Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Christmas Prayer

Levi, who will be three in a couple of months, offered to say grace before the family shared Christmas Eve dinner. He said, "Jesus, thanks. Food. Amen." Concise and to the point. I'm sure God was glad he didn't run on and on.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Another Lucy and Ricky Ricardo Moment

I found an item in Bed, Bath and Beyond that I wanted to purchase, but it seemed a little pricey to me (I’m not cheap, just thrifty). I suggested to Mr. Fixit that we shop to see if we could buy the item cheaper. After trying several different places and not finding a cheaper price, Mr. Fixit said, “Go back to Bed, Bath and Behind and get that thing you wanted.”

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Deja Vu

Mr. Fixit gets off work at 8:00 am every morning. He had an appointment with the cardiologist at 9:15 am today. I drove over to accompany him. We had an hour to kill so we did a little Christmas shopping. He left his truck in the parking lot of the store where he works, and we went about our business in my car.

After the appointment, we were both in a rush to get home to have breakfast. After driving about half way home, he groaned and said, “We forgot the truck again.” We went home, had breakfast, watched a little “Cash Cab,” and drove the 16 miles back to get his truck. This isn’t the first time this has happened. (See December 14, 2007post.) I’m so glad that gasoline prices are down!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Old Dog, New Tricks?

Jason called to ask me if we had relatives still living in Miami. He had received an invitation from some young woman to become his “friend” on Face Book from Miami. I mentioned that I don’t understand the Face Book concept at all so he tried to explain it to me. He was surprised to learn that his Mr. Fixit has a Face Book page. Mr. Fixit was invited by members of his family to join. We set up his page but could not figure out how to use it.

While Jason was trying to explain it to me, I accidentally changed Mr. Fixit’s relationship status to “In an open relationship.” When I saw it on the page, I started to laugh. It popped up on Jason’s page. He (Jason) was yelling at me, "Get that off the page! Hit delete! What will my friends think if they see Dad is in an open relationship?” I was laughing so hard I had tears running down my face. I said, “Well, you can tell everyone that’s why he’s having heart problems.”

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


After Mr. Fixit’s trip to the emergency room Thanksgiving evening, we scheduled visits with our family GP and with the cardiologist the following Monday. Our family doctor talked to us about some minor problems found at the ER and reassured us about the possible outcomes of the visit with the cardiologist.

The cardiologist suggested a heart catheterization be performed the next day. I think he thought that nothing much would show up because he scheduled it at the local hospital that can only to the caths, not the corrective procedure that sometimes needs to be done. Every time I mentioned that Mr. Fixit’s lips turned blue, the doctors all looked at me like I was crazy. I think they were looking at his lab work seeing that he had not suffered a heart attack. I knew that something was terribly wrong because the blue mouth means that he was not getting enough oxygen.

The next day after the heart cath the surgeon told me that Mr. Fixit should have a procedure to put a stent in one of his arteries because he found 99% blockage. When I asked how soon it should be done, he said right away. I asked, “Does ‘right away’ mean today, tomorrow, next week, or next month?” He said that he wanted him transported to a Greenville hospital that same day with the procedure scheduled for the next day. He said that Mr. Fixit could have a heart attack at any moment. They put him in an ambulance and took him to the bigger hospital. They said they didn’t want me to take him in case he had an attack in the car.

The next day the stent was put in place, and he seems to be doing very well except for a sinus infection that is causing headaches.

We did have a few little problems with the heart surgeon. I suppose that he is entirely focused on doing his thing and he forgot that we were sitting in the waiting room. We had been told that the procedure would take an hour or an hour and a half. Two and a half hours later we were still waiting to hear that Mr. Fixit was okay. Finally, we were told we could call the recovery room to check on him. He had been sent back to his room without any instructions to the floor nurse or without any word to us by the doctor or anyone else. I was on the verge of losing it, imagining that he was lying in the morgue. The doctor also seemed at sea when we asked him a few basic questions.

We will go to the follow-up appointment, but we have asked our GP to recommend another specialist for any future problems. I have no doubt that the heart specialist did a good job, but he needs to remember the human factor.

A statin and blood thinner was prescribed and he is carrying nitroglycerin in his pocket. We are now eating a low salt, low cholesterol diet that I should have been on years ago. It’s boring and unappetizing, but it’s better than the alternative.

Mr. Fixit is going back to work tonight.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tip of the Day

When your telephone rings and you say "Hello" and the response is "Don't hang up", hang up.

Mr. Fixit is home after spending a few harrowing days in hospital. He's okay. On the positive side, I have enough blog material for a while. Strange things happen in hospitals. More to come after I shovel out the living room and kitchen and do laundry that's been piling up for a few days.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Heart of my Heart

Tomorrow Mr. Fixit will undergo a heart catheterization. He's more than a little nervous. He says he hopes they find the cause of the episode Thursday even if it calls for more treatment. The doctor said that if a cause is not found, the only thing to do is to wait until it happens again--not acceptable. That would be like living on the edge of a precipice waiting for the fatal fall.

We also saw our GP. He scheduled an appointment for next week to do some follow-up tests.

I KNOW that he will be okay.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Thanksgiving was more dramatic than usual.

Jason and Alisa invited us to share dinner with her mother, stepfather, brother and his wife. Ben, Dena, Dena’s dad, and their children also attended.

After we finished dinner, we were sitting at the kitchen table waiting for everyone to finish eating. Mr. Fixit said to me, “There’s something wrong.” He was very pale and Dena pointed out that his lips were blue. He was also complaining of chest pain. I panicked a bit because I had seen my father having his first heart attack when I was a little girl and I can never forget the way his lips turned blue. I knew I had to get him to the hospital right away. I didn’t think to call 911 or even to give him an aspirin. Ben and Jason helped him to the car. By that time, he was unable to walk alone. I drove him to the emergency room breaking several traffic laws.

After running several tests, the staff physicians doubt that he had a heart attack, but they said it could have been angina. They suggested that he see a cardiologist tomorrow. They let him go home about midnight.

Friday evening one of the doctors called to see how he was doing; the doctor also mentioned that Mr. Fixit has some fluid in his left lung. We don’t know what to make of that. We have to see our family GP to discuss this. It has been a long few days not knowing exactly what is happening.

He is also bored out of his skull. He gets a little testy with me when I get “over-protective.”

Maybe we will get some definitive information tomorrow.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

When Did This Happen?

What has become of that daring young man who jumped from various aircraft as a member of the 101st Airborne? What has become of the cool young man with the white Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible? What has become of the young man with the bulging muscles and tight buns who made my heart flutter and my knees weak?

He’s downstairs watching Lawrence Welk on PBS! My Gosh, he’s become my father!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Our Son, The Coach

Our younger son, Jason, has been involved in coaching little guy baseball since Noah was old enough to play. Since he coaches very young players, he emphasizes having fun and teaching the basics (how to find first base). Fall Ball is coming to a close. His team plays for the championship tonight.

Last Saturday after practice, there was a Kids vs. Parents game. These pictures will show what a good-natured guy he is. Does that sound like a mother bragging about her child? That’s exactly what it is! He is such a good man and he’s a great father.

He played catcher during the game wearing kid-sized equipment. Note - his wife, the cute blond, is in the background.

He seems to spend a lot of time on the ground.

The boy players got a kick out of his wearing our only girl player's batting helmet.

Jason and two of his assistant coaches.

This photo shows what the first one didn't. His assistant coaches are very tall!

Sometimes I look at both our sons and thank God that we are so lucky to have them.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Two-Year-Old Recycles

A couple of Sundays ago, the family took Mr. Fixit and me to lunch to celebrate both our birthdays (Mr. Fixit’s is Oct. 16th, mine is the 12th). Levi likes to sample something from everyone’s plate. On his dad’s plate he found a red onion ring that had garnished the plate. I assume he doesn’t like the taste of onions, but he must think it’s pretty.

He recycled it. Unfortunately, we only have one blurry picture taken with a cell phone.

