Sunday, September 27, 2009


I had the most wonderful day today.

Beth and I met over on the boardwalk in Kemah where we had lunch just a few months ago and we both ordered the very same things. Beth had cerviche and iced tea, and I had my delicious handmade and shaken Margarita with snapper, shrimp, veggies, rice and all that sort of wonderful stuff for my entree.

Ho, boy! We left there pleasantly full, carrying our doggie bags (for our nonexistent doggies).

The place was really crowded, but we had an excellent waitress. We've decided we'll go again over the Christmas season. I just wish it wasn't such a long ways over there. Close to 50 miles - each way - from my house.

It was great fun watching all the pleasure boats going by and the kiddies, along with some of their parents, feeding the ever-present gulls and even a few crows.

We laughed at a sign across the waterway that said "Leasing" - along with a phone number. We tried to write the phone # down, but couldn't see it clearly enough. What someone is trying to lease is a ramshackle building on stilts (everything's up off the ground in that area) whose walls are falling in. We'd noticed this toppling structure the last time we were there, and could hardly believe it was still standing.

I don't know if this was damage from Ike or not. (That area sustained major damage - really major - when Ike blew through just a little over a year ago. Took them months to rebuild the boardwalk.) I don't get over that way very often. As I said, it's purty doggoned far. Anyway, we thought - just for grins - that one of us would call the # on the sign and act like a prospective customer. You know? Just to see what the response might be. But, it didn't happen. Oh, well!

So, how was your day?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Getting tickets

We've all gotten them, haven't we? Come on now, admit it! Well, except for Steven, who doesn't even have a driver's license, much less drive.

What was your very first ticket? Mine was for speeding - in a school zone, no less. The background for this story is that I was late going over to my daughter's school to pick her up for her driving test. Is that incredibly funny, or what?!?

Anyhoo, I was so intent on getting over there that I didn't even notice the school zone warning signs until I was pulled over. Talk about embarrassing. The policeman laughed all the while he was writing this jui$y little ticket. My daughter laughed. Everyone laughed but me. I didn't see the humor until many years later. Now, of course, I think it's hilarious!

Earlier today, I drove out to Hobby Airport to pick up two of my long-timey regular customers. All the while we were driving towards our destination, she pointed out a policeman whenever she saw one. Why? Normally - I say normally - I don't speed, but SHE does! She couldn't tell me the actual number of speeding tickets she's received over the years, but her husband groaned when I asked.

Once I got a ticket in the mail. I had been detected speeding on an interstate by an "eye in the sky" ... that's CB language for a helicopter with radar. It had gone undetected by us CB-ers on the road that day.

Another ticket that I received in the mail was for running a red light. I NEVER run red lights. Never, never, never! When I received it, I was furious, and went charging out to my daughter's house to see if she could pull up the incident on her computer.

She could and did, and there my car and I were, breezily and uncaringly making our merry way through the intersection well after the light had turned red. Was I speeding? No. I was just cruising along in the middle lane. Was I polishing my nails? No. I never polish my nails. Was I paying attention? What a stupid question. I paid the ticket. Guilty as charged. Ye Gods!

In a post Steve published a few months back, he talks about his list of top ten terrible drivers. Among those are red light runners. Well, I didn't run, but I sure did walk! :(

The city of Houston began installing red light cameras all over the area a few years back, and I'm ashamed to admit that I did the dirty deed. And blithely so, I might add!

One time, while driving a taxicab, I was cruising up 59 towards town when I noticed this white car right on my bumper. (That one made Steve's list, too.) I mean, he was right ON my bumper! I switched lanes with no signal* and no room for him to get behind me - or so I thought, but somehow he did. I switched again, as quickly as I could, and there he was again!

I thought to myself, "This has got to be some young fool trying to play games with a taxi driver," and veered at the last second into the far right lane to exit the freeway. I intended to make a U-turn and stop at the gas station I knew was there and let this maniac cruise on up the road and bother someone else.

Well, this white car was right behind me ... on my tail the whole way, only now his lights were flashing. Boy, did that get my dander up! I pulled over, grabbed a piece of paper and a pen, and was ready to take down his name and badge number for driving so recklessly on the freeway.

He got out of his unmarked cruiser, ticket materials in hand and was all ready - with a smirk on his face - to give this cab driver a ticket. I charged over there and said, "Sir, I want that ticket, whatever you think you're going to write it for, and then I want to stand next to you in the courtroom while I tell the judge how you endangered my life on the freeway."

