Sunday, June 28, 2009

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern

Sunday gratitude:
  • the sound of pointe shoes knocking against the stage.
  • fat free spicy black bean dip from Trader Joe's.
  • finally hanging a large wedding portrait in our home.
  • sweet potato vines draping over a planter.
  • The Real Housewives of New Jersey reunion on DVR all for me - no husband rolling his eyes!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Always strive to excel, but only on weekends.
Richard Rorty

Lots of busy things this weekend:
  • Going to see the St. Louis Ballet production of Cinderella. More than concerts or art exhibits I love to see dance performances. It's what I know so I think I can appreciate more than any other art. I can't wait!
  • Nick's country club is hosting their member-guest tournament this weekend so he's just working, working, working. On Thursday night he got home at 12:30 a.m. and was up at 4:30 a.m. to go back to work. Poor guy. But it's all over soon and I get him back at noon tomorrow!
  • I'm back on track with Weight Watchers and have some great meals planned for next week. Looking forward to the farmer's market this morning to get all my goodies.
  • My street is throwing a goodbye BBQ on Sunday for my next door neighbor who is moving this week. I'm making a new pasta salad recipe. Just another reason I love our area!
  • I'm finally getting some stuff on our walls at home. For months I just didn't know what I wanted to do but now I have a section up in the living room and ordered two large prints for our bedroom. No more white walls!

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, June 26, 2009

And my goal in life is to give to the world what I was lucky to receive: the ecstasy of divine union through my music and my dance.
Michael Jackson

I was born at the end of 1982 so the full impact of Michael Jackson was a little late for my generation. I knew of him my whole life but by the time I was listening to pop music it was M.C. Hammer's Please Hammer Don't Hurt 'Em in 1991 (my father bought me the cassette tape).

I didn't run to the floor for Thriller at a school dance and I don't remember trying to learn the Moonwalk. To my memory, he was a classic, ever present and actually transitioning into the weird phase by the time he came onto my radar.

MTV had a great lineup last night of interviews and they showed all of the classic Michael Jackson videos and appearances. From the Jackson 5's A B C, to Beat It and Billie Jean I just couldn't help but get up off the couch and dance with Bella.

So although he may have not been so iconic in my life as others I have heard from, I hope that his music and ability to get people to Moonwalk across the dining room carries on to my children and generations to come.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

What dreadful hot weather we have! It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance.
Jane Austen

As summer approached here in St. Louis, I heard many warnings of, "oh, it gets really hot here in the summer."

I sort of laughed and remembered the asphalt melting to my flip flops during the seven years I lived in Fort Myers, Florida. Hotter than Fort Myers? Um, I doubt it.

Well, I was right. It is not any hotter than Fort Myers. But goodness after being here all winter freezing it is pretty darn HOT. I drove past a bank sign yesterday and it read 103 degrees. What amazes me is that I was shoveling snow six months ago and now I'm sweating like a pig in a bacon factory.

Except, as Nick reminded me, "pigs don't sweat." Hmph. That's what you get for marrying an Iowa boy, the United States' largest pork producing state.

Anyway, the good thing is that I know the heat will subside after the summer months. For now, my hair is in a ponytail, my face is shiny and my morning coffee is on ice!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I take Him shopping with me. I say,
"OK, Jesus, help me find a bargain."

Tammy Faye Bakker

Due to my mother's superior consignment and thirft store shopping skills I am fortunate enough to have picked up her bargin hunting talents. After much research I found the best Goodwill in St. Louis (on Manchester and 141 for you locals). It is large enough to have a big selection and is also in a nice area, thus resulting in better donations.

I may not be a garage sale girl like I've read on other's blogs but I will say I am proud of my thrift store finds! Here's what I picked up yesterday afternoon:

Ralph Lauren cotton tee ($2), Eddie Bauer cotton tank ($2)
and a J.Crew casual white skirt ($2)
I also finally found a small water carafee with a glass for guests - I saw this in a magazine a while ago as a nice thing to have in a guest room and I've been on the hunt since ($3).

