Technology Changing So Quickly

Thinking back to when I was a young child, my parents had analog telephones scattered throughout the house. They started with one incoming telephone line, then when my sisters and I were teenagers and hogging the phone talking to all our friends, they got a second incoming line for us girls. Then we started getting online which tied up the phone line and no one could call us without getting a busy signal. So they got a third phone line – primarily for internet but also a backup line for us girls. After all, three teenage girls can do a whole lot of talking on the phone, between their girlfriends AND their boyfriends!

But now, we’ve grown and moved out, we all have cell phones and we get online using cable instead of the telephone line. So my parents decided to give up the home phone line and save $50 a month. I don’t blame them!

Another big technology change has been instant messaging and texting. What a great convenience that is! Especially when you just need to push a message to someone and not really talk to them or engage in a 2-way communication. I use texting all the time with my sisters and my parents, and I love the way they can get in touch with me any time, even if I am on the phone and on the internet, all through my cell phone.

I just love how technology is changing so quickly. Now if they will just start reducing the monthly charges. I don’t see how they can justify these high prices for phone service any longer – they are not spending money on expensive phone lines and cables – it’s all digital.

Listening to the Oldies

My favorite way to listen to music is with the online service called Spotify. You can use it for free, but I pay a small amount every month to get extra features. I’m not sure what the difference is, but I love Spotify and I don’t mind spending $5 a month to support this service.

Tonight I will be listening to the Oldies while I clean house and do the laundry. The weird thing is that my definition of the Oldies might be different from what you call the Oldies. There are actual Oldies radio stations, but they play really old songs, like from the 1950’s and 1960’s. That’s before most of us were even born. In my world, Oldies means the songs of the 1980’s.

The 1980’s songs were so fun for dancing and the best days of heavy metal bands. All the great Metal bands were forming their sound in the 80’s – like Metallica, Guns and Roses, Kiss, AC/DC, Alice in Chains, etc., although the genre got it’s start in the late ’60’s and 70’s. I think the 80’s were the hay day and I love the loud, upbeat music while I am busy scrubbing floors and washing dishes.

Critters Getting Into My Garden

I have a garden that I planted this year. It’s in the only spot of my whole yard that gets enough sun to grow anything. My neighbor lady is mad at me for planting the garden there – she says that I should have put it in my back yard instead of the side yard, because “no one wants to look at that!” I have to tell you – I was actually offended that she told me that. I don’t see anything wrong with having a small vegetable garden in the side yard, and there are so many trees in my back yard that nothing will grow back there – not even grass!

For the past several mornings when I go to check the garden and water it, I have found one of the bean plants broken off and ruined. I suspect that some kind of critter is getting into my garden at night and braking off the bean plants. We have skunks, foxes, rabbits, raccoons and deer in my neighborhood. Do you think any of them are interested in beans?

I have no idea what kind of critter it would be – and I sure hope that it is not my neighbor doing it to spite me!

No More Box Cake Mixes

The grocery store had box cake mixes on sale for $1.50 per box and then matching frosting on ale for $1.50, too. So add in the cost of a couple of eggs and some oil, the electricity used for a hand mixer and the oven to bake the cake, and you can make a cake for under $5 – that’s a pretty good price. You cannot buy a bakery cake for under $10 these days, so making it yourself does save some money – plus you know exactly what is in the cake. I know that I use real butter – not margarine, shortening or lard. I know that I use real eggs and real vanilla extract – not powdered, dry or imitation anything.

But now that I have seen a recipe for making a yellow cake from scratch, I wonder why I have been using a box mix to bake cakes? I can use regular flour and some baking soda and have just as good a cake as what comes out of a box. It just means I have to measure out a few more items. Big deal! I have decoded to make the next cake from scratch and not buy any more box mixes. And I am going to experiment with the amounts to make just one cake layer instead of the traditional 2 layers, or just 6 cupcakes instead of a whole dozen.

Many Uses for Binder Clips

One of the most useful office supply items is the binder clip. I’m sure you know what item I’m referring to – it is a black metal clamp that has two silver colored wire clips that you squeeze to make the clamp open. Some poeple call them “alligator clips” because when you squeeze the clips the metal clamp is a little bit like alligator jaws that slap shut with a lot of force. If you have an extra large binder clip that clamps down on your finger – it does hurt!

The binder clips were used in offices as an alternative to 3-ring binders to hold a stack of papers together. There are different sizes of binder clips that hold any number of sheets from extra small binders holding 2-10 sheets to the extra large binders holding up to 300 sheets.

But I use these binder clips at home for other purposes, too. My open bags of snack chips and pretzels are rolled and clipped to keep the air out and the chips fresh. When I have a big bag of fresh vegetables, like carrots or broccoli, I roll the tops of those packages and put a binder clip on them, too.

To hold batches of grocery store coupons together, I use a small binder clip on the bottom so that I can easily flip through all the coupons and easily read the expiration dates.

Do you keep any binder clips at home for a different use? I’d love to hear what you use them for, too.

Discovering the Fun of Baking

This week I have felt very creative and brave, so I’ve been downloading recipes and learning how to bake from scratch!Thanks to my mom, I already knew the basics of baking. I know the difference between flours, the difference between baking soda and baking powder, and how to measure ingredients properly. But until now, all of my baking has been done using packaged mixes and following the directions on the box.

