KATY Trail 2020 – Phil and Kai’s Most Excellent Adventure

My son Kai and I finally rode the Katy Trail. Perhaps COVID and the change in “normal” activities finally pushed us into action, but after at least five years of saying “we should ride the entire Katy Trail someday,” we completed the 225-mile bike ride from Clinton to St. Charles, Missouri. We thought we’d share some of the highlights as well a few “pro tips” (haha) if any of you are thinking about taking on this most excellent adventure!

Highlight #1:  Great bonding time. I mean, what else can a parent ask for than four days of focused, quality time with one of your adult children. The posterior pain and sore quads have gone away, but the great memories will last forever.

Pro Tip #1: If you are thinking about riding sections of the Katy Trail, or perhaps the entire route, a great resource is bikekatytrail.com. This is a very utilitarian site that allows you to plan and stay current on all things Katy Trail. The “forum” section is very helpful for gaining up-to-date information on any trail detours (including the Salt Creek detour pictured below), lodging options, bike gear and many other topics.

Detour #1 – Bridge out just west of Rocheport. This is not the trail. A side detour down the levee and across the creek which was dry due to lack of rain.

Highlight #2: I know some of our followers have been to this restaurant, but for the weekend/Rocheport Katy Trail riders, Abigail’s in Rocheport is a must. Small and quaint, the food is absolutely amazing. Lailan and I had been here before for brunch (amazing quiche). Kai and I enjoyed a fantastic dinner – Kai devoured a pork chop marinated in jalapeno sauce with a peach glaze. I had the lobster ravioli. Oh, wait, did we share a slice of the chocolate peanut butter pie?

Pro Tip #2:  3.5 days was a bit aggressive (see our route/mileage below). Mostly due to the scarcity of lodging options between Rocheport and Hermann, we decided to ride the 77 miles between these two towns on day 3. That was a long day in the saddle, but I’d probably do it the same way again.

Highlight #3  Long live the small town dive bar. Not entirely by choice, but much to our relief and satisfaction, we experienced three pretty amazing dive bars along the way. The first was Chez When in downtown Sedalia.

One of Kai’s fraternity brothers is from Sedalia and lives there now. As our tour guide, he advised that a stop at Chez When was a must. Great conversation, an actual Miller High Life, and a strong collection of Elvis dolls made this a pretty special place. We left saying, “Chez What?” 

Day 2 took us through Pilot Grove, MO where we found a package store/bar & grill open for lunch.  Deon’s serves a mean cheeseburger and tots for the hungry cyclist. These guys clearly cater to a local crowd and the Katy Trail cyclist.

Deon’s in Pilot Grove, MO

The highlight of the dive bar tour, however, was the Mokane Bar and Grill in Mokane, MO on Day 3. Once we left Rocheport, the towns we passed were very small and nothing was open. We knew we’d be passing through Jeff City close to noon and we assumed there would at least be a Casey’s General Store or something within a visual sighting from the trail. But no.  It was another two miles into town and then two back to the trail. We decided to move on and “surely find something in the next town or two.” Little did we know we were in no man’s land as it relates to food. Around 2:00 PM we rolled into Mokane, MO. Much to our delight, the Mokane Bar & Grill appeared like an oasis in the desert. Another cheeseburger and tots later, we were fortified and back on the trail!

Maybe it’s because we were on a long bike ride, but Kai and I decided we would easily return to Deon’s and/or the Mokane B&G if we were ever back in the area.

Highlight #4: Even though it was our longest mileage day, the payoff was ending in Hermann, MO. We had all heard about Hermann for many years, but none of us had ever been there. Despite COVID, Hermann, settled by German immigrants in the mid 19th century, was in full swing with Oktoberfest. Lailan, and Kai’s wife Molly, met us there and we had a great evening together. We enjoyed a post-ride beer at the Tin Mill Brewery (where we ran into some good KC/church small group friends as well as some biking friends we had met back in Sedalia) and then we enjoyed a great dinner at the Fernweh Distilling Company. This was our first glimpse of Hermann and we hope to return soon (maybe by car or Amtrak!).

