I’M JUST CURIOUS: Baby’s day

by Debbie Walker

My family just enjoyed celebrating a very important first birthday this past weekend. It was held in my daughter’s backyard.

If you came you would see the kitchen was still busy prepping food like peanut- butter and jelly sandwiches shaped like a star fish and chicken salad sandwich shaped like a clam shell (crescent roll). The punch was ocean color.

The birthday cake is the lower part of a mermaid made with cupcakes (great idea, less mess). This next one was a new one on me, there was another small cake, and I am told this is a Smash Cake. Smash?

Finally, the family feels safe enough to introduce their baby girl to her family. From the last few months of the mother’s pregnancy until long after birth they have been pretty much isolated. The party was planned for May 1. But because of several members of the family coming down with COVID, it was postponed to June 5.

I know a lot of people have experienced suffering in various forms because of this horrid virus. My granddaughter told me she had felt robbed. She was robbed of a lot or special memories before the birth. There were so many things she feels she missed with this being her only pregnancy.

When it got closer to her due date her mom didn’t even visit anymore, so even her mom lost out on some of the experiences that could have been. She had been involved in quite a few births since she is a wonderful coach and yet she couldn’t even coach her own daughter. After 28 hours the baby was delivered Caesarian. After all that there were more weeks of isolation. Anyway, you get the idea.

Oh yeah… A smash cake is for the baby. They put her in her high chair with just a diaper on and planted her hand right on top of the cake and smash. She got the idea of the whole thing. She ate a couple bites and then it was all fun. Hopefully, I can add the picture.

Of course, I did a little exploring about first birthdays and come out of it with this: “It’s not about the baby. It’s about the two people and their family that surround those people that helped the baby grow happy and healthy. The baby recognizes the people gathered around. They can feel the positive energy to know this is a good thing.”

Proof that it really isn’t for the one-year- old baby, in the back yard there was a huge waterslide. The kids and the adults had a great time on that thing. The little bitty kids had a little pool and a little slide of their own. All had a great time.

Every family has their story to tell about this time frame. Right now, I wouldn’t want anyone to think I am trying to make light of anyone’s situation. What I am finding is by listening I am learning.

I’m just curious about what you are hearing. For any questions or comments reach me at DebbieWalker@townline.org . Thank you for reading and have a great week!

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Lifetime of our products

by Debbie Walker

There have been times when I have wondered just how long some products last. The article I read may not have had some of the products I was interested in, but they may interest you. The information was from an HGTV Magazine, written by Colleen Sullivan.

The article starts out with Aloe Vera gel. Once the bottle is opened it is good for about 12 months. The best place to keep it is in the refrigerator. It’s protected from sunlight and feels good when you put it on your skin.

Plant Bulbs can live for 10-15 years. Some bulbs need to be fertilized in the fall and others need to be dug up and stored before the first freeze.

Cast iron pans can last for generations if you do gentle cleaning. It should be done with warm water and a non-scratch nylon scrubber. Do not leave in water for extended time.

Deli-meat is good for up to five days. If the meat doesn’t come home in a zip lock bag, as soon as you get home it needs to be done. It’s best if stored in your refrigerator’s deli-meat drawer. Temperature stays steady longer.

Gum: I’ve never thought much about it but the article said 14-18 months. I don’t think I’ve ever kept any that long. It says the sweeteners lose their flavor and it’s hard to chew. So if it’s been in the bottom of your pocket book for two years, don’t chew it!!

Water heater: Why do people refer to it as a “hot” water heater? It’s a heater, certainly not to make it cold. Oh well, anyway, the article says the tank one can run up to 12 years and the tankless can last 15 years. They should be checked each year when you are doing the annual heating system check-up. Maintenance is key to how many years get.

A funny one to me is the store-bought Popsicles are good up to 18 months because they do have preservatives. Home made is only about three weeks.

Have you wondered about your gallon jugs of water? They can last indefinitely. Store in a cool area not near chemicals like paint thinner.

An open bottle of wine (red) is good for three to five days. The white wines are good after opening for four to five days. See, so you really should finish your wine so as not to be wasteful.

