Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Making My Life Easier

Several years ago in my first blog I wrote a post about my favorite inventions. I mentioned ice makers, air conditioning, motion detector outdoor lights, and televisions with remote controls.

I have one more item to add to the list that makes my life easier and a little more pleasant--parchment paper. So it’s been around for years and years, so it’s a bit expensive for its intended use--I love it! My grandmother, who was a great southern cook, used brown paper bags instead of parchment paper for lining her cake pans to prevent sticking. Somehow I just can’t bring myself to do that. I don’t know where that bag has been. Eeww!

Today I had some pecans left over from the holiday; I decided to make spiced pecans. I usually only make them once a year because of the carb content and because I really hate washing the cookie sheet. The sugar leaves a baked-on syrupy mess. I had a bit of parchment paper left and used it. The nuts were quite tasty, and the pan was practically clean. Who could ask for more?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Way Back Machine

Before I became a child of the television age, I loved radio. As I have said before, I can remember when I was about three or four years old sitting in my high chair next to the icebox where the radio sat to listen to kids’ programs like "Let's Pretend," "Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch," and one which featured the song, “The Teddy Bear’s Picnic.” I can’t remember that the name of the show, but I loved that song. In the evening even at the tender age of three or four, my favorite shows were "Mr. Keene, Tracer of Lost Persons," "Mr. and Mrs. North," "The Shadow," and "Gang Busters." "Gunsmoke" was another favorite. My mom listened to her soaps during the day when she could, and my dad liked a few comedies, too.

A few years ago, I discovered a few sites on the Internet that had many of the old radio shows. It seemed that I had stepped back in time to a more innocent time. I listened to a few shows almost every day, but for some reason, I drifted away.

Over the holiday, when I couldn’t take another day long marathon of "A Christmas Story" or "It’s a Wonderful Life," I decided to return to “those wonderful days of yesteryear” for a little dose of nostalgia.

I was surprised to see that now you may download many of the shows. Most are in the MP3 format; others are in various other formats. When I told Mr. Fixit I needed to get some CD’s (I don’t have an MP3 player) to burn some shows to listen to them while in the car, he asked, “You aren’t going to be arrested or cause Interpol to come knocking at our door, are you?” I explained that the shows are now in the public domain and can be downloaded without fear of arrest and/or fines.

And now back to my time machine--the year is 1950 and Philip Marlowe awaits!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

And Now, Back to Our Regular Programming

We received our kitchen television from the Target affiliated repair service a couple of days ago. It only took a little over a month. I wasn't expecting to hear anything for at least 60 days. That was a surprise. Also, the television we sent for repair was not the set that was returned. They replaced the old one with a brand new digital set at no cost. That really shocked me. We are extremely pleased with the service that was covered under the extended warranty we purchased at the time the bought the set. The only problem was with the survey call they made before the we had received the television.

The moral to the story is, if you purchase an off-brand under-the-cabinet television, be sure to buy the warranty because the sets don't last long.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

No Way to Start My Day

It’s 4:30 am. Since I have read every book in the house, I turned on the television. It’s another world on television at 4:30 am, an x-rated world. I’m not talking about HBO, the Playboy Channel, or any of the other pay channels. I’m talking about Oxygen, a channel that specializes in women’s movies and, at one time, all things Oprah. I understand that Oprah has distanced herself from the network. Now I know why.

Oxygen has a home shopping program that features sex toys. It was a two minute education for me. There were things I had never seen before. The variety in the product being sold at the time was mind boggling. I had no idea! I guess I have lead a sheltered life, but it was, to me, just too icky, gross, and creepy. Eeewww!

I have to wonder--when the young women selling these products are asked about their jobs, what do they say?

On the Fox Reality Channel, there is a show called “Sexy Cam.” It was sort of an adult Candid Camera. I just skipped right on by that one when I saw all the patrons in a restaurant dressed only in thong underwear.

