Saturday, April 25, 2015

It All Depends On How You Look At It

A research team proceeded towards the apex of a natural geologic protuberance, the purpose of their expedition being the procurement of a sample of fluid hydride of oxygen in a large vessel, the exact size of which was unspecified.

One member of the team precipitously descended, sustaining severe damage to the upper cranial structure; subsequently the second member of the team performed a self-rotational translation oriented in the same direction taken by the first team member.



It will be a while before Jack and Jill head up that hill for a pail of water again.

Five years ago today: Memories

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Stats And Pageviews

I always think it's interesting to see what my blog's up to, readership-wise.  Most times when I check, the pageviews look something like this:


Small potatoes for a professional blogger, but I'm satisfied with it.  Yesterday when I logged in I was saddened to see that the graph was almost a flat line.  I wondered what had happened to my readers until I looked at the vertical axis:


On April 14th the pageviews had increased ten-fold! 

I tried to find out where all those views came from, but Blogger was no help.  The statistics options are Today, Yesterday, and Last Month.  I guess I'll never know if it was one person who read massive amounts of my blog, or multitudes of people who stopped in for a short visit.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Earth Day 2015

Today, of course, is Earth Day, which is celebrated around the world on April 22.  In honor of the day the Google home page had a link to a cute "What Animal Are You?" quiz.  When I took it I found out I'm a honey bee, who is naturally a hard worker that still takes time to stop and pollinate the flowers.

Google

Although I didn't have Earth Day in mind when I planned my day's activities, it turns out that I did two things that could be categorized as eco-friendly.

The first was getting my air conditioner units serviced so they worked as efficiently as possible.  For several years I've had my heating and air conditioning units maintained by a local HVAC company.  I like dealing with this company because the people who answer the phone in the office are always friendly, and the technicians are always on time, polite, and professional.  When I called to make the appointment, the scheduler mentioned that in addition to the routine maintenance I could also have testing done to evaluate the system’s operating efficiency. As an incentive, the electric company would send me a rebate that would cover most of the cost of the test, so our out of pocket costs would be minimal.  I agreed to have the technician do both things.

Our house has two systems, one for the upstairs and one for the main level.  When the technician arrived, he explained he'd have to drill holes in each of the flues to insert his testing equipment, but he'd cap the holes when he was done.  I had to turn on the air conditioners and dial the thermostats down far enough for them to kick on and stay on.  (The outside temperature was not quite 60, so the air conditioner was set for a couple of degrees lower than that.  The house quickly got chilly!)  It took about an hour for everything to get checked and serviced.  The technician had me fill out a rebate form, which the office would mail in.

The second ecologically responsible thing has been a very long time coming.  Last week I bought a replacement for our deep freezer, and it was delivered today.

We've had our large deep freezer for decades.   Every year about this time I hear that new models are much more energy efficient than old ones, but under the theory of 'if it's not broke, don't spend money on it" I never got a new one, so we kept chugging along with what we had.  However, now that there's fewer people in the house we don't need as much capacity.  The experts say that for the best energy efficiency a freezer should be at least two-thirds full. Ours was nowhere close to that, even when I began storing our Costco-sized bags of flour and rice.

This morning I took everything out of the old deep freeze and brought it upstairs, where I had trouble fitting everything into the refrigerator's freezer.  (Two packages of chicken thighs would not fit, so they begame dinner.)  Right after the HVAC technician finished in the house, the appliance delivers came in.  They set the freezer in its place, plugged it in, and told me I should wait eight hours to stock it.  The cubic footage of the new freezer is about half of the old one.  It has an interior light and a pull-out drawer at the bottom.  I can already tell it's going to be much better, size-wise.

Five years ago today: Earth Song

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Busy, Busy, Busy

Yesterday I had a jam-packed day, with a lot of things on my To Do list.  One of them was a stop at the mall where I used to work.  The store I was going to was at one far end of the building, very close to an entrance door.  I figured I could get in quickly, do my business, and get out.  I allowed fifteen minutes for the whole thing.

The first part of my plan worked like a charm.  I found a convenient parking space and hustled into the building.  I was almost to my destination when I looked up and saw some familiar faces.  Two of the regular mall walkers that used to stop and visit with me at the Customer Service desk were coming towards me from the other direction.

What to do?  These woman are very nice, but like to talk a lot. I knew that if I stopped to chat it would be at least 15 minutes before I could pull away, and I didn't have that kind of flexibility in my schedule. I was already going to have trouble getting everything done. Fortunately they were so busy talking they didn't see me and I was able to quickly turn the corner and into the store.

Maybe someday soon I'll make plans to be at the mall during prime mall walker time and see if I can find all the people who used to be a regular part of my life.

Five years ago today: Cloudy

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Time Marches On

Five years ago I was dismayed to hear the music that was popular when I was in high school on the oldies station.  It  took me a while, but I eventually gotten used to it. 

