Day 306

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Out to pasture

This is one of those days when I don’t know what to say, or write, or compose. I thought that going for a ride in the country might be a source of  inspiration; some of my better ideas come to me when I’m driving. Today, however, All I could think about was getting ready for the party tomorrow night.

When I looked at the notes in the  list of blog post ideas that I keep on my phone, I came up empty. The first note on my list was “Billy u Mont tre.” I need to wear my glasses when I put those notes in. The second note was a name, John Crowley. UI don’t know why Mr. Crowley’s name is in my list. The name meant nothing to me when I saw it today. I just checked him out in Wikipedia, my source for all true information, and found out that he is an author of Fantasy, Science Fiction, and also mainstream fiction. Well, that may be the reason I have his name, but I don’t recall reading anyth…wait a minute…I’l bet I saw some of his books in the store Robots & Rogues when I was in there last week. The covers probably caught my attention and I made a note of his name in order to check out his writing. Problem solved. Oh, and Wikipedia tells me that he studies at IU and makes documentary films. Those are also good reasons to check him out. 

My next note was “Ft. Wayne Daisies.” The Daisies was a woman’s professional baseball team that played in the forties and fifties. I know that the reason I wanted to check on that team was because I once dated an older woman who played professional baseball. She was fifteen years my senior, and was in the best physical condition of any woman I ever dated. Ooooh I have stories, but not today. I realized that looking up the team rosters wouldn’t help me determine if she played for the Daisies, because I didn’t know her maiden name, and she had kept her husband’s name when she divorced him. The one picture I came across on the Internet was in low resolution and I couldn’t make out any of the faces to see if they looked familiar. Further research may be in order.

Day 305

Stocking up for winter

I almost had a better picture of this gray-tailed rodent. It was sitting on a rock, looking directly at me, but when I raised the camera to focus, it jumped out of frame and scampered under a car in the parking lot. I’m not a fauna photographer, so I feel lucky to have gotten this shot.

***

In yesterday’s post I told about going to three different stores in search of shredded chicken, ans how I settled on a bag of frozen chicken breasts. Around ten o’clock last night I was watching TV with Cindy when it occurred to me that I couldn’t recall putting the chicken breasts in the freezer. I got up and looked in the freezer, no chicken breasts; I looked in the refrigerator and refrigerator freezer, no chicken breasts; then I looked in my car, no chicken breasts. That’s why I didn’t recall putting them in the freezer. I have no clue where they are, but I’m sure that if I brought them home, the stench in a day or so will let me know where they are. I kind of hope I left them in the store. Today I went out and bought more chicken breasts.

***

Every year since 2000, with the exception of last year, I have put together a sheet of head shots of people and, as a game, handed them out to guests to our party for them to write the names of the people in the photos on the sheet. The people who identify the most photos win prizes. The people in the pictures come from the past and present (so far there have been none from the future), and from the worlds of music, movies, TV, politics, and sports. Because fewer and fewer people tried guessing the names over the years, I tried a different game last year. Even fewer people tried that game. So this year we are back with the faces.

It is interesting to see the answers come in. It’s obvious that some people are copying answers from other people’s sheets. I can tell from the same misspellings and same wrong answers. We’ve had people use their smart phones to check if their guesses are correct before turning in their sheets. To make the construction of the game sheet more interesting for me, I add themes such as people with the same last name. Two years ago I had three people with the last name of O’Donell in the game. I could have had more but chose to limit it to just three so that it wouldn’t become too obvious. Maybe I should give extra credit for anyone who can find all of my themes. Hmmm; maybe if there is a tie.

Day 304

Another study in black & white

Maybe it’s the season, autumn with most of the leaves off of the trees, the sky is overcast, and the fields are bare. Black & white photos seem appropriate to me. That’s why I greyscaled this picture.

