Audio Journey

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

One week from today, I will be packing my bag to begin the journey toward northeast Indiana to spend several days learning from experts in reading and writing (and hanging out with blogger friends). The past few years I’ve had company on this road trip. Lots of conversation to pass the time as the miles slip by. However, this year I will be on my own as I travel east, so I thought perhaps a few audio books would fill the hours on my 500+ mile journey. I shared this plan of listening to books on CD with my husband, and he says, “You better enjoy this, because this will probably be the last car you have with a CD player. They aren’t putting them in cars anymore.”

My reaction to this news, “What?!” (What am I going to do (whenever we get a new car)? How will I listen to my CDs of Trans Siberian Orchestra when we drive across the country at Christmastime and my favorite other CDs? I found this news very disturbing. A way of listening would be ending. With that thought, I started thinking about my audio life.

It started in Chicago with a small transistor radio pressed next to my ear listening to WLS. The volume always went as high as possible when the first notes of  Lightnin’ Strikes by Lou Christie rang out. Not sure what it was about this song that I loved, I still sing along if I ever hear it.

The transistor radio led to getting a record player and lots of 45s and albums. I listened to them a lot. If I was in my room, I had something playing on the record player. Eventually I saved enough money to buy a small stereo system where I could load several records at a time to play. I can’t tell you how many Petula Clark albums I had (perhaps I still have them 🙂 ). When I found a singer I loved, I immersed myself in that person’s music. Here’s a link to Petula singing Downtown on Dean Martin’s show (if you watch it, you have to get through the intro with dancers before she comes out).

I never owned an 8 track player, I went straight to cassette tapes. Now my music could travel along with me in a portable player. (It’s hard to travel with a stereo system 🙂 ).

I was happy with the cassette system, but then CDs came along to make it even easier to listen to my personal choice in music. I think that’s where I’m stuck in the audio world. I never understood MP3 players and I am clueless to downloading music. Since I don’t get the download music, you know I don’t have music on my phone or iPad and I wouldn’t know what to do with an ipod.

So what’s going to be next in this audio world? It took me over fifty years to get to where I am now. I’m just not sure I’m up to the task of developing a whole new way of listening.

 

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Counting Commercials

Every day, since March 17, I ride a bike on a trainer for thirty l o n g minutes. I am trying to get back into a routine of some deliberate exercise that disappeared for about six months.

Every morning, when I open my eyes, a thought passes through my mind. You should get dressed and on the bike. Get it over and done. If I wait a moment, another thought leaps to the front. You should make your coffee and drink it before you ride the bike. I decide to go with that last thought.

I make the coffee, relax into the couch reading my iPad, thoroughly enjoying my morning beverage. Usually, there’s no real hurry. I have a mental timetable of when to climb onto the bike to begin the endless pedaling. I want to be finished with this by 8:30 a.m.

For some odd reason, I love to watch the intro of the Today Show. They do quick snippets of the latest news. Then they launch into the more in-depth story. I continue to watch, finishing up my coffee. Once the coffee is gone, I need to move onto the bike. Perhaps this is about 7:30.

Big mistake!

I am pedaling away watching the show, but what’s this? Commercial after commercial after commercial. I counted eleven different commercials before they returned to the show! Then they chatted with someone for about five minutes (that may be stretching the time) followed by another round of commercials! By then, they broke away to the local station for the next ten minutes. My time was up on the bike, but I was appalled at how many commercials I had to endure. It’s already torture to sit and pedal, but that was adding insult to injury.

The next morning, I didn’t languish in bed a few extra minutes. I got up, had my coffee, and got on the bike before seven. Do you know how many commercials were in the first twenty minutes of the show? NONE! I guess the second half hour has to make the money. Guess what my new plan is now.

I will attempt to be up and on the bike before seven, because if I’m not, I know I will pay for it after 7:30. I just don’t enjoy pedaling through commercials. I bet that didn’t surprise you.

Curious, But Cautious

Read these definitions, do you know what word applies to both?

  • irrelevant or inappropriate messages sent on the Internet to a large number of recipients
  • trademark a canned meat product made mainly from ham

Did you guess spam?

As a child I loved a crispy fried slice of spam from the skillet, placed on soft, buttered, white bread. The heat from the meat (?) melted the butter and soaked into the bread. Now that was a good sandwich when I was seven, eight, nine, ten.

Today, I doubt I could get one bite of that sandwich down. But, this is not a post about food from my younger days. This is about the spam that collects in my email folder, titled Spam. This email fascinates and frightens me.

