Sunday, November 30, 2008

Comes In Threes?

That’s what they say. Bad things happen in threes. Well not really bad things, just pain in the neck things. First it was my computer speakers. Turned out nothing was wrong at all and it wasn’t a big pain. Next it was the camera. That also turned out to be easily fixed. Easy for me of course, not as easy for FD#4 since she was the one who had to look everything up and explain it to me over the phone. But that too turned out to be not such a big pain after all.

This time it’s the telephone. I very seldom use the phone, but I admit it is one of the necessity of life. The phone rang this morning, I picked it up, heard FD#4 say “hello” and then it went dead. Thinking she accidentally cut us off, I waited for her to call back. She did. I picked it up but nothing was there. Total silence. Hmmm. Another ring. But this time instead of ring, pause, ring, pause, it was just one long riiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnngg. Even after I picked it up, it kept right on riiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnging. Well, this can’t be good. It finally did stop ringing but then I couldn’t get a dial tone. Nothing.

A little background. When FD#4 first moved in here with me, she also bought her cordless phone. Since she always used a cell phone, we hooked her other one up for me to use. It was the first time I had used a handset instead of being tethered to the phone by a cord. I liked being able to walk around the house or even the yard while talking to someone on the phone. I got spoiled. When hers finally bit the dust, I went out and bought a new one. This time with the extra handset to use upstairs. Neat.

Now this one that is only 2 years old is broken, dead, kaput. What the heck? Only 2 years old!!!
No easy fix here this time…… I take that back. I might not be able to fix that one, but I still have this one that I never got rid of which I will now hook up by my computer desk.

I bought this quite a few years ago when that crap started where anytime you tried calling any business, you had to press 1 for this, 2 for this and etc. This set-up was easier than trying to push the buttons that were in the receiver while you were trying to listen at the same time.

What dodo came up with that idea? I will now use this one upstairs since I don’t plan on calling any businesses from my bed.

And if/when the time comes that both of those go the way of the cordless wonder, I also still have two of these that I’ve been saving in the closet.

As you can tell, I have had this for umpteen years. And they both still work just like new. They sure don’t make things like they used to, do they?

The only downside now is on that rare occasion that I am on the phone, I’ll have to say “Hey, can you hold on a minute? I want to get a cup of coffee” If you don’t want to wait, well then just hang up. If it was important, I’m sure you’ll call me back.

By the way, do good things come in threes, too? If I win the lottery, does that mean I’ll win it two more times? Do you think I should break down and go buy a ticket?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Pigeon Pie

There’s a flock of pigeons, numbering about 15, that makes the rounds of the neighborhood, stopping at those homes where birdfeeders don’t have trays attached to catch the falling seeds. I learned a long time ago, that feeders without trays draw too many unwanted critters and birds to your yard. And pigeons fall into the unwanted category. (Sorry Pigeon Lovers but did you ever make a mistake and look up when they’re flying overhead or walk/slide under a bridge where they love to roost? Ewwww…. Yucky….Bleche!!!

And since pigeons are slow to get off the ground once they’re on it, they make for easier prey for predators than the other faster, smarter birds. (Now take it easy PL’s. Don’t get your knickers in a twist. I’m not saying pigeons are slow and stupid, I’m just saying all other birds are faster and smarter)

Now hawks on the other hand are very welcome in my yard. Taking care of some of the aforementioned unwanted critters and thinning the flock of pigeons to a tolerable level. (Yes, PL’s, that means eating them) In the last 2 weeks, “Harry” has landed in my yard 4 or 5 times to snack on pigeon. Harry keeps getting plumper and the flock keeps getting thinner. Twice, I’ve managed to get pretty close to take his picture but since my camera wasn’t working very well at the time, (stop with the ha, ha’s PL’s) none of the shots came out except this grainy one that I managed to get of Harry up in the tree, pigeon clutched in his fat little feet.

