Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Pro Bowl

Will anyone be watching this evening? It'll be on ESPN. Cable, which I don't have. Not that it makes much difference. I doubt I would be giving it much viewing time, anyway, except perhaps for an occasional glimpse.

[Masterpiece Classic - PBS - takes precedence one of those hours. They're showing part two of a 3-part series on "Emma" tonight. Then, the next hour will see me watching Stargate SG-1. Anyone like that series? It's one of my favorites. Channel 2.2 (local) is rerunning two episodes every Sunday evening. In addition to several of the main characters - not the least of which is Amanda Tapping - continuing to hold my interest, I think Richard Dean Anderson is a "hunk".]

It has been many years since I watched a Pro Bowl game. To give you some idea of how long it's been, I guess the last time was when Warren Moon was playing in it. He was selected to play in that game nine times, the first in 1988 ... I would have watched that one, for sure!

Back then, Jerry Glanville was the Oilers' head coach. Jerry and I both attended Northern Michigan University as undergraduates. We never met personally while in college (I was a few years his senior), but the two of us sure did have a lot of fun talking about 'the good old days' when he was here in Houston. At that time, I was an avid member of the Oilers' booster club and never missed a meeting if I could help it.

[The Oilers lost me permanently as a fan when Jerry was fired, but that's a whole nuther story. I'll tell you about it sometime, if I remember - and am in the mood - to do so.]

I had the opportunity to meet and get to know - just a little bit - Warren's wife, Felicia. We attended some of the same events. (I was still in the art business, altho it was waning.) A lovely, lovely person, both visually and personality-wise. I liked her very much.

But - as usual - I digress. Back to football.

In re-reading some of Warren's biography in Wiki, I noticed prominent mention of the 1992 playoff game against the Buffalo Bills. That's the infamous (or famous, depending on whether or not you're a Bills' fan) one, where the Oilers had a second half collapse of unprecedented proportions.

There was a really good story that made the rounds here in Houston after that game. Lots of good stories made the rounds, but this one sticks in my memory banks. It seems there was this fellow whose wife had been nagging at him for a couple of weeks to mow the lawn. That particular day, the weather was absolutely beautiful here in Houston. He really had no excuse other than the Oilers-Bills playoff game. Well, we know what he did, don't we? He watched the game. At least, the first half, after which he decided - the Oilers were then up by a score of 35-3 - that the rest of the game would go the Oilers' way, as well, and went outside to mow the lawn and try to please his wife and keep some peace in the family. I don't know if he has since stopped blaming himself for their loss or not.

Well, that's about it for my thoughts on the Pro Bowl. I don't even know who is playing in it this year. Do you?

My son-in-law is of the opinion that, as the 'powers that be' scheduled that game in the week between the end of the playoffs and the Super Bowl, they were trying to drum up more interest in the Pro Bowl.

Did it work for you? Will you be watching?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Ultrasound ... ...

... has been in existence for over 50 years, supposedly. Just tried to looked up the exact date of its arrival in medicine, but was unable to find it. However, I didn't try very hard ... just gave Wiki a quick gander. The date is really not important for purposes of this post.

I was doing something this morning I hadn't done in quite a while, it seems to me ... reading others' posts, chuckling here and commenting there, when I came across this one that Bug published Wednesday.

She enjoys doing these Random Dozen Memes, and usually I find at least one that provokes further thought from me. This week was no exception.

Check out #7 ... "Did you wait to discover the gender of your unborn child until its birth?" Well, as Bug has no children, it was a "N/A" for her, but she did go on to venture her opinion (always interesting), which got me to thinking about when I was pregnant going on fifty years ago.

Ultrasound was brand new then, and my husband and I discussed it. We both were of the opinion, we said, that we simply wanted a healthy child. We didn't really care what sex it was, just as long as it had ten fingers and toes .. you know, all the 'normal' stuff.

