Saturday, July 3, 2010

Along the Way .. #4

Hi, all!

Just a short post to let you know that I am in Amherst, NH, with my family, safe and sound.

I arrived yesterday, late afternoon. Started driving Wednesday from Wooster, OH around 4:30pm, right after playing a session of duplicate bridge, and just kept on driving every time I woke up from a short nap or resting a few minutes with my eyes closed until - finally - I could not force another driving muscle to move even one more inch and pulled over at a rest stop about 70 miles away from Troy, New York at 6:30am Thursday morning, where I actually got a couple of hours of sleep in a car that was almost toasty warm with the morning sun streaming in the windows.

Started a post about that drive last night, but then realized I couldn't finish it because I didn't have all my data in hand and organized.

There will be several more posts in this series .. at least five or six, I would imagine. So, look for those. Think you'll find them of interest. And, perhaps you'll get a laugh or two.

Meanwhile, I'm ok. How are you doing?

Monday, June 28, 2010

Along the Way .. #3

Eating out ...

Beth and I decided, very early on, that we wanted absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with fast food franchises on this trip ... ... so, goodbye to McDonald's, Arby's, IHOP, Jack in the Box, KFC, etc. And, except for my quite abnormal excursion in the middle of the night to a Waffle House (see this post), any and all such establishments received not a single visit from either of us.

However, I must tell you that my visit to the Waffle House re-awakened a keen desire for 'real' bacon and eggs - these free continental breakfasts at motels, while nice, leave a whole lot to be desired, you know?

Beth introduced me to Cracker Barrel, with whom I have since fallen in love. As a matter of fact, after I publish this post, I think I'll head back on down to Columbus' one and only Cracker Barrel location, where I fully intend to have three eggs over medium, bacon very crisp and hot chocolate. (I was there last night, but am salivating again! LOL)

Our last evening together in Memphis, Butch treated Beth and me to the best Chinese food I can ever remember eating! I had egg foo yung .. three or four large pieces - sinfully delicious! - I could only eat a couple of them. What a terrible loss for my tummy and appreciative taste buds! Butch took what was left on Beth's and my plates 'to go'. Boy, he would have had some really good stuff awaiting him when he zapped them in the microwave, wouldn't he? The three of us also shared an order of crab rangoon .. two each. Nothing left of any of those 'to go'. :) The name of the restaurant? Hunan

Monday evening in Louisville, I developed a sudden craving for apple pie ala mode. And so, after settling in at our motel - we'd acquired a taste for Baymont Inns - we went in search of same. It was going on 10 o'clock at night, and I didn't know how successful we might be, but we were trying to be optimistic. As an added plus, there was an IHOP in the area. (Oh no, a franchise!!) We knew they were open 24/7 and had a varied menu. We'd stop there as a last resort.

Some of the restaurants that presented possibilities were already closed. However, one of the restaurants still open that caught our attention was Applebee's. We thought sure that, with a name like Applebee's, they'd be offering an apple something-or-another. I mean, wouldn't you think so? "No" is the answer. (!?!) No, no and no again. We picked on them for what we considered an appropriate amount of time and then went on our way.

[Sorry, folks. Thought I could wait until I finished this before going out to eat, but I'm starving! More later. ................................................... How's this for later? It's now Monday, going on 10am. It was all I could do last night, after coming back from eating, to just lay on the bed and work the television clicker.]

We'd almost run out of options. A restaurant with the kind of enticing name of Old Chicago presented itself, but - upon closer inspection - turned out to be a "pasta and pizza" place .. .. not a very likely candidate, eh what?

But, Beth being the "leave no stone unturned" person that she is, said, "Wait here. I'll go in and see what they have." She came out just a couple of minutes later with a grin on her face and said, "I think they might be able to help us."

Sure enough! They had something on their menu that described a whole apple with cinnamon, surrounded by a crust of some sort, baked and then drizzled over with caramel and strawberry sauces. We asked if they had ice cream. They did. We decided to split an order .. .. cut one in half, hold the caramel and strawberry, and top it off with vanilla ice cream.

My word, you never saw food disappear so fast! To say it was delicious simply doesn't do it justice!! The waiter came back to see how we were doing. I told him that Beth had accidentally dropped hers on the floor (I was just finishing mine), and that we'd like to have another. He was very pleased and took off with our order.

That'll be my last stop at an Old Chicago for who knows how long? There are two locations in Pennsylvania (plus a couple in Michigan), but they're nowhere near where I'll be traveling, and none at all (!) in New York, New Hampshire, Maine, or Vermont. :(

[I'll be traveling to Ann Arbor later today. Jennie tells me she thinks there are two restaurant locations there that might be able to come close to what we enjoyed at Old Chicago. I'll report back later. After I check out of here in another hour or so, I'll stop by the Worthington Inn (just down the street, as it turns out) for brunch. Many years ago, when we lived here in Columbus, we spent many a Sunday there after church, where our daughter enjoyed 'all she could eat' for a quarter. I was delighted to discover they were still in business.]

If any of you get anywhere close to an Old Chicago and that dessert sounds good to you, I highly recommend you try it .. without the caramel and strawberry, as we did (Those two additions really didn't sound very good to us.), and let me know what you think. It's listed on the menu as "apple _____ _____" (don't remember the exact title), but read the description. That should let you know you have the right item.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Along the Way .. #2

My itinerary ...

I thought I should let all of you know what I think my schedule will look like for the rest of this trip.

To recap thus far, Beth and I arrived in Memphis Friday, June 18th (late afternoon) and had a really great visit with Butch. Part of that trip was written about in my last post, and you should expect a "part two" before this series has ended.

We drove to Louisville the following Monday, stayed overnite, and I drove Beth to the airport to catch her flight back to Houston before continuing on to Indianapolis by myself. From Indy went to Lafayette, where I stayed until Friday with Jacky, my long-timey friend. Then on to Columbus, Ohio.

Have decided to take an extra day here in Columbus to try and play catchup on some badly-needed sleep, get my e-mail correspondence all caught up, and publish some more about my trip on Goldenrod's thoughts.

I am happy to report that I am sleeping very well, e-mails are all finished, and I'm publishing again for the first time in six days. :)

Tomorrow, Monday, I'll drive to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where Jennie and I will catch an actual eyeball on each other for the very first time. Am looking forward to that!

Tuesday I'll be going back down south (might or might not decide to take a little jog over to Jackson first to see one of my college roommates) .. .. this time near Canton, Ohio, where I'll be staying overnight. Have a 'live' duplicate bridge game scheduled for the afternoon of the 30th. That evening (Wednesday) I'll be picking Beth up at the airport in Akron, where she'll be rejoining me for the rest of the trip to New Hampshire. At least, that's what I think will be happening!

Long story there. Long stories everywhere, actually, a few of which I'm hoping to publish before I get on my way again tomorrow.

Anyway, there you have it, the gist of my trip. Target date for a New Hampshire arrival is either late July 2nd (preferable) or mid-afternoon on the 3rd. More details coming. Many more!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Along the Way .. #1

In Memphis ... part one ...

Beth and I arrived here around 5pm Friday night ... 650+ miles put on the car altogether, which includes running all over the east side of Memphis to try and find Butch, eat supper and locate a motel. Turns out we wouldn't be staying with Butch for reasons I'd just as soon not broadcast all over the blogosphere.

It was wonderful to see him! We'd been quite worried about the state of his health and were anxious to get up here personally to ascertain for ourselves his present condition and ask pointed questions to his face that couldn't be easily dodged.

We were greatly relieved when we first saw him. He didn't appear as tho he'd been ill at all. On the other hand, as the three of us spent more time together the next couple of days and we saw the actual living conditions in his apartment, other - unanticipated and more immediate - questions arose.

We felt he was being less than forthright with his doctor, and we both - separately as well as acting together as one person - talked candidly and openly with him about our concerns ... me as a former lover and proposed marriage partner from years ago and one who still cared very much about him as a person of worth, and Beth as his loving sister. Beth even took it upon herself to fully inform Butch's daughter Kelly, who is a nurse, of his living conditions. Kelly had been, at best, only vaguely aware of the problem.

Anyway, we're hoping that Butch will act positively on his own behalf. He seemed to take whatall we had to say in a constructive manner. He knows we love him.

Saturday, after sleeping in, changing motels and obtaining Internet service, we picked Butch up and took just a great tour of the 'midtown' area of Memphis. When I visited with Butch here 10 years ago, it was mid-winter and too cold to do much else other than stay inside where it was warm.

Boy, does Memphis ever have some lovely neighborhoods! Mile after mile after mile of them. We spent a couple of pleasurable hours treating ourselves to the sight of attractive houses and well-manicured lawns that complemented their sites beautifully. Lots of churches. I wonder if Memphis has zoning laws? I'm guessing they do.

One terribly depressed area we drove through included the surrounding areas of Graceland, where Elvis Presley had lived. Beth had taken the tour of his home, I think, when she came through here years ago, but I hadn't been interested in doing that when I was here visiting. (Butch took me on a 'virtual tour' of the property on his computer when I was here back then, but I wasn't interested in doing more than that at the time.) This time, however, I at least wanted to drive by the place.

My goodness, the monies that must have to be spent just keeping the place up and trying to make sure intruders and potentially-destructive persons don't get in! I could only get a brief glimpse of the house, but just the grounds themselves were breath-taking.

From Graceland, we headed downtown. We were scheduled to depart on a dinner cruise at 7pm from a Mississippi waterfront location, and wanted to make sure - even tho the cruise wasn't scheduled for another hour and a half or so - we had our bearings straight.

Along the way, we spent more than just a few minutes trying to circle by car the extensive grounds and buildings of St. Jude Hospital. Impossible! Some pretty hefty security there, which I found a little surprising. Have you ever seen that campus? Most impressive!

Then we crossed the Mississippi River into Arkansas. We wanted to see what the river looked like from over there. Well, what the river looks like from the Arkansas side is a little like the Florida swamps. Do you remember one of Burt Reynolds' movies? Like that. Interesting!

We found that out only later, tho, as we were on our dinner cruise. That was nice! Well, all except for having to walk up a flight of stairs to get our seating assignments only to learn just ten steps later that we had to navigate another set of stairs back down again! It made no sense at all to me, and I expressed my distress most succinctly to the powers that be.

