Retirement is a week filled with Saturdays and Sundays interrupted only occasionally by a holiday.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Been Thinking Lately...

Just a quick note for anyone who still might be checking in to see if I've found my blogging voice again. I've been thinking alot lately about returning to BlogLand. I've mentioned before that I've been spending a great deal of time social networking and, while I've made a number of new friends (as well as reconnected with long ago ones), I'm just not finding the personal satisfaction that comes with sharing events, thoughts etc in a personal blog.

The one thing I really need to decide, if I do come back to blogging, is what to do about my Erstwhile Librarian persona. It's been nearly six years since I retired and I realize now that I do not think of myself as a librarian anymore. Each day I move farther and farther away from that life I led for 26 years and it no longer defines who I am...only who I was.

So I've been contemplating starting a brand new blog. I have some ideas and I'm mulling them over. Who am I now and who do I want to be 5...10...20...years down the road? Stay tuned...

Friday, September 11, 2009

Can It Really Be September?

Holy heck! I just realized it's been more than two months since I last posted. It was never my intention to leave BlogLand permanently. It's just that I discovered the joys of social networking and I've been trying my hand at it. The real joy for me is that it limits how much you can say in one sitting and has forced me to leave my verbosity at the door. And that's always a good thing...brief is most always better.

For the most part, summertime has been fairly quiet and it's hard to believe that autumn is just around the corner. We've stayed close to home for the past two months letting families enjoy the various vacation destinations...both here in town and around the country.

About the only news worth reporting is that I had cataract surgery on my right eye on August 31st. The vision in that eye has been deteriorating for some time and I finally called the doctor and told him it was time. The result is that, for the first time since elementary school, I now have 20/20 vision in that eye. It's pretty miraculous and I'm still adjusting to being able to see least in my new bionic eye. I am having one annoying issue...sporadic flickering light on the outer edge of my eye...which is extremely distracting and is causing nausea. The ophthalmologist is asking me to be patient in hopes that it will eventually go away once the healing process is complete. Always the impatient pessimist, I'm having doubts that it will get any better but I am willing to try and live with it for a while. Sigh...

Other than that, nothing much has been happening. As we move into the Fall months, I'm guessing we will be traveling least that's the plan. We are going up to the Santa Cruz area for our annual golf tournament at the end of the month and we may extend the time away to include a road trip to Northern California...and maybe the Pacific Northwest. We shall see.

I have been lurking around everyone's blogs and I hope to have the energy to start commenting again. I make no promises except to say I will honestly try.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Fiber Optic Dangle

Today's lesson...what to do when you're watching TV at 7:00AM and the picture suddenly freezes:

1. Check the other TVs in the house to see if they're frozen too. Yep
2. Check the phone for a dial tone. None
3. Check the computer for Internet access. No connection
4. Scream loudly.
5. Go outside the house to see your FIOS cable dangling from the utility pole across the street.
6. Call Verizon, wait 15 minutes for a representative, explain the problem and finally get promised a technician home visit some time before 2:00PM.

And that is how my day started. When the technician arrived (thankfully sometime around 9:30AM,) he smiled and pointed to the trash barrels which were out by the curb. Apparently, Verizon has had a number of FIOS cables downed by trash trucks as they go from house to house extending their mechanical arms to pick up the trash bins. Definitely not a good thing!

So the technician reattached our FIOS cable placing it higher on the side of the house so that it doesn't hang so low across the street from the utility pole. He thinks that should solve our trash truck problem...or not. Here's hoping...

Monday, July 6, 2009

Cruising and Personal Responsibility

It’s been more than a week since we returned from our Baltics cruise and I had intended to write posts detailing our grand adventure. Trust me when I tell you that, for the most part, Hubby and I enjoyed our trip immensely. The weather was spectacular, the ship was fine, the ports and excursions were fascinating. I took lots and lots of photos and eventually I will try and post them here for your enjoyment.

So why have I been so reticent about regaling you with stories? Quite frankly, it’s because an end-of-the-trip incident occurred which has left a terrible pain in my heart. I won’t go into details but I will say that it involves the friends we were traveling with and has more than likely created irreparable schisms in our relationships that have existed for many, many years.

The saddest part is that all it would have taken to overcome this split would have been a simple “I’m sorry.” But I have disappointedly discovered that not all adults are willing take personal responsibility for their actions and own up when they have done something to hurt another. Why is it that so many adults cannot find it in themselves to say "I'm sorry"…and how truly sad is that?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Adventure Begins...

