happy birthday, tiny sister!

by grace on September 4, 2020

amy’s birthday was on Tuesday, and we had a lovely indian meal. she’d made me a lavishly delicious Indian feast for my birthday and I hoped that she’d be open to me reciprocating. She was!

I’ve been making Indian food for years, i realize. So long ago i bought Madhur Jafrey’s cookbook, Indian Cooking, and I’ve made quite a few delicious dishes from it.

I know I had this cookbook in the early 90s, so that’s a very long time. I don’t know if you can tell, but i set part of the pages on fire in the upper right corner near the back.

I’m highly confident that i set it ablaze while making a multi-course feast in my tiny little kitchen in my LA apartment. I decided to buy a sturdier version later, and that hardbound one has even more photos but i always turn to this one. I can see which recipes i’ve used because they’re usually grease-stained as well as charred…

I used to spend a few days cooking for one dinner, but for whatever reason, no good reason at all really, i didn’t start making amy’s meal til monday afternoon. Mom, amy and I had spent the morning shopping, including going to a fantastic Indian mart that I’d never been to. This place was crammed with everything and anything you’d ever need to make anything Indian. I found this spice combo called “Panch Phoron” that i needed for a spicy chickpea recipe that i’d never made.

It only called for one teaspoon and i bet nobody would have been able to taste a different if i hadn’t bought it. but now i have it, in case i ever run into a recipe that calls for it…

When I finally got home on Monday afternoon I started cooking at about 2:30. I figured that if i worked for a few hours i could get a lot accomplished.

That morning, the first thing i’d done when i got up was to check and double-check all the ingredients i needed for each dish so I’d buy everything i needed.

But when i pulled my bag of onions out of the pantry, they had gone bad. are you kidding me? i called amy to see if she had any, but she didn’t have enough and was willing to get some for me because she was out anyway. i decided the fastest thing would be to rush to wal mart because it’s less than 10 minutes away.

i’d already been there at 8:30 in the morning, when i realized it’s the best time to be in the store because the few other shoppers were properly masked.

but in my afternoon trip i was so fast that it didn’t matter if they were masked or not, i was in and out in such a flash.

I was home and started in earnest at about 3:30 and did make great progress prepping and cooking some of the dishes.

I had all day Tuesday, and it was all good. Here are the fried shimp and samosas. the shrimp were best when first fried – mom and i had to sample them to make sure they were edible – so next time I won’t cook them ahead of time. Mom helped with the samosas; i’d made them for my birthday and she had filled them, and by now she quickly became very adept at making them professional-grade.

I set everything upon the screened porch and my favorite grape lights added a festive touch.

We sat out on the deck and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect. It wasn’t hot, and a breeze kept the mosquitoes at bay.

I bought some assorted cupcakes from Hy Vee and found many many cake topper decorations in my pantry.

Amy is wearing the “june’s journey” t shirt that we bought her; after three years i finally convinced her to try the game and she loves it a lot now.

and the shirt i’m wearing is one that amy had that was dad’s.

and one more september photo…kevin planted a japanese maple in our front yard and our many roses of sharon and impinging on it, so i decided to dig some of them up. as i dug i realied that they were mostly pretty good-sized and the roots were intact so i put them in a bucket of water.

the day after amy’s birthday, wednesday, i had planned to relax after doing all that birthday cooking but instead decided to start planting the bushes in mom’s yard.

i’d thought there were about a dozen plants, but there were actually 23. Yeah, that’s a lot of holes to dig.

Mom helped by watering the ground so i could dig because the ground is hard right now.

when i finally staggered home after a few hours of work i had to take this picture of myself because i haven’t been quite such a dirty mess in a while.

My phone is covering the side of my face where there’s streak of mud, plus i got mud in my ear because a mosquito, not finding any other exposed skin, stung me there.

that was two days ago, and today the weather is again incredibly lovely and i’m about to put those filthy pants back on and head over to mom’s this time to put mulch around all the plants. shouldn’t take so long…

and that’s all on this lovely pre-labor day friday.

ok then,



final photos from june…

by grace on July 22, 2020

June 19th, and this happened…Amy was rollerblading at Southwind Park and she purposefully swerved into the grass so she wouldn’t encounter a person coming towards her. But it wasn’t grass, as much as bumpy hard ground and rocks and so she fell.

She had to go to the ER, and her elbow was dislocated. She sent me a horrible picture where it looked like the bottom part of her arm was just hanging there.

The good news is that she continues t get better and she doesn’t wear this bionic-looking brace anymore. We’re hopeful that it will heal enough that there’s not a torn ligament or something which would require surgery.

These two photos were taken on June 22nd, the night i took the banner photo. A storm was really rumbling in.

Funny, we just had another big storm last night, July 21st, with over two inches of rain and a tornado warning. kevin hurried around trying to close doors and prepare for somehow getting all four cats into the basement.

luckily the storm passed without having to try to accomplish that feat.

Here are a couple of the pretty geraniums i bought to liven up the front yard and the beautiful yellow canna lilly that amy gave me. The deer ate the flowers off the cannas on either side of the walk and also ate quite a few of the geranium flowers even though it says everywhere that deer do not like geraniums. at all.

Here’s tiny Lester, as I was getting ready o do some yoga on the screened porch. This was one of the two or three days a year when the weather was perfect for doing that. He was very helpful with the yoga, and it was Down Cat instead of Down Dog.

So you don’t get the idea that kevin is doing absolutely everything outside this year, here are most of the ferns that i transplanted from beneath our bay window over to this less-sunny place under another window. They’re doing pretty well so far and i just notice a couple other little shoots that sprang up in the spot where i’d dug them all up, so i need to transplant those, too.

