Thursday, December 23, 2010

There are very few things this Christmas that follow our usual customs for the celebration of Jesus birth. We are in a different place with a different aim in view.

There are things outside that are brown and leafless, but not dead. There are brown crispy things that blew off the brown not-dead things. These crispy things are all over the neighborhood, making a mess.

I am so confused by the weather. At home, 57 degrees is miserable. Here it is a winter heat wave.

Jacket? Sweater? Coat? All of the foregoing? What to wear? Will ice crystals climb into little, jagged mountain ranges on the roof of the Camry? Will ice sheets clatter and break under the wipers?

What is wrong with the weather at this end of the state?

Monday, December 13, 2010

My name's not Grace - for a reason . . .

J's mother has a wooden walkway from the back entry of her house to the mother of all garden/storage sheds out back. This was because at the age of 88, she wanted to be sure she had a stable surface underfoot when she went out there.

A few days ago, J had transported some glass blocks out to the storage area in the shed and was, uh, storing them there. I went out to see the shed. It still fascinates me to have that monster available. One might house refugees in less space. I followed the walkway out, stepped up the ramp to the little landing at the shed's doorway and tripped off the edge of the platform and down onto two large but empty boxes he had thrown there temporarily.

The boxes broke my fall nicely and I had my usual involuntary reaction when viewing or taking part in a pratfall. I lay there giggling. I still grin when I think of the grace displayed.

The heating pad is taking care of the sore shoulder nicely, thank you . . .

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Anniversary, J!

BigEd has been generous enough not to share the bug he has contracted. So far, anyway. We laid in a new supply of Purell, yesterday, and my fingernails are about to dissolve from all of the hand washing.

He is taking his antibiotic. There is some light showing at the end of his tunnel. He stayed home on Thanksgiving so as not to share with a larger group. Zeta kindly sent him a care package of really good feastings. I have to say, I helped him out with the stuffing - just a little bit.

We will finish up today with turkey and yellow rice for dinner. There is not much that yellow rice can not improve for us, leftover turkey being prime in that group.

When I was slicing the turkey breast on Thursday, I dropped a bit by accident. Mew was watching but forbore to dash in and grab it. I don't allow her in the kitchen when I am cooking. She knows she is welcome any other time. Smart kitty. So I dropped the forbidden piece in her food bowl.

It was Catsgiving, after all . . .

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Up, up, and away

It's early and quiet. I plan to be at the store when it opens to pick up a few things. (Okay, pecans which I forgot to buy.) I had failed to find turkey wings at my local Publix, which is small. Zeta called me while she was shopping in the mega-Publix near her work and I asked her to look. It was so crowded she pulled her basket instead of pushing it in some places. I felt badly for asking but she cheerfully braved the crush of people and found some. Yaayy, Zeta!

The wings will be boiled with onion, celery, seasonings, and carrots to make stock for stuffing and gravy. If they are boiled until they are a tasteless bony mush, all the flavor moves into the stock. Discard those tasteless solids, though. I think even our cat would turn up her nose if I offered them.

However this is not Catsgiving, so I won't . . .

Saturday, November 20, 2010

The wrong side of the crossbucks

I took the train back home. In my little(!) roomette were two chairs that faced one another and which could recline until each one was absolutely flat, touching to become a bed. The conductor pulled out (and down) the chair facing my chair and put a towel across the seat so I could use it as a footstool and still keep my shoes on. If you locked the door and pulled a curtain across it, your roomette became a private bathroom with a sink that folded down to fill and up to empty. Beneath a step which swiveled up was a commode - hidden but welcome for a long trip.

Of course, our family's usual experience held true: as in when we buy something, it goes wrong (or breaks) and is replaced with a substitute that is great. When I showed my ticket stub to the attendant who was supposed to tell me where car 9710, room 2 was located, he looked perplexed.

"We already have someone in 2," he half muttered to a fellow trainman standing next to him. He turned to me and asked if I had already had breakfast and offered to show me to the dining car while they made up a room for me.

There, I learned two things. Eating aboard a moving train is fun. But, eating while sitting on the side of the table moving backwards is not. I switched sides so as to face the direction of travel and scarfed up a hot breakfast. I was, so I was told, the person that closed the kitchen. Last to eat before lunch.

It was a strange experience to sit on the wrong side of the crossbucks at a level crossing and watch the traffic pile up while waiting for us to move. I felt like waving but settled for sipping some coffee, instead. Oh yes, there was an ever full coffee dispenser at the end of the car. I learned to get refills while the train was not moving very fast. I once found myself surfing from wall to wall down the smooth sides of the narrow corridor while trying to keep the coffee inside its lidded cup.

I did the crossword in the newspaper that was provided but it looked as if someone who was over a hundred years old had written it out. Trains tend to shake, rock, and roll. So did the handwriting. I was worried about being able to read but that was not a problem. I believe I could read while hanging by my thumbs. It's a vice.

Next time, I will bring water and more snacks. The two bottles of water in the window cup holders held maybe half a cup each. There was lunch provided but I left the dining car before dessert in sheer self preservation. The waiter stopped me and asked if I was sure I wanted to leave without dessert.

No, I wasn't, but I did anyway . . .

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Arrival, yay!

Jarden Corporation sent us the 18" Patton fan. It arrived yesterday afternoon. Unlike our previous fans, we had to assemble the base. Or rather, J did. It is working fine and I want to say a huge


to the customer service department at Jarden Corporation. They do care about their customers.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Lose some, win some, but which?

We have received a reply from Jarden Corporation about our deceased and un-guarantee-supported Patton fan. Via an email, we have been offered a replacement fan. It is a 20 inch fan: not exactly like the one that died the death. We don't care, at this point, whether it is a Patton clone or not. Just that, hopefully, it will be more quiet.

We have replied, again via email, to Jarden Corporation that we would be delighted with their solution to our problem. We are waiting to hear what will happen next. There was an automated reply. We should hear something more informative shortly, in say, one to two working days.

Jarden, we're anticipating your reply. Anticipation . . .

Monday, October 11, 2010

Not a bucket list item, but still . . .

Today I achieved one goal that has eluded me.

First you have to be aware that CVS has ICaps vitamins on sale for buy one/get one half price.

After the half off discount, I used
$5 Extra-Bucks-off-a-$25-purchase; $2 Extra Bucks; and two (count 'em, two) $2 manufacturer's coupons for ICaps which were printed from the internet.

Bottom line? $40 worth of eye vitamins cost

I finally made a profit with coupons . . .

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Time . . .

Tomorrow is the mphphth anniversary of Zeta's birth. We are celebrating this momentous event a day early. Because we can? Surely.

I cast my mind back to the actual day, remembering what I was doing before going to the hospital but after the start of labor. I was doing laundry, of all things, and reading "Auntie Mame." In fact, one of those two accompanied me when we finally decided it was time to travel toward the medical people who were becoming more important as time and labor progressed.

I read that book until things got really serious and it did help to pass the time. Dads were not allowed in attendance, then. It was a solo performance. Well, solo except for the woman in the next bed who kept moaning aye-yi-yi at intervals. I determined not to repeat her verbal performance.

In due time, Zeta decided she would make her appearance. I was told that during her debut in the nursery, she lifted her head and shoulders off the sheets, doing a little mini push-up. I didn't even know a newborn could do that.

She has stayed ahead of the curve all her life . . .

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

They eat snakes, too . . .

The flock was in possession of the swale in front of the house when I stepped out to see what the weather was like. One of the benefits of living in the semi-tropics? Yes, in addition to having toads try to make themselves at home inside the house.

I prefer these . . .

PS: If you know what they are, please let me know. I thought they were Cattle Egrets but they're not. Cattle Egrets don't seem to have the long curved bill. I did see a flock of these fighting over possession of a snake, a few of years ago, in our back yard. They were welcome to it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

SHRINKING, Shrinking, shrinking . . .

CVS has taken a hefty swing at consumers' wallets. There is now a cap of $40 per year for the amount of CVS Extra Bucks one can accumulate by filling prescriptions through the CVS pharmacy.

I telephoned the 800 number on the back of the CVS rewards card to ask why my quarterly Extra Bucks coupon printout was for $5.50, instead of four times that amount. Turns out we maxed out our cap limit in January.