I can hardly believe this day has finally arrived. It seems like only minutes ago we were booking our Baltic Sea cruise (it was actually last October) and now it's here. Our bags are packed and we will be driving to our friends' home to meet the airport shuttle in just a few short hours.

I promise to take lots and lots of photos to post when I get home and I'm taking my travel journal with me to record all the wonderful adventures we expect to experience. Here's hoping the weather cooperates although I know we will have a terrific time no matter what the skies do.

I hope everyone has a wonderful next two weeks and I'll "see" you soon.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Down to the Wire

It's been a hectic week as we prepare for our Baltic cruise. I've spent most of the past few days shopping for last minute items and getting some new pants shortened. I've also been playing with my new iPod trying to learn what I can about it so I can use it to hopefully email family while we're away.

I think almost everything is now in the suitcases and we did a preliminary weigh-in. One large bag weighs 45 lbs while the other big bag is weighing in at 40 lbs. Since the airline baggage weight limit is 50 lbs per bag, that gives us a total of 15 lbs to play with. I might move a few items from the heavier bag to the lighter one to even things out but it looks like we'll be safe from paying overage charges.

Along with all the trip "chores" I've been doing, my leisure time has been taken up with "social networking." Yep, I've joined a couple of very popular sites and have been searching for friends and posting tidbits about what's been going on. It isn't that I'm abandoning blogging; it's just that I wanted to try some new things for a change. And I've reconnected with several childhood friends and that's the best part of it all.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Weaving My Way to Happiness

It's one week and counting before we leave for London and today I finally get my pre-cruise haircut and weave. I haven't had a weave since just before Christmas so you can imagine how depressed I've been watching the mousy brown hair growing in...oh and, of course, those annoying gray ones too. I don't know why getting a haircut and color always lifts my spirits but I will hopefully be a happy camper later today.

In other travel news, I did a bad bad thing yesterday...I bought yet another piece of luggage. I was at T.J. Maxx and, as always, I wandered through the luggage area. Sure enough...there was a large suitcase with a built in suiter (perfect for taking formal wear) calling my name. The only thing is it's a magenta color which goes with absolutely no other suitcase we own but that didn't stop me from plunking down my money for it. How tacky will I look traveling with multiple suitcases all in different colors? And, more importantly, where the heck am I going to store this suitcase once we get back from our trip???

Monday, June 1, 2009

10 Days and Counting

Ack! We're 10 days away from our trip and I am most definitely in denial. Our suitcases still sit unopened in the corner of our bedroom; our travel clothes remain in the closet and in their shopping bags; our travel accessories remain in the plastic storage boxes. What the heck am I waiting for?

Monday, May 25, 2009

FIOS Fever

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before but Hubby is a real TV watcher. He loves sitting on the couch watching news, golf, dramas, name it, he watches it. Me? I "watch" television with my back to the set while I'm on the computer.

So, after much dithering, Hubby finally decided to make the move to digital TV just in time for the big June conversion deadline. Actually, he'd decided some time ago to switch from Time Warner (analog cable) to Verizon FIOS. The only problem was that we had to wait for Verizon to install the fiber optic cabling in our neighborhood. Ten days ago, we went down to our local Verizon store and did all the sign up stuff.

Saturday the tech guy arrived to actually install FIOS. Along with digital TV, we also made the move from DSL to FIOS for our computer and had our telephone service converted to FIOS. We were warned that it would take 4-6 hours for the install and they weren't kidding. Thankfully, the tech arrived fairly early in the morning and was done by early afternoon.

So now we have hundreds of new channels to watch, faster computer connectivity and telephone service with a few features new to us (caller ID, Voicemail, etc.) We decided not to go with any of the pay premium movie packages but we do have the HD package so now Hubby can watch golf in high definition glory. Can you tell he's a happy camper?

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Back From the Mall

Okay...I guess I should have posted this graphic a few weeks ago to explain my absence from BlogLand. I just never thought I'd be gone for such a long time.

Yes, I've been shopping like a mad woman trying to fill in wardrobe gaps for my upcoming cruise. So far I've bought pants, jeans, blouses, t-shirts, walking shoes and a few other necessities I won't mention. I honestly thought I needed nothing for this cruise but, once I looked in my closet, I realized that a few new articles of clothing wouldn't be such a bad idea. That's when my shopping mania took over.

