Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Rising From the Ashes and Food Temptations

You might remember that my pharmacy burned in the riots following the death of George Floyd earlier this year. For a month or two we had to use their secondary pharmacy, which was a bit farther out, on the eastern side of my suburb. It was more inconvenient, but not horrible. Then, they opened a satellite location at the other end of the block from their original pharmacy. I now go to that, and even though it's not as convenient as walking across the street, it has it's benefits. 

On a cold day, nothing is much better than a bowl of 
spicy soup. I'm very tempted to grab some take-out from 
Pho Pasteur on my way back from the pharmacy later 
today. I've been wanting to try their food for almost a 
year, and since I have to walk directly past their entrance 
now, I'm right there! Temptation, for sure. 

Primary among those benefits is the fact that I have to pass Pho Pasteur VN Restaurant every time I'm going to my new pharmacy location. Pho PasteurVN, a Vietnamese restaurant, has a nice menu, affordable food for take out, and I'm quite tempted to pick some up while I collect a prescription for DH today. But, even though I'll make sure I have cash, I'll probably skip it - too many calories, too much salt. I'm tempted every time I pick up a prescription, though,  and know I'll give in one of these days. 

Across the street is a long brick building. The northern 
part of the building houses Pho Pasteur, the far southern 
corner now houses the satellite location of Lloyd's 
Pharmacy. I have to walk by Pho every time I'm picking 
up a prescription, and it's so tempting to stop in and 
get a take-out option. They open early too - at 10:00 am. 

DH and I had a chat yesterday and he agreed to work an additional day a week so that I could have one more day off. I told him that starting in January, I want to take my normal Wednesday and add Fridays to my off days. He said he was fine with that and I'll keep reminding him. He'll probably want to take that day back when he's gardening in the warm months, but at least I'll have three to four months for that extra day and I really want/need it. Sanity is hard to find - LOL. 

If you recall, Lloyd's Pharmacy was looted and torched 
during the riots following the death of George Floyd. 
As it turned out, while we locked our door requiring our 
customers to knock for entry, the pharmacy was already 
locked and the employees were at their homes when 
a group broke into the building and began looting it. 
It was torched by a second group later that night and 
was a total loss. They'll rebuild on their original 
site in 2021. 

We'll see. I really want a day off that I can take for my own stuff - no laundry, household errands or "together" time needed. It's hard for me to do much in the 2-3 free hours I have available on my Wednesdays, there's a lot I have on my normal schedule. Having an extra day to do my own thing will help my sanity and my temperament. I'm totally in favor of this and hope it's going to work out. 

Tomorrow I plan to bring my ViRego Drumi home. It's 
a problem because it can't tolerate extreme cold or even 
near-freezing conditions, and right now we're at 
17 F degrees - most definitely below freezing. I'll 
probably wrap it with blankets. It's only going to 
have to be in the car for a half hour or so, so not 
the end of the world, and I'll give it plenty of time 
to warm up before testing it out and making sure 
it works properly. 

On that note, I'm heading up for breakfast and then on to the shop. I'm starting my holiday cards today since I got the last thing I needed in yesterday's mail. I'll put out my first call for cards later this week. Keep your eyes open for it. Have a wonderful Tuesday and please stay safe, be kind, and wear your mask. 

Monday, October 26, 2020

Old Isn't Always Bad - Why I Still Own and Use Dinosaurs

I've already established that I'm a dinosaur - I don't mind that. I'm old and so are dinosaurs, and I've always loved them since I was a small child. I'm a bit of a dinosaur electronically too. Although I operate a lot of different computers for work and for home, nothing is more recent than Windows 8, several are still Windows 7, and I'm still working with Win98 at the shop because that's what our semi-broken inventory program requires. 

The computers that run my shop are Win98 and I have 
two of them. They're chugging along, not as well 
as they used to, but still there. The inventory program 
itself has developed quirks over the years, and we have 
various work-arounds that we do. But it still functions, and 
the thought of re-entering 50,000+ items into a new 
program? No. No way. Not going to happen! 

