Friday, January 30, 2015

There Are No Coincidences

The other day I was browsing through my Facebook feed when I read a comment from someone I didn't know (which he had written on my Friend's wall) that he was sorry to hear of her mother's passing.  The Friend was someone I was close to several years ago, and occasionally still bump into, but we haven't seen each other for quite some time.  I hadn't even known her mother was ill.

Immediately below that post was an update from a person who's mainly posts inspirational posters and sentimental tidbits.  Normally I look right past them, but when I saw this one I did a double-take.

Your mother is always with you...

She's the whisper of the leaves
as you walk down the street.

She's the smell of bleach in
your freshly laundered socks.

She's the cool hand on your
brow when you're not well.

Your mother lives inside
your laughter. She's crystallized
in every tear drop...

She's the place you came from,
your first home.. She's the map you
follow with every step that you take.

She's your first love and your first heart
break....and nothing on earth can separate you.

Not time, Not space...
Not even death!

Author: unknown

I rarely forward things, but in this case I thought I should make an exception,  I re-posted it on my grieving friend's wall.  Judging by the "Likes" it got, other people thought it was nice, too.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Emergency Zit Zapper

As I've gotten older my acne outbreaks are few and far between, but last week when I was on vacation I noticed a large pimple starting right next to my lower lip. Because I hardly ever have a problem I didn't bother to bring any treatment medicine. What to do?

I vaguely remembered reading that toothpaste could be effective in drying pimples up. Figuring that I didn't have much to lose I put a tiny dab standard white-colored toothpaste on the spot right before I went to bed.

When I woke up the offending area was much clearer.  I don't think I'd rely on toothpaste to clear up my skin on a regular basis, but it sure saved the day this time!

Five years ago today: Give Me Liberty

Monday, January 26, 2015

All Good Things Have To End

Today Hubby Tony and I had to get back to reality and board a plane to return home from our San Francisco experience. Although our flight didn't leave until the afternoon, we got up early enough to say goodbye to DIL Nicole before she left for work. After breakfast Tony and I decided to take one last walk through the area before it was time to go to the airport.

Brian and Nicole's apartment is close to an area with lots of shops and restaurants. It was too early for most of them to be open, but that was good; it meant the sidewalks weren't crowded and I could look around without worrying I was going to run into someone. We stopped at the deli counter of a small grocery store and had a sandwich made to take to the airport. With lunch figured out, we kept walking down the commercial area and a few of the side streets. The houses looked modest, but thanks to our conversations with Son Brian and Nicole I knew they were very expensive.

When it was time Brian drove us to the airport.  Much to my surprise the departure area wasn't busy and we were through the Security line quickly.  We bought coffee and found a place to eat lunch, then walked to the posted gate...which ended up being changed three times before we left.  As we waited to board the plane I started talking to the group behind me and learned that their connecting flight from St. Louis to Boston had already been cancelled because of the impending snow storm on the East Coast. 

We left from San Francisco at 1:15.  Because of the time changes we arrived in St. Louis at 7:15.  Thanks to all the cancelled East Coast flights the airport looked like a ghost town.  I felt sorry for all the people who'd had  their plans interrupted because of the weather.  When we got in the shuttle to the parking lot I felt like our vacation was officially over.

Five years ago today: Jammies!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

San Fran

Another day, another San Francisco area adventure.  After an early breakfast, once again Son Brian, Daughter-In-Law Nicole, Hubby Tony, and I all piled into the car.  This time we headed north towards San Francisco.

Twenty-five years ago when Tony had a business trip to San Francisco I came along and played while he worked.  I'd seen quite a few sights on that trip, but one of the ones I missed was Alcatraz Island, otherwise known as "The Rock".  When Son Brian asked us what we'd like to do on this visit that was at the top of the list.

Our reservations were for one of the first tours of the day, before the temperature had a chance to warm up. Because I knew it would be even cooler on the island I dressed in every layer I'd brought with me...a long sleeved shirt, sweater, and a light jacket. I could have used more. The trip to Alcatraz starts with a 15-minute ferry trip.   It was very chilly waiting at the dock to board, and not much warmer on the island.

