Thursday, July 24, 2014


I realized the other day I'd be out of commission on August 5th, which is when the state's primary election will be held.  At first I was upset that I'd miss it, but then I realized I could vote by absentee ballot

The last time I voted absentee I'd planned far enough in advance to have the ballot mailed to me.   This time, since I was short on time, I'd have to cast a ballot in person at the Board of Election Commissioners.  After work today instead of going straight home I drove the opposite direction to the Board's office, which is located in a large office park.  Signs directed me to the correct building, and an even larger sign pointed the way towards the door.

I walked in and stood in a short line of people waiting to do the same thing.  When I got up to the desk I had to show my driver's license and fill out a form with my contact information, the reason I couldn't get to the polls on Election Day, and my party preference. (In Missouri primary elections you have to state a party; the choices were Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Constitution, or Non-Partisan.)  The clerk pulled up my specific precinct information and wrote it on the form, then handed the form back to me and directed me through a gate where I waited for the next available voting machine.

The polling clerk entered my information into the machine so I could get the correct ballot, then left me to make my selections.   After I voted I followed the Exit signs and found myself back outside.  The whole process took about 15 minutes. I walked back to my car feeling good about doing my civic duty.

Five years ago today: Sound Off

Monday, July 21, 2014

Never A Dull Day At The Mall

For the first three hours of my shift at the mall Customer Service desk today I could easily have been replaced by a large directory and automated directions to the nearest restroom.  Just when I thought the day would be completely boring and mundane, the last part of my shift was filled with a series of unexpected events:
  • First a woman came up to the desk with her school-age son to report the boy's shoe had gotten stuck in an escalator and one of his big toes was bleeding.  I called Security, which came to clean and bandage the toe and take a report from the boy's mother.
  • Not long after Security finished with the first issue, a man came and told me about another problem.  He was with his family in a nearby seating area when a group of girls on the second level began throwing french fries through the railing at them.  Two of the fries hit him on the shoulder.  Once again I called Security, this time to send an officer to where the girls were misbehaving.
  • Fifteen minutes later the management office called to tell me one of the store managers was in a tizzy over a maintenance issue.  If she called or stopped by the desk I was to direct her to the office and let them handle it.  (Thankfully, I she didn't.)
Five years ago today: Put A Shine On It

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Compost Critter Control

We have a recycled plastic compost bin next to the deck in the back yard.  It's about three feet tall with a snug fitting, sturdy lid.  The domed lid has a hinged door on both sides, but if you're not careful raising the door panel the plastic hinges come unseated.  I think it's easier to lift the whole lid off when I'm adding scraps.   A couple of times in the past few weeks when I've gone out after breakfast to throw coffee grounds in the bin I noticed the lid laying on the grass.  The first time I attributed it to Son Donald forgetting to put the lid back on. The second time we'd had a strong storm the night before; I figured the lid had been crooked and the wind blew it off.

Yesterday Hubby Tony organized an event that provided catered bag lunches.  He ordered a few extra in case people signed up at the last minute (no one did), so when it was over he brought home two bags that contained chicken salad sandwich meals. We decided to eat them for dinner, but hours later the buns were soggy and unappealing. We transferred the chicken salad to a bed of fresh spinach. After dinner I tossed the soggy buns into the compost bin.

This morning the bin lid was once again laying on the grass. When I looked inside the buns were gone. Something had visited our back yard and helped themselves to a snack!  Whatever the critter was, it had to be big enough to reach up and knock the lid off, then strong enough to climb inside and get back out. I'm guessing it was a raccoon or an opossum.

I didn't put anything other than coffee grounds in the bin today, so I can't imagine a critter would find anything appealing.  Just in case they were tempted to check it out again tonight, though, I added a large layer of shredded paper on top of everything else. Think they'll get the message they're not welcome?

Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Tale Of Two Pairs Of Glasses

I've been nearsighted since I was in elementary school. I started out wearing glasses, switched over to contact lenses in my teens, and back to glasses about fifteen years ago.  Several years ago when it started getting hard to read small print I got progressive lenses which took care of both my far vision and near vision issues.

Recently I've been noticing my vision wasn't as crisp as it used to be, so I made an appointment to visit the optometrist.   I wasn't surprised when he told me both lens portions needed to be changed.  I've had my glasses for a couple of years, so I decided to treat myself to new frames, too.  On Tuesday they called to tell me the glasses were in.  I stopped by the office Wednesday to pick them up.

I think the new frames look quite different.  When I went to work on Thursday I thought someone would notice and comment.  Much to my surprise no one did.  Nor did anyone on Friday or today. What do you think?

The new pair:

The old pair:

Five years ago today: The Same But Different

Friday, July 18, 2014


One night several weeks ago Hubby Tony and I were in the family room, whee he was watching a Cardinals game on TV and I was giving the game half of my attention and surfing the Web.  At one point I came across an article about secret shopping.  I have no idea why (maybe because I like the challenge of trying new things?), but I followed the links in the article and eventually signed up to be a shopper.

 I recently completed my first assignment, evaluating a store a couple of miles from my house.  The secret shopping company gave me a scenario to follow.   I had to go into a specific department of the store and ask an associate to recommend a product based on information I provided.   Next I had to ask if the store carried a particular brand (which I knew in advance they didn't) and see what they said.  Before I left, they asked me to make a purchase and evaluate the checkout procedure.  When I was done I came home and filled out a report about my experience.

 Somewhere down the line I'll get paid a small amount and be reimbursed for my purchase.  I certainly wouldn't get rich doing secret shopping, but it was a lot of fun.

Five years ago today: In A Pickle

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Blond MEN Jokes

From a friend:

A friend told the blond man: "Christmas is on a Friday this year."
The blond man then said, "Let's hope it's not the 13th."

