Thursday, February 28, 2019


During our first-ever visit to Field and Stream ,we spotted this "MyPod", which we could have used on many occasions watching various outdoor sports in, let's say, "less than ideal" weather conditions.  They come in single and two-person versions with an "XL" option for each.  You can even get custom lettering to support your team or make your personal statement.  This is awesome!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Barnes Wildlife Control

After a raccoon decided to break into our chimney and stay for, thankfully, only a few days, it was time to have new chimney caps installed, repair and seal up the chimney and have a crown coat applied.  Can't speak more highly of the technicians from Barnes Wildlife Control that diagnosed the problem and performed the repairs.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Coronary CT Angiography

A Coronary CT calcium scan, which I had 2014, detects the accumulation of hard plaque in the arteries of the heart, but the newer Coronary CT angiography detects both hard and soft plaque, giving doctor and patient a much clearer picture to set an appropriate course of treatment.

The short version is that the procedure starts with a little medication to slow and stabilize the heart, followed by an injection of radiocontrast dye as the scanner makes a 3D image that a specialist can evaluate.  Hardest part is holding still for a few seconds.

The closest place to Dayton for this type of scan is the St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Edgewood, Kentucky.

Monday, February 25, 2019


Twenty-two years ago, at around age 41, I traded being nearsighted, able to read a book within inches of my face but needing glasses or contact lenses for distance, to become farsighted and needing those $10 reading cheaters, which I have pairs stashed all over the house.  More than a fair trade for me, and I've been able to drive, run, ski and golf unencumbered ever since, in fact, all these years later my distance vision is still absolutely perfect.  The investment is Lasik surgery has been well worth it.  I can't imagine how much better corrective eye procedures must be today.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Rigatoni In A Ramekin

What to do with a little leftover homemade lasagna sauce and shredded pizza cheese?  My solution was to fill a ramekin with cooked, then cooled, rigatoni noodles in the vertical direction, spoon the sauce on top and push it into the tubes and microwave for one minute forty-five seconds.  Then top with cheese and put it under the broiler until it starts to brown.  Leftover yumminess!

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Shingles Vaccination

Shingles is a painful rash, caused by the same virus as chickenpox, and not something you really want to experience.  While more common in adults 50+ as their immune system begins to weaken, younger people can also be affected.

There's a new shingles vaccine, Shingrix, that has been on the market for about one year and the CDC is recommending it for people 50 years and older, even for those who have been previously vaccinated with another product.  For my age group (50-69), it offers 97% protection, way better than the previous vaccine, but does require two injections, with the second coming not less than two months, and not more than six months, from the first shot.

Compared to my memories of shots in my pre-teen years that induced tears at the very thought, today's are barely more than a small prick and no excuse to avoid what's good for you.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Washing Machine Lint

Our newest washing machine is one of the worst we've ever had, too much performance given away towards the march to "high-efficiency", as if water and electricity cost too much or we don't have enough of either.  At least in Dayton that not even close to being a problem.  One of the issues is the production of lint which gets spewed into the laundry tub, looks nasty and eventually clogs up the drain.  We've had to resort to installing the lint traps below, about $2 per, to capture the gunk.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019


The top Android app for 2018, according to Google, is Drops, which teaches languages using lessons that are rapid-paced, visual and limited to 5 minutes per session.  Drops offers a free (I love free) tier for casual learners; 5 minutes of learning per day, with more than 1,700 words in 99 topics.  More dedicated language learners can subscribe for premium features to achieve faster progress with unlimited learning time.  Available for both Android and iOS devices.

It's fun, mildly addictive and now a daily habit of mine.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Coffee Lid Tips

Sometimes you do things for years before realizing that you should pass them on.  Here are a couple of tips about the alignment of a coffee lid that you might find useful.
  • If the seam of the cup is directly in line with the drinking hole, there can be just enough gap to cause a little coffee to drip out, usually right on your dress shirt or blouse as you're heading into work.  Just make sure the seam is anywhere on the other half of the cup, away from the hole.
  • If you're fetching coffee for yourself and one or more other folks, an easy way to remember which cup belongs to whom is to align the seam at different places.  I put mine 90 degrees to the left of the hole, as shown below, and then I'll put the seam for my wife's coffee 90 degrees on the right side.  

