Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Republicans, You Gotta Love'em, Bless Their Hearts!

May I set the scene? A lady (me) with several years of life experience (that means “old”), gray hair, and wrinkles is reading the news as is her usual custom on the Yahoo! News site. A headline catches her eye. As she reads she can be heard tittering as only slightly prudish ladies titter. As she continues reading, her titter becomes a chuckle. The chuckle quickly becomes a loud, uproarious guffaw as she finishes the article entitled, “Republicans Spent $1,946 at Topless Club.” According to the article, the entertainment was topless and/or clad in bondage toggery (I think I just made up a word.).

Apparently, the RNC is not thrilled with the expenditure and has asked that a donor/vendor to reimburse the Committee. The Committee spokesman has stated that he doesn’t know what took place at Voyeur West Hollywood or who attended the festivities. Surely the name of the club should give the spokesman a clue as to “entertainment” at the club.

AND THIS JUST IN: A RNC staffer has been fired because of the incident. Or maybe he was fired because the expenditure was “outed” in the press. Poor Guy! I wonder if he is a sacrificial goat while Mr. Steele goes on his merry, money-squandering way. It’s none of my business though if Mr. Steele is a spendthrift because I have never contributed to the RNC. However, if I were a donor, I may have been a little p.o.ed when I found at about how my hard-earned donation had been spent. I also wonder if the Committee would have asked for reimbursement if the expenditure had been ignored by the press.

I have to admit my curiosity is piqued. $1,946 is a lot of money for one evening’s entertainment. Here  in my little town in South Carolina, $1,946 would feed every citizen in town a pulled pork sandwich with potato salad, and a tall glass of sweet tea and entertainment by Travis and the Twits and our local belles clogging their little feet off. The remaining half of the money would have been given to a local charity. And I would wager that our citizens thusly fed and entertained would have had an absolutely wonderful time without the next-morning hangover or that next-morning guilty conscience. Then, again, maybe not. It seems that I read somewhere that there is a Voyeur South Carolina club. Nah, I must have read that wrong.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Warning: This Is Not a Sunshine and Roses Post

The week has been busy as usual--baseball in the warm sunshine, baseball in the cold rain, and baseball at night.

My computer network is down, and I can’t figure out how to fix it. Jason came and tried to help yesterday, but he couldn’t solve the problem either. I hate to bother the boys on the weekends with computer problems. It just drives me nuts though. The whole mess started when we bought a new wireless printer to replace a crappy one.

A short time ago, we bought a new wireless printer. We chose a Kodak because the ink cartridges are so much cheaper than the HP cartridges. I have had HP printers for years and have been very satisfied. They are easy to install and the finished product is satisfactory. The cartridges are very expensive though. The Kodak printer was not satisfactory. While the cartridges are cheaper, they don’t last as long. The color printing was streaky necessitating cleaning the cartridges before every printing job which wastes ink big time. The colors were off. There is no such thing as “red.” You get dark pink. Perhaps we bought a bad unit, but think twice before buying a Kodak.

We went back to HP. It prints beautifully, but we can’t integrate it into our wireless network. We tried and tried, but the outcome is that it the wireless printer is now connected with a USB cable, and my laptop can no longer connect to the network. I am at a loss. I suppose I’ll pack the laptop away and sell it in the yard sale that I’m planning for late spring. There is really no reason to keep it if I can’t get on line.

Hate and hatefulness is alive and well in our country. Our politicians are being threatened, and it seems that some on the right are actually encouraging less than civil protests and civil debate by literally putting crosshairs on those with whom they disagree.

The war continues on two fronts with no end in sight.

According to some sources, the economy is improving with unemployment down and the housing market has picked up bit.

I’m a bit disappointed with the media lately. We have huge problems in this country; I think we, the public, must have access to the truth about the issues. During the last few weeks, the national news section (I’m not referring to the entertainment section, but supposedly, the “hard” news) has featured numerous stories about Michael Jackson, Sandra Bullock’s marital problems, “Dancing with the Stars,” the lamentable deaths of several young people in the entertainment industry, what television shows are being cancelled, and reality show 15-minutes celebrities. It doesn’t bother me that “fluff” is reported, but it should be in the proper venue, not as hard news. I want to know more details about the health care bill. I want to know about the appointments that have been held up in Congress for no apparent reason by seemingly petty and vengeful politicians. I want more details about Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan. I want to know more about the North Korean problem. The first mandate of the press should be to inform the public truthfully with no bias on the vital issues of the day. “Just the facts, ma’am, just the facts.” Tell me the information and let me make my own mind about issues.

