Random musings–thirteen


It saddens me that Brian Williams did something so stupid that it has probably wrecked his career, except as guest on late-night talk shows, where, ironically, he first began to embellish his stories. He was my go-to guy on the news. I trusted him almost as much as Tom Brokaw. Lester Holt is a great newscaster, but I just really liked Brian. I’ve tried not to watch or read the analyses of him, but it’s hard to turn away from a train wreck. They say he’ll be back in six months, but I think he’s done.


According to some beliefs, if you’re born on Friday the thirteenth, you will be lucky for life. According to others, you will be unlucky for life. I think it’s six of one, half-dozen of another. If you have a fear of this occurrence on the calendar, of which there are three this year, you have friggatriskaidekaphobia (Norse god Frigga, meaning Friday, and triskaidekaphobia, meaning fear of the number thirteen). I don’t believe in superstitions or good luck or bad luck. I believe that life just happens, and that we’re all unwitting pawns in the game of it.

Men and space

Why, when you’re busy doing something, especially in the kitchen, are men always standing where you need to be at any given moment? It never fails. I shoo David out of one place, because he’s in my way, and he moves to the exact next place that I need to be. Always.

He goes back to work–sort of

David’s been offered an advisory position at a company with whom he used to do business before he retired. It’s as much, or as little, as he would like to do. Of course, until he’s 66, another two years, he can only earn a limited income before it affects his social security earnings. Up to $12,000, I believe he said. That would be nice. Maybe we could actually take a nice vacation. It’s been so long, I don’t even remember the last one that wasn’t camping. It’s been at least three years since we even did that without taking the grandkids. Or we could pay down the home equity loan. That would be more practical.


It’s really getting me down. We had no January thaw this year. So far, February is pretty awful, too. We did have a couple of days last week that melted off some of the snow, but the icy driveway is still a hockey rink. Yesterday, when I was driving to the post office, I drove past our old house and noticed that the driveway there is even worse than ours. So, I guess we’re better off than they are. I’m just really, really glad I don’t live in Buffalo or Boston. We’re definitely better off than those people are.

My house has big windows

And lots of them. The family room has six, plus two sky lights. One wall is basically all windows. The view is great into the backyard, but even though they’re good insulated Andersen windows, there is still a lot of heat conductivity through all that glass. The only window treatments are ugly cornice boards and some filmy sheer panels that don’t even go across the windows. They’re just on the side for decorative purposes. It’s going to cost a small fortune to buy insulated panels to put up. Oh, I guess that’s what we can use the new income for.

Speaking of ugly decor

Well, it’s not ugly per se, but it’s definitely not my style. I’m kind of a minimalist. I’m not into in-your-face decorating. The cornice boards are the worst. I’ve never liked them, and I don’t understand them. I know they were all the rage about fifteen years ago. The house was built in 2002, so it fits that whole French Colonial phase of decorating. The colors don’t really suit me either. There’s a lot of beige/tan, which is fine, but it’s the eggplant, metallic dark green, and metallic gold that gets me. The kitchen is mostly beige with two walls that have those other colors in stripes, and those aren’t done very well. When they pulled off the tape it also pulled some of paint on the edges of the stripes. And then there are the three little strips of wallpaper border at chair level that seem to be afterthoughts. That has to go. I want to paint the kitchen a nice soft buttery yellow. It will help with the darkness in there.

Cave kitchen

Lighting is so important in a kitchen. I will never understand why anyone would design a kitchen in this day and time with only three light sources. Over the sink, an island light, and over the range. That’s all I have. There are no can lights in the ceiling, no under-cabinet lights, and the fixtures that we replaced were solid metal and didn’t let any light go upwards, only down. The room gets a lot of outside light in the afternoon, but I do any baking in the morning. I designed the kitchen in my other house with tons of lights. It was awesome. You kind of needed sunglasses when all of them were on. The nice thing in the morning though, was being able to turn on just the under-cabinet ones, which created a nice soft glow that was perfect for drinking coffee and doing computer work. I think that’s the thing I miss the most about my old kitchen. I guess I was spoiled.

Open concept

It’s all they talk about on HGTV, and stainless steel appliances, and granite countertops. I do love the open concept here. My other kitchen was next to the family room, but closed off, so that I missed most of what was going on in there when I was cooking. The stainless steel appliances that we bought are beautiful, if you want to clean them every single day. Not a practical thing when there are sticky-fingered kids roaming around all the time. So they basically get cleaned when there’s company coming, except for the handles. Those get a daily wiping. I’m hoping if I ever have to buy appliances again, there will be a new trend. Maybe avocado green? Or harvest gold?


