February 2013 Beeson Banner


2 February 2013

I've refrained from exorcising ghost buttons for a day or two.  So far, I've accumulated seven.

Still only seven — perhaps there is a maximum?



3 February 2013

Now there are nine.  It's 01:34.

Ten at 17:17.

The muffinlets went over well — I collected only half a dozen after the party.

Eleven ghost buttons just before I went to bed.

Ghost buttons happen when the screen saver turns off but its button doesn't get turned off because it wasn't there while the screen saver was running.  Doesn't happen every time, hence the sport in collecting them.



4 February 2013

Thirteen now, but a web site jammed up Firefox, so I'm going to have to reboot the computer, and that will end the game.

Sixteen before I got around to the re-boot.



5 February 2013

"Norfolk Southern.  Milepost.  Three one point nine.  No defects."  will be a little more interesting to us now.  Our bank lowered the interest rate on our interest-bearing checking accounts, so we moved some of the money into Norfolk Southern stock.



6 February 2013

I rode downtown to see the ice sculptures this morning.  Got a walk in, too, as one can see them only from the sidewalk — often by squeezing between the sculpture and the curb; many of them faced the street.  Thanks to the snow, the beer in the mug in front of Mad Anthony had a head on it.

Those on the sunny side of one street were already melting; no way any will survive tomorrow's rain.

Pity I didn't think to take _Among Others_ along and return it to the library.  I passed through their parking lot, but decided not to go in.

Feels odd to come back from a ride without having bought anything.  I was near both instances of Owen's, and not too far from Marsh, but everything left on my shopping list has to come from Aldi.  We even have enough milk.

I had to wait for a Norfolk-Southern train to pass on my way in.  I reflected that I owned half a fleck of paint of what was passing by.

Now I'm tempted to collect some numbers and calculate whether the fleck would be visible to the naked eye.

Oops!  Just cut up the last carrot for supper.  No such thing as an empty shopping list.



7 February 2013

Looks like a lovely day out there.  The rain scheduled for today was postponed until after dark, so the ice on the lake may survive the warm spell.  It's covered with white snow, so I think that it will melt only around the edges of open spots — though it has already melted where the creek flooded over it and darkened the snow.



9 February 2013

A perfect day is predicted:  sunny with a high near freezing.  Unfortunately, rain is predicted for tomorrow.



Monday 11 February 2013

I made an Aldi tour the day before yesterday.  Hit only a few stores en route, but I bought eyebrow tweezers at the dollar store —the tweezers I keep by the treadle sewing machine had gone missing— and I found a pair of dayglo-yellow fifty-cent gloves at Goodwill.

Dorky black tips on three of the fingers had pushed the price up to four bucks, but I grooved on the visibility of the color.  The black yarn is supposed to be conductive so that you can use your electronic toys without taking off your gloves.  Superior Threads had a better idea:  buy a spool of their conductive thread (meant for embroidering electric circuits on your clothes) and make a bar tack on each fingertip.

Embarrassing incident when I arrived at Aldi:  I lost my balance while dismounting, tangled my right foot in the bike, fell with a resounding thwack of helmet on sidewalk, and was instantly surrounded with concerned citizens.  For a while I thought I'd bruised the left side of my head on the hard lining of the helmet, but I'd forgotten about it by the time I finished shopping.

When I made today's dental appointment, I chose a time when I could get there by riding around the south side of the lake — but it's windy and cold and overcast and showers are predicted; my purse is in the Versa.

With a book in it.  I haven't any portable needlework in progress.

I passed the dental exam with an asterisk.  The teeth that needed watching still need watching.

Jessica, my hygenist today, suggested that I buy a miniature bottle brush to clean between teeth.  I'm not sure mini brushes come that mini, though; my teeth are *really* tight.

I'm glad I've discovered Kroger's "fine flossers", which have a ribbon-like toothpick that pushes stuck food out the other side.  Regular toothpicks won't go, and floss packs the food down more when I force it between the teeth.

