Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Update on Car - #3

The car has been sitting at the shop for several days now. Today the young man I've been working with there told me that the part (fuel line) is on "national back-order," whatever that means! I pushed him for an estimated completion date, and he said that the part would probably ship this week, so the work should be done next week. You might notice that "estimated," "probably," and "should be" are operative words in that sentence. I'm not holding my breath.

I'm happy that the insurance company is paying 80% of my rental car charges, but even my 20% is steadily accumulating!

Monday, September 27, 2010

There's a Warm Wind Blowing the Stars Around

A few weeks ago I was listening to the radio when England Dan and John Ford Coley's "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight" came on. I was singing along with the lyrics as best I could (Dan and Tim say I have "chronic lyricosis"), and got to my favorite line: "There's a warm wind blowing the stars around." I've always loved that line and even wished I'd written it myself. Can't you just imagine standing there with your true love, looking up into a nighttime sky, and seeing the stars gently skittering across the sky, pushed by a warm summer breeze? Isn't it romantic?

I found myself humming the song all morning, and that afternoon I went on the Internet to look at the lyrics. OH NO! The line I'd been loving and singing for ages wasn't there. Instead it read, "There's a warm wind blowing, the stars are out." Now, be honest with me. Don't you think that line is lame, compared to mine?

I was thinking about it again, today, and thought I'd do some research to see if anyone else had misheard that line, and found out, according to a site called AmiRight, that I wasn't alone. (If you go there, my version of the lyric is the third one down on the page).

But then I found a really fascinating web page, from which I learned that there is actually a word for this kind of faux pas: it's called a mondegreen. According to that site, a mondegreen is the mishearing or misinterpretation of a phrase, such as a line in a poem or song, in a way that gives it a new meaning. As I kept reading, I learned about the derivation of the term "mondagreen," and had a good laugh over it! Here are a few snippets directly from the web page (

American writer Sylvia Write coined the term in her essay "The Death of Lady Mondagreen," published in Harper's Magazine in November 1954. . . In the essay, Wright described how, as a young girl, she misheard the final line of the first stanza from the 17th-century ballad "The Bonny Earl O'Moray." She wrote:

"When I was a child, my mother used to read aloud to me . . . and one of my favorite poems began, as I remember:
Ye Highlands and ye Lowlands,
Oh, where hae ye been?
They hae slain the Earl O'Moray,
And Lady Mondegreen."
Read it again, out loud. Now you've got it! The actual third and fourth lines were "They hae slain the Earl O'Moray, And laid him on the green." From this experience, Write coined the term mondagreen for any misheard line or lyric that results in a new and different (and often improved) meaning.

There are some mondagreens that are so common that they've become part of our folk lore, such as "Gladly, the cross-eyed bear" ( "Gladly the cross I'd bear") and "There's a bathroom on the right" ("There's a bad moon on the rise").

I'm trying to decide whether learning about mondagreens and the delightful etymology of the word has been a fair trade-off for having lost my favorite lyric from "I'd Really Love to See You Tonight." I'll have to think on that for awhile.

[As a side note, while we're talking about singing songs along with the radio, I think I'll share something I've always secretly wished for. In my dream, I'm alone in the car, sitting at a stop light, singing my heart out to, oh . . . say Uncle Kracker ("All you know is when I'm with you I make you free, and swim through your veins like a fish in the sea"), when I look over at the car next to me, make eye contact with the driver, and we both realize we're singing along to the same song on the same station. Wouldn't that put a smile on your face? So far it's not happened.]

The Daring Bakers' September Challenge - Decorated Sugar Cookies

The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking. (Recipe Here.) Not only were we to decorate sugar cookies with royal icing, but the cookie shapes and decorations had to represent “September” to the baker.

Although Albuquerque’s International Balloon Fiesta takes place beginning the first weekend in October, by September the skies are already dotted with balloons, especially early in the morning when I am driving to work. So “Hot Air Balloons” was a natural and fun theme for my cookies.

I wish I had had time to do a second try at these cookies before posting day (today), because I learned a lot about decorating with royal icing from this first attempt, and I know a second try would have been much better. For instance, when I did the outlining of the colored spaces, the consistency of the icing I used was too thick, making the lines too prominent. Maybe I’ll make some more before my grandkids come for the Balloon Fiesta!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Update on Car - #2

The insurance company has agreed that the damage was due to the accident, and will cover it :-)

Dan's Ordeal

I think I will start this story at the end – or at least at the present . . . Dan is feeling much better now.

