How a Candle and a Pair of Tweezers Saved the Day

Anti-Theft Device

You can buy this anti-theft device at RetailResource.com

“Pinned merchandise helps deter shoplifting”

“Clothing security tags trigger alarms to prevent theft”

“Unique spring gate prevents tampering”

And your twelve-year-old daughter cannot go to the party with one attached to her pant leg!

I actually take issue with claim number 2 because the security tag on the junior pants I bought at Kohl’s for my kid did not set off their alarm. Otherwise I would have taken the pants back into the store and had this %0$^ *!()# thing removed. So my hindsight compels me to tell you to make sure when you check out that all your items are “checked out” for these pesky anti-theft devices. I thought she’d gotten them all. I’m sure she thought she’d gotten them all. I wish she had gotten them all!

My choices? A–drive back to the store, in the snow, in the freezing night air, crumpled receipt in hand and have the customer service person remove said device. Or B–figure out how to get the device off myself without ruining the pants.

I chose Option B and spent about 60 minutes watching “How To” YouTube videos. First I tried the low impact actions like winding a rubber band around the pin to slowly pressure pull the device apart. And, finding the strongest magnets I own and placing them on the back of the device to disengage the device. And, using two adjustable locking pliers on either side of the device and trying to pull apart until I screamed and gave up.


What I ended up doing is as follows:

Device dismantled

This is what the device looks like when you’re done. The button/pin (left side of pic above) was on the front of the device and this is the backside view of the device (right side of pic above).

Step 1: pull back fabric from the device as much as possible.

Step 2: light a taper candle in a holder and place the candle in the sink just in case things get out of hand.

Step 3: hold the raised back of the device over the flame (not the button side) being careful not to burn the fabric.

Step 4: continue to hold until the device over the flame until the plastic gets warm and melty. It may smoke and it may smell.

Step 5: remove the device from the flame and before it cools down, poke around in the melted plastic and pry the little spring out with a pair of tweezers.

Step 6: Once the spring is out the whole device separates into two pieces that you can easily remove from the fabric.


So, let’s be clear I am not advocating for you to start a shoplifting ring nor am I suggesting you burn your house down because you’ve put an item of clothing next to a lit candle. I just offer up my experience and a grateful daughter who got to wear her new pants to a party.

My War with Tofu

Mango Curry with Steamed Rice

Mango Curry with Steamed Rice

Yesterday, I was ready to dive in to lunch. I made it Sunday and since curry always tastes better the next day, I didn’t eat a full serving. Instead, I tasted to make sure it was seasoned well and then packed up six lunch-sized containers. I stacked them in the fridge with high hopes for a tasty experience throughout the week. Give me a good recipe and I can cook anything. I’m not a culinary expert. I am an expert direction follower. And I had followed the directions.

Before I go further, I should mention that I’m vegan. See previous post as to why, here. Thus, there is tofu in this recipe.

Also, this was my third attempt at cooking tofu. My first two attempts were, in short, epic failures.

Attempt #1, I made Tofu Chili (recipe here). I drained the extra firm tofu on paper towels, crumbled it up, and sautéed as instructed. Cooked it in the chili for an hour. Chili tasted great once I picked all the tofu out.

Attempt #2, I made Tofu and Potato Hash Browns (recipe here). Again, I drained and blotted the tofu, cut it up, and sautéed it with the potatoes. Ended up eating the potatoes and leaving the tofu behind. Far, far behind.

Attempt #3, My daughter, who is more “in the know” than me said, “You need a tofu press Mom!”

Need to sear something? Cast iron is my tool of choice.

Got one. Pressed the tofu. Which was kinda fun. Sliced it. Then I was instructed to sear it. Used my cast iron pan for that.

Flipping my little tofu briquettes in my perfectly seasoned cast iron pan went smoothly. No sticking. Just a nice sizzle.

Then I put them into the Mango Curry. Recipe from Thug Kitchen. THE. BEST. EVER. COOKBOOK (Thug Kitchen Cookbook).

