Friday, March 30, 2007

The Flavors and Aromas of Life

It was not that long ago that things like coffee and soap had one flavor or smell. You either drank your coffee black or put sugar and/or cream in it. Now you can choose flavored coffees like hazelnut, Irish cream, pecan, and so on. You can also pick your favorite flavor of creamers both liquid and granule. How about a little coconut creme or chocolate? What ever happened to plain cream?. You can have flavored water and soda drinks. Even liquor is now flavored. Where once there was rum,vodka,tequila, now they have all sorts of fruit flavored brands. Liquor store shelf space is getting crowded with flavor choices. What used to be Jamaican rum now has several fruity flavors and colors of blue and pink and yellow. Just try to go to the store for a bottle of rum or vodka. What used to take 15 minutes will take an hour while you try to decide.

If all the flavoring of everything is not bad enough, now you have to choose what scent you want in your laundry detergent and fabric softener. Just what is "Spring Breeze" and will it be the same in the fall? How do you really know that "April Rain" is what April rain smells like. How come there is no "Fall Leaves" or "January Snowdrift"? And don't try to pick a dish detergent. There are flower and citrus scents everywhere. Is this going to make the dishes cleaner? If you don't rinse well, the plates may taste like soapy jasmine. Does "Lemon Cascade" really clean any better in the dishwasher than regular Cascade?

I can't decide on anything any more. Now when I go grocery shopping I have to open every different bottle to decide if I like the smell. I stand at the coffee and tea isles and try to decide if I will take this one or that one. What happens if I pick something and don't like the smell or flavor. Oops, throw it away and go buy a different one. Maybe it is a marketing ploy. Then again, all these added choices seem to have exploded in the last few years when people under 35 decided they wanted to mix flavors in the cocktails. Do they buy several different deoderants so they can smell different each day? No wonder there is an increase in the "mega" stores. With the explosion of choices in just about every brand, they need more space. Now, where is my husband? He said he was going to pick up a couple of things at the store. Maybe he is trying to decide what flavor of dog foood to buy.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Cats Out, Plants In

I haven't noticed any cat trails in the "litterbox" flowerbed lately. I did plant a couple of tomato plants and a sweet pepper and a bell pepper there. Then I took the old pots of cactus that I have had for a long time and put them in the corners. Guess the cats don't like to get stuck. I still wonder about one of the neighbors who leaves his second floor window open all night so his cat can "hangout".

Now I have to wonder when my landlady will send someone to mow and clean up the "yard". I have seen someone mowing and cleaning up the yard area of one of the three buildings. But our building and the one next door have not had anything done yet. Weeds are high both in front and back. We don't have any weeds in front by the parking lot, but the other building does. Of course we dont have much in the way of grass or even dirt in some places. Then again, when it rains all the dirt in the area along the walkways leaks out into the sidewalk. But the buttercups are doing well along the other side and back. Best looking weeds in the neighborhood!

I did clean out a lot of the airplane plants along the side of the "patio". So in a "public service" announcement, please do not plant airplane plants in a garden. They will rapidly take over all space and roots will be everywhere. I still have not gotten all the root dug up. What a mess. I was able to plant some caladiums and a couple of marigolds. I did find something strange when I was trying to clean out the space-several colored plastic stones. I picked out 5 of them. I have no idea how many are still buried in the dirt. Funny when I dug a garden along the side of the house where we used to live, I found plastic "crystals" buried in the dirt too. Odd. I wonder if it is some kind of cultural thing?

Now I am looking for some production out of what I planted. Hope springs eternal.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Just How Does a Person Fall Off a Cruise Ship?

What is going on here. I have seen several stories about people falling off cruise ships. How does that happen? I've never been on a cruise ship and don't really want to but that is just me. So how come there are so many people falling from these ships? These are not small boats. They are multiple stories high. I am guessing that there are railings along the deck sides. Are they not high enough to keep someone from falling? I saw a story a couple of years ago about a girl who fell off a motel balcony. It became a murder investigation.

Do these people who have fallen off cruise ships do it on purpose? Are they drunk, or seasick?Are they leaning over the rail to watch the ocean? Or is it a Titanic moment in which they think they are "king of the world"?

The latest accident happened around Galveston. Let's face it, a cruise ship won't stop quickly. The Coast Guard was called and the cruise ship had to stop and tell all the passengers to be quiet while the ship's crew shined lights into the water in an effort to find the overboard passengers. Luckily both passengers were rescued. Now they are apparently not talking. Hummm. Are they waiting for a book offer? Or how about a movie? They may be waiting a while. Wonder why they have nothing to say?

