Thursday, August 28, 2008

My pear crop

After 25 years of growing, trimming, feeding, and coaxing our two pear trees into yielding pears--an act they do with regularity--I am happy to report that I--the owner of said trees--have finally beaten the raccoons and squirrels at their own game and picked a pear crop.

Twenty four. Approx.

One tree has given us big pears and one tree's are half the size. There are a few pears at the top of the tree, but absent a wind toppling them into my waiting hands, they will be gleaned or left to rot.

I had hoped to make pear preserves, my absolute favorite jelly/jam/condiment, but a friend informed me that as these were planted to be eating pears, they wouldn't make good preserving pears. And there are only 24 of them.

Bon appetit to me!

But what about a pie?

Labels: , ,

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The long of it

It seems to have become a trend. Buy one item--just one!--and the receipt is six inches long. Not only are the particulars there--store name, address, phone number and maybe the manager's name, date, time, receipt and terminal number--but there's very often a contest. Go online to such-and-such, answer the very quick (really?), non-intrusive (oh, please) quiz about this visit to this store and be entered for a chance to win an $X shopping card.

Have you done it?

Realizing my chances of such are just about zero, I rarely do. I did give the Wal-Mart one a try early in their game, but I think it's because I hadn't found what I'd set out to snag. And then, the questionnaire did not lend itself to my complaint. I will phone in, like when Chico's forks over with a survey, but then the reward is immediate: money off your next purchase, here's the code. Just what I needed was another excuse, uh, reason, to go in.

Sometimes there is a contact number if you have a complaint/compliment about your shopping experience. Not often, though. I think mainly they want your personal info to better "tailor" your shopping experience. Yes, that's what I'm sure of: every Big Box I frequent is tailoring my shopping experience there to fit me. And you. And you, too.

Thing is, I save every receipt: sales tax, in case the item doesn't work or wears out too soon, my very own price checks. So I've a bundle of paper, made wider and deeper by verbosity.

For once, it isn't mine.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Feelin' like a kid again

My spouse is on a(nother) golf trip of a lifetime, this time to Pebble Beach on the Monterey Peninsula in California. He'll play three world-class courses, have a good time with the guys, and come home refreshed and exhausted. You play, you pay.

But this time, I can go with him and watch him play. Sort of. Pebble Beach the course, has webcams on the first, seventeenth, and eighteenth, plus a look at the club house. Wouldn't I like to see him tee off, he asks as he calls.

Well... okay. I get the time, sit myself down dutifully fifteen minutes early, and go through to the link. And, yes, there's the first tee at Pebble Beach. (It could be Outer Mongolia for all I know, but we'll assume everything's on the up and up.) The webcam, to my chagrin, is not streaming video. Every eight seconds it refreshes itself. This is really interesting and amusing. See the stream of water on the flowers? Now, wait eight seconds and the man with the hose will appear. Eight more--gone!

The cam is trained on the pro tee off spot and that's not where the action will be that I'm supposed to watch so I will have to strain my eyes and train my attention further down field. I'm early to the game so I watch the group at 9:20 CDT go off and they could be two-headed alien creatures for all the distinction there is between them. Hmmm... if I only knew what he was wearing. If it were red, or bright green, or yellow.

Phone call. Am I watching? They've been called. Wearing? Three of them are in dark pants. How about you? I ask. Dark pants, dark vest, blue shirt.

So I sit and watch the less-than-matchstick size men tee off.

Duty done, I'm reminded of a time when I was still in elementary school. My dad was asked to go to the New Year's Day Cotton Bowl Game. Mother kept my sister and me amused all afternoon in front of the black and white television watching for Daddy in the stands. And trust me, the camera didn't pan the crowd even in eight second intervals.

We never saw him--and I never forgot the ruse.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Can you smell me? Can you smell me now?

For over ten years, I've worn Quelques Violettes by Houbigant as my fragrance of choice. I've had multiple compliments on my scent. It is me. However, I have watched it slowly disappear from the shelves of the high-dollar stores like Neiman's, then the mid-price, such as Dillard's, finally skipping the low-end and confining itself to the internet. As it seems to be disappearing from there as well, I girded my loins, took the bottle with its last quarter-inch with me and headed to the mall. I was going to find a replacement.

I targeted Neiman's, Nordstrom's, and Dillard's. Surely between the three, I'd walk away with a new appropriately me scent.


I started at Neiman's. The young man who approached to help took a whiff from the lid of the spray and headed out. I trailed behind. Three counter stops later, he deposited me and my finicky nose with another young man who tried really, really hard to come up with something from his samples, all very floral. None very violet. Wearing two different ones on my arms to see how they smelled in thirty minutes, I found myself furiously washing one of them off ten minutes later. It was wretched. I snuck around to another counter and doused myself with a relative of my Quelques, Q Fleurs Royale, and took off. (The clerk informed me that Q V was no longer made, which makes perfect sense although I haven't found confirmation of that yet online.)

On to Dillard's, where the lady took a sniff and declared she had nothing like it. (I think I was figuring that out by now.) But she suggested Chanel No. 5, sprayed my hand and sent me out to air.

Final stop was Nordstrom's, and the clerk was equally puzzled. She sniffed and sniffed her wares, sprayed those little pieces of paper for all they were worth (although skin is a bit different) and finally settled on Bulvari pour femme. I dutifully held out my hand and then went to lunch, letting all the scents settle. For good measure, I found a spot not covered and sprayed on the original.

Lunch with my son being over, I offered him the sniff test. We eliminated the remaining Neiman's offering, rejected Chanel, and came to a draw on Q Fleur Royale and the Bulvari.

