Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Another Sign Of Normalcy

Before a routine doctor's appointment today I stopped at Five Guys for a guilty pleasure lunch. The restaurant's signage actually includes the words 'Burgers and Fries". That pretty much describes most of the menu, but they do also have great kosher style hot dogs and pretty good BLT and veggie sandwiches. 

Since I've been eating a lot of heavy meals lately one of those veggie sandwiches, which has grilled onions, mushrooms, and green peppers topped with lettuce and tomatoes, sounded good. There are more than a dozen toppings you can add to any sandwich. Today I went with jalapenos, pickles, ketchup, and mustard.

And what's a sandwich without fries? In my opinion, Five Guys fries are some of the best. They use fresh potatoes, cut them on site, then fry them in peanut oil so that they're crunchy on the outside and have the texture of a baked potato on the inside. (The 'Little' size is way more than one person should consume. I always try to restrain myself, but usually end up eating most or all of them. Shame on me.)

While I waited for my food I helped myself to a scoop of peanuts in the shell from the box by the cashier, and smiled while I was doing it. During the worst of the COVID epidemic the boxes were stashed away for safety reasons. If you wanted peanuts you had to ask at the counter and they would give you a sealed paper sack. The restaurant may still have its Plexiglass guards at the cash register, employees wearing masks, and prominent social distancing signage, but some things are returning to normal.

Five years ago today: (Not Too) Risky

Sunday, June 27, 2021

You Never Know What You're Going To See At The Mall

Today's combination of heat, humidity, and pop-up precipitation was enough to send me inside for exercise. I drove to the mall and spent a half hour walking both the lower and upper levels before meeting up with a woman for conversation. It was very interesting, because I've only seen her on a Zoom screen. 

Afterwards, on my way back to the car I saw a woman who appeared to be in her 40s wearing a black backpack. At first I thought she had a stuffed animal in it but when I got closer the animal moved and I realized it was a real dog, who didn't look too happy with its mode of transportation.

Since the only dogs that are supposed to be in the mall are service animals I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall if Security talked to the woman.

Five years ago today: Shred It

Thursday, June 24, 2021

I Told You So

The other day I received an email from a third-party restaurant delivery service that offered me a coupon code to take $20 off an order of $25 or more. That sounded like a great deal, but before I jumped on the offer I checked out the fine print. Everything seemed reasonable, and I decided it would be a good night not to cook dinner. 

The hamburger restaurant we chose was only a couple of miles from the house. I asked Hubby Tony if he wanted the food delivered or if he wanted to go pick it up. We agreed that we were hungry and didn't want to be at the mercy of a delivery driver who might or might not show up as expected.  Pick up it was.

On my desktop computer I clicked the link in the email which took me to the company's webpage, where it asked if I had a promo code. I copied the code from the email and pasted it into the box, hit the "Apply" button, and placed my order (burgers and fries for each of us). The total came to just over the minimum amount. 

However, on the checkout page my coupon code wasn't there. I tried copying and pasting it again from the email but had no luck. At this point I was hungry and annoyed. I decided to pay for the order and contact the company after dinner.  

At the restaurant the food was ready right when it should have been. We brought it home and enjoyed a nice meal. After the dishes were cleaned up I went back to the company's website to figure out how to contact them. That page was pretty well hidden, but eventually I found and completed the contact form outlining my issue and sent it off through cyberspace.

Approximately an hour later I received a response, which said:

Sorry to know about the trouble caused here. The situation you have described is certainly not the experience we expect you to have. It seems there wasn’t a promo code added to this order. You can apply promo codes in one of two ways: First, you can add promo codes by pressing the profile button (the silhouette of a person) in the app. Then, select “Promotions” and enter the code at the top of this screen before pressing “Apply”. Or, you can enter promo codes before submitting an order. When viewing your cart, scroll to the bottom of the page and select “Add Promo Code”. If this does not fully resolve your concern, please do respond back to this email thread. We'll be happy to help you and have a great day ahead.
That answer sounded snippy and did not exactly address my issue. I responded, outlining again the steps I had taken. A half hour later I received a second message that told me:

I’m sorry to hear that your promo code did not apply to your latest order. I’ve looked into your order and can confirm that there was a backend tech error that had caused this. I've refunded you the amount of $20.00 to reflect the code you were trying to use.

