Friday, December 30, 2005

question of the day

do you really need a home computer?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Its just a small electrical problem

We left very early this morning to drop Ferris off at the airport.
It was about 5:00 a.m.. My wife and I were enjoying our first cup of coffee on the road while Ferris knotted off in the backseat.
We sipped our warm java and talked about silly things, as we tend to do, when the sunroof opened… by itself.
I closed it.
We looked at each other – odd.
It started to open again, this time I caught it before it got fully opened.
The last time it opened, it didn’t stop. It opened fully. And nothing we did would close it.
I feverishly pushed the buttons, then tugged at the glass, then pushed the button while tugging at the glass. Ferris was groaning in the back – of course he was pretty much getting cold air full in the face.
Luckily for us it was a balmy 33°.

After shivering for a short time, I fashioned a partial wind block from the back floor mat and a long ice scraper. This worked relatively well and we made the rest of the hour-long drive a bit chilly but without incident.

We saw Ferris off and waited for his plane to depart. It didn’t take long, maybe an hour and a half all told.
On the way back to the car we plotted on better ways to keep the air out on the way home, and joked that we were lucky it was not raining… or snowing.

In the car – I poured us a refill of warm coffee from the thermos I had prepared for the ride. My chilly wife started the car.
Tick tick tick.

You know that sound.
May as well have been.
Tsk tsk tsk.

I guess the sunroof never stopped trying – even tho the car was off.
During this time a guy was getting into his car in an adjacent space. There was no way he did not hear the ticking, or notice me standing outside of the car looking forlorn. He walked around his car a couple of times, putting things in the trunk and such, and then he left. Not a word, not even an acknowledgement. He could have simply looked up and said – sorry I don’t have cables… sheesh.
In the meantime, my patient wife continued to turn the key – every so often getting a grrrr out of the engine, making her more hopeful than worried.
I began wandering around looking for the ‘airport guy’.
I finally found him in his truck. On the side of the truck was lettered.
Airport Courtesy
Battery jumps, tire inflations…
And some other stuff I didn’t bother to read… I had my answer!

I asked for a jump.
The kind and willing to help ‘airport guy’ was a bit older than one might expect for someone having a job which may require heavy work in the bitter cold. So old in fact, he couldn’t quite squeeze the jumper grips wide enough to fit over the battery post, and he was shaking so badly that when he did manage to get them wide enough he kept missing his mark. It took all of my self-control not to grab the things from him. But he was a kind man, and so I waited.
While he was repeatedly attempting to attach the cables, I noticed the red clip was badly corroded. Our feeble, shaky airport guy overlooked this detail and continued on. Because of this corrosion he made several attempts to reconnect the cables on both his car and ours… each time repeating the shaking and the missing. I am so patient.
At one point, I suggested that the problem lie in the cable rather than the car, I did it in my best ‘I am only a woman suggesting to you the man what might only possibly be something you may want to consider which you probably were already considering because you are so clever’ voice.
He scraped off the cable until he got a spark, then again after missed several attempts, hooked them back up. The car turned over in a jiffy.
I reinstalled the car mat/ ice scraper wind block device, and off we went, bypassing the house and directly to the mechanic.
All is well now. The sunroof is closed – and disabled. We can revisit that in June.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Happy Merry Joy Peace Love Cocktails

Have a wonderful and safe holiday.

Remember: don't drink if you are going to drive, don't drive if you are going to drink.

Get drunk stay put be merry (or be Mary...whatever brings you joy)


Thursday, December 22, 2005


The other night our toilet stopped functioning properly. Ferris and I spent some time diagnosing the problem. We found that water was outgoing fine but we were not getting any incoming.
The solution was to purchase all new 'guts' and rebuild.
I did this last night. I was so pleased.
Inexpensive and easy to do.
When I finished I stood up and danced around the toilet in Tom Hanks fashion chanting "Look, look what I have repaired!"

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Main Entry: cour•te•ous
Pronunciation: 'k&r-tE-&s, British also 'kor-
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English corteis, from Old French, from court
1 : marked by polished manners, gallantry, or ceremonial usage of a court
2 : marked by respect for and consideration of others
synonym see CIVIL

Pardon me,
No, no after you.
Allow me.
Would you mind if…

Common courtesy. That’s a catch phrase. Altho courtesy just isn’t so common any more. Remember chivalry. No. chivalry is not sexist.