In their efforts to try and make my cruise more enjoyable, I was served the buffet at my table rather than having to navigate the stairs up and down again - first to get the buffet, and second to bring it down to our table. It was a good one, too! Barbecued pork, marinated chicken, beans, corn, cole slaw and Mississippi mud cake, which I imagine was of a souffle-like texture (Don't know for sure. Have never had souffles, only heard about them!) .. .. very light and kind of melted in my mouth. I ate only a little bit of it, tho. Most desserts aren't really on my list of preferred things to order.

[Speaking of desserts, Beth and I stopped to eat on the way to Memphis Friday at a restaurant in Arkadelphia called "The Barn". I often have trouble ordering food these days. I don't eat that much anymore, and when you're traveling like we are, there's no way the uneaten food will not just be wasted. Especially in this heat! I thought Beth was coming to my rescue when she offered to share what I wanted to order .. .. a hamburger with onions, cheese, lettuce and a side order of either french fries, onion rings or a combination of both. That was a perfect solution! The hamburger was delicious, Beth enjoyed her onion rings and I my fries. I found out only after we had arrived here in Memphis that she'd had an ulterior motive. She had spied a dessert she thought she'd like to order, but didn't think she'd have enough room left in her tummy after she'd eaten her entree. Turns out she still didn't have enough room! LOL]

After we'd all finished eating, Butch and I walked around a bit on the bottom deck and enjoyed the scenery. Beth went all over the place with her digital camera, looking for photographic opportunities. It was a gorgeous evening, nice and clear, with a breeze blowing just enough to help cool things off. There was even a half moon visible in the early evening sky.

To add frosting to an almost perfect cruise cake, the captain made the smoothest landing imaginable between two other ships back at the dock, easily navigating the narrow slot. After dropping Butch off at his apartment, we found ourselves back at our hotel by 10:30 and kind of fell onto our pillows .. .. me doing my thing an hour or so later by getting up again. :( I'm not getting nearly enough sleep .. .. mainly fits and starts!

Eventually, I walked across the street to a Waffle House - around 2 or 2:30 in the morning, I would guess - and had some breakfast (I seem to be eating just a little more these days) .. .. scrambled eggs, crisp bacon, hash browns, toast and hot chocolate. The bacon, eggs and toast were good (I brought a couple of pieces of bacon back to the room to eat later), the hash browns had kind of a peculiar taste (I left them) and the hot chocolate was one of these packaged mixes, but it was all hot and hit the spot in my tummy.

Yesterday, Sunday, we picked up Butch and drove on down to Horn Lake, Mississippi, the site of the ACBL's new headquarters. Why Mississippi? Why not stay in Tennessee? Don't know. ANYway, their one-story building is located out in the country a little bit and the surroundings are quite lovely. They've only been there a couple of months, but there's been talk of adding a fountain to the retention pond nearby. We weren't ----------------------------------------------------------

Sorry, guys. Was wanting to finish this post this morning and publish it, but have decided to hit publish and have this be "part one" ... ... maybe, if I'm a very good girl and my boss (Beth) decides to let me work on my blog after we reach Louisville later today, you'll see a 'part two'.

There's a whole lot more to say about our stay in Memphis, but I've run out of the time I need to write it. It's my birthday, too! Wouldn't you think I could be babied and have my way all day long, just for today? Geez!

Later, gators!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I know that it's been a while ...

... since I last posted, but truly, folks, there hasn't been the time. Lots and lots of things I've wanted to tell you, but it always takes me a while to write these and I didn't want to stint on one just to get it out there.

The movers are coming early tomorrow to pack me all up and load me .. .. well, not "me", but you know what I mean, I think. (?) I'm not ready. (So what else is new, Goldenrod?) I have the awful feeling that I'll wind up in the wee hours of tomorrow morning making last minute decisions that might later turn out to have nightmarish consequences.

There isn't time right now, either, but I felt I just had to publish this to let you all know the latest ... ...

[Sorry about the little break there. Just realized I have some more loads of washing and drying that must be done before tomorrow - and yes, the washer and dryer are going to New Hampshire - and so, went out to the utility room and started a load.]

... ... and to tell you that - basically - I'm ok. Really! Tired, ornery, sometimes depressed and "frozen" at the thought of whatall still has to be done, but overall ready to leave this house. It's time ... nearly 40 years in one place is plenty, wouldn't you agree?

Beth and I will be leaving early Friday am from her place in Pearland and heading towards Memphis, where Butch lives. (Butch is Beth's brother.) We're hoping to get there by late afternoon or early evening so we can all have dinner together.

After a day and a half - or so - visiting with Butch, we'll head on up to Louisville, Kentucky on Monday (my 73rd birthday), which is a change in our original plans. Won't be going to Cincinnati after all.

Beth will fly back to Houston from Louisville on Tuesday and I'll continue on alone to Indianapolis, where I'll be having lunch with (and meeting face to face for the very first time!) Marty - one of my "friends" from BridgeBaseOnline - and his wife, Lana. Doesn't that sound super neat? I'm looking forward to it.

Then I'll be at Jacky's, my long-time friend who lives near West Lafayette, where I'm hoping to spend more than just a day or two. I promise I'll try to behave myself, be polite and not make rude noises or emit foul odors while at the dinner table. I wouldn't want to be evicted early! LOL

Jacky has Internet access .. so does Butch, but we won't be there long enough, I don't think, for me to spend any great amount of time on the computer .. ... you might kind of look for another post by me - from Jacky's place - next week.

Gotta go! I started this post a little over an hour ago. (See how long one of these takes me?) Time's a-flitting. My car is in the garage right now, getting some preventive maintenance work done, some of which is more than just a little expen$ive. They'll be calling me in another 2-3 hours. I'll miss Micky, the shop owner. (One of many people I'll miss when I leave Houston!)

Later, gators!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

My kingdom for a good dohnut

I intended to stop by Shipley's to pick up a couple of my favorites - glazed - before arriving at the Bridge Studio yesterday morning to have a makeup game with Roop Prasad, my regular mentee for the past year on Wednesday mornings (2nd Wednesday of each month), but didn't have enough time. It's just as well, tho, because some kind soul had brought in a bunch of them to share with all of us!

For the past 35+ years, I've been kind of basking in the luxury of having a Shipley's dohnuts shop - well, in fact, several! - here in Houston. They're a local chain, with over 220 locations in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Yep, you read that right. Nothing in New Hampshire. Oh, unhappy day!

What seems to be most prevalent in New Hampshire is Dunkin' Donuts ... at one point in my visit there last week, I counted three (3!) of their stores within a half mile radius. I'll give them credit for serving a great cup of hot chocolate, but you can have the rest of their offerings. Ugh! Just not to my taste.

However, I did notice several "bakery and cafe" or "bakery and restaurant" signs in the area. Will have to investigate some of those and let you know what I discover. Hopefully, one of them will have dohnuts more to my liking and be located not too far from where I'll be living. I like them nice and soft and fresh, so I only buy two or three at a time.

Moulton's Market, located just off the Village Green in Amherst, offers a little bit of this and a little bit of that. We (daughter, son-in-law and myself) were there a couple of times last week, mainly to pick up sandwiches and soft drinks to go.

On our last day there, I noticed they had homemade soups - chili and vegetable. I smelled them both. Delicious! Their deli menu changes daily, but count on me to report back on the soups, in particular. That's one item that reheats very well in the microwave. And yes, I'll have a microwave.

Getting back to yesterday, I was more than just a little surprised when Roop presented me with a parting gift ... a 100% cashmere scarf, a tartan pattern in shades of brown and made in Scotland. (Guess she'd forgotten we were also scheduled to play in the mentor/mentee game this coming Wednesday morning.) So soft! You just wouldn't believe the softness of this scarf.

I proudly wore it around my neck the rest of our game and intend to sport it again this coming Wednesday. Thank you, Roop, for your beautiful and most thoughtful gift.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Do you remember Mike Royko?

Award-winning newspaper columnist? I hadn't thought about him in years until earlier today, when cleaning out one of the file cabinets that won't be making the move, I came across an article written by him at least twenty years ago, maybe twenty-five.

I think it's really funny and I'm going to copy it nearly verbatim. Mike is interviewing a "Dr. Chernal", past chairman of the President's Commission for the Shrinking Buck and a consultant to numerous financial institutions. Hope it tickles your funny bone almost as much as it did mine!

What Wall Street needs right now is a good slapper

Q: Dr. Chernal, many experts say that panic and hysteria are among the major reasons for the stock market collapse. Do you agree?
A: Oh, yes. Panic and hysteria are very bad. Upset the stomach. Bad for the digestion. Give you heartburn and gas. I caution against them.
Q: Yes, but what can be done to prevent them?
A: Don't eat that deli food. You ever see what they eat on Wall Street? Greasy pastrami, corned beef, salty pickles. They swallow without chewing. No wonder they have heartburn. They should eat yogurt.

Q: No, I meant what measures can be taken to reduce the panic and hysteria?
A: Oh, that. Well, the first thing they should do is hire slappers.
Q: Slappers? What are slappers?
A: What's the matter, don't you ever watch old movies?
Q: Sure, but what has that got to do with it?
A: So, in the movies, what happens when a person gets hysterical?
Q: Somebody slaps them?
A: Right. It always snaps them out of it, calms them down, makes them stop screaming.

Q: So this is what you recommend for Wall Street?
A: Sure. They could hire a few hundred big bruisers just to cruise around the Stock Exchange, the trading pits and all those other places where people are too nervous. If they see somebody getting hysterical, they go over and give 'em a slap or two.
Q: Do you really think that would help?
A: Maybe. Maybe not.
Q: That's not a very definitive answer.
A: That shows you know little about economics. "Maybe, maybe not" is one of the foundations of economic thought. I know guys who got to be professors at Harvard just by saying, "maybe, maybe not."

