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Monday, April 16, 2018

Kindness and Old Friends

I just finished perusing my May issue of Woman's Day.  I like to just go through it on the first day, then go back and read the articles and recipes.

This month there was an article, Be Kind Every Day which made me think and sit down and read.  This article gave ideas for each day in May for us to be kind.  Among them were offering to drive a neighbor to an appointment, helping a non-tech savvy friend with their computer, taking a walk and picking up litter, etc.

This article made me think about ways that I can help brighten the day for someone.  It also made me think about a co-worker at AIG, Esther.  Esther would greet me everyday with not just "Good morning", but she also found something to compliment, such as 'Your hair looks great", or "That color looks good on you", etc.  It was always a pleasure to see Esther in the morning.

We kept in touch for a while after I retired, but with all the changes at AIG and my laziness, we lost touch.  I have many good memories of my days at AIG and the friends I made there and still see.  I think I'll try to find and get back in touch with Esther.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

How Does Gibbs Do It?

Any long time fan of NCIS knows that Gibbs, aka Mark Harmon, builds boats in his basement.  Well, today I did the equivalent.

I recently purchased a new patio set - loveseat, coffee table, two chairs.  Of course, like almost everything you  buy these days, some assembly was required.  The weather here has been very unpredictable and I couldn't leave the boxes outside, so I had them put in the kitchen.  I now have two very big boxes sitting in the kitchen.

This morning I decided to put the chairs together.  Before I could do that, I had to open the box, that was a struggle.  I don't know what kind of glue they used, but it really held tight.  When I finally got to the pieces, I decided that I could do this.  After all I have put bookcases, bar stools and my desk chair together.  I didn't want to use my coffee table hold the pieces together since it has a glass top.  I decided it would be a very good idea to assemble the chair in my bedroom, using the bed as a table.  Nothing could get scratched or broken if I rested the arm of the chair on it while assembling the seat.

I moved everything into the bedroom and the assembly went smoothly, maybe too smoothly.  It was time to put it outside.

To my surprise, even though this house is designed for a senior citizen, the doorways are not unusually wide.  I couldn't get the chair through, no matter how I angled it.  I think, if there was not a wall there, it probably would have fit, but I'm not ready to knock down a wall.

Back to the bed to remove all the screws and bolts.  Even after I took one of the arms off, it still didn't fit.  Back to the bed to remove the other arm.  Finally, I was able to get it through the doorway with two pieces connected.

I gathered all the hardware and pieces and went out onto the patio.  I must add that I live on the corner and it gets windy and the temperature today was 41 degrees.

Fortunately, since this was the second time I was assembling the chair, I knew what to do.  It was a little hard since I had nowhere to sit, but I DID IT!  The chair is now fully assembled, but it's too cold to work on the other one.

So, now I still have two large boxes sitting in the kitchen waiting to be assembled.  I know I can do it, but I may get help with the loveseat since the box weighs about 70 lbs. and I don't know how I could maneuver the box to even open it.  But I will wait until it warms up a bit, I wouldn't ask anyone to work in the cold.

I guess when Gibbs wants to move the boat, he disassembles it and puts it together at water's edge.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Rightg to Try

I just heard that the Right to Try bill has passed the House and will go to the Senate soon.  Of course, it was opposed by many democrats.  For those of you who have not heard about this bill, here is a short explanation.  It allows a terminally ill patient who is near death to try experimental drugs which have been tested but not approved by the FDA and it absolves the drug companies of any liability if it fails to work.

I can't understand why there should be any argument against this bill.  After all, many lawmakers approve of assisted suicide.  If you can have medical personnel help you die, why can't you use an unapproved medication to ease your pain or give you a few days more of life.

If a woman has a right to control her body via abortion, why can't this same woman take unapproved medication to ease pain or get a few more days of life.  After all, this would not affect anyone else unlike abortion.

Personally, I believe this is a good idea.  If I were terminally ill, I would try anything to live longer, even if for one day.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Here's a Little Good News

Radio, TV and newspapers have been full of bad news lately, but now it's time for something a little lighter.

Recently I wrote about having to euthanize my cat, Burnie, of about 16 years.  He was one half of the team of Crash and Burn. My friends, some of whom took care of them whenever I travelled, have asked how Crash was doing.

I'm happy to report that she is doing well, maybe a bit too well.  I swear, if she could dance, she would be doing a "happy dance".  I have made a few changes to make her feel a little better.  I discovered that she does not like to eat alone, so I bring her dish into the living room so she has some company while she eats.  While I'm preparing her food, she runs laps around the island until I produce her food dish.

After she eats, she has me trained to refill her water dish.  She meows and I get up and give her fresh water.  She doesn't like to drink water that has been in her dish for more than one hour.