I'm proud to admit that each and every item was bought on sale. My mantra? "Never pay retail." The best bargain were my $150 walking shoes which I picked up for a mere $12. Pretty good, huh?

Aside from shopping, not much has been happening. We celebrated my Mom's birthday and then Mother's Day and I'm spending quite a bit of time with her this month between the YMCA Aquatics classes, her multiple doctor appointments and lunches, of course.

The only other news is that Hubby and I signed up for Verizon's FIOS fiber optic phone, Hi-Def TV and computer service. Installation is scheduled for next Saturday and supposedly this will make my computer connectivity speed much much faster. Technology changes always make me a little nervous but I'm hoping everything will go well with no glitches. Fingers crossed.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

For the Love of Books

Today Judy and I drove to the UCLA campus to attend the 2009 Los Angeles Times' Festival of Books. This annual event brings publishers, bookstores, libraries, and other organizations associated with the love of books to one place where booths are set-up to promote books, reading and other cultural activities.

Authors come to talk about their books and writing styles during various panel discussions while others come to sign their books for excited fans. There are cooking demonstrations, live music, poetry readings and other great entertainment. It's a heck of a lot of fun for adults and children alike.

This year's attendance seemed just as strong as in the past (it's a free event for the public) although we did notice that several of our favoritie bookstores (including one really large chain) and a few other regular vendors were not present. There also seemed to be fewer free little gifts which are often handed out at booths. All this we are definitely chalking up to the current state of the economy.

Still, it was a lovely day. Our only complaint? As usual, the weather forecasters got it all wrong. In years past, we've often experienced blazing hot sunny weather for the event. This year, all the weather gurus promised partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the 60's. Wrong, wrong, wrong!!! It was sunny and warm to start and it just kept getting warmer and warmer as the hours passed. You'd think we would learn what to expect weatherwise after all these years. Sigh...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Library Ladies Who Lunch

Today my friend Sherry and I had lunch with our library friends. When you work at a place for a very long time, you develop friendships that don't end once you leave.

Such is the case with the eight women who get together once a month to reminisce, share family stories and grandkid photos and listen to the current state of affairs at the library. We represent all levels of staffing...librarians, library assistants, part-time staff...and yet we are all equals around the restaurant table.

Three of the group still work at the Library and they regale us with stories about other employees and regular library patrons. We laugh, we groan, we giggle, we sigh. Is it any wonder why I always look forward to this special day each month?

Monday, April 20, 2009

I've Lost My Mind...and My Bluetooth

What is wrong with me? I must have some terrible aversion to using a Bluetooth earpiece while driving or I truly am losing my mind.

Yesterday I was out and about at a shopping mall just killing time and enjoying their air conditioning. On my way home, I discovered that my Bluetooth earpiece was chirping which means that it needs to be charged. I distinctly remember taking it off and putting it into my purse. Honest!

Of course, I forgot to take it out of my purse when I get home to charge the darn thing. Then, late last night getting ready for bed, I had a vision of my Bluetooth so I opened my purse to get it out to charge overnight. No Bluetooth. I emptied every last item out onto the bed...still no Bluetooth. I went into the garage and tore the car apart looking for it...still no Bluetooth. Even Rick spent time searching the house, garage and car...still no Bluetooth.

So where is that damn thing??? My probably vaporized in the 90+ degree heat. Yep...that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Friday, April 17, 2009

That's What Friends Are For

Hallelujah! For many months now, I've been searching for a particular childhood friend. Robin and I were the closest of friends in Bayside and, after my family moved to California, we continued to correspond. She visited me in Los Angeles after we moved and I went back to New York to see all my high school friends graduate in 1970. Even after that, we wrote letters and, after I became a librarian, she came to L.A. with her husband and baby girl for a visit.

And then, as it happens, we lost touch. I will take the blame for letting our friendship fade away although we are both probably responsible. Suddenly our lives were filled with work and family and other matters and we just drifted apart.

Through the years I've thought about her and wondered what her life was like. Then a few months ago, I decided it was time to try and reconnect. I did some searching on the Internet and came up with some addresses and phone numbers for people who shared her name. I dithered back and forth...should I mail notes to these individuals in hopes of finding her; should I trying phoning these people or would they think I was a nut or, worse yet, a stalker?

