Saturday, July 30, 2011

Late Night Mistakes and Advice For Warren Buffett

We went out dancing last night something we do every Friday night.  We know most of the bands and so we know who best fits our mood.  Last night, though it was a band we like, they started more than 20 minutes late, had to stop twice because of equipment malfunctions (they hadn't really done a sound check before starting----just beat on the drums loudly) and then ended the set early.  Needless to say we weren't happy, and then the intermission music was of a type that leaves us cold, youth orientated, profanity laced.  So we ended up coming home much sooner that we had anticipated, felt rather hungry and realized that some of the fast food places would still be open.  We immediately scratched MacDonalds off the list, though we like their small hamburger and love their fries because they won't serve the small one after 10 at night, and their big "honking" one is always dry and not really fit to eat.
So that left us with Dairy Queen and Hardees, with DQ, as Dairy Queen is now known, the closest, so we looked to see if it was still open, saw numerous people sitting outside eating and decided that even though it had been more than 20 years since we'd eaten at a DQ (they'd served us warm milk shakes on a very hot day) that we'd give it a try.  Went in, ordered single cheese burgers without cheese, one fry and one chocolate shake.   We drank the shake on the way home and wished we'd ordered 2 because it was good.  When we got home we discovered that instead of single hamburgers we'd gotten HUGE 2 patty Cheeseburgers, we were not happy.  We took the extra patty out, really can't eat that big a thing late at night, and ate the rest----it was awful, dry, unheated bun, tasteless, yuck.  The French Fries were about as bad, absolutely tasteless.  We looked at each other and said, what in the world were all those people we saw eating, sure hope it was milk shakes.  It will be at least 20 years before we return to a DQ.
As to Warren Buffett, while waiting for our food we'd read a poster about the history of DQ and found out that he, Warren Buffett millionaire investor,  through his investment company Berkshire Hathaway,  had bought DQ in the 1990's.  Well Mr. Buffett I realize you're considered one of our smartest businessmen, but my advice is to sell DQ, can't imagine anyone ever eating there twice!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Why, Why, Why?

I don't like sewing on buttons, never have, never will.  I've been known to give away blouses in need of a new button or wear a sweater over it so the missing button won't show or if the missing button is low down, just tuck it in unbuttoned..  I know that sewing on a button is easy, it's just one of those jobs I always try to avoid.  I'd rather clean toilets than sew on buttons.
That being said,  explain to me,  because I can't figure it out myself,  why I decided to sew buttons on the little "quilt" I'm making.
It's my own design,  it didn't have to have buttons.  I picked the fabric, the colors, the layout.  But  while looking at it one day I decided that it needed buttons in the corner of each outer square, and even worse, I decided that each inner square needed a button in each corner.  So that's  9 squares each needing 8 buttons, adding up to 72 buttons.  It's been horrible, I've sewn them on a few at a time, frequently with help from my cat.  I don't sew with a thimble so my fingers are now full of needle holes and there are still 4 more buttons to sew.  This has taken months because, as I said earlier, I hate to sew on buttons!  I'm guessing that some sewing machines will sew on buttons but I don't think mine does and I can't find the owner's manuel to check on that.
I thought I'd finish it today but the cat insisted that her laying wherever I wanted to sew would help me get it done in no time.  Could have thrown her out but I hate doing that, so I left if unfinished, again.  I'd like to finish sometime soon as I also have a summer dress almost done and I'd like to get it done before summer is over.  Good thing I read the last of the instructions on that because the cat tore those up yesterday.  Are we having fun yet?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Rains Came

Yesterday we had a slow, all day rain that finished up around a 1/2 inch, boy did we need it.  But with the rain comes the mosquitoes and this year with the mosquitoes comes West Nile Virus a form of encephalitis.
Everyone is being warned that if they have to be outside to spray themselves with some product containing DEED, to avoid the outdoors at dawn and dusk, and wear long sleeves and long pants if you have to be outdoors.
We use insect repellant  routinely, are seldomly outside at dawn or dusk, but haven't had long sleeves or long pants on in months.  We do  make sure that pots don't fill up with water and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes though.   Mac says they don't breed in our lagoon because the fish will eat their larva, they prefer puddles, pots of water and any other standing water.
 I read that there is a tie-in between mosquitoes, birds and humans in the transmission of the disease.    The mosquitoes bite the birds, (who knew mosquitoes bit birds?)  the birds become infected, they're bit by other mosquitoes and an even stronger version  of the virus is created and this can be transmitted to mammals.  The most common bird involved in this process is the crow, another reason to dislike them, I've always known they were minions of the dark.
The people most at risk  of infection are the elderly, of course, because we're just falling apart anyway.  A mild case can be rather like the flu leaving you tired and achy, a bad case can cause severe neurologoical problems.
So we'll keep on being careful because if you go outside right now you walk through clouds of mosquitoes and I have no energy to spare.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

