In Which The Beans Discuss The TV Remote Control, Unnecessary Complexity Of Said

ZEN-DEN POLITELY EXPLAINED TO ME that I needed to re-frame my irritation.  That I had to let my mind embrace a new way of thinking about some of the little daily irritations that bug the snot out of me.

“Chickiedoodle,” he said, “it’s all just dust in the wind. Insignificant.”

[Yes, he sometimes call me Chickiedoodle.  Grow up people, we’re married & cutesy nicknames happen.]

“It’s not worth worrying about these small things.  I respect your feelings about them, and you’re right– but you gotta let it go.”

There’s a reason why he’s called ZEN-Den, you know.  He can get mellow, philosophical at the interconnectedness of life, almost without trying.  Little things in daily life don’t bug him so much.

But me?  I see the faults.  I remember the faults.  And then I tend to mutter.

Which is how this conversation started.

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Artist’s rendering of sensible TV remote control that has only what is needed on it, written in large letters and numbers.

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YOU SEE, I WANTED TO watch something on cable TV, but I was once again thwarted by the unnecessary complexity of our remote control.

Hence, I was muttering to Z-D about how ridiculous it is that to turn on the television one does not use the “TV” button on the remote control.  No, one uses something called “Input” while ignoring the button that you’d think logically turns on the television.

But it doesn’t.

And if by chance you forget and hit the logical “TV” button, then everything goes wonky on the screen, and you’re left not watching television because you, a woman who dislikes gadgety things on principle, can’t remember how to turn on the darned television.

So I end up not watching cable TV, while complaining loudly about the intentionally irritating nonsensical TV remote control.

Dust in the wind?  Not buying it.

It’s a conspiracy to drive me crazy crazier.

Sunday Afternoon At The Nature Preserve: The Uneven Path Taken

On Sunday, for the first time in months, Zen-Den and I went to the Nature Preserve intending to wander around the flat easy path that connects the herb garden to the old farmhouse.

‘Tis a pretty path any time of year, and knowing what I was getting into, I wore shoes for that kind of leisurely walk.  A stroll.

However, somehow [let’s blame it on curiosity], we got [shall we say?] off course and ended up on a moderately difficult path that took us half a mile down a steep hillside to a creek, along the banks of the creek, then back up to the parking lot.

From this experience, I learned three valuable lessons:

  1. I will always in the future, regardless of what we say we’re going to do, wear hiking boots when going to the Nature Preserve;
  2. I will always in the future take one of the free maps, readily available in a display in the parking lot;  &
  3. When descending uneven, seemingly never-ending limestone steps down a hillside, my mind thinks about the worst that can happen.  In this case, it flashed to the scene in Grace and Frankie [Season 4] when we get a glimpse of Grace’s icky knee, complete with stitches and a long bloody-ish incision, after knee replacement surgery.  Oy vey.

And on that angst-filled note, here are some photos of the path we took at the Nature Preserve as we walked, trudged, and then climbed our way around it.

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Oh so pretty in late winter! Must see more.

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What a charming little path. I wonder where it goes?

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My goodness, this path suddenly looks old and not tended.

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Well, at least that little stone bridge up ahead looks sturdy.

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Oh look! What a nice flat rustic wooden bridge over a little dry creek.

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Oh dear, this uneven path just keeps going down, down, down to a large creek.

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Finally! What a lovely, relatively flat, stoney path by a large creek.

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Yes! Look at these civilized wooden stairs leading back up the hill to the parking lot. Hallelujah!

THE END

3 True Confessions Because You, My Gentle Readers, Need To Know

One  

It’s entirely possible that I’m not going to be an Instagram star. 

Since November I’ve tried to get into my Instagram groove by posting three photos a week, usually all at once (because I forget to post them when I take them).  Also, I’m following a few people there because social media is, after all, social.

HOWEVER, easy and sweet as I think Instagram is, it isn’t calling to me.  For some reason its charms have yet to woo me.  I like it, I enjoy glancing at the photos posted there, but I’m vague about why it’s a thing– and why/how someone becomes a star.

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Two

I’m enjoying the Winter Olympics this year because they are Bob-Costas-free.

Sure, some people somewhere must have liked Bob Costas as the host of the Olympics, but I was not one of them.  To me he combined Alex Trebek’s know-it-all-ness with Tom Cruise’s smugness– and I did not like him because of it.

