Thursday, December 7, 2023

Counting Down The Days

When Hubby Tony and I were getting ready to welcome December I realized that with his broken ankle  the month would look very different than it usually does. There would be little to no out of the house socializing; the organization, fellowship, and club parties we usually attend would have to get by without our presence.

In an effort to liven things up in the house, for the first time in decades I hung the Countdown to Christmas calendar that we used when the boys were young. It has a pocket for each day, and I would fill each with a strip of paper that had an activity that would help us get ready for Christmas. The calendar came with a cute mouse that moved from pocket to pocket to mark the time. The 1990s version of the calendar had activities like visiting Santa, decorating the house, watching holiday shows on TV, and making presents. So far the adult version has been filled with instructions to look elsewhere for a treat, inspirational sayings, and activities

Tonight would have been the first of the Christmas parties. This one offers a happy hour, buffet meal, and a selection of desserts. Instead of eating another home-cooked meal Tony arranged for me to pick up dinner from a local catering company. (In honor of the event today's calendar activity said KATHY DOESN'T HAVE TO COOK TONIGHT!)

On the way home from running errands this afternoon I stopped by the catering company. I came home with a brown paper sack of food. At dinner time it only took a couple of minutes to put the salads into bowls and heat and plate the entrees. 

Each meal came with a salad (Italian for Tony and Vineyard with fruit and sweet poppy seed dressing for me).

Tony's entree was Stuffed Green Peppers with ground sirloin, brown rice, and vegetable marinara. I had Chicken Crepes with berry relish and honey almond green beans.

For dessert, leftover chocolate gooey butter cookies from the freezer paired nicely with a juicy pear.

Five years ago: The Search Is Over

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

A Nice Change Of Pace

Since Hubby Tony is under instructions to keep his broken ankle elevated he's had little chance to socialize. Last week one of his friends called and asked Tony if he would be up for a visit, suggesting he and another poker buddy could stop by. Tony said he would.  After everyone checked their calendars they settled on Wednesday around lunchtime. I would be at the church cooking lunch for the office staff, so they could have a nice leisurely chat.

The plan was that the friends would stop at a nearby restaurant to pick up lunch. Yesterday I swung by the grocery store and bought some cookies for dessert.

This morning I could tell that Tony was excited for the day's change of pace. After breakfast he got a pot of coffee ready to brew and asked me to get out the cream pitcher and sugar bowl from the cabinet over the refrigerator. When I left a little before 9 AM he was sitting in his normal place on the couch cleaning off the end table.

I returned home a little before 1:30. The men were sitting at the table playing cards and having a great time. I grabbed a cup of coffee and watched until the end of the game. After they left I helped Tony clean up.

Five years ago: A Tasty Tribute

Monday, December 4, 2023

Breaker, Breaker

A couple of months ago Hubby Tony and I got a letter from our condominium association that told us the insurance company who holds the master policy for the development was leaving the condominium market. The association was working with a broker to come up with other options.

We attended a meeting where the broker explained the situation and outlined the options. They weren't pretty. The rates would go up substantially, and on op of that most of the units had electrical breaker panels that were recalled earlier in the year. In order to get insurance, the new insurance company was going to require condo owners to replace the boxes.

Each unit has two panels-one in the unit and the other in the basement. We had replaced the in-unit panel  shortly after we moved in, but the instructions were to have the second one done before the end of the year. We contracted with the same company that did the original work, and the job was done today.

I had a commitment in the morning, and cooking at the church in the afternoon, but let the electricians in and walked them down to the basement before leaving. Tony was around to answer any questions.  I stopped by the house in between commitments. Although the power had been shut off Tony had pulled up the blind in the office to let in as much light as possible, and he was busy sorting papers. 

I got a text from him mid-afternoon that the job was done. Next week the inspector will come and sign off on the job and our unit will be legal. And safe.

Public Domain Vectors

Sunday, December 3, 2023

Christmas Cookie Rules

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  1. If you eat a Christmas cookie fresh out of the oven, it has no calories because everyone knows that the first cookie is the test cookie and thus calorie free.
  2. If you drink a diet soda after eating your second cookie, it also has no calories because the diet soda cancels out the cookie calories.
  3. If a friend comes over while you're making your Christmas cookies and needs to sample, you must sample with your friend. Because your friend's first cookie is calorie free, (rule #1) yours is also. It would be rude to let your friend sample alone and, being the friend that you are, that makes your cookie calorie free also.
  4. Any cookie calories consumed while walking around will fall to your feet and eventually fall off as you move. This is due to gravity and the density of the caloric mass.
  5. Any calories consumed during the frosting of the Christmas cookies will be used up because it takes many calories to lick excess frosting from a knife without cutting your tongue.
  6. Cookies colored red or green have very few calories. Red ones have three and green ones have five - one calorie for each letter. Make more red ones!
  7. Cookies eaten while watching "Miracle on 34th Street" have no calories because they are part of the entertainment package.
  8. As always, cookie pieces contain no calories because the process of breaking causes calorie leakage.
  9. Any cookies consumed from someone else's plate have no calories since the calories rightfully belong to the other person and will cling to their plate. We all know how calories like to CLING.
  10. Any cookies consumed while feeling stressed have no calories because cookies used for medicinal purposes NEVER have calories. It is a rule!

