Wednesday, December 29, 2010

In the News

According to Clemson, SC, police, a man was hit by an SUV while playing a real life version of “Frogger” and required hospitalization.

Before he was hit, he and his friends had been discussing the game. Suddenly, the man yelled “Go!” and attempted to dart across four lanes of traffic.

The police made it clear the young man is not a Clemson University student. Somehow that doesn’t surprise me.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Oh, What a Night. . .

Late December back in ‘63 (thanks Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons) was the last time Upstate South Carolina had a Christmas snow. That is, until yesterday. It began late in the afternoon and light flurries continue this morning. We had several inches on the ground last night, but the temps are a bit above freezing so it’s clearing now. 009

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Sisters. . . or Not

Bella, our 8 year old granddaughter, is spending the day with us today. We were in the car talking about Christmas which turned into a discussion about brothers and sisters. She said that if her mommy had another baby she hopes it will be a girl because she doesn’t have a sister.

I said, “You know that are advantages and disadvantages to having sisters. One not so good thing would be that if you had a sister then you wouldn’t be the only girl in the family any longer, and people wouldn’t spoil you so much.”

She asked, “What’s the good part of having a sister?”

I replied, “When you have a sister you will always have a friend.”

She said, “I think that I would rather have a another brother.”

Tuesday, December 21, 2010


As I was publishing the previous post, the phone rang. It was 10:33 am. Yep, it was the same number as before. I simply picked up the receiver and replaced it quickly. I know that ensures that she will call again, but I hope she was only half as annoyed as I was when she called the first time. I can be such a snot sometimes.

I Really Needed This Early in the Morning

This morning at 8:07 am Mr. Fixit was taking his morning walk, and I was sitting in bed with the laptop catching up on the news, crosswords, etc. We had been up for over an hour. The phone rang; it scared me a little because Mr. Fixit was out walking. I checked the caller ID. It was an 800 number—a telemarketer at 8:00 am?

Me: Hello

Caller: May I speak to Mr. Fixit?

(I could tell by the background noise it was, indeed, a telemarketer.)

Me (being contrary): I’m sorry Mr. Fixit is still in sleeping. This is Mrs. Fixit. Can I help you?

Caller: This is Sears calling in regard to Mr. Fixit’s air compressor. His warranty is about to expire and we wanted to offer him blah, blah, blah.

Me: You do know it’s 8:07 in the morning, don’t you?

Caller: Yes ma’am. I know the time. When may I call Mr. Fixit again?

Me: I don’t think he will want to extend his warranty, but why don’t you call again about 10:30 am. That will give him time to get up, shower, and have breakfast.

Caller: I’ll call back then. I’m sorry I woke you.

I understand that she is doing her job, but I thought telemarketers are allowed to call only between the hours of 9:00 am and 9:00 pm. Does she realize that she has the same chance as a snowball  in hell to sell us an extended warranty? Will she have the nerve to call again at 10:30 am?

NOTE TO SEARS: Do not annoy your faithful customers by allowing your telemarketers to call before 9:00 am or your faithful customers (who have spent mucho dollares in your tool department) will purchase their tools elsewhere.

It’s now 10:32 am, and the phone is blessedly silent. Stay tuned.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Easier Blogging

Even though I have convinced Mr. Fixit that “I am the Wizard” of computing, I know my limitations. I can send and receive e-mail most of the time; I am able to surf the net without too many problems; I mastered (sort of) publishing blog posts. (Okay, I still have major problems posting pictures with captions in their preferred locations.)

Note: At this moment the Wizard is having trouble keeping the cursor where she wants it on this laptop. She hasn’t mastered working without a mouse. Did I mention that she’s had this laptop for a year? And a later post is planned for the daylong problem trying to install new virus protection yesterday.

When I compose a blog post, I start on the Windows word processor. I use the generic one. I don’t have “Office” with the good word processor. I then edit, copy, and paste to Blogger.

Posting pictures on Blogger is a source of great aggravation for me—it takes too darned long, and, as I said, I hate trying to “edit html” to move the pictures around.

When I updated Windows Live Mail not long ago, I found this add-on program called “Windows Live Writer.” It’s for writing blogs, and I like it very much. Pictures load very quickly and I am able to put them exactly where I want them (I had only a little problem). The best part is that the post with the pictures loads to Blogger very fast—no more waiting for five minutes per picture to load.

 Windows Live Mail: Until we bought this computer and the new big one, I had always used Outlook for email. I didn’t like this Windows Mail at all. It did its job, but I didn’t like it. When I updated, that all changed. I love it now. I wouldn’t go back to Outlook if I could.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Brown + Cheez Whiz = Philistine (Me)

After installing the free version of Kindle, I chose Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility to try it. I had seen the end of the movie just a day or so before and thought it would be a nice read. I finally finished it last night.

I wonder what the readers of the era thought of her work. Was she considered a talented writer producing great literature as she seems to be perceived now? Or was she seen as a romance writer like contemporary authors Sandra Brown, LaVryle Spencer, or Dorothy Garlock? They may not be producing great literature, but they write entertaining stories for those of us to appreciate the genre.

I find that I must be a complete philistine because I thought S & S boring and wordy even taking into the consideration that writing styles have evolved since the early 1800’s. Many people say that Ms. Austen is their favorite author. That must mean that I have absolutely no taste or discernment. If I’m going to read romance novels, give me Brown, Spencer, or Garlock. I also enjoy Cheez Whiz and Ritz crackers.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Noah as Steven Cruel

This morning Noah’s fifth grade presented their Christmas program, “North Pole Star.” It was based on “American Idol” featuring Santa’s reindeer as contestants. The judges were Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Steven Cruel.

Noah played Steven Cruel. His British accent was great! He and Owen both can do “British.” They picked it up watching Harry Potter movies.

All of the children were great! They really get into it, even the boys.
Noah is basically very shy, but when he’s on stage, you would never know it. I’m so very proud of him!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

Winter is here in South Carolina—one of our four or five days of really cold weather that makes a SC winter season. When I checked the temp this morning about 6:30 am, it was 11 degrees. That’s cold for us. There were a few (very few) flakes of snow Sunday night. We took Cole, Bella, and Levi out for dinner, and Cole was explaining the tried and true method of ensuring a large snowfall for the next day. It involved putting a knife under the bed and then dancing around a hat. He must have forgotten the ritual because no snowfall was apparent in the morning.

Jason called this morning and said they have no hot water. He said they had running cold water, and it didn’t appear that any pipes had burst. He has one of those small water heaters attached to the outside of the house that heats water as it’s needed. Maybe the pipe to or from the unit froze.

Owen was sick yesterday, and he was supposed to stay with us today. His mom decided to work from home again today because of the water problems.

Ben will probably be inundated with burst pipes at the trailer park. Every time it gets cold, the pipes pop like popcorn kernels in hot oil. Can you imagine facing 40 sets of broken pipes? It doesn’t bear thinking about. (Brrr!)

The forecast calls for one more extremely cold night, with rising temps Wednesday. However, along with the moderating temps, a “wintry” mix is predicted for Wednesday night into Thursday. I hate that “wintery” mix crap. That means icy roads, downed power lines, and broken tree branches all over the yard.

I know I’ve said that I like winter better than summer, but sometimes I get tired of having cold hands and feet. Then I remember the weeks of 100+ degrees of summer heat, and this weather doesn’t seem so bad.

I shouldn’t be complaining. I’ve seen news reports of the horrendous conditions in the Midwest. I feel for all who are suffering, and I realize how lucky we are.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


The headline on a Yahoo! news story reads, “WH warns (fellow democrats) tax defeat could trigger new recession.”
President Obama is “getting tough” with his own party instead of the other party whose policies put our country and economy in the position it’s in now.
I am becoming more and more disenchanted with President Obama daily. That being said, the bright side is even though I disagree with some of his actions and policies, I feel better with him at the helm than I would have felt if the country had been left to the other party.

