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17 April 2014

Dealing with Rain and Gremlins

I put in a shift Saturday morning (12 April) at work, filling in for a colleague who recently had a hand operation. It was plenty busy, but we got our customers taken care of with no problems. I'm working my regularly scheduled shift this Saturday. Work has been going well.

We got some rain here on Sunday morning. It was enough to cancel the soccer games I was to have refereed that afternoon. We're off this Sunday due to Easter, but have some next Sunday.

Right after work Tuesday (15 April), I helped get the meeting room set up at Calvary Presbyterian Church for the IPMS/Gateway meeting. This meeting had the monthly beauty contest (a good turnout; 23 models entered), plus a tutorial on car modeling. Good time there, although I was rather tired afterward!

Today, I had to deal with some gremlins in my computer. I received in the mail yesterday the replacement disc for my Windows software, to replace that on my computer that was corrupted. I installed the replacement Windows on my computer; however, it wiped out my files there and I had to download a network adapter to access the Internet. I started to access the cloud backup, but it was very slow going to download that onto my computer! Now, I can scan and that was what I really wanted done. Now, I just have to make sure I can get all my e-mail contacts, website favorites, etc. on my computer.

My brother Doug is coming to town tomorrow for a few days. He may be able to help me with my computer issues.


10 April 2014

Walking for Coffee, and Refereeing

After work on Friday (4 April), I went to Il Bel Lago, an Italian restaurant and bar in Creve Coeur, for Stress Free Fridays--my first in several months. I had a good time there, especially in chatting with a gentleman who does legal research for lawyers. He told me he was impressed by my background and had a few ideas I might try on my search for a job in my field. I thanked him for that.

The next morning found me in downtown Maplewood, Missouri for their Coffee Crawl. I went with some fellow members of the St. Louis Singles (40+) Meetup group, but soon got separated from them. It was a nice time, sampling coffees and teas from area roasters set up at 12 local businesses. I had a mug that I received when I got my ticket for this event the previous weekend that I used for this crawl. I really had a fine time at this event, getting around and visiting several places I have seldom or never visited before.

Right after the Coffee Crawl, I was in my car at Schlafly Bottleworks (one of the crawl's venues) to phone in my co-hosting of "Writer's Block," the monthly show on ANCA Radio. Host Tim Pylypiuk and I discussed how authors use visualization to place their audience in a story's setting, and Western (as in Old American West) literature. The show is archived and can be listened to or downloaded for podcast here: We're back with a new "Writer's Block" on Sat., 3 May at 10 am Pacific Time (Noon, Central Time; 1700 hours GMT).

Sunday (6 April) found me at Columbia High School in Columbia, Illinois for youth soccer games--my first outdoor refereeing assignments since last October. My crew had four games scheduled, but only the first and the fourth games were played. The second and third games weren't played as neither team showed up, so we were kept waiting nearly three hours between games. Obviously a scheduling glitch. I was assistant referee both games Sunday and I felt pretty good in my legs afterward. (These were under 13 and under 12 girls' matches.) I'm back at is this Sunday afternoon.

Last Sunday also marked my parents' 51st wedding anniversary. They had a low-key celebration at home, due to my dad's health problems.

Work has been going well this week. After pressing on through a rainy Monday with many vehicles to be prepped, we enjoyed warm, sunny days on Tuesday and yesterday. I am off work today, and hope to get a computer software issue fixed today.

Before work Tuesday, I voted in the election for the Mehlville School Board and the St. Louis Community College Subdistrict Trustee. All the candidates I voted for were elected, so I was happy. (I was also happy to hear that my Mehlville 1982 classmate Debbie (Fiedler) Hopper won election to the Parkway School Board.)


03 April 2014

Meetings, a Party, and Plenty of Work

One week ago tonight (27 March) found me at Creve Airport for the monthly meeting of the Missouri Aviation Historical Society (MAHS). This meeting saluted the life and career of St. Louis native, World War II US Navy air ace, and Medal of Honor winner Edward "Butch" O'Hare. A 2007 documentary on O'Hare produced by KETC Channel 9 in 2007 was screened, and one of O'Hare's nieces attended to speak about "Butch." A rather fascinating program on this aviation hero. More info on MAHS at

Work has been good, even if I have to dodge raindrops at times. I worked all day Friday, then last Saturday morning. (Plenty to do, with getting all those vehicles on our lot cleaned up and ready to rent.) Yesterday, I was sent from Ellisville to our Chesterfield branch on a temporary assignment. We got socked by a lot of rain that day, and I did my best to stay dry.

