Monday, June 30, 2008


My husband and I will be married for 30 years in August. To celebrate, we decided to contact a couple of friends and see if they want to go on a cruise to the Caribbean in the fall. Steve and Ann got married about a month before us, and Paul and Kathy will be married 29 years this summer, but we told them they could come along anyway. Steve and Paul were fraternity brothers of Jim at Iowa State, and Kathy and I graduated from Hoover High School in Des Moines together. Steve was in our wedding, Jim was in Steve's wedding, and Kathy and Paul sang at our wedding. So, we all have a connection to each other in more than one way. Since I brought up the idea, I got the job of being cruise director. Paul is a pilot for Northwest Airlines and his vacation is scheduled for the first two weeks of November. That set the time frame initially. Ann is an accountant, so the beginning of the month is bad for her. Okay - now we know we are going the second week of November. I put my travel agent (TA) on the job of locating some options for us, and she came back with 5 or 6 which met the time criteria. I found out that several cruise lines don't travel to the Caribbean in November at all. We ruled out the trips that went in and out of San Juan due to flight availability and cost, so that left us with four options. One is the new Ruby Princess, making her maiden voyage on November 8th. My TA said she would never go on a ship that doesn't have a couple of months of travel under its belt, so I didn't really look at the Ruby as a choice. Steve wanted to go on the Freedom of the Seas because it makes a stop in Cozumel, which supposedly has some of the best scuba diving in the world. As I had the TA check on prices, I found out that the ship was nearly sold out of window and balcony rooms. Huh? Isn't there a recession? And isn't this a slow travel time period since it is a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving? What the heck? So I stepped back to regroup. If Steve really wants to go to Cozumel (yep, he does), then the only choice is the Ruby. After talking to all the parties involved, we decided to take our chances on the Titanic - errr, I mean Ruby - and see what happens. I had the TA check on availability for us. There are no window rooms left on the Ruby, nor any of the less expensive balcony rooms. Can you believe this? Why does everyone want to travel at the same time as us? So the group is now deciding on how much they want to spend on this trip.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Writer's Group

Tonight I went to a writer's group meeting. It is comprised of the students who took a non-fiction writing class together in the spring. We meet to encourage each other and supply a sounding board and, since we are all women, share food and laughter. I am hoping that the group gatherings will supply me with added incentives to keep going on my book. I actually have accomplished a lot in the past two weeks. I am happy with sections one and three of the book, and have made good progress on section two, which is the heart of the book. My goal is to have a solid first draft of the book done by the end of August. I think that is very realistic. This summer I also want to get back to researching our building in Shrewsbury. It will be good for me to go through all the research steps again to make sure I am accurate in my book.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Back to the Book

Now that the wedding is over and all the company has cleared out, I have been able to get back to work on my book. I am writing about how to research the history of a St. Louis County home. When I tried to research our century home, it became a very frustrating process. Records are here, there and everywhere, and there was nothing to use as a guide. I felt like I could put something together to assist researchers so that they don't give up part way through, like I almost did on numerous occasions. The book won't be very long as I don't want to overwhelm readers with stuff that doesn't matter. Instead it will be more of a workbook with lots of helpful reference sheets, giving them a systematic approach to follow. I have sections one and three pretty much where I want them. Section two is much more tedious, as it is really the heart of the book. But it is moving along nicely. One of the next steps will be picking up the research I have been doing on the old house that serves as the office of our landscape architecture business. Going through the steps at the Recorder of Deeds office again myself will help insure that I am accurate in what I put in the book.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Gas and a Shave?

The other day I was filling up my car at the local gas station, hoping that once again gas wouldn't go down in price two hours after my fueling. There was a gal with a black SUV next to me - the kind that has the back hatch that swings to the side as opposed to raising up. I glanced over at her because she was blabbing on her cell phone as well as bending at the waist repeatedly. As I walked around my car to replace the gas nozzle, I could finally see what she was doing. She was shaving her legs while talking on the phone! At a gas station on the corner of two busy streets in Webster Groves during rush hour! It just goes to show that when you think you have seen it all, you find out that you haven't. People are so strange!

Monday, June 16, 2008

On Being a MIL

My son got married on June 7th. I have been blogging at about the experience of being a MOG, or Mother of the Groom. That site will be pretty quiet now as I move into my new role of MIL, or Mother-In-Law. I have been blessed for nearly thirty years with a mother-in-law whom I admire and respect, and though my husband sadly had far fewer years with my mom (who was killed in a car accident when she was only 69), I know he felt the same way about her. Because I have had such a great role model, I am optimistic that Megan and I can grow to have the same great relationship, and that someday she will be proud to call me "mom."

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Proud Mom Moment

Katie turned 17 on Wednesday. She decided she wanted to have a party at our house. The last thing I was up for on the heels of our son's wedding was cleaning the house and getting ready for a party. But then I realized it wouldn't be fair to her to say no based on my selfish feelings. She has not had a birthday party for quite a few years. She planned the menu and helped get the food ready, and soon we had 14 teenagers here at the house. We added an addition to our kitchen last summer, along with a conservatory and large deck off the back. It is the perfect party spot, and the kids took advantage of the space. They joined my husband and me outside to eat, and then we discreetly went upstairs to our office to give them privacy. Surprisingly, Katie came to get us when it was time to open her presents, and again when they were ready to serve the cookie cake. What a corner we have turned! I guess we are no longer too embarrassing to be around her friends! The rest of the evening they talked and laughed and played board games. It was so refreshing to see teens having a good time without electronics or feeling the need to do other things they are too young to be doing. It was definitely a proud mom moment.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Party's Over

My son got married on Saturday. I have been writing about being a mother of the groom in my other blog, It is a strange feeling to marry off one of your children. It brought back memories of the day my husband and I got married nearly 30 years ago. I found myself wondering if my parents had the same mixed emotions three decades ago. I love Andy's wife, Megan, and her whole family and I am thrilled that Andy found someone to share his life with. Yet at the same time, I understand that our relationship as mother and son will never be the same. So while I feel a sense of sadness at the loss of my little boy, I fully embrace the opportunity to experience the gain of an additional daughter. Many happy returns, Andy and Megan!