Did You Miss Me?

Hello Dear Reader,

My apologies for the long void since I last wrote a post. Oh, you didn’t notice? Ouch.

The last few months have been all-consuming as I pushed to finish a book titled “EVolution: Rose and Vera Save Mother Earth.” It’s a humor/fantasy/call to action story about our climate crisis, with the aim of doing everything we can rather than have a “what’s the use?” attitude.

Sadly, I can’t remember how to put a picture of the book cover in this post, but it’s available on Amazon or I can mail you a copy if you’d like.

That’s all for now, folks. For any NY friends, I’ll be back East mid-September for a little while.

Thanks for reading!

Ermigal

Epic Breakfast

The other day, my friend and I went to a popular Greeley diner, The Epic Egg. It’s a charming place with lots of windows and an upbeat vibe.

My Paul Bunyan-sized pancake came with at least 3 scrambled eggs. The Epic Egg gave me enough for a triathlete.

I’ve never seen a pancake that thick, have you? Everything got polished off in the next couple of days in the comfort of my home.

Do I have a kvetch about the Epic Egg, then? Nope. As long as they can make a living keeping customers well-fed and happy, I don’t.

After our epic meal, my friend gifted me with some Costco deals, which will help ameliorate the effects:

Yum!

Thanks for reading, friends, and I have a request: Please share your kvetches, too! Any complaint about daily life that you have is welcome, and remember that you’re doing a service to our fellow human beings by offering a distraction from reality right now.

So KVETCH AWAY!

Consumers of the World, Unite!

We all have our food preferences: sweet, salty, savory, sour, and bitter, sometimes even a combination of them. Scientists have found that our preferred diet develops from innate reasons (prenatal), and early exposure as children, to these tastes. Experts claim a craving for pickles during pregnancy, for example, could be due to the mother’s low sodium levels, and it’s common knowledge that the endorphins our brains make when eating chocolate make us feel happy.

My taste buds have always pulled me toward sweets, and there are more temptations out there than ever! A few days ago, I had the urge to make cookies for a friend who was coming for a visit. Her grandparents, like mine, came here from Italy, so I found a recipe for Sesame Cookies in my Lidia’s Italian-American Kitchen cookbook. Lacking a few ingredients, I zipped to the store and grabbed them.

As I headed to the front, I walked by a cooler with refrigerated cookie dough and checked it out. My eyes popped out like a cartoon character as I spotted a “Value Size” roll of Pillsbury Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. It would be nice to serve two kinds of cookies, right?

Steering my cart to the registers, I glanced at the Pillsbury wrapper:

SAFE to eat RAW

Eat or Bake

Say what?!

Turns out, after some exhaustive online research, this “eat or bake” version has been in stores since 2020! Apparently, if the wheat is heated for a short time, and the eggs are pasteurized, it’s pretty safe. Don’t know about you, but I was raised in an age when eating a raw egg was asking for salmonella. Also, the wheat in cookie dough can cause E-Coli. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention warned Americans in 2018 to “Say No to Raw Dough.”

I’m glad I didn’t know about all this; it’s hard enough to resist raw dough when it’s unsafe, and you stop after a couple small blobs. This is a gamechanger, where you can offer to bring cookies somewhere, lose control, and end up with 4 or 5 tiny ones and have to blame it on the dog.

Scientists had to be involved in the “Study of Safely Eating Raw Cookie Dough” in the Pillsbury Food Laboratories. Why aren’t they working to cure heart disease and other maladies that are caused by “foods” like cookie dough? Their parents must be very proud.

How do people get all that scientific education and use it not for the good of humankind, or animals, or Planet Earth, but for people to dig an early grave with a spoon (or fingers) and a tube of Value Size Pillsbury Cookie Dough (they’re ALL safe to eat raw now, Pillsbury crowed on their website.)

On a positive note, kudos to the inventors of the Quaker Caramel Rice Cake. Granted, they’re not very tasty, but are better than nothing. If my child had invented them, I’d be braggin’ all over town.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have enough dough left for three or four cookies. They’ll be delicious with some herbal tea.