They Always Come in Threes

Bad things, troublesome things, annoying things  always come in 3's.  First our tv died, then our car died and then today my new gtablet and the riding lawnmower were both bidding to be number 3.
 My gtablet stopped syncing with Kindle so I had to delete  Kindle and reinstall it,  which it didn't want to do.  Additionally it kept telling me I wasn't connected to the internet when it was very obvious ( I was all over the net) that I was,  and further it kept telling me that the sites I was visiting weren't secure,  Well I was visiting normal sites, CNN, Amazon, Your Yahoo and they're as secure as they ever were.
The lawn mower in spite of having a new battery wouldn't start, just kind of coughed at us, and the grass was literally knee high. Who was going to be number 3?
 I called tech support for my tablet, left a message because of course no one ever answers their phone, but a short while later  a kindly young man called back , all tech support sounds about 12, walked me through a few simple steps, had my Kindle reinstalled in no time, stopped the pop up messages that had been so annoying  and got the correct date and time set, they had been set correctly before  but  had decided to change themselves.  So I now have my Kindle, the books I'd archived and the book I was reading and all within 5 minutes, I must say tech support was excellent.
As for the lawn mower, we pushed it around to the front  by the garage , jumped it with Mac's car and I managed to mow the lawn, but it wouldn't start up again after I'd finished.  It's beginning to look an awful lot like  the lawn mower is going to be number 3, but  I'm not in the market for a new lawn mower, they're over-priced under the best of circumstances,  so instead I might start looking for a hungry goat.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Return to the Past


I've nearly always had a dryer to do my laundry in, except for a brief period when Mac was drafted into the Army and we were in Georgia living in a trailer and again when we we living in Texas.  There I hung the clothes outside and actually managed to freeze some of it one time.  But I digress,  I liked having a dryer, it fluffed my clothes, dried things fairly quickly and it was sitting right next to the washer which really made things easy.  But we have an all electric house and I try to watch our energy use which means that when I run the dryer I won't use the air conditioner, the same is true when using the oven.  I can't see trying to cool the place when I'm heating it up with the dryer.
Summers in Georgia are always hot, that's a given, so I got to thinking, something I actually take the time to do from time to time, why am I wasting electricity to heat up a dryer to dry my clothes when it's already near 100 outside.  So we decided to put up a clothes line.  If I looked in our subdivision covenants I'd probably find that we're not allowed to do that, they ban everything else, so I didn't check, we just put it up. No one can see our backyard so I can dry my clothes in privacy.  It's lovely to see the clothes fluttering in the light breeze.  Mac says that when he looks at it he sees dollar bills fluttering, the money we're saving by not using the dryer.  We're feeling very smug.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I Have A New Car!

We leased a new Mazda 3, they made me an offer I couldn't refuse, so I didn't.
Having started the day  off at Honda, where we walked out on the salesman because he couldn't give us any numbers on the car we were looking at, we went on to Hyundai.  Didn't really want a Hyundai, bought one for our daughter once and it caught on fire, but thought we'd look anyway.  They had no small cars, no manuel shift cars and didn't really seem interested in helping me.  I'd heard that small cars were in such demand, because of gas prices, that car dealers were making no deals on them, and in fact were having a hard time keeping them on the lot.  Anyway, we left Hyundai and went to Ford.  The salesman was a bit more helpful, but they had no Fiestas, except for two way in the back of the lot and he wasn't even sure if they were for sale.  We walked back and though it was incredibly hot on the blacktop we made it to the cars.  They were both white, one hatchback, one sedan.  The salesman said they'd just come in from Alabama and that he didn't know when he'd have more, but they could check other dealers or "build" one for me in 5-6 weeks.
We left Ford and went to Mazda where Mac had bought his Miata last year.  I wanted a Mazda 2, but they offered me such an incredible deal on a Mazda 3, and the offer took less than 10 minutes to put together, that we accepted the offer.  Filled out the paperwork, signed away and home we went.  Mazda made it easy and I'm very pleased with the car.
The experience was less painful than I expected, but sure hope we're through getting new cars for awhile.




Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Are We Having Fun Yet?

