Monday, June 29, 2009

Birth control pills as sleep aids?

A doctor who had been seeing an 80-year-old woman for most of her life finally retired.

For her first checkup with the new doctor, he asked her to bring in a list of all of the medications that had been prescribed for her over the years - in addition to those she was currently taking.

As he sat there looking over the list, his eyes grew wide when he realized she had a current prescription for birth control pills.

"Mrs. Smith," he exclaimed, "do you realize that this prescription is for birth control pills?!?"

"Yes, I do. They help me sleep at night."

"But Mrs. Smith, there is absolutely nothing in those pills that could possibly help you sleep at night!"

"Oh, but that's where you're wrong, dear," she said, patting him gently on the knee. "Every morning I grind one up and stir it into the glass of orange juice that my 16-year-old granddaughter drinks. Trust me, they help me sleep at night!"

Thank you, Thelma, for sharing this juicy one with us. (Btw, Thelma is Beth's mother.)

FInally, it's over!!

What is? Interleague play, that's what! (Well, except for the Cubs having to play the White Sox in a makeup game later on, that is.) And 'good riddance to bad rubbish' is what I say!

Whooftah! Except for the Cardinals, who had a 6-3 record against their American League rivals in the past two weeks, the National League teams pretty much sucked. My Astros, now, held their own with a 6-6 record, but prior to that had been swept by the Rangers. (Guess who won the silver boot?) In fact, until the Stros won the third game in their second set with the Rangers, we were the only National League team not to win a single game against our American League opponents. Oh, the disgrace of it all!

Patrick's team, the Atlanta Braves, has managed to gain a game and a half on the first place Phillies even tho their record for the past two weeks stands at 5-8 (a makeup game in there against the Cubs). How could that be? Well, the Phillies went into a tailspin - winning only one out of their first nine games in interleague play recently, but managed to pull out of it at the very last second with two wins against Steven's Blue Jays. That National League's Eastern division would be somewhat tight right about now were it not for the hapless Washington Nationals.

OK. Let's move on to the American League East, which is the only AL division I pay much attention to. Despite two weeks of action, this division remains fairly bunched up at the top. However, the Red Sox - with the second best winning percentage in baseball (6l.3%) - have managed to pull one more game ahead of the 2nd place Yankees. Steven's Jays are trying to hang in there - jockeying back and forth for position with the Tamba Bay Rays, and are now 6.0 games back.

The National League Central is pretty tight. My Astros managed to climb out of the cellar last week and are now clinging to 5th place, just 1/2 game behind the Cubs. In our entire division, there are only 5 games separating first from last place.

Other than the Astros and Pirates exchanging places, the Brewers and Cardinals have been vying for position. At present they are in a virtual tie for first place. If it weren't still so early in the season, it'd be kind of exciting!

One fact kind of leapt out at me earlier today, when I was looking over statistics. Check out the Phillies' "home" and "road" records. (National League East) Are those wild or what?!? Just incredible!!

Well, the all star break will coming up soon. If interleague action is any indication, "we" - as in the National League - are going to get our 'you know whats' creamed by the AL. Will catch up with you all again in re the action in 'our baseball club' in a couple of weeks.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bits & pieces

Just got up. Was up earlier but went back to bed. Will do this post and then take a shower and head on down to Pearland, where I'll meet up with Beth and we'll go somewhere for a late lunch ... ... maybe Galveston, maybe Kemah, who knows?

That'll be nice. Haven't seen her since February, when I drove her to the airport to take off on what turned out to be a very long business trip. Have spoken with her several times since she returned, of course, but it'll be good to see her in person.

News from my daughter yesterday. While hiking in the woods in New England, she stepped down hard wrong on her left foot and broke a major bone. Thank goodness her husband was with her to assist on what then seemed like, I'm sure, a four times as long half mile back out of the woods.

They're flying into Houston later today, and she has an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon Monday morning to have it X-rayed again (I would think!), set and taken care of. Meanwhile, she's in a temporary cast and has visions of her whole summer being ruined, a pin having to be put in her foot, etc. You know, all those awful thoughts one can have when bad things happen? We (as least I do!) often imagine a worst case scenario. That's probably a good thing, actually. Then we're somewhat-fully prepared for the ultimate reality.

Bridge-wise, I only played once this week, and that was Thursday night with my newest mentee. (It was our third time playing together.) We won our direction with a huge game - 63%. He's playing two sessions today in a 299-er tournament at the Bridge Club of Houston, which is located on the FAR north side of town. I'll be thinking of him all day long, and sending as many 'lucky' and 'kill' thoughts as I possibly can his way. Can hardly wait to see how he does!

He's a lot of fun to work with. He's relatively new to the game, but he's taken it up like a little kid with a brand new toy. He's not afraid to bid his hand. While he knows he might fall, it really doesn't matter because it's all so exciting for him. As his mentor, it's almost like trying to keep a wild bronco tightly reined. (Probably not the best simile, but I'm a little parched for time here.)

However, like an adult he researches, reads, practices, asks questions and is trying out all sorts of new (for him) bids. He keeps me on my toes, that's for sure!

The only article I've published for the Examiner in the last two weeks was the one I linked above. I'll be spending a great deal of time the rest of this weekend working on the fourth in my "defense" series. The focus of this next article will be "What card?"

You have probably noted, if you had clicked on the link above and checked out any of my other published articles, that I still do not have my 'act' fully together - particularly in re formatting and linking. I promise that I WILL, and will announce same with appropriate bells and whistles.

I now have nine subscribers. Where did they all come from? I have NO idea, but I'm glad they're there! I hope they will 'stick with me' in these struggling early stages of my Examiner authorship, and invite any and all of you who have not yet done so to become a subscriber. How do you do that? Well, you simply go to my home page, click on to where it says "Subscribe to Email" and the rest is 'history' (after you fill out the form that appears, that is).

You will receive an e-mail notification each time I publish a new article. Be sure to click on to where it says "Read more" (or some such). You should NOT be placed on any unwanted or spam-type mailing lists ... ... I want to be the first to know if you are, OK?

Other bridge-type news? I finally met with a husband/wife combination this past week for our first-ever bridge lesson. We're scheduled to meet again July 7th. I know that several of my readers are themselves teachers, and so each of you will fully understand when I say that there is nothing that makes you learn your subject better than teaching it!

Gotta go. The shower beckons, and I've taken (again!) much too long with this post. Expect another from me Monday, when I'll be doing a baseball recap for our 'club'. Meanwhile, keep the powder dry and take no prisoners!

