Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nanny Mail 2/9/10

For several days we have been chasing a persisent electronic beep, without success. I thought it sounded like something needed charging or needed to be rescued from over-charing. First I plugged in everything, Kindle, mini-com, laptop, etc. Couldn't stop the beep. Then I unplugged everything. Didn't stop the beep. It seemed to be in the dining room--and then the kitchen, but could be heard in the living room and bedroom.

We decided it must be the Christmas card with songs in them. Moved them all around. No result. Decided maybe the florescent bulbs were complaining that they were about to give out. Changed bulbs. Still the persistent beep. This has been going on for days.

This morning I decided that it sounded like a smoke alarm warning that the battery was dead or dying. When we first lived in Peshawar, we came home one day to find an agitated cook (the boys' father). He, Lal, said there was a sprit in the house, a jinn. We finally figured out that he meant spirit. He said that when he went through a certain door, there was a cheep. When he came back there was another cheep and he imitated it for us. We were happy to point out that it was a smoke alarm over our bedroom door which needed a new battery.

We haven't had a smoke alarm since but there must be one somewhere. Perhaps we had brought one in from the RV when we stripped it to sell. But where was it. I eventually spotted it on the open shelves in the kitchen with a matching container sitting on it. We removed the battery. End of cheep.

We kinda miss it! Now if the turned-off cell phone would beep so we can figure out where it is . . . . .

Melina, how is Mindy doing?.

Nanny Mail 1/30/10

The storm promised for Wednesday did not get here until Thursday. Today, everything is canceled. There were some strange winds as we actually have a snow drift on the front porch. Lots of hungry birds.

We went to the grocery store Wednesday evening and it was soooo crowded we thought we would never get checked out. Even our handicapped sticker did not guarantee a parking space.

Bill has been checking out the RV in advance of conference. The water heater seemed to be leaking so he pulled the plug to drain it ...and..... damaged the plug. It doesn't leak any more. Doesn't hold water either. Thank goodness we have time to get it fixed.

I think this will be our last trip with that trailer. The bathroom is too small to dress in so all the intimate details have to be taken care of outside. When we took it to Racine last summer, Haeli and I slept there but Bill came home every night.

But hey, the internet works. The telephone works. And nothing is frozen----inside.

Nanny Mail 1/9/10 -2

We didn't think we would ever see 2 degrees below zero. The cats don't spend much time outside. Rex still like to go out and sit in the snow watching the birds but he doesn't stay long.

We are doing fine and the hot water pipe to the washing machine hasn't frozen again. We turned up the thermostat to get a little more heat in the back of the house and that seemed to do the trick. Read in the paper of a man who bored a hole; at first we thought it was in the floor but a more careful reading explained that he went into the crawl space and bored a hole in a heating duct. That worked.

Kendall, we went to a funeral yesterday for a Kelley Crownover. There are Crownovers in a lot of places so I never wondered if they were all related but in the obit they mentioned that he was born in Calumet, Okla. which rang a bell. Sure enough he is an uncle to Ruby (whose sister married our uncle) and Matt's children in Richland.

Went to the doctor about a week ago because I couldn't renew my Fosomax prescription without gooing in to see the doctor. I mentioned that I had acid reflux and he said it had been discovered that this is often caused by a strange bacteria in the stomach. So now I have capsules, eight for every day for two weeks. I grumbled about going from one bone strengthening pill once a week to eight capsules every day, 4 am and 4 pm. He said that just made up for all the years I hadn't taken anything so it was just one or two a year. Alison, I will let you know how this turns out. One of the capsules is Prevacid, two are Amoxicillin, and the other is something called Biaxin. What in the world is that?

Brian we have stretched the peanut brittle about as far as it will go and really enjoyed it. Good stuff..

We haven't had church since Dec. 20 when Alison and the twins were here, but we have made it to the library and Walmart when necessary.

We hope to thaw out soon.

Nanny Mail 12/29/09

I haven't written Christmas letters in a while since I instituted the No Christmas Cards rule but I have enjoyed so many of the leters that I have received that I thought I would relent.

