Using the Metro

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We have a ticket to ride.

The public transportation in St. Louis area is less than perfect. But it is improving.

Now that youngest son and I have settled into our new apartment, we are beginning to explore the area. There is a Metro Link station 2 blocks from out apartment. Here we have access to the Blue Line, the Red Line and 3 different bus routes.

Youngest son is planning to attend a university in north St. Louis county and two of the Metro stations on the Red Line are on that campus. This makes his commute to school a 20 minute train ride. He has also been taking the Amtrak train up to visit his father in Illinois and the Metro train leaves our local station and goes directly to the Amtrak (and Greyhound and local bus) stations.

Last week, we rode together on both lines to figure out the logistics and because adventures are more fun when undertaken together.

Three of my four children have deliberately chosen to be car free. I aspire to be car free myself someday. (Though practically, it makes sense for me to hang onto my paid-for car while I am sort of the “back up ride” for several persons in the family.

This is a huge shift in thinking and practice for me. As a teenager in the 70’s a car equaled freedom. I was taught to drive a stick shift at the age of 14 and got my driver’s license as soon as I legally could. For decades, it was a written requirement of my job that I own and maintain a vehicle that I used for work. I drove, on average 200-500 miles every two weeks, just for work. And who knows how many more miles I drove squiring children to music lessons and track meets and Scholastic Bowl practice.

But here, in my retirement village, I can walk to shops providing all my basic needs and the library and the folk music venue and the farmer’s  market and I far prefer this way of getting around.

As we find ways of healing the earth from decades of carbon pollution and other excessive behaviors we will find new and better ways to be in community and get around. What a joy to find that the better way is also more fun!

[Beloved readers-I have finally transitioned into my retired life of writing and working on hand-picked sustainability projects. In honor of this, I am starting a new blog: Quaker Stylist. I will post both here and there for the rest of the month, in the hopes of convincing my beloved readers to make the transition with me. I will leave my two previous blogs up for a while. My avid readers have convinced me to try to turn the content into a book. More on that as it unfolds.]

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Bed in a Box

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The overnight guest is not in the box.

We do not have a spare bedroom or a sofa, but still host the occasional overnight guest. This is my solution: a gel foam mattress, pillow and a warm comforter.

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With a little sqooshing, they all fit in the box.

I’ve had the inflatable beds before, but each developed a hole after just a few uses. And said hole was discovered as we were trying to blow up the bed at 10pm. This set up is compact, portable and leak proof.

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Zzzzzzz.

[Beloved readers-I have finally transitioned into my retired life of writing and working on hand-picked sustainability projects. In honor of this, I am starting a new blog: Quaker Stylist. I will post both here and there for the rest of the month, in the hopes of convincing my beloved readers to make the transition with me. I will leave my two previous blogs up for a while. My avid readers have convinced me to try to turn the content into a book. More on that as it unfolds.]

New Apartment Living Room

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Since the public spaces of this apartment are open plan, this is the living area, technically not a living room.

Some of my long time readers will recognize these red chairs, which I gave to middle son a couple of years ago. They did not fit into the apartment he moved into this past January and I was glad to have them back. I like the idea of ownership being more fluid and there being sharing within a family or social group.

The black mirrored cabinet is from my Springfield apartment and moved with me to mom’s house and the most recent studio apartment. I use it to house the wireless router and the laptop and charging equipment and anything else that I deem unsightly that will fit.

The lamp is from a big box store, as is the pillow and the rug, which was half price. I would have bought the rug at full price because the pattern and colors made me happy during a very difficulty time this winter when happiness seemed terribly elusive.

The table and the wall art are from a charity shop. The wall art was priced at less than the frame would be if I went to sell it online. The books are mostly from the library or the second-hand shop and will be returned or donated to a free book venue. One book that will remain here (and is forever after one of my 100 things) is a signed copy of Martha Beck’s “Diana, Herself.”

I think it is important to mention what is NOT in this living room: a sofa/chesterfield/couch. Nor is there a television or “entertainment system.”