Friday, June 26, 2009

When do you call it a "day"?

How much time do you spend on the telephone? How long do you spend driving/traveling to and/or from here and there? How much time do you spend with long-remembered 'dear ones', trying to recapture that which cannot be recaptured but yet you're still trying to 'make it so'?

Boy oh boy, if I had answers to any of those que$tions, I'd be sitting pretty, money-wise.

I've been trying to retrieve (unsuccessfully, as it turns out!) from my memory banks an old saying about this very subject. I'm actually a little hopeful that Chuck, if he reads this, can give us all a perfectly-illustrative quote in his comment.

We are where we are where we are where we are, aren't we? There's no 'going back', as it were, no re-living or retrieving that which has been lost or long ago passed us by.

All we can do is accept what is and move on - trying to incorporate some of those 'lost' or 'gone by' in our efforts (hopefully reciprocated in the same vein).

The best time to leave a really wonderful party is when it's at its height. It's also the most difficult time to leave!

We all, I think, would like to enjoy and savor forever the good things. How do we know when to quit while we're ahead?

I don't have any ready answers. I don't have anywhere even close to 'ready' answers!


I have another dead critter in my back yard. This one's a squirrel (or what's left of one).

I first noticed kind of a 'ripe' smell two days ago. Initially, I thought it was coming from inside the garage, where I had several small plastic bags of garbage just sitting there waiting to be put outside. I had missed two garbage pickups. (They come on Tuesdays and Fridays.) For some reason or another, the garbage people have recently decided that they're going to come early in the morning.

So anyway, last night - when I came back home from mentoring at the bridge studio (We won!) - I decided I'd take out all the smelly stuff. I really don't like putting garbage out for pickup the night before. Too many bad things can happen ... wind, rain, foraging animals and whatnot, but I figured that's where the smell was coming from and thought I'd take my chances with the overnight bit.

Then, I told myself that I'd check for extraneous smells when I got up this morning. Well, I did, and THIS time there was no mistaking the smell. Only it wasn't coming from the garage. It was outside, close to the garage.

I opened the garage overhead door to see if the garbage had been removed yet. It had. Well, shuckeydurn! Then went to inspect the back yard in the full light of day and finally found the rotting carcass. Eewww!

Have a small box all ready to accept the remains. All I have to do now is line it with newspapers and leaves, place the dead body on top - will probably have to encase it in a couple or three plastic bags first (Ugh! Not looking forward to that!!) - and then fill in the rest of the enclosure with more leaves and stuff.

I might just decide to wait another day or two before doing that. I mean, it's not as tho it'll be going anywhere, right? I'll have to do something, however, before the gendarmes decide to enter my back yard with guns drawn, saying, "All right, lady, where's the body?!?"

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Speaking of graduations ...

... I thought I'd share with you a couple of photos from the weekend my daughter graduated from college in December of 1983.

This first one is a double exposure, probably at the end of a roll of film, taken in the airport. It's one of my all-time favorites, for some reason ... ...

The cape I'm wearing was purchased at the Renaissance Festival, which is held north of here every fall. It has an attached cowl-type hood and matching wool fabric belt. I just love it!

This next one was taken outside the restaurant where we had all gone out to eat together after she graduated ... ...

Obviously, the temperatures had warmed up a little bit. And yes, that's her daddy. Isn't that just a great shot?

Monday, June 22, 2009

A beautiful granddaughter

No, she isn't mine. She's my friend Jacky's. Here she is with her lovely wrist corsage ... ...

And did you notice how her fingernails are painted to match her dress? (Click to enlarge the photo.) Rrvit!

She has just graduated from high school and will be attending Purdue University this fall. Congratulations, Kayla, and how proud your folks must be. (I know Grandma is. She's the one who sent me the picture!)

Personal comments on "Life lessons"

I turned 72 yesterday, but did not publish a post. In fact, I didn't even answer the phone after my bridge partner called just two hours prior to game time and cancelled our game, saying that he wanted to spend time with his family on Father's Day. (Said he hadn't realized it would be Father's Day when he made the date - just the day before.)

This reaction is very much like me, I'm afraid. I do not follow enough of either Erma Bombeck's or Regina Brett's precepts. I sometimes tend to wallow in self-pity. This is a terribly unattractive trait, but one I possess -- unfortunately.

This post will not - or should not! - be a depressing one. However, it will be of a reflective nature. I've gotten some sleep and today is another day, right? There's an expression in Spanish that I dearly love ... "Manana es otro dia!" ... "Tomorrow is another day!" Well, this is tomorrow.

[Just a few days ago, I'd begun doing research on the qualities/characteristics of a "Gemini", and had intended to do a post on that for my birthday. Then, as occasionally happens with me on "important" days/dates/events/occasions, I couldn't bring myself to do such a post. That old 'depression gremlin' sneaking up on me again, I guess.]

But let's move on. There are several points from Regina Brett's "Life lessons" (published earlier today) that I'd like to expand upon.

Numbers 5 (Pay off your credit cards every month.) and 9 (Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.) ... ... My parents tried to impress the importance of those on me. My first husband tried to impress the importance of those on me. Not one of them made even the slightest impression! Where the devil was I? Pie in the sky? Head in the clouds? Live happily ever after? Who knows?!? I have paid dearly for those mistakes in the past and am living ... not all that unhappily most of the time - in fact, have almost forgiven myself and 'moved on' to the present, but am not all that sure about #42 (The best is yet to come.)

#7 (Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.) ... I have discovered that everyone wants to hear about your problems. It makes them feel better about their own! [One of the worst things about living alone is that there is no one to share the good news with!] That's kind of a sad truism about life, isn't it? We seem to thrive on others' misfortunes in an effort to take attention away from our own! But let's get back to the point of #7.

Years ago, when I was in therapy, my counselor shared with me a story about herself. It seems that she was in her apartment, sad, all alone and crying. She decided to go out to the neighborhood bar and continue her cry. One person after another tried to join her to offer some sympathy. None succeeded. She wanted to be alone in her misery, but not all alone! Does that make any sense to you? It does to me, but maybe you'd have to have 'been there done that'.

#11 (Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.) ... I've tried to do that. Am getting better, I think. Hopefully!

#14 (If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.) ... I referenced this one in my "I am so frustrated!" post of a couple of days ago. I've been guilty of extra-marital relationships in the past and am not proud of them. In fact, I wrote about some of these last year (or was it earlier this year? - it would have been in one of my "Memories of my mother" posts, I think) and have some personal knowledge of the damage they can do - not only to the relationship itself, but to the individual person involved.