Pro Tip #3: – A common question is “what kind of bike do you need to ride the Katy Trail?” Well, we didn’t ride these bikes, but the Halloween spirit was sure “alive” and well just southwest of “Boo”nville:

Kai rode his Cannondale Quick hybrid bike. Yeah, it’s quick! I rode my Trek Checkpoint AL3 gravel bike (basically part road bike/part hybrid). We saw all types of bikes on the trail, but I’d say the main thing is to have slightly wider tires than most road bikes. While the trail is pretty smooth/packed limestone, there are short sections of looser gravel that are just easier to navigate with wider tires. We both have rear racks on our backs to carry our overnight gear. We also both have handlebar bags to carry tools/tubes/snacks/wallet. OK, now for our non-skeletal, real bikes:

Highlight #5:  Finish line with family at the end of the ride. As much fun as it was to spend four days on the trail with Kai, it was also pretty great riding into St. Charles and seeing the rest of our family there to greet us with big smiles and loud cheers. In the pouring rain nevertheless.

Pro Tip #4: Just do it. Whatever your adventure, quit talking about it and just do it! Would we do the Katy Trail again? Hell ya!  Feel free to reach out if you decide to ride the Katy Trail and we’ll be more than happy to help in any way we can!  

Route/Mileage:

Day 1 (half-day): Clinton to Sedalia (35.5 miles)

Day 2: Sedalia to Rocheport (50.5 miles)

Day 3: Rocheport to Hermann (77.5 miles)

Day 4: Hermann to St. Charles (61.5 miles)

A Time of Togetherness. And Not.

Just like everyone else who has been following the stay-at-home orders, the Think Beyond the Nest household has been a bit cozy these days. Togetherness has been a blessing and we’ve found many ways to enjoy this time together. We’ve reinforced those things that we enjoy doing together. Thanks to input from friends via the many Zoom calls, we’ve also discovered some great TV programming. The good news is we are on the same page on most stay-at-home-living activities.

But, hey, let’s be honest. With this much together time, we’ve also found some things where we aren’t totally seeing eye-to-eye. It’s OK. We all need our space, but the stars are definitely not in alignment on everything.

So, here’s a short recap of some of the things we’ve been doing, where we are in sync, and…where we aren’t! 

  • Total agreement on Schitt’s Creek (aka “the best show ever”). I even found a Rose Apothecary shirt online and immediately ordered one for Lailan. Just a little thank you for being my quarantine, Schitt’s Creek buddy! Thanks, Lailan.
  • Total agreement on The Kaminsky Method and The Voice (please vote for Thunderstorm – great vocalist, cool guitarist from Hawaii. He actually performed with Lailan’s best friend’s son in their Honolulu back yard.
  • Not in agreement. Ozark. Nope. Not even close. I love this series. Lailan can’t even walk by the TV when Marty and Wendy Byrde are yelling about another money-laundering crisis. Lailan’s dislike of this show is a real problem. I have two episodes left and I still have to sneak around in my own home to wrap up this latest season.
  • Not in agreement. The latest movie version of Emma. And Downton Abbey – the movie. Anything related to Victorian, obscure love stories. Not grooving. Hey, if I watch a few of these do I earn the right to watch Ozark? Well, I found out it doesn’t quite work that way. Haha.
  • Total agreement, sort of. We spent some quality time together on bike rides, walks and golf. We were on a roll. But, then the indoor sport of card playing happened. While Lailan was full of much happiness, I, on the other hand, apparently have a real phobia for cards. Just not my thing. Guess we’ll stick with outdoor sports and Lailan can get her card-playing fix with her weekly ladies’ bridge group!

And, just for fun, let’s throw in a few other COVID-19 Lockdown 2020 activities that we’ve checked off our list:

  • Getting Cozy or “hygge” in Danish – This is a Danish/Norwegian word for a mood of coziness and comfortable conviviality with feelings of wellness and contentment. Coincidentally, Lailan and I both just read a thought-provoking book authored by Helen Russell titled “The Year of Living Danishly – uncovering the secrets of the world’s happiest country.” During the long, dark days of winter, the Danes embrace staying inside and focusing on family time together. Pretty ironic given our current stay-at-home situation. Anyway, this is a very interesting read and maybe there is something to how their lifestyle supports happiness.
  • Closet Declutter 2020 – Goodwill and the Salvation Army must be overwhelmed (but hopefully in a good way) as America cleans out their closets. Lailan has been very busy getting rid of old clothes, organizing high school and college yearbooks, musty music books and boxes full of family memorabilia. It feels so good and our closets look great. Visitors who will someday return and stay in our guest bedroom will be happy to know you will actually be able to hang up your clothes now. There is room in the inn AND in our closets!
  • Mystery Paint Can Project – Quick contest – how many paint cans do you think we had piled up in the basement? Too low. Guess again. Actual count = 42. What the heck? We organized which ones can go to recycling and which ones we need to keep. We inspected the date on the cans to see if the paint was still from this century. The problem now? The local paint recycling centers are still closed so actually disposing of the old paint will have to wait.
  • You Know You Have Quarantined Too Long – When you decide to paint the interior of your garage. Of course, the 42 existing cans of paint did not include “suburban garage white.” And as you might predict, the painting project led to more decluttering (yipee), blowing out dust bunnies the size of  West Texas tumbleweeds, and even installing a snazzy new wall organization system. 
  • The Perfect Margarita – Perhaps most importantly, Lailan has officially perfected her unique concoction to create an amazing low-calorie Margarita. The truth is it’s never made exactly the same way twice, so this recipe is simply meant to be a foundation. If we continue to sequester, you’ll have time to give this recipe a try and add your own embellishments.

Lailan’s Hydrating and “Good for You, Haha” Margarita

  1. Fill glass completely with ice.
  2. Splash (or more) of Dulce Vida Lime Tequila.
  3. Splash (or more) of Tres Agaves Margarita Mix (organic of course)
  4. Add big splash of Vita CoCo Coconut water
  5. Squeeze a lime wedge and add lime wedge to drink
  6. Enjoy
  7. No judgement on what time of day happy hour begins

IN CLOSING: Sipping a margarita from an actual bar/restaurant, gathering with family and friends, returning to in-person church, and developing a vaccine are all things we long for. Until then, we are thinking about all of you, we thank our health care workers and other first responders, and we pray for those who have or are suffering from the coronavirus.

This too shall pass. Be well and stay safe.

It is well.

Deprivation, Quarantine, and Coping – circa 1940-1954

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: The following message was written by Phil’s mother, Laura Shoffner, on March 25, 2020 and sent to all of her grandchildren in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Laura is a long-time English teacher in both public and private schools as well as a published author.

My precious grandchildren, I write the following with the hope that you will take from it strength, resilience, and hope in these strange times in which you find yourselves.  Yours has been a generation of abundance, independence, and, dare I say it, instant gratification.  To be faced suddenly with the lack of taken-for-granted creature comforts, restriction, and social distancing must be not only weird, but scary.  From earliest childhood I have been blessed with a vivid memory of my formative years.  What I share with you here is based on my recollections of years of my life when hardship, doing without, and, yes, fear were “normal.”  May you take from it the knowledge that, clichéd as it might be, “This, too, shall pass.”

In 1941 my parents built a new home in Johnson County, KS, the site chosen primarily because of the excellent independent K-8 grade school, Westwood View.  For this move to be financially viable, my family had for a time lived with my maternal grandparents.  In 1939 all of us moved to a rental home on The Paseo in Kansas City, and my parents took in a boarder, as well.  By these sacrifices, my parents were able to realize their dream of their own home.  Still, for the first year we had the same boarder, and my recently widowed grandmother lived with us.  How thrilled my parents must have been to find optimism after the dark days of the Great Depression.

That idealism was shattered by the events of Dec. 1941 and the attack on Pearl Harbor. I was in kindergarten and could hardly understand my father’s relief that he had just a week prior purchased a new green Nash, a car that somehow made it through until new cars were once again produced around 1947.  Posters demonizing the Nazis and “Japs,” as we called them, filled us with concern as did the bomb drills we had in school.  Nelle Word, whom we called Nay and had been a long-time boarder with my grandparents when my mother was growing up, now had no place to live since she had to return from her job on Oahu. My parents invited her into our home.

Because everything was geared toward the war effort, rationing was put in place.  A short list of our “deprivations” included strict rationing for sugar, chocolate, rubber, gasoline, leather, cooking oil, heating oil, chewing gum, meat, and other groceries.  Each adult had a ration book with stamps (coupons) entitling them to obtain certain goods.  Here are some of my memories about rationing.

