Monday, January 30, 2017

It's All Spam To Me

Several times a day I clear out the messages that have accumulated in my Junk folder.  Some of them are from companies I do business with that send out too many emails and others are from stores that I've bought stuff at, but the majority of them are pure rubbish.  I've noticed that the unsolicited spam messages tend to go in cycles.  Right now, these are the ones I'm getting the most:

Get rich quick schemes

Portable power generators

Red copper pans

Store gift card promotions

Male enhancement drugs

'Adult' videos and chat rooms

This month, unlike in the past, Nigerian princes have stopped trying to correspond with me.  I'm never the lucky lottery winner any more.  No one cares now if I want to drop pounds with their miracle product.  I wonder if they'll be back some day so I can delete them again, too.

Saturday, January 28, 2017


I think just about everyone is familiar with The Beatitudes, a set of blessings listed by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.  (If you're Roman Catholic, they were the basis of the Gospel for this week's Mass.)  But have you heard about the set of modern Beatitudes that were proposed by Pope Francis during his 2016 visit to Sweden? According to the Catholic News Service, they are:
  • Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart. 
  • Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized and show them their closeness. 
  • Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him. 
  • Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home. 
  • Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others. 
  • Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.
I think they're equally good words to live by.

Five years ago today: Soup's On

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Green Juice Day

Did you know that today is National Green Juice Day?  I didn't either, until I heard about it this morning.  I did some research and found out that the company that makes Evolution Fresh juices came up with the day to encourage people to stick to their healthy New Year’s resolutions. 

Of course, the Evolution Fresh people suggest that the perfect way to drink green juice is to get a bottle of theirs. However, by the time I did my research I had already been to the gym and run all my errands for the day, and didn't want to go out again.  I don't have a juicer, so I did the next best thing and made a smoothie. The main ingredient was spinach, but because I was craving chocolate I added a spoonful of cookies and cream-flavored protein powder and some extra cocoa.

Not exactly green juice, but close enough in my world.

Five years ago today: Morning Prayer

Monday, January 23, 2017

Invitation To Participation

The notation on the official-looking letter I received a couple of weeks ago told me all I needed to know about what was inside:

Today I had the privilege of showing up at the County Court House in Clayton to be in a pool of potential jurors.  I was actually excited to go do my civic duty, because it had been a long time.  I served on a jury in 1981, but the next two time I was called (in the mid-1990s) I had obligations that kept me from serving.

This morning the alarm went off an hour earlier than it usually does.  I showered, ate breakfast, made my lunch, and packed a tote bag with the food, a water bottle, my Kindle, my iPad, and the crossword puzzle page from the newspaper for the waiting around I knew I would have to do.  My summons told me to arrive at 8:30. That's right in the middle of morning  rush hour. I wasn't sure how long it would take to drive there, so I left the house an hour early. It took me less time to reach Clayton than I thought it would, but I burned up the rest of the hour getting into the juror parking garage. By time I walked to the courthouse and went through the metal detector at the door I was right on time. I joined a long line of people waiting to be checked in, then took a seat in the assembly room.  By 8:45 the room held a couple of hundred people. 

Fifteen minutes later a judge came in and addressed us.  He explained how important it was that we were there, and talked about the nuts and bolts of the day.  My summons said I would be there for two days.  However, the judge said that if it's determined that no more jury trials will be starting during that period they'd dismiss us after the first day.  I also knew from Hubby Tony's jury duty experience last year that the dismissal could come at any time during the day.

All in all the morning was pretty boring.  At 9:45 they came and got a panel of 36 people. At 11:15 they took a larger group of 50 people.  By then (thanks to my early breakfast) I was hungry and started nibbling on my lunch.   At 11:45 they dismissed us to go to lunch, warning us to be back at 1:30.  My lunch was already gone, so I used the time to take a brisk walk.   I had just gotten situated in my seat again at 1:40, when they announced there were no more jury trials scheduled and we were free to go. 

Although I was sad I wasn't going to be able to do my civic duty, it was nice to be able to get out of the area before rush hour hit.

Five years ago today: If Only My Crystal Ball Had Been Working

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Gettting Rid Of The Temptation

Today I had a work lunch at a fast food burrito restaurant.   However, because I'm still trying to get rid of several holiday pounds, I didn't have one of their marquee menu items.  I've learned that a loaded burrito can easily take up half of my calories for the day.  Instead, I ordered a salad with chicken, beans, fajita vegetables, and salsa.  In the interest of being healthy I reluctantly passed on the yummy sour cream, cheese, and guacamole.  But (telling myself I could eat just a couple) I couldn't resist an order of tortilla chips.

Who was I kidding? 

When I sat down with my food I took one chip out of the bag, closed the bag back up, and savored the perfectly-salted chip.  I ate part of the salad, went back for another chip, then repeated the process several more times.  Soon a quarter of the bag was gone, and my will power was decreasing with every chip.  I had to do something!

