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.

Bedbugs.org
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

Snap!

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Time For Reading

I feel like there's a lot of blog hopping and cross pollination out there, so you may already know this, but earlier in the week Victor S E Moubarak of the blog Time For Reflections posted that he had just released the book Take Care Of My Sheep, a collection of short stories starring Father Ignatius, a priest living in an unnamed northern English town in the 1950s and early 1960s.

I'm not in book buying mode right now (we're battling mildew on the bookshelves in the basement again, so I'm actually purging), but I enjoyed the sample story Victor included in his post. I clicked over to the Amazon link, found out that the book came in hard copy and (VERY INEXPENSIVE) Kindle versions. I'm now the proud owner of a new e-book.

The book is a fast read. Some of the stories are more overtly religious than others, referring to specific Catholic practices. However, others are just heartwarmingly sweet. I suggest you check it out.

Five years ago today: STUPID!

Monday, October 15, 2018

Free To A Good Home

Last Monday the high temperature was 20 degrees above average. A cold front came through and we had one day of beautiful autumn weather, then the temperatures continued to fall. Yesterday it was 20 degrees below average. There's a frost advisory tonight.

Although I'm hopeful that the temperatures will pop back up to close to the 70° average before getting permanently cold, the advisory was a wake-up call to get the house plants inside.  Most of them are tropicals that summer outside on the deck, and they do not take kindly to chills.

I tackled the project today. Unlike two years ago, this time there were no living surprises in the pots. Most everything made it to a permanent winter home (except for the pots of mother-in-law tongue and ginger, which are temporarily in the master bathtub).  I ran out of time and energy before I got around to the pots of herbs, but I shoved them up against the house. They should be fine

Every spring I divide the plants, so every fall I end up with extras.   This year that included several spider plants--a hanging basket, a six inch pot, and a small pot of plantlets that fell off the main plant today that got potted up. There was also a philodendron that went to town outside, growing stems that were easily three feet long. 

What to do with them? I had planned on donating everything to the church's Fall Festival Country Store, but this year they didn't have that booth. The cats would nibble on the plants if I left them around the house (and then get sick), so I needed to get them out of the house. This afternoon I offered everything up to my Facebook friends. If there are no takers, tomorrow I'll post them on Freecycle. Based on past experience they should get snapped up.

Free to a good home
Five years ago today: Red Light, Green Light

Friday, October 12, 2018

New Shoe Blues

Over the summer I bought two pairs of shoes for fall. Both pairs fit well in the store. Both pairs were on clearance. Both pairs were a final sale.

Ready to ramble!
It's finally cooled off enough to think about anything other than sandals and flip flops, so I was excited to start wearing my new shoes. The first time I put on the tan pair they fit like a glove, and took me throughout my busy day with no issues. However, I wasn't so lucky with the grey ones. Even though they were comfortable in the store, in my closet the shoe's tapered toe boxes didn't leave my toes any room to wiggle.  Not good!

I tried walked around the house a couple of times while wearing the shoes, then gave up and changed into tennis shoes. I'm not giving up on them yet, though. Hopefully after a little breaking in they'll be as comfortable as their closet mates.

Five years ago today: Sausage, Anyone?

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Fall Foliage Map

If you live in the United States and like to see the leaves changing at this time of year, you might want to check out the fun interactive Fall Foliage Prediction Map.


The slider bar at the bottom of the map has two-week increments from the end of August through mid-November. Clicking on a date will show you the status of the leaf color in any area of the country.

The map uses historical data and forecast predictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to make an educated guess about peak timing, and according to the website, is "the ultimate visual planning guide to the annual progressive changing of the leaves."

Five years ago today: Presentation Is Everything....

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Time Sure Flies!

Today is Grandson Jay's second birthday.

Last year Hubby Tony and I were there to help celebrate. Son Brian and DIL Nicole have a small house, with room for only one set of guests at a time, so this year the 'other' grandma (Nicole's mom) got that privilege. However, over the weekend Tony and I got to FaceTime with Jay as he opened the package we sent him.

I had a great time at the store picking out two books I thought Jay would enjoy. One had artistic, attention-getting colorful illustrations. The other featured trucks...dump trucks, bulldozers, excavators, cement mixers, cranes, and haulers. I figured I knew which one would his favorite, and I was right.
(During our our last visit we found out that Jay was truck crazy. His favorite sticker books featured the big vehicles. In the car pointed out every one we passed on the road. At home, he would run to the window every time he heard the trash truck go by.)
As we wrapped up the call I heard Jay flipping through the pages of the book, excitedly pointing out the trucks on every page. I suspect that if he has his way that book will be in regular rotation at his house for quite some time.

Clip Art Extras
Five years ago today: Presentation Is Everything....

Monday, October 8, 2018

Famous In Their Field

Hubby Tony was off work today. I had a lunch assignment to do. I invited him to come with me, and we made a day out of it. Our first stop was the pharmacy to get flu shots. Next, because the weather was still abnormally hot and humid (with a forecast in the upper 80s Fahrenheit) we went to the mall I used to work at and walked several laps. After that got boring Tony suggested we drive to the area by the restaurant and walk around there. We found out it wasn't too bad as long as you stayed in the shade, and the Central West End area has a lot of mature trees.

