Friday, November 30, 2012

Bone Marathon

I am off to pack more boxes shortly.  First, however, I need to reload my MP3 player.  I just finished a marathon of Cornwell’s The Bone Bed and Kathy Reich’s Bones Are Forever and need to exit the autopsy suite for awhile.  Both audiobooks were good listening.  I need only 4 more books to finish my Goodreads goal of 125 for the year.  I think I’ll make it, in spite of the move.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Upcoming Treat

I like to listen to audio books while I do certain tasks or while I knit and spin.  I do listen while driving on the highway.  Where we live, highway driving is relatively empty and monotonous.  I know that driving and listening is controversial, but if I weren’t listening to a book, I would listen to the radio.  I do not listen to a book while driving in town or in traffic because I do find it distracting.  Audio books are much too expensive to buy, so I make do with a system of free books from Librivox, 1 credit a month from audible for those new books that I just can’t stand to do without, my local public library consortium, and an annual membership to the Free Library of Philadelphia.  Because ebooks and audio books are so much in demand now, I keep the Holds section of my library account at the maximum of ten books.  Some of them have quite a waiting list, so I am never sure when one will suddenly become available and pop up in an email, giving me three days to download.  Tonight, I was surprised by the announcement of The Bone Bed, the latest Patricia Cornwell mystery.  I used to really like this series, but I have found some of the later books to be too dark in personal matters for my taste.  I have no idea how I will react to this one, but it will make interesting listening as I am packing more boxes tomorrow. 


The movers are scheduled for the 13th.  Yippee!  I’m busily packing up the fragile, fragile items from the china and crystal cabinet today.  I think I’m going to send those in a separate, hand-carried load instead of letting them go on the moving truck.  Right now, I’m trying to pack three larger pieces of Roseville Pottery.  VERY carefully.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Movie I’m Going to Try to Avoid Seeing

unless my curiosity gets the better of me.

Jack Reacher, the protagonist of the novels by Lee Child, is a favorite literary character of mine.  When I saw a preview starting, I was excited.  Then I saw Tom Cruise.  Then I looked up the film on the IMDB.  Hollywood, the whole background of Reacher’s ethical character is informed by his background, ex-MP, growing up as the son of a Marine and a French mother, ex-Major in the US Army.  His outstanding characteristics are his size—6’5” and 250 lbs, his fighting skills, and his unassuming style of dress as he wanders across America.  So the movie has made him into a PI, played by Tom Cruise?  I can’t imagine Reacher without the military background. 

I’m going to have trouble accepting this one. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Quiet Friday

Today was a quiet day around here.  We ate leftovers from yesterday’s casserole.  I did a little more moving prep.  Cyber shopping worked out well.  I had a couple of items for the new home in my cart on Amazon awaiting the pay period that just arrived.  Imagine my surprise when they both showed up on cyber discounts today!  I saved just over $120 with free shipping and 2 day delivery.  Yea!
This afternoon I took a nap.  I had the post-menopausal not sleepies last night until very late.  Then our telephone rang about 4 this morning.  Hubby was already up, but he was on the front porch.  By the time I got there after the 4th ring, there was no one on the line.  When you have two children, even grown ones, and you know that one was out doing some Black Friday things at 2 a.m. and the other one had a child throwing up the last you heard, you do not overlook strange telephone calls.  The caller ID on our old phone—replacement purchased today—does not work reliably if the call is not answered.  I never did find out where it came from, but I did investigate.  Those of you with babies, or toddlers, or teenagers, take note—the idea of a right to a full night’s sleep goes out the window with parenthood.  It jumps back up to bite you when you least expect it!