About that time a woman came in wearing a hoodie that proudly announced that she worked at the elementary school I attended oh so long ago, and an idea popped into my head.  When she walked away from the counter with her food I got her attention.  I identified myself as an alum of the school and asked her if she could help me get rid of the chips by taking them off my hands.  After a second, she agreed.  She thanked me for her bonus food and I thanked her for her help.

Five years ago today: Blondie

Monday, January 16, 2017

The Evidence Is Orange

The other morning when I came downstairs there was a beautiful bouquet of flowers on the kitchen island, compliments of Hubby Tony. The mixed blooms included, among others, several large orange tiger lilies. Like this one:

Later in the day I had to leave the house to run some errands. Knowing that the cats like vegetation I asked Son Donald to keep an eye on the vase whenever he was in the kitchen. He did, but sadly he couldn't be in there the entire time. I came home to this:

And there was no denying which cat did the deed.  Check out the smear on Jackson's cheek:

The arrangement was moved to the fireplace mantel in the family room.

Five years ago today: Are You Who I Think You Are?

Friday, January 13, 2017

Safe And Snug At Home

For almost a week the weather people have been talking about the winter weather coming our way. Finally, this morning the much-anticipated ice storm (predicted to be the biggest in the last decade) arrived.

In this area people get frantic when faced with any type of snow or ice. Yesterday I was at a hardware store for work and I think I was the only person not walking out with a bag of ice melt. After the hardware store I made the mistake of popping into the grocery for some apples. I had to wait in a long line at the cash register behind shoppers stocking up on milk, bread, and eggs.

Last night the MODOT officials were on the news asking people to stay off the roads unless they had a compelling reason to be out. Early in the evening I heard that the local school district had cancelled classes for today. My only commitment on Fridays takes place in a church that follows the district's lead, so when I went to be I turned my alarm off knowing I had nowhere to be.

When I woke up today the streets were still dry, but just about the time I thought I'd bundle up and take a walk outside before the weather arrived we got a smattering of rain.  The smatters continued the rest of the morning, and the real storm started just after lunch. As predicted, waves of rain came and went. The temperatures hovered slightly under 30 degrees. When I went out to get the mail the driveway was just wet, but the mailbox was covered with a heavy sheet of ice and I had to bang on it to break the seal.

Hubby Tony made the decision to work from home, so I had someone to talk to other than the cats.  Over the course of the day I caught up on my backlog of emails and started putting together an agenda for a meeting I'm leading next weekend.  I did some cooking, a smidge of cleaning, and a lot of relaxing.  It was wonderful!

At dinnertime there was less ice then forecast, but several more waves are supposed to come. They're still predicting 1/4"-1/2" of ice in this area. It sounds like I'm going to have at least one more day of being stuck in the house.  I can't wait.

Five years ago today: Another Year Older...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Free To Good Home

Back in the late 1980s a local grocery store had a buy-a-new-volume-every-few-weeks promotion that would ultimately get you a set of Funk and Wagnalls encyclopedias.  Son Tony was just beginning to read.  Each time I'd bring home a new volume he'd grab it and run off to his room, where he'd spend time looking at the pictures and perusing the new information.

Fast forward to today.  I can't remember the last time I opened up one of the books to get information; the only thing I've used them for lately is weighing down glued craft projects.  I was more than ready to get rid of the 36 inch-long stack of books.  However, since they were outdated, the charities and thrift stores around here wouldn't accept them any more.

I asked for suggestions for getting rid of the set from my Facebook friends, but no one had any ideas. (Except for the person who suggested using them for a huge bonfire.  I didn't take that person seriously.) Another person indicated she'd unsuccessfully tried to get rid of four different sets, which didn't exactly give me confidence for disposing of my own.

Then, as sometimes happens to me, an idea randomly popped into my head.  I wondered if I would get some interest if I listed the set on  Freecycle and Craigslist.  Two nights ago after dinner I composed a post and added it to both sites.  When I woke up the next morning I had five responses...and another five people had contacted me before I deleted the post after the set was actually gone.

With multiple offers to choose from I picked the person with the most appealing story.  It was a woman who told me that, even though she already had several partial sets of encyclopedias she's picked up over the years, she had wanted an entire set ever since she was a kid.   When I emailed her indicating they were hers, she told me she felt like she won the lottery!

After texting back and forth with the woman we settled on a meeting site, and yesterday afternoon I transferred the books from the back of my car into hers.  the woman was as nice in person as she sounded in her text.  At the end of the transaction she gave me a big hug, and I drove away thinking my discards would really be treasured.

Five years ago today: I Guess This Is What Adults Do

Monday, January 9, 2017

Registration Completion

We had a new dishwasher installed on Friday. As he was on his way out the door, the installer handed me a stack of manufacturer paperwork. Tucked inside the plastic bag was a product registration postcard with a strange-looking graphic on one side.  The card said the easiest way to register the dishwasher was through Photoregister.  Later in the day when I was cleaning up a pile of papers left over from Christmas I found another similar product registration postcard from a gift I received. I had to know what this Photoregister was all about.