[Back then, what sex your child would be was guesswork, for the most part. If you carried the baby high, it would be a boy, or was it the other way around? I forget. If your families had a history of boy babies, chances were .. .. etc., etc. You know how that goes. One thing I remember for sure is that I had a wonderful built-in little table top to hold a saucer with a cup of coffee on it!]

Deep down, I'm pretty sure I was hoping for a boy. I wanted a little boy who would look exactly like my husband, only a much smaller version, of course. Rrvit! We were going to name him "Mark Paul" in honor of two of my favorite students. My husband didn't want a baby to be named after him. That would have made the child a "III" and he didn't want to be any part of that.

My doctor knew what I wanted. My husband knew what I wanted. I thought I knew what I wanted, but when our little girl was delivered and the doctor told me what it was, I exclaimed, "Oh, I'm so glad!"

Isn't it funny how - in a split second - our minds can change? So completely unexpected.

I had a lot of fun, particularly in the early years, making matching outfits for us and playing dressup. I was so glad we'd had a girl! And it's been even more fun, as the years have progressed, watching her develop into a mature and caring person. I wouldn't change a thing.

Btw, Bug's other Random Dozen Memes are equally interesting. Check out this one. I hope to meet her in person if I travel north later this year.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The little white lie

This next story, while quite believable and probably based on actual events, has had all church names, people's names and town names removed to protect the 'innocent'. It's one of the funniest stories I have ever heard .. hope you enjoy it!

It seems that Abigail was supposed to provide a cake for her church's bake sale, but forgot all about it until the last minute. She remembered it the morning of the sale, and found an angel food cake mix in her pantry that she quickly made up and put in the oven to bake while she was washing and drying her hair, dressing and helping her son pack up for Scout camp.

When she took the cake from the oven, she discovered that the center had dropped flat and the cake was horribly disfigured. "Oh, dear!" she exclaimed. There wasn't time to bake another cake, and she had so wanted to fit in with her new church community. She had promised she would bring a cake. What was she going to do?

She looked around the house to find something that might be used as a "filler" for the cake's collapsed center. She settled on a roll of toilet paper that - after the icing had been applied - made the cake presentable. Very presentable, in fact!

Before taking the cake over to the church on her way to work, however, she woke up her daughter to tell her what had happened. "Doris," she said, "you must get over to the church the minute the bake sale opens, buy this cake and bring it home. That way, no one will ever know the difference."

A few hours later, Doris called her mother at work to tell her that - even tho she had arrived at the bake sale right when it opened, someone had been in before her and bought the cake.

Oh, dear! Now what to do? There was nothing for it but to just wait until the worst happened. Abigail would be the laughing stock. She was so ashamed!

After a sleepless night tossing and turning, she decided to go ahead and attend a bridal shower/luncheon the next day that she had already RSVPed to rather than just hide away. She really didn't want to go, because the hostess had always kind of thumbed her nose at her .. "Not of the founding families, a single parent," etc. .. but went anyway.

The meal was elegant and the company was definitely "old South upper crust". To her horror, however, the cake in question was presented for dessert. Abigail felt the blood drain from her body when she saw the cake and was rising from her feet to tell the hostess about it when the mayor's wife exclaimed, "What a beautiful cake!"

She sat back down when the hostess beamed and said, "Thank you! I made it myself."

"God is good," she thought. "Thank you, Lord."

This story courtesy of our friend Jennie. Thank you, Jennie!

The locksmith ... ...

... has come and gone. (Arrived almost two hours after he was originally scheduled. It seems he had to break into a car way up on the north side of town and then fight heavy traffic to get over here in the far southwest.)

While we were waiting, my daughter and I did a walkthrough of whatall *I* wanted him to look at and then we came in here to take a look at the printer. It's making dirty-looking copies. Just recently started that routine.

She tried every which way she knew how to get it to make clean ones, but it was a no go. The upshot of this whole story is that she took the printer with her. My son-in-law will take a look at it, but she thinks he'll end up taking it to a professional. More later, if and when.

But getting back to the locksmith ... boy, I think we got a really good one. An amusing incident occurred when he first came into the house, tho. (I must add that it's only amusing if you have a really weird sense of humor, which I have.)