These aren’t the little ones, these are a couple more of the big ones that i transplanted the next day.

It rained so much yesterday that it would be easy to dig the little ones up now…except it’s 82 outside and feels like 90 because of the 83% humidity. Maybe i’ll get to it tomorrow.

And here’s Kevin on the last day of June, with the pile of shingles that were delivered.

He was very busy up on the roof in July and it’s halfway done but he’s on hiatus til the heat cools down a little.

and that’s all for now,

ok then,



may, mostly les paul…

by grace on June 29, 2020

we took a chilly boat ride on May 22nd and amy kept warm while driving.

On may 23rd lester had a nice walk down to the water, where he spent a lot of time in this old plastic tub.


I love this picture with les way in the background, his chin comfortably resting on the lip of the tub.

hmm, i can’t recall if kevin had completed the rip-rapping on this part of the shore.

Les is always such a contented boy.

zinging through may, as july is quickly encroaching. will i get everything posted from may before june is over? doubtful.

meanwhile…i continue to spend too much time reading the bad news. it’s hard to believe that the world has been upended since march, and also hard to grasp just how bad it is here in our country and i don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.

so i spend as much time as possible outside, which is always calming. except now the humidity and temperature has climbed a lot, so maybe i’ll sit quietly on the couch and post some more stuff.

ok then,

mrs. h.


all the rest of november

by grace on December 16, 2019

whew. Xmas is now ridiculously close and i still have a whole bunch of stuff to do. I think i’m still a little tired from all the traveling. I just transferred my 2.3 millions photos from phone to computer and i can’t think about them right now, even though i should because there are at least a few christmasy photos of NYC that really need to be up here before the date. it’s possible, i know it is…

It snowed a lot yesterday, maybe four inches? Amy, mom and i were out in the midst of the snowstorm and luckily amy was driving because i’d have been a big mess.

meanwhile…back in November it was still green outside and we had a lovely time hanging out in glenn and julie’s magical back yard. that’s their darling devilish kitty Ravena on Glenn’s lap.

When i went running to the Vachel Lindsay bridge I saw a huge flock of white pelicans.

Sweetie has been downstairs with us sometimes, but today i decided that les is jealous when we give her attention. Today i was up in the bedroom where Sweetie spends most of her time, and les followed me up and lurked around. and sometimes when sweetie ventures down to the living room, les chases her. it’s always something with kitties.

before we left for NYC, amy and i took mom walking as much as we could so she’d be used to walking when we went on our trip. This is her after their first excursion on Nov. 22nd. She might be slightly exaggerating her fatigue level here, and when we got to NY she totally rocked, walking as much as 19,000 steps in a day! Mom, just like the Energizer Bunny.

On this day in late november i ran farther along the bridge and got a closer shot of the pelicans. hmm, i don’t know when i’ll be running again.

The tuesday before Thanksgiving, Nov 26, i was up til midnight. but hmm, what was i doing? cleaning? arranging the antique dishes on the table, clearly.

I’m sure i’ve written about this antique dish set before, but here is a place setting all stacked up. Dad gave me this service a very long time ago; i know i had it when i moved to LA, because i remember using it there in my dinky apartment. I carried those dishes around a lot.

I think that’s five different sized plates, plus a saucer for a coffee cup. or a demitasse cup, and i do have a lot of those, too. i don’t know if we’ll ever use the cups. you can see in the picture above that dad also gave me a bunch of serving dishes and a sugar/creamer set, etc.

I went to bed that night not finding these turkey salt and pepper shakers that dad had given me. I texted amy to see if she had them, but she didn’t, and i decided i wasn’t going to go crazy looking for them.

but the next morning i did exactly that and found them by 8:39 a.m., according to the time stamp on the photo. but now i can’t for the life of me remember where, exactly, they were. probably in my scarily stuffed pantry.

I put some of the plates on top of other and generally tidied things up on wednesday.

We had some friends over for the meal and it was a joyful occasion, but a lot of work. we went to the Festival of Trees for a bit the Saturday after, and i loved this VW bug. Kevin used to have one.

On this same day mom and i walked in Washington Park and i don’t think i’ve seen the water flowing to the little stream this much before.

mom spotted this tree stump, and i realized…it was taken down by a beaver! so they’re not just here at the lake, but all over the place.

And that’s it for november…

ok then,



moving right along through june…

July 9, 2018

moving right along through june…yet another darling les photo. it’s always impossible to take just one… a couple of weekend ago, amy, mom and I got invited by our friend missy to a fundraiser.  it was for an organization called Gen H Kids, and its mission is “To create a generation of healthy kids through […]

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wrapping up september, as the end of october is in sight…

October 22, 2017

On sept. 18th kevin and i headed over to the fairgrounds to see this convoy of military vehicles.  they were trekking all the way to california on route 66, and i’m hoping kevin will remember some of the details and tell you about it.  here’s a pretty cool motorcycle with a sidecar that kevin really […]

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Italian Greyhound Extravaganza!

September 17, 2016

on wednesday, mom and i joined amy and jim on an overnight to Purina Farms, close to six flags in St. Louis.  it was the 2016 Italian Greyhound show, and when amy told me that their four IGs were going to be in a rescue parade, i said I MUST GO TOO! here’s a video from […]

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wrapping up december, making way for this shiny new year…

January 2, 2016

the sun is shining this morning, although it’s cold…it’s nice when we have the blue skies, because of the many gray days we’ve already had. just a few more december photos, and then on to 2016!  which will be filled with…about 365 days.  except now only 364, so let’s try to make the most of […]

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