Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Lights out!

Whoever told you strings of Christmas lights are made in China, LIED. Lied, I tell you. They are made in Hell.

Last year, I put into storage working strings of lights. That would be the lights around the front door and the lights up the banister. While our pre-lit Christmas tree had already proved itself untrustworthy the second year of its existence by losing all contact with one portion of its pre-lit-ness, I had tucked away a string of lights to connect to it so it would resemble a whole tree. It is forgiven its transgression because by now, I don't care.

But the others are not. I had several strings (working when stored) in reserve. They did not completely work either. About 3/4 of each strand did. For the front door, I doubled good lights over bad and twisted them around nails in the hopes they will stay up there. For the banister, I disengaged the two strands, neither of which was 100% competent, and replaced with another which--let me hold my breath--worked for the time being.

Christmas lights: made in Hell.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Sleeping with the snowman

Nestled inside the big Christmas storage boxes are many little boxes, both to keep things in order and to keep things safe. Sure enough, nestled in with two reindeer and the wine bottle holder snowman was my angel. Her wings were a little bent (let us all raise our eyebrows here), but otherwise she was in good shape. I fluffed her out and hung her up!

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An Angel goes AWOL

We've all seen our special angels go AWOL, or at the very least take a walkabout. Their timing is always guaranteed to frustrate the rest of us. This weekend at our family Thanksgiving rent-a-house-get-away-together time, grandson Jack wasn't feeling well. HIs ear hurt and his throat; his medicine hadn't kicked in sufficiently for his angelic presence to be always with us. Oh, he'd have his moments of glee, but then they'd go away. Today, Jack is on the road to recovery and his angel will be back in residence shortly.

But that's not the type of angel I'm writing about, although it makes an interesting aside. The Christmas boxes are hauled down from the attic and the living room looks like we're preparing for a major move. This, even after we took several boxes to the second hand store last Tuesday.

Last night I started decorating the tree, first putting up our special ornaments which aren't stored in the attic and which get pride of place. I worked for over 2 hours but at the end of that time, I still hadn't found our Christmas tree topper angel.

She was a gift perhaps 20 years ago. She's crocheted and stiffened with a glue compound which was popular to do then. I even tried it, but my snowflakes never stiffened sufficiently. But this angel was great! She's topped our tree ever since. But this year, she's AWOL.

I did cursory searches in boxes I thought we might have tucked her into for safe keeping. No, not there. Today, as I search through the rest, perhaps I'll find her, find that she's merely walkabout.

Otherwise, we'll have a bare-topped Christmas tree.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Elder Statesman

Saturday we were at our grandson Jack's second birthday party held at the Frontiers of Flight Museum at Love Field, Dallas. Waiting for the toddlers to finish their running around and get down to the serious business of cupcakes and juice boxes, my husband, son-not-the-dad and his wife wandered into the main area of the museum to see what we could see.

We hadn't crossed the threshold until my daughter-in-law and I were in the gunsights of an elderly gentleman. He made a beeline for us. As women, he asked, wouldn't we like to hear a story about a little told part of aviation history? It would only take 10 or 15 minutes. Sure, I said, as I watched my husband and son scurry away (and lose out on a grand education as it turned out). My DIL trailed along with me.

We crossed the width of the museum (and it's not small) to his area of expertise. We did not cross quickly; I would estimate his age as late eighties or early nineties. However, given those parameters, I suppose it was practically running.

He settled us on benches surrounded by cases of WWII memorabilia. We learned a bit about bombers and flying solo, saw a photo of him in the cockpit of his plane. Handsome man. We then learned about the women who served so well as pilots, the WASPs and WAFPs.

He charmed us. He quoted poetry. He made me sad.

Because this is what my dad should be doing, being a docent in a flight museum, instead of sitting in a nursing facility because of his Alzheimer's. I didn't catch this gentleman's name, but I'm so glad he put us in his sights.

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

A trip down memory lane

Yesterday we celebrated grandson Jack's second birthday at the Love Field Museum of Flight, but that's another post. This one centers on what happened afterward.

Needing to discuss Thanksgiving plans, we adjourned to a nearby Mexican restaurant, Cantina Laredo in Inwood Village. As my son was telling me the location, my mind was skittering back to my childhood and teen years. I knew the place, but by another name. I'd practically grown up there when it was an El Chico's, as my dad had had business in Dallas nearly every weeknight. It was cheaper to feed the family--and far more efficient as far as he was concerned--to go to Dallas and pick up the parts he needed for the next day's repairs than to wait for them to arrive via the bus or mail. My mother liked El Chico's.

