Saturday, November 29, 2014

Life Without Cable

has hardly caused a blip in the household. The only one who has had to give up the most is Himself. He's no longer able to watch his favorite team sports. Good sport and team player he is, he's been able to listen to the games on the radio.

Everyone has their Netflix favorites to while away the hours. The only problem has been watching the news. Supposedly through the Blu-ray player we can connect to the internet. We've been able to get to the tv news sites that offer live video, but the video won't play. I suspect it has something to do with the Blu-ray player not having Adobe Flash.

Himself took his laptop and slaved it to the monitor so when we want to watch the news, we do it through the laptop, but watch on the big tv screen. Himself and I have been able to catch up on Supernatural and Gracepoint this way.

At an elevation of 706 ft., in the middle of the woods, and being some distance away from local television towers, we never got good television reception when we first moved here, 29 years ago. But times change. Himself suggested while I was out running errands that I pick up a an HDTV antenna. The antennas are fairly inexpensive. I found one at Wallyworld for 20 bucks. It's a nice sleek design and not the old rabbit ears. Television networks broadcast a digital signal for free. Like the old days when homes had an aerial antenna on the roof. A one time payment of $20 is way better than paying the  monthly nearly $60 digital set-top box fee for 3 televisions.

With some fiddling and a call to tech support, Himself  was able to find the local Boston ABC, NBC, and CBS affiliates. This makes watching the news easier. I think  he was also able to find FOX so we'll be able to watch Gracepoint live. Still haven't been able to bring in CW so will have to watch Supernatural online.

Without cable, life is still good.

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1.  While Himself was at a Black Belt clinic, The Eldest invited me to an X-Files marathon. In my room. On my comfy Sleep Number Bed in the upright position. I prefer to think she wanted my company and not the comfort of the bed.

2. While driving home, I saw a blue heron sail over the highway.

3. The physical therapist thinks the problems the Young One is having with her shoulder might be something happening in her neck. A call to the doc to order an MRI. Good news, bad news. The good news is nothing showed up on the MRI. Bad news is the Young One is still in pain.

4. The day before Thanksgiving is baking day. The Eldest has taken an interest in cooking and asked to help.  We baked an apple pie and her favorite, pumpkin pie.

5. We had a quiet Thanksgiving. Just Himself, me, and the girlies. A slow day. No rush. Everyone hung out in pj pants, watched TV, played on the computer, and ate. I was happy everyone was home safe the day before, and the storm for us wasn't as bad as predicted. Had to laugh. While waiting for the turkey to roast, I looked out the front window. In a great escape, a herd of turkeys made a mad dash across the street to the safety of  Prissy's yard.

How was your week?

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Throwback Thursday

Remnants of Thanksgiving 1967 at Uncle Mario's
Left to right: Ma (seated), Auntie Emma, Auntie Phyllis, Auntie Olga, me, Uncle Tony, Uncle Jack 
Here we are waiting for Round Two of eating. Have a little something before you go home. Another plate of lasagna or eggplant Parmigiana. Maybe a turkey sandwich. Another slice of pie, fruit and nuts, or Auntie Emma's pizzelles  (Italian, anise flavored, waffle cookies)

If you celebrate the holiday, have a Happy Thanksgiving. If you don't celebrate the holiday, have a fabulous Thursday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Work in Progress - A Painting

Canvas size 24 in. square
Layout done with a blue chalk pencil. Chalk lines are easily brushed off with a microfiber cloth. Still some tweaking to do, but overall, I'm pleased with the design.

What are you working on?

Monday, November 24, 2014

I Got No Strings To Hold Me Down.

While I was on the phone to Verizon to cancel the landline, I also cancelled our cable subscription. We don't really watch much television anymore. We're all quite happy with Netflix. I can watch the news on the computer or iPad. Even the shows we do watch (Supernatural, Blacklist, Gracepoint) can be seen on the computer, a day or two, after they are aired on television.

The only show I didn't really think about was Doctor Who. The last episode of series 8 ended two weeks ago. BBC America doesn't offer the show for viewing on their website. I won't be able to see the Christmas special. Not really a big deal. I like the new doctor, but he's not my doctor. I can happily watch my doctor on Netflix and wait for the new doctor's episodes to be aired on Netflix in the near future.