He turned it into a rather stylish hat. When he was told to remove it from his head, he put it on his arm as a dandy little wrist band. (I almost said “bracelet” but changed my mind. I don’t think Dad would care for the idea of his son wearing a bracelet.)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Last Political Post Until. . .Something Makes Me Angry Again

The McCain campaign people are showing the same judgment after the election that they used before the election. While I think that Governor Palin was perhaps the worst choice as a running mate anyone could make, anonymous sources within the campaign are now airing all their dirty linen with Gov. Palin being the object of their derision. Granted, she may deserve every unkind criticism, but for these people to start telling tales out of school is disgraceful. In an article on the AP Wire today, they went into the gory details of her rogue (not maverick, rogue) diplomacy with the ersatz President of France, the wardrobe expenses, her resistance to “coaching” before the Couric interview, and her general lack of knowledge of world affairs.

My point is that some of these advisors are probably the same ones who suggested to Sen. McCain that he asked Palin to be his running mate. Have any one of those advisors explained why there was little or no investigation into Palin’s background? All anyone had to do was read the newspapers to learn of “Troopergate” and “The Bridge to Nowhere”. Didn’t they know that her husband had belonged to an organization that called for the secession of Alaska and that he worked for BP? I had been reading these stories for a long time before her name was brought to the forefront as a candidate. If they had been doing their jobs correctly, they would have known her many shortcomings.

These anonymous sources from within the campaign should have the integrity, honor, and character to just shut the hell up. I suspect that the advisors lost the election for their candidate by recommending Palin and are now trying to cover their butts instead of accepting responsibility for their own mistakes. They don't even have the guts to cast off the "anonymous" cloak. I wonder if McCain had a more acceptable running mate the election would have turned out very differently. Now that’s a scary thought.

(I know that my son and my DIL are very surprised to read this after hearing of my vehement opposition to Palin. In fact, I bet it knocked their socks off!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Hate - The Texas Version

These comments were taken from a metropolitan newspaper in Texas. Again I have simply copied and pasted with no editing except to excise the screen names of those who commented on an article about the election of Sen. Obama to be our next president.

"As a business owner who employs 30 people, I have resigned myself to the fact that Barack Obama, will be our next President, and that my taxes and fees, will go up in a BIG way.To compensate for these increases, I figure, that the customer, will have to see an increase in my fees to them of about, 8%. I will also have to lay off 6 of my employees.This really bothered me as I believe we are family here and didn't know how to choose who will have to go. So, this is what I did. I strolled thru the parking lot and found 6 Obama bumper stickers on my employee's cars. I have decided these folks will be the first to be laid off.I can't think of another fair way to approach this problem. If you have a better idea, let me know.I am sending this letter to all business owners that I know"


"Obama to Inherit Economy in Worst Crisis in 70 Years"Good, I sincerely hope he goes through 4 years of utter hell."

"Hooooray!! I'm so excited for this day in history! We have elected a terrorist to the white house! Next thing, i guess Hugo and Osama will be sipping tea and having meetings at the White House! A historic day indeed!"

"If you thought things were bad before, watch 'em go straight to hell now."

"He is not my President. Like some of my friends did with Bush, I can turn the television off when he is on, vigorously exercise my right to free speech, and, I guess, send him a big check every April. And pray, which would no doubt anger him the most."

"To quote Obama on the subject of global warming and greenhouse emissions: "the cost of electricity will skyrocket". Did anyone think their light bills weren't big enough already?And what is his Civilian Security Force all about - something he says will be funded equally with the military - sounds a little like Hitler's SS.Spreading the wealth giving tax credits to those who don't owe taxes is socialism.He refuses to wear the American Flag lapel pin because others might be offended for what it represents. So just what country is he planning on representing?I mourn for our country. We have lost our way and it's pretty much the fault of the Republican party who drifted away from its core conservative base so republicans had no true incentive to vote. McCain was 7th or 8th down the list of potential candidates. This election was between bad and worse and worse one."

"6% black....50% white................44% ARABIC"

"The worst has happened, the downfall of the America we know now begins. McCain's concession speech showed the type of man he is - calling for people to work together, th think of Obama as president, etc. Any doubts that Obama concession speech would have been full of racism? I sincerely hope that all of you who voted for this clown, especially the young people who are started out as wage earners, I hope you feel the pains of his ecomonic plans - that might be the best lesson you wll learn in life. Watch for the foreign aid to Kenya to increase"

(To me, the following is the most offensive comment. I thought it was offensive when Mrs. Obama said something similar, too.)

"Today, for the first time in my life I am ashamed to be an American"

Again, as in the earlier post, I point out that not all the comments are of this ilk. Many are patriotic and hopeful that President-Elect Obama will be a good president who will help solve the many problems we, as a nation, are facing today. It is just astounding to me that so many people who claim to be Christians and patriotic Americans harbor such hate in their hearts. I'm also sad to say that I suspect that the hate comes from a different place than simply disagreeing with his policies.

Hate Is Alive and Well

The following quotes are taken from comments made by readers of a local newspaper. There were also a few comments wishing the new president-elect well, but those comments were far out-numbered by these (I have simply copied and pasted them with no editing except the names of the commenters):

"The worst has happened, the downfall of the America we know now begins. McCain's concession speech showed the type of man he is - calling for people to work together, th think of Obama as president, etc. Any doubts that Obama concession speech would have been full of racism? I sincerely hope that all of you who voted for this clown, especially the young people who are started out as wage earners, I hope you feel the pains of his ecomonic plans - that might be the best lesson you wll learn in life. Watch for the foreign aid to Kenya to increase"

"Change is coming. The people wanted change and now they are going to get it.
Lost jobs because of increased taxes.High gas prices again because of increased taxes.Dead americans from terrorist attacks.He will make our military surrender to the enemy opening us up to more terrorist attacks.
Our country is in serious trouble.But you got your change"

"We'll see if he backs up all his promises he made while he's in Office or if he's like every other Politician and lies and deceives voters to just get into Office. I'm a Republican and did not like or endorse John McCain and that Idiot Sarah Palin. Hopefully next election the Republican party will have better Candidates than those two clowns to run for the Offices of President and Vice President. To the Obama supporters that voted for him based on his ability to run this Country, Congratulations. To those voters that voted for Obama because he was black, you are Idiots and racist and shouldn't even be allowed to vote."


"AMEN God have mercy on the United States of America that has turn their backs on Him. Pray for our country that we as true Americans will turn back to Him"

"The thing that alienated me more than anything, is the news-nerds and their biased coverage of this election. At least they used to pretend to be unbiased. And I'm glad this election wasn't about race... could you imagine the news coverage then. I heard Martin Luther Kings "I have a dream" speech 2 times in 30 minutes this morning. Jeez, I can't stand the news-nerds.witnessed an Obamanation (interpret as you please)."

"I could not agree more! I too, pray I am wrong, but America has turn away from God and we are in serious trouble and I do not believe this is the man that will lead us back to the beliefs that this great country was founded upon. God help us all, our country has lost its way!We should all pray for our new President!!"

"I'm one to always expect the worst but hope for the best. I'm not sure if there is a "best" in this situation. I just hope that God will help us now because He is the ONLY one that can!!!!"

Monday, November 3, 2008

Election '08

I have avoided commenting on the election. To tell you the truth, I am sick of the meanness of the campaign. I’m sick of the misleading rhetoric on both sides. I’m sick of the endless political ads. I just want it over!

I wish the electorate would check the facts instead of listening to every half-truth from the lunatic fringe. Do I care how much the RNC spent on Gov. Palin’s clothes? No!!! Do I care that she is an ignorant, overly ambitious, ethically challenged twit? Yes!!! Do I care if McCain mentions his former POW status in every speech? No!!! Do I care that he has the potential for starting a nuclear war? Yes!!! Do I care that Sen. Obama’s middle name is Hussein? No!!! Do I care that he says he will try to get us out of Iraq and he will try to fix the economy? Yes!!! Do I care that Sen. Biden is not my first choice? No!!! Do I care that he is better qualified to be vice president that his opponent? Yes!!!

McCain and Palin terrify me. I have 5 very good reasons to vote the Democratic ticket.
They are Cole, Noah, Isabella, Owen and Levi, my grandchildren. I want them to have a chance for a safe, prosperous life, and I feel that McCain and Palin will do real harm to them and this country if elected.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One Reason Why We've Been Married Almost 43 Years

At this stage in my life, it is necessary to take several medications a twice a day. Also, at this stage in my life, my memory isn’t as sharp as it was once. For some reason, I can’t remember to take the morning meds; I never forget the bedtime ones. Two of the prescriptions have some unpleasant side effects. If I take them on schedule my body adapts and the side effects disappear; however, if I miss one dose, the side effects re-appear and continue for a few days. Needless to say, I hate this! I asked Mr. Fixit if he would remind me to take the meds on schedule.