And, my son and his girlfriend called to say they had moved the twin bed into the craft room.  I'm going to dress it in antique quilts as a daybed/granddaughter sleeping space.  Now Matilda has company.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Plate_thumb[4]
This plate, made a few years ago by my oldest granddaughter, always makes me smile.  It is not on display this Thanksgiving because it is already packed to move, but the picture is a good reminder of family when we can’t be together for the holiday.
Since it’s just the two of us for dinner this year and since almost all of the pots and pans are packed, I settled for chicken and dressing prepared in the crockpot.  I think I made way too much, but the big crockpot was the only one not already boxed and stacked.  I had to do the mixing in the crockpot as well because there were no big mixing bowls left either. 
We are going to have a quiet and thankful day.  Then we are going to observe “No Shopping Friday.”  (One of the things that I missed most when we left Amarillo to move back here in 1984 was that I lost the ability to sneak in little shopping trips when the stores were almost empty.  After we move, I can do that again!) 

Note:  The water damage to the new house was minimal.  My son's gallant efforts were just in the nick of time.  The repairs will be minor.  The builder's supervisor checked all the possible structural damage and gave it his ok.  In addition to taking more donations to the charity thrift shop yesterday, I moved another breakable that I won't trust to the movers--Matilda, my Ashford Traveller, is sitting in the craft room.  Admittedly, she is attired in black plastic and the way the points of the mother-of-all stick up makes her look like a giant snail in disguise, but she is nevertheless present.  Her flyer is boxed at her side.  Fiber equipment OFFICIALLY makes it craft space, right?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Any Day is Brighter

when you stop for gas and find the Weinermobile!


Thursday, November 15, 2012


My son did a drive by on the new house after work yesterday.  He saw water running from the garage.  It seems the new washer—the one that replaced the dented one—had a hot water line that had not been properly tightened.  It was spraying water over the top of the machine.  Fortunately, the carpet was not affected in the other part of the house.  However, the walls in the utility were sprayed and water had run not only out the door but under the plate on the concrete slab on the two sides of the laundry room that form garage walls.  In addition, it had run under the adjoining wall of the dining room, covering the tile, and into the kitchen, accumulating in the “no tile” space under the dishwasher, soaking the bottom of the drywall at the back of the dishwasher space.  It also affected the outside wall of the dining area somewhat and may have run into the space under the pantry cabinet.  After he dried the main part of the floor, he said that water still kept oozing out from the walls onto the tile.  I know that the base plate is treated lumber, but I’m worried about baseboards and the drywall.

What really has me in a spin, though, is the treatment I’m receiving from Sears.  I called them immediately.  I got a very gracious run around that says they have 72 hours to deal with this.  In 72 hours, more damage will have been done.  They did offer to send someone out to reconnect the washer immediately.  Like THAT is going to happen.  I intend to insist that their insurance take care of this, and I do have homeowner’s, of course, but I’ve been unable to reach my agent.

I am not there; I am here because Sears insists that they must call me on my home phone, not my cell.  They seem unable to deal with putting another number into their computer.  That said, when I know how I feel at the moment, I can always remember all of you out there who still have unresolved issues with Hurricane Sandy or the kind of unresolved issues that can’t be fixed by human hands and a little lumber.  God be with you all!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Unintentional Information

The replacement, undented washer was delivered today.  I was not happy with the placement of the set because the doors opened the wrong way.  I can remember when doors were reversible, but these were not.  However, the installers determined that all the hookups were long enough to reverse the position of the appliances, and the set is now just as I want it.
I did get liner in more of the shelves.
I also discovered that the same code that let me turn off the alarm system also set off the panic feature.  How did I discover this?  The policemen and patrol cars.  The problem is now taken care of, and I now know that a. the alarm company really does notify the police and b. the response time is quite adequate.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bye, Bye

Today I managed to package a lot of unused cooking/canning equipment for donation to someone who can use it.  The “fluffiest” part of it was the equipment my mother used for processing fruit into jellies when we had grape vines and a number of fruit trees.  Yes, I can still make jelly—some skills are never forgotten—but I don’t have a semi-orchard to harvest anymore.  I’ve known for a long time that I needed to get rid of those, but sentimentality was stopping me.  Now perhaps they will be purchased at the Thrift Store by someone who will use them.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Uh, oh!