I was probably danged near apoplectic, I was so mad. He asked, "Didn't you see my license?" "How the devil could I see your license? You were right on my bumper!"

He said, "Well, you changed lanes several times without signaling." I said, "Sir, I was trying to get rid of that maniac behind me who kept riding my bumper."

We had a few more exchanges like that and he left. No ticket. Too bad. I was really looking forward to giving him the old 'what for' in the courtroom.

*Years ago, before I began driving a taxicab, I was one of the guilty parties who never used turn signals. Nor did I wear my seat belt. Can you imagine such dumb things? Looking back on those years, it's really hard now for me to believe that I acted so, but I know I did. It's a wonder I'm still alive.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Like eating peanut butter

Have you ever gone through periods in your life when you've acquired a craving for something? Not long ago, you might recall that I had to interrupt writing my latest thoughts because I was out of fudge bars and had to get to the store immediately because my taste buds required another one - or two or three.

Well, that craze ended maybe a month ago. I still eat them and enjoy them very much, but they're not my main dinner course anymore. In fact, I don't think I even had one yesterday. What was it before that? Spam and cheese, probably. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Watermelon. Bing cherries. Grape salad. Spare ribs and sauerkraut. Chili.

Years ago I went through a long stretch of craving romance. The only thing that stopped me from repeating that rhythmic pattern of falling in love, living together, marrying and breaking up was the sobering coincidence of losing my last parent and going through a third divorce in the very same year.

Some phases last longer than others. I wonder how long this one will last? I'm currently in the midst of a Bridge Base Online craze, and almost everything else has fallen way to the back of my 'to do' list, including "Goldenrod's thoughts". Yesterday, however, I came out of my daze long enough to read and add a couple of comments to Tammy's latest posts, so maybe things are easing off a bit?

I say "almost" everything else because I am getting one thing done that was on my list for months! I moved a very large crate-like wooden box (that I converted to hold legal-size file folders years ago) to my office this past week, and have been discarding old art business stuff from there - Yes! Actually throwing things away, if you can believe it!! - and adding (relabeling the files) materials related to bridge, Goldenrod's thoughts,, health and insurance.

How am I finding the time to do this? Well, when I'm dummy. For those of you who are non-bridge players, 'dummy' is the term applied when - after the bidding portion of the hand has been concluded, your partner is declarer and plays the hand. You have nothing at all to do for the next few minutes. It's working out really well. Slow, but sure. I'm feeding my addiction and accomplishing something positive all at the same time!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Exciting plays

I was sitting on the throne, my thoughts idling about baseball, and exciting plays came to mind.

What do you find exciting about the game? A no-hitter? A homerun? A double play? A rhubarb on the field where players argue calls and get tossed? A fan running out onto the field from the stands? The entertainment before or afterwards? Lots and lots of runs scored? How good-looking all the players are? When someone makes an unbelievable catch?

For me, the most exciting play in baseball is the squeeze bunt. This happens when the bases are loaded, the batter drops a well-placed bunt down - usually just inside the line towards third, and the runner from 3rd base arrives at home plate safely while the pitcher (and sometimes the catcher, as well) is scrambling for the ball. It just blows my mind every time I see one of those executed to perfection.

A triple play is also great fun to see. The most common occurrence, I guess, is when - with runners at 1st and 2nd - the ball is hit sharply on the ground towards 3rd. The third baseman snags the ball, steps on third, hot shots the ball over to second, which is then quickly relayed to first. I saw several of those back in the 90's, when our infield consisted of Jeff Bagwell (1st), Craig Biggio (2nd) and Ken Caminiti (3rd).

Ken's fielding was extraordinary in those days. (This was long before he got caught up in some personal stuff that detracted from his performance and eventually led to an early death.) Plus, he could rifle a ball over to first base faster than anyone I can ever remember seeing. There was one year - 1993, it must have been, the year before the infamous strike - when those three guys were the starting infield for the All Star Game. Those were special times for Astros fans.

I have never seen an unassisted triple play, but I'd like to. I've only heard about them. I could see this possibly happening at either 2nd or 3rd, where the baseman makes an incredible snatch of a screamer going right past him, steps on the bag before the runner can get back to it safely and then tags out the advancing runner. That would be exciting!