Water Towers

I think water towers are interesting.
Some are quite elegant and graceful as this one in our town. It has recently been repainted.
water towers 008
There was no way for me to photograph it without the power lines.
The giant peach is in Gaffney, SC, in an area that has. . .you guessed it, peach orchards.water towers 004
Westminster, SC boasts many apple orchards, therefore, their tower is appropriately decorated.11-11-10 004

(The picture placement is a little wonky. I used a new method of posting. As usual, click on photos for detail.)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Oh, Deer!

Our son Jason lives about 15 miles from us. The route between us is a two lane country road. There are houses and businesses along the way, but there are also large fields, and woods line some sections of the road. The speed limit is 55 most of the way. At night there are no street lights to aid visibility.

At night when I'm driving, I slow to about 45 mph if there is no one behind me because of the deer I've seen crossing the road or standing in bunches along the roadside. If I were to hit one, our small car could be totaled and serious injury could occur.

Not long ago after driving carefully and watching for for deer, I drove through our downtown and turned into the street leading to our subdivision. We live about 4 blocks from downtown.

There on the side of the street waiting to cross was a deer. Now I have to drive slowly on the dark country road and on the city streets leading to our house to avoid the wildlife. There could be more deer in the city limits than in the fields and forests.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Homer and Langley

Homer and Langley by E. L. Doctorow is not a book that I enjoyed, but I will recommend it. It is the story of two well-to-do brothers living in Manhattan on Fifth Avenue. It spans a time period from World War I to the mid 60’s or perhaps a few years later.

One brother is blind and the other came home from the Great War suffering from the results of mustard gas poisoning and PTSD which became madness. The blind brother is a musician, and the mad one is brilliant. The brothers are recluses who view the world from behind their shutters and occasionally taking part in the changing world.

I enjoy books that cause me to think and that have an emotional impact. This one left me in despair and overwhelmed with pity. If I knew its impact before reading it, I’m not sure I would have chosen it. But, having said that, once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it aside.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Out of curiosity, last night I accepted an offer from Amazon to download a free Kindle for the PC. I installed it on the laptop.

I had looked at the real hand-held version in retail stores, and I lusted in my heart for one whenever I saw anyone with one. I know that it is out of reach for me, not only because of the cost of the unit itself, but because book-buying is a minuscule portion of our budget.

I downloaded a free book. (There are lots of free ones available, but they are mostly older books in the public domain.) I discovered that Amazon has a number of free, contemporary books.) If the “real” Kindle is anything like the PC Kindle, then I must say that I am favorably impressed.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Realities of Aging

Some years ago on some gift-giving occasion, I requested that Mr. Fixit give me a ladder. I explained that I didn’t want a step ladder like his. I needed a ladder to hang curtains, to look for things on the high shelves, and to paint. Since I have this fear of heights, his ladder is too high and the treads are too narrow. I found the perfect one. It has three wide treads, a paint tray, and the legs spread wide to give me a feeling of stability. It also has a thing to hold on to giving me a little more confidence. Best of all, the ladder is mine, all mine. Of course, I let him use it when necessary, like trimming the Christmas tree. Nice of me, don’t you think? The ladder usually makes its home in my clothes closet. Okay, sometimes I leave it in the upstairs hall leaning against the bookshelves or stationed in the computer room/craft room/junk room.

A few days ago I wanted to hang some curtains, but when I looked for the ladder, it was nowhere to be found. I looked everywhere--the garage, the storage room, the storage room annex (the downstairs bathroom), the my closet where it usually resides. I even used a thinly veiled accusation against Mr. Fixit. “Have you seen my ladder?” He said, “No, but I’ll help you look.” Hmmm, was that a little too co-operative in an attempt to appear innocent? He spent a bit of time checking all the places I had already looked. He couldn't find it either. That's really no surprise; he can never find anything he's looking for. He's just not a good looker-for.

My only thought was, how can anyone lose a ladder? The last thing I remembered about the ladder was moving it from the upstairs hall to put it away. I couldn’t put it back in the closet, because my handbag collection has grown, and it is a small closet. But where I put the ladder was a complete blank.

I was afraid my ladder would become another cell phone charger. I hadn’t been able to find it for weeks. I remembered that I was going to put it away, but I couldn’t remember where I put it. (Incidentally, I found it a few days ago by happenstance in my laptop case.)

Yesterday when I was busy doing something having nothing to do with a ladder, it suddenly popped into my mind where I had stashed it. I leave the door to my closet open because sometimes Little Girl like to take a private snooze in there. There, behind the open door, was my ladder. I took care of the curtain and now the ladder is residing in its new home--behind the closet door. And I'm a little embarrassed that I even entertained the thought that Mr. Fixit had put my ladder away where it didn't belong. Of course, I didn't admit making that thinly veiled accusation. I wonder if he noticed that it was accusatory.

Aging means spending about 50 percent of my time looking for things I have put away.

Monday, November 22, 2010


Mr. Fixit has been retired about 8 weeks. As we were having breakfast this morning, I asked him if he missed anything about working (aside from the extra money). He said he doesn’t miss anything about it. I asked if he missed the routine of going to work or knowing that he had something to do to fill his time. I asked if he was bored. He said he didn’t miss the routine and he said that he can always find something to do. He said, “And when I get bored, we take a drive.”

I miss the routine. I can’t seem to get anything done; my house is even messier than usual. The other day he was working on something and I was in the kitchen cooking. He said, “Are you busy?”

“I’m cooking.”

He said, “I just wanted to know if you wanted to ride to Lowe’s with me.”

“Go? Did you say ‘go’? Wait until I turn off the stove and comb my hair.” He didn’t really have to twist my arm.

That’s why I have unmade beds and unwashed dishes and no routine. I really need more routine in my life to have an orderly life. But it’s nice to be able to go whenever the notion strikes.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Rogersville - The Final Installment

The third house we moved to in Rogersville was a brand new house outside of town that needed the finishing touches. The yard was a quagmire. Dad put down boards to make paths for us to reach the car and to get to the end of the driveway to catch the school bus. Incidentally, the school bus picked us up before daylight. We were always the first kids to get to school. I don’t like getting before dawn now; I hated even more then.

It was winter when we moved there, but the mud never seemed to freeze. It stayed messy all winter. One redeeming value of the house for me was the large basement. There was one big room and three smaller rooms that could have been used as small bedrooms when the basement was completed. That winter I had asked for a red wagon as a Christmas present. I steered that wagon in a circle in the basement for what must have been 100 miles.

It was in this house that I discovered Mickey Spillane novels on a boring snow day. I was in the third grade.

We didn’t stay long in that house long, thank heavens. The bootlegger landlord of the first house we lived in was sentenced to a stretch at Brushy Mountain prison. He asked Dad if we would move into the house he lived in which was next door to our first house while he was serving his time. The only thing he asked in return was that one bedroom be held for the exclusive use of his pretty young wife’s nasty little lapdog. (The landlord was not young. I'm trying to be politically correct without telling you that he was an old geezer with a pretty young wife.) I was crazy about dogs, but I didn’t like this one at all. It was not affectionate. Every time I tried to pet it, it would nip me. I had done nothing to this fuzzy miniature spawn of Satan to incur his enmity. I wonder where the wife went while Hubby was in the Big House. Wherever it was, I wished many times that she had taken that dust mop of a dog with her.

The education I received at Rogersville gave me a good foundation for the rest of my time in school, and I loved it. I also experienced my first crush there. His name was Anderson Bible, and he had a great shirt with a Dumbo appliqué on it. I thought his name was wonderful. Anderson Bible--now that’s a memorable name.

We stayed in that house until I had finished 4th grade when Dad was transferred to the Kingston Plant outside of Lenoir City, Tennessee. We lived in a little community called Eaton’s Crossroads.

House No. 4 - It's undergoing remodeling. When were lived there
a mimosa tree graced the front yard.

This small cemetery is the resting placed of Davy Crockett's
grandparents and Mr. Rogers who founded the town. I passed
it almost every day walking home from school.

(I got a lot of mileage out of that daytrip, didn’t I? Gro-o-o-an! Enough material for four posts.)

