Sunday, July 31, 2022

Aggregator Aggravation

I've been using Feedly (an aggregator application which compiles the feeds of blogs I've subscribed to)  since Google Reader went away in 2013. Every morning I open up the app and all the new posts are waiting for me in the Today tab. 

At least they were until a couple of days ago, when I realized I hadn't seen content for several bloggers who post every day. I checked to see if I had accidentally deleted those blogs, but they were still in my list of subscriptions. The site's help section didn't give me any clues, and neither did a Google search for the issue.

Now the only way to find new content is to click on each of the more than 100 blogs I've subscribed to, then click through to the actual blog, which is laborious and time-consuming. 

I'm confident I'll eventually find a solution, but it might be a while, because this week I have very little free time.

Five years ago today: A Do Nothing Challenge

Friday, July 29, 2022

Magically Delicious Marshmallows

In my opinion, the best part of Lucky Charms cereal is the marshmallows.

A couple of weeks ago Hubby Tony and I were shopping at a produce market that also has a small selection of other products. When we saw this container of dehydrated marshmallows we decided to buy it for a gift for some other people we know who like the marshmallow part of the cereal as much as I do.

They told us the sweet bites were delicious.
 Five years ago today: Virtual Rack Woes

Tuesday, July 26, 2022


Monday night it started raining in St. Louis. When it was over, the area had set a new record for the wettest day every recorded. The previous one-day record was set on August 20, 1915, when 6.85 inches fell. This time we got more than 8 inches (and as much as 11 inches in some places) in a period from midnight to 7 am.

The worst of the rain happened along the Interstate 70 corridor. but all four of the highways heading into downtown (I-70, I-64, I-55, and I-44) had at least one closure because of the flooding. As you can imagine, many things were affected. Neighborhoods close to rivers, streams, and creeks reported major damage.

Twitter/St. Louis County Police Department

Fortunately, other than the sewers having trouble handling all the water, the area Hubby Tony and I live in came through unscathed.

Five years ago: Concentrated Banana Goodness

Sunday, July 24, 2022

How Sweet It Is

Hubby Tony and I went to Mass together this morning. At the end of the service, after the announcements but before the final blessing the priest announced that today was the second annual World Day for Grandparents and the Elderly, as proclaimed by Pope Francis.

I had never heard of the day before, but when he asked all the grandparents and elderly to stand for a special blessing I was proud to do it. After the blessing everyone remained standing for a present-a small tulle bag holding several Hershey's Kisses. 

Five years ago: No Ice Cream For You!

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Jenny's Number

I always find it annoying when I'm visiting grocery stores in other areas and have to pay more because I don't have one of their loyalty card accounts. I was expressing my opinion to someone and they offered a handy suggestion. All I had to do was use the local area code and the (probably) most famous phone number out there.

I've tried their suggestion a couple of times and it always works.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

I'm Pretty Sure I'm Not Barbara

Three old ladies are sitting around a table playing bridge and bragging about their sons. “My Freddie,” said Margaret. “Everyone should be so lucky to have a son like my Freddie. Once a week he brings me a huge bouquet of flowers. He’s constantly taking me out to restaurants to eat, and if I so much as hint that I want something the next morning it’s on my doorstep.” 

“That’s very nice about your Freddie,” says Gertrude. “But with all due respect, when I think about the way my Sammy takes care of me, it just can’t compare. Every morning as soon as I wake up he greets me with bacon and freshly brewed coffee. Every lunch he comes over and cooks me a gourmet lunch, and every supper he brings me to his house for supper. He truly treats me like a queen.” 

“WELL!” Says Barbara. “I don’t want to make any of you feel bad or anything, but wait until you hear about my Harry. Twice a week he pays someone $200 an hour just so he can lie on their couch and talk to them. Who do you think he talks about at those prices?" asks Barbara with a big smile, “I’ll tell you who he speaks about! ALL HE SPEAKS ABOUT IS ME!” 

Five years ago today: Worth Getting In The Car

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Cleaning For Company

Am I the only one who goes to extra effort to straighten up the house when someone who is not family or close friends are stopping by? 

Left to my own devices, other than keeping things straightened around the house I do as little domestic science as possible. However, when I find out an acquaintance will be visiting I go all out to give the impression of a clean house. 

We will be having one of those visits Tuesday. In anticipation, I've:

  • Cleaned the bathroom as normal, but also pulled back the shower curtain on the bathtub we never use and gave it a good wipe down to get rid of the dust.
  • Swept and washed the kitchen floor, then pulled out the drawer underneath the stove and dusted that part of the floor. (Why I thought anyone would look there I don't know, but I found out it really needed to be done).
  • Removed Jackson the Cat's hair from his favorite couch cushions, bent down and cleaned the sides of the upholstered furniture that he rubs on, and wiped off the dirty patches he rubbed on the corners of the walls.
  • Scrubbed the grime off the kitchen cabinets, then opened each door and removed the grime from the inside, too.
  • Wiped down the outside of the microwave, then took the turntable out and washed it and the rest of the inside. 
  • Dusted the furniture in every room, then went back and wiped off the windowsills and baseboards
Am I finished? No. I'll be finding things to do up until it's time to make myself look presentable. The good news is that after my flurry of activity things will look good for a nice long time.