Dealing with Verizon wasn't too bad. The first customer service rep was flustered when I told her I wanted to cancel the phone and cable. She put me on hold while (I assume) she contacted her supervisor. While I waited forever, I tweeted my frustration, and got a response from AT&T

 Nov 17
Oh no! Join the @ ASAP for service that will make you smile! ^Colton

Made me laugh. Gotta love social media.

Finally, another rep. got on the line to take care of me. I didn't like having to justify my reason to them. I'm not sure Verizon liked hearing I didn't feel like making two more car payments or another mortgage payment. Yeah, the bill was that high, and we didn't even have premium channels except for the Sports package for Himself. The second rep. cancelled everything instantly.

We still have Internet service with them, and I don't have a problem with that. Though I did drop the Internet speed. The speed we were (supposedly) at 35/35 was no longer offered. I dropped to 25/25 and haven't noticed much difference. If it does pose a problem, we can always upgrade.

 I'd really like to drop the cellphone service. That's where the real expense on the bill is. Friend and colleague, Andy Fish, switched his cell service to Republic. You can read his reviews on his service.(Scroll down because the first search of Republic is from Republic Pictures) Andy's a savvy fella.  Unfortunately, I read Andy's reviews a couple of weeks after I renewed my cellphone contract with Verizon. Terminating the contract is too expensive, so it's marked on my 2016 To Do calendar.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Watson, Come Here. I Don't Need You

I finally ditched the landline. I'd been thinking about doing it for a long time. Seemed silly to pay for something that wasn't really used. Most of the calls were from telemarketers. I also had a distinctive ring number for the FAX machine which I've only used a half dozen times. That was disconnected, too.

The girlies use their cellphones to text or Skype with their friends. (Himself is a Luddite and doesn't like using a phone, land or cell.)

 I pretty much transfer all the house calls to my cellphone. I got into the habit of having calls transferred when my parents were in the nursing home as I would get calls from the nursing home staff several times a week (a day!). I also like knowing instantly who's calling me. Call me often enough and you get your own ring tone.

Do you still have a landline?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Graceful Envelope Contest 2015 Call for Entries

Once again, it's time to think about entering the Graceful Envelope Contest. This year's theme is There's No Place Like Home.

Artistically render what home means to you and enter the contest. There are categories for children as well as adults. Teachers, this would be a great way to incorporate art into Language Arts and Social Studies curriculum.

All the rules to enter the contest can be found at 2015 Graceful Envelope Contest

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. The Young One and I attended Master in the Morning for Chi Gong and Wu Chi exercises.

2. After class, we went to Panera for Chai Tea and lunch. Just for fun, try saying Chai Tea. T'ai Chi.

3. Hot flashes kept me warm while waiting for the heating technician to get the furnace up and running. Took him less than an hour.Seems the burner motor shorted out.

4. Ditched the landline. More on that later.

5. Himself's car broke down. He had to have it towed to the shop. Turns out some connections to the battery loosened up (that is he had a few screws loose) so not an expensive problem.

How was your week?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Throwback Thursday

My parents had two Japanese maple trees in their yard. One in the front, and one in the back. Twenty or so years ago, Dad found a sapling growing near one of the trees. He carefully dug it up and brought it to us to plant.

The sprig was so little. We weren't sure it would take root, but it did.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Work in Progress - A Painting

Preliminary drawings. A critique I've received is my tigers are too happy, and they don't have "the eye of the tiger look." I can't help it. I enjoy my work and it comes through my hands. Back to the drawing board.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Furnace

went on strike this morning. The hot water holding tank stood along side in solidarity. No heat. No hot water. Fuh Oh bother!

On the bright side, this didn't happen over the weekend where a call to the heating technician would have incurred an extra arm and leg charge. We're not buried in snow with temperatures hovering in the icicles dripping from your nose range. Happily, the electricity is working. I brought the little heater from the sun room into the kitchen. It's taking the chill out, and I'm toasty now. I'll be able to nuke copious amounts of tea while waiting for the heating technician to arrive. Sometime today.