Right now as I’m typing this, Harry is sitting quietly, high up in the large oak tree in my backyard. He’s been sitting there quite a while so I figure he’s already had dinner. Maybe he’s just resting a bit before he has dessert. Hey, who’s ready for a piece of pigeon pie? (Now, now PL’s, you know it’s survival of the fittest out there, and I’m not saying pigeons aren’t fit for anything but hawk food but……. Oh who am I kidding, that’s exactly what I’m saying.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Room With A View

I have a large window by my kitchen table where I sit to enjoy my morning coffee. I sit there to look outside at my garden, at all the flowers that are in bloom, the birds as they come to the feeders and the multitude of squirrels climbing up and down the trees and chasing each other across the back neighbors garage roof.

Of course at this time of year, there are no flowers or gardens to look at but I still enjoy watching the other stuff that’s happening out there. I still enjoy the view. Until yesterday, that is.

Oh,oh. Grabbing my camera just in case one of those guys takes an extra step to the side…..In case you’re wondering, yes I also grabbed the phone in order to call 911 if necessary, but no use letting a good shot go to waste if…….

Fortunately for them, but a tad disappointing for me, no accidents occurred and they finished the job in no time. And now I get to sit and look out my window at this huge, ugly, blue thingy. And you can’t notice anything else. Talk about right in your face!!

The least they could have done was to pick a different color. Something in gray, perhaps? Maybe a nice paisley camouflage? A floral print? Anything other than this monstrosity?

The only upside that I can see in this at all, is when it gets a little icy up there and those squirrels that are chasing each other end up tobogganing down the slope. I’ll be sitting here with my camera just in case…….

So far today though, only one squirrel has dared to get on that giant sea of blue, gingerly tip toeing his way across the peak of the roof until making it safely to the tree at the other end. That’s okay. I can wait.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Can't Get Away From Mom

No matter where my kids moved to try to get away from their pesky mom, it wasn’t far enough. I can still bother them. Although it’s with e-mails now instead of face to face bothering. They could pretend they never received the e-mails, but they don’t. Well, I think Fla. Brat did once but she swears she didn’t. Since she swears quite a bit, I’m not sure if I believe her. (My sister Betty swears she didn’t get an e-mail from me one time too, and she never swears but I don’t believe her either)

Anyhow…..last week it was the computer. I was having a problem with the speakers and since this is actually Ariz. Brats computer I figured I would pester her about it. I e-mailed her my problem and she called me to see what’s up. I told her the speakers were silent. She told me that she always turns her speakers off because she doesn’t like to hear anything while she’s on her computer. If she thought it was going to be that easy and that was going to work for me she had another think coming. I like my little beeps, bings, dings, tones, bells and whistles and every other little noise to accompany me while I’m playing.

Since I know absolutely nothing about computers, she was going to have a tough time telling me what to do over the phone. But she bravely started out with “click on start”,… “click on what?“… “where it says start and then control panel”,… “ where does it say that? Oh, okay, I found it”… “then click on where it says…”, “I don’t see where it says that”….
Well you get the idea, right? So after much clicking and unclicking with nothing working to get the speakers speaking again she paused for a minute and then said, “when was the last time you rebooted the computer?”…. “You mean turn it off and then on again?” …. “Yes” (I could hear her sighing in the background). …. “A couple of days ago” …. “Well lets try that” …. “Okay, I know how to do that”. So I did, and when it came back on there it was. The little tune coming out of the speakers. “Hey, it’s fixed. Hear that?”… “Yes, I can hear it” sigh… “Thank you, thank you.”.. “Anytime”

This week it was the camera. For a couple of weeks now every picture I tried to take was turning out way too light. I know as much about cameras as I know about computers. And since this is Ariz. Brats camera that she left here…etc. Another e-mail, another phone call. This time it took a little longer because she hasn’t seen the camera for three years and couldn’t remember the ins and outs of it. And this time I was trying to hold the phone and the camera at the same time while pushing little buttons, and turning tiny knobs, dropping the phone once or twice, (but not the camera fortunately). After three phone calls and much fiddling and fussing, it’s fixed!!! Eureka!! Not only is the amount of light fixed but I can now take more pictures than the 16 that were on the card originally, what ever that means. And when I download/upload ?? them to the computer, I also can hear the little bong that tells me it’s working. Life is good!!

