Monday, October 31, 2022

Skeletons Everywhere

Happy Halloween!

Last week I was driving through a parking lot and saw something out of the corner of my eye. After I parked the car I walked back to check. The car was parked and had no driver, but it didn't look like the passenger was upset about sitting there.
A couple of days later Hubby Tony and I went to the Botanical Garden. I'm not sure what type of critter this is supposed to be, but the skeletons were having a good time with it.

And it looks like these skeletons are having a great time too.

Five years ago today: Knock, Knock....

Saturday, October 29, 2022


Last night Hubby Tony and I went to a funeral home visitation for an acquaintance from church, where we stood and chatted for a little over an hour. Even though I had worn comfortable shoes, as I walked out I realized that my feet were killing me.

Back at home, I figured out that the bursa on my ankle was the root cause of the foot distress. (I really hope the issue goes away soon. Doesn't "My bursitis is acting up again" sound like something an old person would say?

Before I went to bed I liberally rubbed Icy Hot all over the area, and put a sock on so it wouldn't rub off onto the sheet. When I woke up today things were improved but not perfect. After lunch I decided to do an Epsom salt soak. I don't have an official foot soak bowl. Instead, I followed the chiropractor's suggestion for keeping the water hot for a long time and brought the trusty red Igloo cooler up from the storage area.

I ran the faucet in the bathtub until the water was steamy, filled the cooler halfway, stuck my feet in, and got comfortable. Even with the cooler, because of the fall-like ambient air temperature the water only stayed hot for 15 minutes. However, that was enough. I dried off my feet and emptied out the water from the cooler. Then I cleaned and dried it out. 

Tony and I are going to an event tomorrow and need the cooler to keep our drinks chilled.

Five years ago today: Dueling Diagnoses

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Who's Got The Pumpkin?

Thanks to Facebook, this morning I learned that today was National Pumpkin Day, which I guess makes sense during this week's run-up to Halloween. 


Today I kept an eye out for interesting pumpkins. I didn't have to go far. The first one was right outside the condo building. 

One of the residents takes it upon herself to decorate the area around the front door. This summer the planters were filled with tall greenery and Creeping Jenny. When the weather started cooling off she swapped the greenery out for mums. Then one day small pumpkins joined the party. 

Yesterday there was heavy rain and a brisk wind. The leaves from the tree outside the building fell off in droves, covering the grass, sidewalk, and walkway. The lawn maintenance company will soon come and remove the layer of leaves. Until they do I'm being extra careful walking in the area.

The second vignette is right outside my condo's front door. 

The large one is, of course, pumpkin. The small one is a kabocha, sometimes called Japanese pumpkin. Although right now both squash are serving as a seasonal decoration, after October 31st they will be processed and cooked.

For the past month every grocery store I go into has a display of Halloween squash. At the full-service stores kabocha is priced as an 'exotic' (usually for about $3.50 a pound). However, I knew that the Asian market I frequent every couple of weeks sold them for a third of that price. Guess which store got my purchase?

Five years ago today: Eat The Whole Thing

Monday, October 24, 2022

Phenomenal Formation

Wikipedia says that "Tower Rock, also known as Grand Tower, is a rock formation and landmark island in the Mississippi River, in Brazeau Township, Perry County, Missouri". It normally looks like this: 


However, thanks to drought the river is at near record low water levels. This is what Hubby Tony and I saw when we visited it today:

Right now the island is more like a peninsula, with a land bridge connecting it to the shore. The phenomenon has had mentions on just about every news media outlet in the past week, and Tony and I decided to see the rare occurrence while we could.

Tower Rock is approximately two hours south from our house. Google Maps gave us two suggestions to get there. The more scenic route only took fifteen minutes more, so we chose that. We took the Jefferson Barracks bridge over the Mississippi River and went south on Route 3 (a beautiful scenic drive which is part of the Great River Road, although the river isn't visible) to Chester. There we crossed back over into Missouri and took a series of state and county roads until we got to the gravel road leading to the conservation area.

Halfway down the approximately one-mile gravel road traffic ground to a halt. Cars were parking wherever they could. Tony found a place and we joined the stream of people walking towards the river.