Q: I didn't know that. Now for another question. With the market so depressed, many people are wondering where they should put their money so it is safe.
A: Good question. I recommend emptying out a couple of boxes of frozen dinners, putting your money in the empty boxes and sticking them in the freezer compartment of your refrigerator.
Q: But why?
A: Because my brother-in-law is a cop and he says that the average burglar doesn't look in the freezer. And even if he is hungry, he wouldn't eat that kind of stuff anyway. So your money is safe there.

Q: But I was talking about putting money in safe investments.
A: Oh, investments. Don't bother. Spend it, go be a good-time Charlie, whoop it up.
Q: That doesn't sound very prudent. What about planning for the future?
A: The future? How do you know what the future is going to be? You ever seen it? Have you been there?
Q: I suppose I haven't.
A: That's right. So let's say you are careful and you save your money for the future. Then one day you swallow a bad oyster, you get a fever, the preacher comes and mumbles over you, and the undertaker hauls you away. So, what happens to all that money you've been investing?
Q: It goes to my widow and my children?
A: Right. And what does your widow do? She'll probably head for Florida, dye her hair blue, take dancing lessons from some skinny young guy with a moustache and pointy shoes, and they'll go out on the town and spend your money drinking banana daiquiris. And your kids will grab their share and buy new cars, CD players and go to a Club Med. So don't be a stiff. My advice is to have a good time while you got it. Buy a hair piece. It'll take your mind off the Dow Jones.

Q: But many people would like to invest their money so it shows a reasonable return. What should they do?
A: OK, then stash it away where it'll get a little interest. Then wait and see if there is going to be a terrible depression. And if there is, and everybody is going broke, you will be in position to do something for your friends.
Q: You mean to help them?
A: No. You see if they have anything that's worth buying and you offer them 10 cents on the dollar.
Q: But that's taking cruel advantage of the helpless to enrich yourself.
A: See? You're learning. You want to join my firm?

What can be said?

My dear friend, Jacky, is on her way back home to Indiana after attending a long-timey friend's funeral in North Carolina. She says that she and her husband are taking their time on the return drive.

Good! They probably need the time to be silent and reflect on individual memories of their friend, but also to communicate and share with each other what he meant to them both.

When I first got the notice of his passing, I made no response to Jacky. It wasn't that I felt nothing. No, I felt something, but what could I have said?

There are no words adequate to convey what one feels at a time like this, no words of consolation ... nothing, really, other than the common platitudes uttered in frustration by so many.

I've spent many hours these past couple of weeks going through years of accumulated "crapola" in my townhouse .. have decided to just face it and tell it like it is .. well, not really crapola, but most of it meaningless to anyone other than myself.

So many memories. Jacky and her husband will always have those memories - both individual and jointly of their friend - and so he will remain forever in their hearts.

I am glad they went to his funeral, but I am sorry for their loss. It doesn't matter if their friend, towards the very end, had no quality of life and no chance for recovery. He was still their friend and they didn't want to have to say goodbye.

I understand. I weep for them. I empathize in their feelings of loss. I love you, Jacky, and my arms enfold you.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Back home

I won't be able to say "home" again in another three weeks - exactly three weeks from today, as a matter of fact - will I? It'll seem strange, probably, to leave Houston after so many years of living in one place.

[Took a little break there and started a future post, "What I'll miss about Houston". It probably won't happen again with this one, but I just had to stop and begin writing it. There were a couple of things on my mind that I wanted to say before I forgot how important they were to me. Have you ever had that happen to you?]

Anyway, I arrived safely back in my townhouse somewhere between 9:30 and 10 last night. Boy, I was one tired puppy, I'll tell you that! (Two full, jam-packed days in New England, some of which you've already read about.) Our day began early yesterday, with breakfast and checking out of the motel, before heading on over to my daughter's and her husband's new house - and yes! all was finalized and properly notarized (late, but officially signed, sealed and delivered the evening before!) .. by 8am to meet with the contractor and go over the plans for "my apartment", among other things.

I hadn't wanted to get up. After our meal out the night before, I had literally "fallen" into bed back at the motel, but then had trouble staying asleep. Too much on my mind, I guess. Lots and lots of stress early on in the trip. Most of the irritating things that were happening did not really have a direct bearing on me, but I was right there while it was all happening and it was difficult not to internalize some of it.

What was directly related to me was that Wednesday, as I was spending six or so hours at the motel napping, writing my last post and catching up on e-mails, I kept having this memory of giving my son-in-law both my sets of car keys and house keys at the airport here in Houston on Tuesday before going through security. My mind clearly remembered him dropping the keys into his carry-on bag. I was concerned that I would arrive back in Houston with no keys whatsoever. Yowsers!

I left him a note to that effect. He responded by saying that I hadn't given him two sets of keys .. only one, and he had dropped those into my new computer bag. (Prior to that, I'd placed the computer in my 'to be checked in' suitcase.) And, to prove his point, when we got back from dinner, he searched through my bag and found just the one set .. the car keys. Well, jeez!

What was happening with my mind? What was I doing to myself? Particularly after the broken bed slat story, which you don't know yet because I haven't told you (And it's funny!), I was starting to get more than just a little concerned.

He reassured me that I just had a lot on my mind, that I was inadvertently juxtaposing imagined events onto actual ones. I shouldn't be worried, he said. And so, I finally decided that it was ridiculous for me to think I would not have left the house keys in the car - as I always do! - and given him just the one set of keys, the car keys. So, I drifted back into a fitful sleep.

Later on in that long and nearly sleepless night, I got up and searched through my computer bag. You'll never guess what I found. ... ... You guessed it - both sets of keys - car and house! Ye gods!!

Moving on with yesterday ... ... we drove out to their new house in broad daylight and much cooler temperatures (More about temperature extremes in NH in a later post. They set records throughout New England Wednesday. Think they were almost 10 degrees warmer there - 97 or 98 degrees, depending on your news source - than in Houston! LOL). That's gorgeous countryside, folks, btw, absolutely gorgeous! (Again, another post on down the line. Hopefully, one accompanied by gloriously-illustrative photographs.)

Before we left their house to drive into Boston to catch my late afternoon flight, which was scheduled to depart at 4:55 pm Boston time (boarding at 4:20), I was given the old grill routine as to where my keys were. Well, as far as I knew, they were in my computer bag, safely ensconced in one of the many zippered compartments where I had placed them several hours before. I wasn't about to walk out to their rented car and unzip everything just to make sure they were still there. Would you have? I mean, I knew they were there, right? Right.

And so, off we went. I took a little nap in the car on the way and then, Bingo, we were there! John (s-i-l) got out of the car with me and escorted me inside while my daughter went to wait in a nearby cell phone lot, pushing my wheelchair* up to the checkin counter, where we said our goodbyes after he was assured that I would have a wheelchair escort all the way through security (he wasn't allowed to accompany me) and to the bar, where I fully intended to have a great hand-made margarita while waiting for my boarding call an hour or hour and a half or so later. Sounded good to me!

*I realize that most of you do not know about this latest glitch in Goldenrod's life. Not something you need to lose any sleep over or be overly concerned about, but I simply no longer have the strength to walk very far. More later, no doubt, if and when, but we'll just talk about my trip this time around, if that's ok with you.

There was only one little snag, as I saw it. The fellow who came to 'escort' me was the same one who had left us absolutely high and dry in that same airport just outside of the passenger loading ramp two days before. (Told us at that time we had to take seats in the waiting area, that the wheelchair was needed for other purposes. He was unable to take us on down to the baggage claim area, he said. Dear me! It was along about that time, also, that John received his first "Something appears to be wrong with the closing" message, and so the next - perhaps more than a half hour or so went by with John whispering into his cell phone and frantically sending out and receiving text messages to try and find out what the devil had gone wrong.) Anyhoo, this was the same fellow.

I was leery of continuing on with this inept, but probably well-meaning, fellow. However, he got me to the bar ok .. and, after I checked with one of the serving staff and found out that I would indeed be able to acquire a good margarita, he deposited me there and left (after assuring me that he had ordered a wheelchair to pick me back up at the bar at 4:10 .. plenty of time to get to the gate and be one of the first of the early "VIP" boarders on the aircraft). Sounds good, right?

It was a good margarita and I enjoyed every sip of it! Had a really nice visit with another passenger who was waiting for his continuing direct flight on to Portland, OR. He lives there, but has to come back to Boston about once a month on business. (My son-in-law will be facing the same type of thing once they relocate to the northeast.)

As 4:10 approached, I kept eyeing the front door for the 'so-ordered' wheelchair. None appeared. I paid my tab, told the bartender that I was going to start walking outside, that I was expecting a wheelchair at any moment, but would she check to make sure one had been ordered? Long story short, none had been (Of course not! Could we possibly have expected anything else/more from this person??), but it didn't take very long at all for one to arrive and I got to the gate right at 4:20, the announced boarding time.

I was extremely pleased with the whole situation, until I was told that we wouldn't be boarding just then. Oh, my! Now what to do? I certainly didn't want my 'replacement' wheelchair person to have to wait there until early boarding was finally announced. Would you? Oh, my! But then we were told by one of the people behind the counter to just wheel my chair back (away from the counter, but in plain sight) and I would be taken care of as soon as possible. I didn't have really good feelings about this, but didn't know what else could be done. I acquiesced.

Many, many minutes later (more than 30), the fellow who had said to wheel the chair back away from the counter came out to get me and wheeled me onto the plane himself! My goodness!! I was first on!!! (But then, of course, had to wait another thirty minutes - or so - for everyone else to get on and stash their carry-ons, but what an experience. I felt really special!)

The trip back to Houston was interesting. (We took off from Boston 37 minutes late, but landed in Houston only 12 minutes after the original ETA. Have no earthly idea how the pilot could possibly have made up all that time! A really smooth flight, and an exceptionally smooth landing.)

I had the fortunate opportunity to be seated next to a young lady who is a speech therapist. She'd been in the Boston area, visiting with her father and mother. Her mother has Alzheimer's. Hideous disease! The mother is only a year older than I am. The gal I was sitting next to visits as often as she can. Her father - same age as the mother - takes care of her ... does all of the cooking, cleaning, yardwork, etc. They've been married for over fifty years and he is 100% dedicated to his wife's health and well-being. I simply cannot imagine such a lifelong and sustaining love. Wonderful!