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Some years ago a friend asked me for advice about a situation that was occurring in her family that was hurtful to her. She didn’t know how to handle it. Should she confront the family members who slighted her on many occasions or should she smile and not let anyone know how much she was hurt?

On one hand perhaps no one realized they were hurting her. She had done nothing to incur hard feelings from any family member. On the contrary, she went out of her way to offer her help and time. She couldn’t fathom why these small, but damaging, things kept happening. She felt if she confronted those people irreparable harm could be done to the family and the close relationship she thought she had, but her heart was breaking every time she was overlooked and slighted.

The other option was not letting anyone know that she felt unappreciated and hurt when others were shown more consideration and respect than she was. The problem with that was that after years of enduring little nicks to her heart she was beginning to feel less loving toward those who were careless with her feelings. She felt she had to harden her heart to keep from being hurt, but she said it was making her very unhappy.

I’ve often wondered if I gave her to right advice or if she even took it. We lost touch. I saw something online that brought the incident to mind. I hope whatever she decided was the right option for her situation.

Having become much older and a little wiser, I hope, I am very careful about giving advice unless I’m asked or I see a real danger ahead. Even when asked, I try to just see all sides of the situation and then to discuss the pros and cons of each alternative without making my own personal feelings known.

In this case, I suggested that she ignore as much as possible and keep smiling. That’s what I would do, but one of my biggest failings is my pride. I wouldn’t want anyone to know how much I was hurting.


Every time I go to the library, my nose begins to run, I get dizzy, and if I stay too long, I break out in a sweat. I then get a bad headache. I wonder if there is something there that causes these reactions. Could I be allergic to the library? I can’t bear even considering that possibility.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Yesterday and Today

Dad was transferred from Southeast Tennessee to Northeast Tennessee when I was in the second grade. It was shortly after the school year had begun. I think I was fairly happy there. There were some places we lived where I wasn’t so happy.

I went from a two-room school without indoor plumbing to a city school with all the mod cons. We had one teacher per class, indoor plumbing, music classes, a library, and playground equipment. I thought it was heavenly. When my new teacher heard from my mother the kind of school I had attended, she put me in the lowest reading group that first day. Back in those days, some mentally challenged children were mainstreamed. She put me in the reading group with the one kid who needed extra help. When she heard me read that day, she immediately moved me into the highest reading group. I wonder what she thought when she found out how deficient I was in math and coloring.

Front View of Rogersville Elementary School
When I attended, the front lawn had huge trees and big shrubs
lining a wide sidewalk leading to the front door. The only time
we were allowed on the lawn was in the spring during the May Day
Celebration and dance around the Maypole. The school is still in use, and
several new wings have been added. It's quite large now.

We lived in Rogersville until I completed 4th grade, but we moved several times around the town. When we were trying to find some of the houses last weekend, I couldn’t remember the name of the street where the first house was located. Suddenly, there it was--Charles Street. Before we turned around to turn on the street I even remembered the house number.

The first house we lived in was owned by a notorious bootlegger. He lived in the house next door. It was four small rooms, but my one criteria (should that be “criterium”?) was met. It had a tree in the backyard with a limb suitable for a swing.

The best thing that happened while we lived there was the lady across the street bought a television. I was instantly enthralled. I would come home from school and go to her house and watch the Indian head test pattern until Mother called in home for supper. I don’t think I saw more than a few minutes of a real program there.

Apparently Dad was also enthralled with this new medium. Even though we had neither the proverbial pot or the window, somehow he purchased, on-time, of course, a 17 inch Dumont television set. After a short time, we were able to get three stations--Channel 6 from Knoxville, Channel 11 from Johnson City, and Channel 13 from Asheville, North Carolina. (It’s funny the things I remember.) Every time the channel was changed, someone had to go outside to turn the antenna. That was before there were rotors for turning antennas. Or maybe we just couldn’t afford one.

My dad had little education but he was extremely smart and clever--something he and Mr. Fixit have in common. He rigged a system with clothesline rope to turn the antenna from inside the house. The ropes came into the house through a window.

House No. 1
The front of the house has been reconfigured and some of the
trees and shrubs are gone.

This is the TV lady's house across the street from House
No. 1. Aside from having a television, she also had a cow
that grazed in the large front yard that she treated as a pet.
 We lived in that first little house until a larger house became available. It was owned by another bootlegger. I think it became available when the owner was sent to Brushy Mountain Prison for practicing his chosen profession.

The house was very nice. There was my tree. It wasn’t big enough for a swing, but it was perfect for climbing. I spent many hours that summer reading in that tree. There was a swing on the front porch. There was a formal flower garden, a stream running through the backyard that fed a small concrete pool, a barn filled with straw, and an orchard with cherry trees on the hill behind the house.

There were definite signs that nefarious deeds had taken place there. My brother found a secret compartment in the floor of his bedroom and a handgun hidden in the barn’s hayloft. Did I mention the bullet holes in the Venetian blinds?

While living there, Granddad gave Gary and I some chicks and baby ducks for Easter. The ducklings almost drowned in the little pool, but the chicks swam quite well. I don’t remember what happened to the chicks, but we kept the ducks. They became pets who followed us around like puppies. They would wait for Dad every afternoon to come home from work. One day as he started in the gate, the ducks became very agitated and were quacking like crazy. They had never done this before. Dad proceeded through the gate and was confronted by a copperhead snake (which he dispatched with the garden hoe). He said that The Boys, as the ducks were known, had saved his life.

The one dark spot in my life while living there was potato picking. My parents always had vegetable gardens if it were possible. This house had a B-I-G garden area. We had corn, potatoes, beans, peas, squash, carrots, lettuce, etc. When the time came to harvest the potatoes, Dad dug them up, and I suppose because I was the closest to the ground it was my job to pick up the potatoes and put them in a bucket. My back ached, my hands and feet got dirty, and the weather was still warm enough that I worked up a sweat. I hate sweat! I will never forget how icky I felt after picking up potatoes. I swore to myself that I would never pick up another potato in my life.

We searched for House No. 2, but we couldn't find it. I remember exactly the area it was in, and I remember how the house looked. The topography seems to have changed greatly from what I remember.
I remember the house being on a straight stretch, but the only road we found that it could have been was curvy. I was a bit disappointed.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rogersville - Part 1

Our day trip to Rogersville, Tennessee, yesterday was wonderful. The scenery was absolutely gorgeous even though most of the leaves have fallen, there was a little color. As we drove from Asheville, NC, to Johnson City, TN, the mountains were just jaw dropping. I didn’t remember how high the mountains actually are. I think this drive was one of the most beautiful ones I have ever seen. I took a few pictures from the moving car, but none of them let you see the majesty of those mountains. I wish the pictures I took of cows grazing on almost vertical pastures were better. It looked as if the poor cows took one false step they would have fallen “out” of their grazing areas.

My fear of heights only kicked in a few times. All the roads (except, of course, city streets and country roads) were multiple lanes so I wasn’t forced to look into the abyss.

There are many working farms in that rugged, hilly area. They appeared to have lots of acreage. The farms have a different look than the ones here.

Rogersville is still a small town. I would guess that the population is less than 5,000. I didn’t see a population sign. I saw some things I recognized, but it has changed greatly. It’s seems to be a mirror image of every other small town with its McDonald’s, Wal-Mart, Pizza Hut, Auto Zone, and Burger King. Franchise businesses and chain stores, I suppose, have been a boon to the economies of small towns, but those businesses have also caused the loss of the charm and individuality of small towns. All look the same now.

Rogersville is the second oldest town in Tennessee. It was founded by Joseph Rogers and his wife, Mary, and the grandparents of Davy Crockett. It was settled in 1775. It boasts the oldest courthouse, the first newspaper, and the first post office in the state. I remember some of that from being in school there.

One thing I noticed was the lack of diversity of the population. We were only there for a short time, but we didn’t see any black people. I saw no Near Easterners, no Middle Easterners, no Far Easterners, no Mexicans, or other Latinos. The only accents I heard were Mr. Fixit’s and the southern accents of the locals.

