Friday, November 27, 2009


Our son is 43 years old today! That 43 years slipped by in the blink of an eye. This is another one of those things that never occurred to me when I was young. He is such a good guy, too. That's a wonderful bonus!

Happy Birthday, Ben!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Boom-de-yah-da Public Service Announcement

Discovery Channel has a new "Boom-de-yah-da" promotion airing. It's shown several times during the morning "Cash Cab" programs, 9am til 11am. It a catchy little tune which sticks in your head for days and days.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Spoonerisms - I Love 'em!

I heard this one this morning on the radio. The announcer at a northern Georgia station (they aren't playing Christmas music yet) was doing a commercial for a local business. He said, "You can find plenty of stuffing stockers." He never missed a beat and finished the commercial.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Personal Christmas Tradition

Last year I think I missed my yearly rant about Christmas music being played on the radio much too early. I will continue the tradition this year with this post.

Last weekend Mr. Fixit and I were in the car, and he turned on the radio. Christmas music was already being played. It wasn't every second or third selection; it was every song. I like Christmas music, but how many times must we be subjected to "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" or "Santa Baby?" I even get sick of hearing the traditional carols by Christmas.

Please, Messrs. Program Manager, please, please, hold off on the seasonal music until after Thanksgiving and allow us a break every now then by tossing in you usual fare. By Christmas I'm even willing to listen to Rod Stewart.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Wizard's Lesson in Humility

This past week our wireless network decided that it wouldn't allow the laptop to connect to the internet. It seems that it didn't recognize the security key. I have no idea why. One minute I was connected to the world; the next minute I was confined to the programs of the laptop. Even though Mr. Fixit and I were careful to write down any information that the set-up process suggested, we had no notes, or even a clue, as to the laptop's security key. After several days of frustration, I found the problem and corrected it. To be perfectly honest, I don't know exactly what the heck I did to correct the problem, but once again I was able to travel the internet highway on all three computers. I was so proud of myself; I truly believed that I deserved my self-proclaimed title of “Computer Wizard.” But as has been said, pride goeth before the fall.

Yesterday I found a movie that I wanted to record on the DVD recorder. The only problem was that I found it about 10 minutes into the movie. I checked the Directv program guide and found that instead of showing this feature eleventeen times during the month, there was only one other showing scheduled and it was for 11:30 pm to 1:20am last night. I asked Mr. Fixit if he could find the instruction book for the DVD recorder and set the timer to record it.

After about 45 minutes, he yells to me upstairs that he couldn't get it to work. Thinking pridefully of my success with the computer, I went down to lend a hand. After about an hour or so, we finally programmed the timer for 11:30. Success!

About 11:00 pm I put the satellite receiver on the right channel and put a blank DVD in the little disc drawer (that's a technical term). I noticed a strange entry on the digital thingy. It said "-2:00:00." Hmmm. Very curious. As Mr. Fixit and I waited for 11:30 to come and to see the little red “recording” light come on, I had a bad feeling. My precognition was working quite well; 11:30, 11:35--that little red light never came on!

As I admitted defeat and trudged upstairs to bed with my head hanging, I realized that my status as Wizard has not yet been earned. I know that I will only deserve that title when I master the DVD recorder. I'm a bit disheartened. I never learned how to set the clock on the old VCR.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Mystery Inside a Mystery

Most of my reading material comes from the public library. I read mostly mysteries and thrillers and maybe a few romances in the mix. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I read romances, but they are my guilty pleasure once in a while.

There is another patron of our local branch whose reading preferences seem much like mine. For some reason, I am assuming that the person is a woman, but I have very little evidence of that. This person always seems to get the good books before me. I know this because he/she has a little habit that drives me bonkers. (I think I'll call the reader “she” so I don't have to type “he/she” every time I mention her.)

