Yesterday afternoon, I left the house around 4:00 p.m. to run a few errands. When I returned at 5:30, the knob on the door between the garage and the house wouldn’t turn. I knocked, thinking the door was locked, but Ted couldn’t turn the knob from the inside either. I took my bags around to the back door, then took the door knob apart to see if I could fix it. Both knobs came off, exposing the inner workings of the latch, but nothing moved and the door refused to open.

The locksmith (Kevin) who came to the house this afternoon said he rarely sees jammed latches, but this was his second one today. What are the odds? He did the same thing I had done: removed both knobs and tried to wiggle the innards. Nothing moved for him either. Luckily, he had some other tricks of the trade.

Kevin inserted flat bladders between the door and the frame, above and below the door knob. Inflating the bladders shifted the door toward the hinges, making it possible for Kevin to insert a screwdriver into the latch hole in the door frame to release the latch. I asked what he would have done if that hadn’t worked and he said, “Saw off the latch bolt. I always get them open.” I like confidence in a professional.

As he was leaving, Kevin said he was going to examine the latch because he wanted to know what jammed it so tightly. I asked him to let me know what he found, because I was curious why it worked fine at 4:00 and wouldn’t budge ninety minutes later.

In the photo below, you can see a flat gray piece of metal in the opening of the cylinder. When he took everything apart, Kevin discovered that the flat gray metal piece had broken in half. Closing the door at 4:00 p.m. yesterday apparently jiggled one of the broken pieces just enough to tip it a little inside the cylinder, preventing it from sliding back through the opening to release the latch. The unanswered question is: What broke it inside the cylinder?

I enjoyed my e-bike so much last fall that I couldn’t wait for a warm winter day to ride it again. There’s a definite wind chill when biking. That feels good when it’s 80 degrees; less good when it’s under 50 degrees. Yesterday and today were the days to ride–upper 50s yesterday and mid-60s (high of 65) today. Whee!

Here I go! Happiness abounds.

While I was riding through a subdivision, I saw an unfriendly–and kind of rude–house. Check out the sign at the front door.

Coming in for my landing after riding 17.5 miles. Maximum downhill speed today was 24.7 mph; average speed was 13.3 mph. It was a workout!

Yes, that was fun. I biked 13 miles yesterday and 17+ today for a total of 30 miles this weekend. Now it’s going to be cold again, but the 10-day forecast looks good for more biking next week. I can’t wait.

Ted is still under orders to limit his activities after his cataract surgery, so he took a walk instead of biking with me. He was waiting for me when I got home, and he took the pictures. I’m sorry he missed the biking fun, but his vision is much better now.

Recent pop-up ads on my tablet have shown “challenging” sudoku games. I like to do sudoku puzzles, so I took some screen shots and printed them just to see if the puzzles in the ads are actually solvable. Good news! They are.

A “normal” sudoku puzzle looks like this.

The rules are that each 9-square block must include the numerals 1-9. The same is true for each 9-square row and for each 9-square column. Within a 9-square block, row, or column, the numerals 1-9 cannot be repeated. The puzzles I printed from the online ads were structured a little differently, but the same rules applied.

This was one of the two puzzles. I added the colored lines to make the three puzzles obvious. It helped keep my eyes focused on the nine blocks I was solving. I quickly noticed that the center 9-square block is shared by all three puzzles, so the center puzzle must be solved first. After that, you solve the other two, but you cannot change any of the numbers entered in the center puzzle.

The second printout was a larger puzzle, apparently only solvable by “real sudoku master.” Again, I figured out that the center square needed to be solved first because it shares its corner squares with each of the other four puzzles. This puzzle was a more challenging level–harder than I enjoy doing–so it took me some time to solve the center puzzle. After that, the other four were pretty simple, maybe because I already had one corner of each already solved.

If the ads are to be believed, I’m a real sudoku master, since I solved both puzzles. Now, back to my real life.

Jeff and La flew to St. Louis last weekend. They were supposed to arrive by 6:00 p.m. and our plans were to go out to dinner. Unfortunately, there were weather (snow) delays in Denver, and they didn’t arrive until about 1:00 a.m. At 9:00 p.m., Ted and I heated some soup for dinner and Jeff and La had airport hamburgers.

Kathy arrived Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, Annette had a bad cold and couldn’t join us. We spent time at our house and at Kari’s house. It’s always good to catch up with each other in person. Sunday afternoon was unexpectedly warm (upper 50s), so it was a good day to take a walk outside.

Indoors, there was time for a variety of board games and some sheephead at Kari’s house.

The young girl with dark hair and glasses is Sky’s girlfriend, June. She’s a brave lady to spend a day with Sky’s extended family, meeting Sky’s grandparents and an aunt and uncle.