Petroleum Jelly is good for up eight years. If you have put your fingers into it while you have a cold or virus you really should throw it out.

Vitamins are good for up three years. They should be kept out of the light, not on counters, etc. Light can weaken their potency.

X-acto knives. Now that is a subject I have(n’t) wondered about. I just figured when the blade gets dull it’s time to trash them.

I am just curious if you know any other miracle numbers you might share. Contact me with any questions or comments at DebbieWalker@townline.org

P.S. This weekend is my first great-grandchild’s first birthday. Addison Grace won’t understand much of anything going on this weekend other than she is just having fun. But the rest of us will just be glad the numbers of Covid are down enough that we can celebrate her birthday and to celebrate being able to party at all.

Thanks for reading and have a great week.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: A little more salt

by Debbie Walker

Hi everyone! I used a reference about using salt to gargle a sore throat and a white warm salt sock to ease an infected ear. I did find that one as interesting. I am really surprised no one told Mom about it when my brother and I had earache problems as children.

Anyway, there were also other uses for salt and the miracle cures. Deborah Tukin was the author of the article in Farmer’s Almanac 2020. I hope you enjoy reading this kind of information because I do enjoy passing it on. It’s become a bit of an interest to me how the old remedies and uses are coming back into the homes all these years after modern chemicals hit the shelves.

I seem to remember in my earlier years our home cabinets and shelves were not loaded down with all the products as might be today. I am happy to see things go back to the basic and ‘old’ ways. What are some of the old remedies of your families as household uses?

Okay, back to salt!

Heat Exhaustion: in hot weather heat exhaustion can be the result of salt depletion or dehydration. Stir one teaspoon of sea salt into a liter of water and sip. Needless to say, get to a cooler place, remove shoes, maybe lie down, and use an ice pack for face and neck.

Dehydration: For those hot sweaty times you need to replace electrolytes and increase energy, make your own sports drink (maybe not Gatorade). To 8-ounces of filtered water, add a teaspoon of raw honey, protein powder and a pinch of Himalayan Sea salt. Stir and drink.

Allergies, sinus infection or a cold:

Seashore: Yes, a seashore might be just what we need. It’s low in pollen, that makes it great for allergy sufferers. Salty air is also great for healing sinus infections. Swimming in ocean speeds the healing of minor cuts and pimples. I will add that I was told years ago that letting your dog paddle around a bit does a number on any fleas.

There are many uses for salt around the home. You will find plenty of uses on your computer or in books and magazines. It is still important to do a little of your own research.

Yesterday I was painting my shelf and wound up with paint on myself. I kept painting, it dried and did not want to come off later. BUT guess what I discovered. I remembered something I read about using coconut oil to get the paint off. IT WORKS! It really does. I guess I need to look up other uses for it.

Today I had my follow-up for my urinary surgery about three weeks ago. I had a visit with Christy, the representative of the maker of my little bladder miracle. She explained that once the work was done the next thing is to find the right program setting for me. It was just a little trial and error. I am happy to say we have found my happy place! If any of my story sounds familiar to you, don’t torture yourself anymore. It’s just not necessary. Good luck.

I am just curious what thoughts or ideas you are hiding, share with me. I have shared with you. And I can keep secrets! Please send any questions or comments my way at DebbieWalker@townline.org. Have a great week and thanks for reading!

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Little tidbits of information

by Debbie Walker

The other night I was flipping through my 2020 Farmer’s Almanac for the 100th (at least) time since I bought it last fall. I would have told you, if asked, that I had studied that volume front to back and there would be no surprises left for me in that issue. I discovered I was wrong. I had indeed missed something. I missed two of what I consider the funniest advertisements.

Let me first tell you I did not know the word “Biffy” is another term for toilet or outhouse. It may have come from the term Bivouac. This is a temporary military camp. The “Biffy Bag” was believed, in this description, to have been a carrier for the soldier’s toiletries. However, that is not the reason for the ad I saw.

The “Biffy Bag” advertisement I saw shows a cartoon picture of its use.