And who the heck is Justin Bieber? On second thought, don’t tell me. I don’t give two hoots. . .

Sunday, March 21, 2010


It’s been a very busy week. I had a lab work appointment and an appointment with the doctor a few days later. We attended five baseball games. During Cole’s first games (a double-header) as a member of the JV team, it was cold, rainy, and miserable. His team lost both games, but he did well. He played another double-header Saturday. It was warm and sunny. In fact, Mr. Fixit and I both sunburned. Noah had a game the same day. We left at 10:00 am and returned home about 7:00 pm. Needless to say, I am  wiped out.

This evening was the first chance I had to do one my Sunday crosswords. A few of the words made me think of how small my speaking vocabulary is. One clue is, “Sudden departure.” The answer is “decampment.” It is unlikely that I would ever use the word “decampment.” Instead of saying, for instance, “The decampment was fortuitous in view of the danger of flooding.” I would probably say, “He took off like a bat out of hell when he heard the river was rising.”

Another clue is “Bring shame to.” Answer - abash. I would never say, “I was abashed by my mistake.” I would say, “I was embarrassed by my mistake.” I might write “abashed” instead of “ embarrassed” simply because "embarrassed" is one of those words I’m never sure I have spelled correctly. I sometimes forget whether its 2 R’s and 1 s, or 2 s’s and one R, or one of each, or 2 of each. “Abashed” is a good alternative word that saves me looking it up for the 434th time.

Then the clue, “In the thick of.” When I read it, my first answer was “amid,” but the answer is six letters. Of course, “amidst.” Have you ever hear of anyone using “amidst” is everyday conversation? I may say, “I was standing amid the roaring crowd,” but I’m not sure of the correct usage of “amidst.” Do you stand “amid” or “amidst” the roaring crowd. I would probably say, “I was surrounded by a bunch of screaming nuts and weirdos (or is that weirdoes? According to Word which underlined “weirdos,” it's weirdoes. It looks strange to me. I like it without the “e.”)

I have come to the conclusion that I have a decent reading vocabulary, but my speaking vocabulary consists of maybe 250 words, several of which are not socially acceptable. I might be forced to decamp when abashed by using those socially unacceptable words while amidst people with delicate sensibilities.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring = Baseball

Basketball season is over, thank goodness. Noah and Owen played on different teams with different times and locations, and I have to admit I didn’t enjoy watching them play. The coaches think they are playing for the super grand championship of the world and the world will stop turning it their teams lose. (Noah and Owen are elementary school students.) The parents are even worse than the coaches in some instances. These little guys are being taught to play rough instead of playing by the rules. During the season, Noah was still recovering from his broken arm so he wasn’t supposed to be playing as much. I couldn’t see that he played less than last season. He also dislocated his thumb at practice, and he’s still having problems with it.

Baseball season started this past weekend for Noah’s travel team. We spent the weekend sitting in the cold, windy weather. Noah didn’t play because of his thumb. The doctor said he should let it heal before playing. He was the pinch runner. He also plays on a rec center team. They start playing soon.

Cole’s high school JV’s baseball season began last week, but both the scheduled games were rained out. They have a double header this afternoon. Their season doesn’t last long, but there are many games scheduled. Mr. Fixit is going to have a problem with the double headers because he goes to bed very early so he can get up at 2:00 am for work. He hates to miss the games. After the JV season is over, Cole will begin his travel team schedule.

Owen has decided to sit this early spring season out. He’s a little burned out, I guess.

While it was cold enough this weekend to cause my nose to burn blue and my cheeks to turn bright pink from wind burn (I was Technicolor!), I deal with the cold much better than when it’s 98 degrees with matching humidity levels.

The trunk of the car is packed again with chairs, the canopy, cold weather gear, rain gear, and hot weather protection. We have this “spectator” thing down to a science.

Let the games begin!


Oh, BTW--I HATE DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME! Just thought I'd throw in my yearly complaint; it's become a tradition.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

In the Cross Hairs

Do you ever feel that you have a target on your back? I think we have a target on our car.

