Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Because you're still asking that question

Special thanks to Rochelle Melander for finding this YouTube wonder that nails, and I mean, NAILS, cultural coo-coo about gender (in)equality.  Joss Whedon, director of "The Avengers," was asked the same question about women over and over again.  His answer?  Perfect. 

Check it out here:  Same Dumb Question About Women

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Thanks, Crunchy Betty!

This, to the left, is me taking a break from writing and cleaning my windows. Just kidding. I do take breaks from writing and I do sometimes clean my windows, but this isn't me or anyone I know. I do, however, like the blue sky and clouds reflected in those perfectly clean streak-free windows.
True confessions:  one of my pet peeves is looking at streaky glass – windows, mirrors, glass tabletops. Basically anything that has come within spitting distance of a Windex bottle (sorry, Windex). I hate Windex. But, I've been using Windex nigh these many years because I haven't found anything better to streak my windows, mirrors and tabletops with. You'd think a glass cleaner would, ah, clean glass, but I've, apparently, never figured out how to properly use commercial glass cleaner so that the glass products I am trying to clean actually get clean.  Maybe it’s just me.  Windex, forgive my outburst.  You’re probably fine in more capable hands.
Anyway, since I sometimes peer off into the distance during my writing time to refocus my eyes and get my head clear (ah, that window metaphor again!), I don’t want to be distracted by streaks.  I want nothing between me and the great beyond.  I want to look out and see the edges of the world.
And that requires a better glass cleaner.
So, I hunted and hunted around until I found some homemade glass cleaner recipes and tried one this weekend.  (Don’t worry, I did other fun things this weekend besides trying homemade glass cleaner recipes, I promise!)  I know you’re on pins and needles, wondering if my search was fruitful.  In a word – YES.
Thanks to blogger Crunchy Betty, whose "Alvin Corn" recipe is printed on her blog (and here), I have clean table tops, light fixtures, mirrors and windows.  Okay, once I realized how great this stuff worked, I went a little crazy, but I did not get all geared up and start cleaning skyscrapers.  Promise.  
But, I am so happy that I had to share the wealth with you!  Get our your pencils . . .
Alvin Corn Homemade Glass Cleaner
1/4 cup rubbing alcohol
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 cups warm water
Put it all into a spray bottle and shake it well.  Shake it periodically as you use it because the cornstarch will settle to the bottom.  Enjoy sparkly clean glass.  Write the great American novel. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Apple Time

What time of year is it?  It's apple time!  Rumor has it that one of these a day kept the  . . . oh, you know.  And a famous visitor to Oz once tried to pick one from a talking tree . . . but, you know that, too.  Here's something new:  my latest apple delight!  I poach peeled and halved apples in cinnamon-sprinkled red wine for 15-20 minutes, then spoon the warm lovelies into bowls, cover them with dollops of whipped cream, and . . . well you know this, too -- yum. 
What's your favorite indulgence? Pie, crisp, crumble, tarts, cake, muffins, or just eating a delightfully crisp Honey Crisp out of hand?  

Monday, October 7, 2013

Cuckoo. Really. Sprint.

Maybe some of you remember my blog about dealing with bureaucratic craziness. I wrote about my three-year battle about a 72 cent credit I had with Sprint (which has become my four-year battle about a 72 cent credit with Sprint). Stay tuned for . . . ah, more. Read on to Post #3!

Here are my old posts, to refresh your memory:

Post #1:  Yes, frustration. That's what you get when you deal with bureaucratic craziness. Here's my latest example: I used to have a cell phone contract with Sprint. Yes, I'm naming the carrier. Probably not a good idea. Definitely poor taste. But, whatever. Anyway, I used to have a cell phone contract with Sprint, as I said. That was three years ago. I didn't mind Sprint. I was reasonably happy with Sprint. But, we found a better plan and changed to it. It was with a different company. A company that is not Sprint. Another decent company not much better and not altogether worse. Whatever. However, lately, I have begun to hate Sprint. Detest Sprint. Have horrible dreams about Sprint. Why? Sprint is a prime example of bureaucratic craziness.
It seems I overpaid the last payment of my last Sprint bill by 72 cents. Yes, that's right, 72 cents. So, Sprint dutifully sent me a statement informing me that I had a credit of 72 cents. I called them and told them that I am no longer a customer and therefore, would never be in need of my 72 cent credit. Could they send me a check for 72 cents? No, Ma'am, they couldn't. They can't cut checks for less than a dollar. Well, then, I said, just keep the 72 cents. No, Ma'am, they couldn't do that either. Accounting controls. Well, what should we do? Did they want me to send them 28 cents so they could cut me a $1 check? No, since I was no longer a customer, there was no way to pay into my account. 


