Sunday, December 21, 2008

Brave young men...mostly

There was quite a buzz along the south shore of Kauai one day: the waves were far bigger than normal for the beach. The number of surfers grew as word spread. Current was so strong that we watched a young man--13 years old or so--try and try to get far enough out to catch a wave. He wasn't strong enough to paddle his board through the waves. It was fun to watch the surfers try and catch the right wave.

Another interesting thing--my sister and I noticed at the same time that one of the surfers was female. From the distance, in their surf gear, we couldn't anyone's looks, but we could tell by the way she moved. Isn't that interesting. She was pretty good too. If you enlarge the picture, you can see the surfer who caught the tunnel.

Another day, when the wind was blowing, the kite surfers were out enjoying themselves. They had no trouble getting to and from the beach and some of them had great control. There were a couple who were coming out of the water a long way. It looked fun but lots of arm and shoulder work. Their boards had straps like snowboards--something we learn about in Utah.

We only saw the one female surfer, but there were plenty of females on the beaches enjoying the shows.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Nervous about too much water

One of the lovely things we did while in Kauai is rent 2-person kayaks for a leisurely paddle down the Hanalei River.  I say 'leisurely' because hubby did most of the paddling--he was good at it, me not so much.  There was sunshine, flowers on the water, and scenery galore. 

We were surprised to see a Bison in Hawaii.  This one had an interesting hitchhiker.  She came to the river for a drink, but her bird friend hopped off when we were too close.

As we traveled downstream toward the ocean, I got increasingly nervous.  I'm not a strong swimmer and I could just imagine us being swept out and dumped by the waves.  Hubby laughed at me and got closer to the river's mouth than I was happy with, but we were fine (other than my increased heart rate).  We saw quite a few people standing on and paddling surfboards.  They made it look pretty easy, but we were thinking that balancing on a board, while working a paddle was probably pretty darn good exercise.

You can see more detail in the pictures by enlarging them.  More water sports--not mine--to come.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Love that humidity.

My hair is naturally curly.  During my teenage years, when the styles were smooth and very controlled, it gave me great consternation.  I put relaxers on it (some of the first ones--very icky), I ironed it,  I used pop cans with both ends removed as rollers,  and I generally fought with it.  Thank goodness the style was not the very straight look that so many young girls have now; I don't know which would have survived--my hair or my attitude.  I generally chuckle when I hear someone talk about how teenagers do things to be unique.  To be comfortable together, conformity is what matters.  (How else do you explain the odd, sagging pants?)

But, I'm wandering.  In lovely, humid Hawaii, I was uncontrollably curly.

It did make mornings easier because there was nothing to be done with my hair.  It was going to do what it was going to do, and no matter how it looked as we left the house within an hour it was going its own way.

It got even more interesting in a little wind--like on our catamaran tour along the magnificent Na Pali coast.   In addition to the scenery, we got a glimpse of a whale or two, watched flying fish (and a bird try to catch one), and had a group of Spinner Dolphins swim with us for a long time.

The captain said they enjoy riding the bow wave--kind of like dolphin surfing.  

Who cares whether or not my hair was out of control, it was very cool! 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Beautiful Kauai

This is the view from our rented house between Hanalei and Ha'ena on the north shore of Kauai.   Our trip was blessed with 6 days of fabulous weather before we experienced 2 days of steady rain--after all, it is the Garden Isle.  We were enchanted by the warmth and beauty of this island, and we enjoyed exploring.

The view was from this balcony/lanai.  This was my sister and I taking a long, last look before loading up to head for home.  The rain had stopped for a while and there was a good opportunity for breathing in the lovely, wet, green smell.

This was the view from hubby's apartment the morning we returned.  It had just begun to snow and the temperature was 50 degrees less that Hawaii's.  Whatever were we thinking?

I will admit that it was hard to remember that it was into December.  For us, Christmas means cold and snow, because it has always been that way.  But I would be willing to try very hard to adjust my attitude.  Be forewarned; as I get my 300 pictures organized, I'll share a few.  If the sight of beautiful sunshine and water activities in December is uncomfortable, maybe you should avoid me for a while.  Just saying.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hawaii, here we come.

At midday tomorrow, we leave for 8 beautiful, relaxing days in Hawaii. My sister and her husband are coming too, and we've rented a house on the north shore of Kauai.  It has been quite a few years since we've been to Kauai and we are very much looking forward to seeing it again.  Our last Hawaiian trip was business-linked, but we did enjoy wandering about in Honolulu, and stayed an extra couple of days so we could travel to the big island.  I was excited to see an active volcano.

This trip we have no agenda, no schedule, no plans except to enjoy a beautiful place.  We may be taking a computer because the house has an Internet connection, but if you don't see anything from me,  just assume I'm dozing in a lounge chair, dipping my toes in wet sand, or wandering about the island.  It's a tough job, but I'm doing what I can to stimulate the economy.  Aloha.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Creative Cons

I was reading about a new scam where someone calls you about a charge on your credit card. The article says they give their name, number, and lots of official-sounding information. They say they are suspicious of a charge put on your card and worry that it is not yours. What it all boils down to is they want the 3 or 4-digit extra code from your card.  The dishonest seem ever-inventive.

Then today, I got a call from a 708 area code.  Now I don't even know where that is, so I didn't answer.  They left a lovely message about how I had filled out a form to win a new Lincoln Navigator and they had good news.  I needed to call this toll-free number.  Well, I gave up filling out entries to win anything years ago; the fine print about dropping from the "Do Not Call List" put an end to any wishful thinking about prizes.  I don't know what they are trying to get from me, but it's not going to happen.  