The Tower Rock Natural Area is run by the Conservation Department. Other than a very basic parking lot that looked like it would hold about a dozen cars, an identification sign, and a set of railroad tracks running along the river, the area is very natural. A woman who was leaving the area announced to no one in particular that if we went down to the far end the climb down was easier, so we did that. The limestone rock was eroded into layers, and moving from one to another was easy. Even though there were signs telling people not to climb the rock, some people were doing it anyway. I was content to walk around from one side of the land bridge to the other, and get within a couple of feet of the river. 

Getting back to the car was easy, but getting back to the main road wasn't. Too many cars had parked along the road, but one motivated driver played traffic cop until a path opened up and we followed a slow line of cars up the gravel. That same drought that dropped the river level also made for a lot of gravel dust, and eventually the car was covered in gray.

We chose to take the more direct Interstate route home The one stop was at a McDonald's for a bathroom break and coffee. 

Five years ago today: More Than Just Fried

Sunday, October 23, 2022

Golden Glow

My condominium building was constructed in the mid-1980s. Based on its size, I'm guessing the tree outside the front door was planted about the same time.

From the living room and office windows I enjoy seeing its bare branches of winter and the green leaves of the growing season. However, this time of year is my favorite. The leaves turn a beautiful yellow color, and in the afternoon when the sun shines through the leaves it gives the living room a golden glow.

Saturday, October 22, 2022

Meteorological Ups And Downs

At this time of year the average high temperature for my area is 67° Fahrenheit, and the average low 48°.  However, this week Mother Nature is really confused. Earlier in the week we had well below normal temperatures, along with an overnight freeze. Yesterday and the weekend will be pushing 80°. The ups and downs make it hard to figure out what to wear. I'll use yesterday as an example. 

6:30 am-Rolled out of bed, and it was chilly. I put on jeans, but in anticipation of the nicer temperature later in the day I  dug into the back of my closet for a short sleeve shirt. That was too cold, so I added a fleece jacket. The last piece of the outfit was a pair of socks underneath my house sandals.

8:45 am-I got ready to leave the house for a meeting. Changed into my 'out of the house' jeans and tennis shoes. Grabbed a jeans jacket from the coat closet and slung a scarf around my neck before walking out the door.

9:15 am-Pulled into the meeting parking lot. Decided it was warm enough to leave the scarf in the car.

10:40 am-After the meeting I was glad there was nothing around my neck as I walked to the car.

11:00 am-Finished my first errand at the grocery store. Realized it was now too warm to have a jacket on, so took it off for the rest of the errands

12:00 pm-Back at home, changed into a pair of capris. Swapped out the tennis shoes for sandals, but left the socks on.

2:30 pm-Took a walk with Hubby Tony. It was beautiful in the shade, but a bit too warm in the sun.

3:30 pm-After the walk it was too hot for socks. Took them off and just used sandals.

5:00 pm-It was nice enough to eat dinner on the deck. However, about 5:20 the sun went behind the trees and it started getting chilly. Time to come in.

5:30 pm-Put socks back on.

6:00 pm-Changed back into jeans. Staged fleece jacket nearby on couch.

6:45-Put fleece jacket on.

10:00 pm-At bedtime the flannel sheets that were wonderful just two nights ago were much too warm. Ended up draping a lightweight sarong over my shoulders and went to sleep.

2 am-Woke up chilly. Pulled fleece sheet up and went back to sleep.

Five years ago: Eat Dessert First

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Break The Diet But Not The Bank

Tonight, after a healthy dinner (a soup of tom yum broth, napa cabbage, carrots, garbanzo beans, and brown rice with grapes for dessert) my stomach kept telling me it wasn't satisfied. I tried to ignore the messages, but when Hubby Tony said he was going to the grocery store for a couple of things I asked which one. 

One of the local chains (Schnucks) sells single slices of cake. That's where Tony was headed. I told him to bring me home the piece of cake with the most icing he could find, and he would get bonus points if it was an edge piece with swirly decorations on the side.

When Tony returned I rummaged through the bag as he hung up his jacket. He apologized that there were no edge pieces available, but thought that sprinkles would make up for it. I was impressed with both his choice and his shopping skills.

Five years ago today: Computer Generated Chirography

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

A Real Pain In The A(nkle)

For the most part my sprained ankle issues have resolved themselves, but the bony protrusion on the outer edge was still very painful and swollen. Two nights ago I was sitting on the floor organizing some items, and when I got up I accidentally smacked that protrusion against a chair. I was in agony for hours!

