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Monday, January 16, 2017

Flummoxed again!

So then... The day following my last post I turned the radio on only to discover the bluetooth reception was terrible. I thought it was the terrible weather  we had been having, but nothe , it is still terrible.

I went back to the Internet and looked up my system and found the instructions that had been missing in the box. Now why didn't I do that in the first place? I discovered  first of all that I had not pulled the antenna out far enough so that I could swivel it around for good DAB reception!

So now even though the bluetooth is now a flop, I am back to my original plan to have a digital radio in  working order...

Oh, hell, I guess I will just have to put up with being just another pretty face...

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Still not Just a Pretty Face

For Christmas my son and his girl gave me a new music system. Nothing particularly fancy, but it has a DAB radio, an FM radio, a CD player and Bluetooth. Bluetooth was not one of my requirements, just a surprising extra. Since I rarely have had need of it, Bluetooth, is a feature I don't often consider, even though my phone and new little computer have it. The only time I have had need of it was when I briefly was besotted with the idea of a selfie stick.

I have had a DAB radio for a few years -- in the kitchen. However, when the kitchen was recently dismantled that radio got moved into my study. I had an old hi-fi system with multiple cd holders, which was not playing CD's very well and the radio had terrible FM reception. Thus my request for a new system.

So a day or two after Christmas I opened up the box and took my new toy out. The DAB radio reception was terrible! I was so disappointed. But at least the CD player was just fine and dandy... FM radio was non-existent -- no reception at all. I have since learned from the Internet that DAB reception can be very problematic indeed.

So, as is  my wont, I complained and explained to my middle son. And he said why don't you connect with bluetooth? He then proceeded to connect his phone's bluetooth, via a special app, to my new hi-fi and 'bingo' perfect reception. A few days later middle son left to return to Italy and I still hadn't figured out how exactly he had done it. And thinking about it it was not exactly convenient to tie up my phone with the hi fi in my study.

However sitting on my desk right next to my  new present, is my little travel computer which also has BT! After some investigation -- looking for the app I would need and how to connect it to the radio, I discovered that aq feature of Windows 10 is the ability to connect easily to BT devices!  All I had to do was put the radio into "BT Mode", turn the BT on on the computer, find the radio station and the computer speakers would automatically find the BT speakers on the hi-fi!

I did have to fiddle-fi-diddle a tiny little bit, but I did it -- by myself! And now here I am listening to my favourite station and feeling quite smug.... Several hours after writing this post, I realized that I had not published it when closing down -- as I had meant to do... Maybe I am just another pretty face ;-)

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Disaster

For the first time in my life, Christmas was an unmitigated disaster. Believe me, it was all going so well until we all were to sit down for Christmas dinner. Noses got out of joint, tempers flared and people walked out as the main course was about to be served!

I am still reeling from the aftermath, although, fortunately, I am not being held to blame by anyone. But oh my there is a lot of forgiving that needs to be done and it is up to others to make amends. An important relationship may be broken beyond repair -- time will tell.

Well, now it's a new year and it promises to be challenging on all fronts! Let the fun begin...

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Water Meter Reader Cometh

So last week the doorbell rang and the man came to read the water meter -- which is downstairs in the cellar garage. So with a little groan I told him I had to go down there and open the door for him to gain access to the meter. The Man wasn't there, you see, to take care of this.

I hate going down there. The first step is deeper than the rest and there is only the wall to balance against. The handrail doesn't appear until the third or fourth step. Anyway, I made it down to the bottom unscathed and went into the garage and unbolted the glass doors for him. He went to follow me to show him where the meter was and as I turned ...

I promptly and completely tripped over the handle of the trailer which was parked in front of the doors. Shock and Pain! And suddenly out of nowhere The Man appeared, shouting at me. "What are you doing down here. You shouldn't come down here," etc. etc. Well, fuck, me!

My right hand was killing me -- really hurting -- as was my right 'boob'. I didn't feel the other aches and pains until later. At anyrate, I also skinned my left knee, which meant I was rather loathe to put it down on the rough floor to push myself up. The two men, who were both looking rather helpless, I deigned to allow to help lift me up off said floor and I was then unceremoniously ordered outside to re-enter the house from the front door.

Now it is never convenient to have this happen. But 10 days or so before  Christmas is really inconvenient -- especially to have a gammy right hand. No, I did not seek medical attention -- I was pretty sure nothing was broken and the following morning the main had marginally decreased. The first night was difficult because my hand really ached. Two days later my right breast was totally purple. Now it's almost totally clear. There are still a few aches and pains -- knee mostly -- but the Christmas show is back on the road.

I am now under orders not to descend into the cellar. And The Man just delivered the Christmas tree stand into the utility room -- with orders that I am not to trip over it!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Like It or Lump It, the Bitter Pill

I have been wondering ever since I wrote it, why I chose the story of my last post. I am appalled by the election results, but not surprised -- exactly. I want to give the not quite the people's choice the chance to be not as bad as I think he will be. But it has  not been easy to reserve judgement. Especially with the choice of Steve Bannon as his Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor. When I hear that instead of 12 million illegal immigrants there will only be deportations of three million, the grim history of the 1940's comes to mind.

