Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cardinal Sighting

I saw a cardinal in my garden today. I'd seen it (I assume it's the same one!) a few times. Do they tweet loud? I had been hearing some loud bird all morning.

What struck me about seeing this bird is how weird it is to see something in person that you've seen thousands of times in photos -- it's almost like it's more real in the photos than in reality. I had that same feeling the first time I went to the Paris Air Show and saw the Eiffel Tower. I remember thinking "Oh, it looks just like the pictures..." Well, yeah. 

Over the weekend, I'm going to try to get my own photo of my own cardinal. It's so bright red.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Neat Quote

I saw John Quinones of ABC on a TV show, pitching his TV show called "What would you do?" and some of you may have seen it -- it's a sort of Candid Camera where people act out ethical dilemmas and see how people react -- will they speak up in the face of something wrong or remain silent?

I don't regularly watch the show, but I've seen portions of it -- on this show I just saw, John spoke of an experiment where a teenager (actor) in a drug store asking an adult (not part of it) to buy him condoms. In another one, a teenager (actor) asks adults to buy beer for him and his friends. John Q said that more adults were willing to buy the beer (which I wouldn't ever do) vs the condoms (which I might have done.)

Anyway, in a clip they showed, there was a gay female couple with kids who were being berated by the waitress when she realizes the mothers are gay.

One man who hears this mother gets up and leaves, but then he comes back and he hands a note to the daughter who reads it aloud, and it's the most beautiful note of support and it ends with this quote from Martin Luther King which I'd never heard, but looked up:

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

I was so struck by that, and it reminded me of a time, now 25 years ago, but it still smarts when someone was stalking/harrassing me and I finally identified who it was (he was doing the harassing anonymously) and this other fellow at work knew what that this guy had put me through the wringer, and he continued to socialize with him as this great guy. When I confronted him about it, like "knowing what X did to me, how could you socialize with him?" and this fellow (my friend, or so I thought) said, "Yeah, but he didn't do anything to me."

Here's the clip, and the note is read at the 3:45 mark. You can't hear this note without tears coming to your eyes.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

And now it's PUPPIES!

A colleague of mine and his wife breed Labrador Retrievers -- complete with a puppy birthing center. This group was born last week and Mama Dog had to have an emergency Ceasarian. I believe there are nine of them!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Is this a joke?

I got a Groupon offering for this walk-in emergency medical care facility that's a block over and so I was reading the offer which ends in:

People of all ages may come in for an office visit, guaranteeing treatment for pediatric, elderly, and paleolithic patients.

What is a paleolithic patient? A caveman?? Is this a term that means something else?

Mary's Netflix Recommendation

Mary writes: I just watched Been Rich All My Life from Netflix - "Join the Silver Belles, a group of five former Harlem showgirls now aged 84 to 96, as they continue to entertain in this documentary by Heather MacDonald." It is so much fun, inspiring, and touching - it's one of the best movies I've seen in years. If you get a chance, I really encourage watching it. I did that instant view at Netflix thinking I'd sort of idly watch it and I was just mesmerized. These are amazing women and I would have loved to have spent time with them. I'm determined to learn tap dance!

Friday, June 24, 2011

What I'm Reading: Nothing Daunted

I hadn't really paid attention to the title of this book -- of course, I knew what both words meant and they sort of made sense together. As I was googling it just now to find an image of the cover, I noted that it is an idiom in Britain and Australia... I don't think it is here -- If it is, I don't think I've ever heard it.

nothing daunted (British & Australian formal)

if you continue to do something, nothing daunted, you are not worried about problems you have with it:  I've had three letters of refusal but, nothing daunted, I'm writing a fourth application.

Anyway, this is a true story about two young society women who decide to have an adventure and travel from New York to Colorado to teach school. This is in 1916 and their year in Colorado (culture shock) was pieced together through saved letters home. It's been quite well reviewed -- written by the great niece of one of the women.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Deli Slicing

I just now read Stephanie's kvetch about how the deli guy can't slice the cheese thick. This is another pet peeve of mine, but I want the opposite. I typically buy 1/4 pound of sliced ham and I like it (less than) paper thin. I like it translucent so you have to handle it so gingerly since it will fall apart.