Next ad I saw was directly beside the Biffy Bag. This one is promoted by a company called “PStyle”. The ad reads “PStyle: A ‘Stand to pee’ device ideal for woman who work and play outside. The thing to me looks like a swim flipper, just a little smaller. I haven’t figured out just how easy or difficult this would be. I am still thinking a collapsible funnel with a tube attached would work!

I am sorry, I am sure some of you may be thinking how tacky this is. I admit that when I finished my last article about my Urinary Adventure, I had no plans to travel with anything else along that line. But this info was visible to me and I couldn’t resist.

Since I am still in that arena I may as well add that the surgery seems to have been a great success. Needless to say, I am thrilled. I will be going back to see the surgeon/urologist on May 26. Please don’t hesitate to contact me anytime.

There was an article in that same issue about salt being a miracle cure. It was written by Deborah Tukun. We always used salt to gargle when we had a sore throat. I am surprised my mom didn’t know about the cure for infected ears.

I always had trouble with ear aches and infections. Possibly that information was unavailable when we were kids. It is done with a warm ‘salt sock’. The warm salt sock is a do-it-yourself treatment. It creates a shift in the pressure within the ear, draws fluid out and eases the pain. There are boughten pillows or you can make one with a WHITE sock. It has to be white, no dyes.

You will need one white, cotton sock and 1-1/2 cups of coarse sea salt. Pour into a white sock and tie end in a knot. Heat in a clean, dry skillet over medium/low heat (NEVER a microwave) for about 4 – 6 minutes. Shake it around to make heat even. Heat till very warm, test on your arm to make sure it’s not too warm. Cover ear and jaw line and relax. I have never tried this so please do your own research.

I’m just curious what you thought was most useful in this column. Contact me at DebbieWalker@townline.org.

Thanks for reading and have a great week.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Another adventure: chapter 2

by Debbie Walker

Last week I started telling you about my urinary adventure. As I told you it can affect men and women. All I know about the men is they are generally whinier than women (we know that, right, girls?). When you read these adventures, please know that I am only talking about my experience and you would have to research for your own situation with your doctor.

I went to a urologist to find an answer to my embarrassing subject. We did the questions and answers. I was scheduled to have some sort of urinary test. It would tell what kind of treatment would work the best for me. Did it.

Next was another office visit to discuss the route best suited to me. We decided that would be the Medtronic Bladder Control Therapy delivered by the InterStim System. (That’s a mouthful.)

Last week I had a procedure that is considered a test to see if a permanent placement was possible, would work for me. It involves wires and batteries! I tell everyone I am the Energizer Bunny. The doctor numbs an area just higher than the butt cheek on both sides and inserts two wires into the bladder. They hook the wires to a small battery pack that is taped to that side. In my case it was decided the left side would work.

After they complete the procedure, the instructions were given to me. I had to keep a diary of the effectiveness of this system. It was a way for the urologist to see just how well the system worked for me. A home nurse was sent to me for a visit for a few days. She looked over the diary, checks the wiring is staying in place and answers any questions I had.

When I went back into the office it was decided that “Yes, indeed, it worked”. So, the doctor scheduled my permanent placement for this past week. Yehaw! I was ready.

We basically started out like the test procedure, but it gets a little more involved since they are now implanting the wires and a small battery pack. This required me to be put to sleep for a little bit. It was an early morning surgery, so I was ready for a nap.

When I woke, I was observed a little longer and then allowed to get dressed. Once finished with that I met with a representative of the Medtronic company who again walked me through the process and follow-up. Then I was released for home. Once home I napped until the home nurse showed up again.

The reason there is so much repetition of the information is you are learning how to control the remote control. There are possibly some small changes you will want to make to the process. It will all be explained to you. If you are familiar with the Tends unit, you could compare the two.

Everyone was so much help, so kind and considerate. And it has been an interesting adventure. Find some things that you enjoy doing that don’t involve lifting, bending, twisting, stretching or any sexual activity until told you can resume. And I must tell you it has all been worth it.

