Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Chain Of Foods

Saturday night Hubby Tony and I had carry out Chinese for dinner. He brought home Hot and Sour Soup (accompanied by fried won ton strips), Chicken with Chinese Vegetables, Broccoli with Garlic Sauce, a container of white rice, and three fortune cookies. We ate about 2/3 of everything except for the rice, which we barely made a dent in.

Sunday is Tony's night to put dinner together.  He knew he was going to start with the previous night's leftovers, and add something else to make a whole meal. When I bought home baby bok choy and Japanese eggplant from the Asian market he decided to incorporate the latter ingredient.  He cut the eggplant into cubes and baked it, then added half to the combined carry out leftovers. Next he mixed in a little leftover brown rice and some restaurant white rice and heated everything up in the microwave. When it was done Tony ladled the dish into large bowls and put them on the table, along with packets of hot mustard and sweet and sour sauce.  The tasty dish was a cross between a thick soup and a juicy stew, and it was delicious.  As he was cleaning up Tony put the rest of the eggplant into the refrigerator.

Monday's dinner was a stir fry with the rest of the eggplant, half of the boy choy, half of a container of white beans from the freezer, onion and garlic, and some fresh basil leaves. It had a sauce made from rice vinegar, oyster sauce, red pepper flakes, brown sugar, and sesame oil.  The dish was served over leftover white rice (which almost, but not quite, used up the container).

Today I used up the remainder of the bok choy and white beans by adding them to a curry sauce, along with sweet potato, onion, garlic, and a couple of spoonfuls of peanut butter.  Since there wasn't much Chinese white rice left I made brown rice in the Instant Pot and used some of that, too. The end dish was runny enough to serve in bowls.

Now, after three days of imaginatively using leftovers and ingredients, it's all gone.The refrigerator is looking a little empty, and my creativity has come to a screeching halt. I have no idea what tomorrow's dinner will be, but based on past experience something will come to me. 

Five years ago today: The Cats Weren't Too Wild About The Idea...

Sunday, August 26, 2018

A Dog's Story

In honor of National Dog Day.

A old German Shepherd starts chasing rabbits and before long discovers that he's lost. Wandering about he notices a panther heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch. The old German Shepherd thinks, "Oh, oh! I'm in trouble now!"

Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the panther is about to leap the old German Shepherd exclaims loudly, "Boy, that was one delicious panther! I wonder if there are any more around here?" Hearing this, the young panther halts his attack in mid-strike. A look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees. "Whew!" says the panther, "That was close! That old German Shepherd nearly had me!"

Meanwhile, a squirrel who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the panther.

The squirrel soon catches up with the panther, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the panther. The young panther is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here squirrel, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!"

Now, the old German Shepherd sees the panther coming with the squirrel on his back and thinks, "What am I going to do now?" Instead of running the dog sits down with his back to his attackers pretending he hasn't seen them. Just when they are close enough to hear the old German Shepard says, "Where's that squirrel? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another panther!"

The moral of the story is:

Don't mess with the old dogs. Age and skill will always overcome youth and treachery. BS and brilliance only come with age and experience.

Five years ago today: Buggy

Friday, August 24, 2018

I Hope They're Wrong, But I'm Not Holding My Breath

All this week the temperatures here have been below normal, but if the weather gurus are right, it looks like things will be changing big time tomorrow:

Weather Underground
I'm not a fan of hot weather, so I'm not excited about the change at all. Today was more my cup of tea; it felt more like early October. The windows were open and I was able to enjoy all the sounds of nature. After I completed my morning commitments I came home to cook and bake. It was gloomy, with a gentle sporadic rain. As the afternoon went on the sun tried to break through a couple of times. By dinner time there was more sun than clouds, and the evening was bright and beautiful.  Hubby Tony and I took a long walk after the kitchen was clean to take advantage of the nice conditions.

The Weather Service already issued a heat advisory from noon tomorrow through Tuesday night. That means we'll hermetically seal up the house again, and the sound of nature will be replaced with the hum of the air conditioner as it works to cool off the house. And I'll be counting the days until fall really comes back.

Five years ago today: What If...

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Removed Root

Three weeks ago a trip to the dentist revealed a crack in my wisdom tooth. After putting in a temporary filling the dentist sent me on my way with instructions to come back two weeks later to make it permanent. However, during that visit he discovered that the damage was more extensive than originally thought. During the drilling process the tooth root was exposed. He told me my best option was to have a root canal, which they could cover with a crown.

Once back at home I called the recommended endodontist for an appointment. I have great teeth and rarely ever need anything other than checkups and cleanings, so seeing a specialist was new territory for me. Fortunately there was an opening six days later and (even though it was at 8 AM, and I'd have to drive through rush hour to get there) I took it.

