My Latest Hero

On June 2, 2017, my Greek partner passed his Florida road test. That was a biggie! He drove to the examination center, parked the car, was taken on the road by a certified testing agent, and received his Florida state drivers license on the spot. The agency allowed him to keep his Florida ID as a souvenir. I had prepared spaghetti with turkey meat and mushrooms in order to celebrate this achievement. While the pasta was boiling, I went to my scanner to make a copy of his new license. Instead of getting the usual OK,  my computer flashed a message saying that it did not recognize my HP Officejet Pro 6830 printer. Frustrated, I contacted the Geek Squad, as I have done before as we are Geek Squad members. I was connected right away, asked about the problem, agreed to turn over my computer after leaving my phone number, and was urged to relax the rest of the evening as the tech would call. Indeed, just after dinner, the phone rang. It was Victor from the Geek Squad who told me that he was going to uninstall and reinstall my printer and that he would need for me to unplug the printer from the USB connection and then reconnect it, which I did. The next time the phone rang, Victor told me that the job had been completed and that he had scanned an item for me, which indeed he had. I assured him that he was my newest hero.

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To Bowl or not to Bowl; That is the Question

If you have been reading my blogs for a while, you know that I enjoy bowling and have been bowling every Saturday morning at 8:30 for years. Recently, when Rick Coffman, my bowling buddy, and I arrived to bowl at Liberty Lanes, we were told that, because of the increase in the number of leagues, there were no lanes available at 8:30 on Saturday morning. To compensate for our not being able to bowl that morning, we were given four free passes. After discussing our options, me clinging to continuing to bowl early but on a different morning and Rick urging that we move our bowling to a later time, we came up with a compromise: bowling on Mondays at 9:45 after I do  my forty-minute stationary bike riding at the YMCA. I insisted that this agreement was tentative depending on how my stamina behaved. Monday arrived, I spent forty minutes on the bike followed by my driving to the bowling alley and bowling two games. The result: no change in my stamina and enjoyment in both events. I guess, sometimes we just need to push ourselves a bit.

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An Accident in the Dark

When I reached in the dark for my glasses that are always on the shelf next to my bed, I backhanded something across the room. The sound when it hit the floor was ominous. When I turned on the light, I saw my Oregon rain gauge lying on the floor with one battery lying beside it. The other battery was still intact. What this meant was that the yearly rainfall amount had been erased. It also meant that the instrument would have to be recalibrated. As a faux meteorologist, I depend greatly on this wonderful instrument. Not only does it record rainfall, but it shows me the outside temperature. I knew right away that I had to depend on my partner to do the recalibration. He has been the chief operator of this instrument. I did not want, however, to push him to take on this task immediately as I know how difficult it is, so difficult that I won’t even try. To my surprise, Dimitris brought the gauge to me in the early afternoon, showing me that it was at least partially restored. When I pressed the search button, I knew it was searching for the base outside in the backyard. By evening, not only was the gauge looking ready for this week’s increase in rain possibility, but blinking healthily, which is the ultimate indicator of the health of the instrument. Come on, rainfall. We’re ready for you.

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On Sunday morning before Memorial Day, I got up at 5:00 am, my usual get-up time, checked the thermostat to see if I needed a long-sleeve shirt, and discovered the thermostat registering nothing. I remembered that this phenomenon had occurred before also on a weekend (emergencies at my house always occur on weekends). According to my memory, I had an air conditioning technician come out to solve the dilemma, and he charged me $100.00 just to push a little button outside that restarted the unit. When I checked the unit, although I was able to remove a plastic cover, I found no button to push. I remembered that, because it was a weekend, I had waited until Monday to call the tech to avoid a weekend charge. Since Monday was Memorial Day,  I would not be able to call a technician until Tuesday so as not to pay the weekend charge. Frustrated, I came back inside the house and headed for my journals, which are in the computer. Doing a search for “thermostat,” I learned that, in January 2016, I had faced the same problem with the thermostat and that the situation had been resolved then by Dimitris who found that the air conditioner power cord in the hall closet had worked loose. When pushed back in, everything returned to normal. Thank you, Dimitris; thank you, trusted journal.