She circles words using a ballpoint pen in the books. At first she was circling “God” when it was used as a curse word. I thought maybe she objected to taking the Lord's name in vain. Then she started circling other socially unacceptable words. It seems to me that if she were offended by some words she should forgo reading the books written by authors who use such words. Then she began to circle mistakes that sometimes are missed by spell check like homonyms used incorrectly. She apparently doesn't like dangling participles either. Personally, I hate seeing sentences ending with prepositions, but I don't circle them in ballpoint pen. Now she is circling random, ordinary words. I can't figure out her criteria for picking these seemingly random words and that's what driving me crazy. It's a mystery to me. There is also the fact that she defaces the books by using ink. If she's going to continue this practice, I wish she would use a pencil.

I hope she doesn't start to dog-ear the pages. That would be totally unacceptable. I know, I know. I need to get a life.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Ida's Aftermath

Ida is passing. She brought a few inches of rain during the past 36 hours and a bit of wind. More showers are forecast for this evening and tomorrow.

The trees in our yard are not dropping their leaves as they ususally do. One maple tree is completely bare; the other one still has most of it's leaves that have turned yellow. The oak in the front yard still most of its leaves and very few have changed color. Before the rain began the leaves on the pecan tree had just begun to turn and very few had fallen. This is how it looked this morning after Ida.

The leaves that were on the tree now carpet the driveway.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

A Three-Year-Old with All the Answers

Levi’s Aunt Suzy came to visit over the weekend. Ben and Dena had a party to attend so it fell to Suzy to get the children ready for bed. When she started to wash Levi’s hair, he refused, adamantly. She said, “Levi, we must wash your hair. It’s very dirty. Your mother washes your hair, right?”

“No,” he stated firmly. “Mommy doesn’t wash my hair.” (He wasn’t fibbing; his daddy washes his hair.)

She said, “Levi, if we don’t wash your hair it will get dirty, greasy, and smelly. Flies and bugs might start flying around your head.”

“No, they won’t. I use bug spray.”

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Mr. Microsoft Does It Again

Note: I wrote this post last night. This morning Yahoo! tech news had an article saying that the Japanese L-O-V-E Windows 7. Maybe I'm the one person in the world who finds it less than satisfactory.

The year before Mr. Fixit retired, we bought a new computer. It is now 7 years old. It came equipped with Windows XP. I had no problems going from Windows ME to XP. They were both user-friendly even for this old codgerette who is not exactly the computer wizard she pretends to be.

For the last year or so, little things began to go wrong with the old computer. Sometimes it wouldn’t boot necessitating a start-up in safe mode and restoring. Many times I had to restore several times in order to boot normally. I eventually opted to leave the computer on all the time, just turning off the monitor.

I tried to keep the computer maintained by defragmenting*, deleting the temporary internet files, deleting as much stuff (that’s a technical term), and performing the security scans on a regular basis. It came to the point that we had to wait forever for Outlook Express to open. Everything slowed down dramatically. We decided it was time for the old computer to be replaced. We decided on a laptop with Vista installed. I don’t really care for Vista, but I can get used to it.

Mr. Fixit hates the laptop. He decided to get a new tower and use the old monitor to hold down costs. The new computer came with Windows 7 operating system. Maybe after I get used to it and learn to use it properly I will find it easier to use, but at this point, I HATE it.

Our biggest problem is that Seven doesn’t have an email program. It suggests that a web mail program be used. For several reasons that is unacceptable to me. Ben, our son and personal IT guy, found a barely acceptable program compatible with Seven. There are several problems with it, but it’s better than the web mail program.

Our old printer and the old scanner were not compatible with the new computer. I tried to download the drivers to make it compatible, but HP said that the drivers needed were not available. We spent another $100+ for a new all-in-one printer.

It was suggested that we purchase an “Easy Transfer Cable” to facilitate transferring files and folder from the old computer to the one. I was not willing to pay $40 for cable that possibly would be used once. I experienced “sticker shock” when I saw the price.

Most of the problems that I see will probably correct themselves after I learn the system. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

I hate that when I minimize a window there is only a barely noticeable indicator on the task bar. As a result, it’s possible to have several pages open without realizing it. The solution has something to do with the tabs, I think.

