Category Archives: Mustang


It’s official.

East St. Louis sent me a letter saying something like we tried to extract a bunch of money from you, but we really weren’t allowed to, so never mind you don’t have to pay it.  But let this be a lesson.

Yessir.  But first, a victory lap….

Victory lap

School’s finally out for the summer.  Amp missed the last week of school for a band trip to New York.  I think they’d planned school to be over before the trip, but Mother Nature had other ideas.  He took his finals early, but still had work to turn in the day after he arrived home.  We all breathed a huge sigh of relief after seeing his report card today.  He somehow managed to pass all his classes.  Still can’t figure out how the smartest kid in our family has so much trouble in school.  We’re hoping the answer comes this summer, and his senior year will be a little less traumatic for everyone.

Absent Minded Professor

We’re all packed up and awaiting our departure for Gatlinburg early tomorrow morning.  And looking forward to a rip-roaring wild time down the Upper Pigeon River along with some peace and quiet in a cabin in the mountains. We’ll be missing Link (ha!  get it?  Missing Link?), but we’re hoping to catch up with him sometime this summer.

We kicked off our vacation with the great classic Airplane.


Thank god we’re driving.



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I could get used to this

Things have turned around completely since the highway robbery incident.

We’re still very busy at the hotel, and with more new people than old, I’m bounced around like a ping pong ball.  By couch time, I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck.  ‘Course, it just makes couch time that much more pleasurable.

On the bright side, I’ve taken over making the schedule, which is how I’ve managed to be off on Friday and Saturday the last two weeks.

Last weekend, Hubby and I took the convertible to a Greek Festival on the other side of St. Louis.  I like me some Greek food and Greek culture so I was pretty excited to go.  Turns out, it’s not anything like I imagined – or like the internet and radio ads suggested.  We ate some dried out gyros, listened to some loud music, wandered through the measly jewelry displays, and then jumped back in the car.  Ah well… guess we’ll just have to go back to Greece to experience the Greece I remember.

The next day, we hopped on the motorcycles right after breakfast and by 4 that afternoon we’d clocked over 100 miles.  Every once in a while we talk about getting rid of the bikes, and then we get a day like that.  It’s still such a thrill for us to travel back roads to places, grab a meal, and meander back home again.  In fact, we’re planning another long day tomorrow.

Although I worked Sunday morning, I met up with the family at our clubhouse that afternoon.  Hubby grilled pork steaks and corn, while we chatted it up with extended family we haven’t seen for a while.  Mario and I lost the bean bag toss game, (turns out it’s nothing like bowling), and Chip and I took the canoe out for a spin.


Today starts a new “weekend”, and I’m as relaxed and happy as I’ve been in a long time.  I did the yard a favor and washed my car.  The rains came soon after.  And then I picked Mario up from school for some girl time at the mall.

Yes.  I can certainly get used to this.




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Right of passage

goodbye winter

I welcomed my first day of spring with every “first” I’ve been anxious to experience all winter long.

I say it’s MY first day, since it’s the first spring-like day that’s occurred on my day off.  And I took full advantage of it.

After hitting the snooze button 6 times, (that in itself was glorious), I dressed in ONE layer of clothes for the first time since last year, and ran for 7 sunrise-filled miles.

I drug my hose out of hibernation and thoroughly washed my car.  No sponge bath today!

With it all shiny and clean, I rolled the top down and happily ran my errands.  And the celebration of spring didn’t stop there….

Immediately after unpacking the car, I fired up the lawn mower and gave our lush green grass the first cut of the season.  This lead to receiving my first sunburn of the year too!  Woot!

Hubby met me outside as I was finishing up and mentioned the possibility of a motorcycle ride.


I replaced my lawn mowing shoes with my motorcycle boots and off we went.  My Shadow purred along, seemingly as happy as I was to be hittin’ the road again.

We passed a sign along the way that read “We have to have winter to appreciate spring.” I’m pretty sure I don’t need winter to help me enjoy days like today.

flip flops

Only three more years, and I can test the theory for myself.



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The age old question

So I’ve been working.  A lot.  Which means I’ve been commuting.  A lot.

For the past two years, construction crews have been building a new bridge across the Mississippi to help alleviate some of the congestion.  Yay!

Except now, it’s starting to cut into my drive time. Boo.

It already takes me an hour to get to work, and with two of the three normal traffic lanes closed off, it’s even longer.

And with all that time, I got to thinking.

What IS the correct way to merge when a lane is closing?

I recently listened to a debate on the radio about the right thing to do.  And of course, I agreed with the guy who thinks like me.

Some people believe you should merge as soon as the first “lane closure ahead” signs begin.

Some people think it’s okay to stay in the soon-to-be-closed lane for a little while longer, and then merge.

And some people, ahem, think you should use the lane until it actually closes.  Then merge.