Monday, March 26, 2007

That Missed Call

I forgot to take my cell phone downstairs with me the other day. I keep it in the drawer of the bedside table so that Daisy won't be tempted. I accidentally left the remote on the bed and she chewed the cover off the battery holder. Needless to say, I dont want Daisy to think of my phone as a snack. So when I realized I didn't have my phone, up the stairs I went. As luck would have it, I had missed a call from my daughter. So I called her back.

"Hi, what did you want?"

"This is the other daughter, do we sound that much alike?"

"Well, other daughter, yes you do and it's not like I talk to you that much anyway. So why are you, other daughter, answering the other other daughter's phone"

"Because she is trying to figure out how to use my vacuum cleaner in her car."

"I see, well, other daughter, give the other other daughter's phone to her so I can ask her what she wanted."

"Ok, Now as I said the first time when I spoke to the other daughter, what did you want?"

"I don't remember."

"Where are you, and how come the other daughter answered the phone?"

"We're at the other daughter's house cause we are going to Colorado and she is keeping the kids for us. I wondered why she said she was the other daughter."

"Yeah, well she handed you the phone, now that makes you the other daughter, since I was talking to the other daughter and now I am talking to the other, other daughter."

"What do you mean I'm the other, other daughter? I'm the good daughter."

"Well since I just spoke to the other daughter and now I am speaking to you, that makes you the other daughter, right?"

"Uh, I have no idea, and I am getting a headache trying to figure this out."

"Well that's what I get for having two daughters who sound so much alike.So now tell the other daughter I said goodby and I'll talk to the other, other daughter when she remembers what she called me for in the first place. Right? Is that too hard to remember? She answered your phone and told me she was the other daughter, so since she handed you the phone that means she handed the phone to the other, other daughter."

Sometimes it is more fun to confuse daughters than it is to talk to them. Of course I don't think either of the other daughters have figured it out yet.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

You Might Need to Show Your Driver's License...

I was channel surfing yesterday afternoon and stopped at the Fox News Channel when I caught a bit of a story that grabbed my attention. I don't think I heard the whole story, but it bothered me a little. Remember when stores put cold medicine behind the counter in an effort to control how much was being bought? Since cold medicine has been heavily used in illegal meth production, the stores wanted to keep watch over the sale of the medicine. Some cold medicine makers even changed their formulas so that it could still remain on the shelves. I wonder if this has really helped.

As the Fox News story continued I was stunned to see that some stores/pharmacies now have a hand held device which scans drivers licenses when cold medicine is purchased. This way the store can keep a record of who is purchasing cold medicine and how many times it is bought. While I understand the need to control illegal drug labs, is this the only way? Yes I know that if a person only buys cold medicine once in a while, it should not be a problem. Just call me paranoid. I did read George Orwell's "1984" years ago. That is why the more times the government gets information on us the more I wonder if this is wise.

Soon all the states will be required to change the driver's licenses to comply with government regulations of a "national" ID/ driver's license. Yes we must be kept safe from attack and illegal aliens. Our national security is at risk, or so they say. It was not that long ago that when I had to get a couple of money orders for a little over $1000, I had to show my license and sign a book. Lately that seems to have almost gone away. At least I only had to do that only once. I've also noticed a change in buying liquor at some places. In the past when we would buy wine or beer at WalMart, the cashier would chuckle and ask if we were over 27. Now sometimes, they want a birth date. Oh but wait, it gets better. A couple of weeks ago we bought groceries at WalMart. When they rang up a bottle of wine, I had to give them my driver's license. They keyed in the number and I wondered why? We now have to show driver's licenses no matter what the age is to buy wine, beer, or liquor. Why? What's is funny is, at least at WalMart, not every store is following this new rule. Again, I wonder what is up.

Soon, we will have to show a driver's license to get married or have kids. Need a pair of shoes? Don't forget the license. Oh man! I forgot to get a quart of milk. Where did I put my license? Ah yes, the government is all knowing, all seeing, all screwed up.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Birds Do It, Bees Do It, So Get Off My Car!