I checked with the head stewardess, as we were in the final phase of our descent into Houston, to make sure a wheelchair had been ordered for me upon our arrival. She assured me that one had. My traveling companion accompanied me to the front of first class, carrying my computer bag, where I stopped off to use the ladies' room. I was then directed to wait in the front seat. I did.

Very shortly after the last ambulatory passenger deplaned, my wheelchair arrived. I got on and was quickly driven to one of those moving cart-type thingees. Next thing I knew, we were all deposited at the top of an escalator to go down to the baggage claim area. Well, I took one look at that escalator and was pretty sure I wasn't going to be able to make it .. not while carrying that heavy computer bag. I was very much afraid of losing my balance.

I asked the driver if he could possibly take me down to baggage claim. Well, no he couldn't, he said, but he'd get me to someone who could! And so, the next few moments were spent wheeling madly around that floor - him talking on his cell phone the whole time. It was kind of funny, actually!

We stopped and made a u-turn next to someone he knew .. she loaded me onto a wheelchair, and away we went. When we got down to baggage claim, she asked me what color my bag was. I told her 'yellow'. (I'm a fossil, what can I tell you?) As soon as she disappeared around the corner to look for it closer to the front, I saw it. One of my fellow passengers grabbed it for me and hailed my fast disappearing escort. She came back and off we went to the outside area where buses were waiting to take arriving passengers to where they'd left their cars in a long-term parking area. She butted the line, got me loaded and disappeared almost as quickly as she'd arrived.

I had no chance whatsoever to give her a well-deserved tip. Same thing with my first two drivers. Just the darndest thing! I wouldn't have believed such a thing could happen had it not happened to me.

Anyway, I'm back, safe and sound. Have just a ton of things to do, not the least of which is get on up to Farmer's, where Larry Gray is no doubt waiting for half of my homeowner's insurance - due Sunday (Of course! Don't all of these due dates fall either on a weekend or a holiday?). More later!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Greetings from New Hampshire!

And yes, this is my computer. So, evidently I'll be able to post now and then from various locations that have Internet access on my trip in June.

I'm sitting in a Residence Inn by Marriott in the little community of Merrimac, New Hampshire, waiting for my daughter and son-in-law to return from a very delayed closing of their new home .. .. all due to a grievous error in writing the contract by either the bank or title company.

It doesn't really matter who made the error. The fact is that it was made and, until it is corrected, all parties involved are just sitting around on their duffs waiting for a "Go!" sign.

My son-in-law was greeted with a "Something appears to be wrong with the closing" message on his phone when we got off the plane in Boston early yesterday evening. It was not the beginning nor the ending of yesterday's problems, but was certainly the most stress-producing. I've been trying to send positive thoughts their way all afternoon and keep hoping this can get done toDAY!

Meanwhile, the three of us enjoyed quite a hearty breakfast this morning in the lobby of the hotel. My goodness, what a spread! In addition to the 'might be expected' toast, juice and coffee, there were all sorts of breads (bagels, French toast, regular bread and a toaster to use if you were so inclined, English muffins, regular muffins), waffles (!), sausage, scrambled eggs and fresh fruit, just to name only some of whatall I remember they had to offer. Can you believe it?

They offer a complimentary dinner, too, but we have plans to go out to one of their favorite restaurants to have quiche .. (Haven't had that in years! Not since the old Pecan Street Cafe in Austin.) .. and soup. I might decide just to order the quiche and forego the soup. Still have almost half a sandwich left from lunch.

Yes, we stopped for a quick bite to go for ourselves after doing some delightful sightseeing around Amherst, where we'll be living. Then, as "luck" would have it, on the way back to the motel to eat, we happened across a pretty bad accident that had traffic backed up for miles (no exaggeration) .. .. an absolute incompetent in charge, wouldn't you just know it? :( Anyway, they just dropped me off at the motel and made a u-turn back towards their new house. No longer had the luxury of time to eat with me. Had to find another route back. A final walkthrough of the place had been scheduled to take place less than the amount of time later than they had due to that terrible traffic tieup.

The closing was supposed to be at 3:00 NH time, and my daughter just now called - it's going on 5:30 here to tell me the closing had just begun. They really don't need her at it, she said, so she's coming back to the motel to get me. Then, we'll do a round tripper to retrieve my son-in-law from wherever the closing has been taking place, and off we'll go to get some quiche and whatever. (Had to put what remained of my half-eaten sandwich back in the refrigerator. Got hungry and couldn't wait any longer, but now that I know she's on her way I had to put it back. LOL )

Kind of an interesting tidbit for you ... ... on one of my trips outside today to have a smoke (I think all Marriott Hotels - at least those in the United States - are non-smoking these days.), I happened to notice a little bird building a nest in what looks like an outdoor light in the next building. They're industrious little critters! I should probably tell management about it. Doubt if they want bird's nests in that opening. Yeah, yeah I know .. I'm a party pooper.

Hope all y'all are doin' ok wherever you are. Think the temperature here is higher than Houston's. Later!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The latest installment

This post was begun yesterday afternoon. I had gotten down to the phrase in bold when I received an unexpected phone call that stopped me dead in my tracks - mid-sentence, as a matter of fact (hadn't placed the period yet) - and made me hightail it on out of here. What you'll read next is the post as it was begun. I'll tell you what the phone call was all about towards the end.

Boy, I want to tell ya, folks, that was some week and it's not over yet!

Friday came and went about as predicted. Friday night I slept many more hours than I'd anticipated and I didn't get to the store that evening as I had originally planned. Beth et al were due to come over yesterday, and she'd asked that I have some cold water and Gatorade ready for them. Well, it wasn't cold. In fact, I had just returned from shopping when they arrived yesterday morning.

Why were they here? They were here to pack up, load and take down to Pearland any furniture and extraneous items I wouldn't be taking to New Hampshire and that I thought was of somewhat better quality than the "liquidators" should have at their disposal.

I knew there would be a bunch of stuff, but I really hadn't a clue how enormous that pile would turn out to be. Also, there were things I didn't mention to Beth before they got here .. the Conn electric organ, for one, because I thought it would be a 'throw away' item - all of its guts need to be reworked. However, Beth wants to put it on Craig's list. Thinks she can get some good money for it. "There are people out there," she says, "who enjoy rebuilding instruments. Besides, the wood is beautiful and in excellent condition." She only wished she had brought her digital camera with her so she could have taken a picture. I don't know how they're going to lift it and get it out to the trailer! The Danish dresser and sofa are heavy, too, but not nearly so much as that organ.

[Eureka! I have just located a couple of photographs I saved from when the organ was at my folks' house in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Isn't that great? I'll take them out to Katy with me tonight. See if my daughter or son-in-law can scan them and then send cc. to both Beth and me. Wunderbar!]

Here's a photo of what the organ looked like when it had its Munising home ... ...

Don't know what that light source is. It was in the photograph that my son-in-law scanned.

And I thought you might get a kick out of seeing this shot .. same location .. that's me playing the organ ... ...

They arrived in Beth's little car and a few hours later had packed all of the boxes they had brought with them .. only a fraction of what was needed, which turned out to be ok because Dianne, Beth's sister, couldn't come over with her truck and trailer, anyway. Dianne's 'on call' at the post office six days a week and had been at work ever since 7:30 yesterday morning, sorting the mail to be delivered on her route. When Beth and she spoke on the phone around 4:30 or so, Dianne was just starting out on her route! She was going to be one tired camper, wasn't she?

SO, Beth et al loaded what they could fit into Beth's little car and off they went. The very large hand-crocheted bedspread went in the back seat with Cassie, Beth's grandniece. We figured she'd have a nice soft headrest for the trip back to Pearland in case she wanted to take a little nap. They had made quite a dent in the stuff I'm not taking. Packed many more dishes and glassware than I'd originally thought they might like to have to offer in a garage/yard sale and there are a few glaringly empty shelves. There are more dishes and glassware to be packed up, however, and they have yet to start on things that had been set aside for Beth in the master bedroom, including a slide projector, sorting table and viewing screen. Also, there's a hall closet just full of Christmas items for them to cull through, in addition to grabbing the rest of what they want from the office closet .. tennis racket, knitting bags, craft items, etc. Just a slew of stuff!

Our plan, as of last night when they left, was to have the whole troupe return a week from today (after church) .. Dianne's not on call on Sundays .. with many more boxes, a truck and trailer, and make every attempt to pack and load everything they weren't able to take yesterday. Don't know how that shakes out with Dianne. Will know more this evening when I see Beth and Sabrina (Beth's niece .. Dianne's daughter) out in Katy.

That's where my artwork is being stored, from when I was in the art and accessorizing business. I had mentioned it to Beth, but didn't anticipate her taking me up on it. However, she'd already talked about it to someone in her office, who is interested in the prints. A hundred or so prints, probably, many limited editions, and some framed art. I'll go out to Katy early to try and list the limited editions they might be taking, give them whatever provenance I have for the better pieces, and then work up a pricing list for them, which I'll e-mail to Beth later. Also, I found a receipt book that I gave to Beth. This just in case someone wants a receipt. I was thinking about the artwork, in particular, here.

Whew! What a ton of work!! What a ton of stuff!!! None of it will I miss!!!! I have been over and over it all so many times, I feel as tho enough memories have been recalled and words said over it that I'm ready to let it go bye-bye.

They're planning to have one of the world's more gigantic garage/yard sales down there in Pearland in two weeks. (That's quick, isn't it??) After seeing the huge quantity of items they would be offering, Beth and Sabrina (her niece) were concerned about having enough tables to display everything. They'll be getting two of my card tables, but those will be nowhere near enough to display everything. Perhaps they'll decide to hold two garage/yard sales? Don't know. Not my decision. I thought sure that Beth would wait until she got back from our trip to do this, but no, they're planning on going boom, boom, boom with it!

They're going to "do it up right", Beth said, with popcorn and lemonade. My goodness! Excites me just to think about it and exhausts me all at the same time. I told them I DEfinitely want to have pictures of the big event! I'll be sure to post one or two on "Goldenrod's thoughts" later.

