Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Knock, Knock....

I love Halloween...the decorations, the costumes, and (especially) the candy.  I particularly enjoy answering the door for the trick or treaters.  Our area's Halloween tradition is to make kids “do a trick” to get their treat. The vast majority of the time the trick means a joke, usually a punny one-liner. The best I heard tonight:
  • What’s an optimistic vampire’s favorite drink (B positive)
  • What kind of shoes does a chicken wear? (Ree-bawk-bawk-bawk-bawk)
  • What’s the difference between Halloween egg nog and regular egg nog? (Halloween egg nog has more boos)
  • What do you get when you mix Frosty the Snowman with a vampire? (Frostbite)
  • What do witches put on their hair? (Scarespray)
  • What’s a mummy’s favorite music? (Wrap)
  • What is a ghost’s favorite dessert? (Booberry pie)
Five years ago today: Whistle A Happy Tune

Monday, October 30, 2017

From Lethargy To Energy

Hubby Tony celebrated a milestone birthday earlier this year, and today he continued the celebration by completing one of the recommended screening tests for people his age. 

The doctor's instructions called for someone to bring Tony home after the test was over, so I became the designated driver. This morning, just about the time I would be leaving for the gym or morning errands we were getting in the car to drive to the testing center. When we arrived Tony signed in and took care of his paperwork. Fifteen minutes later the nurse called his name and he disappeared behind the office door.

I had come prepared for my wait, and passed the time sitting and doing the newspaper crossword puzzles. When Tony was in the recovery area they called me back, and I sat next to his bed until he was ready to get dressed and leave. On the way home we stopped at Whole Foods for lunch, then swung by the pharmacy to drop off a prescription.  We finally arrived back home about 1 PM.

Thanks to the change in my schedule and all  the sitting around my daily rhythm was now all out of sorts. I'm used to being active during the first part of the day, and try to get a lot done.  By the middle of the afternoon my energy starts flagging.  All afternoon I tried to turn things around with not much success. It didn't help that it was gloomy outside, better for napping than crossing things off my to-do list.

After dinner Tony said he was feeling recovered enough to attend the meeting that was scheduled for the night and left. I was waiting for someone to come by to pick up some paperwork from the house.  She came and went, then I debated whether I should get out and take a walk. I spent fifteen minutes coming up with reasons why it wouldn't be a good idea, but eventually kicked myself in the rear, put my shoes and coat on, and got outside.

The wind had died down from earlier in the day; it was brisk but bearable. As a matter of facts, after a couple of blocks I was able to partly unzip the coat. I enjoyed checking out the Halloween decorations along the way. Several houses had gone all out with inflatables.  I walked for a half hour. By the time I returned home my lethargy had vanished. It ended up being a good day after all.

Daily Clip Art

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Dueling Diagnoses

Tonight I was doing some mindless Internet surfing and came across an article (with accompanying slide show) called "What Your Nails Say About Your Health". In the middle of the slides I found out that rippled nails "may be an early sign of psoriasis or inflammatory arthritis."

My thumb nails are particularly rippled, with ridges running from the bottom to the tip. As far as I know I have no psoriasis or arthritis, so I decided to get a second Google opinion. This article told me that the most common reason for ridged nails is aging.

I liked that diagnosis much better, and think I'll go with it.

Five years ago today: Mama Needs A New Pair Of Shoes

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Eat The Whole Thing

Tonight after dinner my body started telling me it needed ice cream. Tonight a piece of fruit for dessert just wouldn't do.

Hubby Tony had a meeting, and I had to run a couple of errands. After everything was done I stopped at the grocery store to buy a small container of ice cream.  The first thing I saw when I walked into the aisle was a display of Halo Top.

I'd heard of the brand, but never tried it before.  Its main selling point is that it's low-calorie, low-sugar, and high-protein.An entire pint contains as many calories as a single serving of other ice creams. As a matter of fact, the label lists the total calorie count on the front of the carton in very large font, although the official serving size was a quarter of the carton. 

Based on past experiences, I knew I would eat the entire pint of ice cream in one serving, so I chose the Chocolate Banana flavor.   After I paid for my treat I walked out to my car, where I pulled out the spoon I keep for for reasons like this and dug in. The carton lid gave me permission to “Stop when you hit the bottom”. I did.

Five years ago today: Signs Of The Season?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

More Than Just Fried

The first frost of the season is forecast for later in the week.  Yesterday morning the weather was still decent, so I took the opportunity to do some yard work, including pulling up the huge tomato plant next to the deck. In the last month it had grown even larger, and the end result was a Medusa-like tangle of stems and leaves. Hidden among that tangle were multiple clusters of large cherry tomatoes.

To deal with the snarl of stems I used a kitchen scissors to cut them into pieces about three feet long, then removed the immature fruits (and a couple of ripe ones) from each piece.  In the end I filled up a colander with green, semi-red, and a few red grape tomatoes.

I repeated the process with a second (standard size fruit) plant that had made itself comfortable along the back side of the garage. That area doesn't get much sun, but it didn't seem to bother the plant; it yielded another colander full of green fruit.

