Saturday, November 10, 2018

Floating And Flashing

Over the past few months I've had floaters moving through my field of vision. I didn't think too much about them, since at my last visit the optomotrist gave my eyes a clean bill of health. However, this morning I got concerned when I had large flashes of light that obscured my vision and lasted for about 15 minutes. (Mainly because last month my neighbor told me about his experience with a detached retina that had started with light flashes.)

I anxiously watched the clock until it was time for the optometrist's office to open. When I described my symptoms they told me to come in immediately. I did.

The doctor dilated and examined my eyes, then said he didn't see any problems. He said he thought the issue might have been an ocular migraine, but said I was smart to have it checked out. Since it was a sunny day, on the way out of the office I got some plastic dilation shades to slip behind my glasses. I ran my errands looking like this:

Five years ago today: In Breaking News...

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Arcane Ancestry

I'm sure you know Vincent van Gogh, the famous Dutch painter. He came from a large family, but after much careful research it's also been discovered that there were quite a few lesser relatives you may not know about. Among them were:
  • His dizzy aunt: Verti Gogh
  • The brother who worked at a convenience store: Stop'n Gogh
  • The brother who ate prunes: Gotta Gogh
  • The constipated uncle Can’t Gogh
  • The cousin from Illinois: Chica Gogh
  • His magician uncle: Wherediddy Gogh
  • The brother with low back pain: Lum Bay Gogh
  • His Mexican cousin: Amee Gogh
  • The Mexican cousin's American half-brother: Grin Gogh
  • The nephew who drove a stage coach: Wells Far Gogh
  • The ballroom dancing aunt: Tan Gogh
  • The bird lover uncle: Flamin Gogh
  • His nephew psychoanalyst: E Gogh
  • The fruit loving cousin: Man Gogh
  • The aunt who taught positive thinking: Way to Gogh
  • The little bouncy nephew: Poe Gogh
  • The sister who loved disco: Go Gogh
  • The niece who travels the country in a van: Winnie Bay Gogh
Ha! Caught you smiling at some of these. There ya Gogh.

Five years ago today: Pumpkin Butter

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The End Is Here

After the polls close today the United States 2018 Election Season is over. Thank goodness!

Our state had hotly-contested national, state, and local races, along with multiple state and local amendments and propositions. The radio and TV ads started more than six months ago. At first they were sporadic, but as Voting Day got closer they became almost nonstop. Three weeks ago large glossy political post cards started showing up in the mailbox. I threw the first few straight into the recycling drawer, but I was curious just how many we would receive and two weeks ago I started stacking them on the kitchen island.

After I voted today I came home and counted and recycled all of them--there were more than 30. Most were for specific candidates, but there was also a handful for local propositions and "dark money" scare tactic groups. The most unique was hand-written postcard from a volunteer asking us to vote for our incumbent Congressman. Over the weekend and yesterday we got some 'get out the vote' cards, including one that compared Hubby Tony's voting history with some of our neighbors. (Interestingly, I also vote in every election and did not receive anything.)

Tonight the local TV stations will suspend their regular programming to offer a steady stream of election analysis.  I'm not planning on watching much of it, but when I do it will be satisfying to know there won't be any political ads during the commercial breaks.

Five years ago today: Bogus Birds

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Don't Let The Bedbugs Bite

This weekend I attended the twice-yearly business meeting of a group I belong to.  These meetings, and some other group activities, are always held at the same hotel in the middle of the state. One of the topics on the meeting agenda was some issues the group has had with the hotel, including dissatisfaction with its upkeep. However, this morning when someone reported getting bed bug bites the group went into crisis mode and there was a long discussion of our options.
The room I stayed in had two beds. Both my roommate and I had slept in those beds for two nights with no issues, so we were pretty confident that the room didn't have an infestation. However, we still went ahead and stripped both beds (including the pillow cases) looking for evidence. We also looked behind the box springs and the night stand. There were no signs. However, in my haste to get in and get situated on Friday evening I had stored my suitcase on the floor, with all of my belongings inside of it. Not a good move.

During the whole drive home I felt itchy and uncomfortable. When I arrived (even though it would be extremely unlikely that a bed bug would be on the clothes I was wearing) I couldn't wait to get inside and change into clean clothes. I dumped them straight into the washer, along with my coat and all of my dirty items from the suitcase. When the load got done it went into the dryer.

I put everything else that had been in the suitcase in the deep freezer, where it will stay for the next four days. Until I figure out the best way to insure it's clean the suitcase will stay in the garage. Better to be safe than sorry.

Five years ago today: Pumpkin, Pumpkin...Who's Got The Pumpkin?

Wednesday, October 31, 2018


At the beginning of my class at the gym today the instructor said that in honor of Halloween we were going to warm up an unusual body part. Then she played this song and invited us to snap along:

Five years ago today: Hallowe'en

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

On the Road Again

Last night Hubby Tony and returned home from a quick (five day) road trip to Dallas Texas to visit Son Tony and DIL-to-be Ie.  Instead of taking the most efficient route on the way there, we detoured through Little Rock Arkansas and Shreveport Louisiana. Here are a few highlights:

The Flying Fish Restaurant in Little Rock collects Billy Bass animatronic plaques. (They also have great food. This is where I got the tasty fried fish dinner)

In Little Rock we stayed in a compact 269 square foot residence, appropriately named The Tiny House.