I am curious how many others have kept their secret. Contact me with questions or comments at DebbieWalker@townline.org, or call The Town Line and leave a message for me to call you. Have a wonderful week and thanks so much for reading.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Another “embarrassing” adventure

by Debbie Walker

This adventure is a little different than previous ones. Not much mileage involved in this one. I decided to share this adventure with you as another personal Public Service Announcement. It may seem a bit embarrassing to tell, yet that is exactly why I am sharing. Please do share the information.

Some of us girls and guys may have never shared any of the steps of this little adventure. It’s a shame something so natural is so embarrassing. My hopes, for my experience, is to shed some light on this subject. Any groups who would like me to speak on this subject just let me know.

For years this whole process has been building. It all started with little leaks from sneezing, coughing, or laughing. Now that is embarrassing enough but after awhile my friends and I would laugh and share stories about the experience (don’t know if guys ever do). And of course, life with panty liners became important. My secrets became an issue with traveling on land and air, that’s when the more substantial pads were worn for travel and anytime, I was to be from home for too many hours.

Time moves on, the matter appears to get worse, and I begin to realize I don’t always have much of a warning or urge. Then it gets worse. It builds up, I guess, I didn’t feel my bladder fill but did feel it when I would stand, and realize it was too late to get to the lady’s room before it released. As time rolls on and you are still too embarrassed to have an intelligent conversation with a doctor or anyone else, you move into the “monster rag” (Oops, proper language is pad. It should be no surprise to you that sometimes I can be sarcastic.)

I did chat with my primary care doctor at one point, and she put me on a medication that I think helped for a little while. Everyone is different. Recently, I became desperate.

It was one thing to avoid shopping. The panic of not being able to go to a grandchild’s function or not being able to overnight in someone else’s bed because the unthinkable happens is what sent me to a urologist.

The doctor asked a lot of questions about medical history and medications. Something from all these questions could possibly be the answer to my problems. I believe it’s thought that a medication I take could possibly be the answer, but it wasn’t.

The doctor told me I had two options to consider. I really can’t tell you much about the option I did not choose, just that it did not appeal to me. I would like to continue with information about the process I chose in the next couple of columns. But I will tell you that I can already see improvement.

I can’t tell you how important communication is, in so many parts of our lives. This is just another one of the important ones. Communication is discussing the real problem, and listening is also a big part of the process.

I am just curious if this is a subject you need to talk about. Contact me with questions and comments at DebbieWalker@townline.org. I’ll be waiting. Have a wonderful week. Thank you for reading.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Let’s start with the “firsts”

by Debbie Walker

Yes, today let’s start with “Firsts”. First such as diets (shoot that guy), first electric car (it wasn’t recently), First bottled water, First 911 call, and First UFO sighting (my grandmother had her theories).

So, the first diet printed was from William Banting in 1863. Mr. Banting was struggling with his 5-foot 4-inch body weighing in at 202 pounds. The food plan that worked for him was a low carbohydrate, high protein diet. He published a pamphlet, Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public. (Corpulence is another word for fat! Why not just say fat, we all recognize that word! I can say such because I suffer from it as well.) Diet experts are still tweaking the Banting Diet to this day. There are many new diets offered every day.

Did you know that 130 years ago, electric cars outsold gas powered vehicles? The first U.S. car dealership in 1896 sold only electric cars. It seems like there is a question as to who created them, one of three from 1832 to 1834. In 1907 there was an illustrated guide to autos that listed 69 different electric vehicles from around the country. It looked as if the electric car would become the new standard. Toyota Prius was not the first hybrid. It was Ferdinand Porsche nearly 100 years before using the same charging principle.

It’s likely a combination of cheap gasoline, the electric starter for gas powered cars, improved roads and perhaps the failure of the electric vehicle joint ventures between Henry Ford and Thomas Edison.

All right then, we will move onto the First Bottled Water. Bottling water for sale goes back to 1622 north of London, United Kingdom. Water was coming up through the cracks of granite, what became the Holy Well Bottling plant. It was thought this water had healing properties. It was bottled and sold. In Switzerland in the late 1700s selling carbonated spring water was successful. After that it lost its popularity until plastic bottles were invented. And since 2009 the original Holy Well was purchased and restored and is back in production if you would like to try some.

