Thursday, April 27, 2017

Have you ever been caught in a lone star dilemma?

Ok so maybe the heading is a little confusing, but I'll get to the dilemma in a minute.  First a little background information.  Years ago when I visited Texas I noticed how proud everyone was of the state flag.  The lone star flag was proudly on display just about everywhere. When I asked about it I was brusquely told to get with the program, It's the lone star state.

Today I had my dilemma (Told you I'd get to it) brought on by a tiny little bug called a lone star tick.  I am wondering if those proud Texans are aware of the lone star tick, a creepy, crawly, and vampire-like insect.  To be fair the name does not refer to Texas and this bug does not originate in Texas.  It only bears that name due to the prominent white spot on it’s back that resembles a star.

Now I'd like to mention that I am basically an indoor type girl.  I hate camping.  I don’t like the summer heat and while I enjoy walking and hiking at times, I stick to the well-defined paths. So after four days of steady pouring rain and me barely walking off the porch it caught me completely by surprise that somehow a lone star tick decided I would be a tasty treat. I mean seriously my husband constantly works in the yard, mowing, trimming bushes and trees and has never, ever had a tick. 
Growing up in rural Virginia and owning many pets, I’ve seen ticks before. This, however, is my first encounter with a lone star tick.

So yesterday, I felt an itch on my lower back.  It felt like a tiny lump.  I twisted and turned and tried to get a better view.  It is virtually impossible to twist in that way at my age.  Heck it's hard to do that at any age unless you do a heck of a lot of yoga.  I was, however, starting to think that it might be a tick.  Ewwwww!  I know you are saying that and believe me I was too!

I dug in the magic Hermione Granger like sack I call a purse and came up with a magnifying glass. Still no luck.  I searched my purse for a mirror and I tried to get a better look with the reflection, and I bombed on that as well. I was coming to the conclusion that in order to identify what was causing the itch I had to work in a circus as the amazing rubber woman.  It was situated in just a spot that was really hard to get a handle on. And I was at work.  I was ready to close the store and head to the doctors when luckily a familiar female customer came in the store and I explained the situation.  She offered to take a look.

She looked and, yes, it was a tick.  I got a pair of tweezers from my purse (Told you it was a magic bag) and she promptly removed the offending insect.  That is when we noticed the white dot.  Thanks to Google, we quickly identified the Lone star tick.  Fortunately it doesn’t carry Lyme disease.  It does, however, carry a disease that is a bit unsettling.  And I had to check it twice to see if I read it right.

The lone star tick can cause an allergy to red meat!  Are you kidding me?  That had to be a misprint.  So let me get this straight.  I will never be able to eat a burger, have a steak or a pork chop ever?  Of all the off the wall things in this world a tiny insect that can cause a person to be allergic to meat!

After a little more research I found that evidently it is true.  Seriously, though,  I don’t eat a lot of red meat, but making it a big giant taboo makes it all the more desirable.  Still, not every tick is a carrier and It couldn’t have been in me for very long. So I guess it's just wait and see. 

I visited the doctor that very afternoon and got a prescription for antibiotic salve.  So unless I develop this life-threatening allergy to meat, I will go on a little older and wiser, imagine something crawling on me every second,  and continue to be indoor girl. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

When it comes to food what are your least favorite vegetables?

So when it comes to food what are your favorite vegetables?  And if you have favorites, it stands to reason you will also have those that you detest.

In my particular case I love almost all vegetables.  There are two, however, that I have never been able to eat.  My veggie nemeses are beets and cooked carrots.  I don’t know why but something happens to a carrot when it is cooked.  Eaten raw, they area crisp, sweet, and tasty.  Cooked, well I wont 't into detail but in my case they are definitely unpleasant.

And this distaste has been the bane of my existence since I was a tiny tot in a high chair.  My dad tells me that we were the only house in the neighborhood that had walls decorated in chunks of orange.  Why they continued to try and feed me strained carrots I can only blame on my pediatrician.  They are good for you.  I get it, but how much good is it when they are splattered on floors, walls and unsuspecting passers by?

So I assume my parents eventually had to give up feeding me carrots.  Always thinking of good nutrition, they moved on to beets.  Let me say that while carrots on clothing, walls, and more are not exactly pleasant; beets on the other hand, have been used for centuries to dye many things.  And back when I was a tot, they didn’t have the heavy duty stain removers of today!

Recently, at a restaurant I ordered roasted vegetables since the regular vegetable mix contained carrots.  Much to my surprise the roasted ones had a considerable amount of beets.  (Never thought about asking if they were part of the mix)  After 40 years, I put on my big girl pants and tried a beet.  Amazingly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought and I did eat about 1/3 of them before I lost my steam.  Still, while they weren’t as detestable as imagined, I seriously doubt that I will be going out and buying beets for home meals.

So I will still pick out the cooked carrots from soups, stews, potpies, and more.  I’ll set them on the side of the plate in a lonely pile.  I’ll toss them to the dog.  And I will never serve them to my poor carrot-loving husband.  He will just have to wait to order them from a restaurant.