So, why did I write my last post? It was an attempt to explain the phenomenon of Donald Trump. I have a vague recollection of when I first heard of him. He was at the time married to Ivana and they were both quite young and glamourous -- she was amusing. And of course everyone was fascinated by all the money they had. Gosh that was a very long time ago -- long before the sleaze and the divorces and the mysterious goings on with bankruptcies and money -- or lack of it! Most of all, we really didn't know anything about him. We were really only interested in the glamour and all that dosh.

What I find beyond difficult to understand, is how this urban New Yorker has been able to convince middle America that he has the answers to the country's problems and in particular their problems. There is a long road ahead and it looks woe be gone to me.

I am a life long Democrat from a family of life long Democrats. I am on the mailing lists of many Party organizations and try to keep abreast of what is happening in the ranks. For a long time now I have castigated the Republican Party for allowing itself to be taken over by right wing extremists and I have also been pretty unhappy with the tone of the recent election. But now I find that the tone of my own party is making me question its ways.

For example I have received emails asking me to support the impeachment of Donald Trump. Surely, this is not the time for that! Like it or not, approve of the man or not, he has been elected and must be given the opportunity to serve as President. In addition, it is utterly stupid and a waste of time and money, to expend energy on such an exercise which is bound to fail before a Congress the  majority of whom are Republicans.

Above all, I believe this is a time for extreme caution. Our President-elect is not happy about recounts in three states and is now making accusations that Mrs. Clinton won the popular vote because the election was rigged! So many reactions and counter-reactions do not bode well for the future well-being of the country and its citizens.

It is fortunate that the U.S. election is followed several weeks which provide time for reflection and meditation. No matter who wins, there must also be a loser and so people are both happy and miserable. For those of us who follow the traditions of the season of Advent, it helps to meditate on the Antiphons of the church, which begin

 O Wisdom, you came forth from the mouth of the Most High and, reaching from beginning to end, you ordered all things mightily and sweetly.  Come, and teach us the way of prudence.

Friday, November 11, 2016

A Modern Fairy Tale

Once upon a time quite a few years ago in the town of my parents, a prince was travelling through on his way home to his neighbouring kingdom. It was very beautiful in this New England realm and many aristocrats  and famous people had been known to travel the roads just for the scenery.

The prince drove a splendid and expensive sports car even though the day was very cold and the roads were icy and the landscape snowy from a recent storm. A few miles down the road he came to the crossroads where he would turn right to cross the old gray covered bridge across the beautiful and picturesque Housatonic River en route to the border of his realm.

The lure of a powerful sports car tempted him to go faster over the icy and snow-packed road than he should have gone and suddenly  his car was skidding and spinning and flew up over the bank of snow on the side of the road and into a very deep snow drift. As this was a long time ago and well before mobile phone signals might even exist -- if they even do to this very day! The prince was well and truly stuck. Of course, it was also true that the prince was not wearing appropriate footwear either and it was going to be dark soon.

The prince tended to be a very lucky man -- and luck turned out to be with him that day. Farmer Bradley was on his way back home after a day pulling felled trees from where they had fallen across the road during the snow storm.  He was on his tractor and his tractor had chains and sand and other useful and necessary equipment for winter country life. Seeing the princely predicament and being a neighbourly and helpful sort, even at the worst of times, Farmer Bradley set about freeing the car from the snowdrift in no time at all.

The prince was very grateful, as one might imagine. And he tried to give the farmer a generous sum of money for his gracious help. But the farmer would take none of it because he believed that if you can help someone, that's what you do and money shouldn't come into it. The prince was surprised and slightly disappointed that he could not reward the man for his kindness and generosity of spirit.

Not long after the events described, Farmer Bradley had to go to the bank to pay his mortgage. When he got there the Manager called him into his office to tell him that his mortgage had been paid in full by the prince.

The prince's name was Donald Trump!

A true story -- with embellishments!

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Delays and Mishaps Don't Prevent the Vote

Last week I despaired that I would not be able to vote in the upcoming Presidential election. I had sent my forms into the town clerk of the last town in the U.S. where I had lived about three weeks in before and had been waiting for an email in response.

The procedure for absentee voting is different for every state and in my home state of Connecticut it is more straightforward than many others. In order to ensure delivery of my application to the Town Clerk I had sent the mail requiring a signature. This also allowed me to track it -- and imagine my surprise when I discovered it had been sitting in the New York State postal service for a good 10 days! I surmise this was because I had paid extra money to have a signature!

I then spent several hours trying to discover how to submit a Federal ballot, which is used in emergency situations -- for example when a ballot does not show up. Finally I found the right link to click and sure enough I was able to download and print it and get it ready for mailing -- once again to the same peopled in Connecticut I had already applied to in the first place!

Then I read a little line in the instructions about how it would be a good idea to call the Town Clerk's office as any confusion might be cleared up quite quickly. And so I did. Well worth the trouble of that call! It also helped that I was dealing with small town America...

