Snail Safety

Go, little snail, go!

Go, little snail, go!

On a rare damp morning that also had a bit of a breeze kicking up, I spotted this little guy crossing a walkway. Not a very safe spot for a slow-moving snail. What caught my eye was his natural “safety vest.” I know the wind just blew that bright petal onto his shell, but it made me notice him. After snapping his photo, I made sure others also saw — and avoided stepping on — him as he traveled his ponderous path. Yes, I know that many people consider snails a pest. But I think this little guy’s unique safety feature earned him a free pass. What type of snail is it? Well, with hundreds of snail species out there and even experts having difficulty telling the difference, I’d have to say this snail is … a lucky¬†snail ūüôā He wasn’t stepped on that day. Interesting snail fact, courtesy of the ¬†Snail-World website: Did you know that snails in the wild¬†typically live from 2 to 3 or 5 to 7 years, depending on the species? In captivity, they can live even longer! Seriously, for some fascinating reading, check out Snail-World. You will be amazed!

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Why Wouldn’t Teaspoons Have Tea Stains?

Bye-bye tea stains!

Bye-bye tea stains!

I’m not a big fan of tea. It takes a lot of sugar and milk before I can drink hot tea, and iced tea is just a no-go at any time. But my father really likes tea¬†—¬†and his teaspoons show it. The spoons ended up getting really brown, so it was past time to clean them. Dish soap allowed the stain build up, so¬†cleaning the spoons¬†took a bit of rubbing with a stainless steel cleaner. Now,¬†the teaspoons have that silver¬†sparkle again. Although tea stains are unsightly, they at least clean up well, as shown by before and after photos. But tea stains aren’t all ugly. I found out that some people use tea stains to create art!

A Tire’s End

There'll be no more driving on this tire!

There’ll be no more driving on this tire!

Yup, that is definitely a flat tire. Sad to say this was on my car. It didn’t happen while I was driving (although I experienced that years ago). This flat developed while in a parking lot. I met a friend for dinner and afterward¬†got into my car to drive away. As soon as the car started to move, I knew something was wrong. Then I realized the entire car was tilted a little. Previous to parking, I accidentally drove over what looked like a bottle in the road, but I traveled about 5 miles afterward with no trouble, so I thought everything was OK. Obviously, it wasn’t. I’m lucky the tire held up so well as I continued driving. What’s stunning to me is that I did not notice this VERY flat tire as I walked up to and got into the car. Wow. It really is wise to¬†do a little mini inspection each and every time before getting into your car. ¬†If you’ve ever wondered what all the numbers and such on your tires mean, check out the diagram at the NHTSA website. It also has some tire care tips.

A Fine Start To The Morning

This isn't a child's game, it's serious business.

This isn’t a child’s game, it’s serious business.

Imagine walking outside and seeing this on your street. It happened to me earlier this week. Had children gone crazy with spray paint or sidewalk chalk? A closer look showed me that it¬†was¬†some sort of coded message, but by who and for what? A few¬†white markings had shown up in the street days earlier, but this explosion of color and marks was¬†shocking. A neighbor was walking by and pointed out a few words naming some communication companies. I was amazed that the marks had been made with no notice from the city or whatever agency was responsible. What was going on? A search of the internet provided a clue to some of the code, thanks to an article at the Smithsonian website explaining road graffiti by utility workers. The colors represent different underground cables: red is for electric and power, yellow is gas or oil, orange is communication, etc. White designates proposed digging. So, it looked like someone wanted to dig in the street, and the marks were showing where all the underground utility stuff was buried. I called the city and learned that the graffiti was called “a mark out.” A communication company had requested it because it¬†wanted to do a dig. It’s been days and so far nothing else has happened. This will be interesting.

A Devilish Problem

Deviled eggs are a favorite of mine!

Deviled eggs are a favorite of mine!

Deviled eggs. Yum! They’re good eating that come with just one problem — how to peel the hard-boiled eggs. After suffering through more than one case of bloody fingers from oh-so-sharp shells, I decided that perhaps¬†brown eggs might be better than white eggs. At first this seemed to be the case. At least I didn’t suffer any bloody fingers. But new problems arose. Brown eggs had bits of brown shell in the hard-boiled egg. Usually only one and not in every egg, but it was unsettling. Why were bits of shell deep within the hard-boiled egg white? Were these also present in white eggs but invisible because white eggshell wouldn’t show in hard-boiled egg white? The brown eggs also seemed a bit more “rubbery” when hard-boiled. I tried several brands, free-range, organic. I had thought that brown eggs might even be healthier, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Now, I’m back to white eggs. And I’ve learned that how to peel hard-boiled eggs is a subject of much debate. Amazingly, the age of the eggs seems to have an impact on the difficulty or ease of peeling (fresh eggs are more difficult). An article from the Epicurious website offered five methods to try, but based on the comments made, none of these seem foolproof. However, it has given me a lot to experiment with in the future!

Play Your Cards Right!

Red-backed cards are for gameplay, and the green-backed cards are the queens that must be awakened.

Red-backed cards are for gameplay, and the green-backed cards are the queens that must be awakened.

If you’re looking for a fun way to spend an hour or two or three, check out the Sleeping Queens card game. I received my game as a gift, and it languished on a shelf for a few years. I wasn’t particularly big on card games. I finally gave it a try this year. Wow. The fun I have been missing! The rules are simple, with the goal being to “wake up” at least five queens or 50 points worth of queens, whichever comes first. Two cards can wake up queens outright, two can hinder your opponent as he or she tries to collect queens, two can prevent your opponent from hindering your collection efforts, and number cards are there to just keep things rolling. The game is for two to five players. I mostly played with one other opponent and that was fun. Then I had the chance to play with three others. That changed the game a lot, but it was still quite fun! The game can get crazy with queens being stolen, put to sleep, stolen back and so forth. For good times with a simple card game, you can’t go wrong with Sleeping Queens. I applaud whoever created it.

Hard Plastic Food Containers

Careful opening!

Careful opening!

So, you know those clear, hard plastic containers that food stores sell bakery or produce items in? Yeah. Wonderful for keeping the food fresh, but quite difficult to open. Have you ever lost food when a container suddenly “popped” after a struggle to open it? I guess it’s the price we pay.

That “Oh No” Moment

It happens to everyone¬†—¬†sometimes daily, sometimes weekly. Those who are truly fortunate have it happen only rarely. ¬†A recent oh-no moment for me was during a video game. I had been playing for three hours with two others online. About to sign off,¬†I came to realize that voice chat for a guild had been turned on at the beginning of the session. I knew I had been talking to my two friends, but voice chat in guild meant that anyone in the guild could have heard me on that channel. Anyone. What?! I flashed back over the past few hours. What had I¬†said? What had I done? Who had heard??!! I was completely embarrassed despite being virtually anonymous and basically only blurting out boring gameplay conversation. Hmm. I guess this isn’t the most hilarious anecdote to open with, but the ball is now rolling…