And now for the flash back:

A month ago Dan was having a toothache, the pain of which actually spread clear up into his sinuses. The dentist tried to save him from having to have a root canal, but it didn’t work, so eventually sent him to a specialist for his very first root canal procedure. It did the trick, and his tooth/head pain was relieved.

Still he wasn’t feeling well. He was complaining of fatigue, non-specific aches and pains, and feeling feverish (although, according to the thermometer, he wasn’t). At those early symptoms, I probably wasn’t as sympathetic as I should have been; I didn't understand just how bad he felt.

But by Labor Day weekend I had to admit, contritely, that something really was wrong. He could hardly move because of the pain in one of his legs, and all he wanted to do was sleep. I told him, on Sunday, “You have to go to the doctor!”

Since Monday was a holiday, he waited until Tuesday to call for an appointment. Of course, he couldn’t get in to see our doctor, who had no available time, but they scheduled him with a physician’s assistant. He went to the clinic that morning, still in pain, and went through the lengthy process of checking in and updating all of his information in their computer, then sat down to wait his turn. After waiting what seemed an unreasonable amount of time, and witnessing people come in (after him) and be seen, he went back to the counter to find out what the problem was. The problem was that someone had marked him as a “no show.” By then, they told him, his appointment was gone! They asked if he’d come back later in the day if they could fit him in with someone else, but he was hurting badly enough to hold his ground and insist on being seen, by ANYONE. Finally, to appease him, they got a doctor to see him. The doctor said that he might have a blood clot in his leg, so he was scheduled, for later in the day, to have an ultrasound done at a different location.

The ultrasound technician found a clot. The results were relayed to the doctor, who said he should be taken to the ER and started on blood thinners immediately. By this time it was evening. I called Tim as soon as he was off work, and asked him if he’d drive me to the ER, so that Dan and I wouldn’t have two cars there to deal with, since Dan was no longer in any shape to be driving. For the second time in a week Tim rescued us (remember the iMac hard drive install?), and took me downtown to the ER.

Despite all the nightmare stories we’d heard about bad care and poor service at the ER, Dan was speedily taken to a room and very kindly and professionally cared for. Still, it took time for a doctor to examine him, blood work to be processed, blood thinner to be administered, and prescriptions and instructions written out, so it was 11:30 p.m. before he was dismissed. Neither of us had eaten anything since breakfast, except for a cup of yogurt around lunch time, and we were starving. I drove Dan home, got him settled in, and went to Sonic for a couple burgers. We were finally sitting at the kitchen table, eating our “dinner” a half-hour after midnight. And then to bed!

For a week-and-a-half Dan was on doctor’s orders to stay home from work. For ten days he was on two blood thinners – one of them that had to be self-injected into his abdomen, twice a day, the other taken orally. He also had a script for pain. He has now finished his ten days, and is no longer taking the injections, but is still on the oral blood-thinner. We don’t know how long he’ll be on that medication. We don’t know when they will do another ultrasound to see the status of the blood clot. They did tell us that it will take at least six to eight weeks for his body to absorb the clot, so there’s no reason to check before that.

Yesterday he returned to work. I was impressed that he worked a full day. He said he had some discomfort early in the day, but changed the settings on his office chair, which made a big difference.

We're thankful to those of you who joined us in prayer for healing, and to God who, as always, was faithful to answer.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Update - The Car

Broken fuel line - $515 plus 3 to 4 hours labor.

Service tech says could have been done in the incident.

Verdict still out on whether insurance will pay.

Bad Car!

Yesterday I drove to Bible class and worship by myself. Dan was still recuperating from some recent health issues (more about that in a day or two). When I first got into the car, I thought I smelled gasoline, but didn’t think too much about it. I had to make a stop before getting to church, and noticed that the odor was stronger. And it was still with me when I got to the church building.

Later in the day, when I got back home, I parked the car in our garage. Before long, the smell was so potent and invasive that I had to move the car out to the street, because the fumes were permeating our whole house. Once I moved it, Dan saw a little puddle under the front end of the car; it appeared to be gasoline or some kind of radiator fluid.

