Thursday Thoughts

Perhaps I’m Missing the Point
As you are aware, there have been protests all around the country regarding gun control. Here in Phoenix, like many other metropolitan areas, young and old alike have been out carrying signs and banners in support or opposition of guns. There was a photo on one of the newspaper’s web site that showed some adults protesting in downtown Phoenix. One man held a sign that read More Love Less Guns. As I indicated in my recent post about feeling the need to be the world’s editor, I sighed and said out loud, “More love FEWER guns.” Can’t they get it right? But it’s possible I’m missing the point. Still, the fewer/less mistake – one of the most common – is one that gets on my VERY LAST NERVE. People, listen up: If you can count it, choose fewer.

I Just Cross My Legs
I stopped at the dollar store the other day to get my grandkids’ Easter cards. (Yes, grandkids, if you’re reading this blog, you know your cards are on their way.) As I was waiting in line, I overheard a man tell the cashier that he’d had a hard time finding the men’s room. “We don’t have a men’s room,” the cashier said. The man was surprised. “Yes you do,” he said. “I just used it.” The cashier was surprised, and told the man she had never been to the back room of the store. “Really?” he said. “How long have you worked here?” She responded, “Since January.” All I could think was that she must have the bladder of a hippopotamus if she has never had to use the bathroom on any shift since January. Plus, she must not be big on the whole idea of stocking shelves. I wonder where she keeps her purse….

What Time is It?
For the past three or four years, we have hosted Easter at our house. I have generally had something resembling an open house. I cook up my kielbasa (see yesterday’s post), and Bec brings a delicious coffee cake. Later, I put out a ham and some rolls and we snack on ham sandwiches. Because my food offerings start in the morning, we need to go to the early morning Mass. The church we attend here in Mesa has a 7 o’clock, 9 o’clock, and 11 o’clock Mass. So year before last, we trotted into church at 6:40 for what we expected to be the 7 o’clock Mass, only to find it half over. I realized that the Mass time was different than usual, probably to accommodate a sunrise service. So last year, I told Bill that the Mass started at 6:30. We sauntered in around 6:10, and once again, found the Mass already in progress. This year I decided to do something radical and read the bulletin to find out the actual Mass time, not the Mass time according to Kris. Voila! Mass begins at 6 a.m. This year we might actually make it to the sunrise Mass service from the beginning. What a concept!

Long Distance Disaster Aversion
I, like many others, subscribe to Next Door, a web site that keeps us abreast of what’s happening in our respective neighborhoods. I haven’t figured out how to be on two Next Door sites – one for Denver and one for here. So, given the choice, I have elected to keep abreast of neighborhood happenings at our Denver abode. Ninety percent of the time, the postings consist of for sale items, found or lost cats, people looking for nannies, and folks whining about something being built that will destroy – DESTROY, I tell you – our neighborhood. But 10 percent of the time, I get some useful information. Like Tuesday afternoon, when I read that there was a water main break in our neighborhood, and a photo accompanied the post. I clicked on the photo, and to my chagrin, saw water pouring into the street right in front of our house. Yoiks. I was hoping to heck that the same water wasn’t running into our basement. I telephoned our Denver next door neighbor and asked her about the water main break. “What water main break?” she asked. “The one that is right in front of our respective houses,” I responded. She went out the door, cell phone in hand, and said, “Oh my goodness, you’re right. There is water running down our street.” Thankfully, we are near the top of the hill, and my daughter-in-law later confirmed that our house was nice and dry. I was even able to answer the door when the City Water Department fellow rang the bell, using our very cool Ring doorbell system. I managed a crisis from 900 miles away. How come I can’t figure out how to automatically post my blog on Facebook?

Cool Drinking
I recently spoke about tasting my first limoncello at a restaurant on the Piazza Navona in Rome, and how it was love at first taste. I also said that I was embarking on a process to make my own. My homemade limoncello is ready to drink, and so Bill and I did just that last night after dinner…..