I wrote one last week on Christmas Day when we were all snowed in but I guess my program didn't like some of the addresses because it clogged up and the letter didn't go. So this is a second try.

We did get out today for an appointment with the Dr. Just wanted to refill a Fosomax prescription and he has this idea that he should see me at least every two years. And went to Walmart to pick up some essentials like cat litter.
The main roads are open but the parking lots are pretty much a mess.

And we have heard a train or two but the traffic is very sparse.


And we still have pecan pie!

Nanny Mail 12/25/09

I didn't prepare a Christmas letter -- in respect to my "no Christmas Card rule" but I enjoyed getting Christmas letters and want to acknowledge that.

We had children and grandchildren here earlier in the week and expect some back for the weekend but right now the snow outside is trackless, except for a few made by the visiting dog, Pebbles. Probably no newspaper and the birds are not lobbying for birdseed.

And there is a strange pair of black shoes under the coffeetable!

Things are really quiet, no trains, no traffic on Hwy 60.


Nanny Mail 12/18/09 Stones into Schools

This little passage from page 338 should pique your curiosity. In order to keep a promise made nine years before to a group of grizzled, and greasy, Kirghiz horsemen ---

From the place where the Wakhan road ends in Sarhad, the journey to Bozar Gumbas involved a three-day trek along a narrow trail that clings to the cliffs and whose surface is covered in treacherously shifting talus. Along its forty-mile length, this trail ascends and descends a total of 20,000 feet, nearly twice the vertical relief between Everest base camp and its summit. What's more, these ups and down all take place at altitudes of between ten thousand and fourteen thousand feet, where the oxygen levels make it impossible for convention pack animals such as donkeys and mules to carry substantial loads. Finally, there were three major river crossings.

To haul all the supplies in from Sarhat would have required at least a hundred yaks or Bactrian camels. far more that the number of animals that were available for hire. For similar reasons , a very large yak train leading out the Charpurson Valley over the Irshad Pass Pakistan) was equally unworkable. On the other hand perhaps a supply convoy could have been assembled in western China and punched into the eastern end of the Wakhan where the terrain was not nearly as rough. But the Chinese-Afghan border had been sealed for more than sixty years--and thanks to the current political unrest among Zinjiang Province's restive Muslim population, the likelihood of Chinese border officials granting a special laissez passer was less than zero.

As Sarfraz stood beside the mound of freshly chiseled stones scratching hie head, he found himself pondering a question that seemed to encapsulate the absurdity of our work. How do you build a school on the Roof of the World when transporting the construction materials from any direction is virtually impossible?

Even by the standards of his own audacity and innovation, the plan that he came up with was manigicently nuts.

And I can't wait to read further and find out what it is!

Nanny Mail 11/28/09

The Fryes and Pebbles got here on Wednesday night. We had dinner on Thursday without forgetting the cranberry sauce. Alex and Gary took turns setting up my new netbook. It is very particular. It had to have a name and a password before it would show the desktop.

Josh trimmed all the boxwood--with hand clippers, eschewing anything motorized.

John and Melina came by Friday evening. Since Henry/Speedy's recent passing we discussed funerals for a while. I passed on the information that we had no plans because we were't going to be there and the family could do what they wanted. John said they would be sure to put up a screen and sing some cheezy songs----in which case I'M NOT GOING!

The Fryes left on Saturday morning. We had thought some of the Lions' Club would be here on Friday to start decorating the trailer for Fairland's Christmas parade on Saturday. When they didn't show up we assumed the float would be a no show. But a couple showed up about 9:00 Saturday with all the stuff to put on immediately. So we pulled the trailer out and decorated it with beautiful professional garlands and such. It took all morning but the white truck was very festive with red sparkly draping and green stuff. It took a while to rig a pvc pipe on the trailer to mount the star and fill the camel with enough rocks so it wouldn't blow over. We had it done by 12:30, grabbed a sandwich and were in place No. 25 by 1:00.

It was a great parade. I couldn't figure out how a town of 1000 could mount a substantial parade of over 50 entries and still have anybody left to watch. It was arranged by the fire department so they had invited all the fire trucks from the area to participate so we had a lot of airhorn noise to add to thee famous High School band. Right behind us was a 1925 fire truck from Baxter Springs. The Grove Shriners were there and all the churches from round about.