Those of you who have read my blog more than just a few times know how far down the list housekeeping chores are. In fact, they're so far down the list they don't even make the list, ok? I would rather brush my teeth, go to the bathroom, sit out on the back patio and walk the dog (I don't have a dog) rather than dust or scrub ANYthing!

And as for filing? Give me a break, will you please? Filing??? What the devil's THAT?!?

[Kind of a funny side story here. Julian Barr and I play duplicate bridge fairly regularly. He NEVER remembers our card and a few times - except for the most recent one - I was unable to find ours, which seemed to tick him off. ("Well, tuff titties," as my mother would have said. If he was that ticked, he should have brought HIS, right?) Anyway, when we played Sunday evening I brought our card with me. Guess where I found it? I had filed it, and in the proper place! LOL]

But getting back to the 'amusing incident' with the locksmith. When he came in the front door, he took one look around and asked, "Recycling?" Rrvit! My daughter ignored the question and quickly took him on the tour, showing him the problems that existed.

ALL outside doors, including the garage door - which I recently described in one of my posts as having a mind of its own and coming open whenever it felt like doing so, were in need of attention. However, it was my opinion that nothing could be done about ANY of them w/o incurring major - and I do mean major - reconstruction costs. (The house is coming ever closer, inch by inch, to falling down around me. Think that's a fairly true statement.) Hence the *I* in the second paragraph above.

I had already given my roflol (altho I used different lettering) opinions to my family, trying to get all of the sardonic laughter out of my system before said locksmith arrived, and - I might add - was surprisingly successful.

To make a long story shorter, and without going into whatall is wrong with my house - quite a 'downer', actually, so I'll not bore all y'all with it, I will just say that we had a locksmith extraordinaire. He thinks what he was able to accomplish will 'hold' for the next few months, until I'm out of here. Good news.

Not so good news is that while my daughter and I were sitting out on the patio visiting, my next door neighbor came over to tell me that he is leaving Houston next week. He has sold everything and is relocating back to Florida. While I am not terribly fond of my neighbor, that means I'll have a vacant house next door. He said he's having trouble finding a realtor who will even list the place! Gives you a little better idea of what has happened to this neighborhood, doesn't it?

Meanwhile, I'm sitting here unafraid. Really and truly. I don't like some of the things that have been happening and the direction in which they seem to be going, but I've never been one to sit around shaking in my boots.

I thought more than once that I should have a weapon, but just can't bring myself around to purchasing one. A couple of questions present themselves. 1) Would I use it? Probably yes, if I felt that my life was in danger. 2) Where would I keep it? On my body? That question is almost unanswerable. I need a Clint Eastwood-type around. Any volunteers?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A matter of interpretation, I guess ... ... followup

Any of you remember this post? It's from last August, and provoked a lot of thoughts and comments.

I bring it up today because I recently received the most wonderful comment on it from the author of the obituary, the deceased's daughter, Robin Cash.

Actually, Robin sent her comment many days ago, but it was relegated to Zone Alarm's trash bin and I just read it yesterday.

Thank you SO much, Robin, for your extensive comment. I thought the obituary of your mother described a woman who loved life ... absolutely loved it! I just wish I could have remembered her.

It's so sad how her mind was affected in her later years. My father's memory -- and his first love was defense -- was beginning to go, as well, in his declining years. The worst part of the whole thing was that he knew it! It's one of life's more cruel 'jokes', isn't it?

Those of you who remember that post and the controversy that followed might be interested in reading Robin's comment. Just click onto the "comment" section and scroll down until you see hers.

Just call me Raymonda

Years and years ago ... I guess it would have been here in Houston ... Mom and Dad were visiting and there was a bridge tournament going on. Probably a Regional, like we've got coming up in another week or two.

In those days, Men's Pairs and Women's Pairs were scheduled as two of the events, both occurring on the same day (two sessions). Mom and I, I think, were going to be playing in the Women's, but Dad was still looking for a partner for the Men's when it came to be game time and he had not been unsuccessful.