I arrived at this solution, which works most of the time. Instead of just saying "slice it thin," which is what everyone says, I make it a personal challenge and say, "Can you slice that as thin as you possibly can?" and it makes them pay more attention. I believe that micro-thin sliced deli meat is an artform and when I get it home and see it done the way I want it pleases me more than it should.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Paper Declutter

My helper Marilyn came today and we attacked this ageing, foot-high pile of papers that consisted of paid bills, receipts, um... um... other assorted papers that aren't immediately throw away material.

She also shredded the back up material for my 2005 taxes, and between that and my papers, we ended up with a tall garbage bag of shreds.

I know there were papers in that pile that I have tried to deal with a dozen times, and today I did.

Here are two examples. I would say at least five years ago, but probably more, Barbara gave me a bunch of one cent stamps that she didn't need. Over the years, I've used them to upgrade the old stamps when there was a postage increase. I had recently found two 37 cent stamps and literally filled half of two outgoing envelopes with seven one cent stamps. Well, I was down to six stamps and today I reluctantly ditched them. That was hard, but I did it.

The second paper was a Christmas card where I so liked the inside verse that I saved it. Every time I picked it up, I'd want to keep saving it. But that's the kind of thing that has no home. So I decided I would post the verse on here (the sunflowers will now make sense) and when I want to read it again, I can come back to today's post. Plus, this verse seems appropriate for the first full day of summer.

This verse is a line from an ancient Persian poet named Hafiz... and he wrote:

All this time
The sun never says to the earth,
"You owe Me."
What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the
Whole Sky.

And now I can recycle the old Christmas card.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Summer Solstice!

The ancients had so many ways to  celebrate the solstice. As for me, I'm having dinner tonight with Barbara at a Greek coffee shop/diner. I'm thinking of meat loaf. Happy Summer to all.

Friday, June 17, 2011

How Old Am I?

The older I get, the more difficult it is to grasp how old I actually am.

Two anecdotes:

I have this marvelous handyman who did beautiful work in my garden, and got highly pissed off about one of the upstairs neighbors dropping cigaret butts out the window that land in my garden. He told me that if he ever comes across this neighbor, he is going to confront him, and refer to me as his aunt.

I was a little taken aback because "aunt" implies that I am a generation older than he is. When I was telling Mary this story, she asked how old the handyman is... and I said... "I guess around 40"... and in Mary's semi-smirking "uh huh" the truth slapped me upside my head. I am old enough to be his aunt! 

I have to say I think of us as contemporaries.

A New York Blue Cross/Blue Shield commercial is running constantly. In it, a couple are in their living room with band music playing somewhere in their home. The man asks the woman if she has called Blue Cross/Blue Shield yet, and she says no because of the loud music.

The man, who I have to say is "old" but hot, gets up and you think he is going to tell the people to stop playing the music. When he walks in the room, the band turns out to be his grand daughter and her friends and the grand daughter apologizes for the loud music and he indicates she should hand him her guitar. She sort of hangs her head in shame and hands over the guitar and he straps it on and starts playing "Born to be Wild" to the young folks' great delight.

I have to say I hate that it's comical that the "old guy" is playing "Born to be Wild" -- oh, I forgot to mention that the grand daughter says, "Sorry, grandpa" and it just clunks in my ear. She sounds like she's being sarcastic -- like you'd yell at a slow moving car,  "Hey, move it Grandpa!" But she's not. She is simply calling him Grandpa.

I look at this man -- and he is attractive -- and he looks young and vibrant and robust to me and I can't believe he is being marketed as a cool senior citizen looking for a good deal on some addition to his Medicare. How old are we?