Main Entry: chiv•al•rous
Pronunciation: 'shi-v&l-r&s
Function: adjective
2 : of, relating to, or characteristic of chivalry and knight-errantry
3 a : marked by honor, generosity, and courtesy b : marked by gracious courtesy and high-minded consideration especially to women

The basic premise behind chivalry is not sexist, its being aware of those around you. (“high-minded consideration”), its courtesy. Look at the classic old-movie-chivalrous-act -- a man throwing his overcoat over puddle so that the woman can walk on it. Ok.. sure – this wouldn’t happen today for a myriad of reasons – but the point is, the man was aware of his surroundings and noted its immediate affect on another person and then strove to alleviate that other persons discomfort. You can apply this same theory today. Just don’t be throwing your overcoat on the ground… especially if its wool. (hmm, Friday tip idea).
This theory can be used behind the wheel too. Allowing someone to go first makes you feel good. Driving is not a competition. It doesn’t matter who is in front or who gets there first.
I tend to be chivalrous. I suppose it’s somewhat unsuspected in a woman…but I am a lesbian so the bar is raised. I also appreciate being treated that way in return, by men or women… altho in reality it is almost always by a man.
As I said the act of chivalry is not sexist and therefore I do not treat it as a sexist act. It’s a thoughtful act.
When a man quickens his step ever so slightly as to reach the door before me, I respond by slowing just enough, and then thanking him and smiling at his gesture. When a man reaches his arm over the elevator door to keep if from closing on me (which we know is impossible with modern technology) I am gracious when I enter. I acknowledge his kindness, regardless of its actual benefit. These kind men are being gracious and thoughtful. It is the least I can do to be thankful in return.

Now, please pardon me, as I need to excuse myself to attend to another matter. It’s been ever so lovely blogging with you this afternoon, we simply must blog again soon.
Thank you for stopping by.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Our Free Dog

Last year I told the long and sordid tale of a puppy we acquired at our local pound for free, and how she actually ended up costing us thousands of dollars over the first couple years of her life. I often refer to her as our ‘special needs’ dog, as she has traits that can make her hard to handle in certain situations.
Lately tho, my thoughtful wife has been gently trying to help me see the Free dog for what she really is. A very well behaved good friend.

So let me just take a moment to expound on her finer qualities, and to say right here…in writing… officially – that despite the shedding, the occasionally foul odor, and ruined hardwood floors – that I am really quite fond of her.
It occurred to me this morning as I walked out for work – that she really is an amazing dog, or as the daughter calls her our ‘angel puppy’.
For example, what prompted this whole train of thought:
My handy wife has removed the doors to our snack pantry to paint them. This pantry is basically a lower cabinet; chock full of tasty snacks such as crackers, nuts, raisins, and other yummy treats. The doors have been off for three days. The food is untouched.

Our free dog has the run of the house when we are away at work each day. There are times when she may be alone for up to 8 hours.
She has never slept on the furniture…any furniture.
The one time she had an accident the house – she was ill, and went up to the bathroom to do it.

When she wants to go out – she will sit and stare at the door and wait. When she wants to come in she will bark once and sit and wait on the other side of the door.

She sits quietly in the back seat of the car – even with the top down on my convertible.
(well, we do hold the leash in case we pass a dog… that would be just too much to ask).

She heels on her leash. While we do need to have tactical measures when passing other dogs – she calmly passes screaming children, loud teens, runners and cyclists.

I once told her she needed to go around the flower garden instead of through it, making a circling motion with my arm, explaining myself in plain english. Imagine if you will how ridiculous we looked, me talking to her … gesturing and she looking intently with her head cocked, and one ear perked up. And then…. she went around.

And finally, every day - whether waking in the morning or coming home in the evening, I can expect a greeting of pure joy, pure happiness, pure love – no matter what, no matter when.

Merry Christmas Free Dog.

Friday, December 16, 2005



Do you forget your lunch bag in the office fridge, or run out to the store at lunch then forget to bring your purchases home?

Put your keys in the bag.