So, what happened? For the last three years, I have received a monthly statement from Sprint telling me that I have a 72 cent credit with them. I've called them several more times and had repeats of the above conversation with different representatives.


So, if Sprint goes bankrupt because they have had to send me a hundreds of statements in the mail, each with 42 cents worth of postage, and have had to buy the paper to print those statements and have had to hire the people to process those statements and to keep track of my account that is closed . . . well, don't blame me. I tried.

Post #2:  August, 2013 – Thrilling update: In Milwaukee, I moved from a suburban condo to a downtown condo. I dutifully filled out change-of-address forms for my contacts because, as the post office warned, mail is only forwarded for six months. No exceptions. An evil grin broke out on my face as this awareness settled into my marrow. I could move and not let Sprint know about it. I could move and, eventually, the mail forwarding would stop, and I’d be . . . FREE from Sprint!

I carried out my plan, merrily tossing the Sprint statements that were forwarded. It wouldn’t be long, I knew, before those statements wouldn’t know where to find me. 

After six months of getting statements –nothing. No Sprint statements! Could it be true? I had champagne. I had caviar. I booked an around-the-world cruise. (Just kidding about that last one.)

Then, the nightmare ensued. They found me. I don’t know how, but they did. Today, when I got my mail, there it was, like a gremlin – the danged Sprint statement, addressed to me at my NEW address.


I considered banging my head in frustration on the mailbox, but thought better of it. (Violence never changes anything.) Perhaps, I could contact my Sprint people one more time and plead my case . . . again.

After being transferred from person to person for fifteen minutes because I hadn’t been a customer for four years (ah, yeah), I finally landed with a sane Sprint customer service representative. When she heard my story she burst out laughing. 

“Please,” I pleaded. “Can we fix this?”

She hesitated and I braced myself for the usual replies, but then she said. “Of course. This is crazy. You’ve received 51 statements about your 72 cent credit.” She didn’t know how the statements made it to my new address but told me I could expect a check for 72 cents within three days.

The clouds broke up and the sun shone brighter. Birds sang (or were those angels?) and I felt a thousand-pound weight lift off of my shoulders. Sprint would no longer be sending me 72 cent credit statements. Never ever again.

I hung up the phone and dabbed away the tears as I realized I had finally succeeded in breaking up with my phone carrier.

About time. 

Do you think I'll get multiple 72-cent checks?

Post #3:  October, 2013

I GOT ANOTHER DANGED STATEMENT WITH . . . no, not a 72-cent credit.  How could you be so silly.  Why on earth would they send me a 72-cent credit after they realized how nutty they have been for the last almost four years?  No, I did not receive a 72-cent credit.  Yes, breathe deeply.  That part got fixed. 

Now, listen up.

I received a 79-cent credit!  I am not kidding.  I am actually earning money here.

Seriously, what can I do?  Does anyone have Sprint stock?  If so, I’m so sorry to be ruining your retirement savings account.  Does anyone know a smart, sane Sprint employee?  If so, please let him or her know that they need to quit working for such a cuckoo place.  But, first, before they quit, please please please have them wipe me out of the Sprint system . . . before I lose my mind.

Cray Cray

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Spot of Tea

In our fast-paced world, we often need small rituals to help us slow down and savor the moment.  My husband and I like to start each day with a leisurely cup of tea.  If the rest of the day whizzes by, at least there will be peace each morning, if only for ten minutes.  My favorite tea is an Irish brand –  Lyon’s original blend, which my mom and I discovered during our trip to Ireland.  According to official tea-gurus, there is a definite method to tea heaven.  Follow these steps, and you, too, can make yourself the perfect cup of tea.

1. Boil the water quickly and keep it boiling for five minutes to make it softer.

2. Use a little of the boiling water to warm the pot.

3. Put your teabags or loose tea into the pot, then add the boiling water. Use two four-gram teabags to a liter of water, or one teaspoon of loose tea per cup.

4. Leave the tea to brew, but not for too long; after about five minutes, the tea can get bitter.

5. Remove the teabags and give the tea a stir to ensure a consistent taste (otherwise it will be stronger at the bottom of the pot).

6.  Pour into cups or mugs and add milk, honey or sugar, as desired.
What's your favorite tea?