My Email is also a bit of a dinosaur. Although I use Gmail on my Android phone, on my computers I run AOL. Yes, the same AOL that sent discs through the mail for each update for years and years. Billions and billions of them, more than likely. But I like AOL because it has some features I haven't found on any other email program yet. Primary of these features is the ability to delete mail, but get it back if needed. That's been a real life saver sometimes. I get hundreds of emails in an average week, and every once in a while I'll hit DELETE when I don't mean to. That single feature has more than paid for itself over the years. 

DH still uses the stock photos for Windows 7 as his 
splash screen for his home computer. I, on the other 
hand, have a file of photographs - Egyptian monuments, 
glaciers, Hubble photos, etc - that I use as a rotating 
background splash screen on mine. 

I love old fashioned crafts - although I'm not doing any beading right now, I have done a lot of it over the years. I also sew, and lately I've been getting back into my fiber arts - weaving, spinning and now (with my new knitting machine), knitting. I'm having a lot of fun with my crafts, and that's really the important thing because if you have spare time, you want to spend it doing something you consider worth the time. 

My laptop runs Windows 8 which has this screen 
as a default. I like it, but I only see it long enough 
to get to my next screens and start work.

The thing is - all of these dinosaur computers I operate
are on and operational every single day. (Except I
don't turn on the shop computers on Sunday.) They
might be old, but they still work and they're still
something we depend on daily. 

And of course, there are books - hundreds and thousands of books that I've read or that I have on my electronic TBR list. I stopped buying physical books, with a very short list of exceptions, several years ago. I buy my books electronically, usually on Barnes & Noble's Nook format, very rarely on Amazon's Kindle format. My preference for B&N also makes me a dinosaur, but with 1900+ ebooks in my NookBook library, I'm not switching over to a different format now. . 

My phone is also a bit of a dinosaur, 
although not quite as much as my 
computers are. I use a Google 
Pixel 2. It's paid off, and I've been thinking 
about upgrading, but it still seems to 
work fine, and I'd rather save the 
money for a bit longer. So I'll stay 
with it at least until next year. 
I use a standard splash screen 
choice on it. 

To wrap this exploration into prehistory down, there's room for dinosaurs in this world. Not everything needs to be cutting edge, it just needs to work well and work properly. My computers might be old, but they do exactly what I need them to do. My Email program and my ebooks format are old, but they work exactly the way I want them to. My crafts might be old fashioned, but I can make beautiful things and make myself and other people happy with them. My phone still manages to connect me with the people I want to talk to and disconnect the spam. It's also a wonderfully entertaining device with my puzzle games and my ebooks at my fingertips. 

All things considered, being a dinosaur really isn't too bad. Have an excellent Monday and I'll be back tomorrow. 

Saturday, October 24, 2020

I'll Shiver and Stay Safe, It's Worth It

I'm cold. We're experiencing an early cold snap up here in the Frozen Northlands, and I'm cold. I've got my winter gear out and my autumn jackets put away, I've already started wearing boots to the shop because it's no fun trying to walk on the asphalt without boots if there has been an overnight freeze, and I'm wearing hats indoors because my beautiful bald head is cold. (Frankly, I don't know how guys do it. I've been bald for more than a year and my head gets really cold in the cooler temps.) 

I don't mind being bald,. I look good 
without hair, but it's cold in the winter, 
so I wear hats all the time to stay warm. 

I wouldn't mind moving to a warmer climate, but there really isn't anywhere that we want to go, and the thought of packing, moving, and unpacking makes me sick. So no - I'm staying in the Frozen Northlands.  I think about a warmer climate often during our winters, but I enjoy the other seasons up here so much that I can't imagine living anywhere else. We get the snow in the winter, yes - a lot of it. And we get thunderstorms and the occasional tornado, but generally our weather up here is predictable and can be handled with appropriate outerwear. 

The Cameron Peak fire is threatening Colorado, causing 
evacuations just west of my Alma Mater and throught 
the foothills into Estes Park and Rocky Mountain 
National Park. It's a huge blaze, one of the largest fires 
ever in Colorado. 

It's quite different in the other places I've lived. Both New Mexico and Colorado have their share of serious wildfires, the Cameron Peak fire is hovering close enough that my cousin might have to evacuate her home. She's carefully watching the evacuation orders, and I have no idea what her horses will do if they have to leave them behind. I'm really hoping it doesn't come to that, but evacuation orders have been issued within 20 miles of their home. 