Comcast is trying to get out of the personal web site business, so I'm backing up my pages on Dave's TIS account.  In the process, I'm discovering files that I had forgotten that I had.

Sunday, when I started to lie down for my nap, I found that my neck was very sore on the right side.  Symptoms are similar to the other time I thwacked my helmet on a hard surface — but it was Saturday morning when I fell off a parked bike in front of Aldi.  Hows come I didn't notice anything until Sunday noon?  I think I noticed as soon as I got up the first time, but after thirty years it's hard to be sure.  Whatever, I've been warming up a rice bag each time I lie down, and it seems to be getting better.

Dave's latest wild hare is to buy a pocket-computer phone.  I foresee many happy hours of Web research.

The weather bureau says tomorrow will be a good day to return my books to the library.  I've renewed them just in case.



12 February 2013

Al is loving up the pair of sandals I meant to put on, so I'm using the other pair to keep my socks clean until it's time to put on my bicycle shoes.

When we were getting up this morning, Dave told me that Al slept on his pillow last night, so Dave slept on mine.

Is it possible that this cat is spoiled?

He'd probably say "no", because there is nothing but crumbs in his food dish.  I'm waiting until I have a few more clothes on to dump the crumbs and re-fill the dish.

There goes the smoke alarm — my bacon must be ready.

Today's "What If" wasn't very interesting.  Somebody asked a sensible question and got a sensible answer.



13 February 2013

Vurra strange.

Today is clear and sunny, so I decided to wash a few things that should be dried outside.

Dave made a batch of soap with too much lye in it, which made it perfect for washing dish towels.  When I use it, I grate it into a saucepan and boil it in rain water to make sure all of it dissolves.  Today, I grated a bar of soap, put it on the stove, then rubbed the blood stains on a pillow case with a sliver of Ivory.  After fading the stains, I decided that the sliver was now inconveniently small —and I have *lots* of Ivory chips— so I grated it into the water too.

With just the bar of lye soap in it, the water was perfectly clear and I could easily see whether everything had dissolved.  After adding the Ivory, it looked like milk.

I guess 99.44% pure isn't quite enough.

It's high time to wash:  I'm wearing my last clean bra and Dave is wearing his last clean pair of winter socks.

I bought some "roasted" almonds that turned out to be dry roasted.  After eating some this morning, I looked up "dry roasting" in Wikipedia to find out how they manage to remove the oils from a nut while dry-roasting it.  Alas, all Wiki has is a description of a kitchen technique —it appears that stirring stuff around in a hot skillet is now "dry roasting" instead of "toasting"— and a vague assertion that coffee and cocoa are dry roasted.  It also asserts that peanut butter is made from dry-roasted peanuts; since there is ample oil in peanut butter, I presume that's the kitchen definition, not the one used on packages of dry-roasted nuts.



16 February 2013

The freezer has been defrosted, scrubbed out, toweled out, and is now sitting open with a fan in it.  We can afford to wait because all the food is in the truck bed, sitting out in twenty-degree weather.

The exercise was surprisingly aerobic; to dry parts of the freezer, I had to towel with one hand while using the other to keep me from falling the rest of the way in.  The bottom part of the back wall was particularly strenuous.

Does this get me out of going for a walk today?  I went out twice yesterday:  I rode my bike to Owen's East for a bag of salad — picked up a bag of frozen ground beef too, since it was a good day for bringing frozen stuff home; it was the salad and the bananas that I insulated.  Then later I went for a point seven with Dave.  Too cold to be pleasant, but it made us walk faster.

And now the freezer is closed and turned on with a thermometer in it.  When it gets down to the outside temperature, we'll put the food back.  This may be intellectually strenuous; we kept stuff from each compartment together when putting it into the big self-propelled box, but it wasn't sorted perfectly to start with.

I'm going to have to make something with almond flour in it.  According to Wikipedia, almond flour is made of what's left after pressing almond oil, so it might work in oat-bran recipes.

