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The Cat Burglar

In the last several weeks, because various families in our neighborhood have been burglarized, we've all been living with heightened awareness. With thoughts of all that swirling through my head, imagine my horror to be the victim of a stolen wallet this week!

I went to Walmart after my last class Monday afternoon to pick up a few items and a couple of prescriptions. When I reached for my wallet to pay, it was gone! I retraced my steps, ran out to my truck to see if it had fallen out there, and then ran back into the store. It was nowhere to be found. I remembered several shoppers brushing against me and knew that I must have been pickpocketed. My mind and body kicked into overdrive as to what to do first.

I drove back to campus to see if it was in my office or my classroom and checked with the teacher who had taught in that room the hour after I did. No wallet. My next stop was my bank to put a stop on my bank card and to get a new one. It's a real trick to prove who you are when every form of identification is in your stolen wallet. Fortunately I could tell the banker several specific transactions (complete with dollar amounts) on that account in the past week. No other purchases had been made on my card, so at least I was able to stop access to my account through my old card.

After leaving the bank with my new card (hooray for TD Bank — their ads about fast replacement cards are not just hype), my next stop was the DMV to get a new driver's license before they closed. Once again, I experienced the grief of trying to establish my identity with not a shred of ID on me, except my new bank card. Believe it or not, I was in and out of the DMV in about 30 minutes! Nothing else essential needed to be handled that afternoon, so exhausted and hungry I headed for home.
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How Old Are You?

I am posting this out of my usual schedule to try out the new e-mail notification of my blog posts. Feedburner has been working well for me for quite a while, but the past two weeks it has not sent out my blog posts by e-mail. The RSS works fine, but not the e-mails. To remedy this I am trying out a new plugin for my blog — MailChimp. I hope that this will solve the problem.

Since I hate to do a blog update, for the sole purpose of trying out MailChimp, I'll post several humorous things that have coincided in my life.

Kids Meal Senior Discount

My wife and I have discovered a new favorite place to eat out. It's Culver's. Fortunately it's far enough away that we can't eat there often ... if you know what I mean.... But one thing we've discovered is that their kids' meal is just the right size for us, and it includes a free scoop of their flavor of the day. To make it even better, they give us a senior discount too! So the two of us can eat there for less than a total of $12.

Also the other day a long-time friend and reader sent me a link to a site in Switzerland where you can find out how many days old you are. What an eye opener! As if I didn't feel old enough already, getting senior discounts and all.... :-)
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Poisson d’avril!

Poisson d'avril

Today is April Fools' Day in the US. In France they also pull pranks on people by trying to tape a paper fish to other people's backs without their knowing it. A fish in French is un poisson. When the victim has discovered the fish, the people around him yell out "Poisson d'avril!" (April Fish!) They also pull other pranks, just as Americans do, but this is a traditional French prank that's cheap and totally inoffensive.

I thought it would be fun to post some ideas of ways to prank friends or family on April Fools' Day.

You can paint a bar of soap with clear nail polish, let it dry, and then put it where someone is likely to try to use it.

Clear Nail Polish Soap

Here are several food-related pranks. You can replace the cream filling in some Oreos.

Crest Oreos

You can shoot some mustard into the end of a toothpaste tube for a little surprise when the next person gives the tube a squeeze.
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Yet More One-liner Puns

This week is our annual Bible Conference at school. Can we already be this far along in the semester?! Five more weeks of classes, exams, and it's the end of another school year!

A longtime reader sent me a list of puns earlier this week. I tried to remove ones I have already posted and added some others I've found along the way. Prepare to groan and laugh.

When deep cuts were made in the guillotine industry, heads rolled.

When fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate.

The batteries were given out free of charge.

I heard the new auto body shop that opened comes highly wreck-a-mended.

The president of the Ennui Club was also chairman of the bored.

I decided not to go to Pisa, but I was leaning towards it.

Broken puppets for sale. No strings attached.

The historian loves reading about bobcats. They are lynx to the past.

Drivers who speed in the snow often find themselves adrift.

I asked a librarian if she was free this afternoon, but she said she was all booked up.

When you purchase stuff south of the border, you don't peso much.

The termite wanted to lose weight, so he started eating more lattice.

I tried reading a book about mazes, but I got lost.

If you have ever tried to eat a clock, you know it's time consuming.

The other day a clown held the door open for me. I thought it was a nice jester.
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Spring is in the air

Spring Wet Plants

If spring isn't in the air where you are, it is in our garage. I'll explain in a post that's not typical for this blog. If you persist to the end of the post, you'll be rewarded with some of my usual humor, though it is also sprinkled throughout. :-)

For many years I have started seedlings in our garage on a shelf in a window that faces south. Last gardening season I ran across a tool I had heard of, but had never seen. It's called Secrets du potager — Paper Pot Maker, by Esschert Design USA. Here's the picture from amazon.com

Paper Pot Maker

Every year, in true pack rat fashion, I have saved the little plastic pots in which I have bought seedlings for our garden. My usual spring routine is to get out some in the best condition and soak them in bleach water to kill any pathogens that might infect the young seedlings. After allowing them to dry, I fill them with potting soil and plant the seeds in them. Once the seedlings are planted out in the garden later in the spring, I toss the plastic pots in a tub and store them till the next year's planting.

I liked the idea of the paper pots. No more bleach water ritual. It would put to use some of the newspaper that has piled up in our garage. And the paper pots would also make planting easier and less disruptive to the tender roots of the seedlings. In the past some of my seedlings have been rather small and have gotten a bit battered in the planting process. With the paper pots you just put the whole thing into the hole, and the paper will rot in the ground and even provide at least a tiny bit of organic material. (EDITORIAL COMMENT: In regards to that, see the comments to this post — some info I didn't know when I wrote this post.)

Here's a picture of the supplies I used to make our paper pots. In the upper left you can see the first 4 pots I made this year.
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