Tag Archives: cars

Brown Beans and Stuff

My husband left this morning for the week, which gives me a chance to make noise, as in dishwasher, washing machine, vacuum cleaner and cleaning out the frig. Such exciting endeavors!

I’ve not been sleeping at night, so took a nap on the couch while he was watching a movie last night and I had intended to cook dinner. Instead he walked the dog to pick up Mexican food. What a sweetheart. He had started a list, which I just found now, on a post-it that says brown beans, crossed out. I got a chicken quesadilla instead. I can’t keep every note he writes but my heart goes pitter pat when he goes to the store for us, walks the dog or asks if he can help put our bed back together after an intense laundry day for me.

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Cars. I tend to remember some over the years. There was my dad’s first new car, 1964 Buick Special coupe, red. At age 8, I was cleaning the whitewall tires with steel wool and saw tar from road maintenance on the door so used steel wool. He was so upset.

Then there was the woody station wagon circa early 1970-something. I remember family trips and my brother sitting in the back using suitcases as drums and driving us all bonkers. It was my college graduation present. Yes, a single gal driving around in a car that seats nine and groceries. It died on a bridge. I sold it to my mechanic for $400 and it was on the street in a week.

My pea-green/rustoleum VW sold to me by my boyfriend who must have hated me at the time. Semi-automatic, fuel injection (as my younger brother would have said at the time, Wrongo, Moose-Breath) . When it rained I had to keep stopping under overpasses and use towels to dry the distributor cap. After a politician’s child took the left front wheel off the axle on New Year’s Eve when I was home sleeping, police wouldn’t give me the report, I was responsible for the Freedom of Information Act in that state and no-one would tell me who did it so I footed the bill and could not turn too far left from then on lest the fuel system blow me up.

My only new car was my 1993 Jeep. I bought this army jeep (chose no back seat) so I could take my dog to the beach and it worked beautifully. One accident, because of a fire truck and the driver in front of me slamming on her brakes at the last second. All re-done. it lasted for years and hopefully went to a Marine.

Now I drive an old Acura and my husband an old Volvo. Why? Newer cars are smaller. My husband is very tall and he has to fit our cars. I can fit into anything but he needs to fit. We chose wisely and keep them fit for travel anywhere.


This brings me to Kevin, our former mechanic. We has a rocky start back several years as I don’t think he had much respect for female customers. I believe we got there quickly, however. Drop car off , what’s wrong, what he’s going to check, leave car and keys. Call with estimate, OK estimate, call for pickup. Credit card and keys. Clockwork.

Then things got more complicated. I ran out of oil down the street in my husband’s car. Kevin knew where I was, a few blocks away, and advised me to go across the street and get abc/xyz oil and drive to the shop. It worked. We worked together over two weeks with him advising me on when to drop off, pick up and to drive longer distances so he could find the leak. He did. It cost a lot but that’s why you keep a good mechanic around, especially if my motorcycle/tractor/car expert, physicist/software engineer/consultant is off on business. Yes, that would be my husband.

Thank you, Kevin. Thanks for working with me over the years. I appreciate your work ethic and service and hope our paths will cross again. My time with Jim Fascistio has ended. He kicked me out of the shop, yelled that Kevin said I was a pain in the *** then bragged about refusing service to a long-term customer who doesn’t have credit cards declined to fellow mechanics, another woman gone! Bravo! Throwing your father’s hard work into the trash.  Problem is he was kissing the feet of the young man next to me and thanking him after all his credit cards were declined. Then he turned to me, sent his minion out of the room then said “I won’t serve her! Get her out of here!” He had my car registration so I asked for my papers back. He bragged about a Federal Civil Rights violation.

If my numbers are right women are at least 50% of the population. If Junior eliminates all female long-term paying customers, wouldn’t profits go down? Think about it. He should. He’s lost a customer for life and everyone I know.

A rant, I know it. But I have to do a miscellaneous post every so often. Enjoy the day! Dee


To Better Times

My husband’s flight is scheduled to come in 1/2 hour early tonight. That’s for now. He should be home by 10:00, 10:30.

Everything is a scramble here as they’ve been resurfacing/eliminating damaging calcium deposit leaks that ruin the paint of our cars. It ruined mine and they wish to fix it. First there was valet service. Now we’re out in the open and have a shuttle bus. Most of the valets treated me well, as did the shuttle driver after I finally found out where to park my car. Our vehicles are viewable with binoculars. If there is actually security there our greatest danger may be bird poop from the seagulls, ducks and geese.

