Tuesday, August 31, 2010

From Under the Rock

I’m baaaaaack …

Yes, I took yet another brief blog break. It wasn’t completely intentional; I was sick. After doing a bit of reading and talking to a few people who had similar experiences, I think it’s possible that I had the milder form of West Nile. It’s certainly possible after getting bit more than three dozen times last week. And, since symptoms began emerging within 48-72 hours … it’s definitely possible.

But, whatever the reason, I was miserable and spent most of my three-day weekend resting. In a way, that’s not a bad thing considering that as I gear up for a FIVE-day weekend, I’m probably going to need every drop of R&R I accumulated! The even better news, for you my dear readers, is that my very next post gives you a shot at a prize!

I go away, but I come back not empty-handed. Sounds like a pretty good deal for all of us. Stay tuned …

Friday, August 27, 2010

Shootin’ the Moon

I got to see the moon in all of its full glory as I made my way both to and from the airport earlier this week.

In both cases, it peeked at me through a mask of clouds, gray, yet semi-transparent. And through all of the various twists and turns of my trip, it shone down on me like a spotlight.

So Wednesday night, as I stood in the doorway, I found her facing me at eye level as she began to rise behind the neighbor across the street’s house. The nights have been comfortably cool this week, so I decided I would go out to greet – and capture – her. Even though it was now a waning moon, it seemed to shine just as brightly as the night before.

I grabbed camera and tripod and out the door I went. I set up quickly, soaking in the lovely night air and before I could even focus … OUCH! And then again. And again. And again. I slapped my arms. My legs. My feet. My face. Mosquitoes!

Funny, I had just been thinking how this summer I had barely been nipped by these tiny vampires from hell all summer. It’s been too hot, even for them. But here they were, rabid and ravenous, making up for their absence with a vengeance. I killed at least eight before losing count.

Last night, I tried to count the number of bites that are now itching like crazy. Some I can’t even see (they bit my scalp!). It’s in the neighborhood of 35-40. And I was outside less than 10 minutes. I shudder to think how bad it might have gotten had I stayed outside longer.

But the moon? Oh, I got her.

I wasn’t out long enough to really play with manual stops to see if I couldn’t magnify it just a bit more but these aren’t bad, at least not for a first try. Maybe another moon when the mosquitoes aren't so hungry ...

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Taking the Girl out of St. Louis

You can take the girl out of St. Louis. But, apparently, you can’t take St. Louis out of the girl! At least not this girl and not for very long …

We’d been in downtown Dallas all of five minutes when I started spying a variety of cool, historic architecture. We were zipping by so fast there were many I couldn’t even begin to ID, but there was this art-deco meets Spanish style design that made me whip around: The Sante Fe Building.

As we roared into the heart of the city (with our cab driver rolling at top speed) we were slowed suddenly by a street closure. It seems a TV show filming was in progress (and would be throughout the day). We were close to our destination, so we trundled out of the taxi. And I got a good look at this beauty, The Adolphus Hotel. I was immediately smitten.

Please note that the Web site DOES NOT do justice to this structure. It is GORGEOUS, particularly at the roofline. I know, because I got to see it UP HIGH. And I’m kicking myself for not having brought a camera. (It would have been a bit unprofessional though to turn all touristy in front of clients, especially ones I’ve only just met.) The shots at this site are infinitely closer to what I saw. (*pauses to kick self again for lack of camera*) I found myself staring at it every chance I got yesterday.

But back to that whole St. Louis thing …

One of my colleagues quickly noted that this particular building was built by Adolphus Busch (you know, the St. Louis beer baron) and was the tallest building in Dallas when it was built in 1912. Further, it was designed by St. Louis architects Barnett, Haynes, and Barnett – utilizing so many of the features that I have come to love on downtown St. Louis buildings! Coincidence? Maybe. (Oh. These were the same guys who designed the Cathedral Basilica in St. Louis or "new Cathedral.")

