Sunday, March 1, 2015

Plays On Words

I like puns...the more they make me groan the better I like them. Here's some doozies:
  • When you get a bladder infection urine trouble.
  • Broken pencils are pointless.
  • I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.
  • What do you call a dinosaur with an extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.
  • England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.
  • I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.
  • I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.
  • All the toilets in New York's police stations have been stolen. The police have nothing to go on.
  • I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.
  • Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.
  • Velcro — what a rip off!
  • A cartoonist was found dead in his home. Details are sketchy
  • Venison for dinner again? Oh deer!
  • The earthquake in Washington obviously was the government's fault.
  • Be kind to your dentist. He has fillings, too

Five years ago today: A Piece Of The Puzzle

Friday, February 27, 2015

Grateful For Great Service

The other day I stopped in an unfamiliar grocery store to pick up several items I'd seen in their ad.  Most of them were easy to find, but I couldn't track the last one down.  Rather than wandering aimlessly around the store until I found what I was looking for, I got the attention of an associate who was busy stocking shelves and asked her to point me in the direction of the right department.

Instead of pointing me, she stopped what she was doing and walked me to the correct area.  While we walked she asked me about my day, and when we arrived at the department she found the item and handed it to me.  We talked about how we'd prepare it and what side dishes would go best with it.  The associate even took me to the produce department to show me some of the ingredients she was talking about.  It was the best customer service I'd had in quite some time.

When I went to check out I found out the associate at the cash register was just as friendly and helpful as the first one had been.  She also asked me how my day was going, and told me about a favorite product of hers I should try next time I was in the store.   As I left she told me to have a 'wonderful' day; I could tell by the tone of her voice that she meant it.  On my way out of the store I passed the Customer Service desk, where the store manager looked me straight in the eye and thanked me for coming in.

When I got home I decided the associates' higher ups needed to know what a good job their employees were doing, so I wrote a letter and emailed it to the store's corporate office.  I hope the message filters back down to the store level.

This is my post for Betsy's Random Acts Of Kindness Adventure 2015.

Five years ago today: E-Cycle Me

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Wonder If We Will Regret This?

Over the years I've cultivated a large blog reading list, but I always enjoy adding to it. A a couple of months ago Mo from Mocadeaux introduced me to Eli, the brains behind Coach Daddy. I meandered over to his site, liked what I read and left a comment, then added him to my list.

Fast forward. Earlier this month I received an email from Eli asking me if I wanted to contribute to his monthly "6 Words" post. In his words:
Hemingway inspired it when he said any story can be told in a six-word sentence. I ask bloggers, friends, strangers, and a few strange blogger friends to respond to a prompt.

February is Friendship Month. Here's a twist: What's one thing you never want to hear from a friend, in six words? Make it serious, funny, or anything in between. Something like, "Come quick - and bring bail money!"
After trying to figure out which category I would be in (it might be fun to be someone's strange blogger friend) the perfect response popped into my head.  I let Eli know, and waited for the post to be published.  Today it showed up in my reader.

If you're so inclined stop over at Eli's.  You may run into me working my way down the list of submissions, reading and adding to the blog list.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Can I Ask You A Few Questions?

After a large restaurant lunch today I decided I needed some exercise. I didn't have gym clothes with me, and it was too cold to do anything outside, but I knew there was a mall about a half-mile away where I could walk.

When I got there I was able to park close enough to the door that I could leave my coat in the car and hustle inside. I got in my 30 minutes and was on the last corridor before the door that would lead to my car when a woman holding a clip board got my attention and asked if I had time to take a survey. I warily asked for more information, and when I found out I'd get paid pretty handsomely to give them about a half hour of my time I decided to change my plans to include answering their questions.

We moved into a storefront that had been converted into the survey company's office, where I had a short screening interview. Based on that I was invited into the back section, where I ended up answering questions about the aroma and perceived effectiveness of three different liquid cleaning products. True to the screener's word, the whole process took 30 minutes.

When I was done I went out to the reception desk where they had a check waiting for me. As he handed me the check the attendant asked if I had time to take an additional survey. Sadly, I had somewhere to be and had to pass on the additional easy money. However, since I gave the company my contact information I may get a call from them down the line about additional opportunities.

Five years ago today: Do The Stroll

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Stop It! Now!

I felt under the weather today, so I spent a good part of the afternoon resting on the couch and using my laptop between cat naps.  At one point I checked in to see what was going on with a couple of online forums I belong to.  The first one didn't have much, but the second one (which I joined not too long ago) was more interesting.  In this group some of the members of the group seem to go way back and have 'history' with each other.  Occasionally tempers will flare and a flame war will start.  There's never any profanity involved, but during an episode there's an awful lot of name-calling and bickering.

When I logged on to the site I found out that yesterday one person posted something outrageous. Others took the bait. The argument rapidly degenerated into personal attacks, which went back and forth multiple times and turned into a free for all.  A few members took the opportunity to hijack other unrelated posts, and those meaningful discussions were temporarily replaced by personal attacks.