About a year ago, not long after my father died, I untangled my mother from something she had unwittingly agreed to while paying a credit card bill.  They claimed she had accepted, she didn't think she'd done any such thing.  In the end, they were good about refunding her money, so they weren't as unscrupulous as many.

I used to get almost daily calls about how "they" could save me hundreds of dollars on my credit card bills.  I sometimes considered calling back and asking them to explain how they could do that when I didn't carry a balance.  Recently I've been hearing that my automobile warranty is about to expire and I need to call before it's too late.  I did answer once and when they wanted to know the years of my vehicles, I asked why they didn't know if they knew about my warranties.  They hung up on me.

It is too bad that we have to be so cautious and suspicious of motives, but crooks no longer just rob stores or steal cars.  Are there more thieves than there used to be, or are they too lazy now to leave their computers or telephones?  Occasionally I long for the simpler days of my youth.  The bad guys were easier to spot.

Monday, December 1, 2008

California Thanksgiving

Dinner was abundant and delicious.  Seeing the family again is something to be thankful for always.

California was rainy on Thursday, but cleared up beautifully on Friday.  The oldest, always active, grandson spent time doing jumps, tail whips, grinds, whatchmacalits (there are other, more correct terms, I know).  He's tall enough that a little basketball with grandpa left grandpa with a small cut under his eyebrow from a collision with a head and his sunglasses.
With grandma and grandpa added to the mix, poor younger brother had to sit in the middle of the back seat.  Trapped together, older brother had good teasing opportunities.  Plenty of silly noises and giggling too from both.
The back yard trampoline provides lots of entertainment.   Seven-year-old wanted a picture of her flips.  I caught a good one.
A couple of walks through the neighborhood helped to stretch our legs and we found lots of fascinating things to examine.
Our visit was over too soon, but they'll be coming our direction after Christmas.  We have a lot to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Life's truths

I found these on another blog and although I have seen some of them before, I just had to share a few.  Have a chuckle and a lovely Thanksgiving holiday.  I'll be in California for a few days with my number one son's family, but I'll be back.

Inside every older person is a younger person wondering "What happened?"  (Particularly timely after my birthday this week.)
42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
Honk if you love peace and quiet.
Remember, half the people you know are below average.
He who laughs last thinks slowest.
A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
Plan to be spontaneous tomorrow.
How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?
If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
Everyone has a photographic memory; some just don't have enough film.
What happens if you get scared half to death twice?
On the other hand, you have different fingers.
A day without sunshine is like... night.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Interesting things on the freeway

On my regular drive a few days ago, I passed some odd-looking cargo.  Traveling the opposite way on the freeway there was a 18-wheel semi truck whose trailer was even longer than normal.  It was long enough that it had needed special permission and a chase car to be on the freeway.  On the trailer was what looked like a single, very big  propeller.  My first thought was that it was for a huge airplane, but I realized that was silly.  The plane would have to be enormous and now we make them jet powered.   In a few miles another went by.  It dawned on me that they were likely heading for a wind farm.  They were pieces of those very tall wind turbines.  Like the Space Shuttle, they look lots bigger when close by!

Friday, November 21, 2008

What a lovely surprise

I had the nicest surprise when I reached hubby's apartment yesterday afternoon.  There was a message on the answering machine for me.  This deep, male voice belonged to one of my former students trying to track down my address so he could send me a graduation announcement. 

This young man is graduating early to attend college and major in English.  He says he gives me credit for his interest in English and literature.  Flattered though I am to hear him say that, I certainly don't deserve much of the credit.  He is one of the most capable students I've ever had and his reading ability was exceptional before I was his teacher.  I tried to help him find high-quality novels at his level (reading and maturity), and I've always stressed the value of an ever-increasing vocabulary and solid understanding of good grammar.  Maybe that was what he needed at 11-years old.

For whatever reason, I was touched that he would go to the trouble to try and find me (we have both moved more than once since he was in my 6th grade).  He was a terrific student and a thoughtful, kind young man.  I have always loved working with really smart kids and he was a true pleasure.  He promised to include a picture and I am looking forward to seeing him again.  

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

More careless spelling

I have run onto a rash of careless spelling lately.  I can't explain why these misspelled words jump at me, yet seem to hide from those who should care.  My mother says I get it from her mother. She used to notice too.  

A lovely, colored wedding invitation spelled cordially wrong.  A man and his son were putting color, professionally printed business cards on cars in a parking lot.  The word specialize was misspelled. A young woman who notarized my signature for me handed me her card. The problem there was representative. 

Now if you're writing a shopping list, a note to self (I do that a lot), a letter to family or friends, it doesn't matter if spelling is a bit lackadaisical. Who cares?  But, if you are printing something to distributed or posted for public viewing, shouldn't you care enough to check it?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thermostat adjustments

Does everyone's thermostat need adjustment as the seasons change, or just mine?  Why is 65 degrees lovely and balmy in January, but cool and uncomfortable in July?  Because of how we are acclimatized?  Doesn't it seem logical that a home temperature would be the same year round?  Logical, yes, realistic, not so much.

My hubby and I do have to make some compromises about temperature because while he is perfectly happy in a t-shirt at 55 degrees, I'm wearing two layers and maybe a jacket.  When it gets above 80, I can finally wear one short sleeved shirt, but he is sweating and overheating.  In our house we try to meet in the middle with fans to move air and throws handy.

Speaking of the middle, why is it that in order to be comfortable in the summer, my home thermostat needs to be set higher than it does to be comfy in the winter?  This conundrum is one I've noticed for years.   I like my house temp set at 77 or 78 in summer, but I'm happy with 73 in the winter.  It seems that blowing cold air is waaay cooler than blowing warm air is toasty--at least to me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We're all simple, slow creatures?