All back in.  Not as difficult as I feared:  we just hunted around until we found everything in one category, then started on the next.  We have a ridiculous amount of sweets — a few months back, Dave couldn't find his fructose and thought he'd used it all up, so he ordered another carton.  Considering that he takes a teaspoon a day, this is going to last a while.  There's also a bag of brown sugar, a jar each of honey and sorghum, and a pint of starlight mints.

They are taking bids on Krebs Trailhead Park, and planning to spend $120,189.24 for it.  I'm trying to calculate how much good that money could do if encouraging bike-riding were the real objective, and considerably handicapped by not knowing how much a cycling course for a sixth-grade student costs.

For a wild guess, I'm counting up the hours it takes.  Both my courses were one day, but those were both reviews for people who already know how it's done; I'm pretty sure that six Saturday-morning lessons would be the minimum for beginners, about twenty-four hours.  For the inefficiency of doling it out in one-hour increments, as one would if it were a part of school as it ought to be, bump that up to thirty hours — fifteen in the fall and fifteen in the spring.

When I took driving lessons, it cost fifteen dollars per hour.  I'm sure that prices have more than doubled since then, but on the other hand, it would be one-to-four instead of one-to-one, and cycling instructors are so enthusiastic that they usually charge only because students who have paid take the lessons seriously, so thirty dollars per hour is probably in the ball park.  Round that up to fifty dollars to simplify the arithmetic.

$50/hour X 30 hours = $1,500.  At this point I resort to the calculator:  $120189.24/$1500/student = 80.12616 students.

Now I need to know how many sixth-graders there are in Warsaw.

I won't be freshening the back-ups on TIS for a few days.  Dave's domain is glitching again, and I want to be sure it isn't my ftp that's touching off the firewall.

Warsaw Community Schools web sites have no data of any sort, but Wikipedia says that Warsaw has six grade schools and three K-12 schools, counting catholic, private, and all.  I wrote down half the population of two of the K-12 schools and the other didn't mention it.



17 February 2013

Dave ran Malwarebytes on JOYXP and found, I think, thirteen bad files.  One was a well-known false positive —malware that doesn't do anything— and the rest were a program that he downloaded by mistake.

BUT while he was fiddling with my computer, I decided to read my funnies on his (I keep a copy of my bookmarks on my web site for just such an emergency), and while trying to remember where the link to the bookmarks is, noticed the link to the incomplete scan of _How to be Pretty though Plain_ and clicked on it — and was taken to a scam site.  GAAAHHH!!!  I was all set to delete everything on my Comcast site and replace it with clean copies, but Dave poked around and none of the other computers do it, and only two of the browsers on his computer do it.  After a couple of hours he found the malware and deleted it.  Leastways it stopped happening after he deleted the files of an un un-installable plug-in.  This was a really sneaky trick; if it hadn't been for a very-improbable event, he never would have noticed that the links he saw weren't from the sites he visited.



19 February 2013

For a change, I printed a new page of the calendar I record Al's dry-food consumption on before I'd made a week of notes in the margin.

Didn't get anything else done except fooling around with the computer.  Archived January, discovered that I hadn't yet archived December.  Updated the index page for Monthban to include 2013 issues of the Banner.

Yesterday I ran a load and a half of wash, and fetched some milk from Owen's.  Spent more time suiting up than riding, so I walked around the store for a while.  Bought more bananas.

For quite a while, I've been sweeping only those parts of the kitchen floor that I could get at, and the parts under the furniture were revolting.  This afternoon, I had an hour to spare and started shifting things.  Dave came through the kitchen when I was almost through putting stuff back, and I complained that the table was hard to shift.  He said that the legs were loose and turned it upside-down to tighten the butterfly nuts.  Whereupon he discovered that the reason one of the middle legs was loose was that the plank it was screwed into was broken.  So now he's unscrewing the plank, with the intention of having at it with wood glue and clamps.

Probably wouldn't have broken if I'd noticed that the leg was loose sooner, but that leg doesn't do anything when the table isn't expanded.


