Sunday, January 30, 2011

The WABAC Machine

Does anyone else remember Mr. Peabody and the WABAC Machine from Rocky and Bullwinkle? Briefly, it was time travel with a dog and his boy. I delighted in it when I was a kid and I still love the concept. Cue Quantum Leap.

So last night, we got to go on our own personal, but not so distant in time nor life-changing, experience of having dinner with dear friends. They were neighbors, moved, we kept up with them, we visited, we went our separate ways with growing children and ailing parents. Every Christmas card would include the line: THIS year let's get together for dinner. Then, the next year, I'd write the same thing and so would she.

Well, enough of that. It had been at least 10 years since we'd really visited. After all, these were the people we had brunch with once at a hotel, looked up from our talking, and lunch was being served! We ordered.

However, the last time we'd visited was at a wedding two (three?) years ago and you know how much catching-up can go on there. Not much. So, I called, we picked a date, and last night we had dinner halfway (or so) between our homes.

Rick's Chophouse in McKinney is a much awarded (and justly so) place to dine. We spent two hours there, walked around a bit, then settled into their vintage 1971 Caddie for our second time travel experience of the evening, tooling around in a big sturdy car. There were definite differences: no shoulder harness and no metal frames around the door windows, and so much room!

So next Christmas card I write, I want it to say: "Know we just saw you in October, but what do you have planned for January?"

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

No longer a second class citizen

I have an original iPhone. It is so far behind the tech-iPhone curve that I no longer bother to update it. It functions as a phone and a text-originator just fine and anyway, why should I buy a new phone when our area is not 3G? So, stubbornly, I've held on and watched everyone else have the fantastic new toy which I wouldn't be able to use to its fullest anyway.

Then today friend Cindy calls and says the magic word (words?): "3G." Her friend at work had pointed it out to her and she had her Kindle in hand and it was showing 3G. Quickly, I flipped my iPad to cellular connect and there it was: 3G.

Now I have a dilemma. Well, not really. Next time I get within hailing distance of an Apple store... or get the urge online... or go out to the AT&T place...

I think I'll join the 3G iPhone 4 world.


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Monday, January 24, 2011

Barbie goes home

Much as I enjoyed the Barbie experience with the three-(almost four)-year-old granddaughter, I can't say I was sorry to see Barbie move on out of the living room. Indeed, since she's been cleaned up, so to speak, she will soon be moving to the public library for a little exhibition, kitchen, convertible and all.

Our Saturday morning trip to the Big Box to get a little something for younger brother Jack was an exercise in decision making. First question: once we secured Jack a little something, could she have something? I assured her she could. We hit the clearance aisle for Jack and after picking out three packages of small cars, I was informed that that "was enough." On to the Barbie/Disney princess aisles. It took several passes before we settled on a Snow White tiara and a Snow White ballerina Barbie, a masterpiece of cross-promotion if there ever was one. She wanted one more item--Jack had three packages--but I informed her that we were on a budget and her two equalled his three. She didn't quibble, but did manage to score each of them a bath scrubby with an animal affixed.

But my question is, how can a little granddaughter, no bigger than a minute, manage to set a household on its ear in less than 24 hours? I can only think of one room which didn't get some "droppings". Her hair clips were even in our bathroom and we have yet to find Barbie's other red shoe.

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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Barbie takes over...

... the living room, kitchen, study... you name it, no room has been safe from the Barbie invasion.

First of all, they all gathered for lunch:

Then two of my "more experienced" Barbies went for a drive.

No telling where they'll go next!

As an aside, I wasn't able, even with really savvy help, to get the stove to work. But then, my current Barbie fan and I didn't need to rotisserie a turkey in order to have a good time.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Setting up housekeeping for Barbie

Our granddaughter Emily is coming to spend the night with us. Her granddaddy wanted to know what we were going to do. Very simple, I told him, we're going to play Barbie!

Barbie was a very big (and new) item when I was a little girl. I had several Barbies and Kens. Looking into the boxes I have left, I have three Barbies and two Kens. They're in good, if loved, condition and have original clothes. I wish I still had the wardrobes which my sister and I hand-sewed, but either those things were tossed or my sister has them.

However, Barbie needs now, and needed then, all sorts of accompanying items. At my house she had an apartment which lined one wall of my sister's bedroom. The rooms were divided by pieces of paneling and the floors were a strip of linoleum from the house's new addition. My mother made beds from cigar boxes and we bought a kitchen and a car.

Barbie had it all--and I still have a lot of it.

So to celebrate Emily's visit, I dug it all out and cleaned it up. The beds are gone, but the kitchen is still in remarkable condition for something approaching 50 years old. There are dishes for the dishwasher, groceries for the refrigerator and staples for the pantry. I'm going to let Emily arrange all that.

Here's a look at the kitchen:

And a closer look at the oven. See the turkey? It's on a rotisserie. I replaced the batteries, but it won't turn although the flashlight bulb which makes the elements glow is lighting, so I know current is getting through. I'm going to work on it.

Finally, no self-respecting girl would be without a convertible and here's Barbie's, complete with personalized plate.

