Saturday, June 8, 2013
Coffee Chat ---Oh Computers!
It wasn't a hard week over all, not as weeks go. Can't remember just what we did Monday but I do remember we had a Monday this week which is saying something after last week when I forgot we had a Monday and stayed off kilter all week long. I've had computer woes. Pages that won't load, html codes that are askew, a complete and utter failure to recognize well travelled web addresses, slow loads. Sounds viral doesn't it? It did to me, too. I spent a lot of wasted time thumping the screen or complaining out loud. John just looked on without batting an eyelash. He was so cool, calm and unflustered I daresay it made me a little less composed.
I took a break from it on Tuesday and went out with him. He wanted to get his haircut but would only go if I needed anything from the grocery. As it happened I had a short list, which I stuck to hard and was still mightily shocked at the end of the trip when I was handed my three little bags (one containing a lone loaf of bread!) and I was out nearly $45. Let me sing the praises of Aldi one more time won't you? For the same amount of money I'd normally walk out of the store with at least two or three tote bags. Never mind, though, these were mostly items I couldn't buy at Aldi, except for the bread, which is why I agreed I could use a trip to the store in the first place.
It was so humid and hot that even though the Starbucks coffee shop was putting out extra fresh brewed aroma to lure in customers, I didn't even feel inclined to have my monthly coffee treat. I did ask John if he'd like a cup but I added on a special lure, playing on his weakness: "Or would you rather have a milkshake?...My treat!" Of course, he thought the milkshake sounded good so we headed across the intersection to Sonic. Twenty-five flavors they might have but at least 13 of them are something with peanut butter. I settled upon a caramel shake for my choice and John went with the classic chocolate. We ordered them without whipped cream.
Everyone wants to put on whipped cream these days but the milk shakes I grew up drinking didn't have whipped cream on them. In fact, I'm a little picky about what I want whipped cream to go on. Not on pecan pie, nor apple or peach. Don't much care for it on my coffee, cocoa or milkshake. Banana splits deserve a good squirt of whipped cream. It's nice on gingerbread, perfect on Strawberry Shortcake, with a bit of lemon curd mixed in it's delicate and light on Angel Food Cake. And that's about it as far as I'm concerned. Not too keen on it anywhere else, but that is no doubt due in part to the fact that we seldom had whipped cream at home.
All that said, the 'whipped cream' we had at home was usually a dry mix packet of stuff, Dreamwhip, or the frozen Cool Whip. The first time I had REAL whipped cream, I vowed to drop all but the real stuff from my food stuffs. I have slipped up and bought Cool Whip now and then, but usually if we need a convenient product, I'll buy aerosol cans from the dairy section which are real whipped cream. And in desperate times, I'll whip up a bit of well chilled evaporated milk.
Wednesday I went out with Mama for our day. I wanted to go into Ross for Less to look for sheet sets. Since January, I have had three sheets split. One was a much older set that I brought in from the shed where I'd stored them (in a bin of course) because I simply didn't like them. So I'm down to one set of sheets for our bed and honestly since the remaining set was purchased at the same time as the first two that split, I'm not expecting them to last much longer.
That's disappointing because I don't think I've had those three sets more than three years. I recall when I first set up housekeeping as a young married that I had 14 sets of sheets. Yes, really. Mama found a great sale on them and bought just loads for me. I thought I'd have sheets for all my married years and truthfully I did have them for many many years until John and I met and married and moved here. We decided we'd have a queen sized bed and that was the first sheets I bought after 20 years of being married, divorced and married for a couple years more! You might imagine how shocked I was at the cost of a single set of sheets and a mattress pad at that time, lol. Nearly gave me heart palpitations and John was even more shocked than I'd been.
Well, understandably I was very disappointed in the quality of the sheets I've had since then and I've always believed in buying GOOD sheets because they are supposed to last. I did get tired of seeing some of the sheets over the years but I finally got down to having only the one least liked set and so Mama gave me three sets for my birthday a couple of years ago. Good ones, I might add, or so we thought at the time. After just three years of wear and routine swapping out I was shocked they lasted such a short time.
So I went into Ross. I might as well have been shopping for a new bra after my favorite had been discontinued! Oh the selections. We won't even discuss patterns versus solids or even colors. I was just astonished at the thread counts (1000, 750, 500, 400, 300, 250), jersey, woven cotton, fleece, microfiber, and not a percale amongst any of them. Well, I knew what I wanted. Nothing over 300 thread count, all cotton. That narrowed that down to about two dozen sets that ranged in price and pattern. I ended choosing two lovely vintage looking sets by Laura Ashley that were in my price/comfort range.
After the struggle of that decision making, I had to wander down to purses and look for a new purse. It's not nearly so traumatic shopping for a purse. My criteria for that is more easily met and sure enough I found a lovely soft orange tote bag that came home with me.
So it was a productive day out. We had a nice lunch with free pie to follow (O'Charley's promotion right now is FREE pie on Wednesdays with any meal purchase). We had a nice long drive home. When I got back to the house, I picked up more of the limbs that blew down Sunday. No, I didn't get finished yet, but I picked up quite a number of limbs all the same. I came indoors and fixed myself a tall glass of iced water and turned on the fan. It was nice outdoors but the humidity was high. John was asleep and I didn't want to disturb him, so I thought I'd just get on the computer and work on that lovely long Wandering Thoughts post I'd been working on since Sunday.
