Feeling Like Roseanne Roseannadanna

It’s always something!

Late Saturday afternoon I noticed that the stuff in the freezer of my French door fridge was not frozen. My first response was to accuse my husband of not shutting the door properly when he put in a supply of mango sorbet.

We quickly figured out the fridge/freezer dysfunction wasn’t his fault. The light was on in the fridge but nothing was cooling in either fridge or freezer.Of course this was late Saturday afternoon. Do appliances have internal programming which only allows them to malfunction on weekends?

In the freezer several bags of tomatoes waiting to be turned into sauce were thawed, but still cold. I thought about making a trip to Lowe’s for a huge cooler box, but decided the fridge and freezer already were well insulated coolers and what was needed was ice. A quick trip to the the gas station around the corner for multiple bags of ice which were inserted into small kitchen garbage bags and placed strategically over chicken breasts, pork chops and other protein in the freezer. Bags of peas were expendable and much less expensive to replace. Three bags of ice went into the fridge. When I bought the ice I noticed that there were blocks of ices for sale as well. They might have lasted longer, but were not as adaptable in terms of space available.

My husband began online research about the cost of replacing the fridge. 2K and up. We were hoping that wasn’t going to be necessary because we are looking at replacing the AC and furnace this fall.

We had a family birthday party in Philadelphia on Sunday (2 1/2 hours up and 2 1/2 hours back) so in the morning we got more ice to replace what was thawing. We did that again Sunday evening. I left a call at the place where we purchased the fridge and left a message that I needed somebody first thing Monday morning. Higgins and Spencer has competitive pricing on appliances and they have great service.

This morning I did another ice run in my yoga pants, went to yoga at seven and was home a little after eight. I got a call at quarter to nine from the repair people and they were at my house fifteen minutes later. It was a relay switch to the compressor that had burned out. A quick and easy fix as the repair guy had a brought a part with him.  He told me that appliances now have a 9-10 year life span and he thinks the quality has gone down.  I remember when appliances lasted 30 years!

Since we bought all our appliances at the same time ten years ago when our remodeling project was finished, we are at that point. I don’t know how much this burned out relay will end up costing us, but I’m thinking maybe a couple hundred dollars. We dodged the new fridge bullet for awhile.

I took advantage of the fridge being pulled out to wipe down walls and wash the floor. That probably had last been done ten years ago when we bought that fridge.

I was told to leave the ice in the fridge until about noon and then remove it. At that point I can assess what needs to be pitched. This afternoon will be all about cooking frozen protein that thawed but remained cold enough that I’m not worried it went bad. Oh,  and a lot of tomatoes to simmer on the stove for tomato sauce to be canned. I’ll have to get out my biggest stock pot.

As Roseanne Roseannadanna would say, it’s always something.



Parking Lot Rant

Like most people who blog, I have draft posts that were never published. I just found this one.

This post isn’t about writing. It’s just a rant. Couple of days ago I noticed that some bozo or bozette had cut his or her wheels while I was parked at Graul’s Supermarket (I’m gonna be gender neutral here, but I’m picturing a guy from Tilghman Island in a big honking truck) and left a big dent in the front side panel of my Honda Accord. It was on the passenger side so I didn’t notice it until I got home.

Did that person leave a note on my windshield? Of course not!  My car is only two years old and already had major body work because it was attacked by a deer last December 23rd on my home from the last performance of The Santa Diaries. That was mostly covered by insurance, but since there isn’t any other insurance company to go after with this claim, my rates will get jacked.

At least that’s what USAA told me when I asked why they raised my rates last year. All because I had a windshield replaced on my previous car. My USAA car insurance doesn’t cover windshield replacements so I paid out of pocket. Apparently Safelite sent in a claim and got paid twice. I never knew that until I got the notice of the rate hike. When I called the insurance company to find out why my rates had been raised I was told it was because there was nobody to go after when a stone breaks your windshield. Duh! Isn’t that why you have insurance. For accidents!  I was starting to feel like a Liberty Mutual ad so I hung up.