Springtime in Houston, ah choo! Trees and flowers are blooming. Everywhere you look-pollen. Pollen is on the sidewalks and on the streets. It rained a few days ago and brought a lot of pollen out of the trees. People are sneezing and have itchy, watery eyes. Walking along the neighborhood streets you can see the yellow lines of pollen along the way. Escaping is impossible. Of course if all the pine and oak trees were cut down, there would be less pollen. But, that is not a good idea. There is a yellow film over everything. Barbeque pits, patios, and cars are all covered in pollen. Some people are driving around in a yellow haze. Others are spending a lot of time washing, or having their cars washed. Car washers are very busy. Pity the poor guy who has to keep the new cars clean at the dealerships. I washed the car last week and discovered more yellow pollen on the car Saturday. Where are the birds and bees who help to pollinate all these trees and flowers? Could they be pollinating the cars? Cars don't flower. If a tree dumps a load of pollen on a car, will a pine or oak tree grow? No. The birds and bees love to carry or feed on the pollen. Just like the old song says, "birds do it, bees do it". Move that pollen around. There are thousands of cars and trucks in Houston just waiting for that lovely yellow tinge. Maybe I should invest in a carwash. Get that pollen off my car. Time to wash the car again.

Friday, March 16, 2007

A Daschund as a Scapegoat?

There is a sad story in the news here. A 5 month old infant was injured and his genitals severely injured. The mother claims that he was mauled by the family dog, a daschund. A daschund? I've had daschunds for a lot of years and I have never seen this kind of behavior. My dogs have growled or snapped on occasion, only if they felt threatened. I just don't see that a daschund could or would do something so terrible to a baby. The local CPS is also skeptical about this claim. The child's mother said she was sleeping and woke to hear the baby crying. She said he was lying next to the dog. According to a neighbor the baby was naked. The mother apparently ran to the neighbor for help. Police are still investigating, but they don't think the dog did it. CPS says that they have never seen anything like this. The baby is now in the hospital and has had surgery. Reports are that he will probably never be able to have children and may have problems all his life as a result of this.

Who knows what really happened. The mother is not being fully cooperative with the police and her boyfriend was apparently not home at the time. I just don't understand why she would accuse the daschund of such a terrible thing. Now the poor little dog is in custody. I guess they could kill the dog and do a necropsy to see if any human tissue is in the stomach or intestine. But what if there is none? Lets just say that the baby and the dog deserve better. Hopefully the police will solve this crime soon and the daschund will be vindicated.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Just Thinking

Daisy and I went on our usual afternoon walk yesterday. Since it is Spring Break here there were some children outside. One cute little boy asked if he could pet her. I told him that would be ok. Daisy enjoyed the attention. But for a brief moment I worried. What if I were a stranger? I had seen the boy before from a distance occasionally. I had met his parents a couple of times when they went for a walk. But, for some reason, I felt strange and thought what if? With so many child predators out in the world, I just kept thinking about how easy it would have been. I remember seeing a tv report of how these people attract kids. Sometimes they ask the kids to help look for a dog or offer something to the child. I'm sure that somewhere a predator has used a dog or puppy as bait. I don't know why but this thought would not leave my head. Would this child be as eager to pet the dog if someone else was doing it? So, maybe I'm overreacting but... Too many children fall prey to unsavory characters. At least most of my neighbors have seen me walk Daisy every day. We don't know each other personally but I guess since I live in the neighborhood, they are not worried. But should they be worried? Daisy had fun. She bounced around and looked at me as if to say "that was fun Mom". But, I wonder, what if? Just thinking.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Really, It's Time to Dump That Pot(Plant)

I don't think there are very many women who don't like flowers and plants. We all love getting flowers for Valentine's, Easter, birthdays and anniversaries. The problem is that cut flower arrangements don't usually last more than a couple of weeks. Some of us also like to have plants in pots. Sometimes it is just a single plant or it could be an expensive gift arrangement. Like the cut flowers, plants in pots don't usually last very long either. Many flowering plants are nursery grown and forced to bloom at a certain time of year. Just look at all the poinsettias at Christmas, and the Easter lillies during the Easter season. It really doesn't matter what the plant is. Growing plants indoors is testy at best. From the common ivy or draceana to the picky African Violet, they seem to defy the owner. Imagine spending $20 to $40 on a palm tree only to have it decide to drop it's leaves and die. How many times do people buy a bromeliad thinking it will look good in the bathroom. Just pour the water in the little well at the top, right. Then watch it sour and die. The lovely African Violet that is blooming so well in the store will have it's leaves turn brown and the flowers fall off.

We are addicted to these moody green things. We love to buy them and decorate our homes. But sometimes it seems that these plants are on a suicide mission. As soon as we bring them home they decide to keel over and die. We wonder why? We watered it. Drowned it is more likely. Or sometimes we forget to water them at all. There they go. Call the plant doctor. Too bad the patient is terminal.