Gas ranges were numero uno in my book. I had a gorgeous five-burner one in my new kitchen at the old house. With heavy cast iron grates and a double burner that either burned super-hot or super low. It was also extremely time-consuming to clean. Mainly because it was stainless steel, and if you didn’t clean it completely every day, it looked pretty bad. Also, that super-low burner wasn’t really that low. If I wanted something to simmer, I had to put a diffuser between the burner and the pot.

This house had a glass cooktop and it was worn out, and the space wasn’t fitted for gas. I did a lot of research, and decided to go with a Bosch induction cooktop, figuring it was the least objectionable of all glass cooktops. (I had not had a good experience with early ones.) Since induction cooking requires pots and pans that can be magnetized, most of my cookware wouldn’t work. I had way too much anyway. I put some of it in the camper, and gave the rest to my mother-in-law who spread them around to others. I didn’t expect to love this cooktop as much as I do, diehard gas cooking fan that I was, but I do. It took a little getting used to, but it’s so much more responsive than gas. When you turn the heat up or down, it’s instantaneous. There’s no side heat from the burners, so the immediate area is a lot cooler, important when you are standing over the stove stirring something delicate for a long time, and it doesn’t heat up the kitchen as much. And the best thing is the cleanup. What used to take me a good ten minutes or more, depending on the grease or spill factors, now takes about one minute. A quick wash with the dish cloth, and then a spritz with white vinegar and buff with a clean dry towel. Once in a while, I use the glass cooktop cleaner if it starts looking a little dull. I’ll probably never go back to gas, if I have a choice.


Icemakers used to be so simple. They were inside the freezer compartment. They made ice at a decent rate, and there was a fairly large storage bin. Both of the new refrigerators I’ve had recently are not so simple. The refrigerator I chose for the other house was a French door one. All the rage, and I did love the bottom freezer compartment, and the wide fridge shelves. The bad part was the icemaker. It’s located in the fridge area for dispensing, so the storage bin is very small, and with all the opening and shutting of the doors, there was a constant dripping from the condensation. It dripped down into the freezer compartment and there was always a big layer of ice forming on that side of the door. It wasn’t just the model I chose, apparently it’s inherent in that style. So, for this house I chose a side-by-side, the largest they make. The icemaker sucks. It’s larger, but it doesn’t make enough ice, or sometimes it barely makes any, and it gets big chunks of ice frozen together in the corners that I have to break up with a wooden spoon. It’s not like we only use it occasionally. With seven people living here, it’s an everyday thing. Thankfully, I have an additional fridge in the basement with an old-style icemaker. It makes a ton, so I dump it into the one upstairs. I do miss the ice from the French door one, because the ice was that really soft kind that is good for chomping. I’m never satisfied.

Bitter Greens

I’m reading a book set during the period of King Louis XIV, the Sun King, called Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth. It’s about French novelist Charlotte-Rose de la Force, the author of Rapunzel, who was banished from the King’s court when she lost favor of the King. She was sent to a convent to live out the rest of her life. She had the choice to not go, but she would have lost her pension. I’ve only read a few chapters, but it grabbed me from the first paragraph. One of the nuns, Sœur Seraphina, tells her a tale about a child, Margherita, who was sold by her parents for a handful of bitter greens. Her father stole some parsley from the garden of Selena Leonelli. When he is caught, she threatens to cut off both his hands unless he gives her his daughter. This is the story of Into the Woods!  The witch is Selena who, as a young girl, was the muse of the artist Tiziano. Ms. Forsyth is skilled in weaving the stories of Charlotte-Rose, Margherita, and Selena together. I’m so excited to find it!

American Sniper

We saw this a couple of weeks ago. It has been controversial. Some people say it glorifies war. Some say it goes the other way. I found it to do neither. Yes, Chris Kyle is a patriot in every sense of the word, but he is just a man doing his job, and that job is to protect his fellow soldiers. He has a conscience, which is much more than you can say for his counterpart on the Iraqi side. The movie was intense. Even though the acting, the story, and the directing was excellent, I really wanted it to be over about halfway through. Bradley Cooper is truly amazing in the role. He is Chris Kyle. Clint Eastwood was snubbed in the director awards nominations, probably because of his politics. I don’t agree with them either, but I think Hollywood needs to honor people for their work, not punish them for what they believe. He should have had a nomination.

That’s thirteen things, and now I’m worn out.

See you soon,




16 thoughts on “Random musings–thirteen

  1. Boys will be boys for sure…love your post…Your house sounds beyond lovely…I love windows and sunlight..even winter sunlight. I’m up in Canada (Ontario)..minus 25 celisus…so cold the snow is “crunchy”…but sunny so it’s not too bad

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your response to American Sniper intrigued me, because mine was somewhat similiar. There came a point where I thought, “I’ve had enough war.” Then I thought — yes, and what did/does it take for those we send to fight wars to do their job, and not go crazy? The way our veterans are treated when they come home, and the way they’re being denied the kinds of support they need while in the field, is a shame.

