Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Gone for Awhile
On vacation! Back on the 12th.
Happy Easter, everyone!

posted at 12:59 PM
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Saturday, March 24, 2007
Saturday Photo Hunt: Empty
It only looks empty. Those little green dots are pieces of leaves being carried by leaf-cutter ants. Enlarge the picture to see the ants.

posted at 6:45 AM
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Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Travel Tuesday: Sighisoara
Sighisoara (sig -ee- shora) is in Transylvania, in Romania. It is an old medieval town and everyone in Romania sighs with delight when they hear the name. The town's biggest claim to fame is that it was the birthplace of Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad the Impaler, also known as Vlad Dracul.

That's the house he was born in-- looks pretty ordinary, doesn't it? Actually, Vlad is revered in Romania because he protected them from their enemies. His methods seem a little extreme to us now, but they apparently worked well then.
The city gates. The clock on top hasn't worked for centuries.

The covered bridge leads from the city square to the church and school at the top of the hill. We were told this was so the students would not get wet. Guess no one had thought of umbrellas yet!

Some views of the town square and the houses and alleys around it.
Sighisoara is well known throughout eastern Europe, but not too familiar in the west. However, on a local sales call , the man I was calling on was wearing a Sighisoara sweatshirt. I was amazed that we had both been there, but, as it turned out, he hadn't -- his wife bought the shirt from a catalog. A good conversation, some pictures emailed to him -- it was almost too easy to make that sale. Now I wonder if I can deduct the cost of that trip as a business expense!

posted at 9:37 AM
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Saturday, March 17, 2007
Saturday Photo Hunt: Drink
We had the greatest guide on our African safari! We watched this family of cheetahs eat a Thompson's gazelle. As they finished and started trotting across the savannah, our guide said they would want a drink next, so he drove down to the watering hole and positioned the Land Rover so we could get a perfect view.

UPDATE: Stormii came through her surgery fine. This one was a lot shorter than the one last year, and she looked and sounded good when she came out of recovery. Thank you all for your prayers!

posted at 3:37 AM
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Thursday, March 15, 2007
Surgery Update
Tomorrow my dear DIL, PresentStorm, goes into the hospital to have one kidney removed. Some of you may recall that just about a year ago, she had 40 centimeters worth of cysts removed from her kidney. Just in a year she's grown another 10 centimeters of cysts on that same kidney, and her doctor is telling her that while annual exams are good, annual surgeries are not. So the kidney has to come out before it can grow cysts again.

While we are expecting a quick, uneventful recovery, prayers, kind thoughts and good wishes are always appreciated.

posted at 9:25 AM
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Monday, March 12, 2007
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
It was only going to be a short errand. While Guppyman changed the brake shoes on his car, I would run the badly grooved brake drum to the auto parts store to be turned or replaced. Half an hour, max.

Store 1 couldn't understand the year and make. I had the brake drum sitting on the counter, but the clerk asked me if I had the car in the parking lot! Well, of course, I drove it here on three wheels. They did not turn brake drums, but they did carry them in stock --- except they happened to be out of stock on what I needed. They quoted me $36 for the part, told me it was at a store in a nearby town, and gave me detailed directions to the store.

As I was heading for Store 2, I noticed their competitor's store on the way. This competitor does turn brake drums, so I whipped into their parking lot. I waited about 15 minutes to talk to the guy who does the actual turning. He did not have calipers big enough to measure the drum, so he got out a measuring tape. I had two big problems with this: he needed to measure thousandths of an inch, which you cannot do with a tape; and there is no way you can get an accurate measurement of the inside of a round object with a tape. He said he would turn it, but by now he had me pretty worried, so I went on to Store 2.

Another 10 minutes waiting in line ... ask for the brake drum they have in stock ... get quoted $48 ... argue ... call Store 1 ... guy says " Heh heh, I quoted you the wrong price." ... get back in line, wait another 10 minutes ... they do NOT have the drum in stock. But the store just a few miles down the road does have it. They even call to verify it. It gets put on hold under my name in the computer. I get detailed directions to Store 3.