The Rock

When we arrived at Alcatraz we were greeted by a National Park Service representative who gave us an orientation, then we were free to explore. First we watched an informative video about the history of the island, then we headed up to the main building to pick up the audio tour that was included with our ticket.  The very interesting tour led us from one section of the infamous federal penitentiary to another.

If we'd had more time I would have liked to explore some of the island's hiking trails, but it was coming up on lunch time and everyone was hungry.   Thankfully, our return trip on the ferry was warmer. After we got back to the mainland we had lunch, then walked through Fisherman's Wharf and up to Ghirardelli Square. Of course we had to stop for ice cream. The line to order was long, and the wait for the order was even longer, but once I tasted my sundae I decided it was worth the wait.

Five years ago today: Send A Message

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Forest and Beach

Saturday was another jam-packed day of our San Francisco Bay getaway.

After breakfast we all went our separate ways.  Son Brian and Hubby Tony went to the apartment complex gym, and DIL Nicole went for a run.  I walked to the market to pick up some produce.  When everyone was back home and cleaned up, we piled in the car to start the day's adventures.

It was the nicest weather day so far. The sun was shining and the forecast called for a high of close to 70 degrees.  Our first stop was a state park south of the Bay area that had a nice walking trail through a grove of giant redwoods. It was awe-inspiring how tall and old some of the trees were. Before we left the apartment Brian and Nicole made sure we had enough layers to keep us comfortable in the cooler forest. When we got out of the car the t-shirt I was wearing was warm enough. As I entered the shady area I added a sweater, and then a light jacket on top.

After our redwoods adventure we got back in the car and headed farther south to Santa Cruz, a city on the Pacific Ocean.  Our ultimate destination was the boardwalk and beach.  Even though it was only January most of the rides, food booths, and shops were open. We passed on those, though, and headed toward the beach, where we sat down on a couple of beach towels and enjoyed the warm sunshine. I got brave and rolled the legs of my pants up so I could walk down to the shoreline. The first few waves were mild, so I moved a little closer and was unprepared for the next bigger one that soaked the bottom of my pants. It was all good, though, because the sun dried them before I left.

Eventually it started cooling off, so we packed everything up and headed back to the car. The ride back was uneventful. When we reached the apartment we regrouped, then went out to dinner at a Israeli restaurant. The food was Middle Eastern with a twist. We ordered hummus, chicken and vegetable skewers, and several sides. When the food came we put all the plates in the middle of the table and everything was fair game.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Old Friends Are The Best

Day Three of our San Francisco Bay trip brought even more adventure. After breakfast Hubby Tony and I got ready for our day's plans.  We were going to meet up with Sue, a friend of mine from high school who's lived in San Francisco for the past 33 years.

Because we were staying quite some distance from Sue's house and we didn't have a car, we decided to take the Caltrain commuter train and meet her in San Mateo, about a half hour to the north.

We walked to the Caltrain station, which was about ten minutes from the apartment.  It was easy to navigate the ticketing system, and before long we were waiting on the platform for the train to arrive.  The ride was uneventful, and the driver did a good job of making announcements for the upcoming stops (which is always important when you're in an unfamiliar area).

Sue had picked a nice Asian restaurant for lunch.  While we ate we caught up.  I hadn't seen her for a couple of years; she used to come to see her family every year for the holidays, but several years ago her parents moved to a retirement community out of the area.  After we ate she put on her tour guide hat and escorted us around in her car.  

We made our way to San Francisco and walked on the Golden Gate Bridge, drove through Fisherman's Wharf, navigated down the hairpin turns of Lombard Street, walked around the perimeter of the Coit Tower, and stopped at Ocean Beach, where I took off my shoes and walked on the cool sand.  The day was much too cold to think about sticking them in the ocean!