I felt vindicated.

Five years ago: In The Pink

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

A-Hunting We Will Go

Several weeks ago Hubby Tony heard about a new book titled STL Scavenger: The Ultimate Search for St. Louis's Hidden Treasures.  The book lists things to find in 17 different neighborhoods in the metropolitan area (most in Missouri, but a few across the river in Illinois). We bought a copy, and have been having fun with it.

 Today we went to University City, where there were 24 items to find. Each item has a four-line riddle and a photo or graphic, usually a very small detail you would often overlook. The clues range from so easy that even a non-St. Louisian could figure them out. For example:

On this street's walk of fame find this statue
Of the guy who said "Maybellene! Be true!"
He's busting his signature move
Encouraging fans to find their groove.
Chuck Berry statue
Others were more obscure and harder to find. After two hours and multiple trips up and down the Delmar Loop area we had figured out all but four, and we knew from clues that at least one of them was in a different part of the city.  We got lucky once or twice, looking up at just the right time to spot some brick or stonework on the second floor of a building. Some of our first assumptions turned out to be wrong, but fixable. Eventually we were hot and tired, and agreed to leave the unfound items for another day. 
On the book's website there's a place where you can submit your answers for a chance to win prizes later in the year. Depending on how many of the chapters of the book we get to we'll do that. Or maybe we'll just do it for fun and personal satisfaction.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Humidity Hair

 Yesterday was the Summer solstice, so that would make today the first full day of the new season. However, last night a cold front and thunderstorm that came through and dropped the temperatures down into the lower 70s.

Hubby Tony already had the air conditioner off and the windows open when I rolled out of bed. There was a pleasant breeze wafting through the house, and the residual cloudiness made it feel more like mid-October than mid June.

After breakfast we decided to walk up to Aldi and get a couple of things. Once outside, it didn't take me long to notice that the temperature was lower but it was still plenty humid. By the time we returned home the waistband of my capris was soaked, and my hair was sticking out unattractively. I was glad I didn't run into any neighbors on the way into the building

Five years ago today: Summertime

Saturday, June 19, 2021


 Yesterday was record-setting hot, with a high temperature of 101 degrees. Today was forecast to be 'only' 91 degrees, but with enough humidity to make it feel like 97. When it gets this nasty, exercising outside turns into a potentially dangerous chore.

Hubby Tony had a gathering to attend in the 7 am hour. I thought about getting up early to walk around the neighborhood, but that didn't happen. Tony's plan was to go to the gym after his commitment. He had extended an invitation to join him and I decided to take him up on it.

Tony enjoys using gym aerobic machines, but I do because I have to.  We started off on ellipticals right next to each other, but after 15 minutes I was bored and went use a treadmill. The gym was relatively empty, and I easily found what I was looking for. The hulking machine was a brand unknown to me, and had all types of bells and whistles. It took me a while to find the Start button, and then a couple more seconds to figure out how to increase the speed, but before long I was walking away at a semi-brisk pace.

Even though the gym had felt nicely cool when I entered, it didn't take long for me to work up a sweat. Looking at the treadmill dashboard I saw a button that said Fan. I pushed it and felt air coming out of a vent on the top. Pushing the button two more times put the fan into high mode, and I spent the next 45 minutes with my own personal cooling system.

Five years ago today: Garage Door Woes

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Peaches, No Cream

Last Friday we celebrated Hubby Tony's birthday with cake and ice cream, then.polished off the leftovers on Sunday and Monday. This weekend is full of entertaining. We have friends coming over for dinner and games on Saturday night, and Sunday is set aside for Son Donald's birthday and Father's Day. I'm still finalizing the menus, but you can bet one or both of the events will have something frozen and creamy.