The fascination comes from the brief snippet my email shows. Look at this snip, I am curious about the new order from Leonard. Why does Jeremy think my images need editing.? Kaitlyn has a delivery approved for me. It must be a gift, because I didn’t order anything. I love getting gifts! Each line makes me want to open it up and see what it’s all about.

But I will never open them. I know better. I watch the Today Show with Jeff Rosen and have seen his reports on scams and viruses. But still, I am curious. I wonder, private message from Sliona? Who are you!?

Then there are the ones that make me worried. Some of these sound serious. Those words, Security Alert, make me think I need to check into this, but I don’t. Same reasons as above.

So every few days, I open up the spam file to see if someone landed there by mistake. Occasionally, I will find a blogging friend in the spam file. Not quite sure why they end up there, but that’s an easy fix by checking the Not Spam box. My eyes will look at the line given, I will be tempted, but I won’t open it. Ever.

 

Can Do

Taking stock of the refrigerator contents, I determine that we will have the creamy spinach enchilada leftovers for dinner, but I need something else to add to the plate. Previously, we’d had steamed broccoli to accompany the enchiladas. There was no broccoli in the fridge, plus I like to change things up on the second go-round of a meal.

A cauliflower was waiting its turn to grace our table in the veggie drawer. Mexican riced cauliflower would be the perfect side for this Mexican inspired meal. Plan made, recipe retrieved, ingredients gathered.

I knew something was not right the second I clamped the can opener onto my can. The clear liquid that oozed over the edge would not be found in a can of black beans. This was a can of garbanzo beans! The labels of the two cans were identical except for the name.

See what I mean? I know I should have looked more carefully, but this time I just reached and grabbed. Won’t happen again.

“I guess you will be having garbanzos added to your salad,” I inform my husband, and I explain why.

“Good!” he replies. “I like garbanzos.”

But the next day, I am flipping through pages of recipes, I discover a Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Soup recipe that I’ve not yet tried. I don’t remember printing this, but I have all the ingredients needed. Sorry, no more chickpeas on the salad. They are going into the soup.

When did chickpeas and cauliflower become a pair? Since the beginning of the year, we’ve had Chickpea and Cauliflower Curry, Chickpea Cauliflower Chowder, and now this soup. They’ve all been good, but I am a bit surprised at the combination appearing in recipe after recipe. I will have to see what other recipes are out there with these two ingredients.

Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Soup. The soup was supposed to be pureed, but someone in my house doesn’t like food pre-chewed, so no pureeing here.

Mail, Now and Later

Sitting at my desk, I have a view down my street. I hear it before I see it.  Rrrrrummmmble, silence, rrrrrummmmble, silence, the mail truck begins its journey up my street. It has six stops  before my mailbox.

It’s a quick trip to get the mail at the end of the driveway, I don’t grab a jacket. I try to time my arrival with the mail truck’s arrival. Then I will hustle back to the warmth of the house as I thumb through the envelopes, catalogs, and magazines.

Two mailboxes away, the truck does a spin around and heads back to a mailbox she has visited already. I stand at the end of the driveway, waiting, getting chilled by the wind. She fumbles around at the previous mailbox. I get colder. Finally, rrrrrummmmble, silence, rrrrrummmmble, silence, she gets to me.

I reach out for the mail she is handing me. “Wait, I have a package too,” she says. I wait. She confirms our house number, flip, flip, flip through one box. Flip, flip, flip through two more boxes. I’m getting colder. She can’t find the package. She looks back toward the Amazon boxes. “It won’t be from Amazon,” I tell her. “It could be drugs or a book.” I watch her flip through bags similar to our mail delivered prescriptions and a Thrift book wrapped package. I tell her to check those. She tells me they aren’t ours. “Sorry,” she says, then rrrrrummmmble, silence. She is off to the next box. I’m really cold and a bit aggravated.

An hour later, I’m still working at my desk. Rrrrrummmmble, silence, the mail truck is scooting back up our street and stops at our mailbox. I watch to see what goes into the mailbox. Two prescription bags and one book! I wait until she drives away before heading out to retrieve our mail.

