Saturday, March 31, 2012

Highly Addictive

I was halfway through a blog for today about our wild weather. I stopped for a break -- a big mistake -- because weather was changing by the moment and I needed to take new pictures and see what was happening. I watched some DVR'd shows for awhile, then thought I ought to give a try to a Netflix DVD that's been sitting on the TV stand for two months.

I'd seen raves about it on various blogs and other places. People were saying they couldn't wait for next season to begin.

At first I read it as "Downtown Abbey." "Downton Abbey" just didn't flow from my tongue. Dramas set in British castles often seem staid and slow to me. The first DVD has the first two episodes of the first season. My Netflix plan lets me have two DVDs out at once and I think I rotated a couple of others through the second slot before I took a shot at Season One tonight. I didn't have much in the way of high anticipation.

I only intended to watch the first episode. It had a good starting hook, but perhaps around the 20-minute mark, something happened that made me go "oh ho!" and I was hooked. I don't even remember what it was, since I watched the second episode and all the Extras on that first DVD, filling my head with twists and turns.

I do have DVD #2 with the next two episodes here. I'm going to have a hard time tomorrow working on my newsletter instead of taking a DA break.

Sister, you guys will love it.

See you soon.


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Friday, March 30, 2012

Feeling a little like Google Street-View

Or sidewalk superintendent? Only there are no sidewalks and I don't go outside to record the neighborhood excitement. (At least no Frenchmen peeing their their backyard were caught here.) This is the wrap-up of the big dig that happened earlier in the week.

But first, as promised last evening, I went back out to reshoot the blue flower that was out of focus yesterday. Years ago, at least 15 and maybe more, I bought a bulb assortment from one of those catalogs we used to buy from before people at home had the Internet. This tiny blue flower sprang from that original planting, without any further attention. I forget what it's called, so I hope those of you who give better attention to their gardens will refresh my memory.

The unidentified little blue flowers
(Grape Hyacinth-Thank you, Maria)
While I was out with the camera, I turned to these little yellow flowers. We planted this Oregon Grape in 1989 or 1990.



Then there's a nostalgia item I forgot to include last night. For some reason I can't fathom, Fig Newtons popped into my mind. They were served a lot in my childhood, probably because Mama loved figs, or thought they seemed fairly nutritious for a cookie. I don't think I liked them very well, although I would eat them grudgingly. I was a fan of my Grandma's "hermits," soft cookies which she made with dates or raisins or chocolate chips. (Nummmy. I'm almost tempted to look for her original recipe in my ancient recipe box.) I went looking for a cookie of some kind, any kind, at the store this week after an attack of sweet tooth. Of all the cookies on the shelf, Fig Newtons spoke to me. I prefer them with the cookie slightly dried out, but this packaging pops closed on its own. I'd have to deliberately set them out to get that dry effect.



We left the big dig on Tuesday, March 20, in this status, something of a barrier to travel over the circular drive.


Then on Friday, March 23, Super M returned and started relocating the piles of sand and gravel to the repair site.


Close up:

Hand work:


Confab with the homeowner's son:


An outside asphalt supplier blocks my view!


There it is.



Completed, or so I think, although the yellow tape is still up as of today, March 30.



See you soon!

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursdays Out . . . Memories

Plans have altered, that is to say, what I planned to write tonight fizzled. A photo of an exquisite blue flower I took this afternoon -- one I wanted to uses as the lead -- is out of focus. I'd been afraid of that when I took it, but I'll try again tomorrow. It set me off on another path. Snippets of things past have been poking up in my memory at odd times this week.


The neighbor's tulip has new companions
Sister and Brother-in-Law came back up the hill last night to their Mountain House after some time away, including a trip to Southern California. Sister came to NeedleCrafts today and we did some catching up. Tuesday had been the 4th anniversary of our Mama's death. Sister took her flowers -- tulips -- in the rain. Mama and Papa's ashes rest together in the memorial wall of the church they attended in the Bay Area for many years. It was impossible to imagine life without Mama, yet we the world had her for almost 96 years.