21 February 2013

When we cleaned the freezer, I had Dave put the turkey in the fridge.  Today is the day we bake it.

Now where do I stash the cookie cutters and baking pans that were in the roaster?  I plan to put the left-over turkey away in the roaster, so I'm going to need a spot where they can stay for a few days.

I'd forgotten that we have a cake decorator.

I put them in a grocery bag and hung them on a peg in the garage.

The turkey is just a tad too tall for the roaster.  I think I'll put skewers across the pan to steady the lid.

For a long time I've been unhappy because my toothbrush has the tufts sawed off at an angle, alternating to make grooves across the surface of the brush.  This makes it very difficult to pick up the correct amount of tooth powder; I get either almost none or a big wad.

One night I said "Dummy!  Take a new toothbrush from the drawer and throw this one out!"  So I went to the toothbrush drawer, and discovered that the new ones also had angle-sawed tufts, one labeled "rippled bristles" and the other labeled "New!  Deeper ripples!"

So I put them back and started looking at toothbrushes in the stores.  All of them had even weirder bristle designs.  One had one extra-long bristle with a knob on the end in each tuft.  The only flat-surfaced bristles I could find were on a baby's toothbrush.

So my choices are cutesy-poo on the bristles or Winnie the Pooh on the handle.

But so far I've only looked at Owen's and Aldi.  Perhaps I could take a toothbrush tour the next time I have a good riding day and nowhere to go.

While waiting for the turkey to bake, I went out to fetch yesterday's paper — and brought Tuesday's in too.  I don't think the paper is as important to us as it used to be.

Today's paper had a magazine section devoted to wedding planning.  The blurred cover photo strongly suggests that the bride is wearing a bath towel; I wonder what that was about.  She is also wearing a "nobody must know that I've just been shot" expression.

Inside was "A Few Simple Ways To Save On Your Wedding".  The first suggestion, the very first, was "trim the guest list".  It seems to me that that fails to see what weddings are all about — you don't *have* to feed them a ten-course sit-down meal with waiters and free-flowing liquor; indeed, it's easier for the two families to get acquainted if they have to fetch their own snacks and therefore have an excuse to wander around.

Then it assumes that you'll spend at least a thousand dollars on the gown.  Ye cats!  And most of those $18,000 gowns look like bath towels.

At least the article did, toward the end, suggest ditching the waiters.

Snirch.  A filler wildly speculates on reasons why June is no longer the most-popular month for weddings (global warming was one of the guesses!) — and never once notes that people are no longer getting married right out of school.

I hope Monday night is dry and not too windy — it's definitely time to carry out the bin of paper.



22 February 2013

Left-over turkey for supper today.  There's going to be a lot of that.  But I intend to make pizza tomorrow, to use some of the left-over fresh mushrooms.  We have no shredded cheese, but there's an eight-ounce bar of mozzarella that I can slice.

I put the dough into the fridge to thaw this morning.

Spent most of the day sitting around, but I did finish up a sewing project.



23 February 2013

Got to fiddling around with my Web sites and forgot to eat breakfast.  Did get my shoes on and carry out the cat litter.

It's a front-page story in today's paper that some nutcase refused to allow nurses of African descent to care for his baby.  Somehow this has been twisted into an offense by the hospital against the nurses.

And somehow respect for a patient's right to refuse treatment no matter how stupid his reasons are has become an "open secret".  I must read the whole thing after I get up from my nap — this affair *can't* be as insane as the first few paragraphs make it appear.

Didn't.  Did drive to Kroger after supper and pick up a few things we were out of, and redeem a coupon for a free dozen eggs.

I made pizza today to use up the mushrooms left over from making the dressing.  That didn't take quite all of them, so I fried the left-overs in butter to keep them from spoiling.  Turned out I didn't need to worry over what I'd do with them — they were mostly gone by the time the pizza hit the table, and there is nothing but butter in the skillet now.