***

I spent a couple of hours today shopping for food that Cindy wants/needs for our party on Saturday. I decided to use her list, and not buy things that appealed to me. Most of it was easy to find, cheese, crackers, chips, and most of the ingredients for the soup she will making. I did have trouble finding one item on her list, three pounds of shredded chicken. I tried three stores, one of them a wholesale place for restaurants, and none of them carried shredded chicken. I decided that cooking chicken and  shredding it couldn’t be too big of a hassle; I’ve seen it done on countless television cooking shows, so I just bought the requisite three pounds of chicken breasts and decided to do myself. When I mentioned it to Cindy she said, Well, of course, that’s what I meant. You can’t buy shredded chicken.” How was I to know? I’ve never looked for it before.

In one of the stores I went to I was approached by one of the men working there. I assumed he was going to ask me if he could be of service, and I was ready to tell him what I needed. Instead he asked me if I had seen the game last night. What? Then I remembered that I was wearing an IU jacket and baseball cap. Normally when I wear those items in public the only comments I get cannot be repeated in polite company. Lafayette is like that. Anyway, when I told the fellow that I had indeed watched the game, he started talking to me about the game, about the players, about the coach, and all other things IU. I almost forgot what my question was, but when I remembered and asked if they had shredded chicken, he answered, “No,” and went on to talk about what a clean program Tom Crean was running at IU, and how good a player Cody Zeller was, and on, and on, and on. I finally had to thank him for his help, turn on my heel, and walk away.

Day 303

Not so busy

One of the benefits of being retired is that I can do some of my Christmas shopping during the day on weekdays. As you can see in the picture, the mall parking lot isn’t crowded, nor was the mall. I had a specific gift in mind for Cindy that I went to look for, but I didn’t find it. Instead, I found something else that I think she will like. I would name it here, but she does occasionally read my posts, and she had friends who read it more often. Since I like to surprise her on Christmas morning, I won’t take a chance on letting the surprise slip. All I need to do for her now is find some stocking stuffers.

***

Earlier this afternoon I was watching an episode from the second season of I Spy. This particular episode guest starred the lovely Joey Heatherton. For those who are young, and don’t know who Joey Heatherton is, I would say that she was the Miley Cyrus of the 60’s, only cuter…and sexier. In one of the early scenes of the episode she is riding on a train in Italy reading a paperback book. The book appears to be a copy of Fanny Hill. Considering the character she plays in this episode, it seems an appropriate book. It is also interesting, to me, in that this episode would have been filmed around the time of, or shortly after, the Supreme Court ruling on the obscenity trial over the book took place.

***

I must admit that I have been lax in cataloguing my comic book collection. I don’t think I’ve made an entry into the database in at least three months. I need to work on them, and get more of them moved to the basement. I know I’ll feel better once I get a few hundred more listed in the database. Maybe tomorrow…nah…I have things to do to get ready for the party on Saturday. Maybe next week.

Day 302

Art in a surprising place

I spent a few minutes down town this afternoon. I finished my appointment at the dentist’s office and then decided to walk around a bit and do some pre-Christmas window shopping.

On the side of a building, in an alley, I found the artwork in the picture. I couldn’t back far enough to include the entire piece, even when standing at an angle to it, but I got most of it in the frame…so to speak. The building is the home of Artist’s Own, which is a co-operative of local artists. I love going into the shop and looking around. There is so much art in there that I wish I could own and display. But, we don’t have room, or the money for anything like that. Also, I doubt that Cindy would like much of the art that I like. Our tastes are different for the most part. 

Speaking of artwork, I finally stopped to look over the bookstore, Robots & Rogues, that is dedicated to science fiction and fantasy. I was happy to learn that they also have other, used, books for sale. On a rack on the sidewalk I found a book on the art of Andrew Wyeth for only $2, and inside a nice collection of mysteries, thrillers, and other used books a reasonable prices. I’ll be returning to that shop. Also inside were paintings by an artist whose work is very different from much of what I see locally. I belive that the next time I go in I will get the name of the artist, find out the prices on the paintings, and start saving to buy one. It’s a start, and I’m sure I can find room in the office/computer room for a painting.

