Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nature vs. nurture

It would appear that one cannot escape one's genes. In this case, it's the ear-ache gene. Grandson Jack, our sweet 16-month-old, has had a winter's length of ear problems. Alas, I know from whom he inherited them.

My sister's childhood, and to a certain extent mine as well, was spent with the ENT doc. I recall Daddy blowing pipe smoke into our ears to ease the pain and being made to lie down with a hot washcloth on our "down" ear in hopes of making it better. My sister's ear drum burst when she was little and I can still recall the misery that caused.

Then my second son had ear problems of herculean proportions. Five surgeries later, and grown man that he is, he still has a hole in one ear drum. The last doctor said that was just what that ear wanted and we gave up the fight.

Now, the grandson has these problems and it looks like he may begin the route of having tubes inserted. I'm just praying they work the first time and we can beat the nature.

We don't have any pipe smokers left.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

On having many baskets for the communication eggs

Yesterday afternoon, I sat down at my computer to check the afternoon's goings-on. The little ticker spun and spun but finally put up its triangle and exclamation point that it couldn't connect for my email. It's unusual, but not unheard of, for this to happen, to I skipped on over to Safari, which proceeded to have similar issues.

Not good, but not panic time either. The control panel told me I was connected to the internet via wireless. That isn't to say that the wireless is connected to the internet, though, so I went to check on the modem and router. All looked good. I decided to reroute the power, which means shutting down everything, and putting it all back together in a certain order. (Or, at least, that's what some tech told me years ago and I've always done it with good results, so I'm not rocking the boat now.)

But, alas, rerouting the power did not get me back online. It was time to call Verizon, but all I got was a series of short beeps. Tried another Verizon number. Same thing. Placed a local call. It went through. Called another 800 number unrelated to V. Short beeps. At this point, I realized the trouble was not mine and I went to make a tea bread.

Bread in oven, and internet still down, I finally put two and two together to realize that I wasn't tethered to Verizon. My iPhone is AT&T. I'd give that a shot. Called the 800 V number. Got through. Found out, after plugging in all the appropriate choices, that service was down for my area. I was reminded I would need to restart both the modem and my computer when all was well.

Unusual and not welcome. But not my fault. Found out on the local news several hours later that a highway department crew had cut a fiber-optic line. It was repaired and I was happily back in business after rerouting the power and my computer once again.

Then, I realized that while I'm mainly dependent on V for my communications, my subscriptions to unrelated services is for the best. With V out, AT&T still works, as does my cable TV. Had I all with the same carrier yesterday, I'd have been left to reading or working outside or talking with the neighbors...

Whew! I'll not complain about three separate bills again!

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The seasonal switcheroo

We had five inches of snow on Saturday night into Sunday morning. Five. Inches. Beyond mid-March. Beyond fathomable. It was almost a joke because then it was more melted than here by Sunday evening.

Hoping that was the last of winter (or of the unbearably cold winter although the temp didn't get below 30), on Monday I switched my closet. Out went winter, in came spring/summer. For better or worse, if it turns cold again, I shall have to dig.

Then, I made myself really look at items and decide not only if I was going to wear them again, but if I should wear them again. At the end of the hour, I had three Chico's shopping bags full for the secondhand store. To make sure I didn't have second thoughts, I handed them over on Tuesday morning. If it was a mistake, I'll have to not only pay to get it back, but hope it's still there.

I noticed a couple things about my wardrobe. My winter is heavy on jackets and vests. They don't go out of style and are available at bargain prices to shoppers like me who love to buy out of season. My spring/summer wardrobe (you'll notice there isn't a fall wardrobe because it's a mix of summer and winter) is heavy on crop pants. Again, readily available at bargain rates end of the season. That's why I have so many.

No excuses offered. No rationalizations. Just fact. Can't pass up a bargain.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010


I wasn't raised to "give up" something for Lent. Whether it became fashionable for Presbyterians and Methodists to do so in the last 25 years or my family never paid attention to it, I haven't a clue. So, historically for me at least, it's always been a non-issue.

But this year I stumbled into giving up something I didn't think I could. My watch.

I love my watch. It's a two-dial, slim affair from Skagen. I bought it for our first trip to Australia. The time zones there are so convoluted and far ahead of home, I knew I'd never keep it straight without help. Then, I just kept wearing the watch. However, it has a tendency to twist about on my arm, bringing the dials into harm's way by resting on the underside of my wrist. I went to the jeweler to have it tightened the week before Ash Wednesday. Two days later it was bothering me so much in its tightness, that I took it off.

I was watch-less. And lost. My wrist felt vacant.