I don't listen to much commercial radio (preferring a volunteer-based community radio station that plays a wide variety of music), but "Oldies Radio" is one of the presets in my car.  When I tune it in (if there's not a commercial playing) I always know the song and can sing along.  Another time we're likely to turn on the station is on Sunday afternoon.  During the time Hubby Tony is cooking dinner, the community station has a two-hour show that features Eastern European tunes.  When the rhythm and melodies get too exotic for his tastes he'll flip it over, where it will stay until someone remembers to turn it back.

Tonight as I was listening to the familiar tunes of my teenage years I noticed a disturbing trend.  The station's modified their range. They've dropped a lot of the tunes from the early 70s and replaced them with tunes from the early 80s.  As a matter of fact, their tagline is now "the greatest hits of the 70s and 80s".  Prince fits in the category, as does Cyndi Lauper and  Culture Club.  Madonna makes an occasional appearance, and you're liable to hear at least one power ballad every hour.

I guess eventually 'my' music will fade away.  Since the station plays only the biggest hits I wonder if I'll still be familiar with their songs 20 years from now?

Friday, April 17, 2015

A Friday Funny

Today I spent most of the afternoon helping set up for our parish auction, which takes place tomorrow night.  According to my phone app I logged almost 12,000 steps today, and now I'm so tired all I want to do it sit on the couch.  However, while I'm vegging out I thought I'd share a funny from a friend:
A girl was visiting her blonde friend who had acquired two new dogs, and asked her what their names were.

The blonde responded by saying that one was named Rolex and one was named Timex.

Her friend said, "Whoever heard of someone naming dogs like that?"

"Whatevverrrrr," answered the blonde. "They're watch dogs!"
Five years ago today: I Love A Parade

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Slow No More

A couple of days ago I realized that both the kitchen desktop computer and my laptop were running verrrry slow. 

The slowdown had been gradual, but it eventually became obvious.  Sometimes things performed better than others.  For example, I'd be typing along just fine, then all of a sudden I was a whole sentence ahead of what was showing on the screen; I'd have to stop and wait until it caught up.  The optical mouse on my desktop seemed to have a mind of its own.  Instead of working smoothly, it jerked.  I'd scroll down, then have to wait for the cursor to move.  The last straw came yesterday afternoon  when I had to submit a job report. The report itself was mainly yes/no check boxes, but I also had to upload18 photos. It took me almost two hours to finish it!

Last night I did a thorough spring cleaning of both computers.  Even though I always keep my virus software up to date I checked again to make sure it was.  I ran the disk cleanup utility and made sure all my browser plugins were up to date.  I deleted a couple of old programs I didn't need any more (and had forgotten was there).  Thankfully, that took care of the issues.  Now both computers are humming along.


Five years ago today: Can You Believe It?

Sunday, April 12, 2015

"Vegi" Mélange

Last time I was at the Middle Eastern market near my house I found this "Vegi Soup Mix" in the bean aisle:


I'm always on the lookout for new and simple dinner ideas, so I took a look at the package ingredients....yellow split peas, green split peas, pearled barley, and long grain rice.   On top of being healthy, the package didn't cost much, so I threw it into my basket.  I'll try anything once.

The next gloomy day I decided to cook the mix for a hearty dinner.  There was a recipe on the back of the package which called for adding water, bouillon cubes, chopped onion, salt, and pepper to the soup mix. Knowing that bouillon cubes would make the soup too salty for my taste, I decided to use stock instead.  Unfortunately, when I looked in the freezer I discovered there was only one jar.  I had to add additional water to have enough liquid.  I also threw in chopped garlic, a couple of stalks of celery that needed to be used, and a large handful of dry parsley.

The soup simmered on the stove for about an hour.  As it cooked a wonderful aroma spread through the kitchen.  I was a little disappointed with the monochromatic look of the finished product, but a garnish of chopped tomatoes gave it some color.


This vegi soup was very tasty.  The barley's chewy pasta-like consistency was a nice contrast to the softer split peas, and the rice and barley starch gave the soup a creamy texture.  The bag made enough for two night's dinners, with more poured into plastic containers and put into the freezer for meals down the line.

Five years ago today: If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em

Saturday, April 11, 2015

A Perfect Saturday Afternoon

A seat on the comfy family room couch.  A pile of reading material.  A napping cat. What more can you ask for?


Five years ago today: Jerked

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Commonplace

Do you ever feel like you're using the same words over and over?  Perhaps you are.  According to Dictionary.com, the most commonly used words in English, ranked in frequency order, are:
the, of, and, a, to, in, is, you, that, it, he, was, for, on, are, as, with, his, they, I, at, be, this, have, from, or, one, had, by, word, but, not, what, all, were, we, when, your, can, said, there, use, an, each, which, she, do, how, their, if, will, up, there, about, out, many, then, them, these, so, some, her, would, make, like, him, into, time, has, look, two, more, write, go, see, number, no, way, could, people, my, than, first, water, been, call, who, oil, its, now, find, long, down, day, did, get, come, made, may, part.
How many of these do you use regularly?