Friday, December 31, 2010

This was the year that was …

I’m looking forward to 2011. I'll have to think of a good word to live by for the new year.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Wordless Windy Wednesday

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Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from the island

This is the island Christmas tree in the park. I think it is very nice. Volunteers put it up every year.

Yesterday, when I looked out from my upstairs balcony I saw two strange things on my vacant lot next door.
I ran down to the lot and found two long 2 x 8 boards. They look like pretty nice boards. They are not warped or damaged. One looks about 15 feet long, and the other looks like a 20-footer. Are they early Christmas presents? I have some repair work on the house that has to be done soon. Perhaps the boards can be used.
I asked my neighbors if they had seen anyone delivering them. No one had.

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I like to eat

As strange as it seems, I’ve found that I actually enjoy cooking. I had not touched a stove for more than 30 years, and now I’m having fun thinking up recipes. This evening I had a pretty darn good chicken dinner.

This one is fairly easy to put together. The ingredients are simple.

3 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/3 onion chopped up
3 stalks of celery chopped up
1 tomato cut into small pieces
Olive oil
McCormick “Perfect Pinch” original all purpose seasoning (salt-free)
Fresh ground pepper
Seasoned salt
Sour cream

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a casserole.

Sauté the onion and celery pieces in olive oil in a fry pan until the onions are limp. Sprinkle them with the all-purpose seasoning and ground pepper. Put enough on so you can see the flecks.

Add the tomato pieces and heat them for just a few minutes. Set the vegetables aside in a bowl. Put the chicken pieces in the pan juice (add more olive oil if necessary) and cook them on both sides. They don’t need to brown. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with the seasoned salt.

Put a few of the vegetables in the bottom of the buttered casserole. Put the chicken thighs in the casserole and fill in around the sides with the vegetables. Put a lid on the casserole and bake it for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream. Fresh homemade bread is good for soaking up the juices.
If you save some of this, stir some sour cream into the juices and refrigerate covered. You can heat up the leftovers in the casserole in a microwave the next day for lunch.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fall, finally

The leaves just turned this week and are now falling around here.

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

I'd like to be . . .

My neighbor gave me a Christmas card with a Currier and Ives print on the cover. She wrote inside, “The house in this picture looks like the one where my mom grew up in Illinois in the horse and buggy days.”
The card made me think about where I grew up. There were snow days in Slingerlands, New York but no horses and buggies when I was a child there.

My family moved to Orinda, California and I lived in this house until I got married.

Robert and I bought our first house, a Victorian, in Santa Rosa and restored it. We raised our kids there.
We built our house on the Island in 1983 and I’ve been here ever since.

Looking over the photos, I really can say I love being exactly where I am today.

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Thursday, December 09, 2010

In the neighborhood

Ron and Nancy’s cottage on our cross-street always has banners flying to mark seasons (and sometimes just for fun). They put their Santa banners up recently.

This large mysterious package is securely tied to a big pine tree in Judith’s yard. I wonder what in the world it is. I hope I am watching when she opens it.

The barrel collecting toys for island-area children is filling up at the Post Office.

I’m in for a treat this afternoon. I picked up Monica Ferris’s newest needlework mystery at the post office this morning. I’ll pour myself a cup of hot chocolate and snuggle up with Buttons & Bones for a while. I buy most of my books for reading on the Kindle, but some books I just must have in hardcover when they first come out. I have quite a stack of Ferris’s books and often re-read them. If you are interested in the series, start with the first one – Crewel World. Her detective, Betsy, is a mature woman and I enjoy her adventures and can relate to her. I don’t do needlework (except knitting) and it is not necessary for the enjoyment of these cozy mysteries. Needleworkers are fiber fondlers, just as quilters are.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Important December tasks

The two most important tasks every December are putting up the Christmas tree and paying the property tax 1st installments. Well, the tree is up and the property taxes are paid.

Last year, I put up my pattern for making this little Log Cabin Christmas Tree. You can go to the pattern by clicking here. It’s not too late to make your own.

Happy December!

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Saturday, December 04, 2010

I got the green light(s)

My modem is glowing with seasonally appropriate green lights, and I’m back on the internet. Yesterday afternoon my favorite AT&T tech guy, Francis, arrived at my house and connected all the dots (wires and plugs). I have DSL again.

You don’t have to read this next part. It is tedious and just for a public record.

I was on the telephone talking to AT&T people starting at 8:15 a.m. Teresa asked me “Is you modem hooked up to your phone line?” She said she would transfer me to a DSL tech.

I waited on hold until a mechanical voice told me to give “the three digit transfer code followed by the pound sign.” I didn’t have any three digit transfer code. After a pause the mechanical voice said, “Good bye” and disconnected.

I called again and was told by Amani that the installation status was complete. She said she would transfer me to the tech support desk. The person there kept calling me Catherine and I kept saying my name was Christine. The tech support lady looked up my account and asked for the secret code number. I gave it to her. She told me “the order did not complete at this location.” She asked if I had filters on all my telephone jacks. (I do.) She told me, “You are required to troubleshoot your own equipment.” I said I didn’t know how to do that. She said she would transfer me to “Support Plus.”

Sherry, a remote tech at Support Plus, told me there was a charge for their service unless I had previously signed up for a $6 per month insurance policy. I had not signed up. Sherry said there was in-home service at a cost of $179. I did get a bit heated in my response to her. She said, “I appreciate your frustration. I understand.” She advised me to call the “Retention Department” at 1-866-240-7221 and perhaps they could help. I called and got the same mechanical customer support voice asking if I was calling from my home number. The wait time for an agent was to be five minutes.

I tried calling again at 9:15. The customer service person, Anita, said I had to agree to talk about other products they had available during our conversation. I agreed. After I had given my telephone number Anita addressed me as Catherine. I corrected my name, gave the secret code, and explained my basic problem about having no DSL hookup since November 22. Anita said, “There’s nothing I can do, I am just customer support.” She said she would try to talk to tech support and put me on hold. She said if we get disconnected, “call 888-722-9337 and give the 396 plus pound as your transfer code.”

A very nice man named Fernando from Broadband Customer Repair came on the line. “I’ll run some tests on your line,” he said. He then began instructing me about what to do. He had me disconnect a yellow cord and put a black cord into the back of the modem. He had me disconnect the power from my router. He had me disconnect my old modem. Yellow cords, black cords, green cords. I was down on the floor on my knees for about three-quarters of an hour with Fernando giving me each new step. He had me try to go online to a special AT&T website. It didn’t work. At last he said he would have to transfer me to a technician to get in touch with the original tech that installed the new, stand-alone jack. I heard a woman say, “Get a ticket.” Then at 10:51 they hung up.

I called the number I had for Francis, the original tech guy. I left a message.

In the meantime, I called the 888 number. I reached a fellow named Don. When I gave him my telephone number he said he would have to transfer my call to California because he was in the mid-west. Slarron came on the line and asked me questions about my TV and cell phone services. I told her I did not have TV service because I received it free over the air with rabbit ears. I said I had a pre-paid GoPhone. She said the tech department would have to make an appointment to send someone to my house.

Francis called at 11:40. He said he had to get a ticket number and he would call back. He did, he came here in the afternoon and all is well.

Here is my welcome letter from AT&T which arrived on Wednesday. Perhaps this is why everyone kept calling me Catherine.

Now, where was I? I think Christmas is coming and I have some quilting to do.

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Thursday, December 02, 2010

Still off-line

I still do not have my DSL line from AT&T.

See my posts starting November 18, 2010.

I am getting a bit mad.

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