I have it at the shop right now, waiting for a diagnosis. Of course I’m wondering if it has anything to do with the recent run-in I had with a tire tread, in which case the insurance company should pay; or if it is something that is due to normal wear and tear. In the meantime, I had to rent a car to get to work, to a dentist appointment I have today, and back home. I'm hoping for a quick and inexpensive fix (I hear you laughing!).

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Love . . .

I Love Fall - "Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns." Those aren't my words; they belong to George Eliot. Although they're not my words, they are my sentiment. There's something about the sight, scent and sound of fall leaves or a patch of plump, round pumpkins that excites me, making my heart skip a beaat and my breath quicken.

I Love Crème Brûlée - If I could only have one dessert for the rest of my life, it would undoubtably be crème brûlée. I love the slight bitterness of that delicate sheet of crunchy burnt sugar on the top, and that unbelievably rich custard inside. I eat it in teeny-tiny bites, savoring each taste and wishing it would be “bottomless.”

I Love Bookstores - I especially love a bookstore with a place to sit down and read comfortably. I go to my favorite sections of the store, pull a half-dozen titles from the shelves, and sit down to sample each one of them. Usually at least one hooks me, and I end up reading far into the book before leaving the store. Even though I read mostly from my Kindle these days, I’ll never give up the bookstore habit. It gives me a “high.”

I Love a Heart-Wrenching Love Story - I love to cry my way through a movie. One night last week I watched The Bridges of Madison County. I had recorded it on our DVR a few days before, and that night seemed the right time to watch it. Until then, I must have been the last American woman not to have seen that movie. I think it came out back in the mid-90s. Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep were wonderful in their roles, and, at the end, I was wiping tears from my eyes. Ahhh. What a great ending!

I Love Blue Jeans - No. Not “skinny jeans.” I couldn’t fit into a pair of skinny jeans, and if I could it wouldn’t be a pretty picture! But there’s nothing more comfortable to me than a well-worn pair of loose-fitting, faded-denim jeans. They speak to me: “Relax! Don’t worry! Do something fun!”

I Love the First Day of School - I started kindergarten in 1954. I was calculating the other day, and considering my own school years, my years of school-volunteering, and my various jobs in the field of education, the first day of school has been more meaningful to me than New Year's Day for something like 46 years! To me, it still means a fresh start and new adventures.

I Love Crayons - Uh huh, I’m sure this is intertwined with my love of the first day of school. In elementary school I always had a new box of crayons to take with me on that special day. When I walk by the crayon aisle in a store, the smell draws me in, tempts me to buy! I find the smell intoxicating and almost irresistible.

I Love the Coast - I love watching the waves roll in and lap the beach on a warm day, or violently crash against a rocky crag during a storm. I love finding sand dollars or agates at low tide. I love the smell of the salt air. Going to the coast has to be the one thing I miss most about living in Oregon. For some reason, my writing was always more creative and thoughtful when I did it at the coast, too. Sadly, I wasn’t much of a photographer in those days, so I wish I could go back and capture all the amazing sights I saw.

I Love a Thunder Storm - If I returned to Oregon, though, the one thing I would miss most about New Mexico would be the thunder and lightning storms, and the accompanying pounding rain or hail. During our monsoon season, we can count on these awesome displays of God’s power on an almost-daily basis.

I Love a New Pair of Shoes - I have a hard time finding shoes that fit my feet, but when I do, I love them! I can hardly keep my eyes off my feet when I first get them. And I love the smell of the new leather. I think I need to go shopping for a new pair of shoes.

I Love Vanilla - I’m just a “plain vanilla” type of person, I guess. I love the smell, I love the taste of it in a recipe (I always add more than the recipe calls for), and I even put vanilla in my hot chocolate! Chocolate is good, but vanilla beats it all to pieces in my book.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

iMac's Brain Surgery

Ten days ago the hard drive went out on my iMac. Dan was clever enough to get me up and running (sort of), but I couldn't save any new or edited files and couldn't let the computer go to sleep. Basically, I've just been "limping" along since then, using it sparingly.

We talked with Tim, who said he was willing and able to install a new drive for me. We ordered it, and it arrived Friday. Yesterday Tim came to the house and, within 45 minutes had my Mac opened up, the dead drive out and the new drive in, and everything closed back up.

Then it was Dan's turn. He reinstalled the operating system and all my data (which, thankfully, was backed up completely).

Whenever I have a computer emergency, like this, I realize how lucky I am to have my own personal hardware and software super heroes to come to the rescue. Thanks, guys!