So how come so many people insist on keeping these dead things? We put them outside on a sunny day and forget to bring them inside when the temperature drops outside. I watched a lady in my building kill her corn plant this winter. She put it outside for the sun, then it froze. The same thing happened to her dracaena. Stubbornly holding on to hope that the plants will somehow come back to life, they still sit outside. The life is gone, no more leaves will sprout. So get rid of it! Why keep the skeletal remains of a once nice plant? Yeah that pot is big and expensive. So put something else in it. Better yet put a fake plant in it. They can't be killed. Of course dogs and babies may pull the leaves off. Making the ultimate sacrifice is difficult but sometimes it is best. Don't continue to look forlornly at that poor dead plant on the kitchen table. Take the now lifeless plant, go outside, walk over to the garbage can, lift the lid. Now dump the plant, pot and all in the trash. Your neighbors and the other plants will thank you. Face it you cannot make that plant live again. Once it is dead, that's it. It's time. Get rid of that pot plant.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Another Friday, Dig Up the Potpouri

Friday morning. All is quiet, well except for the crowd at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo who are yelling at Sam Champion. The Good Morning America weatherman is doing the weather from there. Somehow he looks a little out of place. Wonder how he is handling the smell? He is attempting to learn the difference between a llama and an alpaca, before doing the weather. Next up trick riding lessons. Don't even go there, Sam.

I saw a picture of Michael Jackson in Japan where the people paid $3500 for 30 seconds with him. There's a joke in there but I'll leave that to Leno and Letterman. What was the print on that suit he was wearing. From a distance he looked like a clown. So what else is new? I got it-bring him over to here to work as a rodeo clown. Wonder who he would scare more, the bull/bronco riders or the animals?

So, do we have another example of double standards? That pot is really calling the kettle black! Newt Gingrich just announced that he was having an extra-marital affair during the same time that he was leading the charge against President Clinton during the Monica days. I guess Newt wants to get those skeletons out of the closet now since he may run for president. Or maybe he read that Barack Obama paid his overdue parking tickets. Funny, when people decide to run for political office, their past escapades comes back to haunt them. And some candidates think no-one will find out... Ah, but the nose of the news never has a cold.

Paul Newman is in town to talk up the Houston Grand Prix. At 82, he still looks good to me! Somehow it looks a little funny to have McDonald's as his car's sponsor. Guess Newman's Own wasn't available to be a sponsor.

The sports people around here are having a field day over the fate of Texans quarterback, David Carr. Fans want him gone. The team is still reliving the nightmare of not drafting Vince Young. So now that draft season is looming closer, speculation is running wild. So is speculation about Roger Clemmons. Will he, won't he and where will he. The local media as well as the national is getting yet another "I don't know" from him. He's been everywhere, pitching BP here with the Astros to visiting his Yankee buddies.

Well, my coffee pot just beeped, time to get that last cup and contemplate the day. Or at least go make the bed. Daisy is hinting that she wants to go for a walk.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Government Dysfunction?

It seems like every time I look at a news issue which involves our government, there is no answer. Maybe it is my imagination. It does not seem follow any party line, it just seems to waste time. Looking at the bipartizan panels and what they have done, or not done, recently I wonder what does get done. The recent commissions on 9/11, the Iraq War and now Military Health Care are just the most covered issues of late. The President appoints a panel to research and offer suggestions about an issue. The report is published. The President reads it. Then off to report heaven it goes, never to be heard from again. A lot of people were very critical of the lack of response to the 9/11 report. The Iraq War report has been sort of swept under the rug. Now that Mr. Bush wants a panel to study the problems with Walter Reed and other military health care issues. I have a sinking feeling that unless the American public does not demand action, there will be little done.

The Senate and House both have their pet projects. Each state has issues they want to present to their elected representatives. I get the feeling that there is a lot of money spent by our government on doing very little. We have all heard of the millions, or billions spent on "pork" that ultimately benefits very few. On big issues of national interest we have the same problem. Lots of talk, little action. Maybe the Walter Reed disaster will change this. I hope so, but...