Even with their shoddy service at McDonald’s and the lack of diversity in their citizenry, if I had to choose another place to live, Northeastern Tennessee would be at or near the top of my list.

More to come.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Travel with the Fixits (Or, Are We Having Fun Yet?)

Last night after Owen’s last baseball game (It was the championship game. They won. He hit a homerun. At the banquet Owen was chosen as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.), we decided to take a little trip to Rogersville, Tennessee, where I had spent a few years as a child. It was a last minute idea with little or no preparation.

We left fairly early because it is a 200 mile trip. We stopped to have breakfast at Bo Jangles. Every morning, several older gentlemen have breakfast together to socialize, solve the problems of the world, and tell stories of the good ole days.

When I went into the restaurant, I left my purse in the trunk because it was so heavy. I was carrying my camera, a TomTom, my telephone, and my plastic bag with my user’s manuals for my camera, my telephone, and blue tooth headset. Well, you never know when you’ll need your instruction books. I also have a small flashlight, a pocket knife, cosmetics, sunglasses, etc., etc., etc. The purse weighs about 10 pounds.

I have a wallet to which I can attach a shoulder strap, so I often leave my purse in the car and just carry the wallet. I had laid the wallet on the table while we ate.

One the gentlemen passed by our table and noticed the wallet. He said to me, “I can’t believe you can only carry that little purse. My wife’s purse is big and so heavy she can hardly lift it.”

I then had to admit that my big, heavy purse was in the trunk of the car. I was a bit embarrassed. He thought it was funny.

Mr. Fixit recently purchased a new TomTom. He said that the battery in the old one wouldn’t hold a charge so he needed a new one. He gave me the old one which I now carry with me. (It seems to hold charge just fine for me.) I had programmed mine last night to show us the way to Rogersville. As we began our trip, I took it out of my purse. Mr. Fixit said he was going to program his new one. We compared information indicated on each unit. They both chose the same route, and the mileage was the same on both. However, there was a 30 minute difference in the travel times. He decided that we should leave them both on to see if we could determine how this discrepancy occurred.

I had an uncomfortable thought. “Do you see anything disturbing about us using two TomToms at the same time, programmed to go to the same place?” I asked. “What does that say about us? Can you say ‘Anal Retentive’?”

As Christmas nears, the Scrooge part of me has already begun to manifest itself. It began before Halloween when lots of stores put out Christmas items and decorated their businesses with Christmas decorations

As we were driving through Greenville, SC, this morning at the beginning of our trip, there was Santa in all his glory riding a motorcycle at 8:00 am. I wanted to yell out the car window and tell him to get his red velvet clad butt back to his enchanted cottage/toy factory at the Pole until the day after Thanksgiving. Bah, Humbug!

By virture of the fact that we had TWO TomToms, we reached our destination after getting off course only a few times. We drove around Rogersville looking for the school I attended and some of the houses we lived in. We stopped at McDonald’s for a quick lunch. Quick being the operative words. We ordered--no special order items--just a Big Mac combo and a Fish Filet combo. We had to wait about 10 minutes for our order. People behind us came and went, and there we stood waiting. There was no apology, no nothing! Mr. Fixit was so pissed. He’s an impatient person.

On our way home on I26 between Johnson City and Asheville, NC, my phone rang. I answered--it was Jason. He said, “Where are you?” I told him where we were, and, of course, he made a remark about us doing retired people things. He then asked me a question about making cheese and garlic grits that they were taking to a shrimp and oyster roast tonight. I offered a suggestion to his culinary problem while tooling around mountainous terrain about 150 miles from home. Yes, sometimes technology is good.

We took the same route home as we did on the way there because it is such beautiful country. It took us from Rogersville to Kingsport, TN on to Johnson City, TN Asheville, NC and home through Greenville, SC. We were making good time as we arrived in Asheville. Let me say that both Mr. Fixit and I have driven in some of the worst places east of the Mississippi there are to drive. I’ve driven in Manhattan, Boston, Providence, RI, Washington, DC, Nashville, TN, Memphis, TN, New Jersey, and Atlanta, but Asheville always causes us and Ms. TomTom problems. We always go off course there.

Today was no exception, Ms. TomTom was too slow so we missed an exit. She recalibrated and planned a route to get us back on track. It took us through the Hookerville section of Asheville. We were on a surface street and there at an abandoned gas station were three ladies of ill repute plying their trade right in front of God, me, and everyone else on the street. I had never seen anything like this in person. I was shocked! Of course, we were stuck in traffic and had to sit there for longer than we should have. One of the ladies took her client over to a stack of tires and sat down on it with him and ministered to his needs in broad daylight. Oh, it wasn’t the--how do I put this?--complete action one might expect, but it was still too gross for words. E-e-w-w-w! Ms. TomTom came through for us and we got the heck out of Dodge!

After leaving Hookerville, we had an uneventful ride home. There’s more to tell about the trip, but it will have to wait until tomorrow. Riding over 400 miles in one day isn’t has easy as it used to be.


If you are interested in nostalgia and enjoy good writing, may I suggest
Hugh and I attended the same high school in a small Kentucky town. I graduated in 1963, and Hugh graduated in 1964. He has been writing for while and distributing his work via email to a large group. It's nice that he will now be reach a larger audience, because he writes well and I enjoy his stories of growing up in a small southern town in the '50's and '60's.

Take a look; I hope you like it as much as I do.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Looking for Foliage Part II

These are pictures of Lake Tugalo which straddles the state line between Toccoa, Georgia, and Westminster, South Carolina. The water is somewhat low now, but a few years ago during our long drought, you could have walked across the lake bed. The second picture is the trees along the lake shore. Blogger wouldn't let me publish all the pictures in the same post; therefore, Part II.

Looking for Foliage

Yesterday Mr. Fixit and I took a short trip to see if there is any fall color left. We went to Tallulah Gorge in Georgia since it's only about 50 miles from home. We saw very little of the usually vibrant color, but it was still worth the trip.
View directly across from the overlook of the Gorge

Looking down into the Gorge. I couldn't stand close enough to
the edge to see all the way to the bottom
The tree was directly in front of the car at the overlook at the top
of the Gorge. It was the brightest color we saw all day.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On My High Horse Again (I'm Still Testy)

This morning there was an article at Yahoo! News concerning telephone companies petitioning regulators to stop mass-printing white pages phone books. The article was written by Michael Felberbaum, AP Business Writer. Included in the article was this quote:

“Anybody who doesn’t have access to some kind of online way to look things up now is probably too old to be able to read the print in the white pages anyway.”

The quote was attributed to Robert Thompson, a pop culture professor at Syracuse University. It was indicated that the line was supposed to be a "joke."

I know that exposing ugly stereotyping of those of us who are elders, senior citizens, or old people (take your pick of descriptive terms) is usually the province of Crabby at TGB, but this one really hit a nerve with me.

First of all, it’s a stupid thing to say because most of us know that there are more and more doddering old darlings, such as I, using computers. Is this pop-culture professor so out of step that he doesn’t know this? Maybe it’s time for the professor to pull his head out to take a look at the real world and see what is really going on in so-called “pop culture.”

Secondly, why was he even quoted anyway? Was Mr. Felberbaum looking for the snarkiest quote available to add a little controversy to his article. If so, shame on you, Mr. Felberbaum! It was completely unnecessary to your article.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

One More

I added this one because I think it's a beautiful scene.

A Lot of Hot Air

Saturday afternoon Mr. Fixit and I were in Anderson on some made-up excuse to get out of the house when I spotted a hot-air balloon chase truck. I then remembered reading in the newpaper that this was the weekend for a balloon festival. We drove by the park as the afternoon ascension was taking place. Even though there weren't as many balloons as there were when Anderson hosted a large festival a few years ago, it was still wonderful to see.

This is not a very good pic but I like the dark clouds against the
blue sky with the balloons flying high.