On the late afternoon Sue drove us back to San Mateo, where we got a quick snack before it was time for Tony and to get on the train for the trip back. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Rub-Down

This was Day 2 of our South San Francisco Bay adventure. Daughter-In-Law Nicole had to work, so after we took her to her office, Son Brian, Hubby Tony, and I started on our day's adventures.

As we drove around the area I saw a Who's Who of tech companies....the headquarters for Yahoo, Google, LinkedIn, and Intuit, as well as a huge Microsoft building.  A freeway exit pointed toward Cupertino, the city where Apple is located.  (Not everything in the area is tech.  There was also a NASA research center and a sign that pointed the way towards Lockheed Martin.)

Our first stop was Shoreline Park, where we walked on some of the trails and looked at the San Francisco Bay.  For lunch we went to a Mexican restaurant, then came back to the apartment for a short rest.  Then it was time for the highlight of my day.

For my birthday, I'd received a promise of a massage from Brian and Nicole.  The studio I was going to did all types, but when Brian mentioned how nice the traditional Thai massages were I knew I had to try it.  Yet another unique activity to add my list.

When I checked in at the front desk the receptionist handed me a laminated card that asked for contact information, what type of pressure I wanted for my massage (I chose medium) and a diagram of a body where I could indicate the parts that needed special attention (always my shoulders and lower back).  After the preliminaries were out of the way I was escorted into the studio, which was a dimly-lit hall with curtained rooms set on each side.  I could see that each room held a massage mat set on a raised platform.  Serene music was playing softly in the background.

When we reached one of the rooms I was instructed to change out of my clothes into loose cotton pants and shirt, then lay down face-first on the mat.  The masseuse entered, greeted me, and got started.

I'm used to deep tissue massages where you can relax and zone out.  This was NOT like that! 

The masseuse could lean over my body, and she put her full weight into her work. When she got to my shoulders she vigorously pressed on all the sore points until I was ready to call Uncle.  It hurt, but at the same time it also felt really good.  The same thing happened when she started on my lower back.

Laying on my stomach I wasn't able to see the technique,  but a couple of times I felt her climbing over me to get to the other side, and I think she might even have used her knees a couple of times.  Eventually I rolled over on my back and my arms and legs got the attention they craved.  However, I wasn't expecting that my fingers and toes would get pulled until the knuckles cracked.

All too soon my time was up and I had to get dressed and return to the real world.  When I returned to the reception area I received I cup of hot tea and a small jar of Thai smelling salts to take home.  Brian and Tony were waiting in the car for me in the parking lot.

Five years ago today: The Right Note

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Strange Fruit

Back in October when Son Brian and Daughter-in=law Nicole moved to California Hubby Tony and I told them we'd be visiting soon.  This week we hopped on a plane to do just that.

Our flight left St. Louis mid-morning.  Thanks to the time change we arrived at the San Francisco airport mid-afternoon.  Nicole had to work, but Brian picked us up at the airport and drove us to their apartment in the South Bay area.  We got settled in and went to lunch.  Later in the afternoon Brian and I walked to a small ethnic grocery store to get some ingredients for dinner.

We were wandering through the produce section  and talking about unusual items when I found a display of large, bright yellow football shaped fruit that was new to me.  The tag said it was a Canary melon.  I suspected I knew what it would taste like, but even if I was off base and didn't like it, at 79 cents it was cheap enough to take a chance on.  I threw it into my bag.

When I got home I did some research.  Wikipedia said:
The Canary melon or winter melon is a large, bright-yellow elongated melon with a pale green to white inner flesh. This melon has a distinctively sweet flavor that is slightly tangier than a honeydew melon. The flesh looks like that of a pear but is softer and tastes a little like a cantaloupe.
The melon ended up being quite tasty.  I cut it into chunks and put the chunks into a bowl.  We snacked on it the rest of the afternoon, and finished it off with dinner.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015


On Monday Pepper the cat started throwing up his (mainly undigested) food after each meal.  He didn't look or act like he was sick, but that night shortly after I went to bed Pepper let out with several scary blood-curdling howls.  Even though he settled down after I got up and spent some time petting him,  I figured I should get him checked out.  Yesterday I made an appointment to take him to the vet.