    As for Brian Williams, I hope he never comes back. But more than that, I’d love to see a bit more housecleaning done at NBC. Every enabler of his ought to be gone, too. What surprised me most is that I wasn’t surprised when all this happened.There had been raised eyebrows about his Katrina reporting for some time. People who were in NOLA during the storm — people who lived there, and know the city — were pretty sceptical about some of his tales.

    I never had an ice maker until I moved into this apartment. Mine is the old-fashioned kind, in the freezer. There’s a huge container for ice, and it’s easy to start and stop production. It will fill up an empty container overnight. Now all we need is some hot weather to make ice cubes really, really important!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amen to your thoughts on American Sniper. That was the same thing I thought. Yes, I would like to stop watching from my nice safe, warm theatre seat, and go home to my nice, safe, and temperature-controlled house, but those soldiers couldn’t just decide, okay, that’s enough, I’ll go home now. The veterans of this country have always been shabbily treated in one way or another, but even more so now, it seems. The injuries that men used to die from on the battlefield are now not always a death sentence, but the recovery, both physically and mentally is not always given top priority to every one of them. It’s a national shame.

      As more and more comes out about Mr. Williams, the more I lean toward the same feelings as you. And, yes, there needs to be some serious housecleaning at NBC for allowing this to go on.

      Hot weather sounds pretty good right now at 2°. I’m sure I’ll be whining about the heat come summer, though. 🙂 We use a lot of ice year round, but more in summer, of course.


  3. Wow — what a lot of things to write on! I couldn’t pick thirteen! The Brian Williams thing saddens me but they are doing the right thing in the suspension, which I suspect will become permanent. And as Linda mentioned, I would hope they below the anchor desk and look there, too.

    My kitchen has the original 1960s stove and my fridge (1995) is old but it still works, so there it will stay along with the 60s countertops that look like a bunch of ants are crawling on them. Home reno is pricey — and baby would rather buy art supplies and travel! Yet I’d love a fancy, wonderful kitchen, too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeanie, I don’t know what possessed me to write thirteen things. Couldn’t think of another theme, I guess. Then I couldn’t stop. It was supposed to be just a sentence or two on each subject, but you know how that goes. 🙂

      Your kitchen sounds fun! I wouldn’t exactly say my kitchen is fancy, but it’s functional, especially for cooking for a family of seven. It’s where I spend most of my indoors time, so it has to make me happy. And I don’t have one artistic bone in my body, so any money spent there would be wasted, for sure. 🙂


      • I don’t know that I’d call my kitchen fun — but given that I have no remodeling budget, its the only one I’ve got. I have a feeling I’m in for trouble when all my appliances — washer, dryer, dishwasher, fridge — bought in 1995 bite the dust around the same time! I love to cook — in fact, there are three things that I love equally — art, cooking and reading. So, it’s a little small but I cope. We all do!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed reading all of these bits and pieces – all thirteen of them.

    My sister was born on Friday the 13th. I’d say she was unlucky the first part of her life, and has had very good luck ever since. That’s probably because she made poor decisions when she was young and better when she gained experience.

    I’m in the sad camp when it comes to Brian Williams. No matter how old I get or how much experience I gain, I’m always disillusioned when something like this happens.

    H worked for a while after he retired – just a part-time, laid back sort of job. Then we moved to Dad’s, and he got a job that was more demanding and more money for awhile. We paid off a big bill. It felt so good to put all that money on one bill and watch it disappear. I’m so wired that way, but I think YOU should take a vacation. 🙂 But I’d be paying off the home equity loan. I wouldn’t be able to help myself.

    Styles change every time you get your house like you like it. They do it to make us spend money. My family room/kitchen is Moroccan red. I love it, but HGTV tells me that it’s so yesterday. Every one who comes through my door loves it, and I’m not changing it. But some of the other things in my house are beginning to look tired to me. I’m in the ‘less is more’ crowd now. My tastes have really simplified.

    Our ice maker stinks. It throws ice everywhere when you use it, and there’s always ice on the inside of the door. What a mess.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Bella! I enjoyed writing all of them, too. I even broke my rule about not writing after everyone is up for the day, because I had to get it finished on the same day. Then we were gone for a couple of days, so it took me until now to answer everyone.

      I’m sad about Brian, but if it’s as bad as it sounds, then he needs to go, and I think he knows that. Or at least he should, if he has any integrity at all, and I think he does. I think he will fire himself and resign. It would be the right thing to do. Hope he made wise investments with all that money he made.

      Maybe we’ll do both with the money, a smaller vacation, and pay down the loan. Hopefully, it will be a harmonious partnership, and they will have him there for many years. Even though he has plenty at home to keep him busy, he misses the intellectual stimulation from the business world.

