Saturday, December 20, 2014


Celebrating a birthday weekend.  I am not big on birthdays anymore.  I am just happy to be healthy each year.  I was big on birthdays when I was younger...much younger.  Then there was a decade or so when my birthday was an afterthought by those I love because they were so busy with the holiday season.  Now my birthday is a hit or miss event.  My daughter is headed to Hershey Park for a tour of the Christmas decorations and a visit with Santa with her kids and her good friends.  My son "may" be on his way north to spend the holidays with his wife's family.  Therefore, Hubby was feeling guilty and booked one night in the city for the two of us.  We can tour the decorations on the mall and tour a museum or two, which really is fun for me and an 'OK' activity for him.  We are also eating somewhere(?) nice for dinner.  I will keep you posted.

Weather is going to be cold and sunny tomorrow, but rainy the next day, of course!!  Outdoors tomorrow and indoors to museums on Monday is the agenda

The photo above was one I took from the Kennedy Center last spring.  The view is of an area only blocks from the Saudi Military Attache's Office, the American Institute for Research, the Ritz Carlton, a number of embassies, and naturally, a Starbucks.   Such a dangerous and magical town is our Capital.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

13 things I have learned on my trip down technology lane--Thursday Thirteen--Late

Information for those who are thinking of reviewing their entertainment viewing.

  1. Push one tiny button accidentally on your fancy amplifier and nothing works.
  2. If you discover which button was accidentally pushed, everything works.
  3. Streaming TV over the Internet to your big screen TV works fairly easily.
  4. Streaming TV over the Internet is sometimes (a little) jerky depending on your service provider.
  5. Streaming TV over the Internet does give you access to lots of channels, some of which you have never heard of.
  6. Streaming  TV over the Internet does give you access to most of the programs but not all.
  7. Streaming TV over the Internet does have some premium charges depending on the provider and is not all free.
  8. Streaming TV over the Internet is cheaper than cable.
  9. If you have an expensive sound system putting the dongle in your TV means that sound will not go through your nice side speakers but routed through your smaller TV speakers.
  10. Using your laptop for other things while streaming TV does interfere slightly with reception.  (I never tried using a digital phone or tablet.)
  11. If you have "triple play" cable the ID that appears on your TV screen when the phone rings will not appear and you have to get off the couch and see who is calling when you are streaming.
  12. My particular Chromecast dongle setup must be plugged into electricity which removes the lovely wireless look.
  13. Hulu is good for TV shows and Netflix for movies, so before I talk to cable I am going to have to subscribed to one or the other of these and test them.
In answer to my reader's questions:  There is ONE alternative to my cable company, but it runs the same bait and switch on costs.  I live too far for antenna reception.  I, like many of you, watch only about 5 channels off and on, none of them premium channels, and I scroll past hundreds of others.  I have a son who is a sound engineer and if I begged he would come down and help BUT he is currently fighting the flu, lives over an hour away, and has a full time job which requires the longest hours just before the holidays.

Anyway, I am feeling much better moving onto the next steps and will stop blogging about this stuff!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

One of THOSE Days

On your LEFT, your RIGHT, your LEFT!

I have never had to get my "ducks in a row" as I never did own ducks.  I imagine it is a challenging task.  I also never understood why a meticulous duck farmer would want ducks in a row.  I also know how hard it is to herd cats although I have never attempted it.  This week has been a week where I would rather be herding cats or getting ducks to march in a line than what I have been doing.

I have been trying to find a plan to wean myself off of our cable company which has not increased my service in any way, shape or form, but has increased the price of my service by 144 % in the last 9 years.  If you follow news you will know that cable companies are some of the most hated service companies in America.  I was told by my children and read on the Internet about a Chromecast dongle being used to access cheaper television shows via the Internet.  I bought the $25 Chromecast dongle as a test before cutting the cord.  I did not realize it would be as hard as getting ducks in a row, although I was suspicious, because this is technology, and when has that ever been a cakewalk?