The people who merge right away find themselves sitting still in a long line as other cars pass them in the not-yetCLOSED! lane.  I’m sure they are seething with resentment that their lane is not moving because the late mergers are pulling in front of them.  I know this, because I used to be one of them.

It didn’t take too many times of sitting in a long line, foaming at the mouth, to see the error of my ways.  Traffic flows best when you continue to use all the lanes and then merge once the move-over arrows are blocking your progression.  Or maybe I just flow best when everyone merges and I continue to use the not-yet-closed lane.

In my search of the correct way to merge, I came across this article.

I’m actually the kinder, gentler merger. (After I’ve passed the line-uppers of course.) Which one are you?


At least I keep my distance.


Posted by on October 31, 2013 in Commute, Mustang


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Spring, Sprang, Sprung

First of all, I’m not hot.

I’m NOT.

I’m just, well…

okay… I’m hot.

But I’m NOT complaining!

The last couple of days have been sunny and warm with a nice breeze to keep it from getting too hot.  But because the weather was so nice, I did every possible physical activity I could think of outside.  That’s why I’m hot.

The most physical activity was harvesting my lawn again.  The mowing itself took a few hours, and then I had to rake all the clippings and clumps.  By the time I was done, my yard looked like a hay field scattered with bales of hay.  

This is just a FEW.

And these are just a FEW of the bales.

My hands were blistered.  My arms were sore.  And I was 10 bucks in the hole.  But it was well worth it to have Amp bag up those bales and dump them in our mulch pile so that I……

could do this!

photo (2) My hubby was able to get some time away from taking care of his mom to enable us to go out for our first ride of the season. Absolutely gorgeous riding weather, and just as thrilling as I remembered!

And did you notice the shiny ‘Stang?  It got its first real bath of the season this weekend too!  Much needed since it only gets sponge baths throughout the winter.

And of course I took full advantage of the cool morning to run.  And run I did.

I hadn’t meant to run so far.   

I was just going to run my 6 mile route through the country.  I haven’t run that route for a while, because it’s been so dark in the morning and I’m scared of coyotes, but today, since it was light at 6 AM already, I made a spur of the moment decision to go that way.

The first thing I noticed was that there were no cars speeding past me.  Quite often, people will use the country roads as a short cut and will barrel down the road at high speeds.  But this morning, nobody was on the roads.

With only 2 miles to go, I found out why.

Flooded road

I felt a moment of despair when I realized I was going to have to turn around and run all the way back. My 6 mile run was going to turn into almost 8 miles.  And worse yet, I had asked the kids not to leave for school til I got back, so I was feeling a little pressure to get home. I picked up the pace and made it home with minutes to spare.  (And a new PR pace to boot!)

With tired muscles, blistered hands, and sun-kissed shoulders, I have succeeded in making my weekend a terrific one.  I’m headed back to work just in time for the rains to come.

So Abby, thanks for your Spring.  It’s been exhausting, but I have enjoyed every minute of it!


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Today I Was the Tortoise

Two hours.

TWO hours.


Two hours of shaking legs, a nervous stomach, and clenched hands.

Two hours of blasting heat, a steaming face and unblinking eyes.

Two hours of driving through the treacherous storm that has passed through much of the country it seems.


I made it.  And I’ve never been more proud of my rear wheel, sucky-on-snow-and-ice but fast any other time Mustang.  I’m even a little proud of it’s driver.

The snow and ice had been coming down for about 3 hours when I finally got off work.  I was offered a free night’s stay at the hotel multiple times, but since I didn’t have to work the next day, I declined.  I was determined to take it slow and easy, and be able to enjoy my evening at home.

When the exit gate of the garage opened, and I saw a Mustang directly across from me spinning its wheels as it tried to get up the hill, I took it as a bad sign. But I wasn’t giving up already.

I turned onto that same street and drove about 10 feet before getting stuck in my own rut.  I backed up a little (easy to do since it’s downhill) and tried again.  Nothing but spinning wheels.  Backed up.  Spun.  Backed up.  Spun.  I had just about given up when a heroic snow plow came by.  I backed up onto the cleared path and finally was able to make it up the hill.

My relief didn’t last long, however. The entrance ramp onto the bridge crossing the Mississippi was backed up.  Some cars were spinning wheels, others were able to get around.  Not wanting to lose momentum, I went around them too, only to fish tail my way across the bridge.  The bridge normally has four lanes, but no one knew where they were, so we all just kinda clumped together.  Scary for me, since my car is known to spin out.

I stayed in first gear all the way across the bridge, trying to stay in other car’s tracks.  I could sense the people behind me getting antsy, but I knew my car’s limitations, and wasn’t risking speeding up.  Once into Illinois, I shifted to second gear, and there I stayed for a good hour.

The fast lane appeared a little cleaner, but I wasn’t willing to go fast.  So I kept my 20mph pace in the slow lane, while others zoomed around me at a good 30mph.

