Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Healthy Healing Option

Last week I scraped my shin, which resulted in two small, shallow cuts. They scabbed over quickly, but  I accidentally knocked those scabs off twice (once drying off after a shower, once hitting my shin on the bed frame in the middle of the night). 

I kept the area clean and moist, but yesterday I noticed that one of the cuts had a red ring around its edges. It didn't hurt, but sure looked irritated. Looking for a solution, I turned to the internet to find out what to do. I learned that there are quite a few natural remedies-honey, chamomile, aloe vera, garlic, coconut oil, and tumeric paste. I didn't have most of them in the house, but the spice cabinet did have a jar of tumeric. I decided to give it a try. 

The science behind turmeric use focuses on curcumin, an active ingredient that has antiseptic, antibacterial, and  anti-inflammatory properties. Following the directions, I made a paste using a little water, then dabbed it on top of the cut. I covered the area with a bandage, both to keep the cut safe and to make sure I didn't smear thebright  yellow-orange paste all over. 

This morning the area looked a little less red. I repeated the process, and after lunch it was even less red. I'm optimistic that if I continue for the recommended three days my shin will be completely healed.

Five years ago: Mar·i·time (The Great Pacific Northwest Adventure of 2017)

Monday, June 27, 2022

Bogus Bonanza

I have my email inbox set to Exclusive, meaning that only messages from my contacts and addresses I've listed as safe show up there. However, the system isn't perfect. Sometimes things get misdirected to the spam folder, so I still look at it on a regular basis.

I've noticed that spam messages tend to go in cycles. According to the subject lines, the past few weeks I've 'won' hundreds of items...including televisions, power tools, fancy drink coolers, and large-value gift cards. All I have to do is click the link to confirm that I'm interested and the thing will be mine! [NOT.]

I suppose to give them an air of legitimacy, at the bottom of these spam messages there's an unsubscribe link. I know better than to click on that either.

Five years ago today: Celebrations All Around (The Great Pacific Northwest Adventure of 2017)

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Whoa, Nellie

 I've never really followed rap music, but there are some artists that are so popular they transcend genres. Especially when they're from your home town.

Twenty years ago today Cornell Iral Haynes Jr. (better known as Nelly, who grew up in a suburb of St. Louis) released Nellyville, his second album. The first single, Hot in Herre, actually came out before the album was released. I prefer the second single, Dilemma. Even this non-rap, non-Top 40 listening music fan knows the hook to this.

Five years ago today: The Great Pacific Northwest Adventure of 2017

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Venturing For Vinegar

Over the weekend Hubby Tony and I checked our schedules and decided that today would be good for a road trip to pick up a new supply of balsamic vinegar. The store's website said that it opened at 11 am. Tony and I decided to get moving a little earlier and make a detour to visit the Mercantile Library, something Tony's had on his list of things to do for quite a while.

Established in 1845, the Mercantile Library is the oldest general library in continuous existence west of the Mississippi River. Over the years it's had multiple locations, but since 1998 has been housed at the University of Missouri-St. Louis (UMSL). 

The library has a large selection of book as well as non-literary items. Among other things, it houses the John W. Barriger III National Railroad Library and the Herman T. Pott National Inland Waterways Library. The things we saw ranged from old:

Check out the intricate pedestal underneath this bust of Robert Burns.

To new:
2014 plywood art from a boarded up Ferguson storefront  

This Mark Twain quote was new to me, but spot-on in the current political climate. In case you can't read it, it says:

"But in this country we have our great privileged which they don't have in other countries. When a thing gets to be absolutely unbearable the people can rise up and throw it off. That's the finest asset we've got-the ballot box."

I had a great time wandering through the library's displays. Pre-Covid they used to offer tours. Tony learned from the gentleman at the desk they may be returning later this summer. If they do, I suspect Tony and I will be there.

After we left the library we walked around the UMSL campus, which was greatly changed since Tony took the last of his classes there decades ago, and the nearby Bel-Nor neighborhood.Then we got in the car and headed toward our main assignment.

We arrived at the olive oil and vinegar store about 11:30. However, there was note on the door saying that due to unforeseen circumstances the store would not open until 1 pm. All of a sudden we needed to kill an hour and a half. We've been in Alton enough times to have seen everything in the downtown area, but there was one area attraction that we'd never been to. We got in the car and drove to the statue of Robert Wadlow, who at 8 feet 11 inches is the tallest person in recorded history.

For reference, we are 6 feet and 5 1/2 feet tall

We also found a place to get a cup of coffee and browsed through an antique mall. 

