Like most (I think) families across the U.S., and even around the world, we have been spending a fair amount of time watching the Olympics.
I love the Olympics.
I remember, as a kid, spending two weeks in the winter and two weeks in the summer, every four years, watching the most amazing and inspiring athletes performing amazing feats of sporting amazingness.
There was Jean Claude Killy, Peggy Flemming, Carl Lewis, Olga Korbut and Nadia Comaneci. Of course there was Mark Spitz. In later years we cheered on Mary Lou Retton, Apolo Ono, and so many others.
But the one true man who holds my heart when I watch the Olympics is Bob Costas.
Because here’s the thing about Bob Costas…there he is in some tv studio in beautiful downtown Beijing doing his Olympics host thing. And there you are sitting in your living room with your family. You pause your DVR to discuss some kind of issue about what’s happening on your screen. And don’t you know, a minute later, when your discussion is over and perhaps there are still unanswered Olympics-related questions, the network cuts from the event you were just discussing to Bob Costas and I swear as if he was eavesdropping on your conversation will bring up the very same thing and will answer any and all unanswered questions clearly and concisely.
I don’t know quite how he does it. I like to think that Bob (yes, he and I are “likethis” and I call him Bob) has the hearts and minds of the world in his heart and mind.
So thank you Bob.
Shortly after we moved into this house, about eight years ago now, I bought a peach tree from Costo. It wasn’t much of a tree. Mostly a stick with roots packed in sawdust. I planted that stick with roots and about two years later I started getting peaches.
The peaches on this tree are the “peachiest” peaches I’ve ever eaten. The flesh is a deep yellow. When I’m diligent about thinning out the fruit when it buds, we get nice-sized fruits. Even when I’m not so diligent we get decent-sized peaches. Frankly, these peaches are the best peaches I’ve ever eaten. I’m so spoiled by these peaches that it never occurs to me to even consider buying peaches at the store.
I pick the peaches from my tree when they’re perfectly ripe. As a result, they only last a few days in the fridge. The peaches ripen over a period of about five or six weeks. The first week or so we may only get one or two peaches every other day, but about week two things start to pick up. Some days five or six. Other days a dozen or more.
I’ve given bags of peaches away. There’s been peach ice cream. Peach crumble. Peach cobbler. Peach salsa. Sliced peaches on cereal. The most succulent, delicious peaches fresh every day. It’s been incredible.
But now we’re on week six of Peach Season 2007. And things are winding down. And that makes me sad. Soon there will be no more peaches for 45 more weeks.
But the thing also about week six is that all the fruit that’s left on the tree is ripe. And ready to go. Now.
So that means Peach Jam Season 2007 needed to kick itself into immediate high gear. Yesterday morning I went out to the tree with a small garbage bin and the ladder. I picked nearly every single peach that was left on that tree.
I spent a couple of hours blanching, peeling, and dicing peaches. I made two batches of jam and one badge of peach chutney.
I’ve never made peach chutney before but I found a recipe with peaches, raisins, onions, garlic, crystallized ginger, brown sugar and mustard seeds that sounded really delicious. I added a couple of jalapenos that I picked from our veggie garden (an entry for another time). I canned about 10 pints of that with a little leftover in the fridge that I’m going to serve with grilled chicken. Yum (I hope).
Now, if I only hadn’t forgotten to get peanut butter at the store…
Wishing you a safe, happy, and healthy New Year!
I come from a long line of puzzle people. In my dad’s house in the country there was always a folding table set up with a Par puzzle in progress. Each puzzle piece in itself was a work of art.
Then there are crosswords. My Grandma Anne did the Sunday New York Times puzzle in ink every week. My mom is a puzzler. I’m a puzzler. So is my sister. I look forward to the Sunday paper each week when I get to enjoy two large puzzles. Plus I have several Sunday Times crossword puzzle books in case I need a mid-week fix.
And let’s not forget Scrabble, the second cousin to crosswords. Because I solve crosswords I have a long list of arcane words at my disposal ready to throw down on the board…when all I have to choose from are perhaps a Q, D, T, I, A, I, and I. This is a source of great annoyance to my husband who has renamed the game Squabble.
But while I’m not ready to completely forsake my love of word and picture puzzles, I’ve added a new addiction to my puzzling repertoire: Sudoku. For those of you who’ve been sleeping under a rock for the last, say, year, Sudoku is a puzzle made of nine large grids comprised of 3×3 boxes. Each box will contain the numbers 1-9, with each number only appearing one time per box. Furthermore, each row across and each row up and down can only contain the number 1-9 one time.
I discovered Sudoku about a week ago and now own three books and just ordered an electronic hand-held game that should be here by Monday.
I can’t get enough.
OK, first, does anyone actually even say that anymore?
Our Akita, Suki, suffers from a variety of skin issues, and a terrible allergy to fleas. We’ve gotten much better at managing this. Staying on top of the flea situation seems to take care of the other skin issues.
But she’s also got eye issues. Seems the eyelashes in her right eye are inverted (or something completely whack), and her eye is chronically irritated. Oh, and she’s prone to pink eye in that eye.
So we have the goop that we have to put on her eye. We do it when it looks bad. Right now it looks like crap. So here it is, 11:00 p.m. and I was just thinking I need to put some medicine in Suki’s eye.
I’m contemplating the best method for doing this. I know I need to use a Q-tip and then wonder if I should take the medicine to the Q-tip which is in my bathroom at the completely opposite side of the house, thus increasing the possibility of losing her medicine, or do I go get a Q-tip and bring it back to the medicine?
