Just a Reminder

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A Thanksgiving M-e-s-s

This seems to happen a lot during the holidays.  Several years ago, I discovered that my kitchen drain instead of draining away, was backing up into the bathtub in our main bathroom.  This happened on Thanksgiving morning......the culprit being the drain pipe where the kitchen drain and bathtub drain "meet" (think of a "Y") on their way to the city sewer in the street.  The garbage disposal couldn't handle all the potato peelings, lettuce and celery leaves, small pieces of stalk and other salad residue that I had been shoveling in it and they caused a mega plug resulting in water, ground up garbage backing up and floating in the bathtub.

 Clogs in the kitchen sink are usually the result of excessive amounts of food being flushed down the drain. Before trying to get a plumber on a holiday morning, try dislodging the plug using a sink plunger, which is smaller and shaped differently than a toilet plunger. (in a pinch, use any plunger available.)  Place the plunger over the drain hole, ensuring there's enough water at the bottom to form a seal. Pump the plunger up and down - while keeping a good seal - to help dislodge a clog.

 If that doesn't work, try pouring hot or near-boiling water down the drain. The water's heat may break up the combination of organic products and soap scum within the clog. A mixture of vinegar, baking soda and hot water can add more clog-busting power to your drain-clearing efforts.

 Although it may be tempting to pour in over-the-counter drain-clearing products such as Drano, many plumbers advise against it. Not only are the chemicals toxic if exposed to human skin, they can also damage drain pipes if overused.  And, my plumber said that for their own safety, many plumbers hesitate to work on a drain that has been doused with drain cleaners or other concoctions. 

 A word to the wise,  to avoid a clogged drain, buy a little sink drainer that fits over the garbage disposal drain in your sink.  If you have a two unit kitchen sink, use a drainer in both. 

Life Insurance

As a senior citizen I am well aware of the need to have a good term life insurance policy which will cover any expenses when I pass on.  I don’t want to leave my family without any help in paying for funeral expenses….and, believe me, funerals are expensive.  Unless you have a tremendous amount of savings and a paid-off home your loved ones will be responsible for them.  I want to leave money to my children and grandchildren and without insurance, my savings will be eaten up with funeral costs.  To me, this would not be acceptable.
But, term life or any kind of insurance isn’t only for the old…things happen.  Young people with growing families can be killed in vehicle accidents, have serious illnesses or lose their lives in unexpected ways.  Buying coverage while you are still young and healthy, seeking out renewable policies, and avoiding unhealthy practices like smoking and over-eating are wise choices when it comes to lowering your insurance premiums.
There is no such thing as a cheap insurance policy but there are companies that offer policies at a cheaper price than others..a company that will offer cheap life insurance quotes, family coverage, whole term life and life insurance plans. It doesn’t cost anything to get a quote.  Take a few minutes to see what is offered.

A DUMB thing to do

Wow...I woke up with a really stiff neck on Saturday morning....I didn't do anything to cause it on Friday, so attributed it to sleeping with my head off/on the pillow, having no pillow or I just plain "slept wrong"....whatever....happens sometime.

By Monday it was really bothering me, aspirin and Ibuprofen wasn't helping...so decided to put heat on it (yeh, wrong, should have iced it) Anyway, I rolled up a hand towel and popped it into the microwave for a minute to warm up.

It did a nice job of warming and it felt great on my stiff neck.

Ken was reading the morning paper, looked up and said "are you cooking something?" By then, I could smell something.....actually it smelled pretty good. Then I saw a wisp of smoke float past my nose.

I took the towel off my neck and noticed that I had burned a spot on it. When I unrolled the towel, there was a smoldering fire in the middle...it was round, about the size of a dime and looked like a cigarette burn....the edges were red and smoking. When the towel was unrolled, it exposed the smoldering area to air, and wham, bang, I had a little fire in my towel.

I had absolutely no idea that the microwave would cause the center of the towel to catch on fire. I suppose that's how food cooks, from the inside out.

A little longer and it could have burst into flame, caught my hair on fire, and do some serious damage. At it was, I smelled like a bonfire ....

7 Wonders of the World

Meet Me in the Stairwell

 We will never forget the horror of September 11, 2001.....These pictures will break your heart but the message  will help it to heal


Words Women Use

While in Charleston, S.C. our tennis team visited many, many great eating establishments. One of our favorites was Hyman's Seafood Restaurant at 215 Meeting Street.......where we found these words of wisdom......along with some delicious food and fun-lovin' waiters!

(Men! this is for you!....it will warn you about future arguments you can avoid if you remember the terminology)


FINE...This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.

