Sunday, December 29, 2013

And in the Local News. . .

Source: WYFF, Channel 4, Greenville, SC

Dateline: North Charleston, SC

“Charleston County deputies said a 44-year-old woman angry at a man for not returning home with beer on Christmas beat and stabbed him with a ceramic squirrel.”

I think she needed her Christmas spirits.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Strange Sort of Christmas Miracle

Mr. Fixit went into the hospital to have his kidney stone taken care of yesterday morning. Instead of removing it, they inserted a stent which is supposed to relieve most of his discomfort. They decided on this sort of temporary solution because in a few weeks the kidney will be removed.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the stone has proved to be blessing even with the attendant pain and his continuing discomfort after the surgery. Without the stone, the doctors might not have found the large tumor in the kidney. We were told that 90% of all tumors in kidneys are malignant, therefore, the doctors recommended the complete removal of the kidney. His age is a factor, also.

After the first of the year, he is scheduled for scans of his whole torso to see if there is a spread. After a review, they will schedule the major surgery.

Mr. Fixit was shocked. He had no symptoms whatever. He is scared as any of us would be. I try not to let him see how scared I am because that would upset him even more.

Our sons were great. They spent a major portion of the day with us yesterday, and they kept his mind occupied. It helped me more that anyone can imagine. I didn't tell Mr. Fixit about the mass at first, and I was dealing with that, too. I didn't know if I made the right decision about not telling him. I think I was right not to tell him something that would be greatly upsetting to him. I knew he would know the whole story in a couple of days.

So as it stands, he is still uncomfortable, but I can't help but feel immensely grateful for that stone. It may have saved his life.


Saturday, December 21, 2013

Medical Problems

Mr. Fixit is experiencing a not-too-pleasant problem--he has a kidney stone. They gave him medication to see if that would take care of the problem, but no success so far. He is to see a urologist Monday. It's painful for him,  but it could be a blessing in disguise.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Bad News, Good News

Perhaps I should say, “Worst News. . .” I’m still very unhappy with our television situation (no satellite service), but there are a few compensations.

Now that we are using just an outdoor antenna, I get only NBC, Fox, PBS, and a CW station. Mr. Fixit gets more.  The local NBC station also has the “This” channel; it’s mostly movies, bad movies, in my opinion. But the main channel is HD. I never knew what I missing without HD. The problem is I don’t watch NBC programming. The CBS channel which has the programs I watch is an adjunct to the CW channel; it isn’t broadcast in HD. I sometimes get the Fox network, but there is only one show on that one I watch. We do get 3 PBS channels, thank heavens. The newer programming is HD. The best part is that I discovered that one PBS channel has Bob Ross, the painter who paints “fluffy little clouds” and “happy trees.” They also have a couple of craft shows during the day. The only problem is I get busy and forget to watch.

In addition, I’ve found that Youtube has lots and lots of old tv programming and old movies. There is the Classic Mystery channel, mysteries from the U.K., and Mr. Fixit has many 1930’s b/w westerns to watch. I can also stream from the free list on Hulu and ATT Uverse.

I still feel deprived, but being able to watch “Wild, Wild West” and Miss Marple on demand helps a little.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Creep Factor

For the last few months, our local Walmart stores have been featuring those guys from a reality television show that look like the lost members of ZZ Top in an advertising point-of-purchase display in the optical department. I think their show is something about ducks. They make Billy Gibbons, of ZZ fame, look normal.

The life-size cardboard display creeps me out something fierce. I try not to look at it as I pass by to leave the store. I always want to look over my shoulder to be sure “he” isn’t following me like the topiary in The Shining by Stephen King.

Mr. Fixit called my attention to another p.o.p cardboard display featuring Will Ferrell, an actor who’s work I’ve never seen. He (Mr. Fixit, not the life-size cardboard Mr. Ferrell) said, “Did you notice that his eyes follow you as you walk along?”  I stopped to look, but I didn’t see anything unusual about the thing’s eyes. As I walked away, I saw Mr. Fixit was right—the eyes do follow you. Talking about creepy—whew!

Then a few days later we were in a different Walmart.(Yes, we do spend an inordinate amount of time in Walmart.) There was another life-size cardboard female person. I have no idea what “she” was selling, because as soon as I noticed her eyes follow my movement, I got the hell out of Dodge.

I would really like to know if the duck guy’s eyes do the same thing, but I don’t want to get close enough to find out.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Cooking

I am not known as a good cook. Oh, I cook things that Mr. Fixit likes, but I have a lot of cooking oopses. Things get too brown ( I like to think of them as having chocolate on them), or they come out undercooked. It’s seldom I hit it just right.

Today is the exception—my sweet (as opposed to savory) corn muffins look pretty! I’m so proud.

 muffins dec.'13 001

When Mr. Fixit saw me taking the photo, he had something to add to give it a little oomph. This is the result:

muffins dec.'13 002

He must have a dozen of the 101st Airborne caps. This is the latest one, I guess.

I get excited about corn muffins; he gets excited about his caps.  To each his own as they say. We are such fun people!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Yes, Lucinda, there is a Santa Claus

The last few months have been quite trying here at the Fixit residence. Murphy Law’s is in full force. It’s been difficult financially, emotionally, and physically. This morning the worst came.

Our car had been making a funny noise that Mr. Fixit couldn’t seem to hear. I could hear it, and it seemed ominous. I suggested that he take a a look. Our car is a little (little being the operative word) foreign job. That means that there is  little room to work under the hood. I nagged a little and suggested we take it to the dealer.

The upshot of that visit were dire warnings and a repair estimate of over $1,100.00. I can’t describe what I was feeling. I hit rock bottom.

Our car has 90,000 miles on the odometer, and we’re a few months shy of paying it off. We talked it over and decided we can’t do without a car. (Mr. Fixit’s truck is old, too.) We also decided to have this one fixed instead of buying a new one. I would like to have at least a year without car payments.The dealer let us have a loaner, and we left the car at the shop.

On the way home, I noticed that I had the warranty book in the little pouch of papers that Mr. Fixit took out of the car when we left it at the dealer. As I flipped through it, I noticed that 100,000 mile warranty seem to cover our problem. After we had lunch, we went back and asked the service rep if our problem was covered under the warranty. We weren’t very confident. I told Mr. Fixit that we shouldn’t be surprised if they found some way not to honor the warranty.

After the service rep conferred with the service manager, and he, in turn, did a little research, they informed us that the repairs were, indeed, covered.  I asked how much our bill would be. The rep looked at me as if he didn’t understand what I said. He then understood my question. He said, “The whole bill will be covered.”

Relief swept over me. I said, “Now we can have Christmas.” After we left the office, I had another little emotional moment in the parking lot. I said to Mr. Fixit, “I talked to God, you know.”

So, Thank you, God, and thanks to the guys in the service department. We’re more grateful that you can ever know.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Remember and Laugh

November 29 was  my younger brother’s birthday. He died before his fiftieth birthday in 2006. I was reading some of our email recounted in my old blog. This is one of my favorites.

I had a terrible cold, and, in a moment of silliness and boredom, I wrote to him my discovery of the anti-gravitational property of snot. It seemed to be flowing uphill. I went on at some length. His reply:

“Sorry, but your febrile reaction to the rhinovirus you contracted must have had a deleterious effect on you synaptic responses.

In other words, the fever made you goody.

It is a well known fact that nasal mucus has anti-gravitational properties. The infamous  “Green Papers” covertly obtained by former “Area 51” employee, Hugh G. Schnoz, graphically describe the “black operations” and secret research as related to alien/human hybrid viral induced sinus drainage and the gravitation warping properties of said drainage.

The papers can be downloaded at www.slickerthansnotonadoorknob.org.”

I still miss his wit and his run-on sentences more than I can say.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Another Friend Lost

Mother Cat 2001(?)- 2013
We have been trying for two weeks to get Mother Cat to the vet because she had some sort of mouth problem.  The last few days must have been hellish for her. She couldn’t eat, and the drooled constantly. I think she had something more serious that a mouth infection. She was getting so skinny, and her winter fluff wasn’t growing.

I called the vet this morning to see if he could put her down today. Thank goodness he was in the office. It took us two hours to get her in the carrier. She was so scared, and I was so stressed. I had a mini-breakdown after I got her into the box. I think the stress and knowing that she was so scared pushed me over the edge. I was sobbing in relief I think. Mr. Fixit probably thought I was losing my mind. Surprisingly she calmed down inside the carrier. She was like a whirling dervish just seconds before.