***

Michelle and Lee are flying back to Las Vegas this afternoon. In fact, by the time I post this, they will be at the airport, starting through security. It was good spending time with them. I know that Cindy will be sad tonight, but she was able to have some time with them. I hope we can see them again soon.

Day 301

After

I must admit that Cindy, Peggy and Flo did a fine job decorating the tree. All we have to do now is put some presents under the tree. That will start happening after out party next Saturday. Until then we will be putting wrapped prizes under the tree. Lots of games are played, and lots of prizes are won. I am not much of a party person; crowds make me nervous; but I like our party.

Trina was still in high school when we started having the party. It started out as a few people who came to the house after the Lafayette Jeff Christmas show. We stopped going to the show after Trina graduated, but the party went on. It expanded to friends and family, friends of friends and people we worked with (some guests fit more than one category) and at one point we had as many as eighty plus people who attended.

We used to mail invitations to everyone, but three or four years ago Cindy decided that we would only send email invitations. I decided that anyone who skipped three parties in a row would be dropped from the invitation list.

We used to prepare all of the food. The first two years it was just soup, cheese and crackers. That has changed as well. Cindy still makes soup, we still have cheese and crackers, but we’ve added beef stick, veggie trays, soft drinks, wine, and many desserts. occasionally we have wings and/or meatballs, but we have allowed guests to bring much of the food as we have cut back on our preparations. We found that we had been spending too much time preparing for the party,  and not enough time enjoying it. Having said that we don’t do as much to prepare, guess how I’ll be spending most of the week? Yep, it’s that time of year.

Day 300

Before

What you don’t see are all of the boxes of decorations that are sitting in the kitchen, waiting to be opened and displayed. They will eventually find their way into three rooms, or more. I’ve put lights in the living room window, and I’ve erected the tree. Cindy decided to have Flo and her friend, Peggy, come over to decorate the tree. Well, Flo will just sit and talk while Cindy and Peggy do the decorating. I’ll be hiding upstairs, pretending to sleep while they keep busy.

***

I started to watch the television mini-series Shogun from 1980. I haven’t watched it since it was first broadcast. When I put the first DVD in I was pleasantly surprised to hear narration from Orson Welles. I had forgotten that he was part of the cast…or at least his voice was. Then I was reminded how technically advanced we have become. One of the opening sequences is an overhead view of a ship, and you can see the shadow of the helicopter that is carrying the cameraman. I’m sure I didn’t notice it when I first watched the show.

I stopped watching a few minutes later when Michelle, Lee, Trina, Macey, Mason, Maely and Jordan stopped by for a short visit. Maybe I’ll try watching the first episode again next week. Wait…no…next week is our party, so I won’t have time to watch. Hmmm…maybe I should wait until after Christmas when I’ll have a string of Saturdays to watch.

***

I never cease to be amazed at how little I have in common, musically, from Trina and other people her age. I may not have liked a lot of the music my dad listened to, but I certainly would recognize the names of most of the performers he listened to. Having said that, I make a compilation cd of Christmas music each year and give copies to the kids, and other friends of the family. I try to include a variety of secular and religious songs, performed by many artists who differ stylistically. I even include some songs that I don’t care for. Anyway, this year’s cd has artists as varied as The Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Donna Summers, Harry Connick Jr., Manheim Steamroller, Chanticleer, etc. Trina amazed me by saying that the only names that she recognized were Miley Cyrus and Peter, Paul & Mary. It makes me feel like I went wrong somewhere in the past.

Day 299

Hey! I found another barn

It seemed a good idea to avoid town, and the shopping crowds, and to go find a photo in the country. I found this barn and another, along with a couple of other photo ideas that appealed to me. The colors in this photo are brighter than in the other pictures that I took. Let’s hear it for a reddish barn and (still) green grass.

