Category Archives: Mysteries

Stranger Danger?

A few days ago, as YA and I were having some lunch downstairs, she looked out the front window and said “there’s some sketchy woman taking pictures of our house.”  Now what you need to know is that every person that YA doesn’t know personally is “sketchy”.  Secondly, during spring and summer it’s not all that unusual for strangers to take photos of our gardens.  So I didn’t think too much of this until she said “She’s still out there.”  I turned around to see an older woman walking up the driveway between our house and the nextdoor neighbors. 

I went toward the back of the house and I could see her clearly. She was looking into our backyard and still taking photos.  This was the day after the new driveway had been laid, so I thought maybe she was interested in the cement work.  So I stepped out onto the back stairs and asked her if I could help her.  She said “Oh, I’m just looking at the house.  I used to live here 30 years ago.”  I replied, “Oh, are you Claire?”

I’ve heard of this kind of thing happening but never expected it to happen to me.  When I bought this house, it was in terrible shape – I had to have a clause written into the sales agreement that they get all the garbage out of the house or I would pay $5,000.00 less. I spent an afternoon in the house with Claire before the closing date; I was waiting for various contractors who were giving me quotes for painting, floors, carpet, etc.  She seemed a little over the edge at the time and I was glad to get out of there at the end of the day.

Anyway, I talked to her over the fence in the backyard for a few minutes.  In that short amount of time, I wasn’t convinced that she had backed away from thay edge.  She told me she was living in 300 square feet in her ex-husband’s basement in California – not exactly the kind of detail you need to tell a stranger.  Up until that second, I had been thinking maybe I should invite her in.  I’m absolutely sure she would have taken me up on the offer if I had made it.  But I had things I wanted to get done and I had a suspicion that if I invited her in, she might be inclined to overstay any welcome I might offer.  So we talked a bit more about changes to the neighborhood and then I went back inside.

YA was horrified that I had considered inviting her in and while I initially had a twinge of guilt, I got over it. 

Have you ever met any of the previous owners/residents of your homes?

I Can’t Remember What I’ve Forgotten

As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve been donating blood for many, many years. And for many of those years, I did not know what type blood I had coursing through my body. I asked a couple of times and then promptly forgot it. When I decided that I just wanted to have it in my brain when I needed it, I figured I’d better come up with a good mnemonic.
It turned out to be pretty easy. I have type “O”, which is the most common. (It’s also the only blood type that doesn’t have an antigen, which means I can donate to any other blood type.) So I thought, “O = Ordinary”. I’ve never forgotten since then.

I use mnemonics quite a bit but I’m having trouble finding a good one for my new car license plate. Not that you need to know your license plate all that often, but every now and then it comes in handy. My last license plate was pretty easy. It was RDJ 430 and I used “Return to Darling Jenai at 4:30”. 4:30 is quitting time at my company.

But the state in all its wisdom decided in January that I had to have a new license plate. I’m not sure why they do this; it’s not like they wear out. Anyway, my new license is MZZ 798 and for the life of me, I can’t of anything good to help me remember it. I suppose I could just write it down someplace and not try to come up with a good memory jog, but knowing myself, I’ll forget where I wrote it down!

Any thoughts to help me remember?

What The Heck?!

Not sure how to explain this.  YA has been after me for years to do something about my white/gray hair; it offends her sensibilities that I have some white, some gray and some brown, but nothing uniform.  It doesn’t bother me at all so her desires concerning my hair have fallen on deaf ears.

Monday afternoon she pestered me again.  “I know purple is your favorite color and I have purple dye on hand.”  And for reasons even I don’t quite understand, I said “Sure.”

She did all the work – all I had to do was sit still in the bathroom and then take a shower to rinse off.  Then she cut off about four inches, which I did need – was getting a little scraggly.

Since I’m working from home these days I’ve only had to explain it a couple of time on Zoom calls but honestly I’m not sure what to say, other than I was struck by a “what the heck” moment.

