My Thoughts

A summary of my daily thoughts.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Memories

It has been a long time since I posted anything to the blog. Today I have a round about story to tell. When I was a little girl, it was a tradition in our family to have a dish of ice cream on Sunday evenings. My earliest memories are during World War II. My parents had a General Electric refrigerator with a tiny freezer compartment. It only held two ice cube trays and what was called a frozen dessert tray. We could not store ice cream. Therefore, every Sunday evening we would drive down to North Kansas City to the Crown Drug Store and would have ice cream packed to go at the soda fountain counter. I reached a point where I wanted to buy the ice cream myself. My father would give me the money. I was so small I could barely climb onto a stool at the soda fountain counter. I had convinced my father I could buy the ice cream myself. He sat out in the car where he could keep an eye on me through the drugstore's windows. Sometimes I would sit and wait and wait while the soda jerk ignored me. They thought I was too small to be a serious customer. Anyway my father and I would wait them out. I always got my ice cream.
 
After World War II ended, consumer appliances of all sorts became available. It seemed like Christmas all the time as my parents bought things that were not available during the war. One of their purchases was a chest-type deep freezer. This was very exciting because we could now store ice cream. Ice cream was sold in cartons in the shape of a brick in the grocery store. My father would cut off a slice of ice cream with the butcher knife. I didn't think a slice was nearly as good as the ice cream that had been scooped. I finally convinced my parents we needed a scoop. There was a restaurant supply store in Kansas City. We went there and bought a really deluxe chrome-plated ice scream scoop. It had a spring loaded lever on it. That scoop dished lots of ice cream over the years. At some point when I was in my 30's my mother gave me that scoop. I still have it.
 
Anyway here is the reason that I started thinking about ice cream and the scoop. Since the writers' strike has caused all my favorite TV shows to go into rerun I have been watching the Food Network. I really like Alton Brown's Good Eats show. Last night he had a show on frying chicken. He said the best way to fry chicken was with shortening. He had a number 16 scoop that looked very similar to the old ice cream scoop that he used for the shortening. I wondered if my ice cream scoop had a number. I examined it closely and found stamped on the back of the lever "12 to a quart". My scoop must be a number 12. If there are 12 to a quart that must mean that the scoop holds 2 and 2/3 ounces. That is something I did not know before.

Friday, October 26, 2007


Ten days ago my new macro lens arrived. I have been too busy to even attach it to my camera and take it for a test drive. This morning I finally decided to find out if I had purchased a lemon. I attached it to the camera and studied the manual. I have a copy stand and light setup. It took a while to get everything ready to take this picture. Next month there is going to be a camera club program on macro photography. I hope I learn a few things. It is going to take a lot of practice with this lens before I am entirely confident of my ability to use it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Yesterday I went to the Fort Worth Zoo for the second time. The weather was beautiful, and the zoo was less crowded than when I was there in June. This is a link to my photos: Fort Worth Zoo.

Friday, October 19, 2007


Yesterday I went to the Texas State Fair. Now I can say I have eaten a corndog. It is unbelievable I achieved senior citizen status before I tasted a corndog. This is a link to my pictures: Texas State Fair.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Last night I went to the Plano Balloon Festival. This is a link to my photos: Plano Balloon Festival

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

At Last

My life has settled down to something that resembles a normal routine. All the news this week about Hurricane Dean made me go back and read what I had written two years ago about Hurricane Rita. I am so glad I moved away from the Gulf Coast and do not have to think about a possible evacuation. Dallas is not free of severe weather hazards, but I seriously doubt that I will ever hear the words, mandatory evacuation, for the entire area.
 
The final warranty repairs on my house have been completed. I had a second visit from a locksmith yesterday. This time they sent a man who has been a locksmith for 44 years. He knew what he was doing. The wrong strike plate had been installed on the front door. The first guy just shot WD-40 in the lock and said it was fixed. The experienced man analyzed the problem and found why the lock was hanging.
 
The outside swimming pool opened two weeks ago. I have gone there a few times. The twice weekly water walking class has a fairly large turnout. Otherwise just a few people seem to be taking their grandchildren to the pool. I have gone there a couple of times by myself and managed to stay for an hour each time. After I have cooled off in the water, I listen to podcasts on my iPod.
 