We made oleo margarine by kneading a yellow food coloring button into a Crisco-like substance. When we kids outgrew our shoes, ration stamps had to be found for new ones.  Later in life, I understood more about the cracked leather slippers my grandmother wore most of the time; clearly she had forfeited her new shoes so we kids could be shod.  The pediatrician made house calls when we were sick because only doctors and other essential providers had sufficient gasoline and rubber stamps to get around town.  Remember, cars back then had rubber tires aired up frequently.  Because of reduced driving, all of us had to use public transportation except in rare instances.  Mother could make a meatloaf last for two meals for six or seven of us, and prune whip was a frequent “dessert.”  I remember Nay making cookies using turkey fat because we had no shortening. During the war, there were no Country Club Plaza Christmas lights.  Our Yuletide gifts would seem ludicrous to you now, but even the smallest “surprise” was a delight.  Long distance phone calls were outrageously expensive, so in that way we, too, were isolated from family who lived elsewhere.  Letter writing, however, was a godsend, helping folks to keep in touch.

Looming over all of these measures was the concern for our fighting forces and fear that one day we might be invaded.  Movies often were propaganda-based, and our only lifeline to what was happening other than the radio was the newsreel at the beginning of each film.

My father was in an essential business, and while he didn’t have to go to war, he worked day and night for war-related engineering construction projects.  I can still see his drooping shoulders and red-rimmed eyes.

At school we kids could “escape” into a school full of creative and dedicated teachers who made our days fly by.  To help with the war effort, we collected old newspapers in our little red wagons.  We would pile them, grade by grade, in the school yard in an attempt to win that month’s prize for the largest collection.  All tin cans used at home were saved, stomped on to flatten them, and taken to the occasional “scrap” drives at the school.

When we had childhood diseases—mumps, chicken pox, measles, scarlet fever, etc.—the family was quarantined.  On the front door would be a large sign that said “Quarantine” in red letters.  Shortly after WWII, there were several polio “scares” during which swimming pools closed and few attended movie theaters.  In 1952 when my brother Chuck came down with polio, we were quarantined for three weeks.  I was a junior in high school, and my friends would shove my homework into our mail slot.

Small pleasures included the carton (not pack, mind you, but CARTON) of Juicy Fruit gum my Navy cousin gave me from the PX, being able to lick the bowl of brownies my mother had made (after scrimping on coupons) to send her brother in New York City, and the thrill of my very own Hershey bar when chocolate was again more widely available after the war. 

So here I sit at eight-three seeing and hearing echoes of that long ago time when our country sacrificed and “went without.”  Now, as then, we can do this.  We must do this!  And on the other side, may we be better people for the sacrifice.

Do I Need a Shingles Shot?

Happy New Year and welcome back to “Think Beyond the Nest” where we cover topics related to life as empty nesters. We’ve been a bit busy in the back half of 2019 with two weddings and a run for a local elected office (all good fodder for more blog posts), but in an attempt to be helpful and informative as it relates to our life stage, we wanted to share some info on the super fun (haha) topic of, wait for it…Shingles.

It starts with my dad who lives about three hours away. We talk every week and catch up on a variety of topics mostly centered around the current state of the Kansas City Chiefs or the Kansas City Royals. In terms of more personal topics such as ones health, he seems to be of the generation where you take life in stride, push through, and never complain much about all of the health issues that come with getting older. So I knew something was up when he mentioned how much pain he was in due to something called “shingles.”

Without getting too grotesque, he described a big, itchy and painful rash that had spread across part of his back. Medication helped a bit, but he suffered with this rash and the pain for quite a while. Finally, it went away and he’s fine, but I remember thinking, “Man that sounds pretty nasty. I hope I never get shingles, whatever it is.”

SO WHAT IS SHINGLES?

According to the MayoClinic.org: Shingles is caused by the varicella-zoster virus — the same virus that causes chickenpox. Anyone who’s had chickenpox may develop shingles. After you recover from chickenpox, the virus can enter your nervous system and lie dormant for years.

Eventually, it may reactivate and travel along nerve pathways to your skin — producing shingles. But, not everyone who’s had chickenpox will develop shingles.

The reason for shingles is unclear. But it may be due to lowered immunity to infections as you grow older. Shingles is more common in older adults and in people who have weakened immune systems.

We have an elderly neighbor who lives right across the street from us. We hadn’t seen him come or go in a while, and after checking in on him, we found out not only did he have shingles, but the infection and the rash was so bad especially around his eyes, that he had two hospital stays to help with his recovery. Thankfully, he’s made a full recovery and he was lucky the shingles did not cause any permanent vision damage. In speaking to him recently, he shared with us that he never had a Shingles vaccination.