As we were walking I suggested popping into the World Chess Hall of Fame.  It's been there since 2011. We've walked by it many times, but had never gone in until a couple of months ago, when I spent some time checking out the merchandise in the gift shop. Tony agreed that it sounded like a fun thing to do.

It's hard to miss the Hall of Fame building, as it has the World's Largest Chess Piece (according to Guinness) standing out front:
World's largest chess piece (2018)

There's also a very big chess board painted on the ground next to the chess piece, with pieces so large you have to pick them up with both hands.  Tony and I  started in the gift shop browsing through the dozens of types of chess sets and other chess-related merchandise. When we heard the receptionist tell another group of visitors the museum was free to visit we decided to take a look ourselves.

The Hall of Fame is in a three story building. The first and second floors each have an art gallery. Today the main level held an exhibition of mixed media panels. The second level had a display of Harry Benson photographs, including a series he had taken of Bobby Fischer in the 1970s, ones he had taken at this year's Sinquefield Cup (which is an international chess tournament that's held at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis across the street from the Hall of Fame), and a selection of photos of celebrities, presidents, and royals.

I'm not a chess player, and the Hall of Fame on the third floor was (to me) the least interesting part. However, if you knew a lot about the game I can see where it would be very inspirational. The room had plaques for each of the members of the U.S. and World Halls of Fame, and there were many artifacts and trophies on display. Tony and I were the only ones in there, and there was a knowledgeable docent that was able to answer all of my questions.

After looking around the whole building we realized we were hungry and decided to head to lunch. Once outside I looked at the chess board and thought someday I might come back and see if I could figure it out.

Five years ago today: Gratitude In All Things

Sunday, October 7, 2018

On The Level

For several months there's been a visible void underneath the right side of our front porch. One day I noticed a critter running into the hole, and Hubby Tony and I put the problem on the "we'll get around to fixing it someday" list. Then we noticed that the walkway leading up to the porch was cracking and one of the slabs was sinking, and the problem moved up a little bit on the "someday" list. However, the day I tripped and almost fell on the uneven walkway the project rose to the top of the list.

Years ago we had porch mudjacked. The contractors drilled holes in the porch, then poured in a concrete slurry which was supposed to support it. That worked for a while, but eventually most of the slurry washed out from under the porch and down the incline on the side of the house. Based on that past bad experience I started looking around for other solutions to our problem.

About that time we got a packet of direct mail coupons. Included was one for a company that did polyjacking. I did some research, and found out the process used expanding polyurethane foam instead of a slurry to lift up concrete. After checking out the company's credentials we signed a contract to have them do the work.

The technician came out this week. I was not able to watch his progress closely, but I understand it looked something like this:


Now our porch and walkway are nice and level. The void is filled and no critters will be able to hang out in there. I hope that this is the last time we have to deal with this issue.

Five years ago today: What's In Your Bin?

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Trucking


Somebody more in the know than me pointed out that today (October 4th) is National Trucker's Day. And, in honor of the shortened 10/4 date, it's also National CB Radio Day.

In recognition of the days, here's a classic song, and the trailer from the 1978 movie that was made from it.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Will Summer EVER Go Away?

The chart from today's paper says it all:

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
For the foreseeable future the temperatures here will be well above average.  What a drag!

A little over a week ago things cooled off, and I thought we'd seen the last of Summer. I opened opened up the house, and enjoyed the series of warm days and brisk evenings. Thinking that Fall was here to stay, I got one of my two bins of winter clothes down from its shelf in the closet. I never found the time to empty it, though, and on Sunday I put it back on the shelf (since I won't need those clothes for a while).

As you can tell from the chart, things have been heating up for a couple of days. Yesterday the middle of the afternoon was a tad uncomfortable, but by bedtime there was enough of a breeze to make things bearable. I enjoyed one more night of falling asleep and waking up to the sounds of nature.

This morning it was still nice, and I thought that maybe 'they' had gotten the forecast wrong. However, by lunchtime it was sultry in the house. The woodwork felt sticky from the humidity, and since I knew the temperatures would only get worse I closed up the house and turned the air conditioner back on. I know the mini heat wave is only temporary, but it's cramping my style.  In this area October is supposed to be about hikes, hayrides, hoodies, and hot cider.  Not shorts and sandals. 

Five years ago today: Mall Miscellany

Sunday, September 30, 2018

A Ten Dollar Word

Tonight I was sitting on the couch using my laptop, and Pepper the cat was laying on the couch next to me. All of a sudden I heard some loud rumblings coming from his general area and realized that it was his stomach gurgling!  I've never heard that happen before.


Pepper seemed to be a little embarrassed by all of the din coming from his body.  He jumped down from the couch and walked to the other side of the room, where he plopped down on the floor and glared at me.

Because I could, I immediately opened up a new browser tab and searched for "cat stomach gurgling". The first result of my search was the article Gurgling Sound in Cat's Stomach at Animalwised.  There I learned that the medical name for the sound was borborygmus.  That was actually more interesting to me than the actual causes of the problem, which could be anything from eating too fast to digestive tract disorders or inflammatory bowel disease.

Dictionary.com told me that, should I want to use the word in my next conversation, it was pronounced [bawr-buh-rig-muh s]. That's quite a mouthful.

