Sunday, December 27, 2009

Is it Christmas yet?

Early Wednesday evening I posted Mannheim Steamroller's "Silent Night" as my introduction to this year's favorite Christmas music. Nothing since. What happened?

Well, we had a pretty good-sized 'norther' come in during the wee hours Thursday morning. What was kind of weird with this one is that tornado warnings started being posted shortly after I published my last entry. They think it might have been a lightning strike that knocked out a big chunk of power at Hobby Airport and camera shots showing the hundreds of people waiting in humongous lines outside the terminal to be checked in were more proof positive that traveling during the holidays is perilous and fraught with risk and made me shake my head at their frustration and concern at the distinct possibility of not being able to get to their destinations on time.

Thank goodness those that I drove to either airport experienced no such delays, but you never know about the returns. I have one scheduled to come back in to Hobby Monday evening (late, with a Chicago connection) and another next week. Hopefully, their return schedules will be as delay-free.

Thursday afternoon I decided that I had to make one more Randall's stop. I hadn't found the 'perfect' Christmas card for my granddaughter. Had one that I really liked for the whole family, but wanted one really special for her. This year my granddaughter decided to become a Christian - a 'biggie' for me, as those of you who read some of my previous posts already know - and I wanted a card that would exemplify how I felt about the combination of her new faith melding in with that of her family. Without it actually saying so, if you know what I mean. You probably don't, but it's the best I can do here. I wish I had copied down the message - I'd share it with you - but I didn't.

[I gave her three ceramic figures of the holy family that I'd had for many years, and she seemed to like them. Also, a Bible that was given to me - either when I was baptized or when I joined the church, one or the other (don't know, because the dedication page is missing) - some 60 or 65 years ago. It was in the trunk of the taxicab all the years I was driving, and is now in a very fragile state. It's the old King James version, with Jesus' words in red.]

But back to Randall's. The temperature outside was now in the very low 40's (Fahrenheit) and winds were blowing at a constant 20-30mph, gusting to 41. I didn't dress anywhere near warm enough! I was not expecting the temperature inside the store to be the same as that outside.

Initially, however, I didn't realize that fact and decided to shop for chili and fudge ingredients 'as long as I was there'. Well, it took me a whole lot longer than it should have because this particular store's layout was unfamiliar to me. I got a good chill that went right on down through my bones and - tell you the truth, have still not quite recovered from.

The rest of Christmas Eve day and all of Christmas Eve were spent with me either in bed, tossing and turning - moaning, groaning and coughing, or watching "It's a Wonderful Life" for the 89 gazillionth time. I should have sent my son-in-law an e-mail before going to bed - telling him I wasn't feeling well and to 'start without me' Christmas Day - but I didn't. Guess I didn't think I'd sleep that long.

And so, around 9am the phone rang, waking me up. I knew who it was. I lay there for a few more minutes and then got up and staggered around, trying to find the phone so I could call them back.

I did get out there eventually - early afternoon, maybe - but felt really lousy the whole day. I ached all over. I had tried to go back to bed that morning and get some more sleep, but it just didn't happen. Tossing and turning while moaning, groaning and coughing were the most I could accomplish.

All things considered, it was a nice day. Well, the best that could be expected, I should think. I tried to lay down for a nap before driving back home, but was sleepless. Just all achy. I don't want to drone on and on and on here about how I felt, but it wasn't good.

I decided to get back up after a couple of hours at the attempted nap farm - as long as I was awake, anyway - and visit with the family before starting back. My daughter was upstairs napping, my granddaughter was on her second book of the day - she skim reads, she says (probably why she couldn't tell me what the book was about when I asked her) - and my son-in-law was prowling around, having just gotten up from his nap. Thank goodness someone was getting their sleep!

When I first began writing this post, I intended to say something more about my favorite Christmas music - and possibly include another selection or two for your enjoyment, but have decided that this is enough already! [Also, I have not forgotten that I owe you another "Simon Says" for December.] And so, without further ado, I wish you and yours the very best for this Sunday, December 27, 2009.

