter. They LOVE to play on the grand piano.....and always want me to "give them a piano lesson" I oblige them, of course. Actually, Meghan is in need of a piano as her interest in learning is really peaking.......and now is the time to start those lessons.

They left for home rather the girls had their bath before loading up and departing.....and that, too, is always a fun time for them.......and Grammy.

Tomorrow, after completing our discussions with our travel agent in New Jersey and getting our names on the dotted line........I have to check with the eye glass place here in town where I got my glasses. I am STILL having difficulty least seeing the way I should be seeing...and not struggling to get things aligned properly by moving my head a certain way....or moving a book up/down, side to side. I think the glasses are just tooooooo narrow, vertically, for the progressive lenses to be as effective as they should, gotta discuss this tomorrow. It has been a week since I picked them up, so my eyes should be making the adjustments to the new lenses.....but........well, I'm just not satisfied!!

Tomorrow, the 1st Lady has a dental appt. with Dr. Jeni, so we will leave before lunch for her dental offices. Think we will overnight at their place in the countryside......and then go on to Monroe City to visit and check on the 1st Lady's mother. From there we will most likely go to Eldon so I can get the house that was my mother's.....listed officially with a realty agency. While we are gone for a few days.....I may be, and will be, out of touch with cyberspace and therefore, my posts will be much more erratic than usual.

Keep checking.......I'll be on here when I can......and as always.....

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

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Two busy days.........

Ahhhh.......last night was a late night and by the time I got ready to mind had turned to the mushiest it has been in a long time.....sooooooo, you had to wait until this evening.....

We visited with Mike yesterday afternoon and evening and had a good time!! He seemed chipper and so much was discussed concerning many topics. And, as I said, it was a late night before returned here to the stick and brick.

Today.....well, another hot one. My lawn is no longer a lawn, but a brown, crunchy desert!!! I can't remember when, or even IF, it has ever been this brown and dead. And still....the hot temps persist and will be with us, so "they" say, until late next week.....without any moisture. I am now working hard to save my decorative grasses.....everything is now in jeopardy! I have put a lot of $$$ into the plants and shrubs here in the yard.....and I'm not sure they will survive this heat and drought. Very, very upsetting!

The 1st Lady and I were supposed to go to Eldon this morning, but things just didn't work out like we had planned. Sooooo, we spent the day cleaning out a closet and storing more "stuff" securely so it could be put away in the garage on the shelving there.

This evening.......AFTER I spent 45 minutes in my watering of everything.......we watched a DVD...."The Good Shepherd" with Matt Damon. What an interesting.....and a bit I'm afraid there is toooooooo much truth in this movie which then leaves me thinking about other incidents in the past 40 years or so..............check it out, if you haven't already seen it. Be is a lengthy movie!!!

Had a call from Andrew G.........and enjoyed hearing about his day at the wineries in the Hermann area. Would love to have been there, even in this heat........I soooo enjoy wineries, as well as the wine! dark red medicine is a staple in my life!!!

And so......a very uninteresting day(s) in my Life for all of you. Hang in there......things will get better!!! I may even get on my soapbox again before long to rant and rave about some heated topic, so drop back never know! always....

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

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Nothing more need be said about the heat........many of us are suffering from this intense, unrelenting heat spell.....and many of you have already been through this during the summer. Enough said! It is summer in the USA.....and global warming has not even begun to really get going.......

Today......the 1st Lady took Rachel to visit with Mike, while I stayed at the stick and brick. I spent most of the day on the trip to Egypt......talking with the travel agent for the booking company that we are working with. I talked with him several times......and also talked with Blue Cross/Blue Shield about medical coverage while we are out of the country. We will be covered, but probably would have to pay the costs ourselves and then file a claim with the paperwork we would return home with to be reimbursed.

Dinner was at Chef Sue's home.....and another very delicious and very, very filling meal. Nothing more need be has already been discussed in this blog before. She is a great chef!!! with a great meal under my belt, you have to know that.....