Once I get Barbie and Ken in shipshape, I'll post more photos.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

One week into the New Year, I realized that I was already a failure with my resolution to pay attention and remember the names of waitstaff and store clerks who helped me. Not that I'd had a lot of exposure to any in the first week, but of those I had, I couldn't remember a one. It was like I'd never made the resolution at all.

So I girded my mental loins and started to try harder and I'm doing a better job. I find that answering "I'm X and I'll be your server tonight" with "Thank you, X" helps imprints X on my mind. This info is crucial when X disappears and you need your check or water or a clean fork.

So, mind repositioned, I'll check back in a couple of weeks and let you know how I'm doing. It would, after all, be nice to make it past a month with a resolution.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Still covered with snow although the streets are clear and the white is retreating from the yards at the edges. I think the icicles hanging from my roof have dripped away also.

Wildlife shows up in snow. We had a bluejay at the bird feeder. I thought cardinals were large until Mr. Jay hung precipitously on the perch and pecked at the sunflower seed. The squirrels visited too and no amount of thumping on the window glass would dissuade them to leave.

Snow gives us the opportunity to see just who is walking in the yard and to where. I can now trace the paths the outdoor cats take to get next door. Although why they were doing so when I offer food and outside shelter is quite beyond me. The people next door are tolerant; I am welcoming.

And writing of pawprints, our garage is a separate building, foursquare and with a steep roof. Rounding it are squirrel (at least I hope they're squirrel) prints. Up, down, around. Enough to make me smile, but not forgive the feeder raid.

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Sunday, January 09, 2011

Snow day!

It is snowing, snowing so hard it looks like rain coming down which just goes to prove we're not doing anything halfway around here. Last winter we had two huge (for us) snows of 6 inches plus. They each lasted a day and then blissfully melted away. We should be so lucky this time.

I don't think we will be. After the snow stops, it's supposed to get colder. And ice is the one thing we're really, really terrible with around here. Don't do ice well.

Our outdoor cats seem to be adjusting. The steady three have been up for lunch. I've been checking on them and found the alpha female, Duchess, not huddled in her towel-lined box but under the clothes dryer vent's warm air!

Now I know how she's survived. Savvy girl.

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

The bottom of the search pile

Yahoo! has released its 2010 Top Searches list, and I didn't search for any of them. I'm not even sure who some of these people are. Maybe I should search for them...

On the other hand, where's the list of the 10 least searched for items/names? I bet I'd recognize them.


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Monday, January 03, 2011

Three sets of geese

Driving down the road the other evening, a V of geese caught my eye. There were probably 18 of them, in regulation formation, heading west. Now it is too late in the season for any serious flight to the South and too early to return North, so I surmised this group must have made their winter home at the wetlands preserve not that far (as the goose flies) from here. Or perhaps they've settled more closely and graced a farmer or the local lake with their presence.

Just behind--and flying at a furious rate--was a smaller V, maybe 7 or 8. From wherever the larger group had taken off, these must not have heard the "Go!" voiced by the leader. They were giving it all they had to catch up and indeed they did.

But even farther behind them was still a smaller group of individuals, the ones feasting on a different pond or oblivious to their surroundings--we all know geese like that--and they were doing double-swoops with their wings.

Would they catch the main group?

I had to stop at a red light and then it changed before I could complete the drama. There wasn't anyone behind me, so I slowed down and had to smile as the little group was allowed into the larger one and their flight west continued.

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Saturday, January 01, 2011

2011 begins

Here's the ubiquitous "Happy New Year!" And I mean it. I hope we all have a happy 2011, happy being whatever, well, makes you happy. If 2010 wasn't so good for you, then may 2011 be much better.

2010 was a good year for us: we've traveled, made plans to travel more, been with our family. I survived a thyroidectomy with only a scar--and a lifelong prescription for Synthroid--to show for it.

And I've wondered about making a resolution. I've never been big on them, their life span being somewhat less than that of any feral cat I've rounded up, had spayed/neutered, given proper vaccinations, and then watched get hit by a car crossing the street or who decides to go walkabout on my nickel. In other words, I've shied from resolutions.

But I have thought of two though and I'm really, really, really going to work on one of them. Really.

First of all, I'm considering jumping into the Facebook pool. I had a "lesson" from a friend yesterday. I can see where this can be a huge time-waster and a lot of fun.

Second--and this is the one I'm serious about--I'm going to pay more attention to names. I've written down the names of every customer service person I've talked to on the phone for years, the time of the conversation, the problem, the outcome. I've had the feeling that if I have to call back with a further complaint, I could say: "But John told me on June 14 at 3:10 PM CDT, that my refund would be forthcoming!" Pause. "What do you mean you've never had someone named John work in your customer service?"

Maybe that won't happen.

But the names of people in other customer service jobs, those are the ones I'm going to pay attention to. "Hi, I'm John, and I'll be your waiter tonight." When I walk out of the restaurant (and know where John has a new job now that he's no longer employed above), I want to remember that John waited on us. Or Beverly sold me the dress. Or Mick did the tire exchange.

I'm going to pay attention. It's a resolution. And now, it's public.

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