~~Author unknown~~

Five years ago today: Have You Seen It?

Saturday, December 2, 2023

For Liz

On Wednesday I wrote about buying Mighty Mississippi commemorative stamps for Hubby Tony. Liz at Finding Life Hard asked if I could post a photo of my purchase. I would be delighted to.

Whenever possible I choose commemorative stamps instead of generic ones. According to the USPS website, the pane arrangement on the front of this sheet of ten stamps shows the north/south and west/east location of each state.

The stamp details:
  • Minnesota shows the headwaters at Lake Itasca
  • Wisconsin offers an autumn view of the Great River Road 
  • Iowa shows a steamboat near the city of Bettendorf 
  • Illinois displays a sailboat passing limestone bluffs 
  • Missouri illustrates the St. Louis skyline and Gateway Arch at sundown 
  • Kentucky presents the city of Wickliffe just downriver from where the Ohio River joins 
  • Arkansas offers a levee next to a forest and farmland 
  • Tennessee shows a towboat pushing a row of barges upstream toward Memphis 
  • Louisiana offers the New Orleans skyline and Crescent City Connection bridge
  • Mississippi shows a delta bayou and cypress trees with Spanish moss

And after all that information, on the back of the sheet there’s a map of the river and its major tributaries.

Friday, December 1, 2023

Feeling My Age

Next month I have a milestone birthday, which happens to coincide with becoming eligible for Medicare (federal health insurance for people 65 or older).

I find the whole Medicare topic very confusing. Back in the fall I went to a seminar and learned all about its ins and outs. For example, the Initial Enrollment Period lasts for seven months-three months before your 65th birthday, the month of your birthday, and three months after.So in theory I could have waited until next April before applying, but Hubby Tony's been working on his medical Open Enrollment process for next year and said it would make things easier if I was in the Medicare system. Today I filled out my official application.

When Tony went through the process two years ago he had to apply by telephone. It took hours, because it was hard to get through, and then there was another long wait time to actually talk to someone. I had the option of applying online. The whole process took about 15 minutes. At the end I got a confirmation number, and directions for how to check the status of my application.

 Back in September when I had my annual physical the doctor recommended that since I was over 60 years old I get the RSV vaccine. I had good intentions for taking care of it, but the task never made it to the top of my list. 

Two weeks ago I made an appointment for the shot, but when I got to the pharmacy I found out the doctor's office hadn't sent the necessary prescription. I contacted the doctor's office and they did what they needed to do. Once again it took me a while for the task to make it to the top of my list, but after dinner tonight I showed up at my local Walgreens for a vaccine appointment.

There were no other people waiting, and the whole process went quickly. I was wearing a long sleeved shirt, so the pharmacist suggested that instead of rolling up my sleeve I bare my shoulder from the top. He did the injection slowly, then put a bandage on the site and briefly discussed the common side effects (fatigue, fever, headache, and muscle or joint pain) before suggesting I stick around the store for 10 minutes to make sure there were no major issues.

Five years ago today: Another Advent Of Gratutude

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Making The Best Of The Nice Day

Hubby Tony is one week removed from ankle surgery. The accident was on November 5 and (except for medical visits) since that time he's stayed at home and kept his leg propped up on a pile of pillows. He has his next doctor visit in a week and a half, so until then it will be more of the same.

Yesterday was heavy winter coat weather. Today the forecast called for a high close to 60 degrees. Before I left the house to go to the church and cook lunch I moved one of the kitchen chairs out to the deck so Tony could maneuver outside and sit if he wanted t.

I wore my lightweight winter coat, but by the time I was finished no coat was necessary. When I got home I saw the deck door was open. Tony was sitting on the chair and using his knee walker as a leg prop. The sun hadn't made it to that side of the building yet, and it was still a little chilly, but Tony was wearing a light jacket and seemed to be enjoying the outdoor sounds. 

We chatted for a few minutes and then I left for my walking errand-going to the post office to get postage for a volunteer mailing job Tony was doing. Tony headed to the bedroom to take a nap. I left the house with a long sleeved t-shirt and a scarf around my neck. Halfway to the post office I removed the scarf and marveled at how nice it was.