Five years ago today: Cover Me

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Bountiful Biscuits

Hubby Tony was gone again today, attending a planning meeting for next month's prison retreat. Just like I did last time he was away, I made and froze a batch of cookies that he will take with him to the retreat.

Earlier in the week Christine posted a recipe for snickerdoodle cookies that she said was good, so I decided to try it.  The recipe was easy to put together, but it makes a lot of cookies.  (If you're not baking for a large group it might be a good idea to halve it.)  To cut down on washing of cookie sheets between batches I used every sheet that was in the cabinet--even the round pizza pans. By the time I was done the eight dozen cookies were cooling on every rack I owned, and I was even forced to pull out my shabby broiling rack to stack already-cooled ones.

Cookies ready to bag up.
At the end of the project, once again I bagged up the cookies in labeled quart sized Ziploc bags, a dozen to each bag. Now there are an additional eight dozen treats in my freezer ready to "go to prison" when it's time.

Five years ago today: Cats Like Sun, Too

Thursday, September 27, 2018

One Thing Leads To Another....

For the past week or so my scalp has been feeling dry and itchy, and my hair wasn't as shiny as I knew it could be.  Based on past experience I know those are symptoms of shampoo and conditioner build-up, which is easy to fix. After my trip to the gym today I decided to give my scalp an apple cider vinegar (ACV) treatment, which would get strip the gunk off and get everything back to normal. Besides, my gym shirt was sweaty and already needed to go into the laundry, so if it also picked up a vinegar smell it wouldn't matter.

Most things I've read recommend cutting the vinegar with water, but I've had good luck using it straight out of the bottle. I poured some ACV into a measuring cup, carefully dumped it on my scalp, massaged it in well, then let it sit for five minutes before I got into the shower. As I washed my body I could feel the scum rinsing off my my hair and scalp. The treatment had the desired effect...my scalp felt cleaner, and after my hair dried it was fluffy and shiny.

However, my scalp wasn't the only thing that got de-gunked by the apple cider vinegar.  When I looked down at the shower floor, there was a section where some soap scum had also loosened and washed away.
Can you see the clean section?
When I shower I use body wash, which doesn't leave a residue, but Hubby Tony uses bar soap. I really should do a better job of keeping the stall clean, but since I don't see well without my glasses (and of course shower without them) it's easy for me to ignore the grey scum on the brown floor. But today I had free time to tackle the problem, so I gathered my tools and ingredients and got started.

The first step was to douse the shower floor with plain white vinegar. I let that set for ten minutes, then came back with a scrubbing sponge. The sponge only removed some of the scum, so I got the container of baking soda and sprinkled a thick layer over the floor. As the two ingredients fizzed together I spread the paste around and walked away for an additional 15 minutes. This time the scum came up, and I washed it down the drain.

Now the shower floor is nice and clean, which makes the shower walls and glass doors look shabby. My next task will be to get some more vinegar and tackle that project.  Later.

Five years ago today: Operation Dust

Sunday, September 23, 2018

No More Stains

Hubby Tony and I attended a great Couples Retreat this weekend. Each year five couples plan the weekend, and each presents a talk based on their experience. After each talk there are small group discussion sessions. This year's topics were laughter, communication, partnership, getting through adversity as a couple, and spirituality. The schedule also includes time for general socializing, large group activities, and plenty of free time.

The retreat center bedrooms are plain but comfortable. The linens and towels they provide are the standard white hotel variety, but they're fluffy and large enough to completely cover your body. This year there was something new on the towel rack--two black washcloths designated specifically for removing makeup.  I guess the center got tired of replacing stained washcloths.


Five years ago today: Just A Little Creepy

Friday, September 21, 2018

Covering All Of The Clothes Bases

This is the weekend for the couple's retreat Hubby Tony and I have been attending for the past several years, and I'm really looking forward to it. After three years of helping to plan the event I get to go and just be a participant. I'll get to relax, catch up with all of the people I only see at this event, and eat lots of food that's not normally on my diet.

Fortunately, I think our abnormally hot weather is finally breaking. The temperature is down about ten degrees. The humidity is still oppressive, but that's supposed to be gone tomorrow too.  Just in case the weather people are wrong, though, my suitcase is packed like I'm going away for a week. It contains short sleeved/long sleeved shirts/fleece jacket, capris/shorts/jeans, and tennis shoes/sandals/flip flops.
ISL Collective

Five years ago today: Gah-run-teed

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

What Is Your Hourly Rate?

That question is the topic of the website How Much Is Your Spare Time Worth?

The test has six questions about how you would prioritize your time in certain situations. Based on the information, it tells you what the value of one hour of your spare time is. And also provides an advertisement for Finn, a Norwegian classified advertisements company.

I obviously won't be taking the company up on their offer to help me find a painter, carpenter, or gardener, but the test got me thinking about just how much my spare time is worth, and how I can make the most of the time I have.

Five years ago today: Where To Eat?

Monday, September 17, 2018

Go Away, Already!

Summer does not want to leave this year. Two weekends ago we had a cold front come through and I opened up all of the windows. The coolness lasted until the end of the week, when the increasing heat and humidity forced us to close the house up again and turn on the air conditioner.