2010 is now just around the corner. How is that possible? Later!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Favorite Christmas music - 2009 - #1

We'll begin this season again with Mannheim Steamroller's exquisitely-performed "Silent Night". I can think of few other pieces of Christmas music that better epitomize this most holy of days.

[Now, for some unknown reason, the first 30 seconds or so of this recording have no sound, but it's worth the wait. I've listened to it three or four times now, and it's the same every time. What happened? I don't know.]

The violinist who performs this wonderful tune has a pureness of tone matched by very few others. Just close your eyes and be transported - as I was - a few years back when I heard this group perform live here in Houston. Here we go ... ...

Wasn't that just wonderful? More coming.

Just for grins

A couple of weeks ago, Chuck posted a list of the world's shortest books. I asked him if the list was original with him and he said that it was from a mass e-mail a long time ago, altho he did revise and edit it a bit. Might give you a chuckle or two ... I know it did me!

And then, just a few days later, he dug up reasons why there would be no nativity scene in Washington this year.

Now, a little further north and quite a bit east, Steven has devised a way to make it snow on his blog. Isn't that clever? For the past couple of months or so, ever since Steven changed his background and type colors, I have been unable to read, enjoy or comment much on his blog. (I think I'm the only one of his readers bothered by this. I keep checking back - every other day, maybe - hoping that I'll be able to read something that he posts, because he's got lots of good stuff to offer, but the snow sure is fun!)

Much further west - out in Idaho - and not 'just for grins', Tammy posted the results of publishing (via Blurb) her 2007 and 2008 blog entries. What a lovely idea! Has anyone else thought of doing this?

I have been remiss in posting much about Christmas. Last year at this time, I was happily listening to a lot of special music and ended up with eight posts altogether that included some of my favorites. I hope you enoyed that series. I will be listening again and posting #1 later on today.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Scattered thoughts

I drove Joanne, one of my old-timey customers, to Hobby Airport this morning. Traffic was very light, as expected, and we got there in good time.

Joanne celebrated her 86th birthday last week and I wished her a belated happy birthday. She looks great, all things considered! I mean, she's got steel where most people have bones and always has to arrive at the airport early so she can get through all of the metal detectors.

She's traveling to Boston to visit her sister and family and is worried about the weather. Well, better today than last weekend, right? She's also worried about her connection coming back through Chicago. She's due to arrive back here in Houston at 10:45 pm Monday night.

Not to worry, Joanne. It is what it is and will be what it will be. She'll call me from Chicago if there are any delays or cancellations, which are not at all unlikely at this time of year, and I'll adjust my plans accordingly.

We talked nonstop all the way to the airport, as per usual. I asked her if she'd seen Celia lately - Celia's the one who initially referred Joanne to me - and she obliquely replied that they go to the same church and are members of the same band.

Well, that didn't mean she'd seen her, right? But I ignored her non-answer and chuckled over memories I had of Celia playing her banjo and in costume. Can't you just see these guys? In a banjo band? In costume? Grins stretching from ear to ear? Rrvit!

Let's see, what else? Oh yes, in an update from the story about my intrusion the other night, I have a couple of things to add. My father's fishing gear is no longer in the garage. Perhaps the thief will now go fishing instead of stealing from others?

One other thing. The thief (think there might have been only one) opened a 12-pack of diet A&W root beer - I keep them in the garage - and took a can. I find that quite amusing. Either he/she drank it all and threw the empty can in one of the paper bags I keep in the garage for such, or he/she kept drinking it while he/she made his/her escape. Anyway, I did not find an empty can littering either the garage or the yard.

The car seems to be running just fine, thank the good Lord. Years and years ago, when I was still actively working with my stamp collection, a friend and I left the church (Celia's church, as it happens) where the browse was being held and decided to go for a walk.

I didn't want to carry my purse or stamp books with me and, after quickly looking around to see if there were any "suspicious" characters hanging about, left all in the front seat and locked the door.

Does that sound stupid to you? It does to me, but only because I now have years of jaundiced experience as a taxicab driver behind me. I mean, I could see a couple sitting in a parked vehicle nearby, but thought nothing of it. Oh, my!

We returned from our very pleasant walk only to find that my car had been broken into (passenger side window smashed) and my purse taken. They left the stamps. Hmmph!