My Friday trip to work on the house was successful in that the blinds are up, thanks to my daughter’s installation skills and my son’s measuring.  Shelf liner is in the kitchen, at least until we ran out, but all the parts that I can’t reach are taken care of, and I can finish on my own.

Then there is the “other stuff.”  Not everything went well.  The washer and dryer unit that I bought on layaway, timed perfectly with the closing on the house so that it would be installed before we moved in,  was indeed delivered and installed.  The washer, however, is dented, so there will be another trip on Tuesday to deal with a second delivery and installation--

Which is just as well, because sometime after I came home on Friday night, leaving a locked and secured house, THIS happened:


That’s the custom-made shower door.  I did open and close the door, but that was some hours before I left, and we walked through the bathroom to the master closet after I closed it.  Thank heavens, it is safety glass, so it shattered into the little squares.  I think these fell out before my son left the house on Saturday afternoon.  I have the number of the company to call tomorrow morning.  I’ll make an appointment for them to come out on Tuesday while I am there.  I have more shelf liner and drawer liner, so while I’m waiting on deliveries, I’ll finish prepping cabinets and vanities and linen shelves! 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

An Excuse and Technology

I know that I have failed in writing an entry every day; however, in order to make sure that the Internet was going to work at the new house, I was transporting my laptop back and forth.  I have a rather unhandy docking station here, so I was essentially disconnected for awhile.  Now I’m back.

An early morning visit to one of my granddaughters yesterday morning while she was in a rush to finish some forgotten homework caused me to reflect on education and technology.  She was using a Sharpie to define some items on a turkey costume.  That’s a costume FOR a turkey—a Thanksgiving disguise—not a costume as a turkey.  Her turkey was disguised as a dog.  Her combination of crayon and Sharpie and construction paper led me to contemplate technology in education.  (It was a boring drive home last night—nothing but football on the radio and I had forgotten my audio book.)  By the time I retired, “technology” referred to Smart Boards, digital projectors, and portable computer labs with a desktop for every student.  When I began teaching, “technology” was an overhead and a 16mm sound projector.

cartridge pen

However, when I was an elementary student, technology took different forms.  We still had some desks that had inkwells—no, we didn’t use them, but they were there—but we were required to learn to write with fountain pens.  Most of us used cartridge pens, but a brave few kept an ink bottles in their desks.  Fourth graders were recognizable by the ink-stained fingers.  Ball points were just coming into use, but the product was not really expected to last.  In fact, I continued to use a pen even after I went to college because I liked the physical act of writing with one.  Finally, however, I gave in to ballpoint convenience. 

Now, what does this have to do with my granddaughter’s turkey?  Two items—When I was a child, primary school gluing involved white glass jars of paste with a brush or the glass bottles of clear yellow mucilage (lovely word, isn’t it?) with a rubber slitted tip that you pressed down.  Either bottle was quite capable of breaking in someone’s desk and making a mess.  When Elmer’s Glue hit the market, it was a big improvement! 


Yesterday, however, my granddaughter was using a non-messy glue stick!

Secondly, I am relatively sure that I was in about sixth grade when felt tip markers hit the school scene, at least locally.  I think that Marksalot was the first brand.  I remember staying after school for some committee that required posters, which formerly had to be drawn on poster board with pencil and colored with crayon, and having Mrs. Adams hand us the new product which drew marvelous BRIGHT and easy-to-read pictures and letters!  Now we have Sharpies and all sorts of tip designs and washable and permanent and disappearing.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Random Wednesday

It’s absolutely amazing how much junk can be accumulated in a home office area.  I’m not through dejunking it yet, but I’m closer than I was this morning.  Getting this down to a smaller area, since I am no longer teaching or doing the bookkeeping from our store, is going to be absolutely wonderful.  Yippee!  More room for yarn!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


We closed on the house today.  When the realtor was giving me directions to the title company, I said, “Oh, I know where that building is.  That’s where we hid our car when we got married so that it wouldn’t get painted.”

She replied, “I had no idea this building was that old.”