Home runs, as a rule, I find kind of 'ho hum'. Two exceptions ... grand slams and a home run to win the game. Well, I guess the latter would be tied in my mind with any ball hit well enough to drive home the winning run. Home field advantage? Nothing like it!


Absolutely have to do this post before I lose my train of thought!

Had some errands to run this afternoon and just now returned home. The radio was on the whole time, of course, and there are some things going on in baseball that I just feel compelled to comment on.

First things first ... my Astros. No, nothing exciting to report except that they today announced that next year's season ticket prices will be the same as this year's. Woohoo. Big deal, Lucille! They should be discounting tickets for next year, whatcha think?

One thing they are offering, however, for next year is kind of neat. If you buy two season tickets in ----- sections (two of them, but I was driving and couldn't take note of which two), you will get two season tickets in the same section free. Never heard of that!

On kind of a downward note, Roy Oswalt is done for the season. Maybe career? Who knows. Recurring nagging injuries. Personally, I think he's had it.

On kind of an upward note, tonight's game is being played in Cincinnati. Bug, do you ever go to these home games? Only 15,000 there this evening. Plenty of room for you! (Game is currently tied, but don't worry. Your guys are gonna sweep my guys.)

Did I call it for the Yankees and Cards a month or so ago, or did I call it? Man oh man, did those races ever end early, huh?

But, the wild card remains interesting. When I was talking with my son-in-law a while back and telling him I thought his Red Sox were not going to prevail in the American League East, he responded by saying he thought they'd win a wild card berth.

Well, for a while there it was nip and tuck between the Sox and the Rangers. Only two games separated the two teams. However, the Sox have now won six in a row, whereas the Rangers have lost three. The margin has widened to 5.5 games between them. Still close, but the Rangers' hopes are fading fast.

The National League wild card spot has been, for some time now, thought to be in sole possession of the Colorado Rockies. Well, they're dueling it out there in the west, and the Rockies had better start winning again. They've now lost four in a row and are playing the Giants later this evening. Tough and tight, folks! Tough and tight.


Monday, September 14, 2009


You've heard of 'emoticons', right? Those symbols that mean a smile [:)] or a frown [:(]?

Well, Beth has passed along an e-mail to me that is ridiculously funny! I'm going to take the liberty of changing *** to 'arse' ... wouldn't want to offend anyone's sensibilities. We can call these 'arsicons'.

(_!_) ... a regular arse

(__!__) ... a fat arse

(!) ... a tight arse

(_*_) ... an arsehole

(_x_) ... kiss my arse

(_X_) ... leave my arse alone

(_zzz_) ... a tired arse

(_E=mc2_) ... a smartarse

(_$_) ... money coming out of his arse

(_?_) ... dumbarse

Fun with word games ... #6

These have been cluttering up my tabletop and desk, so I thought I'd spread a little of the 'wealth' around. Maybe you'll find one or two of interest.

Crostic Puzzles ...

Organized crime is a blight on our nation. While many young Americans are lured into a career of crime by its promise of an easy life, most criminals actually must work long hours - frequently in buildings without air-conditioning. ~ Allen, "A Look at Organized Crime"

French adventurers on the Mississippi River came upon a tall red post apparently used to mark the boundary between the hunting grounds of two Indian tribes. Today, a large city stands on the very spot ... Louisiana's Baton Rouge, French for red stick. ~ R Dempewolff, "Why Call it That?"

Bats can see, though not so well as other mammals. The bat emits high-pitched sound waves which are reflected back from any object they hit. The bat reads the echo and knows the distance, size and shape of the object. ~ T Burnam, "More Misinformation"

Syllacrostics ...

A retired husband is often a wife's full-time job. ~ E Harris

Great thoughts, like great deeds, need no trumpet. ~ Bailey

Diets are mainly food for thought. ~ Wylie Jones

Word Games Puzzles ...

I eat my peas with honey.
I've done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny,
But it keeps them on the knife.

There once was a fly on the wall.
I wonder why it didn't fall ...

Because its feet stuck?
Or was it just luck?

Or does gravity miss things so small?

Friday, September 11, 2009

More than you ever wanted to know, probably,

about cancer, some of its causes and the various treatments being applied today to try and combat this dreaded disease.

Jennie, as you all know, has been bravely waging her own mighty battle against this latest attack on her body - her brain. This afternoon, she sent me an e-mail in which she talked about some of her latest discoveries. I'd like to share it with you.