I appreciate that she finally found our items and came back instead of waiting until tomorrow. This was not our regular mail person, so I will not judge her too harshly and I did get my book. (The Deadliest Creature in the World by Brenda Guiberson)

Good News/Bad News at Doctor Appointment

I was supposed to visit the doctor for my annual physical in February, but the doctor was going to be out of town during my date. It was rescheduled for yesterday. Last Friday I had to have blood taken for my appointment. It was a challenge to get to the lab when it opened at 7:00 (joining the throng of others there), blood taken, grab some breakfast (a fasting lab so no eating before), and drive 30 minutes to arrive by 8:15. I made it happen.

Good news started when I got to my appointment. There was no co-pay since this was an annual. That surprised me because I have always paid in the past. I figure they will send me a bill later.

I was there fifteen minutes before my appointment, just like they asked me to be. The receptionist said, “Don’t sit down, I think she is coming to get you.” I have never gotten in early! Apparently the 10:20 appointment was late, so I got her spot.

More good news when the doctor came in and said my blood work looked good. I was feeling pretty good until she said, “But I have some bad news.” My stomach dropped with those words. “It seems that the lab didn’t do the screening for your cholesterol. I need you to do another fasting and come back for them to draw blood again.” Oh well, I guess that’s not the worst news ever.

Then she said, “And you will need to do a Pap test next year.” I thought she did one last year and I would have two years off. It seems that I didn’t do one last year, so I will be due for another next year. Ugh!

All in all, it was a good visit. I was out in no time because I got in early. Now I’m thinking that to reward myself for doing the blood again I might have to try out a newly opened restaurant, First Watch, after they draw blood. So I guess that news wasn’t as bad as I first thought.

Timeline

7:10 – Leave home for the oral surgeon’s office. A mile from home, I realize I forgot my phone on the ottoman, but I did remember a book.  Turn around or keep going? I didn’t turn around.

7:20 – No traffic causing issues, now I’m early. Guess I will read a couple of pages.

7:25 – Someone entered the office, so I decide to go in too. Left my book in the car.

7:30 – I’m surprised to find there are three other people waiting. Hmmm, guess I won’t be going in right away. This waiting room is set up like a coffee shop: couches, small tables with chairs,  even an electric wood stove with a fake fire burning in it. A table lamp and two wall sconces give off soft light, however that is ruined by the bright overhead fluorescent lights. Of course there is a coffee machine and a water cooler. I select a hard back chair so I can stand up quickly when they call my name. Those couches are way too low to the ground. They will be calling my name soon, right?

7:45 – Waiting and wondering if I should go out to get my book. I decide to stay. Since I don’t have my phone, I take out my notepad to jot down my observations and thoughts. Why in the world do they schedule so many people for the same time? Another person arrives. She announces she has an 8:00 appointment. I think, Good luck with that, you aren’t going any time close to eight. She must have come straight from her bed, she’s wearing fleece pajama bottoms (but she didn’t forget her phone).

7:50 – Two of the four waiting are called to the back. I continue to watch. There are magazines in a rack on the wall and a bookcase filled with coffee table types of books. I muse to myself that waiting rooms no longer need to supply reading material. I am the only one here not staring at a screen and using a thumb to scroll. I think, should I go get my book? I want to get my book, I don’t get my book. I consider the offerings on the bookcase. I see an Ansel Adam’s book I’d like to look at, but thinking about flu germs keeps the book out of my hands.

7:55 – Another person is called to the back. When is it my turn?

8:00 – Someone who went back is now coming out, but she continues on to her car. She returns with a jacket. Should I have brought a blanket, is it that cold back there?

8:05 – A teenager is wheeled out, he is wearing the jacket. He must have had wisdom teeth taken out. He is slurring his words and looks pretty loopy.

8:15 – It’s me and pajama girl, waiting. I should have gotten my book from the car.

8:25 – My name is called (finally!). I get the room farthest away. I settle into the chair and now we go through the questions. She takes my blood pressure, it’s a little higher than normal. Not surprised.

8:35 – The oral surgeon comes in, more questions, brief exam of the broken tooth. He leaves and gives his assistant instructions of what to set up. He tells me it will take about five minutes to get the tooth out. Really!?

8:40 – More consent forms to sign and she places the dental bib. Finally we will be starting!

8:50 – Topical numbing of my gums followed by novocaine injection. That’s some strong stuff! The roof of my mouth is numb immediately.

9:00 – Surgeon is back and ready. He warns me of cracking sounds, pressure, more cracking, bite down, we’re done.

Biting down on gauze to stop the bleeding.

9:06 – I’m walking out the door with my instructions.

9:18 – I’m home to find my husband has made a comfy bed on the couch with all necessary items an arms length away. Boy am I lucky!