FIVE MINUTES...If she is getting dressed, this is half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given 5 more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.

NOTHING...This is the calm before the storm. This means "something" and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with "Nothing" usually end in "Fine"

GO AHEAD...This is a dare, not permission. Don't do it.

LOUD SIGH...This is not actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A "loud Sigh" means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you over "Nothing".

THAT'S OKAY...This is one of the most dangerous statements that a woman can make to a man. "That's Okay" means that she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.

THANKS... The woman is thanking you. Do not question it or faint. Just say "you're welcome".

Corn Syrup vs. Sugar

You've probably seen the advertisements promoting the idea that corn syrup is the same as sugar. But there is a difference - high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has a slightly higher quantity of fructose than do traditional cane or beet sugars. But the big downside of HFCS isn't that it is much less healthy than regular refined sugar (sucrose) the real downside is that since HFCS is so cheap, it is widely used, you find it in nearly everything.  
It's a primary ingredient in soft drinks and often hidden in processed foods including salad dressings, ketchup, jams, jellies, ice cream, bread or crackers. Actually, it is one of the biggest sources of calories in the American diet, and serves as a "marker" for identifying cheap, processed, unhealthy foods of all kinds.

Regular consumption of HFCS or the regular consumption of any sugar, may contribute to obesity.  Obesity  is a risk factor for several types of cancer and diabetes. HCFS should be avoided...try to avoid foods which contain it - read food labels carefully. Also be aware that the Corn Refiners Association wants to rename HFCS as "corn sugar" - if this is approved, you will need to look out for that term on food labels as well.  I have already seen TV advertisements talking about corn sugar stating that "sugar is sugar".  And we wonder why so many American children and citizens are F-A-T. 

We have sugar coated this, sugar coated that...even my favorite salad dressing changed it's recipe and is now sweet ....no more Wishbone Italian Dressing for our family.

Babysitting Oakley

No, Oakley is not a new grandchild.  She is our granddaughter's Westmoreland Terrier, a little bundle of energy.  If you've ever seen the Cesar Dog Food commercials, you've seen a Westmoreland Terrier.  Beautiful white silky hair and a sweet face.  But poor little Oakley doesn't look like that this week....she had a run-in with a whole bunch of cockleburrs while at our river cabin (which has not been flooded thank goodness).  Anyway, Oakley was so full of burrs and stickers that she had to be shaved...the groomer said that she had been rolling in sand too, and she practically ruined her electric trimmer on her.  She looks awful.....

 Lisa took Jenny and a friend to World of Fun in Kansas City, so Ken and I were in charge of their dogs.  Nikki is a Gordon Setter and Cody is a larger than normal Brittney Spaniel.  All we had to do for them was let them out in the morning and put them in at night  The yard is fully fenced and they were accustomed to being outdoors.  Oakley, on the other hand, is like Houdini...she can squeeze through or under anything, including the fence. She doesn't run away, but will sit on the front stoop waiting for someone to come home.  Couldn't have that.  So, I tucked her under my arm and brought her over to our house.

I am not used to having a little dog underfoot and Oakley was not used to our house. So it was clickity click, clickity click as she padded across my new wooden kitchen floor following me from the table to the sink.  From the sink to the bedroom, from the bedroom back to the kitchen.  Stop and turn, there's Oakley underfoot.  Take two steps backward and practically step on Oakley.  Sit down and Oakley was in your lap.  I always thought that having a 2 year old in the kitchen was distracting.....Oakley was worse!  Luckily Lisa and the kids were only at Worlds of Fun for two days...otherwise my hair would be grayer than it is now, and Oakley may not have survived dodging my feet too much longer.

So You're finally a Senior Citizen - Part 2

Getting back to this senior citizen thing....what are the benefits?

1. most restaurants will give you a discount. ASK !!

2. you can park in "senior citizen" parking spaces (if you can beat those 59 year olds to it.)

3. Goodwill and many thrift stores will give you a 10% discount--you have to tell them that you are a senior
...their rules, they are not supposed to ask you.

4. If you don’t mind telling people that you qualify for senior discounts (Ha, just because I don't look it, I AM A SENIOR),
seniordiscounts.com can be a good resource for saving on thousands of products and services including airlines, car rentals, travel, sports, recreation, shopping, restaurants, national parks, medical services, pharmacies, museums, and much more.

The Web site also offers a free weekly newsletter that focuses exclusively on senior discounts. When you log onto the Web site, search by your city, state, and the category you’re interested in.

5. you get a free checking account at your bank....usually no charge for cashier's checks either. ASK......the cashier won't ask if you're a senior.....some people are very defensive about their age.