Since there’s nobody to go after in this instance, I figure my rates will get raised if I put in a claim. Mullikens in Easton told me $845 to fix the fender damage. $845. And that’s no new parts, just taking the old stuff off, pulling out the dent, repainting. Okay, I can see maybe how they get to $845. I know they are in business to make a profit, but seriously, I’m going to have to think about whether I’m going to have it repaired or not. It’s on the other side of the car so I don’t see it much.

However, I’m putting out a universal curse on parking lot people who damage other people’s cars and don’t leave their contact information. You ought to be ashamed.

Update two years later: I did get the car fixed. It’s as good as new, but just reading this makes me mad all over again. I have to remind myself that most people are responsible – just not the one who damaged my car.

Rebuilding an Island

This is the story of how an island is being rebuilt one “cell” at a time. On the photo below the “cells” are shown.


The photo above and the following is from the Poplar Island website (http://www.menv.com/pages/outreach/poplar.html#) and used with permission.

Poplar Island, located in Talbot County in the mid–Chesapeake Bay, has become a national model of environmental restoration. It is the site where an innovative solution for dredged material management is resulting in the restoration of a once vanishing island.

Poplar Island is one of what was once many isolated islands within the Chesapeake Bay region. Through various natural processes, these islands are being lost. The habitat offered by these remote islands has historically offered safe, relatively predator free habitat to many of the Bay’s diverse wildlife and bird species, as well as a safe harbor for the Bay’s fish and shellfish resources. Poplar Island was reduced in size from approximately 1,100 acres, as recorded in 1847, to just 5 acres in 1993. The loss of the island and its critical wildlife habitat has been reversed using clean dredged material from the Port of Baltimore’s approach channels. The process involves placing, shaping, and planting some 40 million cubic yards of dredged material within a dike constructed to approximate the 1847 footprint. The first two phases of dike construction were completed by 2002, and dredged material placement began in 2001. In 2014, the project was authorized for a 575 acre expansion which is scheduled to begin as early as 2016 and will increase the total project size to 1,715 acres, allowing for a project placement total of 68 million cubic yards of material.”

My husband and I toured the island on Tuesday. We were worried that the extreme heat would be a problem and I had called ahead to find out that the boat to the island had an air-conditioned section and once on the island we would be in an air-conditioned bus. We sat outside on the boat ride and inside on the way back. Despite a very hot, humid day we were comfortable.

We had been to the island about six years ago. And I had been about three before that. Every time we go, the island has grown and changed. This fall the final 575 acre expansion will begin. From 5 acres to 1715 acres is truly impressive. We saw lots of birds, brown pelicans stopping by on their migration south, red wing blackbirds, osprey, and many more. We even saw a deer. Apparently they swim back and forth between Poplar and nearby Coach Island which is privately owned. Once the island is totally completed (I think target date is 2014), all roads, buildings, equipment will be removed. The island will be available only to kyakers and canoers.

Chris, our excellent tour guide, showed us terrapin nests. A professor from a midwestern university comes with his students and they mark the nests and put wire around and on top to keep the baby turtles safe when they hatch. Then they are collected and many of them are given to schools for the kids to raise that first year. All the babies have a tiny transmitter the size of a grain of rice put in a back leg so they can be tracked. In the spring the babies are brought back to Poplar Island by the kids and released. The most popular names the kids give the turtles in their care are Bubbles and Squirt, Chris told us. One school combines the turtle release with the school’s ukulele band who serenade the babies as they swim away. I’d love to see that.


We got to see some of the baby terrapins in a tank. Fifty-one of those turtles were destined for the National Aquarium in Baltimore and would begin the first leg of their journey that evening. From the Aquarium they will be distributed to schools – as far as Western Maryland. What a great program for Poplar Island and Maryland school kids. A school teacher who was on the tour told me educators are concerned that many, many kids no longer play outdoors. So anything that let’s them know there are interesting things going on outside their video game worlds is an extremely good thing.

Diane French and I are going to organize a tour of Poplar Island in October for the Woman’s Club of St. Michaels. Fall will be a wonderful time to visit again. For my out-of -the-region readers…if you are ever in the area, call in advance to reserve a place on the boat. Tours run April 1 through October 31.