The vet said she went easy; I hope so. I wonder is animals feel betrayal. One part of me feels relieved that she is no longer in pain; another part of me feels so guilty that her last morning was so stressful and scary for her.

It makes me sad, too, to think that she could have had a better, safer life if she had just trusted us more.
 
Big Boy, her last surviving son, is the only one we have left, and he is having mouth problems, too. We have to get him to the vet next week. Maybe it won’t be too late for him.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Tip of the Day

Heed the message “Not for baking or frying” on the lite name-brand stick margarine. And I would like to add another “Not for”—melting in a microwave oven.

I accidentally brought home the lite version of this product. My first clue that this was not my usual stuff was a batch of scones that flowed together on the baking sheet making one giant scone that didn’t rise very well. That’s when I noticed the “Not’s.” I put the margarine aside in the fridge.

Several days later I when I was making biscuits I put a blob of margarine in the microwave for 20 seconds to melt. I usually brush the tops of the unbaked biscuits with margarine. Perhaps I should have known that my mental acuity is not at its zenith at 7:00 am. Five seconds into the cycle there was a loud pop. I opened the oven door and there were unmelted globs of margarine all over the inside of the oven. I swear that little blob had more than doubled in size in five seconds. What a mess! And not a nice way to start the day.

(Two little blobs equal one glob in my own personal chart of measurements.)

One other thought regarding butter/margarine. Margarine is faux butter; the heart smart spreads that Mr. Fixit and I both eat in the interest of better health is faux margarine. Does this make ithe heart smart stuff twice removed from butter? I think of it as faux-faux butter.

Gee, after proofing this post, I think I must not be too well today. Sometimes I get on these ramblin’ conversational jaunts, and this must be one of those days. Mr. Fixit will be glad that I said nothing controversial, not even mentioning the name of the offending faux-faux butter, but I'll give you a clue. Think of a colorful pioneer woman's hat.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

It’s Official!

Mr. Fixit is a Plugger!

plugger

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It’s Not News to Me

Every morning I start reading the news on my homepage—my ISP/Yahoo! Something strange has been happening lately. The same thing is happening on the local newspaper website and the website for our local television stations. I read the online versions of several newspapers in large metropolitan areas. It happens in those papers, too.

Today is November 19, 2012. These were the top  five stories in the US news section on the Yahoo! site:

Tornado in the Midwest – Published 11-17-13

Pilot announces, “We’re going down!” – Published 11-14-2013

Donate to the typhoon relief – Published 11-11-13

White candidate pretends to be black – Published 11-10-13

Newtown 911 tapes – Published 11-10-13

It must be a slow news year day. They post the same stories for days and days sometimes. The weird thing is that the Entertainment section of the news seldom has old stories featured. TMZ updates old stories, but I’ve never seen the same story carried for days (Let’s not talk about my knowledge of TMZ, okay?)

There must be important stuff happening in the world every day. So why do they need to repeat the old news? It’s a mystery to me, but it’s not news anymore.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Mr. Fixit Does It Again

I have a problem using my Nook Color for reading. Most of my reading is done in bed, and the Nook is hard to handle while lying down. It’s too darned heavy and has to be held carefully because the touch thingy is so sensitive. I have to hold it at the bottom or the pages flip whenever they choose, not when I choose. If I have a particularly wakeful night, I often develop cramps in my fingers.

Mr. Fixit loves to order what he considers handy gadgets; I consider his handy gadgets a bit of a waste of time and resources. As a result of his little mail order hobby, he is now on the mailing list of every mail order house in the US.

When I was browsing through one, I found this ad:

 velcro nook0001

Eureka! Just what I need! Then I looked at the price. I didn’t need it at a price $17.00 plus shipping and handling. I asked Mr. Fixit, “Can you make this for me for less than $17.00 plus shipping?” I had no doubt that he could. He made a little trip to Lowe’s for Velcro. The Velcro we had at home was too narrow to support the Nook.

Ten minutes later—the result:

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Back View

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Front View

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Dangling

After one modification (it needed another strip so I could hold it in my right hand also), it works like a charm! And it didn’t cost $17.00 plus shipping and handling. It amounted to a couple of dollars and about ten minutes labor. He also has enough Velcro left over for any other little job I may come up with for him to do.

He’s pretty handy to have around.

(To give credit where credit is due, the idea is quite clever—just a little too pricey for me.)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Memories

In a few weeks, I will be entering my tenth year as a blogger. My first post was November 30, 2004. I began blogging to share the musings of my younger brother who died a few years ago. He was so clever and weirdly funny. My first blog, “Observations of an Ordinary Person,” ran until July, 2007, when technical problems forced me to start this one.

Jason and his wife gave me a wonderful gift. They found a company that printed that first blog as a bound, hardcover book. All my posts, comments, and pictures were included. There are 241 pages. (See post of 9/26/10 to see photo of book.)

A few months ago, I wanted to check something that I was sure I had mentioned on the blog. I looked in the place where I thought I had put the book; it wasn’t there. I looked several other places, but it was nowhere to be found. Since then I have looked everywhere I could think it might be, and today while looking for something else, I found it! Yea!!!

As I glanced through it, I found my brother again. There were pictures of a newborn Levi, and Cole and Bella as young children. Cole is now a college student and Bella is in middle school. There is a picture of Noah in his Nacho Libre costume and one of both he and Owen dressed as Harry Potter. There are pictures of my cat friends, now mostly departed.

I’ve found my memories!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Dudley Do-right Is Now Dudley Do-Wrong

Mr. Fixit is a by-the-book kind of guy. In fact, he's a bit more than a by-the-book kind of guy. He walks on the stripes of the zebra crossings at Wal-Mart.  There have been many times when he has discovered that he has left his wallet with his license at home and turned around to go back and get it even though we maybe going less than a mile.  Me? I’m a little bit more of a rebel, I suppose. I deliberately avoid the zebra crossings, and if I’m just going to the corner store, I don’t take the time to return home if I forget my license. To be honest, I like to get his goat just a bit by ignoring his “book.”

Sometime in September, I noticed that our licenses were to expire on our birthdays in October; I mentioned it to him. We both forgot all about it; we’re old. Our birthdays came and went and we failed to take care of the renewal.

Last night  I was lying in bed about 2:30 am with dark thoughts that come to me in the middle of the night. For some reason, I realized that we both had been driving for two weeks with invalid licenses. During that time, we had made a couple of day trips and just doing the usual travel for errands.
My first thought was “He’s going to FREAK!!!” When he came down for breakfast, I broke the news to him. He had been breaking the rules! I hastened to add that I had a plan to remedy the situation without our being arrested and taken to the pokey. The plan was for him to get his renewal at one DMV office and I would get mine at another. I knew he wouldn’t want to run the risk of someone asking us if we drove ourselves to get the licenses. We stayed with the plan and drove about 30 miles between DMV offices. Well, it was a nice day for a drive, and there was nothing pressing at home.

We are both legal again, and Mr. Fixit is once again  Dudley Do-Right and  I get my little kicks avoiding the zebra crossings and coloring outside the lines.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Little Girl

2003 to 2013

My Sweet, Furry Friend and Companion

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bad News, Good News

Since Tuesday, Little Girl has been sick. She was lying on the printer in the same position for about 36 hours without eating, drinking, or using the litterbox. This morning we took her to the vet. He found that she was dehydrated, has a bad bladder infection, and worst of all, she has diabetes. There’s not much you can do with diabetic animals. I was ready to tell him to put her down, but when he saw that I was very upset, he suggested that we put her on antibiotics for the infection and wait for a week and do another blood test. He also gave her some special food. The good news is he says he as seen cats go into remission with the diabetes after treating the infection. He also gave her liquid by IV. When we can back home, she seemed to be feeling a lot better. She even ate a little.

Right now there is another complication; she is bleeding quite a bit from the IV site. I’ve bandaged it loosely with gauze, but I can’t stem the flow. I’ve changed the bandage several times. I’m not sure what else to do since it’s 9:30 pm and the vet, of course, is closed. I suppose we could put her in the kennel again to take her to the emergency vet 25 miles away, but I’m afraid that she will bleed even more being forced into the kennel. And, believe me, she has to be forced. She got me this morning with her claws in a couple of places.

