Friday, September 30, 2022

Translating Types Of Caffeine

I had this post ready to go for National Coffee Day yesterday, but I got caught up in self-care of my ankle and completely forgot. Please forgive my lateness, and enjoy

Do fancy coffee drinks confuse you? Have you ever wondered about the differences between lattes, cappuccinos, and flat whites?

This No Nonsense Coffee Guide might help.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Gimme The Boot

My ankle adventure continues (even thought I wish it wouldn't.). 

Yesterday my house sandals worked like a charm on my out of the house adventure. My ankle was feeling better, and I really thought I had turned the corner. Last night, when I elevated my foot by propping it up on the couch one of the people I was hanging out with accidentally bumped into it. Immediately the area started hurting again. When I went to bed I had a horrible time finding a comfortable position, and while I tossed and turned I decided that today I would visit a doctor.

Right after breakfast I searched the insurance website for an in-network urgent care. I called shortly after they opened, and was able to make a midday appointment. At the urgent care the doctor evaluated my ankle, took some x-rays, and determined there was no fractures. (Thank goodness.) 

I left wearing an orthopedic boot, which I will use until the ankle improves.Five years ago: Volunteering Vegetable

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Felicitous Footwear

The sprained ankle that I got over the weekend is a tiny bit better, but it's not anywhere close to normal yet. Yesterday I stayed inside, kept the ankle wrapped, elevated my leg and regularly iced the offending spot. In the evening I treated it to a lovely Epsom Salts soak.

However, as much as I'd like to repeat the same process today life goes on. I have to leave the house and actually do some walking between a parking lot and my destination.

Because of some off and on plantar fasciitis issues I always wear something on my feet, even in the house. My current house shoes are plastic Birkenstock sandals. In the five months since I've brought the pair home they've never gone outside.  I keep a pair of old, ratty shoes by the door to change into as I walk out, and then immediately change back into the sandals when I return. That way I'm not bringing any type of dirt or germs.

This morning when I tried to put on my tennis shoes, the bruise on my ankle said that wasn't a good idea. It also didn't like the pair of sandals I tried. I realized that my only option is to give my house shoes their first taste of outside freedom and wear them on my adventure. I wonder if they will enjoy it, or be annoyed that their inside pampering days are over?

Five years ago today: Feels Like Fall

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Sedentary And Sluggish

Over the weekend Hubby Tony and I were walking on a residential street without sidewalks. I wasn't paying enough attention to the road, stepped into a pothole, and ended up twisting my ankle. 

Since then I've tried to take it easy so I can get back to doing normal things. Tonight I was surfing the web and came across

The website opens with one large circle that fills the screen. There are no directions. If you move your mouse over the circle it divides into four smaller ones. Hover over one of those smaller circles and it will divide into four more. Keep going, and pretty soon the circles will get so small they'll reveal an image.

Five years ago: Monster Plant

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

He's Now A Happy Cat

Today I learned that September is Happy Cat Month, sponsored by the CATalyst Council to spread awareness about cat health and welfare. The council advocates for regular vet care and positive pet care practices.

The information was timely. You may remember that our house had a recent experience with vet care. Just a couple of weeks ago Jackson the Cat went to the vet and came home with a diagnosis of arthritis.

Hubby Tony and I have been diligent about giving Jackson his prescribed pain medicine on top of his food and injections of a drug to lubricate his joints. I've administered four shots now. The first time I was apprehensive about sticking a needle into his skin, but each time I've gotten more confident. Now I have it down to a system. I wait until Jackson is curled up on the bed or laying in the sun. When I'm confident he's not going anywhere I fill the syringe, grab a small section of his nape, part the hair so the skin is visible, insert the needle so it goes in between the skin and muscle, then push the plunger down. Jackson will give me a look, but then go right back to his nap.

Jackson is still an old guy, and doesn't have the pep he did when he was younger, but since we've started the medicine Tony and I have noticed that he's now spending less time sleeping under the bed and more inclined to wander around the house. Jackson also wants to spend more time with us. Both Tony and I have been the recipients of great head butts. Jackson's also grooming himself more. His fur has lost the dandruff-y look it had, and I don't have to comb out any hair mats.

Five years ago: September Summer

Monday, September 19, 2022

Spam, Scam, Or Something Else?

I have my email filters set to the highest level, which means that everything that doesn't come from someone in my contact list ends up in the Junk folder. Last night that Junk folder held a message with the subject line '2021 contribution report'. I almost deleted it with the rest of the spam, but something about this message felt different. I opened it, and saw that it was professionally written. No spelling or grammar issues.

The email contained a forwarded message, which came from a company asking for some information for their accountant to use for year-end purposes. The woman who sent it on to me copied the original sender in her reply, and said she was forwarding the request to someone who was working on the information.

Nothing about the message felt like a scam, but I know that con artists can be very tricky. The signature line of the woman who forwarded the message to me indicated she was a Methodist pastor. I searched for the name of the church, which was real. I also did a search of the company name in the original message, which gave me two options-a funeral home and a company that made granite monuments for cemeteries. Both made sense in this scenario. If someone was trying to pull a fast one over on me, I don't think they'd go to so much work.