At the post office I picked out Mighty Mississippi commemorative stamps. The sheet of ten stamps had a photo of each of the states that abut the banks. I took the long way back home, and ran into a lot of other people who were out walking. There were also quite a few people doing yard work.

When I arrived back home I noticed that the deck was now in the sun. Tony and Jackson the Cat were laying together on the bed, but Tony got up and went back outside. I brought out another chair and sat with him.  Three of the building neighbors were outside. We said hello to them all, had a more extended conversation with the person who lives directly underneath us, and then just chatted. 

At this time of year it doesn't take long to go from pleasant to not so outside, and that was the case today. As soon as the sun went behind the trees across the street the temperature dropped and it was time to go inside. 

Five years ago today: Mother Of The Wedding Dressing

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

What Is Your Response?

I'm signed up with a couple of survey companies. One of them is Esearch. Every few weeks I get an email with an invitation to complete one of their projects. Today's message said that the data gathered from the survey would benefit a 'National TV Game Show'.

There were several pages of questions, each requiring a short written answer. The topics were things like "Name Something Children Wear, But Adults Don’t" or "Name A Gift You Would Not Like To Get From A Secret Santa". I was making my way down the list when I came to a question that mentioned Steve Harvey, and all of a sudden the light bulb in my head went on. Steve Harvey is the host of Family Feud, I wondered if I would be one of the '100 people asked for a responses to a question' for the show.


I'll eventually get $1 deposited into my PayPal account for my efforts, but knowing that I may have helped shape one tiny moment of a TV show was even more satisfying than the payment. 

Five years ago today: Cat On Rag

Sunday, November 26, 2023

I'll Never Know What Happened

This afternoon I left the house to run a couple of errands. The first stop was the grocery store, which is the anchor tenant in a small strip mall. The other stores are to the right and across the parking. The lot was very busy, and I had to drive almost to the end of a row before I found a space in the row next to the strip mall shops.

The car next to mine had the passenger door wide open, but the vehicle was unoccupied. I looked around and didn't see anyone who might have come from the car. There are a couple of fast food places in the strip; maybe the driver and passenger rushed in and the passenger forgot to close their door?

I was in too much of a hurry to think about the issue any more. I walked across the parking lot to the post office and dropped off some envelopes, then came back and did my grocery shopping. I was probably gone about 20 minutes. When I returned to my vehicle the next-door car passenger door was still open.

This time I decided to take action. I looked up the municipality's non-emergency public safety number, called, and explained the situation. The dispatcher asked for my name and the number I was calling from, then said they would contact an officer.

I left and went to Sam's Club. Counting driving, parking, shopping, and checkout time I was there for a little under a half hour. On the way home I was nosy enough to swing back by the grocery store lot. The car was still there, but this time the passenger door was closed.

I'll never know what happened.

Five years ago today: Packages On Porch

Friday, November 24, 2023

Thanksgiving Friday

One of the worst things to come out of Hubby Tony's broken ankle accident was that we had to cancel our  trip to California to see the kids and grandkids. Then I put plans for Thanksgiving on hold because we didn't know exactly when his surgery would happen. In the end we had a very low-key Day After Surgery day. The main dish was a 'Bob's Barbecue' brand smoked turkey breast from a local grocery store. It was accompanied by boxed stuffing, twice-baked sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, homemade cranberry sauce, and apple pie gifted to us by the Realtors we worked with when we sold the house/bought the condo.

Tony spent the day on the couch with his leg elevated except when Son Donald came over for dinner. After we ate we played a game of Rummikub. Even though the meal was easy to put together I was exhausted and fell asleep on the couch before it was time to go to bed.

Today was also low key. I try to stay away from stores on Black Friday, but in the morning I did a produce run and found out that grocery stores are a great place to shop the day after Thanksgiving. Mid afternoon I decided to go out for a walk, but wanted some type of purpose. I decided it would be interesting to head to the mall that's a fifteen minute stroll away.

Back when I worked at a mall Customer Service desk Black Friday morning was beyond crazy, but things died down a bit as the day went on. Without a car I wouldn't have to navigate the parking garage, and without a plan to buy anything I could do some great people watching.

I figured traffic turning into the mall would be heavy, but the gridlock I encountered surprised me. Then I noticed that there was some type of disturbance on the main road about a quarter of a mile away. I saw a patrol car with its lights on and a large group of people parading across the intersection. There were so many people the cars headed north couldn't go anywhere, and neither could the cars trying to exit the mall. When I reached the mall entrance there was a man waiting for the light to change. I asked him if he knew what the commotion was. He said he believed it was a pro-Palestine demonstration.

After the excitement outside, the inside of the mall was anticlimactic. I made one loop, then headed back home. As I exited the mall there was no sign of the earlier excitement.

Five years ago: Some liked it. Some left it.