PS: I did recently get some reprieve from this. I had bought groceries, including a six-pack of beer for when Mary and her sister were here in case we wanted beer. When the groceries were delivered, I usually have to sign for them to show they were delivered, and I did that, and then the delivery guy hands me something else to sign that looks like an affadavit and begins something like "I hereby swear that..." and I am thinking what the hell is this? But it was to swear that I was over 21 years old. So that made me laugh -- hadn't been asked to prove I was over 21 in a very long time.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Language Confusion

My manicurist who is from Venezuela was reminded of a conversation when I told her I had been to Ohio on a trip. She said she and some other Venezuelans were talking about how when they first got to this country they mispronounced words badly. She was laughing about it and said that one fellow said he pronounced Ohio as Oh-hee-oh which is how you'd pronounce it in Spanish. I asked her what she mispronounced and she said there were too many to name.

I am often struck by how difficult English must be for a non-native speaker, as well as pronunciation and spelling.

That reminded me of when my brother was small and he was reading a lot of Western history and would see Sioux and had never heard the word and in his head, while reading, would pronounce it Sigh-ux. The Si-ux Indians. Then he finally put two and two together and realized that Sioux was the "sue" indians.

I had wondered if I had any experience like this, and I couldn't think of anything until today. And I'm still sort of in a state of surprise about it. Ok, you know the suitcases that have wheels and a handle that fit into the overhead compartment on an airplane?  During boarding, the flight attendants would tell passengers to put these kind of suitcases in "wheels first."

I didn't know they had a particular name, but the flight attendants would call them (I thought) "roller boards" -- that's what I thought they were... roller for the wheels and board for the hard surface of the outside.

You can imagine my surprise today when I read the word "roll aboard" and the lightbulb went off. Oh, so it's ROLL ABOARD! Never knew that.  Of course, I sound like an idiot, thinking all this time they were roller boards.

Let's Kvetch!

I have two kvetches today -- for those who don't know a kvetch is a light-hearted complaint -- sort of whining when you're aware you're whining.

So here are my two, experienced within the last 24 hours.

I hate when I am talking to an automated answering/phone tree when the automated voice gets this suppressed laugh in its mechanical voice as if what she is saying is just so effing amusing. I think they try to inject some humanity into the voice, but we all know it's a mechanical voice -- not to mention "Yes, I can do that for you" just isn't that funny.

Another place I call regularly -- it may be Delta -- inserts the sound of a typewriter typing. Really folks? A typewriter? So after you give your 27-digit account number, you hear 27 clicks of the typewriter. Probably half the people who call have never heard a typewriter type. I can just feature the bozos sitting around the room talking about how they can give the customers a sensory experience by providing the sound of typewriters.

I do know that the Delta voice says, "Let me find your file" -- does anyone believe that the mechanical voice is going through a filing cabinet? Then, "Here it is" -- oh thank God you've found it.

Second complaint is I received my installment bill from my house insurance yesterday. Yesterday was June 15. The bill is dated June 6 and it's due June 25.  Whatever happened to 30 days? Why couldn't they send the invoice sooner?

End of kvetching for now. Please share yours. The pettier, the better.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Handle Me!

I've been thinking about being handled and trying to figure out when I want to be handled, and when I don't. I returned to the dentist today for the full bad news (which I received). Oprah says that any problem that can be solved with money isn't a problem. Easy for her to say. This dental situation can be solved by money -- in fact, money is the only problem really. I kept hearing Lane's advice in my head: YOU ARE IN CONTROL. It was like a tug on a dog's choke chain for me. When I'd feel myself begin to dissolve, I'd tell myself that I was in control.

Well, this hygienist believes she is director of NYU Dental School. I know she is really trying to be patient-centric and holistic, but I find it annoying. Today, as I'm lying there with a bib on, she is walking me through this brochure and I was pretending to pay attention. I get this fake beatific smile on my face and say "uh-huh" or "oh, OK" and nod my head as if I not only am fascinated but I get the great importance of the info.

At one point, she says in full perky mode: "dont is the latin word for teeth and peri means around so peridontics is... "and I really wanted to say STFU. (In case you don't know that abbrevation, ST stands for "shut the.." and you can figure out the rest.)

So I want to be treated as if I have a brain, and yet I really don't want to hear the explanation. I don't want a language lesson more fit for a sixth grader.
Later, when the appointment was over and I was waiting for the computer to spit out my $15K plan (yes, 15,000 as in dollars), the office woman (whom I actually like the most) is now walking me through the plan and then pulls out this plastic laminated presentation card from an outfit called CreditCare which for 14.9% interest will loan you the money for dental work. Wow. What a deal.