And while we are at it what are your favorite and least favorite fruits?  Hmmmmm well, I can’t stand the taste of mangoes, but that discussion is best left for another post.  So what are your favorite vegetables?

Monday, February 27, 2017

Decide which scent is good for you...or not

Let’s talk about scents. 

Exhibit A:
Have you ever walked in an enclosed area and a woman walks in absolutely reeking of a strong perfume? And when she has passed her aroma lingers basically using up any usable oxygen in the vicinity?  It’s not that the scent is bad per se.  It’s just that it is simply overpowering.  Could be worse.  It could be B.O.

Exhibit B:
One time my husband and I entered a restaurant and there was a man sitting in the booth behind us, pretty much smelling of a body odor reminiscent of a rotting animal.  And odor so cloying it was definitely not conducive to enjoying dinner.  So as to not hurt anyone’s feelings we sipped our beverages and then asked for the check. 

Exhibit C:
An old boyfriend decided to give me some perfume for Christmas one year.  Ok, I must admit I was basically a starry eyed young woman and I wouldn’t dare tell him that his choice was not my style.  In fact the scent to my senses, was a bit nauseating.  So what did I do?  I wore it.  I wore till I stopped retching.  Needless to say that relationship ended because, seriously, can you really end up with someone who buys perfume you absolutely can’t stand?  At least give me credit for trying, and throwing away whatever clothing still had remnants of the foul smelling fumes.

Exhibit D:
I have a huge section of gifted perfumes, colognes, and sprays that sit unused and unwanted.  It’s my island of lost scents.  Most of them are food type aromas, like strawberry, cookie dough, and chocolate.  Don’t get me wrong. I love strawberries.  I adore chocolate, but I just can’t get beyond smelling like something from the kitchen.  Those scents are fine as an air freshener in the kitchen or dining room but not on me.  Besides, if I were to walk around smelling like fresh baked cookies, I probably would tend to want fresh baked cookies and my diet would go to hell.

Last winter my husband put one of those scent bulbs in the dining room. I believe it was a beach themed scent, perhaps they were going for stray cats on the beach?  Anyway, I spent an hour trying to figure out where the pee smell was coming from. Surely my little dog couldn't have had an accident somewhere in the room!  And then I finally figured out it wasn’t my innocent little fur ball. It was the air freshener.  I tossed the offending bulb and changed it to gingerbread cookie.  And all of a sudden everything was right with the world.  It smelled like cookies in the dinning room. See where I am going with this. Beach aromas don't belong in a dining room. (In my opinion they don't belong in any room) And, food smells don’t belong on a body, well not on mine anyway.  They belong in the dining room!

Exhibit E:
I admit I’m a little quirky.  For years, whenever I’d get a whiff of the faint aroma of a skunk, I would think, well that doesn’t smell that bad.  What is the issue? Not that I would ever wear Eau de Pepe le Pew. So fast-forward to last Sunday when we took a drive several hours away to visit our son in Delaware.  On the way home the lightless back road was dark, horror movie dark.  And husband dear must have run over a recently dead skunk.  The smell that permeated our car almost had me contemplating escaping the stench by grabbing the door handle to eject myself.  Never have I experienced something so potent.  That skunk must have had a stink gland that was over loaded.  Anyway after about 30 miles, driving with the window down in 28-degree weather, the odor inside the car dissipated. 

Tonight when I went into the garage to get in the car, guess what greeted me?  The disgustingly familiar aroma of skunk!  My husband said, “it must be on the undercarriage, but never fear, it will wear off!”  As I gag myself into the refuge of the house, I wonder how I ever thought skunk, wasn’t so bad. So I quickly googled "how to get rid of skunk odor on a car," and quite a bit of intensive steps are suggested.  He still says it will go away...

My point is this…to each his own.  One man’s scented flower is another man’s skunk, and vice versa!

Do you have scent preferences?  I'd love to get your input!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Can age make a sweet dog cantankerous and mean?

sweet dog

When talking about dogs do you think that age can make a formerly sweet dog cantankerous and mean?

Everyone has a story about the mean old man or lady at the end of the street that turns the water hose on kids who inadvertently step on their grass.  We’ve all run from them at one time or another. Many of us have been the recipients of a tongue lashing from an aging neighbor who used to smile whenever we would retrieve our baseballs from their flower gardens.  And then, it changed. Our baseballs slowly rot in their yards. 

We just chuck it up to age making them a little bit meaner and we steer clear of their paths. But do sweet dogs who used to lick everyone within their reach suddenly become just like that crabby neighbor?

My dog, Maddy is a perky little Jack Russell terrier.  She was never the lovey dovey type, per se.  Maddy is 13 going on 14. In human years the early teens are an age when children get a bit harder to handle.  Although it seems plausible, in dog year’s she is more akin to my grandmother.

As Maddy ages, however, her crankiness reaches new heights.  Don’t misunderstand me; her energy level hasn’t decreased one iota.  It’s just that sometimes her energy will propel her to chase after a Great Dane on a walk.  Is it a death wish?  Nope, it’s just that she’s a grumpy old lady.  And don’t you dare disturb her naptime, grrrrr! 

Honestly she is mostly all bark and if she were human she would be wearing dentures.  I just wonder if there is something to the grumpy old man or woman thing even in the canine world.