I need to put out an all points bulletin for large kleenex. I am completely out and my son-in-law, who has been very reliable in the past for procuring same, tells me that he hasn't seen any for at least a month.

Please, if you can help by pointing me in the right direction for this most wonderful product - see this post for a full description - let me know forthwith. This is an emergency! Helpp!!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

An intrusion

I was in here earlier today, working away at the computer - probably updating my latest post - when there was a knock at my front window. I ignored it.

A few minutes later there was a knock at my front door. I ignored it. Then the doorbell rang. I ignored that!

I could hardly believe it when, a few minutes later, there was a knock at my back door. I opened it in my disheveled and now somewhat angry state, a little ticked off at this latest unwelcome intrusion into my life, and said, "Yes? What is it??"

There stood my neighbor, who apologized for the interruption, but then went on to say how his garage had been broken into last night. He had noticed that my gate was ajar (My gate is always ajar!) and my garage door was open. (My garage door seems to have a mind of its own. It comes open when it feels like being open.)

Said I might want to check out my garage. Well, the last thing I wanted to do was check out my garage and so I put it on the back burner. The only thing out there of any value is my car. Well, almost. I've been told that my dad's fishing gear is valuable. (Do thieves bother about such things? Probably not.)

Later, after publishing my much-revised post, I ventured out to the garage and peeked at where my car should have been to see if it was still there. It was. And, it appeared to be intact.

Slowly moving closer towards the vehicle, I looked down towards the tires. Both were still there and fully-inflated. (Keep in mind that I could see only one side of the car at that point.)

I inched forward, hesitant to touch anything, but then finally decided to try and open the driver's side door. It opened too easily. Whomever was in there had not firmly closed it when they left.

I took a quick glance around inside. The glove box was agape, but what was still in there - from what I could see (had not brought a flashlight out with me, and the interior lights did not appear to be on) was what I always have in there ... insurance, registration and deposit slips for the bank. Stuff like that. That's it.

My wonderful Christmas gift from Walter Freitag, my nighttime bridge mentee, was still there - intact, altho the colorful wrap had been strewn all over the back seat - along with a couple of groceries that I had yet to bring in from the car. I think my gift from Walter might be worth a little money, but they must not have known that.

What was it they were looking for, anyway?

I got really nervous about the fact that there were no interior lights on in the car and decided to come back into the house, get the car keys and go back out to see if it started. Did they wear down the battery?

I did and it did. However, this was a few hours ago. I probably need to go out again to see if it starts. Give me a sec here while I do it, ok? ... ... It does. Just as soon as I publish this, I intend to go out for a short drive. See if everything works as it should.

There doesn't appear to have been any damage done to the car. I mean, while they were in there they could have 'keyed' the exterior, slashed the seats and tires, taken my driver's license/Randalls' and Kroger's cards, WellCare identification card, Shell credit card ... who knows whatall damage might have been done?

Kids? Adults? I have no idea. I am thankful that there was no personal ill will.

I had a momentary hard time when I sat in the driver's seat, only to realize that it had been set back farther than I like it. That wasn't a good thing! If it hadn't been for my neighbor alerting me that there had been a break in, I probably would have had a much more nervous reaction that I did. Which reminds me. While I am not fond of my neighbor, I do appreciate his efforts in letting me know about this one! I'm going to have to write a very nice thank you note and leave it at his front door.

Have you ever had a break in? This will be my third time. There really are no words adequate enough to describe the feeling of personal violation.

An update

This is a post that I have been putting off, putting off and putting off until I just cannot put it off any longer.

'Tis the season for jolliness, for frivolity ... for parties, music, smiles, dancing and happy faces, right?

Well, this post has some good news in it, but also some bad. You remember my friend Jennie, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor - this after having successfully overcome breast cancer (twice!) - and underwent surgery? I wrote about her here, although there have been other posts as well.

