Archive for December, 2009

With Apologies to Clement C. Moore
December 27, 2009

Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!

-Clement C. Moore


The Twelve Days BEFORE Christmas 

1. Christmas tree in a bucket

2. strands of lights that don’t work

3. wise men in the creche

4. camels (? one must be the pack camel?)

5. dozen cookies made

6. bows that match to tie onto the chandelier

7. rolls of wrapping paper needed

8. potted palm trees in the garage so they don’t freeze

9. boxes of ornaments for the tree

10.trips to the grocery store

11. gifts to deliver

12. bags of groceries on the final run


Merry Christmas!!


The Day AFTER Christmas

 T’was the day after Christmas and all through the house,

the dishes were stacked, to be washed by the spouse. (that would be me)

The palm trees were nestled snug in the garage,

alongside the piles and piles of garBAGE.

And I in my running clothes out for a jog,

accompanied by my faithful dear dog,

went dashing beneath a clear, cold blue sky

to burn off that third yummy piece of my pie!

When out in the kitchen arose a strange thing

Oh! it’s my new phone, just starting to ring!

How do I answer it? I do not know;

with all gizmos hi-tech, I am very slow.

Then what to my confused eyes suddenly appeared,

but a very smart daughter, who thinks it quite weird

that her mother needs so much help with her phone.

So she started a tutorial, beginning with step one.

More rapid than eagles she pushed this and that

to set my “aps” “tones” and “calendars” right there as we sat.

To Facebook! To e-mail! To finding a ring tone!

In a very short while, I did it on my own!

My eyes how they twinkled, my smile was so merry;

you might think that I’d been nipping the sherry!

She laughed as she saw me in spite of herself;

To celebrate, we got some wine down from the shelf.

We sprang to the living room to sit by the fire

And listen to melodies sung by a choir.

How nice to relax in the fire’s glowing light…

Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

(pewperson said she’d return on Jan. 8, but lied the first time. Now I really mean it)


The Idiot Box
December 19, 2009

I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.   – William Shakespeare (Richard II

Last week I wrote about our bike ride on Thanksgiving morning; one of the reasons why we went riding is that our cable was out, so we couldn’t watch the usual parades and dog show that normally air on this particular holiday. 

I certainly didn’t miss being disconnected. I so seldom watch TV that Joel finally had to write down for me how to turn it on, since I can never remember how it works. It’s only a VERY special “special” that I will on occasion watch, so on Thanksgiving morning, I thought I’d turn on the parade for old time’s sake. Oops! Never mind; let’s go for a ride instead. 

The “idiot box” is what my brother used to call the TV, ironically, since he spent so much of his later years watching it.  It IS an idiot box, and the same might be said about computers and these social networking sites. I’m as guilty as the rest about spending way too much time messing with them in lieu of doing something useful, meaningful or educational. With real people, I might add. 

Weeks after Thanksgiving, the cable was still out and I still didn’t miss it. Joel, however, was another story. He kept saying that I had to call, since I was the one who would have to book the appointment with the repair person. In the meantime, he was very helpful decorating the tree with me as we listened to Christmas music on the stereo, with no other distractions to lure him away. 

But I finally agreed, since Shannon and Kat will be here at Christmas and I know they will want to watch “A Christmas Story” for 24 hours straight. So I asked Joel to show me what the problem was (the blue screen of death) to better describe it to the repair person. 

I called the next day and spoke to a very nice man named Travis. He asked me some questions, and all of a sudden, I worried that he’d ask me a question that I couldn’t answer. “How many cable boxes do you have?” I don’t know. “Do you have a booster?” I don’t know. “Is the same thing happening on all your sets?” I don’t know! 

I confessed my ignorance and admitted that I had been enjoying the peace and quiet around the house and having my helpful husband share holiday decorating chores. He laughed out loud, and told me it was the same way at his house, which made me feel better. Because he couldn’t get a signal, Travis said that he’d send somebody out two days hence between 11 and 2. 

Martin arrived about 1:45. He took stock of the situation and discovered that the splitter (huh? what’s that?) in our bedroom was unplugged. That’s all it was. He showed me the green light, and said if it’s out, then to check the plug. And off he went, probably thinking I was the dumbest lady he’d ever met. 

So once again, the evenings are filled with car crashes, explosions, shouting and mayhem. I’ll retreat to my lair and read my book or do some writing. Or maybe get on Facebook? No wait, I hereby resolve to not waste precious time being idiotic in 2010! 

Speaking of 2010… have a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year! Pewperson will return January 8.

