Tuesday, January 19, 2021


First Hubby Tony completed one entire row of ten days on his Retirement Countdown calendar. Then just like that a second row was history. Today he crossed off the last day of the third row. 

To commemorate the day I went to the party store and bought him a balloon to put on the corner of his desk.

The store associate added helium to the balloon and attached a long piece of ribbon to the bottom. When I got home I tied the balloon to a weight, leaving a long trail of ribbon across the floor. Jackson the cat had a good time playing with the trail for a couple of minutes, so the gift ended up being for two.

Five years ago today: It's Popcorn Time!

Monday, January 18, 2021

Putting Things Back In Order

This morning I opened up my blog and noticed that the layout was out of whack. The right sidebar wasn't where it was supposed to be; instead it was at the bottom of the first page of posts. 

I poked around in the Layout and Theme sections, but when I didn't have any luck fixing the problem I started searching through the Blogger Help posts. It didn't take long for me to find the answer to my issue. A Platinum Product Expert by the name of DarkUFO suggested the problem was some bad HTML code in one of my posts.

The solution was to open the posts up one at at time from the Dashboard and see if the sidebar was in the correct place. When I found the one where the issue started I could look at the HTML code to find the error.

That was easier said than done. Last year when I was forced to change to the New Blogger, one of the things I hated the most was that they switched to 'real' HTML. It was harder to figure out because there were no line breaks. However, I wanted to make sure things looked tidy on my blog so I did what I had to. 

Fortunately, the issue wasn't too far down the list of posts. When I found it I selected and cut the text from the Compose page. Next I clicked over to the HTML view and removed what was left (which I assumed was the 'bad' code). I pasted the cut text in, then went back to Compose to put in paragraph breaks. 

Now things are back to normal in my tiny corner of the internet universe.

Five years ago today: A Cultural Challenge

Saturday, January 16, 2021

Good For Animals And People Too

A while back Hubby Tony told me he had misplaced his styptic pencil (which he uses to stop the bleeding from shaving nicks) and asked me to add it to the grocery list. I was happy to oblige. However, I could not find styptic pencils in any stores. Tony joined in the hunt and also came up empty handed.

I checked some online retailers. They had styptic pencils, but they either came in packages  that were larger than we needed or were very expensive. One day on a website dedicated to shaving I read a discussion about styptic powder as an alternative to pencils. A poster suggested buying it from a pet store. Evidently it's a common remedy used by groomers for blood due to clipping nails, and other superficial cuts and scratches

I checked with my local pet store-they had it in stock-and I picked it up the next time I was in the area.

Tony used the powder and said it worked just like a pencil would have.  Some time later I was shaving my legs and ended up with a cut on my shin. I wondered if the styptic powder would work for me, too, and decided to try it out. I followed the directions, which said to "Apply with moistened cotton tip applicator to the cut, nail, or other superficial bleeding area using moderate consistent pressure for five to ten seconds".  The powder stung like crazy for a few seconds, but the bleeding stopped immediately.

Five years ago today: My Trash Is Your Treasure

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Welcome To The Future

(Author unknown) 

 CALLER: Is this Luigi's Pizza? 

 GOOGLE: No sir, it's Google Pizza. 

 CALLER: I must have dialed a wrong number, sorry. 

 GOOGLE: No sir, Google bought Luigi's last month. 

CALLER: OK. I would like to order a pizza. 

GOOGLE: Do you want your usual, sir? 

CALLER: My usual? You know me? 

GOOGLE: According to our caller ID data sheet, the last 12 times you called you ordered an extra-large pizza with three cheeses, sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms and meatballs on a thick crust. 

CALLER: Super! That’s what I’ll have. 

 GOOGLE: May I suggest that this time you order a pizza with ricotta, arugula, sun-dried tomatoes and olives on a whole wheat gluten-free thin crust? 

CALLER: What? I don’t want a vegetarian pizza! 

GOOGLE: Your cholesterol is not good, sir. 

CALLER: How the hell do you know that? 

GOOGLE: Well, we cross-referenced your home phone number with your medical records. We have the result of your blood tests for the last 7 years. 

 CALLER: Okay, but I do not want your rotten vegetarian pizza! I already take medication for my cholesterol. 

