Friday, July 21, 2006

Lemon Scented, Redux

The boys have been doing a lot of the grocery shopping this summer. They're pretty good at it, and as they are sometimes allowed to "keep the change" from my estimated total, they are pretty bargain savvy as well (although they are dismayed by just how closely I can estimate the bill; there isn't a whole lot of change, anyway!).

A couple of days ago, they came home very pleased with themselves. They'd found and purchased yet another roll of Lemon Scented Paper Towels. Just for me.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Next month, Dave and I will have been married for 24 years (more than half my life, if anyone's counting). Today, I got my anniversary gift (a bit early, but who can complain?)

It's sleek and shiny and silver. The motor purrs and it's WAY energy efficient. Top of the line. The best. The neighbors couldn't help but notice when it arrived. It's sitting outside right now, and I'm planning to use it EVERY day for the next three months...The novelty won't wear off any time soon!

* * * * * * * *

Yes, due to complications detailed in "Thermocline", I'm the proud new owner of a new air conditioning system for the upstairs of the house. Not surprisingly, Dave's getting the same thing. The price tag rivals what we paid last year for four people to take a vacation to Canada.

I'm not complaining. We've shared several anniversaries like this one, and I wouldn't have it any other way. Looking back...

Anniversary #1. It's the "Paper" anniversary. Dave got his "Paper" in the form of his diploma, and around Anniversary #1, we set up housekeeping in a new state, new jobs, new life. Soon afterward, we did buy a shiny new car, which lasted us 14 years - longer than the majority of marriages in the U.S., so that's something worth celebrating. The same car went through 3 hoods while we owned it. Don't ask.

Anniversary #11.
I love you so much that your kid is getting braces on her teeth. Happy anniversary!

And who could forget Anniversary #18?
Boy Scout campout.
We love our son. "Family event". On the beach.
I think I'm still finding sand where I least expect it.
Love you too, darlin'...

Anniversary #19
Music for the soul. A new flute. Not for me, not for Dave. It's a chance for the youngest child to find his way through the maze of middle school. A chance to prove himself, choose his own identity, show how he is different from his older siblings. The promise of tomorrow lies mute in a padded case, waiting to teach and to be taught. Another amazing product of the marriage. Happy anniversary.

Anniversary #20
Spent on opposite ends of the country, settling oldest child into her new college life. Passing the torch, as it were. This was one of the life goals, admirably achieved. One down, two to go. Happy anniversary.

Yes, some day I'd like to go on a cruise. I have my eye on the Alaskan "inside passage". I'd not mind a trip to London, Paris, Tokyo or Cairo. But today? I'll take the air conditioner, and know that it represents stability and promises still being kept, 24 years later.

Love you too, darlin'.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


ther·mo·cline n.
A layer in a large body of fluid, such as a lake, that sharply separates regions differing in temperature, so that the temperature gradient across the layer is abrupt.

A thermocline in the pond in the meadow means that the critters are living where they should and the plants are growing as one would expect for the biome and the proper mixing takes place between bottom of the pond and the top.

A thermocline halfway up the stairs in central Texas in the middle of July means that the upstairs air conditioning unit has gone out.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Rosemary Bonsai

There's a rather questionable garden area in our front yard, along the side of the garage and running along the sidewalk to the front door. It's hot, dry, in full sun most of the day and the area has been planted with some lanky but thriving herbs for several years. After all, what is an herb but a weed with an honorable name, and weeds thrive in the unhospitable conditions of that plot.

Early this summer, it became apparent that the plot was also home to at least one good sized Rat Snake; possibly to a family of them. While the snakes are harmless, they are still a bit startling when found on the front porch, waiting, when one gets home. Dave suggested that the weeds (ahem...HERBS) be cleared out or at least cut way, way back, to encourage Chester-the-Snake and his buddies to find new lodgings.

The herbs are mostly gone now, with the exception of one very large Rosemary plant. That one, I cut back. Alex wants to know if I'm planning a new career in Bonsai.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Male Fraud

We have a problem at our house with one segment of the current technology. That segment is e-mail. The problem is getting the two youngest members of the family to CHECK the e-mail.

Maybe it's a guy thing. From the time we got our first home computer and internet connection, when Elizabeth was in 7th grade, she lived for e-mail and eventually for Instant Message programs. The written word flying through cyberspace was her medium of choice for keeping up with friends, looking at college choices, comparing notes on homework assignments.

For the boys? Not so much. Nothing seemed to convince them of the necessity in today's world of checking their e-mail daily, if not even more often.

Finally, in desperation, I resorted to bribery, e-mailing them a message that said "Print this e-mail and exchange for $5". I put an expiration date on the deal, roughly 36 hours after I hit "send". Surely THAT would do the trick. Either they would check their e-mail and be $5 richer, or they would NOT check their e-mail, discover it too late and be sorry, but learn the lesson for the future. I was pleased with my apparent solution to the problem.

I didn't count on the inventive minds on the other end of the system.

Which child's sin is greater?

The child who read the notice and seriously considered adding a zero to the text and claiming FIFTY dollars in place of five?

Or the child who hit "Print 5" and presented me with a stack of printed messages, claiming to deserve a reward of 5 x 5 = $25?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Lemon Scented

There are things that seem to be a good idea at first glance. There are things that look so "right", until you think about them for a moment. So correct, until one puts them into practice.

One of these things is "Lemon Scented Paper Towels".

There they were, in the vast array of paper towels available at the local HEB. The price was right (they were on sale!), the quality appeared to be on par with any paper towels I ever purchased, and how could I argue with a pretty lemon print design? The fact that they were "lemon scented, right down to the roll" seemed fine. I had visions of wiping my kitchen counters and leaving that fresh lemon scent behind.

I bought the roll.

Thank the powers that be that I only bought ONE roll.

I hadn't really thought too much about all the OTHER ways we use paper towels. Besides wiping the kitchen counters.

For your edification:

Tortillas, placed between paper towels and microwaved to heat do not benefit from artificial lemon scent.

Sausages, hot and sizzling from the pan and ready to drain on a paper towel-lined plate need no lemon essence.

The cat does not appreciate her food dish set out on a lemon scented place mat.

Vegetables patted dry with that extra dash of lemon need to be rinsed and dried again.

Chicken parts patted dry are better off left plain.

Lemon paper reacts strangely with butter when greasing the pan for Rice Krispy Treats.

No one at our house requested Citrus Krispies. Nor will they again.

- - - - - - - - -

The roll is empty now. The trash can smells interestingly of lemon.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Twenty Pairs of Socks

Socks for Children in Common , knit from mid-May through early July. There's a little bit of everything in that mix...stash yarn, scrap yarn, gift yarn and even a little bit that was bought especially for this project. Since no one at our house is much interested in "girly stuff", I have to indulge my inner princess occasionally with a bit of pink, purple and turquoise.

Socks vary from 36 to 42 stitches around cuff and have foot lengths between 5 and 6-1/2 inches.

Now, I believe I'll knit something else for a few weeks.