This morning before he left for work, he came upstairs and reminded me. When I came downstairs, this is what I found.

His spelling may leave a bit to be desired, but his heart is in the right place. What a sweet man!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tony Hillerman

Author Tony Hillerman died Sunday. I have been reading his Navajo series since the mid 1970’s. Lt. Joe Leaphorn and Officer Jim Chee would entertain me every couple of years with a new mystery and Navajo lore. I feel as if I have lost old friends.

Friday, October 24, 2008


This section of the Chattooga River forms the border between Oconee County, S.C., and the State of Georgia. In non-drought times, this is a launching area for whitewater rafting and kayaking. In the foreground of the photo is a depth gauge showing the severity of our drought.
The gauge is out of the water. In normal times, the vegetation in the foreground is completely under water. It looks as if you can walk across the river without getting your ankles wet.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Yesterday Mr. Fixit and I decided to take a day-trip to see the autumn foliage. The weather was outstanding. The leaves are just beginning to turn here in Upstate South Carolina so we thought the color would be at its peak in the North Georgia mountains and the foothills of the Smokies. I also wanted to return to Tallulah Gorge in Georgia to see the numerous waterfalls.

The leaves are not anywhere near the peak color. I was a little disappointed, but the falls at the Gorge more than made up for the lack of colorful foliage. We hiked several trails (Mr. Fixit hiked more than I did) and saw several falls. There was one trail that I would never attempt even if I were wearing the correct footwear. It involves climbing 630 steps and walking a suspension bridge. The museum was very interesting.

I wish our pictures of the falls had turned out better. The shadows were just too dark to see the complete cascades. They were beautiful.

After we left Tallulah Falls, I suggested that we drive northward to the Cherokee Reservation in Tennessee. When I was a little girl we lived the Eastern Tennessee. We went several times; every time relatives visited everyone wanted to go to the Smokies. The place has changed so much; some changes for the better, some for the worse. The last time I went several years ago, pre-casino, the majority of the workers in the souvenir stands were Cherokee; yesterday, we saw virtually none. Every shop was manned by whites. There were no artisans to be seen as there had been in the past; however, it’s possible that the artisans were at the museum. We didn’t go there. I suspect that the members of the reservation are now employed by Harrah’s Casino.

One of the better changes was that there were no captive bears or dancing chickens, or piano playing ducks. It always broke my heart to see those poor bears in small cages or performing tricks on stage.

The highlight of the trip was Goats on the Roof, a souvenir shop between Tallulah Falls and Clayton, Georgia. The shop sells the usual souvenirs, jams and jellies, home-made candies, ice cream, relishes, etc. They also sell Amish furniture.

It would be a run-of-the-mill shop except for one thing. Grass has been planted on the roofs of the two buildings comprising the store. Several goats and rabbits live on the roof. There are ramps and bridges connecting the two buildings and there are mechanisms for raising purchased food to the animals. They seemed to be very happy with lots of room to move.

It was a very nice day for us. This is the way I had envisioned Mr. Fixit’s retirement. He works so much that we seldom have time for even day-trips.
(As usual, click to enlarge photos for more detail.)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Guns and Little League Don't Mix!

Noah and Owen play baseball at a park comprised of five baseball fields, a couple of soccer fields, tennis courts, a small playground, and a walking track. There are always people there. When the children play baseball and soccer, the place is packed.

Saturday they had a game at 9:00 am. They have an hour and a half time limit. After the game, snacks are passed out, the coaches pass out the game balls, and have a general team meeting. That usually takes about 15 minutes. Mr. Fixit and I left as soon as we congratulated the boys so we could get to our other grandson’s game about 45 minutes away. It must have been a few minutes after 11:00 am when we left.

Jason, Alisa, and the boys stayed to hang out with friends when they heard someone yelling, “I’ve been shot.” It was about 11:30. A dad was walking with his children off the ball field. He was hit in the butt and was knocked off his feet. No one heard the shot. In the meantime, other games were being played.

Jason took Alisa and the boys and put them in the car and then went back to the field to see if anyone needed any help. He said that everyone was down on the ground, parents covering their children with their bodies. Some of the children were down on the field at the positions they had been playing.

Thankfully the man wasn’t seriously injured. I suppose it was a good thing that an adult was hit. If it had been a child, the bullet would have hit any where from head high to chest high, depending on the child’s height. The results could have been fatal.

According to news reports, the sheriff’s department doesn’t seem to be taking this incident very seriously. They indicated that Saturday was the first day of deer season and they believe there was no malicious intent. The sheriff’s department and the news media seem to be pooh-poohing the whole thing. The headline was “Man Shot in Buttocks”, not “Shot fired at Little League Field”.

Needless to say, parents are upset that the authorities and the media seem to be taking this shooting so lightly. This grandparent isn’t too happy either. My son, his wife, and my grandchildren were too close for comfort. It seems that the good ole boys take their deer hunting more seriously than the safety of children.

Friday, October 10, 2008


My letter to the editor concerning elder language:

“I wonder if the ‘young’ members of your editorial board will change their perspectives as they age.

Perhaps it would be better to show your ‘kindness’ by being respectful and polite to elders by addressing them by their names and titles (Ms. Smith or Mr. Jones). As a matter of fact, I found it demeaning and patronizing to be addressed by ‘endearments’ by complete strangers when I was younger.

It may be enlightening to you if you ask a few elders how they feel about this subject. You may be surprised. You can find relevant comments at, October 10, 2008, post.”

Explanation: The writer of the editorial referred to the "younger" members of their editorial board.

Their reply (which was received minutes after I sent the above email):

"Not as young as you might think. I'm closing in on 60. I was always raised to preface with Mr. or Mrs. or even Miss and do so today, but can't resist a few Alabama endearments. Old habits are hard to break. But I am sorry you were offended."

I wasn't offended by the editorial; it made me feel. . .(I can't find the exact word to use to describe how it made me feel) disappointed (for lack of a better term) that a whole segment of our society is regarded with such thoughtlessness.

Codgerette Being Codgerly

Today’s post at dealt with the subject of the use of demeaning language to elders (referring to elders as “hon”, “sweetheart”, or “dearie). Our local paper featured an editorial yesterday citing the same study referred in the TGB post. The editorial concluded:

“And we’ll admit people can indeed be thoughtless, if we can also acknowledge that sometimes, others see discrimination where none really exists.

Personally, we find it offensive that these days, it seems we can’t even attempt to be kind to one another without an ulterior motive being suspected.

That’s demeaning to all concerned.”

In answer, I suggested that it might be better to show what they referred to as “kindness” by being respectful and polite by using the elders' names and titles (Ms. Jones or Mr. Smith). I also suggested they ask a few elders their reaction to being called “hon” by complete strangers.

Again, I am showing my “codgerousness”, but it IS demeaning to be addressed by saleswomen and nurses (the worst offenders in my opinion) as “hon”.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Fiscal Responsiblity - You're Doing It Right!

Our small town is trying the cope with the high cost of gasoline. In our area, supplies of gas are scarce. There are lines at the stations that have a supply, and
there is only "regular" available.

Usually when the water department sends out its meter readers, they arrive in a pickup truck. The last time they were here the two guys were in a golf cart. I assume that it is electric since it is so quiet. Last week when they were digging yet another hole in our neighborhood street, the men manning the backhoe arrived on the golf cart. Mr. Fixit and I saw two carts at a work site a few days ago. I don’t know if the carts have been purchased, rented, or borrowed, but they certainly must be cheaper and cleaner to operate than the usual pickup trucks.

Speaking of pickup trucks and fiscal responsibility, a few years ago I read in the town newsletter that the City had purchased from some government agency two surplus pickup trucks for $1.00 each. Those trucks are still being used. They are old and ugly, but they get the job done.

I don’t know who made the decision to use the golf carts; it could have been the town manager, the mayor, or the head of the water department, I suppose, but I suggest that we send that individual to Washington to clean up the financial debacle this country is facing.