When the Rep began to blame the rules governing controlled substances as being the reason for the change, I just held the receiver away from my ear so I would not be tempted to engage in the conversation any further. Or, perhaps, laugh at his tap-dancing routine. I was polite. I thanked him and hung up.

Because we used the Extra Bucks rewards to pay for OTC items, I had ignored a difficult parking situation and the long waits for service. No longer. I am now a free agent.

So, Walgreens, speak to me. I'm listening . . .

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Been greans . . .

We had green beans for dinner. This is a big deal for me because BigEd is away for the day. He is not a fan of green beans. In fact, when I do make them, he makes a heroic effort to consume a reasonable amount. Subsequently, I feel guilty for subjecting him to the attempt.

There is revenge of a sort, however. I made too many. We have been grean leftovers . . .

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Lookin' up?

Today, that brightness is back. I forget what it's called. You know, that thing that makes the morning light up?

It's back. I don't know how long it plans to visit but I am really happy to see it. So are the hibiscus and the roses.

They look happy too . . .

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Lose some, lose some . . .

In 1986, we bought an 18 inch Patton Fan. We used it, off and on, until 1991 when it bit the dust. We sent it back to the Patton people. We bought a 20 inch Patton to replace it while it was gone. But the 20 inch fan moved too much air, we thought. So when the 18 inch fan was repaired and returned, we packed the 20 inch-er back in its box and stored it away.

The 18 inch fan had originally come with, believe it or not, a lifetime guarantee. The 20 inch fan came with a 10 year guarantee. I guess a lifetime was too long to think about having to deal with the same customers, over and over. At any rate, when it was sent for repair, all the Patton people wanted was the model number and date code from the motor of the 18 inch fan and they knew right away that it bore a lifetime guarantee. It was a pleasure to do business with them. They just knew what to do and they did it.

Recently, that 18 inch fan stopped working again and I called the Patton 800 number. Turns out that Patton has been bought out by the Jarden Cororation.

If we had the guarantee which came with the fan and could provide them with a copy, they would honor it for up to 25 years. And no, they didn't maintain Patton's old repair and purchase records when they took over, or so I was told.

I'm still thinking about it. So far, the score is Jarden Corporation - 1 : Ranger - zero. Because when Patton proved to be so responsive the first time we needed repair, we stopped keeping track of the Lifetime Guarantee Certificate. We can't locate it and we have looked.

That 20 inch fan sure does move a lot of air. And we do have the out-of-date, 10 year guarantee certificate on that one. Wouldn't you know?

Thursday, September 23, 2010


BigEd wanted to get up early this morning, say around 7 am. He wanted to do some trimming with the alligator lopper while the day was still cool.

We have had several days when the official broadcast of the Farenheit-High Lie was one degree under 90. Our digital thermometer on the front porch begged to differ. The temperature readout in the car agreed with it. So, up early.

At BigEd's request, I set my internal alarm when I went to sleep last night. At 5:30 am, the eyelids popped open and I got up, mentally berating the early wake-up.

When I looked outside, it was raining mistily. No early yard work possible.

How sad for BigEd. Heh.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wash your hands, after . . .

When the urge strikes to clean something, I had better act quickly before the urge passes. When the urge is to vacuum, special speed is necessary because that urge can be really fleeting, sometimes.

Today, the upright just wanted to move the surface dust around and not ingest it. The little red light which indicates that there is still dirt left to be cleaned up refused to turn green even when not down on the rug at all.

This indicates a blockage if you think about it. I mean, nothing was supposed to be passing through but air. We weren't even having plain air move through.

I won't go through the details of digging into the innards and pulling out clogged rug dandruff. The last thing to be freed was a stiff but mangled piece of black wire about 3 and a half inches long.

Who in the world would have run over a wire? It would have been hard to see, though. Might even have been me, although as the official vacuum cleaner clog-wrangler, I try to pick up those little things which can lodge in its throat.

The indicator light works with its two default colors, now. The green phase tells me that there is nothing else the vacuum can do for me right there, right now. Move on, it says.

And I have . . .

Sunday, September 19, 2010

i can be or I can be: foolish . . .

Check out this post on The Coupon Goddess. Scroll down to the Healthy Choice winners' list. Scroll down further to see me make a foolish, basic grammatical error in the comments. And a bit further to see it corrected.

Ah, it wouldn't be me if it were perfect, now would it?

I seldom win anything. Almost never. This comes under the heading of the almost section.

How kind!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Red Alert!

Big Ed took out the trash this evening. He came back in and said that he had just seen another toad hop inside the house. He scooped up a fascinated Mew and said that he would shut her in another room while I got the toad out.

Not being the official toad wrangler, I, personally, put the cat in another room and asked J to help Big Ed find the intruder and evict it. By the time I came back from imprisoning the indignant cat, they were ushering a toad outside with a broom and laughing about it.

This was a more kind fate than the last one met up with. If I meet it face to face, it's in real trouble.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Time mngmt. . .

Back a few posts ago, Zeta mentioned in the comments that she was going back to Whale Wars. I had never seen even one episode. I checked the Comcast ON DEMAND section and found several episodes including the one where the whaling ship is boarded by one of the Sea Shepherds' crew.

I watched them all, in order, and was fascinated by the whole situation. The next episode
to be broadcast on the network was the season finale which wrapped up the loose ends left dangling by previous story lines.

So, thank you Zeta for your timely tip. I caught up on the whole season in two days of watching. Yes, I ran my own marathon of Whale Wars and enjoyed the suspense which was, in this case, of short duration.

That's the way to do it, no?

One more, at least . . .

I thought, after learning of author Dick Francis passing away last February, that I would never hear of, say, or write about his newest book being out. Every word he ever wrote had been devoured by 01 Doc (I believe) and by me.

His wife had been his researcher/enabler before her death and his son took up the role she had played. Except, Felix got his name on the cover under Dad's.

Here it is: the new Dick Francis/Felix Francis book is out.
It was in process at the time of Dick Francis's passing away. A copy of that book, Crossfire, is in transit to the branch library near us.

Sad as it was to hear of the author's death, his works live on. He still speaks.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where were you?

We are within a where-were-you on 9/11 moment, hour, day. This is a time to conjure into focus the actions of those others who injured us beyond telling. Who changed our conception of living in an impregnable fortress protected by oceans on both sides and icy distances to the North. Our underbelly to the South, we viewed with some unease. We used to be armored in complacency for the most part.

I was on my way to work when the first plane struck the first tower. I was watching television, there, when the second one hit.

I telephoned home to ask if the news was on. Yes, it was. We were all moving into our new reality with live coverage and one breathless comment at a time.

If time dulls the effect of that morning, if it passes from living memory, we can always be reminded.

The events were rebroadcast, with the same real-time correlation, on television this morning.

Now, I remember. Again.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Money? Save? You there?

There are a couple of additions to the list of blogs, over to the left, under daily checkups. They are both extremely helpful in my search for the perfect shopping experience using coupons.

The CouponMom is a coupon-focused professional, I would say. The Coupon Goddess is also of professional caliber but also blogs about family and experiences in the most entertaining way. She posts videos in which she showcases deals which is most useful.

The perfect coupon shopping experience would be one in which items are buy one, get one free, and for which I would use two store coupons and two manufacturer's coupons. It would amount to getting the items free or nearly so, and spending a pittance to do this. (It would help if our local stores doubled coupons but they don't) The most I have been able to achieve is 25 to 30 percent off the total at, say, Publix. This percentage does not happen every week, either, but I am getting better at it. Brand loyalty is slowly going out the window as I try other brands which are on sale and for which I have, ta-daa, coupons.

It's fun, too. We used to be hunter-gatherers as a people, no? Well, what's the difference between hunting ducks/gathering berries and hunting coupons/saving bucks? Not a whole lot except the coupon hunter doesn't have to wade in the mud and can sit in A/C while doing it. Coupons weigh less than ducks and I'd like to meet the shopper who can trade a duck in on a computer at BJ's or Best Buy.

There is some finesse involved in holding out for the sale and the opportunity to save money on top of the sale price. I have learned much from the internet about these matters.

It is not rocket surgery or brain science, I promise.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Slow going, huh?