Jacky sent me an e-mail - she was sorry to have missed my call, she said - wherein she echoed Al's advice to let him go (and perhaps lose his wife's newly-acquired friendship in the process). He would never understand, she iterated, that I was simply inquiring, hoping to renew a long ago remembrance with someone I'd known intimately and had fond memories of, but was not interested in a continuing relationship other than that of friendship.

#21 (Burn the candles. Use the nice sheets. Wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save them for a special occasion. Today is special.) ... Shades of Erma Bombeck here. Wonderful woman!

#23 (Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.) ... There's a kind of neat series on television right now ... ... well, shoot! I've just looked through all of the listings for this week and can't find it, so maybe it's not 'on right now' ... ... Anyway, it is/was called (something like) "Don't Eat the Daisies" -- "Pushing Daisies"?? ... a far-out premise, but in there are these two "little old ladies" who wear purple (or whatever other darned color they feel like wearing and who are funny as all get out!) ... ... Okay now, where was I? Oh, yes! On the subject of wearing purple.

I had on my refrigerator for years and years a poem one of my art clients gave me. (I can't find it, wouldn't you just know it? And I've looked!) She thought I 'wore purple' ... in other words, she thought I was eccentric and liked me all the better for it. (Worse yet, I can't even remember her name. Oh, well!)

#29 (What other people think of you is none of your business.) ... I've never heard that before, and I love it!

In fact, I like it so much that I'll end this post with that thought. Hope each and every one of you is having a good one!

Life lessons

Regina Brett, who had a column in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, said, "To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most-requested column I've ever written. My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here goes ... ..."

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste hating anyone.
4. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. Pay off your credit cards every month.
6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree. Both of you could be right at the same time.
7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.
8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck.
10. Love your parents because they will be gone before you know it.
11. Make peace with your past so it won't screw up the present.
12. It's OK to let your children see you cry.
13. Don't compare your life to others' lives. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it.
15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye, but don't worry. God never blinks.
16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.
17. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful, or joyful.
18. Whatever doesn't kill you really does make you stronger.
19. It's never too late to have a happy childhood. However, this one is up to you and no one else.
20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don't take no for an answer.
21. Burn the candles. Use the nice sheets. Wear the fancy lingerie. Don't save them for a special occasion. Today is special.
22. Over prepare, then go with the flow.
23. Be eccentric now. Don't wait for old age to wear purple.
24. The most important sex organ is the brain.
25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words, "In five years, will this matter?"
27. Always choose to be happy. Then you will.
28. Forgive everyone everything.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
30. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.
31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
32. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will. Stay in touch.
33. Believe in miracles. Then you will notice when they happen.
34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do.
35. Don't audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.
36. Growing old beats the alternative.
37. Your children only get one childhood.
38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.
39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere. Besides, sunshine makes you feel happy.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else's, we'd grab ours back.
41. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need.
42. The best is yet to come.
43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.
44. Yield.
45. Life isn't tied with a bow, but it's still a gift. Open it and say thank you!

Some dandies here, aren't there? I'm going to do a followup to this next, expanding a bit on those points that have special meaning for me. Once again, a big "Thank you!" shoutout to Beth for relaying this one to me.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

I am so frustrated!

Some months ago, I tried to reach out to some of those from my past. Have you ever tried to do that?

Well, I've been successful a time or two or three, but this one time I almost wish that I had not been successful!

Who was it? Well, it was the fellow I 'went with' for a couple of years and was subsequently engaged to in college. Then, his father died and I had visions of his mother - who was fairly dependent upon him at the time - living with us. I ended our relationship without giving him an explanation. (I forget how, exactly, I returned his engagement ring, but I know I did.)

It's my fault, I'm pretty sure. I was simply trying to reach out and touch those from my past to see how they were doing, to see if they were "okay", what had been happening in their lives, to try and re-establish some sort of contact, etc.

Well, this fellow's fine, but he's way too interested in getting together again! He wants me to attend a 50th college reunion in the UP in September ... ... I cannot afford to go, but he'll pay my way (he just "wants to see me again", or so he says).

He's called twice already today. Both times I was unavailable. The first time I was in the other room and didn't get to the phone on time. He left a voice message. The second time I was playing bridge with Rick Barrett.

My daughter is out of town and I can't confer with her. I've tried to call Beth, but got her voice mail. I tried to call Jacky and got Al (her husband), who advised me not to return his calls - just to hang up on him should he call again.

Why is he calling now? His wife is out of town, that's why! Yes, you read that right. He's married!! (And going on 50 years, for crying out loud!!!)

Beth sent me a really neat e-mail the other day, one part of which says, "If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn't be in it." That's a zinger, isn't it? (Btw, I'll be doing a post soon where I'll be sharing other thoughts from her e-mail. It's a good one. Watch for it!)

I have tried to explain to this person that I have no intention whatsoever of coming between him and his wife (who I feel has now become my friend), but he simply won't give up.

I don't want to be mean or ugly ... neither of those adjectives really 'fit' me or my 'style', I don't think, but I don't see another way out of this situation.

If you have a recommendation, I'd sure like to hear it!

Munising memories

Do you remember the days when all of the women wore hats?

This photo was taken at Pearl Cleven's wedding reception, probably either 1955 or 1956. She was one of my best friends when we lived in Munising.

That's me with the glasses on right in front of the bride and groom. Mom's coming up right behind me. Just click on the photo if you'd like to enlarge it.

Talk about a blast from the past! I wonder where she is now?

I've got my scanner back, obviously, and have been practicing like mad. Look for more stuff like this in posts to come.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Bob Hope and James Cagney

The following clip, taken from the 1955 movie "The Seven Little Foys" - where Bob Hope plays the role of Eddie Foy and James Cagney is George M. Cohan, will take you back a few years. Enjoy!

I was a great admirer of Bob Hope and knew he danced a little, but I had absolutely no recollection of how good he actually was!

Thanks, Dianna, for reminding us all of times gone by.

Cosmic pit stops ...

... are what the moon will appear to be making in the predawn hours this weekend.

The first stop occurred this morning, when the moon hovered near Venus and Mars. I wasn't up to see it. Sound asleep. Tomorrow morning will see the moon visiting the Pleiades star cluster, and the tour will end Sunday close to Mercury.

Supposedly, all you need to see these phenomena are clear skies and an unobstructed view of the low eastern horizon 45 minutes before dawn.

Well, our skies are clear and all I'd have to do is walk a couple of blocks to have an unobstructed view of the low eastern horizon. If I'm awake either tomorrow or Sunday morning, I'll do it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It ain't over til it's over!