Next, I’m passing on some information about the First 9-1-1 call. It was February 16, 1968, in Haleyville, Alabama. The National Association of Fire Chiefs called for the creation of a universal emergency number in 1957.

Next up is the First UFO sighting. Would you believe Puritan settlers in 1639 were the first to report the strange flashes of light in the night skies after watching for about two to three hours. In 1897, in Texas, a reporter reported sightings. The term flying saucer originated in 1947 when a pilot reported seeing nine boomerang-like objects flying through the sky.

If you are interested in more information on these Firsts, use your computer and go to FarmersAlmanac.com. I have had more fun reading their huge variety of subjects and info. They are not all weather and gardening, as you can tell from reading my little excerpts of their Fabulous Firsts. Type in a subject of interest and see if one of their writers was interested as well.

I’m just curious what you will look for. Please, any and all comments or questions send to DebbieWalker@townline.org. Thank you for reading and have a great week!

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Bits and pieces

by Debbie Walker

Some of these pieces you may know about and some you may be introduced to today. My hope is you find usefulness and hopefully a little humor, too, in what I am going to share with you. Most of this information is coming from the 2020 Farmer’s Almanac.

We’re going to start out with a couple Helpful Hints:

Reusable Storage: Don’t throw away any of those cardboard carriers of a 6-pack. You can use one for the cookouts. Use the individual holes for carrying ketchup, mustard, mayo and other things necessary. OR Use one for crafting or kids activities to hold supplies.

Home Spa: Tie a bunch of fresh eucalyptus to your shower head and let the smell turn your shower into an invigorating way to start the day. (It is said to open nasal passages).

Bug Bite Relief: (The bugs will return soon!) Soak a cloth in a mixture of two tablespoons of Epsom salt in one cup of water. Wring out and hold cloth over the bite for several minutes.

Plastic Snow Sled: (Summer use) Use a plastic snow sled with a rope lead to haul your camping gear from the car to your site. You can also use it for carrying planting supplies and tools around the yard, from one site to another.

Have you ever wondered about eating insects? (Me neither, but it’s kind of funny):

Crickets: Remove legs; dry roast, fry, or stir fry. There is also such a thing as cricket flour. I don’t have any, how about you? Oh, and you can get them at a pet store.

June Bugs/Beetles: Fry in oil/butter with shallots. (Oh, bummer, I am all out of shallots!)

Ants: Can be roasted in a dry pan and added as a flavoring or crunchy topping to other dishes. (If you ever wondered what to do about the ants I’ll bet you never thought to cook them up for a new taste!)

Pill Bugs (Sow Bugs): These insects are related to lobster and shrimp. Boil or sauté briefly in butter.

CAUTION: Avoid insects with bright yellow, red, or orange markings. Be aware of areas sprayed with pesticides. (And please check for more information before you try any of these things, please.)

Camping Hacks:

Bring two coolers – one for just the drinks and the other for food.

Duct tape: Always bring it. It has helped us out with medical problems and patching holes, use your imagination.

Tic Tac Containers: Fill them with your favorite seasonings. Use permanent marker to write what’s inside.

Fruit Flies: Fill a small bowl with apple cider vinegar plus two drops of liquid dish soap. Mix well. Fruit flies will be drawn to the bowl… and to their demise.


It doesn’t require many words to speak the truth.

Spring is when you feel like whistling even when your shoe is full of slush.

A snowflake is winter’s butterfly.

Aspire to inspire before you expire.

Some people only like the changes that jingle in their pocket.

I am just curious if you found any bits or pieces useful. Let me know, contact me at DebbieWalker@townline.org. I hope you found some things to smile at. Thank you for reading and have a great week.

I’M JUST CURIOUS: Let’s chat

by Debbie Walker

Grab your coffee, wine, etc., and let’s chat. Let’s start with electric fryers. Do you have one? Please write and tell me how you got used to it. I could use all the help I can get. I killed the hamburgers tonight. It’s not fair to the meat. It already died once. I am certainly glad I wasn’t cooking for a guest tonight.

I am only guessing but I am hoping the size of the fryer makes a difference. My friends all have the larger fryers, they are all cooking for families and gatherings. Mine is much smaller and I am not much of a cook in any form.