Monday, November 05, 2012



Today I have lots of laundry to do—the kind of laundry that means I want to pack some items so that they are all ready to go on the other end of the move.  There are, of course, many boxes still to be packed, but, in addition, I need to stock the SUV today with items that I will need at the new place on Friday when my daughter is going to help me put up blinds, prepare the kitchen with shelf liner, and all those sorts of tasks.  I’m taking a folding table to serve as a work table and some chairs to sit in.  I know it’s a long time till Friday, but I can drop these essentials off tomorrow after closing so that I can haul something else on Friday.

Addition to yesterday’s post—Excellent audio book readers on Librivox:  Elizabeth Klett and Brenda Dayne (yes, the Cast-On lady). One of the great things to discover about audio books is that listening to a book that you may have read many times is a different experience when it processes audibly.  I don’t know why.  I first discovered this when listening to Klett’s reading of Jane Eyre and found myself noticing themes and motifs that I had not noticed just reading the book myself.  Of course, the same thing can be said for reversing the experience, but I think everyone expects that to happen.

Sunday, November 04, 2012


I’m still 15 books short of my Goodreads goal of reading 125 books this year.  Let me be specific—I am counting audio books that I listen to while knitting or playing computer games or cleaning or driving on the highway or, more recently, packing boxes.  I do not count books that I am rereading that are already on my Goodreads list from a former year.  I also do not count books that are “false starts,” and I do have a few of those.  I have noticed in the last year as ereaders become more common, that more library resources seem to be devoted to buying ebook versions rather than audio.  That’s just fine—I have ereaders, but there are a few specific authors that I like to listen to because the narrators who do the reading are absolutely superb.  Also, if I want entertainment to accompany one of the aforementioned activities, I need an audio version.  Right now, I have an audio book on my player for working, but I have also downloaded the newest Alafair Burke to my Nook Simple Touch, so I’m going to read for awhile with a glass of iced tea, and then I’m going to watch Upstairs, Downstairs.
Favorite audio readers on commercial audio books—Dick Hill, Will Patton, Rene Auberjonois, and Joshilyn Jackson (reading her own novels).  There are a few others, but the names escape me right now. 

Saturday, November 03, 2012

A Miscellaneous Day

Well, the day that I had intended to devote entirely to packing boxes took an unexpected turn.  I did pack some items, and I’m going to load a couple of them into the car in a few minutes.  These fall into the category of items that I want to take by the house immediately after closing.  One box is because I will need the items there on Friday.  Another item is my Traveller spinning wheel.  I took the flier off, boxed it, and bagged the wheel and then decided that I did not trust putting it on the moving truck.  I know I could hunt for a week or two and find a box, but it is just as easy to tuck it personally into the closet of my studio in the new house.  That way I know it’s safe.

In addition to that, I’ve been hunting for reasonably priced bar stools that I think I can live with.  The “live with” refers less to d├ęcor than to the idea that I don’t usually like sitting on bar stools.  Thanks to my daughter’s kitchen dream redesign archives, I think I’ve found some for a very reasonable price.  I may decide to attack them later with some spray paint, but they will do for the time being.  This was a budget problem because I didn’t plan for them because I didn’t know the kitchen was going to have a bar.  It’s nice that the half wall in the kitchen turned into a little breakfast/coffee bar for us, but I hadn’t expected it, so there was no furniture budget for stools.  I also spent a few minutes attempting to configure an alarm system for the new place.  I was intending to wait a week or so, but there is a sale on that ends on Monday night, so I just sent what I think we want to our son for his approval.  He’s been doing research.

What a pleasure to be doing this instead of what all those people in the greater New York City/New Jersey area are doing!  And, speaking of that, how is Rhode Island?  We keep hearing reports describing damage in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and Rhode Island is never mentioned.  Surely, the storm couldn’t have skipped them. 

