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.