I promise you won't forget your stuff then. (however, you will most likely get to the car once or twice without them)


so sorry... here are the links I had mentioned

Heifer International - Ending Hunger, Caring for the Earth

One - The Campaign to Make Poverty History

Unicef - For every child... Health, Education, Equality, Protection.

DATA - debt AIDS trade africa

or discover your own

(tip-o-day...coming this afternoon)

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Christmas shopping

We do very little holiday shopping. In our family we give holiday gifts only to children. We have long since stopped trying to find the ‘perfect’ gift for friends and relatives so that they in turn will find the ‘perfect’ gift for us. The perfect gifts are given accompanied by gift receipts so that the perfect gift may be returned or exchanged. It all basically comes down to shopping for yourself for the perfect gift.
I hope you wanted to shop.
Hmm, can you feel the love?

Putting the shopping aside РChristmas is a religious holiday. Yup, not kidding Рremember the cr̬che.
I am not a religious person. (altho my angelic wife will tell you I am spiritual). I am Italian…that makes me Catholic by default, or at least …Christian by descent.
Let’s just say I am not a practicing Christian, in that I don’t attend church on Easter and Christmas (which are evidently the minimum requirements for belonging).
But I do know the stories, and I sing the carols (because I like to sing – even tho those around me wish I didn’t). I know that Christmas is about the birth of Christ. (atlho..yes technically he was born closer to February and the date was moved to better coincide with the end of the planting season… but hey – we move all kinds of holidays to Mondays to coincide with weekends…so really what’s in a day). Ok ..back to the birth thing… If you are a Christian – then you see Christ as your Savior…yes? Ok then – the concept of a scarf for Aunt Mary or a Chia pet for Cousin Ned on Christ’s birthday eludes me. (ah..Chia pet – got you thinking now don’t I). ‘Christian’ defined means a follower of Christ, however we have come to know a more colloquial definition for the term Christian – to be kind and good hearted and welcoming to all. True – this may not be practiced, but it is an accepted and common use of the word.
So Christmas being the BIG Christian Holiday – let’s be Christian …
Be kind – stop yelling at each other in the mall. Be good hearted – give to those in need (which is probably not your cousin Earl). Be accepting – love someone this year that you thought you couldn’t.
If you have extra money this holiday – why buy a pear-shaped-trivet that will likely be hidden for a year before its tossed – give your money to someone who needs money. (I have happily listed some links for you to visit below). If you don’t have any money… then you shouldn’t be out shopping anyway. Go to a shelter. Help them serve a meal, help them take out the trash, play a game of checkers with a kid. Walk a dog at the pound. Shovel your neighbors walk. That’s free. That’s Christian.
Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

...and for today

a:\ format c:

Are you sure?


Monday, December 12, 2005

Friday, December 09, 2005



Got snow?

If you will be out shoveling like so many today (well, except for those of us with behemoth snow throwers) - remember, push the snow - its much easier on the heart than picking it up and tossing. With a big storm, don't let it all pile up. Go out and clear the driveway and paths several times if needed. This way you are only removing a couple inches at a time. It’s a great cardiovascular workout without begin dangerous.
And for those of you scoffing right now...
Marie, our 78 year old neighbor, has cleared her driveway twice so far today.
With a shovel.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Weather Man*

Meteorological technology has really come a long way. I think it’s pretty amazing that we can predict the weather so far in advance. On you can get weather details for 10 days from now. That’s pretty far out tho – so you have to take it as what it is – an educated guess.
But I really don’t understand why everyone gets mad at weathermen when they don’t nail the forecast.
The key word here is ‘forecast’.
Lets look to Websters…
Main Entry: fore•cast
Pronunciation: -"kast; fOr-'kast, for-'
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): forecast also fore•cast•ed; fore•cast•ing
transitive senses
1 a : to calculate or predict (some future event or condition) usually as a result of study and analysis of available pertinent data; especially : to predict (weather conditions) on the basis of correlated meteorological observations b : to indicate as likely to occur
2 : to serve as a forecast of : PRESAGE
intransitive senses : to calculate the future
synonym see FORETELL
- fore•cast•able /-"kas-t&-b&l/ adjective
- fore•cast•er noun

I see ‘likely to occur’. Do you see that? Do I need to get the definition for 'likely'?

