Kathy sent me a care package to cheer me up after my surgery.  One of the things she included was a jigsaw puzzle with a modernistic image of the Eiffel Tower.  Her accompanying note reminded me that, even though we had to cancel our Bali-Australia-New Zealand trip, Ted and I will be going to Paris next July to celebrate our 50th anniversary.

I wasn’t sure how far I’d get with the puzzle after Ted’s and my aborted puzzle experiment, but 300 pieces was far less intimidating than 1000 pieces.

Getting started–Turning all the pieces over and finding the edge and corner pieces.

Voilá!  I thought of Paris all the while I worked on the puzzle, and was further inspired by the Swarovski Eiffel Tower Ted and I bought in Paris in 2016.

Plan A for November 26, 2018:  Plane tickets from St. Louis to Bali.


Plan B for November 26, 2018:  Movie tickets at our nearby mall.


This was a disappointing change for Ted and me, but not life-changing.  My successful surgery will have a far greater impact on my life.  We’ll go to Bali, Australia, and New Zealand next year.

This picture accompanied the headline on the front page of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch the day after our big snow storm.  Apparently, Mr. Burst was in such a hurry to get his driveway cleared, he didn’t even take time to put on his pants.  Maybe he couldn’t wait to try out his kind of neat two-handled pusher shovel.

Since Ted has our yard cleaned up for the winter, he and Kari decided to spend this warm afternoon (mid-60s) cleaning up the leaves from her yard.  Ted loaded his chipper into the car and headed to the work site–Kari’s house.  Dylan was the official on-site photographer.

Kari takes a turn, . . .

. . . Ted takes a turn, . . .

. . . and the job is a team effort.

Dylan noticed that even the cat was on-site to snoopervise the work.  Since he’s a cat, he did no actual work, but he most likely needed a nap when the job was finished.

Kari invited Ted and me to join her family for Thanksgiving dinner.  She prepared our family’s traditional Thanksgiving ham dinner and, of course, everything was delicious.  I’m thankful every day for all the blessings I have in my life, but Thanksgiving Day is a special time to acknowledge them.

Ready to eat the delicious dinner.

Later, we had pumpkin and/or apple pie with whipped cream.  When Kari said “pie,” the boys came running to help serve it.  They were ready for dessert.


After dinner, Sky and Dean disappeared for awhile and Kari, Ted, and I continued visiting in the living room.  Soon, the front door opened and a surprise guest (Sky) joined us with his escort (Dean).

Dean bought molds and made this costume out of fiberglass for Sky.  Sky wore it for Hallowe’en and was the hit of the neighborhood.  Groupies along the trick or treat route asked for selfies with him.

It’s just as authentic-looking in the back.  This is definitely the. best. Hallowe’en. costume. ever.

Like the groupies, I needed a picture of myself with my grandson / stormtrooper ready to protect me.  He’s getting so tall!


Spending Thanksgiving with our family is one of my best blessings.

During my recent hospital stay, my friend Liz sent me a pot of mums to cheer me up.  It worked!  They are beautiful in our kitchen bay window.

Today, the NWS had a winter storm warning out for the St. Louis metro area, predicting snowfalls from 4-7 inches, and we had about 4 inches at our house.  All the K-12 schools announced their closings on the 10:00 p.m. news last night.  The snow stopped around 3:00 p.m., the sun came out, and the temperature shot up to 46 degrees.  The melting has begun.

The snow looks like a soft cushion on the lawn chairs.  In spite of that, no one is sitting in them.

Finally!  After three years, I had a chance to use my new snowblower for a snowblower-worthy event.  The snow was melting almost as fast as I was clearing it, but I had to play with my new (?) toy.

The weird part?  This is so early for snow in St. Louis that the trees still have most of their fall-colored leaves.

We have six inches of snow in our forecast for tonight and tomorrow.  Ted and I went out to dinner tonight and our waitress told us her mother would call this “french toast weather.”  Why?  Because everyone goes to the store to buy milk, bread, and eggs–the ingredients for french toast.

Snow accumulations in the St. Louis metro area today ranged from 1-3 inches.  We had about two inches of snow at our house.  This was the earliest one-inch snowfall in St. Louis in 27 years–since 1991.

Check the upper right center of the photo to see Ted getting the mail.

Our new trees look pretty with snow on their branches.


One of my friends recently told me that persimmon seeds can forecast winter conditions.  The Farmer’s Almanac agrees, and includes the forecast guidelines.