When we arrived back at the olive oil store shortly after 1 pm there was a large Open flag next to the door.  Ten minutes later we left with four 375ml bottles of balsamic vinegar--traditional aged, white pineapple. garlic cilantro, and mango, and a two ounce sample bottle of bell pepper. That should be enough to last us until at least next summer.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Does It Fit?

Last year my favorite pairs of shorts started looking a little worn. I never replaced them, and as you might imagine they're looking even worse this year. And then last week I found a hole in my second-favorite pair. Time to buy some new shorts!

I did some window shopping at the mall and had sticker shock. Prices have really gone up for quality pieces, most of which were so fashionable that they would look out of date long before they wore out.

I turned to the thrift stores. It didn't take me long to discover that all the Goodwills in my area have removed dressing rooms from their stores. They loosened the return policy, but it's a pain to bring home something that doesn't fit and have to make another trip to take it back. Probably as a result of Goodwill's action, the other thrift stores I shopped in had low inventory.

Today after a trip to the gym I was completing things on my To-Do list across town when I saw a sign for a Goodwill store. Being ever hopeful I decided to stop in and see what they had. There were four racks of shorts in my size. It was easy to find the ones that met my length needs; there weren't many of them, and their hems hung lower on the rack than the others. In the end there were three potential pairs.

At that point it occurred to me that I was wearing form-fitting gym shorts, and could probably slide the potentials on to give them a fit test. I went over to a quiet section of the store and did just that. As I was removing the second pair a woman walked by, and we commiserated about the issuess of finding clothes in the store.

Five years ago today: Virtual Crayons

Sunday, June 19, 2022

‘The Blues’ Explained

  1. Most Blues begin "Woke up this mornin'..."
  2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the Blues, unless you stick somethin' nasty in the next line like, "I got a good woman, with the meanest face in town."
  3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat it. Then find somethin' that rhymes... sort of: "Got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Yeah, I got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher, and she weigh 500 pounds."
  4. The Blues is NOT about choice. You are stuck in a ditch, you are stuck in a ditch-- ain't no way out.
  5. Blues cars: Chevys, Fords, Cadillacs and broken-down trucks. Blues don't travel in Volvos, BMWs, or Sport Utility Vehicles. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft and state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the runnin'. Walking plays a major part in the blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.
  6. Teenagers can't sing the Blues. They ain't fixin' to die yet. Adults sing the Blues. In Blues, "adulthood" means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.
  7. Blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii or any place in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle is probably just clinical depression. Chicago, St. Louis, and Kansas City are good places to have the Blues. New Orleans, Memphis, Greenwood, Mobile and Statesboro are even better places to have the Blues cause that's where Blues was born. Actually, a dirt farm in the Mississippi delta is the best possible place to have the Blues. You cannot have the blues in any place that don't get rain.
  8. A man with male pattern baldness ain't the blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breaking your leg cause you were skiing is not the blues. Breaking your leg 'cause a alligator be chompin' on it is.
  9. You can't have no Blues in a office or a shopping mall. The lighting is all wrong. Go outside to the parkin' lot or sit down by the dumpster.
  10. Good places for the Blues:
    a. highway
    b. jailhouse
    c.empty bed
    d. bottom of a whiskey glass
    Bad places for the Blues:
    a. Nordstrom's
    b. gallery openings
    c. Ivy League institutions
    d. golf courses
  11. No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, unless you happen to be an ol' person, and you slept in it.
  12. Do you have the right to sing the Blues? Yes, if:
    a. you older than dirt 
    b. you blind 
    c. you shot a man in Memphis 
    No, if: 
    a. you have all your teeth 
    b. you were once blind but now can see 
    c. the man in Memphis lived 
    d. you have a 401K or trust fund
  13. Blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the blues. Sonny Liston could. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the blues.
  14. If you ask for water and your darlin' give you gasoline, it's the Blues. Other acceptable Blues beverages are:
    a. cheap wine 
    b. whiskey or bourbon 
    c. muddy water 
    d. nasty black coffee
  15. If death occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So is the 'lectric chair, substance abuse and dying lonely on a broken down cot. You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or while getting liposuction.
  16. Some Blues names for women:
    a. Sadie 
    b. Big Mama 
    c. Bessie 
    d. Fat River Dumpling
  17. Some Blues names for men:
    a. Joe 
    b. Willie 
    c. Little Willie 
    d. Big Willie
  18. Persons with names like Michelle, Amber, Debbie, and Heather can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.
  19. Make your own Blues name Starter Kit:
    a. name of physical infirmity (Blind, Cripple, Lame, etc.) 
    b. first name (see above) plus name of fruit, Lemon, Lime, Kiwi,(etc.) 
    c. last name of President (Jefferson, Johnson, Fillmore, etc.)
     For example: Blind Lime Jefferson, Jakeleg Lemon Johnson or Cripple Kiwi Fillmore, etc. (Well, maybe not "Kiwi.")
  20. It doesn't matter how tragic your life... if you own even one computer, you cannot sing the blues