I also took immediate note of the nearby The Magnolia Hotel. This gem reminded me of some of the two-tower structures in St. Louis. Built in 1921, the 29-story structure designed by British architect Sir Alfred Bossom was the first high-rise in the United States to have air conditioning, and was the city’s first skyscraper at more than 400-feet high. It was the headquarters for the Magnolia Oil Co. Never heard of it? Me either. (But you’ve no doubt heard of its descendant, I’m sure: Mobil Oil, today ExxonMobil.) It still has a restored Pegasus logo neon (from the Magnolia days, which Mobil later adopted) on the roof! I would love to have seen it at dark.

At lunch, I got to find out the name of The Kirby, a building I’d glimpsed from the taxi at top speed and was immediately captivated by. Another beautiful sight! And, yet another St. Louis connection … Turns out that “The Old Girl,” as she’s affectionately known, is considered the kid sister of The Adolphus, built just a year later in 1913, and yet another product of St. Louis architects Barnett, Haynes, and Barnett!

Is it a coincidence then that, while I acknowledged several other eye-catching historic structures, I was so drawn to these two particular buildings? Maybe.

But I don’t think so.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Airport Adventures

4:40 a.m. Bleary-eyed, I get up and pad across the room. It’s time to roll.

5:25 a.m. Pearl and I depart for the airport. I’ve never parked at the airport anywhere except at the garage or in passenger pick-up, so I know I’m in for an adventure. It's very early, it's still dark out, I'm uncaffeinated and not 100% sure of where I'm going. Yep. Great way to start off.

5:50 a.m. After a second pass through the lot and backing up a few times, I finally find where I want to be and I spy a spot in covered parking. Score!

As I’m parking, I see a shuttle go through the lot. (I’m starting to have visions of Steve Martin in Planes, Tranes and Automobiles.) Drat. I wonder when the next one will come. The sign says that it will pick up in B6. I head that direction but nothing is in site. I stand there for at least 5 minutes. Then I see a shuttle at the end of the lot. Parked. I start walking toward it; it comes and picks me up.

6:15 a.m. I am in the security line which is starting to get a little full. I do the general disrobing, removing my shoes and suit jacket, pulling my laptop from its padded pouch. I pile everything into two bins and shepherd them along the conveyor and into the screener. I forget to remove my watch.

6:20 a.m. An alarm sounds as I pass under the screening doorway. The TSA dude scowls. “Are you wearing a hairclip?” he asks as he stares directly at one of the two clips holding my hair against the back of my head. I nod and ask if I have to take them out. I really don’t want to do this. My hair actually had cooperated and was laying quite nicely. I knew I would not be so lucky twice in the same day.

As I’m reaching up to unclip my hair, I glimpse the forgotten watch. Could it be my watch? I ask. “You can try it,” says Mr. TSA and another agent hands me a plastic bowl to lay it in. I walk through the doorway. No alarm sounds.

6:25 a.m. I snag my computer, my bag and shoes , my jacket off the conveyor. Everything is back in place and yet my watch still hasn’t been sent through. Can I have my watch back, please? Mr. TSA scowls again, then ignores me. I am quickly reminded of one of the many reasons why it is a pain in the a** to fly.

Apparently, Mr. TSA is due for a break or it’s his time to go home. Five minutes later, a different agent apologetically returns my watch. I slide it on and take four steps forward to find that I am AT my gate! I quickly spot one of my colleagues immersed in the morning paper.

The Dallas flight boards and departs on time and is uneventful. We even arrive early. Meetings are long but productive. About the only glitch of the day is an inability to connect to the Internet. So, all in all, a good day.

But Dallas had a very pleasant and unanticipated surprise for me. That's for another post though ...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sweet Dreams

As predicted, Sunday was action-packed.

I did all kinds of basic house stuff, washed Pearl, went to the dump (from Saturday’s mowing adventure) and then it was time to get cleaned up and head for my boss’ baby shower.

You know you’re in trouble when the location is a candy store/dessert and coffee café. If you’re me, you’re in lots of trouble because it’s a place (in its life as a candy store anyway) that I’ve frequented for more than 30 years. So, I’m well aware of its awesome tasty goodness.

And further, how could you not be in trouble when this is the “entrée” that is served to you?

Yes, get a good look at that chocolaty goodness. (From left to right, solid signature dark chocolate piece, dark chocolate vanilla caramel, some kind of olive in milk chocolate and topped with salt (which while good, wasn’t my favorite), dark chocolate raspberry truffle, and chocolate-dipped orange slice.) The truffle nearly gave me a heart attack it was sooooo good!