For whatever reason, I think before I start to make any huge life-altering decisions, I’d better just double check that Suki’s medicine is in the closet.
Well, not only is the medicine right ther on the shelf in front at eye level, but immediately in front of her tube of eye goop is a tidy little pile of Q-tips. Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. My husband obviously put them there.
Chuck is a techno-slut. Anytime anything new and fabulous is on the market he must have it. Immediately.
I’m a little slower on the techno-uptake. And frankly, I’m a bit lazy. I wait for him to have it and then by extension I have it.
Then there’s the computer issue around here. He is (as has been oft-reported by both here and on his pages), the God Of All Things Computer Related. And I’ll freely admit that having a God in my presence (and his being obligated to do my bidding as part of our marriage vows), I’m a bit lazy when it comes to my own personal technology needs. I do not need to clutter my brain with USB, serial ports, and the like. But, you know, sometimes the Gods get a little cranky and you’re better off just doing things your own damned self.
Early last week, in fact mere hours before Chuck was leaving to go somewhere work-related, I downloaded a file that someone had sent me from the office. I used my desktop (read my own personal computer) versus my laptop because I needed to print whatever it was I was sent. Well, don’t you know, this file (which silly me, I assumed was safe because a) it was a pdf, and b) was from a reliable work source) infected my desktop with some horrible virus that deleted some kind of WIN(SOMETHING).DLL from my operating system thus rendering my desktop virtually useless (or as I liked to refer to it, as a huge paperweight).
I had to wait until Chuck’s return from the hinterlands this past weekend to deal with it. I still have my work laptop to use, but it was altogether a pain in the neck.
Saturday morning, before getting on my knees and grovelling for Chuck to a) find the Windows XP install disk so that he could then b) reinstall Windows AGAIN on my machine, I decided to buy a new CPU.
The thing is, technology is so damned cheap anymore (and I’m absolutely convinced that computer in genreal and CPU’s specifically have about a five year self-life, and my CPU was about five years old) that I decided I would just get a new CPU. I dragged Chuck out on an aborted shopping mission, came home, looked some stuff up online, asked Chuck’s opinion, and went to Circuit City and bought a CPU. In case you care it’s a Compaq Presario 1900 NX.
Frankly, my techno-needs are limited–Microsoft Office Suite, CD burning capabilities, and let me surf the internet and I’m a happy camper. $359 I was a happy camper.
I schlep the box home, unpack it, and decide that instead of grovelling to the local God I’m going to do this myself. I unplug all my old stuff. I plug it all into the new machine. But boo hoo, my keyboard wasn’t working. The CPU came with a new keyboard. I tried that one. Still no worky.
I box it all back up, take it to Circuit City, and exchange it for another new one.
I plug in all my stuff again. Still keyboard no worky. Now I start having fits of the Chuck variety. My God finally came to my rescue and somehow got the keyboard to work. He did admit that at first it wasn’t working for him, so I don’t feel so bad about things.
So, groovy new puter. Loving the keyboard that came with it. Beth’s a happy girl.
But here’s the thing. . .
I have a printer. But it’s a crappy Deskjet color jobby that takes an hour to print each page because I swear it sends the document through the printer cable one stinkin letter at a time. So then my whole system freezes up while the printer labors over a four line e-mail.
And let’s remember that I work from home a lot. And working generally means you have to print things out.
So what I’ve been doing for the last few months is this: do my work on my laptop. E-mail it to my desktop across the room from the laptop. Go to the desktop and download whatever it is that I’m working on. Then I send it to Chuck’s laser printer. Then I have to go down the hall into Chuck’s office and retrieve whatever I’ve just printed, and come back to my office to fax it to someone (or put it in a folder, or whatever else I’m going to do with it).
Now I know you’re asking yourself, why doesn’t she just work from the desktop computer, thus eliminating the need to e-mail stuff to herself? Well, because I have all my work files on the work server that I can only access through my laptop. I’m not a complete ninny.
So Sunday night, in a fit of techno-improvements and otherwise cash-draining activities I ordered a new laser printer for myself. And one of the fabulous things about this printer is that it uses a USB cable. And one of the fabulous things about my new desktop computer is that it has three extra USB ports right on the front of it (so no messy monkeying around to get to the back of the CPU). And one of the fabulous things about my laptop are the two extra USB ports on the back (which doesn’t require near the monkeying around because it’s a laptop).
And because Circuit City online is mostly fabulous, I ordered my new printer (and the requisite cables) at 11:30 Sunday night, and at about 10:30 this morning, a new printer was delivered to my front door. But because Circuit City is only mostly fabulous, the USB cable that I needed to hook up the printer will not arrive for a day or two.
But I toddled down to Circuit City and bought the cable this morning. I can return the one they’re shipping to me, and since I didn’t pay for shipping and it was on sale at the store, I’ll actually end up $3.00 ahead of the game.
Long story short, I hooked up my new printer to my laptop today. I was able to print and send a fax without ever having to remove my butt from my chair. Then an hour later when I wanted to print something critical from my desktop, I switched the cable over to one of the fabulous ports on the front of the CPU. The computer recognized the new hardware immediately and I didn’t even have to fuss with installing printer drivers.
Maybe his Godness is rubbing off on me? I don’t know. But I can assure you I’ve heard a hell of a lot of angel music around here. Technology: Laaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.