Ol Doc and I were discussing plumbing woes and I mentioned that I had started pouring boiling water down the tub drains in both bathrooms. Why? To keep 'em flowing and to discourage any little tree rootlets which might have invaded the drains. I have to admit that the drains flow better since I started doing this - and they are 51 year old drains in the oldest part of the house. She said I might want to post it on my blog. So I have.

We were also discussing clearing blockages in commodes and I told her that buckets of water poured into the bowls work better if they are hot water from the tap instead of cold tap water. I saw this tip in Good Housekeeping magazine. True, too.

Of course, if the blockage is made of toys or something similar, fuh-ged aboudit.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Watch it . . .

I really need to have coffee first thing. This morning, I had a roast to get going in the crockpot. Actually two of them, a small pork and a small beef to slow cook together with chicken stock, onions, mushrooms, and spices. I almost forgot to add the tapioca which thickens the sauce. Duh.

And then? Then I pulled down my coffee cup, tore open a package of Splenda and dumped the Splenda into the cat's enpty water bowl which I had previously set aside on the counter after washing and drying it with paper towels.

Oops. Dump the Splenda, re-rinse the bowl, dry it, and set aside. Again.

On the second try, the Splenda made it into my cup. I slid the slow cooker aside on the counter and poured the coffee. Delish.

But, I had slid the slow cooker into a pair of rubber gloves which were set out to dry on the countertop. I pulled one glove away from the hot cooker and the second one resisted but finally came unstuck without tearing or leaving residue behind.

After the second cup of coffee, I am sure I will be fine. Unless the sound of the teeming rain sends me to sleep here at the laptop.

Which it may . . .

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Little mango factory . . .

Today, we received a letter from the power company to say that crews will be in our area to trim trees near power lines. When we had the mango tree in the back yard, it grew near the electrical feed to the house. We asked that the branches be trimmed. No one responded. This was years ago. During a sustained high wind, the tree blew over in such a direction as to fall away from the electrical lines and straddle the fence without damaging it. It was kind to us.

When my brother and his wife gave us a baby mango this year, he and J planted it in the side yard away from the lines.

Of course, the power company crews are going to trim trees now. If the tree that blew over was equal to a post-grad student, our new one is still in kindergarten but going into first grade. Growing well. Putting on weight and height, it is.

The power company better not touch our new baby . . .

Friday, August 27, 2010

Calling all fans 'cept the cat . . .

Everyone in our house, with the possible exception of Mew, is looking forward to seven p.m., when the next-to-last pre-season game for the Dolphins begins. I except Mew because she objects, occasionally, to raging cheers from the onlookers.

She makes her objections known by leaping off her pedestal (yes, she has one) and making her way to another, more quiet, room. Just because it is pre-season does not signify that there will not be cheering.

Or loud groans, if called for . . .

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Open or closed . . .

Someone I know, mentioning no names, is trying to set up a network between two nearby dwelling places. I have to wonder how this is going. Well, I hope.

I don't like being a pest about asking. But still, is there hope? Can the speech across the airways via telephone be duplicated via written word through computer media?

My grandmother would not believe it. Telephones were hardwired and lines were shared, called party lines, in her day. A private line? Why, when the party line could provide so much information to fellow users, intended or not.

The old telephone party line was similar to an unsecured network is in the present day: open to anyone who picked up a connected telephone handset and listened. Except that now, unsecured networks can be open to anyone who cares to park close by, log in, and look around. There is not a click to alert the user that someone else is "on the line."

Password protection. It's all good.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Do as I say and not . . .

Words to snack by, heard today from a nurse practitioner:

Hard and fast rule: No carbs should be eaten in the evening, after dinner. Especially no potato chips or potatoes or bread. (Ah-HAA)

Oatmeal, made with water and not milk is a good thing for breakfast. It really does lower cholesterol. Sweeten with Splenda, she recommended.

If a snack becomes absolutely necessary after dinner, try an apple with peanut butter. Or (again) oatmeal. Anything that hits a protein button instead of a carb button is a better snack. A ham and cheese sandwich or a couple of hot dogs are
not snacks. They are a meal. (Dang)

These are things I often don't do, myself, (she said) but I'm supposed to.

I especially liked the honesty of her last statement . . .

Monday, August 23, 2010

Feeling cross?

Our newspapers had accumulated while we were gone. We had a bunch of crosswords that needed to be scanned and enlarged somewhat so that we each had our own easy-to-read copy. Yesterday, we completed them and it almost felt like homework. We should have spaced them out a bit instead of grabbing the next one as soon as the previous one was filled in.

Today's crossword felt like a breeze after the puzzle marathon. We have discussed that our newspaper may be using a less expensive source for puzzles. We always complete them, now, and the current puzzles do not have quotations that have to be completed over a two or three row span like the old one used to.

I'm not sure whether I miss that aspect or not . . .

Sunday, August 22, 2010


We still can not get U-verse at our house. I just checked again. No, we can not have it sayeth the site. Would we like to be notfied if that situation changes so that we can? Have it?

I clicked yes and added the information required of us. We are the have-nots of our county. If you are following Big Brother 12, you are aware of how sad it is to be a have-not.

I like the ATT service for my phone. It lets me talk to just about anyone I need to. But, evidently, our small enclave is not important enough in the ATT scheme of things to warrant U-verse service.

I know. I should just keep checking and hope for a surprise. Hello, my dear Comcast. We are still joined at the hip.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

From the recliner . . .

We're baa-ack. Thank Heaven. Tennessee in three days means three days in the car, heaving it along the road by sheer will. Well, the engine helped.

It was a sad trip. We were, however, glad to see J's brother and his wife. She is now in the hospital with a broken leg and finger. This occurred as a result of a fall which happened two hours after (we thought) we left them safely at their home.

They have an adorable little dog (designer dog: cross between Bichon Frise and Poodle) which loves to chase its toy rabbit if you will just please throw it one more time. And one more, ad infinitum. That wee dog has a lot more energy than I do.

Especially now, when our 10 year old cat has more energy than I do. It takes us about a week to get back to normal.

Whatever normal is . . .

Monday, August 9, 2010

Clouds are melting . . .

Rain coming down steadily. I need to go out for errands. I wish our pharmacy had a drive up window. Publix, too, while I am wishing. And the library.

I may save gas and not go . . .

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cash or . . .

When you buy gas, do you pay at the pump with a debit or credit card? Perhaps you should consider going inside and standing in line to pay.

Consumer Advocate Clark Howard advises that all gas pumps use a standardized key and that some of these keys have fallen into the hands of people who open the pumps and install a magnetic device inside which copies credit/debit cards exactly.

Not the outcome one would wish . . .

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

How far from the tree?

The world of the Apple computer user is not a familiar one to us. Considering that we learned to use a PC back when a graphical user interface was a vague notion somewhere in the ether, it's no wonder. Back then, everything came with a mandatory power cord. When we spoke of a portable computer, we meant taking the CPU or monitor in for repairs.

Now we have laptops, albeit of that same PC variety. I have looked into the battery compartments of them just to be sure I could find the locations. There they were, batteries all snugged in!

I recently read a post wherein the writer had discussed the switch from PC to one of the MacBooks. That awakened a battery-replacement curiosity. How do they do it?

Turns out, the user doesn't. Apple must, itself, change the defunct battery out. It can take a day if you take it to the Apple store after making an appointment. Or, if an Apple store is not conveniently at hand and the user has to send it to Apple, the turnaround time is estimated to be four days.

Data backup had better be current and although it is not mentioned on the Apple site, I would wager it would be possible to lose all of the customization and add ons, too.

This may not seem like a deal-breaker. But this situation, plus the cost of an Apple, are for me. (The learning curve has nothing to do with it, y'understand.)

I prefer to bite my own apples - not have the Apple bite me . . .

O course, this has nothing to do with the iPad or iPhone. I would gladly put up with the battery-inconvenience for either of these little gems.

Monday, August 2, 2010

My Step-cat

Yesterday, I was BodyGuard's only source of companionship. He met me at the door and announced that he needed some special attention - which he got, right away. When I made his food, he showed me where to put it by leading me to the utility room and watching to be sure I followed him with it.

He needed his real people, though. He told me that, too. We are both happy that they are back.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Li'l window on the world . . .