My next question is, who watches this stuff?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Asking the Right Question

Last evening I received an automated telephone call from Target asking for my rating of our recent experience with its extended warranty that we purchased when we bought the under-the-cabinet television for the kitchen.

The voice asked me questions I couldn't answer. We haven’t received the TV from the repair service yet. I was in a quandary when asked if the product was received unbroken. I was also at a loss when asked to rate various aspects of the service. Silly me thought that if I give the lowest rating available it might be possible to talk to a real person explaining that we have not received the repaired set so it was impossible for me to answer the questions fully and honestly.

At the end of the survey, I was told that I could leave a message to add any further comments. “Good!” I thought. “I’ll explain that I couldn't answer the questions since the survey was made too early.” After I was prompted to begin my message, I started to explain only to be interrupted by a recorded voice telling me that the message thingy was experiencing technical problems and I would be unable to leave a message. Irony? Perhaps they didn’t like all my negative feedback and didn’t want to hear anymore. Honest, Target, I was just trying to explain.

I received an email this morning telling me the TV would be delivered on the 18th. I wonder if they will call again. My first suggestion will be to change their first question on the survey to “Have you received your product from the repair service?”

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Feline Comfort

Our day started early yesterday. When Mr. Fixit came in from work about 8:30 am, we went to breakfast before starting our Christmas shopping. We came home about 3:30 pm. As soon as I walked into the living room, I noticed that the barrier between the living room and dining room was open. Uh-oh! The thing weighs a ton. I have trouble moving it sometimes even though its on casters. Had I left it open? I don't think so.

Mr. Fixit has made the barrier to keep the two male outdoor cats out of the rest of the house. Even though they are both neutered, they spray marking their territory. That’s unacceptable behavior when most of the house is carpeted. They are allowed in the dining room and kitchen because the floors are easily cleaned if they engage in their smelly behavior. The little black and white one was in his box in the dining room. (It was cold yesterday so they both decided to spend most of the day indoors.) I didn’t see the white one; I thought he must be outside. (There is a cat door for easy access.) I put down my packages and went upstairs. Just has I passed the bathroom, something moved and caught my attention. The white cat was snoozing in the bathroom sink. He knew he wasn’t supposed to be there because he jumped down and headed for the dining room before I could even begin scolding him.

It puzzling to me that he was in the bathroom sink. True, when he had the run of the house, he made the sink his own. That meant I had to disinfect it every time we wanted to use the sink. That got old with me very quickly. Anyway, why was he in the cold ceramic sink when he could have been snuggly warm in either one of the bedrooms on the beds, or in my office chair (his other favorite spot before he was banished to the kitchen and dining room) or on the couch.

Of course, I’m glad that he and his fleas weren’t on the furniture, but I really don’t think he is the brightest bulb on the tree. He may not be the smartest cat in the world, but he's sweet (unless he bringing me disgusting gifts.) Although now that I think about it, it may be smarter than I think; after all he did move that heavy barrier.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Let Me Look That Up for You

Since my memory is so undependable, I have decided to start a household journal of sorts.

Our kitchen television broke and luckily we had purchased a warranty when we bought it. The first one we had broke within a year or so. In this case, I'm glad we have the warranty because this one lasted about a year and a half. Mr. Fixit asked me when we sent it back for repair. I had no idea. That's when I realized that I had to have some record of things we do, places we go, where some things are stored, when items are purchased, etc.

I frequently use my blog to refresh my memory, but I don't record the minutiae of daily life that I some times need to remember. I've tried keeping a journal several times but have never kept it up. This time I must so when Mr. Fixit asks me when we bought ________, I can tell him when, where, and how much it cost. When he asked me where I put ______________, I can tell him the exact location.

Maybe it will make our lives a little more peaceful and a little less frustrating.


