Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Author Unkown

I was doing some email inbox cleaning this afternoon, and came across this poem that a friend had sent me several months ago:

Slow me down, Lord
Ease the pounding of my heart
by the quieting of my mind.
Steady my hurried pace
with a vision of the eternal march of time.
Give me amid the confusion of the day,
the calmness of the eternal hills.

Break the tension of my nerves
with the soothing music of the singing streams
that live in my memory.

Help me to know the magical restoring power of sleep.

Teach me the art of taking minute vacations,
Of slowing down to look at a flower,
to chat with a friend, or make a new one
to pat a stray dog,
to watch a spider build a web
to smile at a child
or to read a few lines of a good book.

Remind me each day
that the race is not always to the swift;
that there is more to life than increasing its speed.
Let me look upward into the branches of the towering oak
and know that it grew slowly and well.

Slow me down Lord
and inspire me to send my roots deep
into the soil of life's enduring values
that I may grow toward the stars of my greater destiny.
There was no author attributed, so I went on an Internet hunt to find out who penned the words of wisdom. However, after searching multiple sites there was no clear consensus as to who wrote it. Depending on who you ask, it was written by Wilfred Arlan Peterson, Orin L. Crain, the pastor of their church, or the ancient Hittites. Pick one.

Five years ago today: A Little Out Of The Ordinary

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Too Good To Be True

I got an unsolicited email the other day letting me know about an 'exciting' job opportunity. It said:
Virtual Office Assistant Position

* Must own a computer/smart-phone * Ability to work as part of a team* Must be above 17 years of age* Good organizational skills * Willingness to admit and correct mistakes * Work 3 times a week (Doesn't affect your permanent job) flexible timing. * Drive and determination to see clients succeed * Have current technology, including a reliable computer, Internet connection, printer(not compulsory), phone with voice mail or answering machine.

What is a virtual office/Personal assistant: A virtual office/Personal assistant is an independent contract worker who provides administrative, creative or technical services. Often that means handling the same types of tasks as an office secretary or manager, but doing them from a home/office, using the virtual assistant's own computer equipment, phone and Internet connection. One of our CEO'S currently seeks the services for Virtual office/Personal Assistant.

Duties of a Virtual office/Personal assistant

* Handle minute billing, Payments and accounting * Prepare, collate and ship proposals and meeting materials * Receive mail deliveries or pick items up at near by post office at your convenience.* Prepare and send out e-mail newsletters * Shop for Gifts items/book tickets

This is NOT FOR EVERYONE but serious personnel, please do not respond if you are not interested!
What you Earn: This position is on Part-Time based and pays up to 500-850 weekly
If you wish to Register with Us, send a reply with the following information
A. Name (first and last) :
B. Full-Address (include apt#) : C. City, Zip , State,
D. Phone's (cell) : E. Current job : F . Age/Above 16:

If you are not interested please do not reply.

Best Regards,
Recruit Consultants.
It only took me a couple of seconds to figure out the whole thing was a scam. Even if I overlooked all of the typos and grammatical errors in the message, the pay was way too high for the work required. And an even bigger tip-off was the fact that the scammer forgot to Blind Carbon Copy the people the message was going addition to my address, they sent it to 61 others.

It went straight into the Deleted file.

Five years ago today: Ten Minutes

Friday, July 26, 2019

If Only I Could Be This Flexible

I came into the family room and saw Pepper the cat fast asleep, with his upper body hanging halfway off of the couch.

When I got close to him he woke up and gave me a look that said he did not appreciate his nap being disturbed.  Then he went back to sleep.

Five years ago today: A Wonderful Day For An Adventure

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Say Hello To My New Wheels

Ready for many years of use
I bought my 2002 model Honda CR-V back in 2006. It's been a great ride, but it's starting to show its age. The steering wheel was shaking at highway speeds, and a couple of months ago the axle began making funny noises when I turned the corner.  Besides, Hubby Tony is within a couple of years of needing new transportation himself, and we wanted to spread out the costs. It was time for me to start looking for a replacement.

