Sunday, January 27, 2013

"I Don't Want To"

I. Don't. Want. To.

A friend of mine posted the above on his Facebook page today.  I. Don't. Want. To.  Someone else asked him what it was he didn't want to do.  His reply??  "Anything!"  I know just how he feels.

Maybe it's just January doldrums, but I really don't want to do anything right now.  (And that encompasses the last four or five days)  And I especially don't want to do anything that someone else is forcing me to do.

Such as.....

*  Shop at a 7-Eleven that  bought out the convenience store/gas station near my house as of 1/1.  I am not a fan of large corporations gobbling up smaller, independent and/or locally owned businesses.  Nothing I can do, of course, but.... I. Don't. Want. To!

*  Pay higher prices at said new 7-Eleven.  The carton of cigarettes I bought this evening cost $1.00 more than they did in December.  Not new taxes, not priced higher by the manufacturer; nope, just more profit for 7-Eleven at our expense, and.... I. Don't. Want. To!

*  The cup of soup I ordered at Chili's this evening is in a smaller bowl than it used to be.  The manager denied it, but I have this soup often and I know it is smaller.  Ergo less soup. for more money, and .... I. Don't. Want. To!

*  Latest possible hit for smokers?  We might have to pay a great deal more for insurance through Obamacare (doesn't it have a better name than this??), .... I. Don't. Want. To!

*  The increased costs of cigarettes plus a huge hit on insurance rates  are unfair, an infringement on my rights to do something which IS NOT ILLEGAL, IMMORAL, OR DISHONEST, and may ultimately force me to stop smoking, .... I. Don't. Want. To!

* I received a letter from my doctor's office informing me that because of high costs for everything AND THE FACT THAT THEY DID NOT MEET BUDGET FOR THE LAST 8 OUT OF 12 MONTHS, they need to increase their revenue.  Rather than raise prices for visits and services, they have decided to "institute a modest yearly medical home fee of $100-$120."   This does not get us any new additional services, or special attention, or any more direct access or anything.  It's just that they want us to pay $100 a year, just to be one of their patients.  The fee is for the following non-covered (I guess by insurances) services of:  "prior authorizations, replaced prescriptions, and up to 2 nurse phone consults or 1 after-hours physician phone consult A YEAR (if medically appropriate)."  We will still have to pay for regular visits, medical records, and missed appointments and .... I. Don't. Want. To!

*  I could, of course, change doctors rather than pay this annual fee.  The problem is that the provider I see, is the best one I have ever seen (and believe me, over 67 years you see a LOT of providers!!).  I could try to find another provider as good, but .... I. Don't. Want. To!

*Everything is getting more costly everywhere you go!  It makes no difference if you are purchasing food, clothes, gas, services, entertainment, or whatever.  It costs more and more and more.  There is no choice other than to reduce spending, .... I. Don't. Want. To!

Over all it has put me in a very bad mood.  I am not able to do anything about any of it, I realize this.  Still every time I end up having to spend more for less, I just can't help it,  .... I. Don't. Want. To!

Monday, January 21, 2013

"Hail to the Chief"

Barack Obama, giving his oath of office as
the 44th President of the United States.

No matter what your politics, faith, lifestyle, or education, this, the President's second Inaugural Speech, was given from the heart and deserves to be heard by every American.  In fact, not just Americans, but all people of the world, for President Obama articulated what America represents, what she strives to be,and the hopes for the future whereby the precepts laid out by the Founding Fathers over 200 years ago are still viable and more important than ever in the world of 2013.

The speech was beautifully spoken, beautifully is a speech to rank high on the list of inspiring words that other leaders of this country have written in the history of our great land.  
We must all help, not hinder!  Let our President's words inspire YOU!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A Cappella

Just thought I would update on a couple of things:

First, I have a working phone again!  Yay!  I was finally able to get hold of someone late yesterday afternoon and they agreed to send someone out today to repair whatever it was that they broke.  They assured me that the repairman would be here today between 8 AM and 6 PM!   Some time frame!

As the damage occurred outside, I assumed (rightly it appears) that the repair could also be done outdoors.  Therefore, I did not get up at 8 AM and I did not stick around the house all day until whatever time they finally showed up.  Good thing!  They didn't arrive until about 4 PM and the whole thing was back up and running by 4:30 P.