I swear all I could think of is some greasy CreditCare sales rep who provided her with her sales kit and trained her and showed her how to use the chart to explain to potential customers so she could sell CreditCare. I know that medicine is all about the bucks, but I wish they could hide it better or something.

One technique the office woman used which I did appreciate and thought was effective is that she said that I must feel overwhelmed and she wants me to think about the plan and call with questions and that she was not going to make the next appointment until I was able to digest all this.

I don't have any conclusions -- maybe I don't want these people to foist themselves on me as part of my "health-care team" -- just like I don't want strangers to foist themselves on me as new friends.

It does annoy me, though, the breezy way the cashier (or whatever the title is) announces, "Pat, that will be $750 for today" or "Pat, it's $300 for today" on and on and on... as if there is some great well of money that never goes dry because...

there's always CreditCare!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Happy Birthday, Fran!

Mary's Burning Question.... SOLVED!

How did we live without the Internet? Mary emailed me:

I got this calorie free soda called Refresh that tastes like a creamsicle, so I started wondering, what's the difference between a creamsicle and a dreamsicle? 

A few seconds, a dozen keystrokes, and now we all know:

The sherbet-like shell of the Creamsicle is identical to that of the Dreamsicle, but the payoff inside is ice cream in the former, ice milk in the latter. The difference in price, last time I checked, was about a nickel.


I swear I was 25 years old before I could have the ENTIRE popcicle. I grew up always having to share a popsicle with my older sister. Luckily we agreed on flavors -- most of the time we'd get cherry, sometimes orange, sometimes grape and sometimes (but rarely) root beer.

If the popsicle had melted just a bit, when you tried to break it in half, it would break horizontally and then you'd have to eat half of it off the stick, and half of it in your hand as it melted more. When we'd go to my grandmother's house in Wisconsin in the summer, we'd go to this tiny neighborhood grocery store that sold (really) penny candy and we'd get candy and popcicles. I always loved the smell of that store. It was a combination of the owner's stumpy cigar, yeasty bread and other things but it had this wonderful distinctive smell. I don't think the two-stick popcicles are made any more.

Saturday, June 11, 2011


Got curious about this word, and googled it -- checked out the Urban Dictionary which says:

An expression of surprise, and/or of joy.

Wahey, I won a million bucks.
Wahey, the brakes don't work.

I still don't know how to pronounce it. Maybe it's not British after all.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Home Again Safe and Sound

I'm home, and happy to be here, and all is well. I am thrilled that it's Friday and I don't have anything I have to, have to do right this second. So I'm catching up on a tsunami of emails.

Speaking of which, here's a line from a British colleague -- it's how he closed the email:

Now off to France on hols! Wahey!

Who says we speak the same language? I've noticed that Brits abbreviate things in ways I don't think we do. Like University becomes Uni, for example. Thus "hols" is holiday/holidays although we'd say "Now off to France for vacation" or "Now off to France for the weekend" or whatever.

I have no idea what Wahey means or how one pronounces it -- I think the US equivalent would be "Yahoo!"

I've noticed more and more people saying "vay-cay" (for vacation) which I find oddly annoying -- I think that started as a Britishism.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day Five: Almost Home

I could have made it home today, but with the heat and driving alone, I decided to stop for the night about 2 hours outside of New York. I'm in Allentown, PA with the Billy Joel song of the same name rattling around in my brain.

After temps in the high 90s all day, the weather finally broke with a massive thunderstorm which made me glad I was not driving.

One thing left over from yesterday is that I got my Sirius Radio fixed, much to my surprise and delight, by a wonderful guy in Sirius customer service. I called their toll-free number just as a last resort, really not expecting anything. The man gave me one week free -- and this is after making sure he understood I was in a rental car. He had to have the satellite zap the car which did happen and I was in business. I was so appreciative and I have to say I was very impressed with Sirius's customer service. I did have to give them my name and address, but no credit card or anything so I was quite pleased and had great radio all day today.
The scariest sign I saw today was in a truck stop restroom and it was the usual one about how employees who are involved in food prep must wash their hands. Nothing scary there, but then the sign laid out step by step how to wash your hands -- up to and including throwing the one sheet of paper toweling in the trash. Wow.

