Tomorrow the pool crew is coming to winterize and cover our pool.  Tonight, the temperature was 60 degrees.  It was a perfect evening for our first firebowl night of the year.  We have a brand new firebowl (the old one wore out/burned out) and new plastic wine glasses (thanks, Thom and Katie), and we enjoyed it all–the pool lights, the fire, the wine, and–most of all–sharing the time together.

Ted has the pool lights on, the fire lit, and the wine poured.

Together–our favorite thing.

Today is National Chocolate Day!  According to the National Confectioners Association, there are actually 16 different made-up holidays for chocolate and more than one has been designated as National Chocolate Day, but October 28 is the most commonly cited day.  Have some chocolate and carpe diem!

This year, PBS partnered with libraries and bookstores to identify America’s favorite novel.  The 100 finalist novels were chosen in a national survey of 7,200 adult readers.  The list was very eclectic and included some surprising contenders and some surprising absentees.  For example, Margaret Mitchell made the top 100, but William Faulkner did not.  There were high-brow and low-brow favorites; contemporary novels to classics; an international selection of authors; gender and ethnic diversity; and a variety of genres.

Book lovers (including me) will tell you that it is very difficult to select a single favorite novel, but Bill Gardner, vice president of programming and development at PBS said, “We’re not trying to tell people what the greatest novel is, and does it really matter who wins?  We’re not doing a vote-you-off-the-island type of thing.”  The mission of the Great American Read, said Gardner, was to promote a positive conversation about books.

The 100 finalist novels were highlighted and discussed in an eight-part series of programs on PBS beginning on May 22.  The reveal of the top ten selections was made on October 23.  I’ve read nine of them (not The Lord of the Rings) and my personal favorite (if I may choose only one) would be Gone with the Wind, followed closely by Little Women and To Kill a Mockingbird.

Apparently, living in a valley (we have steep hills in front and in back of our house) protects us from the wind.  Our weather forecast for today included a wind advisory, warning us of wind gusts up to 40 mph.


This is what our anemometer recorded for the day.  Our peak wind gust was only 1 mph over the minimum advisory level of the sustained winds.


We had leaves blown down and Ted cleaned a lot of them out of the pool, but that happens in fall whether or not we have a wind advisory.  I hope we’re as well protected when a tornado comes our way!

There was a pretty sunset today and it was reflected in our pool.  In real life, the sky was pink like the reflection, not yellow, but my camera was apparently thinking more “sun” than “set” when it focused on the sky.

It’s the Hallowe’en season, so there’s a lot of seasonal candy on the store shelves, and a lot of costumes and haunted houses designed to make people say “Eek!”

My favorite “eek” this year comes from Mars, Inc. manufacturer of my year-round candy weakness, m&m’s®.  They made an apparently limited edition of “Ghoul’s Mix” m&m’s® for the 2018 Hallowe’en season.  I assume it’s a limited edition, because Kathy and Annette bought these m&m’s® at the Kirksville Wal-Mart, but I couldn’t find them anywhere in the St. Peters area.  Sensing m&m’s® distress in St. Peters, the girls sent Ted and me a trick or treat package of Ghoul’s Mix m&m’s®.

Eat them if you dare!  Na-ha-ha-ha!  (Evil laugh)

I scanned a few more photos tonight and, as usual, enjoyed the memories.  The kids were so little!  Ted and I were so young!  And, of course, our parents were still with us.

1978 was Kari’s first Christmas.

My mom and dad spent Christmas 1978 with us.

It’s March 1979.  Jeff and Kathy are climbing the tree in the front yard at our first house.  Tommy is standing safely on the ground.

April 1979.  We took the kids to the St. Louis Zoo at least once each year when they were little.  Only big brother Jeff’s feet can (barely) touch the ground.

Tommy, the birthday boy, is 3.  That means Jeff is 7, Kathy is 6, and Kari is almost 1.

In May 1979, we celebrated Kari’s first birthday in WI with our parents.  Ted’s mom and my dad both had May birthdays as well, and we celebrated my dad’s retirement from the U.S. Air Force on this visit.  Party on!

Do I need an appointment or may I just walk in?

 Author’s note:  As an adjective describing the kind of person who seeks a professional service without an appointment, walk-in should be a single hyphenated word and it definitely does not need that apostrophe!  Doesn’t anyone proofread signage before posting it????

Ted regularly waxes his car and mine, and helps Kari wax her car.  They found a mutually agreeable day for the job this week and spent some quality father-daughter time together.

Ted is probably one of a small minority of people (99% of whom are probably meteorologists) who notice and photograph clouds.  I’ve learned a lot about clouds from him over the years, and that knowledge has become deeply imbedded in my brain.  As a result, I’m surprised when I make a casual comment about incoming weather by looking at a cloud and my friends (not meteorologists) ask, “How can you tell?”  Isn’t it obvious?  I guess not, unless you spend time with a meteorologist.

Ted saw this interesting and unusual fair weather cloud on his way home earlier this week.  Naturally, he had to stop to take a picture.

When I was scanning old photos, I found one of Thom, showing how he always chewed his food with his fingers in his mouth.  This week, Katie sent me a photo of Sefton, side-by-side with that picture of Thom.  She captioned it “The apple doesn’t fall far . . . .”

Yes, Missouri will vote on legalizing marijuana in November.  Of course, the propositions are for medical use only, but Missouri is such a red state, it’s hard to believe the issue even made it to the ballot!  We might have to try baking a new kind of Christmas cookies.

Today’s weather was gorgeous, so Ted decided to spend some time in the pool this afternoon.


Here’s what a man of leisure looks like.


This might be the last good day of the swim season.  The next ten days look more like firebowl weather than pool weather.


I’m always sad at the end of the swimming season.  I love the warm (even hot) summer weather, but sitting around the firebowl sipping a glass of wine has its appeal too.

Today, Ted and I drove to Kirksville to visit with Kathy and Annette.  We started the day with a dense fog advisory.  This is how I-70 westbound and the surrounding countryside looked as we drove.


We had a great time with Kathy and Annette.  Kirksville was cool and rainy and, as we were approaching Kathy’s house for lunch, I found myself hoping she and Annette had decided to make baked potato soup for lunch.  What a happy surprise when we arrived and saw baked potato soup on the stove.  An apple crisp was heading for the oven to round out a perfect comfort meal for a day of dismal weather.  We all enjoyed the soup and apple crisp so much, we decided to have the same for dinner instead of going out to a restaurant.  It was a meal so nice, we had it twice.

Kathy and Annette have been working on remodeling their bathroom.  The house is vintage (sounds better than old), and some of the floor joists beneath the bathroom were rotted.  The girls ripped up the floor and replaced the rotten joists.  They previously replaced their shower stall with tile walls and put in a tank water heater.  Instead of storing 40 or more gallons of hot water, the tank heater heats water as it is used.  The house has no basement–only a crawl space–so the water heater is in the bathroom.  The tank heater takes up much less space than their old 40-gallon tank.  Below, Annette is standing on two of the new floor joists.


Here’s Annette in front of the tank water heater.  The girls are almost ready to begin replacing the bathroom floor.


We had a great day together and were sorry it had to end.  We took a group picture that looked fine on the camera, but it was actually blurred.  Oh well, we all know who we are and how much fun we had together.


Ted and I went to our motel with another dense fog advisory in effect.  It was a fall day filled with fun and book-ended with fog.

When you really need auto-correct.


This reminded me of a tractor-trailer truck I once saw.  The company name (which I forgot) filled the entire side of the trailer and included the word “Ohoi.”  Close, but not quite one of the 50 states.