Yesterday was really mindblowing. I learned so much about myself and cancer.

I learned yesterday that I have both negative and postive hormone receptors, which is unique. The drugs I have been taking for the past five years probably triggered the new cancer in the breast and in the brain, but because I acted promptly I avoided some things, too. The one in the brain had not invaded the skull, which would have been more involved ,and I had a wonderful neurosurgeon who is passionate about his work. So I am truly blessed to have it behind me. The headaches, nausea and dizziness all stopped as soon as it was removed. My care was terrific.

Now I will be taking a new drug by mouth instead of the infusions I have had for the past 5 years and I am off the drugs that caused the problem, although they did keep me alive in the interim. I am also off the list to get the rough chemo for the breast cancer recurrence, which I was dreading. And last of all, I won't lose my hair again as I would have. There is no need for a port either, so that part got better too.

The radiation for brain cancer is going to begin next week with making a mold for my head and then I think I will choose the cyper knife since it is one hour and has fewer side effects afterward. There are tests to be taken and I am still recuperating, but I am most grateful for the prayers, good wishes, cards and thoughts of everyone. Thank you, thank you and hurrah! I feel like leaping around but that wouldn't be prudent until the staples come out of my head next week.

Thank you for inquiring about me and writing me up. I'll keep you updated.

Love, Jennie

There's so much positive news there, it seems to me. Well, except for the "cyper knife" ... don't much like the sound of that one! :(

We're with you all the way, Jennie!

Up and at 'em

Well, I'm going to the Renaissance Festival this year. My daughter e-mailed me this morning asking if I wanted to go. DO I?!? Hooray! Now, all I have to do is start walking a little bit every day to try and build up my stamina. I huff and puff just walking out to the garage and back, for crying out loud!! To get some idea of why I say I'd better start doing some walking, go here. Those grounds are extensive!

I can remember the first time I went. Must have been within a year or two after they first opened. It's been quite a trip watching the festival expand and improve over the years. There was a period of several years - late 70's, early 80's, probably - when I went every year, participating in a different activity each time. Once I even sang with the monks in the open-air church.

Speaking of getting up and at 'em, I received an e-mail from Jennie. Surprise, surprise! At least we know she's sitting up and able to focus well enough to send an e-mail, which is great news. The subject of her e-mail is "Where some phrases originated" and some of these - I have to warn you! - are real groaners. I haven't the vaguest idea how many of them are true. Perhaps none, but they're fun reading.

Back in the 1500's ... ...

They used to use urine to tan animal hides, so families would all pee in one pot and then once a week take the total collected output to the tannery for payment. If you had to do this to survive, you were "piss poor". Then there were the really poor folks who couldn't afford to buy a pot. They were the lowest of the low and "didn't have a pot to piss in".

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly baths in May and still smelled pretty good by June. However, since they were starting to smell just a little bit, brides carried a bouquet of flowers to try and mask any offensive body odor. Thus began today's custom of the bride carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house went first and enjoyed the nice clean water. Next came all the other males in the household, followed by the women and children. By the time it was the baby's turn to bathe, the water was often so dirty you could actually lose someone in it. Hence came the expression, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water!"

Houses had thatched roofs - thick straw - piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small critters (dogs, mice and such) spent a lot of time in the roof. When it rained, the roof became slippery and sometimes the animals would fall off. This is the origin of the saying, "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom, what with bugs and other such - including various droppings - falling onto the bed. A bed with big posts and a sheet draped over them afforded some protection, and that's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt, so most people were "dirt poor". The very wealthy had slate floors that would become slippery when wet, particularly during winter, so thresh (straw) would be spread to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, more and more thresh was added until - sometimes - when the outside door was opened, a lot of the thresh would begin falling outside. In order to try and prevent that from happening, a large piece of wood was placed against the bottom of the door. This became known as a "thresh hold".

In those days, they cooked in the kitchen using a large kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they relit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables* - didn't get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes the stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while. Hence this rhyme: Peas porridge hot, Peas porridge cold, Peas porridge in the pot, Nine days old.

On rare and quite special occasions, pork was obtained. When visitors came over, the hosts would hang up their bacon to show it off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could "bring home the bacon". A little would be cut off to share with the guests and all would sit around and "chew the fat".