Thursday Thoughts: Friday Edition

Can’t Blame it On Morphine Brain
I’m sorry to any of you who tuned in looking for a book review. I’m changing it up today. It’s not that I’m feeling stuck in a book rut. It’s not that I don’t have many, many books that I could review. The fact is, I realized yesterday afternoon that I was a day behind. That is why I didn’t post my Thursday Thoughts yesterday; you see, I thought it was Wednesday. It wasn’t until late yesterday afternoon that I realized it was Thursday, and had been all day. That realization didn’t occur until I had already spent 45 minutes writing my Thursday Thoughts with the intention of posting it today. I simply didn’t have it in me to start over, so Thursday Thoughts have become Friday Thoughts. Since I haven’t had a drop of morphine since I left the hospital, I guess I just have to attribute it all to senility!

Pay Up
It’s bad enough that you have to go in the hospital, but then the bills start coming in. Time to pay the piper. I spent much of yesterday afternoon trying to figure out which bills were from my most recent hospital visit here in AZ and which bills were from my stop in the Emergency Room in Denver this past December. The claim forms are confusing and oftentimes (though not always), the folks in the insurance claims department are not a lot of help. For example, I received a notice of authorization from my insurance company for my recent hospital inpatient visit. The authorization form noted that I was the patient (check), Banner Baywood was the hospital (check), and a Cynthia White, M.D. was the provider (huh?). Though I was under the influence of pain meds while in the hospital, I was certain that I had never seen a Dr. Cynthia White. The reason for my certainty was that I never saw a woman physician from the time I walked in the ER until I left the hospital two days later. It wouldn’t have been so bad except for the fact that she is not a participating physician in my insurance plan, and the notice warned me that I might have to pay more for her services. So I called my insurance agency and told the customer service representative my situation. “Not only did I not select Dr. White,” I said, “but I don’t even know who she is.” The representative thought for a moment, and finally responded — dead seriously, “I’m really sorry; I don’t know who she is either.” It might take a few phone calls….

Clean Up
To escape having to think about hospital bills, I decided to do a bit of clean-up on my computer. Specifically, I went into my photo file and began throwing away photos of things I didn’t recognize or didn’t have any reason to keep. One of the photos that I came across was of an afghan that has lived in my cedar chest at home since 1972…..

It was crocheted with loving hands by my grandmother for my high school graduation. I clearly remember her saying that she made it for me because she always thought of yellow as “my” color. That afghan was immediately special to me, so special that I put it in my cedar chest to keep it clean. Every once in a while I take it out and tell myself that I should use it or display it in some way because it’s so pretty. Yet, it continues to live in my cedar chest. Maybe I should get a wooden quilt holder and display it in one of our bedrooms. Any other ideas?

Sweet Tart
We fell in love with the sweet/tart lemon liquor the first time we visited Italy. Bill and I sat out on the patio of a restaurant on the Piazza Navona in Rome. We finished our dinner, and to our surprise, the server brought out tiny frosted glasses containing a bright yellow liquor. It was hot outside, and perhaps that was why the limoncello (with which we were wholly unfamiliar) tasted so amazing. Or maybe it was because we were sitting on a piazza in Rome. Anyway, it is one of my favorite summer liquors. I am currently reading a novel that takes place on an island near Sicily in Italy. The island residents are constantly drinking limoncello, arangcello (orange), and limettacello (lime), making me want to sip along with them each time it’s mentioned. So day before yesterday, I stopped at one of the many stores in east Mesa that sell freshly-picked citrus fruit, and bought several lemons. Yesterday morning I carefully peeled the skin from the lemons, put them in a jar, and covered the peels with vodka. In a week or so, I will add a simple syrup to the mixture and let it sit for another day. Then I will filter the resulting beverage from the peels, give it a chance to chill overnight, and drink homemade limoncello on my own patio. Yum…..