I am so proud of our town!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Spreading a (Very) Little Sunshine

Gasoline is very scarce here. Some people are waiting in line in some places up to five hours. Wal-Mart (Murphy) had none last night, and Exxon had only regular. Cole has a baseball tournament in Myrtle Beach this coming weekend. They have reserved a campsite. The gas situation is even worse there than it is here in the Upstate. I hope they don’t get marooned. Their Expedition gets about 9 miles to the gallon when towing the camping trailer.

Last week when I spoke to the broker who suggested that we put our IRA into an AIG annuity, I asked that he send us the documents necessary to withdraw our funds. He hasn’t sent them. There is the ongoing investigation that began a couple of years ago concerning their accounting practices (brings Enron to mind), and now the FBI is instituting a new investigation into possible mortgage fraud. WE WANT OUR MONEY AND WE WANT IT NOW! I realize that taking our money out is not the best idea (rather like rats deserting a sinking ship), but I’m sure that the amount we have in there seems a pittance to AIG. We could be left with nothing if the worst happens. Those of us with the least need it the most.

I went to the doctor last week for a checkup. Things aren’t so hot; liver function out of whack, kidneys not up to par, glucose levels up, and blood pressure up. There’s not much to be done about the kidneys and liver except to watch my diet (I’ve been watching it all along—going to hell in a handbasket). He increased the insulin and blood pressure medication. He also said that I should monitor my blood pressure. Having that gauge makes me feel like a hypochondriac.

Monday the periodontist performed a little surgery on my mouth. It didn’t hurt during the procedure, but it hurts like a son-of-a-gun now. The ends of the stitches are hanging down in my mouth. Gross! I thought the pain factor would be like having an extraction. I’ve never had to take pain medication for extractions, but I am very happy to have it now. It makes me sleep all day though.

Yesterday I was sitting on the deck reading (and feeling miserable) when a hummingbird darted within a couple of feet of my head. He hovered over the hibiscus blossoms for a bit before flying past me again. If I hadn’t ducked, he would have hit me smack dab in the forehead.

Our country is in the midst of the worst financial crisis since 1929, we are fighting wars on two different fronts, we are all being affected by energy crisis, and another tropical depression is forming in the Atlantic. So why is Clay Aiken's sexual orientation all over the news? Does anyone really give a hoot? Not me, that's for sure (insert old codgerette grumbling here).

Enough of this doom and gloom! The weather this week has been absolutely glorious! Bright blue skies, fluffy clouds, and temperatures in the high seventies. I can’t ask for better than that!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Great American Bail-out

The events of the past week have been upsetting for Mr. Fixit and me. If not for the government bail-out, we could have lost what little we have in an annuity with AIG. Thank heavens, it seems to be safe for now. I hope it lasts until we can remove our money without having to pay penalties for early withdrawal.

How did this great country of ours come to this? Is it, as some say, a product of de-regulation? Is it corporate greed and corruption? Is it corruption in government? It has occurred to me that there is enough fault to go around, but I haven’t heard anyone say that perhaps we, your average citizens, have contributed to this mess. We live beyond our means; we drive expensive gas-guzzlers because everyone else has one; we give our children too much. Our credit card debt is astronomical. We think we can’t live in a house without all the modern conveniences. We have accepted some banker’s opinion that we can pay outrageous mortgage payments only to find that our carefully planned budgets do not allow for the countless unforeseen expenditures that crop up. We have failed to take responsibility by trusting in someone’s judgment other than our own, and now some of us are now losing our homes to foreclosures that have lead to this financial crisis.

Maybe we will learn from the events of last week, but being the cynic I am, I doubt it. I’m not one of those people could easily give up those luxuries that I have become accustomed to and dependent upon. It’s a little scary to think that in the future we may not have the choice of giving up a few luxuries for the sake of necessities. It could forced upon us by the financial mismanagement of the government and us, as individuals.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tallulah Gorge

We went for a drive and re-discovered Tallulah Falls, Georgia, and Tallulah Gorge. The gorge is 900 feet deep. You can’t see the depth from the pictures, but it is breathtaking. I couldn’t get within about 10 feet of the edge. I have a little problem with heights. Mr. Fixit took the pictures for me. I want to go back after the leaves start to turn. It should be spectacular!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Case of the Disappearing Kibble

(Cue the "Twilight Zone" music)

It happened again--the mysterious, disappearing cat food. This is an account of the first time I experienced this phenomenon (posted Dec. 11, 2007).

"I spilled about a cup of dry cat food on the carpet. I brought out the hand vac to clean it up. It seemed to be working just fine. Then I picked up the vac and saw that the brush was simply brushing the kibble backward. I then removed the hose to stop the brush spinning and used the hose to pick up the mess. I thought the job had been completed satisfactorily. Then I took the bag off to empty it; there was no cat food mixed in with the dust. I shook the vac; no rattling kibble. I knew that it was sucked up by the hose; I watched it go in. I tried to take the vac apart; I could only get the handle off. I did discover that there is no way for the kibble to go anywhere but into the bag. One of life’s little mysteries."

Again, I spilled the cat chow on the carpet. Again, I used the hand vac to clean up the mess. Again, when I emptied the bag there was no kibble in the bag! There was a meager handful of brownish dust. It was powder fine. Could this be the cat food? This vacuum is a Black & Decker; as far as I know, it does NOT have the capability of grinding the detritus into dust. It barely picks up the lint on the carpet on the steps.

Again, I ask--Where the heck is the sucked up cat food?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Bathroom Technology

Bathroom technology very interesting to me. When I was a little girl living in the mountains of Tennessee, I discovered the toilet that needed no flushing (the outhouse). Just think! Prior to moving to the mountains, I always had to flush.

The next big leap in bathroom technology, I suppose, were those hand driers in public restrooms. You push a button and warm air comes out of a tube on the machine and dries your hands. Actually, you have to hold your hands under the stream of air for at least five minutes to get them dry enough to finish the job by drying your hands on your clothes. Someone thinks these little machines work so well that paper towels are no longer available in some restrooms.

Now we don’t even have to turn on the water; just pass your hands under the faucet and,Voila! Water comes gushing out. Handleless faucets! What a marvel!

Today I discovered the latest thing in public restroom technology. I found a restroom that actually offered both the hot-air drier and paper towels. I opted for the paper towels. I tried to pull the towel out of the dispenser, but it appeared to be stuck. I then noticed a red light on the front of the dispenser. Could this be the answer? An electric eye? A motion detector? I passed my hand in front of the little red light, and, lo and behold, the machine spat out a paper towel. Wow! How neat is that?

Of course, this towel dispenser may not be new. Normally, I don’t “do” public restrooms. I once drove 890 miles in 16 hours without using the roadside facilities, so this improvement may have been around for a while. I must admit,I was quite taken with this invention. When I told Mr. Fixit about this innovation, he offered a rather pithy description of the next innovation in restroom technology. Being the refined, elderly lady that I am, I won’t repeat it.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

It Depends on How You Look at It

The drain in the kitchen sink is clogged. That means I can’t do dishes or cook. Mr. Fixit said he would look at it when he gets home from work. What a pain!

Wait a sec—can’t do dishes, can’t cook? It's not all bad, is it?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fay On Her Way Out

The weather seems to be settling down a bit. There were no further problems last night. Today there are intermittent showers. I wish it would rain steadily at a moderate rate for a few days. We seem to go from one extreme to the other.

Tornadoes were reported over a wide area of the state yesterday. No major injuries have been reported as far as I know.

This is one of the hibiscus plants in the box on our deck after a rain shower. The blooms only last one day, but they bloom often so we always have a few flowers. Pretty, isn’t it?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Remnants of Fay

This morning I suggested to Mr. Fixit that we should go out for lunch after my dental appointment. We drove into Clemson about 12:45; it was sprinkling rain. When we left the restaurant it was raining just a bit harder. We stopped to do an errand on the way home. While we were in the store, the rain began to pour. We got home about 2:00 pm. I was upstairs preparing to watch a DVD, and Mr. Fixit settled down for a movie on TV.

A few minutes later the phone rang. It was Jason calling from his job. He works about an hour and a half away from our house. He wanted to know if we knew that a tornado warning had been issued for Clemson and our town. Of course, we didn’t. We seldom watch the local channels. He said, “Get the cats and head for the downstairs bathroom.” We checked the local channels. Sure enough, a warning was on the screen saying that a tornado was imminent for Clemson and our town.