The tomato vines went in the yard waste trash bins.  The edibles were brought inside, where they got washed, dried, and dumped into bowls.  I covered the bowls loosely with plastic bags and set them on top of the refrigerator, hoping the cats wouldn't be motivated enough to seek them out there.

Now I have to figure out what to do with approximately ten pounds of green tomatoes.  Based on past experience, some of them will eventually turn red, and some of them are so immature they'd rot before they'd ripen.  Those go in the broth bag.  The rest will get used up somehow.

I'm trying to cut back on fat, so frying them isn't really an option.  Google gave me some good ideas that I'll incorporate over the next few weeks.  I started the project today by making Green Tomato Curry with Potatoes and Garlic Recipe.  It turned out really good.  By doubling the recipe I was able to use up an entire pound of fruit.

Only nine more pounds to go.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Eat Dessert First

As it inches closer to the end of October, the chances of our area getting a nice weather day get slimmer and slimmer. However, yesterday was one of those nice days. After a gloomy start the sun came out for the afternoon and the temperature climbed into the mid 80s Fahrenheit.  Earlier in the week when I had the opportunity to sign up for some work that would take me to a part of the city known for its shops and restaurants I asked Hubby Tony if he would like to go with me and walk around the area afterwards. He quickly agreed.

Yesterday morning we had commitments that took us in opposite directions. After we got home we fed the cats, told them we'd be back later, and got in the car.  The trees aren't showing the greatest fall colors this year, but there were some nice splashes of reds and oranges along the sides of the highway.  When we arrived I parked the car and did my required work, then Tony and I were free to play.

We mosied up and down the streets full of chic boutiques, antique stores, and art galleries, admiring things that were way more than our budget would allow us to spend.  At one of the stores the clerk offered us a magazine that had a list of things to do in the area, indicating there was a coupon in it for a cupcake bakery.  We thanked her and took the magazine, although at the time we weren't remotely hungry.

An hour later, though, things were different, but it was getting awfully close to dinner time. I suspect both Tony and I wanted the sweets, although neither one wanted to be the first to broach the subject. Eventually Tony suggested we just walk by the place and see what they had.  When we got there , of course we looked inside, and then of course we decided to get something.  It's always dessert time somewhere, right?

Lemon with curd inside and chocolate with vanilla icing
The cupcakes were fabulous. We split them in half and shared them equally. After a trip to the bathroom to wash my sticky hands it was time to leave the area. While we backtracked to the hotel, we discussed where the next part of the day would take us.  I would have thought the cupcake would have ruined our appetites.  Amazingly, it was more of an appetizer than a meal-killer.   After kicking around a few ideas Tony and I decided on an Italian restaurant that had been featured in the magazine.

By the time we got to the restaurant, though, I was second guessing our decision.  Italian food is heavy, and not a great diet choice after cupcakes.  However, after looking at the menu Tony proposed a great solution.  We started out with house salads, and split a beautiful antipasto plate for an entree.

After we finished the waiter asked if we would like dessert. I thanked him, but told him I'd already taken care of it.

Five years ago today: Not Traditional, But Still Good!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Computer Generated Chirography

I was going through the mail this afternoon, one of my least favorite tasks.  After tossing all the ads in the recycling bin I picked up an envelope which at first glance looked hand addressed. However, the ink was a strange blue hue, and the stamp didn't have a cancellation, which gave it away as direct marketing (AKA junk) mail. Opening it confirmed my suspicions-it was from the dealership where I bought my last vehicle, offering me the opportunity to come in for a Service Clinic.

I know that marketers are getting really sophisticated, and doing sneaky things to get their mail to stand out. There are even robots that can hold a pen and write in a variety of styles.

I wondered if it was possible for me to get in on the action, and did a search for 'handwriting fonts'.  The search yielded 21,400,000 results. I clicked through to Google Fonts, which had more than a hundred open source web fonts that you can use on a web page or download to your computer.  You can type in sample text to see how it would look.  I chose one called Coming Soon, put in a fake address, and got this:

Five years ago today: A-Mazing

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Dedicated For Data

I have emails with all the large web-based companies, but last week I needed a dedicated email for a new project someone suggested I check out Mail.com, a web portal and email service.

Setting up the account was easy. There were more than 200 domain names, which cover professions, geographic locations, interests, and beliefs. I kept it simple, though, and chose mail.com. For this project I just didn't think that catlover.com, hotshot.com, or saintly.com (just a few of the many options) would give the right impression.

The site homepage, was filled with news articles, similar to Yahoo's. At the very top of the page there are links to sign up and log in for email.  There are two types of accounts.  The free version gets you a basic inbox, mail collector (which will collect messages from other accounts), and mobile access through an app.  There are also ads.  If you want more than that you can sign up for "Premium", which is ad-free.

The main email page is simple, but it gets the job done.  I've already received a couple of messages from people about the project, so it must be working.  Once the project is done I can see converting the address into the one I give out for entering contests and places I know will send me a lot of spammy updates.

Five years ago today: Out Of The Gutter

Monday, October 16, 2017

No Phone. No Problem?