The best part, however, was that the security system "trouble" alarm finally stopped beeping!  After 29 straight hours,  it shut itself off with no fanfare as soon as the phone was fixed!  I was glad to have a working phone again, but I was thrilled to be rid of the infernal beep!

Hopefully, that is the end of that story.

Secondly, the Big Guy was due back in Austin this evening at 11 PM.  At almost 6:30 I got a call from him saying that he had been sitting in the plane on the ground for the last two hours while they decided whether or not the plane was fully functional.  After two hours they decided it was not functional and the flight was cancelled.  Mikey was not all!  There were some 120 people stuck on the ground with no flight.  surprisingly, they were able to get everyone re-scheduled fairly quickly.  Mikey was booked on a flight leaving at 7-something arriving in Phoenix at about 10P, where they would receive a hotel voucher for an overnight stay.  He will leave Phoenix tomorrow (Thursday) at 10 AM and he will finally be home around 1:15 tomorrow afternoon....IF there are no further problems.

Naturally, I spoke to him several times as he updated me on his situation.  The phrase he repeated most often was, "Have I mentioned that I HATE TO TRAVEL??"  Yes, Mikey Dear, you have and tonight I don't blame you one little bit!  Just get home safely.  The rest is just details!

Okay, I hope that this is the end of that story too!  Time will tell!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


AT&T has been working in our area for months.  From what I understand they are replacing all the old copper wire with fiber optics to carry the signals (or whatever they carry). Last week I spoke with an AT&T rep (2 of them actually) who were canvassing the neighborhood to "update the residents" on the work being done.  They told me that the work was finally done and all the new cable was DONE!  They even apologized for how long it had all taken.  I thought it was kind of a good customer relations effort and was first!  Well, what they were really doing was trying to convince everyone to bundle all their communication services under AT&T!  (It's always about the money!!)

Now I'm not interested in bundling (at least not that kind!) because every time there is some change in technology it just makes everything go haywire and it takes bloomin' forever to get it all sorted out again and to learn all the new stuff that you have to learn in order to make it all work right!  I'm done with learning any more new stuff in the technology area.  Done!  No more.  I just want to be able to have a working computer, phone, and TV.  I don't need my computer to watch TV, nor do I need the phone to check Wikipedia or my email every five minutes.  I don't want to Twitter, Facebook, Link In, or tap dance while I am writing the great American novel, comparing recipes for low-fat, low salt, low calorie, low taste whole foods that will make me live forever, and tracking down the boy I had a crush on in the 3rd grade who now lives in Timbuktu!!  So I thanked them politely and just said "No."  (Of course, you know that it took half an hour to explain why I don't want all that stuff....I talk just like I write -- long!

End of story.  Right?  But no, but no!  Two days later, hanging on my front door was a Day-Glo Orange notice from, you guessed it, AT&T.  Across the top it said "Core Installation and Maintenance."  Uh-oh, this can't be good.

The notice informed us that starting by 1/11/13 "work operations would begin on or near your property."  Below that there was list of possible work operations and something called "Digging splice pits" was checked off.  What's a splice pit?  Why do they need to dig more than one??  What do the pits splice??  Why do they need to do it in a pit??   Why do those pits need to be on our property???  How many pits will there be anyway??!!?

It further asked us to keep our dog indoors and unlock any gates that blocked access (neither of which we have, thank heavens!)  Then it said "Work will be complete by_____________"   Handwritten into that space was, "ASAP  ?"  Sounds a little open-ended to me!  "ASAP  ?"    (As soon as possible  Maybe?  Maybe not?)   ASAP  ?  (As soon as possible, but who knows when that might be??)  ASAP  (Whatever that means???)

So there has been a truck parked alongside my house for the last five days.  They have dug a pit, have a huge pile of dirt just sitting there, and erected a bright orange (AT&T really likes orange!) fence around the whole thing.  The whole thing takes up a space about 8'X8'....sooo attractive!  Luckily it is not visible from the house unless I look out the dining room window, crane my neck to try and see around a big ole tree without hitting my head on the glass.  Even though it is ugly, it really is not obtrusive for us.  (The neighbors, however, might have a different take on the whole thing!)  It hasn't been a big deal.....until today.