--Source Unknown

Friday, June 17, 2022


Ever had one of those days?

Mine actually started in the middle of the night, when I couldn't get comfortable. I was too hot with the sheet on, and too cold without it. When I woke up I was fuzzy-headed from lack of sleep, and everything I tried to do took twice as long as it should have, which got me out of the house late for a mid-morning meeting.

On the road I got stuck behind a series of drivers who couldn't drive the speed limit. It didn't matter if I changed lanes or not. At the meeting I slid into a seat with seconds to spare. Afterwards I stopped in two stores looking for clothes. Nothing I tried on inspired me and I left empty-handed. Then I navigated through a jammed parking lot at Costco, only to find out that the line for gas was six cars deep at every pump. (I moved on.) 

By the time I got back home I was ready to scream and throw a tantrum.

But before I embarrassed myself I remembered an article I read last week that said a better idea would be to Rip My Troubles Apart. I followed their directions for a simple coping activity. In the words of the author:

  • The next time you feel negative emotions welling up inside, write your thoughts down on a piece of paper. 
  • Take the paper and rip it to pieces. Focus on the sound of the tearing and the feel of the paper shredding between your fingers. 
  • Take the tiny shreds in hand and release them over a trash can to symbolize the release of your stress as they drift downward.

The activity actually worked! Each time I tore the piece of paper I imagined it was one of the things that had gone wrong earlier in the day. By the time it was mangled into tiny bits I was ready to let go of all of them.

Five years ago: Frog Fear

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Heat Wave Walking

Along with the rest of the Midwest, our area has been having record setting heat. The 100-plus degree days are more liable to appear in July or August than in June, so I wasn't ready for it. Thanks to the sweltering temperatures Hubby Tony and I have moved our walks inside. (If you're not picky, any mall or store can get you steps.)

Along the way I've found some offbeat things:

  • I didn't know that a toilet paper holder with a phone shelf was a thing, but Google told me that it was. This brushed gold one had a green paste 'gem' on top.

  • The grocery store closest to my house had this display of chilled orange juices and champagne. I wonder how many people take advantage of the pairing?

  • There's a Bass Pro Shop just over the river in St. Charles. It's smaller than some other locations, and has fewer mounted animals, but this guy always greets me when I walk in.
  • Later in my walk through Bass Pro I saw these camo leggings, for the huntress who wants to be in fashion while they're outdoors.
  • Who do you think is the target market for a blue velvet dresser? (photo edited to cover up mirror reflection)
Five years ago: Flag Day 2017

Sunday, June 12, 2022

All It Took Was New Signage

 I was at a meeting yesterday that took place in the fellowship hall of a church. According to the cornerstone, the building was built in 1959. 

The fellowship hall was in the lower level. The large room was clean and neat, but definitely showed signs of its age. If the linoleum tile wasn't original, its color pattern indicated it had been installed a long time ago. The simple, blond baseboards and doors were of the same vintage.

In the back of the room next to the kitchen there were two single-stall bathrooms. Given the age of the building I'm confident they would have been designed for Men and Women. However, without changing anything inside the rooms the church was able to update them for current sensibilities. Each person in the line for the toilet could choose from:


Even though if all else was equal I would have chosen the room without the urinal, either worked for me. If you've ever stood in a long line for a single-sex bathroom while the other one had no use I think you would too.

Five years ago: A Six-Tea Day

Friday, June 10, 2022

From Adventure To Misadventure

Yesterday Hubby Tony and I were having a great bike ride on a new-to-us greenway. We were at the point farthest away from where our car was parked, getting ready to turn around. I was using my e-bike power assist on the slight incline, when all of a sudden my bike veered too much to the right. I corrected too much to the left, and before I knew it I was on the ground. My head hit the ground so hard I was thankful I had a helmet on.