It breaks my heart to see her sick and to think I could lose her. She has been my companion for 10 years.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Things Are Looking Up

One again we have refrigeration! Yea! Ben, Jason, and Cole brought over a new one that Jason arranged for (he knows someone). It fit through our narrow doorways, and they brought in in with little fuss. The cost to us—$0.00. I have a feeling that maybe the boys supplied payment to Jason’s friend. He claims not, but somehow I don’t know of many people who would give a new appliance to total strangers when it could be sold at a neat little profit. But, I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth. I do feel a little weird about it though.

Aside from the inconvenience and worry, there was another little complication to our problem. For several days, the old fridge was in the middle of the kitchen floor. The dining room tables and chairs were shoved to one side to put three coolers close to the kitchen. We were running in, out, and about. There was major upheaval in a small space. The white cat is like me—he doesn’t like upheaval of any kind. It took major coaxing to get him to come in to eat. It has been a little cold the last few night; I wanted him to stay in—he wanted to stay out. When he was inside he ran and hid at every unusual noise, like the rattle of ice cubes in the near empty  plastic receptacle under the ice-maker. He ran every time I walked toward him. He was such a scaredy-cat.

He’s better today, but it may be a few days before he’s bugging me again. I look forward to it, sorta.
Everything is getting back to normal for a little while anyway. The microwave oven and the electric stove are the next to go. They’re both on their last legs.

Note: Mr. Fixit repaired the old one. He should go thumb his nose at the guy who said it wasn't worth fixing. We are going to put it downstairs for drinks, etc. It will serve as our "Just in Case" one. You never know!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Chaos Again

Okay, so maybe “chaos” is a little strong. Let’s just say we are experiencing another major household breakdown. The refrigerator went kaflooey. We had gone to the grocery the day before, and it was pretty well packed. We filled three coolers with the unfrozen stuff and moved all the frozen stuff to the big freezer downstairs.

We have been chasing for parts all over the whole county for the last two days. Mr. Fixit went into one parts and repair shop and asked for a particular part.When Mr. Fixit explained why he needed that part, the guy said he wouldn’t sell it to him because it would be a “waste of money.” He said it was possible that we would have to buy a new one. He said the repair would cost about $800, and, of course, we could buy a new unit for that. Mr. Fixit decided to continue looking for the part. We found it at another place; the price was $3.24. The man at the first place didn’t want us to “waste” $3.24, but I bet he would have jumped at the chance of repairing it for $800.

Today when we were driving by the first place, Mr. Fixit did something very uncharacteristic of him; he gave the repair shop the finger as we proceeded on our way. It did him a world of good.

We had to hunt for a another part, and Mr. Fixit had to  Mickey Mouse it a little, but, as on now (8:07 pm), we think we may be on the road to cool food and iced drinks once again.

We looked around a bit for new fridges; the prices and the standard sizes blew me away. We are not in a position for big cash outlays right now, but you can’t do without a fridge.  Not only do they cost an arm and a leg, they are huge. The door between the dining room and the kitchen is only 30” wide. The door leading to the deck is 31”. Trying to get one of those behemoths through either door would be a major undertaking, if not totally impossible. My kitchen is very small, too. There’s no way the 36” deep ones would work at all. The salesman said that is “standard” size these days. He also said that refrigerators are built to last only 10 years. Why am I not surprised?

I have been close to losing a few times in the last couple of days, but I hope that Mr. Fixit has worked his magic and all will be right in my world again.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

More Scarecrows

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10-15-13 008

I suppose the lady is playing the piano for the dancers who are to her left.

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Halloween in Pendleton 2013 019

The firefighter and the limbo contest were among many of the displays around the town square.

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The arts are represented by a Hobbit character. It’s in front of the Little Theater of Clemson located in Pendleton

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Pirates at the City Building

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Graduation at local office of the county Board of Education.

(Click on photos for more detail.)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Fall Color

Last Tuesday morning I slept a little later than usual so I was having breakfast quite late. I was finishing a few minutes before 9:00 am when Mr. Fixit came to ask me if I want to take a drive to see if the trees in the mountains had begun to turn.

I finished eating, packed a picnic lunch (home-made vegetable beef soup, sandwiches, a side to eat with the soup and sandwiches, and desert for Mr. Fixit. I changed clothes and was in the car before 10:00 am.

The weather was nice, but the color was lacking. I was disappointed, but the trip to Sylva, NC, was nice.

This morning we tried again.This time we went to Brevard, NC, crossing a mountain on a very curvy road. I didn’t enjoy that part much. I asked Mr. Fixit if we could find another way home. We drove about 30 miles out of our way, but it was a nice wide highway with gentle curves.

The leaves still aren’t at their best, but it was a little more colorful above 2600 feet elevation. These photos were made outside Brevard a few hundred feet lower than the best color.

 october 20 2013 006

october 20 2013 003

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Smacked in the Face Once Again

When the movie arrived from Netflix, I said to Mr. Fixit, “I think this is one of your old westerns.” I didn’t mean it in a snotty way; I just meant that it was probably on of those 1930’s or 1940’s westerns that he likes so much.

When I opened it, I said, “It’s not that old; it was made in 1941.” I did a little quick math in my head—”That was 72 years ago!” I said, “Well, I guess it is old.”

I can remember when 1941 didn’t seem that long ago, even though it is a little older than I am. My older brother was born in 1941. Sometimes when I realize how old I am, I am a little stunned.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Tip of the Day

(An ongoing public service so that you can learn from my mistakes; but, then again, I think very few people make the same bonehead mistakes that I do.)

Be sure that the cap on the buttermilk container is tightly fastened before you shake it. If not, one could find buttermilk erupting from the container all over the kitchen. Please note: Cats do not care for buttermilk which means someone must clean it up--Mr. Fixit, in my case. He's such a sweetheart, sometimes, that is.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Halloween in a Small Southern Town

Pendleton, SC is a small town adjacent to Clemson, SC and our little town. It was created in 1790 and currently has a population of a little less than 3,000 people. It’s a typical little Southern town with a town square.

For the last few years, as part of the Halloween festivities, the town decorated with scarecrows. The merchants, churches, and just plain folks participate. It’s so nice to see the the merchants, the religious community, and the residents come together. This year’s displays are delightful.

(As usual click on photo to enlarge

Halloween in Pendleton 2013 008

Welcome to Pendleton

Halloween in Pendleton 2013 001

Resident display

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Sponsored by local church

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Sponsored by a medical group

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Sponsored by a bed and breakfast

I will post more later.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

One That I Like

Every morning I work the crossword puzzle in the online edition of the Washington Post. Before the puzzle is loaded, there is an ad. I don't really mind because if there were no ads, I would have to subscribe just to do the puzzle. For a while they had a Microsoft tablet ad that drove me a little batty because it was the same thing every day.

The current ad is for Norfolk Southern Railroad. In the first place, I don't think I've ever seen an advertisement for a railroad. Well, maybe I do remember one for Amtrak.  The music is a take-off of "Conjunction Junction" that was part of ABC's "School House Rock" when my boys were young. "Conjunction Junction" is quite a catchy little ditty; the only problem is that it gets stuck in my head playing in "repeat" mode for days at a time.

If I ever need a train to haul freight, I would call Norfolk Southern just because I like their commercial. Have a listen:

Monday, September 30, 2013

Learn from My Mistakes

These are my new glasses. Note the arrow on the right side of photo. You may have to click on the photo to enlarge it.
010
You may not be able to see the problem, but it’s small and shiny.

Today’s advice is: Do not (NOT!) pick out frames for your new glasses while wearing your old glasses and when you are peeved because you learned that your insurance will not pay as much  as they said would for the frames and they won’t pay for your exam because the eye guy is not one of their recognized providers.

If you choose not to heed my advice, you may make the same mistake as I did and  discover a day later that the frames are decorated with tiny little rhinestones—tiny, but rhinestones nevertheless. I thought it was simply a decorative metal embellishment. I really did need to have the old glasses changed.

I’m not really a rhinestone sort of person, but I’m sure they will look quite nice when I wear my matching tiara when having dinner at Ron’s*.

*See post of 9-17-13

Friday, September 27, 2013

Another Phone Adventure

A few months ago we terminated our Directv service. Since then we receive special offers several times a week by mail so we will re-sign with them. They seem to be most anxious to get our business. They tell us that we are a most valued customer--yeah, right. That could be because I always pay a little more on the recurring monthly bills that necessary. In fact, when I cancelled the contract, they owed me almost $150.00.

Earlier this week, we were out doing errands when my phone rang. I answered because I couldn’t read the incoming call information; the sun was bright and I didn’t have my new glasses yet.