Just a short while ago, I finally managed to personally - we'd previously just been playing 'phone tag' - hook up with a potential customer who had been referred to me by one of my old-timey taxicab customers and I want to tell you, folks, that it ain't over til it's over!

She (potential customer) was looking for someone who could be depended upon to drive her and perhaps one or more of her friends to the theater or the museum every once in a while, wait, and then pick her/them up afterwards and take them back home.

I told her what I would charge per trip - what I would charge for waiting, etc. ... ... we were on the phone for a long time (talking about this and that), and folks, it ain't over til it's over!

This gal's a retired surgeon and has been in the Houston area for a little over seven years. Prior to that, she lived in California.

Do you want to know what she did last weekend? She went sky diving!

She told me that she had nothing planned for the immediate future, but she was glad to have my number and information. I can't even begin to tell you how much I hope to meet this young lady!

Oh! Did I forget to tell you how old she is? She's 90!! Rrvit!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Stuff from others

Chuck has a list that really helps bring home the vast concept of a billion ... ...

A billion seconds ago it was 1959.

A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.

A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.

A billion days ago no one walked on Earth.

A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government spends money.

This one's from Craig, our Australian blogger friend ... ...

I had never heard of Aaron Wilbur before Craig shared that clip on one of his recent posts, had you? There's a really cute video of Aaron Wilbur doing a sketch that includes the phrase, "Bless his heart", where he talks about how people in the South can say anything they want to about somebody just as long as they finish it off with, "Bless his heart." For some reason, tho, I was not able to embed it. If you'd like to view it for yourself, go here. It's pretty funny!

And now I'm off to the shower and then play bridge. Hope you have a good one!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Good afternoon!

Bridge again ... ... played with Evelyn Berger today, and we had a very nice game - a touch over 58%, and just a whisker (we had 58.17 and the overall winners had 59.13) shy of capturing the whole thing overall. There's a story behind our getting together, and it's a good one.

You might recall that I was looking for someone early last week to make a fourth for our team in the tournament? Well, I called Edna Kelly (a former student), for one. I called several people, actually, and kept getting voice mails. Left a message every time. One of the messages I left was on Evelyn Berger's machine. I listened keenly to her greeting, asking myself the whole time, "Is this the right Evelyn?" I finally decided that it was and left a message, but qualified it with, "If you're the wrong Evelyn, if you're the Evelyn I've reached in error before, I apologize for being in error again and there's no need to call me back."

Well, it was the wrong Evelyn, but she called me back anyway and we had a nice visit. I decided that, as long as we'd had two very pleasant telephone conversations - albeit both as a result of my forgetting Evelyn James' last name, we should really get together for a game and then - hopefully - I wouldn't make that mistake a third time.

Don't you just love that story?

Sweet lady. Only plays during the day. She had cataract surgery on her only good eye last month and has trouble seeing the cards. I've heard this story bunches of times before and I'm tellin' ya, folks, I'm not looking forward to having cataract surgery later on this year or early next. Not the teensiest little bit.

I have one nasty thing to report from today's game. We were defending a contract and I had just taken the last trick. I was taking a little time thinking about what I was going to lead to the next trick when I heard from my left - in a tone of voice I hadn't heard since the last time I was robbed at gunpoint while driving a taxicab - "Let's go, the round's been called!"

When you're driving a taxicab, you never want to hear that tone of voice - it's scary! I wasn't the least bit scared today, but memories just came flooding back over me and I began to shake. I was almost livid with anger. I said nothing and made no comment. Didn't call the director, either, altho I was well within my rights to do so.

(Just took the time to look up what we did against her and her partner ... yes, it was a she who was acting that way! Twelve was "top" on each board, and we had gotten a 9 1/2 on the previous board. I guess she was ticked. "Tough titties," my mother would have said. On the 'tone of voice' board, we got a 10. Ha! Double ha!!)

Tomorrow I'm scheduled to play with Rick Barrett. Now that's a name from my far almost-everyday-bridge-playing past! Am very much looking forward to it. We've exchanged a couple of e-mails already, talking about our general approach to the game and what we prefer, etc. and blah. We'll be playing at a venue that is new to me.

Milwaukee did not lose last night, and so the National League's Central division is not nearly as tight as I optimistically envisioned.

Later, gators!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Thises and thats

Baseball ...

Wow! Have you ever seen such a light schedule for a Monday night? Only two games will be played tonight in the majors ... both interleague-type dealies. If Milwaukee loses again, our National League Central division will look even more interesting ... the Brewers and Cardinals will be tied at the top, the Cubs and Reds tied at 2 games back, and the Pirates and Astros tied at 3.5 games back. Now that's a tight division!

What's happened, of course, is that three of the teams at the top of our division are all 3-7 for their last 10 games and the three at the bottom are even or a little ahead (Astros have the best record at 6-4). Crazy, just crazy!

Interleague games resume in earnest across the majors Tuesday night. My Astros will be at the Rangers, and I'm hoping we can take the series. The Rangers either swept us when they were here or took two out of the three - I forget which. We'll be playing for the silver boot, which I wrote about here. There'll be two National League teams playing against each other again, but I forget right now which two they'll be. We'll see tomorrow night, won't we?

Kind of hard to ignore this next little item. Ever since they left here just a couple or three weeks ago, where we took 3 out of the 4 games (they won the 4th), the Rockies have been lighting up the baseball world. They have now won a whopping 11 in a row, but are still 10 1/2 games back of the first place Dodgers, who have the best winning percentage in baseball - 65%.

I probably won't be doing another baseball recap of our 'club' until after this round of interleague play has been concluded. Meanwhile, I'll be keeping a close eye on all of our teams. (Btw, Tammy and her family have just begun an ambitious trip to California and then the Grand Canyon before returning back home to Idaho in a couple of weeks, and will be out of pocket. I wish them a safe drive, and hope - altho it might be futile in this heat wave that's currently sweeping much of the country - that it's not too hot for them to enjoy those portions of their trip that will be spent outdoors.)

Bridge ...

Well, we came in 2nd. Won Saturday afternoon in a really tough match - I knew we had bested the opponents at our table both rounds, but you never know what's happening at the other table - and played for the championship that evening. I called my daughter while sitting out in the parking lot after that first session and gave her the good news. She said, "Mother, don't change anything. Do everything exactly the way you did it yesterday." Well, I tried to (including stopping at McDonalds for their mcnuggets, altho I really wasn't in the mood for mcnuggets), but what neither of us realized was that the cat had already been let out of the bag. The previous afternoon, I hadn't called her until after I had arrived back home between sessions.

