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.