Me: Hello.

He: This is Directv and I like to tell you about a special offer we have for you if you come back to us.

Me: You’ve caught me at a bad time. I’m driving.  Could you call some other time?

He: Why don’t you pull over so we can talk now?

Me: What? (I was astounded.)

He: Just pull over and we’ll talk now.

Me: No.

I then hung up without a good-bye or even an invitation to stick his special offer where the sun doesn’t shine. I felt a little bad, because I was almost as rude as he was. Well, maybe not all that bad.

He hasn’t called back. I guess they won’t be offering us another $200.00 gift card.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Scam?

Mr. Fixit ordered a small item from Amazon. The delivery details informed him the package would be delivered today by the USPS. Tuesday I received a voicemail from “Dave Meyers, our UPS driver” asking that I return his call ASAP to confirm delivery details.  It went to my voice mail because my piece of crap phone malfunctioned as it often does. I assumed the call was in reference to Mr. Fixit’s order from Amazon. Amazon has actually changed carriers on shipments before. Did I mention that good ole Dave had a marked Hispanic accent? After almost 50 years I have developed an ear for this particular accent.

I returned his call Wednesday morning. After being transferred several times, I finally was connected with Dave; I recognized his voice. He said that he wanted to confirm the address for the delivery. I told him our address. He put me on hold “to  check the details of the delivery.” When he came back on the line, he said that he would be recording our conversation. That was the first feeling that something was a little off kilter. He then mumbled something about Publishers Clearing House. The light bulb appeared over my head—Dave with an accent?—Not an Amazon delivery?—Do UPS drivers personally call to verify delivery details? I asked, “Did you say Publishers Clearing House.?” He replied, “It’s Publishers Clearing House, INTERNATIONAL.” Before he could ask me for any other info, I told him that I did not want anything from PCH, International or not. He then wanted to know why I would refuse whatever it was he was offering. I had figured out by that time that his next request would my credit card number to pay for shipping and handling or some such thing. Anyway, I again told him not to “deliver anything from PCH” and hung up. I wanted to be perfectly clear on his “recording.”

When I explained to Mr. Fixit about the call, he wondered how they obtained my telephone number, name, and address. I realized then that they had only my phone number, not my name or address. We no longer have a landline so the cell phone number isn’t readily available. The number was probably robo-dialed, and, stupidly, I gave him the name and  address before I realized there was something goofy going on.

I hope there are no repercussions from my having given out the name and address. Some months ago, the State of South Carolina revenue information was hacked, and the free credit reporting service we received just lapsed. It makes me worry.

Perhaps I am being paranoid and I just passed up a gazillion dollar poster-sized check that would be delivered by Dave and his balloon-bearing minions. Somehow, I don't think there has been a climate change in Hell or that the three little pigs have sprouted wings.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The Burning Question of the Day

What has happened to America’s favorite side order, the French Fry? (Or should that be “french fry” or “French fry?” It’s not often I type that particular phrase.) They  ain’t like they useta be.

Whenever I cook potatoes at home, whether boiled, mashed, or roasted, every potato is clear of spots. Potatoes to be baked are scrubbed with a brush. I really to have a thing about my potatoes.

To be honest, I seldom make homemade fries because of the step necessary for a crispy bit of potato that doesn’t get soggy two minutes after it’s removed from the cooking oil. In order to achieve the desired crispiness, the potatoes should be dunked into ice water and dried before frying. That’s just a little too labor intensive for me. Thank heaven for frozen fries and fast foot emporiums (emporia? – I’m having  brain glitches this morning.) But something has changed.

Those pretty little strips formerly packaged by Ore-Ida are no longer pretty. The have countless bits of peel and/or dark spots which could be anything from blight to dirt in my estimation. The sames goes for fast food fries. It seems like every purveyor of fast food now serves fries, whether straight of curly, with peel attached and those same dark spots as the frozen ones I sometimes serve at home.

Of course, they (whoever “they” are) tout the fact that all the vitamins and minerals are in the peel. In my opinion, that a good excuse to lower labor costs; leaving the peel (with its dirt and or blight in tact) costs less. I would rather take a sanitary vitamin tablet that to eat dirt or blight. Who knows how well that potatoes are washed.

Mr. Fixit and I decided to have lunch at Ron’s the other day. You know who Ron is, right? He’s that clown with the big feet. I said to myself that Ron does have the best, unspotty fries in the land. Yea! You can imagine my disappointment when I pulled that first fry from it’s container and saw bits of peel still clinging and spots. What the heck? This heretofore ideal fry has gone to just another spotty side order just like all the rest.

So what is the answer to my problem with fries? At the end of the meal, I had a pile of ends with peel and spots that I discarded in that great trash bin in Ron’s establishment.

(Did you notice how I cleverly avoided the “French” or “french” question? I simply omitted that descriptor. Now if I could solve the rest of my problems so easily…)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Living in the Past

When working a crossword puzzle recently, one clue read, “Dana who played the same role in two movies.”

My first thought was of Dana Andrews who was in the 1944 classic, “Laura.” I couldn’t come up with the two movies mentioned in the clue. My next thought was Dana Wynter, who was in the 1956 version of “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” Again, I couldn’t think of the character she might have played in two movies.

I sat there thinking for several minutes before I gave up and decided to work it out with the interlocking clues.

After completing the puzzle, the answer was “Carvey”  who was in two “Wayne’s World” movies. Hmm. . .I haven’t seen either one of those. My age is showing; Dana Carvey never even entered my mind.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sport du Jour

Baseball has given way to football. Both Owen and Levi are playing full contact ball. Owen plays in the 10-and-unders and Levi is in the 8-and- unders. Saturday was their jamboree. Even though they play in separate towns, the jamboree included several area rec teams.

The games Saturday were shortened to one 2o-minute half per game. We sat thru five games. I get a little uptight. It just so happened that both boys were shaken up a little. Levi really scared me; he was hit a little high and his head snapped back. I had visions of whiplash.

We haven’t had games to attend since the latter part of July so I am a little out of practice for preparation. I forgot to put on sunscreen Saturday until after we got to the field. I found some in the trunk of the car, but missed putting in on my neck. I’ve got a dilly of a burn.

Levi had a real game Monday evening. The field was marshy and the bugs were swarming. Luckily I had the battery operated fans in the car to blow them away. I couldn’t do much about the mud. The weather was nice though.

Last night Owen had a game. Our weather decided to heat up. Finally in the fourth quarter it cooled off a bit. At least the field was dry and I remembered to the bug repellant.

I’m getting back into the “fan” routine. . .chairs, sunscreen, insect repellant, fans, hats, water, etc., etc. Now if the weather co-operates, I’ll be in full fan mode.

Oh, yeah. Noah’s travel baseball team starts again soon, and it probably won’t be long until Bella begins volleyball.  Cole is the only one not playing. He’s busy getting into the college routine.

Friday, August 23, 2013

A Real Stinkaroo

A few years ago, Mr. Fixit constructed a barrier to limit our outdoor cats to the dining room and kitchen areas. It’s not pretty, but it can be easily taken down when need be. It doesn’t reach the top of the doorway. It worked out quite well.

A few nights ago, I made the white cat stay indoors overnight because it was raining, and when he gets wet or cold, he develops a cough. As I lay reading in bed, I heard him bumping the barrier. The noise stopped after a few minutes. Then I heard him meow; it sounded close. I walked out of the bedroom and he was sitting there looking quite pleased with himself. He discovered the secret of sliding the barrier aside.

Last night he wanted to stay inside again, but I put him out because I didn’t want him invading the rest of the house with his fleas. I was afraid to block the barrier with a chair because I figured he would climb on the chair and go over the barrier.

This morning he was waiting, as usual, for me to open the door so they could have breakfast. Both of them came in at the same time. Whew! SKUNK! I couldn’t tell which of them was the stinker. They were both eating from the same dish so it looked as if the smell wasn’t affecting the one who hadn’t been sprayed. The white one left after eating; Mother stayed behind. I could tell she wasn’t smelly one.

He stayed outside until it was time for dinner (His since of time is remarkable. He always show up at 6:00 pm). When I opened the door, he came in and I thought the smell has disappeared. Then it hit me! It was worse than it was this morning.

After he ate and left, I turned on the vent fan over the stove and opened the windows in the dining room with a fan positioned to blow toward it. Then I found the Febreeze. I’m not a big fan of those room deodorizers so I seldom use it. I was surprised at how well it worked. We were able to eat in the kitchen after about an hour. That Febreeze worked a small miracle without leaving it’s own cloying odor.