I should have gone to Luby's (a cafeteria just up the road from the Convention Center) as I'd thought about doing. If I'd realized that I'd already jinxed myself by changing up the order of what I did between sessions, I'd have gone to Luby's and then who knows what would have happened, right?

As it turned out, we held our own during the first half of Saturday evening's match - in fact, were a little ahead, but then during the second half I misplayed ("butchered" is the correct term) one hand and mis-defended another! Ye gods!! Two very costly errors. I still have our card with the results. Think I'll throw it away instead of trying to find someone else to 'blame'.

Television ...

I went out to Katy yesterday and picked up my early birthday present (see pic in this post) ... ... had a nice visit with my daughter and her husband, as well. It's the perfect size to replace my other one. Knew it would be. Only a couple of 'problems', which my son-in-law can perhaps futz around with and recapture/fix when he's next here.

That's it for this post. Lots of other 'news', but some of it is "down the road" type. Talk atcha!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Don't tell anybody, but ...

... our team knocked out a few others in the bridge tournament yesterday afternoon and evening. We're playing in the knockouts. What that means, in lay terms, is that - if you lose, your team is 'history' for that event. And so we'll continue on this afternoon. If we survive that session, we'll be playing for the championship starting at 7pm tonight.

I don't know if I can do it, to tell you the truth. I fell into bed when I got back home going on five hours ago now, but then woke up a couple of hours later with a leg cramp - not one of those really awful ones that makes me want to cry out in pain, but bad enough. And now I'm trying to kill some time until I absolutely can't keep my eyes open for another second and then I'll try that sleeping act again.

I have to get some sleep! Today's first game doesn't start until 1:30, so I've got plenty of time, but still!! The next to last hand last night I could hardly keep my eyes open. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! I can clearly remember when I could easily put two back-to-back sessions of bridge together and then go out and party afterwards. You know, spend hours and hours drinking, dissecting hands, laughing and generally just carrying on and having one heck of a good time, dancing and whatnot. And then repeat the whole process the next day! Could I ever have been that young?

I wrote about this tournament for the Examiner and you can read about it here, if you wish. Hey! You can help me out a bit, if you'd like, by "subscribing" to my page by "Email" every time I publish.

It won't co$t you anything except a little time and it would help build up my 'page views', which is one of the criteria Examiner uses to pay its writers. You shouldn't get placed on any unwanted mailing lists or anything like that. Just make sure that, when you get an e-mail telling you that I've published another article, you click on to where it says "read more" or "keep reading" (one of those-type dealies).

How do you subscribe? Well, first you have to go to my page by following the link above. Then, in the rectangular box with the photo of me you'll see the words "Subscribe to Email" ... click there, and directions will follow for you to sign up. It's that easy.

Boy, is that crass self-promotion or what? (Yes, it certainly is. Personally, I dislike self-promoters and now I've become one, haven't I? Ye gods! Well, at least I'm not trying to puff myself up by putting someone else down. I can feel good about that, anyway!)

Well, shuckeydurn! I'm still wide awake. I'm going to hit "Publish Post" shortly and then start another post. Well, maybe I'll catch a few of my "Favorites" first. Something, anything! I don't have a TV that works right now. A brand new Toshiba 15.6" wide screen with a built-in DVD player is waiting for me out in Katy ... a present from my daughter and her husband for my birthday. Here's what it looks like ... ...

Is that neat or what? It'll be a perfect replacement for the one I have. Kind of exciting, although now I'll have to learn how to use a DVD player. Always something, huh? :)

Before I hit "Publish Post", however, for any of you who are interested in bridge, this past week I published the third in my series on defense for the Examiner. I'm pretty proud of this series. I do each in Word first and then copy them directly onto my page. For this series, I'm using an original cartoon-type drawing that a bridge friend made for me many years ago when we were living in Ohio. Think I've already referenced this ... ... yep, in my "Sunday morning" post of June 1st. Cartoon's in there, too. (I'm repeating myself. Maybe that's a good sign. Maybe I'm finally getting tired enough to go back to bed and get some badly-needed and refreshing sleep. That would be a good thing!)

You will probably notice, any of you who do go to my page in the Examiner, that I still don't have my act fully together. It's not as professional-looking as I would like. I don't have all of my articles indexed and cross-referenced as they should be, plus my link list is almost nonexistent. All of that is because I still haven't taken the time to get on a conference call that Examiner offers several times each week for help with some of this stuff. That should be happening within the next few days.

I should probably tell you who all else is on my team. Well, Julian Barr (of course, altho he's not my partner for this event) and his partner, Bill Breslin. Julian's the captain. We're known as the "Barr team". My partner is Bob Cohen, with whom I played for the very first time this past Tuesday night at John Zilic's. You've heard me mention John before, I'm pretty sure.

The "knockouts" are Julian's very favorite event. Although I like team games, the "Swiss" is my personal favorite. I do not recall ever having played in a knockout before. Think this is a first for me.

Well, my eyes are now beginning to have a little trouble staying open. Oh, wonder of all wonders! I think I'll send an e-mail to my daughter and ask her to call me around 11 or 11:30 or so this morning and see if I answer the phone. And then keep calling until I do!

That should work. Meanwhile, if you have occasion to think about our team later on today, please send all the strongest positive vibes you can spare our way. We'll be doing our very best to receive them!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Don't look, Ethel!!!

Wouldn't you know it? Beth sent me a really lame e-mail just a few minutes ago that made me laugh out loud. Here's what it says ... ... If you ever get the sudden urge to run around naked, you should sniff some Windex first. It'll keep you from streaking.

Lawdy lawdy, that brought back some memories! And then, of course, I had to go to YouTube to see if Ray Stevens' "The Streak" was there. And yes, it was!

Anyone remember this craze from the 1970's? Just too funny! There were lots and lots of true stories that involved streakers, not to mention a bunch of jokes.

I guess my favorite joke involves the Aggie (a Texas A&M student) who goes home after his classes are over for the day and excitedly tells his folks, "I saw some streakers on campus today!" His parents ask, "Were they boys or girls?" "I don't know," he answers, "they had bags over their heads."

Do you have any favorite streaker stories to share?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The ten laws of love

I don't remember exactly where I saw these, but (imo) they are absolutely critical for any lasting relationship ... marriage included, of course. Perhaps, if I had adhered to any more than one or two of them, I would still be 'happily' married to my first husband.