The orange and purple balloon with the tiger paw prints on
the right is celebrating Clemson University. We have orange
and purple everywhere with paw prints on everything from roads
to buildings.

The Clemson balloon aloft

I couldn't get all the balloons aloft in one pic, but I counted 16 as we were
(Click on photo to enlarge)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Adventures in Dentistry

This morning I had an appointment at the dentist's office to have my teeth cleaned. I had never seen the hygienist before. Apparently, the person I usually see is no longer there.

While going to the dentist is not one of my favorite things to do, I'm not one to get nervous or scared of a little discomfort. Today may have changed my attitude. She was very rough, and it hurt! I once had a “deep” cleaning done by a periodontist that was nothing compared to this. I don't want to see her again, but I don't know how to tell them without hurting her feelings.

However, maybe I don't care if I hurt her feelings. She also made me angry. I know, I know. I'm being petty, but it offends me when people I've never met before call me “Sweetie,” “Dearie,” or “Honey.” If she couldn't remember my name, she could have just omitted calling me anything. After all, I was the only person in the room. She also talked to me the whole time she was doing her thing. Did she expect a reply when I had a mouthful of dental instruments? She also spoke to me as if I were a two-year-old. I may be 65 but I haven't reverted to my second childhood yet.

My mouth is sore, and I am a little TESTY! But I do have 6 months to get over it.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Great Baseball Moment for an 8-year-old!

This is a day that will live in my memory and the memories of our grandson, Owen, and our son, Jason, for the rest of our lives.

Today was the final game in the Fall Ball Season. Owen’s game began at 9:00 am. It was sunny and cold enough to freeze your nose. I was not in the best of moods. I went to sleep about 6:00 am and had to get up again at 7:30 am in order to get to the park by 9:00. I almost stayed home, but I’m so glad I went. I wouldn’t have missed this for the world.

I’m not sure of the correct baseball lingo, but this is what happened.

Owen was playing third base when the batter hit a fly ball. Owen caught the ball for Out No. 1. He then turned and tagged the runner who had been on second base and was running to third--Out No. 2. He still had the ball in his hand. He started running to the pitcher’s mound. I thought he was going to yell “Time!” when he reached the mound. (In coaches pitch games, this is standard procedure.) Instead of stopping on the mound he kept running toward first. I thought, “Where the heck is he going?” It soon became apparent. The runner who had been on first had started for second base. He was trying to get back to first to tag up again when Owen noticed the runner was off base. Thank Heaven, the umpire saw exactly what was happening. Owen ran from third base to first base and tagged the runner. The umpire signaled Out 3. Owen made a triple play with no assist!!!

The crowd went nuts! Heck, I went nuts! I thought Jason was going to bust his buttons he was so proud. BTW, they won the game by virtue of the mercy rule when the score is one-sided. The coach came over to the spectators and said, “Remember this one, because you probably will never see it again.” Owen was awarded the game ball on which his unassisted triple play was noted.

I wish everyone could have seen the pure joy on that child’s face the rest of the game. What a way to end the season!

Monday, November 1, 2010

It Happened on Halloween

Yesterday as we were heading home on I75 near Atlanta, there was a sleek, shiny black hearse on the side of the highway being tended to by one of those roving roadside assistance truck drivers.

Several thoughts popped into my head. I fervently hoped that the hearse was empty except for the driver. Then I wondered where the funeral procession was. Had this inconvenience happened before or after the ceremony? What is proper etiquette when the hearse breaks down before the rites begin? Do you continue on to the cemetery and wait there for the deceased to show up or do you go home and wait for further instructions? Did the driver simply run out of gas? Hmmm, I think if I were driving a hearse that would be the second thing I would check before hitting traffic on I75 in Atlanta. (Atlanta has the nuttiest drivers east of the Mississppi in my opinion. I would rather drive in Manhattan than Atlanta.)

I always heard people say of the chronically late, “She’ll be late to hear own funeral.” In this case, it could have actually happened.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Color Commentary

Day 1
Day 2

Day 5

Day 6

 These are photos of the maple tree in our front yard. Day 1 shows a bit of color. Day 2 has a bit more color but the leaves have begun to fall. Day 5 was after two days of rain. The last photo shows where the leaves are at the moment. The pecan tree in the upper left forefront (Pic 1) is still completely green. So is the little maple in front of the big maple and the oak behind it. The oak has lost a few leaves though.

About a month ago Cole had a baseball tournament in Asheville, NC. The trees in the mountains had turned just a bit. We tried to make another leafing expedition the next weekend but a sensor on the car was acting goofy so we had to come home. The foliage wasn’t anything to write home about anyway. This weekend Cole’s last tournament for the fall season was held in Marietta, Georgia (about 140 miles from here). It’s located a bit north and west of Atlanta. The color there was disappointing, too.

There were no vibrant colors--no neon oranges, no flashy reds, and few bright yellows. Even the sumac along the road which is usually bright red is dull red or completely brown. The trees in the local area are the same. We haven’t had a chance to go back to the mountains, and now it’s probably too late. The leaves have probably fallen.

Oh, well. There’s always next year. . .maybe.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

He's Not Hip

This morning while Mr. Fixit and I were having breakfast a morning show was on. They had the people from the Jersey shore as guests. Mr. Fixit said, “Who are these people?” I tried to explain about the tans, the narcissism, the bad behavior, and, of course, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity for a self-righteous rant about television glorifying bad behavior and viewers who eat it up. My parting shot was, “If you haven’t heard about these people, you’re just not cool.”

Then I saw this cartoon and showed it to him. “This is you,” I said.

He said, “I don’t get it.” (He doesn’t know Lady GaGa either.)

'Nuff said.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sweet but Embarrassing

Last night Noah had a baseball game. (They won. Noah was, of course, outstanding. He had two base hits, did a good job playing third base, scored twice, and was sent in the last inning as relief pitcher. I’m a Grammie so I can brag a little.) After the game the players, coaches, and parents gather to have snacks, discuss the game, and hand out the game ball.

Last night there was a little something added. After the business was taken care, one of the coaches (our son Jason) said (I’m paraphrasing), “ Today is someone’s birthday and I would like to ask all of you to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to my mom.” Everyone including parents and players sang for me. It was totally embarrassing. What does one do while everyone is looking at them and singing? I think I stood there with a goofy smile and misty eyes.  It was incredibly sweet.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Whew! What a Relief!

My Medicare benefits began October 1. Today was the first occasion to use it. I had to get a refill for my insulin. I usually pay $178.00 a month for that one prescription. When we enrolled in a program for Part D – Prescription Meds, our agent called the carrier to ask how much would be covered under their plan. The representative indicated that I would be paying $39.00 for a month's supply.

I was so nervous when I went to pick up the insulin. I was afraid that there had been a mistake made when the rep gave me the out-of-pocket cost. When the clerk rang up my purchase, it was $39.00. I almost wept with relief and joy. I quickly said a little “Thank You” prayer.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

A Gap?

It’s clear from news reports that unemployment is high, home foreclosures are still high, and the housing market is stagnant. There is a house across the street from us that has been on the market for almost two years. No, it’s not overpriced, and it’s a nice house. In fact, the floor plan is almost a duplicate of ours.
I have noticed very few showings of the house.

Now that Mr. Fixit is no longer working, we must watch every penny. That means fewer restaurant meals. We are thinking our having our landline discontinued and using only the cell phones. We may scale back our Directv plan. We will cut back on our little daytrips. I’m trying to trim our food bills by maybe having a few more meatless meals and foregoing convenience foods and cooking from scratch. We drive a car that gets over 30 miles to the gallon, and I try to shop at discount stores. Unless some idiots decide to do away with Social Security and Medicare, we will get by financially if nothing untoward happens.

I look at people around us, and I am astounded that other people don’t seem to be economizing even though our economy reportedly hasn’t improved. Restaurants seem to be doing a booming business. It is true that in our area some of the high dollar ones have gone under, but the fast food industry and franchises like TGIFriday’s, Olive Garden, and Ruby Tuesday always seem to be busy. Any place that has a buffet is always crowded.