I wonder how long it takes for the smell to leave the cat. It’s not as if I can bathe him; he’s too wild for that. I hear thunder off in the distance. Maybe it will help dilute the stench. I can only hope.

I could try spraying him Febreeze, I suppose.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Our College Freshman

Cole checked into his dorm yesterday. I’m so proud of him. He’s such a good young man. I know it’s not all fun and games, and I also know that he will do the best he can. Classes start August 21. I wish him the best.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Miscellaneous Photos

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These are pictures taken from our deck during recent recent “flood.”

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This is a newly retouched water tower in downtown Pickens, SC. I think the motto reads, “Where the mountains begin.” It looks like this one goes back a few years.

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This picture was taken riding north on I85 in Georgia at about 70 miles an hour. This motto always seems a little threatening to me. I have visions of a horse’s head and an offer that can’t be refused.

As usual, click on each photo to enlarge.

Time–Where Has It Gone?

Cole’s 18th birthday was Sunday. He starts college next week.

Our other two grandsons aren’t far behind. I saw a sign of leaving little boyhood behind. The d├ęcor in their bathroom has changed from a SpongeBob motif to a color co-ordinated, grey and dark red, masculine adult bathroom.

Oh, my!

I’m happy that Levi still has time as a little guy. I hope he enjoys it.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mr. Fixit’s Economic Theory

A few days ago Mr. Fixit saw a gasoline station advertising gas for $2.99.9 per gallon. We had the car filled up a few days before when the going price was $3.19.9 a gallon. He said when he needed gas again he was going to come to the station with the cheaper price. That station was in a town about 25 miles away from our house.

Today he decided it was time for a fill-up. Off we go on the 25 mile trip. The price was still $2.99.9.

He said, “ Okay, I bought 13 gallons of gas; that means I saved $2.60.”

I said, “But you used $3.00 in gas getting here.”

He said, “Yeah, I know but it makes me feel good to know I saved $2.60.”

That man really knows a bargain when he “feels” it.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Catching Up (Again)

I can’t seem to get into blogger mode to post with any regularity. I know what the problem is, and it is a goofy one. I feel weird sitting here writing when Mr. Fixit is around. I feel like I should be doing something constructive. He has never said a word about my blogging. Well, he does get a bit upset when I get snarky and catty. It could be that he doesn’t agree with my opinions maybe, but that has nothing to do with my feeling guilty about writing. And I have cut back on my snarkiness and cattiness. In fact, I spend an inordinate amount of time playing games, looking at cute cats, and living vicariously through other bloggers’ lives. I don’t feel guilty then. I don’t understand why blogging seems to be a problem for me lately.

Oh, well. Now that I’m here.

Mr. Fixit came back from his vacation after a week. Right after he came back, he had another nice event happen. Every year the Big League World Series is held in Easley, SC. It comes under the umbrella organization of Little League, but the participants are 15 to 18 years of age. It bring teams from the US and several foreign countries to compete. It is broadcast on ESPN. The interpreter for the team from Mexico couldn’t stay for the whole tournament, and the team was left with no language help. A host family for them knows Mr. Fixit and asked him to act as interpreter. He had a team shirt and hat and was included in the team photograph. He enjoyed it. Incidentally, the team from his home in Venezuela also participated so he saw them play.

Our sons tiled the bathroom floor recently. I love it! It looks so much better. And on these hot summer days, it’s nice to kick your shoes off and walk around on the cold ceramic tile. I probably won’t like it as much in the winter.

Since he has been back, we seem to be continuing with household problems. The sink in the kitchen was leaking again. I think the disposal vibrates something loose every now and then. Plumbing is NOT one of Mr. Fixit’s areas of expertise. He swears and grumbles quite a bit while his head is under the sink. At least he swears mostly in Spanish. It only took about a week to find a solution.
The television has also been a problem. He bought indoor antennas so we can get some local channels. They were the cause of a bit more swearing and grumbling. For a while, he was able to watch several channels; my tv picked up ZIP! I was so envious! After buying and returning several antennas, he finally found one for me that that gets the PBS, CBS, and NBC stations. Last night I was looking forward to Masterpiece Mystery, but I think the current series was ended last week on our local station. I was p.o.ed!

The rain keeps coming! The lake levels are higher that I have seen them in the 30+ years we’ve lived here. It’s nice! I wish we could get out and explore the way did before. It is go pretty and green now. I haven’t taken pictures in ages.

Now, to do something constructive. . .

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Note:

I've been doing constructive things: (1) Checked out the LOL cats and dogs (2) Played a couple of boards of Word Scramble (and made the hourly top 20 board; I was probably the only one playing) (3)Went to Wal-Mart and poked around while Mr. Fixit bought a garden hose (4) checked Amazon for a cell phone headset to replace one I lost (Hey, that's a subject for my next post--losing things)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Not My Usual Sunday Afternoon Viewing

Mr. Fixit is still on vacation so today I had time to do something I seldom do. I watched a whole mini-series in one sitting.

My favorite genre of television is British mysteries. The one I chose today was “Five Days,” an HBO film made in association with the BBC and written by Gwyneth Hughes. It was enthralling and disturbing. I won’t sat I enjoyed it. It is quite like the “The Deer Hunter.” It’s not a film you “enjoy.” They are both disturbing movies that touch your emotions in ways that few movies do.

“Five Days” tells the story of a young mother’s murder. There are so many conflicts and changes the characters go through. The victim is white, her husband is black. She has a white daughter from a previous marriage and two mixed race children with her husband. The story details how her death almost destroys everyone concerned--her husband and children, her grandfather, her parents, the perpetrators, a good Samaritan (maybe) who becomes overly involved, and the police officers involved in solving the case.

I have to admit that I cried more than once. There was one scene with her mother (Penelope Wilton) and her father (Edward Woodward) that left me intensely affected. The grandfather said some very unkind things to his daughter. She said, “I only wanted to come first with somebody.” Wow! There must be very few people who live their lives without coming first with someone. It could be a parent, a child, a spouse or a lover. It’s remarkable that there are other people who feel they are forever on the outside looking in. You could see the pain on her face when her father said that she must have been born into the wrong family. It must be devastating to finally admit that you never have and never will “come first.” It was intense for me, to say the least. I suppose people can care about you, but you don’t necessarily come first.

Aside from Mr. Woodward and Ms. Wilton, there were some other outstanding performances. Patrick Malahide, who played Inspector Alleyn in a series based on Ngaio Marsh’s books, was excellent. As was David Oyelowo in the role of the victim’s husband.

Now I have to find something distracting to get this series out of my head. 

The Future Is Now

Using the scan-it-yourself check out lines is not one of my favorite things to do—for a variety of reasons that I touched on in previous posts. If we have no produce and just a few items, we sometimes use them as we did recently in Wal-mart.

There is always a hand-written sign on each register indicating that gift cards cannot be used at the scan-it-yourself register. There was another sign also posted on one or two of the registers recently. It stated, “Cash Cannot Be Accepted.”

Writers of science fiction usually describe a future when cash is obsolete. Will my paper money go the way of phone booths, surgeons, and landlines? Sometimes I feel like I’m living in the future; what next, the Jetson’s will move in next door?

Friday, July 19, 2013

The Sound of Silence

This morning I sat at the breakfast bar with my book waiting for the tea kettle to boil. I heard a rhythmic sound, thika, thika. I listened. The faucet wasn’t dripping, the AC wasn’t running, and, of course, all the televisions were silent. What the. . . ?

I looked straight ahead listening, listening with my head cocked like a dog’s trying to understand what his human is saying. There it was right in front of me—the electric wall clock in the dining room. Thika, thika with each passing second.

I never realized that electric clocks could be so noisy.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Garbage Rebellion

The town furnishes our trash receptacles because a few years ago new garbage truck was purchased that featured the lift thingey. The guys no longer have to lift the bins manually. Clearly printed on each container is the instruction to place the handles toward the street. I guess this is so they won’t have to turn it around to fit it on the lift mechanism.

The town also passed an ordinance that required the residents to move their containers from the street-side within 24 hours. Lots of people ignore that one completely and their containers stay there all the time. But all the containers within my view have them positioned correctly with the handles toward the street.

Every Wednesday morning when I take ours to the street, I notice that our neighbor across the way always leaves his container backward. Hmmm—I wonder if this is his small quiet rebellion. There is small part of me that admires him. I’m such a wuss. I am compelled to be a rule-follower.