***

I got a letter on Wednesday from one of my health providers stating that they had submitted a bill for $997 to Medicare, and that it had been denied because I had other insurance. Well, the letter didn’t mention what service had been provided that cost $997, nor did it state precisely which doctor had provided the service. Furthermore, I was pretty sure that all of my providers knew that Medicare was the secondary insurer, but I thought I should call to find out what was going on. I called and found out that when I had added Medicare as an insurer, my GP’s office had made a mistake and listed Medicare as then primary insurer. I took care of that over the phone, and that was good customer service on their part. When I asked what the $997 was for, the woman on the other end stated that lab work had been done. It seems that for $997 I let them take four vials of blood, and had collected stool samples for them. I felt like I was the middle man, but I wasn’t getting paid.

***

I wish I had carried my digital video camera with me when I went out to take my picture yesterday morning. There was a man who appeared to be in his forties on a bicycle. He had a large dog on a leash, trying to get the dog to follow behind the bike. The dog wanted to make frequent stops to bark at people and animals, and to urinate. Each time the dog stopped he pulled the man and the bike off-balance, causing the man to stop and brace himself lest he be pulled off of the bike. Rather than getting exercise pedaling the bike, the man got more exercise trying to avoid road burns and broken bones. A video of the man’s travails would have been funny.

Day 298

View from the roundabout

There is a new roundabout in Lafayette. It is on Concord and a new-street-that-opened-and-I-didn’t-think-to-get-the-name-of-it-even-though-construction-has-been-going-on-for-months. It is south of Teal Road and north of Brady Lane.

I wanted to use a photo from those I took at JR and Trina’s Thanksgiving Day feast; aye, and a feast it was. But here’s the story on why I used, instead, a picture I took this morning. I decided to take my digital video camera rather than my Nikon to the dinner today. That was my first mistake. While I like the video camera, and I have used it to take still pictures, I don’t know it well enough to take good pictures in dark lighting. Well, thought I, it isn’t all that bad because when I upload them to the PC I’ll run them through my old reliable Jasc Paint Shop Pro 8 software and come up with a presentable picture. That was my second mistake because today the Paint Shop Pro became unreliable and I was unable to open the software, even after multiple tries and two reboots, one soft and one hard. So I went online and downloaded a fully functioning trial version of Corel’s Paint Shop Pro x5. It seems to be a good product, but it is years beyond what I have been using. What I formerly had been able to achieve with just a few mouse clicks, I have ben unable to do with many functions. At this point, my expertise is woefully lacking. I haven’t been able to do what I want to do, so I’m using the photo I took with my Nikon this morning. Oh, and mistake number three was in leaving my cell phone at home today. I could have used it to take backup shots that would have been usable. I’m still learning.

Day 297

It isn’t London, but it is foggy

It was very foggy this morning. When I started running errands it was even foggier than it shows in this picture. I was surprised at the number of people who were driving as if there was no fog, as if they were immortal. I hope they have to wait a long time before they realize that they aren’t.

***

I continue to get emails that are directed to other people. Yesterday evening an email came into my cell phone. Someone was sending directions to a veterinarian’s office in Pennsylvania. Since I wasn’t in Pennsylvania, and I’m not caring for any animals, I’m pretty sure the email wasn’t being sent to me. I suppose I need to contact Comcast and try to get things straightened out. I systematically get emails aimed at men in Pennsylvania and Georgia, as well as to a woman in Nevada. I wonder if they are getting any that are aimed at me.

***

Finally, last night, I was able to watch another IU basketball game. I missed the three previous games because they weren’t televised on any station that we receive. They played Georgetown,and it was a really good game. The game went into overtime before IU was finally able to pull ahead and stay ahead. If they had hit free throws in the stretch, like they did in overtime, there would not have been an overtime. But, they pulled it out, and I’m proud of them.

***

Michelle and Lee are flying in this evening to spend Thanksgiving here. Trina gets to show off her cooking skills tomorrow. It is hard to believe that someone who disliked cooking the way she did as a teenager has turned into a very good cook. I’m looking forward having dinner at their home tomorrow. Tonight we’ll celebrate the Jacksons’ arrival with pizza from Arnie’s. It’s all good.