Do you have an older dog that is getting grouchier than usual? 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Not a fan of drowning in rainy days and Mondays?

Ok, so it’s no secret I’m not a fun of rainy days.  Monday, eh I can take them or leave them.  Rainy days, however, are my biggest downer for any day of the week.

I guess when I was a kid I didn’t mind rain as much.  Jumping in puddles was kind of fun.  I didn’t care if my hair got frizzy; because with those goofy bangs my mother insisted on I already hated my hair.

Mud was fun for all sorts of things.  I could make mud pies.  I could mold it into bowls and critters.  And it was so much fun to squish it through your toes in the summertime.

When it was hot you could go out and play in the rain and it was better than a pool or a hose because the rain was just the right amount of cold.

And then I grew up…

I no longer hate my hair and rain with its accompanying humidity makes it frizzy, which makes me hate my hair.  

Mud holds no fascination anymore.  Basically I look at mud as something I have to clean up.  And I’ve cleaned up my lifetime quota of projectile vomit, diaper contents, various multi colored spills, and of course, mud.

Although squishy mud once held my fascination, a squishy yard is just annoying and gets mud all over my expensive shoes. (See clean up above)

I may not be the best cook in the world but I think my apple pies would win over mud pies any day of the week.

So there you have it, my many reasons for disliking the rain.  The heck with April showers, when it’s been raining here so many days that I can’t even count them. 

I don’t understand since I don’t live in Seattle or London, but lately Virginia has become one with them.  The other day I pulled up precipitation map, and I noticed that right smack in the middle of my little slice of Virginia, was a blue spot for lots of rain.  So I’m wondering when I’ll see the sun.  Yes, the sun, better known as a dermatologist’s nightmare.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

What do you do about the island of unwanted Christmas gifts?

Each Christmas well-meaning friends and relatives purchase a vast amount of gifts that are neither wanted or used.  Where do these unwanted Christmas gifts end up?  Well, in my house they end up in a pile in the basement.  I call it the island of lost and unwanted gifts.  Every so often I re-gift.  Yeah I know re-gifting is tacky.  And I would never re-gift a gaudy faux jewel encrusted box to someone who I knew wouldn't like it.  So I occasionally take a trip to the local Goodwill store.  After all you can take it off your taxes and donating feels good.

Gift cards are easy.  There are a ton of websites where a non-athletic person can trade a sporting goods gift card for, say, a Starbucks.  Another option is to sell gift cards you will never use.  Sure you get less than the face value, but it's better than sitting in a drawer for all eternity.  Be careful, however, and make sure the website is legitimate.

This year my husband received a virtual reality viewer.  He's in his 60's.  People in their sixties aren't interested in sitting in a room with a pendulous contraption strapped to their heads to look at scenery and such.  Although television commercials would have you believe otherwise, people of that age are more into real reality.  They go outside.  They ride roller coasters.  They experience real life.

I received a 1-inch square tile to attach to anything so that I can locate it via my phone.  Granted I lose things.  I get it.  I'm a ditz.  The thing I lose the most, however, is my phone.  The second thing I lose are my glasses and a tile hanging from them would be annoying at the very least.  And if I was the sort of person who wore those chains to keep them near at all times (which I don't) the problem of loss would be solved for $1.49.

I know gift giving is hard.  But you would think it would be easier for adult children.  So what follows is a gift giving guide for adult children-- for all occasions.

1.  Don't give knick-knacks or other dust catchers.  If they are old enough to be your parents, they have more than enough of those.

2.  Don't give them something you would like.  They are not in their 20's anymore.

3.  Clothing is a big NO.  Sizing is variable and do you really want to give your dad a jacket meant for a teenager in size XXL and have it still not fit?

4.  Don't give food.  Maybe you are unaware that dad had a heart issue and you gave him a membership to a bacon of the month club.

5.  Jewelry is governed by taste and style.  Stud earring for someone who only wears french hooks won't be worn.  And a monogram bracelet for a dad who wouldn't be caught dead in anything other than a wedding band is not a great idea.

6. Talk amongst your siblings if possible so your parents don't end up with 7 bird feeders.

7.  T-shirts with funny sayings or pictures.  Enough said!

8.  Gift cards to places the intended recipient would never go. Steer clear of a cute gift shop 60 miles away.  I don't like to tout stores, but Amazon can be used for many things and you can shop while you are in your pajamas.

9.  Restaurant cards are also not a super choice unless you are sure they love that restaurant.  A seafood restaurant isn't cool for someone allergic to sea food and a burger joint would be in bad taste for a vegetarian.

10.  Details!  Pay attention.  If you mom hates pink don't buy her a pink scarf even if it is cashmere.

So in conclusion it is really quite simple.  If you want a great idea of what you can get your parents any time of the year, think outside the wrapped box.  Memories are a great gift.  Smiles and laughter go a long way to enliven the soul.  Offers to help put away Christmas decorations or even help put them up before is so much more appreciated than skis.  Take them out to dinner and enjoy time together.  Spend time with them and call them often.  Gift a gift of yourself.  That is the best gift of all!
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