Reading today's Sinfest comic strip makes me feel rather like the churl in Monique's audience:  it's been boring and preachy, not to mention repetitive and patronizing, for quite a long time, but I keep coming back.  Perhaps it's only because Sinfest is in a group of strips that I download together.  But mostly it is because Sinfest was very, very good when the author had more than one string in his harp.



25 February 2013

It's a gorgeous day out there, and I wanted to ride farther, but I couldn't think of anywhere to go except Aldi and I didn't want to go quite that far, so I came home.

Forgot to stop at the teller machine both ways, and I came through the parking lot of the Boathouse —right past the teller machine— on the way back, too.  But I'm not short of cash yet.

I planned to pick up my prescriptions, then drop off a couple of large-print Reader's Digest books at the emergency room, and go somewhere by way of the boardwalk.  Got on McKinley, reflected that I could follow it to the road behind Owen's that connects to Harrison, and did so without remembering to stop for the prescriptions.  So after dropping off the books, I went to Owen's by way of the boardwalk and Sheridan.

When coming through the swamp I flushed a flock of large birds.  I was thinking sandhill cranes, but they did not tiroo.  When taking off, they sounded like malfunctioning machinery, and in the distance they sounded like high-pitched ducks.  After climbing up onto the blacktop, I saw four gray crane-shaped birds standing on Pike Lake, and before I got out of sight, one of them made the malfunctioning-machinery noise.

Pike lake appeared to be all frozen except for a small swan pond with a couple of swans in it.  There was also a patch way out that might have been open water.  Winona appears to be all frozen, except along the shore at the north end of the bay in front of the hotel.  I couldn't find a place where I could see Buttermilk Bay, where the warm water flows in.

I've finally gotten around to finishing my calculations.  The sum of the populations of the K-6 schools, plus half of two of the K-12 schools, is 2663.  One seventh of that is 380.  One eightieth of that is 4.75.  So it would take the price of five Krebs trailhead parks every year to do the job right.

Five the first year, ten the second — because you have to teach them again at thirteen and fourteen and fifteen.  But the full-bore course the fifteen-year-olds need could come out of the driver's training budget, and the first course would be largely "how to spot situations that a beginner can't handle", so you might be able to skimp a little on it.

But however you slice it, this is a very large gob of money.  And you will probably have to train your own instructors; there being no demand for them, there aren't a lot around.



26 February 2013

Washday:  two half loads.  Only two white pillowcases in the wash and none in the linen closet; I'm going to have to make some more Real Soon Now.  I've been saving some worn-out sheets for just such a situation.



27 February 2013

Whoosh, was that tooth powder salty!  I put in four tablespoons of soda, and it was supposed to be four ounces.

On the other hand, grinding a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary into the two teaspoons of salt worked well — it didn't take long to turn them into a faint green tinge, and I'm not picking any fibers out of my teeth.  I've set the bottle on the table so I'll remember to sift it together with more soda tomorrow.

On the other hand, the turkey ala king for supper was perfect.  I think it's been decades since I made gravy by stirring fat and flour together; I've been shaking the flour with milk so as to use less fat.  I used chicken stock in which a turkey neck had been poached for the liquid, and added some jelly off the turkey and cooked it down a bit before adding the turkey.  The books said all you have to do is add mushrooms and peppers to gravy, but at Dave's suggestion, I also added peas.



28 February 2013

Oops!  I was fiddling with the Web after checking today's weather, clicked on the radio-club website, was reminded that field day was last month.  Couldn't have gone anyway, as they forgot to say where it was.  I miss having it in the fair grounds

Also just noticed that today is the day to close and mail this file.

The Pinewood Derby was yesterday, according to the church bulletin, but along about sunset I looked out at the fog and cold and ice, and decided that I wasn't all that interested.

Last Sunday, I noticed that there was food stuck to one of the church potholders, reflected that I intended to wash clothes on Monday and go to the Pinewood Derby on Wednesday, and stuck it into my pocket.  Turned out not to be washable; the layers shrank at different rates — odd because it was a brand-name potholder with a part number on the back. 