So, my husband has found a way to actually be home for an entire two-day weekend, beginning next week. I may be able to cook dinner three nights and his favorite breakfasts for two days (cereal Monday morning) and I’ll try to get everything done here so he can relax and perhaps walk the dog once or twice.

For someone who dislikes enforced change I espouse it at work and throughout life. Dog Zoe has taught me much (I trained her) over the past 11 years. I am a creature of habit. If I desire to change my job or city I’ll do it. Tell me to do it, as my family did many times, and I’ll dig in my heels, especially if there is no rational reason to do so.

I do what my dog tells me. She’s old so when she wants to go out I take her right away, even at 2:00 a.m. When she wants something, that’s different. I can usually discern between the two. Sometimes she only wants to get up on the couch or have her precious toy.

A dinner for four and cooking lesson is on deck for tomorrow. Perhaps six, no way to know. I’ll be prepared. I’m teaching Texas Chili a la Lady Bird Johnson 1962 at hers and LBJ’s Pedernales Ranch for 5,000 guests including President Kennedy.

I’m changing up the recipe once again roasting a poblano and a couple of finger chilis (don’t know what the Scoville scale will say on the latter). Now I have to finish cleaning up the house, the dog and finally, me. Have a great weekend! Dee

Wanting a Car

When I became 16 and got my learners’ permit and first license, I wanted a car. In order to use one for summer work that meant Dad taking me around the high school parking lot one evening to learn to work a stick. The next day I took the 1973 Super Beetle convertible to my work. It was a great car. I think I messed up the gears a bit my first couple of days.

For college graduation I got an old Olds station wagon, that I later sold, after cracking the engine block (not my fault) for $400 then got a trashed VW Bug, pea green with rustoleum, for $1,500. It was sold to me by someone I trusted and was a two-speed manual with fuel injection. It was totaled on the street one day by a politician’s kid and I had to have it re-done and was advised never to take a hard left turn or I would blow up.

Then I bought my mother’s Honda Accord that I loved and was, unfortunately, eaten up by New York’s salt and sand policies for snow removal. I gave that to charity for the metal.

My first new car was a Jeep, an Army Jeep that I outfitted in the back for my dog. I had that for the ten years I had the rescue dog. Her Collie friend jumped in the back so she did as well. For five years I’d been lifting her in. Go figure. We sold that and it went to a military family nearby.

Our current vehicles are over ten years old. We take good care of them because they provide us transportation and fit the profile. My husband is tall and fits very few cars. He likes his sedan and I love my mid-sized SUV. Most models now will not fit his head space. I can fit anything but both our cars must fit him so we are constrained by said space.

Now, our cars have been taken from us and are only available through valet service for three weeks. Yes, I thought it was an April Fools’ Day joke as well. I want my car. I want my car because I own it and pay for parking and don’t want to have to plan trips for groceries, dog food, et al.

Our garage has been leaking calcium deposits for years and my paint is probably ruined. That’s what they’re finally fixing. Enough people complained about their new cars being ruined because of snow melt through the underground garage so they’re finally doing something. I moved to a space underneath a space that is protected. Why they did such a haphazard approach is a mystery to me.

We pay a lot to live here. They didn’t think anything through from the valet to movers and furniture company deliveries. Mostly, they didn’t think about us. We pay to live here. We need transportation. Keeping us from our cars for nearly a month is ridiculous. I will find another underground garage nearby and charge them for it. I want access to my car.

What if someone said they needed my computer for a month, or my frig or food processor? NO! But they took my car. My car is not a statement, or my life. It is transportation from A to B. With the shenanagans going on downstairs, getting my car anytime in the next three days is a crap shoot, and I even gave the Valet service dog treats to mollify the complainers.

That’s how it is. April Fools for some, not for us.

Working for Cars

There’s a resident appreciation event next week, right before they kick us all out of the garage where we pay dearly for a space or spaces, for a power wash, that will probably place calcium deposits on many cars as the water seeps through the garage. They’ve only sealed a few spaces. Luckily my third spot in three years is covered above after the paint on my car was ruined.

We live in an area where parking is at a premium and street parking is impossible to find. There are one-hour, two-hour, three-hour and a few all day spots but they’re inevitably taken. It would be better for them to rotate us through an off-site lot for the day. Surely we pay enough to cover it.

As it is I’ll be alone and have my husband’s car being delivered this weekend, without husband, so with one-hour parking I’ll just be standing on the street awaiting the Parking Nazi. Yes, they’re vigilant. I’ll spend at least a day moving two cars every hour on different streets.