My computer's good behavior has ended. It has been having the same old problem which is hanging during shutdown. I have exhausted every possible theory. I don't have a clue what causes the problem.
 
I got the invitations for the September Red Hat luncheon sent out. It is going to be the day after Labor Day. I thought the date being so close to the holiday might cause a problem, but there are already a large number who have RSVP'ed that they will attend. The red Grasshopper shoes with the appliqued red hats came last week. I will wear them for the first time at the next luncheon.
 
The camera club meeting is Thursday night. The chairman of the group wants me to get the field trip committee jump started. We have only.)had a couple of field trips so far. I am pretty good at getting things organized. (That means I am a good nagger)
 
I am still working Sudoku puzzles. I tired to solve the very hard puzzle that is at the bottom of the blog today. I got to a point where I just could not fill in the next number. I went back to the website and asked for a hint. I got one number. That one missing number was the key to the whole puzzle. Once I had it, the rest of the numbers fell into place.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Yesterday we went to Louis Tussard's House of Wax and Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum in Grand Prairie, TX. This is a link to my pictures: House of Wax

Sunday, August 12, 2007

It Is Hot

The 100+ degree days have finally arrived in Dallas. I am staying inside as much as possible. Pulte sent the workmen to my house on Wednesday to complete repairs on my final new-house bug list. One of the items I had was that the front bedroom runs two to three degrees warmer or cooler than the rest of the house. The technician found that the air coming out of the register was much warmer than it should be. He checked every possible thing. The problem is that there is a long run of duct work to the front bedroom. The study and hall bathroom receive air from the same duct. There is insufficient flow when the air finally reached the front bedroom. There is no obvious solution. It is something I will just have to live with. The technician suggested a ceiling fan might help. I will think about that.
 
On Monday I went back for another water walking session. I enjoyed it and was looking forward to the Friday class. Thursday afternoon I read a notice on the website that said that a contract worker had turned the heater up on the indoor pool and the water temperature was 95. Friday's water walking class was canceled. By Friday afternoon the water temperature was down to 89. They consider 86 normal. The outdoor pool was opened for the first time yesterday morning. I did not go to the pool, but I was able to observe the people at the pool from the second floor of the Village Center while I was walking around the indoor track.
 
On Tuesday we had the Red Hat luncheon at Isabella's restaurant in Frisco. They gave us a private room which was very nice. Next month we are going to La Hacienda Ranch which is also in Frisco. I have been wanting Mexican food for some time. I hope this will be good. I ordered a purple purse with a beaded red hat on it late Tuesday afternoon from costumejewelrywholesale.com. They shipped it out immediately, and I received it on Wednesday. It will add a touch of pizazz to my outfit.
 
Tuesday night the National Night Out was held in the Village Center ballroom. It was originally supposed to have been at the outside pool which did not open in time. Then they sent out emails saying the event would be in the Village Center parking lot and to bring your own lawn chair. That did not go over well with me since I do not own a lawn chair. Then they phoned and said the event would be inside. In spite of all the confusion about 250 people showed up. A young man from the Frisco Fire Department answered a few questions. The best part of the evening was the line dance performance by ten of our residents. They have been attending a class and were really quite good.
 
Thursday morning I went to the dentist for my six-month checkup. I was able to say, "Look, Mom, no new cavities." I go back again in February.
 
I played canasta on Monday and bridge on Friday. My bridge game is not improving. I am somewhat discouraged.
 
On Tuesday I am going to the House of Wax and Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum in Grand Prairie. I heard on the new that a man was killed there Friday night in a robbery attempt. He fired at the police and they shot back. I hope there is no more of that excitement when I am there.
 
The rest of the week will be rather routine. I think tomorrow's water walking will be held in the outside pool. It is not until ten o'clock. With the extremely high temperatures I think I would rather be inside.
 
 

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Something New

On Friday I went to the water walking session in the Village Center indoor pool. It was fun, and I felt like I had a good workout. The best part was no joints hurt afterwards. The water walking is now being held on Fridays and Mondays so I am going back tomorrow. It is to be moved to the outside pool as soon as it opens. I have not heard the official date, but the pool is filled and the surrounding area looks complete. All it needs is the furniture.
 