      Ooh, I just saw Moroccan red featured in one of the magazines I got the other day! It’s a pretty pop of color. I’m more into soothing colors. I used to paint sage green everywhere, especially in my bedroom, because it’s so calming. My daughter said, you know Mom, that’s the color that they paint mental hospitals to calm patients. I said, well, that explains a lot. LOL I’m definitely in the “less is more” crowd. I’ve gotten rid of so many knick-knacks and extra pieces of furniture that served no purpose, except to fill a corner. I probably should get rid of a lot more. Oh, yeah, decorating shows are always changing things around just when you think you’ve got something in style. How else would they stay relevant? Haha.

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  5. I don’t watch American TV so only know Brian Williams from the news reports, although his type (the sturdy believable guy you wouldn’t mind inviting to Sunday dinner) has an equivalent in both my countries. It’s disheartening when they turn out to have feet of clay, but on the other hand, media figures endure some pretty harsh punishment. He embellished a story he’d told many times, just like most of us do, only he got caught out very publicly. Yes, journalists have to be held to a high standard, but he’s paid a very big price for something that’s pretty human.

    My last house had a gas cooktop and I thought it was brilliant, except for boiling really big pots of spaghetti. But I don’t miss the cleaning of it, either, and my glass-topped not-totally induction stove is just fine, and I appreciate its easy access like you do. When we renovated the Calgary house this past summer, I opted for a stainless steel stove to go with the top-hat vent, but since the fridge was surrounded by a wall of white cupboards, I went with white, and same for the dishwasher, for the same reason. I’d read too many comments about keeping stainless steel fingerprint-free, and besides, I rebel at matchy-matchy. Don’t regret my choice! My open-plan kitchen is the centre of everything, and when I had a little post-reno drinks party, I couldn’t get anybody to leave it!

    MFB insisted on putting in some high tech under-cabinet lights despite my whining about the cost (they weren’t actually that much, but you know how it is when you’ve already gone over budget….) and I can’t believe I didn’t think they were necessary. We were going to put in some pendant lights over the island to replace the pot lights (nononono not for growing anything) but with the height factor in my family we decided to just update what was already there, still leaving them recessed. There would have been a lot of forehead bruises/broken lights otherwise, which is already a problem with the vent hood.

    So when are you going to start painting?? It sounds pretty bad. When I bought my house 8 years ago, I changed nothing. The colour scheme was totally liveable, thank goodness, and when we renovated I just went all white. No more colour surprises! I used art, lamps and cushions for colour, plus one turquoise feature wall that’s visible from everywhere on the main floor. Very minimalist, and I love it.

    I’ll keep an eye out for American Sniper, although yeah, I kind of feel the same about war films, police dramas about horrible stuff, and general depravity. My neighbour stopped watching stuff like that, saying ‘I am careful about what I put into my body, so why wouldn’t I do the same for my mind?’. Can’t argue with that.

    Hope you get some respite from the cold soon. Ugh. Weather gets weirder all the time, and global warning doesn’t necessarily translate into nice winters. I moan a bit about the grey skies and rain here, but we’re really lucky actually. I wouldn’t live in the east (of Canada) for anything – it’s too brutal.

    My boarder wrote to tell me that the new fridge was making weird noises until she finally figured out that it was trying to make ice – without water.

    Am with you about Clint Eastwood. And do you have any other book recommendations to offer? I’m reading Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom at the moment – when I’m not playing WWF….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, braggadacio will bring down a solid newsman every time. Apparently, Brian didn’t realize that he was already well-thought of without trying to make himself a hero. Leave that to the real heroes, Brian. Stories do have a way of getting out of hand, but that he did it over and over again is the killer for him. I don’t think anyone will ever look at him with the same eyes again. I know I won’t.

      The only reason I went with stainless steel here was for the resale value. I even searched and asked at stores if SS was going out of vogue, and all reports indicated that it’s here to stay. We only plan to be here about 5 years, and hopefully they will help sell the house. Surely by that time I will have the energy to get the rest of the stuff done. I may have to hire the kitchen painting done. It’s gonna be a bitch to paint around all the wood cabinets without getting any on the wood. I think white is the new thing. I see it a lot in magazines, and they do just what you did, add color with furnishings. Instantly changeable is the way to go, I think.

      My mother-in-law won’t watch any movie or show with war as the subject. She said she sees enough of it on TV news, and it makes her sick. Those kind aren’t my first choice either, but with the story behind it, and all that was written about it made me want to see what everyone was talking about. I’m glad I went. It opened my eyes about a few things.

      This book is wonderful. I read about 2/3 of it while we were away for the weekend (visiting David’s parents), and the story is so complex. I think you would love it. I would have finished it last evening, but Downton Abbey, you know. I’ll get together a list of book recommendations for you. Can’t think of any off the top of my head at this moment. 🙂

      Our last three winters have really sucked. I’m ready to live in warmer climes, but not Florida. I hate Florida.


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