How's your day going?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Friday, November 14, 2014

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. My Cousin L called. Distance and work keeps us from getting together more often, but we try once a year to meet for lunch. I had car trouble when we were supposed to meet a month or so ago and had to cancel. Her call was to make another date for the beginning of December. So fingers crossed no car trouble or bad weather.

2. Driving home after a meeting and a rainy morning, the clouds parted to reveal a small patch of blue sky and a faint rainbow.

3. What started as a do one cleaning thing turned into a cleaning frenzy in the kitchen.

4. I'm enjoying the process of working on the next painting. More on that later.

5. My Art of Science Learning team had to do a presentation of our project before a Gate panel. The panel will critique our presentation and either give us the go ahead to pass the gate or to refine our idea. Not sure who we did. I think we underwhelmed them, but I'm glad the presentation is over.

How was your week?

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Time Travel Messes with Your Head

Himself told me he would be home at 5 PM. He calls before he leaves work to let me know he's on his way and if he needs to stop and pick up milk or bread. It was 5:15 PM when he called.

"I thought you were going to be home at 5?"

"I will be. You're looking at the wrong clock."

The kitchen clock is supposed to sync with Tick or Tock, the atomic clock at the U.S. Naval Observatory. It's been a week since the time change, and the clock hasn't synced yet. I keep forgetting the clock is still set to Eastern U.S. Daylight Savings Time, or the mid-Atlantic time zone.  Time travel messes with your head.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

I Hear Ya Knockin', But Ya Can't Come In

I'm having a lovely wallow in bed when I hear a rapping on the outside wall of the bedroom, the side that faces the Leaf Lady's house. I know it's not her as she wouldn't give me the time of day. The rapping happened a month or so ago, too.  It's a woodpecker hammering his little beak into the side of the house.

I pull up the blinds and open the window with a bang, scaring the feathers off the little beast.

The little guy or his relative or friend has been over at Prissy's house, too.

Anyone know what to do to deter woodpeckers from boring holes in the side of the house?

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Friday Five Good Things

Five good things that happened this week.

1. After a meeting, I stopped at Five Guys to take home a Little Bacon Cheeseburger for a late lunch. When my order was up, I decided to eat while everything was hot an juicy. Big deal, you say. It was, because I don't like to eat out in public by myself.

2. I had a dream about Ma. Something about her having pre-paid her funeral. The funeral director told me Ma had directed her to get a gift for me. The director presented me with a beautiful cherry wood box about the size of an end table. When you opened the box, there was a special genealogy computer inside. Ma had instructed the funeral director, "Make sure you get her a good one." So very Ma.

3. The Young One has been going to physical therapy for a shoulder injury that happened when she was 16. The therapy helped stabilize her shoulder but now she's experiencing neck pain. The therapist wanted the Young One to see a neck specialist. The neck doc took x-rays and prodded. The good news nothing seemed to be ruptured. Bad news is Young One is still having pains and muscle spasms. More therapy was ordered.

4. The Girlies and I had lunch together and then went to vote.

5. Himself took me out for the evening to The Big Orange Box Store. Himself really knows how to treat a girl to a date. On the way out of the store, I looked up at the full moon. An airplane and contrail was silhouetted against it. It looked wicked cool. The 21st c. version of a witch flying across the moon.

How was your week?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Monday, November 3, 2014

Work in Progress - A Painting

Step 1. Gesso the canvas. Actually, it's step 1b. 1a. Purchase the canvas. 24 in. x 24 in. wrapped, cotton canvas.

1 b. Now, gesso all 5 sides of the canvas. Gesso is a primer. Without it, the pain would just soak into the fibers of the canvas. Allow 24 hours to dry.

1 c. Apply a second coat. Allow 24 hours to dry.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Organizing Stash

Organizing bit and bobs, I debated just chucking stuff in one tub. There's something to be said about pawing through everything. In the end, I decided to separate "like" items. Metal, wood, jewelry, etc.

I got these bins at Target. They stack 3 high. The top bin has dividers which work well for smaller items like shells and tiny beads.

Are your found objects organized in similar groups or do you keep them all in the same tub?