Monday, June 23, 2008

I'm Not Saying I'm Addicted, But...

I sit here typing on my husband's laptop counting down the hours till tomorrow. Tomorrow he has to go out of town to work and won't be back until Friday. So like the addict trying to do without a fix, I will be without the net for the rest of this week. Witness the cringing and wringing of hands. My pc is still not working. I could have sworn that I told Amanda I wanted her friend Willie to see if he could fix it before I have to start saving for a new one. But so far I have not heard from her about this. So thinking about four days sans net is a little like going through withdrawals. I want my MTV, I mean my PC! At least I had the chance to get some books so at least I will have something in my hands.

It does make me wonder what did we do without all these instant devices. Computers, cell-phones, e-mail, blackberries. Some people spend a lot of time sending text messages these days. What happened to calling on the phone? It seems like people go to the library not to check out books or do research, but to get in a wi-fi spot. We used to go to a coffee shop just for coffee. Now we take the laptop and sit for hours working or playing on the computer. It's no wonder the postage stamps have gone up so much. No one sends letters anymore. I can remember going to a store to buy cards for different occasions. It seemed to take forever to pick out just the right card for just the right person. Now people just send e-cards. Well, that is real personal, isn't it?

So, I guess by this time tomorrow I will be thinking things like, "Oh, I need to check out that." Or "Did anyone answer my e-mail." "What was the price of that?" But, I will have to wait until the laptop, and my husband, come home. Some how sending the kids off to school for the first time wasn't this hard.

Nice little laptop, I will miss you for the next few days. I will try to think of the day when my pc is pronounced well so that I won't call on you for support. I know you will have a good time playing poker in the evenings. Hurry home. Be safe. Oh yeah, you too, Jimmy.

Friday, June 20, 2008

June 20th is the Happiest Day of the Year?

Who is the idiot who decided that this day is the happiest day of the year? I guess if you are happy that you woke up and realized you are still alive, then it is. But a British psychologist has actually devised a formula to prove this is the happiest day of the year.

O + (N x S) + Cpm/ T + He Wonder how long it took him to do this.

So according to this formula you need Outdoor activity +( Nature x Social interaction) +Childhood memories/Temperature + He or holidays (days off). So we should all go play childhood games so we can be in the heat while we all get together to remember when we could play outside all the time instead of just on our days off.

Now do you really want to run around playing games outside while the temperature is in the 90's? Well, I guess taking an early morning walk looking at and listening to the birds would be ok. Then again, there aren't enough holidays or days off during the summer where we live to make me want to go do all this.

Happiness is relative. Maybe playing ball with the kids is fun, watching the Astros lose again, is not. Thinking about summers past at the beach or pool is a nice childhood memory. Watching a house/town flooding is not. Taking a vacation or holiday is fun, going back to work, not so much.

So let us all join in and make this day the happiest of the year. On the other hand this study was sponsored by an ice cream company. Go figure.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Yes, We Have No Bananas

So goes the song. I just read a story in the New York Times which suggested that bananas may soon cost $1.00 a pound. For years they have been priced around 20+ to 30+ cents per pound. Ecuador is the largest exporter of bananas. But Ecuador has had severe flooding lately. When you think of all the careful handling and miles bananas have go through to get here, one has to wonder why the price has not gone higher before. Fruits grown in this country have risen in price more and faster than the lowly banana. They don't even have to have travel that far either.Just look at apples. Prices for this fruit are getting a lot higher, as is much of our other domestic fruit. Transportation costs (fuel) is a big factor in the increase of fresh produce. But until recently the bananas have bucked the trend. Now, however, there is concern that will end and prices of bananas will join other produce in the lofty price group.

Maybe I should buy a banana tree. I have seen several growing around town. I wonder if they are any good. Poor little banana. Gas costs are rising daily, electric bills are sky rocketing. Now bananas are going up. What next?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Can You Hear Me Now? Can You Hear Me At All?

Remember that old cell phone commercial with the guy in the long, black coat saying "Can you hear me now?". Poor Annie is stuck in a "poor service" area and can't get good reception on her cell phone. She called last night to say that she had tried to call Jimmy Sunday. It was like "can you hear me now" all over again. She is really frustrated with the service in the little town where they are living. Ozona, Texas is a little spot on the map not far from San Angelo, Tx. It has a population of a whopping 3000 people. I guess because of the location, the cell phone reception is spotty at best. It would be a safe bet to say that she is not too happy with where they live. She has to go outside to call and even then she has to be in just the right spot to be able to call or hear anyone on her phone.

Ozona actually has some historic and interesting places to see according to the town information. But I guess they are too small and far away from any good cell phone towers to get good receptions. I guess that is why she would rather text message. How about smoke signals?

Then again our wonderful federal government has an office of the Department of Agriculture there. They have an office which handles rural home loans there. That is where Jason works. I guess if you are trying to move up the department ladder you have to take the bad with the good. Right? Can you hear me? Hello? Drat.

