Thursday, April 30, 2009

A poster child for my ISP

We have had Verizon DSL service ever since it was offered here. I have had very few, i. e. near zero, problems. Not totally trouble free, but over five years... near zero. I am happy. I would be loathe to change.

If you've ever signed up for DSL, then you know the drill: they're going to check your line to see if you're close enough to the office. Since I share a back fence with the local office (live downtown and you too can be zoned commercial), I was fairly certain I'd pass. That accomplished, we were in business.

Then last Friday night, the trouble began. My service became erratic and the light which should be steady on the modem would blink. And blink. For an hour. Then be steady. Blink. Not going to do.

By Sunday, with static on the house phones beginning, I figured that a new modem (my first choice to fix the deal) wasn't the answer. Alas, I had difficulty getting/staying on the line with customer service. I finally used my cell phone and after an hour of do-this and do-that (none of which worked), the patient customer service rep (he really was very nice) made a ticket and promised someone outside the house to check the lines the next day.

Monday morning, I'm waiting. Up drives William the Wonderful and checks the lines. He needs to check on the pole. A few minutes later, he's back. The problem is Verizon's with the lines. They need to be replaced from several poles back. Reason: the friendly, neighborhood squirrels have nearly chewed them in half. Tongue in cheek, I told him I regularly fed them so I just couldn't imagine why they would do that. He rolled his eyes.

Two hours later (did I mention it was drizzling most of this time?), the new line is strung and William the W and I are pinging my connection. A few hints about not stacking the modem and router and a strong suggestion to upgrade the equipment (I'll be calling next week) and W the W was gone.

Then yesterday, I read a article in the Wall Street Journal where the author was talking about the service from Verizon on lines. He too was complimentary. I'd like to think this was the norm, although I've heard complaints.

Here's to never having to edit this post.

Labels: ,

Friday, April 24, 2009

Seven miles to Paree

Having survived two hunts for the Mother of the Groom dress, hereafter known as the MOG, I was invited to join a friend for the MOB hunt. This should be better, I thought, because any color and style she wants, she can have. She sets the tone, instead of following along.

But also being one to get right to the hunt, and not dither around about it, I decided to do a little online looking first. I have a skirt, jacket, and camisole, which, in a different color, I thought would be perfect for the occasion. I set about looking it up and successfully found the site of the dress line.

I should have taken a hint that all was not going to go well when the latest collection I was offered to look at was Spring 2007. And there wasn't much of that. Not to be stopped by a little thing like current inventory and un-updated websites, I searched for a location which would sell the collection. I typed in the zip code of a city in the middle of where we'd be going and two stores came up as being within 25 miles. One was in the town. The other was in Paris FC.

Now, there is a Paris Texas. It is further than 25 miles. Also, it doesn't use the term "rue" in its street addresses nor do its telephone numbers divide strangely.

After an unsuccessful afternoon trying to bag this dress--and finding out from a store that the line in question is no longer carried because 1) they didn't change their merchandise and 2) there were issues (!)--I thought about proffering the website's other suggestion anyway.

Paree, anyone? Think the father of the bride would go for that? There were only four of us shopping. All opinions were needed.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, April 20, 2009

Garden goals

As the weather warms--and finally seems bent on staying that way--the urge to get among the weeds and empty flower beds has driven me outside. I've replenished the front porch flower pots with the same things as last year because I liked them so well: gerber daisies and million bells. Under the pergola in the back I've hung multiple hanging baskets with bright pinks and yellows and scattered morning glory and cosmo seeds in the attempt to be surprised if they actually come up.

The climbing white rose is in full, fuller, fullest shattering white bloom and the knock-out roses are already knock-outs. I've placed three tomato plants where they were fairly (un)successful last year and noted that there are three tomato volunteers. Don't have a clue what they might be: if hybrid, do they revert back to a parent? Do they even bear? They are, however, safe from plucking.

It all sounds so rosy, doesn't it? But some time in the near future, I shall have to remember these halcyon first bloom days and remember that I'm actually setting goals this year.

1. We put in expensive landscape lighting. I have to keep everything trimmed around the lights, or, why have it. This means the lantana cannot be given free rein. As to the mint... chop, chop, chop!

2. Fertilize. It took over 30 minutes last year to run the hose with the Miracle-Gro attachment to everything just in the back yard. I have, ahem, more this year.

3. Weed patrol. Thirty minutes a day and I still wouldn't be out of the woods, but really, pull, pull, pull!

4. Know when to quit buying. I think about now.

Labels: ,

Saturday, April 18, 2009

An old habit rears its head

I suppose I've been busier than I thought this week, as it's been a week since I've posted. I've been readying for our library's semi-annual used book, bake, and craft sale, this one featuring garden items and plants, whereas the one in the fall is based on painted pumpkins and holiday items. But this morning was the sale and it's--whew!--over!

So back to real time.