Any “what the heck” moments for you recently?

Dream State

I have very few bad dreams.  Or at least not that I remember once I’m awake.  But I had a doozy last week, the kind that leaves you wanting to stay awake so that you don’t fall back into it.  I made a trip to the bathroom, splashed my face, had a glass of water and when I got back into bed, I dreamt, but not the same nightmare scenario that had woken me.

I was starting a new job in a big business building downtown.  My new boss owned the whole floor, although his actual business only took up five or six rooms.  I don’t recall if I knew in the dream what I was supposed to be doing.  The rooms of the business were messy and it seemed clear that there wasn’t an actual office (or even desk) for me.  I had been given no direction about where I was to settle.  I was pretty well-dressed in the dream, although my dream self was a little worried that I didn’t have many nice work clothes. 

Of course, in part of the dream, I wandered out into a hallway and had trouble finding my way back.  My boss was in and out, fairly frenetic, again giving me no clue what I was supposed to be doing.  I worried about how I would get downtown every day.  I wondered if I should take matters into my own hands and order a desk.  Oh, did I mention that my new boss was Barack Obama?

I’ve probably said here before that I view dreams as a recycling of the day to day detritus in my subconscious.  Usually I can track bits of my dreams back to a waking trigger, but I’ll admit this one has my stumped.

Any dream interpretations for me?  Any good dreams you’ve had lately?

They’re Coming to Take Me Away

I’ve been aware for some time that nothing I do online is really private.  If I look at some clothing website on Tuesday, by Wednesday, I’m getting sidebar ads for that same clothing company.  If I watch a Paws for Hope video on YouTube, suddenly lots of their videos pop to the top of my feed.  Same with Facebook.  Not too irritating although it makes me wonder if cyberspace is smart enough to know what I’m looking at, why isn’t it smart enough to know when I’ve made a purchase so they can stop showing me the ads for what I’ve bought?

I have a “color-by-number” app on my phone – it’s a mindless game that I often play if I have the tv on or am listening to a book on tape.  It only takes up about ¼ of my brain (if that).  It has a function that offers me “hints” if I watch the occasional ad.  Most of the time I ignore that function, but occasionally the puzzles have little bits that are almost impossible to see, so I like to have a couple of hints available.  About a month ago I noticed that the ads on this game were aligning with stuff that I was searching for online using my phone.  Not 100% but close enough.  So now my game is paying attention to what I’m up to when I’m not playing.   I wasn’t sure if I should worry about this or not.

Then yesterday I had the tv on while I was working in my studio.  One of the interminably long Cindy Crawford ads came on – the ones in which they talk about the special melons in the south of France.  I flipped on mute and waited it out.  While I was watching out of the corner of my eye for the commercial to end, I thought to myself “Well, at least they don’t run those Crepe Erase ads anymore.”  I’m not sure why I don’t like these ads, but I don’t even like to say the words “crepe” and “erase” together.  I have nothing against Jane Seymour, their spokeswoman, but I just don’t like the ads.  So imagine my shock when about 20 minutes later, there was Jane Seymour hawking Crepe Erase!  Honestly, I haven’t seen one of these ads for a couple of years at least.  It’s clear they’re reading my mind – this crosses the line!

Do you have a favorite hat?

Holes

I’m not a critical movie watcher.  You’ll guess this when I tell you that my favorites include How to Steal a Million Dollars, Sneakers, Laura, People Will Talk, Dial M for Murder, Sahara, Hopscotch, Moonstruck….  If you can find any pattern here, let me know.

Last week I came across Ghostbusters (the original) and although I wouldn’t call it a favorite, I like it enough to watch it again.  About 2/3 of the way through the movie, Bill Murray’s character shows up for a date at the apartment of the Sigourney Weaver character.  She has been taken over by an evil spirit and is waiting for the “key master”.  Bill Murray calls his ghostbuster colleague and during the conversation he says “I’ve got her whacked up with 300 cc of Thorazine”.  I’ve heard the line before in previous viewings but never thought much about it.  Now I’m thinking “why does this guy have Thorazine on him to go on a date”?  (And, of course, he’s a psychologist, so where would he even GET Thorazine?)