There probably won't be another update in the ongoing saga of "Goldenrod's move" until after I get back from New Hampshire. My daughter, son-in-law and myself are flying up there Tuesday - it'll be my first time seeing their new home and the surrounding countryside, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Continuing on with this post. It's now Monday morning.

There is what is called a "walkout basement" in their new home - sliding glass doors lead outside - that they're planning on remodeling for me .. my own apartment, as it were. We'll be meeting with the contractor either Wednesday or Thursday to discuss plans, what will work and what won't, color schemes, etc. My son-in-law tells me the contractor is planning to put in a shower with a seat. That sounds interesting! Have you ever seen one of those? I haven't. Hope the contractor has a picture of one to show us.

I'll be back in Houston late Thursday evening, and will spend as much of Friday and Saturday as I'm able to continuing with my sorting, keeping and throwing away activities. I'll also be working up that price list for the art I talked about earlier. Beth needs that, along with whatever provenance I have for same. I could then give it to her in person next Sunday when they come .. and yes, they're coming! Will be here around 3pm or so .. or e-mail it later. Her choice.

What was the phone call all about? It was Sabrina, saying they wanted to leave for Katy from Pearland immediately .. about 3 1/2 hours earlier than planned. Ye gods! It was drop everything time. And so I did.

I discovered, upon arriving out there earlier than Beth and Sabrina, that 150 prints were completely missing from the inventory. (Not only were those missing, but my daughter and son-in-law cannot find several items they purchased from me a few years ago. They have to be in their house somewhere, but as of this writing they're among the lost. If they get found in the next two weeks - before the gigantic garage/yard sale scheduled at Beth's the weekend of June 5th - my daughter will make sure that Beth gets them.) Limited editions and original pieces really are not very good candidates for a garage sale. Well, some might be, but most are not.

Oh, well! Problems, problems, right? Nobody said it was going to be easy. Later!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Exhaustion sets in

This has been the longest day yet.

John (son-in-law) came over this morning instead of my daughter, who has a whole bunch of other things going on in her life right now and really needed to take a day away from it. Initially, I thought this might not work out very well because only my daughter and I had been working on packing and sorting for three days straight and he was not personally familiar with what had been happening. I thought we might lose a lot of valuable time, which is in some scarcity right now.

[The movers are coming over tomorrow morning at 11am to give their estimates. I'm not due to actually be packed up and loaded by them for another four or five weeks - after Beth and I head out towards Nashville. They'll come here and pack me up first, then go directly out to Katy and load the rest of the truck with my daughter and her family's stuff before heading north and east towards New Hampshire. At least, that's the plan as of today. We hope that's what will be happening! LOL)

As it turned out, however, not a moment was lost. He didn't leave until 5:30 and it was almost nonstop talking, sorting, packing, bagging and trashing that whole time. What time did he get here? I don't know. Before 10:30, I'm pretty sure. Maybe before 10:00, because I'd been up for at least a couple of hours already working on stuff that required solitary thinking with no interruptions.

A long, long day. I'm thinking about going over to KFC - the closest one - and ordering their crispy (dark meat, thigh and leg) 2-pc. dinner to go with mashed potatoes and corn on the cob. Wish me luck not falling asleep at the dinner table while eating it, ok?

I'll try and post another update tomorrow. We'll see. For sure, you should expect the next one in the ongoing "Goldenrod's move" breaking news story by Sunday.


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

News ... what's been happening with me?

Well, there have been big changes going on in my life.

I guess the biggest news is that I will be leaving Houston - a month from today, actually! - and relocating to New Hampshire, where I will be re-joining my daughter and her family.

[They're still here and will be heading north a week (for one) and two weeks (for the others) after me. My daughter has been here every day so far this week - and the next three days will be more of the same - to help me sort through this gawdawful mess I created for myself .. .. over 30 years in the same place. I don't think you can even begin to imagine the mess. Seriously!]

I'm planning to drive - and, hopefully, visit with Butch (you might remember my mentioning him in some of my previous posts) in Memphis ... ... Beth (Butch's sister) is planning on making that trip with me, some 500+ miles. We'll spend a couple of days or so in Memphis and then drive together on over to Nashville, where she will fly back to Houston the next day - Monday, June 21st - my birthday. "Why Nashville?" you might well ask. $100 cheaper airfare is the answer. Those fares will drive you absolutely crazy if you let them, won't they?

We'll probably visit with Butch some more Sunday morning, then head on over to Nashville, where I'll be spending the night with Beth before continuing on my journey north.

From Nashville, I'll be traveling alone to Cincinnati, Ohio, where I'm hoping to have a face-to-face meeting with "Bug", one of the regular readers and commentors (my sp.) on this blog. I have something I want to give her. We'll probably talk a bunch about baseball. Right now her Reds are leading the National League's Central Division by one full game over the Cardinals. They just beat the Brewers, who have lost eight in a row. Go, Reds!

[The Brewers are the only team in our division that I could - albeit remotely - even suggest suck worse than my Astros, who have now lost four in a row .. this after a very brief (but certainly satisfying) stay in St. Louis.]

I won't give you the rest of my planned itinerary right now, but I thought you should know that I'm leaving Houston and going north.

As most of you know, I am not fond of the cold. Just the opposite, as a matter of fact. Many factors went into this decision and I'll disclose some of them in future posts. But for today, all you know for sure is that I'm "outa here"!

[In going through stack after stack of loose papers, I have found a lot of little tidbits I'd like to include in future "Goldenrod's thoughts". My next post, just for a little teaser, will have some "Dave Barryisms" in it. LOL]

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Happy endings

I love happy endings, don't you? I had occasion recently to watch two movies - one from the 1950's (Sayonara) and one from 2000 (Chocolat) - both of which had happy endings. I had forgotten that they did. That trait - forgetting the ending - was one my first husband found quite appealing. He always enjoyed taking me to the movies, even tho it might have been one I had seen a few times before. LOL

Between the two films, Academy Award nominations numbering close to twenty resulted. I have never been much of a Marlon Brando fan, but he is perfect in his role as a bigoted US Air Force major forced to relocate to post WWII Japan. The photography is exquisite and I highly recommend you renting this if you have never seen it before. In fact, you might want to allow enough time for two showings.

"Sayonara" is based on James Michener's novel - you can find an extensive writeup about it here. Racism and prejudice were highly evident in both the film and novel, but Michener's ending was very different. [This just to warn you ahead of time.]

"Chocolat", on the other hand, struck me (the first time I saw it) as a fantasy .. something unreal and from fairy tale land. When I saw the film again earlier today, I had the same impression. A delightfully impossible tale about a woman who arrives in town, opens a chocolate store during Lent, begins to influence a number of townspeople and is the source of a lot of suspicion and anger.

It is a happy and rare day when I can unequivocally recommend two films. This is such a day. Happy viewing!

Oh! Almost forgot to tell you where you can read a pretty decent writeup about the second film. Here it is, courtesy of Wiki again. :)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

And so it continues

Ho hum, seven in a row now. I told you, D'backs, that your fortunes would change. Three more, and then you'll have to face some real teams again. Aawww!

You know, I was just casually looking through the MLB standings this morning and a few things kind of jumped out at me ... ...

... The National League East, where all of the teams are hovering around the .500 mark and only three games separate first from last place.

... Really jumping out was a team that obviously needs our help in stopping their losing streak, which now stands at seven. When I checked to see who it was, however, I saw that it was the Astros. Oh, dear! How does one help one's self stop one's own losing streak?

... There are three teams in the American League, tho, who could use our help .. the Athletics, Angels and Mariners .. all from the American League West. Come to think of it, this division is even tighter than the Eastern division of the National League. Only two and a half games separate first from last place.

I wonder when we get to play some American League teams this year? Maybe we'll get a chance to help them out. Give me a sec here while I check the Astros schedule. Naah! We don't play any American League teams until June. Only one from the American League West, the Rangers .. a six-game series altogether, where we play for the Silver Boot. Plus one each from the American League Central (Royals) and East (Yankees). Unless I've missed something completely - and that's certainly possible! - we don't face just one division's teams in interleague play in 2010. I mean, we always play the Rangers for the Silver Boot in a six-game set each year, but I'm talking about the rest of interleague play. The rules must have changed and I was just not paying attention, right?

[Sorry, folks. Got terribly distracted in searching for my post on the Silver Boot. Going backwards through all of my sports posts, I came across this one and just had to watch Torvill and Dean's 1984 gold medal-winning ice dancing performance of Bolero again. I might even decide to watch it one more time before coming back to baseball. What an upper! My logical mind tells me there are two separate people skating out there, but my eyes say otherwise. They see only one - synchronized, fluid and beautiful to watch while the music plays in the background.]

OK, I'm back, still scrolling backwards through my sports posts. I saw another one with a name in it - Aram Tolegian - that brought back a few memories. I had forgotten that I'd talked about possibly keeping a record of what Aram said in his Power Rankings from week to week this year, starting from week one.

[When I first saw Aram's name last year, I was struck by the similarity between his name and Ara Parseghian's. Remember him? Notre Dame's football coach for many years?]

Well, that idea kind of fell by the wayside this year, because Aram is no longer doing the power rankings and comments. Some fellow named Dayn Perry is. Who's Dayn Perry? I haven't the vaguest idea, but I'm having some trouble making the adjustment to a different writer. And, if you've taken the time to look at the rankings this year, you probably have noticed a humongous disparity in them from week to week. Doesn't do much (for me) to add to his credibility.

Still scrolling. Have come across the name Chris Coste a couple of times. I wonder whatever happened to him? Well, I just googled his name and it looks like he's with the Washington Nationals right now. He's not having the professional baseball world's most distinguished career, but he's still around.

Still scrolling. Found it! "It" being my post on the Silver Boot.

Later, sports fans!

Monday, May 3, 2010

An exercise in screamility

I watched the Astros play against the Braves Saturday on Channel 26, our local Fox affiliate.

I know, I know. I said in this post that they wouldn't be shown again on local television until August. Well, Fox decided to sneak a Saturday game in on me. It looks like they might have another one scheduled for the 15th against the Giants, too.

The Astros started out the season 0-8, but then won 8 out of the next 10 games, surprising everybody at first but little by little starting to get their fans' hopes up, at one very brief point even enjoying second place in the National League's Central division. Currently, tho, we're in the midst of another losing streak ... six games at this point.