There is no dictionary button on the tool bar. I used that button all the time. I miss it.

There are programs such as XPS Viewer that are completely alien to me. What the heck is it used for? Only Mr. Microsoft (and the Japenese) knows.

The Windows Works (the cheap version of Windows Office) word processor doesn’t work as well as the one on XP. It is so aggravating!

I have yet to use the “Search Programs and Files” facility with any success. “Help and Support” is neither helpful or supportive.

The mail program was part of a larger program called Windows Live that loaded up my computer with junk I neither want or need.

I can’t find the “delete temporary internet files” thingy. It’s probably there; I just can’t find it.

There are lots of other little things that I will have to get used to, but I think Mr. Fixit has the right idea. Someone gave him an old monitor. He put the old computer on the network, and he sits and waits for a little while for it to do its thing. Maybe by the time it suffers its fatal crash I will have this new crap figured out. If I say it often enough, maybe I’ll start believing it.

I did discover how to delete the temporary internet files today. I found it accidentally.

*When I was typing this on the Windows Works word processor, I typed the word "defragmenting." The program decided arbitrarily that the word should be "decrementing" and wouldn't let me use "defragmenting."If I had wanted to say "decrementing," I would have used it right after looking it up in the dictionary. I changed it here and Blogger accepted "defragmenting" with no problem.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cursive Handwriting

I found out something last night that shocked me right down to my toes. Schools, at least in our area, don’t teach cursive writing any longer. The teachers teach the basic cursive skills for about two weeks in third grade. They are taught to sign their names. Any written work to be handed in is printed. The reasoning is that most writing will be done on keyboards so they don’t need to learn cursive.

When I was a student many years ago, printing was frowned upon and good handwriting was considered an art.

What next, no more basic math because everyone will be using calculators or computers?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


When I was young, I didn’t worry too much about getting old. Longevity doesn’t run in my family. My dad died at 42; my mother at 57. Both my brothers died far too young. The older one was 60; the younger one was 50. I only had one grandparent who lived to be over 70. That was my dad’s father. My mother always said he was too mean to die.

Last month I had my 64th birthday. I never expected to reach this age. There are several things about it that I don’t like. I don’t like that my skin is so wrinkled. I should have stopped smoking earlier I suppose. My hair has thinned on top. It is said that some of the medication I take causes that problem. It’s probably just because my hormones aren’t doing whatever it is that hormones are meant to do. I don’t mind having it turn gray but I dislike the different texture of the gray.

When I was young I could put on my jeans standing up. If I try that now, I lose my balance. Now I have to sit down, put my feet in the legs, and then stand to pull them up. When I was young I could get into the car with one fluid motion. Now I get one leg and one hip in and then have to pull the other leg in after. It’s not a pretty sight I’m sure. My lips have thinned, my eyelashes are stubby, and I buy ugly shoes that are comfortable.

The absolute worst thing for me is my unreliable memory. I seem to spend several hours a day looking for things. I have trouble remembering what day it is. I have to think about what I saw on television the night before. I lose words. Names flee my mind hiding in the deepest recesses of my brain. I can never remember if I closed the garage door. Many times I have had to return home to check only to find that I had closed it. I don’t think I have ever left it open; it’s something I do automatically so I don’t remember doing it.

Today I made beef stew and we ate about 3:00 in the afternoon. We had to leave by 3:45 to stay with the grandchildren while their parents went to a parent-teacher conference. We then went to Owen’s last baseball game. About half way into the game, it occurred to me that I didn’t remember turning off the pot of stew. I couldn’t just leave the game to check. The park is 20 to 25 minutes away from our house. Mr. Fixit said he would have noticed if it was on because he had turned off the light over the stove. He wasn’t 100% sure. I worried myself silly until I turned the corner near our house and saw that it was still standing and there was no sign that the fire department had been there.

Yes, there are things I detest about getting old, but, as it has been said, it beats the alternative.