Month: December 2008

  • Marshmallows and Merriment

    Drew had the bright idea of scoring marshmallow guns for our “little” kids. They shoot mini, fluffy treats across the width of the house faster than a speeding hunting dog. But then the opportunistic dog roots around for the spent ammo.

    Just in case you were wondering, kids 6-foot tall and larger shake the rafters a lot more when they are terrorizing their siblings with toy guns than when they were 3-foot tall…

      By the way, the ammo that comes with the gun is lame. The kids thought the guns were wimpy until D brought home the real marshmallows!

    A welcome precursor to Christmas is K’s birthday. This year she celebrated her 16th with her friend Bekah. I’m not permitted to share all the details, but it had something to do with making guys catch up on their Disney princess movies. Hee-hee.

    ||||||  lynard

  • TCS’ Snowball at New Hope PCA

    It is fun to see K not wear blue jeans or a basketball uniform for once…  L’s black shirt (underneath) lights up in different colors, based on sound sensors. He DJ’d for the dance. 
       ||||||  lynard

  • Free “Photoshop”

    While I have Photoshop at work, I do not always have access at home. That’s OK, because Photoshop can be a little obtuse and slow. The program is layered and sophisticated: five different ways to do the same operation if you can figure the nomenclature.

    Last month, I discovered I can quickly upload my poor-quality cell phone pics and play with them. Most operations take single clicks. I can crop, improve color and contrast, create special frames and effects. I can even write or “stamp” on my photo. Then, I can download it back to my desktop OR upload it automatically to a blog or social network, like Facebook.

    Here is an example of stamping silliness on

    Oh, and it is free and does not require a sign up, unless you use premium features. Cool, huh?
    ||||||  lynard

  • Thanksgiving Antics


    I remember the first time my husband took me home to meet his family—at Easter. It seems like only yesterday. I was in college and SO enamored with Drew and amazed at his marvelous, extroverted family. It made me more in love with introverted Drew all the more…

    So, how could it be that T is bringing home sweet friends from his college life? I found myself cleaning the house and cooking more, like my mother-in-law spoiled us every time we came, married or no.

    But T didn’t bring home my future daughter-in-law…yet.    He brought home these wonderful southern boys. Two of them had never been north of the Mason-Dixon line. We were able to produce snow for them upon their arrival. I had nothing to do with that, of course, but I tried to cook uniquely northern food—Pittsburgh pierogies with brats and fried onions, shoo fly pie, three corn bake, and cheesy eggs. My mom made English tea pudding with caramel sauce—a special family recipe from the Fish side.

    I just loved T’s friends. They are welcome anytime—even without T! You can see that they are nice young men, even if a bit silly. Erskine guys are class!

    ||||||  lynard

  • Old Navy Cyber Monday

    I got an email early in the day that said that Old Navy had free shipping and 20% discounts on orders today. Just today.

    Excited, because Old Navy has lots of TALL sizes online, I hoped to get a little Christmas shopping done. You can imagine my increasing excitement when I realized that a lot of the stuff I wanted was on sale—and the 20% off would apply to those items, too!

    I started shopping after dinner, filling my shopping cart with careful deliberation. Then, without warning, I got my first migraine of the year. My vision went crooked and blurry, and I reluctantly saved my shopping cart and took the ibuprofen that K brought me and went to bed for a spell.

    When I awoke, thankfully functional, I continued adding to my Old Navy shopping cart—collecting sizes, preferences, fussing over detail. The deadline for the offers was midnight, so I started checking out at 10 p.m.

    When I checked out,  it made me save my information and open a customer e-mail account, which I resented. Then, there was only one field to accept a PROMO code.  I was disappointed, because I was under the impression that I could use the 20% AND the free shipping. I typed in the 20% code because it was the biggest saver. A message pops up over the “Place Order” button: “You must use an Old Navy credit card to use this promotional code.”


    Opening extra windows, I checked the details of the promotion—no mention of an Old Navy credit card. I was frustrated. It appeared that if I clicked the “Place Order” button, my credit card would be charged a considerable amount of cash, plus shipping. I was stuck with hours of thoughtful shopping in my cart, a cyber Monday deadline, and the need to get some work done on other things. I scoured the Old Navy site for help, careful not to delete my beautiful shopping cart. I found a customer service number.

    When I first called customer service, jumped through the menus, and got put on hold with music, I put my cell phone on speaker. After 5 sessions of music and announcements about my call being answered in the order it was received, the music stopped. Dead. My call appeared to have been aborted.

    I called back. I was steamed now. It was 10:20 and I had better things to do. I had spent so much time on this order and if it didn’t work out, if my call was never answered, it was all a waste. I looked back at the computer screen and considered clicking the “Place Order” button. Maybe I would get a chance to enter more PROMO codes before it was charged to my credit card.

    I decided this was  not likely and called Customer Service one last time.

    This time I hung on even when the line went “dead.” In a minute, a voice came on to ask me to hold, then it went dead again. The whole time I held, I was steaming angry. I had spent so much time on this. I tried to get some work done on my students’ papers while I waited, dreaming about the nasty letters I would write to Old Navy.

    About 20 minutes later, I got a real person. A real, kind person. She had a bit of a Southern accent. She offered to just place the order herself, even though the web site said the promotion could only be realized online. She thought I could use both item codes. She told me NOT to click the “Place Order” button. She said Old Navy had been very overwhelmed with customer response and the system was a bit taxed. I started reading her the VERY LONG item codes that were in my shopping cart—seems she couldn’t see my cart. Then, I gave her my customer info all over again.

    When I was done, the order was almost a third less than the sale prices of the items in my cart.

    The kind customer service person said, “Thanks for your patience!”

    I said, “Oh, I have not been very patient up until now, but you have made everything better!”

    I wish I had taken her name and written her supervisor. I had felt my blood pressure decrease by a dozen points. Competence and kindness is a balm for many kinds of wounds. Thank you, whoever you are.

    By, 11 p.m., I was thinking maybe I wouldn’t boycott Old Navy.

    ||||||  lynard