And so, he was planning to kibitz in the Men's Pairs when over the loudspeaker came the announcement, "We need a woman to complete the Women's Pairs. Our expense." Silence in the room as everyone looked around, expecting a woman to walk on up to the Director's desk and offer her services.

No one did. Finally, the director asked, "ANYone??" My dad went up to say he was available, but there was no way he could ever be considered a woman. LOL

He was pressed into 'duty' and for two sessions he was met with looks of surprise and more than a few grins. He had a lot of fun with it. Even borrowed someone's scarf, as I remember, and would introduce himself at each new table with, "Just call me Raymonda." (His name was Raymond.)

I hadn't thought about this in YEARS, but today was reminded of it when - in cruising BBO tables for people looking for partners - I came across one person who stated, most emphatically, "NO WOMEN" ... rrvit!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Changing computers

For Christmas just passed, I got a new computer from my daughter and her husband. My old one was on its last legs, but I was babying it along .. babying it along .. babying it along ... ... you know how that goes, right?

Well, this new one I have can do all sorts of things that theirs cannot and is almost faster than a bolt of lightning, but .. big "but" here .. you know what else it will do? (And I didn't discover this until yesterday.) It will relegate any and all comments on "Goldenrod's thoughts" to a Zone Alarm trash bin, which I didn't even know existed!

[Btw, Tammy. Your personal e-mail to me of the 19th ended up in that trash bin, as well. If I'd received it via regular channels, you can betcher sweet bippy that I never would have ignored it!]

My my! And so, when I have been tardy or even completely lacking in responding to your comments, that's the reason why. My son-in-law thought he fixed the problem yesterday, but I see I'm still getting e-mails in that trash bin .. most of them junk, I've noticed, but .. oh, well.

Meanwhile, I'll be going through your comments and responding. Playing catchup, as it were. I'll be interested to see if anyone responds to THIS post .. .. AND, if I get notification via regular e-mail, as is supposed to happen, or if the comments still get relegated to Zone Alarm's trash bin.

Hopefully, we'll get all of the bugs worked out of the system ... eventually. It's all in the setup, I'm pretty sure.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

It's been a while ...

... since I posted. Where have I been and what have I been doing, anyway? Well, I've been here. Doing a lot of sleeping, some bridge-playing online, but no posting.

Why not? Well, I really can't answer that with any great amount of accuracy. Every time I get in here, I go to BridgeBase (after first checking my e-mails) and then that kind of shoots my day - or interrupts it a whole bunch, let's say.

Sometimes I'll lay in bed thinking of something I could say that you might be interested in, but then usually I'll turn over, go back to sleep and it's mostly gone later. Kind of like the other day, when I was thinking about Kris Kristofferson, only this one I remember.

Why Kris Kristofferson? Well, I happened to catch a VERY mediocre movie recently that he starred in (playing one of the bad guys) ... Jan-Michael Vincent played his brother (one of the good guys). A most unlikely brother combination, wouldn't you say? I only watched it to the end because I wanted to see Kris "get his" and wasn't disappointed.

During the movie I found myself comparing their heights. Why that? Well, I had a chance meeting with Mr. Kristofferson in Nashville many years ago. I was there in my capacity as Marketing Manager for Kirby Building Systems, and was strolling the hotel during a few free minutes. There was a fountain in the main lobby and there he was, sitting beside it, all by his lonesome.

I thought, "Neat!" Went over, all smiles, and was all set to shake his hand when he rose and I realized that he was shorter than I. !?! The next words out of my mouth were, "My goodness, you're short!" Wouldn't you just know it? Out they popped before I had any idea they were going to be said aloud.

Well, he didn't take very kindly to that remark, said something rude and we went our separate ways. Rrvit!

So, anyway, I was kind of interested in seeing how Jan-Michael's height compared. He is perhaps an inch or two taller than Kris - this just in case you were the least bit curious, making him about my height. Another piece of useless trivia for you.

