Monthly Archives: July 2019

Pop’s memories

My youngest sister once gave my father a book entitled “Dad’s Memory Book.”  Each page give a prompt.  Beth hoped that my father would complete the book, as she wrote, “for your grandchildren.”

Pop completed two months, and at some point in March quit writing.  We all regret that he did, because there is so much family history and information that he could have provided.  My sisters and I did not know our father well in many ways; this book could have helped.

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

I see a lot of myself in this entry from January:

Pop’s words could be my own.

Kung Pao chicken

Cooks Illustrated recently sent me a recipe for Kung Pao chicken for two.

I had all the ingredients except for the peppers, which I easily found at Global Foods in Kirkwood (about which city I blogged last week).

So on Friday, I whipped up a terrifically tasty and quite (strongly? powerfully? almost-overwhelmingly?) spicy dish of Kung Pao chicken. This was SO good!!

I also made, for the first time, rice in the insta-pot cooker, rather than on the stovetop. I shall never make stovetop rice again. This was foolproof.

I’ll get two more meals out of this, so it’s Kung Pao chicken for three!

OUCH!!

Getting older is hard.

Dealing with an older house is hard.

Woe is me.


Seriously, this has been a double-whammy week.

I’ve been feeling some overly-sensitive sensations in one of my molars for the last couple of months, and a dentist visit this week confirmed what I had surmised: a teenage-years amalgam filling is finally giving way.  The tooth needs a crown.  Even with insurance, this is expensive.

And then . . . for several years I’ve been aware that my back-porch addition flat roof needed replacing.  Calls to several roofers have gone unheeded; they just don’t show up to even bid on a job!  And these are people that have been recommended to me.

Well, my neighbors hired Miguel and his son Brandon to work on their roofing needs, and they are very happy.  And I watched these guys work over the last couple of weeks.  So I asked them for a bid.

Miguel showed me photos of the shoddy workmanship — no flashing, no sealing around the AC lines as they enter the house — and the cracked roofing material on my porch roof.  Here goes a quick grand….  But it needs to be done, and there’s no time like the present.

And as I update this post before publishing, the roof is now complete.  Rarely have been happier to spend $1000 than I am right now.  These guys were just super!

Senior recital

My three seniors have now completed their senior recital. Two of them are off to college soon.

Sydney Jones, Jett Blackorby, and Maria Knasel had a good day Sunday.  Our recital featured solo songs, duets, and trios. I’m deeply in awe of these three, and going to miss their banter and fun.

And that same evening I caught two of these students in Footloose at the Muny!

Tearful

I’m a sap.  And I know it.

Charlie Ingram, several years ago, was elated when I reacted to his singing with joyful tears at a voice lesson.  “Everyone knows that when they get you to cry, they are singing really well,” he told me.

At my first viewing of Les Miserables, years ago in Kansas City, I sat in tearful silence during intermission, and proceeded to cry through the second act.  The Nutcracker inevitably reduces me to tears at the final scene.  My niece Anna didn’t understand my body-wracked, Merkel-esque tears and quivers the last time I saw (with her in NYC) the big “Seize the day” dance break in Newsies.

Give me a happy or meaningful moment with a student, a dying moment in a movie, any dog in duress, and I’m gone.

So I’ve spent a few days trying to figure out what about the Apollo 11 anniversary makes me so weepy.  Memories of a happy moment in my childhood?  Wonder at the incredible determination of hundreds of thousands of Americans those many years ago?  Awe at the vital spirit of discovery and exploration?  Loss of a time that was easier, when we believed our leaders and revered Walter Cronkite? Grief over the fact that those days will never come again?  All of the above?


Sunday morning. Two weeks since I’d last worked up the sourdough, so after making and resting the dough on Saturday evening, I baked on Sunday morning.


Why did a whole pot of petunias die?  I’m replacing them with vinca.


Summer holiday is down to ten days and counting.  And I still have so much to do.  My new compost barrel is not going to build itself. And the basement is not going to clean itself.  And the books are not going to read themselves.


I’m hurting today for one of my private students who is in some duress.  Kids can be so insanely cruel.

Strange things in Kirkwood

I had the occasion on Saturday last to travel to Kirkwood, all of 14 miles west of my home, to attend a graduation party for one of my beloved high school seniors.

I took I-44, then exited at Big Bend Boulevard and kept on driving west.

For certain, the big black hearse was nowhere near as I turned right onto Big Bend. But the next time I glanced in the rear view mirror, there it was. A hulking omen. Like the Grim Reaper had sent a reminder to drive safely. Or that days are here one moment, and gone the next, as the Psalmist says.

That black hearse followed me for miles until I turned onto the residential street. And then it was gone.

I haven’t many superstitions, and I understand that we all die, but the hearse threw me a wobble Saturday!

Fast forward an hour to a grumpy Postal Service employ.

I’m leaving the graduation party. The employee, safely in her USPS delivery vehicle, yells over to me “do you life here?” I assured her I didn’t. “Well, you’re gonna have a lot of angry neighbors. I can’t deliver the mail with all these cars parked on the street, and I’m not gonna get out of this truck.”

Whatever happened to “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds“? Did this get amended by act of Congress to read “but parked vehicles will”?

Kirkwood was a place of wonder on Saturday!