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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Adventures in the City

Today I went into the City for the first of three lectures on the language of music at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I got there very early so I decided to walk from the Port Authority to the museum at 82nd & 5th. The last five blocks were very rough.

The lecture was very good. I learned a few things. I hadn't known that Mozart had a father - who was a composer also. His name was Leopold.

While I was waiting for the lecture to begin I started talking with two other women who were waiting for their friends. We had a great time and all agreed there's no place like NEW YORK. When her friend got there, one of the women said she would like to introduce her friend to her new best friends, but didn't know our names. I thought that was so cute.

When the lecture was over I wandered around the museum for a little while, but my long walk caught up with me. Hopefully next week I'll be smarter and take the subway to the museum so I can enjoy all the exhibits. The few that I saw were very impressive.

I'm looking forward to next week.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Preventing Identity Theft

I recently changed banks and opened a new checking account. Today I received my checks.

I was very impressed with the way they were mailed. They came in a plain plastic envelope that just stated that this was my order. Inside there were four new checkbooks, a book for listing deposits and withdrawals and a collapsed storage box. There was no indication that my checks were enclosed.

I guess this is one way to prevent identity theft.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Adventures

This morning on Good Morning America, Diane Sawyer interview a couple who were on their honeymoon on the Explorer, the cruise ship that sank near Antarctica. This cruise had been advertised as, "The trip of a lifetime". It certainly was.

But that's not the whole of the story. It seems that just before this couple left on their honeymoon cruise their home was threatened by the fires in California. One of their stops was Costa Rica. There they had to be evacuated because of a hurricane.

Let's hope that since bad things happen in three's, their problems are over and that this is not an omen of things to come.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Old Friends

A while ago I wrote about finding and reuniting with old school friends through Classmates.com. I also got in touch with a friend from my first job ages and ages ago.


She recently wrote me about another friend from that job. It seems that she was playing around with Google and checked on Grace Brophy. I've also reconnected with Grace and found that she had written a book, a mystery called, "The Last Enemy". This book is set in Italy and features Commissario Cenni. It's a good story and the descriptions of Italy make you feel like you're there. I've just gotten word that Grace has written another Commissario Cenni book titled, "A Deadly Paradise". It won't be released until May 2008 and I'm really looking forward to reading it.

It's so good to reconnect with old friends and to find out how well they're doing. That first job was great. It was a small company, Buell Engineering Co., and we were like a family. We all cared about each other and were very disappointed when the company moved to Pennsylvania and we all had to go our separate ways. I'm so glad I've kept in touch with some and reconnected with others.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Decorating

Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming! Those are among my favorite words. Christmas is by far my favorite holiday.

Now that Thanksgiving is over, I planned on starting my decorating on Friday morning. Before I could start decorating, I realized that I needed some frames for the pictures from my recent geographical studies trip that I was going to print. I stopped any thought of decorating and went to the store for frames, then I saw some garlands and candle rings. When I got home I was too tired to go through the boxes and put the lights in the windows. I decided to do it on Saturday.

On Saturday I got up full of energy and dressed warmly because I had to go into the garage. I started over to the boxes of lights, garlands, flowers. Then I realized that Tuesday is our bulk collection day and I have a few things to put out. So, I gathered the boxes and other items to be thrown out and rearranged a few things in the garage. I even found a few sweaters I had forgotten I had. They had to be put in the closet.

I finally got to the Christmas stuff, pulled out some lights. Of course, as it happens every year, one set doesn't work. Then I decided I couldn't put the lights on dirty windows with dirty curtains, so they had to be washed.

Eventually, the lights were put on two windows and some flowers were taken out of the garage but not arranged.

I still haven't done much decorating, there's always tomorrow. I'm beginning to think I have ADD (attention deficit disorder). At least I hope that's the problem and that I'm not that disorganized or scatterbrained that I can't finish one project before going on to another.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Today I had a Thanksgiving that most people would consider unthinkable. I was on my own, just me and the cats.