Mama

Papa

I had a dream this week, at least I think it was a dream. I saw myself, as if in a mirror, ¾ profile. A young self, with silky dark hair flowing almost to my waist, my bangs with a slight flip. My second husband, Cody, who died twelve years ago, was reclining on something, watching me, smiling.

Cody's and my wedding
He liked my hair long. I liked it long at certain times in my life, but it was heavy hair, and in later years, plagued with migraines, I felt the hair weighed me down, made my head hurt worse, and it became a contentious issue with him when I got it cut, I so went through that whole growing-it-out thing again.

Cody and I having fun when we were younger

I heard yesterday of Earl Scruggs' passing, my first husband Carl's favorite musician. Hard to believe Carl died 38 years ago. He created a major collection of bluegrass on reel-to-reel tapes on his (then) state-of-the-art Ampex and built one of the two big J.B. Lansing speakers I still own. I guess the Heathkit amp and pre-amp found new homes years ago.


Carl's and my wedding


Carl and his Baby Daughter






This cluster of events put me into nostalgia mode.

It's the good things I remember.



See you soon.













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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Whoopee!


A little bit of spring . . . the tulip next door

I've got a couple of whoopees to celebrate today.

Sunday evening I pressed "send" for my federal taxes, printed my copy and all the state tax forms to mail, and abandoned the aftermath on the floor to kick back in the recliner and actually watch, rather than just listen, to the TV.

Doesn't look as bad in the picture as it seemed in person.

Jean-Luc curled up in my lap, and since he's so seldom not racing around terrorizing the other cats, who was I to disturb him? He snoozed, I snoozed. The papers on the floor could wait until Monday.

First thing Monday morning I got an email that the IRS had accepted my submission. I’m not sure whether I cheated myself or not. There are some mysterious entries on some of my 1099s about maybe I could deduct this or that and I don’t know whether the amounts were included on the summary pages. One of these days when my brain isn’t feeling fried, I might take another look.

Today I had a follow-up with my tooth implant dentist. Last month the socket, where the tooth had been extracted and bone graft material added, flunked inspection for healing. It wasn’t ready for the next step. Furthermore, the hygienist wasn’t able to get x-ray film in my mouth to get a shot of where the root tip had been. I can’t open very wide.

Today the dentist assured me he’d get the film in – and he did. (That’s why he’s the boss.) He examined and poked and probed and declared my empty space ready for the implant placement. As I said, whoopee! Our first mutually available date when we will both be in town for two weeks’ after the implant, just in case, is April 23.

It will be about three months after the implant placement is made, depending on my rate of healing, that I can get the final crown installed.
It will be somewhat like this, except that I don’t have any natural root left.
I will be sooo happy to have one side of the mouth to chew with again and then I hope to pursue at least one other implant on the other side where I ignored the gap from an extraction several years ago. It hadn’t bothered me until a critical molar was missing from both sides. It will be a more difficult case, as the bone has receded and a more extensive graft is needed. (And my dentist doesn’t do general anesthetic.)

The upside of not being able to chew is weight-loss with little effort.

It is Tuesday, and that’s also French class night.

I took my chance after the dentist to drop by my car dealer for a check-up and oil change without appointment. I can never get an afternoon appointment – I think they like to schedule service starting from the morning forward. In luck! I think they closed up around me but I avoided another expensive trip down the hill to the city.

Last time I came down for class I tried to study in Starbucks while munching on a sandwich and swilling my triple nonfat grande latté. (Healthy all the way!) But the buzz of conversation distracts me, so this evening I ate and read in the car and noticed that this copper awning on a contemporary building is greening nicely like the old goldrush era buildings in town.



Our French class venue – the community room at the Blood Bank.

