Category Archives: MY LIFE AND WELCOME TO IT
For the past week or so, I really haven’t been in the mood for cooking. Blame it on seasonal malaise, winter doldrums or even a somewhat boring Olympics. Anyway, for the most part I’ve been dining on canned soups, leftovers stored in the freezer, sandwiches (egg, tuna and ham salad) and on two occasions when I was out and passed a Subway Shop, a made to order sub sandwich. But today, I was in the mood for really food that would stick to my ribs. OK, so that Polar Vortex is heading back our way and I wanted something that would leave me with some leftovers to get me through any potential freeze-ins!
I call it my RUSTIC CHEESEBURGER MEATLOAF … it is a specially spiced meatloaf that is topped with grated cheese and a special tomato sauce. After tonight’s dinner, which was served with Parmesan Crusted Pasta Shells and a Garden Veggie Mix, I’ll have enough leftovers for five or six more dinners.
And after dinner I actually went back and watched the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics. And I take back what I said earlier about boring. I have no idea how they animated those giant stuffed animals at the end.And when the when the bear blew out the Olympic flame
Ok, I’ll admit it! My eyes were a little dewy, too!
This is the thermometer that has been sitting on my kitchen table for over 25 years. It was given to my mother by one of her grandchildren, and by the grace of many angels it has never been knocked off the table and shattered on the kitchen floor.
And if you’ll remember, this was a photo I posted yesterday.
While Mlle. Renee and I slept in this morning, someone had to go and wake the poor groundhog from his winter slumbers so he could see his shadow. Though I don’t know how he could see his shadow on a sunless day like today. So now we can expect our current weather patterns to stick around for all of February and half of March. But then, that’s what the weather wizards had been predicting anyway. Did you know that the groundhog is really a woodchuck? And if a woodchuck could a woodchuck would have preferred to sleep-in chucking wood like Mlle. Renee and I did this morning. Anyway, we’ll be sleeping in a lot this week with two more winter storms moving in on us … first Tuesday and then Friday and Saturday. Brrrr humbug, I say, very brrrr!
Since we did have a dusting of snow over night, I decided to use my SNOWFLAKE MUG this morning. Though it was almost afternoon before Renee and I got out of bed. And the mug was filled with Van Houtte Chocolat Belge Café or Belgischer Schokoladenkaffe (since they speak both French and German in Belgium) and just a touch of light cream. (Actually very light since it was 2% milk.) It was a very hearty brunch beverage though I should have eaten Belgian Waffles withe strawberry syrup instead of whole wheat toast and strawberry jam.
TODAY’S ORIGAMI PROJECT: Well, I was going to try to fold an origami groundhog, but the closest I could come was his close rodent cousin the flying squirrel. Unfortunately, the final product looks like a groundhog that walked in front of a speeding semi on Route 66 or an extra in a Road Runner cartoon. Enough already, Mlle. Renee says it’s time for her nap. So Happy Groundhog Day to all … Despite his dire prediction.
At the family birthday celebration last month, I was given a HAPPY BIRTHDAY balloon which I brought home and positioned to hover above my desk and computer. And for the last month or so it has just been hanging in there and slowly wasting away to deflation.
EXCEPT FOR THIS MORNING! When I sat down at my desk, I looked up and noticed that it was gone.
The balloon had moved over next to the window.
That was about two hours ago. Right now, I’m afraid to go see where it is now.
I just looked! It moved behind the love seat where I normally sit in the evening to watch TV or read.
I don’t think I’ll be sitting there this evening!
PLEASE NOTE: The occurences detailed in this post can be scientifically explained by atmospheric variations, air flow, human and animal movements through the house, temperature changes and the fact that the resident of the house ate a fully stuffed Chicago style hot dog with three kinds of hot peppers for lunch. He also drank a bottle of Belgian style hard cider while eating it. We’re quite sure that the fact that today is Halloween played no part in the illusions that the resident of the house claims to have witnessed.