We were a bit tired from working all morning but I had volunteered to walk along and help hand out candy to the children. Bill was driving and all the men who usually did this chore were dressed as kings or shepherds and were riding in the trailer.

So I walked the parade route and then home and collapsed. I instantly had all the symptoms of the HlNl virus. Exhaustion, fever, and a weight on my chest. I took some Advil, Tigger moved, and I found the strength to go to bed.

I have Brian's manuscript printed out but haven't had time to read it. Maybe today will be calmer.

Nanny Mail 11/24/09

Picked up my computer this morning and everything seems to be working fine. If history repeat itself, it will relapse after a week or two and refuse to receive but this time I have a promise I can take it back and get it fixed again--free.

So Brian, I was able to open your attachment and also I have Sumr and Haeli's addresses on my list.

And I will soon embark on my adventures with Netbook. The repairman I took the Toshiba to did not like them and didn't recommend them. The first time I looked at them at the store, the clerk didn't know what they were--until I pointed to one in the display case and the label above which said Netbook. The HP I bought this morning has a mini-cam and a microphone so if someone comes by who knows how to downloard Skype will get to educate me on how to use that.

We are expecting the Frye's tomorrow, Wednesday, and they plan to go back on Saturday afternoon. There may also be some people around on Friday trying to make our trailer into a float for the Fairland Christmas parade on Saturday afternoon. That will be interesting. The last time we had one I think we worked on it for a month.

Nanny Mail 11/18/09

Here is the problem with my email. I have always been able to send, but I do not receive on Outlook Express. I have to go to my server and read what comes in there. I spent an hour with a techie this morning and it is still that way. So I got the messages from Brian, Joyce, and Kendall. No trouble, but not in Outlook Express.. So at present, I go to one www address to receive and to Outlook Express to send.

We had a good time in Richland and have decided that Heidi should be in line for an award as the consummate event planner. On Thursday when everybody was working, her parents picked us up and took us to lunch. Millie, Christie and occasionally Claudia and Caitlin came by, just to visit.

Millie liked Josh's CD so Kendall copied it for her. Remind me to pay Josh for his songs.

Everybody got there in time to go to the first performance of My Fair Lady. There was 11 of us sitting as a group. It was an excellent production with fantastic costumes. Kendall was in the chorus and was also a dancer.

Kelda was helping with a Tilth conference in Yakima and was stalled in the pass for a while but Millie was able to go get her. Corbin, Austin, and Kira had flown to Spokane and rented a car so they got there in time also. Corbin is tall tall tall.

We took Kelda back to Yakima early Saturday morning. I don't know how many meals we had together, either at Heidi's or at a restaurant. Saturday was rather quiet. We went to a museum about the development of nuclear reactors and the accompanying development of Richland as a government town with several versions of cookie-cutter houses. Heidi's house had been completly refurbished by the previous owner and sported a nice front porch/veranda, some arches, a fireplace, and some brick work set it apart from all the others on that street.

We went to church on Sunday morning, early for choir practice. So Kendall is the music director and Don Leonard (remember him from West Texas) was at the piano. I made the delicate tactful (hah!) suggestion that a grand piano is no place for velvet draperies and artificial flowers--or anything approaching that. Don agreed as people were often complaining that the piano wasn't loud enough but he couldn't raise the lid because of the 'gew-gaws' on it. Anybody want to take bets on whether the lid gets raised or not?

Monday was pretty quiet as the BYU trio had gone back on Sunday morning. We had coffee with Heidi's parents and then we all ate leftovers in the evening. Claudia and Caitlin were there and we had a good time watching her play--and talk. She had no problem calling me Nanny but couldn't figure out what to call Bill. She already had a papa in Kendall and didn't think she needed another one. In Pushto grammar she could have said Papa Papa but that didn't catch on. The doubling of a word when one means more or very is evidently an Asian thing.

We got Melina's email about Henry, and also had a nice phone call from Ellen.

I took a coat but it never did get cold. There was snow on the ground in Denver on the way back but we didn't go outside. We walked our usual one mile plus in the airport getting from one gate to another, but we were prepared for it this time.