I spent a few minutes opening a few windows and shutting down the computer. I grabbed my purse and Mr. Fixit grabbed the box holding our “important” documents. The cats decided to ride out the storm in the middle level of the house. I certainly wasn’t going to risk life and limb carrying them downstairs. It was raining very hard. The warning was in effect until 3:30. I sat on the steps in the downstairs hall reading a book, and Mr. Fixit changed clothes to leave for work at 3:30.

A tornado did touch down in Clemson on the campus very near to Death Valley (the huge football stadium). There were trees down around the university and near downtown Clemson. The power is still out in parts of town. There have been no reported injuries. The university has a very good alert system.

I heard one report that a tornado may have hit somewhere in our little town, but we are so small that I guess no one cared to follow up on the report.

Right now the rain has stopped and the storms have moved into western North Carolina and another band is moving a little further east into NC. We aren’t out of the woods yet. There are two more bands of storms headed for us from Georgia. I think I’ll gather a few more things together and put them in a safer place.

I would like to take my new flat screen TV (it’s less than a month old), Mr. Fixit’s big TV, and the computer and its peripherals to safety, but if I unplug all that stuff, it would probably take us a long time to reconnect everything. I could be in for days of Spanish swearing and thinned lips. I think I’ll just put the CD’s with all the family pictures and my meds in a plastic bag for safekeeping and keep it with me if another storm is imminent.

Wish us luck!

Monday, August 25, 2008


When I turned on the television this morning, a flash flood warning for the adjacent county was being broadcast. We live about six miles from the county line. According to the announcement, that county had received 3 to 5 inches of rain overnight. Our streets were barely damp. They were completely dry under overhanging trees. I was so disappointed. We need rain badly.

Our town is under mandatory water usage restrictions—no car washing, lawn or garden watering, no house washing, etc. We’re trying to cut back on personal water usage.

It’s now just after noon, and it is pouring! Yippeee!!!! Maybe it will take the crunch out of grass. I’m not even going to complain that it’s raining so hard the satellite signal has been lost. I hope it lasts for a while.

* * * * * * * * *

The rain lasted about half an hour. The sun is now shining and the humidity is high.
Outside it feels like I'm trying to breathe in half-set Jello.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Cat-astrophe Avoided; Civic Duty

About a week and a half ago, the white cat came in with a wound on his face just below his ear. Of course, he wouldn’t let me look at it. I needed to take him to the vet to have him tested for feline leukemia, feline AIDS, and several other fatal diseases. He had been exposed to the cat that we had euthanized a couple of weeks ago. I delayed taking him to the vet because I wanted to give the wound a chance to heal. Cats are restrained by holding them by the scruff of the neck; I thought pulling tightly on the wound would hurt him.

Yesterday evening when he came to eat, the wound was bleeding again and it looked like the skin had been abraded. Nasty! He was also acting a little strange. I began to worry that maybe he had contracted rabies. It is so difficult to put him in the carrier, I had neglected his yearly boosters. I was in a state by the time I caught him this morning and took him to the doctor. I just knew that I wouldn’t be bringing him home.

He had all the necessary tests; all were negative. The doctor cleaned the wound and gave him a super-duper antibiotic that only has to be given once a week, and he said that since the cat had received rabies shots in the past, there was little chance of him contracting the disease even though he had missed the boosters. Good news all 'round!

Today I served on a jury; the miscreant didn’t show up for trial. He was tried in abstentia. He was found guilty of possession of less than an ounce of a controlled substance and guilty of driving an unsafe motor vehicle. I have to report tomorrow morning to serve as an alternate. I think this one concerns someone accused of driving 70 mph in a 40 mph speed zone. I hope all the jurors show up so I can leave early.

Friday, August 15, 2008

No Complaints

In the past, I have used this forum to “vent” about poor service in retail establishments and the generally shoddy products on the market. Today I have a few good things to say.

Several months ago I wrote about a letter of apology sent to me by AT&T for the outage of my DSL service. I thought it was very nice of them. After all, the service was only interrupted for a few hours.

Tuesday I received notification from Netflix a movie was being mailed to me. I received and returned it Wednesday. Usually, I received two emails the next day—one informing me that they received the returned movie and another saying that they are mailing the next DVD in my queue. I received no email from the company. I was surprised because they are usually so reliable. But Thursday evening I received an email explaining that they are experiencing shipping problems. And get this! The note said everyone who was affected by the delay in shipping would get a credit. What a nice surprise! (AT&T didn’t offer a credit.)

A couple of weeks ago I found in the mail a “Thank You” card. The man who cut our tree sent it thanking us for our business. A very nice gesture.

I quit using iceberg lettuce in my salads years ago. It turns brown too quickly, and I won’t eat brown lettuce! I use green leaf lettuce or romaine as the base ingredient for my salads because they last at least three days. Therefore, I don’t have to make salads on a daily basis. Even when I put the iceberg in a vacuum sealed container it would still turn brown in about three days. Still there are instances when iceberg is absolutely necessary. Romaine on a hamburger or topping a taco just isn’t the same. Iceberg is called for. I found myself wasting a lot of money because of my aversion to brown lettuce.

Rubbermaid has a food storage container called the “Produce Saver.” It has a green lid and a little platform in the bottom. This thing works! I wash the iceberg lettuce, break it into pieces suitable for sandwiches, spin all in water off in the salad spinner (the drier the better), and place it in the Produce Saver. I’ve kept lettuce for two weeks and it stayed crispy and non-brown. Yea! Rubbermaid!

While I'm in this mellow, non-complaining mood, I tried to find something nice to say about the people with whom I share the highways. . .

I tried; I really did!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

One Man Mystery Explained

After living for almost 63 years and being married for 42 years, I think I finally understand the way men think about their vehicles.

I very seldom drive Mr. Fixit’s truck, and when I do drive, he is usually in the passenger seat. He probably serves as a calming influence on me. The last time I drove it alone was back in the spring when he went on vacation. Then I only drove it once or twice.

Yesterday he drove my car to work, and I was left with the truck. I had to go to the post office to return a Netflix movie so I drove the truck. Driving that big truck had a curious effect on me. I felt powerful! There I was sitting so much higher than people in cars in the lane next me. The muffler on the truck are a bit louder than the one on my sedate Buick; varoom, varoom! I found myself hunched over the steering wheel wanting to go faster, faster. Suddenly I was thinking “I am strong; I am invincible; I am Woman! Get the heck out of my way; I’m coming through.” It must have been the rush of endorphins brought on by the power of those eight cylinders and the dull roar of the engine.

When I arrived back home one thing deflated my feelings of power and invincibility. As I prepared to leave the truck, I had to turn sideways in the seat and slide out because my feet were about a foot and a half from the ground. I felt like a four-year-old kid.

I can understand now how men feel when they are in a big ole truck and the testosterone starts running like maple sap in the spring and the endorphins kick in. Whoa! It’s no wonder some men change from Jekyll to Hyde when behind the wheel of their trucks.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Way It Was

Last night I received another essay from an acquaintance in one my hometowns in Kentucky. Entitled “Things I Miss About Summer,” Hugh writes of spending whole days at the city swimming pool, swimming “nekkid” in Devil’s Lake, catching lightning bugs, fishing, pick-up baseball games, catching crawdads in the creek, going to the icehouse, cranking the ice cream freezer, BB guns, comic books, the clandestine smoking of unfiltered Camels filched from Dad, camping with the Boy Scouts, the county fair, visiting relatives in the “big” city, exploring the woods, riding bikes for miles, building soap-box type cars, and riding the ferry across the Green River. It is a wonderful piece written about another time and a great place in which to grow up.

As I read each new essay, I have come to realize how much more freedom and fun boys in that era had than girls did. I can relate to many of his memories; I remember catching lightning bugs, my granddad taking us to the icehouse, cranking the ice cream freezer on the front porch after Sunday dinner, fishing, and reading and trading comic books. He has also written of the many pranks that he was in on and hitchhiking home from college on the weekends. Girls (perhaps I should only speak for myself) weren’t allowed so much freedom. When bike riding, I had to stay within view of our house. When we lived in town (as opposed to the country as we usually did), I wasn’t allowed to wander the streets as my brother was. The only place I was allowed to swim "nekkid" was in the bathtub with the door closed tight. The night my father died he told me to be home by 10:00 pm. I was 17 years old, had graduated from high school, and was gainfully employed. I didn’t resent it. That’s just the way it was.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Sometimes Doing the Right Thing. . .