According to the company's website, they offer "The fastest way to register products direct with the brands you buy".  The process sounded easy.  You take a photo of the code and text or email it in.  After it receives the photo the company will send you back a link.  You click on the link, which goes to an online site where you put in additional registration information.

I followed the directions for both cards. Twenty minutes later I received my responses, and clicked over to both websites.  They asked for my name, address, model number, and purchase information... all the things I would have filled out on a traditional paper form.  I'm not sure how exactly the new process improved things, but I have to admit it was kind of cool.

Five years ago today: Some People Get Excited Over The Smallest Things!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Waa! Waa! Waa!

Lucky Grandpa!
The holidays came and went, and so did our our of town children and their significant others. Then the day after New Years Son Brian, Daughter-In-Law Nicole, and Grandbaby Jay returned for a second round or socializing.  Today Hubby Tony and I took them to the airport for their trip back to California.

It was a good visit. However, the day after they arrived back I started feeling under the weather, and by that night I had a full-blown cold--a scratchy throat and cough, a stuffy yet runny nose, watery eyes, and a hacking cough.  What a bummer!

Grandbaby Jay is not quite three months old. He hasn't had his first cold yet, and his parents were understandably anxious to keep it that way. So the babysitting dates that were planned got cancelled, and I was careful to stay far away.  It killed me not to get my share of baby cuddles, and I felt like joining in with Jay when he cried.

This morning as Brian and Nicole put their luggage in the car they handed the baby to Tony, who got to get in one last set of hugs.  In the middle of his Grandpa time Jay looked over at me, smiled, and blew some bubbles my way to show he was thinking of me, too.

At least that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Five years ago today: Out With The Old

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Sun Up

The winter solstice on December 21st was the shortest day of the year, and since then the days have been getting incrementally longer.  However, the extra length has been at the end of the day. Weirdly enough, the sunrises have been getting incrementally later.

In 2017 yesterday (January 4th) and today (January 5th) have the latest sunrises for the year. Starting on Friday the 6th they'll start moving back, and we'll have more sunshine on both ends of the day. 

That's exciting news for me; I don't like having the house completely dark when my alarm goes off in the morning.

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

Wednesday, January 4, 2017


It looks like January is shaping up to be a month of package issues for our house.

Yesterday the doorbell rang.  As I was opening the front door I saw a UPS driver walking back to his truck. He had left two boxes on the porch-one a small case of diapers and the second a box of baby wipes. With Grandson Jay and his parents back at the house I carried the boxes in and didn't think anything about it, but when I mentioned them to Daughter-In-Law Nicole she indicated she hadn't ordered anything.

I took a good look at the mailing label. It had the correct address, but the addressee was an unfamiliar  woman's name. A Google search for the name didn't provide any information, so I called UPS and explained the situation. They said they'd have the driver pick up the packages today.  I put the boxes back on the porch. Just to be on the safe side, I took a time and date stamped photo to show they had been there.

This afternoon the bell rang again. This time Son Brian was closest to the door and brought in two FedEx packages. One was addressed to Hubby Tony, and the other had the same incorrect combination of name and address from the previous day. This time Son Donald took it upon himself to do the research, searching for the woman's name in Facebook. He showed me the results; when I scrolled down I saw a photo of the woman with a young man I recognized as the son of one of my neighbors.

I called the neighbor and explained the situation. He verified that I was was correct; his son and his girlfriend were living at their house. (The neighbor's house address is just one digit off from ours). I told him I'd bring the packages in from the front porch; they could pick them up and call UPS to explain the mix up.  Twenty minutes later I heard a polite knock on the door. When I looked the UPS driver was standing on the porch. I opened the door and described the situation. The driver offered to drop off the packages down the street.  I let him. 

Ten minutes after that there was another knock on the door. This time it was the woman and the neighbor's son come to collect the last package.

I hope there's no other mix ups, but if it happens again I won't bother involving the courier companies.

Five years ago today: Converted

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Package, Package, Who's Got The Package?

Ten days before Christmas I went online and ordered a 'fill in' present to compliment a gift card I was giving. Shipping was free, and the company promised it would be delivered in three to five business days.

Three to five days came and went. Because I knew it was a busy time of the year I waited an additional day before following up. The shipping service's website said the package had been delivered, and I should check with other people in the house to see if they'd brought it in. No one had, so I contacted the company.

The company was great to work with. They apologized for the inconvenience and said they'd send out a replacement order at no charge. The only problem was at that point I wouldn't receive it until after Christmas, and would no longer need it. I asked them if I could have the purchase amount credited to my account. They agreed. I checked my charge card statement online at the end of the year and saw that the credit had indeed been made.

When I came home from church yesterday (January 1) there was a large white plastic envelope laying on a shelf in my garage that hadn't been there the day before. The envelope was addressed to me, and the sender on the return address was the company I'd ordered the merchandise from. I didn't open the package, but I only ordered one thing from that company, so I could confidently say it was the misplaced merchandise. I wonder when and how it had gotten there?

The company is emailing me a return label so I can get the package back to them. I hope they get their return quicker than I got the original parcel!