Archive for the ‘Thirteen’ Category

Thursday’s Thirteen – Irkers

I have been keeping a list of what I call “Pet Irkers” (PI) and decided to share 13 of them on this rainy Thursday. The PIs are not in any particular order, just thirteen PIs.

1. Ads in magazines. I have been reading Reader’s Digest for a long time and first noticed that perforated ads where making the magazine hard to handle while reading in bed. For over a year I would tear out the ads when the new issue arrived in the mail. Then I began to notice that ads where on the pages just like the many excellent stories I enjoy. Well, now it is ridiculous, I just counted 32 (one was three pages long) in the June issue and I was only at page 72, that’s two fifths of the pages! There is even an ad on the inside front cover.

2. I call this the magazine subscription PI. My lastest and best example of this is purchasing a kid’s nature magazine as a Christmas present last December. Since February we have received no fewer than six letters or emails (I purchased online) to renew the magazine. Reader’s Digest is no better. Whether it’s our personal subscription or a gift subscription the company starts hounding us about eight months before renewal time. I have finally cataloged all subscriptions with pertinent information online, then I check when the notices start coming in. More hassel for me,irk

3. PI number 3 is telemarketers. I thought the no call list would stop all these calls but telemarketing has become very creative and found every loop hole in the regulations. Frequently nonprofits call between five and six (the dinner hour) with the message that you have contributed in the past and would you be willing to help by pestering your neighbors for us. Colleges and universities are always having a fund raising campaign and the law allows them to contact anyone who has ever visited the campus I guess. Another is “Jim” calling on behalf of police, state troopers, or the fire department and asking if would be willing to send a family of four to the circus, no! Telemarketers have even figured out that we can identify them when they mispronounce our last name so now they address us by our first names only. Looks like we will soon be getting rid of the land line. Our answering machine is frequently loaded with offers for credit ratings, security systems and senior citizen medical equipment.

4. TV Medicine commercials made the PI list a long time ago. Television commercials for medicines advise people to consult with their doctor before taking medicines, yet will send you samples through the mail. Tell your doctor if you have high blood pressure, a heart condition etc. is always part of these commercials, shouldn’t your doctor know if you have these conditions? I also get dizzy when the announcer starts spouting out the list of adverse reactions, they put a lot into those thirty seconds.

5. This PI is self promotion. Many local television stations proudly flash “Rated Number 1” or “Most Watched” during commercial breaks in popular programs. I now refer to this as bragging breaks. The major networks are perhaps the worst offenders. How many time have you been watching a sports event, even golf, when the announcer will talk about a television program on their network being the top choice among viewers. I often doubt that they have even seen the programs. Even Reader’s Digest is guilty of self promotion. Six of the above mentioned ads were for their products or telling readers how to read the magazine online.

6. Ads PI. While I’m on the subject of television, who is running the advertisement department? It never fails that during a commercial break especially in the evening there will be a series or 4 or 5 ads in which two and sometimes three are for very similar products or services. For example Ford trucks outperform in carrying heavy duty loads, then Toyota has a higher performance rating than all others, and the third might be a Chevy built tough. If I were head of the division that bought this air time I would complain about the placement of similar ads. Speaking of ads how irksome are those infomercials?

7. Reality TV is another PI. Get over it! It’s not real! I get irked when I realize how many shows feature performers shouting, criticizing, and carrying on as if this is how we behave in real life. Visit a courtroom for a day even an hour. I feel safe in saying even the judge will not come up with one zinger. Try camping out in the woods for a week then check your reality. IRK

8. The eighth PI always gives me a heavy heart . It is the on scene interviews with friends and families of victims involved in accidents, natural disasters, fires or other horrible incidents. People are in no condition to answer reporters questions about the incident and I see no compelling reason to broadcast this live.

9. The cable service overload PI is actually two irkers. The first occurs during television broadcast as the announcer points out that all their stories plus more news/information can be found on “Our Website” – www. Channel What do they think we tuned into the broadcast for? From personal experience I know that it is hard to read and keep a sustainable thought after 10:30pm and medical professionals tell us we should turn off electronics at least one hour before retiring. The second is receiving offers to subscribe for cable tv or internet service through commercials or online. Irker alert, I’m already watching on a television and with present day regulations the only way I can be doing this is to be a cable or dish subscriber. The ultimate insult is that my service is usually being offered at a lower price and we are not elegible, the deal is only available for new subscribers. Irk irk. While we’re on the topic of cable service another irker is offers for internet service on the internet. I thought I was being so smart watching my favorite network tv shows 24 hours after they had aired on the computer while doing something else. Now before you can watch the show you have to listen to a infomercial for a cable service. Once again irker alert – I’m already connected to the internet and don’t want to pay for rewiring my house along with new holes in the walls or floor or exterior walls because you can’t use the outlets available.

10. The Instructions PI. For a long time I thought my eyes were going bad when I couldn’t read the instructions on the box of cake mix. So I’d go hunt up my reading glasses and realize the space now held two sets of instructions, one in English and the other in Spanish. Like many of my contemporaries I carried on and the cakes were delicious. Now I view the grocery store as a chance to review my long ago college Spanish lessons. Then I began to notice that every new appliance (new range), toy (Grandchildren), and gadgets too numerous came with multi page books on how to assemble or maintain. The raised garden boxes we recently purchased contained a small 12 page how to leaflet. In the kitchen we now have an entire shelf for instruction booklets we need to consult.