I had my eleven month walk through of my house with a customer service manager. I had been keeping a list of the things that need to be corrected. He has lined up the service people to come on Wednesday. I will be glad when that is over. I am dreading it like a trip to the dentist. Speaking of the dentist I have an appointment on Thursday. It is just my six-month checkup and cleaning. I am aware of no problems so hopefully I will be able to go another six months.
 
The computer has been doing fairly well. iTunes sent another update. It installed without problem. I have no idea what improvements it delivered. One of the bloatware programs that Sony installed on the pc was Napster. I uninstalled it and went a whole week before the computer hung on shutdown, but it did it again on Friday. This morning when the computer booted the little computer WiFi icon did not load. I was afraid I was not connected, but my WiFi connection seems to be fine without the icon. I read an article that Microsoft intends to sent a number of hotfixes for Vista on this month's patch Tuesday. Maybe this time they will fix my problem.
 
Our Red Hat luncheon is on Tuesday. Again I ended up making the arrangements with the restaurant. We are going to Isabella's. I sent out the invitations through evite.com. Some of the ladies do not check their email and do not respond to the invitations. I am just going to add two to the total I give the restaurant and hope for the best.
 
I had an unbelievable experience with my Senseo coffee machine. It was not making a full mug of coffee. The manual said when that happens to descale the machine. I bought a bottle of descaler. I followed the directions in the manual. When I was in the final rinse procedure, the machine stopped running water through. I could not open the top. The trouble shooting part of the manual said that a vacuum had been pulled and to wait 24 hours for the top to open. Twenty-four hours went buy and the top still would not open. I started looking for a good deal on a new Senseo. I called Senseo customer service. The woman I talked to said to give the machine another 24 hours. She told be to be patient that it would eventually open. I told her I was thinking about buying a new one. She asked if I would like a rebate form. I said yes. She emailed the form to me. It is good until the end of 2007. After 48 hours the machine was still locked tight. At 51 hours I tried again. It made a loud popping sound and opened. I finished rinsing the machine. I made a mug of coffee. It filled the mug and has been working perfectly since. I thought this was a really strange experience. Whoever heard of being locked out of a coffee pot? I am glad I did not rush out and buy another one.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I Am Disgusted!

For several months I have been attempting to play bridge with the beginners group on Friday afternoons. The Bridge for Dummies book has three recommended web bridge sites. I thought I would check out the sites and see if I could get some practice by playing against the computer. The first site on the list said up front that you had to download and install some software on the computer. I decided against that one because I still do not know what to expect from Windows Vista. The second site was MSN Games. I thought that one would be safe since MSN is a part of Microsoft. They should know how to handle Vista.
 
I was required to create an account and reveal what I considered to be too much personal information. Then I had to create a screen name. I made about five attempts at a screen name because all of my choices were already taken. Finally I was ready to play. At that point a message popped up that said I needed to install some software. I bit my lower lip and proceeded with the install. I had to jump over Vista's User Access Controls two or three times. Finally it appeared that I was ready to play. I had to go through the login procedure again. When I clicked on play the computer, it came back and told me I had to close and restart the browser.
 
I did as I was instructed. I found the web site again and logged in again. I chose play the computer again. At that point  a message came back and said their software was not compatible with Vista. Bah Humbug! Now I am wondering what problems I have created for my computer.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Another Week

I will attempt to summarize the past week. Last year even though I was caught up in the stress of having a new house built and moving I managed to post something to the blog almost daily. Now that my life has settled into a new routine I just can't seem to spare the time to write.
 
Even my walking was disrupted by other demands on my time. I did walk two times. On Friday I went through the orientation on the fitness machines. I do not know if I am going to use them or not. Just a few minutes of using the machines caused my right knee to start hurting. I over did the walking a few years back and started the problem with the right knee. I am going to continue to walk on the track. The fitness director is recommending certain machines and has created a workout schedule for me to use. I will give it a try in a few days; but if it creates more knee pain, I am not going to use the machines.
 
On Monday I played canasta and in the evening I went to the Cooking with Karen demo. She prepared three different kinds of pasta salads. The samples were very good. On Wednesday a representative from G.E. gave a demo that was billed as convection cooking. Instead she demoed the Advantium speed cooking system which I do not have in my house. She did answer the one question about convection cooking. I did not know how to adjust a standard recipe for convection. She said you just enter the regular temperature and time that is stated in the recipe. The computer in the oven adjusts the time and temperature. I did not know that.
 