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The Joys of Hurricane Season

Anyone who lives in the state of Florida knows that hurricane season begins on June 1st and does not end until November 30th. Although no one wants to have to deal with a major hurricane, the hope, instead, is that we will have a number of tropical storms with limited wind and lots of rain. When those kinds of storms occur, we breathe a sigh of relief. However, there is an exciting undercurrent during hurricane season when we are watching low pressure areas come off the coast of Africa or suspicious areas in the Gulf of Mexico. Although meteorologists make their tracking predictions regarding the wind and the rain, frequently they are mistaken. To me, hurricane season provides excitement for following the process of a storm, hoping that it won’t come our way while, at the same time, hoping it will come close enough to bring needed rain without damaging anything or anyone. Despite the negative aspects of the hurricane season, tropical storms serve a purpose in our environment, and they frequently have a mind of their own.

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Impatience with Impatiens (repeat)

I love to grow flowers. I even love to grow flowers from seeds. When I was young, Mother would give me a packet of marigold and zinnia seeds, and I would plant them somewhere in the yard and one, two, or sometimes even three of them would come up and bloom. I was fascinated. As an adult, I have become no more adept but more persistent at trying to grow flowers. I have continued to be successful with marigolds and zinnias, but I have also added to my repertoire cosmos, nasturtiums, and vincas. One of the most challenging flowers for me to cultivate though has been the New Guinea impatiens. Funny thing about this plant — it sounds tropical, but I have seen them growing wild in the mountains of North Carolina. I have no idea how anyone grows them from seeds so I have purchased mine full-grown and watched them waste away before my eyes every time. I have tried full sun, full shade, partial shade, partial sun, warm, cool, outdoors, and indoors. My latest venture was a beautiful specimen I purchased at the Willow Tree Nursery. I decided I was going to plant it indoors, by the window, not far from the skylight in the living room. I fantasized about people oohing and aahing about this plant when they sat down in my living room. No artificial plants for me. No siree. The big red blooms contrasting with the rich, dark verdant leaves would draw attention and give me a reputation as a horticulturist extraordinaire. Imagine my chagrin the morning after I planted my impatiens when I walked into the living room and saw it gasping for breath. Quickly, I ran for the watering-pot and gave it a drink. It was a Sunday morning, and I was heading to church. I prayed for that plant during church, and God answered my prayer. When I returned home from the morning services, it had perked up and was looking great. On Monday morning, I headed toward the impatiens with high expectations only to be mortified by the sight of a once-again drooping plant. I diagnosed the situation as a need for it to have a drink of water before bedtime so I began a water regimen each evening. Sure enough, the plant perked up although I noticed that the flowers were getting smaller rather than larger. On about the fifth morning of my efforts, the New Guinea’s health began to fail. Nothing I did helped. It continued to waste away until it looked as though it had been mowed down by a hit and run driver. I was a failure and am prepared to confess to being a New Guinea impatiens serial killer.

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Dr. Oetker

I fell hopelessly in love with pizza while attending Furman University in Greenville, SC, fifty years ago, and the love has never abated. While I was married, I was fortunate that Helen was a marvelous maker of most any foods that were Italian, especially lasagna and pizza. Her crust was far beyond any that was purchased in Italian restaurants. I don’t mind putting in a word here for Pizza Hut, my favorite pizza restaurant. Their crust, though not as good as Helen’s, is better than most. In my lifetime of sampling pizzas, I have gradually learned that I can live with a vegetable pizza rather than one loaded with meat. My tastes have changed over the years to the point that tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, and onions are preferable to pepperoni and sausage. At the grocery store, there is only one frozen pizza that pleases me every time–Dr. Oetker’s spinach pizza. It isn’t very big, but it is the best. I don’t buy it unless it’s on special when I usually purchase anywhere from four to six pizzas and freeze them. I also cook them, contrary to instructions, without pre-heating the oven to 425 degrees, and seventeen minutes later, they are out of this world.

                                                                   (click to enlarge)

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