I watch movies in thirty minute increments while I'm on the treadmill 5 or 6 morning a week. I've been perusing the family film aisles the past weeks and have enjoyed some fare I've missed. Then, I opted to view A Far Off Place (1993), one of Reese Witherspoon's first movies. I'd seen it when it came out and decided it was good for another viewing. While the opening credits rolled, I was struck by a very old urge: I read the "based on the books by" line and wondered about reading them.

Growing up, I'd read that line, like the movie, and as well as I could in the '60s, seek out the book from the school or public library. Now, that's a easy feat (hello, Amazon), but it was a challenge then. However, I've become jaded: I realize that what's on the screen and what's on the printed page, are most likely going to be jarringly different.

We went to see Grisham's The Firm, before I read the book. I thought it was a fine movie, but in the crowded theater were all sorts of nay-saying whispers from the book-lovers. Somehow, they were disappointed. I, on the other hand, enjoyed the book just as well.

But I don't seek out the book after seeing the movie any more. I may read the book first, and then, like the nay-sayers in The Firm, scoff at how far off it is from the original. Which is why, curious as I am about Laurens van der Post's book A Far Off Place, I'll not seek it out. I did enjoy reading about him at, but I don't know that I'd like his work "interpreted."

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Fried fish surprise

The article in yesterday's paper was from Pennsylvania. It seems the state has health codes which made homemade pies and cakes and other sundry items served at church suppers verboten unless baked in an inspected kitchen, such as the church's. The current dust-up has come when a Catholic church was cited during its weekly Lenten fish fries. Off the tables went the homemade goodies and a few store-bought ones appeared, but let's face, it wasn't the same.

To add insult to injury, the church down the block was carrying on as before. Rumor has it there's a bill in the state legislature to counteract this for charities, but that isn't helping the current Lenten fund-raising for the parish.

Well, I can see where this line of thinking might catch on and could very well spoil many a church fund-raiser. Will be watching it.

But what really caught my attention wasn't the above. In the article I read (and the above link is similar but not exactly it), It was this: When talking about how much fish they buy to fry, they weren't talking catfish, the swimmer-du-jour in the South. Oh, no, it was cod and haddock.

Really? I mean, I know the North considers some of our menu choices to be suspect (catfish as bottom feeders and black-eyed peas as cow fodder), but a fish fry without catfish? With, instead, that staple of the Luby's cafeteria line, cod?

I wonder if they serve hush puppies with that.

Labels: ,

Monday, April 06, 2009

A helping hand

Growing up, both the National Geographic and the Reader's Digest were staples in my home. I looked at the pictures in the NG (much as you would in Playboy), but in general considered the articles too long. The opposite is true of the RD, whose purpose was 30 articles in 30 days or something like that. I didn't really care. I went for the jokes (much as you would in Playboy).

Some of the humor stuck with me and, lo and behold, I can actually put a piece of it to work today. I think the tale was listed under the "Humor in Uniform" column, but maybe not. A woman related the story of being very pregnant and attempting to cross a busy street against a strong wind. Suddenly she feels a hand at her back (this was the 60s and strangers might touch and no one yell harassment, remember?) and looking over her shoulder is a Naval officer propelling/guiding/steering her across the street. He says something clever about ships and wind and she records it for prosperity--and my young memory--in RD. And I think she would have been paid.

So today I'm leaving Target with a boxed card table tilted in my large cart. (Why a card table when I already have three, garnered over marriage and from closing the parental house? Well, it's a long story, but suffice it to say I succumbed to the Grandmother gene and bought a tent which fits on a card table for the granddaughter's birthday and they don't have a card table.) Back to the story: Me, large cart, unwieldy purchase, and very strong winds hitting me sideways. I quickly figure out that unless I want to be in the middle of the next parking lot, I'll get on the side of this thing and vector it across the lot.

Then, all of a sudden, still in high wind, I straighten out. I look over my shoulder and there he is, a tall, broad man unafraid to offer a helping hand. He has hold of my card table and says something clever, to the effect that I wasn't going to make it across without help. No lie; I would have, but it wouldn't have been fun. Now I handily made it to the car, he hefted it in, I said thank you, and my white knight disappeared into his truck.

Not clever enough to get me into RD, but I certainly appreciated it and the memory.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

An intro to romance

This is my 350th post. But who's counting?

However, being as it is a milestone post and I am a romance writer, this is momentous in one very special way: I introduced someone to romance reading. Someone who had NEVER read a romance novel. (Personally, I bet she has and hasn't realized it, as some romance novels masquerade in other genres just to be sneaky.) But we'll go with her claim of, "I've never read a romance."

And this person is special, the original Lyla. I named the heroine of Lyla's Song for her. I'd always liked the name and she was a childhood friend, although I'd lost track of her. Then last week, I had lunch with her and gave her a copy of the book. It seemed only fitting. When she called to tell me how much she had enjoyed it (music to an author's ears), she also said it was her first--and where could she find the rest?

You know, I had several suggestions.

Labels: , ,