People who were not royalty lived for millennia without needing reclining public furniture and now westerners can hardly imagine a dwelling that does not have at least one love seat. We don’t need it though. And refusing to house furniture that swallows us up and makes it hard to get up to go to the bathroom makes us healthier in the long run. I eschew recliners and especially seat-lift chairs for this reason.

As for an entertainment system, I do not wish to be entertained. We can enjoy art without needing to possess it (and I realize that the fuzzy Venn diagram between entertainment and art is in the eye of the beholder) and I am all for the public consumption of art, but I don’t have to bring it home with me and fill my space. I love the quiet simplicity of my space. Powerful art I continue to think about for years after I have participated, it continues to speak to me for a long time. Entertainment numbs for the evening and then can not be recollected.

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The other side of the living space.

The mirror was stored in my mother’s basement for decades before I rescued it and got it framed. It had a jagged 6″ chip on one corner, which I had cut off at glass/mirror store. Then the framing was done at a local craft store and 70% off their usual prices. I like that it reflects the natural light from the one window in the room around. The pot of dirt has an Elephant Ear seed in it. Let’s hope I can get it to sprout.

To summarize: Quaker Style is recycled, reused, community based, discounted, and just enough.

[Beloved readers-I have finally transitioned into my retired life of writing and working on hand-picked sustainability projects. In honor of this, I am starting a new blog: Quaker Stylist. I will post both here and there for the next month or so, in the hopes of convincing my beloved readers to make the transition with me. I will leave my two previous blogs up for a while. My avid readers have convinced me to try to turn the content into a book. More on that as it unfolds.]

Squirrel Guests

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My hand is there just to give you a sense of scale.

As I mentioned before, when the weather gets very cold, the Saint Louis Friends (Quaker) meeting house is a warming shelter for homeless folks. And it seems that we are a warming shelter for squirrels as well.

They have chewed through a couple of the window sills, gotten into the walls, and in a couple rooms chewed through drywall to get to the stored food, or just a warmer place to spend the winter. This is not the first year this has occurred. So I checked with our pest management company who monthly sprays for roaches, mice, spiders. They do not treat for squirrels, nor guarantee that squirrels will not invade, whatever treatments they do. [Oh for the days that I lived in the country and the coyotes would eat cats, lambs, baby pigs…oh…wait…and human toddlers…I rescind my longing for “the good old days.”]

Anyhoo…I have been working on a compassionate squirrel management plan that does not involve electric wire around the perimeter of the building. The pest management technician [who does not wish to be named] says that moth balls are an effective treatment because the squirrels do not like the scent. Hmmm. Duh. Nobody likes the scent of mothballs. Also, said pest management technician told me not to leave the moth balls around indefinitely due to them being carcinogenic. So.

I devised this ingenious contraption of a plastic netting to hold the moth balls, on a long string to lower it into the wall where the squirrels have set up residence.

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components of my ingenious squirrel repellent.

And I apologize that I did not remember to take a photo of the window sill after I had blocked the squirrel access with 2 separate 2 x 4″ wood studs and then covered the entire window with plastic sheeting to keep the rain out of the wall. And taped it with some white Duct tape leftover from one of my kid’s projects.

But the next day…..The. Next. Day. The squirrels had chewed through all of my interventions. Sigh.

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The sign was for the humans…but apparently the squirrels do not read.

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Close up of the little squirrel escape hatch.

 

So, who is up for an electrification of the border?…..Oh, wait…that is not a Quakerly way. Because the light of God is in all of us. Including destructive squirrels. Suggestions?

Sake and Cherry Blossoms

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I’m not sure, these might be plum blossoms.

Last night, The Missouri Botanical garden hosted a fundraiser event called Sake and Sakura where the public were invited to enjoy the just blooming cherry trees in the garden during the evening. As further enticement, the evening could include up to six samples of Sake and a tour of the tea house island, which is usually closed to the public.

Of course I went, because, well– Tea house. Cherry blossoms. Sake.

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It is almost impossible to find a bad view in the Japanese Garden.

A friend, who is also a member of the Garden accompanied me and we strolled the garden in the waning daylight listening to an ensemble playing Japanese drumming music, sipping Sake and Japanese whiskey, admiring the spring garden and occasionally chatting with another person enjoying the evening.