 
Raindrops and reflections

It rained all evening and all the way home. It’s fine on the highway where the centerline is reflective paint and studded with reflectors, but scary on the winding roads up into the mountains where the lines fade out in the blackness of the night.



See you soon.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Frying-Pan-That-Shall-Be-Nameless


A couple of months or so ago, I fried a scrambled egg concoction that kind of burned and stuck to my beloved stainless steel frying pan (you know, those black charcoal baked on spots), the pan I use for my corn and salsa omelets, the pan that can be put under the broiler to puff the omelet up.

So, still cross from having to attack my favorite pan with SOS pads, I fell for a TV ad for a frying pan that scrambled egg goo absolutely, positively would not stick to. I could get this marvelous frying pan for a low, low price, plus a bonus glass lid for only Shipping & Handling.

(I hear you now:  "Sucker . . . ")

Apart from hating to make phone calls, even to my best friend, I know those TV call-in ads try to up-sell you to something else and the endless no thank you no thank you no thank you no no no what part of no do you not understand gets me cranky all over again.

There's almost always a website where you can order "as seen on TV" and just click no on the second frying-pan-with-glass-lid free for S & H. I logged on.

"Buy."

Did I go to the user reviews before or after I pressed "buy?"

That's foggy in my mind. I think it was just after, when it was too late to rescind the "buy."

Well, lots of people complained that they had not received their pan, got the runaround when they tried to track it down or were treated rudely, that it didn't arrive for months, that when they received it, the glass lid was unassembled, had tiny parts that were awkward to handle, and there were no assembly instructions, and it was near impossible to put together.

On the other hand, the frying pan performed, the reviews said, exactly as advertised. Those gooey scrambled egg remnants were history.

I hunkered down to await the delivery, hoping against hope that there would be no need for frustrating phone calls that include 9 menu choices, none of which describes the purpose of my call.

In less than a week, a compact box was delivered directly to my door. I put the box on the chair beside the door and breathed a huge sigh of relief.

And then let it sit there for a month-and-a-half, not wanting to get involved in the glass lid assembly morass.

Finally, in early March, I opened the box as I was decluttering the living room for my cleaning lady. It was a nicely fitted box, with the lid assembled. I cannot imagine that this was a "bonus lid;" it was clearly intended to be sold together with the pan. I washed it. Dried it. Read the instructions. Set it on the stove top.



It doesn't sound like stacking it in the pile of frying pans would be good for its health.

For its maiden voyage, I did easy-over eggs. The eggs came out fine. In fact, it was more difficult to clean off the cooking spray than the egg.

First use

Came out slick (before cleaning off pan spray)

The other day I did a frittata.

(Let's see -- I think I put a handful of frozen petite corn in the pan with a couple of pats of butter and simmered until the ice was melted, added a meal's worth of leftover combined brown and wild rice, medium salsa that I'd drained so it wouldn't dilute the egg, and grated some cheese into it. Stirred it up then poured two lightly beaten eggs -- with a tad of water and salt -- over the mix in the pan. Covered it -- notice the pan lid has a steam escape hole -- and cooked until done.)


It puffed up nicely but collapsed the moment I lifted the lid.



Slick again.
Do I like it? It works well for stove top cooking. I'll use it for gooey concoctions. It can't be put under the broiler like my stainless steel pan. It is not very large, so it's not really for a family unless you're doing the short-order-cook thing.

This would have been a good deal without the shipping and handling. As it was, it came to $38.43. I've often seen products "As seen on TV" in certain sections of department stores. If you like it, maybe you should try there first.

One final thing -- there's been a HUGE uptick in the amount of s p a m I receive, and I'm not referring to the canned meat product that some people apparently love.

See you soon.

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursdays Out . . . and Other Follow-up for the Week


We had a good group at NeedleCrafts today, but I didn't take any pictures. There were several sox in progress -- including mates to the ones I showed last week and others not-ready-for-prime-time, scarves, afghans. And a lot of talk about a company in town that's buying gold and jewelery. Sister-in-Law suggested I turn in all my jewels for Big Bucks. I used to get compliments on an onyx-and-silver necklace I had. Trouble is, it's really plastic-and-plastic. It's fairly typical of my jewelery collection.