About two hours ago, all of a sudden our security system started to beep for no apparent reason..  You know, one of those annoying high pitched electronic noises that is just regular enough and just often enough to drive you UP A WALL!!  The panel has a bunch of lights lit up including the "Trouble" light.  Swell, I thought!  Mikey is out of town and the alarm thingy won't shut off, I don't know what's wrong, and it is making me "Crazy!"  So I went to the phone to try to get hold of Mikey for advice dial tone!  The phone screen says "Check Tel Line", but I can't check the line because I can't make a call!!!

So I go to see if I can talk to the workers in the splice pits and...........there are no workers.  There is no truck. I can't call the security company.  I can't call AT&T and the damn security alarm is beeping away and there is nothing I can do to make it stop!  I can't even find my cell phone.  The only saving grace is that I do have power.  Otherwise I would be sitting in a cold, dark house, with a beep that won't quit, and babbling to myself, wondering if the workers will ever return!

I guess I should have taken advantage of the bundling offer.  Evidently, AT&T doesn't like to be turned down!

UPDATE:    Still beeping, still no dial tone, found my cell phone, called the number conveniently left on the Orange Notice answer!    (whimpering....)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

"Things I Couldn't Say" aka Dear So and So

The originator of the Dear So and So meme (3 Room Bungalow) has decided to drop the meme which is really too bad.  I always felt better about my letters of complaint being a part of a group of other bloggers, rather than just crabby old me!  Nevertheless, I like the format of the Dear So and So letter concept, so I have decided that, when the mood strikes, I will continue to write them even all by myself.


Dear Airlines,

I understand that the airline industry is struggling what with all the new regulations, fewer fliers, and higher costs, but really aren't we all struggling with something (or even several somethings) these days?   So really isn't there some way you can make air travel MORE convenient rather than less?  The Big Guy flew to CA this morning on a 10:00 am flight.  He was supposed to be at the airport by 8:30 am to allow time for all the security stuff and God knows what else.  He couldn't get a direct flight, but had to go from Austin to Dallas first, change planes and then on to his final destination.  He didn't get on the ground in CA until 4:30 (Austin time).  That is a very LONG time all cooped up with a bunch of other folks (many of whom were coughing, blowing, sneezing, and hacking) the whole way there.  And according to the tales I hear from others who fly, Mikey's trip was pretty direct!  At least he didn't have to go to Atlanta or Chicago first!

No wonder Mikey hates to travel.



Dear Weather Controllers,

It's January.  I get that.  It comes at this time every year.  But must you be so predictably consistently grey, rainy, and cold every single time January rolls around?  A lot more that just a peak at the sun late in the afternoon would much appreciated.  Mel gets a little cranky when the sun don't shine! It's times like these that Mel envies those species which hibernate through the worst of winter.  I could very easily climb into my comfy cozy little cave (that would be my bed) and stay there until a regular sunrise returns and the grey clouds blow off somewhere else far, far away!



Dear Father Time (or whomever),

Speaking of January, could you please explain to me what the hell happened to November and December?? To say nothing of the first week and a half of January??   It feels like I blinked and they just tiptoed past me and out of sight!  I know that we had our regular holidays.  I distinctly remember various regular activities that go with the holiday season.  We shopped, we wrapped, we decorated, we shared, we celebrated....all the regular stuff.  It just all seems kind of blurred together in one general memory.  The one thing I am sure of.  The holidays are over for another year and part of me feels like I missed it!




Dear Bakers,

I hate to admit it, but I love a good doughnut!  Cinnamon, chocolate, powdered sugar, a good plain cake doughnut, occasionally even a jelly-filled doughnut....all good and very satisfying.  My favorite though is a glazed, raised doughnut with just the right amount of sugar glaze, light as a feather, and not too sweet.....ahhh, heaven.  Now everyone who knows me, knows that I would never attempt to make my own doughnuts, the very thought is ridiculous.  I'd probably burn down the house in the process.

