Monday, October 31, 2016


Webster Groves Fire Department
Fall is my favorite season of the year, but this year has been somewhat disappointing at least as far as colored leaves go. There just is not much color, and what is on the trees seems very muted. Much of it has to do with the warm weather, I suspect. The temperatures have been very mild for this time of year. It was beautiful last weekend for the fifth annual block party around the corner. It is so fun every year to meet the new neighbors, and watch the kids grow up. The Webster Groves Fire Department always puts in an appearance if they are free, and the kids get a lesson on fire safety.

Friday was my birthday, and along with another couple, Jim and I went out to dinner in the Central West End before heading to the St. Louis Basilica for The American Boychoir concert. We parked halfway between the two locations so that we could do some walking. I think it was still around 70 degrees when we came out of the church. A bonus on my birthday was that my great-nephew decided to arrive 8 days late so we could share our special day!

Saturday we took a nice drive to Washington, Missouri hoping to see some pretty leaves. There just is not much going on. We did have a nice lunch on a patio overlooking the river in downtown Washington, so that was something. Looking at the upcoming forecast, I think we are going to have a season where the leaves just turn brown and drop. It is very disappointing.

One of my friends took me out for breakfast on Sunday morning, and then we came back to my house and sat out on the deck. You just have to enjoy the nice temperatures while we still have them. It was great until the next door neighbor decided that was the perfect time to use a chain saw on his tree out front. So much for peace and quiet.

Today is Halloween, and it was 68 degrees outside when the goblins began to arrive. I had purchased six bags of candy, despite knowing that not too many kids make the trek on our side of the street where the houses are not only farther apart but also sit back a ways from the street. Imagine my surprise when we ran out of candy by 8:00! A little before that carloads of kids began arriving on our street. I have no idea where they came from, but I have never seen that in all the years we have lived here. I felt bad turning out the lights, but what are you going to do?

Here's hoping that we get a cold snap and a least a semblance of some fall color soon.

tree in my neighborhood

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Write On!

Kim Wolterman
Last week I gave a presentation on why every book needs a business plan at the monthly meeting of the St. Louis Publishers Association. The topic sounds a bit dry, doesn't it? Hopefully, the presentation wasn't. I didn't see any of the 30 or so attendees sleeping, at any rate. I believe it is important to think of the business side of writing a book as much as you think about the creative side. What is the point of spending months or years writing a book, only to find out that you can't afford to get it into print? Or to have it fail because you didn't have a plan for helping it succeed? Sometimes I feel like we don't cover the expense side of book publishing enough. At any rate, the presentation seem to be well-received, and people hung around talking until 9:30. If you are interested in reading more, I have posted about book business plans on my Write Formation blog, which you can find here.

Jim was on a motorcycle adventure last week, so Kirby and I held down the fort. The pooch is doing quite well, though we did just find a small lump on his tummy which we will need to keep a close eye on. I took him with me to Creve Couer Lake for a walk and to watch the sun set. Wow! This is the view I fantasize about when I think of a retirement home.
Creve Coeur Lake
Jim got back home last Saturday, so on Sunday we went to the Missouri Botanical Garden. These extended periods of temperatures in the 80s and even 90s have played havoc with the fall colors. I am afraid we are not going to see the vibrant oranges and reds we are used to. Instead I think the leaves will go more brown and then fall off. That's too bad, because I love fall. Some pretty flowers were still blooming, so it was still worth the visit.
Missouri Botanical Garden
children await arrival of UP 844
Tuesday of this week a train powered by a steam engine came whistling through our town. Delivered in 1944, Steam Locomotive 844 was designed to pull high speed passenger trains, and was the last steam engine built for Union Pacific Railroad. This is the first time in three years that it has been in operation as it was undergoing restoration. The train is traveling from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Memphis, Tennessee for the dedication of the "Big River Crossing" pedestrian bridge/rail bridge over the Mississippi River. I was amazed by how many people turned out, not only in our community, but many other locations in the St. Louis area. I loved the fact that the local pre-school brought the children down to see the train. This is a piece of history you just don't see every day. And of course I had the Johnny Cash song, Folsom Prison Blues, going through my head. "I hear the train a 'comin/It's rollin' 'round the bend..."

You can check out my short video here.