So I just searched for it with DuckDuckGo.  Edward Don and Company is *big* — some of the hits were help-wanted ads in far-flung cities.  Part J721 is sold two to the package, six dozen to the case, so I don't think they were meant to be disposable.  On the other hand, potholders are like turnout gear:  you want to throw them out while they are still working just fine.

Perhaps I'll remember to drop it off on my way to Goodwill and Aldi tomorrow.  I considered going today, but the Weather service says tomorrow will be much more pleasant.



1 March 2013

When I passed the church on the way back from Aldi, I remembered that I wanted to stop there, oh, yeah, the potholder but I didn't bring it, so I went on by.

While unpacking my purchases, I remembered that when I stopped at Walgreens to buy a box of tissues instead of riding back home for the napkins I'd forgotten to put into my pocket, I didn't like the box much and reflected that I could get rid of it by putting it into the empty tissue dispenser in the downstairs ladies room.  Somebody else has probably filled the dispenser by now, so there's no point in going back.

I dropped two pairs of Dave's old pants off at Goodwill.  (Three pairs went into the trash.)  I'd intended to take the food processor too, but when I tried to put it into the basket, I discovered that I *could* carry it on a bicycle, but would a heap ruther not.

Lovely day for a ride, but I was exhausted when I got home.  I used to have to ride fifty miles to get that effect.

But I woke up from my nap in ample time to prepare supper.  When I asked Dave whether he was in the mood for turkey gravy on steamed potatoes, he said that Lulu at Wings Etc. wanted to meet me.  Lo and behold, she did, and got rather excited about it.  Dave and I split a breaded pork tenderloin and a basket of fries.  Very good, and just the right amount of food.  It's been ages since I had a tenderloin sandwich.

I'm serving the turkey gravy tomorrow.  I'm putting butter in again, but using whole grain flour this time.  There's half a can of mushrooms left, but I drained off all the liquor for the first batch.

A few grocery bags flew away while I was packing the bike at Aldi:  the wind would snatch them right out of the cart, swirl them just above my reach for a bit, then take them straight up and over the roof of the building.  I had worlds of bags, but it's embarrassing to make a mess.

Not as embarrassing as losing a grocery bag with an American logo on it during a bike tour of England!



2 March 2013

This morning, I walked to the village and back to see the house that caught fire last night.  Except for two boarded-from-the-inside windows and two square holes where vents used to be, nothing to see.  Kinder looks as though the fire was confined to the upstairs.

I was excited to see black wool socks at the Trailhouse, but all had garish decorations, and the wooliest was 25% — with the possible exception of one that was embarrassed to say.

I saw real tamales at Aldi yesterday, but manfully resisted because corn meal is particularly glycemic.  I thought I'd been naughty when I bought a box of "lasagne" (noodles for making lasagna).  But the recipe calls for half a pound of meat, a tad over a pound of cheeses, and nine ounces of pure-semolina noodles, so it can't be all that glycemic.  Fattening, to be sure.

Instinct?  I had firmly decided that today was the day to try Annette the Great Dane's recipe for rolled-oat biscuits/scones before I remembered that I'm making turkey gravy for supper tonight.  By "turkey gravy" I mean creamed turkey with broth instead of milk.

So I've got all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl, in the hope of co-ordinated gravy and biscuit making later on.

There's a lot of open water on the lake, but I think I'd be willing to skate on the canal. Partly, I confess, because the canal is only knee deep and it's a short run from a hot shower.

The turkey gravy was runny, but good. Dave thought the texture of the rolled-oat biscuits sawdusty, but enjoyed a piece of biscuit with butter and blackberry jelly for dessert. I concur: despite being briny with salt, these are dessert biscuits. I made four biscuits and about three-fourths of a biscuit was left; I wrapped it in waxed paper, hoping that it won't get soggy as it would in a plastic bag, and mean to have it with mascarpone for my midnight snack.