Monthly Archives: March 2011

Glasses from the Whirled White Web

I got my eyes tested a few weeks ago, and they really hadn’t changed much. I didn’t need new glasses, but I WANTED new glasses. I like the ones I have, but bright red doesn’t go with everything, as you can see:

I saw an advertisement on tv for two pairs of glasses for $78. I won’t name the name of this establishment, but let’s just say it rhymes with Eyeglass Whirled! So I gamely went to look for some fashion specs. They did indeed have some frames for $78–but not very many (and they were out of date and were far away from any mirror). So I thought, I’ll just look at the ones for $129–still, a pretty good deal, right? Then I saw my favorites on the $159 rack–oh, I fell right into their little trap! I took a seat and proceeded to do my order. That’s when the real fun began. By the time they added in fees for no-line bifocals, anti-reflective coating, and a host of other things, the total had gone up to $590–without tax! I thanked the very nice woman and told her I would look around. I figured I could justify $78–but $590? No way.

Then I remembered that my son, Mike, had ordered glasses online for just $10. Now Mike is so cool that anything he wears is cool, so it was sort of hard to tell how stylish his glasses were. Nevertheless, I got the URL from him and began my journey. It was pretty fun. I got to “try on” the glasses using a really beautiful model–who, like Mike, looked great in every one. I finally picked out the frames I liked–for $29.95:

Then I needed to enter my prescription. The only tricky thing was determining my “PD”–pupil distance to all you online glasses neophytes. That was solved by having Paul hold a plastic ruler up over my nose and measuring the distance–60, for those of you who are interested in my measurements.

Grand total? $78.67 (with coating and no-line bifocals). True, I haven’t gotten them yet–and maybe you get what you pay for. We’ll see. I’ll post a photo when I get them.


Guess What Bloomed at my House?


Scrabble in Elyria

This past weekend I went to Elyria, Ohio to take part in the purple and gold tournament. I have to admit, I didn’t dress up (can you say wet blanket?) but I enjoyed the fact that other people did. The organizer is Dan–shown here:


Others followed the theme–please note the necklace.


Scrabble nerd alert. The next part of this blog will be interesting to about 12 people on the entire planet. You may be one of them, but more likely you are one of the other approximately 6.58 billion. If that is the case, you are hereby released from having to read this section.

On the off chance you are interested,

I will tell you about my awesome play that won me the game (I didn’t end up winning any money–I came in a close 4th–just 30 points below the 3rd place person). Anyhow, back to the Scrabble Drama in Real Life! I was more than 50 points behind, and had been behind the entire game. My rack was DVTILG and a blank. On the board was an open D, where I noticed that if I added an O after the D, I could make QUARTO (quart was already on the board). I then realized that if I got ride of my G, and then had an A or an O, I could make the word DOVETAIL for a whole bunch of points (101, to be exact). I only needed to draw an O or an A. And here is where I broke a cardinal Scrabble rule–or at least my rule–don’t fish for a letter, just make your best play. But I calculated that there were 3 O’s still out and 2 A’s–and there were only about 20 tiles left in the bag. I figured even if she had some of them on her rack, that I stood about a 15% chance of drawing an O or an A. I played off my G for just 5 points, making GAG, and then drew–and I got an O! Then I just had the torture of waiting to see if the spot would be taken (Oh the heartbreak when that happens!)

Here is what that final winning board looked like at the end of the game.



Sometimes my strategy works, even when it probably shouldn’t.

Of Spring, Maple Syrup, and Blood Oranges

Remember the last photo of the bulbs that I planted? Here is how they look now:

I can’t begin to tell you how happy it makes me every time I go into the kitchen to look at them. What a miracle! And the days are longer (about 2 minutes per day right now), and it is sunny and warm today, so life seems pretty darn good (although my heart is heavy with thoughts of all the sorrow in Japan, Libya, and other parts of the world).

In spring the maple trees in Indiana do their thing. Thank you, Native Americans, for showing us how to use maple sap! So in the spirit of springtime and maple, I made a pilgrimmage to Harris Sugar Bush, a cool family business in Greencastle, Indiana. They use tubing to collect the sap:

On one single day, they collected 10,000 gallons of sap. But it takes 20-50 gallons of sap to make just one gallon of maple syrup. They have to take out the water through a reverse-osmosis system, and then boil it in an evaporator. Then it’s strained and bottled and people like me can buy half a gallon of grade B (darker than grade A, but I like the taste better) for $27.

I didn’t have cash or a check, so Mrs. Harris let me take $45 worth of syrup and send her a check later. She says she has never had anyone not pay–so I guess I will be the first! (Just kidding, I was frantic until I sent a check.)

In Greencastle, we stopped at Fairview Family Restaurant, home of a giant steer on the roof:

And I ordered this:

I know. I’m ashamed of myself. But it was really good, and I only ate about half of it.

About a week ago I ordered 20 pounds of blood oranges. Partly because I have been watching “Dexter,” and partly just because they sounded good–and they are!