Since then temperatures during the day are in the mid-90s Fahrenheit, and close to 100 if you factor in the humidity. (As a comparison, the average temperature at this time of year is 80 degrees.) The weather people are promising that there will be a break in the heat this weekend, with temperatures getting back to normal. I hope so.

The past few days I've been walking right after breakfast, while there's still a little coolness in the air.  Today I saw this fairy ring that popped up overnight in a neighbor's yard. 


Five years ago today: No Seedlings Wanted!

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Wanted: Cookies

Back in the spring you might remember that I helped Hubby Tony bake some cookies to donate to a prison retreat.

Tony was invited to serve on the team planning the next retreat, which will take place next month. Each team member is asked to provide 40 dozen homemade cookies to provide a "bottomless bowl" for the weekend, and I told him he could count on me to do some baking.

That's turned out to be easier said than done. The planning meetings take place on Saturdays, and they're an all day commitment. My plan was to bake each time Tony was gone. However, the first time I had an all day meeting of my own, and a family event on the second. Tony is headed back to the area today, but I had several things going on that would keep me from baking during the day.  So I changed my plan and baked a batch last night.

There are very specific requirements you have to follow. The cookies need to be about 2-1/2 inches in diameter and not more than 1/2 inch thick. They cannot have any type of fruit (like raisins), nuts, icing, sugar sprinkles, or any other type of coating on the outside. They have to be packed in a quart sized Zip-Lock bag, with one dozen cookies per bag, and be labeled with the cookie type inside.

Tony told me he had heard through the grapevine that there are always more than enough chocolate chip cookies, so I decided to make something else. He had give me a handout with several recommended recipes. I chose their version of sugar cookies, and after Rhonda of If you do stuff, stuff gets done posted about adding pumpkin pie spice to some cookies she baked I decided to follow suit.  (I think just about everyone is on the pumpkin spice bandwagon at this time of year.)

When I was done there were seven dozen cookies bagged and ready to go in the freezer.  That's a drop in the bucket for what Tony's supposed to provide, but there are two more formation meetings before the retreat actually happens. And, I don't have to do all of them myself. When they put the word out in the church bulletin a lot of people contribute.


Five years ago today: Apple Pear

Thursday, September 13, 2018

The Middle Of The Month

One of the clues in today's crossword puzzle was "Mid-month date". Thanks to William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Julius Caesar I guessed that the answer was Ides (because of the events of the Ides of March). But the clue got me thinking....I didn't know that there was more than one Ides.  Wanting to know more, I turned to timeanddate.com, where I learned about the Calends, Nones, and Ides:
  • The Calends (Kalendae) were the first days of each month. The name is derived from the Greek word meaning to announce. It may have been used to “announce” the day of the New Moon, or the first sliver of the Waxing Crescent Moon.
  • The Ides (Idus) occurred one day before the middle of each month. Depending on the month's length, it fell on the 13th or 15th day. In the lunar calendar, the Ides marked the day of the Full Moon.
  • The Nones (Nonae) fell on the 7th day of 31-day months and on the 5th day of 29-day months, marking the day of the First Quarter Moon.
The whole system sounded confusing to me. I wonder if an ancient Roman were to be transplanted to today if our system of dates would be as baffling to her.

Five years ago today: Thanks For The Information

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Better Than An Exterminator

We get the occasional flying or creeping bug in the house, but they don't last long. Bug Catcher Jackson is always on the prowl for extra protein.

He finds any insect or arachnid incredibly fascinating, especially if they fly or jump around. He follows them around, hunts them down, and then usually eats them.  Now that he's 16 years old he doesn't move as fast as he used to, but as soon as a bug gets near to him they'd better watch out!

Relaxing...and strategizing
Five years ago today: May We Always Remember

Sunday, September 9, 2018

In Lieu Of

LouFest is a big music festival that's been happening in our area every fall since 2010. This year it was scheduled to take place on September 8 and 9. However, just a couple of days ago the event was cancelled. There was some finger pointing back and forth between the organizers and other entities, but in the end the reasons why it wasn't going to happen didn't really matter.

After the cancellation, several of the participants and vendors made their own events. The Wolf, a restaurant and coffee shop near our house organized a "Lieu-Fest" for today. Even though Hubby Tony and I hadn't planned on going to the festival, we decided the alternate event would be a good way to support the artists and vendors that were left in the lurch.

The Wolf
We arrived shortly after the doors opened. There was already music playing (on vinyl albums!) from some of the bands who had been scheduled to appear at the festival. Our plan was to eat dinner there, but since it was a bit early for food we ordered something to drink and found a seat.The restaurant normally closes at 2 pm on Sunday, so we knew that everyone who came in was there to support the cause.

We were there for a couple of hours. In that time no vendors showed up, but the restaurant kitchen had put together a great menu of  'festival food'--appetizers, tacos, brats, and sliders, along with fries, chips, and a cold vegetable salad. We ordered several dishes and shared them half and half. After we ate we sat around for a while and listened to more music before we decided it was time for us to go.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

The Secret Ingredient Is.....

This morning I got ready to make some baked beans to take to a pot luck event and discovered I was out of both ketchup and BBQ sauce. However, I remembered that a while back the Asian market was running a sale on something called "Banana Sauce". Wikipedia had told me that "Banana ketchup or banana sauce is a popular Philippine fruit ketchup condiment made from mashed banana, sugar, vinegar, and spices".  Being a sucker for new food products, I decided to give it a try, but since we don't use a lot of ketchup around here the bottle was still unopened.  I wondered how the sauce would work in my dish.
As it turns out, it worked just fine.