I have mentioned before how advertisers mangle language.  Not only do some of them try to sound more educated than they are (thereby disclosing their shortcomings), but some must think the audience is too distracted or simple to understand something said succinctly.  Maybe they are right.  Perhaps some of us have to be beaten about the head to get the message, because in the past few days I've noticed several unnecessary redundancies in advertisers' messages.  (Did you notice the one I included purposefully?)

Something has become increasingly more polluted.  I guess that's worse than just increasingly polluted or more polluted?

A retail store is having a sale with a savings of 50% off.  Just in case we didn't know that 50% off is a savings?  Or a savings of 50% means a lower price?  Surely we wouldn't understand that we would be buying something for 50% of it's original price?

And finally a case where we both agree about something.  I guess just one of us could agree, but then who would we be agreeing with?

I know, some of you will think I'm being terribly nit-picky and getting annoyed by the most foolish things.  That's okay.  It could be like worse.  I could like insert like useless words like constantly.  Or I could IM ppl 4 what I wanted 2 say.  l8r.  bbfn lol.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Man clues

I was watching the Rachael Ray show on television one morning and she mentioned how her husband didn't turn off lights when he left a room.  I was surprised to find that my hubby is a member of a larger, if unorganized club.  In fact, I can literally track my hubby from place to place.  If he gets something from a drawer, it's still open.  If he opens a cupboard, the door is still ajar.  Lights are left on as he goes from one place to another.  If he needed a screwdriver to tighten a cabinet handle, it's sitting on the counter when he's finished.  The only reason the refrigerator isn't open all the time is that it's weighted to shut itself.  He has multiple pairs of reading glasses because he is always leaving one wherever he was when he last needed to see something up close.

I tease him about being able to trace his steps, but he just laughs that he might need to go into that room again, or get something else from the cupboard.  Why bother to turn off the light to just turn in on again?  Or close the door and reopen it a little later?  Ironically, he can be very organized and his personal "stuff" is packed and boxed with precision.  He just has to decide to do it first.

I doubt that I could follow him traipsing along the mountain trails he loves, but I do know what he does and where he goes as he moves about the house.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Perspective is everything

 It is so fascinating how different people see things--how the same television program, speech, or written work can be viewed from completely opposite perspectives and perceived in entirely different ways.  I ran into this a little when working with students and novels.  Occasionally, a parent would object to the novel I was reading with students.  The two that come to mind are The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper, and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor.  I love both books and so did most of my students, but a couple of parents did not.  

Susan Cooper's fantasy battles between good and evil disturbed the sensibilities of one mother, so her child was given an alternate (parent-approved) fantasy for study.  This same parent refused to allow her children to read the Harry Potter books as well.  

Mildred Taylor's story of life in Mississippi in the 1930's upset a parent because--as near as I could tell--people were prejudiced and unkind to each other.  Uncomfortable I guess, even if true.  Another good historical fiction novel (with less conflict) was provided.

My point is that the same material is colored with very personal viewpoints, and I'm guessing that writers know this better than anyone else.  Robert Kirby, the entertaining columnist I posted about a couple of days ago, today printed some of his feedback from previous columns.  I've just excerpted the part about the advice to the President column.  It seems to be an excellent example of differing personal perspectives.

"When I wrote a completely bipartisan and open letter to the new president (without knowing who it was yet), some people only saw their own agenda in it.
'That letter to President-elect Obama was shameful and retarded.  He is a great man.  Your [sic] nothing.  Who pays you to be a bigot?'
'That pointless crap is exactly what kept John McCain from being elected and helped put a Muslim in the White House.  Thanks for nothing you [deleted].'
'I wrote in Nader and your letter wouldn't have applied to him but I still think you're a [deleted].' "

I rest my case.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Presidential Advice

Although the election didn't turn out the way I had hoped it would, I am glad it is over.   One of my favorite columnists in a local paper had some good advice for President-elect Obama.  It is along the same common-sense lines as when author Robert Fulghum said that all he needed to know he learned in Kindergarten.  

I didn't want to try and put the column here, but I will give you the link and if you want, you can pop over and read it yourself.  The author is Robert Kirby and I would love to be as prolific and entertaining a writer as he is.  His self-deprecating humor always makes me smile--even this snowy, post-election morning.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Weird facts about me?

Caryn tagged me to list seven weird/unusual facts about myself.  I think I can get up to seven, although those who know me could probably list way more.  I was tagged a couple of days ago to make several lists of eight, but I wasn't sure I could think of enough stuff.  Maybe I'll follow through on that one later when I'm feeling more prolific.  But here goes.

1.  My favorite diet cola is TAB.  It was the first and I think it is still the best.  Can't get it in a fountain or gas station stores any more, but grocery stores usually still sell the 12 packs.

2.  I always sleep in socks, even in the summer.  I really dislike cold feet.

3.  I'm a sucker for science fiction programs on television (Star Gates, all Star Trek inventions, X-File, whatever).  I never watch reality programs.   I prefer escapism I guess. 

4.  I have a permit to carry a concealed weapon although I don't.  I like knowing that I could if I wanted, and I figured it is better to know how guns work than not.

5.  I can't eat an entire candy bar anymore.  I seem to overdose on sweet easily......salt however, is another story entirely.

6.  I click every time my heart beats.  

7.  If left to my own biological rhythms I'd probably sleep from midnight to 8 a.m. (although not straight through, not at my age you know).  

Okay.  I don't think I'll tag others, but anyone who wants feel free to respond.  It would be fun to read what you think is unusual about yourself.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Strange words and phrases

I think, before too long, American English will no longer have the rules scholars and teachers thought it had.  It is played with so often that people will forget what is (or was) technically correct.  