Based on the information I learned I decided to contact the pastor and tell her the message had been misdirected. If things were revered, I would like to know that the intended recipient didn't get the information. An hour later I received another message from her, thanking me.

I love a story with a happy ending!

Sunday, September 18, 2022

The Little Boy and the Old Man

Said the little boy, ‘Sometimes I drop my spoon.’
Said the old man, ‘I do that too.’
The little boy whispered, ‘I wet my pants.’
‘I do that too,’ laughed the little old man.
Said the little boy, ‘I often cry.’
The old man nodded, ‘So do I.’
‘But worst of all,’ said the boy,'it seems
Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.'
And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.
‘I know what you mean,’ said the little old man. 
    ~~Shel Silverstein~~

 Five years ago today: Tree Away

Friday, September 16, 2022

The Wonders Of Midwest Weather

This is so true!

Last weekend it was cool enough to open up the windows and enjoy the sounds of nature. For the first time in months I exchanged my shorts for jeans. Since then each day the temperature inched up a degree or two. The jeans turned into capris, and then back to shorts. The air conditioner went back on, and the sounds of nature were replaced by the hum of the fan.

By Tuesday, depending on what source you're using the temperature could break a record when it gets up to 97° F!

The weather is supposed to get back to normal again by next weekend, and the high temperatures will return to the mid-70° F. In my opinion the change can't come soon enough.

Five years ago today: Demonstration And Dissent

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Good Grain!

 Every Thursday afternoon I get an email from the Asian market by my house that lists their specials for the next week, and scan through it to see what I might like to buy. Some of the items are familiar. Others I didn't used to know but are now favorites thanks to taking a try on them. Some exotic produce costs more than I want to pay. Some products (like meat offal) would never jump into my basket.

Last week's email contained a photo of a box about the size of a pound of pasta. The caption called it freekeh. Its price was right, so I wanted to know more. Google told me that freekeh is a grain that's popular in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines, made by smoking and removing the shells of green durum wheat grains that is a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Freekeh sounded like something I wanted to try, and I added it to my list. The next day I drove to the store to pick up some produce and the aforesaid grain. I had to walk up and down a couple of aisles before I found what I was looking for, but that didn't bother me at all; I enjoy wandering around there.

It took several days, but I finally got around to experimenting with my new purchase. I decided to make a main dish cold salad. Four four servings I cooked one cup of dry freekeh, fluffed it with a fork, and let it cool. While it was cooking I chopped four medium tomatoes and a half cup of Italian parsley, and minced two big cloves of garlic. I also drained and rinsed 3 cups of black beans. 

I added all the ingredients to large bowl, added a couple of tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, and some salt/pepper to taste. After everything was combined I put it in the refrigerator for several hours.

Five years ago today: Travel Jewelry Roll

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Peanuts And Cracker Jacks

 Did you know that today is National Peanut Day?

It's very appropriate, because tonight Hubby Tony and I are going to go watch the St. Louis Cardinals play baseball. I'm not a big fan of Cracker Jacks, but we always bring a bag of peanuts with us.

Of course, at the seventh inning stretch we'll sing "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" with the rest of the crowd. Albert Pujols is three home runs away from a milestone of 700. If he were to hit one while we're there, I might even dance like Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly:

Monday, September 12, 2022

A Sad Situation

Today I was out walking in a neighborhood close to my house. When I turned a corner I saw a tree with a large X spray-painted on it.

I got close enough to read the flyer stapled to the trunk:

 The flyer said said:

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a beetle that came to North America from China in shipping crates. The beetle only feeds on ash trees, and has decimated the ash population, spreading out from the Great Lakes, where it first arrived. Over the next ten years, most ash trees in the United States will be wiped out. While treatment is possible, it is an ongoing expense and not guaranteed to work. Therefore, most cities are removing ash trees, either preemptively, or as their health deteriorates. Preemptive removal helps slow the spread of EAB by reducing its food source. This tree has been identified as an ash tree that will need to be removed.

Of course the job needs to be done, but I pity the people who are going to lose a large source of shade.  The funny thing was that the ash tree looked to be in better shape than the oak next to it, which had a dozen leafless branches. Given that the city will be removing the trees I suspect they'll be in charge of planting new ones. I wonder if the homeowners have any say in the type that goes in? 

Five years ago today: No Seeds For Me

Sunday, September 11, 2022


Every day I have raw vegetables with my lunch. The selection rotates according to what's in season and on sale, but it always includes carrots. I'm a fan of full-sized, skin on carrots, and get them from Aldi. They're cheap, and I rarely get one that isn't sweet and tasty.

There's exceptions to that rule, though. Yesterday the last carrot in the bag was huge and strange looking. I tried to cut a chunk off the top with my paring knife and the knife refused to go through. I dropped down a couple more inches and repeated the process with the same results.  Finally, I started from the bottom and removed several chunks, which I cut into sticks. I opened the freezer and threw the hard portion into the scrap bag to use for making broth, and noticed the bag was pretty much filled up.

