Friday, May 27, 2022

Pumpkin Pie

Every once in a while I get the urge for pumpkin pie and if it's too far from Thanksgiving to hold off, I'll bake one of my own using the instructions on the can of filling and my favorite homemade pie dough recipe.  What's not pictured below, but equally essential, is a can of Reddi-wip Extra Creamy, which I perhaps overindulge a bit.

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Sea Foam

Our 2004 Jeep developed a ticking sound which was heard for the first few miles before the engine got a chance to warm up.  Figuring a sticking lifter was the likely cause, I added a can of Sea Foam Motor Treatment, less than $10, in the gas tank and its cleaning action has resolved that issue and I'm sure some others that await.  

Wednesday, May 25, 2022


The picture below shows all the Starlink (i.e. SpaceX) satellites in low-earth-orbit at a single point in time.  Go to the Privateer link and you'll start with all the satellites from over 100 constellations and you can use a few filters to see just a portion of interest.  A large number of the results fall into the Uncategorized category and zooming out reveals lots of that space junk.  Seems like it's pretty crowded up there already and the thousands of satellites expected to launch each year will make keeping track of what's where even more important.

Tuesday, May 24, 2022


The peonies that love the mostly-shady east side of our house are the official flowers of Paul and Elaine (P+E, get it?).  They spring up from ground level to these too-heavy-to-stand-up-by-themselves monsters in a little over a month, develop large and wonderfully fragrant blossoms, which we pick to brighten up the dining room table.  After a couple weeks of splendid color and aroma, they just get in the way of the lawnmower for the remainder of the summer.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Electric Shock

Compared to the $0.609/KWh, 3-year rate I signed up for last December (2021), the best of the current rates is almost 50% higher.  It's a good time to review your current contract and usage, and plan for a big bump in your monthly bill if it affects you.  I'm hoping these rates come way down before my contract expires in December 2024, but I'll keep a close eye on it.  Look for your best rate at the link below.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Garlic Butter

That bread with the Caesar salad you see below is topped with Chef Elaine's homemade garlic butter, a combination of butter, garlic, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, Italian seasoning, black pepper, and paprika.  You might want to start by adding only one-half or maybe one-third of the garlic and add more until you get the bang you desire.  This one would scare off a vampire.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

1MORE Headphones

I needed a pair of wired, in-ear headphones but won't use them often enough to justify one of the more expensive brands.  A search for "best 3.5mm earbuds" led me to the article from Lifewire (first link below) where their Best Budget recommendation was "1MORE Piston Fit at Amazon" (second link).  I snagged a pair for only $12.99 plus tax.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

More Arborvitae

In a few years, these six new arborvitaes will provide an even nicer visual screen from our neighbor's yards which became an issue when about a dozen of their dead trees had to be removed.  Gorman Landscaping did a great job removing the sod and a few good-sized roots, digging the holes, evenly spacing the trees, and mulching the entire area.  Arborvitae need a lot of water which we'll do using the "drip" setting on our hose's nozzle, fifteen minutes at a time per tree.

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Romaine Redo

This little plant started as a bottom couple of inches of a store-bought head of romaine lettuce.  Gardner Elaine planted it in our raised herb bed (sorry bunnies) bottoms up, watering it daily, and in a week, these tiny leaves appeared.  Instead of it ending up in the trash, we're hoping for a tasty end-of-summer Caeser salad.

Big shout out to Kim for this garden suggestion!

Monday, May 16, 2022

Woven Balcony Set

We were fortunate to get this 3-piece set for our deck back in March before the price of outdoor furniture went through the roof.  It was one of those random deals you find at Costco that you jump on while supplies last.  It was a bit of a splurge, but we had just received our yearly Costco Cash Rewards certificate, which paid for a good chunk of it.

It came in a 5'x4'x3' box and fortunately, my son has a truck with a lift gate.  Mike, thanks for the assist!