Chemistry ... #1 ... it's the magic, the special energies that signal partners possess the raw materials for success. Chemistry is not optional. It provides the synergy couples need to survive the rapids of any new relationship, and keeps them high on a course to achieve their goals.

Priority ... #2 ... a couple's commitment to keep the health of their relationship front and central. It asks partners to begin to psychologically "leave the nest" of their first families - and to address any compulsions and addictions, including codependence, in order to be fully available to their second family.

Emotional integrity ... #3 ... asks partners to create an emotional "safe zone" with each other. They do this by taking responsibility for their feelings, especially by learning the difference between 'acting them out' and expressing them healthily. This law also guides partners in identifying and healing blind spots and 'hot buttons' that cause disharmony in all relationships.

Listening ... #4 ... the greatest act of love, and a (an acquired?) skill. It involves the partners' ability to hear each other's words - along with the feelings underneath - with understanding, compassion and empathy.

Equality ... #5 ... about fairness and respect. It involves acknowledging power imbalances in the relationship and helps partners see through the tyranny of unnegotiated (and often antiquated) roles, responsibilities and unconscious expectations.

Peacemaking ... #6 ... a couple's commitment to maintain their emotional safe zone through the use of anger management, conflict resolution tools and agreements.

Self-love ... #7 ... talks about landmines and unfinished business from childhood and prior relationships. (Personally, I'm having a little trouble with this one. To me, self-love has a lot to do with a myriad of other things that are not mentioned or discussed here, but I'm including it because it is important!)

Mission in life ... #8 ... true love cannot be sustained until both parties are engaged in their own true work. The discussion goes on to say that "intimates are either the mission's most powerful support or its most-feared saboteur".

Walking ... #9 ... addresses the primary insecurities that plague all partners. Emotional and financial dependencies can lead to a slow death of trust, love, respect and passion. When intimates are willing and able to leave the relationship, if need be, you can almost bet on the fact that they will not!

Transformational education ... #10 ... the 'fail-safe' mechanism. It represents partners' commitment to do whatever healing is necessary if they get stuck on any of the first nine laws.

You know what? Upon typing these and trying to assimilate all of the possible meanings, it occurred to me that these were written for "same-sexers".

But, you want to know also what? I see a whole lot of truisms there for those of us in the heterosexual world who have experienced wholesome, faltering or even failed relationships - myself included.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

This is just too much!

Please click on this link. I've played it a couple of times already and will probably do so again after I get back home from playing bridge with Julian this afternoon.

Once again, courtesy of Beth. Enjoy!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Setting the world on fire

Well, nobody in professional baseball right now is setting the world on fire. The Philadelphia Phillies are coming closest, winning 8 of their last 10. Currently their winning streak stands at 7. Unfortunately for Patrick, this is the division in which his Braves play. The Braves are 4 and 6 in their last 10 games, with last night's action against the Cubs postponed due to rain.

Boy, there've been a bunch of rainouts, delayed and postponed games this year, haven't there? The Astros have been involved in two that I can recall off of the top of my head ... one against the Chicago Cubs that'll be made up either this month or next, I forget which ... the other against the Nationals that'll be completed when we next meet. (There's just an inning or two to go in that game, I think. It could have been called. Wonder why it wasn't?)

My National League Central has been ho-hum, tending to mediocrity, these past several days. Only the Astros 4-game winning streak (snapped last night by the Rockies) enabled them to keep the tied-for-1st-place Brewers and Cardinals within eyesight. Interestingly enough, the American League's Central division looks very similar to ours, with just 7 games separating the first and last place teams.

Four of the teams in our division are scheduled to play head to head this weekend. The Pirates will be here and the Cubs will be in Cincinnati. St. Louis stays at home, where they'll be hosting the Rockies, and the Brewers will travel to Atlanta. Let's hope the skies will have cleared enough for them to get all of their games in over there in Georgia. Enough with the rainouts already!

A couple of things I was following these past several days were "Home" and "Away" records. All a team realistically hopes for is a close to .500 winning percentage away and a 'take all you can get' attitude at home. And, of course, the team that has winning percentages both home and away will most often win their division. Either that, or they'll be very close to the top and perhaps earn a 'wild card' spot for the playoffs.

I noticed that, within our 'club', only the Braves and Astros have losing records at home. All of the others have winning home records, some of them even pretty sizable. Steven's Blue Jays, up until the last couple of days, were almost neck and neck with the Dodgers in winning home percentages - both over 70%. That's sizable. The Dodgers home record is now 20-7. An impressive figure!

The Jays home record is still a very respectable 19-9, but they've lost 7 out of their last ten games (the last two at home) and seem to be kind of in the doldrums. I thought sure they were going to pull their game out yesterday in the bottom of the 9th, but they needed another out.

Let's see, where's everyone in the American League East playing this weekend? The Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays will all be at home, playing host to the Rays, Rangers and Royals, respectively.

Good luck all! Try and make nice for the cameras, but remember, this is war ... take no prisoners!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

"The best pecan pie in the whole world" ...

... is what one restaurant in town has advertised for many years.

Well, one time when I was driving a taxicab I happened to pick up these two guys who were going over there to test out the restaurant's claim.

The one fellow told me that his wife made the best pecan pie in the whole world ... the other fellow insisted that his mother did!

There was no way on God's green earth that I was not going to wait around to hear the verdict.

I waited. I was kind of excited, actually. This would be the very first time I had driven two people who were interested in challenging this unbelievable claim.

Not more than 30 minutes later, the two came out and - grinning sheepishly - got into the back seat.

I asked, "Well?!?" "They're right," they both responded. I promised the one that I would not tell his wife and the other that I would not tell his mother and off we went, laughing like crazy.

Thank you, Chuck, for reminding me of this little story! (It was Chuck, btw, who posted this YouTube video on his blog a day or so ago. Enjoy!)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Operator, I need help!

To tickle some of your funny bones, here are some actual stories of people calling in to various help centers. The conversations are from taped recordings of the calls.

Information, please ...

Customer: I've been calling 700-1000 for two days and can't get through. Can you help me?
Operator: Where did you get that number, sir?
Customer: It's on the door of your business.
Operator: Sir, those are the hours we are open.

Caller: Operator, can you give me the telephone number for 'Jack'?
Operator: I'm sorry, sir, I don't know who you're talking about.
Caller: On page 1, section 5, of the User Guide, it clearly states that I need to unplug the fax machine from the AC wall socket and Telephone Jack before cleaning. Now, can you give me the number for Jack?
Operator: I think it means the telephone plug on the wall.

