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!