If I had my druthers I would eat ice cream every day. However, neither my digestive system or my clothes would agree to that, so I figured I would have to pass on celebrating is National Peach Ice Cream Day

However, the more I thought about it, the more I figured the holiday creators would understand if I just celebrated the spirit of the holiday. According to Wikipedia, an Italian ice is a frozen or semi-frozen sweetened treat made with fruit or fruit juice. It is similar to sorbet and snow cones, and different from sherbert because it doesn't contain dairy products. There were peaches in the fruit bin of my refrigerator and chunks of frozen watermelon in the freezer. Pulsing them together for 30 seconds in the blender gave me a frozen, peachy delight.

 Five years ago today: The Same, But Different

Monday, June 14, 2021

Monetary Motivation

There are incentives both big and small to entice people to get a Covid vaccination. A month ago Hubby Tony and I took advantage of an edible one. Yesterday I got an email from our health insurance company with another one.

The company offers a nice wellness incentive program. If you complete an online health assessment, they add some money to a debit card that you can use to pay for qualified medical expenses (like doctor visit co-pays, lab fees, and prescriptions).  Complete some 'online health coach' goals and they'll throw some more money on the card.  All in all you can earn as much as $170 a year. 

But now, giving them proof of my Covid vaccine will add another $50 to my card. All I had to do was complete an online form telling them which vaccine I received and when, then upload photos of the front and back of my card. The easy project took less than five minutes.

Five years ago: Bang!

Sunday, June 13, 2021

One Of A Kind

Today was forecast to be hot and humid, so right after breakfast this morning Hubby Tony and I put our bikes on the carrier and got ready to go for a ride. After evaluating several routes, we decided on the River des Peres Greenway, located about 20 minutes from our house on the border between St. Louis City and St. Louis County. Over the years most of the river has been channelized and is now more of a storm drain than anything else. It's pretty unattractive up close, but there's a nice walking an biking trail paralleling it. 

We've ridden on parts of this greenway a couple of times. Usually we start at the south end, but thanks to an errand I had to run on the way home it made more sense to go the opposite way. I had a hazy concept of the northernmost trailhead, but it turns out I was wrong. The greenway extended a couple of miles more, crossing a major street (Lansdowne), then turning and following another smaller street before ending up at a park.

At the park we got ready to ride, which meant we would double back on the area we had just driven. Just before we got to Lansdowne I looked over to the left and saw this:

Stag Beer is a local brand that goes back to before Prohibition. Relatives from my parent's generation drank it regularly.

I parked my bike and walked across the street to snap a photo. I couldn't get a good angle from the sidewalk, so I walked partway up the driveway. Just about then I heard a noise. I looked up and saw a 50-something man standing on the porch.

I thought the man was going to yell at me for being on his property, but he was really friendly. He encouraged me to come close enough to get a really good shot, and told me that a previous owner had done the painting. He suggested I take a stroll through his wife's front yard garden, which was small but so jam-packed with plants, stepping stones, and statues that there was no grass visible. I thanked him, but said I had to keep going.

(After that the rest of the ride was nice, but uneventful.)

Five years ago today: Every. Stinking. Time.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

What Do You Think?

I received this oh-so-professional email, offering me a business 'opportunity'. It took me about half a second to send it to the trash bin. Was I wrong? 😀
We have a job in your area and we would like you to participate and complete the assignment.
* We are starting a very big research project in USA and
* We are leading agency specialized in (Global) Customer
* You will receive instructions for the task
* and you via email in the location and details of the task
* We are leading agency specialized in (Global) Customer
* You will get (US 300) for each assignment,
Info detail to started
* MynAme,
* Address
* Post code
* Mobile Home Phone No
* Email
*Thank you for your participation and being here with us.
* Thanks,
* Mrs.Anna Best
* Official Recruitment
Five years ago today: Another Day, Another Adventure

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Happy Unbirthday To Me

Just about every retailer has a loyalty program, and I belong to quite a few. It's always nice to get something free, or be offered a discount on an item you were going to buy anyway. Occasionally I've even been incentivized to pull out my charge card based just on a coupon I've received.

When I signed up for some of the programs, all they wanted to know was my email address or phone number. Others asked for more information. I'm a stickler for honesty, so when they wanted my birth month and day that's what they got. Then I read that, for privacy reasons, giving out the factual data might not be a good idea. 

I started staggering my 'birth' date throughout the year, borrowing the phrase unbirthday from Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass. Although it still feels a little dishonest, so far not one company has called me on it. 