So thank you FD#4. Everything is working great now. And don’t be changing your e-mail address so you can honestly say you didn’t receive it the next time I need to bother you.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Bird In A Gilded Cage

Well it’s not really gilded in any sense of the word, but it is a cage, sort of, and there is a bird in it.

And although you can’t tell by his expression right now, this is one happy Chickadee. He sings constantly. He sings to announce his arrival. He sings when he finds that his feeder is full of his favorite seeds and peanuts. He also sings when he takes those favorites and stuffs them into all the cracks and crevices on the house. (Song or no song, I wish he wouldn’t do that)

But all that singing comes to a screeching halt when big blue notices all the commotion and decides to check it out. And although there is a large feeder with peanuts not more than 4 feet away for the blues,

there is always one in the bunch that has to stick his neck through the bars to steal all the peanuts out of this one.

Poor little chickadee’s not singing now.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Smarty Pants

After reading my post “I’m A Keeper”, my sister Nan couldn’t resist rubbing it in and sent me this little book.

How do I know she wasn’t being helpful, and was instead being a smarty pants? Well aside from the fact that this book was written for children between the ages of 8 to 10, she also tucked a little note in it that said “couldn’t resist” and it had a very large smiley face drawn on it. And we all know that the bigger the smiley the bigger the rub.

Little did Nan know that I just might find something useful in here to get rid of some or all of my saved umm… stuff. From collages, mosaics and mobiles, to sculptures, prints and masks (that one should come in handy). And one neat idea involves a whole bunch of pull rings from cans. Since I haven’t saved any of those I’ll have to go buy a lot of beer, er…I mean soda, so I can get busy on that project. Oh what sacrifices we artists have to make. And as soon as I finish something… anything… I’m sending it off.

So thanks Nan, and be expecting a package, maybe two or three, in the mail any day now. I know you’re going to love my art. After all, you know what they say. “One sister’s trash is another sister’s treasure.”

Monday, November 17, 2008

Well It's About Bloomin Time!

Ah, the Christmas cactus. Every year about this time, you see them in the stores with bright green foliage and beautiful red, pink or white flowers in full bloom, and think “They’re so gorgeous, I just have to have one”. You buy it, take it home, and a few days later all those pretty flowers have fallen off and are strewn all over the floor, and that bright green foliage is now starting to look a little brown and curled. I’m not totally surprised because all plants do that when moved from the perfect environment of the greenhouse to the dry, unappealing atmosphere of my home, but I nevertheless feel disappointed and let down, and I try to console myself with the thought that it will get used to the stale air in my house (hey, I survive in here okay), and will soon perk up and make itself at home. And next year it will again look beautiful with an abundance of red blooms just like it did when I bought it.

So all year I took care of this baby, waiting for the amazing transformation that would occur in the fall. Buds started forming in early November and started falling off a week later. Little unopened buds littered the floor. What the heck? What went wrong? After ending up with only about 5 flowers, I was determined that next year would be different. Next year it would be loaded with blooms! I figured maybe now would be a good time to actually read the instructions for growing this cactus.

So after reading about light/dark periods, wet/dry periods, fertilize/don’t fertilize periods (jeeze, what a pain in the butt), I set about to do the right thing and nurture this finicky plant to it’s final beauty. Being careful to follow the directions about watering and fertilizing all spring and summer, it was finally the time to start it’s dark/light cycle. I would take it upstairs to the closet at 6:00 p.m. and bring it back down at 6:00 a.m. Needless to say, after a few days I got pretty tired of hauling this now rather heavy pot up and down the stairs, so I decided to leave it downstairs and put a garbage bag over it’s head for the required 12 hours of darkness, and although this is a practice that is not recommended for people, I think I have read somewhere that it is acceptable for cacti. I did this until little buds finally formed. Lots of little buds. A few days later I noticed a couple of buds on the floor. A few days after that a lot more buds on the floor and a lot less on the plant. After all my caring and diligence I ended up with the same amount of flowers that I had the year before. What a waste of time. What a poor result after a lot of work. What a stupid cactus.