I spent the first 20 minutes realizing my amplifier did not have an HDMI port like my son's did.  My amp weighs a ton and has a gazillion cords in the back!  I spent another 40 minutes finding the HDMI port at the back of my large screen TV which is high and tight against the living room wall.  One ladder, one flashlight and one extension cord later and the thing was successfully plugged in!  I returned to my laptop and Google Chrome walked me through the App and soon I was able to see any screen that was on my laptop on my TV.  While this meant I had some small success it was not the success I needed.  The Utube videos were not a great resolution but the worst part was I never figured out how to get sound!  Good thing I have not yet subscribed to Hulu or Netflix.  (If you have no idea what I am writing about and your eyes are glazing over right now, please go on with your life and come back for another post another day, because you will not get this time back in your life and I am determined to ramble on.)

I pulled the dongle from the back of the screen, and much to my surprise (hardly) I could no longer get my cable box and my amp to talk to my TV.  I fiddled for an hour.  There are about 10 options each on the various remote controls.  Multiply 10X10X10 and you get the idea.  I am exhausted and now have to call someone to come help and it will probably cost as much as my monthly cable bill anyway.

I felt really defeated because this has been one of those days.

I will not even go into the well water issue that has raised its furry head!

Nor will I dwell on the bill coming due from the outboard motor shop due to the diagnosis of the "cough" in that engine this fall.

These are three items, so I am thinking that if trouble really does come in threes I am done for a while.  Right???

Monday, December 15, 2014

Why Don't You Understand Me?

This "Global Refuge Mural" by Joel Bergner 2009 stimulated the words below.

It's the words
Amorphous gems to grapple the mind's ear
It's the words
Building blocks of ideas to stand upon
It's the words
Tripping us in our stilted pondering
It's the words
Piles of them spilling onto the floor
It's the words
Bringing us to our knees in pain
Searching for that perfect one in the haystack
It's the words
Written, not shouted, across the emptiness

Can you understand me?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Admission of Guilt and How the First World Deals with the Holiday

We  I have put up very few decorations this year.  We just got lazy.  We ARE talking about buying some lights for the dock since our neighbors dock looks so lovely all lit up.  But I do love when the house is decorated with boxes from my online shopping and bags of gifts from regular shopping.  I love gift giving...perhaps a little too much.

The only thing in the middle box above was this much smaller box below with lots of brown filler paper.

And, of course, with all the wrapping, who has time to decorate the house?  There will be no one here to see this year anyway.  I still feel a little guilty.  Although I read somewhere that Americans spend 6 billion on Christmas decorations alone?  Maybe to buy their way into heaven?  Nope.  I think it is to show off to their friends and neighbors---some of the time.  More guilt.  What MUST the world think of us when this holiday season is about the birth of a prophet whom many think is God?  Unless you celebrate Hanukkah or Kwanzaa...which also have little to do with spending.  Boy, 6 billion can buy a lot of food!

Our first exchange with loved ones is this Saturday since we will not see them on Christmas.  So shopping and wrapping had to be done efficiently.  That little blue plane on the left was an old decoration that I found that was my son's when he was much younger.  I thought I had given him all his old ornaments now that he has his own family, but missed that one.

Now I am finishing up the other stuff...sending greetings.

I give to charities and causes on a year round basis....but I am thinking after reading this post that I need to give some more this month!  Not looking forward to the budget busting bills in January.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

No Explanation That I Can Find

My mornings have recently been perfection, no place I have to be, no appointments to keep, no illness forcing me out of bed to suffer elsewhere.  Yes, there is Christmas shopping to do, but I am 80% done and did it online!  No, I did not take advantage of any sales or use the comparison shopping sites recommended by Consumer Reports.  This year I am being lazy and, yes, the December bills will be hard to pay because of my laziness.  But I digress.

As the day unfolds it goes smoothly with housework, mail, hobbies, interests such as blogging, rest activities and sometimes even exercise.

I go to bed at a normal and routine time with no guilt or unresolved issues, at least none that can easily be identified.

So....why does my mind kick into high gear with endless lists of  "things to be done" and "resolutions to be made" as soon as my head hits that sweet pillow.  Why can I not fall into a snorefest as my hubby so easily does each night?  What Puritan streak do I need to kill?   What sins do I need to repent?  Why is my mind not cooperating when my body is so exhausted?

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The Nasty Captcha!

According to some readers you can ignore the Captcha word verification window that appears before you comment.  I (and many other bloggers) have word verification off and yet it still appears!  Ignore it and lets see if you can comment!!