Friday, May 28, 2010

Not with my printer, you don't!

So the big girls in the family are going to see Wicked during the Dallas Summer Musicals. The big boys didn't want to be left out of an adventure, but they didn't want to see Wicked either. Conveniently, there's a Texas Rangers game at the same time. Now, the big boys are going to have to take granddaughter and grandson to the game, since they're obviously too young for the musical, but that appears to be just fine. I'm sure comeuppance will be down the line in a few years.

Now begins our tale.

The ticket site for the Rangers is a bit cumbersome, but I'm sure they've heard that before. Nonetheless, we found five seats--big boy number one doesn't want to have to have a child in his lap all/part of the game, but he probably will--that might not have the sun in the eyes all afternoon. Just as an aside, tickets to major league games are not cheap.

So it comes time to pay out. Onto each ticket is a $3.75 seat charge and then there's one for $2 added on to the parking pass. Fine. This I expect. But the kicker comes in how one's to get the tickets: mail or print yourself.

I have no objection to printing my own tickets. Been there. Done that. But it was never going to cost me to do so. $2.50. And that's where I drew the line and checked the box for them to mail them.

Postage cost: 50 cents.

I say no more.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A lone lady walks up to the hostess stand...

... and is asked to sit in the bar.

Uh, no.

So today, I'm into the almost-Big City and decide to try an upscale Mexican restaurant for lunch. We've eaten there before and found it to be a beautiful place, but noisy and a bit on the pricey side. But that was over a year ago and there was more competition in the area now--and I was hungry since it was noon--so I decided to give it another go.

The parking lot wasn't even half full and as I entered I saw there were lots of empty tables. So the query from the hostess caught me off guard: Did I want to sit AT the bar (all places empty) or at a table IN the bar (all but one table empty)?

'Fraid she caught me wrong, probably since I'd been asked this same thing about a month ago at another upscale Mexican restaurant on the other side of town. "Just because I'm by myself does not mean I want to eat in the bar," I explained. "I want to eat in the dining room and at a table, not a booth."

"I have to ask," she said and with a huff I was shown to my dining table by the restrooms and behind a column. Not an ordinary column, mind you, but something so huge it would take three people to put their arms around.

I didn't want upscale Mexican that badly. As I was circling the table and figuring out that there was truly no where to sit around it that did not either show me the restrooms or the column, I was preparing to leave. Then the waiter showed up, saw my distress. As there were three empty tables next to my appointed one, he seated me where I wanted to be.

I stayed. The food was delicious, not as pricey as I remember, and I left a 25% tip.

So a word to hostesses everywhere: The lone woman you insult by suggesting she sit in the bar and then put her in the back of beyond when she refuses, just might be the advance party for a large group. Trust me, I'll remember this incident before I return.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Tomato updates, May 22

Our Topsy-Turvy tomato plant is doing well:

It has tomatoes:

Our bag tomatoes are getting large:

Complete with tomatoes!

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

The 70th reunion

My dad is from Pennsylvania, brought to Texas with the advent of his military service. My mother, Texas born and bred, was not about to move North, so they settled in her hometown. That did not stop the steady progression of our summer visits every 3-5 years back to his home.

I have sketchy memories of most of those visits. One set of cousins lived on a farm; I have no recollection whatsoever of visiting the other set who were still in PA. I know I was confused to see my grandmother's headstone with my grandfather's name ascribed beside it. Wasn't he still alive? The absence of dates must have escaped my elementary self. I remember meeting my father's mother's parents. They had an outhouse and my great-grandfather did not believe all that outer space and astronaut nonsense. They were merely filming it somewhere. My great-grandmother, blind and wheelchair-bound as she was a double amputee due to diabetes, told me the family genealogy. I scrawled it on a piece of lined notebook paper and later transferred it into a Bible.

But what I remember most was Daddy's five-year treks to his high school reunions. One in particular stands out, in a hotel dining room, and I have the idea that it was painted 50s green. There was an award for the grad who had traveled farthest--Daddy won--and the one with the most children. I don't remember the number, but her "award" was an apron which stated "I should have danced all night." I still find that clever.

A few days ago I received a letter from one of Daddy's classmates informing me, in a legible 89-year-old scrawl, that their 70th high school reunion was coming up. Of the 92 grads, 35 were still alive at her last count and she wanted to know about Daddy. She even remembered my sister and me at that early reunion.

I've written her back, telling her that Daddy is here in body, if not mind.

But, think about it. Seventy years, the first ones of which would have embroiled the young men in a war, and one-third of the class is still alive? I wonder if I'll be writing legible notes for my 70th, or if I'll even see it. And if I do, will I know anyone?

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hail the conquering hero

I must emphasize from the start of this that our cats Tuxedo and Pyewacket have NEVER NEVER NEVER been outside. Their little paws are pristine. They watch the world from perches on the table or the window sill. They are observers, not participants in the kitty antics beyond their door.

Which made what happened this morning really, really strange. Pyewacket presented us with a half-eaten bird.

My husband was walking out of the bathroom into our bedroom. "Uh oh," I heard him say. "I don't have my glasses on, but this doesn't look good."

Well, that'll make me put down the mascara and get a move on.

Sure enough, it didn't look good. Pyewacket had dumped a carcass, feathers and all in front of my vanity. There were more feathers and little-bitty body parts about. And blood. Not a lot, but enough to make me wonder where the decapitation had taken place because there wasn't any head in evidence.

Now the question uppermost in our minds was where did he acquire this? The doors were closed so it wasn't like the outside cats did a delivery and he pushed against the screen and took it. We've not noted any birds flying about the kitchen for him to tackle. I went downstairs to get the proper cleaning things and found the answer.