After we left Little Rock we drove to Shreveport, where we visited the Louisiana State Fair. 

On Saturday Tony and Ie took us to a Japanese grocery store, where we bought food to make a great dinner in their condo.

On Sunday night I went to my first-ever NBA game.  The Dallas Mavericks were playing the Utah Jazz. It was Breast Cancer Awareness night, and there were pink rally towels draped over the back of every seat.

Five years ago today: Love Your Cats

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Good Grease!

The National Today website told me that today was National Greasy Food Day. I didn't need any encouragement to celebrate.

Tonight's dinner
Five years ago today: Processing Pomegranate

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A Real Pain In The Heel

Around here the best time to try to grow a new yard is in the fall. The renovation season runs from late August to mid-October, but early September is the ideal time. The soil is still warm, the temperatures have cooled off, and the precipitation picks up. Usually. This year we had the yard aerated and overseeded the first week of September . That was right before weeks of record setting high temperatures and below average precipitation. We watered the seed multiple times a day, but the only places it sprouted were the parts of the yard that don't get much sun (and where, based on past experience, it will eventually die off).

Not only did the seed not germinate, but some more of our established grass also died. St Louis is a hard place to have a nice lawn. It's too cold in the winter for warm-season grasses, and too hot in the summer weather for cold-season varieties.  Hubby Tony and I aren't lawn perfectionists, but big bare brown patches wasn't really the look we were going for. I figured we'd have to live with the damage and try again next year.

Last week I saw our neighbor having seed put down. I contacted our company to see if there was anything they could do for us. They told me it takes 6-8 weeks for grass to grow strong enough roots to survive the winter (and there's not enough growing time left for that) but they came out two days later and spread a new layer of seed on the yard anyway.

Since then we've made sure the seed stays damp by sprinkling the lawn every day. That involves running the sprinkler for 10-15 minutes in each section. Tony did it over the weekend, and I've been in charge of the project for the past few days. I start the water, set the timer on my cell phone, and go back into the house. I didn't want to track dirt in on each trip, and the easiest way to solve the problem was to take my house shoes off and go barefoot outside. When I came in I could slide my flip flops back on quickly.

That worked well until today. Even though the top layer of the yard was wet, the clay soil was still hard, and the impact was making my heel right twinge. Several years ago I had some minor plantar fasciitis in my right foot and have no desire to revisit the problem. Before the pain got worse I grabbed a golf ball and performed the golf ball trick my chiropractor taught me, rolling the ball from the base of my toes all the way down to my heel, applying as much pressure as I could stand.

I'm happy to announce that the golf ball trick did indeed help. I'll repeat the procedure again before I go to bed tonight and hope that takes care of the remaining issues. It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so I'll let Mother Nature be in charge of watering.

Five years ago today: Disappearing Act

Sunday, October 21, 2018

As Good A Reason As Any

I read in the newspaper today that the developer of the Little Free Library, Todd Bol, died from pancreatic cancer several days ago. In his honor, tonight when Hubby Tony and I were out walking after dinner I stopped at the Library at a house several blocks away from ours.

This location always has a nice selection of genres to choose from. Today that included Romance, Mystery, Thriller, and Science Fiction novels, volumes about Spirituality, Health, History, and Religion, a couple of Biographies, and a handful of Young Adult books.

By this point in the day the sun was going down and it was starting to feel a little chilly. When I left the house I wrapped a scarf around my neck and put on a fleece jacket, but could also have used some gloves. I solved the cold hands problem by pulling the jacket's sleeves down to keep them warm.

After looking all the books over I had it narrowed down to two, then chose the one that was small enough to fit into my jacket pocket. That way I wouldn't have to expose my hand to carry it.

Five years ago today: Why Me?

Friday, October 19, 2018

Laugh Out Loud

This afternoon I was cleaning up a pile of papers on my desk and came across this great list of 25 Reasons You Need To Laugh Out Loud Often someone had given me. Did you know that laughter:
  • Eases and relaxes muscle tension
  • Reduces the level of stress hormones in the body
  • Increases HGH
  • Reduces the risk of heart disease
  • Improves blood flow
  • Helps your heart
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Helps you heal faster
  • Helps lower blood sugar levels
  • Helps improve sleep
  • Helps people improve their coping skills
  • Helps people in managing pain
  • Is a form of physical exercise
  • Makes you more attractive
  • Helps reduce aggression
  • Energizes your organs
  • Facilitates digestion
  • Helps people save as much as 30% on their medical expenses
  • Helps you breathe easier
  • Improves self-image
  • Encourages creativity
  • Increases your lifespan
  • Helps improve a person’s productivity
  • Improves relationships
  • Keeps you looking young
That's a whole lot of benefits for something that's just plain fun.  Try it and see what happens.

Five years ago today: Future Chefs Meal