No, I am not much of a cook. Oh, I got by over the years, no one in my family died of starvation, nor did they die from anything I fixed for a meal.

I was more interested in baking but, even then, there was nothing fancy. Cookies, cakes, and occasionally I would try my hand at making a pie. I especially liked the “Impossible” pie made with Bisquick. That pie made its own crust!! I don’t know how long it’s been since I have made one of those.

There may come a day when I will try my hand at another bread pudding. I just can’t find one down here that I like. I bought one a couple of weeks ago and I know what kind of bread they used but it was nasty! Another one I looked at had that sugary glaze stuff on top.

Is it really necessary to glaze everything? I love chocolate donuts, but it is hard enough to find a chocolate one and if you do it almost always been covered in glaze or chocolate frosting. Yuck.

Frosting, that’s another ‘yuck’! Have you noticed how thick the frosting is on cakes and cupcakes? “Designer” cupcakes. Oh, please. That ranks right up there with “Designer” dogs. Mutts.

Have you seen or can you imagine the size of a stove and oven in a recreational vehicle, that is, except for the campers the size of a house? Let me assure you my camper is not one of those. Oh yeah, and my oven hasn’t worked since I moved into it in July. That’s no hardship here.

If I really needed an oven my daughter gave me her toaster oven that takes up half of my counterspace (the air fryer takes up the rest of the counter). If I get time someday, I may try something. I may have to make my own bread pudding or maybe a meatloaf. Who knows. They say miracles do happen.

That’s enough for one week. I am just curious if you would send me some of your own “kitchen” stories. Please send them to DebbieWalker@townline.org along with any questions or comments. Thank you for reading and have a great week!

I’M JUST CURIOUS: My latest lesson

by Debbie Walker

Yes, that’s right. I am going to pass along my latest lesson. I hope you will forgive me if it, in no way, is of use to you, but it goes like this: Last Thursday I was driving down a busy road and I heard a noise. It was my phone. Somehow my phone picked out and dialed a number. Fortunately, I saw the name on the screen before he answered so I didn’t look completely foolish, not knowing who “I” called.

The number belonged to my friend of many, many years. Truthfully, as near as I can figure, it’s about 46 years. George and his wife, at the time, were my daughter’s first teachers, pre-kindergarten.

Over these past 46 years we have always stayed in touch. We have traveled together, my family followed George and his family in moving to Florida, also.

We have been there for each other’s good times, especially for the worst times, when we really needed non-judgmental caring support.

What I didn’t explain was when I spoke to George that day he told me he was in the hospital thanks to Covid. We had stories we laughed about. Our conversation was just like so many we have had in the past. The only thing different was the Covid factor.

About 24 hours later I got one of the saddest calls ever. George had died. All that made him George was gone, left this world. His heart gave out. No one has a kinder, gentler heart than George. Now this world is missing that big, loving, caring heart that was there for 36 years of high school students.

There will be a celebration of life for him this weekend. Sadly, I have to opt out of going. I have tried to ignore this Covid mess, but I can’t attend. In my world there are three ladies, 81 years old, 87 years old and 90 years old. I spend a lot of time with them, and I don’t want to be responsible for causing them to worry.

One thing I didn’t expect was this has been an eye opener, the reality of life and in this case, death. In years past we would go home to Maine to visit and one year we lost a family member, a grandparent. Later it became aunts and uncles and parents, even a brother. And all the while daily life goes on, school, jobs, bills, etc.

Since George passed, I have wanted to gather all my friends and family to tell them how much I love them and even thought about begging not to ever leave. Short of that I guess all I can do is let them know I love them.

Before you have to say goodbye to someone be sure to tell them now. It will never seem enough but at least it will be said. Talk about real stuff, don’t text, meet in person whenever you can. I know we spoke of love often, George and my family.

Don’t get down in the dumps after reading this, just get busy. “I love you.” Just three important words, when you mean them, say them.

I’m just curious if you have found anything interesting in this column. If you want to share anything I am ready to read. Send your words to DebbieWalker@townline.org.

Thank you for reading. Have a great week.