Cheerful Color

Yellow, in light and medium shades, was a common color for kitchen walls when I was a child. Cheerful and bright were the comments from the adults in my life.

Years later, while discussing colors prior to painting my office, a friend described yellow as a creative color. Evidently people have done studies on colors. Yes, red stimulates appetite. (You’ll find lots of red accents in restaurants.) Yellow, even in small amounts – in a piece of art, a pillow, or curtains – stimulates creativity.

A person can also think of yellow as a spring color — full of hope and promise. Winter is gone. Early spring flowers open yellow petals to warming air.

Snowbanks are melting as I write this blog and enjoy this photo from four years ago. Yes, it’s possible to have color in St. Louis before February ends. Rejoice! Smile! The days are filled with more light and signs of a new season.


Overdue Honors

One of the items in my home which is easily overlooked is a small jar of coins. These are not the usual coins a person is either tempted to spend or deposit in the bank. Nor are they foreign — okay, a few Canadians have slipped into the mix.

These are a combination of old and special. Quarters from the bi-cenetennal in 1976. Silver dollars given by an uncle after a trip. A fifty-cent piece. (Can’t remember the last time I saw one in actual circulation.) A least one “wheat” penny.

And…both of the dollars featuring women.

Unlike many countries — the dollar coin has not been widely used in the United States in either the latter portion of the twentieth or in the twentieth-first century. These attempts, 1979 for the Susan B. Anthony on the right, and 2000 for Sacagawea on the left, never became popular. I guess Americans are resistant to change when it comes to money. I’m waiting for another attempt — perhaps if they stop printing one dollar bills they would force the issue. Oh, and in the meantime, honor another woman with some “folding money”. The honor is long overdue.


Finger Power

With only your fingers you can make a person laugh, cry, relax, or dance.

Can anyone do it? Pretty much.

Can I do it well? That depends — have you received a little basic instruction and then practiced? Practice is key. Every day is best. Regular will keep your skills sharp and progressing. Once in a great while? Not so good. You need “muscle memory” for best results.

However, the ability never goes away completely. Even after a break of months or years many people can quickly recover much of the ability sleeping in their hands.

Side benefit — even if the electricity fails, a piano can furnish quality entertainment.


Keeping Watch

Stand watch. Keep a look-out. Stay alert. Sentry duty.

The orders imply a solitary duty. It may require effort to stay awake and alert for the entire assigned time.

The longer the observed area remains quiet, the less attention one tends to pay to the task at hand. However, it danger does arrive, you may be in for a short time of intense activity. And if you fall asleep on the job expect a different sort of intense attention when discovered.

Sentry duty comes natural to this Black-tailed prairie dog. With his head on swivel, he checks all the quadrants for danger. Look sharp! Cartoon coyote has been spotted. (Didn’t I tell you these fellows fill in when the roadrunners take vacation?)


Over, Under, Around…

My children enjoyed a book when they were little that was all about a young bear climbing into a box. The entire story was all the ways the box was tipped and moved when the adult bears didn’t know he was inside.

Several years ago, a friend and I watched a canine version of this story.

This is a portion of the equipment set-up for agility trials.

The course between classes

Handlers jog/run alongside the dogs, directing and encouraging the animal. Many of the dogs, especially the herding breeds and retrievers, galloped over, under, around, and through the obstacles with a smile on their canine faces. I do believe several of them were asking at the end — can we do it again? Please? What fun!

The handlers, while many looked pleased with their animals, did not impress as wanting to turn around and run the course again.


Hint of History

With the exception of 2020, a trip to downtown St. Louis is often on my agenda.

In recent years I do a combination of private and public transportation. I drive to a lot in a suburb and take the light rail train downtown. For this person who forgets which streets are one-way which way and where the parking garages are located — it saves the nervous system.

Sometimes I have a specific event or destination. Once in a while, I go just to see what’s changed since my last visit. The Arch grounds are a favorite — they were re-landscaped a few years ago and they have greatly improved the museum under the Arch. The top of the Grand Staircase is a wonderful spot to sit and watch the river roll past — with or without a snack. The Old Courthouse is a particular favorite of mine. Even when my main incentive for the visit is another location — I often detour a few blocks for a quick visit.

St. Louis is an old city for the United States — celebrated 250 proud years in 2014. At times we need to look either up – or down – among the sleek, modern buildings to find hints of the past.

Early fortunes were made – and probably lost – as furs from the West transited through St. Louis.


Open Floor Plan

The concept varies in popularity by the decade. Homes built in one era will have defined rooms for cooking, dining, family time, and guests. A house build twenty or thirty years on either side may have an “open” or “flowing” concept with all of the above areas separated by furniture or half-walls to give an open or airy feel rather than the privacy of defined rooms.

Either concept works. Think of great historical houses and shrink them for defined rooms. What mother hasn’t longed to have the children out of sight and hearing for at least a short time?

When you have limited floor space you have fewer options. The home below, consisting of two rooms with a central fireplace, is an example of the open concept.

In one space we have: bedroom (lower left), playroom, dining room, and kitchen. The mantle holds a clock with room for medium-sized storage jars. The kitchen cupboard the the right of the fireplace contains dishes. Many homes of this era (1830’s) also had a wood box inside, but in this case, I believe it was just outside the door.

Curious as to location? This is the birthplace/early childhood home of Mark Twain. I believe the house he died in had more than two rooms.


Second Childhood?

A number of years ago, my children moved out after college. As they headed off to those first apartments, I urged them to take many things. Since then, I’ve presented them with more boxes of their “stuff”. (How did two boys accumulate this much?)

However, one box I kept. I actually informed them it was staying with me — for my second childhood.

Well, that time may have arrived. Within the last week, I’ve pulled it out of the closet, made a great mess on the coffee table, sorted, and set to work.

Yes, I used the word “work”. For I had a purpose and goal as I sorted the Lego blocks. As most readers of this blog are aware — I’m a romance author. We have a reputation for having individual habits and quirks. Well, I’m working on this book, getting ready to start the second draft, and I wanted floor plans for two of my buildings. So I worked out this with each “nub” equal to six inches.

Can you tell the dress shop with living quarters from the cobbler’s shop (formerly the wheelwright’s) building with living space?

Yes, I transfer them to graph paper when I’ve worked out size, doors, and stove locations to my satisfaction. Still uncertain as to the roof design of the second plan.

For the record — I come by a fondness for floorplans honestly. My mother always studied the ones in the Sunday paper.