I've also had trouble finding shoes that didn't rub on the sore spot. My options were my trusty Birkenstock sandals (which weren't a great choice with the chilly mid-40 degree weather the past few days) or a pair of slip-ons that made my feet hurt because they didn't have good arch support. When my sore feet led to a sore lower back I knew it was time to get help. 

 Yesterday I called Dr. Chiropractor's office right after it opened and got an appointment for this morning. During the appointment he poked, prodded, and twisted the sore area, then told me my ankle bursa (a fluid-filled sac that cushions the bone when it moves) was inflamed. The common name for the condition was bursitis.

As a treatment, he suggested I soak my foot and ankle in Epsom salts and apply Icy Hot pain reliever at bedtime. Before I left the office, Dr. Chiropractor used a hand held massager to stimulate the area around the bursa, gave me a standard adjustment, then ended by using the massager on my back.

Later in the day I realized that the area already felt better. It didn't hurt unless I pressed directly on it. Hubby Tony and I took a walk, and I was able to move more freely than I had in weeks. Back at home I treated both feet to a soak and did preventive maintenance on the calluses and cuticles. When I was done both my ankle and my feet were happy.

Five years ago today: Dedicated For Data

Sunday, October 16, 2022

Perfect Poundage

This week I have to mail a  package to Alabama.

In preparation, today I boxed the item up and then used my kitchen scale to weigh it. The package was right on the border of being too heavy for First Class (which, according the Post Office website, is the best way to send something if it's 13 ounces or less. Otherwise the class isn't cost effective.) 

The handy USPS Retail Postage Price Calculator showed that I had multiple mailing options, but I needed the package to get there relatively quickly and decided that Priority was the best choice. As a bonus, the rate also comes with tracking and enough insurance to cover the cost of the item I was sending.

Priority pricing kicks in when a package is 14 ounces or more. I needed to add a little extra weight to get my box over the minimum.

Later in the day I was out in the neighborhood and walked past a place where the city recently replaced the sidewalk. As they do, when the job was finished the workers added new topsoil and grass seed in the area that had been dug up. Several pieces of the crushed stone base had worked their way up to the top of the soil. I brought home one of the pieces, slid it into my box, and weighed the whole thing again. Now the box was easily within the Priority class, but not excessively.

I wonder if the person receiving the box will wonder why there's a rock in there?

Five years ago: No Phone. No Problem?

Friday, October 14, 2022

There's Got To Be A Catch

One of the benefits of subscribing to Amazon Prime is getting free two-day shipping. If not, as long as the order totals $25 it will take five days for the package to arrive with no shipping fee.

If the items don’t add up to $25, there are sites (like and where you can enter the amount you need for free shipping and get suggestions. Or you can search on the Amazon website for filler items under [price point of your choice]. 

For fun, I looked to see what was available for under one dollar. There were items from just about every department, but the vast majority of them did not qualify for free shipping. However, I'm sure the quality of the $0.01 ring was worth the $3.95 shipping cost :-)

 Five years ago: There's A Name For Everything!

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

What Do Long-Distance Grandparents Do?

Visit the grandchildren, of course!

Hubby Tony and I just returned from two weeks in California. Since the last trip was weighed heavily towards Son Tony's Central Valley family, this time we spent most of the time with Brian's family in the San Jose area. Brian was on a business trip for the first four days we were there, and DIL Nicole appreciated the extra adult hands.  The first weekend I got to see Grandson Jay's baseball game and have quality time with twins Ell and Dee. The second weekend was a 6th birthday party for Jay.

During the week in between, Tony and I picked up a rental car and tooled around the area. We never got farther than three hours away from Brian's, but we had a great time. First, we stopped in Morgan Hill for lunch and a little window shopping. We kept going, and that night we slept in Gilroy, the self-proclaimed Garlic Capital of the World.

The next day we walked around Gilroy's downtown area, looked at their historical buildings, had some great Mexican food, and indulged in a local specialty: 

Just a subtle garlic taste

On Wednesday we visited Mission San Juan Bautista (which still functions as a Catholic church) and the city around it.

San Juan Bautista-Wikipedia

After the Mission we headed towards the coast, jumped off the highway in Carmel for lunch, then drove farther up the coast to the Point Sur Light Station and State Historic Park. There we joined a group of people on a walking tour to the top of the hill, where we got to go into the light house and other buildings and learn about the history of the area.