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

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


It was hot when I got out of the horizontal position........and it is still hot now that it is time to return to that horizontal position!!!! Temp today reached: 99 degrees/104 heat index........not a very comfy day.

This morning after having my French Roast coffee...INSIDE.....and then another cup or two......I found myself just not doing much of anything! I spent some time reading the morning newspapers.....and before long....I switched gears and began pulling together the research that I had been doing on tours to Egypt. I emailed the company that I feel the best about.....and later this afternoon I received a call from them.

The 1st Lady had a committee meeting for her Beta Sigma Phi Sorority ......a luncheon meeting down at the city center. All the time she was gone, I continued to pull together some facts, plans, and dollar figures on the trip........and so when she returned, I was ready to answer most of her questions.

I did ask the company which has their American office in New Jersey.......if there was anyway we might be able to spend longer than just a portion of a morning at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. One whole day would not be enough, never mind a couple of hours in the morning!!! He said we would need a private tour in order to do that....and I am going to pursue that statement when I talk with him tomorrow.

We continue to get comments from friends when they learn we are going to Egypt/Jordan, about if we have security fears. NOPE........not at all!!!! With everything that I read on the many message boards online concerning travel in both countries......the security there is tight and well planned out. Here in the US of A we only....ONLY....hear about an incident or two.....and we NEVER hear about the thousands of tourists and travelers from all over the world who are in Egypt each and every day, visiting the ancient sites, crusing down/up the Nile, and enjoying the friendliness of the Egyptian people. The negatives always get in the news, don't they???

We had hoped to have Michael Goldsmith over for dinner this evening.......a dinner that was to feature a dish he has been wanting to sample for a LONG TIME.....several years. However, it was not to be as he had way tooooo much work to complete before tomorrow dawns....and so, once again, we will have to find a compatible date for all of us. difficult that becomes!!!

We rented a video tonight: "Children of Men"..........interesting, but rather depressing to say the least. Not certain if I liked it or not.......??? One of THOSE kind of movies.......

And so.....another day in August has gone by.........and it certainly makes me exceedingly happy that I am retired....and that I don't have to return to school next week!!!!!!!!!!! "HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN!" And....with that in mind, of course.....

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

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Monday #2

As usual the day sped by with terrible speed. After lunch I went to pick up my new glasses......! Well, I KNOW that it takes time to adjust to new glasses....I remember all tooooo well after the last pair I had made, but oh my............these just don't seem to be doing the job!!!!!

For distance, they are great! However......the up close progressive part of the lenses just doesn't seem to be correct. I cannot see to read one line in a book by just moving my eyes from side to becomes very blurred. is extremely difficult to use this lappie and not have the words blurred from what I would call a NORMAL distance from my eyes to the monitor screen.

The look is least I think so.......but as I wrote about in a previous post, Function must take priority over Great Looks/Aesthetics!!! Oh yeah.....I sure as hell NEED "Great Looks".....something I have never had, but do I want to be blind as a damn bat just so I might look a small tad better???? I THINK NOT!!!!

I will give them a few days and see if I adjust, and I promise to keep an open mind about this, but if I can't read or see because it is blurred.....well, then I will take them back and make some changes or have another exam! I'll keep you posted on this.......if I can see the screen of the lappie!

Spent an hour with my good friend.....Michael Goldsmith.....over at his home. I brought some Cafe Du Monde coffee and a box of the beignet mixture to be made at home.....just for him and Melissa to enjoy and I took it over to him. He spent quite a bit of time keeping my flowers alive during this horrendous drought and heat here in SE Misery..........and I sooooo appreciate him doing this for me. I know he loves is coffee just as I fact.........hmmmmm.....I am probably the person responsible for him becoming addicted to dark roasted coffee! Our lives have become so intertwined over the years.....from the days when he was a sixth grade student of mine, his great friendship with my oldest son which brought him to our house sooooooo much over their high school years, his incredible talent for musical performance, and then as good friends over the past 20 years since he graduated from high school. Of course, he is F'town because he took the job as my assistant/associate band director prior to my retirement. I often wonder where our lives will find us next...........