Making a beeline back to the jeweler, I found him gone. His wife was having surgery and he should be back in two days. No problem. I'd depend on my cell phone, my car clock, and the fact that every room in the house has a clock to keep me on time and in the know.

Two days later, I found out that his wife's surgery had proven complicated and it would be the next week. Okay. I could do this. Except the next week, she was worse. Now I was checking in with the store, not to get my watch redone, but to see how she was.

Two weeks after Ash Wednesday passed, I realized I'd inadvertently given up my watch. I adjusted. (Cannot believe I just wrote that. I don't like to adjust.) Three weeks passed and I'd decided I could do without my watch.

Then the jeweler's truck was at his store and I went in. We visited, I got an update on his wife (long, slow recovery), and I got my watch band realigned.

I'd like to say I put it in the drawer until Easter, but I can't. It's on. I suppose I had a half-Lent. But I don't look at it like I did. Really. I'm semi-weaned--and a little bit wiser.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

In order to be counted

Last week we received notice that this week we'd receive our 2010 census survey. Today, we did. I almost feel bad for all the paper that's included and that a household of two won't need. There are spaces for 12 people. Not even counting the cats can we get up to 12. Thank goodness!

Stretching my memory back to childhood I can remember a census taker coming to the house and sitting down with my mother. There were way more questions than the basics of occupancy and race which form the nexus of the current form. My childhood's census would have been for 1960. 1970, I was in college. 1980, I remember sitting down with the census taker. I probably had two babies on my lap at the time and might even have known her. 1990? No clue. 2000? It was in the mail, too. There was a long form and a short? Can't remember which we had.

But with 10 questions for Person 1 and seven for Person 2, I'm thinking that we can probably do this in a minute.

Our only discussion may be over who gets to be Person 1.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring closet attrition

While I know it's too early to move my winter clothes into the other room and the spring/summer into the main closet (because if I do I know it will snow or do some other wintry thing just to get back at me), I have decided to let it happen by attrition. In other words, not finding what I want to wear, I'm going to raid the s/s closet and then leave it in the main one when it's time to hang it up. I'll even take sweaters into the other room. It wouldn't hurt to start making a box for the second hand store of those things that I think if I see them _one more time_, I'll start growling.

As to shoes, the boots are packed away and two pair of sandals have made their way out of hibernation. I hung one heavy coat. I folded fewer socks last laundry.

Oh, yes, I can feel the warmth starting in my bones, but I'm also wary of Mother Nature and her ill ways.

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Sunday, March 07, 2010

Getting ready for spring

The daffodils have exploded today in my yard. The King Alfreds started last week, but this afternoon the Ice Follies, white with yellow centers, are taking center stage. Daffodils here, tulips showing their greenery, hyacinths peeking through, must mean spring is on the way.

And not a day too soon. It's not that this winter has been worse than normal, because I don't believe it has. We've had cold and yes, there was that 6 inch snowfall in one day, but there's not been ice. What there has been is rain. And more rain. Our back area could have doubled for a rice paddy or cranberry field two weeks ago. We're tired of the wet.

The temps are warming, which means the day it hit 60 outside, I turned the heat off. The windows are cracked, the house is airing in stages, and I'm hoping I don't have to hear the click of the heat strips again until we turn it to the a/c side. I can almost hear my electric meter sighing in relief.

The big sign of spring however will be when I change over my closet. I am so tired of my winter blacks and browns. I think I get in more of a rut in winter than summer, wearing the same thing over and over. What's the adage: 20% of your clothes are worn 80% of the time? I can believe it.

But for the moment, I'll just be content to wear jackets instead of coats and lightweight socks instead of heavy, shoes instead of boots...

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Monday, March 01, 2010

Hot sauce!

Every once in a while I get a little reminder at how much my cooking style and vocabulary have changed. To wit:

We have some "left over" crab meat. This is a rarity because 1) we don't usually have crab around here 2) this is fresh! and 3) I bought too much for a special dinner we did Sat. So now, this wonderful fresh blue crab, all hand-picked and cooked, has to be consumed. I asked the spouse if he had a preference and I was told to "surprise me."

He really should know better.

So I'm digging through the old recipes from Galveston days, when we did have crab more often because we could actually go and catch our own. I had several favs, crab au gratin and Newburg being among them. So I'm reading through these two to decide which might better suit my energy level this evening. It's a tie.

In each, you make a cream sauce. In one of them it references adding the "hot sauce." Really? I didn't remember seeing hot sauce of any kind in the ingredients. I scan up. No Tabasco mentioned. I re-read. Silly me. There in the not-so-fine print is the answer. The recipe has just made a cream sauce. It is hot. Add a bit of it to the egg yolks so they won't curdle when everything is mixed together.

Hot sauce, indeed.

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