For the past few weeks Hubby Tony has been having trouble charging his cell phone. The problem became critical over the weekend, and matter what he did the phone would not charge. Eventually he gave up and decided to buy a new one online through our carrier. Until it arrives he will be without.

Today was the first work day Tony was phoneless.   I didn't think it would impact me so much.

Several times during the day today I had a question for him. Normally I'd just send him a quick text, but of course with no phone he wouldn't be able to see it.  The issue was too minor to bother him on his work phone, but even if it was more major I didn't remember the number.  In the eight years he's been at this office I think I've called him once.

Tonight our church was having a missionary speaker, and at the last minute I decided to go.  As I gathered up my things to leave the house I tried to figure out the best way to let Tony know where I was in case he got home first.  We're out of the habit of leaving each other notes, so I didn't know if he would even look around for one. In the end I jotted some information on the corner of the flyer, then taped it at eye level on the garage screen door.

Thank goodness the phone is scheduled to arrive by mid-week.  I don't know if I want to go back to the old days permanently!

Five years ago today: Pillow Inspiration

Friday, October 13, 2017

There's A Name For Everything!

On our walk tonight Hubby Tony and I were chatting about bad luck occurrences on our respective Friday the 13ths. (Fortunately, neither one of us had any issues.)  After that we segued into a general discussion of the day/date combination.

After I got home I decided to do a little bit of research about Friday the 13th.  I poked around the internet and came upon Fearof.net, where I learned that some people have phobias about the day. The phobia has two names, both of which piggyback off the more general Triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13). One is Paraskevidekatriaphobia (after Paraskevi, the Greek word for Friday).  The other is Friggatriskaidekaphobia (after Frigg, the Norse goddess that Friday is named for).

Thank goodness I have neither, although today I made sure to look both ways when I crossed streets and gave the ladder in the middle of the TV department at Costco a wide berth.  Better to be safe than sorry.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

One Year Old (And Wonderful)

I can't believe how fast time flies! Monday of this week marked exactly one year since we received a text from Son Brian telling us that Baby Jay had entered the world.

 Last weekend Hubby Tony and I flew out to California for four days to help Jay (along with his Mom and Dad) celebrate the big event.  The social event of the weekend, the official party, was on Sunday. However, during our visit we also got to visit DIL Nicole's office for lunch, a pumpkin patch, and several parks.

The highlight of the trip for me, though, was playing on the floor and getting baby hugs. 

Five years ago today: Not So GRRRRR!!!

Monday, October 9, 2017

Mouse Control

Sometimes I just have to laugh at myself...

My main computer is placed underneath the desk in the kitchen, and the monitor, wireless keyboard, and wireless mouse are on top. I also have a laptop/tablet computer that I mainly use in the family room.  Its home is on top of a table next to my side of the couch.

The other day I was getting ready to go on an adventure and needed to take my laptop with me.  When  i went to bed the night before I moved the laptop mouse into the kitchen next to my purse (which is part of my system for remembering things).  The next day I got busy doing too many things at once; all of a sudden I remembered the laptop. 

I grabbed a mouse and went into the family room. When I tried to shut the laptop down I couldn't get the mouse to work. Growling, I used my finger and the tablet function to do it, then turned off the mouse and put everything into the computer bag.

The next time I sat back down at the desk computer its mouse was gone, and a light bulb went off.   I looked over to the island, where the laptop mouse was still perched on top of my purse. Shaking my head at myself, I backtracked to the computer bag, where I removed the kitchen mouse and replaced it with the correct one.

Five years ago today: Priorities?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Kindness Matters

A great inspirational video from Lady Gaga, who spoke (along with the Dalai Lama) at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in June, 2016.

Five years ago today: Barometer

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Designed For A Door

This past weekend was the 2017 installment of a couple's retreat Hubby Tony and I attend.

For the past three years we have been on the retreat planning committee. At the beginning of the process this year the group decided that the theme would be Classic TV. Each of the couples used a TV show as the title of their presentation.  Tony and I picked The Love Boat.  A tradition at this retreat is for the committee members hang a decoration on their room door that coordinates with the theme.  This year we all started with a plain artificial wreath.  I'm not the most creative when it comes to craft projects, but I'm pretty proud of what I came up with.

The finished product
The first step was to go online and find the show logo.  I wanted the colors to be vibrant, so I had it printed at a copy shop.  Next I carefully cut the shape out.  I took the design to the scrapbooking section of the craft store, where I found a piece of paper that coordinated with the blue of the logo.  At the same store I also purchased a remnant of bright blue nylon net.

Back at home I cut the nylon net into strips and wound them loosely around the wreath.  I cut a circle out of the scrapbook paper and glued it to a small foam plate.  After it dried I attached the logo in the center.  I printed out our names on card stock using an Art Deco font, glued them to cardboard, and secured them to the plate with hot glue.  The last step was to tape a strip of nylon net to the back of the logo and tie it to the top of the wreath, centering the plate in the hole.

At the retreat I clipped a large magnetic binder clip onto the back of the wreath and stuck it to the metal door.  I was concerned that the wreath would be too heavy for the magnet to hold up, but it worked like a charm.  Everyone at the retreat knew which room was ours!

Five years ago today: Fly! Fly! Fly!