For two days an ad in the Salt Lake Tribune claimed an automobile dealership headline had all their "Suburu's on sale."  

On the radio, a jewelry store is having a "pre-anniversary event."  Does that mean they will have a real anniversary sale later?  Could there be a post anniversary sale?  They can't have a sale without a reason?

A store has several "lighting professionals."  Exactly what is that?  I guess professionals get paid for performance skills, so these people must have lighting skills.  That's different from being proficient or knowledgeable sales people?  Do I need a professional to buy a lamp?

Then there are the clever ways we play with words.  Another dealership was celebrating "Trucktober,"  and a retail store was advertising a "shopportunity."  People just think up these things, but I wonder if youngsters find it at all confusing.  

In a later post, I'll likely carry on about redundancies and--again--the misuse of adjectives as adverbs and nouns as verbs.  I guess I am definitely old school.   I kind of liked the order of the way it used to be.

Friday, October 31, 2008

early Halloween at Disney World

Mickey Mouse's Not So Scary Halloween at DisneyWorld (my 4-year-old granddaughter says this so fast it all blends into one word) was a weather perfect, lovely evening.  Alice and the Queen of Hearts had fun visiting with the Mad Hatter.  It was so cute because the Disney character Alice said to my granddaughter, "Oh, it's me.  So nice to meet me." -- Among other fun things.

From the Incredibles, we had Dash and the misguided bad guy, Syndrome.  

I have to say that Syndrome was a real hit.  We got so many comments as we walked because people recognized the character, but the costume was due to the resourcefulness and creativity of my daughter-in-law.

My highly educated good sport of a son realizes that someone will find his picture and it will end up somewhere in his professional life.  But I imagine that he will take a shot and photo shop some electrical currency or something in his hands.  Might as well do it right.

Cruella joined in the fun.
We rode some rides, walked, ate dinner, watched fireworks, admired other characters we saw, collected lots of treats, and went back to the house about midnight, dragging.

It was lots of fun.  Happy Halloween to all!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What rare luck!

While in Florida, we had planned to go to Cape Canaveral.  Space and the associated technology was a big piece of Utah's 6th grade science curriculum and I had loved a trip there once before--years ago.  We were planning to go on Saturday, but a rainy, blustery day on Thursday made us switch plans so we could go to Sea World when the weather was supposed to be better.  How lucky was that?!  We took the bus tour out to the observation gantry where one can see the two main launch pads.  The space shuttle Endeavour, on the enormous Crawler, was stopped on its special road to the launch site.  I don't know why it had stopped, but we were thrilled.  We got a close up that few people ever do.  Even the guides were all abuzz.  NASA usually shuts down the observation gantry while the shuttle is on its way; it was the closest the guides had been too.
If you make the picture bigger, you can see people on the Crawler and a van parked in front.  It was soooo cool.  The second picture shows the helicopter that circled Cape Canaveral the entire time we were there.  One side was open and there was a person sitting in the doorway--keeping watch.

We also saw the rocket garden, the Saturn 5 rocket replica (so enormous), a cool presentation about our voyages to the moon, full-sized models of the shuttle and boosters, and a 3-D movie about the International Space Station (among other displays).  But, the real Endeavour, on its way to the launch pad for a trip to the ISS in mid-November really iced our cake.  Thank goodness for plan changes and bad weather. 

I e-mailed my friend who taught space science with me, and she has posted one of my pictures on her site.  She works now for the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center so she is still involved in space science education and I knew she would be jealous and excited for me.  She was.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I wasn't planning to, but....

I'm back from Florida.  I was extremely lucky and believe me, I'm looking forward to sharing what happened.  We also had fun dressing up at Disney World and I will share that too.  But first, I've got to get something off my chest.  I probably won't change anyone's mind--except maybe about me--but I think I'll feel better, so here goes.

I voted today.  Usually it is no big deal, but I think this time it really is.  I am very worried about my country.  When you think about it, America has only existed for about 230 years.  In that time we have become a world leader in every category.  Our overall standard of living is unsurpassed, while people in some countries a thousand years old still live in squalor.  The credit for this unparalleled success lies with our founding fathers and the inspiration of our Constitution, which guarantees individual freedoms and rights.  Those very principles are at risk.

I want a president who truly loves America, one who believes in the values of the Constitution and in the people he represents.  I want a president who trusts me to spend my own money.  I want a president who understands that the government is of the people, by the people, and for the people--not the other way around.  I want someone who puts his hand over his heart for the flag, the Pledge of Allegiance, and the national anthem.  I don't care if he has excellent public speaking skills, his history means I trust his heart to love and protect our country and defend the rights in its Constitution.

I don't want a president who thinks the Constitution needs to be changed so the government can have more control.  I don't want someone to tell me that I have to give up even more of my hard-earned money so it can be given to others who didn't want to work as hard.  I don't want a president who spent years around people cursing and denigrating the country they live in (the only country that allows that kind of speech).  I don't want a president whose oratorical skills are used to camouflage his heart and desire to change America into a country where the government becomes more powerful and individuals less so.

We are in tough economic times, partly because of greed and partly because of politics, but we'll get through it.  I think those guilty of cooking the books to make huge bonuses should be prosecuted and businesses which did stupid things should fail.  That's the law of natural consequences.  Government never seems to make things easier, more efficient, or more free from fraud.  The government doesn't have its own money, it has ours.

I wish our choices were different.  I wish the national media had made an effort to be even-handed so people knew enough about both candidates to make educated decisions.  As it is, digging for facts was time consuming but enlightening.  It comes down to basics.  What do you want for the future of this country?  I don't want more or bigger government; I believe in the power of the people.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Leaving on a jet plane, don't know...