Friday, November 02, 2012

Blue Marble

Inspired by the move to a smaller house, by the feeling that I’m being covered in clutter, and perhaps a little by Alice Walker’s “The Blue Bowl” and the idea of divestiture, I’ve been making lots of trips to the donation bin and the dumpster. (Actually, I’ve been filling trash bags and my dear husband has been going to the dumpster when he fills the pickup bed.  There is a lot of junk.) However, some things are going to be keepers.  I know that’s a self-evident statement, but some things are going to be keepers just because I like them, no practical reason otherwise.  Here is one--the globe that I got as a Christmas present when I was nine, I think.  I need to do some research.  I was very proud of this globe, and the grandkids like it.


Look closely.  I took an Africa/Europe shot because the political map has changed more obviously there than elsewhere.  However, what makes this globe really unique is something else.  See that gold ball?  That is a satellite tracker.  If you knew the coordinates of orbit--and when satellites were new, they used to be published--you could set two points on the ring by scooting the brackets and then you could see where the rest of the orbit fell.  In short, you could find out if that satellite was coming over YOUR house.  Who cared?  Well, in those early days and even for awhile after the beginnings of manned space flight, it was possible to see some of the bigger satellites at night if conditions were right and you had a telescope.  Echo 2 was visible to the naked eye.  I can remember spreading sleeping bags on the backyard grass that summer and lying out there at night with the family watching it track across the sky.  I suppose this globe reminds me of a simpler time when we didn’t take space exploration for granted and above all, of parents who were interested in what was going on in the world and who bought me what was then a fairly expensive Christmas present because they cared about my education.  The house I’m leaving this month is the house with that backyard, but the globe is going with me.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Definitely Insane

We’re moving this month.  The house closing is set for the 6th.  I am still not completely packed.  What am I signing up for? NaBloPoMo

Actually, I have my reasons.  Here’s a background story:  I have a tendency to be really insecure about insisting on something, telling myself I can “live with it” or “make it work somehow.”  It’s sort of the “adapt and overcome” philosophy of the Marines, without the “overcome” part.  Then I will spend miserable years wishing I had insisted on what I wanted.  For example, yesterday we had to go to Amarillo because I had bought a washer and dryer on layaway from Sears so that it would be held until I was ready for it.  To get delivery next week, I had to make the last payment in person in the store, rather than on-line.  Of course, we went by the house.  My son and I went inside; my hubby concentrated on wiring, plumbing, and sewer cleanouts and other exterior things.  We had to view the bathrooms from the doorways because they had just put sealer on the grout, and the carpet layers were there.  Yes, carpet!  I noticed that the space that was tiled for under the kitchen dining area seemed smaller than I had anticipated.  And there was no way that the table could be centered under the pendant fixture without having about 1/3 of the table on the carpet.  At least, I thought I noticed that.  Instead of investigating, I assumed  that either the untacked down carpet was covering about 3 more feet of tile or that I could change the pendant fixture to a flush ceiling fixture, scoot the table against the window, and “make it work.”  We drove home after lunch, and it took me all afternoon to decide that I should have investigated and then insisted that more tile be added.  So today, after a sleepless night because I don’t like confrontations, we drove back, I met with the project manager, who immediately saw what I was talking about and said “no problem at all.”

I was so pumped because that went well that I asked for one more change in the kitchen.  I know that above-the-range microwaves are the latest thing, but I’m a little short and my range of motion in one shoulder is not the best so I had told them I didn’t want one.  They were nice enough to build in an under cabinet spot for the microwave.  However, I really didn’t want to have to lean over to get things out of a low microwave or try to read the numbers.  Sailing on my euphoria about the tile victory, I asked them to put doors on that cabinet section and I’m sticking the microwave on the corner of the cabinet at a convenient height. 

I know that’s a boring story, but the point is that I do this all the time about all sorts of things.  I settle.  Of course, there are times when everyone has to or needs to settle, but I do it to avoid confrontation and then I spend the rest of the lifetime of whatever it is seething with unexpressed resentment.  I feel good about today.

Anyway, the reason I am going to attempt to blog every day during this stressful time is so that I can concentrate on having at least one pleasant story to tell each day at a time when it is easy to be tired and snarky.  Even if it’s something very small.