Banana sauce is sweeter and spicier than conventional ketchup, so I was able to omit some of the ingredients I would usually use in baked beans. To make the dish I used three types of beans (Great Northern, pinto, and black, all cooked from dry and stored in the freezer). I chopped a half of onion, half of a green pepper, and several cloves of garlic, then sauteed the vegetables and dumped them to a large bowl along with the drained beans. Next I added back the Great Northern liquid, plenty of banana sauce, and some salt and pepper, then baked it at 325 degrees for 90 minutes.

At the end of the afternoon there were only a couple of spoonfuls of beans left in the bowl, so I wasn't the only one who enjoyed the dish. Now there's a half bottle of banana sauce in the refrigerator, and next weekend I have another potluck luncheon to go to. There will be no overlapping of attendees, so no one would know if I repeated the dish.  Sounds like a plan to me!

Five years ago today: Choose Me!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

A Wow! Day

I'm fortunate that I get to set my own schedule, and I usually don't cram too much into any one day. However, the past two days have been a crazy busy. I had two ambitious jobs to do-between commuting, performing, and reporting each took about five hours. And then of course there were all of the normal activities that had to get done. (Laundry! Meals! Yard work!) And to top it off I had a meeting both nights after dinner.

When I went to bed last night I still had some paperwork that needed to be finished and turned in. A half hour before the alarm went off I woke up, then tossed and turned for ten minutes before deciding to get up and start my day. Fortunately the paperwork didn't take as long as I thought it would, and after wading though dozens of emails I was free!

I felt like a huge boulder had been lifted from my shoulders, because now I could do anything I wanted to. I went to the gym,  came home and took a nice long shower, then put on knock around clothes. Instead of using my blow dryer to try to beat my cowlicks into submission I let my hair dry naturally. I wasn't planning on going anywhere, so no one would see what I looked like.

All afternoon in between catching up on blogs and other fun computer stuff I cooked, baked, and cooked some more. All stuff I wanted to do. I drank my afternoon coffee slowly, and took as much time as I wanted on the newspaper puzzle page and didn't feel guilty about it. I cleaned up the messes I made today as well as the ones that had been there for a while.

All too soon the day was at an end and my free time was over. Tomorrow is like most days--full of activities and commitments. You can bet I'll be on the lookout for another clear one.

Five years ago today: If You're So Inclined...

Monday, September 3, 2018

Emoji Fun

From a friend of mine. Can you pick the set of emojis that matches each Broadway song? Scroll down to see the answers.






Answers:
  2.  The Next Ten Minutes
15.  The Music of the Night
11.  Footloose
  5.  Seasons of Love
  6.  Heaven on Their Minds
  7.  On the Street Where You Live
  9.  My Favorite Things
  4.  A House is Not a Home
  8.  Do You Hear the People Sing?
10.  I'm Gonna Wash That Man Right Outta My Hair
13.  Happy to Keep His Dinner Warm
  3.  You Can't Stop the Beat
  1.  If I Were a Rich Man
14.  Ol' Man River
12.  And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going

Five years ago today: The Bowels Of The Mall

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Downtown Fun

Last night Hubby Tony and I went to a St. Louis Cardinals baseball game.  It was a great time; the Cards beat up on the Cincinnati Reds, winning 12-5.  Tony had purchased tickets that included Cards Cash, which meant that we each had ten dollars loaded onto the ticket to spend in the stadium.  Instead of packing all of our game snacks  like we usually do, we got some things from the concession stand.

We left the house right after Tony got home from work.  There wasn't much traffic on the road, and we got downtown two hours before the first pitch. After eating dinner, we still had an hour to kill. We decided to walk over to the Gateway Arch and see what was new there.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

There's a lot. Back in 1967 when the Gateway Arch opened, it was removed from the rest of the downtown area. To get there you had to use one of several surface streets that went over the depressed lanes of Interstate. (See on the left side of the photo-the highway is running north to south on the left, and there are four ways to get over it to easily get to the Arch grounds):

Built St Louis
As long as I can remember different solutions to the problem were floating around. The area eventually passed a tax increase, formed a public-private partnership and got to work on updates. Four years ago the area became a construction zone. The visitor center closed two years after that.

Now there's a cap over the highway to make it much easier to get to the area. They built a promenade along the Mississippi River on the east side of the park. The visitor center has been expanded and updated.  It used to be completely under the monument, and you entered it through doors under the Arch legs. Now those doors are for exits only. The much larger entrance is now to the west of the monument.

Gateway Arch National Park new entrance
The new visitor center has been open for a little over a month, but last night all we had time to do is walk by it. Going inside will have to wait for another trip.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Chain Of Foods

Saturday night Hubby Tony and I had carry out Chinese for dinner. He brought home Hot and Sour Soup (accompanied by fried won ton strips), Chicken with Chinese Vegetables, Broccoli with Garlic Sauce, a container of white rice, and three fortune cookies. We ate about 2/3 of everything except for the rice, which we barely made a dent in.