Caller: I'd like the number of the Argo Fish Bar, please.
Operator: I'm sorry, there's no such listing. Are you sure the spelling is correct?
Caller: Well, it used to be called the Bargo Fish Bar, but the B fell off.

Then there was the caller who asked for a knitwear company in Woven.
Operator: 'Woven?' Are you sure?
Caller: Yes. That's what it says on the label ... Woven in Scotland.

On another occasion, a man making heavy breathing sounds told a worried operator, "I haven't got a pen, so I'm steaming up the window to write the number on."

Travel and car assistance ...

Caller: (inquiring of RAC Motoring Services) ... Does your European Breakdown Policy cover me when I'm traveling in Australia?
Operator: Does the product name give you a clue?

Caller: (asking about legal requirements while traveling in Europe) ... If I register my car in France and then take it to England, do I have to move the steering wheel to the other side?

General computer questions ...

Tech support: I need you to right-click on the Open Desktop.
Customer: OK.
Tech support: Did you get a pop-up menu?
Customer: No.
Tech support: OK. Right-click again. Do you see a pop-up menu?
Customer: No.
Tech support: OK, sir, can you tell me what you have done up until this point?
Customer: Sure. You told me to write 'click' and I wrote 'click'.

Caller: I deleted a file from my PC last week and I just realized that I need it. So, if I turn my system clock back two weeks can I get my file back?

Tech support: OK. At the bottom left-hand side of your screen, can you see the 'OK' button displayed?
Customer: Wow! How can you see my screen from there?


Now, in this last one, you will be reading an almost unbelievable exchange between a call-in customer and a WordPerfect Customer Support Center employee, who was terminated as a result of this taped conversation and is currently suing the WordPerfect organization for "Termination without Cause".

Operator: Ridge Hall, computer assistance, how may I help you?
Caller: Yes, well, I'm having trouble with WordPerfect.
Operator: What sort of trouble?
Caller: Well, I was just typing along and all of a sudden the words went away.
Operator: Went away?
Caller: They disappeared.
Operator: Hmmm. So what does your screen look like now?
Caller: Nothing.
Operator: Nothing??
Caller: It's blank. It won't accept anything when I type.
Operator: Are you still in WordPerfect, or did you get out?
Caller: How do I tell?
Operator: Can you see the 'C prompt' on the screen?
Caller: What's a sea-prompt?
Operator: Never mind. Can you move your cursor around on the screen?
Caller: There isn't any cursor. I told you, it won't accept anything I type.
Operator: Does your monitor have a power indicator?
Caller: What's a monitor?
Operator: It's the thing with a screen on it that looks like a TV. Does it have a little light that tells you when it's on?
Caller: I don't know.
Operator: Well then, look on the back of the monitor and find where the power cord goes into it. Can you see that?
Caller: Yes, I think so.
Operator: Great. Follow the cord to the plug and tell me if it's plugged into the wall.
Caller: Yes, it is.
Operator: When you were behind the monitor, did you notice that there were two cables plugged into the back of it and not just one?
Caller: No.
Operator: Well, there are. I need you to look back there again and find the other cable.
Caller: OK, here it is.
Operator: Follow it for me, and tell me if it's plugged securely into the back of your computer.
Caller: I can't reach.
Operator: OK. Well, can you see if it is?
Caller: No ...
Operator: Even if maybe you put your knee on something and lean way over?
Caller: Well, it's not because I don't have the right angle -- it's because it's dark.
Operator: Dark?
Caller: Yes. The office light is off, and the only light I have is coming in from the window.
Operator: Well, turn on the office light then.
Caller: I can't.
Operator: No? Why not?
Caller: Because there's a power failure.
Operator: A -- a power -- a power failure? Aha! Okay, we've got it licked now. Do you still have the boxes and manuals and packing stuff that your computer came in?
Caller: Well yes, I keep them in the closet.
Operator: Good. Go get them, and unplug your system and pack it up just like it was when you got it. Then take it back to the store you bought it from.
Caller: Really? Is it that bad?
Operator: Yes, I'm afraid it is.
Caller: Well, all right then, I suppose. What do I tell them?
Operator: Tell them you're too ****** stupid to own a computer!

Thanks, Jennie, for the forwarding of this e-mail.

Milo Hamilton

A strange thing happened last night at the ball park. Milo Hamilton - who's been our play-by-play announcer on the radio for over twenty years, in a somewhat disgusted tone of voice announced that the Rockies had now evened up the series (we're in the midst of a 4-game set with them at home).

Well, granted that we'd left a ton of men on base and had again squandered a bunch of scoring opportunities (including a bases-loaded groundout in the bottom of the 9th), but the game wasn't over and the Rockies had not won. Milo was mistaken. It was a terrible gaffe.

What followed his announcement were many seconds - perhaps even a minute or more - of "dead air". The next voice to be heard was that of the color guy - and I forget what he said exactly to try and provide as smooth and coherent a segue as possible, considering the circumstances, into the 10th inning.

And the game continued. I wondered if I would hear Milo's voice again. My imagination pictured his having suffered a stroke in the booth and emergency personnel scrambling to attend to him. But, he did come on again and the game was finally won by the Astros in the bottom of the 11th when Miguel Tejada, the hottest hitter in baseball right now, hit a solo home run.

Several years back, when Milo's wife (also a bridge player) was having a lot of health problems and Milo was having some of his own, his mind just wasn't able to totally focus on the games and I thought that he might not be able to continue the play-by-play role that he loved so much.

Drayton McLane, the Astros owner, visited Milo in the hospital and gave him the encouragement he needed to return. Changes made by Drayton during the past few years attest to his continuing support for Milo. No out-of-town games during the regular season unless Milo expresses a strong desire to go, a mid-game 'break' of two or three innings during every home game, and no pre-season action at all until just before the regular season is due to begin. Overall, that strategy has worked out very well, and last night's goof was the first that I am aware of this season.

[It's hard for me to believe that this is Drayton's 17th year with the Astros. It seems like only yesterday that he, Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell were pictured laughing together coming off of an elevator.]

I don't know what will happen as a result of last night's lapse and do not wish to speculate. However, one has to keep in mind that Milo is no spring chicken - he'll be 82 in September - and he's been around the world of baseball for a long, long time.

I just looked up some info on him in Wiki and found this photograph,

which was taken 28 years ago. Milo's the one with the microphone, of course. He really doesn't look all that very much different today. A little grayer - he's been one of the lucky males to have kept most of his hair. A few more wrinkles. Almost always with a smile on his face.

