Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Sophie and Gunner

Our neighbor's dogs have a routine when they want to play ball.  When Sophie, the black lab, retrieves a throw, she brings it over, puts her front paws on the top of the fence, chews the ball a few times and then drops it on my side of the fence.  But when Gunner, the golden lab, gets the throw, he brings it over and only when he's ready for another throw, will he drop the ball so Sophie can do her thing, as shown in the video below.  

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

AAA Towing Distance

While waiting for AAA to arrive to tow my Jeep, I used Google Maps to determine if I would end up paying for part of the bill.  Our AAA plan allows for free towing up to 5 miles and Google Maps showed me I was 3.5 miles away from East David Automotive, so I knew I was in good shape.  Might be the most unique way I've ever used Google Maps.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Dot's Supermarket

Dot's is our place to shop for meats.  A few months ago we bought ground chuck for hamburgers and the quality difference was very noticeable.  Last night's chicken was also from Dot's, and again, much better quality.  One of the nice things about retirement is you have the time to shop at multiple places and not an all-in-one megamarket.  The store on Patterson Road is closer for us, but there's also a store in downtown Bellbrook.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Squeeze That Corn

A different way to cook corn is to microwave it for about 3.5 to 4 minutes in the husk.  Instead of shucking it the normal way by pulling down from the silk end, you cut off 1 to 2 inches from the other end, and using a pair of well-insulated gloves, squeeze from the bottom and the cob will work itself out with 99% (or more) of the silk staying in the husk.

We wouldn't suggest this method for eating corn-on-the-cob, but it's great for cutting the kernels off the cob for soups, salads or other recipes.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

IOS 14 Default Browser

The just-released iOS 14 for iPhone/iPad allows several web browsers (instead of just Safari) to be set as the default, and for me, being able to select Google Chrome is great as all my bookmarks, history and settings are only available there.  

You just go to Settings, scroll down the left side until you find the web browser you want as the default and tap it.  That will bring up the Default Browser App selections shown on the right below.  Tap it to checkmark your default.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

No Cable Box Clock

I never expected that our new cable/DVR would not include a digital clock.  Every box in the past has had that and it helped to know when to switch channels to catch a football game, go to bed or leave to go out to dinner.  There are even settings in the cable box to select displaying the time even though that's not possible.

The solution was this small (~2.5" cube), black wooden clock shown below.  The odd thing about it was that it shipped with a USB power cord but no adapter to plug that into an outlet.  No big deal as I had at least three spare ones left over from prior tech purchases.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

New HVAC System

Our house had a gas furnace dating back to the late 1970s and a 19-year-old air conditioning system, but it was time to say goodbye.  Just installed were Lennox EL280 furnace and 13ACX air conditioning systems, with the furnace being a fraction of the size of the old one, as shown below.  William Brockman & Sons did the installation, very friendly and professional at every stage.  They even filled out and submitted the paperwork for a $100 DP&L rebate.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Metal Frame Readers

I had Lasik surgery about 23 years ago and traded in being able to read without glasses to perfect farsightedness, and I've loved that, particularly for driving, watching TV, and playing sports.  Reading glasses are part of my everyday life and like most people, I'm very particular on the style I like, in my case metal framed readers.  I've usually bought them at a physical store to know exactly what I'm getting, but decided recently to try buying online and I'm glad I did, three pairs for $13 and they are the best glasses I've ever bought.  Cheapest and best is a great combo.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Salsa In A Blender

This is the best salsa I've ever had and it's so easy to make.  Just load up your food processor with tomatoes, fresh cilantro, red onion, jalapeƱos, garlic, lime juice, and kosher salt and pulse it until you get to your desired consistency.  This recipe made enough for two pints of salsa, which we poured into Ball jars and refrigerated, after pulling out some chips for immediate consumption, of course.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Backyard Barnyard

We spotted this collection of imitation barnyard animals on our way home a few weeks ago and just had to turn around to take a picture.  Makes you wonder what the story behind this could be.  Maybe the owners moved from the country to the city and missed having animals.  Perhaps this lockdown (they are chained) is the result of the COVID lockdowns and these animals would normally be entertaining little kids at fairs and festivals.  Maybe it's their prized collection bought by scouring garage sales for the beginning of a unique nativity scene.  Or perhaps they are just cleverly disguised cameras keeping an eye on the neighborhood.  