GOOGLE: Excuse me sir, but you have not taken your medication regularly. According to our database, you purchased only a box of 30 cholesterol tablets once at CVS Pharmacy, 4 months ago. 

CALLER: I bought more from another Pharmacy. 

GOOGLE: That doesn’t show on your credit card statement. 

CALLER: I paid in cash. 

GOOGLE: But you did not withdraw enough cash according to your bank statement. 

CALLER: I have other sources of cash. 

GOOGLE: That doesn’t show on your latest tax returns, unless you bought them using an undeclared income source, which is against the law! 


GOOGLE: I'm sorry sir, we use such information only with the sole intention of helping you. 

CALLER: Enough already! I'm sick to death of Google, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and all the others. I'm going to an island without the Internet, TV, phone service, and no one to watch me or spy on me. 

GOOGLE: I understand sir, but you need to renew your passport first. It expired 6 weeks ago. 

Five years ago today: Time To De-Lurk

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Scarf Up

As I've gotten older I've found it's important to keep my neck warm. If it's cold, I'm cold all over. 

Ironically, thanks to annoying hot flashes a turtleneck provides too much warmth, but I've found that wearing a scarf is helpful. Around the house I use a cotton infinity scarf that can wrap around my neck two or three times (depending on how cold I'm feeling). When I leave the house I have a silk scarf that I loop around my neck before I put my coat on. I bought a new coat this year, and the scarf's colors don't particularly match, but I don't particularly care.

One of the promotional swags I got for my birthday was $5 to spend at a big box shoe store. I stopped in there today to see what I could find. That amount of money would be a drop in the bucket on the price of a new pair of shoes, but in the clearance rack I found a 'strip' scarf made out of super soft lightweight jersey knit. Its original price was $20.00. The clearance price was 40 percent less than that, and by adding my swag it cost about what I would pay for an inexpensive lunch. Sold!

At the cash register the associate asked if I wanted my scarf in a bag. I declined, telling her I would just wear it out. She thoughtfully removed the price tag for me and stapled it to the receipt in case I needed to make a return. I thanked her, but I'm quite sure I will be keeping this scarf for a long time.

 Image by Piyapong Saydaung from Pixabay

Five years ago today: An Edible Tribute

Saturday, January 9, 2021

Twice Ten

It seems like Hubby Tony just got done celebrating him completing one tenth of the last 100 days until his retirement, then I turned around and another tenth was gone.

Today we went to the mall to pick up something he ordered,. When we got home I spent a couple of hours working on a computer project while he ran to the grocery to purchase some ingredients for tomorrow's dinner. We went to Mass, picked up a doodad at Best Buy (via their curbside option), then went out to dinner. In an actual restaurant! On Monday, restaurants in the county reopened for limited indoor dining for the first time since mid-November when the County Executive suspended it.

(There are lots of  safety protocols in place. Restaurants can't have more than 25 percent of the tables filled, must close by 10 pm, and have to get a name and contact information for each party for contract tracing purposes.)

We chose a place that has great bar food and lots of TVs showing sports. Everyone I saw waking around had a mask on, and people kept their distance. There were a lot of good choices on the menu, but I decided on a buffalo chicken wrap with onion rings. Tony chose fish and chips. 

We had great service. The server stopped by our table a couple of times to see how we liked our food and refill our drinks. When she brought out our bill she thanked us for coming in, and said she really appreciated our support. In honor of that and Tony's work milestone we made sure we left a 20 percent tip. 

Five years ago today: Is It Soup Yet?

Friday, January 8, 2021


This morning after breakfast and morning chores I closed myself in my office for a Zoom meeting. When I came out, there was a beautiful bouquet of red and white flowers in the middle of the kitchen island. The card told me the vase came from Grandsons Jay, Dee, and Ell in California, and said "Happy Birthday! Love you Grandma!"  (My natal day isn't until Monday, but I had no objection to the celebration starting early 😀.)

I remember how exciting it was to get mail in my name when I was young, so I decided to send them an actual thank you note. It took a surprisingly long time to write out a couple of sentences expressing my gratitude using my best printed penmanship. I addressed the envelope, put a stamp on it, and walked it out to the mailbox.