Technology Burns My A**

Yeah, yeah I know–at my age, I’m obsolete, similar to an 8 track tape or a mimeograph machine. My tech-savvy skill set would fit in a thimble. (Ha! You probably don’t even know what that is, do ya?) Just when it seems like everything in my home is working, either something stops working or becomes outdated and needs replacing. Case in point: TV Remotes.

It took me months to figure out how to use the four remotes, but I think I’ve finally mastered it.

Remote #1: Cable TV

Remote#2: Smart TV

Remote#3: Roku stick (Netflix, etc.)

Remote #4: Sound Bar (sound is notoriously poor on Smart TV, I’ve heard. Also, some family members whisper behind my back–yeah, I can hear you!–that I have a hearing loss. I have intermittently plugged ears, people! Bad allergies. Anyway, the sound bar helps.

So here’s the sequence I’ve learned, the hard way:

  1. Turn on Smart TV and quickly choose source 1,2, or 3. (1 is HDM1 for cable, 2 is HDM2 for streaming services Netflix, Hulu, etc. Now I don’t remember; is there an HDM3?)
  2. If cable, quickly turn Remote 1 power on, then Guide. Choose your show. If source 2, select the streaming service you want on either the Smart TV or Roku remote. Choose your show.
  3. Turn on remote #4, make sure to press “Bluetooth” button, too. A blue light will show on the sound bar. If you forget this step, you might think you are losing your hearing; if in doubt, read the manual.

To be honest, even though this blog is fun to write, WordPress has changed a great deal since I wrote my old blog, “Odds&Ends from Ermigal” ten years ago. It takes me longer than I thought it would to write even a short column. Guess I’ll have to bite the bullet and take some of their courses.

Rats!

Calendar Madness

Do you have a spankin’ new calendar ready to make your life more organized?

At this time of year, I love buying calendars for myself and others. (Me first, of course.) I had a different topic planned for today but can’t find my chicken-scratch notes, so let’s talk about these wonderful creations instead.

Really? How can one be happy every day?

First off, the preeminent store to get some good deals is Big Lots. I hit the jackpot and snagged the last “Best Life Planner” with a catchy pink & orange cover. Turns out, it’s the same version as I had last year and is way, way too much for a retired person. But I couldn’t resist possibly being totally organized in 2022!

The first page is for stating “My Personal Mission Statement to Live My Best Life!” which I totally missed last year. Heavy stuff–that calls for a strong cup of tea and a (big) handful of sugar cookies for inspiration, don’t you think?

There’s also a quote for each month (don’t you love those? So inspiring!)

Wait a minute! I’ve been had–this is a school year calendar for July-June! Son of a Pup. Anyway, here’s the July 2021 quote:

“Having a vision for your life allows you to live out of hope, rather than out of your fears.”–Stedman Graham

Things are coming into focus now; the only “Stedman” I know is Oprah Winfrey’s beau/”long-time companion.” Apparently, he was given the task of unloading the outdated Best Life Planners. Sure, confused old gals like me will buy these by the truckload. They should be giving them away! Nice, Stedman, very nice. May your next calendar be missing a few months, too.

On top of that, silly me thought a picture of him would be appropriate, but there are barriers to using images of famous people. So here’s a free picture of an obviously shady salesperson.

This person looks nothing like Stedman and seems to be in olden times, but it was available.

Let the buyer beware, even with discount calendars!

Anyway, I got some outstanding wall calendars for friends, from Paris pix to French Bulldogs to Richard Simmons Quotes & Poses. I went a little overboard and have a couple Don’t Be Afraid to Be Great ones. Any takers?

Maybe I’ll send the Best Life Planner to Stedman and ask for the other half of my calendar.

Happy New Year, Dear Readers!

Christmas Cookie Kvetch

Back in September, I was recruited to be on the Social Committee of the place where I live. (Note: It’s a pleasant development of condos and townhouses in Greeley, CO. We have a great mix of all ages, not just old folks like me.)