Then last month Lynn suggested we both join a certain social networking website in hopes of locating childhood friends. And, much to my delight, I discovered that Robin too had joined the network in hopes of finding friends from her past. I immediately contacted her and the rest, as they say, is history. We've exchanged long emails detailing the past 25+ years and it's as if we've never been apart. I feel as close to her today as I did so many years ago and I couldn't be happier. Isn't life grand?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Can You Hear Me?

I'm beginning to think there's a communication conspiracy against me. First, I seem to be having problems sending and receiving some messages on my web-based email account. A friend sent me a message on Tuesday and it never appeared in my in-box. And I'm thinking I haven't heard from a few other friends in the past few days and that has me worried.

Then...I've had my cell phone in my pocket from the moment I got up this morning and I just looked down and discovered someone left me a voice mail message. When I dialed in to hear it, it turned out to be my sister who called this morning when my phone was with me and definitely turned on. Did it ring or vibrate, absolutely not.

Is it something I said? Is is something I wrote? Have I somehow offended the communication gods? Whatever it is...please make it go away.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Quick Catch-up

* My sisterly nursing duties are now a thing of the past. I guess I can put my little white cap away until the next family medical episode.

* I had to take Hubby's car in to the repair shop today. The darn "Check Engine" light came on again. It turned out to be a potentially faulty gas cap. Total cost: $0.00 Whew!!!

* I picked up Hubby's medication at the pharmacy this afternoon while on my way to WMart to exchange a knee brace he bought for a slightly smaller one. My wifely duties are never done.

* I'm still waiting for the paperback fiction book I ordered online for Hubby. Can you guess what's the general theme of this book? One word: golf! I'm hoping he will save it for our 10 hour plane trip in June to meet our cruise ship.

* My new pair of shoes, ordered online, was delivered late today. Love 'em, love 'em, love 'em.

* I confirmed my lunch plans with two Library friends scheduled for Friday.

* I tweaked the Baltic cruise countdown timer on my sidebar this afternoon since we're now flying to London two days earlier than originally planned.

* I'm planning to take Mom to the YMCA Arthritis Aquatics class tomorrow. I guess I'd better go search the house to find that ever elusive swimsuit.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Where Did My Scrubs Go?

I realize I haven't been around lately but I have a really good excuse. My sister Lynn had foot surgery last Thursday and I've been playing nursemaid at her house during the week while her hubby is at work and the kids are at school.

She (and her foot) are doing well but, with the need to keep her foot elevated most of the time right now, I'm needed to run up and down the stairs, get things for her and just make sure she doesn't get herself into any trouble. I've also been chauffeuring her around while she sits in the back with her leg resting on the seat. Yep, that's right...Driving Miss Lynn.

Anyway, her 2nd post-op appointment is next Monday and we're hoping her podiatrist allows her a little more freedom. Until then, just call me Nurse Joan.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Money In Our Pocket

If you take a look at my vacation countdown timer on my sidebar, you'll see that our Baltic cruise is fast approaching. This week we make our final payment and, minus our $900 deposit in October, it's one very large $$$ amount. I've been fretting over it for some time now (what with the economy the way it is and our investments significantly down) but we are determined to make the trip and enjoy every moment of it.

One of the things I've been doing to ease my mind is monitoring the cruise line's website to see what's been happening with our cruise fare. Cruise lines are hurting big time and I have been reading message boards where the hot topic seems to be the falling cruise prices. Sure enough, today I discovered that our cabin category price was reduced by $620 per person. I called our travel agent who, in turn, called the cruise line. The result is that each of the five of us is having our final payment reduced by that amount. For the two of us, that means a savings of $1,240 which is nothing to sneeze at.

Is this the end of it? Heck no! I'm guessing that fares will continue to drop as the cruise lines struggle to fill up their ships with guests this summer. Hopefully we'll see more savings even after making the final payment and, you can be sure, I'll be watching our cruise line's website with a great deal of interest.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In My Humble Opinion...

Today Rick and I had one of our daytime movie dates. As usual, I let him choose the film and this time it was "The Watchmen" based on the graphic novel of the same name.

I'm afraid to say I absolutely did not "get" this movie. Oh, I understood the storyline, the iconic references, the themes, the images. It's just that I found the film excessively long (nearly 3 hours), far too graphically violent for my tastes, and the storyline disjointed...moving chaotically between the present and the past over and over.