Green Tomato Chutney

I don’t know if it’s the heat, but tomato ripening has slowed down in my garden. I’m going to try this recipe for tomato chutney this week. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

Slices of Quince

tomato crop Green Tomatoes. Photo ©2016 Fadia Jawdat

When I was growing up I never recall my father ever setting foot in the kitchen except to fix appliances and sharpen knives. Once a year he was called upon to dress, cook and carve the Christmas turkey. He was an expert and performed his duties with flawless precision and grace.

My parents moved to Cyprus just about the time my daughters were born. Until my father passed away, I would take my girls to Limassol for a month each summer. My husband would join us for part of the time. For four wonderful weeks out of the year I had the luxury of parents doting over my little ones, giving me a hand, watching over them, feeding and entertaining them. It made up for the the hard work of raising two kids in the city, in almost complete isolation. It was a huge…

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Darth Vader Lexus

Darth Vader beside Lexus 69ee945ef89ba49dbd7c97633dca5fdb

Why did I think I was the only person who saw the similarities?

When I Googled Darth Vader one of the choices that came up was Darth Vader car.  Here’s what I found: Lexus unveils bold ‘Darth Vader’ concept at show- Keith Barry, Reviewed.com / USA Today 1:58 p.m. EDT September 11, 2013

Apparently the Lexus folks decided they wanted a car with an edgy feel. I call it a creepy feel. This is just an evil looking car. If I was driving one, I might go over to the Dark Side and start running over pedestrians.Well, probably not. I hope I have more self control than that.

The only time I thought about driving into other cars was when, during menopause, my gynecologist put me on hormone replacement with a small amount of testosterone (Estratest). After two weeks I told her I wasn’t going to take anymore because I was thinking about running into other cars in traffic because I didn’t like the way they were driving.  When I told my husband, he said, “Welcome to a man’s world.”

My first car was a 1963 red Beetle. It was cute. It made me smile until I forgot I had to put gas in the tank. It was my first car, I was only twenty, and I only did that once.


My VW took me to Goucher College in Towson, MD from where I lived, newly married, in Stewartstown, PA. Interstate 83 had just recently opened and there was hardly any traffic so I could study note cards for my classes as I drove. After that it kept going until it was traded in, when I had children, for a VW hatchback.

My second husband and I had several Volvos which turned out to be not very reliable and expensive to maintain. We bought the first one because it was the only car on the market that would hold all four kids (two of his, two of mine.). I think it cost about $6K. It had a seat in the “way back” and none of the kids really wanted to ride facing backwards. But it took us all where we needed to go for quite a few years.

Then we got Hondas and have been driving them ever since. We drove cars until they needed new engines and then my handy husband would drop one in a new one. More recently I’ve wanted Hondas that have more of the latest safety features-like airbags that might shoot you full of shrapnel. I guess it’s a crap shoot, but I refuse to even consider driving a Darth Vader car.I might end up in a battle with other Storm Troopers on the highway.







Time Confetti vs. Time Sink

My daughter-in-law, Janet Szabo, is an amazing person. She gets more done than almost anyone I know. She recently wrote about how she does that on her blog. It was the post called “Halfway there.” I responded to the post saying it had taken me a long time to recognize what a difference it made if I did things in those 3, 5, 10 and 15 minutes of time that open up here and there. My d-i-l responded calling that time confetti. What a clever concept.

When I googled time confetti it was Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed: Work Love and Play When No One Has the Time who coined the phrase.


I’m a visual person and I can just see those little bits of time which can be used to simplify my life. Hang up my coat instead of putting it on the chair inside the front door where other coats will accumulate and soon I have a five minute job instead of a thirty-second one. The ten minutes between when I’m ready to walk out the door for an appointment and the time I actually need to leave is plenty of time to unload the dishwasher, put in a load of laundry or sit and read the new book I just started.

Using that time to check emails is not productive because I get sucked into deepening sink holes of what’s on sale at Joanne’s, LandsEnd, DripWorks and Burpee Seed Company. However, my good intentions to stay away from emails, are made difficult by my computer which now dings and throws up a little box with a portion of the email. It just happened. Joanne Fabric is offering Free Shipping for online orders. Whoosh. There I go sliding into that time sink.

And don’t get me started on FaceBook.