The Cameron Peak fire is the larger one to the north, 
the smaller central fire has already claimed two lives. 
The evacuations are mandated from the western part 
of Fort Collins (on the upper right), down through 
Loveland. My cousin lives in Berthoud - between the 
two L cities of Loveland and Longmont on the east 
side of this map. 

I think I'll stay up here, instead. We have 10,000+ lakes up here, and although there have been serious wildfires in the past, they've all been far north of us and quite a long time ago. The one thing that can cause serious harm for us are the tornadoes, and they are very much a hit or miss thing. You can't fight a twister, just hunker in your safe room and hope for the best. So far (knock on wood) we've been fortunate. I hope that fortune will continue to smile upon us, even if I shiver in the cold. 

So I'll put on my boots and long parka and hat/gloves and head outdoors to the shop in a little while. I guess if an early winter is the least of my problems, I'm a very lucky person. Have an excellent weekend, please be safe and be kind, and please wear your mask. I'll be back on Monday. 

Friday, October 23, 2020

The Great Debate and It's a Wash(er)

I had no intention of watching last night's Presidential candidate debate. I've already voted, for me it was wasted air and broken promises. But DH wanted my company and promised me I could fall asleep on his shoulder while he watched, and I couldn't turn that down. So, we hunkered down and watched the debates - he watched, I drifted. I was able to ignore most of it, although it seemed as if the moderator did a much better job in this debate than the earlier debate. If the mute feature was used, it wasn't blatant, and it seemed as if actual issues were being discussed without too much mud being flung from one side of the stage to the other. 

I liked the fact that Biden was in a blue tie and Trump in 
a red one. I think it was the opposite in the last debate 
(I'd have to check photos to be sure). I wonder if their 
stylists bring a selection of ties to each event for them 
to make last-minute decisions. Of course, the ubiquitous 
and obligatory flag pins were precisely placed on 
the lapels. Cookie cutter politics at its best. 

I have no idea who DH will end up voting for. We're generally diametric opposites - his yin, my yang. I keep joking that I was put onto the earth to void out his votes, and that's probably not too far off base. But he's not enthralled with our current President, and really doesn't care for Biden either. I suspect he'll choose the lesser of two evils, and that's a horrible way to have to cast your vote. We see more eye-to-eye for local politics and rarely disagree on our state and local elections. But for nationals - we are rarely in step. 

Maybe make your decision based on the women behind 
the candidates. I'll pick Team Joe any time! 

I am relieved, however, that I've already voted. I checked the progress of my ballot and it was received, approved, and scanned in. The actual vote won't be counted until Election Day when the data banks of absentee ballots will be added into the election totals and we'll have an accurate count (under ideal conditions). What I care about is that I did my civic duty, and I won't have to stand in the cold November morning, waiting for the doors of the church to open for voting. I think that mail in votes and early voting is becoming more popular this year than ever before, so it will be interesting as the votes are tabulated and counted, since many states won't have final totals until 1-2 weeks after the election. 

The YiREGO Drumi is a portable washing machine that is operated 
by using the foot pedal in the front. The clothes go into the 
large stainless steel ball, with the detergent in the very 
top of the ball. It's very cleverly designed, made in Canada. 
I ordered it quite a while ago, so it wasn't fast delivery, 
but there are things I want to wash in it that I really 
can't or shouldn't wash in my regular washer. I'll 
be using it a lot. 

In other news, I received my YiREGO Druni foot-operated washing machine yesterday. I have to admit, I'm really happy with the design. It's quite clever and if I take care of it, it's going to do everything I purchased it for. I wanted it for hand-washables - delicate fabrics and fleece that I couldn't trust to my larger electric washing machine. The Drumi is made for small loads, minimal detergent, and foot-operated agitation. I'll get exercise at the same time as I'll get clean clothes or clean fleece. I can use it in my laundry room with the floor drain, or if I prefer, I can use it in my shower with that floor drain. It's a separate wash cycle, rinse cycle and spin cycle, all powered by me. It's only 20 inches high, and I think it will j-u-s-t fit underneath my laundry tub next to my washer and dryer. I'll bring it home from the shop on Wednesday morning and see if it will fit - it will be tight, but I'm crossing my fingers. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Monster Cakes and FaceBook "Friends" - You Never Know Who Your Friends Truly Are

Sometimes you just have to go for something fun, and that's what DH did when he was out shopping for groceries earlier in the week. He was looking for his favorite - white cake with white frosting - and came across this "Monster Cake" instead. He couldn't resist, so bought it and we'll share it over four days so we don't overdose on sugar (more likely for me than for him, he's a sugar addict). Still, it was such a fun monster and I just had to share. 