Even my plastic silver is looking a bit tarnished. Who wants to shine plastic?
Leaving The Little House, I spotted this surprise remnant of snow. Except for the big piles of dirty snow at the margins of the market's parking lot, this is all I've seen remaining from last weekend.



I decided to stop at the park and interview the workmen about the project there that has cordoned off parking spaces for a long time, and to ask them about their big Monday project at the neighbor's house. No luck. Super M was parked and no people in sight.




Both parking lot entrances were open and the ditch sat wordlessly, protected from errant motorists by saw horses and crime tape. (I don't suppose it's actually called crime tape in this circumstance.)





If you think of it, it's a pretty skinny trench for a water pipe. But it certainly isn't a sewer trench. Well . . . ?!

Then in a remarkable coincidence, I went into the market to buy milk (strictly for moistening cereal) and cookies (because I'm having a cookie-craving), and was approached by a faithful reader who volunteered the information that the trench project is for electrical conduit for a lighting system that's being installed.










As I arrived back home, I noted progress on the neighbor's excavation. Something has been delivered.



And in a final note for the night, I've observed that even a five-minute dangle of a teabag in a cup of boiling water leaves a watery beverage hardly worthy of the appellation "tea." I've been resorting to double dipping, so to speak.



See  you soon.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Men at Work


Late yesterday morning, as I was deeply engrossed in Something Very Important, grinding and rumbling noises gradually impinged on my consciousness. I'd dismissed it at a subliminal level as being the trash truck making its rounds, until it dawned on me that it was Monday and Monday is not trash day. That, and the jackhammer noises.


I'm in a work zone.

I went to the window with the best view of men, Bobcat and trucks, tearing into the driveway of the neighbor across the street. This resulted in a big distraction for several hours and frequent trips from my Important task to take a photo every time a piece of equipment moved an inch or two. I'm showing some of them here. This rivals my fine trip to the dump for excitement, perhaps even more so because of the inherent mystery of it all.


The asphalt is scored with the jackhammer, then the Bobcat deftly lifts it.

It picks it up so delicately, drops it onto the pile, then with a couple of
taps, quarters it. I didn't notice the ghostly hand until I saw it in the photo!
Click on photo to enlarge.

There's lots of inspection going on in the hole.

Bringing in the big gun . . .


Super M

More delicate tapping in the hole

Someone else probing. I never figured out what that green trailer is.


A big truck with a tank arrives.

The trunk is pumping and the other guys seem to be measuring down in the manhole.
 
Nuts! My view is blocked.

The tanker truck leaves and refilling the original hole begins.

The Super M finesses it now.



Looks like a sewer clean out pipe.

Tidying up

Today I get a closer look. That doesn't look like the most convenient
location for a clean out pipe. Fortunately the neighbor has a circular
drive and can go out the other direction.

There is this remnant of pipe that looks somewhat the worse for wear.

"Sanitary Sewer"

So maybe they'll restore the driveway to its former glory.

I mentioned yesterday that I wondered whether I'd get up my nerve to go out and ask what was happening. By the time I reached that point, they had all packed up and left.

Clearly, it had to do with the sewer and/or the neighbor's connecting pipe. (Is that what's called a lateral?) It was either a blockage or a leak. That's the most I can conclude.

Whatever it was, it reminded me that my regular homeowners' insurance would pay for damage if my own sewer line were plugged up but not if there is a plug-up that backs up from the public side of the line. I have a rider for that and happy for it.

The crew and equipment are the same one that has been digging a trench across the parking lot at the park I realized today as I walked across that parking lot. I have no idea what that's about either. Maybe I should go down to the park and interview them.

I love life in a small town!

See you soon.


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