Monday, January 31, 2011

Water Tower Art

This tower in Anderson, SC, celebrates the city’s participation in hot air balloon festivals.

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I don’t quite understand the artwork on this one. I don’t know that Powdersville, SC, has any waterfalls. But then perhaps I am misinterpreting the art.

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No, this isn’t an advertisement for Purina. This tower is located outside the city of Pickens, SC. It’s simply a red and white checkerboard pattern. We saw it from the highway, but we searched a lot of back roads to find it and get close enough for a photo.

(Click on photo for more detail.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

An Open Letter to Betty Crocker

Dear Ms. Crocker:
Over the years I have used a number of your products and have never found one that was terrible—until now.

Today when grocery shopping Mr. Fixit and I were looking for something to prepare quickly for lunch. We found your product, Fried Rice with Chicken. Everything was included—the rice, chicken, vegetables, and broth. The only thing I had to add was water and oil.

I prepared the “kit” according to the directions on the box. I left it to simmer for the recommended 25 minutes. A few minutes later a noxious unappetizing odor wafted out of the kitchen. I went back into the kitchen and lifted the lid on the rice pot. Eeeww! What a smell!

I let the dish finish cooking. I’m sorry to tell you that the finished product tasted as badly as it smelled! And now five hours later, the noxious aroma is still in the house.

Ms. Crocker, this is not one of your best products. If I can offer my opinion, it stinks! This one should be removed from the shelves immediately before the stock in your company plummets.

Mrs. Fixit

What in the world is the ingredient that smells terrible? I can’t quite put my finger on it. It seems to be a cross between cumin and dirty gym socks.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

How Many Ducks. . .?

For the last week or so I have seen lots of ducks, or maybe they’re geese, flying somewhere in the V formation.

First, I don’t know if they are just now flying south or if they are returning north early. If they are returning early, someone missed the forecast on the Weather Channel. We usually see a lot of birds in formation in November on their way to Florida or Mexico or wherever they winter. I never see them flying in V formation in the spring. Do  they fly together in the spring? I’ve looked for the answer to that question but have yet to find an answer.

How many ducks does it take to make a V? Yesterday I saw a rather small V. It consisted of two  birds—one leading and the other one flying a bit behind and to the left of the leader.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Tiny Glimmer

Today brought some relief from a few problems that have been driving me nuts. The problems aren’t solved yet, but at least we are making headway.

We had an appointment with our tax guy and took some papers to him that should prove to the IRS that we don’t owe thousands and thousands of dollars to them. The accountant said he would write a letter today with our documentation. Both our banker and the accountant have said that we have no liability. I hope the IRS says the same thing. The tax guy said that we should hear from the IRS in 6 to 8 weeks.

Mr. Fixit must have a medical test done. We had a hard time finding a doctor who was a “Network Provider” for our Medicare Part Whatever insurance. I found one in a town 30 miles away. I notified our GP and asked that she make the referral appointment. It took her over a week to get back to us. I was a little afraid that they wouldn’t make the referral because the doctor and the hospital we found are in no way associated with our GP. He has the consultation appointment February 14.

Sunday morning at breakfast one of the teeth on my partial plate broke off. I went in Monday and they said they would send it off for repair. Right now I’m wearing the old temporary one that I used years ago. It hurts my mouth terribly. I received a call this afternoon saying that the partial had been returned and an appointment was made for tomorrow for a refitting. I can’t wait. Now all I have to worry about is finding some way to pay for the repair which isn’t cheap.

A little light at the end of the tunnel? I hope so.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Wait a Sec. . .

An item in this weekend’s news was that Pres. Reagan’s son, Ron, has had a book published in which he states that the President was probably  suffering from Alzheimer’s disease while still in office. Is this really news or new information? Many people, including me, surmised this when the news was released that there was a diagnosis of this debilitating disease. It made me realize that when Pres. Reagan was being questioned about the Iran Contra affair and he answered so many times, “I don’t remember” that perhaps he really didn’t remember.

The news reports this weekend showed several taped instances when the President seemed to lose words or his train of thought. It was painful watch knowing now that he could have been in the early stages of the disease.

It hits home with me because the same thing happens to me. Even when I’m having a stress-free conversation with Mr. Fixit or when I’m talking to strangers and there is a little more stress, it happens. I also “lose” words when writing these posts or working crosswords. I have to sit and think for a bit before I remember it. It’s strange, but most of the time, I can remember the first letter of the lost word. It’s very embarrassing and worrisome. I wonder if most people of my age have this happen, or could I be in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia. 

I don’t worry too much about those little aches and pains that have come with aging, or even the sagging skin, wrinkles, or thinning hair. (That’s not quite true. I hate the fact that my hair is no longer thick and lush.) But having to say, “Wait a sec; I forgot the word” is frightening.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cabin Fever and Corn Muffins

Mr. Fixit peeped around the dining room doorway, “I smell something good.”

I replied from the kitchen, “That must be my new perfume. It’s called “Corn Muffins.”

He said, “It must be expensive because I can smell it in the living room.”

Later while having our midmorning coffee break with fresh, warm corn muffins he had a small problem with his first one; half of the muffin stuck to the muffin paper cup. (I neglected to spray the cups with PAM because I usually do that out on the deck. I haven’t found a way to keep from spraying it all over the place.) While he was scraping the remains of his muffin from the first paper, I removed the paper from his second one without tearing the muffin to pieces.

He said, “So now you’re the Muffin Wizard?”

