Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Guidance from the Fridge

I bought a new refrigerator, which was delivered today. When I pulled the old fridge from the wall, bracing for what wonders were behind/beneath it, I found the list called “Golden Rules for Living.”

Ann Landers created the list. I cut it out and attached it to the refrigerator some time in the ’90s, hoping it would help to guide my then-teenaged son in the good citizenship arena.

Not sure if he ever even read it, but perhaps you will. I still like the advice.

Golden Rules for Living

  1. If you open it, close it.
  2. If you turn it on, turn it off.
  3. If you unlock it, lock it up.
  4. If you break it, admit it.
  5. If you can’t fix it, call in someone who can.
  6. If you borrow it, return it.
  7. If you value it, take care of it.
  8. If you make a mess, clean it up.
  9. If you move it, put it back.
  10. If it belongs to someone else, get permission to use it.
  11. If you don’t know how to operate it, leave it alone.
  12. If it’s none of your business, don’t ask questions

Since the new refrigerator is stainless steel, all the photos, quips, cartoons, reminders and guidance that were magneted to the old fridge will need a new home. Stay tuned.


Subscription Hell

Just finished reading The Economist’s series of articles about the decline of journalism and various revenue models. It got me thinking – first about online news and then about cable TV, with some thoughts about our subscription fee culture. See Bulletins from the future.

The pay wall approach seems to be the revenue model of choice for online news, although it’s certainly not the ultimate solution. Various models have appeared – annual or monthly fee, free if you also subscribe to the hard copy edition. And each paper is independently pricing its offerings.

I have subscribed to none of them that require payment. Call me frugal and irritated.

And it’s not just online news – it’s also cable TV and subscription fees for GPS devices, data access fees for smart phones, subscription fees for everything from home security to social networking.

One of the things that rankles me about cable TV is that you have to buy a prepackaged selection of 200 channels rather than the 7 channels you always watch. So I get programs about catching Alaskan crabs, building motorcycles, crafting weapons, tattoo parlors, in addition to the travel channels, food/cooking channels, and cable news that I want to watch.

I’ve heard the argument that it just wouldn’t pay to allow subscribers to select only the channels they want to watch or that the subscription would be exorbitant. Can we tailor this model, however, for access to online news?

I propose a monthly fee that would cover the cost of subscribing to a given number of online media selected by the reader/consumer. I’d choose the NYT, Boston Globe, The Economist to start. Currently I get home delivery of the Globe and have access to the online version; I do not subscribe to the NYT and my access is, thus, limited to 20 articles/month. The Economist charges over $100 for online access.

My online readers’ fees would be consolidated in one bucket with one password, one credit card charge. The various media providers could reduce their individual fees by being relieved of some overhead of managing those subscriptions. If I added/removed online options, the fee would be adjusted, but always at a reduced amount than if I subscribed to each individually.

I’ve wanted a similar service offering like this for credit cards – wouldn’t it be wonderful to consolidate all your credit card accounts on a single card, to which you could add or remove accounts? One plastic card to carry instead of the loaf of cards in many wallets. The credit card companies don’t like this idea because they would lose their branding identity.

So this is my current screed. Am I wandering around in left field with this posting? Am I such a Luddite that I’m unaware of existing services that do exactly what I propose? Feedback is appreciated.

Still here – really

Everyone blogger is self-critical about not posting frequently enough. Me too.

A number of topics are off-limits for my public discussion – purely my own decision. They include recent medical adventures, discussion of my age and the implications thereof, and religion. What’s left?

Well, I could talk about recent political upheavals, both domestic and foreign. Ah, you could read much more informed writing on any news site.

How about movies? I just watched Chinatown, which I’d never seen. Returned it to Netflix four months after I received it. I haven’t seen a single Oscar winner (nor the nominees).

Books? In the past 6 months, I don’t think I’ve read a single selected book for my book group. Wait, I take that back. I read last month’s selection – the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society – but I read it over a year ago.

Gossip? Now there’s a fun topic! Unfortunately, I’ve been laying low for a while and not getting out there to collect the tea leaves.

Travel? I was in Olivebridge, NY [look it up] for last Thanksgiving.

See what I mean?

I welcome suggestions, gentle prodding, and commentary to motivate me. I’ll try to be more on top of my blogging – how’s that for a New Year’s resolution made in March?