Okay, that’s it, buddy. You’re on your own. No more coddling or attention. You want to stick around, fine. You want to be tossed out, that’s fine too. And all this year I ignored it. Watering only when I happened to notice the foliage was hanging down like some over-cooked spinach lasagna noodles. No more dark/light schedules, or bags, or trips to the closet. Whatever happens, happens. I could care less!!

Maybe I will keep it around for another year.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Which, as everyone knows, stands for “I Was Doing Just Fine Before The Computer Came To My House”.

In the fall of 2003 or thereabouts, FD#4 (favorite daughter number 4) stopped by to chat and asked if I would be willing to put up with her for a while because she was going to be homeless and living out of her car if I didn’t. Not wanting to see my youngest living out on the streets or under the bridge, I graciously said yes and she moved into the spare bedroom.

How she managed to fit a bed, dresser, desk, bicycle, exercise equipment, filing cabinets, television, dvd player, computer, printer, and a lot more toys and gadgets into that 10 by 12 foot space, and still have room to walk around amazed me. Seeing all that stuff, I’m thinking the homeless and living out of her car story was just a ploy and it never would have happened. What’s really going on??

So anyway, there we were. Happy as two peas in a pod. Well, I was anyway, I’m not sure about her. Then a couple of weeks later the subject of the computer came up.
FD#4…”want to learn to use the computer?”
DOM (dear old mom), “no thanks, not interested, I’ve never used one before, I don’t need to use one now and besides I’d just break it”
#4, “you’d have fun and you can’t break it”
DOM “ha, you don’t know me, I know I could break it in no time.”
#4, “no you wouldn’t, c’mon, I’ll show you how”
DOM “you’ll be sorry”. Little did I know then that I would be the sorry one.

So after a lot of trials and a ton of errors there I was. Using the SC (scary computer). After learning how to log on and off and play a game or two, I graduated to email. The other FD’s all had computers except for FD#1. She was as backwards as I was when it came to TD’s (technological devices). But eureka, I was using email. I could talk to the others without actually talking. Hey. I have email, send me something!! I was so proud!!

After about a month or two of trudging upstairs a couple of times a day to play around with the SC, I casually mentioned to #4 that I really didn’t feel comfortable going into her bedroom to use it, because I felt that I was kinda invading her private space, and did she maybe want to move it downstairs. She agreed, I know she was smirking, and off we went to get a computer desk for the living room. A while later it was all set up. A computer in my living room. Who’d of thunk it. I could use it anytime during the day while #4 was at work (That’s another thing. She always had a good paying job and could afford to live anyplace. Homeless? I think not)

Ahead 6 months. After getting tired of trying to wrestle me away from the computer so she could spend some time on it, #4 got herself a laptop and we moved up to high speed internet. No more dial up. No more busy signals when someone was trying to call “I don’t know why it was busy, maybe #4 was on the computer”. “I thought she was working” “Oh, then maybe I accidentally left the receiver off the hook”. And now we both could be on our own computer at the same time. Yes, I was beginning to think of this one as mine now.

Ahead 6 more months. #4 “It sure gets dusty in here, doesn’t it?” DOM “Tell me about it. I’m amazed at all that dust and can’t figure out where it comes from. Oh, and if you’re hungry there’s some Stouffers in the freezer. Just pop it in the microwave. And look at this neat trick that I just figured out how to do with this program” I was beginning the downward spiral.

Now it’s the fall of 2006 FD#4 starts talking about the upcoming winter. How she hates snow and is thinking about moving somewhere warmer. Like Arizona. WHAT? A little snow never hurt anybody and you should stay here in Ohio where you belong. None of this moving across the country, like Fla. brat (formerly known as FD#3) did when she moved down south. Nope, you’re not going, it ain’t gonna happen.