I'm not the kind of woman who doesn't like to cook for herself, so I planned a nice chicken dinner. Instead of mashed potatoes I made mashed sweet potatoes which were very good. Since I was the only one eating, I decided to experiment; I made cauliflower with cheese sauce. The sauce was very tasty, but more like soup than sauce. By the time I had everything done, and on my plate I realized I had forgotten the cranberry sauce and stuffing. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

I tried sharing my chicken with the cats, but they wanted no part of it.

There are advantages in being on ones own. I can make anything I want, even experiment with not so traditional dishes. I can make whatever dessert I want and I don't have to share. There are also disadvantages. I can indulge myself and make my favorites, I don't have to share my dessert.

It's not the best way to celebrate a holiday, but it's also not the worst. I started the day with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (it was better on CBS than on NBC), I didn't have to watch any football and I don't have too many dishes to wash.

I'm not going to sit around feeling sorry for myself so I made myself a good dinner and a great apple pie with fresh apples and Pillsbury pie crust (I have trouble making crusts).

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Decisions

I was so proud of myself. I started Christmas shopping last week when I ordered several items on line. They were delivered today.

There was one item that I thought was the perfect gift for someone. Then I opened it and started really looking at it. I can't give this away. I like it too much.

Now, I have a decision to make. I'm definitely keeping the gift, but do I order another one, or do I find something else. 'Tis a puzzlement.

Life is full of decisions.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Weird News

It's time for more weird news.

An orange and white cat was reported missing from his New Jersey home at the end of October. He was found more than two weeks later in Georgia. It seems that he may have hitched a ride on a moving van and traveled about 800 miles before he was trapped outdoors, brought to an animal shelter and identified by a microchip scan.

A mass wedding in Malasia was scrapped after an imam and state religious official came to blows. The official said the ceremony wasn't properly sanctioned and tried to stop it. The imam reacted by trying to choke the official. Maybe both men should have forever held their peace.

Some 20 Afghan girls are hoping to make history by putting together their country's first women's boxing team. Many people are trying to stop them from participating in sports by saying it is not good for women. They feel sports, particularly boxing, is a way out of violence for Afghanistan.

Eight cows broke free from a truck when the driver pulled into the parking lot of a McDonald's in Utah. Apparently they saw their future and didn't like it. It took two hours to round up the cows in what police dubbed "Operation Hamburger Helper."

Finally, there is a cat in England who walks away from his home every night and then waits at the exact same spot 1 1/2 miles away to be picked up by his owner the next morning on her way home after dropping her son off at school.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Medical Problems

Today, while I was filling my trash bag for the day I turned on the TV. I didn't want to watch sports or political or news shows, so I tuned in The Learning Channel. They were doing a marathon of Mystery Diagnosis, not to be confused with Diagnosis Murder with Dick VanDyke.

There are so many rare diseases out there. I watched for five hours and they covered three illnesses each hour. I felt badly for the people who suffered for years before they were diagnosed. There were even some doctors who hinted that the problems were psychological. That must be so frustrating.

After watching for so long, I realized that I don't have any hypochondriacal tendencies, if I did I'd be in some emergency room with severe pain, dizziness, eye problems, stomach problems, etc. I'm also very thankful that I don't have any of those symptoms.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Clutter

For the last two days I've been watching Oprah. Her program was a two part series on The Secret Lives of Hoarders. She showed a house, that was later revealed as having 11 rooms, that was filled with stuff. There was no clear spot to sit, or even lay down.

Over the course of the attempt at organization it was revealed that all that clutter resulted in mold, mice and other things. The woman of the house accumulated 75 tons of stuff, craft supplies, gifts, clothes. Eventually the house was cleared out and the woman received some psychological help.

It's frightening how this situation got out of hand. It's not as if it happened overnight, it's a gradual process and once the mess starts building, it becomes overwhelming. Instead of your owning your stuff, your stuff owns you.