After lunch I decided to take a walk. When I got home there was a large box on the ground next to the mailbox addressed to me. Inside the condo, I opened the mailing box and an insulated liner and found a box containing a dozen dipped strawberries. The card said the same thing as the one accompanying the flowers...which meant I had only thanked the senders for half of my present!

Fortunately the mail truck hadn't come yet. I ran outside and grabbed the envelope out of the mailbox. I knew I had more notes to write another one, but hated to waste a stamp. All of a sudden I remembered that a New Thing I had done for my original blog, steaming open an envelope, would be appropriate again today. 

It didn't take long to boil a pot of water, and just a couple of minutes of holding the flap over the steam released the glue so I could open the envelope. After writing out a new note I put it in the envelope and used a glue stick to reseal it. I took it back out to the mailbox, where it will be picked up tomorrow.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Rack Receptacles

Later this month it will be a year since we moved into our condo. Once the initial settling in was done last January I completed a couple of organizing projects, but when the nice weather came I abandoned my efforts. Then the fall was busy, and then the holidays came. (It's amazing how fast time can fly by.)

I have resolved to take advantage of the cold, nasty winter weather to complete more projects. First up was a pantry door rack system from The Container Store, which adds extra space to the smallish storage area. 

When I was doing project research I learned that there were two types of systems available-over the door and screw on. I chose the more permanent option because I knew I was going to put some heavier things in the baskets and I wanted it to be sturdy. 
The installation was very easy. I held the upright against the door and marked where the five screws would go. Next I drilled holes to insert anchors into the hollow core door, tapped the anchors into place, then screwed the upright in place. The baskets snapped easily into the upright, and can be repositioned up or down in 1-inch increments. At the store I guessed that four baskets would be enough, but if I decide I need another one there's room at the bottom.

Five years ago today: Over The Doorstep

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

A Yam Is Not Always A Yam

Did you know that sweet potatoes and yams are actually two different vegetables? I came across this video some time ago that described the differences and decided that I would try to find a true yam to see what it was like.

This week the Asian market had African yams on sale for 99¢ a pound, cheap enough that I could satisfy my curiosity. The one I purchased was about a pound (on the small size, as the tubers can be up to five feet long).

Once the yam was in the house I had to figure out how to cook it. Wikipedia said "The most common cooking methods in Western and Central Africa are by boiling, frying or roasting."  However, even when I searched for African yam recipes many of the hits were actually for sweet potatoes. However,  I eventually took elements of several different recipes for Yam Stew and came up with my own spin. My dish had chunks of yams, garbanzo beans, and chopped bok choy simmered in a spicy tomato sauce. I served it with brown rice and more hot sauce on the side.

 After they were cooked the yams looked like cubes of potatoes. However, if I had cooked potatoes for the same amount of time they would have been falling apart. The yam cubes were firmer and starchier. Overall, pretty good.

Five years ago today: Strike A Pose

Monday, January 4, 2021

Thank God Its Monday

That's not a phrase you hear often, is it? However, according to the people at the National Today website, the first Monday in January is National Thank God Its Monday Day. They say "A Monday can represent new opportunities, new beginnings, or simply a brand new chance."

That's how I felt this morning when I rolled out of bed. It was dark and cold, but I was excited to get the day started. It felt like the first real day of the new year and I was going to take advantage of it.

It has been a long time since things have been normal. I spent the first two weeks of November quarantining for a trip to visit family. We were gone for two weeks, then I spent the first half of December quarantining again. After I was free to move about, I felt the stores were too crowded with people shopping for Christmas and stayed home as much as possible. From December 25th through the end of the year my schedule was all out of sorts, and it was even hard to remember what day it was. This year, because New Year's Day was right before the weekend that end of the year feeling lasted a couple of extra days.

But today it was time to get back to normal. Before I left the house I packed myself a standard 'Kathy lunch' of finger foods to eat in between stops. I had one work commitment, and popped into stores along the way there and back home for errands or just for fun. The schools were back in session, which meant the stores weren't crowded and it felt safe to browse.

All in all, it was an uneventful, wonderful day.

Five years ago today: Christmas Cleanup