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Unfortunately, foods with a high acid content absorbed some of the lead and a few deaths resulted, so - for the next nearly 400 years, tomatoes were thought to be poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom, the family got the middle, and guests got the top (or "upper") crust.

Lead cups were often used to drink ale or whiskey. Sometimes, the combination would knock the imbibers out for a while. Someone walking along the road might take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They would be laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days while the family gathered around - ate, drank and waited to see if their loved one would wake up ... a "wake", as it were.

I left out the "saved by the bell" and "dead ringer" ones ... ... too much even for my somewhat 'out there' sense of humor and sensibilities!

A question ... ... How come everyone seems to pick on the 1500's? Why not the 1600's? 1700's? 1100's, even?

Absolutely wonderful to hear from Jennie and I hope that her e-mail has prompted a laugh or two.

*Chuck told me in an e-mail some time back that the origin of the word "vegetarian" is Indian, meaning "lousy hunter". You knew I'd find a use for this somewhere, didn't you, Chuck? :)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday morning

I just finished reading Chuck's latest post, where he describes how a trail head is built. Fascinating stuff!

Here's what the newly-completed trail tread looks like ... ...

Beautiful, isn't it?

You wouldn't believe the amount of work that goes into one of these projects. Over the years, Chuck has volunteered to work on over twenty of those. Incredible! This particular one is located in Acadia National Park.

His post is chock full of info (with accompanying photos showing each step along the way) on how the whole thing is created from start to finish. It's a fascinating read and, if you'd like to learn more about it, follow the link at the top.

Let's see, what else is going on? Well, not much. I've been spending way too much time in front of the computer lately playing Bridge Base Online. It's all Rick Barrett's fault, you know, altho it was Marilyn Methvin, my bridge friend from New Orleans, who first told me about this. She plays bridge online - for perhaps an hour or so at a stretch - several times a week, which works out really well for her because she has family members who need her attention. (It was unusual for her to be able to get away for a few hours to play with me at John Onstott's party in May.)

Rick and I hooked up as a bridge partnership just recently. I hadn't seen or even thought of him in years, but chanced to come across his name on the ACBL membership list one day and said to myself, "I should give him a call. See if he's still playing." Anyway, he's gotten me to play bridge with him online some Thursday evenings. At first I was all fumble fingers with it, but I'm getting better.

Then, the other night I pulled danged near an all-nighter with the gizmo. I could barely keep my eyes open at one time, but continued playing because my partner (Chinese) was really good and it was a most enjoyable game - particularly the defense. I hope to partner up with him again sometime.

The toilet's fixed. Hooray! Two different guys from ARS arrived Thursday morning within five minutes of each other, which caused a little confusion at times, but it was interesting! One was here to do an annual inspection of my AC and sign me up for another year of maintenance. He was finished and out of here probably an hour or so before the other guy.

While here, the AC guy was admiring my water oak tree out back. He couldn't believe it was only 30 years old! Says he has a bunch of red oaks on his property and had a whole lot of cleanup to do after Ike ... branches and such, like you might expect, plus a whole lot of dead wildlife (squirrels, birds, possums, skunks, deer). As he was rattling off this long list, I asked him where he lived. "Magnolia", he responded. My goodness! The Renaissance Festival is held very near there. I used to go every year, the last time with my daughter just a few years back.

I asked him how he liked the festival and he answered, "What festival?" Rrvit! Don't you just love it? I told him a little bit about it and how much fun it is and watched as his eyes seemed to light up a bit. Perhaps I have inspired another attendee?

Now that I mention the Renaissance Festival, tho, I'm ready - salivating, actually - to go back again. I wonder how long it's been since my daughter was last there? She reads most of my posts. If she reads this one, maybe she'll call me and say, "Mom, it's been a few years since I've been to the festival. How'd you like to go this year?" Would I?!? You name the date, dear daughter, and we're 'on'!!

Now, as far as the toilet problem goes, turns out that it wasn't just a matter of reseating the commode. One of the flanges had completely broken off. He had to get a new 'something or another' and solder the whole thing back together. ($350) Works fine, altho I was really nervous about flushing it for the first time, not to mention sitting down on it 'to go' later!