This made me think about other plot holes that I’ve willfully ignored over the years.  In To Catch a Thief, Cary Grant gets dropped off at the beach club at Cannes in swim trunks.  How does he get home with no clothing, no shoes, no money?

In Sneakers, all the bad guys are hanging out at their fake company in the middle of the night but for some reason the head bad guy isn’t hanging out in his office (which the good guys are breaking into).  Why?

In Sahara, the bad guy is about to blow up his solar energy plant and is escaping in his helicopter.  His henchman is left behind and instead of wondering why his boss has abandoned him and trying to get away from the plant, he’s still trying to throw Matthew McConaughey off the tower. Why?

In Dial M for Murder, Ray Milland says to Swann (the man he wants to murder his wife) that they only attended college together for a year, since Milland started during Swann’s final year.  Then Milland pulls a photo off the wall, saying it’s a reunion photo and it shows Milland and Swann sitting at a table together.  Why would they be at the same reunion if they were not in the same class?

Obviously these plot holes don’t keep me from watching these movies (repeatedly); I guess I get more from the movies than the logic of plot.  But I do wonder how many plot holes I’ve missed over the years.

Do plot holes bother you?  Can you watch something after you caught an error?

Paper Chase

There is a mysterious creature in our home, one that is a constant source of puzzlement for our cat. The creature resides in the room with the computer. It whirs, makes odd internal noises, and then shoots out paper.  Sometimes the creature pulls the paper back inside before shooting it out a final time. It usually comes to life when Husband is seated at the dining room table working on his laptop.

Whenever she hears the creature make a noise, Luna races to the computer room and  peers into the place where  the paper emerges. She often walks behind it to see if anything is there, then perches along side it to watch the paper come out.

If she is feeling particularly feisty, she will stick her paw in to catch the paper. That usually results in me or Husband needing to fix a paper jam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other day I changed out ink cartridges,  and Luna was very, very interested to see what was inside  when I opened the front. There was no creature to be seen, though, just gears.

I imagine Luna vowing to solve the mystery and find the creature inside the printer.  Until then, she has a constant source of amusement and intrigue to keep her life interesting.

What mystery would you like to solve?  What mystery novel character would you like to be? What makes your life interesting these days?

 

It’s a Mystery

You all know that I turn the tv on for background and comfort; I rarely watch anything “new”.  In the last few weeks, I’ve turned even more to my oldies but goodies.  Not sure if it’s the weather or the holidays being over or even 2021 being a buzz-kill for the time being.

So I’ve been happy that a couple of movies that I really like have been available on demand through my cable company.  The World of Henry Orient is one and two old Agatha Christie’s as well: Death on the Nile and Evil Under the Sun.  Knowing that these won’t be around forever on demand, I’ve been watching them quite a bit, as if I can fill myself up with them before they’re gone.  Yesterday, I not only watched all three of these while I was working in my studio, I followed them up by watching Murder on the Orient Express (the old one), which I actually own.  I love Agatha Christie, although she breaks one of my “rules”; she almost always leaves out one or two necessary clues for the reader to figure out the mystery. 

YA came into my studio while Death on the Nile was playing and she commented that I should know the whole movie by heart by now.  She might be right – I can do most of the dialog right along with the actors.  One of my favorite scenes contains this bit:

  • Hercule Poirot: Do not allow evil into your heart, it will make a home there.
  • Jacqueline de Bellfort:  If love can’t live there, evil will do just as well.

So melodramatic – I love it.  I’ve searched for a couple other Agatha Christie movies with the library – can’t wait for those either. 

Tell me a movie you’ve watched more than once.  Way more than once??