For the past week my tooth was uncomfortable, but unless I forgot and chewed something on that side there wasn't too much pain.

Today was Root Canal day. The building was easy to find on the second floor of a small strip mall I've driven by many times over the years. The office was very efficiently run. I only had to sit in the waiting room for a couple of minutes until they called me back. Before I saw the endodontist his assistant took an x-ray of the tooth. Once the endodontist came in he administered the Novocaine and explained exactly what would happen today.

After my lip, chin, and tongue were numb he came and gave me a second shot, explaining that wisdom teeth needed additional numbing. He leaned me back in the chair, arranged his tools, and stuck a dental dam in my mouth to isolate the tooth. His assistant stood on the other side of the chair. Before he started the endodontist told me to keep my eyes closed while he was drilling and raise my left hand if I felt any pain. Then the fun began.

I felt vibrations from the drill, and pressure when he used a file to pick out the smaller pieces, but not much else. The assistant was in charge of irrigating the tooth and sucking out the excess liquid. I wasn't keeping track of the time, but it didn't take too long before I felt him packing something into the tooth.  He asked me to bite down, smoothed everything one more time, and said we were done.

The endodontist left, and the assistant did one last x-ray to check that everything was done correctly before she released me. After a quick stop at the front desk to do the paperwork I left. On the way home I stopped at the pharmacy and filled the prescription I had been given for heavy duty ibuprofin. While I was talking to the pharmacy technician I felt like I was slurring my words, because I couldn't move my tongue properly.

Thee hours later I was hungry for lunch but the left side of my mouth was still completely numb. I made a smoothie in  the blender, then (after I discovered I couldn't drink it without dribbling because my lips were too numb) rooted around the kitchen for a straw to suck it up with.  Good thing there was no one else in the house to watch me!

 As the anesthesia wore off I realized that my tooth didn't ache any more, but the muscles where the drug was injected did. The whole left side of my face felt sore, like I had been punched there.  Chewing my food during dinner and talking with Hubby Tony seemed to loosen up the area, but it's still tender when I open my mouth too wide.  Google tells me everything should be back to normal in a couple of days. I hope it's right.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Yard Work Fun

Hubby Tony had a dinner meeting tonight. On my way home from a job I stopped and bought myself some fast casual Mexican. I brought it home and ate in front of the computer, finished some paperwork, then decided to go outside and do some yard work. It was less then sweltering outside, and trash day is tomorrow so any green waste I made would get picked up.

We had some rain overnight, and I decided to ditch my shoes and do my work barefoot. It felt so good to walk on the pliable turf. I started out by picking up branches and digging a few weeds out of the back yard flower beds. After the weeding was done I moved on to trimming and edging in the front yard. Halfway through the job I heard a rumble of thunder in the distance and picked up the pace, hoping to get done before the rain started. That didn't work. When the drops started coming down I quickly picked up the grass clippings I had made and dumped them in the trash can just as the rain started coming down in sheets.

The storm only lasted ten minutes, and I decided to go back out and finish my job. Even though there hadn't been a lot of rain the yard was now saturated. I started out trying to keep my feet clean, but after I accidentally stepped in a large blob of mud in the middle of the sidewalk I gave up.  Soon my feet were covered with mud and grass clippings.  It was wonderful.

My last task was to deadhead flowers and cut back some leggy annuals in front of the house. When I lifted up a clump of lamb's ear leaves an old friend hopped out from underneath:

Actually a photo from last year. He was too busy tonight to say 'Hi'
(The past few years there has been a lot of frog activity around my estate.  Read more about it here, here, here, and here).

My hands were dirty and I couldn't pull out my phone for a photo. The frog scooted underneath a bush and I quickly lost sight of him. Ten minutes later I finished the last of the yard tasks. I put everything away and washed off my dirty feet before I went into the house.

Five years ago today: If You Can't Trust A Nun, Who Can You Trust?

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Good Stuff

This week has been extremely busy, but a lot of good things have happened around our place.


Monday night I came home from a meeting and noticed that the main level of the house seemed hot. Hubby Tony verified my suspicions when he walked in an hour later. I checked the thermostat, and the room temperature was five degrees hotter than it should be. About that time I noticed there was a buzzing noise coming from the south wall of the family room. When I walked outside to investigate I discovered that the one of the air conditioning units was very noisy. Because it was going to be relatively cool overnight we turned off both units and opened up the windows.

I called the HVAC company as soon as they opened at eight o'clock on Tuesday morning and explained that we needed someone to come take a look at the unit. Because we have a service contract with them we go to the top of the list, and the technician was knocking on my door 45 minutes later. Fifteen minutes after that he told me our issue was a faulty capacitor. The failed part had been replaced at the last service and was still under warranty. Our cost for continued house coolness was only $70 for the service call.