So where does that leave me?  I must rely on the bakers of the world to provide me with my occasional "doughnut fix."  That shouldn't be a problem, right?  Most towns have bakeries that make all sorts of yummy baked goods on a daily basis.  Most of them that I have ever encountered are very traditional with everything from bread to cookies to scones to pies and yes, to doughnuts.  In Chicago (where I lived to much of my life), I couldn't even begin to guess how many free-standing bakeries there are.  There is at least one in every neighborhood.  German bakeries, Swedish, French, Scandinavian, and Polish are the most relevant.  Oh the mouth salivates just thinking of them.

Bus Austin is not a typical town.  I've mentioned that before and one of the ways that it is unusual is that there just aren't many bakeries!  And most of the ones that do exist are more little restaurants that make a few pastries on the side.

Except for doughnut shops!  There are lots and lots of doughnut shops.  Small, storefront, independent doughnut shops are sprinkled all over the place.  I should be in seventh heaven right?  Wrong!

In Austin, the 8 gazillion doughnut shops are only open until Noon or 1:00 pm!  I guess they open at the crack of dawn (or maybe even earlier).   Well, that makes sense, sort of.  Doughnuts for most folks are synonymous with breakfast, the starting meal of the day.  OK.  I get that.

However, although we are in the minority, there are some of us whose lives revolve around a different schedule....we are night owls.  People who stay up late because of work or inclination and for us morning is whenever we get up!  So if I am not out and about with the rest of the world at the crack of dawn I cannot find a doughnut shop that still has more than a few weird-ish flavors or worse, is even still open!

Why?  Are doughnuts not to be eaten in the afternoon or evening??  Do they cease to exist after noon?  Couldn't you stay open a bit later to accommodate those of us who love doughnuts but hate morning?  Is that so much to ask??  Oh I know the grocery stores have doughnuts, but, trust me, they just ain't the same!

It's probably just as well, I suppose.  If I could get at freshly made doughnuts at any time I wanted one, I would undoubtedly weigh 500 pounds.

Still, I sure wish I could get a good doughnut somewhere in the afternoon!   Sigh......


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

"Magic Moments"

Most of us have things in our lives that make us really happy.  Some of those moments are BIG THINGS, like weddings, new babies, a great job, any kind of major triumph.  But those things, although wonderful, are usually infrequent and can change your life and don't happen without thought, effort, and even planning..  There are, however, other things that come in much smaller dosages of happy, they are more just "Magic Moments" that can happen out of the blue and put you on top of the world for a while.  Here are some of mine.  Love when these happen!!

1.  Finding an unread book by a favorite author when you thought you had read everything the author ever wrote....Literary Bliss!

2.  Hugs from your granddaughter....Instant Bliss!

3.  Putting a great outfit together and knowing you look sensational....Fashion Bliss!

4.  Unexpectedly hearing from and old friend....Warm and Fuzzy Bliss!

5.  Finding money stuffed in the pocket of something you haven't worn in ages....Fiscal Bliss!

6.  Having a large glass of perfectly sweetened, icy cold tea when you are really thirsty....Salivary Bliss!

7.  Getting all of your Christmas things out and in place.....Holiday Bliss!

8.  Finally getting all of your Christmas things packed up and put away for another year....Organizational Bliss!

9.  Seeing a live theater production that is absolutely flawless....Dramatic Bliss!  (This has only happened once in my life;  Les Miserable)

10.  Having a meal that is so good you want to lick the plate....Gastronomic Bliss!

11.  Finally unpacking a box from your last move and finding a treasure you thought was gone forever....Emotional Bliss!

12.  Getting a really good pedicure from a great manicurist....Tootsie Bliss!

13.  Meeting someone and knowing instantly you will become best friends....Companionship Bliss!

14.  A quiet, peaceful evening after a very long, busy, and productive day....Satisfaction Bliss!

15.  Watching a favorite movie that still makes you laugh, and cry, and feel good even though you've seen it five times....Entertainment Bliss!

16.  Writing a blog entry that just flows without struggle (like this one!)....Creative Bliss!

So how about you, what are your "Magic Moments"?