If a business were to run the way the government does it would be in bankruptcy. Maybe we could turn the government into a for profit company? Nah, they still couldn't accomplish anything. Are we paying our government by the word? There seems to be a lot of words spoken but little done. Let's watch what is done about the military health care system. This terrible situation is center stage. As far as I am concerned how this is handled will dictate not only how we solve problems but how the world will view us.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Litterbox Garden

When we moved here I noticed that the previous tenent had a small garden in the back area. It was a small square bordered by wood edging and pieces of wood. Well of course the pieces of wood are falling apart now. I recently dug the weeds out and smoothed the soil. Apparently this used to be an herb garden because while cleaning it out I found several little markers telling what was planted where.

I had great plans to put a couple of tomato plants and a few little flowers there. Now I guess there is no point to doing it. Why? The neighbor's cat or cats seems to think the garden area is his/her personal litterbox. Every night some wonderful little feline comes along and uses the dirt. I know this because every morning when I walk the dogs, I see that the dirt has been dug in and re-arranged. So I feel disappointed. I don't know if there is anything I can do to keep the cats out of it. I don't want to go to the expense to grow something there if it is going to be constantly dug up.

With dirt under my fingernails, again, I think it would be a pointless exercise. Sigh.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Scottish Lady's Poem

This poem was written by an eldery Scottish woman in a geriatric hospital near Dundee, Scotland. It was later published in a Northern Ireland Mental Health News Magazine.

What do you see,nurses,
what do you see?
What are you thinking
when you look at me?

A crabby old woman,
not very wise,
Uncertain of habit,
with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles her food
and makes no reply
When you say in a loud voice,
"I do wish you'd try!"

Who seems not to notice
the things that you do,
And forever is losing a
stocking or shoe...

Who, resisting or not,
lets you do as you will,
With bathing and
feeding, the long day to fill...

Is that what you're thinking?
Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse:
you're not looking at me.

I'll tell you who I am
as I sit here so still,
As I do your bidding,
as I eat at your will.

I'm a small child of ten...
with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters,
who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen,
with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now
a love she'll meet.

A bride soon at twenty--
my heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows
that I promised to keep.

At twenty-five now,
I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide, and a
secure happy home.

A woman of thirty,
my youngest now grown fast,
Bound to each other with
ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons
have grown and are gone.
But my husband's beside me
to see I don't mourn.

At fifty once more,
babies play round my knee,
Again we know children,
my loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me,
my husband is dead;
I look at the future,
I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing
young of their own,
And I think of the years
and the love that I've known.

I'm now an old woman...
and nature is cruel;
'Tis jest to make old age
look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles,
grace and vigor depart,
There is now a stone
where once I had a heart.

But inside this old carcass
a young girl still dwells,
And now and again
my battered heart swells.

I remember the joys,
I remember the pain,
And I'm loving and living
life over again.

I think of the years...
all too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact
that nothing can last.

So open your eyes,
nurses,open and see,
Not a crabby old woman;
look closer--see ME!

Monday, March 05, 2007

There's a Tear in His Eye

Amanda went to Waco this weekend to visit her sisters and their families. They don't get much chance to visit as often as they would like. So she and her friend drove up there from Houston. They had a real party. Good old Texas sausage, beer and whatever. Amanda showed us pictures of the kids. Kids grow so fast. On her way home she called her Dad to tell him when she would be home. She also told him that Traci, Annie and she got together to fix some flower arrangements for the graves of Jimmy's parents. Amanda also took some pictures for him. He was very touched. As he got off the phone I noticed he was a little emotional, which he rarely is. The thought of the girls taking the time to do that really made him happy (and a little sad). Sometimes just a little thought helps. I think that was a very nice thing for them to do. Thank you, girls.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

How Many Legs?

So maybe this has always happened in the grand scheme of things, or has it? In the last few years I have seen more and more pictures on tv showing genetic oddities in the animal world. Seems that more and more often, I see these. Calves with two heads are a freguent picture as are pictures of dogs, cats, chickens and other animals with extra legs. Then I've also seen pictures of snakes and lizards with two heads. This morning I saw a picture of a frog with eight legs. Not too long ago there was a news item which said that changes in frogs were an indication of some possible things wrong with our planet. Frogs and lizards are supposed to be more sensitive to changes in the environment than other species. Is that why frogs have been changing their sex or do they just have gender issues? I wonder if this has been going on for a long time and we just didn't pay attention? Or is this a media attempt to alarm us? Many people are trying to increase our awareness of the changes on our planet. From the global warming issues to changes in the different creatures sharing the planet with us, should we worry? Is the media making much ado about nothing? Or is there something more sinister going on? Let's see today, the local tv news showed a lamb with 5 legs and a frog with eight. Go figure.