For a while people seemed to be moving from gas guzzlers to smaller, more economical cars, but it seems that trend was short-lived. I see many new SUV’s and huge pickup trucks on the road. In our area, it’s not unusual to see college students driving BMW’s, Land Rovers, and Mercedes. In fact, you see lots of BMW’s and Jaguars on our highways.

I have noticed that most people and their children have those expensive phones that do everything except the laundry. Most of the phones seem to have online capability that requires a monthly payment for that internet access if I understand correctly.

The mall isn’t as crowded, but Wal-Mart, Target, and K-Mart seem to be busy.

It seems 80 per cent of the women and even pre-teen girls I see in public have professional manicures and pedicures, salon haircuts, and color and/or highlights.

On the other hand, every night on the local news we hear that food banks are depleted, and the agencies and charities that help the needy pay winter heating bills are broke because so many are asking for help.

Does all this mean that there is a huge gap between the Have’s and the Have-Not’s? Is the situation not as bad as the new media indicate? I just don’t understand.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Retirement - The Second Time Around

Mr. Fixit is retired for the second time. He retired the first time 7 years ago. He didn’t work for year, but when my Cobra insurance terminated, he had to find a job with benefits so that I would have coverage. We couldn’t afford to buy it individually, and I wasn’t able to work.

My birthday is in a few weeks so my Medicare coverage has begun. He is able to stop working, thank goodness. I can’t tell you how guilty I have felt these past seven years knowing that he was working just for insurance for me. It was even worse because he hated it so badly. I cringed every day when he blew off steam about it to me. I’m so happy that he doesn’t have to endure it anymore. He deserved to quit eight years ago when he was eligible for retirement. During his working life, he worked every overtime hour he could get when he was an hourly employee. When he moved up to management, his hours were even longer. He has earned his retirement.

I was hoping I could establish some sort of routine, but it looks like we will just be playing it by ear. Every time he has an errand to do, he asks me to go with him. I very seldom turn down a chance to go out even if I just wait in the car and people-watch.

Since Monday he has been doing some little odd jobs around the house, and his truck still isn’t operable. The truck is his next big job. Ben, our older son, called a little while ago to ask him to do some painting at their trailer park. I don’t think he will have any trouble staying busy.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

They Finally Agreed on Something!!!

The impossible has happened. Both Houses of Congress have passed similar bills (The Senate vote was
unanimous; I don't know the vote count of the House of Reps.) requiring TV stations and cable companies to keep commercials at the same volume as regular programming.


But did anyone see the pigs take wing? I missed it, darn it!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Everything Turns into a BIG Production!

Last evening as Mr. Fixit and I were returning home from Grandparents’ Night at Bella’s school, we found the only way into our subdivision was blocked by a fire truck and other emergency vehicles. We were told by a firefighter that an electric line was down and the transformer had blown. (There was foul smelling smoke from the transformer, and the bushes in front of one house were burning.) She said she would guide us around the line so that we could get home. This was a few minutes before 8:00 pm. The electricity was on in the subdivision where the line had fallen and in ours. I remarked that I was surprised that we still had power.

About 9:30 the whole neighborhood plus the one up the hill went dark--completely dark. It seemed funny not seeing all those little colored lights on various electronic gizmos throughout our house. It was pitch black except for the light emanating from my laptop which was running a scan at the time of the power outage. It kicked over to the battery as soon as the power went out. Using it as a flashlight, I started looking for the real flashlight that is usually kept here by the computer so that Mr. Fixit can use it whenever he has to fiddle work on the computer tower. Of course, the flashlight wasn’t where it should have been.

Being Mrs. Fixit, I usually carry a small LED flashlight in my purse. As luck would have it, it wasn’t in the purse that I had used to go to Grandparents’ Night. The light from the laptop that I was carrying around like a flashlight was barely sufficient to go through other handbags for the little flashlight, but I found it in the third one I seached. Voila, light!

With the little light, I performed a house search for the large computer room flashlight. It wasn’t anywhere I looked.

The next course of action was to gather candles so that I wouldn’t waste the batteries in my little flashlight.

I could only find votive candles which give meager illumination and one pillar candle. The pillar candle was the decorative one in the bathroom. Next came the search for a means to light the candles. Since I stopped smoking, I no longer have matches or lighters close at hand. I found some fireplace matches exactly where they should be. Surprise! Surprise!

Okay! I was all set! Candles with a little flashlight as backup. I then went back to searching for the large misplaced flashlight. I found one in the garage, but it was an old one that won’t hold a charge. There was less light coming from that than from any of the votive candles. I finally found the “good” computer room flashlight, but, wouldn’t your know it? The halogen part needed to be recharged. The LED part was nice and bright though.

I used that to take my meds and my insulin. By that time, it was 11:00 so I decided to go to bed. I quickly realized that even the pillar candle doesn’t give enough light to read. First, NCIS LA was interrupted and now I can’t read! Talk about adding insult to injury! I decided to use the purse-sized light to read. I had just settled down when the power was restored. Yea!

All of this just goes to prove that every minor little problem in the Fixit household turns out to be a major pain in the derriere! And I know the reason for this one. If I were more organized, I would have known where the big flashlight was; I should have seen to the recharging of the battery BEFORE it was needed. I should have moved the handbag light into the currently used purse instead of leaving it in one I used days before. I should have tapers, not votive candles, stored conveniently and not in a box on the bottom of a stack of other boxes on the top shelf in the junk closet. I would have matches stored with the candles.

It’s situations like this that make me wish I were more organized. And if wishes were horses, the beggars would ride.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Best Ever Gift

Last month when I decided to stop blogging, I knew I had to save all the material I had written since November, 2004, especially the first blog that I started because of my late brother. I loved his sense of humor, his quick wit, his cleverness, and even his run-on sentences. I tried several methods of saving “Observations of an Ordinary Person” (November 30, 2004 - July 13, 2007) but all were unsatisfactory. Either they were too time consuming or the format wasn’t satisfactory. I asked Jason if he could offer any suggestions to save my posts along with the pictures and comments. He gave me a couple of suggestions that I had already tried.

He later found a wonderful way to preserve my memories. He gave me the result Friday, not as a birthday gift, but as a “Just Because” gift. I had requested that they not give me any more presents on the usual gift giving occasions. He found a company online to print and bind my whole first blog with comments and pictures in hardcover. He chose the colors and the photos of the wisteria on the front and back of the book.

11 ¼” by 8 ¾”
Length - 240 pages

First page

Table of contents (11 Pages)

Sample pages

The book has every post, picture, and comment. (It also has every typo and every example of my bad grammar since it's taken directly from my site. If I had known, I would have done a lot of editing.) The quality of the paper and the binding is excellent, and the color in the photos is true. My photography doesn't do justice to the book. There are no washed out areas in the printing as it appears in my poor pictures, and the glare on the flash on the front diminishes the quality of the cover.

Of course, I cried when I saw it. Jason said when he was reading one of the posts about my brother to two of his friends in his office, his eyes became a little misty. When he looked up at them, they both were in tears.

Jason and Alisa, there are no words to convey my gratitude for this gift. It’s the best gift ever!!!

(Click on photos for detail.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fun Things To Do Besides Being Rude to Telemarketers

It’s bad enough that you feel just awful; it’s bad enough that you are bored out of your mind but you don’t even feel like reading a book or passing the time online. That paranoia that usually hits you in the middle of the night hits at 3:00 in the afternoon. You do feel like eating but not well enough to go to the kitchen to heat up a can of soup so you eat a slice of plain white bread. After the second day the guilt begins. You see the dishes that need to be loaded into the dishwasher, the laundry hamper is overflowing, and your local Wal-Mart is in financial difficulty because you haven’t visited in several days.

However, during my recent illness, I found a few fun things to do;

While lying on your back (It’s a little uncomfortable lying on your side or even turning you head because if you do, the nasal discharge flows freely down your cheek and onto your pillow. Who knew snot could feel so cold on a pillow case?) you can watch the ceiling fan turn and try to predict when that glob of dust will fly off the lazily turning blades.