I had sent my application to the town of Canaan, Connecticut. But I had forgotten, that the town where I had only lived for a short time with my mother, was, in fact North Canaan. When I called Canaan, the town clerk remembered my application and informed me that it had been delivered to the town clerk in North Canaan and I should call her. Which I duly did.

Oh yes, she remembered me very well! After all they don't get many requests for absentee ballots in North Canaan. She informed me that she had sent me an email with all the necessary forms attached! But, I explained, I had not received an email. She replied that not only had she sent it to my main email address, but also to the alternative email address I had supplied...

When I asked her when she sent it she said the day she received the request or the day after.  She said she would resend. When I got off the phone, I trawled back through my emails. I hadn't deleted any for about three days. I don't know about all of you, but I get hundreds of emails -- many from political organizations, so I have to regularly dump them. I felt sure that if I had received an email from her it had probably been dumped. But trawl through what was there I did. And believe it or not the very last emails from three days previously were from the town clerk of North Canaan with all the necessary forms for me to vote in the 2016 Presidential Election.

It didn't help that the 'from' address was just the persons name, and not official looking. But it just goes to show how easy it is to overlook important emails. It makes me wonder how many I have missed over the years... But on the same day I found them, d I filled out the forms and sent in my ballot with my choices. What a relief!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Sleeplessness

Anyone who has ever experienced sleeplessness can verify it to be one life's most frustrating maladies. At least it's not painful...

At the moment the main culprit is Christmas! Now I know by many standards having nine people around the table is no big deal at all. I have friends who regularly share the yuletide season with as many as 25 or 30. I wouldn't even want to be a guest with so many family members -- not that there are 30 in my extended family -- but then I haven't ever counted!

Anyway, I'll wake up in the middle of the night and start making lists or planning menus. People start arriving on the 23rd and leave the 29th. Seven will be staying here -- two in a hotel. I think I'm getting a headache ...

And when it's not Christmas, it's my boys and their lives and hopes and so on. Not to mention then thoughts about visiting South Korea and Italy. Andrew in Italy is starting his own school teaching English -- oh my goodness Italian bureaucracy and new locations. Keeps a mother awake at night, I can tell you.

And there is my son at home who has just bought a Victorian house -- which he is in the process of gutting and renovating with the help of The Man. That is is one interesting dynamic -- the ideas of one versus the advice of the other! (My mouth kept shut...) The two of them are working on the fireplace, getting it ready for a word burning stove. Then after that there is the bathroom that has been gutted and the kitchen that has been gutted. Not to mention the worm ridden two by fours in the ceiling/floor above! Thoughts that run through my head in the middle of the night!

Finally, I still await the completion of the kitchen. And in the middle of the night I find that the cabinets start reorganizing themselves and I start to imagine throwing this paraphernalia out and wondering if I have chosen the right colour for the walls and before you know it I'm wondering what the hell I'm going to cook for Christmas. And then after everyone leaves -- what about New Year?

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Light at the End of the Tunnel -- If not in the Cabinet!



The upper cupboards of the above cabinets were supposed to have been glazed. Apparently, the manufacturer does not do these particular cabinets glazed, because they are too large.  They claim that they sent an email when the order was placed, but not being suspicious at all, I suspect they just sent the non-glazed doors without explanation...There is a way to work around this by removing the centre panels from the present doors, routing the inside and fitting glass -- this would be done by our kitchen people.

We have decided that  we will only have the cabinet on the left glazed and will leave the one over the television as it is. I have had confirmation of this plan and await work to begin . Then all that is left is to choose the colour of the paint for the walls, which we hope will be a very pale shade of salmony apricot. Whew! What a palaver!

Friday, October 14, 2016

OMG

This side of the room was just right...

Several months ago I wrote a post about my plans for a new kitchen! The idea was that it had been planned with my son and the work would be done when The Man and I were in Portugal last February. My son agreed to be the project manager. For one good reason and another we had to delay the implementation of  the plan until we left for France in early August.

The kitchen is installed. There are a few glitches to be taken care of, but otherwise it looks great and will look even better in the not too distant future. But ...

I wish I had been here... on the one hand...

On the other hand, it was best The Man was not!

Instead of our usual 36 hour trek back to the North of England, The Man decided to take the overnight ferry from Caen to Plymouth. From Plymouth it is about 5 hours to get home. The drive from our house to Caen was 8 hours. We were not able to get a cabin and so had to sleep -- or in my case try to sleep -- in reclining chairs for the 6 hour sail across the channel. The Man slept like a log.

By the time we arrived home we were both exhausted.

We headed for the new kitchen -- it was more or less a tip.

The Man looked around, "It's rather stark."

I looked around noting first of all that cupboards that were supposed to have been glazed were not -- leading to a feeling of personal dismay. "You don't like it, do you?"

"No, I'm afraid I don't," came an equally stark reply. He made a cup of tea and went for a sleep.

Suddenly wide awake, I went to work cleaning and clearing up.