There was time to relax, playing online games and sharing pictures of our recent trip to Indonesia, Australia, and New Zealand.

I wasn’t up to full strength yet after developing bronchitis from the brush fire smoke on our trip, so Ted and I decided to have the evening dinners catered. So easy!

And all too soon, the visit was over. Kathy went back to Kirksville; the kids went back to school; Kari and Dean went back to work; and Jeff and La flew back to Montana. Ted and I talked about what a nice weekend it had been. We wish you could have joined us, Thom and Katie.

It went viral on social media. Celebrities and sports teams got into it. The broom challenge was hot. It made the news in USA Today.

The broom challenge has actually been around since 2012 and claims that at the spring and fall equinox, it is possible to make a broom stand alone.

Too bad the broom challenge is based on pseudoscience and false claims. It’s a harmless social media hoax that can be done at any time of the day on any day of the year. The secret to success is the broom’s center of gravity, not the earth’s gravitational pull. Who has time to think up this stuff?

Ted and I went out to lunch last week. At the doorway to the restaurant, we saw daffodils. Yes! The hard, cruel winter is nearly over. This is coming from someone who spent half of the winter season in a warm climate. Not to mention that NOAA reported we’ve just had the warmest winter on record. Still, daffodils. Spring is my favorite season.

Ted and I usually record Jeopardy! so we can watch it at the end of the day. Fast forwarding the ads also brings the show down to about 13 minutes instead of half an hour. One day, there was a category called “Websites” and this clue came up.

Answer: What is a blog? I knew the answer (question?) immediately because is the blog format I use.

It was a clear and sunny day. Suddenly, a brain shock hit. I was cleaning up our vacation photos and transferring them from my laptop to my PC when I noticed a bunch of pictures I thought were cute / interesting and wanted to post on my blog. Here are the “lost” pictures I found.

Seen in Auckland. Perhaps owned by an immigrant from the Badger state?

In British-founded countries, they don’t have trash; they have rubbish. In any country Ted and I have visited overseas, we’ve found public trash / rubbish cans to be rare, and we usually have to hold on to our litter until we get back to our temporary home base–wherever that is.

Window sign on a coffee / hot chocolate house. Check out Ted and me in the reflection on the window.

Our hotel in Auckland not only had an unusual name–M Social–it also had an unusual decorating style. This wall almost made it feel like we were being watched while we relaxed.

It took me a moment (or two) to figure out how to do Roman numeral math, but it works out to the same answer. Try it.

I’ll bet you’ve never seen rest room signs like these.

And what is this thing with peek-through bathrooms? A sliding panel was available to provide some bathroom privacy. Our Bali hotel had the same thing, but there was a glass window with blinds, not an open wall. (Below)

This is a foreign country thing more than a hotel thing, but at breakfast, there was a choice of full or trim milk instead of whole or skim. Also, water is always offered as “still” or “sparkling.” Hint: sparkling water tastes awful!

Travel definitely broadens one’s experiences and viewpoints.

On February 2, Jeff’s blog informed his readers that some of the things “everyone” knows are true might not include full disclosure. Jeff’s example was that eating carrots will improve your eyesight, a line of propaganda with a tiny grain of truth, but actually created to encourage the British population to consume more of England’s plentiful carrot crop.

There are countless other unsupported health-related truths that “everyone” knows, including: breakfast is the most important meal of the day; drink eight glasses of water a day; get eight hours of sleep per night; two thousand calories a day is normal; don’t swim for an hour after eating; you’ll lose more weight by exercising in the morning; and (today’s topic) everyone should walk 10,000 steps per day.

The 10,000-step goal is commonly used as the default for fitness trackers and smartphone apps; however, there is no scientific basis for making 10,000 steps a daily fitness goal. A Harvard professor looked into the origins of the 10,000-step standard. In a May 2019 article, she reported that this measure of fitness appears to have started as a marketing strategy for a Japanese pedometer company in the 1960s. She explained that the company’s product was named the “10,000 step meter” because the Japanese character for 10,000 looks like a person walking.

Scientific studies have shown that for sedentary people, even a modest increase in daily activity can bring significant health benefits. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that healthy people get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week (five 30-minute sessions) or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week (five 15-minute sessions).

The conclusion: as long as we’re active, we can just keep on keepin’ on. No guilt needed for fewer than 10,000 daily steps.

Many dates can be palindromes, but they usually have seven or fewer digits, such as 1-10-2011 or 9-10-19. Today, however, is a rare eight-digit, international palindrome date. Whether you write it month/day/year like we do in the U.S. or day/month/year as many other countries do, it is still a palindrome. The last time this happened was more than 900 years ago on 11-11-1111 and the next time it will happen will be 12-12-2121, 101 years from now. After that, we’ll have to wait 1,919 years for 03-03-3030.

Enjoy it while it lasts.