During the recent family's visit, an iPad came to stay temporarily with us. It ran on a foreign-to-us operating system, and though I assured its owner that it could access our network, I wasn't absolutely positive about it.

Imagine my relief when, after providing the iPad owner with a password, his iPad spoke to our network, shook hands, and moved in. Not only that, it remembered the way in and could access the 'net whenever it was asked to do that.

One of the best features about the iPad was the pictures that resided on it. Wonderful resolution and detail plus all the fun of the touchscreen: enlarging and minimizing, scrolling and changing orientation by tilting the screen sideways.

Of course, BigEd disappeared into the chess program and played, uh, forever.

It was like having a new baby to pass around. Its feet never touched the ground . . .

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Ankle high?

This is Roaring Creek in North Carolina. When the picture was taken it could have been renamed wading creek. Inches of water skated over the rocks. I liked the dappled effect and tried to capture it. Not happening, except in the foreground. That far distant patch of sun made me want to wade up that far to see it.

That was not happening, either . . .

Monday, July 19, 2010

Intruder alert . . .

Zeta and M have gifted us with a stationary bicycle. It lives in the guest/spare room and is oriented toward a television in there. That room is small. To open the day bed fully (for, say, welcome guests) it is necessary to remove the bike, temporarily.

Tomorrow, the plan is for BigEd to put the bike back where it belongs (he moved it out in the first place) and restore the guest/spare room to its gym incarnation.

Today? Early this morning? There was a Bufo Marinus beside that bike. Inside with us instead of outside where it could be as wild as it pleased. Also known as a Cane Toad, it exudes poison from glands in its head if anything attacks and bites it. I didn't plan to do that. But Mew might.

I recognized this particular toad, I thought. I had seen him (or one just like him) hopping away from our front door when I opened it to pick up the morning paper.

If he had stayed outside, he could have enjoyed a long and toadlike existence. As an invader, he became a threat. We dropped a bucket over him.

All went dark . . .

Mango factory - baa-aack!

Don't you love seeing family, who moved away from the city you live in, walk through your door? So do we.

This is my brother and his lovely wife who did just that, for us.

The bit of foliage in the foreground is the top of a Valencia Pride mango tree, courtesy of the visitors.

We should have fruit in two - three years. I can't wait and I'll bet Zeta is right beside me with that anticipation.

Yum . . .

Monday, July 12, 2010

A study in black and white . . .

Charlie is the cutest kitten. I fed him one meal on weekdays (while he was being boarded for a short time) because he eats four times a day and lunch service was not available. He learned quickly that the key in the door meant that someone with opposable thumbs was coming. Someone who could handle his small serving-spoon .

The first day, I fed him too much. His stomach looked as if he had swallowed a small baseball, so I scaled back a tad on the amount next time. His dish is small but, still outscale compared with Charlie's size. He places both of his front paws inside the bowl to eat and it is as if someone told him it is okay for cats his age to play with their food.

As a surrogate cat caretaker, I found it fun to be around a kitten like Charlie. Mew was extremely interested in my shoes when I got home. Charlie likes to rub along your shoes in greeting. He's not tall enough for ankles, yet.

Mew knew it all. I didn't get away with anything . . .

Monday, July 5, 2010

Down, take cover . . .

We were watching a marathon presentation of The Civil War yesterday evening and had just reached a reenactment of the Battle of Gettysburg. As the battle progressed on the screen, our neighborhood began to chime in with fireworks outside. It sounded as if we were also under attack from all sides.

Mew came flying around the corner and down the hall as fast as she could go - all the while remaining low to the ground to avoid incoming rounds. I am sure she thought she saw tracer fire.

I'm not sure I didn't, too . . .

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Fourth and beyond . . .

A technician sat in our living room recently. It was the day that the US soccer team won by one goal. We rewound the television picture to the goal so that he could see it for himself.

We discussed the call by the judge from Mali which took a previous win from the team, leaving them with a nil-nil tie. He surprised us by telling us that, as US natives, we had to be aware how hated our country is by a lot of the world. They are jealous, he said, and want to have the lives we have or to take them from us if they can't have that life, themselves.

He told us that he, himself, is a naturalized citizen. He loves this country, he said. It allowed him to raise his family here, send his children to college, and go back to get a college degree for himself. A degree that no one can take away from him and that his children had doubted that he would get. They thought he would drop out when he discovered how difficult it would be. He proved them wrong.

He believes that there is no place in the world that would allow him to have the life he lives here.

To some, we are truly wealthy - a solid house, a roof overhead, cars, attending church, mobility if we wish it. These are merely dreams for some of the world.

Isn't it a shame that we take it so for granted? And isn't it a shame that there are those who live in this country for whom these things are also merely dreams?

If this country, in the end, turns it's face away from God, we will lose his gifts. We were founded by men who loved God. Men who referred to Him on our coinage as the One in Whom we place our trust.

We will honor the holiday, tomorrow - feast on burgers and watch fireworks after a concert on television. But, also, we will thank the Bestower of all these Blessings . . .

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bacteria to go . . .

Paying for reusable bags? Grocery store reusable bags? Pet Supermarket gave me a great reusable bag the last time I shopped there.

That is how it should be done, Publix, Winn Dixie, etc. Don't charge the customer who is willing to help you go green by toting your reusable bags back to your bricks and mortar location. Give away those reusable bags and watch the gratitude in operation.

I will take my reusable (and free) bag back to Pet Supermarket every time I go. I was amazed by the gesture and said so to the cashier. He told me that they travel well. They should travel with me when I shop elsewhere, too. We both laughed but he was speaking truly.

I will wash my bag, however. A recent study(click here) of reusable bags (which were being carried by actual, live shoppers) randomly tested them for bacterial contamination. The testing was carried out in the Los Angeles area, in San Francisco and in Tucson.

High levels of bacteria were found in all locations - high enough to be a serious health hazard. E.-coli was found, ugh.

The kicker is that 97% of those who were carrying the bags did not know that reusable bags must be washed or bleached. This action will kill nearly all bacterial accumulation in reusable bags, according to the study.

I understand that reusable bags are not made from the best materials. Some of them are more loosely woven than others. I suppose we will learn by trial and error which bags hold up to washing. I know I will wash them separately and not with anything I care about.

But, I will wash them because I do care . . .

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sparklers maybe . . .

At last, the world has cleared up. Thank goodness. I sometimes think about getting my eyes stuck in the dilated condition. So nice to have clear validation of the promise to have vision return to normal after a few hours.

Plus (and it is a plus) one eye does not have any extra fluid. I mean more than it should have normally. So I will skip next week's appointment and return next month, instead.

Not that I mind going, y' understand. It's just that, now? I don't have to. I believe the whole country will set off fireworks on Sunday to celebrate with me.

Or not . . .

Friday, June 25, 2010

It's Only a Daaaay A-waaaay!

Because of the heat and the crowds, we had planned some early shopping for home supplies. This was supposed to happen this morning. I was the only one who listened to our collective. Our consensus. Our - oh, forget it.

I agree with Annie: Tomorrow, Tomorrow.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Can you hear me, now?

We were peeling shrimp: pink ones which had been cooked in vinegar, water and crab boil. They were partially split and deveined but still with the shells on. It was messy but fun.

However. However when the phone rang, I could not get to it with cleaned-up hands before the machine took it. It was Zeta who left the message and as soon as I could clean up, I telephoned back and left a message, on the cell phone, for her.

Shortly thereafter, BigEd came into the room asking what was this? He played my message to Zeta on his phone. The automated system had informed me that the number was not available and to wait for the tone to leave a message. So I did.
After dialing the wrong person.

I haven't told Zeta yet that I left her message with someone else. I did speak with her and it just didn't come up.

I guess she will know now . . .

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy, happy . . .


To all the dads, stepdads, adopted dads and dads by intent - we moms appreciate you.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Print 'em and Save . . .

We take the paper and every Sunday, there are, ta-daa, coupons which we cut out. I discovered that our stores take coupons that are available for printing on the web. The ones we print out ourselves are usually of much greater value than the ones from the newspaper. We now use both kinds.

Below is the section from our last Publix register receipt which shows our latest savings. I am not bragging y'understand, but:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Thank you, o1 Doc, for this:

I came home last evening and it was sitting on the couch in its Amazon box. It was winking at me and waving.