We tried a new, earier way to get from the parking lot to I-244 when we got to Tulsa. It was dark and the little blue signs saying 244 were difficult to find and hard to read. We asked directions three times. The last time it turned out that the entrance went right by the gas station where we were. Exit and turn right immediately. We managed to do that.

When we got home, Tigger was at the back door ready to come in. Keith said he had camped there all week. Rex didn't turn up until this morning. I guess everything is back to normal.

Nanny Mail 10/17/09

Three Cups of Tea

Has very little to do with tea, exceept that tea is always there. A must read for any interested in the war in Afghanistan, in the state of the world in general. The copy I have was handed to me by Jody Wilson so I have to give it back but I have ordered five more copies.

Joyce, it is as gripping as Middlesex.

For example, imagine stumbling into a place so remote that the only way to reach it is to get into a rickety crate or box suspended on a yak hair rope and pull it across a raging river gorge by hand. (Or by getting lost descending K2) And then there you find about 80 children sitting on the ground intently practicing their multiplication table by writing in the dirt! On a day that the parttime teacher isn't even there?

Jody thought we would enjoy it since we were familiar with the territory. And yes we went up the Karakoam highway as far as we were allowed to go and looked across a valley at the road to Skardu, a narrow groove in a rock face with occasional spots where poles were driven into a crevass, some dirt thrown over the five feet which extended and decided flatlanders in a little Datsun did not need to go there. Okay, so ten years later, in the book, they are driving Bedford trucks loaded with cement and building supplies for a school (after they build a bridege) over it, maybe it was wider than five feet as everything else rings true. The nobility found among the poor, the chicanery found in many of the moneyed class.

No wonder the book is now required reading in many universities and agencies having to do with international development.

There is a second book out which deals with Afghanistan since 2003, but the first one is a must.

Back to Oklahoma. Vern and Jo are here on their way to Arizona. The Neosho river was only marginally out of its bank during the last rains. In advance we noted the lake level was lowered several feet. And it worked. The road around the fairgrounds was closed but no homes were flooded.

We hope the grass won't need mowing anymore for a while.

Nanny Mail 10/9/09

This is a classic example of one of the things that can happen to people when parents call them by their middle name. The federal government is the most insistent about "first name and middle initial". Income tax refunds are apt to be written to Faye M. Miller. One of the school districts, the one which required that I get a birth certificate, always used Faye M. Miller on the salary checks. Which sent the principal through the building asking "Who is this person?"

A Graceland friend that I met at conference after 30 or 40 years, known as Tane Mae Inouye was wearing a badge which said Pat. She said she legally changed her name because her husband was in the military and she got tired of being called Jane. A Fairland girl known as Sue also married a career military man and is now known as Gwen, from Gwendolyn Sue.

My World Conference badges used to always come out as Faye, no matter how I registered. When Wallace B. became president, I was determined to call him President Smith instead of Wally from my French class. But the only time I ever registered to speak, my name came up Faye and he looked all around the section for Faye until I came out with "Wally, it's Madaleen." He looked embarassed and apologized, but shouldn't have. It wasn't his fault.

I sat across the table from Grant MacMurray at a Winter Field School luncheon a few years later and brought up this problem of conference badges. He confessed that it was a problem he understood, being W. Grant MacMurray. So every conference since has used a recognizable name.

Mom explained my name thusly. She and one of my aunts, Esther Faye, had made a pact to name a girl baby after each other. So I have a cousin name Dorothy Jewel, from mother's Oka Jewel. But mom didn't think Madaleen Faye had as smooth a rhythm as Faye Madaleen so . . . . . But I was never called Faye. I don't know if she ever regretted that casual switch but I did. But it wasn't so bad. What if my aunt had been named Jimmie!

Nanny Mail 10/03/09 Follow up on Earl

When I called the NEO contact number, the lady in charge insisted that we come to the luncheon where the awards were being presented. So we went, and just got home.

Lots of nice things said about Earl. He is teaching at Tulsa Central High School (day job) and his present band is called Spectrum. He had his sax with him so I presume he was going to play in the parade that was to follow.

