So what’s in a name? Since doing my Federal and State tax returns was a real breeze today. I wasted some time looking up the meaning of my given name Robert.

It is derived from the Old High German name Hrodebert which means bright fame and glory. I can buy that.

Why I was named Robert is a question that neither of my parents ever answered.   A lot of people in the family think I was named after my mother’s youngest brother, but that is somewhat iffy since he was a young boy when I was born, and also his given name at the time was Jerome Robert Barylski.  Now, with a name like Jerome he really started getting a lot of flack about his name by the kids in his classes and  for a time he began going by the name Jerry and later Bob.

By the time he was in seventh and eighth grade the nuns solved his problem by entering his name on all paper work and records as Robert J. Barylski.  He changed it to plain Bob and resolved the issue.

As for me, no one on either side of the family is legally named Robert. So, I guess I’m unique.  As to my middle name, I was named Leo after my father. He never used the name Leo and was known to all as just Lee.  Since I wasn’t that keen about being a Leo, I simply used the surname Robert and the middle initial L as my official signature.

OK, so where does the middle name Love come into the picture.  At my first job, co-workers were trying to figure out what the initial L stood for.  To settle the issue, I confessed that L really stood for Love an old family tradition.

By the way, today Robert is a very common given name in many European countries  like England, Germany, Holland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, France, Hungary, Finland and Estonia. Guess that name wise, that makes me a real man of the world. By the way, for anyone interested my name day is celebrated on September 17.


Snow Doze

“Quit flashing that light in my eyes! Can’t you see that I’m trying to get a little nap time in on a snowy Saturday afternoon!”


I don’t know about your animal companions, but Mlle Renee is always receiving toys and gifts from her fans, friends and relatives. This Christmas her favorite gift was a pre-unstuffed  skunk  we have named Stinky. Pre-unstuffed means it came without any cotton filling inside the furry body. It became her favorite immediately, and I even caught her trying to sneak it out of the house and into the backyard several times.DSC01863

She also brings it up to me and drops it in my lap so that I can play with her and her pal.

MY LIONEL … still chugging along!

Back when I was a wee tiny tot, I received a Lionel train for Christmas. And for the next 25-years it ran around the family Christmas tree.DSC01858DSC01860

While it could still run around the rails with the best of them, for the last four years it has been on display in one of the two photo and memento units in the living room. In other words, like me it is still chugging along … but at a slower pace. (Note, two of the passenger cars are still in storage for safe keeping. After all, they are almost 75 years old.)



Winter January 2016


With 2016 officially here, we face forward to take on what’s next. It’s a time of endings and beginnings, so I wanted a broad theme that could be simple, fun, and festive, but also complex and introspective. And so, circle it is. For more information go here!

Personally, I’ve decided to expand this week’s theme to THE CIRCLES OF LIFE! At least as I see it.DSC01849

First, there is my morning brew that comes in those circular white plastic cups that go into my Kueric Coffee Maker and provides my morning wake up each day.

And to go with my morning wake-up fluids, the crunchy, almost circular  gifts from the gods known as Christmas Cookies. So when I baked cookies this Christmas (for the first time in ten years), I made chocolate chip,DSC01846.jpg snickerdoodles, DSC01844peanut butter with a dark chocolate kiss centered on top,DSC01843

and just to be different … macadamia nut with white chips.DSC01845

I also love the traditional anise flavored German Springerle cookies,Unknown.jpeg

But, my Aunt Edna gave Grandma’s hand-carved German rolling pin needed to make them images to her favorite niece (aka. my least fav cousin!)

Now, I could have purchased a dozen or so (for about $16) but in order to do that, I would have had to make a trip down to a traditional German bakery in South Saint Louis to buy them. That’s my life … and welcome to it!



Locally, there’s a new brand of beer in town. It’s a French-style brew that carries the image and name of our royal namesake … King Louis IX. In case you didn’t know the name of the local statue of St. Louis is The Apotheosis Of Saint Louis. I really don’t know what that means, but it sounds rather mystic and impressive.

There are several gazillion statues of Louie in France, and they all show him mounted on a sturdy stead. (Actually, the most impressive one is our local statue.)Louis IX

And that’s the one that’s on the bottle of brew.DSC01835

Now, I usually limit myself to one bottle of brew each year, and I usually drink it on the hottest day of the year.  So my bottle will probably chilling in the fridge until July arrives.


As you probably heard, following a week on unrelenting rain the Wicket City is having some flooding problems. It’s only natural since the metropolitan area is surrounded by multiple  rivers starting with the big ones  the Missouri and the Mississippi. It’s only natural since the only reason St. Louis was settled was because of the easy access via multiple water ways.

That’s why the native Americans (the Mississippians) took up residence here. (Only they were smart! They built great earthen mounds where they settled. (This was why the city was called Mound City.) Unfortunately, white man wasn’t so smart, and he settled around the rivers.

That’s why the local TV reports are flooded with pictures like these.Flood1


Thankfully, I don’t live near a waterway.  I also live on a hill. (That doesn’t stop the water from leaking in through cracks in the foundation though.) I just open the heating vents in the basement to dry up any water that doesn’t exit through the sewer drain in the floor. Also come spring I will have the fill the opening between the drive and the foundation. My back yard is also rather soggy from the excess rain. But Mlle. Renee always stops at the back door to have me dry her feet before she comes in. Since the temp has dropped below freezing most of the yard water should be ice before the week is over.

Mlle Renee’s New Pal!


Mlle Renee received a most unusual gift this Christmas from my niece. It was an unstuffed plush toy skunk. Usually when Renee receives a stuffed plush animal she will chew a hole in the creatures side and remove all the cotton stuff inside. Then she will carry the deflated critter around until she get tired of it. (Or it get stiff from repeated chewing and I throw it out.) She apparently likes Stinky and has be playing (and chewing) with him since Christmas. Right now he’s a bit soggy, but he’s her bosom buddy.



I started my day with a hot cup of Joe and a jolly candy cane donut!


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