When Mother Cat brought us her first litter five or six years ago, one of the males had Siamese-like markings even though Mother is a Tortie and Dad Cat was just plain black and white. Dad Cat took a dislike to the “Siamese” kitten when the kitten began to mature. The kitten left the abuse and move to safer surroundings. He found a nice lady up the street from our house who fed him and several other strays in the neighborhood. He would come back to see us every now and then after we captured Dad Cat and took him to the pound. Over the years I would see him at the neighbor’s house and while he was a bit rough looking with his shredded ear and scars on his face, he always looked well-fed.

About two weeks ago he showed up again at our house emaciated. The poor thing didn’t look as if he would last the night. I fed him and he ate. I thought maybe the lady had stopped feeding him because we had seen several puppies playing in her yard. After the first week I realized that even though he was eating pretty well, he wasn’t putting on any weight, and he seemed to be getting weaker. I took him to the vet yesterday.

The vet checked him out and noted that his colon was huge. He said that any steps that we could take would be risky and would be “unpleasant” for the cat. We made the decision to have the cat put down.

It broke my heart. He was a sweet cat who had enjoyed very little comfort in his life. I think that he had to find warm places to sleep in the winter and suffer in the hellish South Carolina heat in the summer. At least I know that in the last few weeks of his life, he could come in to stretch out on the cool floor in my kitchen and he received a little affection from Mr. Fixit and me, Mother Cat, and his half brothers.

I asked to vet to test him for feline leukemia after he had been euthanized. The test came back positive. Now my other cats are at risk since they ate together and were associated for these past few weeks. I dread having them tested because a positive test is a death sentence. I don’t know if I can face making the final decision when my four best friends are concerned.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Reporting for Duty

Today I received my annual (it seems) summons for jury duty in Municipal Court. One would think that in a town with a population of 2,400 that I wouldn’t be called almost every year. I suppose that after you eliminate all the people under 18 years old and over 65 years old, people who do not hold American citizenship and do not read, write, speak, or understand English, people who have been convicted of a crime and served more than a year in prison, students, those who have no child care for children under the age of 7, and people who have less than a 6th grade education, that probably leaves a jury pool of about 300 people. It’s not that surprising that some of us are called quite often.

Monday, July 28, 2008

More Technical Difficulties

More than a few years ago, Mr. Fixit won a bit on our then new state lottery. Since it was “found” money we decided to do something totally frivolous. We bought a satellite TV system. That was when the systems were relatively new and very expensive. I hesitate to say what it cost but it took almost all of his winnings. It was worth it. Our cable service was unreliable to say the least.

A couple of years ago, the receiver on the living room TV malfunctioned and needed to be replaced. Jason had gone back to cable for their high speed internet service so he suggested that we take his satellite receivers instead of buying new ones. I simply called Directv and explained that we wanted to transfer the card from our malfunctioning receiver to a borrowed one. The old card was activated with no problem and no cost.

Last Thursday the original receiver on the TV in computer room (mine) finally gave up. Some channels were lost completely, and on others the picture was breaking up. Mr. Fixit said that we should use the other receiver that Jason had given us. When I called Directv to notify them of the change and to ask them to re-activate the old card, the young lady said that she couldn’t re-activate the old card. She explained that I had two options that, of course, would cost us money. I chose the option of getting two new receivers. She said it would take two to five days for the receivers to arrive. I thought it would be Wednesday of this week before delivery; they actually arrived Saturday afternoon. Yea! For FedEx!

Sunday Mr. Fixit decided to install the new equipment. After several hours of foreign language swearing, patronizing eye-rolling at my every attempt to lend my technical expertise, groaning, and thinning of his upper lip (I can’t figure out why and how his upper lip disappears when he gets frustrated), he finally connected the receiver, the DVD recorder, and the sound system to the television, and partially programmed the new remote. The cat had pleaded pitifully to go out at the height of our “technical discussion.” The poor thing apparently doesn’t care for slightly raised voices.

The next step was to connect the receiver and the DVD player to my television and to program the remote. It didn’t take quite as long to complete the job and the swearing, patronizing eye-rolling and the thinning of the lip thing and my reaction to it were reduced and a bit less forceful. The cat came in from outside and only hid under the bed.

I then called to have the cards activated. The young man even helped us program the remotes and we were ready for TV viewing. Later in the afternoon, when I decided to watch a DVD I discovered that I couldn’t get the sound or picture even though the DVD player was running. Uh-oh, more technical problems!

After several more hours of Mr. Fixit using all his God-given talents and the swearing, etc. the problem still was not solved. Jason called and offered to come over to help when he heard of our problems. Mr. Fixit continued to try to solve the problem, his frustration growing worse by the second. I suggested, “Maybe you should wait until Jason gets here. Thirty seconds after he walks in the door, it will be fixed.” Of course, that earned another eye-roll in my direction. Somehow it seems that failing to fix something is a dent in his masculinity and to his ego.

Jason finally arrived. Thirty seconds later my DVD player was working.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Rules of the Road

Recently the governor our state signed a new law that will allow motorcyclists and bicyclists to run red lights. After stopping they may proceed through the light. I suppose the cyclists complained because their vehicles aren’t heavy enough to cause the lights to change. Apparently, there are many lights in the state that are controlled by some kind of pressure mechanisms. Okay, I can see their problem, but I wonder how many accidents will occur when the riders take advantage of the law. The motorcycle lobby in our state must be as influential are the NRA. When you give some people an inch, they take a mile. I’m not sure that this is the best idea I’ve ever heard.

I have no problem sharing the road with motorcycles, but people on bicycles drive me nuts. In our town and in Clemson, there are bike lanes provided for the cyclists on the main streets and roads. I think someone thought that a lot of students would be riding bikes to class. As a matter of fact, I don’t see very many students on bikes; they drive large SUV’s and Land Rovers. Instead of riding in the proper lane, a great many of the cyclists ride ON the white line marking their lane. You still have to swerve around them to keep your passenger side mirror from knocking the dolts ass over teacups.

On Saturday mornings on the two lane highways you will often come upon a gaggle (herd, covey, flock? or perhaps a group of riders should be called a goof) of riders at least 50 or 60 strong who move as one amorphous mass. When they cross the road, they move as one unit making opposing traffic come to a complete standstill . Do they ever consider that I am driving a vehicle that probably weighs a ton or more and their vehicle is only a few pounds? Do they take it for granted that I will stop? Are they betting on the fact that maybe I will stop because I don’t want my car damaged? Apparently, they don’t know of my Uzi fantasies.

If they would ride according the laws and with common sense as I try to do when I drive, maybe I could learn to overlook their Spandex garb*.

*I deleted a rather catty paragraph about the clothing cyclists wear because it was a bit much. What can I say? I’m feeling a bit catty today, but discretion prevailed so I removed it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Miss Manners & Emily Post Never Had This Problem, I Bet

Doing my small part to combat ecological dangers (using tote bags instead of those awful plastic ones to transport my shopping) has posed a problem of shopping etiquette for me. Would it be terribly gauche to use a Wal-mart totes in the Bi-Lo supermarket if I forget to throw the Bi-Lo ones in the car? Of course, I would never think of using Bi-Lo totes in Wal-mart because their cashiers get a little testy using the ones with the Wal-mart logo on them. I wouldn’t want to incur their wrath by using a competitors’ bag.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Recent Reads

Silence – Thomas Perry

Changing identities and disappearing is the subject of several Thomas Perry novels, i.e., the Jane Whitefield series. This one has a bit of a twist. Jack Till helped a witness to crime disappear because she was afraid to testify. Some years later evidence was planted and used to frame her business partner/lover for her murder in order to draw her out. The authorities were unwilling to believe that Till helped her disappear; therefore, he must find her and keep her safe in order to prevent a grave miscarriage of justice. Added to the problem of finding the witness, Till must also deal with a tango-dancing husband and wife assassination team who want to silence her forever.

As usual, I enjoyed Mr. Perry tale and his writing style very much.

I found this hard-cover book that is in perfect condition at a flea market for $1.

Darkness, Take My Hand – Dennis Lehane

This the second of the Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro, private investigators, series. Some books I enjoy because of good plots; some I enjoy because of the writing. Mr. Lehane is a very good writer and his plots are interesting. His books, this one in particular, are not for the squeamish or faint-hearted – very graphic violence.