There are five of us in the group, and so far we’ve had a wonderful Chili Cookoff, started a Game Night, and a Christmas Party last weekend complete with Santa, tons of treats and a hot chocolate station with all the fixin’s–marshmallows, whipped cream, chocolate-coated spoons and big pretzels dipped in chocolate and sprinkles to stir it.

The Committee was charged with each baking five dozen cookies. Rats. The older I get, the less interested I am in cooking and baking. Even worse, I end up sampling each batch (for quality) and eating whatever I bring home.

All I needed was a mixer, cookie sheet, and The Three Amigos. No eggs, either.

I wanted something easy-peasy. Google offered several versions of an “Only Three Ingredient Cookie Recipe.” Hip-hip Hurray! Red and green sprinkles would make them look labor-intensive. I ran to King Soopers for the ingredients.

Women can be very competitive with their baked goods.

Of course, what I made were basic sugar cookies. I was annoyed that the red sprinkles were actually pinkish, and with the green sprinkles, the cookies looked Easter-ish instead of Christmas-y. Really, though, I didn’t give a fiddler’s fart.

You may be asking, well then, what is your kvetch? You made some easy cookies. What’s the big deal?

Well, with lots of other choices that afternoon (some of the bakers had gone to great lengths to make masterpiece cookies and treats), not everything got eaten. I forced a couple of people to take some of mine home and left a container of them on a neighbor’s porch, running away after ringing the bell.

I worked too hard to throw them away, so now I have to eat the leftovers.

They’re unattractive, but delicious.

Do you have a kvetch about the holidays?

A Plateful of Kvetches

Yeah, yeah, it’s the season of giving thanks and loving your neighbor. Holly Jolly, my keister.

The HOA where I live now was very swift in blaming me for ongoing water damage to the unit below. I stood my ground, but it took a toll on my deteriorating mental health.

Since I moved to Greeley, Colorado six months ago to be closer to my Daredevil Child, it’s been a steady diet of mishaps–HOA* threats to fix water damage I didn’t know about, the loss of house, mailbox and car key (never found), new furnace/water heater/AC (all apparently ready to conk out, thanks for nothing, home inspector!)–and those are just the ones I can remember.

Thank goodness I was able to get a coal delivery until my new furnace was installed.

Then gradually, things began to calm down. I met some nice folks where I live and the car navigation wasn’t needed to get to a few places (Granted, they’re only a mile or so away, but I’m severely geographically-challenged.) I can do this! Confidently, I planned some errands for last Monday.

First stop, the Computer Support store. They’d helped me with basic things like passwords and what an eight-year-old knows about a laptop. This time, I wanted support for my blog. When I walked in, a customer was monopolizing both techs about ordering a new phone. This interloper continued to yell questions to my tech guy while we were trying to work– on my dime! (Granted, I was a little late and they went about 30 minutes over my allotted time, but still–the unmitigated gall of this gal!

Finally the other tech came over to help me, explaining some blog highlights, like how to send out a survey to readers. Tech person assured me it wouldn’t go out into the world, I could simply delete it later. Just for fun I wrote, “Do you have any complaints about this blog?” Well, guess what? It went out into the world. If you have a complaint about the complaint survey, I don’t want to hear it.

Next was a short jaunt to shop for Christmas, right in the little downtown area of Greeley. First stop: Warm Hugs, a sweet little gift shop where I scored a few things to cross off my list. I headed to my car and put in the address of the second store, which will remain unnamed. I was looking for science kits for a young child. Finding just what I wanted, the friendly salesperson rang it all up. The employee wore a way-too-short T-shirt, the lion’s share of an ample stomach showing, along with a very long vertical scar down the middle. It was hard to not look as if I was looking away from it. That kind of threw me off balance. Whatever happened to employee dress codes? But at least I’d accomplished something, so I had a little spring in my step while walking to the car.