Sunday is Tony's night to put dinner together.  He knew he was going to start with the previous night's leftovers, and add something else to make a whole meal. When I bought home baby bok choy and Japanese eggplant from the Asian market he decided to incorporate the latter ingredient.  He cut the eggplant into cubes and baked it, then added half to the combined carry out leftovers. Next he mixed in a little leftover brown rice and some restaurant white rice and heated everything up in the microwave. When it was done Tony ladled the dish into large bowls and put them on the table, along with packets of hot mustard and sweet and sour sauce.  The tasty dish was a cross between a thick soup and a juicy stew, and it was delicious.  As he was cleaning up Tony put the rest of the eggplant into the refrigerator.

Monday's dinner was a stir fry with the rest of the eggplant, half of the boy choy, half of a container of white beans from the freezer, onion and garlic, and some fresh basil leaves. It had a sauce made from rice vinegar, oyster sauce, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, and sesame oil.  The dish was served over leftover white rice (which almost, but not quite, used up the container).

Today I used up the remainder of the bok choy and white beans by adding them to a curry sauce, along with sweet potato, onion, garlic, and a couple of spoonfuls of peanut butter.  Since there wasn't much Chinese white rice left I made brown rice in the Instant Pot and used some of that, too. The end dish was runny enough to serve in bowls.

Now, after three days of imaginatively using leftovers and ingredients, it's all gone.The refrigerator is looking a little empty, and my creativity has come to a screeching halt. I have no idea what tomorrow's dinner will be, but based on past experience something will come to me. 

Five years ago today: The Cats Weren't Too Wild About The Idea...

Sunday, August 26, 2018

A Dog's Story

In honor of National Dog Day.

A old German Shepherd starts chasing rabbits and before long discovers that he's lost. Wandering about he notices a panther heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch. The old German Shepherd thinks, "Oh, oh! I'm in trouble now!"

Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the panther is about to leap the old German Shepherd exclaims loudly, "Boy, that was one delicious panther! I wonder if there are any more around here?" Hearing this, the young panther halts his attack in mid-strike. A look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees. "Whew!" says the panther, "That was close! That old German Shepherd nearly had me!"

Meanwhile, a squirrel who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the panther.

The squirrel soon catches up with the panther, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the panther. The young panther is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here squirrel, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!"

Now, the old German Shepherd sees the panther coming with the squirrel on his back and thinks, "What am I going to do now?" Instead of running the dog sits down with his back to his attackers pretending he hasn't seen them. Just when they are close enough to hear the old German Shepard says, "Where's that squirrel? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another panther!"

The moral of the story is:

Don't mess with the old dogs. Age and skill will always overcome youth and treachery. BS and brilliance only come with age and experience.

Five years ago today: Buggy

Friday, August 24, 2018

I Hope They're Wrong, But I'm Not Holding My Breath

All this week the temperatures here have been below normal, but if the weather gurus are right, it looks like things will be changing big time tomorrow:

Weather Underground
I'm not a fan of hot weather, so I'm not excited about the change at all. Today was more my cup of tea; it felt more like early October. The windows were open and I was able to enjoy all the sounds of nature. After I completed my morning commitments I came home to cook and bake. It was gloomy, with a gentle sporadic rain. As the afternoon went on the sun tried to break through a couple of times. By dinner time there was more sun than clouds, and the evening was bright and beautiful.  Hubby Tony and I took a long walk after the kitchen was clean to take advantage of the nice conditions.

The Weather Service already issued a heat advisory from noon tomorrow through Tuesday night. That means we'll hermetically seal up the house again, and the sound of nature will be replaced with the hum of the air conditioner as it works to cool off the house. And I'll be counting the days until fall really comes back.

Five years ago today: What If...

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Removed Root

Three weeks ago a trip to the dentist revealed a crack in my wisdom tooth. After putting in a temporary filling the dentist sent me on my way with instructions to come back two weeks later to make it permanent. However, during that visit he discovered that the damage was more extensive than originally thought. During the drilling process the tooth root was exposed. He told me my best option was to have a root canal, which they could cover with a crown.

Once back at home I called the recommended endodontist for an appointment. I have great teeth and rarely ever need anything other than checkups and cleanings, so seeing a specialist was new territory for me. Fortunately there was an opening six days later and (even though it was at 8 AM, and I'd have to drive through rush hour to get there) I took it.

For the past week my tooth was uncomfortable, but unless I forgot and chewed something on that side there wasn't too much pain.

Today was Root Canal day. The building was easy to find on the second floor of a small strip mall I've driven by many times over the years. The office was very efficiently run. I only had to sit in the waiting room for a couple of minutes until they called me back. Before I saw the endodontist his assistant took an x-ray of the tooth. Once the endodontist came in he administered the Novocaine and explained exactly what would happen today.

After my lip, chin, and tongue were numb he came and gave me a second shot, explaining that wisdom teeth needed additional numbing. He leaned me back in the chair, arranged his tools, and stuck a dental dam in my mouth to isolate the tooth. His assistant stood on the other side of the chair. Before he started the endodontist told me to keep my eyes closed while he was drilling and raise my left hand if I felt any pain. Then the fun began.

I felt vibrations from the drill, and pressure when he used a file to pick out the smaller pieces, but not much else. The assistant was in charge of irrigating the tooth and sucking out the excess liquid. I wasn't keeping track of the time, but it didn't take too long before I felt him packing something into the tooth.  He asked me to bite down, smoothed everything one more time, and said we were done.