Yeah, that was a whole lot of trouble.

That’s the kind of thing that I dream about some nights. (Yes. Sometimes I dream in chocolate.)

It was incredibly hot yesterday and I had to walk two blocks because I gave up and pulled in a paylot after not being able to find anywhere to park. (I was unaware of a garage a block off the main drag.) I made a few stops on the way home, hauled everything in and came home to find the mother ailing with a cold. That put me on animal duty.

By the time I got everyone lined out and everything put away, I was STARVING! I’m an “eat dessert first” person all the way but after my chocolate overindulgence, I was more than ready for some plain ole food! And after getting several other things lined out, I grabbed a shower and crashed. I was exhausted.

Tonight is going to be an early one. It has to be. I have to be up and at ‘em and out the door tomorrow in plenty of time to make a 7:15 flight to Dallas. And, while I won’t have luggage since it’s just a day-trip, I am driving so I will need extra time to park. (When I fly, I usually take the MetroLink to the airport and back, if I get in early enough. If not, I hop a cab.) Usually, I just jump off the train and walk right into the terminal. It’s been at least seven years since I’ve driven to the airport and nearly three since I’ve flown.

It should be an interesting adventure to say the least to make sure I have everything I need, be coherent enough to drive, and be out the door by roughly 5:30 a.m., not get lost trying to park, grab a shuttle, make it to the terminal, take on security, and ideally supercharge with caffeine all before boarding my flight.

I think I’ll just keep that chocolate image in my head instead of thinking about it … maybe it will create some sweet dreams.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ahhhh ...

That's the sound of a day well-spent. It started early and it was active.

The MonkeyGirl and I made it to the crop before it started. (This SO does not happen.) I got to play with my Slice (which gave me a good scare after I changed the blade and it refused to work for a while). Thankfully, all was well once again and I got to use it for the rest of the day with very satisfactory results!

The MonkeyGirl surprised me with some drawing pens for the Slice. (Yeah, I have the greatest friends.) Drawing and embossing are two more of its capabilities, both of which I've yet to explore. Today though I am feeling much better after getting some experience with just CUTTING.

In fact, I've become so enamored with this little beauty that I fear an intervention may soon be in order. (I've ordered the storage bag, TWO cartridges, the 12x12 mat and the tool kit. That's got to be it for now. I don't normally spend money like this so I'm being a bit indulgent.)

After getting home, I got things in, changed clothes and promptly took to the yard. It no longer looks like Vietnam. In fact, it looks pretty good.

I worked until after dark, so I've yet to get the mani/pedi I need to and get some clothes together for my boss' babyshower tomorrow. And Pearl needs to get scrubbed beforehand. So, tomorrow should be just as activity-filled as today.

It's nice to close the book on a day that was really well spent.

Friday, August 20, 2010

It’s Playtime: Making Memories’ The Slice

I’ve got some vacation time scheduled pretty soon during which I’ll be tearing into This D*mn House once again; planning for that time is well under way. But this weekend, I get a reprieve (except for yard work).

I’m going to a baby shower for my boss on Sunday. But Saturday? The morning and early afternoon belong to the Monkey Girl and scrapbooking. What a great way to start off the weekend of an incredibly goofy week!

I’ve been scrapping for more than 12 years. (You likely don’t know that.) I have an incurable love of tools. (If you’ve been reading the blog for any amount of time, you no doubt know that.) It would seem then that eventually these two worlds would converge. Well, that happened a few weeks ago.

It happened when the mother, of all people, pointed out a really low price on a cordless die-cutting machine by Making Memories, called the Slice. (It was part of a huge sale at Tuesday Morning’s.) I’ve seen this machine on TV, online and in stores. But last night, I got to see it in action because I now own one!

The Monkey Girl is the queen of the Cricut. It’s a very cool machine, but I’ve always felt like I needed to possess an engineering degree to know how to use it and I have to bug the Monkey Girl through each successive step to ensure that I don’t break it!