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Farberware EdgeKeeper Knives

Only time will tell if the self-sharpening technology inside the sheaths will actually perform as advertised, but they are decent knives and only $15 total for this 6-inch and 4.5-inch lengths.  Each time you pull the blade out or put it back in, you hear a little grinding noise, just like a sharpening stone makes.  Worth a try.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Recipe Cards

I'm creating recipe cards for one of my retirement projects and decided I wanted to print them out on sturdy card stock.  I found these thick, 4"x6", blank index cards that work perfectly in my inkjet printer, although they occasionally get stuck in my laser printer.  The real trick is taking a recipe and shortening up the verbiage to fit with the larger font I like to use, which avoids needing to put glasses on while I'm cooking.

Monday, September 14, 2020

New TV Remote

Having to swap out a bad cable box/DVR and losing all current and future recordings is bad enough, so when I found out I was getting a brand new box, with a new remote, with a new layout, I was not happy ... at first.  The new remote (on the right) is a bit smaller and has only 34 buttons.  That compares to 63 buttons on the old remote (on the left), and yet everything I need is still available.  It's like an engineer put together the old one and a designer built the new.  So much easier to use.

Friday, September 11, 2020

White Cabbage And Carrots

If you haven't come across Bird Eye shreds, and you're looking a something-different side dish, check them out.  I really like the white cabbage and carrots pictured below, but there are also carrots and broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, and potatoes and sweet potatoes with broccoli & cauliflower.  While you can microwave them, do your taste buds a favor and roast them in a skillet.

Thursday, September 10, 2020


Truly, I put together our new Porta-Pop 10'x10' portable tent by myself in under 10 minutes, which includes a few one-time setup tasks.  Next time it will take two minutes at most.  The key is this lever (first picture) in the middle that you push up and takes a half-expanded frame and transforms it into the finished product (second picture).  At 5'9", I was just able to push it high enough to lock in place, avoiding a trip to get a step-stool.  Wasn't the first time I've wished to be 6'0", like my Dad.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Oakes Quarry Park

The western neighbor of Pearl's Fen (see yesterday's post) is Oakes Quarry Park, which couldn't be more different.  Formerly a limestone quarry, it bought by the Oakes family in the 1990s and donated to the City of Fairborn in 2003.  You can meander its 190 diverse acres using a 2-mile hiking trail or 1-mile horseback trail.  If you're looking for something unique to explore, this is it.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Pearl's Fen

Pearl's Fen, located just east of Fairborn, is the newest addition to our region's collection of parks to explore.  The boardwalk pictured below runs for about 300 yards and a few feet over the fen, packed full of wonderful sights and aromas.  Try walking very casually, and breathing only through your nose, to capture all there is to offer.  A separate dirt trail takes you through a dry portion of the fen, mostly shaded, and keep your ears open for various birds and insects as they call out.  Great job Greene County! 

Friday, September 4, 2020

Sesame Corn and Basil Saute

Summer corn won't be around much longer, so here's a recipe we tried recently that is sure to please.  My wife uses a Bundt pan to get the corn off the cob, sticking the corn in the hole in the middle and cutting downward where the kernels are caught in the bowl, saving the usual mess.  The toasted sesame seeds are the unique ingredient that makes this dish pop.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Google Nest

When our new HVAC system is installed, hopefully in October, it will be paired with a new Google Nest Learning Thermostat.  While there are a number of nice features, the one that will save us on our energy bills and allow us to return to a properly comfortable home is Home/Away Assist, which uses location information from my smartphone to know when to drop or raise the temperature of the house.  It tells I'm far away, crank it back and when I'm traveling back home, crank it up.

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Alexa Guard

It ticks me off when a really handy feature is introduced over a year ago and I just now find out about it.  Such is the case with Alexa Guard, a security feature that can notify you when your smoke/CO alarms go off or it hears the sound of glass breaking.  It can turn lights on and off at dusk, assuming you have compatible lights or smart plugs.  There's also an option that integrates it into a security system.  

After it's set up you can activate it by saying "Alexa, I'm leaving", deactivate it using "Alexa, I'm home" or use the Alexa app.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Geez Is Moving

Although the exact date isn't known yet, sometime in the next month or so Geez Restaurant will move from its current, somewhat secluded, location in Swiss Village Shopping Center on Far Hills Avenue just north of Whipp Road, a quarter-mile south to Washington Square Shopping Mall and into the former Ruby Tuesday building.  So if you find a closed sign, don't panic, you're two right turns (south on Far Hills, right into the parking lot) away from their new place and it's easy to spot this location from the street.