Finally I got tired of all the bickering. I added my two cents to a hijacked post, asking the person who was causing most of the trouble to stop. Because I've never posted anything on this site that could be remotely construed as negative, I nervously wondered if I was adding fuel to the fire. Would my post make the person turn and attack me?

I never got a chance to find out. I hit the reply button, and my words disappeared into cyberspace, never to be found.  That's probably a good thing.

Five years ago today: Balance

Friday, February 20, 2015

Small Yet Concrete Signs

Today I'm linking up with Betsy at My Five Men for her Random Acts Of Kindness Adventure 2015.

Several times a year Pope Francis delivers thoughtful messages to his main audience, the Roman Catholic church.  However, many of his topics resonate with all people. Just a couple of days ago in his Lenten message, he said:
"No matter how much time you spend fasting, no matter how much you sleep on a hard floor and eat ashes and sigh continually, if you do no good to others, you do nothing great.”
What do you know!  Even the Pope is suggesting we do Random Acts of Kindness.  He goes on to say that
"Lent is a favorable time for showing concern for others by small yet concrete signs of our belonging to the one human family."
I kept the Pope's words in mind when I ran into an acquaintance who looked like she was having a really bad day.  As we started talking, it became obvious it had been a bad MONTH.  I had a lot of errands to run, but instead of cutting the conversation short I took the time to listen to her.

Five years ago today: Signs Of Spring

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Open To The Public

A couple of months ago a food service distributor opened a retail store not too far from my house.  The store really caters to restaurants, non-profit organizations, party planning or catering businesses, but unlike some places that don't sell to the general public, anyone can shop at this one.  Today I stopped in to see what they had.

It was so much fun!  I felt like a kid in a candy store.  I'm used to shopping at Costco, where they sell  consumer-sized containers bundled together.  This store was the real deal for commercial vendors.  I wandered up and down the aisles, admiring the industrial-sized containers of groceries and huge bags and boxes of frozen food.  Each package conveniently listed how many servings it contained.

Half of one aisle was devoted to catering supplies (serving trays, coffee urns, and food warmers) and disposables (foam carry out containers of various sizes and shapes, pizza boxes, and Chinese take out boxes).  The beverage section started with enormous bags of ground coffee and massive boxes of tea bags.  That segued into an area devoted to bar supplies: substantial-sized bottles of non-alcoholic ingredients for mixed drinks, jumbo-sized jars of maraschino cherries, cocktail olives, and large canisters of rimming sugar and salt.

Institution-sized mops and buckets were displayed next to huge jugs of soap and other chemicals and supplies you'd use to keep a restaurant clean. This area also contained cases of hand towels and sleeves of napkins big and small.  There was a small selection of chef's clothing, pots and pans, kitchen gear, supplies, and serving utensils.

Even though most of the packages were way too large for my house, I did find a few things to buy.  On the clearance rack I snagged a package of the restaurant-burrito-sized tortillas Son Donald likes to use, and from the produce section I picked up a bag of spinach the same size I usually buy at Costco.  And, strangely enough in this land of humongous, I got a one-pound bag of barley that was located next to much larger bags of beans and grains.

Five years ago today: Not Just Cucumbers

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler

Happy Mardi Gras!  Tomorrow Lent begins, so today is one last partying and eating hurrah. For dinner tonight I made a Louisiana feast--chicken etouffée, red beans, Cajun greens, and rice. After dinner Hubby Tony and I went to a local ice cream parlor for a decadent treat.

Traditionally etouffée (which in French means "smothered") is made with shellfish and a light roux sauce. But I'm not very traditional in my cooking. Several years ago I found an easy-to-make version that substituted cream of mushroom soup for the roux and Ro-tel tomatoes with chilies to add a kick of heat. Then I proceeded to tweak that recipe to suit my own tastes. The original called for an entire stick of butter and crawfish tails. I cut the butter in half and substitute whatever meat or protein I have on hand.  It's always good.
Easy Etouffée

2 T butter
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 cup celery chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/4 cup beer
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/2 can water
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes
1 pound seafood or meat (crawfish, shrimp, chicken breast, pork roast, or ????), cut into small pieces  if necessary
salt/pepper to taste

Melt butter in large pot.  Add onions, celery, and green pepper.  Saute for 10 minutes.  Add soup, water, beer, and tomatoes.  Stir and mix well.  Add chicken.  Cover pot and cook for 20 minutes on low heat.  Stir occasionally.  Season to taste.  Serve with rice.
Quick pic before dinner was served
Five years ago today: Photograph

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Only One For Me Is You And You For Me

Hubby Tony and I went to church tonight.  Right before the end of Mass the priest asked all the married couples to stand for a special blessing.

There was a family group sitting several pews ahead of us that had Dad and Mom on the ends, with their three children between them.  When the blessing started I watched the boy closest to his dad give him a nudge, point down to where his mom was standing, then push his legs back against the pew so dad could scoot by.  His siblings got the message and also moved.  A couple of seconds later both parents were standing next to each other.

Their movement started a chain reaction.  The family in front of us was sitting in the same arrangement, so the man moved down to be next to his wife.  Even though we didn't have anyone in between us Tony took my hand and held it.

Five years ago today: "YOU AND I" Will Be A Team "FOREVER"