I took the Slice out of the box, read the instructions and little more than 5 minutes later, I was cutting letters and shapes! (You can see some of my handiwork in this photo.) In fairness, I’d read tons of reviews both before and after I bought the Slice. I heeded several of the warnings I’d read. I am happy to report that I experienced none of the problems that I read about in 20 to 30 percent of the reviews.

While I am not yet completely versed in its operation (it also has a draw and an embossing function), the only problem I’ve really had so far is that I don’t know how to easily judge where to place the Slice to maximize the paper I’m using. I misjudged mightily only once.

On another cut, I managed a bit of overlap. But other than that, I had no problems with cutting the letters and shapes OR in removing them from the cutting glass. The only other complaint would be that the instructions are less than comprehensive. And, instead of being contained in a single booklet, they’re spread out between a booklet and several single sheets of paper.

Granted, you can’t program a word or phrase in a single cut like you can on the Cricut – unless that’s a shape on the disc. (I’ve not tried that yet.) And, while there apparently is a hands-free adapter, you have to hold it while it cuts. (Not the case with the Cricut which cuts unassisted.)

The Slice cuts so quickly though that it’s not that big a deal to do letters individually or to hold it in place while it works. Especially when you consider that I paid less than half the price of a Cricut and the design cards cost half as much as the Cricut cartridges. The “bundle” I bought came with a cartridge and I bought another one last night on Overstock.com after failing to score any of the three I had bid on at ebay.com.

Unlike the Cricut, the Slice:
· Weighs two pounds.
· Fits into a smallish handbag-style case. (Making it very easy to store.)
· Can be used with or without the power cord (if you’ve let it charge up for at least an hour) No scrambling to find an outlet or messing with extension cords to use it!
· Works with cartridges that are not much bigger than a postage stamp.
· Can cut items only up to 4 inches as the machine itself is only 5 inches wide. (This may be the dealbreaker for most people. But after cutting at 1- and 1.5-inch settings and cutting a 4-inch tag, I can’t imagine that it will be too limiting for me.)

I cut out a tag and about 20 letters of varying sizes and the little machine still seemed ready to do more. I also found that Overstock.com sells lots of Slice products and they also had the best price for the carrying case for it AND for a 12x12 cutting glass.

So, um, yeah. I’m a little addicted now. You've been warned ...

Thursday, August 19, 2010


The sunrise was captivating this morning. It was a swirl of red, purple, pink, blue with a huge orb of orange emerging from it.

It held my attention for much of my commute as the morning light slowly burned through the clouds. I would have tried to photograph it but I couldn’t have come close to doing it justice. (Not to mention I was hampered by both a filthy window and a bus every bit as jumpy as a trampoline.) No. I had to be content with watching it in this moment only.

The rest of the passengers on the bus seemed unaffected by it as the light began to dance around the bus, creating an odd collection of shadows. How is such a thing in your midst and you allow it to escape your attention?

I’m glad I don’t know.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Accidental Photo

I wondered why the destruction team working on St. Louis Centre had disappeared from the rooftop. They’d made some progress there but for a week or more, they abandoned it.

On the way home one night a while back, I found out why: they’re busily gutting the entire ground level. Not only is the Sixth Street side ripped open (and has been for months), but both the Locust and Washington sides are laid bare. So last night, I got my camera out to see if I could snap a photo of the Washington side, its escalator to nowhere looking so weird and isolated from the street.

Time was on my side; we got stuck at a light. I snapped this photo from the bus window.

“Did you get it?” S. asked, knowing what I was up to. When I shared the view from the camera screen, she pulled off her glasses to see it better. “What kind of camera is that?” she asked, after I showed her its nice little zoom capability. Yes, I love my Canon!

This touched off a several-minute discussion about the camera. As the bus rolled along I-70, I pointed it down toward Hyde Park's Holy Trinity. With the bus moving 55 or better, it was hard to focus, but I managed it enough to show S. As the bus lumbered off the interstate and onto Salisbury, we were stopped by yet another light. And I snapped this shot without really intending to.

“That’s pretty cool,” said S. I had to agree. (Considering it was from a bus window and more than two blocks away.)