I live for my family, not cars. For me they are only for transportation between A and B. I do know that if both our cars are towed that’s a hassle with which I do not wish to be burdened.

Years ago I learned that if an Assembly bill was amended during negotiations with Senate and Governor it might get to a C (two printed revisions). Nothing ever got to F.

I’m talking degree F here in parking ramifications. It should be built in that we’re taken care of when any garage interruption occurs that is scheduled in advance. I work for my family. I do not work for our two old, great cars. Cheers, Dee

Traffic Safety

I just ran the numbers. There are two bright yellow signs indicating a crosswalk by where we live, a place where motorists regularly speed to gain access to a major road that leads to highways.

For six months I’ve been trying to get the road striped and they wouldn’t do it because the city owns one sidewalk and the county the other and they’re misaligned. A woman was killed on the next street on Sunday. They made the curb cut the other day and today they have orange and white flashers ready to go when the trucks come to install the new curb ramp and paint the lines.

Way to go, Dee! But I just ran the numbers and they are alarming for an urban place that prides itself on fining jaywalkers (supposedly zero tolerance) but cares not about pedestrians who actually walk to a designated crosswalk then look both ways for traffic and are nearly run over by drivers doing 50 in a 30.

I’ve lived here for 18 months and walk my old hip-less dog across that street at the crosswalk four times per day. That’s 18 times 30 times four, that equals 2,160 times I’ve crossed there.

Three cars have stopped for me. One, a guy who recognized me. Another a few weeks ago but the guy behind him didn’t like that he stopped so gunned it into the opposite lane and came in 2′ behind us so that doesn’t count. Today, I checked both ways but peeked out because there were parked cars blocking my view. The driver stopped and I waved a thank-you.

The percentage of drivers who have stopped for me and Zoe over an 18 month period is .0925. Less than 1%. People are congratulating me on getting a real crosswalk, and in the same breath they wonder if anyone will really stop. It is a sad commentary on urban life that as a pedestrian I feel safer in NYC, San Diego, Houston and other large cities.

Unfortunately, I think this is a dying city, with high unemployment, and people are angry. Angry people drive angrily, lay on the horn, and threaten pedestrians trying to cross legally at crosswalks. I’ve written letters to the editor and half of several hundred blame pedestrians for trying to cross the street!

My solution is to police the most dangerous crosswalks in the city, including ours. If we take the police off jaywalkers and assure pedestrian safety by encouraging jaywalkers to walk an extra fifty feet to cross safely, we’ll have fewer pedestrian deaths and end the jaywalking problem. Plus, the kicker, the City will get revenue from stopping dangerous drivers. Zoe says it’s a win win situation. Dee

Dog House

Yep, I’m there, where I’ll remain for the forseeable future.

I’ve worked with shelter dogs, Greyhounds just off the track, and owned two dogs at different times, first a desperate rescue for ten years until she died and now Zoe. We’ve had Zoe for nearly ten years and had her hips taken out as a pup because she had the worst hip dysplasia her surgeon had ever seen.

Cats are in my purr-view as well, both canine and feline volunteering and ownership for nearly 25 years. Spaying and neutering over 2,000 feral cats over a six-year period was a milestone.

I like to walk to the grocery stores around here. Often I take a bag with my wallet, over my shoulder, for small items, or a rolling cart when I need to purchase heavier things.

Zoe does not go with me unless my husband is there and stays outside with her while I shop, even though she’s nearly ten years old and has been with us since she was six weeks of age. I’m always afraid someone will give her a treat and she is so trusting that she’d go with anyone or run out into traffic.

Today I went to our local “convenience” market for a couple of little things I needed for dinner. The butcher had to grind some meat for me so I took a few moments longer than anticipated, so rushed home to get groceries in the frig and start dinner.

En route, I realized I left poor Zoe tied up to a bicycle stand outside the grocery store! She was only there about four moments longer and was sitting patiently awaiting my arrival. I feel horrible! She’s asleep on her big bed by my desk right now and has probably forgotten about it 1/2 hour later because she’s only dreaming of squirrels and thinking about her dinner, but I feel awful.

Please, Penny, Clouseau, Nike, Chani, Nathan, Mick and now Zoe… forgive me. Also Val. I’ve never done this in all my life and if I did have a defense it would be that I never take her and leave her outside the grocery store. Car is OK if the temperature works for her (high of 50 and out of the sun with windows open for no longer than ten minutes). She loves the car and no-one can easily steal her.