It is a most welcome new addition. o1 Doc is the person who told me about Stieg Larsson's first book which was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. We both fell for the whole idea as well as the characters. So did much of the rest of the world.

Since it was my own fault for being dilatory, I was willing to wait for the library to get around to issuing a copy in my name, but now I don't have to!

It was a generous and sisterly gesture which I gratefully and sisterly appreciate. New books have an addicting smell that rivals that of the interior of a new car. I savor the unspoiled cover, the unopened pages.

Instant gratification is always nice to stumble across. This one will occupy my time for a while and, if you need me, you'll have to follow me into the pages of my new book . . .

PS: I removed my name from the reserve list at the library this afternoon. I was number 129 out of 355.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hand me the paper(s) . . .

Today, our Sunday paper had an Office Max advertisement section. And another - and more - I counted seven complete ad sections for Office Max.

Now why, I ask you, could we not have received seven of the coupon sections, instead? That would have been more appreciated. At least we will recycle the multiples we did get.

That is not as rewarding, however . . .

Saturday, June 12, 2010

GPS for shopping? Anyone?

Has anyone discovered how to map a Target? Huh? Yes?

I have mapped Publix and Winn Dixie. When I make a list, I put it in order of the aisles in the store. I only have to walk through once and can skip aisles that don't have items on my list. Very annoying when they move things around because I have to redo the master lists on the computer.

I feel like an expedition member. I guess I will have to tackle Target on my own by navigating its coastline (so to speak). Aisles don't have numbers that I can recall.

They should, though . . .

Friday, June 11, 2010

When they have to track you down . . .

Every once in a while, I enter a contest on the various web sites that I follow with Live Bookmarks. I love the Live Bookmark idea and never miss a new post since I began to use it. The downside to this is that the older posts don't demand that I go back and revisit them again. They acquire a small icon next to them, in my bookmark list, to show that I already have read them..

So when this post appeared in The Thrifty Things, I entered. Contrary to expectations, I was one of the winners. But, I never went back to check. Pam, of The Thrifty Things, had to track me down and leave a comment to tell me about it.

Wasn't that a kind thing to do?

And don't I feel like the most inept of bloggers?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

We miss our coolth . . .

When the evening storm hit and the power flickered off, it came back on with a surge that stopped our main A/C from working. We reset the breaker repeatedly and reset the button on the A/C plug, as well. Nothing happened except that we became warmer as the evening progressed and dug out the small fans to place strategically.

Next morning, I reset the plug one more time before calling a repair man. The A/C decided it wanted to cooperate after all. We had a miracle cure, the kind you hope for with appliances.

Believe me, with the first sound of thunder, that A/C will be silenced until the storm passes . . .

Monday, June 7, 2010

Is knowledge power?

Newsweek Magazine maintains a presence on the web. Today, there is an article about the oil spill that leaves me sick with dread for Gulf of Mexico species and for the oceans as a whole.

Oil does not necessarily float, according to the article. It is difficult to imagine the scope of the unseen damage and the consequences to the gulf and ocean inhabitants.

We can not hide from it. We have to know.

Define destruction using just two letters . . .

Saturday, June 5, 2010

I like, I like, drat, don't know what I like.

I try to be careful when I comment on the blogs of people who don't know me, personally. The Coupon Goddess is a site I like and follow regularly. I have the site in my RSS Bookmarks so as to find new posts in a timely manner and not miss knowing about the excellent deals listed there. Plus she is an interesting writer.

Melanie, who is the Coupon Goddess, did a podcast of especially good and numerous coupons and deals. Then she asked readers to comment on how well they liked the audio format.

Being the dinosaur that I am, I said that I preferred the written word (among other things). She was so gracious in her reply and put me somewhat at ease about being different from the other folks who stated opinions in the comments.

I feel rather of two minds. I do prefer the written posts as I think they make it easier to select relevant items from the contents. But, I also like the podcast because her personality (which is charming) comes across well.

Today, I believe I embody the definition of: *conflicted*. Yep, that's me . . .

Friday, June 4, 2010

Hail no . . .

We had to put the Camry into a body shop to have the bumper repaired and repainted. Plus the trunk suffered some surface damage when we were rear-ended so it was painted, too. The work was finished yesterday afternoon.

The rented Dodge Charger was returned to Enterprise. Then we brought our newly restored baby home and parked it in the driveway.

Last evening the weather went crazy. We had hailstones falling which were the diameter of a quarter. The back door to the west side of the house was drumming as if someone was playing a very bad tune on it. The hail was hitting the ground and bouncing high to land twice. I expected little dents all over or maybe a cracked window. At the very least, the new paint job would be ruined.

No damage is visible. Can't explain it. But, thank the Lord.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Earth to . . .

For some reason, I found the music from the Lincoln MKS commercial which begins with a female voice singing "Ground control to Major Tom," stuck in my head. So much so that I looked up the original lyrics and then proceeded to listen to "Space Oddity" on YouTube.

Knowing how the song ends, with Major Tom floating away into nowhere, makes it an odd choice for a commercial which is trying to persuade the public to buy the subject vehicle.

After all, it didn't end well for Major Tom . . .

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

A few Catku . . .

Someone tripped and fell,
Catching himself on the bed.
Mew tried the window.

If window is shut,
Can panicky cat get out?
Not in this lifetime.

Outside, a wild cat,
Shaking his tail at the fern,
Was marking his place.

Field mice running free,
Over our daily Herald,
Were grist for that cat.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Every day . . .

Today, we could have slept in. We didn't, but we could have. Today, I did such a mundane task as to call a pharmacy and use the automated system to renew a prescription.

Today, and any other day, we can barbecue 'burgers and feast on them. I can lounge in a robe, do the crossword, drink Starbucks and listen to the morning birds outside making their summer songs.

There is no gunfire. There are no rockets. We did not have to undergo training to learn how to survive another day. We are calm. We do not fear, this morning.

Thank God, first. Then thank all of the young Americans who signed up so that we can experience life this way. There will be accidents and angers in our world. The will be those who require policing. But, in general, Harms Way remains away from our shores.

We thank those who hazard all they possess so that we remain able to choose. Thank you for our Freedom.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Worth how many words . . .

This is an experience. It struck a nerve with many folks who commented on the web site.

Go, see, experience. It is a photography contest and the subject is Coming Home.

If you want to know what I think of the site click on the link, above, and read comment #272. Never mind, the comment evaporated.

But, I bet the pictures will get your attention first . . .

Monday, May 24, 2010


I received a care package from ol Doc today. An item that I brought with me to her house remained behind when we drove away. It was on our packing list but not checked off. That list only works if used properly.

Guess I didn't . . .

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Free is . . .

Free is good, right? Perhaps.

Our Sunday paper came enclosed in a plastic bag that also contained two small size boxes of Trix and Chex cereal. Trix is for kids, the commercials say.

I have news for you. Chex (the one to appeal to adults) had twice the amount of various sugars/carbohydrates that the Trix had. Plus they wasted all those plastic bags, boxes, and coupons which were enclosed. The cereals were so full of *natural* and *other* sugars that I would not even donate them.

Circular file and recycle bin, all the way . . .

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Equitable results . . .

I can not figure how they did it but the new printer arrived today: one day after I was told to expect one. The box has a FedEx label on it so I know they dropped it off. Does HP make time machines? Is that how it was done?

We went to Rockfish Grill for lunch and then adjourned back to Zeta and M's house. Mother's day celebrations were still ongoing there. I have such a lovely family. I need to tell them so more often.

I love you guys. You are my peeps.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Effort equity . . .

Less than a guarantee ago, we acquired a printer from HP. The Amazon reviews said it was noisy but fast and printed well. It was also on sale. That last attribute was a major decider.

We set it up and found that it was noisy but fast and printed well. Huh.

We have also gotten to know HP tech support really well. Over time, the printer has suffered three instances of Carriage Jam: the carriage that holds the ink cartridges stays on the right hand side of the printer and will not move. Each incident prompted a log on to tech support for an on line chat.

Twice, they walked me through procedures to get it working again. I finally wrote the serial and model numbers on an envelope and stuck it under the printer for easy access.