Friday, May 13, 2022

Holly Inn Potato Chips

The basket of complimentary (I love free) homemade potato chips comes from The Tavern at The Holly Inn, located in the heart of Pinehurst, NC.  We made the hour-plus trip south from Chapel Hill just to have lunch and stroll through their small downtown.  But back to the chips.  They are addictive!  Chef Elaine and I are not big chip eaters but we simply could not stop going back for one handful after another.  They're the perfect combination of hot, salty, and oily.  Add to that an outside table on a beautiful day, and Bloody Mary's of course, and it was delightful. 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

"Fresh Catch" Pretzel

The cute soft pretzel shown below comes from Frenchy's Rockaway Grill in Clearwater Beach, FL, and is shaped like their fishbone logo, with cheese sauce and honey mustard on the side.  That was a little something for the stomach while sipping on their famous Frozen Rum Runner, which combines Don Q PasiĆ³n Rum, Dark and 151 rums, banana liqueur, blackberry brandy, and tropical fruit juices.  A couple of those and it's rum-dee-dumb-dumb!

For a view of their white sandy beach, check out the live video stream at the link below.

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Faraday Bag

Our new E-ZPass instructed us to store the transponder in the package it arrived in when not in use to help prevent electronic snooping.  Of course, I had already torn open the bag and it was pretty much useless at that point.  So I hopped over to Amazon for a solution and found a pair of Faraday Bags for $12.  Each has two pouches with the one in the back being the signal blocker.  You can also store your car's key fob, contactless credit cards, and smartphones to protect them.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022


My Jeep spends its life parked outside, a victim of having a single-car garage.  It's not a big deal, and having had a remote starter added a few years ago, makes for a warm seat in the winter.  I occasionally whine about it and I would really like to have a two-car garage someday like I've had a couple times in the past.

But out of the blue, I realized I should stop my whining.  

I grew up in a small home in North Dayton and it also had a one-car garage, the one shown below.  For as far back as I can remember, our family had two cars.  My Mom drove a big yellow Chevy station wagon and my Dad had a Corvair and then an Impala.  The station wagon was always parked in the garage and the Corvair/Impala was either in the driveway or on the street.  

Not once did I ever hear my Dad whine about it.  As far as I know, he never had his car in the garage, at least until after Mom passed away.  Thirty years without a word.  A real man.

Time to put on my big boy pants and shut my mouth.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Mystery Glob

The picture below comes from a sidewalk in Clearwater Beach, Florida.  It was one of many spotted while out for a walk.  Can you guess its purpose?

I couldn't figure it out but my brother-in-law (Thanks, Al) had the answer pretty quickly.  The patch was used to cover old parking meter post stubs which had been cut down and replaced with electronic pay stations.  I suppose that's one more job, Parking Meter Collector, that's being displaced little by little with technology.  

Friday, May 6, 2022

Corn Flake Chicken

Last week's "Foodie Friday" (the monster casserole) was topped with crushed corn flakes, but what does a non-breakfast-eater do with the rest of the box?  Chef Elaine noticed a recipe on the box for baked chicken (shown below) that was a nice twist on the more usual breaded version.  Kellogg's also sells Corn Flake Crumbs, which might not make a compelling breakfast cereal, but the all-purpose crumb coating would save smashing all the flakes yourself.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Bloody Mary

This beauty below is a Limmy's Bloody Mary featured at Jimmy's Fish House and Iguana Bar in Clearwater Beach, Florida.  The skewer is almost a meal in itself and features shrimp, olive, tomato, hot pepper, green pepper, cucumber, red pepper, and yellow pepper.  Not that a Bloody Mary is my typical beach drink, but when I saw this I knew one must be mine.


Wednesday, May 4, 2022


After the recent $25.50 worth of tolls on I-64 in West Virginia, waiting in line, and paying in cash, I finally broke down and bought an E-ZPass (from our AAA office).  The $12 dollars I paid for it was refunded when I set up my online E-ZPass account.  When the balance in that account falls below $10, they use my provided credit card to boost it back up.  The only downside is they charge $0.75 per month to have an active account, but it's worth it to avoid all the other hassles.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

WANFEI Bone Conduction Headphones

I needed a new pair of bone conduction headphones for the upcoming tanning season (aka going to the pool) and I decided to try an unknown brand called WANFEI, mainly because after a $20 off coupon they ended up only costing $50.  They work fine with my only complaint being that they don't produce a lot of volume, making them unusable in a noisy environment like an airplane.


Monday, May 2, 2022

Cool Cars

The Budget rental car agency in Tampa, Florida last week was a zoo.  They were totally disorganized and twice assigned us cars that weren't in their lot.  They managed on the third try to get it right and instead of our reserved "full size" car we ended up with a class they call "cool cars", in our case a Dodge Challenger with the 5.7 liter V8 Hemi shown below, for the same price.  We made some noise with this throaty beast!