Saturday, January 5, 2013

"Three Days"

Yesterday Mike's favorite brother-in-law, Ralph, who was married to his favorite sister, died after a long struggle with multiple health issues that plagued him for the last several years.  He was a delightful man.  Smart, witty, loving and caring, charming, and one of the nicest people I knew.   Both he and Mike's sister had been married before and came into each others lives well after 40.  It was obvious from the start that they were just right for each other and they remained happily together for nearly 30 years.

When we lived in CA, they lived about two hours away from us on the other side of the Bay,  Close enough that we could see them several times a year and we always spent one of the major holidays together.  We very much enjoyed their company and they felt the same.  When we were together we talked and laughed and ate and generally had a really good time.  Ralph was the only person I have ever met whose heritage was Basque!  He had an interesting life and over the years we had many stimulating conversations and good times together.  When we moved to Austin, they were the people we missed the most from CA.  Shortly after we left CA, Ralph's health began to decline and he had multiple problems for years.

The last year was particularly bad and he was hospitalized nearly 20 times and ultimately was moved to a skilled nursing facility.  Yesterday his battle was over and he is finally at peace.

Many years go by without hearing of the death of someone who is close, and that is just fine.  We never want to have more of that kind of loss.  But in the last 9 days I have lost three dear people from my circle of friends and relatives.  "Three Days" out of the last nine.  That is a hard blow.  I only recall that happening one other time in my life.... in 2003 when my mom, T.A.'s dad, and one of my aunts all died within about 3 weeks.  That was devastating.

Death comes in threes, we have all heard that from time to time.  It isn't of course, really so, but when it does happen, it is a shock, unsettling and very, very sad.

Rest in peace, dear Ralph.  You have earned your rest.  We will miss you very much.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

"High Hopes"

2013....arrived right on schedule....the early predictions about the Mayan calendar and the potential "end of the world" on 12/21/12 turned out to be nothing more than a hysterical reaction to a misunderstanding of how the Mayan calendar works and the resultant media hype.  According to the premier Mayan expert (who happens to be on faculty at the University of Texas here in Austin,) the only thing ending according to the calendar is the current cycle of history (or something like that) and there never was a  prediction or indication that the world was ending.  And obviously that is correct!  No Apocalypse, no stray comet or asteroid, no visit from aliens, no enemy attacks.....nothing!

According to Science Magazine, scientists even found confirmation of the existence of a sub-atomic particle known as the Higgs boson during 2012
The long-sought-after particle - believed to impart mass to all other matter in the universe - was made by researchers at the CERN particle physics lab near Geneva, using the $5.5 billion atom smasher called the Large Hadron Collider.
That they managed to confirm that the Higgs Boson, was right were it was expected to be without actually replicating a full-scale Big Bang was a surprise (it seemed like a real possibility to me, but then I'm no scientist.)  Finding it at all was a surprise to many, including Stephen Hawking, who expected that the confirmation would not occur for many years.  Still they found it, they didn't blow us all up in the process, and the world did not end with the discovery of the "God Particle."

The Presidential Election came and went without riots in the streets or any backlash as predicted by some.  Speeches were made, names were called, mud was slung, candidates were defeated, candidates were elected, and for a grateful nation life finally returned to normal.

Hurricane Sandy seemed like it might be a doomsday kind of storm what with the strong hurricane force winds and precipitation meeting up with the winter cold front coming from the north.  But while it was Big and it was Strong, and it was a was not a doomsday kind of storm.  Just a big ol' hurricane in a part of the country that doesn't normally get hit by hurricanes.

Then there was Aurora and even more horrific, Sandy Hook.   A disaster of such magnitude that it impacted the whole world, and it felt like the end of the world for the families and friends of the victims.  We all felt the shock and horror and anger and pain of the loss of the 20 children and 9 adults due to the actions of one deranged killer.  As horrible as these were, they were single events perpetrated by single individuals and not the end of civilization (though in some ways it felt like it!).

In addition to the above list, 2012 was a typical year with a lot of other ups and downs

  • Typhoon Bopha, known as "Pablo" in the Philippines, kills at least 1,067 with around 838 people still missing. The typhoon caused considerable damage in the island of Mindanao

Nevertheless, we survived it and now we move into 2013.....we have "High Hopes" that this year will be better than last. And lastly.....we really hope that nobody else predicts the end of the world anytime soon!! :)

Happy New Year!

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