Now I have a small collection of recipes to use for baking cakes, breads and cookies. I will be moving up to pies next week. I have been thrilled with the excellent results of my baked from scratch cakes so far. I can’t wait to try some of the different icings and frosting types on the different cakes. This is fun – but fattening. I will be doing longer walks and some aerobics with my Wii to help keep off the extra pounds.

Wearing Green and Drinking Beer

This weekend is all about Saint Patrick’s Day. Here in Nashville we love any holiday that gives us an excuse to drink beer, so this is a big deal for downtown bars and restaurants. On top of the holiday, we have the SEC basketball playoffs here this weekend, with a huge number of extra partiers to accommodate.

I heard some big numbers on the news about how the downtown bars and restaurants can only actually seat something 75,000 people on a weekend, but with the basketball game there are going to be more like 100,000 people looking for fun and refreshments on Friday and Saturday nights. With all these extra people, Nashville decided to have a big street party and rope off a few blocks downtown to allowing drinking on the street – a very rare thing for our proper southern city!

To be honest, I do not drink much beer. I tend to not want the hassle of watching my intake and fretting about driving home without the risk of trouble with cops. And second, I don’t want all the extra calories. Third, I only like beer that is ice cold. I don’t want to hold a bottle in my hand and just sip on it for an hour with the heat from my hand raising the temperature of the beer. I don’t like drinking from a bottle anyway. I like a glass – and not plastic, I mean a real glass.

Sorry if I sound so finicky, but I have learned what I like and what I don’t like and I will certainly seek out the things that I like if I have that option. Maybe once in a while I might be at the boss’s house for a backyard barbecue and have to drink a beer from a red Solo cup, but most of the time I will be seated in a sports bar or a stadium suite and enjoy an ice cold beer served in a glass along with the peanuts or Chex Mix and a good baseball game or hockey game underway.

March Comes “In Like a Lion”

The old wives tale for predicting the weather here in the South is if March “comes in like a lion,” then it will “go out like a lamb.” So, in other words, if the weather is strong and rough in the first week of the month of March, then it will change to mild and warm and pleasant by the end of the month. I don’t really see the logic in that, as spring usually means mild and warm days anyway.

Anyway, here it is the first week of March and the weather is awful. It turned cold and rainy and windy, and it is supposed to stay like this all week! So I guess we can all take comfort in the thought that if the old wives tale is true, that this will all be over with in a week or so and the rest of the month will be lovely!

I can’t wait for the chance of frost to be gone so I can get my garden started this year. I am being very ambitious and trying some extra vegetables this year. I used to be content with just a few tomato plants and a couple of pepper plants. But this year I am planting yellow squash, zucchini, and green beans, too. Those always seem to do well in this climate and don’t need a lot of care – just pulling a few weeds once in a while and that’s it. So maybe next weekend I can get the seeds started and I can have an early harvest of fresh vegetables from my own yard!

Single and Not Minding That

Yes, I’m single and I’m OK with it on Valentine’s Day. In some ways, it is better to be single and dating several guys – you get more gifts! I resent a Facebook friend’s comment that I should be eating ice cream and crying tonight.

The guy is a family friend is serving in the Navy and he recently got engaged. Of course, I am happy for him and his fiance, but I do wonder if this is going to be a long term, successful relationship. Almost all of their communication has been long distance phone calls, which have to be short because of the expense, and emails. I do not think that you really get to know someone well after less than a year’s emails and short phone calls. I hope they don’t get married right away – in my opinion they should wait until he is out of the Navy and they have more time together in person.

One of the fun things about being single is getting to know other people. I have found that it takes time to get past the fake bravado and extra efforts that people make for their first impressions. I want to know what the guy is like when real life happens, not just dates. How does he handle an emergency? How does he act when he doesn’t get his way? What does he do when he is not with you? How does he interact with children and senior citizens? All of these things have to do with character and values. If his values are far different from yours, you need to know that before going deeper into a relationship.

Anyway, I’m dating three different guys right now. I am not looking for a husband as much as someone to spend time with doing fun things. I am very happy being single and I loved getting roses, candy and a beautiful necklace from the guys in my life. I can assure my FB friend in the Navy that were no tears and ice cream for me tonight.


New Converts Can Be So Annoying

This girl who used to work with me keeps popping up around town. I have seen her at a couple of restaurants, at the YMCA, and in the grocery store. I always make an effort to go up to her and say hello, ask how she is doing, etc. But she is a new convert and last night, when I saw her at the grocery store, she started preaching a bunch of stuff about being saved and told me that I am going to Hell. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to get into a deep religious discussion in the produce section of my grocery store.

I think the annoying part was her judgment of me and attempt to convert me along with her. She asked me the most bizarre question and since I didn’t giver her the answer she wanted, she started attacking my personal beliefs. I had to raise my voice and tell her to back off – in the middle of the grocery store! Good grief!

Oh, her question to me was, “How do you know that you are going to Heaven?” and it wasn’t really about her caring about me so much as an attack on my beliefs. That really pissed me off. If you want to talk about religion with me, invite me over to your place some night and we can share a glass of wine and talk about it in a constructive conversation. Don’t ambush me in the grocery store and tell me that I’m going to Hell.