Those were the lyrics that came to mind when I thought about this post.  Tomorrow morning I fly to Tampa, Florida, where my new GPS should guide me to meet my son and his family in Lakeland.  That's where they'll be living after June and there are business decisions to be made before then.  I'm the support staff.  I'll entertain the two kids while parents do what they need to do, but we're sneaking in fun too.  We're staying at a rental house with a pool (I'm told most Florida houses have pools), so two water-loving kids will be easy to watch--not that these two are ever difficult.  We are taking time to look at homes on the market, visit Sea World, go to the Disney World Halloween evening event, and visit the Kennedy Space Center.  I've been to Cape Canaveral once before and loved it, but that was when I was teaching and our science curriculum had lots of space study.  I still think it is a cool place.  Hubby joins us for the fun Wednesday and we both fly to Salt Lake Sunday.  Then I'll jump in the car Monday (maybe not quite "jump") and drive back home.

Talking to my other son and his family last night, my 9-year-old remembered that a year ago, to the day, we were ALL visiting the Animal Kingdom in Disney World.  Only Nathan would remember something that specific.  We're heading in their direction for Thanksgiving. 

I'm not taking my computer to Florida.  I don't think the house has Internet so I'll be quiet for a week.  I'll miss reading my favorite blogs, but I'll catch up when I get back.  I will make sure to show you how my Cruella DeVill costume turns out.  Bye bye for now.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Purses, handbags, packs, oh my!

What a fun tag.  I'm joining lots of bloggers like Lin who got the idea from Michelle who got the idea from....   Anyway, here goes.

Now there are questions to be answered.
Describe the contents.  Wallet with cash, a couple of cards and ID; other wallet with more membership and credit cards; folder with my fishing license, insurance cards, rewards cards, even a safety deposit box key; bedraggled photo holder with medical information and frequent flyer cards; lip balms of various tones; pill box; assorted keys to places; gum; a lemon juice packet; receipts; a swiss army knife; sunglasses; a calendar/address book, and usually my cell phone, but I had it out this morning to charge the battery.

What's the most important thing in your handbag?   I need my wallet and ID, and it also contains my debit card which I use all the time (no checkbook to carry).  That's also why I have receipts.

What's the most embarrassing thing?  That my pillbox just contains Beano?

What's the smallest thing in your handbag?  I found a crumpled foil from half a stick of gum.

Is there anything illegal in your handbag?  No--unless I'm boarding a plane, then the swiss army knife is gone.  Though I don't know how someone could take over a plane with that itty bitty blade.

I am in the market for a new one.  I don't like to switch purses so I tend to use one until it falls to pieces.  I try to buy smaller, but it is tough to decide what is essential to carry, especially since I travel about--I have keys to three places (Mom's too), two vehicles, and I like to have what I want when I want it.  I pare down when going on airplane journeys, but I've reconciled to the fact that I'm never going to be the wallet and keys type.  I'm just trying to keep it under 10 pounds.

Feel free to join the fun and share the insides of your handbag/purse/tote.

I'm adding another questions that occurred to me.  Is there anything in your handbag that you don't want people to know about?  There is in mine.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

On the road again.

It's time to get back on the highway today.  I'm leaving my warm home and driving the 300 miles to hubby's city apartment.  I will have a few days there to give back my library books, get a hair trim and gray cover-up, get my nails done, and pick up my last refill of love/hate hormones (then later I'll have to check in with my "health provider"--notice no one says doctor anymore).  Yes, eventually I'll have to find a new hair dresser, nail tech, Optometrist, and GYN closer to home, but I haven't worried about it yet.  I'm keeping my Cardiologist (known him for 28 years), Dentist (known him for 20 years), and Dermatologist; I'll just drive up once or twice a year.  A new library is being built nearby so I have high hopes, but it will be years before it can come even close to the holdings available at the Salt Lake County Library system.  I will really miss that.

I had better get busy, I have to run a few errands, load the truck,  and make a couple of stops on my way, and I don't like driving after dark.  But, the beauty of having the freedom of retirement means that if time gets away, I can always go tomorrow instead.

Monday, October 13, 2008

To add or not to add, that is a question.

My own hormones dwindled away years ago. So, I tried to find a small, biologically similar supplement to stall the onset of what I saw as real old age.  The results are....mixed.  I found that I didn't like taking as much as the prescription called for, so I spread the dose over two, sometimes three, days.  I figured too little was safer than too much.  I wish I knew how I would feel without any at all, but I'm too chicken to find out.  Some of the side effects of being hormone-less are just darn uncomfortable. 

Now, however, what the heck is going on?  Suddenly I'm breaking out.  I didn't have acne when I was a teenager, why when I'm closing in on 60?  Lately I've been tearing up at the dumbest times: a person on a television show gets a wish or a book has a touching ending, whatever.  Do I need more hormones or less?  I'm good about vitamins, get a little exercise,  try to eat healthy foods, take good care of my skin, what's going on with me?  I'm just venting, but other than trying to drink more water I don't know what to do.  Any accumulated wisdom would be appreciated.  

Thursday, October 9, 2008

One little cloud

The wind has been blowing hard all afternoon, but on my way from my mother's house to mine, there was this one, lovely little cloud, all alone.  It was turning pink as the sun was setting and I didn't know which was more dangerous:  snapping a picture through my windshield while driving on the freeway, or pulling off the road to get out and trust that no one would hit me.  As you might be able to tell, I chose the snap through the windshield.  For a while, the cloud looked like the front of the star ship Enterprise (yes, I'm an old Trekkie).   I haven't participated in SkyWatch Friday for a while and I wanted to be part of it again.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Men have it easy!