Now I know there is a large legion of fans of the novel who have adored this film adaptation and I'm happy their expectations have been met. For me, however, this was definitely the wrong choice! Oh well, at least I get to choose the next film we see.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Survey Says...

While visiting Are We There Yet? today, I came across this fun meme that Linda did and thought it would be nice to do on a lazy Saturday so now let's play Family Feud - the Blog Version.

1. Name something you use in the shower: Razor
2. Name a product for men: Old Spice Aftershave
3. Name something people hate to find on their windshields: Advertisements stuck under the windshield wiper
4. Name something a man might buy before a date: Um, let's just call it "protection."
5. What is another word for blemish: Pimple
6. Something you cook in the microwave: Popcorn
7. Name a piece of furniture people need help moving: Refrigerator
8 Name a reason a younger man might like an older woman: Experience
9. Name something a dog does that embarrasses its owner: Sniffs a visitor's private parts
10.. Name a kind of test you cannot study for: Mammogram
11. Name something a boy scout gets a badge for: Knot Tying
12 Name a phrase with the word home in it. "There's no place like home."
13. Name a sport where players lose teeth: Rugby
14. Name something a teacher can do to ruin a student's day: Give a surprise quiz
15. What is a way you can tell someone has been crying: Red, runny nose
16. Name a bird you wouldn't want to eat: California Condor
17. Name something someone would wear with a hole in it: Sock
18. Name something that gets smaller the more you use it: Pencil

If you want to play along, copy and paste the questions to a new post, erase my answers, and fill in your own answers. Remember, you can't use the same answer as the person whose post you read (that would be me) and, if my answers don't make much sense, it's because the person before me had the good ones and I was stuck thinking of acceptable substitutes!

If you want to tag 5 people, that's great. I'm not going to tag anyone but please let me know if you decide to play along so I can come by and check out your answers. Happy Weekend!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Wearing of the Green's already St. Patrick's Day; in a few days, it will be Spring. Yep, time really does fly by.

Today is also "Library Ladies Who Do Lunch" Day. We missed our lunch in February so we'll have lots to catch up on. I've been searching through my closet this morning trying to find something that's green. I originally planned on wearing a shirt I have but it's long sleeved and it's supposed to be close to 80 degrees today. I am wearing my green-framed glasses today (I nearly forgot I had them) so I guess that will save me from the traditional pinch.

Last night I played computer tech on the phone most of the evening. First I had to help my sister who was having trouble downloading songs from the iTunes website. Now I know most computer geeks don't read manuals and help screens but I'm a big believer in researching when help is needed. Sure enough, I came across a solution to the problem when a I read a message board reply which came up when I was Googling. Then I tried to help a friend with her computer problems when an attachment I had sent her wouldn't display. In turns out, she never set-up her Word program when it was loaded so she has to find that long ID key number from the original box to start the process.

If you noticed the countdown timer on the sidebar, we are getting closer and closer to our Baltic cruise. On Saturday, we met with the couple we're traveling with to do an initial selection of the excursions we want to do in the various port cities. Now we're trying to arrange a meeting with our friend who will be going with us so we can make the final decisions and purchase the excursions on the cruiseline website. Ka-ching, ka-ching...

Hope everyone has a happy and pinch-free St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Oops...I Did What?!?!?

I feel like such a dolt right now. I just noticed that we seem to be missing one of the two wall chargers that came with our cell phones and which normally sit on the bookshelf with our TV. And I also discovered that, instead of having two Bluetooth headset chargers, we somehow have three.

A few months ago, I purchased a new Bluetooth headset and had to exchange it for a new one three times when they kept dying after only a few weeks. Apparently, when I packed up one of the headsets with its accessories, I must have accidently packed my cell phone charger instead of the Bluetooth one. Damn!

Thankfully Rick and I have the same phone model so we can, in theory, get along with just the one phone charger. Still...there are times we need to charge our phones at the same time and what happens when one of us goes out of town without the other? Who gets custody of the one charger?

Like I said...I feel like such a dolt.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Word to the Wise...

Okay...I've learned my laptop lesson Wanna know what it is? In plain English...never let your laptop sit in its case for months on end without taking it out, turning it on and letting the darn thing do its updating thing.

This morning, in preparation for syncing my new iPod Touch, I took out my much ignored laptop, turned it on and then went through hours of agonizing grief trying to get all 40 updates (yes, 40) to load properly.