A few months ago, I discovered that she was not ignoring me, she couldn't hear me.  I could whisper that it was snack time, Burnie, as sick as he was, would pick up his ears and wander into the kitchen while she would just sit there until she saw the food.  Because she's deaf, if she can't find me, she will howl.  After she woke me up two nights, I now keep her in the bedroom with me, with the door closed so she will see me during the night and won't disturb my sleep.  That is something I can't tolerate.

When Burnie was alive, she would meow so I would let her into the spare bedroom and close the door.  She would stay there, sleeping, until she got hungry or had to use her litter box.  Now, she is spending more time with me, sleeping and resting her head on my leg.

So, yes, Crash is doing well.  About as well as a 17 year old, hyper-thyroid, deaf  cat can do.  And I'm glad.  She is a good companion and very good at training her (dare I say) owner.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Not Again

It's been a week since the horrible shooting in Florida.  There have been many suggestions on how to prevent another.  Yes, we should look ahead and look into ways to prevent another. 

But, we need to look back, what signs were missed and many factors are to blame.  First, part of the problem is the design of the school.  Many, many years ago when I went to school, schools did not sprawl out, they were built up.  We had heavy brass doors, there were no students on the first floor, an intruder would have trouble entering the school, if he did get in, he would have been stopped  before going any further.

We've all heard how the FBI and police failed to follow up on calls.  I hadn't realized that the weapon used could be purchased by an 18 year old, but that same child couldn't buy a handgun.  The right to purchase  a gun should not be on a sliding scale - one age for one type, another for another type and that age should be 21 for all.

There have been many suggestions made to ensure our children are safe - arm teachers, armed security guards, better background checks, etc.  Very few people have suggested metal detectors.  Of the suggestions, I think metal detectors are the best solution.  I know, it is sad to think that our children have to go through them just to get to class, I did too at one time.  Several years ago I was doing some volunteer work through my church in Queens with teenagers.  The topic of metal detectors came up and I said that I thought it was so sad.  All four of the boys in the group said that they were glad they were there, it made them feel safer.

Right now, everyone is angry.  No decision should be made in anger.  Maybe in the meantime, we should cool down and look at all the alternatives before any decisions are made.  Maybe we should emphasize and encourage more respect for life.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Lost and Found

Shortly  before Burn died, I ordered tons of cat food from Amazon.  I thought I'd give the cats a treat and ordered some new flavors.  Well it turns out that Crash doesn't like the new food and I'm wasting a lot of food by using the 6 oz cans.

Today, I went to Petco to buy some smaller cans and a lid for the larger can.  While I was there, I decided to see if Crash was willing to play.  I bought a laser light on a spider on a string attached to a stick.

I paid for everything and carried the bag of food and the toy to the car in the parking lot.  When I got home, the toy was nowhere to be found.  I checked the bag several times, checked the car.  It simply wasn't anywhere.  Reluctantly, I got back in the car and drove about four miles to Petco.  When I got out of the car, I even looked all over the parking lot.  I took a chance and went back into the store.  A young man was at the register and I explained my problem.  I barely got the words out before he picked it up and handed to me.  There was a note attached - "Customer paid for this, it was found in the parking lot."

Evidently someone found it and brought it into the store and they held it for me.  There really are some good people there.  I wish I knew who found it so that I could thank them.  All I can say is - Thank you to all those people who find something and try to return it to the owner.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Cooking

A few weeks ago when I was going through the recipes that I had cut from my magazines, I came across one for beer braised short ribs.  It sounded good so I bought a small package when I went to the supermarket.

Today I decided to make them.  I checked and rechecked the recipe and found that I didn't have all the necessary ingredients on hand.  Thanks to my experiences at Cooking By the Book, I have the confidence to make substitutions.

I only had 1 1/4 lbs of short ribs instead of the 3 lbs called for, but that's not unusual, I often halve a recipe.  If I didn't, I'd be eating the same meal for days and days.  Then I discovered that I didn't have any potatoes on hand.  Oh well, I'm not fond of potatoes anyway.  I started browning the short ribs and peeling the carrots.  Instead of the two carrots called for, I used five, after all I didn't have any potatoes.  I always have onions in the refrigerator, but since I was halving the recipe, I used one onion instead of the two called for.  Of course, I didn't have any stout beer on hand, so I used a can of light beer.

I put the browned meat and the carrots, onions, beer and 14 oz. of beef stock into the slow cooker on high for five hours.  After an hour, I decided that it looked a lot like soup, so I added 1/4 cup of barley.

At dinner time, I opened some wine.  My philosophy is that I must have a glass of a favorite wine whenever I'm trying a new recipe.  That way, if the recipe turns out badly (as some have in the past), I'll still have something enjoyable.

It turned out to be a good soup.  Since there wasn't much meat on the bones, I ate the whole thing for dinner and I really didn't need the wine, but I did drink it.  It was good too.