Jennie is doing fairly well. Actually, she's doing very well, all things considered. She writes, "I have much to be thankful for. I was able to have my 6th and 7th chemo and am now down to five more. Those nurses are angels. To keep my white blood cell count up I get three shots of neuprogen three days in succession and that seems to be the trick. My regular oncologist returns to the practice the third week of January and in preparation I will have my PET scan and MRI. There are some side effects to my medicine but they are temporary. My new wig is quite comfortable and cute." (I can almost hear Jennie chuckling as she writes about her cute wig.)

Her daughter Julie, on the other hand, who is my daughter's age, discovered a tumor through self-examination on her chest wall. According to Jennie, this could not have been discovered if Julie had undergone the reconstructive surgery after her last bout with breast cancer. (Little blessings? Mixed blessings?)

She and her husband Matt flew to Houston recently to get a second opinion at MD Anderson. The last I heard they were considering the various options available and whether or not they would treat in Michigan, Texas, or a combination of the two. According to the last e-mail I received from Jennie, this latest tumor appears not to have metasticized and will involve a combination of surgery, chemo and radiation. "The fact that she is dealing with cancer again after such a short time is very worrisome," Jennie says. (Well, I guess!)

Also, this tumor appears to be "unique". Well, aren't most of them? At least, it seems that way to me. It's almost as if - as soon as a way is discovered to cure whatever initially attacks your body, the dreadful disease metamorphosizes into something equally devastating and potentially deadly.

[When I was a kid, penicillin was discovered and for a time it appeared to be the cureall for everything. Anyone remember that? You had the flu? You got a shot of penicillin. You had an infection of some sort? You got a shot of penicillin. I, perhaps among many others, developed an allergic reaction to it - went blind for a few hours, and to this day am always very careful to alert my doctor.]

Barry Fraser, on his blog, eloquently shares his innermost thoughts and feelings in dealing with his bouts with cancer. I recommend, for any of you who are interested in learning more about cancer and how it affects individuals, that you put his blog on your "Favorite" list. It is a serious read but not a "downer", as such. He sees a lot of humor and irony in some of the most banal situations. Barry is someone I would like to meet personally.

When I published this post yesterday, it had a lot of self-chastisement in it. Why was that? Well, when I heard that Julie and her husband were coming to Houston for a second opinion, my first thought was, "I wonder who will be picking them up at the airport?"

That's a taxicab driver's thought, not one a friend first thinks of, but you should remember that I was a cab driver for nearly 18 years and airport trips meant $$$. It was perfectly natural that I should have that question in my mind. However, I was so embarrassed about it that I didn't even respond to any of Jennie's e-mails.

After I publish this revised version of "An update", I will send her an e-mail of explanation for my silence and hope with all my heart that she keeps me as a friend.

I know that some of you maintain prayer lists. Please add Jennie and Julie to your list. They live in Michigan. They need your positive thoughts, especially during this holiday season.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Be careful what you say

I entered the bridge studio yesterday morning to play with Julian and tried to make a beeline for the coffee and water. As usual, I was running smack dab on the button, but it would quickly be game time, and I had to try and find Julian as soon as possible so we could get started on filling out a current convention card. There were a few things that had to be discussed.

I say "tried to make a beeline" because I was instantly waylaid by Margie, one of the members of our Swiss team for the Regional coming up in February (see yesterday's post), who gushed, with a big smile on her face, "Oh, I'm so happy (or some such) that you'll be playing with us in February."

She was a real threat to distract me from my current focus, which was to grab my coffee and water and get on over to where Julian was waiting, and I responded with something so outrageous, so ridiculous, so unbelievable (I thought!) that she would immediately know I was not serious and was making a joke. We would visit later, I thought to myself as I continued on my way.

What did I say? Well, I don't remember exactly, but the gist of it was that how could she possibly think I'd be playing with them on their team in February? Am pretty sure I told her I said "No way!" to Evelyn, and you know what? She believed me (!), altho I didn't find that out until much later in the session when Julian and I played against Edna (who will be my partner on the team) and Margie for three boards.

I had just returned to the table from refreshing my coffee and was dismayed to notice Edna carefully wiping some sort of foodstuff off of Julian's bright yellow shirt with a napkin. (My napkin, btw.) Oh, no! He and I had only moments before been congratulating each other on not spilling any food on ourselves or our clothing. (I was wearing white pants. Just as bad. Normally, it takes me all of about 10 seconds after I first put a pair of white pants on to spill something on them or brush up against something dirty, doncha know?)

