Thursday, November 24, 2011

Turkey Day Delights

While Tom worked putting together our feast,

Sundance rested on the bed

and Cassidy on her cushion in Tom's office.

After lending me a hand with getting the table set up

Peter watched a bit of the Packers-Lions game

before Tom called us to the table, loaded now with turkey, gravy, stuffing, green beans and mushrooms, salad and pie. Then he and Peter laughed at me for taking photos.

The food and company, of course, were great.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

From all of us -- Tom, Peter, Michael, Sundance and Cassidy -- to all of you, a happy Thanksgiving!

(I have no idea why, but I always -- and I do mean ALWAYS -- spell Thanksgiving wrong the first time. I type Thanskgiving. And I did it the first time when I was trying to type it correctly in this parenthetical remark.)

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Deer and ...

A friend of Tom's has permission to hunt on Tom's property and deer season began this morning. Dan always brings a gift bag as a thank you, usually with some high-quality crackers, cheese, sausage, wine, mixed nuts -- that sort of thing.

This year he added something new: a flamingo coffee mug from Pier 1.

That plus the glittery bag it all came in is a sure sign that Dan has totally gets us and that he has a sense of humor.


Saturday, November 12, 2011


I realize you may have limited options for telephone service, but I would like to report on problems I have been having with CenturyLink. This is for an account that belonged (past tense intentional) to District 19, and which I paid regularly in my capacity as treasurer.

Back in July, the District decided to cancel the account and have someone else handle incoming calls for us. The reasons for that had nothing to do with the service we had received from CenturyLink, which had been fine.

Because of my travels to Texas in August, I was not informed of this decision until early September and then began the problems.

First, when I called to cancel the account on September 9, I discovered that I was not authorized to cancel it. It had been set up some years ago and the two names on the account were people long gone from here. After a couple of telephone calls and talking to a supervisor, Vince, I was told all I needed was a letter on our letterhead faxed to them authorizing the change. I explained that the nature of the organization precludes letterhead and that I had no way of obtaining a letter from either of the people whose names were on the account. Ever helpful, the gentleman on the phone told me to just get anyone to sign a letter authorizing the cancellation and to fax same to them. They would get back to me.

This I did. Heard nothing.

I called again, got hold of Vince's secretary/assistant/whatever, who assured me that her boss had not received the fax. This despite the fact that I had in my grubby little hand a receipt showing that the fax had been sent and received at the number I had been given without errors. Solution? Fax again. (All this is not free, BTW.)

So I fax again and add a note explaining the history of the situation and requesting an email confirmation that the fax had been received.

Again get a receipt from fax machine indicating that everything had gone through fine. Waited three days. No email.

I called again. This time I got through to Vince again, who said he had received the first fax after my call and sending of the second fax, and that now all was fine. No explanation for why a fax sent to a communications company had not been delivered for three days within the very same building. After all, the reason I faxed it was to speed things along.

At any rate, we cancelled the account and that was that.

The process had begun on September 9 and it was now September 15. Our billing date was the 16th of the month, and I was assured that everything was taken care of and there would be no more charges.

When I picked up the District mail two weeks later on October 3, there was a bill for the next month's phone service. I called and spoke to a nice man named John. He assured me that I could ignore the bill which must have just passed the cancellation in the mail. I had now been told by two different people that their records indicated that the account had been cancelled and that we were no longer being billed for services and owed no money on the account.

Today, November 12, I picked up the District mail. Its PO box is in an neighboring town, so I only pick it up occasionally when I am there and the Post Office lobby is open. There was a bill for the phone service for November and a reminder that I had never paid for October.

Sighing heavily, I gathered up all the paperwork on this, which I had fortunately kept clipped together, and called the 800 number yet again. And got the message that their office is only open Monday through Friday, 8 to 5 or some such thing.

