Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Texas! Another Cold State

When I planned this outing, I was thinking of warmer climate.  NOT!  I have been here for 4 days now,  and the temperature hasn't gotten above freezing yet.  It has snowed, sleeted, and rained.  But, the weatherman is promising a respite this weekend with temps in the 60s before another cold wave brings more cold into the metroplex area.
But, inside it's warm and cozy and full of fun.  It's good to spend time with my brother and sister-in-law.  We laugh at almost nothing, eat a lot of good, but healthy food, and just more or less enjoy being together.  I sleep until I am ready  to get up and I stay up until I am ready to go to bed.  We watch a lot of TV, which I am not used to, but my brother is a TV addict!  Loves the Western channel, but I can only watch Bonanza and Gunsmoke reruns so many times!  I have finished one book and am half way through another one, and have even completed a crochet project and started another since I got here.  But I wouldn't trade this time together for anything.  At our ages, we know that each moment together is precious.  We do plan to do some things like visit a couple museums, and see a movie or two, and of course hit some of my favorite shops that are unique to just this area.  We also visit the nearby bakery with frequency where I have made friends with the wait help there over the years.  I even made each of the girls that work there a little something as a token for them just being nice to me when I am visiting here.  They treat our family like their family.  Is that something unique to Texans, or is it just that I don't have that kind of place nearby where I live.
All too soon, it will be time to pack up and head home, but while I am here, I intend to have a Texas style good time, what ever that is!!


Wednesday, January 09, 2013


I think getting ready to go on vacation is the pits.  The packing, the making sure everything is in order, bills paid, house closed up, etc., takes all the fun out of going.  I think it would be easier to just stay home.
I decided to go by Amtrak this time.  The only drawback to that is that there is no place nearby to get on the train.  I can go north about an hour and a half and take a commuter train into Chicago.  It leaves the only stop in Indiana at the butt crack of dawn, gets into Chicago early in the AM, then there is 6 hour layover at Union Station in downtown Chicago.  I can catch the train after it leaves Chicago in Bloomington, IL, which is ideal for me, except that it is a 3 hour drive from my house to there.
Things are not going according to plan as they were originally for the ride to Bloomington, which I decided would be more cost efficient for all concerned.  So now that is a worry, which will work itself out, but could cause some ill will or some hard feelings somewhere along the way.  I thought I had it all figured out, but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men!
Then I went to the pharmacy to have a prescription filled before I went, only to notice that I had no more refills left, which meant calling the doctor's office, getting his phys. asst.'s voice mail, telling her the problem, then waiting an extra day to pick up meds.  Got that done a while ago, so that's one thing I can mark off my list.
Of course, money is always a big concern with me, and I wasn't budgeting for a particular expense, but looks like I will have to bite the bullet and pay it anyway.  Which, in turn will short me on spending cash for the trip.  Drats!!
Like I said, I think it would be easier if I just stayed home.  But, I'm not going to.  It's my time away spent with my Texas family and I am looking forward to it.  Things will work out, and be okay in the long run.  It's just frustrating.  It's the little things that upset me the most.  Could that be my age showing.
Next time, I will plan better, even though I thought I had a good plan this time.  Time will tell.  Friday is the big day.  The Amtrak trip is long, but it is enjoyable and it's nice to see the country as I ride along and leave the driving to someone else.


Monday, January 07, 2013

Four-Legged Visitor

As you probably know if you read my daughter's blog, she and her friend adopted a retired Greyhound.  She brought "Giles" home to visit this week.  I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but this dog is BIG.  He comes almost to my waist to the top of his back, and is LONG!  Of course, he pretty long legged, too.  Lean, and all muscle!  And extremely spoiled already.

Greyhounds that have been racers, are not "people" dogs.  They are raised in "posh" kennels, travel in "posh" accommodations, and so forth.  Giles was a racer.  A successful one, at that.  During his racing career, he was a winner several times, and won "place" or "show" even more.  Then, during a race, he broke both back feet (paws).  That ended his career.  Instead of putting him down, as they often do, he was treated, and put in foster care with the GPA chapter in Indianapolis, and has since become a real "loverboy".  The rest is history.  LOL!

Having Giles here for the last few hours has made me reconsider getting a dog.  I know now that I don't want one full time. To have him visit is a treat for me and hopefully him, too.  But, it's too much responsibility for me on a full time basis.  And, I was thinking either Lab or Golden, but have also decided that my house is simply too small for a LARGE dog. 

So, Giles can come visit me on a very temp basis, and I will enjoy the time he is here.  But, he answered one big question for me.  I guess, at heart, I am just not a pet person.


Wednesday, January 02, 2013

There's Music in the Air

Many years ago, I bought a Yamaha Clavinova digital piano.  It was the latest thing at the time.  I could play it like a regular piano, add 40+ voices, backgrounds, and rhythms.  I could also record tracks one on top of the other to create my own style.  Along with all of this, I got floppy discs that contained full orchestra tracks, along with song books where I could play along.  Wow!
Somewhere along the way, the complete recording device quit working.  I began checking into replacing the disc drive and found that if it was even possible, it was extremely expensive.  So I just shelved the possibility and continued to enjoy the piano parts that still worked.
Recently I found the manual that came with the keyboard, and had a brilliant (for me) idea.  Why not ask Curley's son, Tall Guy, who is my resident computer geek, (no offense Tall Guy) to see if he had any ideas for fixing this thing.  Well, let me tell you folks, that guy really came through.  He did research on line, asked questions, and so on.  And discovered that any (almost) floppy disc drive would work.  He installed a drive from an old computer I had stored in my garage.  Nothing!  He found another one, tried it...nothing!  He did more checking and found out that some of the wiring needed to be changed so he came in and did some wire cutting and soldering at my kitchen table.  Those wires are so small, and so many of them in a sort of ribbon.  He knew just which ones to cut, strip, and solder back in a different configuration.  He plugged it in and still nothing.  In checking closer, he discovered the simple fact that the wire ribbon needed to be turned half a turn.  Suddenly, it was working.  He plugged in a disc and hit play, and there was music.
Since then, I have been enjoying the keyboard, and spent probably too many hours sitting there playing one tune after the other after the other..
Tall Guy is a self taught computer guy.  He isn't afraid to tear into a computer,be it a tower or a laptop.  He's repaired monitors, too.  People give up on their equipment, and he takes it home and makes it work.  He's smart, and also just a good guy.  I will be grateful to him for a very long time for making my piano a "full service" piano once again.
Hey Tall Guy, if you need anything from Taco Bell, let me know.  I live closer than you do!!  And by the way, thanks!!