The trip to Fossil Rim Park proved to be more exciting than I had anticipated. I was almost attacked by an ostrich. I sat in the back of the open vehicle that transported us through the park so I would have an unobstructed view to take pictures. At one stop to feed the animals, an ostrich came running up to the back of the vehicle and stuck his long neck into the vehicle. I did not wait. I started climbing over the other passengers feet to get away. The bird got a hold of another passengers bag. Her quick thinking husband hit the bird in the face with his hat and kept the bird from biting me as I attempted to escape. At that point the driver finally stepped on the accelerator and we moved away.
 
On Friday night I went to the Meet Your Neighbor social and last night they had the monthly Flix and Mingle event. The movie was a comedy and was definitely more enjoyable that lasts month movie.
 
Yesterday morning I went to Sam's Club and bought the new Harry Potter book. I didn't get a chance to start reading it. It is going to take a while. Back in Beaumont I read the last two books straight through. That won't happen this time.
 
An amazing thing happened. I had ordered a pair of flip flops from LL Bean back in June. They were back ordered. LL Bean uses a service called SmartPost that is a combination of FedEx and US Postal service delivery. FedEx brings the package to the local post office and then the mailman delivers the package. Anyway my flips flops left Maine on June 19 and were delivered to me in Texas on June 21. That is much faster than the regular FedEx Home delivery that LL Bean normally uses. However, I have seen the SmartPost take two weeks to deliver a package. I was lucky this time.
 
 

Friday, July 20, 2007


I went to Fossil Rim Park at Glen Rose, TX yesterday. I just finished uploading my pictures to Smugmug: Fossil Rim Park

Friday, July 13, 2007

Update

It time to play catch up with the blog again. On Tuesday I did go on the Shop 'Til You Drop day trip to Willow Bend Mall in Plano. It is a very upscale mall with Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue and lots of smaller high end shops. I did not buy one thing, but I consider the trip very worthwhile. I did lots of window shopping. I had a nice chat with a salesman in the Apple store and got many of the questions that I have about MacBooks answered. He told me that there will be a free upgrade to the current operating system once Apple officially announces the new version. That still leaves me with the same problems I faced at the time Microsoft was about to release Vista. Anyway our group was very small. There were only four of us who met for lunch at the Neiman Marcus Mariposa restaurant. I enjoyed my lunch. When I lived in Houston, I used to frequently have lunch at the Neiman Marcus store in the Galleria. It reminded me of old times.
 
On Tuesday Microsoft sent eleven updates to my computer. For the first time in four months the updates installed and did not cause any of the failed shutdowns that require me to hold down the power button. It has only been two days since the updates were installed, but the computer has performed flawlessly since then. I have my hope up again that they have finally fixed the problems. I am reading that many businesses are delaying installing Vista until Service Pack 1 is released. I do not think that is necessary. With all the updates Microsoft is releasing I feel that the equivalent of a full service pack is being sent out in pieces. My computer has definitely become more stable.
 
On Tuesday when I got home after the shopping trip I checked my email. A comment from this blog had been forwarded to my email. As I read through it. I realized that the man who had written it is the son of my only first cousin on my mother's side of the family. I had not seen him since he was a small boy. He has a sister who is one year younger. She had found the online CNN interview I did on retirement last year. Her brother is a computer geek and took it from there. He found my blog. We have been emailing and sending pictures back and forth for two days. Yesterday afternoon he called me, and we talked for over an hour. We were raised in very different environments, but we have so much in common. Genetics must play a major part in our makeup.
 
Last night I went to the first meeting of a new travel group that is being formed at Frisco Lakes. They are going call it Frisco Lakes Independent Travelers. FLIT for short. A man who is a weekend anchor for the local Fox TV station and also hosts a show on Texas travel talked and answered questions. There seems to be a lot of interest in short trips around Texas. I am ready for that kind of travel. I have covered a good part of the globe. With all the security measures that are now in place it is pure misery to fly. I am content to stay closer to home.
 
I have continued with my walking.  One of my neighbors was at the fitness center this morning. She is encouraging me to make an appointment with our fitness director for an orientation session on the exercise machines. The walking track is on the second floor. As I walk, I have been watching the people working out on the machines below. I have been reluctant to use the machines, but maybe I should check them out.
 