During the third jam, the carriage became adamant that moving was not an option. It was stuck on the right side and happy about it. We were not.

During a follow-up telephone call, an HP hardware supervisor inquired whether we would accept an electronic gift card usable on the HP site. The e-card was generous enough to allow an upgrade.

(This e-card-option was finally offered after I declined to submit a credit card number over the phone as *collateral* for having a replacement printer shipped to us and returning ours to them prepaid.)

This process was a two-day marathon of
on-line-chats and phone calls.

Today, I go to the retina specialist for a shot in the eye.
In comparison, it will be just a pleasant interlude . . .

Monday, May 17, 2010

Talk to the twig . . .

Our Crape Myrtles, which lose their leaves over winter, have now decided that the free water falling from the skies is good enough to slurp up and make leaves out of. I don't have to worry about running over the one in the front of BigEd's window when I drive the car over there to load or unload at the front door. It is not a nearly invisible, dead looking, mess of twigs when some greenery decorates it.

Someone should explain to it that, even though leaves make it much more visible, an actual bloom would be even better.

It never listens to me, anyway . . .

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Unsolicited testimonial . . .

We did get some rain during the night. I heard sound of tires on a wet road and peeked out front to see what that looked like. We chose our visiting time well except for one thing. May is a Love Bug season in the central part of the state.

We encountered them sparsely at first but finally they sounded like a heavy rain peppering the windshield. Their bodies bounced off the glass leaving smears of stuff I don't even want to think about. After miles of this treatment there was little of the windshield that was clear. We pulled into a service plaza and I asked J what he thought about using the wipers with fluid on the mess.

With a positive reply from him, I tried it. Unbelievable. We have been filling the washer fluid reservoir with Rain-X windshield washer fluid for a while now. That stuff cleaned the glass like magic after a couple/three squirts and running the wipers on fast.

When we got out of the car, we saw the front bumper was covered with black insect bodies that looked like a thick, fuzzy fur coat. The Rain-X had kept the insects' actual bodies from adhering to the windshield.

We don't own any stock in the company. Maybe we should . . .

Saturday, May 15, 2010


We haven't had issues with our internet connection for so long that it has been taken for granted that it will work. This evening I woke the laptop from its nap and discovered that it was networked but not attached to the 'net.

Troubleshot (troubleshooted?) and discovered that the network is fine. Access to outside is not. Whoa, now.

Next, I turned to AT&T's automated telephone system which reminded me that a modem power-down and computer reboot fixes most problems. I feel so silly because the automated system knows what it is talking about.

We're baaa-ack . . .

Friday, May 14, 2010

Into the fast lane . . .

It seemed that dipping a peanut butter snack bar into a jar of peanut butter and biting off the end with the blob would be a good idea. Strangely, it ruined the taste of the snack bar. It was crunchy peanut butter so maybe that was the problem.

We have pecans. Lovely ones to make pies with, eat from the shell and sprinkle on sugar-free ice cream. I need the recipe for the pie, though. It is still at S-the-guru's house enclosed inside the backed up data from the defunct hard drive. Shouldda printed a hard copy, yes. Did not expect that crash nor that I would need the recipe so soon.

01 Doc was my recipe source for the original recipe. Perhaps she might leave copy in the comments, or in an email, or on her newly speedy web site? Congrats on the, (did I say newly speedy?) zip line to the web.

As of today, dial-up is soooo eighties . . .

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How was your . . .

It is extremely rare that we travel and don't encounter any rain. Our bounce along the state was a dry run. Heh. I wish we could have seen everyone in one swing around, but barring a reunion, that is probably not going to happen.

This state is just too long from top to bottom. The sttreeetttcchh to reach from end to end is getting harder to perform.

That is the whining part. The elating part was getting to see sisters, a mother, nieces, nephews, and one sister's husband who was extremely generous with lots of home grown and hand gathered pecans from extremely tall trees. Those define the taste of pecans for us.

We also patronized some establishments around the state, okay: Wal-Mart, Publix, Golden Corral (overeating-yes), Asia (really good oriental food), Sweet Tomatoes (everyone but me loves that place but I do tolerate it), Cracker Barrel (home cooking served to instead of by), KFC (grilled except for one place that only offered fried), Mickie D (coffee just off the interstate exits seems to be provided by the golden arches ubiquitously.)

You think we ate our way around? Followed our taste buds urgings? Yes, probably we did.

But in a dry manner.

Thanks to BigEd, Mew did not starve either while we were away.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

There is faithful and then there is un-

Sshhhh! I don't want Mew to get wind of this but I fed someone else's cats today. One of them was so happy to see me that he brushed hard against my ankle as I was making his food.

The way that Mew inspected that ankle when I got home? I think she already knows.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I have till June . . .

April is a weird month. Tomorrow is the last day and it feels unfinished. I do wish the humidity could be like the past few days have been, all the time. Feels like California but without the earthquakes, mudslides and fires. Like Arizona without the desert sand. Our sands are mostly beach-side, anyway.

I have been laying off the bike-to-nowhere and am paying for it. If I ride, the knee and hip are fine. No riding means Advil time. Simple yet forgetable fact when
errands books begin to stack up.

With ten unread here at home and two more waiting at the library to be picked up, I had better get cracking. Or stop reserving.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Full service cable . . .

We check the U-verse availability site at least once a week. So far, negative describes our status.

We had a storm yesterday that was almost strong enough to take the door out of my hands when I peeked out. We lost cable service during the battering and I called Comcast to report the outage. An appointment was set up for today. We suffered a spontaneous, miracle cable-cure about 5:30 or 6 p.m. So I called back to let Comcast know we were up and running. They were supposed to cancel the service call.

This morning, a giant spool of cable, which was towed by a Comcast truck, parked in our swale. It was a coincidental visit to repair a sagging cable which runs along our back fence.

Yes, Comcast, you can enter our back yard. Yes, Comcast, you can trim the Bougainvillea which has grown up, over the sagging cable and overhangs our yard. The roots originate in a neighbor's yard and J has been meaning to cut it back from our side.

Bougainvillea is nasty with thorns and the Comcast person used a chain saw on it. This was overkill but allowed him to avoid close contact. Nobody wants a hug from a Bougainvillea.

The final result was that we will receive a refund for the Comcast service-time lost and also received some free yard work.

I wonder if U-verse can top that . . .

Thursday, April 22, 2010

2908100 . . .

Have you returned your Census Form? We did right after we received ours.

Our library is upgrading software in May. We will be off line for a few days and then we will be able to log in with user names and passwords like the big boys do, instead of using the number on the card.

I'm a bit sorry to hear it. Right now I have my library card's 14 digit number memorized. Also BigEd's is in the memory banks. I have clung to my old card because the number is so familiar. New cards have been issued with key ring tags that are usable on the self service scanner. Various librarians have offered to replace my (really) old card which involved receiving a new number. I may finally cave in on the issue.

Or not.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Playing with its mind . . .

I did not recognize the number on the caller ID but the name on the readout was our health insurance company. So I answered. The following is a verbatim account of my brief conversation with one of their automated systems (Well except for blanking out the name to protect the inept):

Voice: Hello, this is Blank Insurance calling for Ranger. Is this Ranger?

Me: Yes.

Voice: Okay, would you be willing to take a message?

Me: This is Ranger speaking.

Voice: All right. Thank you, anyway. Goodbye.

Then the call disconnected. I wonder if they even bothered to beta-test the voice recognition software. What do you want to bet it calls again? Perhaps I'll meow into the phone when the voice asks if this is Ranger. See what happens.

Heh . . .

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Or pixie dust . . .

I wish I enjoyed housecleaning more than I do. I do like to read housecleaning tips. There may be something in each new book, article, or website to make housecleaning fun.

Elbow grease in a sprinkle can. Now, there's a thought . . .

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Eating out or in . . .

J: Did you know that Gloria and Emilio Estefan are having a fund raiser?

Me: Yeah, costs $35,000 to get in.

J: Ah, but two people get to go!

Me: Well, cancel the McDonalds. Lets get dressed.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Give us your tired, your almond or biscuit . . .

Given the upcoming cash for appliances program, we looked around and assessed the kitchen and laundry areas. Fairly new washer, still working dryer, freezer working (shhh don't jinx it, it's full) range and fridge are the wrong color. Almond or biscuit - something of that nature. When they expire, we intend to go stainless.

