Friday, September 25, 2009

My Online History

In the mid-80's I owned a Commodore computer. There was an online service way back then for Commodore users, and I was a subscriber. It was called QuantumLink. I had always suspected that AOL was born from QuantumLink, and I now find I was right. The look and feel of the two were so incredibly similar, but when AOL came into being technology and the Internet had evolved, so it had a smoother look.

But now I can say that I have been "on the Internet" since the mid-80's.

My computer experience started with a Commodore VIC-20*, followed by a Commodore 64, followed by a Commodore 128. Eventually Commodore quit making computers so I moved to a PC that ran DOS. From DOS I went straight to owning a Mac computer in 1996, when I enrolled in Advertising & Graphic Design in college. I still use, and will always use, a Mac/Apple computer. That is, unless and until something better comes along.

"If I knew then what I know now...."
*in Germany they were VC-20 computers, since vic is a bad word!

Warm Weather's Back

But it's not hot, and that's good. The cool weather lasted a few days and that was nice, but yesterday as it warmed up a bit I heard the sounds of lawnmowers again. So we're supposed to have temps in the 80's for most of the next week, with one day (I forget which one) in the low 90's. (I never know if I should use an apostrophe with numbers.)

I decided to go get a burger last night. That's when I found out my headlights aren't working. Seems all my lights but my low beams are working. And when I pull back the lever for the high beams, they come on but don't stay on. I'm panicking a little because I don't have the money for a big repair job. I'm hoping it's just a fuse. I didn't check the fuses today. I guess I'm in denial. I can still drive during the daylight. I think. I guess I'd better check the brake lights and back-up lights first. Maybe God just didn't want me to have a burger.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

It's Cold Today!

I love cold! We had a cold front come through last night. Lots of rain and thunder/lightning. Today it's actually "cold" outside. Sixty degrees F. That's not really cold to me. That's just a wee bit south of perfect!! We'd been having some cooler temps here in central Texas then yesterday it was back up to 100 degrees. But that didn't last long. I now have almost all of my windows open to let the cool, fresh air in.

IIrc, the same sort of thing happened last year. The temps went from "too hot" to do any meaningful outdoor work to "too cold."

Other than the fact that there is more rain in the forecast, I have no idea what our weather is supposed to be like in the coming week. No idea if it will stay cold or go back to hot for awhile.

Some good news: I still have hummingbirds at my feeders. But they'll be gone soon.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Nice Friday

I had a more-active-than-usual Friday, and it was nice. First, I took a shower, got dressed, and went to do some much needed grocery shopping. I've decided I need to lose some weight, so I tried - successfully, I think - to limit what I bought. I bought some frozen dinners simply because it helps me keep my portions small. I also bought some other items that will stop hunger pangs without filling me up and fattening me up. The only thing I bought that didn't stick with the new D-I-E-T was the ingredients to make Patty Melts (minus the onions). But when I make them, I'll only make one at a time! Normally I'd probably make two, at least, and eat both in one sitting.

I also bought some much-needed athletic shoes. "No shoes" was one of my excuses for not using my treadmill. Now I just have to get in the bedroom where the treadmill is collecting dust (and cat hair) and get it situated in a position where I can actually use it.

Another thing I bought was a Hamilton Beach Single-Serve Blender with Travel Lid. I've been having smoothies for breakfast but not long ago the rubber seal on my regular blender broke and now the blender leaks. I didn't want to get a whole new blender so I decided to give the Single-Serve a try. It's okay. It really is single-serve. It will only safely hold about 16 ounces of liquid. Maybe a tad more. And it comes with a "travel lid" so you can drink the smoothie (or whatever) right out of the same container you use to mix it. If you do, you have the whole blade mechanism with you and your smoothie. They don't separate. Not even for cleaning. That's okay. I don't drink from the container. I pour my smoothie into a glass. Then clean up is easy. I just rinse the blender container and lid thoroughly with hot water. Maybe add a little dish soap. Rinse and let drip dry. It did seem to have trouble "blending" the frozen strawberries, but I haven't found any pieces in the smoothie, yet.

By the way, I have started adding "Benefiber" to my smoothies. I can always use a little more fiber in my diet!

After I got home from grocery shopping, I called a friend and we, eventually, went out for lunch. She had seen an ad for a new Chinese restaurant in Waco, so off we went in her new car. (It's a Chevy HHR.) We found the restaurant (A1 Chinese Restaurant and Grill) and had a nice lunch. The food was very good and very plentiful. I wished I was hungrier. (I know. I said I was planning to eat less, but this was a special occasion.)

I got to drive the new car on the way back. Very nice. We stopped at a convenience store and played the lotto using the numbers from our fortune cookies. (May God forgive me.) We'll see just how fortunate those cookies were!