(I don’t quite understand why the garbage guys can’t turn the containers. I understand how lifting them is difficult, but just turning them?)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Enough Already!

We have had so much rain this year. I think it has rained every day for weeks. Last Friday night there was a big storm that caused quite a bit of damage in the area. There is a small creek that runs behind the house across from our house. It flooded and washed away about 4 feet of one neighbor’s yard causing their fence to collapse and the dog to escape. The run-off from our house ran into another neighbor’s yard. The water running down their driveway pushed their little plastic shed with holds their lawn mower and yard tools about 8 feet. It just missed their new car.

We had a bit of a mess, too. The water came in under our garage door flooding the garage and destroying some the 700+ paperback books that I was storing there. The water ran under the door leading into the house. The bathroom directly across from that door had quite a bit of water, but the floor covering is linoleum so there wasn’t much damage except to the vanity. The water also went into the extra bedroom that we use for storage. It is carpeted. We dried to dry it out with fans after using a wet/dry vac on it. It smells horrible still. I don’t think it was mildew because it smelled bad on Saturday morning. I didn’t know rain water could smell so bad. I guess the carpet will have to go.

Removal of the carpet will have to wait until Mr. Fixit comes home. He is on vacation and will probably be gone at least a week. He flew out this morning. I don’t think I can move all the stuff in there by myself.

The sun is shining a little bit now, but I think thunderstorms are forecast for this afternoon. On the bright side, the grass and trees are very green.

I’m having a little trouble coping with no TV. Mr. Fixit bought an indoor digital antenna for his set. It works pretty well. He can get several local channels and the programming is HD. Wow! I didn’t realize what a difference there is. He put another antenna on my set, but it doesn’t work very well. I can only get one or two channels, and, as my luck goes, those channels aren’t the ones I watch much.  The under-the-counter set in the kitchen doesn’t get anything at all. The quiet is wearing on me.

Friday, July 12, 2013

It Takes the Sting Out

Some weeks ago, I turned off my television to see if I could bear to be without it. It worked out very well; I didn’t miss it as much as I thought I would. But I did realize that it wasn’t a true test because all I had to do was push that little button and I would once again be entertained and informed.

Circumstances have dictated that we are now without broadcast television, and it’s more of a problem for me than I thought it would be.

I was checking to see if I could watch my favorite shows on line. I found most of them, but it’s not the same as being able to channel surf to pick and choose. Then I found something that brightened my outlook considerably.

I found on the CBS site  “CBS Sunday Morning” with the soothing sound of Mr. Osgood’s voice. My favorite part of the program is the nature video at the end of the program each week. The photography is the best, and I love the video with no narration or background music. You simply hear birdsong, the rustle of the leaves and tall grass, water tumbling in streams,  and the croak of frogs and the buzz of insects. Sometimes if you listen closely, you hear the breathing of the cameraperson or traffic in the distance.

I have been a little peeved lately because they seem to have shortened these segments in the last season or so. The video I found on line was almost four minutes. It was a segment done at the sight of the Battle of Gettysburg. It was lovely!

Now I don’t feel so deprived!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Tip of the Day

Some things are best left to the professionals, i.e. hair cutting.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bits & Pieces

To catch up with things in the Fixit household:

School is out. Cole graduated from high school, and Bella from fifth grade. Cole begins his college days and Bella is now a middle school student. Levi is going into the second grade. Unbelievable!
Noah’s Award Day was a good one for him. He won four out of the five scholastic awards. He had an average of 100 in all four. He is so smart, and he works really hard. Owen makes the A honor roll, too. We are so proud of all of our grandchildren.

Summer has arrived with a vengeance. It’s hotter than heck. We have had tons of rain; the lake levels are finally at full pool. The first tropical storm of the season dumped a bit of rain on us followed by another line of storms that brought rain and tornados.

Cole has started playing with his showcase baseball team. He had one tournament in Charleston last weekend, followed by a four-day one that began the next day in East Cobb, Georgia. Those people take their baseball seriously. Sometimes there are teams from the all over the US. East Cobb has to be one of the hottest, most humid places in the south. It was not pleasant. We didn’t go to Charleston. It’s just too far. We would have had to drive 4 hours one way and endure the heat there. I just can’t do that any more.

Noah and Owen are both on travel teams. Thank goodness, we don’t have to travel as far with them. They both have tournaments this weekend, but in different towns about 2 hours apart. Jason is coaching both their games. He’s going to be a busy guy.

After having the tube put in my ear, I developed another bad cold. I was afraid that it was going to cause a problem. I can still feel what seems like fluid in that ear. This morning I had a check-up and another hearing test. I was told that the tube is still in place and there is no sign of fluid build up. My hearing is almost back to normal except for a little loss that likely is caused by age. (Yeah, I really needed to be reminded that I’m no spring chicken any more.) She decided to leave the tube in for a while longer.

Having this cold has enabled me to laze about spend a fair amount of time recuperating. Since I ‘m not completely down and out, I’ve been reading a ton. I found a new series that I really enjoyed—the Bay  Tanner series by Kathryn R. Wall. I’ve read ten of them. There’s only one more to go; I have it on hold at the library. Her setting is Hilton Head, and she has mentioned the Upstate including our county. I like the characters very much and the writing is quite good.

William Kent Krueger, who writes the Cork O’Connor mystery/adventure series (another one of my favorites) has a new stand-alone out. It’s Ordinary Grace. It’s not exactly a coming-o -age book; it’s the story told from a 13 year-old boy who has to come to terms with loss. Mr. Krueger is a very good writer. I recommend this one.

My reading list also included a couple of cozies and a couple of romances. It’s always pleasant to read a nice little romance when your nose is runny, you throat is scratchy, and your cough just about rips your throat out.

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(Cole’s graduation ceremony was held on the Clemson University campus in the Littlejohn Coliseum. I don’t have a picture of our other graduate. I tried to take pictures at her graduation, but they were too dark. I think my DIL may have a photo of her, but she’s been so busy with Cole’s travel, I don’t want to be a pest.)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Baseball Highlights

A great moment during Levi’s game last night:

One of the guys, who has a little problem with hand-to-eye co-ordination as most 7 year olds have, hit the ball. In fact, the first time he was up, he hit a three bagger.  It was his best night ever. This time I think the hit was sort of a line drive. The defense chased the ball and tried to put the base runner out when he was going to third. Our batter stumbled and fell about six feet short of first base. He may lack hand-to-eye co-ordination, and he may not be the most agile player on the team, he showed his grit and determination. He crawled to the remaining distance on his hand and knees was was safe at first.

The little guys try so hard, and they never give up. I don’t think they care if they win or lose. The just like to play the game.

Friday, May 17, 2013

I Can Hear You Now

In January I had a terrible cold that lasted quite a long time, but, of course, I recovered with only one lingering symptom. Fluid collected behind my eardrum causing a major hearing loss and weird sensations inside my head. It hasn't been pleasant.

My family doctor referred me to an ENT specialist, and I had my appointment today. I was concerned because I thought it likely that today was only a consultation and the "fix it" part would be several weeks away. Surprisingly, I had a hearing test (which indicated a major problem), a scope shoved up my nose to check my sinus cavities (that was not much fun), and a tube inserted in the drum to drain the fluid. The worst part was the "numbing" of the eardrum and the vacuuming of the fluid. It hurt!

The shrill squeal inside my head remains.

I was given a prescription for ear drops which combines an antibotic and steroids. The cost to me ws $45. I wonder what the actual cost was before the insurance covered its share. My insulin is $178.00+ a month, but my net cost is $45.00. The insulin lasts a month; the ear drops are for one week. Eight drops a day for 7 days equals 56 drops. The cost of each drop is approximately $.80. That's my cost at $45. Wow! And I thought the $70 nose spray was expensive.

But, I CAN HEAR!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Rainbow

A little while ago it started to rain again. We did have some sunshine today. It rained for a 10 or 15 minutes. By that time it was a few minutes after 8 pm. When I went down to eat, I looked about the back door. There in the eastern sky was a vivid rainbow. It didn’t last long as the sun was rapidly setting. My pictures don’t show the bright colors, but you can get a hint of the view.
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(Click on photo for detail)

Weather, Baseball, Politics

Buttercups, tulips, hyacinths,  lilacs, and forsythia have come and gone. Azaleas are blooming now but fading fast. March came in like a lion and went out like a lion. April showers brought May flowers, blah, blah, blah.