UP 844

Saturday, October 8, 2016


More pickleball drama...On Thursday I played with a man I shall call DH. It is only the second time I have seen him, and I believe he is new to the game. He plays well, though, since he comes from a racquetball background. DH and I were partners for what ended up being his last game of the morning. It was a super-fun game, with the score bouncing back and forth between us and the other team. Pickleball is played to 11 points, but you must win by two points. DH and I won 13-11. As we were sitting on the bleachers catching our breath he says to me, "Don't take this wrong, but the ladies here play pretty well." I agreed, "Yes, they do." Then he says, "Well, the court is a lot smaller so there is less running. That levels the playing field." Really, DH? You think women can't run as much as men? I know some women that could totally kick his butt! As I was trying to restrain myself from using my paddle on a different type of ball, he left for the day. I could not even believe he would say such a thing. People have no filters these days - if they think it, they say it.

Small Works - Kim Wolterman
Striking a Chord
 Friday night was the artists' reception for the opening of Small Works III at the Webster Groves Public Library. This is a juried exhibition of works on a smaller scale, and with a musical theme. I had submitted a couple of pictures, and the one of a man sitting on the steps in San Juan, Puerto Rico was selected to be in the show. I titled it, "Striking a Chord", and had it printed onto metal. The metal really makes the colors pop, I think. The turnout at the reception was pretty good.

The Women in Focus photography group has been asked to do a show in November at the Gretchen Brigham Gallery at Union Avenue Church downtown. Hosted by the Arts Group of Union Avenue, we can each submit up to four jpgs to the juror for consideration in the show. They don't want us to use any of the photos that we exhibited in our last two shows, so I'll have to think about this one. It gets expensive to print and frame these photos for the various shows, and I have yet to make a sale to recoup any of the costs. I know our fearless leader will be disappointed if only a few of our members submit, so I'll probably come up with something.

Signing off to get back to work on my presentation for the St. Louis Publishers Association. I'll be talking about why every author needs a business plan for their book.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Family Affair

My sister and I drove to Cincinnati last weekend for the Crusham family reunion. Once held every other year (sort of) at a park in the heat of August, one of the female cousins took charge several years ago and secured a room at Price Hill Chili in the fall. For three years in a row we have not had to endure heat, humidity, rain or bugs. It is also easier for the elders in the family to get in and out of this location, the bathrooms are clean and the chairs are more comfortable. Genius! The added bonus is that the restaurant serves breakfast all day, so I can get my Goetta fix taken care of at the same time.

Kubler family
But our first stop upon arrival Friday night was a German restaurant in Newport, Kentucky to meet with the last surviving sibling of my dad along with her three children. It is always nice to see them and catch up on their lives. I had a bit of trouble locating the restaurant as my GPS did not recognize the address. This led to us hitting street closures, roads that did not connect between Covington and Newport, and an unexpected trip over the river into downtown Cincinnati during rush hour and a Reds game. To top it off, my sister's phone had frozen, and she had the cell number of the cousin who had arranged the meeting place. We were like the Keystone Cops, and felt every bit as incompetent as the bumbling police in the show. We finally arrived at the restaurant 20 minutes late. I guess it could have been worse. The conversation was good as was the food. When the German band began to play, however, it was time to head out as the sound was deafening.

From there we drove to a Crusham cousin G's house, where we would be spending the weekend. Unfortunately, he became extremely dizzy soon after our arrival, and he had to be taken to the hospital via ambulance. My sister jokingly told him that if he didn't want us to come he should have just said so! He ended up spending two nights in the hospital with a diagnosis of severe vertigo. As he was concerned he was having a stroke, this was good news indeed.

Saturday morning I met a female cousin for breakfast, and then my sister and I went to the hospital to check on G. We stayed there until it was time for Mass at St. Theresa's, which is located across from Price Hill Chili. The proximity meant we were the first to arrive for the reunion, so we settled in with a drink and some popcorn while we waited. A number of our relatives were out of town or had other plans that night, but we still ended up with 29 people. The oldest in the group was my mom's first cousin, who is 97 and enjoyed a Bloody Mary. There are only two girls left in my mom's immediate family, and they are 94 and 89 years old. Longevity is pretty good in the clan. We had a great time, as always.

Sunday afternoon we went and visited with our 94 year old aunt for awhile as it is difficult to catch up when there is a big crowd. Then we took her to a steakhouse, where we met up with her daughter and granddaughter. That pretty much wrapped up the weekend, and we headed home on Monday.

While I was gone, Jim took Kirby up to Iowa. His parents wanted to see Kirby while he is still feeling good. We were cherishing memories in both Ohio and Iowa this weekend.