...and then, when I finally managed to get most of the updates installed properly, I made the ridiculous decision to try and load Vista's Service Pack 1 (which failed when I tried in January). Yes, I finally got it to install fully and now Silver Wonder seems to be working OK but not without a whole lot of grief.

...and then, when I went to load iTunes on the laptop before syncing the iPod, of course that didn't go quite as planned...but it finally got done.

...and then I tried syncing the iPod and that didn't go quite as planned...but it finally got done.

...and then I tried to load one free Games app as a first step and that didn't go quite as planned...but it finally got done.

...and, at that point, I unplugged the iPod, turned it off, turned off the laptop and left it all in a heap on the dining room table.

After all...tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Another Year Older...Finally

My family may be slow but eventually we take care of business. Thankfully everyone was healthy this weekend so we finally got together to celebrate my birthday on Sunday evening...which officially made me a year older. It's become a tradition to go to an Italian restaurant in my sister's neighborhood and my cousin Ina was able to join us as well. We all had a great time and the food and service, as always, was terrific.

During dinner, Lynn took out her new I-Pod Touch and was showing us all the great free apps she was able to download. I could see Hubby making eye contact with her and I knew I was to be the recipient of one as a belated gift. Sure enough, yesterday while out for lunch with Mom and Rick, he presented me with a birthday gift bag. Inside was my brand new I-Pod Touch!

This is my very first I-Pod and, with every electronic "toy," there's a learning curve. It's still in its sealed box waiting for me to open it up and charge it. Then it will be time to go through my huge CD collection and start selecting songs to sync. much work...

Monday, February 23, 2009

Put Another Candle...And Another...

OK...I have to admit is my birthday. Yep...I'm another year older. So what am I doing today to celebrate my birthday? Not a heck of a lot. Now it's not because we didn't make plans. Actually my family was supposed to get together last night for a birthday dinner but I still have a head cold (sniffle, sniffle) and so does my sister so we have postponed getting together until we both feel better.

Since I'm still not feeling up to par today (oops, sorry for the golf reference), Rick and I have no real plans and that's honestly OK with me. While birthdays were fun and exciting times when I was a youngster, now it's just another day in another week, in another month, in another year, in another get the picture.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Economic Stimulation at Our Home yesterday Rick and his buddies drove 65 miles to one of his favorite courses to play golf. Since I drive the "newer" of our two cars, he asked if he could take mine while I drove his for the day. No problem.

When he came home in the afternoon, he spoke these ominous words to me: "When are you taking in your car for its next service?" Uh-oh!

It seems that, while applying the brakes to slow down on a particularly steep grade, he could feel a pronounced vibration in the brake pedal and a thumping noise. The noise was loud enough that one of the guys in the car remarked "That doesn't sound good." Duh.

So this morning before dawn, I drove on over to the place we get our car serviced to be first in line since I didn't have an appointment. My friendly service writer David came out and I explained the problem. Hmmm...his tech would check it out and let me know the verdict.

I went to sit in the waiting room knowing that somehow this was not going to be a cheap fix. How right I was. When I heard my name being called to the service office, I prepared myself for bad news. The diagnosis...bad brakes, hot spots on my brake rotors (whatever that means) and torn something-or-others in the suspension. Gasp, gasp, gasp...

So after nearly three hours of waiting time, lucky me got to hand over my credit card and sign for a $839.61 repair bill.

Breathe in, breathe out...

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

This Week's Date Day

Today was Date Wednesday with Rick (we're back to trying to spend a day together each week) and our friend Joe joined us at the movies. This week's selection was "The International" with Clive Owen and Naomi Watts. Yes, it was definitely the guys' choice (that makes two weeks in a row) but I have to admit I did enjoy the film.

It's an international intrigue story with beautiful locales (Luxembourg, Paris, Italy, Turkey, New York) and the story was quite compelling and interesting. It used to be that the villain in this type of movie would be the Soviet Union, China, Nazi Germany or some other evil empire. This film's "bad guy" is an international banking conglomerate and its executives. In these scary economic times, it somehow seems fitting to have a big bank wearing the "black hat." I did find myself closing my eyes during a number of the more bloody scenes but that's usually the case with any film where violence is portrayed. And how can you have a modern-day thriller without bullets flying and blood spurting? Yuck!

