Saturday, January 30, 2010

Girl who . . .

There is a fascinating article on the Reuters UK web site. Although he is no longer among the living, Swedish author Stieg Larsson is at the center of controversy.

01 Doc told me about his book entitled The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I inhaled rather than read it. The Girl Who Played With Fire is number two which I have nearly finished (and am stubbornly resisting the urge to read the ending before I do).

The third book in the series, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest, will be out May 25
th of this year, according to Amazon.

Sad that he will not be able to write more of these. Wikipedia-if you trust a source written by the public at large and which inserts needs citation when someone is guessing-says that he had planned a series of ten of them.

Our loss.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Game over?

It's almost 10 pm and it feels like midnight. This day has slipped by without my doing much else than folding four towels and cooking dinner. Well, no, I ran the dishwasher, emptied it and ran it again.

Plus I buttoned J's shirt for him. He cut his left thumb near the tip and discovered that he uses that digit for buttoning up. I volunteered for duty and suppose it will be mine until he heals.

BigEd went to the library and picked up four books that were being held for me. He took back five so I am down one. Or one to the good, not sure.

There is some cheering going on from the living room. The Heat have three minutes left to play. After the game, I am going to catch Castle on the DVR

I love fast forwarding through the commercials. Heh . . .

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Rain go away, not the umbrella . . .

The small umbrella which I could pop open with one hand has taken up residence elsewhere. It used to be comfortable in the glove compartment behind the roll of paper towels. It seemed to be content to play hide and seek with the parking registrations and insurance cards which kept it company.

Today, the weather threatened rain with an immediacy which had me looking into the glove box. No little folding rain protector. We asked the paper towels but they remained mum on the whereabouts.

All day, every time I got in the car, the clouds had lowered and grayed up. It seemed impossible that the car should not get a free rinsing.

Where ever it is, the umbrella is doing its job. The old adage did not apply today. Usually if we have an umbrella along, we won't need it. If we don't have one, we get rained on.

I have to find it and let it know that it is okay for occasional rain to fall on us . . .

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I can taste 'em now . . .

This image was sent to me by Zeta's M. It was in a large email which contained pictures from our city's distant past. This is one of my long gone, childhood haunts.

I remember the tile along the front being higher. I was small then and compare it, still, against that far distant, young self who used to walk along the sidewalk to those doors. A friend of our family worked there for a while. We called her Tolleson, which was her last name. Everyone called her that and I can not tell you why. She was the only adult I was allowed to address in that manner. It must have been because she preferred it, herself.

While she was working, she always had a lacy embroidered handkerchief partially tucked into her uniform's chest pocket. The open ends were spread out like a flower and she pinned her name tag against the top petal. Lovely, I always thought. Thinking back, I would bet she did the intricate embroidery herself.

The chicken and dumplings behind those restaurant doors was the best in the whole South. Mr. Tyler used to come by to say hello to my parents whenever we visited. His son later ran the restaurants which moved to other locations but still had the same chicken and dumpling recipe.

J tells me that he and his family used to eat there, too. He remembers the building as being bigger. So do I.

This Southern original looms large in our memories, which is the only way we can visit it, now . . .

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A neutral idea . . .

In 1983, we bought a brand new Chevy conversion van. We comparison shopped in great depth and then went back to the very first dealership we had negotiated with. It was the best deal but we didn't know that until we looked further.

We chose the custom exterior paint, carpet, the captain's chairs and rear seat. We had a passenger chair located further back than usual to give BigEd the extra leg room he required if he was to be comfortable. We did like that vehicle.

We had it for a few weeks and I was the one who got to drive it to and from work because I worked much closer to home than J did.

I was on my way home to lunch one afternoon when the van took off, accelerating down 107 Avenue as if it needed to get there faster than I was willing to go. Brakes didn't slow it so I threw the gearshift into neutral and let it coast with the engine still roaring. While it was coasting, I turned the key to off and the engine obediently died. I turned it back on and it behaved normally. I drove it home and called the dealership.

We took it in for the dealer to see it the next morning. Of course it acted normally all the way to the dealer. The service supervisor told us he could not diagnose the problem unless it happened while it was there. He wanted a mechanic to take it for a test drive. The only thing we could say was go ahead.

We watched as the mechanic put paper over the carpet under his feet to keep it clean and drove off the lot. He was back within 7 minutes. It had accelerated with him on the Alton Road flyover. He shouted at the service supervisor that the d--n thing had nearly killed him.

They changed the upper carburetor and that did fix the problem. But I can still recall the helpless feel of the big vehicle roaring ahead on its own and not responding until I thought of throwing it into neutral gear.

What if I hadn't?

Monday, January 18, 2010

The crock pot is set to finish cooking at 5 p.m. It is currently early afternoon. Have you ever heard a better reason for a nap?

The crossword is done and so am I. The cat is doing what I aspire to do. Her yawns look as though her head is split in half. My yawns only feel that way.

I have about enough attention span left to finish my book. Then . . . zzzz

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Didja . . .

Did you know that most deals in food advertisements run on a 3 month cycle? Neither did I. Further, food items regularly go on sale about a month after coupons for them are printed in the newspaper. Huh?

These tidbits appeared in an article, by Teresa Mears, in today's Herald. The columnist wrote about being exasperated by her having stocked up on items only to have them appear in ads as a buy one get one free special shortly thereafter.

I am going to have to pay closer attention to these little details . . .

Friday, January 15, 2010

AT&T, hello?