In Jefferson County, about 30 miles south of us in the metro area, the Jefferson County Extension office has been collecting persimmon seeds from the county and found the persimmon forecast to be accurate for 15 of the last 19 years.  Last year, they collected seeds from three areas of Jefferson County.  The seeds varied by area and so did the winter.  Amazing!

Persimmon seeds in our area have a spoon-shaped kernel this year, indicating a snowy winter.  Since we’ve already had two back-to-back snowfalls and a unusually heavy snowfall early in this season, maybe Ted and I will have a chance to use our three-year-old snowblower this winter.  So far, we’ve only used it for two very light snowfalls–just to make sure it worked before the warranty expired–so it’s still shiny and clean.

Ted and I were shopping at Von Maur and saw these holiday fashions for men.  I’m trying to picture Ted in the green suit and tie, but it’s not working for me.

We had our first snow of the season last night, . . .


. . . and our second snow of the season tonight.

The burning bush and the sweet gum trees in our neighbors’ yards are gorgeous right now.

Yesterday, Ted took the leaf blower in hand and cleared the front yard while I raked the leaves in the back yard.  Ted hauled all the leaf piles to our brush pile area to be chipped and bagged.

Here’s my favorite guy cleaning up the front yard.

Look at all the leaves!  And our trees aren’t even half bare yet!  (Check out the trees in these pictures.)


Last year, Ted and I jumped into our leaf pile; this year, we weren’t even tempted.  We’ve had so much rain in the last few days, there were more wet than dry leaves in the pile.  We can both attest that wet leaves are heavier to move around than dry ones.  While I was raking, I found a giant leaf.

My hand, giant leaf, and regular leaf.  I have no idea which tree in the area produces the giant-sized leaf.


Today, Ted put all those leaves through his chipper, which grinds them into pieces that range from dust to one inch.  Then he bagged them up for the lawn waste pickup tomorrow.

Ted and eight bags full.  I hate to think how many bags it would have taken if the leaves weren’t chipped.


A job well done. . . . And a job to be repeated at least once, maybe twice more before our trees are finished dropping leaves.


Ted’s and my polling place had longer lines than we’ve ever seen, even for Presidential elections.  We usually vote between 2:00-4:00 pm, because it’s pretty dead then–no before work, lunch break, or after work voters.  We walk in, sometimes wait for one person ahead of us, vote, and leave.  Today, however, it took us 45 minutes to get through the line and, when we finished, the line was longer than when we went in.

Other people in line were commenting on the large turnout as well.  One of the judges mentioned that the reason our polling place no longer accommodates two precincts is that the people in our precinct vote!  Another woman in line suggested that we put marijuana on the ballot more often.

The line ahead of us snaked across the room three times in an “S” shape before it reached the election judges’ table.  I counted over 75 people ahead of us–during the slow time.

When we arrived, we were at the door.  When we left, the line extended outside the door and alongside the building, and there was a line of cars arriving and hoping to find a parking spot.


It was great to see such a huge voter turnout.  Go, U.S.A.!

I found an anniversary card I’ve saved for years.  It makes me smile every time I see it.

Front of card

Message inside card

I suspect we had our last near-80º day of the season earlier this week (78º).  When November 1 arrived, the weather turned gray and cool, and it looks like it’s going to stay that way.  We had the furnace checked, the irrigation system turned off, and the pool winterized and covered a few days ago, so Ted and I decided it was time to put the lawn furniture away as well.  Ted had already cleaned out the storage shed and washed it down, inside and out, so it was ready for a seasonal change of contents.  Everything looks so bare now.  I guess I’ll start counting down the days until spring returns.

We always leave a few lawn chairs out all winter for firebowl seating and for the few days of 50- and 60-degree weather we get each month when it’s nice enough to sit outside in the afternoon.  Everything else is in storage.

We were planning to rake/blow leaves as well, but we had nearly two inches of rain in the past two days, so the leaves and ground were too wet for that job.  Now we have something to do when things dry out after the next two days of forecast rain.

Ted and I went to a movie at the mall today.  On our way in, I saw this dress.

Yes, that’s real Christmas garland around the hemline.

Even better!

Wings at the shoulder in the back, complete with twinkling lights.  Oooh!


Question:  Is it my style for Christmas?

Answer:  Definitely not.

While Ted and I were Christmas shopping today, a brief shower passed over and treated us to a double rainbow.

I love the centerpiece Kathy created for me, using my favorite flower pot, and the table runner Kari made is a perfect backdrop for it.  At this time of year, however, both look out of place (or out of time) on the table–too much like spring.  Ted and I went shopping and found some pretty fall things for our November table.