From Point Sur we drove to Monterey, where we checked into the historic Monterey Hotel. We have already been to the Monterey Aquarium multiple times, so we spent Thursday looking at the city's beautiful architecture, strolling along the oceanfront trail, and meandering around Cannery Row and Fisherman's Wharf.

 Friday morning we checked out of the hotel. Our original plan was to take a scenic route home, but when we got a text from Brian that they needed some help with afternoon childcare we headed to their house in a more direct manner, arriving back shortly after lunch.

Five years ago: One Year Old (And Wonderful)

Monday, October 10, 2022

Bound And Ready To Go

I realized that I never told you about the resolution of my ankle woes.

The boot I received at the urgent care did the trick, but it was bulky, hard to move around in, and wouldn't allow me to drive. When I learned about a highly recommended compression brace I tried it out and never looked back.

The brace was a long elastic strap with a foot loop on one end and a big piece of Velcro on the other. The inside of the elastic had wavy silicone lines, which kept the whole thing in place.

To put it on, I stepped into the loop and stood on it to hold it in place, then started wrapping the strap (silicone side in) around my foot and ankle like an ace bandage. To secure the strap, I stuck the Velcro to the strap.

The wrap completely stabilized my ankle without being bulky. I could walk (albeit more slowly than normal), do things around the house, and even drive short distances. Yesterday I realized that my ankle was getting better and even took it off for an hour or so.

Five years ago: Mouse Control

Saturday, October 8, 2022

You Never Know

Sitting by the window of her room in the convent, Sister Barbara opened a letter from home one evening. Inside the letter was a $100 bill her parents had sent.

Sister Barbara smiled at the gesture. As she read the letter, she noticed a shabbily dressed stranger leaning against the lamp post below.

Quickly, she wrote, "Don't despair. Sister Barbara," on a piece of paper, wrapped the $100 bill in it, got the man's attention and tossed it out the window to him. The stranger picked it up, and with a puzzled expression and a tip of his hat, went off down the street.

The next day, Sister Barbara was told that a man was at her door, insisting on seeing her. She went down, and found the stranger waiting. Without a word, he handed her a huge wad of $100 bills.

"What's this?" she asked. "That's the $8,000 you have coming Sister," he replied. "‘Don't Despair’ paid 80-to-1."
Public Domain Vectors

Thursday, October 6, 2022

Shoo Fly Don't Bother Me

This afternoon I was low on energy and decided to take a quick nap. I set the timer on my phone for 20 minutes, removed my glasses, and stretched out on the bed. Just when I was getting comfortable I felt a fly crawling across my legs.


I covered my body with a sheet, reset the timer, and got comfortable again. The fly started crawling across my face. 


I grabbed a towel and swaddled my face so everything was covered but my nose and mouth. I reset the timer for a third time and got as comfortable as I could, given that darn near every part of my body was wrapped up. As I was drifting off to sleep I could hear the fly buzzing around my face, but that didn't bother me at all. As a matter of fact, I was happy to have thwarted its attempts.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Taco, Taco, Taco

This morning my email had messages from Chipotle, Qdoba, and Uncle Julio's informing me that today was National Taco Day. Of course, each of the 'Mexican' restaurants invited me to come there and celebrate.

Instead, Hubby Tony and I searched out a taqueria that was so authentic we were the only non-Hispanic customers. The chips were crisp, the salsa was spicy, and the tacos were authentic.

Much better than any chain place.

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Dressing For The Season?

Hubby Tony and I went to Mass at a different church this morning. As we settled into our pew I looked across the aisle and noticed an older woman dressed in a fascinating manner.

Except for the top half of her face, she was completely covered. On the bottom half she wore a flowing white cotton skirt long enough to touch the top of her tan ankle boots. On top, a white shawl was layered over an ecru-colored fleece top, with a green-and-white striped scarf draped around her neck.

From my seat I couldn't tell if the gloves she had on were cloth or plastic, but the large green hat was straw. The lower portion of her face was covered with a green mask. When she turned to the side I could see the center of the mask contained a large image of Jesus with his Sacred Heart.

On it's own the whole outfit was very interesting, but given that it is Ordinary Time (the stretch between Easter and Christmas) in the Catholic Church, and green is the liturgical color for the season, was it a coincidence that the woman chose the outfit, or did she dress for the season?

Five years ago: Designed For A Door