Nanny Mail 9/29/09

From the Joplin Globe

....individuals who will be honored during homecoming activities. TheSchool of Fine Arts has named Earl Clark, an Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame inductee, as the Outstanding Alumnus for 2009.-----------

I wonder if this will make up for the County Clerk refusing to issue a marriage license for him and Sarah. For those who never met them and don't remember the details - As I recall, Sarah's parents committed her to the State Mental facility at Vinita because she refused to stop dating Earl. They dismissed her after a thorough examination as being pregnant but not crazy. Her mother then took her to Miami and turned her out on the street. Enter Mabel who brought her to Fairland where she stayed with Granny until, by the time the baby was about three-months-old and Earl had graduated, they were married in Granny's living room.

The girls and I drove up from Texas so I could play for the wedding. I remember picking up the wedding cake in Joplin. Then Sarah carefully painted the groom on the cake ornament the proper color.

I have noted a few stories about "Big Earl" and his appearances at festivals and other occasions in Tulsa. Don't know where Sarah or Chineah (sp) are.

Outstanding Alumnus for 2009 and Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Famer - not bad.

Nanny Mail 9/8/09

We didn't do much yesterday except snooze. Today we had enough energy to go walk.

Rex didn't show up so we wondered when we had seen him last. I called him but he always marches to his own drum and usually takes about an hour to show up.

Today was Angelica's day to clean so before she called to say she couldn't come we had everything pretty well in hand. I washed the sheets, but lo and behold, one of the striped downstairs pillow slips was missing. Couldn't find it anywhere. Though it might have gotten into the second wash. Not there. I went upstairs to see if if had been tumbled in with one of the upstairs sheets. Didn't seem to be there either.

Then Bill finds Rex. He was out back and kept hearing a lot of complaining. Rex was shut in the trailer. We don't know for how long as it was probably Saturday when we had last been in there. He was one unhappy cat. Maybe he will learn that it is not necessary to go through every door that opens---but I doubt it.

I was still missing a pillow slip. Knew it had to be here. Finally went upstairs and checked the contour sheets one more time. Found it stuck in a corner. So all of you are absolved from running off it! We were pretty sure you didn't have Rex. He might go through a car door but he goes berserk when the engine is started and gets out pretty fast.

Larry, what kind of premises, or structure, would you need for a vintage car museum? We know just the place! and no flies.

Haven't heard from Brian yet about whether they are going to have to move again.

Alison finally got Catie moved back into her own apartment in Galveston, after about a year and a half. She is now in her last year of Med. school and wants to intern in Pathology.

All the Fryes are back in school though Ellen had a bad call when she called last.

Nanny Mail 8/27/09

We haven't reported on anthing very much because there wasn't anything to report.

We are looking forward to next week. Vern and Jo are coming on Wednesday. Jo is getting a perm on Thursday. Larry, Joyce, John andCasey are expectected on Saturday. Then on Monday everybody leaves.

Our chief concern has been --- are you ready? Bermuda grass. In the campaign to get something to grow in the field north of the house, it seems that just keeping the weeds cut has not resulted in any usable hay. So the weeds were sprayed, then disked under, seeded to Bermuda, then packed. Nothing happened. The county agent found a little new growth and suggested fertilizer, continued weed cutting and prayers for rain.

The fertilizer was applied professionally at the rate of 100 lbs. per acre. Then Bill went over it again to cut weeds --- and we got about 4 inches of rain last week. He is going to start weed cutting again. He has been over that field so many times that the tractor should navigate it all by itself!

Bermuda grows prolifically around the house, especially in the flower beds. Why won't it grow in that field?

Nanny Mail 8/23/09

When Rick was here Saturday he put Josh's song on the computer as an email attachment. He sent it to himself and I sent it to Vern and Joyce but neither has answered to the effect that they were able to retrieve it. So it should be attached to this forwarded message. If anybody gets it, please let me know, or if you don't get it. Melina already has the song as she bought the CD.