What food? Well, it was the official Unit 174 Christmas party at the Houston Bridge Studio and there were three long tables chock full of absolutely delicious goodies. Julian had visited the tables twice already - he got there well before I did, and at one point I saw him happily consuming a very large piece of coconut cream pie.

After his shirt was pronounced presentable again, we all exchanged pleasantries and were taking our hands out of the first board when I turned to Edna and said, "We'll have to schedule a date." I meant a practice session prior to February where she and I could fill out a mutually agreed upon convention card.

And this is when I discovered that Margie had been completely fooled by my smartass comeback earlier. Oh, my! Edna said, "You're not available in February, right?" "What are you talking about?" I answered. "We're going to be partners in the Swiss."

Towards the end of my response, of course, I remembered what I'd said to Margie an hour or so prior and my voice kind of trailed off. I turned to Margie and asked, in a semi state of shock, "You didn't believe what I said, did you?"

Oh, my! Shades of Gloria Visser - an Upper Peninsula neighbor of ours from many years back, for whom my first husband would lie awake some nights trying to figure out ever more convoluted, but still semi-believable lies - embellishments of the truth, he liked to think of them - to tell her. He wanted to see how far he could actually go before she would stop with the huge wide-eyed "Oh, really?!?" It took a while, but eventually - with her husband's and my help - she caught on. In the meantime, my husband enjoyed every moment.

But getting back to Margie and Edna, I believe that everything is now all straightened out. At least, I hope so! Will have to give them a call later today to make sure. I should probably call Evelyn, too. She played in the game yesterday. I don't recall who her partner was, and I didn't happen to see any of them after the game.

You know, ever since Arlene Weingarten published "A Talented Funny Lady" on November 15th, many people in the duplicate bridge world have come up to me and said how much they're enjoying my blog. Not one, however - with the exception of Arlene, has left a comment, which is about par for the course. I don't leave comments on all the blogs I read, either!

And just because many in the duplicate bridge world are following my blog and enjoying the posts doesn't mean that everyone in the bridge world is! Certainly not Evelyn, Margie, or Edna, right? Otherwise, they would have known better than to believe what I said to Margie upon first entering the studio.

So, Goldenrod, and anyone else reading this who might occasionally be guilty of being flippant and accidentally believed, be careful what you say.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A day in my life

It began at 9am yesterday, when my alarm went off. I was due to mentor Roop Prasad at 10:30, my regular partner once a month during the day.

First thing I did, of course - after hitting the ladies' room and putting a fresh pot of coffee on, was come in here and see what was going on in my computer world.

Well, to my surprise, there was a notice from Zone Alarm, telling me that my subscription had expired. I thought, "Whaat!?!" (My son-in-law takes care of all such things. Surely there must be an error!)

I rebooted, thinking that something was amiss with the system. No, nothing was amiss with the system. Meanwhile, without really giving them a whole lot of consideration, I okayed a couple of requests from someone/something trying to access my system. And so, all **** is probably breaking loose in there. My firewalls are down and I am unprotected. Who knows if I'll be able to access the internet when I try to get back on later?

Sent my son-in-law three e-mails all told, then had to exit the house for the bridge studio. Meanwhile, back at his ranch, he's in business meetings and unavailable for comment/getting on to see what's happening/renewing my subscription, etc. and blah. Ye gods and little fish hooks!

Roop and I played and had a decent game, altho it could have been a lot better. We scratched, which is a bridge term for placing amongst the top pairs. Interestingly enough, several different notrump bidding sequences came up - ALL of which she mishandled. Would have made a great article for the Examiner, but I've all but given up on that rag.

I spent over four hours a few weeks ago trying to get my article on Arlene Weingarten published. I had some really good things I wanted to say about her, too. She's some kind of woman!

I had articles 'in the works' about Beth Stuart and Dottie Ann Goodloe, Eddie Wold, bridge teachers ... all sorts of great stuff, actually. Last week, when I tried to 'get on' to start the article on Eddie's squeeze class, I was interrupted in my signing in by Examiner's request for me to fill in a form so they could declare my income.