Then at my latest “over 50” (closer to 60!) annual physical, my doctor said, “You’re at the age where you need to get the shingles vaccine. Shingles is not something you want to get.” Thinking back on my dad and our neighbor, I jumped on his recommendation and went and got my first of two shingles shots. Yup. You need to get two shots approximately two to five months apart. I got the Shingrix vaccine. The actual shot doesn’t hurt, but my arm was definitely sore for about three days.

In talking with other empty nesters who have also had the shingles shot, it appears people react in different ways in the 24 hours following the shot. Two friends of ours received the shot on the same day and both spent the next day in bed with flu-like symptoms. My first shot was OK. I felt slightly nauseous later in the day, but I was fine the next day. When I got my second round, I thought it would be about the same, but as the day wore on, I kept feeling more tired and a bit flu-like. So much so, that I had to crawl in bed, wrap up tight to stay warm, and luckily fell off to sleep. As expected, I was back to 100% the next day!

So, while you have to have two rounds of shots, endure a sore arm for a few days, and possibly feel a little crummy for a day, the experts say all of that is still much better than actually getting the shingles. The Shingrix vaccine can be in short supply, so you need to check with your pharmacy for availability. I was able to reserve a dose at our local CVS pharmacy.

Be sure to check our follow-up posts on the exciting topic of shingles as we follow Lailan through her two rounds of shingles vaccinations.

Benefits of Simply Taking the Stairs

 

You land in Chicago. After hitting the first available bathroom, you walk through the concourse on your way to baggage claim. As you near the end of the concourse the signage directs you down a level to baggage claim. There’s an escalator. Usually full of other travelers headed to the same baggage claim. There are stairs right next to the escalator. Usually only a handful of people are on the stairs. And in this case, the stairs are going DOWN! So which option do you normally take?

You have a doctor’s appointment at the five-story medical office building. Your health is clearly already on your mind. Perhaps you’re not feeling well, but let’s assume you are there for your annual physical. You go through the main entrance, check the directory for the doctor’s office remembering that it’s still on the third floor. Right in front of you is the bank of elevators. Perhaps a bit harder to find is the sign around the corner that says “STAIRS.” You’re only going up to the third floor. So which option do you normally take?

As empty nesters, most of us are still active, but probably not quite as athletic as we were in our younger years. Given all of the health benefits a simple thing like taking the stairs offers, we’re up for the climb (or even the descent!) here at Think Beyond The Nest. Check out the visual below for a few stair climbing benefits or check this short article for even more info! And next time – let’s all take the stairs!

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The Art of Marriage – On Our 30th Anniversary

Today, Lailan and I are fortunate enough to celebrate thirty years of marriage. And I couldn’t be more blessed. I have the notes from the toast my maternal grandfather, Philip Schuyler Lyon (Papoe), gave at our rehearsal dinner. I thought it would be interesting to read back through his words, and I believe he summed up his five-page toast in one simple sentence when he concluded with “to meet her (Lailan) is to love her.” He simply and accurately captured everything you need to know. Continue reading

When They Say, “I Do”

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Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Ricketts!

Spring is definitely in the air, and I don’t know about you, but it seems as though more and more of our nieces, nephews, and friends’ children are getting married. It’s a wonderful thing, and yet mind boggling all at the same time!  It’s crazy to think we have children old enough to now be getting married! Weren’t our kids just starting kindergarten? Time sure does march along, and our kids are now starting to make nests of their own.

I have always loved weddings – so full of love, joy, and excitement for the future. I started singing in weddings when I was in high school. It was a great source of income for me as a high schooler.  I loved experiencing different wedding ceremonies, music, and song selections. Over the years I have continued as the wedding singer for family and friends’ weddings. It wasn’t until recently that I realized I had transitioned now to singing in weddings of kids our own kids’ ages! How can this be?

I have a binder full of wedding songs that I have sung and collected over the years, but I love asking brides and grooms to choose song(s) that really speak to them and will hopefully hold a special place in their hearts in the years ahead. To this day, I still look back on the song my sister sang at our wedding, “One Hand, One Heart” from Westside Story.

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“One Hand, One Heart” thirty years ago

I had always loved the song and knew that one day I wanted it sung at my wedding. Thankfully, Phil agreed! To this day, I would choose that song again to be sung at our wedding because it really spoke to me and still does to this day. Being “one” in a marriage, like a solid team, was really important to both Phil and me and so the song, “One Hand, One Heart” was perfect for us. I have thought of that song over the years as a sort of mission statement for our marriage.