This afternoon, it is time to play bridge again. I have really fallen behind in reading the Bridge for Dummies book.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Time Is Slipping By

I was shocked when I checked the blog and saw how days had gone by since I last posted. I had to stop and think about how I have been spending my time. I concluded that a lot of my time has been spent listening to podcasts. I have heard way too much about the introduction of Apple's iPhone. Then the news shows were full of the failed UK bombings, the war in Iraq and the presidential campaign. I need a little balance in my life.
 
The mosquitoes in the Dallas area are horrendous after all of the rain. On Saturday afternoon they were swarming around my front door. The battery in the outdoor sensor for my weather station died. I had to go through the front door several times while I was coaxing the sensor to start functioning again; and as a result, I treated the mosquitoes to a feast. The mosquitoes also entered the house. The next morning I found they had congregated around a night light in the hall bathroom. The lavatory and bathtub were covered with dead mosquitoes. I never saw anything like that in SE Texas. They knew how to control them down there.
 
I have been doing my online shopping again. I am still waiting for the flip flops which were back ordered. The delay is O.K. because the outdoor pool opening has been set back again because the rain is still delaying completion. I also ordered a new purse that is just like one that I have been used for almost two years. I like the first one so much that I decided I would have a replacement on hand when the first one gives out. I also ordered a new pair of loafers and a pair of winter pj's. It was cold last winter. This time I will be ready.
 
I have been keeping up with the walking. Last week I was at the track four times. I walked yesterday morning. I heard that people often gain weight when they start exercising. I have gained two pounds. I don't know if it is the walking or if it was the big slice of carrot cake I had last week. That is a fib. I know exactly where the blame belongs for those two pounds.
 
I am now reading Barbara Taylor Bradford's book, Just Rewards. It is the last book of the series on Emma Harte and family. I can remember I bought the first book in London at Foyle's bookstore in 1985. The series has lasted longer than the Harry Potter series. By the way I intend to be standing in front of Sam's Club when the doors open on July 21 to rush in and by the new Harry Potter book. That is what I did for the last two books, but I was in Beaumont then. I am assuming that strategy will work equally well at the Plano store.
 
I will be leaving shortly to go on the Shop 'Til You Drop day trip to the Willow Bend shopping mall in Plano. I printed the store directory and highlighted the stores I want to visit. Willow Bend has an Apple store. I want to see the lowest priced MacBooks. I would like to have a second computer as insurance against going through the misery of being without a computer that I experienced earlier this year. I know very little about Apples. I do know that Apple has announced an operating system update that is supposed to ship later in the year. It puts me in the same dilemma about buying one that I had with XP versus Vista. Should I buy now and have an outdated system or buy later and suffer through all the possible bugs of a new operating system. Surely Apple won't deliver something that is bad as Vista.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Birthday, USA

I have no special Fourth of July plans. Frisco has a fireworks display. I would love to try and photograph it, but I have heard the traffic on 423 will be a nightmare. I am going to be content to stay home and watch the celebrations on TV. The Capitol Fourth is on PBS. I looked at the TV listings but did not see the Boston Pops listed. That is one I always watch.
 
Yesterday we had the Red Hat luncheon at Bonnie Ruth's. Fifteen ladies, all decked out in red hats and purple outfits, were there. I was one of the last to arrive. I didn't say one word when I walked in. The host looked at me and said, "Your friends are over there." I did take my camera with me. I uploaded the pictures to Smugmug as soon as I got home. I had a wonderful piece of carrot cake with cream cheese icing. The slice was so big I could not finish it. I had already requested a doggie bag for the half of the sandwich that I did not eat. I slipped the remainder of my cake in the box and had the sandwich and cake for dinner.
 
The village center does not open until ten this morning. I absolutely have to go down there for a walk. The carrot cake has made me feel guilty.
 
More rain is predicted for today. On Monday when I took my round about route to avoid the left turn onto 423 I saw a blockaded road just north of Frisco Lakes that is under water. I heard on the news this morning that Houston and Beaumont are getting lots of rain today. It is time for the rain to move into parts of the country that need it. I also heard on news last night that the North Texas water restrictions have been removed. The lakes are full.
[print version]
Visit www.dailysudoku.com for more puzzles, solutions, hints, books and other resources.