Not so fast, Missy! Wait, where did I park? All I could remember was parking on the street. I walked around and around, looking for a clue. There were none. Greeley has a grid system of numbered streets and avenues. I’ve been told Streets run North and South, Avenues East and West. I started walking in the direction I’d driven, then thankfully saw a familiar place! The flooring store I’d recently purchased overpriced laminate flooring from–surely they’d help me! Two employees were there and I explained my plight. I even closed my eyes to recreate it as accurately as possible, like where I thought I turned, and so on. One didn’t even look up from their cell phone, the other stayed in their swivel chair and suggested some possible streets. I left even more confused, carrying my big cardboard box with the science toys. When people start in with the numbers–8th St, 24th Ave–it’s not helping. Just for effect, I walked by their store twice and shot them a dirty look. Would it hurt you to get off your uncaring butts and help a senior citizen, especially a disoriented one? May your supply chain take a wrong turn in its journey.

There, I’m done kvetching. Now I need a warm hug.

* Home Owners Association

Is It “Misspell” or “Mispell”?*

Hello, Fellow Kvetchers!

Let’s get right down to business, OK? Sure, we’re going to hell in a handbasket right now–I’m not going to lie–but would it be acceptable if I had written “hanbasket” or “handbakset”? Hell, no!

More Useless Crap to Clutter Your Kitchen

“Why does it matter?” you may ask. (Or “Why does any of it matter?” if you’re really checked out.)

It matters to some of us, that’s why. We’re getting sick and tired of seeing typos, misspellings and grammatical errors in printed matter. (If you find an error in this post, though, I don’t wanna know.)

Here are a couple that make my blood boil:

Its/It’s as in a flyer for Kohl’s that described an appliance as “Versatile blending at it’s best.”

You’re/Your as in “Your the best!” or “Let’s meet at you’re house.” If they look fine to you, check with Professor Google.

That’s my kvetch–what’s yours?

* That’s a word that many people, including me, have to think about; the two “ss” version just doesn’t look right for a second, at least to me.

Credit Card Crackup

Howdy, fellow kvetchers! Let’s get down to business–it’s been a rough couple of days trying to crank out another post to you. Suffice it to say I’m a bit rusty at using WordPress, along with all the changes they’ve made to the program over the last decade. Last night, I spent several hours on a kvetch about commercials, only to accidentally delete it. I couldn’t manage to retrieve it, either. Fortunately, Jay, my tech guru, has set aside some time for me next week so I won’t be spinning my wheels so much.

Today wasn’t much better. I wasted 55 minutes on a credit card issue.

Not so fast, Godzilla Bank. I’m not using that card, and stashed it in a drawer with a big note: Do Not Use.

I tried to get to my statement, but my username/password was wrong. Got a text password, finally set up new ones.

Grrr! The online statement is too small to see, and I couldn’t make it bigger. Was it a service charge for finally getting my points in cash after waiting till I had enough?

Sure, if I miss the payment, it’s a late fee. Those crooks! I paid it and felt victorious for a minute.

Photo by Yan Krukov on Pexels.com

Customer service folks are usually very helpful, but sometimes it’s a long wait. Oh, and then there’s the survey at the end. Sure, I’ve got nothing better to do.

What’s your latest kvetch about credit cards, customer service or anything else?

Now’s your chance.

Go West, Old Woman

This will be short to allow you, the reader, to vent about your own kvetch. Many of you know I recently relocated to Greeley, CO to be closer to my daughter. The Rockies are beautiful, people are friendly, the same big box stores are here, and maybe it’s a little sunnier than Syracuse, NY. There’s one difference that shocked me, though; they don’t recycle in Greeley. You read that right.

It costs me $30 a month to recycle with a private company. A few nearby cities (Boulder, Loveland, Fort Collins) recycle; why not Greeley?

There seems to be a disconnect in Colorado between loving the outdoors but not bothering to recycle; our national recycling average is 35%; Colorado’s is less than half that amount.

I miss my NY blue bin.

Now it’s your turn!