We made friends with the other regular customers and had our favorite waitress. We even attended her wedding mass. I think she later divorced.

I was interested to see if any of the old was left to the place. I remembered it as being very very pink. And huge. There was an upstairs where we rarely ate as it would have been reserved for parties. There were two paintings, very large, on opposite side walls. One was of a beautiful young Mexican woman reclining in a garden and the other of an Aztec sacrifice, complete with stone altar and young maiden. What would remain?

Not the pink. No telling how long that had been gone. The ceiling was lowered, there was a bar down one side, where there had been booths (pink), and the place had shrunk. Hmmm. But the paintings were still there and they too seem smaller, but still too large for any wall in my home. The place wasn't as brightly lit either as I remember it. The ambiance was just different. The food was very good and the service great.

As far as that goes, there wasn't the $1.99 plate of enchiladas, either.

The times, they do change.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tubeless toilet paper rolls

I'm sure by now you've heard of the latest way to save cardboard: tubeless toilet paper rolls. I'm thinking this probably works real well if your toilet paper roller has a spindle rather than two little catch-things to hold the tube. But what if you feel the need for a tube in your toilet paper? What's a person to do?

Me to the rescue! This morning, while wrapping three birthday gifts, I reached the end of three rolls of wrapping paper. There, into my trash, went three long cardboard tubes. But wait! What if I cut them up into toilet paper sized tubes and inserted them into tubeless toilet paper rolls and went back to "the way it used to be?" I could even save them and use them from roll to roll.

It boggles the mind. Even more so? They're considering tubeless paper towels. Wrapping paper tubes can once again come to the rescue.

Then again, there's this from treehugger.com.

Who knew?

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Sunday, November 07, 2010


As long as there's been Daylight Savings Time for me to enjoy, I've reveled in it. An extra hour of daylight in the evening was just perfect for my inner clock. I always hated to see it go and for us to 'fall back' into what one of my friends calls, God's time.

But not this year. This year, I've grown to hate the darkness in the morning. I'm an early riser, before 6 in the morning, and while a bit of dark is fine, not having any real light until way after 7 was upsetting my inner apple cart. So it was with something akin to glee that I turned all our clocks back last night.

My reward? A bit of light this morning before I'd been up for long. Of course, I'll have the opposite tale to tell when it's dark at six or so this evening, but I'll just click the blinds closed and go on about my business.


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Chatting to say good-bye

I like the customer service 'live' chats which many websites offer. For the most part I've found them speedy and helpful. But then comes the awkward moment: how do you say good-bye? In other words, after all the thank-yous and I-sees, where do you just quit?

I don't want to be rude and click the Close button too soon and have them mark my account as ungrateful. I shouldn't switch to talk about the weather because then I'm taking up someone else's time. Eventually the conversation is just over and a good customer service rep will let you know that it's time to let go and answer the survey which will pop up next.

Now if I can just incorporate this into my personal iChats. Saying good-bye in a timely manner, not the survey.

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Monday, November 01, 2010

A day of silence

My iPhone and I are friends. I rely on it (I've never assigned gender, although my car is female and my iPad is, ummm, male, I think) to find me when needed and to get me the people I need when I need them. I don't tax its systems. If I'm home and the call is local, I use the house phone. My iPhone is for contacts and calendars and quick "dialing."

So when I went to Canton Trade Days last Friday and found I had No Service, I wasn't particularly bothered. It was a very busy day. Great weather and people everywhere. Of course, the lines would be busy. But when I consistently had No Service--not even a lonely little bar which would indicate I might not get a call out but I could at least try--I started to feel a bit of anxiety. What if somebody needed me? I couldn't even access my travel partner to confirm our rendezvous. I started to listen to the loud speaker very carefully.

Then I noticed there were fewer people than usual talking on their cell phones. The place is normally a hotbed of cellular conversation, everything from "I'll deal with that when I get home" to "I told you I was going to Canton" to "Where did you say that was located?" Some people were chatting away, but most were not.

There'd been a huge storm in the vicinity a few days earlier. Had a tower gone down? No one mentioned it. I turned on my iPad and it showed a cellular signal, but I couldn't get a play out on Words with Friends. The dial spun and spun and spun and would still be spinning if we were there, I think.

We were halfway home before my friend got a call on her phone, a sure sign that civilization wasn't far away. But it was a lonely day at Canton and I realized just how dependent I am on the idea of always being in touch.

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