When I downloaded it last night and got an even better view, I was pleased to see details that the camera screen had concealed. Like these little beauties. (The grotesques on the spire, which I believe are actually gargoyles.)
I’ve been a fan of this church for as long as I can remember, riding or driving past it much of my life. Yep. One of these days I’m going over there and spend some time shooting it as I’m sure there are even more details I’ve been missing.

Amazing what you can see if you just look … even at things you take for granted.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Another New Week

The weekend was over with barely a blink. So here I was awakening to Monday morning.

When I took out the trash it was still quite dark. (The days are getting shorter again. Sigh.) The air was damp but cool. It was actually comfortable outside with the temperature hovering somewhere near 70. It was a far cry from the 79-84-degree days of the past two weeks.

Even the birds were silent, probably opting to sleep in a bit and soak in the welcome morning cool.

As I left for the bus, the sky was still dark, but lightening up. When I was little, and a sky was particularly beautiful with color, my grandmother would say that “God is painting.” If that’s the case, today he is particularly taken with puffy dots. I can almost picture him, brush in hand, placing a puffy gray dot here, a puffy white dot there and oh, just to shake things up some, let’s put a particularly puffy pink dot right here!

As the sun begins to rise and the sky goes first purple, then pink, then orange, the puffy dots which are now spread across a blue sky, uniformly turn white.

I took a legitimate day off on Saturday, except for running around and getting stuff. It was miserably hot with triple-digit heat indices.

While it would have been only too easy to repeat that performance yesterday, I got moving. I skipped yard work this weekend, opting instead to tear into the basement. I managed to get several things put away and to haul out a full bag of trash. Though you’d be hard-pressed to see a difference, I can, so there was a degree of satisfaction in doing that. I’ve got a long way to go.

I gave Pearl a good scrubbing, something I had skipped last weekend, so actual dirt rolled off of her – a rarity. But like I said, it was allo over in a flash. Here it is Monday and I’m nearly at the office.

Welcome back to the grind.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The “Me” Generation’s Evil Offspring

I’ve often heard the 1980s referred to collectively as the “me” generation. Maybe it was. Big houses. Big cars. Big hair. And big ratings for TV shows (Dallas, Dynasty) that showed us the Hollywood version of how the “other half” lived.

Somehow, though, I think it may have been only the birth of that generation.

Today, I think it’s a full-fledged adult – and one that’s bred an even more egocentric and arrogant generation, the “I’ve got mine, screw you,” generation. I see it every day. You do, too. You need look no farther than your TV.

One of the latest examples comes courtesy of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. Gingrich who, like many on the right, lambastes people on unemployment by likening unemployment insurance benefits to welfare. No, Newt. If you’ve ever had a job, or are lucky enough to still have one now, you and your employer pay into unemployment. That’s why they call it unemployment insurance. (Even current House Minority Leader John Boehner, whom I’d generally be hard-pressed to say something nice about, backed away from that one.)

And please, while we’re on Boehner, spare me more of this “trickle down” economics BS. I lived through the ‘80s. Barely. The only thing that ever trickled down to the masses from the people who proposed this idiocy was the utter disdain for the people they were supposed to be representing. I shook my head with the reverence at which people spoke of Reagan when he died a few years back. Clearly, they weren’t affected by unemployment, interest rates run amok and the massive slashes to educational assistance. But now I’m even forced to admit that, compared to today’s “right,” Reagan looks awful d*mn good.

The money from the Bush tax cuts isn’t going to hire any more people. It’s going into bonds and trust funds and under mattresses. (Or whatever people who have millions do with their spare change.) The only people that will benefit from those cuts are the people getting them. End of story.

Let’s pause and write a reality check, courtesy of Jon Stewart. (While I find this amusing, I’d find it a whole lot funnier if it didn’t make so much sense! And this is comedy.)

Is the current administration doing everything right? Hell no. But they’ve had just a few things to contend with in the wasteland they inherited. Yes, that’s right, I said inherited. Everyone seems to be forgetting about 2000-2008. It’s like it never happened. (It’s like that season of Dallas where Bobby Ewing was supposed to be dead, but wait, he was only taking a shower!) Even the RNC chairman needs a reminder of just who did what in setting us on the path to ruin.