On Tuesday night at my business meeting, we had dinner at a colleague's home. It was a cookout and she made the most amazing baked beans --which I have to say is one of my favorites, but this was so good, and she brought me the recipe.

We'll call this "Annette's Baked Bean Casserole"

1 can kidney beans
1 can lima beans
1 can garbanzo beans (chick peas)
2 cans 16 oz baked beans

You drain all those beans.

Then you cook 1 pound of ground chuck in bacot fat with 1 onion and 1/2 green pepper (both diced).

1 small can tomato sauce
1 cup of ketchup
1/2 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard

With the sugars, Annette has put an asterisk and noted "Can substitute Splenda products"

Cook for 90 minutes at 350. It can also be cooked in a crock pot for a few hours.

It looked incredibly home-made -- When I was eating the beans, I thought they had all been soaked and cooked etc. I would definitely make this for the next cookout.

One last food comment -- the following day, at lunch, we had another cookout, this time I had a hamburger which was I thought one of the best hamburgers I've ever had in my life. As I was eating it (with home-made cole slaw on top... yum!) I was thinking it must be a long time since I'd had a charcoal broiled burger as I had forgotten how wonderful they taste. When I mentioned this to the host, she said there's a reason the burger tastes so good and I was expecting her to say something like because her husband cooked them or something, but she whispered that it was a prime rib burger. Oh. My. God. It was heaven.

And finally, here's what my room looks like in the Red Roof Inn in Allentown -- first my king-sized bed...

The TV and the desk....

The microwave and the refrigerator (both empty!) At last night's hotel, there was also a microwave with two packages of popcorn which I should have taken with me, but didn't.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day Four -- Done and Headed Eastward

Finished the meeting around 5 so I only drove for a few hours and I'm still in Ohio. I googled the town -- Cambridge, Ohio -- and I may try to find the downtown before I leave tomorrow. This place supposedly has statues of all the Dickens characters displayed downtown and also it's the birthdplace/hometown of Hopalong Cassidy. Does anyone under 60 even know who he is? 

Love the exhuberance of being proud of your graduating class year -- it always sounds to the graduate as something important.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Day Three is hot, hot, hot

Nothing much to report. One day down, one day to go. This meeting is supposed to be over at 4 pm tomorrow at which time I will head east. I guess it's hot everywhere in the eastern US today and here in rural Ohio it was in the 90s and sunny.

Somehow I screwed up my Sirius radio -- I think my hand brushed a button or dial or something as it's stuck on this intro channel and I can't get back to my regular channels I had. I think I'm going to ask someone tomorrow to fix it -- I swear, driving back from the meeting which ran through dinner and afterward to the hotel, I tried every configuration of buttons but couldn't fix it and I really want it for the ride home.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sign of the Day for Tuesday

Have never seen a sign like this -- this is for an inside swimming pool. Shouldn't they also then make guests get out of the bathtub?

PS Hadn't realized how close I am to the Indiana border -- Dusk didn't arrive until about 9:30.

Dayton, Ohio -- Day two of six

I'm at my destination, and my meeting starts tomorrow for two days. I had one weird experience today. I had gotten off the highway to get gas, and went to one of those gas/convenience store places. As I was getting out of my car to use the restroom, I noticed an Amish couple outside the store going through their suitcases. I just stopped getting out, sat in my car and looked at them -- about 20 feet away.

You see Amish people in television and movies, yet to see some in person is quite another thing. Of course I wanted to photograph them, but didn't think that was appropriate. What was so intriguing to me is that they look like something out of the 1800s who had been dropped in the front of this modern mini-mart.

I went inside and notice a board giving Greyhound bus times, so I guess this place doubled as a bus station. When I left I was going to see if I could take a photo unobtrusively, but I couldn't, which I know is just as well. What I'm trying to say is that they looked like people dressed as Amish, but they were really Amish.