Not much else is going on. The sun is finally shining here in Southern California after several days of rain (sometimes intense) and Rick is golfing tomorrow with other retired buddies from his former workplace. I'm supposed to get together with a friend but I've come down with a head cold (thanks Rick) and I'm thinking maybe I should just stay in and rest. We have a number of plans for this weekend and I want to make sure I'm feeling tip top. I promised I'd call my friend in the morning to see how I'm feeling and hopefully we'll be able to do something fun...I need a day in the sun.

Monday, February 16, 2009

And To Think They Make Coffee Too

Now...all my friends know that I have difficulty finding my way around the kitchen. I leave that room of the house to Rick who is a terrific cook. So you can imagine my surprise when one of my friends sent me this information about a simple kitchen item which apparently has far more uses than its name would infer. So I thought I'd share with you these helpful hints regarding the use of coffee filters.

  1. Cover bowls or dishes when cooking in the microwave. Coffee filters make excellent covers.
  2. Clean windows and mirrors. Coffee filters are lint-free so they'll leave windows sparkling.
  3. Protect China. Separate your good dishes by putting a coffee filter between each dish.
  4. Filter broken cork from wine. If you break the cork when opening a wine bottle, filter the wine through a coffee filter.
  5. Protect a cast-iron skillet. Place a coffee filter in the skillet to absorb moisture and prevent rust.
  6. Apply shoe polish. Ball up a lint-free coffee filter.
  7. Recycle frying oil. After frying, strain oil through a sieve lined with a coffee filter.
  8. Weigh chopped foods. Place chopped ingredients in a coffee filter on a kitchen scale.
  9. Hold tacos. Coffee filters make convenient wrappers for messy foods.
  10. Stop the soil from leaking out of a plant pot. Line a plant pot with a coffee filter to prevent the soil from going through the drainage holes.
  11. Prevent a Popsicle from dripping. Poke one or two holes as needed in a coffee filter.
  12. Do you think we used expensive strips to wax eyebrows? Use strips of coffee filters.
  13. Put a few in a plate and put your fried bacon, French fries, chicken fingers, etc on them. Soaks out all the grease.
  14. Keep in the bathroom. They make great "razor nick fixers."
So next time you reach for that coffee filter, remember it can be your household friend. And, of course, they are great to use in your coffee makers too!

Oops...I told you Rick knew his way around the kitchen. Just as I was putting the finishing touches on this post, Rick came in and read it over my shoulder. His comment? "You know, a paper towel would work just as well on most of these and it'd be a heck of a lot cheaper." Damn...he's so right!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Past Responds

There aren't adequate words to express my excitement when I checked my email yesterday to find a response from my long lost New York friend. If you missed that post, you can find it here. My friend's excitement at hearing from me was evident in her email and she gladly gave me her home phone number and encouraged me to call.

So this morning I dialed her number and heard a voice I immediately recognized...35+ years later. We had a wonderful chat catching up on our lives and families and it was as if all those years of silence simply vanished in thin air. She still lives in our old neighborhood (just around the block from where we lived 40 years ago) and she filled me in on what it's like there now. We compared notes about our moms and what it's like to be an aunt (she's divorced and never had children either) and we spent 20 minutes getting to know each other all over again.

We exchanged cell phone numbers, double-checked email addresses and have promised to send photos (I've already picked out a few to send). So now a link to my past is re-established and, thanks to the Internet, I have renewed a friendship with someone who "knew me when..."

Friday, February 13, 2009

Searching For My Past

OK...I admit it...I do have too much time on my hands. That's what some of my friends have been saying to me and I'm beginning to think there's something to it. How else can I explain why I've been searching the Internet looking for long lost friends from my childhood? Maybe it's because I'm trying to prove to myself that I haven't lost my librarian research skills; maybe it's because I have a birthday coming up and I'm feeling extraordinarily nostalgic.

Now, in my own defense, I'm not the only one doing this. Several years ago when my mom still lived on her own (before she moved in with my sister), she received a phone call from a man who was one of my closest friends growing up in New York. He located Mom using Internet phone books and was calling from Israel (where he apparently moved after college) just to touch base and to find out how we all were. Mind you...the last time we'd had any contact was when we were both 17 years old. He gave Mom his email address and, for a while, he and I corresponded catching up on our lives and families.