Mr. Fixit turned off the heat a couple of weeks ago. I turned it back on a week ago. It’s been raining for days it seems. I still have my winter jackets and my rain jacket in the back seat of the car with earmuffs and mittens in the pockets. To say the weather is unusual is an understatement. We have lived in South Carolina for 30 years, and this is the first time we have had to have the heat running in May. Weird!

Cole has finished his high school baseball and will be starting his showcase team practice today. Noah and Owen are on travel teams. Owen had a tournament this past weekend; it poured! The tournament directors made those children play in the cold rain until the field became unplayable.

Mr. Fixit sat in the rain under his umbrella during the second game. I sat in the car. After the game was finally called, he was going to help someone take down a canopy. He fell off a 3 foot high wall and hurt his knee a bit. He’s not feeling very well today because he has a cold. It could be from sitting in the cold and rain for hours. I don’t think I should say “I told you so,” but I did try to get him to watch from the car.

Levi, who plays coaches pitch, was a joy to watch Saturday morning. I had been sitting there bitching complaining about the cold weather when he came out in the catcher’s garb.

At this level, catchers mostly kneel behind the plate and just enjoy wearing the “costume.” One of the dads stands behind the catcher to actually catch the ball.

Levi squatted in a very professional manner with one little hand behind his back as they are taught later on when the catchers are expected to do something. The batter hit the ball, Levi jerked the mask off his head, and tried to catch the ball. No other little guys on any of the teams they play had ever done that. Then he knew to back up the first baseman when he was needed. He played like a professional. I might mention that Cole, his big brother, played catcher for many years. Levi learned his lesson well.

It was worth sitting there with the wind blowing and the temperatures in the low 50’s. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

Today is election day for our past “Luv Guv” who is running for political office. According to the polls he has a good chance of winning. Personally, I don’t care who (or what) he has had carnal relations with. It’s none of my business. However, when he tried to pass the cost of his South American tryst to the tax payers of the state and he told his infamous hiking lie , he proved to me that he is dishonest and totally lacking in judgment. He also proved to me that oaths, such as his marriage vows, have no significance to him. Will the oath of office mean anything to him? He has even violated a court order in his divorce case (he has admitted to going into his ex-wife’s house in violation of a court order), so it looks as if the rule of law means nothing to him either.

But the voters in our state don’t seem to care about honor and integrity. I suspect that his opponent being a woman and a Democrat is enough to insure his victory regardless of the  the issues facing our state and country. The outcome of the election will only surprise me if he loses.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Confession

I did sort of a mean thing the other night.

Every night I fix the cats a little bedtime snack of real chicken. (I started giving them chicken when our black and white one was having trouble eating.) I cook a few thighs at the time and then put the meat in the food processor. They’ve come to expect it every night. Then Mother Cat goes out, no matter the weather, and the white stays inside. He stays outside at night, too, when the weather is warmer.

Since it’s a little cold still, I’ve been keeping him inside. This night though he outfoxed me and sneaked out. I called him several times and he just sat on the deck and ignored me.

I went up to get ready for bed and to read for a while. Thirty minutes later I tried again to get him in. Still, he ignored me. I waited a little while longer before trying again. I was tired; I wanted to go to bed.

When he still ignored me, I almost decided to leave him out. Then a mean (well, a little mean) idea occurred to me. I turned on the food processor and he came running. I closed the door quickly, and he spent the night inside WITHOUT a second serving of chicken. I think I received a dirty look. That’ll teach him to ignore me!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Have I Missed Much?

It’s been 12 days (but who’s counting?) since I turned off my television. I did have it on most of the day during the hunt for the Boston bombing suspects, but I’m not counting that as recreational viewing time.

Do I miss it? Not as much as I thought I would. I turned it on last night to watch “NCIS,” but I only watched a few minutes. I don’t like this ongoing plot line.

Sometimes when I walk into the kitchen, my hand reaches for the on/off switch for the TV that’s in there. It’s sort of like quitting smoking. There are times when most smokers light up—getting into the car, picking up the phone, or after meals. It becomes a ritual almost. Giving up those rituals is  hard even after you have conquered the physical addiction. I’m still haven’t conquered the ritual of the on/off button, but I’m getting there.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Play of the Week

Last night Levi had his second coaches pitch baseball game. He did very well. He made a hit at every turn at bat, and he made some very good defensive plays. All of our grandchildren are outstanding athletes. Grammies get to brag sometimes.

The Play of the Week happened when one of the smallest players on the team came up to bat. He looks about 5 years old, but he could be just small for his age. After several pitches he finally connected. He drove the ball down in the dirt in front of him. It was barely out of the batter’s box, but it was in fair territory. He ran for first base and made it safely. Someone threw the ball and the player who was supposed to catch it missed the ball. This happened several times. Our little guy scored a home run on a ball that went about two feet! Yea for him! I hope they gave him the game ball.

I love watching the little guys play!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A Real Turn-Off

Since I was seven years old, television has been a huge part of my life. I would rush in after school and stare at the Indian head test pattern until our one station signed on. Back in the early ‘50’s, the broadcasting day ran only a few hours. I would watch John Cameron Swayze doing the news and every program until 9:00 pm when I was sent to bed. Even then when “I Love Lucy” came one I would peek through the doorway until I was caught.

Very few days in the last 60 years have passed that I haven’t watched television . The kitchen television is turned on the minute I enter to cook breakfast. As I move from room to room during the day, I turn on the closest set. There have been times when there are three sets running at the same time, and I am alone. One television or the other is on from the time I get up until I go to bed.

If I’m reading the television is on; if I’m on the computer, the television is on; if I’m washing dishes, cooking, or cleaning, the television is on.

We don’t have sets in the bedrooms now although we did in the past. I do have a portable VCR player in a bedroom for those nights when sleep just won’t come. I also can access the internet in the wee, small hours to stream a little entertainment if necessary.

Last night I was channel surfing trying to find something to watch (or at least to listen to while I was working on a project). There are over 100 hundred channels available and I couldn’t find one thing that looked interesting. I don’t watch reality shows, comedies are all based on tasteless subjects, and I had seen every movie on last night several times. I did something I seldom do—I turned off the set. I found a video on the shelf to watch, and I went to bed at 10:00 pm and read for a couple of hours.

I mentioned to Mr. Fixit this morning that my television hadn’t been on since early yesterday evening.  I wondered if I could make it more that a few hours without the background noise. I have the internet for news, games, and streaming programming from the networks, plus a large collection of movie DVD’s.

Here it is 9:00 Saturday evening and the TV is still off. It helps that we have been away from home all day. Tomorrow we have a full day of baseball tournaments. If I can start my day without Lester Holt and “CBS Sunday Morning,” I may be able to go another day without television.

Mr. Fixit said that if I don’t go nuts without it, we could save a lot of money without that Directv bill every month. Yeah, right! He’s also glued Encore Westerns for far too many hours a day. I think the loss would hurt him more than me.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Rudeness?

My doctor’s practice includes two doctors and one nurse practitioner. There is also a lab and a small emergency facility. The three are separate entities under the same umbrella organization. They share a large waiting room.

When I go into the lab/emergency waiting area, I tend not to make prolonged eye contact with those waiting. Somehow it seems intrusive to me to show any curiosity when someone is sick.

This morning when I went for my blood work for an upcoming appointment, I noticed a young woman waiting but I didn’t really look other than to smile to acknowledge her presence.

A few minutes later as I was reading my book, she made a telephone call detailing the reason for visit to see the doctor. She said that she had cut her finger while washing dishes and she had been bleeding for over an hour. That’s when I looked up and saw that she had large amount of gauze wrapped around her hand.

While the young woman was still talking to her friend, the nurse came out to check the wound and to re-wrap the hand. The young woman continued to talk while the nurse was working on her. The nurse finished and the phone conversation continued without pause.

I think it’s rude for customers to talk while their groceries are being checked out. This seemed beyond rude to me, but, of course, I could be described as an old fuddy-duddy.

My dentist has the right idea, I think. There is a sign in the office that says, “Please turn off cell phones. If your phone rings during your appointment, the appointment will be terminated.” I would be willing to bet that there has never been a cell phone ringing in his examination rooms.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Lesson Learned

When Owen arrived at the baseball game with his Dad, he was wearing a new cap. Instead of having the usual team logo, it had a logo having to do with his hip-hop group. It was a really nice cap. He had on a warm pullover (it was another cold day) and a pair of those stripe-down-the side pants that he can wear over his basketball shorts (I don’t know what they’re called.).