We bought the car in April of last year; it’s not even a year old. In that time, we have had some very close calls.

The first one was when Cole was playing a baseball in Charleston. We were making the four-hour trip (8 hours round trip) for several days. One day we were in a line of weekend traffic between Columbia and Charleston. The traffic was moving right along, but there was so much traffic it was difficult to see the road surface in front of you. The car ahead of me swerved a bit, but I couldn’t see the reason until it was too late. A big of piece of rubber from a semi flew up when the car ahead hit it and it crashed into the front of our car. Luckily, there was no damage.

Then the idiot in Wal-mart backed into me and put a dent in the side of the car. It’s just a little dent but it is noticeable. His insurance wouldn’t pay and the estimate was under our deductible so the dent is still there.

One night we were on the highway and a little dog ran in front of us. We hit the poor thing, but there was no stopping when driving the speed limit at night and it seemed to come from nowhere. The collision knocked a plastic insert on the front of the car off. There is now a hole in the front of the car.

There have been countless close calls--people pulling out in front of us or moving into our lane of traffic without checking their mirrors. Today only Mr. Fixit quick reflexes kept us safe from a car turning into our traffic lane. I get nervous now just getting into that car. I’m beginning to think it jinxed.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Movie Quotes

In this month’s “AARP Bulletin” there is a list of Hollywood’s 50 Greatest Lines as chosen by the American Film Institute. There are several interesting things about the list.

First of all, I have seen most of the movies mentioned. Well, maybe that’s not so unusual since the newest movie referenced was 1999. I watch very few new ones.

Number 1 was “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn” from “Gone with the Wind.” I remember seeing GWTW when I was about 8 y.o. and I was shocked at the profanity in a movie.

Five out of the fifty came from one of my all time favorite movies, “Casa Blanca.” As a matter of fact Bogart was in several of the films cited, “The Maltese Falcon,” “The Treasure of Sierra Madre,” and “To Have and Have Not”

There were several films that I haven’t seen: “On the Waterfront,” “Taxi Driver,” “Love Story,” “Citizen Kane,” “Network,” “Midnight Cowboy,” “A Few Good Men,” and “Apollo 13.” I must be one of the few people in the world who hasn’t seen “Waterfront” or “Citizen Kane.” Marlon Brando has never been one of my favorites although I did like “Streetcar.” I think his talent was way over-rated. Is that blasphemy?

They missed one of my favorite lines: “To Kill a Mockingbird” - After the trial is over, the Reverend says to Scout, “ Miss Jean Louise, stand up, Miss Jean Louise, your father is passing.” That one gets me every time.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Chattooga River

The first picture showing the Chattooga River was made in October 2008. You can see that the depth gauge is completely out of the water.

The second picture was made a few days ago in the same location. The water has risen to the second line on the gauge. I'm not sure that the levels are high enough for rafting this summer, but I'm sure the water is deeper farther down the river.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Fears and Tears

Yesterday Mr. Fixit and I went for a drive into the mountains of North Georgia. There was still snow on the ground in shady spots, and in some not-so-shady spots. But it was a beautiful day for exploring until we started up a winding mountain road. We were on the outside lane on the fall-into-the-abyss side of the road.

Over the years my fears of heights has become a problem for me. We must have gone only a half mile; I was riding with my hand over my eyes. Mr. Fixit was driving. Not only was the drop-off very steep and deep, there were no guard rails. My pounding heart had jumped into my throat, and I developed that awful queasiness. I guess Mr. Fixit noticed my state (how could he miss the woman sitting next to him moaning and hiding her eyes?) so he turned around at the next available spot. We took and different route.

This was our first trip to the area since the drought ended. Just across the Georgia line, there is a big lake. I think it may be part of Lake Hartwell. Two years ago this section of the lake was almost completely dry. There were several little streams through the dry lakebed, but you could have walked across without getting your feet wet. Yesterday if was filled to what looked like full pool with people in boats and fishing. With the reflection of the bright blue sky, the water looked as blue as tropical seas. It was so beautiful to see the full lake tears came to my eyes.