So...yesterday I sent an email to a woman I believe is a childhood friend who lived on our block in New York when I was growing up. She and I corresponded for a while after I moved to California and, thankfully, we were in contact long enough for me to know her married name. I located an email address on the Internet (without using one of those fee-based "reunion" websites) for someone with her name who works fairly close to where we grew up. I took a chance and sent an email explaining that I was looking for a long lost friend, giving her some information to help identify myself and asking her to respond if she, in fact, was the friend I was looking for.

Now I wait to see if I get a response. I'm curious...would you respond to an email from someone claiming to be a long lost friend?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Short Hair Be Gone

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been letting my hair grow out since October. I can't remember the last time I had long hair and I know for a fact that I've never let it all grow out including my bangs.

What started me on this crazy quest was playing golf at the beach last fall. No matter how much hair spray I used or what hat I wore, the humidity just made my short layered hair a miserable mess. Then Rick would want to go out for lunch after our golf round and I'd be embarrassed to be seen in public with a wavy mess on top of my head.

So, as I sat in my hair stylist's chair in October, I mentioned that I'd like to let my hair grow out. I could see her eyebrows arch in disbelief but she agreed to help me meet my goal. Each haircut since, she's been trimming the ends trying to shape it without taking off too much length. So after 4 months, I thought I'd share my hair journey with you.

October 2008

February 2009

While the back is coming along nicely, I've been fighting my bangs every day. No matter how I style them to the side in the morning, they end up down in front of my eyes blocking my view. I've been using headbands, which make me look like Alice in Wonderland and give me headaches, and the amount of hair spray I'm using is surely burning my very own hole in the ozone.

In hopes of finding some solace out there in BlogLand, here's my question for you. Have you ever tried to grow out a short hair style and, if so, were you actually successful or did you throw in the towel and cut it all off???

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Winter Blogging Vacation

Yes, this is one of those "What I Did On My Blogging Vacation" posts. No...Rick and I didn't "go" anywhere in January and early February. Rather, I just couldn't seem to find the motivation to sit and write about my life. It wasn't that there weren't highlights in the month...I did actually do things. It's just that I couldn't or wouldn't sit in front of the computer to relate any of it. I'm just a really bad, bad blogging girl! Anyway, here is the Reader's Digest condensed version of "What Joan Did On Her Blogging Vacation."

Lynn and I took Mom to the Indian casino not once but twice. The casino was offering $100 in free play money ($50 per new player on the first visit, another $50 on the second). All I can say is it's a heck of a lot more fun when you're playing the penny slots on someone else's dime.

I finally got an appointment with the dermatologist to have him look at the bleeding little red dot on my face. The diagnosis was just a blood vessel that made its way to the surface so he froze it, forming a covering which will hopefully prevent further bleeding. Whew!

I spent several days having fun with retired friends. Mostly it consisted of shopping and lunching but it got us all out of our houses and that's always a good thing.

I took Mom out for our monthly haircuts and lunch. I can't remember if I've mentioned that I decided in October to let my hair grow out so I can wear it in a ponytail for traveling and golf. Since my hair started out super short, it's slowly making its way to ponytail length. My goal is to have it long enough for a ponytail by the time of our cruise in June. I have my fingers crossed.

Speaking of our cruise, I used it as an excuse to start my January exercise resolution. I went out and bought an exercise DVD and miraculously I have been doing 3 miles most mornings. I wish I could say that my pre-cruise diet has been as successful but no such luck. And while I might not lose any weight before our trip, I'm hoping that my cardio will be sufficient to make it easier to do all the walking we're expecting during our onshore excursions.

Rick and I went to our friends' home for their traditional Super Bowl party. We had a great time and I managed to refrain from eating every bad thing on the table. Oh...I cheated...but I could have done a lot worse so I'm chalking it up to a win in the health column.

Rick and I are back to seeing movies after a December moratorium. We went with a friend last week to see "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Although I hadn't really wanted to see it, I actually enjoyed it immensely. Now tomorrow we're going to see the Liam Neeson film "Taken." We're going with the same friend and he and Rick really want to see this action thriller. Me? I'd rather let the two of them go without me but, for some reason, Rick wants me to see it too so I will go. I'm not sure how many more times he can appeal to my sense of guilt since he graciously went to see that all-time chick flick "Mamma Mia" with me but so far it's working. Sigh...

I think that about covers my January and early February. I admit to lurking in BlogLand and have been keeping up with most of your lives. Now I promise (yet again...I know) to start back to commenting. Did I mention that's my February resolution? Let's hope I can be as diligent about it as I've been about exercising!