We have never replaced an appliance because of color considerations. Just can't do it. Our
refrigerator is elderly but still functioning. Softer ice cream in the top freezer plus milk going bad before the expiry date were our indicators of fridge failure in the past. They were beginning to talk to us, now.

So, we scheduled a maintenance visit. The repairman's name was Roberto and we will request him in the future. He took the back apart and cleaned it thoroughly from there and from the front. The pile of dust bunnies was huge. More like dust hippos. Runs like new now. As he described it, it was gasping for breath even though it was cold.

I guess I am happy about it. Visions of Stainless were dancing in my head.

Fading, fading, gone . . .

Monday, April 12, 2010

Yesterday, the crawl across the bottom of the picture told us that streets might flood. Water over the headlights is a flood. Water up to the middle of the hubcaps ought to have a separate name - a name that means something like: Drive Really Slowly, Stupid.

In fact, windshield wipers probably should chant a mantra to warn drivers that if wipers are needed, so is more distance between moving cars.

What about that small guilty thrill if you drive (legitimately, now) through a puddle when someone is tailgating your car on a wet street?
Admit it.

I can't be the only one . . . there, take that ya dummy. Back off.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Four hour nap . . .

Surprises come from any direction. Real ones. Expected surprises come from having reality meet expectations at times. Perhaps the least welcome surprise is the one during which eyelids snap open in the dark and refuse to relax.

Last night I read myself into sleepiness and barely managed to set aside the book and turn off the light. I expected an immediate drop off. Instead, my eyes opened and I realized that for some reason I was wide awake again.

After an honest attempt to drift off, I got up and decided to watch some DVR recordings. DVRed? Is that even a verb?

At four this morning, sneaking on little fog feet, sleep finally came. And at eight am, J inadvertently woke me up. I must have heard his eyelids open, or something.

I would not say that I am cranky this morning.

But others might . . .

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Years in arrears . . .

We are behind. This morning, we watched the NCIS pilot. We have been catching up on all the various incarnations of CIS and CSI: N, LA, New York, Vegas. Also Monk. If it were not for reruns and marathons, our DVR might have more room on the disc.

But who wants that?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I am tempted to resign in favor of Facebook.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A consumer wish . . .

We are having Blue Bell sugar free ice cream issues at our local grocery. When Blue Bell first came to our area, we could select from sugar free Banana Split, Chocolate, and Vanilla at the very least. Other flavors were seasonal choices. Strawberry anyone?

We became accustomed to the actual half gallon size and the really supreme taste. Gradually the half gallons of sugar free disappeared. Now there are only pints and quarts available at much inflated prices over the half gallon size. Even the manufacturers coupons only apply to the half gallon and store specials are limited to the half gallon size - all fully supplied with sugar, of course.

I have written a letter to Blue Bell giving them a heads up as to our situation. A real letter. On actual paper. Can you imagine? Perhaps that will persuade them that we are serious representatives of others in our marketplace who are deprived of choice.

I will even be glad to choose the Country Vanilla which is now the only half gallon size in the sugar free variety which is listed on the Blue Bell web page.

Maybe it's the economy. Everything else seems to be . . .

Monday, April 5, 2010

A little dab . . .

I try to use the alcohol based hand cleaner (okay, Purell) after I touch anything at the doctor's office that is touched by everyone who goes there: doorknobs, the sign-in pen, an elevator button, etc. I believe I forgot about that elevator button, this last time.

Can't you just imagine the surprise sneeze creeping up on someone just before they decide if they want up or down? Politely shielding the sneeze with their dominant hand they then press the button using the same dominant hand.

I should be more like Detective Monk. Wipe! Wipe!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Coincidence . . .

We used to go for rides. Recreational jaunts that we all enjoyed and which tired us out as if we had got out and pushed instead of being passengers. Today, the weather was so gorgeous that we decided to waste some recreational gas. The Camry gets pretty good gas mileage on the road, so we packed a lunch and headed down toward the Keys.

The ocean water along side the roadway was almost silken looking and nearly flat when we went over the bridges. We had just got past Layton where the water is close to the road and Sea Grape and Buttonwood scatter along between the tall roadside grasses when I saw a tall dog ahead and off to the side. He was waiting for our car to pass, I thought. Smart dog.

Then he bounded across and we felt the sickening thud. It was not a dog, it was a Key Deer.

There was little damage to the car but the small Key Deer lay inert.

Because he was a Key Deer, I put him on my key ring and used him to unlock the door when we got home.

It is, after all, April the first . . .

Friday, March 26, 2010

And call me in the morning . . .

Science does not ratify the 5 second rule for dropped food. Dropped is not clean, period. With the possible exception of M&Ms?

M&Ms aside, what does one do with dropped medication? Aspirin or Advil are easy. Toss and take another from the bottle, being more careful. But, what if the dropped pill is prescription medication? What is the protocol for handling dropped, say, antibiotic of which there is a set, finite dosage amount?

Personally, I treat 'em like M&Ms . . .

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Our customer service represen . . .

I am a bit spoiled by the tracking systems of UPS and FedEx which state when and where a package is received by an interim facility. Then the systems let you know when the package is shipped forward and where it lands, next. The USPS provides less information: when they have the package and when the recipient does.

I have only lost one package after shipping. It was a knife sent back to Cutco for resharpening. Luckily I had insured the package and asked for delivery confirmation. So it really wasn't the post office who lost the package. Cutco did.

They sent me a brand new replacement . . .

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Caesar's sidekick? Coca!

Today's crossword was a learning experience. We discovered that paeon is a real word and not an error. Indri is a lemur in Madagascar and the River Erne is in Ireland. Previously, I had thought that an Erne was a sea eagle, which it is, but knew of no other Erne.

Just incidentally, we knew that the Feast of Esther is Purim but were not sure it fell in the month of Adar. Now we know.

And just so no one has to look it up, paeon is a metrical foot composed of four syllables: one long and three short. Only one of them is stressed.

But, you knew that . . .

Saturday, March 20, 2010

We receive the Scouting magazine even though the most recently anointed (so to speak) Eagle Scout in the (extended) family is at a university and soon to graduate. BigEd and S-the-Guru are other Eagles. J is the most interested party here. Being an Eagle himself and a volunteer for most of his adult life, this is understandable.

In this Scouting issue, there is notice of a commemorative coin for BSA which will, incidentally, raise money for the organization. He asked me to pull up the web site which was cited in the magazine article. I have to admit, the silver dollar is beautiful.

It will not be available until the 23rd of this month, at noon sharp. I know what I will be doing then, with him looking over my shoulder and wishing I could type even faster.

Ordering . . .

Monday, March 15, 2010

Where's my hour? Gimme back my hour!

I feel as if the red eye to California was the location of my last night's sleep. Talk about jet lag while not going any place.

Heartily dislike this time change!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Exactly so . . .

We used to know a really good window and glass place down off the Dixie. I could take anything there and be sure of bringing home the parts (or even a reglazed window) that we needed. Screens, too, for that matter. But Lee retired and sold the place. The new owners moved the business away, eventually. My good connection was lost.

Most of my errands at Home Depot have involved a guess that what I am considering in the genre of home repair is actually what we need. Ominously, the gear in one of our window closing mechanisms had begun to slip.

After enough annoyance at the situation had built up, I took the window operator along to HD to see if it was still being produced. I did call first and was told that the item (if they had one like mine) would be in the Hardware Department, on aisle eleven, not in the Window Dept. The gentleman sounded mildly annoyed, himself, that I had not known that.

In aisle eleven, there was a multitude of packages of window operating mechanisms. Immediately, I picked up one that had the handle on the wrong side. Aha, this was my first elimination factor. After finding one that looked like ours, I read the back of the package which told me to select by a different criterion. All the Screw Holes had to align with the old one. Good info.

More looking, comparing, and annoyance at myself. Evidently spacial comparision of hole position by eyeball is related to lack of a sense of direction. I am challenged in both categories.

I ended up by holding up the bottom of the packaged mechanisms to the bottom of the old one to see if light came through all the lined up openings. Many were called and one was finally chosen. In this one shining package, even the hole in the arm that attaches to the window was the same size as the one I carried in. I had not even considered that necessary option.