I am not worried about this. For one thing, I have all the records, confirmation numbers, receipts, names and so on, to show that I/we have done our part. For another, the worst that can happen is they will cancel our service -- which is what I wanted all along -- and maybe put up a nasty note somewhere about our credit rating. But we have no corporate existence, no credit rating, no credit cards, no other accounts that have to be paid. Nada, nothing, zip. We are pretty much off the grid except for a PO box, which has been paid for faithfully and about which there are no questions.

But come Monday morning I will put in yet another phone call to try to straighten this out.

Ironically, the bill has this "IMPORTANT NEWS" in a sidebar:
"CenturyLink understands that your telecommunication service is your lifeline to your business.Thank you for trusting us to help you make connections that count with your customers..."
I should mention that everyone with whom I spoke at CenturyLink was polite and seemed genuinely interested in helping me.

I spy ... mustard!

Yesterday I went for my eye exam. The news was mainly good, but I did have to get some new specs. They should be here in about ten days. Tom and John had helped me pick out new frames, which are neither a fashion statement nor much of a change.

About midday the three of us headed to Madison. John wanted to visit a bookstore and Tom wanted to find out more about the Nook. He is pondering whether to get an e-book reader and, if so, whether to go Nook or Kindle. So we did all that. John got a vegetarian cookbook. Since we were already in Middleton (west side of Madison), we looked around for a place to go and wound up at the -- I am not making this up -- National Mustard Museum.

The National Mustard Museum boasts a large display of prepared mustards. It is often featured in lists of unusual museums in the United States.

The museum was conceived and founded by Barry Levenson, former Assistant Attorney General (yup, assistant attorney general) of Wisconsin. It centers on a mustard collection he began in 1986 while despondent over the failure of his favorite baseball team, the Boston Red Sox, to win the 1986 World Series. The initial dozen jars have grown to a collection of more than 5,300 mustards from more than 60 countries, along with hundreds of items of mustard memorabilia and exhibits depicting the use of mustard through history.

The museum opened its doors in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin on April 6, 1992. It moved across the street to a larger site in October 2000. In November 2009, the museum moved to Middleton and changed its name to the present one.

The museum's gift shop occupies about half of its floor space and offers free tasting of mustard samples from a refrigerated case containing scores of varieties; the museum also operates a mail-order mustard business.

Among the displays are sweet hot mustards, fruit mustards, hot pepper mustards, horseradish mustards, and spirit mustards. The collection includes a large variety of French and English mixes, but many other countries are also represented. I noticed that there are several shelves of Texas-made mustards, many flavored with jalapeƱos or chipotles.

John, figuring you can never have enough oddball mustards, did a little shopping. I was all for getting Christmas gifts here, but Tom dissuaded me. One item was an inflatable full-sized Thanksgiving turkey. I thought we might pick up one to put on the table this year for Peter, who is coming home for the holiday. Again, Tom disagreed.

Anyway, if you want to visit the museum's website and buy some mustard or mustard-related stuff, click here. I thought Ted might want one of the Poupon U t-shirts or coffee mugs.

Every day I call Mama and we talk about what we did that day.She thinks Tom and I are the "going-est people", but when I told her about the mustard museum, she said, "Boy, y'all have really run out of places to go."

Well, you know what they say: Relish today, ketchup tomorrow -- if you must(ard).

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ah, yes! That time of year


It rained most of the afternoon, and when I came out of the library to head home, there were some big wet snowflakes mixed in. By the time I made it home, I had driven through areas of rain, areas of rain mixed with snow and a small area with just snow. The temp is slightly above freezing, but snow is still falling lightly. No accumulation.

But it is a sign of things to come!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Some time ago I stopped using my Facebook account. The main reason was that a friend had been hacked and all sorts of things were sent out allegedly from his account, resulting in a lot of time, money and effort to clean up the mess this made.

So if you ask me to be your friend, I am happy to be that. But not on Facebook or Twitter or the like.

Thanks for understanding.