It must be so easy to be a guy.  I'm not talking about supporting families or fighting wars.  I'm talking about something much closer--getting dressed.  I was thinking about this when watching the vice-presidential candidates debate.  It was so unfair that Sarah Palin had to wear heels.  Who, exactly, made these rules?  Where is it written that for a woman to look really good she has to walk on her toes?  If men had to wear panty hose, or 3-inch spike heels, the idea would have gone bust years ago.  No, it wouldn't have even made it past the design stage.

Even pants are unfair.  A man always knows how his pants will fasten.  We, on the other hand, could have a front zipper for the right hand, or a front zipper for the left hand, or a zipper on the side (usually the left), or a zipper in the back.  It could be topped by a button, a snap, hooks and eyes, or just a zipper to the top.

Men need slacks in shades of brown, gray, or black, and shoes in black and brown. Pretty much any color shirt can be worn with any slacks.  Getting dressed is a cinch. Women have so much more to think about.  Consider the new "shape wear" (like Spanx) for women...there are always more kinds of uncomfortable underwear to make us look better.  I saw study results once that said almost all women who look in a mirror see something they don't like and want to improve.  Most men look and think they look pretty good.  I don't see any future market for men's reshaping undergarments.  Good luck getting men to wear them.

And don't let me get started on hair; my hubby runs a comb through his.  Voila.  Being a male would be so much easier; but whatever would I do with all my spare time in the mornings?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Oh how times have changed.

This article is about a year old, but you'll get the general idea.  I printed it for my class's 40th high school reunion.

Each year the staff at Beloit College in Wisconsin puts together a list to try to give the faculty a sense of the mindset of this year's incoming freshmen.  Here's the list for 2007:
The people who started college this year were born in 1988.
They are too young to remember the Challenger space shuttle blowing up.
Their lifetime has always included AIDS.
Bottle caps have always been screw off and plastic.
The CD was introduced the year before they were born.
They have always had an answering machine/voice mail.
They have always had cable.
They cannot fathom not having a remote control.
Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show.
Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave.
They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.
They can't imagine what hard contacts are.
They don't know who Mork was or where he was from.
They've never heard, "Where's the beef?" "I'd walk a mile for a camel," or "de plane, boss, de plane."
They don't care who shot J.R. or even who J.R. is.
McDonald's never came in Styrofoam containers.
They don't have a clue how to use a typewriter.

Do you feel old yet?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Offensive commercials

I have been watching too much televison without benefit of TiVo.  When you record an hour program, you can fast forward through the commercials and watch it in 40 minutes.  When I've watched my chosen recorded shows, with not much else to do during the day (I finished my last book), I've watched a little regular programming--commercials included.  Some of them aren't so bad, if they didn't run 42 times a day.  

But the ones that really frost me are ads for attorneys and law firms.  There are three types that really offend me.  First, if you are in an accident and you call this firm, you can get thousands of dollars from someone's insurance company.  It bothers me because it shows healthy, youthful people smirking happily about the thousands of dollars they received. 

The second law firm will help if you were denied Social Security Disability money,  Personally, I know about people trying to leech from Social Security for pretend "disabilities" such as flat feet, learning problems, depression, obesity, and of course the standard back pain.  Social Security was never intended to support those who refuse to help themselves.

The third commercial is for the law firm that will help you get out of debt with the IRS.  The faces on this morning's commercial talked about only having to pay a small fraction of what they owed.  Exactly who is that fair to?  I don't like my tax bill either, if I pay the legal fees will I come out ahead?

These are all part of supporting the collective attitude of entitlement.  Get the money you deserve, get your share of the pie, only a fool will pay what they owe.  And, oh yes, these law firms are only here to help you.  Yeah, right.  

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Advertisments mangle language

I think that the worst offenders of language mangling are on the radio.  I've wondered if the advertisers that do radio are cheaper than companies that do television, or if I just notice the radio problems because there are no pictures to distract my thoughts. I have occasionally thought that I would like to write to someone to complain, but who?

Yesterday I heard an ad for something (I forget) that would help people "experience a little bit more out of their life."  I recorded it on my cell phone so I wouldn't forget--does it make sense to you?  Are they trying to sound...educated?  And since I don't remember what the ad was for, I am obviously going to be missing out on something.

If you want to buy a certain kind of spa you can "save thousands of dollars off."  Really?  Just what does that mean?  Someone shoved two separate sentences into one incoherent one.


(Wow, that was hard to type.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Halloween Dress up?

Okay, what wouldn't look ridiculous on someone 59 years old, could fit in a suitcase, and would qualify as a costume based on a Disney character?

While I'm in Florida with my son's family (watching the kids while the parents take care of business stuff), Disney World has their special Halloween activity at night.  This is several days during October when the theme parks open at night for Trick or Treaters.  Now, being me, I would have just had the kids dress up.  I would accompany them as a boring adult.  However, my daughter-in-law had other ideas.  Not only are the two kids going to be in costume, but so is she and she has talked my son into a costume too.  Now, how can grandma be the only one without a costume?  There is one more catch.  My daughter-in-law says that the costumes must be Disney characters.  That's not the park's rule, but it is her rule.

So, where does that leave me?  Malificent? (But she has a strange, large headdress, tough to pack.)  Snow White's evil stepmother?  Snow White as a grandmother?  Mom and daughter are from Alice in Wonderland.  Dad and son are from Incredibles.  Grandma?  Who know?  I'll be looking around and I'm open for suggestions.  Help.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Multi-tasking vs focus

In general, I think that women are better multi-taskers.  Teachers sometimes have to answer students' questions, plan for the next lesson, watch the time, gather materials, correct or record work, monitor potential problems, gauge general understanding, and still attend to the surprise visitor or intercom announcement.  And many do so seemingly with little effort.