I mentioned I have Sirius satellite radio, and yesterday I had been listening to the standup comedy station where they'd have all different comedians and about 5-minutes from each one. One comedian was doing a bit about people asking dumb questions -- he told of a dinner party where someone said at the table that on the way to dinner he saw a clown walking down the road.

A woman said, "Was it a real clown or just someone dressed as a clown?" -- That was the joke, but it sounded like a question I could ask. I thought of that today, "Were they really Amish or just people dressed like Amish?"

Anyway, here is Columbus at 70 mph:

I'm near Dayton, but outside of it in the country. Here's the view out of my second-floor hotel window. I am at the far end of the Eastern time zone so this photo was taken at 7:30 p.m. --- I'ts now 8:00 and the view is the same.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

On the Road Again -- Day one of six

Headed to Ohio, and am now safe and sound in Pennsylvania near the Ohio border. Not much to report other than I really like my rental car which is a Kia Sport. I like it because it's comfortable and also it came with Sirius satellite radio which really makes the miles fly by. Heard an interesting show called "American Voices" which was an NPR-style show and first the host (former NJ Senator Bill Bradley) plays four voices and you have to guess who it is. I got the two men, not the two women. It was Dwight Eisenhower and Alan Alda. The women were Alice Walker (whom I don't think I've ever heard) and Cokie Roberts (who sounded familiar but didn't guess it.)

Then there was this wonderful story about this high-powered business exec who traveled a lot and wondered what happened to the bar of hotel soap which he used once. I have wondered the same thing. Turns out that a good old bar of soap can stop so many diseases -- and that many third world kids never get a bath with soap. This man also pointed out that third world children's bodies expend so much energy fighting off disease (of course, I'm simplifying this) that they turn out physically smaller and mentally weaker.

So he started slowly with one hotel -- putting a bin in the housekeeping room where hotel maids would drop the used soap and it just grew. He found a way to easily sterilize the soap and reshape it, quit his corporate job and now this is his full time job and he has given away 7 million bars of soap worldwide. The group is called "Clean the World."

And here's my favorite sign of the day:

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Electronic Frustration.... AAAAARRRRRGGGGGHHHHH

On my cable service, as I change TV channels, the name of the channel, the name of the program and the times of the program appear at the bottom of the screen. If you click on INFO, it will give you a description of the show.

Every so often, this service goes down. For the past 24 hours, I've had blank boxes with "loading" in it rather than program info. I know it's a simple solution, but I couldn't remember how to do it. I thought Time Warner Cable might have a FAQ with the solution so I went to the website. No such info, but you could chat live, and I (wrongly) thought "Oh, this will be easy."

My first clue should have been when I had to download software to do the chat. I did that. I typed in my name, phone, email, etc. I typed in a "detailed description of the problem."

Then I get Rolando who needs to start at square one. He asks me to describe the problem. This is a pet peeve of mine. I just said to Mary the other day about another call like this, "why can't that data go with you?"

Anyway, this is about halfway through the discussion:

Rolando(Sat Jun 4 19:15:06 EDT 2011)>Could you please provide me with your account number?

patricia_(Sat Jun 4 19:15:15 EDT 2011)>i don't have that handy

Rolando(Sat Jun 4 19:15:41 EDT 2011)>Could you please provide me with the last bill amount in order to authenticate that you are the account holder?

patricia_(Sat Jun 4 19:16:15 EDT 2011)>then I have to go to citibank as I pay electronically. stand by. I thought this was supposed to be easy. So far, it hasn't been.

Rolando(Sat Jun 4 19:16:53 EDT 2011)>I understand you very well.

Rolando(Sat Jun 4 19:17:02 EDT 2011)>Please let me apologize if it has caused you any inconvenience.

Rolando(Sat Jun 4 19:17:10 EDT 2011)>Could you please provide me with the last bill amount in order to authenticate that you are the account holder?

patricia_(Sat Jun 4 19:18:48 EDT 2011)>5/31 for $97.20

Rolando(Sat Jun 4 19:19:07 EDT 2011)>Thank you.