Arizona is coming in for a four-game set beginning at Minute Maid Park this evening. They are on kind of a downward slide at present, but don't worry, Diamondbacks. Your fortunes are about to turn completely around. How much they'll turn around is anybody's guess, but I can't imagine us losing ten in a row, can you? How dreadful that would be!

I've been trying to think of words to describe this team. The best I can come up with is a kind of slogan ... "The turnaround kids" ... meaning, if you're on a losing streak, come and play the Astros. We'll turn that skid around for you! We did it for the Reds and then the Braves.

I want all of you to know, btw, that I watched every pitch of every inning Saturday. I wanted to have a visual of that game clearly in my mind. Actually, it was a pretty good game until the bottom of the fifth, when we made two costly errors, allowing the Braves to score three unearned runs. It went downhill from there ... a few mental errors, lack of timely hitting and a missed run-and-hit signal later, the final score was good guys 1, bad guys 10. Ugly!

"Screamility" = a combination of scream and futility. It wouldn't have been at all appropriate for frivolity to appear in this post. Those guys don't look like they're having any fun at all!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The "Forever" stamp ... part two

Craig, in his comment to my first post on this stamp, asked if he could see a picture of it.

Well, here it is, Craig. I took it right off of the USPS website ... ...

This website, btw, has a lot of background info on this stamp.

I'll be responding to all comments on that first post later, after I've had a chance to check through my records and see what I actually DID pay for those initial stamps. My memory was thinking 44 cents, but I'll look it up .. should have the figures!

Meanwhile, it's a great-looking stamp, isn't it?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cold feet

Last night was a three-blanket night. I woke up in the wee morning hours not shivering exactly, but not toasty warm, either. I leaned over to get another blanket, spread it out over the two already there, and voila!

I guess it was about a month ago that I kept waking up with cold feet. Now those will eventually give way to cramps and I just can't let that happen. Then I have to get up and walk around until they go away. Plus, I can't return to bed too soon, or the cramps will come right back. A lose lose situation.

I've always been subject to having cold feet, particularly at night. I used to wear socks to bed, but they don't really do the trick. What does work are piles of blankets - encasing my lower extremities in a sort of warm cocoon - concentrated on the bottom portion of my body. What luxury!

My first husband, who always seemed to be nice and cozy warm, suggested one night that I place my feet on his tummy. Now that did the trick, too, but I can't imagine that there are too many husbands out there who would allow such a thing!

I have developed a new addiction ... ... corn on the cob from KFC. They serve it to go piping hot and with each piece tightly wrapped in tin foil. Oh, wow! I bring two pieces home, add butter and salt and pepper to taste a little bit at a time, and savor each morsel. I'll be going to get some more later this afternoon. I skipped yesterday.

Yesterday was Shipley's glazed dohnuts day. Hot out of the oven - 5 am, or thereabouts - they are absolutely unbeatable and just melt in your mouth! I'll buy three if I'm there that early. And no, I wasn't there at 5am. The shop I frequent is open 24 hours. Kind of unusual for a dohnut store, I think.

Do you have a favorite doughnut place where you live? We have many different kinds here in Houston, but Shipley's has always been my favorite. There are several Hispanic bakeries ... one just a mile or so from here that does a humongous business, with cars sometimes even lined up in the street!

Remember my addiction to fudge bars a few months back? Well, I still have a few left in the freezer. Hang on a sec here while I go check to see how many. Seven. Seven, can you believe that?!? Ice cream has an expiration date, doesn't it? Those are probably inching towards it, but my palate just doesn't have a desire for chocolate of any sort right now.

Speaking of ice cream, tho, I have been buying some ... butter pecan from Baskin-Robbins, just down the street from me - close to the bridge studio, actually. Tonight (from 5-10pm) all of their locations in Houston will be offering ice cream at 31 cents a scoop. That's a good deal, isn't it? I don't know. I won't be going because I buy it by the quart for $5.59 and have a nice quantity in the freezer patiently waiting for my consumption.

Btw, I just found out about - via my internet-searching fingers - this location. Have been going to one much further away! LOL This goes back to my taxicab-driving days, when I was on the way east and not really looking around to see what might be available much closer to home. (Same thing is true for a closer KFC location, which I find quite amusing, in almost a macabre sort of way! No such luck with Luby's, tho. They're still as far away as ever.)

All for now, folks. Hope this day finds you well, ingesting food you really enjoy and looking forward to the rest of the week.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The "Forever" stamp

I have a few other topics that I'm going to talk about in later posts, but thought I'd share this little tidbit with you before it disappears completely from my mind.

Did you know ... ... that the US Post Office is still selling those 'Forever' stamps - and, at the original price? (44 cents each) I found that out just a few days ago when the lady in front of me - I was there to mail Jacky's copy of my will - bought three books of them.

Dumb me. I thought, a couple of years back, when I bought several booklets of twenty each, that they wouldn't be offered for sale again and that those stamps could be used forever, no matter how many times first class postage went up. That's true, but they can still be purchased. Did you know that?? If you're running low on these stamps, hie your body on over to your local branch and get some more while the gettin's good!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

We lose another one

The American Contract Bridge League's Unit 174 lost another of its members this past week ... ... Jack Clark, who played mainly at night at the Pasadena and Clear Creek duplicate bridge clubs.

I didn't know Mr. Clark. Those clubs are on the far southeast side of town, and about the only times I get over that way are when I'm going to Kemah.

So why am I writing about him? Because he died while playing bridge Tuesday evening, that's why!

That would have been a real shocker to his partner and any others present, but I can hardly think of a more pleasant way to go than doing something you love, can you?

Bye, Jack, and I hope that - wherever you are - there are three others who are looking for a fourth!

A green time line

Marty, my BBO friend from Indpls, has done it again ... forwarded on an e-mail that I thought you all might enjoy.

It's a type of clock ... ... the top row shows seconds - 2nd row minutes - 3rd hours - 4th days - 5th months - 6th years. Click here to see what I'm talking about. You don't have to do anything. It automatically adjusts to your time zone. Just look at the green line and all will quickly become clear to you.

Did you do it? Click on the "here"? Isn't that neat? Comes from a Dutch web site, and a big shout out thank you to Marty for sending it along.

PS. When I first starting watching the seconds roll by, I thought, "My goodness! There's my life going tick, tick, tick." That bothered me a little ... thought I should probably get right up and do something! ... but then I settled down and let my fascination take over.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A hodgepodge

I was playing a little BBO today and checking in on the Astros every once in a while to see how badly they were getting beaten (They're in Chicago, playing against the Cubs.) when - lo and behold, they won! Can you believe it? I can't! Hmmph!! I wonder who was pitching, how the runs scored, who 'saved' the game and all that other good stuff?

Checking throughout the league, I thought I'd take a gander to see if anyone else was even close to us in winning percentage (.182) ... (Thought sure the Washington Nationals might be. Remember how they held up the bottom of the whole league last year? Not this year!) ... and caught a glimpse of the foundering Baltimore Orioles, who are now 1-10 and have lost their last eight in a row. My goodness, but that would be disheartening!

What did you do on the 15th ... work on your taxes like mad, or did you file a last-second extension like I did? I do this to myself almost every year, it seems. Now, I have no problem whatsoever remembering that date, but no doubt for a different reason than you. It's my daughter's birthday.

This year she turned 49. I told her she ought to circulate that fact often for several weeks or perhaps even a few months so everyone remembers it for a good long while. Maybe even years! Does anyone remember Jack Benny's advice on how to avoid turning 40? Same kind of thing. I don't know, DD, try it. See if it works. LOL

Speaking of last minute shenanigans, I did the same thing in February. I mean, I knew I had to renew my car registration and get it inspected before March came along, but I sat here in the house 'doing my thing' - procrastinaire extraordinaire, that's me! The very last weekend of February came along and I still hadn't gotten the job done.

The 28th was on a Sunday, I believe, and I nervously drove on up to Randall's, hoping against hope that they still had some registration renewals left. Sure enough, they did! (I don't really deserve such good luck.) On the way back home, registration in hand, I only half-heartedly looked for a place that might be open to do an inspection on a Sunday and sure enuf - there wasn't one.

Monday came along. March 1st. I was afraid to leave the house. I was now illegal. On Tuesday, I tentatively backed the car out of the garage and then went forward onto the street, thinking every second that I was going to see a police car and would be pulled over to get my well-earned ticket.

No police car. I got out onto Wilcrest and headed north. I "knew" of a garage at the corner of Wilcrest and Bellaire that did inspections, just three traffic lights away. I made it! Unfortunately, they no longer do inspections. Oh, unhappy day. What to do? What to do?

They recommended a place a little further west on Bellaire. Maybe two or three lights. A Shell station. I thought, "I'll never make it!" However, I had no choice, so drove on. Long story short, I made it. Had to wait in line behind other fellow procrastinators. We all thanked our lucky stars for our good fortune and afterwards blithely went on our merry ways, new stickers prominently displayed, heads held high and smug smiles held firmly in place.

It was while I was waiting at the Shell station that I had the opportunity to watch a fellow replace a goodly percentage of their overhead fluorescent light bulbs, the ones that illuminate the area around the gas pumps. That was interesting! (I find the oddest things fascinating these days!) I visited with him extensively and learned a lot about his job. What do they do in inclement weather? (Not all jobs are under a roof!) The answer was, unless it was a hurricane-type of event with enormous winds or with accompanying lightning strikes, they got wet. Rrvit! I wouldn't have liked that very much.

Last night, I watched a PBS hour-long special on the last leg of the Appalachian Trail - going from Georgia to Maine. Some parts of it included the portion that Chuck and Ellen worked on last year, and so it was of double interest to me.

Right now, Chuck is just finishing up his latest volunteer effort ... this one in Arkansas' Ozark Mountains. He'll be reporting shortly on that trip. He's dedicated much of his blog to his outdoor adventures and is almost always a fascinating read. I highly recommend it.