I recently I sang for a friend’s daughter’s wedding. When the bride asked me to sing, I immediately encouraged her to take time to choose a song that had real meaning for her and her future husband. I always try to encourage those getting married to take time to think about their song choices. The piece this couple chose to be sung during the lighting of the Unity Candle was, “When I Say I Do” by Matthew West. While rehearsing the song in the weeks prior to the wedding, I found myself soaking up and so appreciating the lyrics of this song. I would actually tear up at times practicing the song as waves of emotion came over me as I saw this young couple in my mind up at the altar saying their wedding vows. The song also caused me to reflect back on the vows I took with Phil almost thirty years ago. And then, too, it struck me  that our boys could possibly be exchanging vows with their future brides someday soon! I found myself completely awed by this thought.  Wow!  Below are a few of the lyrics from this beautiful and powerful song, When I Say I Do.”

You see the these hands you hold,
Will always hold you up,
When the strength you have,
Just ain’t strong enough

And what tomorrow brings,
Only time will tell.
But I will stand by you, 
In sickness and in health.

Take my hand,
And take this ring
And know that I will always love you,
Through anything

And now for better or for worse,
Are so much more than only words,
And I pray every day will be the proof.
That I mean what I say when I say ‘I do.’

The lyrics of this song so reinforce the glory, sanctity, and profundity of marriage vows for me. I hope this couple will look back on their song choice and be reminded of the vows they made to each other, and that the lyrics will give them strength when times get tough.

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The bride and groom celebrating “I do.”

Again, it’s so hard to believe that one day our boys too could possibly be marrying. Nervously, I often wonder, have Phil and I prepared them enough for marriage? Should we be guiding them more, counseling them more? Do they know what marriage is all about? Will they be good, kind, loving, faithful spouses?  And, will they “mean what they say, when they say, ‘I do.” I can only pray they will.  Thank you, Katelyn and Matthew Ricketts for sharing this song with me and all those who attended your wedding.

And so, as many of us enter into the phase of our children saying, “I do,” I send blessings and best wishes for happy, strong, loving, faith-filled, and vibrant marriages for all our newlyweds and future newlyweds.

 

End-of-Life Planning for Aging Parents

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In the past week alone, several of our friends have lost a parent. We even had one friend a few months ago lose both her parents in a tragic accident.  There have been some beautiful tributes and even social media posts sharing absolutely priceless photos and videos. As our friends faced the difficult task of planning memorial services, we learned that some of the parents communicated specific funeral wishes, while others did not. We realize this topic is highly personal and there’s certainly no judgement here, but it did get us thinking about how to have that conversation with parents. It’s hard enough thinking about end of life for ourselves, let alone broaching the subject with someone we love.   Continue reading

Why We Love Trader Joe’s – And It’s Not Just About Food or Wine!

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Like many of you, Phil and I have been long-time fans of Trader Joe’s, and more so recently since we have become empty nesters. It’s hard to believe our Leawood, Kansas store opened almost seven years ago! Yes, Phil and I have our favorite TJ items that we will share with you, but I first wanted to highlight something that has really endeared me to the store even more – the customer service.

About a month ago, while I was in the store, I picked up a sympathy card for a friend who had recently lost her parents in a terrible accident. As I was paying for my items, the checker commented on the sympathy card I had found. (By the way, does it seem the Trader Joe’s checkers always comment on what you are getting?:)) We started chatting about the reason I was purchasing the card, and before I knew it, the checker was telling me how sorry he was and handed me a beautiful bouquet of flowers! I was completely blown away by the kindness and thoughtfulness of that employee and awed that he had the freedom to easily do something like that without having to first consult a manager. The expression of thoughtfulness displayed by that TJ’s employee that day made a lasting impression on me and made me wish we had more companies with this kind of warm, friendly and “going above and beyond” type of customer service. Thank you for the inspiration, Trader Joe’s!:)  Continue reading

Pickleball Craze Hits the Empty Nest

IMG_3484The sport of pickleball has officially been in existence since 1965. But like many things that originated on the west coast, it took over fifty years for pickleball to find Phil and me. Now that we’ve given it a try, we have yet another activity to pursue in our empty nest years. 

Continue reading