I can’t understand why my emotions are so close to the surface lately. Thank goodness, not all my emotions was out of control--I finally overcame my rage after getting off Chantix. It seems I get teary-eyed with very little provocation whether I’m happy or a bit sad. This heights phobia is not pleasant at all. I seem to fear a lot more things than I did before. What is happening? Is this a natural part or aging or am I just loony?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Fable

This afternoon I picked up Noah and Owen from school; both Jason and Alisa had to work late. While I was helping Noah, 10 y.o., with his homework I asked him if he had completed a fable that had been assigned to him to write. He said he had presented it today. He showed it too me, and, frankly, I was astounded. I asked him is he wrote it all by himself and he said he had except for asking for help with spelling.

His original fable:

Monkey and Raccoon
By: Noah

There was a monkey who was very generous, smart, and kind. He had a wonderful friend named Raccoon. They were like brothers because they hung out together so much. Some days, they would have some problems and disagreement.

One day, Monkey and Raccoon went to Nickhenry’s*. They were so hungry they could eat an entire cow! They were coming over a hill and they saw Nickhenry’s. But there was a raging river in between them. They didn’t know how they were going to get over it.

They first saw a sturdy bridge, but it was kind of far away. “I think we should go over the bridge,” said Monkey. Raccoon disagreed and said, “Aren’t you hungry? I am! I’m going to swim though the river. Besides, that bridge is too far away! I don’t think I would make it.” “Well, I’m going to go across the bridge so it will be a little bit safer, and I’ll see you over there,” said Monkey.

While Monkey was walking quickly to the bridge, Raccoon was getting into the river. When Raccoon took his first step into the river, he knew it wasn’t going to be easy to get across. He took a few more steps, but when he did, the water grabbed him and pulled him closer to the water fall. Raccoon “SHREEKED” with fear. He almost fainted he was so scared. He didn’t think anyone would save him.

While Monkey was crossing the bridge, he saw what happened to Raccoon. He saw that Raccoon was going to go over the water fall. So, he went to the edge of the bridge, put his tail over it, and told Raccoon to grab his tail and climb up. Raccoon frantically grabbed Monkey’s tail while Monkey pulled him up. Raccoon was finally safe, and they both went to Nickhenry’s and enjoyed their meal.

It’s better to be SAFE than SORRY.

*Nickhenry’s is the name of one of Noah’s favorite restaurants.

I typed this just as it was written, a few little errors left as written. Maybe this is just a proud grammie speaking, but I think he did an amazing job.


Why can't I center text anymore? Darn it!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

In The News

There was a tragic news story in the local papers this morning. A young man, 16, was being transferred from a local hospital to a psychiatric facility about 2 ½ hours away. Soon after the ambulance reached the interstate, the young man somehow escaped from his restraints and jumped out of the back of the ambulance to his death.

The comments following the story were critical of the ambulance staff. Apparently, the people sharing their opinions seemed to think that the attendants were to blame for the death. I have no opinion on fault as I wasn’t there and I don’t have all the facts concerning the incident. It is just so sad that so many people are so quick to judge.

One comment read, “They should have put the ambulance on cruise control and had the driver sit back there and help hold him down so he couldn’t jump out. This may be an epidemic.” This is another one of those “Huh?” comments.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Mocha Latte, Quiche, and Modern Times

The library I sometimes use in a neighboring town has a coffee nook in the lobby along with the “New Books” section, the videos shelves, and the checkout desks. There are three tables for patrons of the coffee shop. Most of the time, there are business people sitting at the tables talking loudly on cell phones or even using the area for meeting clients in person. I think I may have mentioned before that this is the noisiest library I have ever used. Even the librarians and the coffee guy are loud.

I saw something the other day while browsing the new books that surprised me. It made me realize how times have changed in the last few years. A man about my age, or a bit older, came in and went straight to the coffee shop. He was neat and clean wearing a “gimme” cap, a poplin jacket, jeans, and work-type shoe. He ordered “. . .one of them 16 ounce mocha lattes” in a Carolina southern drawl. It somehow seemed out of character to hear this older, possibly retired, hardworking every-man order a mocha latte.

Perhaps my surprised reaction says that I’m out of touch with modern times. It’s just that I don’t think that my grandfather would drink mocha latte; his drink of choice was bourbon or the boiled coffee with eggshells added to settle the grounds that my grandmother made every morning. He might have eaten quiche but he would have probably called it scrambled eggs.