It seemed any time I let up on my concentration, I would fishtail, so I remained hands clenched, eyes peeled and mind focused.  A few times I felt comfortable enough to shift to third gear, but then something would happen and I’d pull it back to second.

Meanwhile, the sleet and freezing rain continued, and my windshield  iced over quickly.  To avoid this, I blasted the heat on defrost.  This worked well, but my face was on fire.  Anytime I lowered the heat, however, the ice would start to form again.  I figured seeing clearly had more priority than a cool face, so I continued to blast the heat.

When I pulled into my drive over two hours later. I almost felt like weeping.  Never had I been so happy to be home, and so relieved to be safe.

Even after all this, I’m glad I chose to come home, but I hope never to have to drive in this stuff again.

Unless I have these:


Or better yet, this:



Posted by on February 22, 2013 in Commute, Mustang, The Hotel


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Teeter Totter

This has been a week of ups and downs.

Well, really only one down, but that one down has brought me down over and over again.

Please allow me one more tribute before I tell you about my ups.

Looking down Church Street

Looking down Church Street

tims funeral 2

At the cemetery.

At the cemetery.

tim's procession

Thank you.

Now on with the ups….

I have finally freed myself of the Fifty Shades series.  (I wonder if that’s why the last book was named Fifty Shades Freed.)  Although well written, it was definitely explicit and three books of it was quite enough.  I read it  for the articles, of course.  Behind all the x-rated scenes, there was a pretty good story line, however, it’s nice to have finished.  I’ve been anxious to get back to my regularly scheduled murder mystery and crime drama books.

Believe it or not, work has been somewhat of an up.  One of my supervisors put in her two weeks notice last week.  She has been with the company for about 5 years, and literally has been the right-hand-man to all the managers.  Everyone is in an uproar about it, and all of a sudden I’m looking pretty good. She has agreed to come in once a week to pass all her knowledge on to me.  I will be billing our major companies, checking to make sure rates are entered correctly, responding to emails, making sure rooming lists are entered correctly, etc, etc.  A lot more work.  No more pay.  But I am making myself more valuable to them which could lead to better negotiations in the future.  I’m excited to have the extra responsibility, and I’m happy they think enough of me to trust that I can replace her.  I guess time will tell.

Running has been a big up as well.  In November, I ran a total of 74 miles including an 8 mile, 9.5 mile, and 10 mile run.  December is starting out just as strong.  I’ve racked up 26.5 so far, running 10.5 miles of that today.  Woohoo for a new PR!  I continue to shake my head in disbelief over how well my runs have been going.  I’m being smarter about it, so that may be some of it.  Oh, and the shoes help too.

And I got to shop with my daughter this weekend.  She’s had a few gift cards burning a hole in her pocket, and she was in need of some clothes.  Mercy.  The girl is 14, has size 11 feet and stands about 4 inches taller than me.  We hit quite a few stores, talking and joking all the while.  A lot of our conversation on the way to our closest shopping district was about Tim, and life, and how important it is to live in the moment, not sweat the small stuff, and tell your loved ones how you feel, because you just never know.  Most of these were her revelations.  How awesome that she’s realizing it at such a young age.  Hopefully she can avoid getting so caught up in work and responsibilities when she gets older.  That way she’s able to enjoy the things that truly matter.  Like spending time with her daughter.

Once home, I decided to make the hot chocolate cookies I recently pinned.  Quite yummy, but a little chocolate chippy for my tastes.  The recipe called for 3 cups of chips – semisweet, milk and white.  I think next time I’ll leave a cup out. Either way, they were a nice treat at the end of a nice day.

Hot Chocolate Cookie with Marshmallows

Hot Chocolate Cookie with Marshmallows

Finally, we added a new member to our family this week.  You’d think 5 was enough, but noooo…. With our 5th family member driving now, Chip was forced to get a new vehicle.  Now we have 6.  Yes, your math is right.  We have 5 drivers and 6 vehicles, but one of those vehicles gets awful gas mileage and has no heat.  It’s good for hauling leaves and sticks to the clubhouse, and that’s about it.  After striking out multiple times for various reasons, Chip was able to find the right car for him.  Red.  Sporty looking.  Great price.  Owned by a mechanic.  The parking situation is a little tricky, but hubby’s plan is working out wonderfully.

The Parking Lot

The Parking Lot

When parked this way, everyone can get their vehicles out without having to move another.  The stick hauler and Link’s car are sentenced to the street.  Notice whose vehicle gets the prime spot and can just back straight up.  I’d like to think it’s because I’m the queen of the family, but most likely it’s because I tend to run into things. (BTW, she just got back from the shop and looks brand new.  No more deer dents or parking garage scars.)

So, overall a pretty good week.  I have yet to get any Christmas shopping done, but heck, I have 16 more days. Why rush things.


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