So the local nursery delivered three yards of black mulch to my driveway (it’s so easy to shop over the phone!). I arrived home about an hour before torrential rains were to begin. Borrowed a tarp from my Good Neighbor Jeff to protect the mulch from being washed away.
Now, instead of whining about the weeds, I have to go after them and mulch as I go to keep them at bay. If you’re looking for me during the next few weekends, check the garden. I’ll probably be there.


Hounded mercilessly by my friend Cliff, I take pen in hand and cobble together a New Year’s post.
I’ve come to the conclusion that blogging is something that appeals more to men than to women. I liken men’s propensity/comfort with blogging to their fascination with internal combustion engines, power tools – in general, size/power/visibility – in so many arenas. You guys just like to strut your stuff, and the blogosphere seems particularly appealing. I don’t mean to start a war, and I could be completely off-base… it’s just a thought.
It’s not that I lack opinions, but I just don’t feel the particular need to broadcast them on the internet as frequently as some are so inclined (or seem to believe that I should be so inclined). Perhaps it’s my dislike of confrontation (despite my mouthy personality) – debate and argument don’t call to me.
What does call to me is the desire for a better world, a better year. Look! we have a new clay tablet on which to write our story. Once again, we’re given the opportunity to start anew, to invent a better self, to get up (and stay) on the high road, make our own lives more meaningful and perhaps comfort or enhance the lives of others.
We each possess a great potential. Although it can be viewed as a burden, it’s also an opportunity. I hope we all enjoy a healthy, happy 2010, and achieve some of that potential.
Happy New Year.

Wish I’d known…

This leg brace is an impressive product that would have shortened my 10 months on crutches. Maybe next time (just kidding).

Check out the YouTube video.

The back of a napkin

Check out this clear, coherent, and entertaining explanation of the current hoohah around the health insurance debate:  You may disagree with its position, but it’s clear-eyed and the graphics are spot-on. I love its distillation of a really mucky current event.

On the Upswing

I got good news from the doctors this week. My tibia is finally healing, 8+ months after I fell on the ice, breaking both tibia and fibula. I’ve graduated from a cast to a boot, and can put weight on the leg. Although I still have the crutches, I rely on them much less these days. And, I’ve set up physical therapy appointments. I’ll be walking right around the time that the snow and ice return. (Uh-oh.)

I returned to work full-time several weeks ago and that’s been good, but I’m eager to see more blips on my radar screen – other than orthopedic details and chores.

Mid-summer Notes

Well, my friend Cliff has persistently and incessantly nagged me about my lack of postings. Boy, is he a squeaky wheel. I guess I should be nice to him – he’s brought me several lunches, as well as the company of his lovely wife Martha and our mutual friend Bob (the quintessential Yankee curmudgeon).

My leg continues to dictate the agenda of my life and the scope of my horizon. I’m apparently conquering my anemia (who knew? I’ve never been anemic before), and I’m feeling more energetic.  I’d attributed my fatigue to depression, boredom, thyroid problems… none of which seems to be a factor.

The leg saga will continue for several more months, so I’m trying to pace myself in terms of patience, forbearance, wit. Even my primary care doctor of 25 years has been impressed with the longevity of this recuperation. Dubious achievement, indeed.

The huge sunshine factor in 2009 is the arrival of my grandson Tommy. Although I was looking forward to being a grandmother, I had no idea how much I would relish this new role. Life continues to deliver surprises.

I hear music

This is a cautionary tale of a life experience coming to a household near you at some time in the future.

The background: I seldom set an alarm – usually get up around 6:30 – but I had a 7 a.m. meeting last Wednesday, so I set my clock radio for 5 a.m. All was well – I arrived at work in time for the meeting.

Fast forward to Thursday night: I stayed up way too late, but was getting settled for the night and realized that I heard music – not terribly loud, not offensive, but it was after 11 p.m. I peered out my window, saw a car parked in front of my neighbor’s house. Considered that it might be one of the teenagers who live across the street. I closed my window. Still heard the music but thought it might be coming through the other bedroom window – I wasn’t going to hobble over to that window to close it. Tried to go to sleep but couldn’t.

So I did what any citizen would do – I called the local police and told them that someone was playing music – perhaps the car parked in front of my neighbor’s house. They graciously said they would send a patrol car to investigate. I finally went to sleep.

Fast forward to Friday night: I toddled up to bed, got all comfy, was reading my book, when I realized that – again – I heard music.

I finally put all the pieces together and turned off the clock radio.

As I said, a cautionary tale…