Last Sunday afternoon (30 March), I was at Bruno's American Grill and Pub in south St. Louis for a going-away party thrown by the Friends from Around the World Meetup. One of the exchange students is going home in three weeks, so we saluted him at this party. It was fun, as I got to chat with the students and some host parents, and the Meetup group's leader, Dayna. It was my first time at Bruno's and it was nice.

Early this week, it was meetings right after work. Monday night found me at the Grand Glaize Library in west St. Louis County for the monthly soccer referee clinic. Just a few of us showed up--mostly likely due to many of my colleagues doing late afternoon high school matches that day--but those of us who made it took in a nice session on Offside and on the Advantage Clause. The next night (1 April) was--no fooling--the monthly IPMS/St. Louis meeting at Mark Twain Hobby Center in St. Charles. Six of us (including me) attended, a new high for this location, including one first-time attendee for our club. We chatted bout our recent model projects and shared news about upcoming events and kit releases.

I had to deal with some computer issues this afternoon, being on the line with customer support on my scanner that wasn't working, and then Microsoft to deal with the underlying software issue. Someone from the latter is supposed to call me in a little while to work on this further, so I hope this works.

This Saturday, I co-host April's edition of "Writer's Block" from Naturally Autistic ANCA Radio. Tim Pylypiuk and I will discuss visualization and the Western on this month's show, so I hope you can tune in at Noon, Central Time (10 am, Pacific Time; 1700 hours GMT). More info on the show and the organization at


27 March 2014

Working Away and Getting About Town Some

Last Saturday morning (22 March) found me at the Chesterfield branch of the car rental firm. I was asked that week to fill in for a car prep person there, so I did work the three hour shift there. I didn't do any pickups and drop offs of customers, but I did get a few vehicles ready to rent and took a vehicle to the O'Fallon branch to trade it for another one for Chesterfield. A good morning overall, and I was glad to help.

Late on Sunday morning, I drove to the St. Louis Artists' Guild at Oak Knoll Park in Clayton. The Midtown Mingles Meetup group met there to take in the Young Artists Showcase, which presented works by area high school students. There were two others with me at this event and we were impressed by these works of art. After spending about 30 minutes there, the three of us went to Brasserie by niche in the Central West End for brunch. We had a good meal--I ordered eggs Benedict--and we had a nice conversation on a variety of things. I only wish we had more people there; this was a nice event to take in.

The next night (24 March), after work, I drove right away to the Tivoli Theatre in the Delmar Loop to join the Monday Indie Movie Club Meetup group. About 30 of us saw "The Grand Budapest Hotel," a new movie by Wes Anderson, a comedy-drama we all agreed was most entertaining. Because of the time before the show, my dinner that night was a large bag of popcorn, a box of Rasinettes, and a large soda.

After work on Tuesday, I was able to get a roast beef and cheese sandwich from Arby's before driving to Mike George's house in Florissant for the IPMS/Gateway business meeting. I took down the minutes as the board planned next month's general and business meetings and discussed some other club business.

Yesterday, I was let off work four hours early, since I am working this Saturday morning and this would keep me at 40 hours for the week. I took advantage of the time to browse at West County Center, especially at the Barnes and Noble store. There, I enjoyed a cupcake and coffee drink at the cafe, and bought a magazine and a display shield for my Nook HD. Early that night, I headed to Senor Pique, a Mexican restaurant and bar in Ballwin, for a happy hour. It was in honor of one of my colleagues, who is leaving our branch early next week for a position at our commercial truck rental division in Earth City. I told her I'd stop by for a bit, and I was there for about 45 minutes. Loud crowds and I don't mix very well, and I wasn't in much of a mood. (I just had a glass of ice water.) I didn't want to spoil the night for everyone, so I just chatted a bit with my colleagues before I called it a night.

I've felt a lot of stress lately. Part of it was adjusting to my age and a feeling increasing mortality, part of it was the scare of my dad's recent illness and hospitalization, and part was a concern about my future. I feel so frustrated I cannot find more social success, and to feel happier and more confident about myself.

