Friday, September 28, 2012

Nook Tablet Charging Cord

To those of you considering a Nook Tablet purchase for yourself or a loved one:
Research the Charging Cord...

We bought a Nook Tablet for Ms. Flippers last weekend.  Yesterday, the charging cable failed.  She didn't stretch it to it's full length, twist or mangle it,or  misuse it in any way - it just failed.

To be absolutely frank, the Barnes and Noble store where we purchased the Nook Tablet was great about replacing the defective cable immediately.  They had one available and I showed them the damaged cable and the receipt and there was no problem with the exchange.

Before we bought, we researched the screen, casing, battery life, etc.  But who knew that we should have researched the USB charging cable?  It i, apparently, the weak link in the system and, as it turns out is NOT a standard USB/mini cable.  It is a SPECIAL cable specifically for the Nook Tablet and Nook Color and is PROPRIETARY. You cannot just go to your local electronics store to replace it.

Lesson Learned.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Luddite vs. well, The World

You know you're getting old when you can fill in the blanks in this sentence:
"It used to be that you could buy a __________(insert name of item here) for _______ (insert dollar amount) dollars."

Last night I got a catalog.  It seemed in answer to a prayer.  LAND'S END!  They'll have a handbag/satchel!  Their products provide quality at a reasonable price!

And I found the perfect one:  a Land's End shopper's tote that doubles as a handbag.  Congac leather, cotton linen lining.  Handy pockets for your "things".  Magnetic clasp.
Cost:  $198 plus shipping.

As I said to The Bearded One, "At least I don't have to pay a monthly fee to use it."

The search continues.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


So my "satchel" finally died.  My desk chair rolled over its leather sides one too many times, its lining was shredded so that change, credit cards and car keys found their way between the lining and the leather.  It was time to replace it.

Now given that I am a luddite (I still have a flip phone that only calls and texts) I was surprised to find that I have a real taste for Expensive Leather Bags.....None of which cost under $150 even when discounted.  That gives you a clue as to how old the previous satchel was - I bought it at JC Penney for $80.

I fell in love with as Fossil Explorer Tote ($248 - Macy's).  Very few bags suit my criteria:  large, not too fussy, not too youngish, not too oldish.  I had seen this one and was immediately captivated.  Then The Bearded One and I looked at the price tag.  After several minutes to recover we began babbling: "Two Hundred and Forty Eight Dollars!  For a Purse!"  I completely realize that for those who appear on the pages of US magazine, that is mere chicken feed - but to me it is half of a car payment.

After convincing myself that I didn't DESERVE a purse that expensive I began looking around:
JC Penney  :nothing that fit the criteria
Ross:  One Marc Ecko bag that was just a little too young at $150 (MSRP $300)
TJ Maxx:  One Donna Karan(Italian Leather) bag that was soft as a baby's butt, on sale for $200 (MSRP $450) One Ralph Lauren bag that was $250 but had a huge imprinted logo.  Another bag I loved except for the bright red lining and the $800 dollar price tag (who pays that kind of money at TJ Maxx?)

I am currently carrying a 20 year old purse that I rescued from my closet.  It is definately not stylish but it is leather and has an intact lining...

A new "satchel" -
The search continues...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Unsuccessfully Gifting

It is with great excitement that I watch the holiday season approach this year.  And it isn't just me - Ms. Flippers and Stubble and I have already been holding conferences on gifts and how to make sure that the gifts are still needed on Christmas Morning.  The Bearded One is notoriously difficult to buy for because he has the habit of just going and buying whatever he wants whenever he wants it.  This has held true for the entire 36 years of our marriage so it is not unexpected.

I have already issued the "Don't you DARE buy anything for yourself before Christmas" edict - "Even if you THINK you need it RIGHT NOW".

It will have little effect.

Yesterday I discussed with Stubble that my idea this year, rather than stressing over the situation, is to on December 24th  take whatever he has bought for himself between the present time and Christmas, wrap it and put it under the tree.  This goes for new socks and underwear as well as the new pair of boat shoes that we know he needs, the cell phone that he would like to update, and the new attachment for the lawn mower that he has been coveting.

This will also apply to books that he purchases (although how we are going to get the e-books off of his cell phone to wrap them eludes me) and music he has downloaded from Rhapsody (that is easier, we just burn his new music folder onto a CD).

Santa works hard each year to make sure that The Bearded One has at least ONE Christmas surprise.  Sometimes the only surprise is the color of the new toothbrush in his stocking.

The Nip Zip (How to make a Catnip Pencil Holder)

In an earlier post, I mentioned a 'catnip pencil holder'.  Yes we had one.

Now we have two.