11. The Tag PI. Is it just me or does your muffin top roll frequently become irritated by those stiff tags attached on the side seam of the garment? Thank goodness undergarments now come with all the necessary information stamped on the inside, I was tired of cutting off tags. Have you every noticed the tag sticking out on your throw rugs or bed linens. Once again I make good use of those super sharp scissors, I have a pair just for tag removal. The most irksome are the towel and wash cloth tags. I have actually scratched my cheeks!

12. Folding PI. This irker arises when I try to fold bed sheets and towels. Fitted sheets are the worst, my arms just aren’t long enough to neatly contain the seam corners which seem to be rounded and the sides of our queen size linens. Towels are impossible to fold flat once the decorative edges shrink. I have towels that shrank almost two inches and when folded the shrinkage seems to bunch and bulge. Irk

13. The last PI is the Renaming PI. I get irked when stadiums, arenas, and even games/tournaments are renamed for a national brand or corporation. What happened to traditions? Whoever heard of Charming Stadium or The Ty-D Bol Bowl? Charming didn’t build that stadium taxpayer dollars did and a university’s location as well as reputation established many tournament/bowl titles. The ultimate blow came while watching football last fall. I realized that the Heisman Trophy was now sponsored by Nissan and AFLAC among others. IRK!

I have concluded after reading this list that I may be having a gloomy Gus day, am watching way too much television or just have way too much free time.
Hope your day is IRK free

Kansas hasn’t had a good snow in two years! Today there is about two feet on the ground.
All that snow will be good for my garden, the trees and bushes, and all the farmers in the area. The drought is in it’s second year and this snow will not be enough but I was in need of a good ole fashion snowstorm. This week has reminded me of my youth in the northern part of the United States.
Last sunny Sunday while shoveling snow off the back deck I had to remove my jacket and sunglasses were a must have. I am aware of how bright the early mornings seem with the snow cover. Hot chocolate with marshmallows is my favorite afternoon treat. I have made bread, soups and other comfort foods galore.

However, while watching the news coverage during the storms I noticed several stories with parents bemoaning being stuck inside with their children all day. I know some were without electricity at times but my retired teacher brain kicked into over drive and gave me this week’s Thursday’s Thirteen.


1. Begin with breakfast. Everyone helps make pancakes, french toast or a hot cereal, then do the clean up without the dish washer.
2. Give everyone a dust cloth and challenge them to dust the woodwork (doors, molding , tops of windows and doors) in all rooms. This one is courtesy of D, when I called to check/chat she was dusting to get some exercise.
3. Go out for 10 minutes – shovel or sweep the steps and walk, romp with the dogs, walk a crooked line through the yards. Serve hot chocolate after all coats are hanging to dry.
4. Make a simple soup. Egg Drop soup is easy – 4 cups chicken broth, 2 beaten eggs, dash of pepper, some green onions finely chopped. Heat broth to just below a boil, stir in eggs add pepper. Serve with green onions sprinkled over.
5. Change the bedding from the mattress up. Everyone helps turn the mattresses and complete the laundry.
6. Cut out snowflakes or snowmen to decorate the refrigerator.
7. Go through bed room closets and dressers organizing and discarding. I discovered some things I hadn’t worn since retiring. They are bagged and ready to go.
8. Play card games; war, crazy eights, gin, poker.
9. Read for 30 minute intervals in the morning, afternoon and evening. Kids love to have a story read to them.
10. Watch the game shows on TV (Wheel of Fortune, Jeopardy, The Price Is Right). Figure out the players’ strategies.
11. Make, bake, eat. Jiffy cornbread, Martha White blueberry muffins, Betty Crocker brownies all come in 6-8 servings, require few add ins and are cheap.
12. Put on some music and exercise/dance. Anything that keeps everyone moving, even going up and down the stairs for 13 minutes.
13. Tossing games with rolled up socks. Set a large kettle in the center of the floor, on the stairs even the table. Try putting your self in different positions-sitting, kneeling or lying down.

Before the storm hit my favorite local grocery store had a great sale on asparagus, my favorite vegetable. I took a leap and made asparagus soup on Friday. I even made it with vegetable broth for meatless Friday. The picture doesn’t do it justice, it was delicious and comforting.

The sour cream slipped under before I got a good photo.

Asparagus Soup

The possibilities are endless. Enjoy your days!!

Thursday’s Thirteen – An Explanation

For some time now I have thought of 13 as “my number” and have decided to dedicate any posts I write on Thursday to 13. Hopefully, I’ll be able to connect any Thursday post’s with 13.

Here are some of the connections I have found in my life with 13;

Birth year digits = 13
I am one of 13 children
High school graduation year digits = 13
Best friend born on 13th of the month
Married year digits = 13
Significant medical problem year digits = 13
Favorite bakery always gave a bakers’ dozen (13) highlights
First and last names contain 13 letters
The 13th letter of the alphabet is my favorite
Favorite candy has 13 letters on wrapper (maker+name)

We are waiting for our first big winter storm in two years.
Stay safe everyone.