At store 3, I go directly to the payment line. The part is on hold for me, I know the part number, no lookup required, right? Oh, so very wrong. 10 minutes waiting in that line, only to be told I had to get in the line where they look up the parts. I believe these people are only working in auto parts stores as training to be government employees! I dutifully stand in the parts-lookup line, the guy finally comes over to look it up, and professes not to know anything about a part on hold. In fact, he says they do not have the part in stock at all! But don't worry, they have two in stock at the store right down the street. As he gives me directions, I realize it is the store I just left. At that point, I believe I may have used a bit of profanity, and said something about never again setting foot in one of their stores.

I stopped by the competitor's store again, but of course the guy who turns the drums had already gone home. So after a couple of hours and an incredible amount of frustration, I gave Guppy back exactly what I left with, unchanged except for the fact that it got to ride around in my car for a couple of hours ( and perhaps learned a few new words.)

And what the heck was Guppy doing, anyway? Obviously, he had the Little Angel doing all the work!

posted at 9:05 AM
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Saturday, March 10, 2007
Saturday Photo Hunt: Architecture
The Parliament building in Budapest, Hungary.

posted at 8:20 AM
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Tuesday, March 06, 2007
Catching Up on the News
It's that time of year when there are too many things going on. Oh wait, that seems like like every day. But here is the current crop:

Three weeks ago I was in Colorado skiing. Two weeks ago I was in Reno on business. Last week I was in Oklahoma -- you probably figured out I wouldn't be going there if it wasn't business. This week is another of those 18-hours-a-day-for-3-days trade shows.

We met with the builder and the architect. The builder gave us a much higher number than we expected, so we got to wondering just what kind of house we could buy for that much money. I checked out some new houses, and quickly realized I do not like the treeless new neighborhoods. So I started driving around some nearby neighborhoods with lots of trees, and found some houses I liked the looks of. We can't see them until Thursday night, due to this week's trade show. If one of the houses happens to suit us to a tee, then we will have to decide if it's worth giving up our view of the bay. In all honesty, I think the thing that is really driving me right now is the thought of moving TWICE: moving out while they remodel, and back in when they're done.

The Professor made it back from the Maldives, finally. The American ambassador to Sri Lanka gave him a one-year passport so he could change airports in London and get home. On Saturday night we were having dinner before the ballet, when he commented that he felt light-headed, and he thought if he stood up he might faint. Then he proceeded to close his eyes and drop his head on his chest. I thought he was joking at first, but became really worried when he didn't respond. When I couldn't rouse him, I just stood up and hollered "HELP!!!" Now this is a pretty formal, fancy place, but they took it in stride, and within seconds a doctor came over. He performed the Heimlich manuever, thinking Prof had choked. Then he and the head waiter were trying to lift Prof out of his chair so they could lay him on the floor, when Prof opened his eyes. He wasn't the least bit confused or disoriented, but he had no memory at all of the minute or two he was out. Small stroke? Mild heart attack? Arrythmia? I will probably never know, because do you think he would go to a doctor?! We do have a doctor neighbor -- he specializes in burns, but, hey, he went to medical school, he knows more than we do. I'm hoping the Professor will discuss the incident with him. I have fainted more than once, myself, but always because I got extremely overheated, and always while standing. Going out when you're sitting at the dinner table strikes me as a lot more serious.

My grandson D-Man asked last week just how many lives the Professor has, since he was literally DOA after a car wreck when he was a teenager; walked away from a plane crash; and got off the burning boat in the Maldives. That was going through my mind when I was trying to rouse him, how ironic it would be if he escaped all those dramatic possible deaths and then died sitting in a chair.

Hate to end on such a cheerful note, but I have to get down to the trade show. Have a wonderful day, everyone.

posted at 5:11 AM
Comments (3)

Saturday, March 03, 2007
Saturday Photo Hunt: Salt
Today's theme is "salt", so here is the Saltgrass Steakhouse on salty Galveston Bay, where an old ship, full of old salts, sailed in the breeze.

posted at 9:05 AM
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Mitey Mite

Texas, United States

I am older than dirt, but I still feel pretty young & some call me the Energizer Bunny. I share a house with the Professor & 3 cats. Between us we have 5 grown children, all of whom are productive members of society (!), and 10 grandchildren. I have a job I love, a little money for the 1st time in my life, and so many more things I want to do than I will ever have time for.

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