The Monster Cake is so funny, it's a shame to have 
to cut it into pieces. The eyes are Oreo cookies with 
white and black buttercream frosting. The cake 
itself is marble and quite yummy. 

We had our first pieces last night and it was excellent - pretty sweet, but I don't mind that on rare occasions. It's the season of sweet, after all. We've got All Hallows Eve coming up soon, and somehow bags of mixed mini candy bars seem to have made it into the house. Since I didn't buy them, I know who to blame - LOL. With rationing, they should take us through the end of the year, maybe even into 2021. 

From overhead, he doesn't look quite as 
scary - LOL. Every time DH and I looked at 
the cake in the refrigerator, we'd start 
laughing. It's a good monster who brings 
such joy and we're enjoying eating this one. 

With all of the tales of destroyed ballot collection boxes and burned ballots, it's turning int an election that will be fought through the courts after the final counts are in. I know my ballot was collected by someone qualified to collect it, and it's been opened and scanned. The actual tabulated votes from absentee ballots won't be downloaded until Election Day in my state, and I think we have several days afterward when absentee ballots can be still be counted into the final totals if they are postmarked no later than November 3rd. But, I'm very grateful I'm already out of this game. 

If you prefer to vote in person on November 3rd, you
might want to take the added precaution of having
a mail-in ballot available in case your lines are too
long. You can have it filled out and turn it into
the polling location on election day, just as if
you filled out your ballot in person in the little booth
and fed it into the machine. If you end up voting 
in person, you can just shred your mail-in ballot at home. 

I had to block an old acquaintance on FaceBook on Tuesday and it hurt my heart to have to do it. She's a Trump supporter, and that's fine. Everyone is entitled to their own political viewpoints. But when a person on her page pointed out that Biden's tax increase won't hit until people are making at least $165,000/year, she shot that person down, calling her a sheep who just follows dogma blindly. I thought that was way out of line and pointed out that everyone has a right to their own political opinions, which I guess didn't hit her well because the next post I got from her was her narrative story about how she would unfriend anyone who basically disagreed with her. I decided to block her instead - I'll think about unfriending her at a later time, but at least I don't have to read her vitriolic hatred any more. What a shame. She's a bright, talented and creative person and I adored her mother. Oh well, that's life. 

I hate unfriending anyone, although I have done so in 
rare cases. I blocked my friend rather than unfriending 
her. I will consider reactivating her after the election 
is over, or I'll delete her entirely from my feed. I don't 
have to decide immediately. 

On that note, I'm going to have some hot tea and oatmeal because I'm cold today. It's above freezing, so I shouldn't be so shivery. I wish I could curl up in a blanket for some more sleep, but that's time I really don't have. Enjoy your day, be kind, stay safe and please wear your mask. I'll be back tomorrow. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

It Was A Day Of Snow - Lots Of It!

The snow came and proved how unready we all were for it. I had other things on my mind yesterday, so forgot my gloves and hat, remembered my parka (because it was cold), but forgot my snow boots. Fortunately, DH was out and about yesterday and dropped my boots off at the shop for me. Still no gloves, but I had my hoodie. My hands would have to deal. 

This isn't my car, but it is a photo of a car in yesterday's 
snowstorm. I think you can get a good idea of how much 
snow came down. The snow started at 10:30 am and 
went throughout the day. My car was similar to this when 
I left the shop at 6:00 pm. 

By the end of the day, I had gone outside twice to shovel the front and back walks at the shop and scatter salt. When I closed up at night, I went to my car and poor Minion was buried in snow, its brilliant red hardly showing through the show pack. I managed to get the back open and grabbing my show brush, began sweeping snow and pushing snow off my car. It didn't look much different than the photo above, there were at least six inches of packed, heavy snow to get rid of. I didn't get it all, but my brush finally became unusable. I was 80% cleared, so I went ahead and drove home, finishing the clearing in the driveway before sheltering the car in the garage. 

