Thursday, August 30, 2007

Briefly away ...

We are moving, en masse, tomorrow and Saturday, to celebrate J's mother's eighty-fifth birthday.

Our cat went, protesting softly and pitifully, to board while we are gone. She doesn't want to go and she doesn't want to get into the carrier to come home, they tell me. She comes already installed in it, when we bring her home.

We will be glad to see her, Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Welcome edge ...

J does not know his own strength. Proof of this is the fact that he snapped the pull-rope on the gas edger. He claims the rope was old and fragile, which may be. It was in the repair shop and returned today, new rope, new blade, repaired handle, and all.

Grass runners are preparing to shake hands across the front walk, so the edger is a welcome visitor. If only it would Rumba itself out front and roomba the place.

it is too hot, right now, for human beings to try it.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Some days ...

My cell phone was crying so I put it on the charger. Incommunicado is not good. I should have known this.

There had been errands to do early this morning and when I got back home, we found an ad for a really neat folding ladder that is rated for 300 pounds. The ladder was deeply discounted. It also would not fit readily in either of the cars, we thought.

Now, there is a problem with the van. The air conditioning
and the two front windows had quit working simultaneously. It is a 1990 Dodge conversion that needs a harness plug for the ignition switch and also a new switch. The switch is available but the harness plug (cable) is a part that I am still trying to find on the internet. We may have to get a complete wiring harness just to lay hands on that pesky ignition cable. You can imagine that the van sits, mostly, waiting for succor.

That being the case, I asked E if he thought we could go in the van to buy the ladder because the day was overcast and gloomy - not too hot, for a semi-tropical summer day.

"Sure", he said. We could open the triangular vent windows and the side and back windows, hoping for some exchange of air as we drove.

This should not be too bad an experience because the vendor is close by. We drove over, purchased the ladder, and I waited with the wheeled pallet while E went to bring the van up so we could load the ladder inside.

I waited for longer than it should have taken him to drive over to me. I regretted my phone left charging. I could have changed to the spare battery.

I saw E walking back, talking on his phone, and assumed he might have locked the keys in the van. Nope, the battery to the alarm's remote control had quit working. E had telephoned J to bring a spare remote.
While we waited, it started to sprinkle; then it really began to rain.

We waited. It rained even harder. When J arrived with the spare remote, I wetly traded places with him in the car and he and E put the ladder in the van.

I have to admit that, while we were standing at the car window, talking to J about how we should work out the logistics, the car behind him began to honk.
Before I got in the car, I faced the honking driver and gave an exaggerated hands-out shrug and a huge fake grin.

The honking stopped. That, at least, had worked.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Can you hear the wooden leg tapping?

Today is a little pirate's first birthday. Happy Birthday, Michael! He is having a themed party: aarrrr, matey. It's a shame that a parrot named Cuga can not attend and sit on Long John Silver-haired Grandpa's shoulder.

I am the world's worst at remembering birthdays, but this one was announced on his mother's web site. So, I would not have any excuse. I still had to use priority mail, plus prayer, to get the remembrance there on time.

At least, I hope.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Safe as coconuts ...

It looks as if Daniel is headed elsewhere but I can not be happy about it. Just relieved for us and sorry for those in its path. Plus, if it headed this way, we'd have to go out and pick those two coconuts that are still on our tree.

We still haven't made a firm plant 'em or eat 'em decision. There is a pair of coconut palms that leans over the road, on the other side of the canal. They are almost ready to drop their coconut bombs and I skirt around the target area when driving by.

I mean, why ask for it?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

From the corner of the eye ...

We have been glancing sideways at the weather reports for a couple of days. Did you notice Flossie fall to pieces, in the Pacific, when she caught sight of the greenly folded mountains in Hawaii?

Daniel is our little focus of the moment. I bought four more cans of no salt added chicken and twelve boxes of no sugar added cookies. We are prepared. Well, somewhat.

We ate most of the low sodium spam from two years ago. Stock-up time.

On another irrational note, a growing city where an air base used to be (down the 'pike) is going to have a planned power outage tomorrow at seven a.m. They are on their own, separate grid. Could they have planned it any more inconveniently? Either the citizenry has to be completely ready for departure by seven or the hair dryers will stop in midstream. Can you imagine showing up at work with the back half of the hair looking great and the front gel-combed into a 50's Elvis 'do?

Doesn't everyone dry their hair back-to-front? No?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Recycled food... not bad, either

Our crockpot rocks, occasionally. I like putting in all the food at one time and eating when we get the impulse. Frozen, boneless, skinless chicken breasts will cook to doneness on low heat in eight hours, but also to dryness. The recipes all say that you can cook them for six hours on high but I never did that until a couple of days ago.

