Gypsy's Travels

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Car Talk

Life is good this morning.....

My car "talks" to me. Not like "OW!" when the deer ran into me. Little messages rise from the innards of this diesel-powered vehicle and I just follow the instructions or show up at the dealer's shop and they take care of everything. Can't beat that for someone who can hear or feel a change in the car, but doesn't have much idea what it means.

When the "tire pressure" message came on, DS filled the tire with air and the message disappeared. When it reappeared some days later, I filled the tires again. The third time was a charm. I headed to the dealer's shop and they filled the tires and said "no problem." The 4th time, said shop actually checked the offending tire more thoroughly, found a very small hole and plugged it. Did you know they have "guns" now that can shoot filler into the hole in a tire and plug it? Unfortunately, that didn't work more than a few days. Finally, I took the car, with its reappearing message, in to Discount Tire (no I am not getting paid for this) and they took the tire off the wheel and put a proper patch on it. No more problems. Guess where I am buying my new tires when it is time.

I don't get too many messages from the car that require that kind of follow-up. Mostly, they tell me that the door is ajar or I need to fill the fuel tank and it reminds me what kind of fuel I need. A few days ago, a new message appeared - "Check Engine." It seemed to be running O.K. so I checked it out in my trusty car manual. It could have been something really bad, in which case it would go into "limp home" mode. I had not experienced anything like that, but since I am driving to Houston for a few days, I figured I would check it out.

I was off to the shop this chilly, rainy morning, along with a dozen other people who must have been headed to work.
"We can check that out for you and have an answer in about 20 minutes," they told me.
Great, I could watch the news while I waited. The smell of the ever-present popcorn they produce in their waiting room, was enticing. I fought the idea of helping myself to the hot,crisp, buttered delicacy even though it was 8 AM and I had not had breakfast. I finally gave in, somewhat. There was a cute little coffee machine that produces, almost, fresh-brewed coffee on demand. I didn't know how to use it, but the nice gentleman stocking the fridge with water and cokes, showed me. First you choose a container (about 2-3 ounces) from a variety of flavors, put the whole thing in the machine (without opening the container), and close the machine by pressing the handle down. After pushing a couple of buttons, you wait 15 seconds and retrieve a delicious cuppa' . I took a cherry danish from the selection on the counter and had a great, if not healthy, breakfast while I watched the news and waited on my car.

The problem was minor - a temperature gauge in the tailpipe (?). They have ordered the part and I have to go back tomorrow morning to have it put in. I wonder what is on the menu.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

"The Gallery at 1318"

We are making news....
Check this out on "Ecology of Absence"

The Gallery at 1318 Hebert, a unique project involving creative reuse and new construction, is approaching completion. Watch for a post on this project soon.
And here at the Old North Restoration Group website.....
In the past week we’ve had at least a couple of good plugs from bloggers with Old North connections. Michael Allen’s Ecology of Absence blog addresses the current wave of rehab activity throughout the neighborhood - and the chance to come see it all on May 9 when ONSLRG hosts the annual Old North St. Louis House & Community Tour. And Kira Switzer’s blog about rehabbing a house in Old North also makes a pitch for the house tour, which will offer an opportunity for a firsthand look at the unique combination of new construction and rehab in progress at 1318 Hebert.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

PhotoHunt - "Protection"

This Bhuddist novice nun /monk (?) must live on the kindness of others for a defined period (3 months?). Here s/he is begging, protected only by a thin poncho, a large, straw hat, and wearing sandals. The day was cold and we were bundled up. Some kind soul will offer a bed for the night and, perhaps, food. I was told this was a nun, but a close view of the photo looks like it might be a man.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 20, 2009

Odd Shots on Monday - "Frogs"

Posted by Picasa
This was the cover to some sort of access hole on the street in Japan. They think everything should be beautiful!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

PhotoHunt - "Purple"

I spent a morning in a special class learning about Chimu Chimu. We were served a variety of Japanese foods in a nice basket. The Japanese never give you anything unwrapped, so we received our lunches wrapped in a purple furoshiki.

Posted by Picasa
Dessert was tenuori, a honey filled rice-flour pastry.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tell Me Thursday - "Crazy Quilt"

The "Crazy Quilt" photo posted yesterday (4/15/09) was photographed at the Colorado Valley Quilt Guild show in La Grange, Texas. It bore a sign with the following information:

Crazy Quilt C. 1885
Silk and velvets
A magnificent schooner flying the American Flag forms the medallion center of this crazy quilt. Motifs abound in this elaborately hand embroidered and hand painted quilt. The famous schooner, "America," - which the America's Cup was named for when it broke Britain's hold on yacht racing championships in 1851 - may have been the inspiration for the center block. It closely resembles depictions of the original "America" even down to the placement of the flag.
Be sure to click on the photo to see the exquisite needlework.

More stories at Tell Me Thursday.
P.S. You think your day is going downhill? Read this Tell me Thursday post by "Mahogany Delights" (I had to search for the name)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - "Crazy Quilt"

Posted by Picasa
Crazy Quilt circa 1885
Wednesday is wordless; see tomorrow's post for story.
Click on photo to enlarge.
More Wordless Wednesday here.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Odd Shot Monday - "UFOs?"