WHAT income??? I have made a total of 13 cents so far. I kid you not. If anyone in the bridge world wants the title of "Houston Duplicate Bridge Examiner", they can have it as far as I am concerned. However, I must warn you that the pipe-smoking frog is my personal property and may not be used without my express written permission.

Meanwhile, Roop and I had a really good after-session about notrump bids and I'll be creating a fairly hefty e-mail for her future reference on that subject. Hope she takes it to heart, studies and learns from it. She's a nice lady and I enjoy playing with her. We'll not be playing again until January 20th, for some reason - it's usually the second Wednesday, so I wished her a happy new year.

She surprised me with a gift. A lovely stone (of some sort) pendant on a silver chain. I was pleased as all get out, as you might imagine, and went around showing it to everybody.

Ran into Julian Barr, with whom I'm playing later today (another 10:30 start). I told him, "I found our card." (Referring, of course, to a convention card.) His response? "Does it have any similarity to what we've been playing?" I answered, "Vaguely." We both got a good laugh over that.

Evelyn James - one of my students for many years - came by to ask if I would play with Margie, Edna and her on a Swiss team in the Regional coming up in February. It didn't take me very long to accept. Years ago, I was the fifth on their team. (Anne was still with us then.) This was when they were all still students of mine. I played with each one during the two sessions. It was a lot of fun. We just might decide to dedicate this one to Anne.

Well, that's about it for my day yesterday. Tried to stay awake for Andre Rieu's special on PBS (They're having another fundraiser.) - are you familiar with him? (Wonderful!) - but couldn't. Had to hit the pillow. Just in case you don't have the foggiest idea who he is, here's what he looks like ... ...

Wiki has a nice writeup about him here. He's a tremendous showman and exudes great warmth, love and joy in all of his shows.

I'll leave you with an excerpt from one of his performances. You won't get anywhere near the total picture from this little bit, but perhaps it will entice you to look further into this man's persona.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

A joke (in kind of bad taste)

Whalechaser posted an "in kind of bad taste" joke on her site a few days ago that, when I first started reading it, thought sure it was going to be one I'd heard before (although it had been a long time).

But no, it's a little different. Now, for those of you who are offended at slightly off-color jokes, read no further. For the rest, read on. (Just about everybody, I'll bet!)

I recommend that you begin with Whale's joke. It's funny. Then, when I tell you mine, you'll see why I was reminded of it.

It seems that there was this traveling salesman who suspected his wife was dilly-dallying around while he was away on business. And so, one day - having already told his wife he'd be out of town - he came home unannounced.

Immediately upon entering their apartment, he suspected foul play. He could smell cigar smoke and neither he nor his wife smoked cigars.

He accused his wife of entertaining a gentleman friend and went charging through the apartment, opening closet doors and looking in cabinets and under beds. Nothing. No culprit to be found.

In a state of total rage, he happened to look out their kitchen window and saw a man getting into his convertible. Positive it was his wife's lover, he picked up their refrigerator and threw it out the window. And yes, it landed on the convertible.

Later, during the police investigation of the incident, a man was questioned who said, "Gee, I don't know what happened, officers. I was just sitting inside this refrigerator smoking my cigar!"

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday afternoon ramblings

It's going on 3pm, and I've just returned back home from a couple of hours of semi-serious grocery shopping ... I say "semi" because it's not like we're going to be snowed in for a couple of months or anything like that but, according to Polimom's "Winter Storm Warning" posted at 7:55 am this morning, we're due to receive our earliest recorded snowfall EVER with some deliriously 'out there' forecasters predicting as much as a 6 inch accumulation.

[Actually, I should have left the house earlier but was having way too much fun playing bridge online.]

I say 'semi' because I took a good bit of time last night to clean out my refrigerator. I threw away a lot of what once had been perfectly good food. I'm simply not eating - in a timely fashion - foods that I have already purchased. I threw away watermelon, strawberries, some cheese and a ton of Yogurt that I didn't think I could trust to eat!