And then, of course, I got to thinking about Alan Ladd ... ... I'd always heard that he had to stand on a box to be tall enough for kissing closeups with his female co-stars. I guess I have kind of a "thing" about always wondering now how tall the person really is, what the newscaster is wearing underneath the table (or out of camera range), stuff like that. I'm a little weird that way.

Speaking of movies, I'm to be treated later this afternoon to the 1968 film version of "Heidi" ... ... this is the one starring Michael Redgrave as the grandfather, Maximilian Schell as the injured girl's father, Jean Simmons as the governess and Walter Slezak as Father Richter. Wonderful, wonderful!

Have a few outside errands to do and it's going on 2pm now. I'll have to leave the house shortly so I don't miss a single moment. It's coming on at 4pm. (This movie is showing on one of the local religious channels. No commercials.) I need to make a couple/three different stops ... the main one at Randall's. Have to pick up a bunch more of "Harvest Peach" - the Yoplait yogurt flavor that I've recently become addicted to, a couple of their absolutely delicious "melt in your mouth" blueberry muffins that I positively cannot eat in one sitting but they keep beautifully, perhaps another Xword magazine, some chicken tenders ... that's about it for Randall's, and then it's on to Luby's to get some of their wonderful spinach salad to go. I might even make another stop for another salad to go. We'll see how my time goes.

I haven't been outside much. It's been cold (for us) most of the month. In fact, all of my very large tropical plants that have been outside ever since I've lived here are now deader than the proverbial doornail. I'll have to hire someone to clean out the back yard come warmer weather. I don't have the strength for it anymore.

Talking about back yards, I have always been of the opinion that one does not go into another's back yard without being invited. Now, when my neighbor trespassed into my back yard last month to alert me that both our garages had been broken into, that was understandable. I didn't like it much, but I understood it.

More recently, I was even less pleased when a member of our homeowner's association left a notice at my back door. Then, a couple of days later, same person (I'm assuming) kept pounding on my back door to see if I had received it and to try and get me to sign some sort of petition he was circulating.

To say that I am ticked would be putting it mildly. I shared all of this with my family when I was out in Katy recently. They didn't like it, either. Not sure what we're going to do about it at this point. Relations between the homeowner's association and myself have been, shall we say, somewhat strained for years and these latest incidents have not helped matters.

Don't be too surprised if I leave this area sometime later this year. Never thought I'd say that. I've lived in this house since the late 70's, and thought I'd be here the rest of my life, but .. .. things change, circumstances change. I think I might be ready to go.

Beth's latest - newly-revised - scheduled return to Houston is Monday. We're both hopeful that she can finally leave the Arctic Circle and get back to where she can go outside without having to first spend several minutes bundling up. I'll be picking her up at IAH just before 1pm. Don't know if she'll be too tired to stop in Kemah 'on the way' back to her home or not. I'm positive she'll be hungry, but tired will be another matter.

Speaking of Kemah, there was a fire at one of the restaurants over there yesterday. Not the one we usually go to, thank goodness. (Not that a fire anywhere is a good thing. I'm just glad it wasn't at 'our' restaurant.)

Have to go, folks. Hope all of you are well, safe and warm. Can't say when I'll be posting again, but - hopefully - the interim will be of shorter duration. Noticed earlier that I have lost a subscriber. Oh, well. Not surprising, eh what?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Picking up at the airport

I spent nearly eighteen years as a taxicab driver picking personal customers up from both airports. The procedure was always the same. I arrived early and filled out a personal customer pickup form ... airline, flight #, ETA, customer's name, my name and cab number, etc. Then I waited at a staging area nearby - never at the terminal - with the airport radio on to hear my cab number announced, that the customer was waiting.

Often my customers would call me from their cell phone as they were on their way out of the terminal. That way, less time would be lost waiting for me to arrive after they gave my cab number to the starter. It was a nearly fail safe procedure.

I say 'nearly' because twice during those years a potential personal customer forgot I would be picking them up and hopped in the first taxicab at the stand, leaving me sitting at the staging area waiting for someone who was never going to arrive and ask for me. Aargh!