Milo's not very tall (not an imposing figure at all!) - 5'6" or so - but has a wonderfully-deep broadcasting voice. His enunciation is clear and his pitch rises and falls as he speaks to provide even more interest. I had the opportunity to meet him several times over the years, and he gave Charlotte Honet (co-owner of the Bridge Studio of Houston) and me complimentary tickets to several of the Astros home games when both she and I were rabid fans in the late 1980's and early 1990's.

Wiki has more "information" on Milo and his career in broadcasting, if you'd care to read it. I put the word information in quotes because some of it reads (imo) almost like a gossip column.

There, if you follow the link, you will see the photo I've just shared with you. In addition, you will read about some of the times he's been fired. I hadn't known any of that! Probably most of it is true, but there's some gossipy-type stuff in there as well - not regarding Milo, but others ... you'll see. I don't want to say it's a 'juicy' read, but it's not boring!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sunday morning

[This post has been written in bits and pieces. It's now going on 9am Monday morning. I'm going to leave it pretty much as I initially began it, but I'll be doing little headlines for you. There'll be a Wendy update down towards the bottom and perhaps another little blurb or two, but it's gotten quite long already. I might just decide to do the Wendy one and leave it at that.]

Sunday morning ... Well, there's not much going on, but I thought I'd share with you what little there is.

[I wrote the above over four hours ago. Actually, there's a whole lot more going on now but I'm not sure whatall exactly I'd like to share with you at this point in time. To say that I'm 'ticked' would be accurate. To say more than that? Well, let's see how I feel as I continue to vent.]

Examiner and bridge ... I'm pretty sure I told all of you that I was accepted as an "Examiner" - actually, as a Houston Duplicate Bridge Examiner - within the past month. I published three articles early, but then danged near did myself in (physically) with my 'there and back in one fell swoop' trip to New Orleans almost three weeks ago. I published my 4th and 5th articles with the Examiner yesterday, one of which began what will be a multi-part series on defense.

I don't know how many of you out there who read my blog are bridge players. If you are not, you will not have the vaguest idea what I'm talking about when I say 'defense'. And even if you are bridge players, you might not have the slightest bit of interest in defense unless you are a duplicate bridge player - and then you still might not have the slightest bit of interest. Tsk, tsk, and shame on you, is all that I can (publishably) say.

It's my #1 interest in bridge and so there you have it. Theoretically, half of the hands you are dealt belong to your side (for declaring purposes) and the other half belong to the other side. Why not give it your best shot at defense if that's your only choice?

Scanner problems ... ANYhoo, while trying to find a good pic that I could use for these articles in the Examiner on defense, I remembered an original cartoon-type drawing that one of my Columbus, Ohio bridge friends created for me many years ago when I lived there. It shows a pipe-smoking frog wearing Texas (or maybe granny-type laceup) boots. Well, I don't smoke a pipe (altho I do smoke!) and have never worn boots of the sort shown in his drawing, but I LOVE the cartoon!

The next thing I did, of course, was try and scan it. There's a big yellow vertical line that appears. The same thing now, as well, on the Mother's Day card that I scanned for you just a few days ago. (It wasn't there when I first scanned it, but it is now!)

[A couple of hours later. Actually, that yellow vertical line was there on the scanned copy of the Mother's Day card, but we just didn't notice it -- and of course, it's there on my post as well, but nobody seemed to notice it. Certainly I didn't notice, my daughter didn't notice ... did you??]

Anyway, to make a long story (hopefully) just a little bit shorter, my son-in-law within the past few minutes exited the house going back out to Katy with my scanner and the original cartoon-like drawing in hand. Not a cable problem. Not a connection problem. Not a color problem. Not a black and white problem.

So what's the problem? Boy oh boy, if I knew the answer to that question I'd be the first to tell you! More later on this, of course. Meanwhile, I'm back to being on 'no scanner' status.

AC ... [It's now Monday morning. What happened to the rest of Sunday? Well, what happened was that I played bridge again. Didn't win this time, but had a lot of fun as usual ... that is, until the AC somehow got cranked way up going into the last round - we were playing six-board rounds - and I couldn't wait to get out of there! I hadn't brought a sweater or jacket with me. I'll have to remember to do so next time, won't I? That's a continuing problem in Houston during the warm months. It's hot and humid outside and you're sweating like a you-know-what. Then you go inside and freeze half to death. The next day you're sick, and people wonder why. Well, I don't feel sick today. Don't feel like I'm coming down with something, either, which is a good thing. However, I'll be paying attention all day long and will guzzle down bunches of orange juice and napping as I feel is warranted.]

Questions in Katy ... Scanner - supposedly - is fixed. My daughter took it apart and cleaned the inside mirrors. Wish that c/would have been done here, but c'est la vie, right? Just as soon as I hit the "Publish Post" button for this entry, I'll be headed out to Katy to pick up the scanner and go over some questions I have for my daughter to try and answer about Examiner submissions. Their criteria and the procedures that must be used to submit articles are much different from these kinds of posts. I'm having trouble getting used to them. In fact, it's a real pain in the neck sometimes. I keep accidentally erasing my entries. Examiner has one-hour phone seminars (conference-call-type dealiebops) that they hold several times each week. Think I've got one scheduled on my calendar for Wednesday.

I might even try to publish my next article while I'm out there. It's all ready to go. The Word text is all set to be copied and inserted and my cartoon frog looks great. (They scanned it using my now-cleaned-up-and-ready-to-go scanner.) The only problem I might run into is my daughter's little dinky keyboard. I've got one of these big old keyboards that sits on top of my computer and I love it! It's not that my fingers are actually 'fat', but it sure seems like it when I try and use her keyboard. I had a terrible time in September when I tried to do posts from out there after Ike ... don't remember if I told you about any of those problems.

Installing scanner ... I'll be doing the re-installing of the scanner myself. Can't you just see it all now? Wires wires everywhere and not a plug-in to be found! (Or, if there is a plug-in to be found, I'll make a wrong attachment and fry everything. Ye Gods!) Good luck to all that, right?

Wendy ... She posted a really long piece on the 24th talking about their last attempt to reach the summit. It gives a lot more of the background about that last day - which was, for them, the 18th. The final straw was her increasing inability to move her arms and legs as quickly as they should in order to cross the Khumbu Ice Falls successfully and safely. She felt that she was putting the other members of her party in danger (and, of course, she was!). It's a good post. Upbeat, for the most part, but realistic. Follow the link if you'd like to read more of the details.

Cartoon for examiner "defense series" ... Thought I'd close this by showing you the cartoon I'll be using for this series of articles on defense in the Examiner ... ...

Isn't it just wonderful? Love the glasses!