By the time Tony noticed what was going on I was already back on my feet. The only visible damage was an impressive scrape on my left knee, but of a sudden I was ready for the ride to be over. At a nearby playground we sat on a bench and ate part of our lunch, then headed back towards the car. This time we took a more direct route, and pulled into the parking lot 30 minutes later. 

When we got home we took the bikes off the carrier, and the carrier off the car, then put everything into the storage area. It wasn't until I got upstairs that I realized that my left side hurt, raising my arm made it hurt even more, and leaning over was downright miserable. It was also difficult to take a deep breath. After showering the pain was even more pronounced, and I tried to decide if the symptoms were from a bruise or something more serious. 

I checked the website for an urgent care that's covered by our insurance. It said that all of the nearby locations had at least a dozen people on the waiting list. If I chose to go it would take a long time to get out of there. After waffling back and forth for fifteen minutes I ended up getting in the car. 

Much to my surprise there wasn't much of a wait at all. Either the facility had taken care of the backlog or my symptoms moved me up the triage list. After an examination (including checking to make sure the blow to my head hadn't rattled anything around) and some x-rays I left with a diagnoses of cracked ribs. The diagnosis didn't make my side feel any better, but I had peace of mind that it wasn't something more serious. For the next few days I have permission to take it easy and instructions for doing deep breathing exercises. 

Five years ago today: Am I Blue?

Thursday, June 9, 2022

A Good Time On The Greenway

Today was forecast to be nice, with pleasant temperatures and low humidity.  Neither Hubby Tony or I had any big plans for the day, so we agreed it would be a great day for a bike ride.

I asked Tony to pick the location. He came up with three suggestions, all based around paved trails. Because we hadn't biked in the area before I chose the Dardenne Greenway in St. Charles County, about a 20 minute ride from the house.  In my experience, most greenways are relatively flat, but I was ready for anything. Both Tony and I now have retrofitted electric bikes; it's nice having an extra assist up slopes and hills.

Tony's map app suggested a trailhead  that was tucked in the back of a subdivision and next to a small lake. We parked the car and got ready to ride. According to the greenway website, the trail "winds along Dardenne Creek in St. Charles County, and links together hundreds of acres of parks as well as neighborhoods, communities, businesses and schools". 

We followed the main trail, but veered off a couple of times.  The trail signage could have been improved; a couple of times we made a wrong turn and ended up in a subdivision, but it was easy enough to turn around and double back. Although the sun was hot, much of the trail was covered by trees, and the sections that paralleled the creek were particularly delightful.

At one point we stopped and had a discussion about electric bikes with two other riders. Later, we rode through a section of prairie redevelopment. A box turtle sunning in the middle of the trail withdrew into its shell when we got close, but later on a large racoon scampered into the bushes at the side of the trail. A goose family-Mother, Father, and seven goslings ignored us as they swam up the creek.

As we reached the turn-around point of the trail I was having a great time. There was an incline that led to a subdivision. Tony was riding ahead of me, so he didn't see what happened....

(To be continued....)

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Inaccurate Enrollment

I received an email the other day that started by greeting me with the word "Bonjour". I couldn't make out any of the rest, so I used Google Translate to figure out what the message said. It turns out that someone who wasn't me signed up for some classes.

 Hello (XXXXXXX). 

Thank you for completing our 2021-2022 registration form. 

Contact information: 
- Name: (XXXXXXX)
- Email address: (XXXXXXX)
- Area code: (XXXXXXX)
- Phone: (XXXXXXX)
- Portable: (XXXXXXX)

Status: 0 

Civilization course registrations: 

- ▌C1 LLN-Literature: 0 
- ▌C2 LLN-Funeral books: 0 
- ▌C3 LLN-To be specified (Marie-C├ęcile Bruwier course): 0 
- ▌C4 LLN-Secrets of Egyptian History: 0 
- ▌C5 ARL-Conferences: 0 
- ▌C6 ARL-Funeral books: 0 
- ▌► Total "Course of civilization" (calculated automatically): bn0kh6 

Inscriptions course of hieroglyphs: 

- ▌H1 LLN-Egyptian texts: 0 
- ▌H2 ARL-Hieros 3:0 
- ▌H3 ARL-Egyptian texts: 0 
- ▌Coptic (organized remotely): 0 
- ▌► Total "Hieroglyphics course" (automatically calculated): pdt9ixw3 

Total amount:  (XXXXXXX)

Best regards, 
the team of the a.s.b.l. Kheper.
 My curiosity was piqued, so I did a Google search for 'a.s.b.l. Kheper'. It looked like a legitimate organization; according to their Facebook page, they offer courses and conferences on Egypt, guided tours of museums and exhibitions, and trips.
Next I Googled the company name and the word Scam.  Nothing came up, so I think the whole thing was legitimate. The registrant must have mis-typed their email address. I hope for their sake things get figured out soon.