MY CALENDAR FOR SUNDAY/DAY 209– July 28, 2013: Mlle. Renee got me up much too early this morning. At 6:10 to be exact, and she wanted to play outside. Unfortunately, it was about 53F outside and I was just wearing my sleeping shorts. (Oh, fuzz, I just revealed one of those personal does he or doesn’t he questions.) Anyway, Renee is a very smart dog , and she can always tell when I’m going to be going away from the house for the afternoon. I don’t know why, but she does. So, I managed to coax her back into the house with treats of doggie trail mix. Then she nibbled up her trail mix as I jumped back in bed … followed by her jumping in and using my legs as her pillow. She immediately dozed off, while I kept staring at the clock while mentally computing that if I fell asleep in the next three minutes, I’d be able to catch at least an hour and 35 minutes sleep before the alarm went off. An hour and 30 minutes … an hour and 20 minutes … and hour … 40 minutes … and then the alarm went off! BLAST IT ALL!
As I mentioned yesterday, no origami for this weekend, and I posted all available puzzles yesterday. Besides, today was my niece’s birthday and I was going to a party with sunny skies, cool summer breezes and fun and games.
For my trips to the local stupidmarkets, my shopping list is usually bland and uneventful … just the larder-filling basics. But Saturday I ran into several in-store sales I just could not resist.
Alas, as me good friend Robbie Burns once said,
The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men
Gang aft agley,
An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
For promis’d joy!
Or maybe it was said by another famous author Rob Byrnes in some New York drinking establishment. Either way, my 30 Days Of Creativity project was nearly ripped to shreds this afternoon by turbulent breezes blowing from the south. The theme for today was LANTERN, and I had folded a string of multi-colored origami paper lanterns to hang along the mighty cedar trees in my yard. I got them strung among the trees, but while I was getting my camera from the house something or someone ripped them from the trees.
I blame the wind, but it could also have been Herkle and Jerkle a pair of vile and vicious grackles who are making my backyard a living hell for Mlle. Renee and myself for the second year in a row.
Apparently, they don’t understand the basic concept of nest construction. For two years in a row they have built their somewhat flimsy nest at the top of 20-foot tall red cedar tree. Cedar trees do not have thick sturdy branches, and last year and this year their nest and flightless hatchling has been blown out of the tree to the ground below during spring storms. Storms!!! They were tornadoes over most of the area.
Now, Herkle Grackle is One Mean Momma and she and her wimpy husband were determined to keep me and Renee out of the yard by dive bombing us whenever we set foot in the yard. I eventually wait until after the sun set one evening and I went into the yard with a flashlight and a shovel and located the half eaten fledgling. Once the corpse was gone, they left the area.
Anyway, I managed to save four of the little lanterns which I photographed indoors. And I’m quite sure Mr. and Mrs. Grackle once starred in an avian film by Alfred Hitchcock.
Well, the weather wizards had been warning us for the past week … “Bad weather is heading your way on Thursday, Friday and Saturday!” they screamed. And guess what, they were actually right this time. Yesterday, I decided to postpone a Breakfast for Lunch luncheon I had scheduled with a group of people with whom I used to work. It was scheduled for the new ORIGINAL PANCAKE HOUSE that had just opened across the street from where we used to work. I waited until the last-minute yesterday afternoon when the weather forecast said, “Severe thunderstorms arriving about 11 am. and continuing until mid-afternoon.” I cancelled the luncheon, knowing full well that today would dawn bright and sunny.
And I confirmed they had played me for a weather fool again, when I woke up to cobalt blue skies and heavenly sunshine.
Fortunately, they lasted all of 45-minutes before the cumulonimbus clouds started floating in overhead while thunder rumbled in the distance.
Cumulonimbus (from the Latin cumulus (“heap”) and nimbus (“cloud”) is a dense towering vertical cloud associated with thunderstorms and atmospheric instability, forming from water vapour carried by powerful upward air currents. Cumulonimbus may form alone, in clusters, or along cold front squall lines. They may produce lightning and other dangerous severe weather, such as gusts, hail and even tornadoes.
And around eleven, the clouds broke open and dumped a downpour on West Walnut Manor, if not all of the metropolitan area. It rained until mid-afternoon when the sun returned cajoling us into a false security of a wondrous June is busting out all over end to the month of May. Then the cumulonimbus started rolling back in and the local TV stations went from Weather Update to WALL-TO-WALL THE EARTH IS ENDING NON-STOP WEATHER ALERT STATUS. Frankly, there’s nothing on Friday night TV anyway since the season ended a week or so ago. So I nuked a bowl of split pea and ham soup and grilled a ham and swiss hoagie sandwich for my dinner. As I was washing up the dishes the tornado warning sirens began growling. “A tornado has just touched down in Saint Charles, Missouri.” This was quickly followed by, “There are reports that the roof of the Hollywood Casino on the Missouri River has been blown off!” And then, “People living in Earth City, Florissant, St. Ann and West Walnut Manor are advised to seek shelter NOW.”