So … now when the wind – controlled by forces greater than network TV – shifts and an approaching storm changes paths and we get more, or less of whatever it was that was ‘forecast’ to be coming our way… does it make you feel better to say the weatherman is an idiot?

* 'Man' is used figuratively

Monday, December 05, 2005

It's all about the snow now

Before committing to a life long relationship you really should make sure that you and your prospective life partner share the same beliefs. You should have open and honest discussions about child rearing, religion, shared responsibilities and if you live in the Northeast you will want to discuss your feelings on snow removal. Common beliefs on snow removal won’t guarantee a long and happy relationship – but it will sure help.
We had friends (who have since moved south) who felt that snow shovels and tall boots were redundant. I don’t know if you have ever visited the home of friends who don’t shovel in say…. February – let me tell you it’s a challenge. But… since they both felt the same way, icy sidewalks and cars getting stuck in the driveway was not a point of contention for them.

One of the reasons my wife and I are still happily together after all these years is we are symbiotic snow removers. Yesterday’s 2 inch spritz was removed by shovel. We didn’t even need to discuss shovel vs. snowthrower – we just both picked up our respective shovels (my wife uses one of those odd looking back saver shovels) and started clearing.
With no discussion we set about clearing the driveway first – being careful to push the snow back a foot or so onto the grass. This is our standard method especially early in the season. It gives room for future storms as well as allows the snow to melt into the grass and flow onto the driveway where it can refreeze. Once the driveway was done, we each went around to other various areas to clear. All entry ways are cleared, even tho we really only use one. The patio is cleared, all gates to the fenced backyard are cleared for access, the garbage cans are shoveled out and all around the wood bin behind the garage is also done. Walkways are shoveled to their full width…not just a path the width of the shovel. We both feel this is civilized.
We are perfect for each other.
It’s going to snow again tonight.

Friday, December 02, 2005



Will you be murdering a live tree to bring into your home this holiday season?
As barbaric as we are beginning to believe this is… we will too.

We’re just not ready to let go yet. While traditional – the world population has grown so much that cutting down trees in such enourmous numbers just to bring them into the house for a couple weeks then throw them out in plastic bags to go to the dump is starting to seem a little foolish.
I will pause here while you call me Grinch and boo.......

I imagine the plastic tree is just around the corner for us. It just makes more environmental sense.
The other option – which is a bit trickier, is getting a truly live tree in a burlap ball. This takes more planning, especially here in the northeast where you would need to dig your planting hole ahead of time - before the ground freezes. Also with this type of tree you can really only have it in the house for a very short time, otherwise it will start to think its spring when it should be staying dormant for the winter.

I suppose we could abolish the tree entirely, but then our children will disown us and go have Christmas with another family.

Soooo, your tip for today is tree care.

To keep your recently murdered tree fresh- the most important thing is water. You may have heard of folks using aspirin or sugar or even bleach added to the water to keep a tree fresher longer. Really these are unnecessary. Keeping the tree moist is the key.

When you bring you tree home – if you are not going to put it up right away – put it in a bucket of water in a shady spot outside until you are ready. If you did not cut the tree yourself, cut about ½ inch off the trunk to allow water to be drawn into the wood.
Once the tree is in the stand be sure it has water ALL the time. A tree can drink up to 1 gallon of water a day, especially in the first few days its up.
Check the tree before you go to bed and again when you wake up.
If the water runs dry – the tree trunk will sap over and the tree will no longer draw water, and it will dry up to a crisp and loose its needles in a big pile on the floor and become a fire hazard as well as an eyesore. If this happens you may be able to get it to drink again by either peeling some of the bark off or drilling into the trunk below water level.

Remember, keep trees away from heat sources and NEVER put the tree next to the fireplace no matter how romantic it looks. One tiny spark and WHOOSH. Christmas trees will burn faster than you can get to your fire extinguisher (you DO have a fire extinguisher on each floor of your home…right?!)
And for those of you celebrating both Christmas and Hanukah this December 25th – please light your menorah on the other side of the room from your Christmas tree.
This is not religious segregation…just good common sense.

Joy and peace.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

It's 6:30, do you know where your SQA is?

It's 6:30p.m. and I am still at work.
I got here at 6:45a.m.

You may now begin to shower me with sympathy.
(well except for you Brenda (who is still here too)).