January 6, 2007. She’s all packed up. Car loaded to the hilt and 2 bicycles strapped to the back. Car so full that nothing else could possibly fit. No room for my EC (evil computer) so that will have to stay here. Then off she goes, driving into the wild blue yonder, on her way to new and exciting adventures in the Arizona sun, leaving me here, alone, with that monster in my living room.

Present day. So here I sit, dust swirling around me, bed unmade, dirty laundry piling up, dishes in the sink, and I’m practically glued to the EC. I guess it didn’t think I spent enough time on it before, because this last June it even made me start blogging. When this EC finally blows a gasket, which it’s sure to do one of these days, I’ll be free at last. Back to the good old days when my life wasn’t ruled by a @#$%&!$CTHMII&@#$#@&EC. (you’ll have to figure that one out for yourself) Or maybe I’ll be calling FD#2 and asking her to come over and fix the darn thing ASAP.

(I never did figure out why Ariz. brat (formerly known as FD#4) wanted to stay here with me for a while, and except for the part where she forced me to get hooked on the computer, everything else was great fun)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Someone Is Not Doing Their Job

Yes, this is a picture of our first snow. And yes, those are leaves under that snow in the front yard. And since I live in a condo, someone else is supposed to be raking those leaves BEFORE it snows.

The only reason I rake the leaves out of my backyard flower beds myself is so nobody else stomps, tramples or squishes all my plants. I prefer to do all the squashing myself. And no I did not take a picture of the back. There’s nothing of interest back there, nothing for you to see, and anyhow, this is about the front yard and SOMEONE ELSE not doing THEIR job.

Friday, November 7, 2008

I'm A Keeper

And I don’t mean that in the good way you might be thinking. I mean I’m a keeper of things, junk, crap, filling up drawers, closets, boxes, coffee cans and anything else I can find to stuff stuff into.

I have check registers dating back to when I opened up my first checking account. I can look up and tell you what my utilities cost me way back when, with the name of a bank that is no longer in existence. I’m sure I’m going to be needing that information anytime now.

I have clothes in my closet that I haven’t worn for 10 years. Maybe they’ll come back in style, but my new and improved body shape wouldn’t be able to squeeze into them no way, no how. I think it’s time for them to go. Maybe.

I have a large box full of old birdfeeders. When I see a new one that catches my eye, the old one goes into the box. Never mind that the feeder holes are a little too large now, and the top is cracked and leaks water into the seeds. Never mind that the birds didn’t really like it to begin with because the perches were awkward to land on. Into the box it goes.

I have a drawer full of old make-up. Eye shadow of every color that’s so old it would surely make me go blind if I used it now. Mascara that is so stiff that the little handle comes off the brush when you try to remove it from the goop. Liquids and powders that I wouldn’t dare put on my face for fear of immediate burning and peeling and a trip to the ER. If I think about it for a little while, I’m sure I can find another use for those things.

I have a couple of 3lb coffee cans full of a zillion nuts, bolts, screws, nails, hooks, eyes, wires, string, doodads and thingamajigs. And I know if I get rid of even one of those, I will need it tomorrow.

Need batteries? The ones that no longer work in the camera are saved to use in the clock because they’re not completely dead and will power the clock for a couple of weeks. That’s not being cheap, that’s being frugal. So I have a small drawer full of batteries. New and used sometimes get mixed up and a little bit of swearing occurs when I put the wrong ones in the camera and lose a chance at a great shot.

Yes, I am a keeper, but at least I only keep those things that I know I’ll be needing any day now.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Still Hanging On

The Asarinas are still hanging on, blooming like there’s no tomorrow. But of course for them, tomorrow is just around the corner. They just don't know it yet.
Some Geraniums are also hanging on. They’ll last longer than the asarinas but a hard freeze and the few bright blooms that are left will be looking like little sputniks floating in mid air with antennas sticking out every which way.
Then there’s this hanger-on-er. Hanging on by one little finger... toe?... digit?...appendage?
No, of course this is not one of mine, (I should be so good) but when you're talking about hanging on, it certainly has to be included.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Why In The World Did I Do That?