HOWEVER, NBC’s new Winter Olympics host, Mike Tirico, is delightful.  He reports on what is happening in a pleasant, informative way that does not make me want to yell at him.  And guess thee what?  Because of him I’m not changing the channel away from the Olympics when the host is on the screen.

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Three

I’ve increased the size of my font on my computer.

There is no surer sign of impending decrepitude than the size of the font that one uses.  Tiny font, great eyes– young.  Medium font, okay eyes– middle age.  Large font, lousy eyes– one foot in the grave.

HOWEVER, on the flip side of this depressing thought, I have to admit that seeing the words clearly on the screen has encouraged me to sit up straighter, thereby improving my posture.  And that, Alas, poor Yorick, might be enough to keep my other foot out of the grave… for a while longer.

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Gentle Readers, feel free to share your true confessions in the comment section below. How else are we going to get the party started in here?

Tell all. No matter what it is. You know I love it.

Be The Light: Four Fun Stories About Air Travel

INTRODUCTION

As you probably remember I’ve joined a yearlong monthly event called We Are The World Blogfest.  

The purpose of this event is to highlight positive news stories, presenting them on your blog on the last Friday of the month.

This being the last Friday of January, I have a story, or four, to share with you, my gentle readers and fellow #WATWB participants.

THE NEWS STORIES  

 A lucky woman gets to fly on a commercial airline flight as the only passenger. If only.

 A piece of luggage that keeps track of you. Cool.

An impatient baby arrives mid-flight attended by not one, but two, doctors. Cuteness.

• A free drink in the main cabin on a shuttle flight makes flying fun again. Huzzah!

MY COMMENTARY

I had no difficulty finding positive news stories about airlines this month. As a traveler who is often disgruntled with the airlines and known to express said disgruntlement to the powers that be, I was surprised.

I don’t tend to think of air travel in a favorable light.

But the above links suggest that maybe, just maybe, there’s hope for an industry that is known more for annoying passengers than pleasing them.

At least that’s the idea I’m going to dwell on here in this particular post.

And on the note, with a hat tip to Schubert Piano Sonata in A major D. 959, I’ll leave you with the theme from Wings, one of my favorite 1990s TV shows.  Sandpiper Air made flying look like so much fun.

* * *

 * * *

15 Hours Without Electricity Because– Well, We Don’t Know Why

Think of this as a rambling “Dear Diary” post…

THE LONG WHINY PART

{ feel free to skip if muttering and complaining bother you }

Around 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning I was awakened from my slumber by the loud *click-clack-thunk-bunk* sounds of our machines, powered by electricity, turning themselves off.

What kind of forking shirt is this, I asked myself, emulating Eleanor Shellstrop from The Good Place as I used her creative vocabulary to express myself.

As one does.

Inside our house it was dark except for where the moon beamed in some light on the back of the house.  The front of the house, along with all of our neighbors’ houses, was dark.

Of course, having not recently fallen off the suburban homeowner turnip truck, I didn’t do a thing, except to look out a few windows, confirm that the whole neighborhood was without power, and then go back to sleep.

Next morning there was still no electricity anywhere on our street, so being the trooper that I am I got dressed and drove elsewhere to find us hot coffee.

[And what a sad bedraggled bunch of folks were we, the coffee fetchers, at the local Kroger Star$ kiosk.  Barely alert, yet focused on our mission to get the sustaining elixir of life for ourselves and our loved ones.]

THE DETAILED WHAT WE DID UNTIL WE GOT ELECTRICITY AGAIN PART 

{ probably want to skim over for context regarding the photos to come }

By 9:00 a.m. we still had no electricity, no idea why we didn’t have electricity, and our cell phones were almost without juice, so we did the only thing we could think of and went out to breakfast, at what turned out to be the world’s worst Bob Evans.

Humph.

Then, needing to charge our phones, we drove to the other side of somewhere to go to a garden nursery;  we like this garden nursery, but buying mums, which we did, was the secondary reason for our visit.  We required a long car ride to help our phones get going again.

Modern life, ain’t it grand?

Then, having called home to find that our answering machine wasn’t picking up, meaning no electricity, we decided to stop at a little new-to-us township park to wander around its flat paths and see what was there.

Short answer: kids and chairs.

Then, it being the middle of the afternoon on a day that wasn’t working out like I’d hoped, we went to the bar of a local restaurant that is known for chicken.  There we had delicious chicken sandwiches, watched some football, and drank beer.