Based on my last experience of buying a Certified Used vehicle I wanted to go that route again. After I figured out I wanted another small SUV I went to the library and looked at the latest Consumer Reports list of best used cars. Based on that information I narrowed it down to one of two models. Coincidentally, one was a newer version of the Honda that had served me well for so many years. The other was a Mazda. 

On Monday night I went to the Mazda dealer to ask about their preowned CX5s. The salesperson that helped me didn't look like he really wanted to be there. He showed me some information on his computer, then after I decided on a specific one he was reluctant to offer a test drive. (He actually told me I could take it out by myself!) The car drove very smoothly, but I thought the driver's area felt a little claustrophobic. At the end of the drive I decided that I could make it work, but wondered if it was the car for me.

Tuesday morning one of my work assignments fell through, so I decided to go to the Honda dealer where I made my last purchase. This salesperson was energetic and professional. He showed me all the Certified models they had on the lot; after I chose the one I liked the best he offered a test drive. And he went with me.

This vehicle felt perfect. It helped that many of the dials were in the same place as the one I've been driving for more than a decade. Halfway through the drive I decided that this was the one for me, but I didn't let my excitement show. Instead, I told the salesperson I would think about it and maybe come back.

Even though he rarely drives my car, I still needed for Hubby Tony to weigh in on the purchase, so after dinner we went back to the dealership. Tony drove the car and said he liked it as much as I did. We sat at the salesman's desk, where there was some dickering back and forth over the price. Twenty minutes later I felt like Tony and I had won the dickering, and I had myself a new car!

The finance person was with another customer, so after a lengthy wait for him to free up we completed the final paperwork. By the time we were done my new car was ready to be driven home. As excited as I was, it was also a little sad to say goodbye to the old model that had served me so well.

Five years ago today: Absentee

Monday, July 22, 2019

It's Good To Make A Plan, But Also Good To Be Flexible

If you live in the United States do you have your REAL ID? 

The REAL ID Act was passed by Congress in 2005 to set standards for identification such as drivers licenses and state ID cards. The law says that if I want to fly domestically after October 1, 2020 without my passport I needed to upgrade my license to meet the new standards. Thanks to the reminders my travel agent friend keeps posting on Facebook I decided to upgrade sooner rather than later.

It was a bit of a challenge to gather the required documents to apply for the new license. I dug around in our files to find my passport, certified birth certificate, Social Security card, and two out of the eighteen acceptable documents that proved I lived in Missouri. (The hardest document to find was my certified marriage license, which it turns out I didn't need because I also have my maiden name on my passport)

Last Friday I swung by the license bureau. There are two separate areas for license plate and drivers license business. There were ten people ahead of me doing the same thing I was, and it took 30 minutes for my turn. Unfortunately, I had misread the list of residency documents and only had one instead of two. Before I left I asked the clerk the best time to come back if I wanted to avoid a line. She told me that the office opened at 7:30 in the morning.

I arranged today's schedule so I could make the license bureau my first errand of the morning. However, the best laid plans don't always work. I had trouble getting to sleep when I went to bed and then a huge rainstorm moved in overnight; the heavy rain woke me up, and my last two hours of sleep were restless. It was hard to get up when the alarm went off, and hard to get moving once I rolled out of bed. Instead of leaving the house to get to the office when it opened I pulled out of the garage an hour later.

Imagine my surprise when I pulled into the parking lot and saw a line of people standing outside.

When I walked past the door on my way back to the end of the line I saw a sign that said the office would be opening an hour late because they had to clean up some water. Five minutes after I joined the line the door opened and everyone filed in. In the seating area two large trash cans were placed under missing ceiling tiles, and there were signs that a large mess had been cleaned up, because the roof had leaked during the downpour of rain.

There were seven people ahead of me and only one clerk working on the drivers license side. After waiting for a little over an hour she called my number. The clerk examined my documents, scanned or made copies of each, and asked me to digitally sign new license form. Ninety minutes after I arrived at the office I was walking back to my car.