I'm at the Missouri Aviation Historical Society's meeting tonight at Creve Coeur Airport, and work Saturday morning at the Ellisville branch. Next Saturday (5 April), I'll be co-hosting "Writer's Block" from Naturally Autistic Radio. The show airs at noon, Central Time (10 am, Pacific Time; 1700 GMT). More info at:


20 March 2014

Frantic Days

I had a pretty nice weekend. Nothing much going on. Just as well, since I was coming off a busy week at work. Saturday afternoon (15 March), I did make the trip to Duchesne Bar and Grill in St. Charles, Missouri for a couple of beers. That, and seeing the bartender that afternoon, my high school classmate and friend Debbie Allred (nee Bond), who I have not seen since graduating from Mehlville High. We got caught up on each other's lives and I admired her superb work behind the bar. Debbie and I may touch base soon.

A lot of business at the car rental branch this past week, and that meant a lot of work for me. Monday (17 March) was particularly busy, especially in the morning, with many vehicles to clean up and get ready for rental at our branch or satellite locations. (One of my fellow car preps was out sick, so we were a bit shorthanded.) However, we got through this and this week has been real good overall.

Right after work Tuesday night, it was off to Calvary Presbyterian Church for the IPMS/Gateway meeting. We had a nice meeting, with a demo on seam filling (getting into scale modeling's seamier side), and our monthly Beauty Contest. After opening up the meeting room and getting it set up, I took notes as club secretary for the minutes.

Off work today, I took my Corolla in for a maintenance check at Weiss Toyota. They rotated the tires and gave my car a once over. It's running great, with no urgent maintenance needs.

Earlier this past week, I was really feeling down. I wondered if things were really going to work out for me in my life--particularly my career and my non-existent love life. Several friends assured me I am still on the right track, that things will pick up for me in those areas soon. I sure hope so.


13 March 2014

Dad at the Hospital; Me at the Movies

Last night, my father came home from the hospital, where he was admitted late last Thursday. He had pneumonia and a urinary infection, but he's OK now--at least to be home. My mom spent much time at the hospital visiting him, and she and I are happy he is back home.

Work has been going well. Been real busy the past few days. I didn't have much down time, which was actually good as far as I'm concerned.

Last Sunday (9 March), I replaced the DVD/YHS recorder/player I've had the last four years with a new DVD recorder/player. I did have problems hooking it up, including several calls to customer serviced that seemed to have me on a run around and a trip back to the store for help. It turned out to be just some incorrect hookup of wiring between the TV and the DVD recorder. I finally got that straightened out and the device is working great.

Twice this past week, I have been to Plaza Frontenac Cinema to see movies. Last Monday night (10 March), right after work, I joined with others from the Monday Indie Movie Club Meetup to see the documentary "Tim's Vermeer." It tells of video equipment inventor Tim Jenison's quest to recreate a painting by the 17th century Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. I saw this film last November at the St. Louis International Film Festival and it was great seeing this film again. This afternoon, I was at that theatre to see the Japanese animated film "The Wind Rises." This Oscar-nominated feature tells the story of aircraft designer Jiro Horikoshi, who designed the famed A6M Zero fighter used in World War II. This was a beautifully drawn film and a very wonderful story (at least to me). I highly recommend both "Tim's Vermeer" and "The Wind Rises."


06 March 2014

Up and Down Weather to Start March

The weather was rather chilly as February ended and March began last weekend. Last Sunday night (2 March), we got a bit of ice and then snow. Fortunately, the commute to work the next morning wasn't too bad, although it was rather unpleasant being out in the below freezing weather, as I was that morning getting cars warmed up and ice removed from windows.

After work Tuesday (4 March), I drove to Mark Twain Hobby Center in St. Charles for the IPMS/St. Louis meeting. Two others made it to the meeting, which showed that third time was the charm. (I was the only one to show up for January, and last month's meeting was cancelled due to bad weather.) We had a nice little get together and agreed this new venue will work out for us.

Today on my off day, I applied for a job in corporate communications here in St. Louis, and saw my dentist. The exam showed no cavities, but that one tooth will need to be removed due to root damage.

Work has been going well of late. Tuesday, two colleagues and I drove to our sister branch in Washington, Missouri to pick up some vehicles--the longest such trip I've done since starting work at the car rental branch. Late yesterday, we got an influx of vehicles returned by renters.