And other than better security for my personal data there are other advantage of a flexible birth date. My natal day is in January, when I'm always trying to lose weight and save money. Taking advantage of promotions for food, beverages, and retail items doesn't fit in with the new year's mindset. However, in April, June, or September those promotions are quite welcome. 

  Five years ago today: Do You Know The Way To San Jose?

Sunday, June 6, 2021

A Very Purple Path

Hubby Tony and I continue our quest to try interesting coffee shops in the metropolitan area.  So far we've found out that the best ones are independently owned. And all of them require a car ride for us to get there.

The distance has both problems and advantages. It's a shame we have to use gas and contribute to air pollution, but we're having a great time exploring new neighborhoods. Today we headed towards South St. Louis to check out Sump Coffee.

In order for us to get steps Tony picked out a park several blocks away to leave the car. We ambled through the park, then had a great time strolling past some well-preserved brick residences (and sadly, a large handful of buildings that needed attention). We went out of the way to stop at Gus' Pretzels, a local institution which has been cranking out soft pretzels since the 1920s. There we got some stick pretzels...made long enough to peek out of the brown paper sack the associate put them in.

We backtracked towards or caffeine destination. Because a lot of the sidewalk slabs were old and in bad shape I kept my eyes down. Good thing, or I wouldn't have noticed the messes from the mulberry trees that had dropped their fruit all over the pavement. Whenever I encountered the dark purple messes I had to walk carefully so I wouldn't get any juice or pulp on my shoes. The last thing I wanted to do is track it inside when I got home.

Five years ago today: Down In Monterrey

Friday, June 4, 2021

Pavement Patois

Once the weather warms up around here road construction projects start popping up like mushrooms.

This year the water company is replacing about three miles of water main along North Ballas, a major road that runs just outside of our condo development.  In preparation, strange painted marks appeared overnight on the sidewalks and along the street.

I was curious what the squiggles meant, and turned to Google for the answer. It didn't take me long to learn that the colors and shapes denote the type and approximate location of an underground utility.

There's a standard code for colors. Red is the color for electric. Yellow marks gas, oil, steam, petroleum, or gaseous materials. Orange indicates some sort of communications cables. Blue is for water lines. Purple symbolizes reclaimed water, irrigation and slurry lines. Green is for sewers and drains. 

Straight lines show where pipes and cables are. The diamond shape is for a fiber conduit.A zig-zag shows something goes in both directions. Triangles indicate conduits. Colored letters indicate the owner of a given utility element, or the material an element is made out of. White writing is some type of note to the construction workers.

Now when I walk around the neighborhood I'm much more aware of what's underground around me.

Five years ago today: The City By The Bay

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

I'll Get To It Later. Maybe.

I was reading an article at Apartment Therapy about dusting easy-to-forget places, which included:

  • Ceiling fans 
  • The tops of cabinets 
  • Books and bookshelves 
  • The tops of bookshelves 
  • The tops of doors 
  • The top edge of door frames 
  • The top of picture frames and mirrors 
  • Picture frames 
  • Light bulbs 
  • Light fixtures 
  • Plant leaves 
  • Woodwork that’s too high to reach without a ladder or stool
  • The top of the fridge 
  • The top edge of shower tiles 
  • The corners of high ceilings 
  • Blinds 
  • Baseboards

I will admit to being way less than the world's best housekeeper, but I had to laugh at some of these. At my house a good dusting job includes anything at eye level. (Which includes the furniture and picture frames.) Sometimes, if I look down I'll notice the baseboards are in need of some attention. 

Seasonally I'll tackle the light fixtures, ceiling fans, and blinds. When the ladder is out to do one of those jobs, if I happen to glance over at a door or frame and it's covered in dust I'll take care of it. If I use the step stool to get something from the cabinet over the refrigerator I'll be momentarily grossed out by the messy top...then take care of it until the next time I'm up there.

But I can't say I've ever dusted the top edge of any shower tiles, and if a ceiling is tall enough that I can't reach it with a ladder any dust can stay there.

What about you? Are you on Team Dust or Team No Dust?

Five years ago today: A Great Time Was Had By All