Guess what? I'm hungry! In my travels Thursday, I happened to pass by a Kentucky Fried Chicken place and thought, "Boy, it's been a while since I had some of their fried chicken!" It sounded pretty darn good to me, so I ordered two pcs. of crispy dark meat (a leg and a thigh) with mashed potatoes and cole slaw. It was delicious!

I reheated what I didn't finish yesterday and am about to head out of the house to get some more, except this time I think I'll choose corn on the cob (if they still have some) instead of coleslaw - just as soon as I hit "Publish Post". Can almost taste it already ... yummy!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Guess what I'm doing?

I'm playing BridgeBaseOnline, that's what I'm doing! :) Am I having fun? Well, yes, I am. (I'm "dummy" right now, so am starting my post.)

Guess what I'll be doing tonight? I'll be watching "my" Astros, who 'suck' BIG time, play the Cardinals in St. Louis. Lucky, lucky me! It's the first and only time this year they'll be on television (I don't have cable) until August, if you can believe that! (It's the truth.)

Checking in on other teams in "our club", let's see here ... ... Steven's Blue Jays are at the top of the heap in their division. (So what else is new? LOL ) Tammy's Yankees and my son-in-law's Red Sox are a little further down, but they needn't worry. The Jays will begin to falter ... at least by mid-season.

Who else? Well, the Phillies are having their way with the National League East ... a little unexpected, but it's early yet. They 'swept' the Astros here at home. Does that count? Bug's and Patrick's Braves are, as of this writing, in the middle of the pack ... about as we would have thought, actually. (Bug also follows the Reds, but - personally - I'm having a little trouble adding them to my list.)

The Central Division really isn't even worth talking about, unless you're a Cardinals' (Tammy, of course! She has divided allegiances.) or Cubs' (Hello, Chuck!) fan. There isn't a team I can conjure up that we might possibly be able to beat. However, being the masochist that I am, guess who'll be watching?

Now, I'm not in the habit of beating my head senselessly and incessantly against a brick wall, so I've been watching some other things on television, among them some pretty fair movies. Thought I'd share just a few with you ... ...

Had a chance last night to watch Irma La Douce (1963) for the first time ever, with Shirley MacLaine and Jack Lemmon. Not the greatest movie I've ever seen, but very entertaining! Also had the chance recently to watch The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming! Now, THAT was fun!! I've seen it once before, but it's been a good many years. Speaking of Russians, wasn't that good-looking young Russian sailor the same actor who starred in Fiddler on the Roof, another film from the 1960's (or maybe early 70's)?

Well now, shuckeydurn it all, anyway! I've just spent the last several minutes looking through the multitudinous loose papers on my desk in this room, on the kitchen counter and on the dining room table, but I cannot find the list I very carefully made of the really good films I watched recently. Sorry about that! That'll just have to be a separate post, won't it?

Before I go, I should tell you that I mentored Roop Prasad again today. Lots and lots of really good stuff came up, and we spent some quality time - at least, in my opinion! - afterwards talking about it. She's been fun to mentor ... needs to play more, but that's true of many people who are interested in learning more about the game of bridge! We came in tied in the overalls for 2/3 and I was pleased.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Hooray and yip yip yahoo!

Guess what?

You'll never guess, so I'll just tell you ... I FInally got my will notarized today. WOW! What a good feeling.

Now, all I have to do is make a couple of copies, keep one and mail the other off to Jacky, my dear friend (if she'll accept it .. I haven't asked her yet).

Let's see, any other good news? Well, the Astros are losing (again!). This will make it seven in a row. The game is now in the 4th inning and the 'good guys' are behind 4-0. They're playing in St. Louis. So much for THAT one!

Let's see, what else? Nothing, really, except that I'm in an exceptionally good mood. How's your day going?

Playing catch up

Well, you caught me right in the middle of reading a bunch of my favorites' posts and adding comments here and there, when I just had to stop dead in my tracks and write this short post to recommend one of Chuck's, where he talks extensively about Har-Ber Village, located in northwest Arkansas.

Have you ever heard of it? Or of Harvey and Bernice Jones? "No" to both questions was my answer, but I found Chuck's post so interesting that I did a little research on the history of the place and the Jones's lives. Fascinating reading!

If you have a few moments to spare, read Chuck's post and then go on to this site, which gives even more detailed information. What really blows my mind are the admission prices* ... $3.50 for ages 14-62 (under 14 years are free), $2.50 for 62+ years of age and free admission for school-sponsored tours.

*You might have noted that these prices are a little different from those Chuck had in his post. I took them right off of the Har-Ber Village website.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Scattered thoughts ...

... for Sunday, April 11th, 2010.

What did I do of import Thursday? I got a haircut. Badly needed. To say that I looked like a shaggy dog would be kind. I'm not 'gorgeous', but my hair is at least trimmed and neat. A good thing.

On Friday, I made the long drive out to Kemah and enjoyed two - after all, it was happy hour! - of their delicious margaritas, at the same time enjoying chips and dip and nibbling on red snapper, some of which is still in my refrigerator and about to undergo its second warmup. :)

I had the car radio on all these times, of course, and took a few notes on what I heard that I had some reaction to. These are in addition, for the most part, to what I've seen on television recently ... ...

Sarah Palin ... Have you gotten tired of hearing that name? I have! I'm tired of seeing her face, her daughter's and grandchild's faces and hearing Sarah's 'down home' accent. It just sounds "hillbillyish" to me.

Sandra Bullock ... The nasty thought occurred to me that she was given an Academy Award only because she would shortly become so controversial and could provide so much grist for Hollywood's never-ending gossip mills. I mean, my goodness! Sandra Bullock's personal life this, Sandra Bullock's love life that ... ... stop, already!!

Tiger Woods? Same type of comments.

What's been happening to our gas prices, anyway? They're nowhere near what they were a couple of years ago, but still! I couldn't help but notice them.

One final little thought ... ... I passed a Mister CarWash on the way back home and saw a sign that said, "Go, Astros!"

Go, Astros??? They're aught and five right now, folks. Nuff said.

That's all for today. I'm going to take a little break here and play some BridgeBaseOnline. I hope, if I don't meet up with one of my 'friends', that I'll at least hook up with a halfway decent partner.

Catcha next time, ok?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Simon Says ... #4

Folks, you're in for a treat today!

These come around few and far between. In fact, the last one I came across was so long ago that I can't remember when it was! LOL

Same oh, same oh, as far as directions go. (See previous Simon Says posts for more details.) Follow each instruction exactly and in order. If you don't, as with happened with Nancy in the last one, you'll end up far off the mark, wondering where you could possibly have gone wrong.

This one is really easy. The only step you need to take a little extra care with (imo) is #9. Make sure you move the indicated letter far enough to the right. This sort of direction has almost always been my downfall. :(

Ready to begin? Good!

1. Print the phrase HIGH NOON, omitting the space between words.
2. Change the double O to a double L.
3. Insert a C after the fourth letter. (This type of direction always means 'from the left', ok?)
4. Delete the vowel.
5. Insert a K after the fourth letter.
6. Change each H to an E.
7. Insert an R between the second vowel and the first consonant from the left and change the rightmost letter to a Y.
8. Switch the letter that comes earliest in the alphabet with the second vowel from the left.
9. Move the leftmost letter five positions to the right. Be careful here!
10. Insert an A in the third position from the left and delete the N.

(What do you see? If you see GRACE KELLY, you're halfway there. Hooray! When I saw this, I laughed out loud. What fun!!)

11. Switch the two leftmost vowels with each other.
12. Replace the double letter with DO.
13. Delete the first and last letters.
14. Change the K to a double W.
15. Insert an I between the two adjacent letters that are next to each other in the alphabet.
16. Insert an R in the fifth position from the left.
17. Insert an N in the third position from the right.
18. Delete the third vowel from the right.
19. Move the leftmost W to the right end.
20. Delete the consonant that comes earliest in the alphabet.

What do you have? If you have REAR WINDOW, congratulations! Wasn't that just great fun? I don't think I've seen more than one or two of these previously. Had to share it with you as quickly as I could!

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Defiant Ones

That's the title of a movie that will be shown this afternoon (3pm) on local Channel 2.2.

When I first read the title, I thought, "This sure sounds like a remake of the really powerful 1958 film by the same title and starring Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis", altho there was no mention of that in the review! (Why the devil ever not?!?)

The movie that will be shown in a little over an hour was made in 1985 and stars Robert Urich and Carl Weathers. Now, I like Robert Urich but am unfamiliar with the name "Carl Weathers", altho I would probably recognize his face if I took the time to view the film.

However, I have just finished publishing my latest - and extraordinarily long - post, and am going to take a break by playing some BBO. When I'm dummy, if I happen to think about it, I'll sneak off into the other room and see how it's going.


Lewd and lascivious behavior ...

... was exhibited by a member of my own immediate family just the other day. What was this behavior? It was stripping ... ... in public, no less, and over a several hour period. Shocking, eh what?

Well, not really. You don't strip a piece of furniture inside your home unless you want to be overcome by the fumes. At least, that's how I remember my own stripping experience back in Ohio many years ago. It was a door. And boy, I want to tell you, that sucker did not want to be stripped! What a mess!! I hated that job, but we (my husband lent a very welcome hand towards the end) finally got 'er done.

Now that I have your attention, I thought I'd move on to the even more mundane and tell you what I've been doing for the past month or so. For those of you whose imaginations were titillated by the headline and hoped (?) you were going to get to read things of a pornographic nature ... well, you've already read them. Sorry about that! LOL

The rest of this post will be a "bits & pieces" type of thing. In fact, I have so many little tidbits in mind that I'll probably headline each section. That way, if you see a subject you're not particularly interested in, you can skip right on over it. How's that sound? Only fair, right?

Astros ... ... Opening day is Monday. (This post was started Saturday afternoon.) I came to that realization earlier today when I noticed that it was April already. (April 1st came and went almost unnoticed by me. Did you get fooled by anybody?) So, I went to the 2010 Astros Schedule (previously known as the 2009 Astros Schedule) in order to copy down the dates when I would be able to watch them on TV - always limited because I don't have cable.