Patte Howard was here from Thursday until Saturday. This is the first time we have had a chance to visit with your Aunt Pat since her busband died. Rob and Pam drove down with her because she wasn't sure she could find it since Bob had done all the driving--until the last year or two. Pam remarked that she really liked this house--which was good to hear from someone who had never slept on the floor here. Rick was happy to see everything being kept up (Thanks to David and company and their paint brushes) and reiterated that he hopes it stays in the family.

Patte is sharing a house with daughter Julie which is working out pretty well except that she is think of giving up the main floor and master bedroom to Julie and family, and moving to the ground floor which has plenty of room for her. It has been a little awkward for Julie to have a whole floor between her living and kitchen space and the bedrooms on the second floor. I told Pat that we missed the Bed and Breakfast that we formerly enjoyed at her previous 29th St. Terrace address. Ellen and Gary have stayed there and Kelda and Troy. Probably Kendall also, and Sumr. We finally began to discourage the use of the Kansas City airport.

The Cinema III proved to be quite fixable. We knew we had a group of 12 little wires with a female socket that didn't go anyplace. The other end went into the pedals with another set that looked just like it. A technician I had talked to earlier had thought that it might have led to some kind of auxiliary attachment that wasn't there anymore. Now that I think of it, that doesn't sound reasonable. What is there that it doesn't have? We couldn't get into the pedal contacts anyway as too many screws were rusted in place. So we rolled up the area rug, pulled that thing away from the wall, took the back off and Rick started looking for some place this little connection could go. He found a little plug-in that looked like it might have suffered a little trauma when it lost its' mate, by force, probably unintentional. THEN, and only then, as is customary, we checked the schematics to see if No. 66 was supposed to be connected to No. 66. It was.

And the pedals worked. Some of the springs were too rusty to allow contact so we beefed them up a little with little bits of moeskin from the bathhroom drawer. I found out that a bandaid, a thumbtack, and a sliver of strong wood from a clothespin were quite useful with the old Estey.

So we learned. It is common when delving into an organ to have a few screws left over when one puts it back together. Doesn't seem to hurt the operation. But when you have some dangling wires? One had better find a place for them.

I now have a good picture of it taken with my new digital camera. Which I can use due to instructions from a 9-year-old. But Haeli didn't know how to send pictures to another computer. I guess I will have to figure that out by myself or wait until another grandchild passes by.

Kendall is back at work following his robotic surgery for prostate cancer. Larry is working 70 or 80 hours per week as his partner in their two-man operation died of a heart attack and he has a contract to fulfill. We haven't had any red flags from Brian lately.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

blog babysteps

Hi there! All is well from Seattle. I wanted to post some pics for you guys from last weeks counter-inaugaural, but will have to do that tomorrow as my camera is low on batteries. Here's another recent pic tho (it was either this or pictures of us partying for new years, and since didnt want to startle family with pics of excessive alcohol consumption.......) this is from damien's garden.
and dad, its easier for me just to do it html, since the pics are on damien's server!

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Photo Test

The gang at Christmas Posted by Hello

Click on picture for a bigger image.

This has been a test. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Monday, January 10, 2005

January in Eastern Washington

The blessings of the winter snow has arrived in Eastern Washington this month. I know some of the rest of you are thinking, "Big deal." I'm just glad that as loan cosigner I have driving privileges for Millie's nice 4WD truck. It sure has come in handy when I had to break trail for the morning paper route.

I managed to attend the reorganization meetings of my county and legislative district Democratic party committees. And I was successful at avoiding assignment to any onerous duties. (For a perspective, our Democratic party meetings are typically smaller than church business meetings. You get the picture.) This means I can continue to push my favorite agendas through proxies and by persuasion without having to be publicly responsible for the results. It won't be long before these people wise up to this and make me do some real work.

Austin made it back to Provo in good order. And I'm still trying to find a new home for a people-friendly blue heeler. When Teri's house sells I'm going to end up with their dog and this house and yard is just not big enough for two dogs. We have had two offers on the house that failed to arrive at a satisfactory price and we still have lots of people looking at it. So we are sticking to our guns so far.

Mitch and Claudia are doing all that wedding planning stuff for their April wedding. I just try to stay clear of that as much as possible.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Welcome New Blog Members

I hope lots of new people have accepted my invitation. Welcome, and play nice.