I layered veggies in the pot, then layered the frozen chicken, sprinkling with spices of choice as each layer went in. Lastly, I used drained mushrooms, two cans of soup, (one cream of chicken w/herbs and one regular cream of chicken, with one water refill for each can) pouring the mix over the top of the layers. Then, we waited six hours, while the high setting did its work.

The chicken, when I took it out of the crock, was just as we like it and was moist. The most interesting result was that the veggies smelled like the best chicken and dumplings, without the dumplings.

We did have some Dreamfields elbow macaroni, though. So, while the chicken rested outside the crockpot, I added a box of macaroni and some boiling water for the pasta to absorb and let the high setting work for 20 minutes more. It was really a winner. But, it gets better.

Next day, we had a huge volume of the veggie mixture
left over, Recycle time. One can of cream of mushroom soup with a can of milk went into a wok-shaped skillet to heat. Adding a cup (more likely it was nearly two cups, I didn't measure) of grated parmesian cheese to the hot soup I stirred until everything was hot through. Then it was mixed it into the cold, leftover veggie with elbows. I chopped the two leftover chicken breasts into it, too. All of this went into a wide, shallow casserole dish which had been liberally sprayed with Pam.

The fridge yielded some no-fat (American) cheese slices along with some garlic/cheese croutons that had been pounded to crumbs and saved for who knows what.

The experimental mixture, topped with the cheese slices, baked at 350 for 30 minutes and then I rotated it in the oven and added the crumbs. Another 20 minutes and it was bubbly with a crusty top.

I have to say, I have never been good at making up recipes on the fly, although sometimes substitutions work out okay.

This was really different on the second day and it didn't feel like eating leftovers. J and I are having leftover-leftovers tonight and really looking forward to it.

I know I mentioned it before, but Dreamfields pasta does not elevate blood sugar. Thanks again to Zeta and M for turning us on to that information.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Rear window ...



It is completed. RV called at two this afternoon to say that the right part (in both senses) had come in. We took the car right over and went back to pick it up an hour later.

Wonderful to be through with this mission.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

The prodigal returns ... sort of

We spoke with our mechanic about wedging the car's window up and taking it home until the window part arrives. He readily agreed and propped it up from inside the door. He left the door cover off (in the back seat) so he won't have to take it apart a second time.

The injured vehicle is now at home doing light duty until the cast comes off. We don't ask it to use the broken wing - so the right rear door remains shut.

Now, there is no negotiation with other drivers before running errands.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Seek cover ...

Here in the semi-tropics, today's sky is overcast and what a difference it makes when you have to go out. No rain, just lovely thick water vapor between me and the sun. Despite the cloud cover, the umbrella was left in the car during the whole excursion.

Do I live dangerously, or what?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Not factoring in the humidity ...

It is 85 degrees at 10:36 p.m. The thermometer on the front porch is probably correct and it would be a bleak situation if we had to sleep without our artificial winter.

When we were youngsters here in the semi-tropics, air conditioning was unheard of in homes. Back then, we were skinny kids who didn't have video games. We could not wait to go outside and play during those long summer days when we weren't cavorting at the beach, fishing in the bay or slinging a baited hook off a causeway.

I caught my first shark and the first of many barracuda, before I reached my teenage years. That was much more exciting than a video game.

Open windows and night breezes ... open windows and the ten o'clock morning easterly. Fans stirred the air in public places. The first air conditioners in theaters and places of business were the beginning of a lifelong addiction to comfort.

We are so much smarter now. Or are we?

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Sometimes trash is just trash ...

We recycle. I was reluctant at first because we had to shoe-horn extra space for the bins. Now we're in the recycle groove.

Well, okay, I admit to throwing the occasional plastic bottle in the trash, by mistake, not thinking, by old habit.

In the spirit of keeping still-good items from being heaved into a landfill, I joined our local Freecycle
TM group. There is no barter, no strings are attached and absolutely no money can change hands. Trash or treasure is a personal decision.

I have successfully freecycled a glass coffee carafe from a defunct Mr. Coffee. A nurse who had broken the one used at her workplace was delighted to meet me and take it. So when our microwave died of old age, I saved the carousel tray to offer on FreecycleTM
. It is still out there, falling ever lower on the list, unwanted.

I should have realized that people break more coffee carafes than carousel trays.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Being of service ...

We are in the process of helping a manufacturer correct a (possibly) defective numbering system for parts. Do we want to do this? We would not have volunteered ....

Twice, the manufacturer has sent the regulator for the left rear window rather than the one we need on the right side. Today, they are overnighting the part numbered for the
left side, to see if the part numbers are reversed in their system. If it is the one we need, the system needs reversing.

I doubt if we will be given any credit for our assistance, monetary or otherwise.

Stay tuned ....