The endodontist left, and the assistant did one last x-ray to check that everything was done correctly before she released me. After a quick stop at the front desk to do the paperwork I left. On the way home I stopped at the pharmacy and filled the prescription I had been given for heavy duty ibuprofin. While I was talking to the pharmacy technician I felt like I was slurring my words, because I couldn't move my tongue properly.

Thee hours later I was hungry for lunch but the left side of my mouth was still completely numb. I made a smoothie in  the blender, then (after I discovered I couldn't drink it without dribbling because my lips were too numb) rooted around the kitchen for a straw to suck it up with.  Good thing there was no one else in the house to watch me!

 As the anesthesia wore off I realized that my tooth didn't ache any more, but the muscles where the drug was injected did. The whole left side of my face felt sore, like I had been punched there.  Chewing my food during dinner and talking with Hubby Tony seemed to loosen up the area, but it's still tender when I open my mouth too wide.  Google tells me everything should be back to normal in a couple of days. I hope it's right.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Yard Work Fun

Hubby Tony had a dinner meeting tonight. On my way home from a job I stopped and bought myself some fast casual Mexican. I brought it home and ate in front of the computer, finished some paperwork, then decided to go outside and do some yard work. It was less then sweltering outside, and trash day is tomorrow so any green waste I made would get picked up.

We had some rain overnight, and I decided to ditch my shoes and do my work barefoot. It felt so good to walk on the pliable turf. I started out by picking up branches and digging a few weeds out of the back yard flower beds. After the weeding was done I moved on to trimming and edging in the front yard. Halfway through the job I heard a rumble of thunder in the distance and picked up the pace, hoping to get done before the rain started. That didn't work. When the drops started coming down I quickly picked up the grass clippings I had made and dumped them in the trash can just as the rain started coming down in sheets.

The storm only lasted ten minutes, and I decided to go back out and finish my job. Even though there hadn't been a lot of rain the yard was now saturated. I started out trying to keep my feet clean, but after I accidentally stepped in a large blob of mud in the middle of the sidewalk I gave up.  Soon my feet were covered with mud and grass clippings.  It was wonderful.

My last task was to deadhead flowers and cut back some leggy annuals in front of the house. When I lifted up a clump of lamb's ear leaves an old friend hopped out from underneath:

Actually a photo from last year. He was too busy tonight to say 'Hi'
(The past few years there has been a lot of frog activity around my estate.  Read more about it here, here, here, and here).

My hands were dirty and I couldn't pull out my phone for a photo. The frog scooted underneath a bush and I quickly lost sight of him. Ten minutes later I finished the last of the yard tasks. I put everything away and washed off my dirty feet before I went into the house.

Five years ago today: If You Can't Trust A Nun, Who Can You Trust?

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Good Stuff

This week has been extremely busy, but a lot of good things have happened around our place.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Monday night I came home from a meeting and noticed that the main level of the house seemed hot. Hubby Tony verified my suspicions when he walked in an hour later. I checked the thermostat, and the room temperature was five degrees hotter than it should be. About that time I noticed there was a buzzing noise coming from the south wall of the family room. When I walked outside to investigate I discovered that the one of the air conditioning units was very noisy. Because it was going to be relatively cool overnight we turned off both units and opened up the windows.

I called the HVAC company as soon as they opened at eight o'clock on Tuesday morning and explained that we needed someone to come take a look at the unit. Because we have a service contract with them we go to the top of the list, and the technician was knocking on my door 45 minutes later. Fifteen minutes after that he told me our issue was a faulty capacitor. The failed part had been replaced at the last service and was still under warranty. Our cost for continued house coolness was only $70 for the service call.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

On Wednesday morning Hubby Tony called me to say he had noticed some car issues as he left the house. He stopped at the repair shop and described the symptoms. They said they could work him in, and the shuttle service gave him a ride to work. Some time later they called to tell him he just needed a new battery. The car was ready at lunchtime, but I picked Tony up at the end of the work day and dropped him off at the repair shop to pick the car up.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


After Tony got home we got ready for the next adventure. Jackson and Pepper, our 16-year old cats, had an appointment at the vet for their annual physical and rabies shots. For many years I did the job by myself because Tony's schedule wasn't flexible, but it's really nice to have help wrangling two uncooperative cats into carriers, getting them into the car, and then from the car into the office.  In the examination room they were weighed, poked, prodded, and stuck with needles.  The vet proclaimed each of them healthy and said she hoped she didn't see us until next August.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 
I'm part of a group planning a dinner at church tomorrow night.  My job is to quarterback setting up the room, including some simple centerpieces for eight round tables. (And I only have a tiny budget.) Tonight I went to the nearest big box hardware stores to look for plants that might be on clearance.  Everything on the sale table was too big, bloomed out, or just decrepit looking. I went up to the cashier to ask her about the chances of a new group of plants being marked down tomorrow. She told me she had some flexibility in the price, and suggested I pick something out and bring it up to the cash register. She would see what she could do.  

I found some nice looking Sempervivum. The  4 inch pots were marked $3.48, but the cashier gave me ten of them for a dollar each.  I may or may not cover the pots, then will set each on a cloth napkin (from my personal stash) in the center of of each table.