The Blue Nowhere – Jeffery Deaver

This was another perfect condition, $1 find at the flea market. When I saw it I wondered how I had missed this one. I thought I had read all of his novels. I read the synopsis on the dust jacket and brought it home anticipating another great read from Mr. Deaver. This one is not my cup of tea. I realized it as soon as I began reading. There was a glossary in the front of the book of computer terminology. I hate books where I have to flip to the glossary on every page. I hated the sci-fi classic Dune because of this. I slogged through the first few chapters of computer-ese, geek jargon, and technical stuff about programming and hacking before I gave up. I had the basics of the mystery (the victims and the suspects) and then I skipped to end of the book to read the last two chapters for the solution. It may have been a good plot but the technical stuff was just mind-numbing for me. Before this book, I thought a bad book wasn’t in Mr. Deaver, but I was wrong.

The Wailing Wind – Tony Hillerman

While browsing for movies on the Netflix site, I found two movies based on Mr. Hillerman’s novels. They were shown as part of the “Mystery!” series on PBS and produced by Robert Redford. They were very well done with Adam Beach and Wes Studi portraying Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn. After seeing the movies, I decided to re-read a few of his books. I read Mr. Hillerman for his descriptions of the Four Corners area and the mythology (perhaps that is the wrong terminology) of the Navajo as well as for his plots and his writing.

Mr. Hillerman never fails to please.

Monday, July 7, 2008

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Even though I have convinced Mr. Fixit that I am THE COMPUTER WIZARD, I must admit (to everyone except him) that I am technologically challenged. I carry the manuals for my cell phone and my digital camera in my purse. I have learned over the years to keep the instructions for everything from my salad spinner to the computer. Today I even found the instruction sheet for using the paper cutter.

Yesterday morning I lost my DSL internet service. After performing a few tests (Actually, my computer automatically does the tests when the connection is lost. After running the tests the conclusion of the computer was that I had lost my connection to the internet. Brilliant!) and unplugging and re-connecting every cable on the computer, my service was restored.

During the time the computer was disconnected, I asked Mr. Fixit if he would change the DVD burner. Jason gave me a burner with Lightscribe, but I was experiencing a few problems with that, too. Armed with my Compaq manual, Mr. Fixit replaced the burner with the old one. He may have problems opening his email, but he can “work” on the innards of the computer. I don’t call him Mr. Fixit for nothin’.

Later on in the afternoon, when the bedroom phone rang, I noticed that the caller id wasn’t displayed. I thought it might have been a momentary glitch so I ignored the problem. This morning when the phone rang, I noticed that the caller id on the phone in the computer room was also on the blink. I concluded that the problem might be associated with the computer problem I experienced yesterday. I started going through the 8” stack of various instruction sheets and user manuals kept close at hand on a shelf on the computer desk. I thought that if I had the instruction sheet I could find the solution without waiting for Mr. Fixit to come home from work.

I found the 18-page booklet for the phone, but there is a little problem. It’s in Spanish. Thank goodness, Spanish is Mr. Fixit’s first language. He’s so handy to have around.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Week in Review

Baseball is over; the last game was played last Sunday. Well, it's almost over. Noah has one more tournament to play in the middle of July. I enjoy seeing our grandsons play, but I’m glad it over because it’s so hot. Noah was in a post-season All Star Tournament; he did so well. Noah and Owen usually played two games a week, and Cole’s traveling team played every other weekend. Cole played both Saturdays and Sundays when they had a tournament.

The drought continues. Our grass is brown and crunchy. When it does rain, it only lasts for five minutes at the time. We get just enough to make these high temperatures unbearable.

Tuesday I called a tree service to get an estimate to have the dead maple taken down. I expected to wait for a few weeks to get a call back as I do when I call a plumber or the heating/AC service people. Much to my surprise, I received a return call that afternoon and an appointment was made for the next day for the estimate. The next day he arrived at the appointed hour and gave me an dollar amount that took my breath away, but Mr. Fixit wanted it done as soon as possible to prevent damage to the roof, chimney, or deck. Arrangements were made for the NEXT DAY! He came close to the arranged time and the tree was down in two hours. He was working alone. The only damage done was to my person. I am now short an arm and a leg because that’s what it cost. He did a good job with clean-up with little damage to the yard. He also trimmed the pecan tree overhanging the driveway. Mr. Fixit was upset that the sap from the tree made a mess on his truck.

There are 11 very tall pines along our property line in the back yard. When I asked for a ballpark figure for removing them, he said it would be a minimum of $3,500 because they are so tall and so close to the house. Needless to say, I think those will be there until they fall over.

I miss that maple tree. The sun shines directly on the deck and back door for most of the day now. I have to keep the door closed so that the house doesn’t get too hot. The cats can’t use the cat door. It’s been so hot though, they spend most of their time in the muscadine vines

Mr. Fixit is back working his usual erratic work schedule. For a few months he was working 4:00 am to 8:00 am on the five mornings a week so that he could attend the baseball games. He had to get up at 2:00 am. He didn’t mind getting up early, but he hated going to bed so early. I became a little spoiled. I liked having him around in the daytime and the regular hours, but he’s glad it’s over.

I have started using tote bags when I go shopping instead of the plastic bags most stores use. Some cashiers don’t seem to like them much. The best bags are sold by Walmart because they have a little loop that slips on the bagging frame. At one grocery store they give you a nickel discount for every bag you use. I think that’s better than a dirty look from the cashier when you ask them to use the bags they sold in the first place.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Smalltown, South Carolina, Part 2

This is our new library. We share it with Clemson. It's my favorite place in town even though the books on the "New" shelves are often 2 years old.

We also have a new post office

and a new City Hall.

To be perfectly honest, I have never liked living here. I don't like having to drive so far to go shopping, I hate the red clay, and the weather is way too hot and muggy for me. It's funny though; this spring as I was driving along, I realized for the first time that the countryside is very pretty. I felt for the first time since we moved here that this is home. The weather still stinks!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Smalltown, South Carolina

This is Main Street in our town.

Downtown is less than two short blocks. This is the upper portion. Only one building, a bank, is not visible.

This is the lower portion of downtown.

The opposite side of the street, upper portion. The fence and decorative street lights are new.

Lower section of downtown.

When we moved here in 1982, there was only one traffic light. We now have four. We now have a Wal-Mart and a small shopping strip within the Wal-Mart plaza. While the number of permanent residents has grown little, our student population has grown because of the large number of new apartments and condos built for exclusively for students.

These photos were taken very early on a cloudy Sunday morning. That's why the pictures appear to be a bit dark, and there is very little traffic. As usual, click on pics to enlarge.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Demise of the Maple Tree

This morning as I went to feed the cats, something seemed to be missing. Being the observant person I am I noticed these lying across the gardenia bushes. I don’t know why the limbs broke last night. There was no wind. Mr. Fixit wondered if God was a little upset because he didn’t go to church this morning.

This maple shaded the deck and our back door for the last 25 years. Well, not exactly 25 years. When we first moved here I could stand on the deck and look over the top of the tree. Last year the late winter ice storm took some of the leaves, and it began to leaf during a very warm few days in January this year. Then there was another hard freeze that took the most of the buds. There are very few leaves on it now.

I think that this is the real culprit—a yellow-bellied sapsucker (a small woodpecker).
Every spring he shows up and uses the maple as his main food source. Sapsuckers drill holes in nearly straight lines around the trunk and limbs of the tree. There were thousands of holes that allowed disease to take over.

Now we must have the whole tree taken down because it is overhanging the roof. I love that tree. It provided shade and a place for the kids’ rope swing.

(I wish I could learn to put pictures and text where I want them. Blogger seems to have a mind of its own.)

Friday, May 30, 2008


In 2005 when I finally made the break (, June 5, 2005. Sorry, I can't get this darned thing to link properly to my old blog.) with my hairdresser of 22 years, Mr. Fixit and I have been using the services of one of those express, no appointment needed hair care salon franchises (maybe salon is too strong word to describe this place of business). When Mr. Fixit decided to get a much needed haircut this week, he wanted to go to a real barbershop (the ones with a barber pole outside), not a hairdresser. We discovered that all the barbershops in our town and nearby Clemson had disappeared except for one that is open by appointment only. He decided to drive the 16 miles to the town where he works and find a shop there.