Because… Saturday… in the fall… and bored.

THE 8 PRETTY PHOTOGRAPHS PART

{ make sure to look at these ‘cuz it was a clear day meant for snapping pics }

Pond at garden nursery.

• • •

Geese on pond at garden nursery.

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Ducks avoiding geese on pond at garden nursery.

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Island in middle of pond at township park.

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Human beings gathered around play area beside pond at township park.

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Old stately home, available to rent for private events, beside pond at township park.

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Chairs waiting for guests beside old stately home, available to rent for private events, beside pond at township park.

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Farm with corn in the field across from pond at township park.

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Because All The Cool Kids Are Doing This: Opining About The 69th Primetime Emmy Awards

I didn’t watch the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards the other night.

I never watch award shows anymore because they get me all riled up.  I either disagree with who/what gets the awards, or I disagree with the lengthy opinions expressed by some recipients.

I want my favorite shows to win because I know what is best.  And I want the award recipients to say “thank you” then mosey off the stage directly.

We get it, you’re great.  Now move on.

Also, I despise the red carpet “reporters” with their judgemental chatter/stupid interviews as the stars walk the red carpet.  Didn’t your mothers teach you that if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all?

Be polite or shut up. That’s the deal in my world view of how the Primetime Emmy Awards, or any award show, should be.

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However, even though I didn’t watch the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards, I got opinions– and I know how to use ’em. 

First of all, the best comedy show is The Good Place with Kristen Bell and Ted Danson.  It’s smart, quirky, and hilarious.  With cheerful sets and a snappy pace.  And it’s funny, in a non-mocking way.

You’ll notice it wasn’t part of the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards which just goes to show you how wrong the whole Emmy thing was.

Second of all, This is Us is a wonderful, genuine drama that kept me engaged [difficult to do] and made me, an introvert with a low opinion of people, want to know more about these people [extremely difficult to do].

The show moves seamlessly between past and present while never losing sight of the relationships that form the core of the storyline.  I like the actors. I like the writing. I like the sets. I like the costumes.

So where are the plethora of awards that it deserved?

Thirdly, The Crown is brilliant. No other word for that TV show.  I read that John Lithgow received an Emmy for his portrayal of Winston Churchill and that’s good because he was spectacular in that role.  But again, how about everyone else in the show?  Where are their awards?

[And don’t try to downplay this show as only a costume drama, because that just makes you look ignorant about how necessary it is for us to understand history– and it gripes my grits when people say that.  So don’t do it.]  

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And on that note I’ll end this post with a short summation of what I’ve written here about the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards.

I’ve given you, my gentle readers, a fast review of three decent, returning this season, TV shows* that you may want to watch in the upcoming months.  You may thank me in the comments below.

And I’ve vented about how stupid I think award shows are– a sentiment that many other people agree with, if Sunday’s low ratings are to be believed.

* I didn’t realize that Veep was a comedy until I read the list of the winners. I might like it and will consider watching it.  Also, Big Little Lies looks promising, but we don’t get HBO, so until these shows hit Netflix or Hulu I won’t be seeing them. 

173 Days Later, The Remodeling Wild Ride Ends

Surprised?

Yep, that’s how long it took from our first meeting in early March with the remodeling company planner guy to the last day in late August with the finisher guys making it all look perfect.

Kind of makes you think that HGTV shows might not be telling you the truth about how remodeling projects in the real world get done, doesn’t it?

But I digress…

Here are some photos* of how everything [finally] looks now that we have a new master bathroom, laundry room, and updated TV room fireplace.  We love the results, and couldn’t be happier that we took this wild ride– despite all the difficulties and absurdities along the way.

[Click HERE for the whole story.]

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Fancy decorative tile, lost then found in route from California, here at last.

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Double vanity with lots of drawers, meaning no more storing towels in buckets in the tub for us.

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New tub, very sleek, and no longer in my parking place in the garage where it’s spent the last two months.

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Shower doors installed on second custom frame, because why do things right the first time?

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In the laundry room, pretty decorative tiles + a small granite counter created from a slab found on the remnant pile.

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Stackable washer and dryer, effective, but seem large after years of using small side-by-side ones.

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Shiny natural granite with a simple white mantle against a wall painted the correct neutral color. 

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* I warned you, my gentle readers, in my first post about this remodeling wild ride that I’ve never learned how to take good interior design photos. These pics don’t do our projects justice, but they’re the best I can do.