On Wednesday morning Hubby Tony called me to say he had noticed some car issues as he left the house. He stopped at the repair shop and described the symptoms. They said they could work him in, and the shuttle service gave him a ride to work. Some time later they called to tell him he just needed a new battery. The car was ready at lunchtime, but I picked Tony up at the end of the work day and dropped him off at the repair shop to pick the car up.


After Tony got home we got ready for the next adventure. Jackson and Pepper, our 16-year old cats, had an appointment at the vet for their annual physical and rabies shots. For many years I did the job by myself because Tony's schedule wasn't flexible, but it's really nice to have help wrangling two uncooperative cats into carriers, getting them into the car, and then from the car into the office.  In the examination room they were weighed, poked, prodded, and stuck with needles.  The vet proclaimed each of them healthy and said she hoped she didn't see us until next August.

I'm part of a group planning a dinner at church tomorrow night.  My job is to quarterback setting up the room, including some simple centerpieces for eight round tables. (And I only have a tiny budget.) Tonight I went to the nearest big box hardware stores to look for plants that might be on clearance.  Everything on the sale table was too big, bloomed out, or just decrepit looking. I went up to the cashier to ask her about the chances of a new group of plants being marked down tomorrow. She told me she had some flexibility in the price, and suggested I pick something out and bring it up to the cash register. She would see what she could do.  

I found some nice looking Sempervivum. The  4 inch pots were marked $3.48, but the cashier gave me ten of them for a dollar each.  I may or may not cover the pots, then will set each on a cloth napkin (from my personal stash) in the center of of each table.

Five years ago today: A Perfect Friday Afternoon

Monday, August 13, 2018

Calendar Fun

According to TimeAndDate.com a Palindrome Day happens when the date can be read the same way backwards and forwards.  Did you know that we're in the middle of a ten day stretch (from August 10 - August 19, 2018) that when you write dates in the m-dd-yy format all of them will be palindromic?

8-10-18                8-11-18

8-12-18                8-13-18

8-14-18                8-15-18

8-16-18                8-17-18

8-18-18                8-19-18

Five years ago today: The Sad Thing Is, I Think He's Seriously Happy

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Gettin' Our Kicks

This summer Son Donald had a job in Rolla working for the university, so we didn't get to see him much. In one week the new semester starts and he'll get busy with class work. So before that happens  Hubby Tony and I decided to take a road trip to see him. While we were in the area, we also made a visit to the self-proclaimed "Entertainment Hub of the Ozarks" in Uranus, just a half hour further down the Interstate.

Uranus, MO
Uranus is not an official city.  Rather, it's a Route 66 tourist attraction that's known for the Uranus Fudge Factory And General Store. There's also a playground, food truck park, bar and grill, tattoo parlor, axe-throwing room, outdoor outfitter, shooting range, escape room, and sideshow museum. Throw in some dinosaur statues, a vintage taxi, firetruck, and double decker bus, the largest belt buckle in the world, and multiple photo opportunities, and it sounded like a fun place to check out.

Rolla is about 100 miles from our house, and we got there late morning. Donald is moving into a new room in his house, so before we got on the road again we helped him switch over his furniture and belongings to his new digs. All along Interstate 44 we saw the billboards, which said things like “We are having big fun in Uranus”, “Family fun in Uranus”, and “The best fudge is found in Uranus!”  (Can you tell that the whole concept is based on puns and tongue in cheek humor?)

When we entered the general store the clerk behind the counter yelled out a cheerful “Thank you for picking Uranus!” We browsed around, checking out the clothes with punny riffs on the store name and the general Route 66 merchandise. Behind the counter there were 16 kinds of homemade fudge, and baskets on shelves held hundreds of different types of candy. I got a sample of fudge (which was very good) but there were a lot of people in line at the cash register so I decided not to buy any. When we left the clerk yelled out "thank you for picking Uranus".

Continuing down the strip of shops, we stopped outside the World’s Largest Sideshow Museum where a man was holding a huge albino snake. He was a really good salesman, because he convinced us to pay the admission to go inside the museum. After being warned not to take any photos inside, we entered through the door into a dimly-lit room. I didn't know what to expect, but the displays were pretty interesting in a kitschy sort of way, with lots of animal and human oddities. After a while a tattooed lady (who had arms and legs covered in leopard print tattoos, with even a few spots on her face) offered a couple of magic tricks and did some sword swallowing.  As we left the museum there was another shopping opportunity, but we passed.  After walking by some of the other attractions, it was time for lunch back in Rolla, at a Thai restaurant close to Donald's house.

After lunch was finished we took Donald back home, wished him good luck in the new semester, and started back home. It was a great way to spend a late summer day.