Rolando(Sat Jun 4 19:19:38 EDT 2011)>Could you please provide me with the serial number of the box with the issue? This number is in the back side of the box, and it begins like"SA.."

patricia_(Sat Jun 4 19:19:45 EDT 2011)>you've got to be kidding

Rolando(Sat Jun 4 19:20:27 EDT 2011)>At the end of the chat I would like to create you a security PIN on your account, it would make faster and easier your account verification at any moment you need information of your account, or at any moment you want to make a change to your account services.

Rolando(Sat Jun 4 19:20:51 EDT 2011)>That is why I ask these two questions.

patricia_(Sat Jun 4 19:21:03 EDT 2011)>I just want the darn TV guide. I don't want a PIN. I don't want anything but to know the name of the show. CAN'T THIS JUST BE SIMPLE??

Rolando(Sat Jun 4 19:21:28 EDT 2011)>Sure.

Rolando(Sat Jun 4 19:21:37 EDT 2011)>May be in other time.

Rolando(Sat Jun 4 19:22:11 EDT 2011)>Could you please follow some Instructions with me?

patricia_(Sat Jun 4 19:22:16 EDT 2011)>yes

[he then gives the instructions which is basically unplug everything and plug it back in]

I did it, and it worked and I have my TV guide back, but man, what you have to go through to have that happen. I get so sick of individual PINs, passwords, 15-digit account numbers (followed by the pound or hash sign...)

Friday, June 3, 2011

We All Scream for Ice Cream

I love ice cream. I really do. The good stuff. The high butterfat count stuff. USA Today did a feature on weird new ice cream flavors today. The article said that 7 out of 10 people prefer vanilla, chocolate or strawberry. I think great vanilla ice cream is underappreciated. So here's what's available this summer and my critique...

•French Toast. Later this summer, Baskin-Robbins will roll out the ice cream with bits of French toast and maple. "Customers love knowing they can get a sample, then get their favorites," executive chef Stan Frankenthaler says.

Pat says: Love French toast in all forms, but I want my French toast to be French toast and my ice cream to be ice cream.

•Buttered Popcorn. In August, MaggieMoo's debuts a flavor with butter pecan and caramel popcorn. "This gets people in the door," says Hilliard Creath, R&D manager.

Pat says: I like horrid, heart clogging movie theater popcorn, but this doesn't really appeal to me.

•Strawberry Basil. It's the first time Cold Stone has put an herb into an ice cream, taste master Ray Karam says.

Pat says: I'd want to taste this one. It sounds interesting.

•Late Night Snack. The Late Night With Jimmy Fallon host helped develop Ben & Jerry's flavor made with chocolate-covered potato chips and caramel. "He suggested pizza, but we thought that sounded gross," says Alison Gilbert, brand manager.

Pat says: I like all the components but together, I don't think so as an ice cream.

•Mojito Sorbet. There's no rum in it, but the new Cold Stone flavor, due in August, is made with mint and lime.

Pat says: This is a possibility. Sounds refreshing.

•Firehouse 31. Anyone who has felt the heat of an Atomic Fireball will appreciate this Baskin-Robbins flavor that crushes a fiery candy into its ice cream.

Pat says: I don't like spicy candy. In fact, I hate when I take a red piece of candy, thinking it's cherry or raspberry and it turns out to be cinnamon or a fireball.

•Creole Cream Cheese. Made with a cream-cheese-like base and a spicy kick, it hits Baskin-Robbins this summer.

Pat says: Ick

•Maple Bacon Sundae. Denny's is selling the sundae made with vanilla ice cream, maple syrup and bacon bits. Alas, a side of pancakes doesn't come with it.

Pat says: No, no, no, a thousand times no.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Random Thought

The thing around the house that I hate to do the most is fold a fitted sheet. I was doing it today and no matter how hard I try, or have tried over the years, I have no talent and no patience. I think folding a fitted sheet well must take patience.

A few years back, when Martha Stewart was the rage, I saw one of her shows where she demonstrated the way to fold a fitted sheet. I was all ears and eyes. Basically she was saying that you find a point in each fitted corner... You sort of pull at it, and when Martha did it, each side effortlessly folded in on itself. I still try that system, but it doesn't really work. Of course, Martha's sheet was perfect.