I tried to log onto my blog and couldn't. The browser wouldn't even acknowledge blogger existed and when the browser finally opened it wouldn't move off my home page, then wouldn't load pages, wouldn't open mail or facebook in the correct format. I was right back to thumping and complaining. After John left for work I decided I just had to sort it all out and so I looked up the trouble shooting guides (eventually when I could get them to load). I ran a virus scan with my really good program which came back with a clean report. So I uninstalled the browser and reinstalled as suggested by their website and ran a defrag. That took until 3am...I went to bed and left the thing running.
Got up the next morning extra early and the screens came up nicely but none of my bookmarked files were there, as the website had assured me they would be, sigh. By day's end the browser was right back to acting weird. I tried to uninstall the browser again, meaning to let it go for good this time, but it had apparently formed a deep attachment to my computer. It wouldn't uninstall no matter how I tried, sigh.
Come Friday morning, John found his computer, with the same browser, was having the same woes. His cool calm collected demeanor pretty much went out the window, lol. Not funny, really but I got a good chuckle anyway and couldn't resist teasing him a bit about how his mood had changed so once it was his computer that was troublesome, lol.
I'd given up trying to uninstall the one browser and simply resorted to using IE9 once again. I wasn't happy with it but it beat battling away with the other browser. John did the whole uninstall/install thing with his and declared it was working fine. He offered to play with my computer and I agreed but told him that I did NOT want the old browser back. After about a half hour he declared my computer was working great. I was busy making dinner and didn't get right back to it. Later on I sat down and noted that the old browser was up and apparently running just fine...But when I sat down to blog last night, blogger glitched and I lost that long blog post I'd been working on all week long, sigh. So here we are. Coffee chat is what you'll get this week.
I have yet to find the flowers I'd wanted to put in my pots on the back deck. It's poured rain every single day this week. I found a bunch of packets of seeds of herbs and such the other day and poked them into starter pots but so far I've got two, TWO germinated seeds. I've resigned myself to the fact that it's fast approaching mid-June and that means that I'm getting down to the option of plants that were under watered and need to be rescued. Not that I don't normally choose those sorts of plants anyway, but I guess I want to think there are other options, lol. There's something just sort of heartbreaking to me about plants that need a bit of TLC and aren't getting it. I bring them home and almost always end up with a pretty plant that lasts far longer than they are supposed to.
Last week, John and I slipped off to that mountain we enjoy visiting periodically. Every single time we've gone there we've had some revelation and insight that we didn't have before we went. This time was no different. It was sunny and bright and breezy. We had the place all to ourselves for about an hour. We talked over some of the difficulties we'd faced, talked about the blessings we've experienced.
As we stood there it suddenly came to me why our vacation had been such a bust. Back in November when we'd made the decision to give up our dreams to God and let Him give us His dreams for us, I'd held on to one dream tightly, the dream of living in St. Augustine. I'd become very afraid that dream would not come true. It had become a point of contention between John and I, and between me and God. I don't know just why I was so stubborn about that dream but I was. I suddenly knew as we sat on that mountain looking out over the valley that I had to relinquish that dream and let it go, trusting that God knew best what our future was to hold. I can't begin to tell you how I hated to let it go. And I can't tell you what a blessed peace washed over me after I did. I felt positively giddy as we left the mountain and I know I must have seemed a different woman to John. I laughed and sang and made silly jokes. It was as though I'd unburdened myself from something onerous instead of letting go of something I'd wanted.
I think it was the realization that as big as my dream had been, and it was the biggest dream I'd allowed myself to dream in years, God so often overwhelms me with what His best for me is. The truth is that letting go of that dream meant letting go of fear, as well.
I've been very restless lately. I've spent a couple of months feeling uninspired and cranky and frustrated. (I suppose some of that was tossed into my blah vacation attitude, too.) It was while we were on vacation that I decided to turn over a new leaf. I've confessed before my love of my self created ruts. So I made a point of trying to find a balance between choosing a much favored activity or food and a new one. I had the most awesome Blue Cheese burger in a grill. OMGoodness. I had no idea that blue cheese on a hamburger would be so very awesome. And I tried an apple flavored beer that nearly knocked my socks off it was so good. Just a sample of that but it was nice. The Caramel Milkshake was a departure for me, as was my insistence on doing something that was physically strenuous for me and avoided in the past. I made that fussy chocolate cake and then attempted a new Challah bread, but I brought out some old favorite recipes that I used to make years ago to balance the new ones.
This week my departure has been to set computer and housework aside each afternoon for an hour and go play in my craft/art area. I am by no means an artist but I've had the best time just sitting with a sketchpad playing. I enjoy drawing and making colorful fun pictures or making decoupage pictures with paint or color pencil elements added. It's meant to be fun, but also to open up that creative channel once more. I often see things that inspire me and I mean to get my bulletin board up in that space and put together a story board of things that inspire me right now. Well it's been fun doing things differently and I do feel as though I'm hitting my stride once more. Being more creative pays off in so many ways frugally speaking and in the end, as much as I don't want to be all about frugality, I am all about frugality. I've had a clever idea for an old piece that I bought on a whim then hated after I got it home. I just could not abide the thoughts of a pot roast with the weather so hot, but suddenly recalled that the roast in our freezer was a sirloin tip and is cut into steaks as often as roasts. So I cut mine into steaks and beef cubes for two grill meals instead of having a heavy pot roast dinner.
Well...I'd meant to write more but I've just gotten a text from the youngest son. He and his girl are coming down tomorrow. I need to rethink my menu plan for the day. I am out of salad greens and may find my new menu requires me to run to the grocery first thing in the morning. I'll just have to go see what I have and what my mind can make of it. I confess as well that letting go of that old dream has opened my mind and heart up to the possibilities we have here to improve this home and yard.