Sunday, June 23, 2013

Do You Know What This Is—Part Deux?

I'll start off by telling you—it's an iron. Now my mother's generation knew what an iron was. Every Monday morning she did the wash. Unless it was raining cats and dogs and she couldn't hang up the wash on the line in the garden. In that case it was often hung up to dry around the fire. I am pretty sure that over the years the washing was done in various "machines", including pans of boiling water and it wasn't until after I left home that we got something resembling a washing machine. There really was no way to expand our tiny kitchen. Lunch (our main meal) consisted of leftovers from our big Sunday lunch—nasty if it had been lamb, so greasy.   In the afternoon, out came the ironing board and the iron and she went to work. Sometimes I helped her. We ironed sheets and dish towels—well, just about everything. Everything was  cotton, but we had never been allowed to change our clothes with the frequency of the modern child, so I never remember this job lasting past tea-time. That's how I learned to iron. We watched "Look Back in Anger" not too long ago. Strange to watch the rebellious products of a disaffected generation ironing shirts.

For over fifty years I have ironed. I was led to believe that university chairs needed ironed shirts (though I met a Vice President in our local library one evening and he told me he spent every Sunday afternoon ironing his own shirts). I drew the line at towels and dishtowels. This is a brand new, unused iron. My former iron had begun to drip brown pools of water, but even worse, the steam was burning my arm. Of course, I am going to use it, but I am apprehensive. Every new appliance gets more and more complicated. There was an enormous choice, so I pretty much chose this one because I thought the purple was pretty. Will I be able to follow the instructions? I still can't work the car we bought six months ago. Will this iron talk to me? Worse still,  will it beam my location up to the N.S.A. so that some contractor seeking asylum in Ecuador knows where I am am what color my underwear is?

One thing is sure, I know it is not a good idea to give cotton garments as gifts to some of my grand children. A couple of my daughters are proficient with an iron, but at least one, and I am talking to you, Liz, don't know one end of an iron from another.

Which leads me to wonder about my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I guess there is nothing wrong about being crumpled. Or is there?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Do You Know What This Is?

Out of context, it may be difficult. Here's some background. When I was working, I usually dressed, put on some make-up and then jazzed up even the plainest outfit with a minimum of jewelry, usually a pair of ear-rings. Since I retired, I have given my skin a rest and never worn my ear bobs (don't you love that term? Chiefly Southern, says the dictionary.) Except for special occasions. The problem has been that the wee little holes in my ear-lobe have closed up a little. This has caused a problem when I have tried to wear the only expensive David Yurman ear-rings I have. You should have seen me before Lucy's wedding, poking the little probes through my ear lobes —finally succeeding. So I have practiced this aural acupuncture more frequently and my favorite jewelry tends to be drop ear-rings. I bought a lovely set last week. Here's the back and front. HOWEVER, the little fish hook doo daddies have a tendency to fall out if the ear-ring touches my (or anyone's)
shoulder. Hence the plastic thingamajig. HOWEVER, the manufacturer fails to take into account the inability of elderly fingers, especially ones suffering from the twitches, to line up the hole in the plastic with the probe on the fish hook.

Are my ear bob wearing days over?

Thursday, June 13, 2013


I have observed that whenever a person has a haircut, the question that is asked when checking out is "Do you need some product?" On the shelves behind the checkout desk are bottles and jars of fragrant potions which make up the "product". Product for curly hair, product for frizzy hair, product for limp hair—well, you get the idea. I always answer politely, "no thank you." And that's it.

I like the guy who cuts my hair. He's quick, doesn't talk much, looks at the way my hair is behaving (and it does seem to have a mind of its own these days) before he hands me over to Samantha to wash it. Last time I was in his chair, he muttered, "You have dry scalp." Samantha who was standing near by agreed. He poked around until I dared ask, "You mean dandruff?" He acquiesced. Head and shoulders, have you let me down? Andy and Samantha agreed I needed product. I supposed I agreed too.

Fast forward to checkout desk. Samantha hands me a small, neat bag with a shampoo, conditioner and stuff you rub in. I have product! I always write a check. Quick and easy because it is always the same amount. This time the bill was twice as much and then some. I'm a coward: I paid it. But they are not going to catch me napping again. "Product? No thank you."

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Amazing Things?

Last week I got an e-mail from Flickr. That’s the service I use to store some of my photos and, like many of you, to organize them in sets. Better word than organize—separate them. I have photos of a wedding and a funeral: the photos and the commentaries I could make were more appropriate when kept separate.

The e-mail was excited to tell me:

"Amazing things are happening at Flickr. We’ve made a lot of important upgrades to your service that we wanted you to know about."

Note, they had already done it and now they wanted me to know. What were these changes?

"Biggr.That’s right, a terabyte*"
Thank heavens the asterisk explained what a terabyte is—
*500, 000 pictures, 537, 731 6.5 to be exact.
The cute spelling continued—
"Spectaculr. Share in full resolution
Wherevr. Available anywhere you go."

Of course I went immediately to my Flickrpage and was taken aback by what I saw. It looked like a collage, but I had had no input into what photos I wanted in what size. After some research I made a little more sense of what  had been done, although as a Pro member I found no indication of whether my Pro subscription would be refunded now that I had a free terabyte.

I thought I would find some assistance by googling help  (there didn’t seem to be a help button on the Flickr page) and came across a help forum with almost 30,000 comments. Among them was “What an UTTER heap of CRAP”, Stupid, stupid and more stupid”, “It sucks”. Some I couldn’t repeat. Apparently the comments were shut down and there are another 6,000 in the new comments page. Many of the comments covered technical issues I could not understand, but there were enough dealing with aesthetic issues to let me know I was not alone.

I must admit that over the years Flickr has made it much easier to upload photos. I was using it as a vehicle to allow friends and family to follow our lives visually and yet provide an input for narrative. I have yet to find out what will happen when I try to upload new photos and create new sets—and I must figure out how to remove the berries in the banner.

Do any of you use Flickr? Any concerns?