A couple of hours before the appointment I got out the cat carrier and set it on the floor in the kitchen.  Pepper had been lethargic all morning, but when it was time to put him in the carrier he suddenly had enough energy to put up a fuss and stick his paws out in four different directions. Hubby Tony helped me get him in.  As soon as the door was latched Pepper launched into his "please let me out of here" yowl, which lasted through the three-mile drive to the vet's office. 

The vet tech came in and took his history, then we waited a few minutes for the vet to arrive.  She poked and prodded Pepper, asked a couple of questions, then decided we should leave him there for some diagnostic work.  Several hours later we received a call from the office.  Pepper's blood was normal, but the x-rays showed a lot of gas in his stomach.  The official diagnosis was gastroenteritis.  Best the vet could figure out is that Pepper had been munching on my houseplants...particularly the flopping shoots of the asparagus fern in the bathroom.  (Before we picked Pepper up I trimmed the plant back so he can't reach it.) 

Pepper now has a shaved spot on his neck from where they took his blood, and his chest hair looks tousled from the antiseptic they used.  The vet sent us home with antibiotic liquid, anti-nausea pills, and easy-to-digest food that Pepper's supposed to eat for the next few days.  He's a typical finicky cat who doesn't do medicine well, but I'm hoping this round will go better than our previous attempts.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

No Snickering Allowed

When Hubby Tony and I brought home our paintings from our paint and sip adventure on Friday night I wasn't going to let them see the Internet light of day.  After I read your encouraging comments I started rethinking my decision.  So....

Here's my canvas
Tony passed on sharing his.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Paint And Sip

Last night I was given the opportunity to take a class at a local 'paint and sip' painting studio.  Hubby Tony, being the good sport that he is, decided to join me.

At a paint and sip class, a professional artist helps you create a 'masterpiece' by guiding you through the steps to producing that class's painting.  Everything you need is supplied, and no artistic experience is required.  Drinks and snacks are allowed, and even encouraged. 

After looking at the available options on the studio's website, I picked a date-night class called "Owl Always Love You".  This painting had two side-by-side panels that featured two owls perched in a large tree against a winter background.  When I called the studio to register, I found out we should bring any snacks and drinks we wanted, wear something we wouldn’t mind getting paint on, and arrive 15 minutes early. 

We showed up at the studio with a bowl or popcorn and a cooler of adult beverages.  The instructor greeted us and told us to choose seats at one of the stations set up with tabletop easels, brushes, and paint.  By time the class started there were about a dozen students sitting at the long tables.  The instructor asked how many people had been there before, and half of the hands went up.  She gave us a short introduction about the studio setup and a couple of dos and don'ts before we got started.

Our first step was to mix the color for the sky.  The instructor gave us the ratio of white, blue, and green paints she was using, but stressed our pictures didn't have to be exactly like hers.  The important thing was that my sky needed to match Tony's.  After the sky was done, we covered the bottom of the canvas with white, then blended a bit of dark blue at the intersection of the two colors (making sure our colors and textures matched).  We washed out our brushes while the paint dried, then each added a row of tiny background trees at the horizon line.

Once the background was finished, it was time to move on to the other elements of the painting. Tony's canvas had the trunk of a massive tree, and a couple of it's major branches grew over onto mine.  I had to wait until he painted his portion before I could start on mine, and It was a challenge to make sure the branches matched up.  Once the major branches were in place we added smaller branches, then watched the instructor demonstrate how to paint an owl sitting on a tree branch.  Tony and I each got to try our hand at an owl.  The last step was to add dots of white paint to represent snow flakes.

The instructor's painting was very good.  Ours, not so much, but we had a lot of fun trying.