Monday, June 22, 2009

The greatest love is a mother's; then a dog's; then a sweetheart's.
Polish Proverb

I grew up with animals and we have Bella, the cat. Recently I have had dog fever. I really don't want a baby right now but I completely understand the notion of "baby fever," how one could become consumed with the need and want. Because I need and want a dog! 

I have dog fever!

Bella is a rescue cat from the Humane Society so I really love that premise. Instead of getting a dog from a breeder, I really wanted to give a dog who needed a home lots of love. So last week I put in an application to get a retired racing greyhound. I spoke with a representative from the rescue group last night and it was great!

We would like to take in a dog in September when Nick's work schedule calms down. This will allow for someone to be home more often and for Nick to not have to be woken by a new crying dog when he has to be up at 4:30 a.m. through the summer. 

The rescue will be doing a home visit sometime in August to learn more about our environment, habits, Bella and us. They have a very low return rate because they find the dog for you. Instead of us walking into a kennel and saying "she's cute" they really know the personalities of the dog so it will be the best fit.  We'd prefer a female, brindle or fawn, couch potato!

She also invited us to various "meet and greet" events with their organization and recommended some greyhound reading for the summer. I can't wait to learn more about greyhounds and as fall approaches have a dog of our own!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern

Sunday gratitude:
  • my father!
  • buttered rye toast.
  • a single rose bud in a dish of water.
  • the joy in the face of a Welch Terrier with a hotdog.
  • a new white baseball hat.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Baseball is reassuring. It makes me feel as if the world is not going to blow up.
Sharon Olds

On Tuesday night, we made a last minute decision to head down to Busch Stadium to see the Cardinals play the Detroit Tigers. Nick really wanted to see Justin Verlander pitch so we thought we'd just get some tickets behind homeplate somewhere.

There were hardly any tickets left at the box office so after a little haggling (Nick is so good at that it's scary) with a guy on a bike we scored really good seats for half face value.  It was a beautiful night for baseball and really a great game to have taking the time go see!

Outside Busch Stadium eating a quick dinner - $3 hotdogs and brats

View from our seats

I spy Tony La Russa

Near the end of the game, Go Cardinals! (and notice Nick is wearing an Atlanta Braves shirt and a Nebraska Huskers hat - representing as many teams as possible except the one we were actually watching!)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Theatergoing is a communal act, movie going a solitary one.
Robert Brustein

Last night I joined Angie and Trisha for my first trip to The Muny in Forest Park. The Muny has offered outdoor musical theater productions since 1919 each summer. We saw 42nd Street which is the first production for this season.
It was so hot and sticky but luckily the ran held off and the show was wonderful - it makes me want to tap dance!

The Muny (not my photo)

Upcoming shows include Annie, Meet Me in St. Louis, Godspell, The Music Man and Hairspray. I'm looking forward to hopefully making some more visits back throughout the season!

Heading into the show

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.
W.E. Johns

While my mom was here this past weekend we made a few additions to my garden. I purchased a Parsley plant (just $1.50 at the Soulard Farmer's Market!) to add to my potted herb garden.

Since I've moved all my herbs to the back yard area (facing east) they have been much happier. I can't wait until my Basil gets a bit larger so I can make a big batch of pesto!

I've also been lusting after a hanging basket to adorn a lonely plant hook on the back porch. We bought some Sweet Potato Vine, a baby Hosta from the yard and added in some white Petunias I already had. Looks pretty and summery!

Now on inside, Trader Joes has some great mixed bouquets right now for just $4.99. I have one of Snap Dragons and some other gorgeous stemmed purple flower in the bathroom and then this one with mums and the same random flower in white. I also added in the ivy my mom picked.

We had a leftover limes (see here for the reason why we had a bag of limes) that were past their prime so I added them to the bottom of the vase. Better than them rotting on my kitchen counter!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.
Hanna Rion

When my mom was here this weekend we visited the Missouri Botanical Gardens. I had never been there and as a gardener, I knew she'd love it. It really was so beautiful and a lovely way to spend the afternoon!