Monday, June 6, 2022


It was about a year ago that Hubby Tony and I made a trip to the Olive Oil Marketplace to stock up on balsamic vinegar. On that visit we bought three bottles-two darks and a white. Last week I used up the last of the white (cranberry-pear flavored), which the store owner taught me to drizzle on my morning oatmeal, a great way to sweeten it without using added sugar. 

The store is across the Mississippi in Alton Illinois, approximately 30 miles from the house, so not a place that's easy to just pop into. I'll get there before the end of the month. In the meantime, the pantry held a Costco-sized bottle of balsamic I bought before we discovered the good stuff. I wondered if I could use it to make a fruit-flavored vinegar to tide me over. It turns out I could, and the process was easy. I tossed a cup of strawberry chunks and the peel of one lemon into a large Mason jar, added two cups of warmed Costco balsamic, then let the mixture cool before I screwed the lid on. The recipe said to let the ingredients meld for a week, but I was impatient. After three days I opened the jar and took a taste. The vinegar had a nice strawberry taste. That fruit taste was even more pronounced after five days, and by the time the week was finally over flavor was heavenly. I strained the solids out, then poured the vinegar through a coffee filter to make sure there were no seeds or pieces of peel left.

The taste was right, but the newly-infused vinegar was runny and didn't have the thick texture I was used to, so I simmered it on the stove until the volume was reduced by half. After the vinegar cooled I used a funnel to pour it into an empty glass bottle. 

I've now used the newly-infused vinegar a couple of times. It will do until I get the real thing, but it's far from perfect. White vinegar is by definition lighter in color, and has a lighter taste. The dark vinegar is stronger, and gives my oatmeal an unattractive look. It's better than nothing, though.

Saturday, June 4, 2022

Stop It, Mom!

The Internet told me this morning that today was Hug Your Cat Day.

I did. Jackson the Cat did not find it amusing. 

 Five years ago today: Old Shoe, New Shoe

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Time Well Spent

Today I had some things to do that took me to the cities of Washington and Union (both in Missouri). I asked Hubby Tony if he wanted to drive along with me. He said he would. Before we left I put him in charge of adventures.

On the way out the door I grabbed my purse, lunch, paperwork, and a list of errands to be run. There was a package that had to go out in the mail, so I brought it too. My local branch wasn't open yet, but I knew I would be driving by a post office while taking care of my other things. The person I was sending it to doesn't know the area and would have no idea how far away from home I was when it got mailed.

Both cities are west of St. Louis on Interstate 44. The Washington exit (Route 100) takes about a half hour to get to, and my first stop was an additional ten miles to the west. From there I drove south for another five minutes to get to Union. The entire drive was lovely, a combination of rolling hills and natural areas. Everything was green and lush thanks to the recent rain.

It took about an hour to do all the 'have tos', then I turned things over to Tony. He's always on the hunt for a new place to get coffee, and said that La Finca Coffee in Eureka (halfway back home) had great online reviews. We could have driven on the Interstate, but instead Tony had mapped out a Route 66 Byway route.

For the most part the route paralleled the highway. We drove through areas that looked downright rural, light industrial sections, and well developed neighborhoods. The middle section of the drive was familiar from our trip earlier in the year, but still fascinating.

The reviews were right; our coffee was very good. We walked around the small downtown Eureka area, then got back in the car and started towards home. I decided to stay off the highway, and went north on Route 109. When we saw the turn off for Rockwoods Reservation (a state park) I asked Tony if we wanted to stop and get some steps. We did.

I pulled into the parking lot by the first trailhead. The trail turned out to be longer than we wanted to walk, so we did a portion and turned around. The mature trees on either side made the area wonderfully shady. Off to the right was a steep hill. A small, shallow creek on the left gurgled as we walked along, and at one point we crossed the creek on large stepping stones.

After we were finished walking we got back in the car and continued towards home. Eventually we returned to Route 100, just substantially more to the east. At that point it's called Manchester Road, a major five-lane road. We continued east until we reached the road that would take us home. As we pulled into our subdivision I took a look at the odometer. It registered less than ten miles more than it would have if we had taken the direct Interstate route. I think those extra miles were time well spent.

Five years ago: Good Concept, Bad Execution