[I have been a very bad girl. Not only am I not taking my daily Calcium requirements, but my regular diet leaves a whole lot to be desired. Good stuff, but not very nutritious.]

Anyway, Friday is one of our two garbage pickup days and - if I don't put it out the night before, it's missed. Boy, you can set your clocks by the garbage people, usually ... 8:30 am on the dot! Not today, however. When I left the house to go shopping a little after noon, all of the trash was still sitting there.

It couldn't have been the weather, not that early! Some folks might be out sick or perhaps a truck was down for repair. By the time I got back, tho, everything had been picked up. In fact, their truck was just leaving our complex when I pulled in to the drive.

I took my ice scraper with me to the store, just in case. Actually, it wasn't a 'real' ice scraper that I put in the car. It was a hard plastic spatula. Does the trick just as well, did you know that? It was snowing very heavily at that time. No wind, so nothing approaching blizzard conditions, but lots of snow coming down nonetheless.

The temperature was hovering right around the freezing mark and I thought, "Goldenrod, you idiot! You left the house too late!!" But, I continued onward. No icing conditions. Not yet, but I wasn't going to be traveling over any bridges, either! They're always the first to cause trouble.

Tonight, now, is going to be a different story. The temperature is expected to dip down into the mid-20's (Fahrenheit). The roads are all wet and will not even beGIN to dry out before ice starts to form. HISD (Houston Independent School District) dismissed early today. I think that's a very good idea. It takes those buses a long time to safely deliver all their charges home.

[My hope was that I could make it back home before one or two of those teenagers who had been dismissed from school early decided they wanted to try a spinout on a slick or possibly icy - even better! - road to impress their friends/girlfriends. And I did, thank goodness.]

It's going on 4pm now. I just took a look outside. It's not snowing, but it's continuing to precipitate. If the temperatures drop as predicted, there'll be **** to pay this evening and throughout the night on the roads in this area. Glad I'm not driving a taxicab, I'll tell you that !

Have decided that this will be a four blanket night. Doesn't that sound just delicious? And speaking of delicious, I want to assure all of you that - as I was shopping and placing foodstuffs in my cart - I paid particular attention to questions such as: How long will that last? Am I really going to eat that?

This would have been a good time to put some chili together, wouldn't it? Three things wrong with that idea, however. 1) I'm absolutely positive that I don't have all the ingredients on hand. 2) I decided I'd already wasted enough time playing bridge online to further delay my getting out of here by finding the recipe, checking to see which ingredients I had and which I didn't, adding to my list, etc. 3) Once you put it all together, it's a several hour slow cooker thingamajig (but a good thingamajig!), so it's really a morning 'do'.

That's it from here for a Friday afternoon, folks. Hope you're doing ok and are looking forward to your weekend. Stay warm!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Metaphysics, dream steps, poetry

Are you into stuff like that? Usually I am not, but for the past nearly two years I've been following the blogsite of Michael Patton, another of those I discovered while cruising the net.

Sometimes his poems make me laugh out loud. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes they lose me completely and I don't see much meaning in them. One day I found myself rereading a poem that I had commented on earlier and I saw something completely different in it. Kind of like art, I guess. Sort of depends on the mood you're in.

Michael never just writes poetry. He always begins with a few words of explanation and an illustration of some sort. It could be an actual photograph, but often he will treat us to one of his original drawings, such as this one ... ...

... which headed up "Permanently Evanescent", published just a couple of weeks ago. I seem to recall his having used this drawing at least once before. The explanation then had something to do with Prometheus (sp?), I think.

His drawings of cars and the people driving them are very funny! I spent some time just now trying to find the exact one I was looking for, but cannot. It would have been published several months ago. In its stead, here's one ... ...

... he used to accompany his poem, "Driving Naked", which he published on August 12th of this year. This is one of those that made me laugh out loud. I've just tried to link it directly for you, but for some reason or another have been unable to do so. If you'll go to the first link on this post and scroll down on the sidebar to August 2009 and bring that month of published poems up, you'll find it.

Anyhow, just thought I'd share - once again (I've recommended his poetry before) - one of my favorites with you. Hope you're having a great day. It's pouring down rain here!