Up, Up and Away!
December 10, 2009

Over hill, over dale, as we hit the dusty trail…

-The US Army Anthem

Instead of watching TV on Thanksgiving morning, Joel and I went for a long bike ride on the Terry Hershey hike/bike trail along Buffalo Bayou, out between Beltway 8 and Addicks Dam. It was a great morning to ride, sunny and cool, and riding on this particular trail, away from the street traffic made me feel like I was out in the country. I could see houses across the green spaces, but the trail itself follows close by the bayou, and goes up and down, in and out as the topography demands. 

UP is the operative word here. I’m a definite flatlander, and seldom use more than two gears on my bike. If I can anticipate a rise, I can get myself going really fast in hopes that the momentum will carry me up to the top. Otherwise… it’s crank down to the first gear, stand on those pedals and PUSH PUSH PUSH. At the crest, I’m barely inching along; my legs are aching, and my heart is pounding. 

This experience reminded me of a story that Shannon wrote years ago about my mother’s enormous 80’s vintage Oldsmobile station wagon. We used to take Baba’s car to go on our annual road trips with my sister and nieces (Shannon’s cousins), because none of our own vehicles could comfortably fit two adults, three wiggly girls and all our “stuff”. 

Shannon wrote: 

It (the Olds) guzzled gas like there was no tomorrow, and puttered and plodded along at its own comfortable pace, no matter what it was asked to do. This was never more obvious to us than when, after dropping our effects off at my Great Aunt Mary’s house (in Utopia, TX), we set out in the newly dubbed ‘Bismarck’ to the Love Creek Apple Store in Medina. 

Our route took us through extensive hills and valleys with gorgeous views practically everywhere, but our tank decided that it didn’t like hiking, and refused to climb those hills. 

So my mom, being the ever-cautious driver, floored the oafish grey buffalo to 80 mph and kept the pedal pressed to the floor all the way up the hill, which resulted in a top speed of about 25 mph after climbing for less than 10 seconds. No matter how much we coaxed it, it refused to more than 30 mph on any form of hill. More uproarious laughter… 

Poor old car. Poor old me! 

My prospective son in law is a competitive cyclist (mountain biking, road racing and something called ‘cyclocross’), and he rides and trains in Colorado. Here, I can barely make it up a small hill, so I have a huge appreciation for how difficult it must be to go uphill in his neck of the woods! While I know his bike is way more capable than mine is, still… it’s all in the legwork! 

You know what? I think I’ll take a lesson from a certain old grey Oldsmobile station wagon and stick to the flatlands, puttering and plodding along at my own comfortable pace.. in either 4th or 5th gear. Just ring your little bell as you whiz by me!

Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful
December 4, 2009

But the fire is so delightful…   “Let it Snow”

Snowfall in the South can cause ordinarily serious and sober people to go a little crazy with “snow fever”. Today (Friday, Dec. 4) is one of those days down here in Houston! The forecast is for precipitation all day, with temperatures dropping down into the 20’s overnight. As of late morning, flakes are fluttering intermittently in my neighborhood; of course, none are sticking yet, but the dogs’ coats show a sprinkling when they come in from outdoors. 

Facebook friends are all atwitter with reports from all over town, some neighborhoods are getting quite a bit, and others are still waiting. (Houston has over 600 square miles, so temperatures can range all over the place at any given moment) 

The local public radio station (KUHF 88.7) is playing “snow” music, and the morning host is almost giddy about the weather forecast. All in all, it’s an exciting day! 

Oooh! Big fluffy flakes are now falling! Faster and faster they fly. I am grateful to be warm and safe at home, now that all my errands are complete. 

While Houston has had snowflakes fall every so often, it’s been since January 1973, when we last recorded a “major” snowfall, with inches of it on the ground. I was a senior at Lamar HS then, and we were delighted to have some snow days off (for two reasons: one is that we all  piled outside and played like children, but two is that it postponed our scheduled mid-term exams). 

that's me with my dog, Shag

My old fuzzy photos give you an idea of just how much snow there actually was back then. If we get an accumulation out of this current “storm” , it will definitely be a memorable day, with a great many cases of “snow fever”. 

friends Max Shilstone and Bill Doubleday with their masterpiece

“Snow fever” is how my sister, Tetot, met her husband to be. She and her South Carolinian roommate, Melinda, were studying at the Sorbonne during their junior year in college. They had gone to a bar to drink beer, when it began to snow.  The two southern girls ran outside to “play” in the snow, throwing snowballs and such at each other, and they attracted the attention of several young Parisian men, who joined in the frolic. 

She met Robert that night, and the rest is history! Thirty-seven years later, I’ll bet even they are enjoying the sight of flakes in the Houston sky. I wonder if anyone else out there will fall to the same happy fate today after catching the fever! 

The forecast tomorrow calls for temperatures in the 50’s (normal for this time of year), so what does accumulate will likely disappear. But it has been fun while it’s lasted, and I am anticipating a remarkable day!