Well we're off car shopping today, not one of my favorite activities.  Right up there with root canals.  Why is car buying so hard?  Buying a house isn't that difficult, buying a boat isn't a nightmare, leasing anything is simple.  But cars are different and I don't understand it and it makes me grumpy.
When we car shop I always play "the bad guy", the one who walks away.  Except it's not an act, car salesmen always make me angry.  I don't want to play games.  I tell them what I want, what I'm willing to pay, how long I'm willing to pay it, what I'll pay down, whether I have a trade-in or not, and do I get a straight answer in return?  NEVER!  They offer this, they take away that, they connive.  I'm not looking forward to this.  Here's hoping I'm over reacting.
Is car shopping like this in other countries?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

It Was The Best Of Times, It Was the Worst of Times ...

It really was the best of times, our daughter arrived Friday night to spend her birthday weekend with us.  Leaving work a bit early she was on her way by 5:30 and with plane changes she was here by 9:30.  She's an only child and we miss her very much, wish she lived closer!  But since we moved to the east coast we do get to see her oftener than we use to.
I'd asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday and she said she wanted to see the new Harry Potter movie that was opening this weekend.  Knowing that everyone wanted to see this movie  I'd ordered tickets in advance and that's how we spent Saturday afternoon.   We all enjoyed it and thought it was a pretty good conclusion to the series.
 Sunday, her actual birthday, was time for gifts and a brunch at a local restaurant.  In between was time for talk, talk, talk and more talk.   But all too soon it was time for her flight home, though we're hoping to see her again in August.
It was also the worst of times for when we got back to our car at the airport after meeting her plane our car wouldn't start.  It didn't come as a huge shock because it's quite old, 17 + years,  and it has been ailing for awhile.  So the decision was made to leave the car  at the airport, rent a car for the weekend and call AAA in the morning to have the car towed home.  Unfortunately most of the car rental places were out of cars by the time we got to them, but we were finally able to get a behemoth of a car that was as big as a city block.  I won't name names because it turned out to be a decent car, just HUGE.

We also had a bit of trouble getting someone to tow our car the next day because it was in the parking garage and AAA said most of the tow operators felt their trucks were too big to go in there.  But I got on the phone, found someone who said they could do it and before noon the car was at home, at not too bad a price. which AAA should reimburse.
Now our daughter's home and this week we're going car shopping.  It's no longer economically responsible to keep pouring money into such an old car.  So the car games begin.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Georgia Wildlife

Georgia is abundant with wildlife and one of the critters we don't see very often is the Squareback Marsh Crab a small crab that lives in our salt marshes.  Our housing area backs up to the salt marsh and that is their natural habitat, but once in awhile you'll see one scuttling across the street.  I thought it was a fiddler crab when we first saw one, but we looked it up and discovered what it really was.  They live on vegetation and insects in the marsh and never stray too far from it.  But a nice treat when we get to see one.

A less welcome treat are the alligators that inhabit our waters.  We live a "stone's throw" from the Ogeechee River, one of the largest in the area and I'm frequently reminded why I don't swim in natural bodies of water in Georgia.  About 8-10 miles from here on the Ogeechee the Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR) called in Trapper Jack to capture some alligators that had been spotted at King's Ferry a local park, boat launch and swimming area.  He captured 2 of the 3 sighted.  One was 12 feet long weighing more than 500 pounds and probably 30-40 years old, the other was a smaller 9 footer.  Another 9 footer got away.  He said that people were swimming less than 200 yards from where he captured the alligators.     There are signs saying swim at your own risk, but not warning people of the alligators.  When asked why the alligators were killed he said that anything over 6 feet is too dangerous to be relocated so they are killed.
Very near this spot on the river is Love"s Seafood a very popular local restaurant where you can dine outside near the river   They have alligator on the menu, but I'll bet most folks don't realize how close they might be to their dinner.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Addictions

Hungerford Antique Mall
How do you know when you've done too much antique shopping, well perhaps it's when an antique arcade 4,200 miles away "friends" you on Facebook.   The Hungerford Antique Arcade sent me a friend request on Facebook and of course I "friended" them.  I've spent many a happy hour, and dollar/pound there so of course I wanted to be friends with them.  Can't wait to visit them on our next trip.  They are one of my favorite antique shopping places.
My favorite though is the Stationmill in Chipping Norton, it had burned the weekend before we got there last year and was due to reopen in May of this year, so I'm  really looking forward to visiting it again.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Painting