Mea culpa, Dee


Last night my love arrived home bearing two TX license plates, sans Texas star, but they do say The Lone Star State. We sold the car in another state so TX advises us to keep the plates. I’ve never been one for posting license plates on our living room walls, or five-pointed stars to remind one that one grew up in or lived in TX for a time.

So, the plates mean that the Honda has gone to a good home and that we’re settling in to a cold weather existence with two AWD vehicles equipped with the best snow tires available. Jim got his rubber floor mats for the Volvo today and ordered me some because he didn’t have mats on the car he got two weeks ago. I have the expensive carpet mats and the driver’s side is filthy from mud and guck.

That’s where the cheating comes in. I’ve two pair of boots now, that I hate to wear except to walk the dog. But on a nice, sunny day when everything is melting I wear open clogs and end up in an icy, mushy parking lot that was not cleared out overnight. I end up with wet feet and a wet, dirty car. We’ll take care of the car next week when the mats are shampooed and real, sturdy rubber mats are installed throughout. It’s the translation to another climate and world that is a bit unsettling.

I grew up in cold weather and snow, and Jim promised I’d never have to shovel snow again. Well, here we are and maintaining the decks is no problem for me. Just a few shovels full. The rest is taken care of by the HOA. It’s drying shoes and boots and the dog and mud and salt. We were told a mud room was a must out here, they were right.

The cold weather begs other issues and aside from roasting (I’ve a decent roasting pan here and an excellent one in storage) I’m looking to find out about dutch ovens, particularly Le Creuset and what sizes I’d need for the two of us and for entertaining. I’m thinking perhaps a 2 qt for risotto or side dishes or mac and cheese just for us. Perhaps 4.5 qt for guests? I have to go look at them. I’d like to be able to roast a fillet or whole bird in the larger one or make a nice stew. I do not want oval because my burners are round and unless it’s big enough (too big for us) to go on two burners, it’s an affectation.

Warm food for cold climates. With the cars, boots, dutch ovens and altitude, this year has truly brought us to a new place. I’d say about now that we’re surviving the change, not yet thriving. But we’re living in someone else’s home with all their things so only Jim and I and the dog are familiar. Jim even has all new non-banker clothing so sometimes I don’t recognize him! Funny that the safe car he bought looks like it belongs to a banker! For all of you living in cold weather and warm, cheers! Dee

Salsa and Fajitas

I made a tremendous salsa, enough to go out to Wal-Mart and find two ice cube trays for $1.88 for the remainder to freeze thoroughly then put in sealed bags to take out when needed. The recipe comes from Epicurious, look for the the steak with tomatillos two ways and the first way is it.

I used it on some ribeyes, then made chicken fajitas tonight and used up some more before freezing it. I don’t know if I can send you the link. Epicurious is picky about what it allows one to do. I once wrote them a paper letter asking for an 18 year old recipe and they said no.

It’s Saturday night shortly before 8:00 and Jim has just gone to bed. He’s been working late nights. Today didn’t help. We went all the way downtown (25 miles) to get the “check engine light” reset and got an oil change then left and within five minutes the car was overheating. We brought it back and it behaved but started up on the way up the mountain, plus he said he had no time to fix his mistake today. I taught Jim my old Honda trick of shutting the A/C off, blasting the heat and keeping the windows open and he kept the tachometer at 2,000 rpm all the way up, frustrating cars and semis alike. He’ll take my car in Monday and on Tuesday morning I’ll follow him in and drop him off at work. It’s not a fun way to spend a Saturday!

Hopefully, tomorrow will be better and we can relax a bit. Zoe (the dog) never lets me sleep in, though she did this morning until nearly 8:00. Bless her little heart. These fajitas are still perfuming the place so I may open the top slider for a while but not the bottom one as it’s slit and I just heard a news report that the “hobo spiders” are trying to work their way inside against the cold. If one gets bitten, at the very least a doctor’s visit is needed. Some cases are worse with skin necrosis and even death. No-one told me about this stuff. I thought “mud season” was bad!

The stoat was back for a day (Zoe and Jim saw it) but I’ve seen the baby Greater Sandhill Crane practice its flying for three days in a row! I’ve trained myself to just look for motion on the preserve. It might be ducks, geese, cranes, coyotes or elk or moose. One just has to keep an eye out while washing dishes or folding the laundry. No photos, sorry. By the time I get topside and grab the binoculars it’s too late so I must live in the moment and just tell you how gorgeous it is up in the mountains.

Remember that when I complain about blizzards and ice! Thanks, hope you’re having a great weekend. Cheers, Dee