After I got home I didn't feel like doing anything special, especially since my belly was full, so I just checked my e-mail and then watched a little TV. Finally I went to bed early. And that was my Friday. It was nice. I hope I can do that sort of thing (get out) a little more often. And if I eat that much once every month or so, well, so what?!! I'll walk it off!

(Just finished the smoothie. No frozen strawberry chunks.)

Now it's Saturday morning and I'm actually out of bed! It seems that, when I go to bed early, I wake up early - real early - 4:30 a.m. - and can get out of bed. Not like when I go to bed late. For some reason, if I stay up late and go to bed late, I want to sleep forever. Maybe I'll start doing the Benjamin Franklin thing* on a regular basis. See what happens.

I need to do some work on my deck. I have a tree growing in the middle of my deck and it gets so big that I need to enlarge the hole around it. I dreamed last night that I was doing that and the whole tree fell over. Some would suggest cutting the tree down, but it shades my whole house. In central Texas in the summer, this is a blessing and a necessity! So I'll continue to enlarge the hole around the tree.

Going to go now and get productive.

*Early to bed, early to rise.... You know the rest.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Creature

On my way back from California to Texas, I had a flight that went from L.A. to Houston. There was some sort of creature in the seat in front of me. This photo is the only one that I could safely get of that creature. The creature had an unusual odor, and although it was somewhat familiar, I was still not able to identify the creature.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Good for some laughs

This is a photo of me holding a skink. It belongs to a male friend with whom I may or may not be having a relationship. We'll see! Anyway, this skink was good for a few laughs like: Joe won't date any woman who won't hold his lizard.


Here's the thing: I learned, after many years, to tolerate and even accept my step-father. I never knew him as a father, or thought of him that way. He did great things for the family and for my mom, and for that I'm grateful. While my brothers, Jake's step-sons, loved him like sons, I never loved him like a daughter. I went home for the funeral for my mom. If not for mom, I would not have gone. There's a long story behind this, but I won't go into it here.

The funeral, which took place on Saturday, Sep. 5, was okay, as funerals go. Jake had an open casket and did not look like Jake, until you got farther away and looked at his profile. The mortician was not given any photos to work with, so he/she had no real idea what Jake looked like. So here's a tip: always provide the mortician with photos of the deceased. Take some photos of yourself, close up, from several angles, and put them where your next of kin can find them when the time comes. That is, if you plan to have an open casket.

Jake was not buried until Tuesday, Sep. 8, because he had a military burial and the veterans cemetery was closed over the long weekend. It was a nice ceremony. The VFW provided an honor guard and a chaplain, the Army provided pall bearers and a bugler who played taps live. (This is rare these days.) The ceremony was held away from the actual gravesite, and we did not get to stay to visit the grave after the burial. (It would have been a few hours of waiting, and we had a two-hour drive since the cemetery was not close to mom's home. Also, I had to catch a flight that evening to get back to Texas.)

So Jake was respectfully remembered and buried. The funeral was attended by all his children and step-children, who all had to travel to get to California. It was great that they could be there. Fortunately, everyone had seen Jake not too exceptionally long before he passed away and had those memories.

Something happened for me while I was in California. I began a close relationship with a man I've actually known for many years, as he is a family friend/acquaintance, but who I didn't "notice" until last year, when I went home for my youngest brother's (Charlie's) funeral. I'm not going to go into that here, either. Suffice to say that there is now a man in my life where there has not been a man for twelve years. It may be nothing. It may be something. We'll see. He is, after all, still in California!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Back in Texas

I got home this morning from attending the funeral and burial in California. I'll blog about it when I have more time. Right now I want to say that I have very, very hard water here in central Texas. My mom's house has soft water. While I was out there my hair never looked better. I must get a water softener!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Another Death in the Family

My step-father passed away yesterday morning. It wasn't entirely unexpected as he had broken his neck a couple months ago and, although he was recuperating, he wasn't doing very well. He was in a nursing home. He finally got that "halo" thing off his head when his blood pressure went way down. He was taken to a hospital and stabilized. He was in the process of getting permission from his doctor to go home because he wasn't expected to live much longer, and he didn't want to die in the hospital. Before they could get permission, he slipped away. My mom was with him.

He had been miserable with the halo on and the tubes sticking in him. He kept pulling his catheter out so they had to put him in diapers. Then he didn't get that he could go pee in the diaper whenever he needed to. I don't blame him for any of that. How miserable we'd all be in that situation. If only he could have hung on for a few more days.

I'll be flying out to California for the funeral this weekend. I'm concerned mostly for my mom. A little over a year ago, you might recall, my youngest brother - mom's youngest son - died. Now her husband of 40+ years has passed away. My brothers and I will no doubt be discussing what to do next. Mom is hard-headed and I'm sure she won't want to leave her home. But she'll be living alone if she doesn't, and she's getting older. We'd all be happier if she had someone to watch out for her. I'd love to move out there with her, but I have the dogs and cats to worry about. We'll think of something.