Monday, June 16, 2008

One Vacation Plus One Dead PC = Help!!!

Ah, I can feel the quiet, sort of. Jimmy went back to work today after a week's vacation. This man never takes a vacation so I was glad he finally took one. But when Jan could not come down we were left with no real plans. Not to mention all that wonderful Texas heat sapped any energy that was hiding in our beings. Who wants to go out in nearly 100 degree heat? Not us.

So most of the days were spent watching television while Jimmy played poker with his friends on-line. I think it is safe to say that I have probably now seen all or nearly all episodes of Law and Order, Law and Order Criminal Intent and Law and Order SVU. Well maybe I might have missed one or two, but who's counting? And how many times did I see the first three Indiana Jones movies? I now think I have seen the entire playlist of TMC. Jimmy decided to forgo watching any news programs, even the local ones. He would be married to a news junkie, right? Awww.

I felt a little lost, especially since my PC has apparently died for probably the last time. I had it repaired once. The next time I got lucky enough to get it working again myself. This time I don't think CPR would help. And just where is that friend of Amanda's who said he would fix it for us? Somehow seems like a game of "hide and seek". Jimmy even told Amanda that the PC is comatose, hinting broadly to her for some help from her elusive friend. While I like Jimmy's laptop, I still prefer my good old buddy, Mr. PC.

In the middle of all this Annie sent me a text message about someone who had commented on my blog. Annie keeps forgetting that, for me, to text is a long, arduous process. Still she persists. She had sent me a message that an "Uncle Mickey" had left a comment. She asked in her text if this could indeed be my uncle. Surprise! Apparently so...Talk about a long lost relative. We have not been in contact for many years. As a result we'll have to try to get together soon.

Saturday we did venture out to hit some stores to look at PCs, printers, and new tvs. Since we don't have the "new" HD tv we will soon have to figure out what to do. We also looked at printers for our computers. Our printer is not that old and works just fine. But the ink for it is nearly $70. We can buy a new printer for that money! We actually found one that we make get later which is an all in one and the ink is half the price. Plus it is wi-fi, too.

I did manage to buy some books with a gift card Amanda had given me. I have read all of the books we have here. I gave a lot of them away before we moved. Now I have something to read.

Jimmy's last day of vacation was Father's Day. Two of the kids called. The other two didn't. One never does. She might send an e-card, or not. The other must have missed the race cause she is usually the first or second to call. I think Amanda must have made Pat wake up and call. Ha,ha.

After I got my books we looked a fish for the aquarium. Jimmy has been longing for a bigger one. But he can't make up his mind. Imagine that! So we ended up buying some more fish instead. I guess that would be considered his present from the dogs.

Alas, vacation time is over for a while. Of course Jimmy's friend Jeff,from Alabama, may be in town for the 4th. He wants an escape from his wife and her parents who live here in Houston. He is already anxious for college football to start. He bleeds Crimson for the Tide.

Life goes on.Vacations end.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Baseball Is Not Just A Game

We went to the Astros-Cardinals game Sunday. Too bad, the Good Guys lost. Too bad our friend Jan could not be with us. The Club Level seats were great with a great view across first base. But, on occasion we had to be wary of foul balls which seemed to fly in our direction.

This was not the first time we had been to a Houston Astros game. I remember going to some in the old Houston Astrodome. The kids enjoyed being part of a little summer program where they got special things and got to go down on the field and talk to some of the players.

While watching the game at Minute Maid Park Sunday I thought of what it must look like to a person who has never seen a game in a stadium like we have. Seeing baseball on tv is good since you have a close up view of the batters. But to be there in the seats gives a completely different view. Everywhere you look are bright, flashing lights urging the fans to support the GoodGuys. Of course there is a really big screen tv to show the replays. The stadium even has the old scoreboard which used to be in the Astrodome. When the Astros hit homers the sign flashes with the huge bull with steam venting out his ears while the cowboy ropes him. Woe unto the opposing pitcher who gets pulled and sent to the showers. He'll see a cartoon of a pitcher being showered. There are some wild and fun graphics with this board.

The organ music is entertainment in itself. Several Astros have their own "theme" music as they come to bat. Or there is music to taunt the opposing team for their mistakes. Of course their music to encourage the fans to react. You would not think that a place like this could vibrate but it does. Then of course there is the train which sits high above the staduim. Just listen to the whistle blow and the bell clang!

All over the place fans bring homemade signs for their favorite players. Hunter Pence has his "Peeps". Carlos Lee has his fans who gather in the area called the Crawford Boxes with their toy stick horses and sombrero hats. They get animated when he sends a home run their way.

Even though the roof is almost always shut, except during the World Series (MLB rules) it can open. That is a very strange feeling to be sitting in the stands while the roof pulls back. Suddenly the air feels different and you get a little bit of a funny feeling. I suppose it is all in the mind. Most of the time it is closed during the games because of the heat. But sometimes late in the night games the roof will open. It is a visual game for your mind watching it open.