Five years ago today: The Beautiful Color Of Love

Friday, January 16, 2015

Being Over 50 Has Its Advantages

SO many funnies floating around the Internet!  I can really relate to these.  Wish I could figure out who to attribute them to.

  • Kidnappers are not interested in you.
  • In a hostage situation you are likely to be released first.
  • No one expects you to run into a burning building.
  • People call at 9pm and ask "Did I wake you?"
  • Things you buy now won't wear out.
  • There is nothing left to learn the hard way.
  • You can live without sex (but not without glasses).
  • You can have a party and the neighbors won't even realize it.
  • You stop trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks in the room.
  • Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.
  • Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the TV Weather Service.
  • Your supply of brain cells is finally down to a manageable size.
Five years ago today: What A Difference A Day Makes

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Please Stay On The Line

Back when I was running my tutoring center I had to get an Employer Identification Number (the corporate equivalent to a Social Security number) from the IRS. They told me I needed it in order to pay my handful of employees and to file business tax returns. When I closed the center six years ago I forgot all about that EIN.  Now that I'm self-employed I'm considered an independent contractor for the companies I've signed up with. Most of them have asked for my Social Security number, but the latest one requires an EIN.

I wasn't sure if the old number was still good, so I tried finding the information on the IRS website. After a lot of false starts I found what I thought was the answer, but I wanted to talk to a real person just to be sure.  Over the past two days I've called the IRS several times. The first time after navigating all the prompts I was told my wait time would be 15-30 minutes. I hung up. Later in the day when I tried a second time, the automated system gave me an estimated time of 45-60 minutes. I hung up again.

Last night I was talking with someone who knows the ins and outs of the IRS. They said that because of budget cutbacks the Service had to cut back on phone support, which was leading to longer wait times.  I understood what they were saying, but that didn't make me less annoyed.

Today I tried to get my question answered via online chat, but the person couldn't help me; I'd have to call. So I made sure my phone was charged up and dialed the number one more time.  After so many call attempts I could navigate the prompts by memory. When I got to the right queue I was told someone would be with me within 30 minutes.

It actually was more like 45. While I was waiting I played some computer mah jong and did a little internet surfing. I chopped vegetables for dinner, put dishes in the dishwasher, and wiped down the kitchen countertops.  The hold music was really starting to get on my nerves by the time a pleasant-sounding woman came on the line.   She found out what my question was, then put me on hold for a few minutes while she did some research. The answer ended up being what I thought it was, but while I was on the phone I took the opportunity to update my records in the IRS system.

At the end of the conversation I told the woman I knew she was working hard at her stressful job and thanked her.  She gratefully acknowledged my compliment.  By her tone of voice I don't think she's had anyone say that to her recently.

Five years ago today: Figuring It Out

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Not So Fun-gi

A couple of weeks ago I needed a frame for a photo, went to my frame stash in the basement, and was dismayed that the first frame I pulled out had patches of mildew on it.  After a trip to the store to purchase a new frame, I mentally scheduled cleaning out the cabinet as the first big project for the new year.

(In retrospect, the mildew makes sense.  For several months we've had an intermittent musty smell in the basement.  When it got really bad I'd run the dehumidifier for a day or so until the smell disappeared.  I guess that was just a stopgap measure.)

Last week when I took everything out of the cabinet I discovered the main mildew culprit was an old Polaroid camera bag, which was covered in the powdery white stuff.  YUCK!   Once the cabinet was empty I wiped everything down with a bleach solution, then divided items into piles to keep, donate, recycle, and throw out.

Many of the frames were standard a 8x10 size and held certificates or family portraits.  When I removed the paper it didn't look mildewed, but just in case I'm scanning everything and tossing the originals.  Better to be safe than sorry.  I kept a handful of unique frames, and put the rest into the donation box.  Next time I want a picture frame I'll have to go buy one.

Five years ago today: Vim And Vinegar

Monday, January 12, 2015

"Happy Returns On Your Momentous Birth Celebration"

Yesterday I turned another year older.  Over the course of the day I received birthday wishes via phone, email, Facebook, and LinkedIn.  I was surprised that a couple of the greetings even came from companies I do business with.  This one won the prize for being the most unique.
Hi there, birthday human!