Mothers of young children have much the same ability.  They carry on reasonable conversations with 3-year-olds, answer occasional homework questions of older children, prepare meals, fold clean clothes, wipe up spills, and carry fussy babies--sometimes all at once.

It is probably not true of all men, but most do not multi-task well.  I know my own dear hubby does not.  He, however, has the ability to focus on a single task, so intently that distractions do not exist.  If I ask a question or make a comment while he is working on something, I am just a small buzzing sound--irritating, but not intrusive.  Even when face-to-fact, if his mind is busy on something else, I am not getting through in any meaningful way.

There are times when I am jealous of his ability.  For instance, if I am trying to write something--a letter of complaint, a recommendation, an opinion--I need quiet solitude.  He doesn't.

Yet, if he is concentrating on something and the television news mentions an event he would be interested in, he'll miss it.  I won't.

In a way, these mental differences have helped us be successful in totally different fields.  

I'm not sure yet how the granddaughters will be at doing several things at a time (they're just 7, 4, & 3), but there is one grandson who definitely has the focusing gene.  We'll have to make sure any future wife understands how it works.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Beautiful skies

I seem to join Skywatch about every other week.  Maybe I'll be able to contribute more as the weather changes and the skies where I live get more interesting...not that they are not beautiful just being blue.  I took the above picture from around the corner a few minutes ago.  Lately, we have had the chance of a lovely, occasional thunderstorm--but probably not today.
This one was taken through the windshield (you can tell from the reflection), on the freeway, as the almost-full moon was rising and the sun was setting.  The picture really does not do it justice; it was lovely.
I took this on my way home from a walk last night.  Utah does have some stellar sunsets!
Any picture can be enlarged by a click and these were all taken by my little, go everywhere with me Canon.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Food from childhood

It took until I was in high school before I understood that all children didn't eat macaroni with tomato sauce.  I was married before I tasted macaroni and cheese.  I began to understand that all families have certain food--what should I say--preferences.  Oddly enough, some of those "preferences" stick with us.  

For instance, I love broken pieces of bread cooked into my scrambled eggs.  My mother did that to make the eggs go farther, but I do it because I like the way it tastes.

My oldest son took the macaroni with tomato sauce I passed to his childhood, and claims it is the best thing to eat with a grilled cheese sandwich.

My husband's favorite meal is a certain wild meat, cooked a certain way, with fried potatoes. It can't be done any other way, or served with rice or a baked potato--that's just the way it is.

Talking to my mother this morning, she mentioned that her father had liked to eat pears topped with mayonnaise and grated cheddar cheese.  I did catch her eating a peanut butter and mayonnaise sandwich a few weeks ago,  Perhaps the reason I haven't tried that is that we didn't ever have peanut butter when I was a kid, but I have no idea why Mom tried it.

Another food I had as a kid and still like is rice in tomato sauce.  It is even better with some meat and a little kick from peppers.  I had no idea other people left their rice plain.

What kinds of foods from childhood do you still love to eat?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Christmas in September

Do you remember being a child and so excited about the coming of Christmas you could hardly stand it?  I do.  I remember thinking that it was sooooo long from January to December, it took forever!  To make it seem closer--once we got into December--we used to count down, not by saying "there are four more days," but by saying "it's the day after the day after the day after tomorrow."  Somehow that made it seem closer.

Now, however, from January to December passes like traveling through hyperspace or at Warp 9.2 (choose your sci fi model).  I don't know where the months go in between, but they must be only a few days long.  

However, am I the only one bothered by the way so many of the retail stores handle merchandise?  I really do remember being annoyed when stores put out Christmas stuff before Thanksgiving.  Now Christmas stuff shares shelf space with Halloween!  One of the Costco stores where I shop started their Christmas displays the first of September.  Sorry, it is too difficult for me to think about Christmas trees and wrapping paper when it is 95 degrees outside.  I'm guessing that the stores do it because people buy stuff; there is no other logical reason.  Not me.  I'm holding off buying anything for Christmas until at least November 15.  Maybe I can't change it, but at least I'll feel better.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Finding a chuckle during an election

For the next two months, it could be difficult to read a newspaper or watch television (bless TiVo).  I am tired of editorials trashing presidential or vice-presidential candidates over whatever (and most seem very one-sided).   I am sick of political rhetoric and misleading ads.   In reality, Presidents or Vice-Presidents cannot change a country--our Constitution spells that out. Whichever candidate ends up winning the election will have to work with the Congress. Important (or unimportant) things only happen when enough people compromise and work together.  So grandiose ideas often disappear after January.  I so wish elected officials were required to serve only a limited term.  If campaign financing were controlled by law, and people knew the time they had, I think we would go back to the Public Service idea of government, rather than the power and wealth-building that there seems to be now.

I didn't start out writing a philosophical view, but I just finished reading the newspaper and I got a little depressed.  HOWEVER, the comics didn't let me down and I know teachers everywhere (regardless of their political persuasion) can relate to this Frazz.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Levels of Comfort

The comments to yesterday's post made me feel so much better about my driving nervousness--I'm not the only one with trepidation about maneuvering in unfamiliar surroundings.  And yet, I am much more comfortable with some of the situations that might have worried me when I was young(er).  

My hair and I have come to a truce.  It cooperates with me in a limited way, and I don't try to force it into unusual shapes.  Style?  We do the best we can with what we have.  When I was a teenager, we had a fierce competition because I needed to follow the acceptable trend.  No more.