We have been painting the spare bedroom our daughter uses when she visits since Sunday.  Is it that big you ask?  No, not big at all, it just didn't want to be painted.  First problem was that the roller I was trying to use wouldn't stay on its frame, it kept sliding off, Mac tried several fixes and finally got another one to kind of work, but then it didn't want to roll, seeing as its only purpose in life is to roll  I was a bit surprised by this, so painting took forever.
 The plan was to paint 3 walls in a buttery white and then the wall behind the bed would be painted a sort of teal blue.  There was only 1 long wall to be painted white and I started on that while Mac did the cutting in trim.  Other than fighting with the roller it was going along ok when Mac said we weren't going to have enough paint.  Now I'll grant you it wasn't a full gallon, but all we'd painted with it were two not very big walls in the bathrooms, there should have been plenty of paint, but there wasn't.  So Mac mixed in some whiter paint we had, but there wasn't going to be enough of that either.  We ended up mixing all the white paint we had around and repainting the 3 walls.  Yesterday Mac finished the trim and I did the blue wall.  Touch-ups were done today and all the furniture was put back.  The picture makes the accent wall look lighter than it is, it's really a deeper teal.  I liked it so much I talked Mac into repainting the one bathroom wall which we'd already painted a light blue.  Now it looks like that bathroom goes with this bedroom.  No more painting till summer is over, even with air conditioning it's just too hot!

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Things We Leave Behind

I was reading Weaver of Grass's blog yesterday where she was talking about how our past dies with us and what will happen to the things we leave behind.  My husband and I were just talking about this and have always said that our daughter will probably call in Goodwill and have them cart everything off.  She, who is into all things Japanese,  doesn't care for the antiques we've collected through the years and says that she'll probably just sell it all on ebay.  Sort of sad, I hope she'll keep some things though they're not her style.

From her Great Grandmother Maria Antonia Mac would like her to keep a turtle shell she brought from Spain, it had belonged to her Grandmother and was said to keep you safe in thunderstorms which she was terrified of.  Mac says he can remember being about 4 years old and fascinated with it.








From her Grandma Patty I hope she keeps her school desk that Patty rescued from her elementary school when it was being torn down.  Patty had to leave school at 13 to go to work full-time and it broke her heart, so I'm hoping April will keep the desk.



















From me I'd like her to keep a little statue of a fairy riding a snail that Mac gave me for Christmas one year.  It's probably not very valuable but it is "so" me.    I've had a life-long fascination with fairies and and life-long fear of snails.















Mac would like  her to keep his flamenco guitar.  He had his Father's electric guitar for years but finally passed it on to a nephew because he didn't play guitar.  Then about 5 years ago he taught himself to play and then regretted giving up his Father's guitar.  So he'd like her to keep his.


Friday, July 8, 2011

A Garden Just Hanging On

I love to garden, but can no longer deal with the heat of summer, a season I use to love.  Most of my gardening is done in the spring and fall.  In between I dash out in the morning and pull a few weeds and hope it will rain a little so I won't have to water.  You would think with the drought we're having this year that weeds wouldn't be a problem, but they are, they don't seem to need water, they just keep on growing.
Some of my plants (honeysuckle and lantana) have grown too big for my raised beds, I put them in when the beds were empty, so this fall they will be transplanted.  I'm ordering some David Austin roses to put in their place.  He has some that have been developed for our humid southern climate.
Day lillies are not my favorite flowers, but they do so well down here and need virtually no care so I have a bunch of them.

Out front I have a blue Plumbago and it's done so well I think I'll probably add another one to the garden. I really appreciate flowers and plants that can take care of themselves.  Mac prunes and I deadhead and weed, but I don't want tempermental plants that need constant care.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Knees and Stairs

Front Stairs
Every where you go in our house there are stairs to negotiate.  Our house is built on a flood plain and under the newer zoning laws the main living area had to be built 12-14 feet above the ground.  So there are 11 steps up to the front door and from the garage up to the back entry and from the back yard there are steps up to the 2 decks.  Then once you're inside there are 14 stairs to the upstairs part of the house.
That means that every time we buy something it has to be carried upstairs.  And this is particularly true of groceries, we do our main shopping once a month, supplemented with fresh veggies as needed.  But that means there are bags and bag of groceries to be hauled upstairs.  On good days I'm only up and down the stairs a few times, but when my memory lets me down and I forget things, and we all know that doesn't happen very often, then I'm up and down them more times than I an count.
We're in pretty good shape for our age, although  my knees would disagree with that statement. They creak and moan and tell me they're not climbing any more stairs.  They want to know why we didn't buy a single story house like we meant to.    I worry that eventually we won't be able to deal with the stairs,  it's one thing to go up and down them empty-handed, carrying things up them is another story.