Yeah, you thought you could keep it a secret from us - but we're smarter than that (we think). Even though you may be mysterious enough to be an esteemed member of the [Company] shopping team, you can't hide the fact that the sun has moved, and the stars have aligned, or the earth has rotated, and the moon has shimmied, or the earth has revoluted, or ... you get the point. Yes, on this very day, you were a-borned lo those many years ago (hey, not THAT many, you may protest). But no matter, we didn't come here to quibble over your age. We came here, actually, collectively and with great love in our hearts, to chime in and wish you Many Happy Returns on your most magical and momentous birth celebration, or to cut to the chase a wee bit, to jump out from behind the curtain and in full throat bellow the wondrous words, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" (Sorry about that ... I hope we didn't alarm you to the point that you screamed and dropped the lemon meringue pie you were carrying.)

Thank you ever so much for being a part of our team on this day, and all days! We wish we could celebrate with you in person, but just know that we are thinking about you and stand in awe of all that you do, desiring nothing but the best for you and your'n. Now, get out there and enjoy your day! We'll be awaiting your return with the proverbial bated breath (and an oxygen cart nearby just in case you're unduly delayed - after all, partying is an art form and not to be rushed) and hope that you visit us at [Website], where you will be able to find and secure the shops of your dreams!.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Take Note

Hubby Tony and I have a busy day tomorrow, so we decided to go to Mass tonight.  When we pulled into the church parking lot we had to park farther back then we usually do on a Saturday, and the church as was fuller than normal. There's some winter weather forecast for tomorrow; I wonder how many of the extra people were there for that reason?

We're creatures of habit and usually sit in about the same spot.  However, it was filled so Tony chose a pew on the opposite side of the aisle and much farther back then we usually sit.  There was a man at the end who grudgingly moved down to give us just enough room.  Eventually several other people wanted to enter the pew; when Tony asked the man to move down again he reluctantly slid over a couple of feet, which meant that the man to my left and I were very close to each other.

After the Gospel reading we sat down to listen to the sermon.  I couldn't help but notice the man pulling out a medium-sized spiral notebook and a pen.  He proceeded to take notes while the priest talked.  I tried not to let it distract me, but since he was right beside me it was difficult.  (If I'd wanted to I could have read what he was writing.)   When the sermon was over the man put closed up the notebook and put it into the holder with the hymnals.  It stayed there until the end of Mass. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Save Or Not?

I was doing some cleaning yesterday and came across a couple of AA batteries tucked in the back of a drawer. I was pretty sure they weren't any good, but I couldn't put my hands on my tester and I needed an alternate way to find out if I should save or discard them.

This video showed me a simple way to figure it out.  Sure enough, my batteries had no charge left in them and I tossed them in the Old Battery Bag. When the bag gets full I'll take it in for recycling.

Five years ago today: Baby, It's Cold Outside

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

How Cold Is It?

Tonight the temperatures are going to drop down into the single digits.  After dinner I turned up the thermostat and put on an extra layer to keep warm.  The cats are huddled together on the couch.

It's so cold that. . .
  • Starbucks is serving coffee on a stick
  • Lawyers have their hands in their own pockets.
  • My car won’t run, and my nose won’t stop.
  • Police tell a robber to freeze, and he does.
  • We had to chisel the dog off a lamp-post
  • Levi Strauss started manufacturing electric jeans
  • The squirrels in the park are throwing themselves at an electric fence.
  • The optician was giving away free ice scrapers with every new pair of eyeglasses.
  • Hitchhikers are holding up signs with pictures of thumbs.
  • The Amish are buying electric blankets.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Word Of My Year

The calendar may say today is January 5th, but in my world it's the start of a new year.  I extended my holidays past New Year's Day and through the weekend.  Last night when I went to bed I set the alarm for the first time in a couple of weeks.   When it went off this morning I jumped into 2015.   There was work to be completed, paperwork to be done, errands to be run, and a book discussion date with a friend.  But before I got down to business I stepped back to ponder the big picture.