Big and beautiful tress everywhere

Inside the Climatron

In the rose garden

Founder Henry Shaw's home

Part of the home gardening exhibit

Lillies in bloom

With my mom in the Temperate House

One of the Chihuly works throughout the gardens

Monday, June 15, 2009

Be optimistic
Don't you be a grumpy
When the road gets bumpy
Just smile

Shirley Temple

It's a nasty, rainy day out and I just dropped my mom off at the airport. Boo.

But, I get to think of all things to look forward to this week:
  • get to see my first show at The Muny this week.
  • possible Cardinals game tomorrow with Nick if it isn't rained out.
  • a BBQ at a new-couple-friend's home on Saturday.
  • getting a badly needed hair cut and highlights.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern

Sunday gratitude:

Friday, June 12, 2009

He is the happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I'm participating in Kelly's "Show Us Where You Live Friday." This week's theme is bathrooms. With the rest of my house being small, you can guest my one bathroom is too!

It really is a very nice bathroom but it has taught me first hand that I will never purchase a home with just one bathroom. Even a bath and a half has to be better!

View from the door. Well, that's it! Vanity and toilet on the left, shower/tub on the right. To make it even more tight, the stacked washer/dryer is in a closet on the right too!

I love the old heat/AC registers throughout the house. Unfortunately this one doesn't work so in the winter it is really cold (we have a space heater) and in the summer it's rather stuffy.

The shelf and cabinet above the toilet is very useful for storage. I keep my perfume as well as my grandfather's mint julep cups with q-tips and cotton pads. The picture is Nick, about age 3, just out of the tub wrapped in a towel.

This piece of a bureau was my mom's. I love the look of it and stores stuff great in the drawers and hand towels on top.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

If you want to be happy, be.
Leo Tolstoy

It really is a terrific Thursday!

I got a pay raise at work and my mom arrives at 7:30 p.m. this evening for a long weekend visit.

I'm also wearing a very cute sky blue argyle sweater that makes me happy.


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

She is too fond of books, and it has turned her brain.
Louisa May Alcott

I'm officially a dork (if you ever doubted it before) because I literally skipping out of the library yesterday with The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb in my hands.

When asked the question, who is your favorite author?

The answer: Wally Lamb

What about your favorite book?

The answer: I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb.

He has only written three fiction books, the two above, and She's Come Undone (also wonderful!) so when this new one came out in late 2008 I was so excited. Being an a budget, I just couldn't bring myself to buy the big hardcover book. So I placed my name on the hold list (nearly 3 months long at the time) at my local library. I missed the book three times when it became available because I didn't get there fast enough.

Finally, yesterday afternoon the "your book is now available" popped up in my e-mail and I went to pick it up immediately.

I cannot wait to devour another Wally Lamb book!

Monday, June 8, 2009

A friend is one of the nicest things you can have,
and one of the best things you can be.
Douglas Pagels

On Saturday evening, Nick and I headed to Washington Avenue to join my friend Sarah to celebrate her 29th birthday. I met Sarah about six years ago when I was a collegiate member of Tri Delta and she was working for executive office. Through various conferences and workshops we kept crossing paths and when we moved to St. Louis I only knew of one person who lived here, Sarah!

Sarah is the perfect example of how welcoming and inclusive one should be to new friends or people in a new city. We both were always invited to join her and her friends for dinner or girl's night Bunco. We even had Christmas dinner with her family. Now I will never hesitate to invite someone new to come along because it is so appreciated to be included!

Me and Sarah at dinner

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone.
G.B. Stern

Sunday gratitude:

Friday, June 5, 2009

He is the happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

I'm participating in Kelly's "Show Us Where You Live Friday." This week's theme is home offices. Again, let's remember that in my teeny-tiny house the office is also the guest room and the den.

My office is more of a general organizing area for all of our paperwork and files. I use my laptop in the living room but keep everything in the office area: all of our files, my stationary and notecards, Junior League files and my recipe binders.

This is my desk in the office/den/guestroom. It was a one of the pieces of furniture we picked out as a wedding gift from Nick's parents. Basket below holds big binders and notebooks.
The bear on the chair is Sydney. He is my very first teddy bear because he was acutally on the table with balloons at my mom's baby shower for me! He has lived everywhere with me.