Five years ago today: Do You Copy?

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Thanks, But I'll Pass

One of the companies I'm registered to do work with sent me an email letting me know that they've expanded their payment methods. The default is still PayPal, but if I chose, I could get paid in one of several cryptocurrencies...Bitcoin, Bitcoin cash, Ethereum, or Litecoin.

I wonder just how many people will take them up on their offer?

(I have no interest in alternate tenders, but before I hit the 'Delete' button I did some investigation, and discovered that according to Wikipedia, as of 10 April 2018 there are more than 1565 different cryptocurrencies! Bitcoin was the first, released in 2009, but now there are about three dozen large ones. That's a lot of alternative.)

Five years ago today: Classic Country

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Doing My Civic Duty

Today was our state's primary election day. In addition to paring down the field of candidates before the general election in November, there was one statewide proposition and several county charter amendments to vote on.

Two weeks ago Hubby Tony and I both received a tri-fold sheet sent out by the Board of Election Commissioners that included our polling information and sample ballots for the Democrat, Republic, Green, Libertarian, and Constitution parties. That made it easy to research all the candidates. I don't have a party affiliation, but in order to vote for any candidate I have to choose one for the primary. After researching all the options I went into the polling place knowing what the answer would be when they asked what ballot I wanted.

All morning long I saw the photos of my Facebook friends showing off their “I Voted” sticker selfies. I'm not sure when it became obligatory to get a sticker for casting a ballot, but I'm not a fan. Half of the time I forget to take the sticker off before tossing my shirt in the laundry and it ends up turning into a adhesive-removing project.

I went to the poll after lunch, and there was no line.  When it was time to cast my ballot an election authority walked with me to a booth, activated the touch screen, and verified that the correct form had loaded. Because I had done legwork ahead of time it didn't take me long to express my opinion for each of the people and items.

As I walked away from the voting booth a poll worker was standing there holding out a sticker for me. At first I declined, but when she looked disappointed I changed my mind and took it.  Hopefully the colorful red, white, and blue decal will catch my eye when I take off my shirt to change into my pajamas at the end of the night.

Five years ago today: Day Tripping

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Here's To Smiles

Last month I got a copy of Richard Carlson's classic book Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff--and it’s all Small Stuff from a Little Free Library. The book was written in 1997. I read it back then, and now I'm enjoying revisiting the book's insights on the meaning of life and putting challenges in perspective.

Every once in a while I leaf through the book and choose one of the 100 short chapters to meditate on. This week I was focusing on Number 25 - "Smile at Strangers, Look into Their Eyes, and Say Hello", and I was able to put it into practice this evening. I was out for a walk and saw what I assumed was a family group of a mother, father, and adult son in an electric wheelchair walking towards me on the opposite side of the street. I could hear them talking, and it sounded like they weren't sure where they were going. In one more block I needed to be on their side of the street anyway, so I crossed early, smiled and greeted them, and asked if they needed some help.

They thanked me but said they were just trying to figure out which house a friend of theirs lived in. Since I couldn't help them I smiled again and went on my way. The little gesture only took ten seconds, but it made me (and I hope them) feel good.

Five years ago today: Getaway

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Red Bud Woes

On Tuesday the forecast called for scattered showers, so I wasn't surprised when it started sprinkling as I was driving home from the dentist. I pulled into the garage just as the sprinkles turned into a steady rain. By the time I got inside and took my shoes off the steady rain turned into a hard rain. Five minutes after that it was a deluge. When I looked out into the back yard there was a deep puddle next to the compost bin and a large stream of water running across the grass to the sewer.

The storm lasted about ten minutes. Halfway through the inundation I was in the kitchen when I heard a loud 'crack' and felt something hit the house. After the rain slowed down I went outside and found out that one of the trunks of the large red bud tree next to the deck had fallen over.

Oh no!
Fortunately, the only damage it did was crack a plastic vent cover, which can be easily replaced. However, when I took a close look at the trunk I realized that one of the other major pieces was loose in the ground.

This doesn't look good
That night I called a tree service we'd used before and left a message. The office returned my call yesterday morning while I was pulling into the parking lot of my first errand for the day. The office manager told me they'd just had a cancellation. Could the crew stop by in an hour of so?

I completed my first errand and returned home. The hour was actually closer to two, and I had places to be, but when the crew arrived they quickly removed both the broken trunk and the loose one. They also took care of a branch in the tree crown that was rubbing against the deck.

Trunk and a stump
The arborist told me red buds only live 20-25 years, so if I want something to continue shading my deck in the future I might want to think about planting a replacement tree now so it would be a good size before the rest of the red bud succumbed to old age.

Lots of room for the remaining branches to grow now!
Five years ago today: Overheard After Dinner Tonight...