My schedule for this week? Well, later on today I'll be watching (on TV) my Astros play against the Phillies here at home. The Stros won the first two of this four-game set against a very strong team. Kind of unbelievable, eh what? But, of course, as I'll be watching, they'll lose. I think I'm somewhat of a jinx for them, as I wrote about here. Then I'll take a nap before heading on over to the bridge studio to play with Julian, et al, on a Swiss Team - my all-time favorite event!

Tomorrow? Well, I'm due to teach another class to my private students Wednesday evening and will probably spend a goodly amount of tomorrow in preparation. Tuesday? I have 'jury duty' scheduled for the afternoon. Whether or not I actually show up will depend entirely on how much I've been able to accomplish tomorrow.

Wednesday? Mentoring at the bridge studio in the morning and teaching a class in the evening. And so my life goes on. Hopefully, I will be able to publish another post (or two) between now and Thursday, but these take considerable time - I like to do 'em up right, if at all possible! - and I'm not going to have much in the way of 'spare' available between now and then. Meanwhile, Examiner has sent me an inquiring e-mail. Oh, well.

News from Jennie? The last I heard was Thursday evening, when her husband sent a "to all" e-mail saying that she could begin receiving visitors Friday afternoon and was expected to be back home Monday (tomorrow). I'll be posting news about her as I hear it. Meanwhile, please continue to keep her in your thoughts and prayers ...

... as all of you are in mine, dear hearts!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

"I wonder" ...

... was one of the most oft-repeated phrases in my recent comment to Polimom's post.

I found myself caught up in a kind of reverie, of sorts ... almost a 'what-if' type of thing.

Polimom has evolved into a very fine photographer ... a capturer of nature, as it were. In so doing, she has found herself in the midst of watching (while filming) an insect sucking the very life's blood out of its victim after first paralyzing it - an incident that, if she had not actually been the one capturing it on film, might have been abhorrent to her.

Her most recent post was on the metamorphosis of a caterpillar to a butterfly. My question to her was (actually, there were several questions, and all rhetorical), "Does the caterpillar feel any 'pain', as we (humans) understand the term?" (There were other questions that I had and Polimom answered them as best as she was able. I don't think she had ever even considered such a question or questions! Certainly I had never considered proposing such a question until I suddenly found myself with way too much time on my hands earlier this afternoon!)

What about you? Have you ever considered any of these questions? (Again, see Polimom's post and, in particular, pay attention to the comments section.) Just some food for thought on what might - perhaps - otherwise be a somewhat dull evening.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Dibs and dabs

Just got back home from my dental appointment and running a couple of errands. Didn't stop by the "Central Market" - that's the name, not "Farmer's Market", as I incorrectly told you yesterday! - altho I did cruise up and down Richmond and Alabama for several blocks each direction trying to find it. (The reason I couldn't immediately locate it, of course, is that it isn't on either Richmond or Alabama. It's on Westheimer! LOL)

My mouth was watering for a junior-sized egg salad sandwich on rye from Nielsen's Delicatessen, a little dinky place just a couple of miles from my dentist's office. Hadn't been there in a few months. Last time I went, it was the same kind of situation - hadn't been there in a few months. However, when I came in the front door that time, the gal behind the counter asked, "Junior egg salad on rye, right? Add lettuce?"

Heavens to Betsy! She wasn't there today, but the young man who took my order acted like he knew me (He didn't. I've never seen him before!), but that's always the case every time I've been in there - just one big happy family. They do a humongous business ... huMONgous!

Parked in the shade for a few minutes on the way over to Kroger's to write out a check to Shell Oil for my gas purchases ... $40 and some change. It's really hard to believe now that I used to spend between $300-400 a MONTH for gas when I was driving a taxicab. Wow! Makes me tired just to think of working that hard or putting that many miles on the car!!

Dropped that payment off at a nearby post office and continued on my way over to Kroger's. I really wasn't anticipating that they would have my beloved grape salad - and sure enuf they didn't! - but intended to cruise by the deli counter, anyway, 'just in case'.

No, what I was looking for was large kleenex. Have I talked to you about this before? I don't remember when I first discovered this size, but it's been quite a few years now. Not all stores have it. It's the "Kleenex" brand. The box is approximately 11" long, 6" wide and 2" deep. On the pulloff tab portion at the top, it says "extra-large". Also, you'll find some writing in French that says, "Marque Mouchoirs" ... 60 3-ply white tissues/mouchoirs blancs 3 epaisseurs 11.0x10.9in/27.9x27.6cm. Just a great product, and it's spoiled me forever, I'm pretty sure!