We gave ourselves a device for streaming movies through Netflix for Christmas. Mr. Fixit has been watching old B/W westerns since Monday. I’m so glad that he’s had something to do while we’ve been trapped. Cabin fever makes our goofy conversations goofier than ever.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


After I finished last post, I looked back through my old blog to see if I could figure out Mother Cat's age. Back in 2005 I mentioned that she had her first litter (that I know of) three years before which would be 2002. She had been around our house for two or three years before that. She is at least ten years old. That's pretty darned old for a feral cat. The vet had told me that feral cats have very short lifespans--maybe three years. Most of her kittens lived about that long even though I think we took good care of them. I still have three out of ten she had. One from each litter died shortly after birth. The others died of natural causes. I hope their short lives were comfortable. They gave us such pleasure and fun.

Mother came to have her supper. As usual, she came in, ate, and left. I wish that she would stay inside when the weather is so bad, but she doesn't linger. I was so happy to see her.

The Storm of 2011–Day 2

We still have several inches of snow on the ground, but it’s very slowly melting. Almost everything was closed this morning. The roads were covered in ice making them worse this morning that yesterday.

One of the cats is missing. Mother Cat came in yesterday morning to eat, but we haven’t seen her since. It’s been 24 hours since she’s eaten. She doesn’t stay with us. She only comes here to eat. She does come inside, but the door must remain open or she panics. It hasn’t been that cold, but she could have holed up somewhere in someone’s garage or under someone’s house and is trapped.

I am worried about her. She has been in the neighborhood for a long time, and she must be getting old. She gave us her two litters, but she’s never trusted us enough to let us pet her. But that’s okay--I just hope she shows up soon. I have some real chicken just waiting for her.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow in SC 2011

Since last week weather forecasters have been predicting a big storm for this morning. I have lived in South Carolina long enough to say, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” Whenever snow is forecast we usually get what I would call a dusting—2” or less.  This time even I am impressed. We have about 6” to 8” on the ground around our house, and it’s still snowing.

There was a “big snow” back in 1988, but while it was enough to close everything in the area, it was only about 4” or 5”. This area doesn’t have the equipment to deal much snow. A snow plow has never been in our neighborhood. Coming from New England, 4” or 5” inches isn’t too confining because in N.E. there is lots of snow removal equipment, and, with the exception of New York City, most municipalities have the experience to deal with snow.

Today the snow is predicted to fall until the afternoon and  then turn to sleet, freezing rain, and ice. I can deal with snow, but I hate ice. With ice, there is the possibility of losing electricity. I HATE that. I have prepared for it the best I am able. I have the gas grill and a camp stove for light cooking. I’m doing laundry this morning, the dishwasher has done its thing, and I have taken my shower much earlier than usual. The mp3 players and the telephones have a full charge, and my e-reader is charging now. We have kerosene for heat.

The only entertainment we will have if the power goes out is a battery powered DVD player, and books that I have already read. I hope Mr. Fixit has a big supply of batteries for the DVD player.

I have also taken the obligatory snow pictures.004006

I admit that I look forward to snow just like a kid who wants a snow day without school, but now that I’ve oohed and aahed the beauty and laughed at the cats who don’t know what to make of the the whole situation, I’m ready for it to go away.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

It’s Almost Over

Only 3 hours and 27 minutes before one of the worst days in recent memory is over. Today has been a real booger. It began with trying to make arrangements for a medical test with a “Network Provider.” I wish Medicare and the other Part B or Part D or Part XYZ were simpler. It’s such a mess! We’re paying for Medicare and the other Part Whatevers, but it seems we get more grief than help for our dollars.

As Mr. Fixit was leaving the doctor's office they informed him that the insurance has not paid a bill for almost $200.00. We can't remember exactly what the charges are for. They said blood tests, but usually a good portion of lab work costs are covered. We haven't received a statement indicating the amount due.

Then I picked up the mail and there was a thick letter from the IRS. It is a demand for taxes for 2009 for a huge amount of money—five digits to the left of the decimal point. We don’t owe it, but we have to prove why we don’t owe them anything. We took the forms to our tax guy. I have a feeling that our financial guy will have to be involved, too. All because someone filled out a form wrong, and someone else didn’t take the time to explain the discrepancy.

We are existing just on Social Security. We haven’t cheated the government out of one penny. We are honest people. We don’t take advantage of the system as some do. It seems to me that if you make millions and pay little or no taxes, Uncle Sam turns a blind eye, but he sure is eager to jump on the backs of those of us who are the least capable of paying.

We are too old for this crap. I wish the bureaucrats would just leave us the hell alone!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Today we received a brochure from our local technical college describing classes offered. The following is listed as a course in the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources department.

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(Click to enlarge.)

Are they trying to say that only Hispanics work in horticulture and landscaping? Are they offering a class to develop language skills for Yankee or Hispanic landscape employers to understand the southern speech patterns and language idiosyncrasies of their southern employees? I didn’t see one listed.

Perhaps the writer and the editors of the brochure need to take a course in racial relations because there is something very offensive in that short paragraph. Or is it just me being overly sensitive?

Monday, January 3, 2011


Today is a very momentous day in our lives. I called this morning to have our landline phone service discontinued. For some reason, it’s left me feeling a bit insecure. I haven’t been without a home phone since I was a little girl living in the mountains of Tennessee. We lived in one area that did not have phone service available.

We are going to rely entirely on our cell phones. I have never become accustomed to keeping mine with me. I sometimes leave it in my purse or on the bedside table or wherever I happen to use it. Jason gets a little peeved when he calls and I can’t find my phone. I will have to do better. Mr. Fixit said I should start wearing my headset even in the house. I feel like Uhura on the Enterprise when I wear it. This was Ben’s suggestion. It looks like one of Mr. Fixit’s inventions.


The good part is that we upgraded our DSL. I’m looking forward to that. Another advantage of not having a landline is that we will avoid telemarketers (at least for the time being). Of course, we should also be paying about half of the usual landline bill even with the upgraded DSL service.