We have a window bird feeder. Pye has always, like his predecessors, liked to watch the birds dine. The other window beside the feeder is also an observation spot. Except this morning, the temptation was too great and someone swiped his big paw through the edge of the screen and grabbed a bit of brunch. The screen is torn and will have to be replaced.

The mighty hunter has prevailed--and I've closed the window. Now I just want to find the rest of the bird.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

iPad and me

It's probably not the wisest move to buy the iPad, sit for an hour in the store to get it synced up to iTunes (I was greedy and wanted a LOT of photos transferred and I wanted backup if something went wrong), and then head out of town. That, of course, is exactly what we did.

So my iPad and I spent our first days together in a hotel with free, but uncertain/sluggish wifi. I was so disgusted with it by Saturday afternoon, that I went downstairs, sat near the business center, and signed up for the 250MB 3G service. While I'm not particularly afraid of running out of MBs since we don't have 3G service here, I will watch my usage.

Now at home, I have wifi, so I should, according to this article on this morning, just turn the cellular data switch to off. I think I'll do that when I switch it on in order to read the USA Today which I downloaded yesterday afternoon sitting just feet from my modem and seeing a full set of bars.

Obviously, I have much to do to get iPad the way I want it. First off, I need a name for her, then I need to make her a little sleeve to wear while in my purse. Which, btw, I had to buy a new one of in order to accommodate her. And Apple is out of their covers which I was going to buy. Now, they had them the day I ordered the iPad, but there must have been one heck of a rush in the intervening week since the guy at the Apple Houston store told me they were backordered for a month. I did purchase a little molded cover for her back, but she needs something to protect her front.

An iPad's owner's work is never done.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What recession?

I suppose the recession of the last two years is over. I base this on the fact that Apple has sold over 1 million iPads in the first month and that it has taken me 9 days to get the one I ordered from the store. That means there's a lot of unreserved, unneeded-for-necessities money out there.

My husband wants to know what I need one for. Well, that has been the problem with them, now hasn't it? What is it for? Not a phone. Not a laptop. There have been--see the preceding paragraph--over 1 million people willing to find out. And, as of tomorrow morning, there'll be 1 million and one.

I'll let you know what I need it for. Stay tuned.

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Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mother's Day

At church this morning, the preacher asked us to turn to the person next to us and tell them something our mother used to always tell us. Later, she asked people to share.

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything."

"Everyone is beautiful. The dandelion is only a weed because someone told you so."

My mother? How about: "Don't let anyone else hear you say that. They'll think you're _________." Fill in the blank: crazy, silly, stupid.

How about this, Mother? I'm writer. Everyone hears what I say, be it crazy, silly, stupid, or, you fill in the blank.

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Friday, May 07, 2010

The Fortune-less Fortune Cookie

In a word: bummer.

At the mall to update and upgrade my MacBook from OS Tiger to OS Snow Leopard, and afraid to do it on my own, I'd spent nearly three hours semi-occupying a young man's time while the computer did all the work. I played with the iPad, the reason for doing this update, and studied its accessories. The fact that one cannot have an iPad on a Mac unless one is running OS 10.5 somewhat irked me, but I bit the bullet and laid down my money, and that was that. Now the fact that I don't have an iPad because they're out of them is annoying.

Take a deep breath. Get back to the subject line.

So I eat at the Food Court. I've had the quickie Chinese entries before and they're adequate and I was hungry. And there was a fortune cookie on top!

Except when I opened it, no fortune. I felt a bit like the characters on Flash Forward, the ABC show where if you didn't have a vision during the worldwide blackout, you didn't have a future. Did I not have a fortune?

I was tempted to go ask for another, but really, what if it were empty too? So I crunched my cookie and was confident that it had far fewer calories than the offerings of the ice cream place behind me. Nothing like a little righteous indignation to set one on the dietary track.

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Monday, May 03, 2010

Everything but the charcoal

We have a habit, and from my point of view it's a pretty bad one, of buying something that needs to be put together (I'm okay with that) and deciding that the perfect time to do such is nine in the evening, which is where the problem comes in.

I am a morning person, a lark, married to an owl. Over the years, I've edged him closer to the near side of ten PM, but he thinks projects, like putting together TV stands that are really pieces of FURNITURE or the luggage holder from Sears, the Es-cargo, can be started at nine, about the time I'm ready to call my day to a screeching halt.

So it was a couple weeks ago with the new charcoal grill. We had debated getting a gas grill, but they were all larger than our cooking space on the patio deems necessary, so we fell into old habits and bought charcoal.

It was a little fancier than the kettle which had served us for the last 5 or 6 years, the one whose bottom was rusted through. (Did I mention we don't take great care of our outdoor grills?) It had more parts, like wheels and a tray beneath and a little-bitty shelf which would pop up. And big handles and two grills, one for warming. We were definitely stepping up in class. Well, for us we were stepping up.

Since we do this nighttime assembly thing so often, we have a routine: I sort the pieces and read the directions and he puts it together. Armed with a glass of wine apiece and a basketball game on the TV, we began.

First rattle out of the box, he tightened the handle too tight on one side and the plastic broke. I did not see this as a good omen. We would hot glue it, he said. (We did do that when finished but it has disassembled itself; still it's workable.) We put the legs into the wrong holes, but we only did it on one side, and since we were no longer tightening things down, it was a time mistake and nothing more.

Gradually, our new sleek grill took shape. He rolled it out the front door and around to the back patio.

Never mind that it had taken the entire basketball game to get it done, it was now operational. The shelf worked and the charcoal grate raised and lowered on demand. All the pieces had even been there and there were none left over. Just as the directions had warned us from the beginning, everything was included... except the charcoal.

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