After the decongestant has dried you sinuses a bit and you can once again turn your head, you can fire up the DVD player and watch nine “Midsomer Murders” episodes in a row. (I may never watch Inspector Barnaby again.) You can also listen to umpteen old time radio detective shows on your mp3 player. Warning: After the about the third hour, the charming naiviete (imagine the accent mark on the last “e” in “naivete) will wane and your mind will turn to mush.

There is also a chance that you could get your name into the Guinness Book of World Records if you keep count of your consecutive sneezes. My best was 11 in a row. How exciting!

You can compose scathing, cogent blog posts in your head about Newt Gingrich, Sara Palin, the purveyors of fiction on Fox News, and the effect of witchcraft in the political arena. You can write imaginary pithy comments on the posts of tea baggers that will miraculously change their points of views to your way of thinking. Fever makes fantasy even more fun.

For a really good time, your spouse might simply enter the room and thoughts of homicide will pass through your mind. That could be a side effect of a “Midsomer Murders” overdose, but planning the perfect murder kills another quarter of an hour.

My cold is getting a little better, and as you can tell, I’m not as grumpy as I was before.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sniffle, Sniffle; Cough, Cough; Sneeze, Sneeze

The last week or so hasn’t been pleasant. To say I feel like death warmed over would be painting a rosy picture of how I actually feel.

I suppose it started with my six months’ checkup. Things are a bit out of kilter. What I don’t understand is, why do I always get sick after a doctor’s appointment. It would be nice if I could get sick the day before my visit and kill two birds with one stone so to speak.

Cole has started baseball tournaments with one team that he’s on. Saturday was cool, cloudy, with just a hint of rain. They played at a local college field that was nice. Most of the seating is shaded by large trees.

Sunday’s game was played about an hour and a quarter away. They played four games altogether. He did very well.

My problem began with no lunch on Sunday. My glucose level dropped very low by late afternoon, and after the game, we stopped to get a real coke to bring it up a quickly. It shot up way too high leaving me feeling awful. To complicate matters I had used my last dose of insulin the night before. We didn’t get back in time to refill the prescription. I had to try to balance lowering the high glucose and not having the insulin to help with needing to eat.

Monday when I woke (thank heavens, I woke) I had a cold which continued to get worse as the week went on. I was in bed most of the day Wednesday after we had lunch with Bella at school. Thursday I was in bed all day. Friday I had to venture out to buy more OTC cold remedies and go to the grocery. There was laundry to sort, meals to cook, and dishes to wash. I cheated on the meals. I made a huge pot of pasta so it would last Mr. Fixit for a few days.

Today I’m going to spend one more day lying around like a giant slug since Mr. Fixit has gone to Charlotte, NC, to the drag races.

I hate feeling like this! It doesn’t do nice things for my personality. I actually told off three telemarketers. They were with the same company by the way. Why do companies hire such rude people when they are trying to sell a product? It merely ensures that I will purchase nothing from them even if I could use their product/service. And why are so many telemarketing jobs outsourced to foreign countries? US citizens could use these jobs. Surely, Americans have the same qualifications since the only qualifications seem to be the ability to speak broken English and  to be rude. We Americans mangle the English language and can be as rude as the rest of the world. Of course, we expect to be paid well for being so qualified.

See how grumpy I am?

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tip of the Day

Be sure to check the label of the aerosol can twice to be sure that you have spray starch instead of bug spray before ironing. If you don’t check twice, the result could be limp curtains. On the positive side, bugs won’t come near your windows.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

WABAC trip - Part III

I don’t know how long we lived the little shack. We stayed until a better house was available. The new house was within walking distance to the school with the bad water. I found the house easily because it was on the main road. The road to the school ran beside the house and the little grocery store across the way, Elliott’s, was still there. At least, the building was there, but it appeared to be empty.

The house was four rooms with an indoor bathroom and great hardwood floors. Mother would wax and buff them, and Gary and I would slide across the living room in our socks. It was like ice skating. We had to be really careful or one could fall and break her, hmm, neck. It was a bit of a letdown to see that the house had been allowed to run down so badly. It appears that it has been vacant for a long time. It was also a lot larger in my memory.
Side View

I actually had a girl to play with, Patricia Elliot. (It’s strange I remember a name from 60 years ago, but the names of my grandchildren are difficult to bring to mind sometimes.) Her grandparents owned the little store.

Patricia (Standing) and Me
Circa 1951

Sixty years ago the road leading to the school had only one or two houses on it. Now there are houses built on very small lots all the way to where the school was.

The school is no long there. A church now sits in its place. The pump with the terrible water is also gone. I was so disappointed.

Dad was transferred when I was in the second grade. We had finished our first six weeks grading period of the school year. We then moved to Rogersville, Tennessee. Mother must have been thrilled. The house they found had all the modern conveniences including a bathroom and running water. We lived there from my second grade year until the summer before I was going into fifth grade. We lived in a total of four different houses during that short time.

Maybe a trip to Rogersville will be next on the agenda, but that’s a bit further away. It may be too far away to be a day trip.

(I had a terrible time inserting the picture of my friend and me. Darn, Mr. Microsoft and my lack of foresight. I saved a lot of pictures in Power Point Format, but Power Point is not installed on this computer. (It's far too expensive.) I had to perform several feats of computer wizardry using two computers just to include this picture. It also looks as if I have another gigantic project to "undo" and save the hundred of photos I saved using PP. Damn, damn, double damn!)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

WABAC Trip - Part II

Since we were given very little time to move, Mother and Dad had to take whatever housing was available. That turned out to be a shack. As I remember, it was only three rooms with no running water or bathroom. Gary and I slept in the living room; he had a single bed and I slept on the couch. Mother and Dad’s bedroom had no ceiling. When you looked up you saw the rafters and the tin roof. The sound of rain hitting that tin roof was so loud that it scared me.

The water supply came from a spring in a nearby river and was piped to a spigot in the front yard. When there was a heavy rain and the river ran more swiftly, the concrete slab covering the spring would slide and the water from the spigot would be muddy. Mother strained it through cheesecloth and boiled it before using it.

The house was heated by a coal stove, but I think there must have been an electric stove for cooking because I don’t remember the house being extremely hot as would have been the case if she had used a wood stove. The house had never been painted. It was that weathered gray color. Next door was a barn that stabled a mule. It’s funny, but I don’t remember ever seeing anyone taking care of the mule.

The house was located on a dirt road that intersected with a blacktopped highway. I also don’t remember any other houses on our little road. A bit past our house was the river with an old grist mill and dam. Behind the house was an open field where Gary and I found lots of arrowheads. There was also a pond where we could fish. This was where we had a UFO sighting.

 I have mostly fun memories of living there. I don’t imagine my mother had such great memories. She was a city girl and probably a bit spoiled. I know that my grandmother always had “help” for the housework, and she did all the cooking. (Like me, my mother hated housework and cooking.) Can you imagine how hard it must have been for her just carrying the water into the house for cooking, cleaning, and bathing? Doing laundry must have been a major undertaking. I don’t know if I could have coped with the primitive conditions. She even made jelly for the first time in her life. There were blackberries and muscadines growing along the road. She would send Gary and I out with buckets to pick whatever was ripe at the time with the warning to watch for snakes. I hated that! I can remember the fear, the heat of the summer days, and the feel of the silky dust of the road on my bare feet. I hated picking berries, but I never said anything.

The lady who sold us milk and hand-churned butter gave me a chicken for a pet. I always thought that chicken was as dumb as stump because it would never some when I called it. I thought it would be like a dog.

Gary had a bb gun. I almost cut my finger off trying it out. I begged for days for a chance to shoot it. At last, Dad said I could try it. He showed me how to use the lever to cock it and how to aim it. The first time I tried to cock it, somehow my finger got between the gun and lever. When I released the lever, it cut my finger almost to the bone. My dad put a popsicle stick splint on it and bandaged it. I never asked to shoot again.

