Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Roundabout, Feeder Roads and Chivalry Is Alive

I was able to join my husband on his business trip this past week.  The city? Houston Texas.

I have always wanted to go to San Antonio, but have not thought about any other part of Texas, not sure why not, but I haven't. So this was my first time in the Lone Star State.

While hubs sat through 8 hours of class a day, I played. I charged up and down the streets in the rental car - a Dodge Charger. I have to say, I enjoyed driving that car. Big difference from the ol' Montana mini van! And while finding my way around, I had another first experience: a Roundabout. We don't have those around here. And, beyond the laughter of feeling like Chevy Chase and his European vacation, I do not think I care for those. Someone's status on facebook, a couple weeks ago, was our town needed some roundabouts. Now that I have been on one, in the wrong lane, I have to wonder, why???? I could see this would just increase the number of accidents and folks expressing road rage. We live in a town, when someone realizes, at the last minute, they need to turn right at a particular light, and they are in the left lane, they just stop. They don't go around the block and come back. They stop until they can turn right from the left hand lane.

We have all heard it said how everything is bigger in Texas. The highways and interstates seemed bigger than Atlanta's. I can't figure out if they were or if there was just a little more space between lanes and brick walls and if there was a little of an optical illusion involved. The wide open parking lots or space off the highway's might have made them seem wider. I am not sure, but they have these wonderful feeder roads. Loved traveling along the highway but not having to get actually get on it for the few blocks I needed to go when I really didn't know where I was going.

Are you still with me? Bored of the Texas traffic report? Well chivalry is alive in Texas too! Stores, restaurants, museums - any spot to encounter others, chivalry and kindness was shown. Maybe I just happened to be in the right spots to make this statement, but I noticed it in driving too. The pace was different, but I noticed there seemed to be a working together flow to things. If you needed over, as soon as your turn signal went on, someone would move over or let you in. There was no riding your tail if you might be in the slower lane. They just passed, without looking at you with anger or frustration. There seemed to be a lack of power struggle on the roads and in the stores that I realize we have around here.

The three days were fun, full of new experiences and pleasant encounters and food and food and food.  And once I get pictures downloaded, I will have a post about Bejing...sorta.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

To The Laundromat We Go...

…when the washer is too small.

My perspective was a little skewed today. Grievances magnified to a mountain when actually just a mole hill. So as I was ready to sit and choose to do nothing this afternoon, my wise husband reminded me of a task I have wanted to get handled: a comforter and a sleeping bag washed. It had to go to the laundromat because my washer is not big enough for either of these items.

Loaded with the linens and two other errands I could run during the washin’ and the dryin’, I headed out. Two hours later I have a smile on my face and something accomplished.

I loaded the washer, put my quarterssssss (with a stutter) in the machine and hit start. Ssssssss (with a stutter) because inflation has occurred since last I used a laundry mat. After 20 quarters dropped into the machine, the timer said the wash would be finished in 16 minutes. So I headed around the corner to Lowes to grab a light bulb for my now dark freezer. How many Lowes employees does it take to figure out the one bulb needed is out of stock?

Four. I have never had such attention at Lowes before. All were pleasant and joking, but it was rather funny the number of those that were searching in this 10 foot stretch for that bulb.

I headed back to the laundromat to move items from the washin’ machine to the dryin’ machine. The machines timer is not exactly in check with actual time, so I got to sit for a few moments. I had noticed a gentleman there earlier, with his suitcase waiting for his clothes to finish. He was still there. As Andy Griffin’s medicare commercial came on, he scooted right up in front of the TV.

My attention was back to watching the timer as he walked back and started in front of me. He said something. Something loud. I thought he was addressing me so I said “excuse me.” Startled he said “oh, I’m sorry, I was talking to myself.” With a smile I said I understood. I had been there myself today. Wrong.

I forgot about laundry mats. One should be prepared for eccentrics of life. And with that the man sat down next to me and asked, “do you know about celebrities??”

Ummmm, not really. I don’t keep up with them.

He continued anyway. His out loud pondering had been a question of how Andy Griffin and Brad Paisley were related. I, have no idea. Then he proceeded with why he thought they were related. He left that thought and said he had just read today that Taylor Swift was not dating an older man. A real old man he said. Against better judgment I did just google this and the older man was all of 27 and apparently they are NOT dating any longer and nothing popped up about a new guy…

The man then spotted my shoes and asked where I got my shoes. Ok, so it is not that BIG of a strangeness, but ladies, when was the last time a man asked you where you got your shoes?

I can tell you the last time a man told me he LIKED my shoes – I was a secretary on the psych ward and a transvestite patient, that had partially amputated one of his legs, told me what great shoes I had on – that was when. So I stand by my feelings of men commenting on women’s shoes a little strange to me.

Back to today, he proceeded to tell me what great shoes Walmart has and then untied and pulled off his shoe to show me the built in Dr. Scholls heel pad. I wanted to laugh again. Only me…

I was saved from further conversation when CSI came back on the TV and he headed back to stand in front of the screen.

With clothes now dryin’ I headed to get a turn signal bulb. It was great. The auto store fella came out and replaced the blown one with a new one. No $65 service fee, just good ol’ fashioned niceness!

I returned to get my items from the laundromat and they were not quite dry. More quarters and a quick trip to the fabric store in the next parking lot. As I headed out of the laundromat, the gentleman had loaded up his suitcase and was out the door walking across the parking lot.

I noticed him again as I parked at the fabric store. He suddenly started running, suitcase in tow. I stopped for a second wondering why, and that is when I saw the bus. He struck a trot hollering and waving hoping they would see him. I noticed a lot of people getting off and quite a number waiting to get on the bus. I figured he would make, but if he was still there when I came out, I would, well maybe, offer him a ride. He was gone when I came out a few minutes later. And, I am sorry, I was glad. I am sure he was harmless, maybe, but I would have felt pulled, do I give him a ride? Or let him catch the next bus?

Now I am home. I had forgotten what it was like using a laundromat. The first four years, on my own, away from my parents, my Saturday mornings were spent at a laundromat. I did not mind at the time. It was a necessity. While I have not forgotten the convenience having those machines in my home – I had forgotten the entertainment value. I had forgotten the various lives you come in contact with and all that can be learned.

Today, the running of errands, the kindness of the auto parts store guy, the uniqueness of shoe man at the laundromat all came together to, as strange as it seems, put some perspective back into my day. Never underestimate the short, simple encounters during your day.

Hope you have an encounter that makes you laugh today too!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

ABC Wednesday (a little early)- Pumpkin Preoccupation

Not just for halloween...  :)

Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater
Had a wife and couldn't keep her.
He put her in a pumpkin shell
And there he kept her very well . . .

Pumpkin Pie Crunch Mix

1/4cup brown sugar
1tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4cup butter
2teaspoons vanilla
2cups Cinnamon Chex® cereal
2cups Wheat Chex® cereal
2cups Honey Nut Chex® cereal
8oz pecans

In small bowl, mix brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice; set aside. In small microwave-safe dish, microwave butter on High about 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in vanilla. In large microwavable bowl, mix all cereals and pecans. Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly distributed. Add sugar and spice mixture and stir until coated.

Microwave uncovered on High 5 minutes or until mixture begins to brown, stirring every minute. Spread on wax paper or a cookie sheet to cool. Store in airtight container.