Zeta and M love their new U-verse. Recording four programs simultaneously; watching from any set in the house with any recorded program available and any action (such as pause and fast forward, etc.) functional on any set, any time; not watching the signal tile and degrade into nothingness in cold weather; what's not to like?

I'll tell you what's not to like! At our house, we are not able to receive it
yet. At least I hope the *yet* is a functional term.

AT&T, are you listening? Are you?

Maybe my signal is degraded . . .

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Turning a new year . . .


!!!Today's the big day!!!

Sitting pretty
Sitting in the catbird seat

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ahh-choo, there goes the cable . . .

The cable tech came and told us (big surprise) that our tiling and signal loss was the fault of the cold weather which our outside equipment was not capable of withstanding. He had attended a Comcast training session which involved placing the equipment in the vicinity of dry ice to demonstrate the effects. It caused the signal to rise which resulted in tiling and intermittent sound. Finally the signal was lost all together.

Exactly so. We have been experiencing the same effects. Comcast is not going to install cold resistant equipment for the relatively few days a year that our temperature falls below the threshold the current equipment can withstand. In street terms: suck it up, sucka.

I did discover that I should call and report tiling every time it happens. I also will record the effects on the DVR, which I did this time. Why? Because Comcast will give back pro-rated credit for the viewing time lost, beginning with the date of the call and ending with the visit of the (helpless) technician.

The cold weather signal loss is not covered by Comcast's customer satisfaction guarantee. That guarantee is for new customers who have trouble within 30 days of installation or for when a service technician is late for his service call. That's it. Those are the only instances when customers must be satisfied.

Oh, the credit we received? Nine bucks. Not to be sneezed at but we will probably sneeze anyway because our sub-tropical weather
. . . isn't.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

No Masterpiece Theatre? No football?

Our Comcast Cable service is like the frost-damaged, hothouse roses in South America. It can not survive the cold weather either. Perhaps it is not as permanently defunct as the roses. Present conditions do not allow for an informed decision on that one.

Thank goodness we never ever considered (not for one moment, Comcast) switching from AT&T to Comcast for our internet or telephone service.

At 6:30 this morning our digital thermometer on the front porch read 37° F. Now at 7:15 it reads 36°F. This is not a good progression and the wind is rising.

I telephoned Comcast to report our cable outage. The person I reached admitted that their equipment is not meant to resist cold weather but that they can send someone out to fix it. However, I have to wait for a call from them to set up an appointment. She was pleasant to speak with but was unable to either resolve our problem or to make the appointment, herself. She was like a pleasantly-spoken pronoun: a placeholder but not the real thing.

When he was younger, my brother used to say something that expresses how I feel about Comcast, right now:


Friday, January 8, 2010

Special (unlock) delivery . . .

When the phone rang to request that an item be collected at someone's home and delivered to their workplace, I was happy to do it and get out of the house. The weather was cooperative and traffic was light.

While leaving the collection point, it was difficult to juggle my purse, phone, keys, sunglasses, and the box, so I put the box down on a table just by the door. Outside, I locked up and then realized the thing I had been sent to fetch was on the other side of the door, on the table.

It finally arrived safely and so did I, back home to find dinner ready. It was lucky that I arrived in time to rescue some prime leftovers. It is possible that they were close to being placed on the endangered list.

A dinner saved is a dinner earned, so to speak . . .

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Call the weather police . . .

This is beginning not to be amusing. We can stand a few cool days just so the tourists have something to complain about. Or maybe they will say this is balmy compared to the five below or 20 below, back home. Reverse bragging, they are.

Perhaps so. This is supposed to be a semi-tropical environment. We are not supposed to have to consider whether or not the freeze plugs in the engine block will blow out. Our water filled garden hoses, coiled beneath the outlets (if they are) or draped across the grass (more likely) might become filled with ice plugs. I do know not to pick up a frozen hose: it can break into surprisingly short sections.

Right now, the house is actually too warm. My comfort zone must be exceptionally narrow. This section of the state strikes an acceptable climactic zone for about 15 minutes in the spring and the fall of each year.

This is not it . . .

Monday, January 4, 2010

Depends on where you shop . . .

The outside temperature was in the 40s this morning. Yesterday was in the low 50s when I woke. So, yesterday, I went shopping in the spare room closet where the winter items are stored and where I can avoid doing any rummaging from one year to another, if the winters stay milder.

I discovered a black, flannel lined, nylon jacket. The sleeves were long (past my fingertips) but had elastic at the wrist. I put it on, pushed up the sleeves and was instantly warm. The only drawback was: the front closed left side over right.

It was J's. The long arms proved it, the wrong-for-me closure proved it, and the XLT size on the label proved it, too. So I offered it to him, he put it on, and was instantly warm. Unisexily warming, no?

Seeking further, I found another black nylon jacket with a zipper closure and a single silver stripe inset down the sleeve. It was lined with that heather-gray sweatshirt material and turned out to be reversible. I put it on, nylon side out, and zipped it up. Sleeves not too long, check. Length not too long, check. But I must have been larger when I bought it as it is too big around. As there is a drawsting toggle to pull in the waist, I kept it on and was instantly warm.

I wonder how come, when I go shopping in the winter storage closet, there is never any new designer gear from which to choose?

It's a mystery . . .

Friday, January 1, 2010

Center Piece


It's a palindrome!

Is that significant?

Is this a binary year?

Have I lost my mind?

The font is changed in celebration of a New Decade.

Same size, though.

We don't want too much change at one time - it's unsettling.