This past Monday evening, I was scheduled to pick Joanne back up at Hobby. It was to be a late pickup, at best (a 10:45pm arrival), but I was all prepared. Had taken a nap in preparation for the late hour and was ready for potential delays due to weather or her connecting flight in Chicago having to wait for incoming flights from elsewhere.

Sure enough, both things happened, which was not surprising. Joanne hadn't called me from Chicago, tho, so I assumed she was on the delayed flight and I arrived at Hobby in plenty of time - now going on 11:30pm - and sat in a lot nearby to wait for her call.

None came. I waited some more. No call. Hmm! I called the airline again, expecting to hear that the flight was due to land 'any minute', only to learn that the flight had landed successfully almost 45 minutes earlier! What the devil?

I cruised on up to the terminal and drove very slowly past all of the exits. No Joanne. In fact, almost no people at all! The regulations at both airports do not allow unattended personal vehicles at the terminals, so I really didn't see how I could park the car even momentarily just to dash inside and see if Joanne was still waiting for her luggage, being attended to, or ... ... I could imagine all sorts of various scenarios.

I didn't know what to do. I didn't have her cell phone number with me, so called her home phone on the off chance that she was there, that we had somehow missed each other. Left a worried-type message on her voice mail

I decided to wait just a few more minutes and then go home. I mean, it was stupid to wait for someone who wasn't going to be coming in! By that time, I was in a small line of cars that were waiting for a flight coming in from Vegas. It was now going on 12:30am.

Just then my cell phone rang. I answered. It was Joanne. I asked, "Where are you?" "I'm at Hobby," she said. "Well, I'm at the terminal. Do you have your luggage? Are you all right? I'm been so worried!"

[In this post, I talked about taking Joanne to the airport and how we always had to get there early because of the amount of steel in her body, remember? And then, just a few days later, I was rejoicing over the 'fact' that my customers had made it to the airports on time and trouble-free. Well, Joanne missed her flight out. How did that happen? It seems she set off so many metal detectors that she kept getting delayed having to wait for another official inspector, and then .. .. when she was finally cleared to go, it was too late. Ugh!]

There were no such complications due to metal detectors and having to wait for official inspectors on her return to Houston. The delay at Hobby arose from Joanne having written my cell phone number down wrong - in two different places! She hesitated calling this wrong number yet once again and asking the very tired-sounding fellow who answered to once more verify the digits of his phone number, but was about to do so when she remembered that she had packed her address and phone directory in one of her pieces of luggage.

This sort of thing would never have happened if I'd been a cab driver. She still wouldn't have been able to call me (wrong #), but she could have walked to the cab stand and asked for me by cab number. If, for some reason, she had forgotten my cab number, the starter would have asked for her name and we'd have gotten together - eventually. (Now, if for some reason she'd forgotten her name .. .. well, we both would have been in trouble!)

[Also, the starter would have allowed me to leave the cab and walk into the terminal to briefly check on Joanne's whereabouts.]

I'm due to pick Beth up at IAH either Wednesday or Thursday. This pickup is very much up in the air. She's due to helicopter to Prudhoe Bay Monday - she is at Point Thompson, Alaska - and fly back to Anchorage on Tuesday, but weather conditions are very much a factor with this one.

I just now received an e-mail from her describing blizzard conditions. Yesterday, all operations were on shut down .. no flights, no drilling. She sent me a couple of pictures of the area, and I've tried to transfer them for you but I've got this new computer and things just don't work the same way. Anyway, you can find some info on this remote Arctic Ocean location here.

Says she'll be glad to get back home and be off for a few days. Perhaps she'll even take a few photos. (?) It's so cold there that the shutter can't be worked with heavy gloves on and - if you try to go bare-handed, your fingers quickly become frozen. Imagine she'll have lots of stories to share. I'm looking forward to seeing her again.

Anyhoo, a somewhat belated Happy New Year to you all. Julian and I played bridge New Year's Eve and were a little above average. We each made a couple of costly errors, but I had a good time - as always.