I'm glad I'm finished with the project. (For now.) I found out that I'll have to go through the whole thing again every other license renewal.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

An Eco Experiment

Recently I had some carryout food that came packaged in in a compostable plastic bag (which was a new to me concept).
The Unni bag had a softer texture than a traditional bag. According to the company website it was made "from the starches of plants" and contained no polyethylene. In my research I learned that the product "Met stringent requirements of municipal composting programs and was also "certified by European OK Compost Home for disposal in home backyard compost settings".

I decided to see if the bag would indeed dispose of itself in my back yard. I cut it into small pieces and put it into my compost bin.

Each day I tossed coffee grounds, coffee filters, vegetable peelings, fruit waste, and egg shells on top of the pieces and didn't think too much about it. The weather was typical St. Louis hot and humid, which makes things break down quickly. I don't know if that skewed the results, but nine days later when I turned the pile there was no signs of the bag. So I'd call my experiment a success.

In the meantime I was at a restaurant where they stuck a compostable straw in my shake. I brought it home, and feel another experiment coming on...

Five years ago today: Never A Dull Day At The Mall

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

World Emoji Day

According to my sources, today is World Emoji Day. The designation was made because the first calendar emoji (an Apple version) showcases the date. You'll also find the date on the Google Calendar emoji.

The website offered suggested ways to celebrate the day, but the one I liked the best was to describe your day using emojis. I found a website called emoji-translate that converted text and started typing:
This morning after breakfast I cleaned the kitchen, then gathered my things for the day and headed to the gym. After the gym I went to the bank to get some information about opening a new account, then headed to a restaurant where I bought myself lunch. On the way home from the restaurant I made two stops, which finished my list of errands.
Once at home I showered, then did some job paperwork, drank a cup of coffee, fed the cats, and cleaned their litter box. Dinner was leftovers from last night, so when Hubby Tony texted to tell me he was on his way home after work all I had to do was heat up the container of soup.
While we were eating the sky grew dark. I checked the weather app on my phone and discovered a large storm was moving into the area. Soon we had to turn on lights, even though it was only 6 PM. Once it started, it took about 45 minutes for the torrential rain to stop. News sources said there were thousands of people without power in the area, and I was thankful everything was fine at our house.
 Here's the translation:

Five years ago today: Blond MEN Jokes

Monday, July 15, 2019

How Are Your Money Smarts?

Every three years since 2009 the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation commissions a study to find out how knowledgeable American adults are about financial issues. The 2018 study revealed that only 34 percent could answer at least four out of five financial-literacy questions. (The percentage has gone down each time. In 2009 it was 42 percent.)

I was curious about how I would do, so I took the five-question (which also included one bonus question) Financial Literacy Quiz test on the FINRA website. The questions were about inflation, risk, mortgages, bond prices and interest rates. I guess I'm relatively knowledgeable, because I got all of them right. The national average was three, and my state was incrementally less than that.

How do you think you would do?

Five years ago today: Working From (Someone Else's) Home

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Reserve The Rind

The project started, as so many do, as a solution to a problem. A watermelon from my local Aldi had a very thick white rind. Rather than lose all that rind to the compost pile I decided to see if I could cook with it.

Lots of waste here!

It's not the first time I've dabbled with using the rind of watermelons. Ten years ago I used it to make sweet watermelon pickles, but I wasn't in the mood for sweet pickles. The Internet was full of recipes for pickles (both savory and sweet) and distant fermented cousins like kimchi. I found directions for candies, preserves, chutney, stir fries, and curries. There were many unique recipe at  SO many choices!

No matter which direction my preparation took me, the first step was to cut green peel from the rind. When I was done there was almost two and a half pounds of rind. I put it into the refrigerator while I figured out what to do with it.

In the end I turned the rind into a simple side dish, marinating it in a brine made with white vinegar, water, salt, sugar, pressed garlic, and some mustard seeds. To hurry the process along I brought the brine to a boil, then poured it over the chunked watermelon rind, half of a large red onion chopped into small pieces, and a handful of chopped cilantro. It marinated for a couple of hours before I served it with enchiladas.

Yummy!Tony re
Hubby Tony and I had large servings of the marinated rind, which reminded me somewhat of the sweet and sour cucumbers his mom used to make. When Son Donald stopped by to pick up some papers I sent some home with him. The next day I chopped some up and included it in a cold salad of black beans and cabbage (lightly blanched in the brine).