Cleaning

Today’s post comes to us from Ben.

Kelly and I both took some time off over the holidays and we both had things, “projects”, we wanted to do. Kelly aspires higher than me and she wanted to paint a room or something. I always think that sounds like a lot of work.  

I had two plans: 1) Clean the refrigerator. 2) Clean off the counter in the mudroom.

I did actually manage to get them both done. On Sunday. Before going back to work on January 4th. I laughed at myself that I had to wait until the last minute to get them done.

Neither job was hard of course. Not like painting the living room or anything.

The fridge wasn’t terrible: there was the usual crud on the back of the shelves and bits stuck in the edges. Is there a good way to clean a fridge? The warm water turns cold so quick. The glass shelves scare me a bit because I’m always afraid I’ll knock it off the counter or drop it in the sink. And I didn’t want to take EVERYTHING out at once; I cleared one shelf, then shifted things around as I cleaned and replaced things. I used the vacuum for the crumbs.

Once done it looked very nice and I didn’t even redo the shelves or anything, just put it all back just like it was. I think the layout works well.

The mudroom counter, just the one side, had turned into a catch-all. It wasn’t hard to decide what to throw and what to take out to the shop and what to keep. Then moved that bit, cleaned and scrubbed the counter. Good to have that done too. Easier to keep it clean in the first place, but oh so easy to just set stuff down too. Any horizontal surface turns into a catch all if we’re not careful.

What’s your next quick little project?

Stymied

Today’s post comes to us from Ben.

I volunteered to stop at the Grocery store the other day. Typically, that’s either Target or HyVee. Usually HyVee because I like the Smile in Every Aisle. And we know a few of the kids who bag groceries.

I only had to pick up a few things; Cheese, sliced deli ham, lettuce, milk.

I picked up some Halo Oranges because they’re right at the front door you know. I like oranges, but they’re unpredictable; I might get 18 good oranges and then a bad one and that’s it; I’m off oranges. But the little Halo’s; they always seem to be good. I never liked mandarins, just Halo’s. Then it was pointed out to me that Halo’s ARE mandarins. I refused to believe it at first; I don’t LIKE mandarins; don’t make me eat them! Ah well, another life lesson learned. So, I got Halos, I got ham, I got cheese… and then I remember I need lettuce and I stood there by the meat department trying to picture where the lettuce is in the store. I’m thinking well, it must be refrigerated but I can’t quite picture it over with the pizzas. I look around where I just was with the baloney and I know I didn’t see it there… Hmmm… I just can’t picture it. I had to ask a kid stocking a shelf and as soon as he pointed, I knew where it was. Just over there by the oranges. He gave me detailed instructions on finding them.

Just a brain fart on my part; soon as he pointed, I knew where it was.

Over to the lettuce and Kelly had given me pretty simple instructions; I just needed HyVee or Dole Shredded lettuce. (Sometimes it’s more complicated than that). And I get over there and it’s a whole wall of lettuce. I had to call Kelly. Again. I can’t usually go to the grocery store without a call to clarify something.

Lettuce shouldn’t be so hard. But there’s kale and spinach and coleslaw and green leaf and red leaf and Romain and Swiss chard, salad greens, and organic and and and. Kelly talks me through it. “All the way over on the right are the apples. Next to them are the boxes of lettuce we usually buy. Then there’s the shredded…” Ah. There it is. Boy. It shouldn’t be so hard for me. I’ve always joked I can’t find it if you put it right under my nose like that. And if I think it should be “here” and you move it over six inches, I’ll never find it.

The next day at Target I couldn’t find the Bi-Flex pills for our aching joints. She asked if I was in aisle E14. Yes I was. She kept telling me the Target App said they had it. I told her I begged to differ. The app was right. It was down on the bottom shelf and stuck in the back of the rack. Darn apps think they’re always right.

Got a favorite phone, iPad, or computer app?