Movement is something that is not so obvious while watching a game at home on tv. Sitting in the stands you realize how far away the outfielders are and how much ground they cover when chasing a ball. The entire Astros' infield moves in toward the batter as the pitcher throws to the plate. All at once, like some kind of orchestrated dance move. Then there is the occasional bird that flys high above the field or into the rafters. How did those birds get in? Through the doors of course. Or the roof.

Sometimes I just wonder what a child who has never been to a Major League baseball game would think of a place like this. So much to see, so much to hear. So little time for the game. What do they think of it all. It is almost too much to take absorb in just one game. That goes for the kid in all of us.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Tinkle, Tinkle

Do your ever wonder what animals think? Do they have opinions? The other day Daisy discovered the fish in the tank as they swam around. She looked back at me as if to ask, "What are they doing?" Then she watched her reflection in the glass of the tv stand. "Who is this dog that looks like me and why won't it come out?"

When we go outside Daisy likes to take notice of what is going on in the neighborhood and the traffic on the streets. She doesn't think much of people who blow their horns to try to scare her. She just looks back at me with disgust. She would much rather try to get the attention of anyone who happens to walk around the parking lots.

But she is still inquisitive as to what goes on. She has to check out any thing that has been left on the ground, parking lots or walks. I guess she thinks she has to keep track of who is doing what. Our neighbor across from us can't always get his garbage in the can. Sometimes it lands on the ground or the walk. Daisy has to survey what ever she finds. I guess she thinks she is in charge of what hits the ground around here. She had to check out the burger wrapper which blew across the lawn. Then she had to check out the can in the paper bag which was littering the firehouse grass. It was only an empty Arizona Tea can, not beer. I think she might have been a little disappointed since she has been known to sneak a little wine now and then.

But yesterday she spotted a scratch off lottery ticket on lying on the grass. Apparently it was not a winner since the buyer tossed it away. Daisy walked up to it, gave it a once over sniff. Then she took a couple of steps, placing herself over it. Positioning herself just right, she squatted over it and peed on it. Was it just relief, or a social commentary?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

It is Hot Here, Turn up the Heat a Little More

Just when we were enjoying the balmy days of spring, summer has decided to raise it's ugly head. The temperatures have been getting hotter and hotter. We have gone from the relative comfort of the middle 80's to the upper 90's in a matter of just a few days. Every time I look at the weather forecasts on tv it looks worse. Of course I am sure there are some people who actually enjoy this weather. After all it is a little like living in a sauna. Not only are the actual temperatures in the mid to high 90's but the humidity is also climbing to high levels making the temperatures feel even hotter. Few clouds and no rain are expected. Right now at 11:00 it is in the high 80's. When the heat index is factored in the temperatures in the late afternoons feel closer to 100+ degrees.

Without any relief in sight, the Public Utility Commission has decided to issue some suggestions to avoid rolling blackouts. They suggest that if we are not at home we should set our thermostats at 85 and when we are home 78. They are also suggesting that we not use appliances and turn off lights between the hours of 3pm and 7pm. Let's see, don't use hair-dryers, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers. Don't use the oven, instead cook food in the microwave. Yeah, well I hate cooking anyway, but my microwave is about to die so I really don't want to use it. At least I always do my laundry in the morning.

Since my husband works a lot outside or in places that don't have a/c I can just see him coming home to a house that is 80 degrees. Not going to happen. I suppose the PUC is thinking people should not use computers either between 3 and 7pm. Just try prying Jimmy's fingers away from his poker game!

I hope the local utilities realize that this in only the first week of June. It doesn't really get hot until August or September. People living in Houston do not like to be hot. Man I can remember living in Alabama as a kid. Some places did not even have central air conditioning. My grandfather lived in New Jersey did not have it either. Looks like the cool summer breezes are gone with the wind. Fans anyone?

Monday, June 02, 2008

The Knock at the Door

The other day while I was trying to catch up on my emails and things there was a knock on the door. We don't usually have people just stop by so I looked through the peep hole to see a large man in brown standing there. Hum, I thought. When I opened the door I discovered it was the UPS guy who had an express envelope for Jimmy. So I signed for it and went back inside. When I opened it I discovered a letter from Jan and the baseball tickets she had bought. I did not know she was sending them. It seems that for some strange reason they only had a very small smoky look on one of the pictures. The tickets otherwise were in good shape. She had told Jimmy she was sending them but he forgot to tell me. So I was surprised. Funny how things in life happen. The tickets are really not damaged. Neither was a small stash of cash Jan had in a kitchen drawer. So I guess we will be going to the game this Sunday after all. Of course now that the Astros are on a losing slide with our luck, well I won't speculate on the game. Maybe they will win this one. I would at least be nice even if Jan can't join us. I still have a hard time thinking about what Jan must be dealing with right now. Well, she'll be with us in spirit.