Friday, July 15, 2022

The Cost Of Cooling

Each month I get an email from the electric company that details how much electricity we've used during the month. The statement also includes a nice graphic breakdown of our usage.

This bill will be up 45% from the last one, which is frustrating but predictable. Our cycle runs from the middle of one month to the middle of the next, and included June's record setting highs and July's normal heat.  

The hot weather doesn't go away until after Labor Day, but with any luck there won't be any stratospheric temperatures and the next one will be incrementally smaller. After that the total bill should take a nice nosedive.

Five years ago: I Remember You! Do You Remember Me?

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Diminutive Debit

Back in March (right after the Major League Baseball lockout ended) the St. Louis Cardinals sent out an email offering a great deal on tickets. Basically, tickets in the upper portion of the stadium were on sale for $6, and the team loaded them with $6 worth of "Cards Cash" (which is credit at any of the concession stands or stores).

Hubby Tony purchased three sets of tickets; one of them was for last night's game. It was a nice night to be outside-hot but not oppressive, with low humidity and a nice breeze. We went to dinner at a nearby restaurant, then walked over to the ballpark. We rode the escalator all the way to where it ended at the 300 level, then climbed a flight of stairs to our seats all the way at the top of the stadium.

A couple of innings into the game Tony went to get us some ice cream. Our tickets (along with the credits) were on our phones, so I gave him mine so he could redeem my credit. However, at the kiosk he had trouble finding my ticket app, the ice cream was melting, and he just ended up paying for my snack. The concessions don't take cash any more, so he charged it.

I was determined to take advantage of my credit, so later in the game I went on a hunt for something that would cost less than six dollars. I found out a bag of peanuts was $5.50, but after the cashier added the tax the total came to $6.11.

I had no choice but to put a whopping 11 cents on my charge card. I bet the stadium will lose money on the small transaction after paying the credit card processing fee.

Monday, July 11, 2022

I Voted (Early)

The Missouri Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, August 2, 2022. Hubby Tony and I have a schedule conflict on that day, so today we drove to the St. Louis County Board of Elections office and cast absentee ballots.

In Missouri, primary elections are open, which means that a voter can participate in the party primary of their choice (Republican, Democratic, Libertarian, or Constitution) or request a Propositions Only ballot. I was able to look up a sample ballot online and do some research to figure out how I would vote. There hasn't been much information disseminated yet about the three County propositions, but I did the best I could to figure out the convoluted language.

The election office had moved since the last time I voted absentee. Now it is at an auxiliary County government center in St. Ann, a suburb about 20 minutes from my house. (The area used to be a shopping mall according to Wikipedia, in the late 1980s one of the largest in the country before it declined and was eventually closed.)

Once I pulled into the parking lot signs directed me to the correct building, and there was a large pop up flag sign next to the door. I walked in, navigated through the metal detector, then asked where the election office was. An associate pointed me towards an office to the left. 

Inside the office there was no one else in line, but I still had to navigate through a short maze of crowd control ropes to reach the desk.The clerk asked for my driver's license, scanned it, then turned a screen around and asked me to verify that my information was correct. She printed out a ballot, initialed it, then walked across the room to get a second judge's initials. 

When she came back she pointed out the side room that held the voting booths. In that room another clerk told me I could use any booth I wanted. Because I had done my research and had my selections made the actual voting only took a couple of minutes. After all the boxes were filled in I walked over to the scanner and fed the ballot in. I could have helped myself to a I Voted sticker, but thought if I wore one it might confuse people the rest of the day.

It will be interesting to see how my votes jibe with the general population after the election is over.

Five years ago today: Forward And Backward Or Backward And Forward

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Enigmatic, Arcane, and Esoteric

Are you familiar with Atlas Obscura? It's a website, book, podcast, and travel company which bills itself as "The definitive guide to the world’s hidden wonders"

The site catalogs unusual and obscure travel destinations all over the world. For example, in my metropolitan area there are 28 places, including museums, cemeteries, historical buildings and houses, artwork, and one-of-a-kind things to see.

I always enjoy clicking from page to page on the site to see what's new, but my favorite section is the food section (called Gastro Obscura) which has stories about "the distinctive food locations of the world."

It doesn't cost anything to register on the site. You can keep track of all the obscure places you've been, and make a list of others you want to see. You can also become a member, which gives you access to additional content.

Five years ago: Garden Beauty (The Great Pacific Northwest Adventure of 2017)

Friday, July 8, 2022

System For Events

Dkzody had a post yesterday about her to-do list, and the satisfaction she receives from completing and crossing off every item on it. 