There was less flesh on the inspiration watermelon, and I froze much of it, so last night when we were at a farmer's market shop Tony requested I buy some more for him to eat fresh. After dinner tonight he cut it up for himself and asked if I wanted to keep the rind. My answer was 'yes'. There's still a lot of good-sounding recipes to try.

Five years ago today: Stop The Itching?

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Bearable Bedding

The last time I purchased new bedding for Son Donald's bed he was still living at home. The set of polyester/cotton sheets had thick vertical bright royal blue, sky blue, lime green, mustard yellow, and white stripes. They served him well, but the last time he cat sat and his bedding went through the laundry I noticed the fitted sheet was getting thin in the middle.

While Hubby Tony and I were in California Donald stayed at our house again to watch the cats. One of the last things he did before he left to go back home was to bring down his sheets to be washed. This time the thin spot turned into a full-blown hole. Time for new bedding!

Since the bed is seldom used anymore I didn't want to spend a lot of money on replacement sheets. I carried the pillowcase around with me for several days as a reminder to pop into the local thrift stores to see if I could buy a plain fitted sheet. I didn't have any luck, but yesterday I ran into a partial set (with sheets but not a pillowcase) that had all of the original colors except yellow. The green is closer to avocado than lime, but from a distance it isn't too noticeable.

And now there's also the option of two different top sheets.
Good enough match, don't you think?
Five years ago today: A Plethora of Pockets Is A Problem

Monday, July 8, 2019

Sleepytime Breathing

The past few nights I've had a horrible time getting to sleep. At first I thought it was because I was adjusting back to Central time after being on California time for several weeks, but the problem has drug on and on. It's so bad that I'm walking around huge dark circles under my eyes, which remind me of the problem every time I looking into the mirror.

Where do people go to find out solutions to problems nowadays? The Internet, of course! That's how I ended up on the website of Dr. Andrew Weil, where I learned about his Relaxing Breath (4-7-8) Exercise, which he says is "a natural tranquilizer for the nervous system."

You start by resting the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth right behind your front teeth, and leave it there the entire time. The first step is to exhale completely through the mouth, then close your mouth and inhale through your nose to a count of four. You hold your breath and count to seven, then exhale through your mouth around your tongue (making a 'whoosh' sound) for a count of eight. If it seems awkward, you can try pursing your lips slightly. Repeat the entire cycle three more times.

I tried the technique last night. I was so busy focusing on my breath and counting that my mind couldn't wander. After the first two breaths I had to stop and yawn, and by the time I was finished my body was nicely relaxed. I'd like to say sleep came immediately, but that would be a lie. However, it DID take me much less time to doze off.

Five years ago today: Yellow Cuties

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Three Weeks In Grandma Heaven

Do you remember back in March when I told you that our family was going to grow by two this summer, and Hubby Tony and I got to be a part of it? Well, everything happened according to plan. Yesterday I returned home from the best-ever trip to California. My visit was divided into three distinct sections:

The first week I was there by myself. DIL Nicole had a planned delivery date, but everyone knows that babies are unpredictable. I was available just in case she went into labor early.  I helped take care of big brother-to-be Jay, spent a lot of time reading, tooled around the area on my own, and had time to buy cute things like this:

The next weekend Hubby Tony flew in. Together, we hung out with the family and were able to fit in a few adventures by ourselves before Nicole and Son Brian left for the hospital mid-week. While they were gone Tony and I made sure that Jay's schedule remained as normal as possible, including getting him to day care. The delivery went smoothly, and a little over twelve hours after Nicole entered the hospital these cuties came into the world:

After the babies came home Tony and I helped out wherever we could. That included straightening the house, running errands, some baby cuddling, and more toddler time. On July 4th we knew Jay's day care would be closed. The day before we made a trip to a dollar store to buy a day's worth of craft and activity supplies. 

Painting the wall with water
All good things must come to an end, and yesterday morning Brian and Jay took us to the airport and said goodbye. It was great to sleep in my own bed last night, but I'm already thinking about my next visit.

Five years ago today: Winner Winner Chicken Dinner