Several of the people and blogs I admire don't make New Year's resolutions. Instead, they set goals or pick a theme word. I thought that was a great idea, and decided my word for the year would be Organization.

This year I'd like to bring order to all the parts of my life.  My independent business has grown without much of a plan.  My house really needs an overhaul.  At this time next year I want to be able to say I've cleaned the superfluous clutter out of the basement, cabinets, closets, and drawers.

Now that the new year is here I'm excited to get started.

Five years ago today: The Eleventh Day of Christmas

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Oh, My Aching...EVERYWHERE!

Yesterday for the first time in a couple of weeks I went to a class at the gym. The instructor promised that we'd work and tone all the body's major muscle groups. And we did!  I left there sweaty and sore, and over the next 24 hours the soreness got worse.  Today when I walk or use the stairs my thighs hurt inside, outside, back, and front.  My gluteus maximus aches when I sit down. Above my waist my pecs, biceps, and triceps let me know they're there every time I move my arms.

I know from past experience the sore muscles will go away in a day or two, but since I was so miserable I decided to go online and research remedies.  I was surprised to learn my condition had a medical name--Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS).  It's caused by microtrama to the muscle fibers during exercise, and in some people can last up to 72 hours.

After searching several websites and discarding some oddball treatments (like drinking pickle juice or rubbing a banana peel on the sore areas) I tried several things.  First I popped a couple of Advil every four hours.  On son Donald's advice I did some stretches.  I massaged the sorest areas with witch hazel, then later in the day soaked in a hot Epsom salts bath. 

Tonight my body doesn't hurt as much.  I wonder which one of the remedies did the trick?

Five years ago today:  The Tenth Day of Christmas

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Gimme A Cup

A couple of months ago I noticed the coffee mug I was drinking out of had an unattractive brown film on the inside.  A quick scrub of baking soda took care of the stain, but then I started thinking about how long I've had the mug.  That led to a general inventory of all the mugs. 

What I figured out was pretty amazing.  Several of the mugs came from events at Son Tony's high school....and this year he had his ten-year reunion!  Others had logos from companies Hubby Tony used to work at, or events he'd done in the distant past.  I decided to put new Fiestaware mugs on my Christmas list; they'd coordinate with the Fiesta plates and bowls I was gifted with several years ago.  If I was lucky I could kiss all the old mugs goodbye.

On Christmas Day I was thrilled to receive eight mugs, each a different color.  (None of them match the plates and bowls, which is the look I was going for.)  When I took the Christmas coffeeware out of the cabinet last night I replaced them with the new versions.  I kept three nice-looking newer mugs, and put the others in the donation pile.

Aren't they pretty?

Five years ago today: The Ninth Day of Christmas

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Minder Of The Door

As we've done in years past, last night Hubby Tony and I attended our local First Night celebration to ring in the new year.   However, this year there was a twist; for the first few hours we volunteered at one of the venues, then the rest of the evening was ours.

Each year First Night is filled with activities. The outside ones (acts on the main stage, two fireworks displays, the huge dance tent, and the areas where you could post your resolutions for the new year and watch videos) are free. For the inside venues, you have to purchase an admission button.  My job was to check people for their buttons as they entered the performance area.

It was a very cold night.  Most people had their buttons outside their coat, but some had attached it to their shirts so it wasn't easily visible.  I had to ask them to open up their coat and show me.  A small handful of people weren't aware of the admission policy, so I directed them to a place where they could purchase the buttons. 

Late in my shift I was taking a break and talking to one of the venue staff, who pointed out I was acting in the role of a bouncer.  I hadn't thought about it that way (in my experience bouncers always seem to be rough, stern-looking enforcers), but after thinking about it I guess she was right.  I can add "being a bouncer" to my experience list.

Five years ago today: The Seventh Day of Christmas