Friday, February 15, 2019

Peppers Stuffed with Herbed Ground Turkey and Rice

Tomatoes, onions, garlic, parsley and dill elevate the diet-friendly ground turkey to a level that's at least on par with its hamburger cousin.  Give yourself at least two hours start to finish and your patience will be rewarded.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Coastal Tan

Needing a base tan before setting sail on our Caribbean cruise, we visited the Coastal Tan shop in the Fairmont Plaza Shopping Center in Kettering and found good deals including one for new customers to check out each of the four different tanning levels for just $4.  On Wednesday's, for $5, anyone can tan in any level bed, and they offer a nice selection of monthly and per minute packages.  Add clean and friendly and it can't be beat.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Password Checkup

Password Checkup is a Google Chrome browser extension that lets you know if you enter a username and password that has been compromised in a data breach that it knows about.  Reset that password, then also reset it everywhere else where you've used that same combination, focusing first on web sites you care the most about, such as banks, social media and online shopping.  I don't have a lot of password rules, but one of them is never using the same password across the sites I really care about.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Wall Shelves

Installing shelves on walls has not been the most pleasant experience in the past, usually leading to them slowly bending forward as their weight and gravity overcome the strength of their poorly designed attachment. But our newest wall shelves, shown below, are not going anywhere thanks to real steel brackets attached with molly bolts to the plaster wall.  The brackets were installed first, being very careful to keep them level and aligned, then the wood planks slid into place.

Monday, February 11, 2019

National Park Fonts

Jeremy Shellhorn and his students have created a digital typeface by creating rubbings from signs in our National Parks and it's available for free (I love free) in four weights, Regular, Outline, Heavy and Thin, available at the link below.  Might just be the font I use for Christmas card envelopes later this year...

Friday, February 8, 2019

Chicken and Fennel in Rosemary-Wine Broth

A successful weight-conscious dinner needs lots of flavor, and this Weight Watchers recipe we recently tried delivers.  Sauteed fennel and onion each add their strong vegetable goodness, with the rosemary also punching up the flavor.  Of course, everything's better with garlic.  You can replace the red wine with some vinegar and water, but we keep one of those little wine boxes in the fridge for these occasions.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Golf Tees

Golf tees are surprisingly useful for more than just its primary purpose of teeing up a golf ball.  For example, I store a couple hats in our garage to keep my bald head warm during chillier runs or protect it from the sun when I'm out awhile.  For years those hats hung on rusty nails, but recently I pulled them out and tapped in a couple white tees, as shown below.  Nice little upgrade.

The link from This Old House has ten more golf tee ideas that you might find useful.

Shout out to my friend Keith F, who introduced me to the incredibly flexible golf tee!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Wilmington Pike Loon

A loon is not only an aquatic bird, it's the name given to this notch in the road to enable safer U-turns, such as the one shown below on Wilmington Pike at Brown Road.  Northbound traffic has a left-turn lane into the loon so they can turn around to the southbound lanes, and pause if needed.  There are a few more in the area, which I had never noticed before, but none are anywhere near as large and well-marked as this one.  Check out the link below for a 360-degree Google Street View look at the area, fortunately taken on a nice sunny day.,-84.1088595,3a,75y,5.56h,101.96t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sHP7gfSxeg4rl58Bp1pGS0Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

WiFi Signal Strength

Distance from your wireless access point is not the only factor in determining signal strength, for example, many older homes, including ours, have plaster walls constructed on a metallic mesh that serves as its framework, and this metal can cause extra signal loss.  To solve this, I have a 5+ year-old Netgear N150 Range Extender plugged into an outlet in the kitchen that has a direct line-of-sight to my router, and that helps get coverage to the backyard patio.  The image on the left below, using the free (I love free) OpenSignal app, shows a weak signal for my primary WiFi network from the patio, but switching to the Range Extender (with the _EXT suffix on the right), gets us back to a strong signal.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Screen On While Charging

Sorry, this is for Android only.

There was no way to keep my phone's screen on continuously, which I wanted in certain circumstances and almost always when it was being charged, like listening to SiriusXM or Pandora while traveling.  A little digging found how to do what I wanted, which involved turning on "Developer options", then the "Stay awake" option as shown below.  The first link has the instructions to enable developer options, which involves locating and tapping the Build number seven times, and the second link shows how to, among other things, keep your phone's screen on while charging.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Chicken Quesadillas

This is a delicious recipe for stovetop quesadillas, but we offer these tips to make the going easier.
  • If chicken breasts are thick, cut them in half first to speed up the sauteing 
  • Make the chicken cubes 3/8" or smaller, or even shred it
  • Fry only one tortilla at a time, fill one side and make it like an omelette 
  • Make sure to start with the cheese on the bottom, this helps the rest of the filling stay put
  • Don't over-stuff the filling or it will be difficult to keep together
  • Save some time and use store-bought Pico de Gallo