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In a week, this tree will be stunning!

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I could not stop myself from taking photos. What a tourist!

I can now say, with some authority, that I do prefer red wine to Sake. For me the minimalist, the only downside to the entire evening was that we were gifted with a commemorative Sake cup to take home.

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Now I have to figure out what to do with this charming cedar box.

[Beloved readers-I have finally transitioned into my retired life of writing and working on hand-picked sustainability projects. In honor of this, I am starting a new blog: Quaker Stylist. I will post both here and there for the next month or so, in the hopes of convincing my beloved readers to make the transition with me. I will leave my two previous blogs up for a few months, in case any readers want to make a trip down memory lane. Eventually, I will be taking them down, decluttering them from the blog sphere.]

Resale Shopping

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Tangerine jacket and long skirt with pockets.

One of our local resale shops was having a sale and I could use a couple more summer items, so I went. With resale shops, sometimes what you find is not exactly what you went in for, which just adds to the adventure of the day, I suppose.

I like shopping resale for the following reasons: 1) it keeps useable items from being discarded. 2) it costs less money to get clothes this way. 3) generally the clothing that makes it to resale is higher quality-fast fashion stuff shows wear quickly. 4) I prefer natural fabrics to synthetics and a lot of what is at resale shops are natural fabrics, see reason #3.

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Two bright green tops: one for summer, one for spring and fall. Both 100% cotton.

The above four items were a total of $35 USD. The shirt below, which I bought for my son, was $3 USD.

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Heavy weight 100% cotton.

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These strap things are just too fussy for me.

The tangerine jacket was the single most expensive item at $15. That was because it has a designer label. I don’t care about that so much, but the garment is well-made and I really like the color. And it is a perfect spring (i.e. unpredictable weather) layer.

I didn’t like the strap things, which made the sleeves bunchy, so I cut them off.

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Aaahhh. Much better.

[Beloved readers-I have finally transitioned into my retired life of writing and working on hand-picked sustainability projects. In honor of this, I am starting a new blog: Quaker Stylist. I will post both here and there for the next month or so, in the hopes of convincing my beloved readers to make the transition with me. I will leave my two previous blogs up for a few months, in case any readers want to make a trip down memory lane. Eventually, I will be taking them down, decluttering them from the blog sphere.]

Spring Cleaning

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Random stuff under the stairwell.

The Saint Louis Quaker meeting house is also a warming shelter in the winter for homeless folk. There is a community organization that coordinates churches in the area that provide this service. There are a lot of moving parts to the work: providing the space, cooking, cleaning, working with the local authorities. There are hundreds of people working every year to provide this service.
Our church has space for 40 people when the weather is severely cold. We move the benches out of the way and set up cots in the sanctuary, and it becomes their sanctuary for the night. In between cold nights, the cots and blankets and pillows are folded and stored at the north end of the sanctuary in a couple of big piles.

 

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All the stuff has been moved to other parts of the basement or has been recycled or sent to the landfill.

About a year ago, some of the Friends (members of the church are called Friends) hatched a plan to store the shelter supplies in the basement in the off season. They wired the basement with plentiful lighting and painted the dark wood white. They installed some industrial strength shelves that were donated by a member.
Last week, after worship, we moved the supplies down to the newly refurbished basement.

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Feels good to get all of that out of the sanctuary.

[Beloved readers-I have finally transitioned into my retired life of writing and working on hand picked sustainability projects. In honor of this, I am starting a new blog: Quaker Stylist. I will post both here and there for the next month or so, in the hopes of convincing my beloved readers to make the transition with me.  I will leave my two previous blogs up for a few months, in case any readers want to make a trip down memory lane. Eventually, I will be taking them down, decluttering them from the blog sphere.]

Ha!

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Under cover!

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Concrete yard decorations are a whole category of silly unto themselves.

These two pretentious gentleman flank the front entrance to our new apartment. Their faux grandeur has amused me from the first day.

What better way to mock them than with accessories on April Fool’s Day. ( I could be up for themed holiday apparel for every season with very little encouragement. )

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This fashionable jazz cat with his soul patch is ready to break out!