Unfortunately, the voting public has a very short memory. But, I remember the first eight years of this decade. And I remember the 1980s all too well. (The only thing from that era that I want to see a revival of is the music.) Tell me I’m not the only person who remembers the economy of the ‘80s, please.

I think the results of the mid-term elections will answer that question for me. I only hope the “me” generation isn’t looking on proudly at its offspring when it’s all said and done.

But hey, you’ve got yours, right?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Ugly Room? There’s a Contest for That!

There’s a story about legendary British Prime Minister Winston Churchill being confronted by a woman at a party over his drunkenness. “You, sir, are very drunk,” the woman supposedly said.
Churchill didn’t deny it. “Why, yes, I am. And I plan on getting drunker still.” (I’m sure his confronter loved this. But wait. Ole Winston rolls on.)

“In the morning, however, I will be sober. But you, madam, will still be ugly.”

That story pretty well sums up the relationship that most of us have with at least one room in our home. There are some rooms that even the best bottle of wine or a barrel of margaritas just can’t do much to improve. But, as if to prove there’s a remedy for almost everything that ails us, Sears Hometown Stores has launched “The Ugliest Room Contest.”

You can upload a photo of your ugliest room for a chance to win a room makeover – all done by Sears.

There will be three grand prize winners of a room makeover which includes paint, supplies, labor, color consulting services, and a $500 Sears gift card. And, not only do you get one room the way you want it without lifting a finger (except the one you use to snap your photo and click your way through the entry process, but …. Winners also get a $1,000 local community donation! (Winners can choose the nonprofit organization or charity and Sears makes the donation in the winners’ names).

But, you have to act fast. Entries will be accepted through Aug. 20, after which 10 finalists will be selected. Three Top 10 picks will s be revealed on the contest site as well as Sears’ Facebook page. Even if you don’t enter, be sure to vote for the ugliest room from Aug. 22 to 31. Grand prize winners will be announced on Labor Day.

So, get your ugly on!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rappin' the DIY Channel

You really can't make this stuff up. But, I guess if a journalist turned PR rep can DIY and can aspire to one day have a show called "Your D*mn House," then I guess anything is possible, right?

It seems that paleface rapper boy Vanilla Ice (Robert Van Winkle) is getting his own DIY show on the DIY network. The "Vanilla Ice Project" will debut this fall. *Quickly checks calendar to make sure that said calendar isn't on April 1.*

This isn't really new anymore either. Apparently, it has been out there in the public for at least three months. I, however, am just hearing about it for the first time this week. And I'm laughing my a** off.

This blog entry had the best openings line(s) about it. (Note: You might find it more amusing if you're familiar with the lyrics to his biggest hit, Ice, Ice Baby.)

Apparently, he picked up a foreclosed on and totally stripped 7,000-square-foot mansion that he and some friends are going to fix up. I can't resist. I can just hear what's going to be going on in that house.

Take heed 'cause I'm a DIY-er.
Miami's real estate scene is catchin' on fire.
My house, no ... make that a mini mall
Watch me kick it there DIY style this fall.
Cause my style, it's out of control.
See my tattooed buddies and me make it roll.
I'm broke now so this is a hell of a concept
Get a mansion on the cheap and watch me fix it up yeah.

Only in America ...

Monday, August 9, 2010

5 Sure Signs That It's Monday

1. You specifically remember putting gas in the car on Sunday. And yet the gas gauge is on “get thee to a gas station.” (Oh. Yeah. Wrong car!)

2. Trip over dog while getting ready to take out trash and gash big toe. Put on Band-Aid.

3. About 15 minutes later, trip over cat (as you tried to side-step him because he likes to stand in the middle of the floor), hit previously injured toe on furniture. New Band-Aid required.

4. The bus is actually on time. (Because the regular driver is on vacation.) You, however, are not, and must run to reach the bus before it pulls away. Previously injured toe connects with curb. Yeah. That's another Band-Aid.

5. Your inbox is flooded with declines and “propose new time” e-mails from all the meeting invites you sent out last week. Some of the names though are from people you didn’t invite. You have to try to connect the dots to identify which of these people belong to which invitation. You have to resist the urge to reply with, “Wait. Who are you?”