Well, that included me and Mlle. Renee, so I grabbed my double beam sure hand grip flashlight, cell phone, football helmet and Mlle. Renee, and headed for our subterranean hidy-hole. Just as I got to the back door, the landline rang. I quickly grabbed it to hear my older brother shout, “Why aren’t you and the dog in the basement‽ Don’t you know there’s a tornado head right for you‽” “I would have been there already, if I hadn’t stopped to answer the phone,” I shouted as I hung up and caught up with Renee.
Once in the basement, Mlle. Renee headed for my old darkroom and headed directly for my sturdy enlarger table and equipment shelf I had attached to the foundation wall. Renee really is a smart dog! I headed for my fold-up lawn chair at the front of the darkroom which is directly under the TV in the living room. (I was smart enough to turn up the audio on the TV before I headed into the basement. So I could hear the weather status from down below.) Then all we had to do was wait out the storm.
The wind began to switch … the house to pitch
And suddenly the hinges … started to unhitch
Just then the witch … to satisfy an itch
Went flying on her broomstick … thumbing for a hitch
Just what I needed … an ancient ear-worm to keep me and the dog company! (Yip Harburg really was a great lyricist – anyone want to guess the name of the song?)
Within a short period of time, I heard reports of the tornado doing some damage at Saint Louis International Airport, damaging some cars on I-70, and snapping 3-feet in diameter trees in half in Saint Ann. Like the planes approaching the airport for a landing the storm was following I-70 as a flight path. Then the storm crossed the Mississippi River to wreak havoc in Illinois.
Since the ground around the house (as well as most of the metro area) had become saturated with rain water over the past couple of days, the heavy rainfall that fell during the storm began to seep through cracks that had formed in the foundation during last year’s drought. And Mlle. Renee does not like getting her feet wet inside the house. So with cat’s-paw feet we tiptoed over the tiny rivulets running to the drain and went back upstairs.
Bet your bottom dollar
There’ll be sun!
As I did in my two previous posts on my spring visit to the Saint Louis Art Museum, I want to highlight a few of the artworks that caught my eye in some of the newly redecorated and rehung galleries. I walk through all of the museum’s galleries. A lot of them where still being reworked. And also, I was wearing myself out. So here are some of the things I stopped to see.
As I hinted in yesterday’s teaser, the Alexander Calder mobile has a gallery all to it alone. The overhead lighting is subdued and the kinetic sculpture’s elements are highlights with small spotlights.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of Max Beckmann and the German artists, but they are being shown in one of the larger galleries.
Saint Peter’s in Rome
Then I went up to the third floor galleries where the American art is displayed. I have always been a fan of George Caleb Bingham who was a Missouri artist and politician who captured the life and times of the people who lived in the towns around the Missouri and Mississippi River’s in the mid-19th century. That was when my great-grandparents arrived in Saint Louis from Germany and Poland. My paternal great-grandfather from Germany was a brick-maker and made the red bricks that made Saint Louis the red brick city. My maternal great-grandfather from Poland who could speak Polish, French, German and English work as a government land agent who helped newly arriving immigrants to GO WEST and settle in Oklahoma, Texas and other western territories. Looking at Bingham’s paintings, I can discover what some of the things that they experienced.
Augustus Saint-Gaudens sculpture
I’ve also always liked the work of Augustus Saint-Gaudens, though most people only remember him as the man who designed the US coins in the golden era coinage.
This statue of Queen Zenobia is the work of Harriet Hosmer who was one of the first American sculptress. It was created in 1859. She lived in Saint Louis and the work was displayed in this building in 1904 at the World’s Fair. The museum displays a photo taken at the time showing the work. Then it disappeared … for over a hundred years. Then in 2007, a member of the museum’s board was browsing in an antique shop in South Saint Louis when he rediscovered the lost work. After it was cleaned, it returned to the museum.
After setting a spell on one of the comfortable leather settees the museum provides for viewers to rest while contemplating the artworks, I headed for home to return another day to take all the galleries I missed.
COMING JUNE 29 – THE NEW MUSEUM ADDITION
A sneak peek of the new sandstone sculpture commissioned for the new addition.