Audrey hangs above and the rest is filled with photos, a Double Eagle golf trophy of NIck's, my stationary holder and mason jar with pens. I tried to pull in the gingham pattern in the room with ribbon.

The filing cabinet ($12 at Goodwill and spraypainted black) hold all of our files, holders on top include Nick's PGA magazine and Tri Delta's Trident magazine. The vase is a favorite from my Aunt Toni.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I ordered a pizza. The waitress asked, "How many pieces do you want your pie cut?" I responded, "Four. I don't think I could eat eight."
Yogi Berra

A few months ago while driving down Chippewa Street here in St. Louis (on our way to Ted Drewes of course) we spotted a Happy Joe's Pizza. Nick was ecstatic because Happy Joe's was a part of his Iowa childhood, especially their taco pizza.

He never quit suggesting anytime the dinner topic came up, "let's go to Happy Joe's!"

So finally last night, we did! I swear it was like having a seven year old in the car. "Yay! Happy Joe's!"

See, everyone loves taco pizza!

This location has been open for more than 30 years and the pictures that covered the wall were so fun to look at. I loved the little TVs you could watch for 50 cents.
Finally - taco pizza!
Happy guy at Happy Joe's!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

It is impossible for a lover of cats to banish these alert, gentle and discriminating little friends, who give us just enough of their regard and complaisance to make us hunger for more.
Agnes Repplier

Did you know that June is Adopt-A-Cat Month?

In June, four years ago a tabby cat stuck her paw out of the cage and laid it on my shoulder at the Humane Society in Naples. I knew she'd be my old lady kitty and I love her to pieces.

Bella is now 12 and a half years old and a true testament of the peace...


and, okay, eye rolling that bringing a cat into your home can offer.

A 2008 study by the University of Minnesota showed that you are less likely to die of a heart attack or stroke than people if you own a cat and feline-less people were 30 to 40 percent more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those with cats.

In addition, if a child grows up with a cat their risk developing animal allergies, asthma, and possibly other illnesses is significantly lower. Children living with pets were 13-18% less likely to miss school due to illness than children without pets.

So consider adopting a cat, or telling a friend, in honor of Adopt-A-Cat Month!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.

So after the Great Rocking Chair Saga of 2009, they are finally here. I love them so much. They are cute on the porch and delightful to sit in to read in the evenings. Nick even joined me last night for some rockin' with his Sports Illustrated while the hamburgers were grilling.

The rocking chairs with cute seat cushions from Marshall's

I also recently added to my herb collection. To go with the Rosemary, Lavendar and Basil I added Garlic Chives and replaced the Cilantro that was fried on the west facing front porch. R.I.P. little Cilantro. They are now all residing in the back yard with more shade. They are much happier.

Don't they just make you want to cook something?!

View of the back porch - I love my new white Petunias. They were buy two, get one free at Lowe's!

Another addition to the garden is a lovely Cali Lilly from Angie. It's so pretty and now enjoying itself in a clay pot next to the hostas.

And, one last "I'm-not-from-Missouri-so-I-don't-know-what-plant-this-is-in-my-yard" question... all suggestions welcome!

What is it?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Superstition is the poetry of life.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

My mother and I have a silly tradition that on the first day of every month we say, "rabbit! rabbit!"

My husband thinks I'm nuts, he doesn't get it. I don't really get it either but it's just something we do and that her family did. So I had to look it up, what the heck does it mean?

Of course, Wikipedia had to have the answer. Don't they always have the answer?

Yes, yes they do.

There is an answer and we're not nuts!

There are numerous variations of the legend but the basic jist is that saying "rabbit! rabbit!" upon waking up the first day of the month grants you luck for the whole month. The legend appeared in print at least as early as 1954 in Kent, where it is most commonly said to have originated, though some reports place its origins even earlier, into the 1800s.

So on this first day of June don't forget to say, "rabbit! rabbit!" for good luck all month.
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