The post got me thinking about my organizing system, and how it has changed over the years. In the 1980s I used a desk-sized paper calendar, hand writing my daily to-dos and appointments on each square. But as time passed there were five of us in the family, each with different activities. Some days the squares weren't big enough to hold all the things I needed to write in them. 

Late in the decade the boys were attending different schools with different schedules and carpools. About that time we moved our desktop computer up to the kitchen and I started using Microsoft Calendar. It was so nice to be able to add events as recurring appointments and not have to in write each carpool, sports practice, and Scout meeting one at a time. 

Over the years the Microsoft Calendar app became more complex, but all I needed was the basic calendar function. The only issue was that I didn't have the schedule when I was out and about...until I got my first phone that contained a calendar. Then I started syncing the information. 

Phones came and went and the calendar syncing process changed. Sometimes it worked better than others, depending on the phone operating system. In 2020 I needed a new desktop computer and purchased a Mac Mini, which syncs seamlessly with the iPhones Hubby Tony and I have. If one of us adds something to the calendar, if there is a wi-fi network available it takes seconds to show up on every device.

The computer calendar is great for a big-view picture of what's going on, but when I stopped working at the mall Customer Service desk in October 2014 my schedule became less predictable. After I forgot to do a couple of things I had to come up with a backup system.

I keep a tickler file (with a folder for each month) to hold papers, appointment reminders, and other important things. At the beginning of each month I arrange the items in sequential date order and place them in an inbox. As other things get added to the schedule I jot a quick reminder and put it in the correct date order in the pile. Each evening I transfer the next day’s items to the bedroom dresser, and if a reminder involves doing something outside the house I will carry it with me when I leave. Once a given task is completed I toss the reminder into the recycling bin.

I can't remember the last time I forgot to do something or be somewhere, so I guess the system works for me. 

Five years ago: All Aboard! (The Great Pacific Northwest Adventure of 2017)

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

More Heat Wave Walking

It's July in St. Louis, which means lots of heat and humidity. For the next two days the National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning, which means that the heat index temperature (the combination of actual temperature and humidity) will be 105°F or higher and the nighttime temperature will not drop below 75°F. Even first thing in the morning it is oppressively hot, so once again Hubby Tony and I have taken our walking indoors. Along the way I've found a collection of items that caught my fancy.
  • The mall closest to my house has a kiosk store called Love Sac, but when I walked by I saw the name was missing a letter. However, the missing-letter phrase summarizes my relationship with my air conditioner right now. I do love my a/c.

  •   A second mall I was at has multiple empty spaces. However, casually walking by you might not notice because they've covered the empty windows with fake vinyl storefronts. Like this:
And this:
  • One of our local grocery store chains (Schnucks) is partnering with Folds of Honor, a nonprofit that  provide scholarships for the families of fallen and disabled service members. These green gummi army guys were part of a display. I'm not a big fan of gummi products, but even if I was I don't know if I could bite into one of these.

Five years ago: Ketchikan (The Great Pacific Northwest Adventure of 2017)

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Midyear Reset

Some years, instead of making a New Year's resolution I'll substitute a Word of the Year. However, on January 1st of this year I was so happy to leave 2021 in the dust that I didn't do any forward planning.

Last week I was talking with a friend about some upcoming challenges.  This afternoon I received a text from her saying she hoped that the plan of action I had shared with her would bring me clarity. That last word jumped out and grabbed me by the arm. I decided it would make a great guiding concept until 2023.


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

Saturday, July 2, 2022

The Nine Lives Ran Out

A very traditional elderly woman was enjoying a good game of bridge with her girlfriends one evening when she realized what time it was. "Oh, no! I have to rush home and fix dinner for my husband! He's going to really ticked if it's not ready on time!" she exclaimed suddenly.

When she got home, she realized that she didn't have enough time to go to the supermarket. All she had in the cupboard was a wilted lettuce leaf, an egg, and a can of cat food. In a panic, she opened the can of cat food, stirred in the egg, and garnished it with the lettuce leaf just as her husband pulled up.

She greeted her husband and then watched in horror as he sat down to his dinner. To her surprise, the husband really enjoyed his meal. "Darling, this is the best dinner you have made for me in forty years of marriage. You can make this for me any old day."

Needless to say, every bridge night from then on, the woman made her husband the same dish. She told her bridge cronies about it and they were all horrified.

"You're going to kill him!" they exclaimed.

Two months later, her husband died.

The next time the women were playing bridge one of the cronies said, "You killed him! We told you that feeding him that cat food every week would do him in! How can you just sit there so calmly and play bridge knowing you murdered your husband?"

The wife stoically replied, "I didn't kill him. He fell off the mantel while he was cleaning himself."

~~Author Unknown~~

Five years ago: The East St. Louis Riots of 1917