Two years ago, every Sunday game was shown on Channel 20. That was nice! Last year, there was nothing you could really point your finger toward and say, "Hey, it's Sunday." (or Monday, or whatever day) "The Astros are on!" I was lucky to be able to watch them once a month and it was usually on a Saturday. This year, I was kind of hoping they'd be on a little more regularly, but was shocked (shocked!) to find the only game in April that will be televised for those of us not on cable is when they play the Cardinals in St. Louis on the 14th. That's a Wednesday, folks, and will be the middle game of a 3-game set, with Tuesday an "off" day. What's with these schedules where there's an off day smack dab in the middle of a series? I don't understand it at all!

Guess how many games I'll be able to watch in May, June, or July? ZERO! (!!) Can you believe it? Just incredible! One in August - Saturday, the 20th, when they play the Mets in New York. Then, as if all of a sudden they realized that major league baseball is going on, every Saturday game in September is scheduled to be shown (concluding with the 1st Saturday in October - the middle game of that last series here at home against the Cubs). Is that wild, or what?

Yesterday (Saturday ... it's Sunday now), I listened on the radio, on my way back and forth to Luby's, to the Astros getting absolutely creamed by Steven's Blue Jays in the last pre-season game here at home. You remember the Blue Jays, don't you? That's the team that drives everyone in Canada crazy by starting out strong to get their fans' hopes up, but then begins fading about mid-season and is almost nowhere to be found at the end.

Our home opener is against the Giants (ho hum) and it won't be until our third series that we start meeting fellow Central Divisionites (Is that even a word?) - the Cardinals and Cubs. However, we end the season with Central Division foes ... three against the Reds in their home park and three against Chuck's Cubbies here at home. That last series, in particular, depending on the standings at the time, might be of special interest to a couple of people I know. We'll just have to see how it goes.

My last will and testament ... ... Three weeks ago tomorrow, on the 15th of March, I finally rewrote my last will and testament. (I hadn't rewritten it since my last divorce, over twenty years ago. Shame, shame!) Do you remember - by some weird chance - that my one and only New Year's resolution in 2009 was to rewrite it? I didn't make any resolutions for 2010. I mean, why would I?

Anyway, it took me the whole day and I was so anxious to get the whole thing signed and notarized that I called Sam Miller, my lawyer, to see how late he'd be at the office. (He's downtown and I live a good thirty minutes away.) I told him what I needed. It was already nearly 5:30. He asked, "Do you have two witnesses?" (No, I didn't.) I rushed out of the house to the nearest branch of my bank (now Chase), just up the street. I thought, "They'll handle this for me. They've notarized stuff for me before." (Well, back when they were Washington Mutual they did, but then I thought, "A bank's a bank, right? This'll be easy!")

Well, they don't notarize wills. I found this out only after I'd been waiting in line almost twenty minutes. Ugh. Double ugh! I was directed across the street to an insurance office where (I was told) they would get me all set up. And so off I sped. I arrived at the insurance office and asked, upon entering the door, "Do you notarize wills?" "Yes," was the answer. Oh happy day!

However, the job didn't get done. My will went on and on (and on) for three pages and had no provisions for signatures, witnesses, or notarizations. (A question: How does one live as long as I have and still be so ignorant? ... Please don't answer that. I mean, you can think the answer but don't write it, ok? I feel badly enough already.)

They were kind enough to make copies of a couple of pages that I needed to add to the will to make it "official". Guess what? (You've already guessed, haven't you?) I still haven't done it. You're not surprised, are you? (If you are surprised, then you don't know me very well!)

I did notify my daughter that a 'last will and testament' had finally been completed by me and where she could find it on my computer. Does that count positively for anything? Probably not.

Guess what's on my "to do" list for tomorrow?

Easter weekend ... ... This is it, and I - along with all other Christians in the world - am celebrating the wondrousness of Christ's resurrection. Truly, it is almost unimaginable to me that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son so that I - only one of many sinners! - could have everlasting life. I feel honored, certainly unworthy and most humbled.

I went in search of movies that would be shown for this most special of holidays and found only one (keep in mind that I do not have cable) ... ... I found The Ten Commandments, which came out in 1956, starring Charlton Heston (among many other fine actors and actresses) and directed and narrated by Cecil B. DeMille (who would have been tickled, I think, at my use of the word "lascivious" in the title of this post). Well, come to think of it, maybe not. I didn't use it in any sort of religious context, only to attract attention to my blog.

This film, while not directly related or inferring in any way to the life of Jesus, is (imo) of deep religious import and an epic that will probably remain forever embedded in the minds of all of us who believe in "one God". I took the time to watch it - a little over four hours last night, with very few commercial breaks - and am so glad I did!

Mentor/mentee games ... ... I offered to help with the mentor/mentee games at the Houston Bridge Studio (where I mentor twice a month) and was taken up on my offer by Kathy Hughes. I was to be in charge of the game on Thursday evening, March 25th.

Boy oh boy, I mean to tell you, you have no idea whatsoever the amount of work one of these things entails unless you are actually in charge of it. None! I thought I was doing pretty well ... ... had spent many hours alphabetizing mentors' and mentees' names, charting when they had last played and with whom in the last two or three months, recording masterpoints (mentors are "seeded", particularly the N-S pairs, which I hadn't known), noting regular/established partnerships, fielding phone calls from Kathy and others and setting up the upcoming game ... ... until Thursday afternoon, the 25th, came along and I was forced to take the car to the garage because the "service engine soon" light had just come on.

Those were hours I didn't have to spare, but had to because - due to all my years as a taxicab driver, I'm sure - I just don't fiddle around when trouble lights come on in my vehicle. No problems were found (?!?) and, believe you me, Micky's group checked everything! They reset the computer and I was told to drive the car just like normal until the light came on again (if it did).

You know, I seem to remember something like this happening once before with this car. Two or three years ago, maybe. I took it to the garage (same garage), they checked it all over, reset the computer and told me to drive it until the light came on again. Well, it never did until last week.

I was told that the "service engine soon" light has to do with the emissions system. The problem could be as simple as an improperly-seated gas cap to a worn or semi-detached hose to ... ... well, just about anything and nearly impossible to find. Hmmph!

Anyway, I've been driving it for over a week now with no recurring trouble light. I didn't really 'expect' to see one appear, but it was good to learn that the problem - whatever it might be or have been - was emissions-related and probably not serious. I just had an added thought. Suppose that "ses" light came on because the car missed Micky, his shop and the extra attention it received when it was taken there. What do you think? I mean, now that it's not being driven as a taxicab anymore, its visits there are few and far between.

Do you assign names to your vehicles? Do they have feelings? Personalities? Minds of their own? (Btw, it's now Monday morning. My priorities for today have changed. #1 is to finish and publish this post. I think three days is more than a long-enough allotted time, don't you?)

But, let's go back to Thursday afternoon, March 25th, and my final preparations for the mentor/mentee game that evening, which was due to start at 7pm. I had already composed the master list of who would be playing, alphabetically arranged by mentees' names, as I'd been instructed. All there was left to do was fill out the entry slips for the director and make out the name tags, using the second set of markers I'd purchased (first set was the wrong kind). It's been a good 20 years (or better!) since I last used a marker for anything and was totally confused by the myriad of offerings at the stores. And so, I had asked for help from someone at the second store I went to. I felt well-equipped.

I arrived back home somewhere between 4:30 and 5:00. There was time, I thought, to do both - not a lot, but enough - and still be able to get over to the studio early. (No time to eat, but that was about the last thing on my mind!) There were 13 full tables scheduled to play. That's a perfect movement. Two boards per round, 13 rounds, except in these mentor/mentee games they only play 12 rounds. This allows 15-20 or so extra minutes for the mentor/mentee to go over the game just played - referring to the hand records as desired, the mentor making a positive comment or two - perhaps even adding a suggestion/s for improvement - and the mentee asking questions. It's a really good setup. Well thought out.

I finished the entry slips, which took awhile because there were 26 of them, and was ready to tackle the name tags. To my horror, the second set of markers was no good, either. They 'bled' all over the name tags! I must have ruined four or five name tags, thinking I was the culprit, that I was doing something wrong. I quickly searched the house (once again!) for a black marker to use that still had some ink left in it. No luck. I hadn't thought there would be, but I had to at least try!

I finally decided to use a green very fine felt-tipped pen, which I knew would work, but no one more than a foot away from the wearer would be able to see, much less read the name! Even at a shorter distance it would be a strain. I was almost finished - had just a few names to go - when I discovered that I no longer had enough name tags.

Ye gods! It was at this point, I think, that I almost completely froze in utter frustration. I had to go back to the store, buy some more name tags and arrive at the studio not nearly as early as I would have liked and not completely prepared.

I could hardly make myself move. I didn't cry. Not then nor later, which kind of surprises me because I've been known to burst into tears at the slightest provocation. It's more like I was a zombie.

I arrived at the studio in that state, clutching all of my materials. Actually, I had to make two trips back and forth to the car to get stuff. People were already there. It was a near disaster. If it hadn't been for the director, Wolf Schroeter, assuring me that others had done 100 times worse (When?!?) and taking charge when one and a half tables of my total count simply didn't show up, leaving us with 11 1/2 tables and everyone playing 8 rounds of three boards each (with a N-S sitout of three boards, which is hateful at best), I wouldn't have been able to continue on in the evening and play with my mentee*.

*Walter Freitag, may God bless his patience, smile and friendship. We won overall that evening, can you imagine? (!) Lots of mistakes made our way, but even more by the opponents, and so there you have it! LOL

Now, Eric Watson ... ... btw, here's Eric (just a horrid picture of him .. he's much better-looking than that .. but many of us are not photogenic) ... ...

... is in charge of this month's Thursday evening mentor/mentee game (April 22nd). We're alternating months.

It took me about four days to recover from March 25th and want to even begin thinking about mentor/mentee games, but a couple of days ago I finally finished and sent to Eric - after double- and triple-checking yet once again! - the masters I had made for these games. I sure hope he's received them - have had no confirmation of same - and is able to make some good use out of them.

Last hurrah for this post ... ... This has gotten to be extra long, but I have decided to stop here and hit "publish". There were other things I was going to share with you, but I've decided, "Enough already!"

I hope this finds you well. I'll try and talk atcha again real soon.