Found it! Grabbed two boxes, another bunch of those luscious green seedless grapes and headed back on home.

Waiting in my computer was an e-mail updating me on Jennie's surgery. I'm going to share parts of it with you. It's one of those good news/bad news-type of bulletins, so be prepared.

Dear Friends,

We just wanted to provide you with an update on Jennie's surgery today.

She is successfully out of surgery, and is recovering in the Surgical ICU, which is standard procedure after this type of surgery. We were able to talk to her, and although she is groggy, she is doing well. We will check in with her again later today.

Her doctor expects her to take it easy for about a month.

The tumor was not benign as expected, but the surgeon feels confident that he was able to get all of it out, and the next step in the process will be radiation. He and her oncologist will work out the next part of her treatment.

We will let all of you know when she can receive visitors.

Thank you for all of your kind words and prayers!

There's not much left to say after that, is there? I'll hope, I'll pray and will continue to send as many positive thoughts as I'm able her direction. I thought some of you might be interested in reading portions of the e-mail I sent to her daughter, Jean, yesterday evening.

Thank you for taking the time to send a test e-mail, and God bless your mom – and you, for following through! – for even thinking of someone else at a time when she’s so scared. I know she’s scared. I’m scared, too, Jean, and have been – and will continue to be – sending as many positive thoughts and prayers as I possibly can her way throughout the coming days, but most especially tomorrow. I pray that God will guide her surgeon’s skillful hands in removing this latest unwelcome intrusion into her body.

Much love to all. Don’t forget to give your dad a special hug, Jean. Many men have not the vaguest idea how to show emotion, particularly at times like these.

I wish I were there, but I’d only be in the way, I think.

Dear Lord, please hear my most fervent prayer for my friend Jennie. Hold her tightly in your arms as she struggles with yet another cancerous invasion. I pray that her surgeon was correct when he said he thought he'd gotten it all. Keep her free from pain, safe from nightmares and give her the strength she needs to fight this evil marauder. Amen.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Crossing things off one's list

Well, another got crossed off today. I finally called ARS and, after she stopped ROFLOL, the gal who answered asked, "When would you like us to come out?" They're scheduled for Thursday. (I have a dental appointment tomorrow.) Another person will come out from ARS, about in the same time frame, to inspect my AC and sign me up for another year of maintenance on both the AC and heating systems.

ANYhoo, those can now be crossed off my list!

(Btw, the gal I was speaking with said that it sounded as tho I would not need a whole new commode. She thought - from what I told her - that it only needed to be 'reseated' properly. Sure hope she's right!)

Bridge classes are resuming all over the city within the next month, and this morning I began calls and e-mail inquiries so I could write about them for the Examiner. As most of you know, my writing for this on-line 'rag' has been almost non-existent. You've heard my promises before, no doubt, about more frequent articles, so don't hold your breaths this time either, OK? (Put your articles where your mouth is, Goldenrod!)

Steven has asked, a couple of times, whatever happened to my grape salad addiction? Well, I answered him, but he must not have checked the little box next to "Email follow-up comments to ...".

Here's your answer, Steven. Evidently the Kroger's store (the only one in Houston I found to carry grape salad 'the way I liked it') somehow "lost" the young man who made it. (He probably went on to 'bigger and better things'.) They still carry it, but it's not very good ... certainly nowhere near worth the $7.99/lb price they put on it!

Now I could probably make it myself, but I would waste a goodly amount of some of the necessary ingredients (such as honey and I forget whatall else just now) just to try and make one batch. Tammy made it for her family and Kayla gave it a "10 thumbs up" :):) but then Kayla loves just about EVERYthing!

Tomorrow, after my dental appointment, I'm going to go over to (I want to say the "Farmer's Market", but that's not the name!) a specialized HEB store to see what they have. Hopefully, by then I can locate the recipe I sent to Tammy to make it! LOL

As far as major league baseball is concerned, the Baltimore Orioles (American League) and Washington Nationals (National League) are in the midst of a breathtaking sprint to see who can finish first in the race to be completely eliminated from the playoff picture, God bless their hearts! As of this writing, they're both two games away from their goal.

You know what I've thought about doing next year for 'our club'? I thought about keeping a record - from the very beginning, week to week - of what Aram Tolegian says. Have never done that. What do you think? I kind of like that idea!

That's it for now. Later!