Garage Stairs






Inside Stairs




My knees complain, but who knows, maybe going up and down stairs is good for them, so perhaps  I need to sit down and have a talk with them about it.  Can anyone remember the old Alka Seltzer commercial where the man sat down to have a talk with his stomach?  LOL

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Names Will Be Named

About  18 months ago after we painted our upstairs family room and put down a wooden floor, we decided it was time to replace our old boat anchor tv, a Samsung, with a flat screen tv.  So after reading a number of reviews we went with one of the new guys on the block, Vizio.  When we bought another larger Vizio  we moved the first one downstairs.  Sunday the Vizio died, with little advance notice.  And the Samsung we gave away is still going strong, as is the JVC that we also gave away.
Before buying a replacement tv  I went on-line to see if other Vizio owners had suffered the same fate.  Instead of just reading reviews I typed in "complaints about Vizio" on Google (don't you just love Google) and found that there were numerous complaints just like ours, in fact some Vizios barely lasted 6 months.
So I did a lot of reading Sunday, looking for a tv that would fit in our  armoire which meant a 37 inch tv. Unfortunately there are few tvs in this size, Vizio seems to dominate.  Most tvs were 32 inch which it too small for the room or 40 inches and bigger which is too big for the armoire.  But after much reading we decided on either a Samsung or a Sanyo, and with this in mind we headed out to WallyWorld.  It quickly became apparent that we wouldn't be able to get a 37 inch  tv so we decided to ditch the armoire, it was huge, 7 feet tall, and instead move in the large antique blanket box we'd shipped back from England  a few years ago and put the tv on that.
So we bought a 40 in Samsung and brought it home.  All we had to do was empty the armoire, it had a million cds in the bottom of it and part of my Victorian glass jug collection in the top of it, slide a towel under it so we could move it (it's solid oak and weighs a ton), and then carry in the blanket box.   All was accomplished.  Goodwill is coming to pick the armoire up tomorrow and the only problem we have now is that we need to lower the paintings that were hanging above the armoire, they're much too high now.

And here's hoping that the Samsung lasts a long, long time and that the Vizio upstairs  (it's 6 months old) doesn't decide it needs to die too.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July!  It's not a perfect country, but having lived  in others and traveled to many more I can truthfully say there is no place on earth I'd rather live.
So enjoy your barbeques, fireworks and family it's our day to celebrate a great experiment that's still going strong after 236 years.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Painting Update





























Mac has been busy painting two paintings to go with the painting he did from Rosie's Blog, it's a big painting and the two he's doing now are smaller and will be companion pieces.    He's working with 4 pictures from Rowan's Circle of the Year Blog.   He's combining the first two pictures to make one of the paintings and he's adding a dog.  



The lady and the boy have been added to the other picture

















Then he's combining the next two pictures to make the other painting.  When they're done they'll hang on each side of the bigger painting he's already finished.






















Saturday, July 2, 2011

Seeking Dr. Who?

No this is not a Dalek, it's a portable room air conditioner.  We're setting all kinds of records here, today is the 44th day in a row with 90 or above temperatures, we'll break that record tomorrow.  There's no end in sight nor hope of cooler temperatures, and we won't even speak of the humidity.  Plus every  day in June topped 90 degrees  and that has never happened before.  So we're in for a long, hot, humid summer.  Which means lots of air conditioning.  Our house has central air conditioning, two units in fact, one for the lower floor and one for upstairs.  But unless we want to fund the national debt we can't run it all the time, and it makes little sense to cool a whole floor where some of the ceilings are 20 feet high when in fact we only want to cool the room we're in.
We have lots of fans including ceiling fans in every room but truthfully all they do is push hot air around so we went on-line and started looking at air conditioners and discovered that they have portable ones that you can wheel from room to room.  So we zipped over to Home Depot and bought one.   So far we've used it each night to cool our bedroom before we go to bed and it has done a nice job.  It's rather loud and you have to vent it out the window but it's quick and we're pleased.
I'm very much looking forward to our trip to England to escape some of this weather.  Summer sounds good in theory, and for a week or so it's fine, but it's only July 2 and it already feels like it's been here forever.

What's Cooking?

The kitchen smells heavenly.  I made vegetable beef soup, think it's the first time I've done that.  It's for lunch tomorrow and...