As the day wore on, the QFR disappeared from my skin, but the Bulvari remained. The at-home sniff test by the spouse showed a strong dislike of what I've worn for 10 years, so I discounted any other opinion also.

Nordstrom's (and only Nordstrom's) made sure I had a sample to take home, so I'm trying it for a few days. If I'm still undecided, I'll cyber-shop and just do a double order, hoping in time that the world of perfume will come to its senses and make my beloved fragrance again.

Labels: ,

Friday, August 15, 2008

What I did, what I did

Having now retrieved my Mac from its 4-day exile into the bowels of a Mac Tune-up experience (the initial timeline was 1-2 days, but somewhere along the way my computer got stuck under someone else's paperwork), I can report on what I did while it was gone.

I was lost. I'd walk into my study and stare at the table. It wasn't there. So I'd troop downstairs to my spouse's iBook and read my favorite sites and fiddle with my email on my iPhone. I did learn a great deal about doing that, which is a good thing. Now if I'd just upgrade it to the 2.0.x software I could really be on top of things.

But here's what I did following the items listed in the blog post immediately below this one.

1. Thoroughly cleaning the house. Oh, please. No where close. But I did thoroughly clean up my workspace so my clean little computer has somewhere clean to put her feet.

2. Bathrooms and kitchen. I actually did a fair bit here. I can be righteous about number 2.

3. Flower beds. One or two. A little bit.

4. Bathroom drawers. YES!

5. Shelves of manuscripts. No.

6. Visit friends uninvited. No. So I didn't go out to lunch either.

7. Rent movies I want to see. No.

8. Read. Yes, I did this. Finished one book, started another.

So I learned I'm 1) much too attached to my computer and 2) this has got to be the biggest time-waster there is (when I'm not writing). How did I use to waste time before there were computers? I'd say I was too busy to do so, but please. Hmmm... maybe there used to be something worth watching on TV?

Nah. The memories are just skewed.


Saturday, August 09, 2008

What to do, what to do

If you have a Mac computer, you can purchase one or both of two annual services. One to One provides in-store help with any Mac tidbit and I've used it for primers in how to convert movies of our granddaughter to a DVD format. The other service is ProCare, which allows for (up to) three Macs to be tuned-up each year plus technical assistance. These programs used to be one for the cost of one, but some time back they split them and doubled the cost. I decided I'd get my money's worth and signed up for both.

The best way to get one's money's worth is to actually take advantage of the offerings. So, the end of my annual membership being near, I took in my spouse's computer for its annual physical. That, of course, means it's time now for mine. And I don't want to let it go.

It'll only be for a few days, but something in me is reluctant to part with it. True, I can keep up with my email on my iPhone (after all, that's one of its purposes, for Pete's sake!) and for large viewing, there is the other laptop's internet browser. I need not be deprived!

It's all mental, I know it is, so I'm composing a list of What to Do While My MacBook is in for its Annual Physical (which would not only be foolish but STUPID of me not to take advantage of):

1. I can thoroughly clean the house. (Bad idea, I'm sure. It'll just get dirty again.)

2. Forget the house in general and concentrate on the bathrooms and kitchen. (Bor-ing.)

3. The flower beds are in serious need of attention and now that it's hotter'n'Hades and they're dying off, it should be an easier job. (Okay. But only before it gets hot in the morning.)

4. Clean out the bathroom drawers. (There is a real need here.)

5. Do the same with the shelves of manuscripts, rejections, promo items, enews articles... (I get the point.)

Have you noticed that so far, all these items are labor-intensive? Where would the fun be?

6. Visit friends uninvited. Offer to take them to lunch. (If I show up unannounced, I need to take them to lunch.)

7. Rent movies I've always wanted to see and work on the next grandchild's baby quilt while I watch. (This idea is better.)

8. Read. (Ah... need I say more?)

But I'll still be waiting for the call to go fetch my computer.

Old habits are hard to die. I'll find myself sitting in my desk chair and staring at the printer. Just you wait and see.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

Eating our way out of misery

During our recent visit to Houston, we had occasion (and occasion and occasion) to visit the Galleria mall. Huge hardly describes this multi-level, multi-block complex. It's daunting at first. Shops I was familiar with--Nordie's, Neiman's, Macy's, those I wasn't and whose names I've forgotten already. Two Starbucks. Specialty shops for watches and then more specialty shops for watches. The Galleria draws a very international crowd of shoppers; maybe watches are on everyone's 'to buy' list.

Still, the most popular area of the Galleria was the downstairs fast food court. Very large this fast food court. Very diverse. Very crowded. Because this is where everyone was.

In the midst of high gas, banana prices through the roof, and uncertainty about what the election will bring, in the midst of all this--and no matter the number of SALE signs--middle America wasn't shopping. They were at the Galleria in force, but there were few bags under those crowded eatery tables. Very few.

In would appear that we are eating our way out of our misery. In times of trouble, we turn to that one source of sure solace: ice cream and french fries.

It does my American heart proud.

Labels: ,

Monday, August 04, 2008

Ah, August!

'Tis my favorite month: my birthday, my dad's (same day as mine), my sister's, my son's, my anniversary (and umpteen others I know). August is the only month without a major hurrah in it. No federal holiday, no religious holiday, just...

My birthday! This is the month where it pays off to have signed up for all those frequent dining and shopping clubs. I have clutches of coupons. Ten per cent off here, ten dollars off there. And all I have to do is go in. I think they're clever that way, 'cause I'm making my list and I'm going.

But August is sad too, at least sad for those of us who love early mornings. Even with daylight savings time, it's dark now when I get up, while for a glorious month or so in June and July, it wasn't. Perhaps it's to prepare us for the hibernation phase of late autumn and winter.

I'd rather have my daylight. I wonder if there's a coupon for that.

Labels: ,