Five years ago today: A Perfect Friday Afternoon

Monday, August 13, 2018

Calendar Fun

According to TimeAndDate.com a Palindrome Day happens when the date can be read the same way backwards and forwards.  Did you know that we're in the middle of a ten day stretch (from August 10 - August 19, 2018) that when you write dates in the m-dd-yy format all of them will be palindromic?

8-10-18                8-11-18

8-12-18                8-13-18

8-14-18                8-15-18

8-16-18                8-17-18

8-18-18                8-19-18

Five years ago today: The Sad Thing Is, I Think He's Seriously Happy

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Gettin' Our Kicks

This summer Son Donald had a job in Rolla working for the university, so we didn't get to see him much. In one week the new semester starts and he'll get busy with class work. So before that happens  Hubby Tony and I decided to take a road trip to see him. While we were in the area, we also made a visit to the self-proclaimed "Entertainment Hub of the Ozarks" in Uranus, just a half hour further down the Interstate.

Uranus, MO
Uranus is not an official city.  Rather, it's a Route 66 tourist attraction that's known for the Uranus Fudge Factory And General Store. There's also a playground, food truck park, bar and grill, tattoo parlor, axe-throwing room, outdoor outfitter, shooting range, escape room, and sideshow museum. Throw in some dinosaur statues, a vintage taxi, firetruck, and double decker bus, the largest belt buckle in the world, and multiple photo opportunities, and it sounded like a fun place to check out.

Rolla is about 100 miles from our house, and we got there late morning. Donald is moving into a new room in his house, so before we got on the road again we helped him switch over his furniture and belongings to his new digs. All along Interstate 44 we saw the billboards, which said things like “We are having big fun in Uranus”, “Family fun in Uranus”, and “The best fudge is found in Uranus!”  (Can you tell that the whole concept is based on puns and tongue in cheek humor?)

When we entered the general store the clerk behind the counter yelled out a cheerful “Thank you for picking Uranus!” We browsed around, checking out the clothes with punny riffs on the store name and the general Route 66 merchandise. Behind the counter there were 16 kinds of homemade fudge, and baskets on shelves held hundreds of different types of candy. I got a sample of fudge (which was very good) but there were a lot of people in line at the cash register so I decided not to buy any. When we left the clerk yelled out "thank you for picking Uranus".

Continuing down the strip of shops, we stopped outside the World’s Largest Sideshow Museum where a man was holding a huge albino snake. He was a really good salesman, because he convinced us to pay the admission to go inside the museum. After being warned not to take any photos inside, we entered through the door into a dimly-lit room. I didn't know what to expect, but the displays were pretty interesting in a kitschy sort of way, with lots of animal and human oddities. After a while a tattooed lady (who had arms and legs covered in leopard print tattoos, with even a few spots on her face) offered a couple of magic tricks and did some sword swallowing.  As we left the museum there was another shopping opportunity, but we passed.  After walking by some of the other attractions, it was time for lunch back in Rolla, at a Thai restaurant close to Donald's house.

After lunch was finished we took Donald back home, wished him good luck in the new semester, and started back home. It was a great way to spend a late summer day.

Five years ago today: Do You Copy?

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Thanks, But I'll Pass

One of the companies I'm registered to do work with sent me an email letting me know that they've expanded their payment methods. The default is still PayPal, but if I chose, I could get paid in one of several cryptocurrencies...Bitcoin, Bitcoin cash, Ethereum, or Litecoin.



I wonder just how many people will take them up on their offer?

(I have no interest in alternate tenders, but before I hit the 'Delete' button I did some investigation, and discovered that according to Wikipedia, as of 10 April 2018 there are more than 1565 different cryptocurrencies! Bitcoin was the first, released in 2009, but now there are about three dozen large ones. That's a lot of alternative.)

Five years ago today: Classic Country

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Doing My Civic Duty

Today was our state's primary election day. In addition to paring down the field of candidates before the general election in November, there was one statewide proposition and several county charter amendments to vote on.

Two weeks ago Hubby Tony and I both received a tri-fold sheet sent out by the Board of Election Commissioners that included our polling information and sample ballots for the Democrat, Republic, Green, Libertarian, and Constitution parties. That made it easy to research all the candidates. I don't have a party affiliation, but in order to vote for any candidate I have to choose one for the primary. After researching all the options I went into the polling place knowing what the answer would be when they asked what ballot I wanted.

All morning long I saw the photos of my Facebook friends showing off their “I Voted” sticker selfies. I'm not sure when it became obligatory to get a sticker for casting a ballot, but I'm not a fan. Half of the time I forget to take the sticker off before tossing my shirt in the laundry and it ends up turning into a adhesive-removing project.

I went to the poll after lunch, and there was no line.  When it was time to cast my ballot an election authority walked with me to a booth, activated the touch screen, and verified that the correct form had loaded. Because I had done legwork ahead of time it didn't take me long to express my opinion for each of the people and items.

As I walked away from the voting booth a poll worker was standing there holding out a sticker for me. At first I declined, but when she looked disappointed I changed my mind and took it.  Hopefully the colorful red, white, and blue decal will catch my eye when I take off my shirt to change into my pajamas at the end of the night.


Five years ago today: Day Tripping