6. you qualify for an America the Beautiful Senior Pass - LIFETIME PASS for U.S. citizens age 62 or over. The pass provides access to and use of Federal recreation sites that charge an entrance or standard amenity. Provides a 50% discount on camping, swimming and boat launch fees. Cost $10.00

Click on
seniordiscounts.com. You might be able to take advantage of some of them.....and save yourself some $$$$$$$

Well, since you've discovered some the benefits of being a "senior citizen" suppose you get back to exercise so that you can live long enough to enjoy them.

Particularly the camping, horseback riding and hiking, some things we did in June at Estes Park. We hiked, hiked and hiked. Have to be in good shape for that. We lived in a tent for a week...no one told us that although the camp grounds had running cold water and flush toilets, there were no shower facilities....oh well. We were able to find 'pay' showers in Estes Park (connected to a laundry of all places) plus after horseback riding at the YMCA camp, we had showers there.....after being out on a horse for 3 hours, we needed them.

Two of our party of 9 (3 tents), were McDonald's addicts and the highlight of their day was when we drove into Estes Park and stopped at Micky D's. (they give senior discounts on coffee, dont'cha know) Our 13 year old granddaughter remarked that "if I NEVER see another McDonald's again it'll be too soon!)

If you enjoy golf, tennis, jogging or any other sport ....GET OUT THERE AND DO IT!

At this moment, you are the youngest you will be for the rest of your life. Don't waste it!

Coors Silver Bullet model train

The newest addition to Ken's model train collection is a Coors Light Silver Bullet O scale train. He can’t wait to take it to the train shows and store openings where his club displays their various layouts. The Silver Bullet has a flashy chrome engine pulling 4 shiny chrome-plated reefer cars and a reefer tail car.

As the train pulls into the station, the Proto-Sound 2.0 system plays arrival and departure sounds, conversations between the engineer and the stationmaster, and instructions to the men who are to unload the beer from the train itself. It also plays music but we can’t determine if it is well-known song or maybe a commercial for Coors Beer.

When the train stops, reefer car doors open, and frosty looking smoke billows out revealing the cans of chilled Coors beer.
The "smoke" is actually a liquid that is put into the individual reefer cars. It has a nice smell and I always know when Ken is messin' around with the trains because our family room/train room frosts up!

Why Didn't Someone Tell Me a Long Time Ago?

If you wash your laundry using a gallon container of liquid soap i.e. Kirkland (from Costco), Wisk, All, etc. you have a little plastic cup that you measure with. And, that little cup gets goopier and stickier every time you use it. Its a mess to try to clean out. Plus, when you put the cup back on, the soap drains out of the cup down the side of the container, making an even bigger mess.

One day I was complaining about it to my husband, and, as he occasionally does, he looked at me like I had no brains at all. "why don't you toss it into washing machine along with your laundry?"

Well duh!

Yes folks, tossing the little plastic cup in with each batch of clothes was a brilliant idea, and it works! No more goopy, sticky plastic cup.......Hurrah!

I'm not sure if it would survive a trip through the hot dryer, so be sure to remove it from the washing machine before tossing the clothes in!

Women Are More Prone to Mouth Wrinkles

It's one of life's small injustices - women are more prone than men to form wrinkles around the mouth. There are a few reasons why:

  1. According to a recent analysis by dermatologists in the Netherlands, women have fewer oil-producing sebaceous glands around the upper lip - meaning less oil to keep the skin soft and supple.
  2. Women (particularly postmenopausal women) have fewer blood vessels in the upper lip area resulting in less blood flow to the region.
  3. The muscles around the mouth are closer to the skin in women than they are in men; this can mean the skin is pulled closer, leading to wrinkles.
Short of cosmetic surgery, there's not much you can do to eliminate wrinkles, but you may be able to minimize them by not smoking, avoiding sun damage and keeping the skin around the mouth well moisturized.

Published 3/11/11 Ask Dr. Weil

Jack LaLanne - the Godfather of Fitness

This blog was written several years ago but I wanted to remind you of Jack LaLanne...the American fitness guru who died Sunday, January 23, 2011 at his home in Morrow Bay, California of respiratory failure due to pneumonia. He was 96 years old.

Remember the handsome guy in tight tights doing handstands on a chair on early TV? He promoted fitness as a young man and brought physical fitness and healthful living to TV.

Jack LaLanne, born Francois Henri LaLanne on September 26, 1914 in San Francisco, California, the son of French immigrants is an American fitness, exercise and nutritional expert, celebrity, lecturer and motivational speaker. He admits that as a child he was addicted to sugar and junk foods. He was very troubled as a teenager and prone to rages.