I started looking around my own home. I'm not that bad, yet, but I can see how it can happen. We all have that supply of gifts, in case we need one. We load up on sales because it's a bargain. Tomorrow, I'm going to check out my garage, there must be something I can get rid of. The solution seems to be to keep on top of the clutter. Fill a trash bag a day, at the end of the week you have seven bags. And, the hardest part of all - stop shopping. I'm going to try because I don't want to end up like the Collier brothers.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Cats

Today I decided to reorganize some of my dresser drawers. Since it was the bottom drawer, I took it out and worked on it elsewhere. I looked around and saw Burnie go into the spot for the drawer, then he disappeared. I opened the door next to that drawer and found him sitting comfortably in another drawer. I decided to take some pictures. The first picture shows the original space. The second picture shows his tail and the third shows him in the other drawer.

I just never know where he'll go next.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Planning

The other day I noticed that the local mall's light poles have been decorated for Christmas, then a friend mentioned that she had started baking cookies. I thought this was all premature. Christmas is a long way off, then I looked at my calendar. There are less than six weeks to Christmas.

Since Thanksgiving is early this year, I thought I'd have a lot of time to make my plans. Now I realize that I don't. There's a lot to do. I have to decide whether or not I'll have my usual family Christmas party, then I have to plan a menu and clean. I also have to decorate and send cards. I usually start planning for Christmas around Halloween, but this year I lost track of time.

I guess that's what happens when you go away on vacation (or as I now call it, "geographical studies") in November. No matter how hectic it seems, I know I'll get everything done on time, and I'll enjoy every minute.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Sheep

On my recent trip, we made a stop in Barbados where I took a tour of the island that included a stop at Park's Farm which is a working farm that raises the Barbados black belly sheep. These sheep are thought to have been imported from Africa by early British settlers.

They are different from the sheep we're used to seeing. Besides their color, which includes a black belly, they produce no wool. It took me a while to realize that they could not survive the climate in Barbados if they had wool. Instead, they have hair, coarse hair and are raised as a food source. There were several young sheep, we even got to pet a four week old. They are so cute and could easily be confused with goats. The difference is that goats have horns and beards and the sheep have none.


After seeing them, and touching them, I don't think I'll be ordering lamb chops anytime soon.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Vacations

I'm home from my latest trip, a Caribbean cruise. It was wonderful, but now I'm faced with the most unpleasant task of any trip - unpacking. I've finally figured out why I hate unpacking so much. Once everything is put back in its place and the luggage stored, the realization hits that the vacation is really over.

On my first night home, I woke in the middle of the night and tried to remember where I was. My first thought was that I was still in Seattle which was my August trip, then I thought I was still on the ship. It took me quite a while to realize I was back home in my own bed. My next problem was trying to figure out the day.

It was a wonderful trip, I saw a lot. I even saw some animals, they weren't wild, but they were animals. Now it's time to think about my next trip.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A Beautiful Sight

Yesterday, while reading my bookat sea, I happened to look up and out the window and saw this huge and beautiful rainbow. I've never seen one so big.

It ended in the water so I couldn't see if there was a pot of gold at the end. Maybe Poseidon has already claimed it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Slot Machines

I've just come from the casino where I made my nightly contribution. I did come very close to a big win, I think as close as I'll ever come. The woman on the machine next to me won about 4200 quarters, or $1050. Good for her, I was beginning to doubt those machines ever paid off.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Vacation

Here I am on yet another vacation. I'm cruising on the Queen Mary 2 from Barbados to St. Lucia right now. It's been a fun trip so far and even though we passed Noel, we didn't have too rough a trip.

I don't know what I was thinking when I decided to take this trip. I thought it wouldn't be too warm since it's November, I was so wrong. The temperatures have been in the high 80's. Thank God for air conditioning.

Today I saw black bellied sheep and even petted a 4 week old baby. They look very much like goats, except they have no beard and a longer tail. They don't have wool like other sheep. They couldn't survive the heat if they did.

I'm using the ship's computer and it made me realize how great is the internet. Here I am in the middle of the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean and I can still communicate with my friends.