And so.........I close this as I am running the water to our butterfly bush which is drooping with the heat/drought. This week is going to be a hot will be watering more of the shrubs and bushes during the week.

Even though I am still tired from yesterday's return trip......

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

Monday's doings............

Will try to bring things up to date......

The wake-up call came on time: 5:30AM.....UGH!!!! We struggle out of bed and hurried around to get things gathered and taken to the car. Jeremy wanted to be on the road by 6:30AM back to Baton Rouge and so we grabbed some coffee and dropped him at his car in a parking lot.

We were on the road....I-10 6:30.....and after driving through the devastation that we had seen....going the other way....on Sunday, we were almost at Slidell by the time the 1st Lady informed me that we were going the WRONG direction. SHIT!!!

Why the hell does a person doing something because of "force of habit"????? AND.....just take things for granted that you are doing the RIGHT thing........and then you find out that you are doing something that is totally wrong because of the above????????????? For several years when Dr. Jeni, Darrel, and Meghan lived in Biloxi, MS.....I would run over to the Fr. Quarter and spend a day and evening just enjoying the ambience of the Quarter. And then I would return to Biloxi.......going EAST on I-10!!!! JUST WHAT I WAS DOING YESTERDAY MORNING!!!!

Soooo, just about the time yesterday that I/we realized we not going to catch I-55 at Slidell......the phone rang and it was Jeremy. His car was having great difficulty crossing the western bridges of I-10 WEST going over Lake Ponchetrain(sp?).........and then he called again and it had pulled off the road at LaPlace just where the road heads north to Baton Rouge. He said it seemed "serious", so when we got to Slidell, we took I-12 west and then we took I-55 south at Hammond to come out RIGHT where he was at a local truck stop/gas station. By the time we drove to where he was stopped we had then driven almost 80 extra miles.....the wrong way to Missouri.

Well, he had already called for a tow truck and as soon as it arrived we followed it and his car to an Auto Diagnostic Center about two miles down the road. He HAD to get to Baton Rouge as his candidate was flying around the state yesterday having announced Press Conferences at various cities......and Jeremy was to make certain all went well from his office in Baton Rouge.......trying to control unexpected happenings as the day progressed.

We took him to his house to clean up...and when we got there, the other guys who share this large house with him had taken the key and the house was locked........soooooooooooo: we drive back across Baton Rouge to the office, get the key.....and drive back across Baton Rouge to his house. He gets ready as quick as possible, but then he has a scheduled conference call so he has to take care of that before going to the office. Finally......we deposit him at his office and we get back on the CORRECT highway, I-12 EAST which junctures with I-55 North at Hammond, LA.

MANY, MANY miles more than we had planned to drive on the trip back to F'town!! By the time we arrived back here last night sometime after 10pm......we had driven quite a few miles over 700.....and it is only 597 miles the CORRECT way. Oh well.........everyone's children, no matter how old, still call when we are needed for help.......and that is as it SHOULD BE!!!!!

And soooooo, this morning is like having a hang-over!!!! Still tired and just sort of out of it......and the damn weather here in SE Misery is sooooo hot and humid, but exceedingly dry on the ground. No rain seems like forever.

More later.......

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

Monday, August 06, 2007

Home......after 700 miles on the road.......more than expected.

Home....and I will post tomorrow......exhausted after 100 miles more than planned. Stay tuned for the details......tomorrow! Oh Yeah...

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

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Waiting for the great coffee at Cafe du Monde

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Damages and deserted......

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What can be said........?

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Fats Domino restored home in the 9th Ward

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Our HUGE crepes and Fr. Toast brunch at Petunia's

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Entrance to our building of the hotel....

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The plaque on our building of the hotel...

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Good music and good drinks at Pat O'Brien's!!!

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Last day here........a disturbing conversation.....

Last day in N.O………crap!!! I will miss this place and the wonderful food that is available!!!