However, at age 15 he heard a talk on health and nutrition which was simple but had a powerful influence on the troubled boy. He decided to focus on his diet and exercise habits, concentrating on bodybuilding and weightlifting, which in the 1930s, was uncommon.

Jack gained worldwide renown for his success as a bodybuilder as well as his prodigious feats of strength. He had planned to become a chiropractor, but in 1936 decided to open his own health spa (gym) and encouraged clients to better themselves through weight-training.

He designed the first leg extension machines, pulley machines using cables and weight selectors which are now standard in the fitness industry. He also encouraged women to lift weights (in spite of the fact that at that time, it was thought that this would make women look masculine and unattractive.)

Between 1951 and 1984, LaLanne presented fitness and exercise advice on television. “The Jack Lalanne Show” was the first ever television program devoted to exercise Critics said the show would be off the air in six weeks, but it lasted 34 years.

After his TV show ended, LaLanne remained in the public eye with a series of fitness stunts, usually performed on his birthday. In 1955, he swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco, while wearing handcuffs.

In 1991, for his 70th birthday, he swam a mile while shackled to 70 boats carrying 70 people. Now in his 90s, LaLanne is still in excellent health. He says he has not missed a day of workouts -- or had a sugary dessert -- since 1930. He still appears on television, selling his Jack LaLanne Power Juicers.

At age 93, he continued to work out every morning for two hours. He spent one and a half hours in the weight room and a half an hour in the pool. Jack and his wife, Elaine, age 80, live in Morro Bay, California. "I don't care how old I live", he says, "I just want to be living while I am living!"

In a 2004 interview, at the age of 90, he said he has "an active sex life"

Worlds Greatest Hobby - Model Railroading

Ken and I went to a model train show this week end….Ken’s hobby is 0 scale model trains and this was one of the biggest shows we’ve ever attended. Along with the detailed train layouts one of the things that really impressed me were the logo mats and especially the logo canopy over one of the exhibits.

The logo canopy pictured a beautifully detailed Lionel model train. It was so pretty that it caught everyone’s attention….”oh yeah, here’s where the Lionel trains are!” And drew people like a magnet.

I don’t usually pay attention to trade show carpet or trade show flooring, but I couldn’t help thinking that it really made the whole place look classy. Many dealers or sellers do not realize what a variety of colors, shapes and styles logo mats come in, and how a printed logo canopy can draw attention to their booth.

The “World Greatest Hobby – Model Railroading” show was full of colors….both on the floor and the booths. Of course, we bought, bought and bought. You know what they say “the difference between men and boys is usually the cost of their toys”…..men’s toys tend to cost A LOT!

Andrew, The Future Amtrac Engineer

Have a pint-sized train enthusiast in the family? Our 3 year old grandson Andrew loves his train cap, bandana and of course the wooden train whistle. He does his best to sound like a train whistle but he needs a little more ummpth when he blows! He chugs around the house pretending to be his favorite TV character Thomas the Train. Or sometimes Percy.....his 2nd most favorite.

I have two engineer train hat, bandana and whistle sets for sale....one with a red bandana and one with blue. They are new, never worn or blown.. The bandanas are triangular and are 29" x 19" x 19". They are one thickness since the square bandanas doubled over made it too bulky for a child.

The Engineer's hat is adjustable in the back to allow room for growth! The wooden whistle is 6" long.

The set costs $12.00 including postage. Contact me at jeanjb@cox.net if you would like one.

Who Doesn't Love a Train?

Who Doesn't Love a Train?

Guest post written by Mikel Trevino

Like most stay at home moms, time can sometimes feel like the enemy as I try to get everything done. My three year old son is very curious and is more than willing to follow me around the house interviewing me on life, hobbies, nature, basically anything that crosses his mind. That is, unless his friend Thomas is on the TV with programming from TVByDirect.com.

We watch many children's programs, but the animated show, “Thomas and Friends” is my grandson's favorite. It miraculously holds his attention for the entire half hour. With satellite television, we get to watch the show twice a day.

Thomas is a little blue train, who lives on an island with his friends. What I enjoy about the show is the subtle way it teaches moral lessons. Each episode tells two stories about Thomas' adventures. The stories tend to share a theme, usually helping others. Thomas, or one of his friends, will be faced with an objective as simple as moving cargo, or as complicated as being envious of another. The friends come together in the end, offering support and advice to resolve the issue.

I think helps my son to be more social. If Thomas can make friends, he can too. It also makes my job a little easier. Even if I can't recall which Thomas episode is relevant, when he's angry or acting selfish, I can remind him of what Thomas would do.