Again, not my backyard, but one of the news organizations
posted this photo of yesterday's storm. DH put the patio 
umbrella into the shed, but left the Barbeque Grill outside 
in hopes of one more grill before we pack it into the shed 
for the winter. I'm not sure if he'll get his wish, but it's 
not too difficult to get it into the shed when necessary. 

I was outside less than an hour ago to put the trash bin at curbside and I took the time to shovel out the base of the driveway. Wet and heavy snow, more like we get in the Spring than the Fall - not my happy place. But the driveway is cleared now, Hubby has his newspaper (which was waiting on the driveway) and I'm ready to start my day of errands. I'm hoping to get more time with my New Toy today. I had a lot of fun trying stitches last week, but would like to actually cast on and start a real project. There's a baby sweater that I've had my eye on. It's one of the beginning projects by one of my on-line instructors and my nephew in Colorado had a new baby born in May. It might be the perfect gift to send along to him. 

This parent had the right idea yesterday. They packed their 
kid into snow clothes and pulled out the sled to get outside 
more easily. Driving was treacherous, but walking wasn't 
too bad. Here, they are crossing Hennepin Avenue, one 
of the major streets in Minneapolis. 

So, as usual, my "day off" will be a busy one. I hope you stay safe and warm as winter comes to the Northern Hemisphere, or stay cool and comfortable as summer comes to my friends on the other side of the world. As always, please be kind, stay safe, and wear your mask. I'll be back tomorrow. 

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

I Gave In - Winter Is Coming

I gave in. With yesterday's temps in the upper 20's, I gave in. I put my leather bomber jacket into the coat closet and grabbed my purple parka instead. I put my Aussie hat aside and took my multi-colored dark purple knit hat, and I even wore gloves - not the ones for super cold, but gloves nonetheless. Today I'll have to remember to put brushes, scrapers and my snow shovel into the back seat of my car since we might have accumulations of snow today. It's time to get into winter mode and I'm really NOT ready. 

Yesterday we had light snow falling on and off all 
day, but it didn't stick to anything. Today, even though 
we're a little warmer, we're expected to have up to 
three inches of snow, so it probably will stick to the 
trees and the pavement. I'll probably have to brush 
off my car before leaving work tonight. 

It was snowing on and off yesterday, but too warm for it to stick to the ground. I didn't have to brush off the car or shovel the store's walkway, but we've had our warning shot across the bow. Winter is coming, and nothing will stop the advance. I'll be dressing in layers, wearing taller socks instead of very short ones, and sweaters will become my friend once again. DH is starting to wear his cardigans again, and he actually turned the thermostat in the shop up, since we weren't getting much above 66 degrees even though the furnace was valiantly attempting to heat the main room. 

I actually love snow in the trees and in the 
woods, it's just driving through it and clearing 
it off the driveway that I'm not fond of. 
DH is excellent about keeping our driveway 
cleared, and we have a good snow blower, 
so it shouldn't be a problem. I'll have to 
remind him to put the patio umbrella 
into the shed, though. 

I don't hate winter - I live in the Frozen Northlands. Winter is a steady and constant reminder of what we experience several months every year. But some years winter holds off until Christmas, other years it holds off at least until Thanksgiving. We rarely have appreciable snow before the end of November. This year might be different, and we may very well have snow on the ground by Halloween. It's always a question, but it's also always a possibility. All I know is ICK! I'm really hoping the weather forecast is wrong and we won't have snow that actually sticks to the streets and sidewalks today, but Winter is fickle and she'll do what she wants. 

There's something magical about snow falling through 
the trees. The snow dampens sound, and the world seems 
as if it is holding its breath, waiting for an unknown 
Goddess to walk through the newly covered glades. 

So I'm bundled up, I might even put a hoodie over the turtleneck and light sweater that I'm wearing today. I'm still a bit cold, so a hoodie would be pleasant, and probably a good decision. The key is keeping warm. If I stay warm,  then I'll also stay healthy - and healthy, in this year of COVID, seems like a wise goal. Everyone reading, please be kind, stay well and wear your mask. I'll be back tomorrow.