The last few days we have been receiving some mysterious phone calls. The number calling is an 877 toll free number (today it was an 888 number). The first one was went to the answering machine because we weren't home. The message was for a name that we have never heard of and stated that several civil matters had been brought to their attention and they requested a call back. The party calling identified herself as an agent for some investigative agency. The weird thing was that the message sounded recorded. I didn't call back because the whole thing sounded "not right" to me. The next day an identical call was received and I let it go to the answsering machine. Same message word for word; it must have been recorded. Curiouser and curiouser. The phone rang just a minute ago and I answered telling the caller (a real person,not a recording)that no one at this number was named S.J. The caller was a little huffy; I was a lot huffy.

I gave her no information at all except that I had never heard of the person she was calling. If she is an investigator why didn't she check the phone number in a reverse directory which is free on the internet? (Incidentally, I did try to check her number on the reverse directory but couldn't find anything. That also made me suspicious.)

I hope this isn't some sort of scam in which we will be charged thousands of dollars for phone calls to Outer Mongolia or some other ploy to bilk the public.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Personal Goal Attained!

I have been solving crossword puzzles since I was a child and it has been my goal to work the puzzle using only either the across or down clues. Today working on the Cape Cod Times puzzle I solved it using only the across clues. Okay, it was an easy one, I'll admit.

Next on my list of personal goals is recording just one show using the DVDR with little or no swearing. This goal may never be realized.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tip of the Day

Hair spray does NOT refresh the air in your house as well as Febreze air refresher.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas and The Salvation Army

Paducah, Kentucky, my hometown, is located at the confluence of the Tennessee and the Ohio rivers. In January, 1937, there was a great flood that caused a major evacuation. My dad was a young man, and he and his family were advised to leave their home.

During the evacuation, the Red Cross was one of the organizations tasked with caring for the temporarily homeless population. Dad told the story of the Red Cross selling knit caps. He wanted one because the weather was cold and miserable but didn't have the money to buy one. He said later the same day the Salvation Army arrived and was giving away the same knit caps to anyone that wanted one that the Red Cross was selling earlier in the day. My dad would never contribute to the Red Cross, but he contributed to the Salvation Army whenever he could afford it.

Unlike the Red Cross that was rocked by scandal a few years ago, I have never heard of any scandal associated with the Salvation Army. Indeed, they feed and shelter the homeless and the abused, and we have all contributed, I'm sure, to their Christmas Red Kettle appeals. This year they have even updated some their kettles to accept credit cards.

According to the Houston Chronicle, some Houston charities are requiring children who was being considered as recipients of toy give-aways show proof of citizenship before receiving their Christmas gifts. The Salvation Army is one of those charities requiring proof of citizenship. Dad would have been so disappointed that the organization has become political instead of charitable.

How heartless and stingy have we become that we are unwilling to give a needy child a toy! This is not a drain on taxpayer dollar. It's not cash, food stamps, or even medical care. It's a toy, for Heaven sake, bought with donated dollars. If you don't wish to give a toy to a needy child who may not be a citizen, don't contribute. It's as simple as that. I just don't feel that my donated dollars should be given to an organization that would turn away a needy child because of his or her immigration status.

I'm rethinking my contribution to the Salvation Army. I'm going to give to local programs that do not require proof of citizenship or perhaps I should check with our local SA as to their requirements for gift recipients. Just being a needy kid should be the only criterion for receiving a little fun at Christmas.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Which End Is Up?

Every garbage pick-up day, I get up a little early to empty all the waste paper cans in the house and to put the receptacle on the street. The trucks on our route come any time between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm. This morning as I was pulling the container to the street, I noticed that there only a few other containers ready for pick-up. “Hmmm,” I said to myself. “Is today a holiday? Do I have the wrong day? No, I distinctly remember thinking last night that I forgot to watch NCIS.” I also took note of the fact that the only cans on the street were those that are there all the time.

When I turned on the TV, I noticed in the program information that today is Tuesday, not Wednesday, our garbage day. Another lo-o-ong senior moment that began yesterday.