Posted by Picasa
Actually, they are not UFOs. I was shooting out a window at night and the internal structures were reflected. Kinda' neat though.
Kyoto, Japan, train station 2009
more Odd Shots here.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

John 8:12

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (NIV)

Happy Easter

Saturday, April 11, 2009

PhotoHunt - "Triangle"

Posted by Picasa
These triangular trees grace the gardens at Hampton Court Palace in England.

Friday, April 10, 2009

"The Heidi Chronicles"

My sister shared her season tickets to City Theater Company with me again. "The Heidi Chronicles" by Wendy Wasserstein, would not have been high on my list of plays-I-am-anxious-to-see, but I really liked it! The main thrust of the story is about a young woman coming of age between 1965 and 1985. The author has cleverly woven the changing ideas of feminism into a story spiked with humor. Perhaps part of my enjoyment was based on having lived through this era, although I had to decipher the reasons I couldn't recall some of the references. Oh yes, we were "expats", living overseas. That was an entirely different world.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

It's Nuts!

I may have been poisoned!

Well, that is what the media would have us believe anyway. I am happy the FDA & CDC are watching over us, but I am more than a little disturbed about all the entities lurking in our lives.

What brought this on?

I received a phone call a couple of days ago....a computerized phone call....reciting the product codes from a product I had bought and warning me that the product could be infected with Salmonella.
"You may," the taped voice explained,"return the item to your store or contact the manufacturer directly." Then she spewed out a variety of telephone numbers.

Is someone really taking note of my grocery list? I suppose I should be happy that a large business would notify me of a possible contamination and the company would take such notice very seriously. I even suppose some people were ill and traced it to specific products.

The difficulty? This was all about a container of nuts I had bought several weeks ago. The container is almost empty now and I have felt no ill effects. Theoretically, I could, and many people will, return those half-empty containers and get their money back or receive a new product. If my container were unopened, I might do the same, but there are only a few nuts left so I will finish them off. If "Big Brother" is going to keep an eye on me, I wish he would contact me earlier.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wordless Wednesday - "Ball Moss in Bloom"

Look closely to see the small flowers lower right. "Ball Moss" is an epiphyte.
Posted by Picasa

Memoirs at The Little House

(Note: Click on photos to enlarge)
Our memoir writing group has been writing together for about 6 years. The core group remains intact, but a few others have cycled in and out for various reasons. We have written about all aspects of our lives and, just when we think we have said it all, we come up with more. We put our stories on paper for our children, grandchildren, and beyond. How I would love to ave had a journal of my grandfather's family traveling to Texas in a covered wagon. How I wish I had kept a journal of the early years of my marriage when we lived and traveled all over the world. Nevertheless, I can put my memories on paper, so all is not lost.

Several years ago while doing genealogical research on a family line, I came across a copy of some typed pages stapled together and placed in one of those clear plastic report covers so beloved by teachers. There was no fanfare, it was just sitting on a shelf amongst real books in the reference section. I could hardly believe my eyes! Those papers contained stories about my great-great grandfather and his family! What a treasure. One of his children, later in life, had written the stories while "laid up" with a broken leg. What a blessing that others had seen the value in her efforts and shared them. Since this occurred in a small town, the librarian readily allowed us to remove the "Reference Only" copy and take it to the local print shop to have it copied. I hope someone will be just as excited someday, to find a copy of my stories.

I have digressed....
Our group of seven journeyed to La Grange for a long anticipated retreat. We wanted some time away from the world to concentrate on writing. We stayed in a member's weekend home, which was an event in itself.

Called simply, "The Little House," it was built about 1910 and moved to its present site from lower on the hill. Shortly after it was moved, a tree, felled by a vicious storm, fell on the house's previous site. It is a typical farm house from the era and is filled with bits and pieces reminiscent of bygone times.

Posted by PicasaThe inside railings were recovered from an outside porch and thus preserved. The lofted sleeping area provided dorm-style comfort where we curled up at night under pieced quilts. We ate heartily and, for the most part, healthily with food we brought from home so little time was lost in the everyday tasks of life.
We went "out on the town" one evening. Traveling all the way to Winchester, Texas to Murphy's Steak House. Murphy's is a popular country, no-frills, restaurant housed in an old store with "1913 C.H. Schmidt" in pronounced letters over the entry.
Of course it is popular since it is the only real restaurant anywhere around this wide-spread farming community, but it was also good....and inexpensive! Memoir writing can be intensive so we broke the time up into sessions. Memoir writing is also fun and therapeutic as we share the joys and tragedies. We topped our time off with a quick trip to a local quilt show.

Strangely, as we laughed and shared, traveling to and from our retreat, the miles just melted away. Good friends, good times, good work.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

PhotoHunt - "Stripes"

Posted by Picasa

Tell Me Thursday - "Sharing"

The story behind the Wordless Wednesday picture.....
ABW is queen of "free." She has to be, with her husband, Gunner, on a military paycheck and her attending school. While Gunner was off in Iraq, ABW took advantage of free tickets to the Baseball game. There were also free tickets.... one for a bag of popcorn, one for a beer, and one for a snow cone. After sharing a bag of popcorn, the three children shared a snow cone. Abs found the most expedient way to do this, was to give Junior a straw while she attacked it from the other side. They both had to give it up to Em occasionally. The whole effort required a certain amount of cooperation. Abs also found she could control the flow in the straw by moving it up, just out of the liquid or pinching the straw. Junior could really get loud when he felt he wasn't getting his share.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009