Your normal capnip toy is small and hard.  What it lacks in imagination, it more than makes up for in its ability to be overlooked and under utilized.  It slides under couches and low to the floor tables.  It gets hidden in dark corners under the drapes.  All in all it is totally unsatisfactory for anyone, cat or owner.  The former feeling that what is being provided is substandard and the latter refusing to throw good money after bad.

Dogs get to carry around larger toys.  They get squeaky rubber things that rebound nicely when chomped on.  They get stuffed chew toys that have some heft to them and that can be torn apart in a satisfying manner.  Cats, by comparison, are poorly served.  I have always felt that if you give a cat a proper toy, they will play with it rather than just turning up their noses in distain.

Our cats LOVE rolled up plastic bags.  Tightly wound, the bag that serves to bring home the groceries of the ecologically challenged will also make a nice light brushing sound as it moves across a hard floor.  It squishes properly into something that a cat can carry should it choose to do so.  It is such an improvement on a little rubber ball with a bell.

On one of our trips to the local office supply, Ms Flippers found a zippered pencil case in the shape of a plush white sheep.  It was cute.  And we thought that it might make a good cat-sized toy if properly modified.  Inside it we placed one plastic grocery bag as "stuffing".  Then we added 3 large sprigs of (fresh) catnip from our herb garden.  That little white lamb is now brown. Its zipper has been opened to accept fresh catnip on more than one occasion.  It has been rubbed across the carpet by kitty cheeks.  It has been drooled on, slept on, and carried from room to room to hide it from other interested parties.

Which is why we now have a second catnip pencil case - this one a brown bear.

Eyeing little girls with Bad Intent...

I have come to wonder why we did not name our cat Rufus, "Aqualung"...(notice:  old Jethro Tull reference)
His sisters, Kimi and Katsu are much put upon.

Kimi, who is actually bigger and heavier than Rufus can hold her own.  He will pounce on her, sinking his teeth into her neck.  She will hiss and turn batting him square in the face with her paw.  He will sit back as she hisses a few warnings, tail twitching; then he will move away lest she do him some real harm.

Poor little Katsu is outweighed by half.  She is a dainty 8 pounder to his hefty 16.  Rufus will stalk her and pounce -also sinking in his teeth, but she doesn't have the heft to evade him.

We know that he just wants to play.

He will sit in front of Katsu, cocking his head in invitation.
He will "browwwwerrrrrrrr" encouragingly.  He will crouch down to her level.  Then, when she is more interested in her catnip pencil holder than she is in him, he will pounce.

This leads to anquished miaowing on her part, a "Rufus, STOP THAT!" from the Bearded One, and a skittering rush up the basement stairs to the kitchen on the part of the miscreant.

Poor misunderstood Rufus.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Irrigation/Irritation - it's all the same thing

We have come to realize that the irrigation in our yard and vegetable garden was designed by someone who was very very drunk for a very long time - or else was just goofing on the people who paid him to design and install the system.

We were perplexed when the former owner told us that he really didn't use his fancy-dancy, practically scrambles your morning eggs for you, sprinkler timer.

"Well," said he,  "I water the first three zones using the timer, but for the others I just water by hand."  This for 7 sprinkler zones.

That seemed kind of silly in this dry, "water is to be conserved" part of Southern California.  Nonetheless when The Bearded One programmed the timer as it was meant to be programmed, we discovered that the fruit trees and the succulent garden were on the same zone - one needs water daily, the other needs water pretty much once a week during the dry season unless it is REALLY hot and then it needs water more often, but still not on a daily basis.  WHO DOES THIS?

We have now mapped the sprinkler system.  There seems to be no "plan" involved.  The yard, currently ringed with green and sporting a jaunty burned out patch in the center, is watered daily by "the incorrect sprinkler heads".  We know this because we wound up consulting an expert about "what the heck to do".

As soon as the weather cools, we will be digging up and replacing the majority of the sprinkler heads in the grass, capping a large number of risers (that are needed only because the current pop up heads do not give the proper coverage).  We have begun replacing the drench heads serving the fruit trees because they are watering the tree trunks and LOTS of surrounding dirt while generally missing the drip line of the trees where a deep soak should be the order of the day.

The flower beds, miraculously were properly irrigated, except for the roses which need "regular deep watering - as much as a couple of gallons a day in hot weather.  And don't forget to feed them every 4 to 6 weeks."  For the roses, the soaker hose (1/4 gallon per hour) was replaced by an adjustable (0 - 10 gph) dripper and they are looking much less wilted now.  I should be able to cut back on the dripper setting in another couple of weeks.

Apparently, the citrus trees need as much water as the roses.  Sigh.  And are also as "hungry" as the roses, needing food just as regularly.  "Those little citrus stakes in the stores?  They just don't do it."

I sincerely hope that we get all of this figured out sooner rather than later and do not have to resort to paying our college students to stand around and about the yard holding hoses when they are not in class.