(When it was time to consume the vegetables I found out that the carrot sticks had a flavorful exterior but a nasty, woody core. Thank goodness the rest of the vegetables were edible.)

Later in the afternoon I decided to make broth. I poured the bag of vegetable scraps into the stock pot, added water, simmered everything for a couple of hours, then dumped them into a colander placed above a large bowl to drain off the broth. I was amazed to find out that the piece of carrot was still hard and unyielding!

Gashes are where I tried to cut at the top
Five years ago today: Did You Know?

Thursday, September 8, 2022


Yesterday I was doing laundry when Jackson the cat came in to use his litter box. I watched him climb in with no problems, then left the room. Five minutes later I saw him trying to walk down the hall, but his right leg kept collapsing under him. Hubby Tony and I observed him for a few minutes, then he called the vet. Even though Jackson tried to tell us it was time for his second meal of the day, ten minutes later we were on our way to the office. 

Jackson had just been to the vet two weeks ago for his checkup and rabies shot. He's not a fan of the experience at all...hates getting in the carrier, hates the car ride, hates the noises in the waiting room, and abhors the examination room. But other than some horrible howling in the car he handled the whole thing well.

In addition to all the normal well-visit checks of weight and temperature Jackson had a blood pressure check (with the cuff around his tail) and had the pulse checked in both of his paws. The vet pushed on his back legs and rotated them at the hips. Based on her findings she suspected arthritis, and suggested an x-ray. After quickly talking it over Tony and I agreed. 

The tech took Jackson out of the room. When they came back fifteen minutes later she put him on the floor, where he headed straight into his carrier. The doctor came in and showed us the results of the x-ray on a video screen. There was no sign of blood clots or tumors, but there were multiple places on his spine and hips that were inflamed.

The vet suggested that Jackson would benefit from something for pain. Because of his age (at 20, he would be comparable to a 100-year old person), a simple non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug could be problematic for his kidneys. She recommended a quarter of a Gabapentin capsule twice a day, sprinkled on his food, and Adequan, an injectable that would lubricate his inflamed joints.  

Before he left the examination room the tech gave Jackson the first shot so she could show us the technique. He was very compliant for the demonstration, but I suspect that it will take both Tony and me to do it the next time. The tech also gave us some tips for incorporating the oral medicine on Jackson's food.

When we got home Jackson immediately asked for food. I sprinkled the oral medicine on top of it, and Jackson proceeded to empty the bowl. (He's never been a picky eater.) I'm pretty sure it was my imagination, but it seemed like Jackson was already walking better as he moved to the bedroom to lay in his after-lunch spot of sun. 

Last night and today he's been extra affectionate. I hope things continue to improve.

Five years ago: It's All In The Presentation

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Creative Dreams

My horoscope for today said:

You could have some intense dreams tonight, Capricorn. You might find that they bring inspiration for creative projects, perhaps for redecorating or otherwise beautifying your home. You could feel energetic now and want to charge ahead and work on your project until you drop. Take care to pace yourself. You might tire to the point of feeling ill.

I can only hope that I sleep soundly enough tonight to dream. Last night I drank some caffeinated tea too close to bedtime. I spent a couple of hours tossing and turning before the caffeine wore off and I drifted off to slumber land. 

The idea of a creative project sounds appealing, because it's been a while since I've tackled anything original. The sultry, humid weather really saps my desire to do anything over and above the minimum, and my inventiveness has been limited to figuring out what to cook for dinner. However, there are certainly projects I could take on. For example:

  • I can't find a coffee table the right size for the living room, so maybe that's where my creative thoughts could go. I'm also on the hunt for ingenious ideas for extra storage; Hubby Tony and I actually had a conversation last week about how we could make the pantry work better for us.
  • With a whole lot less work I could buy some flowers and make an arrangement for the kitchen island. I could get around to printing out some photos and put them into frames. Even though it still feels like summer I could get out fall decorations.

Now that I'm thinking about the possibilities I can't wait to see what direction my dreams lead me!

Sunday, September 4, 2022

Team Over, Team Under, or Team Don't Care?

Toilet paper orientation. Which side are you on?

Earlier in the week I got around to a backlog of email messages. In an issue of The Ethel newsletter (for "women of a certain age") there was an article titled "Are You Hanging Your Toilet Paper Right? Here's Why it Matters". The author was a proponent of over orientation, and even pointed out that Seth Wheeler, the inventor of perforated rolls of paper, showed a "over" position in his patent diagram.

Google Patents

The over orientation also has scientific backing. In 2011 University of Colorado researchers determined that there are 19 different types of bacteria in public restrooms, and those bacteria are easily transferred to our fingers. If the end is hanging under the roll you're more likely to need your hands to fish for that end (and transfer bacteria to the roll in the process). A roll of TP with the end hanging over is easier to grab, and that portion you grab will be what ends up in the toilet after use.

However, if you've ever had a pet or toddler play with a hung roll of toilet paper you know that if the end is underneath it's a lot harder completely unravel it. The orientation also looks tidier because the loose end is neatly tucked away behind the roll.

Or, do you not have a opinion as long as there's something hanging on the holder?

Five years ago: The End Of Another Season