We were up and in the breakfast room for coffee by 9am…..and then Jeremy got up and we decided to go to Café Du Monde for coffee. After a walk of a few short blocks we arrived and saw the LONG….VERY LONG line of people waiting on Sunday morning to have their dark, rich chicory coffee with beignets covered in powered sugar. Hmmmm…….as warm and sticky as was we elected to go another coffee shop and not stand in line in the hot sun for an unknown amount of time. It was a good choice as the coffee was good!!!

We then returned back to the hotel to pick up the car……and off we went to the lower 9th Ward. OMG……..there is no way in hell that I can describe the “war zone” that we visited where the waters from the broken levee had invaded after the hurricane. We drove for miles in this residential area and nothing but deserted houses that were in terrible, terrible condition………I just couldn’t believe the immensity of this devastation from the flood!!!!! No pictures can ever, ever show this accurately……..they just cannot give the complete picture of the blocks and blocks and blocks and streets and everywhere the homes that have been lost.

We went by Fats Domino’s home….and it has been repaired and looks great…….sitting in a sea of flooded out homes and businesses. HORRIBLE!!!!!

Then Jeremy took up out to the eastern entrance to N.O. coming in on Interstate 10 from Slidell……and for miles and miles and miles and miles there was nothing but vacant, devastated houses and businesses along I-10 in the suburbs of N.O.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Nothing I have seen on the tellie prepared us for this!!!!! Where are all of these people???????? Of course, we know that they are not here and probably will not return.

This afternoon I visited with the lady in charge of the housekeeping and other employees. She had evacuated when the storm came and her house is not in the affected areas and so had very little damage….just a bit to her roof. One of the employees of the hotel was killed in the flood, along with that individual’s mother and daughter. The people are still fighting the insurance companies to get reimbursements for the damage to their property…….two years ago this month and they still not have had the settlement to their claims. It is a damn shame that we have not risen up and demanded that they receive their claim monies. I am not only ashamed, but very angry that these citizens of our country have, and are, being treated this way by the insurance companies AND our government in Washington.

The lady and I talked for over a half hour……and I was so upset when we parted!!!! THIS has bothered me for the rest of today and this evening…… has taken away the fun and enjoyment we have had these past few days. I also visited with two young ladies from Korea who are staying here in the hotel…..and they were just unable to comprehend the lack of assistance that is not being given for the thousands and thousands of people who have been forced from their homes…..TWO YEAR AGO!!!

Prior to this upsetting conversation, we had gone for a late brunch to a wonderful little….LITTLE….restaurant called “Petunias”. WOW……and another WOW!!!! We had crepes and Jeremy had their French toast. My crepe was filled with crap meat, shrimp, peppers, onions, and a wonderful sauce….and the entire crepe had been drizzled with a mild cheese. OMG……how incredible this was!!! All of the reviews and evaluations of this little place are accurate. It was recently featured on the “Food Network Channel”………and it certainly lived up to their feature story. The 1st Lady’s crepe was filled with chicken and asparagus and was just as delicious as mine. Jeremy’s French toast was the best I have ever, ever tasted……what more can I say???!!! Again, this little jewel was located just down the our street a few short blocks… in the FR. Quarter.

We returned to the hotel and we enjoyed the little pool in the courtyard beside our building. We remained there for a couple of hours just reading and relaxing. This evening we spent a couple of hours at Pat O’Brien’s off of Bourbon Street……in the dual piano bar. Lots of fun….lots of good music…..and great fun. It helped me to forget temporarily the afternoon conversation.

We walked around later this evening and went into a little Cajun Zydeco café and listened to the music which we don’t hear very often in Missouri. Had a small bite to eat…..just ordinary food…..nothing special.

Back to the hotel and we are getting packed up to leave fairly early in the morning. More on our trip later……

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

French balconies in the Quarter.....beautiful!!

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Fr. Doors leading to courtyard at Hotel St. Pierre

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Most famous Bar in the French Quarter

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Twin Piano Bar at Pat's

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Outdoor patio at Pat's

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Streets filled at the White Linen Party for the Arts

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