I like to think that I know myself fairly well. I always thought I had a pretty good idea of how I would react or what I would say to the little things that go on in my life. I’m not talking about some big decision making event, just about those small occurrences that pop up in normal everyday living. And most of the time I do react as I think I will but sometimes, for some unknown reason, I do a complete flip-flop and do the un-expected.

The first one I really remember is when I was about 10 years old and I went to stay with my relatives for about a week. This was the first time I had ever gone anywhere without the rest of the family. Granted, at that age there were probably a lot of things I didn’t really know about myself, but I certainly knew what I liked and what I didn’t like.

Everything was going along swimmingly until I went to spend a few days with my Grandma L. who lived in a big, old house. When asked if I wanted to sleep in an upstairs bedroom or down in the basement, I promptly said basement. WHAT??? I hated basements. I was afraid of the dark back then and basements were dark, dreary, scary places and I hated them. I knew I hated them, and yet I picked the basement to sleep in!!!!! And not only that, after being scared the first night down there I was asked if everything was okay and if I wanted to sleep upstairs the next night. I said, you guessed it, no, everything was fine and I’d sleep in the basement again. I remember that incident very vividly and to this day, I still have no idea why I would do such a thing.

Another time that sticks in my mind is the one about the anchovy, of all things.
This time I was an adult (supposedly) and we were about to buy a new house. The sellers invited us over for a little get together and served crackers with cheese, crackers with other goodies, and crackers with anchovies. Yep, I hate anchovies. I don’t like the taste or texture of the smelly, salty little critters. When she came around with the tray of assorted crackers, I passed over all my favorites and picked up the one with the anchovy, and I immediately thought “what the hell did you just do?” I sat there holding this cracker in my hand, staring at that ugly little thing lying on top and didn’t quite know what to do about it.

I sat like that for a little while but I knew I would have to eat it eventually because there was no house plant nearby to hide it under, and I couldn’t very well hand it back and say that I changed my mind and didn’t really want this disgusting thing. So, I gritted my teeth, swallowed hard, popped it into my mouth, and chewed as fast as I could while holding my breath. (I had read somewhere that if you didn’t breathe you couldn’t taste.) But that little trick didn’t work this time because I could still feel that hairy thing on my tongue and I swear I could still taste that yuck. And no, I did not repeat that one. When she came over again with that tray, I did not pick the little fishy. I did ask for some more wine though, (of course that was just to get rid of the taste).

So, how well do I know myself? Are there instances in life where I am not who I think I am, but instead somebody completely opposite? Could it be that I have multiple personalities, and the naughty one shows up sometimes to make me scare myself silly, and the mischievous one pops out to embarrass me in front of strangers and yes, even my own family? Hey, I kinda like the idea. That would mean there is also one in there who is snide, sarcastic, snippy, with a dark sense of humor, and who is totally unlike the sweet, smiling, kind, true me, and therefore none of the weird stuff is really MY fault.

I / we can live with that.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

They're Baaaaaack

Before I got my first bird book, I used to call the little birds that spent the winter here, “skunk heads”, (because of the white stripes on their heads) “bibbed birdies”, (because it looked like they were wearing little bibs around their neck) and “lightening tail” (because when they fly you can see the white tail feathers flash underneath the gray)

What they really are of course are White Crowned Sparrows, White Throated Sparrows and Juncos. I think I like my names better. And I like watching them fight and chase each other all around the yard. What I don’t like about them is the “why” they show up. And they are here now. Juncos were the last to arrive a few days ago. So I know what’s coming next.

BUT…… yesterday was in the 60’s and today will be close to that. And the forecast for next week looks pretty darned good too.

So, out I go. I have things to do, places to go, sidewalks to walk, leaves to rake, well maybe I’ll pass on the leaves. So… sorry birdies, I’m not being unfriendly but I’m going to ignore you. I’m not going to look at you. You are not here!! And fall will last till spring!!

Why didn’t I think to do this last year?