I don't worry at all about fashion; I want to feel comfortable in my clothes.  I won't feel comfortable if I look ridiculous, and I'll be unhappy if I'm not comfy.  I don't care what the hot new colors are; I know what looks best on me.  And high heels?  Only for short periods and special occasions.  I am always amazed when I see someone shopping, walking through the airport, even wandering around the state fair in 3-inch heels.  Why aren't they cringing with every step?  

The well-being of my feet is important.  Right after I started my blog, I posted about my new MBT shoes.  I have enjoyed them so much that I ordered a pair for my son's 40th birthday (yes, I'm way too young to have a son that old).  He has some feet issues (metatarsals too long) and I'm betting he'll like them too.  

I plan to spend lots of time vertical; I need my feet and comfy clothes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Bravery dwindles with age?

Funny thing, courage.  I'm not talking about the 'taking the hill at all costs' kind of bravery.  I'm talking about the everyday bravery: 1) trying something new in front of others, 2) speaking your mind when you know people all around disagree, 3) telling someone off (who needs to be told) even though they may react badly, 4) asking embarrassing questions of obviously busy doctors and expecting answers, and 5) driving unfamiliar cars in unfamiliar places.  You can probably think of more.

Personally, I seem to do okay for most of those, but I'm not crazy about the driving part.  Hubby always drives, I navigate (watch for signs, landmarks, etc).  I find driving in a strange place makes me anxious.  I think it happened about the time I turned 50.  Young people aren't afraid of driving anywhere--maybe I wasn't either years ago.  Now it makes me nervous.  

But, next month I fly to Florida and I have to drive to meet my son and his family.  So, after days of research and hours of pondering, I ordered a GPS.  I got one that will tell me where to turn and the name of the street.  I'll make friends with it before I go and hope it keeps me on the right road.  If not, I am very good at number three above!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Utah State Fair

In early to mid-September, Utah holds its State Fair.  I have lots of State Fair memories.  When I was a youngster (looonng time ago), the Fair was mostly about animals and produce.  There were thoroughbred races, various Riding Clubs competed in team and individual events, and there were contests for horses and riders (English style, western, Arabian) of all ages.  I competed once when I was about 11.  Because my grandparents and parents were involved with horse activities, I enjoyed the week out of school each year spent at the Fair.  I have fond memories of the grandstand that isn't there anymore, the stables, and, of course, the amusement park rides.

I still like to go to the Fair, but it has changed a lot.  There are far fewer horse-related events (and animals in general).  The place where the race track was is now a stage for whatever are the hot new bands.  You can still walk through the dairy cows, pigs, goats, rabbits, but there are not as many.  This year there is a huge area of Creative Arts dedicated to scrapbook pages.  The walkways and a couple of buildings are lined with vendors selling everything from knives that are always sharp to air-brushed tattoos, hot tubs to dried fruit.   There are shows featuring a hypnotist, tigers from India, chain saw art, reptiles, a magician, a juggling comedian, and several musical performances.  

Some evenings there are still rodeo or horse-related events, but they have to compete with the volume of the band playing just down the walk.  I guess the most obvious signs of the way the State Fair is changing with the times is the Guitar Hero competition on Thursday and the Wii bowling contest for seniors on Wednesday.  Oy vey.

Monday, September 8, 2008

That time of year

This is a fun time of year in my home.  The Labor Day weekend is also the county fair, which is a huge deal in a town of less than 3000.  Class reunions (and family reunions) are planned for the weekend, because just about everyone comes home. This small town was the first settled in the area and is the county seat--thus the fair.  There is a much larger city, just 18 miles away, that would love to host, but so far has been unable to wrangle it away.  

Mom's house is where all the family likes to get together.  On this particular evening, the kids, grandkids, and great grandkids (except mine) had a lovely pot luck dinner and visit.  Parking is always tricky when all 5 children, 16 of 18 grandchildren, and their families (including 14 of 20 great grands) come over.

Sometimes, it's a good thing Mom lives on a corner lot.

Mom has a large lot with a volley ball net, a sand box, a basketball hoop, a tire swing, and lots of room for running.  Who wouldn't want to hang around?  I sometimes feel a bit left out because my own children are always the ones missing, my grandchildren are not part of the fun.  I'll be content that they are doing well where they are and that probably makes their visits all the more special.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Mountain View

My view today is just the same as I've posted sky.  So, I'm cheating a little and using a picture taken last Friday (not in time for Sky Watch).  My hubby and I were in the mountains cutting and splitting a pickup load of wood.  Actually, to be honest, he did the cutting and splitting, I carried and stacked.  My mother's house belonged to her parents and it has a wood-burning addition to its oil furnace.  When heating oil is so expensive, Mom likes to use the stove for heating the house when she can.  We (her children and grandchildren) usually make sure she has a supply of wood for the winter.

If you click on the picture, you can see the distant mountains more clearly.  Thank you to Tom, Dot, and those who started this fun idea.

Politics and friendship

I guess it is bound to happen.  Political discussions will be difficult to avoid for the next two months.  The real tests will be whether acquaintances and friendships can survive the differences of opinion.  I mentioned in a post some time ago that I avoided the blogs of those who are obviously pushing a certain candidate.  I think voting booths are private for a reason.

That said, I ran across some quotes from Abraham Lincoln which really struck a chord with me.  Maybe they will for you too, maybe not.  Sometimes, while tolerance is praised as a virtue, it is only practiced if others agree with your views.

You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift.
You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong.
You cannot help the wage earner by pulling down the wage payer.
You cannot further the brotherhood of man by encouraging class hatred.
You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich.
You cannot establish sound security on borrowed money.
You cannot keep out of trouble by spending more than you earn.
You cannot build character and courage by taking away initiative and independence.
You cannot help men permanently by doing for them what they could and should do for themselves.
Abraham Lincoln