He found one this morning. I waited in the car. When he came out, he had a huge smile on his face. He said, “I had forgotten what it’s like to go to a real barber. Instead of using clippers on the back on my neck, he lathered me up and used a straight razor for the finishing touch. He trimmed my eyebrows and clipped nose hair and ear hair. It was great!”

I was impressed; he hasn’t had as good a haircut in years. And the smell, oh, that smell. You know--that same smell that envelopes every man who has his hair cut in a real barbershop no matter where he may be, from Maine to California and all points in between. My father and grandfather would come home with that same clean smell. That smell is one thing that should never change.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hugo's Blog

A friend from my high school days forwarded to me some essays written by a schoolmate who graduated a year after we did. They are delightful! I graduated in 1963 so most of his memories that I’ve read are from the late 50’s and 60’s before shopping malls. The setting is a small Kentucky town; I think the population was approximately 5,000. Our graduating class consisted of 40 or so students.

One of the essays describes “Downtown” with its J. J. Newberry and Ben Franklin dime stores. I think every small southern town had one, or both, of these stores. I bought my first lipstick at one. They were wondrous places. You could purchase notions, clothing, cosmetics, toys, candy from the candy counter scooped into small bags, and just about anything else you could need. He describes the hardware store where he bought a BB gun on layaway when he was eleven years old. I remember J.C. Penney with vacuum tubes that magically whooshed your money to some unseen place and returned your receipt and change. I remember “window shopping” at the M & R Shoppe and Barnes Mercantile because we couldn’t afford to buy anything in those stores. We did most of our clothing shopping at Penney’s and Belk; they were a bit cheaper.

He also writes of cruising, drive-in movies, and local bootleggers. He brought back memories of the Dairy Maid and the Kentucky Grill, our favorite hang-outs. I must have driven around the Dairy Maid thousands of times and spent countless hours there taking up a parking place and purchasing no more than a coke. Our little town was a combination of Mayberry and "Happy Days." It was a simpler time of innocence that has been lost forever.

When I asked if he had a blog, he explained that he didn’t. He simply sends his “blog” posts to 75 or so of his friends by email. He is going to add my name to his mailing list. I thought about quoting some of his material here, but he is planning to compile them into a book. I hope he reserves an autographed copy for me!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Can't Beat Us Rebels

After having dug to a depth of 10 feet last year, New York scientists
found traces of a copper-wire system dating back 100 years, and they
came to the conclusion that their ancestors already had a telephone
network more than 100 years ago.

Not to be outdone by New Yorkers, in the weeks that followed, California
scientists dug to a depth of 20 feet, and shortly after, headlines in
the LA Times newspaper read: 'California archaeologists have found
traces of 200 year old copper-wire system and have concluded that their
ancestors already had an advanced high-tech communications network a
hundred years earlier than the New Yorkers.'

One week later, 'The Redneck Rebel Gazette' in Senatobia, Mississippi,
reported the following: 'After digging as deep as 30 feet in a corn field near
Strayhorn, Bubba Johnson, a self taught archaeologist, reported that
he found absolutely nothing. Bubba has therefore concluded that 300
years ago, Mississippi had already gone wireless.

Thanks, Brenda!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Our azaleas this year were strange. I think it perhaps last years' freeze just after they bloomed affected them.

There was only one single flower on this bush and it had changed color.

This one had lots of blossoms; it's next to the one above with only one flower.

The last bush in the row had no flowers at all.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Tip of the Day for Baseball Umpires

If you are being paid to umpire a sanctioned kids’ baseball game and want to appear professional and inspire respect from spectators and players, maybe it’s not a good idea to wear these during the game.

(Click to enlarge. A bluetooth headset and wireless phone are outlined.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

My Friend and Companion

Little Girl on her favorite perch.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

My World - Interesting Sights

These are pictures of a giant skate sitting outside a local skating rink. I find it amusing and fascinating. Yeah, I know it doesn’t take much to amuse or fascinate me. Every time I see it, I wonder about who came up with the idea of a drivable roller skate.

Maybe the owner was sitting in his yard on a hot, lazy Saturday afternoon with the guys in the neighborhood. In the yard sits a VW Bug on blocks. “What are you going to do with your Bug, Ole Buddy?” one inquires.

“Well, my wife says if I don’t get rid of it, she’s going to plant petunias in it and put it next to the pink flamingo and the garden gnome in the front yard.”

“Oh, no! You can’t let her do that. That Bug is a classic. You have to think of something to save it.”

Several cases of beer later, it was decided. It was to be turned into a giant motorized roller skate to advertise the entrepreneur’s latest business venture. After all, how much could it cost to strip the Bug down to basics, design the skate, find someone to mold the fiberglass (I’m assuming the body is fiberglass), and to assemble it?

I’m glad it’s there. I like it even better than the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Coolness and Slo-Mo Replay

On baseball game days, we go over and pick up Noah and Owen from their respective childcare facilities. As we were leaving with Owen today, all his little classmates gave him hugs before he left.

When we reached the car, I said, “Owen, do your friends always give you hugs before you leave?” He replied, “Yeah, almost all the time.”

I said, “Why do they give you hugs?”

He said, “Because they think I’m a cool kid.”

Later, Owen was upstairs looking for his baseball uniform. Just as Jason came in the back door, I heard a scream coming from upstairs. Both Mr. Fixit and I hit the floor running heading for the stairs. Jason was only a step behind. When we determined that Owen was okay, Jason said to us, “Gee, I didn’t know you two could still move that fast.”

Noah said, “I missed it. Can you do it again?”


Every morning Mr. Fixit and I watch “Cash Cab” (perhaps the subject of a future post) on the Discovery Channel. During the program, two self-promotional spots are shown featuring a catchy little ditty that I first heard on a “Barney” program.

“I love tornadoes,
I love arachnids.
I love my magma,
I love the giant squid.
I love the whole world.
It’s such a brilliant place.
Boom-de-yah-dah” etc.

For the next few hours, the melody plays on a continuous loop in my head and just won’t go away. At least I don’t have visions of Barney along with the music.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Letting It All Hang Out

I guess this post makes it official; I am a prude! Women of all ages are making a fashion statement that bothers me a bit. It’s not that I am offended; it’s just some of their clothing choices make me extremely uncomfortable.

I first started noticing more than a year ago that the women on the CSI franchises all wore cleavage-baring tops to work. I mentioned it to my brother, asking him if any of the women in his hospital lab came to work with so much showing and what he would do if they did. Being a typical MALE, he sidestepped the issued completely. When I asked Mr. Fixit what he thought about it, he also avoided the issue.

The last time I went to the hairdresser, the young woman cutting my hair was a big person. She was wearing a scoop-necked tee (I know because I saw it from the back) and an apron. From the front it looked as if she was wearing nothing under the apron except for a very brief bra with half-cups which was visible. Not a pretty sight.

Then there is a mother that shows up at the youth league baseball games who must be about 35 and wears low cut tops and always sits bent over at the waist giving everyone an eyeful. I wonder what her 12-year-old son thinks.

When I was at the vet’s office recently a young woman came in wearing black jeans and a black blouse with a steakhouse logo. I assume she is a waitress. The blouse was opened past the third button, and she was wearing a pushup bra was made her look “unnatural.”

Any time you walk into Wal-Mart you see women of all ages (12 to 70) dressed like this. I see nothing wrong with a little cleavage in the evening for social occasions, but somehow it seems a bit inappropriate in a work setting, at a kids’ baseball game, or just out for a bit of shopping.

Yep, I’ve turned into an old prude!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Noah Baseball

Noah plays coaches pitch ball. After a strike, he rips a line drive directly toward the pitcher causing the coach to roll in the dust.
Noah is quite a player, both as a batter and a defensive player.
(Click on each photo to enlarge.)

Owen Baseball

Owen plays tee ball, but the coach throws a few pitches to each batter before using the tee. Most of these little guys don't need the tee. The first photo shows a strike, and the second shows him crossing homeplate.
These little guys are such fun to watch.

Friday, May 2, 2008

My World - Drought

Even though we have been receiving more rain than usual, the water level in our local lakes is still very low. It has risen quite a bit from the levels of last fall.
In the middle picture you can see the docks on dry land.