I said, “You look so cute today.” His smile would have brightened up the darkest day. He was beaming!

When I see Bella, I usually compliment her appearance, but I realized that I seldom remark on the boys’ appearance. Of course, I did when they were little, but it seems that after they reached a certain age, I was reluctant to do so.

Owen’s smile showed that that the boys need compliments just as much as girls. I will not be remiss in that area again.

It also occurred to me I could have a sexist attitude. Oh my! How could I? I am abashed!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

An Open Letter to Tom Krisher of the AP

Tom Krisher of the Associated Press had a news item published today regarding the Buick Division of General Motors trying to appeal to younger buyers.

The lead paragraph:

“Stop me if you've heard this one before: There's this famous car brand whose average driver is more familiar with Social Security than social media.”

Shame on you, Mr. Krisher! And shame on your editor for letting this bit of stereotyping make it to publication.

Mr. Krisher, do you know any elder citizens? Are you familiar with social media? Apparently not or you would see that elders are indeed participating in huge numbers on Facebook and various blog sites. Elders are tech savvy. Some of us can even do more than send email on our computers and take pictures with our smart phones.

BTW, how old are you? Are you a young whippersnapper who shoots off his pencil before writing? Uh-oh, that seems like stereotyping of non-elders, doesn’t it?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

I’m in Good Company

This morning one of the morning news shows did a story on Queen Elizabeth’s first public appearance since her recent tummy problems.

She was wearing a matching hat and coat; she looked quite queenly. Then the camera pulled back and showed her feet. Instead of wearing her modest inch and a half heels, she was wearing “sensible” (translation – ugly) shoes that look like the ones made by SAS.

Perhaps she has reached the age when comfort becomes the deciding factor when buying shoes. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in my choice of footwear.

Now if someone would kindly tell her that she really should change her hairstyle to include a little fringe of bangs and a little less hairspray. . .

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

More Than I Need or Want

While I enjoy these modern times, there are some things from the old days that that I miss—those little triangular car windows in the front doors, the vent knobs under the car’s dashboard that were perfect for hanging litter bags, jeans that actually reach my natural waist line, and being able to buy one bed sheet at the time.

I need a regular, white double fitted sheet, 400 or higher thread count made of cotton. I don’t need a 16” or 24” pocket, a flat sheet, or two pillow cases.

Over the last few days, I have looked at Bed, Bath, and Beyond where I did find a single fitted sheet. The problems were the deep pockets and the prohibitive cost. Target does not sell fitted sheets only, just sets. Walmart had the single sheets, but they were the kind that pill after a few washings. I also checked a couple of department stores; they all have sets only. Today I looked at 240 offerings on Amazon and not one “fitted” my criteria. Am I asking too much? Am I the only person who resents being forced to buy sets instead of a single item?

And, just what the heck is microfiber?

The next item on today’s agenda is to set up the sewing machine and patch my fitted sheet. Have I mentioned that I hate sewing? On the bright side, I can’t get any testier.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bad Grammie! Bad Grammie!

Don’t tell anyone, but I’m playing hooky today. After 7 days out of 8 with the grandchildren’s games (baseball and volley ball), I hit the wall yesterday.

Yesterday morning there was a 9:00 am game an hour’s drive away. I woke a few minutes late and had to skip breakfast. Mr. Fixit likes to be on time, and I thought I could get something to stabilize my glucose levels at the concession stand. The concession stand was a long walk, and I didn’t feel like going that far after getting very little sleep, as usual, and getting up early. There were two games. By 3:30 pm I thought my numbers were dropping like a stone. We stopped and I had a real Coke with lunch which causes the levels to rise quickly. I don’t remember much after eating. I guess I fell asleep in the car. When I woke up I was in my own bed still wearing the clothes I had worn to the game and still wearing two pairs of glasses (my regular glasses and a pair of sunglasses that fit over the regular ones). I know that I made it in from the car under my own steam; I just don’t remember it.

I then decided to take the day off today.

The weather has been nuts, too. We were all sunburned last weekend. It was cool, but the sun was bright. I didn’t think about burning until it was too late.

The night baseball games have been cold and windy—miserable in a word. Even yesterday with the sun shining, the wind made it so cold that I was shivering. I retreated to the car during one game.
The comfortable games were Bella’s. They play inside a gym, thank goodness!

Tomorrow it starts all over. We have only one  off day. I have to go to most of them. I need to go with Mr. Fixit to the away games. He has a terrible sense of direction, and I worry about him driving alone at night.

If the weather gets a little warmer, it will be easier. Right now, I feel as if permafrost has formed on my behind.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

DST–ARRGGH!!! (My Annual Rant)

What a difference an hour makes. As usual, the time change has screwed up my routine, boring life.  On Eastern Standard Time, I go to bed at 11:00 pm, read until midnight or 1:00 am, and depending on the severity of my insomnia, I wake somewhere around 3:00 am. I read until 5:30 am or 6:00 am, take a medication that requires an empty stomach and no food until an hour after taking it. I then go back to sleep for an hour and I’m up at 7:00 am. By 10:00 am, I have dressed, prepared two breakfasts (Mr. Fixt and I eat totally different morning meals), loaded the dishwasher, read the news on line, worked two jigsaw puzzles, and solved two crosswords.

Since I sprung (as much as a 67 year old can spring) forward that one lost hour seems to cause me several hours of frustration. It is now almost 11:30 am, and I’m just now finishing my routine morning stuff. It ruins my whole day. It takes me months for my body to adjust.

Pardon me for shouting, but I HATE DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME! I’m so angry at Ben Franklin, the old buzzard.

(DST also makes me testy.)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Handyman Extraordinaire

I decided I wanted a scroll frame to use for embroidery. I bought the frame. It was too big and clumsy for me to use without a stand. I checked the prices and found they were priced a little out of my budget. The cheapest one I saw was $69. I described to Mr. Fixit the features I would like to have and asked him if he could make me one. This is the result

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The scroll frame flips so that I can work on the back without disassembling the whole thing. I need to work on the back when fastening starting and ending threads.

002

He used scrap wood. We did have to buy a couple of screws and the knobs.

Sometime ago, I described another little item I needed to keep my crochet thread and yarn cat-hair free. After I explained what I needed, this is what he came up with—works perfectly. I can use it with lots of different thread and yarn holders.

004

He’s so handy to have around.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Grandchildren

Cole, who is a senior this year, has been accepted by several colleges, but he was disappointed when he hadn’t heard from his first choice.  They had all his all of the necessary paperwork except for his application. The lady told him to re-submit the application and she would rush it through. He received his acceptance a few days later. He’s so happy!

He is also playing varsity baseball again his year. They have already played several scrimmage games and one tournament. It has been so cold. I went to the first one which was on a warm sunny afternoon. The next game was played at 5:00 pm. It was so cold, Bella and I sat in the car through six innings. Last night Mr. Fixit almost froze his tush off. The game for tonight has been cancelled because of rain. It has rained here for days it seems.

Noah, our seventh grader, made the C team for his middle school. It’s for seventh and eighth graders. He made the A honor roll as usual, and his classmates voted for him to take part in a program that I don’t quite understand. It foster the virtues of knighthood; it’s based in Texas, I think. I think it’s great that the other kids see what a peach of a kid he is.

He is so logical, too. We were having lunch, and I asked him if the chicken was good. He said that he always eats his fries first. He explained that if he filled up on french fries, the chicken could be taken home and warmed. He said that warmed over french fries weren’t very good. I never thought about that.

Bella starts her volleyball season soon. She had a practice last night. She made the laugh and also realize that she has common sense. The night we were sitting in the car waiting for the game to be over, she brought up the subject of bathrooms on tour buses. She told me the ones she had seen were pretty nice, but you are bounced around while taking advantage of the facilities. I said, “I guess you have to be careful not to go in right after a boy.” She said, “The girls try to go before the boys get in there.” I can imagine a group of fifth grade girls discussing and solving the problem.

Owen made the honor, too. He’s going to be playing baseball on the rec league and his travel league. His hip-hop team competed recently; they did very well. The kid can dance! Even though he is 10 years old, the instructor put him on the teen team. He “has the music in him.”

Levi is in first grade and is looking forward to baseball season, too. They may have had a practice already. He’s such a good player in both baseball and football. And he’s sharp as a tack.

Grandmothers are allowed to brag a little once in a while.