The finished product smelled divine! It passed the initial taste test too. But honestly, I did not eat a piece of the tofu just yet. Mostly because I thought the tofu would taste better if it had a chance to soak overnight in the curry sauce.

So back to diving in to my lunch. Did I finally achieve a tofu triumph? Was I on my way to winning the war? How exactly did the tofu taste?

Yeah, well, you know those pink school erasers?

Just in case you forgot what one looks like. Now you know what one tastes like.

Score as of today: TOFU 3, ME 0

Any tofu cooking tips are more than welcome in the comments below.

Eggs Are Not Vegetables, and other things I never thought I’d say.

 

My Stack of Vegan Cookbooks

My Stack of Vegan Cookbooks

Happy New Year! Hope you are all excited about the possibilities for 2017. A new year often comes with resolutions for life changes and I have a story to tell about my own recent life change. It wasn’t a resolution though. It was more of an in-your-face, you-better-do-something-about-this-now crisis…

November 20, 2016 I woke up around 2 AM with the most excruciating abdominal pain. A quick Google search– you know you do it too!– revealed it could be anything from a bad case of gas to appendicitis. Not one to overreact, I took some GasX. I took some Ibuprofen. I took a hot bath.

Finally I had my husband take me to the ER.

One CT Scan later the doctors discovered I had a 9mm kidney stone lodged at the opening of my ureter AND the blockage had caused my kidney to rupture. Urine was spilling into my abdomen. I was admitted immediately, pumped up with fluids and pain killers, and had surgery to insert a stent to bypass the stone so my kidney could heal. Three weeks later my kidney was recovered enough to withstand lithotripsy (a procedure where shock waves are sent through the kidney to break the stone into pieces). One week later another Xray revealed I was clear of the stone and I could finally have the 18″ stent removed.

The hospital, the doctors, the nurses, all took wonderful care of me, but the whole experience humbled me, threw me out of my life for an entire month, and truly knocked some sense into me about taking my body for granted. After talking to my urologist, two dietary changes were in order: drink 2.5-3 liters of fluid per day and eliminate animal protein from my diet. The stone analysis confirmed that my kidneys could respond positively to these changes. There are no guarantees it will eliminate stones forever, but it’s definitely worth a try.

SO I’ve been a vegan now for 45 days. Yep, that means NO meat or animal products (beef, chicken, pork, seafood, fish, eggs, or dairy). Whenever I tell someone, they mostly feel sorry for me. Or they lecture me on how I’m missing out on necessary B12, amino acids, and calcium. Really, not to worry. I’ve got these nutrients covered.

But the funny thing is, I really like the way I feel. I have sooooooo much more energy– like at least ten years younger energy. Insomnia used to be a close, personal friend of mine, but now, I sleep soooooo much better. I’ve lost a little weight (about 8 pounds). My skin is in great shape too. My migraines have reduced in frequency, duration, and intensity. And an interesting side-benefit? My vocal range has improved. I’m a liturgist at my church and sing in an ensemble there, and I have an easier time hitting both the higher and lower notes now.

Ratatouille Vegetables

Ready to make some ratatouille

It’s not always easy, this plant-based way of life. Challenges include 1) cooking for me vs cooking for everyone else, my thirteen year old often comes over to the V-side, but it’s a struggle for the rest of my family; 2) I can’t quite get the hang of tofu–every time I use it, it’s disgusting; and 3) eating out at restaurants. I went to Potbelly Sandwich Shop and ordered an all-veggie salad. It came to me with egg and cheese on it.

“I was told it would only have vegetables,” I said to the young lady at the counter.

“There’s no chicken,” she answered.

I point at the sliced hardboiled egg, “What about this?”

“That’s egg. It’s a vegetable.”

“Umm. No. Eggs are not vegetables. And neither is cheese.” Two things I’d never thought I’d say.

But then again, I never thought I’d say, “I’m a vegan.”