Two blond men find three grenades, and they decide to take them to a police station.
One asked: "What if one explodes before we get there?"
The other says: "We'll lie and say we only found two."

A woman phoned her blonde neighbor man and said: "Close your curtains the next time you and your wife are having sex.  The whole street was watching and laughing at you yesterday."
To which the blonde man replied: "Well the joke's on all of you because I wasn't even at home yesterday."

A blonde man is in the bathroom and his wife shouts: "Did you find the shampoo?"
He answers, "Yes, but I'm not sure what to do... it's for dry hair, and I've just wet mine."

A blonde man goes to the vet with his goldfish.
"I think it's got epilepsy," he tells the vet.
The vet takes a look and says, "It seems calm enough to me."
The blonde man says, "Wait, I haven't taken it out of the bowl yet."

A blond man spies a letter lying on his doormat.
It says on the envelope "DO NOT BEND ".
He spends the next 2 hours trying to figure out how to pick it up.

A blond man shouts frantically into the phone
"My wife is pregnant and her contractions are only two minutes apart!"
"Is this her first child?" asks the Doctor.
"No!" he shouts, "this is her husband!"

A blonde man was driving home, drunk as a skunk. Suddenly he has to swerve to avoid a tree, then another, then another.
A cop car pulls him over, so he tells the cop about all the trees in the road.
The cop says, "That's your air freshener swinging about!"

An Italian tourist asks a blonde man: "Why do Scuba divers always fall backwards off their boats?" To which the blonde man replies: "If they fell forward, they'd still be in the boat."

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Missing Mall Walker

During the three years I've worked at the mall Customer Service desk I've become friendly with many of the regular mall walkers. The majority of them are older, retired folks that don't have job commitments, so they're able to come to the mall every day for their exercise. Most of them just smile, but a few say hello as they breeze by me at the desk. A couple even stop and talk on a regular basis.

For more than a year I conversed almost every day (and sometimes more than once) with a 70-something retired professional man. I learned quite a bit about his childhood, schooling, and work life, but what he really liked to talk about was current events. Some of his opinions were on the verge of being offensive, but I have thick skin and let them roll off my back.  For the most part, he'd repeat the same ideas every day. However every once in a while I'd hear a fascinating story from years gone by that made up for the monotony. He only talked with me and the Boss; none of the other people who work at the desk were 'lucky' enough to command his attention.

Sometime in early February of this year the man disappeared, and after a while the Boss and I began to be concerned.  However, one day last month he reappeared. I was happy to see him, and gave him a hearty hello.  He looked at me like he'd never seen me before, then sat down in the chairs closest to the desk.  It looked like he was thinking things over. Eventually he came over to me and asked me my name. We'd only chatted for a few minutes before he turned abruptly and left.

Since that day he doesn't speak with me. If I'm at the desk by myself, the man enquires when Boss will be here as he passes by. At first I was upset by the snub, but after a while I decided it wasn't such a bad thing.  I don't have to have the same conversation day after day, and I don't have to bite my tongue when I hear an outlandish opinion.

Five years ago today: Pretty In Pink

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Working From (Someone Else's) Home

I got a text from Son Brian (who lives in Columbia Missouri) last Tuesday which said they'd had quite a wind storm overnight. There were fallen tree limbs all over the neighborhood, and a house down the street even had a tree fall on the roof. Both his electricity and the Internet were out, which was a problem because he works from home.

When I checked with him later in the week there was still no electricity or Internet, and he'd heard it could be several more days. In the meantime he and Wife Nicole were sleeping in the basement where it was cooler and he was using a combination of store and coffee shop hot spots, the library, and a friend's house to get his work done. Their power came back on Thursday afternoon, but there was still no Internet. Brian said that Nicole had a business trip, flying out of St. Louis Sunday and returning Tuesday. If he drove in with her could he stay at our house?

Of course the answer was YES!  Sunday morning Brian showed up with their dog Yves, and her traveling things. She's been at our house enough that the cats coexist with her, but they still gave her a less than enthusiastic greeting before they went upstairs to nap. Brian also brought a ham for dinner-one of the few things they were able to salvage from their freezer.

It's been great having Brian around. Everyone's gotten to spend quality time with him. My time has been in the morning-yesterday before I went to work and today when I skipped my usual trip to the gym. The 'polar vortex' cold front came through yesterday and this morning it was cool and comfortable. Brian took a break from work so he and I could take a walk.

It's amazing how fast the time flew. When I left for work today I knew Brian would be gone when I got home. The cats will be happy to have the whole house to themselves again. The rest of us-not so happy.

Five years ago today: Use It Or Lose It...

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Stop The Itching?

This evening I spent about 10 minutes outside pulling weeds. By time I was finished I had three mosquito bites--one on my leg and two on my arm.  Remembering a tip several people have recently told me about, I decided to test out the idea that putting a hot spoon on a mosquito bite would break down the proteins that cause it to itch.

I gathered my equipment--a ceramic coffee cup and a metal spoon.  I filled the cup with water and heated it in the microwave, then submerged the spoon in it for 30 seconds.  Next I applied the spoon to the bite on my arm (and quickly discovered the spoon was HOT).  After 20 seconds I removed the spoon.  My arm no longer itched, but after the discomfort of the hot spoon wore off, the itching quickly returned.

I didn't try a second time.  Instead, I covered the bite with calamine lotion.  The itch went away.

Five years ago today: Facebook Friends

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Praying For Soccer?

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is from Germany.   Pope Francis is from Argentina.  Tomorrow their two countries are competing in the World Cup final.   Do you really think they're praying to win?

Five years ago today: Baseball Is Everywhere