 We had to walk out to the highway to catch the bus. Dad also waited there for his ride to work. He carpooled. At the intersection was a turkey farm. Those darned turkeys hated Dad and I. As soon as they saw us, they would come running up to the fence gobbling like crazy. I thought if they ever made it across the fence, I would be pecked to death. They did the same to Dad. Gary was completely ignored by the turkeys, but he took great delight with my fear.

 I don’t know how long we lived there, but it couldn’t have been long because we had moved to a nicer house before the start of the next school year, The new house had an indoor bathroom! Yea!!

Mr. Fixit and I found the road where the house was. The house and barn is gone, the road has been paved, but is almost one lane in places, and there are several houses there now. I was surprised that I found that little road--60 years is a long time.

Front View of the Mill
The wooden structure was not there originally. It looks like a gazebo-like
structure for picnics.
Back View of Mill
The waterwheel is gone, but the dam remains.
To see young man walking across, click to enlarge
The old swimming hole
This looks as it did when I was a child. The water appears to
be low, making the "beach" area much bigger. The fall of the
dead trees and brush wasn't there either.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

A Trip in Mr. Peabody's WABAC Machine

Mr. Fixit and I decided to take a daytrip to explore a little of my history. The trip took us to Whitwell, Marion County, Tennessee where I lived for about a year and a half when I was five years old. Forty years ago when we were visiting my family in Kentucky, we took a trip to see the Whitwell area. I wasn’t driving during that trip so I had no clue now how to find the houses where we had lived. On this trip all we had to rely on my 60 year old memories to find the little community, Sulfur Springs Crossroads, where we lived. It wasn’t on the map.

I don’t know where my dad worked immediately after WW II. I know that he managed a small grocery store in Paducah, Kentucky, when I was three or four. At the time, TVA was building power generating plants in Kentucky and Tennessee, and I suppose that he wanted to make more money so he applied at TVA. He was hired and sent to the southeastern corner of Tennessee. I don’t know for sure the name of the plant in Tennessee, but I think it was probably Hale’s Bar Dam. We moved there the summer when I was 5.

The house we found to rent was very nice. It was furnished and had a nicely appointed kitchen with running water, a “cow patch” across the road, and a mountain in our backyard. There was no indoor bathroom or its own outhouse. We had to use the outhouse of the landlord’s house which was next door. Another drawback was the coal mine trucks and the lumber trucks that raced up and down the road.

Gary, my older brother, learned to milk cows and to trap mink and muskrat. I learned to trap minnows. I also discovered whittling. I traded my cap gun and holster for a pearl handled pocket knife and spent many hours sitting on the porch whittling blocks of wood and sticks down to nothing. We also learned to run into the house when the bobcat who lived on the mountain came to visit. I learned to walk on stilts that my dad made, and I learned to ride my bike. We played cowboys and Indians with the boys across the road and explored the woods. Dad checked us for ticks on a daily basis.

The school we attended had two classrooms which served six grades taught by two teachers. It also had an outhouse and the water was from a pump fed by a sulfur spring. The water was almost undrinkable. And the smell! Horrible!! Miss Wilma, my teacher, wasn’t great, but I learned to read and spell above my grade level. My math, however, was terrible. My dad took over teaching me to add and subtract.

We lived there until after Christmas. I remember the presents I received that year. We had to move when the landlord’s son was unexpectedly discharged from the army.

The house was no longer there when we looked for it on that trip 40 years ago; there was only an empty lot. I was a bit disappointed that Mr. Fixit and I couldn’t locate where the house had been. I remember details about the location, but I had no idea where to start looking.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

It's the Little Things

Sometimes it the little things that give me pleasure:

The smell of freshly mown grass.
Getting into a bed with fresh, crisp sheets on a hot, summer night.
Walking into the air conditioned house when the outdoor temperature and humidity are almost

Friday, September 3, 2010

Follow-up Pics

These photos are a follow-up to my post of August 2, 2010, in which I showed the neighbor's tree after the yard guys had merely clipped the muscadine vines climbing it. I also included some pictures of our cats.

A few days after clipping the vines the young men came back and pulled down some of the dead vines making it look a little better. You can see how the vines killed the foliage on the lower half of the tree.
Little Girl
Little Girl, our inside cat, takes my afternoon nap time reading time as her time to have her tummy
rubbed. Mr. Fixit says she is the spoiled. Nah, not a bit.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


I'm back! I've tried over the past couple of weeks to leave blogging behind, but here I am again. I discovered something rather alarming. Blogging has become one of my few conversational outlets; it's also a little sad. Even if no one ever comments, it feels like I'm a little more connected to world, and I don't feel so lonely.

While taking this short leave, every day I would see or experience something and  think, "Wow, that would be a good subject to blog about." (Are the grammar police out there? I ended that sentence with a preposition.) Now that I'm sitting at the keyboard, I only have a few ideas. Also, I have a bunch of chores to do today so they will have to wait.

The weather has cooled a bit; the forecast calls for a high of 95 degrees today. The humidity is down a bit. It has been possible to sit on the deck in the late afternoon without sweat pouring and gasping for breath. I'm so glad.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

That's Entertainment!


Mr. Fixit and I watched “Avatar” yesterday. I was a bit surprised. We both liked it. Mr. Fixit usually hates fantasy, but he enjoyed this one. I thought I would have the same reaction to this one as I had to “E.T.” when it was in theaters years ago. Everyone thought it was W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L. I thought of it as a nice little Disney type film. I’m afraid that I have a new phobia besides my fear of heights. Every time someone lay in the pods, I became a little nauseated when they closed the top. I probably only actually watch 60% of the movie because of the flying and the running in the trees at great heights.

I also watched “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” using the Netflix “Watch Now” feature on the computer. I don’t usually watch movies streamed on the computer because the film always stops several times for buffering which is so aggravating. This was the first time I had been able to sit through a foreign language film with subtitles. It was very interesting, but there were several graphic, disturbing scenes. There was an unexpected ending; at least for me, it was unexpected. I still haven’t decided to read the book. Sometimes it seems to me that books that have been translated from their original language could have been changed from what the author was trying to say. I know, it’s goofy of me, but I always wonder if the translation carries the same emotion as the original. Is Shakespeare in Japanese the same as it is in English?

I read 9 Dragons by Michael Connelly. I wasn’t sure I would like this one, but as usual, Mr. Connelly nailed it. I do think that his main character Harry Bosch is getting to be a little long in the tooth. The character talks about being in Hong Kong 40 years ago on R & R when he was serving in Viet Nam. He's still able to shoot, fight, run, jump, climb and raise a 13-year-old daughter. Is that an agist thing to say?

Today I visited several old time radio sites to download a few old radio shows. I included several episodes of “Phillip Marlowe,” “Nero Wolfe,”, “Nick Carter,” “Barry Craig,” and “The Falcon.” I then put them on the MP3 player to listen to in the car or at night. There is an unexpected benefit from listening to these old shows at night, in bed, in the dark. Perhaps because even though I am hearing about murder, crime, and mayhem, it takes me back to a more innocent time, and I sleep the sleep of the innocents. That is to say, sometimes I fall asleep five minutes after  the beginning of the show and remain asleep for as long as the shows are on. I always wake up when the list is exhausted and music starts to play. It a nice cure for my insomnia. I have been sleeping as long as two hours at the time. I have been feeling so much better.

I was a little busy today getting Mr. Fixit ready to go on vacation. He’s leaving tomorrow. He’s going to meet some of his family in Connecticut. I didn’t realize flying had become so complicated and expensive. There are extra fees for luggage (he’s only taking a backpack), he had to get his boarding pass himself online, and, of course, there are rules about what you may carry. I liked it better when you could go to your travel agent and let them handle everything, and no cared if you checked bags or if you carried a bottle of shampoo.

After I take him to the airport tomorrow, I'm going to stop at the library so I'll have something to do while he's gone. I'm also going to watch movies, do a little needlework, and continue working on my yard sale stuff. And that's my vacation.