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Resting Comfortably

I had plans.

Last night, I was going to meet up with some Georgers
who are in town for a St. Louis "meet-up." It's always nice to put faces with the names we converse with online. I was looking forward to it.

About two hours before I'd plan to leave work, the mother called. Ozzie was very sick and throwing up all over the house. (The mother would happily hold your guts inside your body for you without flinching. Just don't ask her to clean up barf.) So, I can only imagine how much fun she was having.

I had driven because I had plans after work, right? Instead, I stayed at work a little later than normal, wrapping things up on what was an insane week. Then I went straight home. Poor Ozzie. He was one sick puppy!

Lucky for me -- AND for him -- he got sick only one more time last night. Instead of going to a bridal shower for one of my colleagues today, I was at the vet's office. Seems my buddy has a nasty ear infection. Armed with drugs and directions for a bland diet, I brought my baby back home and stuck him at my side. Not that I had to. He gravitates there, naturally.

He spent most of the day resting comfortably (and thankfully, for both of us, with no more barfing). He's even perking up.

The things we have to go through for these babies... but he's so worth it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

A Little Off the Top

One of the things I have been silently doing in the background is watching huge portions of the former St. Louis Centre come down. It's an eerie feeling to watch it being dismantled when I remember so vividly when it was being built.

Just as a reminder, here's what the old abandoned mall looked like back in mid-April.

They were really just getting started then, having the site blocked off and some of the large equipment had been moved into place. Entryways and first-floor windows were starting to rapidly disappear.

You can still see stairways, light fixtures and the outlines of some of the vendor booths within the building.

Fast forward just over two months to late June. It is starting to look a little bare as a lot of the inside work begins to wrap up.

Now spring to July 21. I think you might find the place looking just a little different!

See what I mean? I had missed visual updates for just a few days and most of the front framework had disappeared! Then, last week, I noticed that they had started to remove the individual panels of the skylight. Since I look down onto the rooftop, I noticed that in just a few short days they had managed to strip bare several rows of the panels.

And so, on Monday, workers were doing this. Isn't that cool? It's not often that you get to see this kind of job, up-close and personal. But I did!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

A Blog Break

You’ve probably noticed that I took a little bloggy break this week. Except for trying to catch up on responding to comments, nothing has been updated since Sunday. Sorry about that.

There were no illnesses or major catastrophes to justify this quiet period. The proprietor of the Parking School for Complete and Total A**hats continues to be in rare form this morning, taking up just shy of three parking spaces. Life marches on.

I’ve just been preoccupied and overwhelmed by many facets of daily life – mostly in a good way.

I have lots to share. I just need to find the time and energy with which to share it. And it’s been ungodly hot, too, which hasn’t helped things even a tiny bit. (It got up to 102 on Tuesday and is supposedly in for a repeat performance today.) Let’s just say I hope it’s much cooler in your part of the world.

Thanks for continuing to visit mine.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Guilt and Confession

The confession: The bathroom looks just like it did on Friday -- except for the freshly laundered towels and bathmat.

It was a long, tough week. Storms kept us close to home Friday night, though I'd planned to go and get food and other items. I guess it was something of a blessing though as I crashed very early I was so tired. We got up early on Saturday morning instead. And by the time we got home, I was tired. Instead of embarking on anything, I enjoyed a nice, quiet evening for a change.

Today, I got up early again. This time, it was so I could do laundry and ideally, have it all knocked out before noon. I succeeded. I got Pearl scrubbed inside and out and managed to get clothes for work together for tomorrow AND clothes to change into tomorrow night when I get to go to the ballpark.

Once a year, our company's various departments get use of the luxury suite. Tomorrow night is our night. And I'm really glad that we have the benefit of an air-conditioned suite. It's supposed to be 95 tomorrow and the humidity is supposed to return with a vengeance. (Though I don't know that it really left. It was plenty hot today even though it remained in the 80s.)

Guilt: It has set in. My plans to work on the bathroom -- TOTAL FAIL. I feel bad about not getting started yet AGAIN but it was nice to have the weekend to recharge. The consolation: It's going to be ANOTHER busy week so I should find some comfort in being better prepared to face it.