A conversation behind me called attention to a Home Depot employee who was attending another confused customer and this customer was a man. Feeling marginally better about my own situation, I asked the employee if he thought THIS ONE was the replacement for my in-hand sample.

"That is EXACTLY the one." he beamed at me.

Feeling as though he had applied a gold star to my forehead, I took the exact one home.

It was, too . . .

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Oops . . .

Yesterday's post was deleted. The sad thing is that o1 Doc's comment was deleted, too. Delete, delete, delete. Dumb duh dum-dum.

That'll teach me not to try and blog with dilated eyes. Note to self: was that dumb? Answer to self: accidents happen but, yes, that that falls into a suspiciously brain-dead category.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cold Murder . . .

If you like Tony Hillerman's mystery/police procedurals about the Navajo Tribal Police, I have a suggestion for you. (Hi, o1 Doc)

Stan Jones writes in the same genre about the Inupiat (Eskimo) people of Northern Alaska. The first in the series is White Sky, Black Ice. To the people of the far north, black ice on a body of water is the kind that you can fall through. The kind that kills you.

The main character is Nathan Active who is a full blooded Inupiat and also is an Alaska State Trooper stationed near Chukchi. He was raised by step-parents in Anchorage and his birth mother is in Chukchi. Chukchi is the far-backside of the beyond.

Jones and Trooper Active have a new aficionado, here.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Toughing it . . . out

Like a hermit, I really don't want to go outside. Not even stick my nose out the door, considering the wind chill. But, I need to make a routine visit to the pharmacy.

We will just see how tough I can be.

It may amount to a chorus of: not very. I can hear it now.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Withdrawal pangs?

With the Olympics over, why would I pour that first cup of morning coffee with the music of O Canada stuck in my brain? I found I was humming it as I poured.

Strange . . .

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tuesday Morning on Sunday afternoon . . .

This afternoon, I headed over to Tuesday Morning. We had received a flyer about a sale that starts on (wait, now) Tuesday and I wanted to see what kind of place it is before the sale.

It was as disorganized as any antique store in Abbeville, North Carolina. Which pretty much means that if you are looking for anything specific, good luck to ya. It was fun to browse.

My guys might not think so, but it was like treasure hunting. Wouldn't you think the hunter half of a hunter/gatherer duo would relish the challenge. But no.

That's why I went by myself . . .

Friday, February 26, 2010

Numisma - what?

Not being a collector of coins, there is no good reason why I should have noticed that the 2005 nickel had a different scene on the back. Instead of what I thought should be a view of the Capitol building, there was a seascape.

When I tried a magnifying glass on the coin, it did prove to be a seascape. It turned out to be part of a Westward Journey nickel series - information provided by Google.

That domed building on the reverse side of our usual nickel? It is not the Capitol. It is Monticello.


Thursday, February 25, 2010


When I bent down to collect the morning paper, a gust of wind blew my hair inside out like a palm tree. I was looking through it when I stood up. It didn't take me long to hustle back inside. The wind chill was formidable.

A recent local windstorm snapped the trunk of a neighbor's ficus tree across the street and caused a tall schflera behind us to lean dramatically along the fence. I looked out to see if today's wind had toppled it further and it's gone. It either walked away like an Ent or our neighbor took care of it. It was rooted on his side of the fence: probably a present from a fence-sitting bird.

In the women's relay last night, the US Olympic team was so far behind they were out of our picture when the Korean skaters were disqualified. I told J this morning that even though our women won bronze by a fluke, they will brag about it all of their lives. But then, so will the Chinese women who took the gold when Korea DQed. It's all good, unless you are of Korean extraction. Depends on perspective, doesn't it?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Not you, not I . . .

While driving a car do you: Text (OMG)? Talk on the cell phone without a headset (meaning that there is only one hand on the wheel)? Talk to dumb drivers through your closed windows as you motor along? Use non-subtle gestures?

While riding in a car, do you assist the driver operate his/her vehicle from a passenger seat? Is your brake foot frequently pressed to the floor even though the brake pedal is on the opposite side of the car? Do you grab the flimsy handle above the armrest as though it might keep you from flying through the windshield in an emergency?

Do you lane-surf with your cruise control on? Cut off, or out, other vehicles? Make the decision at the last possible instant whether to take an exit, or not? Pull out into traffic and depend on the goodwill (reactions) of other drivers?

Are you driving on the streets of my city? I think so. I seem to see you every where.

No encounters, please . . .

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Free coffee, too . . .

Surfacing, here. I've been submerged in the Olympic experience since the beginning. Vicariously, that is.

Yesterday, I did take the car in for it's recall visit. Turns out we were safe all the time. Our accelerator pedal design is not one of the ones recalled. But, an oil hose that can develop a leak was retro-fitted. The oil hose was a recall that only showed up on the computer when the tech entered the car's VIN.

Also, if the floor mats come loose from the fastener, the accelerator is high enough to remain clear. No worries. Yeah, sure.

We never take a vehicle to the dealership and walk away with no charge for the repairs. Funny feeling.

But nice . . .

Sunday, February 14, 2010

How to raise and train a rose?

Yesterday, we gathered to celebrate J's birthday. After dinner, we went back to Zeta's and M's where we ate ice cream and cake. J received many thoughtful gifts and we (or at least I) ate too much.

At the restaurant, Adam and Veronica had given each of the ladies three Valentine roses. Last night, when we got back home, I filled an enameled roasting pan with cold tap water and submerged the roses in it. I cut an inch off the stems while they were submerged and weighted them gently so they stayed almost completely under the water.

This morning they are perfectly revived and fresh. I had read about soaking flowers and can testify that it really works. I am not sure whether the trick of not exposing the cut stems to the air is necessary but they are back to life and all three are in a bud vase. I hope everyone has as nice a time, today, as the roses are having.

Happy Valentines' Day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

One more little whine . . .

On the last (I promise) whiney note: I am checking this site every day. I intend to bombard AT&T with requests! That's enough, already.

Canada intends for the Olympics' opening ceremonies to appeal on an emotional level, quoth a representative Canadian on the Today Show. Hah! Good spin on not being able to muster as large a spectacle as China had done.

I am willing to be emotionally appealed to instead of astounded. I just hope they have enough snow. Amazing that the US wishes it could export some of the monster snowfall some states received this month, and Vancouver's is less.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Feast or famine, TV style

The Olympics begin this week. The OLYMPICS begin. The athletes look forward to this with more eager anticipation than we do. Maybe.

The newest Survivor starts on Thursday and the Amazing Race on Sunday. This is too much reality goodness for the DVR to stand. After all, Masterpiece is on Sunday, too. Add in the Heat games and we are in simultaneous-broadcast trouble. I suppose we will have to see if the VCR still works.

I do long for the future when . . . never mind. Enough whining about U-verse.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Y'all come

We (meaning the Camry and I) have an appointment at the Maroone Toyota place in Broward. It will take a while for the recall work and they offered to drop me off at Sawgrass Mills and come back for me later.

I did call the place on Dixie (which shall remain nameless) and they are not making appointments. First come, first served there.

A trip to the outlet mall might make the whole day more expensive than it is supposed to be. I'll have to consider how much I can save by spending.

I never claimed it was logical . . .

Friday, February 5, 2010

Can you hear me now?

Hello internet. I missed you today. You get a big (huuuuggg).

This morning, I called my ISP to inform it that the 'net and I did not connect at all. Network outage in my area, the automated voice told me. Working on the problem, the voice said, implying that I should go away and leave them free to work without interruption.

This afternoon, the automated system relented enough to let me speak with an actual person, named Andre. Andre told me our outage should be tamed by 3:45 p.m.

At 4:30 p.m., I called again and spoke to Marcus who had me plug the ethernet cable from the modem directly into the laptop, bypassing the router. Ah were awn the net.

Marcus told me there was something wrong with my router. I thanked him for the information and said I would contact the person who set up the router.

Then I shut everything down, disconnected the power and the ethernet cable from the router, reset it, powered back up, and guess what? I can talk to you, i*n*t*e*r*n*e*t. *

Hello beautiful . . .

Asterisks inspired by The Education of Hyman Kaplan